1877 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Bryan Waller Procter, 1800 ca.; Autobiographical Fragment (1877) 134-35.



I had previously taken great interest in the fame of Lord Byron (with whom I had been at school, at Harrow), and I resented these prophecies [that Byron would be eclipsed by George Croly], which, however, need not have annoyed me, for Lord Byron was incontestably a very powerful writer, and in 1818 was the most popular poet of his day. I had not seen him since about 1800, when he was scholar in Dr. Drury's house, with an iron crimp on one of his feet, with loose corduroy trousers plentifully relieved by ink, and with finger-nails bitten to the quick. He was then a rough, curly-headed boy, and apparently nothing more. In 1817 he had passed through various gradations of refinement; was a dandy, a handsome polished travelled man of the world, and was surmounted by a reputation outshining that of every contemporary poet.