LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Recollections of Writers
Leigh Hunt to Charles Cowden Clarke, 19 November 1854

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX
John Keats
Charles Lamb
Mary Lamb
Leigh Hunt
Douglas Jerrold
Charles Dickens
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Produced by CATH
Hammersmith, Novr. 19th, 1854.

My dear Clarke,—I have been thinking of the Hamlet and Midsummer Night’s Dream, hoping the lecture is going to be delivered at some reachable place, fearing I might not be able (owing to a cough and catarrh) and wondering whether it would be possible to hear it here some evening, in this my hut, between tea and supper, I being the sole poor, but grateful audience. Such things you must know have been, though I don’t at all assume that they can be in this
instance, however great the good will. But if not, might I read it? I need not tell you that it would be perused in strictest confidence, except as far as you might allow me to speak of it.

Nothing is more just, though I say it who should (one likes to give impudent baulks sometimes to prudish old sayings), than what you think in regard to my critical sincerity. I love too much to praise where I can, not to preserve the acceptability of the praise by qualifying when I must.

Besides, half my life has been, and is, a martyrdom to truth, and I should be absurd indeed to stultify it with the other half. My faults have enough to answer for without being under the necessity of owning to any responsibility in the lying and cheating direction; but where am I running to? I always, as far as I had the means of judging, took your wife to be a thoroughly loving woman (if I may so speak) in every particle of her nature; and I hold it for an axiom, though exclusives in either the material or spiritual would count it a paradox, that it is only such persons who can have thoroughly fine perceptions into any nature whatsoever. In other words, incompleteness cannot possibly judge completeness. So with this fine peremptory sentence I complete this very complete letter of four sides down to the cover, and with all loving respect,

My dear Clarke,
Am hers and yours,
Leigh Hunt.