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Specimens of the British Poets; with Biographical and Critical
Notices, and an Essay on English Poetry. By THOMAS CAMPBELL. 7 vols. 8vo. London: 1819.
We would rather see Mr. Campbell as a poet, than as a commentator on poetry: - because we would rather have a solid addition to the sum of our treasures, than the finest or most judicious account of their actual amount. But we are very glad to see him in any way:-and think the work which he has now given us very excellent and delightful. Still, however, we think there is some little room for complaint; and, feeling that we have not got all we were led to expect, are unreasonable enough to think that the learned author still owes us an arrear; which we hope he will handsomely pay up in the next edition.
When a great poet and a man of distinguished talents announces a large selection of English poetry, “ with biographical and critical notices,” we naturally expect such notices of all, or almost all the authors, of whose works he thinks it worth while to favour us with specimens. The biography sometimes may be unattainable - and it may still more frequently be uninteresting but the criticism must always be valuable; and, indeed, is obviously that which must be looked to as constituting the chief value of any such publication. There is no author so obscure, if at all entitled to a place in this register, of whom it would not be desirable to know the opinion of such a man as Mr. Campbell — and none so mature and settled in fame, upon whose beauties and