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JAMES HENRY LEigh HUNT was born on the nineteenth of October, 1784, at Southgate in Middlesex. His father, a clergyman of the established church, was an American refugee, and his mother a sister of BENJAMIN WEST, President of the Royal Academy. He was educated at Christ's Hospital, where LAMB and Coleridge were his school-fellows; and was subsequently for some time in the office of an attorney; but he abandoned the study of the law to accept a place under government, which he held until the establishment of the Examiner, by himself and his brother, in 1809. The Examiner was violent in its politics, and was for many years conducted with great ability and success. HUNT was several times prosecuted by the government, and was imprisoned two years in the Surrey jail for a libel on the Prince Regent. He covered the walls of his cell with garlands, however, and wrote as industriously as ever. It was while a prisoner that he composed The Feast of the Poets, The Descent of Liberty, and The Story of Rimini. It was in this period, also, that he became acquainted with Lord ByRoN. He has been censured, and I think justly, for his conduct towards the noble poet, respecting whose faults gratitude might have made him silent, for ByRoN had been a liberal friend when his friendship was serviceable to him.

In 1816 HUNT established The Reflector, a quarterly magazine; afterward, in conjunction with Shelley and By RoN, The Liberal, and, with HAzlitt, The Round Table. He also published in weekly numbers The Indicator and The Companion, two of the most delightful series of essays in the English language. In the preface to the last edition of these papers he tells us that they “were written during times of great trouble with him, and helped him to see much of that fair play between his own anxieties and his natural cheerfulness, of which an indestructible belief in the good and the beautiful has rendered him perhaps not undeserving.” In 1840 he published a selection of his contributions to various periodicals under the title of The Seer, or Common-Places Refreshed, “to show that the more we look at any thing in this beautiful

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and abundant world with a desire to be pleased with it, the more we shall be rewarded by the loving Spirit of the universe with discoveries which await only the desire.” His other principal prose writings are Critical Essays on the Performers of the London Theatres, and Recollections of Lord Byron and some of his Contemporaries. The best of HUNT's poems is The Story of Rimini. In the edition of his Poetical Works published by Moxon in 1844, it is much altered: the morality is improved, and the catastrophe is conformed to history. Besides this and the other poems to which I have alluded, he has written Hero and Leander, The Palfrey, Captain Sword and Captain Pen, Blue Stocking Revels or the Feast of Violets, The Legend of Florence, Miscellaneous Poems, and a volume of Translations. One of HUNT's most apparent characteristics is his cheerfulness. His temperament is obviously mercurial. His fondness for the gayer class of Italian writers indicates a sympathy with southern buoyancy not often encountered in English poetry. His versification

is easy and playful; too much so, indeed, for

imposing effect. He seems to have written generally under the inspiration of high animal spirits. His sentiment is lively and tender, rather than serious and impressive. The reviewers have censured him with rather too much severity for occasional affectations. With a few exceptions on this score his Story of Rimini is a charming poem. The Legend of Florence, written at a later period, is one of the most original and captivating of modern plays. Many of his Epistles glow with a genial humour and spirit of fellowship which betray fine social qualities. He lives obviously in his affections, and cultivates literature with refined taste rather than with lukewarm assiduity. HUNT's intimacy with SHELLEY and KrArs is well known to every one acquainted with the lives of those great poets. He is still, as in earlier days, a general favourite in society, and has more and warmer personal friends than almost any other literary man in England. 194

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FROM THE LEGEND OF FLORENCE.

AGOLANTI AND his LADY.

Ix all except a heart, and a black shade Of superstition, he is man enough Has a bold blood, large brain, and liberal hand As far as the purse goes; albeit he likes The going to be blown abroad with trumpets. Nay, I won't swear he does not love his wife As well as a man of no sort of affection, Nor any domestic tenderness, can do so. He highly approves her virtues, talents, beauty : Thinks her the sweetest woman in all Florence, Party, because she is, partly, because She is his own, and glorifies his choice; And therefore he does her the honour of making her The representative and epitome Of all he values, public reputation, Private obedience, delighted fondness, Grateful return for his unamiableness, Love without bounds, in short, for his self-love: And as she finds it tifficult, poor soul, To pay such reasonable demands at sight With the whole treasure of her heart and smiles, The gentleman takes pity on—himself! Looks on himself as the most unresponded to And unaccountably ill-used bad temper In Tuscany; rages at every word And look she gives another; and fills the house With miseries, which, because they ease himself And his vile spleen, he thinks her bound to suffer; And then finds malice in her very suffering !

... And yet, observe now :—

Such is poor human nature, at least such
Is poor human inhuman nature in this man,
That if she were to die, I verily think
He'd weep, and sit at the receipt of pity,
And call upon the gods, and think he loved her

A DOMESTIC SCENE.

.4 chamber hung with purple, and containing a cabinet picto re of the Madonna, but other trise little furnished. -**alanti is here alone, until the entrance of Ginerra, or hole he is speaking, upon rhich he closes the door orer the parture, hands her a chair, and adjusts another for himself, but continues to stand. Ago. Every way she opposes me, even with arms Of peace and love. I bade remove that picture From this deserted room. Can she have had it Brought back this instant, knowing how my anger, Just though it be, cannot behold unmoved The face of suffering heaven 1 O, artifice In very piety : "Twere piety to veil it From our discourse, and look another way. Gin. (Cheerfully.) The world seems glad after its hearty drink Of rain. I fear'd, when you came back this morning, The shower had stopp'd you, or that you were ill. Ago. You fear'd you hoped. What fear you that I fear, Or hope for that I hope for 1 A truce, madam, To these exordiums and pretended interests, Whose only shallow intent is to delay, Or to divert, the sole dire subject, me. Soh! you would see the spectacle! you, who start

At openings of doors and falls of pins.
Trumpets and drums quiet a lady's nerves;
And a good hacking blow at a tournament
Equals burnt feathers or hartshorn for a stimulus
To pretty household tremblers.
Gin. I express'd
No wish to see the tournament, nor indeed
Any thing, of my own accord; or contrary
To your good judgment.
Ago. O, of course not Wishes
Are never express'd for, or by, contraries;
Nor the good judgment of an anxious husband
Held forth as a pleasant thing to disser with.
Gin. It is as easy as sitting in my chair
To say, I will not go; and I will not.
Be pleased to think that settled.
Ago. The more easily
As 'tis expected 1 should go, is it not ?
And then you will sit happy at receipt
Of letters from Antonio Rondinelli.
Gin. Return'd unopen'd, sir.
Ago. How many
Gin. Three.
Ago. You arecorrectasto those three. How many
Open'd? Your look, madam, is wondrous logical;
Conclusive by mere pathos of astonishment;
And cramm'd with scorn from pure unscornfulness.
I have, ’tis true, strong doubts of your regard
For him, or any one; of your love of power
None, as you know I have reason; though you take
Ways of refined provokingness to wreak it.
Antonio knows these fools you saw but now,
And fools have foolish friendships, and bad leagues
For getting a little power, not natural to them,
Out of their laugh'd-at betters. Be it as it may,
All this, I will not have these prying idlers
Put my domestic troubles to the blush;
Nor you sit thus in ostentatious meekness
Playing the victim with a pretty breath,
And smiles that say “God help me!” Well, madam,
What do you say?
Gin. I say I will do whatever
You think best, and desire.
Ago. And make the worst of it
By whatsoever may mislead, and vex
There—now you make a pretty sign, as though
Your silence were compell’d.
Gin. What can I say,
Or what, alas! not say, and not be chided ?
You should not use me thus. I have not strength
for it
So great as you may think. My late sharp illness
Has left me weak.
Ago. I've known you weaker, madam,
But never feeble enough to want the strength
Of contest and perverseness. Oh, men too!
Men may be weak, even from the magnanimity
Of strength itself; and women can take poor
Advantages, that were in men but cowardice.
Gin. (Aside) Dear Heaven: what humblest
doubts of our self-knowledge
Should we not feel, when tyranny can talk thus?
Ago. Can you pretend, madam, with your sur-
passing
Candour and heavenly kindness, that you never

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