The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.
§ 12. Glovers Ballad Admiral Hosiers Ghost; Mannerisms in his Blank Verse
Richard Glover, like Armstrong, belongs to the “tumid and gorgeous” blank-verse division; but, unlike him, he offers not the slightest provocation to direct or indirect amusement, and, unlike him also, he has nothing of real vigour. His celebrated ballad, Admiral Hosier’s Ghost, is a curious success; but it is not certain how much of its reproduction of the half-pathetic, half-bathetic style of the broadside is art and how much nature. Of his “great” performances, Leonidas and The Athenaid (rash as literary prophecy is), it may, with little fear, be said that no age will even at the time, was not lasting and, perhaps, to some extent, had been politically engineered; while, almost certainly, the main cause of it was the already mentioned fancy for the newly resuscitated blank verse. Glover, perhaps, is not so absurb as is Blackmore; but he is equally dull in substance; and, in form, he pushes one mannerism to an almost maddening length. The effect which Milton produces by occasional strong full-stops of sense coinciding with the metrical middle pause is well known and unquestionable. But Milton uses it carefully, and in combination with the utmost and most artful variety of other pauses, and of stopped or overrun lines. His imitators, from the first, were tempted to employ and overdo this obvious device; and Thomson himself is by no means impeccable in respect of it. Glover uses it on every possible occasion, not unfrequently in several successive lines, and not unfrequently, also, stopping where no stops should be, in order to achieve it. It is difficult to imagine, and would be hardly possible to find, even in the long list of mistaken “long poem” writers of the past two centuries, more tedious stuff than his.