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known writer, which that writer is fearful of claiming for himself.
When this volume first came into our hands, we will frankly own we felt an unwillingness to review it, since, while from what we had heard of Lady Flora Hastings, we were well assured that her poems would be characterized by high moral feeling, and a certain gracefulness of style, the natural result of an accomplished mind, we had no reason to think that we should find anything more than that common iteration of commonplace thought which seems to be the peculiar feature (with but trifling exceptions) of our aristocratic poetry.
How was it, then, that at a time when Lady Blessington and Lady Charlotte Bury were 'coming out' with something new every quarter, no one ever heard of Poems by the Lady Flora
Hastings ?' How was it that in that receptacle for even the 'smallest contributions' of right honorables, the Keepsake,' not a single copy of verses by the daughter of one of our most illustrious nobles, Lord Moira, the friend of poets, ever found a place? When we remembered how fashionable an accomplishment is verse making, and how very moderate a degree of talent is required by fashionable critics, we really feared that sisterly admiration had prevailed over a more sober judgment, and had prompted the affectionate editress, as is too often the case, to offer to the broad glare of the world, compositions only fitted for the gentle light of the family fireside. With these thoughts we opened the elegant volume ; but with a surprise similar to that of Coleridge when he read the spirited lines of the Duchess of Devonshire on crossing Mont St. Gothard, did we read the following beautiful stanzas, nor could we help exclaiming with him—
O lady nursed in pomp and pleasure,
Where learnt you that heroic measure ?'
· The child of rapture, all was bliss to me.
And I have listen'd, till methought again
- pp. 28, 29, 31, 32. How different is this from nine-tenths of the poetry which is heralded by pompous announcements, and which finds its place on every drawing-room table. The facility, too, with which the writer manages one of the most difficult, the most difficult, we had almost said,-metres in our language, without diffuseness on the one hand, or abruptness on the other, is singular. But not the least remarkable characteristic of the writer is, the extreme facility with which she seems to have composed not only in almost every metre, but in almost every style. How condensed is the following poem, although written in a measure which, from its peculiar easiness, is scarcely ever free from redundancy.
LA NOTTE ED IL GIORNO.
* Around our globe with ceaseless flight
The op’ning flower, the wild bird's song,
Changed to more bless'd reality !-pp. 211, 212.
arch seems to be,
From these two specimens we should think Lady Flora Hastings was an admirer of the Italian school of poetry, for, strange as it may appear to those of our readers who are but superficially acquainted with Italian literature, we can assure them that its poetry is remarkable for its condensation. That a contrary opinion has prevailed among those who are only conversant with Italian poetry through the medium of translations may be readily accounted for by the fact, that from the reign of James the First to comparatively yesterday, Italian literature was not merely neglected, but scorned. Addison led the way, and in his ridicule of the Italian opera, consigned the literature which boasted a Dante, a Petrarch, an Ariosto, and a Tasso, to the contempt of Englishmen. Pope followed; nor was it wonderful that a poet who could praise
• Exact Corneille, and Racine's noble fire,' had no sympathy with those who wandered amid fairy land, or with him, the mightiest of modern poets, who made
• Both heaven and hell co-partners of his toil;' and when, toward the close of the last century, a taste for Italian literature began to show itself, a frivolous age contented itself with admiring and translating the feeble elegancies of Metastasio, while the magnificent poems of an earlier day were left unheeded, probably because not understood.
But not merely does Lady Flora Hastings appear well versed in Italian literature, she has given in this volume a noble specimen of her knowledge of German literature, in her translation of Schiller’s mystical and wild, but splendid Song of the Bell.” We regret that we cannot give an extract, since it would illustrate the peculiar character of German poetry; but such compositions cannot be appreciated piecemeal, and much disadvantage have German writers sustained from their works being presented in detached extracts.
The following is a noble poem, and we must give it entire. Seldom has that motto received a more beautiful illustration.
• THE CROSS OF CONSTANTINE.
The vision spake, imperial Constantine !
Blazed in mid-heaven the consecrated sign.
mystic cross doth with soft lustre glow,
slave of sin and child of woe.
Clings to the idols it was wont to cherish,
Grieveth that things so bright were form’d to perish.
Read in the brightness of that cheering ray-
Nought that is worth a sigh shall pass away.'
To lure thy spirit to a path of flowers ;
To dwell a lingerer in unholy bowers :
Strong in His strength who burst the bonds of sin,
Clasp to thy bosom, clasp the holy cross !
Hast thou not counted all beside as loss ?
Were leagued to bar thee from thy homeward way,
Chase every doubt, and re-assure dismay.
The Lord of Righteousness and Glory bled,
And plenteous unction, is upon thee shed.
Thou see'st the dark-wing'd angel take his stand,
And bear thy spirit to the spirit's land :
In that last trial shall thy succour bring;
For sin is vanquish'd, and death hath no sting.
When bursts the morning of a brighter day,
Arise, rejoicing, from thy cell of clay!
Shall in that hour heaven's royal banner be.
The strongly religious tendency of many of these poems is very pleasing. We perceive that among the highest circles, and in close contact with royalty itself, the religion that
willeth that all men should be saved,' has lifted up her voice, and not in vain; and when we find in the poems of a lady in immediate attendance on the mother of our sovereign, so many allusions, not merely to religion generally, but to those peculiar doctrines which fashionable literature and fashionable writers would scout as puritanical or methodistical, we rejoice, for it proves to us the spread of religious principles in a sphere which we have been perhaps too long accustomed to consider as almost beyond their influence. In selecting from these interesting poems,
it is difficult to determine which to leave out; we have, however, almost exceeded our limits, and recommending this elegant volume to our readers, we will conclude with the following beautiful lines, which seem to have been written by this gifted lady almost as a prophecy of her own fate-