Landor, Walter Savage (1775–1864)

Writer and poet (in English and Latin) whose 1798 Gebir, Southey declared, contained ‘some of the most exquisite poetry in the language’. Landor inherited wealth in 1805 and in 1808 met Southey at Bristol, offering to pay for the publication of future poems that Southey might write. Thus encouraged, Southey completed The Curse of Kehama (1810), sending drafts to Landor, and Roderick the Last of the Goths (1814). In 1812 Landor himself published a blank verse tragedy on Spain, Count Julian, with Southey’s help. In 1808 Landor went to Spain to fight with the Spanish against their French occupiers. Upon landing at Corunna, he ‘immediately gave the governor ten thousand reals for the relief of Venturada, which had been sacked by the French’. He engaged in some minor action at Bilbao and ‘had the satisfaction of serving three launches with powder and muskets, and of carrying on my shoulders six or seven miles a child too heavy for its exhausted mother’ (quoted by Malcolm Elwin, Savage Landor (London, 1941), pp. 101–102). Thoroughly disgusted by the Convention of Cintra, and believing that he had been insulted by Charles Stuart, Baron Stuart de Rothesay (1779–1845; DNB), British envoy to the Spanish juntas in French-occupied Spain, he returned to England and from 1809, he lived at Llanthony Abbey in Wales, where Southey visited him in 1811. Landor left England to live in France and Italy in 1814. He received Southey’s advice on his Imaginary Conversations (1824–46), visited Southey in Keswick in 1832, returned to England in 1836 and met Southey for the last time in Bristol in 1837. In 1843 Landor published a tribute after Southey’s death in The Examiner; he also sought advancement for Charles Cuthbert, Southey’s son, in the church. Admired by Dickens, Browning, Swinburne and Trollope, Landor spent his final years in Italy and died in Florence.

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