Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/456

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354
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

nothing of the Royal Academy would be furnished annually with examples from end to end.

Leech died in the meridian of his fame at the early age of forty-six. Hablot Browne when he died had not only survived his talents, but his peculiarly shy and retiring nature had caused him at the age of sixty-seven to be absolutely forgotten. The famous men of letters whose works he had illustrated were dead and gone; the world of literature and of art took such small note of him that his funeral was the funeral of a private individual, and not of one who, if he did not partake in, had contributed in no considerable degree to the success of Charles Dickens and of Charles James Lever. When his passing-bell rang out upon the summer air, journalists remembered that a great artist was gone to his rest, and Punch inserted in his number of the 22nd of July, 1882, to the memory of the last of the book etchers of the nineteenth century the following graceful tribute:—

"The lamp is out that lighted up the text
 Of Dickens, Lever—heroes of the pen.
Pickwick and Lorrequer we love, but next
 We place the man who made us see such men.
What should we know of Martin Chuzzlewit,
 Stern Mr. Dombey, or Uriah Heap?
Tom Burke of Ours? Around our hearts they sit,
 Outliving their creators—all asleep.
No sweeter gift ere fell to man than his
 Who gave us troops of friends—delightful Phiz.

"He is not dead! There, in the picture-book,
 He lives with men and women that he drew;
We take him with us to the cozy nook,
 Where old companions we can love anew.
Dear boyhood's friend! We rode with him to hounds;
 Lived with dear Peggotty in after years;
Missed in old Ireland, where fun knew no bounds.
 At Dora's death we felt poor David's tears.
There is no death for such a man,—he is
 The spirit of an unclosed book! immortal Phiz:"