1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Felicia Hemans

George Bancroft, "Mrs. Hemans's Poems" North American Review [Boston] 24 (April 1827) 463.



Of other spirited, and lively, and pathetic short poems of Mrs. Hemans, which form some of the brightest ornaments of the lyric poetry of the language, we take no particular notice, for in what part of the United States are they not known? So general has been the attention to those of her pieces adapted to the purposes of a newspaper, we hardly fear to assert, that throughout a great part of this country there is not a family of the middling class, in which some of them have not been read. The praise which was not sparingly bestowed upon her, when her shorter productions first became generally known among us, has been often repeated on a careful examination of her works; and could we hope that our remarks might one day fall under her eye, we should hope she would not be indifferent to the good wishes which are offered her from America, but feel herself cheered and encouraged in her efforts by the prospect of an enlarged and almost unlimited field of useful influence, opened to her among the descendants of her country in an independent land. The ocean divides us from the fashions as well as the commotions of Europe. The voice of America, deciding on the literature of England, resembles the voice of posterity more nearly than anything else, that is contemporaneous, can do. We believe that the general attention which has been given to Mrs. Hemans's works among us, may be regarded as a pledge that they will not be received with indifference by posterity.