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The cold wan light that glimmers here,
This may not be the burial-place
I see no little kirk—no bell
Wild-screaming bird! unto the sea
Here seamen old, with grizzled locks,
Oh! I could wail in lonely fear, -- so
Is .#. with the gentle roar
And lo! a white-winged vessel sails
But lists a low and moaning sound
Instead of the murmur of the sea,
Alive through all its leaves,
And the swallow's song in the eaves.
To the dangers his father had passed;
Returned to her heart at last.
The whole ship's crew are there!
And madnes: and despair.
acquiring several languages, and still cultivating poetry. In 1818 Captain Hemans removed to Ital
for the benefit of his health. His accomplished wife remained in England, and they never met again. In
Rhyllon—the residence of Mrs Hemans in Wales.
1819 she obtained a prize of £50 offered by some patriotic Scotsman for the best poem on the subject of Sir William Wallace. Next year she published The Sceptic. In June 1821 she obtained the prize awarded by the Royal Society of Literature for the best poem on the subject of Dartmoor. Her next effort was a tragedy, the Vespers of Palermo, which was produced at Covent Garden, December 12, 1823; but though supported by the admirable acting of Kemble and Young, it was not successful. In 1826 appeared her best poem, the Forest Sanctuary, and in 1828, Records of Woman. She afterwards produced Lays of Leisure Hours, National Lyrics, &c. In 1829 she paid a visit to Scotland, and was received with great kindness by Sir Walter Scott, Jeffrey, and others of the Scottish literati. In 1830 appeared her Songs of the Affections. The same year she visited Wordsworth, and appears to have been much struck with the secluded beauty of Rydal Lake and Grasmere—
0 vale and lake, within your mountain urn Smiling so tranquilly, and set so deep! Oft doth your dreamy loveliness return, Colouring the tender shadows of my sleep With light Elysian; for the hues that steep . Your shores in melting lustre, seem to float On golden clouds from spirit lands remote— Isles of the blest—and in our memory keep Their place with holiest harmonies.
Wordsworth said to her one day, ‘I would not give up the mists that spiritualise our mountains for all the blue skies of Italy'—an original and poetical expression. On her return from the lakes, Mrs Hemans went to reside in Dublin, where her brother, Major Browne, was settled. The education of her family (five boys) occupied much of her time and attention. Ill health, however, pressed heavily on her, and she soon experienced a premature decay of the springs of life. In 1884 appeared her little volume of Hymns for Childhood, and a collection of Scenes and Hymns of Life. . She also published some sonnets, under the title of Thoughts during Sickness. Her last strain, produced only about three weeks before her death, was the following fine sonnet dictated to her brother on Sunday the 26th of April:
How many blessed groups this hour are bending,
This admirable woman and sweet poetess died on the 16th May 1835, aged *. She was interred in St Anne's church, Dublin, and over her grave was inscribed some lines from one of her own dirges— Calm on the bosem of thy God, Fair spirit ! rest thee now ! Even while with us thy footsteps trode, His seal was on thy brow. Dust to its narrow house beneath ! Soul to its place on highl They that have seen thy look in death, No more may fear to die.
A complete collection of the works of Mrs Hemans, with a memoir by her sister, has been published in six volumes. Though highly popular, and in many respects excellent, we do not think that much of the poetry of Mrs Hemans will descend to posterity. There is, as Scott hinted, “too many flowers for the fruit; more for the ear and fancy, than for the heart and intellect. Some of her shorter pieces and her lyrical productions are touching and beautiful both in sentiment and expression. Her versification is always melodious; but there is an oppressive sameness in her longer poems which fatigues the reader; and when the volume is closed, the effect is only that of a mass of glittering images and polished words, a graceful melancholy and feminine tenderness, but no strong or permanent impression. The passions are seldom stirred, however the fancy may be soothed or gratified. In description, Mrs Hemans had considerable power; she was both copious and exact; and often, as Jeffrey has observed, ‘a lovely picture serves as a foreground to some deep or lofty emotion.” Her imagination was chivalrous and romantic, and delighted in picturing the woods and halls of England, and the ancient martial glory of the land. The purity of her mind is seen in all her works; and her love of nature, like Wordsworth's, was a delicate blending of our deep inward emotions with their splendid symbols and emblems without.
The Voice of Spring.
I come, I come! ye have called me long,
The cottage Homes of England!
The free, fair Homes of England 1
May hearts of native proof be reared
And n for ever be the groves,
Where first the child's glad spirit loves
The Graves of a Household.
They grew in beauty, side by side,
Their graves are severed, far and wide,
The same fond mother bent at night O'er each fair sleeping brow;
She had each folded flower in sight— Where are those dreamers now ;
One, 'midst the forests of the west, By a dark stream is laid—
The Indian knows his place of rest, Far in the cedar shade.
The sea, the blue lone sea, hath one,
He was the ...}of all, yet none
One sleeps where southern vines are dressed
He wrapt his colours round his breast,
And one—o'er her the myrtle showers
She faded 'midst Italian flowers—
And parted thus they rest, who played Beneath the same green tree;
Whose voices mingled as they prayed Around one parent knee!
They that with smiles lit up the hall,
Alas ! for love, if thou wert all,
The Treasures of the Deep.
| What hidest thou in thy treasure-caves and cells, Thou hollow-sounding and mysterious maint
| Pale glistening pearls, and rainbow-coloured shells, Bright things which gleam unrecked of and in vain.
| Keep, keep thy riches, melancholy sea!
-- We ask not such from thee.
Yet more, the depths have more ' What wealth untold, Far down, and shining through their stillness, lies! | Thou hast the starry gems, the burning gold, Won from ten thousand royal Argosies. | Sweep o'er thy spoils, thou wild and wrathful main : Earth claims not these again!
Yet more, the depths have more ? Thy waves have
Yet more the billows and the depths have more!
Give back the lost and lovely . Those for whom
To thee the love of woman hath gone down;
BERNARD BARTon, one of the Society of Friends, published in 1820 a volume of miscellaneous poems, which attracted notice both for their elegant simplicity, and purity of style and feeling, and because they were written by a Quaker. ‘The staple of the whole poems,’ says a critic in the Edinburgh Review, “is description and meditation—description of quiet home scenery, sweetly and feelingly wrought out—and meditation, overshaded with tenderness, and exalted by devotion—but all terminating in soothing and even cheerful views of the condition and prospects of mortality.” Mr Barton was employed in a banking establishment at Woodbridge, in Suffolk, and he seems to have contemplated abandoning his profession for a literary life. On this point Charles Lamb wrote to him as follows: “Throw yourself on the world, without any rational plan of support beyond what the chance employ of booksellers would afford you! Throw yourself rather, my dear sir, from the steep Tarpeian rock slap-dash headlong upon iron spikes. If you have but five consolatory minutes between the desk and the bed, make much of them, and live a century in them, rather than turn slave to the booksellers. They are Turks and Tartars when they have poor authors at their beck. Hitherto you have been at arm's length from them—come not within their grasp. I have known many authors want for bread— some repining, others enjoying the blessed security of a counting-house—all agreeing they had rather have been tailors, weavers—what not?—rather than the things they were. I have known some starved, some go mad, one dear friend literally dying in a workhouse. Oh, you know not—may you never know—the miseries of subsisting by authorship!’ There is some exaggeration here. We have known authors by profession who lived cheerfully and comfortably, labouring at the stated sum per sheet as regularly as the weaver at his loom, or the tailor on his board; but dignified with the consciousness of following a high and ennobling occupation, with all the mighty minds of past ages as their daily friends and companions. The bane of such a life, when actual genius is involved, is its uncertainty and its temptations, and the almost invariable incompatibility of the poetical temperament with habits of business and steady application. Yet let us remember the examples of Shakspeare, Dryden, and Pope—all regular and constant labourers—and, in our own day, of Scott, Southey, Moore, and many others. The fault is more generally with the author than with the bookseller. In the particular case of Bernard Barton, however, Lamb counselled wisely. He has not the vigour and popular talents requisite for marketable literature; and of this he would seem to have been conscious, for he abandoned his dream of exclusive authorship. Mr Barton has since appeared before the public as author of several volumes of miscellaneous poetry, but without adding much to his reputation. He is still what Jeffrey pronounced him— “a man of a fine and cultivated, rather than of a bold and original mind.’ His poetry is highly honourable to his taste and feelings as a man.
Oh! I shall not forget, until memory depart,
And thus, while I wandered on ocean's bleak shore,
Power and Gentleness, or the Cataract and the Streamlet.
Noble the mountain stream, Bursting in grandeur from its vantage-ground;
Glory is in its gleam Of brightness—thunder in its deafening sound !
Mark, how its foamy spray,
Mimics the bow of day
Thence, in a summer-shower,
Could majesty and power
Yet lovelier, in my view,
Traced by the brighter hue,
It flows through flowery meads,
Its quiet beauty feeds
Gently it murmurs by
A dirge-like melody,
More gaily now it sweeps
And o'er the pebbles leaps,
May not its course express,
The charms of gentleness,
What are the trophies gained By power, alone, with all its noise and strife,
To that meek wreath, unstained, Won by the charities that gladden life?
Niagara's streams might fail, And human happiness be undisturbed:
But Egypt would turn pale, Were her still Nile's o'erflowing bounty curbed:
The Solitary Tomb.
Not a leaf of the tree which stood near me was stirred,
Not a farewell note from a sweet singing bird
The sky was cloudless and calm, except
And there the rich tints of the rainbow slept,
And the evening star, with its ray so clear,
Had lit up its lamp, and shot down from its sphere
And I stood all alone on that gentle hill, With a landscape so lovely before ine; And its spirit and tone, so serene and still, Seemed silently gathering o'er me.