1813 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Leigh Hunt

Lord Byron, Journal, 1 December 1813; Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 2:357-58.



Hunt is an extraordinary character and not exactly of the present age. He reminds me much of the Pym and Hampden times — much talent, great independence of spirit, an austere yet not repulsive aspect. If he goes on qualis ab incepto, I know few men who will deserve more praise or obtain it. I must go and see him again; — the rapid succession of adventure, since last summer, added to some serious uneasiness and business, have interrupted our acquaintance; but he is a man worth knowing; and though, for his own sake, I wish him out of prison, I like to study character in such situations. He has been unshaken, and will continue so. I don't think him deeply versed in life; — he is the bigot of virtue (not religion), and enamoured of the beauty of that "empty name," as the last breath of Brutus pronounced, and every day proves it. He is, perhaps, a little opinionated, as all men who are the center of circles, wide or narrow — the Sir Oracles, in whose name two or three are gathered together — must be, and as even Johnson was; but, withal, a valuable man, and less vain than success and even the consciousness of preferring "the right to the expedient" might excuse.