In 1833 a precocious seventeen-year-old boy, Philip James Bailey, came from Nottingham to London; and thus reached, in time and space, the very centre of the nascent Victorianism which he was destined so curiously to illustrate. Initiated by his father into liberal politics and theology, and by his own youthful reading into the spirit of romanticism, he set himself to writing endless verses that should be at once theology and romantic poetry. Bailey's Festus has been known to three generations of readers who have scarcely thought, perhaps, of the position of the work in literature or of the poet himself. The present paper is concerned with the poem Festus rather than with Philip James Bailey, although documents recently come to hand make it possible for us to follow his life in the thirties with some detail. And yet there is surprisingly little about London in Bailey's early letters. He did not, like Browning in the same decade, make his way into literary and theatrical circles; almost his only literary acquaintance seems to have been John Robertson, the editor who preserved himself like a fly in amber by telling Carlyle that “he meant to do Cromwell himself.” Although Bailey occasionally submitted his verses to the London editor as well as to his father, he seems not to have been open to suggestions.