LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Life of Byron: 1818

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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“Venice, January 8th, 1818.
“My dear Mr. Murray,
You’re in a damn’d hurry
To get up this ultimate Canto;
But (if they don’t rob us)
You’ll see Mr. Hobhouse
Will bring it safe in his portmanteau.
“For the Journal you hint of,
As ready to print off,
No doubt you do right to commend it;
But as yet I have writ off
The devil a bit of
Our ‘Beppo;’—when copied, I’ll send it.

* * * * * *
“Then you’ve * * *’s Tour,—
No great things, to be sure,—
You could hardly begin with a less work;
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 157
For the pompous rascallion,
Who don’t speak Italian
Nor French, must have scribbled by guess-work.

* * * * * *
You can make any toss up
With ‘Spence’ and his gossip,
A work which must surely succeed;
With the new ‘Fytte’ of ‘Whistlecraft,’
Must make people purchase and read.
“Then you’ve General Gordon,
Who girded his sword on,
To serve with a Muscovite master,
And help him to polish
A nation so owlish,
They thought shaving their beards a disaster.
“For the man, ‘poor and shrewd*,’
With whom you’d conclude
A compact without more delay,
Perhaps some such pen is
Still extant in Venice;
But please, sir, to mention your pay.
* * * * * * *
* * * * * * *
“Venice, January 19th, 1818.

“I send you the Story† in three other separate covers. It won’t do for your Journal, being full of political allusions. Print alone, without

* “Vide your letter.” Beppo.

158 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
name; alter nothing; get a scholar to see that the Italian phrases are correctly published (your printing, by the way, always makes me ill with its eternal blunders, which are incessant), and God speed you.
Hobhouse left Venice a fortnight ago, saving two days. I have heard nothing of or from him.

“Yours, &c.

“He has the whole of the MSS.; so put up prayers in your back shop, or in the printer’s ‘Chapel.’”

“Venice, January 27th, 1818.

“My father—that is, my Armenian father, Padre Pasquali—in the name of all the other fathers of our Convent, sends you the enclosed, greeting.

“Inasmuch as it has pleased the translators of the long-lost and lately-found portions of the text of Eusebius to put forth the enclosed prospectus, of which I send six copies, you are hereby implored to obtain subscribers in the two Universities, and among the learned, and the unlearned who would unlearn their ignorance.—This they (the Convent) request, I request, and do you request.

“I sent you Beppo some weeks agone. You must publish it alone; it has politics and ferocity, and won’t do for your isthmus of a Journal.

Mr. Hobhouse, if the Alps have not broken his neck, is or ought to be, swimming with my commentaries and his own coat of mail in his teeth and right hand, in a cork jacket, between Calais and Dover.

“It is the height of the Carnival, and I am in the extreme and agonies of a new intrigue with I don’t exactly know whom or what, except that she is insatiate of love, and won’t take money, and has light hair and blue eyes, which are not common here, and that I met her at the Masque, and that when her mask is off, I am as wise as ever. I shall make what I can of the remainder of my youth.” * * * * * * * * *

A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 159
“Venice, February 2d, 1818.

“Your letter of Dec. 8th arrived but this day, by some delay, common but inexplicable. Your domestic calamity is very grievous, and I feel with you as much as I dare feel at all. Throughout life, your loss must be my loss, and your gain my gain; and, though my heart may ebb, there will always be a drop for you among the dregs.

“I know how to feel with you, because (selfishness being always the substratum of our damnable clay) I am quite wrapt up in my own children. Besides my little legitimate, I have made unto myself an illegitimate since (to say nothing of one before*), and I look forward to one of these as the pillar of my old age, supposing that I ever reach—which I hope I never shall—that desolating period. I have a great love for my little Ada, though perhaps she may torture me, like * * * * * * * * * *

“Your offered address will be as acceptable as you can wish. I don’t much care what the wretches of the world think of me—all that’s past. But I care a good deal what you think of me, and, so, say what you like. You know that I am not sullen; and, as to being savage, such things depend on circumstances. However, as to being in good-humour in your society, there is no great merit in that, because it would be an effort, or an insanity, to be otherwise.

“I don’t know what Murray may have been saying or quoting†. I

* This possibly may have been the subject of the Poem given in page 104 of the First Volume.

† Having seen by accident the passage in one of his letters to Mr. Murray, in which he denounces, as false and worthless, the poetical system on which the greater number of his cotemporaries, as well as himself, founded their reputation, I took an opportunity, in the next letter I wrote to him, of jesting a little on this opinion and his motives for it. It was, no doubt (I ventured to say), excellent policy in him, who had made sure of his own immortality in this style of writing, thus to throw overboard all us, poor devils, who were embarked with him. He was in fact, I added, behaving towards us much in the manner of the methodist preacher who

160 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
Crabbe and Sam the fathers of present Poesy; and said, that I thought—except them—all of ‘us youth’ were on a wrong tack. But I never said that we did not sail well. Our fame will be hurt by admiration and imitation. When I say our, I mean all (Lakers included), except the postscript of the Augustans. The next generation (from the quantity and facility of imitation) will tumble and break their necks off our Pegasus, who runs away with us; but we keep the saddle, because we broke the rascal and can ride. But though easy to mount, he is the devil to guide; and the next fellows must go back to the riding-school and the manège, and learn to ride the ‘great horse.’

“Talking of horses, by the way, I have transported my own, four in number, to the Lido (beach, in English), a strip of some ten miles along the Adriatic, a mile or two from the city; so that I not only get a row in my gondola, but a spanking gallop of some miles daily along a firm and solitary beach, from the fortress to Malamocco, the which contributes considerably to my health and spirits.

“I have hardly had a wink of sleep this week past. We are in the agonies of the Carnival’s last days, and I must be up all night again, as well as to-morrow. I have had some curious masking adventures this Carnival, but, as they are not yet over, I shall not say on. I will work the mine of my youth to the last veins of the ore, and then—good night. I have lived, and am content.

Hobhouse went away before the Carnival began, so that he had little or no fun. Besides, it requires some time to be thoroughgoing with the Venetians; but of all this anon, in some other letter. * * * * * * * * *

“I must dress for the evening. There is an opera and ridotto, and I know not what, besides balls; and so, ever and ever yours,


“P.S. I send this without revision, so excuse errors. I delight in the fame and fortune of Lalla, and again congratulate you on your well-merited success.”

said to his congregation, “You may think, at the Last Day, to get to heaven by laying hold an my skirts but I’ll cheat you all, for I’ll wear a spencer, I’ll wear a spencer!”

A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 161

Of his daily rides on the Lido, which he mentions in this letter, the following account, by a gentleman who lived a good deal with him at Venice, will be found not a little interesting:—

“Almost immediately after Mr. Hobhouse’s departure, Lord Byron proposed to me to accompany him in his rides on the Lido. One of the long narrow islands which separate the Lagune, in the midst of which Venice stands, from the Adriatic, is more particularly distinguished by this name. At one extremity is a fortification, which, with the Castle of St. Andrea on an island on the opposite side, defends the nearest entrance to the city from the sea. In times of peace this fortification is almost dismantled, and Lord Byron had hired here of the Commandant an unoccupied stable, where he kept his horses. The distance from the city was not very considerable; it was much less than to the Terra Firma, and, as far as it went, the spot was not ineligible for riding.

“Every day that the weather would permit, Lord Byron called for me in his gondola, and we found the horses waiting for us outside of the fort. We rode as far as we could along the seashore, and then on a kind of dyke, or embankment, which has been raised where the island was very narrow, as far as another small fort about half way between the principal one which I have already mentioned, and the town or village of Malamocco, which is near the other extremity of the island,—the distance between the two forts being about three miles.

“On the land side of the embankment, not far from the smaller fort, was a boundary tone which probably marked some division of property,—all the side of the island nearest the Lagune being divided into gardens for the cultivation of vegetables for the Venetian markets. At the foot of this stone Lord Byron repeatedly told me that I should cause him to be interred, if he should die in Venice, or its neighbourhood, during my residence there; and he appeared to think, as he was not a Catholic, that, on the part of the government, there could be no obstacle to his interment in an unhallowed spot of ground by the seaside. At all events, I was to overcome whatever difficulties might be raised on this account. I was, by no means, he repeatedly told me, to allow his body to be removed to England, nor permit any of his family to interfere with his funeral.

162 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.

“Nothing could be more delightful than these rides on the Lido were to me. We were from half to three quarters of an hour crossing the water, during which, his conversation was always most amusing and interesting. Sometimes he would bring with him any new book he had received, and read to me the passages which most struck him. Often he would repeat to me whole stanzas of the Poems he was engaged in writing, as he had composed them on the preceding evening; and this was the more interesting to me, because I could frequently trace in them some idea which he had started in our conversation of the preceding day, or some remark, the effect of which he had been evidently trying upon me. Occasionally too, he spoke of his own affairs, making me repeat all I had heard with regard to him, and desiring that I would not spare him, but let him know the worst that was said.”

“Venice, Feb. 20th, 1818.

“I have to thank Mr. Croker for the arrival, and you for the contents, of the parcel which came last week, much quicker than any before, owing to Mr. Croker’s kind attention and the official exterior of the bags; and all safe, except much friction amongst the magnesia, of which only two bottles came entire; but it is all very well, and I am exceedingly obliged to you.

“The books I have read, or rather am reading. Pray, who may be the Sexagenarian, whose gossip is very amusing? Many of his sketches I recognise, particularly Gifford, Mackintosh, Drummond, Dutens, H. Walpole, Mrs. Inchbald, Opie, &c. with the Scotts, Loughborough, and most of the divines and lawyers, besides a few shorter hints of authors, and a few lines about a certain ‘noble author,’ characterised as malignant and sceptical, according to the good old story, ‘as it was in the beginning, is now, but not always shall be:’ do you know such a person, Master Murray? eh?—And pray, of the booksellers, which be you? the dry, the dirty, the honest, the opulent, the finical, the splendid, or the
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 163
coxcomb bookseller? Stap my vitals, but the author grows scurrilous in his grand climacteric!

“I remember to have seen Porson at Cambridge, in the hall of our college, and in private parties, but not frequently; and I never can recollect him except as drunk or brutal, and generally both: I mean in an evening, for in the hall, he dined at the Dean’s table, and I at the Vice-master’s, so that I was not near him; and he then and there appeared sober in his demeanour, nor did I ever hear of excess or outrage on his part in public,—commons, college, or chapel; but I have seen him in a private party of under-graduates, many of them freshmen and strangers, take up a poker to one of them, and heard him use language as blackguard as his action. I have seen Sheridan drunk, too, with all the world; but his intoxication was that of Bacchus, and Porson’s that of Silenus. Of all the disgusting brutes, sulky, abusive, and intolerable, Porson was the most bestial, as far as the few times that I saw him went, which were only at William Bankes’s (the Nubian discoverer’s) rooms. I saw him once go away in a rage, because nobody knew the name of the ‘Cobbler of Messina,’ insulting their ignorance with the most vulgar terms of reprobation. He was tolerated in this state amongst the young men for his talents, as the Turks think a madman inspired, and bear with him. He used to recite, or rather vomit pages of all languages, and could hiccup Greek like a Helot; and certainly Sparta never shocked her children with a grosser exhibition than this man’s intoxication.

“I perceive, in the book you sent me, a long account of him, which is very savage. I cannot judge, as I never saw him sober, except in hall or combination-room; and then I was never near enough to hear, and hardly to see him. Of his drunken deportment, I can be sure, because I saw it.

“With the Reviews, I have been much entertained. It requires to be as far from England as I am to relish a periodical paper properly: it is like soda-water in an Italian summer. But what cruel work you make with Lady * * * *! You should recollect that she is a woman; though, to be sure, they are now and then very provoking; still, as authoresses, they can do no great harm; and I think it a pity so much good invective should have been laid out upon her, when there is such a fine field of us,
164 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
Jacobin gentlemen, for you to work upon. It is perhaps as bitter a critique as ever was written, and enough to make sad work for
Dr. * * * *, both as husband and apothecary;—unless she should say, as Pope did of some attack upon him, ‘That it is as good for her as a dose of hartshorn.’

“I heard from Moore lately, and was sorry to be made aware of his domestic loss. Thus it is—‘medio de fonte leporum’—in the acmé of his fame and his happiness comes a drawback as usual.

* * * * * *

Mr. Hoppner, whom I saw this morning, has been made the father of a very fine boy*.—Mother and child doing very well indeed. By this time Hobhouse should be with you, and also certain packets, letters, &c. of mine, sent since his departure.—I am not at all well in health within this last eight days. My remembrances to Gifford and all friends.

“Yours, &c.

“P.S. In the course of a month or two, Hanson will have probably to send off a clerk with conveyances to sign (Newstead being sold in November last for ninety-four thousand five hundred pounds), in which case I supplicate supplies of articles as usual, for which, desire Mr. Kinnaird to settle from funds in their bank, and deduct from my account with him.

“P.S. To-morrow night I am going to see ‘Otello,’ an opera from our ‘Othello,’ and one of Rossini’s best, it is said. It will be curious to see in Venice the Venetian story itself represented, besides to discover what they will make of Shakspeare in music.”

* On the birth of this child, who was christened John William Rizzo, Lord Byron wrote the four following lines, which are in no other respect remarkable than that they were thought worthy of being metrically translated into no less than ten different languages namely, Greek, Latin, Italian (also in the Venetian dialect), German, French, Spanish, Illyrian, Hebrew, Armenian, and Samaritan:—

“His father’s sense, his mother’s grace
In him, I hope, will always fit so;
With (still to keep him in good case)
The health and appetite of Rizzo.”

The original lines, with the different versions just mentioned, were printed, in a small neat volume (which now lies before me), in the Seminary of Padua.

A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 165
“Venice, February 28, 1818.

“Our friend, il Conte M., threw me into a cold sweat last night, by telling me of a menaced version of Manfred (in Venetian, I hope, to complete the thing) by some Italian, who had sent it to you for correction, which is the reason why I take the liberty of troubling you on the subject. If you have any means of communication with the man, would you permit me to convey to him the offer of any price he may obtain or think to obtain for his project, provided he will throw his translation into the fire, and promise not to undertake any other of that or any other of my things: I will send him his money immediately on this condition.

“As I did not write to the Italians, nor for the Italians, nor of the Italians (except in a poem not yet published, where I have said all the good I know or do not know of them, and none of the harm), I confess I wish that they would let me alone, and not drag me into their arena as one of the gladiators, in a silly contest which I neither understand nor have ever interfered with, having kept clear of all their literary parties, both here and at Milan, and elsewhere.—I came into Italy to feel the climate and be quiet, if possible. Mossi’s translation I would have

* Having ascertained that the utmost this translator could expect to make by his manuscript was 200 franca, Lord Byron offered him that sum, if he would desist from publishing. The Italian, however, held out for more; nor could he be brought to terms, till it was intimated to him pretty plainly from Lord Byron that, should the publication be persisted in, he would horsewhip him the very first time they met. Being but little inclined to suffer martyrdom in the cause, the translator accepted the 200 francs and delivered up his manuscript, entering at the same time into a written engagement never to translate any other of the noble poet’s works.

Of the qualifications of this person as a translator of English poetry, some idea may be formed from the difficulty he found himself under respecting the meaning of a line in the Incantation in Manfred,—“And the wisp on the morass,”—which he requested of Mr. Hoppner to expound to him, not having been able to find In the dictionaries to which he had access any other signification of the word “wisp” than “a bundle of straw.”

166 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
prevented if I had known it, or could have done so; and I trust that I shall yet be in time to stop this new gentleman, of whom I heard yesterday for the first time. He will only hurt himself, and do no good to his party, for in party the whole thing originates. Our modes of thinking and writing are so unutterably different, that I can conceive no greater absurdity than attempting to make any approach between the English and Italian poetry of the present day. I like the people very much, and their literature very much, but I am not the least ambitious of being the subject of their discussions literary and personal (which appear to be pretty much the same thing, as is the case in most countries); and if you can aid me in impeding this publication, you will add to much kindness already received from you by yours,

“Ever and truly,

“P.S. How is the son, and mamma? Well, I dare say.”

“Venice, March 3d, 1818.

“I have not, as you say, ‘taken to wife the Adriatic.’ I heard of Moore’s loss from himself in a letter which was delayed upon the road three months. I was sincerely sorry for it, but in such cases what are words?

“The villa you speak of is one at Este, which Mr. Hoppner (Consul-general here) has transferred to me. I have taken it for two years as a place of Villeggiatura. The situation is very beautiful indeed, among the Euganean hills, and the house very fair. The vines are luxuriant to a great degree, and all the fruits of the earth abundant. It is close to the old castle of the Estes, or Guelphs, and within a few miles of Arqua, which I have visited twice, and hope to visit often.

“Last summer (except an excursion to Rome) I passed upon the Brenta. In Venice I winter, transporting my horses to the Lido, bordering the Adriatic (where the fort is), so that I get a gallop of some miles daily along the strip of beach which reaches to Malamocco, when
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 167
in health; but within these few weeks I have been unwell. At present I am getting better. The Carnival was short, but a good one. I don’t go out much, except during the time of masques; but there are one or two conversazioni, where I go regularly, just to keep up the system; as I had letters to their givers; and they are particular on such points; and now and then, though very rarely, to the Governor’s.

It is a very good place for women. I like the dialect and their manner very much. There is a naïveté about them which is very winning, and the romance of the place is a mighty adjunct; the bel sangue is not, however, now amongst the dame or higher orders; but all under i fazzioli, or kerchiefs (a white kind of veil which the lower orders wear upon their heads);—the vesta zendale, or old national female costume is no more. The city, however, is decaying daily, and does not gain in population. However, I prefer it to any other in Italy; and here have I pitched my staff, and here do I purpose to reside for the remainder of my life, unless events, connected with business not to be transacted out of England, compel me to return for that purpose; otherwise I have few regrets, and no desires to visit it again for its own sake. I shall probably be obliged to do so, to sign papers for my affairs and a proxy for the Whigs, and to see Mr. Waite, for I can’t find a good dentist here, and every two or three years one ought to consult one. About seeing my children I must take my chance. One I shall have sent here; and I shall be very happy to see the legitimate one, when God pleases, which he perhaps will some day or other. As for my mathematical * * *, I am as well without her.

“Your account of your visit to Fonthill is very striking: could you beg of him for me a copy in MS. of the remaining Tales*? I think I deserve them, as a strenuous and public admirer of the first one. I will return it when read, and make no ill use of the copy, if granted. Murray would send me out any thing safely. If ever I return to England, I should like very much to see the author, with his permission. In the mean time, you could not oblige me more than by obtaining me

* A continuation of Vathek, by the author of that very striking and powerful production. The “Tales” of which this unpublished sequel consists are, I understand, those supposed to have been related by the Princes in the Hall of Eblis.

168 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
the perusal I request, in French or English,—all’s one for that, though I prefer Italian to either. I have a French copy of Vathek, which I bought at Lausanne. I can read French with great pleasure and facility, though I neither speak nor write it. Now Italian I can speak with some fluency, and write sufficiently for my purposes, but I don’t like their modern prose at all; it is very heavy, and so different from

“They say Francis is Junius;—I think it looks like it. I remember meeting him at Earl Grey’s at dinner. Has not he lately married a young woman; and was not he Madame Talleyrand’s cavaliere servente in India years ago?

“I read my death in the papers, which was not true. I see they are marrying the remaining singleness of the royal family. They have brought out Fazio with great and deserved success at Covent-garden: that’s a good sign. I tried, during the directory, to have it done at Drury-lane, but was overruled, If you think of coming into this country, you will let me know perhaps beforehand. I suppose Moore won’t move. Rose is here. I saw him the other night at Madame Albrizzi’s; he talks of returning in May. My love to the Hollands.

“Ever, &c.

“P.S. They have been crucifying Othello into an opera (Otello, by Rossini); the music good, but lugubrious; but as for the words, all the real scenes with Iago cut out, and the greatest nonsense instead; the handkerchief turned into a billet-doux, and the first singer would not black his face, for some exquisite reasons assigned in the preface. Singing, dresses, and music, very good.”

“Venice, March 16th, 1818.

“Since my last, which I hope that you have received, I have had a letter from our friend Samuel. He talks of Italy this summer—won’t
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 169
you come with him? I don’t know whether you would like our Italian way of life or not * * * * * * * * * * * *.

They are an odd people. The other day I was telling a girl, ‘you must not come to-morrow, because Marguerita is coming at such a time,’—(they are both about five feet ten inches high, with great black eyes and fine figures—fit to breed gladiators from—and I had some difficulty to prevent a battle upon a rencontre once before),—unless you promise to be friends, and’—the answer was an interruption, by a declaration of war against the other, which she said would be a ‘Guerra di Candia.’ Is it not odd, that the lower order of Venetians should still allude proverbially to that famous contest, so glorious and so fatal to the Republic?

“They have singular expressions, like all the Italians. For example. ‘Viscere’—as we would say, ‘my love,’ or ‘my heart’ as an expression of tenderness. Also, ‘I would go for you into the midst of a hundred knives.’—‘Mazza ben,’ excessive attachment,—literally, ‘I wish you well even to killing.’ Then they say, (instead of our way, ‘do you think I would do you so much harm?’) ‘do you think I would assassinate you in such a manner?’—‘Tempo perfido,’ bad weather; ‘Strade perfide ,’ bad roads—with a thousand other allusions and metaphors, taken from the state of society and habits in the middle ages.

“I am not so sure about mazza, whether it don’t mean massa, i. e. a great deal, a mass, instead of the interpretation I have given it. But of the other phrases I am sure.

“Three o’ th’ clock—I must ‘to bed, to bed, to bed,’ as mother S * * (that tragical friend of the mathematical * * *) says, * * * * * * * * * * * * * *.

“Have you ever seen—I forget what or whom—no matter. They tell me Lady Melbourne is very unwell. I shall be so sorry. She was my greatest friend, of the feminine gender:—when I say ‘friend,’ I mean not mistress, for that’s the antipode. Tell me all about you and every body—how Sam is—how you like your neighbours, the Marquis and Marchesa, &c. &c.

“Ever, &c.”
170 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
“Venice, March 25, 1818.

“I have your letter, with the account of ‘Beppo,’ for which I sent you four new stanzas a fortnight ago in case you print, or reprint.

Croker’s is a good guess; but the style is not English, it is Italian;—Berni is the original of all. Whistlecraft was my immediate model; Rose’sAnimali’ I never saw till a few days ago,—they are excellent. But (as I said above) Berni is the father of that kind of writing, I think suits our language, too, very well;—we shall see by the experiment. If it does, I shall send you a volume in a year or two, for I know the Italian way of life well, and in time may know it yet better; and as for the verse and the passions, I have them still in tolerable vigour.

“If you think that it will do you and the work, or works, any good, you may put my name to it; but first consult the knowing ones. It will, at any rate, show them that I can write cheerfully, and repel the charge of monotony and mannerism.

“Yours, &c.”
“Venice, April 11th. 1818.

“Will you send me by letter, packet, or parcel, half a dozen of the coloured prints from Holmes’s miniature (the latter done shortly before I left your country, and the prints about a year ago); I shall be obliged to you, as some people here have asked me for the like. It is a picture of my upright self done for Scrope B. Davies, esq.†

† There follows, in this place, among other matter, a long string of verses, in various metres, to the amount of about sixty lines, so full of light gaiety and humour, that it is with some reluctance I suppress them. They might, however, have the effect of giving pain in quarters where even the author himself would not ham deliberately inflicted it;—from a pen like his, touches are often wounds, without being actually intended as such.

A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 171
* * * * * *

“Why have you not sent me an answer, and lists of subscribers to the translation of the Armenian Eusebius? of which I sent you printed copies of the prospectus (in French) two moons ago. Have you had the letter?—I shall send you another:—you must not neglect my Armenians. Tooth-powder, magnesia, tincture of myrrh, tooth-brushes, diachylon plaster, Peruvian bark, are my personal demands.

Strahan, Tonson, Lintot of the times,
Patron and publisher of rhymes,
For thee the bard up Pindus climbs,
My Murray.
To thee, with hope and terror dumb,
The unfledged MS. authors come;
Thou printest all—and sellest some—
My Murray.
“Upon thy table’s baize so green
The last new Quarterly is seen,
But where is thy new Magazine,
My Murray?
“Along thy sprucest bookshelves shine
The works thou deemest most divine—
The ‘Art of Cookery,’ and mine,
My Murray.
“Tours, Travels, Essays, too, I wist,
And Sermons to thy mill bring grist;
And then thou hast the ‘Navy List,’
My Murray.
“And Heaven forbid I should conclude
Without ‘the Board of Longitude,’
Although this narrow paper would,
My Murray!”
172 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
“Venice, April 12, 1818.

“This letter will be delivered by Signor Gioe. Bata. Missiaglia, proprietor of the Apollo library, and the principal publisher and bookseller now in Venice. He sets out for London with a view to business and correspondence with the English booksellers: and it is in the hope that it may be for your mutual advantage that I furnish him with this letter of introduction to you. If you can be of use to him, either by recommendation to others, or by any personal attention on your own part, you will oblige him, and gratify me. You may also perhaps both be able to derive advantage, or establish some mode of literary communication, pleasing to the public, and beneficial to one another.

“At any rate, be civil to him for my sake, as well as for the honour and glory of publishers and authors now and to come for ever-more.

“With him I also consign a great number of MS. letters written in English, French, and Italian, by various English established in Italy during the last century:—the names of the writers, Lord Hervey, Lady M. W. Montague (hers are but few—some billets-doux in French to Algarotti, and one letter in English, Italian, and all sorts of jargon, to the same), Gray, the poet (one letter), Mason (two or three), Garrick, Lord Chatham, David Hume, and many of lesser note,—all addressed to Count Algarotti. Out of these, I think, with discretion, an amusing miscellaneous volume of letters might be extracted, provided some good editor were disposed to undertake the selection, and preface, and a few notes, &c.

“The proprietor of these is a friend of mine, Dr. Aglietti,—a great name in Italy,—and if you are disposed to publish, it will be for his benefit, and it is to and for him that you will name a price, if you take upon you the work. I would edite it myself, but am too far off, and too lazy to undertake it; but I wish that it could be done. The letters
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 173
Lord Hervey, in Mr. Rose’s opinion and mine, are good; and the short French love letters certainly are Lady M. W. Montague’s—the French not good, but the sentiments beautiful. Gray’s letter good; and Mason’s tolerable. The whole correspondence must be well weeded; but this being done, a small and pretty popular volume might be made of it.—There are many ministers’ letters—Gray, the ambassador at Naples, Horace Mann, and others of the same kind of animal.

“I thought of a preface, defending Lord Hervey against Pope’s attack, but Pope—quoad Pope, the poet—against all the world, in the unjustifiable attempts begun by Warton, and carried on at this day by the new school of critics and scribblers, who think themselves poets because they do not write like Pope. I have no patience with such cursed humbug and bad taste; your whole generation are not worth a Canto of the Rape of the Lock, or the Essay on Man, or the Dunciad, or ‘any thing that is his.’—But it is three in the matin, and I must go to bed.

“Yours alway, &c.”

* Among Lord Byron’s papers, I find some verses addressed to him, about this time, by Mr. W. Rose, with the following note annexed to them:—“These verses were sent to me by W. S. Rose, from Abaro, in the spring of 1818. They are good and true; and Rose is a fine fellow, and one of the few English who understand Italy, without which Italian is nothing.” The verses begin thus:

“Byron†, while you make gay what circle fits ye,
Bandy Venetian slang with the Benzòn,
Or play at company with the Albrizzi,
The self-pleased pedant, and patrician crone,
Grimanis, Mucenigos, Balbis, Rizzi,
Compassionate our cruel case,—alone,
Our pleasure an academy of frogs,
Who nightly serenade us from the bogs,” &c. &c.

† “I have hunted out a precedent for this unceremonious address.”

174 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
“Venice, April 17th, 1818.

“A few days ago, I wrote to you a letter, requesting you to desire Hanson to desire his messenger to come on from Geneva to Venice, because I won’t go from Venice to Geneva; and if this is not done, the messenger may be damned, with him who mis-sent him. Pray reiterate my request.

“With the proofs returned, I sent two additional stanzas for Canto Fourth: did they arrive?

“Your monthly reviewer has made a mistake: Cavaliere, alone, is well enough; but ‘Cavalier’ servente’ has always the e mute in conversation, and omitted in writing; so that it is not for the sake of metre; and pray let Griffiths know this, with my compliments. I humbly conjecture that I know as much of Italian society and language as any of his people; but, to make assurance doubly sure, I asked, at the Countess Benzona’s last night, the question of more than one person in the office, and of these ‘cavalieri serventi’ (in the plural, recollect) I found that they all accorded in pronouncing for ‘cavalier’ servente’ in the singular number. I wish Mr. * * * (or whoever Griffiths’ scribbler may be) would not talk of what he don’t understand. Such fellows are not fit to be intrusted with Italian, even in a quotation.

* * * * * *

“Did you receive two additional stanzas, to be inserted towards the close of Canto Fourth? Respond, that (if not) they may be sent.

“Tell Mr. * * and Mr. Hanson that they may as well expect Geneva to come to me, as that I should go to Geneva. The messenger may go on or return, as he pleases; I won’t stir: and I look upon it as a piece of singular absurdity in those who know me imagining that I should—not to say malice, in attempting unnecessary torture. If, on the occasion, my interests should suffer, it is their neglect that is to blame; and they may all be d——d together.

* * * * * *

“It is ten o’clock and time to dress.

“Yours, &c.”
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 175
“April 23d, 1818.

“The time is past in which I could feel for the dead,—or I should feel for the death of Lady Melbourne, the best, and kindest, and ablest female I ever knew, old or young. But ‘I have supped full of horrors,’ and events of this kind have only a kind of numbness worse than pain,—like a violent blow on the elbow or the head. There is one link less between England and myself.

“Now to business. I presented you with Beppo, as part of the contract for Canto Fourth,—considering the price you are to pay for the same, and intending to eke you out in case of public caprice or my own poetical failure. If you choose to suppress it entirely, at Mr. * * * *’s suggestion, you may do as you please. But recollect it is not to be published in a garbled or mutilated state. I reserve to my friends and myself the right of correcting the press;—if the publication continue, it is to continue in its present form.

* * * * * *

As Mr. * * says that he did not write this letter, &c., I am ready to believe him; but for the firmness of my former persuasion, I refer to Mr. * * * *, who can inform you how sincerely I erred on this point. He has also the note—or, at least, had it, for I gave it to him with my verbal comments thereupon. As to ‘Beppo,’ I will not alter or suppress a syllable for any man’s pleasure but my own.

“You may tell them this; and add, that nothing but force or necessity shall stir me one step towards the places to which they would wring me.

* * * * * *

If your literary matters prosper, let me know. If ‘Beppo’ pleases, you shall have more in a year or two in the same mood. And so, ‘Good morrow to you good Master Lieutenant.’

“Yours, &c.”
176 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
“Palazzo Mocenigo, Canal Grande,
“Venice, June 1st, 1818.

“Your letter is almost the only news, as yet, of Canto 4th, and it has by no means settled its fate,—at least, does not tell me how the ‘Poeshie’ has been received by the public. But I suspect, no great things,—firstly, from Murray’s ‘horrid stillness;’ secondly, from what you say about the stanzas running into each other†, which I take not to be yours, but a notion you have been dinned with among the Blues. The fact is, that the terza rima of the Italians, which always runs on and in, may have led me into experiments, and carelessness into conceit—or conceit into carelessness—in either of which events failure will be probable, and my fair woman, ‘superne,’ end in a fish; so that Childe Harold will be like the mermaid, my family crest, with the Fourth Canto for a tail thereunto. I won’t quarrel with the public, however, for the ‘Bulgars’ are generally right; and if I miss now, I may hit another time:—and so, the ‘gods give us joy.’

“You like Beppo, that’s right. * * * * I have not had the Fudges yet, but live in hopes. I need not say that your successes are mine. By the way, Lydia White is here, and has just borrowed my copy of ‘Lalla Rookh.’

* * * * * * *

Hunt’s letter is probably the exact piece of vulgar coxcombry you might expect from his situation. He is a good man, with some poetical elements in his chaos; but spoilt by the Christ-Church Hospital and a Sunday newspaper,—to say nothing of the Surry Jail, which conceited him into a martyr. But he is a good man. When I saw ‘Rimini’ in MSS., I told him that I deemed it good poetry at bottom, disfigured only by a strange style. His answer was, that his style was a system,

† I had said, I think, in my letter to him, that this practice of carrying one stanza into another was “something like taking on horses another stage without baiting.”

A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 177
or upon system, or some such cant; and, when a man talks of system, his case is hopeless: I said no more to him, and very little to any one else.

“He believes his trash of vulgar phrases tortured into compound barbarisms to be old English; and we may say of it as Aimwell says of Captain Gibbet’s regiment, when the Captain calls it an ‘old corps,’—‘the oldest in Europe, If I may judge by your uniform.’ He sent out his ‘Foliage’ by Percy Shelley * * *, and, of all the ineffable Centaurs that were ever begotten by Self-love upon a Night-mare, I think this monstrous Sagittary the most prodigious. He (Leigh H.) is an honest Charlatan, who has persuaded himself into a belief of his own impostures, and talks Punch in pure simplicity of heart, taking himself (as poor Fitzgerald said of himself in the Morning Post) for Vates in both senses, or nonsenses, of the word. Did you look at the translations of his own which he prefers to Pope and Cowper, and says so?—Did you read his skimble-skamble about * * being at the head of his own profession, in the eyes of those who followed it? I thought that Poetry was an art or an attribute, and not a profession;—but be it one, is that * * * * * * * at the head of your profession in your eyes? I’ll be curst if he is of mine, or ever shall be. He is the only one of us (but of us he is not) whose coronation I would oppose. Let them take Scott, Campbell, Crabbe, or you, or me, or any of the living, and throne him; —but not this new Jacob Behmen, this * * * * * *
* * * whose pride might have kept him true, even had his principles turned as perverted as his soi-disant poetry.

“But Leigh Hunt is a good man, and a good father—see his Odes to all the Masters Hunt;—a good husband—see his Sonnet to Mrs. Hunt;—a good friend—see his Epistles to different people;—and a great coxcomb, and a very vulgar person in every thing about him. But that’s not his fault, but of circumstances†.

† I had, in first transcribing the above letter for the press, omitted the whole of this caustic and, perhaps, over-severe character of Mr. Hunt; but the tone of that gentleman’s book having, as far as himself is concerned, released me from all those scruples which prompted the suppression, I have considered myself at liberty to restore the passage.

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* * * * * * *
* * * * * * *

“I do not know any good model for a life of Sheridan but that of Savage. Recollect however, that the life of such a man may be made far more amusing than if he had been a Wilberforce;—and this without offending the living, or insulting the dead. The whigs abuse him; however, he never left them, and such blunderers deserve neither credit nor compassion. As for his creditors,—remember, Sheridan never had a shilling, and was thrown, with great powers and passions, into the thick of the world, and placed upon the pinnacle of success, with no other external means to support him in his elevation. Did Fox * * * pay his debts?—or did Sheridan take a subscription? Was the Duke of Norfolk’s drunkenness more excusable than his? Were his intrigues more notorious than those of all his contemporaries? and is his memory to be blasted, and theirs respected? Don’t let yourself be led away by clamour, but compare him with the coalitioner Fox, and the pensioner Burke, as a man of principle, and with ten hundred thousand in personal views, and with none in talent, for he beat them all out and out. Without means, without connexion, without character (which might be false at first, and make him mad afterwards from desperation), he beat them all, in all he ever attempted. But alas poor human nature! Good night—or, rather, morning. It is four, and the dawn gleams over the Grand Canal, and unshadows the Rialto. I must to bed; up all night—but, as George Philpot says, ‘it’s life, though, damme, it’s life!’

“Ever yours,

“Excuse errors—no time for revision. The post goes out at noon, and I shan’t be up then. I will write again soon about your plan for a publication.”

During the greater part of the period which this last series of letters comprises, he had continued to occupy the same lodgings in an extremely narrow street called the Spezieria, at the house of the linen-draper, to whose lady he devoted so much of his thoughts. That he was, for the time, attached to this person,—as far as a passion so transient can deserve
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 179
the name of attachment,—is evident from his whole conduct. The language of his letters shows sufficiently how much the novelty of this foreign tie had caught his fancy; and to the Venetians, among whom such arrangements are mere matters of course, the assiduity with which he attended his Signora to the theatre, and the Ridottos, was a subject of much amusement. It was with difficulty, indeed, that he could be prevailed upon to absent himself from her so long as to admit of that hasty visit to the Immortal City, out of which one of his own noblest titles to immortality sprung; and having, in the space of a few weeks, drunk in more inspiration from all he saw than, in a less excited state, possibly, he might have imbibed in years, he again hurried back, without extending his journey to Naples,—having written to the fair Marianna to meet him at some distance from Venice.

Besides some seasonable acts of liberality to the husband, who had, it seems, failed in trade, he also presented to the lady herself a handsome set of diamonds; and there is an anecdote related, in reference to this gift, which shows the exceeding easiness and forbearance of his disposition towards those who had acquired any hold on his heart. A casket, which was for sale, being one day offered to him, he was not a little surprised on discovering them to be the same jewels which he had, not long before, presented to his fair favourite, and which had, by some unromantic means, found their way back into the market. Without inquiring, however, any further into the circumstances, he generously repurchased the casket and presented it to the lady once more, good-humouredly taxing her with the little estimation in which, as it appeared, she held his presents.

To whatever extent this unsentimental incident may have had a share in dispelling the romance of his passion, it is certain that, before the expiration of the first twelvemonth, he began to find his lodgings in the Spezieria inconvenient, and accordingly entered into treaty with Count Gritti for his Palace on the Grand Canal,—engaging to give for it, what is considered, I believe, a large rent in Venice, 200 louis a year. On finding, however, that, in the counterpart of the lease brought for his signature, a new clause had been introduced, prohibiting him not only from underletting the house, in case he should leave Venice, but from
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even allowing any of his own friends to occupy it his occasional absence, he declined closing on such terms; and resenting so material a departure from the original engagement, declared in society, that he would have no objection to give the same rent, though acknowledged to be exorbitant, for any other Palace in Venice, however inferior, in all respects, to this. After such an announcement, he was not likely to remain long unhoused; and the Countess Mocenigo having offered him one of her three Palazzi, on the Grand Canal, he removed to this house in the summer of the present year, and continued to occupy it during the remainder of his stay in Venice.

Highly censurable, in point of morality and decorum, as was his course of life while under the roof of Madame * *, it was (with pain I am forced to confess) venial in comparison with the strange, headlong career of licence to which, when weaned from that connexion, he so unrestrainedly and, it may be added, defyingly abandoned himself. Of the state of his mind on leaving England I have already endeavoured to convey some idea, and, among the feelings that went to make up that self-centred spirit of resistance which he then opposed to his fate, was an indignant scorn of his own countrymen for the wrongs he thought they had done him. For a time, the kindly sentiments which he still. harboured towards Lady Byron, and a sort of vague hope, perhaps, that all would yet come right again, kept his mind in a mood somewhat more softened and docile, as well as sufficiently under the influence still of English opinion—to prevent his breaking out into open rebellion against it, as he unluckily did afterwards.

By the failure of the attempted mediation with Lady Byron, his last link with home was severed; while, notwithstanding the quiet and unobtrusive life which he had led at Geneva, there was as yet, he found, no cessation whatever of the slanderous warfare against his character;—the same busy and misrepresenting spirit which had tracked his every step at home having, with no less malicious watchfulness, dogged him into exile. To this persuasion, for which he had but too much grounds, was added all that an imagination like his could lend to truth,—all that he was left to interpret, in his own way, of the absent and the silent,—till, at length, arming himself against fancied enemies and wrongs, and,
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 181
with the condition (as it seemed to him) of an outlaw, assuming also the desperation, he resolved, as his countrymen would not do justice to the better parts of his nature, to have, at least, the perverse satisfaction of braving and shocking them with the worst. It is to this feeling, I am convinced, far more than to any depraved taste for such a course of life, that the extravagances to which he now, for a short time, gave loose are to be attributed. The exciting effect, indeed, of this mode of existence while it lasted, both upon his spirits and his genius,—so like what, as he himself tells us, was always produced in him by a state of contest and defiance, showed how much of this latter feeling must have been mixed with his excesses. The altered character, too, of his letters in this respect cannot fail, I think, to be remarked by the reader,—there being, with an evident increase of intellectual vigour, a tone of violence and bravado breaking out in them continually, which marks the high pitch of reaction to which he had wound up his temper.

In fact, so far from the powers of his intellect being at all weakened or dissipated by these irregularities, he was, perhaps, at no time of his life, so actively in the full possession of all its energies; and his friend Shelley, who went to Venice, at this period, to see him*, used to say, that all he observed of the workings of Byron’s mind, during his visit, gave him a far higher idea of its powers than he had ever before enter-

* The following are extracts from a letter of Shelley’s to a friend at this time.

“We came from Padua hither in a gondola; and the Gondoliere, among other things, without any hint on our part, began talking of Lord Byron. He said he was a ‘Giovanotto Inglese,’ with a ‘nome stravagante,’ who lived very luxuriously, and spent great sums of money. * * *

“At three o’clock I called on Lord Byron. He was delighted to see me, and our first conversation of course consisted in the object of our visit. * * *. He took me in his gondola, across the Laguna, to a long, strandy sand, which defends Venice from the Adriatic. When we disembarked, we found his horses waiting for us, and we rode along the sands, talking. Our conversation consisted in histories of his own wounded feelings, and questions as to my affairs, with great professions of friendship and regard for me. He said that if he had been in England, at the time of the Chancery affair, he would have moved heaven and earth to have prevented such a decision. He talked of literary matters,—his Fourth Canto, which he says is very good, and indeed repeated some stanzas, of great energy, to me. When we returned to his palace, which is one of the most magnificent in Venice, &c. &c.”

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tained. It was, indeed, then that
Shelley sketched out, and chiefly wrote, his poem of “Julian and Maddalo,” in the latter of which personages he has so picturesquely shadowed forth his noble friend; and the allusions to “the Swan of Albion,” in his “Lines written among the Euganean Hills,” were also, I understand, the result of the same access of admiration and enthusiasm.

In speaking of the Venetian women, in one of the preceding letters, Lord Byron, it will be recollected, remarks, that the beauty for which they were once so celebrated is no longer now to be found among the “Dame,” or higher orders, but all under the “fazzioli,” or kerchiefs, of the lower. It was, unluckily, among these latter specimens of the “bel sangue” of Venice that he now, by a suddenness of descent in the scale of refinement, for which nothing but the present wayward state of his mind can account, chose to select the companions of his disengaged hours;—and an additional proof that, in this short, daring career of libertinism, he was but desperately seeking relief for a wronged and mortified spirit, and
“What to us seem’d guilt might be but woe,”—
is that, more than once, of an evening, when his house has been in the possession of such visitants, he has been known to hurry away in his gondola, and pass the greater part of the night upon the water, as if hating to return to his home. It is, indeed, certain, that to this least

* In the preface also to this poem, under the fictitious name of Count Maddolo, the following just and striking portrait of Lord Byron is drawn.—

“He is a person of the most consummate genius, and capable, if he would direct his energies to such an end, of becoming the redeemer of his degraded country. But it is his weakness to be proud: he derives, from a comparison of his own extraordinary mind with the dwarfish intellects that surround him, an intense apprehension of the nothingness of human life. His passions and his powers are incomparably greater than those of other man, and instead of the latter having been employed in curbing the former, they have mutually lent each other strength. His ambition preys upon itself for want of objects which it can consider worthy of exertion. I say that Maddalo is proud, because I can find no other word to express the concentered and impatient feelings which consume him; but it is on his own hopes and affections only that he seems to trample, for in social life no human being can be more gentle, patient, and unassuming than Maddalo. He is cheerful, frank, and witty. His more serious conversation is a sort of intoxication. He has travelled much; and there is an inexpressible charm in his relation of his adventures in different countries.”

A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 183
defensible portion of his whole life he always looked back, during the short remainder of it, with painful self-reproach; and among the causes of the detestation which he afterwards felt for Venice, this recollection of the excesses to which he had there abandoned himself was not the least prominent.

The most distinguished and, at last, the reigning favourite of all this unworthy Haram was a woman named Margarita Cogni, who has been already mentioned in one of these letters, and who, from the trade of her husband, was known by the title of the Fornarina. A portrait of this handsome virago, drawn by Harlowe when at Venice, having fallen into the hands of one of Lord Byron’s friends after the death of that artist, the noble poet, on being applied to for some particulars of his heroine, wrote a long letter on the subject, from which the following are extracts:—

“Since you desire the story of Margarita Cogni, you shall be told it, though it may be lengthy.

“Her face is the fine Venetian cast of the old time; her figure, though perhaps too tall, is not less fine—and taken altogether in the national dress.

“In the summer of 1817, * * * * and myself were sauntering on horseback along the Brenta one evening, when, amongst a group of peasants, we remarked two girls as the prettiest we had seen for some time. About this period, there had been great distress in the country, and I had a little relieved some of the people. Generosity makes a great figure at very little cost in Venetian livres, and mine had probably been exaggerated as an Englishman’s. Whether they remarked us looking at them or no, I know not; but one of them called out to me in Venetian, ‘Why do not you who relieve others, think of us also?’ I turned round and answered her—‘Cara, tu sei troppo bella e giovane per aver’ bisogna del’ soccorso mio.’ She answered, ‘If you saw my hut and my food, you would not say so.’ All this passed half jestingly, and I saw no more of her for some days.

“A few evenings after, we met with these two girls again, and they addressed us more seriously, assuring us of the truth of their statement. They were cousins; Margarita married, the other single. As I doubted still of the circumstances, I took the business in a different light, and
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made an appointment with them for the next evening. * * *
* * * * * * * * * In short, in a few evenings we arranged our affairs, and for a long space of time she was the only one who preserved over me an ascendancy which was often disputed, and never impaired.

“The reasons of this were, firstly, her person;—very dark, tall, the Venetian face, very fine black eyes. She was two-and-twenty years old,
* * * * * * * * * * * * * She was besides a thorough Venetian in her dialect, in her thoughts, in her countenance, in every thing, with all their naïveté and pantaloon humour. Besides, she could neither read nor write, and could not plague me with letters,—except twice that she paid sixpence to a public scribe, under the piazza, to make a letter for her, upon some occasion when I was ill and could not see her. In other respects, she was somewhat fierce and ‘prepotente,’ that is, overbearing, and used to walk in whenever it suited her, with no very great regard to time, place, nor persons; and if she found any women in her way, she knocked them down.

“When I first knew her, I was in ‘relazione’ (liaison) with la Signora * *, who was silly enough one evening at Dolo, accompanied by some of her female friends, to threaten her; for the gossips of the Villeggiatura had already found out, by the neighing of my horse one evening, that I used to ‘ride late in the night’ to meet the Fornarina. Margarita threw back her veil (fazziolo), and replied in very explicit Venetian: ‘You are not his wife: I am not his wife. you are his Donna, and I am his Donna: your husband is a becco, and mine is another. For the rest, what right have you to reproach me? If he prefers me to you, is it my fault? If you wish to secure him, tie him to your petticoat-string.—But do not think to speak to me without a reply, because you happen to be richer than I am.’ Having delivered this pretty piece of eloquence (which I translate as it was related to me by a bystander), she went on her way, leaving a numerous audience, with Madame * *, to ponder at her leisure on the dialogue between them.

“When I came to Venice for the winter, she followed; and as she found herself out to be a favourite, she came to me pretty often. But she had inordinate self-love, and was not tolerant of other women.
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 185
At the ‘Cavaichina,’ the masqued ball on the last night of the Carnival, where all the world goes, she snatched off the mask of
Madame Contarini, a lady noble by birth, and decent in conduct, for no other reason but because she happened to be leaning on my arm. You may suppose what a cursed noise this made; but this is only one of her pranks.

“At last she quarrelled with her husband, and one evening ran away to my house. I told her this would not do: she said she would lie in the street, but not go back to him; that he beat her, (the gentle tigress!) spent her money, and scandalously neglected her. As it was midnight, I let her stay, and next day, there was no moving her at all. Her husband came, roaring and crying, and entreating her to come back:—not she! He then applied to the police, and they applied to me: I told them and her husband to take her; I did not want her; she had come, and I could not fling her out of the window; but they might conduct her through that or the door if they chose it. She went before the commissary, but was obliged to return with that ‘becco ettico,’ as she called the poor man, who had a phthisic. In a few days she ran away again. After a precious piece of work, she fixed herself in my house, really and truly without my consent; but, owing to my indolence, and not being able to keep my countenance—for if I began in a rage, she always finished by making me laugh with some Venetian pantaloonery or another; and the gipsy knew this well enough, as well as her other powers of persuasion, and exerted them with the usual tact and success of all she-things;—high and low, they are all alike for that.

Madame Benzoni also took her under her protection, and then her head turned. She was always in extremes, either crying or laughing, and so fierce when angered, that she was the terror of men, women, and children—for she had the strength of an Amazon, with the temper of Medea. She was a fine animal, but quite untameable. I was the only person that could at all keep her in any order, and when she saw me really angry (which they tell me is a savage sight), she subsided. But she had a thousand fooleries. In her fazziolo, the dress of the lower orders, she looked beautiful; but, alas! she longed for a hat and feathers; and all I could say or do (and I said much) could not prevent this travestie. I put the first into the fire; but I got tired of burning them
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before she did of buying them, so that she made herself a figure—for they did not at all become her.

“Then she would have her gowns with a tail—like a lady, forsooth; nothing would serve her but ‘l’abita colla coua,’ or cua, (that is the Venetian for ‘la cola,’ the tail or train), and as her cursed pronunciation of the word made me laugh, there was an end of all controversy, and she dragged this diabolical tail after her every where.

“In the mean time, she beat the women and stopped my letters. I found her one day pondering over one. She used to try to find out by their shape whether they were feminine or no; and she used to lament her ignorance, and actually studied her alphabet, on purpose (as she declared) to open all letters addressed to me and read their contents.

“I must not omit to do justice to her housekeeping qualities. After she came into my house as ‘donna di governo,’ the expenses were reduced to less than half, and every body did their duty better—the apartments were kept in order, and every thing and every body else, except herself.

“That she had a sufficient regard for me in her wild way, I had many reasons to believe. I will mention one. In the autumn, one day, going to the Lido with my gondoliers, we were overtaken by a heavy squall, and the gondola put in peril—hats blown away, boat filling, oar lost, tumbling sea, thunder, rain in torrents night coming, and wind unceasing. On our return, after a tight struggle, I found her on the open steps of the Mocenigo palace, on the Grand Canal, with her great black eyes flashing through her tears, and the long dark hair, which was streaming, drenched with rain, over her brows and breast. She was perfectly exposed to the storm; and the wind blowing her hair and dress about her thin tall figure, and the lightning flashing round her, and the waves rolling at her feet, made her look like Medea alighted from her chariot, or the Sibyl of the tempest that was rolling around her, the only living thing within hail at that moment except ourselves. On seeing me safe, she did not wait to greet me, as might have been expected but calling out to me.—‘Ah! can’ della Madonna, xe esto il tempo per andar’ al’ Lido?’ (Ah! dog of the Virgin, is this a time to go to Lido?) ran into the house, and solaced herself with scolding the boatmen for not foreseeing the ‘temporale.’ I am told by the servants that she had only
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 187
been prevented from coming in a boat to look after me, by the refusal of all the gondoliers of the canal to put out into the harbour in such a moment; and that then she sate down on the steps in all the thickest of the squall, and would neither be removed nor comforted. Her joy at seeing me again was moderately mixed with ferocity, and gave me the idea of a tigress over her recovered cubs.

“But her reign drew near a close. She became quite ungovernable some months after, and a concurrence of complaints, some true, and many false—‘a favourite has no friends’—determined me to part with her. I told her quietly that she must return home (she had acquired a sufficient provision for herself and mother, &c. in my service), and she refused to quit the house. I was firm, and she went threatening knives and revenge. I told her that I had seen knives drawn before her time, and that if she chose to begin, there was a knife, and fork also, at her service on the table, and that intimidation would not do. The next day, while I was at dinner, she walked in (having broken open a glass door that led from the hall below to the staircase, by way of prologue), and advancing straight up to the table, snatched the knife from my hand, cutting me slightly in the thumb in the operation. Whether she meant to use this against herself or me, I know not—probably against neither—but Fletcher seized her by the arms, and disarmed her. I then called my boatmen, and desired them to get the gondola ready, and conduct her to her own house again, seeing carefully that she did herself no mischief by the way. She seemed quite quiet, and walked down stairs. I resumed my dinner.

“We heard a great noise, and went out, and met them on the staircase, carrying her up stairs. She had thrown herself into the canal. That she intended to destroy herself, I do not believe: but when we consider the fear women and men who can’t swim have of deep or even of shallow water (and the Venetians in particular, though they live on the waves), and that it was also night, and dark, and very cold, it shows that she had a devilish spirit of some sort within her. They had got her out without much difficulty or damage, excepting the salt water she had swallowed, and the wetting she had undergone.

“I foresaw her intention to refix herself, and sent for a surgeon,
188 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
inquiring how many hours it would require to restore her from her agitation; and he named the time. I then said, ‘I give you that time, and more if you require it; but at the expiration of this prescribed period, if she does not leave the house, I will.’

“All my people were consternated. They had always been frightened at her, and were now paralysed: they wanted me to apply to the police, to guard myself, &c. &c. like a pack of snivelling servile boobies as they were. I did nothing of the kind, thinking that I might as well end that way as another; besides, I had been used to savage women, and knew their ways.

“I had her sent home quietly after her recovery, and never saw her since, except twice at the opera, at a distance amongst the audience. She made many attempts to return, but no more violent ones.—And this is the story of Margarita Cogni, as far as it relates to me.

“I forgot to mention that she was very devout, and would cross herself if she heard the prayer time strike, * * * *

* * * * * * *

“She was quick in reply; as, for instance—One day when she had made me very angry with beating somebody or other, I called her a cow (cow, in Italian, is a sad affront). I called her ‘Vacca.’ She turned round, curtsied, and answered, ‘Vacca tua, ‘celenza’ (i. e. eccelenza). ‘Your cow, please your Excellency.’ In short, she was as I said before, a very fine animal, of considerable beauty and energy, with many good and several amusing qualities, but wild as a witch and fierce as a demon. She used to boast publicly of her ascendancy over me, contrasting it with that of other women, and assigning for it sundry reasons, * * *. True it was, that they all tried to get her away, and no one succeeded till her own absurdity helped them.

“I omitted to tell you her answer, when I reproached her for snatching Madame Contarini’s mask at the Cavalchina. I represented to her that she was a lady of high birth, ‘una Dama,’ &c. She answered, ‘Se ella è dama mi (io) son Veneziana;’—‘if she is a lady, I am a Venetian.’ This would have been fine a hundred years ago, the pride of the nation rising up against the pride of aristocracy: but, alas! Venice, and her people, and her nobles, are alike returning fast to the ocean; and
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 189
where there is no independence, there can be no real self-respect. I believe that I mistook or mis-stated one of her phrases in my letter; it should have been—‘Can’ della Madonna, cosa vus’ tu? esto non é tempo per andar’ a Lido?’”

It was at this time, as we shall see by the letters I am about to produce, and as the features, indeed, of the progeny itself would but too plainly indicate, that he conceived, and wrote some part of, his Poem of “Don Juan;”—and never did pages more faithfully and, in many respects, lamentably reflect every variety of feeling, and whim, and passion that, like the rack of autumn, swept across the author’s mind in writing them. Nothing less, indeed, than that singular combination of attributes, which existed and were in full activity in his mind at this moment, could have suggested, or been capable of, the execution of such a work. The cool shrewdness of age with the vivacity and glowing temperament of youth,—the wit of a Voltaire, with the sensibility of a Rousseau,—the minute, practical knowledge of the man of society, with the abstract and self-contemplative spirit of the poet,—a susceptibility of all that is grandest and most affecting in human virtue, with a deep, withering experience of all that is most fatal to it,—the two extremes, in short, of man’s mixed and inconsistent nature, now rankly smelling of earth, now breathing of heaven,—such was the strange assemblage of contrary elements, all meeting together in the same mind, and all brought to bear, in turn, upon the same task, from which alone could have sprung this extraordinary Poem,—the most powerful and, in many respects, painful display of the versatility of genius that has ever been left for succeeding ages to wonder at and deplore.

I shall now proceed with his correspondence,—having thought some of the preceding observations necessary, not only to explain to the reader much of what he will find in these letters, but to account to him for much that has been necessarily omitted.

190 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
“Venice, June 18th, 1818.

“Business and the utter and inexplicable silence of all my correspondents renders me impatient and troublesome. I wrote to Mr. Hanson for a balance which is (or ought to be) in his hands;—no answer. I expected the messenger with the Newstead papers two months ago, and instead of him, I received a requisition to proceed to Geneva, which (from * *, who knows my wishes and opinions about approaching England) could only be irony or insult.

“I must, therefore, trouble you to pay into my bankers’ immediately whatever sum or sums you can make it convenient to do on our agreement; otherwise, I shall be put to the severest and most immediate inconvenience; and this at a time when, by every rational prospect and calculation, I ought to be in the receipt of considerable sums. Pray do not neglect this; you have no idea to what inconvenience you will otherwise put me. * * had some absurd notion about the disposal of this money in annuity (or God knows what), which I merely listened to when he was here to avoid squabbles and sermons; but I have occasion for the principal, and had never any serious idea of appropriating it otherwise than to answer my personal expenses. Hobhouse’s wish is, if possible, to force me back to England*: he will not succeed; and if he did, I would not stay. I hate the country, and like this; and all foolish opposition, of course, merely adds to the feeling. Your silence makes me doubt the success of Canto Fourth. If it has failed, I will make such deduction as you think proper and fair from the original agreement; but I could wish whatever is to be paid were remitted to me, without delay, through the usual channel, by course of post.

“When I tell you that I have not heard a word from England since very early in May, I have made the eulogium of my friends, or the persons who call themselves so, since I have written so often and in the

* Deeply is it, for many reasons, to be regretted that this friendly purpose did not succeed.

A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 191
greatest anxiety. Thank God, the longer I am absent, the less cause I see for regretting the country or its living contents.

“I am yours, &c.

“P.S. Tell Mr. * * * that * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * and that I will never forgive him (or any body) the atrocity of their late silence at a time when I wished particularly to hear, for every reason, from my friends.”

“Venice, July 10th, 1818.

“I have received your letter and the credit from Morlands, &c. for whom I have also drawn upon you at sixty days’ sight for the remainder, according to your proposition.

“I am still waiting in Venice, in expectancy of the arrival of Hanson’s clerk. What can detain him, I do not know; but I trust that Mr. Hobhouse, and Mr. Kinnaird, when their political fit is abated, will take the trouble to inquire and expedite him, as I have nearly a hundred thousand pounds depending upon the completion of the sale and the signature of the papers.

“The draft on you is drawn up by Siri and Willhalm. I hope that the form is correct. I signed it two or three days ago, desiring them to forward it to Messrs. Morland and Ransom.

“Your projected editions for November had better be postponed, as I have some things in project, or preparation, that may be of use to you, though not very important in themselves. I have completed an Ode on Venice, and have two Stories, one serious and one ludicrous (à la Beppo), not yet finished, and in no hurry to be so.

“You talk of the letter to Hobhouse being much admired, and speak of prose. I think of writing (for your full edition) some Memoirs of my life, to prefix to them, upon the same model (though far enough, I fear, from reaching it) of Gifford, Hume, &c.; and this without any intention of making disclosures, or remarks upon living people, which
192 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
would be unpleasant to them: but I think it might be done, and well done. However, this is to be considered. I have materials in plenty, but the greater part of them could not be used by me, nor for these hundred years to come. However, there is enough without these, and merely as a literary man, to make a preface for such an edition as you meditate. But this is by the way: I have not made up my mind.

“I enclose you a note on the subject of ‘Parisina,’ which Hobhouse can dress for you. It is an extract of particulars from a history of Ferrara.

“I trust you have been attentive to Missiaglia, for the English have the character of neglecting the Italians at present, which I hope you will redeem.

“Yours in haste,
“Venice, July 17th, 1818.

“I suppose that Aglietti will take whatever you offer, but till his return from Vienna I can make him no proposal; nor, indeed, have you authorised me to do so. The three French notes are by Lady Mary; also another half-English-French-Italian. They are very pretty and passionate; it is a pity that a piece of one of them is lost. Algarotti seems to have treated her ill; but she was much his senior, and all women are used ill—or say so, whether they are or not.

* * * * * * *

“I shall be glad of your books and powders. I am still in waiting for Hanson’s clerk, but luckily not at Geneva. All my good friends wrote to me to hasten there to meet him, but not one had the good sense, or the good nature, to write afterwards to tell me that it would be time and a journey thrown away, as he could not set off for some months after the period appointed. If I had taken the journey on the general suggestion, I never would have spoken again to one of you as long as I existed. I have written to request Mr. Kinnaird, when the foam of his politics is wiped away, to extract a positive answer from that
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 193
* * * *, and not to keep me in a state of suspense upon the subject. I hope that Kinnaird, who has my power of attorney, keeps a look-out upon the gentleman, which is the more necessary, as I have a great dislike to the idea of coming over to look after him myself.

“I have several things begun, verse and prose, but none in much forwardness. I have written some six or seven sheets of a Life, which I mean to continue, and send you when finished. It may perhaps serve for your projected editions. If you would tell me exactly (for I know nothing, and have no correspondents, except on business) the state of the reception of our late publications, and the feeling upon them, without consulting any delicacies (I am too seasoned to require them), I should know how and in what manner to proceed. I should not like to give them too much, which may probably have been the case already; but, as I tell you, I know nothing.

“I once wrote from the fulness of my mind and the love of fame (not as an end, but as a means, to obtain that influence over men’s minds which is power in itself and in its consequences), and now from habit and from avarice; so that the effect may probably be as different as the inspiration. I have the same facility, and indeed necessity, of composition, to avoid idleness (though idleness in a hot country is a pleasure), but a much greater indifference to what is to become of it, after it has served my immediate purpose. However, I should on no account like to——but I won’t go on, like the archbishop of Granada, as I am very sure that you dread the fate of Gil Blas, and with good reason.

“Yours, &c.

“P.S. I have written some very savage letters to Mr. Hobhouse, Kinnaird, to you, and to Hanson, because the silence of so long a time made me tear off my remaining rags of patience. I have seen one or two late English publications which are no great things, except Rob Roy. I shall be glad of Whistlecraft.”

194 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
“Venice, August 26th, 1818.

“You may go on with your edition, without calculating on the Memoir, which I shall not publish at present. It is nearly finished, but will be too long; and there are so many things, which, out of regard to the living, cannot be mentioned, that I have written with too much detail of that which interested me least; so that my autobiographical Essay would resemble the tragedy of Hamlet at the country theatre, recited ‘with the part of Hamlet left out by particular desire.’ I shall keep it among my papers; it will be a kind of guide-post in case of death, and prevent some of the lies which would otherwise be told, and destroy some which have been told already.

“The Tales also are in an unfinished state, and I can fix no time for their completion: they are also not in the best manner. You must not, therefore, calculate upon any thing in time for this edition. The Memoir is already above forty-four sheets of very large, long paper, and will be about fifty or sixty; but I wish to go on leisurely; and when finished, although it might do a good deal for you at the time, I am not sure that it would serve any good purpose in the end either, as it is full of many passions and prejudices, of which it has been impossible for me to keep clear:—I have not the patience.

“Enclosed is a list of books which Dr. Aglietti would be glad to receive by way of price for his MS. letters, if you are disposed to purchase at the rate of fifty pounds sterling. These he will be glad to have as part, and the rest I will give him in money, and you may carry it to the account of books, &c. which is in balance against me, deducting it accordingly. So that the letters are yours, if you like them, at this rate; and he and I are going to hunt for more Lady Montague letters, which he thinks of finding. I write in haste. Thanks for the article, and believe me,

“Yours, &c.”
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 195

To the charge brought against Lord Byron by some English travellers of being, in general, repulsive and inhospitable to his own countrymen, I have already made allusion; and shall now add to the testimony then cited in disproof of such a charge some particulars, communicated to me by Captain Basil Hall, which exhibit the courtesy and kindliness of the noble poet’s disposition in their true, natural light.

“On the last day of August, 1818 (says this distinguished writer and traveller), I was taken ill with an ague at Venice, and having heard enough of the low state of the medical art in that country, I was not a little anxious as to the advice I should take. I was not acquainted with any person in Venice to whom I could refer, and had. only one letter of introduction, which was to Lord Byron; but as there were many stories floating about of his lordship’s unwillingness to be pestered with tourists, I had felt unwilling, before this moment, to intrude myself in that shape. Now, however, that I was seriously unwell, I felt sure that this offensive character would merge in that of a countryman in distress, and I sent the letter by one of my travelling companions to Lord Byron’s lodgings with a note, excusing the liberty I was taking, explaining that I was in want of medical assistance, and saying I should not send to any one till I heard the name of the person who, in his lordship’s opinion, was the best practitioner in Venice.

“Unfortunately for me, Lord Byron was still in bed, though it was near noon, and still more unfortunately, the bearer of my message scrupled to awake him, without first coming back to consult me. By this time I was in all the agonies of a cold ague fit, and, therefore, not at all in a condition to be consulted upon any thing—so I replied pettishly, ‘Oh, by no means disturb Lord Byron on my account—ring for the landlord, and send for any one he recommends.’ This absurd injunction being forthwith and literally attended to, in the course of an hour I was under the discipline of mine host’s friend, whose skill and success it is no part of my present purpose to descant upon:—it is sufficient to mention that I was irrevocably in his hands long before the following most kind note was brought to me, in great haste, by Lord Byron’s servant.

196 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
‘Venice, August 31st, 1818.

Dr. Aglietti is the best physician, not only in Venice, but in Italy: his residence is on the Grand Canal, and easily found; I forget the number, but am probably the only person in Venice who don’t know it. There is no comparison between him and any of the other medical people here. I regret very much to hear of your indisposition, and shall do myself the honour of waiting upon you the moment I am up. I write this in bed, and have only just received the letter and note. I beg you to believe that nothing but the extreme lateness of my hours could have prevented me from replying immediately, or coming in person. I have not been called a minute.—I have the honour to be, very truly,

‘Your most obedient servant.

“His lordship soon followed this note, and I heard his voice in the next room; but although he waited more than an hour, I could not see him, being under the inexorable hands of the doctor. In the course of the same evening he again called, but I was asleep. When I awoke I found his lordship’s valet sitting by my bedside. ‘He had his master’s orders,’ he said, ‘to remain with me while I was unwell, and was instructed to say, that whatever his lordship had, or could procure, was at my service, and that he would come to me and sit with me, or do whatever I liked, if I would only let him know in what way he could be useful.’

“Accordingly, on the next day, I sent for some book, which was brought, with a list of his library. I forget what it was which prevented my seeing Lord Byron on this day, though he called more than once; and on the next, I was too ill with fever to talk to any one.

“The moment I could go out I took a gondola and went to pay my respects, and to thank his lordship for his attentions. It was then nearly three o’clock, but he was not yet up; and when I went again on the following day at five, I had the mortification to learn that he had gone, at the same hour, to call upon me, so that we had crossed each
A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 197
other on the canal; and, to my deep and lasting regret, I was obliged to leave Venice without seeing him.”

“Venice, September 19th, 1818.

“An English newspaper here would be a prodigy, and an opposition one a monster; and except some extracts from extracts in the vile, garbled Paris gazettes, nothing of the kind reaches the Veneto-Lombard public, who are perhaps the most oppressed in Europe. My correspondencies with England are mostly on business, and chiefly with my * * *, who has no very exalted notion, or extensive conception, of an author’s attributes; for he once took up an Edinburgh Review, and, looking at it a minute, said to me, ‘So, I see you have got into the magazine,’—which is the only sentence I ever heard him utter upon literary matters, or the men thereof.

“My first news of your Irish Apotheosis has, consequently, been from yourself. But, as it will not be forgotten in a hurry, either by your friends or your enemies, I hope to have it more in detail from some of the former, and, in the meantime, I wish you joy with all my heart. Such a moment must have been a good deal better than Westminster-abbey,—besides being an assurance of that one day (many years hence, I trust,) into the bargain.

“I am sorry to perceive, however, by the close of your letter, that even you have not escaped the ‘surgit amari,’ &c. and that your damned deputy has been gathering such ‘dew from the still vext Bermoothes’—or rather vexatious. Pray, give me some items of the affair, as you say it is a serious one; and, if it grows more so, you should make a trip over here for a few months, to see how things turn out. I suppose you are a violent admirer of England by your staying so long in it. For my own part, I have passed, between the age of one-and-twenty and thirty, half the intervenient years out of it without regretting any thing, except that I ever returned to it at all, and the gloomy prospect before me of business and parentage obliging me, one day, to return to it again,—at least, for
198 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
the transaction of affairs, the signing of papers, and inspecting of children.

“I have here my natural daughter, by name Allegra,—a pretty little girl enough, and reckoned like papa†. Her mamma is English,—but it is a long story, and—there’s an end. She is about twenty months old. * * * * * * *

“I have finished the First Canto (a long one, of about 180 octaves) of a poem in the style and manner of ‘Beppo,’ encouraged by the good success of the same. It is called ‘Don Juan,’ and is meant to be a little quietly facetious upon every thing. But I doubt whether it is not—at least, as far as it has yet gone—too free for these very modest days. However, I shall try the experiment, anonymously, and if it don’t take, it will be discontinued. It is dedicated to S * * in good, simple, savage verse, upon the * * * *’s politics, and the way he got them. But the bore of copying it out is intolerable; and if I had an amanuensis he would be of no use, as my writing is so difficult to decipher.
“My poem’s Epic, and is meant to be
Divided in twelve books, each book containing,
With love and war, a heavy gale at sea—
A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning—
New characters, &c. &c.
The above are two stanzas, which I send you as a brick of my Babel, and by which you can judge of the texture of the structure.

† This little child had been sent to him by its mother about four or five months before, under the care of a Swiss nurse, a young girl not above nineteen or twenty years of age, and in every respect unit to have the charge of such an infant, without the superintendence of some more experienced person. “The child, accordingly.” says my informant, “was but ill taken care of;—not that any blame could attach to Lord Byron, for he always expressed himself most anxious for her welfare, but because the nurse wanted the necessary experience. The poor girl was equally to be pitied; for, as Lord Byron’s household consisted of English and Italian men servants, with whom she could hold no converse, and as there was no other female to consult with and assist her in her charge, nothing could be more forlorn than her situation proved to be.”

Soon after the date of the above letter, Mrs. Hoppner, the lady of the Consul General, who had, from the first, in compassion both to father and child, invited the little Allegra occasionally to her house, very kindly proposed to Lord Byron to take charge of her altogether, and an arrangement was accordingly concluded upon for that purpose.

A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 199

“In writing the Life of Sheridan, never mind the angry lies of the humbug whigs. Recollect that he was an Irishman and a clever fellow, and that we have had some very pleasant days with him. Don’t forget that he was at school at Harrow, where, in my time, we used to show his name—R. B. Sheridan, 1765—as an honour to the walls. Remember * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * Depend upon it that there were worse folks going, of that gang, than ever Sheridan was.

“What did Parr mean by ‘haughtiness and coldness?’ I listened to him with admiring ignorance, and respectful silence. What more could a talker for fame have?—they don’t like to be answered. It was at Payne Knight’s I met him, where he gave me more Greek than I could carry away. But I certainly meant to (and did) treat him with the most respectful deference.

“I wish you good night, with a Venetian benediction, ‘Benedetto te, e la terra che ti fara!’—‘May you be blessed, and the earth which you will make’—is it not pretty? You would think it still prettier if you had heard it, as I did two hours ago, from the lips of a Venetian girl, with large black eyes, a face like Faustina’s, and the figure of a Juno—tall and energetic as a Pythoness, with eyes flashing, and her dark hair streaming in the moonlight—one of those women who may be made any thing. I am sure if I put a poniard into the hand of this one, she would plunge it where I told her,—and into me, if I offended her. I like this kind of animal, and am sure that I should have preferred Medea to any woman that ever breathed. You may, perhaps, wonder that I don’t in that case *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * I could have forgiven the dagger or the bowl, any thing, but the deliberate desolation piled upon me, when I stood alone upon my hearth, with my household gods shivered around me†. *
* * *

† “I had one only fount of quiet left,
And that they poison’d! My pure household gods
Were shiver’d on my hearth.”

200 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
* * * *. Do you suppose I have forgotten or forgiven it? It has comparatively swallowed up in me every other feeling, and I am only a spectator upon earth, till, a tenfold opportunity offers. It may come yet. There are others more to be blamed than * * * *, and it is on these that my eyes are fixed unceasingly.”

“Venice, Sept. 24, 1818.

“In the one hundredth and thirty-second stanza of Canto 4th, the stanza runs in the manuscript
“And thou, who never yet of human wrong
Left the unbalanced scale, great Nemesis!
and notlost,’ which is nonsense, as what losing a scale means, I know not; but leaving an unbalanced scale, or a scale unbalanced, is intelligible†. Correct this, I pray—not for the public, or the poetry, but I do not choose to have blunders made in addressing any of the deities so seriously as this is addressed.

“Yours, &c.

“P.S. In the translation from the Spanish, alter
In increasing squadrons flew,
“To a mighty squadron grew.

“What does ‘thy waters wasted them’ mean (in the Canto)? That is not me‡. Consult the MS. always.

“I have written the first Canto (180 octave stanzas) of a poem in the style of Beppo, and have Mazeppa to finish besides.

† This correction, I observe, has never been made,—the passage still remaining, unmeaningly,

Lost the unbalanced scale.”

‡ This passage also remains uncorrected.

A. D. 1818. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 201

“In referring to the mistake in stanza 182, I take the opportunity to desire that in future, in all parts of my writings referring to religion, you will be more careful, and not forget that it is possible that in addressing the deity a blunder may become a blasphemy; and I do not choose to suffer such infamous perversions of my words or of my intentions.

“I saw the Canto by accident.”