1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

James Harley, in The Press, or Literary Chit-Chat. A Satire (1822) 84 &n.



Two harpers from Wales preceded the next one,
Who sang in a strain that a little perplex'd one;
With the features of youth, but the wisdom of age
She unfolded the beauties of history's page,
And wove a romance with such exquisite skill
That the heart of each hearer it fail'd not to thrill.
Then a lament she pour'd — ah! how tender the strains,
O'er those fallen and desolate isles
Where the sons of the free now hug Servitude's chains,
And the sun of their glory for ages hath set
In a darkness the bosom must ever regret,
Though Nature still bright o'er them smiles.
She ceased, and wild Echo repeated the song,
As the lovely Welsh minstrel proceeded along.*

* Mrs. Hemans does or did reside in Wales. It is a matter of surprise to me that her poems are not more generally known. Wherever they are known, they are sure to be favourites. I am sorry to see her writing prize poems, in as much as I should regret to behold a Lawrence or a Beechy rival candidates with the young gentlemen and ladies who compete for the silver pallets, &c. given by the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts and Sciences.