1834 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Gifford

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in Autobiography (1834) 1:148-49.



He was a singularly ugly little man, of a wasping temper, and, in my opinion, much overrated both as a poet and a critic. His Autobiography is amusing, and there are some good lines in his Baviad and Maeviad. But he had a self-conceit which led him to despise others in a very unjustifiable manner; and he had an idea of retaining his dominion by menaces and superciliousness. He affected almost a puritan strictness of morals in his writings; but this did not become the companion of the late Lord Grovesvenor. I found him, however, courteous, communicative, and frank, when I paid him a visit.... Gifford had a singular rise from the obscurity of his early life, and it seemed as if his unexpected prosperity had overset him. He was by nature shrewd and worldly-minded; and his editorship of the Quarterly Review gave him great influence among the literary classes.