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Full text of "Memorials of Mrs. Hemans : with illustrations of her literary character, from her private correspondence"

MEMORIALS 



OP 



MRS. HEMANS. 




: ->blished "by Si 






MEMORIALS 

OP 

MRS. HE MANS 

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 

OF 

HER LITERARY CHARACTER 

FROM HER 

PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE. 

BY 

HENRY E^fi-H R L E Y. 

IN TWO VOLUMES. r^ 

VOL. L ^*/'S* 

^/M 
X \ / 

LONDON 

SAUNDERS AND OTLEY, CONDUIT STREET. 
1836. 



LONDON : 

IBOTSON AND PALMER, PRINTERS, SAVOY STREET, STRAND. 



HENRY AND CHARLES HEMANS, 



Jftemorials 



ARE AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED 



THEIR EDITOR, 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



IN offering these Memorials to the public, I 
am anxious that their character should not be 
mistaken that my work should not be mea- 
sured by too high a standard. I cannot better 
guard against such a mischance than by stating 
the circumstances under which it was planned 
and executed. 

It is now twelve months ago, since I collected 
and published, in the "Athenaeum," a few 
sketches and remembrances of one whom I had 
known intimately during the later years of her 

., 

life. The general interest excited by these papers 
or rather by the vivacity and elegance of the 
letters which they contained led me to con- 



VI ADVERTISEMENT. 

template their extension and republication. 
While the work was in progress, however, my 
store of materials was so liberally enriched by 
the kindness of known and unknown friends, 
that these Memorials were imperceptibly ex- 
tended beyond the period of my own personal 
acquaintance with Mrs. Hemans ; and I found 
myself enabled, by linking together correspond- 
ence and anecdote, with slight notices of her 
published works, to trace out the entire pro- 
gress of her mind through its several stages. 
To this task I have exclusively confined myself, 
purposely refraining from touching upon any 
such details of the delicate circumstances of 
her domestic life, as were not necessary to the 
illustration of her literary career. I have 
therefore of necessity fallen short of the com- 
pleteness essential to a regular biography. 

It now only remains for me to offer my most 
cordial and respectful acknowledgments to all 
who have lent me their assistance ; to say that 
I have felt even more grateful for the trust reposed 



ADVERTISEMENT. VU 

in me by many to whom I am personally a 
stranger, than for the value and variety of the 
materials they have graciously placed at my 
disposal Those who may read the following 
pages, will be able to judge of the extent of my 
two-fold obligation. 

London, August 1st, 1836. 







CONTENTS 

VOL. L 



CHAPTER L 

Introductory Remarks Notices of Miss Browne's 
family, birth, and infancy Her residence in Wales 
Anecdotes of her childhood Her admiration of 
military glory Visit to London Letter to her Aunt 
Notice of her earliest Poems, with extracted 
specimens . . p age I 



CHAPTER II. 

Miss Browne's marriage Her retirement from the 
world Her Translations Her Prize Poems Her 



Xll CONTENTS. 

humorous Poetry "The Mineralogist" The "Tales 
and Historic Scenes" The "Sceptic" "Modern 
Greece" Intercourse with Bishop Heber His 
remarks on a Poem in progress Notices of the 
"Vespers of Palermo/' with Letters to the Rev. 
H. H. Milman The " Welsh Melodies" . 41 



CHAPTER III. 

Correspondence Queen of Prussia Welsh Scenery 
Welsh Melodies Bardic System Tieck Miss 
Baillie's plays Their female characters Iturbide 
Change of residence Poland "The Siege of 
Valencia," &c. "The voice of Spring" "The 
Hebrew mother" " Korner and his Sister " 
Letters to Mr. G. F. Richardson " The Forest 
Sanctuary" " The Records of Woman" Mrs. 
Hemans' eagerness in composition Rhyllon Her 
favourite dingle Her American reputation and 
friendships Anecdotes .... 83 



CHAPTER IV. 

Memorials of Mrs. Hemans' female friendships Letters 
to Mrs. Joanna Baillie Letters to Miss" Mitford 



CONTENTS. Xlll 

Letter to Mrs. Howitt Miss Jewsbury Brief notice 
of her life and writings First introduction to 
Wordsworth's Poems Correspondence between 
Mrs. Hemans and Miss Jewsbury - - 137 

CHAPTER V. 

Personal recollections of Mrs. Hemans Her ap- 
pearance described Familiar correspondence " A 
Thought of the Rose " Retszch's Outlines- 
Ghost Stories Mozart and Rossini Montgomery 
Her departure from Wales -"""if* - . 183 

CHAPTER VI. 

Wavertree Mrs. Hemans' indisposition to general 
society Her house Visitors and Albums Extracts 
from familiar correspondence " Ballads of the Cid" 
"Memoirs of Prince Eugene" Letter to Miss 
Mitford on the success of te Rienzi" Letter to Mrs. 
Howitt * - - - - 208 

CHAPTER VII. 

Familiar correspondence continued Prince de Lar- 
daria u Heaven and Earth" Mrs. Hemans' per. 



XIV CONTENTS. 

sonal carelessness Ode to Music Circus House- 
hold cares The word " Barb" -Imitations of our 
English classics Irish music Hottentot poetry. 

242 

CHAPTER VIIL 

Familiar Correspondence continued Grillparzer's 
" Sappho" German Almanachs Tieck and Schlegel 
Proposed Translations from the German Ana- 
tomy of Hatred Richter Escape from sudden 
death Dobeneck Mrs. Hemans' predilections in 
foreign literature Mr. Carlyle upon Burns " Mary 
Anne's Dream" Swedish Tradition Earliest 
poems Recovery from illness " New England's 
Memorial " The Moon " Corinne " Letters from 
America Letter to Miss Mitford - - 270 



ERRATUM. 

Page 25, for Ornamental read Monumental. 






MEMORIALS 



MRS. HEMANS 



CHAPTER I. 

Introductory Remarks Notices of Miss Browne's 
family, birth, and infancy Her residence in Wales 
Anecdotes of her childhood Her admiration of 
military glory Visit to London Letter to her Aunt 
Notice of her earliest Poems, with extracted 
specimens. 

IT was our divine Milton, who, wisely as forcibly, 
laid down the principle " that he who would not 
be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter, 
in laudable things, ought himself to be a true 
VOL. T. B 



2 MEMORIALS OF 

poem, that is, a composition of the best and 
honourablest things." Often as this golden 
wisdom has been neglected by our poets often 
as passion, or frivolity, or worst of all a 
mean love of gain and worldly advancement 
have spoiled and silenced the song, and, as it 
were, quenched the altar-fire of those whose 
voices would otherwise have been heard long 
after they were no more, whose light might at 
once have led and warmed the hearts of future 
generations in the many exceptions, no less 
than the few examples, Milton's precept 
holds good as a rule. The works of the really 
gifted (passing over those clever mechanists 
who can affect every form and feeling with equal 
ease and absence of sincerity) must, in some 
sort, mirror their lives : and he who reads with 
the mind and not merely with the senses, will 
find in them the weakness and the strength, 
the tastes and the antipathies of their writers 
clearly indicated the tenor at least, if not 
the separate incidents, of their history, distinctly 
set forth. 



MRS. HEMANS, 3 

It is a fascinating and worthy task to follow 
out the entire subject in its widest range, to 
trace not merely the connexion of the poet's utter- 
ances with his own fortunes, but to exhibit them 
as illustrating the progress of his art, and that 
art, the destinies of the human race. It is 
noble to go back to the most dim and ancient 
times, and to perceive how Poetry has at once 
been the guide and the harbinger of mankind 
on its on ward march. It is most exciting, while 
we stand still upon the present, and look around 
and before us, to speculate upon its future pro- 
gress and direction ; whether we join those be- 
praisers of the past who can only see evil to 
come, in their lament that 

.... Poesy is on the wane, 

We shall not find her haunts again ! 

or whether with the more sanguine (perhaps 
more visionary) race of hopers,* we rejoice 

* Elle (La Poesie) ne sera plus lyrique dans le sens 
ou nous prenons ce mot ; elle n'a pas assez de jeunesse, 

B 2 



4 MEMORIALS OF 

in the hope of its possessing a wider field and 
being crowned with loftier triumphs than any 

de fraicheur, de spontaneite d'impression pour chan- 
ter comme au premier reveil de la pensee humaine. 
Elle ne sera plus epique ; 1'homme a trop vecu, trop re- 
flechi, pour se laisser amuser, interesser par les longs 
recits de Tepopee, et 1'experience a detruit sa foi aux 
merveilles dont le poeme epique enchantait sa credulite. 
Elle ne sera plus dramatique, parceque la scene de la 
vie reelle a, dans nos temps de liberte et d'action po- 
litique, un interet plus pressant, plus reel et plus in- 
time que la scene du theatre; parceque les classes 
elevees de la societe ne sont pas au theatre pour etre 
emues, mais pourjuger; parceque la societe est de- 
venue critique de nai've qu'elle etait. II n'y a plus de 
bonne foi dans les plaisirs. ... La poe'sie sera de la 
raison chantee ; voila sa destinee pour long temps ; elle 
sera religieuse, politique, sociale comme les epoques 
que le genre humain va traverser ; elle sera intime 
surtout, personnelle, meditative et grave ; non plus un 
jeu d'esprit, un caprice melodieux de la pensee legere 
et superficielle, mais 1'echo profond, reel, sincere des 
plus hautes conceptions de 1'intelligence, des plus 
mysterieuses impressions de Tame. . . . La poe'sie s'est 



MRS. HEMANS. 5 

it has yet occupied or won we expect that, 
inasmuch as universality is becoming a decided 
feature in the mind of the age, the inspired ones 
who shall next arise, will be more genially wise, 
more liberally endowed, than any who have 
blazed their hour in the world, or mused their 
hour apart from it, in the past days of conflict 
and antagonism we anticipate that in their 

depouillee de plus en plus de sa forme artificielle, elle 

n'a presque plus de forme qu'elle meme Mais 

sera-t-elle morte pour tre plus vraie, plus sincere, plus 
reelle qu'elle ne le fut jamais? Non, sans doute, 
elle aura plus de vie, plus d'intensite, plus d'action, 
qu'elle n'en eut encore ! . . . . Je ne vois aucun signe 
de decadence dans 1'mtelligence humaine, aucun 
symptome de lassitude ni de vieillesse ; je vois des in- 
stitutions vieillies qui s'ecroulent, mais des generations 
rajeunies que le souffle de la vie tourmente et pousse en 
tous sens,et qui reconstruiront, sur des plans inconnus, 
cette oeuvre infinie que Dieu a donne a faire et a refaire 
sans cesse a Thomme, sapropre destinee. Dans cette 
reuvre la poesie a sa place, quoique Pluton la voulut 
bannir ! De Lamartine. Destinies de la Poesie. 



MEMORIALS OF 



works the strongest passion will be displayed, 
blended with and balanced by the most constrain- 
ing reverence for what is calm and holy : 
while, on the other hand, Meditation, as it were, 
will be drawn down from too long a tarriance 
on those starry heights whence she loves, alone, 
to look up to heaven, by the golden cords 
of a brotherly love which shall embrace the 
weak and the strong, the ignorant as well 
as the intellectual. But these are themes 
which require time and space and experience 
beyond my powers though to allude to them 
may not be considered as altogether impertinent, 
when it is remembered that in the pages which 
follow, I am making a contribution to the an- 
nals of English Poetry ; and to that chapter in 
particular, which, besides its intrinsic interest, 
has a significance as illustrating the spirit of the 
age, I mean the one which shall treat of the 
popularity and prevalence of female author- 
ship. 

With regard to its popularity, it would, in- 



MRS. HEMANS. / 

deed, be shameful if, with the long list we 
possess of names, excellent in the literature of 
romance, art, criticism, nay, even in the exact 
sciences, whose paths it might be thought were 
too uninviting and arduous to be pursued with 
steadiness and success by female feet, the con- 
temptuous party-words formerly wielded in attack 
and defence were to be heard among us any more. 
If we are not prepared to admit that genius is of no 
sex to hold with some intemperate enthusiasts, 
who plead their right to take up the lion's skin 
and club, and, assuming the stern and peculiar 
cares of manhood, would (unwarned by the dis- 
astrous example of England's wisest king in 
the neat-herd's cot) condemn the poor lords 
of the creation to the small cares of housewifery 
we are willing we are thankful to acknow- 
ledge, that in our graver and gayer hours, we 
have found help-mates, whose services, if not per- 
formed by them, must have remained unfulfilled. 
"If" to quote one* who wrote eloquently in de- 
* Miss Jewsbury. 



8 MEMORIALS OF 

fence of, and apology for, her own sex " we still 
secretly dread and dislike female talent, it is 
not for the reason generally supposed because it 
may tend to obscure our own regal honours; 
but because it interferes with our implanted and 
imbibed ideas of domestic life and womanly 
duty." But this prejudice (let us not inquire 
whether or not it may have been based upon 
experience) is fading rapidly away. With the in- 
crease of female authorship, a change has taken 
place in the position of the authors. Our gifted 
women must feel themselves less alone in the 
world than was formerly their case ; they have 
therefore daily less and less cause to despise its 
ordinances to claim toleration for eccentricity of 
habits as well as latitude of opinion ; and thus 
they are winning day by day, in addition to the 
justice of head commanded by their high and 
varied powers, the justice of heart which is 
so eminently their due. 

On all these grounds, a work which shall 
trace out the career of a poetess, may not be 



MRS. HEMANS. 

altogether uninteresting or unseasonable at the 
present time. That the subject of the follow- 
ing memorials deserves to rank high among the 
bright names of English song will not be 
questioned ; and I think that they will be found 
at once to throw a new light upon, and to har- 
monize with, the spirit of the writings which 
the world has so deservedly recognised. It is 
hardly necessary to say (but I would fain escape 
the charge of self-complacency) that the value of 
such a record as mine must lie in its materials, 
and that the only merit an editor can claim is 
that of just and modest taste in their arrange- 
ment. If I shall be thought to have failed in 
this, the fault is not one of carelessness, still 
less of presumption. 

Felicia Dorothea Browne the second daugh- 
ter and the fourth child of a family of three sons 
and three daughters, was born in Duke Street, 
Liverpool, on the 25th of September, 1794. Her 
father was a native of Ireland, belonging to a 

B 5 



10 MEMORIALS OF 

branch of the Sligo family ; her mother, a Miss 
Wagner, was a descendant of a Venetian house, 
whose old name, Veniero, had in the course of time 
been corrupted into this German form. Among 
its members were numbered three who rose 
to the dignity of Doge, and one who bore the 
honourable rank of commander at the battle of 
Lepanto. In the waning days of the Republic, 
Miss Browne's grandfather held the humbler 
situation of Venetian Consul in Liverpool. The 
maiden name of his wife was Haddock, a good 
and ancient one among the yeomanry of Lanca- 
shire ; three of the issue of this union are still 
surviving. To these few genealogical notices it 
may be added, that Felicia Dorothea was the 
fifth bearing that Christian name in her mother's 
family, that her elder sister Eliza, of whom 
affectionate mention is made in her earliest 
poems, died of a decline at the age of 
eighteen; and that her brother Claude, who 
reached manhood, died in America several years 
ago. Two brothers older than herself, and one 



MRS. HEM AN S. 11 

sister, her junior, are therefore, all that now 
survive. 

Even if, in considering the history of a mind, 
we are to set aside the supposed influence of 
the force du sang as a popular fallacy, it is still 
impossible to determine how far and how soon 
the mere recital of the stately names of her ma- 
ternal ancestry may have impressed one, so early 
impressible as the subject of these memorials. 
Mrs. Hemans would often, half playfully, 
half proudly, allude to her origin as account- 
ing for the strong tinge of romance which, 
from nfancy, pervaded every thought, word, 
and aspiration of her daily life ; and for that 
remarkable instinct towards the beautiful, which 
rarely forms so prominent a feature in the 
character of one wholly English born. She 
was wont to say, that though the years of 
childhood are for the most part years of happi- 
ness, hers were too visionary, too much haunt- 
ed by impressions and fantasies, not to form an 
exception to the rule. Had she lived she would 



12 MEMORIALS OF 

fully have described the sensations of that vague 
hope mounting almost to ecstasy, and of that 
fear, more vague, so closely linked with super- 
stition, which often trouble even the infancy of 
those endowed with a quick, poetic temperament : 
she would have displayed the unexplained want 
in their hearts, which is born with such; the 
sense, which suggests a hidden meaning and a 
mystery to be fathomed in things which to others 
appear common and tangible ; for she was me- 
ditating a work partly imaginative, partly real, 
to be called " Recollections of a Poet's Child- 
hood," at the time when her labours were bidden 
to cease for ever. 

As a child she was an object almost of 
devotion, for her extreme beauty ; her com- 
plexion was remarkably brilliant her hair 
long, curling, and golden : in the latter years of 
her life its hue deepened into brown, but it 
remained silken, and profuse, and wavy, to the 
last. She was one of those, too, who may be 
said to be born and nurtured in the midst of 



MRS. HEMANS. 13 

prophecies. Who can tell how little or how much 
impression passing words carelessly spoken may 
make upon one so sensitive ? One lady incau- 
tiously observed, in her hearing, " That child 
is not made for happiness, I know ; her colour 
comes and goes too fast." She never forgot this 
remark, and would mention it as having caused 
her much pain at the time when it was spoken. 

Her tastes and dispositions were encouraged 
by her mother, herself possessed of many endow- 
ments and accomplishments ; amongst others, 
of the delightful talent of reading aloud well. I 
have been told that she could continue this even 
as she walked. Mrs. Hemans always spoke, 
and, it will be seen, wrote with enthusiastic 
affection of her parent : it was to her that her 
earliest attempts at composition were confided. 
These, produced at the age of seven years, were 
of course nothing but repetitions of what she 
had read and heard moulded and uttered by 
that spirit which in very young children only 
shows its presence by its restlessness. Hannah 



14 MEMORIALS OF 

More used to play at "riding to London, to 
talk to bishops and booksellers," Felicia 
Browne found her chief delight in reciting 
poems, and fragments of plays. Douglas was 
in these days a particular favourite with her 
and an old nursery looking upon the sea 
a large, dimly-lighted room was the scene 
of her rehearsals. The excellence of her 
memory showed itself early " ' Why, Felice, 
you cannot have read that," 1 I was wont to say," 
writes one who overlooked her infancy. " ' O 
yes ! I have, and I will repeat it to you* and 
she would do this, almost supernaturally." 

The plan of these memorials has precluded 
the possibility of a close inquiry into the do- 
mestic history of these years and I regret that 
I cannot enrich my pages with a few anec- 
dotes of her youth, such as I well remem- 
ber Mrs. Hemans telling, which have now 
vexatiously escaped from memory. One or two 
characteristic notices, however, in addition to 
the above, have collected themselves. From one 



MRS. HEMANS. 15 

lady who was surprised into tears upon meet- 
ing her unexpectedly in society, and contrasting 
her somewhat faded but expressive features 
with the girlish beauty she had admired many 
years before I have learned that the interest 
excited by her talents and attractions, when 
quite a child, was remarkable ; not merely in 
her own family, but likewise among those who, 
from their sober years and habits, might hardly 
be expected to sympathize much with the 
flights and fancies of a young genius, how- 
ever beautiful. One gentleman who took a 
kind and efficient interest in the publication of 
her earliest poems, talked so much and so 
warmly about her, that his sister used to say 
" Brother, you must be in love with that girl !" 
to which he would answer " If I were twenty 
years younger I would marry her!" And a 
sprightly passage will be found in a subsequent 
letter, by which it appears that her fascinations 
included simple as well as gentle I mean her 
reference to the old gardener, who used to say 



16 MEMORIALS OF 

that " Miss Felicia could 'tice him to do what 
ever she pleased." 

When Miss Browne was little more than five 
years of age, domestic embarrassments, arising 
from the failure of the mercantile concern in 
which her father was engaged, led him to remove 
his family from Liverpool to North Wales. The 
house in which she passed the greatest part of 
her childhood, was precisely such an one as from 
its situation and character would encourage the 
developement of her poetic fancies. Grwych* 
(now partially ruined) is not far from Abergele in 
Denbighshire ; a solitary, old, and spacious man- 
sion lying close to the sea shore, and in front 
shut in by a chain of rocky hills. During Mrs. 
Hemans' last illness, she reverted again and 
again to this home of her youth, with that 
peculiar and minute yearning towards " the 
days of 'other years,' 5 which so affectingly marks 
the parting hours of even the stern and the 
sensual. She would dwell upon the tales of her 
* Pronounced Griech. 



MRS. HEMANS. 17 

childhood would tell of the strange creep- 
ing awe, with which the solitude and stillness 
of Grwych inspired her: how it bore the reputa- 
tion of being a haunted house ; and how, on 
one occasion, having heard a rumour of a fiery 
greyhound, which kept watch at the end of the 
avenue, she sallied forth by moonlight, eager, 
herself, to encounter the goblin. She loved to 
contrast the fancies born within and around its 
precincts, with the realities of her after lot ; she 
would say that, though she was never ambitious, 
could she then have foreseen the fame to which 
she was destined to rise, the anticipation would 
have excited a thrill of pleasure, such as the pos- 
session had never awakened. She was early a 
reader of Shakespeare ; and, by way of secur- 
ing shade and freedom from interruption, used 
to climb an apple tree, and there study his 
plays ; nor had she long made familiar friend- 
ship with his "beings of the mind," before she 
was possessed with the temporary desire 
so often born of an intense delight and ap- 



18 MEMORIALS OF 

preciation of personifying them. It is re- 
markable that her fancy led her to prefer the 
characters of Imogen and Beatrice; nor were 
her favourites without strong points of resem- 
blance to herself the one in its airy sentiment 
tempered with sweet and faithful affection the 
other in its brilliant wit redeemed by high- 
mindedness, from sarcasm or vulgarity so 
early were her tastes and personal feelings and 
mental gifts identified ! The sea-shore was her 
forest of Ardennes : and she loved its loneliness 
and freedom well : it was a favourite freak of 
hers, when quite a child, to get up privately, 
after careful attendants had fancied her safe in 
bed, and, making her way down to the water-side, 
to indulge herself with a stolen bath. The 
sound of the ocean, and the melancholy sights 
of wreck and ruin, which follow a storm, made 
an indelible impression upon her mind, and gave 
their colouring and imagery 

" A sound and a gleam of the moaning- sea" 
to many of the lyrics, which were written when 



MRS. REMANS. 19 

she began to trust to her own impulses, and to 
draw upon her own stores, instead of more timidly 
resting under the shadow of mighty names. 

Those who are born poets, will find food for 
the desire within them, under the most ungenial 
circumstances, and in the midst of the harshest 
trials just as the real lover of flowers will con- 
trive not to be without a leaf or a bud, 
wherewith to cheer his eye, though his home 
be the most airless court in the heart of a vast 
city. To some, persecution and difficulty are 
salutary, and their energy must be aroused by 
resistance. Mrs. Hemans was not one of these. 
I have often thought that there could be few 
lots more favourable to the developement of 
imagination and sentiment, more calculated 
to excite a thirst for knowledge, than hers, 
her own peculiar disposition being taken 
into the account Enough was granted to en- 
courage, enough withheld to quicken aspira- 
tion. The unkindness of fortune left her some- 
thing to wish for; and, to one organized like 



20 MEMORIALS OF 

herself, must have given an ideal beauty and 
importance to a thousand objects which, when 
received as matters of course, lose their charm 
and authority. And while, on the one hand, 
the refinements of life were enhanced in value, 
by restricted circumstances ; her mind, on the 
other, unvitiated by any experience of the arti- 
ficial world, was drinking in high thoughts and 
glorious images from the books (what treasures 
are these to the young enthusiast !) which found 
their way to her retreat, and which she loved 
and adopted of her own accord, and not in pur- 
suance of any routine. She was never at school, 
had she been sent to one, she might probably 
have run away, and I am told that the only 
things she was ever regularly taught were French, 
English grammar, and the rudiments of Latin, 
communicated to her by a gentleman, who used to 
deplore, " that she was not a man to have borne 
away the highest honours at college !" Occa- 
sionally too, she may have been benefited by a 
passing glimpse of some gifted person. One 






MRS. HEMANS. 21 

hour of such an angel visit does more to unfold 
and assist the mind at that time of life, when the 
spirit is almost tumultuously awake, than days, 
months of intercourse at a period of soberer 
age and experience. Words are treasured 
looks remembered chance thoughts take root 
in the heart, teeming with the principle of life ; 
while the very consciousness of being able to 
appreciate and value the society of those, who 
give forth their treasures to the young with a 
freedom and a warmth, which is checked by 
suspicion in their intercourse with the more 
sophisticated, has, in itself, a wonder-working 
spell, under the influence whereof the enthu- 
siast listens, remembers, combines, creates, 
and is hurried to that most delicious moment of 
life, when no difficulties darken the future, 
and, in the fulness of joy and inexperience, 
he feels within himself "Ed anche io son' 
poeta !" 

But to follow the digression yet a step fur- 
ther while such are the peculiar advantages 



22 MEMORIALS OF 

and pleasures which attend the youth of genius 
developing itself in seclusion, that condition is sub- 
ject to other influences to which it may be well, 
nay it is a duty for one to advert, who would trace 
out the poetic character with reference to the high 
destinies of the art. The same position which 
is most favourable to the imagination may be 
unfriendly to the general sympathies. The 
young recluse, feeling himself apart and alone 
in the right of his mindthe idol of a small 
and devoted circle, is too apt to throw himself 
exclusively upon peculiar veins of thought; 
too fastidiously to adhere to such objects alone 
as are dearest to himself, and thus feebly to prize, 
if not utterly to fail in gaining, the poet's highest 
attribute. He looks at the world from a distance, 
and can only fix his eyes upon those who tower 
above the common crowd : if he tolerates its 
murmur, it is for the sake of some fragmentary 
tones of music which mingle therewith. The rest 
of its inhabitants are to him "the common herd," 
the other sounds, a Babel of folly and discord, 



MRS. HEMANS. 23 

from which he loves to hide himself in the plea- 
sure gardens of his own fancy. And he turns 
away with a generous, but short-sighted scorn 
from the small pleasures and small cares of com- 
mon life ; forgetting that, inasmuch as the use 
of monastic religion and monastic learning has 
passed away with the feudal days of nobles and 
villains, it is not only wise for his own spirit, but 
incumbent upon him as the steward of a noble 
heritage, to do something besides toiling in this 
retired fairyland of his own that he is bound to 
labour in the wider, though less congenial, fields 
of human life and affection, which are peopled 
with the homely as well as the elegant the 
weak as well as the strong. 

A man cannot far advance on his pilgrimage 
without his views becoming widened by that 
actual collision with life which a woman can rarely 
experience : yet how many a one is there, who, on 
the plea of the loneliness of genius, has never 
known the strength and joy of his own spirit, 
and has passed away like the vapour of the 



24 MEMORIALS OF 

morning ! But for one of the gentler sex, 
shielded as she is by her position in society 
engrossed by affections which colour every ob- 
ject coming within their circle there is always 
too great a danger of being too exclusive 
in her devotions ; without to these conditions 
being added, that of retirement from the world to 
confirm her in hero-worship solely offered to the 
great and gifted to encourage her undue shrink- 
ing from all that jars upon her highly-wrought 
and sensitive feelings. 

It would be difficult, were the whole range of 
our imaginative literature searched through, 
to discover a more perfect illustration of the 
above remarks than is to be found in the works 
of Mrs. Hemans, and in the progress of mind 
they register. That she did only a partial 
justice to her powers, must be admitted by all 
who ever held friendly intercourse with her : 
they will feel, too, that she was summoned away 
at the moment when she might, and must have 
risen higher than she had ever done before. 



MRS. HEMANS. 25 

Her first works are purely classical or purely ro- 
mantic ; their poems may be compared to antique 
groups of sculpture, or the mailed ornamental 
figures of the middle ages set in motion. As she 
advanced on her way, sadly learning the while 
the grave lessons which time and trial teach, her 
songs breathed more reality and less of romance ; 
the too exclusive and feverish reverence for high 
intellectual or imaginative endowment, yielded 
to a calmness, and a cheerfulness, and a willing- 
ness more and more, not merely to speculate 
upon, but to partake of the "beauty in our 
daily paths." . Had she lived to bring these yet 
more fully to bear upon the stores of knowledge 
she had heaped up, she would have produced 
a work as far superior to any she has left us, as 
her own latest lyrics and scenes exceed the prize 
poems of her girlhood : the first frigid exercises 
of a timid and trammelled writer. 

Miss Browne had not long emerged from 
infancy, when the circumstance of a near and 
dear member of her family being engaged 

VOL, i. c 



26 MEMORIALS OF 

in the Peninsular campaign, wakened some of 
her strongest individual feelings ; her attention 
being drawn (as was often the ease) through 
the medium of her affections, to the literature 
and the scenery and the chivalry of Spain, 
with which her fancy delighted to associate the 
career and the achievements of those she loved. 
While she shrunk with more than ordinary femi- 
nine timidity from any bodily pain, refusing 
even to submit to the trifling suffering of having 
her ears prepared to admit ear-rings her mind 
wrought incessantly upon scenes of heroic enter- 
prise and glory ; her cherished images of con- 
templation were the camp, the hold, the skir- 
mish, and the English flag triumphant over 
all. One of her favourite ornaments at a later 
period of life was the cross of the Legion of ho- 
nour, taken on some Spanish battle-field. Among 
her best loved poems were Campbell's glorious 
odes, and she could never repeat those two lines, 

Now joy, old England ! raise 
In the triumph of thy might ! 



MRS. HEMANS. 27 

without the blood rising into her cheek, and her 
eye kindling. Yet this engrossing delight in mili- 
tary glory was far different from the common 
school-girl's love of a red coat ; in nothing can 
I trace that common-place frivolity of tempera- 
ment upon which the noise of drums beaten, and 
the flare of streaming colours, act as a stimulus.* 

* It is beautiful to remark in many of Mrs. Hemans' 
poems, the mingling of all that is true, and gentle, and 
deep in feeling, with all that is most glowing in 
imagery. Though her muse, to borrow the expression 
as striking as true, of one, himself a thorough master 
of the magnificent, "sweeps through even the most 
flowery paths" she wears under all her robes of 
triumph, the pitying heart of a woman. Thus, how 
entire is the contrast between these two stanzas of 
" The Illuminated City" 

I passed through the streets ; there were throngs on 

throngs 

Like sounds of the deep were their mingled songs ; 
There was music forth from each palace borne 
A peal of the cymbal, the harp, and horn ; 

c2 



28 MEMORIALS OF 

She had little taste for mere pageantry. When 
she visited London as a child, she did not enjoy 
its crowds and gaiety. In a fragment of a very early 
letter which is before me, she describes herself as 
" satiated with opera, park, and play, and long- 
ing to get away much more than she ever did to 
come." This, it is true, may not have been 
wholly natural; for there are many, who, 
full of youthful enthusiasm, and scrupulously 



The forests heard it, the mountains rang, 
The hamlets woke to its haughty clang : 
Rich and victorious was every tone, 

Telling the land of her foes o'erthrown. 

* * * * * * 

Didst thou meet not a mourner for all the slain ? 

Thousands lie dead on their battle plain ! 

Gallant and true were the hearts that fell, 

Grief in the homes they have left must dwell ; 

Grief on the aspect of childhood spread, 

And bowing the beauty of woman's head : 

Didst thou hear, midst the songs, not one tender moan, 

For the many brave to their slumbers gone ? 



MRS. HEMANS. 29 

delicate in conscience, are ashamed of seeming 
to take undue pleasure in any thing arti- 
ficial; but the supposition is, perhaps, unjust. 
In after life she often described the delight 
with which the great works of art (particularly 
of sculpture) had then impressed her. When 
first led into a gallery of statues, she exclaimed 
to those who accompanied her, " O hush ! don't 
speak ! " These two ruling inspirations of 
chivalry and art, all but exclusively divided her 
attention in her earliest works. A poem, called 
" England and Spain," was translated into 
Spanish; of another, of which I can find no 
trace in print, she speaks in the following letter, 
which contains the germ of the thoughts, habits, 
and impulses of many a future year. 

"Dec. 19th, 1808. 

" The severe indisposition from which I have 
just recovered, has prevented me, my dear aunt, 
from fulfilling, so early as I could have wished, 
my promise of writing to you : I have suffered 






30 MEMORIALS OF 

much pain, and should have continued an invalid 
much longer, but for the unremitting care and 
attention of my dear mother : my illness was 
a fever, entirely occasioned by cold. 1 can now 
appreciate the full value of health, and feel my 
heart glow with gratitude to the good Supreme, 
who bestows upon me so inestimable a blessing ; 
so true it is, in the words of Shakspeare, c that 
what we have we prize not to the worth, while 
we possess it.' I am now quite restored, and 
my mind has recovered its usual energies. I 
never felt a more ardent emulation in the pur- 
suit of excellence than at present. Knowledge, 
virtue, and religion, are the exalted objects of 
my enthusiastic wishes and fervent prayers, in 
which I know you will unite with me. 

" You have, I know, perused the papers (as I 
have done,) with anxiety, though, perhaps, 
without the tremors which I continually experi- 
ence. The noble Spaniards ! surely, surely, 
they will be crowned with success : I have never 
given up the cause, notwithstanding the late 



MRS. HEMANS. 31 

disastrous intelligence ; but I think their pros- 
pects begin to wear a brighter appearance, and 
we may hope that the star of freedom, though 
long obscured by clouds, will again shine with 
transcendent radiance. You will smile, my 
dear aunt, but you know not what an enthusiast 
I am in the cause of Castile and liberty : my 
whole heart and soul are interested for the 
gallant patriots, and though females are forbidden 
to interfere in politics, yet as I have a dear, dear 
brother, at present on the scene of action, I may 
be allowed to feel some ardour on the occasion. 

;.v , * ' ;* " You see I am 
writing on the anniversary of George's birth- 
day; and I know you will pray that every year 
may see his progress in virtue and true heroism. 
I am proud that he is at present on the theatre 
of glory; and I hope he will have an oppor- 
tunity of signalizing his courage, and of proving 
an honour to his family and an ornament to his 
profession. I am this very moment wishing 

that I possessed a small portion of that patience 



3*2 MEMORIALS OF 

with which my mother is so eminently gifted, 
for the paper is not yet arrived, and you may 
imagine the petulance of your little obstre- 
perous niece. 9 I have been reading a most 
delightful French romance, by Madame de 
Genlis, 6 Le Siege de la Rochelle f you would 
be in raptures with it. . . . :. ; 
I think it excels < Corinne,' which is certainly 
bestowing a very high eulogium upon any work. 
Lady Kirkwall paid us a long and highly agree- 
able visit a few days ago, and brought me these 
volumes, which I have perused with such enthu- 
siasm : she bestowed great commendation upon 
'Valour and Patriotism,' and I hope it will 
justify her encomiums. I had a letter from 
Major Cox, dated 16th of November, and from 
Madrid : he wrote in good spirits, and looked 
forward to the ultimate success of the Spanish 
cause. Glorious, glorious Castilians ! may 
victory crown your noble efforts. Excuse me 
for dwelling so much on this subject ; for Spain 
is the subject of my thoughts and words ( my 



MRS. HEMANS. 33 

dream by night, my vision of the day .' Can 
you be surprised at my enthusiasm ? My head 
is half turned, but still steady enough to assure 
you that I remain ever, my dearest aunt, 
" Your attached and affectionate 

FELICIA." 

I cannot but point to the above letter as a 
remarkable instance of the growth and refine- 
ment of taste which must, as life advances, take 
place even in the most exquisitely gifted. No one 
would have smiled more certainly than its writer, 
had she heard, in later years, " Le Siege de la 
Rochelle " placed higher than " Corinne." Some 
of her preferences, however, continued unchanged 
throughout her life. Froissart, a favourite book 
of her early days, was never deposed in her 
esteem by any other chronicler of the chivalrous 
ages ; and in one of her latest sonnets, she has 
left us a record of the delight she found in that 
most simple and sweet of all French romances, 
Paul and Virginia. 

c 5 



34 MEMORIALS OF 

O gentle story of the Indian isle ! 

I loved thee in my lonely childhood well. 

On the sea-shore, when day's last purple smile 
Slept on the waters, and their hollow swell 
And dying cadence lent a deeper spell 

Unto thine ocean pictures * * * 

Something should now be said of Miss Browne's 
earliest poems. It would be unfair to test the 
sincerity and strength of the early strivings of a 
mind, such as is shown in the foregoing fragments 
and anecdotes, by the excellence of its first fruits. 
The very consciousness of being possessed of 
the poet's gift (were it even possible in its 
utterance to dispense with the cultivation of 
study and meditation) is at first so bewil- 
dering as to hinder genius from aught save a 
dim and feeble developement : and it is more 
by watching the tenor of their lives, by ob- 
serving the tendency of their tastes and anti- 
pathies, than by anatomizing productions purely 
imitative, that the genuine poet is to be singled 
out from the herd of " clever children." Thus, 



MRS. HEMANS. 35 

in the two volumes published by Miss Browne, 
the first bearing the date of 1808, and contain- 
ing some verses written by her when only nine 
years of age, the second, entitled "The Do- 
mestic Affections," published in the year 1812, 
there is, as might be expected, no indivi- 
duality discernible, save, perhaps, in the choice 
of subject, and a singular harmony and finish of 
numbers : on the other hand, we find in them 
none of those starts and conceits and extrava- 
gances, upon the mistaken strength whereof a 
real weakness not a few audacious young spirits 
have claimed to be numbered among "the 
" starry ones," a claim never to be confirmed 
by the efforts of their riper years. Many of the 
verses in the first-mentioned volume, which is 
inscribed to Lady Kirkwall, contain those little 
birthday compliments, addresses to attached re- 
lations, and expressions of affection, or regret, in 
which the young delight to exercise their newly- 
discovered power. A single specimen will suf- 
fice, from the poems of a more purely fanciful 
character. 



36 MEMORIALS OF 



FAIRY SONG. 

All my life is joy and pleasure, 
Sportive as my tuneful measure ; 
In the rose's cup I dwell, 
Balmy sweets perfume my cell ; 
My food the crimson, luscious cherry, 
And the vine's luxurious berry ; 
The nectar of the dew is mine, 
Nectar from the flowers divine. 
And when I join the fairy band, 
Lightly tripping hand in hand, 
By the moonlight's quivering beam, 
In concert with the dashing stream ; 
Then my music leads the dance, 
When the gentle fays advance ; 
And oft thy numbers on the green 
Lull to rest the fairy queen. 
All my life is joy and pleasure, 
Sportive as my airy measure. 

This collection of her earliest poems was 
almost the only one of her works for the sake of 
which Mrs. Hemans had to taste the gall as well 



MRS. HEMANS. 37 

as the honey of criticism. An unkind review to 
which they gave occasion, so affected her, as to 
confine her to her bed for several days. It is 
possible, however, that its severity, by suggesting 
to her the necessity of study, and meditation, 
and unflagging devotion, may have been salu- 
tary; for some progress is achieved in the 
second and smaller volume to which I have re- 
ferred. Warlike themes diversify the gentler ones 
to love and duty : " The Bards to the Soldiers 
of Caractacus," "The Angel of the Sun," "The 
Dying Gladiator," and other poems of equally 
high-sounding title, stand side by side with " The 
Ruin and its Flowers," "The Mountaineer's 
Song," and "The Domestic Affections." The 
imagery of these poems, though in no respect 
newer than in those of an earlier date, is col- 
lected from sources more widely distant : their 
colouring, too, indicates an increased strength 
of hand their versification is cast into a greater 
variety of metre. But here, too, it would be 
inexpedient to linger, and wearisome to offer 



38 MEMORIALS OF 

any very extensive extract. Perhaps the best 
sustained of these poems is the one entitled 
" War and Peace," written in the stately heroic 
measure, and containing allusion and simile and 
apostrophe according to the most approved 
forms. But some of the minor pieces are less 
like a formal exercise, and more closely prophetic 
of the style in which the poetess was on a future 
day so signally to excel; and the following 
verses rise above the average merit of the fugi- 
tive poetry of the day. 

THE RUIN AND ITS FLOWERS. 

Sweets of the wild, that breathe and bloom 

On this lone tower, this ivy'd wall ; 
Lend to the gale a rich perfume, 

And grace the ruin in its fall ; 
Though doom'd, remote from careless eye, 
To smile, to flourish, and to die, 

In solitude sublime, 
Oh ! ever may the spring renew 
Your balmy scent and glowing hue, 

To deck the robe of Time ! 



MRS. HEMANS. 

Breathe fragrance ! breathe, enrich the air, 

Though wasted on its wing unknown ! 
Blow flowerets ! blow, though vainly fair, 

Neglected and alone ! 

These towers that long withstood the blast, 
These mossy towers are mouldering fast, 

While Flora's children stay ; 
To mantle o'er the lonely pile, 
To gild destruction with a smile, 

Arid beautify decay I 



Lorn echo of these mouldering walls, 
To thee no festal measure calls ; 
No music through the desert-halls 

Awakes thee to rejoice ! 
How still thy sleep, as death profound, 
As if, within this lonely round, 
A step, a note, a whisper d sound, 

Had ne'er aroused thy voice ! 



Thou hear'st the zephyr, murmuring, dying ; 
Thou hear'st the foliage, waving, sighing ; 
But ne'er again shall harp, or song, 
These dark, deserted courts along, 



40 MEMORIALS OF 

Disturb thy calm repose ; 
The harp is broke, the song- is fled, 
The voice is hush'd, the bard is dead ! 
And never shall thy tones repeat 
Or lofty strain, or carol sweet, 

With plaintive close. 



The foregoing stanzas have been purposely 
selected at random. I am not aware of much 
poetry produced at so early an age as their 
writer's, by the side of which they may not wor- 
thily stand. When their author again appeared 
before the pubh'c, her mind had received much 
and various cultivation; she had then,, too, taken, 
though so young, that most important step in 
life, which introduced her to the cares, and 
anxieties, and affections of maternity. 



MRS. HEMANS. 41 



CHAPTER II. 

Miss Browne's marriage Her retirement from the 
world Her Translations Her Prize Poems Her 
humorous Poetry "The Mineralogist" The "Tales 
and Historic Scenes" The " Sceptic " " Modern 
Greece" Intercourse with Bishop Heber His 
remarks on a Poem in progress Notices of the 
"Vespers of Palermo," with Letters to the Rev. 
H. H. Milman The "Welsh Melodies." 

IN the year 1812, Miss Browne was married to 
Captain Hemans of the Fourth Regiment. This 
union may be said to have closed, shortly before 
the birth of a fifth son, by a protracted separa- 
tion. " Unfortunately," to use the words of a 
very slight biographical sketch prefixed to the 
volume of Poetical Remains recently published, 



42 MEMORIALS OF 

" Captain Hemans' health had been undermined 
by the vicissitudes of a military life ; more 
particularly by the hardships he had endured in 
the disastrous retreat upon Corunna, and by 
the fever which proved fatal to many of our 
troops in the Walcheren expedition. Indeed, to 
such an extent was this breaking up, as to ren- 
der it necessary for him, a few years after his 
marriage, to exchange his native climate for the 
milder sky of Italy." Mrs. Hemans, whose 
literary pursuits rendered it advisable for her 
not to leave England, remained with her family, 
now removed to Bronwylfa, a pleasant residence 
in the neighbourhood of St. Asaph. 

The memorials permitted to me of this part 
of Mrs. Hemans' life, though less copious and 
minute than those which illustrate the period of 
personal intercourse, are interesting, as consis- 
tently illustrating the mind whereof the master 
impulses and gifts had been indicated in her 
childish readings of Shakspeare in the apple- 
tree, her feverish delight in military glory, and 



MRS. HEMANS. 



43 



the quick and wayward temperament which 
made her enjoy the stolen summer evening's 
bath. The bud, the blossom, and the fruit, un- 
derwent no modifications of form and colour, 
save those of a natural and progressive expan- 
sion. That this developement was rapid, may 
be ascribed to the peculiar circumstances of Mrs. 
Hemans' position, which, by placing her in a 
household, as a member and not as its head, 
excused her from many of those small cares of 
domestic life, which might have either fretted 
away her day-dreams, and, by interruption, have 
made of less avail the search for knowledge to 
which she bent herself with such eagerness ; or, 
more probably still, might have imparted to her 
poetry more of masculine health and stamen, at 
the expense of some of its romance and music. 
But in pointing out the influences which gave 
to her writings their manner, by some thought- 
lessly mistaken for monotony it is a duty also 
to remark, that Mrs. Hemans' poems, though 
often deeply melancholy, and dwelling, it may 



44 MEMORIALS OF 

be, a little too exclusively upon the farewells 
and regrets of life upon the finer natures 
broken in pieces by contact with a mercenary 
and scornful world, are never morbid in their 
tone never convey a word or thought of ques- 
tionable morality. It has been truly said, by a 
contemporary writer of her own sex,* that " she 
never degraded the poet's art : if she even did 
not as well as under more fortunate circum- 
stances she might have done, she never published 
any thing that might not be said to make a ne- 
cessary part of her poetic reputation : like a 
noble building of finely-wrought free-stone, 
though one stone closely resembles another, all 
go together to make a magnificent and solid 
whole. Her sympathies were with our human 
nature, as exhibited under suffering, or through 
the affections. I do not remember a single 
poem in which the incidents were of vice, even 

* In a private letter written upon receiving the news 
of Mrs. Hemans' death. 



MRS. HEMANS. 45 

to work a moral through them; it was the 
highest virtue, the most tried and enduring 
affection, ahd the yearning of our spiritual na- 
ture after a higher and purer communion and 
existence, that inspired her. Such a series of 
poems as hers may, to a certain degree, be mo- 
notonous; but the soul that dictated them 
is wonderfully noble, and must be likewise 
pure." 

The desire for knowledge manifested by Mrs. 
Hemans, from her earliest age, has been already 
adverted to. She still continued increasingly to 
enrich her mind with treasure, gathered from 
the old classic authors, and the more modern 
writers of Italy and the Peninsula. Of her 
familiarity with the German language more will 
be said in its proper place. " The nature and 
manner of her studies," says her sister, in a letter 
which has materially aided me in the verification 
of several dates and incidents, " had at all times, 
to a common observer, somewhat of a desultory 
appearance; for she seemed to take in every 



46 MEMORIALS OF 

t 

thing, as it were, by intuition, and whilst flying 
from one subject to another, in what might have 
been thought the most puzzling way possible, 
each retained in her mind its distinct ' form and 
pressure,' and there was no fear of its ever being 
confused or effaced. I do not think I ever saw 
her with only one book within reach ; she was 
always surrounded by five or six, on every 
diversity of topic." Her versions from Horace 
and Camoens, an ode or two translated from 
Herrera, and some fragments from the Italian 
poets, remain to attest her familiarity with the 
several languages in question. Those who are 
interested in comparative criticism may find 
amusement in contrasting Mrs. Hemans' ver- 
sions from Horace, with Miss Seward's Para- 
phrases, in which the elder poetess complacently 
labours to give as much Darwinian embroidery 
as possible to the thoughts of the graceful 
Roman, and smiles upon her work, when com- 
plete, with the air of one who has accomplished 
notable improvements. Mrs. Hemans' success 



MRS. HEMANS. 47 

in translation, though sufficient to prove her 
familiarity, not only with the peculiar produc- 
tions of the writer she undertook to render, but 
also with the general spirit of his language and 
time, is not remarkable. It was during this 
period, too, that she contributed a series of 
papers on Foreign Literature to the Edinburgh 
Magazine; these, with some very few exceptions, 
being the only prose compositions ever produced 
by her. 

Her two prize poems, " Wallace," and 
" Dartmoor," the latter of which received its 
honour at the hands of the Royal Society of 
Literature in the year 1821, may be also re- 
ferred to this time of transition ; and with them, 
" The Restoration of the Works of Art to 
Italy." Though all these poems were more or 
less successful, an enumeration of them is suffi- 
cient; for they must be considered as the 
exercises, rather than the effusions, of a mind, 
as distrustful of its own power, as it was filled 
almost to overflowing. Occasionally, too, she 



48 MEMORIALS OF 

gave way, in her verse, to her livelier humour 
the same which in a freak had absolutely made 
her set one side of a furze-covered Welsh hill 
on fire, when abroad on a party of pleasure. 
None, however, of her "wildnesses" (to borrow 
her own name for certain whimsical national 
tunes in which she took great delight) have 
been published. Many were destroyed as soon 
as the effervescence of the moment in which 
they were produced had subsided. The follow- 
ing, however, written in 1816, will be read with 
interest, as the sole specimen of her early at- 
tempts in this style of composition ever given to 
the public. As she grew older, her fantasies 
were spoken, not versified. 



EPITAPH ON MR. , 



A CELEBRATED MINERALOGIST. 

Stop, passenger, a wondrous tale to list 
Here lies a famous mineralogist ! 



MRS. HEM AN S. 49 

Famous, indeed, such traces of his power 
He's left from Penmanbach to Penmanmawr, 
Such caves, and chasms, and fissures in the rocks, 
His works resemble those of earthquake shocks ; 
And future ages very much may wonder 
What mighty giant rent the hills asunder ; 
Or whether Lucifer himself had ne'er 
Gone with his crew to play at foot-ball there. 

His fossils, flints, and spars, of every hue, 

With him, good reader, here lie buried too ! 

Sweet specimens, which, toiling to obtain, 

He split huge cliffs, like so much wood, in twain: 

We knew, so great the fuss he made about them, 

Alive or dead, he ne'er would rest without them ; 

So, to secure soft slumber to his bones, 

We paved his grave with all his favourite stones. 

His much-loved hammer's resting by his side, 
Each hand contains a shell-fish petrified ; 
His mouth a piece of pudding-stone incloses, 
And at his feet a lump of coal reposes : 
Sure he was born beneath some lucky planet, 
His very coffin-plate is made of granite ! 

VOL. I. D 



50 MEMORIALS OF 

Weep not, goad reader ! he is truly blest 
Amidst chalcedony and quartz to rest 
Weep not for him ! but envied be his doom, 
Whose tomb, though small, for all he loved had 

room : 

And, O ye rocks ! schist, gneiss, whate'er ye be, 
Ye varied strata, names too hard for me, 
Sing " O be joyful I" for your direst foe, 
By death's fell hammer is at length laid low. 

Ne'er on your spoils again shall riot, 

Shut up your cloudy brows, and rest in quiet ! 
He sleeps no longer planning hostile actions, 
As cold as any of his petrifactions ; 
Enshrined in specimens of every hue, 
Too tranquil e'en to dream, ye rocks ! of you. 

The " Tales and Historic Scenes," in which 
will be found the germ of many of Mrs. Hemans' 
more perfect and characteristic ballads and 
lyrics, were published in the year 1819; about 
the same period appeared " The Sceptic " and 
" Modern Greece." Though in each of these 
works something of progressive excellence and 



MRS. HEMANS. 51 

originality is to be traced, they are here dwelt 
upon only for the sake of an anecdote or two. 
" The Sceptic," it may be remarked, is the only 
poem, of a purely didactic character, ever 
written by Mrs. Hemans. The young are eager 
to enforce truth by zealous and direct exhorta- 
tion ; those of a mature age are willing to per- 
suade by illustration. But " The Sceptic," ' 
though in impressiveness falling far short of the 
glorious picture of a true faith and a stedfast 
mind triumphing over torture and death dis- 
played in " The Forest Sanctuary," was not 
without its effect and authority ; it called forth 
an anonymous tribute of some merit, probably 
the first of the many communications, some 
touching, some ridiculous, which she afterwards 
received, dooming the latter to instant burial in 
what she would playfully call her " chaos 
drawer." During the latter years of her life, 
too, Mrs. Hemans was visited by a gentleman, 
who, upon being admitted to her presence, 
thanked her earnestly for the serious benefit he 

D 2 



52 MEMORIALS OF 

had derived from " The Sceptic," to the perusal 
of which he gratefully referred, as having been 
greatly instrumental in leading him back from the 
very verge of infidelity. The poem of " Modern 
Greece," independently of its intrinsic beauty ^ 
possesses interest as having called forth an ex- 
pression of praise from Lord Byron, which is to 
be found in one of his letters. Her mind ap- 
pears about this time to have turned with a fond 
yearning towards this land of beauty and ruin ; 
and her own lyrics relating to its sorrows and its 
victories, and to what Bulwer has so happily 
called its " graceful superstition," may be charac- 
terised by the description applied by herself to 
the epigrams from the minor Greek poets. 
" They remind me," says she in a letter to a 
friend it is a pleasure to name her in association 
with so accomplished a scholar and so amiable a 
man as Archdeacon Wrangham " of the antique 
vases, with their exquisite tracery of leaves, and 
flowers, and joyous dancing figures."* 

* I cannot resist quoting- two verses of one of Mrs. 



MRS. HEMANS. 53 

It will be seen then, that Mrs. Hemans' name 
was gradually stealing forth into the world as a 



Hemans' later lyrics, as a most happy illustration of 
the above remark ; they are from the poem " And I too 
in Arcadia/' the first idea of which was suggested 
by a picture by Poussin, representing a pastoral group 
gazing upon a tomb, bearing that well-known inscrip- 
tion. 

" There is many a summer sound 
That pale sepulchre round ; 
Through the shade young birds are dancing, 
Insect- wings in sun-streaks glancing ; 
Glimpses of blue festal skies 
Pouring in when soft winds rise ; 
Violets o'er the turf below, 
Shedding out their warmest glow ; 
Yet a spirit not its own, 
O'er the greenwood now is thrown, 
Something of an under-note 
Through its music seems to float, 
Something of a stillness grey 
Creeps across the laughing day. 
Something, dimly from those old words felt, 
' I, too, shepherds ! in Arcadia dwelt !' 



54 MEMORIALS OF 

word of promise. At an earlier period, indeed, 
the fame of her beauty and extraordinary talents 



" Was some gentle kindred maid 
In the grave with dirges laid ? 
Some fair creature, with the tone 
Of whose voice a joy is gone, 
Leaving melody and mirth 
Poorer on this altered earth ? 
Is it thus ? that so they stand, 
Dropping flowers from every hand ? 
Flowers and lyres, and gathered store, 
Of red wild-fruit prized no more ? 
No ! from that bright band of morn, 
Not one link hath yet been torn ; 
"Tis the shadow of the tomb 
Falling o'er the summer bloom. 
O'er the flush of love and life 
Passing with a sudden strife ; 
'Tis the low prophetic breath 
Murmuring from the house of death, 
Whose faint whisper thus their hearts can melt., 
' I too, shepherds ! in Arcadia dwelt-' " 

Songs of Summer Hours. 



MRS. HEMANS. 55 

had travelled far enough to reach Shelley, who, 
being at that time filled to restlessness with a 
conviction of the importance of his daring and 
unpopular philosophy, addressed to her a series 
of letters, of which, I believe, there is no 
trace remaining. But the first literary character 
of any distinction, with whom she became fami- 
liarly acquainted, was Bishop Heber, who at 
that time passed a part of every year at Bo- 
dryddan, near St Asaph. " She was then, I be- 
lieve," say the notes to which this portion of my 
memorials is greatly indebted, " about five-and- 
twenty years of age, and had already distin- 
guished herself by her ' Restoration,' and her 
two prize poems. A more valuable friend for her 
than Bishop Heber, could hardly be found." 
She confided her literary plans to him, and 
always spoke with affectionate remembrance of 
his delightful social qualities, and with a deeper 
feeling of regard for his piety, as fervent as it 
was free from moroseness or sectarianism. So, 
also, she wrote of him, 



56 MEMORIALS OF 

* * * * 
Hath not thy voice been here amongst us heard? 

And that deep soul of gentleness and power, 
Have we not felt its breath in every word 

Wont from thy lip as Hermon's dew to shower ? 
Yes ! in our hearts thy fervent thoughts have burned, 
Of Heaven they were, and thither have returned. 

* * * * * 

I am enabled to give a proof (from his own 
hand- writing) of the high estimation in which 
the author of " Palestine " held, not merely 
the natural gifts, but the acquired knowledge 
of the young poetess and her powers of re- 
search. The note which accompanies the 
following interesting hints is not dated; but, 
from the formality of its address, must be re- 
ferred to a very early period of their inter- 
course. The poem, to which the remarks allude, 
was one in which Mrs. Hemans meant to dis- 
play the poetry of superstition, to trace out the 
symbolical meaning, by which the popular faiths 
of every land are linked together, and which 



MRS. HEMANS. 57 

tend so impressively to their coincidence. Pos- 
sibly, however, she may have shrunk from the 
research and illustration recommended to her, as 
involving too much labour: at all events, the 
poem was never completed. 



" After stanza 7, ' a slow-receding star,* some- 
thing might be introduced, perhaps, about 
Astrsea, or Righteousness, which the heathen 
poets described as a celestial virgin, who abode 
on earth till the commencement of the iron age, 
and then withdrew to the heavens and the con- 
stellation of the Balance. Like her, Religion 
left the world, and was only to be traced in the 
grand features of nature, which testified to their 
Maker's existence and power, &c. &c. 

" Perhaps you might also introduce some 
mention of the Tower of Babel, and Nimrod, its 
supposed founder, whose impious ambition led 
to the judicial confusion of tongues and disper- 
sion of the human race. This might introduce 
stanzas 8 and 9. 

D 5 



58 MEMORIALS OF 

"After stanza 12, I would certainly intro- 
duce the doubt which naturally arose in the 
mind of the savage, whether the blended pros- 
pects of good and evil in nature, might not arise 
from the struggle of a good and evil principle. 
Thus they saw poison opposed to nourishment, 
deformity to beauty, disease to vigour, death to fc 
life, evil to good ; and were ready to conclude, 
that there must be two opposing gods, the 
authors of such opposite phenomena. Hence 
as loftier or baser feelings prevailed in the mind, 
men were led either to address their hopes and 
thankfulness to the Fountain of Good, or to 
turn in fear or in malice, to deprecate the seve- 
rity or invoke the aid of the fountain of mis- 
chief. Hence, in all rude countries the sorcerer 
divides the respect of mankind with the priest. 
Hence the wizards of Egypt who contended 
with Moses, the woman of Endor possessed with 
a familiar spirit. Hence in Greece the Furies 
had their sacred groves, which hone might enter 
and live; into one of which CEdipus entered 






MRS. HEMANS. 59 

when an exile, and pursued by his guilty con- 
science. Hence the Thessalian witches, who 
smeared themselves with human gore and made 
philtres of the hearts of famished children ; hence 
the hags whose incantations were supposed by 
the Romans to have consumed, by instigation of 
Piso, the youth and life of Germanicus. Hence 
the witches of the middle ages, who invoked the 
Arch fiend, and solicited power from him to 
works of eviL In like manner the Laplanders, 
even now, sell the wind and the storm. The 
negroes deal in the horrible mysteries of Obi ; 
and the Cambrians have their cursing well; 
while in the villages of Scotland, the Devil has a 
plot of land set apart to him which is never 
flowered, sown, or grassed, but devoted to curs- 
ing and barrenness. So deeply laid in the 
human heart is that principle which the Magi 
embodied into a system ! 

" But while the base and sordid followed after 
slavish and horrible superstition, those of more 
lofty feelings and nearer akin to heaven, looked 



60 MEMORIALS OF 

to heaven and not to hell for light and protec- 
tion, &c. c Oh, marvel not,' &c. 

" After stanza 19, mention that the stars 
were supposed to exert their influences also 
during the day ; to walk the world and report to 
the Almighty the deeds of the evil and the good. 
So one of them is introduced by Plautus, as 
watching over the fortunes of two shipwrecked 
orphans. The stars were therefore among the 
earliest objects of worship ; with the Arabs in 
the time of Job, the Chaldeans of Babylon, &c, 
Zohara, or the planet Venus, believed to have 
been a woman, so beautiful as to have ensnared 
the angels Haruth and Maruth. (See Southey's 
Thalaba.) Hence the flattery of modern times 
introduced the names of the mighty of the earth 
among the constellations. The stars also kept 
an influence on the superstitions of mankind, 
even long after their altars had ceased to blaze, 
and men no longer paid them immediately their 
homage as to divinities. Thus judicial astrology, 
from Babylon and the Chaldees, penetrated to 



MRS. HEMANS. 61 

Rome, and thence through all Europe. Even 
statesmen who feared no God, such as Lewis 
XL, and the Regent Duke of Orleans, paid re- 
gard to such prognostics ; and the mind of New- 
ton himself was for a time fascinated by them. 
Even now, the planet Venus is identified with 
the Virgin Mary, as ' Star of the Sea,' and re- 
ceives an undue share of homage from the ma- 
riners of Spain, Portugal, and Sicily. What 
wonder, then, that in the ruder ages of which 
we are speaking, the stars and the host of hea- 
ven received the vows of the ignorant shepherd 
of Chaldea or Nineveh. 

' But when thine orb, O sun/ &c. 

" After 25, you may perhaps notice the 
punishment which these bloody and impure rites 
drew down on their votaries. First, the Canaan- 
ites, next the Phoenicians and apostate Israelites, 
last the Carthaginians, &c. Such were the 
abuses with which men profaned or rendered 



62 MEMORIALS OF 

more impious the blind idolatry which they paid 
to the sun, 

f But filled with holier joy the Persian stood,' &c. 

" After 28, certainly introduce Belshazzar, 
and as many more of the prodigies which ac- 
companied or foretold the fall of Babylon, as you 
may see convenient. Conclude with observing, 
how God made the growth of the religion of 
Zoroaster subservient to the security of his peo- 
ple, and describe the return of the Jews to 
Palestine. 

" CANTO ii. 

" Egypt, and Greece, and Rome : worship of 
demi-gods (their supposed miracles at Del- 
phos and elsewhere) its absurdities gave rise 
to the yet worse system of Epicurus Fall of 
Rome. 

"CANTO m. 
" Gothic superstitions Druids Odin 






MRS. HEMANS. 63 

Thor, &c. Fairies immortality of the soul 
more explicitly avowed by the northern nations 
than by the Greeks and Romans inferiority of 
all these religions to the true review of the 
present state of the earth the blindness of Mo- 
hamedanism and Paganism overspreading so 
great a portion of it, &c. 

" Anticipation of the complete triumph of the 
gospel. 

" Bodryddan, May 1. 
" Dear Madam, 

" I have in the preceding pages thrown to- 
gether all the hints which occurred to me as 
likely to be useful to your poem. I shall sin- 
cerely rejoice should any of them save you any 
trouble, or contribute to producing more lines 
as beautiful as those which I have already read. 
Your undertaking is certainly an arduous one, 
but 1 really think that its opening affords a 
very favourable augury of your final success. 
" Believe me, dear Madam, 

" Yours very truly, 
" REGINALD HEBER." 



64 MEMORIALS OF 

It was at Bishop Heber's instigation, that 
Mrs. Hemans first attempted composition in the 
dramatic form. He was her adviser in the 
"Vespers of Palermo" her next great effort. 
She began this drama originally without any 
idea of its being brought forward upon the stage, 
and would often say, that it would have never 
been completed, save for the encouraging in- 
terest taken in it by her gifted friend. The 
tragedy, when at last finished, was entrusted to 
the care of one, to whose kindness I owe the 
following letters. The uncertainties of the 
world behind the scenes, were, in her case, un- 
usually protracted : the playful yet patient 
manner in which she refers to her suspense, 
should be a lesson to the " irritable race," espe- 
cially when aspiring to that most difficult and 
brilliant of all literary honours a signal drama- 
tic success. 



MRS. HEMANS. 65 

" Bronwylfa, St. Asaph, June 19, 1821. 
" TO THE REV H. H. MILMAN. 

Sir, 

" I have many acknowledgments to offer, for 
the very kind interest you take in the success 
of my dramatic attempt, and also for the appro- 
bation with which you have honoured it, and the 
value of which, I trust, I can fully appreciate. 
The obligation is considerably enhanced, by 
your having taken upon yourself the task of cur- 
tailment, a kindness which I was only prevented 
requesting from you, by my fear of tres- 
passing too unreasonably upon your time and at- 
tention. I was aware of the happy talent pos- 
sessed by the managers, for striking out all those 
parts of the play, which might at all tend to dis- 
turb the comfortable tranquillity of the audience ; 
and I know in how distinguished a manner they 
had displayed this, their usual characteristic, in 
the instance of ' Fazio :' it is, therefore, a great 
satisfaction to me that the ' Sicilian Vespers ' 
should be in the hands of one, upon whose judg- 



66 MEMORIALS OF 

ment I can rely with entire confidence. In the 
advisability of the curtailments you recom- 
mend, I entirely acquiesce, and I should think 
that the opening scene between Procida and the 
peasants might also be abridged with advan- 
tage. I have only one objection to make to the 
omission of the scene between Raimond and 
Constance in the third act, I cannot help fancy- 
ing that if it were entirely left out, Raimond 
would seem rather less occupied in providing for 
the safety of his ' ladye love' than would be 
strictly chivalrous, and his interference in her be- 
half at the close of the act would appear almost 
a casual occurrence. I think I should prefer 
shortening that scene considerably, and making 
such alterations as would remove that appear- 
ance of betrayal which you have remarked, and 
indeed, not without reason. If, however, you 
are still of opinion that it should be altogether 
omitted, be assured that I shall feel perfectly 
satisfied with the decision. I am fully aware 
that the piece, in its present state, is consider- 



MRS. HEMANS. 67 

ably too long for the stage ; for which, indeed, I 
should never have ventured to offer it, but for 
the advice of Mr. R. Heber, who kindly favoured 
me with his opinion on the subject. With re- 
gard to the objection of my having transplanted 
Etna to the neighbourhood of Palermo, in de- 
fiance of all geographical authorities 5 I must 
frankly confess, that the idea of adhering to the 
unity of place never once entered into my 
thoughts. I really always looked upon the 
English drama as a ' chartered libertine,' which 
utterly disclaimed all such regulations, and 
thought that when once I had established my- 
self upon the island, I was as much entitled to 
the unlimited range of its domains, ' from the 
centre all round to the sea,' as Robinson Crusoe 
to the possession of his undisputed territories. 
I shall strictly adhere to your advice of conceal- 
ing my name, and trust that it will not yet be 
too late to secure the silence of the friends to 
whom I mentioned the subject, when consulting 



68 MEMORIALS OF 

them as to the best means of introducing the 
play to the managers. Should the secret tran- 
spire, notwithstanding my precautions, I trust 
the blame will not be laid upon feminine com- 
municativeness. I think Sir Walter Scott's 
recommending publicity is something like the 
Holy Clerk of Copmanhurst declaiming in praise 
of abstinence and on the virtues of St. Dun- 
stan's well. I fear the language of the piece is 
full of inaccuracies, from the great haste in 
which it was transcribed. I recollect that in 
the opening speech of the third act, the word 
' summon ' is repeated twice in the space of 
about three lines ; in the last instance, it should 
have been 'rally.'" 

TO THE SAME. 

I 

"Bronwylfa, October 12th, 1821. 
. . . " A late domestic affliction has pre- 
vented my paying, as yet, much attention to the 
alterations which I intend to make. As I cannot 



MRS. HEMANS. 

help looking forward to the day of trial with much 
more of dread than of sanguine expectation, 
I must willingly acquiesce in your recommen- 
dations of delay, and shall rejoice in having the 
respite as much prolonged as possible. I begin 
almost to shudder at my own presumption, and 
if it were not for the kind encouragement I have 
received from you and Mr. Reginald Heber, 
should be much more anxiously occupied in 
searching for any outlet of escape, than in at- 
tempting to overcome the difficulties which seem 
to obstruct my onward path. 

" With regard to the translation from the 
French Sicilian Vespers, as I have determined 
upon changing the name of mine, (which is 
to be simply ' Procida,') I trust they will not 
materially interfere with each other. It would 
be a source of serious regret to me, should mine 
be ultimately performed without Mr. Charles 

Kemble as you have inspired me 

with a most devout horror of the whole race 
of managers. I begin to look at them very much 



70 MEMORIALS OF 

in the light of so many Ogres, and to feel that 
it will be almost sufficient cause for self-gratu- 
lation, if I put my head into the wolf's jaws and 
escape unhurt My own inexperience in trans- 
actions of this nature, is just what might be ex- 
pected from one, whose life has hitherto been 
passed among the Welsh mountains. It is, in- 
deed, my only apology for the trouble to which 
I have been the cause of subjecting you." * * * 

TO THE SAME. 

" Bronwylfa, Dec. 5th, 1821. 
" My dear Sir, 

" I beg to offer you my sincere congratula- 
tions on your recent and most gratifying success, 
of which few have heard with more lively satis- 
faction than myself. Your recollection of my 
interests at such a time demands my warmest 
thanks. I have had the pleasure of receiving 
your letter from Oxford, and was much gratified 
by the intelligence it contains respecting my 
play, as I had always intended, and hoped, that 



MRS. HEMANS. 71 

Mr. C. Kemble would take the part of Raimond 
di Procida. * * * 

It was very much my wish in changing the 
name of the piece, to have called it < The Pro- 
cidij but it was suggested to me that such a 
title would be far too Italian for an English 
audience, and, indeed, the various corruptions of 
the name Fazio, would make me hesitate on 
such a point If, however, you should be of 
a different opinion, will you have the kindness 
to alter it into the above ? it can make no great 
difference, as even with the name as it now 
stands, I think I may be tolerably certain of its 
being turned into Prosody in a short time. 
. ; . . As for Vittoria, I dare say I shall 
have her transformed into a perfect Drawcansir. 
It will give me great pleasure if you think the 
piece improved by the various alterations I have 

made. I am, however, much too sensible of its 


many defects, not to feel extremely tremulous 

at the idea of its approaching trial. Whatever 



72 MEMORIALS OF 

may be the result, allow me to assure you 
how much I shall ever feel indebted to your 
kindness on this occasion, and with what grateful 
esteem I am, dear sir, 

"Your truly obliged, 

" F. HEMANS." 

Another fragment from the same series of 
letters, though not strictly relating to the drama 
in question, may here be introduced. 

" March 7th, 1822. 

* * "I cannot conclude, without 
expressing, however inadequately, the delight 
with which I have just risen from the perusal of 
the 'Martyr of Antioch.' It has added ano- 
ther noble proof to those you have already given 
the world, of the power and dignity which 
genius derives from its consecration to high and 
sacreol purposes. Never were the < gay religions, 
full of pomp and gold,' so beautifully contrasted 



MRS. HEMANS. 73 

with the deep and internal sublimity of Christi- 
anity. I could dwell upon many parts which 
have made a lasting impression upon my mind, 
did I not fear that it would appear almost pre- 
sumptuous to offer a tribute of praise so insigni- 
ficant as mine, to that which must have already 
received the suffrage of all who are entitled to 
judge of excellence." * * * 



"Bronwylfa, March 26th, 1823. 
" My dear Sir, 

"I feel particularly sensible for the consi- 
derate kindness which dictated your last letter 
to me. I .had been somewhat surprised, but 
not in the least uneasy on seeing Miss Mitford's 
play announced, as I felt satisfied that had any 
thing occurred to prevent the ultimate repre- 
sentation of mine, I might depend on you giving 
me information. With regard to the point of 
precedence, it is one to which I am wholly 
indifferent; my only anxiety is to be relieved 

VOL. I. E 



74 .MEMORIALS OF 

from the long suspense which circumstances 
have unavoidably occasioned." . . . 



At last, after all these changes, and caballings, 
and uncertainties, "The Vespers of Palermo" 
was brought forward at Covent Garden in the 
month of December, 1823: the principal cha- 
racters being taken by Mr. Young, Mr. Charles 
Kemble, Mr. Yates, Mrs. Hartley, and Miss F. 
H, Kelly. Much might be said of the causes 
which prevented this play from realizing, when 
represented, the high hopes which had been 
entertained of its success by those who had seen 
it in manuscript, were this the place for dis- 
cussing green-room matters, or for entering 
into a critical anatomy of its structure, and the 
manner in which the authoress worked out her 
original conception. To myself, I confess, that 
especially as it approaches its close, the " Ves- 
pers of Palermo " appears rather a collection 
of separate high-toned and striking scenes, than 



MRS. HEMANS. 75 

a display of conflicting passions inevitably de- 
veloping themselves in such a series of events, 
as must by their sequence and coherence work 
up the interest of the audience to the true 
tragic point. It is interesting to see how Mrs. 
Hemans bore the destruction of her long che- 
rished hopes. The following letter was written 
immediately upon her receiving the news of 
the tragedy being withdrawn. 



TO THE REV. H. H. MILMAN. 

" Bronwylfa, December 16, 1823. 
" My dear Sir, 

" It is difficult to part with the hopes of three 
years without some painful feelings, but your 
kind letter has been of more service to me than 
I can attempt to describe ; I will not say that it 
revives my hopes of success, because I think it 
better that I should 'file my mind,' to prevent 
those hopes from gaining any ascendancy : but 

E 2 



76 MEMORIALS OF 

it sets in so clear a light the causes of failure, 
that my disappointment has been greatly sof- 
tened by its perusal. The many friends from 
whom I have heard on this occasion, express 
but one opinion. As to Miss Kelly's acting, 
and its fatal effect on the fortunes of the piece, 
I cannot help thinking that it will be impossible 
to counteract the unfavourable impression which 
this must have produced ; and I almost wish, 
as far as relates to my own private feelings, that 
the attempt may not be made. I shall not, 
however, interfere in any way on the subject. 
I have not heard from Mr. Kemble, but I have 
written both to him and to Mr. Young, to ex- 
press my grateful sense of their splendid exer- 
tions in support of the piece. As a female, I 
cannot help feeling rather depressed by the 
extreme severity with which I have been treated 
in the morning papers; I know not why this 
should be, for I am sure I should not have 
attached the slightest value to their praise, but 
I suppose it is only a proper chastisement for 






MRS. HEMANS. 77 

my temerity ; for a female who shrinks from 
such things, has certainly no business to write 
tragedies. 

" For your support and assistance, as well as 
that of my other friends, I cannot be too grate- 
ful, nor can I ever consider any transaction of 
my life unfortunate, which has given me the 
privilege of calling you a friend, and afforded 
me the recollection of so much long tried kind- 
ness. Ever believe me, my dear sir, most faith- 
fully, 

"Your obliged, 

F. HEMANS." 



"The Vespers of Palermo" was afterwards 
produced in Edinburgh with much greater 
success than had attended it in the metropolis. 
Sir Walter Scott wrote the epilogue, and I 
believe the letters of courtesy, which passed 
between Mrs. Hemans and himself on the sub- 
ject, gave rise to their subsequent acquaintance. 



78 



MEMORIALS OF 



"I hear," says he, writing of the play, in his 
usual manly and unaffected style, " from every 
quarter most favourable accounts of its success, 
in which my country-folks have done more 
credit to themselves than you. I am really 
ashamed of your acknowledgments, having done 
so little to deserve them. I sent Mrs, Siddons 
an epilogue stuffed with parish jokes and bad 
puns, which her excellent speaking made pass 
current as the work of a better hand." 

Mrs. Hemans never spoke of her tragedy 
without gratefully recurring to the kindness 
and sympathy shown her during its progress, 
and upon its failure. She would say, too, that 
she rejoiced in being prevented by the latter 
from further turning her attention to composi- 
tion for the stage. As she advanced in life, her 
taste for the acted drama gradually decreased ; 
she thought that the decline of its popularity 
must of necessity keep pace with an increase 
of the refinement and cultivation of thought. 
But she never lost her reverence for, or delight 



MRS. HEMANS. 79 

in, our own noble old dramatic writers, or 
those of Italy, Spain, and Germany; and she 
would speak with enthusiasm of the many ad- 
mirable plays produced since the century came 
in how gloriously different in their passion and 
poetry how strangely different in their success 
from the efforts of the playwrights in those 
more palmy days of the stage, when the maid- 
servant, to excuse herself for weeping at Miss 
More's " Percy," pleaded, " Well, ma'am, and a 
great many ladies of quality did so too." Almost 
her greatest favourite among modern dramas 
was Miss Baillie's " Ethwald :" perhaps she 
liked this all the more for the association con- 
nected with it, of her having first read it among 
the ruins of Conway Castle. Coleridge's 
" Remorse," was another she would often men- 
tion, and she could never speak enough of his 
version of " Wallenstein," no translation, but a 
transfusion from one language to another, of one 
of the noblest works of modern times. A part 
of her indifference to the acted drama, may be 



80 



MEMORIALS OF 



ascribed to the seclusion of her residence, which 
prevented her from seeing the principal artists 
of the day. She never, I believe, witnessed the 
performance of any great tragedian, save Kean. 
To his splendid meteoric talent she did full 
justice ; she said that " seeing him act was like 
reading Shakspeare by flashes of lightning." 
"My dear madam," replied one in whose hear- 
ing she gave utterance to this fantasy, < but how 
could a flash of lightning last long enough to 
read a play of Shakspeare's by T 9 

The Welsh Melodies which first introduced 
Mrs. Hemans to the public as a song writer, 
had already made their appearance, as will 
be seen by the letters which follow. Some of 
them are remarkable for the melody of their 
numbers, in particular the song to the well 
known air, " Ar hyd y nos." Her fine feel- 
ing for music, in which, as also in drawing, she 
would have signally excelled, could she have 
bestowed the time and patient labour requisite 
for obtaining mastery over the mechanical dim- 



MRS. HEMANS. 81 

culties of these arts, assisted her not only in her 
choice of measures, but also of her words ; and, 
although, in speaking of her songs, it must be 
remarked that some of the later ones are almost 
too full of meaning to require the further cloth- 
ing of sweet sound, instead of their being left, as 
in outline, waiting for the musician's colouring 
hand, they must be all praised as flowing and ex- 
pressive ; and it is needless to remind the reader 
how many of them, united with her sister's 
music, have obtained the utmost popularity. 
She had well studied the national character of 
the Welsh airs, and the allusions to the le- 
gendary history of the ancient Britons, which 
her songs contain, are happily chosen. But 
it was an instinct with Mrs. Hemans to catch 
the picturesque points of national character, 
as well as of national music ; in the latter she 
always delighted. A fragment of a letter is be- 
fore me, written shortly after she had heard the 
Tyrolese minstrels. " What a spirit of the Alps 
breathes through all their wild mountain music ; 

E5 



82 MEMORIALS OF 

but it should be heard out amid rocks and tor- 
rents. It is like transplanting a forest pine 
into a parterre, to bring it into a room crowded 
with all the beauty and fashion of the vicinity."* 

* It was on this occasion that some one, (I believe 
Mrs. Hemans herself) asked Maria Rainer the com- 
mon question, whether she pined much for her own 
country ; her answer was, " Ich habe ein Kind dort" 
" I have a child there." 



MRS. HEMANS. 83 



CHAPTER III. 

Correspondence Queen of Prussia Welsh Scenery 
Welsh Melodies Bardic System Tieck Miss 
Baillie's plays Their female characters Iturbide 
Change of residence Poland "The Siege of 
Valencia," &c. " The voice of Spring" " The 
Hebrew mother" " Korner and his Sister " 
Letters to Mr. G. F. Richardson " The Forest 
Sanctuary" " The Records of Woman" Mrs. 
Hemans' eagerness in composition Rhyllon Her 
favourite dingle Her American reputation and 
friendships Anecdotes. 

THE following series of letters (kindly forwarded 
to me while these . " Memorials" were going 
through the press,) illustrates the years embraced 
in the last chapter. It will be seen that the 
lady to whom they are addressed was a judicious 



84 MEMORIALS OF 

and kind literary confidante. There is little to be 
added to the notices which they contain of Mrs. 
Hemans' studies, and wishes, and habits during 
the time above mentioned, one of the happiest 
periods of her life. The progress and develope- 
ment of the peculiar powers and fancies of her 
mind, may be as distinctly traced in her corres- 
pondence as in the works to which her letters 
refer. 

" Bronwylfa, Nov. 15, 1822. 

" My dear Miss , 

" Accept my sincere thanks for the very kind 
letter with which you have favoured me : allow 
me at the same time to assure you that any 
attention it might have been in our power to 
have offered you and Mr. - , would have 
been inadequate to express the warm interest 
you have excited in our minds. Believe me, 
the few hours we passed in your society, though 
so heavily clouded by recent affliction, will be 
long remembered both by my sister and myself; 



MRS. HEMANS. 85 

and, to use an expression of our old Welsh bards, 
we shall look back to them as to "green spots 
on thejloods" for our paths, in this retired part 
of the world, are seldom crossed by those who 
leave any deeper impression upon our memory 
than the little lines of yesterday. 1 

" I believe I mentioned to you the extraordi- 
nary letters with which I was once persecuted 

by ; he, with whom 'Queen Mab hath 

been/ It was rather a singular circumstance 

that the parcel in which Mr. 's work was 

forwarded to me, contained, at the same time, an 
elegy on the death of that deluded character, 
sent from I know not what quarter ; it was in a 
separate sealed packet, addressed to me, to the 
care of Mr. Murray, and whether meant as 
what the French call " hommage de VauteurJ 
or sent from any other person, I dare say I shall 
never find out ... 

" We are very happy that you find the Memoir 
of the Queen of Prussia so interesting. I met 
with a little German piece of poetry a few days 



86 MEMORIALS OF 

since on the subject, of her death, which struck 
me from its extreme simplicity, and enclose you 
a translation of it in the exact measure of the 
original.* I should have enjoyed crossing Pen- 
maenmaiir with you exceedingly; it is a favourite 
scene of mine, and always strikes me as one 
formed by nature to be consecrated to some 
heroic action. It has, most likely, witnessed 
many a conflict in days of yore, as there is an 
ancient British circumvallation round one of its 
peaks, and it is supposed to have been one of 
the strongholds of the country. My mother 
and all my family unite in every kind remem- 
brance to Mr. and yourself; and allow me 

to assure you of the regard and esteem with 
which I am most truly yours, 

" F. HEMANS." 

* " The Brandenburgh Harvest Song," published 
among the " Lays of many Lands." 



MRS. HEMANS. 87 

" Bronwylfa, Dec. 19, 1822. 



" My dear Miss 

" . . . . Although not born in Wales, my 
long residence here has sufficiently naturalized 
me to make your admiration of our mountain- 
scenery highly gratifying. I am no stranger to 
the country around Llangollen, and I dare say 
you know that its beauty and grandeur derive 
additional interest both from history and tradi- 
tion. The ruin which, I dare say, you remarked 
on the height of rather a grotesque rock above 
the valley of Llangollen, was formerly the resi- 
dence of a distinguished Welsh beauty, and the 
poem in which the Cambrian bard, has with 
much enthusiasm celebrated the perfections of 
the fair Myfanwy is still extant. I once passed 
through that scenery at night, when its sublimity 
was inexpressibly heightened by the fires which 
had been lighted to burn the gorse on the moun- 
tains. The broad masses of light and shadow 
which they occasioned gave it a character of 
almost savage grandeur, which made a power- 
ful impression upon my mind. 



88 MEMORIALS OF 

" I can easily imagine your indignation at the 
sight of stage-coaches amongst such scenery. 
You will, therefore, I trust, sympathize with my 
feelings on finding, upon my last visit to Conway, 
the ci-devant picturesque little island, in the 
midst of the river, metamorphosed into some- 
thing like a raised pie, for the better accommo- 
dation of the proposed bridge. I am not so 
moon -struck as to quarrel with civilized life, 
and all its advantages, but I own I should like 
occasionally to be transported to some scene 
where I might see what nature was, when utterly 
untamed, with her hair uncurled, and in all 
her original wildness " 



" Bronwylfa, January 31st, 1823. 

" My dear Miss , 

"I sincerely hope your anxieties on your sister's 
account have been by this time alleviated, and 
that your mind will daily become more tran- 
quillized in the improving prospect of her reco- 
very. The intensely cold weather with which 



MRS. HEMANS. 89 

we have been visited, must have been very try- 
ing to an invalid suffering from the complaint 
you describe. For my own part, I must say 
I delight in the utmost rigour of the winter, 
which almost seems to render it necessary that 
the mind should become fully acquainted with 
its own resources, and find means, in drawing 
them forth, to cheer 

' With mental light the melancholy day/ 

Soft winds and bright blue skies make me, or 
dispose me to be, a sad idler ; and it is only by 
an effort, and a strong feeling of necessity, that 
I can fix my mind steadily to any sedentary 
pursuit, when the sun is shining over all the 
mountains, and the birds singing 6 at heaven's 
gate ;' but I find frost and snow most salutary 
monitors, and always make exertion my enjoy- 
ment during their continuance. I am delighted 
with your enthusiasm on the subject of the 
Spanish war, the events of which are so asso- 
ciated in my mind with the most vivid recollec- 



90 MEMORIALS OF 

tions of my early youth, that I could almost 
fancy I had passed that period of my life in the 
days of Chivalry, so high and ardent were the 
feelings they excited. I shall be quite impatient 
for the entire perusal of Southey's work, which 
my brother is going to order for his library. 
As for . . .1 read enough to be quite satis- 
fied, (perhaps satiated would be a better word,) 

without proceeding further: except 

I do not know that I ever read any thing of his 
with pleasure. His poetry has, to me, such a 

sickly exotic scent ; if I may use such an ex- 

/ 

pression, it smells of musk and what butterfly- 
winged angels ! Compare them with Milton's, 
the ' severe in youthful beauty/ and do not 
they remind one of the gaudy Cupids with opera- 
looking festoons of roses, on a Parisian fan ? 

" I do not know whether I mentioned to you 
that I had been engaged, last summer, in writing 
words to our national Welsh airs which are just 
published. I found it a very interesting em- 
ployment, as i t made me acquainted with many 



MRS. HEMANS. 91 

traditions and legends of the country, some of 
which are extremely striking " 



In a subsequent letter allusion is made to the 
uncertainty which attended the production of 
the " Vespers of Palermo." " You will smile," 
it concludes, " when I tell you of my having 
stolen time to-day from much more serious em- 
ployments, for the very important purpose of 
making garlands for my little boys to dance 
with, as it is the birth-day of the youngest 
one." 

"Bronwylfa, May 14th, 1823. 

" My dear Miss , 

" I feel very sensible of the kind interest you 
take in my literary anxieties. If all my friends 
made as much haste to relieve them as you have 
done, I should have little to suffer from sus- 
pense at least, to whatever other pains and 
penalties ' the feverish being ' of an author may 
be subjected. I am very glad to find that you 



92 MEMORIALS OF 

have been made acquainted with the true causes 
of my tragic disappointment. It is also not a 
little pleasant to me that I am thus emancipated 
from the feeling of restraint under which, from 
the strict injunction of secrecy imposed upon 
me, (for what purpose I know not,) I found my- 
self while writing to you on the subject. I could 
really suspect, if it did not seem almost high 
treason against the lords of the creation, that 
this padlock had been fastened upon my tongue 
in order to leave theirs the uninterrupted plea- 
sure of first communication : however, be that 
as it may, I rejoice to have done with mystery, 
and to find myself, according to my favourite 
bardic expression, ' in the face of the sun, and 
in the eye of light.' Do you not think it was a 
noble motto for all the proceedings of our ancient 
Welsh bards? and the title also which their 
order assumed ' They who are free through- 
out the world,' has always struck me as being 
particularly fine. Some time or other I must 
try to make you acquainted with their magni- 
ficent principles and system ; that is, if you are 



MRS. HEMANS. 93 

not so already. How I have wandered from Mr. 
to our old Taliesin, (a much nobler per- 
sonage in truth, ) I really know not : but I was 
going to tell you, how much, notwithstanding my 
unavoidable disappointment, I had been gratified 
with Mr. Kemble's conduct throughout the 
whole transaction. He has shown so much con- 
sideration for my interests, and regard for my 
name, that I feel perfect confidence in his inten- 
tions as to the future. If ever I should write a 

play with a part expressly 

I shall certainly 

make it 6 out-Herod Herod.' He would, I should 
think, particularly like to represent an American 
Indian at the stake, or the Mexican emperor 
upon the burning coals; and in my opinion, 
there can be no real grandeur unless mind is 
made the ruling power, and its ascendancy as- 
serted, even amidst the wildest storms of pas- 
sion. I rejoice that you were so much pleased 
with the miscellaneous poems attached to the 
little work of which you have so kindly under- 



94 MEMORIALS OF 

taken the superintendence.* The ' Voice o f 
Spring ' expresses some peculiar feelings of my 
own, although my life has yet been unvisited by 
any affliction so deeply impressive in all its cir- 
cumstances as the one you have been called 
upon to sustain. Yet I cannot but feel every 
year, with ' the return of the violet/ how much 
the shadows of my mind have deepened since its 
last appearance, and to me the spring, with all 
its joy and beauty, is generally a time of thought- 
fulness rather than mirth. I think the most de- 
lightful poetry I know upon the subject of this 
season, is contained in the works of Tieck, a 
German poet, with whom you are perhaps ac- 
quainted ; but the feelings he expresses are of a 
very different character from those I have de- 
scribed to you, seeming all to proceed from an 
overflowing sense of life and joy. If you have 
never met with any of his poems, I will get my 
sister to transcribe some of them for you, (as 
my own time is so much limited,) on her return 

* "The LastConstantine,The Siege of Valencia/' &c. 



MRS. HEMANS. 95 

from Conway, where she is now with some old 
friends on a visit. 

" I have not yet seen the book you mention, 
' Captain Franklin's Journey,' but from your 
account it must be painfully interesting . Strange 
to say, I have hardly had time to read at all 
lately ; I seem to have been ' plunged into a pit 
of ink,' from which I am only now beginning to 
extricate myself. When I have quite regained 
my freedom from it, I hope to have the plea- 
sure of addressing you oftener; in the mean 
time believe me very truly yours, 

" FELICIA HEMANS." 



" Bronwylfa, May 15th, 1893. 
" My dear Miss , 

4< Have you seen a collection of poems by 
living authors, edited by Joanna Baillie, for the 
benefit of a friend ? She was kind enough to 
send me a copy, as I was one of her contri- 
butors : I mention it to you, principally to 



96 MEMORIALS OF 

call your attention, should you meet with the 
book, to a very fine translation by Sotheby, of 
Schiller's magnificent ' Lied von der GlockeJ 
a piece so very difficult to translate with effect, 
that I should have hardly thought it possible to 
give it so much spirit and grace in another lan- 
guage. The other poems in the volume are, I 
think, inferior to what might be expected from 
the high names of the authors : I was best 
pleased with Sir Walter Scott's and Mr. Mil- 
man's. I never, until very lately, met with a tra- 
gedy of Miss Baillie's, which is, I believe, less 
generally known than her other works ; * The 
Family Legend.' I was much pleased with it, 
particularly her delineation of the heroine. In- 
deed, nothing in all her writings delights me so 
much as her general idea of what is beautiful in 
the female character. There is so much gentle 
fortitude, and deep self-devoting affection in the 
women whom she portrays, and they are so per- 
fectly different from the pretty < un-idea'd girls,' 
who seem to form the beau ideal of our whole sex 
in the works of some modem poets. The latter re- 



MRS. HEMANS. 97 

mind me of a foolish saying, I think of Dide- 
rot's, that in order to describe a woman, you 
should write with a pen made of a peacock's 
feather, and dry the writing with the dust from 
butterflies' wings. Have you seen the lately 
published Memoirs of Lady Griseld Baillie? 
She was an ancestress, I believe, of Joanna's, 
and her delightful character seems to have been 
the model her descendant has copied in some of 
the dramas she introduces. I believe I never 
told you how fully I agreed with you in your 
opinion of the { Trials of Margaret Lyndsay.' 
The book is certainly full of deep feeling and 
beautiful language, but there are many pas- 
sages which, I think, would have been better 
omitted ; and although I can bear as much ficti- 
tious woe as most people, I really began to feel 
it an infliction at last. 

" With much regard, 

" Believe me very truly yours, 
" FELICIA HEMANS." 

VOL. i. F 



98 MEMORIALS OF 

"Bronwylfa, July 2nd, 1823. 
" My dear Miss , 

"I shall be curious to see Lord 

F. Gower's Translation of Faust.' It is a bold 
undertaking : that play has always appeared to 
me one of the most difficult in the German lan- 
guage ; some of the scenes are so bewildering, 
as to leave the author's views and intentions a 

complete mystery I have not forgotten 

my promise of making you acquainted, at least 
as far as may be in my power, with the princi- 
ples and system of the ancient British bards. 
The idea entertained of the bardic character ap- 
pears to me particularly elevated and beautiful. 
The bard was not allowed, in any way, to be- 
come a party in political or religious dispute; 
he was recognised so completely as the herald 
of peace, under the title of 'Bard of the Isle 
of Britain,' that a naked weapon was not allowed 
to be displayed in his presence. He passed un- 
molested from one hostile country to another, 



MRS. HEMANS. 99 

and if he appeared, in his uni-coloured robe, 
(which was azure, being the emblem of peace 
and truth,) between two contending armies, 
the battle was immediately suspended. One of 
the general titles of the order was, 6 Those who 
are free throughout the world,' and their 
motto, 'The Truth against the World.'" 



Further letters of the same series allude to 
a visitation of death in her family circle ; speak- 
ing of which Mrs. Hemans says, "You will 
be surprised to hear that I never looked on death 
before." A letter, bearing a later date, in which 
reference is made to the approaching represen- 
tation of the " Vespers of Palermo," is so similar 
in tone and expression to those addressed to 
Mr. Milman on the subject, that to insert it 
would be a fruitless repetition : the same reason 
makes it unnecessary for me to make use of a 
letter addressed to her actively kind friend, in 
which she mentions its failure. One trait, how- 

F 2 



100 MEMORIALS OF 

ever, deserves notice, as illustrating the ten- 
dency to hope, and to take comfort, which was 
so abiding a spring of her character to the last 
She describes the satisfaction she has found in 
the circumstance that the failure of her play 
has aroused a near and dear member of her 
family from the state of depression into which 
he had been plunged by the bereavement 
alluded to. 



"Bronwylfa, March 6th, 1824. 
" My dear Miss - , 

"I have been very much interested 

in your account of Iturbide, whose singular fate 
seems to afford matter for serious reflection. 
Can you tell me whether he is, as I have heard 
asserted, a descendant of the ancient Incas, or 
was the circumstance only invented to excite a 
romantic interest in his cause? I wish he 
would publish, instead of a memorial, a history 
of his life. The revolutions in a powerful mind, 



MRS. HEMANS. 101 

under circumstances so changeful and extraor- 
dinary, would, I think, be more impressive than 
those of an empire." 



" June 19th, 1824. 

. . . . " I am particularly obliged to you 
for the transcript of Iturbide's letter to his 
children, on which I set much value, it is so 
strikingly characteristic, and so full of the Spa- 
niard as well as the father. Your descriptions 
had taught me to feel so much interest in him, 
that I heard with regret of his return to Mexico ; 
I should think him so much more likely to be 
the victim, than the composer, of the disturbances 
in that country. I look forward with much in- 
terest to the promised article upon Chili in the 
forthcoming Quarterly. I had read that on Mexico 
with great interest, and thought that it must be 

by Mr. . I have heard nothing further on 

the subject of the 6 Vespers:' indeed I do not wish 



N 



102 . MEMORIALS OF 

that any attempt should be made to produce it 
in London, as I am convinced it could have no 
chance of impartial treatment after all that has 
passed. If ever I should try the fortune of the 
theatre again, I must endeavour to ensure the 
strictest secrecy as to my name till my fate shall 
be decided : there is a prejudice, I am satisfied, 
against a female dramatist, which it would be 
hardly possible to surmount. I send you some 
lines" which I composed lately on the first ap- 
pearance of summer. As I think a little piece 
of mine, 6 The Voice of Spring, 1 was a favourite 
of yours, I trust you may be pleased with this 
as a pendant to it. This letter will most pro- 
bably find you in Somersetshire, where I hope 
you have enjoyed something like sunshine, 
which I think cannot but have its influence on 
the mind and spirits, let philosophers say what 
they will. I have been making arrangements 
lately for placing my eldest boy at school, and 
intend taking him myself about the latter end of 
next month to Bangor, where he is to remain. 






MRS. HEMANS. 103 

It is a sort of epoch in a mother's life, which 
cannot but at first make her thoughtful, as the 
time of her own superintendence and influence 
over her child seems almost to end with this, 
his first entrance into the world, as it certainly 
must be considered. I shall probably make some 
stay in Caernarvonshire, as I shall be anxious 
to visit him once or twice in his new situation 
before I return home. If your sisters should 
be with you, pray offer them mine and my sis- 
ter's kind regards, and believe me always, 
" Very truly yours, 

"FELICIA HEMANS." 



Nov. 20th, 1824. 



" After the interest you had taught me to 
feel in the fortunes of poor Iturbide, I really 
was shocked, as you must have been in no or- 
dinary degree, by the sudden intelligence of his 
violent death. It was impossible not to feel that 



104 MEMORIALS OF 

his proposed attempt must be fraught with 
danger, yet there was something absolutely 
startling in so swift a transition from the pride 
of hope and enterprise to the end of all. Of the 
immediate circumstances which led to his death, 
I could obtain no clear idea from the newspapers 
in which I saw it mentioned, nor whether the 
act itself was sanctioned by the Mexican govern- 
ment. Perhaps you can tell me something of 
the fate of his widow and children. We are 
just reading Hall's work on South America, 
which you mention in your last letter, and are 
exceedingly interested in it. How truly may 
that be called a new world to which he intro- 
duces us ! I was particularly struck with his 
visit to the Araucanian territory, which the 
Spanish poet, Ercilla, has made a sort of classic 
ground. The noble character of General San 
Martin, which Captain Hall's temperate style of 
writing prevents our considering as the least 
exaggerated, is really, in our times and circum- 
stances, not less surprising than interesting, and 



MRS. HEMANS. 105 

engages every feeling on his side. I am at pre- 
sent engaged on a poem of some length, the 
idea of which was suggested to me by some 
passages in your friend Mr. Blanco White's de- 
lightful writings. It relates to the sufferings of 
a Spanish Protestant in the time of Philip the 
Second ; and is supposed to be narrated by the 
sufferer himself, who escapes to America. I 
am very much interested in my subject, and 
hope to complete the poem in the course of the 
winter. I remained some time in the Bangor 
neighbourhood about Midsummer, and had the 
satisfaction of leaving my boy quite happy at 
school, where he is making a rapid progress. His 
brothers are all well at home, where I hope their 
noisy steps and voices will long resound/' . . . 



" Bronwylfa, Jan. 26, 1825. 

" My dear Miss , 

" It appears so long since I have heard from 
you, that I have for some time past been inclined 

F 5 



106 MEMORIALS OF 

to fear some illness in your family may have 
prevented your writing. I shall be truly glad 
to know from yourself that this is not the case, 
and that you received my last letter in safety. 

You will find from Mr. that I am again 

likely to appear before the public. I cannot 
help feeling more anxiety than usual on the 
occasion. I believe it is the ill -nature ap- 
parently excited by the 'Vespers' which has 
disagreeably enlarged my knowledge of the 
world, and given me a timidity to which, at 
least in its present degree, I was before a 
stranger. But I have no choice, and cannot 
do otherwise than persevere in the course to 

which circumstances introduced me 

We, that is, my mother and sister, with myself 
and my family, intend to change our residence 
about the time of this event.* I am anxious to 
settle near some great public school, of which I 
could have the advantage for my boys. We are as 
yet quite undecided, but I fear our removal from 

* The close of April is the time referred to the 
event, her eldest brother's second marriage. 



MRS. HEMANS. 107 

this country is unavoidable, as its beauty and 
retirement, however dear to me, must not over- 
power in my mind, what I daily feel more and 
more to be the interests of my children. I some- 
times think it might be more advantageous to 
myself to reside nearer London, but I fear the 
expenses at Harrow or Eton would be too great 
not to overbalance the recommendations." . . . 



Rhyllon, Nov. 24. 

" My dear Miss , 

" I should have written to greet you imme- 
diately on your arrival, of which we have heard 
with sincere pleasure, but I hardly thought it 
likely that, with so many new and striking 
objects to surround you, you could have been so 
punctual to the purposed time of return. I owe 
you many thanks for your most interesting 
letter from Poland, which, besides the gratifica- 
tion such a proof of a friend's remembrance 
must always afford, gave me much information 



108 MEMORIALS OF 

with regard to scenes and people hardly better 
known to us than those of another hemisphere. 
How much and how delightfully must your 
store of ideas and recollections have been en- 
larged by this interesting tour! I believe it 
was the perusal of Campbell's ' Pleasures of 
Hope,' in early childhood, which first excited my 
feelings of sympathy for the Poles. My sister 
became acquainted with some of that nation 
during her residence on the Continent, and the 
deep and indignant sense they entertained of 
their country's degradation made much the same 
impression on her mind which it appears to 
have done on yours. Such a feeling, if general, 
is surely the best pledge of eventual deliverance. 
I hope we may expect, some day, to be in- 
structed as well as amused by the observations 

which Mr. must have made on his 

journey, and which must be well worth bringing 
before the public: the ground certainly affords 
ample room for an enlightened mind to expa- 
tiate upon, and is not, like that of Italy, so 



MRS. HEMANS. 109 

thoroughly beaten, that a person must be stupid 
who could not find his way over Alps and Appe- 
nines, and through the very streets of Rome, by 

the help of his predecessors alone I 

do not know what I can tell you of myself and 
my family that will at all repay you for the 
pleasure your late letters have bestowed upon 
me. Whilst you have been hearing new lan- 
guages spoken, amidst scenes of barbaric mag- 
nificence, as well as almost uncivilized rudeness, 
we have been quietly settling down into our 
new residence, planting roses, training honey- 
suckles, and keeping our grass-plots in order 
very delightful occupations certainly, but such 
as afford few materials wherewith to amuse our 
correspondents. That last word, however, re- 
minds me of an interesting letter by which I 
have been lately surprised from a Professor in 
the Cambridge University, New England. He 
informs me that an edition of my writings is 
wished for at Boston, and most kindly offers to 
superintend its publication. He has also sent 



110 MEMORIALS OF 

me some American works on religious subjects, 
with which I have been much pleased. I am 
very much obliged to Mr. for his kind- 
ness in procuring me the German books I 
wished; I shall also be glad to have De La- 
martine's Poems, of which I have heard a good 
deal, but do not possess them. I do not think 
I shall wish to have Die Goldne Vliess, as in 
general I prefer the romantic to the classic poetry 
of Germany. But perhaps you can tell me 
whether it is Jason's golden fleece, or the order 
of knighthood so called, which gives its title to 
the work, as the latter would be far more attrac- 
tive to me. . 



" The Siege of Valencia, The last Constan- 
tine, and other Poems," were published in the 
course of the year 1823. This volume was 
marked by more distinct evidences of originality 
than any of Mrs. Hemans' previous works. 
None of her after poems contain finer bursts 



MRS. HEMANS. Ill 

of strong, fervid, indignant poetry than " The 
Siege of Valencia :" its story a thrilling con- 
flict between maternal love and the inflexi- 
ble spirit of chivalrous honour afforded to 
her an admirable opportunity of giving utter- 
ance to the two master interests of her mind. 
It is a tale that will bear a second reading 
though it must be confessed, that, as in the case of 
" The Vespers of Palermo," somewhat of a mo- 
notony of colouring is thrown over its scenes 
by the unchanged employment of a lofty and 
enriched phraseology, which would have gained 
in emphasis by its being more sparingly used. 
Ximena, too, all glowing and heroic as she 
is ; stirring up the sinking hearts of the besieged 
citizens, with her battle song of the Cid, 
and dying, as it were, of that strain of triumph 
is too spiritual, too saintly, wholly to carry 
away the sympathies. Our imagination is 
kindled by her splendid, high-toned devotion 
our tears are called forth by the grief of her 
mother, the stately Elmina ; broken down but 



112 MEMORIALS OF 

not degraded, by the agony of maternal affec- 
tion, to connive at a treachery she is too 
noble wholly to carry through. The scenes 
with her husband are admirable some of her 
speeches absolutely startle us with their passion 
and intensity the following for instance. 

Love ! love ! there are soft smiles and gentle words, 

And there are faces skilful to put on 

The look we trust in and 'tis mockery all ! 

A faithless mist, a desert-vapour, wearing 

The brightness of clear waters, thus to cheat 

The thirst that semblance kindled ! There is none, 

In all this cold and hollow world, no fount 

Of deep, strong, deathless love, save that within 

A mother's heart. It is but pride, wherewith 

To his fair son the father's eye doth turn, 

Watching his growth. Aye, on the boy he looks, 

The bright glad creature springing in his path, 

But as the heir of his great name, the young 

And stately tree, whose rising strength ere long 

Shall bear his trophies well. And this is love ! 

This is mans love ! What marvel ? you ne'er made 

Your breast the pillow of his infancy, 



MRS. HEMANS. 113 

While to the fullness of your glad heart's heavings 

His fair cheek rose and fell ; and his bright hair 

Waved softly to your breath ! You ne'er kept watch 

Beside him till the last pale star had set, 

And morn, all dazzling, as in triumph, broke 

On your dim weary eye : not yours the face 

Which, early faded thro' fond care for him, 

Hung o'er his sleep, and, duly as heaven's light 

Was there to greet his wakening ! You ne'er smoothed 

His couch, ne'er sung him to his rosy rest, 

Caught his least whisper, when his voice from yours 

Hadlearn'd soft utterance; pressed your lip to his, 

When fever parch'd it ; hush'd his wayward cries 

With patient, vigilant, never wearied love ! 

No ; these are woman 1 's tasks ! In these her youth, 

Her bloom of cheek, and buoyancy of heart, 

Steal from her all unmarked My boys ! my boys ! 

Hath vain affection borne with all for this? 

Why were ye given me? 

But enough has been said to indicate, and 
my purpose is not to criticise. The volume 
in question contains, also, the "Voice of 



114 MEMORIALS OF 

Spring;" one of the first of what may be 
called Mrs. Hemans' fanciful lyrics, which pre- 
sently became as familiar as the music of some 
popular composer, when brought to our doors 
by wandering minstrels. It contains, too, the 
" Songs of the Cid ;" he was always one of 
her favourite heroes ; perhaps, among all her 
chivalresque ballads, none will be found superior 
to The Cid's funeral procession." The Last 
Constantine" is in her colder and more classical 
manner. 

It would be wearisomely superfluous to enu- 
merate the long series of lyrics which she now 
poured forth with increasing earnestness and 
rapidity, and without which none of the lighter 
periodicals of the day made its appearance. 
One or two, however, must be mentioned, as 
certain to survive so long as the short poem 
shall be popular in England. " The Treasures 
of the Deep," "The Hour of Death," "The 
Graves of a Household," " The Cross in the 



MRS. HEMANS. 115 

Wilderness," are all admirable. With these, 
too, may be mentioned those poems in which a 
short descriptive recitative (to borrow a word 
from the opera) introduces a lyrical burst of 
passion, or regret, or lamentation. This form 
of composition became so especially popular in 
America, that hardly a poet has arisen since the 
influence of Mrs. Hemans' genius made itself 
felt on the other side of the Atlantic, who has 
not attempted something of a similar subject 
and construction. " The Hebrew Mother " has 
been followed by an infinite number of sketches 
from scripture : this lyric, too, should be parti- 
cularized as having made friends for its authoress 
among those of the ancient faith in England. 
Among the last strangers who visited her, eager 
to thank her for the pleasure her writings had 
afforded them, were a Jewish gentleman and lady 
who entreated to be admitted by the author of 
the " Hebrew Mother." 

Perhaps, however, the most touching of all 
these shorter poems is the lyric, " Korner and 



116 MEMORIALS OF 

his Sister," the first in which, as far as I can 
trace, the influence of Mrs. Hemans' German 
studies is perceptible. " Her knowledge of 
the language, sufficiently to read and under- 
stand it," says her sister, " seems to my recol- 
lection things as far back as if she had been 
born with it; but I think that her great de- 
light in it may be dated from the year 1821, 
when I myself came home from Germany, brim- 
ful of enthusiasm, and with a good many books 
which were new to her ; and our brother, being 
then at the Vienna embassy, used to supply us 
most liberally with Deutsche Classiker (German 
Classics) of all sorts. I well remember the first 
thing we read together after my coming home. 
Though a trifle, it seemed like the spark that 
was to kindle a great flame. It was that little 
piece of Schiller's, the " Nadowessiche Todtenk- 
lage" (Nadowessian Dirge.) She was en- 
chanted with its melody, and particularly struck 
with that verse 



MRS. HEMANS, 117 

Wohl ihm er 1st hingegangen, 
Wo kein schnee mehr 1st!* 

the same idea with her own 

There shall be no more snow, 

in the " Tyrolese Evening Hymn." 

The three following letters, relating to the 
beautiful lyric in question, and giving Mrs. 
Hemans' own feelings with regard to its subject, 
were addressed to Mr. G. F. Richardson, the 
author of a Life of Korner, and of translations 
from his Poems. It may be as well to remark, 
that " Korner and his Sister " had been for- 
warded to the father of that fiery-hearted hero, 
and was by him translated into German. The 
poem called forth a few simple and heartfelt 
lines of acknowledgment. 

"Dear Sir, 
"A very few days have passed since I had 

* It is well for him, he is gone away 
Where there is no more snow. 



118 MEMORIALS OF 

the pleasure of receiving your interesting works, 
and I delayed writing until I could tell you that 
I had gratified myself by their perusal. I must 
first, however, thank you for the elegant lines 
with which you have honoured my name in the 
Life of Korner, and which cannot but render 
the work so much the more valuable to me. 
You have, I think, been particularly successful 
in some of the most difficult pieces, especially 
the wild " Sword Song," the pecuh'arities of 
which are so great, that I should have hardly 
thought it possible to give it so much effect in 
English. The " Fatherland," too, that beau- 
tiful and thrilling strain, loses nothing of its 
original free spirit in your hands. I sincerely 
hope that the success of this highly-interesting 
work may encourage you to proceed in the rich 
paths of German literature. Korner has ever 
been an object of peculiar enthusiasm to me ; 
his character is one of which it is impossible to 
read without a feeling almost of pain that such 
a spirit has passed away, with all its high and 



MRS. HEMANS. 119 

holy thoughts, and is never to be known to us 
on this side the grave. How mournful it seems 
to think of his aged father and mother surviving 
both their gifted children ! They would, I am 
sure, be deeply gratified by your intended 
tribute of respect to their sorrows, and to their 
son's memory. I know not the exact address of 
the father, but a copy directed to Monsieur 
Von Korner, and sent under cover to Madame 
de Schiilze, (cadette,) nee de Struensee, 78, 
Unter den Linden, Berlin, would be safely 
forwarded to him. My sister is in correspond- 
ence with this lady, and will write to prepare 
her for the arrival of the packet, which had 
better, if possible, be forwarded in the ambas- 
sador's bag. 

"I will not apologize for the mistake respecting 
your name, which has had the agreeable conse- 
quence of introducing to me your own elegant 
" Poetic Hours." Allow me to assure you, 
dear sir, of the pleasure I should have in seeing 
you here, should any thing induce you to 



120 MEMORIALS OF 

visit this country ; and believe me to be, very 
truly, 

" Your much obliged, 

" FELICIA HEMANS. 
"Rhyllon St. Asaph, July 25th, 1827." 



" Sir, 

"I beg to thank you for the great pleasure 
afforded me by your very interesting letter. I 
rejoice to find that you are in direct communi- 
cation with Korner's father ; it is a privilege you 
have well earned. The message you have had 
the kindness to transmit me from that revered 
old man delighted me much. I do read German, 
as you suppose, and could therefore fully ap- 
preciate its affecting simplicity. The idea of 
Korner's death-day struck my imagination for- 
cibly, and gave rise to the inclosed lines,* which 
I should be much obliged by your transmitting, 
* " The Death Day of Korner." 



MRS. HEMANS. 121 

with your own interesting memorial, to his pa- 
rents. Though the last anniversary of that day 
will have long been past before they receive the 
lines, yet I think it cannot but soothe them to 
find that it has been remembered in a distant 
land. 

" With sincere esteem, believe me, sir, 
" Your obliged and faithful servant, 

" FELICIA HEMANS. 
" Rhyllon, Sept. 7th." 



Dear Sir, 

" Allow me cordially to thank you for the very 
high gratification you have been the medium of 
procuring me. ' Theodor Korne^s Vater* 
it is indeed a title beautifully expressing all the 
holy pride which the memory of ' Die treuen 
Todten 1 * must inspire, and awakening every 
good and high feeling to its sound. I shall 
prize the lines as a relic. Will you be kind 

* The faithful dead. 
VOL. I. G 



122 MEMORIALS OF 

enough to assure M. Korner, with my grateful 
respects, of the value which will be attached to 
them, a value so greatly enhanced by their 
being in his own hand. They are very beau- 
tiful, I think, in their somewhat antique and 
treuherzig* simplicity, worthy to have proceeded 
from ' Theodor Korner's Vater.' I am very 
glad that he so fully appreciates your transla- 
tions, and enters into the spirit of your ideas on 
his son's works ; and sincerely wishing you all 
success in a career so well begun, I beg you to 
believe me, dear sir, 

" Your much obliged, 

" FELICIA HEMANS." 



It will be yet more clearly seen, from further 
portions of Mrs. Hemans' correspondence, with 
what devotion and gratitude she regarded 
German literature ; she spoke of its language 
as " rich and affectionate, in which I take 
much delight:" how she gratefully referred 
* True-hearted. 



MRS. HEMANS. 123 

to its study as having expanded her mind 
and opened to her new sources of intellectual 
delight and exercise. For a while, too, she 
may have been said to have written under the 
shadow of its mysticism : but this secondary 
influence had passed away some time before her 
death. It is not the lot of high minds, though 
they may pass through and linger in regions 
where thought loses itself in obscurity, to ter- 
minate their career there. The " Lays of many 
Lands," most of 'which appeared in the New 
Monthly Magazine, then edited by Mr. Camp- 
bell, were, we are told by herself, suggested by 
Herder's " Stimmen der Volker in Liedern." 
Her next volume was formed of a collection of 
these, preceded by " The Forest Sanctuary." 

Mrs. Hemans considered this poem as almost, 
if not altogether, the best of her works. She 
would sometimes say, that in proportion to the 
praise which had been bestowed upon other of 
her less carefully meditated and shorter compo- 
sitions, she thought it had hardly met with 

G2 



124 MEMORIALS OF 

its fair share of success: for it was the first 
continuous effort in which she dared to write 
from the fulness of her own heart to listen to 
the promptings of her genius freely and fear- 
lessly. The subject was suggested by a passage 
in one of the letters of Don Leucadio Doblado, 
and was wrought upon by her with that eager- 
ness and fervour which almost command corre- 
sponding results. I have heard Mrs. Hemans 
say, that the greater part of this poem was 
written in no more picturesque a retreat than a 
laundry, to which, as being detached from the 
house, she resorted for undisturbed quiet and 
leisure. When she read it, while in progress, 
to her mother and sister, they were surprised to 
tears at the increased power displayed in it. 
She was not prone to speak with self-content- 
ment of her own works ; but, perhaps, the one 
favourite descriptive passage was that picture of 
a sea burial in the second canto. 

She lay a thing for earth's embrace, 

To cover with spring-wreaths. For earth's ? the wave 



MRS. HEMANS. 125 

That gives the bier no flowers, makes' moan above her 
grave ! 

On the mid-seas a knell ! for man was there, 
Anguish and love, the mourner with his dead ! 
A long, low, tolling knell a voice of prayer- 
Dark glassy waters, like a desert spread, 
And the pale shining Southern Cross on high, 
Its faint stars fading from a solemn sky, 
Where mighty clouds before the dawn grew red : 
Were these things round me ? Such o'er memory 

sweep / ;.' 

Wildly when aught brings back that burial of the deep. 

Then the broad, lonely sunrise, and the plash 
Into the sounding waves ! around her head 
They parted, with a glancing moment's flash, 
Then shut and all was still. ... . 

The whole poem, whether in its scenes of 
superstition the Auto daFe the dungeon the 
flight, or in its delineation of the mental conflicts 
of its hero or in its forest pictures of the free 
west, which offer such a delicious repose to the 
mind, is full of happy thoughts and turns of 



126 MEMORIALS OF 

expression. Four lines of peculiar delicacy and 
beauty recur to me as I write, too strongly to be 
passed by. They are from a character of one 
of the martyr sisters. 

And if she mingled with the festive train, 
It was but as some melancholy star 
Beholds the dance of shepherds on the plain, 
In its bright stillness present, though afar. 

But the entire episode of " Queen-like Teresa 
radiant Inez" is wrought up with a nerve 
and an impulse, which men of renown have 
failed to reach. The death of the latter, if, 
perhaps, it be a little too romantic for the stern 
realities of the scene, is so beautifully told, 
that it cannot be read without strong feeling, 
nor carelessly remembered. And most beauti- 
ful, too, are the sudden out-bursts of thankfulness 
of the quick, happy consciousness of liberty 
with which the narrator of this ghastly sacrifice, 
interrupts the tale, to reassure himself 

Sport on, my happy child ! for thou art free ! 



MRS. HEMANS. 127 

The character of the convert's wife, Leonor, de- 
votedly clinging to his fortunes, without a re- 
proach or a murmur, while her heart trembles 
before him, as though she were in the presence 
of a lost spirit, is one of those, in which Mrs. 
Hemans 1 individual mode of thought and manner 
of expression are most happily impersonated. 
As a whole, she was hardly wrong in her own 
estimate of this poem : and on recently return- 
ing to it, I have been surprised to find, how well 
it bears the tests and trials with which it is only 
either fit or rational to examine works of the 
highest order of mind. But here, also, would 
criticism be impertinent. 

The next work of Mrs. Hemans, and the one 
by which she is most universally known, was the 
" Records of Woman," published in 1828. In 
this, to use her own words, " there is more of 
herself to be found " than in any preceding com- 
position. But even the slightest analysis of 
these beautiful legends would be superfluous ; 
suffice it to say, that they were not things 



128 



MEMORIALS OF 



of meditation, but imagined and uttered in 
the same breath; like every line that she 
wrote, as far as possible from being a studied 
exercise. It is true, that in some lyrics 
more than others, her individual feelings are 
eagerly put forth in those, for instance, wherein 
aspirations after another world are expressed, 
or which breathe the weary pining language of 
home sickness, or in which she utters her abiding 
sense of the insufficiency of fame to satisfy a wo- 
man's heart, however its possession may gratify 
her vanity or wherein she speaks with a pas- 
sionate self-distrust of her own art, of the im- 
possibility of performance to keep pace with de- 
sire. The fervour with which these were poured 
forth, seriously endangered a frame already un- 
dermined by too ardent a spirit, whose consum- 
ing work had been aided by a personal self-neg- 
lect, childish to wilfulness. So perilously, in- 
deed, was she excited by the composition of 
Mozart's Requiem, that she was prohibited by 
her physician from any further exercise of her 



MRS. HEMANS. 129 

art, for some weeks after it was written. Few 
more genuine out-bursts of feeling have been 
ever poured forth than the three following verses 
of that poem. 

" Yet I have known it long : 

Too restless and too strong 
Within this clay hath been the overmastering flame ; 

Swift thought that came and went, 

Like torrents o'er me sent 
Have shaken as a reedy my thrilling frame. 

Like perfumes on the wind, 

; ' ' T ' ! ' j . '. "i T f? > i :. 

Which none may stay or bind, 
The beautiful comes floating through my soul; 

I strive with yearning vain, 

The spirit to detain 
Of the deep harmonies tha't past me roll ! 

Therefore disturbing dreams T . 

Trouble the secret streams, 
And founts of music that o'erflow my breast; 

Something far more divine 

Than may on earth be mine, 
Haunts my worn heart, and will not let it rest. 

G'5 



130 MEMORIALS OF 

Most of the poems above referred to, were 
written at Rhyllon ; the last and most favourite 
of Mrs. Hemans' residences at Wales. Some of 
them will be found coloured by a shadow which 
had recently passed over her lot the death of 
her mother, To this, which she always felt as 
an irreparable loss, will be found not a few touch- 
ing allusions in many following letters. 

A small woodland dingle, near Rhyllon, was 
her favourite retreat : here she would spend long 
summer mornings to read, and project, and 
compose, while her children played about her. 
"Whenever one of us brought her a new flower," 
writes one of them, " she was sure to introduce it 
into her next poem." She has unconsciously de- 
scribed this haunt over and over again with 
affectionate distinctness ; it is the scene referred 
to in the " Hour of Romance," and in a sonnet 
which is printed among her Poetical Remains." 

Still are the cowslips from thy bosom springing-, 
O far-off grassy dell ? And dost thou see, 



MRS. HEMANS. 131 

When southern winds first wake the vernal singing, 
The star-gleam of the wood-anemone ? 
Doth the shy ring-dove haunt thee yet the bee 
Hang on thy flowers, as when I breathed farewell 
To their wild blooms ? and round the beechen tree 
Still, in green softness, doth the moss-bank swell ?" 

Many of the imaginations which floated 
through , her brain in this retirement, were lost 
in the more interrupted and responsible life, 
which followed Mrs. Hemans' departure from 
Wales ; when the breaking up of her household, 
on the marriage of one of her family, and the re- 
moval of another into Ireland, threw her exclu- 
sively upon her own resources, and compelled 
her to make acquaintance with an " eating, 
drinking, buying, bargaining" world, -with which, 
from her disposition and habits, she was ill fitted 
to cope. One of these unfinished works was the 
" Portrait Gallery," of which one episode, 
" The Lady of the Castle," is introduced in the 
Records." 

Before proceeding to a period which must 



132 



MEMORIALS OF 



have greater interest for the reader, inasmuch as 
these memorials will more exclusively consist of 
such as are furnished by Mrs. Hemans' own 
correspondence it may be well to allude to the 
fame which she had already gained in America by 
her writings. The circulation of these was almost 
unprecedented; and its influence, as has been 
already remarked, might be presently traced in 
the host of imitators that sprung up there. She 
took an honest and affectionate pleasure in the 
fame and friendship gained for her by her 
works on the other side of the Atlantic. The 
intimacy she formed with Professor Norton 
must be expressly mentioned, as being lasting 
and cordial. This gentleman undertook the 
superintendence of the publication of her works 
in America; and she justly regarded him to the 
last as one of her firmest friends. One of the 
first, if not the very first, of the communica- 
tions which afterwards became so frequent, was a 
packet, with a letter of self-introduction contain- 
ing offers of service which were well borne out 



MRS. HEMANS. 133 

by after performance. This was lost upon the 
Ulverstone sands by the party to whose charge 
it had been entrusted; and its contents dis- 
covered, drying at a little inn fire, by one who 
forwarded them to their proper place of destina- 
tion. Mrs. Hemans prized the letter, and the 
book which accompanied it a life of Mr. Charles 
Eliot all the more for the vicissitudes they had 
undergone before reaching her ; the book never 
wholly lost the traces of its submersion. With 
Dr. Channing, too, she was in the habit of a close 
and frequent correspondence : it will be seen 
how highly she valued his lofty cast of thought, 
and the beautiful holy morality inculcated in his 
noble writings by the frequent and almost re- 
verential mention of him in the following letters. 
And though no two people could differ more 
strongly in their religious and political views, (if 
her's indeed may be called views, which were, 
in fact, the involuntary reflections of the opinions 
of those nearest and dearest to her,) she was of 



134 MEMORIALS OF 

too generous a nature to be narrowed in her 
sympathies, by any differences of sect, or party, 
or nation. For the counsel of Dr. Channing 
she had the highest possible value; and I 
have regretted much that I have not permission 
to enrich my memorials by the letters which 
passed between them. 

It should be told, too, that so general was the 
interest excited in America, that a most liberal 
offer of a certain income, and still more, of a 
friendly welcome, was made to her, in the hope 
of tempting her to take up her residence in 
Boston, for the purpose of conducting a perio- 
dical. She would smile at her own unfit- 
r.ess for such an undertaking, while she felt 
with all her heart the flattering and substantial 
kindness of the proposal. While she was resi- 
dent in the neighbourhood of Liverpool, she was 
unceasingly sought out by American visitors. I 
remember seeing a beautiful girl from New 
York, as much excited and awe-struck at the 



MRS. HEMANS. 135 

thoughts of being admitted to her presence, 
as the Lady Fannys and Lady Bettys whom 
Northcote saw reverentially peeping through the 
door of the room where England's tragic muse 
was sitting " Her friends at home," said she, 
" would think so much of her, for having seen 
Mrs. Remans." Some of the intrusions and 
offers of service to which this American re- 
putation led, were, it is true, whimsical enough. 
One lady beset her, with a frame of family 
miniatures in hand, and, on parting with her, 
and remonstrating with her on the melan- 
choly tone of her poems, begged leave to 
introduce a substitute who would act in her 
absence as a counsellor and cheering influ- 
ence ; and, to use her own phrase, might be 
relied upon as a " perfect walking-stick of 
friendship." But such strange homage was any 
thing but exclusively transatlantic ; few, indeed, 
who have led a life so retired have been 
more buzzed about by the insect swarm, who 
love to make an idle noise in the neigh- 






136 MEMORIALS OF 

bourhood of the gifted, than Mrs. Hemans. 
The next chapter will treat of something far 
more genuine than such empty and capricious 
adulation. 



MRS. HEMANS. 137 



CHAPTER IV. 

Memorials of Mrs. Hemans' female friendships Letters 
to Mrs. Joanna Baillie Letters to Miss Mitford 
Letter to Mrs. Howitt Miss Jewsbury Brief notice 
of her life and writings First introduction to 
Wordsworth's Poems Correspondence between 
Mrs. Hemans and Miss Jewsbury. 

MRS. HEMANS had now taken her place in the 
circle of living poets, as one who possessed 
powers and feelings and peculiarities of her 
own. The world had recognised an original 
mind, speaking in the perfect music of her 
verse : had perceived that the Spirit of romance 
and chivalry had found another incarnation, 
although, being this time clothed in a female 



138 MEMORIALS OF 

form, it was united with affections deeper, 
if less strikingly picturesque, than mere 
devotion to beauty, or mere fidelity to the 
knightly vow of valour and courtesy. In like 
manner, at a later period, has the homely do- 
mestic ballad, by passing into female hands, 
been revived in all its plainness and pathos, 
without any of the grossness, which, of old, 
stained its strength. An eloquent modern 
critic (Mrs. Jameson) has rightly said that Mrs. 
Remans' poems " could not have been written 
by a man.'" Their love is without selfishness 
their passion pure from sensual coarseness their 
high heroism (and as instances may be men- 
tioned, among many, " The Switzer's Wife," and 
the " Lady of Provence,") unsullied by any 
base alloy of ambition. In their religion, too, 
she is essentially womanly fervent, trustful, 
unquestioning, "hoping on, hoping ever" in 
spite of a painfully acute consciousness of the 
peculiar trials of her sex of that lot, so beauti- 
fully described in one of her Ivrios, which is 



MRS. HEMANS. 139 

..... silent tears to weep, 

And patient smiles to wear through suffering's hour, 
And sumless riches from affection's deep, 
To pour on withered reeds a wasted shower, 
And to make idols, and to find them clay, 
And to bewail that worship 

It was about this time, then, that the literary 
friendships of Mrs. Hemans began to grow more 
numerous. She might now claim the com- 
panionship of the gifted. But in all her advances 
and answers, she will be found self-distrustful, 
open, with a child-like gratitude, to words of 
kindness and encouragement, seeking rather 
sympathy than praise. The following letters, 
all addressed to correspondents of her own sex, 
like herself distinguished in the literary world, 
give so fair a picture of her mind in all its 
womanliness, as to make further preface or 
analysis superfluous. The very repetitions they 
contain have a significance, as evidencing the 
closeness with which pure thoughts and gracious 
feelings were woven into the tissue of her daily 
life. 



140 MEMORIALS OF 

TO MISS BAILLIE. 

" Rhyllon, April 8th. 
" My dear Madam, 

" I have received and read with much pleasure 
the little tract with which you have so kindly 
favoured me, and which I cannot but think, 
from its persuasive tone, and simple appeal at 
once to the highest motives by which our nature 
is capable of being actuated, eminently calcu- 
lated to be useful. I have made my own child- 
ren read it, although, I thank Heaven, none of 
them have dispositions at all requiring such ad- 
monition ; but I wish to bring them acquainted 
with you, my dear madam, some of whose 
works they have already read, in the amiable 
character of a teacher, of the poor. The remark 
made by one of them I think will please you, 
' How very good it was, mamma, of the lady 
who wrote Ethwald,' to write this !' I shall 
send out two of these little tracts for my Ame- 
rican friends, to whom, I doubt not, the same 
idea will occur, though it may be expressed in 



MBS. HEMANS. 141 

more eloquent language ; and the other shall be 
given to the friends of the national school here. 
I am exceedingly glad to find that you are so 
much pleased with the writings of Dr. Chan- 
ning. The discourse you mention, on the Evi- 
dences of Christianity, I have always considered 
as one of his most powerful productions, and 
I rejoice that by your influence its usefulness is 
likely to be so far extended. Its author will, I 
know, be highly gratified by this intelligence, 
which I shall communicate to him when I next 
write. He is an Unitarian, and, as you will ob- 
serve from his Essay on Milton, a zealous advo- 
cate of that cause; but surely there is enough 
in the path which we all tread together, to make 
us feel that we are 'the children of one Father,' 
and to prevent our allowing differences of opinion 
to divide our hearts. You are very kind to take 
so much pleasure in the approbation with 
which my writings seem to be honoured. Such 
praise will ever be valuable, yet it comes to me 
now mingled with something of mournfulness, 



142 MEMORIALS OF 

for the ear to which it ever brought the greatest 
delight has recently been closed. The last 
winter deprived me of my truest and tenderest 
friend the mother by whose unwearied spirit 
of love and hope I was encouraged to bear on 
through all the obstacles which beset my onward 
path. I have had much to contend with, and 
often have I thought, and often, perhaps, may I 
yet have to think of your own affecting lines, 

When the world looks cold and surly on us, 
Where can we turn to meet a warmer eye, 
With such sure confidence as to a mother s ? 

But I ought to apologize for troubling you thus 
with my own sorrows. I will do so, and my 
apology shall be, that the kindly warmth of 
heart which seems to breathe over all your 
writings, and the power of early association over 
my mind, make me feel, whenever I address 
you, as if I were writing to a friend. With the 
sincerest respect, believe me, dear Madam, 
" Your truly obliged, 

" FELICIA HEMANS." 



MRS. HEMANS. 143 

TO MISS BAILLIE. 

" Rhyllon, May 31st, 1827. 
" My dear Madam, 

" Your last letter afforded me a gratification 
for which I most sincerely thank you. I delight 
to think that I have passed the bounds of a mere 
literary correspondence, and may, I hope, ad- 
dress you as a friend. My children were much 
pleased by your kind mention of them ; the one 
who had been reading Ethwald with such in- 
terest, was not a little amused to find himself 
designated as a girl : I have none but boys ; a 
circumstance I often am inclined to regret; for 
I married so young that they are even now be- 
ginning to spring from childhood into youth 
themselves, and in the course of a few years I 
must expect that they will long for, and be 
launched into, another world than the green 
fields in which they are now contented to play 
around me. Let me, however, be thankful for 
the happiness I at present enjoy, and for the 
privilege which peculiar circumstances have 



144 MEMORIALS OF 

afforded me, and which is granted to so few 
mothers, of being able myself to superintend 
their education, and give what I hope will be 
enduring impressions to their minds. Now that 
I am upon this subject, dear madam, I am 
strongly tempted to relate a little anecdote, 
which I think will interest you mammas are 
always prone to believe their children must be 
interesting of one of them at eleven years old. 
I had been reading to him Lord Byron's mag- 
nificent address to the sea 

' Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll !' 

He listened in almost breathless attention, and 
exclaimed, the moment I had finished it, " It is 
very grand, indeed ! bui; how much finer it 
would have been, mamma, K he had said at the 
close, that God had measured out all those 
waters with the hollow of his hand !" I really 
could not help being struck with the true 
wisdom thus embodied in the simplicity of 
childhood. 



MRS. HEMANS. 145 

"You say, my dear madam, that you wish 
you had something to send me. May I, thus em- 
boldened, ask you for something which I have long 
wished to possess, but not been able to procure, as 
I believe it is at present out of print, your de- 
lightful little drama of the "Beacon?" or per- 
haps you can guide me as to where I may meet 
with it. I have an edition of your works, con- 
taining the Plays on the Passions, (with the 
exception of Orra,) Ethwald, Rayner, and 
Constantine ; and I have the " Family Legend" 
separate, but the " Beacon" I have not met with 
since I read it almost in childhood, and made 
some extracts from it, which would amuse you 
if you could see them in the school-girl hand of 
fourteen or fifteen, That heart-cheering song, 

< The absent will return, the long, long lost be found !' 

I remember being more especially pleased with ; 
it breathes such a spirit of hope and joy; and I 
am by nature inclined to both, though early 
VOL. i. H 



146 MEMORIALS OF 

cares have chastened and subdued a mind, per- 
haps but too ardent originally. 

" I have another favour to request ; it is the 
permission to dedicate to you, of whose name 
my whole sex may be proud, a work which I 
shall probably publish in the course of this pre- 
sent year, and which is to be called ' Records of 
Woman.' If you do not object to this, I will 
promise that the inscription shall be as simple 
as you could desire. I very much wish to 
bring out the book in Edinburgh, provided my 
friends can make desirable arrangements for me 
with any of the publishers there; but I hope 
you will allow me to offer you, whether in your 
own country or mine, this little token of un- 
feigned respect. 

"I mentioned to you, in my last letter, the 
dear and excellent mother of whom I have been 
deprived ; the truly kind feeling with which you 
allude to the subject encourages me to send 
you a few lines, which possess a value in my 
eyes from their having been the last poetry of 



MRS. HEMANS. 147 

mine she was permitted to enjoy. I read them 
to her, by her bed side, about three weeks before 
I was deprived of her ; and as the tender plea- 
sure with which she heard them has rendered 
them to me ' a thing set apart,' I mean not to. 
publish them, and they will be new to you.* 
They were written for a very interesting Scotch 
family of the name of Lyndsay. 

" One of the little tracts with which you have 

favoured me, I lately sent to Lady , with 

whom I almost think you must be acquainted. 
She values it highly, and said of it, in a letter 
I lately received from her, ' What a delightful 
trait, in a really great mind, to have produced 
such a thing V You have made me feel so much 
at my ease when I write to you, my dear madam, 
that the only danger seems to be lest my letters 
should outrun all bounds of moderation : it is so 
pleasant to write as if one were talking by the 

* The lines in question, " A Domestic Scene," were 
afterwards published among the " Hymns for Child- 
hood." 

H 2 



148 MEMORIALS OF 

fireside in winter, or on some quiet garden-seat 
in summer-time. I must, however, have done 
at last, assuring you how faithfully and respect- 
fully, 

" I am yours, 

"FELICIA HEMANS." 



TO MISS BA1LLIE. 

"April 12th, 1828. 
" My dear Madam , 

"It seems very long since I have had the 
pleasure of any communication with you; but 
this privation has been my own fault, or rather 
my misfortune ; for a good deal of illness during 
the winter compelled me to give up all other 
occupation, for that particularly uninteresting 
one taking care of myself, or rather allowing 
others to take care of me. I know not how it 
is, but I always feel so ashamed of the apparent 
egotism and selfishness attendant on indispo- 
sition the muffling one's self up, taking the 



MRS. HEMANS. 149 

warmest place, shrinking from the mirthful 
noises of those who are full of health, &c. &c. 
that I believe I am apt to fall into the contrary 
extreme, and so, in the end, to occasion ten 
times more trouble than I should have done with 
a little proper submission. But a truce with 
the remembrances of indisposition, now that the 
spring is really come forth with all her singing- 
birds and violets : it seems as if sadness had no 
right to a place amongst the bright and fair 
things of the season. 

" I am now expecting very soon to hear from 
my American friends, in reply to the packet 
which contained your dispatches for them, and 
will not fail to write as soon as I receive any 
communication from Professor Norton for you. 
Dr. Channing has lately published a very noble 
essay on the character of Napoleon, occasioned 
by Sir Walter Scott's Life of that dazzling, but 
most unheroic personage. I wish you may meet 
with it ; I am sure that the lofty thoughts em^ 
bodied by its writer, in his own fervid eloquence? 



150 MEMORIALS OF 

could not fail to delight you ; and his high views 
of moral beauty are really freshening to the 
heart, which longs to pour itself forth in love 
and admiration, and finds so little in the every- 
day world whereon such feelings may repose. 

" The little volume, 6 Records of Woman,' 
which you kindly gave me permission to inscribe 
to you, is now in the press, and I hope I shall 
soon be able to send you a copy ; and that the 
dedication, which is in the simplest form, will be 
honoured by your approval. Mr. Blackwood is 
its publisher. I do not know whether you may 
have heard of the interest which Sir Walter 
Scott has latterly most kindly taken in some 
music of my sister's composition, accompanying 
words of mine. One song in particular, ' The 
Captive Knight,' struck him as being ' si chevale- 
resque,' to use his own word on the occasion, 
that he has been quite bent on its publication, 
and it will in consequence be brought out and 
dedicated to him. I think you may, perhaps, 
like to see the poetry of it, which I inclose for 



MRS. HEMANS. 151 

you. I am to lose this, my only sister, indeed 
I may almost say, my only companion, very 
shortly : she is about to change her name and 
home, and remove very far from me. O how 
many deaths there are in the world for the affec- 
tions !" . 



TO MISS MITFORD. 

" Rhyllon, St. Asaph, June 6th, 1827. 
" Madam, 

" I can hardly feel that I am addressing an 
entire stranger in the author of Our Village,' 
and yet I know it is right and proper, that I 
should apologize for the liberty I am taking. 
But, really after having accompanied you again, 
and again, as I have done, in ' violetting' and 
seeking for wood-sorrel : after having been with 
you to call upon Mrs. Allen in c the dell,' and 
becoming thoroughly acquainted with 'May 
and Lizzy,' I cannot but hope, that you will 



152 MEMORIALS OF 

kindly pardon my intrusion, and that my name 
may be sufficiently known to you to plead my 
cause. There are some writers whose works 
we cannot read without feeling as if we really 
had looked with them upon the scenes they 
bring before us, and as if such communion had 
almost given us a claim to something more 
than the mere intercourse between author 
and ' gentle reader.' Will you allow me to say 
that your writings have this effect upon me, 
and that you have taught me in making me 
know and love your ' Village' so well, to wish 
for further knowledge, also, of her who has so 
vividly impressed its dingles and copses upon 
my imagination, and peopled them so cheerily 
with healthful and happy beings ? I believe, if 
I could be personally introduced to you, that I 
should in less than five minutes begin to en- 
quire about Lucy, and the lilies of the valley, 
and whether you had succeeded in peopling 
that shady border in your own territories 
6 with those shy flowers.' My boys, the con- 






MRS. HEMANS. 153 

stant companions of my walks, about our 
village, and along our two pretty rivers, the 
Elwy and the Clwyd, are not less interested 
in your gipsies young and old, your heroes of 
the cricket ground, and above all Jack Hatch ! 
woeful and amazed did they all look, when 
it was found that Jack Hatch could die ! But 
I really must come to the aim and object of 
this letter, which I fear you may almost be- 
gin to look upon as 4 prose run mad/ I dare 
say you laugh sometimes, as I am inclined to do 
myself, at the prevailing mania for autographs : 
but a very kind friend of mine in a distant 
country does no such thing, and I am making 
a collection for him, which I should thinkj (and 
he, too, I am sure) very much enriched by your 
name. If you do me the favour to comply 
with this request, it will give me great plea- 
sure to hear from you, under cover to the Bishop 
of Asaph, to whom I should have sent this letter 
to be franked, but, that being ignorant of your 

H 5 



154 MEMORIALS OF 

address, I am obliged to entrust it to a book- 
seller in town. 

" With sincere esteem, 

" I beg you to believe me, Madam, 
" Your faithful servant, 

" FELICIA HEMANS." 



" Rhyllon, St. Asaph, July 16th, 1827. 
" My dear Miss Mitford, 
" A thousand thanks to you for your kind and 
frank letter, so like what I should have expected 
from you, and what I did expect, that I almost 
wonder I was not disappointed, for how seldom 
are our expectations on which one has loved to 
dwell fully realized ! I bestow this truism upon 
you, under the immediate influence of disap- 
pointed feeling, having arranged for myself a 
very pleasant walk yesterday evening, and hav- 
ing been way-laid and prevented from going, so 



MRS. HEMANS. 155 

I am naturally disposed to moralize a little in 
consequence. I hope your ' Maying' was not 
frustrated in a similar manner, but that a living 
and breathing picture of it may one day be 
presented to me in one of your delightful village 
sketches. The last of these, that I read, (Whit- 
sun Eve,) made me long to sit with you, ' under 
that dark bower, watching the bee-bird ;* I 
was very glad to meet with my old friend May, 
in the same piece ; I really feared she had been 
gathered to her fathers, and succeeded,, by 
' Mossy,' with whom lately I became acquainted, 
and next to fi an old familiar face/ one misses, 
I think, an old familiar name, which has made 
for itself a nestling place in one's imagination. 
I had the pleasure of passing a very agreeable 

evening lately with and his family, 

who were passing through St. Asaplj, and 
visited me on their way ; I found that he was 
in correspondence with you, though not per- 
sonally acquainted; I wished I could have 



156 MEMORIALS OF 

drawn you hither on a piece of Prince Houssein's 
precious tapestry, to join us in a walk we all 
took together, and during which we talked much 
of you and your writings. He had two sweet 
daughters with him ; the younger, a fair quiet 
and thoughtful looking creature, reminded me at 
once, of the 'Bride of Lammermoor,' and of 
your own Ellen in the ' Sisters : ' is not that 
pretty story of Charlotte and Ellen Page, called 
' The Sisters ? ' I have not the book near me 
at this moment. Would any thing tempt you, 
my dear Miss Mitford, or is it within the 
bounds of possibility that you could be induced 
to visit me at St. Asaph ? The most cordial re- 
ception I could promise you, and you would find 
here new scenes, new people with many marked 
peculiarities (for the Welsh character is by no 
means yet merged in the English,) on which to 
exercise your powers. I wish you would think 
of it, and bring May with you, and we will 
have rambles and nut-gatherings and sketching 



MRS. HEMANS. 157 

parties to your heart's content. I beg my best 
compliments to your father, and am, 
" With esteem, 

" Very faithfully yours, 

" FELICIA HEMANS." 

" I must not forget to thank you for that pretty 
and joyous song; it was just the autograph I 
should have desired for my friend. I hope you 
will sometimes let me hear from you. You will 
confer a great pleasure, whenever you may be 
inclined to write." 



The song in question, " And art thou come 
back safe again," was afterwards printed in the 
fifth volume of "Our Village." The note which 
there accompanies it, gave Mrs. Hemans a de- 
gree of pleasure, " which nothing of mere com- 
pliment could have inspired her with. She had 
always," continues her sister, to whom I am in- 
debted for this notice, " the most appreciating ad- 
miration of Miss Mitford's style of writing her 



158 MEMORIALS OF 

beautiful pictures of rural life, and fine old En- 
glish feelings ; and latterly, when through the 
silence and darkness of her sick room, her own 
love of nature, more intense than ever, ' haunted 
her like a passion,' she used to tell me how 
often some of the sweet scenes of ' Our Village,' 
rose in visions before her. It had been one of 
her plans, too, to write a little volume of prose 
sketches, chiefly consisting of recollections of 
her childhood, and descriptions of scenes that 
had struck her in after-life, and this volume she 
meant to dedicate to Miss Mitford." 

"St. Asaph, March 23rd, 1828. 
" My dear Miss Mitford, 
" I ought long since to have thanked you for 
your very kind letter, although it brought dis- 
appointment with it, in the conviction that I 
must not hope to see you here. You are happy 
in having such reasons to assign, for the diffi- 
culty of your leaving home; every day im- 
presses more forcibly on my mind the truth and 



MRS. HEMANS. 159 

the full meaning of Gray's remark, * We can 
have but one mother ;' it is now about a year 
since I have been deprived of mine, and will 
you think me weak when I tell you that I shed 
tears over your letter, from the idea of the plea- 
sure it would have given her ? I am sure that 
you will agree with me, that fame can only af- 
ford reflected delight to a woman. Do you 
know that I often think of you, and the happi- 
ness you must feel in being able to run to your 
father and mother, with all the praises you re- 
ceive. For me that joy is past ; but I will not 
write in sadness to her whose writings have often 
thrown sunshine over my own variable spirits. 
How are all my old friends of ' Our Village ?' 
Lizzy and Lucy and May, and the pleasant people 
at the ' Vicarage,' and the merry men of the cricket- 
ground ? do tell me something of them all. I be- 
came acquainted with your delightful bird-catcher 
last month, and have only to hope that you were 
not the worse for that fog in which you encoun- 
tered him, and the very description of which 



160 MEMORIALS OF 

almost took my hair out of curl whilst reading 
it. Your autograph, which I transmitted to 
my American friends, was very gratefully re- 
ceived, and is enshrined in a book amidst I 
know not how many other ' bright names ;' for 
aught I know, Washington himself may be there, 
side by side with you ; and not improbably is, 
for they are going to send me an original letter 
of his, which I shall prize much. If you are 
likely soon to pay one of your flying visits to 
London, I should very much like you to see my 
portrait, for which I sat a few months since ; I 
am sure you will understand why 1 wish you 
to see it ; it would be giving me something of a 
personal introduction to one whom I esteem so 
highly. The picture is at the rooms of the 
artist, Mr. West, 63, Margaret Street, Caven- 
dish Square: it is considered a very striking 
likeness. I am about to publish a little volume, 
called 'Records of Woman,' of which I shall 
beg your acceptance : I have put my heart and 
individual feelings into it more than any thing 



MRS. HEMANS. 161 

else I have written ; but, whether it will interest 
my friends more for this reason, remains to be 
seen. May I offer my kindest respects to your 
father and mother, and beg you to believe me, 
" Dear Miss Mitford, 
" Very faithfully yours, 

" FELICIA HEMANS." 



TO MRS. HOWITT. 



" Rhyllon, May 12th, 1828. 
" My dear Mrs. Howitt, 
" It will I assure you give me very cordial plea- 
sure to see you here, and for more, I hope, than 
one day, if convenient to yourself. I am about 
to leave home for a short time, but shall be back 
the first week in June, any time after which that 
may suit yourself, your visit will be most ac- 
ceptable to me. You will, I imagine, be accom- 
pained by your husband to whom pray offer my 
kind regards and assurance of friendly wel- 
come. 



162 MEMORIALS OF 

" I can feel deeply for the sorrow you commu- 
nicate to me ; it is one which Heaven has yet 
graciously spared me ; but the imagination with- 
in us is a fearful and mysterious power, and has 
often brought all the sufferings of that particular 
bereavement before me, with a vividness from 
which I have shrunk almost in foreboding terror. 
And I have felt, too, (though not through the 
breaking of that tie,) those sick and weary 
yearnings for the dead, that feverish thirst for 
the sound of a departed voice or step, in which 
the heart seems to die away, and literally to be- 
come ' a fountain of tears.' Who can sound its 
depths ? One alone, and may He comfort you ! 

" When you write to Mr. Bernard Barton, 
with whom most probably you are in frequent 
communication, will you mention, with my kind 
regards, that many months of languishing health 
have caused the interruption in my correspon- 
dence with him, but that I am now reviving, 
and hope shortly to resume it. I sent a copy 
of your delightful little volume, ' The Desola- 



MRS. HEMANS. 163 

tion of Eyam,' a short time since, to some very 
intelligent friends whom I am fortunate enough 
to possess in America, they will, I know, be 
able to appreciate all its feeling and beauty. 
With unfeigned satisfaction in the prospect of 
so soon making your acquaintance, believe me 
to be, 

" Very faithfully yours, 

" FELICIA HEMANS." 



But of all Mrs. Hemans' literary friends, one 
must be singled out for especial mention : both 
for the warm and energetic heartiness of 
regard displayed by her in a long and unbroken 
intimacy, and because her brilliant talents and 
high worth have passed away without receiving 
the honour or exciting the regret which they 
deserved. This was Miss Jewsbury, of whose 
life and writings a passing notice cannot be un- 
welcome." 



164 MEMORIALS OF 

The events of the former were not many, nor 
of any extraordinary importance. It is enough 
to say, that she was a native of Warwickshire; 
that, during her youth, her family removed to 
Manchester, in which town she continued to 
reside till her marriage with the Rev. William 
Fletcher. She accompanied this gentleman to 
India, where he had received an appointment, 
and within a few months after landing there, 
died of the cholera on the way from Sholapore 
to Bombay, on the 3rd of October, 1833, at the 
age of thirty-two or thirty-three years. 

Few have been more strenuous in the 
task of mental self-cultivation than Miss 
Jewsbury. She too, like her friend, was early 
called upon to bear the burden of capri- 
cious and uncertain health, so often the herit- 
age of those in whom " the spirit speaks loud." 
And to this was added the responsibility 
of managing a large family, confided to her 
upon the death of her mother. If she cannot 
absolutely be said to have pursued knowledge 



MRS. HEMANS. 165 

under serious difficulties, she had at least no 
encouragement in her progress, save the energy 
of her own resolution ' to achieve distinction/ 
" I was nine years old," she says, in a long 
letter of counsel and confession lying before 
me, " when the ambition of writing a book, 
being praised publicly, and associating with 
authors, seized me as a vague longing. As I 
grew older, it took permanence and led to effort. 
I sat up at nights, dreamed dreams, and schemed 
schemes. My life after eighteen became so 
painfully, laboriously domestic, that it was an 
absolute duty to crush intellectual tastes. I not 
only did not know a single author, but I did not 
know a single person of superior mind, I did not 
even know how wretchedly deficient my own 
cultivation was. I wrote and wrote, and wrote 
faster than I can now, and without a tenth part 
of the timidity. I was twenty-one before I 
gained any desire for knowledge, as the natural 
road to the emancipation I craved; this was 
consequent on forming a friendship with two in- 



166 MEMORIALS OF 

dividuals, not writers, but highly gifted; they 
suggested study to me, and by their conversa- 
tion, awoke me to a sense of my own deficiency. 
My domestic occupations continued as laborious as 
ever. I could neither read nor write legitimately 
till the day was over. It is not needful to say how 
premature ambition and energy developed them- 
selves : suffice it to say, that the path of litera- 
ture was opened to me when I least expect- 
ed it." 

Such are her own words, and their sincerity 
may well be relied upon. It may be added, as a 
trait of character, that one of the first steps taken 
by her after her mind was awakened, was to 
write to Mr. Wordsworth, stating the strong 
desires which consumed her ; and entreating 
his counsel. It is most honourable to both 
parties to say, that this letter led to a friend- 
ship which was only closed by her death ; and 
the poet has left in his last published volume a 
few words respecting her, almost as simple as a 
monumental inscription, but conveying a tribute 



MRS. HEMANS. 167 

as true as it is valuable. " Her enthusiasm," 
he says, " was ardent, her piety steadfast, and 
her great talents would have enabled her to be 
eminently useful in the path to which she had 
been called. The opinion she entertained of 
her own performances given to the world under 
her maiden name, was modest and humble, and, 
indeed, far below her merits, as is often the case 
with those who are making trial of their powers 
to discover what they are best fit for. In one 
quality quickness in the motions of her mind 
she was in the author's estimation unrivalled." 

Miss Jewsbury appeared in the world of 
authorship at a time, and in a manner of all 
others, least favourable to the permanence of 
a literary reputation. She was first known by 
her contributions to annuals and the smaller 
periodicals ; her brightest thoughts were broken 
up into fragments, and many of them given to 
the world anonymously : but in all that she 
wrote may be discerned something of the un- 
wearied study, and unflagging zeal, and unswerv- 



168 MEMORIALS OF 

ing principle, which raised even her most 
trifling efforts above the spurious tone of the 
light literature just then so fashionable. In her 
writings too, even when least carefully finished, 
will be found an ingenuity of illustration and a 
grace of language which are too often employed 
to conceal the absence of fixed principle, or 
the deficiency of observation. Her collected 
works are few, the earliest of them being the 
" Phantasmagoria," a series of light essays and 
tales. To this, succeeded her " Letters to the 
Young," which were written under the abiding 
influence of deep religious impressions, upon her 
recovery from a severe illness. These were shortly 
followed by the " Three Histories," the most 
complete of her works, though even this must 
be looked upon as a promise rather than a per- 
formance, and by her " Lays for Leisure Hours." 
But her best compositions remain unedited and 
neglected, some of them buried in obscure 
places ; and a collection of her sketches and 
letters and critical essays would be a valuable 



MRS. HEMANS. 169 

addition to our stores of female literature. 
Many of the last appeared in the Athenaeum, 
during the years 1831 and 1832; and it is with 
permission that I extract from that periodical 
the following fragments of a letter, written shortly 
before Mrs. Fletcher left England, which have a 
melancholy interest, as completing the picture 
of a mind of no common order. 

" . . . I can bear blame if seriously given, 
and accompanied by that general justice which I 
feel due to me ; banter is that which I cannot 
bear, and the prevalence of which in passing 
Criticism, and the dread of which in my own 
person, greatly contributes to my determination 
of letting many years elapse before I write ano- 
ther book." 

" Unfortunately, I was twenty-one before I 
became a reader, and I became a writer almost 
as soon ; it is the ruin of all young talent of 
the day, that reading and writing are simulta- 
neous. We do not educate ourselves for literary 
enterprise. Some never awake to the conscious- 

VOL. I. I 



170 MEMORIALS OF 

ness of the better things neglected ; and if one, 
like myself, is at last seized upon by a 
blended passion for knowledge and for truth, he 
has probably committed himself by a series of 
jejune efforts, the standard of inferiority is 
erected, and the curse of mere cleverness clings 
to his name. I would gladly burn almost every 
thing I ever wrote, if so be that I might start 
now with a mind that has seen, read, thought, 
and suffered, something at least approaching to 
a preparation. Alas ! alas ! we all sacrifice the 
palm-tree to obtain the temporary draught of 
wine ! We slay the camel that would bear us 
through the desert, because we will not endure 
a momentary thirst. 

" / have done nothing to live, and what I 
have yet done must pass away with a thousand 
other blossoms, the growth, the beauty, and 
oblivion of a day. The powers which I feel, 
and of which I have given promise, may mature, 
may stamp themselves in act, but the spirit of 
despondency is strong upon the future exile, and 
I fear they never will, 



MRS. HEMANS. 171 

" I feel the long grass growing o'er my heart. 
" My Three Histories,' have most of myself in 
them, but they are fragmentary. Public report 
has fastened the 6 Julia,' upon me ; the child- 
hood, the opening years, and many of the after 
opinions are correct ; but all else is fabulous. 

" In the best of every thing I have done, you 
will find one leading idea death ; all thoughts, 
all images, all contrasts of thoughts and images, 
are derived from living much in the valley of 
that shadow ; from having learned h'fe rather in 
the vicissitudes of man than of woman, from the 
mind being Hebraic. My poetry, except some 
half-dozen pieces, may be consigned to oblivion ; 
but in all you would find the sober hue, which 
to my mind's eye, blends equally with the golden 
glow of sunset, and the bright green of spring, 
and is seen equally in the 'temple of de- 
light' as in the tomb of decay and separation. 
I am melancholy by nature, cheerful by prin- 
ciple." ;? .nteitf 

Enough has been said to indicate the contrast 

i2 



172 MEMORIALS OF 

of mind between Miss Jewsbury and her friend ; 
their intimate communion was as honourable as 
it was profitable to both parties, from the affec- 
tionate terms on which it was maintained. It 
must, indeed, always be profitable for high 
minds, diversely gifted, to mingle. They corres- 
ponded freely on subjects of common interest: 
they spent many long and pleasant periods of 
time together, wherein Mrs. Hemans would 
enrich and mellow the quick and naturally 
somewhat harsher mind of the other, by pouring 
forth all those stores of imagination, which were 
ne ver withheld from those who could value them, 
while her guest would sometimes playfully exer- 
cise her great natural powers of reasoning which 
had been strengthened by the responsibilities and 
difficulties of her youth, to call back her fanciful 
friend, if she had wandered into cloud-land, too 
far from the homely realities of life. The dis- 
tinction between the two was, in short, that the 
one came through Thought to Poetry, the other 
through Poetry to Thought 



MRS. HEMANS. 173 

But no more perfect illustration of the friend- 
ship between these two gifted women could 
be given, than is to be found in the two letters 
subjoined. 



MRS. HEMANS TO MISS JEWSBURY. 

" The inclosed lines,* an effusion of deep 
and sincere admiration, will give you some idea 
of the enjoyment, and, I hope I may say, advan- 
tage, which you have been the means of impart- 
ing, by so kindly entrusting me with your 
precious copy of Wordsworth's Miscellaneous 
Poems. It has opened to me such a treasure 
of thought and feeling, that I shall always 

* These were the stanzas addressed to the poet : 
" Thine is a strain to read among the hills," &c. c. 

So many allusions will be found in after portions of 
these memorials of the increasing delight and reve- 
rence with which Mrs. Hemans regarded the poetry of 
Wordsworth, that it is needless here to dwell further 
upon the subject. 



174 MEMORIALS OF 

associate your name with some of my pleasantest 
recollections, as having introduced me to the 
knowledge of what I can only regret should 
have been so long a 'Yarrow unvisited/ I 
would not write to you sooner, because I wished 
to tell you that I had really studied these poems, 
and they have been the daily food of my mind 
ever since I borrowed them. There is hardly 
any scene of a happy, though serious, domestic 
life, or any mood of a reflective mind, with the 
spirit of which some one or other of them does 
not beautifully harmonize. This author is the 
true Poet of Home, and of all the lofty feelings 
which have their root in the soil of home affec- 
tions. His fine sonnets to Liberty, and indeed, 
all his pieces which have any reference to poli- 
tical interest, remind me of the spirit in which 
Schiller has conceived the character of William 
Tell, a calm, single-hearted herdsman of the 
hills, breaking forth into fiery and indignant 
eloquence, when the sanctity of his hearth is 
invaded. Then, what power Wordsworth con- 



MRS. HEMANS. 175 

denses into single lines, like Lord Byron's 
4 curdling a long life into one hour/ 

' The still sad music of humanity/ 

t The river glideth at his own sweet will' 

' Over his own sweet voice the stock-dove broods/ 

And a thousand others, which we must some 
time, (and I hope not a very distant one,) talk 
over together. Many of these lines quite haunt 
me, and I have a strange feeling, as if I must 
have known them in my childhood, they come 
over me so like old melodies. I can hardly 
speak of favourites among so many things that 
delight me, but I think ' The Narrow Glen,' the 
lines on ' Corra Linn,' the ' Song for the Feast 
of Brougham Castle,' * Yarrow visited,' and 'The 
Cuckoo,' are among those which take hold of 
imagination the soonest, and recur most fre- 
quently to memory. * * ' I know not 
how I can have so long omitted to mention the 
' Ecclesiastical Sketches,' which I have read, and 



176 MEMORIALS OF 

do constantly read with deep interest. Their 
beauty grows upon you and develops as you study 
it, like that of the old pictures by the Italian 
masters. My sister, who shares the feelings with 
which I write, desires I will not fail to ask if you 
can throw any light for us on the piece of ' The 
Danish Boy.' Its poetry is beautiful, but the 
subject requires explanation; does it refer to 
any wild mountain legend of the ' Land of 
Lakes ?' I had many more things to say respect- 
ing all that I have thought and felt during the 
perusal of these works, but my interruptions, 
consisting of morning visits from the Bishop 
down to the tailor of the diocese (which latter 
guest, to the mother of five boys, is by no means 
an unimportant one), have been incessant, to 
say nothing of the boys themselves. My mother 
being unwell, and my sister engaged, all the 
duties of politeness have devolved upon me for 
the day. I must, in a future letter, name to 
you, according to your wish, a few books, the 
perusal of which may be advantageous to you, 



MRS. HEMANS. 177 

though I can sincerely say that I should be far 
from discovering the deficiencies which you ima- 
gine in yourself, from any thing I have seen in 
your writings. I cannot help, however, men- 
tioning, as works from which I have derived much 
clear and general information, those of Sis- 
mondi ; in particular his Litterature du Midi,' 
and ' Republiques Italiennes,' but you are pro- 
bably acquainted with both. I regret that I 
should have been obliged to answer your inter- 
esting letter in so hurried, and, I fear, incoherent 
a manner, and hope it will not prevent your 
writing to me again ; and believe me, with un- 
feigned esteem, my dear Miss Jewsbury, 
" Your sincere friend, 

" F. HEMANS." 

It will be seen that the preceding letter was 
written at a very early period of the acquaintance. 
A long space intervenes between its date and 
that of the following, which has been selected 
from among a large number of letters, as being one 



I D 



178 MEMORIALS OF 

of those most characteristic of the writer. It was 
addressed to Mrs. Hemans on the occasion of her 
leaving Wales a step she was induced to take 
by the breaking up of her establishment on 
her sister's marriage, and her brother's removal 
into Ireland. Miss Jewsbury had paid her a 
long visit in the course of the summer ; and had 
only recently returned home. 

" My dear Mrs. Hemans, 
" I fear I am what your sister would call 
morbidly disposed, for I do not cordially settle 
to anything that has not reference to you ! But, 
of course, you will not quarrel with me on this 
account ; and so, if I write you extravagant and 
extravagantly long letters, you will judge them 
and their writer by intention and motive. And 
I feel that you are sad, and I know that you are 
lonely, and by the time this reaches you, 

" f Wishes, vain as mine, may be 
All that is left to comfort thee !' 

But my hopes are strong for the future. So 



MRS. HEMANS. 179 

cheer up, or rather believe that you will cheer 
up ' Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy 
cometh in the morning/ ' At even-time there 
shall be light' There was One > and in Him the 
hope of the world was created, who said in 
extremity of anguish, ' My soul is exceeding 
sorrowful, even unto death/ emphasize that 
c My ' and see what force it gives, and then, as 
an old poet says, 

"' Hang all your golden hopes upon- his arm.' 

* * * j thank you greatly for your last 
I thank you for not exerting yourself to be 
cheerful ; pray always tell me the worst both as 
to mind and body: the sorrow of sympathy is 
not the sorrow that breaks the heart, but the 
sorrow of selfishness; and as I am greatly 
tempted to selfishness, do not scruple taxing my 
sympathy. I beg you will not answer this till 
you get settled in Liverpool. I shall not wait 
for an answer, but may probably write again soon. 
I shall think of you most anxiously, so that if 



180 MEMORIALS OF 

Miss would be your substitute, and an- 
nounce your safe landing in a note, I should feel 
much relieved, and shall feel as if I knew her. 
For myself, I am in a state of unrest. I cannot 
settle just at present. I miss my imaginative 
associations, and do not, like Mr. Dangle in the 
Critic, greatly like this being 'looked up to.' 
I don't like having to lock up my similes, to 
mould my opinions in a more practical form, 
and find my favourite books lightly esteemed. 
Amongst my friends I have plenty of intellect 
in the raw material, but I have got a taste for 
it in an imaginative state. I am not satisfied 
with silk in the cocoon, I must have it wrought 
up into Persian stuffs. And then the music ! 
* In fact I believe I am very con- 
ceited, though duly gratified by the unfeigned 
rejoicing manifested by numbers on account of 
my return. The town is mad, no other word 
will do, touching this Festival. Such displays of 
finery in the shops ! such placards ! such adver- 
tisements ! such buying, selling, scheming, rid- 



MRS. HEMANS. 181 

ing, walking, talking, debating, all on this one 
subject ! Such a medley of building, joining 
buildings, making Turkish tents and Turkish dra- 
peries, and every-land costumes tailors and 
milliners monarchs of the day and such a 
medley of the Messiah, the Creation, concerts 
and balls; charity the avowed, amusement the 
real object, and poor religion the cloak. I hear 
so much of devotional feelings and fancy dresses, 
that I cannot tell one from the other, and when 
I see the position of The Messiah on the 
placards thus, 

MISCELLANEOUS CONCERT, 

MESSIAH, 
FANCY DRESS BALL, 

I always think of the two malefactors ! I shall 
leave the town in the course of the week, and 
only entreat that I may hear nothing on the 
subject, neither the feud for, nor the feud 
against, nor the feud neutral ! In all my read- 
ing I now associate you. I think would you 
enjoy this or that and so I keep a habit I do 



182 MEMORIALS OF 

not wish to lose the habit of looking for 
beauty. I met with an anecdote the other day 
that made me think of you. It was the death 
of a little, and a pious child in India, of the 
hydrophobia : a death one would think subversive 
of every thing pleasing. In one of the intervals 
when he was free from the spasms, he called 
to his mother for some flowers she gave him 
some but separating his favourite from all the 
others, he said, ' I only want the rose, mamma.' 
* * * * * I would I could shake myself 
free from my associations, I should be happier 
at present it is an effort of principle to be cheer- 
ful. I pine after the flowers, and that sky of 
earth, the green meadow-land, and your sister's 
music and your imagination. The sun seems 
shining to waste, when he only shines upon 
streets of houses and bustle. This is morbid, 
but I do pine on my sofa here." * * * * 



MRS. HEMANS. 183 



CHAPTER IV. 

Personal recollections of Mrs. Hemans Her ap- 
pearance described Familiar correspondence " A 
Thought of the Rose " Retszch's Outlines 
Ghost Stories Mozart and Rossini Montgomery 
Her departure from Wales. 

I HAVE now reached the period when my own 
personal acquaintance with Mrs. Hemans com- 
menced. During the height of the 'Annual' fever, 
chance had thrown the editorship of one of those 
gay little ephemera into the hands of a member 
of our family; of course she was among the 
persons first applied to for countenance and co- 
operation. How warmly and efficiently these 
were given, and continued and extended to other 



184 MEMORIALS OF 

projects and pursuits, is a thing never to be for- 
gotten. They had a double value, too, as being 
granted by one so celebrated as she was, to those 
so obscure and inexperienced as ourselves. But 
this is not a subject to be dwelt upon, though its 
mention was indispensable to the clear under- 
standing of the following correspondence. The 
exchange of a letter or two led to a personal in- 
troduction Mrs. Hemans happening about that 
time to be on a visit in our neighbourhood. It 
is not straining the truth to say, that the friend- 
ship was made in an hour, and only closed with 
her life. 

I may, perhaps, be forgiven for alluding to 
the feelings which accompanied me into the 
presence of almost the first distinguished literary 
person I had ever seen : one, too, whose writings 
I loved, as only the very young love the poetry 
which they have taken to their hearts. After- 
life has no such moments of mingled delight 
and misgiving. When I first saw Mrs. Hemans, 
she was slowly walking with another lady, down 



MRS. HEMANS. 185 

the avenue belonging to the house where she was 
upon a visit. Her face, her dress, her air, are 
before me, as I write, like things of yesterday. 
Yet though so clear is my memory now, I was 
then so confused, as, upon my return home, to 
give a most strangely incorrect account of her 
appearance, and even, I believe, to fall into the 
ludicrous exaggeration of describing her fine 
auburn hair as red ! In that brief interview, 
however, one common taste disclosed itself a 
fondness, I might say, a passion for music. She 
spoke with enthusiasm of the many admirable 
descriptions of its effects to be found in the 
works of our great writers, themselves not re- 
markable for any extraordinary attachment to the 
art in particular of one passage in Valerius, 
which I had long treasured, that which de- 
scribes the Roman soldiers, at the door of the 
prison where the Christian captives are confined, 
listening to their evening hymn, and speaking of 
the music " which they had heard played many 
a night, with hautboy and clarion and dulcimer, 



186 MEMORIALS OF 

upon the high walls of Jerusalem, while the old 
city was beleaguered." She repeated the rest 
of that fine passage. " I never heard any music 
like the music of the Jews; why, when they 
came down to join the battle, their trumpets 
sounded so gloriously that we wondered how it 
was possible for them ever to be driven back : 
and then, when their gates were closed, and 
they sent out to beg their dead, they would 
play such solemn, awful notes of lamentation, 
that the plunderers stood still to listen, and 
their warriors were delivered to them with their 
mail as they had fallen." There is no free- 
masonry so intimate and immediate, I believe, 
as that which exists among the lovers of music ; 
and though, when we parted, I could not tell the 
colour of her eyes and hair, I felt that a con- 
fidence and a good understanding had arisen 
between us, which the discussion of no subject 
less fascinating could have excited. 

Perhaps this is the place wherein a few words 
upon the delicate points of external appearance 



MRS. HEMANS. 187 

and manner may come best. It has been said 
that no woman can form a fair estimate of 
another's personal attractions; but in contra- 
diction to this sweeping assertion, I shall draw 
upon a woman's work, " The Three Histories," 
for a description of Mrs. Hemans, which, though 
somewhat idealized, is as faithful to the truth as 
it is gracefully written. 

" Egeria was totally different from any other 
woman I had ever seen, either in Italy or Eng- 
land. She did not dazzle she subdued me. 
Other women might be more commanding, more 
versatile, more acute ; but I never saw one so 
exquisitely feminine. She was lovely without be- 
ing beautiful ; her movements were features ; and 
if a blind man had been privileged to pass his 
hand over the silken length of hair, that when 
unbraided flowed round her like a veil, he would 
have been justified in expecting softness and a 
love of softness, beauty and a perception of 
beauty, to be distinctive traits of her mind. Nor 
would he have been deceived. Her birth, her 
education, but, above all, the genius with which 



188 MEMORIALS OF 

she was gifted, combined to inspire a passion 
for the ethereal, the tender, the imaginative, the 
heroic, in one word, the beautiful. It was in 
her a faculty divine, and yet of daily life; it 
touched all things, but, like a sunbeam, touched 
them with 'a golden finger.' Any thing ab- 
stract or scientific was unintelligible and dis- 
tasteful to her ; her knowledge was extensive 
and various, but, true to the first principle of 
her nature, it was poetry that she sought in his- 
tory, scenery, character, and religious belief, 
poetry that guided all her studies, governed all 
her thoughts, coloured all her conversation. 
Her nature was at once simple and profound; 
there was no room in her mind for philosophy, 
or in her heart for ambition, one was filled by 
imagination, the other engrossed by tenderness. 
Her strength and her weakness alike lay in her 
affections: these would sometimes make her 
weep at a word, at others imbue her with 
courage ; so that she was alternately a 6 falcon- 
hearted dove/ and 'a reed shaken with the 
wind.' Her voice was a sad, sweet melody, 



MRS. HEMANS. 189 

her spirits reminded me of an old poet's de- 
scription of the orange-tree, with its 

( Golden lamps hid in a night of green/ 

or of those Spanish gardens where the pome- 
granate grows beside the cypress. Her gladness 
was like a burst of sunlight ; and if in her de- 
pression she resembled night, it was night wear- 
ing her stars. I might describe, and describe 
for ever, but I should never succeed in por- 
traying Egeria; she was a muse, a grace, a 
variable child, a dependent woman the Italy of 
human beings." 



The following letters and notes, addressed at 
this time to different members of our family 
circle, will require no further introduction. 

"June 18th, 1828. 

.... "I send you a few lines on a subject, 
not very novel certainly, but yet, I think, like 



190 MEMORIALS OF 

all others derived from what is beautiful in nature, 
unexhausted. They have at least the merit of 
originality, as I wrote them a day or two since, 
and they have been only seen by a few friends. 

. . . . "I enjoyed very much my visit 
to the pictures this morning : there is, I think, 
a very deep feeling both of beauty and sorrow 
in the painting of O'Connor's child. I hope ere 
long I shall be able to send you the lines in 
illustration of it ; but I really don't know how I 
shall write under my present restraint: my 
muse has been a free bird of wood and wild 
until now, and I do not think this imprisonment 
to a sofa will at all agree with her: you see I 
am providing myself with an excuse, in case the 
lines should prove as dull as bondage may 
naturally be expected to make them." .... 

A further and more interesting allusion to the 
first-mentioned poem, "A Thought of the Rose," 
will be found in a following letter. It was 
written in consequence of some one having 



r 

MRS. HEMANS. 191 

made the observation, in Mrs. Hemans' hearing, 
that nothing new remained to be said of the 
favourite flower of the poets. But the idea it 
contains a yearning hope that all the beautiful 
things of earth do not vanish to return no more, 
but that they will be again presented to us in a 
perfected form, in a happier and unperishing 
state of existence was a master-feeling in her 
mind, and is repeated with increased earnestness 
in many of her lyrics. Thus in " The song of 
the rose," she asks, 

" SimTst thou, gorgeous flower ? 

O within the spells 
Of thy beauty's power 

Something dimly dwells 
At variance with a world of sorrows and farewells !" 

And again in one of her " Scenes and Hymns of 
Life," the same beautiful fancy is more richly 
wrought out : 

" God hath purified my spirit's eye, 
And in the folds of this consummate rose 



192 MEMORIALS OF 

I read bright prophecies. I see not there, 
Dimly and mournfully, the word ' Farewell !' 
On the rich petals traced : no, in soft veins 
And characters of beauty, I can read 
Look up, look heavenward /'.... 
.... Are not these 

But germs of things unperishing, that bloom 
Beside th'immortal streams ? Shall I not find 
The lily of the field, the Saviour's flower, 
In the serene and never-moaning air, 
And the clear starry light of angel eyes, 
A thousand fold more glorious ? Richer far 
Will not the violet's dusky purple glow, 
When it hath ne'er been pressed to broken hearts 
A record of lost love !' 



"July 5th, 1828. 

" My dear Sir, 

" I regretted that I was not able to answer 
your kind letter yesterday evening, having been 
during the whole day quite hors de combat, (a 



MRS. HEMANS. 193 

phrase which I once heard explained by a gen- 
tleman, as meaning ' a particular sort of war 
horse,') by the aid, however, of copious draughts 
of sympathy which were administered to me at 
proper intervals, I am now much revived, and 
quite able to enjoy that beautiful work,* with 
the sight of which you have favoured me. 
The graceful and spirited designs have so en- 
gaged my attention, that I have scarcely yet had 
time to look at the passages they illustrate, but 
I think the French appears to be a tiresome 
sensible sort of a translation, and not to possess 
any of the delightful absurdities which one gene- 
rally meets with, whenever Shakspeare and that 
language come in contact together. Certainly I 
do not see here any thing to rival that ' Je n'ai 
pas entendu une souris trotter,' by which one of 
the Parisian literati so amiably rendered the 
6 not a mouse stirring ' in Hamlet. You are, I 

* Retzsch's Outlines to Hamlet. 
VOL. I. K 



194 MEMORIALS OF 

think, quite right with regard to ' Fair Helen.'* 
Pray let the title be what you suggest, for it 
would be by no means desirable to have the 
memory of Thurtell or Thistlewood recalled by 
associations with her. I am not quite so sure as 
to the ( Home Sickness,'-)- the word seems to me 
so full of tenderness and simplicity. ... I 
beg my best thanks to your brother for the very 
beautiful air he has had the kindness to send 
me, which I am delighted to possess, only that 
it makes me long to sing again, and that is a 

forbidden pleasure I was not in 

the least fatigued the other evening ; on the con- 
trary, I am convinced that conversation does me 
good, and I think all invalids ought to be allow- 
ed discretionary power with regard to their 
amusements. I have been so much pleased 

* Her ballad of " Fair Helen of Kirconnel :" to this 
she had originally given the title of " Fair Helen's last 
words." 

t This was a free translation of the sweet homely 
German song " Herz, mein herz" 



MRS. HEMANS. 195 

with the remaining verses of the sweet 4 ffeim- 
weh," that I have translated, though very inade- 
quately (and the best translation always reminds 
me of a dried flower,) two more of them the 
fifth and the seventh which I enclose." 



Retzsch and Flaxman were Mrs. Hemans' 
favourites among modern artists. In the Out- 
lines to Hamlet she was particularly struck with 
that stormy but admirably arranged group of 
the hero of that tragedy and Laertes struggling 
over the corpse of Ophelia with the contrast 
between the beautiful and unconscious repose of 
the ill-starred maiden and the passion of the 
combatants, too fierce to be stayed even by 
" the holy presence of death". 



" I send to you the lines on O'Connor's child, 
and shall be extremely happy if you think they 
accord with the spirit of the picture. I should 

K 2 



196 MEMORIALS OF 

like them to have a motto from Campbell's 
poem : will you be kind enough to select 
one, as I have it not at present within reach. 
I can hardly tell why, but that painting 
brings to my mind the wild and sweet song of 
4 Thekla,' in < Wallenstein' < Das Her* ist ges- 
torben, die welt ist leer 9 I believe it is that the 
same deep feeling of desolation seems to pervade 
both. I am so delighted when I meet with any 
one who knows and loves my favourite seelen- 
vollen* German, that I could talk of it for 
ever, I believe. That language, when I first be- 
came acquainted with it, opened to me a new 
world of thought and feeling, and even the music 
of the 6 Eichenland?^ as Korner calls it, seemed 
to acquire a deeper tone, when I had gained a 
familiarity with its noble poetry." .... 



The letters which follow were written after 
her return to Wales. 

* Full of soul. t Land of Oaks. 



MRS. HEMANS. 197 

" I bore my return home and the subsequent 
excitement of seeing my family and friends, much 
better than I could have expected. My greatest 
sufferings were inflicted by an atrocious old 
blind fiddler, who, without the least symptom of 
remorse or compunctious visiting, made victims 
of the Tyrolese airs, until they seemed to scream 
for mercy under his ruthless touch. Pray tell 
your brothers I request them both to think of 
me with compassion. Certainly no human being 
is fit to be entrusted with despotic power. I con- 
sider myself a person of rather a meek and piti- 
ful nature than otherwise, and yet I am not at 
all sure, that if I had been an absolute queen, 
I should not have ordered the monster to be 
thrown overboard ' full fathom five/ I am sure a 
6 sea change ' or any kind of change, would have 
been most beneficial to his music at least." . . 



" I should have written sooner to thank you 



198 MEMORIALS OF 

for the very sweet music to which you have set 
my fi Rome, Rome/ but I have again been very 
unwell, and obliged to resign myself to a state of 
quiescence, which I would fain hope is at least 
praiseworthy, as it is certainly anything but 
agreeable. I am very sorry to hear that you too 
are so great an invalid ; pray take care of your- 
self, or you will . not be able to visit me when I 
return to Wavertree, and I shall be defrauded 
of all my promised tunes, and legends, and 
4 tales of horror.' I hope the ghost stories made 
your hair stand on end satisfactorily, and that 
the wind moaned in the true supernatural tone 
while you were reading, and that the lamp or 
taper (it ought to have been enshrined in a 
skull) threw the proper blue flickering light 
over the page, and gave every mysterious word 
a more unearthly character. I have been making 
research for a good Welsh ghost to introduce to 
your acquaintance, but have not yet met with 
one whom I consider sufficiently terrific. I sup- 
pose you know ' Hibbert's Theory of Appari- 



MRS. HEMANS. 199 

tions ;' it is a most provoking book, because the 
perverse author will not leave one in quiet pos- 
session of one's faith, and insists upon bringing 
those hateful engines, commonly called the ' rea- 
soning powers,' into play against all the fabrics 
of imagination : there are, however, many in- 
teresting stories in it, and by judicious manage- 
ment, one may contrive to escape the moral. 
You were right and I was wrong, a great deal 
for a lady to admit, is it not ? about the Count 
Oginski; his song of the Swan, was a Polo- 
noise and not a waltz, as I had imagined ; and 
it is indeed most beautiful music with which 
one could fancy his spirit after death might have 
haunted her, ' the queenly, but too gentle for a 
queen/ My sister applauds to the skies your 
preference of Rossini to all others ; for my part, 
I think that those who have felt and suffered 
much, will seek for a deeper tone in music than 
they can find in him ;* something more spiritual 

* There is a curious passage in Coleridge's " Table 



200 MEMORIALS OF 

and more profound, such as the soul which 
breathes through the strains of Mozart and Bee- 
thoven ; but I speak from feeling alone, and, I 
doubt not, most unscientifically. I have been very 
ungrateful in so long neglecting to thank you for 
the Ave, with which we have been very much 
pleased; I think it is full of expression, and 
conveys all that I wished and intended the words 
should convey. The coincidence between two 
or three bars and part of my sister's composition 
is very striking, but not more so, than one of 

Talk," which, as corroborating this judgment, so justly 
expressed, I cannot but extract. " An ear for music," 
said he, " is a very different thing from a taste for 
music. I have no ear whatever ; I could not sing an 
air to save my life ; but I have the intensest delight 
in music, and can detect good from bad. Naldi, a good 
fellow, remarked to me once at a concert, that I did 
not seem much interested with a piece of Rossini's 
which had just been performed. I said it sounded to 
me like nonsense verses ; but I could scarcely contain 
myself when a thing of Beethoven's followed." 



MRS. HEMANS. 201 

thought, which occurred in a late letter of Cap- 
tain Sherer to me. He is speaking of roses, and 
says, ' If a rose were peeping in at the window 
of the room wherein I was to die, I should no 
more imagine that I were taking leave of the 
exotic from Eden for ever, than that the spirit 
within me were about to be annihilated.' Is 
there not an idea very similar to this in 
those lines on the Rose which I sent for the 
4 Wreath ?' I look forward with much pleasure, 
and yet some anxiety, to my return into your 
neighbourhood. My brother who, I hoped, would 
have resided with me, has just obtained a mili- 
tary appointment in Ireland, and is, of course, 
gone thither. I fear I shall feel very lonely and 
brotherless, as I have always been one of a large 
family circle before. I could laugh or cry 
when I think of the helplessness, natural and 
acquired, which I have contrived to accumu- 
late." 



K 5 



202 MEMORIALS OF 

" We will conclude a truce respecting Mozart 
and Rossini, as I see that however long the feud 
may be carried on, it will leave ' each of the 
same opinion still/ My sister desires me to tell 
you, that she entirely coincides with you on the 
subject ; (pray admire my candour in transmit- 
ting such a message ;) she further begs me to 
ask if you could favour her with a copy of the 
Preghiera in Mos^ with which she is of course 
acquainted, but is not in possession of the notes. 
I sincerely hope you are better than when you 
last wrote to me. My own health is much im- 
proved, and I suffer so much more than I had 
expected from the parting looks of ' the old 
familiar faces' and scenes around me, that I 
almost regret my having returned to St. Asaph 

at all I send you a little poem 

which I wrote yesterday ;* the subject will per- 
haps interest you." .... 



* " The two Voices," published among the Songs 
of the Affections. 



MRS. HEMANS. 203 

" I was much concerned to receive so indif- 
ferent an account of your health in your last 
note, and sincerely hope I may find you better 
when I return to Liverpool, which will be about 
the 25th of the month. I am afraid I shall not 
do you much good, for I feel as the Welsh coun- 
try people say in their griefs, c very heavy' just 
now. I had no idea I was growing by so many 
roots to -this place, which such is mortal incon- 
sistency I have wished to leave again and 
again. I can easily conceive, and more espe- 
cially at this time, how much you must feel the 
loss of your sister ; in mine, I shall be deprived 
of the only real companion I have ever had : she 
is to leave me on Saturday next, and I am 
haunted by those melancholy words of St. Leon's 
guest the unhappy old man with his immortal 
gifts ' Alone, alone.' But this is rather dis- 
mal, and will weary you more than the Mozart 
controversy, which I really only gave up because 
I feared I had not science enough to carry me 
through it with a good grace ; this is at least 



204 MEMORIALS OF 

very candid on my part, as I hope you will allow. 
Have you composed any more music lately? 
and have you had any dealings with the supe- 
natural world ? I have become acquainted with 
a very impressive ghost, (though he only said 
five words,) that of Ficinus, who appeared to his 
friend Michael Mercato, in consequence of a 
mutual compact made before death. Tell me if 
you know him ; because if not, I will do myself 
the pleasure of introducing you." .... 



" My whole life has lain within the 

wild circle of these wild Welsh hills, and I know 

nobody A great many thanks for the 

German (writing) alphabet, which I shall keep 
as an enduring record of your kindness and 
patience ; but I look at it with a sort of despair, 
for certainly such a ferocious-looking crew as 
these Teutonic letters I never did behold ; there 
is something absolutely awful in the necro- 
mantic mazes of that indescribable H and V and 



MRS. HEMANS. 205 

W, and I cannot at all feel sure that they do not 
conceal spells of some sort or other, and that 
if I were to attempt tracing them I should not 
find myself all of a sudden surrounded by evil 
spirits, like poor Benvenuto Cellini, in the Coli- 
seum. I begin to think that the mastery over 
them, must quite be above the genius of woman. 
/ shall attempt it, I dare say, but I fear some 
signal punishment will follow my presumption." 



" Rhyllon, Sept. 18, 1828. 

" I had an interesting visit a few days since 
from the poet Montgomery, not the new 
aspirant to that name, but the 'real Peter 
Bell.' He is very pleasing in manner and 
countenance, notwithstanding a mass of troubled, 
streaming, meteoric -looking hair, that seemed as 
if it had just been contending with the blasts of 
Snowdon, from which he had just returned, 
full of animation and enthusiasm. He complained 
much in the course of conversation, and I 



206 MEMORIALS OF 

heartily joined with him, of the fancy which 
wise people have in the present times, for setting 
one right ; cheating one, that is, out of all the 
pretty old legends and stories, in the place of 
which they want to establish dull facts. We 
mutually grumbled about Fair Rosamond, 
Queen Eleanor and the poisoned wound, Richard 
the Third and his hump-back ; but agreed most 
resolutely that nothing should ever induce us to 
give up William Tell . . ." 



It was about this time that " The Farewell to 
Wales" was written. 

" I bless thee for all the true bosoms that beat 
Where'er a low hamlet smiles up to thy skies, 

For thy cottage-hearths, burning the strangers to greet, 
For the soul that shines forth from thy children's 
kind eyes." . . . 

Mrs. Hemans always spoke of this " land of 
her childhood, her home, and her dead," with 
interest and affection. When she sailed from 



MRS. HEMANS. 207 

its shore, she covered her face in her cloak, 
desiring her boys to tell her when the hills 
were out of sight, that she might then look up. 
She would often, too, refer to the pain she had 
suffered, in addition to the sorrow of parting 
from her kindred and friends, for the first time 
since her birth, to make actual acquaintance 
with the daily cares of life upon taking 
leave of the simple and homely peasantry of the 
neighbourhood, by whom she was beloved with 
that old-fashioned heartiness which yet lingers 
in some of the nooks and remote places of 
England. Many of them rushed forward to 
touch the posts of the gate through which the 
poetess had passed ; and when, three years 
afterwards, she paid a visit to St. Asaph, came 
and wept over her, and entreated her to return 
and make her home among them again. 



208 MEMORIALS OF 



CHAPTER V. 

Wavertree Mrs. Hemans' indisposition to general 
society Her house Visitors and Albums Extracts 
from familiar correspondence -" Ballads of the Cid" 
" Memoirs of Prince Eugene" Letter to Miss 
Mitford on the success of " Rienzi" Letter to Mrs. 
Howitt. 

IT was in the autumn of the year 1828, that 
Mrs. Hemans finally established herself at 
Wavertree. She had chosen this pleasant village 
as a residence, under the idea, that its vicinity to 
Liverpool must ensure her the advantages of 
good education for her sons, and cultivated so- 
ciety for herself. But the event proved she was 
mistaken : Liverpool was then singularly defici- 



MRS. HEMANS. 209 

ent in good schools, and its society (as must 
necessarily be the case in a town so entirely 
commercial) too exclusively under the dominion 
of an aristocracy of wealth, too much broken up 
by small distinctions of sect and party, to offer 
her much that suited her peculiar tastes. 
While she recognised truth in sober earnest 
with steadiness and warmth, she was too apt 
to laugh away argument with that wit, which 
as has been happily said, was " poetical wit, deal- 
ing chiefly in fanciful allusion and brilliant re- 
mark," to be thoroughly understood, or valued 
by the circles to which Roscoe and Currie had 
formerly belonged. The less intelligent, who 
discovered that she did not enjoy the formalities 
of society, great balls, great dinners, dull 
public amusements, after their fashion and 
there is no code so arbitrary as the statute of 
manners in a provincial town who remarked a 
singularity or two in her dress, and were kept 
at a distance by allusions to motives, and feel- 
ings, and pursuits of which they knew nothing, 



'210 MEMORIALS OF 

stood aloof from her with suspicion and uneasi- 
ness. 

These circumstances are not mentioned either 
in a spirit of reproach or of derision ; they are 
simply brought forward to account for the re- 
tirement in which Mrs. Hemans held herself. 
She had never learned the feignings and pretti- 
nesses of the world's manner; nor, on the other 
hand, did she find it agreeable always to sit 
upon her throne, as it were, with her book of 
magic upon her knee, and her wand in her out- 
stretched arm. Her humour was sprightly and 
searching, as well as original : she could talk 
delicious nonsense, as well as inspired sense, and 
the utilitarian and the serious, who would fain 
have had a moral placarded and paraded upon 
every chance phrase of conversation, " wondered 
and went their way." At this time she was 
sought out in her retreat by every species of 
literary homage, from every corner of England 
and America, offers of service, letters of intro- 
duction, crowded upon her ; literary engagements 



MRS. HEMANS. 211 

were pressed upon her from the divinity treatise 
to the fairy tale ; and yet she was never so de- 
lightful, never so happy as when she could come 
in like an inmate to the fire-sides of the few who 
understood her, at times, making most pleasant 
merriment of the notorieties of her lot; at 
times, when loftier subjects were touched upon, 
rising to a lofty and glowing eloquence, which I 
have seldom heard reached, certainly never sur- 
passed. " Were I called upon," says a corres- 
pondent who knew her well, " to mention what 
I think most individual about Mrs. Hemans, I 
should particularize the singular union of sweet- 
ness and impatience in her temper. She could 
hardly be induced to join any society not conge- 
nial to herself; and it is much, and yet no more 
than the truth, to say, that her good-humour 
was unbroken, and that no sharp or scornful 
speech is on record against her." But her own 
feelings with respect to society will be better 
gathered from one of her notes than from any- 
further description. 



212 MEMORIALS OF 



* My dear , 

" I should have acknowledged your very kind 
letter from Edinburgh ; but that it gave me the 
hope of finding you at home, on my return from 
Wavertree, and I was then within a few days of 
leaving Wales. As I am, however, disappointed 
in this expectation, I will no longer delay telling 
you with what real pleasure I look for the com- 
panionship you so kindly offer me, and how 
truly I join in the wishes of your family for your 
return. You will, I trust, come to me often, 
very often. I have no taste, no health for the 
enjoyment of extensive society. I have been all 
my life a creature of hearth and home, and now 
that the ' mother that looked on my childhood' 
is gone, and that my brothers and sisters are 
scattered far and wide, I have no wish, but to 
gather around the few friends who will love me 
and enter into my pursuits. I wish I could give 
you the least idea of what kindness is to me 



MRS. HEMANS. 213 

how much more, how far dearer than fame.* 

I trust that you and I and may pass 

many pleasant evenings together this winter at 
my little dwelling, which I hope to see often 
cheered and lit up by happy and ' familiar faces.' 
The limits of my frank will not allow me to 
write more ; only I must offer my kind regards 



* " Thou shalt have Fame ! () mockery ! give the reed 
From storms a shelter give the drooping vine 
Something round which its tendrils may entwine, 
Give the parched flower a rain-drop and the 

meed 
Of 'Love's kind words to woman." 

Proper zia Rossi. Records of Woman. 



They crown me with a glistering crown 

Borne from a deathless tree ; 
1 hear the pealing music of renown 
O Love ! forsake me not ! 
Mine were a lone, dark lot, 

Bereft of thee!" 
Genius singing to Love. National Lyrics. 

t 



214 MEMORIALS OF 

to the friend you mention as taking so much 
pleasure in my poetry." . . . 



The house which Mrs. Hemans occupied was 
too small to deserve the name the third of a 
cluster or row close to a dusty road, and yet too 
townish in its appearance and situation to be 
called a cottage. It was set in a small court, 
and within doors was gloomy and comfortless, 
for its two parlours, (one with a tiny book-room 
opening from it,) were hardly larger than 
closets; but, with her harp, and her books,* and 

* " Come let me make a sunny realm around thee 

Of thought and beauty. Here are books and 

flowers, 



With spells to loose the fetter which hath bounH 

thee, 

The ravelled coil of this world's feverish hours." 
Books and Flowers. National Lyrics. 

The whole of this piece is exquisitely happy in its 
expression, and, a rare thing in one of Mrs. Hemans' 



MRS. HEMANS. 215 

the flowers with which she loved to fill her little 
rooms, they presently assumed a habitable, al- 
most an elegant appearance. Could they now 
talk of all that they had seen and heard, what 
delightful records might they give of the even- 
ings when she gathered round her hearth those 
passing literary friends in whose society she 
found such genuine enjoyment ! Among these I 
must mention Miss Jewsbury, Mary Howitt, 
Dr. Bowring, and I cannot but regret, that I 
have no specific memorials of the conversation 
so varied, so sparkling, so suggestive, which was 
struck out in this encounter of minds of no 
common order. 

These, however, were holiday treats : her daily 

fare was less palatable and welcome. The ex- 



poems, written at this particular time, cheerful in its 
close 

" Too richly dowered, O friend ! are we for sad- 
ness 
Look on an empire mind and nature ours !" 



216 MEMORIALS OF 

cellent inhabitants of the village in which she had 
taken up her residence, staunch votaries of tea, 
and cards, and "sociable visiting," had never 
before numbered among their neighbours, one 
so distinguished and gifted as she was. Scarcely 
had she settled herself at Wavertree, than she 
was besieged by visitors to a number positively 
bewildering. A more heterogeneous company 
cannot be possibly imagined. Some came merely 
to stare at the strange poetess; others to pay 
proper neighbourly morning calls, and discuss 
household matters. Great was their surprise at 
finding that she was not ready with an answer on 
these important topics. Others, far the most 
unwelcome because the most artificial, came, 
bearing small cut-and-dried offerings of com- 
pliment, with such literary small-talk in their 
mouths as might have befitted the answers to 
correspondents of the Lady's Magazine, some 
sixty years since. All these must have had 
scanty satisfaction in their visits. They could 
only report that they had found a lady neither 



MRS. HEMANS. 217 

short nor tall, no longer youthful or beautiful in 
appearance, whose manners were quiet and refin- 
ed, and who, strange to tell, had nothing to say 
of theatres, concerts, &c., &c. nothing to quote 
of " the sweet new poem" no sympathy with 
the card-table, and the " comfortable early 
party." The ladies, however, could remark, 
" that her room was sadly littered with books 
and papers, that the strings of her harp were 
half of them broken, and that she wore a veil 
upon her head like no one else." Nor did the 
gentlemen make much way by their Delia Crus- 
can admiration ; when the stock of compliment 
was once exhausted and acknowledged, there 
remained nothing new to be said on either side, 
though there were none more frankly delighted, 
and few more sensible of the genuine pleasure 
she gave by her writings than Mrs. Hemans, 
Her works were a part of herself, herself of 
them; and those who enjoyed and understood 
the one, enjoyed and understood the other, and 
made their way at once to her heart, 
VOL. i, L 



218 MEMORIALS OF 

I must not forget to allude to what Charles Lamb 
calls the "Albumean persecution," which she was 
here called upon to endure. One gentleman, a 
total stranger to her, beset her, ere she had been 
three weeks a householder, with a huge virgin 
folio splendidly bound, which he had bought 
" on purpose that she might open it with one of 
her exquisite poems." People not only brought 
their own books, but likewise those of " my sis- 
ter and my sister's child," all anxious to have 
something written on purpose for themselves. 
On the whole, she bore these honours meekly, 
and for awhile, in the natural kindliness of her 
heart, gave way to the current. Sometimes, 
however, her sense of the whimsical would break 
out ; sometimes it was provoked by the thorough- 
going and coarse perseverance of the intrusions 
against which it was difficult to guard. What 
could be done with persons, who would call, and 
call again, and yet a third time in the course of 
one morning, and refuse to take their final de- 
parture till they were told " when Mrs. Hemans 



MRS. HEMANS. 219 

would be at home ?" It was on one of these occa- 
sions that she commissioned a friend of hers, in 
a lively note, " to procure her a dragon to be 
kept in her court-yard." At another time, (and 
that I well remember was a most flagrant case) 
her vexation found vent in no less cheerful a 
manner : 

"They had an Album with them,. . . absolutely 
an Album ! You had scarcely left me to my fate 
O how you laughed the moment you were set 
free ! when the little woman with the inquisito- 
rial eyes informed me, that the tall woman with 
the superior understanding Heaven save the 
mark ! was ambitious of possessing my auto- 
graph, and out leaped in h'ghtning forth ' the 
Album.' A most evangelical and edifying book 
it is truly ; so I, out of pure spleen, mean to in- 
sert in it something as strongly savouring of the 
Pagan miscellany as I dare. O the ( pleasures 

L 2 



220 MEMORIALS OF 

of Fame !' O that I were but the little girl in 
the top of the elm tree again ! 

" Your much enduring, 

F. H." 

It was as much the antipathy to this common- 
place and intrusive curiosity, (how different from 
the modest and appreciating respect with which 
genius should be approached !) as the sympathy 
with pursuits, tastes, and fancies, in some measure 
possessed in common by both parties, that made 
her take refuge and find pleasure by our fire- 
side. She had not long taken her place there, 
before, with a quickness and kindliness which 
it is impossible to remember without affectionate 
regret, she adapted herself, like a sister, to all 
the peculiar and widely differing pursuits and 
dispositions of the separate members of our circle. 
There is hardly a poem or a lyric in the two 
volumes which contain the fruits of this period 
of almost daily intercourse, whose origin I can- 



MRS. HEM AN S. 221 

not trace to some conversation, to some momen- 
tary fancy, or image, which sprung up in the 
midst of those sparkling, sprightly evenings. In 
the letters which follow will be found constant 
allusions to the mirth of the moment which gave 
so happy and unexpected a relief to her more 
melancholy hours. Most true to her own na- 
ture, as well as beautiful in itself, is the final 
verse of one of her charming songs. 

" There's many a heart, wild singer ! 

Like thy forsaken tower, 
Where joy no more may linger, 

Where love hath left his bower; 
And there's many a spirit ev'n like thee, 

To mirth as lightly stirred, 
Tho' it soar from ruins in its glee, 

O ! lonely ! lonely bird !" 



One night she would playfully give vent to 
the thousand conceits, and exuberances, and 
imagined despotism in which, were she a queen, 



222 MEMORIALS OF 

she would indulge herself; filling up the offices 
of her court, and household, in the old euphui- 
stic style : at another time she would come to 
us full of some legend or historical situation, 
which she had discovered in the course of her 
day's reading, and which she would recount and 
describe with a faith and earnestness peculiar to 
the poetical. Or she would bring the last lyric 
she had written, or the last strange letter she 
had received, and some were "passing strange." 
It was necessary for her happiness, in fact, to 
find those to whom she could constantly open 
" all that was in her heart." Of the fragments 
of letters which follow, all those marked with 
an asterisk are addressed to a correspondent of 
her own sex. They are given without strict re- 
gard to chronological order, to observe which, 
indeed, was impossible. 

" My dear Sir, 

" I am sure you will have pleasure in hearing 
that I did not suffer at all, 6 mais tout au contraire, 



MKS. HEMANS. 223 

Sire," 1 for my escapade last night. All the way 
home I was meditating most sagely upon the 
strange inconsistencies of human nature, and of 
my own nature more especially, that with so 
much of 

' the perilous stuff 
Which weighs upon the heart/ 

pressing heavily upon mine, and with uncertainty 
and doubts respecting my future path, enough 
to perplex the head of Earl Greatheart him- 
self, I could so utterly forget this, and be for a 
few hours a very child again ; yes, indeed, and 
a very foolish child. I moralized 'the matter into 
a thousand similies ;' but, for this time I will 

spare you. . . M. has sent 

me to read the Baron de Stael's letters on Eng- 
land : they seem to treat of just the sort of 
matters which, in my royal days, I mean to leave 
with such entire confidence to my prime minis- 
ters. Perhaps, therefore, he would like to look 
at them by way of preparation." 



224 MEMORIALS OF 

*" No indeed, my dear there is no enjoyment 
to compare with the happiness of gladdening 
hearth and home for others it is woman's own 
true sphere ; . . . I cannot therefore regret 
your usefulness, though I should rejoice if it al- 
lowed you to pay me more frequent visits . . 
I am not at all well just now ; I believe it 
is owing to the great fatigue I have had of late 
with my boys ; and this time of the year makes 
one so long for the far away do not you think so ? 
If my sister were near me now, I should lay my 
head down upon her shoulder and cry ' like a 

tired child.' How very foolish would think 

me ! and rightly too ! so do not betray my 
weakness ! . . ." 



" I really am rather ashamed of you, and of 
myself too. How any one can laugh at a piece 
of such ineffable absurdity ; and yet I did laugh 
all the while most heartily, quarrelling with you, 
myself and still more the odious writer of L. E. 



MRS. HEMANS. 225 

G., as the creature calls it. All three, I think, 
deserve to be set down for a whole evening to 
play with an ivory alphabet: the Chinese puzzles 
would be too highly intellectual for them. . . 
I expect to be established in my new abode on 
Monday or Tuesday next ; if you will then be 
kind enough to come and see me, and help me 
to arrange about my piano, I shall be particu- 
larly obh'ged, as I do not think I can bear the 
burden of my life without music, for more than 
two or three days. . . ." 



" .... I send Herder's beautiful ballads 
of the ' Cid,' and I wish you may take as much 
pleasure as I have always done in their proud 
clarion music. I often think, what a dull, faded 
thing life, such life as we lead in this later 
age, would appear to one of those fiery knights 
of old. Only imagine 4 my Cid,' spurring the 
good steed Baviecatoough the streets of Liver- 
pool ! or coming to pass an evening with me at 

L 5 



226 MEMORIALS OF 

Wavertree ! which, notwithstanding, I hope you 
and your brothers and sisters will be kind 
enough to do very soon. . . ." 



" I have been much amused with the 4 Me- 
moirs of Prince Eugene,' which you were so 
kind as to lend me. Sometimes I am quite an- 
gry with him for being so happy without any 
domestic ties; and then again, I think that 
those who go through life with the fewest affec- 
tions, thus exposing the fewest vulnerable points 
to sorrow, ought to be, and may well be, the 
happiest." 



* " My dear , 

" Pray do not be alarmed at this avalanche of 
books. I have just received some copies of the 
' Records' from my publisher, and I hope you will 
favour me by accepting the one I now send, as a 
slight token that I wish for a place among your 



MRS. HEMANS. 227 

* forty friends, or forty thieves,' as I used to call 
Miss Jewsbury's host of allies. There is, I think, 
only one additional piece in the volume, 6 the Death- 
day of Korner.' The American poems which I 

promised to lend Mr. ( what would a 

Spaniard think of that name ?) perhaps you will 
be kind enough to send him, as I do not know 
his address. I am sure you will be glad to hear 
that I have not in the least suffered for my very 
pleasant evening at your house. I do not know 
when I have felt so much at home. But I saw 
very little of you, and this I the more regret, as, 
from the highly moral tone you assumed towards 
the close of the evening, I am sure I must have 
lost a great number of improving aphorisms. 
As for me, I really am c a creature not too bright 
or good' by any means, but a mere mortal wo- 
man, and I wish to gain wisdom much, and I 
want you to come and pass a day with me for 
this purpose. . . . That ' Muse Celeste' of 
Lucien's is waiting with heavenly patience for 
to assist me in paying my further devo- 



228 MEMORIALS OF 

tions to her. We have been talking much of 
French poetry lately : does he know, or do you, 
the ' dernier chant de Corinne ?' I sent it marked 
in the third volume of the book, and you shall 
have the others if you wish. If the soul without 
the form be enough to constitute poetry, then it 
surely is poetry of the very highest order. The 

Swiss airs are for to look over. I wish 

he would arrange any one of them that he 
thinks prettiest, and then I will write words for it; 
but alas ! ' where's the voice to breathe them ?' 
Only imagine a lady with whom I am going to 
pass an evening having sent to a friend of mine 
to borrow my poems previously, ' pour se munir' 
I suppose, for the occasion. Mistaken woman. 
I shall talk to her about the last Parisian hat, 
and lama trimmings, and nothing else, I am re- 
solved ! I hope I shall see you here before the 
day when you are to come and ' talk of vir- 
tue/ and should be glad if , when he has 

nothing better to do, would look over the ' Gloria 
in excelsisj which has been lent to me, because 
I fear it is not quite correct. 



MRS. HEMANS. 229 

" After you have taught me how to make a 
virtuous queen, I wish you would instruct me 
how to keep plants alive. I am killing an un- 
happy myrtle and rose, out of pure ignorance." 



" I return you the Gem, my dear with many 
thanks. I have been rather disappointed in its 
perusal, and think some of the pieces quite in- 
tolerable only to be paralleled by the L. E. G.'s. 
in the New Monthly. When next you come to 
see me, expect to find me incrusted all over 
with stupidity. . . I must certainly turn 
bird of passage again, (provided sufficient life be 
left in me,) if the ' work-day-world' people here 
do not let me alone ; 4 1 shall order my wings 
and be off to the west,' for there is positively no 
enduring it. I have been kept alive in the in- 
tervals of conjugating the verb, ' s'ennuyer' with 
these human mortals/ by a few pleasant letters. 
I have heard from Cyril Thornton, as I cannot 
help calling him, and Miss Mitford. The latter 



230 MEMORIALS OF 

writes so unaffectedly about the success of her 
4 Rienzi,' and the delight it has given her father 
that you will be quite pleased, and almost feel 
as if you knew her when you read her letter. 



A fuller and more direct reference to this sub- 
ject will be found in the following letter :* the 
genuine, womanly sympathy, uttered in every 
line of it, will, I am sure, be felt as it de- 
serves. 

* I cannot but here acknowledge the more than 
kindness with which the letter in question, and the 
former ones addressed to Miss Mitford, have been 
placed at my disposal. Nor can I resist proving, 
from a passage in a delightful letter which accompani- 
ed the favour, in which the success of Rienzi is also re- 
ferred to, how just an appreciation Mrs. Hemans pos- 
sessed of her friend, not merely as an authoress but 
likewise as a correspondent. 



MRS. HEMANS, 231 

" November 10, 1828. 
" My dear Miss Mitford, 
" Accept my late, though sincere and cordial 
congratulations on the brilliant success of 
6 Rienzi,' of which I have read with unfeigned 
gratification.* I thought of your father and 
mother, and could not help imagining, that your 
feelings must be like those of the Greek general, 

" There is a fascination in the acted drama, which 
none but a successful author can tell ; and yet it is ra- 
ther the doubtful intoxication of high excitement, than 
a real and satisfactory pleasure. The second night of 
' Rienzi' .1 went to see it, not the first ; and I was so 
entirely bewildered, dizzied by the applause, and the 
far more flattering stopping of the audience at pas- 
sages which the pit wanted to hear, that I myself, 
who am not at all deaf in general, lost entirely the 
sense of hearing. I saw the people upon the stage, 
but they might have been acting Mirandola, or Romeo 
and Juliet, or any other Italian story of the middle 
ages for aught that I heard of the words. Coming 
home, I never closed my eyes, and next day 1 was as 
one rising from a long fever, weary, exhausted, sad 
feeling a void, a vacuum : the hope was gone, and the 



232 MEMORIALS OF 

who declared that his greatest delight in victory 
arose from the thought of his parents. I have 
no doubt that your enjoyment of your triumph 
has been of a similar nature. I ought to have 
acknowledged long, long since, your kind pre- 
sent of the little volume of plays valued both for 
your sake and theirs, for they are indeed full of 
beauty ; but I have been a drooping creature for 

triumph did not fill its place. On the contrary, I had 
a sense of not deserving my success, and never in my 
life was so thoroughly humble, as in that day of im- 
puted extasy. This does not sound very tempting to 
a dramatic author; and yet there is an unspeakable 
fascination in it, too. I met Mr. Hope about that 
time, and happening to sit next him at dinner, he be- 
gan questioning me as to the feeling. ' Aye* said the 
author of Anastasius ' it is Fame coming close to 
you close enough to be clutched. I know nothing 
like it except the success of a great speech in Parlia- 
ment, and that hardly is complete. You only sway 
the minds of one half your auditors, and have, be- 
sides, too much to think of as your speech goes on, to 
abandon yourself entirely to feeling.'" 



MRS. HEMANS. 233 

months, ill, and suffering much from the disper- 
sion of a little band of brothers and sisters, among 
whom I had lived, and who are now all scattered : 
and, strange as it may seem to say, lam now for the 
first time in my life holding the reins of govern- 
ment, independent, managing a household myself ; 
and I never liked any thing less than ' ce triste 
empire de soi-meme.' It really suits me as ill 
as the southron climate did your wild Orkney 
school-girls, whom perhaps you, the creator of 
so many fair forms and images, may have forgot- 
ten, but I have not. I have changed my resi- 
dence since I last wrote to you, and my address 
is now at Wavertree, near Liverpool, where I 
shall, as the Welsh country-people say, 4 take it 
very kind' if you write to me; and I really 
cannot help venturing to hope that you will. 
I have yet only read of Rienzi, a few noble 
passages given by the newspapers and magazines, 
but in a few days I hope to be acquainted with 
the whole. Every woman ought to be proud of 
your triumph in this age, too, when dramatic 



234 MEMORIALS OF 

triumph seems of all others the most difficult. 
How are May, and Mossy, and Lucy and 
Jack Hatch? no, Jack Hatch actually died, 
to the astonishment of myself and my boys, 
who thought, I believe, he had been 
' painted for eternity,' and Mrs. Allen, and the 
rest of the dear villagers ? And your parents ? 
I trust they are well. Your mother, I believe, is 
always an invalid, but I hope she is able fully to 
enjoy the success of her daughter, as only a 
mother can enjoy it. How hollow sounds the 
voice of fame to an orphan !* Farewell, my 

* The same idea is simply and beautifully intro- 
duced by Mrs. Hemans, in " The Charmed Picture" 
an address to the miniature of her mother. 

" Look on me thus, when hollow praise 

Hath made the weary pine 
For one true tone of other days, 
One glance of love like thine ! 

' Look on me thus, when sudden glee 
Bears my quick heart along, 



MRS. HEMANS. 23 

dear Miss Mitford long may you have the de- 
light of gladdening a father and mother ! 
" Believe me, ever faithfully yours, 

" FELICIA HEMANS." 



There was no more beautiful trait in Mrs. 
Hemans' character than the total absence of any 
thing like rivalry of the smallest shadow of a 
wish to depreciate or discourage the efforts of 
her contemporaries. Her judgment, indeed, 
was as fastidious as it was independent : she did 
not estimate the writings or the endowments of 
others according to the fashion of the day, but 
by the standard of her own wholly poetical feel- 
ings : and thus she might be sometimes too ex- 
clusive, but never voluntarily unfair, or warped 



On wing that struggles to be free, 
As bursts of skylark song. 

In vain ! in vain !" 



236 MEMORIALS OF 

by the smallnesses which creep into minds less 
earnest. Though so naturally rich, even to 
luxury, in her own imagery and forms of expres- 
sion, she was wholly intolerant of all coun- 
terfeit sentiment and pretty phraseology : these 
she would call " property writing," " painted lan- 
guage." She was too entirely and earnestly 
devoted to her art ever to bear a part in the 
antiphony of hollow compliment. One of her 
favourite quotations was the satire on the Lich- 
field coterie, which she would repeat with exquisite 
humour : 

" Tuneful poet ! England's glory, 

Mr. Hayley that is you." 
" Ma'am, you carry all before you, 

Trust me, Lichfield swan, you do \" 

But,in proportion asher taste was fastidious and 
peculiar, so were her preferences strong and last- 
ing. " If she could see no fault in her friends,'' 
she would playfully and ingeniously argue, "they 
were very few in number; and she was sure 



MRS. HEMANS. 237 

that she could not have adopted them so entirely 
as a part of herself without good and convincing 
cause." The pleasure she took in the writings 
of many of her own sex among whom I may 
mention Miss Baillie, Miss Bowles, Mrs. Shel- 
ley was thorough-going and sincere : and this 
chapter cannot be better closed than by a letter 
addressed to another of her contemporaries, 
though widely differing from herself in the cha- 
racter and sources of her inspiration no less 
nobly and sincerely a poetess. 

"Wavertree, Dec. llth, 1828. 

" My dear Mrs. Howitt, 

" You will not, I trust, have thought me very 

ungrateful for your delightful letter, though it has 

been left so long unanswered. I am sure I shall 

give your heart greater pleasure by writing now., 

than I could have done by an immediate reply ; 

for I had suffered so deeply, so much more than 

I had imagined possible, from leaving Wales, 

and many kind and old familiar faces there,' as 



238 MEMORIALS OF 

well as from the breaking up of my family on 
the occasion of my sister's marriage, that my 
spirits were, long after my arrival here, over- 
shadowed by constant depression. My health 
also had been much affected by mental struggles, 
and I thought within myself, ' I will not write 
what I know would only sadden so kind a heart ; 
I will wait till the sunshine breaks in.' And 
now, I can tell you that it begins to dawn, for 
my health and spirits are decidedly improving, 
and I am reconciling myself to many things in 
my changed situation, which at first pressed 
upon my heart with all the weight of a Switzer's 
home-sickness. Among these is the want of 
hills. O this waveless horizon ! how it wearies 
the eye accustomed to the sweeping outline of 
mountain scenery ! I would wish that there 
were at least woodlands like those so delightfully 
pictured in your husband's 4 Chapter on Woods,' 
to supply their place ; but it is a dull, uninven- 
tive nature all around here, though there must 
be somewhere little fairy nooks, which I hope 



MRS. HEMANS. 239 

by degrees to discover. I must recur to the be- 
fore-mentioned ' chapter,' it delighted me so 
particularly by the freshness of its spirit, deep 
feeling, and minute observation of nature ; * the 
fading of the leaf, which ought rather to be 
called the kindling of the leaf,' how truly and 
how poetically was that said ! That I might 
become better acquainted with his writings, I 
have lately borrowed some volumes of 6 Time's 
Telescope,' in which I believed I could not fail 
to discover the same characteristics ; and I anti- 
cipate much enjoyment from the ' Book of the 
Seasons,' which, I am sure, will be a rich trea- 
sury of natural imagery and pure feeling. I 
hear with great pleasure, my dear friend, that 
the place of your lost one is to be supplied, the 
hollow of his absence' filled up. All the kindly 
wishes of a woman's and a mother's heart attend 
you on the occasion ! I shall wish much to 
hear of your safety and well-doing : perhaps 
Mr. Howitt will send a line under cover to the 
Bishop of St. Asaph, (who is now from home on 



240 MEMORIALS OF 

different visits, or I should have procured a frank 
for this,) to inform me of yourself and your 
babe. I trust your dear little girl is well : has 
she quite forgotten ' Felicia Hemans ?' I should 
like very much to send you the new edition of 
the ' Forest Sanctuary ;' how can my bookseller 
have it conveyed best ? I cannot tell you with 
how much pleasure I read your praises in the 
Nodes Ambrosiance : they were bestowed, too, 
in language so delicate and appropriate, that I 
think you must have felt gratified, especially as 
you have one to gratify by your success. The 
pleasure of fame to woman must ever be re- 
flected, such at least is my feeling of it. I faith- 
fully transmitted your message to Miss Jewsbury, 
and can assure you that the cordial esteem with 
which she speaks and thinks of you, is fully ade- 
quate to the feelings you entertain for her. I 
have written a good deal since I established my- 
self here, and I do not think you will yet per- 
ceive any change in the character of my poetry. 
Miss desires her kindest love to you, and 



MRS. HEMANS. 241 

bids me say she was utterly shocked by my de- 
linquency when she found I had never written 
to thank you, in her name as well as my own, 
for the two beautiful li ttle poems you left as auto- 
graphs. Now God bless you, and believe me 
to be 

" Ever affectionately yours, 

" FELICIA HEMANS." 



VOL. I. M 



242 MEMORIALS OF 



CHAPTER VI. 

Familiar correspondence continued Prince de Lar- 
daria "Heaven and Earth" Mrs. Hemans' per- 
sonal carelessness Ode to Music Circus House- 
hold cares The word " Barb" Imitations of our 
English classics Irish music Hottentot poetry. 

THE present chapter, and part of the following 
one, will be devoted to such fragments of notes 
and letters as illustrate that buoyancy of tem- 
perament and quaintness of expression which 
have been already described as so decidedly 
characteristic of Mrs. Hemans. I should be 
unfaithful to the truth, were I, in attempting a 
picture of her mind, wholly to withhold all me- 
morials of its gayer moods. It is needless to 



MRS. HEMANS. 243 

say that she could write nothing unkind or sarcas- 
tic ; and that all her pleasantries, whether publish- 
ed or withheld, are but evidences of the same dis- 
position as made her relish, without reserve, a 
parody upon one of her own poems. There was 
something of the Beatrice about her to the last ; 
she loved the fence of words ; she was keenly 
alive to humour when untinged by coarseness, 
which she repelled with as natural an antipathy, 
as Lord Herbert of Cherbury's to the dust or 
soil which less finely-moulded mortals contract. 
Few could have surpassed her in the employ- 
ment of subtle and varied badinage, had she 
chosen to commit to paper the conceits and fan- 
tasies which gave such a charm to her conversa- 
tion. These (to follow a metaphor of Beranger's, 
who, in describing the extravagances of some 
young French writer, happily calls them "the 
scoriae, indicating the vein of precious metal be- 
neath") were the bubbles sparkling in the sun- 
shine of a fountain, whose waters were as deep 
as they were transparent ; to conceive the true 

M 2 



244 MEMORIALS OF 

grotesque, indeed, without trenching upon the 
farcical, the mind must have a power over the 
springs of tears as well as of laughter. But the 
world in its short-sightedness too often refuses 
to acknowledge the existence of this twofold 
possession, particularly in a woman ; and Mrs. 
Hemans was wisely unwilling to risk the chance 
of being confounded with the heartless and 
satirical, whose laughter comes of disappoint- 
ment and bitterness, not elasticity of temper: 
for a similar cause, she rarely gave her spirits 
way in general society. And yet few who have 
possessed such power to laugh, have ever re- 
ceived greater provocation "to make laugh." 
The frequent and unwelcome invasions of her 
privacy, to which allusion has been made, were 
often as comical as they were annoying. The 
hyperbolical compliments which were paid to 
her must have raised a smile on a Fakir's face. 
I have heard her requested to read aloud, that 
the visitor "might carry away an impression 
of the sweetness of her tones." I have been 



MRS. HEMANS. 245 

present when another eccentric guest, upon her 
characterising some favourite poem as happily 
as was her wont, clapped her hands as at a the- 
atre, and exclaimed, " O Mrs. Hemans ! do say 
that again, that I may put it down and remem- 
ber it!" The subjects suggested to her as 
themes for her poems were motley enough to 
help out the contriver of a pantomime. What 
wonder, then, that when she could no longer 
keep aloof from those who could not understand 
her, she would vent her weariness in some 
whimsical complaint, or epithet, or soubriquet ? 
It must be recorded, however, and insisted upon, 
that in no case whatsoever did she ever wield 
the bright and searching weapon she possessed 
against those who had injured or neglected her. 



*. . . . " Do you not think that the name 

on this card, my dear , will be a delightful 

title to introduce into our court? Prince de 
Lardaria ? I think I shall bestow it on my chef 
de cuisine. I have been in the most mobile of hu- 



246 MEMORIALS OF 

mours the whole of this day, half laughing, half 
crying, over volumes of old letters which I found 
it necessary to destroy : you would have said 
there was an anticipation of royalty in the sove- 
reign indifference with which the communica- 
tions of various 'persons of distinction* were 
tossed about but, alas ! deeper feelings than 
these will arise as the { dim procession' of 

The cold, the faithless, and the dead, 

seems to pass before me, called up by the sight 
of their once dear names and hands. 

" The enclosed, however, which, for its delight- 
ful absurdities, was rescued from the pyre, I 
think will excite only mirthful sensations : pray 
read it ! I should be loth to admit any thing 
contrary to the esprit de corps which animates 
our whole sex ; but one must confess that ' sweet 

Mrs. ' could, would, or should have been 

so described only by a lady * I wish you 

would read it to Mr. , and say that I think 

of going to the Fancy Ball in that dress, and I 



MRS. HEMANS. 247 

wish he would attend me in a costume suitable 
to the dignity of the Earl Greatheart. 

" Ever your affectionate 

F. H." 



*...."! must tell you of a most delightful 
dilemma into which an unhappy gentleman fell, 
who handed Miss and myself into our car- 
riage at night, and meant to bestow some 
fleurette of gallantry upon one of the two, it 
would be highly unbecoming to decide which. 
After seeing us safely deposited, ' Well,' said 
the cavalier, ' there you are, Heaven and Earth 
side by side /' c Truly,' replied she, in rather a 
piqued tone, ' /, at least, ought to be much 
flattered.' ' Hush ! let him be tormented a 
little,' I whispered to her, then turning to the 

disconcerted beau, * Really, Mr. , I can 

have no sort of objection to your complimenting 

Miss , but I do not exactly see why it 

should be done at MY expense.' So away we 



248 MEMORIALS OF 

drove, before another word could be said, and I 
only hope he will consider himself as having 
two apologies to make, and so get ' deeper and 
deeper still' into the mire. I trust I shall be 
able to come to you on Wednesday evening, but 
really le monde is beginning to be excessively 

troublesome 

" Ever your affectionate 

F. H." 



* " My dear , 

" I shall retire to rest this night with more 
ineffable satisfaction than ever the most virtuous 
of queens did, from the consciousness of having 
fulfilled all my duties that means, paid all my 
visits. * Virtue is its own reward,' is it not ? 
All the copy-books say so, and they must be 
right. Indeed the event has proved it, for, be- 
sides doing my duty, I escaped nine morning 
visitors, who invaded my territories during my 
absence, and were much more, I have no doubt, 



MRS. HEMANS. *249 

like the 'nine Miss Symmons' (are you ac- 
quainted with those ladies?) than the nine 

Muses 

" I return Miss Mitford. Your brother 

was so kind as to say he could lend me the 
second volume of the ' Fairy Legends,' for which 
I have a most child-like taste, particularly on 

winter evenings Now, good night ! If I 

do not sleep well after all my efforts of virtue to- 
day, I shall say that the world has had a great 
deal of cant poured out upon it these six thou- 
sand years, respecting the benefits of an ap- 
proving conscience. 

" Believe me, affectionately yours, 

F. H." 



* " I send you the sketch of St. Asaph, 

my dear , which, such as it is, I hope will 

arrive uninjured. I quarrelled with it so vio- 
lently when I attempted to finish it, that if it 
had not been promised^ I should certainly have 

M 5 



250 MEMORIALS OF 

thrown it into the fire. From want of practice, 
or weakness of the hand, I found myself quite 
unable to make my trees to ' behave distinctly ',' 
as Dandie Dinmont says, and I have contrived 
to give my cathedral a paralytic stroke, which 
has made one side shrink in wofully. Here it 
is, however, with all its imperfections on its 
head. I am sure you will be glad Jto hear that, 
although still very languid, I have not had any 
relapse, in spite of my incorrigible perverseness 
with regard to sage advice. I shall just give 
you a sketch of the attacks and defence, after 
which I dare say you will give me up for lost. 
One advises : ' My dear Mrs. Hemans, you 
really go out much too lightly clad ; indeed you 
ought to have a cloak lined with fur.' ' So I 
had once/ answer I, 6 and a goodly thing it was, 
and a very great accession of dignity it brought 
me ; only, unfortunately, I never could breathe 
in it, so I dismantled all the fur/ Another 
friend ' I do hope you wear a flannel wrapping- 
gown, when you dress in the morning, this very 



MRS. HEM AN S. 251 

cold weather/ ' No, indeed ; if I did I never 
should get dressed at all ; it would tire me so 
much that I should never reach the last of the 
curls, and must receive my friends en papil- 
lottes.' Another ' Indeed, you should use com- 
forters, it really is quite wrong in you (these 
last words in italics) to go out without them." 
6 Comforters ? truly I need them sometimes : 
pray in what shape and hue are they to appear ?' 
' Oh ! they are woollen envelopes for the wrists 

and throat, and the very best things ' 

6 Odious ! in woollen ! 'twould a saint provoke,' 
exclaim I ; ' tell me no more of comforters !' But 
then comes the greatest barbarism of all : c If I 
could but persuade you to wear, what I know 
many ladies do,' (now, my dear, can you believe 
such a libel ?) { a delicate piece of hareskin next 
your chest.' ' And why not 'hang a calf-skin on 
my recreant limbs' at once ?' I reply : 'A hare- 
skin to be treasured in one's bosom ! a hare- 
skin amulet ! what will the march of intellect 
come to next?' Pray do not consider any of 



252 MEMORIALS OF 

these observations as at all personal ; you really 
make your advances in so winning and insinu- 
ating a manner, that it is quite a pleasure to 
have a fencing-match with you ; but, in general, 
when ladies make their appearance in my room, 
I ' screw my courage to the sticking-place,' and 
prepare for an affair a Voutrance. Whenever 
my death, from neglect of fur cloaks and flannel 
wrapping-gowns, comforters and hare-skins, does 
really take place, as the fulfilment of a thousand 
and one prophecies, I have the pleasure of 
thinking that it must be a matter of general 
satisfaction. All the comments on the occasion 
will, I have no doubt, close the like celebrated 
story of Tommy and Harry, (which I earnestly 
hope you remember,) in the spelling-book of old, 
' Don't care always comes to an evil end.' What 
a quantity of nonsense I have bestowed upon 
you ! I can only hope it may do you good 
properly < exhibited,' as the doctors say, it is 
something serviceable; for my own part, very 
often if I laugh it is that I may not weep. 



MRS. HEMANS. 253 

However, notwithstanding my April moods, be- 
lieve me, 

" Ever very affectionately yours, 

F. H." 



" TO MR. L. .* 

" My dear Sir, 

< s 1 fear I shall not have any evening, that I 
can quite call my own, until Friday or Saturday 
of next week, on either of which it will give me 
great pleasure to receive you. . . I think I 
shall not ask any ' human mortals,' as Titania 
calls them, to meet you, unless you particularly 
wish for the society of who so 

* The above letter was addressed to a gentleman 
whose powers of amateurship were never more hap- 
pily displayed than in the spirited and pathetic music 
to which he has united many of Mrs. Hemans' songs, 
some written purposely for him. It will be seen in 
further portions of these memorials how largely I am 
indebted to his kind assistance. 



254 MEMORIALS OF 

edified us in the concert-room. Pray do not 
betray me, but I really have been haunted ever 
since that awful hour, by a portentous vision of 
two grey eyes, transfixing my very soul, with a 
fiery glance that looks as if it said, ' Write an 
ode to music : you must write an Ode to Music !' 
No wonder that such a bold and original sug- 
gestion should take a strong hold of the 
imagination. I am under a humiliating impres- 
sion of having actually composed in my sleep, 
during the influence of this deadly spell, four 
lines, beginning Enchanting nymph,' but of the 
remainder, non mi ricordo. Can you recollect 
how Benvenuto Cellini freed himself from the evil 
spirits that beset him in the Coliseum ? I think 
it was by some kind of fumigation ; fain would 
I discover some magic herb to lay the apparition 

of . I have an ominous feeling, 

too, that we are destined to meet again, and that 
' the words of fear* will again be solemnly ut- 
tered if so, I am sure they will drive me to 
some deed worthy of the Tragic Muse herself. 



MRS. HEMANS. 255 

My boys will leave Madame Albrizzi's works 
for you. I think they will interest you, though 
La Signora Madre is occasionally rather too de- 
clamatory. I hope you will be good enough to 
inquire about Ducrow and his Venetian per- 
formances ; and to remember the music of 
Haydn, with which you kindly promised to make 
me acquainted. But, above all, do arrange in 
your own mind the Ode to Music. I am sure 
you will have an especial inspiration for the 
purpose, and in the hope of something, which 
will most happily blend the qffetuoso with the 
maestoso., 

" Believe me very truly yours, 

F. H." 



The next fragment refers to the visit paid to 
the Astley's, at Liverpool, alluded to in the last. 

" O ! the horrors of the Circus ! the orange- 



256 MEMORIALS OF 

peel the cigar smoke, the shouts, screams, 
hisses, and other playful eccentricities of the 
pensive public ! We sat, two of the party at 
least, with a superb disgust enthroned on our 
regal brows, and looking most resolutely away 
from the stage. But, now I bethink myself, 
Cousin, there was a certain tranquil assumption 
of superiority in your talking of sitting at home 
quietly, (and elegantly doubtless,) which is not 
to be countenanced. Thou, Brutus ! After all 
the Rontim Bontimsi* &c. &c. &c. You will 
please to consider all the above as mere mysti- 
fication. The evening was delightful the Clown 
altogether 'a creature of the elements,' the 



* This note was written soon after the publication 
of Dr. Bowring's " Specimens of Magyar Poetry" 
some of these had amused Mrs. Hemans much, as well 
as excited her curiosity. In particular, she caught up 
a dancing song : the first words of this are " Rontim 
bontim;" they are followed by others equally euphoni- 
ous : hence came her designation of balls. 



MRS. HEMANS. 257 

public might have been an audience of ' gentle 
readers.' I was enchanted, and my attendant 
cavalier in a state of beatitude. 

" Ever yours, &c., &c. 

F. H." 



* " I am very glad you are returned, my dear 

; I have been wishing for you exceedingly 

. . . I am receiving the strangest letters 
everyday; do read the enclosed elegant pro- 
duction and exercise your woman's wit, in dis- 
covering whether it comes from Mr., Mrs., or 
Miss, or any of the Principesse Perkins. Not 
that I think it needs an answer, I mean it ' to 
have gone down full fathom five.' This morning 
I was addressed as 4 Very dear Madam,' which 
certainly has an awful sound with it. I am quite 
pleased to have some roses in blow which I 
planted myself in spring; I have destined 
them for you, but fear the boys will not carry 
them delicately enough, so I shall keep them 



258 MEMORIALS OF 

till you come . ... 

I had a great deal more to say to you, but this 
being the first, or last of the month, I scarcely 
know which, there is a frightful array of bills 
just brought in, and showering upon me, 

( As if they said, our sole design is 
To suffocate your Royal Highness.' 

So I must proceed forthwith to the study of 
Lord Bacon. Tea, coffee, sugar, almonds, 
raisins, those are all very endurable words 
4 very pretty names,' as one of Mrs. Barbauld's 
tales says of ' William, George and Harry ;' 
but butcher's meat ! ' O ! that the too, too 
solid flesh would melt !' " 



* " My dear , 

" Notwithstanding your rejection of the Clan- 
Campbell cloak, I trust you reached home the 
other night without any penalty for your impru- 
dence. For my own part, I hope I shall soon 



MRS. HEMANS. 259 

be well enough to pay you a visit. I really mean 
to try if I can take a little more care of myself, 
(though I do think it requires a natural genius 
for it,) because having no kind brother to nurse 
me, I have made the brilliant discovery that 
there is no pleasure at all in being ill alone ; in- 
deed it is very desolate : to me so strangely 
desolate, that i sorrow takes new sadness from 
surprise ;' but I will not speak about such things. 
I send you an American Annual to look at, 
which I received a few days ago, and in which 
you cannot be more surprised to see some 
forgeries of mine on the 4 Use of the word 
Barb,' than I was to see them there. It quite 
perplexed me until I found out that a friend of 
mine in this neighbourhood had given Professor 
Norton a copy, which I had almost forgotten, 
during his visit to Liverpool. He has told the 
story in the prettiest way for me, but to you I 
shall confess the whole wicked truth. It was 
neither more nor less than a mystification prac- 
tised upon , who in the innocence 



260 MEMORIALS OF 

of his heart, called upon me two or three years 
ago, and asked me if I could help him to some 
authorities in the old English writers, for the use 
of the word Barb, as a steed. I promised my 
assistance, (I believe he had a wager depending 
upon it,) and actually imposed upon his 
trusting nature all that sheet of forgeries with 
which the much-enduring man,' enchanted by 
his sudden acquisition of learning, went about 
rejoicing, (I really marvel how I had the heart !) 
until some one-eyed person among the blind 
awakened him from his state of < ignorance' and 
bliss.' 

" I have been very ill used in several ways 
since I saw you. Here is a great book on Phre- 
nology, which a gentleman has just sent me and 
expects that I shall read! People really do 
take me for a sort of literary ogress, I think, 
or something like the sailor's definition of an 
epicure, ' a person that can eat anything.' To 
be sure I did very much aggravate the Phreno- 
logist lately, by laughing at the whole Scullery 



MRS. HEMANS. 261 

science and its votaries, so I suppose this is his re- 
venge. And imagine some of my American friends 
having actually sent me several copies of a Tract, 
audaciously calling itself 4 A Sermon on Small 
Sins.' Did you ever know any thing so scurril- 
ous and personal ? ' Small sins' to me, who am 
little better than a grown-up Rosamond, (Miss 
Edgeworth's naughty girl, you know,) who con- 
stantly lie in bed till it is too late to get up 
early, break my needles, (when I use any,) leave 
my keys among my necklaces, answer all my 
amusing letters first and leave the others to their 
fate ; in short, regularly commit small sins enough 
every day, to roll up into one great, immense, 
frightful one at the end of it ! Now have I not 
been ill, very ill used, as I said ? How very well 
this swan-quill of mine did write yesterday, and 

how very badly it is writing now ! I hope 

will consider the neatness of the German lines 

5 

which I beg you to give him, as a proof of its 
excellence, (now departed,) after he mended it; 
and I shall be very much obliged if he will be 



262 MEMORIALS OF 

kind enough to restore it again, and to make me 
a few more, and I want to know whether he 
found the Fate-Tragedy as comfortable as he 
wished." 



The following are the imitations of our 
standard authors referred to : now, I believe, 
published in England for the first time. 

The warrior donn'd his well-worn garb, 
And proudly waved his crest, 

He mounted on his jet-black barb, 
And put his lance in rest. 

Percy's Reliques. 



Eftsoons the wight withouten more delay, 
Spurred his brown barb and rode full swiftly on his 
way. 

Spenser. 



Hark ! was it not the trumpet's voice I heard ? 
The soul of battle is awake within me ! 



MRS. HEMANS. 263 

The fate of ages and of empires hangs 

On this dread hour. Why am I not in arms ? 

Bring my good lance, caparison my steed I 

Base, idle grooms ! are ye in league against me ? 

Haste with my barb, or by the holy saints 

Ye shall not live to saddle htm to-morrow ! 



No sooner had the pearl-shedding fingers of the 
young Aurora tremulously unlocked the oriental 
portals of the golden horizon, than the graceful 
flower of chivalry, and the bright cynosure of ladies' 
eyes he of the dazzling breast-plate and swan- 
like plume sprang impatiently from the couch of 
slumber, and eagerly mounted the noble barb pre- 
sented to him by the Emperor of Aspramontanice. 
Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia. 



See'st thou yon chief whose presence seems to rule 
The storm of battle ! Lo ! where'er he moves 
Death follows I Carnage sits upon his crest 



264 MEMORIALS OF 

Fate on his sword is throned and his white barb, 
As a proud courser of Apollo's chariot, 
Seems breathing fire. 

Potters JEschylus. 



bonnie looked my ain true knight, 
His barb so proudly reining, 

1 watched him till my tearfu' sight 

Grew a'maist dim wi' straining. 

Border Minstrelsy. 



Why, he can heel the lavolt and wind a fiery 
barb as well as any gallant in Christendom. He's 
the very pink and mirror of accomplishment. 

Shakspeare. 



Fair star of beauty's heaven ! to call thee mine 
All other joys I joyously would yield; 
My knightly crest, my bounding barb resign, 
For the poor shepherd's crook and daisied field ; 



MRS. HEMANS. 



265 



For courts or camps no wish my soul would prove, 
So thou wouldst live with me, and be my love. 

Earl of Surrys Poems. 



For thy dear love my weary soul hath grown 
Heedless of youthful sports : I seek no more. 
Or joyous dance, or music's thrilling tone, 
Or joys that once could charm in minstrel lore, 
Or knightly tilt where steel-clad champions meet 
Borne on impetuous barbs to bleed at beauty's feet. 

Milton s Sonnets. 



As a warrior clad 

In sable arms, like Chaos dull and sad, 
But mounted on a barb, as white 
As the fresh new-born light, 
So the black night too soon 
Came riding on the bright and silver moon. 
Whose radiant, heavenly ark, 

VOL. I. N 



266 MEMORIALS OF 

Made all the clouds beyond her influence seem 

E'en more than doubly dark, 
Mourning, all widowed of her glorious beam. 

Cowley. 



.... "I should have sent you the January 
number of Blackwood long since, fair cousin, 
(I mean that to be your title in future,) but by 
some mischance it never reached me. Poor 
Ebony has, as I lately heard in a letter from 
Cyril Thornton, been dangerously ill, which I 
suppose is the reason of this irregularity in his 
proceedings. I must cordially thank you, and 
all of you, for your very kind interest during 
my late illness. I am now better than I should 
have thought it possible to be after so much suf- 
fering, though still very disagreeably reminded of 
my mortality by an unconquered cough and much 
languor. I shall be delighted to hear the Irish 
air you mention : I am very fond of Irish music ; 
there breathes through it (or perhaps I imagine 



MRS. HEMANS. 267 

all this) a mingling of exultation and despond- 
ence, ' like funeral strains with revelry,' a some- 
thing unconquerable, yet mournful, which in- 
terests me deeply. But I really have nothing, 
and never shall, I believe, have any thing 
written in the pastorale measure your air seems 
to require : I must refer you to Shenstone : 

' My banks they are furnished with bees, 
Whose murmur invites one to sleep,' 

would be very lulling and ish ; but if it is a 

deep tone of pathos you want, I suppose nothing 
less will satisfy you than 

' I have found out a gift for my fair ;' 

and I should imagine a great deal of Irish 
energy a fortissimo expression might be be- 
stowed upon the 'barbarous deed' with which 
the verse concludes. My sister has sent me a 
lovely little song to some very simple words of 
mine ; I think it is more full of feeling than any 
thing she has ever composed. I will give you 

N 2 



268 MEMORIALS OF 

her copy as soon as I have had it transcribed 
into my own book. I am quite surprised at 
your liking the ' Storm-Painter' so much ; as an 
expression of strong and perturbed feeling, I 
could not satisfy myself with it in the least ; it 
seemed all done in pale water-colours" .... 



* "I had the great satisfaction last 

night of finding, in a magazine, some poetry 
which I think would particularly suit the Irish 
air : it is also very much in the style of ' I have 
found out a gift for my fair,' only more original. 

Cousin will find it in the ' Specimens of 

Hottentot Poetry' which I send him, and I have 
no doubt that his conscience will immediately 
point out the lines. If even these will not do, 
then I am afraid the unhappy air must die an 
old bachelor or an old maid, (I really do not 
know which it would be correct to say,) as it 
seems to possess so few facilities for being 



MRS. HEMANS. 



269 



4 married to immortal verse.' .... Have you 
committed many 'small sins' since I saw you? 
For my part, I do hope that if the Catholics, as 
I once heard a Welsh countryman say, c get to 
the top of us,' they will not impose a necessity 
of auricular confession. How should I hate, and 
by every means in my power, torment and mys- 
tify a confessor ! Should not you ? 

" I must conclude as abruptly as an Irish 
melody, having a great many * people ' to dispose 
of in various ways. 

" Affectionately yours, 

F. H." 



270 MEMORIALS OF 



CHAPTER VII. 

Familiar Correspondence continued Grillparzer's 
" Sappho" German Almanachs Tieck and Schlegel 
Proposed Translations from the German Ana- 
tomy of Hatred Richter Escape from sudden 
death -Dobeneck Mrs. Hemans' predilections in 
foreign literature Mr. Carlyle upon Burns " Mary 
Anne's Dream " Swedish Tradition Earliest 
poems Recovery from illness " New England's 
Memorial " The Moon" Corinne " Letters from 
America Letter to Miss Mitford. 

*" My dear , 

" I hope you did not, no, indeed, I rather 
hope you did catch a little, a very little cold the 
other evening, that I may try whether there 
really is that supreme satisfaction in saying ' I 



MRS. HEMANS. 271 

told you so,' which all sympathizing friends ap- 
pear to find. Never say it was my fault if you 
are amongst ' the afflicted with the gout and 
rheumatism ' this week ; I offered you a cloak 
such as little Red Riding Hood herself might 
have envied, and you obstinately preferred that 
silver-paper scarf, and so now you must take the 
consequence. Now having given you this friendly 
lecture, I consider myself to have fulfilled my 
duty admirably, and may proceed to something 
else. I began life yesterday morning by issuing 
peremptory orders that no cloaks and pattens 
. . . should be admitted on pain of death. 
I believe an instinctive sense of this awful man- 
date spread itself through the village, for nobody 
came : encouraged by which happy result, I 
mean to send forth the same manifesto every 
evening for a month, after which time I shall 
begin to consider myself safe from all people that 
have c friendly ways.' .... Will you tell 

I regretted, after you and he had left me 

the other evening, that instead of Werner's 
' Luther,' which I do not think will interest him 



272 MEMORIALS OF 

much, I had not lent him one of my greatest 
favourites, Grillparzer's 4 Sappho;' I therefore 
send it him now. It is, in my opinion, full of 
beauty, which I am sure he will appreciate, and 
of truth, developing itself clearly and sorrow- 
fully ', (like almost all truth, I believe,) through 
the colouring mists of imagination. I shall be 

very happy to see on Sunday. I have 

been practising the necromantic German cha- 
racters, and shall have a lesson to show him, for 
which I must bespeak all possible indulgence. 

Now good-bye, my dear ; I do wish that I 

lived nearer to you, and then we might ' talk of 
virtue till the hour of bed ' whenever we liked. 
This very evening I am sure I could say most 
edifying things, which it is quite a pity should 
be lost to the world. 

4C Affectionately yours, 

F. H." 



The pleasantry in the next letter refers to the 



MRS. HEMANS. 273 

strange mistake made by some of the periodicals 
as to the relationship of two of her friends and 
favourite writers. 

" My dear Sir, 

" It really may be considered as no small tri- 
umph to have wrung forth a letter from our 
i esteemed friend,' William. I had begun to 
consider him as altogether an allegorical person- 
age, a sort of John Doe or Richard Roe, with 
whose name Mary found it convenient to protect 
herself, and I have read the productions ascribed 
to him with much greater interest now that I 
am thoroughly satisfied of his existence. Your 
concession that * every thing that whistles is a 
ghost,' is certainly most generous, and cannot 
but be infinitely gratifying to persons of tastes 
like mine, for whom it so greatly enlarges the 
bounds and population of the spiritual world. 
My situation here subjects me to a great deal of 
whistling in the course of the day, rather more 

N 5 



274 



MEMORIALS OF 



than I have found quite agreeable after the still- 
ness of my own green valley in Wales. Your 
suggestion, however, has opened a new field to 
my imagination, and I shall for the future, 
listen to ' Cherry Ripe ' and < I've been Roam- 
ing,' which I observe are the favourite tunes 
that ' carmen whistle ' here, with sensations of 
new and indescribable awe. 

" I have been much amused with the ' Minerva 
and Urania,' which I return with many thanks. 
Matthison's 6 Tafeln am wegej* in the former 
are very interesting ; but oh ! the ' Sieben Kup- 
fern !'t after looking at such engravings as those 
in the Souvenir, how inexpressibly comical do 
they appear ! 

" I return the Westminster Review, my dear 
sir, with many thanks; I gratefully acknow- 
ledge your kindness in occasionally selecting for 
me such things as you know will interest and 
amuse me, because, from my great distaste for 

* Sketches on the Road, t Seven copper plates. 



MRS. HEMANS. 275 

reviews in general, I should otherwise lose 
much that may be well worth reading. It is 
their perpetual bitterness, and jealousy, and 
strife, from which I turn with so much dislike ; 
they remind me constantly of the line 4 La haine 
veille et Pamitie s'endort.' How very different 
seems the spirit of the literary men in Germany ! 
I am just reading a work of Tieck's, which is 
dedicated to Schlegel, and I am delighted with 
the beautiful simplicity of these words in the 
dedication. 

" ' Es war eine schone zeit meines Lebens, 
als ich Dich und Deinen Bruder Friederich 
xuerst kennen lernte: eine noch schonere als 
wir und Novalis fur Kunst und Wissenschaft 

vereinigt lebten, und uns in mannichfditigen 

i 
Bestrebungen begegneten. Jetzt hat uns das 

Schicksal schon seit vielen Jahren getrennt. Ich 
kann nur im Geist und in der Erinnerung mit 
dir leben.' * Is not that union of bright minds, 

* That was a fair time of my life, when I first learn- 
ed to know you and your brother Frederick a fairer, 



t>76 



MEMORIALS OF 



'fur Kunst und Wissenschaft, 1 a picture on 
which it is delightful to repose ? . . . . 

" When is the German translation to be 
commenced ? I fear your time is more en- 
grossed than ever, but I hope you have not 
given up the idea in which we used to take so 
much pleasure : for my own part, I find that the 
more I can throw my mind into any undertak- 
ing which interests my friends, the more I make 
to myself a place of refuge from personal suf- 
fering. 

" Ever believe me faithfully yours, 

F. H." 



" I have been thinking much of the German 
scenes for translation, respecting which you paid 
me the compliment of wishing for my opinion. 

when we and Novalis lived united for art and know- 
ledge, and encountered each other in many various 
efforts. Fate has now separated us for many years. I 
can now live with you in spirit and memory only. 



MRS. HEMANS. 277 

The interview between Philip the Second and 
Posa, is certainly very powerful, but to me its 
interest is always destroyed by a sense of utter 
impossibility which haunts me throughout. Not 
even Schiller's mighty spells can, I think, win 
the most ' unquestioning spirit ' to suppose that 
such a voice of truth and freedom could have 
been lifted up, and endured, in the presence of 
the cold, stem Philip the Second that he 
would, even for a moment, have listened to the 
language thus fearlessly bursting from a noble 
heart. Three of the most impressive scenes 
towards the close of the play, might, I think, be 
linked together, leaving out the intervening 
ones, with much effect; the one in which Carlos, 
standing by the body of his friend, forces his 
father to the contemplation of the dead : the 
one in which the king comes forward, with his 
fearful dreamy remorse, alone amidst his court, 

' Gieb diesen Todten mir heraus, $cC 
and the subsequent interview between Philip 



278 



MEMORIALS OF 



and the grand inquisitor, in which the whole 
spirit of those fanatic days seem embodied. 

" There is a scene in one of Oelenschlaeger's 
dramas, <Der Hirtenknabe,' * (you see I am 
still too distrustful of my power over the caba- 
listic characters to venture upon employing 
them,) which has always affected me strongly. 
It has also the recommendation of telling its 
own tale at once, without need of any prelimi- 
naries. An aged priest wishes by degrees, 
and with tenderness, to reveal to a father the 
death of his only child. The father, represented 
as a bold and joyous character, full of hope, 
and strength, and ' Muth des Lebens, f at- 
tributes all the ' dark sayings ' and mourn- 
ful allusions of his visitant, to the natural de- 
spondency of age, and attempts to cheer him by 
descriptions of his bright domestic happiness. 
' Stdrke dich 9 '+ he says, 4 in meinen sonnen- 

* The Herd boy. 

t The joy and hopefulness oflife. 

\ Strengthen yourself in my sunshine. 



MRS. HEMANS. 279 

schein!' The very exultation of his spirit 
makes you tremble for him, and feel that fate is 
approaching : at last the old man uncovers the 
body of the child, and then the passionate burst 
of the father's grief is indeed overpowering : 
then the mother enters, and even amidst all her 
anguish, the meekness of a more subdued and 
chastened being is felt and beautifully contrasted 
with her husband's despair. If you do not know 
the ' Hirtenknabe,' which has never been trans- 
lated, I should have no difficulty in procuring it 
for you. In Goethe's ' Egmont,' the scenes in 
which Clarchen endeavours to rouse the spirit 
of the bewildered citizens, and in which Brack- 
enburg communicates to her the preparations for 
Egmont's execution, seem to stand out from the 
rest in the bold relief of their power and pas- 
sion; and the interview between Egmont in 
prison and Ferdinand, the son of his enemy, 
who soothes even the anguish of those moments, 
by the free-will offering of his young heart's af- 
fection and reverence, I have always thought 



280 MEMORIALS OF 

most deeply touching. But indeed I am speak- 
ing of things in which I am sure your judgment 
is far clearer than my own, and can only hope 
you will not allow it to be biassed contrary to 
your own opinions by any thing I have said. 

" As to the Anatomy of Hatred, I quite agree 
with you, (as far as I can enter into the subject,) 
that the bitterest and most enduring animosities 
would be likely to spring up from the ruins of 
old affection, and be rendered keener by all the 
thoughts of ' benefits forgot.' Do you remember 
those fine lines of Coleridge's ? 

' Alas ! they had been friends in youth, 
But whispering tongues can poison truth, 
And constancy lives in realms above, 

And life is thorny, and youth is vain, 
And to be wroth with what we love, 

Doth work like madness in the brain/ 

" I suppose that from such agonizing strife the 
mind will often seek refuge though it be the 
shelter of a poison-tree in apathy and hatred, 



MRS. HEMANS. 281 

and that the last may be perhaps more attain- 
able than the first. 

" I am still enjoined close confinement to the 
house, and can scarcely expect either my boys 
or myself to make much progress towards re- 
covery during the continuance of this intensely 
sharp air. As to the advice with which you 
conclude your letter .... I feel that I 
am not in the least improved since the days 
when I used to run wild about the mountains, 
despite all the sage exhortations I received ' to 
be a good girl and keep my frock clean,' and I 
really do not know how to reform myself in the 
matter. What a volume of a letter ! I fear 
you will think that my pen means to journey 
like Ahasuerus the wandering Jew 'on on 
on ' for ever and a day: in proof that such is 
not its murderous intention, I must beg you to 
believe me, dear sir, 

" Ever truly yours, 

F. H." 



282 MEMORIALS OF 

" I owe you many thanks, my dear sir, for so 
kindly introducing me to all those noble thoughts 
of Richter's. I think the vision in the church 
magnificent both in purpose and conception ; it 
is scarcely possible to stop for the contemplation 
of occasional extravagances, when borne along so 
rapidly and triumphantly as by ' a mighty rush- 
ing wind,' some of the detached thoughts are so 
exquisite. What a deep echo gives answer within 
the mind to the exclamation of the ' immortal 
old man ' at the sound of music. ' Away ! 
away ! thou speakest of things which through- 
out my endless life I have found not, and shall 
not find P All who have felt music, must, I 
think, at times have felt this, making its sweet- 
ness too piercing to be sustained. Now let me 
introduce you to a dear friend of mine, Tieck's 
Sternbald, in whose Wander ungen '* which I 
now send, if you know them not already I 
cannot but hope that you will take almost as 
much delight as I have done amidst my own free 
* "Wanderings." 



MRS. HEMANS. 288 

hills and streams, where his favourite book has 
again and again been my companion. 

I have very great pleasure in thinking, that 
you are now reduced to skating, as the old song 
says, < upon dry ground.' After such an escape 
as yours, how well you must understand the feel- 
ing expressed by the line which speaks of 
' curdling a long life into one hour ' nay, into 
one moment, a lightning-moment, such as I 
should imagine must leave its track upon the 
mind indelibly graven. And I too feel as if I 
had been within the shadow of death since I saw 
you not that I believed myself to be in any 
danger, but I suppose it is impossible to be 
much alone during illness, without thinking 
often of all that is hidden from us by the veil of 
life. 

" How very surprising is the intense life of 
the mind during some kinds of illness ; I could 
not help often wondering if any of the thousand 
thoughts which swept like April lights and 
shadows over my spirit, would accompany me 



284 MEMORIALS OF 

into the world that is unseen. Did you ever ob- 
serve how strangely sounds and images of waters, 
rushing torrents, and troubled ocean-waves, 
are mingled with the visionary distresses of 
dreams and delirium ? To me there is no more 
perfect emblem of peace than that expressed by 
the scriptural phrase, * there shall be no more 
sea/ My fever is gone, but it has left me op- 
pressed with such a weight of languor, and an 
unutterable ' HeimwehJ which I feel as if I could 
never shake off; au reste, I am in a most peni- 
tential condition, obliged to wear a shawl and a 
cap, and to hear good advice, and put on a con- 
vinced countenance; all the while thinking 
grievously of gypseys and Indians and all free 
creatures that live under the blue sky. I beg 
you will be pleased to pity me as much as pos- 
sible and not to marvel at the dulness of this 
epistle from a person who is in little better than 
a chrysalis state of existence, and believe me, 
" Very truly yours, 

F. H," 



MRS. HEMANS. 285 

" I cannot return the notice of Richter,^ which 
has interested me exceedingly, without thank- 
ing you, my dear sir, for your kindness. I am de- 
lighted to find that you so much enjoy those stir- 
ring songs of c My Cid,' winch, I think, carry us 
more completely back to the very heart of the 
proud olden time the days of the lance than 
any other poetry I know. I never met with any 
one who thoroughly appreciated them before. I 
beg you will keep them, or any other of my books, 
as long as they can be found of the least use, and 
do assure you, that when any of my friends en- 
joy what has been a source of enjoyment to my- 
self, I feel all the pleasure of a child who has 
found a companion to play with his flowers. 

" Poor Grillparzer, and Klingemann, and 
Milliner ! The crying philosopher himself, in 
his most lacrymose of moods, must have laughed 
had he read that review. As for Klingemann 
and Miillner, and their Fate-tragedies, I can see 

* In an early number of the Foreign Quarterly 
Review. 



286 



MEMORIALS OF 



them c hung in chains' without the slightest suf- 
fering. Nothing, to be sure, can be more ab- 
surd than the ' Twenty-fourth of February' and 
all its progeny. Only imagine if our 'Post- 
woman ' were to be turned into a Fate-heroine ! 
if the destinies were irresistibly to impel her, on 
a certain day every month, to open our impor- 
tant dispatches, and read all the letters, and steal 
the books ! But I cannot give up Grillparzer, 
who seems to me to breathe as different an at- 
mosphere from theirs as the circle of a star 
(though but one of the fourth or fifth magni- 
tude) from that of a gas-lamp !" 

" I have lived very little in that ' world of 
bright fancies' of which you speak, since I had 
last the pleasure of seeing you. I have been 
administering draughts, and superintending em- 
brocations, and I know not what, until I flatter 
myself that my talents for nursing have received 
the very highest cultivation. Now, however, I am 
very much enjoying myself in the society of cer- 
tain 'Luft und Feuergeister,' ' Wasser und Wald- 



MRS. HEMANS. 287 

geisterj and Feen und Feld-geisterJ* intro- 
duced to me by the worthy Heir Dobeneck, in a 
book of ' Deutschen Volksglauben.' 'f These 
4 Geister' of his are, to be sure, a little wild and 
capricious in their modes of proceeding; but 
even this is a relief after the macadamized mor- 
tality with which one has to pass all the days of 
one's life. I like your superstition about good 
wishes, and am very much inclined to agree with 
him who says, ' Es ist alles wahr wodurch du 
lesser wirst ;' J in whidh kindly faith, 
" Believe me, dear Sir, 

" Ever truly yours, 

F. H." 

" I will beg leave to keep the Foreign Review 
until next week, when, if the destinies leave the 
post -woman untempted, you will see it return 
safely." 



* Spirits of air and fire, water and forests, fairies 
and field-spirits, 
t German popular traditions. 
jEvery thing through which you are bettered is true. 



288 MEMORIALS OF 

To these may not improperly succeed a few 
memoranda, which will throw a further light on 
Mrs. Hemans' peculiar preferences in foreign 
literature. 

" My chief intercourse with Mrs. Hemans," 
says the writer, to whom the last of the forego- 
ing letters was addressed, " was in the literatures 
of Spain and Germany some few works in 
French, the chief of which I remember to have 
been the Messeniennes of De la Vigne, I had 
the pleasure of making her acquainted with. 
Amongst the Spanish authors she admired Her- 
rera, whose ode on the loss of Sebastian she 
translated, (for the Monthly Magazine, I believe,) 
and Luis de Leon especially the 'Noche serena' 
of the latter she justly thought one of the most 
exquisite lyrics ever written. The lyrics in Gil 
Polo's Diana, and the elegies of Garcilaso, were 
also great favourites with her. I remember having 
read to her, at her especial request, Quintana's 
noble ' Ode to the Sea,' the sound of which, in 
some of the finest passages, used to gratify her 



MRS. HEMANS. 289 

ear greatly. She was never tired of hearing 
Burger's Leonore, for the sake of its wonderful 
rhythm and energy and I remember how on one 
very stormy dark evening, I was bid to repeat it 
from the beginning to the end ; to see how far 
this way of treating the supernatural equalled or 
surpassed in effect, the more remote terrors of the 
'Ancient Mariner,' which we had read the evening 
previously. She gave the preference in the power 
of producing awe to the latter ; for this accord- 
ed with her peculiar turn of mind, which sought 
the distant and imaginative, rather than the pre- 
sent and material ; but I well remember how she 
startled and shivered at the verse which des- 
cribes the trampling of the spectre horse at 
midnight, at Leonore's solitary door, and the 
shrill whisper of the skeleton at the wicket. 
The writings of Novalis and of Tieck were very 
dear to her ; and although I do not believe she 
clearly understood, if, indeed, they are at all in- 
telligible, the vague speculations of the former, 
still the high tone of contemplation, the feminine 
VOL. i. o 



290 MEMORIALS OF 

purity, the passion for nature of that young 
writer, allured her even where she could only 
follow him in a sort of twilight. One of Tieck's 
Art-romances ' Sternbald's Wanderings' she es- 
pecially loved, and deservedly, for with a little 
extravagant love of the old German time, there 
is much beauty and sensibility in the book, al- 
though it deals with shadows, and the mind 
dreams rather than lives in it. I do not think 
she loved Goethe so well as Schiller ; many of 
the great works of the former, especially the 
Tasso, I was the first to bring to her notice; 
but how she admired it, her translation and re- 
view of the poem afterwards showed. Herder's 
unrivalled translation of the romances of the Cid 
she delighted in ; and found some pleasure in the 
poems of A. W. Schlegel, for the sake, I am 
sure, of a few passages, which accorded with her 
prevailing views of life. Grillparzer, (especially 
in the Sappho,) was one of her favourites among 
the minor tragedians, and the dramas of Oehlen- 
schlager she also loved for their pure northern 
chivalry, and a certain moonlight tenderness in 



MRS. HEMANS. 291 

the passions he depicts, more engaging perhaps 
to a female than a male reader. The Coreggio, 
the scene of which is laid wholly out of his 
northern land, was, however, her chief delight ; 
she found, I am sure, some analogy between the 
picture here given of the enthusiastic but timid 
and sensitive painter and of his wounds in fight- 
ing with rude practical natures, and what she was 
wont to regard as her own history. Indeed, as 
you well know, her delight in any book what- 
ever depended more upon the extent to which it 
thus corresponded with her peculiar feelings 
than on its absolute excellence; for even if it 
were bad, she could fill up the meagreness of its 
outlines, did it but agree with that she loved to 
draw with her own many imaginations, for then 
the author had full credit with her. But 
though this is true with respect to her reading 
when I knew her, it cannot have been so at an 
earlier period : for I have seen among her MSS., 
as well as constantly observed in her conversa- 
tion, evidences of a much less exclusive pursuit 

o 2 



292 



MEMORIALS OF 



of study and reading. I should say that her eager- 
ness for knowledge on all hands must have been 
intense in girlhood, and how much of the stores 
thus acquired her excellent memory afterwards 
preserved for the happy and unexpected illustra- 
tion of one vein of thought, you have had occasion to 
remark, as well as myself. You cannot insist too 
strongly on her possession of stores thus derived, 
which conversation elicited, but which made no 
adequate appearance in her writings." 



The following fragments of correspondence, 
being unconnected, and, as far as I can ascertain, 
chiefly referring to the first winter and spring 
spent by Mrs. Hemans in the neighbourhood of 
Liverpool, may be here introduced. The first 
refers to the literary undertaking to which 
allusion has already been made. 

" My dear Sir, 

" I have at last been able to procure the ( Hir- 
tenknabe' for you, as I thought you might per- 
haps like to carry the scene further than I have 



MRS. HEMANS. 293 

done in my transcript, and at all events that the 
perusal of the whole must interest you. I have 

had a letter from , which / hope I do 

right in sending you to read, because I cannot 
but think that his understanding you in any fu- 
ture intercourse you may have, will be much 
facilitated by your thoroughly understanding 
him. It seems to me that ' the line' which he 
wishes, and expects to see, so ' clearly defined 
and strongly drawn,' would be most injurious to 
that spirit of general kindliness and brotherhood 
which 1 have always looked upon as the very 
essence of our religion ; and I cannot but differ 
from him on several other points, though I must 
both love and respect what I know to be depth 
of feeling and earnestness of conviction. 

" I have been delighted with the paper on 
Burns,* which you were kind enough to lend 
me : I think that the writer has gone further 
into the c heart of the mystery* than any other, 
because he, almost the first of all, has approached 

* The admirable article by Mr. Carlyle, which ap- 
peared in the Edinburgh Review. 



294 MEMORIALS OF 

his subject with a deep reverence for genius, but 
a still deeper for truth; all the rest have seemed 
only anxious to make good the attack or the de- 
fence. And there is a feeling too of ' the still 
sad music of humanity' throughout, which bears 
upon the heart a conviction full of power, that 
it is listening to the voice of a brother. I won- 
der who the writer is ; he certainly gives us a 
great deal of what Boswell, I think, calls * bark 
and steel for the mind.' I, at least, found it in 
several passages; but I fear that a woman's mind 
never can be able, and never was formed, to at- 
tain that power of sufficiency to itself, which* 
seems to lie somewhere or other amongst the 
rocks of a man's." 



* " Here comes the Anniversary, my 

dear , very much ashamed of itself for 

having been gadding so long; and here are a 
Spanish exercise book, and history of Spanish 
Literature, which may, perhaps, assist your 
brother in his new studies ; the former is, 



MRS. HEMANS, 295 

indeed, such a treasury of moral maxims, that 
I think in some way or other it cannot fail to 
be edifying, provided he gives it proper atten- 
tion; and here is 'King Ottocar,' who will, I 
fear, like other royal personages, be found rather 
dull ; and here is Blackwood, not dull certainly, 
whatever his other crimes may be, and now I 
believe my catalogue raisonnc is finished. . . . 
" I have not yet had any inspiration on the 
subject of ' my nephew, ' but as my eldest 
brother is in expectation of an heir very shortly, 
I doubt not that quite a new set of feelings will 
spring up within me on the occasion, and that 
I shall then be able to shoot my own soul into 
the body of an uncle, or rather to imagine an 
uncle's soul the inhabitant of mine, without any 

difficulty Will you tell , I have a 

manuscript collection of Castilian ballads and 
Letrillas, the easiest of all Spanish poetry, 
which I shall be happy to lend him whenever he 
wishes." 



296 MEMORIALS OF 

In the next, frequent reference is made to an 
evening passed at Wavertree ; when one of the 
guests, whose passionate admiration of Shelley 
embraced the extravagances as well as the 
beauties of that writer, volunteered to read that 
singular but almost insane poem, " Mary Anne's 
dream," which he went through " with voice and 
gesture conformable." It may be here men- 
tioned, in passing, that Mrs. Hemans had long 
since been won from her early disinclination to 
enjoy or even admit any of Shelley's dreamy, 
but most inspired poems, by the elevation of 
thought they display, even at their wildest, and 
the exquisite charms of their imagery and versi- 
fication. Her mind was as certainly accessible 
by the former, as her fancy and her ear were 
open to the enchantment of the latter : one of 
his lyrics which she loved best, was the ode 
to the Westi Wnd." 



MRS. HEMANS. "297 

" I fear you were very unwell the other even- 
ing ; or did you run away so early to escape the 
infliction of another 4 Dream?' I was quite 
afraid of looking at you, lest I should have 
laughed. Pray let me know by our post this 

evening how you are I send you the 

Moravian air, and this is the old Swedish 
tradition of which I was speaking to you last 
night when the public entered and interrupted 
me. There is a dark lake somewhere among 
the Swedish mountains, and in the lake there is 
an island of pines, and on the island an old 
castle, and there is a spirit-keeper, who lives far 
down in the lake, and when any evil is going to 
befall the inhabitants of the castle, he rises to 
the surface, and plays a most mournful ditty on 
his shadowy harp, and they know that it is 
a music of warning ; I met with it in Olaus 
Magnus, such a strange wild book ! Did you ever 
read it ? 

" I hope you will not fail to come when your 
sister visits me next week, and I will not 

o 5 



228 MEMORIALS OF 

have any one here but our own most agreeable 
selves. 

" Ever very truly yours, 

F. H." 



* " My dear , 

" After you were gone, I tore the dead note 
which I had previously written you. It had 
quite evaporated, and I could not think of send- 
ing it. I have yet only been able to find one of 
the letters I mentioned to you, Dr. Channing's ; 
but I hope the others will be forthcoming. I 
think there are some beautiful thoughts in this. 
I send ' Hope Leslie, ' and the little set of 
poems,* which, when you read, pray remember 
that most of them were written before I consider 
my mind and feelings quite to have awakened 
had they slept on, perhaps it would have been 
happier for me. The German book is for Mr. 

* Her earliest poems. 



MRS. HEMANS. 2*29 

. I am very much tired, very stupid, and 

as cross as is consistent with the pleasure of 
convalescence ; so good-bye." 



*" I am sure you will be glad to hear, my dear 

, that I was not at all worse for the flight 

out of doors I took with you, though I have not 
since been able to repeat it, on account of this 
sharp air, which affects my breathing. I bear 
being long shut up in the house about as ill as 
a gipsy or an Arab would. Did it ever strike 
you how much lighter sorrows' ' pining cares ' 
become, out in the free air, and under the blue 
sky, than 'beneath a smoky roof/ as the sea- 
kings of old used to say ? For my part, I am 
never the least surprised to hear of people 
becoming fascinated with Indian life, and giving 
up all our boasted refinements for the range of 
the tameless forests. This reminds me of some 
American books, which I send you ; one of them, 
' New England's Memorial,' I have not the 



300 



MEMORIALS OF 



slightest expectation of your reading, and merely 
wish to call your attention to the beautiful map 
at the beginning, with all those gallant ships and 
groups of armed men, and wolves and bears 
wandering about, to express, I suppose, the 
dangers which the pilgrim fathers so bravely 
encountered.* The other, ' Madame Riedesel's 

Memoirs,' I send for Mrs. , whom I think 

it will interest; the heroine goes through 
many trials, but sustained as she is by ' the 
strong affection which overcometh all things/ 
who can look upon her with pity ? I wish you 
would fix an evening to come here with your 



* The quaint old book referred to, with its illustra- 
trations scarcely less graphic than the mystic and im- 
pressive figures which still keep their firm place upon 
a pack of cards, in spite of the modern taste for inno- 
vation, had been sent from America to Mrs. Hemans, 
from its reference to the subject of her spirited and 
high-toned ballad, " The Landing of the Pilgrim Fa- 
thers," which, as might be expected, is a particu- 
lar favourite in the United States. 



MRS. HEMANS, 301 

brothers. I am afraid you can hardly be spared 
for a day yet. I believe a moon was the requisite 
you mentioned, when I last spoke of your 
coming ; and I am sure there is a moon, for she 
looks in at my window every night, and keeps 
me awake with her cold bright eyes, which, I 
scarcely know why, always seem to speak of the 
past .... With my kindest regards to all 
round your fire-side, believe me, 

" Ever affectionately yours, 

F. H." 



*"....! have been out to walk a little to- 
day, the first time after my illness ; do not you 
think one's first interview with the sunshine, 
after a long separation, is, (like the meetings 
from which one has expected much,) rather op- 
pressive than delightful ? At least, I have found 
it so ; I did not think the sun appeared to sym- 
pathize with my languid state nearly as much 
as he ought to have done, and notwithstanding 



302 



MEMORIALS OF 



all his glaring in my eyes, he very thoughtlessly 
let the wind feel cold to me ; so I came in 
exceedingly tired, and rather displeased with 
the outer world than otherwise. I return the 
books your brothers were so kind as to lend me, 
with many thanks ; I should have sent back 
'Yamoyden,' but my little Hal has taken a 
fancy to read it, therefore I will beg to keep it 
till next week. 

" Ever affectionately yours, 
F. H." 



" You paid me the compliment 

yesterday evening, of saying that you remem- 
bered things which I said longer than I did 
myself; pray do not extend the distinction to all 
the personalities which I must have uttered 
during those few hours. I rather think I was 
in the most capricious of moods, and that if I 
could have summoned the wings I so often 
wish, they would have been of a thousand and 



MRS. HEMANS. 3Q3 

one colours. The reason, I believe, was, that 
choosing to have a little solitude to complain of, 
I had not thought proper to see any one for 
three days, so you were the first recipient of all 
the strange fancies and feelings which had been 
floating around me during that long time. Well, 
I will be very good and gentle on Tuesday 
evening, and try to realize the title of a book 
once inflicted upon my juvenile days by the 
heads of the family, and called ' The Exemplary 
Matron :' a ' wearifu' woman/ I then thought 
the good lady was, but now I believe she would 
be a very suitable model for me. In which good 
faith, (I am afraid it will be truly faith, not 
works,) 

" Believe me ever yours, 

F. H." 



* " My dear , 

" I send the first volume of the < Republiques 
Italiennes"*, for you and my cousin , and 



304 MEMORIALS O 

also the book with the dernier chant de 
Corinne,' that you may compare it with the 
poem in the New Monthly ;' you will see that 
all the beauty and loftiness of the thoughts 
belong to Madame de Stael. That book, in 
particular towards its close, has a power over 
me which is quite indescribable ; some passages 
seem to give me back my own thoughts and 
feelings, my whole inner being, with a mirror, 
more true than ever friend could hold up.* 

* In Mrs. Hemans' own copy of " Corinne/' the 
following passage was marked with particular em- 
phasis, and the words " C'est moi." 

" De toutes mes facultes la plus puissante est la fa- 
culte de soufFrir. Je suis nee pour le bonheur, mon ca- 
ractere est confiant, mon imagination est animee ; mais 
la peine excite en moi je ne sais quelle impetuosite qui 
peut troubler ma raisori, on me donner de la mort. Je 
vous le repete encore, menagez-moi ; la gaiete, la 
mobilite ne me servent qu'en apparence : mais il y a 
dans mon ame des abimes de tristesse dont je ne pou- 
vais me defendre qu'eri me preservant de I'amour." 

Corinne, vol. i. 



MRS. HEMANS. 305 

" I think I must have been fey, as the Scotch 
call it, last night at your house. I was in such 
strange wild spirits, I felt as if I could have 
taken wings to the stars. I believe it is an evil 
omen, for I have little cause to be light of 

heart 

" Believe me your affectionate 

" FELICIA." 

" Will you give the note and music to my 
cousin, and the German book to my ' Indig- 
nation?" 



*...." You shall fix your own day for com- 
ing to me. ... I being under the ban of the 
medical empire, and not able to go out at all, 
am perfectly disengaged, and only fear that you 
will find me congealed into a state of utter stu- 
pidity, after conjugating the verb s'ennuyer so 
long. Those deceitful lines to Fanny .!* I ima- 

* By an American poet ; I believe, Mr. Halleck. 



306 MEMORIALS OF 

gined they were something very graceful and 
tender, until the writer broke through all the 
web he had woven by his provoking refrain. I 
send you a letter from my American friend Mr. 
Norton, in which I think you will be interested 
by some of his thoughts on a burial at sea, and 
by his account of Abbotsford. It seems very 
long since I have seen you. I am quite tired 
of this Wavertree, it is so far from every thing 
I wish. Do you know, all my friends think I 
have caught the hooping-cough from my boys, 
though I had it in a proper respectable manner 
at twelve years old ; to "be so favoured twice is 
certainly a distinction accorded to few; and if 
they are right in their conjecture, it is, I really 
think, the most memorable incident of my life. 
How do you bear this c bitter sky ?' It is very 
dismal to live in a world without flowers. I have 
not seen even a periwinkle or a Christmas rose 
this month. The boys are not making any pro- 
gress towards recovery ; indeed I scarcely expect 



MRS. HEMANS. 307 

it yet. Pray are you sensible of any improve- 
ment in my hand or style of writing ? I have 
just had a most elegant pen presented to me, 
all twisted round with red silk, and bearing my 
name in Venetian beads, with a garniture of 
laurel and forget-me-not; and I really think 
such an implement ought to produce only 'pa- 
roles d'or et de sole.' What a very voluminous 
post to-day ! All human things, however, must 
come to an end, therefore believe me, 

" Ever affectionately yours, 

F. H." 



" Wavertree, near Liverpool, April 3rd. 
" My dear Miss Mitford, 

" Some friends of mine, the editors of , 

are anxious to know whether you received a 
letter from them some time since with a sketch 
which they hoped you might be prevailed upon 
to illustrate ; and I hope so too, for I am much 
interested in the work, from regard to the family 



308 



MEMORIALS OF 



by whom it has been undertaken ; and if I were 
near you, I should certainly 'coax or y tice you,' 
(as an old gardener of ours used to say of me in 
my childhood, that ' Miss Felicia 'ticed him to do 
whatever she pleased,') to comply with our re- 
quest. I know I wish I could 'tice you here for 
a little while, though 6 our village* is so utterly 
unrural a scene, that I should be rather at a 
loss to find a pretty walk; and, certainly, of 
our losing ourselves in such a lovely wood as you 
have somewhere described, there would not be 
the least chance. I have had in my possession 
for some time a great folio sheet of enthusiasm, 
addressed to you by a gentleman of this neigh- 
bourhood Unfortunately, I cannot get 

his ecstasies (excited by the performance of 
Rienzi) within the limits of any frank that ever 
was or will be I mean any member's frank. I 
must try my interest with the Quarter-Master- 
General, or the Chief Commissioner of Excise, 
or some other such potentate, under whose cha- 
peronage you may possibly have this 'immea- 



MRS. HEMANS. 309 

surably-spread' effusion some day laid at your 
feet. I hope the dear papa is well, and able to 
attend your rambles as usual, and that your 
mother has not suffered from this very trying 
winter. Believe me, 

" Ever truly yours, 

" FELICIA HEMANS." 



END OF VOL. I. 



LONDON: 

IBOTSOX AND PALMER, PRINTERS, SAVOY-STREET, STRAND. 



New Works, published by Messrs. Saunders and Otley. - 



VI. 

CAPTAIN GLASCOCK'S NEW WORK. 
In 2 vols. post 8vo. with Engravings, 

THE NAVAL SERVICE; 

OR, 

OFFICERS' MANUAL FOR EVERY GRADE IN HIS MA- 
JESTY'S SHIPS. 



"This is the first Manual for the use of naval officers which has appeared in the 
English language ; and we are glad to see the deficiency so well supplied." Times. 



VII. 

Beautifully bound in silk, \\ith coloured Plates, 

THE BOOK OF FLOWERS. 

By MRS. HAI.E. 

" A very elegant little publication ; it displays in its design nd compilation a 
delicacy of taste, and a feeling truly feminine; it is a most agreeable incentive to 
an acquaintance with floral lore." Morning Herald. 



VIII. 

Also a Fourth Edition of 

THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS. 

To which the above is designed as a Companion. 



IX. 

MR. BULWER'S ESSAYS. 
THIRD EDITION, 2 vols. post 8vo. 

THE STUDENT. 

By the Author of " EUGENE ARAM." "ENGLAND AND THE ENGLISH," 

&c. &c. 

" Great as is both the power and beauty of Mr. Bulwer's former works, we know 
none that mark the creative thinker more than the present production ; its pages are 
full of new lights and happy illustrations." Literary Gazette. 

" We think this book destined to work a great and beneficial influence on the 
intellect and literature of our time." Examiner. 

X. 

M. DE TOCQUEVILLE'S NEW WORK. 

In 2 Vols. 8vo. with Maps. 

DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA. 

By M. DE TOCQUEVILLE. 
Translated hy his friend, H. REEVE, Esq., under the Author's inspection. 

" We recommend M. De Tocqueville's work as the very best on the subject of 
America we have ever met with." Blackwood. 

" The most complete work that ever appeared on the government of the United 
States." Sun. 




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