The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIII. The Victorian Age, Part One.
§ 21. Trench
Trench himself has much more extensive and direct claims to appear here than those—not in themselves unimportant—given by the volume just referred to; and, unlike most of the poets recently mentioned, he wrote miscellaneous, as well as sacred, verse. Like many, if not most, of his exact comtemporaries, he was very much under the influence of Wordsworthian fashion are among his best work. One of his best-known things, the verses on the battle of the Alma, is marred by a certain monotony in the long trochaic metre which he adopts. The remarkable poem on love (love divine, in the first place, but not without a reference to human) has, on the other hand, a distinct individually of meter. Trench’s well—known work in popular linguistics had some bearing on the study of poetry; and there is no doubt that the selection, already quoted, of medieval Latin verse had a very fuller result than that with which it has been credited. Yet, he was, perhaps, born just a little too early. It is surprising to find, in the very context more than once referred to, that he—a fervent admirer of Latin hymns and author of an early and remarkable tractate on accentual Latin poetry generally—while extolling the matter of Bernard’s poem, positively abuses the “inacttractiveness,” “awkwardness” and “repulsiveness” of the meter. It was neither Latin nor English, neither orthodoxly Vergilian nor orthodoxly Miltonic—it was strange and new, and Trench could not put himself in a mood to hear it gladly. Something similar may have cramped him in his own production. He is, putting the sonnets above mentioned aside, best when he is pretty definitely echoing the seventeenth-century divine poets, and the short piece Lord! many times I am aweary quite is not unworthy of Vaughan.