The English poet Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans (1794 – 1835) was widely read in her time and admired by contemporaries such as William Henry Wordsworth. Her nineteen published volumes of poetry were very successful commercially, and her characterizations of women in particular served as models for later Victorian poets.
In terms of her legacy and how she is perceived today, she is the classic victim of her own success. Her poetry was widely taught to schoolchildren in the U. K. and the U. S. long after her death, and as a result, Hemans came to be seen as a poet for children rather than taken seriously on the basis of her entire body of work. American schoolchildren were still being taught The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in New England in the middle of the 20th century. In the 21st century, her poetry is being re-evaluated in the U. S. for its distinct woman’s voice and perspectives.
David A. Conner is most likely to have learned of Hemans’ poetry in the course of his own schooling. He quotes frequently from The Hour of Death, and has used excerpts from The Boy Stood On The Burning Deck (also known as Casablanca).
For more information on Felicia Hemans, please consult the Wikipedia article, which served as the source for this page and for the illustration at top.