페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

256

"he was a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."

I cannot part from Thomas Hood without exhibiting him in one of his most characteristic ballads, wherein we have puns "as plenty as blackberries,"-" linen on every hedge."

[ocr errors]

SALLY BROWN."

"Young Ben he was a nice young man,
A carpenter by trade;

And he fell in love with Sally Brown,
Who was a lady's maid.

But as they fetched a walk one day,
They met a press-gang crew;
And Sally she did faint away,

Whilst Ben he was brought to.

The boatswain swore with wicked words,
Enough to shock a saint,

That, though she did seem in a fit,
'Twas nothing but a feint.

'Come, girl,' said he, 'hold up your head,
He'll be as good as me;

For when your swain is in our boat,
A boatswain he will be.'

So when they'd made their game of her,
And taken off her elf,

She roused, and found she only was
A-coming to herself.

'And is he gone, and is he gone?'
She cried, and wept outright:
'Then I will to the water-side,

And see him out of sight.'

A waterman came up to her,
'Now, young woman,' said he,
'If you weep on so, you will make
Eye-water in the sea.'

[blocks in formation]

SALLY BROWN."

And then he tried to sing 'All's Well,'
But could not, though he tried;
His head was turned, and so he chewed
His pigtail till he died.

His death, which happened in his birth,
At forty odd befell:

They went and told the Sexton, and
The Sexton tolled the bell!"

O rare Tom Hood!

LECTURE VI.

PART FIRST.

Female constellation.-Joanna Baillie, Metrical Legends.-Love of Fame.— Felicia Hemans.-Historic Scenes, Forest Sanctuary, Records of Woman, and Miscellanies.-Character of her poetry.-Specimens, Dirge, The Trumpet, and Vaudois Hymn.-Caroline Bowles, The Widow's Tale, Solitary Hours, The Birthday, Robin Hood.-Analysis of The Young Grey Head, with extracts.-Mary Russell Mitford, Maria Jewsbury, Letitia Elizabeth Landon; Improvisatrice, Venetian Bracelet, Golden Violet, Remains. -Mary Howitt, the excellence of her ballad poetry: The Spider and the Fly.-Caroline Norton: The Dream, Child of the Islands, and Songs.-Lady Flora Hastings, Harriet Drury, and Camilla Toulmin.-Elizabeth Barrett Browning, her genius and its imperfect development: Drama of Exile, Cry of the Children.-Professor R. C. Trench.-Elegiac Poems, Justin Marytr, Poems from Eastern Sources, The Suppliant.-Thomas Pringle, John Clare, Bernard Barton, Thomas Haynes Bayley, Alaric A. Watts.-Specimen, Child blowing Bubbles.— T. K. Hervey.-Rev. Charles Wolfe.-The Squire's Pew, by Jane Taylor. -Various other poets of the period.

IN the same year that Wordsworth and Coleridge brought out the Lyrical Ballads-the first offerings of a new code of poetry, in contradistinction to that of Hayley, Darwin, and the Della Cruscans, Joanna Baillie gave the first volume of her "Plays on the Passions," to a Drama monopolised by the tame conventionalities of Cumberland and Murphy. Nor were their theories widely different; for, in the Preliminary Dicourse by which she ushered in that work, we find her emphatically maintaining, that "one simple trait of the human heart, one expression of passion, genuine and

260

true to nature, will stand forth alone in the boldness of reality, while the false and unnatural around it fades away on every side, like the rising exhalations of the morning. Her dramas, both tragic and comic, were forcible illustrations of this code; and it must be admitted, from published proof, that she thus forestalled, or at least divided, the claim to originality indoctrinated in the theory and practice of Wordsworth, as shown by his " Lyric Ballads" and their preface.

[ocr errors]

JOANNA BAILLIE.

But Joanna Baillie, as the author of "Count Basil" and "De Montfort," is entitled to a much higher place among dramatists, than the author of "Metrical Legends" is among mere poets. With much imaginative energy, much observant thought, and great freedom and force of delineation, together with a fine feeling of nature, and an occasional Massingerian softness of diction, it may be claimed for Joanna Baillie that she uniformly keeps apart from the trite and commonplace; yet we cannot help feeling a deficiency of art, and tact, and taste, alike in the management of her themes and the structure of her verse. Her tales, as tales, often want keeping, and their materials are put together by a hand apparently unpractised. Nor even in her emotional bursts, where she ought to have certainly succeeded, is she always quite happy, as a dash of the falsetto is, occasionally at least, not unapparent.

Of these "Metrical Legends," three in number—" Sir William Wallace," "Columbus" and "Lady Griseld Baillie," the last ranks highest in poetical merit ; although all are more or less liable to the objections just stated. In that dedicated to Columbus, the following spirited lines occur:—

"O! who shall lightly say, that Fame

Is nothing but an empty name!
Whilst in that sound there is a charm
The nerves to brace, the heart to warm,

« 이전계속 »