The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XII. The Romantic Revival.

V. Lesser Poets, 1790–1837

§ 16. Charles Whitehead

It was, perhaps, not surprising that, in 1831, with the great poets of the early nineteenth century all dead, silent or producing things hardly worthy of them, and with Tennyson and Browning but just visible to any, and actually seen by few, the Spenserians of the third Whitehead’s Solitary should have seemed to promise a poet. But, if the poem be examined carefully, it will be found to belittle more than a clever mosaic of variously borrowed fancy, phrase and cadence, super-excellent as a prize poem, but, like most prize poems, possessing hardly any symptomatic or germinal evidence in it. At any rate, though before his dry-and wet-rot in the Bohemia of fancy and, latterly, the Australia of fact, Whitehead wrote one successful play, The Cavalier, one or two quasi-historical tales or novels of some merit (Jack Ketch, Richard Savage) and some other work, even his eulogists have only discovered in his later pieces a sonnet or two of distinction; (As younder Lamp in my Vacated Room is that usually quoted).