Here is an excerpt from the review written by Edmund Gosse on Patmore's collected poems to which he refers:

There can be no doubt that to Mr. Patmore it is difficult to do exact justice. There are few writers with whom the reader feels that it would be so useless to contend, few whose attitude towards life and literature has been so persistent from youth to old age. It is difficult for those who do not look at human affairs from Mr. Patmore"s dogged outpost not to be angry with him or misunderstand him. So admirable an artist has rarely been content to do so little with his art; so brilliant and pungent a thinker has perhaps never been content so long to dwell on the very borderland of insipidity. Born with a gift which we believe would have enabled him to adorn a wide circle of themes, he has almost obstinately confined himself to the embroidery of one. Dowered with a rare ear for metrical effect, educated in all the niceties of metrical science, he has of set purpose chosen the most sing-song of English meters as the almost exclusive vehicle of his ideas. This laureate of the tea-table, with his hum-drum stories of girls that smell of bread and butter, is in his inmost heart the most arrogant and visionary of mystics. There is no figure more interesting or more difficult to analyze on the poetic stage of our generation" [June 12 1886 issue of The Athenaeum].


Further Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins. 2nd Ed. Ed. Claude Collier Abbott. London: Oxford University Press, 1956.

Last updated 6 July 2004