페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Oracle takes occasion to address us, either in his own behalf or in that of the several subscribers' to our work, with whom he is intimate,' he is requested (instead of confining himself to the stale trick of putting the word · Paid' upon his letter), to send his communications postage free, otherwise they will not be taken in. It is too much to have to pay the postage of every idle and ill-natured blockhead who, like J. or T. D. B. may be disposed, at the expense of a sheet of paper, to vent his spleen upon us.

Foscaki, a Venetian Story, on the leading incident of which Lord Byron founded his Tragedy of the Two Foscari, in our next.

THE Author of the · Veiled Bride'is requested to mention where a note will find him ; as is also Mr. Simpson, the translator of two Sketches from Hoffman, which have been in our possession some months.

To the inquiry of Mr. D , we reply · Yes,-but not for balaam.' THE Article on Dr. Kitchener, is inadmissible, for various and weighty reasons. SIMON SIR-LOIN,' although a wag, is, we suspect, a very ungrateful specimen of humanity. We shall not allow the worthy Doctor to be roasted in our pages. The cooks of our readers would weep tears of grease at such a consummation.

H. B's verses are on the whole pretty ; but not, we regret to say, sufficiently correct for publication in our pages. Besides, Delia is a name out of all date, and reminds us strongly of the worst productions of Shenstone. He, however, could write with real force and feeling when he chose, and so we dare say can H. B. Our correspondent is mistaken as to the identity of the present Editor of the Magnet. The gentleman to whom he refers is the proprietor of the work, but not the Editor.

A PACKET for Mr. Polwhele was forwarded more than two months ago, through the medium of our worthy friend, Sylvanus Urban.'

N. T. C's favour has reached us, and we shall reply to it at our earliest convenience.

We are obliged to the Hermit in Oxford' for his communications; but although we have his introductory article in the types, we are unwilling to publish it until we have received more than one other of the same series.

C. D. M. has written some pleasing little poems, but, in the two last with which he has favoured us, he has been unfortunate. We hold a little piece, entitled the · Palmer,' which we shall probably publish in an early number.

Our Bath friend is informed, that we are constant readers of the News of Literaturc, and had, consequently, met with the obliging notice of our last number in its pages before his letter arrived. He is, however, entitled to our thanks, for, although there is always some 'd-d good friend,' or other on the alert to direct the attentiou of an Editor to the abuse of his rivals or opponents, there are few who (like our friend) will write him post free to tell him where he has been praised.

L. D. is requested to specify some definite sum. What you please is a very unsatisfactory mode of reply, and usually means (as the amusing octogenarian Cradock justly remarks in his Auto-biography) more than the applicant feels conscious he ought to ask.

ZELIE's Poems are not, we regret to say, eligible for insertion in the Literary Magnet.

Such of our correspondents as may not have received replies, either through this medium or privately, to their communications, will be pleased to infer that their favours have never reached us, in consequence of their having omitted to address them to the care of Messrs. Hurst, Robinson and Co.

ERRATUM.

At Page 98, line 2 from the top, for' rolling' read • rotting.'

THE

LITERARY MAGNET.

MARCH, 1826.

THE LIVING POETS OF ENGLAND.

MRS. HEMANS.

Mrs. HEMANS is unquestionably the first female poet--the mistress-mind of the day. Mrs. Joanna Bailie has more dramatic power, a more condensed and masculine diction; her writings contain more philosophy of thought and feeling :-Miss Landon's strains certainly breathe more intense and simple passion, more of the burning heart and eager soul ; but neither the tragedian of Montfort, nor the young minstrel of the Improvisatrice, have minds so essentially poetic. Admitting that her metres are occasionally fanciful, her diction overgemmed, her portraits of character and emotion sometimes wanting in vitality— Felicia Hemans, (we quote the words of an American reviewer) is full of poetry-brimful of that miraculous, deep, and sure instinct, the least portion of which is a longing after immortality. The light within her is that which no woman ever had before. Others have had more dramatic power, more eloquence, a more manly temper, but no woman had ever so much true poetry in her heart as Felicia Hemans. This is saying much, but only look at the feelings she loves to pourtray-they are the purest, most profound, in other words, the most poetic of our nature;-look again at the characters she delights to honour—the wise, the virtuous, the heroic, the self-devoted, the loving, the single-hearted ;—those who have been faithful unto death in a holy cause—those who have triumphed over suffering—those who have led on to noble deeds—those who have lived, and those who have died for others. She writes like one who feels that the heart of man is a sacred thing, not rashly to be wounded; and even her darkest delineations of guilt or grief are tempered by the influence of her own womanly spirit. At once gifted and childlike, she exemplifies Wordsworth's line, and preserves

A young lamb's heart among the full-grown flocks. Delicacy is not the word which defines the peculiar charm of her poetry ; we want one that shall express the combination of sobriety of understanding, and matronliness of feeling, with all that is picturesque and etherial in fancy. The surface of her poetry is smooth, and clear, and sparkling alive to every breeze-varying alike to the shadow and the sunbeam

Yet more, the depths have moretreasures of thought and experience-chastened views of human life

earnest longings after all that is fair and good—the wisdom of a heart that has preserved its sensibilities unimpaired, whilst the judgment has imbibed a sober colouring from daily views of man's mortality.

We come now to speak of her acquirements. Mrs. Hemans has furnished an additional proof that genius and industry, talent and studious habits, are quite compatible ; for independently of being the most gifted, she is one of the best informed women of the day. Occasionally we are tempted to regret this; for though poets cannot possess too much knowledge, they may make too much use of it;—and though there is not the slightest tincture of pedantry or display in Mrs. Hemans' poetry, she does sometimes fetter the movements of her mind with facts and authorities, and draws upon her memory when we would rather she relied upon her genius. The author of the Waverley novels has, it is true, made an almost unlimited use of historical data ; but his mind has the bee-like property of converting acquired into original matter, old things into new; and if deprived of the charm with which the costume and circumstances of antiquity invest them, his scenes and characters would retain their hold upon our hearts. The grand distinction apparently subsisting between this author and all others who have engrafted fiction upon facts, is, that in the one case, we fancy ourselves reading of things that really have been; in the other, of things that have only been fancied. In many of her historical sketches, Mrs. Hemans has produced this realizing interest; where, as in some of her Greek and Spanish ballads, she has failed, it has not been from any deficiency of poetic feeling in her own mind, but either from the subjects not appealing to our' immediate sympathies, or their not being fit subjects in themselves. It is exceedingly difficult to decide, when historical facts are, and are not, fit subjects for poetry. An incident like the burial of Alaric the Goth, or the devotedness of Arria, is so essentially poetic in the bare prose recital, that versification only weakens the original impression ; but when, as in Mrs. Hemans' . Caur de Lion at the bier of his Father'--and · He never smiled again'-the interest of the fact lies in some point of feeling not fully developed-poetry steps in with peculiar propriety, to illustrate and embellish. Her Historical Sketches are not, however, what we should call Mrs. Hemans' peculiar poetry; not that which is emphatically, altogether her own; that, on which we most confidently rest her fame. Her · Tales and Historic Scenes' are admirable; her "Wallace and Bruce' is instinct with poetic feeling; and so is her ‘Siege of Valencia ;' but her · Voice of Spring,' her · Hour of Death,' her Treasures of the Deep,' her · Graves of a Household,' her · England's Dead,' her ‘Trumpet,' and a host of similar pieces—these are the undying lays, the ' fumps of pure gold.' We do not think thus with reference to Mrs. Hemans' lyrics only; it strikes us, that nearly all our present poets must depend for future fame on their shorter pieces; that their immediate popularity depends upon them, is beyond all question. Were · Paradise Lost' in the present restless state of literary taste, to issue from the press as a new poem, it is doubtful whether it would soon pass a first edition. Long poems require a close and continued attention which many cannot, and more will not give; short lyrics, on the other hand, are not only more rememberable, but also more quotable; through the medium of periodicals, newspapers, and collections, they get disseminated all over the world; and, like the seeds of flowers wafted away by the passing wind, every where meet us springing up in unexpected beauty. And how will it be thirty or forty years hence ? The engrossing interest of any period is naturally excited by the passing events and productions of that period; and doubtless the men of future generations will fancy their own bards and battles far mightier, and more honourable, than those in which we now exult. It is scarcely to be expected that our voluminous poets will find a place in the libraries of that period. But their. lyrics cannot so glide into oblivion ; independently of the living beauty with which hosts of them are invested, too many duplicates are extant;-here, and there, and every where, will they be found like the poet's daisies

In shoals and bands a morrice train. But it is time Mrs. Hemans' poetry were allowed to speak for itself; in making our extracts from it, we have really been as much puzzled as a child gathering flowers in a lovely garden-now attracted by a rose straightway allured by a lily-now tempted by a stately tulip—and again unsettled by a breathing violet, or 'well-attired woodbine.' We do think, however, that the Voice of Spring' is the pride of Mrs. H.'s parterre; the rose of her poetry.

THE VOICE OF SPRING.

I COME, I come ! ye have called me long,
I come o'er the mountains with light and song !
Ye may trace my step o'er the wakening earth,
By the winds that tell of the violet's birth,
By the primrose stars in the shadowy grass,
By the green leaves opening as I pass.
I have breathed on the south, and the chesnut flowers
By thousands have burst from the forest bowers,
And the ancient groves, and the fallen fanes,
Are veil'd with wreaths on Italian plains ;
But it is not for me, in my hour of bloom,
To speak of the ruin or the tomb !
I have looked o'er the hills of the stormy north,
And the larch has hung all his tassels forth,
The fisher is out on the sunny sea,
And the rein-deer bounds o'er the pasture free,
And the pine hath a fringe of softer green,
And the moss looks bright, where my foot has been.
I have sent through the wood-paths a glowing sigh,
And called out each voice of the deep blue sky;
From the night-bird's lay through the starry time,
In the groves of the soft Hesperian clime,
To the swan's wild note by the Iceland lakes,
When the dark fir-branch into verdure breaks.
From the streams and founts I have loosed the chain,
They are sweeping on to the silvery main,
They are flashing down from the mountain brows,
They are flinging spray o'er the forest boughs,
They are bursting fresh from their sparry caves,
And the earth resounds with the joy of waves !
Come forth, Oye children of gladness, come!
Where the violets lie may be now your home,
Ye of the rose -lip and dew-bright eye,
And the bounding footstep, to meet me fly!
With the lyre, and the wreath, and the joyous lay,
Come forth to the sunshine, I may not stay.

Away from the dwellings of care-worn men
The waters are sparkling in grove and glen !
Away from the chamber and sullen hearth,
The young leaves are dancing in breezy mirth!
Their light stems thrill to the wild-wood strains,
And youth is abroad in my green domains.

But ye!-ye are changed since ye met me last !
There is something bright from your features passed !
There is that come over your brow and eye
Which speaks of a world where the flowers must die !
-Ye smile! but your smile hath a dimness yet
Oh! what have ye looked on since last we met ?

Ye are changed, ye are changed !-and I see not here
All whom I saw in the vanished year!
There were graceful heads, with their ringlets bright,
Which tossed in the breeze with a play of light;
There were eyes, in whose glistening laughter lay
No faint remembrance of dull decay!

There were steps that flew o'er the cowslip's head,
As if for a banquet all earth were spread;
There were voices that rung through the sapphire sky,
And had not a sound of mortality!
Are they gone? is their mirth from the mountains passed ?
-Ye have look'd on death since ye met me last!

I know whence the shadow comes o'er you now,
Ye have strewn the dust on the sunny brow !
Ye have given the lovely to earth's embrace,
She hath taken the fairest of beauty's race;
With their laughing eyes and their festal crown,
They are gone from amongst you in silence down!

They have gone from amongst you, the young and fair,
Ye have lost the gleam of their shining hair!
- But I know of a land where there falls no blight,
I shall find them there, with their eyes of light!
Where Death ’midst the blooms of the morn may dwell
I tarry no longer-farewell, farewell !

The summer is coming, on soft winds borne,
Ye may press the grape, ye may bind the corn!
For me, I depart to a brighter shore,
Ye are marked by care, ye are mine no more.
I go where the loved who have left you dwell,
And the flowers are not Death's farewell, farewell !

THE LOST PLEIAD.

And is there glory from the heavens departed ?
-Oh void unmarked !-thy sisters of the sky

Still hold their place on high,
Though from its rank thine orb so long hath started,

Thou! that no more art seen of mortal eye!

Hath the Night lost a gem, the regal Night? -She wears her crown of old magnificence,

Though thou art exiled thence ! No desert seems to part those orbs of light, Midst the far depths of purple gloom intense.

« 이전계속 »