1851 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe

Robert Pearse Gillies, in Memoirs of a Literary Veteran (1851) 2:189-91.



It was then, and I suppose is, Mr. Sharpe's peculiar fancy that every object around him (in his own house I mean) should remind of past ages and of those only. His favourite room was fitted up with tapestry in the style of the sixteenth century, leaving, however, one compartment for miniature paintings, each of which had its appropriate legend. The chairs, the tables, and every article on the latter were in keeping. The last visiting cards, the last letters arrived by post, or last notes of invitation to dinner were not to be seen. Any missives, or other manuscripts, mixed with the antique pocket books and snuff-boxes had all been traced by fingers long since mouldering in the grave. His own handwriting was like an autograph from the days of George Buchanan. With these appliances, and his very sincere love of legendary lore, Mr. Sharpe's own views were very peculiar. At all times he delighted most in the ludicrous, the grotesque, and sarcastic, seemingly his leading drift was to prove how completely the world was made up of ridiculous humbug in former ages, also that radically speaking it was not one jot better now. But of course he could move with more alacrity and freedom on the former track than the latter, and his conversation afforded an infinite fund of entertainment, portrait succeeding to portrait, the quaintest revivals from the "soumites" of society, long past away into the realm of shadows. To one who wished to banish cares and escape from himself, Mr. Sharpe was consequently an inestimable companion, and as such, he has my gratitude for many cheerful hours.