The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIII. The Victorian Age, Part One.
§ 14. H. D. Traill
Henry Duff Traill had a longer life than Calverley, though his, too (in this case directly), was cut short by an accident. But his time, almost from the moment of his leaving Oxford, was occupied by journalism; and of the immense quantity of this which he produced very little ever found its way into permanent and acknowledged form. This little included, however, two volumes of satiric verse (Recaptured Rhymes and Saturday Songs) of very high quality indeed. Traill was almost, if not quite, as deft a parodist as Calverley; and the most enthusiastic admirer of Rossetti who has any sense of humour cannot fail to enjoy his caricature of the Rossettian sonnet. But his great excellence was as a political satirist in verse—a department in which he came very close to Canning and, perhaps, even surpassed Moore. The Ballad of Baloonatics Cranicoracs (a satire on the philological and historical arguments used in regard to the war of 1878), and Laputa Outdone, on the arguments for the miscellaneous extension of the franchise, are masterpieces of their kind. But Traill had a strong inclination—which circumstances did not allow him to indulge—towards more serious or wholly serious poetry, and examples of each of these may be found in An Enfant Terrible and The Age of Despair. Some who knew Traill well, and the press of the last third of the century fairly, have held that no greater talent than his, both in verse and prose, was diverted into, and swallowed up in, the gulf of anonymous writing.