chapter  7
3 Pages

Ellis from his unsigned review of The Corsair and Lara, Quarterly Review

Dated July 1814, issued Autumn 1814, XI, 428–57

In the course of his review Ellis endorses Jeffrey's views on Byron's heroes, but repudiates his theory of a 'poetical cycle' and a modern preoccupation with the anatomy of feelings. To attempt such description is to exceed the legitimate pretensions of poetry, and to invade the province of metaphysics. Originating in times of turbulence and anarchy, it was at first coarse and vehement;—then pompous and stately;—then affectedly refined and ingenious—and finally gay, witty, discursive, and familiar. That at this stage of refinement, however, mankind become disgusted with the heartless frivolity of their gratifications, and acquire a longing for strong emotions, so that poetry, following the current of popular opinion, is compelled to seek for subjects in the manners of ruder ages, to revive the feats of chivalry, and the loves of romance; or to wander, in search of unbridled passion, amongst nations yet imperfectly civilized.