1877 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Campbell

Bryan Waller Procter, in Procter: An Autobiographical Fragment (1877) 151-52.



I met at Mr. Rogers' house Crabbe the poet, Mr. Wm. Spencer, Chantrey, Thomas Campbell the poet, and Sir Walter Scott, and in after, years Mr. Macaulay. I never heard Rogers volunteer an opinion about Campbell, except after, his death, when he had been to see the poet's statue. "It is the first time, " said he, "that I have seen him stand straight for many years."

I have not much to recount in reference to Campbell, who, notwithstanding his precision and minuteness, has written some bold and magnificent songs, and whose Hohenlinden is charming. The proofs of his larger poems were, I believe, altered and blotted so mercilessly as to distract the printer. Nevertheless, there was a fund of impetuosity within him that, on sufficient provocation, burst through the rigidity of his general manner and accounted for his sea and battle songs, which achieved such success. Campbell had small features, and wore a wig, which on one occasion he tore off, and said to Leigh Hunt, who, had jested with him, "By gad, you villain, I'll throw my laurels at you." Hunt has, I think, stated this anecdote in his autobiography, or elsewhere.