LEIGH HUNT (1784–1859) was an essayist, journalist and poet of the Romantic Period in English Literature. Not perhaps one of the leading Romanticists, but he, nevertheless, did much to bring their poetry to prominence in the early 19th century, particularly through his friendships with Shelley, Keats and Byron, and by means of his editorship of the influential literary magazine, The ‘Examiner.’
A short poem of his, which I’ve long enjoyed for its sweetness and simplicity, is Leigh Hunt’s verse, originally entitled ‘Rondeau’, but more generally known as ‘Jenny kiss’d Me’.
This charming poem is said to have been inspired by a meeting, following an illness, with the wife of his friend, the eminent historian Thomas Carlyle.
JENNY KISS’D ME . . . By Leigh Hunt (1838
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 missed me,
Say I’m growing old, but add
Jenny kiss’d me.