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This amiable and highly gifted woman, whose name will be held in grateful admiration so long as refined and elevated genius retains its just phice in our estimation, was born in Liverpool, on the ijth of September, 1793. Her father, we are informed, was a merchant of some eminence, who, having become involved, retired, with his family, into Wales. This new residence was well calculated to encourage her poetic turn. It was near the sea, shut in by a chain of rocky hills.
She loved the loneliness and freedom of the sea shore well. The sound of the ocean, and the melancholy sights of wreck and ruin which follow a storm, made an indelible impression on her mind, and gave their coloring and imagery
"A sound ami a gleam of the moaning sea,"
to many of the lyrics which were written when she began to trust to her own impulses and to draw upon her own stores, instead of more timidly retiring under the shadow of mighty names.
Her mother, stated to have been of Italian descent, is described as an accomplished and excellent woman, whose judicious and affectionate endeavors were assiduously employed for the moral and intellectual benefit of her children. To the example and early instruction of such a mother, it is but just to suppose, that Mrs. Hemans owed much of that devotional tendency of mind, which gave to her poetical effusions their highest charm: and throughout her after life, diffused a holy calm overfeelings otherwise too easily excited.
How beautiful and touching is the testimony of the poetess herself, not only to the character of her mother, but to her own early impressions, derived from the book of life.
"TO A FAMILY BIBLE."
"What household thoughts around thee, as their shrine,
Cling reverently I Of anxious looks beguiled, My mother's eye upon thy page divine
Each day were bent; her acrents, gravely mild, Breathed out thy love : whilst I, a rtieamiug child, Wandered on breeze-like fancies oft away
To some lone tuft of breathing spring-flowers wild, Some Iresh discovered nook for woodland play,—
Some secret nest. Yet would the solemn word.
At times, with kindlings of young wonder heard, Fall on my wakened spirit, there to be
A seed not lost; for which, in darker years,
O Book of heaven! I pour, with grateful tears, Hoard blessings on the holy dead and thee."
From this lovely picture of cherished infancy, we turn to the contemplation of the young genius launching forth on her adventurous career, with a lively imagination, un
tutored by experience, with ardent affections, with fresh-born talents kindlmg into life, and combining against the domestic peace of women by their power to excite, to bewilder and to lead astray.
We learn that a "Book of Poems, with Designs by the Author," was the first literary production which appeared in print, from the pen of Felicia Dorothea Browne, afterwards Mrs. Hemans; and written, as it was, at the early age of thirteen, we cannot wonder that the critics of the day should have treated so juvenile an effort with little consideralion and respect. In the course of four succeeding years, however, this volume was followed by two others, which, as they bore strong evidence of powers gradually but steadily expanding, were received with increased favor by the admirers of poetry. Letters, and flattering notices from individuals, justly distinguished in the literary world, now poured in upon the young aspirant; and such was the praise and homage offered to her, that her mostjudicious friends must have trembled for the consequences of her inexperienced mind. Nor was it to her genius alone that Mrs. Hemans owed the meed of admiration thus liberally awarded. Beautiful and romantic, sanguine and unsophisticated, she became the idol of society, and charmed the applauding circle no less by her personal attractions, than by her accomplishments and her intellectual powers. Thus circumstanced and surrounded, as she must have been, by temptations the most seductive to the human mind, we can only wonder and admire, that Mrs. Hemans, with all her versatility of talent and susceptibility of feeling, should have retained those heavenward aspirations of soul which perpetually burst forth in the language of her muse, reminding us of the sweet warblings of a prisoned bird, who sings in its loneliness and captivity of a region of happiness, of light, and freedom.
It was at this stage of her existence, that a shadow seems to have fallen upon the path of the being who appeared so peculiarly formed to walk in sunshine. Unacquainted, as we are, with the real circumstances of the case, it would be equally unjust to the character of the living, and the memory of the dead, to offer any surmise on the subject of Mr. Hemans' matrimonial connection. The simple fact of her separation from her husband, Capt. Hemans, of the Fourth Regiment, affords sufficient ground for melancholy reflection, at the same time that it renders perfectly intelligible to the reader, those touches of sadness, those shadows of deep and early disappointment, those yearnings of the heart for some lost or some imaginary home, which, from the very sympathy they at the same time excite and impart, render her poetry so congenial to the feelings of the sensitive and the sorrowful. It is remarked of Mrs. Hemans, that of this affliction she never complained, but devoted herself to the maintenance of her five sons with an assiduity that reflected the highest lustre on her character. If, however, the fountain of her sorrow was in one sense sealed, it found a natural outlet through the medium of verse, for never were the chords of human feeling touched by a hand more skilful in the native melody of grief, than by that of this gifted and high-souled woman.— Compelled, as she was, by stern necessity, to meet the taste of the times, and to write with such industrious application, that the language of poetry had, by her own confession, become as familiar to her as prose—too familiar, we may fairly suppose, to bear always the high impress her genius in its happiest moments was calculated to give—it ought to be remembered, to the honor of her sex, and the lasting glory of her own fair fame, that, while conducted by her vivid imagination through an immense variety of subjects and events, both personal and historical, she never lent her pen to an ignoble cause, but pursued her literary career with an undeviating regard to the interests of virtue and religion.
It would be an effort as fruitless as uncalled for, to attempt, in this necessarily brief notice, to give any particular description of Mrs. Hemans' literary productions. Their character, distinguished as it is for purity, tenderness, and elevation of thought, is already before the world, not only claiming the tribute of applause from those who tread the highest walks of literature, but, both in England and America, constituting an important part ofj the fireside enjoyment of all who love to find the secret sources of human happiness and misery delineated with genuine feeling, harmony, and truth.
The death of her mother in subsequent marriage of her the necessity of obtaining addition for the education of her boys, induced Mrs. Hemans to leave St. Asapha'sand fix her residence at Wavertree, near Liverpool. From this place she visited Scotland; and the pleasure she derived from its varied scenery, with the opportunity afforded her of cultivating a personal intimacy with Sir Walter Scott, Lord Jeffrey, Wordsworth, and other celebrated characters, is described in her letters with the most lively interest. From the neighborhood of Liverpool Mrs. Hemans afterwards removed to Dublin, and from thence to Redesdale, about seven miles distant from that city. We are informed Ihflt this change was made in the hope of escaping from the continual succession of visitors to which she was liable at Wavertree, and of enjoying the retirement which her declining health ren
in 1827, and the Iqf < sister, added to ipfjj. ditional facilities \
dered increasingly desirable. Both her letters, and her poetical productions, written at this time, bear striking evidence of a spirit wounded, and weary of the warfare of the world, but strong in that religious faith by which, through seasons of sorrow and vicissitude, it had been unfailingly supported. The following lines will be read with lively satisfaction by those who have regretted that the muse of Mrs. Hemans was not exclusively devoted to religious themes.
ON READING COLERIDGE'S EPITAPH, WRIT-
Spirit! so oft in radiant freedom soaring
Its caverns, far below its waves, exploring;
And oft such strains of breezy music pouring,
Could still nil levers of the heart, restoring
Say of those glorious wanderings, what the goal?
What the rich fruitage of man's kindred soul,
And sceptred intellect thy goal confest.
A still deeper interest attaches to the fact, that this accomplished, admired, and celebrated woman was soothed in her last moments by listening to passages read to her from the works of the spiritual and heavenlyminded Archbishop Leighton.
We are told, in the Recollections of Mrs. Lawrence, that, "she expired at nine o'clock on the evening of Saturday, the 16th of May, as if anticipating the Sabbath rest, quite exhausted, and fading away in the tranquil transition of sleep, and, it is fervently hoped, without much suffering."
Her remains were deposited in the vault of St. Anne's Church, Dublin; and a tablet had been erected to her memory in the cathedral St. Asaph, where those of her mother re:e.—London Christian Keepsake.
Amongst the women who particularly distinguished themselves during the time the Moors had possession of Spain, was Aisha, a poetess, a daughter of the Duke of Almedi, so that "she was honored and esteemed by kings." At this time the Moors cultivated every species of polite literature with success, while the rest of Europe was sunk in ignorance and sloth. Her poems and orations were often read with applause in the royal academy of Corduba. She was a virtuous character, lived unmarried, and left behind her many monuments of her genius, and a large and select library. The muses have long since departed from the Iberian shores.
Of this singular relic of antiquity, the lower portion is quadrangular, standing entirely detached from the rock, whence it was hewn. Upon the four facades are Ionic columns and pilasters, above which is a frieze, with Doric metopes and triglyphs. The cornice is a bold cavetto and astragal, evidently of Egyptian origin. Above the entablature is an attic of solid masonry, surmounted by a cone, which runs to a considerable height, and terminates in foliage. Immediately behind this tomb, in the scarped face of the rock, is the ai!( chitraveofan entrance into a sepulchral chamber, now completely blocked up with stones. As Absalom was not interred in this valley, it has been conjectured that this monument may occupy the site of that which the sacred historian relates as having been set up by the rebel prince whose name it bears. "Now Absalom, in his life-time, hid reared up a Pillar, which is in the King's Dale: for he said, ' I have no son (the time being previous to his having any children, or else after they had all died,) to keep up my name in remembrance.' And he called (he pillar after his own name; and it is called unto this day 'Absalom's Place.'" (2 Sam. xviii. 18.) It 1s mentioned by Josephus as a marble column; but our engraving represents the monument shown to modern travellers as bearing the name of Absalom. Such is the antipathy
of the Jews to this monument, that it is their practice, when passing it, to throw stones against it, as a mark of their reprobation of Absalom's unnatural rebellion against his father.
This monument forms a prominent object of view from the Valley of the Brook Kedron, which lies between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. This is the brook over which Jesus " went forth with his disciples" to the ^Garden of Gethsemane: (John xviii. 1.) and winds between rugged and desolate hills through the wilderness of St. Saba, into the Dead Sea. Generally, it has but little water, and in the summer its channel is frequently dry; but, after storms or heavy rains, it becomes a torrent, and runs with much impetuosity.
In the centre, between Jerusalem and the Valley of the Kedron, lies the comfortless Village of Siloam: it consists of small huts, partly built and partly dug in the rock. Its population is said not to exceed two hundred persons. To the west of this village, on the opposite side of the valley, is the Fountain of Siloa, or Siloam, so celebrated in the history of our Saviour's miracles: it flows into two artificial pools, sunk in the rock on opposite sides of Mount Acra. They are situated at the heads of ravines, which separate that mountain from Mount Zion on the west, and from Mount Moriah on the north. The pool adjoining Mount Zion was formerly cased with masonry and decorated with columns, vestiges of which still remain. The other pool is simply an excavation in the rock, about ten feet below the surface, and it has a flight of steps leading to the bottom of it. Between these two pools is a subterranean tunnel of communication, about four hundred yards in length; it is cut entirely through the Rock of Acra. The water, which is extremely clear and cool, abounds with leeches, and appears to be subjected at times to an ebb and flow. Siloam was the scene of the memorable miracle by which Jesus Christ gave sight to a man who had been blind from his birth. (John ix. 1—7.) Its water is still used by devout pilgrims as a remedy for diseases of the eye.
"TELL HIM I'LL WAKE AGAIN."
A fair young female had just closed her eyes in her last repose. For many hours the spirit had been trembling within the expiring frame, like the blaze of a spent taper; for filial love—longing after the farewell of an absent firrier, will hold it by strong ties. "Should you sleep when your father arrives, what shall I say to him?" asked a friend, significantly. The dying girl unclosed her fading eyes, and said with a gentle smile, "Tell him I'll wake again." She slumbered, and woke no more.
"Tell him I'll wake again V The rlewy flower
That closed its petals with the waning day.
O. spread thy hosoin to the welcome ray 1
Sad twilight weeps no more her heavy tears;
Receive thy richest tints when day appears!"
"Tell him I'll wake again!" The coming spring
Shall gently lose the charm that binds the earth. Then hud, leaf, blossom. yea, ten thousand things,
Creation's day renewing, shall have birth. Silent no more. the stream shall wander free.
And captive zephyrs spread their wings to fly.
And bid the prisoned soul ascend on high!
"Tell him I'll wake again!" The holy se d.
Dropped in the earth with tears and pious trust, Shall one day know a still but thrilling call;
Answered by life within the sleeping dust,
Spring-time and harvest mingled into one!
And bind his sheaves and bear them to his home.
One moment! what an effect it produces upon years! One moment! Virtue, crime, glory, shame, woe, rapture, rest upon moments. Death itself is but a moment, yet eternity is its successor.
Written for the Ladies' Garland.
AGATHA LINDSAY E,
"How very beautiful, Aunt Agatha, you must have been if you resembled your miniature," exclaimed a bright and lovely girl, who had been intently gazing on a miniature, to a lady scarcely beyond the prime of life, with the remains of great beauty in her expressive countenance. "How I should like to have been you."
"Anna," said the lady, "that is very unwisely said ; listen to me, and you shall hear why it is.—Yes, I was called b: autiful; my mother, though kind and loving, loved me for my beauty, my father was proud of it, my schoolmates flattered me, and my mirror whispered their praises were true. We were surrounded with luxuries; the comforts riches could procure were ours. I was an only child, a vain and spoiled one. The only sorrow I knew from infancy to womanhood was the death of my mother; vain as I was, I loved her, and I grieved long and bitterly for her loss. But dress and the excitemont of my entrance in the gay world, soon subdued my grief. I was admired, caressed, and flattered; poets dedicated their lays to me; painters begged I would honor them, by sitting to them for my portrait. I was surrounded with suitors, and though scarce eighteen, was a reigning belle. You may wonder that I never loved: no! I despised the crowd of fools too much ever to love them. I sometimes thought I never should, until one evening, at a very gay and large assembly, I was introduced to a Mr. Aubrey. He was very handsome, with noble features, ami dark expressive eyes; but that which struck me most, was his difference from all whom I had yet seen. He took merely a passing notice of me, bowing politely, and hurrying on, yet his figure haunted me, my gay spirits forsook me, and I hastened home.
"Again and again we met, and one evening he seated himself beside me and commenced a conversation. I had heard of him long before I saw him; his praises had been rung in my ears, and when I heard the tones of his musical voice, and saw his dark eye flashing as he spoke, I resolved, if heart could be won, I would win Edward Aubrey's. He was very attentive to me during the evening, and I was satisfied. I put forth all my powers to obtain the end I desired, and I saw I had conquered.
"Did I love him? yes, I had in striving to win his heart lost my own. I loved him deeply, truly, with all the first fervor of feeling, all the devotedness of a youthful heart.
"'Agatha,' he said tome, 'when I first saw you, I thought you vain, proud, and a coquette, but by degrees I saw how mistaken I was; I saw you scorned the flatterers who fawned upon you, and that you were worthy all the love a true heart can bestow.' I blushed at his praises, Anna, for I felt I did not deserve them, ' but,' he continued, 'can you, will you, dearest Agatha, accept a heart that loves you truly.' My answer was not nay, and we were happy. You would think, Anna, my vanity was overcome: no, it was too deep seated to be so easily rooted up. For a long time, his slightest glance could suppress my levity; but one evening, accompanied by my father, I went to a ball, Edward having promised to join us there. I was introduced to Lord Everton, a very silly conceited, coxcombical young man. I forgot for the while my prudent resolutions of never coquetting, and in the midst of a violent flirtation, happening to glance upwards, I beheld the eye of Edward fixed on me with an expression I felt but too keenly.
"He came on the morrow, and though his manner was gentle, still I felt his reproaches were true. I was too proud to acknowledge I was wrong, and he left me in anger. When he came again, I was denied to him; he wrote to me, beseeching me to see him once more at least; I was about to yield, when pride came to my assistance, and 1 returned his note in an envelope.
"Day after day, and even months rolled by; still he came not; I had overrated my strength, my brow grew haggard, my cheek pale, and my eye dim. My father saw it, and urged me to a change of scene. At last
I consented, and we went to C , then
a fashionable watering place. We remained there a few months; I scarcely ever went into gay company, but just before our return, my father solicited my going to a large party. To please him, I consented, and wore my richest robe, with a splendid set of diamonds, a present from my father. The lighted rooms were crowded; my eyes ached, my head grew giddy, but I rallied my spirits and was gayest of the gay. A lady beside me whispered to another, 'Ah, there comes the newly married ones. Is she not handsome.' I glanced toward them, and—I was paralyzed—it was Edward Aubrey; on his arm leaned a fair young girl. My heart almost burst, I turned deadly pale, but with a strong effort commanded myself. Calmly, collectedly I returned his bow: yes, an officious simpleton introduced him and his wife to me. I nerved all my strength, but the
j forced gaiety of my manner, and the wild exj pression of my eye, struck my father, and he I urged me to leave. I reached the carriage, and, faint, senseless, and heart-broken, sank on the seat."
Agatha sighed deeply, as she spoke; her niece urged her not to proceed, but she continued; "long and severe was my fit of sickness; in my delirium I called upon Edward, arid on my mother, begging them to take the weight of lead from my heart. My father watched unweariedly beside me. I hovered between life and death, and when I recovered I was weak as a child. Day by day, I regained my strength, my cheek its color, and I arose from my bed of sickness an altered creature. I retained my faults—my vanity; but I had overcome my passions. I had conquered my love for Aubrey. I despised myself for my former weakness. Aubrey I learned had married his cousin—a marriage which had been proposed to him by his parents before.
"My father had been uniformly kind to me, never urging my acceptance of any proposal I had hitherto received. But Lord Robert Lindsaye was the son of an old friend of his; he was generous, and noble-minded, although passionate; and in face and figure, the model of manly beauty. At length I consented to his and my father's wishes, to become his bride.
"We were married; and once more I plunged in the giddy vortex of fashion. My husband was proud of the admiration I attracted; my establishment was splendid, and I gave balls, parties, and fetes in abundance.
"A new star had arisen in the world of fashion ;—Lady Deloraine was beautiful and wealthy, and we were rival leaders of the ton. Lord Deloraine was a weak, simple man, disliking his wife, (who had wedded not him, but his riches;) he was a constant attendant to all my parties and routs. It was to me a source of triumph, although I despised him, for I knew it vexed his wife. If she gave a ball, I determined to outshine her, and gave one still more splendid.
"My husband disliked Lord Deloraine, jand remonstrated upon his intimacy with me. I laughed at him, and asked if he were jealous. The scornful tones of my voice, and the sneer which accompanied my words, aroused his anger, and we quarrelled. Prom that time a coldness subsisted between us. 1 could not give up Lord Deloraine, he was useful to me, or in other words, Anna, he flattered my vanity.
"It was about this time my father died, leaving me the whole of his large property.