1820 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

T., in "On the Female Literature of the present Age" New Monthly Magazine 13 (March 1820) 273.



Nearest to Miss Baillie in poetical genius is, perhaps, Mrs. Hemans, who has recently started into fame. As the genius of the former leads her to romantic poetry, that of the latter tends to the classical. Her images are more "in the sun," more bright and goodly in palpable form than those of any other author of the present time. Her poetry is full of glorious shapes instinct with spirit. She has little of sad retrospection, little of the "pale cast of thought," and nothing of metaphysical subtlety. Her muse wears no pensive livery, but is "sky-tinctured" and radiant in youthful bloom. Her poetry is scarcely in the spirit of these times, which leans to the philosophic or the intense, but is replete with grace and beauty, which can never become obsolete while nature shall endure.