1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Tighe

C. M., in "On the Early Fate of Genius" European Magazine 87 (June 1825) 539.



The fate of Mrs. Henry Tighe, although she did not die at so early an age as Chatterton and Kirke White, awakes as deep interest. There is a melancholy, perhaps more pensively delightful, in the view of female beauty fading away, and growing pale, and at length withered; of female genius, cheered under slow disease by "delightful visions" of love, and beauty, and poetry; of female loveliness, famed to be the ornament of polished life, and the delight of all hearts, attempting, under consumption, to soothe the sorrows of other hearts, than in the contemplation of masculine genius cut off in youth. There are many beautiful allusions in Mrs. Tighe's sonnets, and in her shorter poems, to the consuming disease under which she languished. The concluding stanza of Psyche is so exquisitely beautiful, that I shall not injure its effect by other quotations:

Dreams of Delight farewel! your charms no more
Shall gild the hours of solitary gloom!
The page remains — but can the page restore
The vanished bowers which Fancy taught to bloom?
Ah, no! her smiles no longer can illume
The path my Psyche treads no more for me;
Consigned to dark oblivion's silent tomb
The visionary scenes no more I see,
Fast from the fading lines the vivid colours flee!