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utterly forgotten. In the meantime, as I have just spent a pleasant half-hour over her little volume, let me show my gratitude to her gentle spirit, by such praises as I can conscientiously award her, and refresh the
readers with a few favourable extracts.
The following little poem, on seeing some children at play, has been quoted both by Bowles and Leigh Hunt, (poets of very different tastes and habits,) with considerable praise :
“Sighing I see yon little troop at play,
By sorrow yet untouched, unhurt by care ;
Mrs. Smith's knowledge of Botany, to which science, by the way, she has addressed a sonnet, is displayed in a very pleasing manner in several of her poems; and she rarely speaks of flowers without a minute fidelity of description, and the use of very graphic epithets. The following couplet is a specimen of the curious felicity of her botanical allusions.
“ From the mapped lichen to the plumed weed;
From threudy mosses to the veinéd flower.”
* This is a sad sacrifice of grammar to rhyme. Byron has made a similar one in his fourth Canto of Childe Harold :
“And dashest him again to earth; there let him lay.”
The “Sonnet written at the close of Spring" offers further illustrations of this peculiar character of her verse.
“ The garlands fade that Spring so lately wove,
Each simple Aower, which she had nurs'd in dew,
Mrs. Smith's study of flowers led her much into the open
fields, and she has shown herself to be a very minute and delicate observer of external nature. The following brief passage taken from one of her sonnets is picturesque.
“ And sometimes when the sun with parting rays
Gilds the long grass that hides my silent bed,
It reminds me of a beautiful touch of Coleridge's pencil in the annexed lines.
“But the dell,
There is an expression in the following line, which has been borrowed by a living poet.
“ The night-flood rakes upon the stony shore."
Bowles, in describing a night-scene (in his Grave of the last Saxon), says:
The following from an address to the North Star has rather more vigour than Mrs. Smith usually displays :
“Now nightly wandering 'mid the tempests drear
The following verse is tender and melodious :
lost love! no tomb is placed for thee
I quote a part of the Sonnet to Fancy, for the sake of the neat turn of its concluding couplet :
Through thy false medium then no longer viewed,
It may perhaps appear from these extracts, that though not to be placed in the first class of British Female Poets, Mrs. Smith
deserves more attention from the public than she is now likely to obtain. She is not to be compared to the Lady Minstrels of the present day, (to the powerful Joanna Baillie, the fanciful L. E. L., the tender and pathetic Caroline Bowles*, or the refined and spirited Hemans,) but her poems may, nevertheless, be occasionally referred to with pleasure as the effusions of a chaste and cultivated mind.
A GLORIOUS sight! The sun is in the sea,
* Now Mrs. Southey.
'Tis sweet on this far strand, When
memory charms the fond reverted eye, To view that hallowed land Where early dreams like sun-touched shadows lie!
The dear familiar forms,
Flash forth through after storms,
The green-wood's loveliest spot~
The calm domestic cot
Each scene we loved so well
As Painting's mighty spell
But though so brightly beam,
By Youth's departed dream,