1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Mackenzie

Walter Scott, 6 December 1825; Lockhart, Life of Scott (1837-38; 1902) 4:397-98.



A rare thing this literature, or love of fame or notoriety which accompanies it. Here is Mr. Henry Mackenzie on the very brink of human dissolution, as actively anxious about it as if the curtain must not soon be closed on that and everything else. He calls me his literary confessor; and I am sure I am glad to return the kindnesses which he showed me long since in George Square. No man is less known from his writings. You would suppose a retired, modest, somewhat affected man, with a white handkerchief, and a sigh ready for every sentiment. No such thing: H. M. is alert as a contracting tailor's needle in every sort of business — a politician and a sportsman — shoots and fishes in a sort even to this day — and is the life of company with anecdotes and fun. Sometimes his daughter tells me he is in low spirits at home, but really I never see anything of it in society.