LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Journal Entry: 23 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
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“Nov. 23d.

Ward—I like Ward*. By Mahomet! I begin to think I like every body;—a disposition, not to be encouraged;—a sort of social gluttony, that swallows every thing set before it. But I like Ward. He is piquant; and, in my opinion, will stand very high in the House and every where else—if he applies regularly. By the by, I dine with him to-morrow, which may have some influence on my opinion. It is as well not to trust one’s gratitude after dinner. I have heard many a host libelled by his guests, with his burgundy yet reeking on their rascally lips.

* * * * * *

“I have taken Lord Salisbury’s box at Covent-garden for the season;—and now I must go and prepare to join Lady Holland and party, in theirs, at Drury-lane, questa sera.

Holland doesn’t think the man is Junius; but that the yet unpublished journal throws great light on the obscurities of that part of George the Second’s reign.—What is this to George the Third’s? I don’t know what to think. Why should Junius be yet dead? If suddenly apoplexed, would he rest in his grave without sending his ειδωλον to shout in the ears of posterity, ‘Junius was X. Y. Z. Esq.

* The present Lord Dudley.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 447
buried in the parish of * * *. Repair his monument, ye churchwardens! Print a new Edition of his Letters, ye booksellers!’ Impossible,—the man must be alive, and will never die without the disclosure. I like him;—he was a good hater.

“Came home unwell and went to bed,—not so sleepy as might be desirable.

“Tuesday morning.

“I awoke from a dream—well! and have not others dreamed?—Such a dream!—but she did not overtake me. I wish the dead would rest, however. Ugh! how my blood chilled—and I could not wake—and—and—heigho!
‘Shadows to-night
Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard,
Than could the substance of ten thousand * *s,
Arm’d all in proof, and led by shallow * *.’
I do not like this dream,—I hate its ‘foregone conclusion.’ And am I to be shaken by shadows? Ay, when they remind us of—no matter—but, if I dream thus again, I will try whether all sleep has the like visions. Since I rose, I’ve been in considerable bodily pain also; but it is gone, and now, like Lord Ogleby, I am wound up for the day.

“A note from Mountnorris—I dine with Ward;—Canning is to be there, Frere, and Sharpe,—perhaps Gifford. I am to be one of ‘the five’ (or rather six), as Lady * * said a little sneeringly yesterday. They are all good to meet, particularly Canning, and—Ward, when he likes. I wish I may be well enough to listen to these intellectuals.

“No letters to-day;—so much the better,—there are no answers. I must not dream again;—it spoils even reality. I will go out of doors, and see what the fog will do for me. Jackson has been here the boxing world much as usual;—but the Club increases. I shall dine at Crib’s to-morrow:—I like energy—even animal energy—of all kinds; and I have need of both mental and corporeal. I have not dined out, nor, indeed, at all, lately; have heard no music—have seen nobody. Now for a plunge—high life and low life. ‘Amant alterna Camœnæ!’

448 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.

“I have burnt my Roman—as I did the first scenes and sketch of my comedy—and, for aught I see, the pleasure of burning is quite as great as that of printing. These two last would not have done. I ran into realities more than ever; and some would have been recognised and others guessed at.

“Redde the Ruminator—a collection of Essays, by a strange, but able, old man (Sir E. B.) and a half-wild young one, author of a Poem on the Highlands, called ‘Childe Alarique.’ The word ‘sensibility’ (always my aversion) occurs a thousand times in these Essays; and, it seems, is to be an excuse for all kinds of discontent. This young man can know nothing of life; and, if he cherishes the disposition which runs through his papers, will become useless,—and, perhaps, not even a poet, after all, which he seems determined to be. God help him! no one should be a rhymer who could be any thing better. And this is what annoys one, to see Scott and Moore, and Campbell and Rogers. who might have all been agents and leaders, now mere spectators. For, though they may have other ostensible avocations, these last are reduced to a secondary consideration. * *, too, frittering away his time among dowagers and unmarried girls. If it advanced any serious affair, it were some excuse; but, with the unmarried, that is a hazardous speculation, and tiresome enough, too; and, with the veterans, it is not much worth trying,—unless, perhaps, one in a thousand.

“If I had any views in this country, they would probably be parliamentary. But I have no ambition; at least, if any, it would be ‘aut Cæsar aut nihil.’ My hopes are limited to the arrangement of my affairs, and settling either in Italy or the East (rather the last), and drinking deep of the languages and literature of both. Past events have unnerved me; and all I can now do is to make life an amusement, and look on, while others play. After all—even the highest game of crowns and sceptres, what is it? Vide Napoleon’s last twelvemonth. It has completely upset my system of fatalism. I thought, if crushed, he would have fallen, when ‘fractus illabatur orbis,’ and not have been pared away to gradual insignificance;—that all this was not a mere jeu of the gods, but a prelude to greater changes and mightier events. But Men never advance beyond a certain point;—and here we are, retrograding to the
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 449
dull, stupid, old system,—balance of Europe—poising straws upon kings’ noses, instead of wringing them off! Give me a republic, or a despotism of one, rather than the mixed government of one, two, three. A republic!—look in the history of the Earth—Rome, Greece, Venice, France, Holland, America, our short (eheu!) Commonwealth, and compare it with what they did under masters. The Asiatics are not qualified to be republicans, but they have the liberty of demolishing despots,—which is the next thing to it. To be the first man—not the Dictator—not the
Sylla, but the Washington or the Aristides—the leader in talent and truth—is next to the Divinity! Franklin, Penn, and, next to these, either Brutus or Cassius—even Mirabeau—or St. Just. I shall never be any thing, or rather always be nothing. The most I can hope is, that some will say, ‘He might, perhaps, if he would.’

“12, midnight.

“Here are two confounded proofs from the printer. I have looked at the one, but, for the soul of me, I can’t look over that ‘Giaour’ again,—at least, just now, and at this hour—and yet there is no moon.

Ward talks of going to Holland, and we have partly discussed an ensemble expedition. It must be in ten days, if at all—if we wish to be in at the Revolution. And why not? * * is distant, and will be at * *, still more distant, till spring. No one else, except Augusta, cares for me—no ties—no trammels—andiamo dunque—se torniarno, benese non, ch’ importa? Old William of Orange talked of dying in ‘the last ditch’ of his dingy country. It is lucky I can swim, or I suppose I should not well weather the first. But let us see. I have heard hyæenas and jackalls in the ruins of Asia; and bull-frogs in the marshes,—besides wolves and angry Mussulmans. Now, I should like to listen to the shout of a free Dutchman.

“Alla! Viva! For ever! Hourra! Huzza!—which is the most rational or musical of these cries? ‘Orange Boven,’ according to the Morning Post.