Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Hood Thomas

Hood, Thomas (1799-1845), poet and humorist, was the son of a London publisher. He was born in the Poultry, and was placed at the age of thirteen in a merchant's counting-house; but his health failing him, he was sent to his father's relations in Dundee, with whom he remained from 1815 to 1818. On his return to London he was apprenticed to his uncle, the engraver Sands, and afterwards to Le Keux, but this profession he was compelled to relinquish through ill-health. In 1821 he became sub-editor of the London Magazine, and through it formed the acquaintance of Charles Lamb, De Quincey, Hazlitt, and other eminent men of letters. Another colleague on the London Mayazine was John Hamilton Reynolds, whose sister he married in 1824, and in conjunction with whom he wrote Odes and Addresses to Great People (1825). It was soon followed by the two series of Whims and Oddities (1826-27), as well as by The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies (1827) and other poems. For one year (1829-30) he edited the Gem, in which appeared several noteworthy poems, including some of Tennyson's and his own Dream of Eugene Aram. But - partly, perhaps, owing to the stress of poverty - he was induced to cultivate the humorous rather than the poetic side of his genius, and in 1830 he started the Comic Annual. Towards the end of 1834 his pecuniary embarrassments, which had become more pressing through the failure of a firm with which he was connected, forced him to remove to the Continent, but not before he had done his utmost to satisfy his creditors. During his stay at Coblentz (1835-37) and Ostend (1837-40) he "was engaged, notwithstanding his constant ill-health, in the attempt to repay the money lent him by his publishers by means of his literary productions. To this period belong "Hood's Own" and "Up the Rhine." Soon after his return to England in 1840 he settled at Finchley, where he remained until his death. From 1841 to 1843 he was editor of the New Monthly Magazine, in which appeared the characteristic effusion entitled Miss Kilmansegg. His pathetic lyric The Song of the Shirt was published in the Christmas number of Punch for 1843. In 1844 he started Hood's Magazine, but his shattered health broke down completely under the strain of overwork, and before the end of the year he became too weak to leave his bed. He died in the following May. His last days were cheered by the knowledge that a pension recently granted him by Sir Robert Peel would be continued to his widow. The range of Hood's literary gifts was extremely wide. With a fascinating wit and extraordinary skill in playing upon words, he united a rich humour and a rare power of exciting the deeper emotions through his keen sympathy with human frailty and suffering. The last quality is especially conspicuous in his Bridge of Sighs and Song of the Shirt. It is perhaps owing to the strong hold his humorous and pathetic writings have taken of the English people that his more purely imaginative work - such as his poem of Hero and Leander - is now so little remembered.