LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Vol. V Appendix

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
‣ Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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Two Letters concerning Lord Byron, published in
Southey’s Essays, 2 vols., Murray, 1832.

Having, in the preface to my ‘Vision of Judgment,’ explained the principle upon which the metre of that poem is constructed, I took the opportunity of introducing the following remarks:—

“‘I am well aware that the public are peculiarly intolerant of such innovations, not less so than the populace are of any foreign fashion, whether of foppery or convenience. Would that this literary intolerance were under the influence of a saner judgment, and regarded the morals more than the manner of a composition—the spirit rather than the form! Would that it were directed against those monstrous combinations of horrors and mockery, lewdness and impiety, with which English poetry has, in our days, first been polluted! For more than half a century English literature had been distinguished by its moral purity,—the effect, and, in its turn, the cause of an improvement in national manners. A father might, without apprehension of evil, have put into the hands of his children any book which issued from the press, if it did not bear, either in its title-page or frontispiece, manifest signs that it was intended as furniture for the brothel. There was no danger in any work which bore the name of a respectable publisher, or was to be procured at any respectable bookseller’s. This was particularly the case with regard to our poetry. It is now no longer so; and woe to those by whom the offence
cometh! The greater the talents of the offender, the greater is his guilt, and the more enduring will be his shame. Whether it be that the laws themselves are unable to abate an evil of this magnitude, or whether it be that they are remissly administered, and with such injustice that the celebrity of an offender serves as a privilege whereby he obtains impunity, individuals are bound to consider that such pernicious works would neither be published nor written, if they were discouraged, as they might and ought to be, by public feeling. Every person, therefore, who purchases such books, or admits them into his house, promotes the mischief, and thereby, as far as in him lies, becomes an aider and abettor of the crime.

“‘The publication of a lascivious book is one of the worst offences which can be committed against the wellbeing of society. It is a sin, to the consequences of which no limits can be assigned, and those consequences no after repentance in the writer can counteract. Whatever remorse of conscience he may feel when his hour comes (and come it must!) will be of no avail. The poignancy of a death-bed repentance cannot cancel one copy of the thousands which are sent abroad; and as long as it continues to be read, so long is he the pander of posterity; and so long is he heaping up guilt upon his soul in perpetual accumulation.

“‘These remarks are not more severe than the offence deserves, even when applied to those immoral writers who have not been conscious of any evil intention in their writings, who would acknowledge a little levity, a little warmth of colouring, and so forth, in that sort of language with which men gloss over their favourite vices, and deceive themselves. What, then, should be said of those for whom the thoughtlessness and inebriety of wanton youth can no longer be pleaded, but who have written in sober manhood, and with deliberate purpose?
Men of diseased* hearts and depraved imaginations, who, forming a system of opinions to suit their own unhappy course of conduct, have rebelled against the holiest ordinances of human society, and hating that revealed religion which, with all their efforts and bravadoes, they are unable entirely to disbelieve, labour to make others as miserable as themselves, by infecting them with a moral virus that eats into the soul! The school which they have set up may properly be called the Satanic School, for though their productions breathe the spirit of Belial in their lascivious parts, and the spirit of Moloch in those loathsome images of atrocities and horrors which they delight to represent, they are more especially characterised by a Satanic spirit of pride and audacious impiety, which still betrays the wretched feeling of hopelessness wherewith it is allied.

“‘This evil is political as well as moral, for indeed moral and political evils are inseparably connected. Truly has it been affirmed by one of our ablest and clearest reasoners†, that “the destruction of governments

* “Summi poetæ in omni poetarum sæculo viri fuerunt probi; in nostris id vidimus et videmus; neque alius est error a veritate longius quam magna ingenia magnis necessario corrumpi viti is. Secundo plerique posthabent primum, hi malignitate, illi ignorantia; et quum aliquem inveniunt styli morumque vitiis notatum, nec inficetum tamen nec in libris edendis parcum, eum stipant, pradicant, occupant, amplectuntur. Si mores aliquantulum vellet corrigere, si stylum curare paululum, si fervido ingenio temperare, si moræ tantillum interponere, tum ingens nescio quid et vere epicum, quadraginta annos natus, procuderet. Ignorant verò febriculis non indicari vires, impatientiam ab imbecillitate non differre; ignorant a levi homine et inconstante multa fortasse scribi posse plusquam mediocria, nihil compositum, arduum, æternum.”—Savagius Landor, De Cultu atque Usu Latini Sermonis. This essay, which is full of fine critical remarks and striking thoughts felicitously expressed, reached me from Pisa, while the proof of the present sheet was before me. Of its author (the author of Gebir and Count Julian), I will only say in this place, that, to have obtained his approbation as a poet, and possessed his friendship as a man, will be remembered among the honours of my life, when the petty enmities of this generation will be forgotten, and its ephemeral reputations shall have passed away.


may be proved, and deduced from the general corruption of the subjects’ manners, as a direct and natural cause thereof, by a demonstration as certain as any in the mathematics.” There is no maxim more frequently enforced by
Machiavelli, than that where the manners of a people are generally corrupted, there the government cannot long subsist—a truth which all history exemplified; and there is no means whereby that corruption can be so surely and rapidly diffused, as by poisoning the waters of literature.

“‘Let rulers of the State look to this in time! But, to use the words of South, if “our physicians think the best way of curing a disease is to pamper it, the Lord in mercy prepare the Kingdom to suffer, what He by miracle only can prevent!”

“‘No apology is offered for these remarks. The subject led to them; and the occasion of introducing them was willingly taken, because it is the duty of every one, whose opinion may have any influence, to expose the drift and aim of those writers who are labouring to subvert the foundations of human virtue and of human happiness.’

Lord Byron, in his next publication, was pleased to comment upon this passage, in the ensuing words:—

“‘Mr. Southey, too, in his pious preface to a poem, whose blasphemy is as harmless as the sedition of Wat Tyler, because it is equally absurd with that sincere production, calls upon the “Legislature to look to it,” as the toleration of such writings led to the French Revolution,—not such writings as Wat Tyler, but as those of the “Satanic School.” This is not true, and Mr. Southey knows it to be not true. Every French writer of any freedom was persecuted: Voltaire and Rousseau were exiles, Marmontel and Diderot were sent to the Bastile, and a perpetual war was waged with the whole class by the existing despotism. In the next place, the French revolution was not occasioned by any writings.


“‘It is the fashion to attribute everything to the French revolution, and the French revolution to everything but its real cause. That cause is obvious. The Government exacted too much, and the people could neither give nor bear more. Without this, the encyclopedists might have written their fingers off without the occurrence of a single alteration.

“‘And the English revolution (the first, I mean), what was it occasioned by? The Puritans were surely as pious and moral as Wesley or his biographer. Acts—acts on the part of Government, and not writings against them, have caused the past convulsions, and are leading to the future.

“‘I look upon such as inevitable, though no revolutionist. I wish to see the English Constitution restored, and not destroyed. Born an aristocrat, and naturally one by temper, with the greater part of my present property in the funds, what have I to gain by a revolution? Perhaps I have more to lose in every way than Mr. Southey, with all his places and presents for panegyrics and abuse into the bargain. But that a revolution is inevitable, I repeat. The Government may exult over the repression of petty tumults; these are but the receding waves, repulsed and broken for a moment on the shore, while the great tide is still rolling on, and gaining ground with every breaker. Mr. Southey accuses us of attacking the religion of the country; and is he abetting it by writing lives of Wesley? One mode of worship is merely destroyed by another. There never was, nor ever will be, a country without a religion. We shall be told of France again; but it was only Paris and a frantic party, which for a moment upheld their dogmatic nonsense of theophilanthropy. The Church of England, if overthrown, will be swept away by the reclaimers, and not by the sceptics. People are too wise, too well-informed, too certain of their own immense importance in the realms of
space, ever to submit to the impiety of doubt. There may be a few such diffident speculators, like water in the pale sunbeam of human reason, but they are very few; and their opinions, without enthusiasm or appeal to the passions, can never gain proselytes, unless, indeed, they are persecuted: that, to be sure, will increase anything.

“‘Mr. S., with a cowardly ferocity, exults over the anticipated “death-bed repentance” of the objects of his dislike; and indulges himself in a pleasant “Vision of Judgment,” in prose as well as verse, full of impious impudence. hat Mr. S.’s sensations or ours may be in the awful moment of leaving this state of existence, neither he nor we can pretend to decide. In common, I presume, with most men of any reflection, I have not waited for a “death-bed” to repent of many of my actions, notwithstanding the “diabolical pride” which this pitiful renegado, in his rancour, would impute to those who scorn him.

“‘Whether, upon the whole, the good or evil of my deeds may preponderate, is not for me to ascertain; but as my means and opportunities have been greater, I shall limit my present defence to an assertion (easily proved, if necessary), that I, “in my degree,” have done more real good in any one given year, since I was twenty, than Mr. Southey in the whole course of his shifting and turncoat existence. There are several actions to which I can look back with an honest pride, not to be damped by the calumnies of a hireling. There are others to which I recur with sorrow and repentance; but the only act of my life, of which Mr. Southey can have any real knowledge, as it was one which brought me in contact with a near connection of his own, did no dishonour to that connection nor to me.

“‘I am not ignorant of Mr. Southey’s calumnies on a different occasion, knowing them to be such, which he scattered abroad on his return from Switzerland, against
me and others. They have done him no good in this world; and if his creed be the right one, they will do him less in the next. What his “death-bed” may be, it is not my province to predicate; let him settle it with his Maker, as I must do with mine. There is something at once ludicrous and blasphemous in this arrogant scribbler of all works, sitting down to deal damnation and destruction upon his fellow-creatures, with
Wat Tyler, the Apotheosis of George the Third, and the Elegy on Martin the Regicide all shuffled together in his writing-desk. One of his consolations appears to be a Latin note from a work of Mr. Landor, the author of “Gebir,” whose friendship for Robert Southey will, it seems, “be an honour to him when the ephemeral disputes and ephemeral reputations of the day are forgotten.”

“‘I for one neither envy him “the friendship” nor the glory in reversion which is to accrue from it, like Mr. Thelusson’s fortune, in the third and fourth generation. This friendship will probably be as memorable as his own epics, which (as I quoted to him ten or twelve years ago in “English Bards,”) Porson said, “would be remembered when Homer and Virgil are forgotten, and not till then.” For the present I leave him.’”

The foregoing passage, which has here been given at length, called forth the first of the ensuing letters.

To the Editor of the Courier.
“Keswick, Jan. 5. 1822.

“Having seen in the newspapers a note relating to myself, extracted from a recent publication of Lord Byron’s, I request permission to reply through the medium of your journal.

“I come at once to his lordship’s charge against me,
blowing away the abuse with which it is frothed, and evaporating a strong acid in which it is suspended. The residuum, then, appears to be, that ‘
Mr. Southey, on his return from Switzerland (in 1817), scattered abroad calumnies, knowing them to be such, against Lord Byron and others.’ To this I reply with a direct and positive denial.

“If I had been told in that country that Lord Byron had turned Turk, or monk of La Trappe,—that he had furnished a harem, or endowed an hospital, I might have thought the report, whichever it had been, possible, and repeated it accordingly, passing it, as it had been taken, in the small change of conversation, for no more than it was worth. In this manner I might have spoken of him as of Baron Gerambe, the Green Man, the Indian Jugglers, or any other figurante of the time being. There was no reason for any particular delicacy on my part in speaking of his lordship; and, indeed, I should have thought anything which might be reported of him would have injured his character as little as the story which so greatly annoyed Lord Keeper Guilford,—that he had ridden a rhinoceros. He may ride a rhinoceros, and though every one would stare, no one would wonder. But making no inquiry concerning him when I was abroad, because I felt no curiosity, I heard nothing, and had nothing to repeat. When I spoke of wonders to my friends and acquaintances on my return, it was of the flying-tree at Alpnach, and the eleven thousand virgins at Cologne,—not of Lord Byron. I sought for no staler subject than St. Ursula.

“Once, and only once, in connection with Switzerland, I have alluded to his lordship; and as the passage was curtailed in the press, I take this opportunity of restoring it. In the Quarterly Review, speaking incidentally of the ‘Jungfrau,’ I said ‘it was the scene where Lord Byron’s Manfred met the Devil and bullied him, though the Devil
must have won his cause before any tribunal, in this world or the next, if he had not pleaded more feebly for himself than his advocate, in a cause of canonization, ever pleaded for him.’

“With regard to the others, whom his lordship accuses me of calumniating, I suppose he alludes to a party of his friends, whose names I found written in the album at Mont Anvert, with an avowal of atheism annexed, in Greek, and an indignant comment, in the same language, underneath it. Those names, with that avowal and the comment, I transcribed in my note-book, and spoke of the circumstance on my return. If I had published it, the gentleman in question would not have thought himself slandered by having that recorded of him which he has so often recorded of himself.

“The many opprobrious appellations which Lord Byron has bestowed upon me, I leave as I find them, with the praises which he has bestowed upon himself.
“‘How easily is a noble spirit discern’d
From harsh and sulphurous matter that flies out
In contumelies, makes a noise, and stinks.’
But I am accustomed to such things; and, so far from irritating me are the enemies who use such weapons, that when I hear of their attacks, it is some satisfaction to think they have thus employed the malignity which must have been employed somewhere, and could not have been directed against any person whom it could possibly molest or injure less. The viper, however venomous in purpose, is harmless in effect while it is biting at the file. It is seldom, indeed, that I waste a word or a thought upon those who are perpetually assailing me. But abhorring as I do the personalities which disgrace our current literature, and averse from controversy as I am, both by principle and inclination, I make no profession
of non-resistance. When the offence and the offender are such as to call for the whip and the branding-iron, it has been both seen and felt that I can inflict them.

Lord Byron’s present exacerbation is evidently produced by an infliction of this kind, not by hearsay reports of my conversation four years ago, transmitted him from England.

“The cause may be found in certain remarks upon the Satanic School of Poetry, contained in my preface to the Vision of Judgment. Well would it be for Lord Byron if he could look back upon any of his writings with as much satisfaction as I shall always do upon what is there said of that flagitious school. Many persons, and parents especially, have expressed their gratitude to me for having applied the branding-iron where it was so richly deserved. The Edinburgh Reviewer, indeed, with that honourable feeling by which his criticisms are so peculiarly distinguished, suppressing the remarks themselves, has imputed them wholly to envy on my part. I give him, in this instance, full credit for sincerity: I believe he was equally incapable of comprehending a worthier motive, or inventing a worse; and, as I have never condescended to expose, in any instance, his pitiful malevolence, I thank him for having in this stript it bare himself, and exhibited it in its bald, naked, and undisguised deformity.

Lord Byron, like his encomiast, has not ventured to bring the matter of those animadversions into view. He conceals the fact that they are directed against authors of blasphemous and lascivious books; against men who, not content with indulging their own vices, labour to make others the slaves of sensuality like themselves; against public panders, who, mingling impiety with lewdness, seek at once to destroy the cement of social order, and to carry profanation and pollution into private families, and into the hearts of individuals.


“His lordship has thought it not unbecoming in him to call me a scribbler of all work. Let the word scribbler pass; it is an appellation which will not stick like that of the Satanic School. But, if a scribbler, how am I one of all work? I will tell Lord Byron what I have not scribbled, what kind of work I have not done:—

“I have never published libels upon my friends and acquaintances, expressed my sorrow for those libels, and called them in during a mood of better mind, and then reissued them when the evil spirit, which for a time had been cast out, had returned and taken possession, with seven others more wicked than himself. I have never abused the power, of which every author is in some degree possessed, to wound the character of a man or the heart of a woman. I have never sent into the world a book to which I did not dare affix my name, or which I feared to claim in a court of justice, if it were pirated by a knavish bookseller. I have never manufactured furniture for the brothel. None of these things have I done; none of the foul work by which literature is perverted to the injury of mankind. My hands are clean! There is no damned spot upon them!—no taint, which all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten!

“Of the work which I have done it becomes me not here to speak, save only as relates to the Satanic School, and its Coryphæus, the author of Don Juan. I have held up that school to public detestation, as enemies to the religion, the institutions, and the domestic morals of the country. I have given them a designation to which their founder and leader answers. I have sent a stone from my sling which has smitten their Goliath in the forehead. I have fastened his name upon the gibbet for reproach and ignominy, as long as it shall endure. Take it down who can!

“One word of advice to Lord Byron before I conclude.
When he attacks me again let it be in rhyme. For one who has so little command of himself, it will be a great advantage that his temper should be obliged to keep tune.

“And while he may still indulge in the same rankness and violence of insult, the metre will, in some degree, seem to lessen its vulgarity.

Robert Southey.”

To the Editor of the Courier.
“Keswick, Dec 8. 1824.

“On a former occasion you have allowed me, through the channel of your journal, to contradict a calumnious accusation as publicly as it had been preferred; and though, in these days of slander, such things hardly deserve refutation, there are reasons which induce me once more to request a similar favour.

“Some extracts from Captain Medwin’s recent publication of Lord Byron’s Conversations, have been transmitted to me by a friend, who, happening to know what the facts are which are there falsified, is of opinion that it would not misbecome me to state them at this time. I wish it, however, to be distinctly understood, that in so doing I am not influenced by any desire of vindicating myself; that would be wholly unnecessary, considering from what quarter the charges come. I notice them for the sake of laying before the public one sample more of the practices of the Satanic School, and showing what credit is due to Lord Byron’s assertions. For that his lordship spoke to this effect, and in this temper, I have no doubt: Captain Medwin having, I dare say, to the best of his recollection, faithfully performed the worshipful office of retailing all the effusions of spleen, slander,
and malignity which were vented in his presence. Lord Byron is the person who suffers most by this; and, indeed, what man is there whose character would remain uninjured, if every peevish or angry expression, every sportive or extravagant sally, thrown off in the unsuspicious and imagined safety of private life, were to be secretly noted down and published, with no notice of circumstances to show how they had arisen, and when no explanation was possible? One of the offices which has been attributed to the Devil, is that of registering every idle word. There is an end of all confidence or comfort in social intercourse, if such a practice is to be tolerated by public opinion. When I take these Conversations to be authentic, it is because, as far as I am concerned, they accord, both in matter and spirit, with what his lordship himself had written and published; and it is on this account only that I deem them worthy of notice—the last notice that I shall ever bestow upon the subject. Let there be as many ‘More last Words of
Mr. Baxter’ as the ‘reading public’ may choose to pay for, they will draw no further reply from me.

“Now, then, to the point. The following speech is reported by Captain Medwin as Lord Byron’s:—‘I am glad Mr. Southey owns that article* “Foliage,” which excited my choler so much. But who else could have been the author? Who but Southey would have had the baseness, under pretext of reviewing the work of one man, insidiously to make it a nest-egg for hatching malicious calumnies against others? I say nothing of the critique itself on “Foliage;” but what was the object of that article? I repeat, to vilify and scatter his dark and devilish insinuations against me and others. Shame on

* A volume of poems by Mr. Leigh Hunt. The reader who may be desirous of referring to the article, will find it in vol. xviii. of the Quarterly Review, p. 324.—R. S.

the man who could wound an already bleeding heart—be barbarous enough to revive the memory of an event that
Shelley was perfectly ignorant of, and found scandal on falsehood! Shelley taxed him with writing that article some years ago; and he had the audacity to admit that he had treasured up some opinions of Shelley, ten years before, when he was on a visit to Keswick, and had made a note of them at the time.’

The reviewal in question I did not write. Lord Byron might have known this if he had inquired of Mr. Murray, who would readily have assured him that I was not the author; and he might have known it from the reviewal itself, wherein the writer declares in plain words that he was a contemporary of Shelley’s, at Eton. I had no concern in it, directly or indirectly; but let it not be inferred that in thus disclaiming that paper, any disapproval of it is intended. Papers in the Quarterly Review have been ascribed to me (those on Keats’s Poems, for example), which I have heartily condemned both for their spirit and manner. But for the one in question, its composition would be creditable to the most distinguished writer; nor is there anything either in the opinions expressed, or in the manner of expressing them, which a man of just and honourable principles would have hesitated to advance. I would not have written that part of it which alludes to Mr. Shelley, because, having met him on familiar terms, and parted with him in kindness (a feeling of which Lord Byron had no conception), would have withheld me from animadverting in that manner upon his conduct. In other respects, the paper contains nothing that I would not have avowed if I had written, or subscribed, as entirely assenting to, and approving it.

“It is not true that Shelley ever inquired of me whether I was the author of that paper, which purporting, as it did, to be written by an Etonian of his own standing, he very well knew I was not. But in this part of Lord
Byron’s statement there may be some mistake, mingled with a great deal of malignant falsehood. Mr. Shelley addressed a letter to me from Pisa, asking if I were the author of a criticism in the Quarterly Review, upon his Revolt of Islam, not exactly, in Lord Byron’s phrase, taxing me with it, for he declared his own belief that I was not, but adding, that he was induced to ask the question by the positive declaration of some friends in England, that the article was mine. Denying, in my reply, that either he or any other person was entitled to propose such a question upon such grounds, I, nevertheless, assured him that I had not written the paper, and that I had never, in any of my writings, alluded to him in any way.

“Now for the assertion, that I had the audacity to admit having treasured up some of Shelley’s opinions, when he had resided at Keswick, and having made notes of them at the time. What truth is mixed up with the slander of this statement, I shall immediately explain, premising only, that, as the opinion there implied concerning the practice of noting down familiar conversation, is not applicable to me, I transfer it to Captain Medwin for his own especial use.

Mr. Shelley having, in the letter alluded to, thought proper to make some remarks upon my opinions, I took occasion, in reply, to comment upon his, and to ask him (as the tree is known by its fruits) whether he had found them conducive to his own happiness, and the happiness of those with whom he had been most nearly connected? This produced a second letter from him, written in a tone, partly of justification, partly of attack. I replied to this also, not by any such absurd admission as Lord Byron has stated, but by recapitulating to him, as a practical illustration of his principles, the leading circumstances of his own life, from the commencement of his career at
University College. The earliest facts I stated upon his own authority, as I had heard them from his own lips; the latter were of public notoriety. Here the correspondence ended. On his part it had been conducted with the courtesy natural to him; on mine, in the spirit of one who was earnestly admonishing a fellow-creature.

“This is the correspondence upon which Lord Byron’s misrepresentation has been constructed. It is all that ever passed between us, except a note from Shelley, some years before, accompanying a copy of his Alastor and one of mine in acknowledgment of it. I have preserved his letters, together with copies of my own; and, if I had as little consideration for the feelings of the living as Captain Medwin has displayed, it is not any tenderness towards the dead* that would withhold me now from publishing them.

“It is not likely that Shelley should have communicated my part of this correspondence to Lord Byron, even if he did his own. Bearing testimony, as his heart did, to the truth of my statements in every point, and impossible as it was to escape from the conclusion which was then brought home, I do not think he would have dared produce it. How much or how little of the truth was

* In the preface to his Monody on Keats, Shelley, as I have been informed, asserts that I was the author of the criticism in the Quarterly Review upon that young man’s poems, and that his death was occasioned by it. There was a degree of meanness in this (especially considering the temper and tenour of our correspondence) which I was not then prepared to expect from Shelley, for that he believed me to be the author of that paper, I certainly do not believe. He was once, for a short time, my neighbour. I met him upon terms, not of friendship indeed, but, certainly, of mutual good will. I admired his talents; thought that he would outgrow his errors (perilous as they were); and trusted that, meantime, a kind and generous heart would resist the effect of fatal opinions which he had taken up in ignorance and boyhood. Herein I was mistaken. But when I ceased to regard him with hope, he became to me a subject for sorrow and awful commiseration, not of any injurious or unkind feeling; and when I expressed myself with just severity concerning him, it was in direct communication to himself.—R. S.

known to his lordship, or with which of the party at Pisa the insolent and calumnious misrepresentations conveyed in his lordship’s words originated, is of little consequence.

“The charge of scattering dark and devilish insinuations is one which, if Lord Byron were living, I would throw back in his teeth. Me he had assailed without the slightest provocation, and with that unmanliness, too, which was peculiar to him; and in this course he might have gone on without giving me the slightest uneasiness, or calling forth one animadversion in reply. When I came forward to attack his lordship, it was upon public, not upon private, grounds. He is pleased to suppose that he had mortally offended Mr. Wordsworth and myself many years ago, by a letter which he had written to the Ettrick Shepherd. ‘Certain it is,’ he says, ‘that I did not spare the Lakists in it, and he told me that he could not resist the temptation, and had shown it to the fraternity. It was too tempting; and as I could never keep a secret of my own (as you know), much less that of other people, I could not blame him. I remember saying, among other things, that the Lake poets were such fools as not to fish in their own waters. But this was the least offensive part of the epistle.’ No such epistle was ever shown to Mr. Wordsworth or to me; but I remember (and this passage brings it to my recollection) to have heard that Lord Byron had spoken of us in a letter to Hogg, with some contempt, as fellows who could neither vie with him for skill in angling nor for prowess in swimming. Nothing more than this came to my hearing; and I must have been more sensitive than his lordship himself could I have been offended by it. But if the contempt which he then expressed had equalled the rancour which he afterwards displayed, Lord Byron must have known that I had the flocci of his eulogium to balance the nauci of his scorn, and that the one would
have nihili-pilified the other, even if I had not well understood the worthlessness of both.

“It was because Lord Byron had brought a stigma upon English literature that I accused him; because he had perverted great talents to the worst purposes; because he had set up for pander-general to the youth of Great Britain as long as his writings should endure; because he had committed a high crime and misdemeanour against society, by sending forth a work in which mockery was mingled with horrors, filth with impiety, profligacy with sedition and slander. For these offences I came forward to arraign him. The accusation was not made darkly, it was not insinuated, nor was it advanced under the cover of a review. I attacked him openly in my own name, and only not by his, because he had not then publicly avowed the flagitious production by which he will be remembered for lasting infamy. He replied in manner altogether worthy of himself and his cause. Contention with a generous, honourable opponent leads naturally to esteem, and probably to friendship; but, next to such an antagonist, an enemy like Lord Byron is to be desired,—one who, by his conduct in the contest, divests himself of every claim to respect; one whose baseness is such as to sanctify the vindictive feeling that it provokes, and upon whom the act of taking vengeance is that of administering justice. I answered him as he deserved to be answered, and the effect which that answer produced upon his lordship has been described by his faithful chronicler, Captain Medwin. This is the real history of what the purveyors of scandal for the public are pleased sometimes to announce in their advertisements as ‘Byron’s Controversy with Southey!’ What there was ‘dark and devilish’ in it belongs to his lordship; and had I been compelled to resume it during his life, he who played the monster in literature, and aimed his blows at women, should have been treated accord-
ingly. ‘The Republican Trio,’ says Lord Byron, ‘when they began to publish in common, were to have had a community of all things, like the Ancient Britons,—to have lived in a state of nature, like savages, and peopled some island of the blest with children in common, like ——. A very pretty Arcadian notion!’ I may be excused for wishing that Lord Byron had published this himself; but though he is responsible for the atrocious falsehood, he is not for its posthumous publication. I shall only observe, therefore, that the slander is as worthy of his lordship as the scheme itself would have been. Nor would I have condescended to have noticed it even thus, were it not to show how little this calumniator knew concerning the objects of his uneasy and restless hatred.
Mr. Wordsworth and I were strangers to each other, even by name, at the time when he represents us as engaged in a Satanic confederacy, and we never published anything in common.

“Here I dismiss the subject. It might have been thought that Lord Byron had attained the last degree of disgrace when his head was set up for a sign at one of those preparatory schools for the brothel and the gallows, where obscenity, sedition, and blasphemy are retailed in drams for the vulgar. There remained one further shame,—there remained this exposure of his private conversations, which has compelled his lordship’s friends, in their own defence, to compare his oral declarations with his written words, and thereby to demonstrate, that he was as regardless of truth, as he was incapable of sustaining those feelings suited to his birth, station, and high endowments, which sometimes came across his better mind.

Robert Southey.”

Broiling is best; bear witness, gods and men!
Awake, my Pen,
Promoted from some goose or gander’s pinion
To be the sceptre wherewithal I sway
The Muses’ wide dominion!
And thou, my spirit, for a loftier flight
Than ere the Theban eagle gain’d prepare;
Win with strong impulse thine ethereal way,
Till from the upper air,
Subjected to thy sight,
Regions remote and distant ages lie,
And thine unbounded eye
All things that are on earth or were in time descry.
Broiling is best; from Jove begin the strain,
High-thundering Jupiter, to whom belong
The Gridiron and the song.
Whence came the glorious Gridiron upon earth?
O daughter of Mnemosyne, relate
When, where, and how the idea uncreate,
That from all ages in the all-teeming mind
Had slept confined,
Received in happy hour its formal birth.
Say, Muse, for thou canst tell
Whate’er to gods or men in earliest days befell:
Nor hath Oblivion in her secret cell,
Wherein with miserly delight
For aye by stealth
She heaps her still accumulating wealth,
Aught that is hidden from thy searching sight.
Twas while the Olympian gods
Were wont among yet uncorrupted nations
To make from time to time their visitations,
Disdaining not to leave their high abodes
And feast with mortal men:
To Britain were the heavenly guests convened;
Its nymphs and silvan gods assembled then,
From forest and from mountain,
From river, mere and fountain;
Thither Saturnian Jove descended
With all his household deities attended;
And Neptune with the oceanic train,
To meet them in his own beloved isle
Came in his sea-car sailing o’er the main.
In joy that day the heav’ns appear’d to smile,
The dimpled sea to smile in joy was seen,
In joy the billows leap’d to kiss the land;
Yea, joy like sunshine fill’d the blue serene,
Joy smooth’d the waves, and sparkled on the sand;
Winds, woods, and waters sung with one consent;
The cloud-compelling Jove made jovial weather,
And earth, and sea, and sky rejoiced together.
The sons of Britain then, his hearty hosts,
Brought forth the noble beef that Britain boasts,
To please, if please they might, their mighty guest.
And Jove was pleased, for he had visited
Men who on fish were fed,
And those who made of milk their only food,
A feeble race with children’s meat content,
Whey-blooded, curd complexioned. But this sight
Awaken’d a terrestrial appetite
That gladden’d his dear heart. The chief
Of gods and men approving view’d
The Britons and their beef;
His head ambrosial in benignant mood
He bent, and with a jocund aspect blest
The brave Boöphagi, and told them broil’d was best.
He touch’d his forehead then,
Pregnant this happy hour with thought alone,
Not riving with parturient throbs, as when
Panoplied Pallas, struggling to come forth,
Made her astonish’d Mater-pater groan,
And call on Vulcan to release the birth.
He call’d on Vulcan now, but ’twas to say
That in the fire and fume-eructant hill
The sweltering Cyclops might keep holiday,
For his own will divine,
Annihilant of delay,
Should with creative energy fulfil
The auspicious moment’s great intent benign.
So spake the All-maker, and before the sound
Of that annunciant voice had pass’d away,
Behold upon the ground,
Self-form’d, for so it seem’d, a Gridiron lay.
It was not forged by unseen hands,
Anticipant of Jove’s commands,
Work worthy of applause,
And then through air invisibly convey’d,
Before him upon Earth’s green carpet laid.
Jove in his mind conceived it, and it was;
But though his plastic thought
Shaped it with handle, feet, and bars, and frame,
Deem not that he created it of nought.
Nothing can come of nothing: from the air
The ferrean atoms came;
The air, which poising our terraqueous ball,
Feeds, fosters, and consumes, and reproduces all.
Now the perfect Steak prepare!
Now the appointed rites begin!
Cut it from the pinguid rump,
Not too thick and not too thin;
Somewhat to the thick inclining,
Yet the thick and thin between,
That the gods, when they are dining,
May commend the golden mean.
Ne’er till now have they been blest
With a beef-steak duly drest;
Ne’er till this auspicious morn
When the Gridiron was born.
Gods and demigods alertly
Vie in voluntary zeal:
All are active, all are merry,
Aiding, as they may, expertly,
Yet in part the while experi-
mentally the expected meal.
Then it was that call’d to birth,
From the bosom of the earth,
By Apollo’s moving lyre,
Stones, bituminous and black,
Ranged themselves upon the hearth
Ready for Hephaestus’ fire:
While subjacent faggots crack,
Folds of foglike smoke aspire,
Till the flames with growing strength
All impediment subdue,
And the jetty gloss at length
Is exchanged for Vulcan’s hue.
Now with salt the embers strew,
In faint explosion burning blue.
All offending fumes are gone,
Set, oh set, the Gridiron on!
But who is she that there
From Jove’s own brain hath started into life?
Red are her arms, and from the elbow bare;
Clean her close cap, white and light,
From underneath it not a hair
Straggles to offend the sight.
A fork bidented, and a trenchant knife,
She wields. I know thee! yes, I know thee now,
Heiress of culinary fame;
Clothed with pre-existence thou!
Dolly of the deathless name!
Thy praise in after days shall London speak,
O kitchen queen,
Of pearly forehead thou, and ruby cheek!
And many a watery mouth thy chops will bless,
Unconscious they and thou alike, I ween,
That thou hadst thus been ante-born to dress
For Jupiter himself the first beefsteak.
O Muse divine, of Jove’s own line, expound
That wonderful and ever-only birth
Like which the womb of Possibility
(Aye-and-all-teeming though it be)
Hath brought no second forth.
What hand but thine, O Muse divine, can sound
The depth of Mysteries profound
Sunk in arcanal ages and in night?
What but thy potential sight,
Piercing high above all height,
Beach them in the abyss of light?
It were ignorance or folly
To compare this first-born Dolly
With Athenè ever young;
Grey-eyed, grave, and melancholy,
In her strength and in her state,
When from her cranial egg the Goddess sprung
Full-fledged, in adamantine arms connate.
Verily produced was she
In her immortality;
This of Dolly was a fan-
tastic birth, or, rather, man-
ifestation soon to be
Revoked into nonentity.
* * * *

Thus far, apparently, is completed; that which follows is transcribed from loose slips of paper.

Anticipating all her wishes,
Spirits come with plates and dishes.
Can more be needed? Yes, and more is here.
Swifter than a shooting-star,
One to distant Malabar
Speeds his way, and, in a trice,
Brings the pungent Indian spice.
Whither hath Erin’s guardian Genius fled?
To the Tupinamban shore
This tutelary power hath sped;
Earth’s good apples thence he bore,
One day destined to abound
On his own Hibernian ground,
Praties to be entitled then,
Gift of Gods to Irishmen.
* * * *
And strike with thunder from my starry seat
Those who divorce the murphies from the meat.
* * * *
Bring me no nectar, Hebe, now,
Nor thou, boy Ganymede!
He said, and shook his smiling brow,
And bade the rock with Porter flow,—
The rock with porter flow’d.
Not such as porter long hath been
In these degenerate days, I ween;
But such as oft, in days of yore,
Dean of St. Peter’s, in thy yard,
Though doors were double lock’d and barr’d,
I quaff’d as I shall quaff no more;
Such as loyal Whitbread old,
Father of the brewers bold,
From his ample casks preferr’d
When he regaled the King, the good King George the Third.
* * * *
Far more than silver or than gold
The honest pewter pot he prized,
And drank his porter galvaniz’d.
* * * *
Teetotallers avaunt, and ye who feed,
Like grubs and snails, on root, or stem, or weed;
Nor think
That by such diet and such drink
Britain should rule the main.
Spottiswoodes and Shaw,