1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Hazlitt

George Ticknor; Journal Entry, 1819; Life, Letters, and Journals of George Ticknor (1876) 1:293-94.



I found Hazlitt living in Milton's house, the very one where he dictated his "Paradise Lost," and occupying the room where, tradition says, he kept the organ on which he loved to play. I should rather say Hazlitt sat in it, for, excepting his table, three chairs, and an old picture, this enormous room was empty and unoccupied. It was whitewashed, and all over the walls he had written in pencil short scraps of brilliant thoughts and phrases, half-lines of poetry, references, etc., in the nature of a commonplace-book. His conversation was much of the same kind, generally in short sentences, quick and pointed, dealing much in allusions, and relying a good deal on them for success; as, when he said, with apparent satisfaction, that Curran was the Homer of blackguards, and afterwards, when the political state of the world came up, said of the Emperor Alexander, that "he is the Sir Charles Grandison of Europe." On the whole, he was more amusing than interesting, and his nervous manner shows that this must be his character. He is now nearly forty, and, when quite young, lived several years in America, chiefly in Virginia, but a little while at our Dorchester....