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No. cv. JOHN HOGBEN. Mr. Hogben has as yet published little
verse, and that only in magazines or weekly journals (the Spectator, etc.). He is the editor of “Keats” in the Canterbury Poets.
Nos. cvi.-cvii. THOMAS HOOD (1798-1845). These beautiful
sonnets prove what an essentially true poet Hood was. His great fame as a humorist has overshadowed his claims to a high place among imaginative writers, How few of his contemporaries could have written that weird and impressive poem “The Haunted House," certainly none could have surpassed it. The sonnet on Silence here given is not only exceedingly beautiful, but ranks among the
twelve finest sonnets in the language. RICHARD HENGIST HORNE (1803-1884). The late R. Hengist
Horne passed away in a very faint adumbration of that high reputation he once enjoyed. From the early days of " the farthing Epic"-Orion-to the publication of the Bible Tragedies, what changes! No poet of this generation more lived his life than did “Orion :" he seems to have dwelt in, or at any rate visited, all the habitable (and several of the unhabitable) parts of the globe. Among his friends he numbered most of the leading poets and writers of this century, and among his constant correspondents was the late Mrs. Browning. had an eminently fine presence, though when I last saw him he was manifestly yielding under the assaults of age and prolonged activity. Of all his works, personally I consider the most delightful to be Cosmo de Medici : and other Poems : among the short poems in which there is one called, if I remember aright, “The Slave,” which for glowing richness of colouring seems to me unsurpassed in modern verse. Horne was not a sonnet. writer : the following, with all its faults, is, so far as I know, the only one deserving the name. It was written on December 26th, 1879, and was inscribed to the same Mr. Ellis whose sonnet “Silence" I have quoted on page 77.
THE FRIEND OF FRIENDS.
Not one who sayeth, “That brain's a mighty mould,"
The same, tho’you sate throned, -or waiting for your shroud. No. cviii. CHARLES A. HOUFE. A young writer, who, if he will
eschew the crudities manifest in the little volume he recently published anonymously, will probably do good work. The
sonnet quoted has the stamp of genuine poetry. No. cix. LORD HOUGHTON (18---1885). The late Lord Houghton
had from his early youth close connection with literature, few names having been more familiar in the literary circles of the last generation or two than “Monckton Milnes.” His poetic work is more graceful, refined, and scholarly,
than imaginative or strongly emotional. Nos. cx.-cxi. LEIGH HUNT (1784-1859). We owe Leigh Hunt's
splendid Nile-sonnet to a friendly competition between himself and two still greater poets, Keats and Shelley. It is strange that a motif so eminently suited to the highest poetic genius should have been treated in inverse ratio to the intellectual and poetic powers of the competitors, for undoubtedly Hunt's ranks first, Keats's second, and Shelley's last. I append, for comparison, the rival sonnets.
Month after month the gathered rains descend
Drenching yon secret Ethiopian dells,
Girt there with blasts and meteors Tempest dwells
And they are thine, O Nile--and well thou knowest
And fruits and poisons spring where'er thou flowest.
-PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
Son of the old moon-mountains African !
Stream of the Pyramid and Crocodile !
We call thee fruitful, and that very while
Art thou so fruitful ? or dost thou beguile
Those men to honour thee, who, worn with toil,
'Tis ignorance that makes a barren waste
Green rushes like our rivers, and dost taste
Strangely, it is also to a friendly competition that is due the composition of 'The Grasshopper and Cricket.' Mr. Cowden Clarke has told us in his Recollections, how, on 30th December 1816, he accompanied Keats on a visit to Leigh Hunt at the latter's cottage in the Vale of Health, Hampstead Heath, and how Hunt challenged Keats to write "then, there, and to time,” a sonnet 'On the Grasshopper and the Cricket.' Keats gained the victory over his rival in point (f time. Both are eminently characteristic, the one unmistakably by the author of Endymion, the other suffused with the genial sunshinyness pervading the nature and poetic work of its author. Here is Keats's :
The poetry of earth is never dead :
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
In summer luxury,-he has never done
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
No. cxii. J. W. INCHBOLD. Mr. Inchbold has made the
'sonnet a special study, and has himself written many pleasant examples in a little volume entitled Annus Amoris, published in 1876. (H. S. King & Co.)
JEAN INGELOW. By a slip the following sonnet by Miss Ingelow
was not printed in its right place. It is from her Collected Poems, so widely popular.
AN ANCIENT CHESS KING.
Amid his languid ladies finger'd thee,
While a black nightingale, sun-swart as he,
Among his pastures, when full royally
What dost thou here? Thy masters are all dead;
My heart is full of ruth and yearning pain
At sight of thee, O king that hast a crown
And murmur of the dark majestic town.
No. cxiii. EBENEZER JONES (1820-1860). This author wrote no welcome change, and on his return to the ship he took up a volume of Shakespeare's Poems and wrote in it this sonnet beginning ‘Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art, returning the volume to Severn, to whom he had presented it a few days previously. It is among the most pathetic “last words” of poets. There is an alternative reading of the last line
more than two or three sonnets.
Nos. cxiv.-cxix. JOHN KEATS (1795-1821). Keats wrote fifty
sonnets (or, rather fifty-one, including that recently brought to the notice of Mr. Sydney Colvin), but only a little over a third of these rank as really fine. Every one who knows Keats's poems knows by heart, or is thoroughly familiar with the famous sonnet,“On First Lookinginto Chapman's Homer" A special interest attaches to No. cxix. It was Keats's last sonnet, indeed his last poem. On that last journey of his, when the vessel that was conveying him to Italy was beating about in the British Channel, he and his loyal friend Joseph Severn managed to land for a few hours on the coast of Devon. From the depth of weariness, bodily and spiritual, Keats rallied marvellously under the effects of the
And so live ever,-or else swoon to death,
No. cxx. FRANCES ANNE KEMBLE. Mrs. Kemble, so well.
known in her special sphere, is a very genuine poet. Some of her sonnets--several of them very beautiful-are more satisfactory in structure than this one, but none surpasses
it in dignity and solemn pathos. CHARLES LAMB (1775-1834). An undue place has frequently of
late been claimed for Lamb as a poet. That he had a
We were two pretty babes; the youvgest she,