LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Journal Entry: 24 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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“Wednesday. 24th.

“No dreams last night of the dead nor the living—so—I am ‘firm as the marble, founded as the rock’—till the next earthquake.

Ward’s dinner went off well. There was not a disagreeable person there—unless I offended any body, which I am sure I could not by contradiction, for I said little, and opposed nothing. Sharpe (a man of elegant mind, and who has lived much with the best—Fox, Horne Tooke, Windham, Fitzpatrick, and all the agitators of other times and tongues) told us the particulars of his last interview with Windham, a few days before the fatal operation which sent ‘that gallant spirit to aspire the skies.’ Windham,—the first in one department of oratory and talent, whose only fault was his refinement beyond the intellect of half his hearers,—Windham, half his life an active participator in the events of the earth, and one of those who governed nations,—he regretted, and dwelt much on that regret, that ‘he had not entirely devoted himself to literature and science!!!’ His mind certainly would have carried him to eminence there, as elsewhere;—but I cannot comprehend what debility of that mind could suggest such a wish. I, who have heard him, cannot regret any thing but that I shall never hear him again. What! would he have been a plodder? a metaphysician?—perhaps a rhymer? a scribbler? Such an exchange must have been suggested by illness. But he is gone, and Time ‘shall not look upon his like again.’

“I am tremendously in arrear with my letters,—except to * *, and to her my thoughts overpower me,—my words never compass them. To Lady Melbourne I write with most pleasure—and her answers, so sensible, so tactique—I never met with half her talent. If she had been a few years younger, what a fool she would have made of me, had she thought it worth her while,—and I should have lost a valuable and most agreeable friend. Mem.—a mistress never is nor can be a friend. While you agree, you are lovers; and, when it is over, any thing but friends.

“I have not answered W. Scott’s last letter,—but I will. I regret to hear from others that he has lately been unfortunate in pecuniary involvements. He is undoubtedly the Monarch of Parnassus, and the most English of bards. I should place Rogers next in the living list—
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 451
(I value him more as the last of the best school).—
Moore and Campbell both third—Southey and Wordsworth and Coleridge—the rest, όι πολλοι—thus:







There is a triangular ‘Gradus ad Parnassum!’—the names are too numerous for the base of the triangle. Poor
Thurlow has gone wild about the poetry of Queen Bess’s reign—c’est dommage. I have ranked the names upon my triangle more upon what I believe popular opinion than any decided opinion of my own. For, to me, some of M * * e’s last Erin sparks—‘As a beam o’er the face of the waters’—‘When he who adores thee’—‘Oh blame not’—and ‘Oh breathe not his name’—are worth all the Epics that ever were composed.

“ *  * thinks the Quarterly will attack me next. Let them. I have been ‘peppered so highly’ in my time, both ways, that it must be cayenne or aloes to make me taste. I can sincerely say that I am not very much alive now to criticism. But—in tracing this—I rather believe, that it proceeds from my not attaching that importance to authorship which many do, and which, when young, I did also. ‘One gets tired of every thing, my angel,’ says Valmont. The ‘angels’ are the only things of which I am not a little sick—but I do think the preference of writers to
452 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
agents—the mighty stir made about scribbling and scribes, by themselves and others—a sign of effeminacy, degeneracy, and weakness. Who would write, who had any thing better to do? ‘Action’—‘action’—‘action’—said
Demosthenes: ‘Actions—actions,’ I say, and not writing,—least of all, rhyme. Look at the querulous and monotonous lives of the ‘genus;’—except Cervantes, Tasso, Dante, Ariosto, Kleist (who were brave and active citizens), Æschylus, Sophocles, and some other of the antiques also—what a worthless, idle brood it is!

“12, Mezza notte.

“Just returned from dinner, with Jackson (the Emperor of Pugilism) and another of the select, at Crib’s the champion’s. I drank more than I like, and have brought away some three bottles of very fair claret—for I have no headache. We had Tom * * up after dinner;—very facetious, though somewhat prolix. He don’t like his situation—wants to fight again—pray Pollux (or Castor, if he was the miller) he may! Tom has been a sailor—a coal-heaver—and some other genteel profession, before he took to the cestus. Tom has been in action at sea, and is now only three-and-thirty. A great man! has a wife and a mistress, and conversations well—bating some sad omissions and misapplications of the aspirate. Tom is an old friend of mine; I have seen some of his best battles in my nonage. He is now a publican, and, I fear, a sinner;—for Mrs. * * is on alimony, and * *’s daughter lives with the champion. This * * told me,—Tom, having an opinion of my morals, passed her off as a legal spouse. Talking of her, he said ‘she was the truest of women’—from which I immediately inferred she could not be his wife, and so it turned out.

“These panegyrics don’t belong to matrimony;—for, if ‘true,’ a man don’t think it necessary to say so; and if not, the less he says the better. * * * * is the only man, except * * * *, I ever heard harangue upon his wife’s virtue; and I listened to both with great credence and patience, and stuffed my handkerchief into my mouth, when I found yawning irresistible.—By the by, I am yawning now—so, good night to thee.—Νωάιρων