1878 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Leigh Hunt

Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke, in Recollections of Writers (1878) 44-45.



If he were in argument — however warm it might be — he would wait fairly and patiently to hear "the other side." Unlike most eager conversers, he never interrupted. Even to the youngest among his colloquists he always gave full attention, and listened with an air of genuine respect to whatever they might have to adduce in support of their view of a question. He was particularly encouraging to young aspirants, whether fledgling authors or callow casuists; and treated them with nothing of condescension, or affable accommodation of his intellect to theirs, or amiable tolerance for their comparative incapacity, but, as it were, placed them at once on a handsome footing of equality and complete level with himself. When, as was frequently the case, he found himself left master of the field of talk by his delighted hearers, only too glad to have him recount in his own felicitous way one of his "good stories," or utter some of his "good things," he would go on in a strain of sparkle, brilliancy, and freshness like a sun-lit stream in a spring meadow. Melodious in tone, alluring in accent, eloquent in choice of words, Leigh Hunt's talk was as delicious to listen to as rarest music.