A Critical History of English Poetry

By Herbert J. C. Grierson; J. C. Smith | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter Thirty-eight
THE NINETIES

TO a younger reader becoming fully aware of his taste for poetry in the eighties of last century there were two major luminaries still in the heavens, if verging towards their declination. Browning died in 1889, Tennyson in 1892. Among such younger readers Browning stood at the moment rather higher in favour than his more widely acknowledged rival, if such a word is admissible. But there were other poets whose appeal was more insistent, indicated more clearly the direction in which they wished to move, the so-called pre- Raphaelite group with their doctrine of Art for Art's sake; a group whose influence was to be felt by poets so divergent as Kipling, and Wilde, and Yeats. And there were yet others for whom the influence of Wordsworth was transmitted, if modified, by the author of Empedocles on Etna ( 1852), whose collected poems had been issued in 1869 and whose death had preceded that of Browning by a year.

The Lachrymae Musarum in which William Watson bewailed the death of Tennyson attracted the attention of readers who had not remarked the Wordsworth's Grave of 1890; and in like manner the Shorter Poems of the same year awakened or quickened interest in the work of an older poet, Robert Bridges, already the author of a sonnet sequence, The Growth of Love ( 1876), and a poem, Eros and Psyche ( 1885), as well as a number of verse-dramas. Both poets were conscious and careful artists working in the classical tradition but with interesting differences of spirit and form. After a verse tale, The Prince's Quest ( 1880), quite in the manner of William Morris, Watson turned away from the drift of romantic modern poetry and revived, one might almost say, the ideal of the eighteenth century, "What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed." He shared Hazlitt's admiration of Akenside. His aim became to give expression in a large and felicitous manner, with careful attention to the fall of the accents and the correctness of the rhymes, to sentiments recognisable by and shared with large sections of the

-512-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Critical History of English Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 600

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?