Mr. Morris’s poem is ushered into the world with a very florid birthday speech from the pen of the author of the too famous Poems and Ballads, – a circumstance, we apprehend, in no small degree prejudicial to its success. But we hasten to assure all persons whom the knowledge of Mr. Swinburne’s enthusiasm may have led to mistrust the character of the work, that it has to our perception nothing in common with this gentleman’s own productions, and that his article proves very little more than that his sympathies are wiser than his performance. If Mr. Morris’s poem may be said to remind us of the manner of any other writer, it is simply of that of Chaucer; and to resemble Chaucer is a great safeguard against resembling Swinburne. — Henry James
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