1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Burke

Fanny Burney to Samuel Crisp, 1782; Moulton, Library of Literary Criticism (1901-05) 4:289.



No expectation that I had formed of Mr. Burke, either from his works, his speeches, his character, or his fame, had anticipated to me such a man as I now met. He appeared, perhaps, at this moment, to the highest possible advantage in health, vivacity, and spirits. Removed from the impetuous aggravations of party contentions, that, at times, by inflaming his passions, seem, momentarily at least, to disorder his character, he was lulled into gentleness by the grateful feelings of prosperity; exhilarated, but not intoxicated, by sudden success; and just risen, after toiling years of failures, disappointments, fire and fury, to place, affluence, and honours; which were brightly smiling on the zenith of his powers. He looked, indeed, as if he had no wish but to diffuse philanthropy, pleasure, and genteel gaiety all around. His figure, when he is not negligent in his carriage, is noble; his air commanding; his address graceful; his voice clear, penetrating, sonorous, and powerful; his language copious, eloquent, and changefull impressive; his manners are attractive; his conversation is past all praise. You will call me made, I know; — but if I wait till I see another Mr. Burke for such another fit of extasy — I may be long enough in my very sober good senses!