LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Autobiography of William Jerdan
Ch. 18: Poets

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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Come on, ye Critics, find one fault who dares;
For read it backwards, like a witch’s prayers,
’Twill do as well.
As skilful divers to the bottom fall
Sooner than those who cannot swim at all;
So, in this way of writing without thinking,,
I have a strange alacrity in sinking.

Among my endeavours to promote useful undertakings, I wrote much in favour of an Equitable Trade Society for the adjustment of disputed accounts, the prevention of law suits, and the benefit of the commercial and trading interests, which unfortunately never could be carried into execution, to substitute cheap and honest arbitration for costly and lottery-like decisions. The public has not yet become wise enough to mature such a plan, and the county and other courts continue to do the old work, though so far happily, in a partially reformed manner. I also strove for the establishment of free drawing schools, and schools for the cultivation of design, throughout the kingdom: I was then before the age, but am rejoiced to have seen the recommendation acted upon within the last few years, and I trust it will spread to the magnitude and encouragement of the fine arts which I
originally contemplated. I also, I believe, uttered the first continuous outcry against cruelty to animals, which has also, since then, acquired a definite form, and reflected credit upon humanity.

These were labours of love, and pursued with a lover’s fervour; and I was not less gratified by making my way gradually in the opening of scientific and learned institutions for the general benefit, by procuring admission to their sittings and leave to make known their proceedings, hitherto the sealed mysteries of a few individuals, till perhaps a tardy volume, appearing after the lapse of years, told us of something that had grown stale by keeping. The contrast now, in consequence, is astonishing: assuredly I contributed mainly to remove the bushel from over the candle, so that its light might be diffused over the land: and see
“How far this little candle throws that light;
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”

Nor was my pen idle in the way of fanciful pleasantries, of which, as not yet obsolete or too stupid for a good-humoured perusal, I take leave to insert here a specimen:—

“Orkney, June 4th, 1817.

“The being one of those gifted individuals who possess the second sight, or faculty of peeping into futurity, would, I am sure, constitute a sufficient introduction to your columns; but the marvellous manner in which I have recently had my prognosis confirmed, furnishes a still more irresistible claim to your attention.


“Walking on the 30th of February, sir, upon the seaside, I beheld at about the distance of three furlongs, upon a small tabular-shaped rock which just emerged from the bosom of the heaving wave, one of those extraordinary creatures, the existence of which has been almost as much doubted by sceptics as the existence of the second sight itself, I mean a Mermaid, if I may so call that which appeared to be a Mother,* for she was suckling a little innocent with a tail like a gold fish, and not longer than eighteen or twenty inches. Both mother and child were surpassingly beautiful. The former had a fine oval countenance, and not the less lovely from being inclined to green, like some of Sir Joshua Reynolds’s pictures, in which the colours are most evanescent. Her hair was purplish, as you may have seen the carrot-locks of mortals who had in vain attempted to die them black, and so long that it floated on the water like a sea-weed. The bust was the finest I ever gazed upon; and though I cannot so much approve of her extremities, it is but justice to acknowledge that the whole of the fish department was radiant as a dolphin playing in the sunbeams, elastic as the flying-fish, and shapely as the salmon. Earnestly engaged in her maternal office, the oceanic lady did not heed my approach, and when she began to sing her offspring to sleep—ye gods! it was the music of the spheres or fabled cadences of the expiring swan. Never was mortal man so raptured as I was. I stood transfixed in a trance of delirium, chained, like another Prometheus, to the rock nearest that of the enchanting Mermaid. In this posture it seems I first caught her eye, and whether it was that, being susceptible of flattery as earthly females are said to be, or influenced by any other consideration I know

* “In terrene affairs this species of misnomer is not uncommon.”

not, but to some cause or other must I attribute the wonderful condescension with which she rewarded the expression of intense admiration so visible in my features.

“It were needless, sir, to occupy you with the entire conversation that ensued. Suffice it to say, that a perfectly good understanding arose between the prophetess of the sea and the seer of the earth. The Mer-child was gracefully laid to slumber upon the fin of its accomplished parent while she unfolded to me the drama of the future.

“It may be proper to explain to you that my sight is limited to somewhere about seven hundred and thirty days, beyond which my perceptions of futurity are dim and uncertain. But my fair companion darted her easy glance into years, it may be into ages, far removed. Curiosity is most excited by proximate objects. I cared little for 1920, but 1820 arrived just at the end of my own vista, and I regarded with peculiar attention the exposition of that year as successive seasons were unfolded to me in the glass of my wonderful acquaintance. This glass, by the way—and I am happy to set at rest so important a point in natural history—is a perfect sphere, and not an oval piano, as hitherto represented by the pretenders to Mermaidal intercourse. Upon its transparent face the lines of January, 1821, were just opening upon my eye, when the report of a duck-gun startled my ear. In an instant my instructress vanished beneath the billow, and what became of her glass I know not, though from the unwelcome entrance of about an ounce of shot (No. 1, Mr. Editor!) into my body, I am inclined to suspect that she also got a few drops too much, and that her glass was shivered. For some moments I was not aware of being wounded; but when the sportsmen started from behind a precipice where they had couched for the benefit of a surer aim, I perceived the whole nature and
extent of my misfortune. Painful as was my situation in every respect, the denouement had something ludicrous in it. I was peppered, and that soundly too, and the shooters, my personal friends, with all their assumed concern, could not help laughing heartily at the mode in which they had interrupted my tête-à-tête with the Mermaid.

“But no more of this. I hasten to lay before you as much of the history of the year Eighteen Hundred and Twenty as I can recollect; many important matters having I fear, slipped my memory during the three months I have been smarting under the hands of the surgeon, and those benevolent friends who have from time to time had the kindness to devote an hour to the amusement of picking the shots out of the carcase of your unfortunate humble servant,



* “The King’s palace looked quite bare and unfurnished; there had been a clamour against the expense of chairs and tables for it, and the Sovereign had reduced his establishment to Spartan plainness. I naturally took a peep to observe how wretched the prisons must now be; but judge my surprise on finding every gaol glittering with mirrors, rich with Turkey carpets and sofas, and some of them even adorned with noble corridors and the most transcendent paintings, with lawns for exercise, theatres for concerts and private performances, and all that taste could devise for the gratification of luxury. On inquiry, I found

* “Our correspondent’s letter here assumes the form of loose notes, apparently the result of his examination of the glass, and the explanations of its proprietor.”

that this change had taken place in consequence of the exertions of a great statesman of the name of Benedict, and that the most magnificent of the buildings I saw were for State Prisoners, so called from the state in which they were maintained.

“I turned to examine the church. Astonishing! Each venerable pile was surrounded by a number of appendage buildings, like a hen and chicken daisy; these were chapels of ease which had been added at the suggestion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1817. St. Paul’s cut a most extraordinary figure with its adjuncts, which reached all over what was once Paternoster Row, and Satan was now defied where Printers’ Devils had reigned so long. The interior of the National Church was however even more transformed than the exterior. The light of reason had at last succeeded in attaining perfect toleration. The Archbishop of Canterbury was a very zealous Roman Catholic; the Chancellor of the Exchequer a worthy Jew, with a fine beard, and a great financier; the first Lord of the Admiralty an Anabaptist, who baptised the crew of his fleets over the ship’s sides; the first Lord of the Bedchamber a strict Methodist; the Lord Chancellor a Southcotian, with the guardianship of many Shilohs; and the Commander-in-Chief a Quaker!

“A grand reform had taken place in Parliament. There was a general election every month. Men had two votes, children one, and women three. Nine-tenths of the members were consequently females, a few males standing for the boroughs. The Speaker this month (April) was Mrs. Mary Anne Clarke, whose intrigues had elevated her to that high situation.

“There was a levee. I took a peep. The chief presentations consisted of missionaries returned from prose-
lytising Asia, Africa, and America. Their suites were the most splendid that can be imagined, and composed of black, copper, tawny, grey, yellow, red, blue, pink, green, and carnation-coloured natives of every clime in the universe. Their wives were superbly dressed, and their concubines and seraglios still more magnificently adorned. Some of them were blazing in diamonds.

“At the Cabinet Council after the ceremony, dispatches from Tombuctoo were laid before his Majesty. A storm had wrecked several vessels in the Niger between Wangara and Bergou, and a gang of carpenters were ordered to be dispatched to assist the King of Tuarick in repairing them. There was also indifferent intelligence from Nubia and Darfur. The canal for carrying the Nile out of its course so as to avoid the cataracts, had however been completed under the inspection of that able engineer, Mr. ——.

“The provincial halls for the meetings of political delegates were just roofed in; a letter from America offered to bet 100 dollars that the writer would return to England by next fall,

“The exhibition of the Royal Academy was open, and consisted entirely of portraits, an essay from the pen of the learned Sir Sycophant Flatter, Knt., having proved to the conviction of the nation that portraiture was the truest, highest, nicest, and most interesting branch of the art. The sculpture-room was full of busts—that of architecture, with plans of prisons and elevations of monuments to living merit.

“Drury-Lane Theatre, after being shut two seasons, was opened for three sermons to be preached by Mr. Chalmers. Boxes, pit, and galleries, a bumper. At Covent Garden there was a piece performed by dogs and monkeys; it was bespoke by Prince George Augustus Coburg, now nearly three years old, who was rapturously
greeted by the audience, and seemed much pleased with the entertainments. The actors certainly exerted themselves to the utmost, especially that old public favourite, Mr. Jacko. An apology was made for Tobina, the successor of the learned pig, who was to have danced a waltz to a wind instrument, but was prevented by a cholicky complaint. The last bulletin was, however, favourable.

“An advertisement announces that Professor Davy has nearly perfected his recent invention of the ‘Salamander Great Coat, which enables the wearer to walk at his ease through the flames of burning houses.’ The happiest results are expected from this discovery. The same paper notices that the steam apparatus for working questions in fluxions and algebra, has already sold nineteen thousand; the steam wings are ready for the new expedition, and General —— has almost recovered from the bursting of his boiler.

“Bridges with the arches inverted are not so universal as they would be, as tunnels seem to meet with greater encouragement. That from Dover to Calais is not expected to be complete for some time.

“The greatest improvement in politics seems to be the system of legislating entirely through the medium of newspapers. Oratory has certainly declined in consequence of this alteration; but then printing has greatly improved, and the steam compositors and editors may be reckoned the perfection of human ingenuity.

“Dancing on all fours is now the only fashionable style. The missionaries’ ladies who introduced it still surpass native artists; but some of our belles go near to rival them, not only in the camel, buffalo, and beaver steps, but even in the tiger spring, squirrel frisk, and ape gambol. What will not British talent accomplish!

“Examinations for public employments of every kind, as
well as medical degrees, legal appointments, &c, being now determined by craniology, the Barbers’ Company have resumed their ancient pre-eminence, and shaving in all its branches flourishes more than ever.

“In consequence of the universal use of iron paving, the city of Edinburgh has been ruined; and the port of Leith, which was wont to carry on so brisk a trade in the staple commodity furnished by Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat paving stones, is now a desert.

“The Grand Seignior, the Emperor of Pernambuco, and
* * * * *
oh! * *


May I add, from many more in my earliest numbers of the “Literary Gazette,” these brief morceaux:—

Είς τά έν τω Μουσειω Βρεταννίκω συντηρούμενα άγάλματα, Έπίγραμμα.
Έλλάς έμή, πολεμοισι καταϕθιμένη πτολίπορθοις,
Χαιρε, καί έν ϕέρετρω τοισι τέκεσσι ϕίλη.
Σωμα τεόν θνμτόν πόλεμοι έδύναντʹ άπόλεσσαι
Άθανάτον ψυχήν ούκ όλέσαι δυνατόν.
Ζήσεται άθανάτοισιν άεί έπέεσσιν Όμηροςʹ
Φείδιου εμψυχοις πνευμ ετʹ ενεστι λίθοις.
Έν Λονδίνω τη κέ Ίουλίου.
Hail, Greece! my loved, my native land,
The ruthless desolate thy strand:
In death, dear to thy filial band!
Thy mortal part the foe might spoil:
The immortal mocked his barbarous toil!
And till of human kind is none,
In deathless verse shall Homer live;
And Phidias’ spirit shall survive
In every breathing stone.—W. J.
O’er Wechabites the Pacha’s fame
A wondrous trophy rears:—
Tongues other conquerors proclaim;
His deeds are told by Ears!
A paradox is his campaign:
No town does he attack,
Yet his foes’ capitals are ta’en,
And all given up to sack!Teutha.

The Moslem Bridal Song, Czerni George, Rosolia, the Death Song, on a Portrait of the Queen of Prussia, on Stewardson’s beautiful Painting of an Indian Girl charming a Serpent, on Nelson’s pillar at Yarmouth, on Portraits by J. P. Davis and Macquerier, and other poems, by Dr. Croly, first appeared in the Gazette within the few months over which I have run, besides others hitherto unpublished, from which it is my purpose to select a few examples. At the same time Barry Cornwall first imped his wing in my grateful pages, and long continued a most welcome guest. In publishing their collected works, neither of my old friends have stated these circumstances, which I thought, though I care about it no longer, rather unkind to the cradle in which they were nursed. It is therefore the more my duty, as the rocker thereof, to restore some of their early utterances in the bygone and almost forgotten times.

The following are by Croly in 1817:—

The wind blows chill across those gloomy waves—
Oh! how unlike the green and dancing main!
The surge is foul, as if it rolled o’er graves;—
Stranger! here lie the Cities of the Plain!
Yes; on that waste, by wild waves covered now,
Rose palace proud, and sparkling pinnacle:
On pomp and festival beam’d morning’s glow;
On pomp and festival the twilight fell.
Lovely, and splendid all;—but Sodom’s soul
Was stained with blood, and pride, and perjury;
Long warned, long spared, till her whole heart was foul,
And fiery vengeance on its clouds came nigh.
And still she mocked, and danced, and taunting spoke
Her sportive blasphemies against the Throne:—
It came!—the thunder on her slumber broke,
God spake the word of wrath—her dream was done!
Yet, in her final night, amid her stood
Immortal messengers, and pausing Heaven
Pleaded with man, but she was quite embrued;
Her last hour waned, she scorned to be forgiven!
’Twas done!—down poured at once the sulphurous shower;
Down stooped in flame the heaven’s red canopy;
Oh, for the arm of God in that fierce hour!
’Twas vain; nor help of God or man was nigh.
They rush, they bound, they howl! the men of sin!
Still stooped the cloud, still burst the thicker blaze:
The earthquake heaved! then sank the hideous din—
Yon wave of darkness o’er their ashes strays.
Paris! thy soul is deeper dyed with blood,
And long and blasphemous has been thy day;
And, Paris, it were well for thee, that flood
Or fire could cleanse thy damning stains away.
The sun went down in beauty—Not a cloud
Darkened its radiance,—yet there might be seen
A few fantastic vapours scatter’d o’er
The face of the blue heavens;—some fair and slight
As the pure lawn that shields the maiden’s bosom;
Some shone like silver—some did stream afar
(Faint and dispersed) like the pale horse’s mane
Which Death shall stride hereafter, some were glittering
Like dolphin’s scales,—touched out with wavering hues
Of beautiful light—outvying some the rose,
And some the violet, yellow, and white, and blue,
Scarlet, and purpling red.
One small, lone ship
Was seen, with outstretch’d sails, keeping its way
In quiet o’er the deep,—all nature seem’d
Fond of tranquillity,—the glassy sea
Scarce rippled—the halcyon slept upon the wave,
The winds were all at rest,—and in the east
The crescent moon (then seen imperfectly)
Came onwards with the Vesper star, to see
A summer day’s decline.
* * * *
The sun went down in “beauty,—but the eye
Of ancient seamen trembled, when they saw
A small, black, ominous spot, far in the distance:—
It spread and spread—larger and dark—and came
O’ershadowing the skies—the ocean rose—
The gathering waves grew large—and broke in hoarse
And hollow sounds—the mighty winds awoke,
And scream’d and whistled thro’ the cordage;—birds
That seem’d to have no home, flock’d there in terror,
And sat with quivering plumage on the mast—
Flashes were seen,—and distant sounds were heard,
Presages of a storm.
* * * *
The sun went down in beauty,—but the skies
Were wildly changed.—It was a dreadful night—
No moon was seen in all the heavens, to aid
Or cheer the lone and sea-beat mariner—
Planet nor guiding star broke through the darkness;—
But the blue lightnings glared along the waters,
As if the Fiend had fired his torch to light
Some wretches to their graves,—the tempest-winds
Raving came next, and in deep hollow sounds,
(Like those the spirits of the dead do use
“When they would speak their evil prophecies),
Mutter’d of death to come,—then came the thunder
Deepening and crashing, as ’twould rend the world;
Or as the Deity pass’d aloft in anger,
And spoke to man—Despair.
The ship was toss’d
And now stood pois’d upon the curling billows,
And now ’midst deep and wat’ry chasms (that yawn’d,
As ’twere in hunger) sank;—behind there came
Mountains of moving water,—with a rush
And sound of gathering power, that did appal
The heart to look on,—terrible cries were heard,
Sounds of despair some,—some like a mother’s anguish,—
Some of intemperate, dark, and dissolute joy—
Music, and horrid mirth (but unallied
To joy)—madness might be heard amidst
The pauses of the storm;—and when the glare
Was strong, rude, savage men were seen to dance
In frantic exultation on the deck—
Though all was hopeless.—Hark—the ship has struck,
And the forked lightning seeks the arsenal—
’Tis fired!—and mirth and madness are no more.
’Midst column’d smoke, deep-red the fragments fly,
In fierce confusion—splinters, and scorched limbs,
And burning masts, and showers of gold, (torn from
The heart that hugg’d it ev’n till death.)—Thus doth
Sicilian Etna in her angry mood,
Or Hecla ’midst her wilderness of snows,
Shoot up their burning entrails, with a sound
Louder than that the Titans utter’d from
Their subterranean caves, when Jove enchain’d
Them daring and rebellious.—The black skies,
Shock’d at excess of light, return’d the sound
In frightful echoes—as if an alarm
Had spread through all the elements,—then came
A horrid silence—deep—unnatural,—like
The quiet of the grave.

Barry Cornwall, I believe, made his débût in print, or very nearly so, at the same time in the “Literary Gazette;” and his genius was so vivid, that I think I can put my finger on some twenty of his pleasing contributions in the year 1818. The first I observe are lines on “Uriel,” a beautiful picture painted by Allston, and the next, “The Comet,” both, as far as I know, otherwise unpublished. “The Marriage of Peleus and Thetis” was a yet more expansive flight, and more clearly evinced the characteristic classical traits of the writer, so finely developed in many a succeeding composition. “Magic,” a dialogue between Angeline and Prospero, indicated in an equally decisive manner the writer’s dramatic turn; and a jeu d’ esprit on the celebrated dancer Fanny Bias, displayed versatility and playfulness, whilst a few lines of satire on a coarse Political exhibited great force of powerful language. I was much delighted
with my new correspondent, and predicted the rise of a poetic star. Altogether different are ——
lines to ——; in imitation of an old poet, which, with the little parentheses, might be sworn to as written by Barry Cornwall:—

Sweet lady! by that deep blue eye,
Behind whose fringed canopy
Love himself doth lie—
And from that throne of living light
Flings his dangerous arrows bright—
By that red and swelling lip
(With what a tremulous charm it glows!)
Whose spiced dews I long to sip,
Fresh and sweet as the bursting rose,
Or the half hidden violet,
When the morning sun revisits it—
By that form, and by that face,
Where loveliness is mixed with grace,
And every beauty hath in turn its place—
Whose angel look (void of all sin)
Speaks of the angel mind within—
I swear I love thee truly. I
Have sworn—Now what is my destiny?

A longer piece of perhaps a superior cast appeared in the same number, entitled “Portraits,” and in a few weeks a fine production for “St. Cecilia’s Day,” in which, after alluding to the genius of our most celebrated bards, he says, with feeling and taste—

Oh! ye the master spirits of my time,
Forgive, forgive that I have dared to talk
Of ye, and in your temple walk,
And trifle with your names or themes sublime!
I am a wanderer on the sacred hill,
And round the humbler slopes at times do stray,
And listen to—though far away—
The music of your own Castalian rill.

The Dynasty of Dandies,” a humourous jeu d’ esprit in prose, intervened between the next fits of poetry, viz., “A Haunted Stream,” and the following, which I consider to be
worthy of the latest honours unanimously accorded to the graceful poet:—

Gone from her cheek is the summer bloom,
And her breath hath lost its faint perfume,
And the gloss hath dropped from her golden hair,
And her forehead is pale, though no longer fair.
And the Spirit that sate on her soft blue eye
Is struck with cold mortality;
And the smile that play’d on her lip hath fled,
And every grace hath now left the dead.
Like slaves, they obey’d her in height of power,
But left her all in her wintry hour;
And the crowds that swore for her love to die
Shrank from the tone of her last sad sigh.
And this is Man’s fidelity!
’Tis Woman alone, with a firmer heart,
Can see all these idols of life depart,
And love the more, and soothe, and bless
Man in his utter wretchedness.

I am sorely tempted to extend these poetical revivals; but the fact I have been obliged to confess, of the dull, utilitarian nature of the “ignorant present,” withholds me from dealing as much as I could wish in the poetical illustrations of my early Gazettes, even before the wonderful genius of L. E. L. arose to adorn it. In truth, I must claim a small share of Appendix for those in whom I hope the love of poetry is not yet extinct—the young, the sensitive, the imaginative, the natural, the refined, the tasteful, the innocent, and the good. For all these must love poetry in spite of the overpowering mass of mere worldly grubs.*

In November this year, Mr. Mudford, already mentioned as the author of several important works, and for a number of years the able editor of the “Courier,” after Stuart and

* Appendix.

Street had departed from it, the former to rank and station, the latter to poverty and its concomitant oblivion, published an extraordinary charge of piracy against Walter Scott, no reply to which that I am aware of was ever given. Mr. Mudford asserted, that of the “Border Antiquities of England and Scotland,” two vols, quarto, published in the name of Scott as the entire author, very nearly half was written by himself. He stated that after having completed the first volume, certain circumstances induced him to relinquish the work, which Scott completed, and when it came out in an entire form (for it came out originally in quarterly parts) had his name placed on the title-page as author of the whole, without any intimation to the contrary, in any part of the introductory matter, and Mr. Mudford tells a whimsical anecdote of critical penetration connected with this strange story. During the time the work was publishing in detached parts, it was reviewed in one of the most respectable monthly journals, which, misled no doubt by the nature of the subject, confidently affirmed, from the internal evidence of the style, that it was from the pen of Walter Scott; and when it afterwards appeared with his name, the said reviewer reminded his readers with no little exultation, of the accuracy of his previous judgment. Yet at the time it was thus gratuitously assigned to the pen of Scott, he had not written a line of it! Another critic, yet more mistaken, in reviewing the book, selected most of his felicitous specimens of Scott’s style from the portion of it written by Mudford!

About this period a slight acquaintance with Sir John Leicester, afterwards the first Lord De Tabley, grew into a greater degree of intimacy; and thence matured into one of the most gratifying sources of pleasure and friendship which gave happiness to many days of my chequered life. The
opening of his Gallery of Native Artists in Hill Street, Berkeley Square, in the spring of 1818, showed but a portion of the princely munificence and refined taste with which he had set the noble example of patronage to British art. But there was more than enough to excite my warmest admiration, which I as warmly expressed; and on farther intercourse, the accomplished possessor of these treasures, liberally supposing that my knowledge was equal to my love of the fine arts, made me, to the hour on which I had to mourn his loss, a cherished guest in his delightful circle, whenever my occupation enabled me to partake of that enjoyment. Tabley House, with its lovely and charming mistress, the Hope of
Lawrence’s unflattering portrait; its elegant refinements unstudied and unformal; its splendid collection of superb paintings, the owner of which was an amateur artist of extraordinary talent; its stores of curious literary lore, the relics of Sir Peter Leicester the Historian of Cheshire; its fishing, its shooting, its otter hunting, and its ceaseless round of healthful exercise and intellectual converse, was indeed an earthly paradise to one who was so much the slave of the pen as I was. But in one other spot did I ever revel in similar and supreme enjoyments, and when I come to write of Drummond Castle, I trust I may describe, without offending the privacy of life, some of the scenes of perfect human happiness in which I have been welcomed to participate there.

Lord de Tabley was the surest shot I ever saw in the field. His piece was rarely raised but to kill; and twenty snipes in succession have fallen in proof of his accuracy of aim. And with the pistol he was still more wonderful. The head of a swallow peeping over a cornice of the old tower was a sufficient object for a bullet about the size of a pea. A wagtail hopping and clipping on the lawn was a
gone bird if I asked for another specimen of skill; though he was out of practice since the time he fired for a wager of a thousand guineas laid upon him by the
Prince Regent, the evidence of the winning of which bet was testified by a card with two holes in the centre resembling the ace of clubs, and which had been perforated in that way at the duelling distance of twelve paces. He would have stood a poor chance in a duel who ventured to meet Lord de Tabley. The loading of the pistol was a bit of minute science which amused me. The gunpowder was carefully measured in a ramrod with a funnel-end to receive it, and smoothed off by a fine card; the pistol was inverted over this, and being reversed, every particle was deposited in the breach. The rest of the loading was equally precise, and as his Lordship never missed, I was brought to the conclusion that three or four of the finest grains of powder, more or less, made all the difference in hitting or missing.

In the course of my narrative I shall remember other traits of my excellent friend; but for the present must be content with relating two incidental anecdotes. I was on a visit to Tabley House, when the letter was received from the Prince Regent intimating his royal pleasure to raise Sir John to the peerage, and requesting him to choose the title. This was a voluntary act of the Sovereign, and altogether unsought and unexpected by Sir John; who had, however, as I gathered, done good service to his Royal Highness when labouring under pecuniary embarrassment. We held a convocation on the grand question of title, for Sir John had so many genealogical quarterings in his arms as to render the selection a matter of difficulty. I was strenuous for “De Warrenne,” or “Warren,” to which the claim stood on high heraldic basis; but Sir John said he would be contented with the date of Edward III., instead
of the Conquest, and De Tabley was the result.* On his father’s death the present peer, my much esteemed friend by descent, and affectionate feeling from the days of his boyhood, prefixed the name of Warren to De Tabley; and I cannot help thinking that the conversation at the period I am describing must have dwelt upon his mind, and led to this assumption.

My other anecdote is not of so agreeable a kind. On one occasion, Turner, our prince of landscape painters, of whom Lord de Tabley had been a most liberal patron, spent a day or two at Tabley when I was there. In the drawing-room stood a landscape on an easel, on which his lordship was at work as the fancy mood struck him. Of course, when assembled for the tedious half hour before dinner, we all gave our opinions on its progress, its beauties, and its defects. I stuck a blue wafer on to show where I thought a bit of bright colour or a light would be advantageous; and Turner took the brush and gave a touch here and there to mark some improvements. He returned to town, and, can it be credited! the next morning at breakfast a letter from him was delivered to his lordship, containing a regular bill of charges for “Instructions in painting.” His Lordship tossed it across the table indignantly to me, and asked if I could have imagined such a thing; and as indignantly, against my remonstrances, immediately sent a cheque for the sum demanded by the “Drawing Master!”

This was a deplorable instance of Turner’s eccentricity, and not to be excused on any imaginable ground. Yet sometimes he was lavish in the midst of his general penuriousness.

* From his Lordship’s distinguished patronage of painting, some wag said it was appropriate De Tableaux, at which left-handed compliment we had a good laugh.

On a continental trip, an intimate friend of mine,
Mr. Thomas Hunt, author of several valuable volumes on Tudor architecture, accidentally encountered him on a continental excursion. Turner took a fancy to so excellent a boon companion, invited him to travel together, and treated him in a princely style, without costing him a shilling through the whole of their tour.

I would fain offer this fact as a sort of balance to the human infirmity of the Drawing Master account: Turner was a singular compound.