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ÆT. 62.]


about Castruccio, the tyrant of Lucca, burying alive twenty good men, with their heads downwards! A sad affair, surely-but still a god-send to the writer of history; and what difference does it make to the poor victims now, whether they were buried with their heads up or down?


"I can do with six hours' sleep, and walk twelve miles a-day. But pride comes before a fall; and you know that when anything ails me I am not loth to complain. T. C."


Sept. 27th.-Wishing to insure the sale of a small-sized edition of my Poems-independently of the illustrated one-I have speculated to the extent of several hundred pounds, in getting vignettes engraved on wood. The artists are engaged on them, and the only resource for paying them is a sum which I am to get for a 'Life of Petrarch,' which I am writing; but I shall not be able to finish it and receive payment before February. . . .


"I am in very tolerable health at present--which is very fortunate, as I have not time to recreate in the country. We are all very serious here, as I suppose you are in the north, about the weather and harvest. When I say we, I should except myself, for I should think it good for us to have the quartern loaf at two shillings, that the people should get fairly into a rage, and demand the abolition of the Corn Laws with clenched fists."

"Oct. 10th.-I have little to say about myself, unless it be a new thing for me to remain so long in fair health and contented spirits, though the latter are at times rather humdrum-ishly calm. Still Petrarch, Petrarch-Scribble, scribble, scribble,' as the Duke of Newcastle said to Gibbon. God knows, all my labor may turn out the mountain in labor with a mouse; but the boldest grenadiers in literature get nervous, as they approach the press; and as I get near the time of publication, I am more anxious to make my history of Petrarch clearer and more interesting.


"Oct. 13th.-My friend Thomson still continues in town. I dined with him yesterday—no eels (emblems of the serpent that tempted Eve,) no sparkling pink liquor to make the blushing morn reproach the past evening-but by agreement a glass for me of sherry, and for us both a cup of coffee. His being in town has made me dine at home, instead of the club; whither I used to repair at dinner-time, feeling that solitary eating fattens no animal but the pig. But now that I can get his society in the evening, after eating a mutton chop in my chambers, I

find that a poet, as well as a pig, can dine alone. Thomson told me the other day that the artists who designed the patterns for his printed calicoes, cost him exactly 2,000l. a-year. He keeps four of them at a salary of 500l. a-year each. Their ingenuity for new patterns is constantly kept on the stretch, from the craving of the public for novelty; yet those artists are eminent only in their own humble way. A Callcott, or a Turner, would be indifferent designers for printed calicoes."

"Oct. 17th.-The circumstance that drew so many things from my old clothes wardrobe, is that an old woman, once a lady, called on me some time ago, and reminded me that I had been told of her good character and distress, by a most respectable family. She must have been somewhat in genteel life, for her daughter married the grandson of *** the dramatist. With a white head and withered hand, she is now nearly eighty years of age, begging charity for her subsistence. Her son, she said, was out of employment and in want of clothes; so you will not wonder that I gave her some old garments. But I hope what I send you will be a sovereign remedy for this breach of my promise to you, which was to send you all the old clothes I had."

"Oct. 18.-I told you of my having grown an old miser; but don't you follow my example. Indeed, I don't much fear that you will; only recollect, however, that you promised me some books of sermons. My poor worthy seal-engraver—I have promised to give him some volumes of that sort, and I am searching for Tillotson for him. It is strangely difficult to find a copy. He is one of the most interesting, simple creatures of nature aud genius* that you can imagine. As a seal-engraver, I have an almost certain anticipation that he will one day rise to the summit of his art. I am in great hopes of being of use to him by recommendation; for he is a being whom you can recommend, not like many other deplorables, who are forced upon my sympathy, without the power to help them, on account of their intellectual and moral deficiencies. This young genius -and you would call him so if you saw some of his seals-is industrious, modest, and worth looking after. I told him with regard to religious books, that I should charge myself with get-ting a select collection of them for him. But I exacted from him a solemn promise, that he would watch over his own mind,

*This ingenious artist cut a beautiful die of the Poet's head.

ET. 62.]


and not at any time-as far as his own self-control could avail -allow gloomy views of religion to obtain in his mind. Depend upon it, I said, when gloomy religion lays hold of you, your mind is not far from derangement. I said this because he is of a pale complexion, a sensitive mind, a delicate constitution, and a sedentary vocation. Engravers, they say, are remarkably subject to religious melancholy."



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"Oct. 19th.-I continue very well, and tranquilly contented. How often religious tears of gratitude towards the supreme Spirit fill my eyes, when I think that He has renewed my youth, even like the eagle's-that some of the friends dear to me as the ruddy drops that warm my heart, and you of course at the head of them, are still spared to me!


"Please bring to me, when you come, the letter I wrote to you some fifteen months ago, about the Domestic Manners of the West Indians.'* What a gull I was to attach belief to that work! it is ingenious, but A young writer, whose work I will give you, exposes it to manifestation. These West Indian slaveholders are the cunningest on the face of the earth. . . ."



"Would you believe it? though I gave Miss Sheridan my poem on Buonaparte and the British Sailor,' gratis, the proprietor will not give me a copy of it!"


"Nov. 15th.-I retain my health very tolerably. Petrarch goes on soberly, but steadily; though pestiferous little doubts are for ever buzzing about-like blue flies-as to names, dates, and such trumpery facts. Moxon has thrown off 10,000 copies of an edition of all my poems, in double column, at two shillings a copy. I hope to make well by it. I am getting more and more avaricious-at the same time, more interested than ever in public charities-above all, in the Mendicity Society. At present the payment of the wood-cuts keeps me low, but next year I expect to be rich! Whatever I can now spare, I mean to go to organized societies for the benefit of my own countrymen. After supporting the Polish Association for nine years, I mean now to take my leave of it, because it interferes with my subscriptions to other Institutions. . . . Poor fellows! I heartily pity the Poles still; and there is no doubt much suffering among them-but where can you look round, without seeing sufferings?—and our own country has the most sacred claim

* See Letter from Richmond, page 356 of this volume,

Oh upon us. - were you and I but rich enough, what masses of misery we should alleviate! . . . For my own part, the last years of my checkered life are cheered by the prospect of having a residue to relieve distress, out of an income that has lately increased, and is threatened with no diminution. What can I do with the surplus ?-I mean to give no costly dinners -I need no new books; a very little liquor and a pound of plain food a day, form all my luxuries-and I am free of all the theatres. T. C."



Much of his time was still given to Petrarch and Shakspeare. But with frequent interruptions from ill health-literary and philanthropic schemes-visits in the country-company in town -his progress was much retarded. Pressing admonitions from his two publishers were often insufficient to stimulate his industry; for, with the study of Italian, as already mentioned, he had associated that of Spanish: and though often groaning under the weight of literary drudgery, and unable to proceed with comfort, he was voluntarily adding to the burden by fresh undertakings. But his defence was, that the latter were merely adopted as relaxations-carrying his thoughts into fresh channels, and enabling him to return to the graver task with more vigor. His private letters, as usual, present a clear reflection of his life at this period.*

To one of his Sydenham friends he writes:

"March. I continue well for the present-but I doubt if I can continue the life I lead much longer. I am only six hours out of the twenty-four in bed-I study twelve, and walk six. Oranges, exercise, and early rising, serve for the present to keep me flourishing-but God knows how long this may last. That Spanish language is a bore, though I could read it thirty years ago, so as always to make it out whenever a Spanish book contained anything relative to the subject I had to write about-but to converse in it is the devil's own task. It interferes with my knowledge of Italian. Lord Holland, whom I saw this morning, re-echoed my complaint, and said that the likeness of the two languages was more a hindrance than a


The poetical lucubrations of the year consist of only a few lyrics:"Moonlight," "Original Something," " Arnold von Winkelried," "My ChildSweetheart," and the "Parrot," with a few translations from Petrarch-all of which are well known to the public.

ET. 62.]


help. This comes of language-learning when we are getting old! When I attempted Arabic at Algiers, Johan Pharaoh-a man very unlike his namesake of the Plagues-although it was his interest to retain me as a scholar-first hinted, and then plainly said, that there was 'a time' in the cleverest man's life, when his memory became less impressible to the recollection of languages in the gentlest manner conveying that I had become an old dunce!

"Yet in Spanish I am not discouraged-


'To perseverance trust alone,

The water-drop will wear a stone.'—

Do you know where these lines are to be found? No-you don't for I have coined them on the spot! And who knows what may result from my persevering study? In my father's house, in Glasgow, there was a parrot. He talked all day long, till one king's birthday, when the fêtes of the blackguard boys, with crackers and gunpowder, dumb-foundered him! For days he would not speak, but seemed absorbed in thought and study. At last, after turning his side face to you in silence for a week, he came out with a glorious imitation of a squib--phizz, phizz, phizz! One day, too, I may come out with my Spanish squib.

"I have had an agreeable incident lately in being called upon by M. Buznach,* whom I mentioned to you in one of my letters from Oran. He had the generosity to ride with me a whole day's journey from Oran to Fez, to introduce me to the patriarch of an Arab encampment-after which introduction, I was safe among the Arabs. How to return his kindness, I knew not-for he was a gentleman, and I could not offer him money; and Oran, poor place! had no shop in which I could purchase any present to make him. His coming to London was therefore a joy to me-a relief from unrequited obligation. It so happens that I can be of use to him in London. T. C."






The following extracts are from letters to his nephew, Robert Campbell, a youth of great promise, whom he had placed in a commercial school at Rheims,† with the view of preparing him for a situation in one of the great London houses:

* Buznach met the Poet at my house at dinner in Park-square. See notes on this incident, also, letter from Oran.

"I have sent my nephew to the continent for four years, to learn French and German, as I wish to place him, if I be alive at that time, in the counting-house of a merchant trading with the continent."-Letter to Mr. Gray

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