1837 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Huddlestone Wynne

William West, in Fifty Years' Recollections (1837) 71-72.



The Garretteer is in one sense of a "higher" order of writer, and seldom condescends to descend from his elevated "garret," or, if you like it better, "attic story." His business is to abridge, compile, write notes, and make a liberal use of the scissors, paste, and brush, for the publishers of weekly or monthly numbers of Bibles, Voyages, and Travels, Dictionaries of Arts and Sciences, Histories of Wars; and of the World, &c. for which all the names of the greatest divines, historians, and travellers, are sometimes adopted, with the alteration of a letter or two, or a different christian name; many laughable instances of which may be produced hereafter, suffice it for the present to state, the personage that I am about to introduce was, for many years, reduced to the third or last class, but I shall place him under his real name of John Huddlestone Wynne. I have his form at this moment in my mind's eye: a small thin worn-out emaciated figure, worn down more from disappointment than dissipation, and with a disposition naturally honourable but irritable; rendered still more petulant from the heavy imposing daily labours of the mind to procure a daily support for the body; he was lame from accident, and always walked with a cross handled crutch cane, which he was almost as ready to raise on being thwarted on the slightest occasion, as the celebrated Worthington, of street writing notoriety. I recollect him being sent by Mr. Evans (his countryman) with a message in which the rendering him a service was the object, but upon my delivering my errand, he displayed the greatest contempt and irony, and retreated in an ungovernable passion, but which will be fully accounted for in the following biographical sketches of this eccentric character. They are written by different hands, but agree in the main points. Mr. Nichols, in noticing his Fables of Flora for the female sex, written for the amusement of the Princess Royal, observes, that "Whilst I was compiling a short biographical article for this ingenious but unfortunate writer, a friend pointed out to me the following memoir, which was written by his son in 1806; and being well worth preserving, I shall only add to it the titles of his works."