LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Life of Byron: 1823

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
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Life of Byron: 1824
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“Genoa, February 20th, 1823.

“I must again refer you to those two letters addressed to you at Passy before I read your speech in Galignani, &c., and which you do not seem to have received*.

“Of Hunt I see little—once a month or so, and then on his own business, generally. You may easily suppose that I know too little of Hampstead and his satellites to have much communion or community with him. My whole present relation to him arose from Shelley’s unexpected wreck. You would not have had me leave him in the street with his family, would you? and as to the other plan you mention, you forget how it would humiliate him—that his writings should be supposed

* I was never lucky enough to recover these two letters, though frequent inquiries were made about them at the French post-office.

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to be dead weight*! Think a moment—he is perhaps the vainest man on earth, at least his own friends say so pretty loudly; and if he were in other circumstances, I might be tempted to take him down a peg; but not now,—it would be cruel. It is a cursed business; but neither the motive nor the means rest upon my conscience, and it happens that he and his brother have been so far benefited by the publication in a pecuniary point of view. His brother is a steady, bold fellow, such as
Prynne, for example, and full of moral, and, I hear, physical courage.

“And you are really recanting, or softening to the clergy! It will do little good for you—it is you, not the poem, they are at. They will say they frightened you—forbid it, Ireland!

“Yours ever,
“N. B.”

Lord Byron had now, for some time, as may be collected from his letters, begun to fancy that his reputation in England was on the wane. The same thirst after fame, with the same sensitiveness to every passing change of popular favour, which led Tasso at last to look upon himself as the most despised of writers†, had more than once disposed Lord Byron, in the midst of all his triumphs, if not to doubt their reality, at least to distrust their continuance; and sometimes even, with that painful skill which sensibility supplies, to extract out of the brightest tributes of success some omen of future failure, or symptom of decline. New successes, however, still came to dissipate these bodings of diffidence, nor was it till after his unlucky coalition with Mr. Hunt in the Liberal, that any grounds for such a suspicion of his having declined in public favour showed themselves.

The chief inducements, on the part of Lord Byron, to this unworthy alliance were, in the first place, a wish to second the kind views of his

* The passage in one of my letters to which he here refers shall be given presently.

† In one of his Letters this poet says: “Non posse negare che io mi doglio oltramisura di esser stato tanto disprezzato dal mondo quanto non è altro scrittore di questo secolo.” In another letter, however, after complaining of being “perseguitato da molti più che non era convenevole,” he adds, with a proud prescience of his future fume, “Leondè stimo di potermene ragionevolmente richiamare ails posterità.”

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Shelley in inviting Mr. Hunt to join him in Italy; and, in the next, a desire to avail himself of the aid of one so experienced, as an editor, in the favourite project he had now so long contemplated, of a periodical work, in which all the various offspring of his genius might be received fast as they sprung to light. With such opinions, however, as he had long entertained of Mr. Hunt’s character and talents*, it must be owned that the facility with which he now admitted him—not certainly to any degree of confidence or intimacy, but to a declared fellowship of fame and interest in the eyes of the world, is an inconsistency not easily to be accounted for, and argued, at all events, a strong confidence in the antidotal power of his own name to resist the ridicule of such an association.

As long as Shelley lived, the regard which Lord Byron entertained for him extended its influence also over his relations with his friend; the suavity and good-breeding of Shelley interposing a sort of softening medium in the way of those unpleasant collisions which afterwards took place, and which, from what is known of both parties, may be easily conceived to have been alike trying to the patience of the patron and the vanity of the dependent. That even, however, during the lifetime of their common friend, there had occurred some of those humiliating misunderstandings which money engenders,—humiliating on both sides, as if from the very nature of the dross that gives rise to them,—will appear from the following letter of Shelley’s which I find among the papers in my hands.

February 15th, 1823.

“I enclose you a letter from Hunt, which annoys me on more than one account. You will observe the postscript, and you know me well enough to feel how painful a task is set me in commenting upon it. Hunt had urged me more than once to ask you to lend him this money. My answer consisted in sending him all I could spare, which I have now literally done. Your kindness in fitting up a part of your own

* See Letter CCCXVII, page 176.

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house for his accommodation I sensibly felt, and willingly accepted from you on his part, but, believe me, without the slightest intention of imposing, or, if I could help it, allowing to be imposed, any heavier task on your purse. As it has come to this in spite of my exertions, I will not conceal from you the low ebb of my own money affairs in the present moment,—that is, my absolute incapacity of assisting Hunt farther.

“I do not think poor Hunt’s promise to pay in a given time is worth very much; but mine is less subject to uncertainty, and I should be happy to be responsible for any engagement he may have proposed to you. I am so much annoyed by this subject that I hardly know what to write, and much less what to say; and I have need of all your indulgence in judging both my feelings and expressions.

“I shall see you by and by. Believe me,

“Yours most faithfully and sincerely,
P. B. Shelley.

Of the book in which Mr. Hunt has thought it decent to revenge upon the dead the pain of those obligations he had, in his hour of need, accepted from the living, I am luckily saved from the distaste of speaking at any length, by the utter and most deserved oblivion into which his volume has fallen. Never, indeed, was the right feeling of the world upon such subjects more creditably displayed than in the reception given universally to that ungenerous book;—even those the least disposed to think approvingly of Lord Byron having shrunk back from such a corroboration of their own opinion as could be afforded by one who did not blush to owe his authority, as an accuser, to the facilities of observation he had enjoyed. by having been sheltered and fed under the very roof of the man whom he maligned.

With respect to the hostile feeling manifested in Mr. Hunt’s work towards myself, the sole revenge I shall take is, to lay before my readers the passage in one of my letters which provoked it; and which may claim, at least, the merit of not being a covert attack, as throughout the whole of my remonstrances to Lord Byron on the subject of his new
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literary allies, not a line did I ever write respecting either
Mr. Shelley or Mr. Hunt which I was not fully prepared, from long knowledge of my correspondent, to find that he had instantly, and as a matter of course, communicated to them. That this want of retention was a fault in my noble friend, I am not inclined to deny; but, being undisguised, it was easily guarded against, and, when guarded against, harmless. Besides, such is the penalty generally to be paid for frankness of character; and they who could have flattered themselves that one so open about his own affairs as Lord Byron would be much more discreet where the confidences of others were concerned, would have had their own imprudence, not his, to blame for any injury that their dependence upon his secrecy had brought on them.

The following is the passage, which Lord Byron, as I take for granted, showed to Mr. Hunt, and to which one of his letters to myself (February 20) refers:

“I am most anxious to know that you mean to emerge out of the Liberal. It grieves me to urge any thing so much against Hunt’s interest; but I should not hesitate to use the same language to himself, were I near him. I would, if I were you, serve him in every possible way but this—I would give him (if he would accept of it) the profits of the same works, published separately—but I would not mix myself up in this way with others. I would not become a partner in this sort of miscellaneous ‘pot au feu,’ where the bad flavour of one ingredient is sure to taint all the rest. I would be, if I were you, alone, single-handed, and, as such, invincible.”

While on the subject of Mr. Hunt, I shall avail myself of the opportunity it affords me of introducing some portions of a letter addressed to a friend of that gentleman by Lord Byron, in consequence of an appeal made to the feelings of the latter on the score of his professed “friendship” for Mr. Hunt. The avowals he here makes are, I own, startling, and must be taken with more than the usual allowance, not only for the particular mood of temper or spirits in which the letter was written, but for the influence also of such slight, casual piques and resentments as might have been just then, in their darkening transit
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through his mind,—indisposing him, for the moment, to those among his friends whom, in a sunnier mood, he would have proclaimed as his most chosen and dearest.

TO MRS. ——
* * * * * * *

“I presume that you, at least, know enough of me to be sure that I could have no intention to insult Hunt’s poverty. On the contrary, I honour him for it; for, I know what it is, having been as much embarrassed as ever he was, without perceiving aught in it to diminish an honourable man’s self-respect. If you mean to say that, had he been a wealthy man, I would have joined in this Journal, I answer in the negative. * * * I engaged in the Journal from good-will towards him, added to respect for his character, literary and personal; and no less for his political courage, as well as regret for his present circumstances: I did this in the hope that he might, with the same aid from literary friends of literary contributions (which is requisite for all Journals of a mixed nature), render himself independent.

* * * * * * *

“I have always treated him, in our personal intercourse, with such scrupulous delicacy, that I have forborne intruding advice, which I thought might be disagreeable, lest he should impute it to what is called ‘taking advantage of a man’s situation.’

“As to friendship, it is a propensity in which my genius is very limited. I do not know the male human being, except Lord Clare, the friend of my infancy, for whom I feel any thing that deserves the name. All my others are men of the world friendships. I did not even feel it for Shelley, however much I admired and esteemed him; so that you see not even vanity could bribe me into it, for, of all men, Shelley thought highest of my talents,—and, perhaps, of my disposition.

“I will do my duty by my intimates, upon the principle of doing as you would be done by. I have done so, I trust, in most instances. I
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may be pleased with their conversation—rejoice in their success—be glad to do them service, or to receive their council and assistance in return. But, as for friends and friendship, I have (as I already said) named the only remaining male for whom I feel any thing of the kind, excepting, perhaps,
Thomas Moore. I have had, and may have still, a thousand friends, as they are called, in life, who are like one’s partners in the waltz of this world, not much remembered when the ball is over, though very pleasant for the time. Habit, business, and companionship in pleasure or in pain, are links of a similar kind, and the same faith in politics is another.” * * *

TO LADY * * *.
“Genoa, March 28th, 1823.
* * * * * *

Mr. Hill is here: I dined with him on Saturday before last; and on leaving his house at S. P. d’Arena, my carriage broke down. I walked home, about three miles,—no very great feat of pedestrianism; but either the coming out of hot rooms into a bleak wind chilled me, or the walking up-hill to Albaro heated me, or something or other set me wrong, and next day I had an inflammatory attack in the face, to which I have been subject this winter for the first time, and I suffered a good deal of pain, but no peril. My health is now much as usual. Mr. Hill is, I believe, occupied with his diplomacy. I shall give him your message when I see him again.

“My name, I see in the papers, has been dragged into the unhappy Portsmouth business, of which all that I know is very succinct. Mr. H—— is my solicitor. I found him so when I was ten years old—at my uncle’s death—and he was continued in the management of my legal business. He asked me, by a civil epistle, as an old acquaintance of his family, to be present at the marriage of Miss H——. I went very reluctantly, one misty morning (for I had been up at two balls all night), to witness the ceremony, which I could not very well refuse without affronting a man who had never offended me. I saw nothing particular
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in the marriage. Of course I could not know the preliminaries, except from what he said, not having been present at the wooing, nor after it, for I walked home, and they went into the country as soon as they had promised and vowed. Out of this simple fact I hear the Débats de Paris has quoted Miss H. as ‘autrefois très liée avec le celèbre,’ &c. &c. I am obliged to him for the celebrity, but beg leave to decline the liaison, which is quite untrue; my liaison was with the father, in the unsentimental shape of long lawyers’ bills, through the medium of which I have had to pay him ten or twelve thousand pounds within these few years. She was not pretty, and I suspect that the indefatigable
Mr. A—— was (like all her people) more attracted by her title than her charms. I regret very much that I was present at the prologue to the happy state of horsewhipping and black jobs, &c. &c. but I could not foresee that a man was to turn out mad, who had gone about the world for fifty years, as competent to vote, and walk at large; nor did he seem to me more insane than any other person going to be married.

“I have no objection to be acquainted with the Marquis Palavicini, if he wishes it. Lately I have gone little into society, English or foreign, for I had seen all that was worth seeing in the former before I left England, and at the time of life when I was more disposed to like it; and of the latter I had a sufficiency in the first few years of my residence in Switzerland; chiefly at Madame de Staël’s, where I went sometimes, till I grew tired of conversazioni and carnivals, with their appendages; and the bore is, that if you go once, you are expected to be there daily, or rather nightly. I went the round of the most noted soirées at Venice or elsewhere (where I remained not any time) to the Benzona, and the Albrizzi, and the Michelli, &c. &c. and to the Cardinals and the various potentates of the Legation in Romagna (that is, Ravenna), and only receded for the sake of quiet when I came into Tuscany. Besides, if I go into society, I generally get, in the long run, into some scrape of some kind or other, which don’t occur in my solitude, However, I am pretty well settled now, by time and temper, which is so far lucky, as it prevents restlessness; but, as I said before, as an acquaintance of yours, I will be ready and willing to know your friends. He may be a sort of connexion for aught I know; for a
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Palavicini, of Bologna, I believe, married a distant relative of mine half a century ago. I happen to know the fact, as he and his spouse had an annuity of five hundred pounds on my
uncle’s property, which ceased at his demise, though I recollect hearing they attempted, naturally enough, to make it survive him. If I can do any thing for you here, or elsewhere, pray order, and be obeyed.”

“Genoa, April 2d, 1823.

“I have just seen some friends of yours, who paid me a visit yesterday, which, in honour of them and of you, I returned to-day;—as I reserve my bear-skin and teeth, and paws and claws, for our enemies.

“I have also seen Henry F * *, Lord H * *’s son, whom I had not looked upon since I left him a pretty mild boy, without a neckcloth, in a jacket, and in delicate health, seven long years agone, at the period of mine eclipse—the third, I believe, as I have generally one every two or three years. I think that he has the softest and most amiable expression of countenance I ever saw, and manners correspondent. If to those he can add hereditary talents he will keep the name of F * * in all its freshness for half a century more, I hope. I speak from a transient glimpse—but I love still to yield to such impressions; for I have ever found that those I liked longest and best, I took to at first sight; and I always liked that boy—perhaps, in part, from some resemblance in the less fortunate part of our destinies—I mean, to avoid mistakes, his lameness. But there is this difference, that he appears a halting angel, who has tripped against a star; whilst I am Le Diable Boiteux,—a soubriquet, which I marvel that, amongst their various nominis umbræ, the Orthodox have not hit upon.

“Your other allies, whom I have found very agreeable personages, are Milor B * * and épouse, travelling with a very handsome companion. in the shape of a ‘French Count,’ (to use Farquhar’s phrase in the Beaux Stratagem) who has all the air of a Cupidon déchainé, and is one of the few specimens I have seen of our ideal of a Frenchman before the
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Revolution—an old friend with a new face, upon whose like I never thought that we should look again. Miladi seems highly literary,—to which, and your honour’s acquaintance with the family, I attribute the pleasure of having seen them. She is also very pretty, even in a morning,—a species of beauty on which the sun of Italy does not shine so frequently as the chandelier. Certainly, Englishwomen wear better than their continental neighbours of the same sex. M * * seems very good-natured, but is much tamed, since I recollect him in all the glory of gems and snuff-boxes, and uniforms, and theatricals, and speeches in our house—‘I mean, of peers’—(I must refer you to
Pope—who you don’t read and won’t appreciate—for that quotation, which you must allow to be poetical) and sitting to Stroeling, the painter (do you remember our visit, with Leckie, to the German?) to be depicted as one of the heroes of Agincourt, ‘with his long sword, saddle, bridle, Whack fal de, &c. &c.’

“I have been unwell—caught a cold and inflammation, which menaced a conflagration, after dining with our ambassador, Monsieur Hill,—not owing to the dinner, but my carriage broke down in the way home, and I had to walk some miles, up hill partly, after hot rooms, in a very bleak, windy evening, and over-hotted, or over-colded myself. I have not been so robustious as formerly, ever since the last summer, when I fell ill after a long swim in the Mediterranean, and have never been quite right up to this present writing. I am thin,—perhaps thinner than you saw me, when I was nearly transparent, in 1812,—and am obliged to be moderate of my mouth, which, nevertheless, won’t prevent me (the gods willing) from dining with your friends the day after to-morrow.

“They give me a very good account of you, and of your nearly ‘Emprisoned Angels.’ But why did you change your title?—you will regret this some day. The bigots are not to be conciliated; and, if they were—are they worth it? I suspect that I am a more orthodox Christian than you are; and, whenever I see a real Christian, either in practice or in theory, (for I never yet found the man who could produce either, when put to the proof,) I am his disciple. But, till then, I cannot
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truckle to tithe-mongers,—nor can I imagine what has made you circumcise your Seraphs.

“I have been far more persecuted than you, as you may judge by my present decadence,—for I take it that I am as low in popularity and bookselling as any writer can be. At least, so my friends assure me—blessings on their benevolence! This they attribute to Hunt; but they are wrong—it must be, partly at least, owing to myself;—be it so. As to Hunt, I prefer not having turned him to starve in the streets to any personal honour which might have accrued from such genuine philanthropy. I really act upon principle in this matter, for we have nothing much in common; and I cannot describe to you the despairing sensation of trying to do something for a man who seems incapable or unwilling to do any thing further for himself,—at least, to the purpose. It is like pulling a man out of a river who directly throws himself in again. For the last three or four years Shelley assisted, and had once actually extricated him. I have, since his demise,—and even before,—done what I could: but it is not in my power to make this permanent. I want Hunt to return to England, for which I would furnish him with the means in comfort; and his situation there, on the whole, is bettered, by the payment of a portion of his debts, &c.; and he would be on the spot to continue his Journal, or Journals, with his brother, who seems a sensible, plain, sturdy, and enduring person.” * * * *

The new intimacy of which he here announces the commencement, and which it was gratifying to me, as the common friend of all, to find that he had formed, was a source of much pleasure to him during the stay of his noble acquaintances at Genoa. So long, indeed, had he persuaded himself that his countrymen abroad all regarded him in no other light than as an outlaw or a show, that every new instance he met of friendly reception from them was as much a surprise as pleasure to him; and it was evident that to his mind the revival of English associations and habitudes always brought with it a sense of refreshment, like that of inhaling his native air.

With the view of inducing these friends to prolong their stay at
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Genoa, he suggested their taking a pretty villa called “Il Paradiso,” in the neighbourhood of his own, and accompanied them to look at it. Upon that occasion it was that, on the lady expressing some intentions of residing there, he produced the following
impromptu, which—but for the purpose of showing that he was not so “chary of his fame” as to fear failing in such trifles—I should have thought hardly worth transcribing.

“Beneath * * *’s eyes
The reclaim’d Paradise
Should be free as the former from evil;
But, if the new Eve
For an apple should grieve,
What mortal would not play the devil*?”

Another copy of verses addressed by him to the same lady, whose beauty and talent might well have claimed a warmer tribute from such a pen, is yet too interesting as descriptive of the feeling of age now stealing so prematurely over him, to be omitted in these pages.

“You have ask’d for a verse:—the request
In a rhymer ’twere strange to deny,
But my Hippocrene was but my breast,
And my feelings (its fountain) are dry.
“Were I now as I was, I had sung
What Lawrence has painted so well;
But the strain would expire on my tongue,
And the theme is too soft for my shell.
“I am ashes where once I was fire,
And the bard in my bosom is dead;
What I loved I now merely admire,
And my heart is as gray as my head.

* The Genoese wits had already applied this threadbare jest to himself. Taking it into their heads that this villa (which was also, I believe, a Casa Saluzzo) had been the one fixed on for his own residence, they said “Il Diavolo é ancora entrato in Paradiso.”

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“My Life is not dated by years—
There are moments which act as a plough,
And there is not a furrow appears
But is deep in my soul as my brow.
“Let the young and the brilliant aspire
To sing what I gaze on in vain;
For sorrow has torn from my lyre
The string which was worthy the strain.

The following letters written during the stay of this party at Genoa will be found,—some of them at least,—not a little curious.

“April 5th, 1823.

“How is your gout? or rather, how are you? I return the Count * *’s Journal, which is a very extraordinary production†, and of a most melancholy truth in all that regards high life in England. I know, or knew, personally, most of the personages and societies which he describes; and after reading his remarks have the sensation fresh upon me as if I had seen them yesterday. I would however plead in behalf of some few exceptions, which I will mention by and by. The most singular thing is, how he should have penetrated not the fact, but the mystery of the English ennui, at two-and-twenty. I was about the same age when I made the same discovery, in almost precisely the same circles—(for there is scarcely a person mentioned whom I did not see nightly or daily, and was acquainted more or less intimately with most of them)—but I never could have described it so well. Il faut être Français, to effect this.

† In another letter to Lord B * * he says of this gentleman, “he seems to have all the qualities requisite to have figured in his brother-in-law’s ancestor’s Memoirs.”

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“But he ought also to have been in the country during the hunting season, with ‘a select party of distinguished guests,’ as the papers term it. He ought to have seen the gentlemen after dinner (on the hunting days), and the soirée ensuing thereupon—and the women looking as if they had hunted, or rather been hunted; and I could have wished that he had been at a dinner in town, which I recollect at Lord C * *’s—small, but select, and composed of the most amusing people. The dessert was hardly on the table, when, out of twelve, I counted five asleep; of that five, there were Tierney, Lord * *, and Lord * *—I forget the other two, but they were either wits or orators—perhaps poets.

“My residence in the East and in Italy has made me somewhat indulgent of the siesta—but then they set regularly about it in warm countries, and perform it in solitude (or at most in a tête-à-tête with a proper companion), and retire quietly to their rooms to get out of the sun’s way for an hour or two.

“Altogether, your friend’s Journal is a very formidable production. Alas! our dearly beloved countrymen have only discovered that they are tired, and not that they are tiresome; and I suspect that the communication of the latter unpleasant verity will not be better received than truths usually are. I have read the whole with great attention and instruction. I am too good a patriot to say pleasure—at least I won’t say so, whatever I may think. I showed it (I hope no breach of confidence), to a young Italian lady of rank, très instruite also; and who passes, or passed, for being one of the three most celebrated belles in the district of Italy, where her family and connexions resided in less troublesome times as to politics (which is not Genoa, by the way), and she was delighted with it, and says that she has derived a better notion of English society from it than from all Madame de Staël’s metaphysical disputatious on the same subject, in her work on the Revolution. I beg that you will thank the young philosopher, and make my compliments to Lady B. and her sister.

“Believe me your very obliged and faithful
“N. B.

“P.S. There is a rumour in letters of some disturbance or complot in the French Pyrenean army—generals suspected or dismissed, and
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ministers of war travelling to see what’s the matter. ‘Marry (as David says), this hath an angry favour.’

“Tell Count * * that some of the names are not quite intelligible, especially of the clubs; he speaks of Watts—perhaps he is right, but in my time Watiers was the Dandy Club, of which (though no dandy) I was a member, at the time too of its greatest glory, when Brummell and Mildmay, Alvanley and Pierrepoint, gave the Dandy balls; and we (the club, that is,) got up the famous masquerade at Burlington House and Garden, for Wellington. He does not speak of the Alfred, which was the most recherché and most tiresome of any, as I know by being a member of that too.”

“April 6th, 1823.

It would be worse than idle, knowing, as I do, the utter worthlessness of words on such occasions, in me to attempt to express what I ought to feel, and do feel for the loss you have sustained†; and I must thus dismiss the subject, for I dare not trust myself further with it for your sake, or for my own. I shall endeavour to see you as soon as it may not appear intrusive. Pray excuse the levity of my yesterday’s scrawl—I little thought under what circumstances it would find you.

“I have received a very handsome and flattering note from Count * *. He must excuse my apparent rudeness and real ignorance in replying to it in English, through the medium of your kind interpretation. I would not on any account deprive him of a production, of which I really think more than I have even said, though you are good enough not to be dissatisfied even with that; but whenever it is completed, it would give me the greatest pleasure to have a copy—but how to keep it secret? literary secrets are like others. By changing the names, or at least omitting several, and altering the circumstances indicative of the writer’s

† The death of Lord B * *’s son, which had been long expected, but of which the account had just then arrived.

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real station or situation, the author would render it a most amusing publication. His countrymen have not been treated either in a literary or personal point of view with such deference in English recent works, as to lay him under any very great national obligation of forbearance; and really the remarks are so true and so piquante that I cannot bring myself to wish their suppression; though, as Dangle says, ‘He is my friend,’ many of these personages ‘were my friends,’ but much such friends as Dangle and his allies.

“I return you Dr. Parr’s letter—I have met him at Payne Knight’s and elsewhere, and he did me the honour once to be a patron of mine, although a great friend of the other branch of the House of Atreus, and the Greek teacher (I believe), of my moral Clytemnestra—I say moral, because it is true, and is so useful to the virtuous, that it enables them to do any thing without the aid of an Ægisthus.

“I beg my compliments to Lady B., Miss P., and to your Alfred. I think, since his Majesty of the same name, there has not been such a learned surveyor of our Saxon society.

“Ever yours most truly,
“N. B.
“April 9th, 1823.
* * * * * *

“P.S. I salute Miledi, Mademoiselle Mama, and the illustrious Chevalier Count * *; who, I hope, will continue his history of ‘his own times.’ There are some strange coincidences between a part of his remarks and a certain work of mine, now in MS. in England (I do not mean the hermetically scaled Memoirs, but a continuation of certain Cantos of a certain poem), especially in what a man may do in London with impunity while he is ‘à la mode;’ which I think it well to state, that he may not suspect me of taking advantage of his confidence. The observations are very general.”

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“April 14th, 1823.

“I am truly sorry that I cannot accompany you in your ride this morning, owing to a violent pain in my face, arising from a wart to which I by medical advice applied a caustic. Whether I put too much, I do not know, but the consequence is, that not only I have been put to some pain, but the peccant part and its immediate environ are as black as if the printer’s devil had marked me for an author. As I do not wish to frighten your horses, or their riders, I shall postpone waiting upon you until six o’clock, when I hope to have subsided into a more christianlike resemblance to my fellow-creatures. My infliction has partially extended even to my fingers, for on trying to get the black from off my upper lip at least, I have only transfused a portion thereof to my right hand, and neither lemon juice nor eau de Cologne, nor any other eau, have been able as yet to redeem it also from a more inky appearance than is either proper or pleasant. But ‘out, damn’d spot’—you may have perceived something of the kind yesterday, for on my return, I saw that during my visit it had increased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished; and I could not help laughing at the figure I must have cut before you. At any rate, I shall be with you at six, with the advantage of twilight.

“Ever most truly. &c.
“11 o’clock.

“P.S. I wrote the above at three this morning. I regret to say that the whole of the skin of about an inch square above my upper lip has come off; so that I cannot even shave or masticate, and I am equally unfit to appear at your table, and to partake of its hospitality. Will you therefore pardon me, and not mistake this rueful excuse for a ‘make-believe,’ as you will soon recognise whenever I have the pleasure of meeting you again, and I will call the moment I am, in the nursery phrase, ‘fit to be seen.’ Tell Lady B. with my compliments, that I am rummaging my papers for a MS. worthy of her acceptation. I have just seen the
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 641
Count Gamba, and as I cannot prevail on his infinite modesty to take the field without me, I must take this piece of diffidence on myself also, and beg your indulgence for both.”

“April 22d, 1823.

“My dear Count * * (if you will permit me to address you so familiarly), you should be content with writing in your own language, like Grammont, and succeeding in London as nobody has succeeded since the days of Charles the second and the records of Antonio Hamilton, without deviating into our barbarous language,—which you understand and write, however, much better than it deserves.

“My ‘approbation,’ as you are pleased to term it, was very sincere, but perhaps not very impartial; for, though I love my country, I do not love my countrymen—at least, such as they now are. And besides the seduction of talent and wit in your work, I fear that to me there was the attraction of vengeance. I have seen and felt much of what you have described so well. I have known the persons, and the re-unions so described,—(many of them, that is to say,)—and the portraits are so like that I cannot but admire the painter no less than his performance.

“But I am sorry for you; for if you are so well acquainted with life at your age, what will become of you when the illusion is still more dissipated? But never mind—en avant!—live while you can; and that you may have the full enjoyment of the many advantages of youth, talent, and figure, which you possess, is the wish of an—Englishman.—I suppose,—but it is no treason; for my mother was Scotch, and my name and my family are both Norman; and as for myself, I am of no country. As for my ‘Works.’ which you are pleased to mention, let them go to the Devil, from whence (if you believe many persons) they came.

“I have the honour to be your obliged, &c. &c.”
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During this period a circumstance occurred which shows, most favourably for the better tendencies of his nature, how much allayed and softened down his once angry feeling, upon the subject of his matrimonial differences, had now grown. It has been seen that his daughter Ada,—more especially since his late loss of the only tie of blood which he could have a hope of attaching to himself,—had become the fond and constant object of his thoughts; and it was but natural, in a heart kindly as his was, that, dwelling thus with tenderness upon the child, he should find himself insensibly subdued into a gentler tone of feeling towards the mother. A gentleman, whose sister was known to be the confidential friend of Lady Byron, happening at this time to be at Genoa, and in the habit of visiting at the house of the poet’s new intimates, Lord Byron took one day an opportunity, in conversing with Lady * *, to say, that she would render him an essential kindness if, through the mediation of this gentleman and his sister, she could procure for him from Lady Byron, what he had long been most anxious to possess, a copy of her picture. It having been represented to him, in the course of the same, or a similar conversation, that Lady Byron was said by her friends to be in a state of constant alarm lest he should come to England to claim his daughter, or, in some other way, interfere with her, he professed his readiness to give every assurance that might have the effect of calming such apprehensions; and the following letter, in reference to both these subjects, was soon after sent by him.

“May 3d, 1823.

“My request would be for a copy of the miniature of Lady B. which I have seen in possession of the late Lady Noel, as I have no picture, or indeed memorial of any kind of Lady B., as all her letters were in her own possession before I left England, and we have had no correspondence since—at least on her part.

A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 643

“My message, with regard to the infant, is simply to this effect—that in the event of any accident occurring to the mother, and my remaining the survivor, it would be my wish to have her plans carried into effect, both with regard to the education of the child, and the person or persons under whose care Lady B. might be desirous that she should be placed. It is not my intention to interfere with her in any way on the subject during her life; and I presume that it would be some consolation to her to know (if she is in ill health, as I am given to understand), that in no case would any thing be done, as far as I am concerned, but in strict conformity with Lady B’s own wishes and intentions—left in what manner she thought proper.

“Believe me, dear Lady B., your obliged, &c.”

This negotiation, of which I know not the results, nor whether, indeed, it ever ended in any, led naturally and frequently to conversations on the subject of his marriage,—a topic he was himself always the first to turn to,—and the account which he then gave, as well of the circumstances of the separation, as of his own entire unconsciousness of the immediate causes that provoked it, was, I find, exactly such as, upon every occasion when the subject presented itself, he, with an air of sincerity in which it was impossible not to confide, promulgated. “Of what really led to the separation (said he, in the course of one of these conversations) I declare to you that, even at this moment, I am wholly ignorant; as Lady Byron would never assign her motives, and has refused to answer my letters. I have written to her repeatedly, and am still in the habit of doing so. Some of these letters I have sent, and others I did not, simply because I despaired of their doing any good. You may, however, see some of them if you like;—they may serve to throw some light upon my feelings.”

In a day or two after, accordingly, one of these withheld letters was sent by him, enclosed in the following, to Lady * * *.

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“Albaro, May 6th, 1823.
“MY DEAR LADY * * *,

“I send you the letter which I had forgotten, and the books, which I ought to have remembered. It contains (the book, I mean) some melancholy truths; though I believe that it is too triste a work ever to have been popular. The first time I ever read it (not the edition I send you,—for I got it since) was at the desire of Madame de Staël, who was supposed by the good-natured world to be the heroine;—which she was not, however, and was furious at the supposition. This occurred in Switzerland, in the summer of 1816, and the last season in which I ever saw that celebrated person.

“I have a request to make to my friend Alfred (since he has not disdained the title), viz. that he would condescend to add a cap to the gentleman in the jacket,—it would complete his costume,—and smooth his brow, which is somewhat too inveterate a likeness of the original, God help me!

“I did well to avoid the water-party,—why, is a mystery, which is not less to be wondered at than all my other mysteries. Tell Milor that I am deep in his MS., and will do him justice by a diligent perusal.

“The letter which I enclose I was prevented from sending by my despair of its doing any good. I was perfectly sincere when I wrote it, and am so still. But it is difficult for me to withstand the thousand provocations on that subject, which both friends and foes have for seven years been throwing in the way of a man, whose feelings were once quick, and whose temper was never patient. But ‘returning were as tedious as go o’er.’ I feel this as much as ever Macbeth did; and it is a dreary sensation, which at least avenges the real or imaginary wrongs of one of the two unfortunate persons whom it concerns.

* Adolphe, by M. Benjamin Constant.

A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 645

“But I am going to be gloomy;—so, ‘to bed, to bed.’ Good night,—or rather morning. One of the reasons why I wish to avoid society is, that I can never sleep after it, and the pleasanter it has been the less I rest. “Ever most truly, &c. &c.

I shall now produce the enclosure contained in the above, and there are few I should think, of my readers who will not agree with me in pronouncing, that if the author of the following letter had not right on his side, he had at least most of those good feelings which are found in general to accompany it.


“Pisa, November 17th 1821.

“I have to acknowledge the receipt of ‘Ada’s hair,’ which is very soft and pretty, and nearly as dark already as mine was at twelve years old, if I may judge from what I recollect of some in Augusta’s possession, taken at that age. But it don’t curl,—perhaps from its being let grow.

“I also thank you for the inscription of the date and name, and I will tell you why;—I believe that they are the only two or three words of your handwriting in my possession. For your letters I returned, and except the two words, or rather the one word, ‘Household,’ written twice in an old account-book, I have no other. I burnt your last note, for two reasons:—1stly, it was written in a style not very agreeable; and, 2dly, I wished to take your word without documents which are the worldly resources of suspicious people.

“I suppose that this note will reach you somewhere about Ada’s birthday—the 10th of December, I believe. She will then be six, so that in about twelve more I shall have some chance of meeting her;—perhaps sooner, if I am obliged to go to England by business or otherwise. Recollect, however, one thing, either in distance or nearness; every day
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which keeps us asunder should, after so long a period, rather soften our mutual feelings, which must always have one rallying-point as long as our child exists, which I presume we both hope will be long after either of her parents.

“The time which has elapsed since the separation has been considerably more than the whole brief period of our union, and the not much longer one of our prior acquaintance. We both made a bitter mistake; but now it is over and irrevocably so. For, at thirty-three on my part, and a few years less on yours, though it is no very extended period of life, still it is one when the habits and thought are generally so formed as to admit of no modification; and as we could not agree when younger, we should with difficulty do so now.

“I say all this, because I own to you, that, notwithstanding every thing, I considered our reunion as not impossible for more than a year after the separation;—but then I gave up the hope entirely and for ever. But this very impossibility of reunion seems to me at least a reason why, on all the few points of discussion which can arise between us, we should preserve the courtesies of life, and as much of its kindness as people who are never to meet may preserve perhaps more easily than nearer connexions. For my own part, I am violent, but not malignant; for only fresh provocations can awaken my resentments. To you, who are colder and more concentrated, I would just hint, that you may sometimes mistake the depth of a cold anger for dignity, and a worse feeling for duty. I assure you that I bear you now (whatever I may have done) no resentment whatever. Remember, that if you have injured me in aught, this forgiveness is something; and that, if I have injured you, it is something more still, if it be true, as the moralists say, that the most offending are the least forgiving.

“Whether the offence has been solely on my side, or reciprocal, or on yours chiefly, I have ceased to reflect upon any but two things,—viz. that you are the mother of my child, and that we shall never meet again. I think if you also consider the two corresponding points with reference to myself, it will be better for all three.

“Yours ever,
Noel Byron.”
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 647

It has been my plan, as must have been observed, wherever my materials have furnished me with the means, to leave the subject of my Memoir to relate his own story; and this object, during the two or three years of his life just elapsed, I have been enabled by the rich resources in my hands, with but few interruptions, to attain. Having now, however, reached that point of his career from which a new start was about to be taken by his excursive spirit, and a course, glorious as it was brief and fatal, entered upon,—a moment of pause may be permitted while we look back through the last few years, and for a while dwell upon the spectacle, at once grand and painful, which his life during that most unbridled period of his powers exhibited.

In a state of unceasing excitement, both of heart and brain,—for ever warring with the world’s will, yet living but in the world’s breath,—with a genius taking upon itself all shapes from Jove down to Scapin, and a disposition veering with equal facility to all points of the moral compass,—not even the ancient fancy of the existence of two souls within one bosom would seem at all adequately to account for the varieties, both of power and character, which the course of his conduct and writings during these few feverish years displayed. Without going back so far as the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold, which one of his bitterest and ablest assailants has pronounced to be, “in point of execution, the sublimest poetical achievement of mortal pen,” we have, in a similar strain of strength and splendour, the Prophecy of Dante, Cain, the Mystery of Heaven and Earth, Sardanapalus,—all produced during this wonderful period of his genius. To these also are to be added four other dramatic pieces, which, though the least successful of his compositions, have yet, as Poems, few equals in our literature; while, in a more especial degree, they illustrate the versatility of taste and power so remarkable in him, as being founded, and to this very circumstance, perhaps, owing their failure, on a severe classic model, the most uncongenial to his own habits and temperament, and the most remote from that bold, unshackled licence which it had been the great mission of his genius, throughout the whole realms of Mind, to assert.

In contrast to all these high-toned strains, and struck off during the same fertile period, we find his Don Juan—in itself an epitome of all the
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marvellous contrarieties of his character—the
Vision of Judgment, the Translation from Pulci, the Pamphlets on Pope, on the British Review, on Blackwood,—together with a swarm of other light, humorous trifles, all flashing forth carelessly from the same mind that was, almost at the same moment, personating, with a port worthy of such a presence, the mighty spirit of Dante, or following the dark footsteps of Scepticism over the ruins of past worlds, with Cain.

All this time, too, while occupied with these ideal creations, the demands upon his active sympathies, in real life, were such as almost any mind but his own would have found sufficient to engross its every thought and feeling. An amour, not of that light, transient kind which “goes without a burden,” but, on the contrary, deep-rooted enough to endure to the close of his days, employed as restlessly with its first hopes and fears a portion of this period as with the entanglements to which it led, political and domestic, it embarrassed the remainder. Scarcely, indeed, had this disturbing passion begun to calm, when a new source of excitement presented itself in that conspiracy into which he flung himself so fearlessly, and which ended, as we have seen, but in multiplying the objects of his sympathy and protection, and driving him to a new change of home and scene.

When we consider all these distractions that beset him, taking into account also the frequent derangement of his health, and the time and temper he must have thrown away on the minute drudgery of watching over every item of his household expenditure, the mind is lost in almost incredulous astonishment at the wonders he was able to achieve under such circumstances—at the variety and prodigality of power with which, in the midst of such interruptions and hindrances, his “bright soul broke out on every side,” and not only held on its course, unclogged, through all these difficulties, but even extracted out of the very struggles and annoyances it encountered new nerve for its strength, and. new fuel for its fire.

While thus at this period, more remarkably than at any other during his life, the unparalleled versatility of his genius was unfolding itself, those quick, cameleon-like changes of which his character, too, was capable were, during the same time, most vividly, and in strongest con-
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 649
trast, drawn out. To the world, and more especially to England,—the scene at once of his glories and his wrongs,—he presented himself in no other aspect than that of a stern, haughty misanthrope, self-banished from the fellowship of men and, most of all, from that of Englishmen. The more genial and beautiful inspirations of his muse were, in this point of view, looked upon but as lucid intervals between the paroxysms of an inherent malignancy of nature; and even the laughing effusions of his wit and humour got credit for no other aim than that which
Swift boasted of, as the end of all his own labours, “to vex the world rather than divert it.”

How totally all this differed from the Byron of the social hour, they who lived in familiar intercourse with him may be safely left to tell. The sort of ferine reputation which he had acquired for himself abroad prevented numbers, of course, of his countrymen, whom he would have most cordially welcomed, from seeking his acquaintance. But as it was, no English gentleman ever approached him, with the common forms of introduction, that did not come away at once surprised and charmed by the kind courtesy and facility of his manners, the unpretending play of his conversation, and, on a nearer intercourse, the frank, youthful spirits, to the flow of which he gave way with such a zest, as even to deceive some of those who best knew him into the impression, that gaiety was after all the true bent of his disposition.

To these contrasts which he presented, as viewed publicly and privately, is to be added also the fact, that, while braving the world’s ban so boldly, and asserting man’s right to think for himself with a freedom and even daringness unequalled, the original shyness of his nature never ceased to hang about him; and while at a distance he was regarded as a sort of autocrat in intellect, revelling in all the confidence of his own great powers, a somewhat nearer observation enabled a common acquaintance at Venice* to detect, under all this, traces of that self-distrust and bashfulness which had marked him as a boy, and which never entirely forsook him through the whole of his career.

Still more singular, however, than this contradiction between the

* The Countess Albrizzi—see her Sketch of his Character.

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public and private man—a contradiction not unfrequent, and, in some cases, more apparent than real, as depending upon the relative position of the observer—were those contrarieties and changes not less startling, which his character so often exhibited, as compared with itself. He who, at one moment, was seen intrenched in the most absolute self-will, would, at the very next, be found all that was docile and amenable. To-day, storming the world in its strong holds, as a misanthrope and satirist—to-morrow, learning, with implicit obedience, to fold a shawl, as a Cavaliere—the same man who had so obstinately refused to surrender, either to friendly remonstrance or public outcry, a single line of
Don Juan, at the mere request of a gentle Donna agreed to cease it altogether; nor would venture to resume this task (though the chief darling of his muse), till, with some difficulty, he had obtained leave from the same ascendant quarter. Who, indeed, is there that, without some previous clue to his transformations, could have been at all prepared to recognize the coarse libertine of Venice in that romantic and passionate lover who, but a few months after, stood weeping before the fountain in the garden at Bologna? or, who could have expected to find in the close calculator of sequins and baiocchi, that generous champion of Liberty whose whole fortune, whose very life itself were considered by him but as trilling sacrifices for the advancement, but by a day, of her cause?

And here naturally our attention is drawn to the consideration of another feature of his character, connected more intimately with the bright epoch of his life now before us. Notwithstanding his strongly marked prejudices in favour of rank and high birth, we have seen with what ardour,—not only in fancy and theory, but practically, as in the case of the Italian Carbonari—he embarked his sympathies unreservedly n the current of every popular movement towards freedom. Though of the sincerity of this zeal for liberty the seal set upon it so solemnly by his death leaves us no room to doubt, a question may fairly arise whether that general love of excitement, let it flow from whatever source it might, by which, more or less, every pursuit of his whole life was actuated, was not predominant among the impulses that governed him in this, and, again, whether it is not probable that, like Alfieri and other aristocratic lovers of freedom, he would not ultimately have shrunk from
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 651
the result of his own equalizing doctrines; and, though zealous enough in lowering those above his own level, rather recoil from the task of raising up those who were below it.

With regard to the first point, it may be conceded, without deducting much from his sincere zeal in the cause, that the gratification of his thirst of fame and, above all, perhaps, that supply of excitement so necessary to him, to whet, as it were, the edge of his self-wearing spirit, were not the least of the attractions and incitements which a struggle under the banners of Freedom presented to him. It is also but too certain that, destined as he was to endless disenchantment, from that singular and painful union which existed in his nature of the creative imagination that calls up illusions, and the cool, searching sagacity that, at once, detects their hollowness, he could not long have gone on, even in a path so welcome to him, without finding the hopes with which his fancy had strewed it withering away beneath him at every step.

In politics as in every other pursuit, his ambition was to be among the first; nor would it have been from the want of a due appreciation of all that is noblest and most disinterested in patriotism, that he would ever have stooped his flight to any less worthy aim. The following passage in one of his Journals will be remembered by the reader:—“To be the first man (not the Dictator), not the Sylla, but the Washington, or Aristides, the leader in talent and truth, is to be next to the Divinity.” With such high and pure notions of political eminence he could not be otherwise than fastidious as to the means of attaining it; nor can it be doubted that with the sort of vulgar and sometimes sullied instruments which all popular leaders must stoop to employ, his love of truth, his sense of honour, his impatience of injustice, would have led him constantly into such collisions as must have ended in repulsion and disgust; while the companionship of those beneath him, a tax all demagogues must pay, would, as soon as it had ceased to amuse his fancy for the new and the ridiculous, have shocked his taste and mortified his pride. The distaste with which, as appears from more than one of his letters, he was disposed to view the personal, if not the political, attributes of what is commonly called the Radical party in England, shows how unsuited he was naturally to mix in that kind of popular fellowship which, even
652 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1823.
to those far less aristocratic in their notions and feelings, must be sufficiently trying.

But, even granting that all these consequences might safely be predicted as almost certain to result from his engaging in such a career, it by no means the more necessarily follows that, once engaged, he would not have persevered in it consistently and devotedly to the last, nor that, even if reduced to say, with Cicero, “nil boni præter causam,” he could not have so far abstracted the principle of the cause from its unworthy supporters as, at the same time, to uphold the one and despise the others. Looking back, indeed, from the advanced point where we are now arrived through the whole of his past career, we cannot fail to observe, pervading all its apparent changes and inconsistencies, an adherence to the original bias of his nature, a general consistency in the main, however shifting and contradictory the details, which had the effect of preserving, from first to last, all his views and principles, upon the great subjects that interested him through life, essentially unchanged*.

At the worst, therefore, though allowing that, from disappointment or disgust, he might have been led to withdraw all personal participation in such a cause, in no case would he have shown himself a recreant to its principles; and though too proud to have ever descended, like Egalité, into the ranks of the people, he would have been far too consistent to pass, like Alfieri, into those of their enemies.

After the failure of those hopes with which he had so sanguinely looked forward to the issue of the late struggle between Italy and her rulers, it may be well conceived what a relief it was to him to turn his eyes to Greece, where a spirit was now rising such as he had himself imaged forth in dreams of song, but hardly could have even dreamed that he should live to see it realized. His early travels in that country had left a lasting impression on his mind; and whenever, as I have before remarked, his fancy for a roving life returned, it was to the regions about the “blue Olympus” he always fondly looked back. Since his adoption of Italy as a home, this propensity had in a great degree subsided. In

* Colonel Stanhope, who saw clearly this leading character of Byron’s mind, has thus justly described it. “Lord Byron’s was a versatile and still a stubborn mind; it wavered, but always returned to certain fixed principles.”

A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 653
addition to the sedatory effects of his new domestic tie there had, at this time, grown upon him a degree of inertness or indisposition to change of residence, which, in the instance of his departure from Ravenna, was with some difficulty surmounted.

The unsettled state of life he was from thenceforward thrown into, by the precarious fortunes of those with whom he had connected himself, conspired with one or two other causes to revive within him all his former love of change and adventure; nor is it wonderful that to Greece, as offering both in their most exciting form, he should turn eagerly his eyes, and at once kindle with a desire not only to witness, but perhaps share in, the present triumphs of Liberty on those very fields where he had already gathered for immortality such memorials of her day long past.

Among the causes that concurred with this sentiment to determine him to the enterprise he now meditated, not the least powerful, undoubtedly, was the supposition in his own mind that the high tide of his poetical popularity had been for some time on the ebb. The utter failure of the Liberal,—in which, splendid as were some of his own contributions to it, there were yet others from his pen hardly to be distinguished from the surrounding dross,—confirmed him fully in the notion that he had at last wearied out his welcome with the world; and, as the voice of fame had become almost as necessary to him as the air he breathed, it was with a proud consciousness of the yet untouched reserves of power within him he now saw that, if arrived at the end of one path of fame, there were yet others for him to strike into, still more glorious.

That some such vent for the resources of his mind had long been contemplated by him appears from a letter of his to myself, in which it will be recollected he says:—“If I live ten years longer, you will see that it is not over with me. I do not mean in literature, for that is nothing; and—it may seem odd enough to say—I do not think it was my vocation. But you will see that I shall do something,—the times and Fortune permitting,—that ‘like the cosmogony of the world will puzzle the philosophers of all ages.’” He then adds this but too true and sad prognostic:—“But I doubt whether my constitution will hold out.”

654 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1823.

His zeal in the cause of Italy, whose past history and literature seemed to call aloud for redress of her present vassalage and wrongs, would have, no doubt, led him to the same chivalrous self-devotion in her service, as he displayed afterwards in that of Greece. The disappointing issue, however, of that brief struggle is but too well known; and this sudden wreck of a cause so promising pained him the more deeply from his knowledge of some of the brave and true hearts embarked in it. The disgust, indeed, which that abortive effort left behind, coupled with the opinion he had early formed of the “hereditary bondsmen” of Greece, had kept him for some time in a state of considerable doubt and misgiving as to their chances of ever working out their own enfranchisement; nor was it till the spring of this year, when, rather by the continuance of the struggle than by its actual success, some confidence had begun to be inspired in the trustworthiness of the cause, that he had nearly made up his mind to devote himself to its aid. The only difficulty that still remained to retard or embarrass this resolution was the necessity it imposed of a temporary separation from Madame Guiccioli, who was herself, as might be expected, anxious to participate his perils, but whom it was impossible, of course, he could think of exposing to the chances of a life, even for men, so rude.

At the beginning of the month of April he received a visit from Mr. Blaquiere, who was then proceeding on a special mission to Greece, for the purpose of procuring for the Committee lately formed in London correct information as to the state and prospects of that country. It was among the instructions of this gentleman that he should touch at Genoa and communicate with Lord Byron; and the following note will show how cordially the noble poet was disposed to enter into all the objects of the Committee.

A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 655
“Albaro, April 5th, 1823.

“I shall be delighted to see you and your Greek friend, and the sooner the better. I have been expecting you for some time,—you will find me at home. I cannot express to you how much I feel interested in the cause, and nothing but the hopes I entertained of witnessing the liberation of Italy itself prevented me long ago from returning to do what little I could, as an individual, in that land which it is an honour even to have visited.

“Ever yours, truly,
Noel Byron.”

Soon after this interview with their agent, a more direct communication on the subject was opened between his lordship and the Committee itself.

“Genoa, 12th May, 1823.

“I have great pleasure in acknowledging your letter, and the honour which the Committee have done me;—I shall endeavour to deserve their confidence by every means in my power. My first wish is to go up into the Levant in person, where I might be enabled to advance, if not the cause, at least the means of obtaining information which the Committee might be desirous of acting upon; and my former residence in the country, my familiarity with the Italian language (which is there universally spoken, or at least to the same extent as French in the more polished parts of the continent), and my not total ignorance of the
656 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1823.
Romaic, would afford me some advantages of experience. To this project the only objection is of a domestic nature, and I shall try to get over it;—if I fail in this, I must do what I can where I am; but it will be always a source of regret to me, to think that I might perhaps have done more for the cause on the spot.

“Our last information of Captain Blaquiere is from Ancona, where he embarked with a fair wind for Corfu, on the 15th ult.; he is now probably at his destination. My last letter from him personally was dated Rome; he had been refused a passport through the Neapolitan territory, and returned to strike up through Romagna for Ancoria;—little time, however, appears to have been lost by the delay.

“The principal material wanted by the Greeks appears to be, first, a park of field artillery—light, and fit for mountain-service; secondly, gunpowder; thirdly, hospital or medical stores. The readiest mode of transmission is, I hear, by Idra, addressed to Mr. Negri, the minister. I meant to send up a certain quantity of the two latter—no great deal—but enough for an individual to show his good wishes for the Greek success,—but am pausing, because, in case I should go myself, I can take them with me. I do not want to limit my own contribution to this merely, but more especially, if I can get to Greece myself, I should devote whatever resources I can muster of my own, to advancing the great object. I am in correspondence with Signor Nicolas Karrellas (well known to Mr. Hobhouse), who is now at Pisa; but his latest advice merely stated, that the Greeks are at present employed, in organizing their internal government, and the details of its administration; this would seem to indicate security, but the war is however far from being terminated.

“The Turks are an obstinate race, as all former wars have proved them, and will return to the charge for years to come, even if beaten, as it is to be hoped they will be. But in no case can the labours of the Committee be said to be in vain, for in the event even of the Greeks being subdued, and dispersed, the funds which could be employed in succouring and gathering together the remnant, so as to alleviate in part their distresses, and enable them to find or make a country (as so many
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 657
emigrants of other nations have been compelled to do), would ‘bless both those who gave and those who took,’ as the bounty both of justice and of mercy.

“With regard to the formation of a brigade (which Mr. Hobhouse hints at in his short letter of this day’s receipt, enclosing the one to which I have the honour to reply), I would presume to suggest—but merely as an opinion, resulting rather from the melancholy experience of the brigades embarked in the Columbian service than from any experiment yet fairly tried in Greece—that the attention of the Committee had better perhaps be directed to the employment of officers of experience than the enrolment of raw British soldiers, which latter are apt to be unruly, and not very serviceable, in irregular warfare, by the side of foreigners. A small body of good officers, especially artillery; an engineer, with quantity (such as the Committee might deem requisite) of stores, of the nature which Captain Blaquiere indicated as most wanted, would, I should conceive, be a highly useful accession. Officers, also, who had previously served in the Mediterranean would be preferable, as some knowledge of Italian is nearly indispensable.

“It would also be as well that they should be aware, that they are not going ‘to rough it on a beefsteak and bottle of port,’—but that Greece—never, of late years, very plentifully stocked for a mess—is at present the country of all kinds of privations. This remark may seem superfluous; but I have been led to it, by observing that many foreign officers, Italian, French, and even Germans (but fewer of the latter), have returned in disgust, imagining either that they were going up to make a party of pleasure, or to enjoy full pay, speedy promotion and a very moderate degree of duty. They complain, too, of having been ill received by the Government or inhabitants; but numbers of these complainants were mere adventurers, attracted by a hope of command and plunder, and disappointed of both. Those Greeks I have seen strenuously deny the charge of inhospitality, and declare that they shared their pittance to the last crum with their foreign volunteers.

“I need not suggest to the Committee the very great advantage which must accrue to Great Britain from the success of the Greeks, and their probable commercial relations with England in consequence;
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because I feel persuaded that the first object of the Committee is their emancipation, without any interested views. But the consideration might weigh with the English people in general, in their present passion for every kind of speculation,—they need not cross the American seas, for one much better worth their while, and nearer home. The resources even for an emigrant population, in the Greek islands alone, are rarely to be paralleled; and the cheapness of every kind, of not only necessary, but luxury, (that is to say, luxury of nature), fruits, wine, oil, &c. in a state of peace, are far beyond those of the Cape, and Van Diemen’s land, and the other places of refuge, which the English population are searching for over the waters.

“I beg that the Committee will command me in any and every way. If I am favoured with any instructions, I shall endeavour to obey them to the letter, whether conformable to my own private opinion or not. I beg leave to add, personally, my respect for the gentleman whom I have the honour of addressing,

“And am, sir, your obliged, &c.

“P.S. The best refutation of Gell will be the active exertions of the Committee;—I am too warm a controversialist; and I suspect that if Mr. Hobhouse have taken him in hand, there will be little occasion for me to ‘encumber him with help.’ If I go up into the country, I will endeavour to transmit as accurate and impartial an account as circumstances will permit.

“I shall write to Mr. Karrellas. I expect intelligence from Captain Blaquiere, who has promised me some early intimation from the seat of the Provisional Government. I gave him a letter of introduction to Lord Sydney Osborne, at Corfu; but as Lord S. is in the government service, of course his reception could only be a cautious one.”

A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 659
“Genoa, May 21st, 1823.

“I received yesterday the letter of the Committee, dated the 14th of March. What has occasioned the delay, I know not. It was forwarded by Mr. Galignani, from Paris, who stated that he had only had it in his charge four days, and that it was delivered to him by a Mr. Grattan. I need hardly say that I gladly accede to the proposition of the Committee and hold myself highly honoured by being deemed worthy to be a member. I have also to return my thanks, particularly to yourself, for the accompanying letter, which is extremely flattering.

“Since I last wrote to you, through the medium of Mr. Hobhouse, I have received and forwarded a letter from Captain Blaquiere to me, from Corfu, which will show how he gets on. Yesterday I fell in with two young Germans, survivors of General Normann’s band. They arrived at Genoa in the most deplorable state—without food—without a sou—without shoes. The Austrians had sent them out of their territory on their landing at Trieste; and they had been forced to come down to Florence, and had travelled from Leghorn here, with four Tuscan livres (about three francs) in their pockets. I have given them twenty Genoese scudi (about a hundred and thirty-three livres, French money), and new shoes, which will enable them to get to Switzerland, where they say that they have friends. All that they could raise in Genoa, besides, was thirty sous. They do not complain of the Greeks, but say that they have suffered more since their landing in Italy.

“I tried their veracity, 1stly, by their passports and papers; 2dly, by topography, cross-questioning them about Arta, Argos, Athens, Missolonghi, Corinth, &c.; and 3dly, in Romaic, of which I found (one of them at least) knew more than I do. One of them (they are both of good families) is a fine handsome young fellow of three and twenty—a Wirtembergher, and has a look of Sandt about him—the other a Bavarian, older and flat-faced, and less ideal, but a great, sturdy, soldier-like per-
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sonage. The Wirtembergher was in the action at Arta, where the Philhellenists were cut to pieces after killing six hundred Turks, they themselves being only a hundred and fifty in number, opposed to about six or seven thousand; only eight escaped, and of them about three only survived; so that
General Normann ‘posted his ragamuffins where they were well peppered—not three of the hundred and fifty left alive—and they are for the town’s end for life.’

“These two left Greece by the direction of the Greeks. When Churschid Pacha overrun the Morea, the Greeks seem to have behaved well, in wishing to save their allies, when they thought that the game was up with themselves. This was in September last (1822): they wandered from island to island, and got from Milo to Smyrna, where the French consul gave them a passport, and a charitable captain a passage to Ancona, whence they got to Trieste, and were turned back by the Austrians. They complain only of the minister (who has always been an indifferent character); say that the Greeks fight very well in their own way, but were at first afraid to fire their own cannon—but mended with practice.

“Adolphe (the younger) commanded at Navarino for a short time; the other, a more material person, ‘the bold Bavarian in a luckless hour,’ seems chiefly to lament a fast of three days at Argos, and the loss of twenty-five paras a day of pay in arrear, and some baggage at Tripolitza; but takes his wounds, and marches, and battles in very good part. Both are very simple, full of naïveté, and quite unpretending: they say the foreigners quarrelled among themselves, particularly the French with the Germans, which produced duels.

“The Greeks accept muskets, but throw away bayonets, and will not be disciplined. When these lads saw two Piedmontese regiments yesterday, they said, ‘Ah, if we had had but these two, we should have cleared the Morea:’ in that case the Piedmontese must have behaved better than they did against the Austrians. They seem to lay great stress upon a few regular troops—say that the Greeks have arms and powder in plenty, but want victuals, hospital stores, and lint and linen, &c. and money, very much. Altogether, it would be difficult to show more practical philosophy than this remnant of our ‘puir hill folk’ have
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 661
done; they do not seem the least cast down, and their way of presenting themselves was as simple and natural as could be. They said, a Dane here had told them that an Englishman, friendly to the Greek cause, was here, and that, as they were reduced to beg their way home, they thought they might as well begin with me. I write in haste to snatch the post.—Believe me, and truly,

“Your obliged, &c.

“P.S. I have, since I wrote this, seen them again. Count P. Gamba asked them to breakfast. One of them means to publish his Journal of the campaign. The Bavarian wonders a little that the Greeks are not quite the same with them of the time of Themistocles (they were not then very tractable, by the by), and at the difficulty of disciplining them; but he is a ‘bon homme’ and a tactician, and a little like Dugald Dalgetty, who would insist upon the erection of ‘a sconce on the hill of Drumsnab,’ or whatever it was;—the other seems to wonder at nothing.”

“May 17th, 1823.

“My voyage to Greece will depend upon the Greek Committee (in England) partly, and partly on the instructions which some persons now in Greece on a private mission may be pleased to send me. I am a member, lately elected, of the said Committee; and my object in going up would be to do any little good in my power;—but as there are some pros and cons on the subject, with regard to how far the intervention of strangers may be advisable, I know no more than I tell you: but we shall probably hear something soon from England and Greece, which may be more decisive.

“With regard to the late person (Lord Londonderry), whom you hear that I have attacked, I can only say that a bad minister’s memory is as much an object of investigation as his conduct while alive,—for his measures do not die with him like a private individual’s notions. He is matter of history; and, wherever I find a tyrant or a villain, I will mark
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I attacked him no more than I had been wont to do. As to the Liberal,—it was a publication set up for the advantage of a persecuted author and a very worthy man. But it was foolish in me to engage in it; and so it has turned out—for I have hurt myself without doing much good to those for whose benefit it was intended.

“Do not defend me—it will never do—you will only make yourself enemies.

“Mine are neither to be diminished nor softened, but they may be overthrown; and there are events which may occur, less improbable than those which have happened in our time, that may reverse the present state of things—nous verrons. * * * * *

“I send you this gossip that you may laugh at it, which is all it is good for, if it is even good for so much. I shall be delighted to see you again; but it will be melancholy, should it be only for a moment.

“Ever yours,
“N. B.”

It being now decided that Lord Byron should proceed forthwith to Greece, all the necessary preparations for his departure were hastened. One of his first steps was to write to Mr. Trelawney, who was then at Rome, to request that he would accompany him. “You must have heard,” he says, “that I am going to Greece—why do you not come to me? I can do nothing without you, and am exceedingly anxious to see you. Pray, come, for I am at last determined to go to Greece;—it is the only place I was ever contented in. I am serious; and did not write before, as I might have given you a journey for nothing. They all say I can be of use to Greece; I do not know how—nor do they; but, at all events, let us go.”

A physician, acquainted with surgery, being considered a necessary part of his suite, he requested of his own medical attendant at Genoa, Doctor Alexander, to provide him with such a person; and, on the recommendation of this gentleman, Doctor Bruno, a young man who had just left the university with considerable reputation was engaged. Among other preparations for his expedition, he ordered three splendid helmets to be made,—with his never forgotten crest engraved upon them,—for
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 663
himself and the two friends who were to accompany him. In this little circumstance which, in England (where the ridiculous is so much better understood than the heroic), excited some sneers at the time, we have one of the many instances that occur amusingly through his life, to confirm the quaint but, as applied to him, true observation, that “the child is father to the man;”—the characteristics of these two periods of life being in him so anomalously transposed, that while the passions and ripened views of the man developed themselves in his boyhood, so the easily pleased fancies and vanities of the boy were for ever breaking out among the most serious moments of his manhood. The same schoolboy whom we found, at the beginning of the first volume, boasting of his intention to raise, at some future time, a troop of horse, in black armour, to be called Byron’s Blacks, was now seen trying on with delight his fine crested helmet, and anticipating the deeds of glory he was to achieve under its plumes.

At the end of May a letter arrived from Mr. Blaquiere communicating to him very favourable intelligence and requesting that he would, as much as possible, hasten his departure as he was now anxiously looked for, and would be of the greatest service. However encouraging this summons, and though Lord Byron, thus called upon from all sides, had now determined to give freely the aid which all deemed so essential, it is plain from his letters that, in the cool, sagacious view which he himself took of the whole subject, so far from agreeing with these enthusiasts in their high estimate of his personal services, he had not yet even been able to perceive any definite way in which those services could, with any prospect of permanent utility, be applied.

For an insight into the true state of his mind at this crisis, the following observations of one who watched him with eyes quickened by anxiety will be found, perhaps to afford the clearest and most certain clue. “At this time,” says the Contessa Guiccioli, “Lord Byron again turned his thoughts to Greece; and, excited on every side by a thousand combining circumstances, found himself, almost before he had time to form a decision, or well know what he was doing, obliged to set out for that country. But, notwithstanding his affection for those regions—notwith-
664 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1823.
standing the consciousness of his own moral energies, which made him say always that ‘a man ought to do something more for society than write verses’—notwithstanding the attraction which the object of this voyage must necessarily have for his noble mind, and that, moreover, he was resolved to return to Italy within a few months,—notwithstanding all this, every person who was near him at the time can bear witness to the struggle which his mind underwent (however much he endeavoured to hide it), as the period fixed for his departure approached*.”

In addition to the vagueness which this want of any defined object so unsatisfactorily threw round the enterprise before him, he had also a sort of ominous presentiment—natural, perhaps, to one of his temperament under such circumstances—that he was but fulfilling his own doom in this expedition, and should die in Greece. On the evening before the departure of his friends, Lord and Lady * *, from Genoa, he called upon them for the purpose of taking leave, and sate conversing for some time. He was evidently in low spirits, and after expressing his regret that they should leave Genoa before his own time of sailing, proceeded to speak of his intended voyage in a tone full of despondence. “Here,” said he, “we are all now together—but when, and where, shall we meet again? I have a sort of boding that we see each other for the last time; as something tells me I shall never again return from Greece.” Having continued a little longer in this melancholy strain, he leaned his head upon the arm of the sofa on which they were seated, and, bursting into tears, wept for some minutes with uncontrollable feeling. Though he had been talking only with Lady B * *, all who were present in the room observed, and were affected by his emotion, while he himself, apparently

* “Fu allora che Lord Byron rivolse i suoi pensieri alla Grecia; e stimolato poi da ogni parte per mille combinazioni egli si trovò quasi senza averlo deciso, e senza saperlo, obbligato di partire per la Grecia. Ma, non ostante il suo affetto per quelle contrade,—non ostante il sentimento delle sue forze morali che gli faceva dire sempre ‘che un uomo è obbligato a fare per la società qualche cosa di più che del versi,’—non ostante le attrative che doveva avere pel nobile suo animo l’oggetto di quel viaggio,—e non ostante che egli fosse determinato di ritornare in Italia fra non molti mesi,—pure in quale combattimento si trovasse il suo cuore mentre si avvanzava l’epoca della sua partenza (sebbene cercasse occultarlo) ognuno che lo ha avvicinato allora può dirlo.”

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ashamed of his weakness, endeavoured to turn off attention from it by some ironical remark, spoken with a sort of hysterical laugh, upon the effects of “nervousness.”

He had, previous to this conversation, presented to each of the party some little farewell gift—a book to one, a print from his bust by Bartolini to another, and to Lady B * * a copy of his Armenian Grammar, which had some manuscript remarks of his own on the leaves. In now parting with her, having begged, as a memorial, some trifle which she had worn, the lady gave him one of her rings; in return for which he took a pin from his breast, containing a small cameo of Napoleon, which he said had long been his companion, and presented it to her ladyship.

The next day Lady B * * received from him the following note:

“Albaro, June 2d, 1823.

“I am superstitious, and have recollected that memorials with a point are of less fortunate augury; I will, therefore, request you to accept, instead of the pin, the enclosed chain, which is of so slight a value that you need not hesitate. As you wished for something worn, I can only say, that it has been worn oftener and longer than the other. It is of Venetian manufacture; and the only peculiarity about it is, that it could only be obtained at or from Venice. At Genoa they have none of the same kind. I also enclose a ring, which I would wish Alfred to keep; it is too large to wear; but is formed of lava, and so far adapted to the fire of his years and character. You will perhaps have the goodness to acknowledge the receipt of this note, and send back the pin (for good luck’s sake), which I shall value much more for having been a night in your custody.

“Ever and faithfully your obliged, &c.

“P.S. I hope your nerves are well to-day, and will continue to flourish.”

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In the mean time the preparations for his romantic expedition were in progress. With the aid of his banker and very sincere friend, Mr. Barry, of Genoa, he was enabled to raise the large sums of money necessary for his supply;—10,000 crowns in specie, and 40,000 crowns in bills of exchange, being the amount of what he took with him, and a portion of this having been raised upon his furniture and books, on which Mr. Barry, as I understand, advanced a sum far beyond their worth. An English brig, the Hercules, had been freighted to convey himself and his suite, which consisted, at this time, of Count Gamba, Mr. Trelawney, Doctor Bruno, and eight domestics. There were also aboard five horses, sufficient arms and ammunition for the use of his own party, two one-pounders belonging to his schooner, the Bolivar, which he had left at Genoa, and medicine enough for the supply of a thousand men for a year.

The following letter to the Secretary of the Greek Committee announces his approaching departure.

“July 7th, 1823.

“We sail on the 12th for Greece.—I have had a letter from Mr. Blaquiere, too long for present transcription, but very satisfactory. The Greek Government expects me without delay.

“In conformity to the desires of Mr. B. and other correspondents in Greece, I have to suggest, with all deference to the Committee, that a remittance of even ‘ten thousand pounds only’ (Mr. B.’s expression) would be of the greatest service to the Greek Government at present. I have also to recommend strongly the attempt of a loan, for which there will be offered a sufficient security by deputies now on their way to England. In the mean time, I hope that the Committee will be enabled to do something effectual.

“For my own part, I mean to carry up, in cash or credits, above eight, and nearly nine thousand pounds sterling, which I am enabled to do by funds I have in Italy, and credits in England. Of this sum I must
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 667
necessarily reserve a portion for the subsistence of myself and suite; the rest I am willing to apply in the manner which seems most likely to be useful to the cause—having of course some guarantee or assurance, that it will not be misapplied to any individual speculation.

“If I remain in Greece, which will mainly depend upon the presumed probable utility of my presence there, and of the opinion of the Greeks themselves as to its propriety—in short, if I am welcome to them, I shall continue, during my residence at least, to apply such portions of my income, present and future, as may forward the object—that is to say, what I can spare for that purpose. Privations I can, or at least could once bear—abstinence I am accustomed to—and, as to fatigue, I was once a tolerable traveller. What I may be now, I cannot tell—but I will try.

“I await the commands of the Committee.—Address to Genoa—the letters will be forwarded to me, wherever I may be, by my bankers, Messrs. Webb and Barry. It would have given me pleasure to have had some more defined instructions before I went, but these, of course, rest at the option of the Committee.

“I have the honour to be
“Your obedient, &c.

“P.S. Great anxiety is expressed for a printing press and types, &c. I have not the time to provide them, but recommend this to the notice of the Committee. I presume the types must, partly at least, be Greek: they wish to publish papers, and perhaps a Journal, probably in Romaic, with Italian translations.”

All was now ready; and on the 13th of July himself and his whole party slept on board the Hercules. About sunrise the next morning they succeeded in clearing the port; but there was little wind, and they remained in sight of Genoa the whole day. The night was a bright moonlight, but the wind had become stormy and adverse, and they were, for a short time, in serious danger. Lord Byron, who remained on deck during the storm, was employed anxiously, with the aid of such of his suite as were not disabled by sea-sickness from helping him, in preventing further mischief to the horses, which, having been badly secured, had
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broken loose and injured each other. After making head against the wind for three or four hours, the captain was at last obliged to steer back to Genoa, and re-entered the port at six in the morning. On landing again, after this unpromising commencement of his voyage, Lord Byron (says
Count Gamba) “appeared thoughtful, and remarked that he considered a bad beginning a favourable omen.”

It has been already, I believe, mentioned that, among the superstitions in which he chose to indulge, the supposed unluckiness of Friday, as a day for the commencement of any work, was one by which he, almost always, allowed himself to be influenced. Soon after his arrival at Pisa, a lady of his acquaintance happening to meet him, on the road from her house as she was herself returning thither, and supposing that he had been to make her a visit, requested that he would go back with her. “I have not been to your house,” he answered; “for, just before I got to the door, I remembered that it was Friday; and, not liking to make my first visit on a Friday, I turned back.” It is even related of him that he once sent away a Genoese tailor who brought him home a new coat on the same ominous day.

With all this, strange to say, he set sail for Greece on a Friday and though, by those who have any leaning to this superstitious fancy, the result may be thought but too sadly confirmatory of the omen, it is plain that either the influence of the superstition over his own mind was slight, or, in the excitement of self-devotion under which he now acted, was forgotten. In truth, notwithstanding his encouraging speech to Count Gamba, the forewarning he now felt of his approaching doom seems to have been far too deep and serious to need the aid of any such accessory. Having expressed a wish, on relanding, to visit his own palace, which he had left to the care of Mr. Barry during his absence, and from which Madame Guiccioli had early that morning departed, he now proceeded thither, accompanied by Count Gamba alone. “His conversation,” says this gentleman, “was somewhat melancholy on our way to Albaro; he spoke much of his past life, and of the uncertainty of the future, ‘Where,’ said he, shall we be in a year?’—It looked (adds his friend) like a melancholy foreboding; for, on the same day, of the same month, in the next year, he was carried to the tomb of his ancestors.”

A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 669

It took nearly the whole of the day to repair the damages of their vessel; and the greater part of this interval was passed by Lord Byron, in company with Mr. Barry, at some gardens near the city. Here his conversation, as this gentleman informs me, took the same gloomy turn. That he had not fixed to go to England, in preference, seemed one of his deep regrets; and so hopeless were the views he expressed of the whole enterprise before him, that, as it appeared to Mr. Barry, nothing but a devoted sense of duty and honour could have determined him to persist in it.

In the evening of that day they set sail;—and now, fairly launched in the cause, and disengaged, as it were, from his former state of existence, the natural power of his spirit to shake off pressure, whether from within or without, began instantly to display itself. According to the report of one of his fellow-voyagers, though so clouded while on shore, no sooner did he find himself, once more, bounding over the waters, than all the light and life of his better nature shone forth. In the breeze that now bore him towards his beloved Greece, the voice of his youth seemed again to speak. Before the titles of hero, of benefactor, to which he now aspired, that of poet, however pre-eminent, faded into nothing. His love of freedom, his generosity, his thirst for the new and adventurous,—all were re-awakened; and even the bodings that still lingered at the bottom of his heart but made the course before him more precious from his consciousness of its brevity, and from the high and self-ennobling resolution he had now taken to turn what yet remained of it gloriously to account.
“Parte, e porta un desio d’eterna ed alma
Gloria che a nobil cuor è sferza e sprone;
A magnanime imprese intenta ha l’alma,
Ed insolite cose oprar dispone.
Gir fra i nemici—ivi o cipresso o palma

After a passage of five days, they reached Leghorn, at which place it was thought necessary to touch, for the purpose of taking on board a supply of gunpowder, and other English goods, not to be had elsewhere.

It would have been the wish of Lord Byron, in the new path he had now marked out for himself, to disconnect from his name, if possible, all
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those poetical associations, which, by throwing a character of romance over the step he was now taking, might have a tendency, as he feared, to impair its practical utility; and it is, perhaps, hardly saying too much for his sincere zeal in the cause to assert, that he would willingly at this moment have sacrificed his whole fame, as poet, for even the prospect of an equivalent renown, as philanthropist and liberator. How vain, however, was the thought that he could thus supersede his own glory, or cause the fame of the lyre to be forgotten in that of the sword, was made manifest to him by a mark of homage which reached him, while at Leghorn, from the hands of one of the only two men of the age who could contend with him in the universality of his literary fame.

Already, as has been seen, an exchange of courtesies, founded upon mutual admiration, had taken place between Lord Byron and the great poet of Germany, Goëthe. Of this intercourse between two such men,—the former as brief a light in the world’s eyes, as the latter has been long and steadily luminous,—an account has been by the venerable survivor put on record, which, as a fit preliminary to the letter I am about to give, I shall here insert in as faithful a translation as it has been in my power to procure.


The German poet, who, down to the latest period of his long life, had been always anxious to acknowledge the merits of his literary predecessors and contemporaries, because he has always considered this to be the surest means of cultivating his own powers, could not but have his attention attracted to the great talent of the noble lord almost from his earliest appearance, and uninterruptedly watched the progress of his mind throughout the great works which he unceasingly produced. It was immediately perceived by him that the public appreciation of his poetical merits kept pace with the rapid succession of his writings. The joyful sympathy of others would have been perfect, had not the poet, by a life marked by self-dissatisfaction, and the indulgence of strong passions, disturbed the enjoyment which his infinite genius produced. But his German admirer was not led astray by this, or prevented from following with close attention both his works and his life in all their eccentricity.
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These astonished him the more, as he found in the experience of past ages no element for the calculation of so eccentric an orbit.

“These endeavours of the German did not remain unknown to the Englishman, of which his poems contain unambiguous proofs, and he also availed himself of the means afforded by various travellers, to forward some friendly salutation to his unknown admirer. At length a manuscript Dedication of Sardanapalus, in the most complimentary terms, was forwarded to him, with an obliging inquiry whether it might be prefixed to the tragedy. The German, who, at his advanced age, was conscious of his own powers and of their effects, could only gratefully and modestly consider this Dedication as the expression of an inexhaustible intellect, deeply feeling and creating its own object. He was by no means dissatisfied when, after a long delay, Sardanapalus appeared without the Dedication; and was made happy by the possession of a fac simile of it, engraved on stone, which he considered a precious memorial.

“The noble lord, however, did not abandon his purpose of proclaiming to the world his valued kindness towards his German contemporary and brother poet, a precious evidence of which was placed in front of the tragedy of Werner. It will be readily believed, when so unhoped for an honour was conferred upon the German poet—one seldom experienced in life, and that too from one himself so highly distinguished—he was by no means reluctant to express the high esteem and sympathising sentiment with which his unsurpassed contemporary had inspired him. The task was difficult, and was found the more so, the more it was contemplated;—for what can be said of one, whose unfathomable qualities are not to be reached by words? But when a young gentleman, Mr. Sterling, of pleasing person and excellent character, in the spring of 1823, on a journey from Genoa to Weimar, delivered a few lines under the hand of the great man as an introduction; and when the report was soon after spread that the noble peer was about to direct his great mind and various power to deeds of sublime daring beyond the ocean, there appeared to be no time left for further delay, and the following lines were hastily written*:

* I insert the verses in the original language, as an English version gives but a very imperfect notion of their meaning.

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“Ein freundlich Wort kommt eines nach dem andern
Von Süden her und bringt uns frohe Stunden;
Es ruft uns auf zum Edelsten zu wandern,
Nicht ist der Geist, doch ist der Fuss gebunden.
“Wie soil ich dem, den ich so lang begleitet,
Nun etwas Traulich’s in die Ferne sagen?
Ihm der sich selbst im Innersten bestreitet,
Stark angewohnt das tieftse Weh zu tragen.
“Wohl sey ihm doch, wenn er sich selbst empfindet!
Er wage selbst sich hock beglückt zu nennen,
Wenn Musenkraft die Schmerzen überwindet,
Und wie ich ihn erkannt mög’ er sich kennen.

“The verses reached Genoa, but the excellent friend to whom they were addressed was already gone, and to a distance, as it appeared, inaccessible. Driven back, however, by storms, he landed at Leghorn, where these cordial lines reached him just as he was about to embark, on the 24th July, 1823. He had barely time to answer by a well filled page, which the possessor has preserved among his most precious papers, as the worthiest evidence of the connexion that had been formed. Affecting and delightful as was such a document, and justifying the most lively hopes, it has acquired now the greatest, though most painful, value, from the untimely death of the lofty writer, which adds a peculiar edge to the grief felt generally throughout the whole moral and poetical world at his loss: for we were warranted in hoping, that when his great deeds should have been achieved, we might personally have greeted in him the pre-eminent intellect, the happily acquired friend, and the most humane of conquerors. At present we can only console ourselves with the conviction that his country will at last recover from that violence of invective and reproach which has been so long raised against him, and will learn to understand that the dross and lees of the age and the individual, out of which even the best have to elevate themselves, are but perishable and transient, while the wonderful glory to which he in the present and through all future ages, has elevated his country, will be as boundless in its splendour, as it is incalculable in its consequences. Nor can there be any doubt that the nation, which can boast of so many great names, will
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 673
class him among the first of those through whom she has acquired such glory.”

The following is Lord Byron’s answer to the communication above-mentioned from Goëthe.

“Leghorn, July 24th, 1823.

“I cannot thank you as you ought to be thanked for the lines which my young friend, Mr. Sterling, sent me of yours; and it would but ill become me to pretend to exchange verses with him who, for fifty years, has been the undisputed sovereign of European literature. You must therefore accept my most sincere acknowledgments in prose—and in hasty prose too; for I am at present on my voyage to Greece once more, and surrounded by hurry and bustle, which hardly allow a moment even to gratitude and admiration to express themselves.

“I sailed from Genoa some days ago, was driven back by a gale of wind, and have since sailed again and arrived here, ‘Leghorn,’ this morning, to receive on board some Greek passengers for their struggling country.

“Here also I found your lines and Mr. Sterling’s letter, and I could not have had a more favourable omen, a more agreeable surprise, than a word of Goëthe, written by his own hand.

“I am returning to Greece, to see if I can be of any little use there: if ever I come back I will pay a visit to Weimar, to offer the sincere homage of one of the many millions of your admirers. I have the honour to be, ever and most,

“Your obliged,
Noel Byron.”

From Leghorn, where his lordship was joined by Mr. Hamilton Browne, he set sail on the 24th of July, and after about ten days of
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most favourable weathers cast anchor at Argostoli, the chief port of Cephalonia.

It had been thought expedient that Lord Byron should, with the view of informing himself correctly respecting Greece, direct his course, in the first instance, to one of the Ionian islands, from whence, as from a post of observation, he might be able to ascertain the exact position of affairs before he landed on the continent. For this purpose it had been recommended that either Zante or Cephalonia should be selected, and his choice was chiefly determined towards the latter island by his knowledge of the talents and liberal feelings of the Resident, Colonel Napier. Aware, however, that in the yet doubtful aspect of the foreign policy of England, his arrival thus on an expedition so declaredly in aid of insurrection might have the effect of embarrassing the existing authorities, he resolved to adopt such a line of conduct as would be the least calculated either to compromise or offend them. It was with this view he now thought it prudent not to land at Argostoli, but to await on board his vessel such information from the Government of Greece as should enable him to decide upon his further movements.

The arrival of a person so celebrated at Argostoli excited naturally a lively sensation, as well among the Greeks as the English of that place; and the first approaches towards intercourse between the latter and their noble visitor were followed instantly, on both sides, by that sort of agreeable surprise which from the false notions they had preconceived of each other was to be expected. His countrymen, who from the exaggerated stories they had so often heard of his misanthropy and especial horror of the English, expected their courtesies to be received with a haughty, if not insulting, coldness, found, on the contrary, in all his demeanour, a degree of open and cheerful affability which, calculated, as it was, to charm under any circumstances. was to them, expecting so much the reverse, peculiarly fascinating;—while he, on his side, even still more sensitively prepared, by a long course of brooding over his own fancies, for a cold and reluctant reception from his countrymen, found himself greeted at once with a welcome so cordial and respectful as not only surprised and flattered but, it was evident, sensibly touched him. Among other hospitalities
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 675
accepted by him was a dinner with the officers of the garrison, at which, on his health being drunk, he is reported to have said, in returning thanks, that “he was doubtful whether he could express his sense of the obligation as he ought, having been so long in the practice of speaking a foreign language that it was with some difficulty he could convey the whole force of what he felt in his own.”

Having despatched messengers to Corfu and Missolonghi in quest of information, he resolved, while waiting their return, to employ his time in a journey to Ithaca, which island is separated from that of Cephalonia but by a narrow strait. On his way to Vathi, the chief city of the island, to which place he had been invited, and his journey hospitably facilitated, by the Resident, Captain Knox, he paid a visit to the mountain-cave in which, according to tradition, Ulysses deposited the presents of the Phæacians. “Lord Byron (says Count Gamba) ascended to the grotto, but the steepness and height prevented him from reaching the remains of the Castle. I myself experienced considerable difficulty in gaining it. Lord Byron sat reading in the grotto, but fell asleep. I awoke him on my return, and he said that I had interrupted dreams more pleasant than ever he had before in his life.”

Though unchanged, since he first visited these regions, in his preference of the wild charms of Nature to all the classic associations of Art and History, he yet joined with much interest in any pilgrimage to those places which tradition had sanctified. At the Fountain of Arethusa, one of the spots of this kind which he visited, a repast had been prepared for himself and his party by the Resident; and at the School of Homer,—as some remains beyond Chioni are called,—he met with an old refugee bishop, whom he had known thirteen years before in Livadia, and with whom he now conversed of those times with a rapidity and freshness of recollection with which the memory of the old bishop could but ill keep pace. Neither did the traditional Baths of Penelope escape his research, and “however sceptical (says a lady who, soon after, followed his footsteps) he might have been as to these supposed localities, he never offended the natives by any objection to the reality of their fancies. On the contrary, his politeness and kindness won the respect and admiration
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of all those Greek gentlemen who saw him; and to me they spoke of him with enthusiasm.”

Those benevolent views by which, even more, perhaps, than by any ambition of renown, he proved himself to be actuated in his present course, had, during his short stay at Ithaca, opportunities of disclosing themselves. On learning that a number of poor families had fled thither from Scio, Patras, and other parts of Greece, he not only presented to the Commandant three thousand piastres for their relief, but by his generosity to one family in particular, which had once been in a state of affluence at Patras, enabled them to repair their circumstances and again live in comfort. “The eldest girl (says the lady whom I have already quoted) became afterwards the mistress of the school formed at Ithaca; and neither she, her sister, or mother could ever speak of Lord Byron without the deepest feeling of gratitude and of regret for his too premature death.”

After occupying in this excursion about eight days, he had again established himself on board the Hercules when one of the messengers whom he had despatched returned, bringing a letter to him from the brave Marco Botzari, whom he had left among the mountains of Agrafa, preparing for that attack in which he so gloriously fell. The following are the terms in which this heroic chief wrote to Lord Byron.

“Your letter, and that of the venerable Ignazio, have filled me with joy. Your Excellency is exactly the person of whom we stand in need. Let nothing prevent you from coming into this part of Greece. The enemy threatens us in great number; but, by the help of God and your Excellency, they shall meet a suitable resistance. I shall have something to do to-night against a corps of six or seven thousand Albanians, encamped close to this place. The day after to-morrow I will set out, with a few chosen companions, to meet your Excellency. Do not delay. I thank you for the good opinion you have of my fellow-citizens, which God grant you will not find ill-founded; and I thank you still more for the care you have so kindly taken of them.

“Believe me, &c.”
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 677

In the expectation that Lord Byron would proceed forthwith to Missolonghi, it had been the intention of Botzari, as the above letter announces, to leave the army, and hasten, with a few of his brother warriors, to receive their noble ally on his landing in a manner worthy of the generous mission on which he came. The above letter, however, preceded but by a few hours his death. That very night he penetrated, with but a handful of followers, into the midst of the enemy’s camp, whose force was eight thousand strong, and after leading his heroic band over heaps of dead, fell, at last, close to the tent of the Pasha himself.

The mention made in this brave Suliote’s letter of Lord Byron’s care of his fellow-citizens refers to a popular act done recently by the noble poet at Cephalonia in taking into his pay, as a body-guard, forty of this now homeless tribe. On finding, however, that for want of employment they were becoming restless and turbulent, he despatched them off soon after, armed and provisioned, to join in the defence of Missolonghi, which was at that time besieged on one side by a considerable force, and blockaded on the other by a Turkish squadron. Already had he, with a view to the succour of this place, made a generous offer to the Government, which he thus states himself in one of his letters. “I offered to advance a thousand dollars a month for the succour of Missolonghi, and the Suliotes under Botzari (since killed), but the Government have answered me, that they wish to confer with me previously, which is in fact saying they wish me to expend my money in some other direction. I will take care that it is for the public cause, otherwise I will not advance a para. The opposition say they want to cajole me and the party in power say the others wish to seduce me, so between the two I have a difficult part to play; however, I will have nothing to do with the factions unless to reconcile them if possible.”

In these last few sentences is described briefly the position in which Lord Byron was now placed, and in which the coolness, foresight, and self-possession he displayed sufficiently refute the notion that even the highest powers of imagination, whatever effect they may sometimes produce on the moral temperament, are at all incompatible with the
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sound practical good sense, the steadily balanced views which the business of active life requires.

The great difficulty, to an observer of the state of Greece at this crisis, was to be able clearly to distinguish between what was real and what was merely apparent in those tests by which the probability of her future success or failure was to be judged. With a Government little more than nominal, having neither authority nor resources, its executive and legislative branches being openly at variance, and the supplies that ought to fill its exchequer being intercepted by the military Chiefs who, being, in most places, collectors of the revenue, were able to rob by authority;—with that curse of all popular enterprises, a multiplicity of leaders, each selfishly pursuing his own objects, and ready to make the sword the umpire of their claims;—with a fleet furnished by private adventure, and, therefore, precarious; and an army belonging rather to its Chiefs than to the Government, and, accordingly, trusting more to plunder than to pay;—with all these principles of mischief, and, as it would seem, ruin at the very heart of the struggle, it had yet persevered, which was in itself victory, through three trying campaigns and at this moment presented, in the midst of all its apparent weakness and distraction, some elements of success which both accounted for what had hitherto been effected, and gave a hope, with more favouring circumstances, of something nobler yet to come.

Besides the never-failing encouragement which the incapacity of their enemies afforded them, the Greeks derived also from the geographical conformation of their country those same advantages with which nature had blessed their great ancestors, and which had contributed mainly perhaps to the formation, as well as maintenance, of their high national character. Islanders and mountaineers, they were, by their very position, heirs to the blessings of freedom and commerce, and never, throughout their long slavery and sufferings, had the spirit of either died away within them. They had also, luckily, in a political as well as religious point of view, preserved that sacred line of distinction between themselves and their conquerors which a fond fidelity to an ancient church alone could have maintained for them; and thus kept holily
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 679
in reserve, against the hour of struggle, that most stirring of all the excitements to which Freedom can appeal when she points to her flame rising out of the censer of Religion. In addition to these, and all the other moral advantages included in them, for which the Greeks were indebted to their own nature and position, is to be taken into account also the aid and sympathy they had every right to expect from others, as soon as their exertions in their own cause should justify the confidence that it would not be the mere chivalry of generosity to assist them*.

Such seem to have been the chief features of hope which the state of Greece, at this moment, presented. But though promising, perhaps, a long continuance of the struggle, they, in that very promise, postponed indefinitely the period of its success; and checked and counteracted as such auspicious appearances were by the manifold and inherent evils above enumerated,—by a consideration, too, of the resources and obstinacy of the still powerful Turk, and of the little favour with which it was at all probable that the Courts of Europe would, now or ever, regard the attempt of any people, under any circumstances, to be their own emancipators,—none but a sanguine spirit could indulge in the dream that Greece would be able to work out her own liberation, or that aught, indeed, but a fortuitous concurrence of political circumstances could ever accomplish it. Like many other such contests between right and might, it was a cause destined, all felt, to be successful, but at its own ripe hour;—a cause which individuals might keep alive, but which events, wholly independent of them, alone could accomplish, and which, after the hearts, and hopes, and lives of all its bravest defenders had been wasted upon it, would at last to other hands, and to means least contemplated, perhaps, by its first champions, owe its completion.

That Lord Byron, on a nearer view of the state of Greece, saw it much in the light I have here regarded it in, his letters leave no room to doubt. Neither was the impression he had early received of the Greeks themselves at all improved by the present renewal of his acquaintance

* For a clear and concise sketch of the state of Greece at this crisis, executed with all that command of the subject which a long residence in the country alone could give, see Colonel Leake’s “Historical Outline of the Greek Revolution.”

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with them. Though making full allowance for the causes that had produced their degeneracy, he still saw that they were grossly degenerate, and must be dealt with and counted upon accordingly. “I am of
St. Paul’s opinion,” said he, “that there is no difference between Jews and Greeks, the character of both being equally vile.” With such means and materials, the work of regeneration, he knew, must be slow; and the hopelessness he therefore felt as to the chances of ever connecting his name with any essential or permanent benefit to Greece, gives to the sacrifice he now made of himself a far more touching interest than had the consciousness of dying for some great object been at once his incitement and reward. He but looked upon himself,—to use a favourite illustration of his own,—as one of the many waves that must break and die upon the shore, before the tide they help to advance can reach its full mark. “What signifies Self,” was his generous thought, “if a single spark of that which would be worthy of the past can be bequeathed unquenchedly to the future*?” Such was the devoted feeling with which he embarked in the cause of Italy; and these words, which, had they remained only words, the unjust world would have pronounced but an idle boast, have now received from his whole course in Greece a practical comment, which gives them all the right of truth to be engraved solemnly on his tomb.

Though with so little hope of being able to serve, signally, the cause, the task of at least lightening, by his interposition, some of the manifold mischiefs that pressed upon it was yet, he thought, within his reach. To convince the Government and the Chiefs of the paralysing effect of their dissensions;—to inculcate that spirit of union among themselves which alone could give strength against their enemies;—to endeavour to humanize the feelings of the belligerents on both sides, so as to take from the war that character of barbarism which deterred the more civilized friends of freedom through Europe from joining in it;—such were, in addition to the now essential aid of his money, the great objects which he proposed to effect by his interference; and to

* Diary of 1821.—The same distrustful and, as it turned out, just view of the chances of success were taken by him also on that occasion:—“I shall not,” he says, “fall back;—though I don’t think them in force or heart sufficient to make much of it.”

A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 681
these he accordingly, with all the candour, clear-sightedness, and courage which so preeminently distinguished his great mind, applied himself.

Aware that, to judge deliberately of the state of parties, he must keep out of their vortex, and warned, by the very impatience and rivalry with which the different Chiefs courted his presence, of the risk he should run by connecting himself with any, he resolved to remain, for some time longer, in his station at Cephalonia, and there avail himself of the facilities afforded by the position for collecting information as to the real state of affairs, and ascertaining in what quarter his own presence and money would be most available. During the six weeks that had elapsed since his arrival at Cephalonia, he had been living in the most comfortless manner, pent up with pigs and poultry, on board the vessel which brought him. Having now come, however, to the determination of prolonging his stay, he decided also upon fixing his abode on shore; and, for the sake of privacy, retired to a small village, called Metaxata, about seven miles from Argostoli, where he continued to reside during the remainder of his stay on the island.

Before this change of residence, he had despatched Mr. Hamilton Browne and Mr. Trelawney with a letter to the existing Government of Greece, explanatory of his own views and those of the Committee whom he represented; and it was not till a month after his removal to Metaxata that intelligence from these gentlemen reached him. The picture they gave of the state of the country was, in most respects, confirmatory of what has already been described as his own view of it;—incapacity and selfishness at the head of affairs, disorganization throughout the whole body politic, but still, with all this, the heart of the nation sound, and bent on resistance. Nor could he have failed to be struck with the close family resemblance to the ancient race of the country which this picture exhibited;—that great people, in the very midst of their own endless dissensions, having been ever ready to face round in concert against the foe.

His lordship’s agents had been received with all due welcome by the Government, who were most desirous that he should set out for the Morea without delay; and pressing letters to the same purport, both from the Legislative and Executive bodies, accompanied those which
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reached him from Messrs.
Browne and Trelawney. He was, however, determined not to move till his own selected time, having seen reason, the farther insight he obtained into their intrigues, to congratulate himself but the more on his prudence in not plunging into the maze without being first furnished with those guards against deception which the information he was now acquiring supplied him.

To give an idea, as briefly as possible, of the sort of conflicting calls that were, from various scenes of action, reaching him in his retirement, it may be sufficient to mention that, while by Metaxa, the present governor of Missolonghi, he was entreated earnestly to hasten to the relief of that place which the Turks were now blockading both by land and by sea, the head of the military chiefs, Colocotroni, was no less earnestly urging that he should present himself at the approaching congress of Salamis, where, under the dictation of these rude warriors, the affairs of the country were to be settled,—while, at the same time, from another quarter, the great opponent of these Chieftains, Mavrocordato, was, with more urgency, as well as more ability than any, endeavouring to impress upon him his own views, and imploring his presence at Hydra, whither he himself had just been forced to retire.

The mere knowledge, indeed that a noble Englishman had arrived in those regions, so unprepossessed by any party as to inspire a hope of his alliance in all, and with money, by common rumour, as abundant as the imaginations of the needy chose to make it, was, in itself, fully sufficient, without any of the more elevated claims of his name, to attract towards him all thoughts. “It is easier to conceive,” says Count Gamba, “than to relate the various means employed to engage him in one faction or the other: letters, messengers, intrigues, and recriminations,—nay, each faction had its agents exerting every art to degrade its opponent.” He then adds a circumstance strongly illustrative of a peculiar feature in the noble poet’s character:—“He occupied himself in discovering the truth, hidden as it was under these intrigues, and amused himself in confronting the agents of the different factions.

During all these occupations he went on pursuing his usual simple and uniform course of life,—rising, however, for the despatch of business,
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 683
at an early hour, which showed how capable he was of conquering even long habit when necessary. Though so much occupied, too, he was, at all hours, accessible to visitors; and the facility with which he allowed even the dullest people to break in upon him was exemplified, I am told, strongly in the case of one of the officers of the garrison, who, without being able to understand any thing of the poet but his good-nature, used to say, whenever he found his time hang heavily on his hands,—“I think I shall ride out and have a little talk with Lord Byron.”

The person, however, whose visits appeared to give him most pleasure, as well from the interest he took in the subject on which they chiefly conversed, as from the opportunities, sometimes, of pleasantry which the peculiarities of his visitor afforded him, was a medical gentleman, named Kennedy, who, from a strong sense of the value of religion to himself, had taken up the benevolent task of communicating his own light to others. The first origin of their intercourse was an undertaking, on the part of this gentleman, to convert to a firm belief in Christianity some rather sceptical friends of his, then at Argostoli. Happening to hear of the meeting appointed for this purpose, Lord Byron begged that he might be allowed to attend, saying to the person through whom he conveyed his request, “You know I am reckoned a black sheep,—yet, after all, not so black as the world believes me.” He had promised to convince Doctor Kennedy that, “though wanting, perhaps, in faith, he at least had patience;” but the process of so many hours of lecture,—no less than twelve, without interruption, being stipulated for,—was a trial beyond his strength; and, very early in the operation, as the Doctor informs us, he began to show evident signs of a wish to exchange the part of hearer for that of speaker. Notwithstanding this, however, there was in all his deportment, both as listener and talker, such a degree of courtesy, candour, and sincere readiness to be taught, as excited interest, if not hope, for his future welfare in the good Doctor; and though he never after attended the more numerous meetings, his conferences, on the same subject, with Dr. Kennedy alone, were not infrequent during the remainder of his stay at Cephalonia.

These curious Conversations are now on the eve of being published, and to the value which they possess as a simple and popular exposition
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of the chief evidences of Christianity, is added the charm that must ever dwell round the character of one of the interlocutors, and the almost fearful interest attached to every word that, on such a subject, he utters. In the course of the first conversation, it will be seen that Lord Byron expressly disclaimed being one of those infidels “who deny the Scriptures and wish to remain in unbelief.” On the contrary, he professed himself “desirous to believe; as he experienced no happiness in having his religious opinions so unfixed.” He was unable, however, he added, “to understand the Scriptures. Those who conscientiously believed them he could always respect, and was always disposed to trust in them more than in others; but he had met with so many whose conduct differed from the principles which they professed, and who seemed to profess those principles either because they were paid to do so, or from some other motive which an intimate acquaintance with their character would enable one to detect, that altogether he had seen few, if any, whom he could rely upon as truly and conscientiously believing the Scriptures.”

We may take for granted that these conversations,—more especially the first, from the number of persons present who would report the proceedings,—excited considerable interest among the society of Argostoli. It was said that Lord Byron had displayed such a profound knowledge of the Scriptures as astonished, and even puzzled, the polemic Doctor; while in all the eminent writers on theological subjects he had shown himself far better versed than his more pretending opponent. All this Doctor Kennedy strongly denies; and the truth seems to be, that on neither side were there much stores of theological learning. The confession of the lecturer himself, that he had not read the works of Stillingfleet or Barrow, shows that, in his researches after orthodoxy, he had not allowed himself any very extensive range; while the alleged familiarity of Lord Byron with the same authorities must be taken with a similar abatement of credence and wonder to that which his own account of his youthful studies requires;—a rapid eye and retentive memory having enabled him, on this as on most other subjects, to catch, as it were, the salient points on the surface of knowledge, and the recollections he thus gathered being, perhaps, the livelier from his not having encum-
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 685
bered himself with more. To any regular train of reasoning, even on this his most favourite topic, it was not possible to lead him. He would start objections to the arguments of others, and detect their fallacies; but of any consecutive ratiocination on his own side he seemed, if not incapable, impatient. In this, indeed, as in many other peculiarities belonging to him,—his caprices, fits of weeping, sudden affections and dislikes,—may be observed striking traces of a feminine cast of character;—it being observable that the discursive faculty is rarely exercised by women; but that, nevertheless, by the mere instinct of truth (as was the case with Lord Byron), they are often enabled at once to light upon the very conclusion to which man, through all the forms of reasoning, is, in the mean time, puzzling and, perhaps, losing his way:—
“And strikes each point with native force of mind,
While puzzled logic blunders far behind.”

Of the Scriptures, it is certain that Lord Byron was a frequent and almost daily reader,—the small pocket-bible which, on his leaving England, had been given him by his sister, being always near him. How much, in addition to his natural solicitude on the subject of religion, the taste of the poet influenced him in this line of study, may be seen in his frequently expressed admiration of “the ghost-scene,” as he called it, in Samuel, and his comparison of this supernatural appearance with the Mephistopheles of Goëthe. In the same manner, his imagination appears to have been much struck by the notion of his lecturer, that the circumstance mentioned in Job of the Almighty summoning Satan into his presence was to be interpreted, not, as he thought, allegorically and poetically, but literally. More than once we find him expressing to Doctor Kennedy “how much this belief of the real appearance of Satan to hear and obey the commands of God added to his views of the grandeur and majesty of the Creator.”

On the whole, the interest of these Conversations, as far as regards Lord Byron, arises not so much from any new or certain lights they supply us with on the subject of his religious opinions, as from the evidence they afford of his amiable facility of intercourse, the total
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absence of bigotry or prejudice from even his most favourite notions, and—what may be accounted, perhaps, the next step in conversion to belief itself—his disposition to believe. As far, indeed, as a frank submission to the charge of being wrong may be supposed to imply an advance on the road to being right, few persons, it must be acknowledged, under a process of proselytism ever showed more of this desired symptom of change than Lord Byron. “I own” says a witness to one of these conversations*, “I felt astonished to hear Lord Byron submit to lectures on his life, his vanity, and the uselessness of his talents, which made me stare.”

As most persons will be tempted to refer to the work itself, there are but one or two other opinions of his lordship recorded in it which I shall think necessary to notice here. A frequent question of his to Doctor Kennedy was—“What, then, you think me in a very bad way?”—the usual answer to which being in the affirmative, he, on one occasion, replied,—“I am now, however, in a fairer way. I already believe in predestination, which I know you believe, and in the depravity of the human heart in general, and of my own in particular—thus you see there are two points in which we agree. I shall get at the others by and by; but you cannot expect me to become a perfect Christian at once.” On the subject of Dr. Southwood’s amiable and, it is to be hoped for the sake of Christianity and the human race, orthodox work on “the Divine Government,” he thus spoke: “I cannot decide the point; but to my present apprehension it would be a most desirable thing could it be proved, that ultimately all created beings were to be happy. This would appear to be most consistent with God, whose power is omnipotent, and whose chief attribute is Love. I cannot yield to your doctrine of the eternal duration of punishment. This author’s opinion is more humane, and I think he supports it very strongly from Scripture.”

I shall now insert, with such explanatory remarks as they may seem to require, some of the letters, official as well as private, which his lordship wrote while at Cephalonia; and from which the reader may collect, in a manner far more interesting than through the medium of any narrative,

* Mr. Finlay.

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a knowledge both of the events now passing in Greece, and of the views and feelings with which they were regarded by Lord Byron.

To Madame Guiccioli he wrote frequently, but briefly, and, for the first time, in English; adding always a few lines in her brother Pietro’s letters to her. The following are extracts.

“October 7th.

Pietro has told you all the gossip of the island,—our earthquakes, our polities, and present abode in a pretty village. As his opinions and mine on the Greeks are nearly similar, I need say little on that subject. I was a fool to come here; but, being here, I must see what is to be done.”

October —.

“We are still in Cephalonia, waiting for news of a more accurate description; for all is contradiction and division in the reports of the state of the Greeks. I shall fulfil the object of my mission from the Committee, and then return into Italy. For it does not seem likely that, as an individual, I can be of use to them;—at least no other foreigner has yet appeared to be so, nor does it seem likely that any will be at present.

“Pray be as cheerful and tranquil as you can; and be assured that there is nothing here that can excite any thing but a wish to be with you again,—though we are very kindly treated by the English here of all descriptions. Of the Greeks, I can’t say much good hitherto, and I do not like to speak ill of them, though they do of one another.”

“October 29th.

“You may be sure that the moment I can join you again will be as welcome to me as at any period of our recollection. There is nothing very attractive here to divide my attention; but I must attend to the Greek cause, both from honour and inclination. Messrs. B. and T. are both in the Morea, where they have been very well received, and both of them write in good spirits and hopes. I am anxious to hear how the Spanish cause will be arranged, as I think it may have an influence on
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the Greek contest. I wish that both were fairly and favourably settled, that I might return to Italy, and talk over with you our, or rather
Pietro’s adventures, some of which are rather amusing, as also some of the incidents of our voyages and travels. But I reserve them, in the hope that we may laugh over them together at no very distant period.”

“9bre 29th, 1823.

“This letter will be presented to you by Mr. Hamilton Browne, who precedes or accompanies the Greek deputies. He is both capable and desirous of rendering any service to the cause, and information to the Committee. He has already been of considerable advantage to both, of my own knowledge. Lord Archibald Hamilton, to whom he is related, will add a weightier recommendation than mine.

“Corinth is taken, and a Turkish squadron said to be beaten in the Archipelago. The public progress of the Greeks is considerable, but their internal dissensions still continue. On arriving at the seat of Government, I shall endeavour to mitigate or extinguish them—though neither is an easy task. I have remained here till now, partly in expectation of the squadron in relief of Missolonghi, partly of Mr. Parry’s detachment, and partly to receive from Malta or Zante the sum of four thousand pounds sterling, which I have advanced for the payment of the expected squadron. The bills are negotiating, and will be cashed in a short time, as they would have been immediately in any other mart; but the miserable Ionian merchants have little money, and no great credit, and are, besides, politically shy on this occasion; for, although I had letters of Messrs. Webb (one of the strongest houses of the Mediterranean), and also of Messrs. Ransom, there is no business to be done on fair terms except through English merchants. These, however, have proved both able and willing,—and upright, as usual*.

* The English merchants whom he thus so justly describes are Messrs. Barff and Hancock, of Zante, whose conduct, not only in the instance of Lord Byron, but throughout the whole Greek struggle, has been uniformly most zealous and disinterested.

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Colonel Stanhope has arrived, and will proceed immediately; he shall have my co-operation in all his endeavours; but from every thing that I can learn, the formation of a brigade at present will be extremely difficult, to say the least of it. With regard to the reception of foreigners,—at least of foreign officers,—I refer you to a passage in Prince Mavrocordato’s recent letter, a copy of which is enclosed in my packet sent to the Deputies. It is my intention to proceed by sea to Napoli di Romania as soon as I have arranged this business for the Greeks themselves—I mean the advance of two hundred thousand piastres for their fleet.

“My time here has not been entirely lost,—as you will perceive by some former documents that any advantage from my then proceeding to the Morea was doubtful. We have at last moved the Deputies, and I have made a strong remonstrance on their divisions to Mavrocordato, which, I understand, was forwarded by the Legislative to the Prince. With a loan they may do much, which is all that I, for particular reasons, can say on the subject.

“I regret to hear from Colonel Stanhope that the Committee have exhausted their funds. Is it supposed that a brigade can be formed without them? or that three thousand pounds would be sufficient? It is true that money will go farther in Greece than in most countries; but the regular force must be rendered a national concern, and paid from a national fund; and neither individuals nor committees, at least with the usual means of such as now exist, will find the experiment practicable.

“I beg once more to recommend my friend, Mr. Hamilton Browne, to whom I have also personal obligations for his exertions in the common cause, and have the honour to be

“Yours very truly.”

His remonstrance to Prince Mavrocordato, here mentioned, was accompanied by another, addressed to the existing Government; and Colonel Stanhope, who was about to proceed to Napoli and Argos, was made the bearer of both. The wise and noble spirit that pervades these two papers must, of itself, without any, further comment, be appreciated by all readers*.

* The originals of both are in Italian.

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“Cephalonia, November 30th, 1823.

“The affair of the Loan, the expectation so long and vainly indulged of the arrival of the Greek fleet, and the danger to which Missolonghi is still exposed, have detained me here, and will still detain me till some of them are removed. But when the money shall be advanced for the fleet, I will start for the Morea, not knowing, however, of what use my presence can be in the present state of things. We have heard some rumours of new dissensions, nay, of the existence of a civil war. With all my heart, I pray that these reports may be false or exaggerated; for I can imagine no calamity more serious than this; and I must frankly confess, that unless union and order are established, all hopes of a Loan will be vain; and all the assistance which the Greeks could expect from abroad—an assistance neither trifling nor worthless—will be suspended or destroyed; and what is worse, the great powers of Europe, of whom no one was an enemy to Greece, but seemed to favour her establishment of an independent power, will be persuaded that the Greeks are unable to govern themselves, and will, perhaps, themselves undertake to settle your disorders in such a way as to blast the brightest hopes of yourselves and of your friends.

“Allow me to add, once for all,—I desire the well-being of Greece, and nothing else; I will do all I can to secure it; but I cannot consent, I never will consent, that the English public, or English individuals, should be deceived as to the real state of Greek affairs. The rest, gentlemen, depends on you. You have fought gloriously;—act honourably towards your fellow-citizens and the world, and it will then no more be said, as has been repeated for two thousand years with the Roman historians, that Philopœmen was the last of the Grecians. Let not calumny itself (and it is difficult, I own, to guard against it in so arduous a struggle) compare the patriot Greek, when resting from his labours, to the Turkish pacha, whom his victories have exterminated.

“I pray you to accept these my sentiments as a sincere proof of my
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 691
attachment to your real interests, and to believe that I am, and always shall be,

Yours, &c.”
“Cephalonia, 2d Dec. 1823.

“The present will be put into your hands by Colonel Stanhope, son of Major-General the Earl of Harrington &c. &c. He has arrived from London in fifty days, after having visited all the Committees of Germany. He is charged by our Committee to act in concert with me for the liberation of Greece. I conceive that his name and his mission will be a sufficient recommendation, without the necessity of any other from a foreigner, although one who, in common with all Europe, respects and admires the courage, the talents, and, above all, the probity of Prince Mavrocordato.

“I am very uneasy at hearing that the dissensions of Greece still continue, and at a moment when she might triumph over every thing in general, as she has already triumphed in part. Greece is, at present, placed between three measures: either to reconquer her liberty, to become a dependence of the sovereigns of Europe, or to return to a Turkish province. She has the choice only of these three alternatives. Civil war is but a road which leads to the two latter. If she is desirous of the fate of Walachia and the Crimea, she may obtain it to-morrow; if of that of Italy, the day after; but if she wishes to become truly Greece, free and independent, she must resolve to-day, or she will never again have the opportunity.

“I am, with all respect,
“Your Highness’s obedient servant,
“N. B.

“P.S. Your Highness will already have known that I have sought to fulfil the wishes of the Greek government, as much as it lay in my power to do so: but I should wish that the fleet so long and so vainly
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expected were arrived, or, at least, that it were on the way; and especially that your Highness should approach these parts, either on board the fleet, with a public mission, or in some other manner.”

“10bre 7th, 1823.

“I confirm the above*; it is certainly my opinion that Mr. Millingen is entitled to the same salary with Mr. Tindall, and his service is likely to be harder.

“I have written to you (as to Mr. Hobhouse for your perusal) by various opportunities, mostly private; also by the Deputies, and by Mr. Hamilton Browne.

“The public success of the Greeks has been considerable—Corinth taken, Missolonghi nearly safe, and some ships in the Archipelago taken from the Turks; but there is not only dissension in the Morea, but civil war, by the latest accounts†; to what extent we do not yet know, but hope trifling.

“For six weeks I have been expecting the fleet, which has not arrived, though I have, at the request of the Greek Government, advanced—that is, prepared, and have in hand two hundred thousand piastres

* He here alludes to a letter, forwarded with his own, from Mr. Millingen, who was about to join, in his medical capacity, the Suliotes, near Patras, and requested of the Committee an increase of pay. This gentleman, having mentioned in his letter “that the retreat of the Turks from before Missolonghi had rendered unnecessary the appearance of the Greek fleet,” Lord Byron, in a note on this passage, says, “By the special providence of the Deity, the Mussulmans were seized with a panic, and fled; but no thanks to the fleet, which ought to have been here months ago, and has no excuse to the contrary, lately—at least since I had the money ready to pay.”

On another passage, in which Mr. Millingen complains that his hope of any remuneration from the Greeks has “turned out perfectly chimerical,” Lord Byron remarks, in a note, “and will do so, till they obtain a Loan. They have not a rap, nor credit (in the islands) to raise one. A medical man may succeed better than others; but all these penniless officers had better have staid at home. Much money may not be required, but some must.”

† The Legislative and Executive bodies having been for some time at variance, the latter had at length resorted to violence, and some skirmishes had already token place between the factions.

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(deducting the commission and bankers’ charges) of my own monies to forward their projects. The Suliotes (now in Acarnania) are very anxious that I should take them under my directions, and go over and put things to rights in the Morea, which, without a force, seems impracticable; and really, though very reluctant (as my letters will have shown you) to take such a measure, there seems hardly any milder remedy. However, I will not do any thing rashly, and have only continued here so long in the hope of seeing things reconciled, and have done all in my power thereto. Had I gone sooner, they would have forced me into one party or other, and I doubt as much now; but we will do our best.

“Yours, &c.”
“October 10th, 1823.

Colonel Napier will present to you this letter. Of his military character it were superfluous to speak; of his personal, I can say, from my own knowledge, as well as from all public rumour, or private report, that it is as excellent as his military: in short, a better or a braver man is not easily to be found. He is our man to lead a regular force, or to organize a national one for the Greeks. Ask the army—ask any one. He is besides a personal friend of both Prince Mavrocordato, Colonel Stanhope, and myself, and in such concord with all three that we should all pull together—an indispensable, as well as a rare point, especially in Greece at present.

“To enable a regular force to be properly organized, it will be requisite for the loan-holders to set apart at least 50,000l. sterling for that particular purpose—perhaps more—but by so doing they will guarantee their own monies, ‘and make assurance doubly sure.’ They can appoint commissioners to see that part properly expended—and I recommend a similar precaution for the whole.

“I hope that the Deputies have arrived, as well as some of my various despatches (chiefly addressed to Mr. Hobhouse) for the Committee. Colonel Napier will tell you the recent special interposition of
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the gods in behalf of the Greeks—who seem to have no enemies in heaven or on earth to be dreaded but their own tendency to discord amongst themselves. But these, too, it is to be hoped, will be mitigated, and then we can take the field on the offensive, instead of being reduced to the petite guerre of defending the same fortresses year after year, and taking a few ships, and starving out a castle, and making more fuss about them than
Alexander in his cups, or Buonaparte in a bulletin. Our friends have done something in the way of the Spartans—(though not one-tenth of what is told)—but have not yet inherited their style.

“Believe me yours, &c.”
“October 13th 1823.

“Since I wrote to you on the 10th instant, the long-desired squadron has arrived in the waters of Missolonghi and intercepted two Turkish corvettes—ditto transports—destroying or taking all four—except some of the crews escaped on shore in Ithaca—and an unarmed vessel, with passengers, chased into a port on the opposite side of Cephalonia. The Greeks had fourteen sail, the Turks four—but the odds don’t matter—the victory will make a very good puff, and be of some advantage besides. I expect momentarily advices from Prince Mavrocordato, who is on board, and has (I understand) despatches from the Legislative for me; in consequence of which, after paying the squadron (for which I have prepared, and am preparing), I shall probably join him at sea or on shore.

“I add the above communication to my letter by Col. Napier, who will inform the Committee of every thing in detail much better than I can do.

“The mathematical, medical, and musical preparations of the Committee have arrived, and in good condition, abating some damage from wet, and some ditto from a portion of the letter-press being spilt in landing—(I ought not to have omitted the press—but forgot it a moment—excuse the same)—they are excellent of their kind, but till we have an
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 695
engineer and a trumpeter (we have chirurgeons already) mere ‘pearls to swine,’ as the Greeks are quite ignorant of mathematics, and have a bad ear for our music. The maps, &c. I will put into use for them, and take care that all (with proper caution) are turned to the intended uses of the Committee—but I refer you to
Colonel Napier, who will tell you, that much of your really valuable supplies should be removed till proper persons arrive to adapt them to actual service.

“Believe me, my dear sir, to be, &c.

“P.S. Private.—I have written to our friend Douglas Kinnaird on my own matters, desiring him to send me out all the further credits I can command,—and I have a year’s income, and the sale of a manor besides, he tells me, before me,—for till the Greeks get their Loan, it is probable that I shall have to stand partly paymaster—as far as I am ‘good upon Change,’ that is to say. I pray you to repeat as much to him, and say that I must in the interim draw on Messrs. Ransom most formidably. To say the truth, I do not grudge it, now the fellows have begun to fight again—and still more welcome shall they be if they will go on. But they have had, or are to have, some four thousand pounds (besides some private extraordinaries for widows, orphans, refugees, and rascals of all descriptions) of mine at one ‘swoop;’ and it is to be expected the next will be at least as much more. And how can I refuse it if they will fight?—and especially if I should happen ever to be in their company? I therefore request and require that you should apprise my trusty and trust-worthy trustee and banker, and crown and sheet anchor, Douglas Kinnaird the Honourable, that he prepare all monies of mine, including the purchase money of Rochdale manor and mine income for the year ensuing, A. D. 1824, to answer, or anticipate, any orders or drafts of mine for the good cause, in good and lawful money of Great Britain, &c. &c. May you live a thousand years! which is 999 longer than the Spanish Cortes Constitution.”

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“Cephalonia, December 23d, 1823.

“I shall be as saving of my purse and person as you recommend, but you know that it is as well to be in readiness with one or both, in the event of either being required.

“I presume that some agreement has been concluded with Mr. Murray about ‘Werner.’ Although the copyright should only be worth two or three hundred pounds, I will tell you what can be done with them. For three hundred pounds I can maintain in Greece, at more than the fullest pay of the Provisional Government, rations included, one hundred armed men for three months. You may judge of this when I tell you, that the four thousand pounds advanced by me to the Greeks is likely to set a fleet and an army in motion for some months.

“A Greek vessel has arrived from the squadron to convey me to Missolonghi, where Mavrocordato now is, and has assumed the command, so that I expect to embark immediately. Still address, however, to Cephalonia, through Messrs. Welch and Barry of Genoa, as usual; and get together all the means and credit of mine you can, to face the war establishment, for it is ‘in for a penny, in for a pound,’ and I must do all that I can for the ancients.

“I have been labouring to reconcile these parties, and there is now some hope of succeeding. Their public affairs go on well. The Turks have retreated from Acarnania without a battle, after a few fruitless attempts on Anatoliko. Corinth is taken, and the Greeks have gained a battle in the Archipelago. The squadron here, too, has taken a Turkish corvette with some money and a cargo. In short, if they can obtain a Loan, I am of opinion that matters will assume and preserve a steady and favourable aspect for their independence.

“In the mean time I stand paymaster, and what not; and lucky it is that, from the nature of the warfare and of the country, the resources even of an individual can be of a partial and temporary service.

Colonel Stanhope is at Missolonghi. Probably we shall attempt
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 697
Patras next. The Suliotes, who are friends of mine, seem anxious to have me with them, and so is
Mavrocordato. If I can but succeed in reconciling the two parties (and I have left no stone unturned) it will be something; and if not, we must go over to the Morea with the Western Greeks—who are the bravest, and at present the strongest, having beaten back the Turks—and try the effect of a little physical advice, should they persist in rejecting moral persuasion.

“Once more recommending to you the reinforcement of my strongbox and credit from all lawful sources and resources of mine to their practicable extent—for, after all, it is better playing at nations than gaming at Almack’s or Newmarket—and requesting you to write to me as often as you can,

“I remain ever, &c.

The squadron, so long looked for, having made its appearance at last in the waters of Missolonghi, and Mavrocordato, the only leader of the cause worthy the name of statesman, having been appointed, with full powers, to organize Western Greece, the fit moment for Lord Byron’s presence on the scene of action seemed to have arrived. The anxiety, indeed, with which he was expected at Missolonghi was intense, and can be best judged from the impatient language of the letters written to hasten him. “I need not tell you, my lord,” says Mavrocordato, “how much I long for your arrival, to what a pitch your presence is desired by every body, or what a prosperous direction it will give to all our affairs. Your counsels will be listened to like oracles.” Colonel Stanhope, with the same urgency, writes from Missolonghi,—“The Greek ship sent for your lordship has returned; your arrival was anticipated, and the disappointment has been great indeed. The Prince is in a state of anxiety, the Admiral looks gloomy, and the sailors grumble aloud.” He adds at the end, “I walked along the streets this evening, and the people asked me after Lord Byron!!!” In a letter to the London Committee of the same date, Colonel Stanhope says, “All are looking forward to Lord Byron’s arrival, as they would to the coming of a Messiah.”

Of this anxiety, no inconsiderable part is doubtless to be attributed to their great impatience for the possession of the loan which he had promised them, and on which they wholly depended for the payment of
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the fleet:—“
Prince Mavrocordato and the Admiral (says the same gentleman) are in a state of extreme perplexity; they, it seems, relied on your loan for the payment of the fleet; that loan not having been received, the sailors will depart immediately. This will be a fatal event indeed, as it will place Missolonghi in a state of blockade; and will prevent the Greek troops from acting against the fortresses of Nepacto and Patras.”

In the mean time Lord Byron was preparing busily for his departure the postponement of which latterly had been, in a great measure, owing to that repugnance to any new change of place which had lately so much grown upon him, and which neither love, as we have seen, nor ambition, could entirely conquer. There had been also considerable pains taken by some of his friends at Argostoli to prevent his fixing upon a place of residence so unhealthy as Missolonghi; and Mr. Muir, a very able medical officer, on whose talents he had much dependance, endeavoured most earnestly to dissuade him from such an imprudent step. His mind, however, was made up,—the proximity of that port, in some degree, tempting him,—and having hired, for himself and suite, a light, fast-sailing vessel, called a Mistico, with a boat for part of his baggage, and a larger vessel for the remainder, the horses, &c., he was, on the 26th of December, ready to sail. The wind, however, being contrary, he was detained two days longer, and in this interval the following letters were written.

“1Obre 26th, 1823.

“Little need be added to the enclosed, which arrived this day, except that I embark to-morrow for Missolonghi. The intended operations are detailed in the annexed documents. I have only to request that the Committee will use every exertion to forward our views by all its influence and credit.

“I have also to request you personally from myself to urge my friend and trustee, Douglas Kinnaird (from whom I have not heard these four months nearly), to forward to me all the resources of my own we can
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 699
muster for the ensuing year, since it is no time to ménager purse, or, perhaps, person. I have advanced, and am advancing, all that I have in hand, but I shall require all that can be got together—and (if Douglas has completed the sale of Rochdale, that and my year’s income for next year ought to form a good round sum)—as you may perceive that there will be little cash of their own amongst the Greeks (unless they get the Loan), it is the more necessary that those of their friends who have any should risk it.

“The supplies of the Committee are, some, useful, and all excellent in their kind, but occasionally hardly practical enough, in the present state of Greece; for instance, the mathematical instruments are thrown away—none of the Greeks know a problem from a poker—we must conquer first, and plan afterwards. The use of the trumpets too may be doubted, unless Constantinople were Jericho, for the Hellenists have no ears for bugles, and you must send us somebody to listen to them.

“We will do our best—and I pray you to stir your English hearts at home to more general exertion; for my part, I will stick by the cause while a plank remains which can be honourably clung to. If I quit it, it will be by the Greeks’ conduct, and not he Holy Allies or the holier Mussulmans—but let us hope better things.

“Ever yours,
“N. B.

“P.S. I am happy to say that Colonel Leicester Stanhope and myself are acting in perfect harmony together—he is likely to be of great service both to the cause and to the Committee, and is publicly as well as personally a very valuable acquisition to our party on every account. He came up (as they all do who have not been in the country before) with some high-flown notions of the 6th form at Harrow or Eton, &c.; but Col. Napier and I set him to rights on those points, which is absolutely necessary to prevent disgust, or perhaps return; but now we can set our shoulders soberly to the wheel, without quarrelling with the mud which may clog it occasionally.

I can assure you that Col. Napier and myself are as decided for the cause as any German student of them all; but like men who have seen the country and human life, there and elsewhere, we must be
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permitted to view it in its truth, with its defects as well as beauties,—more especially as success will remove the former gradually.

“N. B.

P.S. As much of this letter as you please is for the Committee, the rest may be ‘entre nous.’”

“Cephalonia, December 27th, 1823.

“I received a letter from you some time ago. I have been too much employed latterly to write as I could wish, and even now must write in haste.

“I embark for Missolonghi to join Mavrocordato in four-and-twenty hours. The state of parties (but it were a long story) has kept me here till now; but now that Mavrocordato (their Washington, or their Kosciusko) is employed again, I can act with a safe conscience. I carry money to pay the squadron, &c., and I have influence with the Suliotes, supposed sufficient to keep them in harmony with some of the dissentients;—for there are plenty of differences, but trifling.

“It is imagined that we shall attempt either Patras, or the castles on the Straits; and it seems, by most accounts, that the Greeks,—at any rate, the Suliotes, who are in affinity with me of ‘bread and salt,’—expect that I should march with them, and—be it even so! If any thing in the way of fever, fatigue, famine, or otherwise, should cut short the middle age of a brother warbler,—like Garcilasso de la Vega, Kleist, Korner, Kutoffski (a Russian nightingale—see Bowring’s Anthology), or Thersander, or,—or, somebody else—but never mind—I pray you to remember me in your ‘smiles and wine.’

“I have hopes that the cause will triumph; but, whether it does or no, still ‘Honour must be minded as strictly as a milk diet.’ I trust to observe both.

“Ever, &c.”
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It is hardly necessary to direct the attention of the reader to the sad, and but too true anticipation expressed in this letter—the last but one I was ever to receive from my friend. Before we accompany him to the closing scene of all his toils, I shall here, as briefly as possible, give a selection from the many characteristic anecdotes told of him, while at Cephalonia, where (to use the words of Colonel Stanhope, in a letter from thence to the Greek Committee) he was “beloved by Cephalonians, by English, and by Greeks;” and where, approached as he was familiarly by persons of all classes and countries, not an action, not a word is recorded of him that does not bear honourable testimony to the benevolence and soundness of his views, his ever ready but discriminating generosity, and the clear insight, at once minute and comprehensive, which he had acquired into the character and wants of the people and the cause he came to serve. “Of all those who came to help the Greeks,” says Colonel Napier (a person himself the most qualified to judge, as well from long local knowledge, as from the acute, straightforward cast of his own mind), “I never knew one, except Lord Byron and Mr. Gordon, that seemed to have justly estimated their character. All came expecting to find the Peloponnesus filled with Plutarch’s men, and all returned thinking the inhabitants of Newgate more moral. Lord Byron judged them fairly; he knew that half-civilized men are full of vices, and that great allowance must be made for emancipated slaves. He, therefore, proceeded, bridle in hand, not thinking them good, but hoping to make them better*.”

In speaking of the foolish charge of avarice brought against Lord Byron by some who resented thus his not suffering them to impose on his generosity, Colonel Napier says “I never knew a single instance of it while he was here. I saw only a judicious generosity in all that he did. He would not allow himself to be robbed, but he gave profusely

* A similar tribute was paid to him by Count Delladecima, a gentleman of some literary acquirements, of whom he saw a good deal at Cephalonia. and to whom he was attracted by that sympathy which never failed to incline him towards those who laboured, like himself, under any personal defect. “Of all the men,” said this gentleman, “whom I have had an opportunity of conversing with, on the means of establishing the independence of Greece, and regenerating the character of the natives, Lord Byron appears to entertain the most enlightened and correct views.”

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where he thought he was doing good. It was, indeed, because he would not allow himself to be fleeced, that he was called stingy by those who are always bent upon giving money from any purses but their own. Lord Byron had no idea of this; and would turn sharply and unexpectedly on those who thought their game sure. He gave a vast deal of money to the Greeks in various ways.”

Among the objects of his bounty in this way were many poor refugee Greeks from the Continent and the Isles. He not only relieved their present distresses, but allotted a certain sum monthly to the most destitute. “A list of these poor pensioners,” says Dr. Kennedy, “was given me by the nephew of Professor Bambas.”

One of the instances mentioned of his humanity while at Cephalonia will show how prompt he was at the call of that feeling, and how unworthy, sometimes, were the objects of it. A party of workmen employed upon one of those fine roads projected by Colonel Napier having imprudently excavated a high bank, the earth fell in and overwhelmed nearly a dozen persons; the news of which accident instantly reaching Metaxata Lord Byron despatched his physician Bruno to the spot, and followed, with Count Gamba, as soon as their horses could be saddled. They found a crowd of women and children wailing round the ruins; while the workmen, who had just dug out three or four of their maimed companions, stood resting themselves unconcernedly, as if nothing more was required of them; and to Lord Byron’s inquiry whether there were not still some other persons below the earth, answered coolly that “they did not know, but believed that there were.” Enraged at this brutal indifference, he sprung from his horse, and seizing a spade himself, began to dig with all his strength; but it was not till after being threatened with the horsewhip that any of the peasants could be brought to follow his example. “I was not present at this scene myself,” says Colonel Napier, in the Notices with which he has favoured me, “but was told that Lord Byron’s attention seemed quite absorbed in the study of the faces and gesticulations of those whose friends were missing. The sorrow of the Greeks is, in appearance, very frantic, and they shriek and howl, as in Ireland.”

It was in alluding to the above incident that the noble poet is stated
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to have said that he had come out to the Islands prejudiced against Sir T. Maitland’s government of the Greeks: “but,” he added, “I have now changed my opinion. They are such barbarians, that if I had the government of them, I would pave these very roads with them.”

While residing at Metaxata, he received an account of the illness of his daughter Ada, which “made him anxious and melancholy (says Count Gamba) for several days.” Her indisposition he understood to have been caused by a determination of blood to the head; and on his remarking to Dr. Kennedy, as curious, that it was a complaint to which he himself was subject, the physician replied, that he should have been inclined to infer so, not only from his habits of intense and irregular study, but from the present state of his eyes,—the right eye appearing to be inflamed. I have mentioned this latter circumstance as perhaps justifying the inference that there was in Lord Byron’s state of health at this moment a predisposition to the complaint of which he afterwards died. To Doctor Kennedy he spoke frequently of his wife and daughter, expressing the strongest affection for the latter and respect towards the former, and while declaring as usual his perfect ignorance of the causes of the separation, professing himself fully disposed to welcome any prospect of reconcilement.

The anxiety with which, at all periods of his life, but particularly at the present, he sought to repel the notion that, except when under the actual inspiration of writing, he was at all influenced by poetical associations, very frequently displayed itself. “You must have been highly gratified (said a gentleman to him) by the classical remains and recollections which you met with in your visit to Ithaca.” “You quite mistake me,” answered Lord Byron.—“I have no poetical humbug about me; I am too old for that. Ideas of that sort are confined to rhyme.”

For the two days during which he was delayed by contrary winds, he took up his abode at the house of Mr. Hancock, his banker, and passed the greater part of the time in company with the English authorities of the island. At length the wind becoming fair, he prepared to embark. “I called upon him to take leave,” says Dr. Kennedy, “and found him alone reading Quentin Durward. He was, as usual, in good spirits.” In a few hours after the party set sail,—Lord Byron
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himself on board the Mistico, and
Count Gamba, with the horses and heavy baggage, in the larger vessel, or Bombarda. After touching at Zante for the purpose of some pecuniary arrangements with Mr. Barff, and taking on board a considerable sum of money in specie, they on the evening of the 29th proceeded towards Missolonghi. Their last accounts from that place having represented the Turkish fleet as still in the Gulf of Lepanto, there appeared not the slightest grounds for apprehending any interruption in their passage. Besides, knowing that the Greek squadron was now at anchorage near the entrance of the Gulf, they had little doubt of soon falling in with some friendly vessel, either in search, or waiting for them.

“We sailed together,” says Count Gamba, in a highly picturesque and affecting passage, “till after ten at night; the wind favourable—a clear sky, the air fresh but not sharp. Our sailors sang alternately patriotic songs, monotonous indeed, but to persons in our situation extremely touching, and we took part in them. We were all, but Lord Byron particularly, in excellent spirits. The Mistico sailed the fastest. Then the waves divided us, and our voices could no longer reach each other, we made signals by firing pistols and carabines—‘Tomorrow we meet at Missolonghi—to-morrow.’ Thus, full of confidence and spirits, we sailed along. At twelve we were out of sight of each other.”

In waiting for the other vessel, having more than once shortened sail for that purpose, the party on board the Mistico were upon the point of being surprised into an encounter which might, in a moment, have changed the future fortunes of Lord Byron. Two or three hours before daybreak, while steering towards Missolonghi, they found themselves close under the stern of a large vessel which they at first took to be Greek, but which, when within pistol-shot, they discovered to be a Turkish frigate. By good fortune, they were themselves, as it appears, mistaken for a Greek brûlot by the Turks, who therefore feared to fire, but with loud shouts frequently hailed them, while those on board Lord Byron’s vessel maintained the most profound silence; and even the dogs (as I have heard his lordship’s valet mention), though they had never ceased to bark during the whole of the night, did not utter, while within reach of the Turkish frigate, a sound;—a no less lucky than
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curious accident, as, from the information the Turks had received of all the particulars of his lordship’s departure from Zante, the barking of the dogs, at that moment, would have been almost certain to betray him. Under the favour of these circumstances, and the darkness, they were enabled to bear away without further molestation, and took shelter among the Scrofes, a cluster of rocks but a few hours’ sail from Missolonghi. From this place the following letter, remarkable, considering his situation at the moment, for the light, careless tone that pervades it, was despatched to Colonel Stanhope.

“Scrofer (or some such name), on board a Cephaloniote
Mistico, December 31st, 1823.

“We are just arrived here, that is, part of my people and I, with some things, &c. and which it may be as well not to specify in a letter (which has a risk of being intercepted, perhaps);—but Gamba, and my horses, negro, steward, and the press, and all the Committee things, also some eight thousand dollars of mine (but never mind, we have more left, do you understand?) are taken by the Turkish frigates, and my party and myself, in another boat, have had a narrow escape last night (being close under their stern and hailed, but we would not answer, and bore away), as well as this morning. Here we are, with sun and clearing weather, within a pretty little port enough; but whether our Turkish friends may not send in their boats and take us out (for we have no arms except two carbines and some pistols, and, I suspect, not more than four fighting people on board) is another question, especially if we remain long here, since we are blocked out of Missolonghi by the direct entrance.

“You had better send my friend George Drake (Draco), and a body of Suliotes, to escort us by land or by the canals, with all convenient speed. Gamba and our Bombard are taken into Patras, I suppose; and we must take a turn at the Turks to get them out: but where the devil is the fleet gone?—the Greek, I mean; leaving us to get in without the least intimation to take heed that the Moslems were out again.

706 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1823.

“Make my respects to Mavrocordato, and say, that I am here at his disposal. I am uneasy at being here; not so much on my own account as on that of a Greek boy with me, for you know what his fate would be; and I would sooner cut him in pieces and myself too than have him taken out by those barbarians. We are all very well.

“N. B.

“The Bombard was twelve miles out when taken; at least, so it appeared to us (if taken she actually be, for it is not certain); and we had to escape from another vessel that stood right between us and the port.”