Some info on Leigh Hunt, an early Romantic and JA contemporary
Posted by Lesley on January 18, 1998 at 22:58:46:
I thought you might enjoy these short poems and a brief biography. I started on this quest after my grandmother told me that she had to memorize Abhou be Adhem for her elementary English class.
Leigh Hunt 1784-1859
Leigh Hunt, a writer of the early Romantic period, was a classmate of Charles Lamb, and
later an editor, essayist, and minor philosopher. Like Lamb, he had to leave school at
"...fifteen when I put off my band and blue skirts for a coat and neckcloth. I was then first
Deputy Grecian, and I had the honour of going out of the school in the same rank, at the
same age, and for the same reason, as my friend Charles Lamb. The reason was, that I
hesitated in my speech...It was understood that a Grecian was bound to deliver a public
speech before he left school, and to go into the Church afterwards; and as I could do
neither of these things, a Grecian I could not be. So I put on my coat and waistcoat, and
what was stranger, my hat; a very uncomfortable addition to my sensations."
Hunt elsewhere describes an incident of brutality which makes one shudder. The teacher
of the upper division, Reverend James Boyer, knocked one of Hunt's teeth out "...with
the back of a Homer, in a fit of impatience at my stammering...the blood rushed out...he
turned pale, and on my proposing to go out and wash the mouth, he said, "Go, child" in a
tone of voice amounting to the paternal..."
Abou Ben Addhem 1838
Abou Ben Adhem (may is tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room, Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
'What writest thou?' The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, 'The names of those who love the Lord'
'And is mine one?' said Abou. 'Nay not so'
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, 'I pray thee, then'
Write me as one who loves his fellow men'
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It caame again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
Song of Fairies Robbing an Orchard 1830
We, the Fairies, blithe and antic,
Of dimensions not gigantic,
Though the moonshine mostly keep us,
Oft in orchards frisk and peep us.
Stolen sweets are always sweeter,
Stolen kisses much completer,
Stolen looks are nice in chapels,
Stolen, stolen, be your apples.
When to bed the world are bobbing,
Then's the time for orchard-robbing;
Yet the fruit were scarce worth peeling,
Were it not for stealing, stealing.
The Glove and The Lions 1836
King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
2 And one day as his lions fought, sat looking on the court;
3 The nobles filled the benches, and the ladies in their pride,
4 And 'mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sighed:
5 And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
6 Valour and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.
7 Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
8 They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;
9 With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another;
10 Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother;
11 The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air;
12 Said Francis then, "Faith, gentlemen, we're better here than there."
13 De Lorge's love o'erheard the King, a beaut
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