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Such was the man who was sometimes
described, by those who misunderstood the southern
vivacity that occasionally ran over in his
published writings in the pleasurable glow of
composition, as a person of unthinking levity,
incapable of perceiving the grave facts of life! We
have purposely dwelt on the sadder passages
of his existence, because of the singular
misapprehensions with regard to his character which
have prevailed in many minds. His life was in
several respects a life of trouble, though his
cheerfulness was such that he was, upon the
whole, happier than some men who have had
fewer griefs to wrestle with. Death and domestic
dissensions, as we have seen, often stabbed
him in his tenderest affections; and, in addition
to those trials, he had to confront the repeated
presence of pecuniary distress, owing partly to
the heavy fine imposed on account of the libel
on the Prince Regent, partly to a want of the
business faculty, and partly to the extreme
independence of spirit of the man, which, all
through his career, kept him to a great extent
sequestered from the broad outer world. The
fact comes out so frequently in the present
volumes, that there need be no delicacy in
alluding to it here. Mournfully, however, as a
large part of the Correspondence strikes upon
the reader, it must not be supposed that it refers
entirely to painful details. Leigh Hunt's was
an essentially human nature, rich and inclusive;
and it is reflected with great completeness in the
letters here given to the public. We see the
writer in their varied contents, as those who
knew him familiarly saw him in his every-day
life: sometimes overclouded with the shadow of
affliction, but more often bright and hopeful,
and at all times sympathetic: taking a keen
delight in all beautiful thingsin the exhaustless
world of books and art, in the rising genius of
young authors, in the immortal language of
music, in trees, and flowers, and old memorial
nooks of London and its suburbs; in the
sunlight which came, as he used to say, like a
visitor out of heaven, glorifying humble places;
in the genial intercourse of mind with mind; in
the most trifling incidents of daily life that spoke
of truth and nature; in the spider drinking from
the water-drop which had fallen on his letter
from some flowers while he was writing; in the
sunset lighting up his "little homely black
mantelpiece" till it kindled into "a solemnly
gorgeous presentment of black and gold;" in
the domesticities of family life, and in the general
progress of the world. A heart and soul so
gifted could not but share largely in the happiness
with which the Divine Ruler of the universe
has compensated our sorrows; and he had loving
hearts about him to the last, to sweeten both.
His letters to his daughters, to his son Vincent,
and to some of his grandchildren, are exquisite
specimens of parental tendernessthe loving
playfulness of a wise and fresh-spirited old age.
And the extreme tolerance and charity of his
declining years brought him a host of new friends
from all parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland,
and even from America: some belonging to
political parties totally distinct from that to
which he remained unalterably attached to the
latest breath he drew. This devotion to liberal
ideas, which made him hail the French Revolution
of 1848 as something "divine," and which
excited in his mind so profound an interest in
the recent uprising of Italy that he inquired
eagerly of its progress only an hour or two
before his death, contrasts very agreeably with
the fluctuations of other authors.

It has been said occasionally that Leigh Hunt
was a weak man. He had, it is true, particular
weaknesses, as evinced in his want of business
knowledge, and in a certain hesitation of the
judgment on some points, which his son has
aptly likened to the ultra-deliberation of Hamlet,
and which was the result of an extreme
conscientiousness. But a man who had the courage
to take his stand against power on behalf of
rightwho in the midst of the sorest temptations
maintained his honesty unblemished by a
single stain,—who in all public and private
transactions was the very soul of truth and
honourwho never bartered his opinion or
betrayed his friendcould not have been a
weak man; for weakness is always treacherous
and false, because it has not the power to

From all such misunderstandings he is now
released by death; and in closing this article
we cannot do better than repeat the passage
from his beloved Spenser which has been
happily selected as the motto of his
Correspondencea passage which, though put by
the poet into the mouth of Despair, is in truth
full of a fine suggestion of a hope beyond the
hopes of earth:

What if some little payne the passage have,
That makes frayle flesh to feare the bitter wave?
Is not short payne well borne that brings long ease,
And layes the soule to sleep in quiet grave?
Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please.

On Thursday, April 10th, at ST. JAMES'S HALL, Piccadilly,
at 8 o'clock precisely, Mr. CHARLES DICKENS will
read DAVID COPPERFIELD (in Six Chapters), and THE

                And on Thursday, April 24th,
                    DAVID COPPERFIELD,
                MR. BOB SAWYER'S PARTY,
                        FROM PICKWICK.

                       THE SIXTH VOLUME,
                    Price 5s. 6d., is now ready.