1858 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gibson Lockhart

Cyrus Redding, in Fifty Years' Recollections (1858) 3:52-53.



Lockhart, too, has passed off the stage of existence. He had many sins heaped upon his shoulders which I believe he did not deserve. Differing in politics, they were never, of course, subjects of our conversation, but in everything that took place, during an intercourse of some years, I had no complaint to make of his want of courtesy or kindness. He was fond of mischief when a young man, and no one liked better a little mystification, but he was in full manhood when I knew him. He was of a retiring, reserved habit, and by many not understood, called ill-natured, sarcastic, and I know not what besides. I can only speak of men as I have found them, and with me he was always pleasant and gentlemanly. On setting out in life with Wilson by his side, whose irregularities were always marked by some countervailing amends, Lockhart had not the same makeweights. The devilries of "the professor," as I called him, "of mental philosophy," were many of them shared by Lockhart. I knew the last only in London, where he did not mingle largely in society, even among his own political class. Then his appearance and carriage, though intellectual and gentlemanly, had nothing winning about them. Pale of complexions saturnine, with jet black hair, and deep dark eyes, thin lips, and an outline of face somewhat attenuated, a cold expression, and retiring manner in company, except upon rare occasions, these gave a peculiarity to his character, which bespoke nothing of the talents he undoubtedly possessed. He had no warmth of soul in his address. An habitual cast, as of pensiveness, appeared continually over him, taken by some for mental abstraction, than which nothing could be more erroneous. As editor of the "Quarterly," he never had fair play. There were several shackles over Lockhart in his editorship, regarding some of which he did not hesitate to express his feeling to his friends.