1832 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Maurice

John Taylor Esq., in Records of my Life (1832) 1:228-30.



REV. THOMAS MAURICE. This gentleman united the characters of the profound scholar and the animated poet. He was educated under Dr. Parr, and always entertained the highest respect for his master. Mr. Maurice was a historian as well as a poet, and his "Indian Antiquities" is a work of great research, admirable illustration, and valuable intelligence. He published a volume of poems, and many occasional productions of the same kind. His last work, in three parts, was styled "Memoirs of an Author," in which he details his own literary life and connexions. He was one of the officers of the British Museum, where I first met him at the apartments of Mr. Penneck. I have also met him at the table of James Brogden, Esq. M.P.; at the table of my late friend Dr. George Pearson, M.D.; and at that of the late Dr. Kitchener.

The conversation of Mr. Maurice was lively, acute, and fertile. He often quoted from classical authors, Roman and Greek, and very often from Shakspeare. His quotations were always apt, and sometimes applied with great humour. No man enjoyed or laughed more heartily at the jokes of others. I know nothing of his private history, except that he had lost an excellent wife, and his affliction on that loss had induced him to resort to the consolation of the bottle, to which in his latter days he became too much attached. He favoured me with his friendship, and I had an opportunity of showing my respect for his talents in occasional reviews of some of his literary productions.

The last time I had the pleasure of seeing him was when I dined with him at the late Dr. Kitchener's and saw him safe at night to the British Museum. He had indulged himself rather too much with the glass after dinner, and being very talkative he became an object of ridicule to some other guests at the table, who had no pretensions to compete with him in intellectual powers, attainments, or humour. I rose in his defence, but he was roused by the attack, stopped me, and vindicated himself with so much pleasant raillery, and retorted upon them with so much satirical playfulness, that he made them ashamed of themselves, and converted disrespect into esteem and admiration.

I shall close this account of a gentleman whom I sincerely respected for his learning, his talents, his companionable qualities, and his friendly disposition, with a copy of the last letter which I received from him on the publication of his memoirs, as 1 am proud of his friendship.

TO JOHN TAYLOR, ESQ.
MY DEAR SIR,
My late severe illness must be my excuse for not sending the accompanying before. I print only two hundred and fifty, and am compelled to restrict myself in presentations; but my good friend Taylor, so old and kind a patron of my works, both in prose and poetry, has a decided claim to every production of his faithful and obliged
THOMAS MAURICE.
British Museum,
14th April 1821.