1835 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

Sara Coleridge to Emily Trevenen, 12 July 1835; Memoir and Letters (1874) 108-08.



I have read many of Mrs. Hemans's most mature productions with a due degree of attention. I think them interesting, full of poetical feeling, displaying much accomplishment, and a very general acquaintance with poetry, and some proficiency in the art of versifying; but though poetry is an art, no truly excellent poem can be produced by art alone, and to practice the whole art there must be high natural endowments. Of poetical imagination, it appears to me that a very small portion is to be found in the works of Mrs. Hemans. Yet this lady has given delight to thousands by her verses; and they must have been the source of great delight and improvement to herself. Just as I would have any one learn music who has an opportunity, though few can be composers, or even performers of great merit, I would have any one, who really and truly has leisure and ability, make verses. I think it a more refining and happy-making occupation than any other pastime accomplishment.