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Samuel Laman Blanchard (1804 – 1845)


English poet, essayist and journalist.
Samuel Laman Blanchard
Two words of such a book, though possessing no peculiar signification, if met with in the dullest sentence, are enough: they call up, what has been finely termed, the "lightning of the mind." We feel an instantaneous kindness and reverence towards an author (together with a high opinion of his discrimination) who cites as it were the very language of our dreams—the secret converse of our own invisible spirit. We are almost startled at its being made public, and fancy that we have been at some time overheard reading. He is forthwith admitted a member of our heart's privy council. His hard words and bad reasoning are forgiven: we shut our ears to his angular periods—remembering only that his habits and desires, his sympathies, perceptions and enjoyments, are under the same master-key as our own—that he has struck into the same path, drank at the same brook, mused upon the same bank, and plucked almost the same leaf with ourselves.
Blanchard quotes
We insist on self-roasting, by slow degrees, and at regular intervals, to show our contempt for experience, and to develop our chief virtue, which is obstinacy.
Blanchard
For more than twenty years he [Blanchard] toiled on through the most fatiguing paths of literary composition, mostly in periodicals, often anonymously; pleasing and lightly instructing thousands, but gaining none of the prizes, whether of weighty reputation or popular renown, which more fortunate chances, or more pretending modes of investing talent, have given in our day to men of half his merits.




We feel bound to be punctual and conscientious with those we are indifferent about; while we can afford at any time, on the frostiest night, to be an hour after our appointment with the single gentleman who occupies an apartment in our heart's core.
Blanchard Samuel Laman
From the date of our correspondence on this subject, I conceived a lively interest and a sincere friendship for Mr. Blanchard, which every year served to increase. It was impossible to know and not to love him. He was thoroughly honest, true, and genuine; ever ready to confer a kindness; and of a grateful disposition, which exaggerated into obligation the most commonplace returns to his own affectionate feelings and ready friendship. And yet ...we met more seldom than I could have wished, and, with a few exceptions among men of letters, our common associates were not the same.
No longer would we imprison thee though thou art all gentleness and would chat and jest with us by the hour.
Samuel Laman Blanchard
As success converts treason into legitimacy, so belief converts fiction into fact, and "nothing is but what is not."
Wherever two or three are gathered together, one, at least, has left his head at home in his night-cap, or hung it up in his hat as he entered.
Blanchard
It seems to me that, with but slight reserve and modification, we may apply to our departed friend his own pathetic and beautiful elegy upon another.
Blanchard Samuel Laman
The starched matron is fain to put faith in the compliment which in her day of youth and grace she knew to be nonsense. ...If her mirror will not admit of this she has other resources; she has sage counsel, admirable judgment, perfect knowledge of the world. ...Tell her she is not to be imposed upon, and you impose upon her effectually. Admire her penetration, and you will not find her impenetrable.
Samuel Laman Blanchard
No time had he for profound reading, for lengthened works, for the mature development of the conceptions of a charming fancy. He had given hostages to Fortune. He had a wife and four children, and no income but that which he made from week to week. The grist must be ground and the wheel revolve.




Man will take anything you like, except warning.
Samuel Laman Blanchard
A genuine taradiddle of the gross and palpable kind never fails for want of vouchers. Hundreds know it to be true—hundreds more were all but eye-witnesses of the fact related—some actually were; all can attest it on their personal responsibility. Upon that point everybody has a reputation for veracity to stake—though the same stake had been forfeited fifty times; and everybody can contribute to the original story an unquestionable incident of his own coinage "to make assurance doubly sure." So it goes round, until the first projector hardly recognizes his own lie; and ends by believing ten times more absurdity than he had palmed upon others.
Blanchard quotes
The volumes prefaced by this slight Memoir deserve a place in every collection of Belles Lettres, and form most agreeable and characteristic illustrations of our manners and our age. They possess what is seldom found in light reading, the charm that comes from bequeathing pleasurable impressions. They are suffused in the sweetness of the author's disposition; they shun all painful views of life, all acerbity in observation, all gall in their gentle sarcasm. Added to this, they contain not a thought, not a line, from which the most anxious parent would guard his child. They may be read with safety by the most simple, and yet they contain enough of truth and character to interest the most reflective. Such works, more than many which aspire to a higher flight, and address themselves to Truth with a ruder and more vigorous courtship, are calculated to enjoy a tranquil popularity, and a favored station amongst the Dead who survive in Books.
Blanchard Samuel Laman
How often does it happen that an obscure line finds its way into a periodical... is requoted in every book that comes out during the next three months, and "sleeps again!"
Perhaps the author cited is one of those, who, shunning the practice of the world, have taught the world to shun return! whose poetry is too finely spun, whose philosophy is too and mystified for popular demand: perhaps we have experienced feeling which Mr. Wordsworth alludes to, in a poem worthy of simplicity and loneliness of the sentiment—"Often have I sighed to measure By myself a lonely pleasure; Sighed to think I read a book Only read perhaps by me!"
Samuel Laman Blanchard
None are so easily taken in as the "knowing ones." The knowing one is generally an egregious ninny. The man who loses his last shilling at Doncaster, is no other than he who was sure of winning; who could prove by his betting-book that he must win by backing Chaff against the field. He is a fine specimen of the family of Oldbirds. So is the careful, cautious wight, the original Master Surecard, the man of many savings, who in his old age falls in love with a loan; who dies in prison from the pressure of foreign bonds, or drowns himself in the new canal by way of securing what he calls his share. The genuine old bird is a pigeon.
There is an instinct that leads a listener to be very sparing of credence when a fact is communicated; it doesn't ring well in his ears—it has too much or too little gloss; he receives it with a shrug, and passes it on with a huge notch in it to show how justly it is entitled to suspicion; he is not to be imposed upon by a piece of truth. But give him a fable fresh from the mint of the Mendacity Society—an on dit of the first water—and he will not only make affidavit of its truth, but will call any man out who ventures to dispute its authenticity.
Samuel Laman Blanchard
He never wrote up to the full mark of his powers; the fountain never rose to the level of its source. But in our day the professional man of letters is compelled to draw too frequently, and by too small disbursements, upon his capital, to allow large and profitable investments of the stock of mind and idea, with which he commences his career. The number and variety of our periodicals have tended to results which benefit the pecuniary interests of the author, to the prejudice of his substantial fame. ...There is a fatal facility in supplying the wants of the week by the rapid striking off a pleasant article, which interferes with the steady progress, even with the mature conception of an elaborate work
Blanchard Samuel Laman
The ancient gentleman who has seen the world, who is profoundly experienced, and much too deep to be the dupe of an age so shallow as this, is to be won by an admiring glance at the brilliancy of his knee-buckle; praise his very pigtail, and you may lead him by it.


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