1854 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Maginn

Katherine Byerley Thomson, in Recollections of Literary Characters (1854) 1: 6-7.



Two years had passed since I had seen Maginn. Time, which ambles withal to many, had galloped with him. His grey hair was now very thin, and scattered over an anxious brow; the sweet mildness of his eye was gone, his speech was more faltering than ever; many moments elapsed before he could begin a word, for natural defect was heightened by nervous debility, and the approach of his last fatal disease. Still, broken up, impaired as he was, there were genuine bursts of humour, a scholar-like nicety of expression; above all, a humbled, and perhaps chastened spirit was apparent. We had a day of talk of the sterling and standard writers of England; themes fitted from the Augustan age flowed freely. Swift was, perhaps, the model of Maginn, certainly he was his great admiration; and, as he aptly quoted him, true Irish humour played upon the features of the modern satirist.