ON THE LIFE AND POETIC GENIUS OF EDWARD YOUNG. Between the period of George Herbert, and that of Edward Young, some singular changes had taken place in British poetry as well as in British manners, politics, and religion. There had passed over the land the thunderstorm of the Puritanic Revolt, which had first clouded and then cleared, for a season, the intellectual and moral horizon. The effect of this on poetry was, for such fugitive though... more...

The Life and Poetry of James Beattie James Beattie, the author of the Minstrel was born at Laurencekirk, in the county of Kincardineshire—a village situated in that beautiful trough of land called the Howe of the Mearns, and surmounted by the ridge of the Garvock Hills, which divide it from the German Ocean—on the 25th day of October 1735. His father, who was a small farmer and shopkeeper, and who is said to have possessed a turn for... more...

THE GENIUS AND POETRY OF POPE. Few poets during their lifetime have been at once so much admired and so much abused as Pope. Some writers, destined to oblivion in after-ages, have been loaded with laurels in their own time; while others, on whom Fame was one day to "wait like a menial," have gone to the grave neglected, if not decried and depreciated. But it was the fate of Pope to combine in his single experience the extremes of detraction and... more...

LIFE OF ALEXANDER POPE Alexander Pope was born in Lombard Street, London, on the 21st of May 1688—the year of the Revolution. His father was a linen-merchant, in thriving circumstances, and said to have noble blood in his veins. His mother was Edith or Editha Turner, daughter of William Turner, Esq., of York. Mr Carruthers, in his excellent Life of the Poet, mentions that there was an Alexander Pope, a clergyman, in the remote parish of... more...

SIR CHARLES SEDLEY. Sedley was one of those characters who exert a personal fascination over their own age without leaving any works behind them to perpetuate the charm to posterity. He was the son of Sir John Sedley of Aylesford, in Kent, and was born in 1639. When the Restoration took place he repaired to London, and plunged into all the licence of the time, shedding, however, over the putrid pool the sheen of his wit, manners, and genius.... more...


WILLIAM HABINGTON. This poet might have been expected to have belonged to the 'Spasmodic school,' judging by his parental antecedents. His father was accused of having a share in Babington's conspiracy, but was released because he was godson to Queen Elizabeth. Soon after, however, he was imprisoned a second time, and condemned to death on the charge of having concealed some of the Gunpowder-plot conspirators; but was pardoned through the... more...

We propose to introduce our 'Specimens' by a short Essay on the Origin and Progress of English Poetry on to the days of Chaucer and of Gower. Having called, in conjunction with many other critics, Chaucer 'the Father of English Poetry,' to seek to go back further may seem like pursuing antenatal researches. But while Chaucer was the sun, a certain glimmering dawn had gone before him, and to reflect that, is the object of the following pages.... more...

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY We propose to introduce our 'Specimens' by a short Essay on the Origin and Progress of English Poetry on to the days of Chaucer and of Gower. Having called, in conjunction with many other critics, Chaucer 'the Father of English Poetry,' to seek to go back further may seem like pursuing antenatal researches. But while Chaucer was the sun, a certain glimmering dawn had gone before him, and to reflect that, is the object of the... more...

THE POETICAL WORKS OF SAMUEL JOHNSON. THE LIFE OF SAMUEL JOHNSON. We feel considerable trepidation in beginning a life of Johnson, not so much on account of the magnitude of the man—for in Milton, and one or two others, we have already met his match—but on account of the fact that the field has been so thoroughly exhausted by former writers. It is in the shadow of Boswell, the best of all biographers, and not in that of Johnson,... more...