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forms by these means his delight was
unbounded, and every spare hour was devoted to
the agreeable task. Here commenced that
intimate acquaintance with flowers, which
seems to pervade all his works. This aunt of
Ebenezer's, (good soul! would that every shy,
gawky Ebenezer had such an aunt!) bent on
completing the charm she had so happily
begun, displayed to him still further her son's
book of dried specimens; and this elated him
beyond measure. He forthwith commenced
a similar collection for himself, for which
purpose he would roam the field still more
than ever, on Sundays as well as week days,
to the interruption of his attendances at
chapel. This book he called his "Dry Flora,"
(Hortus Siccus) and none so proud as he when
neighbours noticed his plants and pictures.
He was not a little pleased to feel himself a
sort of wonder, as he passed through the
village with his plants; and, greedy of praise,
he allowed his acquaintance to believe that
his drawings were at first hard, and made by
himself from nature. "Thompson's Seasons,"
read to him about this time by his brother
Giles, gave him a glimpse of the union of
poetry with natural beauty; and lit up in his
mind an ambition which finally transformed
the illiterate, rugged, half-tutored youth into
the man who wrote "The Village Patriarch,"
and the "Corn Law Rhymes."

From this time he set himself resolutely to
the work of self education. His knowledge
of the English language was meagre in the
extreme; and he succeeded at last only by
making for himself a kind of grammar by
reading and observation, He then tried
French, but his native indolence prevailed,
and he gave it up in despair. He read with
avidity whatever books came in his way; and
a small legacy of books to his father came in
just at the right time. He says he could
never read through a second-rate book, and he
therefore read masterpieces only;–––"after
Milton, then Shakespeare; then Ossian; then
Junius; Paine's 'Common Sense;' Swift's
'Tale of a Tub;' 'Joan of Arc;' Schiller's
'Robbers;' Burger's 'Lenora;' Gibbon's
'Decline and Fall;' and long afterwards,
Tasso, Dante, De Stael, Schlegel, Hazlitt, and
the 'Westminster Review.' " Reading of this
character might have been expected to lead to
something; and was well calculated to make
an extraordinary impression on such a mind
as Elliott's; and we have the fruit of this
course of study in the poetry which from this
tune he began to throw off.

He remained with his father from his
sixteenth to his twenty-third year, working
laboriously without wages, except an occasional
shilling or two for pocket-money. He afterwards
tried business on his own account. He
made two efforts at Sheffield; the last
commencing at the age of forty, and with a
borrowed capital of £150. He describes in his
nervous language the trials and difficulties he
had to contend with; and all these his
imagination embodied for him in one grim and
terrible form, which he christened " Bread
Tax." With this demon he grappled in
desperate energy, and assailed it vigorously with
his caustic rhyme. This training, these
mortifications, these misfortunes, and the demon
"Bread Tax " above all, made Elliott successively
despised, hated, feared, and admired, as
public opinion changed towards him.

Mr. Howitt describes his warehouse as a
dingy, and not very extensive place, heaped
with iron of all sorts, sizes, and forms, with
barely a passage through the chaos of rusty
bars into the inner sanctum, at once, study,
counting-house, library, and general receptacle
of odds and ends connected with his calling.
Here and there, to complete the jumble, were
plaster casts of Shakspeare, Achilles, Ajax,
and Napoleon, suggestive of the presidency of
literature over the materialism of commerce
which marked the career of this singular
being. By dint of great industry he began to
flourish in business, and, at one time, could
make a profit of £20 a-day without moving
from his seat. During this prosperous period
he built a handsome villa-residence in the
suburbs. He now had leisure to brood over
the full force and effect of the Corn Laws.
The subject was earnestly discussed then in
all manufacturing circles of that district.
Reverses now arrived. In 1837 he lost
fully one-third of all his savings, getting
out of the storm at last with about £6000,
which he wrote to Mr. Tait of Edinburgh,
he intended, if possibly to retain. The
palmy days of £20 profits had gone by for
Sheffield, and instead, all was commercial
disaster and distrust. Elliott did well to
retire with what little he had remaining.
In his retreat he was still vividly haunted by
the demon " Bread Tax." This, then, was
the period of the Corn Law Rhymes, and
these bitter experiences lent to them that
tone of sincerity and earnestness–––that fire
and frenzy which they breathed, and which
sent them, hot, burning words of denunciation
and wrath, into the bosoms of the working
classes,–––the toiling millions from whom
Elliott sprang, " Bread Tax," indeed, to him,
was a thing of terrible import and bitter
experience: hence he uses no gentle terms, or
honeyed phrases when dealing with the
obnoxious impost. Sometimes coarse invective,
and angry assertion, take the place of
convincing reason, and calm philosophy. At
others, there is a true vein of poetry and
pathos running through the rather
unpoetic theme, which touches us with its
Wordsworthian feeling and gentleness. Then
he would be found calling down thunders
upon the devoted heads of the monopolists,
with all a fanatic's hearty zeal, and in his
fury he would even pursue them, not merely
through the world, but beyond its dim
frontiers and across the threshold of another
state. Take them, however, as they stand–––
and more vigorous, effective, and startling