1828 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

John Wilson, et. al., in Blackwood's Magazine (November 1828); Noctes Ambrosianae, ed. Mackenzie (1854) 3:170-71.



SHEPHERD. Does that dear, delightfu' cretur, Mrs. Hemans, continue to contribute to ilka Annual, ane or twa o'er her maist beautifu' poems?

NORTH. She does so.

SHEPHERD. It's no in that woman's power, sir, to write ill; for, when a feeling heart and a fine genius forgather in the bosom o' a young matron, every line o' poetry is like a sad or cheerfu' smile frae her een, and every poem, whatever be the subject, in ae sense a picture o' hersel' — sae that a' she writes has an affectin' and an endearin' mainnerism and moralism about it, that inspires the thochtfu' reader to say in to himsel' — that's Mrs. Hemans.

NORTH. From very infancy Felicia Dorothea was beloved by the Muses. I remember patting her fair head when she was a child of nine years — and versified even then with a touching sweetness about sylphs and fairies.

SHEPHERD. Early female geniuses, I observe, for the maist part turn out brichter in after life than male anes. Male anes generally turn stoopiter and stoopiter — till by thirty they're sumphs.

North. I fear it is too true.