1877 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Hood

Bryan Waller Procter, in Procter: An Autobiographical Fragment (1877) 209-10.



I need not descant on the works or character of Thomas Hood, whose life has been already written by his family, who loved him, and of course knew him well. He was an undoubted poet, and his merits are now universally acknowledged by those who, are best acquainted with English verse. His first contribution to the London Magazine was in 1823, when he printed his poem of Lycus the Centaur. His comic were more popular than his graver writings; but I myself prefer his serious verse, which alone calls out the greater qualities of a writer. Hood had a fine ear for metre, and exhibited marvellous ingenuity in his rhymes. His labours consisted of writing verse, and his pastime in making puns, and shooting sparrows. I have often wondered that he did not make this passerine sport the subject of an ode; for no one was more capable of jesting with his own peculiarities than Thomas Hood. He married the sister of John Hamilton Reynolds, a pleasant and very lovable woman, who comforted and soothed him in his last days, when they were clouding over. In his fortunate time he possessed good spirits (at least when he was in company), and these exhibited themselves in frequent puns and sly jokes. He had a quiet face, the laughter lying hid behind its gravity. Just before his death, when consumption had mastered him, and the caprice of public favour had much diminished his means of living, he bore himself very independently.