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verdant places behind it, it was truly rus in urbe and a retreat;? and how Mr. Leigh Hunt has been told the cranberries he has met with since must be as fine as those he got with the T.'s, as large, and as juicy, and that they came from the same place; and for all that he (Mr. Hunt) never ate a cranberry tart since he dined in Austin Friars' (p. 336); and how an aunt of his, that lived in Great Ormond-street, had something of the West Indian pride, but all in a good spirit, and was a mighty cultivator of the gentilities ;' insomuch that her nephew durst not appear before her with dirty hands, she would have scolded so handsomely' (p. 337); and how the author of Rimini's ' first flame, or notion of a flame, which is the same thing in those days, was for his giddy cousin Fan, a quicksilver West Indian ;' and how of the first half-guinea he received one shilling was devoted to pears, another to apples, another to cakes, and so on,' till coming to the last sixpence, ' and, being struck with a recollection that I ought to do something useful, with that I bought sixpenn'orth of shoestrings' (p. 338); and how his cousins had the celebrated Dr. Calcott for a musicmaster;' and how the doctor made Mr. Leigh Hunt a present of Schrevelius's Lexicon, and when he came down to Merton let him ride his horse' (which probably was a job one); and how 'walking one day by the little river Wandle our author came upon one of the loveliest girls he ever beheld, standing in the water with bare legs, washing some linen' (p. 341); and how cousin Fan
was a lass of fifteen with little laughing eyes, and a mouth like a plum;' and how the young poet's heart, when in her presence, 'was in a vague dream of beauty, and female cousins, and green fields, and a feeling which, though of a warın nature, was full of fears and respect' (p. 344); and how
she and I used to gather peaches before the house were up; I held the ladder for her; she mounted like a fairy, and when I stood doating on her as she looked down and threw the fruit in my lap, she would cry Petit garcon, you will let 'em all drop' (p. 345)— and all about Christ's Hospital, where Mr. Hunt received his education ; and how he looked in his blue petticoats and yellow stockings; and how the meat at the Hospital was in those days tough, and the milk-porridge · ludicrously thin' (p. 353); and how. Miss Patrick, daughter of the lamp-manufacturer in Newgate-street, was one of the goddesses of the school' (p. 360); and Mr. Hunt used to identify her with the picture of Venus in Tooke's Pantheon' (ibid.); and how one of the masters, when
you were out in your lessons, turned upon you with an eye like a fish' (p. 362), and generally wore grey worsted stockings, very tight, with a little balustrade leg,' &c. &c.; and how speaking of fruit reminds me of a pleasant trait on the part of a
Grecian of the name of Le Grice. He was the maddest of all the great boys of my time; clever, full of address, and not hampered with modesty, Remote rumours, not lightly to be heard, fell on our ears respecting pranks of his among the nurses' daughters. He was our Lord Rochester,' &c. &c. (p. 367); and how Mr. Leigh Hunt scalded his shins, 'when sitting before the fire, one evening, after the boys had gone to bed, wrapped up in the perusal of the Wonderful Magazine,' (p. 377); on which melancholy occasion, the whole of his being seemed collected in one fiery torment about his legs,' (p. 378); and how, at last, he was taken away from the hospital :• The fatal hat was put on; my father was come to fetch me :
We, hand in hand, with strange new steps and slow,
Thro' Holborn took our meditative way'-p. 380; and how, shortly after this, Mr. Isaac Hunt collected and published, by subscription, a volume of verses written by his son; and how, as it was unusual, at that time, to publish at so early a period as sixteen,'-(rapid as the march of intellect has been, we really had not been aware that this was, as yet, usual)-the author's age made him a kind of young Roscius ;' and how the author was, 'perhaps, as proud of his book then, as he is ashamed of it now;' and why the book is worthless in the author's estimation now; to wit, because
• The French Revolution had not then, as afterwards, by a natural consequence, shaken up and refreshed the sources of thought ALL OVER EUROPE'-p. 380; and how, 'not long after this period,” Mr. Hunt ventured on publishing his first prose, which consisted of a series of essays, under the title of The Traveller, (an appropriate title for a gentleman, who had actually been to Brentford,) by Mr. Town, Junior, Critic, and Censor-General;' they came out in the evening paper of
that name, and were imitations, as the reader will guess, of the Connoisseur;' and how, in the author's opinion, anno domini, 1828, they were lively, and showed a tact for writing; but nothing more:'-
• There was something, however, in my writings, at that period, and for some years afterwards, which, to OBSERVERS, might have had an interest beyond what the author supplied, and amounted to a sign of the times. I allude to a fondness for imitating Voltaire.'--P. 391.
• An abridgment that I picked up of the Philosophical Dictionary (a translation) was, for a long while, my text-book both for opinion and style.'-p. 392.
Mr. Hunt then fills several pages of his quarto with blasphemous extracts from the last number of the Philosophical Dictionary now printing in that commodious fashion at the Examiner
and having used his scissars and paste as largely as he judged right and proper in regard to the interests of the proprietors of that useful work, he adds, "At these passages I used to roll with laughter; and I cannot help laughing now, writing, as I am, alone, by my fire-side,' (p. 394). This intelligent admirer of Voltaire goes on to inform us how he wrote a tragedy, entitled, The Earl of Surrey, and a farce, called The Beau Miser, and another, called A Hundred a Year; and how he formed an acquaintance with Mr. Bell, proprietor of The Weekly Messenger, who was,
upon the whole, a remarkable person,'-' a plain man, with a red face, and a nose exaggerated by intemperance,' (p. 398); and also with Bandini, the editor of Mr. Bell's paper, who looked the epitome of squalid authorship,' (p. 400); and how_here we come, at last, to classical ground
My brother John, at the beginning of the year 1805, set up a paper called The News, and I went to live with him in Brydges-street, and wrote the theatrical articles in it. It was HE that INVENTED THE ROUND WINDOW IN THE OFFICE OF THAT PAPER TO ATTRACT ATTENTION.'—p. 401.
Mr. John Hunt's round window was a happy invention, though not equal, we think, either to Mr. Henry Hunt's blacking van, or Mr. Leigh Hunt's present title-page. But to return. In • The News, Mr. Leigh Hunt entertained the town with articles on the theatrical performers of the time, which had, as we remember, very considerable influence and success ; so much so, that he ere long determined to set up a paper of his own; whence * The Examiner.' In that newspaper, Mr. Hunt continued his lively strictures on the affairs of the green-room, and, by degrees, began to aspire to higher game. In a word, he was ere long known to the public as the editor and chief writer of one of the most profligate radical prints of the day, which was, moreover, distinguished above all the rest of its tribe, for the promulgation of opinions on the subjects of morality, and religion, such as may easily be inferred from his juvenile admiration of the Philoso phical Dictionary. He published, from time to time, little volumes of poetry, which, although they have all passed into utter oblivion now, exhibited occasional traces of feeling and fancy, sufficient to make good men lament, while they condemned, the vicious prostitution of the author's talents in his regular labours of the hebdomadal broad-sheet; but all warning was in vain. Surrounding himself with a small knot of fantastic smatterers, he found immediate gratification of his overweening vanity in the applauses of this coxcombical circle; and lost, as a necessary consequence, all chance of obtaining a place in the upper ranks of literature.
With witlings passed his days,
With handkerchief and orange at his side.' We need not dwell on the short-lived glitter and merciless catastrophe of this very small ambition : Stat nominis umbra. Indeed, nobody seems to be more thoroughly aware of the hopelessness of the case than the publisher of the work now before us ; hence the attractions of the title-page ;' and Mr. Hunt's truly humiliating apology for the false colours under which he has found it necessary to re-open his long-silent battery of paper pellets.
We had always understood, that Mr. Hunt, before he was known by anything but his juvenile verses, obtained some situation in the War-office; and that he lost this, after many warnings, in consequence of libelling the Duke of York, then commander in-chief, in the newspapers ; but of this story, there is no trace in the quarto before us, and we, therefore, suppose it must have been, at least, an exaggeration. If it were true, it might account, in some measure, for the peculiar bitterness of personal spleen with which the Examiner, from the beginning of its career, was accustomed to treat almost every branch of the Royal family. It is well known, that an indecent libel on the Prince Regent, which appeared in that vehicle of scandal, at last drew on Messrs. Hunt the notice of the attorney-general: they were tried and condemned to two years' imprisonment, and, we believe, a pretty large fine besides, though we do not remember the exact amount; and this affair gave a blow to the Examiner from which it never recovered.
Mr. Hunt's account of this trial, and the subsequent imprisonment, is one of the richest specimens of vanity and affectation that even he has ever put forth ::
I put my countenance,' he tells us, . in its best trim. I made a point of wearing my best apparel; put on my new hat and gloves, and descended into the legal arena to be sentenced gallantly. As an instance of the imagination! with which I am accustomed to mingle everything, I was, at that time, reading a little work to which Milton is indebted, the Comus of Erycius Puteanus, and this, which is a satire on Bacchuses and their revellers," I pleased myself with having in my pocket'!
But the following is still more exquisite :
• There is reason,' says Mr. Hunt, to think, that Lord Ellenborough was little less easy than ourselves.
He did not even look at us, when he asked, in the course of his duty, whether it was our wish to make any remarks.'-p. 415.
Poor Lord Ellenborough! how completely that timid spirit had been overawed by the new hat and gloves, and dignified bearing of Mr. Examiner! Bradshaw's inward tremblings were nothing to this!
Mr. Hunt appears to have done wonders with his quarters in the Borough:
'I papered the walls with a trellis of roses; I had the ceiling coloured with clouds and sky; the barred windows were screened with Venetian blinds; and when my bookcases were set up, with their busts, and flowers and a piano-forte made their appearance, perhaps there was not a handsomer room on that side of the water.
But I had another surprise ; which was a garden: there was a little yard, outside the room, railed off for another, belonging to the neighbouring ward.
This I shut in with green pailings, &c. &c. &c. Here I write and read, in fine weather, sometimes under an awning. In autumn, my trellises were hung with scarlet runners, which added to the flowery investment !'-pp. 424, 5.
We presume the turnkeys make a pretty penny by showing the spot where the great Mr. Hunt actually sat amidst his books, and saw the imaginary sky overhead and the paper roses about him.'-p. 425. The Raleigh chamber in the Tower, Galileo's dungeon at Rome, and Tasso's at Ferrara, are the only scenes of parallel interest that, at this moment, suggest themselves to our recollection.
It was during this memorable confinement, that Mr. Hunt first became acquainted with the noble poet, whose name he has blazoned on his present title-page. Mr. Moore, who was, at that period, silly enough to entertain the saloons of our Whig aristocracy with certain performances of which, we have no doubt, he is now heartily ashamed, night not unnaturally feel some sympathy with the suffering Examiner; and he appears to have carried Lord Byron to visit the classical scenery of the imaginary sky and paper roses. Thus, charitably on the part of Lord Byron, began his intercourse with the gentleman, who now pays a debt to a bookseller by trampling on his
grave. Giving Mr. Hunt full credit for his adoption of the apothe cary's
• My poverty but not my will consents' we shall touch as gently as possible on this matter; but a few words are demanded, in all justice and in all equity. His apology, ex crumena, is an admission, in limine, that his book is an attack on the character of Lord Byron; and he has farther the candour to admit as follows: • What was to be told of the noble poet involved of necessity a