« AnteriorContinuar »
scrupulous satire against the poets of the scribes him in his study, which was adorned cockney school as political opponents. with casts of the Apollo and Venus,-strollLeigh Iunt was admired by many, and ing in his garden and about the country, ridiculed by others as the master of this or sailing in a boat, which was his favorite school of poets, when, in truth, he was only diversion. “Flower3,” he says, “or a happy their encourager and sympathizer. Hunt face, or the hearing a congenial remark, had a visit of thanks from Mr. Wordsworth would make his eyes sparkle with delight; for advocating the cause of his genius. while he would droop into an aspect of deKeats, in a latter to Mr. Bailey, wrote: jection when he saw the miserable-looking
children of the lace-making village, or thought “ There has been a flaming attack upon Hunt of his own children of whom he had been in the Edinburgh Magazine. I never read anything deprived by Chancery.” so virulent,--accusing him of the greatest crimes, depreciating his wife, his poetry, his habits, his
“As to his children, the reader perhaps is not company, his conversation. These philippics are to come out in numbers, called The Cockney called free on many accounts, and so proud of its
aware, that in this country of England, so justly School of Poetry. There has been but one number published--that on Hunt.
* I have
Englishman's castle,'—of the house, which nothno doubt the second number was intended for me, from him to-morrow, who holds a different opinion
ing can violate, a man's offspring can be taken but have hopes of its non-appearance from the from the Lord Chancellor in faith and morals. following advertisement in last Sunday's Exami- Hume's, if he had any, might have been taken. ner :- To Z-The writer of the article signed Z.
, Gibbon's might have been taken. The virtuous in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, for October, Condorcet, if he had been an Englishman and a 1817, is invited to send his address to the printer father, would have stood no chance. of the Examiner, in order that justice may be executed on the proper person.'”
Plato, for his Republic, would have stood as little; and Mademoiselle de Gournay might have
been torn from the arms of her adopted father Of Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, Cole- Montaigne, convicted beyond redemption of seeridge, and Lamb, Mr. Hunt gives some ing farther than the walls of the Court of Chanfifty pages of very delightful reminiscences. cery. That such things are not done often, I beWordsworth, in his younger days, must
lieve; that they may be done oftener than people
suspect, I believe also; for they are transacted have been too solemn, uncompromising and with closed doors, and the details are forbidden to dignified in his manners to tally with the transpire.” easier grace of Iunt. The following, in allusion to the visit before mentioned, suffi- Shelley's "princeliness" of generosity, his ciently illustrates their difference :- benevolence and sensibility, were accom
panied by a playfulness and love of frolic. “ Under the study in which my visitor and I " It was å moot point when he entered your were sitting was an archway, leading to a nursery; room whether he would begin with some ground; a cart happened to go through it while I was inquiring whether he would take any refresh- half-pleasant, half-pensive joke, or quote ment; and he uttered in so lofty a voice, the words, something Greek, or ask some question * Anything which is going forward, that I felt in about public affairs.” He and Hunt once, clined to ask him whether he would take a piece riding in a stage-coach where their only of the cart. Lamb would certainly have done it
. But this was a levity which would neither companion was a very silent, “grim” lookhave been so proper on my part, after so short ing old lady, “Shelley startled her into a an acquaintance, nor very intelligible perhaps, in look of most ludicrous astonishment,” by any sense of the word, to the serious poet. There suddenly addressing his friend, in his enthuare good-humored warrants for smiling, which lie siastic tone of voice, with a quotation from deeper even than Mr. Wordsworth's thoughts for tears."
Shakspeare: “Hunt! Thirty years afterward, when they met
'For Heaven's sake, let us sit upon the ground,
And tell sad stories of the deaths of kings !'” again, the manner of the great poet appeared greatly improved, " quite natural and noble, “The old lady," says Hunt, “looked on the with a cheerful air of animal as well as coach floor as if expecting to see us take spiritual confidence."
seats accordingly." Hunt's bosom friend was Shelley. After Hunt's love for Keats was only second his second marriage he resided at Great to that which he cherished for Shelley. The Marlow, in Buckinghamshire, where Hunt, knowledge reaching him after Keats's death with his family, paid him a visit, and de- that the poet had at one time distrusted his
friendship, - though he comforts himself conscious, mutually delighted. Tell him he is with the reflection that “it was sickness, and only before us on the road, as he was in everysoon passed away,"—deeply wounded his thing else;
or, whether you tell him the latter or
no, tell him the former, and add that we shall sincere and affectionate nature. It was a never forget he was so, and that we are coming suspicion wholly undeserved, and was over- after him. The tears are again in my eyes
, and I come before Hunt dreamed of its existence. must not afford to shed them. The next letter I A letter which Keats's devoted friend, Mr. write shall be more to yourself, and a little more Severn, received from Leigh Hunt a few sible must bave been very greatly taxed. But
days after Keats's death at Rome, illus- whether our friend dies or not, it will not be trates so fully Hunt's warm and simple among the least lofty of our recollections by-andaffection, and is so touchingly delicate and by, that you helped to smooth the sick bed of so
fine a being. sympathizing, that, as we can never read it
“ Your sincere friend, ourselves without emotion, we are induced
“ LEIGH Hunt." to transcribe it for those who may not have · seen it in Mr. Milnes' “Life and Letters of Of Charles Lamb, Mr. Hunt
has never been a true portrait. His face
resembled that of Bacon,“ with less worldly “ VALE OF HEALTH, Hampstead, vigor and more sensibility.” The small size March 8th, 1821.
of the head both in Shelley and Keats has “DEAR SEVERN: You have concluded, of course, been a puzzle to phrenologists. Hunt could that I have sent no letters to Rome, because I was not get on either their hats or Lord Byron's. aware of the effect they would have on Keats's Lamb's head, on the contrary, was large in mind; and this is the principal cause, - for besides what I have been told of his emotions about let- proportion to his body, or rather to his limbs, ters in Italy, I remember his telling me on one which were fragile. Though a man of strict occasion, that, in his sick moments, he never wished veracity in the ordinary sense of the word, to receive another letter, or ever to see another Lamb had a fondness for confounding the face, however friendly. But still I should have written to you had I not been almost at death's borders of theoretical truth and falsehood. door myself
. You will imagine how ill I have He said to a person who valued himself been, when you hear that I have just begun on being a matter-of-fact man, that he valwriting again for the · Examiner' and Indicator; ued himself on being “ a matter-of-lie man;" after an interval of several months, during which and at another time he said that “truth my flesh wasted from me in sickness and melancholy. Judge how often I thought of Keats, and was precious, and not to be wasted on everywith what feelings. Mr. Brown tells me he
is body." comparatively calm now, or rather quite so. If Hazlitt compared Coleridge's genius to a he can bear to hear of us, pray tell him--but he spirit, all head and wings, eternally floatknows it already, and can put it in better language than any man. I hear he does not like to ing about in etherealities." He gave me," be told that ħe may get better; nor is it to be says Hunt, “a different impression. I fanwondered at, considering his firm persuasion that cied him a good-natured wizard, very fond be shall not recover
. He can only regard it as a of earth, and conscious of reposing with bear to think he shall die. But if this persuasion weight enough in his easy chair
, but able should happen no longer to be so strong upon him, to conjure his etheraleties about him
in the or if he can now put up with such attempts to con- twinkling of an eye.” Ilunt refers us to sole him, remind him of what I have said a thou- his “ Imagination and Fancy" for a critical sand times
, and that I still (upon my honor, Sev. summary of his opinions respecting Coleern,) think always, that I have seen too many it: idge's poetry, of which however he here cases of consumption, not to indulge in hope to says, “I take it upon the whole to have the very last. If he cannot bear this
, tell him- been the finest of its time;" and again, “Of tell that great poet and noble-hearted man--that all the muse's mysteries,' he was as great we shall all bear his memory in the most precious a high priest as Spenser; and Spenser himtheir heads to it, as our loves do. Or if this again self might have gone to Highgate to hear will trouble his spirit, tell him we shall never cease him talk, and thank him for his “Ancient to remember and love him, and, that the most Mariner.'' skeptical of us has faith enough in the high things ihat nature puts into our heads, to think that all had been some time abroad; partly to re
Partly through the urgeney of Shelley, who who are of one accord in mind and heart are journeying to one and the same place, and shall unite cruit his own health and his wife's, and somehow or other again, face to face, mutually I chiefly on account of a proposal made bu VOL. VII. NO. 1. NEW SERIES.
Lord Byron to set up a liberal periodical friend Mr. Williams was found near a tower, four publication in conjunction with him (Byron) miles distant from its companion. That of the and Shelley, Hunt went with his family to other third party in the boat, Charles Vivian, the Italy. Moreover, while his brother john seaman, was not discovered till nearly three weeks
afterward. was to endeavor, in England, to reanimate
“ The remains of Shelley and Mr. Williams were the Examiner, Leigh
Hunt was to use simul- burned, after the good ancient fashion, and gathered taneous exertion in Italy to secure new aid into coffers. Those of Mr. Williams were subseto their prospects and 'new friends to the quently taken to England. Shelley's were interred
at Rome, in the Protestant burial-ground, the place cause of liberty.
which he had so touchingly described in recording After a very long and stormy passage, its reception of Keats. The ceremony of the burnenlivened in description by that talismanic ing was alike beautiful and distressing. Trelawpower which our author possesses of turn- ney, who had been the chief person concerned in ing everything into mirth, poetry, or instruc- kindness by taking the most active part on this
ascertaining the fate of his friends, completed his tion, he arrived at Leghorn, where he met last mournful occasion. He and his friend Captain · Lord Byron and Mr. Trelawney. He visited Shenley were first upon the ground, attended by the former at his country residence at Monte proper assistants. Lord Byron and myself arrived Nero, where he lived with Madame Guic- shortly afterward. His lordship got out of his cioli, in “ a salmon-colored house," which, in and did not see it. I remained inside the carriage,
carriage, but wandered away from the spectacle, a hot Italian sun, suggested no very hopeful now looking on, now drawing back with feelings ideas of comfort or of poetry. Shelley that were not to be witnessed. hastened from his villeggiatura at Lerici, to
"None of the mourners, however, refused themmeet his friend, and accompanied him to Pisa, of books and antiquity, like Shelley and his com
selves the little comfort of supposing, that lovers where Hunt was to take up his residence. panion, Shelley in particular with his Greek enHe remained a day or two; and after spend- thusiasm, would not have been sorry to foresee ing the last afternoon delightfully together this part of their fate. The mortal part of him, in wandering about Pisa, the friends separa, traordinary part of his history. Among the ma
too, was saved from corruption; not the least exted never to meet again. On the night of terials for burning, as many of the gracefuller and the same day Shelley took a post-chaise for more classical articles as could be procured-frankLeghorn, where he was, next day, to depart incense, wine, &c.- were not forgotten; and to for his home, with his friend Capt. Williams, these Keats's volume was added. "The beauty of of Lerici.
the flame arising from the funeral pile was extra
ordinary. The weather was beautifully fine. The “I entreated him," says Hunt, “if the Mediterranean, now soft and lucid, kissed the shore weather was violent, not to give way to his as if to make peace with it. The yellow sand and daring spirit and venture to sea. He prom- blue sky were intensely contrasted with one anised me he would not, and it seems he did other; marble mountains touched the air with set off later than he otherwise would have ward heaven in vigorous amplitude, waving and
coolness; and the flame of the fire bore away todone, and at, apparently, a more favorable quivering with a brightness of inconceivable moment. I never saw him more.” The beauty. It seemed as though it contained the same night there was a tremendous storm glassy, essence of vitality. You might have exof thunder and lightning. Mr. and Mrs. pected a seraphic countenance to look out of it,
turning once more before it departed, to thank the Hunt were anxious, but hoped their friend friends that had done their duty. might either not have left, or arrived in “Shelley, when he died, was in his thirtieth safety before its commencement. Trelawney year. His face was small, but well-shaped, particucame to Pisa and told them he was missing. larly the mouth and chin, the turn of which was
very sensitive and graceful. His side-face upon
the whole was deficient in strength, and his fea“A dreadful interval took place of more than a tures would not have told well in a bust; but when week, during which every inquiry and every fond fronting and looking at you attentively, his aspect hope were exhausted. At the end of that period had a certain seraphical character that would have our worst fears were confirmed. A body had been suited a portrait of John the Baptist, or the angel washed on shore, near the town of Via Reggio, wbom Milton describes as holding a reed 'tipt which, by the dress and stature, was known to be with fire.' Nor would the most religious mind, had our friend's Keats's last volume also (the Lamia, it known him, have objected to the comparison; for, &c.,) was found open in the jacket pocket. He with all his skepticism, Shelley's disposition was had probably been reading it, when surprised by truly said to have been anything but irreligious. the storm. It was my copy. I had told him to He was pious toward nature, toward his friends, keep it till he gave it to me again with his own toward the whole human race, toward the mcanest hands. So I would not have it from any other. insect of the forest. He did himself an injustice It was burned with his remains. The body of his with the public, in using the popular name of the
Supreme Being inconsiderately. He identified it by hopes and fears, the latter of which were solely with the most vulgar and tyrannical notions too soon realized. Lord Byron's highly of a God made after the worst human fashion; and did not sufficiently reflect, that it was often raised expectations being in some measure used by a juster devotion to express a sense of the disappointed, his interest cooled off, and great Mover of the universe. "When I heard of after four numbers The Liberal was no more. the catastrophe that overtook him, it seemed as if These, however, contained the “Vision of the world, to obtain their sympathy, yet gifted with Judgment," some vigorous essays of Hazlitt a double portion of love for all living things, had and Shelley's beautiful translation of the been found dead in a solitary corner of the earth, "May-day Night,” from Goethe. Hunt says its wings stiffened, its warm heart cold; the relics that he himself wrote nearly half of the of a misunderstood nature, slain by the ungenial whole publication, but not, he thinks, in his elements."
Of Genoa,—“Genoa the superb,"-of Hunt's family occupied, at Pisa, a part of which the proverb says, "it has a sea withLord Byron's residence on the river Arno. out fish, land without trees, men without Here Lord Byron, under the influence of his faith, and women without modesty," our well-known "hippocrene," was occupied in author tells better things, and gives a new writing Don Juan, and an intimacy com- view of the “ city of palaces,” so often demenced between the two poets, which, being scribed by travellers. We refer our readers founded rather in expediency than congeni- to the description of its aspect as seen from ality, was not of long duration. The letters the sea; the account of its streets and palof Byron, which our author considers to be aces, its men and women, its churches, and of an appropriate introduction to their acquaint- a religious procession which he witnessed ance, have no very especial interest, and there, in which was borne a wax-work represeem to serve better the purpose of " filling sentation of Saint Antonio kneeling before up" than any other. Indeed, the whole ac- the Virgin, reminding him strongly of the count of our author's intercourse with his ancient paganism. “ The son of Myrrha," noble friend, and afterwards “bitter enemy," he says, “ could not look more lover-like is far less attractive than other portions of than St. Antonio, nor Venus more polite the book. Though Byron set a high value than the Virgin ; and the flowers stuck all upon Hunt's honest and sincere admiration, about the favorite emblem of the Cyprian and apparently sympathized with his liberal youth) completed the likeness to an ancient views and objects, yet when they came to festival of Adonis.” Of the climate he says: see each other more intimately it is well known that a mutual repugnance arose, and
“You learn for the first time in this climate, what at length (lightly as Hunt now refers to it) An English artist of any enthusiasm might shed
colors really are. No wonder it produces painters. flained
almost into hatred. Lord Byron tears of vexation, to think of the dull medium had evidently a secret delight in the vanity through which blue and red come to him in his of his companion, so much more simple own atmosphere, compared with this. One day and displayful than his own. Hunt
we saw a boat pass us, which instantly reminded “ Lord Byron liked to imitate Johnson, and contained nothing but an old boatman in a red
us of Titian, and accounted for him ; and yet it say, “Why, sir,' in a high, mouthing way, cap, and some women with him in other colors, rising and looking about him.” He does one of them in a bright yellow petticoat. But a not perceive that his Lordship, while jocu- red cap in Italy goes by you, not like a mere cap, larly assuming the Johnson, was, in reality, what it is an intense specimen of the color of red. playing off the conceit and toadyism of his It is like a scarlet bud in the blue atmosphere. (Hunt's) unconscious Boswell.
The old boatman, with his brown hue, his white In the fall Hunt removed his family to shirt, and his red cap, made a complete picture ; Genoa, where Mrs. Shelley had preceded and so did the women and the yellow petticoat
. them, and found houses both for Lord I have seen pieces of orange-colored silk hanging
out against a wall at a dyer's, which gave the eye Byron's family and his, at Albaro, a neigh- a pleasure truly sensual. Some of these boatmen boring village. Hunt's family and Mrs. are very fine men. I was rowed to shore one day Shelley occupied the Casa Negroto. Lord by a man the very image of Kemble. He had Byron lived near them in the Casa Saluzzi. nothing but his shirt on, and it was really grand Here they received the first number of their which all his limbs came into play as he pulled
to see the mixed power and gracefulness with new Quarterly, The Liberal, accompanied the oars, occasionally turning his heroic profile to
give a glance behind him at other boats. They “ But there is one inscct which is equally harmless generally row standing, and pushing from them.” and beautiful. It succeeds the noisy cicala of an
evening; and is of so fairy-like a nature and lustre, From Genoa Hunt removed to Florence. that it would be almost worth coming into the
south to look at it, if there were no other attracIIaving heard, at the former place, nothing tion. I allude to the fire-fly. Imagine thousands in the streets but the talk of money, he of flashing diamonds every night powdering the hailed it as a good omen that in Florence ground, the trees, and the air, especially iv the the two first words which caught his ear darkest places, and in the corn-fields. They give were Fiori and Donne-flowers and women.
at once a delicacy and brilliance to Italian dark
ness inconceivable. It is the glow-worm, winged, He took up his abode at the neighboring and flying in crowds. In England it is the female village of Maiano, on the slope of one of alone that can be said to give light; that of the the Fiesolan hills. Here he was surrounded male, who is the exclusive possessor of the wings, by classical associations.
is hardly perceptible. Worm' is a wrong word, the creature being a real insect. The Tuscan
name is lucciola, little-light. In Genoa they call “Out of the windows of one side of our house, them cæe-belle, (ci-are-belle,) clear and pretty. we saw the turret of the Villa Gherardi, to which, When held in the hand, the little creature is disaccording to his biographers, his "joyous com- covered to be a dark-colored beetle, but without pany' resorted in the first instance. A house be- the hardness or sluggish look of the beetle tribe. longing to the Machiavelli was nearer, a little to The light is contained in the under part of the exthe left; and farther to the left, among the blue tremity of the abdomen, exhibiting a dull, goldenhills, was the white village of Settignano, where colored partition by day, and flashing occasionally Michael Angelo was born. The house is still in by daylight, especially when the hand is shaken. possession of the family. From our windows on At night the Aashing is that of the purest and the other side we saw, close to us, the Fiesole of most lucid fire, spangling the vineyards and oliveantiquity and of Milton, the site of the Boccaccio trees, and their dark avenues, with innumerable house before mentioned still closer, the Decameron's stars. Its use is not known.' In England, and I Valley of Ladies at our feet; and we looked over believe here, the supposition is that it is a signal toward the quarter of the Mugnone and of a house of love. It affords no perceptible heat, but is supof Dante, and in the distance beheld the mountains posed to be phosphoric. In a dark room, a single of Pistoia. Lastly, from the terrace in front, Flor- one is sufficient to flash a light against the wall. ence lay clear and cathedralled before us, with the I have read of a lady in the West Indies who scene of Redi's Bacchus rising on the other side could see to read by the help of three under a of it, and the Villa of Arcetri, illustrious for Gali- glass, as long as they chose to accommodate her. leo. Hazlitt, who came to see me there, (and who During our abode in Genoa a few of them were afterward, with one of his felicitous images, de commonly in our rooms all night, going about like scribed the state of mind in which he found me, by little sparkling elves. It is impossible not to think saying that I was ‘moulting,') beheld the scene of something spiritual in seeing the progress of around us with the admiration natural to a lover one of them through a dark room. You only of old folios and great names, and confessed, in know it by the flashing of its lamp, which takes the language of Burns, that it was a sight to enrich place every three or four inches apart, sometimes
oftener, thus marking its track in and out of the
apartment, or about it. It is like a little fairy Notwithstanding his boast of the power lines in Herrick, inviting his mistress to come to
taking its rounds. These insects remind us of the of “ pitching” his soul “ from Tuscany into him at night-time, and they suit them still better York street,” Hunt began to long for the than his English ones :air of his native country. He not only missed London, but he missed his native * Their light the glow-worms lend thee; English oaks and elms; and he compares
The shooting stars attend thee;
And the elves also, the natural features of the two countries,
Whose little eyes glow, like a true Englishman, quite to the advan- Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.'” tage of his own. The fortunes of the Examiner and its editors had now come to a The trees of Italy are beautifully and crisis, and it was necessary to return to Eng- skilfully touched upon—the cypress, the land. Our author took leave of Mariano olive, and particularly the chestnut :with a dry eye ; Boccaccio and the Valley of Ladies notwithstanding. Before taking “The chestnut trees are very beautiful; the leave of Italy altogether, however, he lingers spiky-looking branches of leaves, long, and of a to make some remarks upon the insect tribes noble green, make a glorious show as you look up peculiar to the south of Europe. We quote against the intense blue of the sky. Is it a comhis description of the fire-fly, well known in monplace to say that the castanets used in dancing,
evidently orignated in the nuts of this tree, casour own country :
tagnette? They are made in general, I believe, of