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Thom. As K. HER v EY was born on the banks of the river Cart, near the town of Paisley, in Scotland. He is the oldest of his family by his father's second marriage, and was taken to Manchester by his parents while yet an infant. In this town he resided many years, and passed a portion of them in the office of a solicitor there, as a preparatory step in his education for the bar: he was entered at one of the inns of court; but has not yet been “called;" having been compelled, probably, like most literary men, to the sacrifice of future prospects to present necessities. Mr. Hervey obtained a considerable portion of his reputation by contributing to various periodical works. A few years ago, he collected his poems into a volume, under the title of “the Poetical Sketch Book:” it consists chiefly of short pieces; their merit has been largely acknowledged,—and, although his appearance among the Poets was at an unfavourable period, his work has obtained considerable popularity. Mr. Hervey has also published the “Book of Christmas," a work which displays great industry and research; a poem, the “Devil's Progress,” written after the model of the celebrated lines attributed to Southey and Coleridge; and the “Illustrations of Modern Sculpture,” which are introduced by an essay, giving a sketch of the history of that art from the earliest times. They were issued in numbers, but have recently been formed into a volume; they contain the choicest specimens of the British school, and each is accompanied by a poem from the pen of the Editor. We apprehend this publication was not successful; and regret it. While every other class of art has prospered in this country, but little encouragement has been given to sculpture. With two or three exceptions, its professors have been compelled to limit their chisels to “the making of busts;” and where loftier attempts have been tried, they have been rarely profitable. Mr. Hervey's volume was calculated to direct towards it the attention of wealthy patrons. It was produced in a manner creditable to all parties; and could not fail to impress upon the public a more just estimate of the genius of our artists. Hitherto, their pecuniary advantages have been for the most part derived from the dead. The churches, and not the palaces, of England have been made the depositories of their works. A few noblemen have indeed given “commissions,” and the good Earl of Egremont has filled every nook of his galleries with them; but efforts, either private or public, to render the art prosperous in this country, have been unhappily rare. The poetry of Mr. Hervey may not be of the highest order; but among the minor Poets of England he must hold a foremost rank. His imagination is rich and vigourous; and his versification exceedingly easy and graceful. He has avoided the error into which so many of his contemporaries have fallen, the effort to be effective by the sacrifice of nature, under the idea that the artificialities and affectations of the old Poets were the secrets of their success, forgetting that imitation is always perilous; and that it is far less easy to copy perfections than defects. Within the last twenty years, thousands of “Books of Poems” have issued from the press. It would be difficult to find a dozen that have made their way beyond the friendly and indulgent circles of their respective authors. Yet half a century ago, a large proportion of them would have been received with favour, and have conferred repute. The public is usually correct in its judgment: few recent poetical productions are addressed to the heart; and the mere act of dealing with a subject in verse, although it may have the aid of knowledge and fancy, is insufficient to render a poem popular. It would, however, be easy to select from the numerous poetical productions to which we refer, and which have been consigned to unmerited oblivion, specimens of merit sufficient to form a valuable and interesting volume ; and the Editor who undertakes such a task, will render good service to literature. That which Mr. Sergeant Talfourd describes as the “freezing effect of the scientific spirit of the age,” has had its depressing influence upon the best and greatest of our Poets: it has completely destroyed the ambitious hopes of those who were seeking after distinction. We trust, nevertheless, that a time will come when in poetry, as in art, some portion of celebrity may be attained by all who deserve it. If we must place Mr. Hervey somewhat below the great “makers,” whose names precede his in this volume, we must class him considerably above the host of minor Poets, of whom our age has been so amazingly fertile. Some of his productions, indeed, verge upon the higher standard; and none of them are much beneath it.
Oh! come at this hour, love! the daylight is gone,
The birds, as they mingled their music of joy,
And the moonlight, pale spirit ! would speak of the time
Th F. CON VICT SHIP.
MoRN on the waters!—and, purple and bright,
Night on the waves!—and the moon is on high,
"Tis thus with our life, while it passes along,
I AM ALL ALONE.
I AM all alone!—and the visions that play
And the forms which I fondly loved are flown,
And the home of my childhood is distant far,
And the song goes round, and the glowing smile,_
I wander about, like a shadow of pain,
sHE SLEEPs, THAT still AND PLACID sle EP.
SHE sleeps—that still and placid sleep—
And, where the dews of evening weep,
Oh! never more upon her grave,
They laid her where the sun and moon
And I have heard the breeze of June
And the wild river's wailing song