Poems (1802): Shorter Reviews

Annual Review,vol. 1, 1802, pp. 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.

British Critic, vol. 20, Nov. 1802, pp. 553-5.

The poetical talents of Mrs. Opie (formerly Miss Alderson) are generally known; but whatever may have been thought of them, either from former proofs, or from the contents of the present volume, we are greatly convinced, that the perusal of the following Poem will greatly heighten their estimation.

[quotes “The Dying Daughter to her Mother”]

We will not attempt to enumerate the beauties of this composition, which occur in almost every stanza; we will not dwell upon the awful moral it conveys; but leave both to their natural and powerful effect upon the taste and feelings of the judicious reader.
Many of the other Poems in this volume have been seen before in periodical publications.

European Magazine, vol. 42, July 1802, pp. 43-4.

We have formerly had occasion to speak in terms of commendation of this Lady’s talents as a moral Novelist. Of the elegant little volume of poems now before us, the contents are chiefly of the pensive cast; but the subjects are, in general, well-chosen; the style is easy and flowing; and the thoughts have frequently the twofold merit of justness and originality.–We subjoin the following specimen:

[quotes “Lines  Written at Norwich on the First News of Peace”]

            The “Epistle to a Friend” on New Year’s Day 1802 we should gladly select for its poetical merits; but justice to the Author forbids our taking farther liberty in the way of extract. We, therefore, conclude with saying, that Mrs. Opie’s literary character will certainly receive additional lustre from the present volume.

Monthly Magazine, Suppl. vol. 14, Jan. 25, 1803, p. 598.

Mrs. OPIE has published an elegant little volume of “Poems.” They discover a great deal of taste, and a great deal of feeling.

Monthly Mirror, vol. 14, July 1802, pp. 39-41.

HOWEVER fabulous the tale of Hesiod may be deemed, respecting the daughters of Mnemosyne, it cannot be denied, in this our day, that the Muses of Britain are become more numerous than ever the bard of Ascra reported of ancient Greece. In the “Poetical Register” for 1801, we found a record of 15 living Poetesses in Albion’s favour’d isle; and we think the number might be extended. Though “last, not least” distinguished, on that Parnassian roll, is the fair authoress of the present publication, which composes an assemblage of heart-emanating effusions on subjects of domestic interest, of classical elegance, or of general philanthropy. We shall select a specimen of the latter description, and must refer our readers to the volume itself for farther gratification.

[includes “Lines Written at Norwich on the first News of Peace]

Monthly Review, vol. 39, Dec. 1802, pp. 434-5.

We have more than once announced and commended the poetic compositions of this lady*. Pathos we deem one of her peculiar excellencies; of which the following specimen may be given, from the present collection.

[quotes “The Mourner“]

            If the reader possesses a heart, the above lines, we think, must have found their way to it.

New Annual Register,vol. 23, 1802, pp. [317].

We turn con amore to the ladies; and are pleased to receive from Mrs. Opie a little volume of her poetic effusions. They consist for the most part of short pieces in a plaintive and melancholy strain, and are seldom devoid of merit. The Songs, as they are called, form the worst part of the book; they are mere sound and measure, without any appropriate or original idea. We had also received from this lady a well-written “Elegy to the Memory of the Duke of Bedford.”

Poetical Register, vol. 2, 1802, p. 430.

AMONG the female writers of the present day Mrs. Opie is entitled to hold a distinguished rank. Her poems cannot fail of giving pleasure to every reader of taste. They are not deformed by any of those meretricious ornaments which are so profusely employed by some persons; but are characterized throughout by elegance, tenderness, and simplicity.