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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Spenser (search)
Spenser's object was to find unhackneyed and poetical words rather than such as should seem more on a level with the speakers. See also the Epistle Dedicatory. I cannot help thinking that E. K. was Spenser himself, with occasional interjections of Harvey. Who else could have written such English as many passages in this Epistle? I look upon the Shepherd's Calendar as being no less a conscious and deliberate attempt at reform than Thomson's Seasons were in the topics, and Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads in the language of poetry. But the great merit of these pastorals was not so much in their matter as their manner. They show a sense of style in its larger meaning hitherto displayed by no English poet since Chaucer. Surrey had brought back from Italy a certain inkling of it, so far as it is contained in decorum. But here was a new language, a choice and arrangement of words, a variety, elasticity, and harmony of verse most grateful to the ears of men. If not passion, there was ferv
James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Wordsworth. (search)
rs was for the most part written, and that plan of the Lyrical Ballads suggested which gave Wordsworth a clew to lead him out himself to the preparation of the first volume of the Lyrical Ballads for the press, and it was published toward the close oafter sold his copyrights to Mr. Longman, that of the Lyrical Ballads was reckoned at zero, and it was at last given up to tnd found himself in-famous, for the publication of the Lyrical Ballads undoubtedly raised him to the distinction of being theind him. He went quietly over to Germany to write more Lyrical Ballads, and to begin a poem on the growth of his own mind, atre in Westmoreland. In 1800, the first edition of the Lyrical Ballads being exhausted, it was republished with the addition aters of oblivion. An advertisement prefixed to the Lyrical Ballads, as originally published in one volume, warned the rea which was published many years ago under the title of Lyrical Ballads have so little of special application to the greater p
James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Keats. (search)
elves incapable of the one and not of the other? Probably a certain amount of honest loyalty to old idols in danger of dethronement is to be taken into account, and quite as much of the cruelty of criticism is due to want of thought as to deliberate injustice. However it be, the best poetry has been the most savagely attacked, and men who scrupulously practised the Ten Commandments as if there were never a not in any of them, felt every sentiment of their better nature outraged by the Lyrical Ballads. It is idle to attempt to show that Keats did not suffer keenly from the vulgarities of Blackwood and the Quarterly. He suffered in proportion as his ideal was high, and he was conscious of falling below it. In England, especially, it is not pleasant to be ridiculous, even if you are a lord; but to be ridiculous and an apothecary at the same time is almost as bad as it was formerly to be excommunicated. A priori, there was something absurd in poetry written by the son of an assistan