1836 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

Henry Fothergill Chorley, in Memorials of Mrs. Hemans, ed. Chorley (1836) 1:218-19.



I must not forget to allude to what Charles Lamb calls the "Albumean persecution," which she was here [Liverpool] called upon to endure. One gentleman, a total stranger to her, beset her, ere she had been three weeks a householder, with a huge virgin folio splendidly bound, which he had bought "on purpose that she might open it with one of her exquisite poems." People not only brought their own books, but likewise those of "my sister and my sister's child," all anxious to have something written on purpose for themselves. On the whole, she bore these honours meekly, and for awhile, in the natural kindliness of her heart, gave way to the current. Sometimes, however, her sense of the whimsical would break out; sometimes it was provoked by the thorough-going and coarse perseverance of the intrusions against which it was difficult to guard. What could be done with persons, who would call, and call again, and yet a third time in the course of one morning, and refuse to take their final departure till they were told "when Mrs. Hemans would be at home?" It was one of these occasions that she commissioned a friend of hers, in a lively note, "to procure her a dragon to be kept in her court-yard."