Thursday, 26 May 2011

More on Eliza Heywood (d. 1879)

I have previously mentioned Mrs Edward Caryl Fleetwood née Heywood aka Eliza Heywood (see here). Well, having happened upon a review of her first publication [Ca.9.1 Ermangarde] I thought I'd tidy up the OCR and post it here in case anyone is curious about this other Eliza Haywood/Heywood. If I find any other reviews in future, I will post them here too.

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Ermangarde, a Tale of the twelfth century. Royalist Lyrics; and other poems. By Eliza Heywood, Cheltenham, 1837.

If there be nothing else curious in the poem of Ermangarde, the story at least is of an uncommon kind. The scene is the Rhine:—one of the turretted crags is assailed by a robber chieftain, one of that fierce band whose depredations led to the formation of the Hanseatic league (at least we presume so, for the narrative is not very clear upon that point): the castle is burned, and its master perishes in the affray; but an infant son is saved, aud he lives to go to the wars himself, and become a count of the empire:—he falls in love with Ermangarde, the daughter of his patron; they exchange vows, and he goes to the Holy Land;—but in a few months she learns that he has proved unfaithful, and married a Jewish girl, under very dishonourable circumstances, that he died in battle, and bequeathed his wife and son to her care. This rather extraordinary legateeship Ermangarde discharges with exemplary kindness.

A year and a half elapse, during which time the wife and son reside with the ill-treated lady; when the forsworn knight suddenly appears. The report of his death was erroneous, and he has returned to thank the good Ermangarde for her bounty to his wife. Some time passes away very pleasnntly, all three living together as happily as possible: but at last the wife becomes jealous, (not, we suspect, before she had good cause), and Ermangarde pines sadly, and at last dies in the act of saying her prayers before her father's tomb.

Such is the tale, the versification of which is in all respects worthy of the singular incidents it records. We looked through the volume for the Royalist Lyrics, announced in the title-page, but could not find them. We perceive, however, that Eliza Heywood, who, of course must know more about the matter than the governments of Fiance and England, recognizes Don Carlos as King of Spain, and that she is strongly opposed to the Irish Municipal Corporation Bill. These are the principal points of interest in this lady's volume— as to the verses they como for the most part within the description of that happy species of composition, called "nonsense verses."

Court Magazine, and Monthly Critic 10:4 (April 1837): 194 (see here).

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