Thomas Hood, an English poet, born in London, May 23, 1798, died there, May 3, 1845. His father, who was a bookseller, died when he was but 12 years old. After acquiring the rudiments of an education, he was placed in a counting house; but the confinement of a mercantile life so affected his health that he was sent to Dundee to recruit, where mountain tramps and roving on the Tay restored his strength, but rendered him unwilling to re-sumo a commercial life. He made his first literary attempts here, in the "Dundee Magazine," and after two years' residence returned to London and engaged himself to an uncle, to learn the art of engraving. He continued his attempts at versification, which attracted some attention, and in 1821 was made sub-editor of the " London Magazine," which had passed into the hands of some of his friends. Through this connection he became acquainted with Charles Lamb, Hartley Coleridge, De Quincey, Hazlitt, Bowring, Talfourd, Cary, Procter, and other literary men who were among the contributors. With Lamb he contracted an intimacy which was uninterrupted until the hitter's death.
Hood's first book, " Odes and Addresses to Great People," was published anonymously, being in part the work of his brother-in-law J. H. Reynolds. In 1826 ho published a collection of miscellaneous papers under the title of " Whims and Oddities." His "National Tales" appeared in 1827, and in the same year he published a volume of poems, including " The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies," "Hero and Leander," and "Lycus the Centaur," which were received with little interest by the public. Returning to his lighter and more popular style, he brought out a second series of "Whims and Oddities," which was followed in 1829 by a humorous poem called "The Epping Hunt." Hood edited the "Gem" for this year, and wrote for it his "Dream of Eugene Aram." In 1830 he began the publication of the " Comic Annual," which was continued through 10 volumes; and after an interruption of two years an 11th was issued in 1842. A selection of pieces from this work, with some additions, appeared in 12 monthly numbers in 1838-'9, under the title of "Hood's Own." In 1831 he removed to a residence in Essex, called the Lake house, where he wrote his novel of "Tylney Hall," but pecuniary troubles compelled him to leave it in 1835. In 1837 he went to the continent for the benefit of his health, and remained abroad several years, publishing while in Belgium his " Up the Rhine," which was constructed on the groundwork of Smollett's "Humphrey Clinker." Returning to England, he became editor of the "New Monthly Magazine," from which he retired in 1843, collecting some of his contributions to its pages in a volume called " Whimsicalities." In 1844 he started "Hood's Magazine," which he continued to the time of his death; and in the same year appeared in "Punch" his "Song of the Shirt," composed, like the "Bridge of Sighs" and the "Lay of the Laborer," on a sick bed from which he never rose.
About this time he received through the favor of Sir Robert Peel a pension of £100, which was continued after his death to his widow. The fullest collections of Hood's poems have been made in Boston, one edited by Epes Sargent (4 vols., 1856), and another in Prof. Child's edition of the British poets (4 vols., 1857). "Memorials of Thomas Hood, collected, arranged, and edited by his Daughter," appeared in 1860 (2 vols.), and "A Collection of the favorite Old Tales, told in Verse by Tom Hood," illustrated by Dore, in 1865 (4to).