1814 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Mackenzie

Robert Pearse Gillies, 1814 ca.; Memoirs of a Literary Veteran (1851) 2:181.



No weather daunted him. During squalls, not uncommon at Edinburgh, such as I would not willingly have encountered, I have observed him both early and late (often attended by a favourite pointer) drifting along with the tempest, or tottering beneath its attacks, yet by inflexible resolution bidding defiance to both wind and rain. Considering his advanced age, his attenuated form, wrapped in a long, dark, surtout, which always seemed too wide, as if only a skeleton were under it, and his countenance, then worn away and sharpened, like that of Voltaire in his very last days, and yet capable at all times of the most animated expression, he appeared to me in the same light as Goethe afterwards did in the year 1821; that is to say, he was like a revenant from another epoch, at which time our world was not in being.