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It seems so like my own, because of the fasts I keep,—
Oh, God! that bread should be so dear, and flesh and blood so
What exquisite delicacy and force characterize his Bridge of Sighs:
Alas! for the rarity of Christian charity
Under the sun!
Oh! it is pitiful! near a whole city full,
The bleak wind of March made her tremble and shiver;
Anywhere, anywhere out of the world!
In she plunged boldly, no matter how coldly
Over the brink of it,-picture it, think of it,
Lave in it, drink of it, then, if you can!
Now two or three stanzas from the Lady's Dream :
Of the hearts that daily break, of the tears that hourly fall,
For the blind and the cripple were there, and the babe that pined for bread,
And the houseless man, and the widow poor, who begged-to bury the dead:
The naked, also, that I might have clad, the famished I might have fed!
The sorrow I might have soothed, and the unregarded tears;
The wounds I might have healed! the human sorrow and smart!
An illustration of the effect of antithesis, and grotesqueness of fancy, we have in his Ode to his Son:
Thou happy, happy elf!
(But stop, first let me kiss away that tear—)
(My love, he's poking peas into his ear!)
Thou merry, laughing sprite!
Untouched by sorrow, and unsoiled by sin,-
Fit playfellow for fays, by moonlight pale,
(That dog will bite him, if he pulls its tail ;)
Fresh as the morn, and brilliant as its star-
Bold as the hawk, yet gentle as the dove—
I cannot write, unless he's sent above).
His Dame Eleanor Spearing, like his many other pieces, including Young Ben, Nelly Gray, and Ben Battle, exhibit his irresistible fond
ness for playing upon words. Here is a passage from the firstnamed:
She was deaf as a nail-that you cannot hammer
Was all a sealed book to Dame Eleanor Spearing;
'Twixt Mrs. O'Fie and Mrs. Au Fait
That she couldn't audit the Gossips' accounts.
The Dream of Eugene Aram has been regarded as one of Hood's finest productions; but a high critical authority thinks his Haunted House bears the palm, it is so wonderfully full of creative power.
"It required the finest mental apprehension, the white heat of imagination, the most sensitive perception, to take such a picture as this, wherein the indefinite is caught and fixed so definitely:a living, lonely human being is thus isolated and suspended betwixt the spirit-world of the air overhead and the reptile-world of crumbling ruin at the feet :” '____
The centipede along the threshold crept,
The cobweb hung across in mazy tangle,
At every nook and angle.
The keyhole lodged the earwig and her brood,
In undisturbed procession.
Such omens in the place there seemed to be,
The dreary stairs, where with the sounding stress
The mind, with dark misgivings, feared to guess
Even the ancestral portraits on the walls are filled with no mere simulated life,—
Their souls were looking through their painted eyes
At the sound of the door creaking on its rusty hinges, it seems as though the murder would out at last. The screech-owl appears to "mock the cry that she had heard some dying victim utter :”
A shriek that echoed from its joisted roof,
And up the stair, and further still and further, Till in some ringing chamber far aloof
It ceased its tale of murther!
The wood-louse dropped and rolled into a ball, Touched by some impulse, occult or mechanic; And nameless beetles ran along the wall,
In universal panic.
The subtle spider, that from overhead
Hung like a spy on human guilt and error, Suddenly turned, and up its slender thread Ran with a nimble terror.
O'er all there hung the shadow of a fear,