1824
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Idwal: a Poem.

Idwal: a Poem. With Notes.

Peter Bayley


Partly in Spenserians. Peter Bayley's story, set in ancient Wales, was posthumously published without his name; not seen. Portions of Idwal had been published in 1817, including an introduction in Spenserian stanzas.

Monthly Review: "This is a poem of no ordinary merit: it displays considerable powers of imagination; and we rejoiced to find, during its perusal, that those powers were chastized and regulated by a severe and sound judgment. Yet its numerous beauties and its general excellence will not, we apprehend, secure for it a very extensive reception; for it is much too prolix, which is an irredeemable fault, and fatal to a poem. The student in Cambrian antiquities, however, will be pleased to see the traditions of Wales embodied in a poetic form; and the descendants of the antient Britons will be delighted with the patriotic themes that wakened 'high-born Hoel's harp or soft Lewellyn's lay.' — Idwal is a stirring busy romance: but the plot is in our opinion unnecessarily complicated, and, to make use of Bayes's expression, not easily 'insinuated into the boxes.' The author deals liberally also in fairies and sea-nymphs" NS 106 (January 1825) 95-97.

Gentleman's Magazine: "The Poem before us is too refined for an exact conformity to our pattern, but it has frequently the delightful obsolete quaintness of the Spenserian style; and felicitous delineations of female character. The following is a good specimen; for the reader will observe that even in narrative poetry, by a bad modern fashion, the sentimental part preponderates, and two-thirds of the story is thus converted into an essay" 95 (Supplement to Part I, 1825) 616.



Her large dark eyes, with streaming tears suffused,
On Idwal's timidly the lady turn'd,
As if to hear and to believe unused,
As if what man could say she should have spurn'd,
A glance it was that chill'd as well as burn'd;
Beneath whose ray would hope and passion quail;
Yet beautiful: a glance that would have learn'd
His inmost heart, and taught him to bewail
What baser thought within that heart could e'er prevail.

He looks awhile: 'tis beauty's, virtue's power,
And eloquence without the voice's aid.
He pointed eastward to a lonely tower,
That crown'd the summit of a woody glade.
"Yonder is Idwal's poor domain," he said,
"And there his cherish'd guest may be bestow'd:
The heathery fells, the little dingle's shade,
Above the rocks where late the billows flow'd,
Shall yield the shipwreck'd maid a more secure abode."

[Monthly Review NS 106 (January 1825) 97]