Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/60
are admirably shown in his letter to Sir Timothy Shelley on the temporary stoppage of Shelley's income. He was Shelley's guest at Marlow in 1817, and he was probably the first to communicate Keats's death to the poet in March 1821. Shelley wrote of him in his epistle to Maria Gisborne:
Wit and sense,
Virtue and human knowledge, all that might
Make this dull world a business of delight,
Are all combined in Horace Smith.
To Leigh Hunt he was equally friendly and equally serviceable, joining with Shelley in the vain effort to rescue him from his embarrassments. His endeavours, however, to follow in the footsteps of these poets were not always fortunate. Nevertheless, ‘Amarynthus the Nympholept,’ a pastoral drama in imitation of Fletcher (1821), is full of pleasant fancy. Not much can be said in favour of his other serious poems (first collected as ‘Poetical Works,’ London, 1846, 2 vols. 8vo), except the fine lines on occasion of the funeral of Campbell in Westminster Abbey, when, late in life, the deep feeling aroused by the recollection of a long friendship supplies the deficiencies of poetic art. There is, however, a class of poems in which Smith really excels, those halfway between the serious and the humorous. One of these, ‘An Address to a Mummy,’ has deservedly gained great popularity, and is an admirable example of the mutual interpenetration of wit and feeling.
On his retirement from business, Smith set out to join Shelley in Italy, but on hearing of his death stopped short at Paris and lived for three years at Versailles; on his return he settled at Brighton. He now added Cobden to the list of his friends, and became a warm advocate of free trade. He aided Campbell in the ‘New Monthly’ and John Scott in the ‘London Magazine.’ Some of his pieces were collected as ‘Gaieties and Gravities’ (London, 1825, 3 vols. 8vo). But about the same year he gave up periodical literature to resume his early pursuit of novel-writing. In 1826 he produced ‘Brambletye House, or Cavaliers and Roundheads,’ a romance in Scott's style, connected with a ruined mansion of the name still existing in Ashdown Forest, Sussex. It ranks among the best imitations of Scott, and has been frequently republished. ‘The Tor Hill’ and ‘Reuben Apsley,’ two good historical novels, followed in 1826 and 1827, and in 1828 he varied his style by imitating Lockhart and Croly in ‘Zillah, a Tale of the Holy City’ (London, 12mo). Both this work and ‘Tor Hill’ were translated into French by Defauconpret, the translator of Scott and of Mrs. Radcliffe. A severe attack on ‘Zillah’ in the ‘Quarterly’ gained him the friendship of Southey, after he had done penance for ‘some impertinences regarding Wordsworth.’ His later novels, rarely historical in subject, obtained little success; they include ‘The New Forest’ (1829), ‘Walter Colyton’ (1830), ‘Gale Middleton’ (1833), ‘The Involuntary Prophet’ (1835), ‘Jane Lomax’ (1838), ‘The Moneyed Man’ (1841), ‘Adam Brown’ (1843), and ‘Love and Mesmerism’ (1845). A posthumous fragment from his pen, professedly but not really autobiographic, appeared in vols. lxxxvi. and lxxxvii. of the ‘New Monthly Magazine.’ His other writings include ‘First Impressions,’ an unsuccessful comedy (1813); ‘Festivals, Games, and Amusements, Ancient and Modern’ (1831), a useful compilation; and ‘The Tin Trumpet,’ (1836), a medley of remarks, ethical, political, and philosophical. It was published under the name of Jefferson Saunders, but Smith's name appeared on it in 1869 when it was issued as No. 8 in Bradbury and Evans's ‘Handy Vol. Series.’ Keats, in a letter written in February 1818, mentions having seen in manuscript a satire by Smith entitled ‘Nehemiah Muggs, an Exposure of the Methodists,’ but it does not appear to have been published. He died at Tunbridge Wells, on 12 July 1849. He left three daughters, of whom the youngest, Laura (d. 1864) married John Round of West Bergholt, Essex.
All contemporary testimony respecting Horace Smith is unanimous as regards the beauty of his character, which was associated not only with wit, but with strong commonsense and justness of perception. His is a remarkable instance of a reputation rescued from undue neglect by the perhaps excessive applause bestowed upon a single lucky hit. Thackeray wrote warmly of Smith's truth and loyalty as a friend, and, after his death, he frequently visited his daughters at Brighton; after the youngest of them he named his Laura in ‘Pendennis.’
A portrait of Horatio and James Smith in early life by Harlow is in the possession of Mr. John Murray. A portrait of Horace by Masquerier and a miniature were the property of his eldest daughter.[Memoir by Epes Sargent, prefixed to Rejected Addresses, New York, 1871; Fitzgerald's edition of Rejected Addresses, 1890; New Monthly Magazine, vol. xlix.; Gent. Mag. 1849, ii. 320; Athenæum and Literary Gazette, July 1849; S. C. Hall's Memoirs, 1877; Dowden's Life of Shelley; Marzials and Merivale's Life of Thackeray, p. 228; Walter Hamilton's Parodies.]