1795 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Horace Walpole

Edmond Malone, 1795 ca.; in James Prior, Life of Malone (1860) 87.



When Mr. Horace Walpole came from abroad about the year 1746, he was much of a Fribble in dress and manner. Mr. Colman, at that time a schoolboy, had some occasion to pay him a visit. He told me he has a strong recollection of the singularity of his manner; and that it was then said that Garrick had him in thought when he wrote the part of Fribble, in Miss in her Teens. But I doubt this much; for there is a character in a play called Tunbridge Wells, in which that of Fribble seems to be evidently formed. However, Garrick might have had Mr. Walpole in his thoughts.

This gentleman (Mr. Walpole) is still somewhat singular in manner and appearance; but it seems only a singularity arising from a very delicate and weak constitution, and from living quite retired among his books, and much with ladies. He is always lively and ingenious; never very solid or energetic. He appears to be very fond of French manners, authors, &c. &c., and I believe keeps us to this day a correspondence with many of the people of fashion in Paris. His love of French manners, and his reading so much of their language, have I think infected his style a little, which is not always so entirely English as it ought to be. He is, I think, a very humane and amiable man.

He regrets very much that he wrote the tragedy of the Mysterious Mother; he printed only a hundred copies of it at Strawberry Hill, and cannot be prevailed upon to suffer it to be published. But it is in vain now to think of suppressing it, for these one hundred copies being dispersed immediately after his death it will certainly be reprinted. No work of his does him more credit.

He has printed, I believe, at his own press a complete edition of all his writings in quarto. On examining the late Mr. Cole's papers, a sheet of this new edition was found among them, which he took (it is imagined) without the knowledge of Mr. Walpole from Strawberry Hill.