The Autobiography of Leigh Hunt: With Reminiscences of Friends and Contemporaries - Vol. 1

By Leigh Hunt | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII.
LITERARY WARFARE.

The Reflector and the writers in it.--Feast of the Poets.--Its attack on Gifford for his attack on Mrs. Robinson.--Character of Gifford and his writings.--Specimens of the Baviad and Mæviad.--His appearance at the Roxburgh sale of books.--Attack on Walter Scott, occasioned by a passage in his edition of Dryden.--Tory calumny. --Quarrels and recriminations of authors.--The writer's present opinion of Sir Walter.--General offense caused by the Feast of the Poets.--Its inconsiderate treatment of Hayley.--Dinner of the Prince Regent.--Holland House and Lord Holland.--Neutralization of Whig advocacy.--Recollections of Blanco White.

THE Examiner had been established about three years, when my brother projected a quarterly magazine of literature and politics, entitled the Reflector, which I edited. Lamb, Dyer, Barnes, Mitchell, the present Greek Professor Scholefield (all Christ-Hospital men), together with Dr. Aikin and his family wrote in it; and it was rising in sale every quarter, when it stopped at the close of the fourth number for want of funds. Its termination was not owing to want of liberality in the payments. But the radical reformers in those days were not sufficiently rich or numerous to support such a publication.

Some of the liveliest effusions of Lamb first appeared in this magazine; and in order that I might retain no influential class for my good wishers, after having angered the stage, dissatisfied the Church, offended the State, not very well pleased the Whigs, and exasperated the Tories, I must needs commence the maturer part of my verse-making with contributing to its pages the Feast of the Poets.

The Feast of the Poets was (perhaps, I may say, is) a jeu-d'esprit suggested by the Session of the Poets of Sir John Suckling. Apollo gives the poets a dinner; and many

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