Richard Monckton Milnes Criticism - Essay

R. H. Home (essay date 1844)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Richard Monckton Milnes and Hartley Coleridge," in A New Spirit of the Age, Oxford University Press, London, 1907, pp. 187-96.

[Although it was not publicly known at the time, Elizabeth Barrett collaborated extensively with Horne in the production of his collection of essays on contemporary poets. Evidence from their correspondence indicates that the essay from which this excerpt is taken was primarily the work of Barrett. In the following, originally published in 1844, Home describes Milnes' poetic style, calling it subdued, graceful, lyrical, and spiritual.]

The poetry of Richard Monckton Milnes has met with considerable praise in many quarters, yet hardly...

(The entire section is 1912 words.)

Fraser's Magazine(essay date 1847)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Mr. R. Monckton Milnes," in Fraser's Magazine for Town & Country, Vol. XXV, No. CCX, June, 1847, pp. 722-26.

[In the following excerpt, the anonymous critic evaluates Milnes's strengths and weaknesses as a politician.]

It is very rarely that we find men successful in the House of Commons who have made any reputation for themselves in other pursuits. Such men form the exception, indeed, rather than the rule. Distinguished barristers are almost invariably bad parliamentary orators. Lord Brougham and Sir William Follett were, no doubt, brilliant exceptions; but they, therefore, serve to make the failures of others more remarkable. Literary men, too, seldom...

(The entire section is 3547 words.)

James Robinson Planché (poem date 1863)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Literary Squabble," in A Century of Humorous Verse, 1850-1950, edited by Roger Lancelyn Green, J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1959, pp. 3-4.

[In the following poem, composed in 1863, Planché makes a humorous commentary on Milnes' adoption of the name Lord Houghton.]

A Literary Squabble

The Alphabet rejoiced to hear
That Monckton Milnes was made a Peer;
For in this present world of letters
But few, if any, are his betters:
So an address by acclamation,
They voted of congratulation,
And H, O, U, G, T, and N, Were chosen the address to pen;

(The entire section is 611 words.)

Richard Monckton Milnes (essay date 1876)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Preface to The Poetical Works of (Richard Monckton Milnes) Lord Houghton, Vol. I, John Murray, 1876, pp. v-xiv.

[In the following preface to his collected poems, Milnes comments on the geographical, intellectual, and personal sources of his poetry.]

The Grecian poems have their date in that period of life which, in a cultivated Englishman, is almost universally touched and coloured by the studies and memories of the classic world; and the scenes and personages they commemorate are, as it were, the most natural subjects of his poetic thought and illustration. They were accompanied, as first given to the public, with a considerable amount of prose narration and...

(The entire section is 1955 words.)

T. Wemyss Reid (essay date 1890)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Literary and Personal Characteristics," in The Life, Letters, and Friendships of Richard Monckton Milnes, First Lord Houghton, Vol. II, by T. Wemyss Reid, Cassell & Company, Limited, 1890, pp. 437-67.

[In the following excerpt, Reid recounts Milnes' publications of poetry and surveys the contemporary criticism of these works.]

To the present generation the poetry of Lord Houghton is practically known only in connection with one or two brief pieces, of unimpeachable grace and melody, which have attained a popularity that is literally worldwide. His more important works, as well as many shorter poems that are in every way equal in merit to those that have...

(The entire section is 4272 words.)

Lafcadio Hearn (essay date 1915)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Poem by Lord Houghton," in Interpretations of Literature, Vol. I, by Lafcadio Hearn, edited by John Erskine, Dodd, Mead and Company, 1915, pp. 300-03.

[In the following essay, Hearn analyzes Milnes's poem "Strangers Yet," calling it his best and one of the few possessing "that rare quality which appeals to the universal human experience."]

Among many English noblemen who have figured in Victorian literature with more or less credit to themselves, there was perhaps nobody who could write more hauntingly at times than Lord Houghton. He did not write a great deal, but a considerable proportion of the few pieces which he did write have found their way...

(The entire section is 1145 words.)

J. R. MacGillivray (essay date 1949)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Introduction to Keats: A Bibliography and Reference Guide with an Essay on Keats' Reputation, University of Toronto Press, 1949, pp. 1-liv.

[In the following excerpt, MacGillivray examines how Milnes sought to vindicate Keats' sullied reputation in his 1848 biography Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats.]

Milnes' book[Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats] was certainly not a biography of the first rank, but it would be difficult to name one that was better designed "for the purpose of vindicating the character and advancing the fame" of its subject. Falsehoods and half-truths about Keats had been in circulation for...

(The entire section is 1718 words.)

James Pope-Hennessy (essay date 1949)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "1837-1840" and "1848," in Monckton Milnes: The Years of Promise, 1809-1851, Constable, 1949, pp. 98-120, 272-96.

[In the following excerpt, Pope-Hennessy studies the contemporary critical response to Milnes' Grecian poems and his biography of Keats.]

The discussion of Milnes' poetry by Samuel Rogers and Gladstone was no doubt caused by the simultaneous appearance of two volumes of his verse. These successors to the Grecian pieces of five years before were entitledMemorials of a Residence on the Continent and Poems of Many Years. Privately printed in 1838 for circulation amongst the poet's friends, they were published and put on sale...

(The entire section is 3581 words.)

James Pope-Hennessy (essay date 1951)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "1858-1861" and "1861-1866 (I)," in Monckton Milnes: The Flight of Youth, 1851-1885, Constable, 1951, pp. 108-26, 127-60.

[In the following excerpt, Pope-Hennessy discusses the controversy over Milnes' collection of literary erotica and his influence on the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne.]

In scope, Milnes' library was representative of European literature in the widest sense. Round a core of the great as well as the curious classics of the past, Milnes built up a collection of contemporary poetry, fiction, biography, history, memoirs and works of criticism in four languages. Aside from his big collection of seventeenth and eighteenth century autographs,...

(The entire section is 4692 words.)

Lionel Trilling (essay date 1955)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Profession: Man of the World," in A Gathering of Fugitives, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955, pp. 115-25.

[In the following essay, written in 1955, Trilling remarks on Milnes ' character and the reactions of his contemporaries and his biographer, James Pope-Hennessy, to it.]


The addicted reader of Victorian memoirs and biographies knows them to be haunted by a presence which appears sometimes as "Mr. Monckton Milnes (now Lord Houghton)," and sometimes as "Lord Houghton (then Mr. Monckton Milnes)." To our dim sight this ubiquitous being seems to have accomplished only one thing in his lifetime that makes him worthy of recollection—he...

(The entire section is 3635 words.)