John Clare: The Critical Heritage

By Mark Storey | Go to book overview

announcement of a series of literary scene-paintings. Beautiful as these may be, and certainly would be from your pencil, there is a deadness about them which tends to chill the reader…. But I cannot see why you might not infuse a dramatic Spirit into your poem on Spring, which is itself only the development of the living principle in Nature. See how full of life those descriptive scenes in the Midsummers’ Night’s Dream, and the Winter’s Tale are!… The hooks with which you have hitherto fished for praise in the ocean of literature, have not been garnished with live-bait; and none of us can get a bite without it. How few read ‘Comus’, who have ‘The Corsair’ by heart! Why? because the former, which is almost ‘dark with the excessive bright’ of its own glory, is deficient in human passions and emotion; while the latter possesses these, altho little else.


87.

Derwent Coleridge on Clare

1831

Eliza Emmerson to Clare, 22 January 1831, Eg. 2248, fol. 307.

Mrs Emmerson is reporting a conversation with Rev. Derwent Coleridge (1800-83), the younger brother of Hartley; she was elated when she ‘discovered’ him in 1822, before he became a schoolmaster in Cornwall. He produced an edition of William Praed’s Poems, with a memoir, in 1864, as well as a biography of his brother (1849).

you were a favourite theme with us—he talked most kindly about you, said many things, to me, in the form of advice in your poetic character, as to subjects & the mode of expressing your feelings & ideas—he admires your tender compositions very much.

-214-

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