The Globe (Toronto: April 30, 1892)
At the Mermaid Inn
.... The late Lord Lytton seemed to have inherited the fatality which haunted his father when he wrote “King Arthur.” He seemed predestined to write verse that, practically at least, is a failure. His long novel in verse, “Glenaveril,” was in every way a lamentable performance, so tedious that it has even failed to find a place in the list of his works. “Lucile” now forms the interior of many gaudily-bound gift books, and it may be read by the gentle young ladies who receive it on the anniversaries and holidays of the year, but I have genuine misgivings even upon that last point. I fancy even they turn with a sense of relief to the freer atmosphere of Mr. E.P. Roe and “The Duchess.” Yes, these books are immensely dull and have no touch of poetry from cover to cover. It is hardly possible to consider seriously the work of a man who could write this stanza:—
Whate'er the gain by these from love expected,
Whether its acquisition be in pelf
Or pleasure, it is wholly unconnected
With love itself.
Yes, that is true, very true; but then what a bore it is to have it said that way. Anyone could have said it as well, and no one would in consequence feel like calling him a poet. But Mr. Blunt asks us to put “Owen Meredith” among the immortals. This, of course, prevents us from putting Mr. Blunt among the critics, and leaves us with a feeling of bewilderment as to just what to do with him. It is possible that a poet never existed who could not charm one ear with his rhyme. This is probably a provision of considerate Nature, who does not care to leave any of her children uncomforted, and who recognized the ultimate of human misery in the man who would write verses and have no single admirer. S.
Last revised: 25 August 2010