LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
[John Hunt]
To Z.
The Examiner  No. 517  (16 November 1817)  729.
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No. 517. SUNDAY, NOV. 16, 1817.

To Z.

How such a profligate creature as Mr. Hunt can pretend to be an admirer of Mr. Wordsworth, is to us a thing altogether inexplicable. One great charm of Wordsworth’s noble compositions consists in the dignified purity of thought, and the patriarchal simplicity of feeling, with which they are throughout penetrated and imbued. We can conceive a vicious man admiring with distant awe the spectacle of virtue and purity; but if he does so sincerely, he must also do so with the profoundest feeling of the error of his own ways, and the resolution to amend them. His admiration must be humble and silent, not pert and loquacious. Mr. Hunt praises the purity of Wordsworth as if he himself were pure, his dignity as if he also were dignified. He is always like the bull of Dung in the fable, pleasing himself, and amusing bye-standers with his “nos poma natamus.” For the person who writes Rimini, to admire the Excursion, is just as impossible as it would be for a Chinese polisher of cherry-stones, or gilder of tea-cups, to burst into tears at the sight of the Theseus or the Torso.” * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

How could any man of high original genius ever stoop publicly, at the present day, to dip his fingers in the least of those glittering and rancid obscenities which float on the surface of Mr. Hunt’s Hippocrene? His poetry is that of a man who has kept company with kept-mistresses. He talks indelicately like a tea-sipping milliner girl. Some excuse for him there might have been, had he been hurried away by imagination or passion. But with him Indecency is a Disease, and he speaks unclean things from perfect inanition. The very Concubine of so impure a wretch as Leigh Hunt would be to be pitied, but alas! for the Wife of such a Husband! For him there is no charm in simple Seduction; and he gloats over it only when accompanied with Adultery and Incest!

Extract from an article signed Z. in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine for Oct. 1817.—Printed for Wm. Blackwood, Edinburgh; and Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, London.

The anonymous Author of the above atrocious attempt to destroy the personal character of the Editor of this Paper, is again called upon to avow himself; which he cannot fail to do, unless to an utter disregard of all Truth and Decency, he adds the height of Meanness and COWARDICE.—Should this however be the case, those who have published the foul Scandal,—if they persist in skreening the Author from a just punishment,—must prepare to abide the consequences of their delinquency.