Thomas Hood Poems

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Thomas Hood
Thomas Hood (May 23, 1799 - May 3, 1845) was a British humorist and poet. His son, Tom Hood, became a well known playwright and editor. Thomas Hood, the son of a bookseller. He was born in London, in the Poultry (Cheapside) above his father's bookshop. "Next to being a citizen of the world," writes Thomas Hood in his Literary Reminiscences, "it must be the best thing to be born a citizen of the world's greatest city." On the death of her husband in 1811, Mrs Hood moved to Islington, where Thomas Hood had a schoolmaster who, appreciating his talents, "made him feel it impossible not to take an interest in learning while he seemed so interested in teaching." Under the care of this "decayed dominie", he earned a few guineas--his first literary fee--by revising for the press a new edition of Paul and Virginia. Admitted soon after into the counting house of a friend of his family, he "turned his stool into a Pegasus on three legs, every foot, of course, being a dactyl or a spondee"; but the uncongenial profession affected his health, which was never strong, and he was sent to his father's relations at Dundee, Scotland. There he led a healthy outdoor life, and also became a large and indiscriminate reader, and before long contributed humorous and poetical articles to the provincial newspapers and magazines. As a proof of his literary vocation, he used to write out his poems in printed characters, believing that that process best enabled him to understand his own peculiarities and faults, and probably unaware that Samuel Taylor Coleridge had recommended some such method of criticism when he said he thought "print settles it." On his return to London in 1818 he applied himself to engraving, enabling him later to illustrate his various humours and fancies by quaint devices. In 1821, John Scott, the editor of the London Magazine, was killed in a duel, and the periodical passed into the hands of some friends of Hood, who proposed to make him sub-editor. His installation into this post at once introduced him to the literary society of the time; and in becoming the associate of Charles Lamb, Henry Cary, Thomas de Quincey, Allan Cunningham, Bryan Procter, Serjeant Talfourd, Hartley Coleridge, the peasant-poet John Clare and other contributors to the magazine, he gradually developed his own powers. He had married in 1825, and Odes and Addresses--his first work--was written in conjunction with his brother-in-law J.H. Reynolds, a friend of John Keats. S. T. Coleridge wrote to Charles Lamb averring that the book must be his work. The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies (1827) and a dramatic romance, Lamia, published later, belong to this time. The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies was a volume of serious verse. But he was known as a humorist, and the public rejected this little book almost entirely. The series of the Comic Annual, dating from 1830, was a kind of publication at that time popular, which Hood undertook and continued, almost unassisted, for several years. Under that somewhat frivolous title he treated all the leading events of the day in caricature, without personal malice, and with an under-current of sympathy. The attention of the reader was distracted, by the incessant use of puns, of which Hood had written in his own vindication: "However critics may take offence, A double meaning has double sense." He was probably aware of this danger. As he gained experience as a writer, his diction became simpler. In another annual called the Gem appeared the poem on the story of Eugene Aram. He started a magazine in his own name, for which he secured the assistance of many literary men, but which was mainly sustained by his own inactivity. From a sick-bed, from which he never rose, he conducted this work, and there composed well known poems, such as the "Song of the Shirt" (which appeared anonymously in the Christmas number of Punch, 1843 and was immediately reprinted in The Times and other newspapers across Europe. It was dramatised by Mark Lemon as The Sempstress, was printed on broadsheets, cotton handkerchiefs and was highly praised by many of the literary establishment, including Charles Dickens.), the "Bridge of Sighs" and the "Song of the Labourer". They are plain, solemn pictures of conditions of life. Hood was associated with the Athenaeum, started in 1828 by James Silk Buckingham, and he was a regular contributor for the rest of his life. Prolonged illness brought on straitened circumstances; and application was made to Sir Robert Peel to place Hood's name on the pension list with which the British state rewarded literary men. This was done without delay, and the pension was continued to his wife and family after his death. Nine years later a monument, raised by public subscription, in the cemetery of Kensal Green, was inaugurated by Richard Monckton Milnes.

i wake and feel the fell of dark
I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day ,
What hours, O what black hours we have spent... [read poem]
spring and fall
to a young child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves... [read poem]
that nature is a heraclitean fire
Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows | flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-
Built thorough... [read poem]
both sides now
Rows and flows of angel's hair
And icecream castles in the air
And feathered canyons every... [read poem]
It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And s... [read poem]
the fiddle and the drum
And so once again
My dear Johnny my dear friend
And so once again you are fightin' us all... [read poem]
the windhover
To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of dayligh... [read poem]
the starlight night
Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the a... [read poem]
hurrahing in harvest
Summer énds now; now, bárbarous in béauty, the stóoks ríse
A... [read poem]
carrion comfort
Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist -- slack they may b... [read poem]
god's grandeur
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook f... [read poem]
to seem the stranger lies my lot, my life
To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life
Among strangers. Father and mother dear,
Brothe... [read poem]
pied beauty
Glory be to God for dappled things --
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
... [read poem]
thou art indeed just, lord
Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum; verumtamen
justa loquar ad te: quare ... [read poem]
felix randal
Félix Rándal the fárrier, O is he déad then? my dúty all é... [read poem]
the wreck of the deutschland (dec. 6, 7, 1875)
to the happy memory of five Francisan nuns,
exiles by the Falck Laws, drowned b... [read poem]
faithless sally brown
Young Ben he was a nice young man,
A carpenter by trade;
And he fell in love with Sal... [read poem]
no worst, there is none
No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepang... [read poem]
the caged skylark
As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage,
Man's mounting spirit in his bone-house, mea... [read poem]
duns scotus's oxford
Towery city & branchy between towers;
Cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmèd, lark charm&e... [read poem]
binsey poplars
My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled ,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,... [read poem]
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