1860 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Hood

James Augustus Hessey, in Memorials of Thomas Hood (1860) 6-9.



I remember often having seen the late Mr. Hood when he was a mere boy at the house of his father, whom I had the pleasure of knowing intimately for many years. He was, as far as I can recollect, a singular child, silent and retired, with much quiet humour, and apparently delicate in health. He was, I believe, educated at a school in the neighbourhood of London, and at the age of fifteen or sixteen was articled to his uncle, Mr. Sands, as an engraver. His health, however, beginning to suffer from confinement, it was found necessary to put an end to that engagement, and he was sent to a relation in Scotland, where he remained some years with great benefit. He returned to town about the beginning of the year 1821. In that year the London Magazine came into the hands of Mr. Taylor and myself, after the death of the editor, Mr. John Scott; and Mr. Hood was engaged to assist the editor in correcting the press, and in looking over papers sent for insertion. This was his first introduction to the literary world; and here he first amused himself by concocting humorous notices and answers to correspondents in the "Lion's Head." His first original paper appeared in the number for July, 1821, vol. iv. p. 85, in some verses To Hope. I find nothing more of his until November of the same year, when his humorous Ode to Dr. Kitchener appeared in the "Lion's Head" of that month; a poem, The Departure of Summer, in the body of the number, p. 493; and A Sentimental Journey, from Islington to Waterloo Bridge, in the same number, p. 508. From that time he became a regular contributor, and as many as twenty-four more papers of various kinds appeared, the last being Lines to a Cold Beauty, in June 1823, after which time I find no further production of his pen.

Mr. Hood's connection with the London Magazine led to his introduction to our friend Mr. Reynolds (and through him to his sister) and to the various contributors to the work, — Charles Lamb, Allan Cunningham, Hazlitt, Horace Smith, Judge Talfourd, Barry Cornwall, the Rev. H. F. Carey, Sir Charles A. Elton, Charles Phillips, Dr. Bowring, John Clare, Thomas De Quincey, George Darley, the Rev. Charles Strong, Wainwright, Hartley Coleridge, Bernard Barton, Richard Ayton, the Rev. Mr. Crowe, Rev. Julius Hare, Rev. Dr. Bliss, John Poole, Esq., &c. &c.

At the end of the year 1824 the magazine passed into the hands of another person as proprietor and editor, and I have no means of ascertaining who were then its chief supporters; but I do not believe Mr. Hood contributed to it at all. Mr. Reynolds continued to write in that work till the end of the year 1824.

It may perhaps be interesting to you to have a list of the articles contributed by Mr. Hood, and I have great pleasure in sending to you the enclosed, which I believe is tolerably correct. Most of them, I suppose, have been reprinted.

My acquaintance with Mr. Hood ceased about the year 1823, till which time I had enjoyed the pleasure of constant communication with him. Soon afterwards I went into the country, and I regret to say, I never saw him again.