LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Life of Byron: 1813

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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“February 20th, 1813.

“In ‘Horace in London,’ I perceive some stanzas on Lord Elgin, in which (waving the kind compliment to myself*) I heartily concur. I

* In the Ode entitled “The Parthenon,” Minerva thus speaks:—

“All who behold my mutilated pile
Shall brand its ravager with classic rage;
And soon a titled bard from Britain’s isle
Thy country’s praise and suffrage shall engage,
And fire with Athens’ wrongs an angry age!”

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wish I had the pleasure of
Mr. Smith’s acquaintance, as I could communicate the curious anecdote you read in Mr. T.’s letter. If he would like it, he can have the substance for his second edition; if not, I shall add it to our next, though I think we already have enough of Lord Elgin.

“What I have read of this work seems admirably done. My praise, however, is not much worth the author’s having; but you may thank him in my name for his. The idea is new—we have excellent imitations of the Satires, &c. by Pope; but I remember but one imitative Ode in his works, and none any where else. I can hardly suppose that they have lost any fame by the fate of the farce; but even should this be the case, the present publication will again place them on their pinnacle.

“Yours, &c.”

It has already been stated that the pecuniary supplies, which he found it necessary to raise on arriving at majority, were procured for him on ruinously usurious terms*. To some transactions connected with this subject, the following characteristic letter refers.

“March 25th, 1813.

“I enclose you a draft for the usurious interest due to Lord * *’s protégé;—I also could wish you would state thus much for me to his lordship. Though the transaction speaks plainly in itself for the borrower’s folly and the lender’s usury, it never was my intention to quash

* “’Tis said that persons living on annuities
Are longer lived than others,—God knows why,
Unless to plague the grantors,—yet so true it is,
That some, I really think, do never die.
Of any creditors, the worst a Jew it is;
And that’s their mode of furnishing supply:
In my young days they lent me cash that way,
Which I found very troublesome to pay.”

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the demand, as I legally might, nor to withhold payment of principal, or, perhaps, even unlawful interest. You know what my situation has been, and what it is. I have parted with an estate (which has been in my family for nearly three hundred years, and was never disgraced by being in possession of a lawyer, a churchman, or a woman, during that period), to liquidate this and similar demands; and the payment of the purchase is still withheld, and may be, perhaps, for years. If, therefore, I am under the necessity of making those persons wait for their money (which, considering the terms, they can afford to suffer), it is my misfortune.

“When I arrived at majority in 1809, I offered my own security on legal interest, and it was refused. Now, I will not accede to this. This man I may have seen, but I have no recollection of the names of any parties but the agents and the securities. The moment I can, it is assuredly my intention to pay my debts. This person’s case may be a hard one; but, under all circumstances, what is mine? I could not foresee that the purchaser of my estate was to demur in paying for it.

“I am glad it happens to be in my power so far to accommodate my Israelite, and only wish I could do as much for the rest of the Twelve Tribes.

“Ever yours, dear R.

At the beginning of this year, Mr. Murray having it in contemplation to publish an edition of the two Cantos of Childe Harold with engravings, the noble author entered with much zeal into his plan; and, in a note on the subject to Mr. Murray, says:—“Westall has, I believe, agreed to illustrate your book, and I fancy one of the engravings will be from the pretty little girl you saw the other day*, though without her name, and merely as a model for some sketch connected with the subject. I would also have the portrait (which you saw to-day) of the friend who is mentioned in the text at the close of Canto 1st, and in the notes,—which are subjects sufficient to authorize that addition.”

* Lady Charlotte Harley, to whom, under the name of Ianthe, the introductory lines to Childe Harold were afterwards addressed.

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Early in the spring he brought out, anonymously, his poem on Waltzing, which, though full of very lively satire, fell so far short of what was now expected from him by the public, that the disavowal of it, which, as we see by the following letter, he thought right to put forth, found ready credence.

“April 21st, 1813.

“I shall be in town by Sunday next, and will call and have some conversation on the subject of Westall’s designs. I am to sit to him for a picture at the request of a friend of mine, and as Sanders’s is not a good one, you will probably prefer the other. I wish you to have Sanders’s taken down and sent to my lodgings immediately—before my arrival. I hear that a certain malicious publication on Waltzing is attributed to me. This report, I suppose, you will take care to contradict, as the author, I am sure, will not like that I should wear his cap and bells. Mr. Hobhouse’s quarto will be out immediately; pray send to the author for an early copy, which I wish to take abroad with me.

“P.S. I see the Examiner threatens some observations upon you next week. What can you have done to share the wrath which has heretofore been principally expended upon the Prince? I presume all your Scribleri will be drawn up in battle array in defence of the modern TonsonMr. Bucke, for instance.

“Send in my account to Bennet-street, as I wish to settle it before sailing.”

In the month of May appeared his wild and beautiful “Fragment,” The Giaour:—and though, in its first flight from his hands, some of the fairest feathers of its wing were yet wanting, the public hailed this new offspring of his genius with wonder and delight. The idea of writing a Poem in fragments had been suggested to him by the Columbus of Mr. Rogers; and, whatever objections may lie against such a plan in general, it must be allowed to have been well suited to the impatient
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temperament of Byron, as enabling him to overleap those mechanical difficulties, which, in a regular narrative, embarrass, if not chill, the poet,—leaving it to the imagination of his readers to fill up the intervals between those abrupt bursts of passion in which his chief power lay. The story, too, of the Poem possessed that stimulating charm for him, almost indispensable to his fancy, of being in some degree connected with himself,—an event in which he had been personally concerned, while on his travels, having supplied the groundwork on which the fiction was founded. After the appearance of the Giaour, some incorrect statement of this romantic incident having got into circulation, the noble author requested of his friend, the
Marquis of Sligo, who had visited Athens soon after it happened, to furnish him with his recollections on the subject; and the following is the answer which Lord Sligo returned.

“Albany, Monday August 31st, 1813.

“You have requested me to tell you all that I heard at Athens about the affair of that girl who was so near being put an end to while you were there; you have asked me to mention every circumstance, in the remotest degree relating to it, which I heard. In compliance with your wishes, I write to you all I heard, and I cannot imagine it to be very far from the fact, as the circumstance happened only a day or two before I arrived at Athens, and consequently was a matter of common conversation at the time.

“The new governor, unaccustomed to have the same intercourse with the Christians as his predecessor, had of course the barbarous Turkish ideas with regard to women. In consequence, and in compliance with the strict letter of the Mahommedan law, he ordered this girl to be sewed up in a sack, and thrown into the sea;—as is, indeed, quite customary at Constantinople. As you were returning from bathing in the Piræus, you met the procession going down to execute the sentence of the Waywode on this unfortunate girl. Report continues to say, that on finding out what the object of their journey was, and who was the miserable sufferer, you immediately interfered; and on some delay in obeying your orders, you were obliged to inform the leader of the escort,
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that force should make him comply;—that, on farther hesitation, you drew a pistol, and told him, that if he did not immediately obey your orders, and come back with you to the Aga’s house, you would shoot him dead. On this, the man turned about and went with you to the governor’s house; here you succeeded, partly by personal threats, and partly by bribery and entreaty, to procure her pardon on condition of her leaving Athens. I was told that you then conveyed her in safety to the convent, and despatched her off at night to Thebes, where she found a safe asylum. Such is the story I heard, as nearly as I can recollect it at present. Should you wish to ask me any further questions about it, I shall be very ready and willing to answer them.

“I remain, my dear Byron,
“yours, very sincerely,

“I am afraid you will hardly be able to read this scrawl; but I am so hurried with the preparations for my journey, that you must excuse it.”

Of the prodigal flow of his fancy, when its sources were once opened on any subject, the Giaour affords one of the most remarkable instances,—this Poem having accumulated under his hand, both in printing and through successive editions, till from four hundred lines, of which it consisted in his first copy, it at present amounts to nearly fourteen hundred. The plan, indeed, which he had adopted, of a series of fragments,—a set of “orient pearls at random strung,”—left him free to introduce, without reference to more than the general complexion of his story, whatever sentiments or images his fancy, in its excursions, could collect; and how little fettered he was by any regard to connexion in these additions appears from a note which accompanied his own copy of the paragraph, commencing “Fair clime, where every season smiles,”—in which he says, “I have not yet fixed the place of insertion for the following lines, but will, when I see you—as I have no copy.”

Even into this new passage, rich as it was at first, his fancy afterwards poured a fresh infusion,—the whole of its most picturesque portion, from the line “For there, the Rose o’er crag or vale,” down to “And turn to
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groans his roundelay,” having been suggested to him during revision. In order to show, however, that though so rapid in the first heat of composition, he formed no exception to that law which imposes labour as the price of perfection, I shall here extract a few verses from his original draft of this paragraph, by comparing which with the form they wear at present* we may learn to appreciate the value of these after-touches of the master.

“Fair clime! where ceaseless summer smiles
Benignant o’er those blessed isles,
Which, seen from far Colonna’s height,
Make glad the heart that hails the sight,
And give to loneliness delight.
There shine the bright abodes ye seek,
Like dimples upon Ocean’s cheek,
So smiling round the waters lave
These Edens of the eastern wave.
Or if, at times, the transient breeze
Break the smooth crystal of the seas,
Or brush one blossom from the trees,
How grateful is the gentle air
That wakes and wafts the fragrance there.”

* The following are the lines In their present shape, and it will be seen that there is not a single alteration in which the music of the verse has not been improved as well as the thought:

“Fair clime! where every season smiles
Benignant o’er those blessed isles,
Which, seen from far Colonna’s height,
Make glad the heart that hails the sight,
And lend to loneliness delight.
These, mildly dimpling, Ocean’s cheek
Reflects the tints of many a peak
Caught by the laughing tides that lave
These Edens of the eastern wave:
And if at times transient breeze
Break the blue crystal of the seas,
Or sweep one blossom from the trees,
How welcome is each gentle air
That wakes and wafts the odours there!”

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Among the other passages added to this edition (which was either the third or fourth, and between which and the first there intervened but about six weeks) was that most beautiful and melancholy illustration of the lifeless aspect of Greece, beginning “He who hath bent him o’er the dead,”—of which the most gifted critic of our day* has justly pronounced, that “it contains an image more true, more mournful, and more exquisitely finished, than any we can recollect in the whole compass of poetry†.” To the same edition also were added, among other accessions of wealth‡, those lines, “The cygnet proudly walks the water,” and the impassioned verses, “My memory now is but the tomb.”

On my rejoining him in town this spring, I found the enthusiasm about his writings and himself, which I had left so prevalent, both in the world of literature and in society, grown, if any thing, still more general and intense. In the immediate circle, perhaps, around him, familiarity of intercourse might have begun to produce its usual disenchanting effects. His own liveliness and unreserve, on a more intimate acquaintance, would not be long in dispelling that charm of poetic sadness, which to the eyes of distant observers hung about him; while the romantic notions, connected by some of his fair readers with those past and nameless loves alluded to in his poems, ran some risk of abatement from too near an acquaintance with the supposed objects of his fancy and fondness at present. A poet’s mistress should remain, if possible, as imaginary a being to others, as, in most of the attributes he clothes her with, she has been to himself;—the reality, however fair, being always sure to fall short of the picture which a too lavish fancy has drawn of it. Could we call up in array before us all the beauties whom the love of poets has immortalized, from the high-born dame to the plebeian damsel,—from

* Mr Jeffrey.

† In Dallaway’s Constantinople, a book which Lord Byron is not unlikely to have consulted, I find a passage quoted from Gillies’s History of Greece, which contains, perhaps, the first seed of the thought thus expanded into full perfection by genius:—“The present state of Greece compared to the ancient is the silent obscurity of the grave contrasted with the vivid lustre of active life.”

‡ Among the recorded instances of such happy after-thoughts in poetry may be mentioned, as one of the most memorable, Denham’s four lines, “Oh could I flow like thee,” &c., which were added in the second edition of his Poem.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 393
the Lauras and Sacharissas down to the Cloes and Jeannies,—we should, it is to be feared, sadly unpeople our imaginations of many a bright tenant that poesy has lodged there, and find, in more than one instance, our admiration of the faith and fancy of the worshipper increased by our discovery of the worthlessness of the idol.

But, whatever of its first romantic impression the personal character of the poet may, from such causes, have lost in the circle he most frequented, this disappointment of the imagination was far more than compensated by the frank, social, and engaging qualities, both of disposition and manner, which, on a nearer intercourse, he disclosed, as well as by that entire absence of any literary assumption or pedantry, which entitled him fully to the praise bestowed by Sprat upon Cowley, that few could “ever discover he was a great poet by his discourse.” While thus, by his intimates, and those who had got, as it were, behind the scenes of his fame, he was seen in his true colours, as well of weakness as of amiableness, on strangers and such as were out of this immediate circle, the spell of his poetical character still continued to operate; and the fierce gloom and sternness of his imaginary personages were, by the greater number of them, supposed to belong, not only as regarded mind, but manners, to himself. So prevalent and persevering has been this notion, that, in some disquisitions on his character published since his death, and containing otherwise many just and striking views, we find, in the professed portrait drawn of him, such features as the following:—“Lord Byron had a stern, direct, severe mind: a sarcastic, disdainful, gloomy temper. He had no light sympathy with heartless cheerfulness;—upon the surface was sourness, discontent, displeasure, ill-will. Beneath all this weight of clouds and darkness*,” &c. &c.

Of the sort of double aspect which he thus presented as viewed by the world and by his friends, he was himself fully aware; and it not only amused him, but, as a proof of the versatility of his powers, flattered his pride. He was, indeed, as I have already remarked, by no means insensible or inattentive to the effect he produced personally on society; and though the brilliant station he had attained, since the commencement of

* Letters on the Character and Poetical Genius of Lord Byron, by Sir Egerton Brydges, Bart.

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my acquaintance with him, made not the slightest alteration in the unaffectedness of his private intercourse, I could perceive, I thought, with reference to the external world, some slight changes in his conduct which seemed indicative of the effects of his celebrity upon him. Among other circumstances, I observed that, whether from shyness of the general gaze, or from a notion, like
Livy’s, that men of eminence should not too much familiarize the public to their persons*, he avoided showing himself in the mornings, and in crowded places, much more than was his custom when we first became acquainted. The preceding year, before his name had grown “so rife and celebrated,” we had gone together to the exhibition at Somerset-house, and other such places†; and the true reason, no doubt, of his present reserve, in abstaining from all such miscellaneous haunts, was the sensitiveness, so often referred to, on the subject of his lameness,—a feeling which the curiosity of the public eye, now attracted to this infirmity by his fame, could not fail, he knew, to put rather painfully to the proof.

Among the many gay hours we passed together this spring, I remember particularly the wild flow of his spirits one evening, when we had accompanied Mr. Rogers home from some early assembly, and when Lord Byron, who, according to his frequent custom, had not dined for the last two days, found his hunger no longer governable, and called aloud for “something to eat.” Our repast,—of his own choosing,—was simple bread and cheese; and seldom have I partaken of so joyous a supper. It happened that our host had just received a presentation copy of a volume of Poems, written professedly in imitation of the old English writers, and containing, like many of these models, a good deal that was striking and beautiful, mixed up with much that was trifling, fantastic, and absurd. In our mood, at the moment, it was only with these latter qualities that either Lord Byron or I felt disposed to indulge ourselves;

* “Continuus aspectus minus verendos magnos homines facit.”

† The only peculiarity that struck me on those occasions was the uneasy restlessness which he seemed to feel in wearing a hat,—an article of dress which, from his constant use of a carriage while in England, he was almost wholly unaccustomed to, and which, after that year, I do not remember to have ever seen upon him again. Abroad, he always wore a kind of foraging cap.

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and, in turning over the pages, we found, it must be owned, abundant matter for mirth. In vain did
Mr. Rogers, in justice to the author, endeavour to direct our attention to some of the beauties of the work; it suited better our purpose (as is too often the case with more deliberate critics) to pounce only on such passages as ministered to the laughing humour that possessed us. In this sort of hunt through the volume, we, at length, lighted on the discovery that our host, in addition to his sincere approbation of some of its contents, had also the motive of gratitude for standing by its author, as one of the poems was a warm and, I need not add, well-deserved panegyric on himself. We were, however, too far gone in nonsense for even this eulogy, in which we both so heartily agreed, to stop us. The opening line of the poem was, as well as I can recollect, “When Rogers o’er this labour bent;” and Lord Byron undertook to read it aloud;—but he found it impossible to get beyond the first two words. Our laughter had now increased to such a pitch that nothing could restrain it. Two or three times he began; but no sooner had the words “When Rogers” passed his lips, than our fit burst forth afresh,—till even Mr. Rogers himself, with all his feeling of our injustice, found it impossible not to join us; and we were, at last, all three, in such a state of inextinguishable laughter that, had the author himself been of the party, I question whether be could have resisted the infection.

A day or two after, Lord Byron sent me the following.


“‘When Rogers’ must not see the enclosed, which I send for your perusal. I am ready to fix any day you like for our visit. Was not Sheridan good upon the whole? The ‘Poulterer’ was the first and best*.

“Ever yours, &c.”

* He here alludes to a dinner at Mr. Rogers’s, of which I have elsewhere given the following account.

“The company consisted but of Mr. Rogers himself, Lord Byron, Mr. Sheridan, and the writer of this Memoir. Sheridan knew the admiration his audience felt for him; the presence of the young poet, in particular, seemed to bring back his own youth and wit; end the details

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When T * * this damn’d nonsense sent,
(I hope I am not violent)
Nor men nor gods knew what he meant.
And since not ev’n our Rogers’ praise
To common sense his thoughts could raise—
Why would they let him print his lays?
* * * * * *
* * * * * *
To me, divine Apollo, grant—O!
Hermilda’s first and second canto,
I’m fitting up a new portmanteau;
And thus to furnish decent lining,
My own and others’ bays I’m twining—
So, gentle T * * , throw me thine in.”

On the same day I received from him the following additional scraps. The lines in Italics are from the eulogy that provoked his waggish comments.

he gave of his early life were not less interesting and animating to himself then delightful to us. It was in the course of this evening that, describing to us the poem which Mr. Whitbread had written, and sent in, among the other addresses for the opening of Drury-lane theatre, and which, like the rest, turned chiefly on allusions to the Phœnix, he said—‘But Whitbread made more of this bird than any of them:—he entered into particulars, and described its wings, beak, tail, &c.in short, it was a Poulterer’s description of a Phœnix.’”—Life of Sheridan.

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TO ——
I lay my branch of laurel down.

Thou ‘lay thy branch of laurel down!’
Why, what thou’st stole is not enow;
And, were it lawfully thine own,
Does Rogers want it most, or thou?
Keep to thyself thy wither’d bough,
Or send it back to Doctor Donne
Were justice done to both, I trow,
He’d have but little, and thou—none.
Then thus to form Apollo’s crown.”

“A crown! why, twist it how you will,
Thy chaplet must be foolscap still.
When next you visit Delphi’s town,
Inquire amongst your fellow-lodgers,
They’ll tell you Phœbus gave his crown,
Some years before your birth, to Rogers.
Let every other bring his own.

“When coals to Newcastle are carried,
And owls sent to Athens, as wonders,
From his spouse when the * *’s unmarried,
Or Liverpool weeps o’er his blunders;
When Tories and Whigs cease to quarrel,
When C * *’s wife has an heir,
Then Rogers shall ask us for laurel,
And thou shalt have plenty to spare.”

The mention which he makes of Sheridan in the note just cited affords a fit opportunity of producing, from one of his Journals, some
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particulars which he has noted down respecting this extraordinary man, for whose talents he entertained the most unbounded admiration,rating him, in natural powers, far above all his great political contemporaries.

* * * * * * *

“In society I have met Sheridan frequently: he was superb! He had a sort of liking for me, and never attacked me, at least to my face, and he did every body else—high names, and wits, and orators, some of them poets also. I have seen him cut up Whitbread, quiz Madame de Staël, annihilate Colman, and do little less by some others (whose names, as friends, I set not down) of good fame and ability.

“The last time I met him was, I think, at Sir Gilbert Elliot’s, where he was as quick as ever—no, it was not the last time; the last time was at Douglas Kinnaird’s.

“I have met him in all places and parties—at Whitehall with the Melbournes, at the Marquis of Tavistock’s, at Robins’s the auctioneer’s, at Sir Humphrey Davy’s, at Sam Rogers’s,—in short, in most kinds of company, and always found him very convivial and delightful.

“I have seen Sheridan weep two or three times. It may be that he was maudlin; but this only renders it more impressive, for who would see
‘From Marlborough’s eyes the tears of dotage flow,
And Swift expire a driveller and a show?’
Once I saw him cry at
Robins’s the auctioneer’s, after a splendid dinner, full of great names and high spirits. I had the honour of sitting next to Sheridan. The occasion of his tears was some observation or other upon the subject of the sturdiness of the Whigs in resisting office and keeping to their principles: Sheridan turned round—‘Sir, it is easy for my Lord G. or Earl G. or Marquis B. or Lord H., with thousands upon thousands a year, some of it either presently derived, or inherited in sinecure or acquisitions from the public money, to boast of their patriotism and keep aloof from temptation; but they do not know from what temptation those have kept aloof who had equal pride, at least
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equal talents, and not unequal passions, and nevertheless knew not in the course of their lives what it was to have a shilling of their own.’ And in saying this be wept.

“I have more than once heard him say, ‘that he never had a shilling of his own.’ To be sure, he contrived to extract a good many of other people’s.

“In 1815, I had occasion to visit my lawyer in Chancery-lane: he was with Sheridan. After mutual greetings, &c., Sheridan retired first. Before recurring to my own business, I could not help inquiring that of Sheridan. ‘Oh,’ replied the attorney, ‘the usual thing! to stave off an action from his wine-merchant, my client.’—‘Well,’ said I, ‘and what do you mean to do?’—‘Nothing at all for the present,’ said he: ‘would you have us proceed against old Sherry? what would be the use of it?’ and here he began laughing, and going over Sheridan’s good gifts of conversation.

“Now, from personal experience, I can vouch that my attorney is by no means the tenderest of men, or particularly accessible to any kind of impression out of the statute or record; and yet Sheridan, in half an hour, had found the way to soften and seduce him in such a manner, that I almost think he would have thrown his client (an honest man, with all the laws, and some justice, on his side) out of the window, had he come in at the moment.

“Such was Sheridan! he could soften an attorney! There has been nothing like it since the days of Orpheus.

“One day I saw him take up his own ‘Monody on Garrick.’ He lighted upon the Dedication to the Dowager Lady * *. On seeing it, he flew into a rage, and exclaimed, ‘that it must be a forgery, that he had never dedicated any thing of his to such a d—d canting,’ &c. &c &c.—and so went on for half an hour abusing his own dedication, or at least the object of it. If all writers were equally sincere, it would be ludicrous.

“He told me that, on the night of the grand success of his School for Scandal, he was knocked down and put into the watch-house for making a row in the street, and being found intoxicated by the watchmen.

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“When dying, he was requested to undergo ‘an operation.’ He replied, that he had already submitted to two, which were enough for one man’s lifetime. Being asked what they were, he answered, ‘having his hair cut, and sitting for his picture.’

“I have met George Colman occasionally, and thought him extremely pleasant and convivial. Sheridan’s humour, or rather wit, was always saturnine, and sometimes savage; he never laughed (at least that I saw, and I watched him), but Colman did. If I had to choose, and could not have both at a time, I should say, ‘Let me begin the evening with Sheridan, and finish it with Colman.’ Sheridan for dinner, Colman for supper; Sheridan for claret or port, but Colman for every thing, from the madeira and champagne at dinner, the claret with a layer of port between the glasses, up to the punch of the night, and down to the grog, or gin and water, of daybreak;—all these I have threaded with both the same. Sheridan was a grenadier company of life-guards, but Colman a whole regiment—of light infantry, to be sure, but still a regiment.”

It was at this time that Lord Byron became acquainted (and, I regret to have to add, partly through my means) with Mr. Leigh Hunt, the editor of a well-known weekly journal, the Examiner. This gentleman I had myself formed an acquaintance with in the year 1811, and, in common with a large portion of the public, entertained a sincere admiration of his talents and courage as a journalist. The interest I took in him personally had been recently much increased by the manly spirit which he had displayed throughout a prosecution instituted against himself and his brother, for a libel that had appeared in their paper on the Prince Regent, and in consequence of which they were both sentenced to imprisonment for two years. It will be recollected that there existed among the Whig party, at this period, a strong feeling of indignation at the late defection from themselves and their principles of the illustrious personage who had been so long looked up to as the friend and patron of both. Being myself, at the time, warmly—perhaps, intemperately—under the influence of this feeling, I regarded the fate of Mr. Hunt with more than common interest, and, immediately on my arrival in town, paid him a visit in his prison. On mentioning the circumstance, soon after, to Lord Byron, and describing my surprise at the
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sort of luxurious comforts with which I had found the “wit in the dungeon” surrounded,—his trellised flower-garden without, and his books, busts, pictures, and piano-forte within,—the noble poet, whose political view of the case coincided entirely with my own, expressed a strong wish to pay a similar tribute of respect to Mr. Hunt, and accordingly, a day or two after, we proceeded for that purpose to the prison. The introduction which then took place was soon followed by a request from Mr. Hunt that we would dine with him, and the noble poet having good-naturedly accepted the invitation, the Cold Bath Fields prison had, in the month of June, 1813, the honour of receiving Lord Byron, as a guest, within its walls.

On the morning of our first visit to the journalist, I received from Lord Byron the following lines, written, it will be perceived, the night before.

“May 19th, 1813.
“Oh you, who in all names can tickle the town,
Anacreon, Tom Little, Tom Moore, or Tom Brown,—
For hang me if I know of which you may most brag,
Your Quarto two-pounds, or your Twopenny Post Bag;
* * * * * *
But now to my letter—to yours ’tis an answer—
To-morrow be with me, as soon as you can, sir,
All ready and dress’d for proceeding to spunge on
(According to compact) the wit in the dungeon
Pray Phœbus at length our political malice
May not get us lodgings within the same palace!
I suppose that to-night you’re engaged with some codgers,
And for Sotheby’s Blues have deserted Sam Rogers;
And I, though with cold I have nearly my death got,
Must put on my breeches, and wait on the Heathcote.
But to-morrow, at four, we will both play the Scurra,
And you’ll be Catullus, the R—t Mamurra.

“Dear M.—having got thus far, I am interrupted by * * * * 10 o’clock.

“Half-past 11. * * * * is gone. I must dress for Lady Heathcote’s.—Addio.”

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Our day in the prison was, if not agreeable, at least novel and odd. I had, for Lord Byron’s sake, stipulated with our host beforehand, that the party should be, as much as possible, confined to ourselves; and, as far as regarded dinner, my wishes had been attended to;—there being present, besides a member or two of Mr. Hunt’s own family, no other stranger, that I can recollect, but Mr. Mitchell, the ingenious translator of Aristophanes. Soon after dinner, however, there dropped in some of our host’s literary friends, who, being utter strangers to Lord Byron and myself; rather disturbed the ease into which we were all settling. Among these, I remember, was Mr. John Scott,—the writer, afterwards, of some severe attacks on Lord Byron; and it is painful to think that, among the persons then assembled round the poet, there should have been one so soon to step forth the assailant of his living fame, while another, less manful, would reserve the cool venom for his grave.

On the 2d of June, in presenting a petition to the House of Lords, he made his third, and last, appearance, as an orator, in that assembly. In his way home from the House that day, he called, I remember, at my lodgings, and found me dressing in a very great hurry for dinner. He was, I recollect, in a state of most humorous exaltation after his display, and, while I hastily went on with my task in the dressing-room, continued to walk up and down the adjoining chamber, spouting forth for me, in a sort of mock-heroic voice, detached sentences of the speech he had just been delivering. “I told them,” he said, “that it was a most flagrant violation of the Constitution—that, if such things were permitted, there was an end of English freedom, and that—” “But what was this dreadful grievance?” I asked, interrupting him in his eloquence.—“The grievance?” he repeated, pausing as if to consider—“Oh, that I forget*.” It is impossible, of course, to convey an idea of the dramatic humour with which he gave effect to these words; but his look and manner on such occasions were irresistibly comic, and it was, indeed, rather in such turns of fun and oddity than in any more elaborate exhibition of wit that the pleasantry of his conversation consisted.

* His speech was on presenting a Petition from Major Cartwright.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 403

Though it is evident that, after the brilliant success of Childe Harold, he had ceased to think of Parliament as an arena of ambition, yet, as a field for observation, we may take for granted it was not unstudied by him. To a mind of such quick and various views, every place and pursuit presented some aspect of interest; and whether in the ball-room, the boxing-school, or the senate, all must have been, by genius like his, turned to profit. The following are a few of the recollections and impressions which I find recorded by himself of his short parliamentary career.

“I have never heard any one who fulfilled my ideal of an orator. Grattan would have been near it, but for his harlequin delivery. Pitt I never heard. Fox but once, and then he struck me as a debater, which to me seems as different from an orator as an improvisatore, or a versifier, from a poet. Grey is great, but it is not oratory. Canning is sometimes very like one. Windham I did not admire, though all the world did; it seemed sad sophistry. Whitbread was the Demosthenes of bad taste and vulgar vehemence, but strong, and English. Holland is impressive from sense and sincerity. Lord Lansdowne good, but still a debater only. Grenville I like vastly, if he would prune his speeches down to an hour’s delivery. Burdett is sweet and silvery as Belial himself, and I think the greatest favourite in Pandemonium, at least I always heard the country gentlemen and the ministerial devilry praise his speeches up stairs, and run down from Bellamy’s when he was upon his legs. I heard Bob Milnes make his second speech; it made no impression. I like Ward—studied, but keen, and sometimes eloquent. Peel, my school and form-fellow (we sate within two of each other), strange to say, I have never heard, though I often wished to do so; but from what I remember of him at Harrow, he is, or should be, among the best of them. Now, I do not admire Mr. Wilberforce’s speaking; it is nothing but a flow of words—‘words, words alone.’

“I doubt greatly if the English have any eloquence, properly so called; and am inclined to think that the Irish had a great deal, and that the French will have, and have had in Mirabeau. Lord Chatham and Burke are the nearest approaches to orators in England. I don’t
404 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
know what
Erskine may have been at the bar, but in the House, I wish him at the bar once more. Lauderdale is shrill, and Scotch, and acute.

* * * * * * *

“But amongst all these, good, bad, and indifferent, I never heard the speech which was not too long for the auditors, and not very intelligible, except here and there. The whole thing is a grand deception, and as tedious and tiresome as may be to those who must be often present. I heard Sheridan only once, and that briefly, but I liked his voice, his manner, and his wit; and he is the only one of them I ever wished to hear at greater length.

“The impression of Parliament upon me was, that its members are not formidable as speakers, but very much so as an audience; because in so numerous a body there may be little eloquence (after all, there were but two thorough orators in all antiquity, and I suspect still fewer in modern times), but there must be a leaven of thought and good sense sufficient to make them know what is right, though they can’t express it nobly.

Horne Tooke and Roscoe both are said to have declared that they left Parliament with a higher opinion of its aggregate integrity and abilities than that with which they entered it. The general amount of both in most Parliaments is probably about the same, as also the number of speakers and their talent. I except orators, of course, because they are things of ages, and not of septennial or triennial reunions. Neither House ever struck me with more awe or respect than the same number of Turks in a divan, or of Methodists in a barn, would have done. Whatever diffidence or nervousness I felt (and I felt both, in a great degree) arose from the number rather than the quality of the assemblage, and the thought rather of the public without than the persons within,—knowing (as all know) that Cicero himself, and probably the Messiah, could never have altered the vote of a single lord of the bedchamber or bishop. I thought our House dull, but the other animating enough upon great days.

“I have heard that when Grattan made his first speech in the English Commons, it was for some minutes doubtful whether to laugh
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 405
at or cheer him*. The débût of his predecessor
Flood had been a complete failure under nearly similar circumstances. But when the ministerial part of our senators had watched Pitt (their thermometer) for the cue, and saw him nod repeatedly his stately nod of approbation, they took the hint from their huntsman, and broke out into the most rapturous cheers. Grattan’s speech, indeed, deserved them; it was a chef-d’œuvre. I did not hear that speech of his (being then at Harrow), but heard most of his others on the same question—also that on the war of 1815. I differed from his opinions on the latter question, but coincided in the general admiration of his eloquence.

“When I met old Courtenay, the orator, at Rogers the poet’s, in 1811-12, I was much taken with the portly remains of his fine figure, and the still acute quickness of his conversation. It was he who silenced Flood in the English House by a crushing reply to a hasty débût of the rival of Grattan in Ireland. I asked Courtenay (for I like to trace motives) if he had not some personal provocation; for the acrimony of his answer seemed to me, as I had read it, to involve it. Courtenay said ‘he had; that, when in Ireland (being an Irishman), at the bar of the Irish House of Commons, Flood had made a personal and unfair attack upon himself, who, not being a member of that House, could not defend himself, and that some years afterwards, the opportunity of retort offering in the English Parliament, he could not resist it.’ He certainly repaid Flood with interest, for Flood never made any figure, and only a speech or two afterwards, in the English House of Commons. I must except, however, his speech on Reform in 1790, which Fox called ‘the best he ever heard upon that subject.’”

For some time he had entertained thoughts of going again abroad; and it appeared, indeed, to be a sort of relief to him, whenever he felt melancholy or harassed, to turn to the freedom and solitude of a life of travel, as his resource. During the depression of spirits which he laboured under, while printing Childe Harold, “he would frequently,”

* Of Grattan he says, in another place,—“I was much struck with the simplicity of Grattan’s manners in private life;—they were odd, but they, were natural. Curran used to take him off, bowing to the very ground, and ‘thanking God that he had no peculiarities of gesture or appearance,’ in a way irresistibly ludicrous.”

406 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
Mr. Dallas, “talk of selling Newstead, and of going to reside at Naxos, in the Grecian Archipelago,—to adopt the eastern costume and customs, and to pass his time in studying the Oriental languages and literature.” The excitement of the triumph that soon after ensued, and the success which, in other pursuits besides those of literature, attended him, again diverted his thoughts from these migratory projects. But the roving fit soon returned; and we have seen, from one of his letters to Mr. William Bankes, that he looked forward to finding himself, in the course of this spring, among the mountains of his beloved Greece once more. For a time, this plan was exchanged for the more social project of accompanying his friends, the family of Lord Oxford, to Sicily; and it was while engaged in his preparatives for this expedition that the annexed letters were written.

“Maidenhead, June 13th, 1813.

“ * * * I have read the ‘Strictures,’ which are just enough, and not grossly abusive, in very fair couplets. There is a note against Massinger near the end, and one cannot quarrel with one’s company, at any rate. The author detects some incongruous figures in a passage of English Bards, page 23, but which edition I do not know. In the sole copy in your possession—I mean the fifth edition—you may make these alterations, that I may profit (though a little too late) by his remarks:—For ‘hellish instinct,’ substitute ‘brutal instinct;’ ‘harpies’ alter to ‘felons:’ and for ‘blood-hounds’ write ‘hell-hounds*.’ These be ‘very bitter words, by my troth,’ and the alterations not much sweeter; but as I shall not

* In an article on this Satire (written for Cumberland’s Review, but never printed) by that most amiable man and excellent poet, the late Rev. Wm. Crowe, the incongruity of these metaphors is thus noticed:—“Within the space of three or four couplets he transforms a man into as many different animals. Allow him but the compass of three lines, and he will metamorphose him from a wolf into a harpy, and in three more he will make him a bloodhound.”

There are also in this MS. critique some curious instances of oversight or ignorance adduced from the Satire; such as “Fish from Helicon—“Attic flowers Aonian odours breathe,” &c. &c.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 407
publish the thing, they can do no harm, but are a satisfaction to me in the way of amendment. The passage is only twelve lines.

“You do not answer me about H’s book; I want to write to him, and not to say any thing unpleasing. If you direct to Post-office, Portsmouth, till called for, I will send and receive your letter. You never told me of the forthcoming critique on Columbus, which is not too fair; and I do not think justice quite done to the ‘Pleasures,’ which surely entitle the author to a higher rank than that assigned him in the Quarterly. But I must not cavil at the decisions of the invisible infallibles; and the article is very well written. The general horror of ‘fragments’ makes me tremulous for the ‘Giaour;’ but you would publish it—I presume, by this time, to your repentance. But as I consented, whatever be its fate, I won’t now quarrel with you, even though I detect it in my pastry; but I shall not open a pie without apprehension for some weeks.

“The books which may be marked G. O. I will carry out. Do you know Clarke’s Naufragia? I am told that he asserts the first volume of Robinson Crusoe was written by the first Lord Oxford, when in the Tower, and given by him to Defoe; if true, it is a curious anecdote. Have you got back Lord Brooke’s MS.? and what does Heber say of it? Write to me at Portsmouth.

“Ever yours, &c.
“June 18th, 1813.

“Will you forward the enclosed answer to the kindest letter I ever received in my life, my sense of which I can neither express to Mr. Gifford himself nor to any one else.

“Ever yours,
408 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
“June 18th, 1813.

“I feel greatly at a loss how to write to you at all—still more to thank you as I ought. If you knew the veneration with which I have ever regarded you, long before I had the most distant prospect of becoming your acquaintance, literary or personal, my embarrassment would not surprise you.

“Any suggestion of yours, even were it conveyed in the less tender shape of the text of the Baviad, or a Monk Mason note in Massinger, would have been obeyed; I should have endeavoured to improve myself by your censure: judge then if I should be less willing to profit by your kindness, it is not for me to bandy compliments with my elders and my betters: I receive your approbation with gratitude, and will not return my brass for your gold, by expressing more fully those sentiments of admiration, which, however sincere, would, I know, be unwelcome.

“To your advice on religious topics, I shall equally attend. Perhaps the best way will be by avoiding them altogether. The already published objectionable passages have been much commented upon, but certainly have been rather strongly interpreted. I am no bigot to infidelity, and did not expect that, because I doubted the immortality of man, I should be charged with denying the existence of a God. It was the comparative insignificance of ourselves and our world, when placed in comparison with the mighty whole, of which it is an atom, that first led me to imagine that our pretensions to eternity might be overrated.

“This, and being early disgusted with a calvinistic Scotch school, where I was cudgelled to church for the first ten years of my life, afflicted me with this malady; for, after all, it is, I believe, a disease of the mind as much as other kinds of hypochondria.”

* * * * *

* The remainder of this letter, it appears, has been lost.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 409
“June 22d 1813.
* * * * * * *

“Yesterday I dined in company with ‘* *, the Epicene,’ whose politics are sadly changed. She is for the Lord of Israel and the Lord of Liverpool—a vile antithesis of a Methodist and a Tory—talks of nothing but devotion and the ministry, and, I presume, expects that God and the government will help her to a pension.

* * * * * * *

Murray, the αναξ of publishers, the Anac of stationers, has a design upon you in the paper line. He wants you to become the staple and stipendiary Editor of a periodical work. What say you? Will you be bound, like ‘Kit Smart, to write for ninety-nine years in the Universal Visitor?’ Seriously, he talks of hundreds a year, and—though I hate prating of the beggarly elements—his proposal may be to your honour and profit, and, I am very sure, will be to our pleasure.

“I don’t know what to say about ‘friendship.’ I never was in friendship but once, in my nineteenth year, and then it gave me as much trouble as love. I am afraid, as Whitbread’s sire said to the king, when he wanted to knight him, that I am ‘too old:’ but, nevertheless, no one wishes you more friends, fame, and felicity than

“Yours, &c

Having relinquished his design of accompanying the Oxfords to Sicily, he again thought of the East, as will be seen by the following letters, and proceeded so far in his preparations for the voyage as to purchase of Love, the jeweller, of Old Bond-street, about a dozen snuff-boxes, as presents for some of his old Turkish acquaintances.

410 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
“4, Benedictine-street, St. James’s, July 8th, 1813.

“I presume by your silence that I have blundered into something noxious in my reply to your letter, for the which I beg leave to send, beforehand, a sweeping apology, which you may apply to any, or all, parts of that unfortunate epistle. If I err in my conjecture, I expect the like from you, in putting our correspondence so long in quarantine. God he knows what I have said; but he also knows (if he is not as indifferent to mortals as the nonchalant deities of Lucretius), that you are the last person I want to offend. So, if I have,—why the devil don’t you say it at once, and expectorate your spleen?

Rogers is out of town with Madame de Staël, who hath published an Essay against Suicide, which, I presume, will make somebody shoot himself;—as a sermon by Blinkensop, in proof of Christianity, sent a hitherto most orthodox acquaintance of mine out of a chapel of ease a perfect atheist. Have you found or founded a residence yet? and have you begun or finished a Poem? If you won’t tell me what I have done, pray say what you have done, or left undone, yourself. I am still in equipment for voyaging, and anxious to hear from, or of, you before I go, which anxiety you should remove more readily, as you think I sha’n’t cogitate about you afterwards. I shall give the lie to that calumny by fifty foreign letters, particularly from any place where the plague is rife,—without a drop of vinegar or a whiff of sulphur to save you from infection. Pray write: I am sorry to say that * * * *.

“The Oxfords have sailed almost a fortnight, and my sister is in town, which is a great comfort—for, never having been much together, we are naturally more attached to each other. I presume the illuminations have conflagrated to Derby (or wherever you are) by this time. We are just recovering from tumult and train oil, and transparent fripperies, and all the noise and nonsense of victory. Drury-lane had a large M. W. which some thought was Marshal Wellington; others, that
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 411
it might be translated into
Manager Whitbread; while the ladies of the vicinity and the saloon conceived the last letter to be complimentary to themselves. I leave this to the commentators to illuminate. If you don’t answer this, I sha’n’t say what you deserve, but I think I deserve a reply. Do you conceive there is no Post-Bag but the Twopenny? Sunburn me, if you are not too bad.”

“July 13th, 1813.
* * * * * * *

“Your letter set me at ease; for I really thought (as I hear of your susceptibility) that I had said—I know not what—but something I should have been very sorry for, had it, or I, offended you;—though I don’t see how a man with a beautiful wife—his own children—quiet—fame—competency and friends (I will vouch for a thousand, which is more than I will for a unit in my own behalf), can be offended with any thing.

“Do you know, Moore, I am amazingly inclined—remember I say but inclined—to be seriously enamoured with Lady A. F.—but this * * has ruined all my prospects. However, you know her;—is she clever, or sensible, or good-tempered? either would do—I scratch out the will. I don’t ask as to her beauty—that I see; but my circumstances are mending, and were not my other prospects blackening, I would take a wife, and that should be the woman, had I a chance. I do not yet know her much, but better than I did. * * * *

“I want to get away, but find difficulty in compassing a passage in a ship of war. They had better let me go; if I cannot, patriotism is the word—‘nay, an’ they’ll mouth, I’ll rant as well as they.’ Now, what are you doing?—writing, we all hope, for our own sakes. Remember you must edite my posthumous works, with a Life of the Author, for which I will send you Confessions, dated ‘Lazaretto,’ Smyrna, Malta, or Palermo—one can die any where.

“There is to be a thing on Tuesday ycleped a national fete. The
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Regent and * * * are to be there, and every body else, who has shillings enough for what was once a guinea. Vauxhall is the scene—there are six tickets issued for the modest women, and it is supposed there will be three to spare. The passports for the lax are beyond my arithmetic.

“P.S. The Staël last night attacked me most furiously—said that I had ‘no right to make love—that I had used * * barbarously—that I had no feeling, and was totally insensible to la belle passion, and had been all my life.’ I am very glad to hear it, but did not know it before. Let me hear from you anon.”

“July 25th, 1813,

“I am not well versed enough in the ways of single woman to make much matrimonial progress. * * * * * * *

“I have been dining, like the dragon of Wantley for this last week. My head aches with the vintage of various cellars, and my brains are muddled as their dregs. I met your friends, the D * *s:—she sung one of your best songs so well, that, but for the appearance of affectation, I could have cried; he reminds me of Hunt, but handsomer, and more musical in soul, perhaps. I wish to God he may conquer his horrible anomalous complaint. The upper part of her face is beautiful, and she seems much attached to her husband. He is right, nevertheless, in leaving this nauseous town. The first winter would infallibly destroy her complexion,—and the second, very probably, every thing else.

“I must tell you a story. M * * (of indifferent memory) was dining out the other day, and complaining of the P—e’s coldness to his old wassailers. D’ * * (a learned Jew) bored him with questions—why this? and why that? ‘Why did the P—e act thus?’—‘Why, sir, on account of Lord * *, who ought to be ashamed of himself.’ ‘And why ought Lord * * to he ashamed of himself?;’—‘Because the P—e, sir, * * *
* * * *.’ ‘And why, sir, did the P—e cut you?’—‘Because, G—d
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 413
d—mme, sir, I stuck to my principles.’ ‘And why did you stick to your principles?’

“Is not this last question the best that ever was put, when you consider to whom? It nearly killed M * *. Perhaps you may think it stupid, but, as Goldsmith said about the peas, it was a very good joke when I heard it—as I did from an ear-witness—and is only spoilt in my narration.

“The season has closed with a Dandy Ball;—but I have dinners with the Harrowbys, Rogers, and Frere and Mackintosh, where I shall drink your health in a silent bumper, and regret your absence till ‘too much canaries’ wash away my memory, or render it superfluous by a vision of you at the opposite side of the table. Canning has disbanded his party by a speech from his * * * *—the true throne of a Tory. Conceive his turning them off in a formal harangue, and bidding them think for themselves. ‘I have led my ragamuffins where they are well peppered. There are but three of the 150 left alive, and they are for the Town’s-end (query, might not Falstaff mean the Bow-street officer? I dare say Malone’s posthumous edition will have it so) for life.’

“Since I wrote last, I have been into the country. I journeyed by night—no incident or accident, but an alarm on the part of my valet on the outside, who, in crossing Epping Forest, actually, I believe, flung down his purse before a mile-stone, with a glow-worm in the second figure of number XIX—mistaking it for a footpad and dark lantern. I can only attribute his fears to a pair of new pistols, wherewith I had armed him; and he thought it necessary to display his vigilance by calling out to me whenever we passed any thing—no matter whether moving or stationary. Conceive ten miles, with a tremor every furlong. I have scribbled you a fearfully long letter. This sheet must be blank, and is merely a wrapper, to preclude the tabellarians of the post from peeping. You once complained of my not writing;—I will heap ‘coals of fire upon your head’ by not complaining of your not reading. Ever, my dear Moore, your’n (isn’t that the Staffordshire termination?)

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“July 27th, 1813.

“When you next imitate the style of ‘Tacitus,’ pray add, ‘de moribus Germanorum;’—this last was a piece of barbarous silence, and could only be taken from the Woods, and, as such, I attribute it entirely to your sylvan sequestration at Mayfield Cottage. You will find, on casting up accounts, that you are my debtor by several sheets and one epistle. I shall bring my action;—if you don’t discharge, expect to hear from my attorney. I have forwarded your letter to Ruggiero; but don’t make a postman of me again, for fear I should be tempted to violate your sanctity of wax or wafer.

“Believe me ever yours indignantly,
“July 28th, 1813.

“Can’t you be satisfied with the pangs of my jealousy of Rogers, without actually making me the pander of your epistolary intrigue? This is the second letter you have enclosed to my address, notwithstanding a miraculous long answer, and a subsequent short one or two of your own. If you do so again, I can’t tell to what pitch my fury may soar. I shall send you verse or arsenic, as likely as any thing,—four thousand couplets on sheets beyond the privilege of franking; that privilege, sir, of which you take an undue advantage over a too susceptible senator, by forwarding your lucubrations to every one but himself. I won’t frank from you, or for you, or to you—may I be curst if I do, unless you mend your manners. I disown you—I disclaim you—and by all the powers of Eulogy, I will write a panegyric upon you—or dedicate a quarto—if you don’t make me ample amends.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 415

“P.S. I am in training to dine with Sheridan and Rogers this evening. I have a little spite against R. and will shed his ‘Clary wines pottle-deep.’ This is nearly my ultimate or penultimate letter; for I am quite equipped, and only wait a passage. Perhaps I may wait a few weeks for Sligo; but not if I can help it.”

He had, with the intention of going to Greece, applied to Mr. Croker, the Secretary of the Admiralty, to procure him a passage on board a king’s ship to the Mediterranean; and, at the request of this gentleman, Captain Barlton, of the Boyne, who was just then ordered to reinforce Sir Edward Pellew, consented to receive Lord Byron into his cabin for the voyage. To the letter announcing this offer, the following is the reply.

“Bt. Str. August 2d, 1813.

“I was honoured with your unexpected* and very obliging letter when on the point of leaving London, which prevented me from acknowledging my obligation as quickly as I felt it sincerely. I am endeavouring all in my power to be ready before Saturday—and even if I should not succeed, I can only blame my own tardiness, which will not the less enhance the benefit I have lost. I have only to add my hope of forgiveness for all my trespasses on your time and patience, and with my best wishes for your public and private welfare, I have the honour to be, most truly,

“Your obliged and most obedient servant,

* He calls the letter of Mr. Croker “unexpected,” because, in their previous correspondence and interviews on the subject, that gentleman had not been able to hold out so early a prospect of a passage, nor one which was likely to be so agreeable in point of society.

416 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.

So early as the autumn of this year, a fifth edition of the Giaour was required; and again his fancy teemed with fresh materials for its pages. The verses commencing “The browsing camels’ bells are tinkling,” and the four pages that follow the line, “Yes, love indeed is light from heaven,” were all added at this time. Nor had the overflowings of his mind even yet ceased, as I find in the Poem, as it exists at present, still further additions,—and, among them, those four brilliant lines,—

“She was a form of life and light,
That, seen, became a part of sight,
And rose, where’er I turn’d mine eye,
The Morning-star of memory!”

The following notes and letters to Mr. Murray, during these outpourings, will show how irresistible was the impulse under which he vented his thoughts.

“If you send more proofs, I shall never finish this infernal story—‘Ecce signum’—thirty-three more lines enclosed! to the utter discomfiture of the printer, and, I fear, not to your advantage.

“Half past two in the morning, August 10th, 1813.

“Pray suspend the proofs, for I am bitten again, and have quantities for other parts of the bravura. Yours ever,


“P.S. You shall have them in the course of the day.”

“August 26th, 1813.

“I have looked over and corrected one proof, but not so carefully (God knows if you can read it through, but I can’t) as to preclude your eye from discovering some omission of mine or commission of your
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 417
printer. If you have patience, look it over. Do you know any body who can stop—I mean point—commas, and so forth? for I am, I hear, a sad hand at your punctuation. I have, but with some difficulty, not added any more to this snake of a Poem, which has been lengthening its rattles every month. It is now fearfully long, being more than a Canto and a half of
Childe Harold, which contains but 882 lines per book, with all late additions inclusive.

“The last lines Hodgson likes. It is not often he does, and when he don’t, he tells me with great energy, and I fret and alter. I have thrown them in to soften the ferocity of our Infidel, and, for a dying man, have given him a good deal to say for himself. * * * *

“I was quite sorry to hear you say you staid in town on my account, and I hope sincerely you did not mean so superfluous a piece of politeness.

“Our six critiques!—they would have made half a Quarterly by themselves; but this is the age of criticism.”

The following refer apparently to a still later edition.

“Stilton, Oct. 3d, 1813.

“I have just recollected an alteration you may make in the proof to be sent to Aston.—Among the lines on Hassan’s Serai, not far from the beginning, is this—
“Unmeet for Solitude to share.
Now to share implies more than one, and Solitude is a single gentleman; it must be thus—
“For many a gilded chamber’s there,
Which Solitude might well forbear;
and so on.—My address is Aston-Hall, Rotherham.

418 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.

“Will you adopt this correction? and pray accept a Stilton cheese from me for your trouble. Ever yours, “B.”

“If* the old line stands, let the other run thus—

“Nor there will weary traveller halt,
To bless the sacred bread and salt.

Note.—To partake of food—to break bread and taste salt with your host, ensures the safety of the guest; even though an enemy, his person from that moment becomes sacred.

“There is another additional note sent yesterday—on the Priest in the Confessional.

“P.S. I leave this to your discretion; if any body thinks the old line a good one, or the cheese a bad one, don’t accept either. But, in that case, the word share is repeated soon after in the line—
“To share the master’s bread and salt;
and must be altered to—
“To break the master’s bread and salt.
This not so well, though—confound it!”

“Oct. 12th, 1813.

You must look the Giaour again over carefully; there are a few lapses, particularly in the last page.—‘I know ’twas false; she could not die;’ it was, and ought to be—‘I knew.’ Pray observe this and similar mistakes.

“I have received and read the British Review. I really think the writer in most points very right. The only mortifying thing is the

* This is written on a separate slip of paper enclosed.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 419
accusation of imitation.
Crabbe’s passage I never saw*; and Scott I no further meant to follow than in his lyric measure, which is Gray’s, Milton’s, and any one’s who likes it. The Giaour is certainly a bad character, but not dangerous; and I think his fate and his feelings will meet with few proselytes. I shall be very glad to hear from or of you, when you please; but don’t put yourself out of your way on my account.”

“Bennet-street, August 22nd, 1813.
* * * * *

“As our late—I might say, deceased—correspondence had too much of the town-life leaven in it, we will now, ‘paulo majora,’ prattle a little of literature in all its branches; and first of the first—criticism. The Prince is at Brighton, and Jackson, the boxer, gone to Margate, having, I believe, decoyed Yarmouth to see a milling in that polite neighbourhood. Made. de Staël Holstein has lost one of her young barons, who has been carbonadoed by a vile Teutonic adjutant,—kilt and killed in a coffee-house at Scrawsenhawsen. Corinne is, of course, what all mothers must be,—but will, I venture to prophesy, do what few mothers could—write an Essay upon it. She cannot exist without a grievance—and somebody to see, or read, how much grief becomes her. I have not seen her since the event; but merely judge (not very charitably) from prior observation.

* The passage referred to by the Reviewers is in the Poem entitled “Resentment;” and the following is, I take for granted, the part which Lord Byron is accused by them of having imitated.

“Those are like wax—apply them to the fire,
Melting, they take th’ impressions you desire;
Easy to mould, and fashion as you please,
And again moulded with an equal ease:
Like smelted iron these the forms retain,
But, once impress’d, will never melt again.”

420 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.

“In a ‘mail-coach copy’ of the Edinburgh, I perceive the Giaour is 2d article. The numbers are still in the Leith smack—pray, which way is the wind? The said article is so very mild and sentimental, that it must be written by Jeffrey in love;—you know he is gone to America to marry some fair one, of whom he has been, for several quarters, éperdument amoureux. Seriously—as Winifred Jenkins says of Lismahago—Mr. Jeffrey (or his deputy) ‘has done the handsome thing by me,’ and I say nothing. But this I will say,—if you and I had knocked one another on the head in his quarrel, how he would have laughed, and what a mighty bad figure we should have cut in our posthumous works. By the by, I was called in the other day to mediate between two gentlemen bent upon carnage, and,—after a long struggle between the natural desire of destroying one’s fellow-creatures, and the dislike of seeing men play the fool for nothing,—I got one to make an apology, and the other to take it, and left them to live happy ever after. One was a peer, the other a friend untitled, and both fond of high play;—and one, I can swear for, though very mild, ‘not fearful,’ and so dead a shot, that, though the other is the thinnest of men, he would have split him like a cane. They both conducted themselves very well, and I put them out of pain as soon as I could.

* * * * *

“There is an American Life of G. F. Cooke, Scurra deceased, lately published. Such a book!—I believe, since Drunken Barnaby’s Journal, nothing like it has drenched the press. All green-room and tap-room—drams and the drama—brandy, whisky-punch, and, latterly, toddy, overflow every page. Two things are rather marvellous—first, that man should live so long drunk, and, next, that he should have found a sober biographer. There are some very laughable things in it, nevertheless;—but the pints he swallowed and the parts he performed are too regularly registered.

“All this time you wonder I am not gone: so do I; but the accounts of the plague are very perplexing—not so much for the thing itself as the quarantine established in all ports, and from all places, even from England. It is true the forty or sixty days would, in all probability, be
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 421
as foolishly spent on shore as in the ship; but one likes to have one’s choice, nevertheless. Town is awfully empty; but not the worse for that. I am really puzzled with my perfect ignorance of what I mean to do;—not stay, if I can help it, but where to go*?
Sligo is for the North,—a pleasant place, Petersburgh, in September, with one’s ears and nose in a muff, or else tumbling into one’s neckcloth or pocket-handkerchief! If the winter treated Buonaparte with so little ceremony, what would it inflict upon your solitary traveller?—Give me a sun, I care not how hot, and sherbet, I care not how cool, and my Heaven is as easily made as your Persian’s†. The Giaour is now 1000 and odd lines. ‘Lord Fanny spins a thousand such a day,’ eh, Moore?—thou wilt needs be a wag, but I forgive it. “Yours ever,


“P.S. I perceive I have written a flippant and rather cold-hearted letter; let it go, however. I have said nothing, either, of the brilliant sex; but the fact is, I am, at this moment, in a far more serious, and entirely new, scrape than any of the last twelvemonth,—and that is saying a good deal. * * *  It is unlucky we can neither live with nor without these women.

“I am now thinking and regretting that, just as I have left Newstead, you reside near it. Did you ever see it? do—but don’t tell me that you like it. If I had known of such intellectual neighbourhood, I don’t think I should have quitted it. You could have come over so

* One of his travelling projects appears to have been a visit to Abyssinia:—at least, I have found, among his papers, a letter founded on that supposition, in which the writer entreats of him to procure information concerning “a kingdom of Jews mentioned by Bruce as residing on the mountain of Samen in that country. I have had the honour,” he adds, “of some correspondence with the Rev. Dr. Buchanan and the reverend and learned G. S. Faber, on the subject of the existence of this kingdom of Jews, which, if it prove to be a fact, will more clearly elucidate many of the scripture prophecies; . . . . . . . . . and if Providence favours your lordship’s mission to Abyssinia, an intercourse might be established between England and that country, and the English ships, according to the Rev. Mr. Faber, might be the principal meant of transporting the kingdom of Jews, now in Abyssinia, to Egypt, in their way to their own country, Palestine.”

† “A Persian’s Heav’n is easily made—
’Tis but black eyes and lemonade.”

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often, as a bachelor,—for it was a thorough bachelor’s mansion—plenty of wine and such sordid sensualities—with books enough, room enough, and an air of antiquity about all (except the lasses) that would have suited you, when pensive, and served you to laugh at when in glee. I had built myself a bath and a vault—and now I sha’n’t even be buried in it. It is odd that we can’t even be certain of a grave, at least a particular one. I remember, when about fifteen, reading your poems there,—which I can repeat almost now,—and asking all kinds of questions about the author, when I heard that he was not dead according to the preface; wondering if I should ever see him—and though, at that time, without the smallest poetical propensity myself, very much taken, as you may imagine, with that volume. Adieu—I commit you to the care of the gods.—Hindoo, Scandinavian, and Hellenic!

“P.S. 2d. There is an excellent review of Grimm’s Correspondence and Made. de Staël in this No. of the E. R. * * * * * Jeffrey, himself, was my critic last year; but this is, I believe, by another hand. I hope you are going on with your grand coup—pray do—or that damned Lucien Buonaparte will beat us all. I have seen much of his poem in MS., and he really surpasses every thing beneath Tasso. Hodgson is translating him against another bard. You and (I believe, Rogers) Scott, Gifford and myself, are to be referred to as judges between the twain,—that is, if you accept the office. Conceive our different opinions! I think we, most of us (I am talking very impudently you will think—us, indeed!) have a way of our own,—at least, you and Scott certainly have.”

“August 28th, 1813.

“Ay, my dear Moore, ‘there was a time’—I have heard of your tricks, when ‘you was campaigning at the King of Bohemy.’ I am much mistaken if, some fine London spring, about the year 1815, that time does not come again. After all, we must end in marriage; and I
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 423
can conceive nothing more delightful than such a state in the country, reading the county newspaper, &c. and kissing one’s wife’s maid. Seriously, I would incorporate with any woman of decent demeanour to-morrow—that is, I would a month ago, but, at present, * * * * *.

“Why don’t you ‘parody that Ode*?’—Do you think I should be tetchy? or have you done it, and won’t tell me?—You are quite right about Giamsehid, and I have reduced it to a dissyllable within this half-hour†. I am glad to hear you talk of Richardson, because it tells me what you won’t—that you are going to beat Lucien. At least, tell me how far you have proceeded. Do you think me less interested about your works, or less sincere than our friend Ruggiero? I am not—and never was. In that thing of mine, the ‘English Bards,’ at the time when I was angry with all the world, I never ‘disparaged your parts,’ although I did not know you personally;—and have always regretted that you don’t give us an entire work, and not sprinkle yourself in detached pieces—beautiful, I allow, and quite alone in our language‡, but still giving us a right to expect a Shah Nameh (is that the name?) as well as Gazels.

* The Ode of Horace,
“Natis in usum lætitiæ,” &c.
some passages of which I told him might be parodied, in allusion to some of his late adventure,

“Quanta laboras in Charybdi!
Digne puer meliore flammâ!”

† In his first edition of the Giaour he had used this word as a trisyllable,—“Bright as the gem of Giasmchid,”—but on my remarking to him, upon the authority of Richardson’s Persian Dictionary, that this was incorrect, he altered it to “Bright as the ruby of Giamschid.” On seeing this, however, I wrote to him “that, as the comparison of his heroine’s eye to a ‘ruby’ might unluckily call up the idea of its being bloodshot, he had better change the line to ‘Bright as the jewel of Giamschid;’”—which he accordingly did in the following edition.

‡ Having already endeavoured to obviate the charge of vanity to which I am aware I expose myself by being thus accessory to the publication of eulogies, so warm and so little merited, on myself, I shall here only add, that it will abundantly console me under such a charge, if, in whatever degree the judgment of my noble friend may be called in question for these praises, he shall, in the same proportion, receive credit for the good-nature—and warm-heartedness by which they were dictated.

424 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.

Stick to the East;—the oracle, Staël, told me it was the only poetical policy. The North, South, and West, have all been exhausted; but from the East, we have nothing but S * *’s unsaleables,—and these he has contrived to spoil, by adopting only their most outrageous fictions. His personages don’t interest us, and yours will. You will have no competitor; and, if you had, you ought to be glad of it. The little I have done in that way is merely a ‘voice in the wilderness’ and, if it has had any success, that also will prove that the public are orientalizing, and pave the path for you.

“I have been thinking of a story, grafted on the amours of a Peri and a mortal—something like, only more philanthropical than, Cazotte’s Diable Amoureux. It would require a good deal of poesy, and tenderness is not my forte. For that, and other reasons, I have given up the idea, and merely suggest it to you, because, in intervals of your greater work, I think it a subject you might make much of*. If you want any more books, there is Castellan’s Mœurs des Ottomans,’ the best compendium of the kind I ever met with, in six small tomes. I am really taking a liberty by talking in this style to my ‘elders and my betters;’—pardon it, and don’t Rochefoucault my motives.”

“August—September, I mean—1st. 1813.

“I send you, begging your acceptance, Castellan, and three vols. on Turkish Literature, not yet looked into. The last I will thank you to

* I had already, singularly enough, anticipated this suggestion, by making the daughter of a Peri the heroine of one of my stories, and detailing the love-adventures of her parent in an episode. In acquainting Lord Byron with this circumstance, in my answer to the above letter, I added, “All I ask of your friendship is—not that you will abstain from Peris on my account, for that if too much to ask of human (or, at least, author’s) nature—but that, whenever you mean to pay your addresses to any of these aerial ladies, you will, at once, tell me frankly and instantly, and let me, at least, have my choice whether I shall be desperate enough to go on, with such a rival, or at once surrender the whole race into your hands, and take, far the future, to Antediluvians with Mr Montgomery.”

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 425
read, extract what you want, and return in a week, as they are lent to me by that brightest of Northern constellations,
Mackintosh,—amongst many other kind things into which India has warmed him, for I am sure your home Scotsman is of a less genial description.

“Your Peri, my dear M., is sacred and inviolable; I have no idea of touching the hem of her petticoat. Your affectation of a dislike to encounter me is so flattering, that I begin to think myself a very fine fellow. But you are laughing at me—‘stap my vitals, Tam! thou art a very impudent person;’ and, if you are not laughing at me, you deserve to be laughed at. Seriously, what on earth can you or have you, to dread from any poetical flesh breathing? It really puts me out of humour to hear you talk thus.

* * * * * *

“The ‘Giaour’ I have added to a good deal; but still in foolish fragments. It contains about 1200 lines, or rather more—now printing. You will allow me to send you a copy. You delight me much by telling me that I am in your good graces, and more particularly as to temper; for, unluckily, I have the reputation of a very bad one. But they say the devil is amusing when pleased, and I must have been more venomous than the old serpent, to have hissed or stung in your company. It may be, and would appear to a third person, an incredible thing, but I know you will believe me when I say that I am as anxious for your success as one human being can be for another’s,—as much as if I had never scribbled a line. Surely the field of fame is wide enough for all; and if it were not, I would not willingly rob my neighbour of a rood of it. Now you have a pretty property of some thousand acres there, and when you have passed your present Inclosure Bill, your income will be doubled (there’s a metaphor, worthy of a Templar, namely, pert and low), while my wild common is too remote to incommode you, and quite incapable of such fertility. I send you (which return per post, as the printer would say) a curious letter from a friend of mine*, which will let you into the origin of ‘the Giaour.’ Write soon.

“Ever, dear Moore, yours most entirely, &c.

“P.S. This letter was written to me on account of a different story

* The letter of Lord Sligo, already given.

426 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
circulated by some gentlewomen of our acquaintance, a little too close to the text. The part erased contained merely some Turkish names, and circumstantial evidence of the girl’s detection, not very important or decorous.”

“Sept. 5, 1813.

“You need not tie yourself down to a day with Toderini, but send him at your leisure, having anatomized him into such annotations as you want; I do not believe that he has ever undergone that process before, which is the best reason for not sparing him now.

* * has returned to town, but not yet recovered of the Quarterly. What fellows these reviewers are! ‘these bugs do fear us all.’ They made you fight, and me (the milkiest of men) a satirist, and will end by making * * madder than Ajax. I have been reading Memory again, the other day, and Hope together, and retain all my preference of the former. His elegance is really wonderful—there is no such thing as a vulgar line in his book. * * * * * * * * *

“What say you to Buonaparte? Remember, I back him against the field, barring Catalepsy and the Elements. Nay, I almost wish him success against all countries but this,—were it only to choke the Morning Post, and his undutiful father-in-law, with that rebellious bastard of Scandinavian adoption, Bernadotte. Rogers wants me to go with him on a crusade to the Lakes, and to besiege you on our way. This last is a great temptation, but I fear it will not be in my power, unless you would go on with one of us somewhere—no matter where. It is too late for Matlock, but we might hit upon some scheme, high life or low,—the last would be much the best for amusement. I am so sick of the other, that I quite sigh for a cider-cellar, or a cruise in a smuggler’s sloop.

“You cannot wish more than I do that the Fates were a little more accommodating to our parallel lines, which prolong ad infinitum without coming a jot the nearer. I almost wish I were married, too—which is saying much. All my friends, seniors and juniors, are in for it and ask
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 427
me to be godfather,—the only species of parentage which, I believe, will ever come to my share in a lawful way; and, in an unlawful one, by the blessing of Lucina, we can never be certain,—though the parish may. I suppose I shall hear from you to-morrow. If not, this goes as it is; but I leave room for a P.S., in case any thing requires an answer. Ever, &c.

“No letter.—n’importe. R. thinks the Quarterly will be at me this time: if so, it shall be a war of extermination—no quarter. From the youngest devil down to the oldest woman of that Review, all shall perish by one fatal lampoon. The ties of nature shall be torn asunder, for I will not even spare my bookseller; nay, if one were to include readers also, all the better.”

“Sept. 8, 1813.

“I am sorry to see Tod. again so soon, for fear your scrupulous conscience should have prevented you from fully availing yourself of his spoils. By this coach I send you a copy of that awful pamphlet ‘the Giaour,’ which has never procured me half so high a compliment as your modest alarm. You will (if inclined in an evening) perceive that I have added much in quantity,—a circumstance which may truly diminish your modesty upon the subject.

“You stand certainly in great need of a ‘lift’ with Mackintosh. My dear Moore, you strangely underrate yourself. I should conceive it an affectation in any other; but I think I know you well enough to believe that you don’t know your own value. However, ’tis a fault that generally mends; and, in your case, it really ought. I have heard him speak of you as highly as your wife could wish; and enough to give all your friends the jaundice.

“Yesterday I had a letter from Ali Pacha! brought by Doctor Holland, who is just returned from Albania. It is in Latin, and begins ‘Excellentissime, nec non Carissime,’ and ends about a gun he wants made for him;—it is signed ‘Ali Vizir.’ What do you think he has
428 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
been about? H. tells me that, last spring, he took a hostile town, where, forty-two years ago, his mother and sisters were treated as Miss Cunigunde was by the Bulgarian cavalry. He takes the town, selects all the survivors of this exploit—children, grand-children, &c. to the tune of six hundred, and has them shot before his face. Recollect, he spared the rest of the city, and confined himself to the Tarquin pedigree.—which is more than I would. So much for ‘dearest friend.’”

“Sept. 9. 1813.

“I write to you from Murray’s, and I may say, from Murray, who, if you are not predisposed in favour of any other publisher, would be happy to treat with you, at a fitting time, for your work. I can safely recommend him, as fair, liberal, and attentive, and certainly, in point of reputation, he stands among the first of ‘the trade.’ I am sure he would do you justice. I have written to you so much lately, that you will be glad to see so little now. Ever, &c. &c.”

“September 27, 1813.

“(Thou wilt never be called ‘true Thomas,’ like He of Ercildoune), why don’t you write to me?—as you won’t, I must. I was near you at Aston the other day, and hope I soon shall be again. If so, you must and shall meet me, and go to Matlock and elsewhere and take what, in flash dialect, is poetically termed ‘a lark,’ with Rogers and me for accomplices. Yesterday, at Holland-house, I was introduced to Southey—the best looking bard I have seen for some time. To have that poet’s head and shoulders, I would almost have written his Sapphics. He is certainly a prepossessing person to look on, and a man of talent, and all that, and—there is his eulogy.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 429

“ * * read me part of a letter from you. By the foot of Pharaoh, I believe there was abuse, for he stopped short, so he did, after a fine saying about our correspondence, and looked—I wish I could revenge myself by attacking you, or by telling you that I have had to defend you—an agreeable way which one’s friends have of recommending themselves by saying—‘Ay, ay, I gave it Mr. Such-a-one for what he said about your being a plagiary and a rake, and so on.’ But do you know that you are one of the very few whom I never have the satisfaction of hearing abused, but the reverse;—and do you suppose I will forgive that?

“I have been in the country, and ran away from the Doncaster races. It is odd,—I was a visitor in the same house which came to my sire as a residence with Lady Carmarthen (with whom he adulterated before his majority—by the by, remember, she was not my mamma)—and they thrust me into an old room, with a nauseous picture over the chimney, which I should suppose my papa regarded with due respect, and which, inheriting the family taste, I looked upon with great satisfaction. I staid a week with the family, and behaved very well—though the lady of the house is young and religious, and pretty, and the master is my particular friend. I felt no wish for any thing but a poodle dog, which they kindly gave me. Now, for a man of my courses, not even to have coveted is a sign of great amendment. Pray pardon all this nonsense, and don’t ‘snub me when I’m in spirits.’

“Ever yours,

“Here’s an impromptu for you by a ‘person of quality,’ written last week, on being reproached for low spirits.

“When from the heart where Sorrow sits*,
Her dusky shadow mounts too high,
And o’er the changing aspect flits,
And clouds the brow, or fills the eye:
Heed not that gloom, which soon shall sink;
My Thoughts their dungeon know too well—
Back to my breast the wanderers shrink,
And bleed within their silent cell.”

* Now printed in his Works.

430 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
“October 2, 1813.

You have not answered some six letters of mine. This, therefore, is my penultimate. I will write to you once more, but, after that—I swear by all the saints—I am silent and supercilious. I have met Curran at Holland-house—he beats every body;—his imagination is beyond human, and his humour (it is difficult to define what is wit) perfect. Then he has fifty faces, and twice as many voices, when he mimics;—I never met his equal. Now, were I a woman, and eke a virgin, that is the man I should make my Scamander. He is quite fascinating. Remember, I have met him but once; and you, who have known him long, may probably deduct from my panegyric. I almost fear to meet him again, lest the impression should be lowered. He talked a great deal about you—a theme never tiresome to me, nor any body else that I know. What a variety of expression he conjures into that naturally not very fine countenance of his! He absolutely changes it entirely. I have done—for I can’t describe him, and you know him. On Sunday I return to * *, where I shall not be far from you. Perhaps I shall hear from you in the mean time. Good night.

“Saturday morn.—Your letter has cancelled all my anxieties: I did not suspect you in earnest. Modest again! Because I don’t do a very shabby thing, it seems, I ‘don’t fear your competition.’ If it were reduced to an alternative of preference, I should dread you, as much as Satan does Michael. But is there not room enough in our respective regions? Go on—it will soon be my turn to forgive. Today I dine with Mackintosh and Mrs. Stale—as John Bull may be pleased to denominate Corinne—whom I saw last night, at Covent-garden, yawning over the humour of Falstaff.

“The reputation of ‘gloom,’ if one’s friends are not included in the reputants, is of great service; as it saves one from a legion of impertinents, in the shape of common-place acquaintance. But thou know’st I can be a right merry and conceited fellow, and rarely ‘larmoyant.’
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Murray shall reinstate your line forthwith*. I believe the blunder in the motto was mine;—and yet I have, in general, a memory for you, and am sure it was rightly printed at first.

“I do ‘blush’ very often, if I may believe Ladies H. and M.—but luckily, at present, no one sees me. Adieu.”

“November 30th, 1813.

“Since I last wrote to you, much has occurred, good, bad, and indifferent,—not to make me forget you, but to prevent me from reminding you of one who, nevertheless, has often thought of you, and to whom your thoughts, in many a measure, have frequently been a consolation. We were once very near neighbours this autumn; and a good and bad neighbourhood it has proved to me. Suffice it to say, that your French quotation was confoundedly to the purpose,—though very unexpectedly pertinent, as you may imagine by what I said before, and my silence since. * * * * * * * * * * However, ‘Richard’s himself again,’ and, except all night and some part of the morning, I don’t think very much about the matter.

“All convulsions end with me in rhyme; and, to solace my midnights, I have scribbled another Turkish story†—not a Fragment—which you will receive soon after this. It does not trench upon your kingdom in the least, and, if it did, you would soon reduce me to my proper boundaries. You will think, and justly, that I run some risk of losing the little I have gained in fame, by this further experiment on public patience; but I have really ceased to care on that head. I have written this, and published it, for the sake of the employment,—to wring my thoughts from reality, and take refuge in ‘imaginings,’ however

* The motto to the Giaour, which is taken from one of the Irish Melodies, had been quoted by him incorrectly in the first editions of the Poem. He made afterwards a similar mistake in the lines from Burns prefixed to the Bride of Abydos.

† The Bride of Abydos.

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‘horrible;’ and, as to success! those who succeed will console me for a failure—excepting yourself and one or two more, whom luckily I love too well to wish one leaf of their laurels a tint yellower. This is the work of a week, and will be the reading of an hour to you, or even less, —and so, let it go   * * * * *.

“P.S. Ward and I talk of going to Holland. I want to see how a Dutch canal looks, after the Bosphorus. Pray respond.”

“December 8th, 1813.

“Your letter, like all the best, and even kindest, things in this world, is both painful and pleasing. But, first, to what sits nearest. Do you know I was actually about to dedicate to you,—not in a formal inscription, as to one’s elders,—but through a short prefatory letter, in which I boasted myself your intimate, and held forth the prospect of your Poem; when, lo, the recollection of your strict injunctions of secrecy as to the said Poem, more than once repeated by word and letter, flashed upon me, and marred my intents. I could have no motive for repressing my own desire of alluding to you (and not a day passes that I do not think and talk of you), but an idea that you might, yourself, dislike it. You cannot doubt my sincere admiration, waving personal friendship for the present, which, by the by, is not less sincere and deep rooted. I have you by rote and by heart; of which ‘ecce signum!’ When I was at * *, on my first visit, I have a habit, in passing my time a good deal alone, of—I won’t call it singing, for that I never attempt except to myself—but of uttering, to what I think tunes, your ‘Oh breathe not,’ ‘When the last glimpse,’ and ‘When he who adores thee; with others of the same minstrel;—they are my matins and vespers. I assuredly did not intend them to be overheard, but, one morning, in comes, not La Donna, but Il Marito, with a very grave face, saying, ‘Byron, I must request you won’t sing any more, at least of those songs.’ I stared, and said, ‘Certainly, but why?’—‘To tell you the truth,’ quoth he,
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 433
they make my wife cry, and so melancholy, that I wish her to hear no more of them.’

“Now, my dear M., the effect must have been from your words, and certainly not my music. I merely mention this foolish story, to show you how much I am indebted to you for even your pastimes. A man may praise and praise, but no one recollects but that which pleases—at least, in composition. Though I think no one equal to you in that department, or in satire,—and surely no one was ever so popular in both,—I certainly am of opinion that you have not yet done all you can do, though more than enough for any one else. I want, and the world expects, a longer work from you; and I see in you what I never saw in poet before, a strange diffidence of your own powers, which I cannot account for, and which must be unaccountable, when a Cossac like me can appal a cuirassier. Your story I did not, could not, know,—I thought only of a Peri. I wish you had confided in me, not for your sake, but mine, and to prevent the world from losing a much better poem than my own, but which, I yet hope, this clashing will not even now deprive them of*. Mine is the work of a week, written, why I have partly told you, and partly I cannot tell you by letter—some day I will.

* * * * *

“Go on—I shall really be very unhappy if I at all interfere with you. The success of mine is yet problematical; though the public will pro-

* Among the stories, intended to be introduced into Lalla Rookh, which I had begun, but, from various causes, never finished, there was one which I had made some progress in, at the time of the appearance of “the Bride,” and which, on reading that Poem, I found to contain such singular coincidences with it, not only in locality and costume, but in plot and characters, that I immediately gave up my story altogether, and began another on an entirely new subject, the Fire-worshippers. To this circumstance, which I immediately communicated to him, Lord Byron alludes in this letter. In my hero (to whom I had even given the name of “Zelim,” and who was a descendant of Ali, outlawed, with all his followers, by the reigning Caliph,) it was my intention to shadow out, as I did afterwards in another form, the national cause of Ireland. To quote the words of my latter to Lord Byron on the subject:—“I chose this story because one writes best about what one feels most, and I thought the parallel with Ireland would enable me to infuse some vigour into my hero’s character. But to aim at vigour and strong feeling after you, is hopeless;—that region was made for Cæsar.’”

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bably purchase a certain quantity, on the presumption of their own propensity for ‘
the Giaour’ and such ‘horrid mysteries.’ The only advantage I have is being on the spot; and that merely amounts to saving me the trouble of turning over books, which I had better read again. If your chamber was furnished in the same way, you have no need to go there to describe—I mean only as to accuracy—because I drew it from recollection.

* * * * *

“This last thing of mine may have the same fate, and I assure you I have great doubts about it. But, even if not, its little day will be over before you are ready and willing. Come out—‘screw your courage to the sticking-place.’ Except the Post Bag (and surely you cannot complain of a want of success there), you have not been regularly out for some years. No man stands higher,—whatever you may think on a rainy day, in your provincial retreat. ‘Aucun homme, dans aucune langue, n’a eté, peut-étre, plus complètement le poëte du cœur et le poëte des femmes. Les critiques lui reprochent de n’avoir representé le monde ni tel qu’il est, ni tel qu’il doit être; mais les femmes répondent qu’il l’a representé tel qu’elles le désirent.’—I should have thought Sismondi had written this for you instead of Metastasio.

“Write to me, and tell me of yourself. Do you remember what Rousseau said to some one—‘Have we quarrelled? you have talked to me often, and never once mentioned yourself.’

“P.S. The last sentence is an indirect apology for my own egotism,—but I believe in letters it is allowed. I wish it was mutual. I have met with an odd reflection in Grimm; it shall not—at least, the bad part—be applied to you or me, though one of us has certainly an indifferent name—but this it is ‘Many people have the reputation of being wicked, with whom we should be too happy to pass our lives.’ I need not add it is a woman’s saying—a Mademoiselle de Sommery’s.”

* * * * *

At this time Lord Byron commenced a Journal, or Diary, from the pages of which I have already selected a few extracts, and of which I shall
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 435
now lay as much more as is producible before the reader. Employed chiefly,—as such a record, from its nature, must be,—about persons still living and occurrences still recent, it would be impossible, of course, to submit it to the public eye, without the omission of some portion of its contents, and unluckily, too, of that very portion which, from its reference to the secret pursuits and feelings of the writer, would the most livelily pique and gratify the curiosity of the reader. Enough, however, will, I trust, still remain, even after all this necessary winnowing, to enlarge still further the view we have here opened into the interior of the poet’s life and habits, and to indulge harmlessly that taste, as general as it is natural, which leads us to contemplate with pleasure a great mind in its undress, and to rejoice in the discovery, so consoling to human pride, that even the mightiest, in their moments of ease and weakness, resemble ourselves*.


“If this had been begun ten years ago, and faithfully kept!!!—heigho! there are too many things I wish never to have remembered, as it is. Well,—I have had my share of what are called the pleasures of this life, and have seen more of the European and Asiatic world than I have made a good use of. They say ‘virtue is its own reward,’—it certainly should be paid well for its trouble. At five-and-twenty, when the better part of life is over, one should be something;—and what am I? nothing but five-and-twenty—and the odd months. What have I seen? the same man all over the world,—ay, and woman too. Give me a Mussulman who never asks questions, and a she of the same race who saves one the trouble of putting them. But for this same plague—yellow-fever—and Newstead delay, I should have been by this time a second time close to the Euxine. If I can overcome the last, I don’t so much mind your pestilence; and, at any rate, the spring shall see me there,—provided I neither marry myself nor unmarry any one else in the

* “C’est surtout aux hommes qui sont hors de toute comparaison par le génie qu’on aime à ressembler au moins par la foiblesses.”—Ginguené.

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interval. I wish one was—I don’t know what I wish. It is odd I never set myself seriously to wishing without attaining it—and repenting. I begin to believe with the good old Magi, that one should only pray for the nation, and not for the individual;—but, on my principle, this would not be very patriotic.

“No more reflections.—Let me see—last night I finished ‘Zuleika,’ my second Turkish Tale. I believe the composition of it kept me alive—for it was written to drive my thoughts from the recollection of—
‘Dear sacred name, rest ever unreveal’d.’
At least, even here, my hand would tremble to write it. This afternoon I have burnt the scenes of my commenced comedy. I have some idea of expectorating a romance, or rather a tale, in prose;—but what romance could equal the events—
‘quæque ipse . . . . . vidi,
Et quorum pars magna fui.’

“To-day Henry Byron called on me with my little cousin Eliza. She will grow up a beauty and a plague; but, in the mean time, it is the prettiest child! dark eyes and eyelashes, black and long as the wing of a raven. I think she is prettier even than my niece, Georgina,—yet I don’t like to think so neither; and, though older, she is not so clever.

Dallas called before I was up, so we did not meet. Lewis, too—who seems out of humour with every thing. What can be the matter? he is not married—has he lost his own mistress, or any other person’s wife? Hodgson, too, came. He is going to be married, and he is the kind of man who will be the happier. He has talent, cheerfulness, every thing that can make him a pleasing companion; and his intended is handsome and young, and all that. But I never see any one much improved by matrimony. All my coupled contemporaries are bald and discontented. W. and S. have both lost their hair and good-humour; and the last of the two had a good deal to lose. But it don’t much signify what falls off a man’s temples in that state.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 437

“Mem. I must get a toy to-morrow for Eliza, and send the device for the seals of myself and * * * * * Mem. too, to call on the Staël and Lady Holland to-morrow, and on * *, who has advised me (without seeing it, by the by,) not to publish ‘Zuleika;’ I believe he is right, but experience might have taught him that not to print is physically impossible. No one has seen it but Hodgson and Mr. Gifford. I never in my life read a composition, save to Hodgson, as he pays me in kind. It is a horrible thing to do too frequently;—better print, and they who like may read, and, if they don’t like, you have the satisfaction of knowing that they have, at least, purchased the right of saying so.

“I have declined presenting the Debtor’s Petition, being sick of parliamentary mummeries. I have spoken thrice; but I doubt my ever becoming an orator. My first was liked; the second and third—I don’t know whether they succeeded or not. I have never yet set to it con amore;—one must have some excuse to oneself for laziness, or inability, or both, and this is mine. ‘Company, villanous company, hath been the spoil of me;’—and then, I have ‘drunk medicines,’ not to make me love others, but certainly enough to hate myself.

“Two nights ago, I saw the tigers sup at Exeter ‘Change. Except Veli Pacha’s lion in the Morea,—who followed the Arab keeper like a dog,—the fondness of the hyæena for her keeper amused me most. Such a conversazione!—There was a ‘hippopotamus,’ like Lord L—l in the face; and the ‘Ursine Sloth’ hath the very voice and manner of my valet—but the tiger talked too much. The elephant took and gave me my money again—took off my hat—opened a door—trunked a whip—and behaved so well, that I wish he was my butler. The handsomest animal on earth is one of the panthers; but the poor antelopes were dead. I should hate to see one here:—the sight of the camel made me pine again for Asia Minor. ‘Oh quando te aspiciam?’

* * * * * *
“Nov. 16th.

“Went last night with Lewis to see the first of Antony and Cleopatra. It was admirably got up and well acted—a salad of Shak-
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speare and
Dryden. Cleopatra strikes me as the epitome of her sex—fond, lively, sad, tender, teasing, humble, haughty, beautiful, the devil!—coquettish to the last, as well with the ‘asp’ as with Antony. After doing all she can to persuade him that—but why do they abuse him for cutting off that poltroon Cicero’s head? Did not Tully tell Brutus it was a pity to have spared Antony? and did he not speak the Philippics? and are not ‘words things?’ and such ‘words’ very pestilent ‘things’ too? If he had had a hundred heads, they deserved (from Antony) a rostrum (his was stuck up there) apiece—though, after all, he might as well have pardoned him, for the credit of the thing. But to resume—Cleopatra, after securing him, says, ‘yet go’—‘it is your interest,’ &c.—how like the sex! and the questions about Octavia—it is woman all over.

“To-day received Lord Jersey’s invitation to Middleton—to travel sixty miles to meet Madame * *! I once travelled three thousand to get among silent people; and this same lady writes octavos and talks folios. I have read her books—like most of them, and delight in the last; so I won’t hear it, as well as read. * * * * * * *

“Read Burns today. What would he have been, if a patrician? We should have had more polish—less force—just as much verse, but no immortality—a divorce and a duel or two, the which had he survived, as his potations must have been less spirituous, he might have lived as long as Sheridan, and outlived as much as poor Brinsley. What a wreck is that man! and all from bad pilotage; for no one had ever better gales, though now and then a little too squally. Poor dear Sherry! I shall never forget the day he and Rogers and Moore and I passed together; when he talked, and we listened, without one yawn, from six till one in the morning.

“Got my seals * * * * * * *. Have again forgot a plaything for ma petite cousine Eliza; but I must send for it to-morrow. I hope Harry will bring her to me. I sent Lord Holland the proofs of the last ‘Giaour,’ and the ‘Bride of Abydos.’ He won’t like the latter, and I don’t think that I shall long. It was written in four nights to distract my dreams from * *. Were it not thus, it had never been composed; and had I not done something at that time, I must have gone mad, by
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 439
eating my own heart—bitter diet!—
Hodgson likes it better than the Giaour, but nobody else will,—and he never liked the Fragment. I am sure, had it not been for Murray, that would never have been published, though the circumstances which are the groundwork make it * * * heigh-ho!

“To-night I saw both the sisters of * *; my God! the youngest so like! I thought I should have sprung across the house, and am so glad no one was with me in Lady H.’s box. I hate those likenesses—the mock-bird, but not the nightingale—so like as to remind, so different as to be painful*. One quarrels equally with the points of resemblance and of distinction.

“Nov. 17th.

“No letter from * *;—but I must not complain. The respectable Job says, ‘Why should a living man complain?’ I really don’t know, except it be that a dead man can’t; and he, the said patriarch, did complain, nevertheless, till his friends were tired, and his wife recommended that pious prologue, ‘Curse—and die;’ the only time, I suppose, when but little relief is to be found in swearing. I have had a most kind letter from Lord Holland on ‘The Bride of Abydos,’ which he likes, and so does Lady H. This is very good-natured in both, from whom I don’t deserve any quarter. Yet I did think, at the time, that my cause of enmity proceeded from Holland-house, and am glad I was wrong, and wish I had not been in such a hurry with that confounded satire, of which I would suppress even the memory;—but people, now they can’t get it, make. a fuss, I verily believe, out contradiction.

George Ellis and Murray have been talking something about Scott and me, George pro Scoto,—and very right too. If they want to depose him, I only wish they would not set me up as a competitor. Even if I

* “Earth holds no other like to thee,
Or, If it doth, in vain for me:
For worlds I dare not view the dame
Resembling thee, yet not the same.”

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had my choice, I would rather be the
Earl of Warwick than all the kings he ever made! Jeffrey and Gifford I take to be the monarch-makers in poetry and prose. The British Critic, in their Rokeby Review, have presupposed a comparison, which I am sure my friends never thought of, and W. Scott’s subjects are injudicious in descending to. I like the man—and admire his works to what Mr. Braham calls Entusymusy. All such stuff can only vex him, and do me no good. Many hate his politics.—(I hate all politics); and, here, a man’s politics are like the Greek soul—an ειδωλον, besides God knows what other soul; but their estimate of the two generally go together.

“Harry has not brought ma petite cousine. I want us to go to the play together;—she has been but once. Another short note from Jersey, inviting Rogers and me on the 23d. I must see my agent to-night. I wonder when that Newstead business will be finished. It cost me more than words to part with it—and to have parted with it! What matters it what I do? or what becomes of me?—but let me remember Job’s saying, and console myself with being ‘a living man.’

“I wish I could settle to reading again,—my life is monotonous, and yet desultory. I take up books, and fling them down again. I began a comedy, and burnt it because the scene ran into reality;—a novel, for the same reason. In rhyme, I can keep more away from facts: but the thought always runs through, through . . . . . . . . . yes, yes, through. I have had a letter from Lady Melbourne—the best friend I ever had in my life, and the cleverest of women. * * * * *

“Not a word from * *. Have they set out from * *? or has my last precious epistle fallen into the Lion’s jaws? If so—and this silence looks suspicious.—I must clap on ‘my musty morion’ and ‘hold out my iron.’ I am out of practice,—but I won’t begin again at Manton’s now. Besides, I would not return his shot. I was once a famous wafer-splitter;—but then the bullies of society made it necessary. Ever since I began to feel that I had a had cause to support, I have left off the exercise.

What strange tidings from that Anakim of anarchy—Buonaparte!
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 441
Ever since I defended my bust of him at Harrow against the rascally time-servers, when the war broke out in 1803, he has been a ‘Héros de Roman’ of mine—on the continent; I don’t want him here. But I don’t like those same flights,—leaving of armies, &c. &c. I am sure when I fought for his bust at school, I did not think he would run away from himself. But I should not wonder if he banged them yet. To be beat by men would be something; but by three stupid, legitimate-old-dynasty boobies of regular-bred sovereigns—O-hone-a-rie!—O-hone-a-rie! It must be, as
Cobbett says, his marriage with the thick-lipped and thick-headed Autrichienne brood. He had better have kept to her who was kept by Barras. I never knew any good come of your young wife, and legal espousals, to any but your ‘sober-blooded boy’ who ‘eats fish’ and drinketh ‘no sack.’ Had he not the whole opera? all Paris? all France? But a mistress is just as perplexing—that is, one—two ‘or more are manageable by division.

“I have begun, or had begun, a song, and flung it into the fire. It was in remembrance of Mary Duff, my first of flames, before most people begin to burn. I wonder what the devil is the matter with me! I can do nothing, and—fortunately there is nothing to do. It has lately been in my power to make two persons (and their connexions) comfortable, pro tempore, and one happy ex tempore,—I rejoice in the last particularly, as it in an excellent man*. I wish there had been more inconvenience and less gratification to my self-love in it, for then there had been more merit. We are all selfish—and I believe, ye gods of Epicurus! I believe in Rochefoucault about men, and in Lucretius (not Busby’s translation) about yourselves. Your bard has made you very nonchalant and blest; but as he has excused us from damnation, I don’t envy you your blessedness much—a little to be sure. I remember, last year, * * said to me, at * *, ‘Have we not passed our last month like the gods of Lucretius?’ And so we had. She is an adept in the text of the original (which I like too); and when that booby Bus. sent his translating prospectus, she subscribed. But, the devil prompting him to add a specimen. she transmitted him a subsequent answer, saying, that, ‘after perusing

* Evidently Mr. Hodgson.

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it, her conscience would not permit her to allow her name to remain on the list of subscribblers.’ * * * * * * * * Last night, at
Lord H.’sMackintosh, the Ossulstones, Puységur, &c. there—I was trying to recollect a quotation (as I think) of Staël’s, from some Teutonic sophist about architecture. ‘Architecture,’ says this Macoronico Tedescho, ‘reminds me of frozen music.’ It is somewhere—but where?—the demon of perplexity must know and won’t tell. I asked M., and he said it was not in her; but P—r said it must be hers, it was so like. * * * * * * * * * * H. laughed, as he does at all ‘De l’Allemagne,’—in which, however, I think he goes a little too far. B., I hear, contemns it too. But there are fine passages;—and, after all, what is a work—any—or every work—but a desert with fountains, and, perhaps, a grove or two, every day’s journey? To be sure, in Madame, what we often mistake, and ‘pant for,’ as the ‘cooling stream,’ turns out to be the mirage (criticé, verbiage); but we do, at last, get to something like the temple of Jove Ammon, and then the waste we have passed is only remembered to gladden the contrast.

* * * * * *

“Called on C * *, to explain * * *. She is very beautiful, to my taste, at least; for on coming home from abroad, I recollect being unable to look at any woman but her—they were so fair, and unmeaning, and blonde. The darkness and regularity of her features reminded me of my ‘Jannat al Aden.’ But this impression wore off; and now I can look at a fair woman, without longing for a Houri. She was very good-tempered, and every thing was explained.

“To-day, great news—‘the Dutch have taken Holland,’—which, I suppose, will be succeeded by the actual explosion of the Thames. Five provinces have declared for young Stadt, and there will be inundation, conflagration, constupration, consternation, and every sort of nation and nations, fighting away, up to their knees, in the damnable quags of this will-o’-the-wisp abode of Boors. It is said Bernadotte is amongst them, too; and, as Orange will be there soon, they will have (Crown) Prince Stork and King Log in their Loggery at the same time. Two to one on the new dynasty!

Mr. Murray has offered me one thousand guineas for the ‘Giaour
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 443
and the ‘
Bride of Abydos.’ I won’t—it is too much, though I am strongly tempted, merely for the say of it. No bad price for a fortnight’s (a week each) what?—the gods know—it was intended to be called Poetry.

“I have dined regularly to-day, for the first time since Sunday last—this being Sabbath, too. All the rest, tea and dry biscuits—six per diem. I wish to God I had not dined now!—It kills me with heaviness, stupor, and horrible dreams;—and yet it was but a pint of bucellas, and fish*. Meat I never touch,—nor much vegetable diet. I wish I were in the country, to take exercise,—instead of being obliged to cool by abstinence, in lieu of it. I should not so much mind a little accession of flesh,—my bones can well bear it. But the worst is, the devil always came with it,—till I starve him out,—and I will not be the slave of any appetite. If I do err, it shall be my heart, at least, that heralds the way. Oh my head—how it aches!—the horrors of digestion! I wonder how Buonaparte’s dinner agrees with him?

“Mem. I must write to-morrow to ‘Master Shallow, who owes me a thousand pounds,’ and seems, in his letter, afraid I should ask him for it†;—as if I would!—I don’t want it (just now, at least), to begin with; and though I have often wanted that sum, I never asked for the repayment of £10 in my life—from a friend. His bond is not due this year, and I told him, when it was, I should not enforce it. How often must he make me say the same thing?

“I am wrong—I did once ask * * *‡ to repay me. But it was under circumstances that excused me to him, and would to any one. I took no interest, nor required security. He paid me soon,—at least, his padre. My head! I believe it was given me to ache with. Good even.

* He had this year so far departed from his strict plan of diet as to eat fish occasionally.

† We have hero another instance, in addition to the munificent aid afforded to Mr. Hodgson, of the generous readiness of the poet, notwithstanding his own limited means, to make the resources he possessed available for the assistance of his friends.

‡ Left blank thus in the original.

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“Nov. 22nd, 1813.

“‘Orange Boven!’ So the bees have expelled the bear that broke open their hive. Well,—if we are to have new De Witts and De Ruyters, God speed the little republic! I should like to see the Hague and the village of Brock, where they have such primitive habits. Yet, I don’t know,—their canals would cut a poor figure by the memory of the Bosphorus; and the Zuyder Zee look awkwardly after ‘Ak Degnity.’ No matter,—the bluff burghers, puffing freedom out of their short tobacco-pipes, might be worth seeing; though I prefer a cigar, or a hooka, with the rose-leaf mixed with the milder herb of the Levant. I don’t know what liberty means,—never having seen it,—but wealth is power all over the world; and as a shilling performs the duty of a pound (besides sun and sky and beauty for nothing) in the East,—that is the country. How I envy Herodes Atticus!—more than Pomponius. And yet a little tumult, now and then, is an agreeable quickener of sensation;—such as a revolution, a battle, or an aventure of any lively description. I think I rather would have been Bonneval, Ripperda, Alberoni, Hayreddin, or Horuc Barbarossa, or even Wortley Montague, than Mahomet himself.

Rogers will be in town soon?—the 23d is fixed for our Middieton visit. Shall I go? umph!—In this island, where one can’t ride out without overtaking the sea, it don’t much matter where one goes.

* * * * * *

“I remember the effect of the first Edinburgh Review on me. I heard of it six weeks before,—read it the day of its denunciation,—dined and drank three bottles of claret (with S. B. Davies, I think), neither ate nor slept the less, but, nevertheless, was not easy till I had vented my wrath and my rhyme, in the same pages, against every thing and every body. Like George, in the Vicar of Wakefield, ‘the fate of my paradoxes’ would allow me to perceive no merit in another. I remembered only the maxim of my boxing-master, which, in my youth, was found useful in all general riots—‘Whoever is not for you is against you—mill away right and left,’ and so I did;—like Ishmael, my hand
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 445
was against all men, and all men’s anent me. I did wonder, to be sure, at my own success—
‘And marvels so much wit is all his own,’
Hobhouse sarcastically says of somebody (not unlikely myself, as we are old friends);—but were it to come over again, I would not. I have since redde* the cause of my couplets, and it is not adequate to the effect. C * * told me that it was believed I alluded to poor Lord Carlisle’s nervous disorder in one of the lines. I thank Heaven I did not know it —and would not, could not, if I had. I must naturally be the last person to be pointed on defects or maladies.

Rogers is silent—and, it is said, severe. When he does talk, he talks well; and, on all subjects of taste, his delicacy of expression is pure as his poetry. If you enter his house—his drawing-room—his library—you of yourself say, this is not the dwelling of a common mind. There is not a gem, a coin, a book thrown aside on his chimney-piece, his sofa, his table, that does not bespeak an almost fastidious elegance in the possessor. But this very delicacy must be the misery of his existence. Oh the jarrings his disposition must have encountered through life!

Southey, I have not seen much of. His appearance is Epic; and he is the only existing entire man of letters. All the others have some pursuit annexed to their authorship. His manners are mild, but not those of a man of the world, and his talents of the first order. His prose is perfect. Of his poetry there are various opinions: there is, perhaps, too much of it for the present generation;—posterity will probably select. He has passages equal to any thing. At present, he has a party, but no public—except for his prose writings. The life of Nelson is beautiful.

* * is a Littérateur, the Oracle of the Coteries, of the * * s, L* W* (Sydney Smith’s ‘Tory Virgin,’) Mrs. Wilmot (she, at least, is a swan, and might frequent a purer stream), Lady B * *, and all the Blues with Lady C * * at their head—but I say nothing of her—‘look in her face and you forget them all,’ and every thing else. Oh that face!—by ‘te,

* It was thus that he, in general, spelled this word.

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Diva potens Cypri,’ I would, to be beloved by that woman, build and burn another Troy.

M * * e has a peculiarity of talent, or rather talents,—poetry, music, voice, all his own; and an expression in each, which never was, nor will be, possessed by another. But he is capable of still higher flights in poetry. By the by, what humour, what—every thing in the ‘Post Bag!’ There is nothing M * * e may not do, if he will but seriously set about it. In society, he is gentlemanly, gentle, and altogether more pleasing than any individual with whom I am acquainted. For his honour, principle, and independence, his conduct to * * * * speaks ‘trumpet-tongued.’ He has but one fault—and that one I daily regret—he is not here.

“Nov. 23d.

Ward—I like Ward*. By Mahomet! I begin to think I like every body;—a disposition, not to be encouraged;—a sort of social gluttony, that swallows every thing set before it. But I like Ward. He is piquant; and, in my opinion, will stand very high in the House and every where else—if he applies regularly. By the by, I dine with him to-morrow, which may have some influence on my opinion. It is as well not to trust one’s gratitude after dinner. I have heard many a host libelled by his guests, with his burgundy yet reeking on their rascally lips.

* * * * * *

“I have taken Lord Salisbury’s box at Covent-garden for the season;—and now I must go and prepare to join Lady Holland and party, in theirs, at Drury-lane, questa sera.

Holland doesn’t think the man is Junius; but that the yet unpublished journal throws great light on the obscurities of that part of George the Second’s reign.—What is this to George the Third’s? I don’t know what to think. Why should Junius be yet dead? If suddenly apoplexed, would he rest in his grave without sending his ειδωλον to shout in the ears of posterity, ‘Junius was X. Y. Z. Esq.

* The present Lord Dudley.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 447
buried in the parish of * * *. Repair his monument, ye churchwardens! Print a new Edition of his Letters, ye booksellers!’ Impossible,—the man must be alive, and will never die without the disclosure. I like him;—he was a good hater.

“Came home unwell and went to bed,—not so sleepy as might be desirable.

“Tuesday morning.

“I awoke from a dream—well! and have not others dreamed?—Such a dream!—but she did not overtake me. I wish the dead would rest, however. Ugh! how my blood chilled—and I could not wake—and—and—heigho!
‘Shadows to-night
Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard,
Than could the substance of ten thousand * *s,
Arm’d all in proof, and led by shallow * *.’
I do not like this dream,—I hate its ‘foregone conclusion.’ And am I to be shaken by shadows? Ay, when they remind us of—no matter—but, if I dream thus again, I will try whether all sleep has the like visions. Since I rose, I’ve been in considerable bodily pain also; but it is gone, and now, like Lord Ogleby, I am wound up for the day.

“A note from Mountnorris—I dine with Ward;—Canning is to be there, Frere, and Sharpe,—perhaps Gifford. I am to be one of ‘the five’ (or rather six), as Lady * * said a little sneeringly yesterday. They are all good to meet, particularly Canning, and—Ward, when he likes. I wish I may be well enough to listen to these intellectuals.

“No letters to-day;—so much the better,—there are no answers. I must not dream again;—it spoils even reality. I will go out of doors, and see what the fog will do for me. Jackson has been here the boxing world much as usual;—but the Club increases. I shall dine at Crib’s to-morrow:—I like energy—even animal energy—of all kinds; and I have need of both mental and corporeal. I have not dined out, nor, indeed, at all, lately; have heard no music—have seen nobody. Now for a plunge—high life and low life. ‘Amant alterna Camœnæ!’

448 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.

“I have burnt my Roman—as I did the first scenes and sketch of my comedy—and, for aught I see, the pleasure of burning is quite as great as that of printing. These two last would not have done. I ran into realities more than ever; and some would have been recognised and others guessed at.

“Redde the Ruminator—a collection of Essays, by a strange, but able, old man (Sir E. B.) and a half-wild young one, author of a Poem on the Highlands, called ‘Childe Alarique.’ The word ‘sensibility’ (always my aversion) occurs a thousand times in these Essays; and, it seems, is to be an excuse for all kinds of discontent. This young man can know nothing of life; and, if he cherishes the disposition which runs through his papers, will become useless,—and, perhaps, not even a poet, after all, which he seems determined to be. God help him! no one should be a rhymer who could be any thing better. And this is what annoys one, to see Scott and Moore, and Campbell and Rogers. who might have all been agents and leaders, now mere spectators. For, though they may have other ostensible avocations, these last are reduced to a secondary consideration. * *, too, frittering away his time among dowagers and unmarried girls. If it advanced any serious affair, it were some excuse; but, with the unmarried, that is a hazardous speculation, and tiresome enough, too; and, with the veterans, it is not much worth trying,—unless, perhaps, one in a thousand.

“If I had any views in this country, they would probably be parliamentary. But I have no ambition; at least, if any, it would be ‘aut Cæsar aut nihil.’ My hopes are limited to the arrangement of my affairs, and settling either in Italy or the East (rather the last), and drinking deep of the languages and literature of both. Past events have unnerved me; and all I can now do is to make life an amusement, and look on, while others play. After all—even the highest game of crowns and sceptres, what is it? Vide Napoleon’s last twelvemonth. It has completely upset my system of fatalism. I thought, if crushed, he would have fallen, when ‘fractus illabatur orbis,’ and not have been pared away to gradual insignificance;—that all this was not a mere jeu of the gods, but a prelude to greater changes and mightier events. But Men never advance beyond a certain point;—and here we are, retrograding to the
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 449
dull, stupid, old system,—balance of Europe—poising straws upon kings’ noses, instead of wringing them off! Give me a republic, or a despotism of one, rather than the mixed government of one, two, three. A republic!—look in the history of the Earth—Rome, Greece, Venice, France, Holland, America, our short (eheu!) Commonwealth, and compare it with what they did under masters. The Asiatics are not qualified to be republicans, but they have the liberty of demolishing despots,—which is the next thing to it. To be the first man—not the Dictator—not the
Sylla, but the Washington or the Aristides—the leader in talent and truth—is next to the Divinity! Franklin, Penn, and, next to these, either Brutus or Cassius—even Mirabeau—or St. Just. I shall never be any thing, or rather always be nothing. The most I can hope is, that some will say, ‘He might, perhaps, if he would.’

“12, midnight.

“Here are two confounded proofs from the printer. I have looked at the one, but, for the soul of me, I can’t look over that ‘Giaour’ again,—at least, just now, and at this hour—and yet there is no moon.

Ward talks of going to Holland, and we have partly discussed an ensemble expedition. It must be in ten days, if at all—if we wish to be in at the Revolution. And why not? * * is distant, and will be at * *, still more distant, till spring. No one else, except Augusta, cares for me—no ties—no trammels—andiamo dunque—se torniarno, benese non, ch’ importa? Old William of Orange talked of dying in ‘the last ditch’ of his dingy country. It is lucky I can swim, or I suppose I should not well weather the first. But let us see. I have heard hyæenas and jackalls in the ruins of Asia; and bull-frogs in the marshes,—besides wolves and angry Mussulmans. Now, I should like to listen to the shout of a free Dutchman.

“Alla! Viva! For ever! Hourra! Huzza!—which is the most rational or musical of these cries? ‘Orange Boven,’ according to the Morning Post.

450 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
“Wednesday. 24th.

“No dreams last night of the dead nor the living—so—I am ‘firm as the marble, founded as the rock’—till the next earthquake.

Ward’s dinner went off well. There was not a disagreeable person there—unless I offended any body, which I am sure I could not by contradiction, for I said little, and opposed nothing. Sharpe (a man of elegant mind, and who has lived much with the best—Fox, Horne Tooke, Windham, Fitzpatrick, and all the agitators of other times and tongues) told us the particulars of his last interview with Windham, a few days before the fatal operation which sent ‘that gallant spirit to aspire the skies.’ Windham,—the first in one department of oratory and talent, whose only fault was his refinement beyond the intellect of half his hearers,—Windham, half his life an active participator in the events of the earth, and one of those who governed nations,—he regretted, and dwelt much on that regret, that ‘he had not entirely devoted himself to literature and science!!!’ His mind certainly would have carried him to eminence there, as elsewhere;—but I cannot comprehend what debility of that mind could suggest such a wish. I, who have heard him, cannot regret any thing but that I shall never hear him again. What! would he have been a plodder? a metaphysician?—perhaps a rhymer? a scribbler? Such an exchange must have been suggested by illness. But he is gone, and Time ‘shall not look upon his like again.’

“I am tremendously in arrear with my letters,—except to * *, and to her my thoughts overpower me,—my words never compass them. To Lady Melbourne I write with most pleasure—and her answers, so sensible, so tactique—I never met with half her talent. If she had been a few years younger, what a fool she would have made of me, had she thought it worth her while,—and I should have lost a valuable and most agreeable friend. Mem.—a mistress never is nor can be a friend. While you agree, you are lovers; and, when it is over, any thing but friends.

“I have not answered W. Scott’s last letter,—but I will. I regret to hear from others that he has lately been unfortunate in pecuniary involvements. He is undoubtedly the Monarch of Parnassus, and the most English of bards. I should place Rogers next in the living list—
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 451
(I value him more as the last of the best school).—
Moore and Campbell both third—Southey and Wordsworth and Coleridge—the rest, όι πολλοι—thus:







There is a triangular ‘Gradus ad Parnassum!’—the names are too numerous for the base of the triangle. Poor
Thurlow has gone wild about the poetry of Queen Bess’s reign—c’est dommage. I have ranked the names upon my triangle more upon what I believe popular opinion than any decided opinion of my own. For, to me, some of M * * e’s last Erin sparks—‘As a beam o’er the face of the waters’—‘When he who adores thee’—‘Oh blame not’—and ‘Oh breathe not his name’—are worth all the Epics that ever were composed.

“ *  * thinks the Quarterly will attack me next. Let them. I have been ‘peppered so highly’ in my time, both ways, that it must be cayenne or aloes to make me taste. I can sincerely say that I am not very much alive now to criticism. But—in tracing this—I rather believe, that it proceeds from my not attaching that importance to authorship which many do, and which, when young, I did also. ‘One gets tired of every thing, my angel,’ says Valmont. The ‘angels’ are the only things of which I am not a little sick—but I do think the preference of writers to
452 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
agents—the mighty stir made about scribbling and scribes, by themselves and others—a sign of effeminacy, degeneracy, and weakness. Who would write, who had any thing better to do? ‘Action’—‘action’—‘action’—said
Demosthenes: ‘Actions—actions,’ I say, and not writing,—least of all, rhyme. Look at the querulous and monotonous lives of the ‘genus;’—except Cervantes, Tasso, Dante, Ariosto, Kleist (who were brave and active citizens), Æschylus, Sophocles, and some other of the antiques also—what a worthless, idle brood it is!

“12, Mezza notte.

“Just returned from dinner, with Jackson (the Emperor of Pugilism) and another of the select, at Crib’s the champion’s. I drank more than I like, and have brought away some three bottles of very fair claret—for I have no headache. We had Tom * * up after dinner;—very facetious, though somewhat prolix. He don’t like his situation—wants to fight again—pray Pollux (or Castor, if he was the miller) he may! Tom has been a sailor—a coal-heaver—and some other genteel profession, before he took to the cestus. Tom has been in action at sea, and is now only three-and-thirty. A great man! has a wife and a mistress, and conversations well—bating some sad omissions and misapplications of the aspirate. Tom is an old friend of mine; I have seen some of his best battles in my nonage. He is now a publican, and, I fear, a sinner;—for Mrs. * * is on alimony, and * *’s daughter lives with the champion. This * * told me,—Tom, having an opinion of my morals, passed her off as a legal spouse. Talking of her, he said ‘she was the truest of women’—from which I immediately inferred she could not be his wife, and so it turned out.

“These panegyrics don’t belong to matrimony;—for, if ‘true,’ a man don’t think it necessary to say so; and if not, the less he says the better. * * * * is the only man, except * * * *, I ever heard harangue upon his wife’s virtue; and I listened to both with great credence and patience, and stuffed my handkerchief into my mouth, when I found yawning irresistible.—By the by, I am yawning now—so, good night to thee.—Νωάιρων

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 453
Thursday, 26th November.

“Awoke a little feverish, but no headache—no dreams neither, thanks to stupor! Two letters, one from * * * *, the other from Lady Melbourne—both excellent in their respective styles. * * * *’s contained also a very pretty lyric on ‘concealed griefs’—if not her own, yet very like her. Why did she not say that the stanzas were, or were not, of her composition?—I do not know whether to wish them hers or not. I have no great esteem for poetical persons, particularly women;—they have so much of the ‘ideal’ in practice, as well as ethics.

“I have been thinking lately a good deal of Mary Duff, &c. &c. &c. &c.*

Lord Holland invited me to dinner to-day; but three days’ dining would destroy me. So, without eating at all since yesterday, I went to my box at Covent-garden.

* * * * * *

“Saw * * * * looking very pretty, though quite a different style of beauty from the other two. She has the finest eyes in the world, out of which she pretends not to see, and the longest eyelashes I ever saw, since Leila’s and Phannio’s Moslem curtains of the light. She has much beauty,—just enough,—but is, I think, méchante.

* * * * * *

“I have been pondering on the miseries of separation, that—oh how seldom we see those we love! yet we live ages in moments, when met. The only thing that consoles me during absence is the reflection that no mental or personal estrangement, from ennui or disagreement, can take place;—and when people meet hereafter, even though many changes may have taken place in the mean time, still—unless they are tired of each other—they are ready to reunite, and do not blame each other for the circumstances that severed them. * * * *

“Saturday, 27th (I believe—or rather am in doubt, which
is the ne plus ultra of mortal faith).

“I have missed a day; and, as the Irishman said, or Joe Miller says for him, ‘have gained a loss,’ or by the loss. Every thing is settled for

* This passage has been already extracted.

454 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
Holland, and nothing but a cough, or a caprice of my fellow-traveller’s, can stop us. Carriage ordered—funds prepared—and, probably, a gale of wind into the bargain. N’importe—I believe, with Clym o’ the Clow, or Robin Hood, ‘By our Mary (dear name!) that art both Mother and May, I think it never was a man’s lot to die before his day.’ Heigh for Helvoetsluys, and so forth!

“To-night I went with young Henry Fox to see ‘Nourjahad’—a drama, which the Morning Post hath laid to my charge, but of which I cannot even guess the author. I wonder what they will next inflict upon me. They cannot well sink below a Melodrama; but that is better than a Satire (at least, a personal one), with which I stand truly arraigned, and in atonement of which I am resolved to bear silently all criticisms, abuses, and even praises for bad pantomimes never composed by me,—without even a contradictory aspect. I suppose the root of this report is my loan to the manager of my Turkish drawings for his dresses, to which he was more welcome than to my name. I suppose the real author will soon own it, as it has succeeded; if not, Job be my model, and Lethe my beverage!

* * * * has received the portrait safe; and, in answer, the only remark she makes upon it is, ‘indeed it is like’—and again, ‘indeed it is like.’ With her the likeness ‘covered a multitude of sins;’ for I happen to know that this portrait was not a flatterer, but dark and stern,—even black as the mood in which my mind was scorching last July, when I sate for it. All the others of me—like most portraits whatsoever—are, of course, more agreeable than nature.

“Redde the Ed. Review of Rogers. He is ranked highly,—but where he should be. There is a summary view of us all—Moore and me among the rest; and both (the first justly) praised—though, by implication (justly again) placed beneath our memorable friend. Mackintosh is the writer, and also of the critique on the Staël. His grand essay on Burke, I hear, is for the next number. But I know nothing of the Edinburgh, or of any other Review, but from rumour; and I have long ceased—indeed, I could not, in justice, complain of any, even though I were to rate poetry in general, and my rhymes in particular, more highly than I really do. To withdraw myself from myself (oh that cursed selfishness!)
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 455
has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive in scribbling at all; and publishing is also the continuance of the same object, by the action it affords to the mind, which else recoils upon itself. If I valued fame, I should flatter received opinions, which have gathered strength by time, and will yet wear longer than any living works to the contrary. But, for the soul of me, I cannot and will not give the lie to my own thoughts and doubts, come what may. If I am a fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom.

“All are inclined to believe what they covet, from a lottery-ticket up to a passport to Paradise,—in which, from description, I see nothing very tempting. My restlessness tells me I have something within that ‘passeth show.’ It is for Him, who made it, to prolong that spark of celestial fire which illuminates, yet burns, this frail tenement; but I see no such horror in a ‘dreamless sleep,’ and I have no conception of any existence which duration would not render tiresome. How else ‘fell the angels,’ even according to your creed? They were immortal, heavenly, and happy as their apostate Abdiel is now by his treachery. Time must decide; and eternity won’t be the less agreeable or more horrible because one did not expect it. In the mean time, I am grateful for some good, and tolerably patient under certain evils—grace à Dieu et mon bon tempérament.

“Sunday, 28th.

“Monday, 29th.

“Tuesday, 30th,

“Two days missed in my log-book;—hiatus haud deflendus. They were as little worth recollection as the rest; and, luckily, laziness or society prevented me from notching them.

“Sunday, I dined with the Lord Holland in St. James’s-square. Large party—among them Sir S. Romilly and Lady Ry.—General Sir Somebody Bentham, a man of science and talent, I am told—Hornerthe Horner, an Edinburgh Reviewer, an excellent speaker in the ‘Honourable House,’ very pleasing, too, and gentlemanly in company,
456 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
as far as I have seen—
SharpePhillips of LancashireLord John Russell, and others, ‘good men and true.’ Holland’s society is very good; you always see some one or other in it worth knowing. Stuffed myself with sturgeon, and exceeded in champagne and wine in general, but not to confusion of head. When I do dine, I gorge like an Arab or a Boa snake, on fish and vegetables, but no meat. I am always better, however, on my tea and biscuit than any other regimen,—and even that sparingly.

“Why does Lady H. always have that damned screen between the whole room and the fire? I, who bear cold no better than an antelope, and never yet found a sun quite done to my taste, was absolutely petrified, and could not even shiver. All the rest, too, looked as if they were just unpacked, like salmon from an ice-basket, and set down to table for that day only. When she retired, I watched their looks as I dismissed the screen, and every cheek thawed, and every nose reddened with the anticipated glow.

“Saturday, I went with Harry Fox to Nourjahad; and, I believe, convinced him, by incessant yawning, that it was not mine. I wish the precious author would own it, and release me from his fame. The dresses are pretty, but not in costume;—Mrs. Horne’s, all but the turban, and the want of a small dagger (if she is a Sultana), perfect. I never saw a Turkish woman with a turban in my life—nor did any one else. The Sultanas have a small poniard at the waist. The dialogue is drowsy—the action heavy—the scenery fine—the actors tolerable. I can’t say much for their seraglio—Teresa, Phannio, or * * * * were worth them all.

“Sunday, a very handsome note from Mackintosh, who is a rare instance of the union of very transcendent talent and great good-nature. To-day (Tuesday), a very pretty billet from M. la Baronne de Staël Holstein. She is pleased to be much pleased with my mention of her and her last work in my notes. I spoke as I thought. Her works are my delight, and so is she herself, for—half an hour. I don’t like her politics—at least, her having changed them; had she been qualis ab incepto, it were nothing. But she is a woman by herself, and has done
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 457
more than all the rest of them together, intellectually;—she ought to have been a man. She flatters me very prettily in her note;—but I know it. The reason that adulation is not displeasing is, that, though untrue, it shows one to be of consequence enough, in one way or other, to induce people to lie, to make us their friend:—that is their concern.

“ * * is, I hear, thriving on the repute of a pun (which was mine at Mackintosh’s dinner some time back), on Ward, who was asking ‘how much it would take to re-whig him?’ I answered that, probably, he ‘must first, before he was re-whigged, be re-warded.’ This foolish quibble, before the Staël and Mackintosh and a number of conversationers, has been mouthed about, and at last settled on the head of * *, where long may it remain!

George* is returned from afloat to get a new ship. He looks thin, but better than I expected. I like George much more than most people like their heirs. He is a fine fellow, and every inch a sailor. I would do any thing, but apostatize, to get him on in his profession.

Lewis called. It is a good and good-humoured man, but pestilently prolix and paradoxical and personal. If he would but talk half, and reduce his visits to an hour, he would add to his popularity. As an author, he is very good, and his vanity is ouverte, like Erskine’s, and yet not offending.

“Yesterday, a very pretty letter from Annabella†, which I answered. What an odd situation and friendship is ours!—without one spark of love on either side, and produced by circumstances which in general lead to coldness on one side, and aversion on the other. She is a very superior woman, and very little spoiled, which is strange in an heiress—a girl of twenty—a peeress that is to be, in her own right—an only child, and a savante, who has always had her own way. She is a poetess—a mathematician—a metaphysician, and yet, withal, very kind, generous, and gentle, with very little pretension. Any other head would be turned with half her acquisitions, and a tenth of her advantages.

* His cousin, the present Lord Byron.

Miss Milbanke, afterwards Lady Byron.

458 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
“Wednesday, December 1st, 1813.

“To-day responded to La Baronne de Staël Holstein, and sent to Leigh Hunt (an acquisition to my acquaintance—through Moore—of last summer) a copy of the two Turkish Tales. Hunt is an extraordinary character, and not exactly of the present age. He reminds me more of the Pym and Hampden times—much talent, great independence of spirit, and an austere, yet not repulsive, aspect. If he goes on , I know few men who will deserve more praise or obtain it. I must go and see him again;—the rapid succession of adventure since last summer, added to some serious uneasiness and business, have interrupted our acquaintance; but he is a man worth knowing; and though, for his own sake, I wish him out of prison, I like to study character in such situations. He has been unshaken, and will continue so. I don’t think him deeply versed in life;—he is the bigot of virtue (not religion), and enamoured of the beauty of that ‘empty name,’ as the last breath of Brutus pronounced, and every day proves it. He is, perhaps, a little opinionated, as all men who are the centre of circles, wide or narrow—the Sir Oracles, in whose name two or three are gathered together—must be, and as even Johnson was; but, withal, a valuable man, and less vain than success and even the consciousness of preferring ‘the right to the expedient’ might excuse.

“To-morrow there is a party of purple at the ‘blue’ Miss * * *’s. Shall I go? um!—I don’t much affect your blue-bottles;—but one ought to be civil. There will be, ‘I guess now’ (as the Americans say), the Staëls and Mackintoshes—good—the * * *s and * * *s—not so good—the * * *s, &c. &c.—good for nothing. Perhaps that blue-winged Kashmirian butterfly of book-learning, Lady * *, will be there. I hope so; it is a pleasure to look upon that most beautiful of faces.

“Wrote to H.—he has been telling that I—*. I am sure, at least, I did not mention it, and I wish he had not. He is a good fellow,

* Two or three words are here scratched out in the manuscript, but the import of the sentence evidently is, that Mr. Hodgson (to whom the passage refers) had been revealing to some friends the secret of Lord Byron’s kindness to him.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 459
and I obliged myself ten times more by being of use than I did him,—and there’s an end on ’t.

Baldwin is boring me to present their King’s Bench petition. I presented Cartwright’s last year; and Stanhope and I stood against the whole House, and mouthed it valiantly—and had some fun and a little abuse for our opposition. But ‘I am not i’ th’ vein’ for this business. Now, had * * been here, she would have made me do it. There is a woman, who, amid all her fascination, always urged a man to usefulness or glory. Had she remained, she had been my tutelar genius. * * *

Baldwin is very importunate—but, poor fellow, ‘I can’t get out, I can’t get out—said the starling.’—Ah, I am as bad as that dog Sterne, who preferred whining over ‘a dead ass to relieving a living mother’—villain—hypocrite—slave—sycophant! but I am no better. Here I cannot stimulate myself to a speech for the sake of these unfortunates, and three words and half a smile of * *, had she been here to urge it (and urge it she infallibly would—at least, she always pressed me on senatorial duties, and particularly in the cause of weakness), would have made me an advocate, if not an orator. Curse on Rochefoucauld for being always right! In him a lie were virtue,—or, at least, a comfort to his readers.

George Byron has not called to-day; I hope he will be an admiral, and, perhaps, Lord Byron into the bargain. If he would but marry, I would engage never to marry, myself, or cut him out of the heirship. He would be happier, and I should like nephews better than sons.

“I shall soon be six-and-twenty (January 22d, 1814). Is there any thing in the future that can possibly console us for not being always twenty-five?

‘Oh Gioventu!
Oh Primavera! gioventu dell’ anno.
Oh Gioventu! primavera della vita.’
* * * * *
“Sunday, December 5th.

Dallas’s nephew (son to the American Attorney-general) is arrived in this country, and tells Dallas that my rhymes are very popular in the United States. These are the first tidings that have ever sounded like
460 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
Fame to my ears—to be redde on the banks of the Ohio! The greatest pleasure I ever derived, of this kind, was from an extract, in
Cooke the actor’s Life, from his Journal, stating that in the reading-room of Albany, near Washington, he perused English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. To be popular in a rising and far country has a kind of posthumous feel, very different from the ephemeral éclât and fête-ing, buzzing and party-ing compliments of the well-dressed multitude. I can safely say that, during my reign in the spring of 1812, I regretted nothing but its duration of six weeks instead of a fortnight, and was heartily glad to resign.

“Last night I supped with Lewis;—and, as usual, though I neither exceeded in solids nor fluids, have been half dead ever since. My stomach is entirely destroyed by long abstinence, and the rest will probably follow. Let it—I only wish the pain over. The ‘leap in the dark’ is the least to be dreaded.

“The Duke of * * called. I have told them forty times that, except to half-a-dozen old and specified acquaintances, I am invisible. His grace is a good, noble, ducal person; but I am content to think so at a distance; and so—I was not at home.

Galt called.—Mem.—to ask some one to speak to Raymond in favour of his play. We are old fellow-travellers, and, with all his eccentricities, he has much strong sense, experience of the world, and is, as far as I have seen, a good-natured philosophical fellow. I showed him Sligo’s letter on the reports of the Turkish girl’s aventure at Athens soon after it happened. He and Lord Holland, Lewis, and Moore, and Rogers, and Lady Melbourne have seen it. Murray has a copy. I thought it had been unknown, and wish it were; but Sligo arrived only some days after, and the rumours are the subject of his letter. That I shall preserve,—it is as well. Lewis and Galt were both horrified; and L. wondered I did not introduce the situation into ‘the Giaour.’ He may wonder;—he might wonder more at that production’s being written at all. But to describe the feelings of that situation were impossible—it is icy even to recollect them.

The Bride of Abydos was published on Thursday the second of December; but how it is liked or disliked, I know not. Whether it
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 461
succeeds or not is no fault of the public, against whom I can have no complaint. But I am much more indebted to the tale than I can ever be to the most partial reader; as it wrung my thoughts from reality to imagination—from selfish regrets to vivid recollections—and recalled to a country replete with the brightest and darkest, but always most lively colours of my memory.
Sharpe called, but was not let in,—which I regret.

* * * * * * *

“Saw * * yesterday. I have not kept my appointment at Middleton, which has not pleased him, perhaps; and my projected voyage with * * will, perhaps, please him less. But I wish to keep well with both. They are instruments that don’t do, in concert; but, surely, their separate tones are very musical, and I won’t give up either.

“It is well if I don’t jar between these great discords. At present, I stand tolerably well with all, but I cannot adopt their dislikes;—so many sets. Holland’s is the first;—every thing distingué is welcome there, and certainly the ton of his society is the best. Then there is Mde. de Staël’s—there I never go, though I might, had I courted it. It is composed of the * *s and the * * family, with a strange sprinkling,—orators, dandies, and all kinds of Blue, from the regular Grub-street uniform, down to the azure jacket of the Littérateur. To see * * and * * sitting together, at dinner, always reminds me of the grave, where all distinctions of friend and foe are levelled; and they—the Reviewer and Reviewée—the Rhinoceros and Elephant—the Mammoth and Megalonyx—all will lie quietly together. They now sit together, as silent, but not so quiet, as if they were already immured.

* * * * * * *

“I did not go to the Berrys’ the other night. The elder is a woman of much talent, and both are handsome, and must have been beautiful. To-night asked to Lord H.’s—shall I go? um!—perhaps.

“Morning, two o’clock.

“Went to Lord H.’s,—party numerous—milady in perfect good-humour, and consequently perfect. No one more agreeable, or perhaps
462 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
so much so, when she will. Asked for Wednesday to dine and meet the
Staël—asked particularly, I believe, out of mischief, to see the first interview after the note, with which Corinne professes herself to be so much taken. I don’t much like it;—she always talks of myself or herself, and I am not (except in soliloquy, as now) much enamoured of either subject—especially one’s Works. What the devil shall I say about De l’Allemagne?’ I like it prodigiously; but unless I can twist my admiration into some fantastical expression, she won’t believe me; and I know, by experience, I shall be overwhelmed with fine things about rhyme, &c. &c. The lover, Mr. * *, was there to-night, and C * * said ‘it was the only proof he had seen of her good taste.’ Monsieur L’Amant is remarkably handsome; but I don’t think more so than her book.

C * * looks well,—seemed pleased, and dressed to sprucery. A blue coat becomes him,—so does his new wig. He really looked as if Apollo had sent him a birthday suit, or a wedding-garment, and was witty and lively. * * * He abused Corinne’s book, which I regret; because, firstly, he understands German, and is consequently a fair judge; and, secondly, he is first-rate, and, consequently, the best of judges. I reverence and admire him; but I won’t give up my opinion—why should I? I read her again and again, and there can be no affectation in this. I cannot be mistaken (except in taste) in a book I read and lay down, and take up again; and no book can be totally bad, which finds one, even one reader, who can say as much sincerely.

C. talks of lecturing next spring; his last lectures were eminently successful. Moore thought of it, but gave it up,—I don’t know why. * * had been prating dignity to him, and such stuff; as if a man disgraced himself by instructing and pleasing at the same time.

“Introduced to Marquis Buckingham—saw Lord Gower—he is going to Holland;—Sir J. and Lady Mackintosh and Horner, G. Lamb, with I know not how many (R Wellesley, one—a clever man) grouped about the room. Little Henry Fox, a very fine boy, and very promising in mind and manner,—he went away to bed, before I had time to talk to him. I am sure I had rather hear him than all the savans.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 463
“Monday, December 6th.

Murray tells me that C—r asked him why the thing was called the Bride of Abydos? It is a cursed awkward question, being unanswerable. She is not a bride, only about to be one; but for, &c. &c. &c.

“I don’t wonder at his finding out the Bull; but the detection * * * is too late to do any good. I was a great fool to make it, and am ashamed of not being an Irishman. * * * * *

C—l last night seemed a little nettled at something or other—I know not what. We were standing in the ante-saloon, when Lord H. brought out of the other room a vessel of some composition similar to that which is used in catholic churches, and, seeing us, he exclaimed, ‘Here is some incense for you.’ C—l answered—‘Carry it to Lord Byron—he is used to it.’ * * *

“Now, this comes of ‘bearing no brother near the throne.’ I, who have no throne, nor wish to have one now—whatever I may have done—am at perfect peace with all the poetical fraternity;—or, at least, if I dislike any, it is not poetically, but personally. Surely the field of thought is infinite;—what does it signify who is before or behind in a race where there is no goal? The temple of Fame is like that of the Persians, the Universe;—our altar, the tops of mountains. I should be equally content with Mount Caucasus or Mount Anything; and those who like it may have Mont Blanc or Chimborazo, without my envy of their elevation.

“I think I may now speak thus; for I have just published a Poem, and am quite ignorant whether it is likely to be liked or not. I have hitherto heard little in its commendation, and no one can downright abuse it to one’s face, except in print. It can’t be good, or I should not have stumbled over the threshold, and blundered in my very title. But I begun it with my heart full of * * *, and my head of orientalities (I can’t call them isms), and wrote on rapidly, * * * * *

“This journal is a relief. When I am tired—as I generally am—out comes this, and down goes every thing. But I can’t read it over;—and God knows what contradictions it may contain. If I am sincere with myself (but I fear one lies more to one’s self than to any one else), every page should confute, refute, and utterly abjure its predecessor.

“Another scribble from Martin Baldwin the petitioner: I have
464 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
neither head nor nerves to present it. That confounded supper at
Lewis’s has spoiled my digestion and my philanthropy. I have no more charity than a cruet of vinegar. Would I were an ostrich and dieted on fire-irons,—or any thing that my gizzard could get the better of.

“To-day saw W. His uncle is dying, and W. don’t much affect our Dutch determinations. I dine with him on Thursday, provided l’oncle is not dined upon, or peremptorily bespoke by the posthumous epicures, before that day. I wish he may recover—not for our dinner’s sake, but to disappoint the undertaker, and the rascally reptiles that may well wait, since they will dine at last.

Gell called—he of Troy—after I was out. Mem.—to return his visit. But my Mems. are the very land-marks of forgetfulness;—something like a lighthouse, with a ship wrecked under the nose of its lantern. I never look at a Mem. without seeing that I have remembered to forget. Mem.—I have forgotten to pay Pitt’s taxes, and suppose I shall be surcharged. ‘An I do not turn rebel when thou art king’—’oons! I believe my very biscuit is leavened with that Impostor’s imposts.

Ly. Me. returns from Jersey’s to-morrow;—I must call. A Mr. Thomson has sent a song, which I must applaud. I hate annoying them with censure or silence;—and yet I hate lettering.

“Saw Lord Glenbervie and his Prospectus at Murray’s, of a new Treatise on Timber. Now here is a man more useful than all the historians and rhymers ever planted. For by preserving our woods and forests, he furnishes materials for all the history of Britain worth reading, and all the odes worth nothing.

“Redde a good deal, but desultorily. My head is crammed with the most useless lumber. It is odd that when I do read, I can only bear the chicken broth of—any thing but Novels. It is many a year since I have looked into one (though they are sometimes ordered, by way of experiment, but never taken) till I looked yesterday at the worst parts of the Monk. These descriptions ought to have been written by Tiberius at Caprea—they are forced—the philtred ideas of a jaded voluptuary. It is to me inconceivable how they could have been composed by a man of only twenty—his age when he wrote them. They have no nature—all
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 465
the sour cream of cantharides. I should have suspected
Buffon of writing them on the deathbed of his detestable dotage. I had never redde this edition, and merely looked at them from curiosity and recollection of the noise they made, and the name they have left to Lewis. But they could do no harm, except * * * *.

“Called this evening on my agent—my business as usual. Our strange adventures are the only inheritances of our family that have not diminished. * * * *

“I shall now smoke two cigars, and get me to bed. The cigars don’t keep well here. They get as old as a donna di quaranti anni in the sun of Africa. The Havannah are the best;—but neither are so pleasant as a hooka or chibouque. The Turkish tobacco is mild, and their horses entire—two things as they should be. I am so far obliged to this Journal, that it preserves me from verse,—at least from keeping it. I have just thrown a Poem into the fire (which it has relighted to my great comfort), and have smoked out of my head the plan of another. I wish I could as easily get rid of thinking, or, at least, the confusion of thought.

“Tuesday, December 7.

“Went to bed, and slept dreamlessly, but not refreshingly. Awoke, and up an hour before being called; but dawdled three hours in dressing. When one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation)—sleep, eating, and swilling—buttoning and unbuttoning—how much remains of downright existence? The summer of a dormouse. * * * *

“Redde the papers and tea-ed and soda-watered, and found out that the fire was badly lighted. Ld. Glenbervie wants me to go to Brighton—um!

“This morning, a very pretty billet from the Staël about meeting her at Ld. H.’s to-morrow. She has written, I dare say, twenty such this morning to different people, all equally flattering to each. So much the better for her and those who believe all she wishes them, or they wish to believe. She has been pleased to be pleased with my slight eulogy in the note annexed to the ‘Bride.’ This is to he accounted for in several ways.—firstly, all women like all, or any, praise; secondly, this was
466 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
unexpected, because I have never courted her; and thirdly, as Scrub says, those who have been all their lives regularly praised, by regular critics, like a little variety, and are glad when any one goes out of his way to say a civil thing; and fourthly, she is a very good-natured creature, which is the best reason, after all, and, perhaps, the only one.

“A knock—knocks single and double. Bland called.—He says Dutch society (he has been in Holland) is second-hand French; but the women are like women every where else. This is a bore; I should like to see them a little unlike; but that can’t be expected.

“Went out—came home—this, that, and the other—and ‘all is vanity, saith the preacher,’ and so say I, as part of his congregation. Talking of vanity—whose praise do I prefer? Why, Mrs. Inchbald’s, and that of the Americans. The first, because her ‘Simple Story’ and ‘Nature and Art’ are, to me, true to their titles; and, consequently, her short note to Rogers about the ‘Giaour’ delighted me more than any thing, except the Edinburgh Review. I like the Americans, because I happened to be in Asia, while the English Bards and Scotch Reviewers were redde in America. If I could have had a speech against the Slave Trade, in Africa, and an Epitaph on a Dog, in Europe, (i. e. in the Morning Post), my vertex sublimis would certainly have displaced stars enough to overthrow the Newtonian system.

“Friday, December 10th, 1813.

“I am ennuyé beyond my usual tense of that yawning verb, which I am always conjugating; and I don’t find that society much mends the matter. I am too lazy to shoot myself—and it would annoy Augusta, and perhaps * *; but it would be a good thing for George, on the other side, and no bad one for me; but I won’t be tempted.

“I have had the kindest letter from M * * e. I do think that man is the best-hearted, the only hearted being I ever encountered; and then, his talents are equal to his feelings.

“Dined on Wednesday at Lord H.’s—the Staffords, Staëls, Cowpers, Ossulstones, Melbournes, Mackintoshes, &c. &c.—and was introduced to the Marquis and Marchioness of Stafford,—an unexpected event. My quarrel with Lord Carlisle (their or his brother-in-law) having rendered
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 467
it improper, I suppose, brought it about. But, if it was to happen at all, I wonder it did not occur before. She is handsome, and must have been beautiful—and her manners are princessly. * * *

“The Staël was at the other end of the table, and less loquacious than heretofore. We are now very good friends; though she asked Lady Melbourne whether I had really any bonhommie. She might as well have asked that question before she told C. L. ‘c’est un démon.’ True enough, but rather premature, for she could not have found it out, and so—she wants me to dine there next Sunday.

Murray prospers, as far as circulation. For my part, I adhere (in liking) to my Fragment. It is no wonder that I wrote one—my mind is a fragment.

“Saw Lord Gower, Tierney, &c. in the square. Took leave of Lord Gr. who is going to Holland and Germany. He tells me, that he carries with him a parcel of ‘Harolds’ and ‘Giaours,’ &c. for the readers of Berlin, who, it seems, read English, and have taken a caprice for mine. Um!—have I been German all this time, when I thought myself oriental? * * *

“Lent Tierney my box for to-morrow; and received a new Comedy sent by Lady C. A.—but not hers. I must read it, and endeavour not to displease the author. I hate annoying them with cavil; but a comedy I take to be the most difficult of compositions, more so than tragedy.

G—t says there is a coincidence between the first part of ‘the Bride’ and some story of his—whether published or not, I know not, never having seen it. He is almost the last person on whom any one would commit literary larceny, and I am not conscious of any witting thefts on any of the genus. As to originality, all pretensions are ludicrous,—‘there is nothing new under the sun.’

“Went last night to the play. * * * * Invited out to a party, but did not go;—right. Refused to go to Lady * *’s on Monday;—right again. If I must fritter away my life, I would rather do it alone. I was much tempted;—C * * looked so Turkish with her red turban, and her regular dark and clear features. Not that she and I ever were, or could be, any thing; but I love any aspect that reminds me of the ‘children of the sun.’

468 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.

“To dine to-day with Rogers and Sharpe, for which I have some appetite, not having tasted food for the preceding forty-eight hours. I wish I could leave off eating altogether.

“Saturday, December 11.
“Sunday, December 12.

By G—t’s answer, I find it is some story in real life, and not any work with which my late composition coincides. It is still more singular, for mine is drawn from existence also.

“I have sent an excuse to M. de Staël. I do not feel sociable enough for dinner to-day;—and I will not go to Sheridan’s on Wednesday. Not that I do not admire and prefer his unequalled conversation; but—that ‘but’ must only be intelligible to thoughts I cannot write. Sheridan was in good talk at Rogers’s the other night, but I only staid till nine. All the world are to be at the Staël’s to-night, and I am not sorry to escape any part of it. I only go out to get me a fresh appetite for being alone. Went out—did not go to the Staël’s, but to Ld. Holland’s. Party numerous—conversation general. Staid late—made a blunder—got over it—came home and went to bed, not having eaten. Rather empty, but fresco, which is the great point with me.

“Monday, December 13, 1813.

“Called at three places—read, and got ready to leave town tomorrow. Murray has had a letter from his brother Bibliopole of Edinburgh, who says ‘he is lucky in having such a poet’—something as if one was a pack-horse, or ‘ass, or any thing that is his:’ or, like Mrs. Packwood, who replied to some inquiry after the Odes on Razors. ‘Laws, sir, we keeps a Poet.’ The same illustrious Edinburgh bookseller once sent an order for books, poesy, and cookery, with this agreeable postscript—‘The Harold and Cookery are much wanted.’ Such is fame, and, after all, quite as good as any other ‘life in other’s breath.’ ’Tis much the same to divide purchasers with Hannah Glasse or Hannah More.

“Some editor of some Magazine has announced to Murray his inten-
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 469
tion of abusing the thing ‘without reading it.’ So much the better; if he redde it first, he would abuse it more.

Allen (Lord Holland’s Allen—the best informed and one of the ablest men I know—a perfect Magliabecchi—a devourer, a Helluo of books, and an observer of men) has lent me a quantity of Burns’s unpublished, and never-to-be published, Letters. They are full of oaths and obscene songs. What an antithetical mind!—tenderness, roughness—delicacy, coarseness—sentiment, sensuality—soaring and grovelling, dirt and deity—all mixed up in that one compound of inspired clay!

“It seems strange; a true voluptuary will never abandon his mind to the grossness of reality. It is by exalting the earthly, the material, the physique of our pleasures, by veiling these ideas, by forgetting them altogether, or, at least, never naming them hardly to one’s self, that we alone can prevent them from disgusting.

* * * * * * *
“December 14, 15, 16.

“Much done, but nothing to record. It is quite enough to set down my thoughts,—my actions will rarely bear retrospection.

“December 17, 18.

Lord Holland told me a curious piece of sentimentality in Sheridan*. The other night we were all delivering our respective and various opinions on him and other hommes marquans, and mine was this. ‘Whatever Sheridan has done or chosen to do has been, par excellence, always the best of its kind. He has written the best comedy (School for Scandal), the best drama (in my mind, far before that St. Giles’s lampoon, the Beggar’s Opera), the best farce (the Critic—it is only too good for a farce), and the best Address (Monologue on Garrick), and, to crown all, delivered the very best Oration (the famous Begum Speech) ever conceived or heard in this country.’ Somebody told S. this the next day, and on hearing it, he burst into tears!

* This passage of the Journal has already appeared in my Life of Sheridan.

470 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.

“Poor Brinsley! if they were tears of pleasure, I would rather have said these few, but most sincere, words than have written the Iliad or made his own celebrated Philippic. Nay, his own comedy never gratified me more than to hear that he had derived a moment’s gratification from any praise of mine, humble as it must appear to ‘my elders and my betters.’

“Went to my box at Covent-garden to-night; and my delicacy felt a little shocked at seeing S * * *’s mistress (who, to my certain knowledge, was actually educated, from her birth, for her profession) sitting with her mother, ‘a three-piled b—d, b—d-Major to the army,’ in a private box opposite. I felt rather indignant; but, casting my eyes round the house, in the next box to me, and the next, and the next, were the most distinguished old and young Babylonians of quality;—so I burst out a laughing. It was really odd; Lady * * divorced—Lady * * and her daughter, Lady * *, both divorceable—Mrs. * *†, in the next, the like, and still nearer * * * * * *! What an assemblage to me, who know all their histories. It was as if the house had been divided between your public and your understood courtesans;—but the Intriguantes much outnumbered the regular mercenaries. On the other side were only Pauline and her mother, and, next box to her, three of inferior note. Now, where lay the difference between her and mamma, and Lady * * and daughter? except that the two last may enter Carleton and any other house, and the two first are limited to the opera and b— house. How I do delight in observing life as it really is!—and myself, after all, the worst of any. But, no matter—I must avoid egotism, which, just now, would be no vanity.

“I have lately written a wild, rambling, unfinished rhapsody, called ‘The Devil’s Drive‡,’ the notion of which I took from Porson’sDevil’s Walk.’

“Redde some Italian, and wrote two Sonnets on * * *. I never wrote but one sonnet before, and that was not in earnest, and many

† These names are all left blank in the original.

‡ Of this strange, wild Poem, which extends to about 250 lines, the only copy that Lord Byron, I believe, ever wrote, he presented to Lord Holland. Though with a good deal of vigour and imagination, it is, for the most part, rather clumsily executed, wanting the point and

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 471
years ago, as an exercise—and I will never write another. They are the most pulling, petrifying, stupidly platonic compositions. I detest the
Petrarch so much*, that I would not be the man even to have obtained his Laura, which the metaphysical, whining dotard never could.

* * * * * * *

condensation of those clever verses of Mr. Coleridge which Lord Byron, adopting a notion long prevalent, has attributed to Professor Porson. There are, however, some of the stanzas of “The Devil’s Drive” well worth preserving.

“The Devil return’d to hell by two,
And he staid at home till five;
When he dined on some homicides done in ragoût,
And a rebel or so in an Irish stew,
And sausages made of a self-slain Jew,
And bethought himself what next to do,
‘And,’ quoth he, ‘I’ll take a drive.
I walk’d in the morning, I’ll ride to-night;
In darkness my children take moat delight,
And I’ll see how my favourites thrive.
“‘And what shall I ride in?’ quoth Lucifer, then—
‘If I follow’d my taste, indeed,
I should mount in a waggon of wounded men,
And smile to see them bleed.
But these will be furnish’d again and again,
And at present my purpose is speed;
To see my manor as much as I may,
And watch that no souls shall be poach’d away.
“‘I have a state-coach at C— House,
A chariot in Seymour-place;
But they’re lent to two friends, who make me amends
By driving my favourite pace:
And they handle their reins with such a grace,
I have something for both at the end of their race.
“‘So now for the earth to take my chance.’
Then up to the earth sprung he;

* He learned to think more reverently of “the Petrarch” afterwards.

472 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
“January 16, 1814.
* * * * * * *

“To-morrow I leave town for a few days. I saw Lewis to-day, who is just returned from Oatlands, where he has been squabbling with Mad. de Staël about himself, Clarissa Harlowe, Mackintosh, and me. My homage has never been paid in that quarter, or we would have agreed still worse. I don’t talk—I can’t flatter, and won’t listen, except to a pretty or a foolish woman. She bored Lewis with praises of himself till he sickened—found out that Clarissa was perfection, and Mackintosh the first man in England. There I agree, at least, one of the first—but Lewis did not. As to Clarissa, I leave to those who can read it to judge

And making a jump from Moscow to France,
He stepp’d across the sea,
And rested his hoof on a turnpike road,
No very great way from a bishop’s abode.
“But first as he flew, I forgot to say,
That he hover’d a moment upon his way
To look upon Leipsic plain;
And so sweet to his eye was its sulphury glare,
And so soft to his ear was the cry of despair,
That he perch’d on a mountain of slain;
And he gazed with delight from its growing height,
Nor often on earth had he seen such a sight,
Nor his work done half as well:
For the field ran so red with the blood of the dead,
That it blush’d like the waves of Hell!
Then loudly, and wildly, and long laugh’d he:
‘Methinks they have here little need of me!
* * * * *
“But the softest note that sooth’d his ear
Was the sound of a widow sighing;
And the sweetest sight was the icy tear,
Which Horror froze in the blue eye clear
Of a maid by her lover lying—
As round her fell her long fair hair;
And she look’d to Heaven with that frenzied air
Which seem’d to ask if a God were there!

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 473
and dispute. I could not do the one, and am, consequently, not qualified for the other. She told Lewis wisely, he being my friend, that I was affected, in the first place, and that, in the next place, I committed the heinous offence of sitting at dinner with my eyes shut, or half shut. * * * I wonder if I really have this trick. I must cure myself of it, if true. One insensibly acquires awkward habits, which should be broken in time. If this is one, I wish I had been told of it before. It would not so much signify if one was always to be checkmated by a plain woman, but one may as well see some of one’s neighbours, as well as the plate upon the table.

“I should like, of all things, to have heard the Amabæan eclogue

And, stretch’d by the wall of a ruin’d hut,
With its hollow cheek, and eyes half shut,
A child of famine dying:
And the carnage begun, when resistance is done,
And the fall of the vainly flying!
* * * * *
“But the Devil has reach’d our cliffs so white,
And what did he there, I pray?
If his eyes were good, he but saw by night
What we see every day;
But he made a tour, and kept a journal
Of all the wondrous sights nocturnal,
And he sold it in shares to the Men of the Row,
Who bid pretty well—but they cheated him, though!
“The Devil first saw, as he thought, the Mail,
Its coachman and his coat;
So instead of a pistol be cock’d his tail,
And seized him by the throat:
‘Aha,’ quoth he, ‘what have we here?
’Tis a new barouche, and an ancient peer!’
“So he sat him on his box again,
And bade him have no fear,
But be true to his club, and stanch to his rein,
His brothel, and his beer;

474 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
between her and Lewis—both obstinate, clever, and garrulous, and shrill. In fact, one could have heard nothing else. But they fell out, alas!—and now they will never quarrel again. Could not one reconcile them for the ‘nonce?’ Poor Corinne—she will find that some of her fine sayings won’t suit our fine ladies and gentlemen.

“I am getting rather into admiration of * *, the youngest sister of * *. A wife would be my salvation. I am sure the wives of my acquaintances have hitherto done me little good. * * is beautiful, but very young, and, I think, a fool. But I have not seen enough to judge; besides, I hate an esprit in petticoats. That she won’t love me is very probable, nor shall I love her. But, on my system, and the modern system in general, that don’t signify. The business (if it came to business) would probably be arranged between papa and me. She

‘Next to seeing a lord at the council board,
I would rather see him here.’
* * * * *
“The Devil gat next to Westminster,
And he turn’d to ‘the room’ of the Commons;
But he heard, as he purposed to enter in there,
That ‘the Lords’ had received a summons;
And he thought, as a ‘quondam Aristocrat,’
He might peep at the peers, though to hear them were flat;
And he walk’d up the house so like one of our own,
That they say that he stood pretty near the throne.
“He saw the Lord L—l seeming1y wise,
The Lord W—d certainly silly,
And Johnny of Norfolk—a man of some size—
And Chatham, so—like his friend Billy;
And he saw the tears in Lord E—n’s eyes,
Because the Catholics would not rise,
In spite of his prayers and his prophecies;
And he heard—which set Satan himself a staring—
A certain Chief Justice say something like swearing,
And the Devil was shock’d—and quoth he, ‘I must go,
For I find we have much better manners below.
If thus he harangues when he passes my border,
I shall hint to friend Moloch to call him to order.’”

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 475
would have her own way; I am good-humoured to women, and docile; and, if I did not fall in love with her, which I should try to prevent, we should be a very comfortable couple. As to conduct, that she must look to. * * * * * But if I love, I shall be jealous;—and for that reason I will not be in love. Though, after all, I doubt my temper, and fear I should not be so patient as becomes the bienséance of a married man in my station. * * * * * Divorce ruins the poor femme, and damages are a paltry compensation. I do fear my temper would lead me into some of our oriental tricks of vengeance, or, at any rate, into a summary appeal to the court of twelve paces. So ‘I’ll none on ’t,’ but e’en remain single and solitary;—though I should like to have somebody now and then, to yawn with one.

W. and, after him, * *, has stolen one of my buffooneries about Mde. de Staël’s Metaphysics and the Fog, and passed it, by speech and letter, as their own. As Gibbet says, ‘they are the most of a gentleman of any on the road.’ W. is in sad enmity with the Whigs about this Review of Fox (if he did review him);—all the epigrammatists and essayists are at him. I hate odds, and wish he may beat them. As for me, by the blessing of indifference, I have simplified my politics into an utter detestation of all existing governments; and, as it is the shortest and most agreeable and summary feeling imaginable, the first moment of an universal republic would convert me into an advocate for single and uncontradicted despotism. The fact is, riches are power, and poverty is slavery, all over the earth, and one sort of establishment is no better, nor worse, for a people than another. I shall adhere to my party, because it would not be honourable to act otherwise; but, as to opinions, I don’t think politics worth an opinion. Conduct is another thing:—if you begin with a party, go on with them. I have no consistency, except in politics; and that probably arises from my indifference on the subject altogether.”

I must here be permitted to interrupt, for a while, the progress of this Journal,—which extends through some months of the succeeding year,—for the purpose of noticing, without infringement of chronological order, such parts of the poet’s literary history and correspondence as belong properly to the date of the year 1813.

At the beginning, as we have seen, of the month of December, the
476 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
Bride of Abydos was published,—having been struck off, like its predecessor, the Giaour, in one of those paroxysms of passion and imagination, which adventures such as the poet was now engaged in were, in a temperament like his, calculated to excite. As the mathematician of old required but a spot to stand upon, to be able, as he boasted, to move the world, so a certain degree of foundation in fact seemed necessary to Byron, before that lever which he knew how to apply to the world of the passions could be wielded by him. So small, however, was, in many instances, the connexion with reality which satisfied him, that to aim at tracing through his stories these links with his own fate and fortunes, which were, after all, perhaps, visible but to his own fancy, would be a task as uncertain as unsafe;—and this remark applies not only to the Bride of Abydos, but to the Corsair, Lara, and all the other beautiful fictions that followed, in which, though the emotions expressed by the poet may be, in general, regarded as vivid recollections of what had, at different times, agitated his own bosom, there are but little grounds,—however he might himself, occasionally, encourage such a supposition,—for connecting him personally with the groundwork or incidents of the stories.

While yet uncertain about the fate of his own new poem, the following observations on the work of an ingenious follower in the same track were written.

“December 4th, 1813.

“I have redde through your Persian Tales*, and have taken the liberty of making some remarks on the blank pages. There are many beautiful passages, and an interesting story; and I cannot give you a stronger proof that such is my opinion than by the date of the hourtwo o’clock, till which it has kept me awake without a yawn. The conclusion is not quite correct in costume: there is no Mussulman suicide on record—at least for love. But this matters not. The tale must have been written by some one who has been on the spot, and I wish him, and he

* Poems by Mr. Galley Knight, of which Mr. Murray had transmitted the MS. to Lord Byron, without, however, communicating the name of the author.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 477
deserves, success. Will you apologise to the author for the liberties I have taken with his MS.? Had I been less awake to, and interested in, his theme, I had been less obtrusive; but you know I always take this in good part, and I hope he will. It is difficult to say what will succeed, and still more to pronounce what will not. I am at this moment in that uncertainty (on our own score), and it is no small proof of the author’s powers to be able to charm and fix a mind’s attention on similar subjects and climates in such a predicament. That he may have the same effect upon all his readers is very sincerely the wish, and hardly the doubt, of yours truly, “B.”

To the Bride of Abydos he made additions, in the course of printing, amounting altogether to near two hundred lines; and, as usual, among the passages thus added were some of the happiest and most brilliant in the whole Poem. The opening lines, “Know ye the land,” &c.—supposed to have been suggested to him by a song of Goëthe’s*—were among the number of these new insertions, as were also those fine verses, “Who hath not proved how feebly words ‘essay,’” &c. Of one of the most popular lines in this latter passage, it is not only curious, but instructive, to trace the progress to its present state of finish. Having, at first, written—
“Mind on her lip and music in her face,”
he afterwards altered it to
“The mind of music breathing in her face.”
But, this not satisfying him, the next step of correction brought the line to what it is at present.—
“The mind, the music breathing from her face†.”

* “Kennst du das Land wo die Citronen Blühn,” &c.

† Among the imputed plagiarisms so industriously, hunted out in his writings, this line has been, with somewhat more plausibility than is frequent in such charges, included,—the lyric poet Lovelace having, it seems, written,
“The melody and music of her face.”

Sir Thomas Brown, too, in his Religio Medici, says—“There is music even in beauty,” &c. The coincidence, no doubt, is worth observing, and the task of “tracking” thus a favourite writer

478 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.

But the longest, as well as most splendid, of those passages, with which the perusal of his own strains, during revision, inspired him, was that rich flow of eloquent feeling which follows the couplet, “Thou, my Zuleika, share and bless my bark,” &c.—a strain of poetry which, for energy and tenderness of thought, for music of versification, and selectness of diction, has, throughout the greater portion of it, but few rivals in either ancient or modern song. All this passage was sent, in successive scraps, to the printer,—correction following correction, and thought reinforced by thought. We have here, too, another example of that retouching process, by which some of his most exquisite effects were attained. Every reader remembers the four beautiful lines—

“Or, since that hope denied in worlds of strife,
Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life!
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray!”

In the first copy of this passage sent to the publisher, the last line was written thus—
And tints to-morrow with { an airy | a fancied } ray.”
The following note being annexed:—“
Mr. Murray,—Choose which of the two epithets, ‘fancied,’ or ‘airy,’ may be the best; or, if neither will do, tell me, and I will dream another.” The poet’s dream was, it must be owned, lucky,—“prophetic” being the word, of all others, for his purpose*.

I shall select but one more example, from the additions to this

“in the snow (as Dryden expresses it) of others” is sometimes not unamusing; but to those who found upon such resemblances a general charge of plagiarism, we may apply what Sir Walter Scott says, in that most agreeable work, his Lives of the Novelists:—“It is a favourite theme of laborious dulness to trace such coincidences, because they appear to reduce genius of the higher ardor to the usual standard of humanity, and of course to bring the author nearer to level with his critics.”

* It will be seen, however, from a subsequent letter to Mr. Murray, that he himself was at first unaware of the peculiar felicity of this epithet; and it is, therefore, probable, that, after all, the merit of the choice may have belonged to Mr. Gifford.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 479
Poem, as a proof that his eagerness and facility, in producing, was sometimes almost equalled by his anxious care in correcting. In the long passage, just referred to, the six lines beginning “Blest as the Muezzin’s strain,” &c., having been despatched to the printer too late for insertion, were, by his desire, added in an errata page; the first couplet, in its original form, being as follows:—
“Soft as the Mecca-Muezzin’s strains invite
Him who hath journey’d far to join the rite.”
In a few hours after, another scrap was sent off, containing the lines thus—
“Blest as the Muezzin’s strain from Mecca’s dome,
Which welcomes Faith to view her Prophet’s tomb.”
With the following note to
Mr. Murray:—

“December 3d, 1813.

“Look out in the Encyclopedia, article Mecca, whether it is there or at Medina the Prophet is entombed. If at Medina, the first lines of my alteration must run—
“Blest as the call which from Medina’s dome
Invites Devotion to her Prophet’s tomb,” &c.
If at Mecca, the lines may stand as before. Page 45, canto 2d,
Bride of Abydos. “Yours,


“You will find this out either by article Mecca, Medina, or Mohammed. I have no book of reference by me.”

Immediately after succeeded another note:—

“Did you look out? Is it Medina or Mecca that contains the Holy Sepulchre? Don’t make me blaspheme by your negligence. I have no
480 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
book of reference, or I would save you the trouble. I blush, as a good Mussulman, to have confused the point. “Yours,


Notwithstanding all these various changes, the couplet in question stands, at present, thus:—
“Blest as the Muezzin’s strain from Mecca’s wall
To pilgrims pure and prostrate at his call.”

In addition to his own watchfulness over the birth of his new Poem, he also, as will be seen from the following letter, invoked the veteran taste of Mr. Gifford on the occasion.

“November 12th, 1813.

“I hope you will consider, when I venture on any request, that it is the reverse of a certain Dedication, and is addressed, not to ‘The Editor of the Quarterly Review,’ but to Mr. Gifford. You will understand this, and on that point I need trouble you no farther.

“You have been good enough to look at a thing of mine in MS.—a Turkish story, and I should feel gratified if you would do it the same favour in its probationary state of printing. It was written, I cannot say for amusement, nor ‘obliged by hunger and request of friends,’ but in a state of mind, from circumstances which occasionally occur to ‘us youths’ that rendered it necessary for me to apply my mind to something, any thing but reality; and under this not very brilliant inspiration it was composed. Being done, and having at least diverted me from myself, I thought you would not perhaps be offended if Mr. Murray forwarded it to you. He has done so, and to apologise for his doing so a second time is the object of my present letter.

“I beg you will not send me any answer. I assure you very
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 481
sincerely I know your time to be occupied, and it is enough, more than enough, if you read; you are not to be bored with the fatigue of answers.

“A word to Mr. Murray will be sufficient, and send it either to the flames, or
‘A hundred hawkers’ load,
On wings of winds to fly or fall abroad.’
It deserves no better than the first, as the work of a week, and scribbled ‘stans pede in uno’ (by the by, the only foot I have to stand on); and I promise never to trouble you again under forty Cantos, and a voyage between each.

“Believe me ever
“your obliged and affectionate servant,

The following letters and notes, addressed to Mr. Murray at this time, cannot fail, I think, to gratify all those to whom the history, of the labours of Genius is interesting.

“Nov. 12th, 1813.

Two friends of mine (Mr. Rogers and Mr. Sharpe) have advised me not to risk at present any single publication separately, for various reasons. As they have not seen the one in question, they can have no bias for or against the merits (if it has any) or the faults of the present subject of our conversation. You say all the last of the ‘Giaour’ are gone—at least out of your hands. Now, if you think of publishing any new edition with the last additions which have not yet been before the reader (I mean distinct from the two-volume publication), we can add the ‘Bride of Abydos,’ which will thus steal quietly into the world: if liked, we can then throw off some copies for the purchasers of former ‘Giaours;’ and, if not, I can omit it in any future publication. What think you? I really am no judge of those things, and with all my natural
482 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
partiality for one’s own productions, I would rather follow any one’s judgment than my own.

“P.S. Pray let me have the proofs I sent all to-night. I have some alterations that I have thought of that I wish to make speedily. I hope the proof will be on separate pages, and not all huddled together on a mile-long ballad-singing sheet, as those of the Giaour sometimes are; for then I can’t read them distinctly.”

“Nov. 13, 1813.

“Will you forward the letter to Mr. Gifford with the proof? There is an alteration I may make in Zuleika’s speech, in second Canto (the only one of hers in that Canto). It is now thus:
“And curse, if I could curse, the day.
It must be—
“And mourn—I dare not curse—the day
That saw my solitary birth, &c. &c.

“Ever yours,

“In the last MS. lines sent, instead of ‘living heart,’ convert to ‘quivering heart.’ It is in line 9th of the MS. passage.

“Ever yours again,

“Alteration of a line in Canto second. Instead of—
“And tints to-morrow with a fancied ray,
“And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray.
“The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray;
“And { gilds | tints } the hope of morning with its ray;
“And gilds to-morrow’s hope with heavenly ray.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 483

“I wish you would ask Mr. Gifford which of them is best, or rather not worst.

“Ever, &c.

“You can send the request contained in this at the same time with the revise, after I have seen the said revise.

“Nov. 13, 1813.

“Certainly. Do you suppose that no one but the Galileans are acquainted with Adam, and Eve, and Cain, and Noah?—Surely, I might have had Solomon, and Abraham, and David, and even Moses. When you know that Zuleika is the Persian poetical name for Potiphar’s wife, on whom and Joseph there is a long poem, in the Persian, this will not surprise you. If you want authority, look at Jones, D’Herbelot, Vathek, or the notes to the Arabian Nights; and, if you think it necessary, model this into a note.

“Alter, in the inscription, ‘the most affectionate respect,’ to ‘with every sentiment of regard and respect.’”

Nov. 14, 1813.

“I send you a note for the ignorant, but I really wonder at finding you among them. I don’t care one lump of sugar for my poetry; but for my costume and my correctness on those points (of which I think the funeral was a proof), I will combat lustily.

“Yours, &c.”

“Nov. 14, 1 1813.

“Let the revise which I sent just now (and not the proof in Mr.

* Some doubt had been expressed by Mr. Murray as to the propriety of his putting the name of Cain into the mouth of a Mussulman.

484 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
Gifford’s possession) be returned to the printer, as there are several additional corrections, and two new lines in it.

“Yours, &c.
“November 15th, 1813.

Mr. Hodgson has looked over and stopped, or rather pointed, this revise, which must be the one to print from. He has also made some suggestions, with most of which I have complied, as he has always, for these ten years, been a very sincere, and by no means (at times) flattering, intimate of mine. He likes it (you will think flatteringly, in this instance) better than the Giaour, but doubts (and so do I) its being so popular; but, contrary to some others, advises a separate publication. On this we can easily decide. I confess I like the double form better. Hodgson says, it is better versified than any of the others; which is odd, if true, as it has cost me less time (though more hours at a time) than any attempt I ever made.

“P.S. Do attend to the punctuation: I can’t, for I don’t know a comma—at least where to place one.

“That tory of a printer has omitted two lines of the opening, and perhaps more, which were in the MS. Will you, pray, give him a hint of accuracy? I have reinserted the two, but they were in the manuscript. I can swear.”

“November 17th, 1813.

“That you and I may distinctly understand each other on a subject, which, like ‘the dreadful reckoning when men smile no more,’ makes conversation not very pleasant, I think it as well to write a few lines on the topic.—Before I left town for Yorkshire, you said that you were
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 485
ready and willing to give five hundred guineas for the copyright of ‘
The Giaour;’ and my answer was—from which I do not mean to recede—that we would discuss the point at Christmas. The new story may or may not succeed; the probability, under present circumstances, seems to be, that it may at least pay its expenses—but even that remains to be proved, and till it is proved one way or another, we will say nothing about it. Thus then be it: I will postpone all arrangement about it and the Giaour also, till Easter, 1814; and you shall then, according to your own notions of fairness, make your own offer for the two. At the same time, I do not rate the last in my own estimation at half the Giaour; and according to your own notions of its worth and its success within the time mentioned, be the addition or deduction to or from whatever sum may be your proposal for the first, which has already had its success.

“The pictures of Phillips I consider as mine, all three; and the one (not the Arnaout) of the two best is much at your service, if you will accept it as a present.

“P.S. The expense of engraving from the miniature send me in my account, as it was destroyed by my desire; and have the goodness to burn that detestable print from it immediately.

“To make you some amends for eternally pestering you with alterations, I send you Cobbett, to confirm your orthodoxy.

“One more alteration of a into the in the MS.; it must be—‘The heart whose softness,’ &c.

“Remember—and in the inscription ‘to the Right Honourable Lord Holland,’ without the previous names, Henry, &c.”

“November 20, 1813.

“More work for the Row. I am doing my best to beat the ‘Giaour’—no difficult task for any one but the author.”

486 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
“November 22, 1813.

“I have no time to cross-investigate, but I believe and hope all is right. I care less than you will believe about its success, but I can’t survive a single misprint: it chokes me to see words misused by the printers. Pray look over, in case of some eyesore escaping me.

“P.S. Send the earliest copies to Mr. Frere, Mr. Canning, Mr. Heber, Mr. Gifford, Lord Holland, Lord Melbourne (Whitehall), Lady Caroline Lamb (Brocket), Mr. Hodgson (Cambridge), Mr. Merivale, Mr. Ward, from the author.”

“November 23, 1813.

You wanted some reflections, and I send you per Selim (see his speech in Canto 2d, page 46), eighteen lines in decent couplets, of a pensive, if not an ethical, tendency. One more revise—positively the last, if decently done—at any rate the penultimate. Mr. Canning’s approbation (if he did approve) I need not say makes me proud*. As to printing, print as you will and how you will—by itself, if you like; but let me have a few copies in sheets.

“November 24th, 1813.

“You must pardon me once more, as it is all for your good: it must be thus—
“He makes a solitude, and calls it peace.
Makes’ is closer to the passage of
Tacitus, from which the line is taken, and is, besides, a stronger word than ‘leaves.

“Mark where his carnage and his conquests cease,
He makes a solitude, and calls it—peace.”

* Mr. Canning’s note was as follows.—“I received the books and, among them, the Bride of Abydos. It is very, very beautiful. Lord Byron (when I met him, one day, at dinner at Mr. Ward’s) was so kind as to promise to give me a copy of it. I mention this, not to save purchase, but because I should be really flattered by the present.”

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 487
“November 27th, 1813.

“If you look over this carefully by the last proof with my corrections, it is probably right; this you can do as well or better;—I have not now time. The copies I mentioned to be sent to different friends last night, I should wish to be made up with the new Giaours, if it also is ready. If not, send the Giaour afterwards.

“The Morning Post says I am the author of Nourjahad!! This comes of lending the drawings for their dresses; but it is not worth a formal contradiction. Besides, the criticisms on the supposition will, some of them, be quite amusing and furious. The Orientalism—which I hear is very splendid—of the melodrame (whosever it is, and I am sure I don’t know) is as good as an advertisement for your Eastern Stories, by filling their heads with glitter.

“P.S. You will of course say the truth, that I am not the melo-dramatist—if any one charges me in your presence with the performance.”

“November 28th, 1813.

“Send another copy (if not too much of a request) to Lady Holland of the Journal*, in my name, when you receive this; it is for Earl Grey—and I will relinquish my own. Also to Mr. Sharpe, and Lady Holland, and Lady Caroline Lamb, copies of ‘The Bride,’ as soon as convenient.

“P.S. Mr. Ward and myself still continue our purpose; but I shall not trouble you on any arrangement on the score of the Giaour and the Bride till our return—or, at any rate, before May, 1814—that is, six months from hence: and before that time you will be able to ascertain

* Penrose’s Journal, a book published by Mr. Murray at this time.

488 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
how far your offer may be a losing one; if so, you can deduct proportionably; and if not, I shall not at any rate allow you to go higher than your present proposal, which is very handsome and more than fair*.

“I have had,—but this must be entre nous,—a very kind note, on the subject of ‘the Bride,’ from Sir James Mackintosh, and an invitation to go there this evening, which it is now too late to accept.”

“November 29, 1813.
“Sunday—Monday morning—3 o’clock—in
my doublet and hose, swearing.

“I send you in time an errata page, containing an omission of mine, which must be thus added, as it is too late for insertion in the text. The passage is an imitation altogether from Medea in Ovid, and is incomplete without these two lines. Pray let this be done, and directly; it is necessary, will add one page to your book (making), and can do no harm, and is yet in time for the public. Answer me, thou oracle, in the affirmative. You can send the loose pages to those who have copies already, if they like; but certainly to all the critical copy-holders.

“P.S. I have got out of my bed (in which, however, I could not sleep, whether I had amended this or not), and so good morning. I am trying whether De L’Allemagne will act as an opiate, but I doubt it.”

“November 29th, 1813.

“‘You have looked at it!’ to much purpose, to allow so stupid a blunder to stand; it is notcourage,’ but ‘carnage;’ and if you don’t want me to cut my own throat, see it altered.

“I am very sorry to hear of the fall of Dresden.”

* Mr. Murray had offered him a thousand guineas for the two Poems.

A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 489
“Nov. 29th, 1813, Monday.

“You will act as you please upon that point; but whether I go or stay, I shall not say another word on the subject till May—nor then, unless quite convenient to yourself. I have many things I wish to leave to your care, principally papers. The vases need not be now sent, as Mr. Ward is gone to Scotland. You are right about the errata page; place it at the beginning. Mr. Perry is a little premature in his compliments: these may do harm by exciting expectation, and I think we ought to be above it—though I see the next paragraph is on the Journal*, which makes me suspect you as the author of both.

“Would it not have been as well to have said ‘in Two Cantos’ in the advertisement? they will else think of fragments, a species of composition very well for once, like one ruin in a view; but one would not build a town of them. The Bride, such as it is, is my first entire composition of any length (except the Satire, and be d—d to it), for the Giaour is but a string of passages, and Childe Harold is, and I rather think always will be, unconcluded. I return Mr. Hay’s note, with thanks to him and you.

“There have been some epigrams on Mr. Ward: one I see to-day. The first I did not see, but heard yesterday. The second seems very bad. I only hope that Mr. Ward does not believe that I had any connexion with either. I like and value him too well to allow my politics to contract into spleen, or to admire any thing intended to annoy him or his. You need not take the trouble to answer this, as I shall see you in the course of the afternoon.

“P.S. I have said this much about the epigrams, because I lived so much in the opposite camp, and, from my post as an engineer, might be suspected as the flinger of these hand-grenadoes; but with a worthy foe, I am all for open war, and not this bush-fighting, and have had, nor will have, any thing to do with it. I do not know the author.”

* Penrose’s Journal.

490 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
“Nov. 30th, 1813.

“Print this at the end of all that is of theBride of Abydos,’ as an errata page.


“Omitted, canto 2d, page 47, after line 449,
“So that those arms cling closer round my neck.
“Then if my lip once murmur, it must be
No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee.”

“Tuesday evening, Nov. 30th, 1813.

“For the sake of correctness, particularly in an errata page, the alteration of the couplet I have just sent (half an hour ago) must take place, in spite of delay or cancel; let me see the proof early to-morrow. I found out murmur to be a neuter verb, and have been obliged to alter the line so as to make it a substantive, thus—
“The deepest murmur of this lip shall be
No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee!
Don’t send the copies to the country till this is all right.”

“Dec. 2d, 1813.

“When you can, let the couplet enclosed be inserted either in the page, or in the errata page. I trust it is in time for some of the copies. This alteration is in the same part—the page but one before the last correction sent.

“P.S. I am afraid, from all I hear, that people are rather inordinate in their expectations, which is very unlucky, but cannot now be helped. This comes of Mr. Perry and one’s wise friends; but do not you wind your hopes of success to the same pitch, for fear of accidents, and I can
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 491
assure you that my philosophy will stand the test very fairly; and I have done every thing to ensure you, at all events, from positive loss, which will be some satisfaction to both.”

“Dec. 3d, 1813.

“I send you a scratch or two, the which heal. The Christian Observer is very savage, but certainly well written—and quite uncomfortable at the naughtiness of book and author. I rather suspect you won’t much like the present to be more moral, if it is to share also the usual fate of your virtuous volumes.

“Let me see a proof of the six before incorporation.”

“Monday evening, Dec. 6th, 1813.

“It is all very well, except that the lines are not numbered properly, and a diabolical mistake, page 67, which must be corrected with the pen, if no other way remains; it is the omission of ‘not’ before ‘disagreeable,’ in the note on the amber rosary. This is really horrible, and nearly as had as the stumble of mine at the threshold—I mean the misnomer of Bride. Pray do not let a copy go without the ‘not;’ it is nonsense and worse than nonsense as it now stands. I wish the printer was saddled with a vampire.

“P.S. It is still hath instead of have in page 20; never was any one so misused as I am by your devils of printers.

“P.S. I hope and trust the ‘not’ was inserted in the first edition. We must have something—any thing—to set it right. It is enough to answer for one’s own bulls, without other people’s.”

492 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.
“December 27th, 1813.

Lord Holland is laid up with the gout, and would feel very much obliged if you could obtain, and send as soon as possible, Madame D’Arblay’s (or even Miss Edgeworth’s) new work. I know they are not out; but it is perhaps possible for your Majesty to command what we cannot with much suing purchase, as yet. I need not say that when you are able or willing to confer the same favour on me, I shall be obliged. I would almost fall sick myself to get at Madame D’Arblay’s writings.

“P.S. You were talking to-day of the American edition of a certain unquenchable memorial of my younger days. As it can’t be helped now, I own I have some curiosity to see a copy of Transatlantic typography. This you will perhaps obtain, and one for yourself; but I must beg that you will not import more, because, seriously, I do wish to have that thing forgotten as much as it has been forgiven.

“If you send to the Globe editor, say that I want neither excuse nor contradiction, but merely a discontinuance of a most ill-grounded charge. I never was consistent in any thing but my politics; and as my redemption depends on that solitary virtue, it is murder to carry away my last anchor.”

Of these hasty and characteristic missives with which he despatched off his “still-breeding thoughts,” there yet remain a few more that might be presented to the reader; but enough has here been given to show the fastidiousness of his self-criticism, as well as the restless and unsatisfied ardour with which he pressed on in pursuit of perfection,—still seeing, according to the usual doom of genius, much farther than he could reach.

An appeal was, about this time, made to his generosity, which the reputation of the person from whom it proceeded would, in most minds, have justified him in treating with disregard, but which a more enlarged feeling of humanity led him to view in a very different light; for, when
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 493
expostulated with by
Mr. Murray on his generous intentions towards one “whom nobody else would give a single farthing to,” he answered, “it is for that very reason I give it, because nobody else will.” The person in question was Mr. Thomas Ashe, author of a certain notorious publication called “The Book,” which, from the delicate mysteries discussed in its pages, attracted far more notice than its talent, or even mischief, deserved. In a fit, it is to be hoped, of sincere penitence, this man wrote to Lord Byron, alleging poverty as his excuse for the vile uses to which he had hitherto prostituted his pen, and soliciting his lordship’s aid towards enabling him to exist, in future, more reputably. To this application the following answer, marked, in the highest degree, by good sense, humanity, and honourable sentiment, was returned by Lord Byron.

“4, Bennet-street, St. James’s, Dec. 14th, 1813.

“I leave town for a few days to-morrow: on my return, I will answer your letter more at length. Whatever may be your situation, I cannot but commend your resolution to abjure and abandon the publication and composition of works such as those to which you have alluded. Depend upon it, they amuse few, disgrace both reader and writer, and benefit none. It will be my wish to assist you, as far as my limited means will admit, to break such a bondage. In your answer, inform me what sum you think would enable you to extricate yourself from the hands of your employers, and to regain at least temporary independence, and I shall be glad to contribute my mite towards it. At present, I must conclude. Your name is not unknown to me, and I regret, for your own sake, that you have ever lent it to the works you mention. In saying this, I merely repeat your own words in your letter to me, and have no wish whatever to say a single syllable that may appear to insult your misfortunes. If I have, excuse me; it is unintentional.

“Yours, &c.