LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Vol. I. Appendices

Vol. I. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Introductory
Ch. 2: Childhood
Ch. 3: Boyhood
Ch. 4: London
Ch. 5: Companions
Ch. 6: The Cypher
Ch. 7: Edinburgh
Ch. 8: Edinburgh
Ch. 9: Excursion
Ch. 10: Naval Services
Ch. 11: Periodical Press
Ch. 12: Periodical Press
Ch. 13: Past Times
Ch. 14: Past Times
Ch. 15: Literary
Ch. 16: War & Jubilees
Ch. 17: The Criminal
Ch. 18: Mr. Perceval
Ch. 19: Poets
Ch. 20: The Sun
Ch. 21: Sun Anecdotes
Ch. 22: Paris in 1814
Ch. 23: Paris in 1814
Ch. 24: Byron
‣ Vol. I. Appendices
Scott Anecdote
Burns Anecdote
Life of Thomson
John Stuart Jerdan
Scottish Lawyers
Sleepless Woman
Canning Anecdote
Southey in The Sun
Hood’s Lamia
Murder of Perceval
Vol. II. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary
Ch. 2: Mr. Canning
Ch. 3: The Sun
Ch. 4: Amusements
Ch. 5: Misfortune
Ch. 6: Shreds & Patches
Ch. 7: A Character
Ch. 8: Varieties
Ch. 9: Ingratitude
Ch. 10: Robert Burns
Ch. 11: Canning
Ch. 12: Litigation
Ch. 13: The Sun
Ch. 14: Literary Gazette
Ch. 15: Literary Gazette
Ch. 16: John Trotter
Ch. 17: Contributors
Ch. 18: Poets
Ch 19: Peter Pindar
Ch 20: Lord Munster
Ch 21: My Writings
Vol. II. Appendices
The Satirist.
Authors and Artists.
The Treasury
Morning Chronicle
Chevalier Taylor
Foreign Journals
Vol. III. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Literary Pursuits
Ch. 2: Literary Labour
Ch. 3: Poetry
Ch. 4: Coleridge
Ch 5: Criticisms
Ch. 6: Wm Gifford
Ch. 7: W. H. Pyne
Ch. 8: Bernard Barton
Ch. 9: Insanity
Ch. 10: The R.S.L.
Ch. 11: The R.S.L.
Ch. 12: L.E.L.
Ch. 13: L.E.L.
Ch. 14: The Past
Ch. 15: Literati
Ch. 16: A. Conway
Ch. 17: Wellesleys
Ch. 18: Literary Gazette
Ch. 19: James Perry
Ch. 20: Personal Affairs
Vol. III. Appendices
Literary Poverty
Ismael Fitzadam
Mr. Tompkisson
Mrs. Hemans
A New Review
Debrett’s Peerage
Procter’s Poems
Poems by Others
Poems by Jerdan
Vol. IV. Front Matter
Ch. 1: Critical Glances
Ch. 2: Personal Notes
Ch. 3: Fresh Start
Ch. 4: Thomas Hunt
Ch. 5: On Life
Ch. 6: Periodical Press
Ch. 7: Quarterly Review
Ch. 8: My Own Life
Ch. 9: Mr. Canning
Ch. 10: Anecdotes
Ch. 11: Bulwer-Lytton
Ch. 12: G. P. R. James
Ch. 13: Finance
Ch. 14: Private Life
Ch. 15: Learned Societies
Ch. 16: British Association
Ch. 17: Literary Characters
Ch. 18: Literary List
Ch. 19: Club Law
Ch. 20: Conclusion
Vol. IV. Appendix
Gerald Griffin
W. H. Ainsworth
James Weddell
The Last Bottle
N. T. Carrington
The Literary Fund
Letter from L.E.L.
Geographical Society
Baby, a Memoir
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A, p. 12.

Aberrations of reason and weakness of intellect have always deeply excited the attention of thinking men. The curious condition of the Scottish “daft-folks,” especially of harmless imbeciles and idiots, of which class almost every town and village, as I have mentioned, enjoyed a representative, could not escape the eye of the great delineator of mankind, from the top to the bottom of the social scale. Respecting one of them near Abbotsford he used to tell, in his naive and matchless manner, a story; which, as far as I know, has not found its way into print. In strolling forth with his trusty crony, Sir Adam Ferguson, the question ran upon the happiness or the reverse in different stations in life, Ferguson maintaining that there were certain fortunate beings who were exempt from the common troubles to which others were exposed, and Scott holding the opposite argument. As they walked in the fine sunshiny day, they came up with the privileged “fool” of the place, whom Scott immediately addressed, and something like the following colloquy ensued:

Scott. We’el Andrew, how are you?

Andrew. Weel, very weel, thank ye sheriff, for speiring.

Scott. Naebody harms you, I hope, Andrew! are a’ the folks careful about ye, and kind to ye?

Andrew. ’Deed are they. A’ very kind. A’ the warld are kind to poor Andrew!

Scott. We’el fed, I hope; I see ye are we’el clad.


Andrew. Heh! ay! Plenty to eat, and a gude coat on my back! Isn’t it, sheriff?

Scott. Yes, Andrew, and I am glad to see it. But as everybody is so kind to you, and you are every way sae weel off, I suppose I must just conclude that you are one of the happiest of human creatures, and can have nothing to distress you.

Andrew (hastily). Na, na, had ye there, sheriff! It would be a’ very happy if it war na for that d—d Bubbly Jock (turkey cock). The bairns use me well enough, but they canna help roaring and shouting when they see that cursed brute chasing me about, with his neck a’ in fury, and his gobble, gobble, going enough to frighten the de’il. He’s after me every day, and maks me perfectly miserable.

Scott (turning to Sir Adam). Ah, Ferguson, in this life of ours, be assured that every man has his own Bubbly Jock!

B, p. 16.

An eccentric character, such as is now rare in London, used till his death, a very few years ago, to frequent the well-known dinner house and tavern, called the Blue Posts, in Cork Street, a favourite resort, by-the-by, of Old Ebony when he visited town, and the haunt of the literati connected with “ma Mag” as well as of others, who contributed to the press in all directions. He was, it may be guessed, an Octogenarian, and his table and seat were invariably kept for him in a corner of the room, and he as invariably occupied them, summer and winter, as the clock struck his hour of seven. He was pointed out to me as a person who had been acquainted with Burns in his early days, when he came to Edinburgh with his first volume. This was very exciting news, and many an effort did I make to get introduced, so that I might hear something from a living witness of the glorious ploughman. At last I succeeded, and lost no time in popping the question about the poet’s appearance, his looks, his habits, and the most minute particulars my venerable friend could remember. Upon which he looked at me with a sort of wondering look, and answered:


“I mind (remember) Burns perfectly; but what more would you wish to know? He was a gauger (an exciseman) and it cost me a Guinea to subscribe to his nonsensical book, which might have been much better bestowed.”

I turned from my late respected informant with horror; and never would speak to him again as long as he lasted at the Blue Posts.

C, p. 16.

The village of Ednam is two miles from Kelso, and its picturesque and fertile farm was occupied by my mother’s eldest brother, John Stuart, the beau-ideal type of a wealthy farmer of that day,—downright but gentlemanly, frank and hospitable, and inhabiting a land of Goshen, in the plenteousness of which lived the lusty pony which bore my brother for embarkation to the sea-side. As the birth-place of Thomson it always possessed still greater attractions for me, and as the annexed sketch is so intimately connected with, and illustrative of, my text, that it might congenially form a part of it, I offer no excuse for inserting it here. It was written for a certain purpose which was abandoned, and I only had a very few copies printed for private circulation; and, notwithstanding the late valuable researches of Mr. Bolton Corney, for Messrs. Longmans’ beautiful edition of the poet, I trust the new matter it contains will be acceptable to all literary readers.

The Life of Thomson has been so often written, and Thomson’s “Seasons” have been published in so many forms and editions, that it might appear as if nothing new could be told of the former, nor any improvement made on the latter. It is our trust, however, that we may be able not only to add some matters of interest to the memoirs of the bard, but to correct errors which have crept into preceding biographies, and misconceptions touching his immortal poem.

At the distance of nearly a century, research into the private circumstances of an individual career could hope for but small reward in the shape of prominent discoveries; and, where sifted as closely as that of Thomson has been, for but little of
more minute particulars that had escaped observation. But it usually happens, in the descent of biographical writings from generation to generation, that the second follows the statements of the first, and the third of the second, and so on for ever, with many variations in the words, and very slight variations in the facts; and thus the last is only a servile imitation of the original, repeating and perpetuating all that it contained of wrong, rectifying no mistakes, committing new blunders, and supplying no novelty worthy of notice or dependence; in short,
“Misplacing, misdating,
Misquoting, misstating,
It lies . . . . . . . .”
We have endeavoured to “reform this indifferently,” if not altogether; and can, at least, truly say that we are not of the “imitatores, servum pecus.” And if our claim can apply in a limited degree to the incidents of the poet’s life, we feel that we can take higher ground on the subject of his great work.

Notwithstanding what Dr. Johnson states, whose opinions of Thomson himself, and all that concerned him, are shown by Sir Harris Nicolas to have been exceedingly unfriendly and prejudiced,* the poet’s father, though blessed with nine children, must have been rather well to do in the station of parish minister of Edenham or Ednam, which he filled with respectability and piety. The stipend was paid in money, and amounted to nearly 100l. a-year, besides a cow’s pasturage, house and garden, and a large and productive glebe; which, added to the income from the small estate of Mrs. Thomson, must have been a more ample provision than was enjoyed by many clergymen who nominally possessed a much larger revenue, but were paid in grain, and liable to fluctuations with the price of that commodity. These having increased with the rise in the value of produce, whilst Ednam has remained

* When describing the external appearance of the yet unknown bard, in London, the Doctor says, with a laconic coldness of heart and want of sympathy which does small honour to his feelings for a brother in distress—“His first want was a pair of shoes;” and what is, perhaps worse, inasmuch as falsehood is worse than coldness, it is proved by Thomson’s letters that it could not he true; for though he was in difficulties for money, he was not in beggary.

stationary, with the exception of two augmentations, may have led to the notion that it was comparatively a poor living a century and a half ago, which, in point of fact, it was not. The minister’s income from the kirk, according to data applicable to the present day, would be equal to not less than 3001. per annum; which is still deemed an adequate fortune for that condition of life in a rural district.

The manse, or house, was beautifully situated at the east end of the village of Ednam, with the garden in front, bounded by the river Eden on the south; a fine “trouting” stream, which rises in the Lammer muirs, and falls into the Tweed about four miles from the village. Almost immediately behind the manse was the mansion-house of the Edmondstones of Ednam, an ancient border race, who for eight hundred years possessed the fertile barony of that name; dismembering it, however, piecemeal, till the last portion was sold some forty or fifty years after the birth of the poet. It is a curious circumstance that this ancient line never rose beyond the state of feudal country gentry, though inheriting immense estates and descended from royalty; Andrew Edmondstone, in 1388, having married the widow of the Douglas slain at Otterburn, who was the daughter of King Robert the Second.*

Many amusing anecdotes might be given to illustrate the intercourse between the laird and the minister; but as in the foregoing collateral episode our object is simply to relate matters, the effects of which upon his young mind can be readily traced in many of the scenes, pictures, traits of character, and descriptions in Thomson’s poems, we shall only mention one, exhibiting the first state of society presented to his eyes among

* The estate of Corehouse, near the Falls of Clyde, which gives a senatorial title to a gentleman of high birth and pre-eminent accomplishments, George Cranstoun, distinguished at the Scottish bar, and by his literary taste and productions, was purchased with the reversion of the price of Ednam by James Edmondstone, the surviving brother of the family, who had several sisters alive at the time. One of them married Theodore, King of Corsica, and had fortunately no children; all the rest died unmarried; and the last was buried only a few years ago, being upwards of a hundred years of age, a striking representative of the “auld race” of the Edmondstones. Lord Corehouse was related through the females; one of the first Knight of Newton’s daughters having married the Master of Cranstoun, Lord C.’s ancestor, and the other the Laird of Ednam.

his father’s parishioners much more than a century ago, and resembling those phases elsewhere which taught his young idea how to shoot the glowing sketch of squirearchy revels. The laird, it appears, had a terrible dislike “to the rowting and skirling of the congregation,” as he irreverently termed the Scottish psalmody; and as his abode was very near the kirk, the loud singing on a Sunday morning was very apt to disturb his complacent slumbers, and prevent his sleeping off the debauch of “Saturday at e’en.” To get rid of the nuisance, he built another place of worship, and a miserable hovel it was, at a greater distance from his residence; and it was only within the present century that, on its becoming ruinous, the kirk of Thomson’s infancy was restored to its proper site in the churchyard of Ednam.

James Thomson was born, as we have said, at Ednam, in September, 1700; but, on the very threshold of our biography, we stumble upon two different dates for that event, so “important in a man’s life.” Murdoch, Dr. Johnson, and others quote the 7th, Sir Harris Nicolas the 11th of the month. To ascertain the exact day, we have referred to the register or sessions book; but that oracle is silent on the fact. We are inclined, however, to adopt the 7th, in consequence of finding the following entry:—“1700. Mr. Thomas Thomson’s son James baptised, September 15th day.” Now, as in Scotland it is seldom or never the custom, unless a child be dangerously sickly (which in this case there is no cause to suspect), to baptise it so early as four days after its birth, the probability is all in favour of the earlier date. When he was about three years old, his father was translated to the pastoral charge of Southdean, some twelve miles distant, and on the banks of his own “sylvan Jed.” This change brought him into the immediate neighbourhood of his immortalised friend, the Reverend Robert Riccarton of Hobkirk, which became the most important and propitious event of his whole future life.

As with regard to the date of his birth, so do his biographers differ as to the name of his mother; one stating it to be Hume, and another Trotter, the daughter of Mr. Trotter of Fogo (Sir H. Nicolas). It was Hume; and she was co-heiress of Widehope, or Wideopen, a small property in Roxburghshire,
but lying amid lovely scenery at Grubet, on the Kale Water, which flows into the Teviot between Kelso and Jedburgh; and the house, we believe, is still in existence. It is remarkable how often we trace genius to the character and influence of the mother, rather than to the instruction and example of the father. A vast majority of great men seem to owe their eminence to nature acting through maternal love; nor was
Thomson an exception to the rule. His mother appears to have been a woman of no common endowments. The warmth of her imagination and devotional feelings were scarcely inferior to those of her son, and it is more than probable that to her immediate direction of his mind in infancy, succeeded by the cares of a pious father, he owed that species of training which imbued him so deeply with the beauties of creation and the sublimities of God’s revealed word, apparent in the kindling glow of thought and oriental dignity of diction which pervade his poetry.

In the school of Jedburgh he received his boyish education; and though he drew his landscape scenes in general from nature’s universal face, rather than from favourite localities, however
“Meet nurse for a poetic child,’*
there can be no doubt that the sweet haunts of his morning of life,—the pensive, retired, and romantic retreats which abound about his childhood’s home,—the solemn and sacred seat of learning in his “school ile” in the venerable abbey—all tended to that inspiration which has made him an everlasting name. It is told by some of our precursors, that his teacher discovered in him nothing superior to the common lot of vulgar scholars; but one anecdote seems to refute this assertion. On one occasion when the Latin task (dry to a fancy like his) was indifferently performed, and called forth a sharp rebuke, he appeared to be sadly humbled; and some time after, as the master passed by, he caught him conning it over again, with the half-suppressed exclamation, as it rose from the heart of the delinquent, “Confound the building of Babel!”

Yet, though the poet sung of Nature in all her widely spread beauty and magnificence, he did not at times disdain to descant gracefully on her humbler features, and celebrate the site of his nativity,—laved by lovely streams, studded with spots of
sequestered peacefulness, and variegated by a few features of wild and imposing aspect. He invoked his Muse to look down from Caledonia’s awful grandeur upon
“Her fertile vales,
With many a cool translucent brimming flood
Wash’d lovely, from the Tweed, pure parent stream,
Whose pastoral banks first taught my Doric reed,
With sylvan Jed, thy tributary stream.”
And though the Tweed and the Jed are thus rendered classic by the poet, yet the romantic banks of the Ale have also potent claims upon the interest of his admirers. Within the vale through which it takes its course, between Longnewton House and Ancrum Manse, resided one of his earliest friends, the
Rev. John Cranston of Ancrum, the great confidant of Riccarton. This formed his favourite walk, and was worthy of his choice; and the impression of its natural attractions, hallowed by sincere affections, never faded from his memory. Witness one of his letters from London to Mr. Cranston:—

“Now I imagine you seized with a fine romantic kind of melancholy at the fading of the year. Now I figure you wandering philosophical and pensive amidst the brown withered groves while the leaves rustle under your feet, and the sun gives a farewell parting gleam, and the birds
‘Stir the faint note, and but attempt to sing.’
Then again, when the heavens wear a more gloomy aspect, the winds whistle, and the waters spout, I see you in the well-known Cleugh (a name still given to the locality), beneath the solemn arch of tall thick embowering trees, listening to the amusing lull of the many steep moss-grown cascades—while deep divine Contemplation, the genius of the place, prompts each swelling awful thought. * * * There I walk in spirit, and disport in the beloved gloom.”

Are not these the reflections of his own young habits and enjoyments? The spirit which conceived the noble address to Philosophic Melancholy near the conclusion of Autumn is here traceable to its source, as it is embodied in the recollections of his early wanderings about the rural Cleugh.

But there are incidents of a more sportive kind, the tradition
of which attach to this spot. The caves with which the banks of the Ale abound could not but attract his attention; and one of them, near Ancrum Manse, is associated with his name in an amusing and characteristic manner. His friend, the
minister, a man of much firmer nerve than he, frequently retired for study to this cave, difficult as it was of ingress and egress, and the old inhabitants of the village knew it by the name of Cranston’s Cave; not Thomson’s, as has since been supposed. One evening, when the poet was his guest, he persuaded him to visit his rockformed study, and, with much toil, managed to pilot him down the steep that led to it, and place him safe in his rustic chair within. But to extricate him was another task, the
“Revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras,
Hoc opus, hic labor est,”
and for a time utterly hopeless. No sooner did the eye of Thomson catch the high perpendicular cliff, and the turbulent stream below, overhung by the horrid ledge on which he gasped, than all his courage failed, and it ultimately required more aid than the entreaty and example of his reverend guide to extricate him from his sorrowful situation. And such was the shock his finely toned nerves received that sleep was banished from his pillow, and fever was nearly the consequence.

Whilst mentioning these local scenes, we may remark that many of the admirers of the poet of the Seasons are not aware of the interesting fact that the summit of Ruberslaw, a bold conical hill which rises near the junction of the Rule and the Teviot, was the favourite spot which filled his mind with the finest images in his poem of “Winter.” It commands a glorious prospect; and no persons, even pf common sensibility, can lift their eyes to the sweeping majesty of the Liddersdale, Cheviot, or Lammermuir mountains, or drop them on the rich diversified beauty of the valleys below, without feeling that this was indeed a throne suited to the genius of the illustrious bard. And here beneath, at his feet, was his youthful sanctuary with his friend Riccarton, the first who discovered, cherished, and directed his noble powers. This estimable man (as we learn from Thomson’s letter to Cranston) did much more than superintend his studies, and encourage his pursuits. He, too, was
a poet, as well as a deep divine and well-informed philosopher. Often did they write verses and criticise them together; and doom to the flames, with extemporary requiems, such compositions as were considered unworthy of a better fate. On one memorable occasion the elder produced to the younger bard some lines on the subject of winter—the first idea of that splendid song which achieved his future immortality. “Nature (he writes, in the letter already alluded to) delights me in every form. I an now painting her in her most lugubrious dress for my own amusement—describing winter as it presents itself. Mr. Riccarton’s poem on Winter, which I still have, first put the design into my head; in it are some masterly strokes that awakened me.” What comes of the statement in
Warton’s edition of Pope, that the idea of the “Seasons” was taken from Pope’s four pastorals?

Near Hobkirk Manse, in a quiet woody glen, there is still to be seen the favourite resort of these two distinguished individuals. But the lofty mountain was more congenial to the range of Thomson’s boundless imagination. The snow storm gathering round the summit of Ruberslaw was the prototype of the tempest queen in the beginning of “Winter;” and Leyden, his brother bard,* who knew and felt this, has aptly described the scenes you contemplate on this classic ground, and the effects they were calculated to produce on the soul of their future poet. Thus,

“He sees with strange delight the snow clouds form
Where Ruberslaw conceives the mountain storm;
Dark Ruberslaw, that lifts his head sublime,
Rugged and hoary with the spoils of Time:
On his broad misty front the giant wears
The horrid furrows of ten thousand years.

* We may well designate them so, for in many respects the history of Thomson and Leyden is remarkably similar. They were born in the same county, most of their youth was spent in the same neighbourhood, both displayed early poetic taste and genius, wooed the Muses on the same ground, loved their native land to enthusiasm, studied for the church and relinquished it for literature, depended on their own exertions for success, left works behind them alike prized for purity and talent, were beloved in life, and died in the full enjoyment of their powers and fame.

Such were the scenes his fancy first refined,
And breath’d enchantment o’er his plastic mind,
Bade every feeling flow to virtue dear,
And formed the poet of the varied year.”*

For a short while previous to leaving the resorts of his boyhood and early years for the University of Edinburgh, Thomson resided at Hobkirk and Ancrum. In one memoir it is stated that a servant of his father took him to the capital, seated behind him on horseback; but such was his reluctance to quit the country, that he had no sooner been left to himself in the city than he set out on foot for home, and was back at his father’s house (between 50 and 60 miles) as soon as the man and horse. When his parents remonstrated, he passionately observed that he could study as well on the haughs of Sou’dean (Southdean) as in Edinburgh; or in plainer words, “I can read as well here as in schools.” He was, however, prevailed upon to return to Edinburgh, and commence his theological studies there.

During the second year of his admission, these studies were interrupted by the sudden death of his father, to whose bed he hastened, but too late to receive his blessing,—a circumstance which, it is stated, affected him in an extraordinary degree, and occasioned him great filial sorrow. His mother having consulted with Mr. Gusthart, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, and senior of the Chapel Royal, resolved to mortgage her moiety of Widehope (congenial name!), and repair with her numerous family to the capital, and there live in a frugal manner till James, whose promise was already cheering to the widow’s heart, had finished his academical education. The latter, during his vacation, used to pass his time between the seat of Sir William Bennet, of refined taste and poetical fancy, and the manse of Mr. Riccarton; and it is related that the pieces which he then composed were doomed to submit to the fate of his earlier verses with Mr. Riccarton (if, indeed, the two stories do not refer to one period), and perish in the flames

* The summit of Ruberslaw would he a splendid sight for a monument to commemorate the poets connected by their birth and lives with its gigantic foundations and sublime rocky architecture,—Thomson, Leyden, Scott; not forgetting Riccarton.

with a solemn metrical recital of the demerits which caused their condemnation.

At this period the public feeling in regard to poetry was directly the reverse to what it is in our day. An Augustan age in England had diffused the love of verse into the northern regions, and native talent had a chance of being cherished and admired. Thomson’s efforts had evidently made a sensation in several quarters; and he soon felt that the only field for the fair essay of his powers was London, where Pope and Addison and other immortals wrote and sang, and were patronised. His removal thither is said to have been hastened by an accident. “The divinity chair of Edinburgh was filled by the Rev. and learned Mr. Hamilton, universally respected and beloved, and particularly endeared to the young students of divinity under his charge by his kind offices, candour, and affability. Our author had attended his lectures about a year, when there was given him for an exercise a psalm in which the power and majesty of God are proclaimed. Of this psalm he produced a paraphrase and illustration, as required by his task, but in a style so highly poetical as to surprise the whole audience. Mr. Hamilton, as was his custom, complimented the orator upon his performance, and pointed out to his fellow students the most striking and masterly passages; but at last, turning to Mr. Thomson, he told him, smiling, that if he thought of being useful in the ministry, he must keep a stricter rein upon his imagination, and express himself in language more intelligible to an ordinary congregation.”

What poet could endure such depressing criticism? Not our bard; who shortly after took the hint, abandoned his precarious prospects in the church, and prepared, under some vague encouragement (said to be given by Lady Grizzel Baillie as a friend of his mother, but producing no practical good), for a journey to London; there, like many a less gifted man, to try his hap in the struggle of the million for fortune and distinction.

He arrived in the metropolis in 1725, and in the twenty-fifth year of his age. To the exaggerated and unfeeling description of his poor estate by Dr. Johnson we have before alluded; and perhaps the most certain and distinct method of portraying his real condition will be to republish a letter which appeared
30th of April, 1797, in the first number of the
Kelso Mail* the first literary essay of James Ballantyne, aided by Sir Walter Scott; and of which document the introductory history, written by Ballantyne and the Rev. Mr. Robert Lundie, possesses not a little biographical interest.

Doctor Cranston (they write), to whom this letter is addressed, appears to have been the companion of the early youth, and the confidant of the mature life of Thomson. He was son of the gentleman who was then minister of Ancrum, on whose death Mr. John Cranston, another of his sons, succeeded to that office. Dr. Cranston having died soon after his father, all his papers fell into the hands of his brother, who lived to an advanced age in the pastoral charge of Ancrum; and at his death, which happened a few years ago, both his own and his brother’s manuscripts came into the possession of his surviving family. From that period the letter lay unnoticed amongst lumber till lately, when it was taken out by a maid servant, and devoted by her to the purpose of packing up some candlesticks, which were sent to this place (Kelso) to be exchanged. The person into whose hands it thus fell (Mr. William Muir, junior, a coppersmith) fortunately discovered its value, and has obligingly furnished us with it on the present occasion. The copy we have taken, and which is now subjoined, is exact and literal; the spelling, punctuation, and even the errors of the original, being scrupulously preserved.

“The public will perceive that this interesting epistle is without date, and is signed only with initials.† But, independently of the simple narrative of the means by which it has been rescued from oblivion, it seems to carry along with it such intrinsic marks of authenticity, that no one who is in the least acquainted with the peculiar character of the productions of Thomson, can hesitate a moment in ascribing it to him. Besides gratifying that laudable curiosity which the public naturally feel

* The establishment of this journal was warmly advised and supported by my father, and had a powerful effect in stemming the tide of ultrademocracy, which had already a violent partisan in the proprietor and editor of the only newspaper published in the place. It was the height of the French republican mania, and the popular ferment was of fearful intensity.—W. J.

† From the post-mark it seems to have been written from Barnet.

to become acquainted with the most minute circumstances in the lives of eminent men, we consider this letter as peculiarly interesting in many other points of view. It appears to have been written at a most critical period of the author’s life; being soon after his arrival in England, whither he went upon the death of his mother. It exhibits the interesting spectacle of an elegant and inexperienced mind labouring under the pressure of pecuniary embarrassments, and struggling with those feelings of conscious dignity by which he had long been prevented from soliciting assistance, and which the horrors of impending indigence alone enabled him to overcome. But the account he then proceeds to give of the origin and partial progress of ‘
The Seasons’ more nearly concerns the public; and merits the attention not only of the biographer, whom it enables to throw light on an obscure part of the history of this work, but also of the philosopher, whom it must forcibly impress with the reflection that the most trivial circumstances sometimes affect the whole tenor of a man’s life, and that by causes apparently the most inefficient his fame and fortune may be for ever decided, as well as the nature and extent of his influence on mankind. Had not Mr. Reccleton [Riccarton], a man who is now altogether unknown as a poet, composed a small production on Winter,the immortal ‘Seasons’ might never have existed; and thus not only might Scotland have derived comparatively small lustre from the genius of her Thomson, but the world might never have been delighted with the enchanting imagery and glowing descriptions of the Poet of the Year.”

“‘Dear Sir,

“‘I would chide you for the slackness of your correspondence; but having blamed you wrongeously last time, I shall say nothing ’till I hear from you, which I hope will be soon.

“‘Ther’s a little business I would communicate to you, befor I come to the more entertaining part of our correspondence.

“‘I’m going (hard task!) to complain, and beg your assistance. When I came up here I brought very little along w’ me; expecting some more, upon the selling of Widehope, which was to have been sold that day my mother was buried, now ’tis unsold yet, but will be disposed of, as soon as it can be conve-
niently done: tho’ indeed ’tis perplex’d w’ some difficulties. I was a long time here living att my own charges, and you know how expensive that is; this together with my furnishing of myself wt cloaths, linnens, one thing and another to fitt me for any business of this nature here, necessarly oblig’d me to contract some debt, being a stranger here, ’tis a wonder how I got any credit, but, I can’t expect ’twill be long sustained; unless I immediately clear it. even now I believe it is at a crisis. My friends have no money to send me, till the land is sold: and my creditors will not wait till then. You know what the consequence would be. Now the assistance I would beg of you, and which I know if in your power you won’t refuse me, is, a letter of credit on some merchant, banker, or such like person in London, for the matter of twelve pounds, ’till I get the money upon the selling of the land which I’m, att last, certain off, if you could either give me it yourself, or procure it; tho’ you don’t owe it to my merit, yet, you owe it to your own nature, which I know so well as to say no more on the subject; only allow me to add, that when I first fell upon such a project (the only thing I have for it in present circumstances) knowing the selfish inhumane temper of the generality of the world; you were the first person that offer’d to my thoughts, as one, to whom I had the confidence to make such an address.

“‘Now I imagine you seized wt a fine, romantic kind of melancholy, on the fading of the year, now I figure you wandering, philosophical, and pensive, amidst the brown, wither’d groves: while the leaves rustle under your feet, the sun gives a farewell parting gleam, and the birds
‘Stir the faint note and but attempt to sing;’
then again when the heavns wear a more gloomy aspect; the winds whistle, and the waters spout, I see you in the well-known cleugh beneath the solemn arch of tall thick embowring trees, listning to the amusing lull of the many steep, moss-grown cascades, while deep, divine contemplation, the genius of the place, prompts each swelling awful thought. I’m sure you would not resign your part in that scene att an easy rate, none
e’er enjoy’d to the height you do, and you’re worthy of it. ther I walk in spirit, and disport in its beloved gloom. This country I am in is not very entertaining, no variety but that of woods, and them we have in abundance, but where is the living stream? the airy mountain? and the hanging rock? with twenty other things that elegantly please the lover of nature? Nature delights me in every form, I am just now painting her in her most lugubrious dress; for my own amusement, describing winter, as it presents itself after my first proposal of the subject,
‘I sing of winter & his gelid reign
Nor let a rhyming insect of the spring
Deem it a barren theme, to me ’tis fall
Of manly charms; to me who court the shade,
Whom the gay seasons suit not, and who shun
The glare of summer. Welcome! kindred glooms!
Drear awfull, wintry horrors, welcome all &c.’
After this introduction, I say, which insists for a few lines further I prosecute the purport of the following ones
‘Nor can I O departing summer! choose
But consecrate one pitying line to you;
Sing your last tempr’d days, and sunny calms,
That cheer the spirits and serene the soul.’
Then terrible floods, and high winds that usually happen about this time of the year, and have already happen’d here (I wish you have not felt them too dreadfully) the first produced the enclosed lines; the last are not completed.
Mr. Rickleton’s poem on Winter, which I still have, first put the design into my head, in it are some masterly strokes that awaken’d me. being only a present amusement, ’tis ten to one but I drop it whene’er another fancy comes cross.

“‘I believe it had been much more for your entertainment, if in this letter I had cited other people instead of myself: but I must refer that ’till another time. If you have not seen it already, I have just now in my hands an original of Sr Alexander Brands (the craz’d scots knight wt the woful countenance) you would relish. I belive it might make mis John catch hold of his knees, which I take in him to be a degree of mirth, only inferiour, to falling back again with an elastic spring ’tis very
. . . . . * printed in the evening Post: so perhaps you have seen these panegyrics of our declining bard; one on the Princesses birth day, the other on his Majesty’s in † . . . . . cantos; they’re written in the spirit of a complicated craziness.

“I was in London lately a night; and in the old play house saw a comedy acted, called, Love makes a man, or the Fops Fortune, where I beheld Miller and Cibber, shine to my infinite entertainment. in and about London this month of Sept. near a hundred people have dy’d by accident and suicide, there was one blacksmith tyr’d of the hammer, who hang’d himself and left written behind him this concise epitaph
‘I. Joe Pope
liv’d w’out hope
And dy’d by a rope’
or else some epigrammatic muse has bely’d him.

[The following is written upon the margin:—]

“‘Mr. Muir has ample fund for politicks, in the present posture of affairs, as you’ll find by the public news. I should be glad to know that great minister’s frame just now. keep it to yourself. You may whisper it too in Mess John’s ear.—far otherwise is his lately mysterious Br Mt. Tait employed.—Started a superannuated fortune and just now upon the full scent.—’tis comical enough to see him from amongst the rubbish of his controversial divinity and politics furbishing up his antient rusty gallantry

“‘Yours sincerely J. T.

“‘Remember me to all friends. Mr. Rickle, Mis John, Br John, &c.

This interesting letter throws a full light upon the most obscure portion of Thomson’s London career; but it also leads directly to reflections most honourable to his filial and domestic affections. It appears that while yet a student in Edinburgh, from his mother, left as stated a widow with a large family, and in very limited circumstances, he could receive but little pecuniary aid, small as is the aid required in that condition; and

* A word is here obliterated. † Obliterated.

the bare idea of augmenting the affliction of bereavement by accelerating poverty in one so justly beloved, could not but weigh heavily on his affectionate nature. Yet he relinquished the profession for which he was intended; and risking all, with true poetic fervour and hope, braved every obstacle, and rushed to the only arena where that fervour could be nourished, and that hope realised. Thus do we find him in the great metropolis,—foregone all the endearing charities of home, the delights of long-tried friendship, and the land of his nativity, where he had wooed the muse with such impassioned fondness,—we find him in the busy bustling world, a stranger, robbed of his credentials, and the very child of cheerless adventure. What could and did sustain him? The light of Poesy from Heaven; the soul within, and imagination all compact, which looked beyond the ignorant present, and beamed and radiated in the anticipated glory of futurity. The genuine bard may be depressed, but he will not despond: if all the realities of life are against him, has he not creation at his will, and the power to make another and a better world for himself?

Such was the position of the great Poet of Nature, at the very time he was elaborating the composition of “Winter;” and that he felt what we have expressed, his own words abundantly declare. And we know not whether most to admire the touching delicacy of his application for succour, or the firmness with which he contemplates the sure result and triumph of his genius.

D, p. 16.

His obituary thus notes the career of this son, exemplifying every fine filial quality which distinguishes the Scottish people, and a brother most dearly beloved.

Died, on the 8th of January, at Cape Town, on his passage from India, Lieut.-Colonel John Stuart Jerdan, of the Bombay Infantry, and of Kelso, in Roxburghshire. After many years of important services, having earned the repeated thanks of the Governor-General, medals, and other distinctions, his career closed where it commenced, with military honour. As a Cadet
entering life, he was the first in the fleet to volunteer on the attack of the Cape of Good Hope; as a Field Officer at its ending, his corpse was there carried to the grave by Field Officers, and buried with the ceremonies due to his rank, with the regrets paid, even by strangers, to his character as a gallant officer, and a most estimable man.

E, p. 54.

Almost every member of the College of Justice, however great as lawyers and learned as scholars, was at and a little before this period, noted for some peculiarity of character, if not for eccentricity. They had finished their education about the time George the Third began to reign, and that was a rough and strange time all over Scotland. Their confined studies had not thrown them into the converse of the general world, to enlarge their views and modify their opinions; and, consequently, whatever was original in them grew with their growth and strengthened with their years. The annexed humourous picture of their oddities and modes of expression can hardly be called caricature. It was ascribed to an estimable and polished advocate, who has succeeded to a seat on the same bench which they occupied, and on which his associates have been Jeffrey, Cockburn, Robertson, and other distinguished men. The jeu d’ esprit purports to be “Notes taken at advising the action of Damages and Defamation, Alexander C——m (Cunningham), Jeweller, in Edinburgh, against Mr. James R——ll (Russell), surgeon there. By G. C. (Cranstoun) Esq.” and the judgment, pronounced seriatim, is so intrinsically droll that no lapse of years can impair its humour, especially if considered generally applicable to the legal verbiage and straw-splitting which mars the course of justice, and a lively and accurate sketch of a state of things that can never be seen again. The series begins with Lord President Campbell, who would reverse Lord Balmuto’s (the Lord Ordinary’s) decision, and declares:—*

* The second speaker is Lord Meadowbank, the third Lord Hermand, the fourth Cuming (I think), the fifth Balmuto, the sixth Woodhouselee, the seventh J. C. R. (Lord Methuen), the eighth Polkemmet.


“Your Lordships have Petition of Alex. Cunningham against Lord B——s Interlocutor. It is a case of Defamation and Damages for calling the Petitioner’s Diamond Beetle an Egyptian Louse.

“You have the Lord Ordinary’s very distinct Interlocutor on pages 29 and 30 of the petition: ‘Having considered the condescendence of the Pursuer, answers for the Defendant, and so on, finds in respect it is not alleged that the diamonds on the back of the Diamond Beetle are real diamonds, or any thing but shining spots, such as are found on other Diamond Beetles, which likewise occur, though in a smaller number of other Beetles, somewhat different from the Beetle libelled, similar to which there may be Beetles in Egypt, with shining spots on their backs, which may be termed Lice there, and may be different not only from the common Louse mentioned by Moses as one of the plagues of Egypt, which is admitted to be a filthy, troublesome Louse, even worse than the said Louse which is clearly different from the Louse libelled; but the other Louse is the same with or similar to the said Beetle, which is also the same with the other Beetle, and although different from the said Beetle libelled, yet as the same Beetle is similar to the other Beetle, and the said Louse to said Beetle, and the said Beetle to the other Louse libelled, and the said Louse to the other Beetle, which is the same with or similar to the Beetle which somewhat resembles the Beetle libelled, assoilzes the Defender, and finds expences due.’

Say away, my Lords.

Lord M—b—k. “This is a very intricate and puzzling question, my Lord. I have formed no decided opinion, but at present I am rather inclined to think the Interlocutor is right, though not upon the ratio assigned in it. It appears to me there are two points for consideration: 1st. Whether the words libelled amount to a convicium against the Beetle. 2d. Admitting the convicium, whether the Pursuer is entitled to found upon it in this action.

“Now, my Lord, if there be a convicium at all, it consists in the comparatio, or comparison of the Scarabæus, or Beetle, with the Egyptian Pediculus, or Louse. The first doubt regards this point, but it is not at all founded on what the Defender alleges,
that there is no such animal as an Egyptian Pediculus in rerum natura; for though it does not actually exist, it may possibly exist, and whether its existence is in esse or posse is the same to this question, provided there be termini habiles for ascertaining what it would be if it did exist. But my doubt lies here—How am I to discover what is the essentia of any Louse, whether Egyptian or not? It is very easy to describe it by its accidents as a naturalist, Aptera (or that it is a little, filthy, yellow, greedy, despicable reptile); but we do not learn from this what the proprium of the animal is in a logical sense, and still less what are its differentia. Now without these it is impossible to judge whether there is a convicium or not; for in a case of this kind, which sapit natuvam delicti, we must take the words in meliori sensu, and presume the comparatio to be in melioribus tantum. And I here beg that the parties, and the bar, and general—(Interrupted by
Lord H—m—d,—‘Your Lordship should address yourself to the chair.’) I say, my Lord, I beg it may be understood that I do not rest my opinion upon the ground that Veritas convicii excusat: I am clear that although the Beetles actually were an Egyptian Pediculus, it would afford no relevant defence, providing the calling it so were a convicium; and there my doubt lies.

“With regard to the 2d point, I am satisfied that the Scarabæus, or Beetle himself, has no persona standi in judicio, and therefore the Pursuer cannot insist in the name of the Scarabæus, or for his behoof. If the action lies at all, it must be at the instance of the Pursuer himself, as the Verus Dominus of the Scarabæus, for being calumniated through the convicium directed principally against the animal standing in that relation to him. Now abstracting from the qualification of an actual damnum, which is not alleged, I have great doubts whether a mere convicium is necessarily transmitted from one object to another through the relation of a damnum subsisting between them; and if not necessarily transmissible, we must see the principle of its actual transmission here, and that has not yet been pointed out.

Lord H—m—d. “We heard a little ago, my Lord, that this is a difficult case. I have not been fortunate enough, for my own part, to find out where the difficulty lies. Will any man
presume to tell me that a Beetle is not a Beetle, and that a Louse is not a Louse? I never saw the Petitioner’s Beetle, and what is more, I don’t care whether I ever see it or not; but I suppose it’s like other Beetles, and that’s enough for me.

“But, my Lord, I know the other reptile well. I have seen them, my Lord—I have felt them ever since I was a child in my mother’s arms; and my mind tells me that nothing but the deepest and blackest malice rankling in the human heart could have suggested this comparison, or led any man to form a thought so injurious and insulting. But, my Lord, there is more here than all that—a great deal more. One would think that the Defender could have gratified his spite to the full by comparing this Beetle to a common Louse—an animal sufficiently vile and abominable for the purpose of defamation.—Shut that outer door there.—He adds, my Lord, the epithet ‘Egyptian.’ I well know what he means by that epithet—he means, my Lord, a Louse which has fattened in the head of a gipsy or tinker, undisturbed by the comb, and unmolested in the enjoyment of its native filth. He means a Louse ten times larger and ten times more abominable than those with which your Lordship or I am familiar. The Petitioner asks redress for this injury so atrocious and so aggravated, and as far as my voice goes, he shall not ask it in vain.

Lord C——g. “I am of the opinion last delivered. It appears to me slanderous and calumnious to compare a Diamond Beetle to the filthy and mischievous animal libelled. By an Egyptian Louse I understand one which has been found in the head of a native Egyptian, a race of men who, after degenerating for many centuries, have sunk at last into the abyss of depravity in consequence of having been subjugated for a time by the French. I do not find that Turgot, or Condorcet, or the rest of the economists, ever reckoned combing the head a species of productive labour. I conclude, therefore, that wherever French principles have been propagated, lice grow to an immoderate size, especially in a warm climate like that of Egypt. I shall only add, that we ought to be sensible of the blessings we enjoy under a free and happy Constitution, where Lice and men live under the restraints of equal laws—the only equality that can exist in a well-regulated state.


Lord B—l—to. “Awm for refusing the petition. There more Lice nor Beetles in Fife. They call Beetles Clokes there. I thought when I read the petition, that the Beetle, or Bettle, had been the thing that the women has when they are washing towels or napery, and things for dadding them with. And I see this Petitioner is a jeweller till his trade, and I thought that he had made one of thir Beetles, and set it all round with diamonds, and I thought it an extravagant and foolish idea; and I see no resemblance it could have to a Louse. But I find I was mistaken, my Lord, and I find it is only a Beetle Cloke the Petitioner has; but my opinion’s the same it was before. I say, my Lord, Awm for refusing the petition I say.

L—d W—se—lee. “There is a case abridged in the third Volume of the Dictionary of Decisions, (Chalmers versus Douglas,) in which it was found that Veritas convicii excusat, which may be rendered not literally, but in a free and spirited manner, according to the most approved principles of translation, ‘The truth of a calumny affords a relevant defence.’ If, therefore, it be the law of Scotland, which I am clearly of opinion it is, that the truth of a calumny affords a relevant defence; and if it be likewise true that the Diamond Beetle is really an Egyptian Louse, I am really inclined to conclude, though certainly the case is attended with difficulty, that the Defender ought to be assoilzied.—Refuse.

Lord J. C. R—s. “I am very well acquainted with the Defender in this action, and have a great respect for him, and esteem him likewise. I know him to be a skilful and expert surgeon, and also a good man, and I would do a great deal to serve him, or to be of use to him, if I had it in my power to do so; but I think on this occasion that he has spoken rashly, and, I fear, foolishly and improperly. I hope he had no bad intention—I am sure he had not. But the Petitioner, for whom I have likewise a great respect, has a Clock, or a Beetle—I think it is called a Diamond Beetle—which he is very fond of, and has a fancy for; and the Defender has compared it to a Louse, or a Bug, or a Flea, or something of that kind, with a view to make it despicable or ridiculous, and the Petitioner so likewise, as the proprietor or owner of it. It is said that this beast is a Louse in fact, and that the Veritas convicii excusat.
And mention is made of a decision in the case of Chalmers against Douglas. I have always had a great veneration for the decisions of your Lordship, and I am sure will always continue to have while I sit here; hut that case was determined by a very small majority, and I have heard your Lordships mention it on various occasions, and you have always desiderated the propriety of it, and I think have departed from it in some instances. I remember the circumstances of the case very well. Helen Chalmers lived in Musselburgh, and the Defender, Mrs. Baillie, lived in Fisher Row. And at that time there was much intercourse between the genteel inhabitants of Musselburgh, and Fisher Row, and Inveresk, and Newbigging; and there were balls, or dances, or assemblies, every fortnight, and also sometimes, I believe, every week. And there were likewise card-assemblies once a fortnight, or oftener, and the young people danced there also, and others played at cards; and there were various refreshments, such as tea and coffee, and butter and bread, and I believe, but I am not sure, porter and negus, and likewise small-beer. And it was at one of these assemblies that Mrs. Baillie called Mrs. Chalmers a ——, or an adultress, and said she had lain with Commissioner Carnel, a gentleman whom I knew well at one time, and had a great deal of respect for;—he is dead many years ago. And Mrs. Chalmers brought an action of defamation before the Commissaries, and it came by advocation into this Court; and your Lordships allowed a proof of the Veritas convicii, and it lasted a long time, and answered in the end no good purpose even to the Defender himself, while it did much harm to the character of the Pursuer.

“I am, therefore, for refusing such a proof in this case; and I think the Petitioner and his Beetle have been slandered, and the petition ought to be seen.

Lord P—k—t. “It should be observed, my Lords, that what is called a Beetle is a reptile well known in this country. I have seen mony a ane o’ them on Drumsherlin Muir. It’s a little black beastie about the size o’ my thoom-nail. The countrypeople ca’ them Cloks, and I believe they ca’ them also Maggy wi’ the mony feet. But this is no the least like any Louse I ever saw; so that in my opinion, though the Defender may
have made a blunder through ignorance in comparing them, there does not seem to me to have been any animus injurandi; therefore I am for refusing the petition, my Lord.

Lord M—n. If I understand this—a—a—a—Interlocutor, it is not said that the—a—a—Egyptian Lice are Beetles, but that they may be, or—a—a—a—resemble Beetles. I am, therefore, for sending this process to the Ordinary to ascertain that fact, as I think it depends upon that whether there be—a—a—a—convicium or not. I think also that the Petitioner should be ordained to—a—a—a—produce his Beetle, and the a—a—a—Defender an Egyptian Louse; and if he has not one, he should take a diligence—a—a—a—to recover Lice of various kinds, and these may be—a—a—a—remitted to—a—a—a—Dr. Monro, or to—a—a—a—Mr. Playfair, or to other naturalists, to report upon the subject.”—Agreed to.

F, p. 111.

“Blessed be he that first invented sleep, for it covers a man all over like a mantle.”—Sancho Panza, passim.

Heavily set in massive brass, whose rich and ingenious carving was tarnished and dull, a ponderous lamp swung from a ceiling blackened by its smoke. Every thing in the room spoke of time, but of time that had known no change. Knights, whose armour was, at the latest, of two centuries back—ladies, in dresses from which their descendants started in dismay—looked out from the discoloured tapestry; and the floor, dark with age, added to the gloom. Beside the hearth, whose fire, from the rain beating down the huge chimney, burnt every moment dimmer, sat two old domestics. The man in a scarlet gown, and a belt, from which hung a heavy bunch of keys, was the seneschal; and opposite was his wife, in a brown silk dress, and a string of ebony beads, which she was busily employed in counting. Between them was a small antique old table, where a flask and two bell-mouthed glasses appeared temptations
which, it must be owned, somewhat interrupted the telling of the beads. In the centre of the chamber stood an immense hearse-like bed; the purple velvet curtains swept to the ground, and at each corner drooped a large plume of black ostrich-feathers. On this bed lay a little withered old man, apparently in the last extremity of age, and very close upon the border of death. His spare form was hidden in an ample black robe, fastened round the waist with a white girdle, on which were graved strange characters in red; and on his breast was a white square, covered with stars and signs wrought in gold. The old man’s face was ghastly pale, and rendered yet paler by the contrast of his black scull-cap, which was drawn down even to his gray and shagged eyebrows. But the features were restless; and the small keen eyes, though fast losing their brightness, were full of anxiety. The wind shook the tall narrow windows, and howled in the old trees of the avenue; at every fresh gust the Baron’s impatience seemed to increase—for what we are telling relates to the Baron de Launaye.

“’Tis a rough night,” muttered he; “but Adolphe is as rough a rider—and a dangerous road; but I am the first De Launaye who ever drew bridle for that. And then my summons—it was sure to reach him; ay, though alone, in the midnight bower of the mistress whose name and his suspicion had never coupled together even in a dream—even though consciousness were drowned in the crimson flowing of the wine—though sleeping as men sleep after battle, pillowed on the body of their deadliest enemy, or of their nearest and dearest friend—my summons would be borne on his inmost soul. But will he come, at the bidding of his dying uncle?—will Adolphe, he, the only human being whom I ever loved—will he or will he not come!”

The question was answered even at the moment it was breathed. The horn at the castle-gate was blown impatiently—the fall of the drawbridge was heard—a moment’s pause, and a light foot sprang up the oaken staircase with all the speed of haste and youth. The door opened, and in rushed a young cavalier. The white plumes of his cap were drenched with wet—the diamond clasp that fastened them was dim with damp—but his bright auburn hair glistened with the rain-drops. Hastily flinging his riding cloak, heavy with moisture, to the
ground, the stranger sprang to the bed-side. A gleam of human love, of human joy, passed over the old man’s face, as, tenderly and gently, his nephew asked of his tidings, and expressed such hopes as affection hopes when hope there is none.

“Child of my love,” murmured the dying Baron, “for whose sake only I have ever given one thought to the things of earth, bear yet a moment with the feeble wretch who but a brief while will stand between you and the title of your ancestors and wealth. Many a prince of your mother’s house would think his kingdom overpaid if purchased by its half. You are young—I never was—my heart, even in boyhood, was old with premature knowledge. You have that beauty, the want of which has made my life a curse—you have that strength of body, the want of which has paralysed my strength of mind. I have doubted if happiness dwells on this evil earth—I will not doubt, when I hope for yours. You will hear me called necromancer: out on the base fools who malign that which they understand not, and would bring down the lofty aim of science, the glorious dream of virtue, to their own low level! You will hear me called miser: Adolphe, have you ever found me so!”

“My father—my more than father!” passionately exclaimed the young man, hiding his face on the pillow, as if ashamed of the violence of mortal grief, in the presence of one so soon to be immortal.

“Adolphe,” continued his uncle, “you have heard, though not from me—for I sought not to weigh down your ardent mind with all that has pressed upon me with the burden of hopelessness, and long has the knowledge been mine—that the fetters of clay are too heavy for the spirit. Your young hand was fitter for the lance than the crucible; and the bridle-rein would have been ill exchanged for the lettered scroll. But something I know of that future, into which even the sage can look but dimly. Adolphe, the only question I asked was for thee! Alas! the vanity of such wisdom! It has told of danger that menaces, but not of the skill that avoids. My child evil came into the world with woman, and in her is bound up the evil of your destiny. Vain as the glance they throw on the polished steel of their mirror—false as the vow they make for the pleasure of breaking—inconstant as the wind, which changes from point to
point, and for whose change no philosophy hath ever discovered a cause: shun them, Adolphe, as you would disloyalty to your king, flight from your enemy, or falsehood to your friend.”

The old man’s voice became inaudible, and his head sank on Adolphe’s shoulder:—“Margarita, water—or, Jacques, give me the wine.” The youth tried to pour a few drops into the Baron’s mouth. The dying man motioned back the glass, and, looking in the cavalier’s face with a strong expression of affection and anxiety, muttered something of “woman” and “danger”—“bright,” “eyes,” “bright,” “beware”—these were his last broken words. He expired.

Contrary to the charitable expectations of his neighbours, the Baron de Launaye was buried with all the rights of the church; the holy water was sprinkled on the corse, and the holy psalm sung over the coffin. A marble tablet marked his grave; and there the moonlight slept as lovingly as ever it did on the sinless tomb of saint or martyr. The new Baron de Launaye lamented his uncle’s death in a very singular manner, for he was his heir—and the young and the rich have not much time for regret. But Adolphe (he was remarkable from a child for his memory) could not forget the kindness—and more than kindness—the love that his uncle had lavished on the little orphan, who noble and pennyless at the age of five years, was left dependent on his bounty. However, sorrow cannot—indeed nothing in this world can—last for ever. Adolphe’s grief became at first only sad; next, melancholy; thirdly, calm; and, fourthly, settled down into a respectful remembrance, and a resolve to bear his uncle’s last words in mind. Indeed, the muttered, vague, and uncertain prediction quite haunted him.

“I am sure,” said he, in one of his many pondering moods, “I am sure my past experience confirms his words. I never got into a scrape but a woman was the cause. I had been in my outset at court, page to the Duke Forté d’Imhault, and gone with him on that splendid embassy to Russia, had he not been displeased with my awkwardness in fastening the duchess’s sandal.”

And he laughed as he said this: who in the world can guess, why the loss of his appointment should make the young Baron laugh!


“And then who caused the duel between me and my Pylades, the Marquess de Lusignan, but that little jilt, Mdlle. Laure? However, my sword only grazed his arm: he wore an exquisite blue silk scarf, and we were better friends than ever. Oh, my uncle was right: women were born to be our torment.”

Still was this conviction impressed on his mind like a duty. Yet he could not help thinking that a few bright eyes would light up the old hall better than the huge brazen lamps which now served to make darkness visible. From thinking of the pleasantness of such an illumination, he began to think of its difficulties; and the difficulties of the project soon referred only to the place. One thought suggests another; and from thinking how many obstacles opposed the introduction of bright eyes and sweet smiles into the castle, he arrived at the conclusion, how easily they were to be obtained in other parts.

To say the truth, Paris became daily more familiar to his mind’s eye; and, as he justly observed, staying at the dull old castle could do his uncle no good, and he was quite sure it did himself none. Now, in spite of philanthropy, people are not so very fond of doing good gratuitously; but, to be sure, such doctrines were not so much discussed in those days as they are in ours, though the practice was about the same. Sometimes he argued with himself, “it is as well to be out of harm’s way;”—and the prediction and a cold shudder came together. But we are ready enough to dare the danger we do not know; and though a few years of Parisian life had placed the nephew’s early on a level with the uncle’s late experience, touching the evil inherent in womanhood, nevertheless Adolphe supposed their bad qualities might be borne, at all events, better than the dulness of the Château de Launaye.

One day riding with his bridle on his horse’s neck, meditating whether his next ride should not be direct to Paris, a most uncommon spectacle in that unfrequented part of the country attracted his attention. This was a large lumbering coach, drawn by six horses, whose rich harness and housings bore the crest in gold—a lynx rampant. A very natural curiosity (by-the-by all curiosity is natural enough), made him look in at the window. Was there ever a face half so beautiful as that of the girl who, like himself, actuated by natural curiosity,
looked out as he looked in? The black silk wimple was drawn over her bead, but allowed a very red upper lip—an exquisite Grecian nose—and a most brilliant pair of eyes, to be seen. Our young cavalier sat as if he had been stupified. This is a very common effect of love at first. It goes off, however—so it did with Adolphe. His first act on recovering his senses was to gallop after the coach. He spurred on, and caught a second glance of the most radiant orbs that ever revolved in light. Large, soft, clear, and hazel, as those of a robin—they were bright and piercing as those of a falcon. Certainly De Launaye had never seen such eyes before, or at least none that ever took such an effect upon him.

He ate no dinner that day—walked by moonlight on the terrace—and the only thing which excited his attention was the seneschal’s information, that the Marquise de Surville and her grand-daughter were come to stay for some months at their château.

“They could not have done that in the late Baron’s time—the Lord be good unto his soul!” And the old man forthwith commenced the history of some mysterious feud between the two families, in which the deceased Baron Godfred had finally remained victor.

To this tedious narrative of ancient enmities, Adolphe was little inclined to listen. “A name and an estate are all our ancestors have a right to leave behind them. The saints preserve us from a legacy of their foes! Nothing could be worse,—except their friends.”

The next morning the Baron arranged his suit of sables with unusual care, though it must be confessed he always took care enough.

“Pray Heaven the Marquise may be of my way of thinking respecting the quarrels of our forefathers! Some old ladies have terrible memories,” were Adolphe’s uppermost ideas as he rode over the draw-bridge at the Château de Surville, which had been promptly lowered to his summons;—their only neighbour, he had thought it but courteous to offer his personal respects. How much more cheerful did the saloon, with its hangings of sea-green silk, worked in gold, seem than his own hall, encumbered with the dusty trophies of his ancestors. To
be sure, the young Baron was not at that moment a very fair judge; for the first thing that met him on his entrance was a glance from the same pair of large bright eyes which had been haunting him for the last four and twenty hours.

The grandmother was as stern a looking old gentlewoman as ever had knights in armour for ancestors: still her eyes, also bright, clear, and piercing, somewhat resembled those of her grand-daughter. On the rest of her face time had wrought “strange disfeatures.” She was silent; and, after the first compliments, resumed the volume she had been reading on the Baron’s appearance. It was a small book, bound in black velvet, with gold clasps, richly wrought. Adolphe took it for granted it was her Breviary; and inwardly concluded how respectable is that piety in an old woman which leaves the young one under her charge quite at liberty! The visitor’s whole attention was soon devoted to the oriel window where sat the beautiful Clotilde de Surville. The Baron de Launaye piqued himself on fastidious taste in women and horses: he had had some experience in both. But Clotilde was faultless. There she leant, with the splendour of day full upon her face; it fell upon her pure complexion like joy upon the heart, and the sunbeams glittered amid the thick ringlets till every curl was edged with gold. Her dress alone seemed capable of improvement; but it is as well to leave something to the imagination, and there was ample food for Adolphe’s, in picturing the change that would be wrought upon Clotilde by a Parisian milliner. “This comes,” thought he, “of being brought up in an old German castle.”

For very shame he at last rose; when, with a grim change of countenance, meant for a smile, the Marquise asked him to stay dinner. It is a remark not the less true for being old (though now-a-days opinions are all on the change), that love-making is a thing “to hear, and not to tell.” We shall therefore leave the progress of the wooing, and come to the dénouement, which was the most proper possible, viz. marriage. Adolphe had been the most devoted of lovers, and Clotilde had given him a great deal of modest encouragement; that is, her bright eyes had often wandered in search of his, and the moment they had found them, had dropped to the ground; and whenever he
entered the room, a blush had come into her cheek, like the light into the pearl, filling it with the sweet hues of the rose. Never did love-affair proceed more prosperously. The old seneschal was the only person who grumbled. He begged leave to remind the young Baron, that it was not showing proper respect to his ancestors not to take up their quarrels.

“But things are altered since the days when lances were attached to every legacy,” returned Adolphe.

“We are altering every thing now-a-days,” replied the old man; “I don’t see, however, that we are a bit the better off.”

“I, at all events, expect happiness,” replied his master, “in this change of my condition.”

“Ay, ay, so we all do before we are married: what we find after, there is no use in saying, for two reasons; first, you would not believe me; secondly, my wife might hear what I’m telling.”

“Ah!” exclaimed the young Baron, “the caution that marriage teaches! If it were only for the prudence I should acquire, it would be worth my while to marry.”

“Alas! rashness never yet wanted a reason. My poor young master! the old Marquise and her dark-eyed grand-daughter have taken you in completely.”

“Taken me in!” ejaculated De Launaye angrily; “why, you old fool, were this a mere match of interest, I might thank my stars for such a lucky chance. Young, beautiful, high-born, and rich, Clotilde has but to appear at the court, and insure a much higher alliance than mine. What motive could they have?”

“I do not know; but when I don’t know people’s motives, I always suppose the worst,” replied the obstinate Dominique.

“Charitable,” laughed his master.

“And besides,” resumed the seneschal, “the old Marquise plagued her husband into the grave; and I dare say her granddaughter means to do as much for you.”

“A novel reason, at all events, for taking a husband,” said De Launaye, “in order that you may plague him to death afterwards.”

Well, the wedding-day arrived at last. De Launaye could have found some fault with his bride’s costume, but for her face.
There was a stiffness in the rigid white satin, and the ruff was at least two inches too high—indeed, he did not see any necessity for the ruff at all; they had been quite out, some years, at Paris. However, he said nothing, remembering that a former hint on the subject of dress had not been so successful as its merits deserved. He had insinuated, and that in a compliment too, a little lowering of the ruff before, as a mere act of justice to the ivory throat, when Clotilde had rejoined, answering in a tone which before marriage was gentle reproof, (a few months after it would have sounded like reproach,) that she hoped “the Baron de Launaye would prefer propriety in his wife to display.” The sense of the speech was forgotten in its sentiment; a very usual occurrence, by-the-by. However, the bride looked most beautiful; her clear, dark eyes swam in light—the liquid brilliancy of happiness—the brightness, but not the sadness, of tears. The ceremony was over, the priest and the Marquise had given their blessings; the latter also added some excellent advice, which was not listened to with all the attention it deserved. The young couple went to their own castle in a new and huge coach, every one of whose six horses wore white and silver favours. Neighbours they had none, but a grand feast was given to the domestics; and Dominique, at his master’s express orders, broached a pipe of Bourdeaux. “I can’t make my vassals,” said De Launaye, “as happy as myself; but I can make them drunk, and that is something towards it.”

The day darkened into night; and here, according to all regular precedents in romance, hero and heroine ought to be left to themselves; but there never yet was a rule without an exception. However, to infringe upon established custom as little as possible, we will enter into no details of how pretty the bride looked in her nightcap, but proceed forthwith to the Baron’s first sleep. He dreamt that the sun suddenly shone into his chamber. Dazzled by the glare, he awoke, and found the bright eyes of his bride gazing tenderly on his face. Weary as he was, still he remembered how uncourteous it would be to he sleeping while she was so wide awake, and he forthwith roused himself as well as he could. Many persons say they can’t sleep in a strange bed; perhaps this might be the case
with his bride: and in new situations people should have all possible allowance made for them.

They rose early the following morning, the Baroness bright-eyed and blooming as usual, the Baron pale and abattu. They wandered through the castle: De Launaye told of his uncle’s prediction.

“How careful I must be of you,” said the bride, smiling. “I shall be quite jealous.”

Night came, and again Adolphe was wakened from his first sleep by Clotilde’s bright eyes. The third night arrived and human nature could bear no more.

“Good God, my dearest!” exclaimed the husband, “do you never sleep?”

“Sleep!” replied Clotilde, opening her large bright eyes, till they were even twice their usual size and brightness. “Sleep!—one of my noble race, sleep? I never slept in my life.”

“She never sleeps!” ejaculated the Baron, sinking back on his pillow in horror and exhaustion.

It had been settled that the young couple should forthwith visit Paris—thither they at once proceeded. The beauty of the Baroness produced a most marvellous sensation, even in that city of sensations. Nothing was heard of for a week but the enchanting eyes of the Baroness de Launaye—a diamond necklace of a new pattern was invented in her honour, and called aux beaux yeux de Clotilde.

“Those eyes,” said a prince of the blood, whose taste in such matters had been cultivated by some years of continual practice, “those eyes of Mde. de Launaye will rob many of our young gallants of their rest.”

“Very true,” briefly replied her husband.

Well, the Baroness shone like a meteor in every scene, while the Baron accompanied her, the spectre of his former self. Sallow, emaciated, every body said he was going into a consumption. Still it was quite delightful to witness the devotedness of his wife—she could scarcely bear him a moment out of her sight.

At length they left Paris, accompanied by a gay party, for their château. But brilliant as were these guests, nothing
distracted the Baroness’s attention from her husband, whose declining health became every hour more alarming. One day, however, the young Chevalier de Ronsarde—he, the conqueror of a thousand hearts—the besieger of a thousand more—whose conversation was that happy mixture of flattery and scandal which is the beau ideal of dialogue,—engrossed Mde. de Launaye’s attention; and her husband took the opportunity of slipping away unobserved. He hastened into a gloomy avenue—the cedars, black with time and age, met like night, overhead, and far and dark did their shadows fall on the still and deep lake beside. Worn, haggard, with a timorous and hurried, yet light step, the young Baron might have been taken for one of his own ancestors, permitted for a brief period to revisit his home on earth, but invested with the ghastliness and the gloom of the grave.

“She never sleeps!” exclaimed the miserable Adolphe—“she never sleeps! day and night her large bright eyes eat like fire into my heart.” He paused, and rested for support against the trunk of one of the old cedars. “Oh, my uncle, why did not your prophecy, when it warned me against danger, tell me distinctly in what the danger consisted? To have a wife who never sleeps! Dark and quiet lake, how I envy the stillness of your depths—the shadows which rest upon your waves!”

At this moment a breath of wind blew a branch aside—a sunbeam fell upon the Baron’s face; he took it for the eyes of his wife. Alas! his remedy lay temptingly before him—the still, the profound, the shadowy lake. De Launaye took one plunge—it was into eternity. Two days he was missing—the third his lifeless body floated on the heavy waters. The Baron de Launaye had committed suicide, and the bright-eyed Baroness was left a disconsolate widow.

Such is the tale recorded in the annals of the house of De Launaye. Some believe it entirely, justly observing, there is nothing too extraordinary to happen. Others (for there always will be people who affect to be wiser than their neighbours) say that the story is an ingenious allegory—and that the real secret of the Sleepless Lady was jealousy. Now, if a jealous wife can’t drive a man out of his mind and into a lake, we do not know what can!

G. p. 131.

The prompt and benevolent feeling with which Mr. Canning hastened to promote any mission of mercy, may be gathered from the annexed note.

“Quarter past one.

“I have only this instant ascertained that Lord Sidmouth will not be in town till Monday; and that his letters go to him tonight at Weymouth.

“I can give no advice as to the forwarding the papers by express: but I think it right to lose no time in returning them, as you say that the parties are desirous of doing so.

“I remain,
“Your most obedient and faithful Servant,


“The other course would be to carry the papers to Mr. Hobhouse, the Under Secretary of the Home Department, before post time.

“I ought to mention that I received your packet only on my arrival here, about a quarter of an hour ago.”

I subjoin another note to show what misery is entailed on those who ought to be, and probably are at the time, most dear to them, when men forget the principles of truth, and forsake the path of honesty.

“Queen Street, Sunday morning.

“Dear Sir,

“I find that it is the opinion of my friends, that any intercourse with my unhappy husband, or with any friend coming immediately from him, is highly prejudicial to my future happiness; I hope you will pardon me declining your visits under my present circumstances, and believe me sensible of your good intentions. I have the pleasure to subscribe myself,

“Yours much obliged,


“The above I have been obliged to show publicly; may I
entreat you to give the enclosed to my dear husband, ’tis perhaps the last favour I shall ever request you to perform for your miserable friend; do not I beseech you betray me to any one, but destroy this immediately. Anything you wish to say or send, you may confide to the bearer.”


There is often a curious propensity in popular and successful writers to try their luck (if one may use so vulgar a term) with something anonymous; just as it were, to ascertain the difference of value and applause attached by the public to their name and their production; to test, if I may say so, the intrinsic merit of their performances. This is sometimes essayed in volumes, or publications of unacknowledged poetry; and, occasionally, in fugitive effusions, thrown into any channel convenient for the purpose. Such was Southey’s hit of the “March to Moscow,” which was palmed upon me as the writing of a Mr. Sayer in the Tower; and, no matter by whom, immediately admitted to the “Sun” as a very clever and original jeu d’esprit. Other pieces from the same source afterwards found their way in like manner into the Journal, and I shall have to look into the author’s collected works to discover whether or not they have all been reprinted. The “March to Moscow” was, a good many years after its first appearance; but a copy of it in its earliest form cannot be unacceptable anywhere, and I have pleasure in subjoining it.

Buonaparte he would set out
For a summer excursion to Moscow;
The fields were green, and the sky was blue,—
Morbleu! Parbleu!
What a pleasant excursion to Moscow!
Four hundred thousand men and more—
Heigh ho! for Moscow!
There were marshals by the dozen, and dukes by the score,
Princes a few, and kings one or two,
While the fields were so green and the sky so blue—
Morbleu! Parbleu!
What a pleasant excursion to Moscow!
There was a Junot and Augereau
Heigh ho! for Moscow!
Dombrowsky and Poniatowsky,
General Rapp and the Emperor Nap.
Nothing would do—
While the fields were so green and the sky so blue—
Morbleu! Parbleu!
But they must be marching to Moscow.
But then the Russians they turned to,
All on the road to Moscow.
Nap. had to fight his way all thro’;
They could fight, but they could not “parlez vous.”
But the fields were green and the sky was blue—
Morbleu! Parbleu!
And so he got to Moscow.
But they made the place too hot for him
(For they set fire to Moscow);
To get there had cost him much ado,
And then no better course he knew,
While the fields were green and the sky was blue—
Morbleu! Parbleu!
Than to march back again from Moscow.
The Russians they stuck close to him,
All on the road from Moscow:
There was Tormazow and Jemabow,
And all others that end in ow;
Rajesky and Noverefsky,
And all the others that end in efsky:
Schamscheff, Souchosaneff, and Schepeleff,
And all the others that end in eff;
Wasiltchikoff, Kostomaroff, and Tchoglokoff,
And all the others that end in off:
Milaradovitch, Jaladovitch, and Karatichkowitch,
And all the others that end in itch:
Oscharoffsy, and Rostoffsky, and Kazatichkoffsky,
And all the others that end in offsky:
And last of all an admiral came,
A terrible man with a terrible name,
A name which you all must know very well;
Nobody can speak and nobody can spell:
And Platoff he play’d them off,
And Markoff he mark’d them off
And Tutchkoff he touch’d them off,
And Kutousoff he cut them off,
And Woronzoff he worried them off,
And Dochtoroff he doctor’d them off,
And Rodinoff he flogged them off:
They stuck to them with all their might;
They were on the left and on the right,
Behind and before, and by day and by night,
Nap. would rather “parlez vous” than fight,
But “parlez vous” no more would do—
Morbleu! Parbleu!
For they remembered Moscow!
And then came on the frost and snow,
All on the road from Moscow;
The Emperor Nap. found as he went
That he was not quite omnipotent;
And worse and worse the weather grew,
The fields were so white and the sky so blue—
Sacrebleu! Ventrebleu!
What a terrible journey from Moscow!
“The Devil take the hindmost,
All on the road from Moscow!”
Quoth Nap., who thought it was no delight
To fight all day and to freeze all night;
And so not knowing what else to do,
When the fields were white and the sky so blue—
Morbleu! Parbleu!
He stole away—I tell you true—
All on the road from Moscow!
’Twas as much too cold upon the road
As it was too hot at Moscow;
But there is a place which he must go to—
Where the fire is red and the brimstone blue—
Morbleu! Parbleu!
He’ll find it hotter than Moscow!

Apollonius, a philosopher, a sophist, tutor to Lycius.
Lycius, a young man of noble birth, pupil to Apollonius.
Gallo, and others, young wild gallants of Corinth.
Julius, brother to Lycius.
Domus, (pro tempore) butler to Lamia.
Picus, (ditto) steward to ditto.
Lamia, an Enchantress, by nature a serpent, but now under the
disguise of a beautiful woman.

The scene is in or near Corinth.

A mossy Bank with trees, on the high Road near Corinth.
Enter Lamia.
Here I’ll sit down and watch; till his dear foot
Pronounce him to my ear. That eager hope
Hath won me from the brook before I view’d
My unacquainted self.—But yet it seem’d
A most rare change,—and methinks the change
Has left the old fascination in my eyes.
Look, here’s a shadow of the shape I am—
A dainty shadow! [She sits down on the bank.
How fair the world seems now myself am fair!
These dewy daffodils! these sweet green trees!
I’ve coiled about their roots—but now I pluck
Their drooping branches with this perfect hand!
Sure those were Dryades
That with such glancing looks peep’d thro’ the green
To gaze upon my beauty. [Lycius enters and passes on without noting her.
Lycius! sweet Lycius!—what, so cruel still!
What have I done thou ne’er wilt deign a look,
But pass me like a worm?
Ha! who art thou? [Looking back.
O Goddess, (for there is no mortal tint,
252 LAMIA.  
No line about thee lower than divine)
What may that music mean, thy tuneful tongue
Hath sent in chase of me?—I slight! I scorn thee!
By all the light of day, till this kind hour
I never saw that face!—nor one as fair.
O fie, fie, fie!—what, have you never met
That face at Corinth?—turn’d too oft towards you,
Like the poor maidens that adored Apollo:—
You must have mark’d it!—
Nay, then hear me swear!
By all Olympus and its starry thrones,—
My eyes have never chanced so sweet a sight,
Not in my summer dreams!—
Enough, enough!—why then I’ve watched in vain—
Track’d all your ways, and follow’d like your shadow;
Hung you with blessings—haunted you with love—
And waited on your aspect—all in vain!—
I might as well have spent my loving looks
Like Ariadne,—on the sullen sea
And hoped for a reflection. Youth, farewell.
O not yet—not yet farewell!
Let such an unmatch’d vision still shine on,
Till I have set an impress in my heart
To cope with life’s decay!
You say but well.
I must soon hie me to my elements;
But take your pleasure at my looks till then.
You are not of this, then? [Sadly.
LAMIA. 253
Of this earth?
Why not? And of this same and pleasant isle.
My world is yours, and I would have no other.
One earth, one sea, one sky, in one horizon,
Our room is wide enough, unless you hate me.
Hate you!
Then you may wish to set the stars between us,
The dim and utter lamps of east and west.
So far you’d have me from you.
Cruel Syren!
To set your music to such killing speech.
Look if my eyes turn from you,—if my brows,
Or any hinting featnre shows dislike.
Nay, hear my lips—
If they will promise love
Or talk of it; but chide, and you will kill me!
Then, love, speak forth a promise for thyself,
And all heaven’s witnesses be by to hear thee.—
Hold, hold! I’m satisfied. You’ll love me, then?
With boundless, endless love.
Aye, give me much on’t—for you owe me much,
If you knew all.
I’ve lick’d the very dust whereon you tread—
It is not true!
254 LAMIA.  
I’ll swear it if you will. Jove heard the words,
And knows they are sadly true.
And this for me!
Aye, sweet, and more. A poor, fond wretch, I fill’d
The flowers with my tears; and lay supine
In coverts wild and rank—fens, horrid, desolate!
’Twould shock your very soul if you could see
How this poor figure once was marr’d and vilified,
How grovell’d and debased; contemn’d and hated
By my own self, because, with all its charms,
It then could hope no favour in your eyes;
And so I hid it,
With toads and newts, and hideous shiny things,
Under old ruins, in vile solitudes,
Making their haunts my own.
’Tis strange and piteous,—Why, then, you madden’d?
I was not quite myself—(not what I am)—
Yet something of the woman staid within me,
To weep she was not dead.
Is this no fable?
O most mistrustful Lycius! Hear me call
On Heaven, anew, for vouchers to these facts. [It thunders.
There! Could’st thou question that? Sweet skies I thank ye!
Now, Lycius, doubt me if you may or can;
And leave me if you will. I can but turn
The wretched creature that I was, again,
Crush’d by our equal hate. Once more, farewell.
LAMIA. 255
Farewell, but not till death. O gentlest, dearest,
Forgive my doubts. I have but paused till now
To ask, if so much bliss could be no dream.
Now I am sure——
Thus I embrace it with my whole glad heart
For ever and for ever: I could weep.
Thy tale hath shown me such a matchless love,
It makes the elder chronicles grow dim.
I always thought
I wander’d all uncared for on my way,
Betide me good or ill—nor caused more tears
Than hung upon my sword. Yet I was hung
With dews, rich pearly dews—shed from such spheres
As sprinkle them in amber. Thanks, bounteous stars.
Henceforth you shall but rain your beams upon me
To bless my brighten’d days.
O sweet! sweet! sweet!
To hear you parley thus and gaze upon you!
Lycius, dear Lycius!
But tell me, dearest, will you never—never
Think lightly of myself, nor scorn a love
Too frankly set before you! because ’twas given
Unask’d, though you should never, give again:
Because it was a gift and not a purchase—
A boon, and not a debt; not love for love,
Where one half’s due for gratitude.
Thrice gracious seems thy gift!
Oh, no! Oh, no!
I should have made you wait, and beg, and kneel,
And swear as though I could but half believe you;
I have not even stay’d to prove your patience
By crosses and feign’d slights,—giv’n you no time
256 LAMIA.  
For any bribing gifts or costly shows.
I know you will despise me.
Never, never,
So long as I have sight within these balls,
Which only now I’ve learn’d to thank the Gods for.
’Tis prettily sworn; and frankly I’ll believe you!
Now shall we on our way? I have a house
(Till now no home) within the walls of Corinth:
Will you not master it as well as me?
My home is in your heart; but where you dwell,
There is my dwelling-place. But let me bear you, sweet!
No, I can walk, if you will charm the way
With such discourse; it makes my heart so light,
I seem to have wings within; or, if I tire,
I’ll lean upon you thus.
So lean for ever! [Exeunt.

The Market-place at Corinth.
Apollonius is discovered discoursing with various young Gallants,
, Meroutius, Curio, &c.
Hush Sirs!—
You raise a tingling blush about my ears,
That drink such ribaldry and wanton jests,—
For shame!—for shame!—
You misapply good gifts the gods have granted!
LAMIA. 257
The gods have made us tongues,—brains too, I hope—
And time will bring us beards.
You sages think Minerva’s owl dwells only in such bushes.
Ha! ha!—Why we’ll have wigs upon our chins—
Long grizzled ones—and snarl about the streets,
Hugged up in pride and spleen like any mantle,
And be philosophers!
You will do wisely.
Ay,—I hope—why not?
Though age has heap’d no winter on our pates.
Is wisdom such a frail and spoiling thing
It must be packed in ice?
Or sopp’d in vinegar?
We would you were more grey—
Why would you have us grey before our time?
Oh, Life’s poor capital is too soon spent
Without discounting it. Pray do not grudge us
Our share;—a little wine,—a little love,—
A little youth!—a little, little folly,
Since wisdom has the gross. When they are past
We’ll preach with you, and call ’em vanities.
No!—leave that to your mummies. Sure your act
Will purchase you an enbalming. Let me see!—-
Here’s one hath spent his fortune on a harlot,
And,—if he kept to one it was a merit!—
The next has rid the world of so much wine,—
Why that’s a benefit. And you Sir Plume,
258 LAMIA.  
Have tum’d your Tailor to a Senator;—
You’ve made no man the worse—(for manner’s sake;
My speech exempts yourself). You’ve all done well,
If not,—your dying shall be placed to your credit.
You show us bravely—could you ever praise one?
One! and no more! why then I answer, yes,—
Or rather, no; for I could never praise him.
He’s as beyond my praise, as your complexion,—
I wish you’d take a pattern!—
Of whose back, sir?
Aye there you must begin and try to match
The very shadow of his virtuous worth,
Before you’re half a man.
Who is this model?
An ape—an Afric ape—what he and Plato
Conspire to call a Man.
Then you’re a man already; but no model,
So I must set my own example up;
To show you Virtue, Temperance, and Wisdom,
And in a youth too!—
Not in a wither’d greybeard like myself,
In whom some virtues are mere worn-out vices,
And wisdom but a due and tardy fruit.
He, like the orange, bears both fruit and flower
Upon his odorous bough—the fair and ripe!—
Why you can praise too!
As well as I dispraise:—They’re both in one
LAMIA. 259
Since you’re disparaged when I talk of graces.
For example, when I say that he I spoke of
Is no wild sin-monger—no sot—no dicer,
No blasphemer o’ th’ gods—no shameless scoffer,
No ape—no braggart—no foul libertine—
Oh no—
He hugs no witching wanton to his heart,
He keeps no vices he’s obliged to muffle;—
But pays a filial honour to grey hairs,
And guides him by that voice, Divine Philosophy.
Well, he’s a miracle!—and what’s he called?
Aye, who is he?—who is he?
His name is Lycius.
Then he’s coming yonder:—
Lord, how these island fogs delude our eyes,
I could have sworn to a girl too with him.
Aye, aye,—you know these eyes can shoot so far,
Or else the jest were but a sorry one.
Mercutius sees her too.
In faith I do, sir,—
Peace puppies—nine days hence you will see truer.
Nay, but by all the gods!—
We’ll take our oath on’t.
260 LAMIA.  
Peace, peace! (aside) I see her too—This is some mockery,
Illusion, damn’d illusion!—
What, ho! Lycius!
[Lycius (entering) wishes to pass aside. Lamia clings close to him
Hark!—who is that?—quick fold me in your mantle,
Don’t let him see my face!—
Nay fear not, sweet—
’Tis but old Apollonius—my sage guide.
Don’t speak to him—don’t stay him—let him pass!—
I have a terror of those greybeard men—
They frown on Love with such cold churlish brows
That sometimes he hath flown!—
Aye, he will chide me—
But do not you fear aught. Why how you tremble!
Pray shroud me closer. I am cold—death cold!—
[Old Apollonius comes up, followed by the Gallants.
My son what have you here?
A foolish bird that flew into my bosom:—
You would not drive him hence?
Well, let me see it,
I have some trifling skill in augury,
And can divine you from its beak and eyes
What sort of fowl it is.—
I have learn’d that, sir—
’Tis what is called—a dove—sacred to Venus:—
[The Youths laugh and pluck Apollonius by the sleeve.
LAMIA. 261
Fool! drive it out! [To Lycius.
No, not amongst these hawks here.
Let’s see it then.
Aye, aye, old Greybeard, you say well for once,
Let’s see it:—let’s see it!—
Art sure it is no snake,—to suit the fable,
You’ve nestled in your bosom?—
Lamia (under the mantle).
Lost! lost! lost!—
Hark! the dove speaks—I knew it was a parrot!—
Dear Lycius,—my own son (at least till now)
Let me forewarn you, boy!—
No, peace, I will not.
There spoke a model for you.
O Lycius, Lycius—
My eyes are shock’d, and half my age is kill’d
To see your noble self so ill accompanied!—
And, sir, my eyes are shock’d too—Fie! is this
A proper retinue—for those grey hairs?
A troop of scoffing boys!—Sirs, by your leave
I must and will pass on. [To the Gallants.
That as you can, sir—
262 LAMIA.  
Why then this arm has cleared a dozen such.
[They scuffle: in the tumult Apollonius is overturned.
Unhappy boy!—this overthrow’s your own!—
[Lycius frees himself and Lamia, and calls back.
Lift—help him—pick him up!—fools—braggarts—apes—
Step after me who dares!— [Exit with Lamia.
Whew!—here’s a model!—
How fare you, sir (to Apollonius) your head?—I fear
Your wisdom has suffered by this fall.
My heart aches more:—
O Lycius! Lycius!—
Hark! he calls his model!—
’Twas a brave pattern. We shall never match him.
Such wisdom and such virtues—in a youth too!
He keeps no muffled vices.—
No! no! not he!—
Nor hugs no naughty wantons in his arms—
But pays a filial honor to gray hairs,
And listens to thy voice — Divine Philosophy!
[They run off, laughing and mocking.
You have my leave to jest. The gods unravel
This hellish witchery that hides my scholar!
Lycius! Lycius! [Exit Apollonius.
LAMIA. 263
A rich Chamber, with Pictures and Statues.
Enter Domus unsteadily, with a flask in his hand.
Here’s a brave palace! [Looking round.
Why, when this was spread
Gold was as cheap as sunshine. How it’s stuck
All round about the walls. Your health, brave palace!
Ha! Brother Picus. Look! are you engaged too?
(Enter Picus.)
Hand us your hand: you see I’m butler here.
How came you hither?
How? Why a strange odd man—
A sort of foreign slave, I think—address’d me
I’ the market, waiting for my turn,
Like a beast of burthen, and hired me for this service.
So I was hired, too.
’Tis a glorious house!
But come, let’s kiss the lips of your bottle.
Aye, but be modest: wine is apt to blush.
’Tis famous beverage:
It makes me reel i’ the head.
I believe ye, boy.
Why, since I sipped it—(mind, I’d only sipped)—
I’ve had such glorious pictures in my brains—
264 LAMIA.  
Such rich rare dreams!
Such blooms, and rosy bowers, and tumbling fountains,
With a score of moons shining at once upon me,—
I never saw such sparkling! [Drinks
Here’s a vision!
The sky was always bright; or, if it gloom’d,
The very storms came on with scented waters,
And, if it snow’d, ’twas roses; claps of thunder
Seemed music, only louder; nay, in the end,
Died off in gentle ditties. Then, such birds!
And gold and silver chafers bobb’d about;
And when there came a little gush of wind,
The very flowers took wing and chased the butterflies!
Egad, ’tis very sweet. I prithee, dearest Domus,
Let me have one small sup!
No! hear me out.
The hills seemed made of cloud, bridges of rainbows,
The earth like trodden smoke.
Nothing at all was heavy, gross, or human:
Mountains, with climbing cities on their backs,
Shifted about like castled elephants;
You might have launch’d the houses on the sea,
And seen them swim like galleys!
The stones I pitch’d i’ the ponds would barely sink-—
I could have lifted them by tons! [Drinks.
Dear Domus, let me paint too—dear, dear, Domus.
Methought I was all air—Jove! I was fear’d,
I had not flesh enough to hold me down
From mounting up to the moon.
LAMIA. 265
At every step—
Bounce! when I only thought to stride a pace,
I bounded thirty.
Thirty! Oh, let me drink!
And that too when I’d even eat or drank
At the rate of two meals to the hour! [Drinks.
Two meals to the hour—nay Domus—let me drink,
Dear Domus let me drink—before ’tis empty!—
But then my fare was all so light and delicate,
The fruits, the cakes, the meats so dainty frail,
They would not bear a bite—no, not a munch,
But melted away like ice. Come, here’s the bottle!
Thanks, Domus—Pshaw, it’s empty!—Well, who cares—
There’s something thin and washy after all
In these poor visions. They all end in emptiness,
Like this. [Turns down the bottle.
Then fill again, boy—fill again!
And be ——. I say, look there!—
It is our Lady!
[Lamia enters leaning upon Lycius.
Our Lady’s very welcome: (bowing) yours, my lady—
Sir, your poor butler: (to Lycius) Picus,—man,—speak up,
The very same that swam so in my dreams;
I had forgot the Goddess!—
Peace, rude knave!
You’ve tasted what belonged to nobler brains,
266 LAMIA.  
And maddened!—My sweet love (to Lycius) ’twas kept for you,
’Tis nature’s choicest vintage.
(to Domus) Drink no more, sir!
Except what I’ll provide you.
O sweet Lady!
Lord, and I had a cup I’d thank you in it!—
But you’ve been drunk,—sweet lady—you’ve been drunk!
Here’s Master Picus knows—for we drunk you.—
Not I, in faith.
Ha! ha! my gentle love,
Methinks your butler should have been your steward.
Why you are merry, Sir—
And well you may. Look here’s a house we’ve come to!
O Jupiter!
Look here are pictures, Sir, and here’s our statues!—
That’s Bacchus! [Pointing.
And there’s Apollo,—just aiming at the serpent.
Peace, fool—my dearest Lycius,
Pray send him forth.
Sirrah, take him off! [To steward.
Fie, Domus—know your place.
My place, slave!
What, don’t I know my place? [Falls on his back.
Ain’t I the butler?
No more—no more—there—pull him out by the heels—
[Domus is dragged out.
LAMIA. 267
(To Lamia.) My most dear love—how fares it with you now?
Your cheek is somewhat pale.
Indeed, I’m weary,
We’ll not stay here—I have some cheer provided
In a more quiet chamber. [Exeunt.

A Street in Corinth; on one side a very noble building, which is
the residence of
Lamia. Mercutius, with the other Gallants,
come and discourse in front of the house
So, here they’re lodged!
In faith a pretty nest!
The first that led us hither for revenge—
O brave Mercutius!
Now my humour’s different,
For whilst there’s any stone left in the market-place
That hurt these bones, when that pert chick o’erset us
I’d never let him sleep!—
Nor I, by Nemesis!
I’d pine him to a ghost for want of rest.
To the utter verge of death.
And then you’d beat him.
Is that your noble mind!
Lo! here’s a turncoat!
D’ye hear him, gentles!—he’s come here to fool us!
268 LAMIA.  
Nor I; but that I’m turned, I will confess it;—
For as we came—in thinking over this—
Of Lycius, and the lady whom I glanced
Crouching within his mantle—
Her most distressful look came so across me—
Her death-white cheeks—
That I for one, can find no heart to fret her.
Shall Lycius then go free?
Aye for her sake:—
But do your pleasure;—it is none of mine.
Why, a false traitor!— [Exit
Sirs, I can expound him;
He’s smit—he’s passion-smit—I heard him talk
Of her strange witching eyes—such rare ones,
That they turn’d him cold as stone.
Why let him go then—but we’ll to our own.
Aye let’s be plotting
How we can vent our spites on this Sir Lycius—
I own it stirs my spleen, more than my bruises
To see him fare so well—hang him!—a model!—
One that was perk’d too, underneath our noses,
For virtue and for temperance.
I have a scheme will grieve ’em without end:
I plann’d it by the way.
You know this fellow, Lycius, has a father
Some fifteen leagues away. We’ll send him thither
By some most urgent message.
LAMIA. 269
Bravely plotted:
His father shall be dying. Ah! ’tis excellent.
I long to attempt the lady;— nay, we’ll set
Mercutius, too, upon her! Pray, let’s to it.
Look! here’s old Ban-dog. [Apollonius appears in the distance.
Nay, but I will act
Some mischief ere I go. There’s for thee, Lycius!
[He casts a stone through the window and they run off.
Enter Apollonius.
Go to, ye silly fools!—Lo! here’s a palace!
I have grown gray in Corinth, but my eyes
Never remember it. Who is the master?
Some one is coming forth. Lycius again!
[Lycius comes out disordered, with his face flushed, and reels up to Apollonius.
Why, how now, Graybeard? What! are these your frolics,
To sound such rude alarum in our ears ?
Go to!
Son, do you know me?
Know you? Why?
Or how? You have no likeness in our skies!
Gray hairs and such sour looks! You’d be a wonder!
We have nothing but bright faces. Hebes, Venuses,—
No age, no frowns!
No wrinkle, but our laughter shakes in wine.
I wish you’d learn to drink.
O Lycius! Lycius!
Would you had never learned to drink, except those springs
270 LAMIA.  
We supp’d together! These are mortal draughts,—
Your cup is drugg’d with death!
Grave sir, you lie!
I’m a young God. Look! do you not behold
The new wings on my shoulders? You may die—
That moss upon your chin proclaims you’re mortal—
And feel decays of age. But I’m renewable
At every draught I take! Here, Domus! Domus!
Enter Domus.
Bring a full cup of nectar for this churl. [Exit Domus.
’Twill give you back your youth, sir,—aye, like magic,—
And lift you o’er the clouds. You’ll dream of nothing
That’s meaner than Olympus. Smiling Goddesses
Will haunt you in your sleep. You’ll walk on flowers,
And never crush their heads.
Enter Domus with wine.
Peace, madman, peace!
None of your draughts for me—your magic potions,
That stuff your brains with such pernicious cheats!
I say, bear off the bowl! [To Domus.
What!—will he not?—
Then cast it over him,—’twill do us well—
He shall be a demi-god against his will.
Cast it I say!— [To Domus.
’Tis such a sinful waste!
Why, there then,—there [He throes it over Apollonius.
Look how it falls to the ground!—
Lord you might soak him in it year by year,
And never plump him up to a comely youth
Like you or me, sir!—
LAMIA. 271
Let him go. Farewell!—
Look, foolish Greybeard,—I am going back
To what your wisdom scorn’d.—A minute hence
My soul is in Elysium!— [Exit with Domus.
Why, I was sprinkled,—yet I feel no wet,—
’Tis strange!—this is some magic, against which
Philosophy is proof.—I must untangle it.
Hold!— [He stands in meditation,
I have it faintly dawning in my brain.
’Tis somewhere in my books (which I’ll refer to)—
Speaking of Nature’s monstrous prodigies,
That there be witching snakes—Circean births—
Who by foul spells, and forgeries, can take
The mask and shape of woman—fair externe,
But viperous within.—And so they creep
Into young hearts,—and falsify the brain
With juggling mockeries. Alas, poor boy—
If this should be thy case!—These are sad tales
To send unto thy father.
[Mercutius enters without perceiving Apollonius:
going up to Lamia’s house he recollects himself.
Here again!
What folly led me hither?—I thought I was
Proceeding homeward.—Why I’ve walked a circle
And end where I began!—[Apollonius goes up and calls in his ear.
I’ll tell you, dreamer,
It’s magic, it’s vile magic brought you hither
And made you walk in a fog.—
There, think of that,—be wise, and save yourself!
I’ve better men to care for! [Exit Apollonius.
272 LAMIA.  
What did he say?
The words were drown’d in my ear by something sweeter.
[A strain of wild music within the house.
Music! rare music!—It must be her voice;
I ne’er heard one so thrilling!—Is it safe
To listen to a song so syren-sweet—so exquisite?—
That I might hold my breath entranced and die
Of ardent listening?—she is a miracle!
Enter Domus.
Look, here’s a sot will tell me all he knows.
One of her servants—
Is that your lady’s voice? (to Domus) her pipe’s a rare one.
Ay, marry. If you heard it sound within
Till it makes the glasses chime, and all the bottles,
You’d think yourself in heaven.
I wish she’d sing again!
And if you saw her eyes, how you would marvel!
I have seen my master watch them and fall back
Like a madman in his fits. I’m rather dizzy,
And drunken-like myself—The vile quandaries,
Her beauty brings one into— [Staggers about.
Ay, I’m crazed. But you should see our Picus,—
Lord, how he stands agape, ’till he drops his salver,
And then goes down on his knees.
And so should I,
Had I been born to serve her! [Sighs.
Why you shall, boy;
And have a leather jerkin—marry, shall you?
LAMIA. 273
We need a helper sadly. I’m o’er-burthen’d;
(You see how I am burthen’d) but I’ll teach you
What manners you may want.
Well, I’m for you—
(I will dislike no place that brings me near her)
Mind you have listed me—
And I can promise
You’ll not dislike your fare—’tis excellent, light
As well as savoury, and will not stuff you;
But when you’ve eat your stretch to the outer button,
In half an hour you’ll hunger. It is all feasting,
With barely a tythe of fasting.—Then such drinking!
There’s such a cellar!
One hundred paces long, (for I have paced it)
By about two hundred narrow—Come along boy. [Exeunt.

A Chamber in Lamia’s House. Lamia and Lycius are
discovered sitting on a couch
Nay, sweet-lipp’d Silence,
’Tis now your turn to talk. I’ll not be cheated
Of any of my pleasures,—which I shall be,
Unless I sometimes listen.
Pray talk on,
A little further on. You have not told me
What country bore you, that my heart may set
Its name in a partial place.—Nay, your own name—
Which ought to be my better word for beauty—
I know not.
274 LAMIA.  
Wherefore should I talk of such things
I care not to remember? A lover’s memory
Looks back no further than when love began,
As if the dawn o’ the world.
As for my birth—suppose I like to think
That we were dropped from two strange several stars
(Being thus meant for one), why should you wish
A prettier theory, or ask my name,
As if I did not answer, heart and eyes,
To those you call me by? In sooth I will not
Provide you with a worse.
Then I must find it. Now I’m but puzzled
To compound sweet superlatives enough
In all the world of words. [Domus enters boisterously with a letter.
An express! an express!
Faith, I’ve express’d it.—I did not even wait (aside)
To pry between the folds.
[Lycius takes the letter and reads in great agitation. Lamia watches him.
Alas! what news is this? Lycius! dear Lycius!
Why do you clutch your brow so? What has chanced
To stab you with such grief? Speak! speak!
My father!
Dying—dying—if not dead by this.
I must leave you instantly.
Alas! I thought
This fair-eyed day would never see you from me!
But must you go, indeed?
LAMIA. 275
I must! I must!
This is some fierce and fearful malady
To fall so sudden on him. Why, I left him,
No longer since—ay, even when I met you
We had embraced that morn.
It was but yesterday!
How soon our bliss is marr’d! And must you leave me!
Oh! do not ask again with such a look,
Or I shall linger here and pledge my soul,
To everlasting shame and keen remorse!
The Fates are cruel!
Yet let me cling to thee and weep awhile:
We may not meet again. I cannot feel
You are safe but in these arms. [She embraces him.
I’m split asunder
By opposite factions of remorse and love,
But all my soul clings here.
It makes me weep.
He will not see his father. [Lycius casts himself on the couch.
Lamia (striking Domus).
Wretch! take that,
For harrowing up his griefs! Dearest!—my Lycius!
Lean not your brow upon that heartless pillow!
How he groan’d then!
Lycius, you fright me!
You turn me cold!
276 LAMIA.  
Lycius (rising up).
Oh, in that brief rest,
I’ve had a waking vision of my father!
Ev’n as he lay on his face and groan’d for me,
And shed like bitter tears!
Oh, how those groans will count in heav’n against me,—
One for pain’s cruelty, but two for mine,
That gave a sting to his anguish.
His dying breath will mount to the skies and curse me.
His anger’d ghost
Will haunt my sight, and when I’d look upon you
Step in like a blot between us.
Go, go, or you will hate me. Go and leave me!
If I now strive by words or tears to stay you
For my pleasure’s sake or pains’,
You’d say there was something brutal in my nature
Of cold and fiendish, and unlike woman;
Some taint that devilish——
Yet give me one long look before you go—
One last, long look! [She fixes her eyes on his.
O Gods, my spirit fails me,
And I have no strength to go although I would.
Perhaps he is dead already!
Ha! Why, then,
What can I? Or, if not, what can I still?
Can I keep him from his urn? or give him breath?
Or replenish him with blood?
Alas! alas!
Would I had art or skill enough to heal him!
LAMIA. 277
Ay, art and skill, indeed, do more than love
In such extremities. Stay! here, hard by,
There dwells a learn’d and most renown’d physician.
Hath wrought mere miracles.
Him I’ll engage, arm’d with our vows and prayers,
To spend his utmost study on my father,
And promptly visit him. A short farewell. [Exit. Domus follows.
Farewell—be not o’er long. It made me tremble
That he should see his father! The oldest eyes
Look through some fogs that young ones cannot fathom,
And lay bare mysteries. Ah me! how frail
Are my foundations! Dreams, mere summer dreams,
Which, if a day-beam pierce, return to nothing!
And let in sadder shows. A foot! so soon!
Why, then, my wishes hold.
Enter Domus and Picus.
He’s gone! he’s gone!
He had not snuff’d the air, outside o’ the gate,
When it blew a change in his mind. He bade me tell you,
A voice from the sky-roof, where the gods look down,
Commanded him to his father.
No more! no more!
(The skies begin, then, to dispute my charms.)
But did he ne’er turn back?
Ay, more than twice
He turn’d on his heel, and stood—then turn’d again
And tramp’d still quicker as he got from hence,
Till at last he ran like a lapwing!
This is a tale
Coin’d by the silly drunkard. You, sir, speak. [To Picus.
278 LAMIA.  
Nay, by our troths—
Then, Sirrah, do not speak.
If such vile sense be truth, I’ve had too much on’t.
Hence! fly! or I will kill you with a frown.
You’ve madden’d me!
I saw her eyes strike fire!
[Picus and Domus run out. Lamia looks round the chamber.
Alone! alone?
Then, Lamia, weep, and mend your shatter-web,
And hang your tears, like morning dew, upon it.
Look how your honey-bee has broken loose
Through all his meshes, and now wings away,
Showing the toils were frail. Ay, frail as gossamers
That stretch from rose to rose. Some adverse pow’r
Confronts me, or he could not tear them thus.
Some evil eye has pierced my mystery!
A blight is in its ken!
I feel my charms decay—my will’s revoked—
And my keen sight, once a prophetic sense,
Is blinded with a cloud—horrid and black.
Like a veil before the face of Misery!
Another Apartment in Lamia’s House. Enter Julius (Lycius’s
brother) with Domus.
Rumour has not belied the house i’ the least,—
’Tis all magnificent. I pray you, sir,
How long has your master been gone?
About two quarts, sir,
That is, as long as one would be a drinking ’em.
’Tis a very little while since he set off, sir.
LAMIA. 279
You keep a strange reckoning.
Where is your mistress? Will she see me?
Ay, marry;
That is, if you meet; for it is good broad daylight.
This fellow’s manners speak but ill for the house. (Aside.)
Go, Sirrah, to your lady, with my message:
Tell her, one Julius, Lycius’s best friend,
Desires a little converse. [Exit Domus.
Now for this miracle whose charms have bent
The straightest stem of youth strangely awry—
My brother Lycius!
He was not use to let his inclination
Thus domineer his reason: the cool, grave shade
Of Wisdom’s porch dwelt ever on his brow
And govern’d all his thoughts, keeping his passions
Severely chasten’d. Lo! she comes. How wondrously
Her feet glide o’er the ground. Aye, she is beautiful!
So beautiful, my task looks stern beside her,
And duty faints like doubt. [Lamia enters.
Oh, thou sweet fraud!
Thou fair excuse for sin, whose matchless cheek
Vies blushes with the shame it brings upon thee.
Thou delicate forgery of love and virtue,
Why art thou as thou art, not what here seems
So exquisitely promised?
Sir, do you know me?
If not,—and my near eyes declare you strange,—
Mere charity should make you think me better.
Oh, would my wishful thought could think no worse
Than I might learn by gazing.
Why are not those sweet looks—those heavenly looks,
280 LAMIA.  
True laws to judge thee by, and call thee perfect?
’Tis pity, indeed ’tis pity,
That anything so fair should be a fraud!
Sir, I beseech you, wherefore do you hang
These elegies on me? For pity’s sake
What do you take me for? No woman, sure,
By aiming thus to wound me (weeping).
Ay, call those tears
Into your ready eyes! I’d have them scald
Your cheeks until they fade, and wear your beauty
To a safe and ugly ruin. Those fatal charms
Can show no sadder wreck than they have brought
On many a noble soul, and noble mind!
Pray count me:
How many men’s havocks might forerun the fall
Of my lost brother Lycius?
Are you his brother?
Then I’ll not say a word to vex you: not a look
Shall aim at your offence. You are come to chide me,
I know, for winning him to sell his heart
At such a worthless rate. Yet I will hear you,
Patiently, thankfully, for his dear sake.
I will be as mild and humble as a worm
Beneath your just rebuke. ’Tis sure no woman
Deserved him; but myself the least of all,
Who fall so far short in his value.
She touches me! (Aside.)
Look, sir, upon my eyes. Are they not red?
Within an hour, I’ve rained a flood of tears,
To feel, to know
LAMIA. 281
I am no better than the thing I am,
Having but just now leam’d to rate my vileness.
You cannot charge
My unworthy part so bitterly as I do.
If there’s about me anything that’s honest,
Of true and womanly, it belongs to Lycius,
And all the rest is Grief’s.
Then I’ll not grieve you—
I came with frowns, but I depart in tears
And sorrow for you both; for what he was,
And what you might have been.—A pair of wonders,
The grace and pride of nature—now disgraced,
And fallen beyond redress.
You wring my heart!—
Ay, if you think how you have made him stain
The fair-blown pride of his unblemish’d youth,
His studious years—
And for what poor exchange? these fading charms—
I will not say how frail.
O hold—pray hold!
Your words have subtle cruel stings, and pierce
More deeply than you aim?—This sad heart knows
How little of such wrong and spiteful ill
Were in love’s contemplation when it clasp’d him!
Lycius and bliss made up my only thought;
But now, alas!
A sudden truth dawns on me, like a light
Thro’ the remainder tatters of a dream,
And shows my bliss in shreds.
I pity you!
Nay, doubtless you will be, some wretched day,
A perish’d cast-off weed when found no flower—
282 LAMIA.  
Or else even then, his substance being gone,
My brother’s heart will break at your desertion.
O never, never! [Fervently.
Never, by holy truth! whilst I am woman!
Be false what may, at least my heart is honest.
Look round you, sir; this wealth, such as it is,
Once mine, is now all his; and when ’tis spent,
I’ll beg for him, toil for him, steal for him!
God knows how gladly I would share his lot
This speaking moment in a humble shed
Like any of our peasants!—aye, lay these hands
To rude and rugged tasks, expose these cheeks
You are pleased to flatter, to the ardent sun;
So we might only live in safe pure love
And constant partnership—never to change
In each other’s hearts and eyes!—
You mend your fault.
This late fragmental virtue, much redeems you;
Pray cherish it, Hark! what a lawless riot.
[A loud boisterous shout is heard from below.
O hope—Again! (the noise renewed) why then this is a triumph
Of your true fame, which I had just mistaken;
Shame on thee, smooth dissembler—shame upon thee!
Is this the music of your songs of sorrow,
And well-feigned penitence—lo! here, are these
Your decent retinue—
Enter the wild Gallants, fluslied with wine.
Sir, by heaven’s verity
I do not know a face! indeed I do not;
They are strange to me as the future.
Then the future
Must serve us better, chuck. Here bully mates,
These, Lady, are my friends, and friends of Lycius!
LAMIA. 283
Is it so?—then Lycius is fallen indeed!—
Ay, he has had his trip,—as who has not, sir?
I’ll warrant you’ve had your stumbles,—
Once,—on an ape.
Get out o’ the way of my shins. [Going.
Sir, dearest sir,
In pity do not go, for your brother’s sake,
If not for mine,—take up my guardianship,
’Gainst these ungentle men. [She lays hold of Julius.
Off, wanton, off!—
Would you have me of your crew too? [Exit roughly
Let him go!—
He has a graft in him of that sour crab,
The Apollonius—Let him go, a churl!
Sweet lady, you look sad,—fie, it was ill done of Lycius,
To leave his dove so soon,—but he has some swan
At nest in another place.
I’ll bet my mare on’t.
Kind Sirs,—indeed I’m sorry
Your friend’s not here. If he were by,
He would help you to your welcome.
We’ve no doubt on’t; [Bitterly,
But we’ll not grieve, since here we are quite enough
For any merriment.
284 LAMIA.  
And as for a welcome,
We’ll acknowledge it on your cheer,—
Then that’s but sorry, sir,
If you mean what lies in my heart.
No, no, in faith,
We mean what lies in your cellar,—wine, rare wine,
We will pledge you in floods on’t, and when knock’d off our legs,
Adore you on our knees.
Hear me, sweet gentles,
How you shall win my favour. Set to work and copy—
Be each a Lycius.
Lycius, forsooth! hang him!
A model again! the perfect model.
As if we could not match his vices!
Pray ask your Lycius, when he’s new come back,
(If ever he come back)
What his father ail’d,—or if he ail’d at all,
And how it ail’d too, that his brother Julius
Got no such forged advice.
It had charm’d your heart to see how swift he ran,
(Whether to get from hence or gain elsewhere,
I know not) but I never saw such striving,
Save at the Olympic games to win the goal.
Ha! ha! ha!
Laugh on, I pray laugh on. Ye puny spites!
You think to fret me with these ill coin’d tales;
LAMIA. 285
But look, I join in your glee, [She attempts to laugh.
Or if I cannot, ’tis because I’m choked with a curse.
[She hurries out.
It works! it wings her! What shall we next?
Follow her, or carry her off.
These are too violent,
And perilous to ourselves; but I will fit
Our revenge to its other half. Sir Lycius now
Must have the green eye set in his head, and then
They’ll worry each other’s hearts without our help.
Julius or Apollonius will be our ready organs
To draw his ear.
’Tis plausible, and cannot fail to part ’em,
And when he has shaken her from off his bough
It needs she must fall to us.
I wonder where
That poor sick fool Mercutius is gone?
He hath a chance now.
Methought I glanced him
Below, and forsooth, disguised as a serving-man;
But he avoided me.
The subtle fox!
Let us go beat him up. [Exeunt hallooing.

The Street before Lamia’s House. Enter Apollonius with Julius.
I say she is a snake—
And so say I;
286 LAMIA.  
But not in the same sense—
No, not exactly.
You take that literal, which I interpret
But as a parable—a figure feign’d
By the elder sages, (much inclined to mark
Their subtle meanings in dark allegories)
For those poisonous natures—those bewitching sins
That arm’d and guarded with a woman’s husk,
But viperous within, seduce young hearts,
And sting where they are cherish’d.
Your guess is shrewd;
Nay, excellent enough to have been my own.
But, hark you, I have read in elder oracles
Than ever you will quote, the fact which backs me.
In Greece, in the midst of Greece, it hath been known,
And attested upon oath, i’ the faith of multitudes,
That such true snakes have been—real hissing serpents,
Though outwardly like women.
With one of such, a youth,—a hopeful youth,
Sober, discreet, and able to subdue
His passions otherwise,—even like our Lycius,—
For a fortnight lived, in a luxury of wealth,
Till suddenly she vanish’d, palace and all,
Like the shadow of a cloud.
The dainty fable!
But now unto the proof. Methinks this sounds
Like a real door (knocking); a cloud scarce wars so,
But when Jove strikes it with a thunderbolt.
I’ll tell you, sir,
She is a wanton, and that’s quite enough
To perish a world of wealth. [Picus comes to the door.
Ho, sirrah! fellow!
Is your lady now within?
LAMIA. 287
No, sir, she’s out.
Something hath put her out—she will see nobody.
She’s ill, she’s grievous bad—her head won’t bear
The rout of company. [A loud shout within.
Why, then, I think
The medical conclave might observe more quiet.
Look, knave! are these her grave, her learn’d physicians?
Well met, Sirs. [Another shout, and Curio, &c., issue forth.
That’s as may be. Ha! old mastiff!
Go to your kennel.
You are just in time, sirs,
To settle our dispute: we have a gage on’t,
The sophist here and I.
There is one lives in that house—(pointing to Lamia’s)—how
would you call her?
A woman?
Ay; and sure a rare one,
As I have proved upon her lips.
[Lamia opens a window gently and listens.
Ay, marry, have we!
She was kind enough, for our poor sakes, to send
One Lycius, her late suitor, on an errand
That will make him footsore.
Yes, a sort of summons,
Cunningly forged to bid him haste to his father,
Who lay in the jaws of death. Lord, how he’ll swear
To find the old cock quite well!
This is too true. [To Apollonius.
I left our father but this very morn
288 LAMIA.  
The halest of old men. He was then on his way
Towards this city, on some state affair.
They’ll encounter upon the road!
Here is some foul and double damn’d deception.
[Lamia, by signs, assents to this reflection.
I’ll catechise myself. Here, sir—you—you, [To Curio.
Who have gazed upon this witch, touch’d her, and talk’d with her,
How know you she is woman, flesh and blood,
True clay and mortal lymph, and not a mockery
Made up of infernal elements of magic!
Can’st swear she is no cloud,—no subtle ether,—
No fog, bepainted with deluding dyes,—
No cheating underplot,—no covert shape,
Making a filthy masquerade of nature.
I say, how know ye this?
How? by my senses.
If I nipp’d her cheek, till it brought the white and red,
I wot she is no fog.
Fie on the senses!
What are the senses but our worst arch-traitors?
What is a madman but a king betray’d
By the corrupted treason of his senses?
His robe a blanket, and his sceptre a straw,
His crown his bristled hair.
Fie on the shallow senses! What doth swear
Such perjuries as the senses?—what give birth
To such false rumours, and base verdicts render
In the very spite of truth? Go to: thy senses
Are bond slaves, both to madness and to magic,
And all the mind’s disease. I say the senses
Deceive thee, though they say a stone’s a stone.
And thou wilt swear by them an oath, forsooth,
And say the outer woman is utter woman,
LAMIA. 289
And not a whit a snake? Hark! there’s my answer.
[Lamia closes the window violently
That noise shall be my comment.
He talks in riddles,
Like a sphinx lapp’d in a blanket. Gentles—Curio—
Let us leave him to his wisdom.
Aye, I’ll promise
’Twill dive far deeper than your feather wits
Into some mysteries. [Going towards the door.
There’s one I know in her house,
By name Mercutius, a most savage fellow:
I commend ye to his wrath. [Exeunt Curio, Gallo, &c.
So, get ye gone,
Ye unregarded whelps.
But will you in
Whether she will or no?
Indeed I mean it.
Sirrah (to Picus), lead on. I’ll charge you with your message.

A Chamber in Lamia’s House. Enter Mercutius in a distracted
Where is this haunting witch?—not here! not here!—
Why then for a little rest and unlook’d calm,
Aye, such a calm,
290 LAMIA.  
As the shipmate curses on the stagnate sea
Under the torrid zone, that bakes his deck
Till it burns the sole of his foot. My purpose idles,
But my passions burn without pause; O how this hot
And scarlet plague runs boiling through my veins
Like a molten lava! I’m all parch’d up.
There’s not a shady nook throughout my brain
For a quiet thought to lie—no, not a spring
Of coolness left in my heart.—If I have any name,
It is Fever, who is all made up of fire,
Of pangs—deliriums—raving ecstacies,—
And desperate impulse—ha! a foot!—I know it!—
Now then, I’ll ambush here, and come upon her
Like a wild boar from a thicket.
[He hides himself behind an arras, Lamia enters holding her forehead betwixt her palms.
This should be a real head—or ’twould not throb so—
Who ever doubts it!
I would he had these racking pains within;
Ay—and those he hath set in my heart, to drive him mad.
How now, sir!
Enter Picus.
There are two below, beseech you
For a conference. The one’s a wrinkled greybeard,
The other—
You need not name. I will see neither;
And tell them—look,—with a copy of this frown,
If they congregate again beneath my eaves,
I have that will hush their twitting. [Exit Picus.
Why must I reap
These unearn’d spites where I have sown no hate?
Do the jealous gods
Stir up these canker’d spirits to pursue me?
Another! (Mercutius comes forward) What brings thee hither?
LAMIA. 291
Mercutius (gloomily).
I do not know,—
If love, or hate—indeed I do not know,—
Or whether a twine of both,—they’re so entangled.
Mayhap to clasp thee to my heart, and kiss thee,—
To fondle thee,—or tear thee,—I do not know!
Whether I come to die, or work thy death,
Whether to be thy tyrant, or thy slave,
In truth, I do not know.
But that some potent yearning draws me to thee,
Something, as if those lips were rich and tempting,
And worthy of caressing,—fondly endear’d—
And something as if a tortured devil within me
Sought revenges of his pangs:—I cannot answer
Which of these brings me hither.
Then prythee hence,
Till that be analysed.
Ha! ha! turn back:
Why if I am the tiger—here’s my prey—
Or if the milk-mild dove—here is my choice—
Do you think I shall turn back howe’er it be?—
Let the embrace prove which. Nay, do not shrink,—
If an utter devil press into thy arms,
Thyself invoked him!—
Ah! I know by this
Your bent is evil!
Then ’twas evil born!—
As it works ’twas wrought on—look—say what I am,
For I have no recognisance of myself.
Am I wild beast or man—civil or savage—
Reasoning or brutal—or gone utter mad,—
So am I as thou turn’d me,—hellish or heavenly,
The slavish subject of thy influence,—
292 LAMIA.  
I know not what I am,—nor how I am,
But by thy own enforcement—come to force thee,
Being passion-mad.
How have I wrought hither?
I would thou wert away!
Why dost thou sit then
I’ the middle of a whirlpool drawing me unto thee;
My brain is dizzy and my heart is sick,
With the circles I have made round thee and round thee!
Till I dash into thy arms!—
There shalt thou never!
Go! desperate man;—away!—and fear thy Gods,
Or else the hot indignation in my eyes
Will blast thee. O, beware! I have within me
A dangerous nature, which if thou provoke,
Acts cruelly. Ne’er chafe me; thou had’st better
Ruffle a scorpion than the thing I am!—
Or I’ll bind thy bones till they crack!—
Ha! ha! dost threaten?
Why then come ruin, anguishes, or death,—
Being goaded onward by my headlong fate
I’ll clasp thee!—
Though there be sugar’d venom on thy lips
I’ll drink it to the dregs—though there be plagues
In thy contagious touch—or in thy breath
Putrid infections—though thou be more cruel
Than lean-ribb’d tigers—thirsty and open-fang’d,
I will be as fierce a monster for thy sake,
And grapple thee.
Would Lycius were here!
LAMIA. 293
Ha! would’st thou have him gash’d and torn in strips
As I would scatter him? then so say I
“Would Lycius were here!” I have oft clench’d
My teeth in that very spite.
Thou ruthless devil!
To hear him so bloody a will!—Why then, come hither,
We are a fit pair.
[Mercutius embracing her, she stabs him in the back with a small dagger
Mercutius (falling).
O thou false witch!
Thou hast prick’d me to the heart! Ha! what a film
Falls from my eyes!—or have the righteous Gods
Transform’d me a beast for this! Thou crawling spite,
Thou hideous—venemous— [Dies.
Let the word choke thee!
I know what I am. Thou wilful desperate fool
To charge upon the spikes!—thy death be upon thee!—
Why would’st thou have me sting? Heaven knows I had spared
But for thy menace of a dearer life.
O! Lycius! Lycius!
I have been both woman and serpent for thy sake—
Perchance to be scorn’d in each:—I have but gored
This ill-starr’d man in vain!—hush, methought he stirr’d;
I’ll give him another thrust (stabs the body); there—lie thou quiet.
What a frown he hath upon his face!
May the Gods ne’er mention it
In their thunders, nor set the red stain of his blood
For a sign of wrath in the sky I—O thou poor wretch!
Not thee dull clod!—but for myself I weep—
The sport of such malicious destinies!
Why was I heiress of these mortal gifts
Perishing all whether I love or hate?
294 LAMIA.  
Nay, come out of sight [To the body.
With thy dismal puckering look,—’twill fright the world
Out of its happiness. [She drags the body aside, and covers it with drapery.
Would I could throw
A thicker curtain on thee—but I see thee
All through and through, as though I had
The eyes of a God within; alas, I fear
I am here all human, and have that fierce thing
They call a conscience! [Exit.
[With the annexed plan of the lobby it was intended to engrave the fatal pistol, of the exact size; but its entire dimensions a little exceeded the length of this page. I have, therefore, merely to state that it was strong, with a wide bore, and the barrel, as nearly as possible, three inches long.]

7, 8, 10, 11, are the pillars which support the ceiling.
1, Mr. Eastaff at the door of the Vote-office.
2 and 3, Messrs. Taylor and Kennedy, the door-keepers at the entrance into the house, at the farther side of the lobby.
5, 6, 9, 12, and 13, Mr. W. Smith, Lord F. Osborne, Mr. Burrell, M.P.s, Mr. Burgess, and Mr. Dowling—I am not precise as to the exact place, but they were nearly so situated.
15, Mr. Boys, a Solicitor, and several persons from Ramsgate engaged upon a bill concerning the pier. This Mr. Boys was an important witness, though not called upon at the trial. The other marks indicate parties whom circumstances did not bring forward to the knowledge of the writer.
16, 17, and 18, were Bellingham, Mr. Perceval, and Mr. Jerdan, at the folding door which gives admission to the lobby; and in their relative situations, when the mortal crime was perpetrated.
19, Where Mr. Perceval fell, and where he was carried, as indicated, into the Speaker’s room.
20, The bench on which the assassin seated himself.