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should not have had the ' Story of Rimini / Yet in this seeming censure there is rare praise . He dared to go back to the fine antique models , and verily he has had his reward . He has produced things 01 uncommon beauty and tenderness . The praise be his of scorning to form himself upon recent or fashionable examples . If he is not a giant himself , he has breathed the air of the giant tfwld . He has not stooped to the spirit , in which the author of ' Childe Harold' condescended to write the ' Cofsalh *
He has not consulted the sale of his productions , the attainment of ephemeral reputation and hot-pressed morocco-gilt glory , at the expense of that which every true poet would seek for , though he knew he was to be a loser in immediate profit and praise . Leigh Hunt has not done this ; and this is much to say itt this age of versifiers and poetasters . He has not cried aloud iti worship of an echo /
It has been his misfortune , and his glory , that he has beeti as little given to worship the powers that be , in matters political , as in matters poetical . Hetice has arisen a system of literary persecution , the like of which has not often disgraced the educated world . The poet has suffered martyrdom for the heresies of the
politician . Yet these heresies , like some others which it Is sufficient to allude to , have been such , in many respects , as to da credit to the heretic ' s heart and understanding . The world is gradually discovering that they were truths in disguise . But had they even been otherwise , most earnestly should we deprecate , most unsparingly should we stigmatize , the spirit in which such
disgraceful persecutions originate . We can conceive of nothing tnore utterly disingenuous and unmanly . Why should a freeman ' s political errors , great ot small , real or imaginary , be suffered to affect his reputation as a pdet ? But such things are ; and of this the author of * Rimini * is a too notorious example . The Billingsgate of vulgar literature has discharged its whole lexicon at his head , fivery phrase of contempt and vituperation has
been poured upon him without remission or remorse ; and all this , because he Was the early and open advocate of those opinions , which are now becoming the political creed of the World , and will evehtually b £ its political redemption . We can scarcely believe , when we read of such transactions , that we are Englishmen living in the nineteenth century of Christianity . Our readers need scarcely be informed 'hat Leigh Hunt has
long been regarded by these critics and their admirers , as the chief and patriarch of what they have tefmecf , in bitter but silly facetiousness , the cockney school of poetry . For the disciples of this school , they will inquire in vain . It existed only in the pages of Blackwood ' s Magazine . The school was created for the castigation of the master . People have at length begun to discover that * the sceptre of Cockaigne' is ' a thing of naught . The publication of this handsome volume sufficiently announces the
r The Poetical ( Forks of Leigh Hunt . 11 $
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), March 2, 1833, page 179, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2610/page/35/