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CHARACTER OF HAZLITT.
BY CHARLES LAMB.
“ LETTER TO SOUTHEY."
The friendship of Lamb and my father was once interrupted by some wilful fancy on the part of the latter. At this time, Southey happened to pay a compliment to Lamb at the expense of some of his companions, my father among them. The faithful and unswerving heart of the other forsaking not, although forsaken, refused a compliment at such a price, and sent it back to the giver. The tribute to my father, which he at the same time paid, may stand for ever as one of the proudest and truest evidences of the writer's heart and intellect. It brought back at once the repentant offender to the arms of his friend, and nothing again separated them till death came. It is as follows:
From the other gentleman I neither expect nor desire (as he is well
assured) any such concessions as L- Hmade to C— What hath soured him, and made him suspect his friends of infidelity towards him, when there was no such matter, I know not. I stood well with him for fifteen years (the proudest of my life), and have ever spoke my full mind of him to some to whom his panegyric must naturally be least tasteful. I never in thought swerved from him ; I never betrayed him; I never slakened in my admiration of him; I was the same to him (neither better nor worse), though he could not see it, as in the days when he thought fit to trust me. At this instant he may be preparing for me some compliment, above my deserts, as he has sprinkled many such among his admirable books, for which I rest his debtor; or, for any thing I know or can guess to the contrary, he may
be about to read a lecture on my weaknesses. He is welcome to them (as he was to my humble lizarth), if they can divert a spleen, or ventilate a fit of sullenness. I wish he would not quarrel with the world at the rate he does; but the reconciliation must be effected by himself, and I despair of living to see that day. But-protesting against much that he has written, and some things which he chooses to do; judging him by his conver
sations which I enjoyed so long, and relished so deeply, or by his books, in those places where no clouding passion intervenes-I should belie my own conscience, if I said less than that I think W. H. to be, in his natural and healthy state, one of the wisest and finest spirits breathing. So far from being ashamed of that intimacy which was betwixt us, it is my boast that I was able for so many years to have preserved it entire ; and I think I shall go to my grave without finding, or expecting to find, such another companion. But I forget my manners-you will pardon me, Sir.-I return to the correspondence.”
TO THE MEMORY OF HAZLITT.
BY A LADY.
He ranged all fields of Science—he whose head
Now pillows on a clod.—Ye gentle Arts,
Whom HAZLITT cherished in his heart of hearts, How rest the relics of the mighty dead?
Hath his cold urn the flowers of fancy wreathed, Or hath for him the living canvass glowed, Grateful for triumphs which his pen bestowed,
Or hath the soul-inspired marble breathed ? When your loved lore his ardent bosom fired,
He gave your works a new and glorious birth;
And the fair imagings of heaven and earth,
While the rare genius of his varied mind
Of intellect—to whom the realms of thought
Opened all knowledge which thy spirit sought; How should a simple lay, like mine, rehearse
The triumphs of thy proud philosophy ? Through time and space, where thou dost search, or soar, The depths and heights of science to explore,
With wonder, love, and awe I follow thee. Infused by thine, my winged thoughts aspire,
Fluttering, yet free, my longing spirit mounts,
And finds the springs of truth's eternal founts, Touched by a spark of thy ethereal fire:
Yet thou wert mortal—and the dull sod cries, (Oh ! dark and narrow house !) “ Here Hazlitt lies !”
Twice HAZLITT came to our domestic hearth:
He came--and went—a few brief days was seen,
And left mementos where he thus had been,
He left a voice in faithful memory,
O'er the eternal murmurs of the sea.
Comes o'er us like a dirge :—that voice of thine,
In gentlest bosoms hath a living shrine :
Fond mourners oft their pensive vigils keep