LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
Moore’s Memoirs of Byron.
La Belle Assemblée  Vol. NS 13  (January 1831)  72-99.
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So, we have at last got the second volume of “Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, with Notices of his Life, by Thomas Moore!” And what are we to do with it? What Moore has done with his subject—little or nothing. No analysis, howsoever extended, could suffice to give a distinct and accurate view of this intrinsically valuable quarto of more than 800 pages, every page of which is a little world of variety, and the aggregate affording material for a thousand essays and dissertations.

Repeatedly have we had occasion to place upon record our opinion of the general character and conduct of Lord Byron, and of those of his lady-wife; repeatedly, too, have we expressed our sentiments respecting Mr. Moore’s conduct in violating the sacred trust reposed in him by his friend, in the destruction of his auto-biographical manuscripts. On all these points—one way or the other—the public mind, as well as our own, has, we apprehend, long been made up; and there is nothing now before us to induce a change, or the shadow of a change.

As to the affair of the Guiccioli, about which all the world has heard so much—and that of Marianna—and the “gentle tigress,” the Fornarina—and the thousand-and-one other unhallowed connections, in the meshes of which Lord Byron was from time to time entangled—this is not a place for their discussion or elucidation. We may remark, however, en passant, that, in no instance, excepting perhaps in that of his first boyish flame—not even in his attachment to the Countess Guiccioli—had Byron’s love the fea-
tures, the essence, of pure and generous affection—the affection that is deep, and silent, and enduring—that lasts until death—that looks forward, in the vividness of immortal hope, to a blessed and beatific elevation in a world beyond the grave. No! no! Byron’s love was “of the earth, earthly.” Excitement, animal as well as mental, was the soul of his existence. It is evident, from the whole tenor of his proceedings, that his passion for the Guiccioli had gone off; he panted for new excitement; and so he entered upon the silliest of all silly crusades, an expedition in favour of the Greeks—an expedition which fifty Byrons could not have rendered successful.

But every body must read this book; not for what Moore has contributed towards its fabrication, for that, as we have already intimated, is next to nothing, but for the sake of Byron’s letters, journals, and memoranda—the only mirror of his mind—the only source from which any true view of his mind and character can be obtained. In reading these memoirs, every person will form an estimate of his own respecting the genius, the talents, the principles of Byron. There is not a man or woman of genius who, in their perusal, will not, in a thousand instances, assimilate—identify—him or herself with the poet. And this, more than all the arguments, all the disquisitions, all the criticism, all the illustration in the world, proclaims the wild, the eccentric, the versatile powers of his spirit—his great, noble, generous, but clouded spirit.—All that we shall pretend or attempt to do, in a brief and rapid sketch, is to offer a few of the striking points with which almost every page—excepting that portion of the volume which is devoted to the Greek business—is crowded.

The letters, in the entire work, extend to the number of 561: in the second volume, the greater, and the more interesting part of his Lordship’s epistolary correspondence is addressed to Mr. Murray. The first letter bears the number of 242, and the date of Ouchy, near Lausanne, June 27, 1816. Mr. Moore tells us, that, besides the unfinished “Vampyre,” he began at this time a “Romance, in prose, founded upon the story of the Marriage of Belphegor, and intended to shadow out his own matrimonial fate. The wife of this satanic personage he described much in the same spirit that pervades his delineation of Donna Inez in the First Canto of Don Juan. While engaged, however, in writing this story, he heard from England that Lady Byron was ill, and, his heart softening at the intelligence, he threw the manuscript into the fire.—So constantly were the good and evil principles of his nature conflicting for mastery over him.”

A little further on, Mr. Moore, taking credit to himself for having left unnoticed, in his former volume, certain affairs of gallantry in which Lord Byron had the reputation of being engaged, intimates that, the scene having been shifted to a region where less caution is requisite, he “shall venture so far to depart from the plan hitherto pursued, as to give, with but little suppression, the noble poet’s letters relative to his Italian adventures.” Let the public, and the friends of Lord Byron, judge Mr. Moore on this point. We are sufficiently aware of the delicacy and difficulty of the situation in which, under such circumstances, a biographer must find himself. All, therefore, that we shall say is, that there are hundreds of passages in these letters which ought never to have been written—which, having been written, ought never to have met human eyes, but those to which they were addressed—and which, howsoever much the publication of them may tend to elucidate the character of the writer, cannot fail to operate as a curse and a withering blight upon his moral fame.

Let us get rid of this painful feeling. As Byron says, in one of his letters to Murray, “You talk of marriage; ever since my own funeral, the word makes me giddy;—pray don’t repeat it.”

Here is an opinion of his Lordship’s well deserving the attention of our romance writers and playwrights. Alluding to the tragedy of Venice Preserved, he says—“I hate things all fiction; and therefore the Merchant [of Venice] and Othello have no great associations to me: but Pierre has. There should always be some foundation of fact for the most airy fabric, and pure invention is but the talent of a liar.”

Lord Byron’s notion of painting and
sculpture, we hesitate not to pronounce ridiculous:—“I know nothing of painting; and I detest it, unless it reminds me of something I have seen, or think it possible to see, for which reason I spit upon and abhor all the Saints and subjects of one half the impostures I see in the churches and palaces; and when in Flanders, I never was so disgusted in my life, as with
Rubens and his eternal wives and infernal glare of colours, as they appeared to me; and in Spain I did not think much of Murillo and Velasquez. Depend upon it, of all the arts, it is the most artificial and unnatural, and that by which the nonsense of mankind is most imposed upon. I never yet saw the picture or the statue which came a league within my conception or expectation; but I have seen many mountains, and seas, and rivers, and views, and two or three women, who went as far beyond it,—besides some horses; and a lion (at Veli Pacha’s) in the Morea; and a tiger at supper in Exeter ’Change.” Now all this parade of words amounts to no more than that nature is superior to art; a position, the truth of which was never yet contested by any man in his senses.

In the opinion of his own art—the art of which he was a master, surpassing most of his greatest predecessors—we are not prepared to say that he is quite so much at fault. Gifford, indeed, observes—“There is more good sense, and feeling, and judgment in this passage, than in any other I ever read, or Lord Byron wrote.” Here is the passage referred to:—

“With regard to poetry in general, I am convinced, the more I think of it, that he and all of us—Scott, Southey, Wordsworth, Moore, Campbell, I—are all in the wrong, one as much as another; that we are upon a wrong revolutionary system, or systems, not worth a damn in itself, and from which none but Rogers and Crabbe are free; and that the present and next generations will finally be of this opinion. I am the more confirmed in this by having lately gone over some of our classics, particularly Pope, whom I tried in this way:—I took Moore’s poems and my own and some others, and went over them side by side with Pope’s, and I was really astonished (I ought not to have been so) and mortified at the ineffable distance in point of sense, learning, effect, and even imagination, passion, and invention, between the little Queen Anne’s man, and us of the Lower Empire. Depend upon it, it is all Horace then, and Claudian now, among us; and if I had to begin again, I would mould myself accordingly. Crabbe’s the man, but he has got a coarse and impracticable subject, and * * * is retired upon half-pay, and has done enough, unless he were to do as he did formerly.”

With all this admiration of Pope, is it not perfectly astonishing that Lord Byron’s pen should have given birth to that unreadable, unpronounceable piece of jargon which it was the hard fate of poor Elliston to deliver at the opening of Drury Lane Theatre? There is much, very much, that is excellent in Pope; Pope is not deficient in feeling, in passion, in invention, in imagination; in all the beautiful and exquisite mechanism of the divine art, we “of the Lower Empire” are, indeed, far, far behind him; but, that the moderns—the best of the moderns—with Byron at the head of them, “are all in the wrong” as to the essentials—as to the higher attributes of poetry, we must take leave utterly to deny. Theirs is the verse—the magic strain—that touches every tender and every bolder string—that opens every sluice of feeling—that breaks up the flood-gates of the heart. Not even Dryden, the master of Pope, with all his nerve and all his skill, could accomplish what Byron was capable of accomplishing. For grasp of mind, tremendous in its extent and power, England cannot boast of a single poet standing between Shakspeare and Byron.

Here is a sugar-plum for Lady Morgan; alluding to the attack upon her Ladyship in the Quarterly Review:—“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 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 apo-
thecary;—unless she should say, as
Pope did of some attack upon him, ‘That it is as good for her as a dose of hartshorn.’” And somewhere else he speaks of her work upon Italy as a really good book, and laments that he had not been near her to give her some assistance.

Once for all we protest against the biographer’s silly mystification of substituting asterisks for proper names, in cases where, notwithstanding the affected disguise, the names themselves are so obvious that not even a child could mistake in tracing them; in cases, too, where, without the shadow of a reason, one way or the other, the name that is starred in one page is given at length in the next.

When the poem of Don Juan is first mentioned, its elements—or the elements of the writer’s mind—are not badly characterised by Moore:—“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, partial 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 nature, 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.”

Here is a picture; and—mark the allusion at its close:—

“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. * * * * *. 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.”

With what bitterness, too, does he speak of another individual, whose crime, after all, originated, it is probable, in a shortness of memory. But he was a lawyer—a hireling—one of the men who impudently and remorselessly stigmatise honourable men, who, by honourable means, dare to advocate an honourable cause, through the medium of the press; and that says much. We forgive Byron for his bitterness against one of that class.

“But there will come a day of reckoning, even if I should not live to see it. I have at last seen * * * shivered, who was one of my assassins. When that man was doing his worst to upset my whole family, tree, branch, and blossoms—when, after taking my retainer, he went over to them—when he was bringing desolation on my hearth, and destruction on my household gods—did he think that in less than three years, a natural event—a severe domestic, but an expected and common calamity—would lay his carcass in a cross-road, or stamp his name in a Verdict of Lunacy! Did he (who in his sexagenary * * *) reflect or consider what my feelings must have been, when wife, and child, and sister, and name, and fame, and country, were to be my sacrifice on his legal altar—and this at a moment when my health was declining, my fortune embarrassed, and my mind had been shaken by many kinds of disappointment—while I was yet
young, and might have reformed what might be wrong in my conduct, and retrieved what was perplexing in my affairs! But he is in his grave, and * * * *.”

There is nothing like contrast—Byron felt it to be so; and here we encounter a love-letter—a real love-letter—so touchingly sweet and tender, that we cannot resist the impulse to transcribe it. It was written in the last page of Madame Guiccioli’sCorinne:”—

“My dearest Teresa,—I have read this book in your garden;—my love, you were absent, or else I could not have read it. It is a favourite book of your’s, and the writer was a friend of mine. You will not understand these English words, and others will not understand them,—which is the reason I have not scrawled them in Italian. But you will recognize the hand-writing of him who passionately loved you, and you will divine that, over a book which was your’s, he could only think of love. In that word, beautiful in all languages, but most so in your’s—Amor mio—is comprised my existence here and hereafter. I feel I exist here, and I fear that I shall exist hereafter,—to what purpose you will decide; my destiny rests with you, and you are a woman, eighteen years of age, and two out of a convent. I wish that you had staid there, with all my heart,—or, at least, that I had never met you in your married state.

“But all this is too late. I love you, and you love me,—at least, you say so, and act as if you did so, which last is a great consolation in all events. But I more than love you, and cannot cease to love you.

“Think of me, sometimes, when the Alps and the ocean divide us—but they never will, unless you wish it.”

Did she ever wish it? No; but he did; and they were divided.

Byron’s account of the manners of the Italians is singularly striking and effective; but we can select only a few sentences.—“Their moral is not your moral; their life is not your life; you would not understand it; it is not English, nor French, nor German, which you would all understand.”—“I know not how to make you comprehend a people who are at once temperate and profligate, serious in their characters, and buffoons in their amusements, capable of impressions and passions, which are at once sudden and durable (which you find in no other nation), and who actually have no society (what we would call so), as you may see by their comedies.”—“Their conversazioni are not society at all. They go to the theatre to talk, and into company to hold their tongues. The women sit in a circle, and the men gather into groups, or they play at dreary faro, or ‘lotto reale,’ for small sums.”—“Their best things are their carnival balls and masquerades, when every one runs mad for six weeks. After their dinners and suppers they make extempore verses, and buffoon one another; but it is in a humour which you would not enter into, ye of the north.”—The women “are extremely tenacious, and jealous as furies, not permitting their lovers even to marry if they can help it, and keeping them always close to them in public as in private, whenever they can.”

Here is a tickler for Tommy:—

Murray, my dear, make my respects to Thomas Campbell, and tell him from me, with faith and friendship, three things that he must right in his poets: Firstly, he says Anstey’s Bath Guide characters are taken from Smollett. ’Tis impossible:—the Guide was published in 1766, and Humphrey Clinker in 1771—dunque, ’tis Smollett who has taken from Anstey. Secondly, he does not know to whom Cowper alludes, when he says that there was one who ‘built a church to God, and then blasphemed his name:’ it was ‘Deo erexit Voltaire’ to whom that maniacal Calvinist and coddled poet alludes. Thirdly, he misquotes and spoils a passage from Shakspeare, ‘to gild refined gold, to paint the lily,’ &c.; for lily he puts rose, and bedevils in more words than one the whole quotation.

“Now, Tom is a fine fellow; but he should be correct: for the first is an injustice (to Anstey), the second an ignorance, and the third a blunder. Tell him all this, and let him take it in good part; for I might have rammed it into a review and rowed him—instead of which, I act like a Christian.”

Of another poet—too much of the cockney, certainly—Byron thus expresses him-
self:—“No more
Keats, I entreat:—flay him alive; if some of you don’t, I must skin him myself. There is no bearing the drivelling of the manikin!”—The Quarterly, as it may be well remembered, did flay him alive, and killed him. More fool he, by-the-by, for being so easily killed. But Byron was generous: at least he warred not with the dead. After reading the atrocious article on Keats’s “Endymion,” in the Quarterly Review, he says—“My indignation at Mr. Keats’s depreciation of Pope has hardly permitted me to do justice to his own genius, which, malgre all the fantastic fopperies of his style, was undoubtedly of great promise. His fragment of ‘Hyperion’ seems actually inspired by the Titans, and is as sublime as Æschylus. He is a loss to our literature; and the more so, as he himself, before his death, is said to have been persuaded that he had not taken the right line, and was reforming his style upon the more classical models of the language.” In another letter to Murray, alluding to the death of Keats, and to the effect which the attack upon himself, by the Edinburgh Review, had had, he says—“Instead of bursting a blood-vessel, I drank three bottles of claret, and begun an answer, finding that there was nothing in the article for which I could lawfully knock Jeffrey on the head, in an honourable way. However, I would not be the person who wrote the homicidal article for all the honour and glory in the world, though I by no means approve of that school of scribbling which it treats upon.”

Byron meditated much, and often, and deeply on a future state; but he had not the confident hope, the consoling assurance of the Christian. “It has been said that the immortality of the soul is a ‘grand peut-être’—but still it is a grand one. Every body clings to it—the stupidest, and dullest, and wickedest of human bipeds is still persuaded that he is immortal.” He asks—“What is poetry? The feeling of a Former world and Future.” Again:—

“Why, at the very height of desire and human pleasure—worldly, social, amorous, ambitious, or even avaricious—does there mingle a certain sense of doubt and sorrow—a fear of what is to come—a doubt of what is—a retrospect to the past, leading to a prognostication of the future? (The best of Prophets of the future is the Past.) Why is this? or these?—I know not, except that on a pinnacle we are most susceptible of giddiness, and that we never fear falling except from a precipice—the higher, the more awful, and the more sublime; and, therefore, I am not sure that Fear is not a pleasurable sensation; at least, Hope is; and what Hope is there without a deep leaven of Fear? and what sensation is so delightful as Hope? and, if it were not for Hope, where would the Future be?—in hell. It is useless to say where the Present is, for most of us know; and as for the Past, what predominates in memory?—Hope baffled. Ergo, in all human affairs, it is Hope—Hope—Hope. I allow sixteen minutes, though I never counted them, to any given or supposed possession. From whatever place we commence, we know where it all must end. And yet, what good is there in knowing it? It does not make men better or wiser. During the greatest horrors of the greatest plagues (Athens and Florence, for example—see Thucydides and Machiavelli), men were more cruel and profligate than ever. It is all a mystery. I feel most things, but I know nothing, except —— —— —— —— —— —— —— —— ——*”

How delightful how noble, and how just is Byron’s defence of Dante, against the attack of some German writer:—

“He says also that Dante’s chief defect is a want, in a word, of gentle feelings. Of gentle feelings!—and Francesca of Rimini—and the father’s feelings in Ugolino—and Beatrice—and ‘La Pia!’ Why, there is a gentleness in Dante beyond all gentleness, when he is tender. It is true, that, treating of the Christian Hades, or Hell, there is not much scope or site for gentleness—but who but Dante could have introduced any ‘gentleness’ at all into Hell? Is there any in Milton’s? No—and Dante’s Heaven is all love, and glory, and majesty.”

The account of Byron’s hypochondriac affection is distressing. In England, five years before the time of which he is speak-
“ * Thus marked, with impatient strokes of the pen, in the original.”
ing, it was accompanied by a thirst so violent, that he had drunk as many as fifteen bottles of soda-water in one night, after going to bed, and yet remained thirsty. It may be remarked, however, that soda-water, though exceedingly refreshing, determines so rapidly to the surface as to have little permanent effect in allaying thirst.—“I presume,” says Byron, “that I shall end (if not earlier by accident, or some such termination) life like
Swift—‘dying at top.’ I confess I do not contemplate this with so much horror as he apparently did for some years before it happened. But Swift had hardly begun life at the very period (thirty-three) when I feel quite an old sort of feel.” And here, on the instant, he flies off at a tangent:—“Oh! there is an organ, playing in the street—a waltz, too! I must leave off to listen. They are playing a waltz, which I have heard ten thousand times at the balls in London, between 1812 and 1815. Music is a strange thing.” Ay, God knows, it is a strange thing; awaking in us, as Byron says of poetry, “the feeling of a former world and future!”

That Byron died in Greece, we cannot wonder; that he did not get his head chopped off in Italy, for his impertinent, offensive, insulting, and mischievous interference, as a foreigner, with the affairs of the country in which he was residing, is matter of extreme marvel.

How admirably does the irritated dramatist characterise our theatrical managers, when, in utter defiance of all entreaty and remonstrance, they impudently persisted in dragging his tragedy of Marino Faliero upon the stage:—“What curst fools those speculating buffoons must be not to see that it is unfit for their fair—or their booth!” And how we “dote upon” his truly gentlemanly, his truly aristocratic feeling—guineas versus pounds! “You are an excellent fellow, mio caro Moray, but there is still a little leaven of Fleet Street about you now and then—a crum of the old loaf.”—“I shall always be frank with you; as, for instance, whenever you talk with the votaries of Apollo arithmetically, it should be in guineas, not pounds—to poets, as well as physicians, and bidders at auctions.” True; pounds, shillings, and pence should be handled by none but dirty shopkeepers.

We love, too, the kind and amiable spirit in which Byron adverts to the fate of poor Scott, who was brutally slaughtered some years since in an ignorantly seconded duel.

While in Italy, Byron appropriated £1000. a year to charitable purposes. How infinitely more laudable than his subsequent tom-fool squandering of his substance amongst a gang of knaves and beggars, swindlers and ruffians, in Greece. This, however, reminds us of a certain “charity-ball” at home. In December, 1820, Lord Byron saw the following paragraph in a newspaper:—“Lady Byron is this year the lady patroness at the annual Charity Ball, given at the Town Hall, at Hinckly, Leicestershire, and Sir G. Crewe, Bart., the principal steward.” This drew forth some verses, “full of strong and indignant feeling,”—every stanza concluding pointedly with the words “Charity Ball.” Moore gives the following as some of the opening lines:—

“What matter the pangs of a husband and father,
If his sorrows in exile be great or be small,
So the Pharisee’s glories around her she gather,
And the Saint patronises her ‘Charity Ball.’
“What matters—a heart, which though faulty was feeling,
Be driven to excesses which once could appal—
That the sinner should suffer is only fair dealing,
As the Saint keeps her charity back for ‘the Ball.’”

We wonder what Lady Byron felt—if capable of feeling at all—on the receipt of the letter, dated “Pisa, November 17th, 1821.” We regret our inability to find room for this kind and liberal, this generous and magnanimous effusion. Here are some of its closing sentences:—“I assure you that I bear you now (whatever I may have done) no resentment whatever. Remember, that if you have injured me in aught, this forgiveness is something; and that, if I have injured you, it is something more still, if it be true, as the moralists say, that the most offending are the least forgiving. Whether the offence has been solely on my side, or reciprocal, or yours chiefly, I have ceased to reflect upon any but two things,—viz., that you
are the mother of my child, and that we shall never meet again.”

In a letter to Murray, from Genoa, in October, 1822, Byron says—“To-day is the 9th, and the 10th is my surviving daughter’s birth-day. [His natural daughter, Allegra, had died about half-a-year before.] I have ordered, as a regale, a mutton chop and a bottle of ale. She is seven years old, I believe. Did I ever tell you that the day I came of age I dined on eggs and bacon, and a bottle of ale? For once in a way they are my favourite dish and drinkable, but as neither of them agree [agrees] with me, I never use them but on great jubilees—once in four or five years or so.”

Hastening towards a close, we designedly pass over all that relates to the Hunts, Williamses, Medwins, Taafes, Trelawneys, and “such small deer”—and also the expedition to Greece—as subjects with which every well-regulated mind has been long since surfeited and disgusted. Here, however, is a pill that may stir up the bile of many:—“As to friendship, it is a propensity in which my genius is very limited. I do not know the male human being, except Lord Clare, for whom I feel any thing that deserves the name. All my others are men-of-the-world friendships.” To be sure, he does, afterwards, make an “excepting, perhaps,” in favour of “Thomas Moore.” How flattering!

When in Greece—whither his natural constitutional restlessness, his want of new excitement, as we have already expressed ourselves, sent him—he thus writes to the deserted Guiccioli:—“I was a fool to come here; but, being here, I must see what is to be done.”

We have said, the “deserted” Guiccioli—and we cannot retract the epithet. It is evident that, before Byron left Italy—when, for a time, he was half-mad for South America, and, consequently, before he got to Greece—the lady had lost her power over him. Amidst a host of other evidence, what can be more conclusive on this point, than the verses which he wrote on the completion of his thirty-sixth year? Take, as a fair sample of the whole, two unconnected stanzas:—

“The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle;
No torch is kindled at its blaze—
A funeral pile!”
“Tread those reviving passions down,
Unworthy manhood!—unto thee
Indifferent should the smile or frown
Of beauty be.”

What has become of the erring, but lovely and devoted woman we know not; for Mr. Moore has not condescended to throw even the faintest light upon the subject.

Nor have we any new information respecting the death of Lord Byron. For the following sketch of his Lordship’s physiognomical expression, we are indebted, it appears, to “a fair critic:”—

“Many pictures have been painted of him, with various success; but the excessive beauty of his lips escaped every painter and sculptor. In their ceaseless play they represented every emotion, whether pale with anger, curled in disdain, smiling in triumph, or dimpled with archness and love. This extreme facility of expression was sometimes painful, for I have seen him look absolutely ugly—I have seen him look so hard and cold, that you must hate him, and then, in a moment, brighter than the sun, with such playful softness in his look, such affectionate eagerness kindling in his eyes, and dimpling his lips into something more sweet than a smile, that you forgot the man, the Lord Byron, in the picture of beauty presented to you.” * * *

We have been told that, some way or other—Heaven knows how—Mr. Moore has acquired the credit of being a skilful biographer. Hazlitt’s remark, however, upon his Life of Sheridan, will not soon be forgotten; and, if he really possess any skill in the art of biographical composition, he has, on the present occasion, most ingeniously contrived to keep it out of sight. But, as we have said, every body will, and must read the book, for the sake of Byron’s own letters.