The Leading English Poets from Chaucer to Browning: Edited, with Introduction, Biographies, and Glossary (Classic Reprint)

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Fb&c Limited, Oct 10, 2018 - 950 pages
Excerpt from The Leading English Poets From Chaucer to Browning: Edited, With Introduction, Biographies, and Glossary

The Lyrical Ballads were not immediately popular. No one could make head or tail out of the Ancient Mariner, and but very few appreciated Tialem Abbey. The poetry was too new; the principles enunciated (1800) in the preface were too startling. The literary world could more easily appreciate the first poetry of Walter Scott, which followed more directly the natural development of the revival of interest in the folk-poetry. Scott in 1802 - 03 published a collee tion of the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border and followed this two years later with his first origi nal poem, The Lay of the Last Minstrel. This narrative poetry, vigorous, heroic, rapid, was at once understood and widely read. Continuing in this vein, Scott poured forth tale after tale in verse, awakening England and Scotland to a high pitch of enthusiasm, then suddenly, with the rise of a new star and the relative decline in popularity of his own poems, stopped, turned to prose, and with his romantic fiction achieved an even greater popularity than before.

Scott's poetry was both romantic and immediately popular. Today we read it for its absorb ing narrative interest rather than for its high imaginative quality. Occasional songs and ballads. Interspersed in the action of his poems, show great lyrical genius. Scott was not, however, a careful artist: his scenes and characters are hastily limned and th the Mon of incidents occupies all our attention.

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