The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIII. The Victorian Age, Part One.
§ 4. Ernest Jones
The most “occasional” poet among the semi-official spasmodics, as we may call them, was, probably, Ernest Jones, son of a soldier of distinction, a king’s godson in Germany, presented at court in England, and a barrister, but a violent chartist agitator, a two-years’ prisoner for sedition, an industrious journalist and lecturer, later a not unsuccessful practitioner in his profession, a frequent candidate for parliment and, at last, just before his death, a successful one, after a fashion. This brief biography does not sound very promising; but, as a matter of fact, Jones was not a bad poet. Even his Songs of Democracy redeem their inevitable claptrap with less spitefulness than Ebenezer Elliott’s (though Elliott was a prosperous, and Jones a very unlucky, man) and by an occasional humour of which the Sheffield poet was incapable. It is impossible for the bitterest reactionary who possesses a sense of that inestimable quality not to recognise it in The Song of the Lower Classes, with its mischievous, rickety, banjo-like quasi-refrain of