1825 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

John Wilson to William Blackwood, 1825 ca.; Margaret Oliphant, William Blackwood and his Sons (1897) 1:309.



I really do not know how I can advise you respecting Mrs H. It seems a case on which you alone can decide — to wit, whether her contributions are or are not worth the money.

My opinion, on the whole, is as follows: She is the best of our female writers of what is called Poetry. Her verses are often beautiful, always melodious, but — I think they should either be all accepted or declined. For none of them that I have read are unworthy of a place in that department of a Magazine, as verses go — and she is a popular enough writer, entitled, I think, to that right. It would be offensive to her to have them returned; and I scarcely think any of them should be rejected. Are they worth the money? Confound me if I know! To me they are not. But, I believe, to many readers they give much pleasure. They make an agreeable break, and they are generally pleasant reading. Besides, she was, I presume, flattered by their reception, and perhaps might feel hurt by being cut off, as well as injured by the loss of the coin. I am rather disposed to think you should go on with her; but I will converse with you about it, as it certainly is a point rather perplexing. It is surprising that she is not run out entirely, and dry as a whistle. Poetry is certainly a drug — but hers don't seem to disgust. I conclude my unsatisfactory epistle.