Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 16: No 1) >> Simms as ''Nemo'': The Rediscovered Letters to the Charleston Mercury >> Page 9

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Correspondence | [1860]
Transcription There is no painful interest in this history, such as attaches to the
rash, headlong and finally tragic career of HAYDON. It lacks in the dramatic
interest which that artist's autobiography undoubtedly possesses in very
large degree; but the deficiency is compensated by the coup d 'ceil which it
presents of a sweet, calm, placid career to fame and fortune, in the smiles of
friends, in a sunshiny successful condition, cheered by the affectionate
devotion of wife and children, and exhibiting throughout a modest waiting
upon God and fortune, in the unassuming prosecution of appointed duties,
without vanity, or impatience, or any unreasonable exaction. We commend
the book to the artist and to the general reader. It is illustrated by a fine and
pleasing portrait.
The memorials of THOMAS HOOD, the author and artist for HOOD
was both are perhaps of even greater interest, to the general reader, than
the autobiography of LESLIE. These memorials, so simple, and so full of
domestic developments, are collected, arranged and edited by the daughter of
the Poet, with a preface and notes by his son. The permanent reputation of
HOOD must rest on his performances as a Poet. As a Wit and Humorist, a
Punster and Epigrammatist, we do not build upon him, nor can he build upon
us. It is really as a Poet of profound pathos and exquisite fancy, that we are
to honor his performances, and do justice to his genius, by our perhaps
involuntary admiration. The author of the terribly touching performances
"One more Unfortunate" and "The Song of the Shirt" and "The Plea of
the Midsummer Fairies," has nothing to fear, as a poet of the most tragic
pathos, from the awards of future criticism. He will always rank as a lyrist of
the first class; one who, blending simplicity with tenderness, has besides a
musical flexibility and euphony which naturally wins the ear while appealing
to all the sensibilities. As a wit and punster, however quick of repartee,
however happy in queer combinations and quaint associations, and dextrous
in the play of words, his merits, in these respects, will hardly suffice to keep
him at any great elevation these performances meeting only a temporary
admiration, and to be classed with the vin de societe, which, however clever
and unexpected at the moment, will hardly do more than survive the
moment; and when collected together in a body, and set in print, will be
found as tedious as the book of Joe Miller. We get annoyed at what seems a
waste of labor in carving cherry stones, and are apt to become disgusted with
the spectacle of a full-grown man, of wit and intellect, laboring all day at
quip and rank for the amusements of a languid audience. His novels were
simply clever and amusing, not exhibiting any very salient characteristics,
neither remarkable in desire or execution, and, in interest as stories, hardly
rising above mediocrity. It is chiefly as a poet, especially of the simple,
touching and pathetic, that HOOD'S memory will survive. His life, as we read
it in these volumes, was a very sad one; full of a painful interest; a career of
diligent toils, pursued through terms of poverty, privation, pain, anxiety, and