1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Kames

Alexander Fraser Tytler, in Memoirs of the Writings of Henry Home of Kames (1807; 1814) 2:329, 331.



Lord Kames was in his person extremely tall, and of a thin and slender make. In his latter years, he had a considerable stoop in his gait; but when in the vigour of life, and particularly when in his dress of a barrister, his appearance is said to have been uncommonly becoming. His countenance, though not handsome, was animated by that benignity of disposition which was a prominent feature of his mind. In ordinary discourse, his accent and pronunciation were like those of the better educated of his countrymen of the last age. The tone was not displeasing from its vulgarity; and though the idiom, and frequently the phrases, were peculiar to the Scottish dialect, his language was universally intelligible....

A strong feature of Lord Kames's disposition, was an artless simplicity and ingenuity, which led him at all times to express without reserve both his feelings and his opinions. This propensity gave frequently an appearance of bluntness of manner, which was apt to impress a stranger unfavourably, as erring against those lesser proprieties of behaviour, so necessary in the commerce of the world. But this impression was momentary; the same frankness of nature displayed at once both the defect and its cause: it laid open the integrity of his character, and that perfect candour, which judging always most favourably of others, was unconscious of harbouring a thought which required concealment or disguise.