London and entered into business. 'By some bequest or accident of luck,' says his son, he achieved an independence. His parsimony was as conspicuous as his integrity. He died in 1816. Of Procter's mother, who survived until 1837, he merely says 'she was simply the kindest and tenderest mother in the world.' As a boy, Procter was distinguished by a passion for reading, which was encouraged by a female servant, who initiated him into Shakespeare. He does not, however, seem to have distinguished himself at Harrow, whither, after some years' preliminary schooling at Finchley, he went at the age of thirteen, and where he was the schoolfellow of Peel and Byron. Upon leaving school he was articled to Mr. Atherton, a solicitor at Calne in Wiltshire, of whom he speaks with great respect. He returned to London in 1807, at which point the fragment of autobiography he has left us ends. In 1815 he began to contribute to the 'Literary Gazette.' He soon entered into partnership with another solicitor, and long practised his profession. But literature occupied most of his attention. In 1816 his means were improved by the death of his father, and he seems to have for a time launched out upon a jovial, though not a dissipated, course of life, taking a house in Brunswick Square, keeping a hunter, and becoming a pupil of Thomas Cribb. This free mingling with the world, natural in one whose opportunities appear to have been previously restricted by parental economy, occasioned after a while some temporary pecuniary embarrassment, but it was the means of introducing him to the circle of Leigh Hunt and Charles Lamb, the influence of both of whom may be traced in the abundant poetical productiveness of the next few years. While Hunt inspired 'Marcian Colonna' (1820), 'A Sicilian Story' (1821), and 'The Flood in Thessaly' (1823), Lamb prompted the 'Dramatic Scenes' (1819), to none of which, he declared, he would have refused a place in his selection from the Elizabethan dramatists, had they come down to us from that period. This judgment is a remarkable instance of the intrepidity of friendship; for Procter's scenes, though graceful and poetical, are very obvious productions of the nineteenth century, and seldom transcend the forcible feeble in their attempts to exhibit vehement passion. They are nevertheless much more successful than Procter's imitations of Byron's serio-comic style in some of his poems of this date, to which Byron alludes with good-natured disdain. But none of these efforts exhibit the genuine individuality of the man, which is to be found exclusively in his songs. These were mostly written about this time, although not published until 1832, and, if not effluences of potent inspiration, are melodious, vigorous, and rarely imitative. Longfellow thought them 'more suggestive of music than any modern songs,' a judgment in which it is difficult to concur. A more ambitious effort, the tragedy of 'Mirandola,' was brought upon the stage, at Covent Garden Theatre, somewhat prematurely (January 1821), with the view of relieving the author from the embarrassments in which his hospitality and difficulties with a business partner, together with the loss of an anticipated legacy, had involved him. The object was attained, Procter receiving 630l. as his share of the proceeds of a sixteen nights' run; but the play, a fair and even a favourable example of the taste of the time, was never revived. It owed much of its success to the acting of Charles Kemble, who was said to have never before been so perfectly provided with a part as by Procter's Guido. All these productions appeared under the pseudonym of 'Barry Cornwall,' an imperfect anagram of Procter's real name.
The success of his tragedy, and the establishment of the 'London Magazine' in 1820, introduced Procter to a wider literary circle; and, as he liked almost everybody and everybody liked him, he gradually became acquainted with most contemporary authors of distinction. He performed two eminent services to literature—by initiating Hazlitt, who previously had been acquainted only with Shakespeare, into the Elizabethan and Jacobean drama in general; and by guaranteeing, in conjunction with Thomas Lovell Beddoes [q.v.] and T. Kelsall the expense of the publication of Shelley's posthumous poems. Although, however, his literary interests and sympathies expanded, his literary productiveness, except as a writer of stories for annuals, almost entirely ceased. The cause was probably the necessity for assiduous devotion to legal pursuits after his marriage, in 1824, with Miss Skepper, step-daughter of Basil Montagu [q. v.], a lady of great gifts, both social and intellectual (b. 11 Sept. 1799). By her he had three daughters, the eldest of whom was the poetess, Adelaide Anne Procter [q. v.], and three sons, one of whom became an officer and served in India; the others died young. The branch of law to which he now addicted himself was conveyancing, in which he obtained a large practice. He had also numerous pupils, among whom were Kinglake and Eliot Warburton. His last important contribution to poetry was the volume of songs published in 1832, with an appendix of brief dramatic frag-