Arthur Hugh Clough: The Critical Heritage

By Michael Thorpe | Go to book overview

4.

Edward Quillinan to Henry Crabb Robinson

1849

From a letter dated 12 January 1849 (Henry Crabb Robinson, Diary, Reminiscences, & Correspondence, II. 303).

Edward Quillinan (1791-1851) was a minor poet and critic and a devotee of Wordsworth (whose daughter he married). Arnold describes him in his elegy upon him as ‘a man unspoil’d, sweet, generous, and humane’. (Robinson, 1775-1867, best known for his Diary, was a founder of University College, London, where Clough became Professor of English in 1851. )

…I was very unwilling to commence it [The Bothie], for I detest English hexameters, from Surrey’s to Southey’s; and Mr. Clough’s spondaic lines are, to my ear, detestable too—that is to begin with. Yet I am really charmed with this poem. There is a great deal of mere prose in it, and the worse, to my taste, for being prose on stilts; but, take it all in all, there is more freshness of heart and soul and sense in it than it has been my chance to find and feel in any poem of recent date—perhaps I ought to say than in any recent poem of which the author is not yet very much known; for I have no mind to depreciate Alfred Tennyson, nor any other man who has fairly won his laurel.

-32-

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