Unsigned review, Critical Review, June 1766
This author seems to us to possess a manner peculiar to himself; it is what the French would term naivete. Now and then, when he means to rise, he indulges a little to antithesis and ornament, of which he shews himself sufficiently capable: but simplicity is his characteristic excellence. He appears to tell his story with so much ease and artlessness, that one is almost tempted to think, one could have told it every bit
as well without the least study; yet so difficult is it to hit off this mode of composition with any degree of mastery, that he who should try would probably find himself deceived: Imitabilis ilia quidem videtur esse existimanti, says an able judge, sed nihil est experienti minus.l That our novellist never falls into real negligence we dare not take upon us to affirm: it is certain, we have heard his best friends complain of his not doing justice to his own abilities by an adequate exertion of them. There is something about genius (we know not how to name it) that often occasions a particular propensity to remit its labours. Who can forbear to regret, that he who wrote the Traveller should not write much more, and in the same spirit?-Now that we mention our author as a poet, we cannot with-hold our warmest praise from the ballad which he has favoured us with, in the first volume of the work before us. It is an exquisite little piece, written in that measure which is perhaps the most pleasing of any in our language, versified with inimitable beal!ty, and breathing the very soul of love and sentiment.