LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 2 April 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
Life of Byron: 1823
Life of Byron: 1824
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“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
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 633
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
634 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1823.
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.” * * * *