LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Life of Byron: 1810

Life of Byron: to 1806
Life of Byron: 1806
Life of Byron: 1807
Life of Byron: 1808
Life of Byron: 1809
‣ Life of Byron: 1810
Life of Byron: 1811
Life of Byron: 1812
Life of Byron: 1813
Life of Byron: 1814
Life of Byron: 1815
Life of Byron: 1816 (I)
Life of Byron: 1816 (II)
Life of Byron: 1817
Life of Byron: 1818
Life of Byron: 1819
Life of Byron: 1820
Life of Byron: 1821
Life of Byron: 1822
Life of Byron: 1823
Life of Byron: 1824
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At Athens, on this his first visit, he made a stay of between two and three months, not a day of which he let pass without employing some of its hours in visiting the grand monuments of ancient genius around him, and calling up the spirit of other times among their ruins. He made frequently, too, excursions to different parts of Attica, and it was in one of his visits to Cape Colonna, at this time, that he was near being seized by a party of Mainotes, who were lying hid in the caves under the cliff of Minerva Sunias. These pirates, it appears, were only deterred from attacking him (as a Greek, who was then their prisoner, informed him afterwards) by a supposition that the two Albanians, whom they saw attending him, were but part of a complete guard he had at hand.

In addition to all the magic of its names and scenes, the city of

* The passage of Harris, indeed, contains the pith of the whole stanza:—“Notwithstanding the various fortune of Athens, as a city, Attica is still famous for olives, and Mount Hymettus for honey. Human institutions perish, but Nature is permanent.”—Philolog. Inquiries. I recollect having once pointed out this to coincidence to Lord Byron, but he assured me that he had never read this work of Harris.

A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 215
Minerva possessed another sort of attraction for the poet, to which, wherever he went, his heart, or rather imagination, was but too sensible. His pretty song, “
Maid of Athens, ere we part,” is said to have been addressed to the eldest daughter of the Greek lady at whose house he lodged; and that the fair Athenian, when he composed these verses, may have been the tenant, for the time being, of his fancy, is highly possible. Theodora Macri, his hostess, was the widow of the late English vice-consul, and derived a livelihood from letting, chiefly to English travellers, the apartments which Lord Byron and his friend now occupied, and of which the latter gentleman gives us the following description:—“Our lodgings consisted of a sitting-room and two bed-rooms, opening into a court-yard where there were five or six lemon-trees, from which, during our residence in the place, was plucked the fruit that seasoned the pilaf, and other national dishes served up at our frugal table“

The fame of an illustrious poet is not confined to his own person and writings, but imparts a share of its splendour to whatever has been, even remotely, connected with him; and not only ennobles the objects of his friendships, his loves, and even his likings, but on every spot where he has sojourned, through life, leaves traces of its light that do not easily pass away. Little did the Maid of Athens, while listening innocently to the compliments of the young Englishman, foresee that a day would come, when he should make her name home so celebrated, that travellers, on their return from Greece, would find few things more interesting to their hearers, than such details of herself and her family as the following:—

“Our servant, who had gone before to procure accommodation, met us at the gate and conducted us to Theodora Macri, the Consulina’s, where we at present live. This lady is the widow of the consul, and has three lovely daughters; the eldest, celebrated for her beauty, and said to be the subject of those stanzas by Lord Byron,
‘Maid of Athens, ere we part,
Give, oh, give me back my heart!’ &c.

“At Orchomenus, where stood the Temple of the Graces, I was tempted to exclaim, ‘Whither have the Graces fled?’—Little did I
216 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1810.
expect to find them here. Yet here comes one of them with golden cups and coffee, and another with a book. The book is a register of names, some of which are far sounded by the voice of fame. Among them is Lord Byron’s, connected with some lines which I shall send you:

‘Fair Albion smiling sees her son depart,
To trace the birth and nursery of art;
Noble his object, glorious is his aim,
He comes to Athens, and he—writes his name.’

The counterpoise by Lord Byron:

‘This modest bard like many a bard unknown,
Rhymes on our names, but wisely hides his own,
But yet, whoe’er he be, to say no worse,
His name would bring more credit than his verse.’

“The mention of the three Athenian Graces will, I can foresee, rouse your curiosity, and fire your imagination; and I may despair of your farther attention till I attempt to give you some description of them. Their apartment is immediately opposite to ours, and, if you could see them, as we do now, through the gently waving aromatic plants before our window, you would leave your heart in Athens.

Theresa, the Maid of Athens, Catinco, and Mariana, are of middle stature. On the crown of the head of each is a red Albanian skull-cap, with a blue tassel spread out and fastened down like a star. Near the edge or bottom of the skull-cap is a handkerchief of various colours bound round their temples. The youngest wears her hair loose, falling on her shoulders,—the hair behind descending down the back nearly to the waist, and, as usual, mixed with silk. The two eldest generally have their hair bound, and fastened under the handkerchief. Their upper robe is a edged with fur, hanging loose down to the ancles; below is a handkerchief of muslin covering the bosom, and terminating at the waist, which is short; under that, a gown of striped silk or muslin, with a gore round the swell of the loins, failing in front in graceful negligence;—white stockings and yellow slippers complete their attire. The two eldest have black, or dark, hair and eyes; their visage oval, and complexion somewhat pale, with teeth of dazzling whiteness. Their
A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 217
cheeks are rounded, and noses straight, rather inclined to aquiline. The youngest, Mariana, is very fair, her face not so finely rounded, but has a gayer expression than her sisters’, whose countenances, except when the conversation has something of mirth in it, may be said to be rather pensive. Their persons are elegant, and their manners pleasing and ladylike, such as would be fascinating in any country. They possess very considerable powers of conversation, and their minds seem to be more instructed than those of the Greek women in general. With such attractions it would, indeed, he remarkable, if they did not meet with great attentions from the travellers who occasionally are resident in Athens. They sit in the eastern style, a little reclined, with their limbs gathered under them on the divan, and without shoes. Their employments are the needle, tambouring, and reading.

“I have said that I saw these Grecian beauties through the waving aromatic plants before their window. This, perhaps, has raised your imagination somewhat too high, in regard to their condition. You may have supposed their dwelling to have every attribute of eastern luxury. The golden cups, too, may have thrown a little witchery over your excited fancy. Confess, do you not imagine that the doors
‘Self-open’d into halls, where, who can tell
What elegance and grandeur wide expand,
The pride of Turkey and of Persia’s land;
Soft quilts on quilts, on carpets carpets spread,
And couches stretch’d around in seemly bend,
And endless pillows rise to prop the head
So that each spacious room was one full swelling bed.’

“You will shortly perceive the propriety of my delaying, till now, to inform you that the aromatic plants which I have mentioned are neither more nor less than a few geraniums and Grecian balms, and that the room in which the ladies sit is quite unfurnished, the walls neither painted nor decorated by ‘cunning hand.’ Then, what would have become of the Graces had I told you sooner that a single room is all they have, save a little closet and a kitchen? You see how careful I have been to make the first impression good; not that they do not merit every praise, but that it is in man’s august and elevated nature to think
218 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1810.
a little slightingly of merit, and even of beauty, if not supported by some worldly show. Now, I shall communicate to you a secret, but in the lowest whisper.

“These ladies, since the death of the consul their father, depend on strangers living in their spare room and closet,—which we now occupy. But, though so poor, their virtue shines as conspicuously as their beauty.

“Not all the wealth of the East, or the complimentary lays even of the first of England’s poets, could render them so truly worthy of love and admiration*.”

Ten weeks had flown rapidly away, when the unexpected offer of a passage in an English sloop of war to Smyrna induced the travellers to make immediate preparations for departure, and, on the 5th of March, they reluctantly took leave of Athens. “Passing,” says Mr. Hobhouse, “through the gate leading to the Piræus, we struck into the olive-wood on the road going to Salamis, galloping at a quick pace, in order to rid ourselves, by hurry, of the pain of parting.” He adds, “we could not refrain from looking back, as we passed rapidly to the shore, and we continued to direct our eyes towards the spot, where we had caught the last glimpse of the Theséum and the ruins of the Parthenon through the vistas in the woods, for many minutes after the city and the Acropolis had been totally hidden from our view.”

At Smyrna Lord Byron took his up his residence in the house of the consul-general, and remained there, with the exception of two or three days employed in a visit to the ruins of Ephesus, till the 11th of April. It was during this time, as appears from a memorandum of his own, that the two first Cantos of Childe Harold, which he had begun five months before at Ioannina, were completed. The memorandum alluded to, which I find prefixed to his original manuscript of the Poem, is as follows.
“Byron, Ioannina in Albania,
Began October 31st, 1809;
Concluded Canto 2d, Smyrna,
March 28th, 1810.

* Travels in Italy, Greece, &c. by H. W. Williams, Esq.

A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 219

From Smyrna the only letter, at all interesting, which I am enabled to present to the reader, is the following.

“Smyrna, March 19, 1810.

I cannot write you a long letter, but as I know you will not be sorry to receive any intelligence of my movements, pray accept what I can give. I have traversed the greatest part of Greece, besides Epirus, &c. &c., resided ten weeks at Athens, and am now on the Asiatic side on my way to Constantinople. I have just returned from viewing the ruins of Ephesus, a day’s journey from Smyrna. I presume you have received a long letter I wrote from Albania, with an account of my reception by the Pacha of the province.

“When I arrive at Constantinople, I shall determine whether to proceed into Persia or return, which latter I do not wish, if I can avoid it. But I have no intelligence from Mr. H * *, and but one letter from yourself. I shall stand in need of remittances whether I proceed or return. I have written to him repeatedly, that he may not plead ignorance of my situation for neglect. I can give you no account of any thing, for I have not time or opportunity, the frigate sailing immediately. Indeed the further I go the more my laziness increases, and my aversion to letter-writing becomes more confirmed. I have written to no one but yourself and Mr. H * *, and these are communications of business and duty rather than of inclination.

F * * is very disgusted with his fatigues, though he has undergone nothing that I have not shared. He is a poor creature; indeed English servants are detestable travellers. I have, besides him, two Albanian soldiers and a Greek interpreter; all excellent in their way. Greece, particularly in the vicinity of Athens is delightful,—cloudless skies and lovely landscapes. But I must reserve all account of my adventures till we meet. I keep no journal, but my friend H. writes incessantly. Pray take care of Murray and Robert and tell the boy it is the most fortunate thing for him that he did not accompany me to Turkey. Consider this as merely a notice of my safety, and believe me

“Yours, &c. &c.

On the 11th of April he left Smyrna in the Salsette frigate, which had been ordered to Constantinople for the purpose of conveying the ambassador, Mr. Adair, to England, and, after an exploratory visit to the ruins of Troas, arrived, at the beginning of the following month, in the Dardanelles.—While the frigate was at anchor in these straits, the following letters to his friends Mr. Drury and Mr. Hodgson were written.

“Salsette Frigate, May 3d, 1810.

“When I left England, nearly a year ago, you requested me to write to you—I will do so. I have crossed Portugal, traversed the south of Spain, visited Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, and thence passed into Turkey, where I am still wandering. I first landed in Albania, the ancient Epirus, where we penetrated as far as Mount Tomarit—excellently treated by the chief Ali Pacha,—and, after journeying through Illyria, Chaonia, &c,, crossed the Gulf of Actiuim, with a guard of 50 Albanians, and passed the Achelous in our route through Acarnia and Ætolia. We stopped a short time in the Morea, crossed the Gulf of Lepanto, and landed at the foot of Parnassus;—saw all that Delphi retains, and so on to Thebes and Athens, at which last we remained ten weeks.

“His majesty’s ship Pylades, brought us to Smyrna; but not before we had topographised Attica, including, of course, Marathon and the Sunian promontory. From Smyrna to the Troad (which we visited when at anchor, for a fortnight, off the tomb of Antilochus) was our next stage; and now we are in the Dardannelles, waiting for a wind to proceed to Constantinople.

220 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1810.

“This morning I swam from Sestos to Abydos. The immediate distance is not above a mile, but the current renders it hazardous;—so much so that I doubt whether Leander’s conjugal affection must not have been a little chilled in his passage to Paradise. I attempted it a week ago, and failed,—owing to the north wind, and the wonderful rapidity of the tide,—though I have been from my childhood a strong swimmer. But, this morning being calmer, I succeeded, and crossed the ‘broad Hellespont’ in an hour and ten minutes.

“Well, my dear sir, I have left my home, and seen part of Africa and Asia, and a tolerable portion of Europe. I have been with generals and admirals, princes and pashas, governors and ungovernables,—but I have not time or paper to expatiate. I wish to let you know that I live with a friendly remembrance of you, and a hope to meet you again; and, if I do this as shortly as possible, attribute it to any thing but forgetfulness.

“Greece, ancient and modern, you know too well to require description. Albania, indeed, I have seen more of than any Englishman (except a Mr. Leake), for it is a country rarely visited, from the savage character of the natives, though abounding in more natural beauties than the classical regions of Greece,—which, however, are still eminently beautiful, particularly Delphi, and Cape Colonna in Attica. Yet these are nothing to parts of Illyria and Epirus, where places without a name, and rivers not laid down in maps, may, one day, when more known, be justly esteemed superior subjects, for the pencil and the pen, to the dry ditch of the Ilissus and the bogs of Bœotia.

“The Troad is a fine field for conjecture and snipe-shooting, and a good sportsman and an ingenious scholar may exercise their feet and faculties to great advantage upon the spot;—or, if they prefer riding, lose their way (as I did) in a cursed quaggmire of the Scamander, who wriggles about as if the Dardan virgins still offered their wonted tribute. The only vestige of Troy or her destroyers, are the barrows supposed to contain the carcasses of Achilles, Antilochus, Ajax, &c.—but Mount Ida is still in high feather, though the shepherds are now-a-days not much like Ganymede. But why should I say more of these things? are they
222 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1810.
not written in the Boke of
Gell? and has not H. got a journal? I keep none, as I have renounced scribbling.

“I see not much difference between ourselves and the Turks, save that we have * *, and they have none—that they have long dresses, and we short, and that we talk much, and they little. * * * * * They are sensible people. Ali Pacha told me he was sure I was a man of rank, because I had small ears and hands, and curling hair. By the by, I speak the Romaic, or modern Greek, tolerably. It does not differ from the ancient dialects so much as you would conceive; but the pronunciation is diametrically opposite. Of verse, except in rhyme, they have no idea.

“I like the Greeks, who are plausible rascals,—with all the Turkish vices, without their courage. However, some are brave, and all are beautiful, very much resembling the busts of Alcibiades:—the women not quite so handsome. I can swear in Turkish; but, except one horrible oath, and ‘pimp,’ and ‘bread,’ and ‘water,’ I have got no great vocabulary in that language. They are extremely polite to strangers of any rank, properly protected; and as I have two servants and two soldiers, we get on with great éclat. We have been occasionally in danger of thieves, and once of shipwreck,—but always escaped.

“At Malta I fell in love with a married woman, and challenged an aide-de-camp of General * * (a rude fellow, who grinned at something,—I never rightly knew what)—but he explained and apologized, and the lady embarked for Cadiz, and so I escaped murder and crim. con. Of Spain I sent some account to our Hodgson, but have subsequently written to no one, save notes to relations and lawyers, to keep them out of my premises. I mean to give up all connexion, on my return, with many of my best friends—as I supposed them—and to snarl all my life. But I hope to have one good-humoured laugh with you, and to embrace Dwyer, and pledge Hodgson, before I commence cynicism.

“Tell Doctor Butler I am now writing, with the gold pen he gave me before I left England, which is the reason my scrawl is more unintelligible than usual. I have been at Athens and seen plenty of these reeds for scribbling, some of which he refused to bestow upon me,
A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 223
topographic Gell had brought them from Attica. But I will not describe,—no—you must be satisfied with simple detail till my return; and then we will unfold the flood-gates of colloquy. I am in a 36-gun frigate, going up to fetch Bob Adair from Constantinople, who will have the honour to carry this letter.

“And so H.’s boke is out*, with some sentimental sing-song of my own to fill up,—and how does it take, eh? and where the devil is the 2nd edition of my Satire, with additions? and my name on the title-page? and more lines tagged to the end, with a new exordium and what not, hot from my anvil before I cleared the Channel? The Mediterranean and the Atlantic roll between me and criticism; and the thunders of the Hyperborean Review are deafened by the roar of the Hellespont.

“Remember me to Claridge, if not translated to college, and present to Hodgson assurances of my high consideration. Now, you will ask, what shall I do next? and I answer, I do not know. I may return in a few months, but I have intents and projects after visiting Constantinople.—Hobhouse, however, will probably be back in September.

“On the 2d of July we have left Albion one year—‘oblitus meorum obliviscendus et illis.’ I was sick of my own country, and not much prepossessed in favour of any other; but I ‘drag on’ ‘my chain’ without ‘lengthening it at each remove.’ I am like the Jolly Miller, caring for nobody, and not cared for. All countries are much the same in my eyes. I smoke, and stare at mountains, and twirl my mustachios very independently. I miss no comforts, and the mosquitoes that rack the morbid frame of H. have, luckily for me, little effect on mine, because I live more temperately.

“I omitted Ephesus in my catalogue, which I visited during my sojourn at Smyrna; but the Temple has almost perished. and St. Paul need not trouble himself to epistolize the present brood of Ephesians, who have converted a large church built entirely of marble into a mosque, and I don’t know that the edifice looks the worse for it.

“My paper is full, and my ink ebbing—good afternoon! If you address to me at Malta, the letter will be forwarded wherever I may be.

* The Miscellany, to which I have more than once referred.

224 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1810.
H. greets you; he pines for his poetry,—at least, some tidings of it. I almost forgot to tell you that I am dying for love of three Greek girls at Athens, sisters. I lived in the same house. Teresa, Mariana, and Katinka*, are the names of these divinities,—all of them under 15.

Your ταπεινοτατος δολος
“Salsette Frigate, in the Dardanelles, off Abydos, May 5th, 1810.

“I am on my way to Constantinople, after a tour through Greece, Epirus, &c. and part of Asia Minor, some particulars of which I have just communicated to our friend and host, H. Drury. With these, then, I shall not trouble you; but, as you will perhaps be pleased to bear that I am well, &c., I take the opportunity of our ambassador’s return to forward the few lines I have time to despatch. We have undergone some inconveniences, and incurred partial perils, but no events worthy of communication, unless you will deem it one that two days ago I swam from Sestos to Abydos. This,—with a few alarms from robbers, and some danger of shipwreck in a Turkish galliot six months ago, a visit to a Pacha, a passion for a married woman at Malta, a challenge to an officer, an attachment to three Greek girls at Athens, with a great deal of buffoonery and fine prospects,—form all that has distinguished my progress since my departure from Spain.

H. rhymes and journalizes; I stare and do nothing—unless smoking can be deemed an active amusement. The Turks take too much care of their women to permit them to he scrutinized; but I have lived a good deal with the Greeks, whose modern dialect I can converse in enough for my purposes. With the Turks I have also some male acquaintances

* He has adopted this name in his description of the Seraglio in Don Juan, Canto VI. It was, if I recollect right, in making love to one of these girls that he had recourse to an act of courtship often practiced in that country,—namely, giving himself a wound across the breast with his dagger. The Athenian, by his own account, looked on very coolly during the operation, considering it a fit tribute to her beauty, but in no degree moved to gratitude.

A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 225
—female society is out of the question. I have been very well treated by the Pachas and Governors, and have no complaint to make of any kind. Hobhouse will one day inform you of all our adventures,—were I to attempt the recital, neither my paper nor your patience would hold out during the operation.

“Nobody, save yourself, has written to me since I left England; but indeed I did not request it. I except my relations, who write quite as often as I wish. Of Hobhouse’s volume I know nothing, except that it is out; and of my 2d edition I do not even know that, and certainly do not, at this distance, interest myself in the matter. * * * * I hope you and Bland roll down the stream of sale with rapidity.

“Of my return I cannot positively speak, but think it probable Hobhouse will precede me in that respect. We have been very nearly one year abroad. I should wish to gaze away another, at least, in these ever-green climates; but I fear business, law business, the worst of employments, will recall me previous to that period, if not very quickly. If so, you shall have due notice.

“I hope you will find me an altered personage,—I do not mean in body, but in manner, for I begin to find out that nothing but virtue will do in this d—d world. I am tolerably sick of vice, which I have tried in its agreeable varieties, and mean, on my return, to cut all my dissolute acquaintance, leave off wine and carnal company, and betake myself to politics and decorum. I am very serious and cynical, and a good deal disposed to moralize; but, fortunately for you, the coming homily is cut off by default of pen and defection of paper.

“Good morrow! If you write, address to me at Malta, whence your letters will be forwarded. You need not remember me to any body, but believe me yours with all faith.


From Constantinople, where he arrived on the 14th of May, he addressed four or five letters Mrs. Byron, in almost every one of which his achievement in swimming across the Hellespont is commemorated. The exceeding pride indeed, which he took in this classic feat (the particulars of which he has himself abundantly detailed) may be cited
226 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1810.
among the instances of that boyishness of character, which he carried with him so remarkably into his maturer years, and which, while it puzzled distant observers of his conduct, was not among the least amusing or attaching of his peculiarities to those who knew him intimately. So late as eleven years from this period, when some
sceptical traveller ventured to question, after all, the practicability of Leander’s exploit, Lord Byron, with that jealousy on the subject of his own personal prowess which he retained from boyhood, entered again, with fresh zeal, into the discussion, and brought forward two or three other instances of his own feats in swimming*, to corroborate the statement originally made by him.

In one of these letters to his mother from Constantinople, dated May 24th, after referring, as usual, to his notable exploit, “in humble imitation of Leander, of amorous memory, though,” he adds, “I had no Hero to receive me on the other side of the Hellespont,” he continues thus:—

“When our ambassador takes his leave, I shall accompany him to see the sultan, and afterwards probably return to Greece. I have heard nothing of Mr. Hanson, but one remittance. without any letter from that legal gentleman. If you have occasion for any pecuniary supply, pray use my funds as far as they go without reserve: and, lest this should not be enough, in my next to Mr. Hanson I will direct him to advance any sum you may want, leaving it to your discretion how much in the present state of my affairs, you may think proper to require. I have already seen the most interesting parts of Turkey in Europe and Asia Minor, but shall not proceed further till I hear from England: in the

* Among others, he mentions his passage of the Tagus in 1809, which is thus described by Mr. Hobhouse:—“My companion had before made e mere perilous but less celebrated passage; for I recollect that, when we were in Portugal, he swam from old Lisbon to Belem Castle, and having to contend with a tide and counter current, the wind blowing freshly, was but little less than two hours in crossing the river.” In swimming from Sestos to Abydos, he was one hour and ten minutes In the water.

In the year 1806, he had been nearly drowned, while swimming at Brighton with Mr L. Stanhope. His friend, Mr. Hobhouse, and other bystanders, sent in some boatmen, with ropes tied round them, who at last succeeded in dragging Lord Byron and Mr. Stanhope from the surf, and thus saved their lives.

A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 227
mean time I shall expect occasional supplies, according to circumstances; and shall pass my summer amongst my friends, the Greeks of the Morea.”

He then adds, with his usual kind solicitude about his favourite servants:—

“Pray take care of my boy Robert, and the old man Murray. It is fortunate they returned; neither the youth of the one, nor the age of the other, would have suited the changes of climate and fatigue of travelling.”

“Constantinople, June 17th, 1810.

“Though I wrote to you so recently, I break in upon you again to congratulate you on a child being born, as a letter from Hodgson apprizes me of that event, in which I rejoice.

“I am just come from an expedition through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea and the Cyanean Symplegades, up which last I scrambled at as great a risk as ever the Argonauts escaped in their hoy. You remember the beginning of the nurse’s dole in the Medea, of which I beg you to take the following translation, done on the summit.
“Oh how I wish that an embargo
Had kept in port the good ship Argo!
Who, unlaunch’d from Grecian docks,
Had never pass’d the Azure rocks;
But now fear her trip will be a
Damn’d business for my Miss Medea, &c. &c.
as it very nearly was to me;—for, had not this sublime passage been in my head, I should never have dreamed of ascending the said rooks, and bruising my carcass in honour of the ancients.

“I have now sat on the Cyaneans, swam from Sestos to Abydos (as I trumpeted in my last), and, after passing through the Morea again, shall st sail for Santa Maura, and toss myself from the Leucadian promontory;—surviving which operation, I shall probably rejoin you in England. H., who will deliver this, is bound straight for these parts:
228 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1810.
and, as he is bursting with his travels, I shall not anticipate his narratives, but merely beg you not to believe one word he says, but reserve your ear for me, if you have any desire to be acquainted with the truth. * * *

“I am bound for Athens once more, and thence to the Morea; but my stay depends so much on my caprice, that I can say nothing of its probable duration. I have been out a year already, and may stay another; but I am quicksilver, and say nothing positively. We are all very much occupied doing nothing, at present. We have seen every thing but the mosques, which we are to view with a firman on Tuesday next. But of these and other sundries let H. relate, with this proviso, that I am to be referred to for authenticity; and I beg leave to contradict all those things whereon he lays particular stress. But, if he soars, at any time, into wit, I give you leave to applaud, because that is necessarily stolen from his fellow-pilgrim. Tell Davies that H. has made excellent use of his best jokes in many of his majesty’s ships of war; but add, also, that I always took care to restore them to the right owner; in consequence of which he (Davies) is no lees famous by water than by land, and reigns unrivalled in the cabin, as in the ‘Cocoa Tree.’

“And Hodgson has been publishing more poesy—I wish he would send me his ‘Sir Edgar,’ and ‘Brand’s Anthology’ to Malta, where they will be forwarded. In my last, which I hope you received, I gave an outline of the ground we have covered. If you have not been overtaken by this despatch, H.’s tongue is at your service. Remember me to Dwyer, who owes me eleven guineas. Tell him to put them in my banker’s hands at Gibraltar or Constantinople. I believe he paid them once, but that goes for nothing, as it was an annuity.

“I wish you would write. I have heard from Hodgson frequently. Malta is my post-office. I mean to be with you by next Montem. You remember the last,—I hope for such another; but, after having swam across the ‘broad Hellespont,’ I disdain Datchett*. Good afternoon! I am yours, very sincerely,


* Alluding to his having swum across the Thames with Mr. H. Drury, after the Montem, to see how many times they could perform the passage backwards and forwards without touching land. In this trial (which took place at night, after supper, when both were heated with drinking), Lord Byron was the conqueror.

A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 229

About ten days after the date of this letter we find another, addressed to Mrs. Byron, which—with much that is merely a repetition of what he had detailed in former communications—contains also a good deal worthy of being extracted.


Mr. Hobhouse, who will forward or deliver this, and is on his return to England, can inform you of our different movements, but I am very uncertain as to my own return. He will probably be down in Notts. some time or other; but Fletcher, whom I send back as an incumbrance (English servants are sad travellers), will supply his place in the interim, and describe our travels, which have been tolerably extensive.

* * * * *

“I remember Mahmout Pacha, the grandson of Ali Pacha, at Yanina (a little fellow of ten years of age, with large black eyes, which our ladies would purchase at any price, and those regular features which distinguish the Turks), asked me how I came to travel so young, without any body to take care of me. This question was put by the little man with all the gravity of threescore. I cannot now write copiously; I have only time to tell you that I have passed many a fatiguing, but never a tedious moment; and that all I am afraid of is, that I shall contract a gipsy-like wandering disposition, which will make home tiresome to me: this, I am told, is very common with men in the habit of peregrination, and, indeed, I feel it so. On the third of May. I swam from Sestos to Abydos. You know the story of Leander, but I had no Hero to receive me at landing.

* * * * *

“I have been in all the principal mosques by the virtue of a firman; this is a favour rarely permitted to infidels, but the ambassador’s departure obtained it for us. I have been up the Bosphorus into the Black Sea, round the walls of the city, and, indeed, know more of it by sight
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than I do of London. I hope to amuse you some winter’s evening with the details, but at present you must excuse me;—I am not able to write long letters in June. I return to spend my summer in Greece.

* * * * *

F. is a poor creature, and requires comforts that I can dispense with. He is very sick of his travels, but you must not believe his account of the country. He sighs for ale, and idleness, and a wife, and the devil knows what besides. I have not been disappointed or disgusted. I have lived with the highest and the lowest. I have been for days in a Pacha’s palace, and have passed many a night in a cowhouse, and I find the people inoffensive and kind. I have also passed some time with the principal Greeks in the Morea and Livadia, and, though inferior to the Turks, they are better than the Spaniards, who, in their turn, excel the Portuguese. Of Constantinople you will find many descriptions in different travels; but Lady Wortley errs strangely when she says ‘St. Paul’s would cut a strange figure by St. Sophia’s.’ I have been in both, surveyed them inside and out attentively. St. Sophia’s is undoubtedly the most interesting from its immense antiquity, and the circumstance of all the Greek emperors, from Justinian, having been crowned there, and several murdered at the altar, besides the Turkish sultans who attend it regularly. But it is inferior in beauty and size to some of the mosques, particularly ‘Soleyman,’ &c. and not to he mentioned in the same page with St. Paul’s (I speak like a Cockney). However, I prefer the Gothic cathedral of Seville to St. Paul’s, St Sophia’s, and any religious building I have ever seen.

“The walls of the Seraglio are like the walls of Newstead gardens, only higher, and much in the same order; but the ride by the walls of the city, on the land aide, is beautiful. Imagine four miles of immense triple battlements, covered with ivy, surmounted with 218 towers, and, on the other side of the road, Turkish burying-grounds (the loveliest spots on earth), full of enormous cypresses. I have seen the ruins of Athena, of Ephesus, and Delphi. I have traversed great part of Turkey, and many other parts of Europe, and some of Asia but I never beheld a work of nature or art yielded an impression like the prospect on each side from the Seven Towers to the end of the Golden Horn.

A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 231

“Now for England. I am glad to hear of the progress of ‘English Bards,’ &c.—of course, you observed I have made great additions to the new edition. Have you received my picture from Sanders, Vigo-lane, London? It was finished and paid for long before I left England: pray, send for it. You seem to be a mighty reader of magazines: where do you pick up all this intelligence, quotations, &c. &c.? Though I was happy to obtain my seat without the assistance of Lord Carlisle, I had no measures to keep with a man who declined interfering as my relation on that occasion, and I have done with him, though I regret distressing Mrs. Leigh, poor thing!—I hope she is happy.

“It is my opinion that Mr. B * * ought to marry Miss R * *. Our first duty is not to do evil; but, alas! that is impossible: our next is to repair it, if in our power. The girl is his equal: if she were his inferior, a sum of money and provision for the child would be some, though a poor compensation: as it is, he should marry her. I will have no gay deceivers on my estate, and I shall not allow my tenants a privilege I do not permit myself, that of debauching each other’s daughters. God knows, I have been guilty of many excesses; but, as I have laid down a resolution to reform, and lately kept it, I expect this Lothario to follow the example, and begin by restoring this girl to society, or, by the beard of my father! he shall hear of it. Pray take some notice of Robert, who will miss his master; poor boy, he was very unwilling to return. I trust you are well and happy. It will be a pleasure to hear from you.

“Believe me yours very sincerely,

“P.S—How is Joe Murray?

“P.S.—I open my letter again to tell you that Fletcher having petitioned to accompany me into the Morea, I have taken him with me, contrary to the intention expressed in my letter.”

The reader has not, I trust, passed carelessly over the latter part of this letter. There is a healthfulness in the moral feeling so unaffectedly expressed in it, which seems to answer for a heart sound at the core,
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however passion might have scorched it. Some years after, when he had become more confirmed in that artificial tone of banter, in which it was, unluckily, his habit to speak of his own good feelings, as well as of those of others, however capable he might still have been of the same amiable sentiments, I question much whether the perverse fear of being thought desirous to pass for moral would not have prevented him from thus naturally and honestly avowing them.

The following extract from a communication addressed to a distinguished monthly work, by a traveller who, at this period, happened to meet with Lord Byron at Constantinople, bears sufficiently the features of authenticity to be presented, without hesitation, to my readers.

“We were interrupted in our debate by the entrance of a stranger, whom, on the first glance, I guessed to be an Englishman but lately arrived at Constantinople. He wore a scarlet coat, richly embroidered with gold, in the style of an English aide-de-camp’s dress-uniform, with two heavy epaulettes. His countenance announced him to be about the age of two-and-twenty. His features were remarkably delicate, and would have given him a feminine appearance, but for the manly expression of his fine blue eyes. On entering the inner shop, he took off his feathered cocked-hat, and showed a head of curly auburn hair, which improved in no small degree the uncommon beauty of his face. The impression which his whole appearance made on my mind was such, that it has ever since remained deeply engraven on it; and although fifteen years have since gone by, the lapse of time has not in the slightest degree impaired the freshness of the recollection. He was attended by a Janissary attached to the English embassy, and by a person who professionally acted as a Cicerone to strangers. These circumstances together with a very visible lameness in one of his legs, convinced me at once he was Lord Byron. I had already heard of his lordship, and of his late arrival in the Salsette frigate, which had come up from the Smyrna station, to fetch away Mr. Adair, our ambassador to the Porte. Lord Byron had been previously travelling in Epirus ard Asia Minor, with his friend Mr. Hobhouse, and had become a great amateur of smoking; he was conducted to this shop for the purpose of purchasing a few pipes. The
A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 233
indifferent Italian, in which language he spoke to his Cicerone, and the latter’s still more imperfect Turkish, made it difficult for the shopkeeper to understand their wishes, and as this seemed to vex the stranger, I addressed him in English, offering to interpret for him. When his lordship thus discovered me to be an Englishman, he shook me cordially by the hand, and assured me, with some warmth in his manner, that he always felt great pleasure when he met with a countryman abroad. His purchase and my bargain being completed, we walked out together, and rambled about the streets, in several of which I had the pleasure of directing his attention to some of the most remarkable curiosities in Constantinople. The peculiar circumstances under which our acquaintance took place established between us, in one day, a certain degree of intimacy, which two or three years frequenting each others company in England would most likely not have accomplished. I frequently addressed him by his name, but he did not think of inquiring how I came to learn it, nor of asking mine. His lordship had not yet laid the foundation of that literary renown which he afterwards acquired; on the contrary, he was only known as the author of his
Hours of Idleness; and the severity with which the Edinburgh Reviewers had criticised that production was still fresh in every English reader’s recollection. I could not, therefore, be supposed to seek his acquaintance from any of those motives of vanity which have actuated so many others since; but it was natural that, after our accidental rencontre, and all that passed between us on that occasion, I should, on meeting him in the course of the same week at dinner at the English ambassador’s, have requested one of the secretaries, who was intimately acquainted with him, to introduce me to him in regular form. His lordship testified his perfect recollection of me, but in the coldest manner, and immediately after turned his back on me. This unceremonious proceeding, forming a striking contrast with previous occurrences, had something so strange in it, that I was as a loss how to account for it, and felt at the same time much disposed to entertain a less favourable opinion of his lordship than his apparent frankness had inspired me with at our first meeting. It was not, therefore, without surprise, that some days after, I saw him in the streets, coming up to me with a smile of good-nature in his countenance. He accosted me in a familiar manner,
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and offering me his hand, said,—‘I am an enemy to English etiquette, especially out of England; and I always make my own acquaintance without waiting for the formality of an introduction. If you have nothing to do, and are disposed for another ramble, I shall be glad of your company.’ There was that irresistible attraction in his manner, of which those who have had the good fortune to be admitted into his intimacy can alone have felt the power in his moments of good-humour; and I readily accepted his proposal. We visited again more of the most remarkable curiosities of the capital, a description of which would here be but a repetition of what a hundred travellers have already detailed with the utmost minuteness and accuracy; but his lordship expressed much disappointment at their want of interest. He praised the picturesque beauties of the town itself, and its surrounding scenery; and seemed of opinion that nothing else was worth looking at. He spoke of the Turks in a manner which might have given reason to suppose that he had made a long residence among them, and closed his observations with these words:—‘The Greeks will sooner or later, rise against them; but if they do not make haste, I hope
Buonaparte will come and drive the useless rascals away.’”

During his stay at Constantinopole, the English minister, Mr. Adair, being indisposed the greater part of the time, had but few opportunities of seeing him. He, however, pressed him, with much hospitality, to accept a lodging at the English palace, which Lord Byron, preferring the freedom of his homely inn, declined. At the audience granted to the ambassador, on his taking leave, by the Sultan, the noble poet attended, in the train of Mr. Adair,—having shown an anxiety as to the place he was to hold in the procession, not a little characteristic of his jealous pride of rank. In vain had the minister assured him that no particular station could be allotted to him;—that the Turks, in their arrangements for the ceremonial, considered only the persons connected with the embassy, and neither attended to, or acknowledged, the precedence which our forms assign to nobility. Seeing the young peer still unconvinced

* New Monthly Magazine.

A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 235
by these representations, Mr. Adair was, at length, obliged to refer him to an authority, considered infallible on such points of etiquette, the old Austrian Internuncio,—on consulting whom, and finding his opinions agree fully with those of the English minister, Lord Byron declared himself perfectly satisfied.

On the 14th of July his fellow-traveller and himself took their departure from Constantinople on board the Salsette frigate,—Mr. Hobhouse with the intention of accompanying the ambassador to England, and Lord Byron with the resolution of visiting his beloved Greece again. To Mr. Adair he appeared, at this time (and I find that Mr. Bruce, who met him afterwards at Athens, conceived the same impression of him), to be labouring under great dejection of spirits. One circumstance related to me, as having occurred in the course of the passage, is not a little striking. Perceiving, as he walked the deck, a small yataghan, or Turkish dagger, on one of the benches, he took it up, unsheathed it, and, having stood for a few moments contemplating the blade, was heard to say, in an under voice “I should like to know how a person feels, after committing a murder!” In this startling speech we may detect, I think, the germ of his future Giaours and Laras. This intense wish to explore the dark workings of the passions was what, with the aid of imagination, at length generated the power; and that faculty which entitled him afterwards to be so truly styled “the searcher of dark bosoms,” may be traced to, perhaps, its earliest stirrings in the sort of feeling that produced these words.

On their approaching the island of Zea, he expressed a wish to be put on shore. Accordingly, having taken leave of his companion, he was landed upon this small island, with his two Albanians, a Tartar, and one English servant; and in one of his manuscripts, he has, himself, described the proud, solitary feeling with which he stood to see the ship sail swiftly away—leaving him there, in a land of strangers, alone.

A few days after, he addressed the following letter to Mrs. Byron from Athens.

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“Athens, July, 25, 1810.

“I have arrived here in four days from Constantinople, which is considered as singularly quick, particularly for the season of the year. You northern gentry can have no conception of a Greek summer; which, however, is a perfect frost compared with Malta and Gibraltar, where I reposed myself in the shade last year, after a gentle gallop of four hundred miles, without intermission, through Portugal and Spain. You see, by my date, that I am at Athens again, a place which I think I prefer, upon the whole, to any I have seen. * * *

“My next movement is to-morrow into the Morea, where I shall probably remain a month or two, and then return to winter here, if I do not change my plans, which, however, are very variable, as you may suppose; but none of them verge to England.

“The Marquis of Sligo, my old fellow collegian, is here, and wishes to accompany me into the Morea. We shall go together for that purpose. Lord S. will afterwards pursue his way to the capital; and Lord B. having seen all the wonders in that quarter, will let you know what he does next, of which at present he is not quite certain. Malta is my perpetual post-office, from which my letters are forwarded to all parts of the habitable globe:—by the by, I have now been in Asia, Africa, and the east of Europe, and, indeed, made the most of my time, without hurrying over the most interesting scenes of the ancient world. F * *, after having been toasted, and roasted and baked, and grilled, and eaten by all sorts of creeping things, begins to philosophize, is grown a refined as well as resigned character, and promises at his return to become an ornament to his own parish, and very prominent person in the future family pedigree of the F * *s, who I take to be Goths by their accomplishments, Greeks by their acuteness, and ancient Saxons by their appetite. He (F * *) begs leave to send half a dozen sighs to Sally his spouse, and wonders (though I do not) that his ill written and worse spelt letters
A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 237
have never come to hand; as for that matter, there is no great loss in either of our letters, saving and except that I wish you to know we are well, and warm enough at this present writing, God knows. You must not expect long letters at present, for they are written with the sweat of my brow, I assure you. It is rather singular that
Mr. H * * has not written a syllable since my departure. Your letters I have mostly received, as well as others; from which I conjecture that the man of law is either angry or busy.

“I trust you like Newstead, and agree with your neighbours; but you know you are a vixen—is not that a dutiful appellation? Pray, take care of my books, and several boxes of papers in the hands of Joseph; and pray leave me a few bottles of champagne to drink, for I am very thirsty;—but I do not insist on the last article, without you like it. I suppose you have your house full of silly women prating scandalous things. Have you ever received my picture in oil from Sanders, London? It has been paid for these sixteen months: why do you not get it? My suite, consisting of two Turks, two Greeks, a Lutheran, and the nondescript, Fletcher, are making so much noise that I am glad to sign myself

“Yours, &c. &c.

A day or two after the date of this letter, he left Athens in company with the Marquis of Sligo. Having travelled together as far as Corinth, they from thence branched off in different directions,—Lord Sligo to pay a visit to the capital of the Morea, and Lord Byron to proceed to Patras, where he had some business, as will be seen by the following letter, with the English consul, Mr. Strané.

“Patras, July 30, 1810.

“In four days from Constantinople, with a favourable wind, I arrived in the frigate at the island of Ceos, from whence I took a boat
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to Athens, where I met my friend the
Marquis of Sligo, who expressed a wish to proceed with me as far as Corinth. At Corinth we separated, he for Tripolitza, I for Patras, where I had some business with the consul, Mr. Strané, in whose house I now write. He has rendered me every service in his power since I quitted Malta on my way to Constantinople, whence I have written to you twice or thrice. In a few days I visit the Pacha at Tripolitza, make the tour of the Morea, and return again to Athens, which at present is my head-quarters. The heat is at present intense. In England, if it reaches 98°, you are all on fire: the other day, in travelling between Athens and Megara, the thermometer was at 125°!! Yet I feel no inconvenience; of course I am much bronzed, but I live temperately, and never enjoyed better health.

“Before I left Constantinople, I saw the Sultan (with Mr. Adair), and the interior of the mosques, things which rarely happen to travellers. Mr. Hobhouse is gone to England: I am in no hurry to return, but have no particular communications your country, except my surprise at Mr. H * *’s silence, and my desire that he will remit regularly. I suppose some arrangement has been made with regard to Wymondham and Rochdale. Malta is my post-office, or to Mr. Strané, consul-general, Patras, Morea. You complain of my silence—I have written twenty or thirty times within the last year: never less than twice a month, and often more. If my letters do not arrive, you must not conclude that we are eaten, or that there is a war, or a famine: neither must you credit silly reports, which I dare say you have in Notts., as usual. I am very well, and neither more or less happy than I usually am; except that I am very glad to be once more alone, for I was sick of my companion,—not that he was a bad one, but because my nature leads me to solitude, and that every day adds to this disposition. If I chose, here are many men who would wish to join me—one wants me to go to Egypt, another to Asia, of which I have seen enough. The greater part of Greece is already my own, so that I shall only go over my old ground, and look upon my old seas and mountains, the only acquaintances I ever found improve upon me.

“I have a tolerable suite, a Tartar, two Albanians, an interpreter, besides Fletcher: but in this country these are easily maintained. Adair
A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 239
received me wonderfully well, and indeed I have no complaints against any one. Hospitality here is necessary, for inns are not. I have lived in the houses of Greeks, Turks Italians, and English—to-day in a palace, to-morrow in a cowhouse; this day with the Pacha, the next with a shepherd. I shall continue to write briefly, but frequently, and am glad to hear from you; but you fill your letters with things from the papers, as if English papers were not found all over the world. I have at this moment a dozen before me. Pray take care of my books, and believe me, my dear mother, yours, &c.”

The greater part of the two following months he appears to have occupied in making a tour of the Morea*; and the very distinguished reception he met with from Vely Pacha, the son of Ali, is mentioned with much pride, in more than one of his letters.

On his return from this tour to Patras, he was seized with a fit of illness, the particulars of which are mentioned in the following letter to Mr. Hodgson; and they are, in many respects, so similar to those of the last fatal malady, with which, fourteen years afterwards, he was attacked, in nearly the same spot, that, livelily as the account is written, it is difficult to read it without melancholy.

“Patras, Morea, October 3d, 1810.

“As I have just escaped from a physician and a fever, which confined me five days to bed, you won’t expect much ‘allegrezza’ in the ensuing letter. In this place there is an indigenous distemper, which, when the wind blows from Gulf of Corinth (as it does five months

* In a note upon the Advertisement prefixed to his Siege of Corinth, he says—“I visited all three (Tripolitza, Napoli, and Argos) in 1810-11, and in the course of journeying through the country, from my first arrival 1809, crossed the Isthmus eight times in my way from Attica to the Morea, over the mountains, or in the other direction, when passing from the Gulf of Athens to that of Lepanto.”

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out of six) attacks great and small, and makes woeful work with visitors. Here be also two physicians, one of whom trusts to his genuine (never having studied)—the other to a campaign of eighteen months against the sick of Otranto, which he made in his youth with great effect.

“When I was seized with my disorder, I protested against both these assassins;—but what can a helpless, feverish, toasted-and-watered poor wretch do? In spite of my teeth and tongue, the English consul, my Tartar, Albanians, dragoman, forced a physician upon me, and in three days vomited and glystered me to the last gasp. In this state I made my epitaph—take it.
“Youth, Nature, and relenting Jove,
To keep my lamp in strongly strove;
But Romanelli was so stout
He beat all three—and blew it out.
But Nature and Jove, being piqued at my doubts, did, in fact, at last, beat Romanelli, and here I am, well but weakly, at your service.

“Since I left Constantinople, I have made a tour of the Morea, and visited Vely Pacha, who paid me great honours and gave me a pretty stallion. H. is doubtless in England before even the date of this letter—he bears a despatch from me to your bardship. He writes to me from Malta, and requests my journal, if I keep one. I have none, or he should have it; but I have replied, in a consolatory and exhortatory epistle, praying him to abate three and sixpence in the price of his next Boke, seeing that half-a-guinea is a price not to be given for any thing save an opera-ticket.

“As for England, it is long since I have heard from it. Every one at all connected with my concerns is asleep, and you are my only correspondent, agents excepted. I have really no friends in the world; though all my old school-companions are gone forth into that world, and walk about there in monstrous disguises, in the garb of guardsmen, lawyers, parsons, fine gentlemen, and such other masquerade dresses. So, I here shake hands and cut with all these busy people, none of whom write to me. Indeed, I asked it not;—and here I am, a poor traveller
A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 241
and heathenish philosopher, who hath perambulated the greatest part of the Levant, and seen a great quantity of very improvable land and sea, and, after all, am no better than when I set out—Lord help me!

“I have been out fifteen months this very day, and I believe my concerns will draw me to England soon; but of this I will apprise you regularly from Malta. On all points, Hobhouse will inform you, if you are curious as to our adventures. I have seen some old English papers up to the 15th of May. I see the ‘Lady of the Lake’ advertised. Of course it is in his old ballad style, and pretty. After all, Scott is the best of them. The end of all scribblement is to amuse, and he certainly succeeds there. I long to read his new romance.

“And how does ‘Sir Edgar?’ and your friend, Bland? I suppose you are involved in some literary squabble. The only way is to despise all brothers of the quill. I suppose you won’t allow me to be an author, but I contemn you all, you dogs!—I do.

“You don’t know D—s, do you? He had a farce ready for the stage before I left England, and asked me for a prologue, which I promised, but sailed in such a hurry I never penned a couplet. I am afraid to ask after his drama, for fear it should be damned—Lord forgive me for using such a word!—but the pit, sir, you know, the pit—they will do those things, in spite of merit. I remember this farce from a curious circumstance. When Drury-lane was burnt to the ground, by which accident Sheridan and his son lost the few remaining shillings they were worth, what doth my friend D—— do? Why, before the fire was out, he writes a note to Tom Sheridan, the manager of this combustible concern, to inquire whether this farce was not converted into fuel, with about two thousand other unactable manuscripts, which of course were in great peril, if not actually consumed. Now, was not this characteristic—the ruling passions of Pope are nothing to it. Whilst the poor distracted manager was bewailing the loss of a building only worth £300,000, together with some twenty thousand pounds of rags and tinsel in the tiring rooms, Blue-beard’s elephants, and all that—in comes a note from a scorching author, requiring at his hands two acts and odd scenes of a farce!!

“Dear H., remind Drury that I am his well-wisher, and let Scrope
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Davies be well affected towards me. I look forward to meeting you at Newstead and renewing our old champagne evenings with all the glee of anticipation. I have written by every opportunity, and expect responses as regular as those of the liturgy, and somewhat longer. As it is impossible for a man in his senses to hope for happy days, let us at least look forward to merry ones, which come nearest to the other in appearance, if not in reality; and in such expectations I remain, &c.”

He was a good deal weakened and thinned by his illness at Patras, and, on his return to Athens, standing, one day, before a looking-glass, he said to Lord Sligo—“How pale I look!—I should like, I think, to die of a consumption”—“Why of a consumption?” asked his friend. “Because then (he answered) the women would all say, ‘See that poor Byron—how interesting he looks in dying!’” In this anecdote,—which, slight as it is, the relater remembered, as a proof of the poet’s consciousness of his own beauty,—may be traced also the habitual reference of his imagination to that sex, which, however he affected to despise it, influenced, more or less, the flow and colour of all his thoughts.

He spoke often of his mother to Lord Sligo, and with a feeling that seemed little short of aversion. “Some time or other,” he said, “I will tell you why I feel thus towards her.”—A few days after, when they were bathing together in the Gulf of Lepanto, he referred to this promise, and, pointing to his naked leg and foot, exclaimed.—“Look there!—it is to her false delicacy at my birth I owe that deformity; and yet, as long as I can remember, she has never ceased to taunt and reproach me with it. Even a few days before we parted, for the last time, on my leaving England, she, in one of her fits of passion, uttered an imprecation upon me, praying that I might prove as ill-formed in mind as I am in body!” His look and manner in relating this frightful circumstance, can be conceived only by those who have ever seen him in a similar state of excitement.

The little value he had for those relics of ancient art, in pursuit of which he saw all his classic fellow-travellers ardent, was, like every thing he ever thought or felt, unreservedly avowed by him. Lord Sligo having it in contemplation to expend some money in digging for an-
A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 243
tiquities, Lord Byron, in offering to act as his agent, and to see the money, at least, honestly applied, said—“You may safely trust me—I am no Dilettante. Your connoisseurs are all thieves;—but I care too little for these things ever to steal them.”

The system of thinning himself, which he had begun before he left England, was continued, still more rigidly, abroad. While at Athens, he took the hot bath, for this purpose, three times a week,—his usual drink being vinegar and water, and his food seldom more than a little rice.

Among the persons, besides Lord Sligo, whom he saw most of at this time, were Lady Hester Stanhope and Mr. Bruce. One of the first objects, indeed, that met the eyes of these two distinguished travellers, on their approaching the coast of Attica, was Lord Byron, disporting in his favourite element, under the rocks of Cape Colonna. They were afterwards made acquainted with each other by Lord Sligo, and it was in the course, I believe, of their first interview, at his table, that Lady Hester, with that lively eloquence for which she is so remarkable, took the poet briskly to task for the depreciating opinion, which, as she understood, he entertained of all female intellect. Being but little inclined, were he even able, to sustain such a heresy, against one who was, in her own person, such on irresistible refutation of it, Lord Byron had no other refuge from the fair orator’s arguments than in assent and silence; and this well-bred deference being, in a sensible woman’s eyes, equivalent to concession, they became, from thenceforward, most cordial friends. In recalling some recollections of this period in his “Memoranda,” after relating the circumstance of his being caught bathing by an English party at Sunium, he added, “This was the beginning of the most delightful acquaintance which I formed in Greece.” He then went on to assure Mr. Bruce, if ever those pages should meet his eyes, that the days they had passed together at Athens were remembered by him with pleasure.