Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/66

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Landor
Landor
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from the Llanthony rents, and deducted from the sum reserved for Landor's use. He was thus entirely dependent, at the age of eighty-three, upon the family who received the whole income from his property. He spent ten months at his villa, but three times left it for Florence, only to be brought back. In July 1859 he took refuge again at an hotel in Florence, with ' eighteenpence in his pocket.' His family appear to have refused to help him unless he would return. Fortunately the poet Browning was then resident at Florence. Upon his application Forster obtained an allowance of 200l. a year from Landor's brothers, with a reserve of 50l., which was applied for Landor's use under Browning's direction. Browning first found him a cottage at Siena, where the American sculptor, Mr. W. W. Story, was then living. He stayed for some time in Story's house, and was perfectly courteous and manageable. At the end of 1859 Browning settled him in an apartment in the Via Nunsiatina at Florence, where be passed the rest of his days. Miss Kate Field, an American lady then resident in Florence, described him as he appeared at this time in three papers in the 'Atlantic Monthly' for 1866. Landor was still charming, venerable, and courteous, and full of literary interests. He gave Latin lessons to Miss Field, repeated poetry, and composed some last conversations. Browning left Florence after his wife's death in 1861, and Landor afterwards seldom left the house. He published some imaginary conversations in the 'Athenæum' in 1861-2, and in 1863 appeared his last book, the 'Heroic Idyls,' brought to England by Mr, Edward Twisleton, who had been introduced to him by Browning. Five scenes in verse, written after these, are published in his life by Forster. His friendship with Forster had been interrupted by Forster's refusal to publish more about the libel case; but their correspondence was renewed before his death. Kirkup and his younger son helped to soothe him, and in the last year of his life Mr. Swinburne visited Florence expressly to become known to him, and dedicated to him the 'Atalanta in Calydon.' He died quietly on 17 Sept. 1864.

Landor left four children: Arnold Savage (b. 1818, d. 2 April 1871), Julia Elizabeth Savage, Walter who succeeded his brother Arnold in the property), and Charles. A portrait by Boxall,engraved as a frontispiece to Forster's life, is said by Lord Houghton and Dickens to be unsatisfactorily represented in the engraving. A drawing by Robert Faulkner is engraved in Lord Houghton's 'Monograph.' A portrait by Fisher, painted in 1839, became the property of Crabb Robinson, and was given by him to the National Portrait Gallery. A bust, of which some copies were made in marble, was executed for Ablett by John Gibson in 1858. An engraving after a drawing by D'Orsay is prefixed to Ablett's' Literary Tours' (see below). Landor's character is sufficiently marked by his life. Throughout his career he invariably showed nobility of sentiment and great powers of tenderness and sympathy, at the mercy of an ungovernable temper. He showed exquisite courtesy to women; he loved children passionately, if not discreetly; he treated his dogs (especially 'Pomero' at Bath) as if they had been human beings, and loved flowers as if they had been alive. His tremendous explosions of laughter and wrath were often passing storms in a serene sky, though his intense pride made some of his quarrels irreconcilable. He was for nearly ninety years a typical English public school-boy, full of humours, obstinacy, and Latin verses, and equally full of generous impulses, chivalrous sentiment, and power of enjoyment. In calmer moods he was a refined epicurean; he liked to dine alone and delicately; he was fond of pictures, and unfortunately mistook himself for a connoisseur. He wasted large sums upon worthless daubs, though he appears to have had a genuine appreciation of the earlier Italian masters when they were still generally undervalued. He gave away both pictures and books almost as rapidly as he bought them. He was generous even to excess in all money matters. Intellectually he was no sustained reasoner, and it is a mistake to criticise his opinions seriously. They were simply the prejudices of his class. In politics he was an aristocratic republican, after the pattern of his great idol Milton, He resented the claims of superiors, and advocated tyrannicide, but he equally despised the mob and shuddered at all vulgarity. His religion was that of the eighteenth-century noble, implying much tolerance and liberality of sentiment, with an intense aversion for priestcraft. Even in literature his criticisms, though often admirably perceptive, are too often wayward and unsatisfactory, because at the mercy of his prejudices. He idolised Milton, but the medievalism of Dante dimmed his perception of Dante's great qualities. Almost alone among poets he always found Spenser a bore. As a thorough-going classical enthusiast, he was out of sympathy with the romantic movement of his time, and offended by Wordsworth's lapses into prose, though the so-called classicism of the school of Pope was too unpoetical for his taste, He thus took a unique posi-