Review of Poems, Annual Review

Annual Review, 1 (1802): 669-70.

THE talents and taste of Mrs. Opie, which have long been admired in the extended circle of her acquaintance, are not now first to be made known to the world. Her interesting tale of the Father and Daughter, published a short time since, evinced her turn for the pathetic. It was accompanied with a few poems, which are now separated from the tale, and reprinted in this publication, along with several new ones. Their characteristic merit is pathos and sentiment; the verse is easy, but negligent; the measure flowing, but not rich in harmony. Many of these pieces, if the author thought proper to bestow that attention and patient labour, without which no degree of genius can rise to distinction, might be polished into higher poetic excellence, but the heart alone could dictate such stanzas as the following.

[quotes “The Dying Daughter to her Mother.”]

We also wish to point out, with particular approbation, the Virgin’s first Love, some of the songs addressed to Henry, and, for the moral sentiment, rather than the poetry, the Epistle to a Friend on New-year’s Day. We find, in the contents, no mark to distinguish the new pieces from those which had been published before, a notice which we think ought always to be given. Mrs. Opie has also given to the public, An Elegy on the late Duke of Bedford. This piece, we are compelled to say, must derive all its interest from the melancholy event which gave rise to it.

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