CHRONOLOGY FOR FELICIA HEMANS AND HER CIRCLE
1753 William Roscoe, future lawyer/banker for Liverpool,
born to a publican on the outskirts of Liverpool.
1788 Roscoe, "The Wrongs of Africa" Pt. 1. Numerous poems,
pamphlets, and petitions on abolition, peace, and
reform follow from his pen.
1789 Roscoe, "Ode to the People of France."
1791 Roscoe, broadsides, "The Life, Death, and Wonderful
Atchievements of Edmund Burke. A new ballad" and "The
Day-star of Liberty."
1793 Felicia Browne Hemans born in Liverpool to George
Browne, wine merchant, and Felicity Wagner Browne,
daughter of consul for Austrian Tuscany.
War with France. Financial panic "ruins" the Brownes.
1795 Roscoe, The Life of Lorenzo de' Medici, called the
1797 Liverpool under complete guard against France.
Privateering, impressment, and a P.O.W. depot mark its
1800 The Brownes resettle in North Wales. Father soon
emigrates to Canada where he dies in 1812 [?].
1805 Roscoe, The Life and Pontificate of Leo the Tenth.
1807 Roscoe, "The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's
Germaine de Sta‰l, Corinne ou l'Italie. Immediately
translated into English.
1806 Prince of Wales visits Liverpool, which returns William
Roscoe to Parliament for role in abolition of slave
1808 Felicia Browne (Hemans) publishes two books at age 14.
Poems dedicated to the Prince of Wales and placed by
William Roscoe whose liberty odes it echoes in a study
of the girl-laureate ("Genius," "Pity"). Her brothers
in the Peninsular campaign, Browne writes England and
Spain; or, Valour and Patriotism celebrating Britain's
re-engagement with republican values in over 300 heroic
couplets. With Robert Southey's The Chronicle of the
Cid, an early entry in Peninsular literature
forthcoming by Byron, Scott, Landor, etc.
1812 13 Mar P.B. Shelley continues a correspondence with
Hemans, admiring her poetry, contesting her interest in
"fatal sanguinary war." Mrs. Browne finds Shelley a
dangerous "flatterer" and discontinues the correspondence.
Felicia Browne (Hemans) publishes The Domestic
Affections which probes the expense of domestic poetics
in a context of world war ("the storms of Discord roll
/ . . .from pole to pole"). She marries Captain
Hemans, veteran of Peninsular and Low Countries
campaigns. The Hemanses soon move in with her mother.
1813 Sta‰l visits England to publish (in original and
translation) De l'Allemagne, confiscated on Continent
by Napoleon, and to further republican hopes for
1816 Felicia Hemans, The Restoration of the Works of Art to
Italy, a triumph on the return of Italian treasures
from the Louvre: its second edition begins her ten-year
association with John Murray. Poet remains in Wales,
using male connections (brother Thomas, Captain Hemans,
Reginald Heber, H.H. Milman, Charles Hamilton) for
relations with publishers. Byron reads and admires
Restoration as he leaves Diodati for Italy.
Roscoe's business fails, his books and art works
auctioned, later stock Liverpool's Athenaeum and Walker
Gallery of Art.
1817 Hemans, Modern Greece (anon.), topographical poem
laments yet embraces history's violent displacements,
as of the Elgin marbles.
Washington Irving visits Liverpool: "Roscoe" in The
Sketch Book. Sta‰l dies in Paris during negotiations
for a French constitution.
1818 Hemans, translations from Camoens, and other Poets,
with Original Poetry.
1818 April Hemans, "Stanzas on the Death of Princess
1819 Captain Hemans moves to Italy leaving five boys with
Felicia; two join him in the 1830s.
Hemans, Tales, and Historic Scenes in Verse, including
3-canto Oriental tale The Abencerrage and episodes from
Sismondi's Histoire des r‚publiques Italiennes du moyen
ƒge (1809-1818). Hemans, Wallace's Invocation to
Bruce, Blackwood's, winner nation-wide competition.
1820 Hemans, The Skeptic, attacking Byron and Shelley, and
Stanzas to the Memory of the Late King. Reginald Heber
critiques Hemans' "Superstition and Revelation"
fragment as unorthodox.
Oct. Omnibus review of Hemans by John Taylor
Coleridge in Quarterly Review and, like Blackwood's
(1817, 1820), welcomes her as an antidote to Byron.
1821 Hemans, Dartmoor, Royal Society of Literature, 50-guinea
prize; on conversion of P.O.W. camp to school for
prisoners's children. Welsh Melodies, Power; music
by John Parry; for Eisteddfod by Cymrodorian Society.
1823 Hemans, The Vespers of Palermo and The Siege of
Valencia. . .Other Poems (plays, Spenserians, lyric cycles).
Hemans begins publishing in the New Monthly Magazine:
171 appearances by 1835.
12 Dec. Hemans' The Vespers of Palermo staged at
Covent Garden with Kemble, Young, Yates, Bartley, and
F.H. Kelly who, says Blackwood's, "ruined her part"
with "the worst tones of Macready" and (adds the poet's
sister) died "gratuitously." 13 Dec. Times judges the
1824 5 April Hemans' The Vespers of Palermo staged at
Edinburgh Theatre with support of Siddons and Scott.
1825 Hemans, The Forest Sanctuary (includes "Lays of Many
Lands" series). Other narratives of this period
unfinished or suppressed (The Tale of the Secret
Roscoe, "A Letter to the Rev. William Lisle Bowles."
Maria Jane Jewsbury, Phantasmagoria.
1826 Hemans resumes publishing in Blackwood's Edinburgh
Magazine, to total 75 appearances by 1835.
Andrews Norton begins publishing Hemans' works in
Boston. Reserves profits for her, offers her a
Aug. "Casabianca" first appears, in Monthly Magazine
or British Register.
1827 Hemans, Hymns on the Works of Nature, Boston (later
London, Dublin as Hymns for Childhood).
Hemans' mother dies 11 Jan.
Jan. and April In North American Review, Andrews
Norton and George Bancroft review Hemans' work, Norton
as "the voice of religious homage" vs. "expensive
1828 Hemans, Records of Woman, Edinburgh/London/Boston.
Travels to Scotland, receives M.J. Jewsbury in Wales,
and moves to Wavertree, Liverpool, living first with
Rose Lawrence. Later associates, Jewsbury and Henry
1829 Hemans' The Forest Sanctuary republished (Blackwood's,
Cadell) with new lyrics (including "Casabianca").
Maria Jane Jewsbury dedicates Lays of Leisure Hours to
Francis Jeffrey reviews Hemans in Edinburgh Review as a
female Wordsworth who, with "tenderness," writes of
"that subtle and mysterious analogy which exists
between the physical and the moral world."
1830 Jewsbury portrays Hemans as Egeria in her novellas-…
clef The Three Histories. Hemans visits Rydal Mount
and stays at "Dove's Nest," Windermere.
1831 Feb. In the Athenaeum, Jewsbury anonymously proposes
Hemans as "speaker" of "a feminine literary house of
April Hemans removes to Dublin and environs. Her
brother George is soon commissioner of police in
Ireland. Her connections are the Graveses (whose 20-c.
scion is Robert Graves) and the family of Archbishop
Whately. Through Wordsworth, she places her confidante
R.P. Graves as curate at Bowness.
Poetical Works of Hemans, Heber and Pollok published in
Philadelphia, forerunner of the Poetical Works of Mrs
Felicia Hemans reprinted 24[+] times in Philadelphia
and Boston 1835-1867: one of several popular collected
and selected Hemans in Britain and America.
1833 Oct. M.J. Jewsbury (Fletcher) dies of cholera in
1834 Hemans, National Lyrics, and Songs for music (Dublin,
London, etc.). Scenes and Hymns of Life, with other
religious poems (Edinburgh, etc.).
1835 15 May Felicia Hemans dies in Dublin, of
tuberculosis (?) complicated by scarlet fever (?). All
sons schooled or placed, one in a government clerkship
at the behest of Sir Robert Peel: Charles Isidore
Hemans becomes eccentric guide to Roman Campagna,
George Willoughby a civil engineer in Ireland, Henry
William a British consul at Buffalo and contributor to
the North American Review, etc.
July Hemans' last periodical appearance is
"Sabbath Sonnet" in Blackwood's.
July Letitia Landon, "Stanzas on the Death of Mrs.
Hemans," New Monthly Magazine.
Sept. Elizabeth Barrett, "Stanzas Addressed to Miss
Landon" (later "Stanzas on the Death of Mrs. Hemans. .
1836 Henry Chorley's Memorials of Mrs. Hemans: offended
poet's sister with portraits of Hemans' pert behavior.
Rose Lawrence, a Hemans retrospective in The Last
Autumn at a Favorite Residence.
1837 Wordsworth republishes "Extempore Effusion upon the
Death of James Hogg" with final stanza on Hemans ("that
holy Spirit, / Sweet as the spring").
1838 Letitia Landon, "Felicia Hemans," Fisher's Drawing Room
1839 7-vol. Works of Mrs Hemans begin to appear (-1851) from
Blackwood's, ed. with memoir by sister Harriet Browne
1849 2 June W.S. Landor, a Hemans retrospective in "The
Heroines of England," The Examiner.
1894 A.G. Thomas and Charles Villiers Stanford publish The
Swan and the Skylark, a cantata with words by Hemans,
1938 Noel Coward parodies Hemans' "The Stately Homes of
England" in his Operette.
1946 Elizabeth writes her own "Casabianca" in North and
Copyright 1996 Nanora Sweet