The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIII. The Victorian Age, Part One.
§ 29. Margaret Veley
A poetess who has scarcely received the credit she deserved was Margaret Veley, whose scanty but excellent verse will be found in a posthumous collection prefaced by Sir Leslie Stephen and entitled A Marriage of Shadows and other Poems. The author was a novelist also, but, in that department too, was not voluminous; and she died in rather early middle age. It is particularly interesting to compare her work with that of Mrs. Clive (“V”), because the strong resemblance between them, in general, brings out the difference between the first and second halves of the century. Both in thought and expression of a similar attitude, and in formal and verbal utterance, Margaret Veley’s melancholy is vaguer and fainter than her senior’s; her metrical devices and her vocabulary are more elaborate; she is sometimes rather more obscure and more deliberately artistic, though the elaboration and deliberation are not in the least affected. Her art, in fact, is, though not consciously, more sophisticated. But her accomplishment is various and almost great. Her chief work, A Japanese Fan, is really something of a positive masterpiece of quiet ironic passion, suitably phrased in verse. The title poem of her book and The Unknown Land deserve an honourable place among the phantasmagorias in irregular Pindaric which have formed a great feature of later nineteenth-century poetry; while, among definite lyrics, Michaelmas Daisies may stand as a representative document for the survey of the subject of this chapter with which it should conclude.