From the ‘Retrospective Review’, VI (1822), p. 353. These anonymous comments follow a selection of Skelton’s works included in this journal.
This is certainly a sufficient specimen of this extraordinary versifier—both as to matter and manner. The talents of John Skelton are easily estimated. With strong sense, a vein of humour, and some imagination, he had a wonderful command of the English language. His rhymes are interminable, and often spun out beyond the sense in the wantonness of power. In judging of this old poet, we must always recollect the state of poetry in his time and the taste of the age, which being taken into the account, we cannot help considering Skelton as an ornament of his own time, and a benefactor to those which came after him. Let him be compared to a fine old building, which once glittered in a wanton lavishment of ornament, and revelled in the profusion of its apartments, and in the number of its winding passages, is now grown unfit for habitation, and only remains as a model of the architecture of past times and a fit subject for the reverence and the researches of the antiquarian.
From ‘The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth’, edited by E.de Selincourt (Oxford, 1939), pp. 129, 638.
Wordsworth (1770-1850) appears to have had a high regard regard for Skelton.
(a) Wordsworth to Allan Cunningham, the Scottish poet,