1813 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alexander Fraser Tytler

William Tennant to Archibald Constable, 16 February 1813; Archibald Constable and his Literary Correspondents (1873) 2:208.



I cannot say how much I was affected by the news of the death of that honourable man who deigned to correspond with me, and to take an interest in my welfare. The feeling excited within me was not that of disappointment to any selfish hopes I had formed from his patronage — no, that consideration was too cold and illiberal to be once conceived by me. It was an emotion of that genuine sorrow which is excited by the loss of a friend. For though I have never seen his Lordship, though he was separated from me by a dissimilarity of age and condition, yet I sometimes (perhaps too proudly) thought that we possessed a congeniality of mind and humour that brooks no opposition from a difference of age or station in society, but, surmounting such accidental obstacles, is content only with the nearer approaches and intimacies of friendship. Perhaps I am to be blamed for such rashness of expectation, but shall I be excused when I say it was involuntary, that it sprang from the warmth of my mind, and, from its very presumption, gave greater keenness to the sorrow for his loss?