1887 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Combe

P. W. Clayden, in The Early Life of Samuel Rogers (1887) 407n.



William Combe, the author of the Diaboliad and afterwards of The Tour of Dr. Syntax in search of the Picturesque was frequently in prison for debt. In his earlier days he moved in good society, and was recognised as a literary man of brilliant powers and promise. He was one day visiting Uvedale Price at Foxley, when Mr. St. John (author of a play called Mary Queen of Scots in which Mrs. Siddons used to act), who was also staying in the house, missed some money. Uvedale Price suspected Combe of taking it and give him a hint to cut short his visit. Combe took the hint, and asked whether they were thenceforth to be friends or acquaintances. "Acquaintances," said Price, and Combe went away. Long afterwards he met Price and Rogers together in Leicester Square. They both spoke to Combe, but from that time he avoided Rogers. He wrote the "Letters on the late Lord Lyttelton," which were published after Lord Lyttelton's death; and the "Letters supposed to have passed between Sterne and Eliza" were by him. He told Rogers that it was with him, and not with Sterne, that Eliza was in love, and that he once had an intrigue with her at Brighton. He died in 1823.