LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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[William Maginn]
Moore’s Life of Byron.
Fraser’s Magazine  Vol. 3  (March 1831)  238-252.
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No. XIV MARCH, 1831. Vol. III.


Of the first volume of Mr. Moore's labours, we have recorded our opinion. These labours have been at length concluded by the publication of the volume before us. Therein is delineated the moving scene of the life of Byron: the delineation, however, is mainly Byron's own workmanship. The book principally consists of the poet's letters, with few interstitial remarks by the author of Lallla Rookh. Mr. Moore was, by his Lordship's own confession, next to Lord Clare, the being for whom he entertained the warmest and purest feelings of friendship. How this friendship originated, Mr. Moore has, with much plausible modesty, himself set down in the pages of his first volume. We have no wish to dwell on its particulars, or rake up an old matter. But if our memory serve us rightly, and the memory of our readers be not treacherous, Mr. Moore has there marked down his own humiliation—the friendship in fact sprung out of gratified vanity in the Peer, and toadying—slavering submission in the Commoner. Thus it continued to the end of the days of Lord Byron. In return for all the toadying, Lord Byron cried up the genius of his worshipper. It mattered little how lofty were the eulogistic terms he employed, even though he could deliberately sit down and write, “While Ireland ranks you among the firmest of her patriots; while you stand alone the first of the bards, in her estimation; and Britain repeats and ratifies the decree, &c. &c.” for all the while he was conscious of his own superiority. The Peer must have been laughing in his sleeve when he was penning these lines of hyperbolical praise, or rather of cutting, caustic satire. In the same spirit he frequently says, on other occasions, that Moore is a superior person to himself in point of intellect—that he will think himself fortunate in being reckoned second to Moore, &c. &c. Open confessions of humility and inferiority are always to be regarded with the greatest suspicion—and the case with Byron is not an exception. In other places, in letters for instance, to Mr. Murray, when his vanity has been piqued, he is led to insinuate more than once, that Mr. Moore deserved to be cut up like a gourd, in company with others of the irritabile genus and tribe of Parnassus. Indeed, on a remarkable occasion, Mr. Moore writes to the Lord to scold him—or, as he himself poetically expresses it, “to twit his noble friend”—for having been satirical to his cost in a communication to the bibliopole of Albemarle Street. These little circumstances will serve us to understand rightly the real condition of the intimacy between the nobleman and the commoner. Mr. Moore no doubt put down the intimacy to the score of superabundant genius and unrivalled brilliancy, on his own side, and deserved homage on the part of Byron. To all the world, beside, however, it will be but another version of the story of the Lion and the Jackal; Lord Byron being as the king of the forest—and Anacreon Moore his pigmy satellite in waiting. Lucky for the two that they were not more together. Distance insures respect—approximation brings familiarity, and familiarity breeds contempt. Mr. Moore is not gifted with the gentle Shelley's all-endurance and meekness. His life has been spent amid
“The loud clattering of discordant jays.”

And in his poetry and in his behaviour through life, he has been one of the noisiest and most conceited of that volant, and hopping, and vain tribe. The same house could not have for a twelvemonth kept together the rival sons of genius and poesy. We should have had the pride of the one running the bristles of its back against the little vanity and conceit of the other: then perhaps would have come a war of words, after the manner of a modern Vadius and Trissotin.

* Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: with Notices of his Life, by Thomas Moore. In Two Volumes. John Murray. London, 1830.
Moore’s Life of Byron239
Vadius. Ma plume t'apprendra quel homme je puis être.
Trissotin. Et la mienne saura te faire voir ton maître,
Vadius. Je te defie en vers, prose, Grec, et Latin.
Trissotin. He bien! nous nous verrons seul à seul chez Barbin.
No fear, however, as far as
Mr. Anacreon was concerned, of a meeting any where. Meetings of hostility are not after the stomach of the man of Lansdowne House. His only way of meeting, is after the manner of our waggish friend, Peter Robinson. He could not keep his Scottish witticisms clear of the self-complacency of some man whom he chanced to meet at dinner. The man was wrathful, and insinuated something about satisfaction. “Satisfaction,” quoth the facetious Scot; “satisfaction—to be sure; satisfaction. Time—to-morrow: hour-six o'clock: weapons—knife and fork.”

So much for the intimacy. Let us now for a moment consider Mr. Moore's adequacy for the task of biography. It is some years since that he attempted the Life of Sheridan, a man more akin to himself in point of talent and genius; though for every grain of those precious commodities, possessed by the translator of Anacreon, the other could boast of it fairly a thousand fold. How did the specimen of biography turn out? In point of composition, it was as tinsel and gingerbread a piece of composition, as ever crackbrained lackadaisical girl put together, in the crisis of her moon-struck fancies: the character of the man was defamed—his exquisite powers of mind burlesqued—in short the puny author attempted by every means to pull down his subject to the level of his own diminutive level. We utter not an exclusive opinion: what we say, has been ratified long since by the loud voice of public reprehension. And his subject was the man, whom his “friend” Byron has immortalized in the following lines of verse.

“While powers of mind almost of boundless range,
Complete in kind—and various in their change;
While eloquence, wit, poesy, and mirth,
That humbler harmonist of care on earth,
Survives within our souls; while lives our sense
Of pride in merit's proud pre-eminence,
Long shall we see his likeness—long in vain,
And turn to all of him which may remain
Sighing that nature formed but one such man,
And broke the die—in moulding Sheridan!”

“And turn to all of him which may remain,” says the ardent poet; alas! he little thought that his “friend” Moore was to attempt the part of the assassin of Sheridan's renown. That work, however, of Thomas Moore has sunk down into the tomb of all the Capulets; no one ever mentions its name in sober seriousness. Will the world do the same with the Life of Lord Byron? There, indeed, Moore has saved himself, for the letters and memoranda of Byron will live long as the English language shall endure. The Quarterly Reviewer, when speaking of Mr. Moore's portion of the work, says—“A man of genius is in earnest,” meaning thereby that the biographer has sat down to his labour with the enthusiasm of friendship, with a determination to exalt his hero into an example fit for the imitation of the universal world. Shade of Gifford! is the laudation of the Quarterly borne out by facts? Has the biographer drawn a veil over the faults of the poet—extenuated his errors—excused his foibles-according to Byron's urgent request?* None of these things has he done. A man's faults ought not, undoubtedly, to be altogether concealed, but at the same time their anatomical dissection is a most shameful proceeding. To describe vice in general terms may be instructive—to lay it bare with microscopic accuracy can only arouse disgust and excite prejudice against the subject as well as the operator. The

* “So strong was this impression upon him, that during one of our few intervals of seriousness, he conjured me by our friendship, if, as he both felt and hoped, I should survive him, not to let unmerited censure settle upon his name, but while I surrendered him up to condemnation, where he deserved it, to vindicate him when aspersed.”—Vol. ii. p. 260.
240Moore’s Life of Byron
greatest of our poets has put into the mouth of his Cassius the following words:—
“A friend should bear a friend's infirmities,
But, Brutus makes mine greater than they are.”
Mr. Moore is the Brutus Carnifex in the instance before us. Such a cool, deliberate laying open of all the vicious movements of the heart we never before witnessed. Faults are exposed, errors descanted upon, frailty laid bare to its minutest fibre, weakness made the subject of contempt, vanity held up to ridicule, conceit exposed to laughter, and all these things are done by the very person who was conjured by the dead bard to do justice to his memory. Where is the man who, in the moments of unrestrained and unbounded friendship, has not entered into details in his correspondence, dilated on scenes which are only intended for the information of his correspondent? Where is the man who, if his communications were divulged, would not feel angry at the treachery of his correspondent? As, indeed, the Poet is gone to his eternal rest, it is the duty of society to resent the injury done to the memory of the deceased. In this instance Mr. Moore is the offending party. By his publication he has not only not vindicated the character of the author of
Childe Harold, but cast additional obloquy upon it. The biographer has published letters of strict confidence, wherein facts are mentioned which were never intended for the public eye, or being intended, were of too scandalous a nature to be thrust under its cognizance. And this Mr. Moore has not only done with his own letters, but with those obtained from Mr. Hoppner, formerly consul at Venice,* and other individuals—to say nothing of Mr. Murray himself, who, being a bookseller, may know the policy of publishing prurient letters to tickle the curiosity of the reading public, and thus work his volumes speedily into a second edition.

With a spirit akin to the desire for doing business” on the part of Mr. Murray, Mr. Moore, we suppose, sat down to the inditing of the following lines of excuse, for cramming his volume full of every licentious story which he could in justice fix on the ill-guided and unhappy Byron.

“It must have been observed in the account of Lord Byron's life previous to his marriage, that, without leaving altogether unnoticed (what, indeed, was too notorious to be so evaded) certain affairs of gallantry in which he had the reputation of being engaged, I have thought it right, besides refraining from such details in my narrative, to suppress also whatever passages in his journals and letters might be supposed to turn too personally or particularly on the same delicate topics. Incomplete as the strange history of his mind and heart must, in one of its most interesting chapters, be left by these omissions, still in deference to that peculiar sense of decorum in this country, which makes the mention of such frailties as hardly a less crime than the commission of them; and, still more,
* “I have been here this week, and was obliged to put on my armour and go the night after my arrival to the Marquis Cavalli's, where there were between two and three hundred of the best company I have seen in Italy,—more beauty, more youth, and more diamonds among the women than have been seen these fifty years in the Sea-Sodom.† I never saw such a difference between two places of the same latitude (or platitude, it is all one,)—music, dancing, and play, all in the same salle. The G.'s object appeared to be to parade her foreign lover as much as possible, and, faith, if she seemed to glory in the scandal, it was not for me to be ashamed of it. Nobody seemed surprised;—all the women, on the contrary, were, as it were, delighted with the excellent example. The vice-legate, and all the other vices, were as polite as could be;—and I, who had acted on the reserve, was fairly obliged to take the lady under my arm, and look as much like a cisisbeo as I could on so short a notice,—to say nothing of the embarrassment of a cocked hat and sword, much more formidable to me than ever it will be to the enemy.
“I write in great haste—do you answer as hastily. I can understand nothing of all this; but it seems as if the G. had been presumed to be planted, and was determined to show that she was not,—plantation, in this hemisphere, being the greatest moral misfortune. But this is mere conjecture, for I know nothing about it—except that every body are very kind to her, and not discourteous to me. Fathers, and all relations, quite agreeable. Yours ever, B.”
Moore’s Life of Byron241
the regard due to the feelings of the living, who ought not rashly to be made to suffer for the errors of the dead, have combined to render this sacrifice, however much it may be regretted, necessary.”

So far so good, as, after this avowal of the necessity of compliance to the dictates of “decorum,” our modest readers will perhaps suppose that all his scenes of “frailty” are to be passed sub silentio. That, indeed, is the natural supposition; but the fact is no such thing. The author of “Fanny of Timmol” and “Come tell me, says Rosa, as kissing and kissed” has no intention of letting his reader off in so easy a manner. And as the following extract will show an excuse was by no means wanting for Tom Little, when he felt a propensity for fanning up the sensual propensities of the male and female portions of the British community.

“We have now, however, shifted the scene to a region where less caution is requisite; where, from the different standard applied to female morals in these respects, if the wrong itself be not lessened by this diminution of the consciousness of it, less scruple may be at least felt towards persons so circumstanced, and whatever delicacy we may think right to exercise in speaking of their frailties, must be with reference to our views and usages than theirs.”

This is, perhaps, as complete a piece of casuistry as we ever beheld. What on earth have the people of this country to do with the economy and morals of the people of Italy, or of Kamtschatka, or of the Yellow Empire. Italian dissoluteness and Chinese licentiousness can do no harm to the modest part of the creation in this country, so long as it is kept in ignorance of their doings in those sunnier climates. The rules of morality regard only the recipient: if scandalised, we, as such, are the only sufferers. If an Englishman were in New Zealand, his “views” and prejudices must give way to the “views” and prejudices of the country; and, therefore, he would be obliged to pat up with the appearance of the naked savages. If, however, a couple of those same naked savages were to come over to this country, and to be seen prowling along the streets of the capital in utter nudity, their individual prejudices and “usages” would never be taken into consideration; but the outraged sense of decorum of the community, and the Society for the Suppression of Vice, would be in a fluster at the atrocity of these savages. Mr. Moore, however, thought to give vent to his sensual humours by throwing a little sophisticated dust into the eyes of his discerning readers. Thinking, in the conceit of his heart, that he had succeeded, he has given the utmost licence to that hand which traced all the libidinous characters in the poems of Thomas Little. All the poet's intrigues are given forth for the edification of the public, with a minuteness of detail which is absolutely disgusting. With the sacred injunction which Mr. Moore confesses to have received from Lord Byron, to spare his character, he yet brings the author of Childe Harold on the scene, rejoicing in the low, vulgar, company of the lowest and most vulgar of the women of Venice, and publishes letters of his Lordship's, wherein the over-conceited nobleman boasts of liaisons, which were in no one whit above the level of those which would have been entertained by his body-servant, or even his ordinary footman. These are dwelt upon, and repeated, by the translator of Anacreon, with the eagerness and tenacity of a salacious appetite—forgetful, all the while, of the outraged feelings of society—forgetful of the outraged delicacy of Lady Byron and of that Ada, who, as being the “sole daughter of the house and heart” of the deceased poet, deserved some little forbearance at the hands of the licentious biographer.

If no other consideration could have arrested his pen—Mr. Moore should at least have remembered that he had the chastity of his own marriage bed, and the chastity of his own daughters to preserve, and that little or no benefit could be done to the morality of his own household by the publication of stories which for copiousness of detail, and minuteness of delineation are not exceeded by the amplest narratives in Harriette Wilson. Certain it is, therefore, that as far as the purposes of true and pure biography are concerned—this volume of “Notices” by Thomas Moore is a complete failure. The high aim of Biography is the inculcation of
242Moore’s Life of Byron
some moral lesson. Like the tones of the Mountain Minstrel's harp described by
Wordsworth, should be the lessons taught by history, whether of a nation, or of an individual.
“Strains of power
Were they to seize and occupy the sense:
And to a higher mark than song can reach
Rose this pure eloquence. And when the stream
Which overflow'd the soul was passed away,
A consciousness remained that it had left,
Deposited upon the silent shore
Of memory, images, and precious thoughts,
That shall not die, and cannot be destroyed.”

What, however, with every ingenuous mind, will be the consequence of perusing the pages of these “Notices?” We venture to say disgust. Either then by want of judgment, or by a perverted understanding, or by unworthy motives, Mr. Moore was wholly unfitted for the task imposed upon him by Mr. Murray. As he formerly damned poor Sheridan, so has he now been endeavouring most religiously to damn Lord Byron. He has, as he boasts, allowed the Poet “to speak for himself.” The consequence is, that as the Poet was the bondsman of pride, and the slave of vanity, unskilled in worldly affairs, wanting in common sense, a prey to selfishness, and living in a most circumscribed society, and, added to all this, of quick temper, violent feelings, swayed by sudden impulses, and fickle as a weathercock in his tastes and pursuits, very little of solid matter was to be expected from his letters. Nine tenths, indeed, of the whole, are about himself or his mistresses. About a hundred times we have letters inserted requesting Mr. Murray to send him tooth powders, palm soap, tooth brushes, nail clippers, magnesia, soda powders, tincture of myrrh, and other trivialities of a similar kind. More than once he notifies his intention of coming all the way from Italy to London to see Mr. Waite the dentist; not that he wanted any thing material done to his teeth, but because it was incumbent on every gentleman to submit his teeth to inspection once in every two or three years. All these letters are by Mr. Moore thought to be so many jewels, and are therefore inserted with extraordinary accuracy. But the public, perhaps, will differ from the biographer; and as the licentious letters will be put to the score of a perverted understanding, so these trivial explanations will go to the account of want of judgment. The unworthy motives by which he has been instigated are discoverable in the general effect of the volumes, if Mr. Moore was inferior to the task, he must have felt his inferiority, and he should therefore have relinquished it at the outset. It would, however, appear, that he had a latent object in view to, do by Byron what he had done by Sheridan. He could never gain the elevation of the former in wit, and so he determined to pull him down to his own stuntedness. He could never compete with the latter in the gifts of poetry, so he determined to serve the author of Childe Harold as he had served the subject of that author's ‘Monody.’ The result is the production of a nondescript kind of person—half monster—half god—one indeed more calculated to raise our disgust than move our pity, or excite our veneration. Something in short after the fashion of the Zeus as described by Pamphus the Athenian.
Ζευ χυδιστε, μεγιστε, ζεαν, ειλυμενε χοπρω
Μηλειη τε χαι ιππειη και ήμιονειη.

But, bating all other drawbacks, Mr. Moore, by his habits of mind, and his intellectual cultivation, was wholly incapacitated for understanding the character of Lord Byron. The biographer is a man of table wit, and a writer of songs. When Beranger, (on his trial) was asked his profession, he replied, “Chansonnier,” much satisfied with the appellation by which he had won the esteem of his countrymen. So, too, was Tyrtaeus a song writer; but Mr. Moore is of an order very different from either the Frenchman or the Greek. The one and the other gave up their whole soul to their compositions, being content to answer the end—which Bishop Lowth has announced as being the reward of all national song writers. With Mr. Moore song writing has been the amusement, while the attainment of praise and pudding has been throughout life his staple business. To be whispering compliments to the great, to be seen seated at their tables, to
Moore’s Life of Byron243
be “my dear-lording it” with some young sprig of nobility, or wafting away his soul in a song, at the request of the Lady Bettys or Belindas of London has ever been the great charm of his existence. He has always pretended to great scholarship—but scholar he is none, for, however the numerous notes stuffed with Greek, from the petty unknown writers of the lower empire appended to his epistles may appear like erudition to the vulgar, with the learned they will hardly pass muster. His character has been so exceedingly well delineated by
Leigh Hunt, that we must beg to transcribe it for the benefit of our readers.

Mr. Moore has no faith except in a joke, and a lord, and a good dinner; and yet he must needs try to win a serious reputation. For this purpose he has written volumes of bad prose, full of insincerity, and poems which are ‘three-piled hyperboles’ of sugar-plums. He is one of those who must
‘paint the lily
And throw a perfume on the violet.’
He paints and plasters, because he has no faith in his materials. He cannot give us the soul of what he describes; he despairs of being able to make us love it in its simplicity; so he brings a heap of gaudy colours and gilding to stick upon it, that we may partake of the benefits of his obtuseness. Even in his songs, he can rarely get beyond a stanza with any real gravity. His table-songs are inimitable: his lampoons have been the just dread of dowagers and Whig-rats. But, with the exception of a few lyrics upon recollections connected with Ireland, and probably with the best part of his childhood, which are affecting and beautiful, he cannot get a good serious thought in the first verse of a song, but he must spoil in the next with some conceit or pedantry. He set about spoiling his prose, in the same manner, with classical names lugged in to bear company with modern, like a schoolboy's theme, with degrading prettiness, and remote, half-witted metaphors; such as when he talks of
Burkeperching himself on the remotest branch from popular contact;’ as if Burke, and the thick of politics, had anything to do with a linnet in a bush. The ridicule of the critics made him doubt this style; so in his new work he has done his best to alter it, though it was evidently a hard task; and not knowing how to he in earnest, he has taken to as ludicrous a formality; talks of ‘the poet Dryden’ and ‘the poet Ariosto,’ as if there were Drydens and Ariostos who were potters; and puts on to many strange, bridling, cosy, motherly, moral airs, betwixt love for his naughty young master, and zeal for the chaplain, that we almost fancy him with a mob-cap on, and a cup of ‘the creature’ by his side. In short, Mr. Moore is no real biographer, no prose-writer, no thinker; there is not one original reflection in all his remarks, nor one that has not been made in a better manner before him by writers of his own time; and his poetry is just as good as wit and festivity can make it, and nothing else. His world is the little world of fashion; his notions of liberty those of a Whig-Aristocrat, without the excuse; and the whole secret of his deification of Lord Byron is, that their intercourse was one of flattery and convenience, and that in trumpeting his great craft down the stream, he hopes his ‘little sail’
‘Will join the triumph and partake the gale.’

Of Lord Byron's poetry our opinion has been set forth upon more than one occasion. The Germans have very appropriately called him “a power man.” He had little fancy, less of imagination, but strong and overwhelming passions, deep sensibility, a philosophising spirit, and a command of words which few men have possessed. Shakspeare and Dryden were his superiors, and for that reason Byron, the loadstar of whose heart was egregious vanity and all-enthralling selfishness, made it the business of his life to turn detractor to the only two men in English literature essentially super excellent to himself. Wordsworth has fulfilled the sacred purposes of poetry better than Byron; Coleridge, in point of intellectual vastness and pure passionate feeling is far above him; the poems of Southey give readier evidences of human sympathies and charity than any thing which Byron has produced; yet, for vivid portraiture, rapid transitions, fiery thoughts, and shifting imagery, his is the greatest name in the modern literature of England, and has produced the most general effect upon the mass of the people. Happy for him and for the world had he turned his precious gifts to a better and more hallowed account. As a man he is full of dark spots and blemishes. The fault originally was his mother's, who was a savage, and eventually of himself. Wicked parent that she was, her name deserves execration for the ill-
244Moore’s Life of Byron
treatment of her son, in whom the noblest of God's creatures was destroyed! Alas! parents in the world of fashion little or seldom know the responsibility which attaches to them. Too often are their days given to the enervating distractions of society—their nights to all the frivolities of metropolitan dissipation—their children are left to the guidance and care of servants—and from their earliest years these are spoiled in disposition, and become tyrants in temper. Of this order was the poet Byron. From self-indulgence and solitude, and domestic troubles, his waywardness increased, his selfishness cast its strong roots around his heart, and became as deeply fixed in that pediment as any mighty oak in the forest. He ended as he lived, and he lived as he begun. He had no fixed principle of action, he gave to the poor, but it was not from charity, but for ostentation-sake; he was incapable of confidence, fulfilling the
Terentian description of
“Plenus rimarum sum—huc atque illuc perfluo.”

He never came into close contact with any man, for any period of time, and was never faithful to any woman save to the Guiccioli. His love was fickle—his attachment insincere—his hatred deadly. He never had the desire to uphold the dignity of wife, daughter, mother, or any other individual, save of himself. His vanity was so great, that on every occasion that it was gratified, he repeated the cause of his gratification, with a never ending volubility. His love adventures and his intrigues, with a full detail of the most trifling facts connected with them, were trumpeted forth by himself to the world. Not satisfied with writing on the subject to Moore, and to others of his friends, he sent regular dispatches on the subject to Mr. Murray, on the full understanding that they were to be seen by his literary coterie; and handed about they accordingly were, until they became the common talk of the town. Some small extracts from these last confidential communications we shall give, as they will afford a little insight into the character of the man.

Mr. Hobhouse is gone to Rome—I should have gone too, but I fell in love and must stay that out. I should think that and the Armenian language will last the winter. The lady has, luckily for me, been less obdurate than the language, &c.—Venice, 1816.”

“I am still dreadfully in love with the Adriatic lady, (a low shopkeeper's wife!) whom I spoke of in a former letter, and love in this part of the world is no sinecure. This is also the season when every body make up their intrigues for the ensuing year, and cut for partners for the next deal.—Venice, 1816.”

Here is the way the poet writes, to his bookseller, of his wife:—

“To-day is the 2nd January. On this day two years I married, (‘whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth,’)—I shan't forget the day in a hurry.”

A few lines after he speaks of having received a letter from his sister, about his daughter, and a few lines after that, he talks to Mr. Murray, deliberately, of

“being very well off with Marianna, (the shopkeeper's wife,) who is not at all a person to tire me; firstly, because I do not tire of a woman personally, but because they are generally bores in their dispositions; and secondly, because she is amiable, and has a tact, which is not always the portion of the fair creation; and thirdly, she is very pretty; and fourthly——but there is no occasion for further specification.—Venice, 1817.”

“To night, as Countess Guiccioli observed me poring over Don Juan, she stumbled by mere chance on the 137th stanza of the 1st canto, and asked me what it meant. I told her, ‘Nothing, but your husband is coming.’ As I said this in Italian with some emphasis, she started up in a fright, and said, ‘O my God, is he coming?’ thinking it was her own, who either was or ought to have been at the theatre. You may suppose we laughed when she found out the mistake. You, (Mr. Murray,) will be amused as I was;—it happened not three hours ago.”

A little lower in the same letter is this:

“If she and her husband make it up, you will perhaps see us in England sooner than you expect. If not, I shall retire with her to France, or America, change my name, and lead a quiet provincial life.—Venice, 1819.”

“At ten o'clock I was at home and alone, (Marianna was gone with her husband, to a conversazione) when the door of my apartment opened, and in walked a well, looking, and (for an Italian) bionda girl of about nineteen, who informed me that she was married to the brother of my amorosa, and wished to have some con-
Moore’s Life of Byron245
versation with me. I made a decent reply, and we had some talk in Italian and Romaic, (her mother being a Greek of Corfu,) when, lo! in a few minutes, in marches to my very great astonishment, Marianna S * *, in propriâ personâ, and after making a most polite curtesy to her sister-in-law, and to me, without a single word seizes her said sister-in-law by the hair, and bestows upon her some sixteen slaps, which would have made your ears ache only to hear their echo.—Venice, 1817.”

He writes to Moore on the death of his child—

“Your domestic calamity is very grievous—I know how to feel with you, because, (selfishness being always the substratum of our damnable clay,) I am quite wrapt up in my own children. Besides my little legitimate, I have made unto myself an il-legitimate since, (to say nothing of one before,) and I look forward to one of them as the pillow of my old age; supposing that I ever reach, which I hope I never shall, that desolating period. I have a great love for my little Ada; though, perhaps, she may torture me like * * * * * &c.” [It is easy, notwithstanding these asterisks, to see that allusion was here made to his lady.] Venice, 1818.”

Again, in the same letter:—

“I have had some curious masking adventures this Carnival; but as they are not yet over, I shall not say on. I will work the mine of my youth to the last veins of the ore, and then——good night. I have lived, and am content.”

The Guiccioli writes to Mr. Moore a full account of the progress of her intrigue with Lord Byron, and Mr. Moore, “to screen his friend's memory from the world's obloquy,” and as in duty bound, prints it.

The following short passage was inserted, we suppose, to show the Guiccioli's dexterity in making excuses for effecting her purposes against the honour of her lord. Mr. Moore publishes it for the especial benefit of the rising female generation.

“On my departure from Venice, he had promised to come and see me at Ravenna. Dante's tomb, the classical pine wood, the relics of antiquity which are to be found in that place, afforded a sufficient pretext for me to invite him, &c.”

These extracts will suffice, and present a fair specimen of the offensive character of the book. The extracts themselves are enough for condemning Byron. With him, the most sacred subjects are rendered trifling the dearest ties held in utter scorn—his wife insulted—his child, dishonoured, by being mentioned in the same page with his spurious offspring. And the worst is, that Lady Byron and Miss Byron are still living to read the page which this husband and father has written to their dishonour; and that husband's and father's friend has published, to the eternal disgrace of himself and the deceased poet.

Whatever might have been the reasons which induced Lady Byron to insist on the separation from her lord, they are unknown, and will remain so. They must have been grave; since two men distinguished in the legal profession, Dr. Lushington and Sir Samuel Romilly, both pronounced a reconcilement to be impossible. Supposing, however, that the separation had been occasioned by any ordinary reason, and the lady had relented, arguing that she were the party aggrieved, still the ill-advised way, indeed course of life, adopted by Lord Byron would, had his wife been possessed of spirit, which was actually the case, have been rendered utterly impossible. And yet, with a better knowledge of these facts than the greater part of his readers can have attained, Mr. Moore puts pen to paper, and twaddles out the following neatly turned periods.

“By the failure of the attempted mediation with Lady Byron, his last link with home was severed; while, notwithstanding the quiet and unobtrusive life which he had led at Geneva, there was as yet, he found, no cessation whatever of the slanderous warfare against his character; the same busy and misrepresenting spirit which had tracked his every step at home having, with no less malicious watchfulness, dogged him into exile. To this persuasion, for which he had but too much grounds, was added all that an imagination like his could lend to truth,—all that he was left to interpret, in his own way, of the absent and the silent,—till, at length, arming himself against fancied enemies and wrongs, and, with the condition (as it seemed to him) of an outlaw, assuming also the desperation, he resolved, as his countrymen would not do justice to the better parts of his nature, to have, at least, the perverse satisfaction of braving and shocking them with the worst.”

Never before was such an excuse enunciated for wayward and stubborn sensuality and vice. Because,
246Moore’s Life of Byron
forsooth, a foolish young man has incurred the censure of the world, he is justified in flying into a towering passion, at the impertinence of that world for presuming to take his actions to task, and in revenge he plunges headlong into a career of shameful criminality; and then, the perverse satisfaction which he draws from such a course is to be extenuated by the soft voice and mellifluous sentences of
Mr. Anacreon Moore! Oh! most sweet philosopher, preacher, and poet!

Before dismissing this subject, we have one more topic in reserve for Mr. Moore—his treatment of Leigh Hunt. The latter is undoubtedly a man of talent, spite of all his cockney-crowings and vain flutter of wings of the hue of buttercups and daffodils, when fresh plucked from the height of Primrose Hill. Mr. Moore may also be a man of talent: we do not deny it. We rather fancy, however, that Leigh Hunt has some small genius of his own: of this Mr. Moore is wholly unpossessed—so that the long-abused cockney is infinitely the superior man of the two. It ill became Mr. Moore, therefore, to fling dirt at any person superior to himself in point of intellect. Perhaps, however, for that very reason he did it. We believe, in one of his facetious and small-witted songs, the bard of Anacreon has described puppy-dogs in the act of doing something dirty to a dead lion. Mr. Moore, we opine, was describing his own propensities when pretending to detail the evil habits of other animals. Sure we are, that he has done much worse by Lord Byron than Leigh Hunt. The latter, when he wrote his book, was smarting under the pain of recent wounds; and, allowing that his volume was one pile of trash, nevertheless, with all reasonable, charitable men, every excuse can and will be alleged on behalf of him of Tagliaboschi. Not so, however, with Mr. Moore, who, professing friendship for the poet living, and glorying in his veneration for the poet dead, has coolly and deliberately sat down to malign the subject of his biography, in the ill-fitted habiliments of an eulogist. But to leave the nobler animal, and descend to the diminutive inhabitant of the hill of Highgate: conscious that he was, even with his diminutive glories, a more glorious, because a much more able and accomplished person than himself; the author of Little's poems could not resist his malevolent impulses, and must needs attempt to treat Mr. Hunt, as he had whilome treated poor Sheridan, as he had just treated poor Byron, that is, attempt to pull him down to his own paltry level. Mr. Moore, however, has learned a lesson, which he will not easily forget. He will not, again, in so great a hurry, go out of his way to attack any one so capable of defence as Mr. Leigh Hunt. By the god of battles, the impertinent Irishman has got as complete a drubbing as ever Randall or Tom Spring, alias Winter, could have given him, when trained and prepared to meet the Gypsey, the Baker, or the Devil, the following morning, at Wormwood Scrubs or Moulsey Hurst!

Mr. Leigh Hunt has replied to Mr. Thomas Moore's unprovoked and brutal attack. The answer is so good, so admirable, in all its parts, that we shall conclude our article by inserting as much of it as our limits will allow. We are glad of this opportunity of vindicating the character of a long-persecuted man. Mr. Hunt has had his full indulgence of conceit—Mr. Hunt has had his follies.—Which of us can say that he has not had his conceits and his follies? Let him who is guiltless cast the first stone at him. But that guiltless is not Mr. Thomas Moore, author of Little's Poems and the Twopenny-post Bag. We of Regina—aye, we, Oliver Yorke will no longer admit of this square-elbowing—these puling Lillicisms in the Rule of conduct. If we again see a goodly bird fidgetted to death by a flock of hungry noisy jackdaws, we will take our Manton, and send such a volley among the scurvy set, as pepper the sides of some of the tribe in good earnest, and send some to the devil, and all the rest into precipitate flight. Let this article upon Byron's recent memoirs be taken as a sample. Heaven and earth! because we have had a revolution in the metropolis of France; because we have had a grand stir among the Poles; because the mighty autocrat of the north is moving southward with his Sarmatic chivalry—are we to have a riot among the coteries of
Moore’s Life of Byron247
London, and to allow Thomas Moore, like a literary
Robespierre, to denounce this man, and that man, and the other man, to proscription and death: all these, by the way, being far better men than himself.

If we allow of such doings “Chaos shall come again.”—We now and hereby declare ourselves the champion of Leigh Hunt. Come one—come all—from Edinburgh and the most savage regions of Scotland—and, by the Lord, we will take all—one after another—and if we do not give these heathens and savages, whatever be their name or names
“Pues naciò en asperos montes,
Montesinos le diran.”
Aye, whether the name be Montesinos—or Legion—or * * * * * * it matters little—we will let each have the choice of arms—and if we do not give him a flaying after his. own fashion, why then say that we are no longer
Oliver Yorke, but a bombastic Captain Bobadil, and deserve to have faces made at us as we pass along. We have reason enough to be thus emoved. We have read Mr. Leigh Hunt's introductory remarks to his strictures on Mr. Moore's volumes, and, by the locks of Jove, we were touched to the quick, when we came to the passage where the writer, in most feeling, yet manly terms, makes allusion to his family. “We do not choose to risk any detriment possible to this new ‘dead weight’ (these words were applied by Moore to the Liberal] “of ours, the Tatler,—a germ, however poor, of precious promise of shelter to many heads.” We almost think we see the writer as he penned this beautiful and most feeling line—we think we see him in the retirement of his chamber, the tear almost starting to his eye; why should he be ashamed of it—it is the tear of sorrow for past follies, of affection for his offspring; whose daily wants are pressing, and require supply, at his hands—of hope and truth in the goodness of God, and in a better hereafter. We think we see his breast labouring with agitation—the burning iron of the world's disappointment having entered into his soul, and left a wound which, though long since cicatrized, sometimes festers from fresh irritation. Mr. Hunt has our best wishes for his success—may he be rewarded for his exertions—may his family reward. his paternal solicitude! We have said some severe things of this gentleman, but his answer to Mr. Moore has effected a miracle in our feelings; and his expressions of anxiety for his family have softened our heart to “melting charity.” We make every allowance for the man who has suffered, or fancies that he has suffered, all that is set forth in the following passage of his Tatler. No name is mentioned, but there is evidence sufficient that Mr Hunt alludes to the severe circumstances of his own life.

“Two years ago, if you had been a suffering Reformer, if you had persevered in one long work of endeavour for human good, or what you believed to be such, and in the belief that a time would come after you were dead and gone, when the dream should be realized,—if you had sacrificed ‘health, fame, and fortune’ in the endeavour; if you had encountered every species of opposition and calumny: if your cheeks had sunk; if your heart had been torn to pieces for your children; and if with a weakened frame, and no resources but of your tired thoughts, not even with a sixpence in the world before you, you had been compelled to begin life again, at an age when others begin to look forward to some repose; and if during this time, you had been deceived by false patrons, and forsaken by false friends, and at the close of it had been worked up by a combination of circumstances and of pangs infinite, to utter a syllable of complaint which might have been less excusable in happier hours, and which you yourself should regret,—that one offence would be turned against you as if you had committed a thousand crimes; all that you had ever said, done, or endured in behalf of generous sentiments would be forgotten; and nobody be so loud in your condemnation, as the men whose desertion had helped to sting you into the impulse.”

We now proceed to lay Mr. Hunt's observations on Mr. Moore's attacks, and some of the letters of the latter to the former, when the author of Little's Poems stood in need of assistance; and the author of Rimini, in more prosperous circumstances, was able to afford it.

Perhaps Mr. Moore had forgotten that the letters which Leigh Hunt has published were in existence. This is probably the case. Mr. Hunt has fallen in fortune, Mr. Moore has risen in the region of fashion. His
248Moore’s Life of Byron
daily intercourse is with nothing beneath the dignity of a lord, or of those who are the prime favourites of lords; or if he were not oblivious of their existence, he treated the matter with affected contempt—he looked with complacency at his own tinsel circumstances in life—then compared them with the leaden hue of those of Mr. Hunt; secretly exclaiming that “the fellow might write what he pleased, nobody would believe him if he were the object of censure;” he—the fondled of lords, and the acknowledged favourite of dowagers! The letters, however, have been published, and they have had their effect upon the world; and that the tale they tell may be further propagated, and treachery may be unmasked, we have selected two or three of the most convincing for insertion in

The first was written when Leigh Hunt was incarcerated in Horsemonger-lane prison—Mr. Hunt remarks:

“What he now sees in some passages of his letters, he leaves the reader to guess. The one, upon his patron Lord Moira in the following, will surely be held a curiosity by those who think of the different positions of Mr. Hunt as Editor of the Examiner and visitor of Lord Byron. The reader has been already told that the Italics in these letters are of the writer's own marking, not ours.

“Kegsworth, Leicestershire, Tuesday.

My Dear Sir:—I was well aware that, on the first novelty of your imprisonment, you would be overwhelmed with all sorts of congratulations and condolences, and therefore resolved to reserve my tribute both of approbation and sympathy till the gloss of your chains was a little gone off, and both friends and starers had got somewhat accustomed to them. If I were now to tell you half of what I have thought and felt in your favour during this period, I fear it would be more than you know enough of me to give me credit for; and I shall therefore only say, in true Irish phrase and spirit, that my heart takes you by the hand most cordially, and that I only wish heaven had given me a brother, whom I could think so well of and feel so warmly about. I hope to be in London in about four or five weeks, when one of my first visits shall be to Horsemonger-lane, and I trust I shall find your restrictions so far relaxed as to allow of my not merely looking at you through the bars, but passing an hour or two with you in your room.

I have long observed, and (I must confess) wondered at your retenue about Lord Moira, and have sometimes flattered myself (forgive me for being so vain, and so little just, perhaps, to your sense of duty) that a little regard for me was at the bottom of your forbearance, for you have always struck me as one whom nature never destined ‘accusatoriam vitam vivere,’ and who, if you were to live much among us Lilliputians of this world, would soon find your giant limbs entangled with a multitude of almost invisible heart-strings; but be this as it may, I must acknowledge (with a candour which is wrung from me) that Lord Moira's conduct no longer deserves your approbation, and when I say this, I trust I need not add, that it no longer has mine. His kindnesses to me of course I can never forget, but they are remembered as one remembers the kindnesses of a faithless mistress, and that esteem, that reverence, which was the soul of all, is fled. His thoughtfulness about me, indeed, remained to the last, and in the interview which I had with him immediately on his coming down here after his appointment, he said that, though he had nothing sufficiently good in his Indian patronage to warrant my taking such an expensive voyage, yet it was in his power, by exchange of patronage with Ministers, to serve me at home, and that he meant to provide for me in this way; to which I answered, with many acknowledgments for his friendship, that ‘I begged he would not take the trouble of making any such application, as I would infinitely rather struggle on as I am, than accept of anything under such a system.’ I must add (because it is creditable to him) that this refusal, though so significantly conveyed, and still more strongly afterwards by letter, did not offend him, and that he continued the most cordial attentions to us during the remainder of his stay. I know you will forgive this egotism, and would perhaps trouble you with a little more of it, if the unrelenting post time were not very nearly at hand.

* * * *
* * * *
From yours ever,
Thomas Moore.”

The next has a reference to Lord Byron.

“Mayfield Cottage, Monday Evening.
[Post Mark, August, 1813.]
My Dear Hunt,
* * * *
* * * *

“I hope you see my friend Lord Byron often; one of the very few London pleasures I envy him is the visit to Horsemonger-lane now and then.

“Faithfully yours,
Thomas Moore.”

Now for some remarks by Leigh
Moore’s Life of Byron249
Hunt on his own Rimini. With some few passages of beauty, it for the most part is one mass of conceit; and the censure of the Quarterly was well deserved. Mr. Hunt, however, admits that it had faults, and that is saying much. But all this is nothing to the matter. The question is, what was Moore's opinion; and what Lord Byron's, of the poem? The reader shall see.

“In the letters of Lord Byron, published by Mr. Moore, are various notices of a poem written by Mr. Leigh Hunt, called the ‘Story of Rimini.’ In his Lordship's first mention of it in a letter to Mr. Moore, he calls it ‘a real good, and very original poem;’ says he thinks it will be ‘a great hit;’ and adds, ‘you can have no notion how very well it is written, nor should I, had I not redde* it.’ In a letter of the same date to Mr. Murray the bookseller, he describes it as a ‘very wonderful and beautiful performance, with just enough of fault to make its beauties more remarked and remarkable.’ The ‘Story of Rimini’ was published; the Quarterly Review damned a poem written by the Editor of the Examiner; * * * We shall not pain ourselves by dwelling upon graver instances, but not long afterwards the faults of Mr. Leigh Hunt's poem became uppermost in the mind of his noble eulogizer; his friendship with Mr. Shelley (always beloved by his friends, and now so praised by those who have been taught to know him, as well as by those who are eager to reconcile themselves to the memory of a man of rank,) was a new offence to the Anti-liberals, and to those who fear them; and his admiration of the genius of another young poet, Mr. Keats, besides aggravating the offence, completed the impatience of the noble bard, who never liked Mr. Hunt's homage to Mr. Wordsworth as the first poet of the age. As to Mr. Moore, to go counter to the circles at all, except under circumstances which extorted their respect, or happened to suit the immediate policy of the Whig part of them, was a committal of a man's self, which, it seems, neutralized the merit of the exceptions, and not only precluded all public recognition of his friend, or even that hazardous assistance of a political squib or two, which his ‘gratitude’ promised, and his expediency took such care not to perform, but enabled him to write in two sorts of style upon one subject, to two different friends; as the reader will see presently. Mr. Moore cannot say his soul is his own, out of the pale of what is ‘received.’ He has no notion even of a pathos which is not dressed, as he thinks, in a manner fit to go to court. His sphere is a round of dinners: his universal empyrean the roof of the Opera House. Yet the annals of fashion might have taught him, that tears are to be shed even there; and nature, in spite of mistake, still find a sympathy. Lord Byron spoke too partially, in the first instance, of the faults in the ‘Story of Rimini.’ We are very sincere in saying so; and any reader may believe us, when we add, that he confounded them too much with the poem afterwards. The truth is, that the critics were right when they objected to certain coinages, cant phrases, and other defects in the poem, generated, not as they thought by affectation, but by a mistaken notion of avoiding the cant of common place.—In 1816, after the first outcry had been raised against the ‘Story of Rimini’ Lord Byron intimated to Mr. Moore, who had then become a critic himself, that a favourable notice of it in the Edinburgh Review would be useful, and do it justice. But Mr. Moore, besides discovering that Mr. Hunt was no wholesale flatterer, had found out that the once potent editor of a newspaper, and critic of new operas, could be quizzed by a court dependant, and had thus become an object of ridicule to all who valued the gravity of their reception. In his first quarto, therefore, we find the following note on the above intimation of his lordship's:

“‘My reply,’ says Mr. Moore, ‘to this part of his letter was, I find, as follows: with respect to Hunt's poem, though it is, I own, full of beauties, and though I like himself sincerely, I really could not undertake to praise it seriously. There is so much of the quizzible in all he writes, that I never can put on the proper pathetic face in reading him.’—Vol. i. p. 644.

So far so good. Now mark the following letter written only a year before.

“Mayfield Cottage, March 7, 1814.

My Dear Hunt—I do forgive you for your long silence, though you have much less right to be careless about our non-intercourse:than I have—if I knew as little about you and your existence as you know of me, I should not feel quite so patient under the privation—but I have the advantage of communing with you, for a very delightful hour, every Tuesday evening: of knowing your thoughts upon all that passes, and of exclaiming not!—bravo!—exactly!—to every sentiment you express—whereas, from the very few signs of life I give in the world, you can only

“Lord Byron was in the habit of spelling the past tense of the verb read in this manner,”
250Moore’s Life of Byron
take my existence for granted, as we do that of the
‘Little woman under the hill,
Who, if she's not gone, must live there still.’
However, I do forgive you—and only wish I could pay you back a millesimal part of the pleasure which—in various ways—as poet, as politician, as partial friend, you have lately given me. Your
Rimini is beautiful, and its only faults such as you are aware of, and prepared to justify—there is that maiden charm of originality about it—‘that ‘integer, illibatusque succus,’ which Columella tells us the bees extract—that freshness of the living fount, which we look in vain for in the bottled-up Heliconian of ordinary Bards—in short, it is poetry—and notwithstanding the quaintnesses, the coinages, and even affectations, with which, here and there——

“I had just got so far, my dear Hunt, when I was interrupted by a prosing neighbour, who has put every thing I meant to say out of my head—so, there I must leave you, impaled on the point of this broken sentence, and wishing you as little torture there as the nature of the case will allow. I have only time to say again, that your poem is beautiful, and that, if I do not exactly agree with some of your notions about versification and language, the general spirit of the work has more than satisfied my utmost expectations of you. If you go on thus, you will soon make some of Apollo's guests sit ‘below the salt.’ The additions to this latter Poem* are excellent, and the lines on Music at the end are full of beauty.

“There are many of the lines of Rimini that ‘haunt me like a passion’—I don't know whether I ought to own that these are among the number—I quote from memory:
‘The woe was short, was fugitive, is past!
The song that sweetens it may always last.’
I am afraid you will set this down among your regular sing-song couplets—to me it is all music.

“Is it true that your friend Lord B. has taken to the beautifully ‘mammosa’ Mrs. ——? Who, after this, will call him a ‘searcher of dark bosoms?’ Not a word to him, however, about this last question of mine.

“Ever, my dear Hunt, most faithfully yours,

Thomas Moore.”

“I hope to deliver my mighty work into Longman's hands in May, but of course it will not go to press till after the summer.”

The reader may make what comment best beseems him on the foregoing, Mr. Hunt shall again speak for himself.

“The next letter Is dated four years afterwards, by which time Mr. Moore had got a considerable access of dread respecting the progress of liberalism. He has a pretty alliteration somewhere in one of his quartos about ‘rank, riches, and religion.’ We know not whether the alteration of times would have modified that particular passage, for we do not remember the context; but we are very firmly persuaded that if the second French Revolution had happened before the publication of Mr. Moore's prose works, the author would not have thought it necessary to express so much anxiety respecting the dangers of plain speaking; nor are we sure that the word religion would have been found in his writings. It was not to be expected perhaps under any circumstances, that Mr. Moore would be found in the van of opinion. We do not believe that he has given up to a party what was ‘meant for mankind.’ People are generally meant for what they do.

“Sloperton Cottage, Devizes, Jan. 21, 1818.

My Dear Hunt—Having the opportunity of a frank, I must write you a line or two to thank you for your very kind notices of me, and still more, to express my regret that in my short and busy visit to town, I had not the happiness, to which I looked forward, of passing at least one day with you and your family. I am always so thrown ‘in medias res,’ when I go to London, that I have never a minute left for anything agreeable—but my next visit will, I hope, be one of pleasure, and then you are sure to be brought in among the ingredients. For the cordiality with which you have praised and defended me, I am, I assure you, most deeply grateful; and, though less alive, I am sorry to say, both to praise and blame, than I used to be, yet coming from a heart and a taste like yours, they cannot fall to touch me very sensibly. You are quite right about the conceits that disfigure my poetry; but you (and others) are quite as wrong in supposing that I hunt after them—my greatest difficulty is to hunt them away. If you had ever been in the habit of hearing Curran converse—though I by no means intend to compare myself with him in the ready coin of wit—yet, from the tricks which his imagination played him while he talked, you might have some idea of the phantasmagoria that mine passes before me while I write.—In short, St. Anthony's temptations were nothing to what an Irish fancy has to undergo from all its own brood of Will-o-th'-wisps and hobgoblins.

“My best regards to Mrs. Hunt.

“Yours very faithfully,
Thomas Moore.”

Leigh Hunt had sent Moore a composition entitled, The Descent of
Moore’s Life of Byron251
Liberty, a Mask, which, to say the truth, adds the ingenuous author, was not worth his praises. We are of the same opinion, but so was not Mr. Moore, as the following missive will testify.

“You already know my opinion of it—it will live in spite of the Congress and Buonaparte—and though the principal maskers have shifted dresses a good deal since, your poetry is independent of the politics—it has that kind of general and fanciful character of Sir Joshua Reynolds's portraits, which will make it long outlive the frail and foolish heads that sat for it.”

The last letter is dated from Paris, August, 1821.

Mr. Hunt concludes with the following stinging words:—

“All the insincere will of course secretly love Mr. Moore the better for these letters. His double-dealing will help to reconcile them to their own. But what will the sincere say to him? And they are a rising party now in the world! Perhaps he might have found it better for him in the end to stick to them!

We have before said that Lord Byron was the most falsehearted of men. Here is testimony of the truth of this assertion.

“If Mr. Moore supposes that Lord Byron made him an exception to the way in which he used to talk of his ‘friends,’ he is mistaken.

“We do not remember him to have praised Mr. Moore's poetry but once. The poem he eulogized was one of the Irish Melodies beginning,—
‘When first I knew thee, warm and young,
There shone such truth about thee.’

“On the other hand, he was never backward to let you see that he had a poor notion of his serious poetry in general. He did not think that there shone much truth about that, either of style or sentiment. He says, in a letter to Mr. John Hunt, in alluding to the ‘Loves of the Angels,’ and observing that he should not alter his poem on that subject, ‘I leave it to others to circumcise their Angels with their bonnes fortunes to the drawing-room and clerical standard.’ In this passage, the words others and theirs have been substituted very plainly for the words Mr. Moore and his:—so cautious was he of committing himself on paper, and yet so desirous of saying all. His care in this respect was a circumstance worthy notice, considering the incontinence of speech for which he was famous. He used to observe, with a look of gravity, that ‘you could not deny what you had written.’ Yet this was the writer of an autobiography said to have been committed to the flames; and enough remains both in Mr. Moore's work, and in private letters, to shew that his scruples had come late, and to alarm his ‘friends’ all round. We have letters ourselves which we shall withhold, except in case of aggression: others we have burnt: and we beg it to be understood, that in those which remain, there is nothing to implicate a woman. No outrage ever did or could induce us to ward off a blow at the expense of the other sex. We have particular reasons for saying this, and therefore hope the reader will excuse the apparent supererogation.

Lord Byron thought Mr. Moore a tuft-hunter* and a smell-feast. On Mr. Hunt's expressing his surprise one day, at an account of Mr. Moore's veneration for good dinners, Lord Byron exclaimed,—‘He! why he finds out your bill of fare, and his countenance falls if it is not of the first order. You should have seen how distressed he looked one day at Venice, because the dinner did not suit him.’—‘That then,’ said the other, ‘accounts for an expression I once saw in his face when the covers were taken off from some dishes. I had a suspicion of it, but could hardly believe it possible.’—‘Do but give Tom a good dinner, and a lord,’ returned the noble poet, ‘and he is at the top of his happiness.—Oh!’ added he, in the most emphatic manner, with a face full of glee, as above described, doubling himself up as be walked, lifting up his arm, and bringing it down with a doubled fist upon

* Tuft-hunter is a college term for one who seeks the company of men of noble families; their caps being distinguished by a tuft of gold.
252Moore’s Life of Byron
the word in Italics, ‘TOMMY loves a Lord!’

The following anecdote will suffice to substantiate all that we have alleged on the score of vanity in Lord Byron.

“It was said in the Times newspaper (we forget exactly when, for we quote from memory, but we can refer to the passage, and will correct it, if necessary) that after all which had been said of this noble ‘apostle and martyr of freedom, his exertions in the cause of Greece were limited to a six months’ talk about an expedition to Lepanto, and a loan of some thousands of pounds which were repaid to his executors.’ Mr. Leigh Hunt was walking with his lordship one day in the garden of the Casa Saluzzi at Genoa, when it pleased the noble bard to fall foul on the character of Milton, whose republicanism, patriotism, poetry, and everything else, he attributed to sheer ‘vanity.’ His companion said, that he supposed he meant to include in Milton's aspirations the love of glory, which was not to be denied; but Lord Byron would not allow the matter to be so qualified. He, said it was all pure vanity, and nothing else; and that such was the motive of all public men, not excepting the greatest, let them do or suffer what they might. In short, he insisted on driving the proposition so far, that Mr. Hunt said he hoped he would not give such an opinion, the sanction of his book, and put it in Don Juan; and asked him what he would say, if the world should turn round upon him, and in requital of what he was going to do for Greece, attribute all that he did to vanity. His face turned of the colour of scarlet; and he said no more.”

We are proud of this opportunity of setting Mr. Leigh Hunt in a more satisfactory point of view in the eyes of the world:—We are equally proud of tearing the cloak from the shoulders of Mr. Thomas Moore, that the world may have a fair view of the inward texture of the man.—And now, having fulfilled our duty, we take our leave of our gentle Reader.

O. Y.