LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Journal Entry: 18 February 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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“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.”

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 499
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.

500 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.

“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.