1858 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Roscoe

Cyrus Redding, in Fifty Years' Recollections (1858) 2:191.



We had, I remember, a breakfast party in Wigmore Street. The venerable patriarch and historian, Mr. Roscoe, then nearly eighty years of age, was present. Rogers and Campbell, I forgot who besides, were of the party. We waited long for the Poet of Memory, who always lay long in bed. During the interval, I could not help admiring once more, and for the last time, the fine old Roman character, or what I fancy to be so, of Roscoe. His countenance, stature, bearing, all well-sustained the illusion. It is seldom celebrated personages carry with them so close an alliance between noble personal appearance and mental excellence. His reputation is fully sustained, whose only lasting reputation is to be preserved in the better and wiser intellects of the age. He was one of man's true nobility, a race that the breath of kings can neither make nor unmake. No two individuals could exhibit contrasts more strikingly opposed than Roscoe and Foscolo. But the minds of both were of the richest ore.