George Borrow - The Man and His Books
by Edward Thomas
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Just after he was seventy, in 1874, the year of Jasper Petulengro's death, Borrow left London for Oulton. He was no longer the walker and winter bather of a year or two before, but was frequently at lodgings in Norwich, and seen and noted as he walked in the streets or sat in the "Norfolk." At Oulton he was much alone and was to be heard "by startled rowers on the lake" chanting verses after his fashion. His remarkable appearance, his solitariness in the neglected house and tangled garden, his conversation with Gypsies whom he allowed to camp on his land, created something of a legend. Children called after him "Gypsy!" or "Witch!" {316} Towards the end he was joined at Oulton by his stepdaughter and her husband, Dr. MacOubrey. In 1879 he was too feeble to walk a few hundred yards, and furious with a man who asked his age. In 1880 he made his will. On July 26, 1881, when he was left entirely alone for the day, he died, after having expected death for some time. He was taken to West Brompton to be buried in that cemetery beside his wife.


In his introduction to "The Romany Rye," {317} Hindes Groome gave a long list of Romany Ryes to show that Borrow was neither the only one nor the first. He went on to say that there must have been over a dozen Englishmen, in 1874, with a greater knowledge of the Anglo-Gypsy dialect than Borrow showed in "Romano Lavo-Lil." He added that Borrow's knowledge "of the strange history of the Gypsies was very elementary, of their manners almost more so, and of their folk-lore practically nil." And yet, he concluded, he "would put George Borrow above every other writer on the Gypsies. . . . He communicates a subtle insight into Gypsydom that is totally wanting in the works—mainly philological—of Pott, Liebich . . . and their confreres." Hindes Groome was speaking, too, from the point of view of a Romany student, not of a critic of human literature. In the same way Borrow stands above other English writers on Spain and Wales, for the insight and life that are lacking in the works of the authorities.

As a master of the living word, Borrow's place is high, and it is unnecessary to make other claims for him. He was a wilful roamer in literature and the world, who attained to no mastery except over words. If there were many Romany Ryes before Borrow, as there were great men before Agamemnon, there was not another Borrow, as there was not another Homer.

He sings himself. He creates a wild Spain, a wild England, a wild Wales, and in them places himself, the Gypsies, and other wildish men, and himself again. His outstanding character, his ways and gestures, irresistible even when offensive, hold us while he is in our presence. In these repressed indoor days, we like a swaggering man who does justice to the size of the planet. We run after biographies of extraordinary monarchs, poets, bandits, prostitutes, and see in them magnificent expansions of our fragmentary, undeveloped, or mistaken selves. We love strange mighty men, especially when they are dead and can no longer rob us of property, sleep, or life: we can handle the great hero or blackguard by the fireside as easily as a cat. Borrow, as his books portray him, is admirably fitted to be our hero. He stood six-feet-two and was so finely made that, in spite of his own statement which could not be less than true, others have declared him six-feet-three and six- feet-four. He could box, ride, walk, swim, and endure hardship. He was adventurous. He was solitary. He was opinionated and a bully. He was mysterious: he impressed all and puzzled many. He spoke thirty languages and translated their poetry into verse.

Moreover, he ran away. He ran away from school as a boy. He ran away from London as a youth. He ran away from England as a man. He ran away from West Brompton as an old man, to the Gypsyries of London. He went out into the wilderness and he savoured of it. His running away from London has something grand and allegorical about it. It reminds me of the Welshman on London Bridge, carrying a hazel stick which a strange old man recognised as coming from Craig-y-Dinas, and at the old man's bidding he went to Craig-y-Dinas and to the cave in it, and found Arthur and his knights sleeping and a great treasure buried. . .

{picture: The Gipsyrie at Battersea. Photo: W. J. Roberts: page318.jpg}

In these days when it is a remarkable thing if an author has his pocket picked, or narrowly escapes being in a ship that is wrecked, or takes poison when he is young, even the outline of Borrow's life is attractive. Like Byron, Ben Jonson, and Chaucer, he reminds us that an author is not bound to be a nun with a beard. He depicts himself continually, at all ages, and in all conditions of pathos or pride. Other human beings, with few exceptions, he depicts only in relation to himself. He never follows men and women here and there, but reveals them in one or two concentrated hours; and either he admires or he dislikes, and there is no mistaking it. Thus his humour is limited by his egoism, which leads him into extravagance, either to his own advantage or to the disadvantage of his enemies.

He kept good company from his youth up. Wistful or fancifully envious admiration for the fortunate simple yeomen, or careless poor men, or noble savages, or untradesmanlike fishermen, or unromanized Germani, or animals who do not fret about their souls, admiration for those in any class who are not for the fashion of these days, is a deep-seated and ancient sentiment, akin to the sentiment for childhood and the golden age. Borrow met a hundred men fit to awaken and satisfy this admiration in an age when thousands can over-eat and over-dress in comfort all the days of their life. Sometimes he shows that he himself admires in this way, but more often he mingles with them as one almost on an equality with them, though his melancholy or his book knowledge is at times something of a foil. He introduces us to fighting men, jockeys, thieves, and ratcatchers, without our running any risk of contamination. Above all, he introduces us to the Gypsies, people who are either young and beautiful or strong, or else witch-like in a fierce old age.

Izaak Walton heard the Gypsies talking under the honeysuckle hedge at Waltham, and the beggar virgin singing:

"Bright shines the sun, play, beggars play! Here's scraps enough to serve to-day."

Glanvill told of the poor Oxford scholar who went away with the Gypsies and learnt their "traditional kind of learning," and meant soon to leave them and give the world an account of what he had learned. Men like George Morland have lived for a time with Gypsies. Matthew Arnold elaborated Glanvill's tale in a sweet Oxford strain. All these things delight us. Some day we shall be pleased even with the Gypsy's carrion- eating and thieving, "those habits of the Gypsy, shocking to the moralist and sanitarian, and disgusting to the person of delicate stomach," which please Mr. W. H. Hudson "rather than the romance and poetry which the scholar-Gypsy enthusiasts are fond of reading into him." Borrow's Gypsies are wild and uncoddled and without sordidness, and will not soon be superseded. They are painted with a lively if ideal colouring, and they live only in his books. They will not be seen again until the day of Jefferies' wild England, "after London," shall come, and tents are pitched amidst the ruins of palaces that had displaced earlier tents. Borrow's England is the old England of Fielding, painted with more intensity because even as Borrow was travelling the change was far advanced, and when he was writing had been fulfilled. And now most people have to keep off the grass, except in remotest parts or in the neighbourhood of large towns where landowners are, to some extent, kept in their place. The rivers, the very roads, are not ours, as they were Borrow's. We go out to look for them still, and of those who adventure with caravan, tent, or knapsack, the majority must be consciously under Borrow's influence.

Yet he was no mere lover and praiser of old times. His London in 1825 is more romantic than the later London of more deliberate romances: he found it romantic; he did not merely think it would be so if only we could see it. He loved the old and the wild too well to deface his feeling by more than an occasional comparison with the new and the refined, and these comparisons are not effective.

He is best when he is without apparent design. As a rule if he has a design it is too obvious: he exaggerates, uses the old-fashioned trick of re-appearance and recognition, or breaks out into heavy eloquence of description or meditation. These things show up because he is the most "natural" of writers. His style is a modification of the style of his age, and is without the consistent personal quality of other vigorous men's, like Hazlitt or Cobbett. Perhaps English became a foreign language like his other thirty. Thus his books have no professional air, and they create without difficulty the illusion of reality. This lack of a literary manner, this appearance of writing like everybody else in his day, combines, with his character and habits, to endear him to a generation that has had its Pater and may find Stevenson too silky.

More than most authors Borrow appears greater than his books, though he is their offspring. It is one of his great achievements to have made his books bring forth this lusty and mysterious figure which moves to and fro in all of them, worthy of the finest scenes and making the duller ones acceptable. He is not greater than his books in the sense that he is greater than the sum of them: as a writer he made the most out of his life. But in the flesh he was a fine figure of a man, and what he wrote has added something, swelling him to more than human proportions, stranger and more heroical. So we come to admire him as a rare specimen of the genus homo, who had among other faculties that of writing English; and at last we have him armed with a pen that is mightier than a sword, but with a sword as well, and what he writes acquires a mythical value. Should his writing ever lose the power to evoke this figure, it might suffer heavily. We to-day have many temptations to over praise him, because he is a Great Man, a big truculent outdoor wizard, who comes to our doors with a marvellous company of Gypsies and fellows whose like we shall never see again and could not invent. When we have used the impulse he may give us towards a ruder liberty, he may be neglected; but I cannot believe that things so much alive as many and many a page of Borrow will ever die.




"New Monthly Magazine," Vol. 7: "The Diver, a Ballad translated from the German," by G. O. B.

"Monthly Magazine," Vol. 56: "Ode to a Mountain Torrent," from the German of Stolberg; "Death," from the Swedish of J. C. Lohmann; "Mountain Song," from the German of Schiller; "Danish Poetry and Ballad Writing," with a translation of "Skion Middel"; "Lenora," a new translation from the German, in the metre of the original; "Chloe," from the Dutch of Johannes Bellamy; "Sea-Song," from the Danish of Evald; "The Erl-King, from the German of Goethe; signed "George Olaus Borrow."


"Monthly Magazine," Vol. 57: "Bernard's Address to his Army," a ballad from the Spanish; "The Singing Mariner," a ballad from the Spanish; "The French Princess," a ballad from the Spanish; "The Nightingale," translated from the Danish; signed, all but the last, "George Olaus Borrow."

"Monthly Magazine," Vol. 58: "Danish Traditions and Superstitions"; "War- Song," written when the French invaded Spain, translated from the Spanish of Vincente, by George Olaus Borrow; "Danish Songs and Ballads," No. 1, Bear Song, by "B."

"Universal Review," Vols. 1 and 2, May, June, Sept, Nov.: Unsigned reviews by Borrow.


"Monthly Magazine," Vol. 58: "Danish Traditions and Superstitions."

"Monthly Magazine," Vol. 59: "Danish Traditions and Superstitions," in five parts; "The Deceived Merman," from the Danish, by "G. B."

"Monthly Magazine," Vol. 60: "Danish Traditions and Superstitions," in two parts.

"Universal Review," Vol. 2, Jan.: Unsigned reviews by Borrow.

"Celebrated Trials, and Remarkable Cases of Criminal Jurisprudence, from the earliest records to the year 1825." 6 vols. Knight and Lacey, Paternoster Row.

"Faustus: His Life, Death, and Descent into Hell," translated from the German. London, Simpkin and Marshall.


"Romantic Ballads," translated from the Danish: and miscellaneous pieces, by George Borrow. Norwich, S. Wilkin, Upper-Haymarket. Other copies printed by S. Wilkin, published by John Taylor, London.


"Memoirs of Vidocq," principal agent of the French police until 1827, and now proprietor of the paper manufactory at St. Mande. Written by himself. Translated from the French [by Borrow?]. 4 vols. London, Whittaker, Treacher and Arnot, Ave Maria Lane.


"Foreign Quarterly Review," Vol. 6, June. [Sixteen translations from the Danish by Borrow, in an article by John Bowring.]


"Norfolk Chronicle," August 18: On the origin of the word "Tory," by George Borrow.


"El Evangelio segun San Lucas traducido del Latin al Mexicano . . ." Londres, Impreso por Samuel Bagster. [Corrected for the press by Borrow.]


"Targum, or Metrical Translations from Thirty Languages and Dialects," by George Borrow. St. Petersburg, Schulz and Beneze.

"The Talisman," from the Russian of Alexander Pushkin, with other pieces. St. Petersburg, Schulz and Beneze. [Translated by Borrow.]

"Mousei echen Isus Gheristos i tuta puha itche ghese." St. Petersburg, Schulz and Beneze. [Edited by Borrow.]


"Athenaeum," August 20: "The Gypsies of Russia and Spain." [Unsigned.]

"Athenaeum," March 5. Review of "Targum," and of Borrow's edition of the "Manchu Bible," by John P. Hasfeldt,


"El Nuevo Testamento, traducido al Espanol. . . ." Madrid, D. Joaquin de la Barrera. Edited by Borrow.

"Embeo e Majaro Lucas. . . . El Evangelio segun S. Lucas, traducido al Romani, o dialecto de los Gitanos de Espana." Madrid. [Translated by Borrow, "in Badajoz, in the winter of 1836."]


"Evangelioa San Lucasen Guissan. El Evangelio segun S. Lucas, traducido al Vascuence." Madrid, Gompania Tipografica. [Edited by Borrow.]


"The Zincali, or An Account of the Gypsies of Spain, with an original collection of their songs, and a copious dictionary of their language." By George Borrow, late Agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society. In 2 vols. London, John Murray.


"Athenaeum," April and May; Review of "The Zincali."

"Blackwood," September; Review of "The Zincali."

"Monthly Review," May; Review of "The Zincali."

"Westminster Review," May; Review of "The Zincali," by John Bowring.

"British and Foreign Review," June. Review of "The Zincali," by Richard Ford.

"Excursions Along the Shores of the Mediterranean," by Col. E. H. D. Elers Napier.

"Gypsies," by Samuel Roberts. 5th edition. (Letter by Borrow.)

"The Bible in Spain, or the Journeys, Adventures, and Imprisonments of an Englishman, in an attempt to circulate the Scriptures in the Peninsula," by George Borrow. In 3 vols. London, John Murray.

"Athenaeum," December; Review of "The Bible in Spain."

"Quarterly," December; Review of "The Bible in Spain."

"Spectator," December; Review of "The Bible in Spain."


"The Zincali." Second edition, with preface dated March 1, 1843.

"Memoirs of William Taylor," by J. W. Robberds.

"Edinburgh Review," February; review of "The Bible in Spain," by Richard Ford.

"Dublin Review," May; review of "The Bible in Spain."

"Tait's Edinburgh Review," February, March; review of "The Bible in Spain."


"Lavengro: the Scholar—the Gypsy—the Priest," by George Borrow. In 3 vols. London, John Murray. Portrait by Henry Wyndham Phillips.

"Athenaeum," February; review of "Lavengro."

"Blackwood," March; review of "Lavengro."

"Fraser," March; review of "Lavengro."

"New Monthly Magazine," March; review of "Lavengro," by W. H. Ainsworth.

"New Monthly Magazine," April; review of "Lavengro," by T. Gordon Hake.

"Tait's Edinburgh Magazine," May; review of "Lavengro," by William Bodham Donne.

"Britannia," April 26; review of "Lavengro."


"Hungary in 1851; with an Experience of the Austrian Police," by Charles L. Brace.


"The Romany Rye," a sequel to "Lavengro," by George Borrow. In 2 vols. London, John Murray.

"Quarterly Review"; review of "Lavengro," by Whitwell Elwin.

"Saturday Review," May 23; review of "Lavengro."

"Athenaeum," May 23; review of "Lavengro."


"History of the British and Foreign Bible Society," by George Browne.


"The Sleeping Bard, or Visions of the World, Death, and Hell," by Elis Wyn. Translated from the Cambrian British by George Borrow. London, John Murray.


"Quarterly Review," January: "The Welsh and their Literature," by George Borrow.


"Wild Wales: its People, Language, and Scenery," by George Borrow. 3 vols. London, John Murray.

"Spectator," December; review of "Wild Wales."

"Once a Week," Vol. 6: "Ballads of the Isle of Man,"—"Brown William," and "Mollie Charane." "Russian Popular Tales"—"Emelian the Fool," "The Story of Yvashka with the Bear's Ear," and "The Story of Tim." Vol. 7: "Harold Harfagr." [Translations by Borrow.]


"Once a Week," Vol. 8: "The Count of Vendel's Daughter." Vol. 9: "The Hail-Storm, or the Death of Bui." [Translations by Borrow.]

"The Cornhill Magazine," January; review of "Wild Wales."


"Romany Rye," 3rd edition, with note by Borrow.


"Romano Lavo-Lil: Word-Book of the Romany, or English Gypsy Language. With many pieces in Gypsy, illustrative of the way of thinking of the English Gypsies: with specimens of their poetry, and an account of certain gypsyries or places inhabited by them, and of various things relating to Gypsy life in England." By George Borrow. London, John Murray.

"Athenaeum," April 25; review of "Romano Lavo-Lil."

"Academy," June 13; review of "Romano Lavo-Lil," by F. Hindes Groome.


"Correspondence and Table Talk of B. R. Haydon."


"Autobiography of Harriet Martineau."


"In Gypsy Tents," by F. Hindes Groome.


"Athenaeum," August 6, article by Whitwell Elwin.

"Athenaeum," August 13, article by A. Egmont Hake.

"Athenaeum," September 3 and 10, articles by Theodore Watts.

"Macmillan's Magazine," November, articles by A. Egmont Hake.


"Memories of Old Friends," by Caroline Fox.


"East Anglican Handbook," article by Charles Mackie.

"East Anglia," by J. Ewing Ritchie.

"The Red Dragon, the National Magazine of Wales." Vol. 3. "George Borrow in Wales," by Tal-a-hen.


"The Turkish Jester; or, The Pleasantries of Cogia Nasr Eddin Effendi." Translated from the Turkish by George Borrow. Ipswich, W. Webber.


"Ecrivains modernes de l'Angleterre," par Emile Montegut.


"Macmillan's Magazine," article by George Saintsbury.


"Obiter Dicta," by Augustine Birrell. [2nd Series.]

"Epoch (U.S.A.)" article by Julian Hawthorne.


"Athenaeum," March 17, article by Theodore Watts.

"Reflector," Jan. 8, article by Augustine Birrell.

"La Critique Scientifique," by Emile Hennequin. Paris.


"The Death of Balder." Translated from the Danish of Evald, by George Borrow. Norwich. London, Jarrold and Son.

"Letters and Literary Remains of Edward Fitzgerald."

"Journal of Gypsy Lore Society," Vol. 1, article by Rev. Wentworth Webster.

"Bible in Spain," with biographical introduction by G. T. Bettany, London: Ward, Lock.


"Views and Reviews," by W. E. Henley.

"Essays in English Literature," by G. Saintsbury.


"A Publisher and his Friends," by Samuel Smiles.


"Eastern Daily Press," September 17, 19, 22.

"Eastern Daily Press," October 1.

"Bohemes et Gypsies" (translation of parts of "Lavengro," with biographical sketch by H. Duclos. Paris).

"Memoirs of Eighty Years," by Thomas Gordon Hake.


"Bookman," February, article by F. Hindes Groome.

"Athenaeum," July 8, article by Augustus Jessopp.

"Athenaeum," July 22, article by A. W. Upcher.

"Lavengro," with introduction by Theodore Watts. London, Ward, Lock.

"Memoirs," by C. G. Leland.


"Letters of Edward Fitzgerald," edited by W. Aldis Wright.

"Life of Frances Power Cobbe," by herself.


"Journals and Correspondence of Lady Eastlake," edited by C. E. Smith.

"Good Words," February, article by John Murray.


"George Borrow in East Anglia," by W. A. Dutt.

"Lavengro," with introduction by Augustine Birrell; illustrated by E. J. Sullivan. London, Macmillan.

"Bible in Spain," with notes and glossary by Ulick Ralph Burke. London, Murray.

"Globe," July 21. "Vestiges of George Borrow: some Personal Reminiscences."


"Bible Society Reporter," July.

"Life, Writings, and Correspondence of George Borrow," derived from official and other authentic sources, by William I. Knapp, with portrait and illustrations. 2 vols. London, John Murray.

"Athenaeum," March 25; review of W. I. Knapp's "Life of Borrow," by Theodore Watts-Dunton.

"Bookman," May; review of Knapp, by F. Hindes Groome.


"Lavengro." A new edition, containing the unaltered text of the original issue; some suppressed episodes; MS. variorum, vocabulary and notes. By the author of "The Life of George Borrow." Definitive edition. London, John Murray.

"Lavengro," illustrated by C. A. Shepperson, with introduction by C. E. Beckett.

"The Romany Rye." A new edition, containing the unaltered text of the original issue; some suppressed episodes; MS. variorum, vocabulary and notes. By the author of "The Life of George Borrow." Definitive edition. London, John Murray.

"The Romany Rye," with a defence of George Borrow, by Theodore Watts-Dunton.

"Daily Chronicle," April 30, 1900, article by Augustus Jessopp.


"More Letters of Edward Fitzgerald," edited by W. Aldis Wright.

"Archiv, N. S.," July; "George Borrow," by Georg Herzfeld. Berlin.

"Isopel Berners," edited by Thomas Seccombe. [Passages arranged from "Lavengro" and "The Romany Rye."]

"Lavengro," edited by F. Hindes Groome.


"Bookman," February; "George Borrow, his Homes and Haunts," by Thomas Seccombe.

"Some 18th Century Men of Letters," by Whitwell Elwin, edited by Warwick Elwin.


"The Romany Rye," edited by John Sampson.


"Story of the Bible Society," by William Canton.

"Gypsy Stories from 'The Bible in Spain,'" edited by W. H. D. Rouse.

"Stories of Antonio and Benedict Mol," edited by W. H. D. Rouse.

"Lavengro," illustrated by Claude Shepperson.


"The Letters of Richard Ford," edited by R. E. Prothero.

"William Bodham Donne and his Friends," by Catherine B. Johnson.

"Selections from George Borrow." London, Arnold.

"Spanish Influence on English Literature," by Martin A. S. Hume.


"Lavengro," edited by Thomas Seccombe. (Everyman Library.)

"Wild Wales," edited by Theodore Watts-Dunton. (Everyman Library.)

"The Bible in Spain," edited by Edward Thomas. (Everyman Library.)

"Charles Godfred Leland," by Elizabeth Robins Pennell.

"The Vagabond in Literature," by Arthur Rickett.


"Immortal Memories," by Clement Shorter.

"The Literature of Roguery," by Frank W. Chandler.


"George Borrow: the Man and his Work," by R. A. J. Walling.

"The Annals of Willenhall," by Frederick William Hackwood.

"The Bible in the World," July; "Footprints of George Borrow," by A. G. Jayne.


"The Border Magazine," March, April: "George Borrow and the Borders," by J. Pringle.

"Annals of the Harford family."


"The Little Guide to Staffordshire," by Charles Masefield (s.v. Willenhall and Bushbury).

"Y Cymmrodor" (Journal of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion): "Journal of Borrow's Second Tour in Wales," with notes by T. C. Cantrill and J. Pringle.

"Gypsy Lore." Vol. 3 (New Series): article on Borrow's "Gypsies," by T. W. Thompson.

"George Borrow," by Bernhard Blaesing. Berlin.


"Letters of George Borrow to the Bible Society," edited by T. H. Darlow.

"Post Liminium," by Lionel Johnson.


"The Life of George Borrow," compiled from unpublished official documents, his works, correspondence, etc. By Herbert Jenkins, with a frontispiece and 12 other illustrations. London, John Murray.

"Nation," review of above, Feb. 17.

"New Age," review of above, by T. W. Thompson, March.


"Adventures of Captain Singleton, The," pp. 43-44, 51.

"Athenaeum, The," pp. 35, 166, 209-10, 218, 221, 310.

Barbauld, Mrs., p. 68.

Benson, A. C., p. 209.

Berners, Isopel, pp. 34, 50, 93, 220. See also ROMANY RYE—Characters.

Berwick-upon-Tweed, p. 3.

BIBLE IN SPAIN, THE, general references, pp. 6, 10, 11, 28, 32, 111, 113, 147. studied in detail, pp. 162-199. autobiographical basis of, p. 112. characters of, pp. 181-191: Benedict Mol, pp. 181-188; Antonio, pp. 190-191; Abarbanel, p. 189; Francisco, pp. 152-154. materials of, pp. 6, 32, 163, 164, 169, 213. style, pp. 168, 192-199: faults, p. 195; biblical touches, p. 196; dialogue, pp. 196-199; foreign words, pp. 197, 198-199. quotations from, pp. 173-176, 177, 179-180, 193, 197-198. contemporary and other criticisms of:—pp. 16, 35-36, 148, 166, 198.

British and Foreign Bible Society, the, pp. 14, 125, 126-127, 139-140, 144; for Borrow's letters to the Society, see "Letters."

Blackheath, pp. 92, 96.

Borrow, Ann, pp. 55, 61, 81, 112, 133, 144, 201, 208, 210, 231, 272.

Borrow, John Thomas, pp. 55-56, 85, 105, 133, 215, 231.


(i) LIFE:—

parentage, pp. 55-56. birth, pp. 2, 56. his name, pp. 2-4. travelling with his father's regiment, pp. 56-57. at Pett, pp. 21, 56. at Hythe, pp. 22, 56. at Canterbury, p. 56. at Dereham, pp. 56, 57. at Norman Cross, and first meeting with Gypsies, p. 57. at school at Dereham, Huddersfield and Edinburgh, p. 57; at Norwich Grammar School, p. 59; at the Protestant Academy, Clonmel, pp. 59-60; again at Norwich Grammar School, pp. 60, 61-64. plays truant, pp. 13, 64. breakdown in health at sixteen, pp. 32, 65. articled to a solicitor at Norwich, p. 65. frequents Taylor's circle, pp. 66-72. reads in the library of Norwich guildhall, p. 73. publishes translations, pp. 73-80. has another illness, p. 81. goes to London, p. 81. compiles "Celebrated Trials" and publishes translations and articles, p. 85. ill again: leaves London and begins wandering, p. 96. poisoned by Mrs. Herne, p. 70; meets Isopel Berners, id. at Norwich in 1826, p. 112; in London in same year, id. at Norwich in 1827, p. 113. in London in 1829 and 1830, id. at Norwich in 1830, p. 117. meets Mrs. Clarke, 1832, p. 125. interview with the Bible Society in same year, id. sent to St. Petersburg, July, 1833, pp. 130-131. travels to Novgorod and Moscow, p. 133. leaves Russia in 1835, p. 133. after a month in England, sails for Lisbon in November, 1835, p. 134. crosses into Spain early in 1836, reaches Madrid, and returns to London in October, p. 135. returns to Spain at the end of a month, p. 137. quarrels with the Society, and is recalled in 1838, pp. 140-141. returns to Spain at end of the same year, p. 141. journeys to Tangier and Barbary in 1839, p. 143. becomes engaged to Mrs. Clarke, p. 144. leaves Spain finally in April, 1840, p. 145. marries Mrs. Clarke, id. settles at Oulton, p. 147. publication of "The Zincali" in 1841, p. 147. publication of "The Bible in Spain" in 1842, p. 166. re-editions and translations of "The Bible in Spain," p. 200. his fame and popularity, id. is not made a J.P., p. 201. restless and unsatisfied, p. 202. travels again in 1844, p. 203. settles in England, p. 204. writes "Lavengro," p. 205. publication of "Lavengro" in 1851, p. 212. moves to Yarmouth in 1853, p. 207. publication of "The Romany Rye" delayed, p. 212. his annoyance at the criticisms of "Lavengro," pp. 212, 253-254. tours in Cornwall in 1853, p. 264. in Wales in 1854, pp. 265-268. in the Isle of Man in 1855, pp. 268-269. in Wales in 1857, pp. 269-272. in Scotland in 1858, pp. 272-273. settles in London in 1860, p. 273. visits Ireland in 1860, p. 273. publication of "Wild Wales" in 1862, p. 275. in Scotland and Ireland in 1866, p. 273. in Sussex and Hampshire in 1868, p. 274. meets Leland in 1870, pp. 308-309. publication of "Romano Lavo-Lil" in 1874, p. 309. anecdotes of Borrow aetat. 60-70, pp. 312-315. leaves London and goes to Oulton in 1874, p. 315. is often in Norwich, id. death in 1881, p. 316.


appearance, pp. 55, 56, 61, 70, 105-106 (at twenty-two), 201-202 (at forty), 308 (at eighty). portraits, pp. 105, 112, 204. manners, pp. 170-172. habits as a child, pp. 56, 60. self-centred, p. 1; reserved and solitary, p. 70; melancholy, pp. 85, 110, 112, 117; mysterious and impressive, pp. 12-13, 19, 167; sensitive, p. 86 attacks of "horrors," pp. 34, 98, 117 sqq., 131. surly and ill-tempered in middle life, pp. 208, 209. kindness to animals, pp. 210-211. passion for horses, pp. 60, 107-109, 192, 203. dislike of smoking, pp. 116, 315; and other prejudices, pp. 297-298. attitude towards vagrants and criminals, pp. 258-263. patriotism, pp. 214, 227-228. religious belief, pp. 24, 30-31, 33, 50, 56-57, 71, 81, 114, 122-123, 126, 127-129, 168-169, 175, 218, 242, 299-300. his memory, pp. 29-30, 70, 75.


collection and choice of material, pp. 20, 163-165, 218. personality and observation, p. 148. descriptive power, pp. 173-180. vocabulary, pp. 226, 242. use of the marvellous and supernatural, p. 85. treatment of facts, pp. 2, 5, 12-13, 25, 27, 32, 35, 36, 39, 50-51, 93, 94, 95, 180, 188, 228-229. use of dramatic re-appearances, pp. 11, 93, 185, 189-190, 229-230, 233, 254, 321. love of mystery and romance, pp. 12, 193-194, 196, 217-218, 227, 320, 321. final estimate, pp. 317-322.


his imagination stimulated by Danish relics, p. 23. his reading, pp. 40-51, 77-79, 85. character of his early work, pp. 74-75, 77, 79-80, 117.


Latin, pp. 57, 60; Greek, pp. 60, 61; Irish, pp. 60, 65; French, p. 62; Italian, id.; Spanish, id.; Gypsy, pp. 64, 137-138, 236; Welsh, pp. 65, 267-268; Danish, p. 65; Hebrew, p. 65; Arabic, pp. 65, 113; Armenian, pp. 65, 98, 103; German, p. 70; Portuguese, p. 70; Old English, p. 73; Old Norse, p. 73; Swedish, p. 73; Dutch, p. 73; Persian, pp. 113, 204; Manchu-Tartar, pp. 125, 129; Russian, pp. 131-132; Manx, pp. 268- 269: Translations from Welsh, pp. 73, 75, 114; from Danish, pp. 73, 75; from German, pp. 73, 75, from Swedish, p. 73; from Dutch, p. 73; from Gypsy, pp. 79-80; from Russian, pp. 131-132; from Manx, p. 269; from "thirty languages," pp. 79, 114.


general references, pp. 1, 6, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 28, 51, 53-54. as a child, p. 56. as a missionary, p. 128. in "The Zincali," pp. 149-154. in "The Bible in Spain," pp. 173, 188, 192, 194-195. in "Lavengro," pp. 213-215. in "The Romany Rye," pp. 255-256, 256-257. in "Wild Wales," pp. 297-301.

Borrow, Mary, pp. 147, 166, 273, 274.

Borrow, Thomas, pp. 24, 61-62, 70, 201, 231. early life and marriage, p. 25. at Norwich, pp. 24, 61-62, 70. death, p. 81.

Bowring, J., pp. 71-72, 113, 207, 212, 269.

Brooke, J., p. 62.

Bunyan, J., p. 41.

Burton, R., pp. 188-189.

Byron, Ld., pp. 41, 80, 91, 205.

Carlyle, J., p. 68.

"Catholic Times, The," p. 242.

"Celebrated Trials," pp. 40, 62, 79, 84.

Clarke, Henrietta, pp. 126, 143, 145, 207, 267, 273, 316.

Clarke, Mary, pp. 14, 125, 126, 133, 143-144, 145: See also Borrow Mary.

Cobbe, F. P., pp. 312-313.

Cobbett, W., pp. 47-50, 164.

Cowper, W., pp 24, 26.

"Dairyman's Daughter, the," pp. 81-84.

Darlow, T. H., pp. 163, 164.

Defoe, D., pp. 41, 43-44, 54, 250.

De Quincey, T., pp. 44, 51.

Donne, W. B., p. 36.

Dutt, W. A., p. 205.

East Dereham, pp. 2, 26, 30.

Eastlake, Lady, p. 201.

"Edinburgh Review, The," pp. 148, 198, 203.

"Elvir Hill," p. 3.

Elwin, W., pp. 36, 252, 253, 314.

"English Rogue, The," p. 44.

"Examiner, The," p. 166.

Fitzgerald, E., pp. 209, 311.

Flamson, p. 207.

Ford, R., pp. 14, 19, 20, 26, 28, 29, 44, 148, 165, 166-167, 197, 198, 202, 203, 207, 213, 253.

Fox, Caroline, p. 201.

"Fraser's Magazine," pp. 35-36.

Giraldus Cambrensis, pp. 276-277.

"Gil Blas," pp. 16, 189.

Goethe, p. 74.

Groome, F. Hindes, pp. 221, 314, 317.

Gurney, A., p. 210.

Gypsies, pp. 2, 6-10, 12-13, 17-19, 45-46, 57, 64, 97, 132-133, 135-138, 142-143, 148-149, 152, 154, 170, 197-198, 219, 221-226, 234-242, 261-262, 273-274, 309-311, 314-315, 319-320.

"Gypsies of Spain, The," see "Zincali, The."

"Gypsy Lore" (article by T. W. Thompson), p. 2.

Haggart, David, pp. 57-59.

Hake, A. E., pp. 313, 314.

Hake, G., p. 208.

Hardy, T., p. 68.

"Hayward, S. D., The Life of," pp. 88-90.

Hazlitt, W., p. 66.

Hudson, W. H., p. 320.

Jefferies, R., pp. 3, 23, 320.

"Joseph Sell," pp. 92-95, 99.

Keats, J., p, 80.

Knapp, W. I., pp. 2, 6, 13, 29-30, 31-32, 36, 37, 39, 40, 52, 59, 64, 71, 72, 73, 92, 93, 95, 112, 113, 136, 138, 140, 181, 188, 203-204, 206-207, 210, 212, 234, 265, 268, 269, 273, 307.

Lamb, C., p. 198.

LAVENGRO, general references, p. 14, 19-20, 28, 30, 32, 44, 65, 66, 79, 81, 86, 93, 96-98, 123, 147, 189. studied in detail, pp. 212-252. autobiographical basis, pp. 15, 50-51, 52. characters of, pp. 50, 231-244. the publisher, pp. 232-233. the Anglo-Germanist, p. 231. Jasper Petulengro, s.v. and pp. 236-238. see also ROMANY RYE—Characters. materials of, pp. 50, 212-213. style, pp. 21-26, 245-252. occasionally Victorian, pp. 245-246. the vocabulary, pp. 246-247. quotations from, pp. 3-5, 21-26, 32-34, 37-38, 41-43, 86-87, 96, 98- 101, 101-103, 117-122, 213-214, 215-217, 219, 222-224, 224-225, 225-226, 234-236, 245, 258-259, 259-260. contemporary and other criticisms of:—pp. 35, 36, 220, 221, 253.

Leland, C. G., pp. 87-88, 308-309.

Letters of Borrow to the Bible Society, general references, pp. 19, 32, 50, 112, 163-164, 173. quotations from, pp. 128-130, 132-133, 135-136, 140, 144.

Lhuyd's "Archaeologia," p. 277.

"Life, a Drama," pp. 20, 21.

Lockhart, J. G., p. 207.

"Mabinogion, The," p. 277.

Mackintosh, Sir J., p. 66.

Martineau, J., p. 62.

Martineau, H., p. 69.

"Moll Flanders," p. 44.

Montegut, E., p. 253.

"Monthly Magazine, The," pp. 73, 74.

Moore-Carew, B., pp. 45-47.

Morganwg, Iolo, p. 277.

Murray, J., pp. 16, 19, 166, 212.

"My Life: a Drama," p. 19.

Napier, Col., pp. 141-143, 203.

"New Monthly Magazine, The," p. 73.

"Newgate Lives and Trials," see "Celebrated Trials."

"Once a Week," pp. 269, 307.

Opie, A., p. 68.

Oulton, pp. 28, 147, 315.

"Oxford Review, The," see "Universal Review, The."

Perfrement, Ann, p. 55: See also Borrow, Ann.

Peto, Mr., p. 207.

Petulengro, Jasper, pp. 2, 17-20, 26, 57, 64, 92, 315: See also LAVENGRO—Characters.

Phillips, H. W., p. 204.

Phillips, Sir, R., pp. 73, 81, 232.

"Quarterly Review, The," pp. 36, 207, 275-276.

Reynolds, J. H., pp. 90-91.

Ritchie, J. E., p. 71.

Robinson, Crabb, p. 68.

"Robinson Crusoe," pp. 41-43, 44.

"Romantic Ballads," pp. 76, 80, 112.

ROMANO LAVO-LIL, autobiographical anecdote in, pp. 273-274. publication of, pp. 308-309. criticisms of, pp. 309-310. main interest of, pp. 310-311.

ROMANY RYE, THE, general references, pp. 28, 79, 93, 111, 189. studied in detail, pp. 212-252. inferiority to "Lavengro," p. 230. autobiographical basis of, p. 50-51, 52, 112. characters of, pp. 72, 231-244. Flamson, p. 207. the Old Radical, p. 207. Isopel Berners, s.v. and pp. 239-242. the Man in Black, pp. 242-244. materials of, pp. 212-213. style, see under LAVENGRO—Style. quotations from, pp. 107-109, 127-128, 237-238, 238-239, 239-241, 241- 242, 245-246, 247-250, 254, 255-256, 256-257, 260-261, 261-262. contemporary and other criticisms of, pp. 36, 252.

"Saturday Review, The," p. 253.

Scaliger, J., p. 26.

Scott, Sir W., pp. 66, 112.

Seccombe, T., pp. 1, 50, 68, 96, 97, 242-243, 250-251.

"Sleeping Bard, The," pp. 114-116, 275-276.

Smith, Ambrose, pp. 2, 19, 26.

Smollett, J., pp. 41, 250.

"Songs of Scandinavia," p. 113.

Southey, R., pp. 70, 71.

Sterne, L. pp. 41, 54, 250.

Stevenson, R. L., p. 3.

Strickland, A., p. 208.

"Tait's Edinburgh Magazine," p. 36.

"Targum," pp. 79, 114.

Taylor, W., pp. 25, 66-70.

Thurtell, J., pp. 7, 62-64, 233, 258, 259-260.

"Turkish Jester, The," p. 311.

"Universal Review, The," pp. 84, 91.

Vidocq's Memoirs, pp 93-95, 113.

"Vocabulary of the Gypsy Language," p. 203.

Walling, R. A. J., pp. 72, 113, 122, 204, 208, 218, 265.

"Wandering Children and the Benevolent Gentleman, The," p. 13.

Watts-Dunton, T., pp. 51, 93, 122, 206, 220, 314, 315.

Wesley, J., p. 50.

WILD WALES, general references, pp. 65, 123-124. studied in detail, pp. 275-306. autobiographical basis, pp. 113-114. characters of, pp. 284-289. the bard, pp. 284-287. the Irish fiddler, pp. 290-296. materials of, pp. 272, 277. style, pp. 302-306. quotations from, pp. 278-279, 280, 281-283, 283-284, 284-287 288-296, 298, 299-300, 302-303, 304, 305. criticisms of, p. 276.

Wordsworth, W., p. 80.

Yeats, W. B., p. 58.

ZINCALI, THE, general references, pp. 6, in, 144. studied in detail, pp. 147-162. autobiographical basis of, p. 113. characters of, the Gitana of Seville, pp. 156-161. materials of, p. 6, 147-148, 163, 164. style, pp. 155, 156, 162. contemporary and other criticisms of, pp. 35-36, 148. quotations from, p. 6-10, 15-17, 18-19, 137-138, 152-154, 155-156, 156- 161.


{1} Thomas Seccombe; introduction to "Lavengro" (Everyman).

{2} "Gypsy Lore," Jan., 1910.

{3} "Lavengro," Chapter VI.

{13a} Knapp I., 62-4.

{13b} II., 207.

{17a} Good-day.

{17b} Glandered horse.

{17c} Two brothers.

{18a} Christmas, literally Wine-day.

{18b} Irishman or beggar, literally a dirty squalid person.

{18c} Guineas.

{19a} Silver teapots.

{19b} The Gypsy word for a certain town (Norwich).

{30} Suppressed MS. of "Lavengro," quoted in Knapp I., 36.

{31} Knapp I., 25.

{50} "Lavengro."

{68} See "Panthera" in "Time's Laughing Stocks," by Thomas Hardy.

{71a} J. Ewing Ritchie.

{71b} Dr. Knapp, I., 79, connects this question with Captain Borrow's last will and testament, made on Feb. 11, 1822.

{72} "George Borrow: the Man and His Work," 1908.

{75a} Translation published, Norwich, 1825, anonymous.

{75b} Translation published, London, Jarrold & Sons, 1889.

{85} "Romantic Ballads."

{87} "The Gypsies."

{93a} "The Romany Rye," edited by F. Hindes Groome.

{93b} Translated, 1828.

{96} "Isopel Berners."

{97} Knapp, I., 105.

{114} See "Wild Wales," Chapter XXXIII.

{126} Borrow's Letters to the Bible Society: Introduction, p. 2.

{128a} Borrow's Letters to the Bible Society, p. 469.

{128b} Ibid., p. 27.

{128c} Ibid., p. 280.

{128d} Ibid., p. 342.

{129a} Borrow's Letters to the Bible Society, p. 20.

{129b} Ibid., p. 364.

{130} Borrow's Letters to the Bible Society, p. 8.

{132} August 20, 1836.

{137} Wentworth Webster, in "Journal of Gypsy Lore Society."

{139} "Borrow's Letters to the Bible Society," p. 271.

{140} "Borrow's Letters to the Bible Society," p. 334.

{144} Letter to the Bible Society, 25th Nov., 1839.

{148} "Edinburgh Review," February, 1843.

{154} The hostess, Maria Diaz, and her son Juan Jose Lopez, were present when the outcast uttered these prophetic words.

{163a} Edited by T. H. Darlow, Hodder and Stoughton.

{163b} See, e.g., "Bible in Spain," Chapter XIII. "I shall have frequent occasion to mention the Swiss in the course of these Journals . . ."; also the preface.

{163c} Ibid., p. 445.

{173} Borrow's Letters to the Bible Society, p. 391.

{181} Knapp, I., p. 270.

{184} Witch. Ger. Hexe.

{187} Fake.

{201} Egmont Hake; "Athenaeum," 13th August, 1881.

{205} "George Borrow in East Anglia," by W. A. Dutt.

{206} T. Watts-Dunton in "Lavengro" (Minerva Library).

{208} "Memoirs of 80 years," by Gordon Hake.

{209} "Edward Fitzgerald," A. C. Benson.

{210a} "Athenaeum," July, 1893.

{210b} Knapp and W. A. Dutt.

{212} See Chapters II., III., and IV.

{218a} R. A. J. Walling.

{218b} "Athenaeum," 25th March, 1889.

{220} "Lavengro" (Minerva Library).

{221a} "In Gypsy Tents."

{221b} March 25th, 1899.

{242} "Isopel Berners."

{250} "Isopel Berners," edited by Thomas Seccombe.

{270a} Vol. XXII., 1910.

{270b} Merlin's Bridge, on the outskirts of Haverfordwest.

{270c} Merlin's Hill.

{270d} River Daucleddau. The river at Haverfordwest is the Western Cleddau; it joins the Eastern Cleddau about six miles below the town. Both rivers then become known as Daucleddau or the two Cleddaus.

{270e} Borrow means Milford Haven; the swallowing capacities of the Western Cleddau are small.

{270f} North-west.

{271a} Pelcomb Bridge.

{271b} Camrose parish.

{271c} Appropriately known as Tinker's Bank.

{271d} Dr. Knapp was unable to decipher this word. He remarks in a note that the pencillings are much rubbed and almost illegible. We think, however, that the word should be Plumstone, a lofty hill which Borrow would see just before he crossed Pelcomb Bridge.

{271e} This was a low thatched cottage on the St. David's road, half-way up Keeston Hill. A few years ago it was demolished, and a new and more commodious building known as the Hill Arms erected on its site.

{271f} The old inn was kept by the blind woman, whose name was Mrs. Lloyd. Many stories are related of her wonderful cleverness in managing her business, and it is said that no customer was ever able to cheat her with a bad coin. Her blindness was the result of an attack of small-pox when twelve years of age.

{271g} Dr. Knapp's insertion.

{271h} It is doubtful if there was a chapel; no one remembers it.

{272a} Nanny Dallas is a mistake. No such name is remembered by the oldest inhabitants, and it seems certain that the woman Borrow met was Nanny Lawless, who lived at Simpson a short distance away.

{272b} Evan Rees, of Summerhill (a mile south-east of Roch).

{272c} Sger-las and Sger-ddu, two isolated rocky islets off Solva Harbour. The headlands are the numerous prominences which jut out along the north shore of St. Bride's Bay.

{272d} Newgale Bridge.

{272e} Jemmy Raymond. "Remaunt" is the local pronunciation. Jemmy and his ass appear to have been two well-known figures in Roch thirty or forty years ago; the former died about the year 1886.

{272f} Pen-y-cwm.

{272g} Davies the carpenter was undoubtedly the man; he was noted for his stature. Dim-yn-clywed—deaf.

{310} "Athenaeum," 25th April, 1874.

{313} A. Egmont Hake.

{314a} Whitwell Elwin.

{314b} T. Watts-Dunton.

{314c} F. Hindes Groome.

{314d} T. Watts-Dunton.

{314e} Ibid.

{314f} A. Egmont Hake.

{314g} Ibid.

{315} T. Watts-Dunton.

{316} Thomas Seccombe: "Everyman" edition of "Lavengro."

{317} Methuen & Co.


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