1845 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Gilbert West

Robert Phillimore, in Memoirs of Lyttelton (1845) 1:297-98.



Lyttelton's early letters to his father shew that the natural bias of his mind was religious, his conduct appears to have been always decorous and moral, and the last stanzas of his Monody were certainly written by no unbeliever. It is, however, but too probable that his intimacy with Bolingbroke, Chesterfield, and others, had for a while shaken his faith, in an age when scepticism was certainly far more fashionable, if not far more common, than that in which we live. There is good reason to believe that the sweet influence of his pious and amiable wife completed, during her life, the good work begun by his friend. Undoubtedly grief for her death conspired with the influence of West, and with habits of deep thinking, to reinstate him in the belief of the doctrines of Christianity, which found no obstacle to their admission in hardness of heart or profligacy of life.