1852 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alaric Alexander Watts

William Jerdan, in Autobiography of William Jerdan (1852-53) 4:9-10.



In the retrospects of life, there are too often changes to regret more distressing to the mind than the most affecting losses. The latter are inevitable, the conditions of existence. The former are caused by ourselves. Between Alaric Watts and I no such event ever occurred to be lamented now. He sought me first, as his senior with some experience, to advise him in his literary career. His footsteps thenceforward ran parallel to mine, and we were ever ready to join hands for mutual help in the race. When offered engagements which he thought might be prejudicial to my interests, he, like Allan Cunningham, refused them, till exhorted by me to accept the advantageous provision. I could not suffer a generous feeling to impede their prospects; and I could only have wished that in both cases they had conducted to more crowning results. I flatter myself that what he saw of my example had some influence on Mr. Watt's course; for only three years ago, he writes to me: — "No man living, I except yourself, has ever done more for authors and artist of talent than I have done." And justly may he make this boast of himself and for his efforts to serve the interest of literature and art; and I trust that he may farther follow my example, and give the public from the ample materials he must possess, an autobiographical work more worthy of its attention than it is in my power to produce.