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of wit or fancy; tells a story capitally: mimics an actor or an acquaintance to admiration ; laughs with great glee and good humour at his own and other people's jokes : understands the point of an equivoque or an observation immediately; has a taste for, and knowledge of, books, of music, of medals; manages an argument adroitly; is genteel and gallant, and has a set of byephrases and quaint allusions always at hand to produce a laugh.” Shelley has described Leigh Hunt in a poetical epistle.
“You will see H-t; one of those happy souls
Which are the salt of the earth, and without whom
Keats has also done due honor to Leigh Hunt's refined yet frank and social conversation.
“ He who elegantly chats and talks,
Wordsworth is said to be an eloquent and instructive talker, especially on poetical subjects. He is not however fond of mere gossip, as may be gathered from the following very curious sonnet.
"I am not one who much or oft delight
To season my fireside with personal talk
Better than such discourse doth silence long,
Or kettle whispering its faint under-song." It is said of Charles Lamb, in the Plain Speaker, that he is "the most delightful, the most provoking, the most witty and sensible of men. He always makes the best pun and the best remark in the course of the evening. His serious conversation, like his serious writing, is his best. No one ever stammered out such fine, piquant, deep, eloquent things in half a dozen half sentences as he does.” Horne Tooke was a master of the intellectual foils, so were Dr. Parr and Professor Porson. Sir Walter Scott was narrative and entertaining, but I suspect he did not shine in wit or argument.
Thomas Campbell's conversation is that of a scholar, a poet and a warm-hearted man. “ He is one of the few,” says Leigh Hunt, “with whom I could at any time walk a dozen miles through the snow to spend an afternoon.” Rogers, according to the testimony of Lord Byron, is silent and severe ; but when he does talk, he talks well, and on all subjects of taste, his delicacy of expression is pure as his poetry. Moore's conversation is also as brilliant as his verses. Byron's was unequal, but occasionally spirited and delightful. It would be easy to extend this list of authors who have excelled in colloquial intercourse, and it would be equally easy to adduce a number of striking exceptions*. But this article is already too long, and I must
“Mr. Hume’s writings were so superior to his conversation, that I frequently said he understood nothing till he had written upon it.”-Horace Walpole.
it is ge
If I am obliged to speak I infallibly talk nonsense. What is still worse, instead of learning to be silent, when I have absolutely nothing to
say, nerally at such times that I have a violent inclination for talking; and endeavouring to pay my debt of conversation as speedily as possible, I hastily gabble a number of words without ideas, happy when they only chance to mean nothing: thus endeavouring to conquer or hide my incapacity, I rarely fail to show it.”— Rousseau's Confessions.
content myself with adding, that the best proof of the general superiority of the conversation of authors is the fact already alluded to, that it would in most instances bear to be recorded in a book, which is not the case with the conversation of other men, who, though they may seem to talk with considerable brilliancy, would very rarely have occasion to congratulate themselves on the appearance of their Table Talk in a printed form.
THERE are no mortal limits to the sway
LINES TO A LADY SINGING.
A voice divine is echoing in my heart-
hath ceased !-I wake with sudden start, Like one half-sleeping on a murmuring river, When the bark strikes the shore :-the trance is broken !
Hark!-sweeter sounds than aught e'er sung or spoken
As glad birds dart
While charmed Aurora stealeth o'er the height
More sweet than bloom
THE VOICE OF LOVE.
Oh! if there is a magic charm, amid this desert drear,
Oh! dread would be the rugged road, and sad the wanderer's heart,