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Alexander Ireland.

List of the writings of William Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt : chronologically arranged with notes, descriptive, critical, and explanatory; and a selection of opinions regarding their genius and characteristics, by distinguished contemporaries and friends as well as by subsequent critics; preceded by a re online

. (page 1 of 43)
Online LibraryAlexander IrelandList of the writings of William Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt : chronologically arranged with notes, descriptive, critical, and explanatory; and a selection of opinions regarding their genius and characteristics, by distinguished contemporaries and friends as well as by subsequent critics; preceded by a re → online text (page 1 of 43)
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3Ust of tlj*



WILLIAM HAZLITT

AND

LEIGH HUNT-

CHRONOLOGICALLY ARRANGED;



WITH NOTES, DESCRIPTIVE, CRITICAL, AND EXPLANATORY ;
AND A SELECTION OF OPINIONS REGARDING

THEIR GENIUS AND CHARACTERISTICS,

BY DISTINGUISHED CONTEMPORARIES AND FRIENDS,

AS WELL AS BY SUBSEQUENT CRITICS^

Preceded by ,

A REVIEW OF, AND EXTRACTS FROM, BARRY CORNWALL'S " M'EMCVRIA^S |OF
CHARLES LAMB;" WITH A FEW WORDS ON WILLIAM HAZLITT

AND HIS WRITINGS,
AND A CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF THE WORKS OF

QDftailcs Hamfc.



BY

ALEXANDER IRELAND.



LONDON:

H\ RUSSELL SMITH, 36, SOHO SQUARE
1868.

TWO HUNDRED COPIES PRINTED.



CHARLES COWDEN n.ARKK,

THE INTIMATE COMPANION OF KEATS,
ONE OF THE FEW SURVIVING FRIENDS OF LAMB, HAZLITT, AND HUNT ;

A DISCRIMINATING AND GENIAL CRITIC
OF OUR GREAT POETS, DRAMATISTS, AND PROSE-WRITERS,

(ESPECIALLY OF CHAUCER AND SHAKESPERE) ;
AS WELL AS AN ABLE EXPOSITOR OF THE GENIUS OF MOLIERE I

AND WHO,

IN HIS HALE AND CHEERFUL OLD AGE, PRESERVES
ALL THE FRESHNESS, ENTHUSIASM, AND GENEROUS SYMPATHIES OF YOUTH I

AND TO HIS WIFE,

MARY COW DK N CLARKE,
WHOSE ADMIRABLE AND INDISPENSABLE "CONCORDANCE TO SHAKESPERE"

(THE RESULT OF SIXTEEN YEARS' LABOUR OF LOVE),

WILL EVER HOLD AN HONOURABLE PLACE IN ENGLISH LITERATURE,

AS A MONUMENT OF

UNEXAMPLED INDUSTRY AND FAITHFUL ACCURACY,

LUIS VOL r MI-: is DEDICATED

BY THEIR OLD AND ATTACHED FRIEND,

THE COMPILER.



4rr
t



^



CONTENTS.



PAGE.
INTRODUCTION vii

BRIEF TRIBUTES TO THE GENIUS, CHARACTER, AND ME-
MORY OF WILLIAM HAZLITT AND LEIGH HUNT xiv

SONNETS ON WILLIAM HAZLITT AND LEIGH HUNT, BY

MRS. BRYAN AND MRS. CHARLES COWDEN CLARKE xxiv

RECOLLECTIONS OF CHARLES LAMB REVIEW OF AND
EXTRACTS FROM BARRY CORNWALL'S " MEMOIR OF
CHARLES LAMB ;" WITH A FEW WORDS ON WILLIAM
HAZLITT AND HIS WAITINGS 3

CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF THE WRITINGS OF CHARLES

LAMB 25

To "ELIA," AND "THE SISTER OF ELLA." BY WALTER

SAVAGE LANDOR 26

OPINIONS REGARDING WlLLIAM HAZLITT's CHARACTER,

GENIUS, AND WRITINGS 27

CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF THE WRITINGS OF WILLIAM
HAZLITT j WITH NOTES, DESCRIPTIVE, CRITICAL, AND

EXPLANATORY 47

*



PAGE.

SPECIMENS OF CRITICISMS ON WILLIAM HAZLITT'S WRIT-
INGS ; FROM THE EARLY VOLUMES OF " THE QUAR-
TERLY REVIEW" AND "BLACK-WOOD'S MAGAZINE" 77

OPINIONS REGARDING LEIGH HUNT'S CHARACTER, GENIUS,

AND WRITINGS 79

CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF THE WRITINGS OF LEIGH
HUNT; WITH NOTES, DESCRIPTIVE, CRITICAL, AND
EXPLANATORY 106

THOMAS CARLYLE ON LEIGH HUNT 224

SPECIMENS OF CRITICISMS ON LEIGH HUNT AND HIS
WRITINGS; FROM THE EARLY VOLUMES OF "THE
QUARTERLY REVIEW" AND " BLACK WOOD'S MAGA-
ZINE" 227








INTRODUCTION.



WHEN I first became acquainted with the writings of William
Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt now above thirty years ago I
was at once forcibly struck with the tone of their criticism on
books and authors \ not to speak of their merits as theatrical
and art-critics, and essayists on life and manners. Their lite-
rary criticism appeared to me to be more appreciative, more
original and suggestive and to show more insight into, and
sympathy with, the spirit of the writers reviewed, than any that
I had previously read. It was distinguished from that of the
recognised authorities in this department of literature by its
greater warmth, geniality, and acuteness, and by a discrimina-
tion and heartiness of treatment not to be found in the pages
of previous critics. It had also an additional charm for me,
in the personal recollections and associations with which it
was often interwoven. I could not be blind to the faults
of temper and offences against good taste which occasionally
mar the beauties of these two critics ; but their cordiality, or
what may be called " ^^/-recognition," as distinguished from
mere intellectual or "//^^/-appreciation," of the beauties of our
great writers, amply atoned for any blemishes and defects.
The perusal and re-perusal of their volumes brought benefits for
which I have never ceased to be grateful. It stimulated in me
an ardent desire to become acquainted with the authors about
whose works they discoursed with so much sympathy and loving



enthusiasm Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespere, and the Elizabethan
dramatists \ the great prose writers who succeeded them ; the
poets, wits, and play-writers of the latter half of the seven-
teenth century ; the essayists and novelists of the days of Anne
and the first two Georges; and the new school of poetry
and thought which followed upon the first French Revolution.
The leisure at my command in those days was but scanty,
and did not enable me to profit so much as I could have
wished by the valuable guidance afforded me in the works of
these critics. But spare hours were economised and made the
most of. Nulla dies sine lined. In this way, new and unex-
pected sources of enjoyment were opened to me as, year by
year, I became more intimate with the authors criticised. I
also read with avidity everything which was published relating
to the genius and characteristics of these two writers and their
works. Gradually I became possessor of all the writings of
Hazlitt and Hunt, and was in the habit of lending them to
friends with tastes similar to my own. As their entire works
comprise more than eighty volumes (Hazlitt's numbering be-
tween thirty and forty, and Hunt's above fifty) some of them
long out of print, and difficult to be met with it often occurred
to me to make a chronological list of them, indicating the con-
tents of each, with the view of printing it for my own use and
that of my friends.

The appearance, last year, of Mr. Procter's (Barry Cornwall)
pleasing " Memoir of Charles Lamb " again brought before the
public the names of William Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt, as two
of the intimate friends and companions of " Elia." My long-
cherished desire to print a list of their works was revived ; but
now it included not merely the contents of each work, but also
a selection of contemporary opinions regarding their authors.
In thinking of the numerous sources from which these opinions
might be gathered, I recalled many beautiful tributes to their
memory and genius by distinguished contemporaries and
friends. Some of these were so remarkable for their just ap-
preciation, acuteness, and generous feeling, that I considered it
would be doing a service to exhume them from the news-



[ ix ]

papers and magazines in which most of them lay buried.
There were also scattered about through scores of volumes,
scarcely ever opened by the most adventurous reader, many
special contemporary notices of the various works themselves,
which were worthy of being rescued from oblivion. In bring-
ing these materials together, I found them to be more abundant
than I expected. When I made known my project to one or two
literary friends, they were pleased to say, that to readers and
admirers of Hazlitt and Hunt, my proposed list of their works
might be found very useful. I was advised not to limit my
design to a few copies struck off for private circulation, but to
print a small edition which might at least be procurable by
those who wished to possess it. This suggestion has been
acted upon.

The writings of William Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt deserve
to be much better known than they are by the present genera-
tion. Many readers are entirely ignorant of their existence;
or, if they have perchance heard of the names of these authors,
they imagine them to have been merely ephemeral litterateurs,
whose works did not possess sufficient merit to preserve them
from oblivion. Had Hazlitt and Hunt been literary critics
and essayists only, and not also political writers with earnest
convictions, there can be little doubt that their merits would
have long since been widely recognised and acknowledged,
and their position in the field of letters much more established
and conspicuous than it now is. Owing to their strenuous
advocacy of political views totally opposed to those of the
dominant party of the day their resolute independence, and
uncompromising out-spokenness they were assailed by the
two leading organs of the Tory press with a ferocity and un-
scrupulous malignity almost incredible to the present genera-
tion. As they had wilfully placed themselves " in collision from
the first with all the interests that were in the sunshine of this
world, and with all the persons that were then powerful in
England," the intrinsic merits of their literary productions
were entirely ignored or, rather, the appearance of these
productions furnished occasion to the editors of the organs



in question to pour out upon their authors the vilest abuse,
and to hold up them and their works to public odium and
disgust. The object and effect of this " literary ruffianism"
were undoubtedly to disparage these writers, and prevent the
public from reading their works, and judging for itself. The
critical verdicts of the periodicals referred to had great weight
in those days, and were accepted by the great majority of the
reading public as infallible. These unworthy and shameless
attacks limited the circulation of the works against which they
were directed to a comparatively small circle, and are quite
sufficient to account for the tardy recognition of their merits
by the public. Such were the lengths to which party feeling
was allowed to go in those days (1815 to 1830), and such the
degradation to which men of culture and ability could stoop
in order to carry out the objects of political animosity ! In
order to bear me out in what has been said on this subject,
and to justify the strong expressions used, a few pages have
been devoted to a selection of passages from these malignant
attacks, so that the reader can judge for himself whether, in
my characterization of them, I am chargeable with exaggera-
tion. They stand, I believe, unparalleled in the annals of
criticism, for their gross violation of the laws and decencies
of literary warfare. These passages ought to be preserved,
were it only as literary curiosities, and as showing the kind of
weapons which were at one time resorted to in this country
against political antagonists by writers calling themselves gen-
tlemen. They will be found at pp. 77 and 227.

Before taking leave of this subject, I cannot refrain from
reprinting the following passages from an admirable article on
" Leigh Hunt," which appeared, several years ago, in the
North Bntish Review, from the pen, it is understood, of Mr.
Gerald Massey, an article which does honour to the writer's
head and heart :

11 We have no wish to rake up forgotten quarrels. But,
since we believe that Leigh Hunt's admirable genius is far less
generally appreciated than that of any other writer of his own
age and of equal mark, we are bound to say that we trace his



exclusion from his rightful place in the estimation of his con-
temporaries, mainly to the implacable pertinacity of abuse with
which his political opponents assailed him ; nor does it seem
to us at all unlikely that the- same cause should continue to
operate, though in a different way, even in the minds of the
present generation. . . .

" Leigh Hunt was so long and so shamefully misrepre-
sented, that people came almost of necessity to share in the
antipathy, who had no share whatever in the original dissen-
sions which gave rise to it. To the great body of the public
his name was made familiar only in connection with accents of
contempt, and indignation, and reproach. And even when,
under the gentle influence of time, people who had heard
nothing of him but slander, came to think somewhat better
of the man, it would have been strange if the old prejudice
had not retained vitality enough to make them undervalue
the writings. . . .

" It was nothing to revile his opinions, his writings, his
public conduct. Every weapon of controversy was directed
against these, the bitterest sarcasm the broadest ridicule
the fiercest abuse the most reckless misrepresentation. But
his assailants never dreamed of restricting themselves within
such limits as these. No ground was too sacred : his private
life, his dearest relationships, his very person and habits, were
made subjects of attack ; and under the wildest misconception
with regard to them all. This beautiful poet, the exquisite
critic and essayist, this most amiable, accomplished, and high-
minded man, was denounced to our fathers in the most influ-
ential publications of their day, not merely as an ignorant
democrat, who was for pulling down everything that other
men revered not merely as an irreligious and bad writer
but as the most hateful, contemptible, nay, loathsome of men."

Happily the style of criticism thus referred to is gone by,
let us hope never to return. Party spirit does not now pre-
vent the genius and literary merits of political antagonists from
being fairly discussed and justly appreciated. Impartial criti-
cism now takes the place of scurrility and abuse. While these
sheets were passing through the press, the Quarterly Review,
in an excellent article on "Charles Lamb and some of his
Companions/' has given utterance to many just and beautiful
remarks on the merits of the two writers whom it formerly



reviled, and these it gives me sincere pleasure to record. A
few passages from the article are given at the end of this
Introduction, page xxiii. Blackwood 's Magazine, too, in later
days, has said kindly words about Leigh Hunt, which deserve
recognition and thanks. I am informed that Professor Wilson,
long after the attacks in the early numbers of Blackwood, wrote
to Leigh Hunt expressing his regret for the injustice that had
been done to him, inviting him at the same time to write in
the Magazine. This Mr. Hunt declined ; but Wilson's apology
gave him great satisfaction. This information comes from an
old and valued friend of Leigh Hunt.

It is to be hoped that some enterprising publisher will try
the experiment of issuing half-a-dozen handy and inexpensive
volumes, devoted to a selection of the choicest pieces from the
voluminous works of these two authors. No more delightful
and improving reading about our great writers, from Chaucer
and Spenser downwards, could be placed in the hands of
students of English literature. Such a selection ought to
include some of their best critical papers, with select passages
from the works of the writers reviewed ; as well as a goodly
number of their essays on men and manners, many of which
deserve to stand side by side with those of Addison, Steele,
and Lamb. "The Round Table," "Table Talk," "Plain
Speaker/ "Spirit of the Age," "Characteristics," &c., by
Hazlitt; and the "Indicator," "Companion," "Tatler," "Lon-
don Journal," and other works by Leigh Hunt, would furnish
at least a volume or two of essays and sketches, which, for
originality, acuteness, epigrammatic brilliancy, grace, delicacy
of treatment, and felicity of illustration, are not to be surpassed
in the whole range of our literature.

I shall be amply rewarded for the pains bestowed on this
compilation truly a labour of love should it be the means of
stimulating even a very few readers to become well acquainted
with the works of Hazlitt and Hunt. They will find " infinite
riches" scattered throughout their volumes, and will be able
to estimate at their just value the services rendered to litera-
ture and humanity by these two writers.



To William Carew Hazlitt, Esq., grandson of William
Hazlitt, author of " The History of Venice," "A Hand-Book
of Early English Literature," &c., and editor of the " Shake-
speare Jest-Books," " Lovelace's Poems," &c., my best thanks
are due for information kindly given me during the compila-
tion of this volume.

With the following pages of brief tributes to the genius,
character, and memory of WILLIAM HAZLITT and LEIGH HUNT
I may not inappropriately conclude this Introduction.



ALEXANDER IRELAND.



ALDER BANK,

BOWDON, NEAR MANCHESTER,
November zoth, 1867.




WILLIAM HAZLITT.

CHARLES LAMB. " I should belie my own conscience, if
said less, than that I think W. H. to be, in his natural am
healthy state, one of the wisest and finest spirits breathing
So far from being ashamed of that intimacy which was betwix
us, it is my boast that I was able for so many years to have
preserved it entire, and I think I shall go to my grave withou
finding, or expecting to find, such another companion."

LEIGH HUNT. " He was one of the profoundest writers o
the day, an admirable reasoner (no one got better or soone
at the heart of a question than he did), the best general critic
the greatest critic on art that ever appeared (his writings on
that subject cast a light like a painted window), exquisite in hi
relish of poetry, an untarnished lover of liberty, and with all hi
humour and irritability (of which no man had more) a sincert
friend and a generous enemy. . . . Posterity will do justice
to the man that wrote for truth and mankind."

BARRY CORNWALL (W. B. Procter). " Without the imagi
nation and extreme facility of Coleridge, he had almost as
much subtlety, and far more steadfastness of mind."

LORD LYTTON. " He had a keen sense of the Beautifu
and the Subtle ; and what is more, he was deeply imbue(
with sympathy for the humane. He ranks high amongs
the social writers his intuitive feeling was in favour of th<
multitude ; yet had he nothing of the demagogue or litterateur
he did not pander to a single vulgar passion. ... To
the next age, he will stand among the foremost of the thinker
of the present ; and late and tardy retribution will assuredly
be his a retribution which, long after the envy he provokec
is dumb, and the errors he committed are forgotten will in
vest with interest anything associated with his name making
it an honour even to have been his contemporary."



JUDGE TALFOURD. " He was always best pleased when he
could detect some talent which was unregarded by the world,
and give, alike to the celebrated and the unknown, due honour.
. . . The excellence of his essays on characters and books
differ not so much in degree as in kind from that of all others
of their class. There is a weight and substance about them,
which makes us feel that, amidst this nice and dexterous ana-
lysis, they are, in no small measure, creations. The quantity
of thought which is accumulated upon his favourite subjects,
the variety and richness of the illustrations, and the strong
sense of beauty and pleasure which pervades and animates the
composition, give them a place, if not above, yet apart from
the writings of all other essayists."

HARRIET MARTINEAU. "In Hazlitt, we lost the prince of
critics; and after he was gone, there were many who could
never look at a fiction, or see a tragedy, or ponder a point of
morals, or take a survey of any public character, without a
melancholy sense of loss in Hazlitt's absence and silence.
There can scarcely be a stronger gratification of the critical
faculties than in reading Hazlitt's essays. . . . As an
essayist, he had rivals ; as a critical essayist, he had none "

SIR ARCHIBALD ALISON. " In critical disquisitions on the
leading characters and works of the drama, he is not surpassed
in the whole range of English literature."

" EDINBURGH REVIEW." " He possesses one noble
quality at least for the office which he has chosen, in the
intense admiration and love which he feels for the great authors
on whose excellences he chiefly dwells. His relish for their
beauties is so keen that while he describes them, the pleasures
which they impart become almost palpable to the sense. . .
He introduces us almost corporeally into the divine presence of
the Great of old time. . . . His intense admiration of
intellectual beauty seems always to sharpen his critical faculties.
He perceives it by a kind of intuitive fervour, how deeply
soever it may be buried in rubbish ; and separates it in a moment
from all that would encumber or deface it. ... In a word,
he at once analyses and describes so that our enjoyments of
loveliness are not chilled, but brightened, by our acquaintance
with their inward sources. The knowledge communicated in
his lectures, breaks no sweet enchantment, nor chills one
feeling of youthful joy. His criticisms, while they extend our
insight into the causes of poetical excellence, teach us, at the
same time, more keenly to enjoy, and more fondly to revere it."



[ xvi ]

"SCOTSMAN." "His knowledge of the drama, the fine |
arts, works of fancy and fiction, and other departments of
polite literature, taken severally, may not equal that of some
other persons ; but, taken altogether, is certainly unrivalled.
His writings are full of spirit and vivacity, and there is, at the
same time, an intensity in his conception which embodies ideas
that are so volatile and fugitive as to escape the grasp of a
slower but profounder intellect. He professes to throw aside
the formality and prudery of authorship, and to give his best
thoughts to the world with the freedom and frankness of old
Montaigne, without submitting to assume the mask of current
opinions or conventional morality. . . .

" He has sensibility, imagination, great acuteness of intel-
lect, and singular powers of expression. His beauties are
procured by a great expenditure of thinking ; and some of his ;
single strokes or flashes reveal more to the reader's understand-
ing than whole pages of an ordinary writer."

GEORGE GILFILLAN. "Hazlitt, as a man, had errors of no
little magnitude ; but he was as sincere and honest a being as
ever breathed. . . . His works abound in gems, as spark-
ling as they are precious, and ever and anon a ' mountain of
light ' lifts up its shining head. Not only are they full of pro-
found critical dicta, but of the sharpest observations upon life
and manners, upon history, and the metaphysics of the human
mind. Descriptions of nature, too, are there, cool, clear, and
refreshing as summer leaves. And then how fine are his pane-
gyrics on the old masters and the old poets ! And ever and
anon he floats away into long glorious passages, such as that
on Wordsworth and that on Coleridge, in the 'Spirit of the
Age' such as his description of the effects of the Reforma-
tion such as his panegyric on poetry his character of Sir
Thomas Browne and his picture of the Reign of Terror !
Few things in the language are greater than these. They
resemble

1 The long-resounding march and energy divine'

of the ancient lords of English prose the Drydens, the
Brownes, the Jeremy Taylors, and the Miltons. . . .

" A subtle thinker, an eloquent writer, a lover of beauty
and poetry, and man, and truth, one of the best of critics,
and not the worst of men, expired in William Hazlitt"

"LONDON MAGAZINE" (edited by John Scott). " His
manner of commenting on the great writers is precisely that



[ xvii ]

which Gibbon described as the best of all others most worthy
of the memory of departed genius, and giving the most un-
doubted testimony to the sincerity with which it is adorned.
He catches the mantles of those whose celestial flights he
regards with devout but undazzled eye. He lives in their
time, becomes animated with their feelings, and conveys to
us their spirit, in its unrivalled freshness and unquenched fire.
Nothing that is common-place or unmeaning none of the
expletives of criticism enter into his discourses; he never
'bandies idle words;' the source of true beauty, the soul of
poetical life, the hidden charm, the essential principle of
power and efficacy, the original feature, the distinguishing pro-
perty to these his sagacity and taste are drawn, as it were by
instinct, and with these only he meddles in his expositions."

HENRY T. TUCKERMAN (an accomplished American
critic). "Such was the native appetite for truth, such the
intense love of beauty, such the fine combination of the
sensuous, the imaginative, and the purely intellectual, in the
character of this remarkable man, that we know of no
critic who so thoroughly imparted to others the sense of his
own enjoyment of genius, and made known the process of it,
with such marvellous success. . . . We recognise the mys-
tery of that vital genius that can make a mind partake of its
own emotions ; we awake to a great conception of the glory of
mental triumphs, and the blessedness of those higher sources
of gratification which are overlaid by material life. We are
conscious of the unity between ' to know and to love' that
the one illustrates the other, and that both are indispensable to
the noblest criticism that which inhales the very atmosphere,
seizes on the eliminating principles, and discerns the most dis-



Online LibraryAlexander IrelandList of the writings of William Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt : chronologically arranged with notes, descriptive, critical, and explanatory; and a selection of opinions regarding their genius and characteristics, by distinguished contemporaries and friends as well as by subsequent critics; preceded by a re → online text (page 1 of 43)