English poet and essayist, was educated at Christ's Hospital. He edited, from 1808, The Examiner, which became a focus of Liberal opinion and so attracted leading men of letters, including Byron, Moore, Shelley and Lamb. He was imprisoned for two years (1813-15) for a libel on the Prince Regent. The Examiner introduced Shelley and Keats to the public-Keats's magnificent sonnet On First Looking into Chapman's Homer first appeared there in 1816, the year in which Hunt issued his own romance The Story of Rimini. Aware that England was no safe country in which to advocate Liberal views, he went on the invitation of Shelley to Italy, to found a new quarterly, The Liberal. Hunt returned to England in 1825 to carry on a ceaseless life of literary journa-lism, Liberal politics (no longer so dangerous) and poetry. His house at Hampstead attracted all that was notable in the literary world, not without envy or ridicule, however, as Dickens' caricature of him as Harold Skimpole in Bleak House shows. His Autobiography (ed. Blunden, 1928) is a valuable picture of the times. Blunden supplemented his Hunt studies with a Life in 1930. See also Life by Landre (1936), and selections by R. B. Johnson (1907) and Priestley (1929).
The Glove and the LionsKing Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day as his lions fought, sat looking on the court;
The nobles filled the benches, and the ladies in their pride,
And 'mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sighed:
And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
Valour and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.
Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;
With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another;
Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother;
The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air;
Said Francis then, "Faith, gentlemen, we're better here than there."
De Lorge's love o'erheard the King, a beauteous lively dame
With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which always seemed the same;
She thought, the Count my lover is brave as brave can be;
He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me;
King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine;
I'll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine.
She dropped her glove, to prove his love, then looked at him and smiled;
He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild:
The leap was quick, return was quick, he has regained his place,
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
"By God!" said Francis, "rightly done!" and he rose from where he sat:
"No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that."