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sharp at a retort—and not averse to a bit of mischief. T was he who gave the runaway ring at Wordsworth's Peter Bell. Generally, his jests, set off by a happy manner, are only ticklesome, but now and then they are sharpflavored—like the sharpness of the pine-apple. Would I could give a sample.”
The allusions in the above paragraph enable us to follow REYNOLDS into some of his Protean pseudonymes. We know that he was the author of the poems published as the Remains of Peter Corcoran, by Taylor and Hessey, who afterwards became the publishers of the London Magazine, and this identifies him with the Edward Herbert whom Hood describes. The reference to the Nonpareil Randall is explained by the following sonnet, which is found among Corcoran's Remains :
With marble-colored shoulders,—and keen eyes,
In 1821 a volume was published in London with the title of The Garden of Florence, and other Poems, by John Hamilton. This was also the work of REYNOLDS. He was the familiar friend and correspondent of the poet KEATS, and they had undertaken, in a sort of literary copartnership, to versify some of the tales of Boccaccio. The accomplishment of this plan was prevented for a time by other engagements, and finally frustrated by death. The Pot of Basil was the only story completed by KEATS, “and that is to me now," says his literary partner, “ the most pathetic story in existence." Two stories were translated by REYNOLDS, and were printed in the last-named volume. They possess a merit which induces us to regret that he did not persevere in the enterprise. His literary labors, however, seem to have been mere diversions.
Hood speaks of him as having abandoned the Muses for engrossing. He probably subsided from a very promising poet into a highly respectable special-pleader or conveyancer ; perhaps into a barrister of local eminence. He does not seem, like his co-contributor Barry Cornwall, to have maintained two separate existences—a professional and a poetical entity—but to have suffered the latter to be absorbed in the former, or only to appear abroad in a mask. We do not know where to trace him after the suspension of the London Magazine, and publication of the Odes and Addresses, to which it is quite time that we should return. We must first, however, present our readers with a specimen of Mr. Peter Corcoran’s sentimental verse, which may explain the indifference of Mr. REYNOLDS to his poetical reputation :
I once had thought to have embalmed my name
We are not quite certain that we could, in every case, refer the compositions of the copartnership to their respective authors, though, in our judgment, most of them can be correctly assigned by internal evidence. The one that we most hesitate about is the Address to Mr. Dymoke. There is a letter of Edward Herbert's in the London Magazine giving an account of the Coronation, and mentioning the circumstances which are alluded to in the address, and in the first study of it that may be found in the Notes; but we are in doubt whether the verses are to be ascribed to Hood or REYNOLDS. We
better leave this question for every reader to decide for himself, without seeking to anticipate his judgment. Perhaps no one will find much difficulty in coming to a correct deci
sion, for there is nothing more remarkable in Hood's verse than its entire originality. His imagination is singularly fertile. His invention is marvellous. Hence it is that though he sometimes copies himself, he never mimics another; and though you can not always say that a poem is not Hood's, a poem that is really his you would hardly attribute to any one else.
Since the first edition of this volume was published, we have been furnished, from a source on which we rely, with the following assignment of the Odes and Addresses to their respective authors:
Ode to Mr. Graham, the Aeronaut,
Hood. Ode to Mr. M‘Adam,
Hood. A Friendly Address to Mr. Fry, in Newgate,
Hood. Ode to Richard Martin, Esq., M. P. for Galway,
Hood. Ode to the Great Unknown, Address to Mr. Dymoke, the Champion of England,
Hood. Ode to Joseph Grimaldi, Senior, Address to Sylvanus Urban, Esq.,
Hood. An Address to the Steam Washing Company,
Hood. Ode to Captain Parry, Address to W. R. Elliston, Esq., the Great Lessee,
Reynolds. Address to Maria Darlington on her return to the Stage, Hood and Reynolds. Ode to W. Kitchener, M. D., .
Hood. An Address to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster,
Reynolds. Ode to H. Bodkin, Esq., Secretary to the Society for the Suppression
Ilood. of Mendicity,