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Herbert Croft

1751 - 1816

Chatterton in Love & Madness

Herbert Croft Love and Madness 1780

1780 4th edition

herbert croft
Herbert Croft Love and Madness 1786

Remarks on the Editions:

Love and Madness, when it comes to Chatterton, is a hugely important book. I have examined all of the editions (apart from the 1st) and can say that they all include 'letters' referring to Chatterton and his works.  So many editions and so little time! But we will develop this page as time assuredly moves on. 

This is what we think we know at present:

First, the options:

1. Click an edition below to view the whole book

2. Scroll to the next panel for analysis of the fifth edition.

1780  :  1st edition :  No View yet

Published in London : Although I have not examined a copy of this edition, I have seen a copy for sale online in the past but, I regret there is no link available to view a copy.

1780  :  2 nd? A New edition   :  View

Published in London : 

1780  :  3 rd edition?  :  View

Published in Dublin : Includes 'Memoirs of Miss Ray,' not in the London editions.   

1780  :  4 th edition  :  View

Published in London : 

1786  :  5 th? edition  :  View

Published in London : Has updates to the 4th, so is preferred as the working document; see analysis below.

1809  :  ? edition  :  No View yet

Published in Ipswich : A smaller book with fewer pages than previous editions.  

(I do have a copy, if anyone is desperate for any of the contents then feel free to ask).

Love and Madness 1786, 5th edition.

Analysis of pages related to Chatterton:

View  :   Page126 

  • The first mention of 'Chatterton' in this volume. Four lines only from The Execution of Sir Charles Bawdin (nothing else).

View  :   Pages 141 - 154

  • 141 -142  :  Croft has no doubts that Chatterton wrote the whole.

  • 143 -144  :  Chatterton (min-biography).

  • 144  :  Croft states that Chatterton's father was a schoolmaster and Sexton & that he died 'very soon after, if not before, the birth of his son.'  Chatterton 'who indisputably received no other education than what he picked up at a charity-school at a place called St Augustine's Back in Bristol.  [Croft is wrong on a few points, which you will know having read the other biographies, for example, Chatterton's father was not a Sexton].

  • 144/145  :  Chatterton's letter to the newspaper re the 'Bridge Narrative'

  • 146  :  Croft is sure Chatterton knew Latin: Dunhelmus Bristoliensis.  First mention of Barrett and Catcott 'To these gentlemen he produced, between Oct. 1768, and April 1770...all Rowley's poems, except the "ballad of Charitie.'  Chatterton only produced two 'originals' the rest were all 'transcripts.'

  • 147  :  Barrett and Catcott were not generous to Chatterton or his family.  Mrs Chatterton received £5, Mary had her whitlowed finger cured by Barrett.

  • 148  :  Antiquarian at Cambridge states Chatterton, had he lived, could not have escaped hanging.

  • 149 - 150  :  Chatterton was 'addicted to women, like all youths of strong imaginations'

  • 150/1  :  Chatterton wrote on both sides of the question. Croft quotes from Memoirs of a Sad Dog, "As I know the art of Curlism pretty well,..." signed Harry Wildfire; this is a long piece spread over two monthly sections in the Town and Country magazine: July & August. 

  • 154  :  A few lines from The Story of Canynge.

View  :   Pages 155 - 161

  • 155  :   Croft: "..preserve the false spellings and stops. Let Chatterton's sister tell her own story in her own way." "...forgery. For Chatterton's sake, the English language should add another word to its dictionary."  Croft also mentions song to Aella, & the chorus to Godwin. 


  • 156  :   Macpherson & Ossian. Lady Anne Lindsay & Auld Robin Gray. Quotes son of Sirach ‘When a rich man speaketh, every man holdeth his tongue: and lo! What he says is extolled to the clouds: but if a poor man speak, they say, What fellow is this? Chatterton. Rowley. Catcott. 'Chatterton's father was a bit of a poet.'  Sarah and Mary might have believed ‘that injured Justice demanded their lives at Tyburn, for being the mother and sister of him who was suspected to have forged the poems of Rowley.


  • 157  :  Croft: ‘With regard to the fact, the mother and sister either believe, or pretend to believe, with the pewterer, that all of Rowley’s poems came out of the old chest in the church. The case is, none of the three knows any thing of the matter.’ 

  • 158  :   Junius.                            

  • 159  :   'Psalmanaazar and D’eon are not to be compared with Chatterton.' John the Painter (Aka. James Aitken), hanged for arson in 1777, some observations on Rowley's poems among his papers (according to Croft)?

  • 160/1  :   Mary sent Chatterton a catalogue of the books he had read, to the amount of many hundreds. Astrea Brokage. Town and Country mag Jan 1770.

View  :  Pages 161 - 164

  • [.QE!.]  Mary’s letter to Croft, starts: “Concious, of my own inabilitys to write to a man of letters…” [.QE!.]  E.H.W.Meyerstein states 'I don't know if Croft altered Mrs. Newton's spelling, but in no autograph letter of her's that I have seen is it so illiterate as in this piece justicative of September 22, 1778. The others were supervised, perhaps.'

View  :  Pages 165 - 169

  • 165  :  Croft: " will next read the earliest production of Chatterton [Apostate Will is on page 168]. which I have been able to find [Apostate Will : see p.168 below]. It is transcribed from an old pocketbook in his mother’s possession. It appears to be his first, perhaps his only, copy of it; and is evidently his handwriting. By the date he was eleven years and almost five months old." 

  • [.QE!.] Croft goes on to talk about apologies made by or for two other poets when ‘young.’ He compares Addison’s early work, when he was 27, and Chaulieu, a french, fucking poet at forty. (Yes I know it should be ‘sucking’ and not ‘fucking, but I am convinced it was a play on words by Croft, using the long ‘s’ to his advantage).

  • 166  :  Compares Pope at twelve, Cowley at thirteen.

  • [.QE!.] The idea that Chatterton had no tutor/mentor and that his family had no abilities, runs through various editors/biographers. Basil Cottle calls Sarah a ‘nonentity,’ which is too unfair for words!  Although, it is possible that Basil was using the word ‘nonentity’ to mean ‘not known.’  However, Croft has no excuse with the following: When we read the ode which Pope wrote at twelve and another by Cowley at thirteen, we are apt to suspect a parent, friend, or tutor, of an amiable dishonesty....Suspicions of this nature touch not Chatterton. He knew no tutor, no friend, no parent  at least no parent who could correct or assist him.’  Really? It's time we put the record straight and instead of thinking the worst of Sarah, we look at what she achieved: firstly, she was foremost in Chatterton’s development, having taught him to read and, judging by the letters home, was loved dearly by him! She got him enrolled into Colston's School, which came complete with an apprenticeship; furthermore, according to Mary, he was never two nights together without visiting his family. It is clear to me that Sarah never stopped doting on her son, otherwise why would he continue to visit the family home so regularly.

  • '[Croft] : Chatterton was the Sexton’s son'  [which we know is incorrect]  ...Satire was his fort, if anything can be called his fort, who excelled in every thing he undertook....  And ‘...Catcott has another later poem of Chatterton’s, called, I think, ‘The Exhibition.’ The church here also supplied his indignation with a subject. But, as the satire is rather severe, and the characters are living, Catcott does not permit it to be copied.'

  • 167  :  [.QE!.]  Croft compares Chatterton to Milton because they both had that rare ability of being musical. Mentions The Exhibition.

  • 168/9  :  Apostate Will includes pronunciation tip: The e in key is, I believe, in the Somersetshire pronunciation, a.

View  :  Pages 170 - 179

  • 170  :  Happiness


  • [Croft] Though it may not be next in order of composition, for I shall send you nothing which is already printed.

  • [.QE!.] According to Taylor, the poem misses the last two lines: The Saint and Sinner Fool and Wise attain, An equal Share of Easiness and Pain. Finis.  Catcott in B5315, has curst instead of first (Croft) in line 36, Taylor also has curst p.404.   Catcott also misses out two lines (65 and 66 in T, P.405): Then what avails the anxious spitting Pain, Thy Laugh-provoking Labours all are vain.  [.QE!.]    You can see why Catcott chose to ignore these two lines. 


View  :  Pages (179 - 180)

  •  ​The Resignation


View  :  Pages 181 - 185 

  • (Linked to online edition). Sarah and Mary say that Chatterton's Sunday's were generally spent in walking alone, into the country round Bristol, as far as the day would allow him time to return before night. He never failed to bring home drawings of churches or something which had struck him. That he had a turn for drawing, you will see by the figure of a warrior (perhaps Aella) presenting a church on his knee...[??]. Chatterton's sketch of Beckford's statue [??]...of which an engraving is prefixed to his Miscellanies, and the Town and Country Magazine.  Chatterton had acquired skills in heraldry, architecture, music; astronomy, surgery, &c.  Burgum (I think), taught himself Latin and Greek.

View  :  Pages 186 - 191

  • Catcott’s role in the Rowley / Chatterton story.  Catcott is the man least to be believed. Chatterton believed that genius was no less common to a man and woman, than a pair of eyes or a nose, and asked his sister to improve herself in copying music, drawing, and everything which requires genius.  Chatterton left Bristol for the first time in April 1770, never to return.  Walpole.

View  :   Pages 191 - 193

  • Chatterton’s 1st letter to his Mother, April 26th, 1770 : 'Here I am, safe, and in high spirits’.  TP1064

  • page 193: Walpole.


View  :  Pages 194 - 197

  • Chatterton’s 2nd letter to his Mother, May 6th, 1770 : ‘I am surprised that no letter has been sent to my last.'

  • TP1083

View  :  Pages 197 - 201

  • Chatterton’s 3rd letter to his Mother, May 14th, 1770 : ‘Don't be surprised at the name of the place. I am not here as a prisoner.'

  • The 'King's Bench' Letter. TP1087

View  :  Pages 202 - 205

  • Chatterton’s Letter to his Sister, May 30th, 1770 

View  :  Pages 205 - 207

  • Chatterton’s Letter to his Sister, June 19th & 29th, 1770 

View  :   Pages 207 - 209

  • Chatterton’s Letter to his Mother, July 8th, 1770 

View  :  Pages 209 - 210

  • Chatterton’s Letter to his Sister, July 11th, 1770 

View  :  Pages 210 - 211

  • Chatterton’s Letter to his Sister, July 20th, 1770 : I am now about an Oratorio...'

View  :  Pages 212

  • Memoirs of a Sad Dog - Harry Wildfire "But, alas ! happiness is of short duration;...

  • Published Town and Country Magazine, July, 1770. p.375

  • [Croft] : 'All the originals of his letters here printed, except the original of this last [20th July, which Croft was allowed to keep], are in the possession of his mother, or sister, who, I believe, are still living in Bristol, and keep little day-schools.'  

  • [Croft] : quotes Duff who 'admits but three original geniuses in poetry, Homer, Ossian, and Shakespeare.'--- [Croft] : 'Would not Chatterton complete the triumvirate better than Ossian?

  • [.QE!.] Surely Croft  should either replace Chatterton with Rowley, or Ossian with Macpherson. After all he knows that Macpherson is Ossian.

View  :   Pages 213 - 2

  • 213/4:  By his letters you see he lodged first in Shoreditch; afterwards (when his employment made it necessary for him to frequent public places, I suppose) in Brook Street, Holborn. The man and woman where he first lodges are still living in the same house. He [Walmsley] is a plaisterer. They, and their nephew and a niece (the latter about as old as Chatterton would be now, the former three years younger), and Mrs. Ballance, who lodged in the house, and desired them to let Chatterton (her relation) lodge there also, have been seen. Mrs. Ballance says he was as proud as Lucifer. He very soon quarrelled with her for calling him "Cousin Tommy," ...He would often look steadfastly in a persons face, without speaking, or seeming to see the person, for quarter of an hour or more, till it was quite frightful...When Beckford died, he was perfectly frantic, and out of his mind; and said that he was ruined.

  • 215  :   Mr Walmsley observed little in him, but that there was something manly and pleasing about him, and that he did not dislike the wenches.

  • 215  :  Mrs Walmsley...she never saw any harm of him - he never mislisted her; but was always very civil


  • 218  :  Quotes nine lines from The Minstrel by James Beattie: And yet poor Edwin was no vulgar boy.

  • 220  :   another nine lines from The Minstrel.

  • 221  :   [Croft] : ...suicide is always holden up to shame.  Chatterton...swallowed arsenick, in water, on the 24th August, 1770; and died in consequence thereof, the next day. He was buried in a shell, in the burying-ground of Shoe-lane workhouse. 

  • 221  :  That he should have been driven to it by absolute want, though I don't say it was not so, is not very possible; since he never indulged himself in meat, and drank nothing but water,


another 70 pages to analyse and list.

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