A Self-divided Poet: Form and Texture in the Verse of Thomas by Rodney Stenning Edgecombe

By Rodney Stenning Edgecombe

While Thomas Hood has lengthy been considered as a minor comedian poet, this book--the first to commit itself completely to his verse--provides an in depth research of 2 'serious' poems ('Hero and Leander' and 'The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies') which will provide a greater experience of his variety. so much commentators have pointed to the impression of Keats on such events, yet shut exam finds a good better debt to Elizabethan and Metaphysical poets, whose occasionally playful deployment of the self-esteem struck a chord in his sensibility. even as, the booklet provides Hood's comedian genius its due, offering distinct debts of the deftness and panache of his light-hearted oeuvre. One bankruptcy examines his expedition into the mock-heroic mode (Odes and Addresses to nice People), and one other his reliance on that airiest of types, the capriccio (Whims and Oddities). The research concludes with an in depth exam of 'Miss Kilmansegg and Her worthwhile Leg,' displaying how Hood used to be the following in a position to inflect a jeu d'esprit with a good Juvenalian ardour.

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72 Unoxidized sulphur is a brilliant yellow, and burns blue only in the sound and fury of a nonconformist sermon. The tone of such sermons colours the next stanza as well, full of Schadenfreude in the fate of the damned: But how will they come off, poor motleys, when Sins wages paid down, and they stand in The Evil presence? You and I know, then How all the party colours will begin, To part—the Pittite hues will sadden there, 28 Chapter One Whereas the Foxite shades will all show fair! 11). In a move that anticipates conversational tournure of Browning's verse, Hood "writes in" a stage direction for his interlocutor, converting his address into a dramatic monologue avant la lettre.

One example of an "ode" that turns the ideal into a taste-enhancing condiment (instead of dismissing it out of hand) is Shakespeare's 130th Sonnet: I love to hear her speak, yet well I know, That music hath a far more pleasing sound: I grant I never saw a goddess go, My mistress when she walks treads on the ground. 22 John Dover Wilson has observed that this: sonnet tells us, as no one who pauses to consider the final couplet can fail to see, . . 's lady for beauty. 23 In other words, the ideal collapses the moment we espouse the real, since satire is a thing of measurement, bent on cutting to size anything it finds.

56 However, when Hood draws up the list of the "Great Unknown's" "godly" doings, they turn out to be rather less beneficent: Thou Scottish Barmecide, feeding the hunger Of Curiosity with airy gammon! Thou mystery-monger, Dealing it out like middle cut of salmon, That people buy and can't make head or tail of it; (Howbeit that puzzle never hurts the sale of it;) (12) Here Scott figures as a demigodly butcher and fish-monger that trades in unsubtantial provisions. There follows a survey of the author's novels up to and including Tales of the Crusaders, which appeared four months after the publication of Hood's ode, and of which he probably got wind through his contacts in the publishing world.

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