1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Leigh Hunt

Anonymous, in "English and American Literature" The Port Folio [Philadelphia] S3 5 (January 1815) 58.



In the knack, however, of hitting off an airy, tasteful production no one has been more successful than a poet born of American parents, though his birth place happened to be England. This is Mr. Leigh Hunt, the author of the Feast of the Poets. His mother, as appears from the account he has given of himself, was the daughter of Mr. Stephen Shewall of Philadelphia, and his father, Mr. Isaac Hunt was educated at the college of that city, in which he was afterwards a practitioner of law. His is the same person mentioned in Graydon's Memoirs, page 112, as having been carted at the beginning of the revolution for his opposition to the American cause. Now to those, if any such there are, who may think it improbable, that if Mr. Leigh Hunt had been born and educated in Philadelphia and remained there he would have produced such a poem as the Feast of the Poets, it will appear plausible at least, that certain advantages over us, are possessed by the cultivators of literature in Great Britain, although the cause of them can neither be satisfactorily comprehended nor explained. And the practice which prevailed before the revolution of sending our young men, particularly those designed for the bar, to England to complete their education, seems to have been founded on this supposition.