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566 LOST PLEIAD — DEATH OF GENIUS.
“Hath the night lost a gem, the regal night?
“Couldst thou be shaken from thy radiant place,
“Then who shall talk of thrones, of sceptres riv'n 2
The following, on “The Dying Improvisatore,” have a rich lyrical cadence, and glow of deep feeling : —
“Never, oh! never more,
“But like a lute's brief tone,
“ Under the dark rich blue
“And in the marble halls,
MRS. HEMANS — FELICITY OF IMAGERY. 567
“Fain would I bind, for you,
But we must stop here. There would be no end of our extracts, if we were to yield to the temptation of noting down every beautiful passage which arrests us in turning over the leaves of the volumes before us. We ought to recollect, too, that there are few to whom our
pages are likely to come, who are not already familiar
with their beauties; and, in fact, we have made these extracts, less with the presumptuous belief that we are introducing Mrs. Hemans for the first time to the knowledge or admiration of our readers, than from a desire of illustrating, by means of them, that singular felicity in the choice and employment of her imagery, of which we have already spoken so much at large;—that fine accord she has established between the world of sense and of soul—that delicate blending of our deep inward emotions with their splendid symbols and emblems without.
/ We have seen too much of the perishable nature of modern literary fame, to venture to predict to Mrs. He
mans that hers will be immortal, or even of very long
duration. Since the beginning of our critical career we . have seen a vast deal of beautiful poetry pass into oblivion, in spite of our feeble efforts to recall or retain it in remembrance. The tuneful quartos of Southey are already little better than lumber:— and the rich melodies of Keats and Shelley, and the fantastical emphasis of Wordsworth, – and the plebeian pathos of Crabbe, are melting fast from the field of our vision. The novels of Scott have put out his poetry. Even the splendid strains of Moore are fading into distance and dimness, except where they have been married to immortal music; and the blazing star of Byron himself is receding from its place of pride. We need say nothing of Milman, and Croly, and Atherstone, and Hood, and a legion of others, who, with no ordinary gifts of taste and fancy, have not so properly survived their fame, as been excluded by some hard fatality, from what seemed their just inherit
Z 568 MODERN POETRY PERISHABLE.
ance. The two who have the longest withstood this rapid withering of the laurel, and with the least marks of decay on their branches, are Rogers and Campbell; neither of them, it may be remarked, voluminous writers, and both distinguished rather for the fine taste and consummate elegance of their writings, than for that fiery passion, and disdainful vehemence, which seemed for a time to be so much more in favour with the public.
If taste and elegance, however, be titles to enduring fame, we might venture securely to promise that rich boon to the author before us; who adds to those great merits a tenderness and loftiness of feeling, and an ethereal purity of sentiment, which could only emanate from the soul of a woman. She must beware, however, of becoming too voluminous; and must not venture again on any thing so long as the “Forest Sanctuary.” But if the next generation inherits our taste for short poems, we are persuaded it will not readily allow her to be forgotten. For we do not hesitate to say, that she is, beyond all comparison, the most touching and accomplished writer of occasional verses that our literature has yet to boast of