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kindly authority over him in this respect. Coleridge, at the first interview, was so much delighted with the prospect of this house, that he was impatient to get there, and came very characteristically with Christabel in his hand, to send to his host. With the Gillmans Coleridge continued till his death; and his abode here is too well known to need much mention of it. Here he held a species of soirée, at which numbers of persons were in the habit of attending to listen to his extraordinary conversations, or rather monologues.
Those who heard him on these occasions used to declare, that you could form no adequate idea of the intellect of the man, till you had also heard him. Yet, by some strange neglect, or some wish of his own, these extraordinary harangues were never taken down; which, if they merited the praises conferred on them, is a loss to the world, as well as to his full fame.
The house which Mr. Gillman occupied is now occupied by a Mr. Brendon. There is nothing remarkable about the house except its view. Coleridge's room looked upon a delicious prospect of wood and meadow, with a gay garden full of color under the window. When a friend of his first saw him there, he said he thought he had taken his dwellingplace like an abbot. There he cultivated his flowers, and had a set of birds for his pensioners, who came to breakfast with him. He might be seen taking his daily stroll up and down near Highgate, with his black coat and white locks, and a book in his hand; and was a great acquaintance of the little children. He loved, says the same authority, to read great folios, and to make old voyages with Purchas and Marco Polo; the seas being in good visionary condition, and the vessel well stocked with botargoes.
If the lives of our poets had been written with the same attention to the placing of their abodes as clearly before you as that of Mrs. Hemans has been, both by Mr. Chorley and by her own sister, it might have saved me some thousand of miles of travel to visit and see them for my
Felicia Dorothea Browne, the future poetess, bearing the familiar name of Mrs. Hemans, was born in Dukestreet, Liverpool, on the 25th of September, 1793. The house is still pointed out to strangers, but has nothing beside this event to give it a distinction from other townhouses. Her father was a considerable merchant, a native of Ireland. There seems to have been a particular connection with the state of Venice, for her mother was descended from an old Italian family. Her father was the Imperial and Tuscan Consul at Liverpool. The old name of Mrs. Hemans's maternal ancestry is said to have been Veniero,
houses. Her there seems to have her mother
but had got corrupted to the German name of Wagner. Mrs. Hemans was the fifth of seven children, one of whom died in infancy. Before she was seven years old, her father, having suffered losses in trade, retired from business, and settled at Gwrych, near Abergele, in Denbighshire, close to the sea, in a large, old, solitary mansion, shut in by a range of rocky mountains. Here the family resided nine years, so that the greater and more sensitive part of her girlhood was passed here. She was sixteen when they removed. Here, then, the intense love of nature and of poetry, which distinguished her, grew and took its full possession of her. How strong this attachment to the beauty and fresh liberty of nature had become by her eleventh year, was shown by the restraint which she felt in passing a winter in London at that age, with her father and mother, and her intense longing to be back. Her rambles on the shore, and among the hills; her wide range through that old house, with a good library, and the companionship of her brothers and sisters, were all deeply calculated to call forth the spirit of poetry in any heart in which it lay. Her elder sister died; and she turned for companionship to her younger sister, since her biographer, and her younger brother, Claude Scott Browne, who also died young. Her two elder brothers, who with her younger sister only remain, became officers in the army; and this added a strong martial tendency to the spirit of her genius. Her mother, who was a very noble-minded and accomplished woman, bestowed great care on her education,
that the young and poetical heart craves for. The Bible and Shakspeare were her two great books ; and the traces of their influence are conspicuous enough in the genuine piety and the lofty imagery of her writing. She used to read Shakspeare among the branches of an old apple-tree. In this secret retreat, and in the nut-wood, the old arbor and its swing, the post-office tree-a hollow tree, where the family put letters for each other, the pool where they lanched their little ships, used to be referred to by her as belonging to a perfect elysium of childhood. She was fond of dwelling on the strange creeping awe with which the solitude and stillness of Gwrych inspired her.” It had the reputation of being haunted—another spur to the imaginative faculty. There was a tradition of a fairy grayhound, which kept watch at the end of the avenue, and she used to sally forth by moonlight to get a sight of it. The seashore was, however, her favorite resort; and one of her biographers states, that it was a favorite freak of hers, when quite a child, to get up of a summer night, when the servants fancied her safe in bed, and, making her way to the water side, indulge in a stolen bathe. The sound of the ocean, and the melancholy sights of wreck and ruin which follow a storm, are said to have made an indelible impression upon her mind, and gave their coloring and imagery was at once beautiful, warm-hearted, and enthusiastic. Her days had been spent in wandering through mountain and glen, and along the sea-shore, with her brothers and sister, or in brooding over the pages of Froissart and Shakspeare. Her mind was full of visions of romance, her heart of thrilling sensibilities; and at this moment the feeling of martial glory came to add a new enthusiasm to her character. Her two elder brothers were in the army, and one was fighting in Spain. There were many poetic and chivalrous associations with this country, which now. were felt by her with double force, and which turned all her heart and imagination in this direction. In this critical hour a young officer, who was visiting in the neighborhood, was introduced to the family, and her fate was decided. It was Captain Hemans. The hero of the hour, he became completely so when he also set sail for Spain. It was natural for so enthusiastic and poetic a damsel to contemplate him as a warrior doing battle for the deliverance of that land of Gothic and of Moorish romance, in the most delusive coloring. When he returned, it was to become her husband in an ill-fated marriage. .
“A sound and a gleam of the moaning sea," to many of her lyrics. In short, a situation can not be imagined, more certain to call forth and foster all the elements of poetry than this of the girlhood of Mrs. Hemans. To the forms of nature, wild, lonely, and awful, the people, with their traditions, their music, and their interesting characteristics, added a crowning spell. The young poetess was rapidly springing in this delightful wilderness into the woman. She is described by her sister, at fifteen, as "in the full glow of that radiant beauty which was destined to fade so early. The mantling bloom of her cheeks was shaded by a profusion of natural ringlets, of a rich, golden brown; and the ever varying expression of her brilliant eyes gave a changeful play to her countenance, which would have made it impossible for any painter to do justice to it."
According to all accounts, at this period she was one of the most lovely and fascinating creatures imaginable; she
In the mean time, in 1809, and when she was about seventeen, her family quitted Gwrych, so long her happy home. Since then the greater part of the house has been pulled down, and a baronial-looking castle has arisen in its stead, the seat of Mr. Lloyd Bamford Hesketh. Bronwylfa, near St. Asaph, in Flintshire, became the residence of her family. Here she lived for about three years, or till 1812, when Captain Hemans returned, and they were married. For a short time she lived with her husband at Daventry, when they returned to Bronwylfa, where they lived till 1818, or about six years, the whole period of their married life that they lived together. From that time till the death of Mrs. Hemans, seventeen years more, they lived apart-she in Wales, England, and Ireland, he in Italy.
At the time of Captain Hemans's first acquaintance with