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Until her sixteenth year, Miss Brownel This is gracefully said, and we know it had not been absent from her home at The to be the expression of genuine feeling. Elms for any length of time ; but the sum- Her visits to town, which hitherto had mer and autumn of the year 1828 were been few and far between, became now passed at Swansea, in Wales. The con- more frequent and of longer continuance. trast between the soft beauties of Berkshire, At Mr. Jerdan's house, Brompton, she was and the wild but picturesque scenery of a welcome guest; and with his daughters, South Wales, must have powerfully affected her own equals in age, she was in habits of her mind. Now, for the first time, she intimacy. Another friend, who received made acquaintance with the ocean, and the her with the greatest kindness, was the lone sternness of stupendous mountain gifted painter, Martin. His evening recepscenery; and new ideas must have been tions were crowded with the most emigathered in from the contemplation of these, nent cognoscenti in the Fine Arts, and everythe mightiest works in nature. On leaving thing going on in the world of letters was Wales, she returned, not to the early home familiarly canvassed there by celebrated of her childhood, but to a new residence at names. Some of our readers will rememIsleworth, distant about twelve miles from ber the late Dr. Borthwick Gilchrist's conLondon. Worton Lodge, where, during versaziones, and to such, a mere allusion her absence, the family had removed to, will be sufficient; to others, however, we was a large mansion, a short time previously may explain that this gentleman, a Scot, in occupation of Lord James Hay. Judg- having realized, in India, a princely fortune, ing from letters written at the time, the settled in London, and in the season threw change was not made without much sacri- open his rooms to poets, painters, and aufice of feeling. To her early home and its thors of all grades. Here, too, the young beautiful vicinage, her thoughts returned poetess made the personal acquaintance of with untiring fondness, and like all other many eminent litterateurs. We may not memories of deprivation, when hallowed omit mention of leal-hearted Allan Cunand softened by time, they afforded calm ningham, at whose hands our
mindelight in their contemplation. Alluding strel met much friendly attention ; nor of to this capability of deriving happiness that good man, Professor Rennie, who forfrom the recollection of beloved, but far- warded her views to the utmost of his power. away, scenes, we find her, many years after-Indeed, we are not to wonder at the
genewards, saying :
ral feeling of admiration she created; for, “ Often in the crowded city, in the solitude of my
apart from authorship, and the fame it little
apartment, in the still deeper solitude of sicks had brought her, her manners and appearness, have I thanked God for this power of drawing ance, at this time, were highly prepossesspleasure and beauty from a spring that never fails
. ing. A brunette, with large, dark eyes, in the days of childhood, arise before me again, and softened by a shade of melancholy—the ever with unwearying solace. There are some old richest profusion of raven ringlets—feascenes beheld in early childhood which I always re. tures, pleasing if not decidedly bandsomecall with pleasure. There is a kind of magic about and a graceful figure; to these attractions ings I brought to their enjoyment, which those of were added a winning address—a guileless future days do not possess so completely.” openhearted disposition that thought no Again,
evil, and never offended by an unkind
word, and a frankness—"not the effect of "To me the world is full of the picturesque, familiarity, but the cause of it."
The Ever since I can remember I have been continually notice she received would have been danstoring my, memory with scenes and fragments of scenery which at the time have given the idea of gerous to a mind of inferior organization; pictures. My childhood was peculiarly rich in vi; but her own good sense drew the line of sions of beauty. Fairy tales I read, until my heated separation between the praise that appreciunnatural scenes they described. In the lovely ates, and the adulation that but sickens, world without, The Beautiful met me at every turn and from the latter she ever turned with a -it glanced upon me from every flower—there loathing which those who knew her best, seemed to be a beauty pervading everything around knew was unaffected. Yet, the over-exciteme, an impalpable spirit that hallowed all."
ment induced by such scenes, where everyminded me that it is Miss Browne's father, who is thing was new and dazzling to one just in the habit of coming to London, Him I shall be emerged from the quiet atmosphere of some specimens of the productions of his talented home, was not beneficial to either health or daughter."
spirits-it tinged, with a morbidness hi- dearest companions wild birds and flowers; therto unknown, her very poetry. Alluding L. E. L. had been nurtured wholly in the to some verses of this kind she had sent city, which she loved as devotedly as did the Literary Gazette, for the opening num- Dr. Johnson or Charles Lamb. We do not ber of 1830, the editor, in the true spirit desire to form any contrast of comparison, of a well-wisher, remonstrated on this evil which might disparage either, and shall not tendency :
enlarge on their differences of character. “I was sorry,” he wrote, “I did not see you the Miss Landon came to visit her friend at other day, and more sorry to insert your very affect-Worton Lodge, on the latter's return, of ing verses in the Literary Gazette. But, my dear which we have before spoken ; and here girl, you must not yield to feelings of morbid me- the acquaintance, begun amid the gaiety of You are too young, I trust, for real ones; yet these London, ripened into sincere attachment. eines appear to be too much grafted on excited sersi- The more I know L. E. L.,” she enthubility. I entreat you, as a friend, not to suffer vagne siastically wrote to a friend, “ the more I notions of love or mystical exhalations of religion like her.” Years afterwards, when the to misguide your mind. The earthly passion ought to be beautiful and cheering to you, and the unlooked-for tidings of that young being's heavenly one consolatory and soothing. What decease on a foreign strand were brought have you to do with images of death? Be natural, home, the tide of her friend's affection be happy, and let your genius take its fair and plea- poured itself forth in a Lament of which sant way.”
we must quote a few stanzas :This was wise counsel, reflecting all honor on the well-minded giver, for which reason
“I knew thee first when early dreams
Were crowding in my soul : he will pardon our quoting him, without his
Ere hope and fancy's gushing streams definite permission to do so; and it was
Had learned the world's control; received with the thankfulness we should Circled with all fame's dazzling sheen, have looked for. “I think Jerdan,” the
Thou wert of poesy the queen. diary of the same date remarks, "a kind
" Thy lays were read in solitude, hearted man. His last letter to me proves
And praised with silent tears, it.” A return to her quiet country home For they were of the fervent mood induced a restoration of her olden tran
So loved in early years;
Those charmed initials known as thine, quillity, and brought back health to her
There was a magic in the sign ! mind and body. Her own intense delight at her deliverance from what was felt a "I met thee in thy palmiest days, thraldom, is sufficiently seen in the follow
And thou didst condescend,
In gentle speech, in lovely lays, ing extract :
To name me as thy friend;
I was a passing dream to thee “I never felt such a palpable revolution of
Thou wast a lasting thought to me!" thought and feeling as took place on my journey here. Between Brentford and Isleworth, London seemed a dizzy dream. I was like a bird of the
Mr. Browne's family removed to the air restored from captivity to my native element. north of England in the summer of 1831.
I put down both windows of the Their first residence was at Bootle, a vilcoach, and let the sweet air breathe in on me, and it brought my old feelings back with a thrill glad- lage on the Mersey, in the immediate videning like the breath of spring."
cinity of Liverpool. Here they remained
only for a brief period, the locality having It was about this time, Miss Browne's been found inconvenient; and it was deemthird volume, Repentance and other Poems, ed advisable to remove into Liverpool, appeared. The pieces were chiefly, reli- where a house was taken in Soho-street, gious; and among them were several that then in the outskirts, but now, we believe, have since become favorites with the pub- swallowed up by the encroachments of the lic, such as “ The Sleepers," " Thy King- leviathan of towns. As a literary place,
"“Who loves me best ?” and Liverpool cannot be said to rank high. It others of a similar caste. About this time, is an exchange, an emporium for the westtoo, she met and became acquainted with ern world, a scene of unending trafficking, the late Miss Landon, who was then in the the Tyre of England ; but it is not a locale zenith of her fame. It was strange that where mind predominates, or where booktwo who differed so widely in almost every lovers are in a majority. Miss Browne's habit of thought, should have become such new house was, as might be looked for, in fast friends.
Our young poetess was the consequence, deficient in those intellectual creature of the country, having for her delights which she knew so well to appreci
ate. Alluding to the subject, at a period
A gallant warrior bears me, long subsequent, she thus wrote :-" I can
I'm raptured that he wears me,
A freeman is my lord, myself speak feelingly on the subject of
And joyful is the sword ! literary isolation. Residing for the last
Hurrah! twelve years at a distance from the metropolis ; cut off almost entirely from the
“Yes, sword, a freeman loves thee,
As true and stanch he proves thee, society or correspondence of literary per
And clasps thee to his side, sons, and with few acquaintances possessing
As a beloved bride! even literary taste, I have found my intel
Hurrah! lectual life a continual striving against the
"To thee have I devoted stream-an effort at self-sustenance almost
My iron-life unspotted ; beyond my powers. Had I not loved lite
Each shall in each confiderary employment very deeply and very dearly When wilt thou fetch thy bride ?'
Hurrah! for its own sake, I should long ago have thrown down my pen in despair, and aban
" When the red morning flashes, doned a pursuit, with which those, by whom And trumpet's music gushes, I was surrounded, had so little sympathy." When cannons roar and flame, Still Liverpool was highly advantageous to
Will I the Dear One claim.
Hurrah! our author as a dwelling-place, and produced on her mind the happiest influences. "Oh, blest embracing, thronging She found there many estimable friends, My soul with feverish longing: and some not unknown to fame. Among
Thou, bridegroom, fetch me soon, the most valued were the gifted Chorleys,
My crown shall be thy boon!'
Hurrah ! of Saint Anne-street, and Dr. Shelton Mackenzie, who, “ of all her literary "Why clink'st thou thus for pleasure, friends,” she used to say, " knew her mind
Thou radiant iron-treasure; the best.” Previous to her change of resi
With joy tempestuous,
My sword, why clink'st thou thus ? dence, she had been for some time in cor
Hurrah ! respondence with Mr. W. B. Chorley, chiefly in relation to the Winter's Wreath,
Well, well may I be thrilling : an Annual under his superintendence, to
I long to be fulfilling
My hope's resistless glow, which she had often contributed. The op
And therefore clink I so.' portunity, long wished for on both sides, of
Hurrah !" a better acquaintance than by letters, was now presented, and many delightful hours A series of Fairy Tales for fireside amusewere spent with the members of this inte- ment was commenced-each member of the resting family. Such meetings, too, were little coterie to furnish his or hers in an enhanced by the occasional presence of appointed succession. One of these, writkindred spirits, like Miss Jewsbury (after- ten by Miss Browne, found its way anonywards Mrs. Fletcher), the Howitts, Mrs. mously to our own pages,* and its after fate S. C. Hall, and other talented writers. deserves recording. A German lady, who Miss Browne's attention was directed by had travelled in Ireland, gave it in her the same friends to the wealth of German “ Tour” for a legend she had picked up literature; and the proficiency she ere long herself among our peasantry; and Mr. made in its study, induces only the regret Shoberl, unaware of its true origin, rethat her time and thoughts were not suffi- translated it into English for the Forget ciently free to enable her to devote herself Me Not of 1845 (pp. 205-220), where it systematically to its full acquisition. Out duly re-appeared after its twofold transmuof a few translations we select one speci- tation. This graceful little story was Miss men, a spirited version of Theodore Kör- Browne's first contribution to our Maganer's famous
Liverpool was destined, also, in the wisest hands, to lead her mind to a change, the
greatest she had yet experienced, because “Sword! on my left side gleaming, it related to higher things than of this What means thy radiant beaming ? world—the most extensive, because it So bright thou look'st on me,
brought a happiness, not based on excite'Tis joy to gaze on thee.
* The Fairy Shoe. UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE, January,
ment, and which remained with her latter In the month of May of the following year, end. Her mind had been always serious, she visited Cork, and received such agreeand her respect for divine things full and able impressions of its beautiful neighborunfeigned. But religion, hitherto, had hood, as afterwards to select it for a resibeen with her too much of a natural cha- dence, when she came to dwell in Ireland. racter—the tribute of a spirit that saw on Four or five years had now elapsed since every side a beautiful world, and, without the publication of Repentance, but silence knowing Him, worshipped its Maker. was now broken by the appearance of a Were this the place to analyse such impres- small volume of poetry, called The Coronal, sions, or ours the pen to do it, we might, in which was issued in 1833, during her Cork showing their commonness, fitly designate visit. In 1834, a companion volume, The them the religion of the Imagination”- Birthday Gift, was published ; and, along the most perilous, because the most fasci- with its predecessor, immediately attained nating to young, ardent minds. How much the honor of a second edition. The pieces have all its followers to unlearn, before contained in the latter were, as Mr. Wordsthey become wise ! Our highly-endowed worth kindly wrote of them to a mutual friend was now to exchange fancy for faith, friend—“ remarkable both for tenderness and submit her reason to the mysteries of and poetical spirit.” “We have read," Revelation. She did so, and she thus the amiable bård goes on to say, " and found peace--the peace that passes under- been much pleased with, the animated piece standing. This was in the summer of 1832. in which the course of a river is traced from Narrow as
limits are, we cannot its fountain to the sea. This was not less bring ourselves to suppress an incident interesting to me, on account of its remindwhich closely followed this change we have ing me of Coleridge's intention of writing a spoken of. On a visit to Chester, made at poem to be called, The Brook, and of my this time, Miss Browne was introduced to own Duddon.” We need scarcely add, the the Rev. Mr. a well known Socinian praise so gently given was always referred clergyman of the place. He started the to by Miss Browne, as furnishing one of her controverted theme, which she now felt to happiest recollections in reference to her be her all in all, and argued with all the little book. skill of a practised debater against its Ignatia, her next volume, was published truth. But he failed in confuting the sim- in 1838 ; and was, at the time, reviewed in ple and scriptural replies of his youthful our own pages (August, 1839, pp. 171opponent; and at last, he requested a 173). In preference, therefore, to any written statement of her positions, promis- repetition of our own critical judgment, we ing to overturn every one of them in a select a few passages from a letter, written written reply. We have perused the trea- to the author, on the appearance of her new tise on Christian Evidences, which was publication, by a highly distinguished drawn up in consequence, and admire its friend. The
poem, » he wrote, “is a cogency of reasoning, no less than its happy very beautiful one, and nobly sustained and conciliating tone. Women, it is said, throughout. I doubted not that you could are but poor adepts in the science of induc- write as you have written, but I did doubt tion, because they reach the conclusion your ability to concentrate your thoughts as before they have well-nigh established the you have done, and to fuse them down. . . premises. But here nothing is anticipated . It is clear that you have been severely --nothing is strained. The arrangement critical upon yourself, and quite as clear is lucid, and the accumulation of proof, to that you have gained by it. What I mean a candid mind, irresistible. A copy was is this—there is scarcely a line too much in laid before Mr. -, according to his the poem. . . . I admire the exquisite harrequest, but there was no reply. The dis- mony of Ignatia. I cannot find
defect puter remained silent.
in the rhythm. The measure is suited to This same summer of 1832 was memo- the earnestness of the subject, for which a rable as bringing with it the first of those dancing measure would be as out of place visits to Ireland, which were almost annu- as a Fool's cap and bells upon a Philosoally repeated, until her permanent settle- pher. But one thing pains me-to think ment here ten years after, consequent on what terrible experiences your mind must her marriage. On this first occasion she have had, to be able to describe them so landed at Warrenpoint, and made a pleas- well.” This last is in allusion to the heroant sejour with some friends near Newry. Iine's sorrows, who, disappointed in her husband's fidelity, carries with her a broken | boy stanzas are its general characteristics, heart to the grave.
while to these are too often joined those In the year 1839, she took her place irreverent expressions of erratic rapture, among our own contributors, as we have which Heber well declared to be painful before incidentally mentioned ; and from almost as the profanities of the common that time forth her literary history will be swearer. Sacred poetry should be “poetry," chiefly gathered from our pages. Without in the most exalted sense of that exalted offensively alluding to ourselves, we may word. It demands the highest efforts of take on us to assert that her best poetry the Muse, and when it fails to receive them, was that given to our own Magazine. It it perishes through its own inanity. And was her latest, her best finished, that in its scope should be emphatically “sacred ;" which her ripened genius displayed all its hallowed fire must first touch the lips of the richness; and upon it assuredly the main poet, ere he breaks silence. No Uzzah foundation of her fame must rest. In the hand should be put forth to grasp the ark August of this year she commenced for us of God, even with the plea of supporting a series of prose tales, entitled “ Recollec- it.. The praise we bestow on Miss Browne's tions of a Portrait Painter,” which were little volume is this, that it adheres to the continued at intervals until they amounted double rule. It is poetry of a high order, to about a dozen in number. These sketches, and a holy character. Much of its conwe have been assured, were all founded on tents bring to one's mind the fervid pleadtruth; and the writer, under the guize of a ing of our own elder poets; and we might professed artiste, embodied memories brought point to the “ Prayer for Spiritual Life,” from her own childhood or after years. The and “ Praise and Prayer,” as possessing “Recollections” had their faults, and faults the unction of excellent George Herbert. of that nature that we often desired the Miss Browne's marriage took place in stories themselves untrue ; they were at the latter end of 1842, and soon after she times painful to read, because too much came to reside at Sunday's Well, in the unrelieved by any bright tints. Each was beautiful environs of Cork. We have a miniature tragedy, which we gazed on conscientiously abstained in this sketch, until we were “brimful of horrors.” Some, hitherto, from any unwarrantable intrusion of course, were less distressing than others; into the things of “home;" and now that but the pervading hues were all too sombre, we draw near its close, we have no desire to and the dark passions in man and woman depart from this simple rule of propriety, introduced overmuch on the canvas. When Suffice it then, that by her union with one we criticise, with such plainness of speech, who understood her worth, and appreciated what we ourselves gave to the world, it her talents, she found all the happiness follows that many beauties to counterba- that we are capable of knowing on this side lance these faults, must have existed in the the grave. Her studies were continued with sketches. And such we believe the case. renewed ardor, and their fruit was shown They possess vigor, pathos, and skill in in numerous contributions to the Annuals, analysation of character, united with much Chambers' Journal, our own, and other knowledge of human nature. The stories periodicals. Many engagements were also all have their unobtrusive moral ; for the sent to her from American publishers; and sorrows that gather round the chief actors a reprint of her poems at Boston, with the in them are shown to have been in every “ Recollections” from our own pages (the instance " the fruit of their own doings.' latter, of course, anonymously), met with a
A tiny volume of Sacred Poetry was the ready sale. She had many kind friends in next addition to Miss Browne's publica- the United States, who had, by making her tions. It appeared in 1840, and was not writings known, done much to create the unworthy of any of its predecessors. Few popularity her name enjoyed in that counsave those who have thought and felt much, try; among them it would be unpardonable and whose souls are filled with the sense of to omit mentioning the late Mr. B. B. the sublimity of the theme, and the inca- Thatcher, and Pierpont, the poet. A new pability of man to honor it aright, know the volume of verse, chiefly collected from this difficulties of sacred poetry. By a strange Magazine, called Sketches from the Antique, anomaly, which we have no inclination to and other Poems, * was issued by Mrs. Gray, investigate here, do verse is more common
* Shall we not be forgiven some egotism, when in our own day than that which is miscalled
we indulge in it less for our own sake than our “religious ;' but bald rhymes and school- I friend's ? The “ Embroideress at Midnight,” re