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Recollections of Writers
Leigh Hunt to Charles Cowden Clarke, 11 February [1834]

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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Chelsea, Feb. 11th.

Ever Dear Clarke and Vincent,—I have been going to write to Frith St. not only for the last ten days, but for the last ten weeks; but my health is so unceasingly tried by my pen, that when necessity allows me to lay it down, it costs me such efforts to resume it, as must throw themselves on the indulgence of kind friends. I rejoiced to hear of the intention about Chaucer, but so far from wondering at your leaving out the passages you speak of, I may perhaps bespeak,
your astonishment in return when I tell you, that I am not sure I have ever entirely read even the stories in question; I mean those in which
Swift is horribly mixed up with La Fontaine; so much do I revolt from those kind of degrading impertinences, in proportion to the voluptuousness I am prepared to license. And yet I ought to beg pardon of divine Chaucer for using such words; for his sociality condescended to the grossness of the time, and was doubtless superior to it, in a certain sense, at the moment it included it in his good-natured universality. They may even have been salutary, for what I know, by reason of certain subtle meetings of extremes between grossness and refinement, which I cannot now speak of.

What good things they were, Clarke, in some of those verses you sent me; and yet what a strange fellow you are, who with such a feeling of the poetical, and a nice sense of music, can never write a dozen lines together without committing a false quantity—leaving out some crotchets of your bar. You almost make me begin to think that Chaucer wrote in the same manner, and not, as I have fondly imagined, with syllabical perfection. I am glad you did not dislike my criticism; and you too, dear Vincent. I send Clarke one or two more, which I have cut out of periodicals. Item, another True Sun, merely because it contains a mention of him, and may amuse him in the rest. He will see by it that Christianity is getting on, and that Blackwood and I, poetically, are becoming the best friends in the world. The other day, there was an Ode in Blackwood in honour of the memory of Shelley; and I look for one to Keats. I hope this will give you faith in glimpses of the golden age.

You may have seen a popular edition of the “Indicator” advertised; I mean with omissions. It is not mine, but Colburn’s, or I should have had copies to load my friends with, whereas I have been obliged to be silent about it to some of my oldest and nearest. What am I then to do in your house? I must, for the present (for I still hope to do better), cut the gentlemen, and confine myself, with a pleasing narrowness, to the lady—I beg pardon, to Mary, to whom I beg kindest remembrances, and her acceptance of the book
she christened. Dear
Vin, I think of you all, be assured, quite as often as you think of me. What have I to do, sitting, as I do, evening after evening by myself in my study, but to think of old times and friends, and attempt the consolation of a verse? May you all be very happy is the constant wish of

Your affectionate friend,
Leigh Hunt.