1832 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Horace Walpole

John Taylor Esq., in Records of my Life (1832) 2:81-82.



It seems strange that Horace Walpole, a man of learning and elegant taste, should have been so much attached to Mrs. Clive, whose manners were rough and vulgar; particularly as after her death he transferred his partiality to one of the accomplished Miss Berrys, and offered to marry her, that he might leave her a fortune and a title. Mrs. Clive's person exempted her from temptation, and her character was unimpeached; but though she was well acquainted with the world, it is hardly to be supposed that she could be adequately supplied with conversation for such a scholar, and man of taste, as Horace Walpole. On her death, he wrote a poetical epitaph upon her, in which he said that Comedy died with Clive. In consequence of this panegyric, Dr. Wolcot wrote the following lines, which are not in his printed works.

Horace, of Strawberry Hill I mean, not Rome,
Lo! all thy geese are swans, I do presume;
Truth and thy verses seem not to agree:
Know, Comedy is hearty, all alive;
The Comic Muse no more expired with Clive
Than dame Humility will die with thee.

My late worthy old friend, Mr. George Nicol of Pall Mall, told me, that while he was on a visit to Horace Walpole, soon after Mr. Gifford's Baviad was published, Walpole, then Lord Orford, said, it was "quite refreshing to find such a work amidst all the sickening trash which was pouring upon the world under the name of poetry."