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Op all the writers of the present century, who have been set up as marks for the arrows of public criticism, none has been more exposed to the annoyance, and none perhaps has had cause more justly to complain of it, than this talented and warm-hearted writer. Years of untiring obloquy were heaped upon him by those party critics who measured every author's merits exclusively by his politics; and even his name was industriously sought to be made a proverb and a by.word in the literary world. But such fierce and unjust opposition generally defeats its own purposes, and recoils upon the heads of those who occasioned it. The scorners have become the objects of public scorn, and the laugh which they raised has been answered with fearful echoes, under which they have quailed. The world is now persuaded, although the conviction has been somewhat of the latest, that Leigh Hunt is a poet of the highest order.

This poet, critic, and political writer, is the son of a clergyman of the Church of England, and was bom on the 19th of October, 1784, at Southgate, Middlesex. His early education was carried on and completed at Christ's Hospital, where he had for schoolfellows Coleridge and Lamb, with the latter of whom he remained united through life in a close and congenial friendship. At first, Hunt was designed for the church; but an impediment in his speech, which he has since surmounted, was considered so serious an obstacle to his success as a public speaker, that the design was abandoned; and at a period of little more advance than that of mere boyhood, he threw himself upon the world as an author, in which capacity he has continued till the present day. It was not difficult to guess what side in politics so young a man, possessed of such buoyancy of spirit, would be likely to choose_it was with him a matter of feeling, rather than of posts and pensions; and accordingly he espoused the cause of the people, and became one of the earliest, as he still continues one of the staunchest, advocates of Reform. During his political career, and while editor of the Examiner, he happened to pub. lish an article reflecting severely upon the Prince Regent: it was pronounced a Sibel, and “kind Hunt was sent to prison." But as neither his intellect nor his pen was shackled, he forthwith converted his place of bondage into a commodious study, and continued his literary labours. He has now the satisfaction of seeing those political principles for which he suffered becoming part of our present constitution, and the established law of the land. It was during his imprisonment that he became acquainted with Lord Byron, in consequence of which he, at a subsequent period, took up his residence with the latter in Italy. But two persons of such contrary dispositions were better fitted to admire and love each other at a distance, and a rupture was the inevitable consequence of their dwell. ing under one roof.

But it is neither with the personal feuds, nor yet with the political opinions of Hunt, that we have to do in the present work, but with his character as a poet. And here, it must be confessed, that he laid himself open in some measure to the censures of his critics, by a certain affectation of style, which eren ais friends will acknowledge to have been in bad taste, and which by his enemies was branded as childishness and vulgarity. It was upon these instances that his paligners fastened with triumphant glee, when they hailed him as the creator and king of the Cockney School of Poetry, and proceeded to lacerate to the leath his unfortunate young friend, Keats. But with those who love genuine nature and true feeling, these defects will be little heeded, on account of the excellencies with which the poetry of Hunt abounds. He looks upon creation with a fond and discriminating eye, and by a succession of delicate touches brings the whole scenery before our view. He riots among domestic joys and feelings, until we are the guests of his fire-side, and the participants of his happiness. And of how few of our modern poets can so much be said? Of late, he has turned his attention to dramatic writing, in which he seems to have started into a new poetical existence, with the promise of excelling whatever he has done before. Indeed, his Tale of Florence is perhaps the best of all his poetical pro. ductions. For the sake of our National Drama, we trust that he will persevere and prosper, potwithstanding the impracticability of theatrical managers, and the intrigues of the Green Room.

[graphic][merged small]

Ho! We are the Nepheliads, we,
Who bring the clouds from the great sea,
And have within our happy care
All the love 'twixt earth and air.
We it is with soft new showers
Wash the eyes of the young flowers;
And with many a silvery comer
In the sky, delight the summer;
And our bubbling freshness bringing,
Set the thirsty brooks a singing,
Till they run for joy, and turn
Every mill-wheel down the burn.
We too tread the mightier mass
Of clouds that take whole days to pass;
And are sometimes forced to pick
With fiery arrows through the thick,
Till the cracking racks asunder
Roll, and awe the world with thunder.

those political principles for which he suffered becoming part of our present constitution, and the established law of the land. It was during his imprisonment that he became acquainted with Lord Byron, in consequence of which he, at a subsequent period, took up his residence with the latter in Italy. But two persons of such contrary dispositions were better fitted to admire and love each other at a distance, and a rupture was the inevitable consequence of their dwell. ing under one roof.

But it is neither with the personal feuds, nor yet with the political opinions of Hunt, that we have to do in the present work, but with his character as a poet. And here, it must be confessed, that he laid himself open in some measure to the censures of his critics, by a certain affectation of style, which even ais friends will acknowledge to have been in bad taste, and which by his enemies was branded as childishness and vulgarity. It was upon these instances that his maligners fastened with triumphant glee, when they hailed him as the creator and king of the Cockney School of Poetry, and proceeded to lacerate to the leath his unfortunate young friend, Keats. But with those who love genuine nature and true feeling, these defects will be little heeded, on account of the ex. cellencies with which the poetry of Hunt abounds. He looks upon creation with a fond and discriminating eye, and by a succession of delicute touches brings the whole scenery before our view. He riots among domestic joys and feelings, until we are the guests of his fire-side, and the participants of his happiness. And of how few of our modern poets can so much be said ? Of late, he has turned his attention to dramatic writing, in which he seems to have started into a new poetical existence, with the promise of excelling whatever he has done before. Indeed, his Tale of Florence is perhaps the best of all his poetical productions. For the sake of our National Drama, we trust that he will persevere and prosper, notwithstanding the impracticability of theatrical managers, and the intrigues of the Green Room.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

Ho! We are the Nepheliads, we,
Who bring the clouds from the great sea,
And have within our happy care
All the love 'twixt earth and air.
We it is with soft new showers
Wash the

eyes of the young flowers;
And with many a silvery comer
In the sky, delight the summer;
And our bubbling freshness bringing,
Set the thirsty brooks a singing,
Till they run for joy, and turn
Every mill-wheel down the burn.
We too tread the mightier mass
Of clouds that take whole days to pass;
And are sometimes forced to pick
With fiery arrows through the thick,
Till the cracking racks asunder
Roll, and awe the world with thunder.

Then the seeming freshness shoots,
And clears the air, and cleans the fruits,
And runs, heart-cooling, to the roots.
Sometimes on the shelves of mountains
Do we rest our burly fountains;
Sometimes for a rainbow run
Right before the laughing Sun;
And if we slip down to earth
With the rain for change of mirth,
Worn-out winds and pattering leaves
Are what we love; and dripping eaves
Dotting on the sleepy stone;
And a leafy nook and lone,
Where the bark on the small treen
Is with moisture always green;
And lime-tree bowers, and grass-edged lanes,
With little ponds that hold the rains,
Where the nice-eyed wagtails glance,
Sipping 'twixt their jerking dance.
But at night in heaven we sleep,
Halting our scatter'd clouds like sheep;
Or are pass'd with sorereign eye
By the Moon, who rideth by
With her sidelong face serene,
Like a most benignant queen.
Then on the lofty-striking state
Of the up-coming Sun we wait,
Showing to the world yet dim
The colours that we catch from him,
Ere he reaches to his height,
And lets abroad his leaping light.
And then we part on either hand
For the day; but take our stand
Again with him at eventide,
Where we stretch on either side
Our lengthen d heaps, and split in shows
Of sharp-drawn isles in sable rows,
With some more faint, or flowery red;
And some, like bands of hair that spread
Across a brow with parted tress
In a crisp auburn waviness;
And mellow fervency between
Of fiery orange, gold, and green,
And inward pulpiness intense,
As if great Nature's affluence

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