LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Journal Entry: 22 November 1813

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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
“Nov. 22nd, 1813.

“‘Orange Boven!’ So the bees have expelled the bear that broke open their hive. Well,—if we are to have new De Witts and De Ruyters, God speed the little republic! I should like to see the Hague and the village of Brock, where they have such primitive habits. Yet, I don’t know,—their canals would cut a poor figure by the memory of the Bosphorus; and the Zuyder Zee look awkwardly after ‘Ak Degnity.’ No matter,—the bluff burghers, puffing freedom out of their short tobacco-pipes, might be worth seeing; though I prefer a cigar, or a hooka, with the rose-leaf mixed with the milder herb of the Levant. I don’t know what liberty means,—never having seen it,—but wealth is power all over the world; and as a shilling performs the duty of a pound (besides sun and sky and beauty for nothing) in the East,—that is the country. How I envy Herodes Atticus!—more than Pomponius. And yet a little tumult, now and then, is an agreeable quickener of sensation;—such as a revolution, a battle, or an aventure of any lively description. I think I rather would have been Bonneval, Ripperda, Alberoni, Hayreddin, or Horuc Barbarossa, or even Wortley Montague, than Mahomet himself.

Rogers will be in town soon?—the 23d is fixed for our Middieton visit. Shall I go? umph!—In this island, where one can’t ride out without overtaking the sea, it don’t much matter where one goes.

* * * * * *

“I remember the effect of the first Edinburgh Review on me. I heard of it six weeks before,—read it the day of its denunciation,—dined and drank three bottles of claret (with S. B. Davies, I think), neither ate nor slept the less, but, nevertheless, was not easy till I had vented my wrath and my rhyme, in the same pages, against every thing and every body. Like George, in the Vicar of Wakefield, ‘the fate of my paradoxes’ would allow me to perceive no merit in another. I remembered only the maxim of my boxing-master, which, in my youth, was found useful in all general riots—‘Whoever is not for you is against you—mill away right and left,’ and so I did;—like Ishmael, my hand
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 445
was against all men, and all men’s anent me. I did wonder, to be sure, at my own success—
‘And marvels so much wit is all his own,’
Hobhouse sarcastically says of somebody (not unlikely myself, as we are old friends);—but were it to come over again, I would not. I have since redde* the cause of my couplets, and it is not adequate to the effect. C * * told me that it was believed I alluded to poor Lord Carlisle’s nervous disorder in one of the lines. I thank Heaven I did not know it —and would not, could not, if I had. I must naturally be the last person to be pointed on defects or maladies.

Rogers is silent—and, it is said, severe. When he does talk, he talks well; and, on all subjects of taste, his delicacy of expression is pure as his poetry. If you enter his house—his drawing-room—his library—you of yourself say, this is not the dwelling of a common mind. There is not a gem, a coin, a book thrown aside on his chimney-piece, his sofa, his table, that does not bespeak an almost fastidious elegance in the possessor. But this very delicacy must be the misery of his existence. Oh the jarrings his disposition must have encountered through life!

Southey, I have not seen much of. His appearance is Epic; and he is the only existing entire man of letters. All the others have some pursuit annexed to their authorship. His manners are mild, but not those of a man of the world, and his talents of the first order. His prose is perfect. Of his poetry there are various opinions: there is, perhaps, too much of it for the present generation;—posterity will probably select. He has passages equal to any thing. At present, he has a party, but no public—except for his prose writings. The life of Nelson is beautiful.

* * is a Littérateur, the Oracle of the Coteries, of the * * s, L* W* (Sydney Smith’s ‘Tory Virgin,’) Mrs. Wilmot (she, at least, is a swan, and might frequent a purer stream), Lady B * *, and all the Blues with Lady C * * at their head—but I say nothing of her—‘look in her face and you forget them all,’ and every thing else. Oh that face!—by ‘te,

* It was thus that he, in general, spelled this word.

446 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
Diva potens Cypri,’ I would, to be beloved by that woman, build and burn another Troy.

M * * e has a peculiarity of talent, or rather talents,—poetry, music, voice, all his own; and an expression in each, which never was, nor will be, possessed by another. But he is capable of still higher flights in poetry. By the by, what humour, what—every thing in the ‘Post Bag!’ There is nothing M * * e may not do, if he will but seriously set about it. In society, he is gentlemanly, gentle, and altogether more pleasing than any individual with whom I am acquainted. For his honour, principle, and independence, his conduct to * * * * speaks ‘trumpet-tongued.’ He has but one fault—and that one I daily regret—he is not here.