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Beneath that beggar's roof,
Enter—no crowds attend—
Enter—no guards defend
That pavement damp and cold No smiling courtiers tread;
One silent woman stands
Lifting with meagre hands
No mingling voices sound-
A sob suppressed—again
That short deep gasp, and then The parting groan.
Oh! change-oh ! wondrous changeBurst are the prison bars—
This moment there, so low,
So agonised, and now
Oh! change—stupendous change | There lies the soulless clod:
The sun eternal breaks—
The new immortal wakes—
JOHN EDM UND READ E.
The first production of MR READE was a drama entitled Cain, the Wanderer, 1830. It was followed by The Revolt of the Angels, Italy, Revelations of Life, &c. The poem of Italy, in the Spenserian stanza, recalls Byron's Childe Harold, while the Revelations resemble Wordsworth’s Excursion. We subjoin a few lines of description:
We looked toward The sun, rayless and red: emerging slow From a black canopy that lowered above. O'er a blue sky it hung where fleecy clouds Swelled like low hills along the horizon's verge, Down slanting to a sea of glory, or O'er infinite plains in luminous repose. Eastward the sulphurous thunder-clouds were rolled: While on the lurid sky beneath was marked The visibly falling storm. The western rays Braided its molten edges, rising up Like battlemented towers their brazen fronts Changing perturbedly: from which, half seen, The imaginative eye could body forth Spiritual forms of thrones and fallen powers, Reflecting on their scarred and fiery fronts, The splendours left behind them.
Cataline, a drama by Mr Reade, is well conceived and executed; but here also he follows another poetical master, Ben Jonson. In 1852 Mr Reade collected his various productions, the careful product of many years.
WIN THROP MACKWORTH PRAED.
This gentleman (1802–1839) was early distinguished for scholarship and poetic talent. In conjunction with a school-fellow—the Rev. John Moultrie, who also wrote some pleasing poetryMr Praed set up a paper called The Etonian; and he was associated with Macaulay as a writer in Knight's Quarterly Magazine. The son of a wealthy London banker, Praed entered public life as a Conservative politician, sat in the House of Commons for #ish boroughs, and for a short period in 1835
held the office of Secretary of the Board of Control. His poetical pieces were contributed to periodicals, and were first collected by an American publisher. They are light, fashionable sketches, yet executed with great truth and sprightliness. The following is an excellent portrait of a wealthy English bachelor and humorist:
Near a small village in the West,
Welcome was he in hut and hall,
Sound was his claret and his head,
Asylums, hospitals, and schools
Some public principles he had,
For full ten years his pointer, Speed,
Whene'er they heard his ring or knock,
But all was vain. And while decay
And found him gouty still and gay,
THOMAs HooD (1798–1845) appeared before the public chiefly as a comic poet and humorist, but several of his compositions, of a different nature, shew that he was also capable of excelling in the grave, pathetic, and sentimental. He had thoughts ‘too deep for tears, and rich imaginative dreams and fancies, which were at times embodied in continuous strains of pure and exquisite poetry, but more frequently thrown in, like momentary shadows, among his light and fantastic effusions. His wit and sarcasm were always well applied. This ingenious and gifted man was a native of London, son of one of the partners in the bookselling firm of Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe. He was educated for the counting-house, and at an early age was placed under the charge of a city merchant. His health, however, was found unequal to the close confinement and application required at the merchant's desk, and he was sent to reside with some relatives in Dundee, of which town his father was a native. While resident there, Mr Hood evinced his taste for literature. He contributed to the local newspapers, and :* to the Dundee Magazine, a periodical of
considerable merit. On the re-establishment of his health, he returned to London, and was put apprentice to a relation, an engraver. At this employment he remained just long enough to acquire a taste for drawing, which was afterwards of essential service to him in illustrating his poetical productions. About the year 1821 he had adopted literature as a profession, and was installed as regular
Thomas Hood. assistant to the London Magazine, which at that time was left without its founder and ornament, Mr John Scott, who was unhappily killed in a duel. On the cessation of this work, Mr Hood wrote for various periodicals. He was some time editor of the New Monthly Magazine, and also of a magazine which bore his own name. His life was one of incessant exertion, embittered by ill health and all the disquiets and uncertainties incidental to authorship. When almost prostrated by disease, the government stepped in to relieve him with a small pension; and after his premature death in May 1845, his literary friends contributed liberally towards the support of his widow and family. The following lines, written a few weeks before his death, possess a peculiar and melancholy interest:
Farewell Life! my senses swim,
Welcome Life! the spirit strives:
Mr Hood's productions are in various styles and forms. His first work, Whims and Oddities, *::ined 57
to great popularity. Their most original feature was the use which the author made of puns—a figure generally too contemptible for literature, but which, in Hood's hands, became the basis of genuine humour, and often of the purest pathos. He afterwards (1827) tried a series of National Tales, but his prose was less attractive than his verse. A regular novel, Tylney Hall, was a more decided failure. In poetry he made a great advance. The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies is a rich imaginative work, superior to his other productions. As editor of the Comic Annual, and also of some of the literary annuals, Mr Hood increased his reputation for sportive humour and poetical fancy; and he continued the same vein in his Up the Rhine—a satire on the absurdities of English travellers. In 1843, he issued two volumes of Whimsicalities, a Periodical Gathering, collected chiefly from the New Monthly Magazine. His last production of any importance was the Song of the Shirt, which first appeared in Punch, and was as admirable in spirit as in composition. This striking picture of the miseries of the poor London sempstresses struck home to the heart, and aroused the benevolent feelings of the public. In most of Hood's works, even in his puns and levities, there is a ‘spirit of good’ directed to some kindly or philanthropic object. He had serious and mournful jests, which were the more effective from their strange and unexpected combinations. Those who came to laugh at folly, remained to sympathise with want and suffering. The ‘various pen’ of Hood, said Douglas Jerrold, “touched alike the springs of laughter and the sources of tears.” Charles Lamb said Hood carried two faces under his namesake, a tragic one and a comic. Of Hood's graceful and poetical puns, it would be easy to give abundant specimens. The following stanzas form part of an inimitable burlesque, Iament for the Decline of Chivalry:
In cavils when will cavaliers
No iron-crackling now is scored
Farewell then, ancient men of might !
The grave, lofty, and sustained style of Hood is much more rare than this punning vein; but a few verses will shew how truly poetical at times was his imagination—how rapt his fancy. The diction of the subjoined stanzas is rich and musical, and may recall some of the finest flights of the Elizabethan poets. We quote from an Ode to the Moon.
Mother of light! how fairly dost thou go
What art thou like? Sometimes I see thee ride
0 thou art beautiful, howe'er it be?
In the Gem, a literary annual for 1829, Mr Hood published a ballad, entitled The Dream of Eugene Aram, which is also remarkable for its exhibition of the secrets of the human heart, and its deep and powerful moral feeling. It is perhaps to be regretted that an author, who had undoubted command of the higher passions and emotions, should so seldom have
frequented this sacred ground, but have preferred | Bold as the hawk, yet gentle as the dove,
him; and until the position of literary men be ren- The Song of the Shirt.
peculiarly his own: In poverty, hunger, and dirt;
A Parental Ode to my Son, aged Three Years and Five
Till the eyes are heavy and dim
With antic toys so funnily bestuck,
Thou imp of mirth and joy! • - - - -
There goes my ink!) But human creatures lives!
Thou cherub—but of earth; In poverty, hunger, and dirt;
In harmless sport and mirth, A shroud as well as a shirt.
Thy father's pride and hope It seems so like my own,
- g - —work |
Thou enviable being ! ‘Work—work—work :
Play on, play on, Work—work—work—
My elfin John! As prisoners work for crime!
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Toss the light ball—bestride the stick, Seam, and gusset, and band,
With many a lamb-like frisk, ‘Work—work—work : .
Thou pretty opening rose! And work—work-work, • (Go to your mother, child, and wipe your nose!) When the weather is warm and brightBalmy, and breathing music like the south, While underneath the eaves (He really brings my heart into my mouth !) The brooding swallows cling, Fresh as the morn, and brilliant as its star, As if to shew me their sunny backs (I wish that window had an iron bar!) And twit me with the spring. 579
“Oh ! but to breathe the breath
With the sky above my head,
For only one short hour
To feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want,
‘Oh, but for one short-hour !
With fingers weary and worn,
The following stanzas possess a sad yet sweet reality of tone and imagery:
We watched her breathing through the night,
As in her breast the wave of life
So silently we seemed to speak,
As we had lent her half our powers
Our very hopes belied our fears,
We thought her dying when she slept,
For when the morn came dim and sad,
Her quiet eyelids closed—she had
Hood's works have been collected into four volumes: Poems (now in their tenth edition); Poems of Wit and Humour (in their seventh edition); Hood's Own, or Laughter from Year to Year; and Whims and Oddities in Prose and Verse.
DAVID MAC BETH MoIR.
Under the signature of the Greek letter Delta, DAvro MACBETH MoIR (1798–1851) was a large poetical contributor to Blackwood's Magazine. His best pieces are grave and tender, but he also wrote some lively jeux d'esprit, and a humorous Scottish tale, The Autobiography of Mansie Wauch, which was published in one volume, in 1828. His other works are, The Legend of Genevieve, with other Tales and Poems, 1824; Outlines of the Ancient History of Medicine, 1831; Domestic Verses, 1843; and Sketches of the Poetical Literature of the Past Half-century, 1851. His poetical works, edited by Thomas Airdwho prefixed to the collection an excellent memoir ":- were published in two volumes in 1852.