The glad demeanour and mischievous tones in Hunt's most shared and well known poems must come from the cheerful, sensitive and perceptive nature he was known for.
Jenny kiss’d me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say that health and wealth have miss’d me,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss’d me.
—[Jenny Kiss'd Me]
Poems such as Jenny Kiss'd Me and The Glove and the Lions hit a relatable note with the readers for its simplicity and playful themes. Hunt is a central figure of the English Romantic Movement. He earned great admiration as a poet, essayist and literary critic.
Although Hunt's name does not figure on the top of the list as the most revered poets of the Romantic Movement, his contribution cannot be excluded. His role in discovering and introducing the most celebrated poets and writers of the period forms the foundation of the Romantic Movement; Robert Browning, Percy Bysshe Shelly, Alfred Tennyson, John Keats, William Hazlitt, Charles Dickens, Charles Lamb and so on were recognised and brought to the centre stage through his work as a literary critic and journalist.
Hunt continued his literary activities to the end despite all the adversities his later life had in store for him. In fact, Hunt was forced to continue his literary activities in order to make ends meet. Tormented by debts and poverty Hunt and his family of seven struggled, but aids were at his disposal eventually, as annuity from his deceased friend Shelley and as pension funds that Lord John Russell had set up for him. Aged 74 Hunt died in 1859 in Putney, London.
You can listen to Hunt's poem Song of Fairies Robbing an Orchard on O's podcast