1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

George Barrell Cheever, in Studies in Poetry ... A copious Collection of Elegant Extracts (1830) 339.



The poetry of Mrs. Hemans displays much originality and genius of a very high order. Her whole manner and style are original and so many have imitated its peculiarities that she may be considered in some respects as the founder of a new school in English poetry. She delights in the description of scenes that possess in themselves a picturesque solemnity, or that cluster around them deep feelings of associated moral interest. The words which she uses are singularly poetical, and she combines them with thrilling and appropriate imagery, though not extensive in its range.

The peculiar province of her power seems to lie in the expression of those feelings which are connected with the ideas of one's home and native country. Her lays are full of fondness for the paternal roof, — the free domestic hearth, — and of devotion to "the father land;" they breathe a heart stirring spirit of noble, elevated, sublime patriotism.

A general characteristic of her productions is their touching and sustained pathos. In her tragedies this quality rises to an uncommon degree of richness and power, and in her shorter pieces she has exhibited a more easy, natural, and frequent command of it, perhaps, than any other poet.

Her poetry is full of elevated moral feeling, and combines, in a very peculiar manner, inspiring energy of thought with a winning grace and delicacy of sentiment.