LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Life of Byron: 1824

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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Finding that his position among the rocks of the Scrofes would be untenable in the event of an attack by armed boats, he thought it right to venture out again, and, making all sail, got safe to Dragomestri, a small sea-port town on the coast of Acarnania; from whence the annexed letters to two of the most valued of his Cephalonian friends were written.

“Dragomestri, January 2d, 1824.

“I wish you many returns of the season and happiness therewithal. Gamba and the Bombard (there is a strong reason to believe) are carried into Patras by a Turkish frigate, which we saw chase them at dawn on the 31st; we had been close under the stern in the night, believing her a Greek till within pistol shot, and only escaped by a miracle of all the Saints (our captain says), and truly I am of his opinion, for we should never have got away of ourselves. They were signalizing their consort with lights, and had illuminated the ship between decks, and were shouting like a mob;—but then why did they not fire? Perhaps they took us for a Greek brûlot, and were afraid of kindling us—they had no colours flying even at dawn nor after.

“At daybreak my boat was on the coast, but the wind unfavourable for the port;—a large vessel with the wind in her favour standing between
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 707
us and the Gulf, and another in chase of the Bombard about 12 miles off or so. Soon after they stood (i. e. the Bombard and frigate) apparently towards Patras, and a Zantiote boat making signals to us from the shore to get away. Away we went before the wind, and ran into a creek called Scrofes, I believe, where I landed Luke* and another (as Luke’s life was in most danger), with some money for themselves, and a letter for
Stanhope, and sent them up the country to Missolonghi, where they would be in safety, as the place where we were could be assailed by armed boats in a moment, and Gamba had all our arms except two carbines, a fowling-piece, and some pistols.

“In less than an hour the vessel in chase neared us, and we dashed out again, and showing our stern (our boat sails very well) got in before night to Dragomestri, where we now are. But where is the Greek fleet? I don’t know—do you? I told our master of the boat that I was inclined to think the two large vessels (there were none else in sight) Greeks. But he answered ‘they are too large—why don’t they show their colours?’ and his account was confirmed, be it true or false, by several boats which we met or passed, as we could not at any rate have got in with that wind without beating about for a long time; and as there was much property, and some lives to risk (the boy’s especially) without any means of defence, it was necessary to let our boatmen have their own way.

“I despatched yesterday another messenger to Missolonghi for an escort, but we have yet no answer. We are here (those of my boat) for the fifth day without taking our clothes off, and sleeping on deck in all weathers, but are all very well, and in good spirits. It is to be supposed that the Government will send, for their own sakes, an escort, as I have 16,000 dollars on board, the greater part for their service. I had (besides personal property to the amount of about 5000 more) 8000 dollars in specie of my own, without reckoning the Committee’s stores, so that the Turks will have a good thing of it, if the prize be good.

“I regret the detention of Gamba, &c. but the rest we can make up again, so tell Hancock to set my bills into cash as soon as possible,

* A Greek youth whom he had brought with him, in his suite, from Cephalonia.

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and Corgialegno to prepare the remainder of my credit with Messrs. Webb to be turned into monies. I shall remain here, unless something extraordinary occurs, till
Mavrocordato sends, and then go on, and act according to circumstances. My respects to the two colonels, and remembrances to all friends. Tell ‘Ultima Analise*’ that his friend Raidi did not make his appearance with the brig, though I think that he might as well have spoken with us in or off Zante, to give us a gentle hint of what we had to expect.

“Yours ever affectionately,
“N. B.

“P.S. Excuse my scrawl on account of the pen and the frosty morning at daybreak. I write in haste, a boat starting for Kalamo. I do not know whether the detention of the Bombard (if she be detained, for I cannot swear to it, and I can only judge from appearances, and what all these fellows say) be an affair of the Government, and neutrality, and, &c.—but she was stopped at least 12 miles distant from any port, and had all her papers regular from Zante for Kalamo, and we also. I did not land at Zante, being anxious to lose as little time as possible, but Sir F. S. came off to invite me, &c. and every body was as kind as could be, even in Cephalonia.”

“Dragomestri, January 2d, 1824.

“Remember me to Dr. Muir and every body else. I have still the 16,000 dollars with me, the rest were on board the Bombarda. Here we are—the Bombarda taken, or at least missing, with all the Committee stores, my friend Gamba, the horses, negro, bull-dog, steward, and

* Count Delladecima, to whom he gives this name in consequence of a habit which that gentleman had of using the phrase “in ultima analise” frequently in conversation.

† This letter is, more properly, a postscript to one which Dr. Bruno had, by his orders, written to Mr. Hancock, with some particulars of their voyage; and the Doctor having begun his letter, “Pregintmo. Sigr. Ancock,” Lord Byron thus parodies his mode of address.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 709
domestics, with all our implements of peace and war, also 8000 dollars; but whether she will be lawful prize or no, is for the decision of the Governor of the Seven Islands. I have written to
Dr. Muir, by way of Kalamo, with all particulars. We are in good condition; and what with wind and weather, and being hunted or so, little sleeping on deck, &c. are in tolerable seasoning for the country and circumstances. But I foresee that we shall have occasion for all the cash I can muster at Zante and elsewhere. Mr. Barff gave us 8000 and odd dollars; so there is still a balance in my favour. We are not quite certain that the vessels were Turkish which chased; but there is strong presumption that they were, and no news to the contrary. At Zante every body, from the Resident downwards, were as kind as could be, especially your worthy and courteous partner.

“Tell our friends to keep up their spirits, and we may yet do well. I disembarked the boy and another Greek, who were in most terrible alarm—the boy, at least, from the Morea—on shore near Anatoliko, I believe, which put them in safety; and, as for me and mine, we must stick by our goods.

“I hope that Gamba’s detention will only be temporary. As for the effects and monies, if we have them,—well; if otherwise, patience. I wish you a happy new year, and all our friends the same.

“Yours, &c.”

During these adventures of Lord Byron, Count Gamba, having been brought to by the Turkish frigate, had been carried, with his valuable charge, into Patras, where the Commander of the Turkish fleet was stationed. Here, after an interview with the Pacha, by whom he was treated, during his detention, most courteously, he had the good fortune to procure the release of his vessel and freight, and, on the 4th of January, reached Missolonghi. To his surprise, however, he found that Lord Byron had not yet arrived; for,—as if every thing connected with this short voyage were doomed to deepen whatever ill bodings there were already in his mind,—on his lordship’s departure from Dragomestri, a violent gale of wind had come on; his vessel was twice driven on the rocks in the passage of the Scrofes, and, from the
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force of the wind, and the captain’s ignorance of those shoals, the danger was by all on board considered to be most serious. “On the second time of striking,” says Count Gamba, “the sailors, losing all hope of saving the vessel, began to think of their own safety. But Lord Byron persuaded them to remain; and by his firmness, and no small share of nautical skill, got them out of danger, and thus saved the vessel and several lives, with 25,000 dollars, the greater part in specie.”

The wind still blowing right against their course to Missolonghi, they again anchored between two of the numerous islets which this part of the coast is lined; and here Lord Byron, as well for refreshment as ablution, found himself tempted into an indulgence which it is not improbable may have had some share in producing the fatal illness that followed. Having put off in a boat to a small rock at some distance, he sent back a messenger for the nankeen trowsers which he usually wore in bathing, and, though the sea was rough and the night cold, it being then the 3d of January, swam back to the vessel. “I am fully persuaded,” says his valet, in relating this imprudent freak, “that it injured my lord’s health. He certainly was not taken ill at the time, but in the course of two or three days his lordship complained of a pain in all his bones, which continued, more or less, to the time of his death.”

Setting sail again next morning with the hope of reaching Missolonghi before sunset, they were still baffled by adverse winds, and, arriving late at night in the port, did not land till the morning of the 5th.

The solicitude, in the mean time, of all at Missolonghi, knowing that the Turkish fleet was out, and Lord Byron on his way, may without difficulty be conceived, and is most livelily depicted in a letter written, during the suspense of that moment, by an eye-witness. “The Turkish fleet,” says Colonel Stanhope, “has ventured out, and is, at this moment, blockading the port. Beyond these again are seen the Greek ships, and among the rest the one that was sent for Lord Byron. Whether he is on board or not is a question. You will allow that this is an eventful day.” Towards the end of the letter, he adds, “Lord Byron’s servants have just arrived; he himself will be here to-morrow. If he had not come, we had need have prayed for fair weather; for both fleet and
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army are hungry and inactive. Parry has not appeared. Should he also arrive to-morrow, all Missolonghi will go mad with pleasure.”

The reception their noble visitor experienced on his arrival was such as from the ardent eagerness with which he had been looked for might be expected. The whole population of the place crowded to the shore to welcome him; the ships anchored off the fortress fired a salute as he passed, and all the troops and dignitaries of the place, civil and military, with the Prince Mavrocordato at their head, met him on his landing, and accompanied him, amidst the mingled din of shouts, wild music, and discharges of artillery, to the house that had been prepared for him. “I cannot easily describe,” says Count Gamba, “the emotions which such a scene excited. I could scarcely refrain from tears.”

After eight days of fatigue such as Lord Byron had endured, some short interval of rest might fairly have been desired by him. But the scene on which he had now entered was one that precluded all thoughts of repose. He on whom the eyes and hopes of all others were centred, could but little dream of indulging any care for himself. There were, at this particular moment, too, collected within the precincts of that town as great an abundance of the materials of unquiet and misrule as had been ever brought together in so small a space. In every quarter, both public and private, disorganization and dissatisfaction presented themselves. Of the fourteen brigs of war which had come to the succour of Missolonghi, and which had for some time actually protected it against a Turkish fleet double its number, nine had already, hopeless of pay, returned to Hydra, while the sailors of the remaining five, from the same cause of complaint, had just quitted their ships, and were murmuring idly on shore. The inhabitants seeing themselves thus deserted, or preyed upon by their defenders, with a scarcity of provisions threatening them, and the Turkish fleet before their eyes, were no less ready to break forth into riot and revolt; while, at the same moment, to complete the confusion, a General Assembly was on the point of being held in the town, for the purpose of organising the forces of Western Greece, and to this meeting all the wild mountain-chiefs of the province, ripe, of course, for dissension, were now flocking with their followers. Mavrocordato himself, the President of the intended Congress, had
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brought in his train no less than 5000 armed men, who were at this moment in the town. Ill provided, too, with either pay or food by the Government, this large military mob were but little less discontented and destitute than the sailors; and in short, in every direction, the entire population seems to have presented such a fermenting mass of insubordination and discord as was far more likely to produce warfare among themselves than with the enemy.

Such was the state of affairs when Lord Byron arrived at Missolonghi;—such the evils he had now to encounter, with the formidable consciousness that to him and him alone, all looked for the removal of them.

Of his proceedings during the first weeks after his arrival, the following letters to Mr. Hancock (which by the great kindness of that gentleman I am enabled to give) will, assisted by a few explanatory notes, supply a sufficiently ample account.

“Missolonghi, January 13th, 1824.

“Many thanks for yours of the 5th; ditto to Muir for his. You will have heard that Gamba and my vessel got out of the hands of the Turks safe and intact; nobody knows well how or why, for there’s a mystery in the story somewhat melodramatic. Captain Valsamachi has, I take it, spun a long yarn by this time in Argostoli. I attribute their release entirely to Saint Dionisio, of Zante, and the Madonna of the Rock, near Cephalonia.

“The adventures of my separate luck were also not finished at Dragomestri; we were conveyed out by some Greek gunboats, and found the Leonidas brig-of-war at sea to look after us. But blowing weather coming on, we were driven on the rocks twice in the passage of the Scrophes, and the dollars had another narrow escape. Two-thirds of the crew got ashore over the bowsprit: the rocks were rugged enough, but water very deep close in shore, so that she was, after much swearing and
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some exertion, got off again, and away we went with a third of our crew, leaving the rest on a desolate island, where they might have been now, had not one of the gunboats taken them off, for we were in no condition to take them off again.

“Tell Muir that Dr. Bruno did not show much fight on the occasion, for besides stripping to his flannel waistcoat, and running about like a rat in an emergency, when I was talking to a Greek boy (the brother of the Greek girls in Argostoli), and telling him of the fact that there was no danger for the passengers, whatever there might be for the vessel, and assuring him that I could save both him and myself without difficulty (though he can’t swim), as the water, though deep, was not very rough,—the wind not blowing right on shore (it was a blunder of the Greeks who missed stays),—the Doctor exclaimed, ‘Save him, indeed! by G—d! save me rather—I’ll be first if I can’—a piece of egotism which he pronounced with such emphatic simplicity as to set all who had leisure to hear him laughing†, and in a minute after the vessel drove off again after striking twice. She sprung a small leak, but nothing further happened, except that the captain was very nervous afterwards.

“To be brief, we had bad weather almost always, though not contrary; slept on deck in the wet generally for seven or eight nights, but never was in better health (I speak personally)—so much so, that I

* He meant to have taken the boy on his shoulders and swum with him to shore. This feat would have been but a repetition of one of his early sports at Harrow; where it was a frequent practice of his thus to mount one of the smaller boys on his shoulders end, much to the alarm of the urchin, dive with him into the water.

† In the Doctor’s own account this scene is described, as might be expected, somewhat differently:—“Ma nel di lui posaaggio marittimo una fregata Turca insegui la di lui nave, obligaudola di ricoverarsi dentro le Scrofes, dove per l’impeto dei venti fu gettata sopra i scogli; tutti i marinari dell’ equipaggio saltarono a terra per salvare la loro vita: Milord solo col di lui Medico Dottr. Bruno rimasero sulla nave che ognuno vedeva colare a fondo; ma dopo qualche tempo non essendosi visto che ciò avveniva, le persone fuggite a terra respinsero la nave nell’ acque: ma il tempestoso mare la ribastò una seconda volta contra i scogli, ed allora si aveva per certo che is nave coll’ illustre personaggio, una grande quantità di denari, e molti preziosi effetti per i Greci anderebbero a fondo. Tuttavia Lord Byron non si perturbò per nulla; anzi disse al di lui medico che voleva gettarai al nuoto onde ruggiungere la apiaggia: ‘non abbandonate in nave finchè abbiamo forze per direggerla: allorchè saremo coperti dall’ acque, allora gettatevi pure, che io vi salvo.’”

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actually bathed for a quarter of an hour on the evening of the fourth instant in the sea (to kill the fleas, and other &c.) and was all the better for it.

“We were received at Missolonghi with all kinds of kindness and honours; and the sight of the fleet saluting, &c. and the crowds and different costumes, was really picturesque. We think of undertaking an expedition soon, and I expect to be ordered with the Suliotes to join the army.

“All well at present. We found Gamba already arrived, and every thing in good condition. Remember me to all friends.

“Yours ever,
“N. B.

“P.S. You will, I hope, use every exertion to realise the assets. For besides what I have already advanced, I have undertaken to maintain the Suliotes for a year (and will accompany them either as a Chief, or whichever is most agreeable to the Government), besides sundries. I do not understand Brown’sletters of credit.’ I neither gave nor ordered a letter of credit that I know of; and though of course, if you have done it, I will be responsible, I was not aware of any thing, except that I would have backed his bills, which you said was unnecessary. As to orders—I ordered nothing but some red cloth and oil cloths, both of which I am ready to receive; but if Gamba has exceeded my commission, the other things must be sent back, for I cannot permit any thing of the kind, nor will. The servants’ journey will of course be paid for, though that is exorbitant. As for Brown’s letter, I do not know any thing more than I have said, and I really cannot defray the charges of half Greece and the Frank adventurers besides. Mr. Barff must send us some dollars soon, for the expenses fall on me for the present.

“January 14th, 1824.

“P.S. Will you tell Saint (Jew) Geronimo Corgialegno that I mean to draw for the balance of my credit with Messrs. Webb and Co. I shall draw for two thousand dollars (that being about the amount, more or less); but to facilitate the business, I shall make the draft payable also at Messrs. Ransom and Co., Pall-Mall East, London. I believe I
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already showed you my letters (but if not, I have them to show), by which, besides the credits now realising, you will have perceived that I am not limited to any particular amount of credit with my bankers. The
Honourable Douglas, my friend and trustee, is a principal partner in that house, and having the direction of my affairs, is aware to what extent my present resources may go, and the letters in question were from him. I can merely say, that within the current year, 1824, besides the money already advanced to the Greek Government, and the credits now in your hands and your partner’s (Mr. Barff), which are all from the income of 1823, I have anticipated nothing from that of the present year hitherto. I shall or ought to have at my disposition upwards of one hundred thousand dollars (including my income, and the purchase-monies of a manor lately sold), and perhaps more, without infringing on my income for 1825, and not including the remaining balance of 1823.

“Yours ever,
“N. B.”
“Missolonghi, January 17th, 1824.

“I have answered, at some length, your obliging letter, and trust that you have received my reply by means of Mr. Tindal. I will also thank you to remind Mr. Tindal that I would thank him to furnish you, on my account, with an order of the Committee for one hundred dollars, which I advanced to him on their account through Signor Corgialegno’s agency at Zante on his arrival in October, as it is but fair that the said Committee should pay their own expenses. An order will be sufficient, as the money might be inconvenient for Mr. T. at present to disburse.

“I have also advanced to Mr. Blackett the sum of fifty dollars, which I will thank Mr. Stevens to pay to you, on my account, from monies of Mr. Blackett, now in his hands. I have Mr. B.’s acknowledgment in writing.

“As the wants of the State here are still pressing, and there seems
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very little specie stirring except mine, I still stand paymaster, and must again request you and
Mr. Barff to forward by a safe channel (if possible) all the dollars you can collect on the bills now negotiating. I have also written to Corgialegno for two thousand dollars, being about the balance of my separate letter from Messrs. Webb and Co., making the bills also payable at Ransom’s in London.

“Things are going on better, if not well; there is some order, and considerable preparation. I expect to accompany the troops on an expedition shortly, which makes me particularly anxious for the remaining remittance, as ‘money is the sinew of war,’ and of peace: too, as far as I can see, for I am sure there would be no peace here without it. However, a little does go a good way, which is a comfort. The Government of the Morea and of Candia have written to me for a further advance from my own peculium of 20 or 30,000 dollars, to which I demur for the present (having undertaken to pay the Suliotes as a free gift and other things already, besides the loan which I have already advanced), till I receive letters from England, which I have reason to expect.

“When the expected credits arrive, I hope that you will bear a hand, otherwise I must have recourse to Malta, which will be losing time and taking trouble; but I do not wish you to do more than is perfectly agreeable to Mr. Barff and to yourself. I am very well, and have no reason to be dissatisfied with my personal treatment, or with the posture of public affairs—others must speak for themselves.

“Yours ever and truly, &c.

“P.S. Respects to Colonels Wright and Duffie, and the officers civil and military; also to my friends Muir and Stevens particularly, and to Delladecima.”

“Missolonghi, January 19th, 1824.

“Since I wrote on the 17th, I have received a letter from Mr. Stevens, enclosing an account from Corfu, which is so exaggerated in price and quantity, that I am at a loss whether most to admire Gamba’s folly,
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 717
or the merchant’s knavery. All that I requested Gamba to order was red cloth, enough to make a jacket, and some oil-skin for trowsers, the latter has not been sent—the whole could not have amounted to 50 dollars. The account is 645!!! I will guarantee Mr. Stevens against any loss, of course, but I am not disposed to take the articles (which I never ordered), nor to pay the amount. I will take 100 dollars’ worth; the rest may be sent back, and I will make the merchant an allowance of so much per cent.; or if that is not to be done, you must sell the whole by auction at what price the things may fetch, for I would rather incur the dead loss of part, than be encumbered with a quantity of things, to me at present superfluous or useless. Why, I could have maintained 300 men for a month for the sum in Western Greece!

“When the dogs, and the dollars, and the negro, and the horses, fell into the hands of the Turks, I acquiesced with patience, as you may have perceived, because it was the work of the elements of war, or of Providence; but this is a piece of mere human knavery or folly, or both, and I neither can nor will submit to it*. I have occasion for every dollar I can muster to keep the Greeks together, and I do not grudge any expense for the cause; but to throw away as much as would equip, or at least maintain, a corps of excellent ragamuffins with arms in their hands, to furnish Gamba and the doctor with blank bills (see list), broad cloth, Hessian boots, and horsewhips (the latter I own that they have richly

* We have here as striking an instance as could be adduced of that peculiar feature of his character which shallow or malicious observers have misrepresented as avarice, but which in reality was the result of a strong sense of justice and fairness, and an indignant impatience of being stultified or overreached. Colonel Stanhope, in referring to the circumstance mentioned above, has put Lord Byron’s angry feeling respecting it in the true light.

“He was constantly attacking Count Gamba, sometimes, indeed, playfully, but more often with the bitterest satire, for having purchased for the use of his family, while in Greece, 500 dollars’ worth of cloth. This he used to mention as an instance of the Count’s imprudence and extravagance. Lord Byron told me one day, with a tone of great gravity, that this 500 dollars would have been most serviceable in promoting the siege of Lepanto; and that he never would, to the last moment of his existence, forgive Gamba, for having squandered away his money in the purchase of cloth. No one will suppose that Lord Byron could be serious in such a denunciation; he entertained, in reality, the highest opinion of Count Gamba, who, both on account of his talents and devotedness to his friend, merited his lordship’s esteem. As to Lord Byron’s generosity, it is before the world; he promised to devote his large income to the cause of Greece, and he honestly acted up to his pledge.”

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earned), is rather beyond my endurance, though a pacific person, as all the world knows, or at least my acquaintances. I pray you to try to help me out of this damnable commercial speculation of Gamba’s, for it is one of those pieces of impudence or folly which I don’t forgive him in a hurry. I will of course see Stevens free of expense out of the transaction;—by the way, the Greek of a Corfiote has thought proper to draw a bill, and get it discounted at 24 dollars; if I had been there, it should have been protested also.

Mr. Blackett is here ill, and will soon set out for Cephalonia. He came to me for some pills, and I gave him some reserved for particular friends, and which I never knew any body recover from under several months; but he is no better, and, what is odd, no worse; and as the doctors have had no better success with him than I, he goes to Argostoli sick of the Greeks and of a constipation.

“I must reiterate my request for specie, and that speedily, otherwise public affairs will be at a stand-still here. I have undertaken to pay the Suliotes for a year, to advance in March 3000 dollars, besides, to the Government for a balance due to the troops, and some other smaller matters for the Germans, and the press, &c. &c. &c.; so what with these, and the expenses of my suite, which, though not extravagant, is expensive with Gamba’s d—d nonsense, I shall have occasion for all the monies I can muster, and I have credits wherewithal to face the undertakings, if realized, and expect to have more soon.

“Believe me ever and truly yours, &c.”

On the morning of the 22d of January, his birthday,—the last my poor friend was ever fated to see,—he came from his bedroom into the apartment where Colonel Stanhope and some others were assembled, and said with a smile, “You were complaining the other day that I never write any poetry now. This is my birthday, and I have just finished something which, I think, is better than what I usually write.” He then produced to them those beautiful stanzas which, though already known to most readers, are far too affectingly associated with this closing scene of his life to be omitted among its details. Taking into consideration, indeed, every thing connected with these verses,—the last tender aspira-
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 719
tions of a loving spirit which they breathe, the self-devotion to a noble cause which they so nobly express, and that consciousness of a near gr glimmering sadly through the whole,—there is perhaps no product within the range of mere human composition, round which the circumstances and feelings under which it was written cast so touching interest.

“’Tis time thin heart should be unmoved,
Since others it hath ceased to move;
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,
Still let me love!
“My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone!
“The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle;
No torch is kindled at its blaze—
A funeral pile!
“The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
The exalted portion of the pain
And power of love, I cannot share,
But wear the chain.
“But ’tis not thus—and ’tis not here
Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now,
Where glory decks the hero’s bier,
Or binds his brow.
“The sword, the banner, and the field,
Glory and Greece, around me see!
The Spartan, borne upon his shield,
Was not more free.
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“Awake! (not Greece—she is awake!)
Awake, my spirit! Think through whom
Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,
And then strike home!
“Tread those reviving passions down,
Unworthy manhood!—unto thee
Indifferent should the smile or frown
Of beauty be.
“If thou regret’st thy youth, why live?
The land of honourable death
Is here:—up to the field, and give
Away thy breath!
“Seek out—less often sought than found—
A soldier’s grave, for thee the best;
Then look around, and choose thy ground,
And take thy rest.”

“We perceived,” says Count Gamba, “from these lines, as well as from his daily conversations, that his ambition and his hope were irrevocably fixed upon the glorious objects of his expedition to Greece, and that he had made up his mind, to ‘return victorious, or return no more.’ Indeed, he often said to me, ‘Others may do as they please—they may go—but I stay here, that is certain.’ The same determination was expressed in his letters to his friends; and this resolution was not unaccompanied with the very natural presentiment—that he should never leave Greece alive. He one day asked his faithful servant, Tita, whether he thought of returning to Italy? ‘Yes,’ said Tita: ‘if your lordship goes, I go.’ Lord Byron smiled, and said, ‘No, Tita, I shall never go back from Greece—either the Turks, or the Greeks, or the climate, will prevent that.’”

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“Missolonghi, February 5th, 1824.

Dr. Muir’s letter and yours of the 23d reached me some days ago. Tell Muir that I am glad of his promotion for his sake, and of his remaining near us for all our sakes; though I cannot but regret Dr Kennedy’s departure, which accounts for the previous earthquakes and the present English weather in this climate. With all respect to my medical pastor, I have to announce to him, that amongst other firebrands, our firemaster Parry (just landed) has disembarked an elect blacksmith, intrusted with three hundred and twenty-two Greek Testaments. I have given him all facilities in my power for his works spiritual and temporal, and if he can settle matters as easily with the Greek Archbishop and hierarchy, I trust that neither the heretic nor the supposed sceptic will be accused of intolerance.

“By the way, I met with the said Archbishop at Anatolico (where I went by invitation of the Primates a few days ago, and was received with a heavier cannonade than the Turks, probably) for the second time (I had known him here before); and he and P. Mavrocordato, and the Chiefs and Primates and I, all dined together, and I thought the metropolitan the merriest of the party, and a very good christian for all that. But Gamba (we got wet through in our way back) has been ill with a fever and cholic; and Luke has been out of sorts too, and so have some others of the people, and I have been very well,—except that I caught cold yesterday with swearing too much in the rain at the Greeks, who would not bear a hand in landing the Committee stores, and nearly spoiled our combustibles; but I turned out in person, and made such a row as set them in motion, blaspheming at them from the Government downwards, till they actually did some part of what they ought to have done several days before, and this is esteemed, as it deserves to be, a wonder.

“Tell Muir that, notwithstanding his remonstrances, which I receive thankfully, it is perhaps best that I should advance with the troops; for
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if we do not do something soon, we shall only have a third year of defensive operations and another siege, and all that. We hear that the Turks are coming down in force, and sooner than usual; and as these fellows do mind me a little, it is the opinion that I should go,—firstly, because they will sooner listen to a foreigner than one of their own people, out of native jealousies; secondly, because the Turks will sooner treat or capitulate (if such occasion should happen) with a Frank than a Greek; and, thirdly, because nobody else seems disposed to take the responsibility—
Mavrocordato being very busy here, the foreign military men too young or not of authority enough to be obeyed by the natives, and the Chiefs (as aforesaid) inclined to obey any one except, or rather than, one of their own body. As for me, I am willing to do what I am bidden, and to follow my instructions. I neither seek nor shun that nor any thing else they may wish me to attempt; and as for personal safety, besides that it ought not to be a consideration, I take it that a man is on the whole as safe in one place as another; and, after all, he had better end with a bullet than bark in his body. If we are not taken off with the sword, we are like to march off with an ague in this mud basket; and to conclude with a very bad pun, to the ear rather than to the eye, better martially, than marsh-ally;—the situation of Missolonghi is not unknown to you. The dykes of Holland when broken down are the Deserts of Arabia for dryness in comparison.

“And now for the sinews of war. I thank you and Mr. Barff for your ready answers, which, next to ready money, is a pleasant thing. Besides the assets, and balance, and the relics of the Corgialegno correspondence with Leghorn and Genoa (I sold the dog flour, tell him, but not at his price), I shall request and require, from the beginning of March ensuing, about five thousand dollars every two months, i e. about twenty-five thousand within the current year, at regular intervals, independent of the sums now negotiating. I can show you documents to prove that these are considerably within my supplies for the year in more ways than one; but I do not like to tell the Greeks exactly what I could or would advance on an emergency, because, otherwise, they will double and triple their demands (a disposition that they have already sufficiently shown); and though I am willing to do all I can when necessary, yet I do not see
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 723
why they should not help a little, for they are not quite so bare as they pretend to be by some accounts.

“February 7th, 1824.

“I have been interrupted by the arrival of Parry, and afterwards by the return of Hesketh, who has not brought an answer to my epistles, which rather surprise me. You will write soon, I suppose. Parry seems a fine rough subject, but will hardly be ready for the field these three weeks; he and I will (I think) be able to draw together,—at least I will not interfere with or contradict him in his own department. He complains grievously of the mercantile and enthusymusy part of the Committee, but greatly praises Gordon and Hume. Gordon would have given three or four thousand pounds and come out himself, but Kennedy or somebody else disgusted him, and thus they have spoiled part of their subscription and cramped their operations. Parry says B * * * is a humbug, to which I say nothing. He sorely laments the printing and civilizing expenses, and wishes that there was not a Sunday-school in the world, or any school here at present, save and except always an academy for artillery-ship.

“He complained also of the cold, a little to my surprise; firstly, because there being no chimneys, I have used myself to do without other warmth than the animal heat and one’s cloak, in these parts; and secondly, because I should as soon have expected to hear a volcano sneeze, as a fire-master (who is to burn a whole fleet) exclaim against the atmosphere. I fully expected that his very approach would have scorched up the town like the burning-glasses of Archimedes.

“Well, it seems that I am to be Commander-in-chief, and the post is by no means a sinecure, for we are not what Major Sturgeon calls ‘a set of the most amicable officers.’ Whether we shall have ‘a boxing bout between Captain Sheers and the Colonel,’ I cannot tell; but, between Suliote chiefs, German barons, English volunteers, and adventurers of all nations, we are likely to form as goodly an allied army as ever quarrelled beneath the same banner.

“February 8th, 1824.

“Interrupted again by business yesterday, and it is time to conclude my letter. I drew some time since on Mr. Barff for a thousand dollars,
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to complete some money wanted by the Government. The said Government got cash on that bill here and at a profit; but the very same fellow who gave it to them, after proposing to give me money for other bills on Barff to the amount of thirteen hundred dollars, either could not, or thought better of it. I had written to Barff advising him, but had afterwards to write to tell him of the fellow’s having not come up to time. You must really send me the balance soon. I have the artillerists and my Suliotes to pay, and Heaven knows what besides, and as every thing depends upon punctuality, all our operations will be at a standstill unless you use despatch. I shall send to Mr. Barff or to you further bills on England for three thousand pounds, to be negotiated as speedily as you can. I have already stated. here and formerly the sums I can command at home within the year,—without including my credits, or the bills already negotiated or negotiating, as Corgialegno’s balance of Mr. Webb’s letter,—and my letters from my friends (received by
Mr. Parry’s vessel), confirm what I have already stated. How much I may require in the course of the year, I can’t tell, but I will take care that it shall not exceed the means to supply it.

“Yours ever,
“N. B.

“P.S. I have had, by desire of a Mr. Jerostati, to draw on Demetrius Delladecima (is it our friend in ultima analise?) to pay the Committee expenses. I really do not understand what the Committee mean by some of their freedoms. Parry and I get on very well hitherto; how long this may last, Heaven knows, but I hope it will, for a good deal for the Greek service depends upon it, but he has already had some miffs with Col. S., and I do all I can to keep the peace amongst them. However, Parry is a fine fellow, extremely active, and of strong, sound, practical talents, by all accounts. Enclosed are bills for three thousand pounds, drawn in the mode directed (i. e. parcelled out in smaller bills). A good opportunity occurring for Cephalonia to send letters on, I avail myself of it. Remember me to Stevens and to all friends. Also my compliments and every thing kind to the colonels and officers.

“February 9th, 1824.

“P.S. 2d or 3d. I have reason to expect a person from England
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 725
directed with papers (on business) for me to sign, somewhere in the islands, by and by; if such should arrive, would you forward him to me by a safe conveyance, as the papers regard a transaction with regard to the adjustment of a lawsuit, and a sum of several thousand pounds, which I, or my bankers and trustees for me, may have to receive (in England) in consequence. The time of the probable arrival I cannot state, but the date of my letters is the 2d Nov., and I suppose that he ought to arrive soon.”

How strong were the hopes which even those who watched him most observingly conceived from the whole tenor of his conduct since his arrival at Missolonghi, will appear from the following words of Colonel Stanhope, in one of his letters to the Greek Committee.

“Lord Byron possesses all the means of playing a great part in the glorious revolution of Greece. He has talent; he professes liberal principles; he has money; and is inspired with fervent and chivalrous feelings. He has commenced his career by two good measures: 1st, by recommending union, and declaring himself of no party; and, 2dly, by taking 500 Suliotes into pay, and acting as their chief. These acts cannot fail to render his lordship universally popular, and proportionally powerful. Thus advantageously circumstanced, his lordship will have an opportunity of realizing all his professions.”

That the inspirer, however, of these hopes was himself far from participating in them is a fact manifest from all he said and wrote on the subject, and but adds painfully to the interest which his position at this moment excites. Too well, indeed, did he both understand and feel the difficulties into which he was plunged to deceive himself into any such sanguine delusions. In one only of the objects to which he had looked forward with any hope,—that of endeavouring to humanize, by his example. the system of warfare on both sides,—had he yet been able to gratify himself. Not many days after his arrival an opportunity, as we have seen, had been afforded him of rescuing an unfortunate Turk out of the hands of some Greek sailors; and, towards the end of the month, having learned that there were a few Turkish prisoners in confinement at Missolonghi, he requested of the Government to place them at his
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disposal, that he might send them to
Yussuff Pacha. In performing this act of humane policy, he transmitted with the rescued captives the following letter.

“Missolonghi, 23d January, 1824.

“A vessel, in which a friend and some domestics of mine were embarked was detained a few days ago, and released by order of your Highness. I have now to thank you; not for liberating the vessel, which, as carrying a neutral flag, and being under British protection, no one had a right to detain; but for having treated my friends with so much kindness while they were in your hands.

“In the hope, therefore, that it may not be altogether displeasing to your Highness, I have requested the governor of this place to release four Turkish prisoners, and he has humanely consented to do so. I lose no time, therefore, in sending them back, in order to make as early a return as I could for your courtesy on the late occasion. These prisoners are liberated without any conditions: but, should the circumstance find a place in your recollection, I venture to beg, that your Highness will treat such Greeks as may henceforth fall into your hands with humanity; more especially since the horrors of war are sufficiently great in themselves, without being aggravated by wanton cruelties on either side.

Noel Byron.

Another favourite and, as it appeared for some time, practicable object, on which he had most ardently set his heart, was the intended attack upon Lepanto—a fortified town* which, from its command of the navigation of the Gulf of Corinth, is a position of the first importance. “Lord Byron,” says Colonel Stanhope, in a letter dated January 14,

* The ancient Naupatctus, called Epacto by the modern Greeks, and Lepanto by the Italians.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 727
“burns with military ardour and chivalry, and will accompany the expedition to Lepanto.” The delay of
Parry, the engineer, who had been for some months anxiously expected with the supplies necessary for the formation of a brigade of artillery, had hitherto paralysed the preparations for this important enterprise; though, in the mean time, whatever little could be effected, without his aid, had been put in progress both by the appointment of a brigade of Suliotes to act under Lord Byron, and by the formation, at the joint expense of his lordship and Colonel Stanhope, of a small corps of artillery.

It was towards the latter end of January, as we have seen, that Lord Byron received his regular commission from the Government, as Commander of the expedition. In conferring upon him full powers, both civil and military, they appointed, at the same time, a Military Council to accompany him, composed of the most experienced Chieftains of the army, with Nota Bozzari, the uncle of the famous warrior, at their head.

It had been expected that, among the stores sent with Parry, there would be a supply of Congreve Rockets,—an instrument of warfare of which such wonders had been related to the Greeks as filled their imaginations with the most absurd ideas of its powers. Their disappointment, therefore, on finding that the engineer had come unprovided with these missiles was excessive. Another hope, too,—that of being enabled to complete an artillery corps by the accession of those Germans who had been sent for into the Morea,—was found almost equally fallacious; that body of men having, from the death or retirement of those who originally composed it, nearly dwindled away; and the few officers that now came to serve being, from their fantastic notions of rank and etiquette, far more troublesome than useful. In addition to these discouraging circumstances, the five Speziot ships of war which had for some time formed the sole protection of Missolonghi were now returned to their home, and had left their places to be filled by the enemy’s squadron.

Perplexing as were all these difficulties in the way of the expedition, a still more formidable embarrassment presented itself in the turbulent and almost mutinous disposition of those Suliote troops on whom he mainly depended for success in his undertaking. Presuming as well upon his wealth and generosity as upon their own military importance, these unruly
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warriors had never ceased to rise in the extravagance of their demands upon him;—the wholly destitute and homeless state of their families at this moment affording but too well founded a pretext both for their exaction and discontent. Nor were their leaders much more amenable to management than themselves. “There were,” says
Count Gamba, “six heads of families among them, all of whom had equal pretensions both by their birth and their exploits; and none of whom would obey any one of his comrades.”

A serious riot to which, about the middle of January, these Suliotes had given rise, and in which some lives were lost, had been a source of much irritation and anxiety to Lord Byron, as well from the ill-blood it was likely to engender between his troops and the citizens, as from the little dependence it gave him encouragement to place upon materials so unmanageable. Notwithstanding all this, however, neither his eagerness nor his efforts for the accomplishment of this sole personal object of his ambition ever relaxed a single instant. To whatever little glory was to be won by the attack upon Lepanto, he looked forward as his only reward for all the sacrifices he was making. In his conversations with Count Gamba on the subject, “though he joked a good deal,” says this gentleman, “about his post of ‘Archistrategos,’ or Commander in Chief, it was plain that the romance and the peril of the undertaking were great allurements to him.” When we combine, indeed, his determination to stand, at all hazards, by the cause, with the very faint hopes his sagacious mind would let him indulge as to his power of serving it, I have little doubt that the “soldier’s grave” which, in his own beautiful verses, he marked out for himself, was no idle dream of poetry; but that, on the contrary, his “wish was father to the thought,” and that to an honourable death, in some such achievement as that of storming Lepanto, he looked forward, not only as the sole means of redeeming worthily the great pledge he had now given, but as the most signal and lasting service that a name like his,—echoed, as it would then be, among the watch-words of Liberty, from age to age,—could bequeath to her cause.

In the midst of these cares he was much gratified by the receipt of a letter from an old friend of his, Andrea Londo, whom he had made acquaintance with in his early travels in 1809, and who was at that
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 729
period a rich proprietor, under the Turks, in the Morea*. This patriotic Greek was one of the foremost to raise the standard of the Cross, and at the present moment stood distinguished among the supporters of the Legislative Body and of the new national Government. The following is a translation of Lord Byron’s answer to his letter.


The sight of your handwriting gave me the greatest pleasure. Greece has ever been for me, as it must be for all men of any feeling or education, the promised land of valour, of the arts, and of liberty; nor did the time I passed in my youth in travelling among her ruins at all chill my affection for the birthplace of heroes. In addition to this, I am bound to yourself by ties of friendship and gratitude for the hospitality which I experienced from you during my stay in that country, of which you are now become one of the first defenders and ornaments. To see myself serving, by your side and under your eyes, in the cause of Greece will be to me one of the happiest events of my life. In the mean time, with the hope of our again meeting,

“I am, as ever, &c.”

Among the less serious embarrassments of his position at this period may be mentioned the struggle maintained against him by his colleague, Colonel Stanhope,—with a degree of conscientious perseverance which even while thwarted by it, he could not but respect,—on the subject of

* This brave Moriote, when Lord Byron first knew him, was particularly boyish in his aspect and manners, but still cherished, under this exteriors a mature spirit of patriotism which occasionally broke forth; and the noble poet used to relate that, one day, while they were playing at droughts together, on the name of Riga being pronounced. Londo leaped from the table, and clapping violently his hands, began singing the famous song of that ill-fated patriot:
“Sons of the Greeks, arise!
The glorious hour’s gone forth.”

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a Free Press, which it was one of the favourite objects of his fellow agent to bring instantly into operation in all parts of Greece. On this important point their opinions differed considerably; and the following report, by Colonel Stanhope, of one of their many conversations on the subject, may be taken as a fair and concise statement of their respective views.

“Lord Byron said that he was an ardent friend of publicity and the press; but that he feared it was not applicable to this society in its present combustible state. I answered that I thought it applicable to all countries, and essential here, in order to put an end to the state of anarchy which at present prevailed. Lord B. feared libels and licentiousness. I said that the object of a free press was to check public licentiousness, and to expose libellers to odium. Lord B. had mentioned his conversation with Mavrocordato* to show that the Prince was not hostile to the press. I declared that I knew him to be an enemy to the press, although he dared not openly to avow it. His lordship then said that he had not made up his mind about the liberty of the press in Greece, but that he thought the experiment worth trying.”

That between two men, both eager in the service of one common cause, there should arise a difference of opinion as to the means of serving it is but a natural result of the varieties of human judgment, and detracts nothing from the zeal or sincerity of either. But by those who do not suffer themselves to be carried away by a theory, it will be conceded, I think, that the scruples professed by Lord Byron with respect to the expedience or safety of introducing what is called a Free Press into a country so little advanced in civilization as Greece were founded on just views of human nature and practical good sense. To endeavour to force upon a state of society, so unprepared for them, such full-grown institutions; to think of engrafting, at once, on an ignorant people the fruits

* Lord Byron had, it seems, acknowledged, on the preceding evening, his having remarked to Prince Mavrocordato, that “if he were in his situation, he would have placed the press under a censor,” to which the Prince had replied, “No; the liberty of the press is guaranteed by the Constitution.”

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 731
of long knowledge and cultivation,—of importing among them, ready made, those advantages and blessings which no nation ever attained but by its own working out, nor ever was fitted to enjoy but by having first struggled for them,—to harbour even a dream of the success of such an experiment, implies a sanguineness almost incredible, and such as, though, in the present instance, indulged by the political economist and soldier, was, as we have seen, beyond the poet.

The enthusiastic and, in many respects, well founded confidence with which Colonel Stanhope appealed to the authority of Mr. Bentham on most of the points at issue between himself and Lord Byron, was, from that natural antipathy which exists between political economists and poets, but little sympathized in by the latter;—such appeals being always met by him with those sallies of ridicule, which he found the best-humoured vent for his impatience under argument, and to which, notwithstanding the venerable name and services of Mr. Bentham himself, the quackery of much that is promulgated by his followers presented, it must be owned, ample scope. Romantic, indeed, as was Lord Byron’s sacrifice of himself to the cause of Greece, there was in the views he took of the means of serving her not a tinge of the unsubstantial or speculative. The grand, practical task of freeing her from her tyrants was his first and main object. He knew that slavery was the great bar to Knowledge, and must be broken through before her light could come; that the work of the sword must therefore precede that of the pen, and camps be the first schools of Freedom.

With such sound and manly views of the true exigencies of the crisis, it is not wonderful that he should view with impatience, and something, perhaps, of contempt, all that premature apparatus of printing-presses, pedagogues, &c., with which the Philhellenes of the London Committee were, in their rage for “utilitarianism,” encumbering him. Nor were some of the correspondents of this body much more solid in their speculations than themselves; one intelligent gentleman having suggested, as a means of conferring signal advantages on the cause, an alteration of the Greek alphabet.

Though feeling, as strongly, perhaps, as Lord Byron, the importance of the great object of their mission,—that of rousing and, what was far
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more difficult, combining against the common foe the energies of the country,—
Colonel Stanhope was also one of those who thought that the lights of their great master, Bentham, and the operations of a press unrestrictedly free, were no less essential instruments towards the advancement of the struggle; and in this opinion, as we have seen, the poet and man of literature differed from the soldier. But it was such a difference as, between men of frank and fair minds, may arise without either reproach to themselves, or danger to their cause,—a strife of opinion which, though maintained with heat, may be remembered without bitterness, and which, in the present instance, neither prevented Byron, at the close of one of their warmest altercations, from exclaiming generously to his opponent, “Give me that honest right hand,” nor withheld the other from pouring forth, at the grave of his colleague, a strain of eulogy* not the less cordial for being discriminatingly shaded with censure, nor less honourable to the illustrious dead for being the tribute of one who had once manfully differed with him.

Towards the middle of February, the indefatigable activity of Mr. Parry having brought the artillery brigade into such a state of forwardness as to be almost ready for service, an inspection of the Suliote corps took place, preparatory to the expedition; and after much of the usual deception and unmanageableness on their part, every obstacle appeared to be at length surmounted. It was agreed that they should receive a month’s pay in advance;—Count Gamba, with 200 of their corps, as a vanguard, was to march next day and take up a position under Lepanto, and Lord Byron with the main body and the artillery was speedily to follow.

New difficulties, however, were soon started by these untractable mercenaries; and under the instigation, as was discovered afterwards, of the great rival of Mavrocordato, Colocotroni, who had sent emissaries into Missolonghi for the purpose of seducing them, they now put forward their exactions in a new shape by requiring of the Government to appoint, out of their number, two generals, two colonels, two captains, and inferior officers in the same proportion:—“in short,” says Count

* Sketch of Lord Byron.—See Colonel Stanhope’sGreece in 1823, 1824, &c.”

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 733
Gamba, “that, out of three or four hundred actual Suliotes, there should be about one hundred and fifty above the rank of common soldiers.” The audacious dishonesty of this demand,—beyond what he could have expected even from Greeks,—roused all Lord Byron’s rage, and he at once signified to the whole body, through Count Gamba, that all negotiation between them and himself was at an end; that he could no longer have any confidence in persons so little true to their engagements; and that though the relief which he had afforded to their families should still be continued, all his agreements with them, as a body, must be thenceforward void.

It was on the 14th of February that this rupture with the Suliotes took place; and though, on the following day, in consequence of the full submission of their Chiefs, they were again received into his lordship’s service on his own terms, the whole affair, combined with the various other difficulties that now beset him, agitated his mind considerably. He saw with pain that he should but place in peril both the cause of Greece and his own character, by at all relying, in such an enterprise, upon troops whom any intriguer could thus seduce from their duty; and that, till some more regular force could be organized, the expedition against Lepanto must be suspended.

While these vexatious events were occurring, the interruption of his accustomed exercise by the rains but increased the irritability that such delays were calculated to excite; and the whole together, no doubt, concurred with whatever predisposing tendencies were already in his constitution, to bring on that convulsive fit,—the forerunner of his death,which, on the evening of the 15th of February, seized him. He was sitting, at about eight o’clock, with only Mr. Parry and Mr. Hesketh, in the apartment of Colonel Stanhope,—talking jestingly upon one of his favourite topics, the differences between himself and this latter gentleman, and saying that “he believed, after all, the author’s brigade would be ready before the soldier’s printing-press.” There was an unusual flush in his face, and from the rapid changes of his countenance it was manifest that he was suffering under some nervous agitation. He then complained of being thirsty, and, calling for some cider, drank of it; upon which, a still greater change being observable over his features, he rose from his
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seat, but was unable to walk, and, after staggering forward a step or two, fell into Mr. Parry’s arms. In another minute, his teeth were closed, his speech and senses gone, and he was in strong convulsions. So violent, indeed, were his struggles, that it required all the strength both of Mr. Parry and his servant
Tita to hold him during the fit. His face, too, was much distorted, and, as he told Count Gamba afterwards, “so intense were his sufferings during the convulsion, that, had it lasted but a minute longer, he believed he must have died.” The fit was, however, as short as it was violent; in a few minutes his speech and senses returned; his features, though still pale and haggard, resumed their natural shape, and no effect remained from the attack but excessive weakness. “As soon as he could speak,” says Count Gamba, “he showed himself perfectly free from all alarm; but he very coolly asked whether his attack was likely to prove fatal. ‘Let me know,’ he said: ‘do not think I am afraid to die—I am not.’”

This painful event had not occurred more than half an hour, when a report was brought that the Suliotes were up in arms, and about to attack the seraglio, for the purpose of seizing the magazines. Instantly Lord Byron’s friends ran to the arsenal; the artillery-men were ordered under arms; the sentinels doubled, and the cannon loaded and pointed on the approaches to the gates. Though the alarm proved to be false, the very likelihood of such an attack shows sufficiently how precarious was the state of Missolonghi at this moment, and in what a scene of peril, confusion, and uncomfort, the now nearly numbered days of England’s poet were to close.

On the following morning he was found to be better, but still pale and weak, and complained much of a sensation of weight in his head. The doctors, therefore, thought it right to apply leeches to his temples; but found it difficult, on their removal, to stop the blood, which continued to flow so copiously, that from exhaustion he fainted. It must have been on this day that the scene thus described by Colonel Stanhope occurred:—

“Soon after his dreadful paroxysm, when, faint with over-bleeding, he was lying on his sick bed, with his whole nervous system completely shaken, the mutinous Suliotes, covered with dirt and splendid attires,
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 735
broke into his apartment, brandishing their costly arms, and loudly demanding their wild rights. Lord Byron, electrified by this unexpected act, seemed to recover from his sickness; and the more the Suliotes raged, the more his calm courage triumphed. The scene was truly sublime.”

Another eye-witness, Count Gamba, bears similar testimony to the presence of mind with which he fronted this and all other such dangers. “It is impossible,” says this gentleman, “to do justice to the coolness and magnanimity which he displayed upon every trying occasion. Upon trifling occasions he was certainly irritable; but the aspect of danger calmed him in an instant, and restored to him the free exercise of all the powers of his noble nature. A more undaunted man in the hour of peril never breathed.”

The letters written by him during the few following weeks form, as usual, the best record of his proceedings, and, besides the sad interest they possess as being among the latest from his hand, are also precious, as affording proof that neither illness nor disappointment, neither a worn-out frame nor even a hopeless spirit, could lead him for a moment to think of abandoning the great cause he had espoused; while to the last, too, he preserved unbroken the cheerful spring of his mind, his manly endurance of all ills that affected but himself, and his ever-wakeful consideration for the wants of others.

“February 21.

“I am a good deal better, though of course weakly; the leeches took too much blood from my temples the day after, and there was some difficulty in stopping it, but I have since been up daily, and out in boats or on horseback. To-day I have taken a warm bath, and live a temperately as can well be, without any liquid but water, and without animal food.

“Besides the four Turks sent to Patras, I have obtained the release of four-and-twenty women and children, and sent them at my own
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expense to Prevesa, that the English Consul-General may consign them to their relations. I did this by their own desire. Matters here are a little embroiled with the Suliotes and foreigners, &c., but I still hope better things, and will stand by the cause as long as my health and circumstances will permit me to be supposed useful*.

“I am obliged to support the Government here for the present.”

The prisoners mentioned in this letter as having been released by him and sent to Prevesa had been held in captivity at Missolonghi since the beginning of the Revolution. The following was the letter which he forwarded with them to the English Consul at Prevesa.


“Coming to Greece, one of my principal objects was to alleviate as much as possible the miseries incident to a warfare so cruel as the present. When the dictates of humanity are in question, I know no difference between Turks and Greeks. It is enough that those who want assistance are men, in order to claim the pity and protection of the meanest pretender to humane feelings. I have found here twenty-four Turks, including women and children, who have long pined in distress, far from the means of support and the consolations of their home. The Government has consigned them to me: I transmit them to Prevesa, whither they desire to be sent. I hope you will not object to take care that they may be restored to a place of safety, and that the Governor of your town may accept of my present. The best recompense I can hope for would be to find that I had inspired the Ottoman commanders with the same sentiments towards those unhappy Greeks who may hereafter fall into their hands.

“I beg you to believe me, &c.”

* In a letter to the same gentleman, dated January 27, he had already said, “I hope that things here will go on well some time or other. I will stick by the cause as long a cause exists—first or second.”

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 737
“Missolonghi, February 21st, 1824.

“I have received yours of the 2d of November. It is essential that the money should be paid, as I have drawn for it all, and more too, to help the Greeks. Parry is here, and he and I agree very well; and all is going on hopefully for the present, considering circumstances.

“We shall have work this year, for the Turks are coming down in force; and, as for me, I must stand by the cause. I shall shortly march (according to orders) against Lepanto, with two thousand men. I have been here some time, after some narrow escapes from the Turks, and also from being shipwrecked. We were twice upon the rocks, but this you will have heard, truly or falsely, through other channels, and I do not wish to bore you with a long story.

“So far I have succeeded in supporting the Government of Western Greece, which would otherwise have been dissolved. If you have received the eleven thousand and odd pounds, these, with what I have in hand, and my income for the current year, to say nothing of contingencies, will, or might, enable me to keep the ‘sinews of war’ properly strung. If the deputies be honest fellows, and obtain the loan, they will repay the 4000l. as agreed upon; and even then I shall save little, or indeed less than little, since I am maintaining nearly the whole machine—in this place, at least—at my own cost. But let the Greeks only succeed, and I don’t care for myself.

“I have been very seriously unwell, but am getting better, and can ride about again; so pray quiet our friends on that score.

“It is not true that I ever did, will, would, could or should write a satire against Gifford, or a hair of his head. I always considered him as my literary father, and myself as his ‘prodigal son;’ and if I have allowed his ‘fatted calf’ to grow to an ox before be kills it on my return, it is only because I prefer beef to veal.

“Yours, &c.”
738 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
“February 23d.

“My health seems improving, especially from riding and the warm bath. Six Englishmen will be soon in quarantine at Zante; they are artificers*, and have had enough of Greece in fourteen days. If you could recommend them to a passage home, I would thank you; they are good men enough, but do not quite understand the little discrepancies in these countries, and are not used to see shooting and slashing in a domestic quiet way, or (as it forms here) a part of housekeeping.

“If they should want any thing during their quarantine, you can advance them not more than a dollar a day (amongst them) for that period, to purchase them some little extras as comforts (as they are quite out of their element). I cannot afford them more at present.”

The following letter to Mr. Murray,—which it is most gratifying to have to produce, as the last completing link of a long friendship and correspondence which had been but for a short time, and through the fault only of others interrupted,—contains such a summary of the chief events now passing round Lord Byron, as, with the assistance of a few notes, will render any more detailed narrative unnecessary.

“Missolonghi February 25th, 1824.

“I have heard from Mr. Douglas Kinnaird that you state ‘a report of a satire on Mr. Gifford having arrived from Italy, said to be written by me! but that you do not believe it.’ I dare say you do not, nor any body else, I should think. Whoever asserts that I am the author or

* The workmen who came out with Parry, and who, alarmed by the scene of confusion and danger they found at Missolonghi, had resolved to return home.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 739
abettor of any thing of the kind on Gifford lies in his throat. If any such composition exists, it is none of mine. You know as well as any body upon whom I have or have not written; and you also know whether they do or did not deserve that same. And so much for such matters.

“You will perhaps be anxious to hear some news from this part of Greece (which is the most liable to invasion); but you will hear enough through public and private channels. I will, however, give you the events of a week, mingling my own private peculiar with the public, for we are here a little jumbled together at present.

“On Sunday (the 15th, I believe), I had a strong and sudden convulsive attack, which left me speechless, though not motionless—for some strong men could not hold me; but whether it was epilepsy, catalepsy, cachexy, or apoplexy, or what other exy or epsy, the doctors have not decided; or whether it was spasmodic or nervous, &c.; but it was very unpleasant, and nearly carried me off, and all that. On Monday, they put leeches to my temples, no difficult matter, but the blood could not be stopped till eleven at night (they had gone too near the temporal artery for my temporal safety), and neither styptic nor caustic would cauterize the orifice till after a hundred attempts.

“On Tuesday, a Turkish brig of war ran on shore. On Wednesday, great preparations being made to attack her, though protected by her consorts*, the Turks burned her and retired to Patras. On Thursday a quarrel ensued between the Suliotes and the Frank guard at the arsenal: a Swedish officer† was killed, and a Suliote severely wounded, and a

* “Early in the morning we prepared far our attack on the brig. Lord Byron, notwithstanding his weakness, and an inflammation that threatened his eyes, was most anxious to be of our party; but the physician would not suffer him to go.”—Count Gamba’sNarrative.

His lordship had promised a reward for every Turk taken alive in the proposed attack on this vessel.

Captain Sasse, an officer esteemed as one of the best and bravest of the foreigners in the Greek service. “This,” says Colonel Stanhope, in a letter, February 18th, to the Committee, “is a serious affair. The Suliotes have no country, no home for their families; arrears of pay are owing to them; the people of Missolonghi hate and pay them exorbitantly. Lord Byron. who was to have led them to Lepanto, is much shaken by his fit, and will probably be obliged to retire from Greece. In short, all our hopes in this quarter are damped for the present. I

740 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
general fight expected, and with some difficulty prevented. On Friday, the officer was buried; and
Captain Parry’s English artificers mutinied, under pretence that their lives are in danger, and are for quitting the country:—they may*.

“On Saturday we had the smartest shock of an earthquake which I remember (and I have felt thirty, slight or smart, at different periods; they are common in the Mediterranean), and the whole army discharged their arms, upon the same principle that savages beat drums, or howl, during an eclipse of the moon:—it was a rare scene altogether—if you had but seen the English Johnnies, who had never been out of a cockney workshop before!—or will again, if they can help it—and on Sunday, we heard that the Vizier is come down to Larissa, with one hundred and odd thousand men.

“In coming here, I had two escapes, one from the Turks (one of my vessels was taken, but afterwards released), and the other from shipwreck. We drove twice on the rocks near the Scrophes (islands near the coast).

“I have obtained from the Greeks the release of eight-and-twenty Turkish prisoners, men, women, and children, and sent them to Patras and Prevesa at my own charges. One little girl of nine years old, who prefers remaining with me, I shall (if I live) send, with her mother, probably, to Italy, or to England. Her name is Hato, or Hatagée. She is a very pretty lively child. All her brothers were killed by the Greeks, and she herself and her mother merely spared by special favour and owing to her extreme youth, she being then but five or six years old.

“My health is now better, and I ride about again. My office here is no sinecure, so many parties and difficulties of every kind; but I will

am not a little fearful, too, that these wild warriors will not forget the blood that has been spilt. I this morning told Prince Mavrocordato and Lord Byron that they must come to some resolution about compelling the Suliotes to quit the place.”

* This was a fresh, and, as may be conceived, serious disappointment to Lord Byron. “The departure of these men,” says Count Gamba, “made us fear that our laboratory would come to nothing; for, if we tried to supply the place of the artificers with native Greeks, we should make but little progress.”

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 741
do what I can.
Prince Mavrocordato is an excellent person, and does all in his power, but his situation is perplexing in the extreme. Still we have great hopes of the success of the contest. You will hear, however, more of public news from plenty of quarters, for I have little time to write.

“Believe me yours, &c. &c.
“N. Bn.”

The fierce lawlessness of the Suliotes had now risen to such a height that it became necessary for the safety of the European population to get rid of them altogether; and by some sacrifices on the part of Lord Byron, this object was at length effected. The advance of a month’s pay by him, and the discharge of their arrears by the Government, (the latter, too, with money lent for that purpose by the same universal paymaster,) at length induced these rude warriors to depart from the town, and with them vanished all hopes of the expedition against Lepanto.

“Missoloaghi, Western Greece, March 4th, 1824.

“Your reproach is unfounded—I have received two letters from you, and answered both previous to leaving Cephalonia. I have not been ‘quiet’ in an Ionian island, but much occupied with business,—as the Greek deputies (if arrived) can tell you. Neither have I continued ‘Don Juan,’ nor any other poem. You go, as usual, I presume, by some newspaper report or other*.

* Proceeding, as he here rightly supposes, upon newspaper authority, I had in my letter made some allusion to his imputed occupations which, in his present sensitiveness on the subject of authorship, did not at all please him. To this circumstance Count Gamba alludes in a passage of his Narrative, where, after mentioning a remark of Byron’s that “Poetry should only occupy the idle, and that in more serious affairs it would be ridiculous,” he adds—“* *, at this time writing to him, said, that he had heard that ‘instead of pursuing heroic and warlike adventures,

742 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.

“When the proper moment to be of some use arrived, I came here; and am told that my arrival (with some other circumstances) has been of, at least, temporary advantage to the cause. I had a narrow escape from the Turks, and another from shipwreck on my passage. On the 15th (or 16th) of February I had an attack of apoplexy, or epilepsy,—the physicians have not exactly decided which, but the alternative is agreeable. My constitution, therefore, remains between the two opinions, like Mahomet’s sarcophagus between the magnets. All that I can say is, that they nearly bled me to death, by placing the leeches too near the temporal artery, so that the blood could with difficulty be stopped, even with caustic. I am supposed to be getting better, slowly, however. But my homilies will, I presume, for the future, be like the Archbishop of Grenada’s—in this case, ‘I order you a hundred ducats from my treasurer, and wish you a little more taste.’

“For public matters I refer you to Col. Stanhope’s and Capt. Parry’s reports,—and to all other reports whatsoever. There is plenty to do—war without, and tumult within—they ‘kill a man a week,’ like Bob Acres in the country. Parry’s artificers have gone away in alarm, on account of a dispute in which some of the natives and foreigners were engaged, and a Swede was killed, and a Suliote wounded. In the middle of their fright there was a strong shock of an earthquake; so, between that and the sword, they boomed off in a hurry, in despite of all dissuasions to the contrary. A Turkish brig ran ashore, &c. &c. &c.*

he was residing in a delightful villa, continuing Don Juan.’ This offended him for the moment, and he was sorry that such a mistaken judgment had been formed of him.”

It is amusing to observe that, while thus anxious, and from a highly noble motive, to throw his authorship into the shade while engaged in so much more serious pursuits, it was yet an author’s mode of revenge that always occurred to him, when under the influence of any of these passing resentments. Thus, when a little angry with Colonel Stanhope one day, he exclaimed “I will libel you in your own Chronicle;” and in this brief burst of humour I was myself the means of provoking in him, I have been told, on the authority of Count Gamba, that he swore to “write a satire” upon me.

Though the above letter shows how momentary was any little spleen he may have felt, there not unfrequently, I own, comes over me a short pang of regret to think that a feeling of displeasure, however slight, should have been among the latest I awakened in him.

* What I have omitted here is but a repetition of the various particulars, respecting all that had happened since his arrival, which have already been given in the letters to his other correspondents.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 743

“You, I presume, are either publishing or meditating that same. Let me hear from and of you, and believe me, in all events,

“Ever and affectionately yours,
N. B.

“P.S. Tell Mr. Murray that I wrote to him the other day, and hope that he has received, or will receive, the letter.”

“Missolonghi, Mardi 4, 1824.

“I have to thank you for your two very kind letters, both received at the same time, and one long after its date. I am not unaware of the precarious state of my health, nor am, nor have been, deceived on that subject. But it is proper that I should remain in Greece; and it were better to die doing something than nothing. My presence here has been supposed so far useful as to have prevented confusion from becoming worse confounded, at least for the present. Should I become, or be deemed useless or superfluous, I am ready to retire; but in the interim I am not to consider personal consequences; the rest is in the hands of Providence,—as indeed are all things. I shall, however, observe your instructions, and indeed did so, as far as regards abstinence, for some time past.

“Besides the tracts, &c. which you have sent for distribution, one of the English artificers (hight Brownbill, a tinman) left to my charge a number of Greek Testaments, which I will endeavour to distribute properly. The Greeks complain that the translation is not correct, nor in good Romaic: Bambas can decide on that point. I am trying to reconcile the clergy to the distribution, which (without due regard to their hierarchy) they might contrive to impede or neutralize in the effect, from their power over their people. Mr. Brownbill has gone to the Islands, having some apprehension for his life (not from the priests, however), and apparently preferring rather to be a saint than a martyr, although his apprehensions of becoming the latter were probably
744 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
unfounded. All the English artificers accompanied him, thinking themselves in danger, on account of some troubles here, which have apparently subsided.

“I have been interrupted by a visit from Prince Mavrocordato and others since I began this letter, and must close it hastily, for the boat is announced as ready to sail. Your future convert, Hato, or Hatagée, appears to me lively, and intelligent, and promising, and possesses an interesting countenance. With regard to her disposition, I can say little, but Millingen, who has the mother (who is a middle-aged woman of good character) in his house as a domestic (although their family was in good worldly circumstances previous to the Revolution), speaks well of both, and he is to be relied on. As far as I know, I have only seen the child a few times with her mother, and what I have seen is favourable, or I should not take so much interest in her behalf. If she turns out well, my idea would be to send her to my daughter in England (if not to respectable persons in Italy), and so to provide for her as to enable her to live with reputation either singly or in marriage, if she arrive at maturity. I will make proper arrangements about her expenses through Messrs. Barff and Hancock, and the rest I leave to your discretion and to Mrs. K’s, with a great sense of obligation for your kindness in undertaking her temporary superintendence.

“Of public matters here, I have little to add to what you will already have heard. We are going on as well as we can, and with the hope and the endeavour to do better. Believe me,

“Ever and truly, &c.”
“March 5th, 1824.

“If Sisseni* is sincere, he will be treated with, and well treated; if he is not, the sin and the shame may lie at his own door. One great

* This Sisseni, who was the Capitano of the rich district about Gastouni, and had for some time held out against the general Government, was now, as appears by the above letter,

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 745
object is to heal those internal dissensions for the future, without exacting too rigorous an account of the past.
Prince Mavrocordato is of the same opinion, and whoever is disposed to act fairly will be fairly dealt with. I have heard a good deal of Sisseni, but not a deal of good; however, I never judge from report, particularly in a Revolution. Personally, I am rather obliged to him, for he has been very hospitable to all friends of mine, who have passed through his district. You may therefore assure him that any overture for the advantage of Greece and its internal pacification will be readily and sincerely met here. I hardly think that he would have ventured a deceitful proposition to me through you, because he must be sure that in such a case it would eventually be exposed. At any rate, the healing of these dissensions is so important a point, that something must be risked to obtain it.”

“March 10th.

“Enclosed is an answer to Mr. Parruca’s letter, and I hope that you will assure him from me, that I have done and am doing all I can to reunite the Greeks with the Greeks.

“I am extremely obliged by your offer of your country house (as for all other kindness) in case that my health should require my removal; but I cannot quit Greece while there is a chance of my being of any (even supposed) utility:—there is a stake worth millions such as I am, and while I can stand at all, I must stand by the cause. When I say this, I am at the same time aware of the difficulties and dissensions and defects of the Greeks themselves but allowance must be made for them by all reasonable people.

“My chief, indeed nine-tenths of my expenses here are solely in

making overtures, through Mr. Barff, of adhesion. As a proof of his sincerity, it was required by Lord Byron that he should surrender into the hands of the Government the fortress of Chiarenza.

746 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
advances to or on behalf of the Greeks*, and objects connected with their independence.”

The letter of Parruca, to which the foregoing alludes, contained a pressing invitation to Lord Byron to present himself in the Peloponnesus, where, it was added, his influence would be sure to bring about the union of all parties. So general, indeed, was the confidence placed in their noble ally, that, by every Chief of every faction, he seems to have been regarded as the only rallying point round which there was the slightest chance of their now split and jarring interests being united. A far more flattering, as well as more authorized, invitation soon after reached him, through an express envoy, from the Chieftain, Colocotroni, recommending a National Council, where his lordship, it was proposed, should act as mediator, and pledging this Chief himself and his followers to abide by the result. To this application an answer was returned, similar to that which he sent to Parruca, and which was in terms as follows:—

“March 10th, 1824.

“I have the honour of answering your letter. My first wish has always been to bring the Greeks to agree amongst themselves. I came here by the invitation of the Greek government, and I do not think

* “At this time (February 14th),” says Mr. Parry, who kept the accounts of his lordship’s disbursements, “the expenses of Lord Byron in the cause of the Greeks did not amount to less than two thousand dollars per week in rations alone.” In another place this writer says, “The Greeks seemed to think he was a mine from which they could extract gold at their pleasure. One person represented that a supply of 20,000 dollars would save the island of Candia from falling into the hands of the Pacha of Egypt; and there not being that sum in hand, Lord Byron gave him authority to raise it if he could in the islands, and he would guarantee its repayment. I believe this person did not succeed.”

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 747
that I ought to abandon Roumelia for the Peloponnesus until that Government shall desire it; and the more so, as this part is exposed in a greater degree to the enemy. Nevertheless, if my presence can really be of any assistance in uniting two or more parties, I am ready to go any where, either as a mediator, or, if necessary, as a hostage. In these affairs I have neither private views, nor private dislike of any individual, but the sincere wish of deserving the name of the friend of your country, and of her patriots.

“I have the honour, &c.”
“Missolonghi, 10th March, 1824.

“I sent by Mr. J. M. Hodges a bill drawn on Signor C. Jerostatti for three hundred and eighty-six pounds, on account of the Hon. the Greek Committee, for carrying on the service at this place. But Count Delladecima sent no more than two hundred dollars until he should receive instructions from C. Jerostatti. Therefore I am obliged to advance that sum to prevent a positive stop being put to the Laboratory service at this place, &c. &c.

“I beg you will mention this business to Count Delladecima, who has the draft and every account, and that Mr. Barff, in conjunction with yourself, will endeavour to arrange this money account, and, when received, forward the same to Missolonghi.

“I am, sir, yours very truly.

“So far is written by Captain Parry; but I see that I must continue the letter myself. I understand little or nothing of the business, saving and except that, like most of the present affairs here, it will be at a stand-still if monies be not advanced, and there are few here so disposed; so that I must take the chance, as usual.

“You will see what can be done with Delladecima and Jerostati, and remit the sum, that we may have some quiet; for the Committee
748 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
have somehow embroiled their matters, or chosen Greek correspondents more Grecian than ever the Greeks are wont to be.

“Yours ever,
N. Bn.

“P.S. A thousand thanks to Muir for his cauliflower, the finest I ever saw or tasted, and, I believe, the largest that ever grew out of Paradise, or Scotland. I have written to quiet Dr. Kennedy about the newspaper (with which I have nothing to do as a writer, please to recollect and say). I told the fools of conductors that their motto would play the devil; but, like all mountebanks, they persisted. Gamba, who is any thing but lucky, had something to do with it; and as usual, the moment he had, matters went wrong*. It will be better, perhaps, in time. But I write in haste, and have only time to say, before the boat sails, that I am ever

N. Bn.

“P.S. Mr. Findlay is here, and has received his money.”

“Missolonghi, March 10, 1824.

“You could not disapprove of the motto to the Telegraph more than I did, and do; but this is the land of liberty, where most people do as they please, and few as they ought.

“I have not written, nor am inclined to write, for that or for any other paper, but have suggested to them, over and over, a change of the motto and style. However, I do not think that it will turn out either

* He had a notion that Count Gamba was destined to be unfortunate,—that he was one of these ill-starred persons with whom every thing goes wrong. In speaking of this newspaper to Parry, he said, “I have subscribed to it to get rid of importunity, and, it may be, keep Gamba out of mischief. At any rate, he can mar nothing that is of less importance.”

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 749
an irreligious or a levelling publication, and they promise due respect to both churches and things, i. e. the editors do.

“If Bambas would write for the Greek Chronicle, he might have his own price for articles.

“There is a slight demur about Hato’s voyage, her mother wishing to go with her, which is quite natural, and I have not the heart to refuse it, for even Mahomet made a law, that in the division of captives, the child should never be separated from the mother. But this may make a difference in the arrangement, although the poor woman (who has lost half her family in the war) is, as I said, of good character, and of mature age, as to render her respectability not liable to suspicion. She has heard, it seems, from Prevesa, that her husband is no longer there. I have consigned your Bibles to Dr. Meyer; and I hope that the said Doctor may justify your confidence; nevertheless, I shall keep an eye upon him. You may depend upon my giving the society as fair play as Mr. Wilberforce himself would; and any other commission for the good of Greece will meet with the same attention on my part.

“I am trying, with some hope of eventual success, to reunite the Greeks, especially as the Turks are expected in force, and that shortly. We must meet them as we may, and fight it out as we can.

“I rejoice to hear that your school prospers, and I assure you that your good wishes are reciprocal. The weather is so much finer, that I get a good deal of moderate exercise in boats and on horseback, and am willing to hope that my health is not worse than when you kindly wrote to me. Dr. Bruno can tell you that I adhere to your regimen, and more, for I do not eat any meat, even fish.

“Believe me ever, &c.

“P.S. The mechanics (six in number) were all pretty much of the same mind. Brownbill was but one. Perhaps they are less to blame than is imagined, since Colonel Stanhope is said to have told them, ‘that he could not positively say their lives were safe.’ I should like to know where our life is safe, either here or any where else? With regard to a place of safety, at least such hermetically-sealed safety as these persons appeared to desiderate, it is not to be found in Greece, at any rate; but
750 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
Missolonghi was supposed to be the place where they would be useful, and their risk was no greater than that of others.”

“Misso1onghi, 19th March, 1824.

Prince Mavrocordato and myself will go to Salona to meet Ulysses, and you may be very sure that P. M. will accept any proposition for the advantage of Greece. Parry is to answer for himself on his own articles*; if I were to interfere with him, it would only stop the whole progress of his exertion, and he is really doing all that can be done without more aid from the Government.

“What can be spared will be sent; but I refer you to Captain Humphries’s report, and to Count Gamba’s letter for details upon all subjects.

“In the hope of seeing you soon, and deferring much that will be to be said till then,

“Believe me ever, &c.

“P.S. Your two letters (to me) are sent to Mr. Barff, as you desire. Pray remember me particularly to Trelawney, whom I shall be very much pleased to see again.”

March 19th.

“As Count Mercati is under some apprehensions of a direct answer to him personally on Greek affairs, I reply (as you authorised me) to you,

* Colonel Stanhope had, at the instance of the Chief Odysseus, written to request that some stores from the laboratory at Missolonghi might be sent to Athens. Neither Prince Mavrocordato, however, nor Lord Byron considered it prudent, at this time, to weaken their means for defending Missolonghi, and accordingly sent back by the messenger but a few barrels of powder.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 751
who will have the goodness to communicate to him the enclosed. It is the joint answer of
Prince Mavrocordato and of myself, to Signor Georgio Sisseni’s propositions. You may also add, both to him and to Parruca, that I am perfectly sincere in desiring the most amicable termination of their internal dissensions, and that I believe P. Mavrocordato to be so also; otherwise I would not act with him, or any other, whether native or foreigner.

“If Lord Guilford is at Zante, or, if he is not, if Signor Tricupi is there, you would oblige me by presenting my respects to one or both, and by telling them, that from the very first I foretold to Col. Stanhope and to P. Mavrocordato that, a Greek newspaper (or indeed any other) in the present state of Greece might and probably would tend to much mischief and misconstruction, unless under some restrictions, nor have I ever had any thing to do with either, as a writer or otherwise, except as a pecuniary contributor to their support on the outset, which I could not refuse to the earnest request of the projectors. Col. Stanhope and myself had considerable differences of opinion on this subject, and (what will appear laughable enough) to such a degree that he charged me with despotic principles, and I him with ultra radicalism.

Dr. * *, the editor, with his unrestrained freedom of the press, and who has the freedom to exercise an unlimited discretion,—not allowing any article but his own and those like them to appear,—and in declaiming against restrictions, cuts, carves, and restricts (as they tell me) at his own will and pleasure. He is the author of an article against Monarchy, of which he may have the advantage and fame—but they (the editors) will get themselves into a scrape, if they do not take care.

“Of all petty tyrants, he is one of the pettiest, as are most demagogues, that ever I knew. He is a Swiss by birth, and a Greek by assumption, having married a wife and changed his religion.

“I shall be very glad, and am extremely anxious for some favourable result to the recent pacific overtures of the contending parties in the Peloponnese.”

752 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
“March 22.

“If the Greek deputies (as seems probable) have obtained the Loan, the sums I have advanced may perhaps be repaid; but it would make no great difference, as I should still spend that in the cause, and more to boot—though I should hope to better purpose than paying off arrears of fleets that sail away, and Suliotes that won’t march, which, they say, what has hitherto been advanced has been employed in. But that was not my affair, but of those who had the disposal of affairs, and I could not decently say to them, ‘You shall do so and so, because, &c. &c. &c.’

“In a few days P. Mavrocordato and myself, with a considerable escort, intend to proceed to Salona at the request of Ulysses and the Chiefs of Eastern Greece, and take measures offensive and defensive for the ensuing campaign. Mavrocordato is almost recalled by the new Government to the Morea (to take the lead, I rather think), and—they have written to propose to me, to go either to the Morea with him, or to take the general direction of affairs in this quarter—with General Londo, and any other I may choose, to form a council. A. Londo is my old friend and acquaintance since we were lads in Greece together. It would be difficult to give a positive answer fill the Salona meeting is over*, but I am willing to serve them in any capacity they please, either commanding or commanded—it is much the same to me, as long as I can be of any presumed use to them.

“Excuse haste; it is late, and I have been several hours on horseback in a country so miry after the rains, that every hundred yards brings you to a ditch, of whose depth, width, colour, and contents, both my horses and their riders have brought away many tokens.”

* To this offer of the Government to appoint him Governor-General of Greece (that is, of the enfranchised part of the Continent, with the exception of the Morea, and the Islands), his answer was that “he was first going to Salona, and that afterwards he would be at their commands; that he could have no difficulty in accepting any office, provided he could persuade himself that any good would result from it.”

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 753
“March 26th.

“Since your intelligence with regard to the Greek loan, P. Mavrocordato has shown to me an extract from some correspondence of his, by which it would appear that three commissioners are to be named to see that the amount is placed in proper hands for the service of the country, and that my name is amongst the number. Of this, however, we have as yet only the report.

“This commission is apparently named by the Committee or the contracting parties in England. I am of opinion that such a commission will be necessary, but the office will be both delicate and difficult. The weather, which has lately been equinoctial, has flooded the country, and will probably retard our proceeding to Salona for some days, till the road becomes more practicable.

“You were already apprized that P. Mavrocordato and myself had been invited to a conference by Ulysses and the Chiefs of Eastern Greece. I hear (and am indeed consulted on the subject) that in case the remittance of the first advance of the Loan should not arrive immediately, the Greek General Government mean to try to raise some thousand dollars in the islands in the interim, to be repaid from the earliest instalments on their arrival. What prospect of success they may have, or on what conditions, you can tell better than me: I suppose, if the Loan be confirmed, something might be done by them, but subject of course to the usual terms. You can let them and me know your opinion. There is an imperious necessity for some national fund, and that speedily, otherwise what is to be done? The auxiliary corps of about two hundred men paid by me, are, I believe, the sole regularly and properly furnished with the money, due to them weekly, and the officers monthly. It is true that the Greek Government gives their rations, but we have had three mutinies, owing to the badness of the bread, which neither native nor stranger could masticate (nor dogs either),
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and there is still great difficulty in obtaining them even provisions of any kind.

“There is a dissension among the Germans about the conduct of the agents of their Committee, and an examination amongst themselves instituted. What the result may be cannot be anticipated, except that it will end in a row, of course, as usual.

“The English are all very amicable as far as I know; we get on too with the Greeks very tolerably, always making allowance for circumstances; and we have no quarrels with the foreigners.”

During the month of March there occurred but little, besides what is mentioned in these letters, that much requires to be dwelt upon at any length, or in detail. After the failure of his design against Lepanto, the two great objects of his daily thoughts were, the repairs of the fortifications of Missolonghi*, and the formation of a brigade;—the one, with a view to such defensive measures as were alone likely to be called for during the present campaign; and the other in preparation for those more active enterprises which he still fondly flattered himself he should undertake in the next. “He looked forward (says Mr. Parry) for the recovery of his health and spirits, to the return of the fine weather, and the commencement of the campaign, when he proposed to take the field at the head of his own brigade, and the troops which the Government of Greece were to place under his orders.”

With that thanklessness which too often waits on disinterested actions, it has been sometimes tauntingly remarked, and in quarters from whence a more generous judgment might be expected†, that, after all, Lord Byron effected but little for Greece:—as if much could be effected by a single individual, and in so short a time, for a cause which,

* The generous zeal with which he applied himself to this important object will be understood from the following statement. “On reporting to Lord Byron what I thought might be done, he ordered me to drew up a plan for putting the fortifications in thorough repair, and to accompany it with an estimate of the expense. It was agreed that I should make the estimate only one third of what I thought would be the actual expense; and if that third could be procured from the magistrates, Lord Byron undertook secretly to pay the remainder.”

† Articles in the Times newspaper, Foreign Quarterly Review, &c.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 755
fought as it has been almost incessantly through the six years since his death, has required nothing less than the intervention of all the great Powers of Europe to give it a chance of success, and, even so, has not yet succeeded. That Byron himself was under no delusion as to the importance of his own solitary aid,—that he knew, in a struggle like this, there must be the same prodigality of means towards one great end as is observable in the still grander operations of nature, where individuals are as nothing in the tide of events,—that such was his, at once, philosophic and melancholy view of his own sacrifices, I have, I trust, clearly shown. But that, during this short period of action, he did not do well and wisely all that man could achieve in the time, and under the circumstances, is an assertion which the noble facts here recorded fully and triumphantly disprove. He knew that, placed as he was, his measures, to be wise, must be prospective, and from the nature of the seeds thus sown by him, the benefits that were to be expected must be judged. To reconcile the rude Chiefs to the Government and to each other;—to infuse a spirit of humanity, by his example, into their warfare;—to prepare the way for the employment of the expected Loan, in a manner most calculated to call forth the resources of the country;—to put the fortifications of Missolonghi in such a state of repair as might, and eventually did, render it proof against the besieger;—to prevent those infractions of neutrality, so tempting to the Greeks, which brought their Government in collision with the Ionian authorities*, and to restrain all such licence of the Press as might indispose the Courts of Europe to their cause:—such were the important objects which he had proposed to himself to accomplish, and towards which, in this brief interval, and in the midst of such dissensions and hindrances, he had already made considerable and most promising progress. But it would be unjust to close even here the bright catalogue of his services. It is, after all, not with the span of mortal life that

* In a letter which he addressed to Lord Sidney Osborne, enclosing one, on the subject of these infractions, from Prince Mavrocordato to Sir T. Maitland, Lord Byron says—“You must all be persuaded how difficult it is, under existing circumstances, for the Greeks to keep up discipline, however they may be all disposed to do so. I am doing all I can to convince them of the necessity of the strictest observance of the regulations of the Islands, and, I trust, with some effect.”

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the good achieved by a name immortal ends. The charm acts into the future,—it is an auxiliary through all time; and the inspiring example of Byron, as a martyr of liberty, is for ever freshly embalmed in his glory as a poet.

From the period of his attack in February, he had been, from time to time, indisposed; and, more than once, had complained of vertigos, which made him feel, he said, as if intoxicated. He was also frequently affected with nervous sensations, with shiverings and tremors, which, though apparently the effects of excessive debility, he himself attributed to fulness of habit. Proceeding upon this notion, he had, ever since his arrival in Greece, abstained almost wholly from animal food, and eat of little else but dry toast, vegetables, and cheese. With the same fear of becoming fat, which had in his young days haunted him, he almost every morning measured himself round the wrist and waist, and whenever he found these parts, as he thought, enlarged, took a strong dose of medicine.

Exertions had, as we have seen, been made by his friends at Cephalonia, to induce him, without delay, to return to that island, and take measures, while there was yet time, for the reestablishment of his health. “But these entreaties (says Count Gamba) produced just the contrary effect; for in proportion as Byron thought his position more perilous, he the more resolved upon remaining where he was.” In the midst of all this, too, the natural flow of his spirits in society seldom deserted him; and whenever a trick upon any of his attendants, or associates, suggested itself, he was as ready to play the mischief-loving boy as ever. His engineer, Parry, having been much alarmed by the earthquake they had experienced, and still continuing in constant apprehension of its return, Lord Byron contrived, as they were all sitting together one evening, to have some barrels full of cannon-balls trundled through the room above them, and laughed heartily as he would have done, when a Harrow boy, at the ludicrous effect which this deception produced on the poor frightened engineer.

Every day, however, brought new trials both of his health and temper. The constant rains had rendered the swamps of Missolonghi almost impassable;—an alarm of plague, which, about the middle of March, was circulated, made it prudent, for some time, to keep within
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 757
doors; and he was thus, week after week, deprived of his accustomed air and exercise. The only recreation he had recourse to was that of playing with his favourite dog, Lion; and, in the evening, going through the exercise of drilling with his officers, or practising at single-stick.

At the same time, the demands upon his exertions, personal and pecuniary, poured in from all sides, while the embarrassments of his public position every day increased. The chief obstacle in the way of his plan for the reconciliation of all parties had been the rivalry so long existing between Mavrocordato and the Eastern Chiefs; and this difficulty was now not a little heightened by the part taken by Colonel Stanhope and Mr. Trelawney, who, having allied themselves with Odysseus, the most powerful of these Chieftains, were endeavouring actively to detach Lord Byron from Mavrocordato, and inlist him in their own views. This schism was,—to say the least of it,—ill-timed and unfortunate. For, as Prince Mavrocordato and Lord Byron were now acting in complete harmony with the Government, a co-operation of all the other English agents on the same side would have had the effect of assuring a preponderance to this party (which was that of the civil and commercial interests all through Greece) that might, by strengthening the hands of the ruling power, have afforded some hope of vigour and consistency in its movements. By this division, however, the English lost their casting weight; and not only marred whatever little chance they might have had of extinguishing the dissensions of the Greeks, but exhibited, most unseasonably, an example of dissension among themselves.

The visit to Salona, in which, though distrustful of the intended Military Congress, Mavrocordato had consented to accompany Lord Byron, was, as the foregoing letters have mentioned, delayed by the floods,—the river Fidari having become so swollen as not to be fordable. In the mean time, dangers, both from within and without, threatened Missolonghi. The Turkish fleet had again come forth from the Gulf, while, in concert, it was apprehended, with this resumption of the blockade, insurrectionary movements, instigated, as was afterwards known, by the malcontents of the Morea, manifested themselves formidably both in the town and its neighbourhood. The first cause for alarm was the landing, in canoes, from Anatolico of a party of armed men, the followers
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Cariascachi of that place, who came to demand retribution from the people of Missolonghi for some injury that, in a late affray, had been inflicted on one of their clan. It was also rumoured that 300 Suliotes were marching upon the town; and the following morning, news came that a party of these wild warriors had actually seized upon Basiladi, a fortress that commands the port of Missolonghi, while some of the soldiers of Cariascachi had, in the course of the night, arrested two of the Primates, and carried them to Anatolico. The tumult and indignation that this intelligence produced was universal. All the shops were shut, and the bazaars deserted. “Lord Byron,” says Count Gamba, “ordered his troops to continue under arms; but to preserve the strictest neutrality, without mixing in any quarrel, either by actions or words.”

During this crisis, the weather had become sufficiently favourable to admit of his paying the visit to Salona, which he had purposed. But, as his departure at such a juncture might have the appearance of abandoning Missolonghi, he resolved to wait the danger out. At this time the following letters were written.

“April 3d.

“There is a quarrel, not yet settled, between the citizens and some of Cariascachi’s people, which has already produced some blows. I keep my people quite neutral; but have ordered them to be on their guard.

“Some days ago we had an Italian private soldier drummed out for thieving. The German officers wanted to flog him; but I flatly refused to permit the use of the stick or whip, and delivered him over to the police*.

* “Lord Byron declared that, as far as he was concerned, no barbarous usages, however adopted even by some civilised people, should be introduced into Greece; especially as such a mode of punishment would disgust rather than reform. We hit upon an expedient which favoured our military discipline: but it required not only all Lord Byron’s eloquence, but his authority, to prevail upon our Germans to accede to it. The culprit had his uniform stripped off his back, in presence of his comrades, and was afterwards marched through the town with a label on his back, describing, both in Greek and Italian, the nature of his offence; after which

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 759
Since then a Prussian officer rioted in his lodgings; and I put him under arrest, according to the order. This, it appears, did not please his German confederation: but I stuck by my text; and have given them plainly to understand, that those who do not choose to be amenable to the laws of the country and service, may retire; but that in all that I have to do, I will see them obeyed by foreigner or native.

“I wish something was heard of the arrival of part of the Loan, for there is a plentiful dearth of every thing at present.”

“April 6th.

“Since I wrote, we have had some tumult here with the citizens and Cariascachi’s people, and all are under arms, our boys and all. They nearly fired on me and fifty of my lads*, by mistake, as we were taking our usual excursion into the country. To-day matters are settled or subsiding; but about an hour ago, the father-in-law of the landlord of

he was given up to the regular police. This example of severity, tempered by a humane spirit, produced the best effect upon our soldiers, as well as upon the citizens of the town. But it was very near causing a most disagreeable circumstance; for, in the course of the evening, some very high words passed on the subject between three Englishmen, two of them officers of our brigade, in consequence of which cards were exchanged, and two duels were to have been fought the next morning. Lord Byron did not hear of this till late at night; but he immediately ordered me to arrest both parties, which I accordingly did; and, after some difficulty, prevailed on them to shake hands.”—Count Gamba’s Narrative.

* A corps of fifty Suliotes which he had, almost ever since his arrival at Missolonghi, kept about him as a body-guard. A large outer room of his house was appropriated to these troops; and their carbines were suspended along the walls. “In this room (says Mr. Parry), and among these rude soldiers, Lord Byron was accustomed to walk a great deal, particularly in wet weather, accompanied by his favourite dog, Lion.”

When he rode out, them fifty Suliotes attended him on foot; end though they carried their carbines, “they were always,” says the same authority, “able to keep up with the horses at full speed. The captain, and a certain number, preceded his lordship, who rode accompanied on one side by Count Gamba, and on the other by the Greek Interpreter. Behind him, also on horseback, came two of his servants,—generally his black groom, and Tita,—both dressed like the chasseurs usually seen behind the carriages of ambassadors, and another division of his guard closed the cavalcade.”—Parry’s Last Days of Lord Byron.

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the house where I am lodged (one of the Primates the said landlord is) was arrested for high treason.

“They are in conclave still with Mavrocordato; and. we have a number of new faces from the hills, come to assist, they say. Gunboats and batteries all ready, &c.

“The row has had one good effect—it has put them on the alert. What is to become of the father-in-law, I do not know; nor what he has done, exactly*: but
‘’Tis a very fine thing to be father-in-law
To a very magnificent three-tail’d bashaw,’
as the man in
Bluebeard says and sings. I wrote to you upon matters at length, some days ago; the letter, or letters, you will receive with this. We are desirous to hear more of the Loan; and it is some time since I have had any letters (at least of an interesting description) from England, excepting one of 4th February, from Bowring (of no great importance). My latest dates are of 9bre. or of the 6th 10bre., four months exactly. I hope you get on well in the islands: here most of us are, or have been, more or less indisposed, natives as well as foreigners.”

“April 7th.

“The Greeks here of the Government have been boring me for more money†. As I have the brigade to maintain, and the campaign is

* This man had, it seems, on his way from Ioannina, passed by Anatolico, and held several conferences with Cariascachi. He had long been suspected of being a spy; and the letters found upon him confirmed the suspicion.

† In consequence of the mutinous proceedings of Cariascachi’s people, most of the neighbouring chieftains hastened to the assistance of the Government, and had already with this view marched to Anatolico near 2000 men. But, however opportune the arrival of such a force, they were a cause of fresh embarrassment, as there was a total want of provisions for their daily maintenance. It was in this emergency that the Governor, Primates, and Chieftains had recourse, as here stated, to their usual source of supply.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 761
apparently now to open, and as I have already spent 30,000 dollars in three months upon them in one way or another, and more especially as their public loan has succeeded, so that they ought not to draw from individuals at that rate, I have given them a refusal, and—as they would not take that,—another refusal in terms of considerable sincerity.

“They wish now to try in the Islands for a few thousand dollars on the ensuing loan. If you can serve them, perhaps you will (in the way of information, at any rate), and I will see that you have fair play, but still I do not advise you, except to act as you please. Almost every thing depends upon the arrival, and the speedy arrival, of a portion of the Loan to keep peace among themselves. If they can but have sense to do this, I think that they will be a match and better for any force that can be brought against them for the present. We are all doing as well as we can.”

It will be perceived from these letters, that besides the great and general interests of the cause, which were in themselves sufficient to absorb all his thoughts, he was also met, on every side, in the details of his duty, by every possible variety of obstruction and distraction that rapacity, turbulence, and treachery could throw in his way. Such vexations, too, as would have been trying to the most robust health, here fell upon a frame already marked out for death; nor can we help feeling, while we contemplate this last scene of his life, that, much as there is in it to admire, to wonder at, and glory in, there is also much that awakens sad and most distressful thoughts. In a situation more than any other calling for sympathy and care, we see him cast among strangers and mercenaries, without either nurse or friend;—the self-collectedness of woman being, as we shall find, wanting for the former office, and, the youth and inexperience of Count Gamba unfitting him wholly for the other. The very firmness with which a position so lone and disheartening was sustained, serves, by interesting us more deeply in the man, to increase our sympathy, till we almost forget admiration in pity, and half regret that he should have been great at such a cost.

The only circumstances that had for some time occurred to give him pleasure were, as regarded public affairs, the news of the successful
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progress of the Loan, and, in his personal relations, some favourable intelligence which he had received, after a long interruption of communication, respecting his sister and daughter. The former, he learned, had been seriously indisposed at the very time of his own fit, but had now entirely recovered. While delighted at this news, he could not help, at the same time, remarking, with his usual tendency to such superstitious feelings, how strange and striking was the coincidence.

To those who have, from his childhood, traced him through these pages, it must be manifest, I think, that Lord Byron was not formed to be long-lived. Whether from any hereditary defect in his organization,—as he himself, from the circumstance of both his parents having died young, concluded,—or from those violent means he so early took to counteract the natural tendency of his habit, and reduce himself to thinness, he was, almost every year, as we have seen, subject to attacks of indisposition, by more than one of which his life was seriously endangered. The capricious course which he at all times pursued respecting diet,—his long fastings, his expedients for the allayment of hunger, his occasional excesses in the most unwholesome food, and, during the latter part of his residence in Italy, his indulgence in the use of spirituous beverages,—all this could not be otherwise than hurtful and undermining to his health; while his constant recourse to medicine—daily, as it appears, and in large quantities—both evinced and, no doubt, increased the derangement of his digestion. When to all this we add the wasteful wear of spirits and strength from the slow corrosion of sensibility, the warfare of the passions, and the workings of a mind that allowed itself no sabbath, it is not to be wondered at that the vital principle in him should so soon have burnt out, or that, at the age of thirty-three, he should have had—as he himself drearily expresses it—“an old feel.” To feed the flame, the all-absorbing flame, of his genius, the whole powers of his nature, physical as well as moral, were sacrificed to present that grand and costly conflagration to the world’s eyes, in which,
“Glittering, like a palace set on fire,
His glory, while it shone, but ruined him*!”

* Beaumont and Fletcher.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 763

It was on the very day when, as I have mentioned, the intelligence of his sister’s recovery reached him, that, having been for the last three or four days prevented from taking exercise by the rains, he resolved, though the weather still looked threatening, to venture out on horseback. Three miles from Missolonghi Count Gamba and himself were overtaken by a heavy shower, and returned to the town walls wet through and in a state of violent perspiration. It had been their usual practice to dismount at the walls and return to their house in a boat, but, on this day, Count Gamba, representing to Lord Byron how dangerous it would be, warm as he then was, to sit exposed so long to the rain in a boat, entreated of him to go back the whole way on horseback. To this, however, Lord Byron would not consent; but said, laughingly, “I should make a pretty soldier indeed, if I were to care for such a trifle.” They accordingly dismounted and got into the boat as usual.

About two hours after his return home he was seized with a shuddering, and complained of fever and rheumatic pains. “At eight that evening,” says Count Gamba, “I entered his room. He was lying on a sofa restless and melancholy. He said to me, ‘I suffer a great deal of pain. I do not care for death, but these agonies I cannot bear.”

The following day he rose at his accustomed hour,—transacted business, and was even able to take his ride in the olive woods, accompanied, as usual, by his long train of Suliotes. He complained, however, of perpetual shudderings, and had no appetite. On his return home, he remarked to Fletcher that his saddle, he thought, had not been perfectly dried since yesterday’s wetting, and that he felt himself the worse for it. This was the last time he ever crossed the threshold alive. In the evening Mr. Finlay and Mr. Millingen called upon him. “He was at first (says the latter gentleman) gayer than usual; but on a sudden became pensive.”

On the evening of the 11th his fever, which was pronounced to be rheumatic, increased; and on the 12th he kept his bed all day, complaining that he could not sleep, and taking no nourishment whatever. The two following days, though the fever had apparently diminished, he became still more weak, and suffered much from pains in the head.

It was not till the 14th that his physician, Doctor Bruno, finding
764 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
the sudorifics which he had hitherto employed to be unavailing, began to urge upon his patient the necessity of being bled. Of this, however, Lord Byron would not hear. He had evidently but little reliance on his medical-attendant, and from the specimens this young man has since given of his intellect to the world, it is, indeed, lamentable,—supposing skill to have been, at this moment, of any avail,—that a life so precious should have been intrusted to such ordinary hands. “It was on this day, I think,” says
Count Gamba, “that, as I was sitting near him on his sofa, he said to me, ‘I was afraid I was losing my memory, and, in order to try, I attempted to repeat some Latin verses with the English translation, which I have not endeavoured to recollect since I was at school. I remembered them all except the last word of one of the hexameters.’”

To the faithful Fletcher, the idea of his master’s life being in danger seems to have occurred some days before it struck either Count Gamba or the physician. So little according to his friend’s narrative, had such a suspicion crossed Lord Byron’s own mind, that he even expressed himself “rather glad of his fever, as it might cure him of his tendency to epilepsy.” To Fletcher, however, it appears, he had professed, more than once, strong doubts as to the nature of his complaint being so slight as the physician seemed to suppose it, and on his servant renewing his entreaties that he would send for Doctor Thomas to Zante, made no further opposition; though still, out of consideration for those gentlemen, he referred him on the subject to Doctor Bruno and Mr. Millingen. Whatever might have been the advantage or satisfaction of this step, it was now rendered wholly impossible by, the weather,—such a hurricane blowing into the port that not a ship could get out. The rain, too, descended in torrents, and between the floods on the land-side and the sirocco from the sea, Missolonghi was, for the moment, a pestilential prison.

It was at this juncture that Mr. Millingen was, for the first time, according to his own account, invited to attend Lord Byron in his medical capacity,—his visit on the 10th being so little, as he states, professional, that he did not even, on that occasion, feel his lordship’s pulse. The great object for which he was now called in, and rather, it
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 765
would seem, by
Fletcher than Doctor Bruno, was for the purpose of joining his representations and remonstrances to theirs, and prevailing upon the patient to suffer himself to be bled,—an operation now become absolutely necessary from the increase of the fever, and which Doctor Bruno had, for the last two days, urged in vain.

Holding gentleness to be, with a disposition like that of Byron, the most effectual means of success, Mr. Millingen tried, as he himself tells us, all that reasoning and persuasion could suggest towards attaining his object. But his efforts were fruitless:—Lord Byron, who had now become morbidly irritable, replied angrily, but still with all his accustomed acuteness and spirit, to the physician’s observations. Of all his prejudices, he declared, the strongest was that against bleeding. His mother had on her deathbed obtained from him a promise never to consent to being bled; and whatever argument might be produced, his aversion, he said, was stronger than reason. “Besides, is it not,” he asked, “asserted by Doctor Reid, in his Essays, that less slaughter is effected by the lance than the lancet—that minute instrument of mighty, mischief!” On Mr. Millingen observing that this remark related to the treatment of nervous, but not of inflammatory complaints, he rejoined, in an angry tone, “Who is nervous, if I am not? And do not those other words of his, too, apply to my case, where he says that drawing blood from a nervous patient is like loosening the chords of a musical instrument, whose tones already fail for want of sufficient tension? Even before this illness, you yourself know how weak and irritable I had become;—and bleeding, by increasing this state, will inevitably kill me. Do with me whatever else you like, but bleed me you shall not. I have had several inflammatory fevers in my life, and at an age when more robust and plethoric; yet I got through them without bleeding. This time, also, will I take my chance*.”

After much reasoning and repeated entreaties, Mr. Millingen at length succeeded in obtaining from him a promise, that should he feel his fever increase at night, he would allow Doctor Bruno to bleed him.

* It was during the same, or some similar conversation, that Dr. Bruno also reports him to have said, “If my hour is come, I shall die, whether I lose my blood or keep it.”

766 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.

During this day he had transacted business and received several letters; particularly one that much pleased him from the Turkish Governor, to whom he had sent the rescued prisoners, and who, in this communication, thanked him for his humane interference, and requested a repetition of it.

In the evening he conversed a good deal with Parry, who remained some hours by his bedside. “He sat up in his bed (says this officer), and was then calm and collected. He talked with me on a variety of subjects connected with himself and his family; he spoke of his intentions as to Greece, his plans for the campaign, and what he should ultimately do for that country. He spoke to me about my own adventures. He spoke of death also with great composure, and though he did not believe his end was so very near, there was something about him so serious and so firm, so resigned and composed, so different from any thing I had ever before seen in him, that my mind misgave me, and at times foreboded his speedy dissolution.”

On revisiting his patient early next morning, Mr. Millingen learned from him, that having passed, as he thought, on the whole, a better night, he had not considered it necessary to ask Dr. Bruno to bleed him. What followed, I shall, in justice to Mr. Millingen, give in his own words*. “I thought it my duty now to put aside all consideration of his feelings, and to declare solemnly to him, how deeply I lamented to see him trifle thus with his life, and show so little resolution. His pertinacious refusal had already, I said, caused most precious time to be lost;—but few hours of hope now remained, and, unless he submitted immediately to be bled, we could not answer for the consequences. It was true, he cared not for life; but who could assure him that, unless he changed his resolution, the uncontrolled disease might not operate such disorganization in his system as utterly and for ever to deprive him of reason?—I had now hit at last on the sensible chord; and, partly annoyed by our importunities, partly persuaded, he cast at us both the fiercest glance of vexation, and, throwing out his arm, said, in the angriest tone,

* MS.—This gentlemen is, I understand, about to publish the Narrative from which the above extract is taken.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 767
‘There—you are, I see, a d—d set of butchers—take away as much blood as you like, but have done with it.’

“We seized the moment (adds Mr. Millingen) and drew about twenty ounces. On coagulating, the blood presented a strong buffy coat; yet the relief obtained did not correspond to the hopes we had formed, and during the night the fever became stronger than it had been hitherto. The restlessness and agitation increased, and the patient spoke several times in an incoherent manner.”

On the following morning, the 17th, the bleeding was repeated; for, although the rheumatic symptoms had been completely removed, the appearances of inflammation on the brain were now hourly increasing. Count Gamba, who had not for the last two days seen him, being confined to his own apartment by a sprained ankle, now contrived to reach his room. “His countenance,” says this gentleman, “at once awakened in me the most dreadful suspicions. He was very calm; he talked to me in the kindest manner about my accident, but in a hollow, sepulchral tone, ‘Take care of your foot,’ said he; ‘I know by experience how painful it must be.’ I could not stay near his bed: a flood of tears rushed into my eyes, and I was obliged to withdraw.” Neither Count Gamba, indeed, nor Fletcher, appear to have been sufficiently masters of themselves to do much else than weep during the remainder of this afflicting scene.

In addition to the bleeding, which was repeated twice on the 17th, it was thought right also to apply blisters to the soles of his feet. “When on the point of putting them on,” says Mr. Millingen, “Lord Byron asked me whether it would answer the purpose to apply both on the same leg. Guessing immediately the motive that led him to ask this question, I told him that I would place them above the knees. ‘Do so,’ he replied.”

It is painful to dwell on such details,—but we are now approaching the close. In addition to most of those sad varieties of wretchedness which surround alike the grandest and humblest deathbeds, there was also in the scene now passing around the dying Byron such a degree of confusion and uncomfort as renders it doubly dreary to contemplate. There having been no person invested, since his illness, with authority
768 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
over the household, neither order nor quiet was maintained in his apartment. Most of the comforts necessary in such an illness were wanting; and those around him, either unprepared for the danger, were, like Bruno, when it came, bewildered by it; or, like the kind-hearted
Fletcher and Count Gamba, were by their feelings rendered no less helpless.

“In all the attendants,” says Parry, “there was the officiousness of zeal; but owing to their ignorance of each other’s language, their zeal only added to the confusion. This circumstance, and the want of common necessaries, made Lord Byron’s apartment such a picture of distress and even anguish during the two or three last days of his life, as I never before beheld, and wish never again to witness.”

The 18th being Easter day,—a holiday which the Greeks celebrate by firing off muskets and artillery,—it was apprehended that this noise might be injurious to Lord Byron; and, as a means of attracting away the crowd from the neighbourhood, the artillery brigade were marched out by Parry, to exercise their guns at some distance from the town; while, at the same time, the town-guard patrolled the streets, and informing the people of the danger of their benefactor entreated them to preserve all possible quiet.

About three o’clock in the afternoon, Lord Byron rose and went into the adjoining room. He was able to walk across the chamber, leaning on his servant Tita; and, when seated, asked for a book, which the servant brought him. After reading, however, for a few minutes, he found himself faint; and, again taking Tita’s arm, tottered into the next room and returned to bed.

At this time the physicians, becoming still more alarmed, expressed a wish for a consultation; and proposed calling in, without delay, Dr. Freiber, the medical assistant of Mr. Millingen, and Luca Vaya, a Greek, the physician of Mavrocordato. On hearing this, Lord Byron at first refused to see them; but being informed that Mavrocordato advised it, he said,—“Very well, let them come; but let them look at me and say nothing.” This they promised, and were admitted; but when one of them, on feeling his pulse, showed a wish to speak—“Recollect,” he said, “your promise, and go away.”

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 769

It was after this consultation of the physicians* that, as it appeared to Count Gamba, Lord Byron was, for the first time, aware of his approaching end. Mr. Millingen, Fletcher, and Tita, had been standing round his bed; but the two first, unable to restrain their tears, left the room. Tita also wept; but, as Byron held his hand, could not retire. He, however, turned away his face; while Byron, looking at him steadily, said, half smiling, “Oh questa è una bella scena.” He then seemed to reflect a moment, and exclaimed, “Call Parry.” Almost immediately afterwards, a fit of delirium ensued; and he began to talk wildly, as if he were mounting a breach in an assault,—calling out, half in English, half in Italian, “Forwards—forwards—courage—follow my example,” &c. &c.

On coming again to himself, he asked Fletcher, who had then returned into the room, “whether he had sent for Doctor Thomas, as he desired?” and the servant answering in the affirmative, he replied, “You have done right, for I should like to know what is the matter with me.” He had, a short time before, with that kind consideration for those about him which was one of the great sources of their lasting attachment to him, said to Fletcher, “I am afraid you and Tita will be ill with sitting up night and day.” It was now evident that he knew he was dying; and between his anxiety to make his servant understand his last wishes, and the rapid failure of his powers of utterance, a most painful scene ensued. On Fletcher asking whether he should bring pen and paper to take down his words—“Oh no,” he replied—“there is no time—it is now nearly over. Go to my sister—tell her—go to Lady Byron—you will see her, and say ——” Here his voice faltered, and became gradually indistinct; notwithstanding which he continued still to mutter to himself, for nearly twenty minutes, with much earnestness of manner, but in such a tone that only a few words could be distinguished. These, too, were only names,—“Augusta”—“Ada”—“Hobhouse”—“Kinnaird.” He then said, “Now, I have told you all.” “My lord,” replied Fletcher, “I have not understood a word your lordship has been saying.” “Not understand me?” exclaimed Lord Byron, with a look of the utmost distress, “what a pity!—then it is too late, all is over.” “I hope not,”

* For Mr. Millingen’s account of this consultation, see Appendix, p. 819.

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answered Fletcher; “but the Lord’s will be done.” “Yes, not mine,” said Byron. He then tried to utter a few words, of which none were intelligible, except “my sister—my child.”

The decision adopted at the consultation had been, contrary to the opinion of Mr. Millingen and Dr. Freiber, to administer to the patient a strong antispasmodic potion, which, while it produced sleep, but hastened, perhaps, death. In order to persuade him into taking this draught, Mr. Parry was sent for*, and, without any difficulty, induced him to swallow a few mouthfuls. “When he took my hand (says Parry) I found his hands were deadly cold. With the assistance of Tita I endeavoured gently to create a little warmth in them; and also loosened the bandage which was tied round his head. Till this was done he seemed in great pain, clenched his hands at times, gnashed his teeth, and uttered the Italian exclamation of ‘Ah Christi!’ He bore the loosening of the band passively, and, after it was loosened, shed tears; then taking my hand again, uttered a faint good night, and sunk into a slumber.”

In about half an hour he again awoke, when a second dose of the strong infusion was administered to him. “From those about him (says Count Gamba, who was not able to bear this scene himself) I collected that, either at this time, or in his former interval of reason, he could be understood to say—‘Poor Greece!—poor town!—my poor servants!’ Also, ‘Why was I not aware of this sooner?’ and ‘My hour is come!—I do not care for death—but why did I not go home before I came here?’ At another time he said, ‘There are things which make the world dear to me [Io lascio qualche cosa di caro nel mondo]: for the rest, I am content to die.’ He spoke also of Greece, saying, ‘I have given her my time, my means, my health—and now I give her my life!—what could I do more†?’”

It was about six o’clock on the evening of this day when he said, “Now I shall go to sleep;” and then turning round fell into that slumber

* From this circumstance, as well as from the terms in which he is mentioned by Lord Byron, it is plain that this person had, by his blunt, practical good sense, acquired far more influence over his lordship’s mind than was possessed by any of the other persons about him.

† It is but right to remind the reader, that for the sayings here attributed to Lord Byron, however natural and probable they may appear, there is not exactly the same authority of credible witnesses by which all the other details I have given of his last hours are supported.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 771
from which he never awoke. For the next twenty-four hours he lay incapable of either sense or motion,—with the exception of, now and then, slight symptoms of suffocation, during which his servant raised his head,—and at a quarter past six o’clock on the following day, the 19th, he was seen to open his eyes and immediately shut them again. The physicians felt his pulse—he was no more!

To attempt to describe, how the intelligence of this sad event struck upon all hearts would be as difficult as it is superfluous. He, whom the whole world was to mourn, had on the tears of Greece peculiar claim,—as it was at her feet he now laid down the harvest of such a life of fame. To the people of Missolonghi, who first felt the shock that was soon to spread through all Europe, the event seemed almost incredible. It was but the other day that he had come among them, radiant with renown,—inspiring faith, by his very name, in those miracles of success that were about to spring forth at the touch of his ever-powerful genius. All this had now vanished, like a short dream:—nor can we wonder that the poor Greeks, to whom his coming had been such a glory, and who, on the last evening of his life, thronged the streets, inquiring as to his state, should regard the thunder-storm which, at the moment he died, broke over the town, as the signal of his doom, and, in their superstitious grief, cry to each other, “The great man is gone*!”

Prince Mavrocordato, who of all best knew and felt the extent of his country’s loss, and who had to mourn doubly the friend of Greece and of himself, on the evening of the 19th issued this melancholy Proclamation.

“ART. 1185.

“The present day of festivity and rejoicing has become one of sorrow and of mourning. The Lord Noel Byron departed this life at six o’clock in the afternoon, after an illness of ten days; his death being

* Parry’sLast Days of Lord Byron,” p. 128.

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caused by an inflammatory fever. Such was the effect of his lordship’s illness on the public mind, that all classes had forgotten their usual recreations of Easter, even before the afflicting event was apprehended.

“The loss of this illustrious individual is undoubtedly to be deplored by all Greece; but it must be more especially a subject of lamentation at Missolonghi, where his generosity has been so conspicuously displayed, and of which he had even become a citizen, with the further determination of participating in all the dangers of the war.

“Every body is acquainted with the beneficent acts of his lordship, and none can cease to hail his name as that of a real benefactor.

“Until, therefore, the final determination of the National Government be known, and by virtue of the powers with which it has been pleased to invest me, I hereby decree,

“1st. To-morrow morning, at daylight, thirty-seven minute guns will be fired from the Grand Battery, being the number which corresponds with the age of the illustrious deceased.

“2d. All the public offices, even the tribunals, are to remain closed for three successive days.

“3d. All the shops, except those in which provisions or medicines are sold, will also be shut; and it is strictly enjoined that every species of public amusement, and other demonstrations of festivity at Easter, shall be suspended.

“4th. A general mourning will be observed for twenty-one days.

“5th. Prayers and a funeral service are to be offered up in all the churches.

(Signed) A. Mavrocordato.
George Praidis, Secretary.
“Given at Missolonghi,
this 19th day of April, 1824.”

Similar honours were paid to his memory at many other places through Greece. At Salona, where the Congress had assembled, his soul was prayed for in the church; after which the whole garrison and the citizens went out into the plain, where another religious ceremony took place, under the shade of the olive trees. This being concluded, the
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 773
troops fired; and an oration, full of the warmest praise and gratitude, was pronounced by the High Priest.

When such was the veneration shown towards him by strangers, what must have been the feelings of his near associates and attendants? Let one speak for all:—“He died (says Count Gamba) in a strange land, and amongst strangers; but more loved, more sincerely wept he never could have been, wherever he had breathed his last. Such was the attachment, mingled with a sort of reverence and enthusiasm, with which he inspired those around him, that there was not one of us who would not, for his sake, have willingly encountered any danger in the world.”

Colonel Stanhope, whom the sad intelligence reached at Salona, thus writes to the Committee:—“A courier has just arrived from the Chief Scalza. Alas! all our fears are realized. The soul of Byron has taken its last flight. England has lost her brightest genius, Greece her noblest friend. To console them for the loss, he has left behind the emanations of his splendid mind. If Byron had faults, he had redeeming virtues too—he sacrificed his comfort, fortune, health, and life, to the cause of an oppressed nation. Honoured be his memory!”

Mr. Trelawney, who was on his way to Missolonghi at the time, describes as follows the manner in which he first heard of his friend’s death:—“With all my anxiety I could not get here before the third day. It was the second, after having crossed the first great torrent, that I met some soldiers from Missolonghi. I had let them all pass me, ere I had resolution enough to inquire the news from Missolonghi. I then rode back, and demanded of a straggler the news. I heard nothing more than—Lord Byron is dead,—and I proceeded on in gloomy silence.” The writer adds, after detailing the particulars of the poet’s illness and death, “Your pardon, Stanhope, that I have thus turned aside from the great cause in which I am embarked. But this is no private grief. The world has lost its greatest man; I my best friend.”

Among his servants the same feeling of sincere grief prevailed:—“I have in my possession (says Mr. Hoppner, in the Notices with which he has favoured me) a letter written by his gondolier Tita, who had accompanied him from Venice, giving an account to his parents of his master’s decease. Of this event the poor fellow speaks in the most
774 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
affecting manner, telling them that in Lord Byron he had lost a father rather than a master; and expatiating upon the indulgence with which he had always treated his domestics, and the care he expressed for their comfort and welfare.”

His valet Fletcher, too, in a letter to Mr. Murray, announcing the event, says, “Please to excuse all defects, for I scarcely know what I either say or do; for, after twenty years service with my lord, he was more to me than a father, and I am too much distressed to now give a correct account of every particular.”

In speaking of the effect produced on the friends of Greece by this event, Mr. Trelawney says:—“I think Byron’s name was the great means of getting the Loan. A Mr. Marshall, with £8000 per annum, was as far as Corfu, and turned back on hearing of Lord Byron’s death. Thousands of people were flocking here: some had arrived as far as Corfu, and hearing of his death, confessed they came out to devote their fortunes not to the Greeks, or from interest in the cause, but to the noble poet; and the ‘Pilgrim of Eternity*’ having departed, they turned back†.”

The funeral ceremony which, on account of the rains, had been postponed for a day, took place in the church of St. Nicholas, at Missolonghi, on the 22d of April, and is thus feelingly described by an eyewitness.

“In the midst of his own brigade, of the troops of the Government, and of the whole population, on the shoulders of the officers of his corps, relieved occasionally by other Greeks, the most precious portion of his

* The title given by Shelley to Lord Byron in his Elegy on the death of Keats.
“The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame
Over his living head like Heaven is bent
An early but enduring monument,
Came veiling all the lightnings of his song
In sorrow.”

Parry, too, mentions an instance to the some effect;—“While I was on the quarantine house at Zante, a gentleman called on me, and made numerous inquiries as to Lord Byron. He said he was only one of fourteen English gentlemen, then at Ancona, who had sent him on to obtain intelligence, and only waited his return to come and join Lord Byron. They were to form a mounted guard for him, and meant to devote their personal services and their incomes to the Greek cause. On hearing of Lord Byron’s death, however, they turned back.”

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 775
honoured remains were carried to the church, where lie the bodies of
Marco Bozzari and of General Normann. There we laid them down: the coffin was a rude, ill-constructed chest of wood; a black mantle served for a pall; and over it we placed a helmet and a sword, and a crown of laurel. But no funeral pomp could have left the impression, nor spoken the feelings, of this simple ceremony. The wretchedness and desolation of the place itself; the wild and half civilised warriors around us; their deep-felt, unaffected grief; the fond recollections; the disappointed hopes; the anxieties and sad presentiments which might be read on every countenance—all contributed to form a scene more moving, more truly affecting, than perhaps was ever before witnessed round the grave of a great man.

“When the funeral service was over, we left the bier in the middle of the church, where it remained until the evening of the next day, and was guarded by a detachment of his own brigade. The church was crowded without cessation by those who came to honour and to regret the benefactor of Greece. In the evening of the 23d, the bier was privately carried back by his officers to his own house. The coffin was not closed till the 29th of the month. Immediately after his death, his countenance had an air of calmness, mingled with a severity, that seemed gradually to soften; for when I took a last look of him, the expression, at least to my eyes, was truly sublime.”

We have seen how decidedly, while in Italy, Lord Byron expressed his repugnance to the idea of his remains resting upon English ground; and the injunctions he so frequently gave to Mr. Hoppner on this point show his wishes to have been,—at least, during that period,—sincere. With one so changing, however, in his impulses, it was not too much to take for granted that the far more cordial feeling entertained by him towards his countrymen at Cephalonia, would have been followed by a correspondent change in this antipathy to England as a last resting-place. It is, at all events, fortunate that by no such spleen of the moment has his native country been deprived of her natural right to enshrine within her own bosom one of the noblest of her dead, and to atone for any wrong she may have inflicted upon him, while living, by making his tomb a place of pilgrimage for her sons through all ages.

776 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.

By Colonel Stanhope and others it was suggested that, as a tribute to the land he celebrated and died for, his remains should be deposited at Athens, in the Temple of Theseus; and the Chief Odysseus despatched an express to Missolonghi to enforce this wish. On the part of the town, too, in which he breathed his last, a similar request had been made by the citizens, and it was thought advisable so far to accede to their desires as to leave with them, for interment, one of the vessels in which his remains, after embalmment, were enclosed.

The first step taken, before any decision as to its ultimate disposal, was to have the body conveyed to Zante; and every facility having been afforded by the Resident, Sir Frederick Stoven, in providing and sending transports to Missolonghi for that purpose, on the morning of the 2d of May the remains were embarked, under a mournful salute from the guns of the fortress:—“How different,” says Count Gamba, “from that which had welcomed the arrival of Byron only four months ago!”

At Zante the determination was taken to send the body to England; and the brig Florida, which had just arrived there with the first instalment of the Loan, was engaged for the purpose. Mr. Blaquiere, under whose care this first portion of the Loan had come, was also the bearer of a Commission for the due management of its disposal in Greece, in which Lord Byron was named as the principal Commissioner. The same ship, however, that brought this honourable mark of confidence was to return with him a corpse. To Colonel Stanhope, who was then at Zante, on his way homeward, was intrusted the charge of his illustrious colleague’s remains; and on the 25th of May he embarked with them on board the Florida for England.

In the letter which, on his arrival in the Downs, June 29th, this gentleman addressed to Lord Byron’s executors, there is the following passage:—“With respect to the funeral ceremony, I am of opinion that his lordship’s family should be immediately consulted, and that sanction should be obtained for the public burial of his body either in the great Abbey or Cathedral of London.” It has been asserted, and I fear too truly, that on some intimation of the wish suggested in this last sentence being conveyed to one of those Reverend persons who have the honours
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 777
of the Abbey at their disposal, such an answer was returned as left but little doubt that a refusal would be the result of any more regular application*.

There is an anecdote told of the poet Hafez, in Sir William Jones’s Life, which, in reporting this instance of illiberality, recurs naturally to the memory. After the death of the great Persian bard, some of the religious among his countrymen protested strongly against allowing to him the right of sepulture, alleging, as their objection, the licentiousness of his poetry. After much controversy, it was agreed to leave the decision of the question to a mode of divination, not uncommon among the Persians, which consisted in opening the poet’s book at random and taking the first verses that occurred. They happened to be these:

“Oh turn not coldly from the poet’s bier,
Nor check the sacred drops by Pity given;
For though in sin his body slumbereth here,
His soul, absolved, already wings to heaven.”

These lines, says the legend, were looked upon as a divine decree; the religionists no longer enforced their objections, and the remains of the bard were left to take their quiet sleep by that “sweet bower of Mosellay” which he had so often celebrated in his verses.

Were our Byron’s right of sepulture to be decided in the same manner, how few are there of his pages, thus taken at hazard, that would not, by some genial touch of sympathy with virtue, some glowing tribute to the bright works of God, or some gush of natural devotion more affecting than any homily, give him a title to admission into the purest temple of which christian Charity ever held the guardianship.

Let the decision, however, of these Reverend authorities have been, finally, what it might, it was the wish, as is understood, of Lord Byron’s dearest relative to have his remains laid in the family vault at Hucknell, near Newstead. On being landed from the Florida, the body had, under the direction of his lordship’s executors, Mr. Hobhouse and Mr. Hanson, been removed to the house of Sir Edward Knatchbull in Great George-

* A former Dean of Westminster went so far, we know, in his scruples as to exclude an epitaph from the Abbey, because it contained the name of Milton:—“a name, in his opinion,” says Johnson, “too detestable to be read on the well of a building dedicated to devotion.”—Life ofMilton.

778 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
street, Westminster, where it lay in state during Friday and Saturday. the 9th and 10th of July, and on the following Monday the funeral procession took place. Leaving Westminster at eleven o’clock in the morning, attended by most of his lordship’s personal friends and by the carriages of several persons of rank, it proceeded through various streets of the metropolis towards the North Road. At Pancras Church the ceremonial of the procession being at an end, the carriages returned; and the hearse continued its way, by slow stages, to Nottingham.

It was on Friday the 16th of July that, in the small village church of Hucknell, the last duties were paid to the remains of Byron, by depositing them, close to those of his mother, in the family vault. Exactly on the same day of the same month in the preceding year, he had said, it will be recollected, despondingly, to Count Gamba, “Where shall we be in another year?” The gentleman to whom this foreboding speech was addressed paid a visit, some months after the interment, to Hucknell, and was much struck, as I have heard, on approaching the village, by the strong likeness it seemed to him to bear to his lost friend’s melancholy deathplace, Missolonghi.

On a tablet of white marble in the chancel of the Church of Hucknell is the following inscription:—

22D OF JANUARY, 1788.
19TH OF APRIL, 1824,

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 779

From among the tributes that have been offered, in prose and verse, and in almost every language of Europe, to his memory, I shall select two which appear to me worthy of peculiar notice, as being, one of them,—so far as my limited scholarship will allow me to judge,—a simple and happy imitation of those laudatory inscriptions with which the Greece of other times honoured the tombs of her heroes, and the other as being the production of a pen, once engaged controversially against Byron, but not the less ready, as these affecting verses prove, to offer the homage of a manly sorrow and admiration at his grave.

Τόν έν τή Ελλάδι τηλεντήσαντα

Ού τό ζην ταναόν Βίον εύκλεές, ούδʹ έναριϑμειν
Άρχαίας προγόνων εύγενέων εύγενέων άρετάςʹ
Τόν δʹ εύδαιμονίας μοιρʹ άμϕέπει, οςπερ άπάντων
Αίέν άριστεύων γίγνεται άϑάνατος.—
Εύδεις ούν σύ, τέκνον, χαρίτον εαρ; σύκ ετι ϑάλλει
Άκμαιος μελέων ήδύπνόων στέϕανος;—
Άλλά τεόν, τρικόϑητε, μόρον πενϑούσιν Άϑήνη,
Μούσαι, πατρίς, ͮΑρης, Έλλάς, έλενϑερία*.

So ends Childe Harold his last pilgrimage!—
Upon the shores of Greece he stood, and cried
Liberty!’ and those shores, from age to age
Renown’d, and Sparta’s woods and rocks, replied

* By John Williams, Esq.—The following translation of this inscription will not be unacceptable to my readers:—

“Not length of life—not an illustrious birth,
Rich with the noblest blood of all the earth;—
Nought can avail, save deeds of high emprize,
Our mortal being to immortalize.
Sweet child of song, thou sleepest!—ne’er again
Shall swell the notes of thy melodious strain;
Yet, with thy country wailing o’er thy urn,
Pallas, the Muse, Mars, Greece, and Freedom mourn.”

780 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
‘Liberty!’ But a Spectre, at his side,
Stood mocking;—and its dart, uplifting high,
Smote him:—he sank to earth in life’s fair pride:
Sparta! thy rocks then heard another cry,
And old Ilissus sigh’d—‘Die, generous exile, die!’
“I will not ask sad Pity, to deplore
His wayward errors, who thus early died;
Still less, Childe Harold, now thou art no more,
Will I say aught of genius misapplied;
Of the past shadows of thy spleen or pride:—
But I will bid th’ Arcadian cypress wave,
Pluck the green laurel from Peneus’ side,
And pray thy spirit may such quiet have,
That not one thought unkind be murmur’d o’er thy grave.
So Harold ends in Greece his pilgrimage!—
There fitly ending,—in that land renown’d,
Whose mighty genius lives in Glory’s page,—
He, on the Muses’ consecrated ground,
Sinking to rest, while his young brows are bound
With their unfading wreath!—To bands of mirth,
No more in Tempe let the pipe resound!
Harold, I follow to thy place of birth
The slow hearse—and thy last sad pilgrimage on earth.
“Slow moves the plumed hearse, the mourning train,—
I mark the sad procession with a sigh,
Silently passing to that village fane,
Where, Harold, thy forefathers mouldering lie;—
There sleeps that mother, who, with tearful eye
Pondering the fortunes of thy early road,
Hung o’er the slumbers of thine infancy;
Her Son, released from mortal labour’s load,
Now comes to rest, with her, in the same still abode.
“Bursting Death’s silence—could that mother speak—
(Speak when the earth was heap’d upon his head)—
In thrilling, but with hollow accent weak,
She thus might give the welcome of the dead:—
‘Here rest, my son, with me;—the dream is fled;—
The motley mask and the great stir is o’er:
Welcome to me, and to this silent bed,
Where deep forgetfulness succeeds the roar
Of Life, and fretting passions waste the heart no more.’”
A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 781

By his Lordship’s Will, a copy of which will be found in the Appendix, he bequeathed to his executors, in trust for the benefit of his sister, Mrs. Leigh, the monies arising from the sale of all his real estates at Rochdale and elsewhere, together with such part of his other property as was not settled upon Lady Byron and his daughter Ada, to be by Mrs. Leigh enjoyed, free from her husband’s control, during her life, and, after her decease, to be inherited by her children.

We have now followed to its close a life which, brief as was its span, may be said, perhaps, to have comprised within itself a greater variety of those excitements and interests which spring out of the deep workings of passion and of intellect than any that the pen of biography has ever before commemorated. As there still remain among the papers of my friend some curious gleanings which, though in the abundance of our materials I have not hitherto found a place for them, are too valuable towards the illustration of his character to be lost, I shall here, in selecting them for the reader, avail myself of the opportunity of trespassing, for the last time, on his patience with a few general remarks.

It must have been observed, throughout these pages, and by some, perhaps, with disappointment, that into the character of Lord Byron, as a poet, there has been little, if any, critical examination; but that, content with expressing generally the delight which, in common with all, I derive from his poetry, I have left the task of analysing the sources from which this delight springs to others*. In thus evading, if it must be so considered, one of my duties as a biographer,

* It may be making too light of criticism to say with Gray that “even a bad verse is as good a thing or better than the best observation that ever was made upon it;” but there are surely few tasks that appear more thankless and superfluous than that of following, as Criticism sometimes does, in the rear of victorious genius (like the commentators on a field of Blenheim or of Waterloo), and either labouring to point out to us why it has triumphed, or still more unprofitably contending that it ought to have failed. The well known passage of La Bruyere, which even Voltaire’s adulatory application of it to some work of the King of Prussia has not spoiled for use, puts perhaps in its true point of view the very subordinate rank which Criticism must be content to occupy in the train of successful Genius:— “Quand une lecture vous élève l’esprit et qu’elle vous inspire des sentimens nobles, ne cherches pas une autre règle pour juger de l’ouvrage; il est bon et fait de main de l’ouvrier: La Critique, après ça, peut s’exercer sur les petites choses, relever quelques expressions, corriger des phrases, parler de syntaxe,” &c. &c.

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I have been influenced no less by a sense of my own inaptitude for the office of critic than by recollecting with what assiduity, throughout the whole of the poet’s career, every new rising of his genius was watched from the great observatories of Criticism, and the ever changing varieties of its course and splendour tracked out and recorded with a degree of skill and minuteness which has left but little for succeeding observers to discover. It is, moreover, into the character and conduct of Lord Byron, as a man, not distinct from, but forming, on the contrary, the best illustration of his character, as a writer, that it has been the more immediate purpose of these volumes to inquire; and if, in the course of them, any satisfactory clue has been afforded to those anomalies, moral and intellectual, which his life exhibited,—still more, should it have been the effect of my humble labours to clear away some of those mists that hung round my friend, and show him, in most respects, as worthy of love as he was, in all, of admiration, then will the chief and sole aim of this work have been accomplished.

Having devoted to this object so large a portion of my own share of these pages, and, yet more fairly, enabled the world to form a judgment for itself, by placing the man, in his own person, and without disguise, before all eyes, there would seem to remain now but an easy duty in summing up the various points of his character, and, out of the features, already separately described, combining one complete portrait. The task, however, is by no means so easy as it may appear. There are few characters in which a near acquaintance does not enable us to discover some one leading principle or passion consistent enough in its operations to be taken confidently into account in any estimate of the disposition in which they are found. Like those points in the human face, or figure, to which all its other proportions are referable, there is in most minds some one governing influence, from which chiefly,—though, of course, biassed on some occasions by others,—all its various impulses and tendencies will be found to radiate. In Lord Byron, however, this sort of pivot of character was almost wholly wanting. Governed as he was at different moments by totally different passions, and impelled sometimes, as during his short access of parsimony in Italy, by springs of action never before developed in his nature, in him this simple mode of tracing character to its sources must be often wholly at fault; and if, as is not
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impossible, in trying to solve the strange variances of his mind, I should myself be found to have fallen into contradictions and inconsistencies, the extreme difficulty of analysing, without dazzle or bewilderment, such an unexampled complication of qualities must be admitted as my excuse.

So various, indeed, and contradictory were his attributes, both moral and intellectual, that he may be pronounced to have been not one, but many; nor would it be any great exaggeration of the truth to say, that out of the mere partition of the properties of his single mind a plurality of characters, all different and all vigorous, might have been furnished. It was this multiform aspect exhibited by him that led the world, during his short wondrous career, to compare him with that medley host of personages, almost all differing from each other, which he thus playfully enumerates in one of his Journals:—

“I have been thinking over, the other day, on the various comparisons, good or evil, which I have seen published of myself in different journals, English and foreign. This was suggested to me by accidentally turning over a foreign one lately,—for I have made it a rule latterly never to search for any thing of the kind, but not to avoid the perusal, if presented by chance.

“To begin, then: I have seen myself compared personally or poetically, in English, French, German (as interpreted to me), Italian, and Portuguese, within these nine years, to Rousseau, Goëthe, Young, Aretine, Timon of Athens, Dante, Petrarch, ‘an alabaster vase, lighted up within,’ Satan, Shakspeare, Buonaparte, Tiberius, Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Harlequin, the Clown, Sternhold and Hopkins, to the phantasmagoria, to Henry the Eighth, to Chenier, to Mirabeau, to young R. Dallas (the schoolboy), to Michael Angelo, to Raphael, to a petit-maitre, to Diogenes, to Childe Harold, to Lara, to the Count in Beppo, to Milton, to Pope, to Dryden, to Burns, to Savage, to Chatterton, to ‘oft have I heard of thee, my Lord Biron,’ in Shakspeare, to Churchill the poet, to Kean the actor, to Alfieri, &c. &c. &c.

“The likeness to Alfieri was asserted very seriously by an Italian who had known him in his younger days. It of course related merely to our apparent personal dispositions. He did not assert it to me (for we were not then good friends), but in society.

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“The object of so many contradictory comparisons must probably be like something different from them all; but what that is, is more than I know, or any body else.”

It would not be uninteresting, were there either space or time for such a task, to take a review of the names of note in the preceding list, and show in how many points, though differing so materially among themselves, it might be found that each presented a striking resemblance to Lord Byron. We have seen, for instance, that wrongs and sufferings were, through life, the main sources of Byron’s inspiration. Where the hoof of the critic struck, the fountain was first disclosed; and all the tramplings of the world afterwards but forced out the stream stronger and brighter. The same obligations to misfortune, the same debt to the “oppressor’s wrong,” for having wrung out from bitter thoughts the pure essence of his genius, was due no less deeply by Dante:—“quum illam sub amarâ cogitatione excitatam, occulti divinique ingenii vim exacuerit et inflammarit*.”

In that contempt for the world’s opinion, which led Dante to exclaim, “Lascia dir le genti,” Lord Byron also bore a strong resemblance to that poet,—though far more, it must be confessed, in profession than reality. For, while scorn for the public voice was on his lips, the keenest sensitiveness to its every breath was in his heart; and, as if every feeling of his nature was to have some painful mixture in it, together with the pride of Dante which led him to disdain public opinion, he combined the susceptibility of Petrarch which placed him shrinkingly at its mercy.

His agreement, in some other features of character, with Petrarch, I have already had occasion to remark†; and if it be true, as is often

* Paulus Jovius.—Bayle, too, says of him, “il fit entrer plus de feu et plus de force dans ses livres qu’il n’y en eût mis s’il avoit joui d’une condition plus tranquille.”

† Some passages in Foscolo’s Essay on Petrarch may be applied, with equal truth, to Lord Byron.—For instance, “It was hardly possible with Petrarch to write a sentence without pourtraying himself”—“Petrarch, allured by the idea that his celebrity would magnify into importance all the ordinary occurrences of his life, satisfied the curiosity of the world,” &c. &c.—and again, with still more striking applicability,—“In Petrarch’s letters, as well as in his Poems and Treatises, we always identify the author with the man, who felt himself irresistibly impelled to develope his own intense feelings. Being endowed with almost all the noble, and with some of the paltry passions of our nature, and having never attempted to conceal them,

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surmised, that Byron’s want of a due reverence for
Shakspeare arose from some latent and hardly conscious jealousy of that poet’s fame, a similar feeling is known to have existed in Petrarch towards Dante; and the same reason assigned for it,—that from the living he had nothing to fear, while before the shade of Dante he might have reason to feel humbled,—is also not a little applicable* in the case of Lord Byron.

Between the dispositions and habits of Alfieri and those of the noble poet of England, no less remarkable coincidences might be traced; and the sonnet in which the Italian dramatist professes to paint his own character contains, in one comprehensive line, a portrait of the versatile author of Don Juan,—
“Or stimandome Achille ed or Tersite.”

By the extract just given from his Journal, it will be perceived that, in Byron’s own opinion, a character which, like his, admitted of so many contradictory comparisons, could not be otherwise than wholly undefinable itself. It will be found, however, on reflection, that this very versatility, which renders it so difficult to fix, “ere it change,” the fairy fabric of his character is, in itself, the true clue through all that fabric’s mazes,—is in itself the solution of whatever was most dazzling in his might or startling in his levity, of all that most attracted and repelled, whether in his life or his genius. A variety of powers almost boundless, and a pride no less vast in displaying them,—a susceptibility of new impressions and impulses, even beyond the usual allotment of genius, and an uncontrolled impetuosity, as well from habit as temperament, in yielding to them,—such were the two great and leading sources of all that varied spectacle which his life exhibited; of that succession of victories achieved by his genius, in almost every field of mind that genius ever trod, and of all those sallies of character in every shape and direction that unchecked feeling and dominant self-will could dictate.

he awakens us to reflection upon ourselves while we contemplate in him a being of our own species, yet different from any other, and whose originality excites even more sympathy than admiration.”

* “Il Petrarca poteva credere candidamente ch’ei non pativa d’invidia solamente, perché fra tutti i viventi non v’era chi non s’arretrasse per cedergli il passo alla prima gloria, ch’ei non poteva sentirai umiliato, fuorchè dall’ ombra di Dante.”

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It must be perceived by all endowed with quick powers of association how constantly, when any particular thought or sentiment presents itself to their minds, its very opposite, at the same moment, springs up there also:—if any thing sublime occurs, its neighbour, the ridiculous, is by its side;—with a bright view of the present or the future, a dark one mixes also its shadow;—and, even in questions respecting morals and conduct, all the reasonings and consequences that may suggest themselves on the side of one of two opposite courses will, in such minds, be instantly confronted by an array just as cogent on the other. A mind of this structure,—and such, more or less, are all those in which the reasoning is made subservient to the imaginative faculty,—though enabled, by such rapid powers of association to multiply its resources without end, has need of the constant exercise of a controlling judgment to keep its perceptions pure and undisturbed between the contrasts it thus simultaneously calls up; the obvious danger being that, where matters of taste are concerned, the habit of forming such incongruous juxtapositions—as that, for example, between the burlesque and sublime—should at last vitiate the mind’s relish for the nobler and higher quality; and that, on the yet more important subject of morals, a facility in finding reasons for every side of a question may end, if not in the choice of the worst, at least in a sceptical indifference to all.

In picturing to oneself so awful an event as a shipwreck, its many horrors and perils are what alone offer themselves to ordinary fancies. But the keen, versatile imagination of Byron could detect in it far other details, and, at the same moment with all that is fearful and appalling in such a scene, could bring together all that is most ludicrous and low. That in this painful mixture he was but too true to human nature, the testimony of De Retz (himself an eye-witness of such an event) attests:—“Vous ne pouvez vous imaginer (says the Cardinal) l’horreur d’une grande tempête;—vous en pouvez imaginer aussi peu le ridicule.” But, assuredly, a poet less wantoning in the variety of his power, and less proud of displaying it, would have paused ere he mixed up, thus mockingly, the degradation of humanity with its sufferings, and, content to probe us to the core with the miseries of our fellow-men, would have forborne to wring from us, the next moment, a bitter smile at their baseness.

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To the moral sense so dangerous are the effects of this quality, that it would hardly, perhaps, be generalizing too widely to assert that wheresoever great versatility of power exists, there will also be found a tendency to versatility of principle. The poet Chatterton, in whose soul the seeds of all that is good and bad in genius so prematurely ripened, said, in the consciousness of this multiple faculty, that he “held that man in contempt who could not write on both sides of a question;” and it was by acting in accordance with this principle himself that he brought one of the few stains upon his name which a life so short afforded time to incur. Mirabeau, too, when, in the legal warfare between his father and mother, he helped to draw up for each the pleadings against the other, was influenced less, no doubt, by the pleasure of mischief than by this pride of talent, and lost sight of the unnatural perfidy of the task in the adroitness with which he executed it.

The quality which I have here denominated versatility, as applied to power, Lord Byron has himself designated by the French word “mobility,” as applied to feeling and conduct; and, in one of the Cantos of Don Juan, has described happily some of its lighter features. After telling us that his hero had begun to doubt, from the great predominance of this quality in her, “how much of Adeline was real,” he says,—

“So well she acted, all and every part,
By turns,—with that vivacious versatility,
Which many people take for want of heart.
They err—’tis merely what is call’d mobility,
A thing of temperament and not of art,
Though seeming so, from its supposed facility;
And false—though true; for surely they’re sincerest,
Who are strongly acted on by what is nearest.”

That he was fully aware not only of the abundance of this quality in his own nature, but of the danger in which it placed consistency and singleness of character, did not require the note on this passage, where he calls it “an unhappy attribute,” to assure us. The consciousness, indeed, of his own natural tendency to yield thus to every chance impression, and
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change with every passing impulse, was not only for ever present in his mind, but,—aware as he was of the suspicion of weakness attached by the world to any retractation or abandonment of long professed opinions, had the effect of keeping him in that general line of consistency, on certain great subjects, which, notwithstanding occasional fluctuations and contradictions as to the details of these very subjects, he continued to preserve throughout life. A passage from one of his manuscripts will show how sagaciously he saw the necessity of guarding himself against his own instability in this respect. “The world visits change of politics or change of religion with a more severe censure than a mere difference of opinion would appear to me to deserve. But there must be some reason for this feeling;—and I think it is that these departures from the earliest instilled ideas of our childhood, and from the line of conduct chosen by us when we first enter into public life, have been seen to have more mischievous results for society, and to prove more weakness of mind than other actions, in themselves, more immoral.”

The same distrust in his own steadiness, thus keeping alive in him a conscientious self-watchfulness, concurred not a little, I have no doubt, with the innate kindness of his nature, to preserve so constant and unbroken the greater number of his attachments through life;—some of them, as in the instance of his mother, owing evidently more to a sense of duty than to real affection, the consistency with which, so creditably to the strength of his character, they were maintained.

But while in these respects, as well as in the sort of task-like perseverance with which the habits and amusements of his youth were held fast by him, he succeeded in conquering the variableness and love of novelty so natural to him, in all else that could engage his mind, in all the excursions, whether of his reason or his fancy, he gave way to this versatile humour without scruple or check,—taking every shape in which genius could manifest its power, and transferring himself to every region of thought where new conquests were to be achieved.

It was impossible but that such a range of will and power should be abused. It was impossible that, among the spirits he invoked from all quarters, those of darkness should not appear, at his bidding, with those of light. And here the dangers of an energy so multifold, and
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thus luxuriating in its own transformations, show themselves. To this one great object of displaying power,—various, splendid, and all-adorning power,—every other consideration and duty were but too likely to be sacrificed. Let the advocate but display his eloquence and art, no matter what the cause;—let the stamp of energy be but left behind, no matter with what seal. Could it have been expected that from such a career no mischief would ensue, or that among these cross-lights of imagination the moral vision could remain undisturbed? Is it to be at all wondered at that in the works of one thus gifted and carried away, we should find,—wholly, too, without any prepense design of corrupting on his side,—a false splendour given to Vice to make it look like Virtue, and Evil too often invested with a grandeur which belongs intrinsically but to Good?

Among the less serious ills flowing from this abuse of his great versatile powers,—more especially as exhibited in his most characteristic work, Don Juan,—it will be found that even the strength and impressiveness of his poetry is sometimes not a little injured by the capricious and desultory flights into which this pliancy of wing allures him. It must be felt, indeed, by all readers of that work, and particularly by those who, being gifted with but a small portion of such ductility themselves, are unable to keep pace with his changes, that the suddenness with which he passes from one strain of sentiment to another,—from the frolic to the sad, from the cynical to the tender,—begets a distrust in the sincerity of one or both moods of mind which interferes with, if not chills, the sympathy that a more natural transition would inspire. In general such a suspicion would do him injustice as, among the singular combinations which his mind presented, that of uniting at once versatility and depth of feeling was not the least remarkable. But, on the whole, favourable as was all this quickness and variety of association to the extension of the range and resources of his poetry, it may be questioned whether a more select concentration of his powers would not have afforded a still more grand and precious result. Had the minds of Milton and Tasso been thus thrown open to the incursions of light, ludicrous fancies, who can doubt that those
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solemn sanctuaries of genius would have been as much injured as profaned by the intrusion?—and it is at least a question whether, if Lord Byron had not been so actively versatile, so totally under the dominion of
“A fancy, like the air, most free,
And full of mutability,”
he would not have been less wonderful, perhaps, but more great.

Nor was it only in his poetical creations that this love and power of variety showed itself;—one of the most pervading weaknesses of his life may be traced to the same fertile source. The pride of personating every description of character, evil as well as good, influenced but too much, as we have seen, his ambition, and, not a little, his conduct; and as, in poetry, his own experience of the ill effects of passion was made to minister materials to the workings of his imagination, so, in return, his imagination supplied that dark colouring under which he so often disguised his true aspect from the world. To such a perverse length, indeed, did he carry this fancy for self-defamation, that if (as sometimes, in his moments of gloom, he persuaded himself) there was any tendency to derangement in his mental conformation*, on this point alone could it be pronounced to have manifested itself†. In the

* We have seen hew often, in his Journals and Letters, this suspicion of his own mental soundness is intimated. A similar notion, with respect to himself, seems to have taken hold also of the strong mind of Johnson, who, like Byron, too, was disposed to attribute to an hereditary tinge that melancholy which, as he said, “made him mad all his life, at least not sober.” This peculiar feature of Johnson’s mind has, in the forth-coming edition of Boswell’s Life of him, given rise to some remarks, pregnant with all the editor’s well-known acuteness, which, as bearing on a point so important in the history of the human intellect, will be found worthy of all attention.

In one of the many letters of Lord Byron to myself, which I have thought right to omit, I find him tracing this supposed disturbance of his own faculties to the marriage of Miss Chaworth—“a marriage,” he says, “for which she sacrificed the prospects of two very ancient families, and a heart which was hers from ten years old, and a head which has never been quite right since.”

† In his Diary of 1814 there is a passage (vol. i. page 447.) which I had preserved solely for the purpose of illustrating this obliquity of his mind, intending, at the same time, to

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early part of my acquaintance with him, when he most gave way to this humour,—for it was observable afterwards, when the world joined in his own opinion of himself, he rather shrunk from the echo,—I have known him more than once, as we have sat together after dinner, and he was, at the time, perhaps, a little under the influence of wine, to fall seriously into this sort of dark and self-accusing mood, and throw out hints of his past life with an air of gloom and mystery designed evidently to awaken curiosity and interest. He was, however, too promptly alive to the least approaches of ridicule not to perceive, on these occasions, that the gravity of his hearer was only prevented from being disturbed by all effort of politeness, and he accordingly never again tried this romantic mystification upon me. From what I have known, however, of his experiments upon more impressible listeners, I have little doubt that, to produce effect at the moment, there is hardly any crime so dark or desperate of which, in the excitement of thus acting upon the imaginations of others, he would not have hinted that he had been guilty; and it has sometimes occurred to me that the occult cause of his lady’s separation from him, round which herself and her legal adviser have thrown such formidable mystery, may have been nothing more, after all, than some imposture of this kind, some dimly hinted confession of undefined horrors, which, though intended by the relater but to mystify and surprise, the hearer so little understood him as to take in sober seriousness.

This strange propensity with which the man was, as it were, inoculated by the poet, reacted back again upon his poetry, so as to produce, in some of his delineations of character, that inconsistency which has not unfrequently been noticed by his critics,—namely, the junction of one or two lofty and shining virtues with “a thousand crimes” altogether incompatible with them; this anomaly being, in fact, accounted for by the two different sorts of ambition that actuated him,

accompany it with an explanatory note. From some inadvertence, however, the note was omitted; and, thus left to itself, this piece of mystification has, with the French readers of the work, I see, succeeded most perfectly; there being no imaginable variety of murder which the votaries of the new romantic school have not been busily extracting out of the mystery of that passage.

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—the natural one, of infusing into his personages those high and kindly qualities he felt conscious of within himself, and the artificial one, of investing them with those crimes which he so boyishly wished imputed to him by the world.

Independently, however, of any such efforts towards blackening his own name, and even after he had learned from bitter experience the rash folly of such a system, there was still, in the openness and over-frankness of his nature, and that indulgence of impulse with which he gave utterance to, if not acted upon, every chance impression of fancy or passion, more than sufficient to bring his character, in all its least favourable lights, before the world. Who is there, indeed, that could bear to be judged by even the best of those unnumbered thoughts that course each other, like waves of the sea, through our minds, passing away unuttered and, for the most part, even unowned by ourselves?—Yet to such a test was Byron’s character throughout his whole life exposed. As well from the precipitance with which he gave way to every impulse as from the passion he had for recording his own impressions, all those heterogeneous thoughts, fantasies, and desires that, in other men’s minds, “come like shadows, so depart,” were by him fixed and embodied as they presented themselves, and, at once, taking a shape cognizable by public opinion, either in his actions or his words, either in the hasty letter of the moment, or the poem for all time, laid open such a range of vulnerable points before his judges as no one individual perhaps ever before, of himself, presented.

With such abundance and variety of materials for portraiture, it may easily be conceived how two professed delineators of his character, the one over partial and the other malicious, might,—the former, by selecting only the fairer, and the latter only the darker features,—produce two portraits of Lord Byron, as much differing from each other as they would both be, on the whole, unlike the original.

Of the utter powerlessness of retention with which he promulgated his every thought and feeling,—more especially if at all connected with the subject of self,—without allowing even a pause for the almost instinctive consideration whether by such disclosures he might not be conveying a calumnious impression of himself, a stronger instance could hardly
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be given than is to be found in a conversation held by him with
Mr. Trelawney, as reported by this latter gentleman, when they were on their way together to Greece. After some remarks on the state of his own health*, mental and bodily, he said, “I don’t know how it is, but I am so cowardly at times, that if, this morning, you had come down and horsewhipped me, I should have submitted without opposition. Why is this? If one of these fits come over me when we are in Greece, what shall I do?” “I told him (continues Mr. Trelawney) that it was the excessive debility of his nerves. He said ‘Yes, and of my head, too. I was very heroic when I left Genoa, but, like Acres, I feel my courage oozing out at my palms.’”

It will hardly, by those who know any thing of human nature, be denied that such misgivings and heart-sinkings as are here described may, under a similar depression of spirits, have found their way into the thoughts of some of the gallantest hearts that ever breathed;—but then, untold and unremembered, even by the sufferer, they passed off with the passing infirmity that produced them, leaving neither to truth to record them as proofs of want of health, nor to calumny to fasten upon them a suspicion of want of bravery. The assertion of some one that all men are by nature cowardly would seem to be countenanced by the readiness with which most men believe others so. “I have lived,” says the Prince de Ligne, “to hear Voltaire called a fool, and the great Frederick a coward.” The Duke of Marlborough in his own times, and Napoleon in ours, have found persons not only to assert but believe the same charge against them. After such glaring instances of the tendency of some minds to view greatness only through an inverting medium, it need little surprise us that Lord Byron’s conduct in Greece should, on the same principle, have engendered a similar insinuation against him; nor should I have at all noticed the weak slander, but for the opportunity

* “He often mentioned (says Mr. Trelawney) that he thought he should not live many years, and said that he would die in Greece. This he told me at Cephalonia. He always seemed unmoved on these occasions, perfectly indifferent as to when he died, only saying that be could not bear pain. On our voyage we had been reading with great attention the life and letters of Swift, edited by Scott, and we almost daily, or rather nightly, talked them ever, and he more than once expressed his horror of existing in that state, and expressed some fears that it would be his fate.”

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which it affords me of endeavouring to point out what appears to me the peculiar nature of the courage by which, on all occasions that called for it, he so strikingly distinguished himself.

Whatever virtue may be allowed to belong to personal courage, it is, most assuredly, they who are endowed by nature with the liveliest imaginations, and who have therefore most vividly and simultaneously before their eyes all the remote and possible consequences of danger, that are most deserving of whatever praise attends the exercise of that virtue. A bravery of this kind, which springs more out of mind than temperament,—or rather, perhaps, out of the conquest of the former over the latter,—will naturally proportion its exertion to the importance of the occasion; and the same person who is seen to shrink with an almost feminine fear from ignoble and every-day perils may be found foremost in the very jaws of danger where honour is to be either maintained or won. Nor does this remark apply only to the imaginative class, of whom I am chiefly treating. By the same calculating principle, it will be found that most men whose bravery is the result, not of temperament, but reflection, are regulated in their daring. The wise De Witt, though negligent of his life on great occasions, was not ashamed, we are told, of dreading and avoiding whatever endangered it on others.

Of the apprehensiveness that attends quick imaginations, Lord Byron had, of course, a considerable share, and in all situations of ordinary peril gave way to it without reserve. I have seldom seen any person, male or female, more timid in a carriage; and, in riding, his preparation against accidents showed the same nervous and imaginative fearfulness. “His bridle,” says the late Lord B * *, who rode frequently with him at Genoa, “had, besides cavesson and martingale, various reins; and whenever he came near a place where his horse was likely to shy, he gathered up these said reins and fixed himself as if he was going at a five-barred gate.” None surely but the most superficial or most prejudiced observers could ever seriously found upon such indications of nervousness any conclusion against the real courage of him who was subject to them. The poet Ariosto who was, it seems, a victim to the same fair-weather alarms,—who, when on horseback, would alight at the least appearance of danger, and on the water was particularly timorous—could yet, in the
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action between the Pope’s vessels and the Duke of Ferrara’s, fight like a lion; and in the same manner the courage of Lord Byron, as all his companions in peril testify, was of that noblest kind which rises with the greatness of the occasion, and becomes but the more self-collected and resisting, the more imminent the danger.

In proposing to show that the distinctive properties of Lord Byron’s character, as well moral as literary, arose mainly from those two great sources, the unexampled versatility of his powers and feelings, and the facility with which he gave way to the impulses of both, it had been my intention to pursue the subject still further in detail, and to endeavour to trace throughout the various excellencies and defects, both of his poetry and his life, the operation of these two dominant attributes of his nature. “No men,” says Cowper, in speaking of persons of a versatile turn of mind, “are better qualified for companions in such a world as this than men of such temperament. Every scene of life has two sides, a dark and a bright one; and the mind that has an equal mixture of melancholy and vivacity is best of all qualified for the contemplation of either.” It would not be difficult to show that to this readiness in reflecting all hues, whether of the shadows or the lights of our variegated existence, Lord Byron owed not only the great range of his influence as a poet, but those powers of fascination which he possessed as a man. This susceptibility, indeed, of immediate impressions which in him was so active, lent a charm, of all others the most attractive, to his social intercourse, by giving to those who were, at the moment, present, such ascendant influence, that they alone for the time occupied all his thoughts and feelings, and brought whatever was most agreeable in his nature into play*.

So much did this extreme mobility,—this readiness to be “strongly

* In reference to his power of adapting himself to all sorts of society, and taking upon himself all varieties of character, I find a passage in one of my early letters to him (from Ireland) which, though it might be expressed, perhaps, in better taste, is worth citing for its truth:—“Though I have not written, I have seldom ceased to think of you; for you are that sort of being whom every thing, high or low, brings into one’s mind. Whether I am with the wise or the waggish, among poets or among pugilists, over the book or over the bottle, you are sure to connect yourself transcendently with all, and come ‘armed for every field’ into my memory.”

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acted on by what was nearest,”—abound in his disposition that, even with the casual acquaintances of the hour, his heart was upon his lips*, and it depended wholly upon themselves whether they might not become at once the depositories of every secret, if it might be so called, of his whole life. That in this convergence of all the powers of pleasing towards present objects, those absent should be sometimes forgotten, or, what is worse, sacrificed to the reigning desire of the moment, is one of the alloys attendant upon persons of this temperament, which renders their fidelity, either as lovers or confidants, not a little precarious. But of the charm which such a disposition diffuses through the manner there can be but little doubt,—and least of all among those who have ever felt its full influence in Lord Byron. Neither are the instances in which he has been known to make imprudent disclosures of what had been said or written by others of the persons with whom he was conversing to be all set down to this rash overflow of the social hour. In his own frankness of spirit and hatred of all disguise, this practice, pregnant as it was with inconvenience, and sometimes danger, in a great degree originated. To confront the accused with the accuser was, in such cases, his delight,—not only as a revenge for having been made the medium of what men durst not say openly to each other, but as a gratification of that love of small mischief which he had retained from boyhood, and which the confusion that followed such exposures was always sure to amuse. This habit, too, being, as I have before remarked, well known to his friends, their sense of prudence, if not their fairness, was put fully on its guard, and he himself was spared the pain of hearing what he could not, without inflicting still worse, repeat.

A most apt illustration of this point of his character is to be found in an anecdote told of him by Parry, who, though himself the victim,

* It is curious to observe how, in all times, and all countries, what is called the poetical temperament has, in the great possessors, and victims, of that gift, produced similar effects. In the following passage, the biographer of Tasso has, in painting that poet, described Byron also:—“There are some persons of a sensibility so powerful that whoever happens to be with them is, at that moment, to them the world: their hearts involuntarily open; they are prompted by a strong desire to please; and they thus make confidants of their sentiments people whom they in reality regard with indifference.”

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had the sense and good temper to perceive the source to which Byron’s conduct was to be traced. While the Turkish fleet was blockading Missolonghi, his lordship, one day, attended by
Parry, proceeded in a small punt, rowed by a boy, to the mouth of the harbour, while in a large boat accompanying them were Prince Mavrocordato and his attendants. In this situation, an indignant feeling of contempt and impatience at the supineness of their Greek friends seized the engineer, and he proceeded to vent this feeling to Lord Byron in no very measured terms, pronouncing Prince Mavrocordato to be “an old gentlewoman,” and concluding, according to his own statement, with the following words:—“If I were in their place, I should be in a fever at the thought of my own incapacity and ignorance, and should burn with impatience to attempt the destruction of those rascal Turks. But the Greeks and the Turks are opponents worthy, by their imbecility, of each other.”

“I had scarcely explained myself fully,” adds Mr. Parry, “when his lordship ordered our boat to be placed alongside the other, and actually related our whole conversation to the Prince. In doing it, however, he took on himself the task of pacifying both the Prince and me, and though I was at first very angry, and the Prince, I believe, very much annoyed, he succeeded. Mavrocordato afterwards showed no dissatisfaction with me, and I prized Lord Byron’s regard too much, to remain long displeased with a proceeding which was only an unpleasant manner of reproving us both.”

Into these and other such branches from the main course of his character, it might have been a task of some interest to investigate,—certain as we should be that, even in the remotest and narrowest of these windings, some of the brightness and strength of the original current would be perceptible. Enough however has been, perhaps, said to set other minds upon supplying what remains:—if the track of analysis here opened be the true one, to follow it in its further bearings will not be difficult. Already, indeed, I may be thought by some readers to have occupied too large a portion of these pages, not only in tracing out such “nice dependencies” and gradations of my friend’s character, but still more uselessly, as may be conceived, in recording all the various habitudes and
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whims by which the course of his every-day life was distinguished from that of other people. That the critics of the day should think it due to their own importance to object to trifles is naturally to be expected; but that in other times, such minute records of a Byron will be read with interest, even such critics cannot doubt. To know that
Catiline walked with an agitated and uncertain gait is, by no mean judge of human nature, deemed important as an indication of character. But far less significant details will satisfy the idolators of genius. To be told that Tasso loved malmsey and thought it favourable to poetic inspiration is a piece of intelligence, even at the end of three centuries, not unwelcome; while a still more amusing proof of the disposition of the world to remember little things of the great is, that the poet Petrarch’s excessive fondness for turnips is one of the few traditions still preserved of him at Arqua.

The personal appearance of Lord Byron has been so frequently described, both by pen and pencil, that were it not the bounden duty of the biographer to attempt some such sketch, the task would seem superfluous. Of his face, the beauty may be pronounced to have been of the highest order, as combining at once regularity of features with the most varied and interesting expression. The same facility, indeed, of change observable in the movements of his mind was seen also in the free play of his features, as the passing thoughts within darkened or shone through them.

His eyes, though of a light gray, were capable of all extremes of expression, from the most joyous hilarity to the deepest sadness, from the very sunshine of benevolence to the most concentrated scorn or rage. Of this latter passion, I had once an opportunity of seeing what fiery interpreters they could be, on my telling him, thoughtlessly enough, that a friend of mine had said to me—“Beware of Lord Byron; he will, some day or other, do something very wicked.”—“Was it man or woman said so?” he exclaimed, suddenly turning round upon me with a look of such intense anger as, though it lasted not an instant, could not easily be forgot, and of which no better idea can be given than in the words of one who, speaking of Chatterton’s eyes, says that “fire rolled at the bottom of them.”

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But it was in the mouth and chin that the great beauty as well as expression of his fine countenance lay. “Many pictures have been painted of him (says a fair critic of his features) with various success; but the excessive beauty of his lips escaped every painter and sculptor. In their ceaseless play they represented every emotion, whether pale with anger, curled in disdain, smiling in triumph, or dimpled with archness and love.” It would be injustice to the reader not to borrow from the same pencil a few more touches of portraiture. “This extreme facility of expression was sometimes painful, for I have seen him look absolutely ugly—I have seen him look so hard and cold, that you must hate him, and then, in a moment, brighter than the sun, with such playful softness in his look, such affectionate eagerness kindling in his eyes, and dimpling his lips into something more sweet than a smile, that you forgot the man, the Lord Byron, in the picture of beauty presented to you, and gazed with intense curiosity—I had almost said—as if to satisfy yourself, that thus looked the god of poetry, the god of the Vatican, when he conversed with the sons and daughters of man.”

His head was remarkably small*,—so much so as to be rather out of proportion with his face. The forehead, though a little too narrow, was high, and appeared more so from his having his hair (to preserve it, as he said) shaved over the temples; while the glossy, dark-brown curls, clustering over his head, gave the finish to its beauty. When to this is added, that his nose, though handsomely, was rather thickly shaped, that his teeth were white and regular, and his complexion colourless, as good an idea perhaps as it is in the power of mere words to convey may be conceived of his features.

In height he was, as he himself has informed us, five feet eight inches and a half, and to the length of his limbs he attributed his being such a good swimmer. His hands were very white, and—according to his own notion of the size of hands as indicating birth—aristocratically

* “Several of us, one day,” says Colonel Napier, “tried on his hat, and in a party of twelve or fourteen, who were at dinner, not one could put it on, so exceedingly small was his head. My servant, Thomas Wells, who had the smallest head in the 90th regiment, (so small that he could hardly get a cap to it him,) was the only person who could put on Lord Byron’s hat, and him it fitted exactly.”

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small. The lameness of his right foot*, though an obstacle to grace, but little impeded the activity of his movements; and from this circumstance, as well as from the skill with which the foot was disguised by means of long trowsers, it would be difficult to conceive a defect of this kind less obtruding itself as a deformity; while the diffidence which a constant consciousness of the infirmity gave to his first approach and address made, in him, even lameness a source of interest.

In looking again into the Journal from which it was my intention to give extracts, the following unconnected opinions, or rather reveries, most of them on points connected with his religious opinions, are all that I feel tempted to select. To an assertion in the early part of this work that “at no time of his life was Lord Byron a confirmed unbeliever,” it has been objected, that many passages of his writings prove the direct contrary. This assumption, however, as well as the interpretation of most of the passages referred to in its support, proceed, as it appears to me, upon the mistake, not uncommon in conversation, of confounding together the meanings of the words unbeliever and sceptic,—the former implying decision of opinion, and the latter only doubt. I have myself, I find, not always kept the significations of the two words distinct, and in one instance have so far fallen into the notion of these objectors as to speak of Byron in his youth as “an unbelieving schoolboy,” when the word “doubting” would have more truly expressed my meaning. With this necessary explanation, I shall here repeat my assertion; or rather—to clothe its substance in a different

* In speaking of this lameness at the commencement of my work, I forbore, both from my own doubts on the subject and the great variance I found in the recollections of others, from stating in which of his feet this lameness existed. It will, indeed, with difficulty be believed what uncertainty I found upon this point, even among those most intimate with him. Mr. Hunt in his book states it to have been the left foot that was deformed, and this, though contrary to my own impression, and, as it appears also, to the fact, was the opinion I found also of others who had been much in the habit of living with him. On applying to his early friends at Southwell and to the shoemaker of that town who worked for him, so little prepared were they to answer with any certainty on the subject, that it was only by recollecting that the lame foot “was the off one in going up the street” they at last came to the conclusion that his right limb was the one affected; and Mr. Jackson, his preceptor in pugilism, was, in like manner, obliged to call to mind whether his noble pupil was a right or left hand hitter before he could arrive at the same decision.

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form—shall say that Lord Byron was, to the last, a sceptic, which, in itself, implies that he was, at no time, a confirmed unbeliever.

“If I were to live over again, I do not know what I would change in my life, unless it were for—not to have lived at all*. All history, and experience, and the rest, teaches us that the good and evil are pretty equally balanced in this existence, and that what is most to be desired is an easy passage out of it. What can it give us but years? and those have little of good but their ending.

“Of the immortality of the soul, it appears to me that there can be little doubt, if we attend for a moment to the action of mind: it is in perpetual activity. I used to doubt of it, but reflection has taught me better. It acts also so very independent of body—in dreams, for instance;—incoherently and madly, I grant you, but still it is mind, and much more mind than when we are awake. Now that this should not act separately, as well as jointly, who can pronounce? The Stoics, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, call the present state ‘a soul which drags a carcass,’—a heavy chain, to be sure, but all chains being material may be shaken off. How far our future life will be individual, or, rather, how far it will at all resemble our present existence, is another question; but that the mind is eternal seems as probable as that the body is not so. Of course, I here venture upon the question without recurring to revelation, which, however, is at least as rational a solution of it as any other. A material resurrection seems strange and even absurd, except for purposes of punishment; and all punishment which is to revenge rather than correct must be morally wrong; and when the world is at an end, what moral or warning purpose can eternal tortures answer? Human passions have probably disfigured the divine doctrines here:—but the whole thing is inscrutable.

* Swift “early adopted (says Sir Walter Scott) the custom of observing his birthday, as a term, not of joy, but of sorrow, and of reading, when it annually recurred, the striking passage of Scripture, in which Job laments and execrates the day upon which it was said in his father’s house ‘that a man-child was born.’”—Life of Swift.

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“It is useless to tell me not to reason, but to believe. You might as well tell a man not to wake, but sleep. And then to bully with torments, and all that! I cannot help thinking that the menace of hell makes as many devils as the severe penal codes of inhuman humanity make villains.

“Man is born passionate of body, but with an innate though secret tendency to the love of good in his main-spring of mind. But, God help us all! it is at present a sad jar of atoms.

“Matter is eternal, always changing, but reproduced, and, as far as we can comprehend eternity, eternal; and why not mind? Why should not the mind act with and upon the universe, as portions of it act upon, and with, the congregated dust called mankind? See how one man acts upon himself and others, or upon multitudes. The same agency, in a higher and purer degree, may act upon the stars, &c. ad infinitum.

“I have often been inclined to materialism in philosophy, but could never bear its introduction into Christianity, which appears to me essentially founded upon the soul. For this reason, Priestley’s Christian Materialism always struck me as deadly. Believe the resurrection of the body, if you will, but not without a soul. The deuce is in it, if after having had a soul (as surely the mind, or whatever you call it, is), in this world, we must part with it in the next, even for an immortal materiality! I own my partiality for spirit.

“I am always most religious upon a sunshiny day, as if there was some association between an internal approach to greater light and purity and the kindler of this dark lantern of our external existence.

“The night is also a religious concern, and even more so when I viewed the moon and stars through Herschell’s telescope, and saw that they were worlds.

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“If, according to some speculations, you could prove the world many thousand years older than the Mosaic chronology, or if you could get rid of Adam and Eve, and the apple, and serpent, still, what is to be put up in their stead? or how is the difficulty removed? Things must have had a beginning, and what matters it when or how?

“I sometimes think that man may be the relic of some higher material being wrecked in a former world, and degenerated in the hardship and struggle through chaos into conformity, or something like it,—as we see Laplanders, Esquimaux, &c. inferior in the present state, as the elements become more inexorable. But even then this higher pre-Adamite supposititious creation must have had an origin and a Creator—for a creation is a more natural imagination than a fortuitous concourse of atoms: all things remount to a fountain, though they may flow to an ocean.

Plutarch says, in his Life of Lysander, that Aristotle observes ‘that in general great geniuses are of a melancholy turn, and instances Socrates, Plato, and Hercules (or Heraclitus), as examples, and Lysander, though not while young, yet as inclined to it when approaching towards age.’ Whether I am a genius or not, I have been called such by my friends as well as enemies, and in more countries and languages than one, and also within a no very long period of existence. Of my genius, I can say nothing, but of my melancholy, that it is ‘increasing and ought to be diminished.’ But how?

“I take it that most men are so at bottom, but that it is only remarked in the remarkable. The Duchesse de Broglio, in reply to a remark of mine on the errors of clever people, said that ‘they were not worse than others, only, being more in view, more noted, especially in all that could reduce them to the rest, or raise the rest to them.’ In 1816, this was.

“In fact (I suppose that) if the follies of fools were all set down like those of the wise, the wise (who seem at present only a better sort of fools) would appear almost intelligent.

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“It is singular how soon we lose the impression of what ceases to be constantly before us: a year impairs; a lustre obliterates. There is little distinct left without an effort of memory. Then, indeed, the lights are rekindled for a moment; but who can be sure that imagination is not the torch-bearer? Let any man try at the end of ten years to bring before him the features, or the mind, or the sayings, or the habits of his best friend, or his greatest man (I mean his favourite, his Buonaparte, his this, that, or t’other), and he will be surprised at the extreme confusion of his ideas. I speak confidently on this point, having always passed for one who had a good, ay, an excellent memory. I except, indeed, our recollection of womankind; there is no forgetting them (and be d—d to them) any more than any other remarkable era, such as ‘the revolution,’ or ‘the plague,’ or ‘the invasion,’ or ‘the comet,’ or ‘the war’ of such and such an epoch,—being the favourite dates of mankind who have so many blessings in their lot that they never make their calendars from them, being too common. For instance, you see ‘the great drought,’ ‘the Thames frozen over,’ ‘the seven years’ war broke out,’ ‘the English, or French, or Spanish revolution commenced,’ ‘the Lisbon earthquake,’ ‘the Lima earthquake,’ ‘the earthquake of Calabria,’ ‘the plague of London,’ ditto ‘of Constantinople,’ ‘the sweating sickness,’ ‘the yellow fever of Philadelphia,’ &c. &c. &c.; but you don’t see ‘the abundant harvest,’ ‘the fine summer,’ ‘the long peace,’ ‘the wealthy speculation,’ ‘the wreckless voyage,’ recorded so emphatically? By the way, there has been a thirty years’ war and a seventy years’ war; was there ever a seventy or a thirty years’ peace? or was there even a day’s universal peace? except perhaps in China, where they have found out the miserable happiness of a stationary and unwarlike mediocrity. And is all this because nature is niggard or savage? or mankind ungrateful? Let philosophers decide. I am none.

“In general, I do not draw well with literary men: not that I dislike them, but I never know what to say to them after I have praised their last publication. There are several exceptions, to be sure, but then they have either been men of the world, such as Scott and Moore, &c. or visionaries out of it, such as Shelley, &c.: but your literary every-day
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man and I never went well in company, especially your foreigner, whom I never could abide; except
Giordani, and—and—and—(I really can’t name any other)—I don’t remember a man amongst them whom I ever wished to see twice, except perhaps Mezzophanti, who is a monster of languages, the Briareus of parts of speech, a walking Polyglott and more, who ought to have existed at the time of the Tower of Babel as universal interpreter. He is indeed a marvel—unassuming, also. I tried him in all the tongues of which I knew a single oath (or adjuration to the gods against post-boys, savages, Tartars, boatmen, sailors, pilots, gondoliers, muleteers, camel-drivers, vetturini, post-masters, post-horses, post-houses, post-everything), and egad! he astounded me—even to my English.

“‘No man would live his life over again,’ is an old and true saying which all can resolve for themselves. At the same time, there are probably moments in most men’s lives which they would live over the rest of life to regain? Else why do we live at all? because Hope recurs to Memory, both false—but—but—but—but—and this but drags on till—what? I do not know; and who does? ‘He that died o’ Wednesday.’”

In laying before the reader these last extracts from the papers in my possession, it may be expected, perhaps, that I should say something,—in addition to what has been already stated on this subject,—respecting those Memoranda, or Memoirs, which, in the exercise of the discretionary power given to me by my noble friend, I placed, shortly after his death, at the disposal of his sister and executor, and which they, from a sense of what they thought due to his memory, consigned to the flames. As the circumstances, however, connected with the surrender of that manuscript, besides requiring much more detail than my present limits allow, do not, in any respect, concern the character of Lord Byron, but affect solely my own, it is not here, at least, that I feel myself called upon to enter into an explanation of them. The world will, of course, continue to think of that step as it pleases; but it is, after all, on a man’s own opinion of his actions that his happiness chiefly depends,
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and I can only say that, were I again placed in the same circumstances, I would—even at ten times the pecuniary sacrifice which my conduct then cost me—again act precisely in the same manner.

For the satisfaction of those whose regret at the loss of that manuscript arises from some better motive than the mere disappointment of a prurient curiosity, I shall here add, that on the mysterious cause of the separation, it afforded no light whatever;—that, while some of its details could never have been published at all*, and little, if any, of what it contained personal towards others could have appeared till long after the individuals concerned had left the scene, all that materially related to Lord Byron himself was (as I well knew when I made that sacrifice) to be found repeated in the various Journals and Memorandum-books, which, though not all to be made use of, were, as the reader has seen from the preceding pages, all preserved.

As far as suppression, indeed, is blamable, I have had, in the course of this task, abundantly to answer for it; having, as the reader must have perceived, withheld a large portion of my materials, to which Lord Byron, no doubt, in his fearlessness of consequences, would have wished to give publicity, but which, it is now more than probable, will never meet the light.

There remains little more to add. It has been remarked by Lord Orford†, as “strange, that the writing a man’s life should in general make the biographer become enamoured of his subject, whereas one should think that the nicer disquisition one makes into the life of any man, the less reason one should find to love or admire him.” On the contrary, may we not rather say that, as knowledge is ever the parent of tolerance, the more insight we gain into the springs and motives of a man’s actions, the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed, and the influences and temptations under which he acted, the more allowance we may be inclined to make for his errors, and the more approbation his virtues may extort from us?

* This description applies only to the Second Part of the Memoranda; there having been but little unfit for publication in the First Part, which was, indeed, read, as is well known, by many of the noble author’s friends.

† In speaking of Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s Life of Henry VIII.

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The arduous task of being the biographer of Byron is one, at least, on which I have not obtruded myself; the wish of my friend that I should undertake that office having been more than once expressed, at a time when none but a boding imagination like his could have foreseen much chance of the sad honour devolving to me. If in some instances I have consulted rather the spirit than the exact letter of his injunctions, it was with the view solely of doing him more justice than he would have done himself; there being no hands in which his character could have been less safe than his own, nor any greater wrong offered to his memory than the substitution of what he affected to be for what he was. Of any partiality, however, beyond what our mutual friendship accounts for and justifies, I am by no means conscious; nor would it be in the power, indeed, of even the most partial friend to allege any thing more convincingly favourable of his character than is contained in the few simple facts with which I shall here conclude,—that, through life, with all his faults, he never lost a friend;—that those about him in his youth, whether as companions, teachers, or servants, remained attached to him to the last;—that the woman, to whom he gave the love of his maturer years, idolizes his name; and that, with a single unhappy exception, scarce an instance is to be found of any one, once brought, however briefly, into relations of amity with him, that did not feel towards him a kind regard in life, and retain a fondness for his memory.

I have now done with the subject, nor shall be easily tempted into a recurrence to it. Any mistakes or misstatements I may be proved to have made shall be corrected;—any new facts which it is in the power of others to produce will speak for themselves. To mere opinions I am not called upon to pay attention—and, still less, to insinuations or mysteries. I have here told what I myself know and think concerning my friend; and now leave his character, moral as well as literary, to the judgment of the world.