1832 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

William Clarke and Robert Shelton Mackenzie, in The Georgian Era: Memoirs of the most eminent Persons who have flourished in Great Britain (1832-34) 3:586.



FELICIA HEMANS was born about 1795, and is said to have given early proofs of those abilities which have since acquired for her productions such deserved popularity. Not long after her debut as an author, she was resident in Liverpool, where she was introduced to Mr. Roscoe, the celebrated author of The Lives of the Medici, in whose presence, at an appointed interview, she is said to have appeared and continued veiled, but from what cause is not stated. She was united to an officer in the army some time after 1829, and is, we believe, now a widow. Her poems, of which the first was published in 1806, are, The Restoration of the Works of Art to Italy; Tales and Historic Scenes, in verse; The Sceptic; The Siege of Valencia; The Last Constantine; The Forest Sanctuary; Records of Women, and Songs of the Affections. She has also contributed largely to the Annuals, and other periodicals; and particularly, during the last two or three years, to the pages of Blackwood's Magazine. Mrs. Hemans's poetry is of a melancholy cast, yet pleasing, elegant, and tender; and, both in style and feeling, touching and delicate. There is a monotony, however, in her thoughts and expressions, which becomes tedious when her compositions are collected into a volume; and she therefore appears to better advantage in a magazine. Among her minor poems, The Distant Ship may be mentioned as a favourable specimen; and, indeed, all her smaller compositions may be read, separately, with pleasure. A writer in The Edinburgh Review has justly observed of her poetry, that "it may not be the best imaginable, and it may not indicate the very highest or most commanding genius; but it embraces a great deal of that which gives the very best poetry its chief power of pleasing."