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Title: Leigh Hunt's Relations with Byron, Shelley and Keats
Author: Miller, Barnette
Language: English
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  New York

  _All rights reserved_

  Copyright, 1910
  Printed from type April, 1910


_This Monograph has been approved by the Department of English in Columbia
University as a contribution to knowledge worthy of publication._



The relations of Leigh Hunt to Byron, Shelley and Keats have been treated
in a fragmentary way in various works of biography and criticism, and from
many points of view. Yet hitherto there has been no attempt to construct a
whole out of the parts. This led Professor Trent to suggest the subject to
me about five years ago. The publication of the results of my
investigation has been unfortunately delayed for nearly four years after
the work was finished.

I am indebted to Mr. S. L. Wolff for reading the first and second
chapters; to Professors G. R. Krapp, W. W. Lawrence, A. H. Thorndike, of
Columbia University, and Professor William Alan Nielson, now of Harvard,
for suggestions throughout. I am especially glad to have this opportunity
to record my gratitude to Prof. Trent, whose inspiration and guidance and
kindness from beginning to end have alone made completion of the study

B. M.

    March 21, 1910.


  CHAPTER I. LEIGH HUNT 1784-1823           1

  CHAPTER II. KEATS                        32

  CHAPTER III. SHELLEY                     65

  CHAPTER IV. BYRON AND _The Liberal_      88


  CHAPTER VI. CONCLUSION                  159

  BIBLIOGRAPHY                            164


Revolutionary tendencies of the age--The Reaction--Counter Reform
movement--Leigh Hunt--His Ancestry--School days--Career as a

Since contemporary social conditions played an important part in the
relations of Leigh Hunt with Byron, Shelley, and Keats, a brief survey of
the period in question is necessary to an understanding of the forces at
play on their intellect and conduct. The English mind had been admirably
prepared for the principles of the French Revolution by the progressive
tendency since the Revolution of 1688. The new order promised by France
was acclaimed in England as one destined to right the wrongs of humanity;
through unending progress mankind was to attain unlimited perfection. Upon
such a prospect both parties were agreed, and the warnings of Burke were
vain when Pitt, rationalizing, led the Tories, and Fox, rhapsodizing, led
the Whigs. In 1793, Godwin's _Political Justice_, with its anarchistic
doctrines of individual perfectibility and of individual self-reliance,
rallied more recruits to the standard of liberty, though his theories of
community of property and annulment of the marriage bond were somewhat
charily received. The early writings of Wordsworth, Southey and Coleridge
were colored with enthusiasm for the new movement. The agitation and the
enactment of reform measures made actual advances towards the expected

But the excesses of the Revolutionary régime in France bred in England,
ever inclined to order, an opposition in many conservative minds that
resulted in positive panic at the menace to state and church and property.
The reaction swung the pendulum far in the opposite direction from justice
and philanthropy. The first two decades of the new century continued to
suffer from a counter-reform movement when the actual fright had subsided.
During that period, anything which savored of reform was labelled as
seditious. At the very beginning of this reaction William Pitt's efforts
for the extension of the franchise were summarily put an end to, and the
House of Commons remained as little representative of the English people
as formerly. Catholics and Non-Conformists were denied, from the period of
the union of Ireland with England in 1800 until 1829, the right to vote
and to hold office. Pitt's efforts to frustrate such discrimination in
Ireland were as unavailing as in his own country, for the prejudices and
obstinacy of George III, in both instances, neutralized the good
intentions of the liberal Ministry. The corrupt influence of the Crown in
Parliament was undiminished except by the disfranchisement of persons
holding contracts from the crown and of incumbents of revenue offices. The
wars with America and with France greatly increased the public debt,
threatened the national credit and burdened with taxes an already
overburdened people. Oppressive industrial conditions made the life of the
masses still more unendurable. The rise of manufacturing and the
consequent adoption of inventions that dispensed with much hand labor
decreased the number of the employed and reduced wages, while the enormous
increase in population during the eighteenth century multiplied the number
of the idle and the poor. It is true that the wealth of the country became
much greater through the development of new resources, but the profits
were distributed among the few and gave no relief to the majority. The
government was indifferent to the sufferings of the poor, to the severity
of the penal code, to the horrors of the slave traffic. In Great Britain
the Habeas Corpus act was suspended, public assemblies were forbidden, the
press was more narrowly restricted, right of petition was limited, and the
legal definition of treason was greatly extended; in Scotland the
barbarous statute of transportation for political offenses was revived; in
Ireland industry and commerce were discouraged.

The re-accession of the Tories to power in 1807, followed by their long
ascendancy and abuse of power, led inevitably to a revival of the
questions of revolution and of reform. Lord Byron, Shelley and Leigh Hunt
were among the leaders of this second band of agitators, the "new camp,"
as Professor Dowden has designated them. It was their love of humanity,
perhaps to a greater degree than their poetic genius and their æsthetic
ideals, that made these men akin. Of the four poets with whom we deal
Keats alone was comparatively indifferent to the strife about him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Besides the political background of the times, personal influence and
literary imitation enter into consideration in the present study.
Especially in the case of Hunt, whose unique personality has been so
variously interpreted, a brief biographical review is necessary. James
Henry Leigh Hunt was born October 19, 1784, in the village of Southgate,
Middlesex. He was descended on the father's side from "Tory cavaliers" of
West Indian adoption, and on the mother's from American Quakers of Irish
extraction--an exotic combination of Celtic and Creole strains which never
coalesced but in turn affected his temperament. His father was an engaging
and gifted clergyman who quoted Horace and drank claret--a sanguine,
careless child of the South who made the acquaintance alike of good
society and of debtor's prisons. This parent's cheerfulness and courage
were his most fortunate legacies to his son; a speculative turn in matters
of religion and government and a general financial irresponsibility
constituted his most unfortunate legacy. His mother was as shrinking as
his father was convivial, but, like her husband, possessed a strong sense
of duty and of loyalty. Her son inherited her love of books and of nature.
Of his heritage from his parents Leigh Hunt wrote: "I may call myself, in
every sense of the word ... a son of mirth and melancholy;... And, indeed,
as I do not remember to have ever seen my mother smile, except in
sorrowful tenderness, so my father's shouts of laughter are now ringing in
my ears."[1]

As Leigh Hunt was heir to his ancestry in an unusual degree, so in an
extraordinary measure was the child father of the man. The atmosphere of
the home, tense with discussions of theology and politics and bitter with
hardships of poverty and prisons, gave him a precocious acquaintance with
weighty matters and with many miseries. In 1791 he entered Christ's
Hospital. Like Shelley he rebelled against the time-honored custom of
fagging, and chose instead a beating every night with a knotted
handkerchief. He avoided personal encounters in self-defense, but was
valiant enough where others were concerned, or where a principle was
involved. Haydon said: "He was a man who would have died at the stake for
a principle, though he might have cried like a child from physical pain,
and would have screamed still louder if he put his foot in the gutter! Yet
not one iota of recantation would have quivered on his lips, if all the
elysium of all the religions on earth had been offered and realized to
induce him to do so."[2]

His wonderful power of forming friendships--a power with which the present
study is so much concerned--was first developed at Christ's Hospital. As
he sentimentally expressed it, "the first heavenly taste it gave me of
that most spiritual of the affections. I use the word 'heavenly'
advisedly; and I call friendship the most spiritual of the affections,
because even one's kindred, in partaking of our flesh and blood, become,
in a manner, mixed up with our entire being. Not that I would disparage
any other form of affection, worshipping as I do, all forms of it, love in
particular, which in its highest state, is friendship and something more.
But if I ever tasted a disembodied transport on earth, it was in those
friendships which I entertained at school, before I dreamt of any maturer
feeling."[3] Like Shelley, Hunt had so great an inclination to
sentimentalize and idealize friendship that sometimes after the first
brief rhapsody of fresh acquaintance he suffered bitter disillusionment.
The majority, however, of the ties formed were lasting.[4]

The abridgements of the _Spectator_, set Hunt as a school task, instilled
a dislike of prose-writing that may account for his preference through
life for verse composition, although he was by nature less a poet than an
essayist. From Cooke's edition of the _British Poets_ he learned to love
Gray, Collins, Thomson, Blair and Spenser--influences responsible in part
for his dislike of eighteenth century convention and for his historical
prominence in the romantic movement. Spenser later became the literary
passion of his life. Other books which he read at this period were Tooke's
_Pantheon_, Lemprière's _Classical Dictionary_, and Spence's _Polymetis_,
three favorites with Keats; _Peter Wilkins_, _Thalaba_ and _German
Romances_, three favorites with Shelley. Later Hunt and Shelley's reading
was closely paralleled in Godwin's _Political Justice_, _Lucretius_,
_Pliny_, _Plato_, _Aristotle_, _Voltaire_, _Condorcet_ and the
_Dictionnaire Philosophique_. With the years Hunt's list swelled to an
almost incredible degree. It was through books that he knew life.

He left Christ Hospital in 1799. The eight years spent there were his only
formal preparation for a literary profession. He greatly regretted his
lack of a university education, but he consoled himself by quoting with
true Cockney spirit Goldsmith's saying: "London is the first of
Universities."[5] Through his father's connections he met many prominent
men in London and was made much of. This premature association accounts
for some of the arrogance so conspicuous in his early journalistic work,
which, in middle life, sobered down into a harmless vanity.

In 1808 Hunt started a Sunday newspaper, _The Examiner_. The letter
tendering his resignation[6] of a position in the office of the Secretary
of War, coming from an inexperienced man of twenty-four is pompous in tone
and heavy with the weight of his duty to the English nation. His
subsequent assurance and boldness resulted in 1812 in his being indicted
for a libel of the Prince Regent, afterwards George IV, and in an
imprisonment for two years dating from February 15, 1813. His elder
brother John, the publisher of the paper, served the same sentence in a
separate prison. They shared between them a fine of £1,000. By special
dispensation Hunt's family was allowed to reside with him in prison and,
stranger still, he was allowed to continue his work on the libellous
journal. At the same time he wrote in jail the _Descent of Liberty_ and
part of the _Story of Rimini_. He transformed his prison yard into a
garden and his prison room into a bower by papering the walls with
trellises of roses and by coloring his ceiling like the sky. His books and
piano-forte, his flowers and plaster casts surrounded him as at home. Old
friends gathered about and new ones sought him as a martyr to the liberal

But the picture has a darker side which it is necessary to notice in order
to understand Hunt's personal relations. An imaginative and over-sensitive
brain in a feeble body had peopled his childhood with creatures of fear,
the precursors of the morbid fancies of later years. From 1805 to 1807 he
suffered from a trouble that seems to have been mental rather than
physical, probably a form of melancholia or hypochondria. He tortured
himself with problems of metaphysics and philosophy. He was haunted with
the hallucination that he was deficient in physical courage, and therefore
subjected himself to all kinds of tests. At the beginning of his
imprisonment he was suffering from a second attack of his malady. The
injurious effects upon his health of close confinement at this time can be
traced to the end of his life. After his release his morbid fear of
cowardice and his habit of seclusion were so strong upon him that for
months at a time he would not venture out upon the streets. Yet in spite
of all this and of frequent illnesses, his animal spirits were invincible.
His optimism was proverbial; indeed, it was a part of his religion.
Coventry Patmore tells us that on entering a room and being presented to
Hunt for the first time, he received the greeting "This is a beautiful
world, Mr. Patmore."[7] His wonderful fancy colored his life as it
colored his poetry. With his flowers and his friends and his fancies he
turned life into a perpetual Arcadia. It has been many times asserted that
Leigh Hunt was morally weak. His self-depreciation is largely responsible
for such assertions. It is true that he fell short of great accomplishment
and that he was guilty of small foibles which Haydon exaggerated into
"petticoat twaddling and Grandisonian cant."[8] Yet the struggle and the
suffering of his life show more virility and nobility than he is generally
credited with, and prove that beneath a veneer of affectation lay strong
and healthy qualities.

A second lasting and disastrous result that followed Hunt's incarceration
and that greatly affected his relations with Byron and Shelley was the
crippling of his finances. While it cannot be said that he ever showed any
real business ability, yet, at the beginning of the trials for libel, his
money matters were in fair condition. The heavy fine and costs permanently
disabled him. In 1821 his affairs were in such a bad state that, with the
hope of bettering them, he left England on a precarious journalistic
venture, an injudicious step, the cause of which can be traced to the
lingering effects of his labors in the cause of liberalism. From 1834 to
1840 his misfortunes reached a climax. He sold his books to get something
to eat. The pain of giving up his beloved _Parnaso Italiano_ was like that
of a violinist parting with his instrument. He lived in continual fear of
arrest for debt. At the same time, family troubles and ill-health combined
to torment him.

In 1844 Sir Percy Shelley gave him an annuity of £120, and in 1847, the
same year of the benefit performance of _Every Man in His Humour_, he was
granted through the efforts of Lord John Russell, Macaulay and Carlyle, an
annual pension of £200 on the Civil List. There were also two separate
grants of £200 each from the Royal Bounty, one from William IV, and the
other from Queen Victoria. In his last years there is no mention made of

Hunt's attitude in respect to money obligations was unique, but
well-defined and consistent. It was not, as is often inferred, either
puling or unscrupulous.[10] He was absolutely incapable of the Skimpole
vices.[11] His dilemmas were not due to indolence. On the contrary, he
labored indefatigably as results show. The trouble was his "hugger-mugger"
management, as Carlyle expressed it. He adopted William Godwin's doctrine
that the distribution of property should depend on justice and necessity,
and thought with him that the teachers of religion were pernicious in
treating the practice of justice "not as a debt, but as an affair of
spontaneous generosity and bounty. They have called upon the rich to be
clement and merciful to the poor. The consequence of this has been that
the rich, when they bestowed the slender pittance of their enormous
wealth in acts of charity, as they were called, took merit to themselves
for what they gave, instead of considering themselves delinquents for what
they withheld."[12] Godwin held gratitude to be a superstition.

Consequently, when in need, Hunt thought he had a right to assistance from
such friends as had the wherewithal to give. He accepted obligations, as
will be shown in the following chapters, much as a matter of course.[13]
But even in his worst distresses, he never desired nor accepted
promiscuous charity; and he did not always willingly accept aid even from
his friends. He refused offers of help from Trelawney. He returned a bank
bill sent him by his sister-in-law, £5 sent by De Wilde as part of the
Compensation Fund, and $500 presented by James Russell Lowell. In 1832
Reynell forfeited £200 as security for Hunt. Twenty years later, on the
payment of the first installment of the Shelley legacy, Hunt discharged
the debt.[14] He rejected several offers to pay his fine at the time of
his imprisonment.[15] Mary Shelley, who more than any one had cause to
complain of Hunt's attitude in money matters, wrote in 1844 in announcing
to him the forthcoming annuity from her son: "I know your real delicacy
about money matters."[16]

In the _Correspondence_ there are mysterious allusions made by Hunt and by
his son Thornton to a veiled influence on Hunt's life, to some one who
acted as trustee for him and who, without his knowledge or consent, made
indiscriminating appeals in his behalf. The discovery of refusals and
repulses led him to write the following to William Story, through whom
came Lowell's offer: "Nor do I think the man truly generous who cannot
both give and receive. But, my dear Story, my heart has been deeply
wounded, some time back, in consequence of being supposed to carry such
opinions to a practical extreme.... It gave me a shock so great that, as
long as I live, it will be impossible for me to forego the hope of
outliving all similar chances, by conduct which none can

       *       *       *       *       *

Leigh Hunt's work which comes into the period of his association with
Byron, Shelley and Keats falls into four divisions: his theatrical
criticism, his political journals, his poetry and his miscellaneous
essays. The first and the last, although important in themselves, do not
enter into his relations with the three men in question and will not be
considered here. His political activity is important in his relations with
Byron and Shelley; his poetry in his relations with Keats and Shelley.

In Leigh Hunt's career, the step most significant in its far-reaching
effects was the establishment of _The Examiner_.[18] Its professed object
was the discussion of politics. It contained, in addition to foreign and
provincial intelligence, criticism of the theatre, of literature, and of
the fine arts. Full reports were given of the proceedings in Parliament.
At different times, various series of articles appeared, such as the
_Essays on Methodism_ by Hunt, and _The Round Table_ by Hunt and Hazlitt.
Fox-Bourne says that previous to Hunt's _Examiner_ there had been weeklies
or "essay sheets" such as Defoe, Steele, Addison and Goldsmith had
developed, and that there had been dailies or "news sheets" which gave
bare facts, but that _The Examiner_ was the first to give the news
faithfully in essay style.[19] It soon raised the character of the
weeklies. During the first year the circulation reached 2,200, a large
number at that time. Carlyle said: "I well remember how its weekly coming
was looked for in our village in Scotland. The place of its delivery was
besieged by an eager crowd, and its columns furnished the town talk till
the next number came."[20] Redding says "everybody in those days read _The

The prospectus contained a severe criticism of contemporary

     "mean in its subserviency to the follies of the day, very miserably
     merry in its fuss and stories, extremely furious in politics, and
     quite as feeble in criticism. You are invited to a literary
     conversation, and you find nothing but scandal and commonplace. There
     is a flourish of trumpets, and enter Tom Thumb. There is an
     earthquake and a worm is thrown up.... The gentleman who until lately
     conducted the THEATRICAL DEPARTMENT in the _News_ will criticise the
     Theatre in the EXAMINER; and as the public have allowed the
     possibility of IMPARTIALITY in that department, we do not see why the
     same possibility may not be obtained in POLITICS."

Then followed a declaration against party as a factor in politics: party,
it was declared, should not exist "abstracted from its utility"; in the
present day every man must belong to some class; "he is either Pittite or
Foxite, Windhamite, Wilberforcite or Burdettite; though, at the same time,
two thirds of these disturbers of coffee-houses might with as much reason
call themselves Hivites, or Shunamites, or perhaps Bedlamites."[23]
Although _The Examiner_ thus firmly announced its intentions, nevertheless
in the heat of political contest it soon became the organ of a group of
men known as "reformers," who were laboring and clamoring for
constitutional and administrative improvement. It became the avowed enemy
of the Tory party and its journals, and in particular of the ministry
during the long Tory ascendancy; the enemy, at times, of royalty itself.

The prospectus likewise announced an intention to reform the manners and
morals of the age. Hunt could write a sermon with the same ease as a song
or a satire. Horse-racing, cock-fighting and prize-fighting were
condemned; most of all the publication of scandal and crime. A passage on
advertisements is humorous and still of living interest:

     "the public shall neither be tempted to listen to somebody in the
     shape of wit who turns out to be a lottery-keeper, nor seduced to
     hear a magnificent oration which finishes by retreating into a
     peruke, or rolling off into a blacking ball ... and as there is
     perhaps about one person in a hundred who is pleased to see two or
     three columns occupied with the mutabilities of cotton and the
     vicissitudes of leather, the proprietors will have as little to do
     with bulls and raw-hides, as with lottery-men and wig-makers."

The editorials, which occupied the foremost columns of the paper, attacked
corruption and injustice of every kind without respect of persons,
currying favor with neither party nor individual, and laboring above all
for the people. International relations and continental conditions were
kept track of, but chief prominence was given to domestic affairs. The
editor warred against all abuses of power in the cabinet and in all
offices under the crown. In particular he attacked with merciless
persistence the Prince Regent in regard to his private life and his public
conduct, and his brother Frederick the Duke of York, for his inefficiency
as Commander-in-Chief of the army.[24] His definition of the English Army
was "a host of laced jackets and long pigtails."[25] He condemned the
numerous subsidies of the crown, the royal pensions and salaries for
nominal service. He ridiculed the divine right of kings and exposed court
scandal and immorality. The chief measures for which he labored were
Catholic Emancipation; reform of Parliamentary representation; liberty of
the press; reduction and equalization of taxes; greater discretion in
increasing the public debt; education of the poor and amelioration of
their sufferings; abolition of child-labor and of the slave trade; reform
of military discipline, of prison conditions, and of the criminal and
civil laws, particularly those governing debtors.

It is not a matter of marvel that the paper made hosts of enemies on every
side. Charges of libel quickly followed its onslaughts. Before the paper
was a year old a prosecution was begun in connection with the Major Hogan
and Mrs. Clarke case,[26] but it was dropped when an investigation was
begun by the House of Commons. Within a year's time after this prosecution
a second indictment was brought because of the sentence: "Of all monarchs
since the Revolution the successor of George the Third will have the
finest opportunity of becoming nobly popular."[27] The _Morning Chronicle_
copied it, and was indicted, but both cases were dismissed. The third
offense was the quotation of an article by John Scott on the cruelty of
military flogging[28] but, like the others, this prosecution came to

The fourth and most disastrous misdemeanor was libel of the Prince Regent,
a man of shocking morals and of unstable character. Before his appointment
as Regent he had leaned to the Whig party and advocated Catholic
Emancipation, but at his accession to power he retained the Tory ministry.
The Whigs were greatly angered in consequence, and _The Examiner_ took it
upon itself to voice their indignation.[29] At a dinner given at the
Freemason's Tavern on St. Patrick's day, March 22, 1812, Lord Moira, an
old friend of the Prince's, omitted mentioning him in his speech. Later,
when a toast was proposed to the Prince, it was greeted with hisses. Mr.
Sheridan, because of Lord Moira's omission, spoke later in the evening in
defense of the Regent, but he, too, was received with hisses. The _Morning
Chronicle_ reported the dinner; the _Morning Post_ replied with fulsome
praise of the Prince; _The Examiner_ with its usual alacrity joined in the
fray and took sides with the _Chronicle_, dissecting, phrase by phrase,
the adulation heaped upon the Prince by the _Post_. The following is the
bitterest part of the polemic against him:

     "What person, unacquainted with the true state of the case, would
     imagine, in reading these astounding eulogies, that this 'Glory of
     the people' was the subject of millions of shrugs and
     reproaches!--that this 'Protector of the arts' had named a wretched
     foreigner his historical painter, in disparagement or in ignorance of
     the merits of his own countrymen!--that this 'Mæcenas of the age'
     patronized not a single deserving writer!--that this 'Breather of
     eloquence' could not say a few decent extempore words, if we are to
     judge, at least, from what he said to his regiment on its embarkation
     for Portugal!--that this 'Conqueror of hearts' was the disappointer
     of hopes!--that this 'Exciter of desire' [bravo! Messieurs of the
     Post!]--this 'Adonis in loveliness', was a corpulent man of
     fifty!--in short, this _delightful_, _blissful_, _wise_,
     _pleasurable_, _honourable_, _virtuous_, _true_ and _immortal_
     prince, was a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in
     disgrace, a dispiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and
     demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without one single
     claim on the gratitude of his country, or the respect of

It was said that the chief offense was given by the statement that "this
'Adonis in loveliness' was a corpulent man of fifty." The article,
although true, was of doubtful expediency and offensively violent and
personal. Further, the unremitting attacks of _The Examiner_ had been
neither dignified nor charitable in their searchlight penetration into the
Prince's private affairs.[31] An indictment for libel naturally followed
at once. Lord Brougham's "masterly defense"[32] failed to avert the
determined efforts of the prosecution to make an example of the editor and
the publisher of _The Examiner_. They were sentenced to the imprisonment
and fine already mentioned. They refused all overtures for alleviation of
the sentence:--overtures from the government; from the Whigs who, in the
person of Perry of the _Morning Chronicle_, proposed to obtain a
compromise from the prosecution by threatening the Regent with the
publication of state secrets from friends; and even from a juror who
offered to pay the fine. Leigh Hunt wrote: "I am an Englishman setting an
example to my children and my country; and it would be hard, under all
these circumstances, if I could not suffer my extremity rather than
disgrace myself by effeminate lamentation or worse compromise."[33] The
two Hunts thought that the serving of the sentence would be beneficial to
the liberal cause, particularly in increasing the freedom of the press.

The general method of _The Examiner_ was vigorous attack. There was no
circumlocution, no mincing of language, but aggressive candour, and, when
it was considered necessary, wholesale censure and vituperation. A typical
illustration is given in this passage, describing a dinner of the Common

     "It is the fashion just now to call Bonaparte Antichrist, the Beast
     with Seven Heads and Ten Horns, ... but if you wish to see those who
     have the 'real mark of the beast' upon them, go to a City dinner,
     and after battles for trout and the buffetings for turtle, after the
     rattling of wine glasses and plethoric throats, after the swillings
     and the gormandizings, and the maudlin hobs-and-nobs, and the
     disquisitions on smothered rabbits, and the bloated hectics, and the
     blinking eyes and slurred voices, and the hiccups, the rantings, and
     the roars, hear an unwieldy Loan-jobber descanting on our Glorious
     King and Unshaken Constitution. The stranger, that after this sight,
     goes to see the beasts in the Tower, is an enemy to all true

In actual results _The Examiner_ accomplished a great deal in the counter
movement for reform. While Hunt had no original or constructive political
theory, little power of philosophical or logical thought, and no special
equipment besides wide general knowledge, he had great sincerity and
courage and a defiant attitude toward corruption of all kinds.[35] He was
himself absolutely incorruptible. If he preferred any form of government
above another--for he was more interested in the pure administration of an
established government than in the form itself--his preference was for a
liberal monarchy. Notwithstanding this moderate attitude, _The Examiner_
was accused of radical, even revolutionary opinions. It was charged with
being an enemy of the constitution, a traitor to the king, a foe to the
established church.[36] Hunt's positive achievement in political
journalism was two-fold: he obtained additional freedom for the press and
he elevated journalistic style to a literary level. Monkhouse says that
Hunt "established for the first time a paper which fought, and fought
effectively, with prejudice and privilege, with superstition and tyranny,
which was a bearer of light to all men of Liberal principles in that
country, and set the example of the independent thought and fearless
expression of opinion, which has since become the very light and power of
the press."[37] Of the Hunt brothers Coventry Patmore writes: "I verily
believe that, without the manly firmness, the immaculate political
honesty, and the vigorous good sense of the one, and the exquisite genius
and varied accomplishments, guided by the all-pervading and all-embracing
humanity of the other, we should at this moment have been without many of
those writers and thinkers on whose unceasing efforts the slow but sure
march of our political, and with it, our social regeneration as a people
mainly depends."[38]

Hunt assisted in bringing about reforms in the interest of the people by
calling attention to abuses that demanded investigation, and by advocating
correction. His ideas on national finance and practical administration are
wonderful when contrasted with his inefficiency in his own affairs. He
lacked largeness of perspective and masculine grasp. His work is all the
more remarkable when his temperament and tastes are considered; for his
was a nature, as Professor Dowden has put it, "framed less for the rough
and tumble of English radical politics than for 'dance and Provençal Song
and sunburnt mirth.'" As a factor in the reform movement begun in the
first decade of the nineteenth century Leigh Hunt has not yet come into
his own.[39] His was no cosmic theory, nor search after the origin of
evil, nor magnificent rebellion like Shelley's and Byron's; but in his own
smaller way he played as courageous and as effective a part in the cause
of liberty as those greater spirits.[40]

In 1810, the two brothers had established a quarterly, _The Reflector_, of
much the same nature and creed as _The Examiner_. It was unsuccessful and
was discontinued after the fourth number. It differed from its
predecessor in combining literature with politics. Hunt's reason for this
innovation displays a rare power to judge of contemporary movements:
"Politics, in times like these, should naturally take the lead in
periodical discussion, because they have an importance almost unexampled
in history, and because _they are now, in their turn, exhibiting their
reaction upon literature, as literature in the preceding age exhibited its
action upon them_."[41]

Although Hunt continued to be editor of _The Examiner_ until he went to
Italy in 1822, his aggressive political activity seemed to die out of him
after his release from prison. He was never so prominently again before
the public; in 1828, he ceased altogether to write on political questions.
He retired more and more into the seclusion of his books, and from about
1849, denied himself to all but a small circle of congenial spirits.

Hunt, like the others of his group, was deeply influenced by the liberal
movement in religion as well as in politics. He had seen his father's
progress from the Anglican Church through the Unitarian[42] to the
Universalist. At the age of twelve he repudiated the doctrine of eternal
punishment and declared himself a believer in the "exclusive goodness of
futurity." In his early manhood he decried the superstition of
Catholicism, the intolerance of Calvinism, and the emotionality of
Methodism. Yet he acknowledged a Great First Cause and a Divine Paternity.
He refused, like Shelley, to recognize the existence of evil, and thought
everything finally good and beautiful in nature.[43] He believed that
universal happiness would come about through individual excellence,
through performance of duty and avoidance of excess. Those who disagreed
with him in this respect he considered blasphemers of nature. As Lord
Houghton in his address in the cemetery of Kensal Green on the unveiling
of a bust of Hunt remarked, he had an "absolute superstition for good."
Similar testimony was borne by R. H. Horne when he said that Chaucer's
"'Ah, benedicite' was falling forever from his lips."[44] His religion was
one of charity and cheerfulness, of love and truth, which is but to affirm
that the humanitarian moral of _Abou Ben Adhem_ was realized in his own
life.[45] On the death of Shelley's child William, Hunt wrote to the
bereaved father: "I do not know that a soul is born with us; but we seem,
to me, to _attain_ to a soul, some later, some earlier; and when we have
got that, there is a look in our eye, a sympathy in our cheerfulness, and
a yearning and grave beauty in our thoughtfulness that seems to say, 'Our
mortal dress may fall off when it will; our trunk and our leaves may go;
we have shot up our blossom into an immortal air.'"[46]

Hunt, like Byron and Shelley, had curious ideas about the relation of the
sexes, ideas which Hazlitt said, were "always coming out like a rash."[47]
This "crotchet" was taken over likewise from Godwin, who thought it
checked the progress of the mind for one individual to be obliged to live
for a long period in conformity to the desires of another and therefore
disapproved of the marriage relation. But, like Godwin and Shelley, Hunt
bowed to the conventions. His life was a singularly pure one.

The influence of Hunt's poetry upon Keats and Shelley, in its general
romantic tendencies, particularly in respect to diction and metre,
deserves equal consideration with the influence of his politics upon
Shelley and Byron. _Juvenilia_, a volume of Hunt's poems collected by his
father and issued by subscription in 1801 contains original work and
translations which show wide reading for a boy of seventeen and some
fluency in versification. Otherwise the writer's own opinion in 1850 is
correct: "My work was a heap of imitations, all but absolutely
worthless.... I wrote 'odes' because Collins and Gray had written them,
'pastorals' because Pope had written them, 'blank verse' because Akenside
and Thomson had written blank verse, and a 'Palace of Pleasure' because
Spenser had written a 'Bower of Bliss.'"[48] Hunt's chief defect in taste,
that of introducing in the midst of highly poetical conceptions,
disagreeable physical conditions or symptoms, is as conspicuous in this
volume[49] as in his more mature work.

The _Feast of the Poets_, 1814,[50] is a light satire in the manner of Sir
John Suckling's _Session of the Poets_. It spares few poets since the days
of Milton and Dryden, and it includes in its revilings most of Hunt's
contemporaries. Gifford, the editor of the _Quarterly Review_, comes in
for the worst castigation. It is not remarkable that the satire
antagonized people on every side in the literary world as _The Examiner_
had done in the political. Hunt believed that "its offences, both of
commission and of omission, gave rise to some of the most inveterate
enmities" of his life.[51] It is important in the history to be discussed
in a later chapter of the literary feud which resulted in the creation of
the so-called Cockney School. Later revisions included some poets who had
been intentionally ignored at first in both poems and notes, or who, like
Shelley and Keats, naturally would not have been included in the 1814
edition; and it softened down the harsh criticism of those who were
unfortunate enough to have been included, except Gifford, whom Hunt could
never forgive. The irony is fresh and there are occasional spicy flashes
of wit. The narrative is clear and the characterization vivid. Byron
pronounced it "the best Session we have."[52]

The _Descent of Liberty_,[53] 1815, is a masque celebrating the triumph of
Liberty, in the person of the Allies, over the Enchanter, Napoleon. There
is little plot or human interest; the natural, the supernatural, and the
mythical are confusedly interwoven. The pictorial effect, however, is one
of great richness and color, and some of the songs and passages have fine
lyrical feeling and melody. It is interesting in this connection to note a
vague general resemblance between the _Descent of Liberty_ and Shelley's
_Queen Mab_ (1812-13) in the worship of Liberty, in the hope and promise
of her ultimate triumph, and in the wild imagination which Hunt probably
never again equalled. It is not likely, however, that Hunt knew Shelley's
poem at the time he was writing his own.

_The Story of Rimini_, produced in 1816 and dedicated to Lord Byron, is
the most important of Hunt's works in a consideration of his relations
with the enemies of the Cockney School[54] and with Byron, Shelley, and
Keats. Byron criticised it severely. Shelley thought it carried uncommon
and irresistible interest with it, but he agreed with Byron in thinking
that the style had fettered Hunt's genius.[55] Keats wrote a sonnet[56] on
_Rimini_ in 1817, and in his own works shows unmistakably the influence of
Hunt's poem in diction and versification.

The story is founded, of course, on the Francesca episode in the fifth
canto of the _Inferno_ of Dante. It was a dangerous thing for Hunt to
undertake an elaboration of the marvelous episode of Dante. Had he been a
man of greater genius it would have been a risk; as it was, he produced a
diffuse and sentimental narrative which bears little resemblance to the
singular perfection of the original. On the other hand, the _Story of
Rimini_ does possess indubitable merits: directness of narrative, minute
observation, sensuous richness of pictorial description, and occasional
delicate felicity of language.[57] Byron wrote of the third canto which he
saw in manuscript:

     "You have excelled yourself--if not all your contemporaries--in the
     canto which I have just finished. I think it above the former books;
     but that is as it should be; it rises with the subject, the
     conception seems to me perfect, and the execution perhaps as nearly
     so as verse will admit. There is more originality than I recollect to
     have seen elsewhere within the same compass, and frequent and great
     happiness of expression." The faults he said were "occasional
     quaintnesses and obscurity, and a kind of harsh and yet colloquial
     compounding of epithets, as if to avoid saying common things in a
     common way."[58]

October 30, 1815, in reply to these objections Hunt sent forth this
defense: "we accomodate ourselves to certain habitual, sophisticated
phrases of _written_ language, and thus take away from real feeling of any
sort the only language _it ever actually uses_, which is the _spoken_
language." At the same time he made a few alterations at Byron's
suggestion.[59] And again the latter wrote: "You have two excellent points
in that poem--originality and Italianism."[60] After the _Story of Rimini_
appeared he wrote to Moore: "Leigh Hunt's poem is a devilish good
one--quaint, here and there, but with the substratum of originality, and
with poetry about it that will stand the test."[61] In 1818 Byron's
opinion had changed somewhat:

     "When I saw _Rimini_ in Ms., I told him I deemed it good poetry at
     bottom, disfigured only by a strange style. His answer was, that his
     style was a system, or _upon system_, or some other such cant; and
     when a man talks of system, his case is hopeless; so I said no more
     to him, and very little to anyone else. He believed his trash of
     vulgar phrases tortured into compound barbarisms to be _old_
     English[62] ... Hunt, who had powers to make the _Story of Rimini_ as
     perfect as a fable of Dryden, has thought fit to sacrifice his genius
     to some unintelligible notion of Wordsworth, which I defy him to
     explain.[63]... A friend of mine calls 'Rimini' _Nimini Pimini_; and
     'Foliage' _Follyage_. Perhaps he had a tumble in 'climbing trees in
     the Hesperides'! But Rimini has a great deal of merit. There never
     were so many fine things spoiled as in 'Rimini.'"[64]

Hunt had a distinct theory of language based on a few crude principles. As
his practical application of them had its effect upon Keats, a somewhat
full consideration of them is desirable here. The first and most
conspicuous one, promoted by what Hunt called "an idiomatic spirit in
verse,"[65] was a preference for colloquial words.[66] He mistook for
grace and fluency of diction, a turn of phrase that was without poetic
connection and often in very poor taste. In dialogue, particularly, the
effect is undignified. This professed doctrine was a fuller
development[67] of the statement in the Advertisement to the _Lyrical
Ballads_ of 1798: in Hunt's opinion, Wordsworth failed to consider duly
meter in its essential relations to poetry, and while Hunt himself desired
a "return to nature and a natural style" he thought that Wordsworth had
substituted puerility for simplicity and affectation for nature. Hunt's
acknowledged model for the poem was Dryden,[68] but Hunt's colloquial
phrasing, peculiar diction, elision,[69] and loose expansion approach much
more closely to Chamberlayne's _Pharronida_ (1689) than to anything in
Dryden.[70] The following extract is one of many that might be cited as
suggestive of Hunt's _Story of Rimini_:

                    "To his cold clammy lips
  Joining her balmy twins, she from them sips
  So much of death's oppressing dews, that, by
  That touch revived, his soul, though winged to fly
  Her ruined seat, takes time to breathe
  These sad notes forth: "farewell, my dear, beneath
  My fainting spirits sink."[71]

Occasionally Hunt's choice of colloquial words fitted the subject, as in
the _Feast of the Poets_, where humor and satire permit such expressions
as "bards of Old England had all been rung in," "twiddling a sunbeam,"
"bloated his wits," "tricksy tenuity" or such words as "smack," "pop-in"
and "sing-song." His poetical epistles suffer without injury such
departures from dignified diction, but in other cases, of which the _Story
of Rimini_ is a notable example, a grave subject in the garb of everyday
language is degraded into the incongruous and prosaic. It is in physical
descriptions that this undignified diction most strikingly violates good
taste. Examples are:

  "And both their cheeks, like peaches on a tree,
  Leaned with a touch together, thrillingly."

  "So lightsomely dropped in, his lordly back,
  His thigh so fitted for the tilt or dance."

Sometimes the prosaic quality of Hunt's diction is due to its being
pitched upon a merely "society" level:

  "May I come in? said he:--it made her start,--
  That smiling voice;--she coloured, pressed her heart
  A moment, as for breath and then with free
  And usual tone said, 'O Yes,--certainly.'"

Such a treatment of the meeting of Paolo and Francesca in the bower is
wholly inadequate to the situation and the emotion of the moment.
Additional illustrations of his colloquialisms from the _Story of Rimini_
and from other poems of the same period are: "to bless his shabby eyes,"
"that to the stander near looks awfully," "banquet small, and cheerful,
and considerate," "clipsome waist," "jauntiness behind and strength
before" (description of a horse), "lend their streaming tails to the fond
air," "sweepy shape," "cored in our complacencies," "lumps of flowers,"
"smooth, down-arching thigh," "tapering with tremulous mass internally."

Hunt's second principle to be considered is the excessive use of vague and
passionless words. Instances of such words to be found very frequently in
his poetry are: fond, amiable, fair, rural, cordial, cheerful, gentle,
calm, smooth, serene, earnest, lovely, balmy, dainty, mild, meek, tender,
kind, elegant, quiet, sweet, fresh, pleasant, warm, social, and many
others of like character.

A third principle was the employment of unusual words; examples are found
in the _Story of Rimini_ in the first edition and in other poems produced
about this same time. In the _Poetical Works_, 1832, most of them have
been discarded. The preface states that the "occasional quaintnesses and
neologisms" which "formerly disfigured the poems did not arise from
affectation but from the sheer license of animal spirits"; that they are
not worth defending and that he has left only two in the _Story of
Rimini_, "swirl" and "cored." "Swaling" had been the most famous one in
the poem because of the ridicule heaped upon it by the enemies of the
Cockney School.

To use ordinary words in an extraordinary sense was a fourth principle.
The effect was often extremely awkward. Core passes as a synonym for
heart; fry occurs in _Rimini_ in a strange sense; hip and tiptoe are
employed with a special Huntian significance. Nouns and adjectives are
used as verbs and verbs as nouns and adjectives with an unpoetical effect:
cored (verb); drag (noun); frets (noun); feel (noun); patting (adjective);
spanning (adjective); lull'd (adjective); smearings; measuring;

The use of compounds is a fifth distinguishing feature. Such combinations
are found as bathing-air, house-warm lips, side-long pillowed meekness,
fore-thoughted chess, pin-drop silence, tear-dipped feeling.

The sixth and last peculiarity is the preference for adjectives in _y_ and
_ing_, many of them of his own coinage; for adverbs in _ly_; and for
unauthorized or awkward comparatives: examples are plumpy (cheeks), knify,
perky, sweepy, farmy, bosomy, pillowy, arrowy, liny, leafy, scattery,
winy, globy; hasting, silvering, doling, blubbing, firming, thickening,
quickening, differing, perking; lightsomely, refreshfully, thrillingly,
kneadingly, lumpishly, smilingly, preparingly, crushingly,[73] finelier,
martialler, tastefuller, apter.

The colloquial vocabulary, the familiar tone, and the expansion of thought
into phrases and clauses where it would have gained by condensed
expression, give to the _Story of Rimini_ a prosaic and eccentric style.
Yet Hunt declared he held in horror eccentricity and prosiness.[74]

In a discussion of the influence of Leigh Hunt upon the versification of
his contemporaries and successors it is necessary to consider not only his
theory but also the active part played by him as a conscious reviver of
the older heroic couplet. In this reaction against the school of Pope, as
also in the use of blank verse, he showed great independence in discarding
approved models. The notes added to the _Feast of the Poets_ in 1814, when
it was republished from the _Reflector_ of 1812, are important in this
connection. They show a wide familiarity with modern poetry. He writes:

     "The late Dr. Darwin, whose notion of poetical music, in common with
     that of Goldsmith and others, was of the school of Pope, though his
     taste was otherwise different, was perhaps the first, who by carrying
     it to the extreme pitch of sameness, and ringing it affectedly in
     one's ears, gave the public at large a suspicion that there was
     something wrong in its nature. But of those who saw its deficiencies,
     part had the ambition without the taste or attention requisite for
     striking into a better path, and became eccentric in another extreme;
     while others, who saw the folly of both, were content to keep the
     beaten track and set a proper example to neither. By these appeals,
     however, the public ear has been excited to expect something better;
     and perhaps there was never a more favourable time than the present
     for an attempt to bring back the real harmonies of the English
     heroic, and to restore it to half the true principle of its music,
     variety. I am not here joining the cry of those, who affect to
     consider Pope as no poet at all. He is, I confess, in my judgment, at
     a good distance from Dryden, and at an immeasurable one from such men
     as Spenser and Milton; but if the author of the _Rape of the Lock_,
     of _Eloisa to Abelard_, and of the _Elegy on an Unfortunate Lady_, is
     no poet, then are fancy and feeling no properties belonging to
     poetry. I am only considering his versification; and upon that point
     I do not hesitate to say, that I regard him, not only as no master of
     his art, but as a very indifferent practiser, and one whose
     reputation will grow less and less, in proportion as the lovers of
     poetry become intimate with his great predecessors, and with the
     principles of musical beauty in general."[75]

The remarks on Pope close with the hope that the imitation of the best
work of Dryden, Milton and Spenser "might lead the poets of the present
age to that proper mixture of sweetness and strength--of modern finish and
ancient variety--from which Pope and his rhyming facilities have so long
withheld us."[76] Hunt closes with an appeal for the return to Italian
models, and says that Hayley, in his _Triumphs of Temper_ was "the
quickest of our late writers to point out the great superiority of the
Italian school over the French." He protests against the wide influence of

The Introduction to the _Poetical Works_ of 1832 contains a concise and
technical statement of Hunt's theory of the heroic couplet. He argues that
the triplet tends to condensation, three lines instead of four; that it
carries onward the fervor of the poet's feeling, delivering him from the
ordinary laws of his verse, and that it expresses continuity. Of the
bracket he says: "I confess I like the very bracket that marks out the
triplet to the reader's eye, and prepares him for the music of it. It has
a look like the bridge of a lute."[78] The use of the Alexandrine in the
heroic couplet, he avers, gives variety and energy. Double rhymes are
defended on historical grounds. For himself he claims credit as a
restorer, not an innovator, and prophesies that the perfection of the
heroic couplet is "to come about by a blending between the inharmonious
freedom of our old poets in general ... and the regularity of Dryden
himself.... If anyone could unite the vigor of Dryden with the ready and
easy variety of pause in the works of the late Mr. Crabbe, and the lovely
poetic consciousness in the _Lamia_ of Keats ... he would be a perfect
master of the rhyming couplet." A study of the heroic couplet from Dryden
to Shelley based on two hundred lines from each poet has yielded the
results indicated in the table on the following page.

Professor Saintsbury says: "There is no doubt that his [Hunt's]
versification in _Rimini_ (which may be described as Chaucerian in basis
with a strong admixture of Dryden, further crossed and dashed slightly
with the peculiar music of the followers of Spenser, especially Browne and
Wither) had a very strong influence both on Keats and on Shelley, and that
it drew from them music much better than itself. This fluent, musical,
many-colored-verse was a capital medium for tale telling."[79] Professor
Herford marks it as the "starting point of that free or Chaucerian
treatment of the heroic couplet and of the colloquial style, eschewing
epigram and full of familiar turns, which Shelley in _Julian and Maddalo_,
and Keats in _Lamia_, made classical."[82] Mr. R. B. Johnson calls it "a
protest against the polished couplet of Pope--a protest already expressed
to some extent in the _Lyrical Ballads_, but through Hunt's influence,
guiding the pens of Keats, Shelley and some of his noblest successors."[83]
Mr. A. J. Kent says that "No one-sided sentiment of reaction against our
so-called Augustan literature disqualified Leigh Hunt from becoming, as he
afterwards became, the greatest master since the days of Dryden of the
heroic couplet."[84] Leigh Hunt's greatest mistake in the handling of the
couplet has been clearly pointed out by Mr. Colvin, who says that he
"blended the grave and the colloquial cadences of Dryden, without his
characteristic nerve and energy in either."[85] The late Dr. Garnett said
that the ease and variety of Dryden was restored by Hunt to English
literature.[86] Monkhouse pointed out that Keats and Shelley, more than
Hunt, reaped the rewards of his revivification of the heroic couplet. The
diffuseness of the diction of the _Story of Rimini_ results in a movement
weaker than Dryden's and less buoyant than Chaucer's. Yet the verse is
distinguished by a fluency and grace and melody that at times are very
pleasing. It had a notable influence on English verse--an influence begun
by others but strongly reinforced by Hunt. Further treatment of the
influence of Hunt's diction and versification upon Keats and Shelley is
reserved for chapters II and III of the present study.

                 |_Absalom & Achitophel_,
                 |  +----------------------------------------------
                 |  |Wm. Chamberlayne,
                 |  |_Pharronida_, 1689.
                 |  +  +-------------------------------------------
                 |  |  |Alexander Pope,
                 |  |  |_Dunciad_, 1727.
                 |  |  +  +----------------------------------------
                 |  |  |  |Leigh Hunt,[80]
                 |  |  |  |_Story of Rimini_, 1816.
                 |  |  |  +  +-------------------------------------
                 |  |  |  |  |John Keats,
                 |  |  |  |  |_I stood tiptoe_, 1817.
                 |  |  |  |  +  +----------------------------------
                 |  |  |  |  |  |Keats,
                 |  |  |  |  |  |_Sleep and Poetry_, 1817.
                 |  |  |  |  |  +  +-------------------------------
                 |  |  |  |  |  |  |Keats,
                 |  |  |  |  |  |  |_Endymion_, 1818.
                 |  |  |  |  |  |  +  +----------------------------
                 |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |Keats,[81]
                 |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |_Lamia_, 1820.
                 |  |  |  |  |  |  |  +  +-------------------------
                 |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |Shelley,
                 |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |_Julian & Maddalo_, 1819.
  Run-on Couplets| 4|61| 1| 3|23|47|54|20|45
  Run-on Lines   |16|71|12|26|41|48|44|35|52
  Triplets       | 3| 0| 0| 2| 0| 0| 0| 5| 4
  Alexandrines   | 3| 0| 1| 2| 0| 0| 3|12| 0

Hunt's next poetical work after _Rimini_ was _Foliage_, published in 1818.
It is a collection of original poems under the title _Greenwoods_, and of
translations under the title _Evergreens_.[87] In the preface Hunt
announces the main features to be a love of sociability, of the country,
and of the "fine imagination of the Greeks."[88] The first predilection
runs the gamut from "sociability" to "domestic interest" and is the most
fundamental characteristic of the author and of his writing. In the
preface to _One Hundred Romances of Real Life_ he declares sociability to
be "the greatest of all interests." It rarely failed to crop out when he
was writing even on the gravest and most impersonal of subjects. In his
intercourse with strangers, this same "sociability," added to a natural
kindliness and sympathy, caused a familiarity of bearing that was often
misunderstood. The _Nymphs_, the longest poem of the volume, is founded on
Greek mythology and is interesting in connection with Keats's poems on
classical subjects. Shelley said that the _Nymphs_ was "truly _poetical_,
in the intense and emphatic sense of the word. If 600 miles were not
between us, I should say what pity that _glib_ was not omitted, and that
the poem is not so faultless as it is beautiful."[89] In general Shelley
overestimated Hunt's poetry, though he saw some of its affectations.
Shorter pieces were epistles to Byron, Moore, Hazlitt and Lamb--a kind of
verse in which Hunt excelled, for his attitude and style were peculiarly
adapted to the familiar tone permissible in such writing. Among Hunt's
best poems may be counted the sonnets to Shelley, Keats, Haydon, Raphael,
and Kosciusko; those entitled the _Grasshopper and the Cricket_, _To the
Nile_, _On a Lock of Milton's Hair_, and the series on Hampstead. The
suburban charms of Hampstead were very dear to Hunt and he never tired of
celebrating them in poetry and in prose. No amount of derision from the
_Quarterly_ or _Blackwood's_ stopped him. The general characteristics of
_Foliage_ are much the same as those of the _Story of Rimini_. There are
poor lines and good ones, never sustained power, and no poetry of a very
high order. The subjects themselves are often unpoetical. Hunt obtrudes
himself too frequently in a breezy, offhand manner. Byron's opinion of the
book was scathing:

     "Of all the ineffable Centaurs that were ever begotten by self-love
     upon a Nightmare, I think 'this monstrous Sagittary' the most
     prodigious. _He_ (Leigh H.) is an honest charlatan, who has persuaded
     himself into a belief of his own impostures, and talks Punch in pure
     simplicity of heart, taking himself (as poor Fitzgerald said of
     _him_self in the _Morning Post_) for Vates in both senses and
     nonsenses of the word. Did you [Moore] look at the translations of
     his own which he prefers to Pope and Cowper, and says so?--Did you
     read his skimble-skamble about Wordsworth being at the head of his
     own _profession_, in the _eyes_ of _those_ who followed it? I thought
     that poetry was an _art_, or an _attribute_, and not a _profession_;
     but be it one, is that ... at the head of _your_ profession in your

Other poems belonging to this period are _Hero and Leander_ and _Bacchus
and Ariadne_ in 1819, and a translation of Tasso's _Aminta_ in 1820. The
first two show Hunt's faculty for poetical narrative and description, and,
in common with Keats, a partiality for classical subjects. The three are
in no way radically different from the poems already considered.

The _Literary Pocket Book_ which Hunt edited in 1820, 1821 and 1822, the
_New Monthly Magazine_ to which he began contributing in 1821, and the
_Literary Examiner_, which he established in 1823, complete the
enumeration of his writings during the period of his association with
Byron, Shelley and Keats. Beyond the contributions of Shelley and Keats to
the first and the reviews of Byron's poems in the third, they are
unimportant here.


Keats's meeting with Hunt--Growth of their friendship--Haydon's
intervention--Keats's residence with Hunt--His departure for Italy--Hunt's
Criticism of Keats's poetry--His influence on the _Poems of 1817_.

It was about the year 1815 that Keats showed to his former school friend,
Charles Cowden Clarke, the following sonnet, the first indication the
latter had that Keats had written poetry:

  "What though, for showing truth to flatter'd state,
  Kind Hunt was shut in prison, yet has he,
  In his immortal spirit been as free
  As the sky-searching lark, and as elate.
  Minion of grandeur! think you he did wait?
  Think you he nought but prison walls did see,
  Till, so unwilling thou unturn'dst the key?
  Ah, no! far happier, nobler was his fate!
  In Spenser's halls he stray'd, and bowers fair,
  Culling enchanted flowers; and he flew
  With daring Milton through the fields of air:
  To regions of his own his genius true
  Took happy flights. Who shall his fame impair
  When thou art dead, and all thy wretched crew?"

This admiration, expressed before Keats had met Hunt, was due to the
influence of the Clarke family and to Keats's acquaintance with _The
Examiner_, which he saw regularly during his school days at Enfield and
which he continued to borrow from Clarke during his medical
apprenticeship. Clarke later showed to Leigh Hunt two or three of Keats's
poems. Of the reception of one of them (_How Many Bards Gild the Lapses of
Time_) Clarke said:

     "I could not but anticipate that Hunt would speak encouragingly, and
     indeed approvingly, of the compositions--written, too, by a youth
     under age; but my partial spirit was not prepared for the
     unhesitating and prompt admiration which broke forth before he had
     read twenty lines of the first poem."[91]

Hunt invited Keats to visit him. Of this first meeting between the two
men, Clarke wrote:

     "That was a red letter day in the young poet's life, and one which
     will never fade with me while memory lasts. The character and
     expression of Keats's features would arrest even the casual passenger
     in the street; and now they were wrought to a tone of animation that
     I could not but watch with interest, knowing what was in store for
     him from the bland encouragement, and Spartan deference in attention,
     with fascinating conversational eloquence, that he was to encounter
     and receive.... The interview, which stretched into three 'morning
     calls', was the prelude to many after-scenes and saunterings about
     Caen Wood and its neighborhood; for Keats was suddenly made a
     familiar of the household, and was always welcomed."[92]

Hunt's account of the meeting is as follows:

     "I shall never forget the impression made upon me by the exuberant
     specimens of genuine though young poetry that were laid before me,
     and the promise of which was seconded by the fine fervid countenance
     of the writer. We became intimate on the spot, and I found the young
     poet's heart as warm as his imagination. We read and we walked
     together, and used to write verse of an evening upon a given subject.
     No imaginative pleasure was left untouched by us, or unenjoyed; from
     the recollections of the bards and patriots of old, to the luxury of
     a summer rain at our window, or the clicking of the coal in the
     winter-time. Not long afterwards, having the pleasure of entertaining
     at dinner Mr. Godwin, Mr. Hazlitt, and Mr. Basil Montagu, I showed
     the verses of my young friend, and they were pronounced to be as
     extraordinary as I thought them."[93]

Leigh Hunt discovered Keats, by no means a small thing, for as he himself
has said: "To admire and comment upon the genius that two or three hundred
years have applauded, and to discover what will partake of applause two or
three hundred years hence, are processes of a very different
description."[94] With the same power of prophetic discernment, writing in
1828, he realized to the full the greatness of Keats and predicted that
growth of his fame in the future which has since taken place.[95] Keats's
account of his reception is given in the sonnet _Keen fitful gusts are
whisp'ring here and there_:

  "For I am brimfull of the friendliness
  That in a little cottage I have found;
  Of fair hair'd Milton's eloquent distress,
  And all his love for gentle Lycid drown'd;
  Of lovely Laura in her light green dress,
  And faithful Petrarch gloriously crowned."

The date of the introduction of Keats to Hunt has been placed variously
from November, 1815, to the end of the year 1816. He says:

     "It was not at Hampstead that I first saw Keats. It was in York
     Buildings, in the New Road (No. 8), where I wrote part of the
     _Indicator_--and he resided with me while in Mortimer Terrace,
     Kentish Town (No. 13), where I concluded it. I mention this for the
     curious in such things, among whom I am one."[96]

If this statement were correct, it would make the meeting about two or
three years later than has generally been supposed, for Leigh Hunt did not
move to York Buildings until 1818, and he did not begin work on the
_Indicator_ until October, 1819. Clarke states positively that the meeting
took place at Hampstead. From this evidence Mr. Colvin has suggested the
early spring of 1816 as the most probable date.[97] What seems better
evidence than any that has yet been brought forward is a passage in _The
Examiner_ of June 1, 1817, in Hunt's review of Keats's _Poems_ of 1817,
where he says that the poet is a personal friend whom he announced to the
public a short time ago (this allusion can only be to an article in _The
Examiner_ of December 1, 1816) and that the friendship dates from "no
greater distance of time than the announcement above mentioned. We had
published one of his sonnets in our paper,[98] without knowing more of him
than of any other anonymous correspondent; but at the period in question a
friend brought us one morning some copies in verse, which he said were
from the pen of a youth.... We had not read more than a dozen lines when
we recognized a young poet indeed." This seems conclusive evidence that
the meeting did not take place until the winter of 1816, for Hunt's
testimony written in 1817, when the circumstance was fresh in his mind is
certainly more trustworthy than his impression of it at the time that he
revised his _Autobiography_ in 1859 at the age of seventy-five years.

The two men, before they came in contact, had much in common, and Hunt's
influence, while in some cases an inspiring force, more often fostered
instincts already existing in Keats. Both possessed by nature a deep love
of poetry, color and melody, and both "were given to 'luxuriating'
somewhat voluptuously over the 'deliciousness' of the beautiful in art,
books or nature."[99] At the very beginning of their acquaintance,
notwithstanding a disparity in age of eleven years, they were wonderfully
drawn to each other. Spenser was their favorite poet. Both had a great
love for Chaucer, for Oriental fable and for Chivalric romance, and an
unusual knowledge of Greek myth. But even at the height of their intimacy,
the friendship seems to have remained more intellectual than personal, a
fact due no doubt to Keats's reserve and Hunt's "incuriousness."[100]
Except for this drawback Hunt considered the friendship ideal. He says:
"Mr. Keats and I were old friends of the old stamp, between whom there was
no such thing as obligation, except the pleasure of it. He enjoyed the
privilege of greatness with all whom he knew, rendering it delightful to
be obliged by him, and an equal, but not a greater delight, to oblige. It
was a pleasure to his friends to have him in their houses, and he did not
grude it."[101]

Through Hunt, Keats was introduced to a circle of literary men whose
companionship was an important factor in his development, notably Haydon,
Godwin, Hazlitt, Shelley, Vincent Novello, Horace Smith, Cornelius Webbe,
Basil Montagu, the Olliers, Barry Cornwall, and later Wordsworth.

For about a year following the meeting of the two, Hunt undoubtedly
exerted the strongest influence of any living man over the young poet.
Severn said that Keats's introduction to Hunt wrought a great change in
him and "intoxicated him with an excess of enthusiasm which kept by him
four or five years."[102] Mr. Forman says that "Charles Cowden Clarke, as
his early mentor, Leigh Hunt and Haydon as his most powerful encouragers
at the important epoch of adolescence, must be credited with much of the
active influence that took Keats out of the path to a medical
practitioner's life, and set his feet in the devious paths of
literature."[103] Keats's interest in his profession had decreased as his
knowledge and love of poetry grew. With the publication of his _Poems_ in
1817, and his retirement in April of that year from London to the Isle of
Wight "to be alone and improve" himself and to continue _Endymion_, his
decision was finally made in favor of a literary life. Hunt's aid at this
time took the practical form of publishing Keats's poems in _The Examiner_
and of drawing the attention of the public to them by comments and
reviews. Whether he ever paid Keats for any of his contributions to his
periodicals is not known.[104] Through the influence of Hunt the Ollier
brothers were induced to undertake the publication of Keats's first volume
of poems. It is dedicated to Leigh Hunt in the sonnet _Glory and
loveliness have passed away_. The sestet refers directly to him:

  "But there are left delights as high as these,
  And I shall ever bless my destiny,
  That in a time, when under pleasant trees
  Pan is no longer sought, I feel a free
  A leafy luxury, seeing I could please
  With these poor offerings, a man like thee."[105]

Hunt replied in the sonnet _To John Keats_, quoted here in full because of
its inacessibility:

  "'Tis well you think me truly one of those,
  Whose sense discerns the loveliness of things;
  For surely as I feel the bird that sings
  Behind the leaves, or dawn as it up grows,
  Or the rich bee rejoicing as he goes,
  Or the glad issue of emerging springs,
  Or overhead the glide of a dove's wings,
  Or turf, or trees, or midst of all, repose.
  And surely as I feel things lovelier still,
  The human look, and the harmonious form
  Containing woman, and the smile in ill,
  And such a heart as Charles's wise and warm,--
  As surely as all this, I see ev'n now,
  Young Keats, a flowering laurel on your brow."[106]

In 1820, Hunt dedicated his translation of Tasso's _Aminta_ to Keats.

In spite of a eulogistic article by Hunt running in _The Examiners_ of
June 1, July 6 and 13, 1817, and other notices in some of the provincial
papers, the _Poems_ sold not very well at first, and later, not at
all.[107] Praise from the editor of _The Examiner_, although offered with
the kindest intentions in the world, was about the worst thing that could
possibly have happened to Keats, for, politically and poetically, Leigh
Hunt was most unpopular at this time;[108] and it was noised abroad that
Keats too was a radical in politics and in religion, a disciple of the
apostate in his attack on the established and accepted creed of poetry. As
a matter of fact, Keats's interest in politics decreased as his knowledge
of poetry increased, although, "as a party-badge and sign of
ultra-liberalism," he, like Hunt, Byron and Shelley continued to wear the
soft turn-down collars in contrast to the stiff collars and enormous
cravats of the time.[109] In religion Keats vented his dislike of sect and
creed on the Kirk of Scotland, as Hunt had on the Methodists. His
"simply-sensuous Beauty-worship" Palgrave attributes to the "moral laxity"
of Hunt.[110] Unless Palgrave, like Haydon, refers to Hunt's unorthodoxy
in matters of church and state, it is difficult to understand on what
evidence he bases this statement; in the first place, a charge of moral
laxity is not borne out by the recorded facts of Hunt's life, but only by
such untrustworthy tradition as still lingers in the public mind from the
Cockney School articles of _Blackwood's_ and the _Quarterly_. Carlyle said
that he was of "most exemplary private deportment."[111] Byron, Shelley
and Lamb testified to his virtuous life. In the second place, a close
comparison of the works of the two now leads one to conclude that
"simply-sensuous Beauty-worship" existed to a much higher degree in Keats
than in Hunt, and that so strong an innate tendency would have developed
without outward stimulus from any one. While both men sought the good and
worshipped the beautiful, Keats, unlike Hunt, recognized somewhat "the
burthen and the mystery" of human life.

Keats, during his stay in the Isle of Wight and a visit to Oxford with
Bailey in the spring and summer of 1817, worked on _Endymion_, finishing
it in the fall. The letters exchanged between him and Hunt during his
absence were friendly, but a feeling of coolness began before his return.
In a letter from Margate May 10, 1817, there is a curiously obscure
reference to the _Nymphs_:

     "How have you got on among them? How are the _Nymphs_? I suppose they
     have led you a fine dance. Where are you now?--in Judea, Cappadocia,
     or the parts of Lybia about Cyrene? Stranger from 'Heaven, Hues, and
     Prototypes' I wager you have given several new turns to the old
     saying, 'Now the maid was fair and pleasant to look on,' as well as
     made a little variation in 'Once upon a time.' Perhaps, too, you have
     rather varied, 'Here endeth the first lesson.' Thus I hope you have
     made a horseshoe business of 'unsuperfluous life,' 'faint bowers' and
     fibrous roots."[112]

A letter written by Haydon to Keats, dated May 11, 1817, warned Keats
against Hunt, and, with others of its kind, was possibly the insidious
beginning of the coolness which followed: "Beware, for God's sake of the
delusions and sophistications that are ripping up the talents and morality
of our friend! He will go out of the world the victim of his own weakness
and the dupe of his own self-delusions, with the contempt of his enemies
and the sorrow of his friends, and the cause he undertook to support
injured by his own neglect of character."[113] A letter in reply from
Keats, written the day after he wrote the passage about the _Nymphs_,
accounts for its dissembling tone:

     "I wrote to Hunt yesterday--scarcely know what I said in it. I could
     not talk about Poetry in the way I should have liked for I was not in
     humour with either his or mine. His self delusions are very
     lamentable--they have inticed him into a Situation which I should be
     less eager after than that of a galley Slave,--what you observe
     thereon is very true must be in time [sic].

     Perhaps it is a self delusion to say so--but I think I could not be
     deceived in the manner that Hunt is--may I die to-morrow if I am to
     be. There is no greater Sin after the seven deadly than to flatter
     oneself into the idea of being a great Poet...."[114]

To judge from the testimony of his brother George it is not surprising
that Keats succumbed to Haydon's influence against Hunt: "his nervous,
morbid temperament led him to misconstrue the motives of his best
friends."[115] In the last days of his life, his suspicion and bitterness
were general. In a letter to Bailey, June, 1818, Keats says: "I have
suspected everybody."[116] January, 1820, he wrote Georgiana Keats, "Upon
the whole I dislike mankind."[117] Haydon may have sincerely believed
Hunt's influence to be injurious because of the latter's unorthodoxy in
matters of religion. He wrote that Keats "could not bring his mind to bear
on one object, and was at the mercy of every petty theory that Leigh
Hunt's ingenuity would suggest.... He had a tendency to religion when I
first knew him, but Leigh Hunt soon forced it from his mind.... Leigh Hunt
was the unhinger of his best dispositions. Latterly, Keats saw Leigh
Hunt's weaknesses. I distrusted his leader, but Keats would not cease to
visit him, because he thought Hunt ill-used. This shows Keats's goodness
of heart."[118] It is not to be regretted that Haydon lessened Keats's
estimate of Hunt's literary infallibility, for his influence was most
injurious in that direction; but it is to be regretted that he impugned a
friendship in which Hunt was certainly sincere and by which Keats had

In September, just before Keats's return, he seems somewhat mollified and
writes to John Hamilton Reynolds of Leigh Hunt's pleasant companionship;
he has failings, "but then his make-ups are very good."[119]

On his return to Hampstead in October, 1817, Keats found affairs among the
circle in a very bad way.[120]

     Everybody "seems at Loggerheads--There's Hunt infatuated--there's
     Haydon's picture in statu quo--There's Hunt walks up and down his
     painting room--criticising every head most unmercifully. There's
     Horace Smith tired of Hunt. 'The web of our life is of mingled
     yarn.'... I am quite disgusted with literary men and will never know
     another except Wordsworth--no not even Byron. Here is an instance of
     the friendship of such. Haydon and Hunt have known each other many
     years.... Haydon says to me, Keats, don't show your lines to Hunt on
     any Account or he will have done half for you--so it appears Hunt
     wishes it to be thought. When he met Reynolds in the Theatre, John
     told him that I was getting on to the completion of 4,000 lines--Ah!
     says Hunt, had it not been for me they would have been 7,000! If he
     will say this to Reynolds, what would he to other people? Haydon
     received a Letter a little while back on this subject from some
     Lady--which contains a caution to me, thro' him, on the subject--now
     is not all this a most paultry (sic) thing to think about?"[121]

Hunt had tried to persuade Keats not to write a long poem. Keats wrote of
this: "Hunt's dissuasion was of no avail[122]--I refused to visit Shelley
that I might have my own unfettered scope; and after all, I shall have the
reputation of Hunt's élève. His corrections and amputations will by the
knowing ones be traced in the poem."[123]

During 1818, Leigh Hunt in his critical work remained silent concerning
Keats, probably because of his sincere disapproval of _Endymion_ and
secondly, because he realized that his praise would be injurious. The
attacks on Hunt in _Blackwood's_ and the _Quarterly_ had foreshadowed an
attack of the same virulent kind on Keats. The realization came with the
publication of _Endymion_. The article on "Johnny Keats," fourth of the
series on the Cockney School in _Blackwood's Magazine_, appeared almost
simultaneously with his return from Scotland, and the one in the
_Quarterly_ in September of the same year. These will be discussed in a
later chapter. Suspicions of neglect on the part of Hunt murmured in
Keats's mind like a discordant undertone, although the friendship
continued as warm as ever on Hunt's part. Keats was passive, without,
however, the old sense of dependence and trust. December 28, 1817, he
writes to his brothers of the "drivelling egotism" of _The Examiner_
article on the obsoletion of Christmas gambols and pastimes.[124] In a
journal letter written to George Keats and his wife in Louisville during
December and January, 1819, the old liking has become almost repugnance:
"Hunt keeps on in his old way--I am completely tired of it all. He has
lately published a Pocket Book called the literary Pocket-Book--full of
the most sickening stuff you can imagine";[125] yet Keats suffered himself
to become a contributor to this same book with two sonnets, _The Human
Seasons_ and _To Ailsa Rock_. Again in the same letter:

     "The night we went to Novello's there was a complete set-to of Mozart
     and punning. I was so completely tired of it that if I were to follow
     my own inclinations I should never meet any of that set again, not
     even Hunt who is certainly a pleasant fellow in the main when you are
     with him, but in reality he is vain, egotistical, and disgusting in
     matters of taste and morals. He understands many a beautiful thing;
     but then, instead of giving other minds credit for the same degree of
     perception as he himself possesses,--he begins an explanation in such
     a curious manner that our taste and self-love is offended
     continually. Hunt does one harm by making fine things petty and
     beautiful things hateful. Through him I am indifferent to Mozart, I
     care not for white Busts--and many a glorious thing when associated
     with him becomes a nothing."[126]

Continuing in the same strain:

     "I will have no more Wordsworth or Hunt in particular. Why should we
     be of the tribe of Manasseh when we can wander with Esau? Why should
     we kick against the Pricks, when we can walk on Roses?... I don't
     mean to deny Wordsworth's grandeur and Hunt's merit, but I mean to
     say that we need not to be teazed with grandeur and merit, when we
     can have them uncontaminated and unobtrusive. Let us have the old
     Poets and Robin Hood."[127]

And again:

     "Hunt has damned Hampstead and masks and sonnets and Italian tales.
     Wordsworth has damned the lakes--Milman has damned the old
     drama--West has damned wholesale. Peacock has damned satire--Ollier
     has damned Music--Hazlitt has damned the bigoted and the
     blue-stockinged; how durst the Man?!"[128]

A parody on the conversation of Hunt's set, in which he is the principal
actor, carries with it a ridicule that is unkinder than the bitterness of
dislike, and difficult to reconcile with the fact that Keats at the same
time preserved the semblance of friendship.[129]

     "Scene, a little Parlour--Enter Hunt--Gattie--Hazlitt--Mrs.
     Novello--Ollier. _Gattie_:--Ha! Hunt got into your new house? Ha!
     Mrs. Novello: seen Altam and his wife? _Mrs. N._: Yes (with a grin)
     it's Mr. Hunt's isn't it? _Gattie_: Hunt's? no, ha! Mr. Ollier, I
     congratulate you upon the highest compliment I ever heard paid to the
     Book. Mr. Hazlitt, I hope you are well. _Hazlitt_:--Yes Sir, no
     Sir--_Mr. Hunt_ (at the Music) 'La Biondina' etc. Hazlitt, did you
     ever hear this?--"La Biondina" &c. _Hazlitt_: O no Sir--I
     never--_Ollier_:--Do Hunt give it us over
     again--divine--_Gattie_:--divino--Hunt when does your Pocket-Book
     come out--_Hunt_:--'What is this absorbs me quite?' O we are spinning
     on a little, we shall floridize soon I hope. Such a thing was very
     much wanting--people think of nothing but money getting--now for me I
     am rather inclined to the liberal side of things. I am reckoned lax
     in my Christian principles, etc., etc., etc., etc."[130]

Such a dual attitude in Keats can be explained only by a dual feeling in
his mind, for it is impossible to believe him capable of deliberate
deceit. He may have realized Hunt's affectation and superficiality and
"disgusting taste"; he was probably swayed by Haydon to distrust Hunt's
morals; the suspicions planted by Haydon concerning _Endymion_ rankled;
but at the same time Hunt's charm of personality, and the assistance and
encouragement given in the first days of their friendship, formed a bond
difficult to break. Of Leigh Hunt's attitude there can be no doubt, for
through his long life of more than threescore years and ten, filled with
many friendships of many kinds, he can in no instance be charged with
insincerity. There is no conclusive proof on record to show him deserving
of the insinuations which Keats believed in respect to _Endymion_, for
Haydon is not trustworthy, and the opinion of a lady given through Haydon
may be dismissed on the same grounds.[131] Reynolds' testimony is not
damaging in itself, and in the absence of facts to the contrary may have
been wrongly construed by Keats. To the charges against himself, Leigh
Hunt has replied in the following passage, "affecting and persuasive in
its unrestrained pathos of remonstrance":[132]

     "an irritable morbidity appears even to have driven his suspicions to
     excess; and this not only with regard to the acquaintance whom he
     might reasonably suppose to have had some advantages over him, but to
     myself, who had none; for I learned the other day, with extreme pain,
     such as I am sure so kind and reflecting a man as Mr. Monckton Milnes
     would not have inflicted on me could he have foreseen it, that Keats
     at one period of his intercourse suspected Shelley and myself of a
     wish to see him undervalued! Such are the tricks which constant
     infelicity can play with the most noble natures. For Shelley, let
     _Adonais_ answer. For myself, let every word answer which I uttered
     about him, living and dead, and such as I now proceed to repeat. I
     might as well have been told that I wished to see the flowers or the
     stars undervalued, or my own heart that loved him."[133]

Hunt's feeling towards Keats is nowhere better expressed than in his
_Autobiography_: "I could not love him as deeply as I did Shelley. That
was impossible. But my affection was only second to the one which I
entertained for that heart of hearts."[134]

Keats's atonement is contained in the last letter that he ever wrote: "If
I recover, I will do all in my power to correct the mistakes made during
sickness, and if I should not, all my faults will be forgiven."[135]

Haydon's influence over Keats was at its height in 1817 and 1818.[136] His
gifts and his enthusiasm, his "fresh magnificence"[137] carried Keats by
storm. It was not until about July 1818 that a reaction against Haydon in
favor of Hunt set in, brought about by money transactions between Keats
and Haydon, and the indifference of the latter in repaying a debt when he
knew Keats's necessity.[138] Keats probably never ceased to feel that
Hunt's influence as a poet had been injurious, as indeed it was, but the
relative stability of his two friends adjusted itself after this
experience with Haydon. Affairs seem to have been smoothed over with Hunt,
and were not disturbed again until a short time before Keats's departure
for Italy, when his morbid suspicions, which even led him to accuse his
friend Brown of flirting with Fanny Brawne,[139] seem to have been

In 1820, Brown, with whom Keats had been living since his brother Tom's
death, went on a second tour to Scotland. Keats, unable to accompany him,
took a lodging in Wesleyan Place, Kentish Town, to be near Hunt, who was
living in Mortimer Street. Brown says: "It was his choice, during my
absence to lodge at Kentish Town, that he might be near his friend, Leigh
Hunt, in whose companionship he was ever happy."[140] In a letter to Fanny
Brawne, Keats said Hunt "amuses me very kindly."[141] It is not likely,
judging from this overture, that there had ever been an actual cessation
of intercourse, notwithstanding what Keats wrote in his letters; and the
act points to a revival of the old feeling on his part. About the
twenty-second or twenty-third of June, 1820, Keats left his rooms and
moved to Leigh Hunt's home to be nursed.[142] He remained about seven
weeks with the family, when there occurred an unfortunate incident which
resulted in his abrupt departure August 12, 1820. A letter of Fanny
Brawne's was delivered to him two days late with the seal broken. The
contretemps was due to the misconduct of a servant, but it was interpreted
by Keats as treachery on the part of the family. At the moment he would
accept no explanations or apologies. He writes of this incident to Fanny

     "My friends have behaved well to me in every instance but one, and
     there they have become tattlers, and inquisitors into my conduct:
     spying upon a secret I would rather die than share it with anybody's
     confidence. For this I cannot wish them well, I care not to see any
     of them again. If I am the Theme, I will not be the Friend of idle
     Gossips. Good gods what a shame it is our Loves should be put into
     the microscope of a Coterie. Their laughs should not affect you (I
     may perhaps give you reasons some day for these laughs, for I suspect
     a few people to hate me well enough, _for reasons I know of_, who
     have pretended a great friendship for me) when in competition with
     one, who if he should never see you again would make you the Saint of
     his memory. These Laughers, who do not like you, who envy you for
     your Beauty, who would have God-bless'd me from you for ever: who
     were plying me with disencouragements with respect to you eternally.
     People are revengeful--do not mind them--do nothing but love

In his next letter to her he says:

     "I shall never be able to endure any more the society of any of those
     who used to meet at Elm Cottage and Wentworth Place. The last two
     years taste like brass upon my Palate."[144]

The lack of self-control and the distrust seen in these extracts show that
Keats was laboring under hallucinations produced by an ill mind and body;
the letters from which they have been taken are unnatural, almost
terrible, in their passion and rebellion against fate.

Keats moved to the residence of the Brawnes. While he was here the trouble
seems to have been smoothed over, for in a letter to Hunt he says: "You
will be glad to hear I am going to delay a little at Mrs. Brawne's. I hope
to see you whenever you get time, for I feel really attached to you for
your many sympathies with me, and patience at all my _lunes_.... Your
affectionate friend, John Keats."[145] To Brown he says: "Hunt has behaved
very kindly to me"; and again: "The seal-breaking business is over-blown.
I think no more of it."[146] Hunt's reply is couched in most affectionate

     "Giovani [sic] Mio,

     "I shall see you this afternoon, and most probably every day. You
     judge rightly when you think I shall be glad at your putting up
     awhile where you are, instead of that solitary place. There are
     humanities in the house; and if wisdom loves to live with children
     round her knees (the tax-gatherer apart), sick wisdom, I think,
     should love to live with arms about it's waist. I need not say how
     you gratify me by the impulse that led you to write a particular
     sentence in your letter, for you must have seen by this time how much
     I am attached to yourself.

     "I am indicating at as dull a rate as a battered finger-post in wet
     weather. Not that I am ill: for I am very well altogether. Your
     affectionate Friend, Leigh Hunt."[147]

This was probably the last letter written by him to Keats. In September
Keats went to Rome with Severn to escape the hardships of the winter
climate, after having declined an invitation from Shelley to visit him at
Pisa. In the same month, Hunt published an affectionate farewell to him in
_The Indicator_. An announcement of his death appeared in _The Examiner_
of March 25, 1821. The story of the personal relations of the two men
could not be better closed than with the words of Hunt written March 8,
1821, to Severn in Rome when he believed Keats still alive:

     "If he can bear to hear of us, pray tell him; but he knows it
     already, and can put it into better language than any man. I hear
     that he does not like to be told that he may get better; nor is it to
     be wondered at, considering his firm persuasion that he shall not
     survive. He can only regard it as a puerile thing, and an insinuation
     that he shall die. But if his persuasion should happen to be no
     longer so strong, or if he can now put up with attempts to console
     him, tell him of what I have said a thousand times, and what I still
     (upon my honour) think always, that I have seen too many instances of
     recovery from apparently desperate cases of consumption not to be in
     hope to the very last. If he still cannot bear to hear this, tell
     him--tell that great poet and noblehearted man--that we shall all
     bear his memory in the most precious part of our hearts, and that the
     world shall bow their heads to it, as our loves do. Or if this,
     again, will trouble his spirit, tell him that we shall never cease to
     remember and love him; and that, Christian or infidel, the most
     sceptical of us has faith enough in the high things that nature puts
     into our heads, to think all who are of one accord in mind and heart
     are journeying to one and the same place, and shall unite somewhere
     or other again, face to face, mutually conscious, mutually

The literary relations of Keats and Hunt will be considered under two
heads; first, the criticism of Keats's writings by Hunt; and second, his
direct influence upon them.

_On first looking into Chapman's Homer_ in _The Examiner_ of December 1st,
1816, was embodied in an article entitled "Young Poets." It was the first
notice of Keats to appear in print and is in part as follows:

     "The last of these young aspirants whom we have met with, and who
     promise to help the new school to revive Nature and

          'To put a spirit of youth in everything,'--

     is we believe, the youngest of them all, and just of age. His name is
     John Keats. He has not yet published anything except in a newspaper,
     but a set of his manuscripts was handed us the other day, and fairly
     surprised us with the truth of their ambition, and ardent grappling
     with Nature."

In _Lord Byron and Some of his Contemporaries_, the last line of the same

  "Silent upon a peak in Darien"--

is called "a basis of gigantic tranquillity."[149]

Leigh Hunt's review of the _Poems_ of 1817[150] was kind and
discriminating. He writes characteristically of the first poem, _I stood
tiptoe_, that it "consists of a piece of luxury in a rural spot"; of the
epistles and sonnets, that they "contain strong evidences of warm and
social feelings." This comment is quite characteristic of Hunt. He was as
fond of finding "warm and social feelings" in the poetry of others as of
putting them into his own. In his anxiety he sometimes found them when
they did not exist. He continues: "The best poem is certainly the last and
the longest, entitled _Sleep and Poetry_. It originated in sleeping in a
room adorned with busts and pictures [Hunt's library], and is a striking
specimen of the restlessness of the young poetical appetite, obtaining its
food by the very desire of it, and glancing for fit subjects of creation
'from earth to heaven.' Nor do we like it the less for an impatient, and
as it may be thought by some irreverend [sic] assault upon the late French
school of criticism[151] and monotony." But Hunt did not allow his
affection for Keats or his approval of Keats's poetical doctrine to blunt
his critical acumen. In summarizing he says: "The very faults of Mr. Keats
arise from a passion for beauties, and a young impatience to vindicate
them; and as we have mentioned these, we shall refer to them at once. They
may be comprised in two;--first, a tendency to notice everything too
indiscriminately, and without an eye to natural proportion and effect; and
second, a sense of the proper variety of versification without a due
consideration of its principles." In conclusion, the beauties "outnumber
the faults a hundred fold" and "they are of a nature decidedly opposed to
what is false and inharmonious. Their characteristics indeed are a fine
ear, a fancy and imagination at will, and an intense feeling of external
beauty in its most natural and least inexpressible simplicity."

Hunt was disappointed with _Endymion_ and did not hesitate to say so.
Keats writes to his brothers:

     "Leigh Hunt I showed my 1st book to--he allows it not much merit as a
     whole; says it is unnatural and made ten objections to it in the mere
     skimming over. He says the conversation is unnatural and too
     high-flown for Brother and Sister--says it should be simple,
     forgetting do ye mind that they are both overshadowed by a
     supernatural Power, and of force could not speak like Francesca in
     the _Rimini_. He must first prove that Caliban's poetry is unnatural.
     This with me completely overturns his objections. The fact is he and
     Shelley are hurt, and perhaps justly, at my not having showed them
     the affair officiously (sic); and from several hints I have had they
     appear much disposed to dissect and anatomize any trip or slip I may
     have made.--But who's afraid? Aye! Tom! Demme if I am."[152]

Leigh Hunt expressed himself thus in 1828: "_Endymion_, it must be allowed
was not a little calculated to perplex the critics. It was a wilderness of
sweets, but it was truly a wilderness; a domain of young, luxuriant,
uncompromising poetry."[153]

_La Belle Dame sans Merci_, which appeared first in _The Indicator_,[154]
was accompanied with an introduction by Hunt, who says that it was
suggested by Alain Chartier's poem of the same title and "that the union
of the imagination and the real is very striking throughout, particularly
in the dream. The wild gentleness of the rest of the thoughts and of the
music are alike old, and they are alike young." _The Indicator_ of August
2 and 9, 1820, contained a review of the volume of 1820. The part dealing
with philosophy in poetry is of more than passing interest:

     "We wish that for the purpose of his story he had not appeared to
     give in to the commonplace of supposing that Apollonius's sophistry
     must always prevail, and that modern experiment has done a deadly
     thing to poetry by discovering the nature of the rainbow, the air,
     etc.; that is to say, that the knowledge of natural science and
     physics, by showing us the nature of things, does away the
     imaginations that once adorned them. This is a condescension to a
     learned vulgarism, which so excellent a poet as Mr. Keats ought not
     to have made. The world will always have fine poetry, so long as it
     has events, passions, affections, and a philosophy that sees deeper
     than this philosophy. There will be a poetry of the heart, as long as
     there are tears and smiles: there will be a poetry of the
     imagination, as long as the first causes of things remain a mystery.
     A man who is no poet, may think he is none, as soon as he finds out
     the first causes of the rainbow; but he need not alarm himself:--he
     was none before."[155]

Much the same line of discussion is reported of the conversation at
Haydon's "immortal dinner," December 28, 1817, when Keats and Lamb
denounced Sir Isaac Newton and his demolition of the things of the
imagination, Keats saying he "destroyed the poetry of the rainbow by
reducing it to a prism."[156] The pictorial features of the _Eve of St.
Agnes_ were particularly admired by Hunt, as one might be led to expect
from the decorative detail of his own narrative poetry. The portrait of
"Agnes" (_sic_ for Madeline) is said to be "remarkable for its union of
extreme richness and good taste" and "affords a striking specimen of the
sudden and strong maturity of the author's genius. When he wrote
_Endymion_ he could not have resisted doing too much. To the description
before me, it would be a great injury either to add or to diminish. It
falls at once gorgeously and delicately upon us, like the colours of the
painted glass." Of the description of the casement window, Hunt asks
"Could all the pomp and graces of aristocracy with Titian's and Raphael's
aid to boot, go beyond the rich religion of this picture, with its
'twilight saints' and its 'scutcheons blushing with the blood of queens'?"
Elsewhere he says that "Persian Kings would have filled a poet's mouth
with gold" for such poetry. Hunt calls _Hyperion_[157] "a fragment, a
gigantic one, like a ruin in the desert, or the bones of the mastodon. It
is truly of a piece with its subject, which is the downfall of the elder
gods." Later, in _Imagination and Fancy_, Hunt declared that Keats's
greatest poetry is to be found in _Hyperion_. His opinion of the whole is
thus summed up:

     "Mr. Keats's versification sometimes reminds us of Milton in his
     blank verse, and sometimes of Chapman both in his blank verse and in
     his rhyme; but his faculties, essentially speaking, though partaking
     of the unearthly aspirations and abstract yearnings of both these
     poets, are altogether his own. They are ambitious, but less directly
     so. They are more _social_, and in the finer sense of the word,
     sensual, than either. They are more coloured by the modern philosophy
     of sympathy and natural justice. _Endymion_, with all its
     extraordinary powers, partook of the faults of youth, though the best
     ones; but the reader of _Hyperion_ and these other stories would
     never guess that they were written at twenty.[158] The author's
     versification is now perfected, the exuberances of his imagination
     restrained, and a calm power, the surest and loftiest of all power,
     takes place of the impatient workings of the younger god within him.
     The character of his genius is that of energy and voluptuousness,
     each able at will to take leave of the other, and possessing in their
     union, a high feeling of humanity not common to the best authors who
     can combine them. Mr. Keats undoubtedly takes his seat with the
     oldest and best of our living poets."[159]

The more important division of the literary relations of the two men is
the direct influence of Hunt's work upon that of Keats.

On Keats's prose style Hunt's influence was very slight and can be quickly
dismissed. At one time Keats, affected perhaps by Hunt's example, thought
of becoming a theatrical critic. He did actually contribute four articles
to _The Champion_. Keats's favorite of Hunt's essays, _A Now_, contains
several passages composed by Keats. Mr. Forman considers that "the greater
part of the paper is so much in the taste and humor of Keats" that he is
justified in including it in his edition of Keats. He has also called
attention to a passage in Keats's letter to Haydon of April 10, 1818,
which bears a striking likeness to Hunt's occasional essay style: "The
Hedges by this time are beginning to leaf--Cats are becoming more
vociferous--Young Ladies who wear Watches are always looking at them.
Women about forty-five think the Season very backward."

The _Poems_ of 1817 show Hunt's influences in spirit, diction and
versification. There are epistles and sonnets in the manner of Hunt. _I
stood tiptoe upon a little hill_ opens the volume with a motto from the
_Story of Rimini_. The _Specimen of an Induction_ and _Calidore_ so nearly
approach Hunt's work in manner, that they might easily be mistaken for it.
_Sleep and Poetry_ attacks French models as Hunt had previously done. The
colloquial style of certain passages is significant of Hunt's influence
upon the poems. A few examples are:

  "To peer about upon variety."[160]

  "Or by the bowery clefts, and leafy shelves
  Guess where the jaunty streams refresh themselves."[161]

  "The ripples seem right glad to reach those cresses."[162]

  "... you just now are stooping
  To pick up the keepsake intended for me."[163]

  "Of this fair world, and all its gentle livers."[164]

  "The evening weather was so bright, and clear,
  That men of health were of unusual cheer."[165]

  "Linger awhile upon some bending planks
  That lean against a streamlet's rushy banks,
  And watch intently Nature's gentle doings:
  They will be found softer than the ring-dove's cooings."[166]

  "The lamps that from the high roof'd wall were pendant
  And gave the steel a shining quite transcendent."[167]

  "Or on the wavy grass outstretch'd supinely,
  Pry 'mong the stars, to strive to think divinely."[168]

The following are infelicitous passages reflecting Leigh Hunt's bad taste,
especially in the description of physical appearance, or of situations
involving emotion:

  "... what amorous and fondling nips
  They gave each other's cheeks."[169]

  "... some lady sweet
  Who cannot feel for cold her tender feet."[170]

  "Rein in the swelling of his ample might."[171]

  "Nor will a bee buzz round two swelling peaches."[172]

  "... What a kiss,
  What gentle squeeze he gave each lady's hand!
  How tremblingly their delicate ankles spann'd!
  Into how sweet a trance his soul was gone,
  While whisperings of affection
  Made him delay to let their tender feet
  Come to the earth; with an incline so sweet
  From their low palfreys o'er his neck they bent:
  And whether there were tears of languishment,
  Or that the evening dew had pearl'd their tresses,
  He felt a moisture on his cheek and blesses
  With lips that tremble, and with glistening eye,
  All the soft luxury
  That nestled in his arms."[173]

  "... Add too, the sweetness
  Of thy honey'd voice; the neatness
  Of thine ankle, lightly turned:
  With those beauties, scarce discern'd
  Kept with such sweet privacy,
  That they seldom meet the eye
  Of the little loves that fly
  Round about with eager pry."[174]

Descriptive passages in the Huntian style are not infrequent: the opening
lines from the _Imitation of Spenser_[175] are much nearer to Hunt than to

  "Now morning from her orient chamber came,
  And her first footsteps touched a verdant hill,
  Crowning its lawny crest with amber flame,
  Silv'ring the untainted gushes of its rill;
  Which, pure from mossy beds, did down distil
  And after parting beds of simple flowers,
  By many streams a little lake did fill,
  Which round its marge reflected woven bowers,
  And in its middle space, a sky that never lowers."[176]

These lines of _Calidore_ show a like resemblance:

  "He bares his forehead to the cool blue sky,
  And smiles at the far clearness all around,
  Until his heart is well nigh over wound,
  And turns for calmness to the pleasant green
  Of easy slopes, and shadowy trees that lean
  So elegantly o'er the waters' brim
  And show their blossoms trim."[177]

A third is:

  "Across the lawny fields, and pebbly water."

Single phrases showing the influence of Hunt[178] are: "airy feel,"
"patting the flowing hair," "A Man of elegance," "sweet-lipped ladies,"
"grateful the incense," "modest pride," "a sun-beamy tale of a wreath,"
"soft humanity," "leafy luxury," "pillowy silkiness," "swelling apples,"
"the very pleasant rout," "forms of elegance."

The following passages apparently bear as close a resemblance to each
other as it is possible to find by the comparison of individual passages
from the works of the two men:

  "The sidelong view of swelling leafiness
  Which the glad setting sun in gold doth dress"[179]

compare with:

  "And every hill, in passing one by one
  Gleamed out with twinkles of the golden sun:
  For leafy was the road, with tall array."[180]

The _Epistles_ are strikingly like Hunt's epistles in spirit, diction and
metre. Mr. Colvin has pointed out that the one addressed _To George Felton
Mathew_ was written in November, 1815, before Keats had met Hunt and
before the publication of the latter's epistles;[181] but Keats may have
known them at the time in manuscript through Clarke. The resemblances may
also have been due, in part, as in other points of comparison, to an
innate similarity of thought and feeling.

That Hunt's habit of sonneteering and his preference for the Petrarcan
form influenced Keats, is attested by the similarity of the latter's
sonnets to Hunt's in form, subjects, and allusions, and by the direct
references[182] to Hunt. _On the Grasshopper and the Cricket_[183] and
_To the Nile_[184] were written in contest with Hunt. _To Spenser_ is a
refusal to comply with Hunt's request that he should write a sonnet on
Spenser.[185] The title of _On Leigh Hunt's Poem, The Story of
Rimini_[186] speaks for itself.[187]

To put it briefly, the _Poems_ of 1817 show Hunt's influence in more ways
than any equal number of the young poet's later verses. It is seen in
Keats's subject matter[188] and allusions; in his adoption of a colloquial
style and diction; in his absorption of Hunt's spirit in the treatment of
nature and in his attitude toward women; and in his imitation and
exaggerated use of the free heroic couplet in _Sleep and Poetry_, _I
stood tiptoe_, _Specimen of an Induction_ and other poems.

Of the poem _Lines on seeing a Lock of Milton's Hair_, written in January,
1818, Keats wrote in a letter to Bailey: "I was at Hunt's the other day,
and he surprised me with a real authenticated lock of _Milton's hair_. I
know you would like what I wrote thereon, so here it is--as they say of a
Sheep in a Nursery Book.... This I did at Hunt's, at his request--perhaps
I should have done something better alone and at home."[189] Leigh Hunt's
three sonnets on the same subject, published in _Foliage_, have been
already spoken of in the preceding chapter.

_Endymion_ shows a decided decrease in the ascendancy of Hunt's mind over
Keats, for the sway of his intellectual supremacy had been shaken before
suspicions arose in Keats's mind as to the disinterestedness of his
motives. What influence lingers is seen in the general theory of
versification and in the diction, with some trace in matters of taste. A
marvellous luxury of imagery, glimpses into the heights and depths of
nature, an absorbing love of Greek fable, a deeper infusion of the ideal
have superseded what Mr. Colvin has called the "sentimental chirp" of
Hunt.[190] Specific passages in _Endymion_ reminiscent of Hunt are rare,
but Book III, ll. 23-30 recalls the general descriptive style in the
_Descent of Liberty_ and summarizes in a few lines pages of Hunt's
diffuse, spectacular imagery. Once or twice Keats seems to have fallen
into the colloquial manner in dialogue:

  "But a poor Naiad, I guess not. Farewell!
  I have a ditty for my hollow cell."[191]


                        "I own
  This may sound strangely: but when, dearest girl,
  Thou seest it for my happiness, no pearl
  Will trespass down those cheeks. Companion fair!
  Wilt be content to dwell with her, to share
  This sister's love with me? Like one resign'd
  And bent by circumstance, and thereby blind
  In self-commitment, thus that meek unknown:
  'Aye, but a buzzing by my ears has flown,
  Of jubilee to Dian:--truth I heard?
  Well then, I see there is no little bird.'"[192]

Occasionally there are passages in the bad taste of Hunt, as this example:

  "Enchantress! tell me by this soft embrace,
  By the most soft completion of thy face,
  Those lips, O slippery blisses, twinkling eyes,
  And by these tenderest, milky sovereignties--
  These tenderest, and by the nectar wine,
  The passion--"[193]


                   "O that I
  Were rippling round her dainty fairness now,
  Circling about her waist, and striving how
  To entice her to a dive! then stealing in
  Between her luscious lips and eyelids thin."[194]

In July, 1820, appeared the volume _Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes
and other Poems_. The lingering influence of Hunt is seen in a fondness
for the short poetic tale, in the direct and simple narrative style, and
in the return in _Lamia_ to the use of the heroic couplet; but that, along
with the other poems of the volume, is free from the Huntian
eccentricities of manner and diction found in Keats's earlier works. He
had come into his own. In treatment, _Lamia_ is almost faultless in
technique and in matters of taste; although Mr. Colvin has pointed out as
an exception the first fifteen lines of the second book, which he says
have Leigh Hunt's "affected ease and fireside triviality."[195] One of the
few occurrences of Hunt's manner is seen in the _Eve of St. Agnes_.

  "Paining with eloquence her balmy side."[196]

The famous passage in the _Eve of St. Agnes_ describing all manner of
luscious edibles is very suggestive of one in Hunt's _Bacchus and Ariadne_
which enumerates articles of the same kind.[197] It is in this latter
poem and in the _Story of Rimini_ that Hunt's power of description most
nearly approximates to that of Keats. In 1831, in the _Gentle Armour_,
Hunt is the imitator of Keats, as Mr. Colvin has already pointed out.[198]

The peculiarities of Keats's diction are, in the main, two-fold, and may
each be traced to a direct influence: first, archaisms in the manner of
Spenser[199] and Chatterton; second, colloquialisms and deliberate
departures from established usage in the employment and formation of
words, in imitation of Leigh Hunt. Keats's theory so far as he had one, is
set forth in a passage in one of his letters: "I shall never become
attached to a foreign idiom, so as to put it into my writings. The
Paradise Lost, though so fine in itself, is a corruption of our language.
It should be kept as it is, unique, a curiosity, a beautiful and grand
curosity, the most remarkable production of the world; a northern dialect
accommodating itself to Greek and Latin inversions and intonations. The
purest English, I think--or what ought to be the purest--is

Keats's _Poems_ of 1817 show Hunt's influence in diction more strongly
than any of his later works. In the majority of instances, this influence
is reflected in the principles of usage rather than in the actual usages,
although words and phrases used by Hunt are occasionally found in the
writings of Keats. The tendency to a colloquial vocabulary is seen in such
words and combinations as jaunty, right glad, balmy pain, leafy
luxury,[201] delicious,[202] tasteful, gentle doings, gentle livers, soft
floatings, frisky leaps, lawny mantle, patting, busy spirits. Among these
words, leafy, balmy, lawny, patting, nest, tiptoe, and variations of
"taste" were special favorites with Hunt. A few expressions only of this
kind, as "nest," "honey feel," "infant's gums," are found in _Endymion_,
and almost none at all in the later poems.

Keats used peculiar words with so much greater felicity and in so much
greater profusion than Hunt, exceeding in richness and individuality of
vocabulary most of the poets of his own time, that one is forced to
believe that Spenser's influence rather than Hunt's was dominant here.
Breaches of taste are confined almost entirely to the _Poems_ of 1817.

Ordinary words used peculiarly include "nips" (they gave each other's
cheeks), "core" (for heart) and "luxury"[203] (with a wrong connotation),
nouns and adjectives employed as verbs, and verbs as nouns and adjectives.
These devices likewise cannot be credited to Hunt without reservation,
since both Spenser and Milton used them; but there is little doubt that in
this instance Hunt was an inciting and sustaining influence. Keats
resorted to such artifices frequently and continued to do so to the end.
Instances of nouns and adjectives employed as verbs are: pennanc'd,
luting, passion'd, neighbour'd, syllabling, companion'd, labrynth,
anguish'd, poesied, vineyard'd, woof'd, loaned, medicin'd, zon'd, mesh,
pleasure, legion'd, companion, green'd, gordian'd, character'd, finn'd,
forest'd, tusk'd, monitor. Verbs employed as nouns and adjectives are:
shine, which occurs five times, feel, seeing, hush, pry and amaze.

More examples of coined compounds, nouns and adjectives, are to be found
in Keats than in Hunt; in his better work as well as in his early
productions. A few are: cirque-couchant, milder-mooned, tress-lifting,
flitter-winged, silk-pillowed, death-neighing, break-covert,
palsy-twitching, high-sorrowful, sea-foamy, amber-fretted, sweet-lipped,

The last principle is the coining, or choice of, adjectives in _y_ and
_ing_; of adverbs in _ly_, when, in many instances, adjectives and adverbs
already existed formed on the same stem. The frequent use of words with
these weak endings gives a very diffuse effect at times in Keats's early
poems. The following are examples: fenny, fledgy, rushy, lawny, liny,
nervy, pipy, paly, palmy, towery, sluicy, surgy, scummy, mealy, sparry,
heathy, rooty, slumbery, bowery, bloomy, boundly, palmy, surgy, spermy,
ripply, spangly, spherey, orby, oozy, skeyey, clayey, and plashy.[204]
Adjectives in _ing_ are: cheering, hushing, breeding, combing, dumpling,
sphering, tenting, toying, baaing, far-spooming, peering (hand), searing
(hand), shelving, serpenting. Adverbs are: scantly, elegantly,
refreshingly, freshening (lave), hoveringly, greyly, cooingly, silverly,
refreshfully, whitely, drowningly, wingedly, sighingly, windingly,

These statements are not very conclusive proof of the frequent occurrences
of the same words in the poems of the two men. They are questionable even
in regard to the principles of usage themselves, since poets of the same
period or young poets may possess the same tendencies. Yet in the light of
their relations already discussed the similarity of a number of principles
seems convincing proof that Hunt influenced Keats considerably in the
_principles_ of diction in his first volume and occasionally in the
selection of individual words; and that Keats never entirely freed himself
from some of Hunt's peculiarities. Shelley, in writing of _Hyperion_ to
Mrs. Hunt, spoke of the "bad sort of style which is becoming fashionable
among those who fancy that they are imitating Hunt and Wordsworth."[205]
Medwin reported Shelley as saying "We are certainly indebted to the
Lakists for a more simple and natural phraseology; but the school that has
sprung out of it, have spawned a set of words neither Chaucerian nor
Spencerian (_sic_), words such as 'gib,' and 'flush,' 'whiffling,'
'perking up,' 'swirling,' 'lightsome and brightsome' and hundreds of

Keats, following the lead of Hunt, used the free heroic couplet in several
of the 1817 poems with a license even greater than Hunt's. In _Endymion_
he indulged in further vagaries of rhythm and metre that Hunt never
dreamed of and in fact greatly disapproved of. Hunt said that "_Endymion_
had no versification."[207] In its want of couplet and line units, this is
not very far from the truth. Writing of it again in 1828, he says: "The
great fault of _Endymion_ next to its unpruned luxuriance, (or before it,
rather, for it was not a fault on the right side,) was the wilfulness of
its rhymes. The author had a just contempt for the monotonous termination
of everyday couplets; he broke up his lines in order to distribute the
rhyme properly; but going only upon the ground of his contempt, and not
having settled with himself any principles of versification, the very
exuberance of his ideas led him to make use of the first rhymes that
offered; so that, by a new meeting of effects, the extreme was artificial,
and much more obtrusive than the one under the old system. Dryden modestly
thought, that a rhyme had often helped him to a thought. Mr. Keats in the
tyranny of his wealth, forced his rhymes to help him, whether they would
or not; and they obeyed him, in the most singular manner, with equal
promptitude and ungainliness."[208] _Endymion_ has been thought by some
critics, to have been written under the metrical influence of
Chamberlayne's _Pharronida_. In the number of run-on lines and couplets--a
scheme nearer blank verse than the couplet--there is certainly a striking
correspondence. Mr. Forman thinks that Keats knew the poem. Mr. Colvin
and Mr. De Selincourt can see no real likeness. There is no proof as yet
discovered that Keats ever heard of it.

In _Lamia_, after the extreme reaction in _Endymion_, Keats approached
nearer to the classic form of the couplet used by Dryden, but still with
greater freedom in structure than appears in either Dryden or Hunt. From
the evidence of Brown it is probable that Keats imitated Dryden directly
and not through the medium of Hunt's work, but it is very likely that Hunt
directed him there in the first instance for a model. Mr. Palgrave says of
the metre of _Lamia_ that Keats "admirably found and sustained the balance
between a blank verse treatment of the 'Heroic' and the epigrammatic form
carried to such perfection by Pope."[209] Leigh Hunt said that "the lines
seem to take pleasure in the progress of their own beauty like sea nymphs
luxuriating through the water."[210]

In conclusion, Keats's early and late employment of the couplet was marked
always by greater freedom in the use of run-on couplets and lines, and in
the handling of the cæsura than Dryden's or Hunt's; he was at first slower
than Hunt to employ the triplet and the Alexandrine, but he later adopted
them in a larger measure; and he introduced the run-on paragraph and the
hemistich independently of Hunt.



Finnerty Case--Correspondence of Hunt and Shelley--Their Political and
Religious Sympathy--Hunt's Defense of Shelley--Hunt's Italian
Journey--Shelley's Death--Hunt's Criticism--Literary Influence--Shelley's
Estimate of Hunt.

The friendship of Shelley and Leigh Hunt is the simple story of an
intimacy founded on a common endowment of independence of thought and of
capacity for self-sacrifice. Although both were sensitive and shrinking by
nature, and preferred to dwell in an isolated world of books and dreams,
yet for the sake of abstract principles and for love of humanity, both
expended much time and endured much pain in the arena of public strife.

In _The Examiners_ of February 18 and 24, 1811, appeared articles by Hunt
on the Finnerty case. Peter Finnerty, Hunt's successor as editor of _The
Statesman_, had been prosecuted and imprisoned on the charge of libelling
Lord Castlereagh. Hunt's defense drew Shelley's attention to the case and
may have inspired him, it has been suggested, to write his _Political
Essay on the Existing State of Things_. The proceeds went to
Finnerty.[211] On March 2 Shelley subscribed to the Finnerty fund and, on
the same day, wrote Hunt, whom he had never met, a letter from Oxford,
congratulating him on his acquittal from a third charge of libel and
proposing that an association should be formed to establish "rational
liberty," to resist the enemies of justice, and to protect each

Shelley's political creed was, in the main, that of William Godwin, with
an admixture of Holbach, Volney and Rousseau at first hand.[213] In
English philosophic literature he knew Berkeley, Hume, Reid and Locke. His
watchword was the cry of the French Revolution, liberty, equality and
fraternity, to be gained, not by violence and bloodshed, but by a steady
and unyielding resistance of the masses against the corrupt institutions
of church and state. Like Godwin, he believed man capable of his own
redemption and, with tradition and tyranny overthrown and reason and
nature enthroned, he hoped for universal justice and ultimate
perfectibility of mankind. His poetry and his prose represent a
development from the impassioned and imaginative enthusiasm of an
uncompromising youth, who would single-handed revolutionize the world in
the twinkling of an eye, to the saner hope of a man who took somewhat into
account the necessarily gradual nature of ethical evolution. His chief
fallacy lay in the failure to recognize evil as an inherent force in human
nature and to acknowledge sect and state, to which he attributed the
origin of all error, as inventions of man's ingenuity. Neither did he
perceive the necessity of certain restrictions on the individual for the
preservation of law and order. He believed in no distinctions of rank
except those based on individual talent and virtue. He wrote in 1811: "I
am no aristocrat, nor '_crat_' at all, but vehemently long for the time
when men may dare to live in accordance with Nature and Reason--in
consequence with Virtue, to which I firmly believe that Religion and its
establishments, Polity and its establishments, are the formidable though
destructible barriers."[214] Shelley knew of Leigh Hunt first as a
political writer of considerable importance. In this respect he never
ceased to admire him or to be influenced by _The Examiner_ in the campaign
against government corruption. Yet his own equipment of mind and training,
visionary as his theories seem, gave him a power of speculation and grasp
of situation that ignored the limitations of time and space, while Hunt,
with his narrower view, never got beyond the petty and immediate details
of one nation or of one age.

The social improvements which Shelley advocated were Catholic
Emancipation, brought about later, as has been pointed out by Symonds, by
the very means which Shelley foresaw and prophesied; reform of
parliamentary representation[215] similar to that carried into effect in
1832, 1867 and 1882; freedom of the press[216] and repeal of the union of
Great Britain and Ireland; the abolition of capital punishment and of
war.[217] During the fourteen years of Hunt's editorship, among the
reforms for which he fought in _The Examiner_ were the first three of
these measures. He denounced capital punishment and war in the same paper
and later in his poem _Captain Sword and Captain Pen_.[218]

Shelley's moral code was based on an idealized sense of justice, and was a
kind of "natural piety."[219] With one marked exception, he seems to have
been true to the pursuit of it, both in his standards of conduct and in
his relations with others. His life was a model of generosity, purity of
thought, and unselfish devotion. Hunt reported Shelley as having said:
"What a divine religion might be found out, if charity were really the
principle of it, instead of faith."[220] He was atheist only in the sense
of discarding the dogmas of theology and of superstition, and in his
spirit of scientific inquiry. He did not deny the existence in nature of
an all-pervading spirit. Hunt thought the popular misconception of
Shelley's opinions was due to his misapplication of the names of the Deity
and to his identification of them with vulgar superstitions. Of Shelley's
attitude he wrote: "His want of faith in the letter, and his exceeding
faith in the spirit of Christianity, formed a comment, the one on the
other, very formidable to those who chose to forget what Scripture itself
observes on that point."[221] Whether or not Shelley believed in
immortality is still a vexed question and is likely to remain so, since he
had not reached convictions sufficiently stable to permit a formal
statement on his part. Many of the passages in _Adonais_ would lead one to
believe that he did; certainly he did, like Hunt, cling to the idea of the
persistence, in some form or other, of the good and the beautiful. The
close conformity of their views is seen in the latter's two sonnets in
_Foliage_[222] addressed to Shelley, where the poet condemns the degrading
notions so prevalent concerning the Deity and celebrates the Spirit of
Beauty and Goodness in all things. But, in religion as in politics,
Shelley was bolder and more speculative than Hunt.

The fine of £1,000 and imprisonment of the Hunt brothers in 1813 drew from
Shelley a vehement protest. In a letter to Hogg[223] he lamented the
inadequacy of Lord Brougham's defense and fairly boiled with indignation
at "the horrible injustice and tyranny of the sentence" and pronounced
Hunt "a brave, a good, and an enlightened man." He started a subscription
with twenty pounds, and later he must have offered to pay the entire fine,
for Hunt recorded in his _Autobiography_ that Shelley had made him "a
princely offer,"[224] which he declined, as he did not need it. The offer
was actuated solely by a hatred of oppression, for the two men had little
or no personal knowledge of each other at the time.

It is impossible to decide the exact date of their first meeting. Hunt
says that it took place before the indictment for libel on the Prince
Regent.[225] This evidence would make it fall sometime between March,
1812, the date of Shelley's letter mentioned above, and February, 1813,
the beginning of the incarceration. But a letter from Shelley to Hunt
dated December 7, 1813, demanding if he had made the statement that Milton
had died an atheist, from its very formal tone, leads one to believe that
they had not met up to that time and that Hunt, writing from memory many
years afterwards, made a mistake. Thornton Hunt gives as the immediate
cause of the two men coming together, Shelley's application to Mr. Rowland
Hunter, the publisher and stepfather of Mrs. Hunt, for advice regarding
the publication of a poem. He referred Shelley to Leigh Hunt. The next
meeting was in Surrey Street Gaol. Thornton Hunt, in a delightful
reminiscence of Shelley,[226] says that he had no recollection of him
among his father's visitors in prison, but he remembered perfectly the
latter's description of his "angelic" appearance, his classic thoughts,
and his dreams for the emancipation of mankind. The real intimacy began
after Shelley's return from the continent in 1816 when Shelley, in search
of a house before he settled at Marlow, was the guest of Hunt at Hampstead
during a part of December.[227] A close companionship followed
uninterruptedly for two years until Shelley went to Italy, and there are
recorded in the letters and journals of each many pleasant evenings at
Hampstead and at Marlow, filled with poetry and music, with talks on art
and trials of wit, with dinners and theater parties. Mary Shelley and Mrs.
Hunt became as great friends as their husbands.

When Harriet committed suicide and Shelley went up to London to institute
proceedings for possession of their children, Hunt remained constantly
with him and gave him as much sympathy and support as it is possible for
one fellow-being to extend to another whom all the world has
deserted.[228] He attended the Chancery suit and stated Shelley's position
in _The Examiner_.[229] This sympathy and support, given Shelley in his
hour of greatest need and desolation, have never been sufficiently valued
in a comparative estimate of the relative indebtedness of the two men. If
Shelley gave freely of his money, Hunt, devoid of worldly goods, gave
unstintingly, to the detriment of his reputation, of those things which
money cannot purchase. That he incurred the displeasure of men in power,
and ran the risk of being misunderstood by the public in befriending
Shelley, did not deter him for an instant.

During 1817 Shelley made the acquaintance, through Hunt, of the Cockney
circle, including Keats, Reynolds, Hazlitt, Brougham, Novello and Horace
Smith. The last-named became one of Shelley's most trusted friends.[230]
These new friends enlarged his list of acquaintances considerably, for up
to this time he seems to have had no friends except Godwin, Hogg and

In the early spring of 1818, the Shelleys went to Italy, melancholy with
the thought of separation from the Hunts.[231] The letters from Shelley to
Hunt during the next four years form an important part of Shelley's

The part played by Shelley in the invitation extended to Hunt to join Lord
Byron and himself in Italy and to become one of the editors of a
periodical will be treated minutely in the next chapter. It is sufficient
here to say that he was actuated by a desire to better Hunt's finances and
to enjoy his society--a pleasure he had been pining for ever since they
had been separated, and, in case of a return to England, regarded as the
one joy "among all the other sources of regret and discomfort with which
England abounds for me.... Shaking hands with you is worth all the
trouble; the rest is clear loss."[232] Further, he knew that Hunt longed
for Italy, and he wished to help Byron in the cause of liberalism. To
bring both ends about, he shouldered a burden that he was ill able to
bear. An annuity of £200 for the support of his two children, an annuity
of £100 to Peacock, perpetual demand for large sums from Godwin,
occasional assistance rendered the Gisbornes, partial support of Jane
Claremont, loans to Byron, and the support of his family, were the drains
already upon him--met, in the main by money raised on _post obits_ at half

The amount of Hunt's indebtedness to Shelley can be estimated only
approximately. The first reference to a financial transaction between them
after the "princely offer"[233] is to be found in Mary Shelley's letter of
December 6, 1816, in which she wondered that Hunt had not acknowledged the
"receipt of so large a sum." Professor Dowden thinks this may be an
allusion to Shelley's response to an appeal for the poor of Spitalfields
which had appeared in _The Examiner_ five days previously.[234] Shelley's
offers to Hunt to borrow £100 from Byron[235] and to stand security for a
loan from Charles Cowden Clarke,[236] and an attempt to borrow from Samuel
Rogers[237] are not developed by any further facts, but it is necessary to
take note of them in a general estimate. Before leaving England, Shelley
arranged with Ollier for a loan of £100 for Hunt, a debt which was later
liquidated by the sale of the _Literary Pocket Book_.[238] At some time
before leaving England, Shelley also gave Hunt in one year £1,400[239] for
the liquidation of his debts, which money was, Medwin says, borrowed from
Horace Smith.[240] Unfortunately for Shelley, the sum was insufficient to
extricate Hunt from his difficulties. Miss Mitford gives the amount as
£1,500, instead of £1,400, and adds that Shelley's furniture and bedding
were swept off to pay Hunt's creditors;[241] the inaccuracy of the first
statement and the lack of any evidence to support the second, lead one to
doubt the story. But it is true that Shelley's income at the time was only
£1,000. Even when so far away as Italy, Hunt's money troubles weighed
heavily upon Shelley in a continual regret that he could not set him
entirely free from his creditors;[242] he feared that the incredible
exertions Hunt was making on _The Indicator_ and on _The Examiner_, and
the privations that he endured, would undermine his health.[243] When Hunt
finally decided to go to Italy, Shelley assumed, as a matter of course,
the chief responsibility of providing the means.

As early as 1818, when Shelley and Byron met in Venice, the matter of the
journal was discussed between them and broached to Hunt. December 22,
1818, Shelley wrote him that Byron wished him to come to Italy and that,
if money considerations prevented, Byron would lend him £400 or £500. He
added that Hunt should not feel uncomfortable in accepting the offer, as
it was frankly made, and that his society would give Byron pleasure and
service.[244] Hunt does not seem to have seriously considered the
proposition, for there are few references to it in his correspondence of
this year. On the renewal of the plan in 1821, Shelley would never have
called on Byron for assistance for Hunt if he himself could have provided
otherwise, for his opinion of Byron had changed in the meantime.[245]
January 25, 1822, Shelley sent £150 for the expenses of the voyage,
"within 30 or 40 pounds of what I have contrived to scrape
together";[246] and again on February 23, £250,[247] borrowed with
security from Byron. Yet Shelley's own exchequer at the time was so low
that Mary Shelley wrote in the spring: "We are drearily behindhand with
money at present. Hunt and our furniture has swallowed up more than our
savings."[248] On April 10 Shelley stated that he was trying to finish
_Charles the First_ in order that he might earn £100 for Hunt.

In round numbers it may be calculated that the sum total of Hunt's
indebtedness, exclusive of the yearly bequest of £120 paid by Shelley's
son, was about £2,500, a very large sum in the light of Shelley's limited
resources and other obligations. But it was as ungrudgingly given as it
was graciously received. Between the two men there was no distinction of
_meum_ and _tuum_. More remarkable still, Mary Shelley gave as willingly
as her husband. If one is inclined to marvel at such an unusual state of
affairs, it must be recalled that both men were under the spell of William
Godwin's theories of community of property. Shelley gave as his duty and
Hunt received as his due. That the effort involved much deprivation and
distress of mind on the part of the giver mars the justice of acceptance
by the recipient, retrieved only in part by the belief that Hunt probably
did not know the full extent of Shelley's sacrifice, and the knowledge
that the former would gladly have endured as much if the conditions had
been reversed. The element of self-sacrifice and delicacy on the part of
Shelley in concealing it, in after years only added to the beauty of the
gift in Hunt's eyes, and even at the time he cannot be accused of
indifference.[249] Jeaffreson makes the absurd suggestion that Shelley
gave the money as a bribe to the editor of a powerful and flourishing
literary journal.[250] He thinks dodging creditors was a strong bond of
mutual interest between the two men. There is evidence that Hunt was in
difficulty at the time and that Shelley left a surgeon's bill unpaid,[251]
but there is no proof extant of deliberate mutual protection. On the
contrary, it is most unlikely.

The Hunts sailed from England in November, 1821, and reached Leghorn
nearly nine months after first setting out on a voyage which, in its
delays and dangers, Byron compared to the "periplus of Hanno the
Carthaginian, and with much the same speed";[252] Peacock to that of
Ulysses.[253] Of Shelley's suggestion to make the trip by sea, Hunt wrote:
"if he had recommended a balloon, I should have been inclined to try
it."[254] Hogg, with his characteristic humour, remarked that a journey by
land would have taken equally long, since Hunt would have stopped to
gather all the daisies by the wayside from Paris to Pisa. Both men looked
forward to many years together[255] and Shelley, in his letter of welcome,
wrote that wind and waves parted them no more,[256] an assertion which now
sounds like a knell of doom. From Leghorn Shelley conveyed the party to
Pisa and installed them in the lower floor of Byron's dwelling, the
Lanfranchi Palace.[257] To Shelley fell the difficult task of keeping Lord
Byron in heart for the new undertaking and of reviving Hunt's drooping
spirits. Hunt's funds were all gone and in their place was a debt of sixty
crowns. The next few days were full of grave anxiety and foreboding for
the future, broken only by a delightful Sunday spent in seeing the
Cathedral and the Tower. Of this day Hunt wrote: "Good God! what a day was
that, compared with all that have followed it! I had my friend with me,
arm-in-arm, after a separation of years: he was looking better than I had
ever seen him--we talked of a thousand things--we anticipated a thousand
pleasures."[258] Then came the fatal Monday with its shipwreck of many
hopes--in its tragic sequel too well known to need repetition here. Hunt's
last services to his friend were his assistance rendered at the cremation
and his contribution of the now famous Latin epitaph "_cor cordium_."[259]

With Shelley perished Hunt's chief hope in life; in the opinion of his
son, he was never the same man again. In 1832, at his period of darkest
depression, he wrote: "If you ask me how it is that I bear all this, I
answer, that I love nature and books, and think well of the capabilities
of human kind. I have known Shelley, I have known my mother."[260] In 1844
he claimed as his proudest title, the "Friend of Shelley."[261]

The first printed notice of Shelley was in _The Examiner_ of December 1,
1816. Therefore to Hunt belongs in this case, as in that of Keats, the
credit of discovery. It is difficult to account for Hunt's tardiness of
recognition,[262] coming as it did six years after Shelley first wrote
him, five years after the Finnerty poem, three years after _Queen Mab_,
and two years after the visit in prison.[263] Also Shelley had sent
contributions to _The Examiner_, which Hunt had not accepted, but which he
vaguely recalled at the time of writing his first review on Shelley. It
was inspired by the announcement of _Alastor_, and consisted of about ten
lines, embodied in the article on Keats and Reynolds already referred to.
Hunt pronounced Shelley "a very striking and original thinker." Shelley's
reply to a letter from Hunt, telling him of the notice, pictures him
anxiously scouring the countryside about Bath for the sight of a copy and
buoyed up at last by the news of one five miles distant.

This notice was followed by the publication of the _Hymn to Intellectual
Beauty_ in _The Examiner_ of January 19, 1817; a notice of the Chancery
suit, January 26 and February 2; and an extract from _Laon and Cythna_,
November 30. A review of the _Revolt of Islam_ ran through three numbers,
January 25, February 8 and 22, 1818. Shelley's system of charity and his
crusade against tyranny, as set forth in the preface, Hunt loudly
applauded. Many extracts were italicized for the guidance of the public.
The beauties of the poem were pronounced to be its mysticism, its
wildness, its depth of sentiment, its grandeur of imagery, and its varied
and sweet versification. In the boldness of speculation and in the love of
virtue Hunt saw a resemblance to Lucretius, while in the gloom and
imagination of certain passages, particularly in the grandeur of the
supernatural architecture, he was reminded of Dante. The defects were
pronounced to be obscurity of narrative and sameness of image and
metaphor. The review closed with the prophecy "we have no doubt he is
destined to be one of the leading spirits of the age."

The _Quarterly Review_ of May, 1818, accused Shelley[264] of atheism and
of dissolute conduct in private life; the same journal of April, 1819,
reviewing the _Revolt of Islam_ on the basis of the suppressed version of
_Laon and Cythna_, though it did not fail to appreciate the genius and
beauty of the poem, charged Shelley with a predilection for incest and
with a frantic dislike for Christianity. It called the support of _The
Examiner_ "the sweet undersong of the weekly journal."[265] The two
attacks were met by a strong protest from Hunt,[266] particularly in
regard to the part dealing with Shelley's life. He denied the propriety of
such discussion in public criticism and declared that he had never known
Shelley to "deviate, notwithstanding his theories, even into a single
action which those who differ with him might think blameable." His life at
Marlow was described as spent in "beautiful charity and generosity" and
was likened to that of Plato. In 1821 an attack on Shelley by Hazlitt was
met by an angry warning from Hunt and a threat to become his public enemy,
if the offense were repeated.[267] Hunt's reason for taking this defensive
attitude was that he knew that Shelley suffered greatly from such
malignant exploitations and that he would not defend himself; therefore he
made his friend's cause his own and wrote: "I reckon upon your leaving
your personal battles to me,"[268] much in the same manner as Shelley had
assumed his money troubles.

Following the review of the _Revolt of Islam_, a notice of _Rosalind and
Helen_ and of _Lines Written among the Euganean Hills_[269] appeared in
_The Examiner_ of May 9, 1819. Attention was called to the poet's optimism
and to his great love of nature: "the beauty of the external world has an
answering heart, and the very whispers of the wind a meaning." _The
Cenci_, published in 1820, contained in its dedication a glowing tribute
to Hunt, an honour in Shelley's opinion only in a small degree worthy of
his friend.[270] Hunt was intoxicated with the honour and wrote: "I feel
as if you had bound, not only my head, but my very soul and body with
laurels."[271] On the subject of the tragedy he was equally enthusiastic:
"What a noble book, Shelley, have you given us! What a true, stately, and
yet affectionate mixture of poetry, philosophy, and human nature, horror,
and all redeeming sweetness of intention, for there is an undersong of
suggestion through it all, that sings, as it were, after the storm is
over, like a brook in April."[272] In a public expression of his opinion
in _The Examiner_ of March 19, 1820, Hunt pronounced _The Cenci_ the
greatest dramatic production of the day. Writing of the drama again in the
same journal of July 19 and 26, 1820, he called Shelley "a framer of
mighty lines" and continued: "Majesty and Love do sit on one throne in the
lofty buildings of his poetry; and they will be found there, at a late and
we trust a happier day, on a seat immortal as themselves."

One of Hunt's most perfect poems, _Jaffár_, is inscribed to the memory of
Shelley. The praise of _Jaffár_ and his friend's undying loyalty
immediately suggest to the reader that Hunt may have been celebrating his
own and Shelley's friendship. The last review to appear during Shelley's
lifetime by Hunt was that of _Prometheus Unbound_ in three numbers of _The
Examiner_ of 1822. A projected review of _Adonais_ alluded to in a letter
of Hunt's does not seem to have seen the light of publication, but a
reference in a letter at the time is worth noting: "It is the most Delphic
poety I have seen in a long while: full of those embodyings of the most
subtle and airy imaginations,--those arrestings and explanations of the
most shadowy yearnings of our being."[273] The well-known account of
Shelley's rescue of a woman on Hampstead Heath was told in _The Literary
Examiner_ of August 23, 1823.[274] The same magazine of September 20 of
the same year[275] contained the following _Sonnet to Percy Shelley_,
given here because of its general inaccessibility:

  "Hast thou from earth, then, really passed away,
  And mingled with the shadowy mass of things
  Which were, but are not? Will thy harp's dear strings
  No more yield music to the rapid play
  Of thy swift thoughts, now turned thou art to clay?
  Hark! Is that rushing of thy spirit's wings,
  When (like the skylark, who in mounting sings)
  Soaring through high imagination's way,
  Thou pour'dst thy melody upon the earth,
  Silent for ever? Yes, wild ocean's wave
  Hath o'er thee rolled. But whilst within the grave
  Thou sleepst, let me in the love of thy pure worth
  One thing foretell,--that thy great fame shall be
  Progressive as Time's flood, eternal as the sea!"

In _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_ appeared the first
biographical memoir of Shelley, a sketch of some seventy pages.[276] It
shows great appreciation of the fine and gentle qualities of his rare
genius and defends some of the weak points of his career. The description
of his personal appearance, of the life at Marlowe, and the few anecdotes
are often quoted. But on the whole, it lacks the bold strokes of vivid
portraiture and it is very disappointing.[277] There was probably no one,
with the exception of his wife, who knew Shelley so well as Hunt and who
was, therefore, in a position to give as complete and intimate an idea of
him. It was Mrs. Shelley's wish that Hunt should be her husband's
biographer, for she thought that he, "perhaps above all others, understood
his nature and his genius."[278] Hunt, in _The Spectator_ of August 13,
1859, gave as his reason for not writing Shelley's life that he "could not
survive enough persons." But it is to be questioned if he were fitted for
the task. His son did not think that he was because of his attention to
details and his irresistible tendency to analysis: "a mind, in short, like
that of Hamlet, cultivated rather than corrected by the trials of life,
was scarcely suited to comprehend the strong instincts, indomitable will,
and complete unity of idea which distinguished Shelley."[279]

In the _Tatler_ of August 1, 1831, Hunt wrote that "Mr. Shelley was a
platonic philosopher, of the acutest and loftiest kind," and that he
belonged to the school of Plato and Æschylus, as Keats belonged to that of
Spenser and Milton. Following _The Tatler_ was the preface to _The Mask of
Anarchy_,[280] published in 1832, originally designed for _The Examiner_
in 1819, but laid aside by the editor because he thought the public not
discerning enough "to do justice to the sincerity and kindheartedness of
the spirit that walked in this flaming robe of verse." The preface
eulogizes the poet's spiritual nature and his "seraphic purpose of good."
In _The Seer_, 1841, Shelley's qualities of heart were pronounced more
enduring than his genius.[281]

_Imagination and Fancy_ contained an essay and selections from his poems.
Here Hunt makes the curious statement that little in the poems is purely
poetical, but rather moral, political, and speculative. It is noteworthy
that he predicts, probably for the first time, that, had Shelley lived, he
would have been the greatest dramatic writer since the days of Elizabeth,
if not, indeed, actually so, through what he did accomplish; a statement
often repeated. He says: "If Coleridge is the sweetest of our poets,
Shelley is at once the most ethereal and gorgeous, the one who has clothed
his thought in draperies of the most evanescent and most magnificent words
and imagery.... Shelley ... might well call himself Ariel."[282] In
connection with Shelley's ethereal qualities, Mrs. James T. Fields quotes
Hunt as having said on another occasion that Shelley always seemed to him
as if he were "just alit from the planet Mercury, bearing a winged wand
tipped with flame."[283] In _Imagination and Fancy_, Hunt continues: "Not
Milton himself is more learned in Grecisms, or nicer in entomological
propriety; and nobody, throughout, has a style so Orphic and primeval."

It is a touching circumstance that Hunt's last letter bore reference to
Shelley, and that his last effort as a public writer, made only a few days
before his death, was in vindication of Shelley's character.[284] The
publication of the _Shelley Memorials_, 1859, in which Hunt had a part,
provoked an unfavorable review in _The Spectator_. Hunt replied in the
next number[285] of the same paper. In particular he asserted Shelley's
truthfulness, which had been assailed in respect to his story of the
attempted assassination in Wales. He held that Shelley was not a man to be
judged by ordinary rules, but that he was the highest possible exponent of
humanity--an approach to divinity.

Hunt's literary relation with Shelley falls into two divisions;
publications written for Hunt's periodicals, and received by Hunt in
order to give Shelley an outlet of expression denied him in the more
conservative papers; and second, positive literary imitation. Besides the
poems quoted in Hunt's criticisms of Shelley, the first includes a review
of Godwin's _Mandeville_,[286] a letter of protest regarding the second
edition of _Queen Mab_,[287] _Marianne's Dream_,[288] _Song on a Faded
Violet_,[289] _The Sunset_,[290] _The Question_,[291] _Good Night_,[292]
_Sonnet, Ye Hasten to the Grave_,[293] _To ---- (Lines to a
Reviewer)_,[294] _November, 1815_,[295] _Love's Philosophy_,[296] and the
contributions designed by Shelley for _The Liberal_ and published after
his death.[297] Productions which were written for Hunt's papers, but were
not accepted, were _Peter Bell the Third_, _The Mask of Anarchy_, _Julian
and Maddalo_, a letter on the persecution of Richard Carlile,[298] letters
on Italy, and a review of Peacock's _Rhododaphne_. Hunt's failure to
accept what was sent him greatly discouraged Shelley at times: "Mine is a
life of failures; Peacock says my poetry is composed of day dreams and
nightmares, and Leigh Hunt does not think it good enough for _The

_On a Fete at Carlton House_, an attack on the Prince Regent, though
perhaps directly inspired by the account in the dailies of the ball at
Carlton House on June 20, 1811, was doubtless influenced by the continued
attacks of _The Examiner_. As there are extant only two or three lines of
the poem,[299] it is impossible to judge of the extent of the influence,
but in Shelley's letters to Hogg and to Edward Graham describing the poem,
there is resemblance in tone and epithet to _The Examiner_. A letter from
Shelley to Lord Ellenborough on the occasion of Eaton's sentence for
publishing the third part of Paine's _Age of Reason_ followed a long
series of articles by Hunt on the prerogative of liberty of speech.[300]

A meeting of Reformers at Manchester on the sixteenth of August, 1819, for
the purpose of discussing quietly the annual meeting of Parliament,
universal suffrage, and voting by ballot, was dispersed by military force.
Articles setting forth the long sufferings of the Reformers, charging the
authorities with wanton bloodshed, and ridiculing the absurd trial of the
offenders, appeared in _The Examiner_ of August 22, 29, September 5, 19
and 26. _The Mask of Anarchy_, written on the occasion of the massacre at
Manchester, was sent to Leigh Hunt for publication sometime before the
first of November, 1819. The sentiment of both men is the same regarding
the affair.

Accounts of the death of the Princess Charlotte and of the executions for
high treason at Derby of Brandreth, Ludlam and Turner, after a horrible
imprisonment, two articles in _The Examiner_ of November 9, 1819, inspired
Shelley's _Address to the People on the Death of the Princess Charlotte_,
sometimes known as _We Pity the Plumage, but Forget the Dying Bird_, dated
November 12 of the same year. Hunt followed with a second article, _Death
of the Princess Charlotte and Indecent Advantage Taken of It_, November
16, 1819. Both writers called attention to the disposition of the public
to forget the sufferings of the poor, while it mourned hysterically with
royalty; they declared that the administration of justice and the events
leading to such crimes were of much greater importance. Three articles in
_The Examiner_ of October 17, 24 and 31, 1819, on the trial of Richard
Carlile for libel, were followed by an open letter on the same case from
Shelley to Hunt dated November 3, 1819. By scattered references it can be
seen that Shelley fully agreed with Hunt in his opinion of the Prince
Regent and of the Ministers, in his attitude toward the corruption of the
court and of the army; and in his proposed regulation of taxes and of the
public debt.

_Oedipus Tyrannus or Swellfoot the Tyrant_, begun August, 1820,
succeeded a series of articles, beginning in _The Examiner_ of June 11,
1820, and continuing throughout nineteen numbers,[301] on the subject of
George IV's attempt to divorce his wife.[302] Abhorrence of the king's
perfidy and of his ministers' support, sympathy for Queen Caroline, and
minor details parallel closely Hunt's version in _The Examiner_. This
passage occurs in the article of June 9: "An animal sets himself down,
month after month, at Milan, to watch at her doors and windows, to
intercept discarded servants and others who know what a deposition might
be worth, and thus to gather poison for one of those venomous Green Bags,
which have so long infected and nauseated the people, and are now to
infect the Queen." This seems to be the germ of the passage in Shelley's
poem beginning:

        "Behold this bag! it is
  The poison Bag of that Green Spider huge,
  On which our spies sulked in ovation through
  The streets of Thebes, when they were paved with dead."

Then follows the plot to throw the contents upon the Queen.

The handling of the heroic couplet, employed in the _Letter to Maria
Gisborne_ and in _Epipsychidon_, as well as in _Julian and Maddalo_,[303]
has been already discussed in its relationship to Hunt's use of the same.
Shelley, in a letter to Hunt, explains his position in regard to the
language of _Julian and Maddalo_:

     "You will find the little piece, I think, in some degree consistent
     with your own ideas of the manner in which poetry ought to be
     written. I have employed a certain familiar style of language to
     express the actual way in which people talk to each other, whom
     education and a certain refinement of sentiment have placed above the
     use of vulgar idioms. I use the word _vulgar_ in its most extensive
     sense. The vulgarity of rank and fashion is as gross, in its way, as
     that of poverty, and its cant terms equally expressive of base
     conceptions, and therefore, equally unfit for poetry. Not that the
     familiar style is to be admitted in the treatment of a subject wholly
     ideal, or in that part of any subject which relates to common life,
     where the passion, exceeding a certain limit, touches the boundary of
     that which is ideal. Strong passion expresses itself in metaphor,
     borrowed alike from subjects remote or near, and casts over all the
     shadow of its own greatness."[304]

_Rosalind and Helen_, the _Letter to Maria Gisborne_, _Swellfoot the
Tyrant_, and _Peter Bell the Third_[305] show a similar influence. _The
Letter to Maria Gisborne_ bears a resemblance to Hunt's epistolary style,
and was written, Mr. Forman thinks, for circulation in the Hunt circle
only.[306] It was through Hunt, so Shelley states in the dedication, that
he knew the _Peter Bells_ of Wordsworth and of John Hamilton Reynolds.
Shelley's qualified adoption in these poems of Hunt's theory of poetic
language is seen in the choice of a vocabulary in dialogue nearer everyday
usage than the more remote one of his other poems. Yet the result does not
bear any great resemblance to Hunt. Shelley's unvarying refinement and
sensibility kept him from committing the same errors of taste, but his
work suffered rather than gained by an innovation which was probably a
concession to his friendship for Hunt and not a strong conviction. With
the exception of the descriptive passages, the keynote of these poems is
on a lower poetic pitch.

On subjects of Italian art and literature the friends held much the same
opinion. At times Shelley seems to have been led by Hunt's judgment, as in
his conclusions regarding Raphael and Michaelangelo.[307] One passage on
the Italian poets indicates a possible borrowing of thought and figure on
Shelley's part when he wrote of Boccaccio that he was superior to Ariosto
and to Tasso, "the children of a later and colder day.... How much do I
admire Boccaccio! What descriptions of nature are those in his little
introduction to every new day! It is the morning of life stripped of that
mist of familiarity which makes it obscure to us."[308] Hunt wrote:
"Petrarch, Boccaccio and Dante are the morning, noon and night of the
great Italian day."[309]

Poems which refer directly to Hunt are the fourteen lines in the _Letter
to Maria Gisborne_;[310] possibly the fragment, beginning, "For me, my
friend, if not that tears did tremble."[311] A cancelled passage of the
_Adonais_ describes Hunt thus:

  And then came one of sweet and carnal looks,
  Those soft smiles to his dark and night-like eyes
  Were as the clear and ever-living brooks
  Are to the obscure fountains whence they rise,
  Showing how pure they are; a Paradise
  Of happy truth upon his forehead low
  Lay, making wisdom lovely, in the guise
  Of earth-awakening morn upon the brow
  Of star-deserted heaven, while ocean gleams below,

       *       *       *       *       *

  His song, though very sweet, was low and faint,
  A single strain--[312]

The thirty-fifth strophe of the present version refers to Hunt.

Shelley's last letter had reference to Hunt.[313] His last literary effort
was a poem comparing Hunt to a firefly and welcoming him to Italy, just as
Hunt's last letter and last public utterance bore reference to
Shelley--strange coincidence, but striking testimony to their mutual
devotion. An instance of Shelley's overestimation of Hunt's ability is
seen in a passage where he says that Hunt excels in tragedy in the power
of delineating passion and, what is more necessary, of connecting and
developing it, "the last an incredible effort for himself but easy for
Hunt."[314] He greatly valued and trusted Hunt's affection, at times
calling him his best[315] and his only friend.[316] If the tender
solicitude and veneration of a beautiful spirit for a man of vastly
inferior abilities seems strange, it is but a witness to the humility of
true genius.


Byron's Politics and Religion--His sympathy with Hunt in prison--His
impression of the man--Hunt's Defense of Byron and Criticism of his
works--_The Liberal_--_Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_.

It is not strange that Lord Byron, son of an English father and a Scotch
mother, born of a long line of adventurous and warlike sailors and
illustrious and loyal knights, with a strain of royalty and madness on one
side and eccentricity and immorality on the other, should have fallen heir
in an unusual degree to a nature whose virtues and vices were complex and
contradictory. Its singularities are nowhere more apparent than in the
mutations of his friendships.

Prior to his acquaintance with Hunt, Byron had taken his seat in the House
of Lords and had made speeches against the framebreakers of Nottingham and
in behalf of Catholic emancipation. A month after their meeting he made a
third speech introducing Major Cartwright's petition for reform in
Parliament. The second and third of these measures, in particular, were
warmly advocated by _The Examiner_, with which paper Byron was familiar,
as references in his letters show. It is therefore not hazardous to
surmise that his sympathy with liberal policies, alien to his Tory blood
and aristocratic spirit, was due, in part at least, to this influence.
Byron's political principles on the whole were as evanescent and
intermittent as a will-o'-the-wisp.[317] His chief tenets were the
assertion of the individual; antagonism against all authority; a striving
after freedom. Brandes, Elze and Treitscke agree in attributing his
political enthusiasm to the intense passion of his nature rather than to
his moral convictions.[318] His religious convictions were as fugitive as
his political and, like those of Hunt and other advanced thinkers of the
age, seem to have been without deference to any existing creed or dogma.
At his gloomiest moments he confessed that he denied nothing but doubted
everything. Hunt says of Byron's religion that he "did not know what he
was.... He was a Christian by education, he was an infidel by reading. He
was a Christian by habit, but he was no Christian upon reflection."[319]
The phrase, "I am of the opposition" applies to his religion as well as to
his politics, as indeed it serves as the key-note to almost every action
of his life.

Leigh Hunt has given a characteristic account of his first sight of Byron
"rehearsing the part of Leander," in the River Thames sometime before he
went to Greece in 1809:

     "I saw nothing in Lord Byron at that time, but a young man, who, like
     myself, had written a bad volume of poems; and though I had sympathy
     with him on this account, and more respect for his rank than I was
     willing to suppose, my sympathy was not an agreeable one; so,
     contenting myself with seeing his lordship's head bob up and down in
     the water, like a buoy, I came away. Lord Byron when he afterwards
     came to see me in prison, was pleased to regret that I had not
     stayed. He told me, that the sight of my volume at Harrow had been
     one of his incentives to write verses, and that he had had the same
     passion for friendship which I had displayed in it. To my
     astonishment he quoted some of the lines, and would not hear me speak
     ill of them."[320]

Hunt's _Juvenilia_, beyond having served as one of the incentives to the
writing of Byron's _Hours of Idleness_, does not seem to have affected it.
For Hunt's undercurrent of friendship and cheerfulness were substituted
Byron's prevailing notes of amorousness and melancholy.

The actual acquaintance of the two men did not begin until 1813, when
Thomas Moore, since 1811 a staunch admirer of Hunt's political courage and
of his literary talent, and one of the visitors welcomed to Surrey Gaol,
mentioned the circumstances of his imprisonment to Lord Byron, likewise a
sympathizer with the attitude of _The Examiner_ towards the Prince Regent.
Mr. Cordy Jeaffreson[321] thinks that it was this reckless sympathy with
the libeller of the Prince Regent that led Byron to reprint with _The
Corsair_, eight lines addressed in 1812 to the Princess Charlotte, _Weep,
daughter of a Royal Line_. The retaliation of one of the Tory papers
goaded Byron to write in return an article which strongly resembles Hunt's
famous libel[322] on the Prince Regent. Byron expressed a wish to call on
Hunt with Moore, and a visit followed on May 20, 1813.[323] Five days
later Hunt wrote:

     "I have had Lord B. here again. He came on Sunday, by himself, in a
     very frank, unceremonious manner, and knowing what I wanted for my
     poem [_Story of Rimini_] brought me the last new _Travels in Italy_
     in two quarto volumes, of which he requests my acceptance, with the
     air of one who did not seem to think himself conferring the least
     obligation. This will please you. It strikes me that he and I shall
     become _friends_, literally and cordially speaking: there is
     something in the texture of his mind and feelings that seems to
     resemble mine to a thread; I think we are cut out of the same piece,
     only a little different wear may have altered our respective naps a

With the pride of a sycophant in the presence of a lord Hunt relates that
Byron would not let the footman carry the books but gave "you to
understand that he was prouder of being a friend and a man of letters than
a lord. It was thus by flattering one's vanity he persuaded us of his own
freedom from it: for he could see very well, that I had more value for
lords than I supposed."[325] In June of the same year Hunt invited Byron,
Moore and Mitchell to dine with him in prison. Among several others who
came in during the evening was Mr. John Scott, later a severe critic of
Byron in _The Champion_.[326] Many years after Moore, in his _Life of
Byron_, wrote of the gathering with venom, recalling Scott as an assailant
of Byron's "living fame, while another [Hunt] less manful, would reserve
the cool venom for his grave."[327]

Byron esteemed Hunt greatly during the first year of their acquaintance.
His advances show a desire for intimacy which goes far toward
contradicting the statements sometimes made that the overtures were on
Hunt's side only.[328] Byron expressed himself thus at the time:

     "Hunt is an extraordinary character and not exactly of the present
     age. He reminds me more of the Pym and Hampden times--much talent,
     great independence of spirit, and an austere, yet not repulsive,
     aspect. If he goes on _qualis ab incepto_, I know few men who will
     deserve more praise or obtain it. I must go and see him again--a
     rapid succession of adventures since last summer, added to some
     serious uneasiness and business, have interrupted our acquaintance;
     but he is a man worth knowing; and though for his own sake, I wish
     him out of prison, I like to study character in such situations. He
     has been unshaken and will continue so. I don't think him deeply
     versed in life:--he is the bigot of virtue (not religion) and
     enamoured of the beauty of that 'empty name,' as the last breath of
     Brutus pronounced and every day proves it. He is perhaps, a little
     opinionated, as all men who are the _center of circles_, wide or
     narrow--the Sir Oracles--in whose name two or three are gathered
     together--must be, and as even Johnson was: but withal, a valuable
     man, and less vain than success and even the consciousness of
     preferring 'the right to the expedient,' might excuse."

December 2, 1813, he wrote to Hunt: "It is my wish that our acquaintance,
or, if you please to accept it, friendship, may be permanent.... I have a
thorough esteem for that independence of spirit which you have maintained
with sterling talent, and at the expense of some suffering."[329] Cordial
intercourse between the two men continued after Hunt's removal from Surrey
Gaol to lodgings in Edgeware Road, where Byron became one of his most
frequent visitors and correspondents. In the Hunt household Byron laid
aside his ordinary reserve. There are records of his riding the children's
rocking horse; of presents of game; loans of books; letters presented from
a Paris correspondent for _The Examiner_; and gifts of boxes and tickets
for Drury Lane Theatre, of which he was one of the managers. This last
Hunt would not accept for fear of sacrificing his critical independence.
In _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, Hunt claims that this
familiarity proceeded from an "instinct of immeasureable distance."[330]

It was not until Byron's matrimonial difficulties in 1816 that Hunt, inert
and depressed from his long confinement, bestirred himself to return a
single one of the calls. Byron's separation from his wife in 1816 and the
subsequent scandal aroused in Hunt that instinctive protection and active
loyalty for friends abused, already discussed in a review of his relations
with Keats and Shelley. The conjugal troubles and libertinism of the
Prince Regent had brought forth only scorn and vituperation from the
editor of _The Examiner_, but difficulties of equal notoriety at closer
range in the lives of his friends evoked only sympathy and protection. He
asserted that there was no positive knowledge as to the cause of the
trouble and much depraved speculation, envy and falsehood, yet "had he
[Byron] been as the scandal-mongers represented him, we should
nevertheless, if we thought our arm worth his using, have stood by him in
his misfortunes to the last."[331] A prophecy of a near reconciliation and
a too-gushing picture of renewed domesticity are somewhat grotesque in the
light of later events. For this defense Byron was very grateful. January
12, 1822, he wrote that Scott, Jeffrey and Leigh Hunt "were the only
literary men of numbers whom I know (and some of whom I have served,) who
dared venture even an anonymous word in my favour, just then ... the third
was under no kind of obligation to me."[332] Hunt's opinion in the matter
underwent a transformation after the fateful Italian visit; he then
declared that Byron wooed with genius, married for money, and strove for a
reconciliation because of pique.[333]

The _Story of Rimini_, which had been submitted to Byron from time to time
and which was dedicated to him, appeared likewise in 1816. Byron seems to
have accepted the familiar tone of the inscription at the time in all good
faith "as a public compliment and a private kindness"[334] although
_Blackwood's_ of March, 1828, states, perhaps not seriously, that Byron in
his copy had substituted for Hunt's name "impudent varlet." As late as
April 11, 1817, Byron wrote from Italy that he expected to return to
Venice by Ravenna and Rimini that he might take notes of the scenery for

But a letter to Moore from Venice, June 1, 1818, seems to mark a
disillusionment on the part of Byron:

     "Hunt's letter is probably the exact piece of vulgar coxcombry that
     you might expect from his situation. He is a good man with some
     practical element in his chaos, but spoilt by the Christ Church
     Hospital and a Sunday newspaper to say nothing of the Surrey Gaol,
     which converted him into a martyr.... Of my friend Hunt, I have
     already said that he is anything but vulgar in his manners [a
     statement repeated again in 1822[336]]; and of his disciples,
     therefore, I will not judge of their manners from their verses. They
     may be honourable and gentlemanly men for what I know; but the latter
     quality is studiously excluded from their publications."[337]

Hunt did not see or hear from Byron from 1817 until 1821. No further
mention of Hunt occurs in Byron's writings during this period except the
reference to his influence on Barry Cornwall's _Sicilian Story_ and
_Marcian Colonna_,[338] and another to the Cockney School in Byron's
controversy with Bowles. In explanation of this break in the intercourse
Hunt said, in 1828, that "Byron had become not very fond of his reforming

Hunt's criticism of Byron's writings was not an important factor in his
early literary development, as was the case with Shelley and Keats. Yet it
deserves brief attention. _The Examiner_ of October 18, 1812, contained
the address of Byron on the opening of the Drury Lane Theatre and a
commendation of its "natural domestic touch" and of its independence.
Hunt's _Feast of the Poets_ as it appeared first in _The Reflector_
contained no mention of Byron. The separate edition of 1814 devoted seven
pages of the added notes to a wordy discussion of his work and to personal
advice. Byron in a letter of February 9, 1814, thanked Hunt for the
"handsome note." The next mentions of Bryon were in _The Examiner_: a
notice of his ode on Napoleon April 24, 1814; _Illustrations of Lord
Byron's Works_ on September 4 of the same year; an elegy, _Oh Snatched
Away in Beauty's Bloom_, April 23, 1815; _The Renegade's Feelings Among
the Tombs of Heroes_, March 3, 1816; and finally, an announcement of an
opera founded on _The Corsair_, August 31, 1817. A review of the first and
second cantos of _Don Juan_ appeared in _The Examiner_ of October 31,
1819. Byron's extraordinary variety and sudden transition of mood, his
power in wielding satire and humor, his knowledge of human nature in its
highest and lowest passions, his contribution to the mock-heroic and the
sincere, the "strain of rich and deep beauty" in the descriptions were
pointed out. Any immoral tendency is denied: "The fact is at the bottom of
these questions, that many things are made vicious which are not so by
nature; and many things made virtuous, which are only so by calling and
agreement; and it is on the horns of this self-created dilemma, that
society is continually writhing and getting desperate!" _The Examiner_ of
August 26, 1821 containing a critique of the third and fourth cantos of
_Don Juan_, condemned the "careless contempt of canting moralists."
January 23, 1820, there was a notice in _The Examiner_ telling of Byron's
munificence to a shoemaker; in comment _The Examiner_ said: "His
lordship's virtues are his own. His frailties have been made for him, in
more respects than one, by the faults and follies of society." January 21,
1822, appeared a reprint of _My Boat Is on the Shore_; April 22, the two
stanzas from Childe Harold beginning, _Italia, Oh! Italia_; April 29,
_Byron's Letters on Bowles's Strictures on Pope_; May 26, a review of two
of Bowles's letters to Byron; July 29, an article entitled _Sketches of
the Living Poets_.[340] The last gave a biographical account of Byron.
The general traits of his poety were said to be passion, humour, and
learning. It criticized the narrative poems as "too melodramatic, hasty
and vague." Hunt's summary of the dramas and of _Don Juan_ shows excellent
judgment: "For the drama, whatever good passages such a writer will always
put forth, we hold that he has no more qualifications than we have; his
tendency being to spin every thing out of his own perceptions, and colour
it with his own eye. His _Don Juan_ is perhaps his best work, and the one
by which he will stand or fall with readers who see beyond time and
toilets. It far surpasses, in our opinion, all the Italian models on which
it is founded, not excepting the far famed _Secchia Rapita_."[341] On June
2, 1822, _The Examiner_ reviewed _Cain_. The article is chiefly a
discussion of the origin of evil. The issue of September 30 contained a
reprint of _America_; that of November 18 denied Byron's authorship of
_Anastasius_. From July 5, 1823, to November 29 of the same year, there
appeared in the _Literary Examiner_ friendly criticisms of the sixth,
seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and
fourteenth cantos of _Don Juan_. The reviews consisted chiefly of extracts
and a summary of the narrative.


A letter from Lord Byron dated December 25, 1820, had proposed to Thomas
Moore to set up secretly, on their return to London, a weekly newspaper
for the purpose of giving

     "the age some new lights upon policy, poesy, biography, criticism,
     morality, theology, and all other ism, ality and ology whatsoever.
     Why, man, if we were to take to this in good earnest, your debts
     would be paid off in a twelvemonth, and by dint of a little diligence
     and practice, I doubt not that we could distance the common-place
     blackguards who have so long disgraced common sense and the common
     reader. They have no merit but practice and imprudence, both of which
     we may acquire; and, as for talent and culture, the devil's in't if
     such proofs as we have given of both can't furnish out something
     better than the 'funeral baked meats' which have coldly set forth the
     breakfast table of Great Britain for so many years."[342]

Moore cautiously refused the offer and the idea lay dormant in Byron's
mind until he met Shelley at Ravenna in 1821. He then proposed that they
should establish a radical paper with Leigh Hunt as editor, the three to
be equal partners. Power, money, and notoriety were Byron's chief objects.
He frankly acknowledged a desire for enormous gains. He designed to use
his proprietory privileges to publish those of his writings that Murray
dared not. At the same time Byron had, without doubt, a desire to reform
home government and to repay Hunt for his public defense in 1816.[343] He
may have wished to please Shelley by asking Hunt.[344] Undoubtedly he
valued Hunt's wide journalistic experience. Moore asserts that in
extending the invitation, Byron inconsistently admitted Hunt "not to any
degree of confidence or intimacy but to a declared fellowship of fame and
interest."[345] This, like other of Moore's statements regarding Hunt, is
not very plausible in view of the past intimacy.

The most discussed question regarding Byron's motives in inviting Hunt is
the extent of his relation to _The Examiner_ at that time, and Byron's
knowledge of it. Trelawny states that when Byron "_consented_ to join
Leigh Hunt and others in writing for the 'Liberal,' I think his principal
inducement was in the belief that John and Leigh Hunt were proprietors of
the 'Examiner';--so when Leigh Hunt at Pisa told him that he was no longer
connected with that paper, Byron was taken aback, finding that Hunt would
be entirely dependent upon the success of their hazardous project, while
he himself would be deprived of that on which he had set his heart,--the
use of a weekly paper in great circulation."[346] Moore heard indirectly
in 1821 that Byron, Shelley and Hunt were to "_conspire_ together" in _The
Examiner_[347]--a plan nowhere mentioned in the writings of the three men
concerned and most unlikely. What Trelawney "thought" conflicts with what
Moore "heard." The suggestions of both are open to doubt. Byron was most
assuredly the projector of _The Liberal_ and did not "_consent_ to join
Leigh Hunt and others." Besides, granting that Trelawney's opinion was
based on a statement of Byron's, even that would not be convincing, since
Byron made a number of mis-statements about the matter after he grew weary
of it. Questionable as the assertion is, it has been made the basis of
accusations against Hunt of deliberate deceit and of breach of contract.
Had it been true that there was an understanding of coöperation between
the two papers, Byron and Moore would have made much of the charge.
Trelawney's opinion, first noticed by _Blackwood's_ in March, 1828, has
been elaborated by Jeaffreson,[348] and accepted by Leslie Stephen[349]
and Kent.[350] Elze, who seems to have labored under the impression that
Harold Skimpole was a faithful portraiture of Hunt, states that his
connection with Byron began with a falsehood.[351] R. B. Johnson says, in
defense of Hunt, that the accusation "is quite unreasonable and contrary
to all the evidence."[352] Monkhouse thinks that it is doubtful if Byron
reckoned on the support of the London paper.[353] J. Ashcroft Noble says
that Byron had much to say about the Hunts in his letters, "and made the
most of all kinds of trivial or imaginary grievances; it is simply
incredible that had a grievance of such reality and magnitude as this
really existed he would have refrained from mentioning it." As proof
against it, he quotes Byron's belief in Hunt's honesty as late as
September 1822; and he points out the "obvious absurdity of the idea that
in the year 1822 a weekly newspaper could be conducted successfully, or at
all, by an editor in Pisa or Genoa."[354] The strong probability, gathered
from all the extant evidence, is that Byron and Shelley, in inviting Hunt
to Italy, expected, and very naturally, that he would continue to share in
the profits of _The Examiner_. Shelley, indeed, in a letter dated as late
as January 25, 1822, urged Hunt not to leave England without a regular
income from that journal[355]--an injunction which Hunt unfairly
disregarded. It is also likely that his connection with _The Examiner_ was
one of Byron's reasons in extending the partnership to include Hunt. But
it is practically certain that there was no contract nor even
understanding as regards the coöperation of _The Liberal_ and the London
paper. The question does not therefore, involve Hunt's honor at all. If
Byron expected to profit by the influence of _The Examiner_, his silence
shows a manliness that Noble does not credit him with.

Hunt, in accepting Byron's offer, was actuated by motives both selfish and
unselfish. The fine of £1,000 imposed at the time of his conviction of
libel was not all paid; _The Indicator_ had been abandoned; _The Examiner_
was on its last legs; his health was broken by overwork undertaken in the
effort not to call upon his friends for aid;[356] an invalid wife and
seven children were to be supported by his pen; his brother John was in
prison. From January, 1821, to August of the same year he had been unable
to write. In accepting Byron's offer he thought to recover his health in a
southern climate, to regain his political influence which had been on the
decrease during the last four or five years, and at the same time to aid
aggressively the liberal movement.[357] Moreover, he was flattered
immensely by the prospective public association with Lord Byron. He had
little to lose and a prospect of large gain. Hunt should have weighed more
gravely such a step before he embarked on such a hazardous venture with so
large a family, but, with a buoyancy and irresponsibility in practical
affairs peculiar to himself, he clutched at the new proposition as a way
out of all difficulties and did not look beyond immediate necessities. He
pictured himself and his family healthy and wealthy in a land he had
always sighed for. If the skies lowered, he fancied Shelley always at
hand. His description of preparations for the voyage is as airy as his
pocketbook was light: "My family, therefore, packed up such goods and
chattels as they had a regard for, my books in particular, and we took,
with strange new thoughts and feelings, but in high expectation, our
journey by sea."[358]

The part Shelley played in the invitation to Hunt is more difficult of
interpretation. The original proposition to become an equal partner in the
transaction he never seriously entertained. He consented to become a
contributor only. His reasons for his refusal he gave to others, but, for
fear of endangering Hunt's prospects, withheld from Byron; for the same
reason he dissembled at times concerning his real feelings. Yet he was
equally responsible with Byron in extending the invitation to Hunt, as
will be shown later. Although Shelley could not have foreseen the full
consequences of such a course of action, he was deficient in frankness
toward Byron and undoubtedly sacrificed him somewhat in the transaction to
his affection for Hunt. While Byron continued to hold the highest opinion
of Shelley, between the time of their meeting in Switzerland and at
Ravenna, Shelley had experienced three separate revulsions of
feeling.[359] At the time in question his distrust had returned.

Hunt's pecuniary troubles made their relations still more difficult. This
state of affairs between Byron and Shelley must have given Hunt great
concern, and Shelley suspecting his distress wrote March 2, 1822: "The
aspect of affairs has somewhat changed since the date of that in which I
expressed a repugnance to a continuance of intimacy with Lord Byron as
close as that which now exists; at least it has changed so far as regards
you and the intended journal."[360]

In January, 1821, Mrs. Hunt wrote Mary Shelley, begging that they might
come to Italy. The subject was thus revived and a formal invitation was
conveyed in a letter of August 26, 1821, from Shelley to Hunt. It proves
beyond a doubt that Byron was the chief projector of the journal:

     "He (Byron) proposes that you should come out and go shares with him
     and me, in a periodical work, to be conducted here; in which each of
     the contracting parties should publish all their original
     compositions and share the profits.... There can be no doubt that the
     _profits_ of any scheme in which you and Lord Byron engage, must,
     from various, yet co-operating reasons, be very great. As for myself,
     I am, for the present, only a sort of link between you and him, until
     you can know each other and effectuate the arrangement; since (to
     entrust you with a secret which, for your sake, I withhold from Lord
     Byron), nothing would induce me to share in the profits, and still
     less, in the borrowed splendor of such a partnership. You and he, in
     different manners, would be equal, and would bring, in a different
     manner, but in the same proportion, equal stocks of reputation and
     success.... I did not ask Lord Byron to assist me in sending a
     remittance for your journey; because there are men, however
     excellent, from whom we would never receive an obligation, in the
     worldly sense of the word; and I am as jealous for my friend as for
     myself.... He has many generous and exalted qualities, but the canker
     of aristocracy wants to be cut out."[361]

Hunt's answer was full of expectation and hope. He wrote that "Are there
not three of us?... We will divide the world between us, like the
Triumvirate, and you shall be the sleeping partner, if you will."[362] To
Shelley's reply of October 6, thanking him for coming, Hunt answered: "You
say, Shelley, you thank me for coming. The pleasure of being obliged by
those we love is so great that I do not wonder that you continue to muster
up some obligation to me, but if you are obliged, how much am I?"[363]

From the beginning of the enterprise Thomas Moore and John Murray scented
trouble and made more. They continued their intermeddling after _The
Liberal_ was launched, and doubtless ministered to Byron's vacillation.
Hunt and Murray had disagreed over the _Story of Rimini_[364] and an
attack on Southey in _The Examiner_ of May 11 and 18, 1817, had included
Murray as well. Moreover, Murray saw in John Hunt,[365] the publisher of
the new periodical, a dangerous future rival in his business relations
with Byron. After matters became unpleasant in Italy, Murray took his
revenge by making public Byron's letters containing ill-natured remarks
about Hunt.[366] The relations of Moore and Hunt had been very
friendly[367] but at this juncture both became too proud of having a
"noble lord" for a friend.[368]

Moore, writing to Byron in the latter part of 1821, said: "I heard some
time ago that Leigh Hunt was on his way to Genoa with all of his family;
and the idea seems to be, that you and Shelley and he are to _conspire_
together in _The Examiner_. I cannot believe this--and deprecate such a
plan with all my might. _Alone_ you may do anything, but partnerships in
fame, like those in trade, make the strongest party answerable for the
deficiencies or delinquencies of the rest, and I tremble even for you with
such a bankrupt company.... They are both clever fellows, and Shelley I
look upon as a man of real genius; but, I must say again, you could not
give your enemies (the ... s 'et hoc genus omne') a greater triumph than
by joining such an unequal and unholy alliance,"[369] an astounding
statement from a man of pronounced liberal views. Byron's answer of
January 24 was indefinite and perhaps intentionally misleading: "Be
assured that there is no such coalition as you apprehend."[370] February
19, Moore advised Byron not to discuss religious matters in the new work,
but to confine himself to political theories; "if you have any political
catamarans to explode this (London) is your place."[371] After _The
Liberal_ was begun, Moore wrote: "It grieves me to urge anything so much
against Hunt's interest, but I should not hesitate to use the same
language to himself were I near him. I would, if I were you, serve him in
every possible way but this--I would give him (if he would accept of it)
the profits of the same works, published separately--but I would not mix
myself up in this way with others. I would not become a partner in this
sort of miscellaneous '_pot au feu_' where the bad flavour of one
ingredient is sure to taint all the rest. I would be, if I were _you_,
alone, single-handed and as such, invincible."[372]

The Hunts started for Italy November 15, 1821, but on account of various
setbacks and delays did not really leave the coast of England until May
13, 1822. In the ten months which elapsed between the invitation to Hunt
and his arrival, it is not surprising that Byron's enthusiasm had cooled.
He would have withdrawn if he could have done so, although Byron, Trelawny
says, was at first more eager than Shelley for Hunt's arrival.[373] As has
already been stated above, affairs between Byron and Shelley had been very
strained in January. In the letter of March 2, already referred to,
Shelley informed Hunt that matters had improved between Byron and himself
and that Byron expressed the "greatest eagerness to proceed with the
journal, he dilates with impatience on the delay, and he disregards the
opinion of those who have advised him against it."

Shelley thought that their strained relations would in no way interfere
with Hunt's prospects, and, with what looks a little like double-dealing,
that it would be possible for him to preserve what influence he had over
the "Proteus" until Hunt arrived: "It will be no very difficult task to
execute that you have assigned me--to keep him in heart with the project
until your arrival."[374] April 10, Shelley wrote again to Hunt of Byron's
eagerness for his arrival: "he urges me to press you to depart." But a
reference to the state of affairs in the two households in Italy carries a
foreboding note: "Lord Byron has made me bitterly feel the inferiority
which the world has presumed to place between us, and which subsists
nowhere in reality but in our own talents, which are not our own but
Nature's--or in our rank, which is not our own but Fortune's." With his
usual humility, Shelley closes the letter with an apology for carrying his
jealousy of Byron into Hunt's relations with him, and says: "You in the
superiority of a wise and tranquil nature have well corrected and justly
reproved me ... you will find much in me to correct and reprove."[375]
During the summer Shelley continued to shrink more than ever from Byron;
June 18 he declared to Hunt that he would not be the link between them for
Byron is the "nucleus of all that is hateful." His one dread was that he
might injure Hunt's prospects.[376] Between April and July Byron's
enthusiasm had again cooled. Trelawny relates that Shelley when he went to
Leghorn to meet Hunt, was greatly depressed by Lord Byron's "shuffling and
equivocating," and, "but for imperilling Hunt's prospects," that Shelley
would have abruptly terminated their intercourse.[377] On July 4 Shelley
wrote to Mary from Pisa that "things are in the worst possible situation
with respect to poor Hunt.... Lord Byron must of course furnish the
requisite funds at present, as I cannot, but he seems inclined to depart
without the necessary explanations and arrangements due to such a
situation as Hunt's. These, in spite of delicacy, I must procure."[378]
This dual attitude of Shelley has been variously viewed. Professor Dowden
thinks it a "triumph of diplomacy,"[379] while Jeaffreson deems it a
conspiracy of Hunt and Shelley against the innocent and unsuspecting

Hunt gave the following ominous description of his first call upon Lord
Byron: "The day was very hot; the road to Mount Nero was very hot, through
dusty suburbs; and when I got there I found the hottest looking house I
ever saw. It was salmon colour. Think of this, flaring over the country in
a hot Italian sun! But the greatest of all the heats was within. Upon
seeing Lord Byron, I hardly knew him, he was grown so fat; and he was
longer in recognizing me, I had grown so thin."[380] Hunt wrote to England
that Byron received him with marked cordiality[381] but Shelley's friend
Williams, in his last letter to his wife, stated that Byron treated Hunt
vilely and "actually said as much that he did not wish his name to be
attached to the work, and of course to theirs"; that his treatment of Mrs.
Hunt was "most shameful"; and that his "conduct cut H. to the soul."[382]
The Hunt family was quickly quartered on the ground floor of Byron's
palace, which Byron had furnished at a cost of £60.[383] Shelley's
sensible suggestions to Hunt about his furniture,[384] about the income
from _The Examiner_, and worse still, his delicately given advice that it
was not possible for him to bring _all_ of his family, had been

With Shelley's tragic death a few days after their arrival, the only "link
of the two thunderbolts,"[386] as he had called himself, was broken. Hunt
was left in an awkward position which no one could have foreseen. A few
days later he wrote to friends at home of Byron's kindness.[387] In 1828
he gave a different version:

     "Lord Byron requested me to look upon him as standing in Mr. S.'s
     place. My heart died within me to hear him; I made the proper
     acknowledgment, but I knew what he meant, and I more than doubted
     whether even in that, the most trivial part of the friendship, he
     could resemble Mr. Shelley, if he would. Circumstances unfortunately
     rendered the matter of too much importance to me at the moment. I had
     reason to fear:--I was compelled to try:--and things turned out as I
     had dreaded. The public have been given to understand that Lord
     Byron's purse was at my command, and that I used it according to the
     spirit with which it was offered. _I did so._ Stern necessity and a
     family compelled me."[388]

With the magazine scarcely likely to yield an income for some time, it was
absolutely necessary for Hunt to get money from somewhere for living
expenses and, Shelley gone, there was no one left to tide over the
interval but Byron. The latter did not relish the position of sole banker
to a family of nine and doled out £70 in small doses through his steward,
Hunt says, just as if his "disgraces were being counted."[389] He was
embittered by his position as suppliant and dependent, though there is
nothing to show that he was ever refused what he asked for or requested to
pay back what he owed.[390]

Hunt's entire money obligation to Byron has been comprehensively
calculated by Galt at £500: £200 for the journey from England, £70 at Pisa
for living expenses, the cost of the journey from Pisa to Genoa, and £30
from Genoa to Florence. Galt thought the use of the ground floor a small
favor since Byron could use only one floor for himself. Such practices
were very common, Italian palaces often being built for that purpose.[391]
It is likely that until the step was irrevocable Byron did not correctly
gauge Hunt's resources and the responsibility which he was assuming in
transporting a large family to a foreign country. If he did, he expected
to share the burden with Shelley. Had Hunt been financially independent,
it is probable that he and Byron would have remained on amicable enough
terms, for the former asserts that the first time he was treated with
disrespect was when Byron knew he was in want.[392] Yet that neither
Shelley nor Byron were wholly ignorant of what to expect before Hunt's
arrival in Italy is apparent from Shelley's letter to Byron, February 15,

     "Hunt had urged me more than once to ask you to lend him this money.
     My answer consisted in sending him all I could spare, which I have
     now literally done. Your kindness in fitting up a part of your own
     home for his accommodation I sensibly felt, and willingly accept from
     you on his part, but, believe me, without the slightest intention of
     imposing, or, if I could help it, of allowing to be imposed, any
     heavier task on your purse. As it has come to this in spite of my
     exertions, I will not conceal from you the low ebb of my own money
     affairs in the present moment,--that is, my absolute incapacity of
     assisting Hunt further. I do not think poor Hunt's promise to pay in
     a given time is worth very much, but mine is less subject to
     uncertainty, and I should be happy to be responsible for any
     engagement he may have proposed to you."[393]

Mrs. Hunt seems to have widened further the breach between the two
men.[394] She did not speak Italian and the Countess Guiccioli, the head
of Byron's establishment, did not speak English. Neither made any
linguistic efforts and consequently there was no intercourse between the
families of the two households. This, Hunt later says, was the first cause
of diminished cordiality between Byron and himself. The Hunt children were
a further cause of trouble. Byron wrote of them to Mrs. Shelley: "They
were dirtier and more mischievous than Yahoos. What they can't destroy
with their feet they will with their fingers."[395] Again he described
them as "six little blackguards ... kraal out of the Hottentot

The question of rank was a thorn in the flesh, particularly to Hunt. While
in open theory he had no respect for titles, in actual practice he
groveled before them. Pride, as he thought, had made him decline all
advances from men of rank, but it was more with the air of being afraid to
trust himself than with real indifference. His exception, made in the case
of Lord Byron, is thus explained: "But talents, poetry, similarity of
political opinion, flattery of early sympathy with my boyish writings,
more flattering offers of friendship and the last climax of flattery, an
earnest waiving of his rank, were too much for me in the person of Lord
Byron."[397] On the renewal of the acquaintance in Italy, the very
familiar attitude seen in the dedication of the _Story of Rimini_, which
Hunt himself had decided was "foolish," was changed at the advice of
Shelley to an extremely formal manner of address. Hunt says that Byron did
not like the change.[398] As a matter of fact, six years of separation had
brought about other more important changes: Byron had grown more selfish
and avaricious, Hunt more helpless and vain.

Three months were spent in Pisa after Shelley's death. In September the
two families left for Genoa, travelling in separate parties and, on their
arrival, settling in separate homes, the Hunts with Mrs. Shelley. From
this time on there was little intercourse between Byron and Hunt. October
9, 1822, Byron wrote to England and denied that all three families were
living under one roof. He said that he rarely saw Hunt, not more than once
a month.[399] Hunt to the contrary said that they saw less of each other
than in Genoa yet "considerable."[400] Although at no time was there an
open breach, yet cordiality and sympathy were wholly lost on both sides in
the strain of the financial situation. They failed of agreement even on
impersonal matters. Byron had looked forward with great pleasure to Hunt's
companionship. Before they met he had written: "When Leigh Hunt comes we
shall have banter enough about those old _ruffiani_, the old dramatists,
with their tiresome conceits, their jingling rhymes, and endless play
upon words."[401] This pleasant anticipation was not realized, for Hunt's
sensitiveness in petty matters and Byron's scorn of Hunt's affectation and
of his ill-bred personal applications,[402] or so the hearer interpreted
them, reduced safe topics to Boswell's _Life of Johnson_. Even a mutual
admiration of Pope and Dryden was forgotten. Literary jealousy and vanity
fed the flames. Hunt was unable to appreciate manhood of Byron's virile
type, and he did not try to conceal the fact from one who was hungry for
praise. On the other hand, Byron did not render to Hunt the homage he was
accustomed to receive from the Cockney circle and had nothing but contempt
for all his works except the _Story of Rimini_. A statement in the
anonymous _Life of Lord Byron_, published by Iley, that the
misunderstanding was the result of a criticism by Hunt of _Parisina_ in
the Leghorn and Lucca newspapers and that Byron never spoke to him after
the discovery[403] is a fabrication as unsubstantial as the greater part
of the other statements in the same book. Hunt denied the charge. His sole
connection with _Parisina_ was that he supplied the incident of the
heroine talking in her sleep,[404] a device that he had already made use
of in _Rimini_.

On his arrival in Italy Hunt wrote back to England that Byron entered into
_The Liberal_ with great ardor, and that he had presented the _Vision of
Judgment_ to his brother and himself for their mutual benefit.[405] Yet
four days later in a letter to Moore Byron wrote: "Hunt seems sanguine
about the matter but (entre nous) I am not. I do not, however, like to put
him out of spirits by saying so, for he is bilious and unwell. Do, pray,
answer _this_ letter immediately. Do send Hunt anything in prose or verse
of yours, to start him handsomely--and lyrical, _iri_cal, or what you
please."[406] At the time of Trelawny's first visit after the work had
begun, Byron said impatiently: "It will be an abortion," and again in
Trelawny's presence he called to his bull-dog on the stairway, "Don't let
any Cockneys pass this way."[407] Sometime previous to October his
endurance must have given way completely, for in that month Hunt wrote
that Byron was _again_ for the plan.[408] In January Byron urged John Hunt
to employ good writers for _The Liberal_ that it might succeed.[409] March
17, 1823, Byron, in a letter to John Hunt, said that he attributed the
failure of _The Liberal_ to his own contributions and that the magazine
would stand a better chance without him. He desired to sever the
partnership if the magazine was to be continued.[410] His constant
vacillation in part supports the charge made by Hunt that Byron under
protest contributed his worse productions in order to make a show of
coöperation.[411] Insinuations from Moore and Murray had fallen on fertile
ground and had persuaded Byron that the association jeopardized his
reputation. Hobhouse, Byron's friend, joined his dissenting voice to
theirs, and "rushed over the Alps" to add to his disapproval.[412]
Hazlitt's account of the conspiracy of Byron's friends against _The
Liberal_ is very fiery.[413]

The first number of _The Liberal_ appeared October 15, 1822. There were
three subsequent numbers. Byron's contributions were his brilliant and
masterly satire, the _Vision of Judgment_, _Heaven and Earth_, _A Letter
to the Editor of my Grandmother's Review_, _The Blues_, and his
translation of the first canto of Pulci's _Morgante Maggiore_. Murray had
withheld the preface to the _Vision of Judgment_ and this omission,
combined with an unwise announcement in _The Examiner_ of September 29,
1822, by John Hunt, made the reception even worse than it might otherwise
have been. Hunt said the _Vision of Judgment_ "played the devil with all
of us."[414] Shelley had made ready for the forthcoming magazine his
exquisite translation of Goethe's _May Day Night_ and a prose narrative,
_A German Apologue_. These appeared in the first number. Hunt's best
contributions were two poems, _Lines to a Spider_ and _Mahmoud_. _Letters
from Abroad_ are good in spots only. His two satires, _The Dogs_ and _The
Book of Beginners_, are pale reflections in meter and tone of _Don Juan_
and _Beppo_ combined. The _Florentine Lovers_ is a good story spoiled.
_Rhyme and Reason_, _The Guili Tre_, and the rest are purely hack work,
with the possible exceptions of the translation from Ariosto and the
modernization of the _Squire's Tale_. Hazlitt contributed _Pulpit
Oratory_, _On the Spirit of Monarchy_, a pithy dissertation _On the Scotch
Character_, and a delightful reminiscence of Coleridge in _My First
Acquaintance with Poets_. Mrs. Shelley wrote _A Tale of the Passions_,
_Mme. D'Houdetot_, and _Giovanni Villani_, all rather stilted and heavy.
Charles Browne contributed _Shakespear's Fools_. A number of unidentified
prose articles and poems, many of the latter translations from Alfieri,
completed the list.

The causes of the failure of _The Liberal_ were very complex, but quite
obvious. There was no definite political campaign mapped out, no
proportion outlined for the various departments, no assignments of
individual responsibility, no attempt to cater to the public appetite or
to mollify the public prejudices for expediency's sake, and an utter want
of harmony among its supporters. Each contributor rode his own hobby.
Each vented his private spleen without regard to the common good. It was a
vague, up-in-the-air scheme, wholly lacking in coördination and common
sense. Byron's fickleness and want of genuine interest in a small affair
among many other greater ones; the disappointment of both Byron[415] and
Hunt in not realizing the enormous profits that they had looked forward
to--although Hunt wrote later that the "moderate profits" were quite
enough to have encouraged perseverance on the part of Byron; Hunt's
ill-health and unhappy situation which rendered it difficult for him to
write; John Hunt's inexperience as a bookseller; the general unpopularity
of the editor, the publisher, and the contributors; and last, the pent-up
storm of rage from the press which greeted the first number of _The
Liberal_,[416] were other reasons that contributed to its ultimate
downfall. In seeking Hunt for the editor of such a venture, as Gait had
pointed out,[417] Byron had mistaken his political notoriety for solid
literary reputation.

Hunt, notwithstanding his confession[418] of an inability to write at his
best and of his brother's inexperience, throws the burden of failure
solely on Byron. He asserts that _The Liberal_ had no enemies and, worst
of all, that Byron when he foresaw hostility and failure, gave him and his
brother the profits that they might carry the responsibility of an
"ominous partnership"[419]--a statement ungenerously distorted by bitter
memories, for when John Hunt was prosecuted for the publication of the
_Vision of Judgment_, Byron offered to stand trial in his stead. Neither
does Hunt state that Byron's contributions were _gratis_ and that the
"moderate profits" enabled him and his brother to pay off some of their
old debts.[420] Byron, strong with the prescience of failure, likewise
shifted the blame to other shoulders and with the aid of a strong
imagination tried to persuade himself and his friends that the Hunts had
projected the affair and that he had consented in an evil hour to engage
in it;[421] that they were the cause of the failure; that his motives
throughout had been philanthropic only in nature;[422] and that he was
sacrificing himself for others. Such statements are inventions born of
self-accusation and of self-defense. The worst that can be said of Byron
from beginning to end of the affair is that he was not conscientious in
his endeavors to make the journal a success; that, after it failed, he
evaded financial responsibility by placing barriers of coldness and
ungraciousness between Hunt and himself.

On October 9, 1822, he wrote to Moore that he had done all he could for
Hunt "but in the affairs of this world he himself is a child";[423] "As it
is, I will not quit them (the Hunts) in their adversity, though it should
cost me my character, fame, money, and the usual et cetera.... Had their
journal gone on well, and I could have aided to make it better for them, I
should then have left them; after my safe pilotage off a lee shore, to
make a prosperous voyage by themselves. As it is, I can't, or would not,
if I could, leave them amidst the breakers. As to any community of
feeling, thought, or opinions between L. H. and me, there is little or
none; we meet rarely, hardly ever; but I think him a good-principled and
able man.[424]... You would not have had me leave him in the street with
his family, would you? And as to the other plan you mention, you forget
how it would humiliate him--that his writings should be supposed to be
dead weight! Think a moment--he is perhaps the vainest man on earth, at
least his own friends say so pretty loudly; and if he were in other
circumstances I might be tempted to take him down a peg; but not now--it
would be cruel.[425]... A more amiable man in society I know not, nor
(when he will allow his sense to prevail over his sectarian principles) a
better writer. When he was writing his _Rimini_ I was not the last to
discover its beauties, long before it was published. Even then I
remonstrated against its vulgarisms; which are the more extraordinary,
because the author is anything but a vulgar man."[426] During April, 1823,
the Countess of Blessington had a conversation with Byron in which he said
that while he regretted having embarked in _The Liberal_, yet he had a
good opinion of the talents and principles of Hunt, despite their
diametrically opposed tastes.[427] On April 2, 1823, he wrote that Hunt
was incapable or unwilling to help himself; that he could not keep up this
"genuine philanthropy" permanently; and that he would furnish Hunt with
the means to return to England in comfort.[428] There is no proof that
Byron ever made such an offer to Hunt. The purchase money of Hunt's
journey home was _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_. On July 23,
1823, Byron went to Greece. The Hunts, provided by him with £30 for the
trip, left Genoa about the same time for Florence, where they were
literally stranded, in ill-health and without sufficient means for
support,[429] until their departure for England in September, 1825. The
suffering there and the foul calumny at home magnified in Hunt's mind[430]
the indignity and injustice that had been put upon him and warped his
sense of gratitude and honor in the whole affair. He wrote from Florence:
"The stiffness of age has come into my joints; my legs are sore and
fevered; and I sometimes feel as if I were a ship rotting in a stagnant
harbour."[431] Mrs. Shelley protested to Byron concerning his treatment of
Hunt[432] but she received no further satisfaction than the statement
that he had engaged in the journal for good-will and respect for Hunt

The publisher Colburn in 1825 made Hunt an advance of money for the return
journey, to be repaid by a volume of selections from _his own writings
preceded by a biographical sketch_.[434] An irresistible longing for
England and a crisis in the disagreement with John Hunt regarding the
proprietary rights of _The Examiner_ and the publication of the _Wishing
Cap Papers_ in that paper, made Hunt seize at the first opportunity by
which he might return home. From Paris, on his way to England, he wrote:
"If I delayed I might be pinned forever to a distance, like a fluttering
bird to a wall, and so die in helpless yearning. I have been mistaken.
During my strength my weakness perhaps, was only apparent; now that I am
weaker, indignation has given a fillip to my strength."[435] From his
severance with _The Examiner_ and the publication of _Bacchus in Tuscany_
in 1825, Hunt was idle until 1828. Then, pressed by his obligation to
Colburn and stung by the misrepresentations of the press regarding his
relations with Byron in Italy, he scored even, as he thought, by producing
_Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, the blunder of his life and
the one blot upon his honor. In addition to the part dealing with Byron,
it contained autobiographical reminiscences and memoirs of Shelley, Keats,
Moore, Lamb and others. It went rapidly through three editions. The body
of the work is a discussion of the defects of Byron's character and a
detailed analysis of his actions. In brief, he is charged with insincerity
in the cause of liberty; an impatience of any despotism save his own; a
vain pride of rank, although his friends were of humble origin; a
"libelling all around" of friends; an ignorance of real love,
consanguineous or sexual; coarseness in speaking of women or to them;[436]
a voluptuous indolence; weak impulses; a habit of miscellaneous
confidences and exaggeration; untruthfulness; susceptibility to
influence; avarice even in his patriotism and debauchery; a willingness to
receive petty obligations; jealousy of the great and small; no powers of
conversation and a want of self-possession; bad temper and self-will; an
inordinate desire for flattery; egotism and love of notoriety. More petty
accusations are excess in his eating and drinking, though Hunt complains
that Byron would not "drink like a lord"; his fondness for communicating
unpleasant tidings; his inclination to the mock heroic; his effeminacy and
old-womanish superstition; his easily-aroused suspicions; his
imitativeness in writing poetry; his slight knowledge of languages; his
physical cowardice. The virtues of this monster, small in number and
grudgingly allowed, were admitted to be good horsemanship, good looks, a
delicate hand, amusing powers of mimicry, pleasantry in his cups, masterly
swimming. Unfortunately these statements were usually damned with a "but"
or "yet."

While it is now generally believed that many of the accusations made by
Hunt were true,[437] inasmuch as they are confirmed in large part by
contemporary evidence, and as truthfulness was one of Hunt's dominant
traits, yet, on the other hand, it is quite necessary to make large
allowance for the point of view and the color given by prejudice and
bitterness of spirit. That Hunt told only the truth does not justify the
injury in the slightest, for he had slept under Byron's roof and eaten of
his bread. The obligations conferred were not exactly those of benefactor
to suppliant; they were perhaps no more than Hunt's due in the light of
the responsibility voluntarily assumed by Byron; yet they could not be
destroyed or forgotten because of a refusal to acknowledge them. Worse
still, Hunt's motives proceeded from impecuniosity and revenge. Such petty
gossip of private affairs was worthy of a smaller and meaner soul. That
Hunt did not have the sanction of his own judgment and conscience is
clearly seen in the preface to the first edition where he confesses an
unwilling hand and gives as a reason for the change of scheme a too long
holiday taken after the advance of money from Colburn. He says that the
book would never have been written at all, or consigned to the flames when
finished, if he could have repaid the money.[438] His one poor defense is
that "Byron talked freely of me and mine," that the public had talked, and
that Byron knew how he felt.[439]

The book had a very large circulation. But Hunt, who had hoped to defend
himself in this manner from the calumnies afloat since the failure of _The
Liberal_, brought down a storm of abuse from the press that resulted in
his degradation and Byron's canonization. Moore's welcome was a poem, _The
Living Dog and the Dead Lion_.[440] Hunt's friends replied with _The Giant
and the Dwarf_.[441] In his life of Byron published some years later,
Moore speaks reservedly of the book, merely saying it had sunk into
deserved oblivion.[442]

Hunt's public apology and reparation, in so far as such lay in his power,
were first made in 1847 in _A Saunter Through the West End_: "No. 140
(formerly No. 13 of what was Piccadilly Terrace) was the last house which
Byron inhabited in England. Nobody needs to be told what a great wit and
fine poet he was: but everybody does not know that he was by nature a
genial and generous man spoiled by the most untoward circumstances in
early life. He vexed his enemies, and sometimes his friends; but his very
advantages have been hard upon him, and subjected him to all sorts of
temptations. May peace rest upon his infirmities, and his fame brighten as
it advances."[443] In 1848, he wrote in praise of the Ave Maria stanza in
_Don Juan_.[444] And finally and completely in his _Autobiography_ he
apologized for the heat and venom of _Lord Byron and Some of His

     "I wrote nothing which I did not feel to be true, or think so. But I
     can say with Alamanni, that I was then a young man, and that I am now
     advanced in years. I can say, that I was agitated by grief and anger,
     and that I am now free from anger. I can say, that I was far more
     alive to other people's defects than to my own, and that I am now
     sufficiently sensible of my own to show to others the charity which I
     need myself. I can say, moreover, that apart from a little allowance
     for provocation, I do not think it right to exhibit what is amiss, or
     may be thought amiss, in the character of a fellow-creature, out of
     any feeling but unmistakable sorrow, or the wish to lessen evils
     which society itself may have caused.

     "Lord Byron, with respect to the points on which he erred and
     suffered (for on all others, a man like himself, poet and wit, could
     not but give and receive pleasure), was the victim of a bad bringing
     up, of a series of false positions in society, of evils arising from
     the mistakes of society itself, of a personal disadvantage (which his
     feelings exaggerated), nay, of his very advantages of person, and of
     a face so handsome as to render with strong tendencies of natural
     affection," and declared that his fickleness had been "nurtured by an
     excessively bad training." In exoneration of Hunt he said that if
     "disappointment and the fervour of a new literary work--which often
     draws the pen beyond its original intention--led Leigh Hunt into a
     book that was too severe, perhaps too one-sided in its views, he
     himself afterwards corrected the one-sidedness, and recalled to mind
     the earlier and undoubtedly the more correct impression he had had of
     Lord Byron." I, 202-203.

     him an object of admiration. Even the lameness, of which he had such
     a resentment, only softened the admiration with tenderness.

     "But he did not begin life under good influences. He had a mother,
     herself, in all probability, the victim of bad training, who would
     fling the dishes from table at his head, and tell him he would be a
     scoundrel like his father. His father, who was cousin to the previous
     lord, had been what is called a man upon town, and was neither rich
     nor very respectable. The young lord, whose means had not yet
     recovered themselves, went to school, noble but poor, expecting to be
     in the ascendant with his title, yet kept down by the inconsistency
     of his condition. He left school to put on the cap with the gold
     tuft, which is worshipped at college:--he left college to fall into
     some of the worst hands on the town:--his first productions were
     contemptuously criticised, and his genius was thus provoked into
     satire:--his next were overpraised, which increased his
     self-love:--he married when his temper had been soured by
     difficulties, and his will and pleasure pampered by the sex:--and he
     went companionless into a foreign country, where all this perplexity
     could repose without being taught better, and where the sense of a
     lost popularity could be drowned in license.

     "I am sorry I ever wrote a syllable respecting Lord Byron which might
     have been spared. I have still to relate my connection with him, but
     it will be related in a different manner. Pride, it is said, will
     have a fall; and I must own, that on this subject I have experienced
     the truth of the saying. I had prided myself--I should pride myself
     now if I had not been thus rebuked--on not being one of those who
     talk against others. I went counter to this feeling in a book; and to
     crown the absurdity of the contradiction, I am foolish enough to
     suppose that the very fact of my so doing would show that I had done
     it in no other instance! that having been thus public in the error,
     credit would be given me for never having been privately so! Such are
     the delusions inflicted on us by self-love. When the consequence was
     represented to me as characterized by my enemies, I felt, enemies
     though they were, as if I blushed from head to foot. It is true I had
     been goaded to the task by misrepresentation:--I had resisted every
     other species of temptation to do it:--and, after all, I said more in
     his excuse, and less to his disadvantage, than many of those who
     reproved me. But enough. I owed the acknowledgment to him and to
     myself; and I shall proceed on my course with a sigh for both, and I
     trust in the good will of the sincere."[445]


Characteristics of the "Cockney School"--Reasons for Tory
enmity--Establishment of _Blackwood's Magazine_ and the _Quarterly
Review_--Their methods of attack--Other targets--Authorship of anonymous
articles--Members of the Cockney group--Byron--Hunt--Keats--Shelley--

The word "Cockney" says Bulwer-Lytton, signifies the "archetype of the
Londoner east of Temple Bar, and is as grotesquely identified with the
Bells of Bow as Quasimodo with those of Notre Dame."[446] The epithet
remains doubtful in origin but is proverbially significant of odium and of
ridicule. R. H. Horne asserts that, in its first application, it meant
merely "pastoral, minus nature."[447] The word did not long carry so
harmless a connotation. It was first applied to Hunt by the Tory journals
in 1817 and, in the phrase "Cockney School," was gradually extended until
it included most of his associates. The group of men thus arbitrarily
banded together did not form a _school_ or cult, and themselves resented
such a classification. They differed widely in their fundamental
principles of life and art. They were not all of one vocation. On the
other hand they had certain superficial points in common which made them
collectively vulnerable to the dart of the enemy. They were Londoners[448]
by birth or by adoption; with the exception of Shelley they may all be
said to have belonged to the middle class; the most Cockneyfied of them
had certain vulgar mannerisms; they egotistically paraded their personal
affairs in public; they praised each other somewhat fulsomely in
dedications and elsewhere, though not always to the full satisfaction of
everybody concerned; they presented each other with wreaths of bay,
laurel, and roses, and with locks of hair; they agreed in liking Thomas
Moore and in disliking Southey; they moved with complacency within a
limited circle to the exclusion of a large city; in general they were
liberal in politics and in religion; they were in revolt against French
criticism; they chose Elizabethan or Italian models, and, as a rule, they
conceitedly ignored or contemned contemporary writers.

The gatherings of the coterie have been nowhere better described than by
Cowden Clarke:

     "Evenings of Mozartian operatic and chamber music at Vincent
     Novello's own house, where Leigh Hunt, Shelley, Keats and the Lambs
     were invited guests; the brilliant supper parties at the alternate
     dwellings of the Novellos, the Hunts and the Lambs, who had mutually
     agreed that bread and cheese, with celery, and Elia's immortalized
     'Lutheran beer' were to be the sole cates provided; the meetings at
     the theatres, when Munden, Dowton, Liston, Bannister, Elliston and
     Fanny Kelly were on the stage; the picnic repasts enjoyed together by
     appointment in the fields that lay spread in green breadth and
     luxuriance between the west end of Oxford Street and the western
     slope of Hampstead Hill--are things never to be forgotten."[449]

Miss Mitford relates a ludicrous incident of one of these meetings:

     "Leigh Hunt (not the notorious Mr. Henry Hunt, but the fop, poet and
     politician of the 'Examiner') is a great keeper of birthdays. He was
     celebrating that of Haydn, the great composer--giving a dinner,
     crowning his bust with laurels, berhyming the poor dear German, and
     conducting an apotheosis in full form. Somebody told Mr. Haydon they
     were celebrating _his_ birthday. So off he trotted to Hampstead, and
     bolted into the company--made a very fine animated speech--thanked
     him most sincerely for what they had done him and the arts in his

At one time the set became violently vegetarian. The enthusiasm came to a
sudden end, as narrated by Joseph Severn:

     "Leigh Hunt most eloquently discussed the charms and advantages of
     these vegetable banquets, depicting in glowing words the cauliflowers
     swimming in melted butter, and the peas and beans never profaned with
     animal gravy. In the midst of his rhapsody he was interrupted by the
     venerable Wordsworth, who begged permission to ask a question. 'If,'
     he said, 'by chance of good luck they ever met with a caterpillar,
     they thanked their stars for the delicious morsel of animal food.'
     This absurdity all came to an end by an ugly discovery. Haydon, whose
     ruddy face had kept the other enthusiasts from sinking under their
     scanty diet--for they clung fondly to the hope that they would become
     like him, although they increased daily in pallor and leanness--this
     Haydon was discovered one day coming out of a chop-house. He was
     promptly taxed with treachery, when he honestly confessed that every
     day after the vegetable repast he ate a good beef-steak. This fact
     plunged the others in despair, and Leigh Hunt assured me that on
     vegetable diet his constitution had received a blow from which he had
     never recovered. With Shelley it was different, for he was by nature
     formed to regard animal food repulsively."[451]

The causes of the enmity of the press were political rather than literary
or personal and have already been sufficiently dwelt upon in the preceding
chapters. The strong rivalry between Edinburgh and London as publishing
strongholds intensified the strife. Hunt in particular had centered
attention upon himself by his persistent and violent attacks on Gifford
and Southey for several years previous to 1817. Besides _The Examiner's_
persistent allusions to these two unregenerates, a savage diatribe had
appeared in the _Feast of the Poets_, which alluded to Gifford's humble
origin and mediocre ability, charged him with being a government tool, and
continued: "But a vile, peevish temper, the more inexcusable in its
indulgence, because he appears to have had early warning of its effects,
breaks out in every page of his criticism, and only renders his affected
grinning the more obnoxious ... I pass over the nauseous epistle to Peter
Pindar, and even notes to his Baviad and Moeviad, where though less
vulgar in his language, he has a great deal of the pert cant and snip-snap
which he deprecates."[452] During 1817, _The Examiner_ had concerned
itself particularly with Southey. He had been called an apostate, a
hypocrite, and almost every other name in Hunt's abusive vocabulary. Sir
Walter Scott had not been spared. His politics were said to be easily
estimated by the "simple fact, that of all the advocates of Charles the
Second, he is the least scrupulous in mentioning his crimes, because he is
the least abashed;" his command of prose was declared equal to nothing
beyond "a plain statement or a brief piece of criticism;" his poetry "a
little thinking conveyed in a great many words."[453] Hunt thus secured to
himself, through offensive and aggressive abuse, the hostility of the
Tories both in England and in Scotland. His weaknesses and affectations
made him a conspicuous and assailable target for the inevitable return

The establishment by the Tories of the _Quarterly Review_ in 1809 and of
_Blackwood's Magazine_ in 1817 was with the view of opposing and, if
possible, of suppressing the _Edinburgh Review_ and _The Examiner_. The
brunt of the hostility fell upon the latter, for Hunt, by reason of his
extreme social and religious policy, could not always rally the _Edinburgh
Review_ to his support. With the founding of the _London Magazine_ in 1820
he had a new ally in its editor, John Scott, but the war had then already
raged for three years, and Scott fell a victim to it in two years'
time.[455] By a process of elimination Scott fixed the identity of
"Z"--such was the only signature of the articles on the Cockney School in
_Blackwood's_--upon Lockhart. He also asserted that Lockhart was the
editor of the magazine. Lockhart demanded an apology. His friend Christie
took up the quarrel. In the duel which followed Scott was fatally wounded.
His death followed Keats's within four days.

The method of attack with the _Quarterly_ and with _Blackwood's_ was much
the same. They differed chiefly in the style of approach. The former may
be compared to heavy artillery, slow, cumbrous and crushing. The reviews
indeed often verge on dullness and stupidity. Neither Gifford nor Southey
seemed to have been blessed with the saving grace of humor in dealing with
the Cockney School. _Blackwood's_, on the other hand, had too much, for
whenever one of the so-called Cockneys was mentioned, its contributors
wallowed in the mire of coarse buffoonery and cruel satire, disgusting
scandal and vulgar parody. The only counter-irritant to such a dose is the
clever joking and keen humor; but even when this is clean, which is rare,
the whole is rendered unpalatable by the thought of its cruelty and of its
frequent falsity. Furthermore, _Blackwood's_ was more merciless in its
persecution than the _Quarterly_ in that it was untiring. It was
perpetually discharging a fresh fusilade. Both magazines disguised their
real motives under a cloak of religious zeal and monarchical loyalty.

While Hunt did much to bring the hornet's nest about his ears, he was not
wholly deserving of the amount, and not at all of the kind, of stinging
calumny that he had to endure. Neither were the members of the Cockney
School the only ones who provoked such antagonism from the same magazine.
Other famous libels of _Blackwood's_ that should be mentioned to show the
disposition of its controllers were the _Chaldee Manuscript_; the
_Madonna of Dresden_ and other effusions of the "_Baron von
Lauerwinckel_"; the _Diary_ and _Horæ Sinicæ of Ensign O'Doherty_; and the
_Diary of William Wastle, Blackwood and Dr. Morris_. _Letter to Sir Walter
Scott, Bart., on the Moral and other Characteristics of the Ebony and
Shandrydan School_,[456] cites a full list of _Blackwood's_ victims.
These, besides those of the Cockney School, were said to be Jeffrey,
Professor Playfair, Professor Dugald Stewart, Professor Leslie, James
Macintosh, Lord Brougham, Moore, Professor David Ricardo, Wordsworth,
Coleridge, Pringle, Dalzell, Cleghorn, Graham, Sharpe, Jameson, and Hogg,
the Ettrick Shepherd. The characters in _Noctes Ambrosianæ_, Ticklers,
Scorpions and Shepherds, were said by the pamphleteer to respectively
tickle, sting and stultify, and to make a business "of insulting worth,
offending delicacy, caluminating genius, and outraging the decencies and
violating all the sanctities of life." Their weapons were "loathsome
billingsgate and brutality," and "sublime bathos." An interesting
statement, not elsewhere found, is made by the anonymous author of the
pamphlet that the proprietor of the Black Bull Inn imputed the death of
his wife to the first volume of _Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk_, a
series similar to the _Noctes Ambrosianæ_. Sir Walter Scott is told that
he cannot remain innocent if he remains indifferent to the machinations of
the "Ebony and Shandrydan School"--as the writer pleases to call the
_Blackwood's_ group. Another interesting pamphlet of like nature is _The
Scorpion Critic Unmasked; or Animadversions on a Pretended Review of
"Fleurs, a Poem, in Four Books," which appeared in Blackwood's Edinburgh
Magazine for June, 1821, in a Letter to a Friend_.[457] _Blackwood's_ had
called Nathaniel John Hollingsworth, the author of the poem, and others of
his type, the "Leg of Mutton School."[458] Nothing in fact seems to have
given this magazine so much malicious delight as to create schools,
perhaps in a spirit of rivalry with the "Lake School" of the _Edinburgh
Review_. In the preceding April the "Manchester School" had been presented
by _Blackwood's_ to the public. Hollingsworth in turn created the
"Scorpion School" in order to deride _Blackwood's_. Other pamphlets of the
same kind were _Rebellion again Gulliver; or R-D-C-L-SM in Lilliput_. _A
Poetical Fragment from a Lilliputian Manuscript_, an anonymous publication
which appeared in Edinburgh in 1820; _Aspersions answered: an explanatory
Statement, advanced to the Public at Large, and to Every Reader of The
Quarterly Review in Particular_;[459] and _Another Article for the
Quarterly Review_;[460] both by William Hone in reply to the charge of
irreligion made by the _Quarterly_ against him.

William Blackwood, John Wilson or "Christopher North," Lockhart, and
perhaps Maginn, share the blame severally of _Blackwood's_; while in the
case of the _Quarterly_, to Gifford and Southey, already mentioned, must
be added Sir Walter Scott and Croker. The two last certainly countenanced
the actions of the others, even if they took no more active part. There
seems to be no way of determining the individual authorship of the various
articles. It was a secret jealously guarded at the time and it is unlikely
that any further disclosures will come to light. The victims themselves
hazarded as many guesses as more recent critics with no greater degree of
certainty. Leigh Hunt thought that the articles were written by Sir Walter
Scott;[461] Hazlitt said, "To pay those fellows _in their own coin_, the
way would be to begin with Walter Scott _and have at his clump
foot_;"[462] Charles Dilke thought that the articles were written by
Lockhart with the encouragement of Scott;[463] Haydon thought that "Z" was
Terry the actor, an intimate of the Blackwood party, who had been
exasperated because Hunt had failed to notice him in _The Examiner_;[464]
Shelley fancied that the articles in the _Quarterly_ were by Southey, and,
on his denial, attributed them to Henry Hart Milman.[465] Mrs. Oliphant in
her two ponderous volumes, _William Blackwood and His Sons_, practically
asserts that "Z" was Lockhart.[466] If the extent of her research is to be
the gauge of its value, her opinion is a very valuable one. Mr. Colvin
advances the theory that "Z" was Wilson or Lockhart, possibly revised by
William Blackwood.[467] Mr. Courthope thinks that Croker was the author of
the articles on _Endymion_ in the _Quarterly_.[468] Mr. Herford thinks
that the whole campaign against the Cockney School was "largely worked
out" by Lockhart.[469]

       *       *       *       *       *

Hunt, Shelley, Hazlitt and Keats were the chief targets in the Cockney
School. The attacks on each of these are of such length as to require
separate discussion and will be returned to later. Those who attained
lesser notoriety were Charles Lamb, Haydon, Barry Cornwall, John Hamilton
Reynolds, Cornelius Webb, Charles Wells, Charles Dilke, Charles Lloyd, P.
G. Patmore and John Ketch (Abraham Franklin). Those who moved within the
same circle and who may by attraction be considered Cockneys are Charles
Cowden Clarke and his wife, Vincent Novello, Charles Armitage Brown, the
Olliers, Horace and James Smith, Douglas Jerrold, Joseph Severn, Laman
Blanchard, Thomas Noon Talfourd, Thomas Love Peacock, and perhaps Thomas

Charles Lamb was first attacked in 1820. He had written essays somewhat in
the manner of Hunt and he was a contributor to the _London Magazine_,
which had blundered by censuring Castlereagh, Canning, and Wilberforce.
The much-despised Hazlitt was another of its force. Accordingly, "Elia"
was pronounced a "Cockney Scribbler," _Christ's Hospital_ an essay full of
offensive and reprehensible personalities,[470] and _All Fool's Day_
"mere inanity and very Cockneyism."[471] In April, 1822, _Blackwood's_
returned to the attack but with more than usual good nature. In _Noctes
Ambrosianæ_ of that month Tickler is made to say:

     "Elia in his happiest moods delights me; he is a fine soul; but when
     he is dull, his dullness sets human stupidity at defiance. He is like
     a well-bred, ill-trained pointer. He has a fine nose, but he can't or
     won't range. He always keeps close to your foot, and then he points
     larks or tit-mice. You see him snuffing and snoking and brandishing
     his tail with the most impassioned enthusiasm, and then drawn round
     into a semi-circle he stands beautifully--dead set. You expect a
     burst of partridges, or a towering cock-pheasant, when lo, and
     behold, away flits a lark, or you discover a mouse's nest, or there
     is absolutely nothing at all. Perhaps a shrew has been there the day
     before. Yet if Elia were mine, I would not part with him, for all his

A few years later Lamb became one of _Blackwood's_ contributors. Two
attacks on Lamb proceeded from the _Quarterly_. The _Confessions of a
Drunkard_, the writer says, "affords a fearful picture of the consequences
of intemperance which we have reason to know is a true tale."[472] In his
_Progress of Infidelity_, Southey asserted that Elia's volume of essays
wanted "only sounder religious feeling, to be as delightful as it is
original."[473] Lamb's wrath had been slowly gathering under the strain of
repeated attacks on Hunt, Hazlitt and himself. It culminated with
Southey's article. In the _London Magazine_ of October, 1823, he
repudiated at considerable length the compliments thrust upon him at the
expense of his friends, and denied the arraignment of drunkenness and
heterodoxy. Matters were then smoothed over between him and Southey
through an explanation which his unfailing good nature could not resist.

Haydon was nick-named the "Raphael of the Cockneys."[474] Until the
exhibition of _Christ's Entry into Jerusalem_ in Edinburgh in 1820, he
underwent the same kind of persecution as his friends. His "greasy hair"
was about as notorious as Hazlett's "pimpled face." But the picture
converted _Blackwood's_ crew. They apologized and confessed that their
misapprehensions had been due to the absurd style of laudation in _The
Examiner_. Henceforward they acknowledged him to be "a high Tory and an
aristocrat, and a sound Christian."[475]

Bryan Waller Procter, or Barry Cornwall, was satirized in _Blackwood's_
for his so-called effeminacy. In October, 1823, the following facetious
passage occurs: "the merry thought of a chick--three tea-spoonsfulls of
peas, the eighth part of a French roll, a sprig of cauliflower, and an
almost imperceptible dew of parsley" would dine the author of _The
Deluge_. The article on Shelley's _Posthumous Poems_ in the _Edinburgh_ of
July, 1824, was attributed to Procter by _Blackwood's_ and assailed in a
most disgusting manner. The article was by Hazlitt.

John Hamilton Reynolds was a friend of Keats, one of the _Young Poets_
reviewed by Hunt in _The Examiner_, and a contributor to the _London
Magazine_. His two poems, _Eden of the Imagination_ and _Fairies_, showed
Hunt's influence. In the former he had even dared to praise Hunt in the

Cornelius Webb was the author of numerous poems which exhibit in a marked
degree the Huntian peculiarities of diction pointed out in the first
chapter. He is moreover responsible for the unfortunate lines so often
quoted in derision by Blackwood's:

  The Muses' son of promise! and what feats
  He yet may do."

His sonnets in the _Literary Pocket Book_ were thus reviewed in
_Blackwood's_ of December, 1821: "Now, Cornelius Webbe is a Jaw-breaker.
Let any man who desires to have his ivory dislodged, read the above sonnet
to March. Or shall we call Cornelius, the grinder? After reading aloud
these fourteen lines, we called in our Odontist, and he found that every
tooth in our head was loosened, and a slight fracture in the jaw. 'My
dearest Christopher', said the Odontist, in his wonted classical spirit,
'beware the Ides of March.' So saying, he bounced up in our faces and

Charles Wells was a friend of Hazlitt and of Keats. In true Cockney
fashion he sent the latter a sonnet and some roses and thus began the
acquaintance. Dilke was a friend of Keats, a radical, and an independent
critic in the manner of Hunt. Charles Lloyd was Lamb's friend, one of the
contributors to the _Literary Pocket Book_ of 1820, and a poet of
sentimental and descriptive propensities. P. G. Patmore was "Count Tims,
the Cockney."[476] Although he was a correspondent of _Blackwood's_, his
son has remarked that he was not _persona grata_, but was employed to
secure news from London; and permitted to write only when he did not
defend his friends too much.[477] "John Ketch" (Abraham Franklin) is
mentioned by Lord Byron as one of the "Cockney Scribblers."[478] Thomas
Hood, as brother-in-law of Reynolds, as assistant editor of the _London
Magazine_, and as an imitator in a small degree in his early work of Lamb
and of Hunt may be enumerated among the Cockneys, although he is not
usually included. Laman Blanchard was the friend of Procter, Lamb and
Hunt. He imitated Procter's _Dramatic Sketches_ and Lamb's _Essays_.
Talfourd was a member of the circle and the friend and biographer of Lamb.
He defended Edward Moxon when he was prosecuted for publishing _Queen
Mab_. Peacock was the friend of Shelley. The Ollier brothers, publishers,
introduced Keats, Shelley, Hunt, Lamb and Procter to the public.[479]

Although Byron was frequently at war with _Blackwood's_ and the
_Quarterly_, and although he was closely associated with Shelley and Hunt,
he was never stigmatized as a member of the Cockney School. Yet through
his alliance with them he came in for some opprobrium that he would
otherwise have escaped. _Blackwood's_ strove through ridicule to prevent
any growth of familiarity with Hunt or his fraternity. Its attitude
towards the dedication to Byron of the _Story of Rimini_ has already been
mentioned. Hunt's statement already quoted on p. 95 that "for the drama,
whatever good passages such a writer will always put forth, we hold that
he (Byron) has no more qualification than we have" was a choice morsel for
the Scotch birds of prey, enjoyed to the fullest extent in a review of
_Lyndsay's Dramas of the Ancient World_:

     "Prigs will be preaching--and nothing but conceit cometh out of
     Cockaigne. What an emasculated band of dramatists have deployed upon
     our boards. A pale-faced, sallow set, like the misses of some Cockney
     boarding-school, taking a constitutional walk, to get rid of their
     habits of eating lime out of the wall.... But it was reserved to the
     spirit of atheism of an age, to talk of a Cockney writing a tragedy.
     When the mind ceases to believe in a Providence, it can believe in
     anything else; but the pious soul feels that while to dream, even in
     sleep, that a Cockney had written a successful tragedy, would be
     repugnant to reason; certainly a more successful tragedy could not be
     imagined, from the utter destruction of Cockaigne and all its
     inhabitants. An earthquake or a shower of lava would be too
     complimentary to the Cockneys; but what do you think of a shower of
     soot from a multitude of foul chimneys, and the smell of gas from
     exploded pipes. Something might be made of the idea.... The truth is,
     that these mongrel and doggerel drivellers have an instinctive
     abhorrence of a true poet; and they all ran out like so many curs
     baying at the feet of the Pegasus on which Byron rode ... and the
     eulogists of homely, and fireside, and little back-parlour incest,
     what could they imagine of the unseduceable spirit of the spotless
     Angiolina?... When Elliston, ignorant of what one gentleman owes to
     another, or driven by stupidity to forget it, brought the Doge on the
     stage, how crowed the Bantam Cocks of Cockaigne to see it damned!...
     But Manfred and the Doge are not dead; while all that small fry have
     disappeared in the mud, and are dried up like so many tadpoles in a
     ditch, under the summer drowth. 'Lord Byron,' quoth Mr. Leigh Hunt,
     'has about as much dramatic genius as _ourselves_!' He might as well
     have said, 'Lucretia had about as much chastity as my own heroine in
     Rimini;' or, 'Sir Phillip Sidney was about as much of the gentleman
     as myself!'"[480]

Byron's attitude toward the Cockney School was expressed in a letter
written to John Murray during the Bowles controversy:

     "With the rest of his (Hunt's) young people I have no acquaintance,
     except through some things of theirs (which have been sent out
     without my desire), and I confess that till I had read them I was not
     aware of the full extent of human absurdity. Like Garrick's 'Ode to
     Shakespeare,' _they_ '_defy criticism_.' These are of the personages
     who decry Pope.... Mr. Hunt redeems himself by occasional beauties;
     but the rest of these poor creatures seem so far gone that I would
     not 'march through Coventry with them, that's flat!' were I in Mr.
     Hunt's place. To be sure, he has 'led his ragamuffins where they will
     be well peppered'; but a system-maker must receive all sorts of
     proselytes. When they have really seen life--when they have felt
     it--when they have travelled beyond the far distant boundaries of the
     wilds of Middlesex--when they have overpassed the Alps of Highgate,
     and traced to its sources the Nile of the New River--then, and not
     till then, can it properly be permitted to them to despise Pope....
     The grand distinction of the under forms of the new school of poets
     is their _vulgarity_. By this I do not mean that they are coarse, but
     'shabby-genteel,' as it is termed. A man may be _coarse_ and yet not
     _vulgar_, and the reverse.... It is in their _finery_ that the new
     school are _most_ vulgar, and they may be known by this at once; as
     what we called at Harrow "A Sunday blood" might be easily
     distinguished from a gentleman, although his clothes might be the
     better cut, and his boots the best blackened of the two:--probably
     because he made the one or cleaned the other, with his own hands....
     In the present case, I speak of writing, not of persons. Of the
     latter I know nothing; of the former I judge as it is found."[481]

Byron's opinion of Keats is too well known to need repetition. He thought
there was hope for Barry Cornwall if "he don't get spoiled by green tea
and the praises of Pentonville and Paradise Row. The pity of these men is,
that they never lived in _high life_ nor in _solitude_: there is no medium
for the knowledge of the _busy_ or the _still_ world. If admitted into
high life for a season, it is merely as _spectators_--they form no part of
the mechanism thereof."[482]

_Blackwood's_ of December, 1822, in a review of _The Liberal_, advised
Byron to "cut the Cockney"--"by far the most unaccountable of God's
works." Hunt is denominated "the menial of a lord." When Byron
notwithstanding its advice continued his "conjunction with these deluded
drivellers of Cockaigne" _Blackwood's_ grew savage towards the peer
himself: it is said that he suffered himself

     "to be so enervated by the unworthy Delilahs which have enslaved his
     imagination, as to be reduced to the foul office of displaying blind
     buffooneries before the Philistines of Cockaigne ... I feel a moral
     conviction that his lordship must have taken the Examiner, the
     Liberal, the Rimini, the Round Table, as his model, and endeavored
     to write himself down to the level of the capacities and the swinish
     tastes of those with whom he has the misfortune, originally, I
     believe, from charitable motives, to associate. This is the most
     charitable hypothesis which I can frame. Indeed there are some verses
     which have all the appearance of having been interpolated by the King
     of the Cockneys."[483]

When Byron and Hunt had separated, _Blackwood's_ attempted to reinstate
Byron in his former position by declaring that he had been disgusted
beyond endurance on Hunt's arrival in Italy and that he had cut him very
soon in a "paroxysm of loathing."[484]

       *       *       *       *       *

The declaration of war between the Cockneys and the Tory press was made
with a review of the _Story of Rimini_ in the _Quarterly_ of January,
1816. From this time on Hunt was the choice prey of the two magazines, and
others were attacked principally on account of him, or reached through
him. Hunt's writings were termed "eruptions of a disease" with which he
insists upon "inoculating mankind;" his language "an ungrammatical,
unauthorized, chaotic jargon." _Blackwood's_ of October, 1817, contained
the first of the long series of abusive articles which appeared in its
columns. Hazlitt in the _Edinburgh Review_ in June of the preceding year
had acclaimed the _Story of Rimini_ to be "a reminder of the pure and
glorious style that prevailed among us before French modes and French
methods of criticism." In it he had discovered a resemblance to Chaucer,
to the voluptuous pathos of Boccaccio and to the laughing graces of
Ariosto. To offset such statements _Blackwood's_ dubbed the new school the
"Cockney School" and made Hunt its chief doctor and professor. (Later, in
1823, _Blackwood's_ proudly claimed the honor of christening and said that
the _Quarterly_ used the epithet only when it had become a part of English
criticism.) It declared the dedication to Byron an insult and the poem the
product of affectation and gaudiness and continued:

     "The beaux are attorney's apprentices, with chapeau bras and Limerick
     gloves--fiddlers, harp teachers, and clerks of genius: the belles are
     faded, fan-twinkling spinsters, prurient vulgar misses from school,
     and enormous citizen's wives. The company are entertained with
     luke-warm negus, and the sounds of a paltry piano forte.... His
     poetry resembles that of a man who has kept company with
     kept-mistresses. His muse talks indelicately like the tea-sipping
     milliner's girl. Some excuse for her there might have been, had she
     been hurried away by imagination or passion; but with her, indecency
     seems a disease, she appears to speak unclean things from perfect
     inanition." Hunt "would fain be always tripping and waltzing, and he
     is very sorry that he cannot be allowed to walk about in the morning
     with yellow breeches and flesh-colored silk stockings. He sticks an
     artificial rosebud in his button hole in the midst of winter. He
     wears no neckcloth, and cuts his hair in imitation of the prints of

Nature in the eyes of a Cockney was said to consist only of "green fields,
jaunty streams, and o'er-arching leafiness;" no mountains were higher than
Highgate-hill nor streams more pastoral than the Serpentine River.[485]
_Blackwood's_ was near the truth in its criticism of Hunt's conception of
nature. While his appreciation was very genuine, it was restricted to
rural or suburban scenes, "of the town, towny."[486] The scale was that of
the window garden or a flower pot. Who but he could rhapsodize over a cut
flower or a bit of green; or could speak in spring "of being gay and
vernal and daffodilean?"[487] Yet he produced some delightful rural
poetry. Take this for instance:

  "You know the rural feeling, and the charm
  That stillness has for a world-fretted ear,
  'Tis now deep whispering all about me here,
  With thousand tiny bushings, like a swarm
  Of atom bees, or fairies in alarm
  Or noise of numerous bliss from distant spheres."[488]

The general characteristics of the school, briefly summarized, were said
to be ignorance and vulgarity, an entire absence of religion, a vague and
sour Jacobinism for patriotism, admiration of Chaucer and Spenser when
they resemble Hunt, and extreme moral depravity and obscenity. November,
1817, of _Blackwood's_ contained the notorious accusation against the
_Story of Rimini_ of immorality of purpose.[489] The poem was called "the
genteel comedy of incest." Francesca's sin was declared voluntary and her
sufferings sentimental. The changes from the historical version, an
espousal by proxy instead of betrothal, the omission of deformity, the
substitution of the duel for murder, and the happy opening, were
pronounced wilful perversions for the furtherance of corruption. Ford's
treatment of the same theme much more elevated. Hunt's defense was that
the catastrophe was Francesca's sufficient punishment.[490] In May, 1818,
the same charge was repeated: "No woman who has not either lost her
chastity, or is desirous of losing it, ever read the 'Story of Rimini'
without the flushings of shame and of self-reproach."

_The Examiner_ of November 2 and 16, 1817, quoted extracts from the first
of these articles and called upon the author to avow himself; otherwise to
an "utter disregard of _Truth_ and Decency, he adds the height of Meanness
and COWARDICE."[491] As might have been expected, this demand brought
forth nothing more than a disavowal from the London publishers who handled
_Blackwood's_ of all responsibility in the matter. June 14, 1818, _The
Examiner_ assailed the editor of the _Quarterly_ as a government critic
who disguised a political quarrel in literary garb, as a sycophant to
power and wealth:

     "Grown old in the service of corruption, he drivels on to the last
     with prostituted impotence, and shameless effrontery; salves a meagre
     reputation for wit, by venting the driblets of his spleen and
     impertinence on others; answers their arguments by confuting himself;
     mistakes habitual obtuseness of intellect for a particular acuteness,
     not to be imposed upon by shallow pretensions; unprincipled rancor
     for zealous loyalty; and the irritable, discontented, vindictive, and
     peevish effusions of bodily pain and mental infirmity, for proofs of
     refinement of taste and strength of understanding."

This condescension to a use of his enemies' weapons only weakened Hunt's
position. Yet in the light of the secrecy maintained at the time and the
mystery surrounding the matter ever since, it is interesting to read
_Blackwood's_ contorted reply to Hunt's demand for an open fight, written
as late as January, 1826:

     "Nor let it be said that, either on this or any other occasion, the
     moral Satyrists (sic) in this magazine ever wished to remain unknown.
     How, indeed, could they wish for what they well knew was impossible?
     All the world has all along known the names of the gentlemen who have
     uttered our winged words. Nor did it ever, for one single moment,
     enter into the head of any one of them to wish--not to scorn
     concealment. To gentlemen, too, they at all times acted like
     gentlemen; but was it ever dreamt by the wildest that they were to
     consider as such the scum of the earth? 'If I but knew who was my
     slanderer,' was at one time the ludicrous skraigh of the convicted
     Cockney. Why did he not ask? and what would he have got by asking?
     Shame and confusion of face--unanswerable argument and cruel
     chastisement. For before one word would have been deigned to the
     sinner, he must have eaten--and the bitter roll is yet ready for
     him--all the lies he had told for the last twenty years, and must
     either have choked or been kicked."

In January, 1818, _Blackwood's_ issued a manifesto of their future
campaign. The Keatses, Shelleys, and Webbes, were to be taken in turn. The
charges of profligacy and obscenity against Hunt's poem were repeated, but
it was emphatically stated that there was no implication made in reference
to his private character--an ominous statement that any one with any
knowledge of _Blackwood's_ usual methods could only construe into a
warning that such an implication would speedily follow. The article was
signed "Z," a shadowy personage who sorrowfully called himself the
"present object" of Hunt's resentment and dislike. He seems to have
expected gratitude and affection in return for articles that would
compare favorably with the most scurrilous billingsgate of any of the
Humanistic controversies. In May, 1818, with due ceremony, Hunt was
proclaimed "King of the Cockneys" and editor of the Cockney Court-gazette.
His kingdom was the "Land of Cockaigne," a borrowing, most probably, from
the thirteenth century satire by that name. Keats's sonnet containing the
line "He of the rose, the violet, the spring" became the official Cockney
poem--by an "amiable but infatuated bardling." John Hunt was made Prince
John. With the lapse of time Hunt's crimes seem to have multiplied. He is
called a lunatic, a libeller, an abettor of murder and of assassination, a
coward, an incendiary, a Jacobin, a plebeian and a foe to virtue. He is
instructed, if sickened with the sins and follies of mankind, to withdraw

     "to the holy contemplation of your own divine perfections, and there
     'perk up with timid mouth' 'and lamping eyes' (as you have it) upon
     what to you is dearer and more glorious than all created things
     besides, till you become absorbed in your own identity--motionless,
     mighty, and magnificent, in the pure calm of Cockneyism ... instead
     of rousing yourself from your lair, like some noble beast when
     attacked by the hunter, you roll yourself round like a sick hedgehog,
     that has crawled out into the 'crisp' gravel walk round your box at
     Hampstead, and oppose only the feeble pricks of your hunch'd-up back
     to the kicks of any one who wishes less to hurt you, than to drive
     you into your den."

The _Quarterly_ of the same month contained the notorious review of
_Foliage_. Southey, in a counterfeited Cockney style, contorts Hunt's
devotion to his leafy luxuries, his flowerets, wine, music and other
social joys into Epicureanism[492] and like unsound principles. He even
goes so far as to accuse him of incest and adultery in his private life.
There are disguised but unmistakable references to Keats and to Shelley;
the latter is credited with evil doings that fall little short of
machinations with the devil. The volume of poems, which was the ostensible
pretext for this parade of foul slander, not a word of which was true,
has, Southey says, richness of language and picturesqueness of
imagery.[493] The July number of _Blackwood's_ went a step beyond Southey
and identified the characters of the _Story of Rimini_ with Hunt and his
sister-in-law, Elizabeth Kent. After ostentatiously giving currency to the
scandal, "Z" then proceeds to deny the rumor--which had no existence save
in the minds of Hunt's vilifiers--in order to preserve immunity from
libel. At the time that Lamb replied to Southey in 1823 he took up these
charges made against Hunt in 1818. He said:

     "I was admitted to his household for several years, and do most
     solemnly aver that I believe him to be in his domestic relations as
     correct as any man. He chose an ill-judged subject for a poem.... In
     spite of 'Rimini,' I must look upon its author as a man of taste and
     a poet. He is better than so; he is one of the most cordial-minded
     men that I ever knew, and matchless as a fireside companion. I do not
     mean to affront or wound your feelings when I say that in his more
     genial moods, he has often reminded me of you."[494]

A facetious bit of prose _On Sonnet Writing_ and a _Sonnet on Myself_ in
_Blackwood's_ of April, 1819, parodied excellently the Cockney conceit and
mannerisms. The September number contrasted Henry Hunt, the representative
of the Cockney School of Politics, with Leigh Hunt, of the Cockney School
of Poetry; resenting loudly the claim of the two to prominence for "even
Douglasses never had more than one Bell-the-cat at a time." While Henry
Hunt "the brawny white feather of Cockspur-street" addresses street mobs,
the other Hunt, "the lank and sallow hypochondriac of the 'leafy rise'
and 'farmy fields' of Hampstead," "the whining milk-sop sonneteer of the
Examiner" is said to speak to a "sorely depressed remnant of 'single
gentlemen' in lodgings, and single ladies we know not where--a generation
affected with headaches, tea-drinking and all the nostalgia of the
nerves." It is hardly necessary to add that there was no connection
whatsoever between the two men.

_Blackwood's_ of October, 1819, announced _Foliage_ to be a posthumous
publication of Hunt's, presented to the public by his three friends,
Keats, Haydon and Novello. An affecting picture is drawn of the
now-departed Hunt in his once familiar costume of dressing-gown, yellow
breeches and red slippers, sipping tea, playing whist and writing sonnets.
His statement in the preface that a "love of sociability, of the country,
and the fine imagination of the Greeks" had prompted the poems is greatly
ridiculed. The first is said to have caused his death by an
over-indulgence in tea-drinking; his feeling for nature is said to be
limited to the lawns, stiles and hedges of Hampstead and his knowledge of
the imagination of the Greeks to quotations. The _Sonnet On Receiving a
Crown of Ivy from Keats_ came in for especial derision--"a blister clapped
on his head" would have been considered more appropriate.

Hunt's _Literary Pocket Books_ for 1819 and 1820 were reviewed in
_Blackwood's_ in December, 1819, in a remarkably kind article. They are
recommended as worth three times the price. The reviewer, who was no other
than "Christopher North," stated that he had purchased six copies.
_Blackwood's_ of September, 1820, reviewed _The Indicator_; of December,
1821, the 1822 _Literary Pocket Book_; the last contained coarse and
unkind allusions to Hunt's health. It declared the production of sonnets
in London and its suburbs about equal to the number of births and deaths.
In reply, _The Examiner_ of December 16, 1821, in an article entitled
_Modern Criticism_, italicised extracts from _Blackwood's_ to bring out
peculiarities of grammar and diction. _Blackwood's_ of January, 1822,
contained a sonnet which it was pretended was Hunt's New Year's greeting,
but which was instead a clever parody on his sonnet-style.

The issue of the next month announced the triumvirate of _The Liberal_
and, through Byron's "noble generosity," Hunt's departure with his wife
and "little Johnnys" upon a "perilous voyage on the un-cockney ocean....
He and his companions will now, like his own Nereids,

  And toss upon the ocean's lifting billows,
  Making them _banks and_ pillows,
  Upon whose _springiness_ they lean and ride;
  Some with an _inward back_; some _upward-eyed_,
  Feeling the sky; and some with _sidelong hips_,
  O'er which the surface of the water slips."

The first number of the _Noctes Ambrosianæ_ appeared in March. The
following passage refers to the launching of _The Liberal_ in a dialogue
between the Editor and O'Doherty:

     O. Hand me the lemons. This holy alliance of Pisa will be a queer
     affair. _The Examiner_ has let down its price from a tenpenny to a
     sevenpenny. They say the Editor here is to be one of that faction,
     for they must publish in London, of course.

     Ed. Of course, but I doubt if they will be able to sell many. Byron
     is a prince, but these dabbling dogglerers destroy every dish they
     dip in.

     O. Apt alliteration's artful aid.

     Ed. Imagine Shelly [sic], with his spavin, and Hunt, with his
     staingalt, going in harness with such a caperer as Byron,
     three-a-breast. He'll knock the wind out of them both the first

     O. 'Tis pity Keats is dead.--I suppose you could not venture to
     publish a sonnet in which he is mentioned now? The _Quarterly_ (who
     killed him, as Shelly says) would blame you.

     Ed. Let's hear it. Is it your own?

     O. No; 'twas written many months ago by a certain great Italian
     genius, who cuts a figure about the London routs--one Fudgiolo.

     Ed. Try to recollect it. (Here follows the sonnet.)

_Blackwood's_ of December, 1822, had passages on the Cockney School in
_Noctes Ambrosianæ_. Number VII. of the series of articles on its members
reviewed Hunt's _Florentine Lovers_, or, in their phrasing, his _Art of
Love_, the story of which is wilfully misrepresented. Hunt is declared
"the most irresistible knight-errant errotic extant ... the most
contemptible little capon of the bantam breed that ever vainly dropped a
wing, or sidled up to a partlet. He can no more crow than a hen. Byron
makes love like Sir Peter, Moore like a tom-tit and Hunt like a bantam."
The writer then charges Hunt with irreligion, indecency, sensuality and
licentiousness. He is called "A Fool" and an "exquisite idiot." Such a
burst of rage on the part of the anti-Cockneys, after their wrath had
begun to cool as seen in the review of the _Literary Pocket Book_, was
doubtless due to Hunt's association in _The Liberal_ with Byron: "What can
Byron mean by patronizing a Cockney?... by far the most unaccountable of
God's works ... a scavenger raking in the filth of the common sewers and
stews, for a few gold pieces thrown down by a nobleman.... But that Satan
should stoop to associate with an incubus, shows that there is degeneracy
in hell." The tirade closes with a poem of six stanzas of which this is a
fair sample:

  "The kind Cockney Monarch, he bids us farewell
  Taking his place in the Leghorn-bound smack--
  In the smack, in the smack--Ah! will he ne'er come back?"

At the appearance of the last number of _The Liberal_, _Blackwood's_
rejoiced thus:

     "Their hum, to be sure, is awfully subdued. They remind me of a
     mutchkin of wasps in a bottle, all sticking to each other--heads and
     tails--rumps glued with treacle and vinegar, wax and pus--helpless,
     hopeless, stingless, wingless, springless--utterly abandoned of
     air--choked and choking--mutually entangling and entangled--and
     mutually disgusting and disgusted--the last blistering ferment of
     incarnate filth working itself into one mass of oblivion in one
     bruised and battered sprawl of swipes and venom."[495]

_Blackwood's_ of October, 1823, declared Hazlitt to be the most loathsome
and Hunt the most ludicrous of the group. Before the close of the year
Hunt threatened the magazine with a suit for libel. This threat did not
prevent in January a notice of Hunt's _Ultra-Crepidarius_, a satire on
Gifford much in the vein and style of the _Feast of the Poets_. Mercury
and Venus come to earth in search of the former's lost shoe. On their
arrival they discover that it has been converted by command of the gods
into a man named Gifford. The satire is facetiously attributed by
_Blackwood's_ to Master Hunt, aged ten; a "small, smart, smattering
satirist of an air-haparent ... Cockney chick." The parent is reproached
for putting a child in such a position.

     "Had Leigh Hunt, the papa, boldly advanced on any great emergency, at
     the peril of his life and crown, to snatch the legitimate issue of
     his own loins from the shrivelled hands of some blear-eyed old
     beldam, into whose small cabbage-garden Maximilian had headed a
     forlorn hope, good and well, and beautiful; but not so, when a
     stalwart and cankered carl like Mr. Gifford, with his quarter-staff,
     belabours the shoulders of his Majesty, and sire shoves son between
     himself and the Pounder ... such pusillanimity involves forfeiture of
     the Crown, and from this hour we declare Leigh dethroned, and the
     boy-bard of _Ultra-Crepidarius_ King of Cockaigne."

Wearying of this make-believe, the reviewer discards such a possibility of
authorship and considers Hunt's grandfather, a legendary personage whose
age is put at ninety-six and who is given the name of Zachariah Hunt:
"What a gross, vulgar, leering old dog it is! Was ever the couch of the
celestials so profaned before! One thinks of some aged cur, with mangy
back, glazed eye-balls dropping rheum, and with most disconsolate muzzard
muzzling among the fleas of his abominable loins, by some accident lying
upon the bed where Love and Beauty are embracing and embraced." As a final
potentiality the reviewer deliberates whether Hunt by any possibility
could have been the author and closes with this peroration: "There he goes
soaking, and swaling, and straddling up the sky, like Daniel O'Rouke on
goose back!... Toes in if you please. The goose is galloping--why don't
you stand in the stirrups?... Alas Pegasus smells his native marshes;
instead of making for Olympus, he is off in a wallop to the fens of
Lincolnshire! Bellerophon has lost his seat--now he clings desperately by
the tail--a single feather holds him from eternity."

Article VIII of the regular series, reviewing Hunt's _Bacchus in Tuscany_,
appeared in _Blackwood's_ of August, 1825. His allegiance to Apollo in
Cockaigne is declared to have been changed to Bacchus in Tuscany, and his
usual beverage of weak tea to a diet of wine on which he swills like a
hippopotamus. He is depicted as Jupiter Tonans and his manner to Hebe is
compared with a "natty Bagman to the barmaid of the Hen and Chickens." The
same number noticed Sotheby's translation of Homer. The opportunity was
not lost to refer unfavorably to Hunt's translations of the same in

_The Rebellion of the Beasts_; or _The Ass is Dead! Long Live the Ass!!!
By a Late Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge_, with the motto "A man
hath pre-eminence above a beast," was published anonymously by J. & H. L.
Hunt in London in 1825. There is every reason to believe that it was by
Hunt, although he does not mention it elsewhere. It is an exceedingly
clever satire on monarchy and far surpasses anything else of the kind that
he ever did. Had the Tories of Edinburgh suspected the author it would
probably have made them apoplectic with rage.

With _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_ the rage of the two
periodicals reached a grand climax and seemingly exhausted itself. The
_Quarterly_ in March of the same year in which it appeared said: "The last
wiggle of expiring imbecility appears in these days to be a volume of
personal Reminiscences." It characterized the book as a melancholy product
of coxcombry and cockneyism: as "dirty gabble about men's wives and men's
mistresses--and men's lackeys, and even the mistresses of the lackeys:" as
"the miserable book of a miserable man; the little airy fopperies of its
manner are like the fantastic trip and convulsive simpers of some poor
worn-out wanton, struggling between famine and remorse, leering through
her tears." _Blackwood's_ of the same month pictured Hunt riding in the
tourney lists of Cockaigne to the tune of Cock-a-doodle-doo. It accused
him, besides those misdemeanors many times previously exploited, of clumsy
casuistry, of falsehood regarding his transaction with Colburn, of
ill-breeding in dragging his wife into such a book. The following is the
culmination of the author's anger:

     "Mr. Hunt, who to the prating pertness of the parrot, the chattering
     impudence of the magpie--to say nothing of the mowling malice of the
     monkey--adds the hissiness of the bill-pouting gander, and the
     gobble-bluster of the bubbly-jock--to say nothing of the forward
     valour of the brock or badger--threatens death and destruction to all
     writers of prose or verse, who shall dare to say white is the black
     of his eye, or that his book is not like a vase lighted up from
     within with the torch of truth ... Frezeland Bantam is the vainest
     bird that attempts to crow; and by and by our feverish friend comes
     out into the light, and begins to trim his plumage! His toilet over
     he basks on the ditch side, and has not the smallest doubt in the
     world that he is a Bird of Paradise."

The _Literary Gazette_ joined in the hue-and-cry against "the pert
vulgarity and miserable low-mindedness of Cockney-land," against "the
disagreeable, envious, bickering, hating, slandering, contemptible,
drivelling and be-devilling wretches."[496] _Blackwood's_ of February,
1830, in a review of Moore's _Life, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron_,
satirizes the conversational habits of the Cockneys "who all keep
chattering during meals and after them, like so many monkeys, emulous and
envious of each other's eloquence, and pulling out with their paws fetid
observations from their cheek-pouches, which are nuts to them, though
instead of kernel, nothing but snuff."

Not only did the articles in _Blackwood's_ cease after this last, but in
1834 a full and complete apology was tendered Hunt by Christopher North:

     "And Shelley truly loved Leigh Hunt. Their friendship was honorable
     to both, for it was as disinterested as sincere; and I hope Gurney
     will let a certain person in the City understand that I treat his
     offer of a reviewal of Mr. Hunt's _London Journal_ with disdain. If
     he has anything to say against us or that gentleman, either
     conjunctly or severally, let him out with it in some other channel;
     and I promise him a touch and taste of the crutch. He talks to me of
     _Maga's_ desertion of principle; but if he were a Christian--nay, a
     man--his heart and his head would tell him that the Animosities are
     mortal, but the Humanities live for ever--and that Leigh Hunt has
     more talent in his little finger than the puling prig, who has taken
     upon himself to lecture Christopher North in a scrawl crawling with
     forgotten falsehoods."[497]

Professor Wilson's invitation to Hunt to contribute to his magazine was
declined politely but firmly. Leigh Hunt wrote to Charles Cowden Clarke:
"_Blackwood's_ and I, poetically, are becoming the best friends in the
world. The other day there was an Ode in _Blackwood_ in honour of the
memory of Shelley; and I look for one of Keats. I hope this will give you
faith in glimpses of the Golden Age."[498] Nowhere does Hunt show
resentment or malice for the sufferings of years. Yet Mrs. Oliphant, in
her advocacy of the Blackwood group, goes the length of saying that he
displayed "feebleness of mind and body," "petty meannesses,"
"unwillingness or incapacity to take a high view even of friends or
benefactors," a lightheartedness and frivolity, and "enduring spite." She
grudgingly admits his "almost feminine grace and charm." She says that he
thought his friends deserved only "casual thanks when they did what was
but their manifest duty ... bitter and spiteful satire when they attended
to their own affairs instead." She makes a radically false statement when
she says that he defended Byron, Shelley, Keats, Moore, and many others in
_The Examiner_, but found an opportunity to say an evil word of most of
them afterwards; and that when _Blackwood's_ or the _Quarterly_ attacked
him, he was convinced that "it must be really one of his friends who was
being struck at through him."[499]

The _Quarterly_ delayed longer in assuming a friendly attitude. It
remained silent until 1867, when Bulwer, in a comparison of Hunt and
Hazlitt, conceded to the former a gracefulness and kindliness of
disposition, a smoothness of tone and delicacy of finish in his writing.
There was no formal apology as in the case of _Blackwood's_.

Carlyle says that Hunt suffered an "obloquy and calumny through the Tory
press--perhaps a greater quantity of baseness, persevering, implacable
calumny, than any other living writer has undergone; which long course of
hostility ... may be regarded as the beginning of his worst distresses,
and a main cause of them down to this day."[500] Macaulay said: "There is
hardly a man living whose merits have been so grudgingly allowed, and
whose faults have been so cruelly expiated."[501] For a period of more
than a quarter of a century, from the beginning of the crusade against him
until about 1845, partly as the result of the misrepresentation of the
press, and partly as a natural consequence of his own foibles and early
blunders, a pretty general antagonism existed against him. At the end of
that time his honesty and talents were recognized and rewarded publicly by
the government. And the public has come more and more to esteem his
personal character.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Quarterly_ of April, 1818, contained the stupid and savage review of
_Endymion_, provoked almost solely by the Keats's offence in being the
friend and public protégé of Leigh Hunt. The simple and manly preface[502]
was misconstrued into a formula for Huntian poetry, and its allusion to a
"London drizzle or a Scotch mist" into a "deprecation of criticism in a
feverish manner." Leigh Hunt asked years afterwards how "anybody could
answer such an appeal to the mercy of strength with the cruelty of
weakness. All the good for which Mr. Gifford pretended to be zealous, he
might have effected with pain to no one, and glory to himself; and
therefore all the evil he mixed with it was of his own making."[503] The
general trend of the article and the reviewer's acknowledgment that he had
read only the first book of the poem are well known. The following passage
refers directly to Keats's connection with Hunt:

     "The author is a copyist of Mr. Hunt, but he is more unintelligible,
     almost as rugged, twice as diffuse, and ten times more tiresome and
     absurd than his prototype; who, though he impudently presumed to seat
     himself in the chair of criticism, and to measure his own poetry by
     his own standard, yet generally had a meaning. But Mr. Keats advanced
     no dogmas which he was bound to support by examples; his nonsense is
     therefore quite gratuitous; he writes it for his own sake, and, being
     bitten by Mr. Leigh Hunt's insane criticism, more than rivals the
     insanity of his poetry."[504]

_Blackwood's_ followed the _Quarterly's_ lead in August, reviewing Keats's
first volume at the same time with _Endymion_. He is reproached with
madness, with metromania, with low origin, with perversion of talents
suited only to an apprenticeship, all because he admired Hunt sufficiently
to adopt some of his theories and because he had been called in _The
Examiner_ one of "two stars of glorious magnitude." The sonnet _Written on
the day that Mr. Leigh Hunt left prison_, the _Sonnet to Haydon_, and
_Sleep and Poetry_, are anathematized. In the last Keats is said to speak

     "contempt of some of the most exquisite spirits that the world ever
     produced, merely because they did not happen to exert their faculties
     in laborious affected descriptions of flowers seen in window-pots, or
     cascades heard at Vauxhall; in short, because they chose to be wits,
     philosophers, patriots, and poets, rather than to found the Cockney
     school of versification, morality and politics, a century before its
     time. After blaspheming himself into a fury against Boileau, etc.,
     Mr. Keats comforts himself and his readers with a view of the present
     more promising state of affairs; above all, with the ripened glories
     of the poet of _Rimini_."

The denunciation of the "calm, settled, drivelling idiocy" of _Endymion_
in the same article is famous, but in a discussion of the Cockney School
it is well to recall the following:

     "From his prototype Hunt, John Keats has acquired a sort of vague
     idea, that the Greeks were a most tasteful people, and that no
     mythology can be so finely adopted for the purpose of poetry as
     theirs. It is amusing to see what a hand the Cockneys make of this
     mythology; the one confesses that he never read the Greek Tragedians
     and the other knows Homer only from Chapman; and both of them write
     about Apollo, Pan, Nymphs, Muses, and Mysteries, as might be expected
     from persons of their education. We shall not, however, enlarge at
     present upon this subject, as we mean to dedicate an entire paper to
     the classical attainments and attempts of the Cockney poets."

The versification is said to expose the defects of Hunt's system ten times
more than Hunt's own poetry. The mocking close is as follows: "It is a
better and a wiser thing to be a starved apothecary than a starved poet;
so back to the shop, Mr. John, back to 'plasters, pills, and ointment
boxes,' etc. But, for Heaven's sake, young Sangrado, be a little more
sparing of extenuatives and soporifics in your practice than you have been
in your poetry."

The delusion that these articles were the direct cause of Keats's death,
an impression given wide currency by the passages in _Adonais_[505] and
_Don Juan_,[506] has long since been dispelled by the evidence of
Hunt,[507] Fanny Brawne, C. C. Clarke and, most important of all, Keats's
own letters.[508] It is not likely that he was affected by them as much as
either Hunt or Hazlitt, for he showed more indifference and greater
dignity under fire than either. His courage and his craving for future
fame do not seem to have wavered during the year in which they appeared.
Joseph Severn has testified that he never heard Keats mention
_Blackwood's_ and that he considered what his friend endured from the
press as "one of the least of his miseries"; that he knew so little about
the whole matter that when he met Sir Walter Scott in Rome many years
after he was at a loss to understand Scott's embarrassment when Keats's
name was mentioned; and it was not until a friend afterwards explained
that Scott was connected with one of the magazines which was popularly
supposed to have caused Keats's death that he could fathom it.[509]

It would have been impossible for a more obtuse man than Leigh Hunt not to
have realized from the import of these two articles that Keats was abused
largely because of the association with himself and, but for that, might
have remained in peaceful obscurity. Hunt therefore wisely refrained from
further defense as it would only have made matters worse. During the year
1818 only one notice of Keats appeared in _The Examiner_.[510] During the
same year three sonnets to Keats appeared in _Foliage_. Yet it has been
several times stated that Hunt forsook Keats at this time. Keats, under
the hallucination of disease himself, accused Hunt of neglect, yet there
were three reasons which made a persistent defense on the part of Hunt not
to be expected. First, he was unaware, according to his own statement, of
the extent of the defamation; second, he realized that his championship
and friendship had been the original cause of wrath in the enemies' camp
against Keats and that any activity on his part would only incense them
further,[511] and third, he did not approve of Keats's only publication of
that year and could not give it his support, as he frankly told Keats
himself. Mr. Forman and Mr. Rossetti both scout the idea of disertion and
disloyalty. Yet Mr. Hall Caine has made much[512] of a charge which has
been denied by Hunt and ultimately repudiated by Keats. He has, moreover,
overlooked the fact that Hunt's bitter satire, _Ultra-Crepidarius_, was
written in _1818_ as a reply to Keats's critics but was withheld from
publication, presumably only for reasons of prudence, until 1823. When
Keats's feeling on the subject was brought to his knowledge years later,
Hunt wrote:

     "Keats appears to have been of opinion that I ought to have taken
     more notice of what the critics said against him. And perhaps I
     ought. My notices of them may not have been sufficient. I may have
     too much contented myself with panegyrizing his genius, and thinking
     the objections to it of no ultimate importance. Had he given me a
     hint to another effect, I should have acted upon it. But in truth, as
     I have before intimated, I did not see a twentieth part of what was
     said against us; nor had I the slightest notion, at that period,
     that he took criticism so much to heart. I was in the habit, though a
     public man, of living in a world of abstractions of my own; and I
     regarded him as of a nature still more abstracted, and sure of
     renown. Though I was a politician (so to speak), I had scarcely a
     political work in my library. Spensers and Arabian Tales filled up
     the shelves; and Spenser himself was not remoter, in my eyes, from
     all the common-places of life, than my new friend. Our whole talk was
     made up of idealisms. In the streets we were in the thick of the old
     woods. I little suspected, as I did afterwards, that the hunters had
     struck him; and never at any time did I suspect that he could have
     imagined it desired by his friends. Let me quit the subject of so
     afflicting a delusion."[513]

The _Edinburgh Review_ of August, 1820, discussed _Endymion_ and the 1820
volume. While it lamented the extravagances and obscurities, the
"intoxication of sweetness" and the perversion of rhyme, it gave Keats due
credit for his genius and his appreciation of the spirit of poetry. Hunt's
review of _Lamia_[514] and the other poems of the 1820 volume appeared in
_The Indicator_ of the same month. _Blackwood's_ answered the next month,
abusing Hunt roundly and faintly praising the poems. The following proves
that their chief object was to strike Hunt through Keats:

     "It is a pity that this young man, John Keats, author of _Endymion_,
     and some other poems, should have belonged to the Cockney School--for
     he is evidently possessed of talents that, under better direction,
     might have done very considerable things. As it is, he bids fair to
     sink himself beneath such a mass of affectation, conceit, and Cockney
     pedantry, as I never expected to see heaped together by anybody,
     except the first founder of the School.... There is much merit in
     some of the stanzas of Mr. Keats's last volume, which I have just
     seen; no doubt he is a fine feeling lad--and I hope he will live to
     despise Leigh Hunt and be a poet."

Hazlitt, in May of the next year wrote of the persecution of Keats in the
_Edinburgh Review_:

     "Nor is it only obnoxious writers on politics themselves, but all
     their friends and acquaintances, and those whom they casually notice,
     that come under their sweeping anathema. It is proper to make a clear
     stage. The friends of Caesar must not be suspected of an amicable
     intercourse with patriotic and incendiary writers. A young poet comes
     forward; an early and favourable notice appears of some boyish verses
     of his in the _Examiner_, independently of all political opinion.
     That alone decides fate; and from that moment he is set upon, pulled
     in pieces, and hunted into his grave by the whole venal crew in full
     cry after him. It was crime enough that he dared to accept praise
     from so disreputable a quarter."

In a letter from Hunt in Italy to _The Examiner_, July 7, 1822, an inquiry
is made why Mr. Gifford has never noticed Keats's last volume: "that
beautiful volume containing _Lamia_, the story from Boccaccio, and that
magnificent fragment _Hyperion_?" _Blackwood's_ of August replied to these
two defenses in a tirade of twenty-two pages against the _Edinburgh
Review_, Hazlitt, and Hunt. The _Noctes Ambrosianæ_ of October continued
in the same strain and, though the grave should have protected Keats from
such banter, revived the old allusions to the apothecary and his pills.

In self defense against the charge, that its attacks and those of the
_Quarterly_ had broken Keats's heart, _Blackwood's_ in January, 1826, said
that it alone had dealt with Keats, Shelley and Procter with "_common
sense_ or _common feeling_"; that, seeing Keats in the road to ruin with
the Cockneys, it had "tried to save him by wholesome and severe
discipline--they drove him to poverty, expatriation and death." The most
remarkable part of this remarkable justification is this: "Keats outhunted
Hunt in a species of emasculated pruriency, that, although invented in
Little Britain, looks as if it were the prospect of some imaginative
Eunuch's muse within the melancholy inspiration of the Haram" (_sic_).

In March, 1828, in a review of _Lord Byron and Some of His
Contemporaries_, the _Quarterly_ seized the opportunity to revert to the
author's friendship for Keats in its old hostile manner; and, in a
criticism of Coleridge's poems in August, 1834, to speak of his "dreamy,
half-swooning style of verse criticised by Lord Byron (in language too
strong for print) as the fatal sin of Mr. John Keats." Finally in March,
1840, in _Journalism in France_, there is another feeble effort at
defense; a resentment of the "twaddle" against the _Quarterly_ "when they
had the misfortune to criticise a sickly poet, who died soon afterwards,
apparently for the express purpose of dishonoring us."

One of Hunt's utterances in regard to Keats and his critics disposes
finally of the matter: "his fame may now forgive the critics who disliked
his politics, and did not understand his poetry."[515]

       *       *       *       *       *

From Italy Shelley wrote to Peacock:

     "I most devoutly wish I were living near London.... My inclination
     points to Hampstead; but I do not know whether I should not make up
     my mind to something more completely suburban. What are mountains,
     trees, heaths, or even glorious and ever beautiful sky, with such
     sunsets as I have seen at Hampstead, to friends? Social enjoyment, in
     some form or other, is the Alpha and the Omega of existence. All that
     I see in Italy--and from my tower window I now see the magnificent
     peaks of the Apennine half enclosing the plain--is nothing. It
     dwindles into smoke in the mind, when I think of some familiar forms
     of scenery, little perhaps in themselves, over which old remembrances
     have thrown a delightful colour."[516]

The attacks of the _Quarterly_ of May, 1818, on Shelley's private life and
of April, 1819, on the _Revolt of Islam_, and the reply of _The Examiner_,
have already been discussed on p. 77 of the third chapter. The assault was
renewed in October, 1821. The dominating characteristic of Shelley's
poetry is said to be "its frequent and total want of meaning." In
_Prometheus Unbound_ there were said to be many absurdities "in defiance
of common sense and even of grammar ... a mere jumble of words and
heterogeneous ideas, connected by slight and accidental associations,
among which it is impossible to distinguish the principal object from the
accessory." The poem is declared to be full of "flagrant offences against
morality and religion" and the poet to have gone out of his way to "revile
Christianity and its author." As a final verdict the reviewer says: "Mr.
Shelley's poetry is, in sober sadness, _drivelling prose run mad_.... Be
his private qualities what they may, his poems ... are at war with reason,
with taste, with virtue, in short, with all that dignifies man, or that
man reveres." The _London Literary Gazette_ joined its forces to the
_Quarterly_ and scored _Prometheus Unbound_ in 1820, _Queen Mab_ in 1821.
_The Examiner_ of June 16, 23 and July 7, 1822, contained Hunt's answer to
the two onslaughts. He accused the writer in the _Quarterly_ of having
used six stars to indicate an omission, in order to imply that the name of
Christ had been blasphemously used; of having put quotation marks to
sentences not in the author criticised and of having intentionally left
out so much at times as to make the context seem absurd. At the same time
Hunt stated that he agreed that Shelley's poetry was of "too abstract and
metaphysical a cast ... too wilful and gratuitous in its metaphors"; and
that it would have been better if he had kept metaphysics and polemics out
of poetry. But at the same time he asserted that Shelley had written much
that was unmetaphysical and poetically beautiful, as _The Cenci_, the _Ode
to a Skylark_ and _Adonais_. Of the second he wrote: "I know of nothing
more beautiful than this,--more choice of tones, more natural in words,
more abundant in exquisite, cordial, and most poetic associations." He
characterized Southey's reviews as cant, Gifford's as bitter commonplace
and Croker's as pettifogging.

_Blackwood's_ reviewed _Adonais_ and _The Cenci_ in December, 1821. The
Della Cruscans were reported to have come again from "retreats of Cockney
dalliance in the London suburbs" and "by wainloads from Pisa." The
Cockneys were said to hate everything that was good and true and
honorable, all moral ties and Christian principles, and to be steeped in
desperate licentiousness. _Adonais_ is fifty-five stanzas of
"unintelligible stuff" made up of every possible epithet that the poet has
been able to "conglomerate in his piracy through the Lexicon." The sense
has been wholly subordinated to the rhymes. The author is a "glutton of
names and colours" and has accomplished no more than might be done on such
subjects as Mother Goose, Waterloo or Tom Thumb. Two cruel and loathsome
parodies follow: _Wouther the city marshal broke his leg_ and an _Elegy on
My Tom Cat_, which, it is claimed, are less nonsensical, verbose and
inflated than _Adonais_. _The Cenci_ is "a vulgar vocabulary of rottenness
and reptilism" in an "odiferous, colorific and daisy-enamoured style." It
is regretted by the writer that it is impossible to believe that Shelley's
reason is unsettled, for this would be the best apology for the

When _The Liberal_ was organized Shelley was spoken of thus:

     "But Percy Bysshe Shelly has now published a long series of poems,
     the only object of which seems to be the promotion of _atheism_ and
     _incest_; and we can no longer hesitate to avow our belief, that he
     is as worthy of co-operating with the King of Cockaigne, as he is
     unworthy of co-operating with Lord Byron. Shelley is a man of genius,
     but he has no sort of sense or judgment. He is merely 'an inspired
     idiot.' Leigh Hunt is a man of talents, but vanity and vulgarity
     neutralize all his efforts to pollute the public mind. Lord Byron we
     regard not only as a man of lofty genius, but of great shrewdness and
     knowledge of the world. What can HE seriously hope from associating
     his name with such people as these?"[518]

As in the case of Keats, _Blackwood's_ did not have the decency to desist
from its indecent articles after Shelley's death. September, 1824, this
vulgar ridicule of the two dead poets appeared in answer to Bryan Waller
Procter's review of Shelley's poems in the preceding number of the
_Edinburgh Review_:

     "Mr. Shelley died, it seems, with a volume of Mr. Keats's poetry
     grasped with the hand in his bosom--rather an awkward posture, as you
     will be convinced if you try it. But what a rash man Shelley was, to
     put to sea in a frail boat with Jack's poetry on board. Why, man, it
     would sink a trireme. In the preface to Mr. Shelley's poems we are
     told that his 'vessel bore out of sight with a favorable wind;' but
     what is that to the purpose? It had Endymion on board, and there was
     an end. Seventeen ton of pig iron would not be more fatal ballast.
     Down went the boat with a 'swirl'! I lay a wager that it righted soon
     after evicting Jack."

In the face of these articles against it as evidence, _Blackwood's_, as
early as January, 1828, had the audacity to claim--perhaps with the
expectation that its audience was gifted with a sense of subtle
humor--that Shelley had been praised in its pages for his fortitude,
patience, and many other noble qualities, and that this praise had
irritated the other Cockneys and made the whole trouble. If Keats suffered
at the hands of the Edinburgh dictators for his association with Hunt the
balance weighed in the other direction in the case of Shelley. All the
crimes and opinions of which he was deemed guilty were passed on to Hunt.
But Hunt gladly suffered for Shelley.

Hazlitt, although of Irish descent and a native of Shropshire, and of such
independence as to belong to no school whatsoever, came in for a share of
abuse second only in virulence to that showered on Hunt.[519] In the
_Quarterly_ of April, 1817, in a review of the _Round Table_, probably in
retaliation for his abuse of Southey in _The Examiner_, Hazlitt's papers
are denominated "vulgar descriptions, silly paradoxes, flat truisms, misty
sophistry, broken English, ill-humour and rancorous abuse." His
characterizations of Pitt and Burke are "vulgar and foul invective," and
"loathsome trash." The author might have described washerwomen forever,
the reviewer asserts, "but if the creature, in his endeavours to see the
light, must make his way over the tombs of illustrious men, disfiguring
the records of their greatness with the slime and filth which marks his
tracks, it is right to point out that he may be flung back to the
situation in which nature designed that he should grovel."

The _Characters of Shakespeare's Plays_ was made an excuse for dissecting
the morals and understanding of this "poor cankered creature."[520] The
_Lectures on the English Poets_ is characterized as a "third predatory
incursion on taste and common sense ... either completely unintelligible,
or exhibits only faint and dubious glimpses of meaning ... of that happy
texture that leaves not a trace in the mind of either reader or
hearer."[521] The _Political Essays_ was said to mark the writer as a
death's head hawk-moth, a creature already placed in a state of damnation,
the drudge of _The Examiner_, the ward of Billingsgate, the slanderer of
the human race, one of the plagues of England.[522] Later, in a discussion
of _Table Talk_,[523] he becomes a "Slang-Whanger" ("a gabbler who employs
slang to amuse the rabble").

Hazlitt's _Letter to Gifford_, 1819, was a reply to all previous attacks
of the _Quarterly_. For a pamphlet of eighty-seven pages on such a subject
it is "lively reading," for Hazlitt, like Burke, as Mr. Birrell has
remarked, excelled in a quarrel.[524] He calls Gifford a cat's paw, the
Government critic, the paymaster of the band of Gentleman Pensioners, a
nuisance, a

     "dull, envious, pragmatical, low-bred man.... Grown old in the
     service of corruption, he drivels on to the last with prostituted
     impotence and shameless effrontery; salves a meagre reputation for
     wit, by venting the driblets and spleen of his wrath on others;
     answers their arguments by confuting himself; mistakes habitual
     obtuseness of intellect for a particular acuteness; not to be imposed
     upon by shallow appearances; unprincipled rancour for zealous
     loyalty; and the irritable, discontented, vindictive, peevish
     effusions of bodily pain and mental imbecility for proofs of
     refinement of taste and strength of understanding."[525]

_Blackwood's_ had accepted abstracts of Hazlitt's _Lectures on the English
Poets_[526] from P. G. Patmore without comment and even managed a lengthy
comparison of Jeffrey and Hazlitt with an approach to fair dealing. But by
August, 1818, he had been identified with the "Cockney crew" and he
became "that wild, black-bill Hazlitt," a "lounge in third-rate
bookshops"; and as a critic of Shakspere, a gander gabbling at that
"divine swan." In April of the following year he was christened the
"Aristotle" of the Cockneys. His _Table Talk_ provoked ten pages of
vituperation,[527] and _Liber Amoris_, two reviews as coarse as the
provocation.[528] In the first of these, apropos of his contributions to
the _Edinburgh Review_ and in particular of his article on the _Periodical
Press of Britain_, the downfall of the magazine and its editor is
announced as certain. Hazlitt is called a literary flunky, a sore, an
ulcer, a poor devil. In the second he is Hunt's orderly, the "Mars of the
Hampstead heavy dragoons."

Hazlitt found relief for his feelings by threatening _Blackwood's_ with a
lawsuit. Yet in July, 1824, appeared an elaborate comparison of Hunt and
Hazlitt in _Blackwood's_ choicest manner and in March, 1825, a review of
the _Spirit of the Age_. After 1828 the defamatory articles ceased
entirely. In 1867 appeared what might be construed into an attempt at
reparation by Bulwer-Lytton. Hazlitt was still spoken of as the most
aggressive of the Cockneys, discourteous and unscrupulous, a bitter
politician who would substitute universal submission to Napoleon for
established monarchial institutions; but he is credited with strong powers
of reason, of judicial criticism and of metaphysical speculation, and with
perception of sentiment, truth and beauty.



It is curious that, in the lives of three such geniuses as Shelley, Byron
and Keats a man of lesser gifts and of weaker fibre should have played so
large a part as did Leigh Hunt. It is more curious in view of the fact
that the period of intimate association in each case extended over only a
few years. The explanation must be sought in the accident of the age and
in the personality of the man himself. It was an era of stirring action
and of strong feeling. Men were clamoring for freedom from the trammels of
the past and were pressing forward to the new day. Through the union of
some of the qualities of the pioneer and of the prophet, Leigh Hunt was
thrust into a position of prominence that he might not have gained at any
other time, for he lacked the vital requisites of true leadership.

His personal quality was as rare as his opportunity. He had a personal
ascendancy, a strange fascination born of the sympathy and chivalry, the
sweetness and joyousness of his nature. An exotic warmth and glow worked
its spell upon those about him. Barry Cornwall said that he was a "compact
of all the spring winds that blew." His lovableness and very "genius for
friendship" bound intimately to him those who were thus attracted. There
was, besides, an elusiveness and an ethereality about him--as Carlyle
expressed it--"a fine tricksy medium between the poet and the wit, half a
sylph and half an Ariel ... a fairy fluctuating bark." The "vinous
quality" of his mind, Hazlitt said, intoxicated those who came in contact
with him.

In the case of Shelley it was Hunt the man, rather than the writer, that
held him. Charm was the magnet in a friendship that, in its perfection and
deep intimacy, deserves to be ranked with the fabled ones of old--a love
passing the love of woman. There is no single cloud of distrust or
disloyalty in the whole story of their relations.

Second to the personal tie may be ranked Hunt's influence on Shelley's
politics, greater in this instance than in the case of Byron or Keats.
Hunt's attitude was an important factor in forming Shelley's political
creed. With Godwin, he drew Shelley's attention from the creation of
imaginary universes to the less speculative issues of earth. Indeed,
Shelley's main reliance for a knowledge of political happenings during
many years, and practically his only one for the last four years of his
life, was _The Examiner_. He was guided and moderated by it in his general
attitude. In the specific instances already cited, the stimulus for poems
or the information for prose tracts and articles can be directly traced to

In regard to literary art Hunt did not affect Shelley beyond pointing the
way to a freer use of the heroic couplet, and in a limited degree, in four
or five of his minor poems, influencing him in the use of a familiar
diction. Only in his letters does Shelley show any inclination to
emphasize "social enjoyments" or suburban delights. That the literary
influence was so slight is not surprising when Shelley's powers of
speculation and accurate scholarship are compared with Hunt's want of
concentration and shallow attainments. Notwithstanding this intellectual
gulf, strong convictions, with a moral courage sufficient to support them,
and a congeniality of tastes and temperament, made possible an ideal

Byron, like Shelley, was attracted by Hunt's charm of personality. An
imprisoned martyr and a persecuted editor appealed to Byron's love of the
spectacular. Political sympathy furthered the friendship. In a literary
way, Byron influenced Hunt more than Hunt influenced him.

Their intercourse is the story of a pleasant acquaintance with a
disagreeable sequel and much error on both sides. With two men of such
varying caliber and tastes, the "wren and eagle" as Shelley called them,
thrown together under such trying circumstances, it could hardly have been
otherwise. Their love of liberty and courage of opposition were the only
things in common. Byron recognized to the last Hunt's good qualities and
Hunt, except for the bitter years in Italy and immediately after his
return, proclaimed Byron's genius; but, for all that, they were
temperamentally opposed. Byron detested Hunt's small vulgarities as much
as Hunt loathed Byron's assumed superiority.

The relation with Keats was the reverse of that in the other two cases. It
was an intellectual affinity throughout. At no time were Keats and Hunt
very close to each other. Nor, indeed, does Keats seem to have had the
capacity for intimate friendship, except with his brothers and, possibly,
Brown and Severn.

The intercourse of the two men had its disadvantages for Keats in an
injurious influence on his early work and in the public association of his
name with that of Hunt's; but the latter's literary patronage and loving
interpretation when Keats was wholly unknown, the friendships made
possible for him with others, the open home and tender care whenever
needed, the unfailing sympathy, encouragement and admiration so freely
given, the new fields of art, music and books opened up, and the
pleasantness of the connection at the first, should more than compensate
for the attacks which Keats suffered as a member of the Cockney School.
From this view it seems very ungrateful of George Keats to have said that
he was sorry that his brother's name should go down to posterity
associated with Hunt's. Keats received far more than he gave in return.

Briefly stated, Keats's early work shows the marked influence of Hunt in
the selection of subjects, in a love of Italian and older English
literature, in the "domestic" touch, in the colloquial and feeble diction,
and in the lapses of taste. It is only fair to Hunt to emphasize that this
was not wholly a question of influence. It was due, as Keats himself
confessed, to a natural affinity of gifts and tastes, though the one was
so much more highly gifted than the other. Keats soon saw his mistake.
_Endymion_ showed a great improvement and the 1820 volume an almost
complete absence of his own _bourgeois_ tendencies and of the effect of
Hunt's specious theories. Yet it was undoubtedly through Hunt that Keats
in his later poems began to imitate Dryden.

In connection with the work of all three poets, Hunt's criticism is a more
important fact of literary history than his services of friendship. He
had, as Bulwer-Lytton has remarked, the first requisite of a good critic,
a good heart. He had also wonderful sympathy with aspiring authorship. His
insight was most remarkable of all in the appreciation of his
contemporaries. With powers of critical perception that might be called an
instinct for genius, he discovered Shelley and Keats and heralded them to
the public. The same ability helped him to appreciate Byron, Hazlitt and
Lamb. Browning, Tennyson and Rossetti were other young poets whom he
encouraged and supported. He defended the Lake School in 1814 when it
still had many deriders. He anticipated Arnold's judgment when he wrote
that "Wordsworth was a fine lettuce, with too many outside leaves." As
early as 1832 he wrote of the "wonderful works of Sir Walter Scott, the
remarkable criticism of Hazlitt, the magnetism of Keats, the tragedy and
winged philosophy of Shelley, the passion of Byron, the art and festivity
of Moore." To value correctly such criticism it is necessary to remember
that the Romantic movement was still in its first youth at the time. His
criticism of the three men in question, like his criticisms in general, is
distinguished by great fairness and absence of all personal jealousy, by a
delicacy of feeling that will not be fully felt until scattered notes and
buried prefaces are gathered together. He was animated chiefly by an
inborn love of poetry and enjoyment of all beautiful things. If he
sometimes fell short in understanding Homer, Dante and Shakespeare, he was
perfectly sincere and independent, and pretended nothing that he did not
feel. His range of information was truly remarkable, though not deep and
accurate. His style was slipshod. With the exception of the essay _What is
Poetry_, he fails in concentration and generalization. He never clinched
his results, but was forever flitting from one sweet to another. His
method was impressionistic in its appreciation of physical beauty. There
is no comprehension whatsoever of mystical beauty. It is the curious
instance of a man of almost ascetic habits who revelled and luxuriated in
the sensuous beauties of literature. The reader of such books as
_Imagination and Fancy_ and the half dozen others of the same kind will
see his wonderful power of selection. His attempt to interpret and
"popularize literature"--a cause in which he laboured long and
steadfastly--was one of the greatest services he rendered his age, even if
his habit of italicization and running comment for the purpose of calling
attention to perfectly patent beauties irritated some of his readers. His
critical taste, when exercised on the work of others, was almost
faultless. The occasional vulgarities of which he was guilty in his
original work do not intrude here; they were superficial and were not a
part of the man. Through his criticism he discovered and championed
illustrious contemporaries; he instituted the Italian revival in creative
literature in the early part of the century; he assisted in resuscitating
the interest in sixteenth and seventeenth century literature.

Hunt's services of friendship to Byron, Shelley and Keats, his able
criticism and just defense of them, have found their reward in the
inseparable association of his name with their immortal ones. They easily
surpassed him in every department of writing in which they contested, yet
the _man_ was strong and alluring enough in his relations with them to
prove a determining and, on the whole, beneficent influence in their


The following list includes only the most important contributions to the
present study. Where the indebtedness consists merely of one or two
references, such indebtedness is acknowledged in a footnote.

Alden, Raymond Macdonald. English Verse. New York, 1903.

Andrews, A. The History of British Journalism. London, 1859.

Arnold, Matthew. Essays in Criticism. London and New York, 1903.

Beers, H. A. History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century. New
York, 1901.

Blessington, Countess of. Conversations of Lord Byron with the Countess of
Blessington. London, 1834.

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine.

Byron, George Gordon Noel. The Works of Lord Byron. A New, Revised and
Enlarged Edition, with Illustrations. Poetry. Ed. by Ernest Hartley
Coleridge. 7 vols.

     Letters and Journals. Ed. by Rowland E. Prothero. 6 vols. London and
     New York, 1898.

     Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: with Notices of His Life, by
     Thomas Moore. 2 vols. London, 1830.

Brandes, George. Main Currents in Nineteenth Century Literature. 6 vols.
New York, 1906.

Caine, T. Hall. Cobwebs of Criticism. "The Cockney School," pp. 123-266.
London, 1883.

Carlyle, Thomas. Early Letters of Thomas Carlyle. Ed. by Charles Eliot
Norton. 2 vols. London and New York, 1886.

     Letters of Thomas Carlyle. Ed. by Charles Eliot Norton. 2 vols.
     London and New York, 1886.

     New Letters of Thomas Carlyle. Ed. by Alexander Carlyle. 2 vols.
     London and New York, 1904.

Clarke, Charles and Mary Cowden. Recollections of Writers. London, 1878.

Collins, J. Churton. Byron. In the Quarterly Review, CII, p. 429 ff.

Colvin, Sidney. Keats. (English Men of Letters.) London and New York,

Dowden, Edward. Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley. 2 vols. London, 1886.

     The French Revolution and English Literature. New York, 1897.

     Transcripts and Studies. London, 1888.

The Edinburgh Review.

Elze, Karl. Lord Byron. A Biography with a Critical Essay on His Place in
Literature. London, 1872.

Fields, J. T. Old Acquaintance. Barry Cornwall and Some of His Friends.
Boston, 1876.

     Yesterdays with Authors. Boston, 1885.

Fields, Mrs. J. T. A Shelf of Old Books. In Scribner's Magazine, Vol. III,
pp. 285-305.

Fox Bourne, H. R. English Newspapers. 2 vols. London, 1887.

Galt, John. The Life of Lord Byron. London, 1830.

Gosse, Edmund. From Shakespeare to Pope. Cambridge, 1885.

Hancock, Albert Elmer. The French Revolution and English Poets. New York,

     John Keats. Boston and New York, 1908.

Haydon, Benjamin Robert. Correspondence and Table Talk. Edited with a
Memoir, by His Son, Frederic Wordsworth Haydon. 2 vols. London, 1876.

     Life, Letters and Table Talk. (Sans Souci Series.) Ed. by Richard
     Henry Stoddard. New York, 1876.

     Life of Benjamin Robert Haydon. Ed. by Tom Taylor. 3 vols. London,

Hazlitt, William. The Spirit of the Age, or Contemporary Portraits. Ed. by
His Son. London, 1858.

     The Plain Speaker. 2 vols. London, 1826.

Herford, C. H. The Age of Wordsworth. London, 1901.

Hogg, Thomas Jefferson. Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley. 2 vols. London,

Horne, R. H. A New Spirit of the Age. New York, 1844.

Hunt, James Henry Leigh. Autobiography. Ed. by Roger Ingpen. 2 vols. New
York, 1903.

     Correspondence. Ed. by His Eldest Son. 2 vols. London, 1862.

     The Descent of Liberty, a Mask. London, 1815.

     Essays and Poems. (Temple Library.) Ed. by Reginald Brimley Johnson.
     London, 1891.

     The Examiner, A Sunday Paper, On Politics, Domestic Economy, and
     Theatricals. London. Editor 1808-1821. Contributor 1821-1825.

     The Feast of the Poets; with Notes and Other Pieces in Verse, by the
     Editor of the Examiner. London, 1814.

     Foliage; or Poems Original and Translated. London, 1818.

     Imagination and Fancy; or Selections from the English Poets ... and
     an Essay in Answer to the Question "What is Poetry?" New York, 1845.

     The Indicator and The Companion. 2 vols. London, 1834.

     Juvenilia, or a Collection of Poems. Fourth Edition. London, 1803.

     The Liberal. 2 vols. London, 1822-1823.

     The Literary Examiner. London, 1823.

     Leigh Hunt's London Journal. 2 vols. London, 1834-1835.

     Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries, with Recollections of the
     Author's Life, and of his Visit to Italy. 2 vols. London, 1828.

     Men, Women and Books. London, 1847.

     Poetical Works. London, 1832.

     Poetical Works. Ed. by S. Adams Lee. 2 vols. Boston, 1857.

     Leigh Hunt as Poet and Essayist. (Chandos Classics.) Ed. by W. C. M.
     Kent, London, 1891.

     The Reflector, a Quarterly Magazine, on Subjects of Philosophy,
     Politics, and the Liberal Arts. 2 vols. London, 1810-1811.

     The Story of Rimini. London, 1810.

Ireland, Alexander. List of the Writings of Leigh Hunt and William
Hazlitt, Chronologically Arranged. London, 1868.

Johnson, R. B. Leigh Hunt. London, 1896.

Jeaffreson, Cordy. The Real Lord Byron. 2 vols. London, 1883.

     The Real Shelley. 2 vols. London, 1885.

Keats, John. Poetical Works. Ed. by William T. Arnold. London, 1884.

     Poems. (Muses Library.) Ed. by G. Thorn Drury with an Introduction by
     Robert Bridges. 2 vols. London and New York, 1896.

     The Poetical Works and Other Writings. Edited by Harry Buxton Forman.
     4 vols. London, 1883.

     Poetical Works. (Golden Treasury Series.) Edited by Francis T.
     Palgrave. London and New York, 1898.

     Poems of John Keats. Ed. by E. De Sélincourt. New York, 1905.

Mac-Carthy, Denis Florence. Shelley's Early Life. London, n. d.

Martineau, Harriet. Autobiography. Ed. by Maria Weston Chapman. 2 vols.
Boston, 1877.

Masson, David. Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and Other Essays. London, 1875.

Meade, W. E. The Versification of Pope in its Relation to the Seventeenth
Century. Leipsic, 1889.

Medwin, Thomas. The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley. London, 1847.

     Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron. New York and
     Philadelphia, 1824.

Milnes, Richard Moncton. (Lord Houghton.) Life, Letters and Literary
Remains of John Keats. 2 vols. London, 1848.

Mitford, Mary Russell. Recollections of a Literary Life. 3 vols. London,

Monkhouse, Cosmo. Life of Leigh Hunt. ("Great Writers.") London, 1893.

Moore, Thomas. Memoirs, Journal, and Correspondence. Ed. by the Right
Honorable Lord John Russell, M. P. 8 vols. London, 1853.

Morley, John. Critical Miscellanies. London and New York, 1898.

Nichol, John. Byron. (English Men of Letters.) London and New York, 1902.

Nicoll, W. Robertson, and Wise, Thomas J. Literary Anecdotes of the
Nineteenth Century. 2 vols. London.

Noble, J. Ashcroft. The Sonnet in England and Other Essays. London and
Chicago, 1896.

Oliphant, Mrs. Margaret. The Literary History of England in the End of the
Eighteenth and Beginning of the Nineteenth Century. 3 vols. London, 1822.

Patmore, Coventry. Memoirs and Correspondence. Ed. by Basil Champneys. 2
vols. London, 1900.

Patmore, P. G. My Friends and Acquaintance. 3 vols. London, 1854.

Procter, Bryan Waller. (Barry Cornwall.) An Autobiographical Fragment and
Biographical Notes. London, 1877.

The Quarterly Review.

Rossetti, William Michael. Life of John Keats. ("Great Writers.") London,

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Schipper, Jakob M. Englische Metrik. Bonn, 1881.

Severn, Joseph. Life and Letters. By William Sharp. New York, 1892.

Sharp, William. Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley. (Great Writers.) London,

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     Poetical Works. Ed. by Mrs. Shelley. 4 vols. London, 1839.

Smith, George Barnett. Shelley, A Critical Biography. Edinburgh, 1877.

Trelawney, E. J. Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron.
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Symonds, John Addington. Shelley. (English Men of Letters.) London and New
York, 1902.


[1] _Autobiography of Leigh Hunt_, I, p. 34.

[2] _Correspondence of Leigh Hunt_, I, p. 332.

[3] _Autobiography_, I, p. 93. Compare the above quotation with Shelley's
description of his first friendship. (Hogg, _Life of Percy Bysshe
Shelley_, pp. 23-24.)

[4] This early passion for friendship, which developed into a power of
attracting men vastly more gifted than himself, brought about him besides
Byron, Shelley and Keats, such men as Charles Lamb, Robert Browning,
Carlyle, Dickens, Horace and James Smith, Charles Cowden Clarke, Vincent
Novello, William Godwin, Macaulay, Thackeray, Lord Brougham, Bentham,
Haydon, Hazlitt, R. H. Horne, Sir John Swinburne, Lord John Russell,
Bulwer Lytton, Thomas Moore, Barry Cornwall, Theodore Hook, J. Egerton
Webbe, Thomas Campbell, the Olliers, Joseph Severn, Miss Edgeworth, Mrs.
Gaskell, Mrs. Browning and Macvey Napier. Hawthorne, Emerson, James Russel
Lowell and William Story sought him out when they were in London.

[5] _Correspondence_, I, p. 49.

[6] _Ibid._, I, p. 44.

[7] _Memoirs and Correspondence of Coventry Patmore_, ed. Basil Champney,
I, p. 32.

[8] _Life, Letters and Table Talk of Benjamin Robert Haydon_, ed. by
Stoddard, p. 232.

[9] _Correspondence_, I, p. 272.

[10] On once being accused of speculation Hunt replied that he had never
been "in a market of any kind but to buy an apple or a flower." (_Atlantic
Monthly_, LIV, p. 470.) Nor did Hunt admire money-getting propensities in
others. He said of Americans: "they know nothing so beautiful as the
ledger, no picture so lively as the national coin, no music so animating
as the chink of a purse." (_The Examiner_, 1808, p. 721.)

[11] Dickens did Hunt an irreparable injury in caricaturing him as Harold
Skimpole. The character bore such an unmistakable likeness to Hunt that it
was recognized by every one who knew him, yet the weaknesses and vices
were greatly multiplied and exaggerated. Before the appearance of _Bleak
House_, Dickens wrote Hunt in a letter which accompanied the presentation
copies of _Oliver Twist_ and the New American edition of the _Pickwick
Papers_: "You are an old stager in works, but a young one in faith--faith
in all beautiful and excellent things. If you can only find in that green
heart of yours to tell me one of these days, that you have met, in wading
through the accompanying trifles, with anything that felt like a vibration
of the old chord you have touched so often and sounded so well, you will
confer the truest gratification on your old friend, Charles Dickens."
(_Littell's Living Age_, CXCIV, p. 134.)

His apology after Hunt's death was complete, but it could not destroy the
lasting memory of an immortal portrait. He wrote: "a man who had the
courage to take his stand against power on behalf of right--who in the
midst of the sorest temptations, maintained his honesty unblemished by a
single stain--who, in all public and private transactions, was the very
soul of truth and honour--who never bartered his opinion or betrayed his
friend--could not have been a weak man; for weakness is always treacherous
and false, because it has not the power to resist." (_All The Year Round_,
April 12, 1862.)

[12] Godwin, _Enquiry Concerning Political Justice_, Book VIII, Chap. I.

[13] Prof. Saintsbury has very plausibly suggested that a similar attitude
in Godwin, Coleridge and Southey in respect to financial assistance was a
legacy from patronage days. (_A History of Nineteenth Century Literature_,
p. 33.) The same might be said of Hunt.

[14] S. C. Hall, _A Book of Memories of Great Men and Women of the Age,
from Personal Acquaintance_, p. 247.

[15] His feeling on the subject is set forth clearly in a letter where he
is writing of the generosity of Dr. Brocklesby to Johnson and Burke: "The
extension of obligations of this latter kind is, for many obvious reasons,
not to be desired. The necessity on the one side must be of as peculiar,
and, so to speak, of as noble a kind as the generosity on the other; and
special care would be taken by a necessity of that kind, that the
generosity should be equalled by the means. But where the circumstances
have occurred, it is delightful to record them." (Hunt, _Men, Women and
Books_, p. 217.)

[16] _Correspondence_, II, p. 11.

[17] _Ibid._, II, p. 271.

[18] Hunt's work as a political journalist had begun in 1806 with _The
Statesman_, a joint enterprise with his brother. It was very short-lived
and is now very scarce. Perhaps it is due to this rarity that it is not
usually mentioned in bibliographies of Hunt.

[19] H. R. Fox-Bourne, _English Newspapers_, I, p. 376.

[20] _Harper's New Monthly Magazine_, XL, p. 256.

[21] Redding, _Personal Reminiscences of Eminent Men_, p. 184, ff.

[22] Contemporary dailies were the _Morning Chronicle_, _Morning Post_,
_Morning Herald_, _Morning Advertiser_, and the _Times_. In 1813 there
were sixteen Sunday weeklies. Among the weeklies published on other days,
the _Observer_ and the _News_ were conspicuous. In all, there were in the
year 1813, fifty-six newspapers circulating in London. (Andrews, _History
of British Journalism_, Vol. II, p. 76.)

[23] _The Examiner_, January 3, 1808.

[24] On the subject of military depravity _The Examiner_ contained the
following: "The presiding genius of army government has become a perfect
Falstaff, a carcass of corruption, full of sottishness and selfishness,
preying upon the hard labour of honest men, and never to be moved but by
its lust for money; and the time has come when either the vices of one man
must be sacrificed to the military honour of the country, or the military
honour of the country must be sacrificed to the vices of one man." (_The
Examiner_, October 23, 1808.)

[25] _The Examiner_, April 10, 1808.

[26] Maj. Hogan, an Irishman in the English Army, unable to gain promotion
by the customary method of purchase, after a personal appeal to the Duke
of York, commander-in-chief of the army, gave an account of his grievences
in a pamphlet entitled, _Appeal to the Public and a Farewell Address to
the Army_. Before it appeared Mrs. Clarke, the mistress of the Duke of
York, sent Maj. Hogan £500 to suppress it. He returned the money and made
public the offer. The subsequent investigation showed that Mrs. Clarke was
in the habit of securing through her influence with the commander-in-chief
promotion for those who would pay her for it. After these disclosures, the
Duke resigned. _The Examiner_ sturdily supported Maj. Hogan as one who
refused to owe promotion "to low intrigue or petticoat influence." It
likened Mrs. Clarke to Mme. Du Barry and called the Duke her tool.

[27] _The Examiner_, October 8, 1809.

[28] _Ibid._, March 31, 1811.

[29] "Surely it is too gross to suppose that the Prince of Wales, the
friend of Fox, can have been affecting habits of thinking, and indulging
habits of intimacy, which he is to give up at a moment's notice for nobody
knows what:--surely it cannot be, that the Prince Regent, the Whig Prince,
the friend of Ireland--the friend of Fox,--the liberal, the tolerant,
experienced, large-minded Heir Apparent, can retain in power the very men,
against whose opinions he has repeatedly declared himself, and whose
retention in power hitherto he has explicitly stated to be owing solely to
a feeling of delicacy with respect to his father." (_The Examiner_,
February 28, 1812.)

[30] _The Examiner_, March 12, 1812. The contention between Canon Ainger
and Mr. Gosse in respect to Charles Lamb's supposed part in this libel is
set forth in _The Athenaeum_ of March 23, 1889. Mr. Gosse's evidence came
through Robert Browning from John Forster, who first told Browning as
early as 1837 that Lamb was concerned in it.

[31] Mr. Monkhouse says that it was then politically unjustifiable. (_Life
of Leigh Hunt_, p. 88.)

[32] Brougham wrote of his intended defense, "it will be a thousand times
more unpleasant than the libel." For a narration of his friendship for
Hunt, see _Temple Bar_, June, 1876.

[33] _The Examiner_, February 7, 1813.

[34] _The Examiner_, December 10, 1809.

[35] _Correspondence_, I, p. 179.

[36] _The Reflector_, I, p. 5.

[37] Monkhouse, _Life of Leigh Hunt_, p. 79.

[38] Patmore, _My Friends and Acquaintance_, III, p. 101.

[39] The _Edinburgh Review_ of May, 1823, in an article entitled _The
Periodical Press_ ranked Hunt next to Cobbett in talent and _The Examiner_
as the ablest and most respectable of weekly publications, when allowance
had been made for the occasional twaddle and flippancy, the mawkishness
about firesides and Bonaparte, and the sickly sonnet-writing.

[40] Mazzini wrote Hunt: "Your name is known to many of my Countrymen; it
would no doubt impart an additional value to the thoughts embodied in the
League. [International League.] It is the name not only of a patriot, but
of a high literary man and a poet. It would show at once that _natural_
questions are questions not of merely _political_ tendencies, but of
feeling, eternal trust, and Godlike poetry. It would show that poets
understand their active mission down here, and that they are also prophets
and apostles of things to come. I was told only to-day that you had been
asked to be a member of the League's Council, and feel a want to express
the joy I too would feel at your assent." (_Cornhill Magazine_, LXV, p.
480 ff.)

[41] _The Reflector_, I, p. 5.

[42] Hunt accepted the _Monthly Repository_ in 1837 as a gift from W. J.
Fox in order to free it from Unitarian influence. Carlyle, Landor,
Browning and Miss Martineau were contributors.

[43] (1) "Besides, it is my firm belief--as firm as the absence of
positive, tangible proof can let it be (and if we had that, we should all
kill ourselves, like Plato's scholars, and go and enjoy heaven at once),
that whatsoever of just and affectionate the mind of man is made by nature
to desire, is made by her to be realized, and that this is the special
good, beauty and glory of that illimitable thing called space--in her
there is room for everything." _Correspondence_, II, p. 57.

(2) And Faith, some day, will all in love be shown. ("Abraham and the
Fire-Worshipper," _Poetical Works of Leigh Hunt_, 1857, p. 135.)

[44] _A New Spirit of the Age_, II, p. 183.

[45] Hunt wrote two religious books, _Christianism_ and _Religion of the
Heart_. The second, which is an expansion of the first, contains a ritual
of daily and weekly service. For the most part it contains reflections on
duty and service.

[46] _Correspondence_, I, p. 130.

[47] Bryan Waller Proctor (Barry Cornwall), _An Autobiographical Fragment
and Biographical Notes_, p. 197.

[48] _Autobiography_, I, p. 119-120.

[49] _A Morning Walk and View_; _Sonnet on the Sickness of Eliza_.

[50] It had appeared previously in _The Reflector_, No. 4, article 10. In
the separate edition it was expanded and 126 pages of notes were added.

[51] _Poetical Works_, 1832, preface, p. 48.

[52] Byron, _Letters and Journals_, III, p. 28, February 9, 1814.

[53] The same volume contained a preface on the origin and history of
masques and an _Ode for the Spring of 1814_. Byron said of the latter that
the "expressions were _buckram_ except here and there." The masque, he
thought, contained "not only poetry and thought in the body, but much
research and good old reading in your prefatory matter." Byron, _Letters
and Journals_, III, p. 200, June 1, 1815.

[54] See chapter V, p. 19.

[55] Nicoll and Wise, _Literary Anecdotes of the Nineteenth Century_, p.


  Who loves to peer up at the morning sun,
  With half-shut eyes and comfortable cheek,
  Let him, with this sweet tale, full often seek
  For meadows where the little rivers run;
  Who loves to linger with the brightest one
  Of Heaven (Hesperus) let him lowly speak
  These numbers to the night, and starlight meek,
  Or moon, if that her hunting be begun.
  He who knows these delights, and too is prone
  To moralize upon a smile or tear,
  Will find at once religion of his own,
  A bower for his spirit, and will steer
  To alleys where the fir-tree drops its cone,
  Where robins hop, and fallen leaves are seer.

  (_Complete Works of John Keats_, ed by Forman, II, p. 183.)

[57] Lowell said of Hunt: "No man has ever understood the delicacies and
luxuries of the language better than he."

[58] Byron, _Letters and Journals_, III, p. 226, October 22, 1815.

[59] _Ibid._, III, p. 418.

[60] _Ibid._, III, p. 242, October 30, 1815.

[61] _Ibid._, III, p. 267, February 29, 1816.

[62] _Ibid._, IV, p. 237, June 1, 1818.

[63] _Ibid._, IV, pp. 486-487.

[64] Medwin, _Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron_, p. 187.

[65] In the preface to the _Story of Rimini_ (London, 1819, p. 16), Hunt
says that a poet should use an actual existing language, and quotes as
authorities, Chaucer, Ariosto, Pulci, even Homer and Shakespeare. He
thought simplicity of language of greater importance even than free
versification in order to avoid the cant of art: "The proper language of
poetry is in fact nothing different from that of real life, and depends
for its dignity upon the strength and sentiment of what it speaks,
omitting mere vulgarisms and fugitive phrases which are cant of ordinary

[66] Byron, _Letters and Journals_, III, p. 418.

[67] Mr. A. T. Kent in the _Fortnightly Review_ (vol. 36, p. 227), points
out that Leigh Hunt in the preface to the _Story of Rimini_, avoided the
mistake of Wordsworth in "looking to an unlettered peasantry for poetical
language," and quotes him as saying that one should "add a musical
modulation to what a fine understanding might naturally utter in the midst
of its griefs and enjoyments." Kent says we have here "two vital points on
which Wordsworth, in his capacity of critic, had failed to insist."

[68] _Autobiography_, II, p. 24.

[69] To be found chiefly in the _Feast of the Poets_.

[70] In 1855, in _Stories in Verse_, Hunt changed his acknowledged
allegiance from Dryden to Chaucer.

[71] Canto, II, ll. 433-440.

[72] E. De Selincourt gives these three last as examples of Hunt's
derivation of the abstract noun from the present participle (_Poems of
John Keats_, p. 577).

[73] De Selincourt notes that these adverbs are usually formed from
present participles. (_Poems of John Keats_, p. 577.)

[74] Byron, _Letters and Journals_, III, p. 418.


  "For ever since Pope spoiled the ears of the town
  With his cuckoo-song verses, half up and half down,
  There has been such a doling and sameness,--by Jove,
  I'd as soon have gone down to see Kemble in love."

  (_Feast of the Poets._)

Hunt calls Pope's translation of the moonlight picture from _Homer_ "a
gorgeous misrepresentation" (_Ibid._, p. 35) and the whole translation
"that elegant mistake of his in two volumes octavo." (_Foliage_, p. 32.)

[76] _Feast of the Poets_, p. 38. The same opinions are expressed in _The
Examiner_ of June 1, 1817; in the preface to _Foliage_, 1818.

[77] _Ibid._, p. 56.

[78] P. 23.

[79] Saintsbury, _Essays in English Literature, 1780-1860_, p. 220.

[80] Hunt, _Story of Rimini_, London, 1818, p. 11, 200 lines beginning
with top of page. In the 1742 lines of the poem, there are 47 run-on
couplets and 260 run-on lines. There are 7 Alexandrines and 21 triplets.
In the edition of 1832 the number of triplets has been increased to 26.
There are 46 double rhymes. In a study of the cæsura based on the first
200 lines there are 70 medial, 17 double cæsuras. The remaining 113 lines
have irregular or double cæsura.

[81] Keats, _Lamia_, Bk. I, ll. 1-200. In the 708 lines of _Lamia_, there
are 98 run-on couplets, 144 run-on lines, 39 Alexandrines and 11 triplets.
The cæsura is handled with greater freedom than in the _Story of Rimini_.

[82] C. H. Herford, _Age of Wordsworth_, p. 83.

[83] R. B. Johnson, _Leigh Hunt_, p. 94.

[84] _Leigh Hunt as a Poet, Fortnightly Review_, XXXVI: 226.

[85] Sidney Colvin, _Keats_, p. 30.

[86] Garnett, _Age of Dryden_, p. 32.

[87] From Homer, Theocritus, Bion, Moschus, Anacreon, and Catullus.

[88] p. 13.

[89] Hunt, _Correspondence_, I, p. 115.

[90] Byron, _Letters and Journals_, IV, p. 238.

[91] Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke, _Recollections of Writers_, p. 132.

[92] _Ibid._, p. 133.

[93] Hunt, _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries; with Recollections
of the Author's Life and of his Visit to Italy_, p. 247.

[94] _Ibid._, p. 251.

[95] _Ibid._, pp. 246-272.

[96] _Autobiography_, II, pp. 27, 59.

[97] Colvin, _Keats_, p. 222.

[98] This refers to Keats's first published poem, the sonnet _O Solitude,
if I must with thee dwell_, published (without comment) in _The Examiner_
of May 5, 1816.

[99] Colvin, _Keats_, p. 34.

[100] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 257.

[101] _Ibid._, pp. 257-258.

[102] Sharp, _Life and Letters of Joseph Severn_, p. 163.

[103] _Works_, I, p. 30.

[104] Mr. Forman, after a systematic search has been able to find no proof
in either direction. (_Works_, III, p. 8.)

[105] _Works_, I, p. 5.

[106] _Foliage_, p. 125.

[107] Colvin, _Keats_, p. 66.

[108] A further account of the disastrous effects of his partisanship will
be found in the discussion of the Cockney School, Ch. V.

[109] The _Century Magazine_, XXIII, p. 706.

[110] Palgrave, _Poetical Works of John Keats_, p. 269.

[111] _Autobiography_, II, p. 266.

[112] _Works_, IV, p. 16.

[113] Haydon and Hunt had originally been very intimate, as is shown by
the letters written by the former from Paris during 1814, and by his
attentions to Hunt in Surrey Gaol. A letter to Wilkie, dated October 27,
1816, gives an attractive portrait of Hunt, and from this evidence it is
inferred that the change in Haydon's attitude came about in the early part
of 1817, and that a small unpleasantness was allowed by him to outweigh a
friendship of long standing. After two weeks spent with Hunt he had
written of him as "one of the most delightful companions. Full of poetry
and art, and amiable humour, we argue always with full hearts on
everything but religion and Bonaparte.... Though Leigh Hunt is not deep in
knowledge, moral metaphysical or classical, yet he is intense in feeling
and has an intellect forever on the alert. He is like one of those
instruments on three legs, which, throw it how you will, always pitches on
two, and has a spike sticking for ever up and ever ready for you. He
"sets" at a subject with a scent like a pointer. He is a remarkable man,
and created a sensation by his independence, his disinterestedness in
public matters; and by the truth, acuteness and taste of his dramatic
criticisms, he raised the rank of newspapers, and gave by his example a
literary feeling to the weekly ones more especially. As a poet, I think
him full of the genuine feeling. His third canto in _Rimini_ is equal to
anything in any language of that sweet sort. Perhaps in his wishing to
avoid the monotony of the Pope school, he may have shot into the other
extreme; and his invention of obscene [sic] words to express obscene
feelings borders sometimes on affectation. But these are trifles compared
with the beauty of the poem, the intense painting of the scenery, and the
deep burning in of the passion which trembles in every line. Thus far as a
critic, an editor and a poet. As a man I know none with such an
affectionate heart, if never opposed in his opinions. He has defects of
course: one of his great defects is getting inferior people about him to
listen, too fond of shining at any expense in society, and love of
approbation from the darling sex bordering on weakness; though to women he
is delightfully pleasant, yet they seem more to handle him as a delicate
plant. I don't know if they do not put a confidence in him which to me
would be mortifying. He is a man of sensibility tinged with morbidity and
of such sensitive organization of body that the plant is not more alive to
touch than he.... He is a composition, as we all are, of defects and
delightful qualities, indolently averse to worldly exertion, because it
harasses the musings of his fancy, existing only by the common duties of
life, yet ignorant of them, and often suffering from their neglect."
(Haydon, _Life, Letters and Table Talk_, ed. R. H. Stoddard, pp. 155-156.)

Haydon said that the rupture came about because Hunt insisted upon
speaking of our Lord and his Apostles in a condescending manner, and that
he rebelled against Hunt's "audacious romancing over the Biblical
conceptions of the Almighty." (Haydon, _Life, Letters and Table Talk_, p.
65.) This view, in the light of Haydon's general unreliability, may be
mere romancing; for Keats, writing on January 13, 1818, gave the following
explanation of the quarrel: "Mrs. H. (Hunt) was in the habit of borrowing
silver from Haydon--the last time she did so, Haydon asked her to return
it at a certain time--she did not--Haydon sent for it--Hunt went to
expostulate on the indelicacy, etc.--they got to words and parted for
ever." (Keats, _Works_, IV, p. 58).

[114] _Works_, IV, p. 20.

[115] Milnes, _Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats_, II, p.

[116] _Works_, IV, p. 114.

[117] _Ibid._, V, p. 142.

[118] _Life, Letters and Table Talk_, p. 208.

[119] _Works_, IV, p. 31.

[120] _Ibid._, IV, p. 60.

[121] _Ibid._, IV, pp. 37-38.

[122] _Ibid._, IV, p. 38, Keats gives his argument in favor of a long

[123] _Ibid._, IV, p. 38.

[124] _Ibid._, IV, p. 49.

[125] _Ibid._, IV, p. 193.

[126] _Ibid._, IV, pp. 195-196.

[127] _Ibid._, IV, p. 12.

[128] _Ibid._, IV, p. 90.

[129] _Ibid._, I, p. 34.

[130] _Ibid._, V, p. 198.

[131] Haydon attempted also to make trouble between Wordsworth and Hunt,
by telling the former that Hunt's admiration for him was only a "weather
cock estimation" and by insinuations concerning his sincerity in
friendships. (Haydon, _Life, Letters and Table Talk_, p. 197.)

[132] J. Ashcroft Noble, _The Sonnet in England, and Other Essays_, p.

[133] _Autobiography_, II, p. 42.

[134] _Autobiography_, II, p. 44.

[135] _Works_, V, p. 203.

[136] Keats wrote Haydon, "There are three things to rejoice at in this
age The Excursion, Your Pictures, and Hazlitt's depth of taste." (_Works_,
IV, p. 56.)

[137] _Works_, II, p. 187.

[138] _Ibid._, V, p. 116.

[139] _Ibid._, V, p. 180.

[140] _Ibid._, V, p. 175.

[141] _Ibid._, V, p. 174.

[142] That he needed better attention than he could receive in lodgings is
seen from an account of Keats's condition given in _Maria Gisborne's
Journal_ (_Ibid._, V, p. 182), which says that when she drank tea there in
July, Keats was under sentence of death from Dr. Lamb: "he never spoke and
looks emaciated."

[143] _Works_, V, p. 183-184. The quotation follows Keats's punctuation.

[144] _Ibid._, V, p. 185.

[145] _Cornhill Magazine_, 1892.

[146] _Works_, V, p. 194.

[147] _Ibid._, V, p. 193.

[148] _Correspondence_, I, p. 107.

[149] P. 248.

[150] _The Examiner_, June 1st, July 6th, and 13th, 1817.

[151] Lines 181-206.

[152] _Works_, IV, p. 64.

[153] _Lord Byron and Some of his Contemporaries_, p. 257.

[154] May 10, 1820.

[155] Cf. with Poe's sonnet, _Science, true daughter of Old Time thou

[156] Haydon, _Life, Letters and Table Talk_, p. 201.

[157] In connection with _Hyperion_, it is interesting to note that the
manuscript in Keats's handwriting recently discovered, survived through
the agency of Leigh Hunt. From him it passed into the ownership of his son
Thornton, and later to the sister of Dr. George Bird. It has been
purchased from her by the British Museum. (_Athenæum_, March 11, 1905.)

[158] This is, of course, a mistake.

[159] For other criticism of the 1820 poems by Hunt, see _Lord Byron and
Some of his Contemporaries_, pp. 258-268.

[160] _I stood tiptoe_, l. 16.

[161] _Ibid._, l. 20.

[162] _Ibid._, l. 81.

[163] _To some Ladies_, l. 15.

[164] _Ibid._, l. 117.

[165] _I stood tiptoe_, l. 215.

[166] _Ibid._, l. 61.

[167] _Calidore_, l. 132. Also pointed out by Mr. Colvin, _Keats_, p. 53.

[168] _To my brother George_, l. 7.

[169] _I stood tiptoe_, l. 144.

[170] Hunt quotes this with approbation, as showing a "human touch."
(_Specimen of an Induction to a Poem_, ll. 13-14.)

[171] _Specimen of an Induction to a Poem_, l. 48.

[172] _Calidore_, l. 66.

[173] _Ibid._, l. 80 ff.

[174] _To ..._, l. 23 ff.

[175] Mr. De Selincourt in _Notes and Queries_, Feb. 4, 1905, dates the
_Imitation of Spenser_ "1813." He does not produce documentary evidence,
however. The discovery of the hitherto unpublished poem, _Fill for me a
brimming bowl_, in imitation of Milton's early poems, dated in the
Woodhouse transcript Aug. 1814, is of considerable interest in determining
the date of Keats's earliest composition of verse. A sonnet _On Peace_
found in the same MS. is a second discovery of an unpublished poem of the
same period.

[176] _Works_, I, p. 26.

[177] _Ibid._, I. p. 16. Mr. W. T. Arnold, _Poetical Works of John Keats_,
London, 1884, has remarked upon the similar use of _so_ by Hunt and Keats.
He compares the "so elegantly" of this passage with the line from _Rimini_
"leaves so finely suit."

[178] _To Charles Cowden Clarke_, l. 88.

[179] _Calidore_, ll. 34-35.

[180] _Story of Rimini_, p. 35.

[181] Colvin, _Keats_, p. 31.

[182] References to Hunt in the sonnets and other poems of 1817 are the

  1. "He of the rose, the violet, the spring
     The social smile, the chain for Freedom's sake:"

(_Addressed to the Same_ [Haydon].) This sonnet did not appear in 1817,
although it belongs to this period.

  2. "... thy tender care
     Thus startled unaware
     Be jealous that the foot of other wight
     Should madly follow that bright path of light
     Trac'd by thy lov'd Libertas; he will speak,
     And tell thee that my prayer is very meek

       *       *       *       *       *

     Him thou wilt hear."

(_Specimen of an Introduction_, l. 57 ff.) Mrs. Clarke is the authority
that "Libertas" was Hunt.

  3. "With him who elegantly chats, and talks--
     The wrong'd Libertas."

(_Epistle to Charles Cowden Clarke_, l. 43-44.)

  4. "I turn full-hearted to the friendly aids
     That smooth the path of honour; brotherhood,
     And friendliness the nurse of mutual good.
     _The hearty grasp that sends a pleasant sonnet
     Into the brain ere one can think upon it_;
     The silence when some rhymes are coming out;
     And when they're come, the very pleasant rout:
     The message certain to be done tomorrow.
     'Tis perhaps as well that it should be to borrow
     Some precious book from out its snug retreat,
     To cluster round it when we next shall meet."

(_Sleep and Poetry._)

Lines 353-404 of the same, nearly one fifth of the entire poem, are a
description of Hunt's library. Mr. De Selincourt calls it "a glowing
tribute to the sympathetic friendship which Keats had enjoyed at the
Hampstead Cottage and an attempt to express in the style of the _Story of
Rimini_ something of the spirit which had informed the _Lines Written
Above Tintern Abbey_." (_Poems of John Keats._ Introduction p. 34.)

(_a_) Of this room Hunt wrote: "Keats's _Sleep and Poetry_ is a
description of a parlour that was mine, no bigger than an old mansion's
closet." _Correspondence_ I, p. 289. See also _Lord Byron and Some of his
Contemporaries_, p. 249.

(_b_) Further description of the same room is to be found in _Shelley's
Letter to Maria Gisborne_, ll. 212-217.

(_c_) Clarke refers to it in the _Gentleman's Magazine_, February, 1874,
and in _Recollections of Writers_, p. 134. In the letter he says that a
bed was made up in the library for Keats and that he was installed as a
member of the household. Here he composed the framework of the poem. Lines
325-404 are "an inventory of the art garniture of the room."

(_d_) The most intresting record in regard to the room is that given by
Mrs. J. T. Fields in a _Shelf of old Books_, who says that her husband saw
the library treasures which had inspired Keats--Greek casts of Sappho,
casts of Kosciusko and Alfred, with engravings, sketches and well-worn
books. Among the books collected by Mr. Fields was a copy of Shelley,
Coleridge and Keats bound together, with an autograph of all three men,
formerly owned by Hunt. The fly leaf "at the back contained the sonnet
written by Keats on the _Story of Rimini_."

[183] The two sonnets were published in _The Examiner_ of September 21,
1817; Keats's had been included previously in the _Poems of 1817_; Hunt's
appeared later in _Foliage_, 1818.

[184] This did not appear in 1817, but belongs to this period. See
_Works_, II, p. 257. For a comparison of these two sonnets with Shelley's
on the same Subject, see Rossetti's _Life of Keats_, p. 110.

[185] _Works_, II, p. 166.

[186] Compare with _A Dream, after Reading Dante's Episode of Paolo and
Francesca_, 1819. (_Works_, III, p. 16.)

[187] A pocket-book given Keats by Hunt and containing many of the first
drafts of the sonnets belonged to Charles Wentworth Dilke. It is still in
the possession of the Dilke family.

[188] For instances of Keats's interest in politics, see _To Kosciusko_,
_To Hope_, ll. 33-36, and scattered references to Wallace, William Tell
and similar characters. Most of these references have already been called
attention to by others.

[189] _Works_, IV, pp. 60-61. The poem follows.

[190] Colvin, _Keats_, p. 107.

[191] _Endymion_, Bk. II, ll. 129-130.

[192] _Ibid._, Bk. IV, l. 863 ff.

[193] _Ibid._, Bk. II, l. 756 ff.

[194] _Ibid._, Bk. II, l. 938 ff.

[195] _Keats_, p. 169.

[196] Stanza 23, l. 7.

[197] _Hero and Leander_ and _Bacchus and Ariadne_, 1819, p. 45.

[198] Mr. W. T. Arnold makes the mistake of thinking that Keats imitated
Hunt's _Gentle Armour_. Mr. Colvin corrects this statement. (Keats,
_Poetical Works_, p. 59.)

[199] (_a_) W. T. Arnold, Keats, _Poetical Works_, p. 128. (_b_) J. Hoops,
_Keats's Jungend und Jugendgedichte_, Englische Studien, XXI, 239. (_c_)
W. A. Read, _Keats and Spenser_.

[200] _Works_, V, p. 121.

[201] This same expression occurs in _Hero and Leander_, 1819, in the
phrase, "Half set in trees and leafy luxury." Keats's dedication sonnet in
which it occurs was written in 1817. Therefore Mr. W. T. Arnold makes a
mistake when he says (in his edition of Keats, p. 129) it was taken direct
from Hunt's poem, although the two separate words are among his favorites
and Keats probably took them from him and combined them.

[202] Mr. Arnold says "delicious" is used sixteen times by Keats. (Keats,
_Poetical Works_, p. 129). He quotes a passage from one of Hunt's prefaces
in which the latter comments on Chaucer's use of the word: "The word
_deliciously_ is a venture of animal spirits which in a modern writer some
critics would pronounce to be too affected or too familiar; but the
enjoyment, and even incidental appropriateness and relish of it, will be
obvious to finer senses." In _Rimini_ this line occurs: "Distils the next
note more deliciously."

[203] Palgrave, _Poetical Works of John Keats_, p. 261, notices Leigh
Hunt's misuse of this word in his review of _I stood tiptoe_, quoted on p.
107. See his use of the same on p. 76. In _Bacchus and Ariadne_ it occurs
in this passage "all luxuries that come from odorous gardens."

[204] This is used in _Hyperion_, II, l. 45. The expression "plashy pools"
occurs in the _Story of Rimini_.

[205] November 11, 1820.

[206] _Life of Percy Bysshe Shelly_, II, p. 36.

[207] _Imagination and Fancy_, p. 231.

[208] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, pp. 252-3.

[209] Palgrave, _Poetical Works of John Keats_, p. 274.

[210] _Poetical Works_, 1832, p. 36.

[211] The poem is reported to have brought £100, more than any poem sold
during his lifetime. It is now lost.

[212] Mac-Carthay, who has fully treated this incident, thinks that the
account Hunt gave of the matter many years later is so incoherent as to
indicate that he did not receive the letter until after he met Shelley, or
perhaps not at all. He also points out that two passages in the letter to
Hunt of March 2, 1811, important in their bearing upon Shelley's political
theories at this time, are identical with passages in a letter of February
22 of the same year, addressed to the editor of _The Statesman_,
presumably Finnerty. (_Shelley's Early Life_, pp. 1-106.)

[213] Hancock, _The French Revolution and English Poets_, pp. 50-77.

[214] Letter to Miss Hitchener, June 25, 1811.

[215] G. B. Smith, _Shelley, A Critical Biography_, p. 88.

[216] See the _Letter to Lord Ellenborough_.

[217] Smith, _Shelley, A Critical Biography_, p. 110.

[218] For Shelley's opinion on the coincidence of their political views,
see the last paragraph of the dedication of _The Cenci_.

[219] Hunt, _Autobiography_, II, p. 103.

[220] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 176.

[221] _Autobiography_, II, p. 36.

[222] Pp. 122, 123.

[223] December 27, 1812.

[224] II, p. 13.

[225] _Autobiography_, II, p. 27.

[226] _Atlantic Monthly_, February, 1863.

[227] December 8, 1816, Shelley wrote to Hunt: "I have not in all my
intercourse with mankind experienced sympathy and kindness with which I
have been so affected, or which my whole being has so sprung forward to
meet and to return.... With you, and perhaps some others (though in a less
degree, I fear) my gentleness and sincerity find favour, because they are
themselves gentle and sincere: they believe in self-devotion and
generosity because they are themselves generous and self-devoted." (Nicoll
and Wise, _Literary Anecdotes of the Nineteenth Century_, p. 328.)

[228] December 15, 1816, Shelley wrote Mary Godwin: Hunt's "delicate and
tender attentions to me, his kind speeches of you, have sustained me
against the weight of the horror of this event." (Dowden, _Life of
Shelley_, II, p. 68.)

[229] (_a_) _The Examiner_, January 26, 1817. (_b_) _Ibid._, February 12,
1817. (_c_) _Ibid._, August 31, 1817. (_d_) Hunt, _Correspondence_, I, p.
114; August 27, 1817.

[230] Shelley said of Horace Smith: "but is it not odd that the only truly
generous person I ever knew, who had money to be generous with, should be
a stockbroker." (Hunt, _Autobiography_, I, p. 211.) See also _Letter to
Maria Gisborne_, ll. 247-253; Forman, _Works of Shelley_, III, p. 225 ff.

[231] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 3; March 22, 1818.

[232] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 141; November 13, 1819.

[233] Professor Masson says that one of Shelley's first acts was to offer
Hunt £100. It is probable he refers to the occasion already discussed.
(_Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats and Other Essays_, p. 112.)

[234] Dowden, _Life of Shelley_, II, p. 61.

[235] Nicoll and Wise, _Literary Anecdotes of the Nineteenth Century_, p.
331; December 8, 1816.

[236] _Ibid._, p. 336; August 16, 1817.

[237] Rogers, _Table Talk_, p. 236.

[238] Hunt, _Correspondence_, I, p. 146; September 12, 1819.

[239] Hunt, _Autobiography_, II, p. 36; _Correspondence_, I, p. 126.

[240] Medwin, _Life of Shelley_, II, p. 137.

[241] Mitford, _Life_, I, p. 280. Jeaffreson, _The Real Shelley_, II, p.

[242] Nicoll and Wise, _Literary Anecdotes_, p. 348; April 5, 1820. He
assumed the debt for Hunt's piano as naturally as he did for his own.
Prof. Dowden says that John Hunt expected Shelley to become responsible
for all of his brother's debts. (_Life of Shelley_, II, p. 458.)

[243] Hunt, _Correspondence_, I, p. 158; November 11, 1820.

[244] Nicoll and Wise, _Literary Anecdotes of the Nineteenth Century_, p.

[245] See Chapter IV, p. 89.

[246] Dowden, _Life of Shelley_, II, p. 456; also _Works of Shelley_,
VIII, p. 252.

[247] (_a_) Nicoll and Wise, _Literary Anecdotes_, pp. 352, 356. (_b_)
Byron, _Letters and Journals_, VI, p. 11.

[248] Dowden, _Life of Shelley_, II, p. 489.

[249] Hunt, _Autobiography_, II, pp. 36-37. In August, 1819, Hunt
importunes Shelley to give no thought to his affairs (_Correspondence_, I,
p. 136). Hunt wrote Mary Shelley on September 7, 1821: "Pray thank Shelley
or rather do not, for that kind part of his offer relating to the
expenses. I find I have omitted it; but the instinct that led me to do so
is more honorable to him than thanks." (_Correspondence_, I, p. 171.)

[250] Jeaffreson, _The Real Shelley_, II, p. 355.

[251] W. M. Rossetti, _Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley_,
I, p. 75.

[252] _Letters and Journals_, VI, p. 96.

[253] Kent, _Leigh Hunt as Poet and Essayist_, p. 28.

[254] _Autobiography_, II, p. 60.

[255] _Atlantic Monthly_, February, 1863.

[256] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 283. June 19, 1822.

[257] Built by Michaelangelo and situated on the Arno.

[258] _The Liberal_, I, p. 103.

[259] Brandes attributes the inscription to Mary Shelley. (_Main Currents
in Nineteenth Century Literature_, IV, p. 208.)

[260] _Correspondence_, I, p. 269.

[261] After Shelley's death, Mary Shelley decided to remain in Italy in
order to assist with _The Liberal_. She considered Hunt "expatriated at
the request and desire of others," and, in helping him, she thought to
fulfil any obligation that Shelley might have assumed in the scheme. For
her services she received thirty-three pounds. She lived for some time in
the same house with the Hunts after they separated from Lord Byron, but
the arrangement was an unhappy one. Disagreements, beginning with a
misunderstanding concerning the possession of Shelley's heart, dragged
through the winter. Fortunately everything was adjusted before they
separated. July, 1823, she wrote of Hunt: "he is all kindness,
consideration and friendship--all feeling of alienation towards me has
disappeared to its last dregs." (Marshall, _The Life and Letters of Mary
Wollstonecraft Godwin_, London, 1889, II, p. 81.) And again: "But thank
heaven we are now the best friends in the world.... It is a delightful
thing, my dear Jane, to be able to express one's affection upon an old and
tried friend like Hunt, and one so passionately attached to my Shelley as
he was, and is.... He was displeased with me for many just reasons, but he
found me willing to expiate, as far as I could, the evil I had done; his
heart again warmed, and if when I return you find me more amiable, and
more willing to suffer with patience than I was, it is to him that I owe
this benefit." (_Ibid._, II, p. 85.)

[262] Jeaffreson assigns the cause of Hunt's neglect to his ignorance of
the fact that he could suck money out of Shelley. _The Real Shelley_, II,
p. 352.

[263] Mac-Carthay in _Literary Anecdotes of the Nineteenth Century_, p.

[264] Shelley was deeply wounded by the attack. He wrote Hunt: "As to what
relates to yourself and me, it makes me melancholy to consider the
dreadful wickedness of the heart which would have prompted such
expressions as those with which the anonymous writer gloats over my
domestic calamities and the perversion of understanding with which he
paints your character." (Nicoll and Wise, _Literary Anecdotes_, p. 340;
December 22, 1818.)

[265] Shelley at first attributed the article in the _Quarterly_ to
Southey on the grounds of his enmity to _The Examiner_ which, Shelley
declared, had been the "crown of thorns worn by this unredeemed Redeemer
for many years." Southey denied the authorship. (Nicoll and Wise,
_Literary Anecdotes_, p. 341; December 22, 1818.)

[266] _The Examiner_, September 26, October 3 and 10, 1819. See also
_Correspondence_, I, pp. 125-126.

[267] _Correspondence_, I, p. 169.

[268] _Ibid._, I, p. 166.

[269] See Hunt, _Correspondence_, I, p. 130.

[270] For Shelley's desire for Hunt's good opinion, see _Works of
Shelley_, VIII, p. 167. Hunt's collection of poems, published during 1818,
under the title of _Foliage_ was dedicated to Shelley: "Had I known a
person more highly endowed than yourself with all the qualities that it
becomes a man to possess, I had selected for this work the ornament of his
name. One more gentle, honorable, innocent and brave; one of more exalted
toleration of all who do and think evil; one who knows better how to
receive, and how to confer a benefit though he must ever confer far more
than he can receive; one of simpler, and in the highest sense of the word,
of purer life and manners I never knew: and I had already been fortunate
in friendships when your name was added to the list."

[271] _Correspondence_, I, p. 153.

[272] _Ibid._, I, p. 154.

[273] _Ibid._, I, p. 179; March 26, 1822.

[274] In an article on the _Suburbs of Genoa and the Country about
London_, pp. 118-119.

[275] Dated August 4, 1823.

[276] The second part of the sketch was in answer to the _Quarterly
Review's_ attack on the _Posthumous Poems_, which Mrs. Shelley, aided by
Hunt, had published in 1824. This account was reworked in 1850 for the
_Autobiography_ and was taken in part for the preface to an edition of
Shelley's works in 1871. Hunt wrote another biographical sketch of Shelley
for S. C. Hall's _Book of Gems_ (p. 40). He gave a fine description of his
physical appearance not often quoted.

[277] It was considered by the _Athaneum_ to be the best part of the book,
and to be the "powerful portrait of a benevolent man." (VI, p. 70.)

[278] Letter to Ollier, February, 1858.

[279] _Atlantic Monthly_, February, 1863.

[280] Forman, _Shelley Library_, p. 113, says that the motto from _Laon
and Cythna_ was added by Hunt.

[281] Pt. 2, p. 37.

[282] P. 217.

[283] _A Shelf of Old Books_, p. 291.

[284] Hunt's _Book of the Sonnet_, which appeared posthumously, contained
a criticism of Shelley's sonnet on _Ozymandyas_ (I, p. 87).

[285] August 13 and 20, 1859.

[286] _The Examiner_, December 28, 1817.

[287] _Ibid._, July 15, 1821.

[288] _Literary Pocket Book_, London, 1819. Shelley's signature was
[Greek: D] and [Greek: S]. See Hunt, _Correspondence_, I, 125.

[289] _Literary Pocket Book_, 1821. (_Works of Shelley_, III, p. 150.)

[290] _Literary Pocket Book_, 1821. (_Works of Shelley_, III, p. 380.)

[291] _Literary Pocket Book_, 1822. (_Works of Shelley_, IV, p. 32.)

[292] _Ibid._, 1822. (_Works of Shelley_, IV, p. 49.)

[293] _Ibid._, 1823. (_Works of Shelley_, IV, p. 63.)

[294] _Ibid._, 1823. (_Works of Shelley_, IV, p. 41.)

[295] _Ibid._, 1823. Mr. Forman thinks that the poem refers to Harriet
Shelley's death and that the date is a disguise. (_Works of Shelley_, III,
p. 146.)

[296] _The Indicator_, December 22, 1819.

[297] Chapter IV.

[298] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 291; November 3, 1819.

[299] _Works of Shelley_, IV, p. 359.

[300] Six months later, December 6, 1812, Hunt addressed a letter to Lord
Ellenborough on the same subject in regard to his own sentence.

[301] June 11, 18, 25, July 2, 9, August 27, September 3, 10, October 1,
8, 15, 22, December 3, 10, 17; in 1821, February 4, August 12, 19, and
September 9. The last three articles were written after the Queen's death.

[302] Keats's _The Cap and Bells_ deals with the same.

[303] Shelley gave directions that the poem should be printed like Hunt's
_Hero and Leander_. _Works of Shelley_, III, p. 101.

[304] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 116; August 15, 1819. The letter
instructs Hunt to throw the poem into the fire or not as he sees fit and
requests him, in preference to Peacock, to correct the proofs. "Can you
take it as a compliment that I prefer to trouble you?"

[305] Forman wrongly attributes the review of Reynolds' _Peter Bell_ in
_The Examiner_ of April 25, 1819, to Hunt and says that this "flippant
notice" by Hunt inspired Shelley's poem. _Ibid._, II, p. 288. Reynolds
asked Keats to request Hunt to review his poem. Keats did it himself.
(Keats, _Works_, III, pp. 246-249.)

[306] _Works of Shelley_, III, p. 235.

[307] Hunt, _Correspondence_, I, p. 116, 141; April 24, 1818, and
September 6, 1819. Cf. with _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 121; September 3,
1819. (Editor says dated wrongly.)

[308] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 127; September 27, 1819.

[309] _Correspondence_, I, p. 123; August 4, 1818.


  "You will see Hunt--one of those happy souls
  Which are the salt of the earth, and without whom
  This world would smell like what it is--a tomb;
  Who is what others seem; his room no doubt
  Is still adorned by many a cast from Shout,
  With graceful flowers tastefully placed about,
  And coronals of bay from ribbons hung,
  And brighter wreaths in neat disorder flung,--
  The gifts of the most learned among some dozens
  Of female friends, sisters-in-law and cousins.
  And there he is with his eternal puns,
  Which beat the dullest brain for smiles, like duns
  Thundering for money at a poet's door;
  Alas! it is no use to say 'I'm poor!'"

[311] Mr. Forman thinks that it may be part of the original draft of
_Rosalind and Helen_; if so, it is still a very close approximation of
Shelley's opinion of Hunt (_Works of Shelley_, III, p. 403). William
Rossetti and Felix Rabbe think that it was addressed to Hunt.

[312] Wise's edition of _Adonais_, p. 2. London, 1887.

[313] To his wife. _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 288; July 4, 1822.

[314] Nicoll and Wise, _Literary Anecdotes_, p. 350; April 5, 1820.

[315] Hunt, _Correspondence_, I, p. 136. Professor George Edward Woodberry
says that Shelley had the "kindest feeling of gratitude and respect ...
but nothing more" towards Hunt. (_Studies in Letters and Life_, p. 153.)

[316] _Ibid._, I, p. 158. November 11, 1820. _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p.
150; November 23, 1819.

[317] Sir Walter Scott has given a good estimate of them: "Our sentiments
agreed a good deal, except on the subject of religion and politics, upon
neither of which I was inclined to believe that Lord Byron entertained
very fixed principles.... On Politics he used sometimes to express a high
strain of what is now called Liberalism; but it appeared to me that the
pleasure that it afforded him as a vehicle of displaying his wit and
satire against individuals in office was at the bottom of his habit of
thinking. At heart I would have termed Byron a patrician on principle."
(Moore, _Letters and Journals of Lord Byron_, I, p. 616.)

[318] Hancock, _The French Revolution and English Poets_, p. 84.

[319] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 128.

[320] _Ibid._, p. 1; _Autobiography_, II, p. 85.

[321] _The Real Lord Byron_, I, p. 277.

[322] _Letters and Journals_, III, pp. 29-31. The article was not

[323] Nichol, _Life of Bryon_, p. 84, incorrectly gives 1812 as the date.

[324] _Correspondence_, I, p. 88, May 25, 1813.

[325] _Autobiography_, II, p. 85.

[326] _The Champion_, April 7, 14, 21, 1816.

[327] _Letters and Journals of Lord Byron_, p. 402.

[328] Byron, _Letters and Journals_, II, p. 157, December 1, 1813.

[329] _Ibid._, II, pp. 296-297.

[330] Page 36.

[331] _The Examiner_, April 21, 1816.

[332] _Letters and Journals_, VI, pp. 2-3.

[333] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 6.

[334] _Letters and Journals_, III, p. 265.

[335] In 1820 Byron translated the Rimini episode of the _Divine Comedy_.

[336] Trelawney, _Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron_, p.

[337] _Letters and Journals_, V, pp. 590-591.

[338] _Letters and Journals_, V, p. 217. This passage is omitted from the
letter in which it occurs in Moore's _Letters and Journals of Lord Byron_,
II, p. 437.

[339] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 8.

[340] Hunt wrongly gives Byron's date of birth as 1791. The article is
accompanied with a woodcut.

[341] See _Blackwood's_, X, pp. 286, 730.

[342] _Letters and Journals_, V, pp. 143-144.

[343] Medwin, _Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron_, p. 186.

[344] Jeaffreson, _The Real Lord Byron_, II, p. 186, says that Byron
through Shelley's mediation could secure Hunt as editor.

[345] _Ibid._, _Letters and Journals of Lord Byron_, II, p. 626.

[346] _Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron_, p. 157.

[347] See p. 103.

[348] _The Real Lord Byron_, II, p. 186.

[349] _Dictionary of National Biography._

[350] _Leigh Hunt as Poet and Essayist_, p. 30.

[351] _Life of Byron_, pp. 266-267.

[352] _Leigh Hunt_, p. 37, note.

[353] _Life of Leigh Hunt_, p. 154.

[354] _The Sonnet in England_, pp. 118-119.

[355] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 255.

[356] _Correspondence_, I, p. 161.

[357] _Autobiography_, II, p. 59.

[358] _Autobiography_, II, p. 59.

[359] After Shelley's meeting with Byron in Switzerland in 1816, before
they met again in Venice, there had been a lapse of two years bridged only
by a not always pleasant correspondence relating to Allegra, Byron's
natural daughter. Shelley occupied the unenviable position of mediator
between him and Jane Clairmont, the child's mother. Yet when the two men
met again in August, 1818, it was at first on the terms recorded in
_Julian and Maddalo_. Byron's influence served as a stimulus to this and
to other poems of the same period. By December of that year Shelley's
opinion of Byron had changed; on the 22d, he wrote to Peacock of _Childe
Harold_ in terms that show how quickly his views could alter: "The spirit
in which it is written, is, if insane, the most wicked and mischievous
insanity that was ever given forth. It is a kind of obstinate and
self-willed folly, in which he hardens himself. I remonstrated with him in
vain on the tone of mind from which such a view of things alone arises....
He (Byron) associates with wretches who seem to have lost the gait and
physiognomy of man, and who do not scruple to avow practices, which are
not only not named, but I believe seldom even conceived in England. He
says he disapproves, but he endures. He is heartily and deeply
discontented with himself; and contemplating in the distorted mirror of
his own thoughts the nature and destiny of man, what can he behold but
objects of contempt and despair? But that he is a great poet, I think the
address to Ocean proves. And he has a certain degree of candour while you
talk to him, but unfortunately it does not outlast your departure. No, I
do not doubt, and for his own sake, I ought to hope, that his present
career must soon end in some violent circumstance." (_Works of Shelley_,
VIII, pp. 80-81.)

From the close of 1818 until 1821, they were again separated. Their
correspondence, as previously, related chiefly to Allegra and was of a
still less agreeable nature. Byron had refused to deal directly with Jane
Clairmont and all communications had to pass through Shelley's hands. In
the interval, as though in retaliation, Byron had believed the Shiloh
story, a fabrication by a nurse of the Shelleys that Jane Clairmont was
Shelley's mistress, but he does not seem to have condemned such a state of
affairs. (_Letters and Journals_, V, p. 86, October, 1820.) Yet he
testified in his letters his great admiration of Shelley's poetry
(_Ibid._, VI, p. 387), and after his death he called him "The best and
least selfish man I ever knew." (_Ibid._, VI, p. 98; August 3, 1822.) But
before 1821, a reversal of the opinion formed in Shelley's mind at the
time of Byron's Venetian excesses, came about. November 11, 1820, he wrote
to Mrs. Hunt: "His indecencies, too, both against sexual nature, and
against human nature in general, sit very awkwardly upon him. He only
affects the libertine; he is, really, a very amiable, friendly and
agreeable man, I hear." (Hunt, _Correspondence_, I, p. 139.) This
corroborates Thornton Hunt's statement that Byron had risen in Shelley's
estimation before 1821 and that otherwise _The Liberal_ would never have
been started. (_Atlantic Monthly_, February, 1863.)

At Byron's invitation they met again in Ravenna. Shelley's letters dated
from there show unstinted admiration of Byron's genius and of the man
himself. He wrote in August, 1821, that he was living a "life totally the
reverse of that which he led at Venice.... (_Works of Shelley_, VIII, p.
211, August 7, 1821.) L. B. is greatly improved in every respect. In
genius, in temper, in moral views, in health, in happiness.... He has had
mischievous passions, but these he seems to have subdued, and he is
becoming what he should be, a virtuous man.... (_Ibid._, VIII, p. 217,
August 10, 1821.) Lord Byron and I are excellent friends, and were I
reduced to poverty, or were I a writer who had no claims to a higher
station than I possess--or did I possess a higher than I deserve, we
should appear in all things as such, and I would freely ask him any
favour. Such is not now the case. The daemon of mistrust and pride lurks
between two persons in our station, poisoning the freedom of our
intercourse. This is a tax and a heavy one, which we must pay for being
human." Of _Don Juan_ he wrote: "It sets him not only above, but far
above, all the poets of the day--every word is stamped with immortality. I
despair of rivalling Lord Byron, as well I may, and there is no other with
whom it is worth contending. (_Ibid._, VIII, p. 219, August 10, 1821.)
During the visit Shelley served as ambassador to the Countess Guiccioli in
persuading her not to go to Switzerland, and in the same capacity to Byron
in the arrangement of Allegra's affairs. It was then settled that Byron
should reside for the winter at Pisa. Shelley had misgivings about such an
arrangement on his own and on Miss Clairmont's account, for he had
previously intended to settle in the same vicinity. He finally decided not
to let it make any difference in his plans. In January, 1822, Shelley
wrote from Pisa to Peacock: "Lord Byron is established here, and we are
his constant companions. No small relief this, after the dreary solitude
of the understanding and the imagination in which we passed the first
years of our expatriation, yoked to all sorts of miseries and
discomforts.... if you before thought him a great poet, what is your
opinion now that you have read _Cain_?" (_Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 249;
January 11, 1822.) During the same month he wrote to John Gisborne: "What
think you of Lord Byron now? Space wondered less at the swift and fair
creations of God, when he grew weary of vacancy, than I at this spirit of
an angel in the mortal paradise of a decaying body." (_Ibid._, VIII, p.
251, January, 1822.)

A letter to Leigh Hunt gives the first intimation of the return of the
ill-feeling toward Byron: "Past circumstances between Lord B. and me
render it _impossible_ that I should accept any supply from him for my own
use, or that I should ask for yours if the contribution could be supposed
in any manner to relieve me, or to do what I could otherwise have done."
(_Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 253, January 25, 1822.) This referred to
more entanglements with Byron about Allegra. Shelley wrote to Jane
Clairmont: "It is of vital importance, both to me and yourself, to Allegra
even, that I should put a period to my intimacy with Lord Byron, and that
without éclat. No sentiments of honour and of justice restrain him (as I
strongly suspect) from the basest suspicion, and the only mode in which I
could effectually silence him I am reluctant (even if I had proof) to
employ during my father's life. But for your immediate feelings, I would
suddenly and irrevocably leave the country which he inhabits, nor even
enter it but as an enemy to determine our differences without words."
(_The Nation_, XLVIII, p. 116.)

[360] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 258.

[361] _Ibid._, VIII, p. 235, August 26, 1821.

[362] _Correspondence_, I, p. 172, September 21, 1821.

[363] _Ibid._, I, p. 174, November 16, 1821.

[364] Byron, _Letters and Journals_, IV, p. 129, June 4, 1817.

[365] _Ibid._, VI, pp. 117, 122, 127, 129, 134, 138, 158.

[366] _Ibid._, VI, p. 156.

[367] In 1814 Moore showed considerable pride in being included as one of
the four poets to sup with Apollo in the _Feast of the Poets_ and said
that he was "particularly flattered by praise from Hunt, because he is one
of the most honest and candid men" that he knew. (_Memoirs, Journal and
Correspondence_, II, p. 159.) In 1819 Hunt had urged upon Perry, the
editor of the _Morning Chronicle_, the necessity of a public subscription
for Moore. (_Ibid._, II, p. 340). An unfavorable review of Moore's
political principles in _The Examiner_ during the same year may have done
something to bring about the change in Moore's feelings, though he was
eulogized in a later issue of January 21, 1821.

[368] B. W. Procter, _An Autobiographical Fragment_, p. 153.

[369] _Letters and Journals of Lord Byron_, II, p. 583.

[370] _Ibid._, II, p. 582.

[371] _Ibid._, II, p. 584.

[372] Jeaffreson, _The Real Lord Byron_, II, p. 188.

[373] _Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron_, p. 111.

[374] Nicoll, _Literary Anecdotes of the Nineteenth Century_, p. 353,
March, 1822.

[375] _Ibid._, p. 356.

[376] _Fortnightly_, XXIX, p. 850.

[377] _Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron_, p. 112.

[378] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 288-289.

[379] _Life of Shelley_, II, p. 459.

[380] _Autobiography_, II, p. 94.

[381] _Correspondence_, I, p. 86.

[382] Monkhouse, _Life of Leigh Hunt_, p. 156.

[383] Hunt refuted the statement that Byron had walled off part of his
dwelling and furnished it handsomely. (_Lord Byron and Some of His
Contemporaries_, p. 14 ff.)

[384] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, pp. 242, 253.

[385] Nicoll and Wise, _Literary Anecdotes of the Nineteenth Century_, p.
342, December 22, 1818.

[386] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 286.

[387] _Correspondence_, I, p. 190.

[388] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 18.

[389] _Ibid._, p. 18.

[390] "I could always procure what I wanted from Lord Byron, and living
here is divinely cheap." (_Correspondence_, I, p. 198, November 7, 1822.)

[391] _Life of Byron_, p. 242.

[392] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 6.

[393] _Works of Shelley_, VIII, p. 257.

[394] She used no tact in her dealings with Lord Byron. She let him see
that she had no respect for rank or titles. She even went beyond the
limits of courtesy in her remarks to him. On Byron's saying, "What do you
think, Mrs. Hunt? Trelawny had been speaking of my morals! What do you
think of that?" "It is the first time," said Mrs. Hunt, "I ever heard of
them." (_Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 27). Of his
portrait by Harlowe she said "that it resembled a great schoolboy, who had
had a plain bun given him, instead of a plum one," a facetious speech
indiscreetly repeated by Hunt to Byron.

[395] _Letters and Journals_, VI, p. 124.

[396] _Ibid._, VI, pp. 119-120. Hunt's view was quite different. Byron
was, he thought, intimidated "out of his reasoning" by his children and
their principles. (_Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 28.)

[397] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 32.

[398] _Ibid._, p. 30.

[399] _Letters and Journals_, VI, pp. 157, 167.

[400] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 64.

[401] Medwin, _Conversations of Lord Byron_, p. 58.

[402] Monkhouse, _Life of Leigh Hunt_, pp. 64-65.

[403] II, pp. 145-146.

[404] _Autobiography_, II, p. 24.

[405] _Correspondence_, I, p. 188, July 8, 1822. Letter to his

[406] _Letters and Journals_, VI, p. 97, July 12, 1822.

[407] _Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron_, I, p. 174.

[408] _Correspondence_, I, p. 192. October (?), 1822.

[409] _Letters and Journals_, VI, p. 160. January 8, 1823.

[410] _Ibid._, VI, pp. 171-173.

[411] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, pp. 50, 63.

[412] _Ibid._, p. 48.

[413] "_Blackwood's Magazine_ overflowed, as might be expected, with
ten-fold gall and bitterness; the _John Bull_ was outrageous; and Mr.
Jerdan black in the face at this unheard-of and disgraceful union. But who
would have supposed that Mr. Thomas Moore and Mr. Hobhouse, those staunch
friends and partisans of the people, should also be thrown into almost
hysterical agonies of well-bred horror at the coalition between their
noble and ignoble acquaintance, between the Patrician and the
'Newspaper-Man'? Mr. Moore darted backwards and forwards from
Cold-Bath-Fields' Prison to the Examiner-Office, from Mr. Longman's to Mr.
Murray's shop, in a state of ridiculous trepidation, to see what was to be
done to prevent this degradation of the aristocracy of letters, this
indecent encroachment of plebeian pretensions, this undue extension of
patronage and compromise of privilege. The Tories were shocked that Lord
Byron should grace the popular side by his direct countenance and
assistance--the Whigs were shocked that he should share his confidence and
councils with any one who did not unite the double recommendations of
birth and genius--but themselves!" (Hazlitt, _The Plain Speaker_, II, p.
437 ff.)

[414] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 52.

[415] Galt in his _Life of Byron_ says: "Whether Mr. Hunt was or was not a
fit co-partner for one of his Lordship's rank and celebrity, I do not
undertake to judge; but every individual was good enough for that vile
prostitution of his genius, to which in an unguarded hour, he submitted
for money." (P. 244.)

[416] _The Literary Gazette_ of October 19, 1822, was one of the notable

[417] _Life of Byron_, p. 239.

[418] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 52.

[419] _Ibid._, p. 53.

[420] Byron, _Letters and Journals_, VI, p. 183.

[421] _Ibid._, VI, p. 124.

[422] _Ibid._, VI, p. 174, p. 182. (Letters to Mrs. Shelley.)

[423] _Ibid._, VI, p. 124.

[424] _Ibid._, V, p. 157, December 25, 1822.

[425] _Ibid._, VI, pp. 167-168.

[426] _Ibid._, V, p. 588.

[427] Lady Blessington, _Conversations of Lord Byron_, p. 77.

[428] _Letters and Journals_, VI, pp. 182-183, April 2, 1823.

[429] Hunt's only means of support were the income from his contributions
to _Colburn's New Monthly Magazine_, from the _Wishing Cap Papers_ in _The
Examiner_, and an annuity of £100. (_Correspondence_, I, p. 227.)

[430] _Correspondence_, I, p. 233-234.

[431] _Correspondence_, I, p. 228. See Hazlitt's account of Hunt in Italy
given in a letter from Haydon to Miss Mitford. (Haydon, _Life, Letters and
Table Talk_, pp. 223-225.)

[432] Moore, _Memoirs_, IV, p. 220; V, p. 182.

[433] _Letters and Journals_, VI, p. 174, 1823.

[434] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, preface, p. 3.

[435] Clarke, _Recollection of Writers_, p. 230.

[436] But compare Hunt's own remarks on p. 40.

[437] The biographers of the two men have taken various attitudes toward
the value of _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_. Galt says that
the pains Hunt took to elaborate faults of Byron make one think Hunt was
treated according to his deserts, and that the troubles he labored under
may have caused him to misapprehend Byron's jocularity for sarcasm, and
caprice for insolence. (_Life of Byron_, p. 260.) Garnett considers the
book a "corrective of merely idealized estimates of Lord Byron," and its
"reception more unfavorable than its deserts." (_Encyclopædia Britannica_,
"Byron," Ninth Edition.) Nichol thinks that while the book was prompted by
uncharitableness and egotism, Byron's faults were only slightly magnified:
that the poetic insight, the cosmopolitan sympathy and courage of Hunt
have given a view that nothing else could have done. (_Life of Byron_, p.
165.) R. B. Johnson thinks that it was a correct estimate written in
self-justification. Undoubtedly it should not have come from Hunt, yet if
it had not been written Hunt would not have been defended nor Byron so
well known. He says there is "no reason to regret any part of the affair
but the heated and persistent abuse with which one of the most sensitive
and humane of men has been loaded on account of it." (_Leigh Hunt_, p.
50.) Noble says that "Byron's friends met unpleasant truths by still more
unpleasant falsehoods." (_The Sonnet in England_, p. 115.) Alexander
Ireland, says the book was the great blunder of Hunt's life, "ought not to
have been written, far less published." (_Dictionary of National

[438] _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, p. 89.

[439] _Ibid._, pp. 20-21.

[440] Byron, _Letters and Journals_, II, p. 208.

[441] _Ibid._, II, p. 461.

[442] Thornton Hunt, in his edition of his father's _Correspondence_,
1862, in this connection defended Byron, and credited him with "a strong
sympathy with all that was beautiful and generous, with a desire to do

[443] P. 14. For an apology made six years earlier see a letter from Hunt
to Thomas Moore. (_Correspondence_, II, p. 38.)

[444] Hunt, _A Jar of Honey from Mt. Hybia_, p. 155.

[445] II, pp. 90-93.

[446] _Charles Lamb and Some of His Companions_ in the _Quarterly Review_
of January, 1867.

[447] _A New Spirit of the Age_, p. 182.

[448] Near the close of his life Hunt wrote: "The jests about London and
the Cockneys did not affect me in the least, as far as my faith was
concerned. They might as well have said that Hampstead was not beautiful,
or Richmond lovely; or that Chaucer and Milton were Cockneys when they
went out of London to lie on the grass and look at the daisies. The
Cockney School is the most illustrious in England; for, to say nothing of
Pope and Gray, who were both veritable Cockneys, 'born within the sound of
Bow Bell,' Milton was so too; and Chaucer and Spenser were both natives of
the city. Of the four greatest English poets, Shakespeare only was not a
Londoner." (_Autobiography_, II, p. 197.)

[449] _Recollections of Writers_, p. 19. Other accounts of these suppers
are to be found in Hazlitt's _On the Conversations of Authors_; in the
works dealing with Charles Lamb; and in the _Cornhill Magazine_, November,

[450] _The Life of Mary Russell Mitford_. Edited by A. J. K. L'Estrange,
New York, 1870, I, p. 370, November 12, 1819.

[451] Sharp, _The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn_, p. 33.

[452] Notes, pp. 57-61.

[453] _Ibid._, pp. 62-68.

[454] Other controversies, such as the one with Antoine Dubost, show
Hunt's aggressiveness. Dubost had sold a painting of Damocles to his
patron, a Mr. Hope. The latter became convinced that the author was an
imposter and tore the signature from the picture. In retaliation Dubost
painted and exhibited _Beauty and the Beast_, a caricature of the whole
incident. _The Examiner_ accused him of forgery and rank ingratitude. Hunt
does not seem to have had any particular proof or knowledge on the
subject, yet he employed scathing denunciation in writing of it. Dubost
replied and asserted that Hunt was Hope's hireling, and that he had
"ransacked the whole calendar of scurrility, and hunted for nick-names
through all the common places of blackguardism." (Dubost, _An Appeal to
the Public against the Calumnies of the Examiner_, London, n. d., p. 9.)

[455] He undertook a vindication of the Cockney School in a series of four
articles, in which he pointed out the "mean insincerity," the "vulgar
slander," the "mouthing cant," the "shabby spite," the falsehoods and the
recantations of Blackwood's. The description of the conditions, under
which Scott pictured the articles of his enemies to have been written,
smacks of the mocking humor of _Blackwood's_ itself: "a redolency of
Leith-ale, and tobacco smoke, which floats about all the pleasantry in
question,--giving one the idea of its facetious articles having been
written on the slopped table of a tavern parlour in the back-wynd, after
the _convives_ had retired, and left the author to solitude, pipe-ashes,
and the dregs of black-strap."

[456] Published in Edinburgh in 1820 and signed by "An American

[457] Published in Newcastle in 1821.

[458] The School was thus described in Blackwood's: "The chief
constellations, in this poetical firmament, consist of led captains, and
clerical hangers-on, whose pleasure, and whose business, it is, to
celebrate in tuneful verse, the virtues of some angelic patron, who keeps
a good table, and has interest with the archbishop, or the India House.
Verily they have their reward." In other words this group was composed of
diners-out or parasites, and sycophants for livings and military

[459] Published in London, 1824.

[460] Published in London also in 1824.

[461] Keats, _Works_, IV, p. 66.

[462] C. C. Clarke, _Recollections of Writers_, p. 147.

[463] Keats, _Works_, IV, p. 66.

[464] _Life of Benjamin Robert Haydon_, p. 349.

[465] Dowden, _Life of Shelley_, II, p. 302.

[466] I, p. 133.

[467] _Keats_, p. 120.

[468] _Life in Poetry: Law in Taste_, pp. 21-23.

[469] _Age of Wordsworth_, p. 58.

[470] _Blackwood's_, November, 1820.

[471] _Ibid._, May, 1821.

[472] _Quarterly_, April, 1822.

[473] _Ibid._, January, 1823.

[474] _Blackwood's_, April, 1819.

[475] _Life, Letters and Table Talk of Benjamin Robert Haydon_, p. 69.

[476] _Blackwood's_, May, 1823, pp. 558-566.

[477] _Memoirs and Correspondence of Coventry Patmore_, I, p. 23.

[478] _Letters and Journals_, V, p. 588.

[479] _St. James Magazine_, XXXV, p. 387 ff.

[480] _Blackwood's_, December, 1821.

[481] _Letters and Journals_, V, pp. 587-590. March 25, 1821.

[482] _Ibid._, V, pp. 362-363. September 12, 1821.

[483] _Letters of Timothy Tickler, Esq._, July, 1823.

[484] September, 1824.

[485] Hunt, _Correspondence_, I, p. 136.

[486] Daniel Maclise, _A Gallery of Illustrious Literary Characters_
(1830-1838). London, n. d., p. 132.

[487] William Dorling, _Memoirs of Dora Greenwell_, London, 1885, p. 75.

[488] _Epistle to Barnes._

[489] This accusation has been made still more recently by Mr. Palgrave,
who speaks of the "slipshod morality of _Rimini_ and _Hero_." _Poetical
Works of John Keats_, p. 263.

[490] In 1844, however, he refashioned the whole poem, now representing
Giovanni as deformed and as the murderer of his wife and brother, whereas
in the version of 1816 Paolo had been slain in a duel and Francesca had
died of grief. In 1855, he made a second change and went back to the 1816
version. The duel he preserved in the fragment, _Corso and Emilia_. Hunt's
translation of Dante's episode appeared in _Stories of Verse_, 1855. In
1857 he made a third change and restored the version of 1844.

[491] The editor of _Blackwood's_ in a letter dated April 20, 1818,
offered space to P. G. Patmore for a favourable critique of Hunt's poetry,
reserving to himself the privilege of answering such an article. He stated
further that if Hunt had employed less violent language towards the
reviewer of _Rimini_ he might have been given a friendly explanation.
_Memoirs and Correspondence of Coventry Patmore_, II, p. 438.

[492] This charge was renewed in a review of Hunt's _Autobiography_ in
1850 in the _Eclectic Review_, XCII, p. 416.

[493] Byron greatly resented Southey's article: "I am glad Mr. Southey
owns that article on _Foliage_ which excited my choler so much. But who
else could have been the author? Who but Southey would have had the
baseness, under the pretext of reviewing the work of one man, insidiously
to make it nest work for hatching malicious calumnies against others?... I
say nothing of the critique itself on _Foliage_; with the exception of a
few sonnets, it was unworthy of Hunt. But what was the object of that
article? I repeat, to villify and scatter his dark and devilish
insinuation against me and others." (Medwin, _Conversations of Lord
Byron_, p. 102.) Again Byron wrote of Southey in 1820: "Hence his
quarterly overflowings, political and literary, in what he has termed
himself 'the ungentle craft,' and his special wrath against Mr. Leigh
Hunt, not withstanding that Hunt has done more for Wordsworth's reputation
as a poet (such as it is), than all the Lakers could in their interchange
of praises for the last twenty-five years." (_Letters and Journals_, V, p.

[494] _London Magazine_, October, 1823.

[495] September, 1823.

[496] Reprinted in the _Museum of Foreign Literature_, XII, p. 568.

[497] August, 1834, XXVI, p. 273.

[498] C. C. Clarke, _Recollections of Writers_, p. 244. The year in which
the letter was written is not given, but it must fall within the years
1833-1840, the period of Hunt's residence at Chelsea.

[499] _The Victorian Age_, I, pp. 94-101.

[500] Hunt, _Autobiography_, II, p. 267.

[501] _Critical, Historical and Miscellaneous Essays_, New York and
Boston, 1860, IV, p. 350.

[502] The first preface to _Endymion_ was rejected by Keats on the advice
of his friends who thought that it was in the vain yet deprecating tone of
Hunt's prefaces. To this charge Keats replied: "I am not aware that there
is anything like Hunt in it (and if there is, it is my natural way, and I
have something in common with Hunt)." The second preface justifies the

[503] _London Journal_, January 21, 1835.

[504] Of Southey's attack on Hunt and others in May, 1818, Keats wrote: "I
have more than a laurel from the Quarterly Reviewers, for they have
smothered me in 'Foliage.'" (_Works_, IV, p. 115.)

[505] Shelley wrote also a letter to the _Quarterly Review_ remonstrating
against its treatment of Keats but the letter was never sent. (Milnes,
_Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats_, I, p. 208 ff.)

[506] In _Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries_, Hunt states that he
informed Byron of his mistake and received a promise that it would be
altered, but that the rhyme about _article_ and _particle_ was too good to
throw away (p. 266).

[507] Just before leaving England, Keats with Hunt visited the house where
Tom had died. He told Hunt in _this_ connection that he was "dying of a
broken heart." (_Literary Examiner_, 1823, p. 117.)

[508] _Works_, IV, pp. 42-43, 169-171, 174, 177, 194; V, pp. 27, 29.

[509] _Atlantic Monthly_, XI, p. 406.

[510] October 11, 1818. It included two reprints from other papers. The
first was a letter taken from the _Morning Chronicle_ signed J. S. It
predicted that if Keats would "apostatise his friendship, his principles,
and his politics (if he have any) he may even command the approbation of
the _Quarterly Review_." This was followed by extracts from an article by
John Hamilton Reynolds in the _Alfred Exeter Paper_ praising Keats for his
power of vitalizing heathen mythology and for his resemblance to Chapman
and calling Gifford "a Lottery Commissioner and Government Pensioner" who
persecuted Keats by "intrigue of literature and contrivance of political

[511] Dante Gabriel Rossetti suggests this possibility in a letter to Mr.
Hall Caine. (Caine, _Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti_, p. 179.)

[512] _Cobwebs of Criticism_, p. 137.

[513] _Autobiography_, II, p. 43.

[514] See p. 50 ff.

[515] _Imagination and Fancy_, p. 230.

[516] Dowden, _Life of Shelley_, II, p. 274.

[517] Other hostile reviews of _The Cenci_ appeared in the _Literary
Gazette_ of April 1, 1820; the _Monthly Magazine_ of the same month; and
the _London Magazine_ of May of the same year.

[518] _Blackwood's_, January, 1822.

[519] Alexander Ireland has pointed out curious correspondences in the
lives and intrests of Hazlitt and Hunt. (_Memoir of Hazlitt_, pp.

[520] _Quarterly_, May, 1818.

[521] _Ibid._, December, 1818.

[522] _Ibid._, July, 1819.

[523] _Ibid._, October, 1821.

[524] Birrell, _William Hazlitt_, New York, 1902, p. 147.

[525] _The Examiner_ of March 7 and 14, 1819, contained extracts from the
_Letter_ and comments by Hunt upon this "quint-essential salt of an
epistle," as he called it. Lamb's _Letter to Southey_, already referred
to, contained a defense of Hazlitt as well as of Hunt.

[526] February, 1818-April, 1819.

[527] August, 1822.

[528] August, 1823; October, 1823.



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Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Pages 118, 119, and 120 are numbered consecutively in the text, but there
appears to be a page or more missing from the original.

Footnote 442 (on page 118) ends with a comma in the original.

Some quotes are opened with marks but are not closed. Obvious errors
have been silently closed while those requiring interpretation have
been left open.

Punctuation has been corrected without note.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "Francesea" corrected to "Francesca" (page 21)
  "everthing" corrected to "everything" (page 48)
  "Shelly" corrected to "Shelley" (page 68)
  "wordly" corrected to "worldly" (page 70)
  "followd" corrected to "followed" (page 90)
  "Progess" corrected to "Progress" (page 129)
  "ever" corrected to "even" (page 138)
  "Ambrosianae" corrected to "Ambrosianæ" (page 152)
  "beween" corrected to "between" (footnote 30)
  "Cynthia" corrected to "Cythna" (footnote 180)
  "Nineteen" corrected to "Nineteenth" (foonote 259)
  "Work" corrected to "Works" (footnote 313)
  "elese" corrected to "else" (footnote 437)

Other than the corrections listed above, inconsistencies in spelling and
hyphenation have been retained from the original.

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