- He spoke, and loosed our heart in tears.
He laid us as we lay at birth
On the cool flowery lap of earth.
of Wordsworth 1822–88 English poet and essayist: ‘Memorial Verses, April 1850’ (1852)
- In poetry, no less than in life, he is ‘a beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating in the void his luminous wings in vain’.
Essays in Criticism Second Series (1888) ‘Shelley’ (quoting from his own essay on Byron in the same work) 1822–88 English poet and essayist:
- You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
1907–73 English poet: ‘In Memory of W. B. Yeats’ (1940) pt. 2
- The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels and God, and at liberty when of Devils and Hell, is because he was a true Poet, and of the Devil's party without knowing it.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790–3) ‘The voice of the Devil’ (note) 1757–1827 English poet:
- How thankful we ought to be that Wordsworth was only a poet and not a musician. Fancy a symphony by Wordsworth! Fancy having to sit it out! And fancy what it would have been if he had written fugues!
Notebooks (1912) ch. 8 1835–1902 English novelist:
- He could not think up to the height of his own towering style.
The Victorian Age in Literature (1912) ch. 3 1874–1936 English essayist, novelist, and poet:
- With Donne, whose muse on dromedary trots,
Wreathe iron pokers into true-love knots.
1772–1834 English poet, critic, and philosopher: ‘On Donne's Poetry’ (1818)
- You who desired so much—in vain to ask—
Yet fed your hunger like an endless task,
Dared dignify the labor, bless the quest—
Achieved that stillness ultimately best,
Being, of all, least sought for: Emily, hear!
1899–1932 American poet: ‘To Emily Dickinson’ (1927)
- 'Tis sufficient to say, according to the proverb, that here is God's plenty.
Fables Ancient and Modern (1700) preface 1631–1700 English poet, critic, and dramatist:
- How unpleasant to meet Mr Eliot!
With his features of clerical cut,
And his brow so grim
And his mouth so prim
And his conversation, so nicely
Restricted to What Precisely
And If and Perhaps and But.
1888–1965 American-born British poet, critic, and dramatist: ‘Five-Finger Exercises’ (1936)
when asked who was the greatest 19th-century poet
La Maturité d'André Gide (1977) 1869–1951 French novelist and critic: Claude Martin
- Dr Donne's verses are like the peace of God; they pass all understanding. (James VI of Scotland) 1566–1625 British monarch, King of Scotland from 1567 and of England from 1603: remark recorded by Archdeacon Plume (1630–1704)
- Milton, Madam, was a genius that could cut a Colossus from a rock; but could not carve heads upon cherry-stones.
to Hannah More, who had expressed a wonder that the poet who had written Paradise Lost should write such poor sonnets
Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) 13 June 1784 1709–84 English poet, critic, and lexicographer: James Boswell
- Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.
of Byron, after their first meeting at a ball
Lady Caroline Lamb (1932) 1785–1828 English wife of William Lamb, Lord Melbourne: diary, March 1812; in Elizabeth Jenkins
- An Archangel a little damaged.
of Coleridge 1775–1834 English writer: letter to Wordsworth, 26 April 1816
- Self-contempt, well-grounded.
on the foundation of T. S. Eliot's work
Times Literary Supplement 21 October 1988 1895–1978 English literary critic: in
- The high-water mark, so to speak, of Socialist literature is W. H. Auden, a sort of gutless Kipling.
The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) ch. 11 1903–50 English novelist:
- A cloud-encircled meteor of the air,
A hooded eagle among blinking owls.
of Coleridge 1792–1822 English poet: ‘Letter to Maria Gisborne’ (1820) l. 207
- To see him fumbling with our rich and delicate language is to experience all the horror of seeing a Sèvres vase in the hands of a chimpanzee.
of Stephen Spender
The Tablet 5 May 1951 1903–66 English novelist: in
- Chaos, illumined by flashes of lightning.
on Robert Browning's ‘style’
Letters to the Sphinx (1930) 1854–1900 Irish dramatist and poet: Ada Leverson
- I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous boy,
The sleepless soul that perished in its pride.
1770–1850 English poet: ‘Resolution and Independence’ (1807) st. 7