LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Countess of Blessington
Journal of Conversations with Lord Byron. No. IX.
New Monthly Magazine  Vol. NS 38  (July 1833)  305-315.
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JULY 1, 1833.



“I am persuaded (said Byron) that education has more effect in quelling the passions than people are aware of. I do not think this is achieved by the powers of reasoning and reflection that education is supposed to bestow; for I know by experience how little either can influence the person who is under the tyrant rule of passion. My opinion is that education, by expanding the mind, and giving sources of tasteful occupation, so fills up the time, this leisure is not left for the passions to gain that empire that they are sure to acquire over the idle and ignorant. Look at the lower orders, and see what fearful proofs they continually furnish of the unlimited power passion has over them. I have seen instances, and particularly in Italy, among the lower class, and of your sex, where the women seemed for the moment transformed into Medeas; and so ungoverned and ungovernable was their rage, that each appeared grand and tragic for the time, and furnished me, who am rather an amateur in studying nature under all her aspects, with food for reflection. Then the upper classes, too, in Italy, where the march of intellect has not advanced by rail-roads and steam-boats, as in polished, happy England; and where the women remain children in mind long after maturity had stamped their persons!—see one of their stately dames under the influence of the green-eyed monster, and one can believe that the Furies were not fabulous. This is amusing at first, but becomes, like most amusements, rather a bore at the end; and a poor cavalier servente must have more courage than falls to the share of most, who would not shut his eyes against the beauty of all damas but his own, rather than encounter an explosion of jealousy. But the devil of it is, there is hardly a possibility of avoiding it, as the Italian women are so addicted to jealousy, that the poor serventi are often accused of the worst intentions for merely performing the simple courtesies of life; so that the system of serventism imposes a thousand times more restraint and slavery than marriage ever imposed, even in the most moral countries: indeed, where the morals are the most respected and cultivated, (continued Byron,) there will be the least jealousy or suspicion, as morals are to the enlightened what religion is to the ignorant—their safeguard from committing wrong, or suspecting it. So you see, bad as I am supposed to be, I have, by this admission, proved the advantages of morals and religion.

“But to return to my opinion of the effect education has in extending the focus of ideas, and consequently, of curbing the intensity of the passions. I have remarked that well-educated women rarely, if ever,

* Continued from No. CL. p. 153.
gave way to any ebullitions of them; and this is a grand step gained in conquering their empire, as habit in this, as well as in all else, has great power. I hope my daughter will be well educated; but of this I have little dread, as her mother is highly cultivated, and certainly has a degree of self-control that I never saw equalled. I am certain that
Lady Byron’s first idea is, what is due to herself; I mean that it is the undeviating rule of her conduct. I wish she had thought a little more of what is due to others. Now my besetting sin is a want of that self-respect,—which she has in excess; and that want has produced much unhappiness to us both. But though I accuse Lady Byron of an excess of self-respect, I must in candour admit, that if any person ever had an excuse for an extraordinary portion of it, she has; as in all her thoughts, words, and deeds, she is the most decorous woman that ever existed and must appear—what few, I fancy, could a perfect refined gentlewoman, even to her femme-de-chambre. This extraordinary degree of self-command in Lady Byron produced an opposite effect on me. When I have broken out, on slight provocations, into one of my ungovernable fits of rage, her calmness piqued and seemed to reproach me: it gave her an air of superiority that vexed, and increased my mauvais humeur. I am now older and wiser, and should know how to appreciate her conduct as it deserved, as I look on self-command as a positive virtue, though it is one I have not courage to adopt.”

Talking of his proposed expedition to Greece, Byron said that, as the moment approached for undertaking it, he almost wished he had never thought of it. “This (said Byron) is one of the many scrapes into which my poetical temperament has drawn me. You smile; but it is nevertheless true. No man, or woman either, with such a temperament, can be quiet. Passion is the element in which we live; and without it we but vegetate. All the passions have governed me in turn, and I have found them the veriest tyrants;—like all slaves, I have reviled my masters, but submitted to the yoke they imposed. I had hoped (continued Byron) that avarice, that old gentlemanly vice, would, like Aaron’s serpent, have swallowed up all the rest in me, and that now I am descending into the vale of years, I might have found pleasure in golden realities, as in youth I found it in golden dreams, (and let me tell you, that of all the passions, this same decried avarice is the most consolatory, and, in nine cases out of ten, lasts the longest, and is the latest,) when up springs a new passion,—call it love of liberty, military ardour, or what you will,—to disgust me with my strong box, and the comfortable contemplation of my moneys,—nay, to create wings for my golden darlings, that may waft me away from them for ever; and I may awaken to find that this, my present ruling passion, as I have always found my last, was the most worthless of all, with the soothing reflection that it has left me minus some thousands. But I am fairly in for it, and it is
useless to repine; but, I repeat, this scrape, which may be my last, has been caused by my poetical temperament,—the devil take it, say I.”

Byron was irresistibly comic when commenting on his own errors or weaknesses. His face, half laughing and half serious, archness always predominating in its expression, added peculiar force to his words.

“Is it not pleasant (continued Byron) that my eyes should never open to the folly of any of the undertakings passion prompts me to engage in, until I am so far embarked that retreat (at least with honour) is impossible, and my mal à propos sagesse arrives, to scare away the enthusiasm that led to the undertaking, and which is so requisite to carry it on. It is all an up-hill affair with me afterwards: I cannot, for my life, échauffer my imagination again; and my position excites such ludicrous images and thoughts in my own mind, that the whole subject, which, seen through the veil of passion, looked fit for a sublime epic, and I one of its heroes, examined now through reason’s glass, appears fit only for a travestie, and my poor self a Major Sturgeon, marching and counter-marching, not from Acton to Ealing, or from Ealing to Acton, but from Corinth to Athens, and from Athens to Corinth. Yet, hang it (continued he) these very names ought to chase away every idea of the ludicrous; but the laughing devils will return, and make a mockery of everything, as with me there is, as Napoleon said, but one step between the sublime and the ridiculous. Well, if I do (and this if is a grand peut être in my future history) outlive the campaign, I shall write two poems on the subject—one an epic, and the other a burlesque, in which none shall be spared, and myself least of all: indeed, you must allow (continued Byron) that if I take liberties with my friends, I take still greater ones with myself; therefore they ought to bear with me, if only out of consideration for my impartiality. I am also determined to write a poem in praise of avarice, (said Byron,) as I think it a most ill-used and unjustly decried passion,—mind, I do not call it a vice,—and I hope to make it clear that a passion which enables us to conquer the appetites, or, at least, the indulgence of them; that triumphs over pride, vanity, and ostentation; that leads us to the practice of daily self-denial, temperance, sobriety, and a thousand other praiseworthy practices, ought not to be censured, more especially as all the sacrifices it commands are endured without any weak feeling of reference to others, though to others all the reward of such sacrifices belongs.”

Byron laughed very much at the thought of this poem, and the censures it would excite in England among the matter-of-fact, credulous class of readers and writers. Poor Byron! how much more pains did he bestow to take off the gloss from his own qualities than others do to give theirs a false lustre! In his hatred arid contempt of hypocrisy and cant, he outraged his own nature, and rendered more injustice to himself than even his enemies ever received at his hands. His confessions of errors were to be received with caution; for he exaggerated not only his
misdeeds but his opinions; and, fond of tracing springs of thought to their sources, he involved himself in doubts, to escape from which he boldly attributed to himself motives and feelings that had passed, but like shadows, through his mind, and left unrecorded, mementos that might have redeemed even more than the faults of which he accused himself. When the freedom with which Byron remarked on the errors of his friends draws down condemnation from his readers, let them reflect on the still greater severity with which he treated his own, and let this mistaken and exaggerated candour plead his excuse.

“It is odd (said Byron) that I never could get on well in conversation with literary men: they always seemed to think themselves obliged to pay some neat and appropriate compliment to my last work, which I, as in duty bound, was compelled to respond to, and bepraise theirs. They never appeared quite satisfied with my faint praise, and I was far from being satisfied at having been forced to administer it; so mutual constraint ensued, each wondering what was to come next, and wishing each other (at least I can answer for myself) at the devil. Now Scott, though a giant in literature, is unlike literary men; he neither expects compliments nor pays them in conversation. There is a sincerity and simplicity in his character and manner that stamp any commendation of his as truth, and any praise one might offer him must fall short of his deserts; so that there is no gène in his society. There is nothing in him that gives the impression I have so often had of others, who seemed to say, I praise you that you may do the same by me. Moore is a delightful companion, (continued Byron;) gay without being boisterous, witty without effort, comic without coarseness, and sentimental without being lachrymose. He reminds one (continued Byron) of the fairy, who, whenever she spoke, let diamonds fall from her lips. My tête-à-tête suppers with Moore are among the most agreeable impressions I retain of the hours passed in London: they are the redeeming lights in the gloomy picture; but they were
“Like angel visits, few and far between;”
for the great defect in my friend Tom is a sort of fidgety unsettledness, that prevents his giving himself up, con amore, to any one friend, because he is apt to think he might be more happy with another: he has the organ of locomotiveness largely developed, as a phrenologist would say, and would like to be at three places instead of one. I always felt, with Moore, the desire
Johnson expressed, to be shut up in a post-chaise, tête-à-tête with a pleasant companion, to be quite sure of him. He must be delightful in a country-house, at a safe distance from any other inviting one, when one could have him really to one’s self, and enjoy his conversation and his singing, without the perpetual fear that he is expected at Lady this or Lady that’s, or the being reminded that he promised to look in at Lansdowne House or Grosvenor Square. The wonder is, not that he is récherché, but that he wastes himself on those who can so
little appreciate him, though they value the éclat his reputation gives to their stupid soirées. I have known a dull man live on a bon mot of Moore’s for a week; and I once offered a wager of a considerable sum that the reciter was guiltless of understanding its point, but could get no one to accept my bet.

“Are you acquainted with the family of ——? (asked Byron.) The commendation formerly bestowed on the Sydney family might be reversed for them, as all the sons are virtuous, and all the daughters brave. I once (continued he) said this, with a grave face to a near relation of theirs who received it as a compliment, and told me I was very good. I was in old times fond of mystifying, and paying equivocal compliments, but ‘was is not is’ with me, as God knows, in any sense, for I am now cured of mystifying, as well as of many others of my mischievous pranks: whether I am a better man for my self-correction remains to be proved; I am quite sure that I am not a more agreeable one. I have always had a strong love of mischief in my nature (said Byron,) and this still continues, though I do not very often give way to its dictates. It is this lurking devil that prompts me to abuse people against whom I have not the least malicious feeling, and to praise some whose merits (if they have any) I am little acquainted with, but I do it in the mischievous spirit of the moment to vex the person or persons with whom I am conversing. Is not this very childish? (continued Byron); and, above all, for a poet, which people tell me I am? All I know is, that, if I am, poets can be greater fools than other people. We of the craft—poets, I mean—resemble paper-kites; we soar high into the air, but are held to earth by a cord, and our flight is restrained by a child—that child is self. We are but grown children, having all their weakness, and only wanting their innocence; our thoughts soar, but the frailty of our natures brings them back to earth. What should we be without thoughts? (continued Byron;) they are the bridges by which we pass over time and space. And yet, perhaps, like troops flying before the enemy, we are often tempted to destroy the bridges we have passed, to save ourselves from pursuit. How often have I tried to shun thought! But come, I must not get gloomy; my thoughts are almost always of the sombre hue, so that I ought not to be blamed (said he, laughing) if I steal those of others, as I am accused of doing; I cannot have any more disagreeable ones than my own, at least as far as they concern myself.”

“In all the charges of plagiary brought against me in England (said Byron,) did you hear me accused of stealing from Madame de Staël the opening lines of my ‘Bride of Abydos?’ She is supposed to have borrowed her lines from Schlegel, or to have stolen them from Goethe’s ‘Wilhelm Meister;’ so you see I am a third or fourth hand stealer of stolen goods. Do you know de Staël’s lines? (continued Byron); for if I am a thief she must be the plundered, as I don’t read German, and do French; yet I could almost swear that I never saw her verses when I
wrote mine, nor do I even now remember them. I think the first began with ‘Cette terre’ &c. &c. but the rest I forget; as you have a good memory, perhaps you would repeat them.”

I did so, and they are as follows:—
“——Cette terre, où les myrtes fleurissent,
Où les rayons des cieux tombent avec amour,
Où des sons enchanteurs dans les airs retentissent,
Où la plus douce nuit succède au plus beau jour."

“Well (said Byron) I do not see any point of resemblance, except in the use of the two unfortunate words laud and myrtle, and for using these new and original words I am a plagiarist! To avoid such charges, I must invent a dictionary for myself. Does not this charge prove the liberal spirit of the hypercritics in England? If they knew how little I value their observations, or the opinions of those that they can influence, they would be perhaps more spiteful, and certainly more careful in producing better proofs of their charges; the one of de Staël’s I consider a triumphant refutation for me.

“I often think (said Byron) that were I to return to England, I should be considered, in certain circles, as having a très mauvais ton, for I have been so long out of it that I have learned to say what I think, instead of saying only what, by the rules of convenience, people are permitted to think. For though England tolerates the liberty of the press, it is far from tolerating liberty of thought or of speech; and since the progress of modern refinement, when delicacy of words is as remarkable as in delicacy of actions, a plain-speaking man is sure to get into a scrape. Nothing amuses me more than to see refinement versus morals, and to know that people are shocked not at crimes, but their detection. The Spartan boy, who suffered the animal he had secured by theft to prey on his vitals, evinced not more constancy in concealing his sufferings than do the English in suppressing all external symptoms of what they must feel, and on many occasions, when Nature makes herself felt through the expression of her feelings, would be considered almost as a crime. But I believe crime is a word banished from the vocabulary of haut-ton, as the vices of the rich and great are called errors, and those of the poor and lowly only crimes.”

“Do you know ——? (asked Byron). He is the king of prosers. I called him he of the thousand tales, in humble imitation of Boccaccio, whom I styled he of the hundred tales of love—mais hélas!—  ——’s are not tales of love, or that beget love; they are born of dulness, and inciting sleep, they produce the same effect on the senses that the monotonous sound of a waterfall never fails to have on mine. With —— one is afraid to speak, because whatever is said is sure to bring forth a reminiscence, that as surely leads to interminable recollections,
‘Dull as the dreams of him who swills vile beer.’
Thus (continued Byron), —— is so honourable and well-intentioned a man that one can find nothing bad to say of him, except that he is a bore; and as there is no law against that class of offenders, one must bear with him. It is to be hoped, that, with all the modern improvements in refinement, a mode will be discovered of getting rid of bores, for it is too bad that a poor wretch can be punished for stealing your pocket-handkerchief or gloves, and that no punishment can be inflicted on those who steal your time, and with it your temper and patience, as well as the bright thoughts that might have entered into the mind, (like the Irishman who lost a fortune before he had got it,) but were frighted away by the bore. Nature certainly (said Byron) has not dealt charitably by ——, for, independent of his being the king of prosers, he is the ugliest person possible, and when he talks, breathes not of Araby the blest; his heart is good, but the stomach is none of the best, judging from its exhalations. His united merits led me to attempt an epigram on them, which, I believe, is as follows:—
‘When conversing with ——, who can disclose
Which suffers the most—eyes, ears, or the nose?’

“I repeated this epigram (continued Byron) to him as having been made on a mutual friend of ours, and he enjoyed it, as we all do some hit on a friend. I have known people who were incapable of saying the least unkind word against friends, and yet who listened with evident (though attempted to be suppressed) pleasure to the malicious jokes or witty sarcasms of others against them; a proof that, even in the best people, some taints of the original evil of our natures remain. You think I arn wrong (continued Byron) in my estimate of human nature; you think I analyse my own evil qualities and those of others too closely, and judge them too severely. I have need of self-examination to reconcile me to all the incongruities I discover, and to make me more lenient to faults that my tongue censures, but that my heart pardons, from the consciousness of its own weakness.”

We should all do well to reflect on the frailty of man, if it led us more readily to forgive his faults, and cherish his virtues;—the one, alas! are inextirpable, but the others are the victories gained over that most difficult to be conquered of all assailants—self; to which victory, if we do not decree a triumph, we ought to grant an ovation; but, unhappily, the contemplation of human frailty is too apt to harden the heart, and oftener creates disgust than humility. “When we dwell on vices with mockery and bitterness, instead of pity, we may doubt the efficacy of our contemplation; and this,” said I to Byron, “seems to me to be your case; for when I hear your taunting reflections on the discoveries you make in poor, erring human nature; when you have explored every secret recess of the heart, you appear to me like a fallen angel, sneering at the sins of men, instead of a fellow man pitying them. This it is that makes me think you analyze too deeply; and I would at present lead you to
reflect only on the good that still remains in the world—for be assured there is much good, as an antidote to the evil that you know of.”

Byron laughed, and said, “You certainly do not spare me; but you manage to wrap up your censures in an envelop almost complimentary, and that reconciles me to their bitterness, as children are induced to take physic by its being disguised in some sweet substance. The fallen angel is so much more agreeable than demon, as others have called me, that I am rather flattered than affronted; I ought, in return, to say something très aimable to you, in which angelic at least might be introduced, but I will not, as I never can compliment those that I esteem.—But to return to self;—you know that I have been called not only a demon, but a French poet has addressed me as chantre des enfers, which, I suppose, he thinks very flattering. I dare say his poem will be done into English by some Attic resident, and, instead of a singer of hell, I shall be styled a hellish singer, and so go down to posterity.”

He laughed at his own pun, and said he felt half disposed to write a quizzing answer to the French poet, in which he should mystify him.

“It is no wonder (said Byron) that I am considered a demon, when people have taken it into their heads that I am the hero of all my own tales in verse. They fancy one can only describe what has actually occurred to one’s self, and forget the power that persons of any imagination possess of identifying themselves, for the time being, with the creations of their fancy. This is a peculiar distinction conferred on me, for I have heard of no other poet who has been identified with his works. I saw the other day (said Byron) in one of the papers a fanciful simile about Moore’s writings and mine. It stated that Moore’s poems appeared as if they ought to be written with crow-quills, on rose-coloured paper, stamped with Cupids and flowers; and mine on asbestos, written by quills from the wing of an eagle;—you laugh, but I think this is a very sublime comparison,—at least, so far as I am concerned,—it quite consoles me for ‘chantre d’enfer.’ Bye the bye, the French poet is neither a philosopher nor a logician, as he dubs me by this title merely because I doubt that there is an enfer,—ergo, I cannot be styled the chantre of a place of which I doubt the existence. I dislike French verse so much (said Byron) that I have not read more than a few lines of the one in which I am dragged into public view. He calls me, (said Byron) ‘Esprit mysterieux, mortel, ange ou demon;’ which I call very uncivil, for a well-bred Frenchman, and moreover one of the craft: I wish he would let me and my works alone, for I am sure I do not trouble him or his, and should not know that he existed, except from his notice of me which some good-natured friend has sent me. There are some things in the world, of which, like gnats, we are only reminded of the existence by their stinging us; this was his position with me.”

Had Byron read the whole of the poem addressed to him by M. de Lamartine, he would have been more flattered than offended by it, as it
is not only full of beauty, but the admiration for the genius of the English poet, which pervades every sentiment of the ode, is so profound, that the epithet which offended the morbid sensitiveness of Byron would have been readily pardoned. M. de Lamartine is perhaps the only French poet who could have so justly appreciated, and gracefully eulogized, our wayward child of genius; and having written so successfully himself, his praise is more valuable. His
“Meditations” possess a depth of feeling which, tempered by a strong religious sentiment that makes the Christian rise superior to the philosopher, bears the impress of a true poetical temperament, which could not fail to sympathize with all feelings, however he might differ from the reasonings of Byron. Were the works of the French poet better known to the English bard he could not, with even all his dislike to French poetry, have refused his approbation to the writings of M. de Lamartine.

Talking of solitude—“It has but one disadvantage (said Byron), but that is a serious one,—it is apt to give one too high an opinion of one’s self. In the world we are sure to be often reminded of every known or supposed defect we may have; hence we can rarely, unless possessed of an inordinate share of vanity, form a very exalted opinion of ourselves, and, in society, woe be to him who lets it be known that he thinks more highly of himself than of his neighbours, as this is a crime that arms every one against him. This was the rock on which Napoleon foundered; he had so often wounded the amour propre of others, that they were glad to hurl him from the eminence that made him appear a giant and those around him pigmies. If a man or woman has any striking superiority, some great defect or weakness must be discovered to counterbalance it, that their contemporaries may console themselves for their envy, by saying, ‘Well if I have not the genius of Mr. This, or the beauty or talent of Mrs. That, I have not the violent temper of the one, or the overweening vanity of the other.’ But, to return to solitude, (said Byron,) it is the only fool’s paradise on earth: there we have no one to remind us of our faults, or by whom we can be humiliated by comparisons. Our evil passions sleep, because they are not excited; our productions appear sublime, because we have no kind and judicious friend to hint at their defects, and to point out faults of style and imagery where we had thought ourselves most luminous: these are the advantages of solitude, and those who have once tasted them, can never return to the busy world again with any zest for its feverish enjoyments. In the world (said Byron) I am always irritable and violent; the very noise of the streets of a populous city affect my nerves: I seemed in a London house ‘cabined, cribbed, confined, and felt like a tiger in too small a cage:’ apropos of tigers, did you ever observe that all people in a violent rage, walk up and down the place they are in, as wild beasts do in their dens? I have particularly remarked this (continued he,) and it proved to me, what I never doubted, that we have much of the animal
and the ferocious in our natures, which, I am convinced, is increased by an over-indulgence of our carnivorous propensities. It has been said that, to enjoy solitude, a man must be superlatively good or bad; I deny this, because there are no superlatives in man—all are comparative or relative; but, had I no other reason to deny it, my own experience would furnish me with one. God knows I never flattered myself with the idea of being superlatively good, as no one better knows his faults than I do mine; but, at the same time, I am as unwilling to believe that I am superlatively bad, yet I enjoy solitude more than I ever enjoyed society, even in my most youthful days.”

I told Byron, that I expected he would one day give the world a collection of useful aphorisms, drawn from personal experience. He laughed and said—“Perhaps I may; those are best suited to advise others who have missed the road themselves, and this has been my case. I have found friends false,—acquaintances malicious,—relations indifferent,—and nearer and dearer connections perfidious. Perhaps much, if not all this, has been caused by my own waywardness; but that has not prevented my feeling it keenly. It has made me look on friends as partakers of prosperity,—censurers in adversity,—and absentees in distress; and has forced me to view acquaintances merely as persons who think themselves justified in courting or cutting one, as best suits them. But relations I regard only as people privileged to tell disagreeable truths, and to accept weighty obligations, as matters of course. You have now (continued Byron) my unsophisticated opinion of friends, acquaintances, and relations; of course there are always exceptions, but they are rare, and exceptions do not make the rule. All that I have said are but reiterated truisms that all admit to be just, but that few, if any, act upon; they are like the death-bell that we hear toll for others, without thinking that it must soon toll for us; we know that others have been deceived, but we believe that we are other too clever, or too lovable, to meet the same fate; we see our friends drop daily around us, many of them younger and healthier than ourselves, yet we think that we shall live to be old, as if we possessed some stronger hold on life than those who have gone before us. Alas! life is but a dream from which we are only awakened by death. All else is illusion; changing as we change, and each cheating us in turn, until death withdraws the veil, and shows us the dread reality. It is strange (said Byron) that feeling, as most people do, life a burthen, we should still cling to it with such pertinacity. This is another proof of animal feeling; for if the divine spirit that is supposed to animate us mastered the animal nature, should we not rejoice at laying down the load that has so long oppressed us, and beneath which we have groaned for years, to seek a purer, brighter existence? Who ever reached the age of twenty-five (continued Byron) without feeling the tedium vitae which poisons the little enjoyment that we are allowed to taste? We begin life with the hope of attaining happiness;
soon discovering that to be unattainable, we seek pleasure as a poor substitute; but even this eludes our grasp, and we end by desiring repose, which death alone can give.”

I told Byron that the greater part of our chagrins arose from disappointed hopes; that, in our pride and weakness, we consider happiness as our birthright, and received infliction as an injustice; whereas the latter was the inevitable lot of man, and the other but the ignis fatuus that beguiles the dreary path of life, and sparkles but to deceive. I added that while peace of mind was left us, we could not be called miserable. This greatest of all earthly consolations depends on ourselves; whereas for happiness we rely on others: but, as the first is lasting, and the second fleeting, we ought to cultivate that of which naught but our own actions can deprive us, and enjoy the other as we do a fine autumnal day, that we prize the more because we know it will soon be followed by winter.

“Your philosophy is really admirable (said Byron) if it were possible to follow it; but I suspect that you are among the number of those who preach it the most, and practice it the least, for you have too much feeling to have more than a theoretical knowledge of it. For example, how would you bear the ingratitude and estrangement of friends—of those in whom you had garnered up your heart? I suspect that, in such a case, feeling would beat philosophy out of the field; for I have ever found that philosophy, like experience, never comes till one has ceased to require its services. I have (continued Byron) experienced ingratitude and estrangement from friends, and this, more than all else, has destroyed my confidence in human nature. It is thus from individual cases that we are so apt to generalize. A few persons on whom we have lavished our friendship, without ever examining if they had the qualities requisite to justify such a preference, are found to be ungrateful and unworthy, and instead of blaming our own want of perception in the persons so unwisely chosen, we cry out against poor human nature; one or two examples of ingratitude and selfishness prejudice us against the world; but six times the number of examples of goodness and sincerity fail to reconcile us to it,—so much more susceptible are we of evil impressions than of good. Have you not observed (said Byron) how much more prone people are to remember injuries than benefits? The most essential services are soon forgotten; but some trifling and often unintentional offence is rarely pardoned, and never effaced from the memory. All this proves that we have a strong and decided predisposition to evil; the tendencies and consequences of which we may conceal, but cannot eradicate. I think ill of the world (continued Byron,) but I do not as some cynics assert, believe it to be composed of knaves and fools. No, I consider that it is, for the most part, peopled by those who have not talents sufficient to be the first, and yet have one degree too much to be the second.”

(To be continued.)