LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

My Friends and Acquaintance
Laman Blanchard IV

Vol I Contents
Charles Lamb I
Charles Lamb II
Charles Lamb III
Charles Lamb IV
Charles Lamb V
Charles Lamb VI
Charles Lamb VII
Charles Lamb VIII
Charles Lamb IX
Charles Lamb X
Thomas Campbell I
Thomas Campbell II
Thomas Campbell III
Thomas Campbell IV
Thomas Campbell V
Thomas Campbell VI
Thomas Campbell VII
Lady Blessington I
Lady Blessington II
Lady Blessington III
Lady Blessington IV
Lady Blessington V
R. Plumer Ward I
R. Plumer Ward II
R. Plumer Ward III
R. Plumer Ward IV
R. Plumer Ward V
R. Plumer Ward VI
Appendix vol I
Vol II Contents
R. Plumer Ward VII
R. Plumer Ward VIII
R. Plumer Ward IX
R. Plumer Ward X
R. Plumer Ward XI
R. Plumer Ward XII
R. Plumer Ward XIII
R. Plumer Ward XIV
R. Plumer Ward XV
R. Plumer Ward XVI
R. Plumer Ward XVII
R. Plumer Ward XVIII
R. Plumer Ward XIX
R. Plumer Ward XX
R. Plumer Ward XXI
R. Plumer Ward XXII
R. Plumer Ward XXIII
Horace & James Smith I
Horace & James Smith II
William Hazlitt I
William Hazlitt II
William Hazlitt III
William Hazlitt IV
William Hazlitt V
William Hazlitt VI
William Hazlitt VII
William Hazlitt VIII
Appendix vol II
Vol III Contents
William Hazlitt IX
William Hazlitt X
William Hazlitt XI
William Hazlitt XII
William Hazlitt XIII
William Hazlitt XIV
William Hazlitt XV
William Hazlitt XVI
William Hazlitt XVII
William Hazlitt XVIII
William Hazlitt XIX
William Hazlitt XX
William Hazlitt XXI
William Hazlitt XXII
William Hazlitt XXIII
William Hazlitt XXIV
William Hazlitt XXV
William Hazlitt XXVI
Laman Blanchard I
Laman Blanchard II
Laman Blanchard III
‣ Laman Blanchard IV
Laman Blanchard V
Laman Blanchard VI
Laman Blanchard VII
Laman Blanchard VIII
R & T Sheridan I
R & T Sheridan II
R & T Sheridan III
R & T Sheridan IV
R & T Sheridan V
R & T Sheridan VI
R & T Sheridan VII
R & T Sheridan VIII
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The following letters refer to a topic to which Blanchard used to recur from time to time, with feelings of mingled fondness and pain that were very interesting to witness, for those who alone did witness them—the friends to whom he could show the inmost places of his heart.

All the world know that, next to their inventor, Macworth Praed, Blanchard was the most fertile and felicitous writer we have had, of those light, easy, and smiling verses which are one of the very few original features of the literature of our own day. But many even of his (Blanchard’s) own admirers and associates did not know until after his death that he had published, at the outset of his literary career, a volume of serious poetry; still less that this volume was the only one among the numerous progeny of
his pen for which he entertained any real fondness, or to which he ever referred with feelings of literary pride or pleasure.

There was something very touching about the timid and deprecating modesty with which Blanchard sometimes recurred to this “first love” of his literary life, and to which he remained true to the last, through twenty years of forced separation and divorce.

The first conversation I had with Blanchard on this topic was brought about by my asking him to look at some verses by my son, then a youth of eighteen. This led him to speak of his own youthful volume, and of a criticism on it by Sir Edward Bulwer, in the New Monthly Magazine! This criticism, which is no more than bare justice (administered in a kind and admiring spirit) fully warrants, had called forth in Blanchard an amount of gratitude to its author which he seemed to think his life could not be long enough to testify; and he was evidently so pleased with the fair pretext which now occurred for sending it to me (namely, that it contained “a good scrap of advice to young poets”) that I had not the
heart to tell him I had read the paper, and well recollected it.

Here are the three letters: the first appointing a meeting to hear some of my boy’s verses; the second written the morning after having heard them, and enclosing Bulwer’s paper from the New Monthly; and the third (without date) a few days after.

“Nov. 1, 1842.

My dear Patmore,—Influenza has visited us here, and prevented my writing yesterday. Moreover, I have been seeking for that article on ‘Young Poets and the Public,’ and cannot find it; but I must,—it was in N. M. M., June, 1832. Thursday is rather a bespoken night. May I look in about seven or so on Friday? You will see me, unless you be engaged then, in which case one line will do.

“Yours always truly,
“Laman Blanchard.”
“Nov. 8, 1842.

Dear Patmore,—I have to-day recovered the notice I alluded to. It contains a good
scrap of advice to young poets, and is written with amazing generosity, as I had never seen him at the time, and he had heard of my verses only through
Miss Landon. The things quoted were written in 1824, when I was twenty.

“My strong and clear conviction of the extreme beauty and finish of what I heard and read last night remains this morning undiminished. They will bear thinking over, and the impression they made is a lasting one, I am sure. Nothing Tennyson has done need be despaired of.

“Yours always,
“Laman Blanchard.

“Preserve my paper for me.”

My dear Patmore,—I was just going to write, as your note arrived, to put off the Kensingtonian excursion for a couple of Sundays, as I find I must be at home tomorrow (and the Count, I just happen to hear, dines out). Your suggestion increases my wishes, without diminishing my inability. But I think I can drop in on Monday, between eight and nine. If by chance
I should not, I will on Tuesday; but Monday almost past doubt, if you are at home; and if not, no harm, as I shall be near.

“I shall esteem it an honour and a pleasure to be allowed to see anything that may be producible, then and at all times; for so strong is the feeling fixed in my mind, that I do not calculate on disappointment. As for you, your course is clear; there can be no mistake.

“Ever yours,
“L. Blanchard.”

Blanchard gave me an amusing account afterwards of the half-serious, half-comic alarm he had felt on my first asking him to look at and give me his “honest” opinion of my son’s verses, and his fears as to the shifts he should be put to in escaping the dilemma in which (“of course,” as he said) he should find himself, of either compromising his own honesty or wounding that parental partiality with which he so well knew how to sympathise. The occasion of the following note was probably an unconsciously wilful escape for the moment from his comic difficulty; at
the same time giving him the chance of my tacitly letting him off the promise into which his good-nature had inveigled him. And I was half inclined to do so, but that I had great faith in his judgment and taste, and did not believe that his courtly good-nature would be able to deceive me as to his real opinion, even if his honesty had permitted him to make the attempt.

My dear Patmore,—I fear I may have kept you at home, and inconvenienced you; but I am beset with work. I had arranged all my ‘Examiner’ matters, so that six o’clock was to have seen me released, but ——’s absence has put me out, and I cannot possibly stir from the paper. I have now, at five o’clock, very much to do. On Monday, at half-past seven, without fail, expect me, unless forbidden by your own hand in the interim. Any night but Wednesday will suit me; only I name the first of the week.

“Yours in haste, and truly,
“L. Blanchard.”