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Now that posture is not right,
Ha! he is not half asleep;
You shall have it, pigmy brother!
There the little ancient man Cracks as fast as crack he can! Now good-by, you merry fellow, Nature's primest Punchinello.
THOMAS HOOD has come before the world chiefly as a writer of comic poetry; but several compositions of a different nature show that he is also capable of shining in the paths of the imaginative, the serious, and the romantic. He was born in London in 1798, the son of a member of the well-known bookselling firm of Vernor, Hood, and Sharp. The poet was bred in the profession of an engraver, which he in time forsook, when he found that he could command the attention of the public by his whimsical verses. His first publication was a volume entitled Whims and Oddities, which attained great popularity soon after, he commenced The Comic Annual, the success of which was not less remarkable. A novel entitled Tylney Hall, published in 1834, was a variation of the poet's labours, which the public did not encourage him to repeat. The comic poetry of Hood was usually set off by drawings executed in a peculiar style by himself, and to which they were in some degree indebted for their success. The most original feature of these productions was the use which the author made of puns a figure usually too contemptible for literature, but which, in Hood's hands, became the basis of genuine humour, and often of the purest pathos. Of the serious poems of our author, his Plea for the Midsummer Fairies, and The Dream of Eugene Aram, are the most popular.
It was not in the winter
Our loving lot was cast; It was the time of roses
We plucked them as we passed!
That churlish season never frowned
Oh no!--the world was newly crowned
"Twas twilight, and I bade you go, But still you held me fast; It was the time of roses
We plucked them as we passed!
What else could peer my glowing cheek,
You snatched a damask bud
And oped it to the dainty core,
We plucked them as we passed!
Town and Country.
Oh well may poets make a fuss
What joy have I in June's return?
And turns me dust to dust.'
My sun his daily course renews
Oh! but to hear the milkmaid blithe;
Oh! but to smell the woodbine sweet!
How tenderly Rousseau reviewed
That marks the Bell and Crown.
Where are ye, birds, that blithely wing From tree to tree, and gaily sing
Or mourn in thickets deep? My cuckoo has some ware to sell, The watchman is my Philomel, My blackbird is a sweep!
Where are ye linnet, lark, and thrush,
Sweet are the little brooks that run
And skin-not shear-the lambs.
Thou cherub-but of earth;
Fit playfellow for Fays by moonlight pale, In harmless sport and mirth, (That dog will bite him if he pulls its tail!) Thou human humming-bee, extracting honey From every blossom in the world that blows, Singing in youth's Elysium ever sunny, (Another tumble-that's his precious nose!) Thy father's pride and hope! (He'll break the mirror with that skipping-rope!) With pure heart newly stamped from nature's mint, (Where did he learn that squint?)
Thou young domestic dove!
(He'll have that jug off with another shove!) Dear nursling of the hymeneal nest! (Are those torn clothes his best?) Little epitome of man!
(He'll climb upon the table, that's his plan!) Touched with the beauteous tints of dawning life,
ALFRED TENNYSON, son of a Lincolnshire clergyman, and educated at Trinity college, Cambridge, published two volumes of poetry in 1830 and 1832. They contain various pieces, domestic and romantic -some imaginative and richly-coloured-the diction being choice and fine, but occasionally injured by affected expressions. Among our secondary living poets, there is no one of whom higher expectations may be formed than Mr Tennyson; for, with his luxuriant fancy and musical versification, he is often highly original in his thoughts and conceptions. He reminds us at times of Leigh Hunt, but his spirit is more searching, as well as expansive. Mr Tennyson has perhaps more to unlearn than to learn in the art of poetry, and it may be hoped that he will shake off his conceits, and take a bolder flight than he has yet attempted.
Love and Death.
What time the mighty moon was gathering light,
The maid-of-honour blooming fair: The page has caught her hand in his: Her lips are severed as to speak : His own are pouted to a kiss:
The blush is fixed upon her cheek. Till all the hundred summers pass,
The beams, that through the Oriel shine, Make prisms in every carven glass,
And beaker brimmed with noble wine. Each baron at the banquet sleeps,
Grave faces gathered in a ring. His state the king reposing keeps. He must have been a jolly king.
All round a hedge upshoots, and shows
And grapes with bunches red as blood; All creeping plants, a wall of green
Close-matted, bur and brake and brier, And glimpsing over these just seen,
High up the topmost palace-spire. When will the hundred summers die,
And thought and time be born again, And newer knowledge, drawing nigh,
Bring truth that sways the souls of men? Here all things in their place remain,
As all were ordered ages since. Come, Care and Pleasure, Hope and Pain, And bring the fated fairy prince.
The silk star-broidered coverlid
Unto her limbs itself doth mould Languidly ever; and, amid
Her full black ringlets downward rolled, Glows forth each softly shadowed arm
With bracelets of the diamond bright: Her constant beauty doth inform
Stillness with love, and day with light. She sleeps her breathings are not heard In palace chambers far apart. The fragrant tresses are not stirred
That lie upon her charmed heart. She sleeps on either hand upswells
The gold-fringed pillow lightly prest: She sleeps, nor dreams, but ever dwells A perfect form in perfect rest.
[From the Palace of Art.']
Beauty, Good, and Knowledge are three sisters, That dote upon each other, friends to man, Living together under the same roof, And never can be sundered without tears. And he that shuts Love out, in turn shall be Shut out from Love, and on her threshold lie Howling in outer darkness. Not for this Was common clay ta'en from the common earth, Moulded by God, and tempered with the tears Of angels to the perfect shape of man.
[From the Miller's Daughter.']
Look through mine eyes with thine. True wife,
Look through my very soul with thine!
May those kind eyes for ever dwell! They have not shed a many tears,
Dear eyes, since first I knew them well. Yet tears they shed: they had their part Of sorrow for when time was ripe, The still affection of the heart
Became an outward breathing type,
And left a want unknown before;
The comfort I have found in thee:
THOMAS B. MACAULAY.
MR THOMAS B. MACAULAY, who held an important office in the administration of Lord Melbourne, and is one of the most brilliant writers in the Edinburgh Review, gratified and surprised the public by a
volume of poetry in 1842. He had previously, in his young collegiate days, thrown off a few spirited ballads, (one of which, The War of the League, is here subjoined); and in all his prose works there are indications of strong poetical feeling and fancy. No man paints more clearly and vividly to the eye, or is more studious of the effects of contrast and the proper grouping of incidents. He is generally picturesque, eloquent, and impressive. His defects are a want of simplicity and tenderness, and an excessive love of what Izaak Walton called strong writing. The same characteristics pervade his recent work, the Lays of Ancient Rome. Adopting the theory of Niebuhr (now generally acquiesced in as correct), that the heroic and romantic incidents related by Livy of the early history of Rome, are founded merely on ancient ballads and legends, he selects four of these incidents as themes for his verse. Identifying himself with the plebeians and tribunes, he makes them chant the martial stories of Horatius Cocles, the battle of the Lake Regillus, the death of Virginia, and the prophecy of Capys. The style is homely, abrupt, and energetic, carrying us along like the exciting narratives of Scott, and presenting brief but striking pictures of local scenery and manners. The truth of these descriptions is strongly impressed upon the mind of the reader, who seems to witness the heroic scenes so clearly and energetically described. The masterly ballads of Mr Macaulay must be read continuously, to be properly appreciated; for their merit does not lie in particular passages, but in the rapid and progressive interest of the story, and the Roman spirit and bravery which animate the whole. The following are parts of the first Lay: