Felicia D. Hemans
1793 – 1835 A.D.
Felicia Dorothea Hemans, an English poet, born in Liverpool. She was distinguished for her beauty and precocity, and her first volume of poems was published when she was only fifteen years old.
In 1812 she married Captain Hemans, an Irish soldier, but the marriage was unhappy, and they separated six years later. Mrs. Hemans, though in poor health, now devoted herself to the education of her children, to reading and writing, and spent the rest of her life in North Wales, Lancashire, and latterly at Dublin, where she died at the age of forty-two. One of her best friends was Sir Walter Scott, with whom she and her boys often stayed at Abbotsford.
Mrs. Hemans’ poetry is the production of a fine imaginative and enthusiastic temperament, but not of a commanding intellect or very complex or subtle nature. It is the outcome of a beautiful but singularly circumscribed life, a life spent in romantic seclusion, without much worldly experience, and warped and saddened by domestic unhappiness and physical suffering. An undue preponderance of the emotional is its prevailing characteristic. Scott complained that it was “too poetical,” that it contained “too many flowers” and “too little fruit.”
Without great originality or force, she is yet sweet and pleasing. Though her range was limited, she was a woman of true genius, and some of her little lyrics, The Voice of Spring, The Better Land, Casabianca, The Graves of a Household, The Treasures of the Deep, and The Homes of England, are perfect in pathos and sentiment, and will live as long as the English language. These are found in almost every school collection, and this early familiarity with her sweet and simple lyrics has helped to keep her memory green.
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.