Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846

By Judith Mattson Bean; Joel Myerson | Go to book overview

Thomas Hood

This volume contains many charming and amusing pieces from Hood. We need say no more after our late remarks on the subject in general.1 The “Literary Reminiscences,” which will be found in this selection, have a new and double interest at the present moment.

The reminiscences of Lamb, are the most pleasing and characteristic of any that have been given to the world. How funny and pretty the note of Lamb after Hood had written “The Widow,” in imitation of his manner.2 And then those walks!—“Scott,” says Cunningham, “was a stout walker.3n Lamb was a porter one.4 He calculated distances, not by Long Measure, but by Ale and Beer Measure. ‘Now I have walked a pint.’n Many a time I have accompanied him in these matches against Meux, not without sharing in the stake, and then, what cheerful and profitable talk!”

Coleridge, while he was in ignorance of the real author of the Odes and Addresses, ascribed them to Lamb and writes the following remarks, not only just to their subject, but valuable as showing the opinion of the finest modern master of the English lyre as to the music of Hood's verse. “The puns are nine in ten good—many excellent—the Newgatory transcendent.5 And then the exemplum sine exemplo of a volume of personalities and contemporaneities, without a single line that could inflict the infinitesimal of an unpleasance on any man in his senses. *** Then, besides, to speak with becoming modesty,

____________________
1
Fuller had reviewed Hood in the 18 July 1845 New-York Daily Tribune.
2
“Dear Lamb,—You are an imprudent varlet, but I will keep your secret. We dine at Ayrton's on Thursday, and shall try to find Sarah and her two spare beds for that night only. Miss M. and her Tragedy may be dished, so may not you and your rib. Health attend you. | Yours, | T. Hood, Esq.” is in Hood's Prose and Verse (New York: Putnam, 1850), p. 94.
3
Allan Cunningham (1784–1842), Scottish poet.
4
The pun is on two types of British beers, stout and porter.
5
Samuel Taylor Coleridge notes the pun on “Newgate,” the notorious London prison.
n
walker.” [walker.
n
“Now … pint.” [‘Now … pint.’

-189-

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