LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Life of Byron: 1814

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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In answer to this letter, Ashe mentioned, as the sum necessary to extricate him from his difficulties, £150—to be advanced at the rate of ten pounds per month; and, some short delay having occurred in the reply to this demand, the modest applicant, in renewing his suit, complained, it appears, of neglect: on which Lord Byron, with a good temper which few, in a similar case, could imitate, answered him as follows.

“January 5th, 1814.

“When you accuse a stranger of neglect, you forget that it is possible business or absence from London may have interfered to delay his answer, as has actually occurred in the present instance. But to the point. I am willing to do what I can to extricate you from your situation. Your first scheme* I was considering; but your own impatience appears to have rendered it abortive, if not irretrievable. I will deposit in Mr. Murray’s hands (with his consent) the sum you mentioned, to be advanced for the time at ten pounds per month.

“P.S. I write in the greatest hurry, which may make my letter a little abrupt; but, as I said before. I have no wish to distress your feelings.”

The service thus humanely proffered was no less punctually performed; and the following is one of the many acknowledgments of payment which I find in Ashe’s letters to Mr. Murray:—”I have the honour to enclose you another memorandum for the sum of ten pounds, in compliance with the munificent instructions of Lord Byron†.”

* His first intention had been to go out, as a settler, to Botany Bay.

† When these monthly disbursements had amounted to £70, Ashe wrote to beg that the whole remaining sum of £80 might be advanced to him at one payment, in order to enable him, as he said, to avail himself of a passage to New South Wales, which had been again offered to him. The sum was, accordingly, by Lord Byron’s orders, paid into his hands.

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His friend, Mr. Merivale, one of the translators of those Selections from the Anthology which we have seen he regretted so much not having taken with him on his travels, published a Poem about this time, which he thus honours with his praise.

“January, 1814.

“I have redde Roncesvaux with very great pleasure, and (if I were so disposed) see very little room for criticism. There is a choice of two lines in one of the last Cantos,—I think ‘Live and protect’ better, because ‘Oh who?’ implies a doubt of Roland’s power or inclination. I would allow the—but that point you yourself must determine on—I mean the doubt as to where to place a part of the Poem, whether between the actions or no. Only if you wish to have all the success you deserve, never listen to friends, and—as I am not the least troublesome of the number—least of all, to me.

“I hope you will be out soon. March, sir, March is the month for the trade, and they must be considered. You have written a very noble Poem, and nothing but the detestable taste of the day can do you harm,—but I think you will beat it. Your measure is uncommonly well chosen and wielded†.”

* * * * * *

In the extracts from his Journal, just given, there is a passage that cannot fail to have been remarked, where, in speaking of his admiration of some lady, whose name he has himself left blank, the noble writer says—“a wife would be the salvation of me.” It was under this conviction, which not only himself but some of his friends entertained, of the prudence of his taking timely refuge in matrimony from those perplexities

† This letter is but a fragment,—the remainder being lost.

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which form the sequel of all less regular ties, that he had been induced, about a year before, to turn his thoughts seriously to marriage,—at least, as seriously as his thoughts were ever capable of being go turned,—and chiefly, I believe, by the advice and intervention of his friend
Lady Melbourne, to become a suitor for the hand of a relative of that lady, Miss Milbanke. Though his proposal was not then accepted, every assurance of friendship and regard accompanied the refusal; a wish was even expressed that they should continue to write to each other, and a correspondence,—somewhat singular between two young persons of different sexes, inasmuch as love was not the subject of it,—ensued between them. We have seen how highly Lord Byron estimated as well the virtues as the accomplishments of the young lady, but it is evident that on neither side, at this period, was love either felt or professed*.

In the mean time, new entanglements. in which his heart was the willing dupe of his fancy and vanity, came to engross the young poet; and still, as the usual penalties of such pursuits followed, he again found himself sighing for the sober yoke of wedlock, as some security against their recurrence. There were, indeed, in the interval between Miss Milbanke’s refusal and acceptance of him, two or three other young women of rank who, at different times, formed the subject of his matrimonial dreams. In the society of one of these, whose family had long honoured me with their friendship, he and I passed much of our time, during this and the preceding spring; and it will be found that, in a subsequent part of his correspondence, he represents me as having entertained an anxious wish that he should so far cultivate my fair friend’s favour as to give a chance, at least, of matrimony being the result.

That I, more than once, expressed some such feeling is undoubtedly true. Fully concurring with the opinion, not only of himself but of others of his friends, that in marriage lay his only chance of salvation from the sort of perplexing attachments into which he was now constantly tempted, I saw in none of those whom he admired with more

* The reader has already seen what Lord Byron himself says, in his Journal, on this subject:—“What an odd situation and friendship is ours!—without one spark of love on either side,” &c. &c.

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legitimate views so many requisites for the difficult task of winning him into fidelity and happiness as in the lady in question. Combining beauty of the highest order with a mind intelligent and ingenuous,—having just learning enough to give refinement to her taste, and far too much taste to make pretensions to learning,—with a patrician spirit proud as his own, but showing it only in a delicate generosity of spirit, a feminine high-mindedness, which would have led her to tolerate his defects in consideration of his noble qualities and his glory, and even to sacrifice silently some of her own happiness rather than violate the responsibility in which she stood pledged to the world for his;—such was, from long experience, my impression of the character of this lady; and perceiving Lord Byron to be attracted by her more obvious claims to admiration, I felt a pleasure no less in rendering justice to the still rarer qualities which she possessed, than in endeavouring to raise my noble friend’s mind to the contemplation of a higher model of female character than he had, unluckily for himself, been much in the habit of studying.

To this extent do I confess myself to have been influenced by the sort of feeling which he attributes to me. But in taking for granted (as it will appear he did from one of his letters) that I entertained any very decided or definite wishes on the subject, he gave me more credit for seriousness in my suggestions than I deserved. If even the lady herself, the unconscious object of these speculations, by whom he was regarded in no other light than that of a distinguished acquaintance, could have consented to undertake the perilous,—but still possible and glorious,—achievement of attaching Byron to virtue, I own that, sanguinely as, in theory, I might have looked to the result, I should have seen, not without trembling, the happiness of one whom I had known and valued from her childhood risked in the experiment.

I shall now proceed to resume the thread of the Journal, which I had broken off, and of which, it will be perceived, the noble author himself had for some weeks, at this time, interrupted the progress.

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“JOURNAL, 1814.
“February 18.

“Better than a month since I last journalized:—most of it out of London, and at Notts., but a busy one and a pleasant, at least three weeks of it. On my return, I find all the newspapers in hysterics*, and town in an uproar, on the avowal and republication of two stanzas on Princess Charlotte’s weeping at Regency’s speech to Lauderdale in 1812. They are daily at it still;—some of the abuse good, all of it hearty. They talk of a motion in our House upon it,—be it so.

“Got up—redde the Morning Post, containing the battle of Buonaparte, the destruction of the Custom-house, and a paragraph on me as long as my pedigree, and vituperative, as usual. * * *

Hobhouse is returned to England. He is my best friend, the most lively, and a man of the most sterling talents extant.

“‘The Corsair’ has been conceived, written, published, &c. since I last took up this Journal. They tell me it has great success;—it was written con amore, and much from existence. Murray is satisfied with its

* Immediately on the appearance of the Corsair (with those obnoxious verses, “Weep, daughter of a royal line,” appended to it), a series of attacks, not confined to Lord Byron himself, but aimed also at all those who had lately become his friends, was commenced in the Courier and Morning Post, and carried on through the greater part of the months of February and March. The point selected by these writers, as a ground of censure on the poet, was one which now, perhaps, even themselves would agree to class among his claims to praise,—namely, the atonement which he had endeavoured to make for the youthful violence of his Satire by a measure of justice, amiable even in its overflowings, to every one whom he conceived he had wronged.

Notwithstanding the careless tone in which, here and elsewhere, he speaks of these assaults, it is evident that they annoyed him;—an effect which, in reading them over now, we should be apt to wonder they could produce, did we not recollect the property which Dryden attributes to “small wits,” in common with certain other small animals:—
“We scarce could know they live, but that they bite.

The following is a specimen of the terms in which these party scribes could then speak of one of the masters of English song:—“They might have slept in oblivion with Lord Carlisle’s Dramas and Lord Byron’s Poems.”—“Some certainly extol Lord Byron’s Poems much, but most of the best judges place his lordship rather low in the list of our minor poets.”

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progress; and if the public are equally so with the perusal, there’s an end of the matter.

“Nine o’clock.

“Been to Hanson’s on business. Saw Rogers, and had a note from Lady Melbourne who says, it is said that I am ‘much out of spirits.’ I wonder if I really am or not? I have certainly enough of ‘that perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart,’ and it is better they should believe it to be the result of these attacks than of the real cause; but—ay, ay, always but, to the end of the chapter. * * * *

Hobhouse has told me ten thousand anecdotes of Napoleon, all good and true. My friend H. is the most entertaining of companions, and a fine fellow to boot.

“Redde a little—wrote notes and letters, and am alone, which, Locke says, is bad company. ‘Be not solitary, be not idle’—Um!—the idleness is troublesome; but I can’t see so much to regret in the solitude. The more I see of men, the less I like them. If I could but say so of women too, all would be well. Why can’t I? I am now six-and-twenty; my passions have had enough to cool them; my affections more than enough to wither them,—and yet—and yet—always yet and but—‘Excellent well, you are a fishmonger—get thee to a nunnery.’ ‘They fool me to the top of my bent.’


“Began a letter, which I threw into the fire. Redde—but to little purpose. Did not visit Hobhouse, as I promised and ought. No matter, the loss is mine. Smoked cigars.

Napoleon!—this week will decide his fate. All seems against him; but I believe and hope he will win—at least, beat back the Invaders. What right have we to prescribe sovereigns to France? Oh for a Republic! ‘Brutus, thou sleepest.’ Hobhouse abounds in continental anecdotes of this extraordinary man; all in favour of his intellect and courage, but against his bonhommie. No wonder;—how should he, who knows mankind well, do other than despise and abhor them.

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“The greater the equality, the more impartially evil is distributed, and becomes lighter by the division among so many—therefore, a Republic!

“More notes from Mad. de * * unanswered—and so they shall remain. I admire her abilities, but really her society is overwhelming—an avalanche that buries one in glittering nonsense—all snow and sophistry.

“Shall I go to Mackintosh’s on Tuesday? um!—I did not go to Marquis Lansdowne’s, nor to Miss Berry’s, though both are pleasant. So is Sir James’s,—but I don’t know—I believe one is not the better for parties; at least, unless some regnante is there.

“I wonder how the deuce any body could make such a world; for what purpose dandies, for instance, were ordained—and kings—and fellows of colleges—and women of ‘a certain age’—and many men of any age—and myself, most of all!

‘Divesne prisco et natus ab Inacho,
Nil interest, au pauper, et infirmâ
De gente, sub dio moreris,
Victima nil miserantis Orci.
* * * *
Omnes eodem cogimur.’

“Is there any thing beyond?—who knows? He that can’t tell. Who tells that there is? He who don’t know. And when shall he know? perhaps, when he don’t expect, and, generally, when he don’t wish it. In this last respect, however, all are not alike: it depends a good deal upon education,—something upon nerves and habits—but most upon digestion.

“Saturday, Feb. 19th.

“Just returned from seeing Kean in Richard. By Jove, he is a soul! Life—nature—truth—without exaggeration or diminution. Kemble’s Hamlet is perfect;—but Hamlet is not Nature. Richard is a man; and Kean is Richard. Now to my own concerns.

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* * * * * *

“Went to Waite’s. Teeth all right and white; but he says that I grind them in my sleep and chip the edges. That same sleep is no friend of mine, though I court him sometimes for half the 24.

“February 20th.

“Got up and tore out two leaves of this Journal—I don’t know why. Hodgson just called and gone. He has much bonhommie with his other good qualities, and more talent than he has yet had credit for beyond his circle.

“An invitation to dine at Holland-house to meet Kean. He is worth meeting; and I hope, by getting into good society, he will be prevented from falling like Cooke. He is greater now on the stage, and off he should never be less. There is a stupid and under-rating criticism upon him in one of the newspapers. I thought that, last night, though great, he rather under-acted more than the first time. This may be the effect of these cavils; but I hope he has more sense than to mind them. He cannot expect to maintain his present eminence, or to advance still higher, without the envy of his green-room fellows, and the nibbling of their admirers. But, if he don’t beat them all, why, then—merit hath no purchase in ‘these coster-monger days.’

“I wish that I had a talent for the drama; I would write a tragedy now. But no,—it is gone. Hodgson talks of one,—he will do it well;—and I think M—e should try. He has wonderful powers, and much variety; besides, he has lived and felt. To write so as to bring home to the heart, the heart must have been tried,—but, perhaps, ceased to be so. While you are under the influence of passions, you only feel, but cannot describe them,—any more than, when in action, you could turn round and tell the story to your next neighbour! When all is over,—all, all, and irrevocable,—trust to memory—she is then but too faithful.

“Went out, and answered some letters, yawned now and then, and redde the Robbers. Fine,—but Fiesco is better; and Alfieri and Monti’s Aristodemo best. They are more equal than the Tedeschi dramatists.

“Answered—or, rather, acknowledged—the receipt of young Reynolds’ Poem, Safie. The lad is clever, but much of his thoughts are
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borrowed,—whence, the Reviewers may find out. I hate discouraging a young one; and I think,—though wild, and more oriental than he would be, had he seen the scenes where he has placed his tale,—that he has much talent, and, certainly, fire enough.

“Received a very singular epistle; and the mode of its conveyance, through Lord H.’s hands, as curious as the letter itself. But it was gratifying and pretty.

“Sunday, Feb. 27th.

“Here I am, alone, instead of dining at Lord H.’s, where I was asked,—but not inclined to go any where. Hobhouse says I am growing a loup garou,—a solitary hobgoblin. True;—‘I am myself alone.’ The last week has been passed in reading—seeing plays—now and then, visitors—sometimes yawning and sometimes sighing, but no writing,—save of letters. If I could always read, I should never feel the want of society. Do I regret it?—um!—‘Man delights not me’ and only one woman—at a time.

“There is something to me very softening in the presence of a woman,—some strange influence, even if one is not in love with them,—which I cannot at all account for, having no very high opinion of the sex. But yet,—I always feel in better humour with myself and every thing else, if there is a woman within ken. Even Mrs. Mule*, my fire-lighter,—the most ancient and withered of her kind,—and (except

* This ancient housemaid, of whose gaunt and witch-like appearance it would be impossible to convey any idea but by the pencil, furnished one among the numerous instances of Lord Byron’s proneness to attach himself to any thing, however homely, that had once inlisted his good-nature in its behalf, and become associated with his thoughts. He first found this old woman at his lodgings in Bennet-street, where, for a whole season, she was the perpetual scarecrow of his visitors. When, next year, he took chambers in Albany, one of the great advantages which his friends looked to in the change was, that they should get rid of this phantom. But, no,—there she was again—he had actually brought her with him from Bennet-street. The following year saw him married, and, with a regular establishment of servants, in Piccadilly; and here,—as Mrs. Mule had not appeared to any of the visitors,—it was concluded, rashly, that the witch had vanished. One of those friends, however, who had most fondly indulged in this persuasion, happening to call one day when all the male part of the establishment were abroad, saw, to his dismay, the door opened by the same grim personage, improved considerably in point of habiliments since he last saw her, and keeping pace with the increased scale of her master’s

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to myself) not the best-tempered—always makes me laugh,—no difficult task when I am ‘i’ the vein.’

“Heigho! I would I were in mine island!—I am not well; and yet I look in good health. At times I fear, ‘I am not in my perfect mind;’—and yet my heart and head have stood many a crash, and what should ail them now? They prey upon themselves, and I am sick—sick—‘Prithee, undo this button—why should a cat, a rat, a dog, have life—and thou no life at all?’ Six-and-twenty years, as they call them,—why, I might and should have been a Pasha by this time. ‘I ’gin to be a weary of the sun.’

Buonaparte is not yet beaten; but has rebutted Blucher, and repiqued Swartzenburg. This it is to have a head. If he again wins, ‘Væ victis!’

“Sunday, March 6th.

On Tuesday last dined with Rogers,—Made. de Staël, Mackintosh, Sheridan, Erskine, and Payne Knight, Lady Donegall and Miss R. there. Sheridan told a very good story of himself and Me. de Recamier’s handkerchief; Erskine a few stories of himself only. She is going to write a big book about England, she says;—I believe her. Asked by her how I liked Miss * *’s thing, called * *, and answered (very sincerely) that I thought it very bad for her, and worse than any of the others. Afterwards thought it possible Lady Donegall, being Irish, might be a Patroness of * *, and was rather sorry for my opinion, as I hate putting people into fusses, either with themselves, or their favourites; it looks as if one did it on purpose. The party went off very well, and the fish was very much to my gusto. But we got up too soon after the women; and Mrs. Corinne always lingers so long after dinner, that we wish her in—the drawing-room.

“To-day C. called, and, while sitting here, in came Merivale. During our colloquy, C. (ignorant that M. was the writer) abused the

household, as a new peruke, and other symptoms of promotion, testified. When asked “how he came to carry this old woman about with him from place to place,” Lord Byron’s only answer was, “the poor old devil was so kind to me.”

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‘mawkishness of the
Quarterly Review of Grimm’s Correspondence.’ I (knowing the secret) changed the conversation as soon as I could; and C. went away, quite convinced of having made the most favourable impression on his new acquaintance. Merivale is luckily a very good-natured fellow, or, God he knows what might have been engendered from such a malaprop. I did not look at him while this was going on, but I felt like a coal,—for I like Merivale, as well as the article in question. * * * * * * *

“Asked to Lady Keith’s to-morrow evening—I think I will go; but it is the first party invitation I have accepted this ‘season,’ as the learned Fletcher called it, when that youngest brat of Lady * *’s cut my eye and cheek open with a misdirected pebble—‘Never mind, my lord, the scar will be gone before the season;’ as if one’s eye was of no importance in the mean time.

Lord Erskine called, and gave me his famous pamphlet, with a marginal note and corrections in his handwriting. Sent it to be bound superbly, and shall treasure it.

“Sent my fine print of Napoleon to be framed. It is framed; and the emperor becomes his robes as if he had been hatched in them.

“March 7th.

“Rose at seven—ready by half past eight—went to Mr. Hanson’s, Berkeley-square—went to church with his eldest daughter, Mary Anne (a good girl), and gave her away to the Earl of Portsmouth. Saw her fairly a countess—congratulated the family and groom (bride)—drank a bumper of wine (wholesome sherris) to their felicity, and all that,—and came home. Asked to stay to dinner, but could not. At three sat to Phillips for faces. Called on Lady M.—I like her so well, that I always stay too long. (Mem. to mend of that)

“Passed the evening with Hobbouse, who has begun a Poem, which promises highly;—wish he would go on with it. Heard some curious extracts from a life of Morosini, the blundering Venetian, who blew up the Acropolis at Athens with a bomb, and be d—d to him! Waxed sleepy—just come home—must go to bed, and am engaged to meet Sheridan to-morrow at Rogers’s.

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“Queer ceremony that same of marriage—saw many abroad, Greek and Catholic—one, at home, many years ago. There be some strange phrases in the prologue (the exhortation), which made me turn away, not to laugh in the face of the surpliceman. Made one blunder, when I joined the hands of the happy—rammed their left hands, by mistake, into one another. Corrected it—bustled back to the altar-rail, and said ‘Amen.’ Portsmouth responded as if he had got the whole by heart; and, if any thing, was rather before the priest. It is now midnight, and * * * * * * *.

“March 10th, Thor’s Day.

On Tuesday dined with Rogers,—Mackintosh, Sheridan, Sharpe,—much talk, and good,—all, except my own little prattlement. Much of old times—Horne Tooke—the Trials—evidence of Sheridan, and anecdotes of those times, when I, alas! was an infant. If I had been a man, I would have made an English Lord Edward Fitzgerald.

“Set down Sheridan at Brookes’s,—where, by the by, he could not have well set down himself, as he and I were the only drinkers. Sherry means to stand for Westminster, as Cochrane (the stock-jobbing hoaxer) must vacate. Brougham is a candidate. I fear for poor dear Sherry. Both have talents of the highest order, but the youngster has yet a character. We shall see, if he lives to Sherry’s age, how he will pass over the red-hot ploughshares of public life. I don’t know why, but I hate to see the old ones lose; particularly Sheridan, notwithstanding all his méchanceté.

“Received many, and the kindest, thanks from Lady Portsmouth, père and mère, for my match-making. I don’t regret it, as she looks the countess well, and is a very good girl. It is odd how well she carries her new honours. She looks a different woman, and high-bred, too. I had no idea that I could make so good a peeress.

“Went to the play with Hobbouse. Mrs. Jordan superlative in Hoyden, and Jones well enough in Foppington. What plays! what wit!—helas! Congreve and Vanbrugh are your only comedy. Our society is too insipid now for the like copy. Would not go to Lady Keith’s. Hobhouse thought it odd. I wonder he should like parties. If one is in love, and wants to break a commandment and covet any
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thing that is there, they do very well. But to go out amongst the mere herd, without a motive, pleasure, or pursuit—’sdeath! ‘I’ll none of it.’ He told me an odd report,—that I am the actual Conrad, the veritable Corsair, and that part of my travels are supposed to have passed in privacy. Um!—people sometimes hit near the truth; but never the whole truth. H. don’t know what I was about the year after he left the Levant; nor does any one—nor—nor—nor—however, it is a lie—but, ‘I doubt the equivocation of the fiend that lies like truth!’

“I shall have letters of importance to-morrow. Which, * *, * *, or * *? heigho!—* * is in my heart, * * in my head, * * in my eye, and the single one, Heaven knows where. All write, and will be answered. ‘Since I have crept in favour with myself, I must maintain it;’ but I never ‘mistook my person,’ though I think others have.

“ * * called to-day in great despair about his mistress, who has taken a freak of * * *. He began a letter to her, but was obliged to stop short—I finished it for him, and he copied and sent it. If he holds out and keeps to my instructions of affected indifference, she will lower her colours. If she don’t, he will, at least, get rid of her, and she don’t seem much worth keeping. But the poor lad is in love—if that is the case, she will win. When they once discover their power, finita è la musica.

“Sleepy, and must go to bed.

“Tuesday, March 15th.

“Dined yesterday with R., Mackintosh, and Sharpe. Sheridan could not come. Sharpe told several very amusing anecdotes of Henderson, the actor. Staid till late, and came home, having drank so much tea, that I did not get to sleep till six this morning. R. says I am to be in this Quarterly—cut up, I presume, as they ‘hate us youth.’ N’importe. As Sharpe was passing by the doors of some Debating Society (the Westminster Forum) in his way to dinner, he saw rubricked on the walls, Scott’s name and mine—‘Which the best poet?’ being the question of the evening; and I suppose all the Templars and would bes took our rhymes in vain, in the course of the controversy. Which had the greater show of hands, I neither know nor care; but I feel the
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coupling of the names is a compliment,—though I think Scott deserves better company.

* * * * *

W. W. called—Lord Erskine, Lord Holland, &c. &c. Wrote to * * the Corsair report. She says she don’t wonder, since ‘Conrad is so like.’ It is odd that one, who knows me so thoroughly, should tell me this to my face. However, if she don’t know, nobody can.

Mackintosh is, it seems, the writer of the defensive letter in the Morning Chronicle. If so, it is very kind, and more than I did for myself.

* * * * *

“Told Murray to secure for me Bandello’s Italian Novels at the sale to-morrow. To me they will be nuts. Redde a satire on myself, called ‘Anti-Byron,’ and told Murray to publish it if he liked. The object of the author is to prove me an Atheist and a systematic conspirator against law and government. Some of the verse is good; the prose I don’t quite understand. He asserts that my ‘deleterious works’ have had ‘an effect upon civil society, which requires, &c. &c. &c,’ and his own poetry. It is a lengthy poem, and a long preface, with a harmonious title-page. Like the fly in the fable, I seem to have got upon a wheel which makes much dust; but, unlike the said fly, I do not take it all for my own raising.

“A letter from Bella, which I answered. I shall be in love with her again, if I don’t take care.

* * * * *

“I shall begin a more regular system of reading soon.

“I have been sparring with Jackson for exercise this morning; and mean to continue and renew my acquaintance with the muffles. My chest, and arms, and. wind are in very good plight, and I am not in flesh. I used to be a hard hitter, and my arms are very long for my height (5 feet 8½ inches). At any rate, exercise is good, and this the severest of all; fencing and the broad-sword never fatigued me half so much.

“Redde the ‘Quarrels of Authors’ (another sort of sparring)—a
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new work, by that most entertaining and researching writer,
Israeli. They seem to be an irritable set, and I wish myself well out of it. ‘I’ll not march through Coventry with them, that’s flat.’ What the devil had I to do with scribbling? It is too late to inquire, and all regret is useless. But, an’ it were to do again—I should write again, I suppose. Such is human nature, at least my share of it;—though I shall think better of myself, if I have sense to stop now. If I have a wife, and that wife has a son—by any body—I will bring up mine heir in the most anti-poetical way—make him a lawyer, or a pirate, or—any thing. But if he writes too, I shall be sure he is none of mine, and cut him off with a Bank token. Must write a letter—three o’clock.

“I intended to go to Lady Hardwicke’s, but won’t. I always begin the day with a bias towards going to parties; but, as the evening advances, my stimulus fails, and I hardly ever go out—and, when I do, always regret it. This might have been a pleasant one;—at least the hostess is a very superior woman. Lady Lansdowne’s to-morrow—Lady Heathcote’s, Wednesday. Um!—I must spur myself into going to some of them, or it will look like rudeness, and it is better to do as other people do—confound them!

“Redde Machiavel, parts of Chardin, and Sismondi, and Bandello,—by starts. Redde the Edinburgh, 44, just come out. In the beginning of the article on ‘Edgeworth’s Patronage,’ I have gotten a high compliment, I perceive. Whether this is creditable to me, I know not; but it does honour to the editor, because he once abused me. Many a man will retract praise; none but a high-spirited mind will revoke its censure, or can praise the man it has once attacked. I have often, since my return to England, heard Jeffrey most highly commended by those who know him for things independent of his talents. I admire him for this—not because he has praised me (I have been so praised elsewhere and abused, alternately, that mere habit has rendered me as indifferent to both as a man at twenty-six can be to any thing), but because he is, perhaps, the only man who, under the relations in which he and I stand. or stood, with regard to each other, would have had the liberality to act
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 509
thus; none but a great soul dared hazard it. The height on which he stands has not made him giddy;—a little scribbler would have gone on cavilling to the end of the chapter. As to the justice of his panegyric, that is matter of taste. There are plenty to question it, and glad, too, of the opportunity.

Lord Erskine called to-day. He means to carry down his reflections on the war—or rather wars—to the present day. I trust that he will. Must send to Mr. Murray to get the binding of my copy of his pamphlet finished, as Lord E. has promised me to correct it, and add some marginal notes to it. Any thing in his handwriting will be a treasure, which will gather compound interest from years. Erskine has high expectations of Mackintosh’s promised History. Undoubtedly it must be a classic, when finished.

“Sparred with Jackson again yesterday morning, and shall tomorrow. I feel all the better for it, in spirits, though my arms and shoulders are very stiff from it. Mem. to attend the pugilistic dinner—Marquis Huntley is in the chair.

* * * * *

Lord Erskine thinks that ministers must be in peril of going out. So much the better for him. To me it is the same who are in or out;—we want something more than a change of ministers, and some day we will have it.

“I remember*, in riding from Chrisso to Castri (Delphos) along the sides of Parnassus, I saw six eagles in the air. It is uncommon to see so many together; and it was the number—not the species, which is common enough—that excited my attention.

“The last bird I ever fired at was an eaglet, on the shore of the Gulf of Lepanto, near Vostitza. It was only wounded, and I tried to save it, the eye was so bright; but it pined, and died in a few days; and I never did since, and never will, attempt the death of another bird. I wonder what put these two things into my head just now? I have been reading Sismondi, and there is nothing there that could induce the recollection.

“I am mightily taken with Braccio di Montone, Giovanni Galeazzo,

* Part of this passage has been already extracted, but I have allowed it to remain here in its original position, on account of the singularly sudden manner in which it is introduced.

510 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
and Eccelino. But the last is not Bracciaferro (of the same name), Count of Ravenna, whose history I want to trace. There is a fine engraving in
Lavater, from a picture by Fuseli, of that Ezzelin, over the body of Meduna, punished by him for a hitch in her constancy during his absence in the Crusades. He was right—but I want to know the story.

* * * * *

“Last night, party at Lansdowne-house. To-night, party at Lady Charlotte Greville’s—deplorable waste of time, and something of temper. Nothing imparted—nothing acquired—talking without ideas—if any thing like thought in my mind, it was not on the subjects on which we were gabbling. Heigho!—and in this way half London pass what is called life. To-morrow there is Lady Heathcote’s—shall I go? yes—to punish myself for not having a pursuit.

Let me see—what did I see? The only person who much struck me was Lady S * * d’s eldest daughter, Lady C. L. They say she is not pretty. I don’t know—every thing is pretty that pleases; but there is an air of soul about her—and her colour changes—and there is that shyness of the antelope (which I delight in) in her manner so much, that I observed her more than I did any other woman in the rooms, and only looked at any thing else when I thought she might perceive and feel embarrassed by my scrutiny. After all, there may be something of association in this. She is a friend of Augusta’s, and whatever she loves, I can’t help liking.

“Her mother, the marchioness, talked to me a little; and I was twenty times on the point of asking her to introduce me to sa fille, but I stopped short. This comes of that affray with the Carlisles.

Earl Grey told me, laughingly, of a paragraph in the last Moniteur, which has stated, among other symptoms of rebellion, some particulars of the sensation occasioned in all our government gazettes by the ‘tear’ lines,—only amplifying, in its re-statement, an epigram (by the by, no epigram except in the Greek acceptation of the word) into a roman. I wonder the Couriers, &c. &c. have not translated that part of the Moniteur, with additional comments.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 511

“The Princess of Wales has requested Fuseli to paint from ‘the Corsair,’—leaving to him the choice of any passage for the subject: so Mr. Locke tells me. Tired—jaded—selfish and supine—must go to bed.

Roman, at least Romance, means a song sometimes, as in the Spanish. I suppose this is the Moniteur’s meaning—unless he has confused it with ‘the Corsair.’

“This night got into my new apartments, rented of Lord Althorpe, on a lease of seven years. Spacious, and room for my books and sabres. In the house, too, another advantage. The last few days, or whole week, have been very abstemious, regular in exercise, and yet very unwell.

“Yesterday, dined tête-à-tête at the Cocoa with Scrope Davies—sate from six till midnight—drank between us one bottle of champagne and six of claret, neither of which wines ever affect me. Offered to take Scrope home in my carriage; but he was tipsy and pious, and I was obliged to leave him on his knees, praying to I know not what purpose or pagod. No headache, nor sickness, that night nor today. Got up, if any thing, earlier than usual—sparred with Jackson ad sudorem, and have been much better in health than for many days. I have heard nothing more from Scrope. Yesterday paid him four thousand eight hundred pounds, a debt of some standing, and which I wished to have paid before. My mind is much relieved by the removal of that debit.

Augusta wants me to make it up with Carlisle. I have refused every body else, but I can’t deny her any thing;—so I must e’en do it, though I had as lief ‘drink up Eisel—eat a crocodile.’ Let me see—Ward, the Hollands, the Lambs, Rogers, &c. &c.—every body, more or less, have been trying for the last two years to accommodate this couplet quarrel to no purpose. I shall laugh if Augusta succeeds.

“Redde a little of many things—shall get in all my books to-morrow—Luckily this room will hold them—with ‘ample room and verge, &c. the characters of hell to trace.’ I must set about some employment soon; my heart begins to eat itself again.

512 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.

“Out of town six days. On my return, find my poor little pagod, Napoleon, pushed off his pedestal;—the thieves are in Paris. It is his own fault. Like Milo, he would rend the oak*; but it closed again, wedged his hands, and now the beasts—lion, bear, down to the dirtiest jackall—may all tear him. That Muscovite winter wedged his arms;—ever since, he has fought with his feet and teeth. The last may still leave their marks; and ‘I guess now’ (as the Yankies say), that he will yet play them a pass. He is in their rear—between them and their homes. Query—will they ever reach them?

“I mark this day!

Napoleon Buonaparte has abdicated the throne of the world. ‘Excellent well.’ Methinks Sylla did better; for he revenged and resigned in the height of his sway, red with the slaughter of his foes—the finest instance of glorious contempt of the rascals upon record. Dioclesian did well too—Amurath not amiss, had he become aught except a dervise—Charles the Fifth but so, so—but Napoleon, worst of all. What! wait till they were in his capital, and then talk of his readiness to give up what is already gone!! ‘What whining monk art thou—what holy cheat?’ ’Sdeath!—Dionysius at Corinth was yet a king to this. The ‘Isle of Elba’ to retire to!—Well—if it had been Caprea, I should have marvelled less. ‘I see men’s minds are but a parcel of their fortunes.’ I am utterly bewildered and confounded.

“I don’t know—but I think I, even I (an insect compared with this creature), have set my life on casts not a millionth part of this man’s. But, after all, a crown may be not worth dying for. Yet, to outlive Lodi for this!!! Oh that Juvenal or Johnson could rise from the dead! ‘Expende—quot libras in duce summo invenies?’ I knew they were light in the balance of mortality; but I thought their living dust weighed more carats. Alas! this imperial diamond hath a flaw in it, and is now

* He adopted this thought afterwards in his Ode to Napoleon, as well as most of the historical examples in the following paragraph.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 513
hardly fit to stick in a glazier’s pencil:—the pen of the historian won’t rate it worth a ducat.

“Psha! ‘something too much of this.’ But I won’t give him up even now; though all his admirers have, ‘like the Thanes, fall’n from him.’

“I do not know that I am happiest when alone; but this I am sure of, that I never am long in the society even of her I love (God knows too well, and the Devil probably too), without a yearning for the company of my lamp and my utterly confused and tumbled-over library*. Even in the day, I send away my carriage oftener than I use or abuse it. Per esempio, —I have not stirred out of these rooms for these four days past: but I have sparred for exercise (windows open) with Jackson an hour, daily, to attenuate and keep up the ethereal part of me. The more violent the fatigue, the better my spirits for the rest of the day; and then, my evenings have that calm nothingness of languor, which I most delight in. Today I have boxed one hour—written an ode to Napoleon Buonaparte—copied it—eaten six biscuits—drunk four bottles of soda water—redde away the rest of my time—besides giving poor * * a world of advice about this mistress of his who is plaguing him into a phthisic and intolerable tediousness. I am a pretty fellow truly to lecture about ‘the sect.’ No matter, my counsels are all thrown away.

“There is ice at both poles, north and south—all extremes are the same—misery belongs to the highest and the lowest only,—to the emperor and the beggar, when unsixpenced and unthroned. There is, to be sure, a damned insipid medium—an equinoctial line—no one knows where, except upon maps and measurement.
‘And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.’

* “As much company,” says Pope, “as I have kept, and as much as I love it, I love reading better, and would rather be employed in reading than in the most agreeable conversation.”

514 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
I will keep no further journal of that same hesternal torch-light; and, to prevent me from returning, like a dog, to the vomit of memory, I tear out the remaining leaves of this volume, and write, in Ipecacuanha,—‘that the Bourbons are restored!!!’ ‘Hang up philosophy.’ To be sure, I have long despised myself and man, but I never spat in the face of my species before—‘O fool! I shall go mad.’”

The perusal of this singular Journal having made the reader acquainted with the chief occurrences that marked the present period of his history—the publication of the Corsair, the attacks upon him in the newspapers, &c.—there only remains for me to add his correspondence at the same period, by which the moods and movements of his mind, during these events, will be still further illustrated.

“Sunday, Jan. 2, 1814.

“Excuse this dirty paper—it is the penultimate half-sheet of a quire. Thanks for your book and the Ln. Chron. which I return. The Corsair is copied, and now at Lord Holland’s; but I wish Mr. Gifford to have it to-night.

Mr. Dallas is very perverse; so that I have offended both him and you, when I really meaned to do good, at least to one, and certainly not to annoy either*. But I shall manage him, I hope.—I am pretty con-

* He had made a present of the copyright of “The Corsair” to Mr. Dallas, who thus describes the manner in which the gift was bestowed;—“On the 28th of December, I called in the morning on Lord Byron, whom I found composing ‘The Corsair.’ He had been working upon it but a few days, and he read me the portion he had written. After some observations, he said, ‘I have a great mind—I will.’ He then added that he should finish it soon, and asked me to accept of the copyright. I was much surprised. He had, before he was aware of the value of his works, declared that he never would take money for them, and that I should have the whole advantage of all he wrote. This declaration became morally void when the question was about thousands, instead of a few hundreds; and I perfectly agree with the admired and admirable Author of Waverley, that ‘the wise and good accept not gifts which are made in heat of blood, and which may be after repented of.’—I felt this on the sale of ‘Childe Harold,’ and observed it to him. The copyright of The Giaour and ‘The Bride of Abydos’ remained undisposed of though the poems were selling rapidly, nor had I the slightest notion that he

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 515
fident of the Tale itself; but one cannot be sure. If I get it from Lord Holland, it shall be sent. Yours, &c.

“[Jan. 1814.]

“I will answer your letter this evening: in the mean time, it may be sufficient to say, that there was no intention on my part to annoy you, but merely to serve Dallas, and also to rescue myself from a possible imputation that I had other objects than fame in writing so frequently. Whenever I avail myself of any profit arising from my pen, depend upon it, it is not for my own convenience; at least it never has been so, and I hope never will.

“P.S. I shall answer this evening, and will set all right about Dallas. I thank you for your expressions of personal regard, which I can assure you I do not lightly value.”

“January 6, 1814.

“I have got a devil of a long story in the press, entitled ‘The Corsair,’ in the regular heroic measure. It is a pirate’s isle, peopled with my own creatures, and you may easily suppose they do a world of mischief through the three Cantos. Now for your Dedication—if you will accept it. This is positively my last experiment on public literary opinions till I turn my thirtieth year—if so be I flourish until that downhill period. I have a confidence for you—a perplexing one to me,

would ever again give me a copyright. But as he continued in the resolution of not appropriating the sale of his works to his own use, I did not scruple to accept that of ‘The Corsair,’ and I thanked him. He asked me to call and hear the portions read as he wrote them. I went every morning, and was astonished at the rapidity of his composition. He gave me the Poem complete on new-year’s day, 1814, saying, that my acceptance of it gave him great pleasure, and that I was fully at liberty to publish it with any bookseller I pleased, independent of the profit.”

Out of this last-mentioned permission arose the momentary embarrassment between the noble poet and his publisher, to which the above notes allude.

516 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
and, just at present, in a state of abeyance in itself. * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
However, we shall see. In the mean time, you may amuse yourself with my suspense, and put all the justices of peace in requisition, in case I come into your county with ‘hack but bent.’

“Seriously, whether I am to hear from her or him, it is a pause, which I shall fill up with as few thoughts of my own as I can borrow from other people. Any thing is better than stagnation; and now, in the interregnum of my autumn and a strange summer adventure, which I don’t like to think of (I don’t mean * *’s, however, which is laughable only), the antithetical state of my lucubrations makes me alive, and Macbeth can ‘sleep no more:’—he was lucky in getting rid of the drowsy sensation of waking again.

“Pray write to me. I must send you a copy of the letter of Dedication. When do you come out? I am sure we don’t clash this time, for I am all at sea, and in action,—and a wife, and a mistress, &c. &c.

“Thomas, thou art a happy fellow; but if you wish us to be so, you must come up to town, as you did last year; and we shall have a world to say, and to see, and to hear. Let me hear from you.

“P.S. Of course you will keep my secret, and don’t even talk in your sleep of it. Happen what may, your Dedication is ensured, being already written; and I shall copy it out fair to-night, in case business or amusement—Amant alterna Camœnæ.

“Jan. 7, 1814.

You don’t like the Dedication—very well; there is another: but you will send the other to Mr. Moore, that he may know I had written it. I send also mottos for the Cantos. I think you will allow that an elephant may be more sagacious, but cannot be more docile.


“The name is again altered to Medora*.”

* It had been at first Genevra,—not Francesca, as Mr. Dallas asserts.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 517
“January 8th, 1814,

“As it would not be fair to press you into a Dedication, without previous notice, I send you two, and I will tell you why two. The first, Mr. M., who sometimes takes upon him the critic (and I bear it from astonishment), says, may do you harm—God forbid!—this alone makes me listen to him. The fact is, he is a damned Tory, and has, I dare swear, something of self which I cannot divine, at the bottom of his objection, as it is the allusion to Ireland to which he objects. But he be d—d—though a good fellow enough (your sinner would not be worth a d—n).

“Take your choice;—no one, save he and Mr. Dallas, has seen either, and D. is quite on my side, and for the first*. If I can but testify to you and the world how truly I admire and esteem you, I shall be quite satisfied. As to prose, I don’t know Addison’s from Johnson’s; but I will try to mend my cacology. Pray perpend, pronounce, and don’t be offended with either.

“My last epistle would probably put you in a fidget. But the devil, who ought to be civil on such occasions, proved so, and took my letter to the right place.

* * * * * * *

“Is it not odd?—the very fate I said she had escaped from * *, she

* The first was, of course, the one that I preferred. The other ran as follows:—

“I had written to you a long letter of dedication, which I suppress, because, though it contained something relating to you which every one had been glad to hear, yet there was too much about politics, and poesy, and all things whatsoever, ending with that topic on which most men are fluent, and none very amusing—one’s self. It might have been re-written—but to what purpose? My praise could add nothing to your well-earned and firmly-established fame: and with my most hearty admiration of your talents, and delight in your conversation, you are already acquainted. In availing myself of your friendly permission to inscribe this poem to you, I can only wish the offering were as worthy your acceptance as your regard is dear to,

“Yours, most affectionately and faithfully,

518 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
has now undergone from the worthy * *. Like
Mr. Fitzgerald, shall I not lay claim to the character of ‘Vates?’—as he did in the Morning Herald for prophesying the fall of Buonaparte,—who, by the by, I don’t think is yet fallen. I wish he would rally and rout your legitimate sovereigns, having a mortal hate to all royal entails.—But I am scrawling a treatise. Good night. Ever, &c.”

“Jan. 11th, 1814.

“Correct this proof by Mr. Gifford’s (and from the MSS.), particularly as to the pointing. I have added a section for Gulnare, to fill up the parting, and dismiss her more ceremoniously. If Mr. Gifford or you dislike, ’tis but a sponge and another midnight better employed than in yawning over Miss * *; who, by the by, may soon return the compliment.

“Wednesday or Thursday.

“P.S. I have redde * *. It is full of praises of Lord Ellenborough!!! (from which I infer near and dear relations at the bar), and * * * *.

“I do not love Madame de Staël, but, depend upon it, she beats all your natives hollow as an authoress, in my opinion; and I would not say this if I could help it.

“P.S. Pray report my best acknowledgments to Mr. Gifford in any words that may best express how truly his kindness obliges me. I won’t bore him with lip thanks or notes.

“January 13, 1814.

“I have but a moment to write, but all is as it should be. I have said really far short of my opinion, but if you think enough, I am content. Will you return the proof by the post, as I leave town on Sunday, and have no other corrected copy. I put ‘servant,’ as being less familiar before the public; because I don’t like presuming upon our friendship
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 519
to infringe upon forms. As to the other word, you may be sure it is one I cannot hear or repeat too often.

I write in an agony of haste and confusion.—Perdonate.”

“Jan. 15, 1814.

“Before any proof goes to Mr. Gifford, it may be as well to revise this, where there are words omitted, faults committed, and the devil knows what. As to the Dedication, I cut out the parenthesis of Mr. *, but not another word shall move unless for a better. Mr. Moore has seen, and decidedly preferred the part your Tory bile sickens at. If every syllable were a rattlesnake, or every letter a pestilence, they should not be expunged. Let those who cannot swallow chew the expressions on Ireland; or should even Mr. Croker array himself in all his terrors against them, I care for none of you, except Gifford; and he won’t abuse me, except I deserve it—which will at least reconcile me to his justice. As to the poems in Hobhouse’s volume, the translation from the Romaic is well enough; but the best of the other volume (of mine, I mean) have been already printed. But do as you please—only, as I shall be absent when you come out, do, pray, let Mr. Dallas and you have a care of the press. “Yours, &c.”

[“1814, Jan. 16.]

“I do believe that the devil never created or perverted such a fiend as the fool of a printer†. I am obliged to enclose you, luckily for me,

* He had, at first, after the words “Scott alone,” inserted, in a parenthesis,—“He will excuse the Mr.—‘we do not say Mr. Cæsar.’”

† The amusing rages into which he was thrown by the printer were vented not only in these notes, but frequently on the proof-sheets themselves. Thus, a passage in the Dedication having been printed “the first of her bands in estimation,” he writes in the margin, “bards, not bands—was there ever such a stupid misprint?” and, in correcting a line that had been curtailed of its due number of syllables, he says, “Do not omit words—it is quite enough to alter or mis-spell them.”

520 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
this second proof, corrected, because there is an ingenuity in his blunders peculiar to himself. Let the press be guided by the present sheet.

Burn the other.

“Correct this also by the other in some things which I may have forgotten. There is one mistake he made, which, if it had stood, I would most certainly have broken his neck.”

“Newstead Abbey, January 22d, 1814,

“You will be glad to hear of my safe arrival here. The time of my return will depend upon the weather, which is so impracticable that this letter has to advance through more snows than ever opposed the emperor’s retreat. The roads are impassable, and return impossible for the present; which I do not regret, as I am much at my ease, and six-and-twenty complete this day—a very pretty age, if it would always last. Our coals are excellent, our fireplaces large, my cellar full, and my head empty; and I have not yet recovered my joy at leaving London. If any unexpected turn occurred with my purchasers, I believe I should hardly quit the place at all; but shut my door, and let my beard grow.

“I forgot to mention (and I hope it is unnecessary) that the lines beginning—Remember him, &c. must not appear with the Corsair. You may slip them in with the smaller pieces newly annexed to Childe Harold; but on no account permit them to be appended to the Corsair. Have the goodness to recollect this particularly.

“The books I have brought with me are a great consolation for the confinement, and I bought more as we came along. In short, I never consult the thermometer, and shall not put up prayers for a thaw, unless I thought it would sweep away the rascally invaders of France. Was ever such a thing as Blucher’s proclamation?

“Just before I left town, Kemble paid me the compliment of desiring me to write a tragedy; I wish I could, but I find my scribbling mood
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 521
subsiding—not before it was time; but it is lucky to check it at all. If I lengthen my letter, you will think it is coming on again; so, good bye.

“P.S. If you hear any news of battle or retreat on the part of the Allies (as they call them), pray send it. He has my best wishes to manure the fields of France with an invading army. I hate invaders of all countries, and have no patience with the cowardly cry of exultation over him, at whose name you all turned whiter than the snow to which you are indebted for your triumphs.

“I open my letter to thank you for yours just received. The ‘Lines to a Lady Weeping’ must go with the Corsair. I care nothing for consequence, on this point. My politics are to me like a young mistress to an old man—the worse they grow, the fonder I become of them. As Mr. Gifford likes the ‘Portuguese Translation*,’ pray insert it as an addition to the Corsair.

“In all points of difference between Mr. Gifford and Mr. Dallas, let the first keep his place; and in all points of difference between Mr. Gifford and Mr. Anybody—else, I shall abide by the former; if I am wrong, I can’t help it. But I would rather not be right with any other person. So there is an end of that matter. After all the trouble he has taken about me and mine, I should be very ungrateful to feel or act otherwise. Besides, in point of judgment, he is not to be lowered by a comparison. In politics, he may be right too; but that with me is a feeling, and I can’t torify my nature.”

* His translation of the pretty Portuguese song, “Tu mi chamas.” He was tempted to try another version of this ingenious thought, which is, perhaps, still more happy, and has never, I believe, appeared in print.

“You call me still your life—ah! change the word—
Life in as transient as th’ inconstant’s sigh;
Say rather I’m your soul, more just that name,
For, like the soul, my love can never die.”

522 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
“Newstead Abbey, February 4th, 1814.

“I need not say that your obliging letter was very welcome, and not the less so for being unexpected.

“It doubtless gratifies me much that our finale has pleased, and that the curtain drops gracefully*. You deserve it should, for your promptitude and good nature in arranging immediately with Mr. Dallas; and I can assure you that I esteem your entering so warmly into the subject, and writing to me so soon upon it, as a personal obligation. We shall now part, I hope, satisfied with each other. I was and am quite in earnest in my prefatory promise not to intrude any more; and this not from any affectation, but a thorough conviction that it is the best policy, and is at least respectful to my readers, as it shows that I would not willingly run the risk of forfeiting their favour in future. Besides, I have other views and objects, and think that I shall keep this resolution; for, since I left London, though shut up, snow-bound, thaw-bound, and tempted with all kinds of paper, the dirtiest of ink, and the bluntest of pens, I have not even been haunted by a wish to put them to their combined uses, except in letters of business. My rhyming propensity is quite gone, and I feel much as I did at Patras on recovering from my fever—weak, but in health, and only afraid of a relapse. I do most fervently hope I never shall.

“I see by the Morning Chronicle there hath been discussion in the Courier; and I read in the Morning Post a wrathful letter about Mr. Moore, in which some Protestant Reader has made a sad confusion about India and Ireland.

“You are to do as you please about the smaller poems; but I think removing them now from the Corsair looks like fear; and if so, you must allow me not to be pleased. I should also suppose that, alter the fuss of these newspaper esquires, they would materially assist the circulation of

* It will be recollected that be hod announced the Corsair as “the last production with which he should trespass on public patience for some years.”

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 523
the Corsair; an object I should imagine at present of more importance to yourself than
Childe Harold’s seventh appearance. Do as you like; but don’t allow the withdrawing that poem to draw any imputation of dismay upon me.

“Pray make my respects to Mr. Ward, whose praise I value most highly, as you well know; it is in the approbation of such men that fame becomes worth having. To Mr. Gifford I am always grateful, and surely not less so now than ever. And no good night to my authorship.

“I have been sauntering and dozing here very quietly, and not unhappily. You will be happy to hear that I have completely established my title-deeds as marketable, and that the purchaser has succumbed to the terms, and fulfils them, or is to fulfil them forthwith. He is now here, and we go on very amicably together—one in each wing of the Abbey. We set off on Sunday—I for town, he for Cheshire.

Mrs. Leigh is with me—much pleased with the place, and less so with me for parting with it, to which not even the price can reconcile her. Your parcel has not yet arrived—at least the Mags. &c.; but I have received Childe Harold and the Corsair. I believe both are very correctly printed, which in a great satisfaction.

“I thank you for wishing me in town; but I think one’s success is most felt at, a distance, and I enjoy my solitary self-importance in an agreeable sulky way of my own, upon the strength of your letter—for which I once more thank you, and am, very truly, &c.

“P.S. Don’t you think Buonaparte’s next publication will be rather expensive to the Allies? Perry’s Paris letter of yesterday looks very reviving. What a Hydra and Briareus it is! I wish they would pacify: there is no end to this campaigning.”

“Newstead Abbey, February 5th, 1814.

I quite forgot, in my answer of yesterday, to mention that I have no means of ascertaining whether the Newark Pirate has been doing
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what you say*. If so, he is a rascal, and a shabby rascal too; and if his offence is punishable by law or pugilism, he shall be fined or buffeted. Do you try and discover, and I will make some inquiry here. Perhaps some other in town may have gone on printing, and used the same deception.

“The fac-simile is omitted in Childe Harold, which is very awkward, as there is a note expressly on the subject. Pray replace it as usual.

“On second and third thoughts, the withdrawing the small poems from the Corsair (even to add to Childe Harold) looks like shrinking and shuffling, after the fuss made upon one of them by the Tories. Pray replace them in the Corsair’s appendix. I am sorry that Childe Harold requires some and such abetments to make him move off: but, if you remember, I told you his popularity would not be permanent. It is very lucky for the author that he had made up his mind to a temporary reputation in time. The truth is, I do not think that any of the present day (and least of all, one who has not consulted the flattering side of human nature) have much to hope from posterity; and you may think it affectation very probably, but to me, my present and past success has appeared very singular, since it was in the teeth of so many prejudices. I almost think people like to be contradicted. If Childe Harold flags, it will hardly be worth while to go on with the engravings: but do as you please; I have done with the whole concern; and the enclosed lines written years ago, and copied from my skull-cup, are among the last with which you will be troubled. If you like, add them to Childe Harold, if only for the sake of another outcry. You received so long an answer yesterday, that I will not intrude on you further than to repeat myself,

“Yours, &c.

“P.S. Of course, in reprinting (if you have occasion), you will take great care to be correct. The present editions seem very much so, except in the last note of Childe Harold, where the word responsible occurs twice nearly together; correct the second into answerable.

* Reprinting the “Hours of Idleness.”

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 525
“Newark, February 6th, 1814.

“I am thus far on my way to town. Master Ridge* I have seen, and he owns to having reprinted some sheets, to make up a few complete remaining copies! I have now given him fair warning, and if he plays such tricks again, I must either get an injunction, or call for an account of profits (as I never have parted with the copyright), or, in short, any thing vexatious to repay him in his own way. If the weather does not relapse, I hope to be in town in a day or two.

“Yours, &c.”
“February 7th, 1814.
* * * * * * *

“I see all the papers in a sad commotion with those eight lines; and the Morning Post, in particular, has found out that I am a sort of Richard III.,—deformed in mind and body. The last piece of information is not very new to a man who passed five years at a public school.

“I am very sorry you cut out those lines for Childe Harold. Pray reinsert them in their old place in ‘The Corsair.’”

February 28th, 1814.

“There is a youngster—and a clever one, named Reynolds, who has just published a poem called ‘Safie,’ published by Cawthorne. He is in the most natural and fearful apprehension of the Reviewers—and as you and I both know by experience the effect of such things upon a young mind, I wish you would take his production into dissection and do it gently. I cannot, because it is inscribed to me; but I assure you this is not my motive for wishing him to be tenderly entreated, but because

* The printer at Newark.

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I know the misery, at his time of life, of untoward remarks upon first appearance.

“Now for self. Pray thank your cousin—it is just as it should be, to my liking, and probably more than will suit any one else’s. I hope and trust that you are well and well doing. Peace be with you. Ever yours, my dear friend.”

“February 10th, 1814,

“I arrived in town late yesterday evening, having been absent three weeks, which I passed in Notts. quietly and pleasantly. You can have no conception of the uproar the eight lines on the little Royalty’s weeping in 1812 (now republished) have occasioned. The R * *, who had always thought them yours, chose—God knows why—on discovering them to be mine, to be affected ‘in sorrow rather than anger.’ The Morning Post, Sun, Herald, Courier, have all been in hysterics ever since. M. is in a fright, and wanted to shuffle—and the abuse against me in all directions is vehement, unceasing, loud—some of it good and all of it hearty. I feel a little compunctious as to the R * *’s regret;—would he had been only angry! but I fear him not.’

“Some of these same assailments you have probably seen. My person (which is excellent for ‘the nonce’) has been denounced in verses. the more like the subject, inasmuch as they halt exceedingly. Then, in another, I am an atheist—a rebel—and, at last, the Devil (boiteux, I presume). My demonism seems to be a female’s conjecture: if so, perhaps. I could convince her that I am but a mere mortal,—if queen of the Amazons may be believed, who says αριςον χολος οιϕει I quote from memory, so my Greek is probably deficient; but the passage is meant to mean * * * * * *.

“Seriously, I am in, what the learned call, a dilemma, and the vulgar, a scrape; and my friends desire me not to be in a passion, and like Sir Fretful, I assure them that I am ‘quite calm,’—but I am nevertheless in a fury.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 527

“Since I wrote thus far, a friend has come in, and we have been talking and buffooning, till I have quite lost the thread of my thoughts; and, as I won’t send them unstrung to you, good morning, and

“Believe me ever, &c.

“P.S. Murray, during my absence, omitted the Tears in several of the copies. I have made him replace them, and am very wroth with his qualms;—‘as the wine is poured out, let it be drunk to the dregs.’”

“February 10th, 1814.

“I am much better, and indeed quite well this morning. I have received two, but I presume there are more of the Ana, subsequently, and also something previous, to which the Morning Chronicle replied. You also mentioned a parody on the Skull. I wish to see them all, because there may be things that require notice either by pen or person.

“Yours, &c.

“You need not trouble yourself to answer this; but send me the things when you get them.”

“February 12th, 1814.

“If you have copies of the ‘Intercepted Letters,’ Lady Holland would be glad of a volume, and when you have served others, have the goodness to think of your humble servant.

“You have played the devil by that injudicious suppression, which you did totally without my consent. Some of the papers have exactly said what might be expected. Now I do not, and will not be supposed to shrink, although myself and every thing belonging to me were to perish with my memory.

“Yours &c.

“P.S. Pray attend to what I stated yesterday on technical topics.”

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“Monday, February 14th, 1814.

“Before I left town yesterday, I wrote you a note, which I presume you received. I have heard so many different accounts of your proceedings, or rather of those of others towards you, in consequence of the publication of these everlasting lines, that I am anxious to hear from yourself the real state of the case. Whatever responsibility, obloquy, or effect is to arise from the publication should surely not fall upon you in any degree; and I can have no objection to your stating, as distinctly and publicly as you please, your unwillingness to publish them, and my own obstinacy upon the subject. Take any course you please to vindicate yourself, but leave me to fight my own way, and, as I before said, do not compromise me by any thing which may look like shrinking on my part; as for your own, make the best of it.

February 16th, 1814.

“I wrote to Lord Holland briefly, but I hope distinctly, on the subject which has lately occupied much of my conversation with him and you*. As things now stand, upon that topic my determination must be unalterable.

“I declare to you most sincerely that there is no human being on whose regard and esteem I set a higher value than on Lord Holland’s; and, as far as concerns himself, I would concede even to humiliation without any view to the future, and solely from my sense of his conduct

* Relative to a proposed reconciliation between Lord Carlisle and himself.

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as to the past. For the rest, I conceive that I have already done all in my power by the suppression*. If that is not enough, they must act as they please; but I will not ‘teach my tongue a most inherent baseness,’ come what may. You will probably be at the
Marquis Lansdowne’s to-night. I am asked, but I am not sure that I shall be able to go. Hobhouse will be there. I think, if you knew him well, you would like him.

“Believe me always yours very affectionately,
“February 16th, 1814.

“If Lord Holland is satisfied, as far as regards himself and Lady Hd., and as this letter expresses him to be, it is enough.

“As for any impression the public may receive from the revival of the lines on Lord Carlisle, let them keep it,—the more favourable for him, and the worse for me—better for all.

“All the sayings and doings in the world shall not make me utter another word of conciliation to any thing that breathes. I shall bear what I can, and what I cannot, I shall resist. The worst they could do would be to exclude me from society. I have never courted it, nor, I may add, in the general sense of the word, enjoyed it—and ‘there is a world elsewhere!’

“Any thing remarkably injurious, I have the same means of repaying as other men, with such interest as circumstances may annex to it.

“Nothing but the necessity of adhering to regimen prevents me from dining with you tomorrow.

“I am yours most truly,

* Of the Satire.

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“February 16th. 1814.

“You may be assured that the only prickles that sling from the Royal hedgehog are those which possess a torpedo property, and may benumb some of my friends. I am quite silent, and ‘hush’d in grim repose.’ The frequency of the assaults has weakened their effects,—if ever they had. any;—and, if they had had much, I should hardly have held my tongue, or withheld my fingers. It is something quite new to attack a man for abandoning his resentments. I have heard that previous praise and subsequent vituperation were rather ungrateful, but I did not know that it was wrong to endeavour to do justice to those who did not wait till I had made some amends for former and boyish prejudices, but received me into their friendship, when I might still have been their enemy.

“You perceive justly that I must intentionally have made my fortune, like Sir Francis Wronghead. It were better if there were more merit in my independence, but it really is something nowadays to be independent at all, and the less temptation to be otherwise, the more uncommon the case, in these times of paradoxical servility. I believe that most of our hates and likings have been hitherto nearly the same; but from henceforth, they must, of necessity, be one and indivisible,—and now for it! I am for any weapon,—the pen, till one can find something sharper, will do for a beginning.

“You can have no conception of the ludicrous solemnity with which these two stanzas have been treated. The Morning Post gave notice of an intended motion in the House of my brethren on the subject, and God he knows what proceedings besides;—and all this, as Bedreddin in the ‘Nights’ says, ‘for making a cream tart without pepper.’ This last piece of intelligence is, I presume, too laughable to be true; and the destruction of the Custom-house appears to have, in some degree, interfered with mine;—added to which, the last battle of Buonaparte has usurped the column hitherto devoted to my bulletin.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 531

“I send you from this day’s Morning Post the best which have hitherto appeared on this ‘impudent doggerel,’ as the Courier calls it. There was another about my diet, when a boy—not at all bad—some time ago; but the rest are but indifferent.

“I shall think about your oratorical hint*;—but I have never set much upon ‘that cast,’ and am grown as tired as Solomon of every thing, and of myself more than any thing. This is being what the learned call philosophical, and the vulgar, lack-a-daisical. I am, however, always glad of a blessing†; pray, repeat yours soon,—at least your letter, and I shall think the benediction included.

“Ever, &c.
“February 17th, 1814.

“The Courier of this evening accuses me of having ‘received and pocketed’ large sums for my works. I have never yet received, nor wished to receive, a farthing for any. Mr. Murray offered a thousand for the Giaour and Bride of Abydos, which I said was too much, and that if he could afford it at the end of six months, I would then direct how it might be disposed of; but neither then, nor at any other period, have I ever availed myself of the profits on my own account. For the republication of the Satire, I refused four hundred guineas; and for the previous editions I never asked nor received a sous, nor for any writing whatever. I do not wish you to do any thing disagreeable to yourself; there never was nor shall be any conditions nor stipulations with regard to any accommodation that I could afford you; and, on your part, I can see nothing derogatory in receiving the copyright. It was only assistance afforded to a worthy man, by one not quite so worthy.

* I had endeavoured to persuade him to take a part in parliamentary affairs, and to exercise his talent for oratory more frequently.

† In concluding my letter, having said “God bless you!” I added—“that is, if you have no objection.”

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Mr. Murray is going to contradict this*; but your name will not be mentioned: for your own part, you are a free agent, and are to do as you please. I only hope that now, as always, you will think that I wish to take no unfair advantage of the accidental opportunity which circumstances permitted me of being of use to you.

“Ever, &c.

In consequence of this letter, Mr. Dallas addressed an explanation to one of the newspapers, of which the following is a part;—the remainder being occupied with a rather clumsily managed defence of his noble benefactor on the subject of the Stanzas.

“I have seen the paragraph in an evening paper, in which Lord Byron is accused of ‘receiving and pocketing’ large sums for his works. I believe no one who knows him has the slightest suspicion of this kind; but the assertion being public, I think it a justice I owe to Lord Byron to contradict it publicly. I address this letter to you for that purpose, and I am happy that it gives me an opportunity at this moment to make some observations which I have for several days been anxious to do publicly, but from which I have been restrained by an apprehension that I should he suspected of being prompted by his lordship.

“I take upon me to affirm that Lord Byron never received a shilling for any of his works. To my certain knowledge, the profits of the Satire were left entirely to the publisher of it. The gift of the copyright of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, I have already publicly acknowledged in the dedication of the new edition of my novels; and I now add my acknowledgment for that of the Corsair, not only for the profitable part of it, but for the delicate and delightful manner of bestowing it while yet unpublished. With respect to his two other poems, the Giaour and

* The statement of the Courier, &c.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 533
the Bride of Abydos, Mr. Murray, the publisher of them, can truly attest that no part of the sale of them has ever touched his hands, or been disposed of for his use. Having said thus much as to facts, I cannot but express my surprise that it should ever be deemed a matter of reproach that he should appropriate the pecuniary returns of his works. Neither rank nor fortune seems to me to place any man above this; for what difference does it make in honour and noble feelings, whether a copyright be bestowed, or its value employed in beneficent purposes? I differ with my Lord Byron on this subject, as well as some others; and he has constantly, both by word and action, shown his aversion to receiving money for his productions.”

“Feb. 26th, 1814.

Dallas had, perhaps have better kept silence;—but that was his concern, and, as his facts are correct, and his motive not dishonourable to himself, I wished him well through it. As for his interpretations of the lines, he and any one else may interpret them as they please. I have and shall adhere to my taciturnity, unless something very particular occurs to render this impossible. Do not you say a word. If any one is to speak, it is the person principally concerned. The most amusing thing is, that every one (to me) attributes the abuse to the man they personally most dislike!—some say C * * * r, some C * *e, others F * * d, &c. &c. &c. I do not know, and have no clue but conjecture. If discovered, and he turns out a hireling, he must be left to his wages; if a cavalier, he must ‘wink, and hold out his iron.’

“I had some thoughts of putting the question to C * * r, but H., who, I am sure, would not dissuade me, if it were right, advised me by all means not;—‘that I had no right to take it upon suspicion,’ &c. &c. Whether H. is correct, I am not aware, but he believes himself so, and says there can be but one opinion on that subject. This I am, at least, sure of, that he would never prevent me from doing what he deemed the duty of a preux chevalier. In such cases—at least, in this country—we
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must act according to usages. In considering this instance, I dismiss my own personal feelings. Any man will and must fight, when necessary,—even without a motive. Here, I should take it up really without much resentment; for, unless a woman one likes is in the way, it is some years since I felt a long anger. But, undoubtedly, could I, or may I, trace it to a man of station, I should and shall do what is proper.

“ * * was angerly, but tried to conceal it. You are not called upon to avow the ‘Twopenny,’ and would only gratify them by so doing. Do you not see the great object of all these fooleries is to set him, and you, and me, and all persons whatsoever, by the ears?—more especially those who are on good terms,—and nearly succeeded. Lord H. wished me to concede to Lord Carlisle—concede to the devil!—to a man who used me ill? I told him, in answer, that I would neither concede, nor recede on the subject, but be silent altogether; unless any thing more could be said about Lady H. and himself, who had been since my very good friends; and there it ended. This was no time for concessions to Lord C.

“I have been interrupted, but shall write again soon. Believe me ever, my dear Moore, &c.”

Another of his friends having expressed, soon after, some intention of volunteering publicly in his defence, he lost no time in repressing him by the following sensible letter.

“February 28th, 1814.

“I have but a few moments to write to you. Silence is the only answer to the things you mention; nor should I regard that man as my friend who said a word more on the subject. I care little for attacks, but I will not submit to defences; and I do hope and trust that you have never entertained a serious thought of engaging in so foolish a controversy. Dallas’s letter was, to his credit, merely as to facts which he had a right to state; I neither have nor shall take the least public notice,
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 535
nor permit any one else to do so. If I discover the writer, then I may act in a different manner; but it will not be in writing.

“An expression in your letter has induced me to write this to you, to entreat you not to interfere in any way in such a business,—it is now nearly over, and depend upon it they are much more chagrined by my silence than they could be by the best defence in the world. I do not know any thing that would vex me more than any further reply to these things. Ever yours, in haste,

“March 3, 1814.

“I have a great mind to tell you that I am ‘uncomfortable,’ if only to make you come to town; where no one ever more delighted in seeing you, nor is there any one to whom I would sooner turn for consolation in my most vapourish moments. The truth is, I have ‘no lack of argument’ to ponder upon of the most gloomy description, but this arises from other causes. Some day or other, when we are veterans, I may tell you a tale of present and past times; and it is not from want of confidence that I do not now,—but—but—always a but to the end of the chapter.

“There is nothing, however, upon the spot either to love or hate;—but I certainly have subjects for both at no very great distance, and am besides embarrassed between three whom I know, and one (whose name, at least) I do not know. All this would be very well, it I had no heart; but, unluckily, I have found that there is such a thing still about me, though in no very good repair, and, also, that it has a habit of attaching itself to one, whether I will or no. ‘Divide et impera,’ I begin to think, will only do for politics.

“If I discover the ‘toad,’ as you call him, I shall ‘tread,’—and put spikes in my shoes to do it more effectually. The effect of all these fine things, I do not inquire much nor perceive. I believe * * felt them
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more than either of us. People are civil enough, and I have had no dearth of invitations,—none of which, however, I have accepted. I went out very little last year, and mean to go about still less. I have no passion for circles, and have long regretted that I ever gave way to what is called a town life;—which, of all the lives I ever saw (and they are nearly as many as
Plutarch’s), seems to me to leave the least for the past and future.

“How proceeds the Poem? Do not neglect it, and I have no fears. I need not say to you that your fame is dear to me,—I really might say dearer than my own; for I have lately begun to think my things have been strangely overrated; and, at any rate, whether or not, I have done with them for ever. I may say to you, what I would not say to every body, that the last two were written, the Bride in four, and the Corsair in ten days*,—which I take to be a most humiliating confession, as it proves my own want of judgment in publishing, and the public’s in reading things, which cannot have stamina for permanent attention. ‘So much for Buckingham.’

“I have no dread of your being too hasty, and I have still less of your failing. But I think a year a very fair allotment of time to a composition which is not to be Epic; and even Horace’s ‘Nonum prematur’ must have been intended for the Millenium, or some longer-lived generation than ours. I wonder how much we should have had of him, had he observed his own doctrines to the letter. Peace be with you! Remember that I am always and most truly yours, &c.

“P.S. I never heard the ‘report’ you mention, nor, I dare say, many others. But, in course, you, as well as others, have ‘damned good

* In asserting that he devoted but four days to the composition of the Bride, he must he understood to refer only to the first sketch of that poem,—the successive additions by which it was increased to its present length having occupied, as we have seen, a much longer period. The Corsair, on the contrary, was, from beginning to end, struck off at a heat—there being but little alteration or addition afterwards,—and the rapidity with which it was produced (being at the rate of nearly two hundred lines a day) would be altogether incredible, had we not his own, as well as his publisher’s, testimony to the fact. Such an achievement,—taking into account the surpassing beauty of the work,—is, perhaps, wholly without a parallel in the history of Genius, and shows that “écrire par passion, ” as Rousseau expresses it, may be sometimes a shorter road to perfection than any that Art has ever struck out.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 537
natured friends,’ who do their duty in the usual way. One thing will make you laugh * * * * * *.”

“March 12th, 1814.

“Guess darkly, and you will seldom err. At present, I shall say no more, and, perhaps—but no matter. I hope we shall some day meet, and whatever years may precede or succeed it, I shall mark it with the ‘white stone’ in my calendar. I am not sure that I shall not soon be in your neighbourhood again. If so, and I am alone (as will probably be the case), I shall invade and carry you off, and endeavour to atone for sorry fare by a sincere welcome. I don’t know the person absent (barring ‘the sect’) I should be so glad to see again.

“I have nothing of the sort you mention but the lines (the Weepers), if you like to have them in the Bag. I wish to give them all possible circulation. The Vault reflection is downright actionable, and to print it would be peril to the publisher; but I think the Tears have a natural right to be bagged, and the editor (whoever he may be) might supply a facetious note or not, as he pleased.

“I cannot conceive how the Vault* has got about,—but so it is. It is too farouche; but, truth to say, my satires are not very playful. I have the plan of an epistle in my head, at him and to him; and, if they are not a little quieter, I shall imbody it. I should say little or nothing of myself. As to mirth and ridicule, that is out of my way; but I have a tolerable fund of sternness and contempt, and, with Juvenal before me, I shall perhaps read him a lecture he has not lately heard in the C—t. From particular circumstances, which came to my knowledge almost by accident, I could ‘tell him what he is—I know him well.’

“I meant, my dear M., to write to you a long letter, but I am hurried, and time clips my inclination down to yours, &c.

* Those bitter and powerful lines which he wrote on the opening of the vault that contained the remains of Henry VIII. and Charles I.

538 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.

“P.S. Think again before you shelf your Poem. There is a youngster (older than me, by the by, but a younger poet), Mr. G. Knight, with a vol. of Eastern Tales, written since his return,—for he has been in the countries. He sent to me last summer, and I advised him to write one in each measure, without any intention, at that time, of doing the same thing. Since that, from a habit of writing in a fever, I have anticipated him in the variety of measures, but quite unintentionally. Of the stories, I know nothing, not having seen them*; but he has some lady in a sack, too, like the Giaour:—he told me at the time.

“The best way to make the public ‘forget’ me is to remind them of yourself. You cannot suppose that I would ask you or advise you to publish, if I thought you would fail. I really have no literary envy; and I do not believe a friend’s success ever sat nearer another than yours do to my best wishes. It is for elderly gentlemen to ‘bear no brother near,’ and cannot become our disease for more years than we may perhaps number. I wish you to be out before Eastern subjects are again before the public.”

“March 12th, 1814.

“I have not time to read the whole MS.†, but what I have seen seems very well written (both prose and verse), and though I am and can be no judge (at least a fair one on this subject), containing nothing which you ought to hesitate publishing upon my account. If the author is not Dr. Busby himself, I think it a pity, on his own account, that he should dedicate it to his subscribers; nor can I perceive what Dr. Busby has to do with the matter, except as a translator of Lucretius, for whose doctrines he is surely not responsible. I tell you openly, and really most

* He was not yet aware, it appears, that the anonymous manuscript sent to him by his publisher was from the pen of Mr. Knight.

† The manuscript of a long grave satire, entitled “Anti-Byron,” which had been sent to Mr. Murray, and by him forwarded to Lord Byron, with a request—not meant, I believe, seriously—that he would give his opinion us to the propriety of publishing it.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 539
sincerely, that, if published at all, there is no earthly reason why you should not; on the contrary, I should receive it as the greatest compliment you could pay to your good opinion of my candour, to print and circulate that, or any other work, attacking me in a manly manner, and without any malicious intention, from which, as far as I have seen, I must exonerate this writer.

“He is wrong in one thing,—I am no atheist; but if he thinks I have published principles tending to such opinions, he has a perfect right to controvert them. Pray publish it; I shall never forgive myself if I think that I have prevented you.

“Make my compliments to the author, and tell him I wish him success; his verse is very deserving of it; and I shall be the last person to suspect his motives. Yours, &c.

“P.S. If you do not publish it, some one else will. You cannot suppose me so narrow-minded as to shrink from discussion. I repeat once for all, that I think it a good Poem (as far as I have redde); and that is the only point you should consider. How odd that eight lines should have given birth, I really think, to eight thousand, including all that has been said, and will be, on the subject!”

“April 9th, 1814.

“All these news are very fine; but nevertheless I want my books, if you can find, or cause them to be found for me,—if only to lend them to Napoleon in ‘the island of Elba,’ during his retirement. I also (if convenient, and you have no party with you) should be glad to speak with you for a few minutes this evening, as I have had a letter from Mr. Moore, and wish to ask you, as the best judge, of the best time for him to publish the work he has composed. I need not say, that I have his success much at heart; not only because he is my friend, but something much better—a man of great talent, of which he is less sensible than I believe any even of his enemies. If you can so far oblige me as to step
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down, do so; and if you are otherwise occupied, say nothing about it. I shall find you at home in the course of next week.

“P.S. I see Sotheby’s Tragedies advertised. The Death of Darnley is a famous subject—one of the best, I should think, for the drama. Pray let me have a copy, when ready.

Mrs. Leigh was very much pleased with her books, and desired me to thank you; she means, I believe, to write to you her acknowledgments.”

“2, Albany, April 9th, 1814.

Viscount Althorpe is about to be married, and I have gotten his spacious bachelor apartments in Albany, to which you will, I hope, address a speedy answer to this mine epistle.

“I am but just returned to town, from which you may infer that I have been out of it; and I have been boxing, for exercise, with Jackson for this last month daily. I have also been drinking, and. on one occasion, with three other friends at the Cocoa Tree, from six till four, yea, unto five in the matin. We clareted and champagned till two—then supped, and finished with a kind of regency punch composed of madeira, brandy, and green tea, no real water being admitted therein. There was a night for you!—without once quitting the table, except to ambulate home, which I did alone, and in utter contempt of a hackney-coach and my own vis, both of which were deemed necessary for our conveyance. And so,—I am very well, and they say it will hurt my constitution.

“I have also, more or less, been breaking a few of the favourite commandments; but I mean to pull up and marry,—if any one will have me. In the mean time, the other day I nearly killed myself with a collar of brawn, which I swallowed for supper, and indigested for I don’t know how long;—but that is by the by. All this gourmandise was in honour of Lent; for I am forbidden meat all the rest of the year,—but it is strictly enjoined me during your solemn fast. I have been, and am, in very tolerable love;—but of that hereafter, as it may be.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 541

“My dear Moore, say what you will in your Preface; and quiz any thing, or any body,—me, if you like it. Oons! dost thou think me of the old, or rather elderly, school? If one can’t jest with one’s friends, with whom can we be facetious? You have nothing to fear from * *, whom I have not seen, being out of town when he called. He will be very correct, smooth, and all that, but I doubt whether there will be any ‘grace beyond the reach of art;’—and, whether there is or not, how long will you be so d—d modest? As for Jeffrey, it is a very handsome thing of him to speak well of an old antagonist,—and what a mean mind dared not do. Any one will revoke praise; but—were it not partly my own case—I should say that very few have strength of mind to unsay their censure, or follow it up with praise of other things.

“What think you of the review of Levis? It beats the Bag and my hand-grenade hollow, as an invective, and hath thrown the Court into hysterics, as I hear from very good authority. Have you heard from * * * * * * * *.

“No more rhyme for—or rather, from—me. I have taken my leave of that stage, and henceforth will mountebank it no longer. I have had my day, and there’s an end. The utmost I expect, or even wish, is to have it said in the Biographia Britannica, that I might perhaps have been a poet, had I gone on and amended. My great comfort is, that the temporary celebrity I have wrung from the world has been in the very teeth of all opinions and prejudices. I have flattered no ruling powers; I have never concealed a single thought that tempted me. They can’t say I have truckled to the times, nor to popular topics (as Johnson, or somebody, said of Cleveland), and whatever I have gained has been at the expenditure of as much personal favour as possible; for I do believe never was a bard more unpopular, quoad homo, than myself. And now I have done;—‘ludite nunc alios.’ Every body may be d—d, as they seem fond of it, and resolved to stickle lustily for endless brimstone.

“Oh—by the by, I had nearly forgot. There is a long Poem, an ‘Anti-Byron,’ coming out, to prove that I have formed a conspiracy to overthrow, by rhyme, all religion and government, and have already made great progress! It is not very scurrilous, but serious and ethereal. I never felt myself important, till I saw and heard of my being such a
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Voltaire as to induce such a production. Murray would not publish it, for which he was a fool, and so I told him; but some one else will, doubtless. ‘Something too much of this.’

“Your French scheme is good, but let it be Italian; all the Angles will be at Paris. Let it be Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence, Turin, Venice, or Switzerland, and ‘egad!’ (as Bayes saith), I will connubiate and join you; and we will write a new ‘Inferno’ in our Paradise. Pray, think of this—and I will really buy a wife and a ring, and say the ceremony, and settle near you in a summer-house upon the Arno, or the Po, or the Adriatic.

“Ah! my poor little pagod, Napoleon, has walked off his pedestal. He has abdicated, they say. This would draw molten brass from the eyes of Zatanai. What! ‘kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet, and then be baited by the rabble’s curse!’ I cannot bear such a crouching catastrophe. I must stick to Sylla, for my modern favourites don’t do,—their resignations are of a different kind. All health and prosperity, my dear Moore. Excuse this lengthy letter. Ever, &c.

“P.S. The Quarterly quotes you frequently in an article on America; and every body I know asks perpetually after you and yours. When will you answer them in person?”

He did not long persevere in his resolution against writing, as will be seen from the following notes to his publisher.

“April 10th, 1814.

“I have written an Ode on the fall of Napoleon, which, if you like, I will copy out, and make you a present of. Mr. Merivale has seen part of it, and likes it. You may show it to Mr. Gifford, and print it, or not, as you please—it is of no consequence. It contains nothing in his favour, and no allusion whatever to our own government or the Bourbons. Yours, &c.

“P.S. It is in the measure of my stanzas at the end of Childe Harold, which were much liked, beginning ‘And thou art dead,’ &c. &c. There are ten stanzas of it—ninety lines in all.”

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 543
“April 11th, 1814.

“I enclose you a letteret from Mrs. Leigh.

“It will be best not to put my name to our Ode; but you may say as openly as you like that it is mine, and I can inscribe it to Mr. Hobhouse, from the author, which will mark it sufficiently. After the resolution of not publishing, though it is a thing of little length and less consequence, it will be better altogether that it is anonymous; but we will incorporate it in the first tome of ours that you find time or the wish to publish.

“Yours alway,

“P.S. I hope you got a note of alterations, sent this matin?

“P.S. Oh my books! my books! will you never find my books?

“Alter ‘potent spell’ to ‘quickening spell:’ the first (as Polonius says) ‘is a vile phrase,’ and means nothing, besides being commonplace and Rosa-Matildaish.”

April 12th, 1814.

“I send you a few notes and trifling alterations, and an additional motto from Gibbon, which you will find singularly appropriate. A ‘Good-natured Friend’ tells me there is a most scurrilous attack on us in the Antijacobin Review, which you have not sent. Send it, as I am in that state of languor which will derive benefit from getting into a passion. Ever, &c.

“Albany, April 20th, 1814.

“I am very glad to hear that you are to be transient from Mayfield so very soon, and was taken in by the first part of your letter*. Indeed,

* I had begun my letter in the following manner:—“Have you seen the ‘Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte?’—I suspect it to be either F—g—d’s or Rosa Matilda’s. Those rapid and

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for aught I know, you may be treating me, as Slipslop says, with ‘ironing’ even now. I shall say nothing of the shock, which had nothing of humeur in it; as I am apt to take even a critic, and still more a friend, at his word, and never to doubt that I have been writing cursed nonsense, if they say so. There was a mental reservation in my pact with the public*, in behalf of anonymes; and, even had there not, the provocation was such as to make it physically impossible to pass over this damnable epoch of triumphant tameness. ’Tis a cursed business; and, after all, I shall think higher of rhyme and reason, and very humbly of your heroic people, till—Elba becomes a volcano, and sends him out again. I can’t think it all over yet.

“My departure for the continent depends, in some measure, on the incontinent. I have two country invitations at home, and don’t know what to say or do. In the mean time, I have bought a macaw and a parrot, and have got up my books; and I box and fence daily, and go out very little.

“At this present writing, Louis the Gouty is wheeling in triumph into Piccadilly, in all the pomp and rabblement of royalty. I had an offer of seats to see them pass; but, as I have seen a Sultan going to mosque, and been at his reception of an ambassador, the most Christian King ‘hath no attractions for me:’—though in some coming year of the Hegira, I should not dislike to see the place where he had reigned, shortly after the second revolution, and a happy sovereignty of two months, the last six weeks being civil war.

“Pray write, and deem me ever, &c.”

masterly portraits of all the tyrants that preceded Napoleon have a vigour in them which would incline me to say that Rosa Matilda is the person—but then, on the other hand, that powerful grasp of history,” &c. &c. After a little more of this mock parallel, the letter went on thus:—“I should like to know what you think of the matter? Some friends of mine here will insist that it is the work of the author of Childe Harold,—but then they are not so well read in F—g—d and Rosa Matilda as I am; and, besides, they seem to forget that you promised, about a month or two ago, not to write any more for years. Seriously,” &c. &c.

I quote this foolish banter merely to show how safely, even on his most sensitive points, one might venture to jest with him.

* We find D’Argenson thus encouraging Voltaire to break a similar vow:—“Continue to write without fear for five-and-twenty years longer, but write poetry, notwithstanding your oath in the Preface to Newton.”

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 545

“Many thanks with the letters which I return. You know I am a jacobin, and could not wear white, nor see the installation of Louis the Gouty.

“This is sad news, and very hard upon the sufferers at any, but more at such a time—I mean the Bayonne sortie.

“You should urge Moore to come out.

“P.S. I want Moreri to purchase for good and all. I have a Bayle, but want Moreri too.

“P.S. Perry hath a piece of compliment to-day; but I think the name might have been as well omitted. No matter; they can but throw the old story of inconsistency in my teeth—let them,—I mean, as to not publishing. However, now I will keep my word. Nothing but the occasion, which was physically irresistible, made me swerve; and I thought an anonyme within my pact with the public. It is the only thing I have or shall set about.”

“April 25th, 1814.

“Let Mr. Gifford have the letter and return it at his leisure. I would have offered it, had I thought that he liked things of the kind.

“Do you want the last page immediately? I have doubts about the lines being worth printing; at any rate, must see them again and alter some passages, before they go forth in any shape into the ocean of circulation;—a very conceited phrase, by the by: well then—channel of publication will do.

“‘I am not i’ the vein,’ or I could knock off a stanza or three for
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Ode, that might answer the purpose better*. At all events, I must see the lines again first, as there be two I have altered in my mind’s manuscript already. Has any one seen and judged of them? that is the

* Mr. Murray had requested of him to make some additions to the Ode, so as to save the Stamp Duty imposed upon publications not exceeding a single sheet, and the lines he sent him for this purpose were, I believe, those beginning “We do not curse thee, Waterloo.” To the Ode itself, he afterwards added, in successive editions, five or six stanzas, the original number being but eleven. There were also three more stanzas which he never printed, but which, for the just tribute they contain to Washington, are worthy of being preserved.

“There was a day—there was an hour,
While earth was Gaul’s—Gaul thine—
When that immeasurable power
Unsated to resign
Had been an act of purer fame
Than gathers round Marengo’s name
And gilded thy decline,
Through the long twilight of all time,
Despite some passing clouds of crime.
“But thou forsooth must be a king
And don the purple vest,
As if that foolish robe could wring
Remembrance from thy breast.
Where is that faded garment? where
The gewgaws thou wert fond to wear,
The star—the string—the crest?
Vain froward child of empire! say
Are all thy playthings snatch’d away?
“Where may the wearied eye repose
When gazing on the great;
Where neither guilty glory glows,
Nor despicable state?
Yes—one—the first—the last—the best—
The Cincinnatus of the West,
Whom envy dared not hate,
Bequeath’d the name of Washington,
To make man blush there was but One!”

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 547
criterion by which I will abide—only give me a fair report, and ‘nothing extenuate,’ as I will in that case do something else.

“I want Moreri, and an Athenæus.”

“April 26th, 1814.

“I have been thinking that it might be as well to publish no more of the Ode separately, but incorporate it with any of the other things, and include the smaller Poem too (in that case)—which I must previously correct, nevertheless. I can’t, for the head of me, add a line worth scribbling; my ‘vein’ is quite gone: and my present occupations are of the gymnastic order—boxing and fencing—and my principal conversation is with my macaw and Bayle. I want my Moreri, and I want Athenæus.

“P.S. I hope you sent back that poetical packet to the address which I forwarded to you on Sunday: if not, pray do; or I shall have the author screaming after his Epic.”

“April 26th, 1814.

“I have no guess at your author,—but it is a noble Poem*, and worth a thousand Odes of any body’s. I suppose I may keep this copy;—after reading it, I really regret having written my own. I say this very sincerely, albeit unused to think humbly of myself.

“I don’t like the additional stanzas at all, and they had better be left out. The fact is, I can’t do any thing I am asked to do, however

* A Poem by Mr. Stratford Canning, full of spirit and power, entitled “Buonaparte.” In a subsequent note to Mr. Murray, Lord Byron says:—“I do not think less highly of ‘Buonaparte’ for knowing the author. I was aware that he was a man of talent, but did not suspect him of possessing all the family talents in such perfection.”

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gladly I would; and at the end of a week my interest in a composition goes off. This will account to you for my doing no better for your ‘Stamp Duty’ Postscript.

The S. R. is very civil—but what do they mean by Childe Harold resembling Marmion? and the next two, Giaour and Bride, not resembling Scott? I certainly never intended to copy him; but, if there be any copyism, it must be in the two Poems, where the same versification is adopted. However, they exempt the Corsair from all resemblance to any thing,—though I rather wonder at his escape.

“If ever I did any thing original, it was in Childe Harold, which I prefer to the other things always, after the first week. Yesterday I re-read English Bards;—bating the malice, it is the best.

“Ever, &c.”

A resolution was, about this time, adopted by him, which, however strange and precipitate it appeared, a knowledge of the previous state of his mind may enable us to account for satisfactorily. He had now, for two years, been drawing upon the admiration of the public with a rapidity and success which seemed to defy exhaustion,—having crowded, indeed, into that brief interval the materials of a long life of fame. But admiration is a sort of impost from which most minds are but too willing to relieve themselves. The eye grows weary of looking up to the same object of wonder, and begins to exchange, at last, the delight of observing its elevation for the less generous pleasure of watching and speculating on its fall. The reputation of Lord Byron had already begun to experience some of these consequences of its own prolonged and constantly renewed splendour. Even among that host of admirers who would have been the last to find fault, there were some not unwilling to repose from praise; while they, who had been from the first reluctant eulogists, took advantage of these apparent symptoms of satiety to indulge in blame*.

* It was the fear of this sort of back-water current to which so rapid a flow of fame seemed liable that led some even of his warmest admirers, ignorant as they were yet of the boundlessness of his resources, to tremble a little at the frequency of his appearances before the public. In one of my own letters to him, I find this apprehension thus expressed:—“If you did not

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 549

The loud outcry raised, at the beginning of the present year, by his verses to the Princess Charlotte, had afforded a vent for much of this reserved venom; and the tone of disparagement in which some of his assailants now affected to speak of his poetry, was, however absurd and contemptible in itself, precisely that sort of attack which was the most calculated to wound his, at once, proud and diffident spirit. As long as they confined themselves to blackening his moral and social character, so far from offending, their libels rather fell in with his own shadowy style of self-portraiture, and gratified the strange inverted ambition that possessed him. But the slighting opinion which they ventured to express of his genius,—seconded as it was by that inward dissatisfaction with his own powers, which they whose standard of excellence is highest are always the surest to feel,—mortified and disturbed him; and, being the first sounds of ill augury that had come across his triumphal career, startled him, as we have seen, into serious doubts of its continuance.

Had he been occupying himself, at the time, with any new task, that confidence in his own energies, which he never truly felt but while in the actual exercise of them, would have enabled him to forget these humiliations of the moment in the glow and excitement of anticipated success. But he had just pledged himself to the world to take a long farewell of poesy,—had sealed up that only fountain from which his heart ever drew refreshment or strength,—and thus was left, idly and helplessly, to brood over the daily taunts of his enemies, without the power of avenging

write so well,—as the Royal wit observed,—I should say you write too much; at least, too much in the same strain. The Pythagoreans, you know, were of opinion that the reason why we do not hear or heed the music of the heavenly bodies is that they are always sounding in our ears; and I fear that even the influence of your song may be diminished by falling upon the world’s dull ear too constantly.”

The opinion, however, which a great writer of our day (himself one of the few to whom his remark applies) had the generosity, as well as sagacity, to pronounce on this point, at a time when Lord Byron was indulging in the fullest lavishment of his powers, must be regarded, after all, as the most judicious and wise:—“But they cater ill for the public,” says Sir Walter Scott, “and give indifferent advice to the poet, supposing him possessed of the highest qualities of his art, who do not advise him to labour while the laurel around his brows yet retains its freshness. Sketches from Lord Byron are more valuable than finished pictures from others; nor are we at all sure that any labour which he might bestow in revisal would not rather efface than refine those outlines of striking and powerful originality, which they exhibit when flung rough from the hand of a master.”—Biographical Memoirs, by Sir W. Scott.

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himself when they insulted his person, and but too much disposed to agree with them when they made light of his genius. “I am afraid (he says, in noticing these attacks in one of his letters) what you call trash is plaguily to the purpose, and very good sense into the bargain; and, to tell the truth, for some little time past, I have been myself much of the same opinion.”

In this sensitive state of mind,—which he but ill disguised or relieved by an exterior of gay defiance or philosophic contempt,—we can hardly feel surprised that he should have, all at once, come to the resolution, not only of persevering in his determination to write no more in future, but of purchasing back the whole of his past copyrights, and suppressing every page and line he had ever written, On his first mention of this design, Mr. Murray naturally doubted as to his seriousness; but the arrival of the following letter, enclosing a draft for the amount of the copyrights, put his intentions beyond question.

“2, Albany, April 29th, 1814.

“I enclose a draft for the money; when paid, send the copyright. I release you from the thousand pounds agreed on, for the Giaour and Bride, and there’s an end.

“If any accident occurs to me, you may do then as you please; but, with the exception of two copies of each for yourself only, I expect and request that the advertisements be withdrawn, and the remaining copies of all destroyed; and any expense so incurred, I will be glad to defray.

“For all this, it might be as well to assign some reason. I have none to give, except my own caprice, and I do not consider the circumstance of consequence enough to require explanation.

“In course, I need hardly assure you that they never shall be published with my consent, directly or indirectly, by any other person whatsoever,—that I am perfectly satisfied, and have every reason so to be,
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 551
with your conduct in all transactions between us as publisher and author.

“It will give me great pleasure to preserve your acquaintance, and to consider you as my friend. Believe me very truly, and for much attention,

“Your obliged
“and very obedient servant,

“P.S. I do not think that I have overdrawn at Hammersley’s; but if that be the case, I can draw for the superflux on Hoares’. The draft is £5 short, but that I will make up. On payment—not before—return the copyright papers.”

In such a conjuncture, an appeal to his good-nature and considerateness was, as Mr. Murray well judged, his best resource; and the following prompt reply will show how easily, and at once, it succeeded.

“May 1, 1814.

If your present note is serious, and it really would be inconvenient, there is an end of the matter: tear my draft, and go on as usual: in that case, we will recur to our former basis. That I was perfectly serious, in wishing to suppress all future publication, is true; but certainly not to interfere with the convenience of others, and more particularly your own. Some day, I will tell you the reason of this apparently strange resolution. At present, it may be enough to say that I recall it at your suggestion; and as it appears to have annoyed you, I lose no time in saying so.

“Yours truly,

During my stay in town this year, we were almost daily together; and it is in no spirit of flattery to the dead I say, that the more intimately
552 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
I became acquainted with his disposition and character, the more warmly I felt disposed to take an interest in every thing that concerned him. Not that, in the opportunities thus afforded me of observing more closely his defects, I did not discover much to lament, and not a little to condemn. But there was still, in the neighbourhood of even his worst faults, some atoning good quality, which was always sure, if brought kindly and with management into play, to neutralize their ill effects. The very frankness, indeed, with which he avowed his errors seemed to imply a confidence in his own power of redeeming them,—a consciousness that he could afford to be sincere. There was also, in such entire unreserve, a pledge that nothing worse remained behind; and the same quality that laid open the blemishes of his nature gave security for its honesty. “The cleanness and purity of one’s mind,” says
Pope, “is never better proved than in discovering its own faults, at first view; as when a stream shows the dirt at its bottom, it shows also the transparency of the water.”

The theatre was, at this time, his favourite place of resort. We have seen how enthusiastically he expresses himself on the subject of Mr. Kean’s acting, and it was frequently my good fortune, during this season, to share in his enjoyment of it,—the orchestra being, more than once, the place where, for a nearer view of the actor’s countenance, we took our station. For Kean’s benefit, on the 25th of May, a large party had been made by Lady J * *, to which we both belonged; but Lord Byron having also taken a box for the occasion, so anxious was he to enjoy the representation uninterrupted, that, by rather an unsocial arrangement, only himself and I occupied his box during the play, while every other in the house was crowded almost to suffocation; nor did we join the remainder of our friends till supper. Between the two parties, however, Mr. Kean had no reason to complain of a want of homage to his talents; as Lord J * *, on that occasion, presented him with a hundred pound share in the theatre; while Lord Byron sent him: next day, the sum of fifty guineas*; and, not long after, on seeing him act

* To such lengths did he, at this time, carry his enthusiasm for Kean, that when Miss O’Neil soon after appeared, and, by her matchless representation of feminine tenderness, attracted all eyes and hearts, he was not only a little jealous of her reputation, as interfering with that of his favourite, but, in order to guard himself against the risk of becoming a convert, refused to go to see her act. I endeavoured sometimes to persuade him into witnessing, at least, one of her

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 553
some of his favourite parts, made him presents of a handsome snuff-box and a costly Turkish sword.

Such effect had the passionate energy of Kean’s acting on his mind, that, once, in seeing him play Sir Giles Overreach, he was so affected as to be seized with a sort of convulsive fit; and we shall find him, some years after, in Italy, when the representation of Alfieri’s tragedy of Mirra had agitated him in the same violent manner, comparing the two instances as the only ones in his life when “any thing under reality” had been able to move him so powerfully.

The following are a few of the notes which I received from him during this visit to town.

“May 4th, 1814.
“Last night we supp’d at R—fe’s board, &c.*

* * * * * *

“I wish people would not shirk their dinners—ought it not to have been a dinner†?—and that d—d anchovy sandwich!

“That plaguy voice of yours made me sentimental, and almost fall in love with a girl who was recommending herself, during your song, by hating music. But the song is past, and my passion can wait, till the pucelle is more harmonious.

“Do you go to Lady Jersey’s to-night? It is a large party, and

performance but his answer was (punning upon Shakspeare’s word, “unanealed,”) “No—I’m resolved to continue un-Oneiled.

To the great queen of all actresses, however, it will be seen, by the following extract from one of his Journals, he rendered due justice.

“Of actors, Cooke was the most natural, Kemble the most supernatural,—Kean the medium between the two. But Mrs. Siddons was worth them all put together.”—Detached Thoughts.

* An epigram here followed which, as founded on a scriptural allusion, I thought it better to omit.

† We had been invited by Lord R. to dine after the play,—an arrangement which, from its novelty, delighted Lord Byron exceedingly. The dinner, however, afterwards dwindled into a mere supper, and this change was long a subject of jocular resentment with him.

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you won’t be bored into ‘softening rocks,’ and all that.
Othello is to-morrow and Saturday too. Which day shall we go? when shall I see you? If you call, let it be after three and as near four as you please. Ever, &c.”

“May 4th, 1814.

“Thou hast asked me for a song, and I enclose you an experiment, which has cost me something more than trouble, and is, therefore, less likely to be worth your taking any in your proposed setting*. Now, if it be so, throw it into the fire without phrase.

“Ever yours,
“I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name,
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame;
But the tear which now burns on my cheek may impart
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart.
“Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace
Were those hours—can their joy or their bitterness cease?
We repent—we abjure—we will break from our chain,—
We will part,—we will fly to-unite it again!
“Oh! thine be the gladness, and mine be the guilt!
Forgive me, adored one!—forsake, if thou wilt;—
But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased,
And man shall not break it—whatever thou mayst.

* I had begged of him to write something for me to set to music. The above verses have lately found their way into print, but through a channel not very likely to bring them into circulation. I shall, therefore, leave them here, undisturbed, in their natural position.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 555
“And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
This soul, in its bitterest blackness, shall be;
And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet,
With thee by my side, than with worlds at our feet.
“One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thy love,
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove;
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign
Thy lip shall reply, not to them, but to mine.

“Will you and Rogers come to my box at Covent, then? I shall be there, and none else—or I won’t be there, if you twain would like to go without me. You will not get so good a place hustling among the publican boxers, with damnable apprentices (six feet high) on a back row. Will you both oblige me and come—or one—or neither—or, what you will?

“P.S. An’ you will, I will call for you at half-past six, or any time of your own dial.”

“I have gotten a box for Othello to-night, and send the ticket for your friends the R—fes. I seriously recommend to you to recommend to them to go for half an hour, if only to see the third act—they will not easily have another opportunity. We—at least, I—cannot be there, so there will be no one in their way. Will you give or send it to them? it will come with a better grace from you than me.

“I am in no good plight, but will dine at * *’s with you, if I can. There is music and Covent-g.—Will you go, at all events, to my box there afterwards, to see a débût of a young 16* in the ‘Child of Nature?’”

* Miss Foote’s first appearance, which we witnessed together.

556 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
“Sunday matin.

Was not Iago perfection? particularly the last look. I was close to him (in the orchestra), and never saw an English countenance half so expressive. I am acquainted with no immaterial sensuality so delightful as good acting; and, as it is fitting there should be good plays, now and then, besides Shakspeare’s, I wish you or Campbell would write one:—the rest of ‘us youth’ have not heart enough.

“You were cut up in the Champion—is it not so? this day, so am I—even to shocking the editor. The critic writes well; and as, at present, poesy is not my passion predominant, and my snake of Aaron has swallowed up all the other serpents, I don’t feel fractious. I send you the paper, which I mean to take in for the future. We go to M.’s together. Perhaps I shall see you before, but don’t let me bore you, now nor ever.

“Ever, as now, truly and affectionately, &c.”

“May 5th, 1814.

“Do you go to the Lady Cahir’s this even? If you do—and whenever we are bound to the same follies—let us embark in the same ‘Shippe of Fooles.’ I have been up till five, and up at nine; and feel heavy with only winking for the last three or four nights.

“I lost my party and place at supper trying to keep out of the way of * * * *. I would have gone away altogether, but that would have appeared a worse affectation than t’other. You are of course engaged to dinner, or we may go quietly together to my box at Covent-garden, and afterwards to this assemblage. Why did you go away so soon?

“Ever, &c.

“P.S. Ought not R * * * fe’s supper to have been a dinner? Jackson is here, and I must fatigue myself into spirits.”

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 557
“May 18th, 1814.

“Thanks—and punctuality. What has passed at * * * * House? I suppose that I am to know, and ‘pars fui’ of the conference. I regret that your * * * *s will detain you so late, but I suppose you will be at Lady Jersey’s. I am going earlier with Hobhouse. You recollect that tomorrow we sup and see Kean.

“P.S. Two to-morrow is the hour of pugilism.”

The supper, to which he here looks forward, took place at Watier’s, of which club he had lately become a member; and, as it may convey some idea of his irregular mode of diet, and thus account, in part, for the frequent derangement of his health, I shall here attempt, from recollection, a description of his supper on this occasion. We were to have been joined by Lord R * *, who however did not arrive, and the party accordingly consisted but of ourselves. Having taken upon me to order the repast, and knowing that Lord Byron, for the last two days, had done nothing towards sustenance, beyond eating a few biscuits and (to appease appetite) chewing mastic, I desired that we should have a good supply of, at least, two kinds of fish. My companion, however, confined himself to lobsters, and of these finished two or three, to his own share, interposing, sometimes, a small liqueur-glass of strong white brandy, sometimes a tumbler of very hot water, and then pure brandy again, to the amount of near half a dozen small glasses of the latter, without which, alternately with the hot water, he appeared to think the lobster could not be digested. After this, we had claret, of which having despatched two bottles between us, at about four o’clock in the morning we parted.

As Pope has thought his “delicious lobster-nights” worth commemorating, these particulars of one in which Lord Byron was concerned may also have some interest.

Among other nights of the same description which I had the happiness of passing with him, I remember once, in returning home from some assembly at rather a late hour, we saw lights in the windows
558 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
of his old haunt Stevens’s, in Bond-street, and agreed to stop there and sup. On entering, we found an old friend of his, Sir G * * W * *, who joined our party, and the lobsters and brandy and water being put in requisition, it was (as usual on such occasions) broad daylight before we separated.

“May 23d, 1814.

“I must send you the Java government gazette of July 3d, 1813, just sent to me by Murray. Only think of our (for it is you and I) setting paper warriors in array in the Indian seas. Does not this sound like fame—something almost like posterity? It is something to have scribblers squabbling about us 5000 miles off, while we are agreeing so well at home. Bring it with you in your pocket;—it will make you laugh, as it hath me.

“Ever yours,

“P.S. Oh the anecdote! * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *.”

To the circumstance mentioned in this letter he recurs more than once in the Journals which he kept abroad; as thus, in a passage of his “Detached Thoughts,”—where it will be perceived that, by a trifling lapse of memory, he represents himself as having produced this gazette for the first time, on our way to dinner.

“In the year 1814, as Moore and I were going to dine with Lord Grey in Portman-square, I pulled out a ‘Java Gazette’ (which Murray had sent to me), in which there was a controversy on our respective merits as poets. It was amusing enough that we should be proceeding peaceably to the same table while they were squabbling about us in the Indian was (to be sure, the paper was dated six months before), and filling columns with Batavian criticism. But this is fame, I presume.”

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 559

The following Poem, written about this time and, apparently, for the purpose of being recited at the Caledonian Meeting, I insert principally on account of the warm feeling which it breathes towards Scotland and her sons:—

“Who hath not glow’d above the page where Fame
Hath fix’d high Caledon’s unconquer’d name;
The mountain-land which spurn’d the Roman chain,
And baffled back the fiery-crested Dane,
Whose bright claymore and hardihood of hand
No foe could tame—no tyrant could command.
“That race is gone—but still their children breathe,
And glory crowns them with redoubled wreath:
O’er Gael and Saxon mingling banners shine,
And, England! add their stubborn strength to thine.
The blood which flow’d with Wallace flows as free,
But now ‘tis only shed for Fame and thee!
Oh! pass not by the Northern veteran’s claim,
But give support—the world hath given him fame!
“The humbler ranks, the lowly brave, who bled
While cheerly following where the mighty led—
Who sleep beneath the undistinguish’d sod
Where happier comrades in their triumph trod,
To us bequeath—’tis all their fate allows—
The sireless offspring and the lonely spouse:
She on high Albyn’s dusky hills may raise
The tearful eye in melancholy gaze,
Or view, while shadowy auguries disclose
The Highland seer’s anticipated woes,
The bleeding phantom of each martial form
Dim in the cloud, or darkling in the storm;
While sad, she chants the solitary song,
The soft lament for him who tarries long—
For him, whose distant relics vainly crave
The Coronach’s wild requiem to the brave!
“’Tis Heaven—not man—must charm away the woe
Which bursts when Nature’s feelings newly flow;
Yet tenderness and time may rob the tear
Of half its bitterness for one so dear:
560 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
A nation’s gratitude perchance may spread
A thornless pillow for the widow’d head;
May lighten well her heart’s maternal care,
And wean from penury the soldier’s heir.”
“May 31st, 1814.

“As I shall probably not see you here to-day, I write to request that, if not inconvenient to yourself, you will stay in town till Sunday; if not to gratify me, yet to please a great many others, who will be very sorry to lose you. As for myself, I can only repeat that I wish you would either remain a long time with us, or not come at all; for these snatches of society make the subsequent separations bitterer than ever.

“I believe you think that I have not been quite fair with that Alpha and Omega of beauty, &c. with whom you would willingly have united me. But if you consider what her sister said on the subject, you will less wonder that my pride should have taken the alarm; particularly as nothing but the every-day flirtation of every-day people ever occurred between your heroine and myself. Had Lady * * appeared to wish it—or even not to oppose it—I would have gone on, and very possibly married (that is, if the other had been equally accordant) with the same indifference which has frozen over the ‘Black Sea’ of almost all my passions. It is that very indifference which makes me so uncertain and apparently capricious. It is not eagerness of new pursuits, but that nothing impresses me sufficiently to fix; neither do I feel disgusted, but simply indifferent to almost all excitements. The proof of this is, that obstacles, the slightest even, stop me. This can hardly be timidity, for I have done some impudent things too, in my time; and in almost all cases, opposition is a stimulus. In mine, it is not; if a straw were in my way, I could not stoop to pick it up.

“I have sent this long tirade. because I would not have you suppose that I have been trifling designedly with you or others. If you think so, in the name of St. Hubert (the patron of antlers and hunters) let me be
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 561
married out of hand—I don’t care to whom, so that it amuses any body else, and don’t interfere with me much in the daytime.

“June 14th, 1814.

“I could be very sentimental now, but I won’t. The truth is, that I have been all my life trying to harden my heart, and have not yet quite succeeded—though there are great hopes—and you do not know how it sunk with your departure. What adds to my regret is having seen so little of you during your stay in this crowded desert, where one ought to be able to bear thirst like a camel,—the springs are so few, and most of them so muddy.

“The newspapers will tell you all that is to be told of emperors, &c.* They have dined, and supped, and shown their flat faces in all

* In a few days after this, he sent me a long rhyming Epistle full of jokes and pleasantries upon every thing and every one around him, of which the following are the only parts producible.

“‘What say I?’—not a syllabic further in prose;
I’m your man ‘of all measures,’ dear Tom,—so, here goes!
Here goes, for a swim on the stream of old Time,
On these buoyant supporters, the bladders of rhyme—
If our weight breaks them down, and we sink in the flood,
We are smother’d, at least, in respectable mud,
Where the Divers of Bathos lie drown’d in a heap,
And S * *’s last Paen has pillow’d his sleep;—
That ‘Felo de se’ who, half drunk with his malmsy,
Walk’d out of his depth and was lost in a calm sea,
Ringing ‘Glory to God’ in a spick end span stanza,
The like (since Tom Sternhold was choked) never man saw.
“The papers have told you, no doubt, of the fusses,
The fêtes, and the gapings to get at those Russes,—
Of his Majesty’s suite, up from coachman to Hetman,—
And what dignity decks the flat face of the great man.

562 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
thoroughfares, and several saloons. Their uniforms are very becoming, but rather short in the skirts; and their conversation is a catechism, for which and the answers I refer you to those who have heard it.

“I think of leaving town for Newstead soon. If so, I shall not be remote from your recess, and (unless Mrs. M. detains you at home over the caudle-cup and a new cradle) we will meet. You shall come to me, or I to you, as you like it;—but meet we will. An invitation from Aston has reached me, but I do not think I shall go. I have also heard of * * *—I should like to see her again, for I have not met her for years; and though ‘the light that ne’er can shine again’ is set, I do not know that ‘one dear mile like those of old’ might not make me for a moment forget the ‘dulness’ of ‘life’s stream.’

“I am going to R * *’s to-night—to one of those suppers which ‘ought to be dinners.’ I have hardly seen her, and never him, since you set out. I told you, you were the last link of that chain. As for we have not syllabled one another’s names since. The post will not permit me to continue my scrawl. More anon.

“Ever, dear Moore, &c.

“P.S. Keep the Journal*, I care not what becomes of it, and if it has amused you, I am glad that I kept it. ‘Lara’ is finished. and I am copying him for my third vol., now collecting;—but no separate publication.”

I saw him, last week, at two balls and a party,—
For a prince, his demeanour was rather too hearty.
You know, we are used to quite different graces,
* * * * *
“The Czar’s look, I own, was much brighter and brisker,
But then he is sadly deficient in whisker;
And wore but starless blue coat, and in kersey-
meer breeches whisk’d round, in a waltz with the J * *,
Who, lovely as ever, seem’d just as delighted
With majesty’s presence as those she invited.”
* * * * *
* * * * *

* The Journal from which I have given extracts in the preceding pages

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 563
“June 14th, 1814.

“I return your packet of this morning. Have you heard that Bertrand has returned to Paris with the account of Napoleon’s having lost his senses? It is a report; but, if true, I must, like Mr. Fitzgerald and Jeremiah (of lamentable memory) lay claim to prophecy; that is to say, of saying, that he ought to go out of his senses, in the penultimate stanza of a certain Ode,—the which, having been pronounced nonsense by several profound critics, has a still further pretension, by its unintelligibility, to inspiration.

“Ever, &c.”
“June 19th, 1814.

“I am always obliged to trouble you with my awkwardnesses, and now I have a fresh one. Mr. W.* called on me several times, and I have missed the honour of making his acquaintance, which I regret, but which you, who know my desultory and uncertain habits, will not wonder at, and will, I am sure, attribute to any thing but a wish to offend a person who has shown me much kindness, and possesses character and talents entitled to general respect. My mornings are late, and passed in fencing and boxing, and a variety of most unpoetical exercises, very wholesome, &c. but would be very disagreeable to my friends, whom I am obliged to exclude during their operation. I never go out till the evening, and I have not been fortunate enough to meet Mr. W. at Lord Lansdowne’s or Lord Jersey’s, where I had hoped to pay him my respects.

“I would have written to him, but a few words from you will go further than all the apologetical sesquipedalities I could muster on the

* Mr. Wrangham.

564 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
occasion. It is only to say that, without intending it, I contrive to behave very ill to every body, and am very sorry for it.

The following undated notes to Mr Rogers must have been written about the same time.

Your non-attendance at Corinne’s is very apropos, as I was on the eve of sending you an excuse. I do not feel well enough to go there this evening, and have been obliged to despatch an apology. I believe I need not add one for not accepting Mr. Sheridan’s invitation on Wednesday, which I fancy both you and I understood in the same sense:—with him the saying of Mirabeau, that ‘words are things,’ is not to be taken literally.

“Ever, &c.”

“I will call for you at a quarter before seven, if that will suit you. I return you Sir Proteus*, and shall merely add in return, as Johnson said of, and to, somebody or other, ‘Are we alive after all this censure?’

“Believe me, &c.”

Sheridan was yesterday, at first, too sober to remember your invitation, but in the dregs of the third bottle he fished up his memory. The Staël out-talked Whitbread, was ironed by Sheridan, confounded Sir Humphry, and utterly perplexed your slave. The rest (great names in the red book, nevertheless) were mere segments of the circle. Ma’mselle danced a Russ saraband with great vigour, grace, and expression.

“Ever, &c.”

* A satirical pamphlet, in which all the writers of the day were attacked.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 565
“June 21st, 1814.

“I suppose ‘Lara’ is gone to the devil,—which is no great matter, only let me know, that I may be saved the trouble of copying the rest, and put the first part into the fire. I really have no anxiety about it, and shall not be sorry to be saved the copying, which goes on very slowly, and may prove to you that you may speak out—or I should be less sluggish. “Yours, &c.”

“June 27th, 1814.

“You could not have made me a more acceptable present than Jacqueline,—she is all grace, and softness, and poetry; there is so much of the last, that we do not feel the want of story, which is simple, yet enough. I wonder that you do not oftener unbend to more of the same kind. I have some sympathy with the softer affections, though very little in my way, and no one can depict them so truly and successfully as yourself. I have half a mind to pay you in kind, or rather unkind, for I have just ‘supped full of horror’ in two Cantos of darkness and dismay.

“Do you go to Lord Essex’s to-night? if so, will you let me call for you at your own hour? I dined with Holland-house yesterday at Lord Cowper’s; my lady very gracious, which she can be more than any one when she likes. I was not sorry to see them again, for I can’t forget that they have been very kind to me.

“Ever yours most truly,

“P.S. Is there any chance or possibility of making it up with Lord Carlisle, as I feel disposed to do any thing reasonable or unreasonable to effect it? I would before, but for the ‘Courier,’ and the possible misconstructions at such a time. Perpend, pronounce.”

566 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.

On my return to London, for a short time, at the beginning of July, I found his Poem of “Lara,” which he had begun at the latter end of May, in the hands of the printer, and nearly ready for publication. He had, before I left town, repeated to me, as we were on our way to some evening party, the first hundred and twenty lines of the Poem, which he had written the day before,—at the same time giving me a general sketch of the characters and the story.

His short notes to Mr. Murray, during the printing of this work, are of the same impatient and whimsical character as those, of which I have already given specimens, in my account of his preceding publications: but, as matter of more interest now presses upon us, I shall forbear from transcribing them at length. In one of them he says, “I have just corrected some of the most horrible blunders that ever crept into a proof:”—in another, “I hope the next proof will be better; this was one which would have consoled Job, if it had been of his ‘enemy’s book:’”—a third contains only the following words: “Dear sir, you demanded more battle—there it is. Yours, &c.”

The two letters that immediately follow were addressed to me, at this time, in town.

“July 8th, 1814.

“I returned to town last night, and had some hopes of seeing you to-day, and would have called,—but I have been (though in exceeding distempered good health) a little head-achy with free living, as it is called, and am now at the freezing point of returning soberness. Of course, I should be sorry that our parallel lines did not deviate into intersection before you return to the country,—after that same nonsuit*, whereof the papers have told us,—but, as you must be much occupied,

* He alludes to an action for piracy brought by Mr. Power (the publisher of my musical works), to the trial of which I had been summoned as a witness.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 567
I won’t be affronted, should your time and business militate against our meeting.

Rogers and I have almost coalesced into a joint invasion of the public. Whether it will take place or not, I do not yet know, and I am afraid Jacqueline (which is very beautiful) will be in bad company*. But, in this case, the lady will not be the sufferer.

“I am going to the sea, and then to Scotland; and I have been doing nothing,—that is, no good,—and am very truly, &c.”

“I suppose, by your non-appearance, that the philasophy of my note, and the previous silence of the writer, have put or kept you in humeur. Never mind—it is hardly worth while.

“This day have I received information from my man of law of the non—and never likely to be—performance of purchase by Mr. Claughton, of impecuniary memory. He don’t know what to do, or when to pay; and so all my hopes and worldly projects and prospects are gone to the devil. He (the purchaser, and the devil too, for aught I care) and I, and my legal advisers, are to meet to-morrow,—the said purchaser having first taken special care to inquire ‘whether I would meet him with temper?’—Certainly. The question is this—I shall either have the estate back, which is as good as ruin, or I shall go on with him dawdling. which is rather worse. I have brought my pigs to a Mussulman market. If I had but a wife now, and children, of whose paternity I entertained doubts, I should be happy, or rather fortunate, as Candide or Scarmentado. In the mean time, if you don’t come and see me, I shall think that Sam’s bank is broke too; and that you, having assets there, are despairing of more than a piastre in the pound for your dividend.

“Ever, &c.

* Lord Byron afterwards proposed that I should make a third in this publication; but the honour was a perilous one, and I begged leave to decline it.

568 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
“July 11, 1814.

“You shall have one of the pictures. I wish you to send the proof of ‘Lara’ to Mr. Moore, 33, Bury-street, to-night, as he leaves town tomorrow, and wishes to see it before he goes*; and I am also willing to have the benefit of his remarks.

“Yours, &c.”
“July 18th, 1814.

“I think you will be satisfied even to repletion with our northern friends†, and I won’t deprive you longer of what I think will give you pleasure: for my own part, my modesty, or my vanity, must be silent.

“P.S. If you could spare it for an hour in the evening, I wish you to send it up to Mrs. Leigh, your neighbour, at the London Hotel, Albemarle-street.”

“July 23, 1814.

“I am sorry to say that the print‡ is by no means approved of by those who have seen it, who are pretty conversant with the original, as well as the picture from whence it is taken. I rather suspect that it is

* In a note which I wrote to him, before starting, next day, I find the following.—“I got Lara at three o’clock this morning—read him before I slept, and was enraptured. I take the proofs with me.”

† He here refers to an article in the number of the Edinburgh Review, just then published (No. 45), on the Corsair and Bride of Abydos.

‡ An engraving by Agar from Phillip’s portrait of him.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 569
from the copy, and not the exhibited portrait, and in this dilemma would recommend a suspension, if not an abandonment, of the prefixion to the volumes which you purpose inflicting upon the public.

“With regard to Lara, don’t be in any hurry. I have not yet made up my mind on the subject, nor know what to think or do till I hear from you; and Mr. Moore appeared to me in a similar state of indetermination. I do not know that it may not be better to reserve it for the entire publication you proposed, and not adventure in hardy singleness, or even backed by the fairy Jacqueline. I have been seized with all kinds of doubts, &c. &c. since I left London.

“Pray let me hear from you, and believe me, &c.”

“July 24th, 1814.

“The minority must, in this case, carry it, so pray let it be so, for I don’t care sixpence for any of the opinions you mention, on such a subject; and P * * must be a dunce to agree with them. For my own part, I have no objection at all; but Mrs. Leigh and my cousin must be better judges of the likeness than others; and they hate it; and so I won’t have it at all.

Mr. Hobhouse is right as for his conclusion; but I deny the premises. The name only is Spanish*; the country is not Spain, but the Morea.

Waverley is the best and most interesting novel I have redde since—I don’t know when. I like it as much as I hate * *, and * *, and * *, and all the feminine trash of the last four months. Besides, it is all easy to me, I have been in Scotland so much (though then young enough too), and feel at home with the people, Lowland and Gael.

“A note will correct what Mr. Hobhouse thinks an error (about the feudal system in Spain);—it is not Spain. If he puts a few words of prose any where, it will set all right.

* Alluding to Lara.

570 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.

“I have been ordered to town to vote. I shall disobey. There is no good in so much prating, since ‘certain issues strokes should arbitrate.’ If you have any thing to say, let me hear from you.

“Yours, &c.”
“August 3d, 1814.

“It is certainly a little extraordinary that you have not sent the Edinburgh Review, as I requested, and hoped it would not require a note a day to remind you. I see advertisements of Lara and Jacqueline; pray, why? when I requested you to postpone publication till my return to town.

“I have a most amusing epistle from the Ettrick bard—Hogg; in which, speaking of his bookseller, whom he denominates the ‘shabbiest’ of the trade for not ‘lifting his bills,’ he adds, in so many words, ‘G—d d—n him and them both.’ This is a pretty prelude to asking you to adopt him (the said Hogg); but this he wishes; and if you please, you and I will talk it over. He has a poem ready for the press (and your bills too, if ‘liftable’), and bestows some benedictions on Mr. Moore for his abduction of Lara from the forthcoming Miscellany*.

“P.S. Sincerely, I think Mr. Hogg would suit you very well; and surely he is a man of great powers, and deserving of encouragement. I must knock out a Tale for him, and you should at all events consider before you reject his suit. Scott is gone to the Orkneys in a gale of wind, and Hogg says that, during the said gale, ‘he is sure that Scott is not quite at his ease, to say the best of it.’ Ah! I wish these home-keeping bards could taste a Mediterranean white squall, or the Gut in a gale of wind, or even the Bay of Biscay with no wind at all.”

* Mr. Hogg had been led to hope that he should be permitted to insert this Poem in a Miscellany which he had at this time some thoughts of publishing; and whatever advice I may have given against such a mode of disposing of the work arose certainly not from any ill-will to this ingenious and remarkable man, but from a consideration of what I thought most advantageous to the fame of Lord Byron.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 571
“Hastings, August 3d, 1814.

“By the time this reaches your dwelling, I shall (God wot) be in town again probably. I have been here renewing my acquaintance with my old friend Ocean; and I find his bosom as pleasant a pillow for an hour in the morning as his daughter’s of Paphos could be in the twilight. I have been swimming and eating turbot, and smuggling neat brandies and silk handkerchiefs,—and listening to my friend Hodgson’s raptures about a pretty wife-elect of his,—and walking on cliffs, and tumbling down hills, and making the most of the ‘dolce far-niente’ for the last fortnight. I met a son of Lord Erskine’s, who says he has been married a year, and is the ‘happiest of men;’ and I have met the aforesaid H., who is also the ‘happiest of men;’ so, it is worth while being here, if only to witness the superlative felicity of these foxes, who have cut off their tails, and would persuade the rest to part with their brushes to keep them in countenance.

“It rejoiceth me that you like ‘Lara.’ Jeffrey is out with his 45th Number, which I suppose you have got. He is only too kind to me, in my share of it, and I begin to fancy myself a golden pheasant, upon the strength of the plumage wherewith he hath bedecked me. But then, ‘surgit amari,’ &c.—the gentlemen of the Champion, and Perry, have got hold (I know not how) of the condolatory address to Lady J. on the picture-abduction by our R * * *, and have published them—with my name, too, smack—without even asking leave, or inquiring whether or no! d—n their impudence, and d—n every thing. It has put me out of patience, and so, I shall say no more about it.

“You shall have Lara and Jacque (both with some additions) when out; but I am still demurring and delaying, and in a fuss, and so is R. in his way.

“Newstead is to be mine again. Claughton forfeits twenty-five thousand pounds; but that don’t prevent me from being very prettily
572 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
ruined. I mean to bury myself there—and let my beard grow—and hate you all.

“Oh! I have had the most amusing letter from Hogg, the Ettrick minstrel and shepherd. He wants me to recommend him to Murray, and, speaking of his present bookseller, whose ‘bills’ are never ‘lifted,’ he adds, totidem verbis, ‘God d—n him and them both.’ I laughed, and so would you too, at the way in which this execration is introduced. The said Hogg is a strange being, but of great, though uncouth, powers. I think very highly of him, as a poet; but he, and half of these Scotch and Lake troubadours, are spoilt by living in little circles and petty societies. London and the world is the only place to take the conceit out of a man—in the milling phrase. Scott, he says, is gone to the Orkneys in a gale of wind;—during which wind, he affirms, the said Scott, ‘he is sure, is not at his ease,—to say the best of it.’ Lord, Lord, if these home-keeping minstrels had crossed your Atlantic or my Mediterranean, and tasted a little open boating in a white squall—or a gale in ‘the Gut’—or the ‘Bay of Biscay,’ with no gale at all—how it would enliven and introduce them to a few of the sensations!—to say nothing of an illicit amour or two upon shore, in the way of essay upon the Passions, beginning with simple adultery, and compounding it as they went along.

“I have forwarded your letter to Murray,—by the way, you had addressed it to Miller. Pray write to me, and say what art thou doing? ‘Not finished!’—Oons! how is this?—these ‘flaws and starts’ must be ‘authorised by your grandam,’ and are unbecoming of any other author. I was sorry to hear of your discrepancy with the * * s, or rather, your abjuration of agreement. I don’t want to be impertinent, or buffoon on a serious subject, and am therefore at a loss what to say.

“I hope nothing will induce you to abate from the proper price of your poem, as long as there is a prospect of getting it. For my own part, I have, seriously, and not whiningly (for that is not my way—at least, it used not to be) neither hopes, nor prospects, and scarcely even wishes. I am, in same respects, happy, but not in a manner that can or ought to last,—but enough of that. The worst of it is, I feel quite enervated and indifferent. I really do not know, if Jupiter were to offer me my choice of
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 573
the contents of his benevolent cask, what I would pick out of it. If I was born, as the nurses say, with a ‘silver spoon in my mouth,’ it has stuck in my throat, and spoiled my palate, so that nothing put into it is swallowed with much relish,—unless it be cayenne. However, I have grievances enough to occupy me that way too;—but for fear of adding to yours by this pestilent long diatribe, I postpone the reading them, sine die. Ever, dear M., yours, &c.

“P.S. Don’t forget my godson. You could not have fixed on a fitter porter for his sins than me, being used to carry double without inconvenience.” * * * * * * *

“August 4th, 1814.

“Not having received the slightest answer to my last three letters, nor the book (the last number of the Edinburgh Review) which they requested, I presume that you were the unfortunate person who perished in the pagoda on Monday last, and address this rather to your executors than yourself, regretting that you should have had the ill-luck to be the sole victim on that joyous occasion.

“I beg leave then to inform these gentlemen (whoever they may be) that I am a little surprised at the previous neglect of the deceased, and also at observing an advertisement of an approaching publication on Saturday next, against the which I protested, and do protest, for the present.

“Yours (or theirs), &c.
“August 5th, 1814.

The Edinburgh Review is arrived—thanks. I enclose Mr. Hobhouse’s letter, from which you will perceive the work you have made. However, I have done: you must send my rhymes to the devil your own way. It seems also that the ‘faithful and spirited likeness’ is another of
574 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
your publications. I wish you joy of it; but it is no likeness—that is the point. Seriously, if I have delayed your journey to Scotland, I am sorry that you carried your complaisance so far; particularly as upon trifles you have a more summary method;—witness the grammar of Hobhouse’s ‘bit of prose,’ which has put him and me into a fever.

Hogg must translate his own words: ‘lifting’ is a quotation from his letter, together with ‘God d—n,’ &c., which I suppose requires no translation.

“I was unaware of the contents of Mr. Moore’s letter; I think your offer very handsome, but of that you and he must judge. If he can get more, you won’t wonder that he should accept it.

“Out with Lara, since it must be. The tome looks pretty enough—on the outside. I shall be in town next week, and in the mean time wish you a pleasant journey.

Yours, &c.”
“August 12th, 1814.

“I was not alone, nor will be while I can help it. Newstead is not yet decided. Claughton is to make a grand effort by Saturday week to complete,—if not, he must give up twenty-five thousand pounds, and the estate, with expenses, &c. &c. If I resume the Abbacy, you shall have due notice, and a cell set apart for your reception, with a pious welcome. Rogers, I have not seen, but Larry and Jacky came out a few days ago. Of their effect, I know nothing.

* * * * * *

“There is something very amusing in your being an Edinburgh Reviewer. You know, I suppose, that T * * is none of the placidest, and may possibly enact some tragedy on being told that he is only a fool. If, now, Jeffrey were to be slain on account of an article of yours, there would be a fine conclusion. For my part, as Mrs. Winifred Jenkins says, ‘he has done the handsome thing by me,’ particularly in his last number; so, he is the best of men and the ablest of critics, and I won’t
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 575
have him killed,—though I dare say many wish he were, for being so good-humoured.

“Before I left Hastings, I got in a passion with an ink-bottle, which I flung out of the window one night with a vengeance;—and what then? why, next morning I was horrified. by seeing that it had struck, and split upon, the petticoat of Euterpe’s graven image in the garden, and grimed her as if it were on purpose. Only think of my distress,—and the epigrams that might be engendered on the Muse and her misadventure.

“I had an adventure, almost as ridiculous, at some private theatricals near Cambridge—though of a different description—since I saw you last. I quarrelled with a man in the dark for asking me who I was (insolently enough, to be sure), and followed him into the green-room (a stable) in a rage, amongst a set of people I never saw before. He turned out to be a low comedian, engaged to act with the amateurs, and to be a civil-spoken man enough, when he found out that nothing very pleasant was to be got by rudeness. But you would have been amused with the row, and the dialogue, and the dress—or rather the undress—of the party, where I had introduced myself in a devil of a hurry, and the astonishment that ensued. I had gone out of the theatre, for coolness, into the garden;—there I had tumbled over some dogs, and, coming away from them in very ill-humour, encountered the man in a worse, which produced all this confusion.

“Well—and why don’t you ‘launch?’—Now is your time. The people are tolerably tired with me, and not very much enamoured of * *, who has just spawned a quarto of metaphysical blank verse; which is nevertheless only a part of a poem.

Murray talks of divorcing Larry and Jacky—a bad sign for the authors, who, I suppose, will be divorced too, and throw the blame upon one another. Seriously, I don’t care a cigar about it, and I don’t see why Sam should.

* His servant had brought him up a large jar of ink, into which, not supposing it to be full, he had thrust his pen down to the very bottom. Enraged, on finding it come out all smeared with ink, he flung the bottle out of the window into the garden, where it lighted, as here described, upon one of eight leaden Muses, that had been imported, some time before, from Holland,—the ninth having been, by some accident, left behind.

576 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.

Let me hear from and of you and my godson. If a daughter, the name will do quite as well. * * * *

“Ever, &c.”
“August 13th, 1814.

“I wrote yesterday to Mayfield, and have just now enfranked your letter to mamma. My stay in town is so uncertain (not later than next week) that your packets for the north may not reach me; and as I know not exactly where I am going—however, Newstead is my most probable destination, and if you send your despatches before Tuesday, I can forward them to our new ally. But, after that day, you had better not trust to their arrival in time.

* * has been exiled from Paris, on dit, for saying the Bourbons were old women. The Bourbons, might have been content, I think, with returning the compliment. * * * *

“I told you all about Jacky and Larry yesterday;—they are to be separated,—at least, so says the grand M., and I know no more of the matter. Jeffrey has done me more than ‘justice;’ but as to tragedy—um!—I have no time for fiction at present. A man cannot paint a storm with the vessel under bare poles, on a lee-shore. When I get to land, I will try what is to be done, and, if I founder, there be plenty of mine elders and betters to console Melpomene.

“When at Newstead, you must come over, if only for a day—should Mrs. M. be exigeante of your presence. The place is worth seeing, as a ruin, and I can assure you there was some fun there, even in my time; but that is past. The ghosts*, however, and the gothics, and the waters, and the desolation, make it very lively still.

“Ever, dear Tom, yours, &c.”

* It was, if I mistake not, during his recent visit to Newstead, that he himself actually fancied he saw the ghost of the Black Friar, which was supposed to have haunted the Abbey from the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, and which he thus describes, from the recollection perhaps of his own fantasy, in Don Juan:—

“It was no mouse, but, lo! a monk, array’d
In cowl and beads and dusky garb, appear’d,

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 577
“Newstead Abbey, September 2d, 1814.

“I am obliged by what you have sent, but would rather not see any thing of the kind*; we have had enough of these things already, good and bad, and next month you need not trouble yourself to collect even the higher generation—on my account. It gives me much pleasure to hear of Mr. Hobhouse’s and Mr. Merivale’s good entreatment by the journals you mention.

“I still think Mr. Hogg and yourself might make out an alliance. Dodsley’s was, I believe, the last decent thing of the kind, and his had great success in its day, and lasted several years; but then he had the double advantage of editing and publishing. The Spleen, and several of Gray’s odes, much of Shenstone, and many others of good repute, made their first appearance in his collection. Now, with the support of Scott, Wordsworth, Southey, &c., I see little reason why you should not do as well; and if once fairly established, you would have assistance from the youngsters, I dare say. Stratford Canning (whose ‘Buonaparte’ is excellent), and many others, and Moore, and Hobhouse, and I, would try a fall now and then (if permitted), and you might coax Campbell, too, into it. By the by, he has an unpublished (though printed) poem on a scene in Germany (Bavaria, I think), which I saw last year, that is perfectly magnificent, and equal to himself. I wonder he don’t publish it.

“Oh!—do you recollect S * *, the engraver’s, mad letter about not

Now in the moonlight, and now lapsed in shade,
With steps that trod as heavy, yet unheard:
His garments only a slight murmur made;
He moved as shadowy as the sisters weird,
But slowly; and as he pass’d Juan by,
Glanced, without pausing, on him a bright eye.”

It is said, that the Newstead ghost appeared, also, to Lord Byron’s cousin, Miss Fanny Parkins, and that she made a sketch of him from memory.

* The reviews and magazines of the month.

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Phillip’s picture of Lord Foley? (as he blundered it); well, I have traced it, I think. It seems, by the papers, a preacher of Johanna Southcote’s is named Foley; and I can no way account for the said S * *’s confusion of words and ideas, but by that of his head’s running on Johanna and her apostles. It was a mercy he did not say Lord Tozer. You know, of course, that S * * is a believer in this new (old) virgin of spiritual impregnation.

“I long to know what she will produce*: her being with child at sixty-five is indeed a miracle, but her getting any one to beget it, a greater.

“If you were not going to Paris or Scotland, I could send you some game: if you remain, let me know.

“P.S. A word or two of ‘Lara,’ which your enclosure brings before me. It is of no great promise separately; but, as connected with the other tales, it will do very well for the volumes you mean to publish. I would recommend this arrangement—Childe Harold, the smaller Poems, Giaour, Bride, Corsair, Lara; the last completes the series, and its very likeness renders it necessary to the others. Cawthorne writes that they are publishing English Bards in Ireland: pray inquire into this; because it must be stopped.”

“Newstead Abbey, Sept. 7th, 1814.

“I should think Mr. Hogg, for his own sake as well as yours, would be ‘critical’ as Iago himself in his editorial capacity; and that such a publication would answer his purpose, and yours too, with tolerable management. You should, however, have a good number to start with—I mean, good in quality; in these days, there can be little fear of not coming up to the mark in quantity. There must be many ‘fine

* The following characteristic note, in reference to this passage, appears, in Mr. Gifford’s handwriting, on the copy of the above letter:—“It is a pity that Lord B. was ignorant of Jonson. The old poet has a Satire on the Court Pucelle that would have supplied him with some pleasantry on Joanna’s pregnancy.”

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 579
things’ in
Wordsworth; but I should think it difficult to make six quartos (the amount of the whole) all fine, particularly the pedlar’s portion of the poem; but there can be no doubt of his powers to do almost any thing.

“I am ‘very idle.’ I have read the few books I had with me, and been forced to fish, for lack of argument. I have caught a great many perch and some carp, which is a comfort, as one would not lose one’s labour willingly.

“Pray, who corrects the press of your volumes? I hope ‘The Corsair’ is printed from the copy I corrected with the additional lines in the first Canto, and some notes from Sismondi and Lavater, which I gave you to add thereto. The arrangement is very well.

“My cursed people have not sent my papers since Sunday, and I have lost Johanna’s divorce from Jupiter. Who hath gotten her with prophet? Is it Sharpe? and how? * * * * * * I should like to buy one of her seals: if salvation can be had at half-a-guinea a head, the landlord of the Crown and Anchor should be ashamed of himself for charging double for tickets to a mere terrestrial banquet. I am afraid, seriously, that these matters will lend a sad handle to your profane scoffers, and give a loose to much damnable laughter.

“I have not seen Hunt’s Sonnets nor Descent of Liberty: he has chosen a pretty place wherein to compose the last. Let me hear from you before you embark. Ever, &c.”

“Newstead Abbey, September 15, 1814.

“This is the fourth letter I have begun to you within the month. Whether I shall finish or not, or burn it like the rest, I know not. When we meet, I will explain why I have not written—why I have not asked you here, as I wished—with a great many other whys and wherefores, which will keep cold. In short, you must excuse all my seeming omissions and commissions, and grant me more remission than St Athanasius will to yourself, if you lop off a single shred of mystery from
580 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
his pious puzzle. It is my creed (and it may be
St. Athanasius’s too) that your article on T * * will get somebody killed, and that, on the Saints, get him d—d afterwards, which will be quite enow for one number. Oons, Tom! you must not meddle just now with the incomprehensible; for if Johanna Southcote turns out to be * * *

* * * * * *

“Now for a little egotism. My affairs stand thus. To-morrow, I shall know whether a circumstance of importance enough to change many of my plans will occur or not. If it does not, I am off for Italy next month, and London, in the mean time, next week. I have got back Newstead and twenty-five thousand pounds (out of twenty-eight paid already),—as a ‘sacrifice,’ the late purchaser calls it, and he may choose his own name. I have paid some of my debts, and contracted others; but I have a few thousand pounds, which I can’t spend after my own heart in this climate, and so, I shall go back to the south. Hobhouse, I think and hope, will go with me; but, whether he will or not, I shall. I want to see Venice, and the Alps, and Parmesan cheeses, and look at the coast of Greece, or rather Epirus, from Italy, as I once did—or fancied I did—that of Italy, when off Corfu. All this, however, depends upon an event, which may, or may not, happen. Whether it will, I shall know probably to-morrow, and, if it does, I can’t well go abroad at present.

“Pray pardon this parenthetical scrawl. You shall hear from me again soon;—I don’t call this an answer.

“Ever most affectionately, &c.”

The “circumstance of importance,” to which he alludes in this letter, was his second proposal for Miss Milbanke, of which he was now waiting the result. His own account, in his Memoranda, of the circumstances that led to this step is, in substance, as far as I can trust my recollection, as follows. A person, who had for some time stood high in his affection and confidence, observing how cheerless and unsettled was the state both of his mind and prospects, advised him strenuously to marry; and, after much discussion, he consented. The next point for consideration was—who was to be the object of his choice; and while his friend mentioned
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 581
one lady, he himself named Miss Milbanke. To this, however, his adviser strongly objected,—remarking to him, that Miss Milbanke had at present no fortune, and that his embarrassed affairs would not allow him to marry without one; that she was, moreover, a learned lady, which would not at all suit him. In consequence of these representations, he agreed that his friend should write a proposal for him to the other lady named, which was accordingly done;—and an answer, containing a refusal, arrived as they were, one morning, sitting together. “You see,” said Lord Byron, “that, after all, Miss Milbanke is to be the person;—I will write to her.” He accordingly wrote on the moment, and, as soon as he had finished, his friend, remonstrating still strongly against his choice, took up the letter,—but, on reading it over, observed, “Well, really, this is a very pretty letter;—it is a pity it should not go. I never read a prettier one.” “Then it shall go,” said Lord Byron, and in so saying, sealed and sent off, on the instant, this fiat of his fate.

“Nd., September 15th, 1814.

“I have written to you one letter to-night, but must send you this much more, as I have not franked my number, to say that I rejoice in my god-daughter, and will send her a coral and bells, which I hope she will accept, the moment I get back to London.

“My head is at this moment in a state of confusion, from various causes, which I can neither describe nor explain—but let that pass. My employments have been very rural—fishing, shooting, bathing, and boating. Books I have but few here, and those I have read ten times over, till sick of them. So, I have taken to breaking soda water bottles with my pistols, and jumping into the water, and rowing over it, and firing at the fowls of the air. But why should I ‘monster my nothings’ to you, who are well employed, and happily too, I should hope. For my part, I am happy too, in my way—but, as usual, have contrived to get into three or four perplexities, which I do not see my way through. But a few days, perhaps a day, will determine one of them.

582 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.

“You do not say a word to me of your Poem. I wish I could see or hear it. I neither could, nor would, do it or its author any harm. I believe I told you of Larry and Jacquy. A friend of mine was reading—at least a friend of his was reading—said Larry and Jacquy in a Brighton coach. A passenger took up the book and queried as to the author. The proprietor said ‘there were two’—to which the answer of the unknown was, ‘Ay, ay—a joint concern, I suppose, summot like Sternhold and Hopkins.’

“Is not this excellent? I would not have missed the ‘vile comparison’ to have scaped being one of the ‘Arcades ambo et cantare pares.’ Good night. Again yours.”

“Newstead Abbey, Sept. 20th, 1814.

“Here’s to her who long
Hath waked the poet’s sigh!
The girl who gave to song
What gold could never buy.—
My dear
Moore, I am going to be married—that is, I am accepted, and one usually hopes the rest will follow. My mother of the Gracchi (that are to be) you think too strait-laced for me, although the paragon of only children, and invested with ‘golden opinions of all sorts of men,’ and full of ‘most blest conditions’ as Desdemona herself. Miss Milbanke is the lady, and I have her father’s invitation to proceed there in my elect capacity, which, however, I cannot do till I have settled some business in London, and got a blue coat.

* On the day of the arrival of the lady’s answer, he was sitting at dinner, when his gardener came in and presented him with his mother’s wedding ring, which she had lost many years before, and which the gardener had just found in digging up the mould under her window. Almost at the same moment, the letter from Miss Milbanke arrived, and Lord Byron exclaimed, “If it contains a consent, I will be married with this very ring.” It did contain a very flattering acceptance of his proposal, and a duplicate of the letter had been sent to London, in case this should have missed him.—Memoranda.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 583

“She is said to be an heiress, but of that I really know nothing certainly, and shall not inquire. But I do know, that she has talents and excellent qualities, and you will not deny her judgment, after having refused six suitors and taken me.

“Now, if you have any thing to say against this, pray do; my mind’s made up, positively fixed, determined, and therefore I will listen to reason, because now it can do no harm. Things may occur to break it off, but I will hope not. In the mean time, I tell you (a secret, by the by,—at least, till I know she wishes it to be public) that I have proposed and am accepted. You need not be in a hurry to wish me joy, for one mayn’t be married for months. I am going to town to-morrow; but expect to be here, on my way there, within a fortnight.

“If this had not happened, I should have gone to Italy. In my way down, perhaps, you will meet me at Nottingham, and come over with me here. I need not say that nothing will give me greater pleasure. I must, of course, reform thoroughly; and, seriously, if I can contribute to her happiness, I shall secure my own. She is so good a person, that—that—in short, I wish I was a better.

“Ever, &c.”
“Albany, October 5th, 1814.

“Your recollection and invitation do me great honour; but I am going to be ‘married, and can’t come.’ My intended is two hundred miles off, and the moment my business here is arranged, I must set out in a great hurry to be happy. Miss Milbanke is the good-natured person who has undertaken me, and, of course, I am very much in love, and as silly as all single gentlemen must be in that sentimental situation. I have been accepted these three weeks; but when the event will take place, I don’t exactly know. It depends partly upon lawyers, who are never in a hurry. One can be sure of nothing; but, at present, there appears no other interruption to this intention, which seems as
584 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
mutual as possible, and now no secret, though I did not tell first,—and all our relatives are congratulating away to right and left in the most fatiguing manner.

“You perhaps know the lady. She is niece to Lady Melbourne, and cousin to Lady Cowper and others of your acquaintance, and has no fault, except being a great deal too good for me, and that I must pardon, if nobody else should. It might have been two years ago, and, if it had, would have saved me a world of trouble. She has employed the interval in refusing about half a dozen of my particular friends (as she did me once, by the way), and has taken me at last, for which I am very much obliged to her. I wish it was well over, for I do hate bustle, and there is no marrying without some;—and then, I must not marry in a black coat, they tell me, and I can’t bear a blue one.

“Pray forgive me for scribbling all this nonsense. You know I must be serious all the rest of my life, and this is a parting piece of buffoonery, which I write with tears in my eyes, expecting to be agitated. Believe me most seriously and sincerely your obliged servant,


“P.S. My best rems. to Lord * * on his return.”

“October 7th, 1814.

“Notwithstanding the contradictory paragraph in the Morning Chronicle, which must have been sent by * *, or perhaps—I know not why I should suspect Claughton of such a thing, and yet I partly do, because it might interrupt his renewal of purchase, if so disposed; in short, it matters not, but we are all in the road to matrimony—lawyers settling, relations congratulating, my intended as kind as heart could wish, and every one, whose opinion I value, very glad of it. All her relatives, and all mine too, seem equally pleased.

Perry was very sorry, and has re-contradicted, as you will perceive by this day’s paper. It was, to be sure, a devil of an insertion, since the first paragraph came from Sir Ralph’s own County Journal, and this in
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 585
the teeth of it would appear to him and his as my denial. But I have written to do away that, enclosing Perry’s letter, which was very polite and kind.

“Nobody hates bustle so much as I do; but there seems a fatality over every scene of my drama, always a row of some sort or other. No matter—Fortune is my best friend, and I acknowledge my obligations to her, I hope she will treat me better than she treated the Athenian, who took some merit to himself on some occasion, but (after that) took no more towns. In fact, she, that exquisite goddess, has hitherto carried me through every thing, and will, I hope, now; since I own it will be all her doing.

“Well, now for thee. Your article on * * is perfection itself. You must not leave off reviewing. By Jove, I believe you can do any thing. There is wit, and taste, and learning, and good-humour (though not a whit less severe for that) in every line of that critique.

* * * * * * *

“Next to your being an E. Reviewer, my being of the same kidney, and Jeffrey’s being such a friend to both, are amongst the events which I conceive were not calculated upon in Mr.—what’s his name?’s—‘Essay on Probabilities.’

“But, Tom, I say—Oons! Scott menaces the ‘Lord of the Isles.’ Do you mean to compete? or lay by, till this wave has broke upon the shelves (of booksellers, not rocks—a broken metaphor, by the way). You ought to be afraid of nobody; but your modesty is really as provoking and unnecessary as a * *’s. I am very merry, and have just been writing some elegiac stanzas on the death of Sir P. Parker. He was my first cousin, but never met since boyhood. Our relations desired me, and I have scribbled and given it to Perry, who will chronicle it tomorrow. I am as sorry for him as one could be for one I never saw since I was a child; but should not have wept melodiously, except ‘at the request of friends.’

“I hope to get out of town and be married, but I shall take Newstead in my way, and you must meet me at Nottingham and accompany me to mine Abbey. I will tell you the day when I know it.

“Ever, &c.
586 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.

“P.S. By the way, my wife elect is perfection, and I hear of nothing but her merits and her wonders, and that she is ‘very pretty.’ Her expectations, I am told, are great; but what, I have not asked. I have not seen her these ten months.”

“October 15th, 1814.

“An’ there were any thing in marriage that would make a difference between my friends and me, particularly in your case, I would ‘none on’t.’ My agent sets off for Durham next week, and I shall follow him, taking Newstead and you in my way. I certainly did not address Miss Milbanke with these views, but it is likely she may prove a considerable parti. All her father can give, or leave her, he will; and from her childless uncle, Lord Wentworth, whose barony, it is supposed, will devolve on Ly. Milbanke (his sister), she has expectations. But these will depend upon his own disposition, which seems very partial towards her. She is an only child, and Sir R.’s estates, though dipped by electioneering, are considerable. Part of them are settled on her; but whether that will be dowered now, I do not know,—though, from what has been intimated to me, it probably will. The lawyers are to settle this among them, and I am getting my property into matrimonial array, and myself ready for the journey to Seaham, which I must make in a week or ten days.

“I certainly did not dream that she was attached to me, which it seems she has been for some time. I also thought her of a very cold disposition, in which I was also mistaken—it is a long story, and I won’t trouble you with it. As to her virtues, &c. &c. you will hear enough of them (for she is a kind of pattern in the north), without my running into a display on the subject. It is well that one of us is of such fame, since there is a sad deficit in the morale of that article upon my part,—all owing to my ‘bitch of a star,’ as Captain Tranchemont says of his planet.

“Don’t think you have not said enough of me in your article on T * *; what more could or need be said?

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 587
* * * * * * *

“Your long-delayed and expected work—I suppose you will take fright at ‘The Lord of the Isles’ and Scott now. You must do as you like,—I have said my say. You ought to fear comparison with none, and any one would stare, who heard you were so tremulous,—though, after all, I believe it is the surest sign of talent. Good morning. I hope we shall meet soon, but I will write again, and perhaps you will meet me at Nottingham. Pray say so.

“P.S. If this union is productive, you shall name the first fruits.”

“October 18th, 1814.

“Many thanks for your hitherto unacknowledged ‘Anecdotes.’ Now for one of mine—I am going to be married, and have been engaged this month. It is a long story, and therefore, I won’t tell it,—an old and (though I did not know it till lately) a mutual attachment. The very sad life I have led since I was your pupil must partly account for the offs and ons in this now to be arranged business. We are only waiting for the lawyers and settlements, &c., and next week, or the week after, I shall go down to Seaham in the new character of a regular suitor for a wife of mine own.

* * * * * *

“I hope Hodgson is in a fair way on the same voyage—I saw him and his idol at Hastings. I wish he would be married at the same time. I should like to make a party,—like people electrified in a row, by (or rather through) the same chain, holding one another’s hands, and all feeling the shock at once. I have not yet apprized him of this. He makes such a serious matter of all these things, and is so ‘melancholy and gentlemanlike,’ that it is quite overcoming to us choice spirits.

* * * * * *

They say one shouldn’t be married in a black coat. I won’t have a blue one,—that’s flat. I hate it.

“Yours, &c.”
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“Many and sincere thanks for your kind letter—the bet, or rather forfeit, was one hundred to Hawke, and fifty to Hay (nothing to Kelly), for a guinea received from each of the two former*. I shall feel much obliged by your setting me right if I am incorrect in this statement in any way, and have reasons for wishing you to recollect as much as possible of what passed, and state it to Hodgson. My reason is this: some time ago Mr. * * * required a bet of me which I never made, and of course refused to pay, and have heard no more of it; to prevent similar mistakes is my object in wishing you to remember well what passed, and to put Hodgson in possession of your memory on the subject.

“I hope to see you soon in my way through Cambridge. Remember me to H., and believe me ever and truly, &c.”

Soon after the date of this letter, Lord Byron had to pay a visit to Cambridge for the purpose of voting for Mr. Clarke, who had been started by Trinity College as one of the candidates for Sir Busick Harwood’s Professorship. On this occasion, a circumstance occurred which could not but be gratifying to him. As he was delivering in his vote to the Vice-Chancellor, in the Senate House, the under-graduates in the gallery ventured to testify their admiration of him by a general murmur of applause and stamping of the feet. For this breach of order, the gallery was immediately cleared by order of the Vice-Chancellor.

At the beginning of the month of December, being called up to town by business, I had opportunities, from being a good deal in my noble friend’s society, of observing the state of his mind and feelings, under the prospect of the important change he was now about to undergo:

* He had agreed to forfeit these sums to the persons mentioned, should he ever marry.

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and it was with pain I found that those sanguine hopes* with which I had sometimes looked forward to the happy influence of marriage, in winning him over to the brighter and better side of life, were, by a view of all the circumstances of his present destiny, considerably diminished; while, at the same time, not a few doubts and misgivings, which had never before so strongly occurred to me, with regard to his own fitness, under any circumstances, for the matrimonial tie, filled me altogether with a degree of foreboding anxiety as to his fate, which the unfortunate events that followed but too fully justified.

The truth is, I fear, that rarely, if ever, have men of the higher order of genius shown themselves fitted for the calm affections and comforts that form the cement of domestic life. “One misfortune (says Pope) of extraordinary geniuses is, that their very friends are more apt to admire than love them.” To this remark there have, no doubt, been exceptions,—and I should pronounce Lord Byron, from my own experience, to be one of them,—but it would not be difficult, perhaps, to show, from the very nature and pursuits of genius, that such must generally be the lot of all pre-eminently gifted with it; and that the same qualities which enable them to command admiration are also those that too often incapacitate them from conciliating love.

The very habits indeed, of abstraction and self-study to which the occupations of men of genius lead, are, in themselves, necessarily, of an unsocial and detaching tendency, and require a large portion of allowance and tolerance not to be set down as unamiable. One of the chief sources, too, of sympathy and society between ordinary mortals being their dependence on each other’s intellectual resources, the operation of this social principle must naturally be weakest in those, whose own mental stores are most abundant and self-sufficing, and who, rich in such mate-

* I had frequently, both in earnest and in jest, expressed these hopes to him; and, in one of my letters, after touching upon some matters relative to my own little domestic circle, I added, “This will all be unintelligible to you;—though I sometimes cannot help thinking it within the range of possibility, that even you, volcano as you are, may, one day, cool down into something of the same habitable state. Indeed, when one thinks of lava having been converted into buttons for Isaac Hawkins Browne, there is no saying what such fiery thing may be brought to at last.”

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rials for thinking within themselves, are rendered so far independent of the external world. It was this solitary luxury (which
Plato called “banqueting his own thoughts”) that led Pope, as well as Lord Byron, to prefer the silence and seclusion of his library to the most agreeable conversation.—And not only, too, is the necessity of commerce with other minds less felt by such persons, but, from that fastidiousness which the opulence of their own resources generates, the society of those less gifted with intellectual means than themselves becomes often a restraint and burden, to which not all the charms of friendship, or even love, can reconcile them. “Nothing is so tiresome (says the poet of Vaucluse, in assigning a reason for not living with some of his dearest friends) as to converse with persons who have not the same information as oneself.”

But it is the cultivation and exercise of the imaginative faculty that, more than any thing, tends to wean the man of genius from actual life, and, by substituting the sensibilities of the imagination for those of the heart, to render, at last, the medium through which he feels no less unreal than that through which he thinks. Those images of ideal good and beauty that surround him in his musings soon accustom him to consider all that is beneath this high standard unworthy of his care; till, at length, the heart becoming chilled as the fancy warms, it too often happens that, in proportion as he has refined and elevated his theory of all the social affections, he has unfitted himself for the practice of them*. Hence so frequently it arises that, in persons of this temperament, we see some bright but artificial idol of the brain usurp the place of all real and natural objects of tenderness. The poet Dante, a wanderer away from wife and children, passed the whole of a restless and detached life in nursing his immortal dream of Beatrice; while Petrarch, who would not suffer his only daughter to reside beneath his roof, expended thirty-two years of poetry and passion on an idealized love.

* Of the lamentable contrast between sentiments and conduct, which this transfer of the seat of sensibility from the heart to the fancy produces, the annals of literary men afford unluckily too many examples. Alfieri, though he could write a sonnet full of tenderness to his mother, never saw her (says Mr. W. Rose) but once after their early separation, though he frequently passed within a few miles of her residence. The poet Young, with all his parade of domestic sorrows, was, it appears, a neglectful husband and harsh father; and Sterne (to use the words already employed by Lord Byron) preferred “whining over a dead ass to relieving a living mother.”

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It is, indeed, in the very nature and essence of genius to be for ever occupied intensely with Self, as the great centre and source of its strength. Like the sister Rachel, in Dante, sitting all day before her mirror,

“mal non si smaga
Del suo ammiraglio, e siede tutto giorno.”

To this power of self-concentration, by which alone all the other powers of genius are made available, there is, of course, no such disturbing and fatal enemy as those sympathies and affections that draw the mind out actively towards others*; and, accordingly, it will be found that, among those who have felt within themselves a call to immortality, the greater number have, by a sort of instinct, kept aloof from such ties, and, instead of the softer duties and rewards of being amiable, reserved themselves for the high, hazardous chances of being great. In looking back through the lives of the most illustrious poets,—the class of intellect in which the characteristic features of genius are, perhaps, most strongly marked,—we shall find that, with scarcely one exception, from Homer down to Lord Byron, they have been, in their several degrees, restless and solitary spirits, with minds wrapped up, like silk-worms, in their own tasks, either strangers, or rebels, to domestic ties, and bearing about with them a deposite for Posterity in their souls, to the jealous watching and enriching of which almost all other thoughts and considerations have been sacrificed.

“To follow poetry as one ought (says the authority† I have already quoted), one must forget father and mother and cleave to it alone.” In these few words is pointed out the sole path that leads genius to greatness. On such terms alone are the high places of fame to be won;—nothing less than the sacrifice of the entire man can achieve them. However delightful, therefore, may be the spectacle of a man of genius tamed and domesticated in society, taking docilely upon him the yoke of

* It Is the opinion of Diderot, in his Treatise on Acting, that not only in the art of which he treats, but in all those which are called imitative, the possession of real sensibility is a bar to eminence;—sensibility being, according to his view, “le caractère de la bonté de l’ame et de la médiocrité du génie.”


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the social ties, and enlightening without disturbing the sphere in which he moves, we must nevertheless, in the midst of our admiration, bear in mind that it is not thus smoothly or amiably immortality has been ever struggled for, or won. The poet thus circumstanced may be popular, may be loved; for the happiness of himself and those linked with him he is in the right road,—but not for greatness. The marks by which Fame has always separated her great martyrs from the rest of mankind are not upon him, and the crown cannot be his. He may dazzle, may captivate the circle, and even the times in which he lives, but he is not for hereafter.

To the general description here given of that high class of human intelligences to which he belonged, the character of Lord Byron was, in many respects, a signal exception. Born with strong affections and ardent passions, the world had, from first to last, too firm a hold on his sympathies to let imagination altogether usurp the place of reality, either in his feelings, or in the objects of them. His life, indeed, was one continued struggle between that instinct of genius, which was for ever drawing him back into the lonely laboratory of Self, and those impulses of passion, ambition, and vanity, which again hurried him off into the crowd, and entangled him in its interests; and though it may be granted that he would have been more purely and abstractedly the poet, had he been less thoroughly, in all his pursuits and propensities, the man, yet from this very mixture and alloy has it arisen that his pages bear so deeply the stamp of real life, and that in the works of no poet, with the exception of Shakspeare, can every various mood of the mind—whether solemn or gay, whether inclined to the ludicrous or the sublime, whether seeking to divert itself with the follies of society or panting after the grandeur of solitary nature—find so readily a strain of sentiment in accordance with its every passing tone.

But while the naturally warm cast of his affections and temperament gave thus a substance and truth to his social feelings which those of too many of his fellow votaries of Genius have wanted, it was not to be expected that an imagination of such range and power should have been so early developed and unrestrainedly indulged without producing, at last, some of those effects upon the heart which have invariably been
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 593
found attendant on such a predominance of this faculty. It must have been observed, indeed, that the period when his natural affections flourished most healthily was before he had yet arrived at the full consciousness of his genius,—before Imagination had yet accustomed him to those glowing pictures, after gazing upon which all else appeared cold and colourless. From the moment of this initiation into the wonders of his own mind, a distaste for the realities of life began to grow upon him. Not even that intense craving after affection, which nature had implanted in him, could keep his ardour still alive in a pursuit whose results fell so short of his “imaginings;” and though, from time to time, the combined warmth of his fancy and temperament was able to call up a feeling which to his eyes wore the semblance of love, it may be questioned whether his heart had ever much share in such passions, or whether, after his first launch into the boundless sea of imagination, he could ever have been brought back and fixed by any lasting attachment. Actual objects there were, in but too great number, who, as long as the illusion continued, kindled up his thoughts and were the themes of his song. But they were, after all, little more than mere dreams of the hour;—the qualities with which he invested them were almost all ideal, nor could have stood the test of a month’s, or even week’s, cohabitation. It was but the reflection of his own bright conceptions that he saw in each new object; and while persuading himself that they furnished the models of his heroines, he was, on the contrary, but fancying that he beheld his heroines in them.

There needs no stronger proof of the predominance of imagination in these attachments than his own serious avowal, in the Journal already given, that often, when in the company of the woman he most loved, he found himself secretly wishing for the solitude of his own study. It was there, indeed,—in the silence and abstraction of that study, that the chief scene of his mistress’s empire and glory lay. It was there that, unchecked by reality, and without any fear of the disenchantments of truth, he could view her through the medium of his own fervid fancy, enamour himself of an idol of his own creating, and out of a brief delirium of a few days or weeks send forth a dream of beauty and passion through all ages.

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While such appears to have been the imaginative character of his loves (of all, except the one that lived unquenched through all), his friendships, though, of course, far less subject to the influence of fancy, could not fail to exhibit also some features characteristic of the peculiar mind in which they sprung. It was a usual saying of his own, and will be found repeated in some of his letters, that he had “no genius for friendship,” and that whatever capacity he might once have possessed for that sentiment had vanished with his youth. If in saying thus he shaped his notions of friendship according to the romantic standard of his boyhood, the fact must be admitted; but as far as the assertion was meant to imply that he had become incapable of a warm, manly, and lasting friendship, such a charge against himself was unjust, and I am not the only living testimony of its injustice.

To a certain degree, however, even in his friendships, the effects of a too vivid imagination, in disqualifying the mind for the cold contact of reality, were visible. We are told that Petrarch (who, in this respect, as in most others, may be regarded as a genuine representative of the poetic character) abstained purposely from a too frequent intercourse with his nearest friends, lest, from the sensitiveness he was so aware of in himself, there should occur any thing that might chill his regard for them*; and though Lord Byron was of a nature too full of social and kindly impulses ever to think of such a precaution, it is a fact confirmatory, at least, of the principle on which his brother poet, Petrarch, acted, that the friends, whether of his youth or manhood, of whom he had seen least, through life, were those of whom he always thought and spoke with the most warmth and fondness. Being brought less often to the touchstone of familiar intercourse, they stood naturally a better chance of being adopted as the favourites of his imagination, and of sharing, in consequence, a portion of that bright colouring reserved for all that gave it interest and pleasure. Next to the dead, therefore, whose hold upon his fancy had been placed beyond all risk of severance, those friends whom he but saw occasionally, and by such favourable glimpses as only

* See Foscolo’s Essay on Petrarch. On the same principle, Orrery says, in speaking of Swift, “I am persuaded that his distance from his English friends proved a strong incitement to their mutual affection.”

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renewed the first kindly impression they had made, were the surest to live unchangingly, and without shadow, in his memory.

To the same cause, there is little doubt, his love for his sister owed much of its devotedness and fervour. In a mind sensitive and versatile as his, long habits of family intercourse might have estranged, or at least dulled, his natural affection for her;—but their separation, during youth, left this feeling fresh and untried. His very inexperience in such ties made the smile of a sister no less a novelty than a charm to him, and before the first gloss of this newly awakened sentiment had time to wear off, they were again separated, and for ever.

If the portrait which I have here attempted of the general character of those gifted with high genius be allowed to bear, in any of its features, a resemblance to the originals, it can no longer, I think, be matter of question whether a class so set apart from the track of ordinary life, so removed, by their very elevation, out of the influences of our common atmosphere, are at all likely to furnish tractable subjects for that most trying of all social experiments, matrimony. In reviewing the great names of philosophy and science, we shall find that all who have most distinguished themselves in those walks have, at least, virtually admitted their own unfitness for the marriage tie by remaining in celibacy;—Bacon†, Newton, Gassendi, Galileo, Descartes, Bayle, Locke, Leibnitz, Boyle, Hume, and a long list of other illustrious sages, having all led single lives.

The poetic race, it is true, from the greater susceptibility of their imaginations, have more frequently fallen into the ever ready snare. But the fate of the poets in matrimony has but justified the caution of the philosophers. While the latter have given warning to genius by keeping free of the yoke, the others have still more effectually done so by their misery under it;—the annals of this sensitive race having, at all times,

* That he was himself fully aware of this appears from a passage in one of his letters already given —“My sister is in town, which is a great comfort; for, never having been much together, we are naturally more attached to each other.”

† This great philosopher threw not only his example but his precepts into the scale of celibacy. Wife and children, he tells us in one of his Essays, are “impediments to great enterprises;” and adds, “Certainly, the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men.” See, with reference to this subject, chapter xviii. of Mr. D’Israeli’s work on “The Literary Character.”

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abounded with proofs, that genius ranks but low among the elements of social happiness,—that, in general, the brighter the gift, the more disturbing its influence, and that in the married life particularly, its effects have been too often like that of the “Wormwood Star,” whose light filled the waters on which it fell with bitterness.

Besides the causes already enumerated as leading naturally to such a result, from the peculiarities by which, in most instances, these great labourers in the field of thought are characterized, there is also much, no doubt, to be attributed to an unluckiness in the choice of helpmates,—dictated, as that choice frequently must be, by an imagination accustomed to deceive itself. But from whatever causes it may have arisen, the coincidence is no less striking than saddening that, on the list of married poets who have been unhappy in their homes, there should already be found four such illustrious names as Dante, Milton*, Shakspeare†, and Dryden; and that we should now have to add, as a partner in their destiny, a name worthy of being placed beside the greatest of them,—Lord Byron.

I have already mentioned my having been called up to town in the December of this year. The opportunities I had of seeing Lord Byron during my stay were frequent; and, among them, not the least memorable

* Milton’s first wife, it is well known, ran sway from him, within a month after their marriage, disgusted, says Phillips, “with his spare diet and hard study;” and it is difficult to conceive a more melancholy picture of domestic life than is disclosed in his Nuncupative Will, one of the witnesses to which deposes to having heard the great Poet himself complain, that his children “were careless of him, being blind, and made nothing of deserting him.”

† By whatever austerity of temper or habits the poets Dante and Milton may have drawn upon themselves such a fate, it might be expected that, at least, the “gentle Shakspeare” would have stood exempt from the common calamity of his brethren. But, among the very few facts of his life that have been transmitted to us, there is none more clearly proved than the unhappiness of his marriage. The data of the birth of his children, compared with that of his removal from Stratford,—the total omission of his wife’s name in the first draft of his will, and the bitter sarcasm of the bequest by which he remembers her afterwards,—all prove beyond a doubt both his separation from the lady early in life, and his unfriendly feeling towards her at the close of it.

In endeavouring to argue against the conclusion naturally to be deduced from this will, Boswell, with a strange ignorance of human nature, remarks:—“If he had taken offence at any part of his wife’s conduct, I cannot believe that he would have taken this petty mode of expressing it.”

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or agreeable were those evenings we passed together at the house of his banker,
Mr. Douglas Kinnaird, where music,—followed by its accustomed sequel of supper, brandy and water, and not a little laughter,—kept us together, usually, till rather a late hour. Besides those songs of mine which he has himself somewhere recorded as his favourites, there was also one, to a Portuguese air, “The song of war shall echo through our mountains,” which seemed especially to please him;—the national character of the music, and the recurrence of the words “sunny mountains,” bringing back freshly to his memory the impressions of all he had seen in Portugal. I have, indeed, known few persons more alive to the charms of simple music; and not unfrequently have seen the tears in his eyes while listening to the Irish Melodies. Among those that thus affected him was one, beginning “When first I met thee warm and young,” the words of which, besides the obvious feeling which they express, were intended also to admit of a political application. He, however, discarded the latter sense wholly from his mind, and gave himself up to the more natural sentiment of the song with evident emotion.

On one or two of these evenings, his favourite actor Mr. Kean, was of the party; and on another occasion, we had at dinner his early instructor in pugilism, Mr. Jackson, in conversing with whom, all his boyish tastes seemed to revive;—and it was not a little amusing to observe how perfectly familiar with the annals of “the Ring*,” and with all the most recondite phraseology of “the Fancy,” was the sublime poet of Childe Harold.

The following note is the only one, of those I received from him at this time, worth transcribing.

“I will send the pattern to-morrow, and since you don’t go to our friend (‘of the keeping part of the town’) this evening, I shall e’en sulk at home over a solitary potation. My self-opinion rises much by your eulogy of my social qualities. As my friend Scrope is pleased to say, I

* In a small book which I have in my possession, containing a sort of chronological History of the Ring, I find the name of Lord Byron, more than once, recorded among the “backers.”

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believe I am very well for a ‘holiday drinker.’ Where the devil are you? with
Woolridge*, I conjecture—for which you deserve another abscess. Hoping that the American war will last for many years, and that all the prizes may be registered at Bermoothes, believe me, &c.

“P.S. I have just been composing an epistle to the archbishop for an especial licence. Oons! it looks serious. Murray is impatient to see you, and would call, if you will give him audience. Your new coat!—I wonder you like the colour, and don’t go about, like Dives, in purple.”

“Dec. 31st, 1814.

“A thousand thanks for Gibbon: all the additions are very great improvements.

“At last, I must be most peremptory with you about the print from Phillips’s picture: it is pronounced on all hands the most stupid and disagreeable possible; so do, pray, have a new engraving, and let me see it first; there really must be no more from the same plate. I don’t much care, myself; but every one I honour torments me to death about it, and abuses it to a degree beyond repeating. Now, don’t answer with excuses; but, for my sake, have it destroyed: I never shall have peace till it is. I write in the greatest haste.

“P.S. I have written this most illegibly; but it is to beg you to destroy the print, and have another ‘by particular desire.’ It must be d—d bad, to be sure, since every body says so but the original; and he don’t know what to say. But do do it: that is, burn the plate, and employ a new etcher from the other picture. This is stupid and sulky.”

On his arrival in town, he had, upon inquiring into the state of his affairs, found them in so utterly embarrassed a condition as to fill him with some alarm, and even to suggest to his mind the prudence of deferring his marriage. The die was, however, cast, and he had now no

* Doctor Woolriche, an old and valued friend of mine, to whose skill, on the occasion here alluded to, I was indebted for my life.

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alternative but to proceed. Accordingly, at the end of December, accompanied by his friend,
Mr. Hobhouse, he set out for Seaham, the seat of Sir Ralph Milbanke, the lady’s father, in the county of Durham, and on the 2d of January, 1815, was married.