Essays Modern and Elizabethan (Classic Reprint)by Edward Dowden
Let us imagine to ourselves a boy born some ten years before the middle of the last century, of a family originally Dutch, a family with the home-loving, reserved temper of the Dutch, and that slow-moving mind of Holland which attaches itself so closely, so intimately to things real and concrete, not tempted away from its
Excerpt from Essays Modern and Elizabethan
Let us imagine to ourselves a boy born some ten years before the middle of the last century, of a family originally Dutch, a family with the home-loving, reserved temper of the Dutch, and that slow-moving mind of Holland which attaches itself so closely, so intimately to things real and concrete, not tempted away from its beloved interiors and limited prospects by any glories of mountain heights or wide-spreading and radiant horizons; a family settled for long in the low-lying, slow-moving Olney of Buckinghamshire - Cowper's Olney, which we see in the delicate vignettes of The Task, and in the delightful letters, skilled in making so much out of so little, of the half-playful, half-pathetic correspondent of John Newton and Lady Hesketh. Dutch, but of mingled strains in matters of religion, the sons, we are told, always, until the tradition was broken in the case of Walter Pater, brought up as Roman Catholics, the daughters as members of the Anglican communion. Walter Pater's father had moved to the neighbourhood of London, and it was at Enfield, where Lamb, about whom the critic has written with penetrating sympathy, Lamb and his sister Mary, had lately dwelt, that Pater spent his boyhood. "Not precocious," writes his friend of later years, Mr. Gosse, "he was always meditative and serious."
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