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The circumstances under which Lord Byron now took leave of 
England were such as, in the case of any ordinary person, could not 
be considered otherwise than disastrous and humiliating. He had, in 
the course of one short year, gone through every variety of domestic 
misery; — -had seen his hearth ten times profaned by the visitations of 
the law, and been only saved from a prison by the privileges of his rank. 
He had alienated (if, indeed, they had ever been his) the affections of 
his wife; and now, rejected by her, and condemned by the world, was 
betaking himself to an exile which had not even the dignity of appear- 
ing voluntary, as the excommunicating voice of society seemed to 
leave him no other resource. Had he been of that class of unfeeling 
and self-satisfied natures from whose hard surface the reproaches of 
others fall pointless, he might have found in insensibility a sure refuge 
against reproach ; but, on the contrary, the same sensitiveness that 
kept him so awake to the applauses of mankind rendered him, in a 
still more intense degree, alive to their censure. Even the strange, 
perverse pleasure which he felt in painting himself unamiably to the 
world did not prevent him from being both startled and pained when 
the world took him at his word ; and, like a child in a mask before a 
looking-glass, the dark semblance which he had, half in sport, put on, 
when reflected back upon him from the mirror of public opinion, 
shocked even himself. 

Thus surrounded by vexations, and thus deeply feeling them, it is 
not too much to say, that any other spirit but his own would have 
sunk under the struggle, and lost, perhaps irrecoverably, that level of 
self-esteem which alone affords a stand against the shocks of fortune. 
But in him, furnished as his mind was with reserves of strength, wait- 
ing to be called out, — the very intensity of the pressure brought relief 
by the proportionate re-action which it produced. Had his transgres- 
sions and frailties been visited with no more than their due portion of 
punishment, there can be little doubt that a very different result would 
have ensued. Not only would such an excitement have been insuffi- 
cient to waken up the new energies still dormant in him, but that con- 
sciousness of his own errors, which was for ever livelily present in his 
mind, would, under, have been left, undisturbed by 
any unjust provocation, to work its usual softening and, perhaps, 
humbling influences on his spirit. But, — luckily, as it proved, for the 
further triumphs of his genius, — no such moderation was exercised. 
The storm of invective raised around him, so utterly out of propor- 
tion with his offences, and the base calumnies that were every where 
heaped upon his name, left to his wounded pride no other resource than 
in the same summoning up of strength, the same instinct of resist- 

A 2 

4 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

ance to injustice, which had first forced out the energies of his youth- 
ful genius, and was now destined to give him a still bolder and loftier 
range of its powers. 

It was, indeed, not without truth, said of him by Goethe, that he was 
inspired by the Genius of Pain, — for, from the first to the last of his 
agitated career, every fresh recruitment of his faculties was imbibed 
from that bitter source. His chief incentive, when a boy, to distinc- 
tion was, as we have seen, that mark of deformity on his person, by 
an acute sense of which ha was first stung into the ambition of being 
great. 5 * As, with an evident reference to his own fate, he himself de- 
scribes the feeling, — 

" Deformity is daring. 
It is its essence to o'ertake mankind 
By heart and soul, and make itself the equal, 
Ay, the superior of the rest. There is 
A spur in its halt movements, to become 
All that the others cannot, in such things 
As still are free to both, to compensate 
For step-dame Nature's avarice at first."f 

Then came the disappointment of his youthful passion, — the lassi- 
tude and remorse of premature excess, — the lone friendlessness of 
his entrance into life, and the ruthless assault upon his first literary 
efforts, — all links in that chain of trials, errors, and sufferings, by 
which his great mind was gradually and painfully drawn out ; — all 
bearing their respective shares in accomplishing that destiny which 
seems to have decreed that the triumphal march of his genius should 
be over the waste and ruins of his heart. He appeared, indeed, him- 
self to have had an instinctive consciousness that it was out of such 
ordeals his strength and glory were to arise, as his whole life was 
passed in courting agitation and difficulties ; and whenever the scenes 
around him were too tame to furnish such excitement, he flew to fancy 
or memory for " thorns" whereon to " lean his breast." 

But the greatest of his trials, as well as triumphs, was yet to come. 
The last stage of this painful, though glorious, course, in which fresh 
power was, at every step, wrung from out his soul, was that at which 
we are now arrived, his marriage and its results, — without which, dear 
as was the price paid by him in peace and character, his career would 
have been incomplete, and the world still left in ignorance of the full 
compass of his genius. It is indeed worthy of remark, that it was 
not till his domestic circumstances began to darken around him that 
his fancy, which had long been idle, again rose upon the wing — both 
the Siege of Corinth and Parisina having been produced but a short 
time before the separation. How conscious he was, too, that the tur- 
moil which followed was the true element of his restless spirit, may 
be collected from several passages of his letters at that period, in one 
of which he even mentions that his health had become all the better 

* In one of his letters to Mr. Hunt, he declares it to be his own opinion that 
* an addiction to poetry is very generally the result of ' an uneasy mind in 
an uneasy body ;' disease or deformity," he adds, M have been the attendants 
of many of our best. Collins mad — Chatterton, / think, mad — Cowper 
mad — Pope crooked — Milton blind,'' &c. &c, 

t The Deformed Transformed. 

a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 5 

for the conflict : — " It is odd," he says, " but agitation or contest of 
any kind gives a rebound to my spirits, and sets me up for the time." 

This buoyancy it was, — this irrepressible spring of mind, — that now 
enabled him to bear up, not only against the assaults of others, but 
what was still more difficult, against his own thoughts and feelings. 
The muster of all his mental resources, to which, in self-defence, he 
had been driven, but opened to him the yet undreamed extent and ca- 
pacity of his powers, and inspired him with a proud confidence that he 
should yet shine down these calumnious mists, convert censure to 
wonder, and compel even those who could not approve to admire. 

The route which he now took, through Flanders and by the Rhine, 
is best traced in his own matchless verses, which leave a portion of 
their glory on all that they touch, and lend to scenes, already clothed 
with immortality by nature and by history, the no less durable asso- 
ciations of undying song. On his leaving Brussels, an incident oc- 
curred which would be hardly worth relating, were it not for the proof 
it affords of the malicious assiduity with which every thing to his dis- 
advantage was now caught up and circulated in England. Mr. Pryce 
Gordon, a gentleman who appears to have seen a good deal of him 
during his short stay at Brussels, thus relates the anecdote. 

" Lord Byron travelled in a huge coach, copied from the celebrated 
one of Napoleon, taken at Genappe, with additions. Besides a lit de 
reposj it contained a library, a plate-chest, and every apparatus for din- 
ing in it. It was not, however, found sufficiently capacious for his 
baggage and suite ; and he purchased a caleche at Brussels for his 
servants. It broke down going to Waterloo, and I advised him to 
return it, as it seemed to be a crazy machine ; but as he had made a 
deposite of forty Napoleons (certainly double its value), the honest 
Fleming would not consent to restore the cash, or take back his pack- 
ing-case, except under a forfeiture of thirty Napoleons. As his lord- 
ship was to set out the following day, he begged me to make the best 
arrangement I could in the affair. He had no sooner taken his de- 
parture, than the worthy sellier inserted a paragraph in ' The Brussels 
Oracle,' stating ' that the noble milor Anglais had absconded with his 
caleche, value 1800 francs !' " 

In the Courier of May 13, the Brussels account of this transaction 
is thus copied. 

" The following is an extract from the Dutch Mail, dated Brussels, 
May 8th : — In the Journal de Belgique, of this date, is a petition from a 
coachmaker at Brussels to the president of the Tribunal de Premier 
Instance, stating that he has sold to Lord Byron a carriage, &c. for 
1882 francs, of which he has received 847 francs, but that his lordship, 
who is going away the same day, refuses to pay him the remaining 
1035 francs; he begs permission to seize the carriage, &c. This being 
granted, he put it into the hands of a proper officer, who went to sig- 
nify the above to Lord Byron, and was informed by the landlord of the 
hotel that his lordship was gone without having given him any thing 
to pay the debt, on which the officer seized a chaise belonging his lord- 
ship as security for the amount." 

It was not till the beginning of the following month that a contra- 
diction of this falsehood, stating the real circumstances of the case, 
as above related, was communicated to the Morning Chronicle, in a 
letter from Brussels, signed "Pryce L. Gordon." 

Another anecdote, of far more interest, has been furnished from the 
same respectable source. It appears that the first two stanzas of the 

6 NOTICES OF THE [a.d. 181G. 

verses relating to Waterloo, "Stop, for thy tread is on an empire's 
dust,"* were written at Brussels, after a visit to that memorable field, 
and transcribed by Lord Byron, next morning, in an album belonging 1 
to the I'idy of the gentleman who communicates the anecdote. 

" A few weeks after he had written them (says the relater), the 
well-known artist, R. R. Reinngle, a friend of mine, arrived in Brus- 
sels, when I invited him to dine with me, and showed him the lines, 
requesting him to embellish them with an appropriate vignette to the 
following passage : — 

4 Here his last flight the haughty eagle flew, 
Then tore, with bloody beak, the fatal plain ; 
Pierced with the shafts of banded nations through, 
Ambition's life, and labours, all were vain — 
He wears the shatter'd links of the world's broken chain.' 

Mr. Reinngle sketched with a pencil a spirited chained eagle, grasping 
the earth with his talons. 

" I had occasion to write to his lordship, and mentioned having got 
this clever artist to draw a vignette to his beautiful lines, and the liberty 
he had taken by altering the action of the eagle. In reply to this, he 
wrote to me — ' Reinngle is a better poet and a better ornithologist than 
I am; eagles, and all birds of prey, attack with their talons, and not 
with their beaks, and I have altered the line thus — 

* Then tore, with bloody talon, the rent plain. 

This is, I think, a better line, besides its poetical justice.' I need 
hardly add, when T communicated this flattering compliment to the 
painter, that he was highly gratified." 

From Brussels the noble traveller pursued his course along the 
Rhine, — a line of road which he has strewed over with all the riches 
of poesy; and, arriving at Geneva, took up his abode at the well-known 
hotel Secheron. After a stay of a few weeks at this place, lie re- 
moved to a villa, in the neighbourhood, called Diodati, very beautifully 
situated on the high banks of the lake, where he established his resi- 
dence for the remainder of the summer. 

I shall now give the few letters in my possession written by him at 
this time, and then subjoin to them such anecdotes as I have been able 
to collect relative to the same period. 



" Ouchy, near Lausanne, June 27th, IS 16. 
"I am thus far (kept by stress of weather) on my way track to 
Diodati (near Geneva), from a voyage in my boat ror/.id the lake; and 
I enclose you a sprig of Gibbon's acacia and some rose-leaves from his 
garden, which, with pari, of his house, I have just seen. You will find 
honourable mention, in his Life, made of this 'acacia,' when he 
walked out o;i tha night oi' concluding his history. The garden *:::d 

* Cli.ldo Harold, 3, stanza 17. 

A. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 7 

summer-house, where he composed, are neglected, and the last utterly 
decayed ; but they still show it as his * cabinet,' and seem perfectly 
aware of his memory. 

" My route, through Flanders, and by the Rhine, to Switzerland, was 
all I expected and more. 

" I have traversed all Rousseau's ground, with the Heloise before 
me, and am struck to a degree that I cannot express with the force 
and accuracy of his descriptions, and the beauty of their reality. 
Meillerie, Clarens, and Vevay, and the Chateau de Chillon, are places 
of which I shall say little, because all I could say must fall short of 
the impressions thev stamp. 

" Three days ago, we were most nearly wrecked in a squall off 
Meillerie, and driven to shore. I ran \\o risk, being so near the rocks, 
and a good swimmer; but our party were wet, and incommoded a 
good deal. The wind was strong enough to blow down some trees, as 
we found at landing: however, all is righted and right, and we are 
thus far on our return. 

" Dr. Polidori is not here, but at Diodati, left behind in hospital with 
a sprained ankle, which he acquired ill tumbling from a wall — he can't 

" I shall be glad to hear you are well, and have received for me 
certain helms and swords, sent from Waterloo, which I rode over with 
pain and pleasure. 

" I have finished a third Canto of Childe Harold (consisting of one 
hundred and seventeen stanzas), longer than either of the two former, 
and in some parts, it may be, better; but of course on that I cannot 
determine. I shall send it by the first safe-looking opportunity. 

" Ever, &c." 



" Diodati, near Geneva, July 22d, 1816. 
" I wrote to you a few weeks ago, and Dr. Polidori received your 
letter; but the packet has not made its appearance, nor the epistle, of 
which you gave notice therein. I enclose you an advertisement,* 
which was copied by Dr. Polidori, and which appears to be about the 
most impudent imposition that ever issued from Grub-street. I need 
hardly say that I know nothing of all this trash, nor whence it may 
spring, — ' Odes to St. Helena,' — ' Farewells to England,'' &c. &c. — 
and if it can be disavowed, or is worth disavowing, you have full au- 
thority to do so. I never wrote, nor conceived, a line on any thing 
of the kind, any more than of two other things with which I was 
saddled — something about 'Gaul,' and another about 'Mrs. La Va- 

* The following was the advertisement enclosed : 

"■ Neatlv printed and hot-pressed, 2s. fid. 
" Lord Byron's Farewell to Knirlav.d, with thren oilier poems — Ode to St. 
Helena, to Mv Daughter o,i her Birthday, and to the Lily of France. 
" Printed !>v J. Johnston, Chnaps'ide. 3^5 5 ; Oxford, t). 
li The above beautiful Poems will be read > ith the most lively interest, as 
it i< probable they will be tho last of the author's that will appear in Eng- 

8 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 


lette ;' and as to the ' Lily of France,' I should as soon think of cele- 
brating a turnip. ' On the morning of my daughter's birth,' I had other 
things to think of than verses ; and should never have dreamed of 
such an invention, till Mr. Johnston and his pamphlet's advertisement 
broke in upon me with a new light on the crafts and subtleties of the 
demon of printing, — or rather publishing. 

"I did hope that some succeeding lie would have superseded the 
thousand and one which were accumulated during last winter. I can 
forgive whatever may be said of or against me, but not what they make 
me say or sing for myself. It is enough to answer for what I have 
written ; but it were too much for Job himself to bear what one has 
not. I suspect that when the Arab patriarch wished that his 'enemy 
had written a book,' he did not anticipate his own name on the title- 
page. I feel quite as much bored with this foolery as it deserves, and 
more than I should be if I had not a headache. 

" Of Glenarvon, Madame de Stael told me (ten days ago, at Copet) 
marvellous and grievous things ; but I have seen nothing of it but the 
motto, which promises amiably ' for us and for our tragedy.' If such 
be the posy, what should the ring be 1 — ' a name to all succeeding,'* 
&c. The generous moment selected for the publication is probably 
its kindest accompaniment, and — truth to say — the time was well 
chosen. I have not even a guess at the contents, except^ from the 
very vague accounts I have heard. 


" I ought to be ashamed of the egotism of this letter. It is not my 
fault altogether, and I shall be but too happy to drop the subject, when 
others will allow me. 

" I am in tolerable plight, and in my last letter told you what I had 
done in the way of all rhyme. I trust that you prosper, and that your 
authors are in good condition. I should suppose your stud has 
received some increase by what I hear. Bertram must be a good 
horse ; does he run next meeting ? I hope you will beat the Row. 

" Yours alway, &c." 



"Diodati, near Geneva, July 29th, 1816. 
" Do you recollect a book, Mathieson's Letters, which you lent me, 
which I have still, and yet hope to return to your library? Well, I 
have encountered at Copet and elsewhere Gray's correspondent, that 
same Bonstetten, to whom I lent the translation of his correspondent's 
epistles for a few days ; but all he could remember of Gray amounts 
to little, except that he was the most ' melancholy and gentlemanlike' 
of all possible poets. Bonstetten himself is a fine and very lively old 
man, and much esteemed by his compatriots; he is also a litterateur 
of good repute, and all his friends have a mania of addressing to him 
volumes of letters—Mathieson, Muller the historian, &c. &c. He is 

* The motto is — 

" He left a name to all succeeding times, 

Link'd with one virtue and a thousand crimes." 

a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 9 

a good deal at Copet, where I have met him a few times. All there 
are well, except Rocca, who, I am sorry to say, looks in a very bad 
state of health. Schlegel is in high force, and Madame as brilliant as 

" I came here by the Netherlands and the Rhine route, and Basle, 
Berne, Morat, and Lausanne. I have circumnavigated the Lake, and 
go to Chamouni with the first fair weather ; but really we have had 
lately such stupid mists, fogs, and perpetual density, that one would 
think Castlereagh had the Foreign Affairs of the kingdom of Heaven 
also on his hands. I need say nothing to you of these parts, you 
having traversed them already. I do not think of Italy before Sep- 
tember. I have read Glenarvon, and have also seen Ben. Constant's 
Adoipne, and his preface, denying the real people. It is a work which 
leaves an unpleasant impression, but very consistent with the con- 
sequences of not being in love, which is perhaps as disagreeable as 
any thing, except being so. I doubt, however, whether all such liens 
(as he calls them) terminate so wretchedly as his hero and heroine's. 

" There is a third Canto (a longer than either of the former) of 
Childe Harold finished, and some smaller things, — among them a story 
on the Chateau de Chillon ; I only wait a good opportunity to transmit 
them to the grand Murray, who, I hope, flourishes. Where is Moore ? 
Why is he not out ] My love to him, and my perfect consideration 
and remembrances to all, particularly to Lord and Lady Holland, and 
to your Dutchess of Somerset. 

" Ever, &c. 

" P.S. I send you a fac simile, a note of Bonstetten's, thinking you 
might like to see the hand of Gray's correspondent." 



"Diodati, Sept. 29th, 1816. 

" I am very much flattered by Mr. Gifford's good opinion of the 
MSS., and shall be still more so, if it answers your expectations and 
justifies his kindness. I liked it myself, but that must go for nothing. 
The feelings with which most of it was written need not be envied 
me. "With regard to the price, / fixed none, but left it to Mr. Kinnaird, 
Mr. Shelley, and yourself, to arrange. Of course, they would do their 
best ; and as to yourself, I knew you would make no difficulties. But 
I agree with Mr. Kinnaird perfectly, that the concluding Jive hundred 
should be only conditional; and for my own sake, I wish it to be 
added, only in case of your selling a certain number, that number to 
be fixed by yourself. I hope this is fair. In every thing of this kind 
there must be risk ; and till that be past, in one way or the other, I 
would not willingly add to it, particularly in times like the present. 
And pray always recollect that nothing could mortify me more — no 
failure on my own part — than having made you lose by any purchase 
from me. 

"The Monody* was written by request of Mr. Kinnaird for the 

* A Monody on the de«*^ of Sheridan, which was spoken at Drury-lane 

10 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

theatre. I did as well as I could ; but where I have not my choice, I 
pretend to answer for nothing. Mr. Hobhouse and myself are just 
returned from a journey of lakes and mountains. We liave been to 
the Grindelwald, and tbe Jungfrau, and slood on the summit of the 
Wengen Alp; and seen torrents of nine hundred feet in fall, and 
glaciers of all dimensions ; we have heard shepherd's pipes, and 
avalanches, and looked on the clouds foaming up from the valleys 
below us, like the spray of the ocean of hell. Chamouni, and that 
which it inherits, we saw a month ago ; but, though Mont Blanc is 
higher, it is not equal in wildness to the Jungfrau, the Eighers, the 
Shreckhorn, and the Rose Glaciers. 

" We set off for Italy next week. The road is within this month 
infested with bandits, but we must take our chance and such precau- 
tions as are requisite. 

" Ever, &c. 

" P.S. My best remembrances to Mr. Gifford. Pray say all that 
can be said from me to him. 

" I am sorry that Mr. Maturin did not like Phillips' picture. I 
thought it was reckoned a good one. If lie had made the speech on 
the original, perhaps he would have been more readily forgiven by 
the proprietor and the painter of the portrait." * * * 



" Diodati, Sept. 30th, 1810. 
"1 answered your obliging letters yesterday: to-day the Monody 
arrived with its M/e-page, which is, I presume, a separate publication. 
* The request of a friend :' — 

• Obliged by hunger and request of friends.' 

I will request you to expunge that same, unless you please to add, 
'by a person of quality,' or 'of wit and honour about town.' Merely 
say, 'written to be spoken at Drury-lane.' To-morrow I dine at 
Copet. Saturday I strike tents for Italy. This evening, on the lake 
in my boat with Mr. Hobhouse, the pole which sustains the mainsail 
slipped in tacking, and struck me so violently on one of my legs (the 
worst, luckily), as to make me do a foolish thing, viz. to faint — a 
downright swoon ; the thing must have jarred some nerve or other, 
for the bone is not injured, and hardly painful (it is six hours since), 
ami cost Mr. Hobhouse some apprehension and much sprinkling of 
water to recover me. The sensation was a very odd one : I never 
had but two such before, once from a cut on the head from a stone, 
several years ago, and once (long a apt) also) in falling into a great 
wreath of snow; — a sort of gray giddiness first, then nothingness and 
a total loss of memory on beginning to recover. The last part is not 
disagreeable, if one did not find it again. 

" You want the original MSN. Mr. Davios has the first fair copy in 
my own hand, and I have the rough composition here, an ! will send 
or save it for yon, since yivj w:s'i it. 

" With regard to your new literary project, if any thiag falls ra the 

a.d. 1816.] LITE OF LORD BYRON. 11 

way which will, to the best of my judgment, suit you, I will send you 
what I can. At present I must lay by a little, having pretty well 
exhausted myself in what I have sent you. Italy or Dalmatia and 
another summer may, or may not, set me off again. I have no plans, 
and am nearly as indifferent what may come as where I go. 1 shall 
take Felicia Heman's Restoration, &c. with me ; it is a good poem — 

" Pray repeat my best thanks and remembrances to Mr. Gilford for 
all his trouble and good-nature towards me. 

" Do not fancy me laid up, from the beginning of this scrawl. I 
tell you the accident for want of better to say; but it is over, and I 
am only wondering what the dense was the matter with me. 

" I have lately been over all the Bernese Alps and their lakes. I 
think many of the scenes (some of which were not those usually 
frequented by the English) finer than Chamouni, which I visited some 
time before. I have been to Clarens again, and crossed the mountains 
behind it: of this tour I kept a short journal for my sister, which I 
sent yesterday in three letters. It is not all for perusal ; but if you 
like to hear about the romantic part, she will, I dare say, show you 
what touches upon the rocks, &c. 

"Christabel — I won't have any one sneer at Christabel: it is a fine 

wild poem. 


"Madame de Stael wishes to see the Antiquary, and I am going to 
take if. to her to-morrow. She has made Copet as agreeable as society 
and talent can make any place on earth. 

" Yours, ever, 

" N." 

From the Journal mentioned in the foregoing letter, I am enabled 
to give the following extracts. 


"September, 18th, 1816. 
"Yesterday, September 17th, I set out with Mr. Hobhouse on an 
excursion of some days to the mountains. 

"September 17th. 
"Rose at five; left Diodati about seven, in one of the country 
carriages (a char-a-banc), our servants on horseback. Weather very 
fine; the lake cairn and clear; Mont Blanc and the Aiguille of Argen- 
tines both very distinct; the borders of the lake beautiful. Reached 

Lausanne before sunset; stopped and slept at . Went to bed at 

nine; slept till five o'clock. 

" September 18th. 
"Called by my courier; got up. Hobhouse walked on before. A 
mile from Lausanne, the road overflowed by the lake; got on horse- 
back, and rode till within a mile of Vevay. The celt young, but went 
very well. Overtook Hobhouse, ;um\ resumed the carriage, which is 
an open one. Stopped at Vevay two hours (the second lime I had 
visited \*) ; walked to the church; view from the churchyard superb; 
witlnu it General LuJlow (the! wgWukfs) monument — black marble— 

13 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

long inscription — Latin, but simple ; he was an exile two-and-thirty 
years — one of king Charles's judges. Near him Broughton (who read 
King Charles's sentence to Charles Stuart) is buried, with a queer and 
rather canting, but still a republican, inscription. Ludlow's house 
shown; it retains still its inscription — ' Omne solum forti patria.' 
Walked down to the lake side ; servants, carriage, saddle-horses — 
all set off and left us plants Id, by some mistake, and we walked on 
after them towards Clarens ; Hobhouse ran on before, and overtook 
them at last. Arrived the second time (first time was by water) at 
Clarens. Went to Chillon through scenery worthy of I know not 
whom ; went over the Castle of Chillon again. On our return met 
an English party in a carriage ; a lady in it fast asleep — fast asleep in 
the most anti-narcotic spot in the world — excellent ! I remember at 
Chamouni, in the very eyes of Mont Blanc, hearing another woman, 
English also, exclaim to her party, ' Did you ever see any thing more 
rural?'' — as if it was Highgate, or Hampstead, or Brompton, or Hayes 
— ' Rural !' quotha 1 — Rocks, pines, torrents, glaciers, clouds, and 
summits of eternal snow far above them — and ' rural !' 

" After a slight and short dinner we visited the Chateau de Clarens ; 
an English woman has rented it recently (it was not let when I saw 
it first); the roses are gone with their summer; the family out, but 
the servants desired us to walk over the interior of the mansion. Saw 
on the table of the saloon Blair's Sermons, and somebody else (I forget 
who's) sermons, and a set of noisy children. Saw all worth seeing, 
and then descended to the ' Bosquet de Julie,' &c. &c. ; our guide full 
of Rousseau, whom he is eternally confounding with St. Preux, and 
mixing the man and the book. Went again as far as Chillon to revisit 
the little torrent from the hill behind it. Sunset reflected in the lake. 
Have to get up at five to-morrow to cross the mountains on horseback ; 
carriage to be sent round ; lodged at my old cottage — hospitable and 
comfortable ; tired with a longish ride on the colt, and the subsequent 
jolting of the char-a-banc, and my scramble in the hot sun. 

"Mem. The corporal who showed the wonders of Chillon was as 
drunk as Blucher ; he was deaf also, and thinking every one else so, 
roared out the legends of the castle so fearfully. — However, we saw 
things from the gallows to the dungeons (the potence and the cacfwts), 
and returned to Clarens with more freedom than belonged to the 
fifteenth century. 

"September 19th. 
" Rose at five. Crossed the mountains to Montbovon ou horseback, 
and on mules, and, by dint of scrambling, on foot also ; the whole 
route beautiful as a dream, and now to me almost as indistinct. I am 
so tired ; — for though healthy, I have not the strength I possessed but 
a few years ago. At Montbovon we breakfasted; afterward, on a 
steep ascent, dismounted ; tumbled down ; cut a finger open ; the 
baggage also got loose and fell down a ravine, till stopped by a 
large tree ; recovered baggage ; horse tired and drooping ; mounted 
mule. At the approach of the summit of Dent Jument* dismounted 
again with Hobhouse and alt the party. Arrived at a lake in the very 
bosom of the mountains; left our quadrupeds with a shepherd, and 
ascended farther; came to some snow in patches, upon which my 
forehead's perspiration fell like rain, making the same dints as in a 

* Dent de Jaman. 

a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 13 

sieve ; the chill of the wind and the snow turned me giddy, but I 
scrambled on and upwards. Hobhouse went to the highest pinnacle* 
I did not, but paused within a few yards (at an opening of the chrT). 
In coming down, the guide tumbled three times ; I fell a laughing-, 
and tumbled too — the descent luckily soft, though steep and slippery: 
Hobhouse also fell, but nobody hurt. The whole of the mountains 
superb. A shepherd on a very steep and high cliff playing upon his 
pipe; very different from Arcadia, where I saw the pastors with a long 
musket instead of a crook, and pistols in their girdles. Our Swiss 
shepherd's pipe was sweet, and his tune agreeable. I saw a cow 
strayed; am told that they often break their necks on and over the 
crags. Descended to Montbovon ; pretty scraggy village, with a wild 
river and a wooden bridge. Hobhouse went to fish — caught one. Oui 
carriage not come ; our horses, mules, &c. knocked up ; ourselves 

" The view from the highest points of to-day's journey comprised 
on one side the greatest part of Lake Leman ; on the other, the valleys 
and mountain of the canton of Fribourg, and an immense plain, with 
the lakes of Neufchatel and Morat, and all which the borders of the 
Lake of Geneva inherit; we had both sides of the Jura before us in 
one point of view, with Alps in plenty. In passing a ravine, the guide 
recommended strenuously a quickening of pace, as the stones fall 
with great rapidity and occasional damage ; the advice is excellent, 
but, like most good advice, impracticable, the road being so rough that 
neither mules, nor mankind, nor horses, can make any violent progress. 
Passed without fractures or menace thereof. 

" The music of the cow's bells (for their wealth, like the patriarch's, 
is cattle) in the pastures, which reach to a height far above any moun- 
tains in Britain, and the shepherds shouting to us from crag to crag, 
and playing on their reeds where the steeps appeared almost inacces- 
sible, with the surrounding scenery, realized all that I have ever heard 
or imagined of a pastoral existence . — much more so than Greece or 
Asia Minor; for there we are a little too much of the sabre and musket 
order, and if there is a crook in one hand, you are sure to see a gun 
in the other : — but this was pure and unmixed — solitary, savage, and 
patriarchal. As we went, they played the ■ Rans des Vaches' and 
other airs, by way of farewell. I have lately repeopled my mind with 

" September 20th. 

" Up at six ; off at eight. The whole of this day's journey at an 
average of between from 2700 to 3000 feet above the level of the 
sea. This valley, the longest, narrowest, and considered the finest of 
the Alps, little traversed by travellers. Saw the bridge of La Roche. 
The bed of the river very low and deep, between immense rocks, and 
rapid as anger ; — a man and mule said to have tumbled over without 
damage. The people looked free, and happy, and rich (which last 
implies neither of the former) ; the cows superb ; a bull nearly leaped 
into the char-a-banc — ■ agreeable companion in a postchaise ;' goats 
and sheep very thriving. A mountain with enormous glaciers to the 
right — the Klitzgerberg ; farther on, the Hockthorn — nice names — so 
soft ! — Stockhorn, I believe, very lofty and scraggy, patched with snow 
only ; no glaciers on it, but some good epaulettes of clouds. 

" Passed the boundaries, out of Vaud and into Berne canton ; French 
exchanged for bad German ; the district famous for choeee, liberty, 

14 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

property, and no taxes. Hobhouse went to fish — caught none. 
Strolled to the river; saw boy and kid ; kid followed him like a dog; 
kid could not get over a fence, and bleated piteously ; tried myself to 
help kid, but nearly overset both self and kid into the river. Arrived 
here about six in the evening. Nine o'clock — going to bed; not tired 
to-day, but hope to sleep, nevertheless. 

"September 21st. 
" Off early. The valley of Simmenlhal as before. Entrance to the 
plain of Thoun very narrow; high rocks, wooded to the top; river; 
new mountains, with fine glaciers. Lake of Thoun; extensive plain 
with a girdle of Alps. Walked down to the Chateau dc Schadau ; view 
along the lake ; crossed the river in a boat rowed by women. Thoun a 
very pretty town. The whole day's journey Alpine and proud. 

" September 22d. 
" Left Thoun in a boat, which carried us the length of the lake in 
three hours. The lake small ; but the banks fine. Rocks down to the 
water's edge. Landed at Newhause ; passed Interiachen; entered 
upon a range of scenes beyond all description, or previous conception. 
Passed a rock ; inscription — two brothers — one murdered the other; 
j ust the place for it. After a variety of windings came to an enormous 
rock. Arrived at the foot of the mountain (the Jungfrau, that is, the 
Maiden); glaciers; torrents; one of these torrents nine hundred feet 
in height of visible descent. Lodged at the curate's. Set out to see 
the valley ; heard an avalanche fall, like thunder; glaciers enormous ; 
storm came on, thunder, lightning, hail ; all in perfection, and beautiful. 
I was on horseback ; guide wanted to carry my cane ; I was going to 
give it. him, when I recollected that it was a sword-stick, and I thought 
the lightning might be attracted towards him ; kept it myself: a good 
deal encumbered with it, as it was too heavy for a whip, and the horse 
was stupid, and stood with every other peal. Got in, not very wet, the 
cloak being stanch. Hobhouse wet through; Hobhouse took refuge 
in cottage; sent man, umbrella, and cloak (from the curate's when I 
arrived) after him. Swiss curate's house very good indeed — much 
better than most English vicarages. It is immediately opposite the 
torrent I spoke of. The torrent is in shape curving over the rock, like 
the tail of a white horse streaming in the wind, such as it might be 
conceived would be that of the ' pale horse' on which Death is mounted 
in the Apocalypse.* It is neither mist nor water, but a something 
between both ; its immense height (nine hundred feet) gives it a wave 
or curve, a spreading here, or condensation there, wonderful and inde- 
scribable. I think, upon the whole, that this day has been better than 
any of this present excursion. 

* It is interesting to observe the use to which he afterward converted these 
hasty memorandums in his sublime drama of Manfred. 

" It is not noon — the sunDow's rays still arch 
The torrent with the many lines of heaven, 
And roll the sheeted silver's waving column 
O'er the crag's headlong perpendicular, 
And rhn^r its hues of foaming light along, 
Jlnd f i and f o. ///,-;- (he p lie courser's /•///, 
7'e Grant itced t > !.<■ b tirade l>j Deaift^ 

jit iocJ in tli& AjtOC<lltf)Mt? % 

a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 15 

" September 23d. 

" Before ascending- the mountain, went to the torrent (seven in the 
morning) again ; the sun upon it, forming a rainbow of the lower part 
of all colours, but principally purple and gold; the bow moving as 
you move ; I never saw any thing like this ; it is only in the sunshine. 
Ascended the Wengen mountain ; at noon reached a valley on the 
summit ; left the horses, took off my coat, and went to the summit, 
seven thousand feet (English feet) above the level of the sea, and 
about five thousand above the valley we left in the morning. On one 
side, our view comprised ihe Jungfrau, with all her glaciers ; then the 
Dent d'Argent, shining like truth ; then the Little Giant (the Kleine 
Eigher) ; and the Great Giant (the Grosse Eigher), and last, not least, 
the VVetterhorn. The height of the Jungfrau is 13,000 feet above the 
sea, 11,000 -above the valley : she is the highest of this range. Heard 
the avalanches falling every five minutes nearly. From whence we 
stood, on the Wengen Alp, we had all these in view on one side ; on 
the other, the clouds rose from the opposite valley, curling up perpen- 
dicular precipices like the foam of the ocean of hell, during a spring 
tide — it was white, and sulphury, and immeasurably deep in appear- 
ance.* ' The side we ascended was (of course) not of so precipitous 
a nature; but on arriving at the summit, we looked down upon the 
other side upon a boiling sea of cloud, dashing against the crags on 
which we stood (these crags on one side quite perpendicular). Stayed 
a quarter of an hour ; began to descend ; quite clear from cloud on 
that side of the mountain. In passing the masses of snow, I made 
a snowball and pelted Hobhouse with it. 

" Got down to our horses again ; eat something ; remounted ; heard 
the avalanches still ; came to a morass ; Hobhouse dismounted to get 
over well ; I tried to pass my horse over ; the horse sunk up to the 
chin, and of course he and I were in the mud together ; bemired, but 
not hurt; laughed, and rode on. Arrived at the Grindelwald ; dined, 
mounted again, and rode to the higher glacier — like a frozen hurricane.^ 
Starlight, beautiful, but a devil of a path ! Never mind, got safe in ; a 
little lightning, but the whole of the day as fine in point of weather 
as the day on which Paradise was made. Passed rvhole woods of 
withered pines, all withered; trunks stripped and lifeless, branches 
lifeless ; done by a single winter.^ 

* " Ye avalanches, whom a breath draws down 

In mountainous overwhelming, come and crush me ! 

/ hear ye momently above, beneath, 

Crash with a frequent conflict. 


" The mists boil up around the glaciers ; clouds 
Rise curling fast beneath me, white and sulphury, 
Like foam from the roused ocean of deep hell!" — Manfred. 

t " O'er the savage sea, 

The glassy ocean of Ihe mountain ice, 
We skim its rugged breakers, which put on 
The aspect of a tumbling tempest's foam, 
Frozen am moment."— Ibid. 

■t " Like these blasted pines. 

Wrecks of a singU ictJiUr,0<irUc^s y .bm/u:hicss. % ' — Ibid. 

16 NOTICES OF THti [a. d. 1816. 

" September 24th. 
" Set off at seven ; up at five. Passed the black glacier, the moun- 
tain Wetterhorn on the right; crossed the Scheideck mountain; came 
to the Rose glacier, said to be the largest and finest in Switzerland. 
/ think the Bossons glacier at Chamouni as fine ; Hobhouse does not. 
Came to the Reichenbach waterfall, two hundred feet high ; halted to 
rest the horses. Arrived in the valley of Oberland ; rain came on ; 
drenched a little ; only four hours' rain, however, in eight days. Came 
to the lake of Brientz, then to the town of Brientz; changed. In the 
evening, four Swiss peasant girls of Oberhasli came and sang the airs 
of their country ; two of the voices beautiful — the tunes also; so wild 
and original, and at the same time of great sweetness. The singing 
is over ; but below stairs I hear the notes of a fiddle, which bode no 
good to my night's rest ; I shall go down and see the dancing. 

" September 25th. 

" The whole town of Brientz were apparently gathered together in 
the rooms below; pretty music and excellent waltzing: none but pea- 
sants ; the dancing much better than in England ; the English can't 
waltz, never could, never will. One man with his pipe in his mouth, 
but danced as well as the others; some other dances in pairs and in 
fours, and very good. I went to bed, but the revelry continued below 
late and early. Brientz but a village. Rose early. Embarked on the 
lake of Brientz ; rowed by the women in a long boat ; presently we 
put to shore, and another woman jumped in. It seems it is the custom 
here for the boats to be manned by women ; four or five men and three 
women in our bark, all the women took an oar, and but one man. 

" Got to Interlachen in three hours ; pretty lake ; not so large as 
that of Thoun. Dined at Interlachen. Girl gave me some flowers, 
and made me a speech in German, of which I know nothing; I do not 
know whether the speech was pretty, but as the woman was, I hope 
so. Re-embarked on the lake of Thoun ; fell asleep part of the way; 
sent our horses round ; found people on the shore, blowing up a rock 
with gunpowder; they blew it up near our boat, only telling us a 
minute before ; — mere stupidity, but they might have broken our nod- 
dles. Got to Thoun in the evening ; the weather has been tolerable 
the whole day. But as the wild part of our tour is finished, it don't 
matter to us ; in all the desirable part, we have been most lucky in 
warmth and clearness of atmosphere. 

" September 26th. 
"Being out of the mountains, my journal must be as flat as my 
journey. From Thoun to Berne, good road, hedges, villages, industry, 
property, and all sorts of tokens of insipid civilization. From Berne 
to Fribourg; different canton; Catholics; passed afield of battle; 
Swiss beat the French in one of the late wars against the French 
republic. Bought a dog. The greater part of this tour has been on 
horseback, on foot, and on mule. 

" September 28th. " 

" Saw the tree planted in honour of the battle of Morat ; three 

hundred and forty years old ; a good deal decayed. Left Fribourg, 

but first saw the cathedral ; high tower. Overtook the baggage of the 

nuns of La Trappe, who are removing to Normandy; afterward a 

A. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 17 

coach, with a quantity of nuns in it. Proceeded along- the banks of 
the lake of Neufchatel ; very pleasing and soft, but not so mountainous 
— at least, the Jura, not appearing; so, after the Bernese Alps. Reached 
Yverdun in the dusk ; a long line of large trees on the border of the 
lake ; fine and sombre ; the Auberge nearly full — a German Princess 
and suite ; got rooms. 

" September 29th. 
" Passed through a fine and flourishing country, but not moun- 
tainous. In the evening reached Aubonne (the entrance and bridge 
something like that of Durham), which commands by far the fairest 
view of the Lake of Geneva ; twilight ; the moon on the lake ; a grove 
on the height, and of very noble trees. Here Tavernier (the eastern 
traveller) bought (or built) the chateau, because the site resembled 
and equalled that of Erivan, a frontier city of Persia ; here he finished 
his voyages, and I this little excursion, — for I am within a few hours 
of Diodati, and have little more to see, and no more to say." 

Among the inmates at Secheron, on his arrival at Geneva, Lord 
Byron had found Mr. and Mrs. Shelley, and a female relative of the 
latter, who had about a fortnight before taken up their residence at this 
hotel. It was the first time that Lord Byron and Mr. Shelley ever 
met; though, long before, when the latter was quite a youth, — being 
the younger of the two by four or five years, — Le had sent to the noble 
poet a copy of his Queen Mab, accompanied by a letter, in which, after 
detailing at full length all the accusations he had heard brought against 
his character, he added, that should these charges not have been true, 
it would make him happy to be honoured with his acquaintance. The 
book alone, it appears, reached its destination, — the latter having mis- 
carried, — and Lord Byron was known to have expressed warm admi- 
ration of the opening lines of the poem. 

There was, therefore, on their present meeting at Geneva, no want 
of disposition towards acquaintance on either side, and an intimacy 
almost immediately sprung up between them. Among the tastes 
common to both, that for boating was not the least strong ; and in this 
beautiful region they had more than ordinary temptations to indulge 
in it. Every evening, during their residence under the same roof at 
Secheron, they embarked, accompanied by the ladies and Polidori, on 
the lake ; and to the feelings and fancies inspired by these excursions, 
which were not unfrequently prolonged into the hours of moonlight, 
we are indebted for some of those enchanting stanzas,* in which the 
poet has given way to his passionate love of Nature so fervidly. 

«i ' 

There breathes a living fragrance from the shore, 
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood ; on the ear 
Drips the light drop of the suspended oar. 

At intervals, some bird from out the brakes 
Starts into voice a moment, then is still. 
There seems a floating whisper on the hill, 
But that is fancy, — for the starlight dews 
All silently their tears of love instil, 
Weeping themselves away." 

* Childe Harold, Canto 3. 
Vol. II.— B 

18 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

A person who was of these parties has thus described to me one of 
their evenings. " When the bise or north-cast wind blows, the waters 
of the lake are driven towards the town, and, with the stream of the 
Rhone, which sets strongly in the same direction, combine to make a 
very rapid current towards the harbour. Carelessly, one evening, we 
had yielded to its course, till we found ourselves almost driven on the 
piles ; and it required all our rowers' strength to master the tide. The 
waves were high and inspiriting, — we were all animated by our contest 
with the elements. ' I will sing you an Albanian song,' cried Lord 
Byron ; ' now, be sentimental and give me all your attention.' It was 
a strange, wild howl that he gave forth; but such as, he declared, was 
an exact imitation of the savage Albanian mode, — laughing, the while, 
at our disappointment, who had expected a wild Eastern melody." 

Sometimes the party landed, for a walk upon the shore, and, on such 
occasions, Lord Byron would Joiter behind the rest, lazily trailing his 
sword-stick along, and moulding, as he went, his thronging thoughts 
into shape. Often too, when in the boat, he would lean abstractedly 
over the side and surrender himself up, in silence, to the same absorb- 
ing task. 

The conversation of Mr. Shelley, from the extent of his poetic 
reading, and the strange, mystic speculations into which his system of 
philosophy led him, was of a nature strongly to arrest and interest 
the attention of Lord Byron, and to turn him away from worldly 
associations and topics into more abstract and untrodden ways of 
thought. As far as contrast, indeed, is an enlivening ingredient of 
such intercourse, it would be difficult to find two persons more formed 
to whet each other's faci/*ies by discussion, as on few points of com- 
mon interest between them did their opinions agree; and that this 
difference had its root deep in the conformation of their respective 
minds needs but a glance through the rich, glittering labyrinth of Mr. 
Shelley's pages to assure us. 

In Lord Byron, the real was never forgotten in the fanciful. How- 
ever Imagination had placed her whole realm at his disposal ; he was no 
less a man of this world than a ruler of hers; and, accordingly, 
through the airiest and most subtile creations of his brain still the life- 
blood of truth and reality circulates. With Shelley it was far other- 
wise; — his fancy (and he had sufficient for a whole generation of 
poets) was the medium through which he saw all things, his facts as 
well as his theories ; and not only the greater part of his poetry, but the 
political and philosophical speculations in which he indulged, were all 
distilled through the same over-refining and unrealizing alembic. Hav- 
ing started as a teacher and reformer of the world, at an age when lie 
could know nothing of the world but from fan^y, the persecution he 
met with on the threshold of this boyish enterprise but confirmed him 
in his first paradoxical views of human ills and their remedies; and, 
instead of waiting to take lessons of authority and experience, he, 
with a courage, admirable had it been but wisely directed, made war 
upon both. "From this sort of self-willed start in the world, an impulse 
was at once given to his opinions and powers directly contrary, it 
would seem, to their natural bias, and from which his life was too 
short to allow him time to recover. With a mind, by nature, fervidly 
pious, he yet refused to acknowledge a Supreme Providence, and 
BubititUted some airy abstraction of " Universal Love" in its place. 
An aristocrat by birth, ami, as 1 understand, also in appearance and 
inauiters, he was yet a leveller in politics, and to such an Utopian 

A. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 19 

extent as to be, seriously, the advocate of a community of property. 
With a delicacy and even romance of sentiment, which lends such 
grace to some of his less poems, he could notwithstanding- contem- 
plate a change in the relations of the sexes, which would have led to 
results fully as gross as his arguments for it were fastidious and 
refined ; and though benevolent and generous to an extent that 
seemed to exclude all idea of selfishness, he yet scrupled not, in the 
pride of system, to disturb wantonly the faith of his fellow-men, and, 
without substituting an equivalent good in its place, to rob the wretched 
of a hope, which, even if false, would be worth all this world's best 

Upon no point were the opposite tendencies of the two friends, — 
to long established opinions and matter of fact on one side, and to all 
that was most innovating and visionary on the other, — more observa- 
ble than in their notions on philosophical subjects ; Lord Byron being, 
with the great bulk of mankind, a believer in the existence of Matter 
and Evil, while Shelley so far refined upon the theory of Berkeley as 
not only to resolve the whole of Creation into Spirit, but to add also 
to this immaterial system some pervading principle, some abstract 
nonentity of Love and Beauty, of which — as a substitute, at least, 
for Deity — the philosophic bishop had never dreamed. On such sub- 
jects, and on poetry, their conversation generally turned; and, as 
might be expected from Lord Byron's facility in receiving new im- 
pressions, the opinions of his companion were not altogether without 
some influence on his mind. Here and there, among those fine bursts 
of passion and description that abuund in the Third Canto of Childe 
Harold, may be discovered traces of that mysticism of meaning, — 
that sublimity, losing itself in its own vagueness,- which so much 
characterized the writings of his extraordinary friend; and in one of 
the notes we find Shelley's favourite Pantheism of Love thus glanced 
at : — " But this is not all : the feeling with which all around Clarens 
and the opposite rocks of Meillerie is invested, is of a still higher and 
more comprehensive order than the mere sympathy with individual 
passion ; it is a sense of the existence of love in its most extended 
and sublime capacity, and of our own participation of its good and of 
its glory : it is the great principle of the universe, which is there more 
condensed, but not less manifested; and of which, though knowing 
ourselves a part, we lose our individuality, and mingle in the beauty 
of the whole." 

Another proof of the ductility with which he fell into his new friend's 
tastes and predilections, appears in the tinge, if not something deeper, 
of the manner and cast of thinking of Mr. Wordsworth, which is 
traceable through so many of his most beautiful stanzas. Being natu- 
rally, from his love of the abstract and imaginative, an admirer of 
the great poet of the Lakes, Mr. Shelley omitted no opportunity of 
bringing the beauties of his favourite writer under the notice of Lord 
Byron ; and it is not surprising, that once persuaded into a fair perusal, 
the mind of the noble poet should — in spite of some personal and 
political prejudices which unluckily survived this short access of 
admiration — not only feel the influence, but, in some degree, even 
reflect the hues of one of the very few real and original poets that 
this age (fertile as it is in rhymers quales ego et Cluvienus) has had the 
glory of producing. 

When Polidori was of their party (which, till he found attractions 
elsewhere, was generally the case), their more elevated subjects of 


20 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

conversation were almost always put to flight by the strange sallies 
of this eccentric young man, whose vanity made him a constant butt 
for Lord Byron's sarcasm and inurnment. The son of a highly 
respectable Italian gentleman, who was in early life, I understand, the 
secretary of Alfieri, Poliduri seems to have possessed both talents and 
dispositions winch, had he lived, might have rendered him a useful 
member of his profession and of society. At the time, however, of 
which we are speaking, his ambition of distinction far outwent both 
his powers and opportunities of attaining it. His mind, accordingly, 
between ardour and weakness, was kept in a constant hectic of vanity, 
and he seems to have alternately provoked and amused nis noble 
employer, leaving him seldom any escape from anger but in laughter. 
Among other pretensions, he had set fiis heart upon shining as an 
author, and one evening, at Mr. Shelley's, producing a tragedy of his 
own writing, insisted that they should undergo the operation of hear- 
ing it. To lighten the infliction, Lord Byron took upon himself the 
task of reader; and the whole scene, from the description I have heard 
of it, inust have been not a little trying to gravity. In spite of the 
jeaious watch kept upon every countenance by the author, it was 
impossible to withstand the smile lurking in the eye of the reader, 
whose only resource against the outbreak of his own laughter lay in 
lauding, from time to time, most vehemently, the sublimity of the 
verses ; — particularly some that began "'T is thus the goiter' d idiot of 
the Alps" — and then adding, at the close of every such eulogy, " I 
assure you, when I was in the Drury-lane Committee, much worse 
things were offered to us." 

Alter passing a fortnight under the same roof with Lord Bvron at 
Secheron, Mr. and Mrs. Shelley removed to a small house on the Mont- 
Blanc side of the Lake, within about ten minutes' walk of the villa 
which their noble friend had taken, upon the high banks, called Belle 
Rive, that rose immediately behind them. During the fortnight that 
Lord Byron outstaid them at Secheron, though the weather had 
changed and was become windy and cloudy, he every evening crossed 
the Lake, with Polidori, to visit them; and, "as he returned again 
(says my informant) over the darkened waters, the wind, from far 
across, bore us his voice singing your Tyrolese Song of Liberty, 
which I then first heard, and which is to me inextricably linked with 
his remembrance." 

In the mean time, Polidori had become jealous of the growing inti- 
macy of his noble patron with Shelley; and the plan which he now 
understood them to have formed of making a tour of the Lake without 
him completed his mortification. In the soreness of his feelings on 
this subject, he indulged in some intemperate remonstrances, which 
Lord Byron indignantly resented; and the usual bounds of courtesy 
being passed on both sides, the dismissal of Polidori appeared, even 
to himself, inevitable. With this prospect, which he considered 
nothing less than ruin, before his eyes, the poor young man was, it 
seems, on the point of committing that fatal act which, two or three 
years afterward, he actually did perpetrate. Retiring to his own 
room, he had already drawn forth the poison from his medicine chest, 
and was pausing lo consider whether he should write a letter before 
he took it, when Lord Byron (without, however, the least suspicion of 
his intention) tapped at the door and entered, with his hand held forth 
in sign of reconciliation. The sudden revulsion was too much for 
poor Polidori, who burst into sears; and, in relating all the circum- 

a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD EYRON. 21 

stances of the occurrence afterward, he declared that nothing- could 
exceed the gentle kindness of Lord Byron in soothing his mind and 
restoring him to composure. 

Soon after this the noble poet removed to Diodati. He had, on his 
first coming to Geneva, with the good-natured view of introducing 
Polidori into company, gone to several Genevese parties ; but, this 
task performed, he retired altogether from society, till late in the sum- 
mer, when, as we have seen, he visited Copet. His means were at 
this time very limited, and though he lived by no means parsimoniously, 
all unnecessary expenses were avoided in his establishment. The 
young physician had been, at first, a source of much expense to him, 
being in the habit of hiring a carriage, at a louis a day (Lord Byron 
not then keeping horses) to take him to his evening parties ; and it 
was some time before his noble patron had the courage to put this 
luxury down. 

The liberty, indeed, which this young person allowed himself was, 
on one occasion, the means of bringing an imputation upon the poet's 
hospitality and good-breeding, which, like every thing else, true or 
false, tending to cast a shade upon his character, was for some time 
circulated with most industrious zeal. Without any authority from 
the noble owner of the mansion, he took upon himself to invite some 
Genevese gentlemen (M. Pictet, and, I believe, M. Bonstetten) to dine 
at Diodati; and the punishment which Lord Byron thought it right to 
inflict upon him for such freedom was, " as he had invited the guests, 
to leave him also to entertain them." This step, though merely a 
consequence of the physician's indiscretion, it was not difficult, of 
course, to convert into a serious charge of caprice and rudeness 
against the host himself. 

By such repeated instances of thoughtlessness (to use no harsher 
term), it is not wonderful that Lord Byron should at last be driven 
into a feeling of distaste towards his medical companion, of whom he 
one day remarked, that " he was exactly the kind of person to whom, 
if he fell overboard, one would hold out a straw to know if the adage 
be true that drowning men catch at straws." 

A few more anecdotes of this young man, while in the service of 
Lord Byron, may, as throwing light upon the character of the latter, 
be not inappropriately introduced. While the whole party were, one 
day, out boating, Polidori, by some accident, in rowing, struck Lord 
Byron violently on the knee-pan with his oar; and the latter, without 
speaking, turned his face away to hide the pain. After a moment he 
said, " Be so kind, Polidori, another time, to take more care, for you 
hurt me very much." " 1 am glad of it," answered the other, " I am 
glad to see you can suffer pain." In a calm, suppressed tone, Lord 
Byron replied, " Let me advise you, Polidori, when you, another time, 
hurt any one, not to express your satisfaction. People do n't like to 
be told that those who give them pain are glad of it; and they cannot 
always command their anger. It was with some difficulty that I 
refrained from throwing you into the water, and, but for Mrs. Shelley's 
presence, I should probably have done some such rash thing." This 
was said without ill-temper, and the cloud soon passed away. 

Another time, when the lady just mentioned was, after a shower of 
rain, walking up the hill to Diodati, Lord Byron, who saw hor from 
h'.-i balcony where he was standing with Polidori, said to the latter, 
' Now, you w o wish to be gallant ought to jump down this small 
height and offer your arm." Polidori chose the easiest part of the 

22 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

declivity and leaped ; — but, the ground being* wet, his foot slipped and 
he sprained his ancle.* Lord Byron instantly helped to carry him in 
and procure cold water for the foot ; and, after he was laid on the sofa, 
perceiving- that he was uneasy, went up stairs himself (an exertion 
which his lameness made painful and disagreeable) to fetch a pillow 
for him. " Well, I did not believe you had so much feeling-," was 
Polidori's gracious remark, which, it may be supposed, not a little 
clouded the noble poet's brow. 

A dialogue which Lord Byron himself used to mention as having 
taken place between them during- their journey on the Rhine, is 
amusingly characteristic of both the persons concerned. " After all," 
said the physician, " what is there you can do that I cannot V — " Why, 
since you force me to say," answered the other, " I think there are 
three things I can do which you cannot." Polidori defied him to 
name them. " I can," said Lord Byron, " swim across that river — I 
can snuff out that candle with a pistol-shot at the distance of twenty 
paces — and I have written a poemf of which 14,000 copies were sold 
in one day." 

The jealous pique of the doctor against Shelley was constantly 
breaking out, and on the occasion of some victory which the latter 
had gained over him in a sailing-match, he took it into his head that 
his antagonist had treated him with contempt ; and went so far, in 
consequence, notwithstanding Shelley's known sentiments against 
duelling, as to proffer him a sort of challenge, at which Shelley, as 
might be expected, only laughed. Lord Byron, however, fearing that 
the vivacious physician might still farther take advantage of this 
peculiarity of his friend, said to him, " Recollect, that though Shelley 
has some scruples about duelling, / have none ; and shall be, at all 
times, ready to take his place." 

At Diodati, his life was passed in the same regular round of habits 
and occiiDations into which, when left to himself, he always naturally 
fell ; a late breakfast, then a visit to the Shelleys' cottage and an 
•excursion on the Lake; — at five, dinnerj (when lie usually preferred 
being alone), and then, if the weather permitted, an excursion again. 
He and Shelley had joined in purchasing a boat, for which they gave 
twenty-five louis, — a small sailing vessel, fitted to stand the usual 
squalis of the climate, and, at that time, the only keeled boat on the 
Lake. When the weather did not allow of their excursions after 
dinner, — an occurrence not unfrequent during this very wet summer, — 
the inmates of the cottage passed their evenings at Diodati, and, when 
the rain rendered it inconvenient for them to return home, remained 
there to sleep. "We often," says one, who was not the least 
ornamental of the party, " sat up in conversation till the morning light. 
There was never any lack of subjects, and, grave or gay, we were 
always interested." 

* To this lameness of Polidori one of the preceding letters of Lord Byron 

t The Corsair. 

£ His system of diet here was regulated by an abstinence almost incredible. 
A thin slice of bread, with tea, at breakfast — a light vegetable dinner, with 
a bottle or two of Seitze water, tinged with v n do Grave — and in the eve- 
ning, a cup of green tea, without milk or suga,, formed the whole of his sus- 
tenance. The pangs of hunger he appeased by privately chewing tobacco 
and smoking cigars. 

A. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 23 

During a week of rain at this time, having- amused themselves with 
reading- German ghost-stories, they agreed, at last, to write something 
in imitation of them. " You and i," said Lord Byron to Mrs. Shelley, 
" will publish ours together." He then began his tale of the Vampire ; 
and, having- the whole arranged in his head, repeated to them a sketch 
of the story* one evening, — but, from the narrative being in prose, 
made but little progress in rilling up his outline. The most memorable 
result, indeed, of their story-telling compact, was Mrs. Shelley's wild 
and powerful romance of Frankenstein, — one of those original con- 
ceptions that take hold of the public, mind at once, and for ever. 

Towards the latter end of June, as we have seen in one of the pre- 
ceding letters, Lord Byron, accompanied by his friend Shelley, made 
a tour in his boat round the Lake, and visited, " with the Heloise 
before him," all those scenes around Meillerie and Clarens, which 
have become consecrated for ever by ideal passion, and by that power 
which Genius alone possesses, of giving such life to its dreams as to 
make them seem realities. In the squall off Meillerie, which he men- 
tions, their danger was considerable.! In the expectation, every 
moment, of being obliged to swim for his life, Lord Byron had already 
thrown off his coat, and, as Shelley was no swimmer, insisted upon 
endeavouring, by some means, to save him. This offer, however, 
Shelley positively refused ; and seating himself quietly upon a locker, 
and grasping the rings at each end firmly in his hands, declared his 
determination to go down in that position, without a struggle.! 

Subjoined to that interesting little work, the " Six Weeks' Tour," 
there is a letter by Shelley himself, giving an account of this excur- 
sion round the Lake, and written with all the enthusiasm such scenes 
should inspire. In describing a beautiful child they saw at the village 
of Nerni, he says, " My companion gave him a piece of money, which 
he took without speaking, with a sweet smile of easy thankfulness, 

* From his remembrance of this sketch, Polidori afterward vamped up his 
strange novel of the Vampire, which, under the supposition of its being Lord 
Byron's, was received with such enthusiasm in France. It would, indeed, 
not a little deduct from our value of foreign fame, if what some French 
writers have asserted be true, that the appearance of this extravagant novel 
among our neighbours first attracted their attention to the genius of Byron. 

t ' w The wind, 11 says Lord Byron's fellow-voyager, " gradually increased in 
violence until it blew tremendously : and, as it came from the remotest 
extremity of the Lake, produced waves of a frightful height, and covered the 
whole surface with a chaos of foam. One of our boatmen, who was u dread- 
fully stupid fellow, persisted in holding the sail at a time when the boat was 
on the point of being driven under water by the hurricane. On discovering 
this error, he let it entirely go, and the boat for a moment refused to obey 
the heim ; in addition, the rudder was so broken as to render the manage- 
ment of it very difficult; one wave fell in and then another." 

^ " I felt, in this near prospect of death," says Mr. Shelley, H a mixture of 
sensations, among which terror entered, though but subordinated. My 
feelings would have been less painful, had I been alone ; but 1 knew that my 
companion would have attempted to save me, and I was overcome with 
humiliation, when I thought thai, nis life might have been risked to preserve 
mine. When we arrived at St. Gingoux, the inhabitants, who stood on the 
shore, unaccustomed to see a vessel as frail as ours, and fearing to venture 
at all on such a sea, exchanged looks of wonder and congratulation with 
our boatmen, who, as well as ourselves, were well pleased to set fact on 
shore.' 5 

24 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 181G. 

and then with an unembarrassed air turned to his play." There were, 
indeed, few things Lord Byron more delighted in than to watch 
beautiful children at play ; — " many a lovely Swiss child (says a 
person who saw him daily at this time) received crowns from him as 
the reward of their grace and sweetness." 

Speaking of their lodgings at Nerni, which were gloomy and dirty, 
Mr. Shelley says, " On returning to our inn, we found that the 
servant had arranged our rooms, and deprived them of the greater 
portion of their former disconsolate appearance. They reminded my 
companion of Greece : — it was five years, he said, since he had slept 
in such beds." 

Luckily for Shelley's full enjoyment of these scenes, he had never 
before happened to read the Heloise; and though his companion had 
long been familiar with that romance, the sight of the region itself, the 
" birthplace of deep Love," every spot of which seemed instinct with 
the passion of the story, gave to the whole a fresh and actual exist- 
ence in his mind. Both were under the spell of the genius of the 
place, — both full of emotion ; and as they walked silently through the 
vineyards that were once the "bosquet de Julie," Lord Byron sud- 
denly exclaimed, " Thank God, Polidori is not here." 

That the glowing stanzas suggested to him by this scene were 
written upon the spot itself appears almost certain, from the letter ad- 
dressed to Mr. Murray on his way back to Diodati, in which he an- 
nounces the Third Canto as complete, and consisting of 117 stanzas. 
At Ouchy, near Lausanne, — the place from which that letter is dated, — 
he and his friend were detained two days, in a small inn, by the 
weather ; and it was there, in that short interval, that he wrote his 
"Prisoner of Chillon," adding one more deathless association to the 
already immortalized localities of the Lake. 

On his return from this excursion to Diodati, an occasion was 
afforded for the gratification of his jesting propensities by the avowal 
of the young physician that — he had fallen in love. On the evening 
of this tender confession they both appeared at Shelley's cottage — 
Lord Byron, in the highest and most boyish spirits, rubbing his hands 
as he walked about the room, and in that utter incapacity of retention 
which was one of his foibles, making jesting allusions to the secret 
he had just heard. The brow of the doctor darkened as this plea- 
santry went on, and, at last, he angrily accused Lord Byron of hard- 
ness of heart. " 1 never," said he, " met with a person so unfeeling." 
This sally, though the poet had evidently brought it upon himself, an- 
noyed him most deeply. " Call me cold hearted — me insensible !" he 
exclaimed, with manifest emotion — "as well might you say that glass 
is not brittle, which has been cast down a precipice, and lies dashed 
to pieces at the foot !" 

In the month of Juty he paid a visit to Copet, and was received by 
the distinguished hostess with a cordiality the more sensibly felt by 
him, as, from his personal unpopularity at this time, he had hardly ven- 
tured to count upon it.* In her usual frank style, she took him to 

* In the account of this visit to Copet in his Memoranda, he spoke in high 
terms of the daughter of his hostess, the present Dutchess de Broglie, and, 
in noticing how much she appeared to be attached to her husband, remarked 
that M Nothing was more pleasing to see the develonement of the domestic 
afiectioni in a very young woman." Of Madame de Stael, in that Memoir, 
he spoke thus ; " Madame do Stael was a good woman at heart and the 

a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 25 

task upon his matrimonial conduct — but in a way that won upon his 
mind, and disposed him to yield to her suggestions. He must endea- 
vour, she told him, to bring about a reconciliation with his wife, and 
must submit to contend no longer with the opinion of the world. In 
vain did he quote her own motto to Delphine, " Un homme peut 
braver, une femme doit se succomber aux opinions du monde ;" — her 
reply was, that all this might be very well to say, but that, in real life, 
the duty and necessity of yielding belonged also to the man. Her 
eloquence, in short, so far succeeded, that he was prevailed upon to 
write a letter to a friend in England, declaring himself still willing to 
be reconciled to Lady Byron, — a concession not a little startling to 
those who had so often, lately, heard him declare that, "having done 
all in his power to persuade Lady Byron to return, and with this view 
put off as long as he could signing the deed of separation, that step 
being once taken, they were now divided for ever." 

Of the particulars of this brief negotiation that ensued upon Ma- 
dame de StaeTs suggestion, I have no very accurate remembrance ; 
but there can be little doubt, that its failure, after the violence he had 
done his own pride in the overture, was what first infused any mixture 
of resentment or bitterness into the feelings hitherto entertained by 
him throughout these painful differences. He had, indeed, since his 
arrival in Geneva, invariably spoken of his lady with kindness and 
regret, imputing the course she had taken, in leaving him, not to her- 
self, but others, and assigning whatever little share of blame he would 
allow her to bear in the transaction to the simple, and, doubtless, true 
cause — her not at all understanding him. " I have no doubt," he 
would sometimes say, " that she really did believe me to be mad." 

Another resolution connected with his matrimonial affairs, in which 
he often, at this time, professed his fixed intention to persevere, was 
that of never allowing himself to touch any part of his wife's for- 
tune. Such a sacrifice, there is no doubt, would have been, in his 
situation, delicate and manly, but though the natural bent of his dis- 
position led him to make the resolution, he wanted — what few, per- 
haps, could have attained — the fortitude to keep it. 

The effects of the late struggle on his mind, in stirring up all its 
resources and energies, was visible in the great activity of his genius 
during the whole of this period, and the rich variety, both in character 
and colouring, of the works with which it teemed. Besides the Third 
Canto and the Prisoner of Chillon, he produced also his two poems, 
" Darkness" and " The Dream," the latter of which cost him many a tear 
in writing, — being, indeed, the most mournful, as well as picturesque 
" story of a wandering life" that ever came from the pen and heart of 
man. Those verses, too, entitled " The Incantation," which he intro- 
duced afterward, without any connexion with the subject, into Man- 
fred, were also (at least, the less bitter portion of them) the produc- 
tion of this period ; and as they were written soon after the last fruit- 
less attempt at reconciliation, it is needless to say who was in his 
thoughts while he penned some of the opening stanzas. 

"Though thy slumber must be deep, 
Yet thy spirit shall not sleep ; 

cleverest at bottom, but spoiled by a wish to be — she knew not what. In her 
own house she v. as amiable } in any other person's, vou wished her gone, 
and in her own again." 

26 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

There are shades which will not vanish, 
There are thoughts thou canst not banish, 
By a power to thee unknown, 
Thou canst never be alone; 
Thou art wrapt as with a shroud, 
Thou art gathered in a cloud; 
And for ever shalt thou dwell 
In the spirit of this spell. 

" Though thou seest me not pass by, 
Thou shalt feel me with thine eye, 
As a thing that, though unseen, 
Must be near thee, and hath been ; 
And when, in that secret dread, 
Thou hast turn'd around thy head, 
Thou shalt marvel I am not 
As thy shadow on the spot, 
And the power which thou dost feel 
Shall be what thou must conceal." 

Besides the unfinished " Vampire," he began also, at this time, 
another n nance in prose, founded upon the story of the Marriage of 
Belphegor and intended to shadow out his own matrimonial fate. A 
devil, under the guise of an English gentleman, of the name of Lovel, 
was supposed to arrive at Seville, and by his riches and mode of life 
to attract some attention, which was considerably increased when he 
came to display his powers of fiddling — all the world, far and near, 
flocking to hear his music. The ladies, in particular, were so capti- 
vated by it, that his life became exceedingly pleasant; till the painful 
idea crossed him, " If 1 forget the Devil, what the devil will the Devil 
say to meV He then described the future wife of this Satanic per- 
sonage, much in the same spirit that pervades his delineation of Donna 
lnes in the first Canto of Don Juan. "While engaged, however, in 
writing this story, he heard from England that Lady Byron was ill, 
and, his heart softening at the intelligence, he threw the manuscript 
inlo the fire. — So constantly were the good and evil principles of his 
nature conflicting for mastery over him.* 

The two following Poems, so different from each other in their 
character, — the first prying with. an awful skepticism into the darkness 
of another world, and the second breathing all that is most natural 
and tender in the affections of this, — were also written at this time, 
and have never before been published. 

* Upon the same occasion, indeed, he wrote some verses in a spirit not 
quite so generous, of which a few of the opening lines is all I shall give : 

" And thou wert sad — yet was I not with thee ; 

And thou wert sick — and yet I was not near. 
Methough. that Joy and Health alone could be 

Where I was nol< and pain and sorrow here. 
And is it thus ? — it is as 1 foretold, 

And shall be more so :" — &c. &zc. 

A. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 87 


" Could 1 remount the river of my years 
To the first fountain of our smiles and tears, 
I would not trace again the stream of hours 
Between their outworn banks of wither'd flowers, 
But bid it flow as now — until it glides 
Into the number of the nameless tides. 

What is this Death ? — a quiet of the heart ] 
The whole of that of which we are a part? 
For Life is but a vision — what I see 
Of all which lives alone is life to me, 
And being so — the absent are the dead, 
Who haunt us from tranquillity, and spread 
A dreary shroud around us, and invest 
With sad remembrancers our hours of rest. 

" The absent are the dead — for they are cold, 
And ne'er can be what once we did behold ; 
And they are changed, and cheerless, — or if yet 
The unforgotten do not all forget, 
Since thus divided — equal must it be 
If the deep barrier be of earth or sea ; 
It may be both — but one day end it must 
In the dark union of insensate dust. 

"The under-earth inhabitants — are they 
But mingled millions decomposed to clay 1 
The ashes of a thousand ages spread 
Wherever man has trodden or shall tread? 
Or do they in their silent cities dwell 
Each in his incommunicative cell ? 
Or have they their own language ] and a sense 
Of breathless being "? — darken'd and intense 
As midnight in her solitude'? — Oh, Earth! 
Where are the past] — and wherefore had they birth? 
The dead are thy inheritors — and we 
But bubbles on thy surface ;— and the key 
Of thy profundity is in the grave, 
The ebon portal of thy peopled cave, 
Where I would walk in spirit, and behold 
Our elements resolved to things untold, 
And fathom hidden wonders, and explore 
The essence of great bosoms now no more." 



"My sister! my sweet sister! if a name 
Dearer and purer were, it should be thine. 
Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim 
No teurs, but tenderness to answer mine : 

28 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

Go where I will, to me thou art the same — 
A loved regret which I would not resign. 
There yet are two things in my destiny, — 
A world to roam through, and a home with thee. 


" The first were nothing — had I still the last, 
It were the haven of my happiness ; 
But other claims and other ties thou hast, 
And mine is not the wish to make them less. 
A strange doom is thy father's son's, and past 
Recalling, as it lies beyond redress ; 
Reversed for him your grandsire's* fate of yore, — 
He had no rest at sea, nor I on shore. 


" If my inheritance of storms hath been 
In other elements, and on the rocks 
Of perils, overlooked or unforeseen, 
I have sustained my share of worldly shocks, 
The fault was mine ; nor do I seek to screen 
My errors with pretence or paradox; 
T have been cunning in mine overthrow, 

The careful pilot of my proper wo. 


" Mine were my faults, and mine be their reward. 
My whole life was a contest, since the day 
That gave me being, gave me that which marr'd 
The gift, — a fate, or will, that walk'd astray; 
And 1 at times have found the struggle hard, 
And thought of shaking off my bonds of clay: 
But now I fain would for a time survive, 

If but to see what next can well arrive. 


"Kingdoms and empires in my little day 
I have outlived, and yet I am not old ; 
And when I look on this, the petty spray 
Of my own years of trouble, which have roll'd 
Like a wild bay of breakers, melts away: 
Something — I know not what — does still uphold 
A spirit of slight patience; — not in vain, 
Even for its own sake, do we purchase pain. 

* M Admiral Byron was remarkable for never making a voyage without a 
tempest. He was known to the sailors by the facetious name of ' Foul- 
weather Jack.' 

• But. though it were tempest-toss'd, 
Still liis bark could not be lost.' 

He returned safely from the wreck of the Wager (in Anson's Voyage), and 
subsequently circumnavigated the world, many years after, as commander 
of a similar expedition." 

a. D. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 


"Perhaps the workings of defiance stir 
Within me, — or perhaps a cold despair, 
Brought on when ills habitually recur, — 
Perhaps a kinder clime, a purer air, 
(For ev'n to this may change of soul refer, 
And with light armour we may learn to bear,) 
Have taught me a strange quiet which was not 
The chief cjmpanion of a calmer lot. 


"I feel almort at times as I have felt 
In happy childhood ; trees, arid flowers, and brooks, 
Which do remember me of where I dwelt 
Ere my young mind was sacrificed to books, 
Come as of yore upon me, and can melt 
My heart with recognition of their looks ; 
And ev'n at moments I would think I see' 

Some living things I love — but none like thee. 


"There are the Alpine landscapes which create 
A fund for contemplation ; — to admire 
Is a brief feeling of a trivial date ; 
But something worthier do such scenes inspire: 
Here to be lonely is not desolate, 
For much I view which I could most desire, 
And, above all, a lake I can behold 
Lovelier, not dearer, than our own of old. 


" Oh that thou wert but with me ! — but I grow 
The fool of my own wishes, and forget 
The solitude which I have vaunted so 
Has lost its praise in this but one regret ; 
There may be others which I less may show ; — 
I am not of the plaintive mood, and yet 
I feel an ebb in my philosophy, 
And the tide rising in my alter' d eye. 


" I did remind you of our own dear lake,* 
By the old hall which may be mine no more, 
Leman's is fair; but think not I forsake 
The sweet remembrance of a dearer shore : 
Sad havoc Time must with my memory make 
Ere that or thou can fade these eyes before ; 
Though, like all things which 1 have loved, they are 
Resign'd for ever, or divided far. 


" The world is all before me ; I but ask 
Of nature that with which she will comply — 

• The lake of Navnstead Abbey* 

30 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

It is but in her summer's sun to bask, 
To mingle with the quiet of her sky, 
To see her gentle face without a mask, 
And never gaze on it with apathy. 
She was my early friend, and now shall be 
My sister — till I look again on thee. 

" 1 can reduce all feelings but this one ; 
And that I would not ; — for at length I see 
Such scenes as those wherein my life begun, 
The earliest were the only paths for me : 
Had I but sooner learn'd the crowd to shun, 
I had been better than I now can be : 
The passions which have torn me would have slept; 
I had not suffer'd, and thou hadst not wept. 


"With false ambition what had I to do? 

Little with love, and least of all with fame ; 

And yet they came unsought, and with me grew, 

And made me all which they can make — a name. 

Yet this was not the end I did pursue ; 

Surely I once beheld a nobler aim. 

But all is over — I am one the more 
To baffled millions who have gone before. 


"And for the future, this world's future may 

From me demand but little of my care ; 

I have outlived myself for many a day; 

Having survived so many things that were, 

My years have been no slumber, but the prey 

Of all sensations ; — I have had such share 

Of life as might have fill'd a century, 
Before its fourth in time had pass'd me by. 


" And for the remnants which may be to come 
i am content ; and for the past I feel 
Not thankless, — for within the crowded sum 
Of struggles, happiness at times would steal. 
And for the present, I would not benumb 
My feelings farther. — Nor shall I conceal 
That with all this I still can look around 

And worship nature with a thought profound. 


" For thee, my own sweet sister, in thy heart 
I know myself secure, as thou in mine ; 
We were and are — I am, ev'n as thou art — 
Beings who ne'er each other can resign ; 
It is the same together or apart, 
From life's commencement to its long decline." 

a.d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 31 

In the month of August, Mr. M. G. Lewis arrived to pass some 
time with him ; and he was soon after visited by Mr. Richard Sharpe, 
of whom he makes such honourable mention in the Journal already 
given, and with whom, as I have heard this gentleman say, it now gave 
him evident pleasure to converse about their common friends in Eng- 
land. Among those who appeared to have lelt the strongest impres- 
sions of interest and admiration on his mind was (as easily will be 
believed by all who know this distinguished person) Sir James Mack- 

Soon after the arrival of his friends, Mr. Hobhouse and Mr. S. Davies, 
he set out, as we have seen, with the former on a tour through the 
Bernese Alps, — after accomplishing which journey, about the begin- 
ning of October he took his departure, accompanied by the same gen- 
tleman, for Italy. 

The first letter of the following series was, it will be seen, written 
a few days before he left Diodati. 



"Diodati, Oct. 5, 1816. 
* * * # * 


Save me a copy of ' Buck's Richard III/ republished by Longman ; 
but do not send out more books — I have too many. 

44 The ' Monody' is in too many paragraphs, which makes it unintel- 
ligible to me ; if any one else understands it in the present form, they 
are wiser; however, as it cannot be rectified till my return, and has 
been already published, even publish it on in the collection — it will fill 
up the place of the omitted epistle. 

" Strike out ' by request of a friend,' which is sad trash, and must 
have been done to make it ridiculous. 

*' Be careful in the printing the stanzas beginning, 

' Though the day of my destiny 's,' &c. 

which I think well of as a composition. 

" ' The Antiquary' is not the best of the three, but much above all 
the last twenty years, saving its elder brothers. Holcroft's Memoirs 
are valuable, as showing the strength of endurance in the man, which 
is worth more than all the talent in the world. 

" And so you have been publishing ' Margaret of Anjou' and an 
Assyrian tale, and refusing W. W/s Waterloo, and the ' Hue and Cry/ 
I know not which most to admire, your rejections or acceptances. I 
believe that prose is, after all, the most reputable ; for certes, if one 
could foresee — but I won't go on — that is, with this sentence ; but 
poetry is, I fear, incurable. God help me! if 1 proceed in this scrib- 
bling, I shall have frittered away my mind before I am thirty ; but it is 
at times a real relief to me. For the present — good evening." 

32 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 



"Martigny, October 9th, 1816. 

" Thus far on my way to Italy. We have just passed the ' Pisse- 
Vache' (one of the first torrents in Switzerland) in time to view the 
iris which the sun flings along it before noon. 

" I have written to you twice lately. Mr. Davies, I hear, is arrived. 
He brings the original MS. which you wished to see. Recollect that 
the printing is to be from that which Mr. Shelley brought ; and recollect 
also, that the concluding stanzas of Childe Harold (those to my 
daughter) which I had not .made up my mind whether to publish or not 
when they were first written (as you will see marked on the margin of 
the first copy), I had (and have) fully determined to publish with the 
rest of the Canto, as in the copy which you received by Mr. Shelley, 
before I sent it to England. 

" Our weather is very fine, which is more than the summer has 
been. — At Milan I shall expect to hear from you. Address either to 
Milan, poste restante, or by way of Geneva, to the care of Monsr. 
Hentsch, Banquier. I write these few lines in case my other letter 
should not reach you ; I trust one of them will. 

"P.S. My best respects and regards to Mr. GifTord.' Will you tell 
him, it may perhaps be as well to put a short note to that part relating 
to Clarens, merely to say, that of course the description does not refer 
to that particular spot so much as to the command of scenery round it ? 
1 do not know that this is necessary, and leave it to Mr. G.'s choice, 
as my editor, — if he will allow me to call him so at this distance." 



" Milan, October 15th, 1816. 

"I hear that Mr. Davies has arrived in England, — but that of some 
letters, &c, committed to his care by Mr. H., only half have been 
delivered. This intelligence naturally makes me feel a little anxious 
for mine, and among them for the MS., which I wished to have com- 
pared with the one sent by me through the hands of Mr. Shelley. I 
trust that it has arrived safely, — and indeed not less so, that some little 
crystals, &c, from Mont Blanc, for my daughter and my nieces, have 
reached their address. Pray have the goodness to ascertain from Mr. 
Davies that no accident (by custom-house or loss) has befallen them, 
and satisfy me on this point at your earliest convenience. 

"If I recollect rightly, you told me that Mr. GifTord had kindly un- 
dertaken to correct the press (at my request) during my absence — at 
least I hope so. It will add to my many obligations to that gentleman. 

"I wrote to you, on my way here, a short note, dated Martigny. 
Mr. Hobhouse and myself arrived here a few days ago, by the Simplon 
and Lago Maggiore route. Of course we visited the Bon-omean 
Islands, which are fine, but too artificial. The Simplon is magnificent 
in its nature and its art, — both God and man have done wonders, — to 
say nothing of the Devil, who must certainly have had a hand (or a 

a.d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 33 

hoof) in some of the rocks and ravines through and over which the 
works are carried. 

" Milan is striking — the cathedral superb. The city altogether re- 
minds me of Seville, but a little inferior. We had heard divers bruits, 
and took precautions on the road, near the frontier, against some 
'many worthy fellows (j. e. felons) that were out,' and had ransacked 
some preceding travellers, a few weeks ago, near Sesto, — or Gesto, I 
forget which, — of cash and raiment, besides putting them in bodily 
fear, and lodging about twenty slugs in the retreating part of a courier 
belonging to Mr. Hope. But we were not molested, and, I do not 
think, in any danger, except of making mistakes in the way of cock- 
ing and priming whenever we saw an old house, or an ill-looking 
thicket, and now and then suspecting the ' true men,' who have very 
much the appearance of the thieves of other countries. "What the 
thieves may look like, I know not, nor desire to know, for it seems 
they come upon you in bodies of thirty (' in buckram and Kendal 
green') at a time, so that voyagers have no great chance. It is some- 
thing like poor dear Turkey in that respect, but not so good, for there 
you can have as great a body of rogues to match the regular banditti ; 
but here the gens-d'armes are said to be no great things, and as for 
one's own people, one can't carry them about like Robinson Crusoe 
with a gun on each shoulder. 

" 1 have been to the Ambrosian library — it is a fine collection — full 
of MSS. edited and unedited. I enclose you a list of the former re- 
cently published : these are matters for your literati. For me, in my 
simple way, I have been most delighted with a correspondence of let- 
ters, all original and amatory, between Lucrelia Borgia and Cardinal 
Bcmbo, preserved there. I have pored over them and a lock of her 
hair, the prettiest and fairest imaginable — I never saw fairer — and 
shall go repeatedly to read the epistles over and over ; and if I can 
obtain some of the hair by fair means, I shall try. I have already 
persuaded the librarian to promise me copies of the letters, and I hope 
he will not disappoint me. They are short, but very simple, sweet, 
and to the purpose ; there are some copies of verses in Spanish also 
by her ; the tress of her hair is long, and as I said before, beautiful. 
The Brera gallery of paintings has some fine pictures, but nothing 
of a collection. Of painting I know nothing ; but I like a Guercino — a 
picture of Abraham putting away Hagar and Ishmael — which seems to 
me natural and goodly. The Flemish school, such as I saw it in Flan- 
ders, I utterly detested, despised, and abhorred ; it might be painting, 
but it was not nature ; the Italian is pleasing, and their ideal very noble. 

" The Italians I have encountered here are very intelligent and 
agreeable. In a few days I am to meet Monti. By-the-way, I have 
just heard an anecdote of Beccaria, who published such admirable 
things against the punishment of death. As soon as his book was out, 
his servant (having read it, I presume) stole his watch ; and his master, 
while correcting the press of a second edition, did all he could to have 
him hanged by way of advertisement. 

" I forgot to mention the triumphal arch begun by Napoleon, as a 
gate to this city. It is unfinished, but the part completed worthy of 
another age and the same country. The society here is very oddly 
carried on, — at the theatre, and the theatre only, — which answers to 
our opera. People meet there as at a rout, but in very small circles. 
From Milan I shall go to Venice. If you write, write to Geneva, as 
before — the letter will be forwarded. " Yours ever." 

Vol. II.— C 

34 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 



11 Milan, November 1st, 1816. 

" I have recently written to you rather frequently, but without any 
late answer. Mr. Hobhouse and myself set out for Venice in a few 
days ; but you had better still address to me at Mr. Hentsch's, Ban- 
quier, Geneva ; he will forward your letters. 

" I do not know whether I mentioned to you, some time ago, that 
I had parted with the Dr. Polidori a few weeks previous to my leaving 
Diodati. I know no great harm of him; but he had an alacrity of 
getting- into scrapes, and was too young and heedless ; and having 
enough to attend to in my own concerns, and without time to become 
his tutor, I thought it much better to give him his conge. He arrived 
at Milan some weeks before Mr. Hobhouse and myself. About a week 
ago, in consequence of a quarrel at the theatre with an Austrian offi- 
cer, in which he was exceedingly in the wrong, he has contrived to 
get sent out of the territory, and is gone to Florence. I was not pre- 
sent, the pit having been the scene of altercation ; but on being sent 
for from the Cavalier Breme's box, where I was quietly staring at the 
ballet, I found the man of medicine begirt with grenadiers, arrested 
by the guard, conveyed into the guard-room, where there was much 
swearing in several languages. They were going to keep him there 
for the night ; but on my giving my name, and answering for his appa- 
rition next morning, he was permitted egress. Next day he had an 
order from the government to be gone in twenty-four hours, and ac- 
cordingly gone he is, some days ago. We did what we could for him, 
nut to no purpose ; and indeed he brought it upon himself, as far as I 
could learn, for I was not present at the squabble itself. I believe 
this is the real state of his case ; and I tell it you because T believe 
things sometimes reach you in England in a false or exaggerated form 
We found Milan very polite and hospitable,* and have the same hopes 
of Verona and Venice. I have filled my paper. 

" Ever yours, &c." 

* With Milan, however, or its society, the noble traveller was far from 
being pleased, and in his Memoranda, I recollect, he described his stay there 
to be " like a ship under quarantine." Among other persons whom he met 
in the society of that place was M. Beyle, the ingenious author of " L'His- 
toire de la Peinture en Italie," who thus describes the impression their first 
interview left upon him. 

" Ce fut pendant l'automne de 1816, que je le rencontrai au theatre de la 
Scala, a Milan, dans la loge de M. Louis de Br6me. Je fus frappe" des yeux 
de Lord Byron au moment ou il ecoutait un sestetto d'un opera de Mayer 
intitule Elena. Je n'ai vu de ma vie, rien de plus beau ni de plus expressif. 
Encore aujourd'hui, si je viens a pcnser a l'expression qu'un grand peintre 
devrait donner au genie, cette tete sublime reparait tout-a-coup devant moi. 
J'eus un instant d'enthousiasme, et oubliant la juste repugnance que tout 
horn me un peu fier doit avoir a se faire presenter a. un pair de'Angleterre, je 
priai M. de BrGrne, do rn'introduire a Lord Byron. Je me trouvai le lendemain 
a diner chez M. de Bidme, avec lui, et le celebre Monti, Timmortel auteur de 
la Basvigliana. On parla poeYie, on en vint a. demander quels eHaient les 
douze plus beaux vers faits depuis un siecle, en Francois, en Italien, en An, 

a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 35 



"Verona, November 6th, 1816. 


"Your letter, written before my departure from England, and 
addressed to me in London, only reached me recently. Since that 
period, I have been over a portion of that part of Europe which I had 
not already seen. About a month since, I crossed the Alps from 
Switzerland to Milan, which I left a few days ago, and am thus far on 
my way to Venice, where I shall probably winter. Yesterday I was 
on the shores of the Benacus, with his fiuctibus etfremitu. Catullus's 
Sirmium has still its name and site, and is remembered for his sake ; 
but the very heavy autumnal rains and mists prevented our quitting 
our route (that is, Hobhouse and myself, who are at present voyaging 
together), as it was better not to see it at all than to a great disadvantage. 

" I found on the Benacus the same tradition of a city still visible in 
calm weather below the waters, which you have preserved of Lough 
Neagh, ' When the clear, cold eve 's declining.' I do not know that it 
is authorized by records ; but they tell you such a story, and say that 
the city was swallowed up by an earthquake. We moved to-day over 
the frontier to Verona, by a road suspected of thieves — ' the wise 
convey it call,' — but without molestation. I shall remain here a day or 
two to gape at the usual marvels — amphitheatre, paintings, and all 
that time-tax of travel — though Catullus, Claudian, and Shakspeare 
have done more for Verona than it ever did for itself. They still pre- 
tend to show, I believe, the ' tomb of all the Capulets' — we shall see. 

"Among many things at Milan, one pleased me particularly, viz. 
the correspondence (in the prettiest love-letters in the world) of Lu- 
cretia Borgia with Cardinal Bembo (who, you say, made a very good 
cardinal), and a lock of her hair, and some Spanish verses of hers, — 
the lock very fair and beautiful. I took one single hair of it as a relic, 
and wished sorely to get a copy of one or two of the letters ; but it is 
prohibited : that I do n't mind ; but it was impracticable ; and so I only 
got some of them by heart. They are kept in the Ambrosian Library, 
which I often visited to look them over — to the scandal of the libra- 
rian, who wanted to enlighten me with sundry valuable MSS., classi- 
cal, philosophical, and pious._ But I stick to the Pope's daughter, and 
wish myself a cardinal. 

" I have seen the finest parts of Switzerland, the Rhine, the Rhone, 

glais. Les Italiens presens s'accorderent a designer les douze premiers vers 
de la Mascheroniana de Monti, comme ce que l'on avait fait de plus beau 
dans leur langue, depuis cent ans. Monti voulut bien nous les reciter. Je 
regardai Lord Byron, il fut ravi. La nuance de hauteur, ou plutot l'air d'un 
homme quise trouve avoir a repousser une importuniie, qui deparait un peu sa 
belle figure, disparut tout-a-coup pour faire a l'expression du bonheur. Le 
premier chant de la Mascheroniana, que Monti r^cita presque en entier, 
vaincu par les acclamations des auditeurs, causa la plus vive sensation a 
l'auteur de Childe Harold. Je n'oublierai jamais l'expression divine de ses 
traits ; c'etait Pair serein de la puissance et du g£nie, et suivant moi, Lord 
Byron n'avait, en ce moment, aucune affectation a se reprocher." 

C 2 

36 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1810." 

and the Swiss and Italian lakes; for the beauties of which I refer 
you to the Guide-book. The north of Italy is tolerably free from the 
English ; but the south swarms with them, I am told. Madame de 
Stael I saw frequently at Copet, which she renders remarkably 
pleasant. She has been particularly kind to me. I was for some 
months her neighbour, in a country house called Diodati, which I had 
on the Lake of Geneva. My plans are very uncertain; but it is pro- 
bable that you will see me in England in the spring". I have some 
business there. If you write to me, will you address to the care of 
lions. Hentsch, Banquier, Geneva, who receives and forwards my 
letters. Remember me to Rogers, who wrote to me lately, with a 
short account of your poem, which, I trust, is near the light. He 
speaks of it most highly. 

" My health is very endurable, except that I am subject to casual 
giddiness and faintnesses, which is so like a fine lady, that I am rather 
ashamed of the disorder. When I sailed, I had a physician with me, 
whom, after some months of patience, I found it expedient to part 
with, before I left Geneva some time. On arriving at Milan, I found 
this gentleman in very good society, where he prospered for some 
weeks ; but, at length, at the theatre he quarrelled with an Austrian 
officer, and was sent out by the government in twenty-four hours. I 
was not present at his squabble ; but on hearing that he was put 
under arrest, I went and got him out of his continement, but could 
not prevent his being sent off, which, indeed, he partly deserved, being 
quite in the wrong, and having begun a row for row's sake. I had 
preceded the Austrian government some weeks myself, in giving him 
his conge from Geneva. He is not a bad fellow, but very young and 
hot-headed, and more likely to incur diseases than to cure them. 
Hobhouse and myself found it useless to intercede for him. This 
happened some time before we left Milan. He is gone to Florence. 

" At Milan I saw, and was visited by, Munti, the most celebrated of 
the living Italian poets. He seems near sixty: in face he is like the 
late Cooke the actor. His frequent changes in politics have made 
him very unpopular as a man. I saw many more of their literati ; 
but none whose names are well known in England, except Acerbi. I 
lived much with the Italians, particularly with the Marquis of Breme's 
family, who are very able and intelligent men, especially the Abate. 
There was a famous improvisatore who held forth while I was there. 
His fluency astonished me ; but although I understand Italian, and 
speak it (with more readiness than accuracy), I could only carry off 
a few very commonplace mythological images, and one line about 
Artemisia, and another about Algiers, with sixty words of an entire 
tragedy about Eteocles and Polynices. Some of the Italians liked 
him — others called his performance ' seccatura' (a devilish good word, 
by-the-way) — and all Milan was in controversy about him. 

" The state of morals in these parts is in some sort lax. A mother 
and son were pointed out at the theatre, as being pronounced by the 
Milanese world to be of the Theban dynasty — but this was all. The 
narrator (one of the first men in Milan) seemed to be not sufficiently 
scandalized by the taste or the tie. All society in Milan is carried on 
at the opera: they have private boxes, where they play at cards, or 
talk, or any thing else; but (except at the Cassino) there are no open 
houses, or balls, &c. &c. ******** 

* * * ******•••• 

• * * * * • * 

A. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 37 

" The peasant girls have all very fine dark eyes, and many of them 
are beautiful. There are also two dead bodies in fine preservation — 
one Saint Carlo Boromeo, at Milan ; the other not a saint, but a chief, 
named Visconti, at Monza — both of which appeared very agreeable. 
In one of the Boromean isles (the Isola bella), there is a large laurel 
— the largest known — on which Buonaparte, staying there just before 
the battle of Marengo, carved with his knife the word ' Battaglia.' I 
saw the letters, now half worn out and partly erased. 

" Excuse this tedious letter. To be tiresome is the privilege of old 
age and absence : I avail myself of the latter, and the former I have 
anticipated. If I do not speak to you of my own affairs, it is not 
from want of confidence, but to spare you and myself. My day is 
over — what then? — I have had it. To be sure, I have shortened it; 
and if I had done as much by this letter, it would have been as well. 
But you will forgive that, if not the other faults of 

" Yours, ever and most affectionately, 


" P.S. Nov. 7, 1816. 
" I have been over Verona. The amphitheatre is wonderful — beats 
even Greece. Of the truth of Juliet's story, they seem tenacious to 
a degree, insisting on the fact — giving a date (1303), and showing a 
tomb. It is a plain, open, and partly decayed sarcophagus, with 
withered leaves in it, in a wild and desolate conventual garden, once 
a cemetery, now ruined to the very graves. The situation struck me 
as very appropriate to the legend, being blighted as their love. I have 
brought away a few pieces of the granite, to give to my daughter and 
my nieces. Of the other marvels of this city, paintings, antiquities, 
&c. excepting the tombs of the Scaliger princes, I have no pretensions 
to judge. The Gothic monuments of the Scaligers pleased me, but 
* a poor virtuoso am I,' and 

" Ever yours.' 


It must have been observed, in my account of Lord Byron's life 
previous to his marriage, that, without leaving altogether unnoticed 
(what, indeed, was too '"notorious to be so evaded) certain affairs of 
gallantry in which he had the reputation of being engaged, I have 
thought it right, besides refraining from such details in my narrative, 
to suppress also whatever passages in his Journals and Letters might 
be supposed to bear too personally or particularly on the same delicate 
topics. Incomplete as the strange history of his mind and heart must, 
in one of its most interesting chapters, be left by these omissions, still 
a deference to that peculiar sense of decorum in this country, which 
marks the mention of such frailties as hardly a less crime than the 
commission of them, and, still more, the regard due to the feelings of 
the living, who ought not rashly to be made to suffer for the errors of 
the dead, have combined to render this sacrifice, however much it may 
be regretted, necessary. 

We have now, however, shifted the scene to a region where less 
caution is requisite ; — where, from the different standard applied to 
female morals in these respects, if the wrong itself be not lessened 
by the diminution of the consciousness of it, less scruple may be, at 
least, felt towards persons so circumstanced, and whatever delicacy 
we may think right to exercise in speaking of their frailties must be 
with reference rather to our views and usages than theirs. 

38 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

Availing myself, with this latter qualification, of the greater latitude 
thus allowed me, I shall venture so far to depart from the plan hitherto 
pursued, as to give, with but little suppression, the noble poet's letters 
relative to his Italian adventures. To throw a veil altogether over 
these irregularities of his private life would be to afford — were it even 
practicable — but a partial portraiture of his character ; while, on the 
other hand, to rob him of the advantage of being himself the historian 
-of his errors (where no injury to others can flow from the disclosure), 
would be to deprive him of whatever softening light can be thrown 
round such transgressions by the vivacity and fancy, the passionate 
love of beauty, and the strong yearning after affection, which, with the 
aid of the clew he himself alone can furnish, will be found to have 
mingled, more or less, with even the least refined of his attachments. 
Neither is any great danger to be apprehended from the sanction or 
seduction of such an example ; as they who would dare to plead the 
authority of Lord Byron for their errors must first be able to trace 
them to the same palliating sources, — to that sensibility, whose very 
excesses showed its strength and depth, — that stretch of imagination, 
to the very verge, perhaps, of what reason can bear without giving 
way, — that whole combination, in short, of grand but disturbing powers, 
which alone could be allowed to extenuate such moral derangement, 
but which, even in him thus dangerously gifted, were insufficient to 
excuse it. 

Having premised these few observations, I shall now proceed, with 
less interruption, to lay his correspondence, during this and the two 
succeeding years, before the reader. 



"Venice, November 17, 1816. 
" I wrote to you from Verona the other day in my progress hither, 
which letter I hope you will receive. Some three years ago, or it may 
be more, I recollect your telling me that you had received a letter from 
our friend Sam, dated ' On board his gondola.' My gondola is, at this 
present, waiting for me on the canal ; but I prefer writing to you in 
the house, it being autumn — and rather an English autumn than other- 
wise. It is my intention to remain at Venice during the winter, pro- 
bably, as it has always been (next to the East) the greenest island of 
my imagination. It has not disappointed me ; though its evident 
decay would, perhaps, have that effect upon others. But I have been 
familiar with ruins too long to dislike desolation. Besides, I have 
fallen in love, which, next to falling into the canal (which would be 
of no use, as I can swim), is the best or the worst thing I could do. I 
have got some extremely good apartments in the house of a • Merchant 
of Venice,' who is a good deal occupied with business, and has a wife 
in her twenty-second year. Marianna (that is her name) is in her 
appearance altogether like an antelope. She has the large, black, 
oriental eyes, with that peculiar expression in them which is seen 
rarely among Europeans — even the Italians — and which many of the 
Turkish women give themselves by tinging the eyelid, — an art not 
known out of that country, I believe. This expression she has natu- 
rally, — and something more than this. In short, I cannot describe 

a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 39 

the effect of this kind of eye, — at least upon me. Her features are 
regular, and rather aquiline — mouth small — skin clear and soft, with a 
kind of hectic colour — forehead remarkably good : her hair is of the 
dark gloss, curl, and colour of Lady J * *'s : her figure is light and 
pretty, and she is a famous songstress — scientifically so : her natural 
voice (in conversation, I mean) is very sweet ; and the naivete of the 
Venetian dialect is always pleasing in the mouth of a woman. 

" November 23. 
" You will perceive that my description, which was proceeding with 
the minuteness of a passport, has been interrupted for several days. 
In the mean time, ******* 
v* ****** * 

" December 5. 
" Since my former dates, I do not know that I have much to add on 
the subject, and, luckily, nothing to take away ; for I am more pleased 
than ever with my Venetian, and begin to feel very serious on that 
point — so much so, that I shall be silent. 

•&? W *ff <7T *R" 

" By way of divertisement, I am studying daily, at an Armenian 
monastery, the Armenian language. I found that my mind wanted 
something craggy to break upon ; and this — as the most difficult thing 
I could discover here for an amusement — I have chosen, to torture me 
into attention. It is a rich language, however, and would amply repay 
any one the trouble of learning it. I try, and shall go on ; but I answer 
for nothing, least of all for my intentions or my success. There are 
some very curious MSS. in the monastery, as well as books ; transla- 
tions also from Greek originals, now lost, and from Persian and Syriac, 
&c. ; besides works of their own people. Four years ago the French 
instituted an Armenian professorship. Twenty pupils presented them- 
selves on Monday morning, full of noble ardour, ingenuous youth, and 
impregnable industry. They persevered, with a courage worthy of 
the nation and of universal conquest, till Thursday ; when fifteen of 
the twenty succumbed to the six-and-twentieth letter of the alphabet. 
It is, to be sure, a Waterloo of an alphabet — that must be said for 
them. But it is so like these fellows, to do by it as they did by their 
sovereigns — abandon both ; to parody the old rhymes, ' Take a thing 
and give a thing' — ' Take a King and give a King.' They are the 
worst of animals, except their conquerors. 

" I hear that H — n is your neighbour, having a living in Derbyshire. 
You will find him an excellent-hearted fellow, as well as one of the 
cleverest ; a little, perhaps, too much japanned by preferment in the 
church and the tuition of youth, as well as inoculated with the disease 
of domestic felicity, besides being overrun with fine feelings about 
woman and constancy (that small change of Love, which people exact 
so rigidly, receive in such counterfeit coin, and repay in baser metal) ; 
but, otherwise, a very worthy man, who has lately got a pretty wife, 
and (I suppose) a child by this time. Pray remember me to him, 
and say that I know not which to envy most — his neighbourhood, 
him, or you. 

" Of Venice I shall say little. You must have seen many descrip- 
tions; and they are most of them like. It is a poetical place ; and clas- 
sical, to us, from Shakspeare and Otway. I have not yet sinned against 

40 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

it in verse, nor do I know that I shall do so, having been tuneless 
since I crossed the Alps, and feeling-, as yet, no renewal of the ' estro.' 
By-the-way, I suppose you have seen ' Glenarvon.' Madame de Stael 
lent it me to read from Copet last autumn. It seems to me, that if 
the authoress had written the truth, and nothing but the truth — the 
whole truth — the romance would not only have been more romantic, 
but more entertaining-. As for the likeness, the picture can't be good 
— I did not sit long enough. When you have leisure, let me hear from 
and of you, believing me ever and truly yours, most affectionately, 

" P.S. Oh! your Poem — is it out? 1 hope Longman has paid his 
thousands : but do n't you do as H * * T * *'s father did, who, having 
made money by a quarto tour, became a vinegar merchant ; when, lo ! 
his vinegar turned sweet (and be d — d to it) and ruined him. My last 
letter to you (from Verona) was enclosed to Murray — have you got it ? 
Direct to me here, poste restante. There are no English here at present. 
There were several in Switzerland — some women ; but, except Lady 
Dalrymple Hamilton, most of them as ugly as virtue — at least, those 
that I saw." 



"Venice, December 24th, 1816. 
I have taken a fit of writing to you, which portends postage — once 
from Verona — once from Venice, and again from Venice — thrice that 
is. For this you may thank yourself, for I heard that you complained 
of my silence — so, here goes for garrulity. 

" I trust that you received my other twain of letters. My ' way of 
life' (or ' May of life,' which is it, according to the commentators 1) 
— my * way of life' is fallen into great regularity. In the mornings 1 
go over in my gondola to hobble Armenian with the friars of the con- 
vent of St. Lazarus, and to help one of them in correcting the English 
of an English and Armenian grammar which he is publishing. In the 
evenings I do one of many nothings — either at the theatres, or some 
of the conversaziones, which are like our routs, or rather worse, for 
the women sit in a semicircle by the lady of the mansion, and the 
men stand about the room. To be sure, there is one improvement 
upon ours — instead of lemonade with their ices, they hand about stiff 
rum-punch — punch, by my palate; and this they think English. I 
would not disabuse them of so agreeable an error, — 'no, not for 

" Last night I was at the Count Governor's, which, of course, com- 
prises the best society, and is very much like other gregarious meet- 
ings in every country, — as in ours, — except that, instead of the bishop 
of Winchester, you have the patriarch of Venice ; and a motley crew 
of Austrians, Germans, noble Venetians, foreigners, and, if you see 
a quiz, you may be sure he is a consul. Oh, by-the-way, I forgot, 
when I wrote from Verona, to tell you that at Milan I met with a coun- 
tryman of yours — a Colonel * * * *, a very excellent, good-natured 
fellow, who knows and shows all about Milan, and is, as it were, a 


a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 41 

native there. He is particularly civil to strangers, and this is his 
history, — at least, an episode of it. 

" Six-and-twenty years ago Col. * * * *, then an ensign, being in 
Italy, fell in love with the Marchesa * * * *, and she with him. The 
lady must be, at least, twenty years his senior. The war broke out ; 
he returned to England, to serve — not his country, for that's Ireland 
—but England, which is a different thing ; and she — heaven knows 
what she did. In the year 1814, the first annunciation of the defini- 
tive treaty of peace (and tyranny) was developed to the astonished 
Milanese by the arrival of Col. * * * *, who, flinging himself full 
length at the feet of Madame * * * *, murmured forth, in half-forgotten 
Irish Italian, eternal vows of indelible constancy. The lady screamed 
and exclaimed, ' Who are you V The Colonel cried, ' What, do n't 
you know me ? I am so and so,' &c. &c. &c. ; till, at length, the Mar- 
chesa, mounting from reminiscence to reminiscence, through the 
lovers of the intermediate twenty-five years, arrived at last at the 
recollection of her povero sub-lieutenant. She then said, ' Was there 
ever such virtue V (that was her very word) and, being now a widow, 
gave him apartments in- her palace, reinstated him in all the rights of 
wrong, and held him up to the admiring world as a miracle of incon- 
tinent fidelity, and the unshaken Abdiel of absence. 

" Methinks this is as pretty a moral tale as any of Marmontel's. 
Here is another. The same lady, several years ago, made an escapade 
with a Swede, Count Fersen (the same whom the Stockholm mob 
quartered and lapidated not very long since), and they arrived at an 
osteria on the road to Rome or thereabouts. It was a summer eve- 
ning, and, while they were at supper, they were suddenly regaled by a 
symphony of fiddles in an adjacent apartment, so prettily played, that, 
wishing to hear them more distinctly, the Count rose, and going into 
the musical society, said, '■ Gentlemen, I am sure that, as a company 
of gallant cavaliers, you will be delighted to show your skill to a lady, 
who feels anxious,' &c. &c. The men of harmony were all acquies- 
cence — every instrument was tuned and toned, and, striking up one 
of their most ambrosial airs, the whole band followed the Count to the 
lady's apartment. At their head was the first fiddler, who, bowing 
and fiddling at the same moment, headed his troop and advanced up 
the room. Death and discord ! — it was the Marquis himself, who was 
on a serenading party in the country, while his spouse had run away 
from town. The rest may be imagined — but, first of all, the lady tried 
to persuade him that she was there on purpose to meet him, and had 
chosen this method for an harmonic surprise. So much for this gossip, 
which amused me when I heard it, and I send it to you, in the hope it 
may have the like effect. Now we '11 return to Venice. 

" The day after to-morrow (to-morrow being Christmas-day) the 
Carnival begins. I dine with the Countess Albrizzi and a party, and 
go to the opera. On that day the Phenix (not the Insurance Office, 
but the theatre of that name) opens : I have got me a box there for 
the season, for two reasons, one of which is, that the music is remark- 
ably good. The Contessa Albrizzi, of whom I have made mention, 
is the De Stael of Venice, not young, but a very learned, unaffected, 
good-natured woman, very polite to strangers, and, I believe, not at 
all dissolute, as most of the women are. She has written very well 
on the works of Canova, and also a volume of Characters, besides 
other printed matter. She is of Corfu, but married a dead Venetian — 
that is, dead since he married.'^ 

42 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

* l My flame (my 'Donna' whom I spoke of in my former epistle, 
my Marianna) is still my Marianna, and I her — what she pleases. She 
is by far the prettiest woman I have seen here, and the most loveable 
I have met with any where — as well as one of the most singular. I 
believe I told you the rise and progress of our liaison in my former 
letter. Lest that should not have reached you, I will merely repeat 
that she is a Venetian, two-and-twenty years old, married to a merchant 
well to do in the world, and that she has great black oriental eyes, 
and all the qualities which her eyes promise. Whether being in love 
with her has steeled me or not, 1 do not know ; but 1 have not seen 
many other women who seem pretty. The nobility, in particular, 
are a sad-looking race — the gentry rather better. And now, what art 
tkov doing ? 

" What are you doing now, 

Oh, Thomas Moore ? 
What are you doing now, 

Oh, Thomas Moore 1 
Sighing or suing now, 
Rhyming or wooing now, 
Billing or cooing now, 

Which, Thomas Moore 1 

Are you not near the Luddites ? By the Lord ! if there 's a row, but 
I '11 be among ye ! How go on the weavers — the breakers of frames 
— the Lutherans of politics — the reformers 1 


"As the liberty lads o'er the sea 
Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood, 
So we, boys, we 
Will die fighting, or live free, 
And down with all kings but King Ludd! 

" When the web that we weave is complete, 
And the shuttle exchanged for the sword, 
We will fling the winding-sheet 
O'er the despot at our feet, 
And dye it deep in the gore he has pour'd. 


" Though black as his heart its hue, 
Since his veins are corrupted to mud, 

Yet this is the dew 
Which the tree shall renew 
Of liberty, planted by Ludd ! 

There 's an amiable chanson for you — all impromptu. I have written 
it principally to shock your neighbour * * * *, who is all clergy and 
loyalty — mirth and innocence — milk and water. 

" But the Carnival 's coming, 
Oh, Thomas Moore, 

a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 43 

The Carnival's coming, 

Oh, Thomas Moore, 
Masking- and humming - , 
Fifing and drumming - , 
Guitarring - and strumming - , 

Oh, Thomas Moore. 

The other nig-ht I saw a new play, — and the author. The subject was 
the sacrifice of Isaac. The play succeeded, and they called for the 
author — according to continental custom — and he presented himself, a 
noble Venetian, Mali, or Malapiero, by name. Mala was his name, 
and pessima his production, — at least, I»thought so, and I ought to 
know, having - read more or less of five l^mdred Drury-lane offerings, 
during my coadjutorship with the sub-arro-super Committee. 

" When does your Poem of Poems come out 1 I hear that the E. R. 
has cut up Coleridge's Christabel, and declared against me for praising 
it. I praised it, firstly, because I thought well of it ; secondly, because 
Coleridge was in great distress, and, after doing what little I could 
for him in essentials, I thought that the public avowal of my good 
opinion might help him farther, at least with the booksellers. I am 
very sorry that J * * has attacked him, because, poor fellow, it will 
hurt him in mind and pocket. As for me, he 's welcome — I shall 
never think less of J * * for any thing he may say against, me or mine 
in future. 

" I suppose Murray has sent you, or will send (for I do not know 
whether they are out or no) the poem, or poesies, of mine, of last 
summer. By the mass ! they 're sublime — ' Ganion Coheriza' — gain- 
say who dares ! Pray, let me hear from you, and of you, and, at 
least, let me know that you have received these three letters. Direct, 
right here, poste restante. 

" Ever and ever, &c. 

" P.S. I heard the other day of a pretty trick of a bookseller, who 
has published some d — d nonsense, swearing the bastards to me, and 
saying he gave me five hundred guineas for them. He lies — I never 
wrote such stuff, never saw the poems, nor the publisher of them, in 
my life, nor had any communication, directly or indirectly, with the 
fellow. Pray say as much for me, if need be. I have written to 
Murray, to make him contradict the impostor. 



" Venice, November 25, 1816. 
" It is some months since I have heard from or of you — I think, not 
since I left Diodati. From Milan I wrote once or twice ; but have been 
here some little time, and intend to pass the winter without removing. 
I was much pleased with the Lago di Garda, and with Verona, particu- 
larly the amphitheatre, and a sarcophagus in a convent garden, which 
they show as Juliet's : they insist on the truth of her history. Since 
my arrival at Venice, the lady of the Austrian governor told me that 
between Verona and Vicenza there are still ruins of the castle of the 
Montccehi, and a chapel once appertaining to the Capulets. Romeo 

44 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

seems to have been of Vicenza, by the tradition ; but I was a good 
deal surprised to find so firm a faith in Bandello's novel, which seems 
really to have been founded on a fact. 

" Venice pleases me as much as I expected, and I expected much. 
It is one of those places which I know before I sec them, and has 
always haunted me the most after the East. I like the gloomy gayety 
of their gondolas, and the silence of their canals. I do not even dislike 
the evident decay of the city, though I regret the singularity of its 
vanished costume : however, there is much left still ; the Carnival, 
too, is coming. 

" St. Mark's, and indeed Venice, is most alive at night. The theatres 
are not open till nine, and the society is proportionally late. All this 
is to my taste, but most of your countrymen miss and regret the rattle 
of hackney coaches, withouT which they can't sleep. 

" 1 have got remarkably good apartments in a private house ; I see 
something of the inhabitants (having had a good many letters to some 
of them) ; I have got my gondola ; I read a little, and luckily could 
speak Italian (more fluently than correctly) long ago. I am studying, 
out of curiosity, the Venetian dialect, which is very naive, and soft, 
and peculiar, though not at all classical ; I go out frequently, and am 
in very good contentment. 

"The Helen of Canova (a bust which is in the house of Madame 
the Countess d'Albrizzi, whom I know) is, without exception, to my 
mind, the most perfectly beautiful of human conceptions, and far 
beyond my ideas of human execution. 

* In this beloved marble view, 

Above the works and thoughts of man, 
What Nature could, but would not, do, 

And Beauty and Canova can ! 
Beyond Imagination's power, 

Beyond the bard's defeated art, 
With immortality her dower, 

Behold the Helen of the heart P 

Talking of the 'heart' reminds me that I have fallen in love, which, 
exeept falling into the canal (and that would be useless, as I swim), 
is the best (or worst) thing I could do. 1 am therefore in love — 
fathomless love ; but lest you should make some splendid mistake, 
and envy me the possession of some of those princesses or count- 
esses with whose affections your English voyagers are apt to invest 
themselves, I beg leave to tell you that my goddess is only the wife 
of a ' Merchant of Venice ;' but then she is pretty as an antelope, is 
but two-and-twenty years old, has the large, black, oriental eyes, 
with the Italian countenance, and dark glossy hair, of the curl and 
colour of Lady J * *'s. Then she has the voice of a lute, and the 
song of a seraph (though not quite so sacred), besides a long post- 
script of graces, virtues, and accomplishments, enough to furnish 
out a new chapter for Solomon's Song. But her great merit is finding 
out mine — there is nothing so amiable as discernment. Our little 
arrangement is completed, ihe usual oaths having been taken, and 
every thing fulfilled according to the ' understood relations' of such 

" The general race of women appear to be handsome ; but in Italy, 
as on almost all the continent, the highest orders are by no means a 

a. d. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 45 

well-looking- generation, and indeed reckoned by their countrymen 
very much otherwise. Some are exceptions, but most of them as ugly 
as Virtue herself. 

" If you write, address to me here,poste restante, as I shall probably 
stay the winter over. I never see a newspaper, and know nothing- of 
England, except in a letter now and then from my sister. Of the MS. 
sent you, I know nothing, except that you have received it, and are 
to publish it, &c. &c. ; but when, where, and how, you leave me to 
guess ; but it do n't much matter. 

" I suppose you have a world of works passing through your process 
for next year ? When does Moore's Poem appear 1 I sent a letter 
for him, addressed to your care, the other day." 



" Venice, Dec. 4th, 1816. 

" I have written to you so frequently of late, that you will think me 
a bore ; as I think you a very impolite person for not answering my 
letters from Switzerland, Milan, Verona, and Venice. There are some 
things I wanted, and want to know ; viz. whether Mr. Davies of inac- 
curate memory, had or had not delivered the MS. as delivered to him ; 
because, if he has not, you will find that he will bountifully bestow 
transcriptions on all the curious of his acquaintance, in which case 
you may probably find your publication anticipated by the ' Cambridge' 
or other Chronicles. In the next place — I forget what was next ; but, 
in the third place, I want to hear whether you have yet published, or 
when you mean to do so, or why you have not done so, because in 
your last (Sept. 20th, — you may be ashamed of the date), you talked 
of this being done immediately. 

From England I hear nothing, and know nothing of any thing or 
any body. I have but one correspondent (except Mr. Kinnaird on 
business now and then), and her a female ; so that I know no more 
of your island, or city, than the Italian version of the French papers 
chooses to tell me, or the advertisements of Mr. Colburn tagged to 
the end of your Quarterly Review for the year ago. I wrote to you 
at some length last week, and have little to add, except that I have 
begun, and am proceeding in, a study of the Armenian language, 
which I acquire, as well as I can, at the Armenian convent, where I 
go every day to take lessons of a learned friar, and have gained some 
singular and not useless information with regard to the literature and 
customs of that oriental people. They have an establishment here — 
a church and convent of ninety monks, very learned and accomplished 
men, some of them. They have also a press, and make great efforts 
for the enlightening of their nation. I find the language (which is 
twin, the literal and the -vulgar) difficult, but not invincible (at least, I 
hope not). I shall go on. I found it necessary to twist my mind 
round some severer study, and this, as being the hardest I could devise 
here, will be a file for the serpent. 

" I mean to remain here till the spring, so address to me directly to 
Venice, poste restante. — Mr. Hobhouse, for the present, is gone to Rome, 
with his brother, brother's wife, and sister, who overtook him here ; 
he returns in two months. I should have gone too, but I fell in love, 

46 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1816. 

and must stay that over. I should think that and the Armenian alpha- 
bet will last the winter. The lady has, luckily for me, been less 
obdurate than the language, or, between the two, I should have lost 
my remains of sanity. By-the-way, she is not an Armenian but a 
Venetian, as I believe I told you in my last. As for Italian, I am 
fluent enough, even in its Venetian modification, which is something 
like the Somersetshire version of English ; and as for the more 
classical dialects, I had not forgot my former practice much during 
my voyaging. 

" Yours, ever and truly, 


"P.S. Remember me to Mr. Gifford." 



" Venice, Dec. 9th, 1816. 

" In a letter from England, I am informed that a man named Johnson 
has taken upon himself to publish some poems called a ' Pilgrimage 
to Jerusalem, a Tempest, and an Address to my Daughter,' &c. and 
to attribute them to me, adding that he had paid five hundred guineas 
for them. The answer to this is short : / never wrote such poems, never 
received the sum he mentions, nor any other in the same quarter, nor (as 
far as moral or mortal certainty can be sure) ever had, directly or 
indirectly, the slightest communication with Johnson in my life ; not being 
aware that the person existed till this intelligence gave me to under- 
stand that there were such people. Nothing surprises me, or this per- 
haps would, and most things amuse me, or this probably would not. 
With regard to myself, the man has merely lied; that's natural — his 
betters have set him the example : but with regard to you, his assertion 
may perhaps injure you in your publications ; and I desire that it may 
receive the most public and unqualified contradiction. I do not know 
that there is any punishment for a thing of this kind, and if there 
were, I should not feel disposed to pursue this ingenious mountebank 
farther than was necessary for his confutation ; but thus far it may be 
necessary to proceed. 

" You will make what use you please of this letter ; and Mr. Kin- 
naird, who has power to act for me in my absence, will, I am sure, 
readily join you in any steps which it may be proper to take with 
regard to the absurd falsehood of this poor creature. As you will 
have recently received several letters from me on my way to Venice, 
as well as two written since my arrival, I will not at present trouble 
you farther. 

" Ever, &c. 

" P.S. Pray let me hear that you have received this letter. Address 
to Venice, poste restante. 

" To prevent the recurrence of similar fabrications, you may state, 
that I consider myself responsible for no publication from the year 
1812 up to the present date, which is not from your press. I speak 
of course from that period, because, previously, Cawthorn and Ridge 
had both printed compositions of mine. ' A Pilgrimage to Jerusalem V 

a. D. 1816.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 47 

how the devil should I write about Jerusalem, never having yet been 
there 1 As for ' A Tempest,' it was not a tempest when I left England, 
but a very fresh breeze : and as to an ' Address to little Ada' (who, 
by-the-way, is a year old to-morrow), I never wrote a line about her, 
except in ' Farewell' and the third Canto of Childe Harold." 



"Venice, Dec. 27th, 1816. 

"As the demon of silence seems to have possessed you, I am 
determined to have my revenge in postage : this is my sixth or seventh 
letter since summer and Switzerland. My last was an injunction to 
contradict and consign to confusion that Cheapside impostor, who (I 
heard by a letter from your island) had thought proper to append my 
name to his spurious poesy, of which I know nothing, nor of his pre- 
tended purchase or copyright. I hope you have, at least, received 
that letter. 

" As the news of Venice must be very interesting to you, I will 
regale you with it. 

" Yesterday, being the feast of St. Stephen, every mouth was put in 
motion. There was nothing but fiddling and playing on the virginals, 
and all kinds of conceits and divertisements, on every canal of this 
aquatic city. I dined with the Countess Albrizzi and a Paduan and 
Venetian party, and afterward went to the opera, at the Fenice theatre 
(which opens for the Carnival on that day), — the finest, by-the-way, I 
have ever seen : it beats our theatres hollow in beauty and scenery, 
and those of Milan and Brescia bow before it. The opera and its 
sirens were much like other operas and women, but the subject of the 
said opera was something edifying; it turned — the plot and conduct 
thereof — upon a fact narrated by Livy of a hundred and fifty married 
ladies having poisoned a hundred and fifty husbands in good old times. 
The bachelors of Rome believed this extraordinary mortality to be 
merely the common effect of matrimony or a pestilence ; but the sur- 
viving Benedicts, being all seized with the colic, examined into the 
matter, and found that 'their possets had been drugged;' the conse- 
quence of which was, much scandal and several suits at law. This is 
really and truly the subject of the musical piece at the Fenice; and 
you can't conceive what pretty things are sung and recitativoed about 
the horrenda strage. The conclusion was a lady's head about to be 
chopped off by a lictor, but (I am sorry to say) he left it on, and she 
got up and sung a trio with the two Consuls, the Senate in the back 
ground being chorus. The ballet was distinguished by nothing 
remarkable, except that the principal she-dancer went into convulsions 
because she was not applauded on her first appearance ; and the 
manager came forward to ask if there was ' ever a physician in the 
theatre.' There was a Greek one in my box, whom I wished very 
much to volunteer his services, being sure that in this case these 
would have been the last convulsions which would have troubled the 
ballarina; but he would not. The crowd was enormous, and in 
coming out, having a lady under my arm, I was obliged, in making 
way, almost to ' beat a Venetian and traduce the state,' being com- 
pelled to regale a person with an English punch in the guts, which 

48 NOTICES OF THE [a.d. 1817 

sent him as far back as the squeeze and the passage would admit. 
He did not ask for another, but, with great signs of disapprobation and 
dismay, appealed to his compatriots, who laughed at him. 

" I am going on with my Armenian studies in a morning, and assist- 
ing and stimulating in the English portion of an English and Armenian 
grammar, now publishing at the convent of St. Lazarus. 

" The superior of the friars is a bishop, and a fine old fellow, with 
the beard of a meteor. Father Paschal is also a learned and pious 
soul. He was two years in England. 

" I am still dreadfully in love with the Adriatic lady whom I spake 
of in a former letter (and not in this — I add, for fear of mistakes, for 
the only one mentioned in the first part of this epistle is elderly and 
bookish, two things which I have ceased to admire), and love in this 
part of the world is no sinecure. This is also the season when every 
body make up their intrigues for the ensuing year, and cut for partners 
for the next deal. 

" And now, if you do n't write, I do n't know what I won't say or do, 
nor what 1 will. Send me some news— good news. 

" Yours, very truly, &c. &c. &c. 


" P.S. Remember me to Mr. GifTord, with all duty. 

" 1 hear that the Edinburgh Review has cut up Coleridge's Christa- 
bel, and me for praising it, which omen, I think, bodes no great good 
to your forthcome or coming Canto and Castle (of Chillon). My 
run of luck within the last year seems to have taken a turn every way; 
but never mind, I will bring myself through in the end — if not, I can 
be but where I began. In the mean time, I am not displeased to be 
where I am — I mean at Venice. My Adriatic nymph is this moment 
here, and I must therefore repose from this letter." 



" Venice, Jan. 2, 1817. 

" Your letter has arrived. Pray, in publishing the Third Canto, 
have you omitted any passages 1 I hope not ; and indeed wrote to you 
on my way over the Alps to prevent such an incident. Say in your 
next whether or not the whole of the Canto (as sent to you) has been 
published. I wrote to you again the other day (twice, I think), and 
shall be glad to hear of the reception of those letters. 

" To-day is the 2d of January. On this day three years ago the 
Corsair's publication is dated, I think, in my letter to Moore. On this 
day two years I married (' Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,' 
— I sha'n't forget the day in a hurry), and it is odd enough that I this 
day received a letter from you announcing the publication of Childe 
Harold, &c. &c. on the day of the date of the ' Corsair;' and I also 
received one from my sister, written on the 10th of December, my 
daughter's birth-day (and relative chiefly to my daughter), and arriving 
on the day of the date of my marriage, this present 2d of January, the 
month of my birth, — and various other astrclogous matters, which I 
have no time to enumerate. 

" By-the-way, you might as well write to Hentsch, my Geneva 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 49 

banker, and inquire whether the two packets consigned to his care were 
or were not delivered to Mr. St. Aubyn, or if they are still in his keep- 
ing - . One contains papers, letters, and all the original MS. of your 
Third Canto, as first conceived ; and the other some bones from the 
field of Morat. Many thanks for your news, and the good spirits in 
which your letter is written. 

" Venice and I agree very well ; but I do not know that I have any- 
thing new to say except of the last new opera, which I sent in my 
late letter. The Carnival is commencing, and there is a good deal of 
fun here and there— besides business ; for all the world are making 
up their intrigues for the season, changing, or going on upon a renewed 
lease. I am very well off with Mananna, who is not at all a person 
to tire me ; firstly, because 1 do not tire of a woman personally, but 
because they are generally bores in their disposition ; and, secondly, 
because she is amiable, and has a tact which is not always the portion 
of the fair creation ; and, thirdly, she is very pretty ; and, fourthly, — 
but there is no occasion for farther specification. * * * So 
far we have gone on very well ; as to the future, I never anticipate, 
— carpe diem — the past at least is one's own, which is one reason for 
making sure of the present. So* much for my proper liaison. 

" The general state of morals here is much the same as in the Doges' 
time : a woman is virtuous (according to the code) who limits herself 
to her husband and one lover; those who have two, three, or more, are 
a little wild ; but it is only those who are indiscriminately diffuse, and 
form a low connexion, such as the Princess of Wales with her cou- 
rier (who, by-the-way, is made aknight of Malta), who are considered 
as overstepping the modesty of marriage. In Venice, the nobility 
have a trick of marrying with dancers and singers; and, truth to say, 
the women of their own order are by no means handsome ; but the 
general. race, the women of the second and other orders, the wives 
of the merchants, and proprietors, and untitled gentry, are mostly beV 
sangue, and it is with these that the more amatory connexions are 
usually formed. There are also instances of stupendous constancy. 
I knew a woman of fifty who never had but one lover, who dying 
early, she became devout, renouncing all but her husband. She piques 
herself, as may be presumed, upon this miraculous fidelity, talking of 
it occasionally with a species of misplaced morality, which is rather 
amusing. There is no convincing a woman here that she is in the 
smallest degree deviating from the rule of right or the fitness of 
things in having an amoroso. The great sin seems to lie in conceal- 
ing it, or having more than one, that is, unless such an extension of 
the prerogative is understood and approved of by the prior claimant. 
In my case, I do not know that I had any predecessor, and am pretty 
sure that there is no participator; and am inclined to think, from the 
youth of the party, and from the frank, undisguised way in which every 
body avows every thing in this part of the world, when there is any 
thing to avow, as well as from some other circumstances, such as the 
marriage being recent, &c. &c. &c, that this is the premier j?as. It 
does not much signify. 

" In another sheet, I send you some sheets of a grammar, English 
and Armenian, for the use of the Armenians, of which 1 promoted, 
and indeed induced, the publication. (It cost me but a thousand francs 
— French livres.) I still pursue my lessons in the language without 
any rapid progress, but advancing a little daily. Padre Paschal, with 
some little help from me, as translator of his Italian into English, is 

Vol. II.— D 

50 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

also proceeding in a MS. Grammar for the English acquisition of 
Armenian, which will be printed also, when finished. 

" We want to know if there are any Armenian types and letter- 
press in England, at Oxford, Cambridge, or elsewhere ] You know, I 
sunpose, that, many years ago, the two Whistons published in England 
an original text of a history of Armenia, with their own Latin trans- 
lation ] Do those types still exist 1 and where 1 Pray inquire among 
your learned acquaintance. 

" When this Grammar (I mean the one now printing) is done, will 
you have any objection to take forty or fifty copies, which will not 
cost in all above five or ten guineas, and try the curiosity of the learned 
with a sale of them 1 Say yes or no, as you like. I can assure you 
that they have some very curious books and MSS., chiefly translations 
from Greek originals now lost. They are, besides, a much-respected 
and learned community, and the study of their language was taken 
up with great ardour by some literary Frenchmen in Buonaparte's 

" I have not done a stitch of poetry since I left Switzerland, and 
have not at present the estro upon me. The truth is, that you are 
afraid of having a Fourth Canto before September, and of another 
copyright, but I have at present no thoughts of resuming that poem, 
nor of beginning any other. If I write, 1 think of trying prose, but I 
dread introducing living people, or applications which might be made 
to living people. Perhaps one day or other I may attempt some work 
of fancy in prose descriptive of Italian manners and of human pas- 
sions; but at present I am preoccupied. As for poesy, mine is the 
dream of the sleeping passions ; when they are awake, I cannot speak 
their language, only in their somnambulism, and just now they are 
not dormant. 

" If Mr. GifFord wants carte blanche as to the Siege of Corinth, he 
has it, and may do as he likes with it. 

"I sent you a letter contradictory of the Cheapside man (who in- 
vented the story you speak of") the other day. My best respects to 
Mr. Gifford, and such of my friends as you may see at your house. I 
wish you all prosperity and new year's gratulation, and am 

" Yours, &c." 



"Venice, January 28th, 1817. 
" Your letter of the 8th is before me. The remedy for your ple- 
thora is simple — abstinence. I was obliged to have recourse to the 
like some years ago, I mean in point of diet, and, with the exception 
of some convivial weeks and days (it might be months now and then), 
have kept to Pythagoras ever since. For all this, let me hear that you 
are better. You must not indulge in *- filthy beer,' nor in porter, nor 
eat suppers — the last are the devil to those who swallow dinner. 

"I am truly sorry to hear of your father's misfortune — cruel at any 
time, but doubly cruel in advanced life. However, you will, at least, 
have the satisfaction of doing your part by him, and, depend upon it, 
it will not be in vain. Fortune, to be sure, is a female, but not such a 

A. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 51 

b — h as the rest (always excepting your wife and my sister from such 
sweeping terms) ; for she generally has some justice in the long run. 
I have no spite against her, though, between her and Nemesis, I have 
had some sore gauntlets to run — but then I have done my best to de- 
serve no better. But to you, she is a good deal in arrear, and she 
will come round — mind if she do n't : you have the vigour of life, of 
independence, of talent, spirit, and character, all with you. What you 
can do for yourself, you have done and will do ; and surely there are 
some others in the world who would not be sorry to be of use, if you 
would allow them to be useful, or at least attempt it. 

" I think of being in England in the spring. If there is a row, by 
the sceptre of King Ludd, but I '11 be one ; and if there is none, and 
only a continuance of 'this meek, piping time of peace,' I will take a 
cottage a hundred yards to the south of your abode, and become your 
neighbour ; and we will compose such canticles, and hold such dia- 
logues, as shall be the terror of the times (including the newspaper 
of that name), and the wonder, and honour, and praise of the Morn- 
ing Chronicle and posterity. 

" I rejoice to hear of your forthcoming in February — though I 
tremble for the magnificence which you attribute to the new Childe 
Harold. I am glad you like it ; it is a fine, indistinct piece of poetical 
desolation, and my favourite. I was half mad during the time of its 
composition, between metaphysics, mountains, lakes, love unextin- 
guishable, thoughts unutterable, and the night-mare of my own de- 
linquencies. I should, many a good day, have blown my brains out, 
but for the recollection that it would have given pleasure to my mo- 
ther-in-law ; and, even then, if I could have been certain to haunt her, 
and fling the shattered scalp of my sinciput and occiput in her fright- 
ful face — but I won't dwell upon these trifling family matters. 

" Venice is in the estro of her Carnival, and I have been up these 
last two nights at the ridottoand the opera, and all that kind of thing. 
Now for an adventure. A few days ago a gondolier brought me a 
billet without a subscription, intimating a wish on the part of the 
writer to meet me either in gondola, or at the island of San Lazaro, 
or at a third rendezvous indicated in the note. ' I know the country's 
disposition well,' — in Venice 'they do let heaven see those tricks they 
dare not show,' &c. &c. ; so, for all response, I said that neither of 
the three places suited me; but that I would either be at home at ten 
at night alone, or be at the ridotto at midnight, where the writer might 
meet me masked. At ten o'clock I was at home and alone (Marianna 
was gone with her husband to a conversazione), when the door of my 
apartment opened, and in walked a well-looking and (for an Italian) 
bionda girl of about nineteen, who informed me tnat she was married 
to the brother of my amorosa, and wished to have some conversation 
with me. I made a decent reply, and we had some talk in Italian and 
Romaic (her mother being a Greek of Corfu) ; when, lo ! in a very 
few minutes in marches, to my very great astonishment, Marianna 
S * *, in propria per sond, and, after making a most polite courtesy to 
her sister-in-law and to me, without a single word, seizes her said 
sister-in-law by the hair, and bestows upon her some sixteen slaps, 
which would have made your ear ache only to hear their echo. I 
need not describe the screaming which ensued. The luckless visiter 
took flight. I seized Marianna, who, after several vain efforts to get 
away in pursuit of the enemy, fairly went into fits in my arms; and, 
in spite of reasoning, eau de Cologne, vinegar, half a pint of water, 

D 2 

52 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

and God knows what other water besides, continued so till past mid- 

" After damning my servants for letting people in without apprizing 
me, I found that Marianna m the morning had seen her sister-in-law's 
gondolier on the stairs ; and, suspecting that his apparition boded her 
no good, had either returned of her own accord, or been followed by 
her maids or some other spy of her people to the conversazione, from 
whence she returned to perpetrate this piece of pugilism. 1 had seen 
fits before, and also some small scenery of the same genus in and out 
of our island ; but this was not all. After about an hour, in comes 
— who? why, Signor S * *, her lord and husband, and finds me with 
his wife fainting upon a sofa, and all the apparatus of confusion, 
dishevelled hair, hats, handkerchiefs, salts, smelling bottles — and the 
lady as pale as ashes, without sense or motion. His first question 
was, * What is all this V The lady could not reply — so I did. I told 
him the explanation was the easiest thing in the world ; but in the 
mean time, it would be as well to recover his wife — at least, her 
senses. This came about in due time of suspiration and respiration. 

" You need not be alarmed — jealousy is not the order of the day in 
Venice, and daggers are out of fashion, while duels, on love matters, 
are unknown — at least, with the husbands. But, for all this, it was 
an awkward affair; and though he must have known that I made love 
to Marianna, yet I believe he was not, till that evening, aware of the 
extent to which it had gone. It is very well known that almost all 
the married women have a lover ; but it is usual to keep up the forms, 
as in other nations. 1 did not, therefore, know what the devil to say. 
I could not out with the truth, out of regard to her, and I did not 
choose to lie for my sake ; — besides, the thing told itself. 1 thought 
the best way would be to let her explain it as she chose (a woman 
being never at a loss — the Devil always sticks by them) — only deter- 
mining to protect and carry her off, in case of any ferocity on the part 
of the Signor. I saw that he was quite calm. She went to bed, and 
next day — how they settled it, 1 know not, but settle it they did. 
Well — then 1 had to explain to Marianna about this never to be suffi- 
ciently confounded sister-in-law; which 1 did by swearing innocence, 

eternal constancy, &c. &c. ****** 

But the sister-in-law, very much discomposed with being treated in 
such wise, has (not having her own shame before her eyes) told the 
affair to half Venice, and the servants (who were summoned by the 
fight and the fainting) to the o„her half. But here, nobody minds such 
trifles, except to be amused by them. I do n't know whether you will 
be so, but I have scrawled a long letter out of these follies. 

" Believe me ever, &c." 



"Venice, January 24th, 1817. 


11 1 have been requested by the Countess Albrizzi here to present 
her with ' the Works :' and wish vou therefore to send me a copy, that 
I may comply with her requisition. \ ou may include the last pub- 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 53 

lished, of which I have seen and know nothing, but from your letter 
of the 13th of December. 

" Mrs. Leigh tells me that most of her friends prefer the first two 
Cantos. I do not know whether this be the general opinion or not (it 
is not hers) ; but it is natural it should be so. I, however, think differ- 
ently, which is natural also; but who is right, or who is wrong, is of 
very little consequence. 

"Dr. Polidori, as I hear from him by letter from Pisa, is about to 
return to England, to go to the Brazils on a medical speculation with 
the Danish consul. As you are in the favour of the powers that be, 
could you not get him some letters of recommendation from some of 
your government friends to some of the Portuguese settlers'? he un- 
derstands his profession well, and has no want of general talents ; his 
faults are the faults of a pardonable vanity and youth. His remaining 
with me was out of the question : I have enough to do to manage my 
own scrapes ; and as precepts without example are not the most 
gracious homilies, I thought it better to give him his conge: but I 
know no great harm of him, and some good. He is clever and ac- 
complished; knows his profession, by all accounts, well; and is 
honourable in his dealings, and not at all malevolent. I think, with 
luck, he will turn out a useful member of society (from which he 
will lop the diseased members) and the College of Physicians. If 
you can be of any use to him, or know any one who can, pray be so, as 
he has his fortune to make. He lias kept a medical journal under the 
eye of Vacca (the first surgeon on the continent) at* Pisa: Vacca has 
corrected it, and it must contain some valuable hints or information 
on the practice of this country. If you can aid him in publishing 
this also, by your influence with your brethren, do; I do not ask you 
to publish it yourself, because that sort of request is too personal and 
embarrassing. He has also a tragedy, of which, having seen nothing, 
I say nothing : but the very circumstance of his having made these 
efforts (if they are only efforts), at one-and-twenty, is in his favour, 
and proves him to have good dispositions for his own improvement. 
So if, in the way of commendation or recommendation, you can aid 
his objects with your government friends, I wish you would. I should 
think some of your Admiralty Board might be likely to have it in 
their power." 



" Venice, February 15th, 1817. 

" I have received your two letters, but not the parcel you mention. 
As the Waterloo spoils are arrived, I will make you a present of them, 
if you choose to accept of them ; pray do. 

"I do not exactly understand from vour letter what has been omitted, 
or what not, in the publication; but I shall see probably some day or 
other. I coull not attribute any but a good motive to Mr. Gifford or 
yourself in such omission ; but as our politics are so very opposite, 
we should probably differ as to the passages. However, if it is only 
a note or notes, or a line or so, it cannot signify. You say 'a poem;' 
what poem 1 You can tell me in your next. 

" Of Mr. Hobhouse's quarrel with the Quarterly Review, I know 

54 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

very little except * *'s article itself, which was certainly harsh 
enough; but I quite agree that it would have been better not to an- 
swer — particularly after Mr. W. W., who never more will trouble you, 
trouble you. I have been uneasy, because Mr. H. told me that his 
letter or preface was to be addressed to me. Now, he and I are 
friends of many years ; I have many obligations to him, and he none 
to me, which have not been cancelled and more than repaid : but Mr. 
Gifford and I are friends also, and he has moreover been literarily so, 
through thick and thin, in despite of difference of years, morals, habits, 
and even politics; and therefore I feel in a very awkward situation 
between the two, Mr. Gifford and my friend Hobhouse, and can only 
wish that they had no difference, or that such as they have were ac- 
commodated. The Answer I have not seen, for — it is odd enough for 
people so intimate — but Mr. Hobhouse and I are very sparing of our 
literary confidences. For example, the other day he wished to have 
a MS. of the Third Canto to read over to his brother, &c. which was 
refused ; — and I have never seen his journals, nor he mine — (I only 
kept the short one of the mountains for my sister) — nor do I think 
that hardly ever he or I saw any of the other's productions previous 
to their publication. 

" The article in the Edinburgh Review on Coleridge I have not 
seen • but whether I am attacked in it or not, or in any other of the 
same journal, I shall never think ill of Mr. Jeffrey on that account, 
nor forget that his conduct towards me has been certainly most hand- 
some during the last four or more years. 

" I forgot to mention to you that a kind of poem in dialogue* (in 
blank verse) or drama, from which * The Incantation' is an extract, 
begun last summer in Switzerland, is finished ; it is in three acts ; 
but of a very wild, metaphysical, and inexplicable kind. Almost all 
the persons — but two or three — are Spirits of the earth and air, or the 
waters ; the scene is in the Alps ; the hero a kind of magician, who 
is tormented by a species of remorse, the cause of which is left half 
unexplained. He wanders about invoking these Spirits, which appear 
to him, and are of no use ; he at last goes to the very abode of the 
Evil Principle, in proprid per son d, to evocate a ghost, which appears, 
and gives him an ambiguous and disagreeable answer; and in the third 
act he is found by his attendants dying in a tower where he had 
studied his art. You may perceive by this outline that I have no 
great opinion of this piece of phantasy ; but I have at least rendered 
it quite impossible for the stage, for which my intercourse with Drury- 
lane has given me <he greatest contempt. 

. " I have no f even copied it off, and feel too lazy at present to attempt 
the whole ; but when I have, I will send it you, and you may either 
£hrow it into the fire or not." 

* Manfred, 

A. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 55 



" Venice, February 25th, 1817. 

" I wrote to you the other day in answer to your letter; at present, 
I would trouble you with a commission, if you would be kind enough 
to undertake it. 

" You perhaps know Mr. Love, the jeweller, of Old Bond-street.— 
In 1813, when in the intention of returning to Turkey, I purchased 
of him, and paid {argent comptant) about a dozen snuff-boxes, of more 
or less value, as presents for some of my Mussulman acquaintance. 
These I have now with me. The other day, having occasion to make 
an alteration in the lid of one (to place a portrait in it), it has turned 
out to be silver-gilt instead of gold, for which last it was sold and paid 
for. This was discovered by the workman in trying it, before taking 
off the hinges and working upon the lid. I have of course recalled 
and preserved the box in statu quo. What I wish you to do is, to see 
the said Mr. Love, and inform him of this circumstance, adding, from 
me, that I will take care he shall not have done this with impunity. 

" If there is no remedy in law, there is at least the equitable one of 
making known his guilt, — that is, his silver gilt, and be d — d to him. 

" I shall carefully preserve all the purchases I made of him on that 
occasion for my return, as the plague in Turkey is a barrier to travel- 
ling there at present, or rather the endless quarantine which would be 
the consequence before one could land in coming back. Pray state 
the matter to him with due ferocity. 

" I sent you the other day some extracts from a kind of Drama 
which 1 had begun in Switzerland and finished here ; you will tell me 
if they are received. They were only in a letter. I have not yet 
had energy to copy it out, or I would send you the whole in different 

" The Carnival closed this day last week. 

" Mr. Hobhouse is still at Rome, I believe. I am at present a little 
unwell; — sitting up too late and some subsidiary dissipations have 
lowered my blood a good deal ; but I have at present the quiet and 
temperance of Lent before me. 

" Believe me, &c. 

" P.S. Remember me to Mr. Gifford. — I have not received your 
parcel or parcels. — Look into ' Moore's (Dr. Moore's) View of Italy' 
for me ; in one of the volumes you will find an account of the Doge 
Valiere (it ought to be Falieri) and his conspiracy, or the motives of it. 
Get it transcribed for me, and send it in a letter to me soon. I want 
it, and cannot find so good an account of that business here ; though 
the veiled patriot, and the place where he was crowned, and afterward 
decapitated, still exist and are shown. I have searched all their his- 
tories ; but the policy of the old aristocracy made their writers silent 
on his motives, which were a private grievance against one of the 

" I mean to write a tragedy on the subject, which appears to me 
very dramatic : an old man, jealous, and conspiring against the state, 

56 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

of which he was the actually reigning chief. The last circumstance 
makes it the most remarkable and only fact of the kind in all history 
of all nations." 



" Venice, February 28th, 1817. 

"You will, perhaps, complain as much of the frequency of my let- 
ters now, as you were wont to do of their rarity. I think this is the 
fourth within as many moons. I feel anxious to hear from you, even 
more than usual, because your last indicated that you were unwell. 
At present, I am on the invalid regimen myself. The Carnival— that 
is, the latter part of it — and sitting up late o' nights, had knocked me 
up a little. But it is over, — and it is now Lent, with all its abstinence 
and sacred music. 

" The mumming closed with a masked ball at the Fenice, where I 
went, as also to most of the ridottos, &c. &c. ; and, though I did not 
dissipate much upon the whole, yet I find ■ the sword wearing out the 
scabbard,' though I have but just turned the corner of twenty-nine. 

1 " So we '11 go no more a roving 

So late into the night, 
Though the heart be still as loving, 

And the moon be still as bright. 
For the sword outwears its sheath, 

And the soul wears out the breast, 
And the heart must pause to breathe, 

And love itself have rest. 
Though the night was made for loving, 

And the day returns too soon, 
Yet we '11 go no more a roving 

By the light of the moon. 

I have lately had some news of litterafoor, as T heard the editor of the 
Monthly pronounce it once upon a time. I heard that W. W. has been 
publishing and responding to the attacks of the Quarterly, in the 
learned Perry's Chronicle. I read his poesies last autumn, and, 
among them, found an epitaph on his bull-dog, and another on my- 
self. But 1 beg leave to assure him (like the astrologer Partridge) that 

1 am not only alive now, but was alive also at the time he wrote it. 


Hobhouse has (J hear, also) expectorated a letter against the Quar- 
terly, addressed to me. I feel awkwardly situated between him and 
Gifibrd, both being my friends. 

" And this is your month of going to press — by the body of Diana ! 
(a Venetian oath,) 1 feel as anxious — but not fearful for you — as if it 
were myself coming out in a work of humour, which would, you 
know, be the antipodes of all my previous publications. I do n't think 
you have any thing to dread but your own reputation. You must 
keep up to that. As you never showed me a line of your work, 1 do 
not even know your measure ; but you must send me a copy by Mur- 
ray forthwith, and then you shall hear what I think. 1 dare say you 
are in a pucker. Of all authors, you are the only really modest one I 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 57 

ever met with, — which would sound oddly enough to those who re- 
collect your morals when you were young — that is, when you were 
extremely young — I do n't mean to stigmatize you either with years 
or morality. 

" I believe I told you that the E. R. had attacked me, in an article 
on Coleridge (I have not seen it) — ' Et tu, Jeffrey V — ' there is nothing 
but roguery in villanous man.' — But I absolve him of all attacks, 
present and future ; for I think he had already pushed his clemency in 
my behoof to the utmost, and I shall always think well of him. I 
only wonder he did not begin before, as my domestic destruction was 
a fine opening for all the world, of which all, who could, did well to 
avail themselves. 

"If I live ten years longer, you will see, however, that it is not over 
with me — I do n't mean in literature, for that is nothing ; and it may 
seem odd enough to say, I do not think it my vocation. But you will 
see that I shall do something or other — the times and fortune permit- 
ting — that 'like the cosmogony, or creation of the world, will puzzle 
the philosophers of all ages.' But I doubt whether my constitution 
will hold out. I have, at intervals, exorcised it most devilishly. 

"I have not yet fixed a time of return, but I think of the spring. 
I shall have been away a year in April next. You never mention 
Rogers, nor Hodgson, your clerical neighbour, who has lately got a 
living near you. Has he also got a child yet "? — his desideratum when 
I saw him last. *##*-•* 

" Pray let me hear from you, at your time and leisure, believing me 
ever and truly and affectionately, &c." 



" Venice, March 3d, 1817. 
" In acknowledging the arrival of the article from the ' Quarterly, 1 * 
which I received two days ago, I cannot express myself better than 
in the words of my sister Augusta, who (speaking of it) says, that it 
is written in a spirit 'of the most feeling and kind nature/ It is, how- 
ever, something more: it seems to me (as far as the subject of it may 
be permitted to judge) to be verywell written as a composition, and I 
think will do the journal no discredit, because even those who con- 
demn its partiality must praise its generosity. The temptations to 
take another and a less favourable view of the question have been so 
great and numerous, that, what with public opinion, politics, &c, he 
must be a gallant as well as a good man, who has ventured in that 
place, and at this time, to write such an article even anonymously. 
Such things are, however, their own reward, and I even flatter myself 
that the writer, whoever he may be (and I have no guess), will not 
regret that the perusal of this has given me as much gratification as 
any composition of that nature could give, and more than any other 
has given,— and I have had a good many in my time of one kind or 

* An article in number 31 of this Review, written as Lord Byron after- 
ward discovered, by Sir Walter Scott, and well meriting, by the kind and 
generous spirit that breathes through it, the warm and lasting gratitude it 
awakened in the noble Poet. 

58 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

the other. It is not the mere praise, but there is a tact and a delicacy 
throughout, not only with regard to me, but to others, which, as it had 
not been observed elsewhere, I had till now doubted whether it could 
be observed any where. 

" Perhaps some day or other you will know or tell me the writer's 
name. Be assured, had the article been a harsh one, I should not have 
asked it. 

" I have lately written to you frequently, with extracts, &c. which 
I hope you have received, or will receive, with or before this letter. — 
Ever since the conclusion of the Carnival 1 have been unwell (do not 
mention this, on any account, to Mrs. Leigh ; for if I grow worse, she 
will know it too soon, and if I get better, there is no occasion that she 
should know it at all), and have hardly stirred out of the house. How- 
ever, I do n't v< ant a physician, and if 1 did, very luckily those of Italy 
are the worst in the world, so that I should still have a chance. They 
have, I believe, one famous surgeon, Vacca, who lives at Pisa, who 
might be useful in case of dissection: — but he is some hundred miles 
off. My malady is a sort of lowish fever, originating from what my 
* pastor and master,' Jackson, would call ' taking too much out of one's 
self.' However, I am better within this day or two. 

" I missed seeing the new Patriarch's procession to St. Mark's the 
other day (owing to my indisposition), with six hundred and fifty 
priests in his rear — a 'goodly army.' The admirable government of 
Vienna, in its edict from thence, authorizing his installation, prescribed, 
as part of the pageant, ' a coach and four horses.' To show how 
very ' German to the matter' this was, you have only to suppose our 
parliament commanding the Archbishop of Canterbury to proceed fiom 
Hyde Park Corner to St. Paul's Cathedral in the Lord Mayor's barge, 
or the Margate hoy. There is but St. Mark's Place in all Venice 
broad enough for a carriage to move, and it is paved with large smooth 
flag stones, so that the chariot and horses of Elijah himself would 
be puzzled to manoeuvre upon it. Those of Pharaoh might do better; 
for the canals, — and particularly the Grand Canal, are sufficiently 
capacious and extensive for his whole host. Of course, no coach 
could be attempted; but the Venetians, who are very naive as well as 
arch, were much amused with the ordinance. 

'* The Armenian Grammar is published ; but my Armenian studies 
are suspended for the present till my head aches a little less. I sent 
you the other day, in two covers, the First Act of ' Manfred,' a drama 
as mad as Nat. Lee's Bedlam tragedy, which was in 25 acts and some 
odd scenes : — mine is but in Three Acts. 

"I find I have begun this letter at the wrong end: never mind; I 
must end it, then, at the right. 

" Yours ever very truly 

" and obligedly, &c." 



"Venice, March 9th, 1817. 
" In remitting the Third Act of the sort of dramatic poem of which 
you will by this time have received the first two (at least I hope so), 
which were sent within the last three weeks, I have little to observe, 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 59 

except that you must not publish it (if it ever is published) without 
giving me previous notice. I have really and truly no notion whether 
it is good or bad ; and as this was not the case with the principal of 
my former publications, I am, therefore, inclined to rank it very hum- 
bly. You will submit it to Mr. Giftbrd, and to whomsoever you please 
besides. With regard to the question of copyright (if it ever comes 
to publication), I do not know whether you would think three hundred 
guineas an over-estimate; if you do, you may diminish it : I do not 
think it worth more ; so you may see I make some difference between 
it and the others. 

" I have received your two Reviews (but not the * Tales of my Land- 
lord') ; the Quarterly I acknowledged particularly to you, on its arrival, 
ten days ago. What you tell me of Perry petrifies me ; it is a rank 
imposition. In or about February or March, 1816, I was given to un- 
derstand that Mr. Croker was not only a coadjutor in the attacks of 
the Courier in 1814, but the author of some lines tolerably ferocious, 
then recently published in a morning paper. Upon this I wrote a 
reprisal. The whole of the lines I have forgotten, and even the pur- 
port of them I scarcely remember; for on your assuring me that he 
was not, &c. &c, I put them into the fire before your face, and there 
never was but that one rough copy. Mr. Davies, the only person who 
ever heard them read, wanted a copy, which I refused. If, however, 
by seme impossibility, which I cannot divine, the ghost of these 
rhymes should walk into the world, I never will deny what I have 
really written, but hold myself personally responsible for satisfaction, 
though I reserve to myself the right of disavowing all or any fabrica- 
tions. To the previous facts 3^ou are a witness, and best know how 
far my recapitulation is correct ; and I request that you will inform 
Mr. Perry from me, that I wonder he should permit such an abuse of 
my name in his paper ; I say an abuse, because my absence, at least, 
demands some respect, and my presence and positive sanction could 
alone justify him in such a proceeding, even were the lines mine ; and 
if false, there are no words for him. I repeat to you that the original 
was burnt before you on your assurance, and there never was a copy, 
nor even a verbal repetition, — very much to the discomfort of some 
zealous Whigs, who bored me for them f having heard it bruited by 
Mr. Davies that there were such matters) to no purpose ; for, having 
written them solely with the notion that Mr. Croker was the aggressor, 
and for my own and not party reprisals, I would not lend me to the 
zeal of any sect when I was made aware that he was not the writer 
of the offensive passages. You know, if there was such a thing, I 
would not deny it. I mentioned it openly at the time to you, and you 
will remember why and where I destroyed it ; and no power nor 
wheedling on earth should have made, or could make, me (if I recol- 
lected them) give a copy after that, unless I was well assured that Mr. 
Croker was really the author of that which you assured me he was not. 
" I intend for England this spring, where I have some affairs to 
adjust ; but the post hurries me. For this month past I have been 
unwell, but am getting better, and thinking of moving homewards 
towards May, without going to Rome, as the unhealthy season comes 
on soon, and I can return when I have settled the business I go upon, 
which need not be long. * * * * I should have thought the Assyrian 
tale very succeedable. 

" I saw, in Mr. W. W.'s poetry, that he had written my epitaph ; I 
would rather have written his. 

60 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

" The thing I have sent you, you will see at a glimpse, could never 
be attempted or thought of for the stage ; I much doubt it for publica- 
tion even. It is too much in my old style ; but I composed it actually 
with a horror of the stage, and with a view to render the thought of 
it impracticable, knowing the zeal of my friends that I should try that 
for which I have an invincible repugnance, viz. a representation. 

"I certainly am a devil of a mannerist, and must leave off; but 
what could I do 1 Without exertion of some kind, I should have sunk 
under my imagination and reality. My best respects to Mr. Gifford, 

to Walter Scott, and to all friends. 

" Yours ever." 



"Venice, March 10, 1817. 

" I wrote again to you lately, but I hope you won't be sorry to have 
another epistle. I have been unwell this last month, with a kind of 
slow and low fever, which fixes upon me at night, and goes off in the 
morning ; but, however, I am now better. In spring it is probable we 
may meet; at least I intend for England, where I have business, and 
hope to meet you in your restored health and additional laurels. 

" Murray has sent me the Quarterly and the Edinburgh. When I 
tell you that Walter Scott is the author of the article in the former, 
you will agree with me that such an article is still more honourable 
to him than to myself. I am perfectly pleased with Jeffrey's also, 
which I wish you to tell him, with my remembrances — not that I 
suppose it is of any consequence to him, or ever could have been, 
whether I am pleased or not, — but simply in my private relation to 
him, as his well-wisher, and it may be one day as his acquaintance. 
I wish you would also add, — what you know, — that I was not, and, 
indeed, am not even noxv, the misanthropical and gloomy gentleman he 
takes me for, but a facetious companion, well to do with those with 
whom 1 am intimate, and as loquacious and laughing as if I were a 
much cleverer fellow. 

" I suppose now I shall never be able to shake off my sables in 
public imagination, more particularly since my moral * * clove down 
my fame. However, nor that, nor more than that, has yet extinguished 
my spirit, which always rises with the rebound. 

" At Venice we are in Lent, and I have not lately moved out of 
doors, — my feverishness requiring quiet, and — by way of being more 
quiet — here is the Signora Marianna just come in and seated at my 

" Have you seen * * *'s book of poesy 1 and, if you have seen it, 
are you not delighted with it 1 And have you — I really cannot go on. 
There is a pair of great black eyes looking over my shoulder, like the 
angel leaning over St. Matthew's, in the old frontispieces to the Evan- 
gelists, — so that 1 must turn and answer them instead of you. 

" Ever, &c." 

a. d. 1317.] LIFE OP LORD BYRON. 61 



"Venice, March 25th, 1817. 

"I have at last learned, in default of your own writing (or not 
writing — which should it be * for I am not very clear as to the appli- 
cation of the word default), from Murray, two particulars of (are be- 
longing to) you ; one, that you are removing to Hornsey, which is, I 
presume, to be nearer London ; and the other, that your Poem is 
announced by the name of Lalla Rookh. I am glad of it, — first, that 
we are to have it at last, and next, 1 like a tough title myself — witness 
the Giaour and Childe Harold, which choked half the Blues at starting. 
Besides, it is the tail of Ah ibiades's dog, — not that I suppose you 
want either dog or tail. Talking of tail, I wish you had not called it 
a * Persian Tale.''* Say a * Poem' or ' Romance,' but not * Tale.' 
I am very sorry that I called some of my own things » Tales,' because 
I think that they are something better. Besides, we have had Arabian, 
and Hindoo, and Turkish, and Assyrian Tales. But after all, this is 
frivolous in me ; you won't, however, mind my nonsense. 

'" Really and truly, I want you to make a great hit, if only out of 
self-love, because we happen to be old cronies ; and I have no doubt 
you will — I am sure you can. But you are, I '11 be sworn, in a devil 
of a pucker ; and / am not at your elbow, and Rogers is. I envy him ; 
which is not fair, because he does not envy any body. Mind you 
send to me — that is, make Murray send — the moment you are forth. 

" I have been very ill with a slow fever, which at last took to flying, 
and became as quick as need be.| But, at length, after a week of 
half-delirium, burning skin, thirst, hot headache, horrible pulsation, 
and no sleep, by the blessing of barley water, and refusing to see any 
physician, I recoveied. It is an epidemic of the place, which is annual, 
and visits strangers. Here follow some versicles, which I made one 
sleepless niuht. 

"I read the ' Christabel;' 

Very well : 
I read the ' Missionary ;' 

Pretty — very : 
I tried at ' llderim ;' 

Ahem ! 

* He had been misinformed on this point, — the work in question having 
been, from the first, entitled an " Oriental Romance." A much worse mis- 
take (because wilful, and with no very charitable design) was that of certain 
persons, who would have it that the Poem was meant to be Epic ! — Even 
Mr. D'Israeli has, for the sake of a theory, given in to this very gratuitous 
assumption : — " The Anacreontic poet," he says, " remains only Anacreontic 
in his Epic." 

t In a note to Mr. Murray, subjoined to some corrections for Manfred, he 
says, " Since I wrote to you last, the slow fever 1 wot of thought proper to 
mend its pace, and became similar to one which 1 caught some years ago in 
the marshes of Elis, in the Morea." 

62 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817 

I read a sheet of ' Marg'ret of Anjou ;' 

Can you? 
I turn'd a page of ' * *'s Waterloo ;' 

Pooh ! pooh ! 
I looked at Wordsworth's milk-white ' Rylstone Doe ;' 

Hillo ! 
I read ' Glenarvon' too, by * * * *, 

God d— n !" 

" I have not the least idea where I am going, nor what I am to do 
I wished to have gone to Rome ; but at present it is pestilent with 
English,— a parcel of staring boobies, who go about gaping and wish- 
ing to be at. once cheap and magnificent. A man is a fool who travels 
now in France or Italy, till this tribe of wretches is swept home again. 
In two or three years the first rush will be over, and the Continent 
will be roomy and agreeable. 

" I staid at Venice chiefly because it is not one of their ' dens of 
thieves ;' and here they but pause and pass. In Switzerland it was 
really noxious. Luckily, I was early, and had got the prettiest place 
on all the Lake before they were quickened into motion with the rest 
of reptiles. But they crossed me every where. I met a family of 
children and old women half way up the Wengen Alp (by the Jungfrau) 
upon mules, some of them too old and others too young to be the least 
aware of what they saw. 

" By-the-way, I think the Jungfrau, and all that region of Alps, 
which I traversed in September — going to the very top of the Wengen, 
which is not the highest (the Jungfrau itself is inaccessible) but the 
best point of view — much finer than Mont Blanc and Chamouni, or the 
Simplon. I kept a journal of the whole for my sister Augusta, part 
of which she copied and let Murray see. 

" I wrote a sort of mad Drama, for the sake of introducing the 
Alpine scenery in description ; and this I sent lately to Murray. Almost 
all the dram.pers. are spirits, ghosts, or magicians, and the scene is in 
the Alps and the other world ; so you may suppose what a bedlam tra- 
gedy it must be : make him show it you. I sent him all three acts 
piecemeal, by the post, and suppose they have arrived. 

" I have now written to you at least six letters, or lettered, and all 
I have received in return is a note about the length you used to write 
from Bury-street to St. James's-street, when we used to dine with 
Rogers, and talk laxly, and go to parties, and hear poor Sheridan now 
and then. Do you remember one night he was so tipsy that I was 
forced to put his cocked hat on for him, — for he could not, — and I let 
him down at Brookes's, much as he must since have been let down 
into his grave. Heigh ho ! I wish I was drunk — but I have nothing 
but this d — d barley water before me. 

" I am still in love, — which is a dreadful drawback in quitting a 
place, and I can't stay at Venice much longer. What I shall do on 
this point I do n't know. The girl means to go with me, but I do not 
like this for her own sake. I have had so many conflicts in my own 
mind on this subject, that I am not at all sure they did rot help me to 
the fever I mentioned above. I am certainly very much attached to 
her, and I have cause to be so, if you knew all. But she has a child ; 
and though, like all the ' children of the sun,' she consults nothing but 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 63 

passion, it is necessary I should think for both ; and it is only the vir- 
tuous, like * * * *, who can afford to give up husband and child, and 
live happy ever after. 

" The Italian ethics are the most singular ever met with. The per- 
version, not only of action, but of reasoning, is singular in the women. 
It is not that they do not consider the thing itself as wrong, and very 
wrong, but love (the sentiment of love) is not merely an excuse for it, 
but makes it an actual virtue, provided it is disinterested, and not a 
caprice, and is confined to one object. They have awful notions of 
constancy ; for I have seen some ancient figures of eighty pointed out 
as amorosi of forty, fifty, and sixty years' standing. I can't say I 
have ever seen a husband and wife so coupled. " Ever, &c." 

" P.S. Marianna, to whom I have just translated what 1 have written 
on our subject to you, says — ' If you loved me thoroughly, you would 
not make so many fine reflections, which are only good Jbrbirsi iscarpi? 
— that is, ' to clean shoes withal,' — a Venetian proverb of appreciation, 
which is applicable to reasoning of all kinds." 



" Venice, March 25th, 1817 

11 Your letter and enclosure are safe; but 'English gentlemen' are 
very rare — at least in Venice. 1 doubt whether there are at present 
any, save the consul and vice-consul, with neither of whom I have the 
slightest acquaintance. The moment I can pounce upon a witness, I 
will send the deed properly signed: but must he necessarily be gen- 
teel 1 Venice is not a place where the English are gregarious ; their 
pigeon-houses are Florence, Naples, Rome, &c; and to tell you the 
truth, this was one reason why I staid here till the season of the pur- 
gation of Rome from these people, which is infected with them at this 
time, should arrive. Besides, 1 abhor the nation and the nation me ; 
it is impossible for me to describe my own sensation on that point, but 
it may suffice to say, that, if I met with any of the race in the beauti- 
ful parts of Switzerland, the most distant glimpse or aspect of them 
poisoned the whole scene, and I do not choose to have the Pantheon, 
and St. Peter's, and the Capitol, spoiled for me too. This feeling may 
be probably owing to recent events ; but it does not exist the less, and 
while it exists, I shall conceal it as little as any other. 

" I have been seriously ill with a fever, but it is gone. I believe or 
suppose it was the indigenous fever of the place, which comes every 
year at this time, and of which the physicians change the name annu- 
ally, to despatch the people sooner. It is a kind of typhus, and kills 
occasionally. It was pretty smart, but nothing particular, and has 
left me some debility and a great appetite. There are a good many ill 
at present, I suppose, of the same. 

" I feel sorry for Horner, if there was anything in the world to make 
him like it ; and still more sorry for his friends, as there was much to 
make them regret him. I had not heard of his death till by your letter. 

" Some weeks ago I wrote to you my acknowledgments of Walter 
Scott's article. Now I know it to be his, it cannot add to my good 
opinion of him, but it adds to that of myself. He, and Gilford, and 

64 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

Moore are the only regulars I ever knew who had nothing of the gar- 
rison about their manner: no nonsense, nor affectations, look you! 
As for the rest whom I have known, there was always more or less 
of the author about them— the pen peeping from behind the ear, and 
the thumbs a little inky or so. 

" * Lalla Rookh' — you must recollect that, in the way of title, the 
* Giaour"* has never been pronounced to this day ; and both it and 
Childe Harold sounded very facetious to the blue-bottles of wit and 
humour about town, till they were taught and startled into a proper 
deportment ; and therefore Lalla Rookh, which is very orthodox and 
oriental, is as good a title as need be, if not better. I could wish rather 
that he had not called it * a Persian Tale ;' firstly, because we have had 
Turkish Tales,~and Hindoo Tales, and Assyrian Tales already; and 
(ale is a word of which it repents me to have nicknamed poesy. ' Fa- 
ble' would be better; and, secondly, ' Persian Tale' reminds one of the 
lines of Pope on Ambrose Philips; though no one can say, to be ?>ure, 
that this tale has been 'turned for half-a-crown;' still it is as well to avoid 
such clashings. ' Persian Story'' — why not 1 — or Romance 1 I feel as 
anxious for Moore as 1 could do for myself, for the soul of me, and I 
would not have him succeed otherwise than splendidly, which I trust 
he will do. 

" With regard to the ■ Witch Drama,' I sent all the three acts by 
post, week after week, within this last month. I repeat that I have not 
an idea if it is good or bad. If bad, it must, on no account, be risked 
in publication; if good, it is at your service. I value it at three hun- 
dred guineas, or less, if you like it. Perhaps, if published, the best 
way will be to add it to your winter volume, and not publish separately. 
The price will show you I do n't pique myself upon it ; so speak out. 
You may put it in the fire, if you like, and Gilford do n't like. 

"The Armenian Grammar is published — that is, one; the other is 
still in MS. My illness has prevented me from moving this month past, 
and I have done nothing more with the Armenian. 

" Of Italian or rather Lombard manners, I could tell you little or 
nothing: I went two or three times to the governor's conversazione 
(and if you go once, you are free to go always), at which, as I only saw 
very plain women, a formal circle, in short, a worst sort of rout, I did 
not go again. I went to Academie and to Madame Albrizzi's, where I 
saw pretty much the same thing, with the addition of some literati, 

who are the same blue,* by , all the world over. I fell in love the 

first week with Madame * *, and I have continued so ever since, 
because she is very pretty and pleasing, and talks Venetian, which 
amuses me, and is naive. 1 nave seen all their spectacles and sights ; 
but I do not know any thing very worthy of observation, except that 
the women kiss better than those of any other nation, which is noto- 
rious, and attributed to the worship of images, and the early habit of 
osculation induced thereby. " Very truly, &c. 

" P. S. Pray send the red tooth-powder by a safe hand, and speedily. 

* * # # * # * * j. 

* Whenever a word or passage occurs (as in this instance) which Lord 
Byron would have pronounced emphatically in speaking, it appears, in his 
handwriting, as if written with something of the same vehemence. 

t Here follow the same rhymes (•' J read the Christabel," Sec.) which have 
already been given in one of his letters to niyselE 

A. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 65 

" To hook the reader, you, John Murray, 

Have publish'd ' Anjou's Margaret,' 
Which won't be sold off in a hurry 

(At least, it has not been as yet) ; 
And then, still farther to bewilder 'em, 
Without remorse you set up ' Ilderim ;' 

So mind you do n't get into debt, 
Because as how, if you should fail, 
These books would be but baddish baiL 

" And mind you do not let escape 

These rhymes to Morning Post or Perry, 
Which would be very treacherous — very, 
And get me into such a scrape ! 
For, firstly, I should have to sally, 
All in my little boat, against a Galley ;* 
And, should I chance to slay the Assyrian wight, 
Have next to combat with the female knight, 
And, prick'd to death, expire upon her needle — 
A sort of end which I should take indeed ill ! 

" You may show these matters to Moore and the select, but not to 
the profane ; and tell Moore, that I wonder he do n't write to one now 
and then." 



"Venice, March 31st, 1817. 

" You will begin to think my epistolary offerings (to whatever altar 
you please to devote them) rather prodigal. But until you answer I 
shall not abate, because you deserv r e no better. I know you are well, 
because I hear of your voyaging to London and the environs, which I 
rejoice to learn, because your note alarmed me by the purgation and 
phlebotomy therein prognosticated. I also hear of your being in the 
press ; all which, methinks, might have furnished you with subject 
matter for a middle-sized letter, considering that I am in foreign 
parts, and that the last month's advertisements and obituary would be 
absolute news to me from your Tramontane country. 

" 1 told you, in my last, I have had a smart fever. There is an 
epidemic in the place ; but I suspect, from the symptoms, that mine 
was a fever of my own, and had nothing in common with the low, 
vulgar typhus, which is at this moment decimating Venice, and which 
has half-unpeopled Milan, if the accounts be true. This malady has 
sorely discomfited my serving men, who want sadly to be gone away, 
and get me to remove. But, besides my natural perversity, I was 
seasoned in Turkey, by the continual whispers of the plague, against 
apprehensions of contagion. Besides which, apprehension would not 
prevent it : and then I am still in love, and ' forty thousand' fevers 
should not make me stir before my minute, while under the influence 

* Mr. Galley Knight, the author of " Ilderim." 
Vol. II.— E 

66 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

of that paramount delirium. Seriously speaking, there is a malady 
rife in the city — a dangerous one, they say. However, mine did not 
appear so, though it was not pleasant. 

" This is passion-week — and twilight — and all the world are at 
vespers. They have an eternal churching, as in all Catholic countries, 
but are not so bigoted as they seemed to be in Spain. 

" I do n't know whether to be glad or sorry that you are leaving 
Mayfield. Had I ever been at Newstead during your stay there 
(except during the winter of 1813-14, when the roads were impracti- 
cable), we should have been within hail, and 1 should like to have 
made a giro of the Peak with you. I know that country well, having 
been all over it when a boy. Was you ever in Dovedale ? I can 
assure you there are things in Derbyshire as noble as Greece or 
Switzerland. But you had always a lingering after London, and I 
do n't wonder at it. I liked it as well as any body, myself, now and 

" Will you remember me to Rogers ? whom I presume to be flourish- 
ing, and whom T regard as our poetical papa. You are his lawful son, 
and I the illegitimate. Has he begun yet upon Sheridan 1 If you see 
our republican friend, Leigh Hunt, pray present my remembrances. I 
saw about nine months ago that he was in a row (like my friend Hob- 
house) with the Quarterly Reviewers. For my part I never could 
understand these quarrels of authors with critics and with one another. 
'For God's sake, gentlemen, what do they mean]' 

"What think you of your countryman, Maturing I take some 
credit to myself for having done my best to bring out Bertram; but I 
must say my colle?":ues weie quite as ready and willing. Walter 
Scott, however, was ihe first who mentioned him, which he did to me, 
with great commendation, in 1815; and it is to this casualty, and two 
or three other accidents, that this very clever fellow owed his first and 
well-merited public success. What a chance is fame ! 

" Did I tell you that I have translated two Epistles 1 — a correspond- 
ence between St. Paul and the Corinthians, not to be found in our 
version, but the Armenian — but which seems to me very orthodox, and 
I have done it into scriptural prose English.* 

" Ever, &c." 

* The only plausible claim of these Epistles to authenticity arises from 
the circumstance of St. Paul having (according to the opinion of Mosheim 
and others ) written an Epistle to the Corinthians, before that which we now 
call his First. They are, however, universally given up as spurious. Though 
frequently referred to as existing in the Armenian, by Primate Usher, Johan. 
Gregorius, and other learned men, they were, for the first time, I believe, 
translated from that language by the two Whistons who subjoined the cor- 
respondence, with a Greek and Latin version, to their edition of the 
Armenian History of Moses of Chorene, published in 1736. 

The translation by Lord Byron is, as far as 1 can learn, the first, that has 
ever been attempted in English ; and as, proceeding from his pen, it must 
possess, of course, additional interest, the reader will not be displeased to 
find it in the Appendix. Annexed to the copy in my possession are the fol- 
lowing words, in his own handwriting : — " Done into English by me, January, 
February, 1817, at the Convent of San Lazaro, with the aid and exposition 
of the Armenian text by the Father Paschal Aucher, Armenian friar. — 
Byron. I had also," he adds, " the Latin text, bftt it is in many places very 
corrupt, and with great omissions." 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 67 



" Venice, April 2d, 1817. 

" I sent you the whole of the Drama at three several times, act by 
act, in separate covers. I hope that you have, or will receive, some 
or the whole of it. 

"So Love has a conscience. By Diana! I shall make him take 
back the box, though it were Pandora's. The discovery of its 
intrinsic silver occurred on sending it to have the lid adapted to admit 
Marianna's portrait. Of course I had the box remitted in statu quo, 
and had the picture set in another, which suits it (the picture) very 
well. The defaulting box is not touched, hardly, and was not in the 
man's hands above an hour. 

" I am aware of what you say of Otway ; and am a veiy great 
admirer of his, — all except of that maudlin b — h of chaste lewdness and 
blubbering curiosity, Belvidera, whom I utterly despise, abhor, and 
detest. But the story of Marino Faliero is different, and, T think, so much 
finer, that I wish Otway had taken it instead : the head conspiring 
against the body for refusal of redress for a real injury, — jealousy, — trea- 
son, — with the more fixed and inveterate passions (mixed with policy) 
of an old or elderly man — the Devil himself could not have a finer sub- 
ject, and he is your only tragic dramatist. * * * * * 

"There is still, in the Doge's palace, the black veil painted over 
Faliero's picture, and the staircase whereon he was first crowned Doge, 
and subsequently decapitated. This was the thing that most struck 
my imagination in Venice — more than the Rialto, which I visited for 
the sake of Shylock ; and more, too, than Schiller's ' Armenian? a 
novel which took a great hold of me when a boy. It is also called the 
* Ghost Seer,' and I never walked down St. Mark's by moonlight 
without thinking of it, and 'at nine o'clock he died!' — But Ihate 
things all fiction; and therefore the Merchant and Othello have no great 
associations to me : but Pierre has. There should always be some 
foundation of fact for the most airy fabric, and pure invention is but 
the talent of a liar. 

" Maturin's tragedy. — By your account of him last year to me, he 
seemed a bit of a coxcomb, personally. Poor fellow ! to be sure, he 
had had a loug seasoning of adversity, which is not so hard to bear as 
t' other thing. I hope that this won't throw him back into the ' slough 
of Despond.' 

" You talk of ' marriage ;' — ever since my own funeral, the word 
makes me giddy, and throws me into a cold sweat. Pray, do n't 
repeat it. 

" You should close with Madame de Stael. This will be her best 
work, and permanently historical ; it is on her father, the Revolution, 
and Buonaparte, &c. Bonstetten told me in Switzerland it was very 
great. I have not seen it myself, but the author often. She Avas very 
kind to me at Copet. * * * * 

" There have been two articles in the Venice papers, one a Review 
of Glenarvon * * * *, and the other a Review of Childe Harold, in 
which it proclaims me the most rebellious and contumacious admirer 


68 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

of Buonaparte now surviving in Europe. Both these articles are 

translations from the Literary Gazette of German Jena. 

# # * # * * 

" Tell me that Walter Scott is better. I would not have him ill for 
the world. I suppose it was by sympathy that I had my fever at the 
same time. 

"I joy in the success of your Quarterly, but I must still stick by 
the Edinburgh ; Jeffrey has done so by me, I must say, through every 
thing, and this is more than I deserved from him. — I have more than 
once acknowledged to you by letter the ' Article' (and articles) ; say 
that you have received the said letters, as I do not otherwise know 
what letters arrive. — Both Reviews came, but nothing more. M.'s 

play and the extract not yet come. 


" Write to say whether my Magician has arrived, with all his scenes', 
spells, &c. " Yours ever, &c. 

" It is useless to send to the Foreign-office : nothing arrives to me 
by that conveyance. I suppose some zealous clerk thinks it a tory 
duty to prevent it." 



"Venice, April 4th, 1817. 

" It is a considerable time since I wrote to you last, and I hardly 
know why I should trouble you now, except that I think you will not 
be sorry to hear from me now and then. You and I were never corres- 
pondents, but always something better, which is, very good friends. 

"I saw your friend Sharp in Switzerland, or rather in the German 
territory (which is and is not Switzerland), and he gave Hobhouse and 
me a very good route for the Bernese Alps ; however, we took another 
from a German, and went by Clarens, the Dent de Jaman to Montbovon, 
and through Simmenthal to Thoun, and so on to Lauterbrounn ; except 
that from thence to the Grindelwald, instead of round about, we went 
right over the Wengen Alps' very summit, and being close under the 
Jungfrau, saw it, its glaciers, and heard the avalanches in all their 
glory, having famous weather there/or. We of course went from the 
Grindelwald over the Sheidech to Brientz and its lake ; past the Reich- 
enbach and all that mountain road, which reminded me of Albania, and 
iEtolia, and Greece, except that the people here were more civilized 
and rascally. I did not think so very much of Chamouni (except the 
source of the Arveron, to which we went up to the teeth of the ice, so 
as to look into and touch the cavity, against the warning of the guides, 
only one of whom would go with us so close) as of the Jungfrau, 
and the Pissevache, and Simplon, which are quite out of all mortal 

" I was at Milan about a moon, and saw Monti and some other living 
curiosities, and thence on to Verona, where I did not forget your story 
of the assassination diiriiiL r your sojourn there, and brought away with 
me some fragments of Juliet's tomb, and a lively recollection of the 
amphitheatre. The Countess Goetz (the governor* s wife here) told 
me that there is still a ruined castle of the Rfontecchi between Verona 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 69 

and Vicenza. I have been at Venice since November, but shall pro- 
ceed to Rome shortly. For my deeds here, are they not written in 
my letters to the unreplying Thomas Moore 1 to him I refer you : he 
has received them all, and not answered one. 

" Will you remember me to Lord and Lady Holland 1 I have to 
thank the former for a book which I have not yet received, but expect 
to reperuse with great pleasure on my return, viz. the 2d edition of 
Lope de Vega. I have heard of Moore's forthcoming poem : he cannot 
wish himself more success than 1 wish and augur for him. I have also 
heard great things of ' Tales of my Landlord,' but I have not yet 
received them ; by all accounts they beat even Waverley, &c, and are 
by the same author. Maturin's second tragedy has, it seems, failed, 
for which I should think any body would be sorry. My health was 
very victorious till within the last month, when I had a fever. There 
is a typhus in these parts, but I do n't think it was that. However, I 
got well without a physician or drugs. 

" I forgot to tell you that, last autumn, I furnished Lewis with ' bread 
and salt' for some days at Diodati, in reward for which (besides his 
conversation) he translated ' Goethe's Faust 1 to me by word of mouth, 
and I set him by the ears with Madame de Stael about the slave trade. 
I am indebted for many and kind courtesies to our Lady of Copet, and 
I now love her as much as I always did her works, of which I was 
and am a great admirer. When are you to begin with Sheridan] 
what are you doing, and how do you do 1 

" Ever very truly, &c." 



" Venice, April 9th, 1817. 

" Your letters of the 18th and 20th are arrived. In my own I have 
given you the rise, progress, decline, and fall of my recent malady. 
It is gone to the devil : I won't pay him so bad a compliment as to say 
it came from him : — he is too much of a gentleman. It was nothing 
but a slow fever, which quickened its pace towards the end of its 
journey. I had been bored with it some weeks — with nocturnal burn- 
ings and morning perspirations ; but I am quite well again, which I 
attribute to having had neither medicine nor doctor thereof. 

" In a few days I set off for Rome : such is my purpose. I shall 
change it very often before Monday next, but do you continue to direct 
and address to Venice, as heretofore. If I go, letters will be forwarded : 
[ say ' if? because I never know what I shall do till it is done ; and as 
I mean most firmly to set out for Rome, it is not unlikely I may find 
myself at St. Petersburg. 

"You tell me to 'take care of myself;' — faith, and I will. 1 won't 
be posthumous yet, if I can help it. Notwithstanding, only think what 
a ' Life and Adventures,' while I am in full scandal, would be worth, 
together with the * membra' of my writing-desk, the sixteen beginnings 
of poems never to be finished ! Do you think I would not have shot 
myself last year, had 1 not luckily recollected that Mrs. C * *, and. 
Lady N * *, and all the old women in England would have been 
delighted ; — besides the agreeable ' Lunacy,' of the ' Crowner's Quest,' 
and the regiets of two or three or half a dozen? ***** Be 

70 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

assured that I would live for two reasons, or more ; — there are one or 
two people whom I have to put out of the world, and as many into it, 
before I can 'depart in peace;' if I do so before, I have not fulfilled 
my mission. Besides, when I turn thirty, I will turn devout ; I feel 
a great vocation tiiat way in Catholic churches, and when I hear the 

"So * * is writing again ! Is there no bedlam in Scotland ? nor 
thumb-screw! nor gag] nor handcuff? I went upon my knees to 
him almost some years ago, to prevent him from publishing a political 
pamphlet, which would have given him a livelier idea of ' Habeas 
Corpus' than the world will derive from his present production upon 
that, suspended subject, which will doubtless be followed by the sus- 
pension of other of his majesty's subjects. 

"I condole with Drury-laneand rejoice with * *, — that is, in a mo- 
dest way, — on the tragical end of the new tragedy. 

" You and Leigh Hunt have quarrelled then, it seems ? * * * * 
I introduce him and his poem to you, in the hope that (malgre politics) 
the union would be beneficial to both, and the end is eternal enmity; 
and yet I did this with the best intentions: I introduce * * *, and 
* * * runs away with your money : my friend Hobhouse quarrels, 
too, with the Quarterly : and (except the last) I am the innocent 
Istmhus (damn the word ! I can't spell it, though I have crossed that 
of Corinth a dozen times) of these enmities. 

" I will tell you something about Chillon. — A Mr. De Luc, ninety 
years old, a Swiss, had it read to him, and is pleased with it, — so my 
sister writes. He said that he was with Ruosseau at Chillon, and that 
the description is perfectly correct. But this is not all: I recollected 
something of the name and find the following passage in ' The Con- 
fessions,' vol. 3, page 247, liv. 8. 

" ' De tous ces amusemens celui qui me plut davantage fut une 
promenade autour du Lac, que je fis en bateau avec De Luc pere, sa bru, 
ses deux jils, et ma Therese. Nous mimes sept jours a cette tournee 
par le plus beau temps du monde. J'en gardai le vif souvenir des 
sites qui m'avoient frappe a l'autre extremite du Lac, et dont je fis la 
description, quelques annees apres, dans la Nouvelle Heloise.' 

This nonagenarian, De Luc, must be one of the ' deux fils.' He 
is in England — infirm, but still in faculty. It is odd that he should 
have lived so long, and not wanting in oddness, that he should have 
made this voyage with Jean Jacques, and afterward, at such an inter- 
val, read a poem by an Englishman (who had made precisely the same 
circumnavigation) upon the same scenery. 

" As for ' Manfred,' it is of no use sending proofs ; nothing of that 
kind comes. I sent the whole at different times. The two first Acts 
are the best; the third so so; but I was blown with the first and 
second heats. You must call it a ' Poem,' for it is no Drama, and I do 
not choose to have it called by so * * a name — a ' Poem in Dialogue,' 
or Pantomime, if you will ; any thing but a green-room synonyme ; 
and this is your motto — 

1 There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' 

" Yours ever, &c. 
" My love and thanks to Mr. Gifford." 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 71 



•'Venice, April 11,1817. 

" I shall continue to write to you while the fit is on me, by way of 
penance upon you for your former complaints of long- silence. 1 dare 
say you would blush, if you could, for not answering-. Next week I 
set out for Rome. Having- seen Constantinople, I should like to look 
at t' other fellow. Besides I want to see the Pope, and shall take care 
to tell him that I vote for the Catholics and no Veto. 

I sha' n't go to Naples. It is but the second best sea-view, and I 
have seen the first and third, viz. — Constantinople and Lisbon (by-the- 
way, the last is but a river-view ; however, they reckon it after Stam- 
boul and Naples, and before Genoa), and Vesuvius is silent, and I 
have passed by Etna. So I shall e'en return to Venice in July ; and 
if you write, I pray you address to Venice, which is my head, or rather 
my hea ^-quarters. 

" My late physician, Dr. Polidori, is here, on his way to England, 
with the present Lord G * * and the widow of the late earl. Doctor 
Polidori has, just now, no more patients, because his patients are no 
more. He had lately three, who are now all dead — one embalmed. 
Horner and a child of Thomas Hope's are interred at Pisa and Rome. 
Lord G * * died of an inflammation of the bowels ; so they took them 
out, and sent them (on account of their discrepancies), separately 
from the carcass, to England. Conceive a man going one way, and 
his intestines another, and his immortal soul a third ! — was there ever 
such a distribution ] One certainly has a soul ; but how it came to 
allow itself to be enclosed in a body is more than I can imagine. I 
only know if once mine gets out, I '11 have a bit of a tustle before I 
let it get in again to that or any other. 

"And so poor dear Mr. Maturin's second tragedy has been neglected 
by the discerning public. * * will be d — d glad of his, and d — d 
without being glad, if ever his own plays come upon ' any stage.' 

" I wrote to Rogers the other day, with a message for you. I hope 
that he flourishes. He is the Tithonus of poetry — immortal already. 
You and I must wait for it. 

" 1 hear nothing — know nothing. You may easily suppose that the 
English do n't seek me, and I avoid them. To be sure, there are but 
a few or none here, save passengers. Florence and Naples are their 
Margate and Ramsgate, and much the same sort of company too, by 
all accounts, which hurts us among the Italians. 

" I want to hear of Lalla Rookh — are you out ? Death and fiends ! 
why do n't you tell me where you are, what you are, and how you 
are 1 I shall go to Bologna by Ferrara, instead of Mantua ; because 
I would rather see the cell where they caged Tasso, and where he 
became mad and * *, than his own MSS. at Modena, or the Mantuan 
birthplace of that harmonious plagiary and miserable flatterer, whose 
cursed hexameters were drilled into me at Harrow. I saw Verona 
and Vicenza on my way here — Padua too. 

I go alone — but alone, because I mean to return here. I only want 
to see Rome. I have not the least curiosity about Florence, though I 
must see it for the sake of the Venus, &c. &c. ; and I wish also to see 

72 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

the Fall of Terni. I think to return to Venice by Ravenna and Rimini 
of both of which I mean to take notes for Leigh Hunt, who will be 
glad to hear of the scenery of his Poem. There was a devil of a 
review of him in the Quarterly, a year ago, which he answered. All 
answers are imprudent ; but, to be sure, poetical flesh and blood must 
have the last word — that's certain. I thought, and think, very highly 
of his Poem ; but I warned him of the row his favourite antique 
phraseology would bring him into. 

" You have taken a house at Hornsey ; I had much rather you had 
taken one in the Apennines. If you think of coming out for a sum- 
mer, or so, tell me, that I may be upon the hover for you. 

" Ever, &c." 



"Venice, April 14th, 1817. 

" By the favour of Dr. Polidori, who is here on his way to England, 
with the present Lord G * * (the late earl having gone to England by 
another road, accompanied by his bowels in a separate coffer), I remit 
to you, to deliver to Mrs. Leigh, two miniatures ; but previously you 
will have the goodness to desire Mr. Love (as a peace-offering between 
him and me) to set them in plain gold, with my arms complete, and 
* Painted by Prepiani. — Venice, 1817,' on the back. I wish also that 
you would desire Holmes to make a copy of each — that is, both — for 
myself, and that you will retain the said copies till my return. One 
was done while I was very unwell ; the other in my health, which 
may account for their dissimilitude. I trust that they will reach their 
destination in safety. 

" I recommend the doctor to your good offices with your govern- 
ment friends ; and if you can be of any use to him in a literary point 
of view, pray be so. 

" To-day, or rather yesterday, for it is past midnight, I have been 
up to the battlements of the highest tower in Venice, and seen it and 
its view, in all the glory of a clear Italian sky. I also went over the 
Manfrini Palace, famous for its pictures. Among them, there is a 
portrait of Ariosto, by Titian, surpassing all my anticipation of the 
power of painting or human expression : it is the poetiy of portrait, 
and the portrait of poetry. There was also one of some learned lady, 
centuries old, whose name I forget, but whose features must always 
be remembered. I never saw greater beauty, or sweetness, or wisdom : 
— it is the kind of face to go mad for, because it cannot walk out of 
its frame. There is also a famous dead Christ and live Apostles, for 
which Buonaparte offered in vain five thousand louis ; and of which, 
though it is a capo d'opera of Titian, as I am no connoisseur, I say 
little, and thought less, except of one figure in it. There are ten 
thousand others, and some very fine Giorgiones among them, &c. &c. 
There is an original Laura and Petrarch, very hideous both. Petrarch 
has not only the dress, but the features and air of an old woman, and 
Laura looks by no means like a young one, or a pretty one. What 
struck me most in the general collection was the extreme resemblance 
of the style of the female faces in the mass of pictures, so many cen- 
turies or generations old, to those you see and meet every day among 

A. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 73 

the existing Italians. The queen of Cyprus and Giorgione's wife, 
particularly the latter, are Venetians as it were of yesterday ; the 
same eyes and expression, and, to my mind, there is none finer. 

"You must recollect, however, that I know nothing of painting; 
and that I detest it, unless it reminds me of something I have seen, 
or think it possible to see, for which reason I spit upon und abhor all 
the saints and subjects of one half the impostures I see in the churches 
and palaces ; and when in Flanders, I never was so disgusted in my 
life, as with Rubens and his eternal wives and infernal glare of colours, 
as they appeared to me ; and in Spain I did not think much of Murilo 
and Velasquez. Depend upon it, of all the arts, it is the most arti- 
ficial and unnatural, and that by which the nonsense of mankind is 
most imposed upon. I never yet saw the picture or the statue which 
came a league within my conception or expectation ; but I have seen 
many mountains, and seas, and rivers, and views, and two or three 
women, who went as far beyond it, — besides some horses ; and a 
lion (at Veli Pacha's) in the Morea ; and a tiger at supper in Exeter 
'Change. • 

" When you write, continue to address to me at Venice. Where do 
you suppose the books you sent to me are 1 At Turin! This comes 
of * the Foreign Office? which is foreign enough, God knows, for any 

good it can be of to me, or any one else, and be d d to it, to its 

last clerk and first charlatan, Castlereagh. 

" This makes my hundredth letter at least. 

" Yours, &c." 



" Venice, April 14, 1817. 

" The present proofs (of the whole) begins only at the 17th page ; 
but as I had corrected and sent back the First Act, it does not signify. 

" The Third Act is certainly d d bad, and, like the Archbishop 

of Grenada's homily (which savoured of the palsy), has the dregs of 
my fever, during which it was written. It must on no account be pub- 
lished in its present state. I will try and reform it, or re-write it 
altogether ; but the impulse is gone, and I have no chance of making 
any thing out of it. I would not have it published as it is on any ac- 
count. The speech of Manfred to the Sun is the only part of this act 
I thought good myself; the rest is certainly as bad as bad can be, 
and I wonder what the devil possessed me. 

" I am very glad indeed that you sent me Mr. Gifford's opinion 
without deduction. Do you suppose me such a booby as not to be 
very much obliged to him % or that in fact I was not, and am not, 
convinced and convicted in my conscience of this same overt act of 
nonsense ? 

" I shall try at it again : in the mean time lay it upon the shelf (the 
whole Drama, I mean) ; but pray correct your copies of the First and 
Second Act from the original MS. 

" I am not coming to England ; but going to Rome in a few days. 
I return to Venice in June ; so, pray, address all letters, &c. to me 
here 9 as usual, that is, to Venice. Dr. Polidori this day left this city 

74 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

with Lord G * * for England. He is charged with some books to 
your care (from me), and two miniatures also to the same address, both 
for my sister. 

" Recollect not to publish, upon pain of I know not what, until I 
have tried again at the Third Act. I am not sure that I shall try, and 
still less that I shall succeed, if I do ; but I am very sure, that (as it 
is) it is unfit for publication or perusal ; and unless I can make it out 
to my own satisfaction, 1 won't have any part published. 

" 1 write in haste, and after having lately written very often. 

" Yours, &c." 



" Folingo, April 26th, 1817. 
" I wrote to you the other day from Florence, inclosing a MS. en- 
titled ' The Lament of Tasso.' It was written in consequence of my 
having been lately at Ferrara. In the last section of this MS. but one 
(that is, the penultimate), I think that I have omitted a line in the copy 
sent to you from Florence, viz. after the line — 

" And woo compassion to a blighted name, 

" Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim. 

The context will show you the sense, which is not clear in this quota- 
tion. Remember, I write this in the supposition that you have received 
my Florentine packet. 

" At Florence I remained but a day, having a hurry for Rome, to 
which I am thus far advanced. However, I went to the two galleries, 
from which one returns drunk with beauty. The Venus is more for 
admiration than love ; but there are sculpture and painting, which for 
the first time at all gave me an idea of what people mean by their 
cant, and what Mr. Braham calls ' entusimusy' (i. e. enthusiasm), about 
those two most artificial of the arts. What struck me most were, the- 
mistress of Raphael, a portrait ; the mistress of Titian, a portrait ; a 
Venus of Titian in the Medici gallery— the Venus ; Canova's Venus 
also, in the other gallery : Titian's mistress is also in the other gal- 
lery (that is, in the Pitti Palace gallery) : the Pareae of Michael An- 
gelo, a picture ; and the Antinous, the Alexander, and one or two not 
very decent groups in marble ; the Genius of Death, a sleeping figure, 
&c. &c. 

"I also went to the Medici chapel — fine frippery in great slabs of- 
various expensive stones, to commemorate fifty rotten and forgotten 
carcasses. It is unfinished and will remain so. 

" The church of ' Santa Croce' contains much illustrious nothing. 
The tombs of Machiavelli, Michael Angelo, Galileo Galilei, and Al- 
fieri, make it the Westminster Abbey of Italy. I did not admire any 
of these tombs — beyond their contents. That of Alfieri is heavy, and 
all of them seem to me overloaded. What is necessary but a bust 
and name 1 and perhaps a date 1 the last for the unchronological, of 
whom I am one. But all your allegory and eulogy is infernal, 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 75 

and worse than the long wigs of English numskulls upon Roman 
bodies in the statuary of the reigns of Charles II., William, and 

" When you write, write to Venice, as usual ; 1 mean to return there 
in a fortnight. I shall not be in England for a long time. This after- 
noon I met Lord and Lady Jersey, and saw them for some time : all 
well ; children grown and healthy ; she very pretty, but sunburnt ; he 
very sick of travelling ; bound for Paris. There are not many Eng- 
lish on the move, and those who are, mostly homewards. I shall not 
return till business makes me, being much better where I am in health, 
&c. &c. 

For the sake of my personal comfort, I pray you send me immedi- 
ately to Venice — mind, Venice — viz. Wakes' s tooth-powder, red, a quan- 
tity ; calcined magnesia, of the best quality, a quantity ; and all this 
by safe, sure, and speedy means ; and, by the Lord ! do it. 

" I have done nothing at Manfred's Third Act. You must wait ; 
I '11 have at it in a week or two, or so. " Yours ever, &c." 



"Rome, May 5th, 1817. 

" By this post (or next at farthest) I send you in two other covers, the 
new Third Act of ' Manfred.' I have re-written the greater part, and 
returned what is not altered in the proof you sent me. The Abbot is 
become a good man, and the Spirits are brought in at the death. You 
will find, I think, some good poetry in this new act, here and there ; 
and if so, print it, without sending me farther proofs, under Mr. 
Gifford^s correction, if he will have the goodness to overlook it. Ad- 
dress all answers to Venice, as usual; I mean to return there in 
ten days. 

" ' The Lament of Tasso,' which I sent from Florence, has, I trust, 
arrived : I look upon it as a * these be good rhymes,' as Pope's papa 
said to him when he was a boy. For the two — it and the Drama — 
you will disburse to me {via Kinnaird) six hundred guineas. You will 
perhaps be surprised that I set the same price upon this as upon the 
Drama ; but, besides that I look upon it as good, I won't take less 
than three hundred guineas for any thing. The two together will 
make you a larger publication than the ' Siege' and 'Parisina ;' so you 
may think yourself let off very easy : that is to say, if these poems 
are good for any thing, which I hope and believe. 

"I have been some days in Rome the Wonderful. I am seeing 
sights, and have done nothing else, except the new Third Act for you. 
I have this morning seen a live pope and a dead cardinal : Pius VII. 
has been burying Cardinal Bracchi, whose body I saw in state at the 
Chiesa Nuova. Rome has delighted me beyond every thing, since 
Athens and Constantinople. But I shall not remain long this visit. 
Address to Venice. " Ever, &c. 

" P.S. I have got my saddle horses here, and have ridden, and am 
riding, all about the country." 

From the foregoing letters to Mr. Murray, we may collect some. 

76 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

curious particulars respecting one of the most original and sublime 
of the noble poet's productions, the Drama of Manfred. His failure 
(and to an extent of which the reader shall be enabled presently to 
judge) in the completion of a design which he had, through two Acts, 
so magnificently carried on, — the impatience with which, though con- 
scious of this failure, he as usual hurried to the press : without deign- 
ing to woo, or wait for, a happier moment of inspiration, — his frank 
docility in, at once, surrendering up his Third Act to reprobation, 
without urging one parental word in its behalf, though, at the same time, 
evidently doubting whether, from his habit of striking off these crea- 
tions at a heat, he should be able to rekindle his imagination on the 
subject, and then, lastly, the complete success with which, when his 
mind did make the spring, he at once cleared the whole space by 
which he before fell short, of perfection, — all these circumstances, 
connected with the production of this grand Poem, lay open to us 
features, both of his disposition and genius, in the highest degree inte- 
resting, and such as there is a pleasure, second only to that of perusing 
the Poem itself, in contemplating. 

As a literary curiosity, and, still more, as a lesson to genius, never 
to rest satisfied with imperfection or mediocrity, but to labour on till 
even failures are converted into triumphs, I shall here transcribe the 
Third Act, in its original shape, as first sent to the publisher. 


A Hall in the Castle of Manfred. 
Manfred and Herman. 

Man. What is the hour 1 

Her. It wants but one till sunset, 

And promises a lovely twilight. 

Man. Say, 

Are all things so disposed of in the tower 
As I directed 1 

Her. All, my lord, are ready : 

Here is the key and casket. 

Man. It is well : 

Thou mayst retire. [Exit Herman. 

Man. (alone.) There is a calm upon me — 

Inexplicable stillness ! which till now 
Did not belong to what I knew of life. 
If that I did not know philosophy • 
To be of all our vanities the motliest, 
The merest word that ever fool'd the ear 
From out the schoolman's jargon, I should deem 
The golden secret, the sought " Kalon," found, 
And seated in my soul. It will not last, 
But it is well to have known it, though but once : 
It hath enlarged my thoughts with a new sense, 
And I within my tablets would note down 
That there is such a feeling. Who is there ? 

Re-enter Herman. 

Her. My lord, the Abbot of St. Maurice craves 
To greet your presence. 

a.d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 77 

Enter the Abbot of St. Maurice. 

Abbot. Peace be with Count Manfred ! 

Man. Thanks, holy father ! welcome to these walls ; 
Thy presence honours them, and blesses those 
Who dwell within them. 

Abbot. Would it were so, Count ! 

But I would fain confer with thee alone. 
Man. Herman retire. What would my reverend guest ? 

[Exit Herman. 
Abbot. Thus, without prelude ; — Age and zeal, my office, 
And good intent, must plead my privilege ; 
Our near, though not acquainted, neighbourhood 
May also be my herald. Rumours strange, 
And of unholy nature, are abroad, 
And busy with thy name — a noble name 
For centuries ; may he who bears it now 
Transmit it unimpaired ! 

Man. Prcceed, — I listen. 

Abbot. 'T is said thou holdest converse with the things 
Which are forbidden to the search of man ; 
That with the dwellers of the dark abodes, 
The many evil and unheavenly spirits 
Which walk the valley of the shade of death, 
Thou communest. I know that with mankind, 
Thy fellows in creation, thou dost rarely 
Exchange thy thoughts, and that thy solitude 
Is as an anchorite's, were it but holy. 

Man. And what are they who do avouch these things 1 

Abbot. My pious brethren — the scared peasantry — 
Even thy own vassals — who do look on thee 
With most unquiet eyes. Thy life 's in peril. 

Man. Take it. 

Abbot. I come to save, and not destroy — 

I would not pry into thy secret soul ; 
But if these things be sooth, there still is time 
For penitence and pity : reconcile thee 
W T ith the true church, and through the church to heaven. 

Man. I hear thee. This is my reply ; whate'er 
I may have been, or am, doth rest between 
Heaven and myself. — I shall not choose a mortal 
To be my mediator. Have 1 sinn'd 
Against your ordinances] prove and punish !* 

Abbot. Then, hear and tremble ! For the headstrong wretch 
Who in the mail of innate hardihood 
W T ould shield himself, and battle for his sins, 
There is the stake on earth, and beyond earth eternal ■ 

Man. Charity, most reverend father, 
Becomes thy lips so much more than this menace, 
That I would call thee back to it ; but say, 
What wouldst thou with me ? 

* It will be perceived that, as far as this, the original matter of the Third 
Act has been retained. 

78 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

Abbot. It may be there are 

Things that would shake thee — but I keep them back, 
And give thee till to-morrow to repent. 
Then if thou dost not all devote thyself 
To penance, and with gift of all thy lands 
To the monastery 

Man. I understand thee, — well ! 

Abbot. Expect no mercy ; I have warned thee. 

Man. [opening the casket) Stop — 
There is a gift for thee within this casket. 

[Manfred opens the casket, strikes a light, and burns some incense. 
Ho! Ashtaroth! 

The Demon Ashtaroth appears, singing as follows ; 

The raven sits 

On the raven-stone, 
And his black wing flits 

O'er the milk-white bone ; 
To and fro, as the night winds blow, 

The carcass of the assassin swings; 
And there alone, on the raven-stone,* 

The raven flaps his dusky wings. 

The fetters creak — and his ebon beak 

Croaks to the close of the holJow sound ; 
And this is the tune by the light of the moon 

To which the witches dance their round, 
Merrily, merrily, cheerily, cheerily, 

Merrily, merrily, speeds the ball : 
The dead in their shrouds, and the demons in clouds, 

Flock to the witches' carnival. 

Abbot. I fear thee not — hence — hence — 
Avaunt thee, evil one ! — help, ho ! without there ! 

Man. Convey this man to the Shreckhorn — to its peak- 
To its extremest peak — watch with him there 
From now till sunrise ; let him gaze, and know 
He ne'er again will be so near to heaven. 
But harm him not; and, when the morrow breaks, 
Set him down safe in his cell — away with him ! 

Ash. Had I not better bring his brethren too, 
Convent and all, to bear him company ] 

Man. No, this will serve for the present. Take him up. 

Ash. Come, friar ! now an exorcism or two, 
And we shall fly the lighter. 

Ashtaroth disappears with the A bbot, singing as follows : 

A prodigal son and a maid undone, 
And a widow re-wedded within the year ; 

And a worldly monk and a pregnant nun, 
Are things which every day appear. 

*" Raven-stone (Rabenstein), a translation of the German word for the gib- 
bet, which in Germany and Switzerland is permanent, and made of stone." 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 79 

Manfred alone. 
Man. Why would this fool break in on me, and force 
My art to pranks fantastical 1 — no matter, 
It was not of my seeking 1 . My heart sickens 
And weighs a fix'd foreboding on my soul ; 
But it is calm — calm as a sullen sea 
After the hurricane ; the winds are still, 
But the cold waves swell high and heavily, 
And there is danger in them. Such a rest 
Is no repose. My life hath been a combat, 
And every thought a wound, till I am scarr'd 
In the immortal part of me. — What now? 

Re-enter Herman. 

Her. My lord, you bade me wait on you at sunset : 
He sinks behind the mountain. 

Man. Doth he so 1 

I will look on him. 

[Manfred advances to the window of the hall. 
Glorious orb !* the idol 
Of early nature, and the vigorous race 
Of uudiseased mankind, the giant sons 
Of the embrace of angels, with a sex 
More beautiful than they, which did draw down 
The erring spirits who can ne'er return. — 
Most glorious orb ! that wert a worship, ere 
The mystery of thy making was reveal'd ! 
Thou earliest minister of the Almighty, 
Which gladden'd, on their mountain tops, the hearts 
Of the Chaldean shepherds, till they pour'd 
Themselves in orisons ! Thou material God ! 
And representative of the Unknown — 
Who chose thee for his shadow ! Thou chief star ! 
Centre of many stars ! which mak'st our earth 
Endurable, and temperest the hues 
And hearts of all who walk within thy rays ! 
Sire of the seasons ! Monarch of the climes, 
And those who dwell in them ! for, near or far, 
Our inborn spirits have a tint of thee, 
Even as our outward aspects ; — thou dost rise, 
And shine, and set in glory. Fare thee well ! 
I ne'er shall see the more. As my first glance 
Of love and wonder was for thee, then take 
My latest look : thou wilt not beam on one 
To whom the gifts of life and warmth have been 
Of a more fatal nature. He is gone : 
I follow. [Exit Manfred. 

* This fine soliloquy, and a great part of the subsequent scene, have, it is 
hardly necessary to remark, been retained in the present form of the Drama. 

80 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 


The Mountains — The Castle of Manfred at some distance — A Terrace 
before a Tower — Time, Twilight. 

Herman, Manuel, and other Dependants of Manfred. 

Her. 'T is strange enough ; night after night, for years, 
He hath pursued long vigils in this tower, 
Without a witness. I have been within it, — 
So have we all been oft-times ; but from it, 
Or its contents, it were impossible 
To draw conclusions absolute of aught 
His studies tend to. To be sure, there is 
One chamber where none enter ; I would give 
The fee of what I have to come these three years, 
To pore upon its mysteries. 

Manuel. 'T were dangerous ; 

Content thyself with what thou know'st already. 

Her. Ah ! Manuel ! thou art elderly and wise, 
And could st say much ; thou hast dwelt within the castle — 
How many years is 't ? 

Manuel. Ere Count Manfred's birth, 

I served his father, whom he naught resembles. 

Her. There be more sons in like predicament. 
But wherein do they differ ? 

Manuel. I speak not 

Of features or of form, but mind and habits : 
Count Sigismund was proud, — but gay and free, — 
A warrior and a reveller ; he dwelt not 
With books and solitude, nor made the night 
A gloomy vigil, but a festal time, 
Merrier than day ; he did not walk the rocks 
And forests like a wolf, nor turn aside 
From men and their delights. 

Her. Beshrew the hour, 

But those were jocund times ! I would that such 
Would visit the old walls again ; they look 
As if they had forgotten them. 

Manuel. These walls 

Must change their chieftain first. Oh ! I have seen 
Some strange things in these few years.* 

Her. Come, be friendly ; 

Relate me some, to while away our watch : 
I 've heard thee darkly speak of an event 
Which happen'd hereabouts, by this same tower. 

Manuel. That was a night indeed ! I do remember 
'T was twilight, as it may be now, and such 
Another evening ; — yon red cloud, which rests 
On Eigher's pinnacle, so rested then, — 
So like that it might be the same ; the wind 
Was faint and gusty, and the mountain snows 

* Altered, in the present form, to "Some strange things in them, Herman." 

A. D. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 81 

Began to glitter with the climbing moon ; 
Count Manfred was, as now, within his tower, — 
How occupied, we knew not, but with him 
The sole companion of his wanderings 
And watchings — her, whom of all earthly things 
That lived, the only thing he seem'd to love, 
As he, indeed, by blood was bound to do, 
The lady Astarte, his 

Her. Look — look — the tower— 

The tower's on fire. Oh, heavens and earth ! what sound, 
What dreadful sound is that 1 [A crash like thunder. 

Manuel. Help, help, there !— to the rescue of the Count, — 
The Count 's in danger, — what ho ! there ! approach ! 

[The Servants, Vassals, and Peasantry approach, stupified 
with terror. 
If there be any of you who have heart 
And love of human kind, and will to aid 
Those in distress — pause not — but follow me — 
The portal 's open, follow. [Manuel goes in. 

Her. Come — who follows 1 

What, none of ye 1 — ye recreants ! shiver then 
Without. I will not see old Manuel risk 
His few remaining years unaided. [Herman goes in. 

Vassal. Hark ! — 

No — all is silent — not a breath — the flame 
Which shot forth such a blaze is also gone ; 
What may this mean ? let 's enter ! 

Peasant. Faith, not I, — 

Not that, if one, or two, or more, will join, 
I then will stay behind ; but, for my part, 
I do not see precisely to what end. 

Vassal. Cease your vain prating — come. 

Manuel, (speaking within.) 'T is all in vain- 

He 's dead. 

Her. (within.) Not so — even now methought he moved ; 
But it is dark — so bear him gently out — 
Softly — how cold he is ! take care of his temples 
In winding down the staircase. 

Re-enter Manuel and Herman, bearing Manfred in their arms. 

Manuel. Hie to the castle, some of ye, and bring 
What aid you can. Saddle the barb, and speed 
For the leech to the city — quick ! some water there ! 

Her. His cheek is black — but there is a faint beat 
Still lingering about the heart. Some water. 

[They sprinkle Manfred with water ; after a pause, he gives some 
signs of life. 

Manuel. He seems to strive to speak — come — cheerly, Count ! 
He moves his lips — canst hear him ? I am old, 
And cannot catch faint sounds. 

[Herman inclining his head and listening. 

Her. I hear a word 

Or two — but indistinctly — what is next ? 
What 's to be done % let 's bear him to the castle. 
Vol. II.— F 

82 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1827. 

[Manfred motions with his hand not to remove him. 

Manuel. He disapproves — and 't were of no avail — 
He changes rapidly. 

Her. 'Twill soon be over. 

Manuel. Oh ! what a death is this ! that I should live 
To shake my gray hairs over the last chief 
Of the house of Sigismund. — And such a death! 
Alone — we know not how — unshrived — untended — 
With strange accompaniments and fearful signs — 
I shudder at the sight — but must not leave him. 

Manfred, {speaking faintly and slowly.) Old man ! 'tis not so 
difficult to die. [Manfred, having said this, expires. 

Her. His eyes are flx'd and lifeless. — He is gone. 

Manuel. Close them. — My old hand quivers. — He departs — 
Whither ? I dread to think — but he is gone ! 



" Rome, May 9th, 1817. 

w Address all answers to Venice ; for there I shall return in fifteen 
days, God willing. 

" I sent you from Florence ' The Lament of Tasso,' and from Rome 
the Third Act of Manfred, both of which, I trust, will duly arrive. The 
terms of these two I mentioned in my last, and will repeat in this : it 
is three hundred for each, or six hundred guineas for the two — that is, 
if you like, and they are good for any thing. 

" At last^bne of the parcels is arrived. In the notes to Childe 
Harold there is a blunder of yours or mine : you talk of arrival at St. 
Gingo, and, immediately after, add — ' on the height is the Chateau of 
Clarens.' This is sad work : Clarens is on the other side of the Lake, 
and it is quite impossible that I should have so bungled. Look at the 
MS. ; and, at any rate, rectify it. 

" The * Tales of my Landlord' I have read with great pleasure, and 
perfectly understand now why my sister and aunt are so very positive 
in the very erroneous persuasion that they must have been written by 
me. If you knew me as well as they do, you would have fallen, per- 
haps, into the same mistake. Some day or other, I will explain to 
you why — when I have time ; at present it does not much matter; but 
you must have thought this blunder of theirs very odd, and so did I, 
till I had read the book. — Croker's letter to you is a very great com- 
pliment ; I shall return it to you in my next. 

" I perceive you are publishing a life of Raffael d'Urbino : it may 
perhaps interest you to hear that a set of German artists here allow 
their hair to grow, and trim it into his fashion, thereby drinking the 
cummin of the disciples of the old philosopher; if they would cut their 
hair, convert it into brushes, and paint like him, it would be more 
1 German to the matter.' 

" 1 '11 tell you a story : the other da} 7- , a man here — an English — 
mistaking the statues of Charlemagne and Constantine, which are 
equestrian, for those of Peter and Paul, asked another which was Paul 
of these same horsemen'? — to which the reply was — 'I thought, sir, 
that St. Paul had never got on horseback since his accident f 1 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 83 

"I'll tell you another: Henry Fox, writing to some one from 
Naples the other day, after an illness, adds — ' and I am so changed 
that my oldest creditors would hardly know me.' 

" I am delighted with Rome — as 1 would be with a bandbox, that is, 
it is a fine thing to see, finer than Greece ; but I have not been here 
long enough to affect it as a residence, and I must go back to Lom- 
bardy, because I am wretched at being away from Marianna. I have 
been riding my saddle-horses every day, and been to Albano, its Lakes, 
and to the top of the Alban Mount, and to Freseati, Aricia, &c. &c. 
with an &c. &c. &c. about the city, and in the city : for all which — 
vide Guidebook. As a whole, ancient and modern, it beats Greece, 
Constantinople, every thing — at least that I have ever seen. But I 
can't describe, because my first impressions are always strong and 
confused, and my memory selects and reduces them to order, like dis- 
tance in the landscape, and blends them better, although they may be 
less distinct. There must be a sense or two more than we have, us 
mortals ; for ***** where there is much to De grasped we are 
always at a loss, and yet feel that we ought to have a higher and more 
extended comprehension. 

" I have had a letter from Moore, who is in some alarm about his 
Poem. I do n't see why. 

" I have had another from my poor dear Augusta, who is in a sad 
fuss about my late illness ; do, pray, tell her (the truth) that I am 
better than ever, and in importunate health, growing (if not grown) 
large and ruddy, and congratulated by impertinent persons on my 
robustious appearance, when I ought to be pale and interesting. 

" You tell me that George Byron has got a son, and Augusta says, 
a daughter ; which is it 1 — it is no great matter : the father is a good 
man, an excellent officer, and has married a very nice little woman, 
who will bring him more babes than income : howbeit she had a 
handsome dowry, and is a very charming girl ; — but he may as well 
get a ship. 

" I have no thoughts of coming among you yet awhile, so that I 
can fight off business. If I could but make a tolerable sale of New- 
stead, there would be no occasion for my return ; and I can assure 
you very sincerely, that I am much happier (or, at least, have been so) 
out of your island than in it. 

" Yours ever. 

" P.S. There are few English here, but several of my acquaintance ; 
among others, the Marquis of Lansdowne, with whom I dine to- 
morrow. I met the Jerseys on the road at Foligno — all well. 

" Oh — I forgot — the Italians have printed Chillon, &c. a piracy, — a 
pretty little edition, prettier than yours — and published, as I found to 
my great astonishment on arriving here ; and what is odd, is, that the 
English is quite correctly printed. Why they did it, or who did it, I 
know not ; but so it is ; — I suppose, for the English people. I will 
send you a copy." 


84 NOTICES OF THE [a d. 1817, 



"Rome, May 12th, 1817. 

" I have received your letter here, where I have taken a cruise 
lately ; but I shall return back to Venice in a few days, so that if you 
write again, address there, as usual. I am not for returning to Eng- 
land so soon as you imagine ; and by no means at all as a residence. 
If you cross the Alps in your projected expedition, you will find me 
somewhere in Lombardy, and very glad to see you. Only give me 
a word or two beforehand, for I would really diverge some leagues to 
meet you. 

" Of Rome I say nothing ; it is quite indescribable, and the Guide- 
book is as good as any other. I dined yesterday with Lord Lans- 
downe, who is on his return. But there are few English here at pre- 
sent : the winter is their time. I have been on horseback most of the 
day, all days since my arrival, and have taken it as I did Constanti- 
nople. But Rome is the elder sister, and the finer. I went some days 
ago to the top of the Aiban Mount, which is superb. As for the Coli- 
seum, Pantheon, St. Peter's, the Vatican, Palatine, &c. &c. — as I said, 
vide Guidebook. They are quite inconceivable, and must be seen. The 
Apollo Belvidere is the image of Lady Adelaide Forbes — I think I 
never saw such a likeness. 

" I have seen the Pope alive, and a cardinal dead, — both of whom 
looked very well indeed. The latter was in state in the Chiesa 
Nuova, previous to his interment. 

" Your poetical alarms are groundless ; go on and prosper. Here 
is Hobhouse just come in, and my horses at the door, so that I must 
mount and take the field in the Campus Martius, which, by-the-way, 
is all built over by modern Rome. 

" Yours very and ever, &c. 

"P.S. Hobhouse presents his remembrances, and is eager, with all 
the world, for your new Poem." 




" Venice, May 30th, 1817. 
w I returned from Rome two days ago, and have received your 
letter; but no sign nor tidings of the parcel sent through Sir C. 
Stuart, which you mention. After an interval of months, a packet of 
* Tales' &c. found me at Rome; but this is all, and may be all that 
ever will find me. The post seems to be the only sure conveyance, 
and that only for letters. From Florence I sent you a poem on Tasso, 
and from Rome the new Third Act of ' Manfred,' and by Dr. Polidori 
two portraits for my sister. I left Rome and made a rapid journey 
home. You will continue to direct here as usual. Mr. Hobhouse is 
gone to Naples : I should have run down there too for a week, but 
for the quantity of English whom I heard of there. I prefer hating 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 85 

them at a distance ; unless an earthquake, or a good real eruption of 

Vesuvius, were enured to reconcile me to their vicinity. 


" The day before I left Rome I saw three robbers guillotined. The 
ceremony — including- the masqued priests; the half-naked execu- 
tioners ; the bandaged criminals ; the black Christ and his banner, the 
scaffold ; the soldiery; the slow procession, and the quick rattle and 
heavy fall of the axe ; the splash of the blood, and the ghastlinessof 
the exposed heads — is altogether more impressive than the vulgar and 
ungentlemanly dirty ' new drop,' and dog-like agony of infliction upon 
the sufferers of the English sentence. Two of these men behaved 
calmly enough, but the first of the three died with great terror and 
reluctance. What was very horrible, he would not lie down; then 
his neck was too large for the aperture, and the priest was obliged to 
drown his exclamations by still louder exhortations. The head was 
off before the eye could trace the blow ; but from an attempt to draw 
back the head, notwithstanding it was held forward by the hair, the 
first head was cut off close to the ears : the other two were taken off 
more cleanly. It is better than the oriental way, and (I should think) 
than the axe of our ancestors. The pain seems little, and yet the 
effect to the spectator, and the preparation to the criminal, is very 
striking and chilling. The first turned me quite hot and thirsty, and 
made me shake so that I could hardly hold the opera glass (I was 
close, but was determined to see, as one should see every thing, once, 
with attention) ; the second and third (which shows how dreadfully 
soon things grow indifferent), I am ashamed to say, had no effect on 
me as a horror, though I would have saved them if I could. 

" Yours, &c." 



"Venice, June 4th, 1817. 

"I have received the proofs of the 'Lament of Tasso,' which 
makes me hope that you have also received the reformed Third Act 
of Manfred, from Rome, which I sent soon after my arrival there. 
My date will apprize you of my return home within these few days. 
For me, I have received none of your packets, except, after long delay, 
the ' Tales of my Landlord,' which I before acknowledged. I do 
not at all understand the why nots, but so it is ; — no Manuel, no 
letters, no tooth-powder, no extract from Moore's Italy concerning 
Marino Faliero, no nothing — as a man hallooed out at one of Bur- 
den's elections, after a long ululatus of * No Bastille ! No governor- 
ities ! No — ' God knows who or what ; — but his ne plus ultra was ' No 
nothing !' — and my receipts of your packages amount to about his 
meaning. I want the extract from Moore's Italy very much, and the 
tooth-powder, and the magnesia ; I do n't care so much about the 
poetry, or the letters, or Mr. Maturin's by-Jasus tragedy. Most of 
the things sent by the post have come — I mean proofs and letters ; 
therefore, send me Marino Faliero by the post, in a letter. 

"I was delighted with Rome, and was on horseback all round it 
many hours daily, besides in it the rest of my time, bothering' over its 
marvels. I excursed and skirred the country round to Alba, Tivoli, 
Frescari, Licenza, &c. &c. ; besides I visited twice the Fall of Temi, 

86 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

which beats every thing. On my way back, close to the temple by 
its banks, I got some famous trout out of the river Clitumnus — the 
prettiest little stream in all poesy, near the first post from Foligno 
and Spoletto. — I did not stay at Florence, being anxious to get home 
to Venice, and having already seen the galleries and other sights. I 
left my commendatory letters the evening before I went ; so I saw 

" To-day, Pindemonte, the celebrated poet of Verona, called on me ; 
he is a little, thin man, with acute and pleasing features ; his address 
good and gentle ; his appearance altogether very philosophical ; his age 
about sixty, or more. He is one of their best going. I gave him 
Forsyth, as he speaks, or reads rather, a little English, and will find 
there a favourable account of himself. He inquired after his old 
Cruscan friends, Parsons, Greathead, Mrs. Piozzi, and Merry, all of 
whom he had known in his youth. I gave him as bad an account of 
them as I could, answering, as the false ' Solomon Lob' does to ' Tot- 
terton' in the farce, ' all gone dead,' and damned by a satire more than 
twenty years ago ; that the name of their extinguisher was Gifford ; 
that they were but a sad set of scribes after all, and no great things 
in any other way. He seemed, as was natural, very much pleased 
with this account of his old acquaintances, and went away greatly 
gratified with that and Mr. Forsyth's sententious paragraph of applause 
in his own (Pindemonte's) favour. After having been a little liber- 
tine in his youth, he is grown devout, and takes prayers, and talks to 
himself, to keep off the Devil ; but for all that, he is a very nice little 
old gentleman. 

" I forgot to tell you that at Bologna (which is celebrated for pro- 
ducing popes, painters, and sausages) I saw an anatomical gallery, 
where there is a deal of waxwork, in which ****** a ll 
made and moulded by a female professor, whose picture and merits are 
preserved and detailed to you. I thought her performance not very 
favourable to her imagination * * * * * * # 

" I am sorry to hear of your row with Hunt ; but suppose him to be 
exasperated by the Quarterly and your refusal to deal ; and when one 
is angry and edits a paper, I should think the temptation too strong 
for literary nature, which is not always human. I can't conceive in 
what, and for what, he abuses yon : what have you done 1 you are not 
an author, nor a politician, nor a public character ; I know no scrape 
you have tumbled into. 1 am the more sorry for this because I intro- 
duced you to Hunt, and because I believe him to be a good man ; but 
till I know the particulars, I can give no opinion. 

" Let me know about Lalla Rookh, which must be out by this time. 

" I restore the proofs, but the punctuation should be corrected. I 
feel too lazy to have at it myself; so beg and pray Mr. Gifford for me. 
— Address to Venice. In a few days I go to my villeggiatura, in a 
casino near the Brenta, a few miles only on the mainland. I have 
determined on another year, and many years of residence, if I can 
compass them. Marianna is with me, hardly recovered of the fever, 
which has been attacking all Italy last winter. I am afraid she is a 
little hectic ; but I hope the best. " Ever, &c. 

"P.S. Towaltzen has done a bust of me at Rome for Mr. Hob- 
house, which is reckoned very good. He is their best after Canova, 
and by some preferred to him. 

" I have had a letter from Mr. Hodgson. He is very happy, has 


a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 87 

got a living, but not a child : if he had stuck to a curacy, babes 
would have come of course, because he could not have maintained 

" Remember me to all friends, &c. &c. 

" An Austrian officer, the other day, being in love with a Venetian, 
was ordered, with his regiment, into Hungary. Distracted between 
love and duty, he purchased a deadly drug, which, dividing with his 
mistress, both swallowed. The ensuing pains were terrific, but the 
pills were purgative, and not poisonous, by the contrivance of the 
unsentimental apothecary ; so that so much suicide was all thrown 
away. You may conceive the previous confusion and the final laugh- 
ter ; but the intention was good on all sides." 



" Venice, June 8th, 1817. 
" The present letter will be delivered to you by two Armenian friars, 
on their way, by England, to Madras. They will also convey some 
copies of the Grammar, which 1 think you agreed to take. If you can 
be of any use to them, either among your naval or East Indian acquaint- 
ances, I hope you will so far oblige me, as they and their order have 
been remarkably attentive and friendly towards me since my arrival 
at Venice. Their names are Father Sukias Somalian and Father 
Sarkis Theodorosian. They speak Italian, and probably French, or a 
little English. Repeating earnestly my recommendatory request, 
believe me very truly yours, " Byron. 

" Perhaps you can help them to their passage, or give or get them 
letters for India." 



" La Mira, near Venice, June 14th, 1817. 

" I write to you from the banks of the Brenta, a few miles from 
Venice, where I have colonized for six months to come. Address, as 
usual, to Venice. 

" Three months after date (17th March), — like the unnegotiable bill 
despondingly received bv the reluctant tailor, — your despatch has 
arrived, containing the extract from Moore's Italy and Mr. Maturin's 
bankrupt tragedy. It is the absurd work of a clever man. I think it 
might have done upon the stage if he had made Manuel (by some 
trickery, in a mask or visor) fight his own battle instead of employing 
Molineux as his champion ; and, after the defeat of Torrismond, have 
made him spare the son of his enemy, by some revulsion of feeling, 
not incompatible with a character of extravagant and distempered 
emotions. But as it is, what with the Justiza, and the ridiculous con- 
duct of the whole dram. pers. (for they are all as mad as Manuel, who 
surely must have had more interest with a corrupt bench than a dis- 
tant relation and heir presumptive, somewhat suspect of homicide), 

88 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

I do not wonder at its failure. As a play, it is impracticable ; as a 
poem, no great things. Who was the ' Greek that grappled with glory- 
naked]' the Olympic wrestlers'? or Alexander the Great, when he 
ran stark round the tomb of t' other fellow 1 or the Spartan who was 
fined by the Ephori for fighting without his armour? or who 1 And as 
to ' flaying off life like a garment,' helas ! that 's in Tom Thumb — see 
king Arthur's soliloquy : 

1 Life 's a mere rag, not worth a prince's wearing ; 
I '11 cast it off.' 

And the stage-directions — • Staggers among the bodies ;' — the slain are 
too numerous, as well as the blackamoor knights-penitent being one 
too many : and De Zelos is such a shabby Monmouth-street villain, 
without any redeeming quality — Stap my vitals ! Maturin seems to be 
declining into Nat. Lee. But let him try again ; he has talent, but not 
much taste. I 'gin to fear, or to hope, that Sotheby after all is to be 
the ^Eschylus of the age, unless Mr. Shiel be really worthy his success. 
The more I see of the stage, the less I would wish to have any thing 
to do with it ; as a proof of which, I hope you have received the 
Third Act of Manfred, which will at least prove that I wish to steer 
very clear of the possibility of being put into scenery. I sent it from 

"1 returned the proof of Tasso. By-the-way, have you never 
received a translation of St. Paul, which 1 sent you, not for publica- 
tion, before I went to Rome ? 

" I am at present on the Brenta. Opposite is a Spanish marquis, 
ninety years old ; next his casino is a Frenchman's, — besides the 
natives ; so that, as somebody said the other day, we are exactly one 
of Goldoni's comedies (La Vedova Scaltra), where a Spaniard, Eng- 
lish, and Frenchman are introduced : but we are all very good neigh- 
bours, Venetians, &c. &c. &c. 

" I am just getting on horseback for my evening ride, and a visit to 
a physician, who has an agreeable family, of a wife and four unmar- 
ried daughters, all under eighteen, who are friends of Signora S * *, 
and enemies to nobody. There are, and are to be, besides, conversa- 
ziones and I know not what, at a Countess Labbia's and I know not 
whom. The weather is mild; the thermometer 110 in the sun this 
day, and 80 odd in the shade. 

" Yours, &c. 

" N." 



" La Mira, near Venice, June 17th, 1817. 

" It gives me great pleasure to hear of Moore's success, and the 
more so that I never doubted that it would be complete. Whatever 
good you can tell me of him and his poem will be most acceptable : I 
feel very anxious indeed to receive it. I hope that he is as happy in 
his fame and reward as I wish him to be ; for I know no one who 
deserves both more — if any so much. 

" Now to business ; * * * * * * I say unto you, verily, it is not 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 89 

so ; or, as the foreigner sairi to the waiter, after asking him to bring- a 
glass of water, to which the man answered, ' I will, sir,' — * You will ! 
— G — d d — n, — 1 say, you mushP And I will submit this to the deci- 
sion of any person or persons to be appointed by both, on a fair 
examination of the circumstances of this as compared with the pre- 
ceding publications. So, there 's for you. There is always some row 
or other previously to all our publications : it should seem that, on 
approximating, we can never quite get over the natural antipathy of 
author and bookseller, and that more particularly the ferine nature of 
the latter must break forth. 

" You are out about the Third Canto : I have not done, nor de- 
signed, a line of continuation to that poem. I was too short a time at 
Rome for it, and have no thought of recommencing. * * * 

" I cannot well explain to you by letter what I conceive to be the 
origin of Mrs. Leigh's notion about ' Tales of My Landlord ;' but it is 
some points of the characters of Sir E. Manley and Burley, as well 
as one or two of the jocular portions, on which it is founded, probably. 

" If you have received Dr. Polidori, as well as a parcel of books, 
and you can be of use to him, be so. I never was much more dis- 
gusted with any human production than with the eternal nonsense, 
and tracasseries, and emptiness, and ill-humour, and vanity of that 
young person ; but he has some talent, and is a man of honour, and 
has dispositions of amendment, in which he has been aided by a little 
subsequent experience, and may turn out well. Therefore, use your 
government interest for him, for he is improved and improvable. 

" Yours, &c." 



" La Mira, near Venice, June 18th, 1817. 

" Enclosed is a letter to Dr. Holland from Pindemonte. Not know- 
ing the doctor's address, I am desired to inquire, and perhaps, being 
a literary man, you will know or discover his haunt near some popu- 
lous churchyard. I have written to you a scolding letter — I believe, 
upon a misapprehended passage in your letter — but never mind : it 
will do for next time, and you will surely deserve it. Talking of 
doctors reminds me once more to recommend to you one who will 
not recommend himself, — the Doctor Polidori. If you can help him to a 
publisher, do ; or, if you have any sick relation, I would advise his 
advice: all the patients he had in Italy are dead — Mr. * *'s son, 
Mr. Horner, and Lord G * *, whom he embowelled with great suc- 
cess at Pisa. * * * * 

" Remember me to Moore, whom I congratulate. How is Rogers ? 
and what is become of Campbell and all t' other fellows of the Druid 
order? I got Maturin's Bedlam at last, but no other parcel; I am in 
fits for the tooth-powder, and the magnesia. I want some of Burkitt's 
Soda powders. Will you tell Mr. Kinnaird that I have written him 
two letters on pressing business (about Newstead, &c), to which I 
humbly solicit his attendance. I am just returned from a gallop 
along the banks of the Brenta — time, sunset. 

" Yours, 


90 NOTICES OF THE [a.d. 1817. 



" La Mira, near Venice, July 1st, 1817. 
"Since my former letter, I have been working up my impressions 
into a Fourth Canto of Childe Harold, of which I have roughened off 
about rather better than thirty stauzas, and mean to go on ; and probably 
to make this * Fytte' the concluding one of the poem, so that you may 
propose again&t the autumn to draw out the conscription for 1818. 
You must provide moneys, as this new resumption bodes you certain 
disbursements. Somewhere about the end of September or October, 
I propose to be under way (i. e. in the press) ; but I have no idea yet 
of the probable length or calibre of the Canto, or what it will be good 
for ; but I mean to be as mercenary as possible, an example (I do not 
mean of any individual in particular, and least of all any person or 
persons of our mutual acquaintance) which I should have followed in 
my youth, and 1 might still have been a prosperous gentleman. 

"No tooth-powder, no letters, no recent tidings of you. 

" Mr. Lewis is at Venice, and I am going up to stay a week with 
him there — as it is one of his enthusiasms also to like the city. 

" I stood in Venice on the ' Bridge of Sighs,' &c. &c. 

" The ' Bridge of Sighs' (i. e. Ponte de'i Sospiri) is that which 
divides, or rather joins, the palace of the Doge to the prison of the 
state. It has two passages : the criminal went by the one to judg- 
ment, and returned by the other to death, being strangled in a chamber 
adjoining, where there was a mechanical process for the purpose. 

" This is the first stanza of our new Canto ; and now for a line of 
the second : 

" In Venice, Tasso's echoes are no more, 
And silent rows the songless gondolier, 
Her palaces, &c. &c. 

" You know that formerly the gondoliers sung always, and Tasso's 
Gierusalemme was their ballad. Venice is built on seventy-two 

" There ! there 's a brick of your new Babel ! and now, sirrah ! what 
say you to the sample ? " Yours, &c. 

"P.S. I shall write again by- and-by." 



" La Mira, near Venice, July 8th, 1817. 
" If you can convey the enclosed letter to its address, or discover the 
person to whom it is directed, you will confer a favour upon the Vene- 
tian creditor of a deceased Englishman. This epistle is a dun to his 
executor, for house-rent. The name of the insolvent defunct is, or 

A. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 91 

was, Porter Fatter, according- to the account of the plaintiff, which I 
rather suspect ought to be Walter Porter, according to our mode of 
collocation. If you are acquainted with any dead man of the like 
name a good deal in debt, pray dig him up, and tell him that ' a pound 
of his fair flesh' or the ducats are required, and that ' if you deny them, 
fie upon your law !' 

" I hear nothing more from you about Moore's poem, Rogers, or 
other literary phenomena ; but to-morrow, being post-day, will bring 
perhaps some tidings. I write to you with people talking Venetian 
all about, so that you must not expect this letter to be all English. 

" The other day, I had a squabble on the highway as follows : I was 
riding pretty quickly from Dolo home about eight in the evening, when 
1 passed a party of people in a hired carriage, one of whom, poking 
his head out of the window, began bawling to me in an inarticulate 
but insolent manner. I wheeled my horse round, and overtaking, 
stopped the coach, and said, ' Signor, have you any commands for me V 
He replied, impudently as to manner, ' No.' 1 then asked him what 
he meant by that unseemly noise, to the discomfiture of the passers- 
by. He replied by some piece of impertinence, to which I answered 
by giving him a violent slap in the face. I then dismounted (for this 
passed at the window, I being on horseback still), and opening the 
door, desired him to walk out, or I would give him another. But the 
first had settled him except as to words, of which he poured forth a 
profusion in blasphemies, swearing that he would go to the police and 
avouch a battery sans provocation. I said he lied, and was a * *, and, 
if he did not hold his tongue, should be dragged out and beaten anew. 
He then held his tongue. 1 of course told him my name and resi- 
dence, and defied him to the death, if he were a gentleman, or not a 
gentleman, and had the inclination to be genteel in the way of combat. 
He went to the police, but there having been bystanders in the road, — 
particularly a soldier, who had seen the business, — as well as my ser- 
vant, notwithstanding the oaths of the coachman and five insides 
besides the plaintiff, and a good 'deal of paying on all sides, his com- 
plaint was dismissed, he having been the aggressor; — and I was sub- 
sequently informed that, had I not given him a blow, he might have 
been had into durance. 

" So set down this, — ' that in Aleppo once' I ' beat a Venetian ;' but 
I assure you that he deserved it, for I am a quiet man, like Candide, 
though with somewhat of his fortune in being forced to forego my 
natural meekness every now and then. 

"Yours, &c. 




"Venice, July 9th, 1817. 

" I have got the sketch and extracts from Lalla Rookh — which 1 
humbly suspect will knock up * *, and show young gentlemen that 
something more than having been across a camel's hump is necessary 
to write a good oriental tale. The plan, as well as the extracts I have 
seen, please me very much indeed, and 1 feel impatient for the whole. 

" With regard to the critique on ' Manfred,' you have been in such a 

92 NOTICES OF THE [ A . d. 1817. 

devil of a hurry that you have only sent me the half: it breaks off at 
page 294. Send me the re^t ; and also page 270, where there is * an 
account of the supposed origin of this dreadful story,' — in which, by- 
the-way, whatever it may be, the conjecturer is out, and knows nothing 
of the matter. I had a better origin than he can devise or divine, for 
the soul of him. 

" You say nothing of Manfred's luck in the world ; and I care not. 
He is one of the best of my misbegotten, say what they will. 

" I got at last an extract, but no parcels. They will come, I suppose, 
some time or other. 1 am come up to Venice for a day or two to 
bathe, and am just going to take a swim in the Adriatic; so, good 
evening — the post waits. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P.S. Pray, was Manfred's speech to the Sun still retained in Act 
Third ? I hope so : it was one of the best in the thing, and better than 
the Colosseum. 1 have done fifty-six of Canto Fourth, Childe Harold ; 
so down with your ducats." 



" La Mira, Venice, July 10th, 1817. 

" Murray, the Mokanna of booksellers, has contrived to send me 
extracts from Lalla Rookh by the post. They are taken from some 
magazine, and contain a short outline and quotations from the first two 
Poems. I am very much delighted with what is before me, and very 
thirsty for the rest. You have caught the colours as if you had been 
in the rainbow, and the tone of the East is perfectly preserved ; so that 
* * * and its author must be somewhat in the back-ground, and 
learn that it requires something more than to have been upon the 
haunch of a dromedary to compose a good oriental story. I am glad 
you have changed the title from ' Persian Tale.' * * * 

" I suspect you have written a devilish fine composition, and I rejoice 
in it from my heart ; because 'the Douglas and the Percy both together 
are confident against a world in arms.' I hope you won't be affronted 
at my looking on us as ' birds of a feather ;' though on whatever sub- 
ject you had written, I should have been very happy in your success. 

" There is a simile of an orange tree's ' flowers and fruits,' which 
I should have liked better, if I did not believe it to be a reflection on 

" Do you remember Thurlow's poem to Sam — * When Rogers ;' and 
that d — d supper of Ranclifte's that ought to have been a dinner? 'Ah, 
Master Shallow, we have heard the chimes at midnight.' — But 

" My boat is on the shore, 

And my bark is on the sea ; 
But, before I go, Tom Moore, 
Here 's a double health to thee ! 

** Here 's a sigh to those who love me, 
And a smile to those who hate ; 

a.d. 1817.J LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 93 

And, whatever sky 's above me, 
Here 's a heart for every fate. 

" Though the ocean roar around me, 
Yet it still shall bear me on ; 
Though a desert shall surround me, 
It hath springs that may be won. 

" Were 't the last drop in the well, 
As I gasp'd upon the brink, 
Ere my fainting spirit fell, 
'T is to thee that I would drink. 

" With that water, as this wine, 
The libation I would pour 
Should be — peace with thine and mine, 
And a health to thee, Tom Moore. 

" This should have been written fifteen moons ago — the first stanza 
was. I am just come out from an hour's swim in the Adriatic ; and I 
write to you with a black-eyed Venetian girl before me, reading 
Boccacio. * * * * 

" Last week I had a row on the road (I came up to Venice from my 
casino, a few miles on the Paduan road, this blessed day, to bathe), 
with a fellow in a carriage, who was impudent to my horse. I gave 
him a swinging box on the ear, which sent him to the police, who dis- 
missed his complaint, and said, the. if I had not thumped him, they 
would have trounced him for being impertinent. Witnesses had seen 
the transaction. He first shouted, in an unseemly way, to frighten 
my palfrey. I wheeled round, rode up to the window, and asked him 
what he meant. He grinned, and said some foolery, which produced 
him an immediate slap in the face, to his utter discomfiture. Much 
blasphemy ensued, and some menace, which I stopped by dismounting 
and opening the carriage door, and intimating an intention of mending 
the road with his immediate remains, if he did not hold his tongue- 
He held it. 

" The fellow went sneakingly to the police ; but a soldier, who had 
seen the matter, and thought me right, went and counter-oathed him ;. 
so that he had to retire — and cheap too : — I wish I had hit him harder, 

" Monk Lewis is here — ' how pleasant !'* He is a very good fellow, 
and very much yours. So is Sam — so is every body — and, among 
the number, 

" Yours ever, 

"P.S. What think you of Manfred? * * * * 

" If ever you see * * *, ask him what he means by telling me, 
* Oh, my friend, inveni portum . ? ' — What ' portum ?' Port wine, I sup- 
pose — the only port he ever sought or found, since I knew him." 

* An allusion (such as often occurs in these letters) to an anecdote with 
which he had been amused. 

94 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 



" La Mira, near Venice, July 15th, 1817. 

"I have finished (that, is written — the file comes afterward) ninety 
and eight stanzas of the Fourth Canto, which I mean to be the con- 
cluding one. It will probably be about the same length as the Third, 
being already of the dimensions of the first or second Cantos. I look 
upon parts of it as very good, that is, if the three former are good, 
but this we shall see ; and at any rate, good or not, it is rather a 
different style from the last — less metaphysical — which, at any rate, 
will be a variety. I sent you the shaft of the column as a specimen 
the other day, i. e. the first stanza. So you may be thinking of its 
arrival towards autumn, whose winds will not be the only ones to be 
raised, if so be as how thai it is ready by that time. 

" I lent Lewis, who is at Venice (in or on the Canalaccio, the Grand 
Canal), your extracts from Lalla Rookh and Manuel,* and, out of con- 
tradiction, it may be, he likes the last, and is not much taken with 
the first, of these performances. Of Manuel I think, with the excep- 
tion of a few capers, it is as heavy a nightmare as was ever bestrode 
by indigestion. 

" Of the extracts I can but judge as extracts, and I prefer the ' Peri' 
to the ' Silver Veil.' He seems not so much at home in his versifica- 
tion of the ' Silver Veil,' and a little embarrassed with his horrors ; but 
the conception of the character of the impostor is fine, and the plan 
of great scope for his genius, — and I doubt not that, as a whole, it will 
be very Arabesque and beautiful. 

" Your late epistle is not the most abundant in information, and has 
not yet been succeeded by any other ; so that I know nothing of your 
own concerns, or of any concerns, and as I never hear from any body but 
yourself who does not tell me something as disagreeable as possible, 
I should not be sorry to hear from you : and as it is not very probable, 
— if I can, by any device or possible arrangement with regard to my 
personal affairs, so arrange it, — that I shall return soon, or reside ever 
in England, all that you tell me will be all I shall know or inquire 
after, as to our beloved realm of Grub-street, and the black brethren 
and blue sisterhood of that extensive suburb of Babylon. Have you 
had no new babe of literature sprung up to replace the dead, the 

distant, the tired, and the retired 1 no prose, no verse, no nothing .?" 




" Venice, July 20th, 1817. 
" I write to give you notice that I have completed the fourth and 
ultimate Canto of Childe Harold. It consists of 126 stanzas, and is 
consequently the longest of the four. It is yet to be copied and 

* A tragedy, by the Rev. Mr. Maturin. 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 95 

polished ; and the notes are to come, of which it will require more than 
the third Canto, as it necessarily treats more of works of art than 
of nature. It shall be sent towards autumn; — and now for our 
barter. What do you bid? eh? you shall have samples, an' it so 
please you : but I wish to know what 1 am to expect (as the saying- 
is) in these hard times, when poetry does not let for half its value. 
If you are disposed to do what Mrs. Winifred Jenkins calls ' the 
handsome thing - ,' 1 may perhaps throw you some odd matters to the 
lot, — translations, or slight originals ; there is no saying what may be 
on the anvil between this and the booking season. Recollect that it 
is the last Canto, and completes the work ; whether as good as the 
others, I cannot judge, in course — least of all as yet, but it shall be as 
little worse as I can help. I may, perhaps, give some little gossip in 
the notes as to the present state of Italian literati and literature, 
being acquainted with some of their capi — men as well as books ; — 
but this depends upon my humour at the time. So, now, pronounce : 
I say nothing. 

" When you have got the whole four Cantos, I think you might 
venture on an edition of the whole poem in quarto, with spare copies 
of the last two for the purchasers of the old edition of the first two. 
There is a hint for you, worthy of the Row; and now, perpend — 

" I have not received a word from you of the fate of ' Manfred' or 
' Tasso,' which seems to me odd, whether they have failed or succeeded. 

" As this is a scrawl of business, and I have lately written at length 
and often on other subjects, I will only add that I am, &c." 



" La Mira, near Venice, August 7th, 1817. 

" Your letter of the 18th, and, what will please you, as it did me, 
the parcel sent by the good-natured aid and abetment of Mr. Croker, 
are arrived. — Messrs. Lewis and Hobhouse are here : the former in 
the same house, the latter a few hundred yards distant. 

"You say nothing of Manfred, from which its failure may be 
inferred ; but I think it odd you should not say so at once. I know 
nothing, and hear absolutely nothing, of any body or any thing in 
England ; and there are no English papers, so that all you say will be 
news — of any person, or thing, or things. I am at present very anx- 
ious about Newstead, and sorry that Kinnaird is leaving England at 
this minute, though I do not tell him so, and would rather he should 
have his pleasure, although it may not in this instance tend to my 

" If I understand rightly, you have paid into Morland's 1500 pounds : 
as the agreement in the paper is two thousand guineas, there will 
remain therefore six hundred pounds, and not five hundred, the odd 
hundred being the extra to make up the specie. Six hundred and 
thirty pounds will bring it to the like for Manfred and Tasso, making 
a total of twelve hundred and thirty, I believe, for I am not a good 
calculator. I do not wish to press you, but I tell you fairly that it 
will be a convenience to me to have it paid as soon as it can be made 
convenient to yourself. 

96 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

" The new and last Canto is 130 stanzas in length ; and may be 
made more or less. I have fixed no price, even in idea, and have no 
notion of what it may be good for. There are no metaphysics in it ; 
at least, I think not. Mr. Hobhouse lias promised me a copy of 
Tasso's Will, for notes ; and I have some curious things to say about 
Ferrara, and Parisina's story, and perhaps a farthing candle's worth 
of light upon the present state of Italian literature. I shall hardly be 
ready by October ; but that do n't matter. I have all to copy and 
correct, and the notes to write. 

" I do not know whether Scott will like it ; but I have called him 
the 'Ariosto of the North' in my text. If he should not, say so in time. 

" Lewis, Hobhouse, and I went the other day to the circumcision 
of a sucking Shylock. I have seen three men's heads and a child's 
foreskin cut off in Italy. The ceremonies are very moving, but too 
long for detail in this weather. 

" An Italian translation of ' Glenarvon' came lately to be printed at 
Venice. The censor (S r . Pctrotini) refused to sanction the publication 
till he had seen me on the subject. I told him that I did not recognise 
the slightest relation between that book and myself; but that, what- 
ever opinions might be upon that subject, / would never prevent or 
oppose the publication of any book, in any language, on my own pri- 
vate account; and desired him (against his inclination) to permit the 
poor translator to publish his labours. It is going forward in conse- 
quence. You may say this, with my compliments, to the author. 

" Yours." 



" Venice, August 12, 1817. 
I have been very sorry to hear of the death of Madame de Stael, 
not only because she had been very kind to me at Copet, but because 
now I can never requite her. In a general point of view, she will 
leave a great gap in society and literature. 

" With regard to death, I doubt that we have any right to pity the 
dead for their own sakes. 

" The copies of Manfred and Tasso are arrived, thanks to Mr. Cro- 
ker's cover. You have destroyed the whole effect and moral of the 
poem by omitting the last line of Manfred's speaking ; and why this 
was done, I know not. Why you persist in saying nothing of the 
thing itself, I am equally at a loss to conjecture. If it is for fear of 
telling me something disagreeable, you are wrong; because sooner or 
later I must know it, and 1 am not so new, nor so raw, nor so inexpe- 
rienced, as not to be able to bear, not the mere paltry, petty disap- 
pointments of authorship, but things more serious, — at least, I hope 
so, and that what you may think irritability is merely mechanical, and 
only acts like galvanism on a dead body, or the muscular motion 
which survives sensation. 

" If it is that you are out of humour, because I wrote to you a sharp 
letter, recollect that it was partly from a misconception of your letter, 
and partly because you v*.u a thing you had no right to do without 
consulting me. 

" I have, however, heard good of Manfred from two other quarters, 


A. d 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 97 

and from men who would not be scrupulous in saying what they 
thought, or what was said ; and so ' good-morrow to you, good Master 

" I wrote to you twice about the 4th Canto, which you will answer 
at your pleasure. Mr. Hobhouse and 1 have come up for a day to the 
city ; Mr. Lewis is gone to England ; and I am 

" Yours." 



" La Mira, near Venice, August 21, 1817. 

" I take you at your word about Mr. Hanson, and will feel obliged 
if you will go to him, and request Mr. Davies also to visit him by my 
desire, and repeat that I trust that neither Mr. Kinnaird's absence nor 
mine will prevent his taking all proper steps to accelerate and promote 
the sale of Newstead and Rochdale, upon which the whole of my 
future personal comfort depends. It is impossible for me to express 
how much any delays upon these points would inconvenience me ; 
and I do not know a greater obligation that can be conferred upon me 
than the pressing these things upon Hanson, and making him act 
according to my wishes. I wish you would speak out, at least to me, 
and tell me what you allude to by your cold way of mentioning him. 
All mysteries at such a distance are not merely tormenting but mis- 
chievous, and may be prejudicial to my interests ; so pray expound, 
that I may consult with Mr. Kinnaird when he arrives ; and remember 
that I prefer the most disagreeable certainties to hints and inuendoes. 
The devi] take every body ; I never can get any person to be explicit 
about any thing or any body, and my whole life is passed in conjec- 
tures of what people mean : you all talk in the style of C * * L * *'s 

" It is not Mr. St. John, but Mr. St. Aubyn, son of Sir John St* 
Aubyn. Polidori knows him, and introduced him to me. He is of 
Oxford and has got my parcel. The doctor will ferret him out, or 
ought. The parcel contains many letters, some of Madame de Stael's, 
and other people's, besides MSS., &c. By , if I find the gentle- 
man, and he do n't find the parcel, I will say something he won't like 
to hear. 

" You want a ' civil and delicate declension' for the medical tragedy 1 
Take it— 

" Dear Doctor, I have read your play, 
Which is a good one in its way ; 
Purges the eyes and moves the bowels, 
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels 
With tears, that, in a flux of grief, 
Afford hysterical relief 
To shatter'd nerves and quicken'd pulses, 
Which your catastrophe convulses. 

" I like your moral and machinery ; 
Your plot, too, has such scope; '"or scenery ! 
Your dialogue is apt and smart*: ' 
The play's concoction full of art ; 
Vol. II.— G 

98 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

Your hero raves, your heroine cries, 

All stab, and every body dies. 

In short, your tragedy would be 

The very thing 1 to hear and see : 

And for a piece of publication, 

If I decline on this occasion, 

It is not that I am not sensible 

To merits in themselves ostensible, 

But — and I grieve to speak it — plays 

Are drugs — mere drugs, sir — now-a-days. 

I had a heavy loss by ' Manuel,' — 

Too lucky if it prove not annual, — 

And S * *, with his ' Orestes,' 

(Which, by-the-by, the author's best is,) 

Has lain so very long on hand 

That I despair of all demand. 

I 've advertised, but see my books, 

Or only watch my shopman's looks ; — 

Still Ivan, Ina, and such lumber, 

My back-shop glut, my shelves encumber. 

" There 's Byron, too, who once did better, 
Has sent me, folded in a letter, 
A sort of — it 's no more a drama 
Than Darnley, Ivan, or Kehama ; 
So alter'd since last year his pen is, 
I think he 's lost his wits at Venice. 

In short, sir, what with one and t' other, 
I dare not venture on another. 
I write in haste ; excuse each blunder; 
The coaches through the street so thunder t 
My rcom 's so full — we've GifFord here 
Reading MS., with Hookham Frere 
Pronouncing on the nouns and particles 
Of some of our forthcoming Articles. 

" The Quarterly — Ah, sir, if you 
Had but the genius to review ! — 
A smart critique upon St. Helena, 
Or if you only would but tell in a 

Short compass what but, to resume 

As I was saying, sir, the room — 

The room 's so full of wits and bards, 

Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres, and Wards, 

And others, neither bards nor wits ; — 

My humble tenement admits 

All persons in the dress of gent., 

From Mr. Hammond to Dog Dent. 

" A party dines with me to-day, 
All clever men, who make their way; 
They're at this moment in discussion 
On poor De StaeTs late dissolution. 
Her book, they say, was in advance — 
Pray Heaven, she tell the truth of France ! 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 99 

" Thus run our time and tongues away.-^ 
But, to return, sir, to your play : 
Sorry, sir, but I cannot deal, 
Unless 't were acted by O'Neill. 
My hands so full, my head so busy, 
I 'm almost dead, and always dizzy ; 
And so, with endless truth and hurry, 
Dear Doctor, I am yours, 

" John Murray. 

" P.S. I've done the fourth and last Canto, which amounts to 133 
stanzas. I desire you to name a price ; if you do n't, / will ; so I 
advise you in time. "Yours, &c. 

" There will be a good many notes." 

Among those minor misrepresentations of which it was Lord Byron's 
fate to be the victim, advantage was, at this time, taken of his professed 
distaste to the English, to accuse him of acts of inhospitality, and 
even rudeness, towards some of his fellow-countrymen. How far 
different was his treatment of ail who ever visited him, many grateful 
testimonies might be collected to prove ; but I shall here content my- 
self with selecting a few extracts from an account given me by Mr. 
Henry Joy of a visit which, in company with another English gentle- 
man, he paid to the noble poet this summer, at his villa on the banks 
of the Brenta. After mentioning the various civilities they had expe- 
rienced from Lord Byron, and, among others, his having requested 
them to name their own day for dining with him, — " We availed our- 
selves," says Mr. Joy, "of this considerate courtesy by naming the 
day fixed for our return to Padua, when our route would lead us to his 
door; and we were welcomed with all the cordiality which was to be 
expected from so friendly a bidding. Such traits of kindness in such 
a man deserve to be recorded on account of the numerous slanders 
thrown upon him by some of the tribes of tourists, who resented as a 
personal affront his resolution to avoid their impertinent inroads upon 
his retirement. So far from any appearance of indiscriminate aver- 
sion to his countrymen, his inquiries about his friends in England 

(quorum pars magna fuisti) were most anxious and particular. 


"He expressed some opinions," continues my informant, " on mat* 
ters of taste, which cannot fail to interest his biographer. He con- 
tended that Sculpture, as an art, was vastly superior to Painting ; — a 
preference which is strikingly illustrated by the fact that, in the fourth 
Canto of Childe Harold, he gives the most elaborate and splendid 
account of several statues, and none of any pictures ; although Italy 
is, emphatically, the land of Painting, and her best statues are derived 
from Greece. By-the-way, he told us that there were more objects 
of interest in Rome alone than in all Greece from one extremity to the 
other. * * * * After regaling us with an excellent dinner (in 
which, by-the-by, a very English joint of roast beef showed that he 
did not extend liis antipathies to all John-Bullisms), he took me in his 
carriage some miles of our route towards Padua, after apologizing to my 
fellow" traveller for the separation, on the score of his anxiety to hear 
all he could of his friends in England; and I quitted him with a con- 
firmed impression of the strong ardour and sincerity of his attachment 
to those by whom he did not fancy himself slighted or ill-treated." 



100 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 



" Sept. 4th, 1817 

" Your letter of the 15th has conveyed with its contents the impres- 
sion of a seal, to which the ' Saracen's Head' is a seraph, and the 
Bull and Mouth' a delicate device. I knew that calumny had suffi- 
ciently blackened me of later days, but not that it had given the features 
as well as complexion of a negro. Poor Augusta is not less, but 
rather more, shocked than myself, and says, ' people seem to have lost 
their recollection strangely' when they engraved such a 'blackamoor/ 
Pray do n't seal (at least to me) with such a caricature of the human 
numskull altogether ; and if you do n't break the seal-cutter's head, at 
least crack his libel (or likeness, if it should be a likeness) of mine. 

" Mr. Kinnaird is not yet arrived, but expected. He has lost by the 
way all the tooth-powder, as a letter from Spa informs me. 

" By Mr. Rose I received safely, though tardily, magnesia and tooth- 
powder, and * * * *. Why do you send me such trash — worse 
than trash, the Sublime of Mediocrity'? Thanks for Lalla, however, 
"which is good ; and thanks for the Edinburgh and Quarterly, both very 
amusing and well-written. Paris in 1815, &c. — good. Modern Greece 
— good for nothing; written by some one who has never been there, 
and not being able to manage the Spenser stanza, has invented a thing 
of its own, consisting of two elegiac stanzas, a heroic ]ine, and an 
Alexandrine, twisted on a string. Besides, why 'modern? You 
may say modern Greeks, but surely Greece itself is rather more ancient 
than ever it was. — Now fur business. 

" You offer 1500 guineas for the new Canto : I won't take it. I ask 
two thousand five hundred guineas for it, which you will either give 
or not, as you think proper. It concludes the poem, and consists of 
1-14 stanzas. The notes are numerous, and chiefly written by Mr. Hob- 
house, whose researches have been indefatigable, and who, I will ven- 
ture to say, has more real knowledge of Rome and its environs than 
any Englishman who has been there since Gibbon. By-the-way, to 
prevent any mistakes, I think it necessary to state the fact that he, 
Mr. Hobhouse, has no interest whatever in the price or profit to be 
derived from the copyright of either poem or notes directly or indirectly; 
so that you are not to suppose that it is by, for, or through him, that I 
require more for this Canto than the preceding. — No : but if Mr. 
Eustace was to have had two thousand for a poem on Education ; if 
Mr. Moore is to have three thousand for Lalla, &c. ; if Mr. Campbell 
is to have three thousand for his prose on poetry — I do n't mean to dis- 
parage these gentlemen in their labours — but 1 ask the aforesaid price 
for mine. You will tell me that their productions are considerably 
longer: very true, and when they shorten them, I will lengthen mine, 
and ask less. You shall submit the MS. to Mr. Gifford, and any other 
two gentlemen to be named by you (Mr. Frere, or Mr. Croker, or 
whomever you please, except such fellows as your * * s and * * s), 
and if they pronounce this Canto to be inferior as a whole to the pre- 
ceding, I will not appeal from their award, but burn the manuscript, 
and leave things as they are. 

" Yours very truly. 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 101 

" P.S. In answer to a former letter, I sent you a short statement of 
what I thought the state of our present copyright account, viz. six 
hundred pounds still (or lately) due on Childe Harold, and six hundred 
guineas, Manfred and Tasso, making a total of twelve hundred and 
thirty pounds. If we agree about the new poem, I shall take the 
liberty to reserve the choice of the manner in which it should be pub- 
lished, viz. a quarto, certes." ******* 



"LaMira, Sept. 12th, 1817. 

"I set out yesterday morning with the intention of paying my 
respects, and availing myself of your permission to walk over the 
premises.* On arriving at Padua, I found that the march of the 
Austrian troops had engrossed so many horses,f that those I could 
procure were hardly able to crawl ; and their weakness, together with 
the prospect of finding none at all at the post-house of Monselice^ and 
consequently either not arriving that day at Este, or so late as to be 
unable to return home the same evening, induced me to turn aside in 
a second visit to Arqua, instead of proceeding onwards ; and even 
thus I hardly got back in time. 

" Next week I shall be obliged to be in Venice to meet Lord Kin- 
naird and his brother, who are expected in a few days. And this 
interruption, together with that occasioned by the continued inarch of 
the Austrians for the next few days, will not allow me to fix any pre- 
cise period for availing myself of your kindness, though I should wish 
to take the earliest opportunity. Perhaps, if absent, you will have 
the goodness to permit one of your servants to show me the grounds 
and house, or as much of either as may be convenient ; at any rate, I 
shall take the first occasion possible to go over, and regret very much 
that I was yesterday prevented. 

" I have the honour to be your obliged, &c." 

* A country-house on the Euganean hills, near Este, which Mr. Hoppner, 
who was then the English consul-general at Venice, had for some time 
occupied, and which Lord Byron afterward rented of him, but never resided 
in it. 

t So great was the demand for horses, on the line of march of the Aus- 
trians, that all those belonging to private individuals were put in requisition 
for their use, and Lord Byron himself received an order to send his for the 
same purpose. This, hovvever, he positively refused to do, adding, that if an 
attempt were made to take them by force, he would shoot them through the 
head in the middle of the road, rather than submit to such an act of tyranny 
upon a foreigner who was merely a temporary resident in the country. 
Whether his answer was ever reported to the higher authorities I know not ; 
but his horses were suffered to remain unmolested in his stables. 

102 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 



"September 15lh, 1817. 

" I enclose a sheet for correction, if ever you get to another edition. 
You will observe that the blunder in printing makes it appear as if the 
Chateau was over St. Gingo, instead of being on the opposite shore of 
the Lake, over Clarens. So, separate the paragraphs, otherwise my 
topography will seem as inaccurate as your typography on this occasion. 

"The other day I wrote to convey my proposition with regard to 
the fourth and concluding Canto. I have gone over and extended it to 
one hundred and fifty stanzas, which is almost as long as the first two 
were originally, and longer by itself than any of the smaller poems 
except the ' Corsair.' Mr. Hobhouse has made some very valuable and 
accurate notes of considerable length, and you may be sure that I will 
do for the text all that I can to finish with decency. I look upon 
Childe Harold as my best ; and as I begun, I think of concluding with 
it. But I make no resolutions on that head, as I broke my former 
intention with regard to the ' Corsair.' However, I fear that I shall 
never do better ; and yet, not being thirty years of age, for some moons 
to come, one ought to be progressive as far as intellect goes for many 
a good year. But I have had a devilish deal of tear and wear of mind 
and body in my time, besides having published too often and much 
already. God grant me some judgment to do what may be most 
fitting in that and every thing else, for I doubt my own exceedingly. 

" I have read ' Lalla Rookh,' but not with sufficient attention yet, 
for I ride about, and lounge, and ponder, and — two or three other 
things ; so that my reading is very desultory, and not so attentive as 
it used to be. I am very glad to hear of its popularity, for Moore is a 
very noble fellow in all respects, and will enjoy it without any of the 
bad feelings which success — good or evil — sometimes engenders in 
the men of rhyme. Of the Poem itself, I will tell you my opinion 
when I have mastered it : I say of the Poem, for I do n't like the 
prose at all, at all : and in the mean time, the ' Fire-worshippers' is the 
best, and the 'Veiled Prophet' the worst, of the volume. 

" With regard to poetry in general,* I am convinced, the more I 
think of it, that he and all of us — Scott, Southey, Wordsworth, Moore, 
Campbell, I, — are all in the wrong, one as much as another ; that we 
are upon a wrong revolutionary poetical system, or systems, not worth 
a damn in itself, and from which none but Rogers and Crabbe are 
free ; and that the present and next generations will finally be of this 
opinion. I am the more confirmed in this by having lately gone over 
some of our classics, particularly Pope, whom I tried in this way : — I 
took Moore's poems and my own and some others, and went over 
them side by side with Pope's, and I was really astonished (I ought 
not to have been so) and mortified at the ineffable distance in point of 
sense, learning, effect, and even imagination, passion, and invention, 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 103 

between the little Queen Anne's man, and us of the Lower Empire. 
Depend upon it, it is all Horace then, and Claudian now, among us ; 
and if I had to begin again, 1 would mould myself accordingly. 
Crabbe's the man, but he has got a coarse and impracticable subject, 
and * * * is retired upon half-pay, and has done enough, unless he 
were to do as he did formerly." 






"September 17th, 1817. 
# # # * # 



# # # * * 

"Mr. Hobhonse purposes being in England in November; he will 
bring the Fourth Canto with him, notes and all : the text contains one 
hundred and fifty stanzas, which is long for that measure. 

" With regard to the * Ariosto of the North,' surely their themes, 
chivalry, war, and love were as like as can be; and as to the compli- 
ment, if you knew what the Italians think of Ariosto, you would not 
hesitate about that. But as to their ' measures,' you forget that 
Ariosto's is an octave stanza, and Scott's any thing but a stanza. If 
you think Scott will dislike it, say so, and I will expunge. I do not 
call him the ' Scotch Ariosto,' which would be sad provincial eulogy, 
but the ' Ariosto of the North? meaning of all countries that are not 
the South. 

" As I have recently troubled you rather frequently, I will conclude 
repeating that I am 

"Yours ever, &c." 



"October 12th, 1817. 
" Mr. Kinnaird and his brother, Lord Kinnaird, have been here, and 
are now gone again. All your missives came, except the tooth-powder, 
of which I request farther supplies, at all convenient opportunities ; 
as also of magnesia and soda-powders, both great luxuries here, and 
neither to be had good, or indeed hardly at all, of the natives. 

" In * *'s Life, I perceive an attack upon the then Committee of 
D. L. Theatre for acting Bertram, and an attack upon Maturin's Ber- 
tram for being acted. Considering all things, this is not very grateful 
nor graceful on the part of the worthy autobiographer ; and I would 
answer, if I had not obliged him. Putting my own pains to forward 
the views of * * out of the question, I know that there was every 
disposition, on the part of the Sub-Committee, to bring forward any 
production of his, were it feasible. The play he offered, though poeti- 
cal, did not appear at all practicable, and Bertram did ; — and hence this 
long tirade, which is the last chapter of his vagabond life. 

"As for Bertram, Maturin may defend his own begotten, if he likes 

104 NOTICES OF THE r A d. 1817. 

it well enough; I leave the Irish clergyman ana tne new orator 
Henley to battle it out between them, satisfied to have done the best 

I could for both. I may say this to you, who know it. 


" Mr. * * may console himself with the fervour, — the almost reli- 
gious fervour of his and W * *'s disciples, as he calls it. If he means 
that as any proof of their merits, I will find him as much ' fervour' in 
behalf of Richard Brothers and Joanna Southcote as ever gathered 
over his pages or round his fireside. ***** 

"My answer to your proposition about the Fourth Canto you will 
have received, and I await yours ; — perhaps we may not agree. I have 
since written a Poem (of 84 octave stanzas), humorous, in or after the 
excellent manner of Mr. Whistlecraft (whom I take to be Frere), on a 
Venetian anecdote which amused me : — but till I have your answer, I 
can say nothing more about it. 

" Mr. Hobhouse does not return to England in November, as he 
intended, but will winter here ; and as he is to convey the poem, or 
poems, — for there may perhaps be more than the two mentioned 
(which, by-the-way, I shall not perhaps include in the same publica- 
tion or agreement) — I shall not be able to publish so soon as expected ; 
but I suppose there is no harm in the delay. 

" I have signed and sent your former copyrights by Mr. Kinnaird, 
but not the receipt, because the money is not yet paid. Mr. Kinnaird 
has a power of attorney to sign for me, and will, when necessary. 

" Many thanks for the Edinburgh Review, which is very kind about 
Manfred, and defends its originality, which I did not know that any 
body had attacked. I never read, and do not know that I ever saw 
the ' Faustus of Marlow,' and had, and have, no dramatic works by me 
in English, except the recent things you sent me ; but I heard Mr. Lewis 
translate verbally some scenes of Goethe's Faust (which were, some 
good and some bad) last summer — which is all I know of the history 
of that magical personage ; and as to the germs of Manfred, they may 
be found in the Journal which I sent to Mrs. Leigh (part of which you 
saw) when I went over first the Dent de Jaman, and then the Wengen 
or Wengeberg Alp and Sheideck, and made the giro of the Jungfrau, 
Shreckhorn, &c. &c. shortly before I left Switzerland. I have the 
whole scene of Manfred before me as if it was but yesterday, and 
could point it out, spot by spot, torrent and all. 

" Of the Prometheus of iEschylus I was passionately fond as a boy 
(it was one of the Greek plays we read thrice a year at Harrow) ; 
indeed that and the .* Medea' were the only ones, except the ' Seven 
before Thebes,' which ever much pleased me. As to the ' Faustus of 
Marlow,' I never read, never saw, nor heard of it — at least, thought 
of it, except that I think Mr. Gifford mentioned, in a note of his which 
you sent me, something about the catastrophe ; but not as having any 
thing to do with mine, which may or may not resemble it, for any 
thing I know. 

" The Prometheus, if not exactly in my plan, has always been so 
much in my head, that I can easily conceive its influence over all or 
any thing that 1 have written ; — but I deny Marlow and his progeny, 
and beg that you will do the same. 

" If you can send me the paper in question,* which the Edinburgh 

* A paper in the Edinburgh Magazine, in which it was suggested that the 
general conception of Manfred, and much of what is excellent in the manner 

a. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 105 

Review mentions, do. The review in the magazine you say was 
written by Wilson ] it had all the air of being a poet's, and was a 
very good one. The Edinburgh Review I take to be Jeffrey's own by 
its friendliness. I wonder they thought it worth while to do so, so 
soon after the former ; but it was evidently with a good motive. 

" I saw Hoppner the other day, whose country-house at Este I have 
taken for two years. If you come out next summer, let me know in 
time. Love to Gifford. 

" Yours ever truly. 

" Crabbe, Malcolm, Hamilton, and Chantrey, 
Are all partakers of my pantry. 

These two lines are omitted in your letter to the doctor, after — 

" All clever men who make their way." 



"Venice, October 23, 1817. 

" Your two letters are before me, and our bargain is so far con- 
cluded. How sorry I am to hear that Gifford is unwell ! Pray tell 
me he is better; I hope it is nothing but cold. As you say his illness 
originates in cold, I trust it will get no farther. 

" Mr. Whistlecraft has no greater admirer than myself: I have 
written a storv in 89 stanzas, in imitation of him, called Beppo (the 
short name for Giuseppe, that is, the Joe of the Italian Joseph), which 
I shall throw you into the balance of the Fourth Canto, to help you 
round to your money; but you perhaps had better publish it anony- 
mously : but this we will see to by-and-by. 

"In the Notes to Canto Fourth, Mr. Hobhouse has pointed out 
several errors of Gibbon. You may depend upon H.'s research and 
accuracy. You may print it in what shape you please. 

" With regard to a future large Edition, you may print all, or any 
thing, except ' English Bards,' to the republication of which at no 
time will I consent. I would not reprint them on any consideration. 
I do n't think them good for much, even in point of poetry : and as to 
other things, you are to recollect that I gave up the publication on 
account of the Hollands, and I do not think that any time or circum- 
stances can neutralize the suppression. Add to which, that, after 
being on terms with almost all the bards and critics of the day, it 
would be savage at any time, but worst of all now, to revive this fooli 
ish Lampoon. 

: }f ijp 4r * w * W * 


" The review of Manfred came very safely, and I am much pleased 
with it. It is odd that they should say (that is, somebody in a maga- 
zine whom the Edinburgh controverts) that it was taken from Mar- 
low's Faust, which 1 never read nor saw. An American, who came 

of its execution, had been borrowed from " Tho Tragical History of Dr. 
Faustus," of Marlow. 

106 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

the other day from Germany, told Mr. Hobhouse that Manfred was 
taken from Goethe's Faust. The devil may take both the Faustuses, 
German and English — I have taken neither. 

" Will you send to Hanson, and say that he has not written since 
9th September ] — at least 1 have had no letter since, to my great 

" Will you desire Messrs. Morland to send out whatever additional 
sums have or may be paid in credit immediately, and always, to their 
Venice correspondents 1 It is two months ago that they sent me out 
an additional credit for one thousand pounds. I was very glad of it, 
but I do n't know how the devil it came ; for I can only make out 500 
of Hanson's payment, and I had thought the other 500 came from 
you ; but it did not, it seems, as, by yours of the 7th instant, you have 
only just paid the £1230 balance. 

"Mr. Kinnaird is on his way home with the assignments. I can 
fix iiO time for the arrival of Canto Fourth, which depends on the 
journey of Mr. Hobhouse home ; and I do not think that this will be 

" Yours, in great haste and very truly. 


" P.S. Morlands have not yet written to my bankers apprizing the 
payment of your balances : pray desire them to do so. 

" Ask them about the previous thousand — of which I know 500 
came from Hanson's — and make out the other 500 — that is, whence 
it came." 



"Venice, November 15, 1817. 

" Mr. Kinnaird has probably returned to England by this time, and 
will have conveyed to you any tidings you may wish to have of us 
and ours. I have come back to Venice for the winter. Mr. Hobhouse 
will probably set off in December, but what day or w T eek, I know not. 
He is my opposite neighbour at present. 

" I wrote yesterday in some perplexity, and no very good humour, 
to Mr. Kinnaird, to inform me about Newstead and the Hansons, of 
which and whom I hear nothing since his departure from this place, 
except in a few unintelligible words from an unintelligible woman. 

" I am as sorry to hear of Dr. Polidori's accident as one can be for 
a person for whom one has a dislike, and something of contempt. 
When he gets well, tell me, and how he gets on in the sick line. Poor 
fellow! how came he to fix there ? 

" I fear the doctor's skill at Norwich 
Will hardly salt the doctor's porridge. 

Methought he was going to the Brazils, to give the Portuguese physic 
(of which they are fond to desperation), with the Danish consul. 

" Your new Canto has expanded to one hundred and sixty-seven 
stanzas. It will be long, you see ; and as for the notes by Hobhouse, 

A. d. 1817.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 107 

I suspect they will be of the heroic size. You must keep Mr. * * in 
good humour, for he is devilish touchy yet about your Review and all 
which it inherits, including 1 the editor, the Admiralty, and its book- 
seller. I used to think that / was a good deal of an author in amour 
propre and noli me tangere ; but these prose fellows are worst, after 
all, about their little comforts. 

"Do you remember my mentioning-, some months ago, the Marquis 
Moncada — a Spaniard of distinction and fourscore years, my summer 
neighbour at La Mira 1 Well, about six weeks ago, he fell in love 
with a Venetian girl of family, and no fortune or character ; took her 
into his mansion; quarrelled with all his former friends for giving him 
advice (except me who gave him none), and installed her present con- 
cubine and future wife and mistress of himself and furniture. At the 
end of a month, in which she demeaned herself as ill as possible, he 
found out a correspondence between her and some former keeper, and 
after nearly strangling, turned her out of the house, to the great scan- 
dal of the keeping part of the town, and with a prodigious eclat, which 
has occupied all the canals and coffee-houses in Venice. He said she 
wanted to poison him ; and she says — God knows what ; but between 
them they have made a great deal of noise. I know a little of both 
the parties : Moncada seemed a very sensible old man, a character 
which he has not quite kept up on this occasion ; and the woman is 
rather showy than pretty. For the honour of religion, she was bred 
in a convent, and for the credit of Great Britain, taught by an Eng- 

" Yours, &c," 



"Venice, December 3, 1817. 

" A Venetian lady, learned and somewhat stricken in years, having, 
in her intervals of love and devotion, taken upon her to translate the 
Letters and write the Life of Lady Mary Wortley Montague, — to 
which undertaking there are two obstacles, firstly, ignorance of Eng- 
lish, and, secondly, a total dearth of information on the subject of her 
projected biography, — has applied to me for facts or falsities upon this 
promising project. Lad3 T Montague lived the last twenty or more 
years of her life in or near Venice, I believe ; but here they know 
nothing, and remember nothing, for the story of to-day is succeeded 
by the scandal of to-morrow ; and the wit, and beauty, and gallantry, 
which might render your countrywoman notorious in her own coun- 
try, must have been here no great distinction — because the first is in 
no request, and the two latter are common to all women, or at least 
the last of them. If you can therefore tell me any thing, or get any 
thing told, of Lady Wortley Montague, I shall take it as a favour, and 
will transfer and translate it to the ' Dama' in question. And I pray 
you besides to send me, by some quick and safe voyager, the edition 
of her Letters, and the stupid Life, by Dr. Dallaway, published ty her 
proud and foolish family. 

" The death of the Princess Charlotte has been a shock even here, 
and must have been an earthquake at home. The Courier's list of 
some three hundred heirs to the crown (including the house of Wir- 

108 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1817. 

temberg, with that * * *, P , of disreputable memory, whom I 

remember seeing at various balls during the visit of the Muscovites, 
&c. in 1814) must be very consolatory to all true lieges, as vvell as 
foreigners, except Signor Travis, a rich Jew merchant of this city, 
who complains grievously of the length of British mourning, which 
has countermanded all the silks which he was on the point of trans- 
mitting, for a year to come. The death of this poor girl is melan- 
choly in every respect, dying at twenty or so, in childbed — of a boy 
too, a present princess and future queen, and just as she began to be 
happy, and to enjoy herself and the hopes which she inspired. * * 

" I think, as far as I can recollect, she is the first royal defunct in 
childbed upon record in our history. I feel sorry in every respect — 
for the loss of a female reign, and a woman hitherto harmless ; and 
all the lost rejoicings, and addresses, and drunkenness, and disburse- 
ments of John Bull on the occasion. ###*## 

"The Prince will marry again, after divorcing his wife, and Mr. 
Southey will write an elegy now, and an ode then ; the Quarterly will 
have an article against the press, and the Edinburgh an article, half 
and half, about reform and right of divorce ; * * * * the British will 
give you Dr. Chalmers's funeral sermon much commended, with a 
place in the stars for deceased royalty; and the Morning Post will 
have already yelled forth its ' syllables of dolour.' 


Wo, wo, Nealliny ! — the young Nealliny !' 

" It is some time since I have heard from you : are you in bad 
humour? I suppose so. I have been so myself, and it is your turn 
now, and by-and-by mine will come round again. 

" Yours truly, 


" P.S. Countess Albrizzi, come back from Paris, has brought me a 
medal of himself, a present from Denon to me, and a likeness of Mr. 
Rogers (belonging to her), by Denon also." 



" Venice, December 15th, 1817. 

" I should have thanked you before, for your favour a few days ago, 
had I not been in the intention of paying my respects, personally, this 
evening, from which I am deterred by the recollection that you will 
probably be at the Count Goess's this evening, which has made me 
postpone my intrusion. 

" I think your Elegy a remarkably good one, not only as a compo- 
sition, but both the politics and poetry contain a far greater portion of 
truth and generosity than belongs to the times, or to the professors 
of these opposite pursuits, which usually agree only in one point, as 
extremes meet. I do not know whether you wished me to retain the 
copy, but I shall retain it till you tell me otherwise ; and am very 
much obliged by the perusal. 

" My own sentiments on Venice, &c. such as they are, I had already 

a. d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 109 

thrown into verse last summer, in the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold, 
now in preparation for the press ; and I think much more highly of 
them for being in coincidence with yours. 

" Believe me yours, &c." 



"Venice, January 8th, 1818. 
" My dear Mr. Murray, 
You 're in a damn'd hurry 

To set up this ultimate Canto ; 
But (if they do n't rob us) 
You '11 see Mr. Hobhouse 
Will bring it safe in his portmanteau. 


" For the Journal you hint of, 
As ready to print off, 

No doubt you do right to commend it ; 
But as yet I have writ off 
The devil a bit of 

Our ' Beppo ;' — when copied, I '11 send it. 


" Then you 've * * *'s Tour, — 
No great things, to be sure, — 

You could hardly begin with a less work ; 
For the pompous rascallion, 
Who don't speak Italian 

Nor French, must have scribbled by guess-work. 

^ "n * "ff * 

" You can make any loss up 
With ' Spence' and his gossip, 

A work which must surely succeed ; 
Then Queen Mary's Epistle-craft, 
With the new ' Fytte' of ' Whistlecraft,' 
Must make people purchase and read. 

" Then you 've General Gordon, 
Who girded his sword on, 

To serve with a Muscovite master, 
And help him to polish 
A nation so owlish, 

They thought shaving their beards a disaster. 

"For the man, l poor and shrewd?* . 
With whom you 'd conclude 
A compact without more delay, 

* « Vide your letter." 

110 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818. 

Perhaps some such pen is 
Still extant in Venice ; 

But please, sir, to mention your pay." 

* * * # * * * J 




"Venice, January 19th, 1818. 
" I send you the Story* in three other separate covers. It won't 
do for your Journal, being full of political allusions. Print alone, 
without name; alter nothing - ; get a scholar to see that the Italian 
phrases are correctly published (your printing, by-the-way, always 
makes me ill with its eternal blunders, which are incessant), and God 
speed you. Hobhouse left Venice a fortnight ago, saving two days. 
I have heard nothing of or from him. 

" Yours, &c. 

" He has the whole of the MSS. ; so put up prayers in your back 
shop, or in the printer's ' Chapel.' " 



"Venice, January 27th, 1818. 

" My father — that is, my Armenian father, Padre Pasquali — in the 
name of all the other fathers of our Convent, sends you the enclosed, 

" Inasmuch as it has pleased the translators of the long-lost and 
lately-found portions of the text of Eusebius to put forth the enclosed 
prospectus, of which I send six copies, you are hereby implored to 
obtain subscribers in the two Universities, and among the learned, and 
the unlearned who would unlearn their ignorance. — This they (the 
Convent) request, / request, and do you request. 

" I sent you Beppo some weeks agone. You must publish it alone ; 
it has politics and ferocity, and won't do for your isthmus of a Journal. 

" Mr. Hobhouse, if the Alps have not broken his neck, is, or ought 
to be, swimming with my commentaries and his own coat of mail in 
his teeth and right hand, in a cork jacket, between Calais and Dover. 

" It is the height of the Carnival, and I am in the extreme and ago- 
nies of a new intrigue with I do n't exactly know whom or what, ex- 
cept that she is insatiate of love, and won't take money, and has light 
hair and blue eyes, which are not common here, and that I met her at 
the Masque, and that when her mask is off, I am as wise as ever. I 

shall make what I can of the remainder of my youth." * 


* Beppo. 

a.d. 1818] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. Ill 



" Venice, February 2d, 1818. 

" Your letter of Dec. 8th arrived but this day, by some delay, com- 
mon but inexplicable. Your domestic calamity is very grievous, and 
I feel with you as much as I dare feel at all. Throughout life, your 
loss must be my loss, and your gain my gain ; and, though my heart 
may ebb, there will always be a drop for you among the dregs. 

" I know how to feel with you, because (selfishness being always 
the substratum of our damnable clay) I am quite wrapt up in my own 
children. Besides my little legitimate, I have made unto myself an 
i71egitimate since (to say nothing of one before),* and I look forward 
to one of these as the pillar of my old age, supposing that I ever reach 
— which I hope I never shall — that desolating period. I have a great 

love for my little Ada, though perhaps she may torture me, like * * 

# # * * # # *"* * 

" Your offered address will be as acceptable as you can wish. 1 
do n't much care what the wretches of the world think of me — all 
that 's past. But I care a good deal what you think of me, and so, say 
what you like. You know that I am not sullen ; and, as to being 
savage, such things depend on circumstances. However, as to being 
in good humour in your society, there is no great merit in that, be- 
cause it would be an effort, or an insanity, to be otherwise. 

" I do n't know what Murray may have been saying or quoting.f I 
called Crabbe and Sam the fathers of present Poesy; and said, that I 
thought — except them — all of ' us youth 1 were on a wrong tack. But 
I never said that we did not sail well. Our fame will be hurt by admi- 
ration and imitation. When I say our, I mean all (Lakers included), 
except the postscript of the Augustans. The next generation (from 
the quantity and facility of imitation) will tumble and break their 
necks off our Pegasus, who runs away with us ; but we keep the 
saddle, because we broke the rascal and can ride. But though easy to 
mount, he is the devil to guide ; and the next fellows must go back to 
the riding-school and the manege, and learn to ride the * great horse.' 

" Talking of horses, by-the-way, I have transported my own, four 
in number, to the Lido (beach, in English), a strip of some ten miles 
along the Adriatic, a mile or two from the city ; so that I not only get 

* This possibly may have been the subject of the Poem given in page 
88 of the first volume. 

t Having seen by accident the passage in one of his letters to Mr. Murray, 
in which he denounces, as false and worthless, the poetical system on which 
the greater number of his contemporaries, as well as himself, founded their 
reputation, I took an opportunity, in the next letter I wrote to him, of jest- 
ing a little on this opinion and his motives for it. It was, no doubt (I ven- 
tured to say), excellent policy in him, who had made sure of his own im- 
mortality in this style of writing, thus to throw overboard all us, poor devils, 
who were embarked with him. He was, in fact, I added, behaving towards 
us much in the manner of the Methodist preacher who said to his congrega- 
tion, " You may think at the Last Day, to get to heaven by laying hold on 
my skirts; but I '11 cheat you all, for I '11 wear a spencer, I'll wear a 
spencer I" 

112 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1318. 

a row in my gondola, but a spanking- gallop of some miles daily along 
a firm and solitary beach, from the fortress to Malamocco, the which 
contributes considerably to my health and spirits. 

" I have hardly had a wink of sleep this week past. We are in the 
agonies of the Carnival's last days, and I must be up all night again, as 
well as to-morrow. I have had some curious masking adventures this 
Carnival, but, as they are not yet over, I shall not say on. I will work 
the mine of my youth to the last veins of the ore, and then — good 
night. I have lived, and am content. 

" Hobhouse went away before the Carnival began, so that he had 
little or no fun. Besides, it requires some time to be thoroughgoing 
with the Venetians ; but of all this anon, in some other letter. * * 

" I must dress for the evening. There is an opera and ridotta, and 
I know not what, besides balls ; and so, ever and ever yours, 


" P.S. I send this without revision, so excuse errors. I delight in 
the fame and fortune of Lalla, and again congratulate you on your 
well-merited success." 

Of his daily rides on the Lido, which he mentions in this letter, the 
following account, by a gentleman who lived a good deal with him at 
Venice, will be found not a little interesting : — 

" Almost immediately after Mr. Hobhouse's departure, Lord Byron 
proposed to me to accompany him in his rides on the Lido. One of 
the long narrow islands which separate the Lagune, in the midst of 
which Venice stands, from the Adriatic, is more particularly distin- 
guished by this name. At one extremity is a fortification, which, with 
the Castle of St. Andrea on an island on the opposite side, defends 
the nearest entrance to the city from the sea. In times of peace this 
fortification is almost dismantled, and Lord Byron had hired here, of the 
commandant, an unoccupied stable, where he kept his horses. The 
distance from the city was not very considerable; it was much less 
than to the Terra Firma, and, as far as it went, the spot was not ineli- 
gible for riding. 

" Every day that the weather would permit, Lord Byron called for 
me in his gondola, and we found the horses waiting for us outside of 
the fort. We rode as far as we could along the seashore, and then 
on a kind of dyke, or embankment, which has been raised where the 
island was very narrow, as far as another small fort about half way 
between the principal one which I have already mentioned, and the 
town or village of Malamocco, which is near the other extremity of 
the island, — the distance between the two forts being about three 

On the land side of the embankment, not far from the smaller fort, 
was a boundary stone which probably marked some division of pro- 
perty, — all the side of the island nearest the Lagune being divided into 
gardens for the cultivation of vegetables for the Venetian markets. 
At the foot of this stone Lord Byron repeatedly told me that 1 should 
cause him to be interred, if he should die in Venice, or its neighbour- 
hood, during my residence there ; and he appeared to think, as he was 
not a Catholic, that, on the part of the government, there could be no 
obstacle to his interment in an unhallowed spot of ground by the sea- 

a. d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 113 

side. At all events I was to overcome whatever difficulties might be 
raised on this account. I was, by no means, he repeatedly told me, 
to allow his body to be removed to England, nor permit any of his 
family to interfere with his funeral. 

"Nothing could be more delightful than these rides on the Lido 
were to me. We were from half to three-quarters of an hour crossing 
the water, during which his conversation was always most amusing 
and interesting. Sometimes he would bring with him any new book 
he had received, and read to me the passages which most struck him. 
Often he would repeat to me whole stanzas of the Poems he was 
engaged in writing, as he had composed them on the preceding eve* 
ning ; and this was the more interesting to me, because I could fre- 
quently trace in them some idea which he had started in our convex 
sation of the preceding day, or some remark, the effect of which he 
had been evidently trying upon me. Occasionally, too, he spoke of 
his own affairs, making me repeat all I had heard with regard to him, 
and desiring that I would not spare him, but let him know the worst 
that was said." 



"Venice, Feb. 20th, 1818. 

" I have to thank Mr. Croker for the arrival, and you for the con- 
tents, of the parcel which came last week, much quicker than any 
before, owing to Mr. Croker's kind attention and the official exterior 
of the bags ; and all safe except much friction among the magnesia, 
of which only two bottles came entire ; but it is all very well, and I 
am exceedingly obliged to you. 

" The books I have read, or rather am reading. Pray, who may be 
the Sexagenarian, whose gossip is very amusing? Many of his 
sketches I recognise, particularly Gifford, Mackintosh, Drummond, 
Dutens, H. Walpole, Mrs. Inchbald, Opie, &c. with the Scotts, Lough- 
borough, and most of the divines and lawyers, besides a few shorter 
hints of authors, and a few lines about a certain 'noble author,'' cha- 
racterized as malignant and skeptical, according to the good old story, 
* as it was in the beginning, is now, but not always shall be :' do you 
know such a person, Master Murray I eh 1 — And pray, of the book- 
sellers, which be you? the dry, the dirty, the honest, the opulent, the 
finical, the splendid, or the coxcomb bookseller 1 Stap my vitals, but 
the author grows scurrilous in his grand climacteric. 

" I remember to have seen Porson at Cambridge, in the hall of our 
college, and in private parties, but not frequently; and I never can 
recollect him except as drunk or brutal, and generally both : I mean 
in an evening, for in the hall, he dined at the Dean's table, and I at 
the Vicemaster's, so that I was not near him ; and he then and there 
appeared sober in his demeanour, nor did I ever hear of excess or 
outrage on his part in public, — commons, college, or diapel ; but I 
have seen him in a private party of under-graduates, many of them 
freshmen and strangers, take up a poker to one of them, and heard 
him use language as blackguard as his action. I have seen Sheridan 
drunk, too, with all the world ; but his intoxication was that of Bac- 
chus, and Porson's that of Silenus. Of all the disgusting brutes, 

Vol. II.— H 


114 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818. 

sulky, abusive, and intolerable, Porson was tbe most bestial, as far as 
the few times that 1 saw him went, which were only at William 
Bankes's (the Nubian discoverer's) rooms. I saw him once go away 
in a rage, because nobody knew the name of the ' Cobbler of Messina,' 
insulting- their ignorance with the most vulgar terms of reprobation. 
He was tolerated in this state among- the young- men for his talents, as 
the Turks think a madman inspired, and bear with him. He used to 
recite, or rather vomit pages of all languages, and could hiccup Greek 
like a Helot ; and certainly Sparta never shocked her children with a 
grosser exhibition than this man's intoxication. 

" I perceive, in the book you sent me, a long account of him, which 
is very savage. I cannot judge, as I never saw him sober, except in 
hall or combination-room ; and then 1 was never near enough to hear, 
and hardly to see him. Of his drunken deportment, I can be sure, 
because I saw it. 

"With the Reviews, I have been much entertained. It requires to- 
be as far from England as I am to relish a periodical paper properly: 
it is like soda-water in an Italian summer. But what cruel work you 
make with Lady * * * * ! You should recollect that she is a woman; 
though to be sure, they are now and then very provoking; still, as 
authoresses they can do no great harm ; and I think it a pity so much 
good invective should have been laid out upon her, when there is such 
a fine field of us, Jacobin gentlemen, for you to work upon. It is, 
perhaps, as bitter a critique as ever was written, and enough to make 
sad work for Dr. * * * *, both as husband and apothecary; — unless 
she should say, as Pope did of some attack upon him, ' That it is as 
good for her as a dose of hartshorn.'' 

" I heard from Moore lately, and was sorry to be made aware of 
his domestic loss. Thus it is — ' medio de fonte leporum' — in the 

acme of his fame and his happiness comes a drawback as usual. 


" Mr. Hoppner whom I saw this morning, has been made the father 
of a very fine boy.* — Mother and child doing very well indeed. By 
this time Hobhouse should be with you, and also certain packets, 
letters, &c. of mine, sent since his departure. I am not at all well in 
health within this last eight days. My remembrances to Gifford and 
all friends. 

"Yours, &c. 

* On the birth of this child, who was christened John William Rizzo,Lord 
Byro-> wrote the four following lines, which are in no other respect remark- 
able than that they were thought worthy of being metrically translated into 
no less than ten different languages; namely. Greek, Latin, Italian (also in 
the Venetian dialect), German, French, Spanish, lllyrian, Hebrew, Armenian, 
and Samaritan : — 

" His father's sense, his mother's grace 
In him, I hope, will always fit so ; 
With (still to keep him in good case) 
The health and appetite of Rizzo." 

The original lines, with the different versions just mentioned, were printed 
in a small neu.t volume ( which now lies before me), in the Seminary of 

a* d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 115 

" P.S. In the course of a month or two, Hanson will have probably 
to send off a clerk with conveyances to sign (Newstead being- sold in 
November last for ninety-four thousand five hundred pounds), in 
which case I supplicate supplies of articles as usual, for which, desire 
Mr. Kinnaird to settle from funds in their bank, and deduct from my 
account with him. 

"P.S. To-morrow night I am going to see ' Otello,' an opera from 
our ' Othello,' and one of Rossini's best, it is said. It will be curious 
to see in Venice the Venetian story itself represented, besides to 
discover what they will make of Shakspeare in music." 



"Venice, February 28, 1818. 
"my dear sir, 

" Our friend, il Conte M., threw me into a cold sweat last night, by 
telling me of a menaced version of Manfred (in Venetian, I hope, to 
complete the thing) by some Italian, who had sent it to you for cor- 
rection, which is the reason why I take the liberty of troubling you 
on the subject. If you have any means of communication with the 
man, would you permit me to convey to him the offer of any price he 
may obtain, or think to obtain, for his project, provided he will throw 
his translation into the fire,* and promise not to undertake any other 
of that or any other of my things : 1 will send him his money immedi- 
ately on this condition. 

"As 1 did not write to the Italians, nor^br the Italians, nor of the 
Italians (except in a poem not yet published, where I have said all the 
good I know or do not know of them, and none of the harm), I confess 
I wish that they would let me alone, and not drag me into their arena 
as one of the gladiators, in a silly contest which I neither understand 
nor have ever interfered with, having kept clear of all their literary 
parties, both here and at Milan, and elsewhere. — I came into Italy to 
feel the climate and be quiet, if possible. Mossi's translation I would 
have prevented if I had known it, or could have done so; and I trust 
that I shall yet be in time to stop this new gentleman, of whom I heard 
yesterday for the first time. He will only hurt himself, and do no good 
to his party, for in party the whole thing originates. Our modes of 
thinking and writing are so unutterably different, that I can conceive 

* Having ascertained that the utmost this translator could expect to make 
by his manuscript was 200 francs, Lord Byron offered him that sum, if he 
would desist from publishing. The Italian, however, held out for more ; nor 
could he be brought to terms, till it was intimated to him pretty plainly from 
Lord Byron that, should the publication be persisted in, he would horsewhip 
him the very first time they met. Being but little inclined to surfer martyr- 
dom in the cause, the translator accepted the 200 francs and delivered up his 
manuscript, entering at the same time into a written engagement never to 
translate any other of the noble poet's works. 

Of the qualifications of this person as a translator of English poetry, some 
id-ea may be formed from the dilfioulty he found himself under respecting the 
meaning of a line in the Incantation in Manfred, — " And the wisp on the 
morass," — whica he requested of Mr. Hoppner to expound to him, not having 
been able to find in the dictionaries to which he had access any other signifi- 
cation of the word " wisp" than " a bundle of straw." 

H 2 

116 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

no greater absurdity than attempting' to make any approach between 
the English and Italian poetry of the present day. 1 like the people 
very much, and their literature very much, but 1 am not the least am- 
bitious of being the subject of their discussions literary and personal 
(which appear to be pretty much the same thing, as is the case in most 
countries) ; and if you can aid me in impeding this publication, you 
will add to much kindness already received from you by yours, 

" Ever and truly, 

" Byron. 

" P.S. How is the son, and mamma 1 Well, I dare say." 



" Venice, March 3d, 1818. 
" I have not, as you say, ' taken to wife the Adriatic' I heard of 
Moore's loss from himself in a letter which was delayed upon the road 
three months. I was sincerely sorry for it, but in such cases what 
are words ? 

" The villa you speak of is one at Este, which Mr. Hoppner (Con- 
sul-general here) has transferred to me. I have taken it for two years 
as a place of Villeggiatura. The situation is very beautiful indeed, 
among the Euganean hills, and the house very fair. The vines are 
luxuriant to a great degree, and all the fruits of the earth abundant. 
It is close to the old castle of the Estes, or Guelphs, and within a few 
miles of Arqua, which I have visited twice, and hope to visit often. 

" Last summer (except an excursion to Rome) I passed upon the 
JBrenta. In Venice I winter, transporting my horses to the Lido, bor- 
dering the Adriatic (where the fort is), so that I get a gallop of some 
miles daily along the strip of beach which reaches to Malamocco, when 
in health ; but within these few weeks 1 have been unwell. At pre- 
sent I am getting better. The Carnival was short, but a good one. 
1 do n't go out much, except during the time of masks ; but there 
are one or two conversazioni, where I go regularly, just to keep up the 
system ; as I had letters to their givers ; and they are particular on 
such points ; and now and then, though very rarely, to the Governor's. 
" It is a very good place for women. I like the dialect and their 
manner very much. There is a 'naivete about them which is very 
winning, and the romance of the place is a mighty adjunct; the bel 
sangue is not, however, now among the dame or higher orders ; but all 
under i fazzioli, or kerchiefs (a white kind of veil which the lower 
orders wear upon their heads) ; — the vesta zendale, or old national female 
costume is no more. The city, however, is decaying daily, and does 
no.t gain in population. However, I prefer it to any other in Italy; 
and here have I pitched my staff, and here do I purpose to reside for 
the remainder of my life, unless events, connected with business not 
to be transacted out of England, compel me to return for that purpose ; 
otherwise I nave few regrets, and no desires to visit it again for its own 
sake. I shall probably be obliged to do so, to sign papers for my 
affairs and a proxy for the Whigs, and to see Mr. \\ aite, for I can't 
find a good dentist here, and every two or three ye&rs one ought to 
consult one. About seeing my children I must take my chance. One 

A. d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 117 

I shall have sent here ; and I shall be very happy to see the legitimate 
one when God pleases, which he perhaps will some day or other. As 
for my mathematical * * *, I am as well without her. 

" Your account of your visit to Fonthill is very striking : could you 
beg of him for me a copy in MS. of the remaining Tales/* 1 think 
I deserve them, as a strenuous and public admirer of the first one. I 
will return it when read, and make no ill use of the copy, if granted. 
Murray would send me out any thing safely. If ever I return to 
England, I should like very much to see the author, with his permission. 
In the mean time, you could not oblige me more than by obtaining me 
the perusal I request, in French or English, — all 's one for that, though 
I prefer Italian to either. I have a French copy of Vathek, which I 
bought at Lausanne. I can read French with great pleasure and 
facility, though I neither speak nor write it. Now Italian I can speak 
with some fluency, and write sufficiently for my purposes, but I do n't 
like their modern prose at all ; it is very heavy, and so different from 

" They say Francis is Junius ; — I think it looks like it. I remember 
meeting him at Earl Grey's at dinner. Has not he lately married a 
young woman; and was not he Madame Talleyrand's cavaliere servente 
in India years ago ? 

" I read my death in the papers, which was not true. I see they 
are marrying the remaining singleness of the royal family. They have 
brought out Fazio with great and deserved success at Covent-garden ; 
that 's a good sign. I tried, during the directory, to have it done at 
Drury-lane, but was overruled. If you think of coming into this 
country, you will let me know perhaps beforehand. I suppose Moore 
won't move. Rose is here. I saw him the other night at Madame 
Albrizzi's ; he talks of returning in May. My love to the Hollands. 

" Ever &c. 

" P.S. They have been crucifying Othello into an opera (Otello, by 
Rossini) ; the music good, but lugubrious ; but as for the words, all the 
real scenes with Iago cut out, and the greatest nonsense instead ; the 
handkerchief turned into a billet-doux, and the first singer would not 
black his face, for some exquisite reasons assigned in the preface. 
Singing, dresses, and music very good." 



"Venice, March 16th, 1818. 


" Since my last, which I hope that you have received, I have had a letter 
from our friend Samuel. He talks of Italy this summer — won't you 
come with him 1 I do n't know whether you would like our Italian 
way of life or not * * ##*#*## 
# * * * # * * 

* A continuation of Vathek, by the author of that very striking and pow- 
erful production. The " Tales" of which this unpublished sequel consists 
are, 1 understand, those supposed to have been related by the Princess in the 
Hall of Eblis. 

118 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818.' 

" They are an odd people. The other day I was telling a girl, ' you 
must not come to-morrow, because Marguerita is coming at such a 
time,' — (they are both about five feet ten inches high, with great black 
eyes and fine fingers — fit to breed gladiators from — and 1 had some 
difficulty to prevent a battle upon a rencontre once before), — ' unless 
you promise to be friends, and' — the answer was an interruption, by 
a declaration of war against the other, which she said would be a 

* Guerra di Candia.' Is it not odd, that the lower order of Venetians 
should still allude proverbially to that famous contest, so glorious and 
so fatal to the Republic 1 

" They have singular expressions, like all the Italians. For exam- 
ple, 'Vfscere' — as we would say, 'my love,' or * my heart,' as an 
expression of tenderness. Also, ' I would go for you in the midst of 
a hundred knives.' — ' Mazza ben, excessive attachment, — literally, 

* I wish you well even to killing.' Then they say (instead of our 
way * do you think I would do you so much harm V) 'do you think 
I would assassinate you in such a manner *' — ' Tempo perfidej bad wea- 
ther; ' S trade perfidef bad roads— with a thousand other allusions 
and metaphors, taken from the state of society and habits in the 
middle ages. 

" I am not so sure about mazza, whether it do n't mean massa, i. e. 
a great deal, a mass, instead of the interpretation I have given it. 
But of the other phrases I am sure. 

" Three o' th' clock — I must ' to bed, to bed, to bed,' as mother S * * 
(that tragical friend of the mathematical * * *) says, * * * 


" Have you ever seen — I forget what or whom — no matter. They 
tell me Lady Melbourne is very unwell. I shall be so sorry. She 
was my greatestyWewc?, of the feminine gender : — when I say ' friend,' 
I mean not mistress, for that 's the antipodes. Tell me all about you 
and every body — how Sam is — how you like your neighbours, the 
Marquis and Marchesa, &c. &c. 

" Ever, &c." 



" Venice, March 25, 1818. 
" I have your letter, with the account of ' Beppo,' for which I sent 
you four new stanzas a fortnight ago, in case you print, or reprint. 

" Croker's is a good guess ; but the style is not English, it is Italian ; 
— Berni is the original of all. Whistlecraft was my immediate model; 
Rose's ' Animali' I never saw till a few days ago, — they are excellent. 
But (as I said above) Berni is the father of that kind of writing, 
which I think suits our language, too, very well ; — we shall see by 
the experiment. If it does, I shall send you a volume in a year or 
two, for I know the Italian way of life well, and in time may know 
it yet better ; and as for the verse and the passions, I have them still 
in tolerable vigour. 

" If you think that it will do you and the work, or works, any good, 
you may put my name to it; but Jhrst consult the knowing ones. It will, 

a.d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 119 

at any rate, show them that I can write cheerfully, and repel the 
charge of monotony and mannerism. 

" Yours, &c." 



"Venice, April 11th, 1818. 
" Will you send me by letter, packet, or parcel, half a dozen of the 
coloured prints from Holmes's miniature (the latter done shortly 
before I left your country, and the prints about a year ago) ; I shall 
be obliged to you, as some people here have asked me for the like. 
It is a picture of my upright self done for Scrope B. Davies, esq.* 

" Why have you not sent me an answer, and lists of subscribers to 
the translation of the Armenian Eusebius? of which I sent you printed 
copies of the prospectus (in French) two moons ago. Have you had 
the letter] — I shall send you another: — you must not neglect my 
Armenians. Tooth-powder, magnesia, tincture of myrrh, tooth- 
brushes, diachylon plaster, Peruvian bark, are my personal demands. 

" Strahan, Tonson, Lintot of the times, 
Patron and publisher of rhymes, 
For thee the bard up Pindus climbs, 
My Murray. 

" To thee, with hcpe and terror dumb, 
The unfledged MS. authors come ; 
Thou printest all — and sellest some — 
My Murray. 

" Upon thy table's baize so green 
The last new Quarterly is seen, 
But where is thy new Magazine, 
My Murray ? 

" Along thy sprucest book-shelves shine 
The works thou deemest most divine — 
The ' Art of Cookery,' and mine, 
My Murray. 

" Tours, Travels, Essays, too, I wist, 
And Sermons to thy mill bring grist ; 
And then thou hast the ' Navy List,' 
My Murray. 

* There follows, in this place, among other matter, a long string of verses, 
in various metres, to the amount of about sixty lines, so full of light gayety 
and humour, that it is with some reluctance I suppress them. They might, 
however, have the effect of giving pain in quarters wnere even the author 
himself would not have deliberately inflicted it ; — from a pen like his, touches 
are often wounds, without being actually intended as such. 

120 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

" And Heaven forbid I should conclude 
Without the ' Board of Longitude,' 
Although this narrow paper would, 
My Murray !" 



"Venice, April 12, 1818. 

" This letter will be delivered by Signer Gioe. Bata. Missiaglia, 
proprietor of the Apollo library, and the principal publisher and book- 
seller now in Venice. He sets out for London with a view to business 
and correspondence with the English booksellers : and it is in the 
hope that it may be for your mutual advantage that I furnish him with 
this letter of introduction to you. If you can be of use to him, either 
by recommendation to others, or by any personal attention on your 
own part, you will oblige him, and gratify me. You may also 
perhaps both be able to derive advantage, or establish some mode of 
literary communication, pleasing to the public, and beneficial to one 

" At any rate, be civil to him for my sake, as well as for the honour 
and glory of publishers and authors now and to come for evermore. 

" With him I also consign a great number of MS. letters written in 
English, French, and Italian, by various English established in Italy 
during the last century : — the names of the writers, Lord Hervey, 
Lady M. W. Montague (hers are but few — some billets-doux in French 
to Algarotti, and one letter in English, Italian, and all sorts of jargon, 
to the same), Gray, the poet (one letter), Mason (two or three), 
Garrick, Lord Chatham, David Hume, and many of less note, — all 
addressed to Count Algarotti. Out of these, I think, with discretion, 
an amusing miscellaneous volume of letters might be extracted, pro- 
vided some good editor were disposed to undertake the selection, and 
preface, and a few notes, &c. 

" The proprietor of these is a friend of mine, Dr. Aglietti, — a great 
name in Italy, — and if you are disposed to publish, it will be for his 
benefit, and it is to and for him that you will name a price, if you take 
upon you the work. I would edit it myself, but am too far off, and 
too lazy to undertake it ; but I wish that it could bo done. The 
letters of Lord Hervey, in Mr. Rose's* opinion and mine, are good ; 

* Among Lord Byron's papers, I find some verses addressed to him about 
this time, by Mr. W. Rose, with the following note annexed to them : — 
" These verses*were sent to me by W. S. Rose, from Abaro, in the spring 
of 1818. They are good and true ; and Rose is a fine fellow, and one of the 
few English who understand Italy, without which Italian is nothing." The 
verses begin thus : 

" Byron,+ while you make gay what circle fits ye, J 

Bandy Venetian slang with the Benzdn, i 

Or play at company with the Albrizzi, 
The self-pleased pedant, and patrician crone, 

t " I have hunted out a precedent for this unceremonious address." 

A. d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 121 

and the short French love-letters certainly are Lady M. W. Mon- 
tague's — the French not good, but the sentiments beautiful. Gray's 
letter good ; and Mason's tolerable. The whole correspondence 
must be well weeded; but this being done, a small and pretty popula' 
volume might be made of it. — There are many ministers' letters — 
Gray, the ambassador at Naples, Horace Mann, and others of the 
same kind of animal. 

" I thought of a preface, defending Lord Hervey against Pope's 
attack, but Pope — quoad Pope, the poet — against all the world, in the 
unjustifiable attempts begun by Warton, and carried on at this day by 
the new school of critics and scribblers, who think themselves poets 
because they do not write like Pope. I have no patience with such 
cursed humbug and bad taste; your whole generation are not worth 
a Canto of the Rape of the Lock, or the Essay on Man, or the Dunciad, 
or * any thing that is his.' — But it is three in the matin, and I must go 
to bed. 

" Yours alway, &c." 



"Venice, April 17th, 1818. 

" A few days ago, I wrote to you a letter, requesting you to desire 
Hanson to desire his messenger to come on from Geneva to Venice, 
because I won't go from Venice to Geneva ; and if this is not done, 
the messenger may be damned, with him who mis-sent him. Pray 
reiterate my request. 

" With the proofs returned, I sent two additional stanzas for Canto 
Fourth : did they arrive 1 

" Your monthly reviewer has made a mistake : Cavaliere, alone is 
well enough ; ' Cavalier'' servente 1 has always the e mute in conversa- 
tion, and omitted in writing ; so that it is not for the sake of metre ; 
and pray let Griffiths know this, with my compliments. I humbly 
conjecture that 1 know as much of Italian society and language as 
any of his people ; but to make assurance doubly sure, I asked, at the 
Countess Benzona's last night, the question of more than one person 
in the office, and of these ' cavalien serventi' (in the plural recollect) 
I found that they all accorded in pronouncing for 'cavalier' servente' 
in the singular number. I wish Mr. * * * * (or whoever Griffiths's 
scribbler may be) would not talk of what he do n't understand. Such 
fellows are not fit to be intrusted with Italian, even in a quotation. 

* w 5jf 3r 3fc W 

" Did you receive two additional stanzas, to be inserted towards the 
close of Canto Fourth ? Respond, that (if not) they may be sent. 

" Tell Mr. * * and Mr. Hanson that they may as well expect 
Geneva to come to me, as that I should go to Geneva. The mes- 
senger may go or return, as he pleases ; I won't stir : and I look upon 
it as a piece of singular absurdity in those who know me imagining 

Grimanis, Mocenigos, Balbis, Rizzi, 
Compassionate our cruel case, — alone, 

Our pleasure an academy of frogs, 

Who nightly serenade us from the bogs," &c. &c. 

122 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818. 

that I should — not to say malice, in attempting- unnecessary torture. 
If, on the occasion, my interests should suffer, it is their neglect that is to 

blame ; and they may all be d d together. 


" It is ten o'clock, and time to dress. 

" Yours, &c." 



" April 23d, 1818. 

" The time is past in which I could feel for the dead, — or I should 
feel for the death of Lady Melbourne, the best, and kindest, and ablest 
female I ever knew, old or young. But ' I have supped full of 
horrors,' and events of this kind have only a kind of numbness worse 
than pain, — like a violent blow on the elbow or the head. There is 
one link less between England and myself. 

" Now to business. I presented you with Beppo, as part of the 
contract for Canto Fourth, — considering the price you are to pay for 
the same, and intending to eke you out in case of public caprice or 
my own poetical failure. If you choose to suppress it entirely, at 
Mr. * * * *' s suggestion, you may do as you please. But recollect 
it is not to be published in a garbled or mutilated state. I reserve to my 
friends and myself the right of correcting the press ; — if the publica- 
tion continue, it is to continue in its present form. 


" As Mr. * * says that he did not write this letter, &c, I am ready 
to believe him ; but for the firmness of my former persuasion, I refer 
to Mr. * * * *, who can inform you how sincerely I erred on this 
point. He has also the note — or, at least, had it, for I gave it to him 
with my verbal comments thereupon. As to ' Beppo,' I will not alter 
or suppress a syllable for any man's pleasure but my own. 

" You may tell them this ; and add, that nothing but force or neces- 
sity shall stir me one step towards the places to which they would 

wring me. 


" If your literary matters prosper, let me know. If ' Beppo' pleases, 
you shall have more in a year or two in the same mood. And so, 
* Good morrow to you, good Master Lieutenant.' 

" Yours &c." 



" Palaz zo Mocenigo, Canal Grande, 

"Venice, June 1st, 1818. 

" Your letter is almost the only news, as yet, of Canto 4th. and it 

has by no means settled its fate, — at least, does not tell me how the 

* Poeshie' has been received by the public. But I suspect, no great 

things, — firstly, from Murray's * horrid stillness ;' secondly, from what 

a. d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 123 

you say about the stanzas running- into each other,* which I take not 
to be yours, but a notion you have been dinned with among' the Blues. 
The fact is, that the terza rima of the Italians, which always runs on 
and in, may have led me into experiments, and carelessness into con- 
ceit — or conceit into carelessness — in either of which events failure 
will be probable, and my fair woman, ' superne,' end in a fish ; so that 
Childe Harold will be like the mermaid, my family crest, with the 
Fourth Canto for a tail thereunto. I won't quarrel with the public, 
however, for the ' Bulgars' are generally right ; and if I miss now, I 
may hit another time : — and so ' the gods give us joy.' 

" You like Beppo ; that 's right. * * * * I have not had the 
Fudges yet, but live in hopes. I need not say that your successes are 
mine. By-the-way, Lydia White is here, and has just borrowed my 
copy of ' Lalla Rookh.' 

" Hunt's letter is probably the exact piece of vulgar coxcombry you 
might expect from his situation. He is a good man, with some 
poetical elements in his chaos ; but spoiled by the Christ-Church 
Hospital and a Sunday newspaper, — to say nothing of the Surry Jail, 
which conceited him into a martyr. But he is a good man. When I 
saw ' Rimini' in MSS., I told him that I deemed it good poetry at 
bottom, disfigured only by a strange style. His answer was, that his 
style was a system, or upon system, or some such cant ; and, when a 
man talks of system, his case is hopeless : so I said no more to him, 
and very little to any one else. 

" He believes his trash of vulgar phrases tortured into compound 
barbarisms to be old English ; and we may say of it as Aim well says 
of Captain Gibbet's regiment, when the Captain calls it an ' old corps,' 
— ' the oldest in Europe, if I may judge by your uniform.' He sent out 
his ' Foliage' by Percy Shelley * * *, and, of all the ineffable Centaurs 
that were ever begotten by Self-love upon a Nightmare, I think this 
monstrous Sagittary the most prodigious. He (Leigh H.) is an honest 
Charlatan, who has persuaded himself into a belief of his own impos- 
tures, and talks Punch in pure simplicity of heart, taking himself (as 
poor Fitzgerald said of himself in the Morning Post) for Fates in both 
senses, or nonsenses, of the word. Did you look at the translations 
of his own which he prefers to Pope and Cowper, and says so ] — Did 
you read his skimble-skamble about * * being at the head of his own 
profession, in the eyes of those who followed it ] I thought that poetry 
was an art, or an attribute, and not a profession ; — but be it one, is that 
****** at the head of your profession in your eyes 1 I '11 
be cursed if he is of mine, or ever shall be. He is the only one of us 
(but of us he is not) whose coronation I would oppose. Let them take 
Scott, Campbell, Crabbe, or you or me, or any of the living, and throne 
him ; — but not this new Jacob Behmen, this * * * 

***** whose pride might have 
kept him true, even had his principles turned as perverted as his soi- 
disant poetry. 

"But Leigh Hunt is a good man, and a good father — see his Odes 
to all the Masters Hunt ; — a good husband — see his Sonnet to Mrs. 
Hunt ; — a good friend — see his Epistles to different people ; — and a 

* I had said, I think, in my letter to him, that this practice of carrying 
one stanza into another was " something like taking on horses another stage 
without baiting." 

124 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818. 

great coxcomb, and a very vulgar person in every thing about him. ' 

But that's not his fault, but of circumstances.* 



" I do not know any good model for a life of Sheridan but that of 
Savage. Recollect, however, that the life of such a man may be made 
far more amusing than if he had been a Wilberforce ; — and this without 
offending the living, or insulting the dead. The Whigs abuse him ; 
however, he never left them, and such blunderers deserve neither credit 
nor compassion. As for his creditors, — remember, Sheridan never had 
a shilling, and was thrown, with great powers and passions, into the 
thick of the world, and placed upon the pinnacle of success, with no 
other external means to support him in his elevation. Did Fox 
* * * pay his debts'? — or did Sheridan take a subscription] Was the 
Duke of Norfolk's drunkenness more excusable than his ] Were his 
intrigues more notorious than those of all his contemporaries ] and is 
his memory to be blasted, and theirs respected? Do n't let yourself 
be led away by clamour, but compare him with the coalitioner Fox, and 
the pensioner Burke, as a man of principle, and with ten hundred 
thousand in personal views, and with none in talent, for he beat them 
all out and out. Without means, without connexion, without character 
(which might be false at first, and made him mad afterward from des- 
peration), he beat them all, in all he ever attempted. But alas, poor 
human nature ! Good night — or, rather, morning. It is four, and the 
dawn gleams over the Grand Canal, and unshadows the Rialto. I 
must to bed; up all night — but, al George Philpot says, 'it's life, 
though, damme, it 's life !' 

" Ever yours, 

" Excuse errors — no time for revision. The post goes out at noon, 
and I sha' n't be up then. I will write again soon about your plan for 
a publication." 

During the greater part of the period which this last series of letters 
comprises, he had continued to occupy the same lodgings in an ex- 
tremely narrow street called the Spezieria, at the house of the linen- 
draper, to whose lady he devoted so much of his thoughts. That he 
was, for the time, attached to this person, — as far as a passion so 
transient can deserve the name of attachment, — is evident from his 
whole conduct. The language of his letters shows sufficiently how 
much the novelty of this foreign tie had caught his fancy ; and to the 
Venetians, among whom such arrangements are mere matters of course, 
the assiduity with which he attended his Signora to the theatre and 
the Ridottos, was a subject of much amusement. It whs with diffi- 
culty, indeed, that he could be prevailed upon to absent himself from 
her so long as to admit of that hasty visit to the Immortal City, out 
of which one of his own noblest titles to immortality sprung; and 
having, in the space of a few weeks, drunk in more inspiration from 

* I had, in first transcribing the above letter for the press, omitted the 
whole of this caustic and, perhaps, over-severe character of Mr. Hunt; but 
the tone of that gentleman's book having, as far as himself is concerned, 
released me from all those scruples which prompted the suppression, I have 
considered myself at liberty to restore the passage. 

a. d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 125 

all he saw, than, in a less excited state, possibly, he might have im- 
bibed in years, he again hurried back, without extending his journey 
to Naples, — having written to the fair Marianna to meet him at some 
distance from Venice. 

Besides some seasonable acts of liberality to the husband, who had, 
it seems, failed in trade, he also presented to the lady herself a hand- 
some set of diamonds ; and there is an anecdote related, in reference 
to this gift, which shows the exceeding easiness and forbearance of 
his disposition towards those who had acquired any hold on his heart. 
A casket, which was for sale, being one day offered to him, he was 
not a little surprised on discovering them to be the same jewels which 
he had, not long before, presented to his fair favourite, and which had, 
by some unromantic means, found their way back into the market. 
Without inquiring, however, any farther into the circumstances, he 
generously repurchased the casket and presented it to the lady once 
more, good-humouredly taxing her with the little estimation in which, 
as it appeared, she held his presents. 

To whatever extent this unsentimental incident may have had a 
share in dispelling the romance of his passion, it is certain that, before 
the expiration of the first twelvemonth, he began to find his lodgings 
in the Spezieria inconvenient, and accordingly entered into treaty with 
Count Gritti for his palace on the Grand Canal, — engaging to give for 
it, what is considered, I believe, a large rent in Venice, 200 louis a 
year. On finding, however, that, in the counterpart of the lease 
brought for his signature, a new clause had been introduced, prohibiting 
him not only from underletting the house, in case he should leave 
Venice, but from even allowing any of his own friends to occupy it 
during his occasional absence, he declined closing on such terms ; and 
resenting so material a departure from the original engagement, 
declared in society, that he would have no objection to give the same 
rent, though acknowledged to be exorbitant, for any other palace in 
Venice, however inferior, in all respects, to this. After such an 
announcement, he was not likely to remain long unhoused; and the 
Countess Mocenigo having offered him one of her three palazzi, on the 
Grand Canal, he removed to this house in the summer of the present 
year, and continued to occupy it during the remainder of his stay in 

Highly censurable, in point of morality and decorum, as was his 
course of life while under the roof of Madame * *, it was (with pain 
I am forced to confess) venial in comparison with the strange, head- 
long career of license to which, when weaned from that connexion, 
he so unrestrainedly and, it may be added, defyingly abandoned him- 
self. Of the state of his mind on leaving England I have already 
endeavoured to corvey some idea, and, among the feelings that went 
to make up that self-centred spirit of resistance which he then opposed 
to his fate, was an indignant scorn of his own countrymen for the 
wrongs he thought they had done him. For a time, the kindly senti- 
ments which he still harboured towards Lady Byron, and a sort of 
vague hope, perhaps, that all would yet come right again, kept his 
mind in a mood somewhat more softened and docile, as well as suffi- 
ciently under the influence still of English opinion to prevent his 
breaking out into open rebellion against it, as he unluckily did 

By the failure of the attempted mediation with Lady Byron, his last 
link with home was severed ; while, notwithstanding the quiet and 

126 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818, 

unobtrusive life which he had led at Geneva, there was as yet, he found, 
no cessation whatever of the slanderous warfare against his character ; 
the same busy and misrepresenting spirit which had tracked his every 
step at home having, with no less malicious watchfulness, dogged him 
into exile. To this persuasion, for which he had but too much grounds, 
w r as added all that an imagination like his could lend to truth, — all that 
he was left to interpret, in his own way, of the absent and the silent, — 
till, at length, arming himself against fancied enemies and wrongs, 
and, with the condition (as it seemed to him) of an outlaw, assuming 
also the desperation, he resolved, as his countrymen would not do 
justice to the better parts of his nature, to have, at least, the perverse 
satisfaction of braving and shocking them with the worst. It is to 
this feeling, I am convinced, far more than to any depraved taste for 
such a course of life, that the extravagances to which he now, for a 
short time, gave loose, are to be attributed. The exciting effect, 
indeed, of this mode of existence, while it lasted, both upon his spirits 
and his genius, — so like what, as he himself tells us, was always pro- 
duced in him by a state of contest and defiance, — snowed how much 
of this latter feeling must have been mixed with his excesses. The 
altered character, too, of his letters in this respect cannot fail, I think, 
to be remarked by the reader, — there being, with an evident increase 
of intellectual vigour, a tone of violence and bravado breaking out in 
them continually, which marks the high pitch of reaction to which he 
had wound up his temper. 

In fact, so far from the powers of his intellect being at all weakened 
or dissipated by these irregularities, he was, perhaps, at no time of his 
life, so actively in the full possession of all its energies ; and his friend 
Shelley, who went to Venice, at this period, to see him,* used to say, 
that all he observed of the workings of Byron's mind, during his visit, 
gave him a far higher idea of its powers than he had ever before enter- 
tained. It was, indeed, then that Shelley sketched out, and chiefly 
wrote, his poem of " .lulian and Maddalo," in the latter of which per- 
sonages he has so picturesquely shadowed forth his noble friend ;f and 

* The following are extracts from a letter of Shelley's to a friend at this 

"Venice, August, 1818. 

" We came from Padua hither in a gondola ; and the gondolier, among 
other things, without any hint on our part, began talking of Lord Byron. 
He said he was a 'Giovanotto Inglese,' with a l nome stravagante,' who lived 
very luxuriously, and spent great sums of money. * * * 

" At three o'clock I called on Lord Byron. He was delighted to see me, 
and our first conversation of course consisted in the object of our visit. 
* * * He took me in his gondola, across Laguna, to a long, strandy 
sand, which defends Venice from the Adriatic. When we disembarked, wo 
found his horses waiting for us, and we rode along the sands, talking. Our 
conversation consisted in histories of his own wounded feelings, and ques- 
tions as to my affairs, with yreat professions of friendship and regard for me. 
He said that if he had been in England, at the time of the Chancery affair, 
he would have moved heaven and earth to have prevented such a decision. 
He talked of literary matters, — his Fourth Canto, which he says is very good, 
and indeed repeated some stanzas, of great energy, to me. When we returned 
to his palace, which is one of the most magnificent in Venice, &c. &c." 

+ In the preface also to this poem, under the fictitious name of Count Mad- 
dalo, the following just and striking portrait of Lord Byron is drawn : — 

u He is a person of the most consummate genius, and capable, if he would 

A. d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 127 

the allusions to " the Swan of Albion," in his " Lines written among 
the Euganean Hills," were also, 1 understand, the result of the same 
access of admiration and enthusiasm. 

In speaking of the Venetian women, in one of the preceding letters, 
Lord Byron, it will be recollected, remarks, that the beauty for which 
they were once so celebrated is no longer now to be found among the 
" dame," or higher orders, but all under the " fazzioli," or kerchiefs, 
of the lower. It was, unluckily, among these latter specimens of the 
" bel sangue" of Venice that he now, by a suddenness of descent in the 
scale of refinement, for which nothing but the present wayward state 
of his mind can account, chose to select the companions of his disen- 
gaged hours ; — and an additional proof that, in this short, daring 
career of libertinism, he was but desperately seeking relief for a 
wronged and mortified spirit, and 

" What to us seem'd guilt might be but wo," — 

is that, more than once, of an evening, when his house has been in the 
possession of such visitants, he has been known to hurry away in his 
gondola, and pass the greater part of the night upon the water, as if 
hating to return to his home. It is, indeed, certain, that to this least 
defensible portion of his whole lif he always looked back, during the 
short remainder of it, with painful self-reproach ; and amonj the 
causes of the detestation which he afterward felt for Venice, this 
recollection of the excesses to which he had there abandoned himself 
was not the least prominent. 

The most distinguished and, at last, the reigning favourite of all this 
unworthy Haram was a woman named Margarita Cogni, who has 
been already mentioned in one of these letters, and who, from the trade 
of her husband, was known by the title of the Fornarina. A portrait 
of this handsome virago, drawn by Harlowe when at Venice, having 
fallen into the hands of one of Lord Byron's friends after the death of 
that artist, the noble poet, on being applied to for some particulars of 
his heroine, wrote a long letter on the subject, from which the following 
are extracts : — 

" Since you desire the story of Margarita Cogni, you shall be told it, 
though it may be lengthy. 

" Her face is the fine Venetian cast of the old time ; her figure, 
though perhaps too tall, is not less fine — and taken altogether in the 
national dress. 

direct his energies to such an end, of becoming the redeemer of his degraded 
country. But it is his weakness to be proud : he derives, from a comparison 
of his own extraordinary mind with the dwarfish intellects that surround him, 
an intense apprehension of the nothingness of human life. His passions and 
his powers are incomparably greater than those of other men, and instead of 
the latter having been employed in curbing the former, they have mutually 
lent each other strength. His ambition preys upon itself for want of objects 
which it can consider worthy of exertion. I say that Maddalo is proud, 
because I can find no other word to express the concentred and impatient 
feelings which consume him ; but it is on his own hopes and affections only 
that he seems to trample, for in social life no human being can be more gentle, 
patient, and unassuming than xMaddalo, He is cheerful, frank, and witty. 
His more serious conversation is a sort of intoxication. He has travelled 
much ; and there is an inexpressible charm in his relation of his adventures 
in different countries." 

128 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818; 

"In the summer of 1817, * * * * and myself were sauntering 1 on 
horseback along the Brenta one evening, \\ hen, among - a group of pea- 
sants, we remarked two girls as the prettiest we had seen for some 
time. About this period there had been great distress in the country, 
and I had a little relieved some of the people. Generosity makes a 
great figure at very Utile cost in. Venetian livres, and mine had pro- 
bably been exaggerated as an Englishman's. Whether they remarked 
us looking at them or no, I know not; but one of them called out to 
me in Venetian, ' Why do not yon, who relieve others, think of us also V 
I turned round and answered her — ' Cara, tu sei troppo bella e gio- 
vane per aver' bisogna del' soccorso mio.' She answered, ' If you saw 
my hut and my food, you would not say so.' All this passed half jest- 
ingly, and I saw no more of her for some days. 

" A few evenings after, we met with these two girls again, and they 
addressed us more seriously, assuring us of the truth of their state- 
ment. They were cousins; Margarita married, the other single. As 
I doubted still of the circumstances, I took the business in a different 
light, and made an appointment with them for the next evening. 

* * In short, in a few evenings we arranged our affairs, and for 

a long space of time she was the only one who preserved over me an 
ascendancy which was often disputed, and never impaired. 

" The reasons for this were, firstly, her person ; — very dark, tall, 
the Venetian face, very fine black eyes. She was two-and-twenty 
years old, * * * * * *. 

She was besides a thorough Venetian in her dialect, in her thoughts, 
in her countenance, in every thing, with all their naivete and panta- 
loon humour. Besides, she could neither read nor write, and could 
not plague me with letters, — except twice that she paid sixpence to a 
public scribe, under the piazza, to make a letter for her, upon some 
occasion when I was ill and could not see her. In other respects, she 
was somewhat fierce and ' prepotente,' that, is, overbearing, and used 
to walk in whenever it suited her, with no very great regard to time, 
place, nor persons; and if she found any women in her way she 
knocked them down. 

" When I first knew her, I was in ' relazione' (liaison) with la 
Signora * *, who was silly enough one evening at Dolo, accompanied 
by some of her female friends, to threaten her; for the gossips of the 
Villeggiatura had already found out, by the neighing of my horse one 
evening, that I used to 'ride late in the night' to meet the Fornarina. 
Margarita threw back her veil (fazziolo), and replied in very explicit 
Venetian : ' You are not his ruife : I am not his wife : you are his Donna, 
and/ am his Donna: your husband is a becco, and mine is another. 
For the rest, what right have you to reproach me 1 If he prefers me 
to you, is it my fault 1 ? If you wish to secure him, tie him to your 
petticoat-string. But do not think to speak to me without a reply, 
because you happen to be richer than I am.' Having delivered this 
pretty piece of eloquence (which I translate as it was related to me by 
a bystander), she went on her way, leaving a numerous audience, with 
Madame * *, to ponder at her leisure on the dialogue between them. 

" W T hen I came to Venice for the winter she followed ; and as she 
found herself out to be a favourite, she came to me pretty often. But 
ihe had inordinate self-love, and was not tolerant of other women. 
At the ' Cavalchina,' the masked ball on the last night of the Carni- 
val, where all the world goes, she snatched off the mask of Madame 

a.d.1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 129 

Contarini, a lady noble by birth, and decent in conduct, for no other 
reason but because she happened to be leaning- on my arm. You may 
suppose what a cursed noise this made ; but this is only one of her 

" At last she quarrelled with her husband, and one evening ran away 
to my house. I told her this would not do : she said she would lie in 
the street, but not go back to him ; that he beat her, (the gentle tigress!) 
spent her money, and scandalously neglected her. As it was mid- 
night, I let her stay, and next day there was no moving her at all. 
Her husband came, roaring and crying, and entreating her to come 
back : — not she ! He then applied to the police, and they applied to 
me : I told them and her husband to take her ; I did not want her ; 
she had come, and I could not fling her out of the window ; but they 
might conduct her through that or the door if they chose it. She 
went before the commissary, but was obliged to return with that 
'becco ettico,' as she called the poor man, who had a phthisic. In a 
few days she ran away again. After a precious piece of work, she 
fixed herself in my house, really and truly without my consent ; but, 
owing to my indolence, and not being able to keep my countenance 
— for if I began in a rage, she always finished by making me laugh 
with some Venetian pantaloonery or another; and the gipsy knew 
this well enough, as well as her other powers of persuasion, and ex- 
erted them with the usual tact and success of all she-things ; — high 
and low, they are all alike for that. 

" Madame Benzoni also took her under her protection, and then her 
head turned. She was always in extremes, either crying or laughing, 
and so fierce when angered, that she was the terror of men, women, 
and children — for she had the strength of an Amazon, with the temper 
of Medea. She was a fine animal, but quite untameable. /was the 
only person that could at all keep her in any order, and when she saw 
me really angry (which they tell me is a savage sight), she subsided. 
But she had a thousand fooleries. In her fazziolo, the dress of the 
lower orders, she looked beautiful; but, alas ! she longed for a hat 
and feathers ; and all I could say or do (and I said much) could not 
prevent this travestie. I put the first into the fire ; but I got tired of 
burning them before she did of buying them, so that she made herself 
a figure — for they did not at all become her. 

" Then she would have her gowns with a tail — like a lady, forsooth ; 
nothing would serve her but ' l'abita colla cowa,' or cua (that is the 
Venetian for ' la cola,' the tail or train), and as her cursed pronuncia- 
tion of the word made me laugh, there was an end of all controversy, 
and she dragged this diabolical tail after her every where. 

"In the mean time, she beat the women and stopped my letters. I 
found her one day pondering over one. She used to try to find out 
by their shape whether they were feminine or no ; and she used to 
lament her ignorance, and actually studied her alphabet, on purpose 
(as she declared) to open all letters addressed to me, and read their 

" I must not omit to do justice to her housekeeping qualities. After 
she came into my house as * donna di governo,' the expenses were 
reduced to less than half, and every body did their duty better — the 
apartments were kept in order, and every thing and every body else, 
except herself. 

" That she had a sufficient regard for me in her wild way, I had 
many reasons to believe. I will mention one. In the autumn, one 

Vol. IL— I 

130 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818. 

day, r^nr to the Lido with my gondoliers, we were overtaken by a 
heav) squall, and th( go . .. ... , ... iu poril — lints blown away, boat 

filling, oar lost, tumbling sea* thunder, rain in torrents, night coming, 
and wind unceasing. On our return* after a tight struggle, 1 found 
her on the open steps of the Mocemgo palace, on the Grand Canal, 
with her great black eyes flasliing through her tears, and the long" 
dark hair, which was streaming, drenched with rain, over her brows 
and breast. She was perfectly excised to the storm; and the wind 
blowing her hair and dress about her thin tall figure, and the lightning 
flashing around her, and the waves rolling at her feet, made her look 
like Medea alighted from her chariot, or the Sibyl of the tempest that 
was rolling around her, the only living thing within hail at that mo- 
ment except ourselves. On seeing me safe, she did not wait to greet 
me, as might have been expected, but calling out to me — 'Ah! can' 
della Madonna, xe esto il tempo por andar' al' Lido V (Ah! dog of 
the Virgin, is tins a time to go to Lido ]) ran into the house, and 
solaced herself with scolding the boatmen for not foreseeing the 
1 temporale.' I am told by the servants that she had only been pre- 
vented from coming in a boat to look after me, by the refusal of all 
the gondoliers of the canal to put out into the harbour in such a mo- 
ment ; and that then she sat down on the steps in all the thickest 6f 
the squall, and would neither be removed nor comforted. Her joy at 
seeing me again was moderately mixed with ferocity, and gave me 
the idea of a tigress over her recovered cubs. 

"But her reign drew near a close. She became quite ungovernable 
some months alter, and a concurrence of complaints, some true, and 
many false — 'a favourite has no friends'— determined me to part with 
her. I told her quietly that she must return home (she had acquired 
a sufficient provision for herst-lf and mother, &c. in my service), and 
she refused to quit the house. I was firm, and she went threatening 
knives and revenge. 1 told her that 1 had seen knives drawn before 
her time, and that if she chose to begin, there was a knife, and fork 
also, at her service on the table, and that intimidation would not do. 
The next day, while I was at dinner, she walked in (having broken 
open a glass door that led from the hall below to the staircase, by way 
of prologue), and advancing straight up to the table, snatched the 
knife from my hand, cutting me slightly iu the thumb in the operation. 
Whether she meant to use this against herself or me, 1 know not — 
probably against neither — but Fletcher seized her by the arms, and 
disarmed her. 1 then called my boatmen, and desired them to get 
the gondola ready, and conduct her to her own house again, seeing 
carefully that she did herself no mischief by the way. She seemed 
quite quiet, and walked down stairs. I resumed my dinner. 

"We heard a great noise, and went out, and met them on the stair- 
case, carrying her up stairs. She had thrown herself into the canal. 
That she intended to destroy herself, I do not believe : but when we 
consider the fear women and men who can't swim have of deep or 
even of shallow water (and the Venetians in particular, though they 
live on the waves), and that it was also night, and dark, and very 
cold, it shows that she had a devilish spirit of some sort within her. 
They had got her out without much difficulty or damage, excepting 
the salt water she had swallowed, and the wetting she had undergone. 

" 1 foresaw her intention io renx herself, and sent for a surgeon, 
inquiring how many hours it would require to restore her from her 
agitation ; and he named tile time. I then said, ' I give you that time, 

a d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 131 

and more if you require it; but at the expiration of this prescribed 
period, if she does not leave the house, J will.' 

" All my people were consternated. They had always been fright- 
ened at her, and were now paralyzed: they wanted me to apply to the 
police, to guard myself, &c. &c. like a pack of snivelling servile 
boobies, as they were. I did nothing of the kind, thinking that I might 
as well end that way as another ; besides, I had been used to savage 
women, and knew their ways. 

" I had her sent home quietly after her recovery, and never saw 
her since, except twice at the opera, at a distance among the audience. 
She made many attempts to return, but no more violent ones. — And 
this is the story of Margarita Cogni, as far as it relates to me.. 

" I forgot to mention that she was very devout, and would cross 
herself if she heard the prayer time strike. * * * 

" She was quick in reply ; as, for instance — One day when she had 
made me very angry with beating somebody or other, I called her a 
cow (a cow, in Italian, is a sad affront). I called her ' Vacca.' She 
turned round, courtsied, and answered, 'Vacca tua, 'celenza' (i. e. 
eccellenza). ' Your cow, please your Excellency.' In short, she was, 
as I said before, a very fine animal, of considerable beauty and energy, 
with many good and several amusing qualities, but wild as a witch 
and fierce as a demon. She used to boast publicly of her ascendency 
over me, contrasting it with that of other women, and assigning for it 
sundry reasons, * * *. True it was, that they all tried to get her 
away, and no one succeeded till her own absurdity helped them. 

" I omitted to tell you her answer, when I reproached her for 
snatching Madame Contarini' s mask at the Cavalehina. I repre- 
sented to her that she was a lady of high birth, 'una Dama,' &c. She 
answered, ' Se ella e dama mi (io) son Veneziana ;' — ' if she is a lady, 
I am a Venetian.' This would have been fine a hundred years ago, 
the pride of the nation rising up against the pride of aristocracy : but, 
alas ! Venice, and her people, and her nobles, are alike returning fast 
to the ocean ; and where there is no independence, there can be no 
real self-respect. I believe that I mistook or misstated one of her 
phrases in my letter; it should have been — ' Can' della Madonna, cosa 
vus' tu 1 esto non e tempo per andar' a Lido V " 

It was at this time, as we shall see by the letters I am about to pro- 
duce, and as the features, indeed, of the progeny itself would but too 
plainly indicate, that he conceived, and wrote some part of, his Poem 
of " Don Juan ;" — and never did pages more faithfully and, in many 
respects, lamentably reflect every variety of feeling, and whim, and 
passion that, like the rack of autumn, swept across the author's mind 
in writing them. Nothing less, indeed, than that singular combination 
of attributes, which existed and were in full activity in his mind at 
this moment, could have suggested, or been capable of, the execution 
of such a work. The cool shrewdness of age with the vivacity and 
glowing temperament of youth — the wit of a Voltaire, with the sensi- 
bility of a Rousseau, — the minute, practical knowledge of the man of 
society, with the abstract and self-contemplative spirit of the poet, — a 
susceptibility of all that is grandest and most affecting in human 
virtue, with a deep, withering experience of all that is most fatal to it, 
— the two extremes, in short, of man's mixed and inconsistent nature, 
now rankly smelling of earth, now breathing of heaven,— such was 

I 2 

132 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818. 

the strange assemblage of contrary elements, all meeting together in 
the same mind, and all brought to bear, in turn, upon the same task, 
from which alone could have sprung this extraordinary Poem, — the 
most powerful and, in many respects, painful display of the versatility 
of genius that has ever been left for succeeding ages to wonder at and 

I shall now proceed with his correspondence, — having thought some 
of the preceding observations necessary, not only to explain to the 
reader much of what he will find in these letters, but to account to him 
for much that has been necessarily omitted. 



"Venice, June 18th, 1818. 

"Business and the utter and inexplicable silence of all my correspond- 
ents renders me impatient and troublesome. I wrote to Mr. Hanson 
for a balance which is (or ought to be) in his hands ; — no answer. I 
expected the messenger with the New stead papers two months ago, 
and instead of him, I received a requisition to proceed to Geneva, 
which (from * *, who knows my wishes and opinions about approach- 
ing England) could only be irony or insult. 

" I must, therefore, trouble you to pay into my bankers' immediately 
whatever sum or sums you can make it convenient to do on our agree- 
ment; otherwise, I shall be put to the severest and most immediate 
inconvenience ; and this at a time when, by every rational prospect 
and calculation, I ought to be in the receipt of considerable sums. 
Pray do not neglect this ; you have no idea to what inconvenience you 
will otherwise put me. * * had some absurd notion about the disposal 
of this money in annuity (or God knows what), which I merely listened 
to when he was here to avoid squabbles and sermons ; but 1 have occa- 
sion for the principal, and had never any serious idea of appropriating 
it otherwise than to answer my personal expenses. Hobhouse's wish 
is, if possible, to force me back to England:* he will not succeed; 
and if he did, I would not stay. I hate the country, and like this ; 
and all foolish opposition, of course, merely adds to the feeling. Your 
silence makes me doubt the success of Canto Fourth. If it has failed, 
1 will make such deduction as you think proper and fair from the ori- 
ginal agreement ; but I coil"! wish whatever is to be paid were remitted 
to me, without delay, through the usual channel, by course of post. 

" When I tell you that I have not heard a word from England since 
very early in May, I have made the eulogium of my friends, or the 
persons who call themselves so, since I have written so often and in 
the greatest anxiety. Thank God, the longer I am absent, the less 
cause I see for regretting the country or its living contents. 

"I am yours, &c. 

" P.S. Tell Mr. * * * that ****** 

and that I will never forgive him (or any body) the atrocity of their 

* Deeply it is, for many reasons, to be regretted that this friendly purpose 
did not succeed. 


a. d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 133 

late silence at a time when I wished particularly to hear, for every 
reason, from my friends." 



" Venice, July 10th, 1818. 
I have received your letter and the credit from Morlands, &c. for 
whom I have also drawn upon you at sixty days' sight for the 
remainder, according to your proposition. 

" I am still waiting in Venice, in expectancy of the arrival of Han- 
son's clerk. What can detain him, I do not know; but I trust that 
Mr. Hobhouse and Mr. Kinnaird, when their political fit is abated, will 
take the trouble to inquire and expedite him, as lhave nearly a hundred 
thousand pounds depending upon the completion of the sale and the 
signature of the papers. 

" The draft on you is drawn up by Siri and Willhalm. I hope that 
the form is correct. I signed it two or three days ago, desiring them 
to forward it to Messrs. Morland and Ransom. 

"Your projected editions for November had better be postponed, 
as 1 have some things in project, or preparation, that may be of use 
to you, though not very important in themselves. I have completed 
an Ode on Venice, and have two Stories, one serious and one ludicrous 
(a la Beppo), not yet finished, and in no hurry to be so. 

" You talk of the letter to Hobhouse being much admired, and speak 
of prose. I think of writing (for your full edition) some Memoirs of 
my life, to prefix to them, upon the same model (though far enough, I 
fear, from reaching it) of Giffbrd, Hume, &c. ; and this without any 
intention of making disclosures, or remarks upon living people, which 
would be unpleasant to them : but I think it might be done, and well 
done. However, this is to be considered. T have materials in plenty, 
but the greater part of them could not be used by me, nor for these 
hundred years to come. However, there is enough without these, 
and merely as a literary man, to make a preface for such an edition 
as you meditate. But this is by-the-way: I have not made up my 

" I enclose you a note on the subject of ' Parisina? which Hobhouse 
can dress for you. It is an extract of particulars from a history of 

" 1 trust you have been attentive to Missiaglia, for the English have 
the character of neglecting the Italians at present, which I hope you 
will redeem. " Yours in haste, 




" Venice, July 17th, 1818. 
" I suppose that Aglietti will take whatever you offer, but till his 
return from Vienna I can make him no proposal ; nor, indeed, have 
you authorized me to do so. The three French notes are by Lady 

134 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818. 

Mary; also another half-English-French-Italian. They are very 
pretty and passionate ; it is a pity that a piece of one of theniis lost. 
Algarotti seems to have treated her ill; but she was much his senior, 

and all women are used ill — or say so, whether they are or not. 


"T shall be glad of your books and powders. I am still in waiting 
for Hanson's clerk, but luckily not at Geneva. All my good friends 
wrote to me to hasten there to meet him, but not one had the good 
sense, or the good nature, to write afterward to tell me that it would 
be time and a journey thrown away, as he could not set off for some 
months after the period appointed. If I had taken the journey on the 
general suggestion, I never would have spoken again to one of you as 
long as I existed. I have written to request Mr. Kinnaird, when the 
foam of his politics is wiped away, to extract a positive answer from 
that * * * *, and not to keep me in a state of suspense upon the 
subject. I hope that Kinnaird, who has my power of attorney, keeps a 
look-out upon the gentleman, which is the more necessary, as I have a 
great dislike to the idea of coming over to look after him myself. 

" I have several things begun, verse and prose, but none in much 
forwardness. I have written some six or seven sheets of a Life, which 
I mean to continue, and send you when finished. It may perhaps 
serve for your projected editions. If you would tell me exactly (for 
I know nothing, and have no correspondents, except on business) the 
state of the reception of our late publications, and the feeling upon 
them, without consulting any delicacies (I am too seasoned to require 
them), I should know how and in what manner to proceed. I should 
not like to give them too much, which may probably have been the 
case already ; but, as I tell you, I know nothing. 

" I once wrote from the fulness of my mind and the love of fame 
(not as an end, but as a means, to obtain that influence over men's 
minds which is power in itself and in its consequences), and now 
from habit and from avarice ; so that the effect may probably be as 
different as the inspiration. I have the same facility, and indeed 
necessity, of composition, to avoid idleness (though idleness in a hot 
country is a pleasure), but a much greater indifference to what is to 
become of it, after it has served my immediate purpose. However, I 
should on no account like to but I won't go on, like the arch- 
bishop of Granada, as I am very sure that you dread the fate of Gil 
Bias, and with good reason. " Yours, &c. 

" P.S. 1 have written some very savage letters to Mr. Hobhouse, 
Kinnaird, to you, and to Hanson, because the silence of so long 
a time made me tear off my remaining rags of patience. I have seen 
one or two late English publications which are no great things, except 
Rob Roy. I shall be glad of Whistlecraft." 



"Venice, August 26th, 1818. 
"You may go on with your edition, without calculating on the 
Memoir, which I shall not publish at present. It is nearly finished, 
but will be too long ; and there are so many things, which, out of 

a. d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 135 

regard to the living-, cannot be mentioned, that I have written with too 
much detail of that which interested me least; so that my autobio- 
graphical Es$uy would resemble the tragedy of Hamlet at the country 
theatre, recited ' with the part of Hamlet left out by particular desire.' 
I shall keep it among my papers ; it will be a kind of guide-post in 
case of deaih, and prevent some of the lies which would otherwise be 
told, and destroy some which have been told already. 

" The Tales also are in an unfinished state, and I can fix no time 
for their completion : they are also not in the best manner. You 
must not, therefore, calculate upon any thing in time for this edition. 
The Memoir is already above forty-four sheets of very large, long 
paper, and will be about fifty or sixty; but I wish to go on leisurely; 
and when finished, although it might do a good deal for you at the time, 
I am not sure that it would serve any good purpose in the end either, 
as it is full of many passions and prejudices, of which it has been 
impossible for me to keep clear: — I have not the patience. 

" Enclosed is a list of books which Dr. Aglietti would be glad to 
receive by way of price for his MS. letters, if you are disposed to pur- 
chase at the rate of fifty pounds sterling. These he will be glad to 
have as part, and the rest I will give him in money, and you may 
carry it to the account of books, &c. which is in balance against me, 
deducting it accordingly. So that the letters are yours, if you like 
them, at this rate ; and he and I are going to hunt for more Lady 
Montague letters, which he thinks of finding. I write in haste. 
Thanks for the article, and believe me, 

" Yours, &c." 

To the charge brought against Lord Byron by some English 
travellers of being, in general, repulsive and inhospitable to his own 
countrymen, I have already made allusion ; and shall now add to the 
testimony then cited in disproof of such a charge some particulars, 
communicated to me by Captain Basil Hall, which exhibit the 
courtesy and kindliness of the noble poet's disposition in their true, 
natural light. 

"On the last day of August, 1818 (says this distinguished writer 
and traveller), I was taken ill with an ague at Venice, and having 
heard enough of the low state of the medical art in that country, I 
was not a little anxious as to the advice I should take. I was not 
acquainted with any person in Venice to whom I could refer, and had 
only one letter of introduction, which was to Lord Byron; but as 
there were many stories floating about of his lordship's unwillingness 
to be pestered with tourists, I had felt unwilling, before this moment, 
to intrude myself in that shape. Now, however, that I was seriously 
unwell, I felt sure that this offensive character would merge in that of 
a countryman in distress, and I sent the letter by one of my travelling 
companions to Lord Byron's lodgings with a note, excusing the 
liberty I was taking, explaining that I was in want of medical 
assistance, and saying I should not send to any one till I heard the 
name of the person who, in his lordship's opinion, was the best prac- 
titioner in Venice. 

" Unfortunately for me, Lord Byron was still in bed, though it was 
near noon, and still more unfortunately, the bearer of my message 
scrupled to awake him, without first coming back to consult me. By 
this time I was in all the agonies of a cold ague fit, and, therefore, not 
at all in a condition to be consulted upon any thing — so 1 replied 

336 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818; 

pettishly, ' Oh, by no means disturb Lord Byron on my account — ring 
for the landlord, and send for any one he recommends.' This absurd 
injunction being forthwith and literally attended to, in the course of 
an hour I was under the discipline of mine host's friend, whose skill 
and success it is no part of my present purpose to descant upon : — it 
is sufficient to mention that I was irrevocably in his hands long before 
the following most kind note was brought to me, in great haste, by 
Lord Byron's servant. 

4 Venice, August 31st, 1818. 


* Dr. Aglietti is the best physician, not only in Venice, but in Italy : 
his residence is on the Grand Canal, and easily found ; I forget the 
number, but am probably the only person in Venice who do n't know 
it. There is no comparison between him and any of the other medical 
people here. I regret very much to hear of your indisposition, and 
shall do myself the honour of waiting upon you the moment I am up. 
I write this in bed, and have only just received the letter and note. I 
beg you to believe that nothing but the extreme lateness of my hours 
could have prevented me from replying immediately, or coming in 
person. I have not been called a minute. — I have the honour to be, 
very truly, 

* Your most obedient servant, 

' Byron.' 


" His lordship soon followed this note, and I heard his voice in the 
next room ; but although he waited more than an hour, I could not see 
him, being under the inexorable hands of the doctor. In the course 
of the same evening he again called, but I was asleep. When I awoke 
I found his lordship's valet sitting by my bedside. 'He had his mas- 
ter's orders,' he said, ' to remain with me while 1 was unwell, and was 
instructed to say, that whatever his lordship had, or could procure, 
was at my service, and that he would come to me and sit with me, or 
do whatever I liked, if I would only let him know in what way he 
could be useful.' 

" Accordingly, on the next day, I sent for some book, which was 
brought, with a list of his library. I forget what it was which pre- 
vented my seeing Lord Byron on this day, though he called more than 
once ; and on the next, I was too ill with fever to talk to any one. 

" The moment I could go out, I took a gondola and went to pay my 
respects, and to thank his lordship for his attentions. It was then 
nearly three o'clock, but he was not yet up ; and when I went again on 
the following day at five, I had the mortification to learn that he had 
gone, at the same hour, to call upon me, so that we had crossed each 
other on the canal ; and, to my deep and lasting regret, I was obliged 
to leave Venice without seeing him." 



" Venice, September 19, 1818. 
" An English newspaper here would be a prodigy, and an opposition 
one a monster ; and, except some extractsyrom extracts in the vile, gar- 
bled Paris gazettes, nothing of the kind reaches the Veneto-Lombard 

a. d. 1818.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 137 

public, who are perhaps the most oppressed in Europe. My corres- 
pondences with England are mostly on business, and chiefly with my 
* * *, who has no very exalted notion, or extensive conception, of an 
author's attributes ; for he once took up an Edinburgh Review, and, 
looking- at it a minute, said to me, 'So, I see you have got into the 
magazine,' — which is the only sentence I ever heard him utter upon 
literary matters, or the men thereof. 

" My first news of your Irish apotheosis has, consequently, been 
from yourself. But, as it will not be forgotten in a hurry, either by 
your friends or your enemies, I hope to have it more in detail from 
some of the former, and, in the mean time, I wish you joy with all my 
heart. Such a moment must have been a good deal better than West- 
minster-Abbey, — besides being an assurance of that one day (many 
years hence, 1 trust) into the bargain. 

" I am sorry to perceive, however, by the close of your letter, that 
even you have not escaped the " surgit amari,' &c. and that your 
damned deputy has been gathering such ' dew from the still vext Ber- 
moothes' — or rather vexatious. Pray, give me some items of the 
affair, as you say it is a serious one; and, if it grows more so, 
you should make a trip over here for a few months, to see how things 
turn out. 1 suppose you are a violent admirer of England by your 
staying so long in it. For my own part, I have passed, between the 
age of one-and-twenty and thirty, half the intervenient years out of 
it without regretting any thing, except that I ever returned to it at all, 
and the gloomy prospect before me of business and parentage 
obliging me, one day, to return again, — at least, for the transaction 
of affairs, the signing of papers, and inspecting of children. 

" 1 have here my natural daughter, by name Allegra, — a pretty 
little girl enough, and reckoned like papa.* Her mamma is English, — 
but it is a long story, and — there 's an end. She is about twenty 
months old. #####* 

" I have finished the First Canto (a long one, of about 130 octaves) 
of a poem in the style and manner of ' Beppo,' encouraged by the 
good success of the same. It is called ' Don Juan,' and is meant to be 
a little quietly facetious upon every thing. But 1 doubt whether it is 
not — at least, as far as it has yet gone — too free for these very modest 
days. However, I shall try the experiment, anonymously, and if it 
do n't take, it will be discontinued. It is dedicated to S * * in good, 

* This little child had been sent to him by its mother about four or five 
months before, under the care of a Swiss nurse, a young girl not above nine- 
teen or twenty years of age, and in every respect unfit to have the charge of 
such an infant, without the superintendence of some more experienced 
person. ''The child, accordingly," says my informant, "was but ill taken 
care of; — not that any blame could attach to Lord Byron, for he always 
expressed himself most anxious for her welfare, but because the nurse wanted 
the necessary experience. The poor girl was equally to be pitied ; for, as 
Lord Byron's household consisted of English and Italian men-servants, with 
whom she could hold no converse, and as there was no other female to con- 
sult with and assist her in her charge, nothing could be more forlorn than 
her situation proved to be." 

Soon after the date of the above letter, Mrs. Hoppner, the lady of the 
Consul General, who had, from the first, in compassion both to father and 
child, invited the little Allegra occasionally to her house, very kindly pro- 
posed to Lord Byron to take charge of her altogether, and an arrangement 
was accordingly concluded upon for that purpose. 

138 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1818. 

simple, savage verse, upon the * * * *'s politics, and the way he got 
them. But the bore of copying it out is intolerable; and if 1 had an 
amanuensis he would be of no use, as my writing is so difficult to 

" My poem 's Epic, and is meant to be 

Divided in twelve books, each book containing, 

With love and war, a heavy gale at sea — 
A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning — 

New characters, &c. &c. 

The above are two stanzas, which I send you as a brick of my Babel, 
and by which you can judge of the texture of the structure. 

" In writing the life of Sheridan, never mind the angry lies of the 
humbug Whigs. Recollect that he was an Irishman and a clever 
fellow, and that we have had some very pleasant days with him. 
Don't forget that he was at school at Harrow, where, in my time, we 
used to show his name — R. B. Sheridan, 1765 — as an honour to the 
walls. Remember ***** 

*#* ****** 

Depend upon it that there were worse folks going, of that gang, than 
ever Sheridan was. 

" What did Parr mean by * haughtiness and coldness V I listened 
to him with admiring ignorance, and respectful silence. What more 
could a talker for fame have 1 — they do n't like to be answered. It 
was at Payne Knight's I met him, where he gave me more Greek 
than I could carry away. But I certainly meant to (and did) treat 
him with the most respectful deference. 

" I wish you good night with a Venetian benediction, ' Benedetto 
te, e la terra che ti fara !' — ' May you be blessed, and the earth which 
you will make'' — is it not pretty 1 You would think it still prettier 
if you had heard it, as I did two hours ago, from the lips of a Vene- 
tian girl, with large black eyes, a face like Faustina's, and the figure 
of a Juno — tall and energetic as a Pythoness, with eyes flashing, 
and her dark hair streaming in the moonlight — one of those women 
who may be made any thing. I am sure if I put a poniard into the 
hand of this one, she would plunge it where 1 told her, — and into me, 
if I offended her. I like this kind of animal, and am sure that I 
should have preferred Medea to any woman that ever breathed. You 
may, perhaps, wonder that I do n't in that case * * * 


I could have forgiven the dagger or the bowl, any thing, but the delibe- 
rate desolation piled upon me, when I stood alone upon my hearth, 
with my household gods shivered around me.* * * * 

* * *. Do you suppose I have forgotten or forgiven it 1 

It has comparatively swallowed up in me every other feeling, and I am 
only a spectator upon earth, till a tenfold opportunity offers. It may 
come yet. There are others more to be blamed than * * *, 
and it is on these that my eyes are fixed unceasingly." 

* " I had one only fou^ or' quiet left, 

And thai they poison'd I My pure household gods 
Were shivered on my 'learth." 

Marino Faliero. 

A. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 139 



"Venice, Sept. 24, 1818. 
" In the one hundred and thirty-second stanza of Canto 4th, the 
stanza runs in the manuscript 

"And thou, who never yet of human wrong 
Left the unbalanced scale, great Nemesis ! 

and not ' lost? which is nonsense, as what losing a scale means, I know 
not ; but leaving an unbalanced scale, or a scale unbalanced, is intelli- 
gible.* Correct this, I pray, — not for the public, or the poetry, but I 
do not choose to have blunders made in addressing any of the deities 
so seriously as this is addressed. 

" Yours, &c. 

P.S. In the translation from the Spanish, alter 
In increasing squadrons flew, 
To a mighty squadron grew. 




"What does'' thy waters wasted them' mean (in the Canto) 1 That 
is not me.f Consult the MS. always. 

"I have written the first Canto (180 octave stanzas) of a poem in 
the style of Beppo, and have Mazeppa to finish besides. 

" In referring to the mistake in stanza 132, 1 take the opportunity 
to desire that in future, in all parts of my writings referring to religion, 
you will be more careful, and not forget that it is possible that in 
addressing the Deity a blunder may become a blasphemy ; and I do 
not choose to suffer such infamous perversions of my words or of my 

I saw the Canto by accident." 




"Venice, January 20, 1819. 

" The opinions which I have asked of Mr. H. and others were with 
regard to the poetical merit, and not as to what they may think due 
to the cant of the day, which still reads the Bath Guide, Little's Poems, 
Prior, and Chaucer, to say nothing of Fielding and Smollet. If pub- 

* This correction, I observe, has never been made, — the passage still 
remaining, unmeaningly, 

"Lost the unbalanced scale." 

t This passage also remains uncorrected. 

140 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

lished, publish entire, with the above-mentioned exceptions ; or you 
may publish anonymously, or not at all. In the latter event, print 50 
on my account, for private distribution. 

" Yours, &a 

" I have written to Messrs. K. and H. to desire that they will not 
erase more than I have stated. 
"The Second Canto of Don Juan is finished in 206 stanzas." 



" Venice, January 25, 1819. 
" You will do me the favour to print privately (for private distri- 
bution) fifty copies of * Don Juan.' The list of the men to whom I 
wish it to be presented, 1 will send hereafter. The other two poems 
had best be added to the collective edition : I do not approve of their 
being - published separately. Print Don Juan entire, omitting-, of 
course, the lines on Castlereagh, as I am not on the spot to meet him. 
I have a Second Canto ready, which will be sent by-and-by. By this 
post, I have written to Mr. Hobhouse, addressed to your care. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P.S. I. have acquiesced in the request and representation ; and 
having done so, it is idle to detail my arguments in favour of my own 
self-love and ( Poeshie ;' but I protest. If the poem has poetry, it 
would stand ; if not, fall ; the rest is ' leather and prunella,' and has 
never yet affected any human production ' pro or con.' Dulness is 
the only annihilator in such cases. As to the cant of the day, I despise 
it, as I have ever done all its other finical fashions, which become you 
as paint became the ancient Britons. If you admit this prudery, you 
must omit half Ariosto, La Fontaine, Shakspeare, Beaumont, Fletcher, 
Massinger, Ford, all the Charles Second writers ; in short, something 
of most who have written before Pope and are worth reading, and 
much of Pope himself. Read him — most of you do nH — but do — and 
I will forgive you ; though the inevitable consequence would be that 
you would burn all I have ever written, and all your other wretched 
Claudians of the day (except Scott and Crabbe) into the bargain. I 
wrong Claudian, who was a poet, by naming him with such fellows ; 
but he was the ' ultimus Romanorum,' the tail of the comet, and these 
persons are the tail of an old gown cut into a waistcoat for Jackey ; 
but being both tails, I have compared the one with the other, though 
very unlike, like all similes. I write in a passion and a sirocco, and I 
was up till six this morning at the Carnival ; but I protest, as I did in 
my former letter." 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 141 



"Venice, February I, 1819. 
" After one of the concluding stanzas of the First Canto of * Don 
Juan,' which ends with (I forget the number) — 

" To have, 

. . . when the original is dust, 
A book, a d — d bad picture, and worse bust, 

insert the following stanza : — 

" What are the hopes of man, &c. 

" I have written to you several letlers, some with additions- and 
some upon the subject of the poem itself, which my cursed puritanical 
committee have protested against publishing. But we will circumvent 
them on that point. I have not yet begun to copy out the Second 
Canto, which is finished, from natural laziness, and the discouragement 
of the milk and water they have thrown upon the First. I say all this 
to them as to you, that is, for you to say to them, for I will have 
nothing underhand. If they had told me the poetry was bad, I would 
have acquiesced ; but they say the contrary, and then talk to me about 
morality — the first time I ever heard the word from any body who 
was not a rascal that used it for a purpose. I maintain that it is the 
most moral of poems ; but if people won't discover the moral, that is 
their fault, not mine. I have already written to beg that in any case 
you will print fifty for private distribution. I will send you the list 
of persons to whom it is to be sent afterward. 

" Within this last fortnight I have been rather indisposed with a 
rebellion of stomach, which would retain nothing (liver, I suppose), 
and an inability, or fantasy, not to be able to eat of any thing with 
relish but a kind of Adriatic fish called ' scampi,' which happens to be 
the most indigestible of marine viands. However, within these last 
two days, I am better, and very truly yours." 



"Venice, April 6, 1819. 
" The Second Canto of Don Juan was sent, on Saturday last, by 
post, in four packets, two of four, and two of three sheets each, con- 
taining in all two hundred and seventeen stanzas, octave measure. 
But I will permit no curtailments, except those mentioned about Cas- 
tlereagh and * * * * * * # you sha' n't make 
canticles of my cantos. The poem will please, if it is lively ; if it is 
stupid, it will fail : but I will have none of your damned cutting and 
slashing. If you please, you may publish anonymously ; it will, per- 
haps, be better ; but I will battle my way against them all, like a por- 

142 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

" So you and Mr. Foscolo, &c. want me to undertake what you call 
a ' great work ?' an Epic Poem, I suppose, or some such pyramid. 
I '11 try no such thing ; I hate tasks. And then ' seven or eight years !' 
God send us all well this day three months, let alone years. If one's 
years can't be better employed than in sweating poesy, a man had 
better be a ditcher. And works, too! — is Childe Harold nothing? 
You have so many ' divine 1 poems, is it nothing to have written a 
human one 1 without any of your worn-out machinery. Why, man, T 
could have spun the thoughts of the Four Cantos of that poem into 
twenty, had 1 wanted to book-make, and its passion into as many 
modern tragedies. Since you want length, you shall have enough of 
Juan, for 1 '11 make Fifty Cantos. 

" And Foscolo, too ! Why does he not do something more than the 
Letters of Ortis, and a tragedy, and pamphlets 1 He has good fifteen 
years more at his command than 1 have : what has he done all that 
time ? — proved his genius, doubtless, but not fixed its fame, nor done 
his utmost. 

" Besides, I mean to write my best work in Italian, and it will take 
me nine years more thoroughly to master the language ; and then if 
my fancy exists, and 1 exist too, I will try what I can do really. As 
to the estimation of the English which you talk of, let them calculate 
what it is worth, before they insult me with their insolent conde- 

" I have not written for their pleasure. If they are pleased, it is 
that they chose to be so ; I have never flattered their opinions, nor 
their pride; nor will I. Neither will I make 'Ladies' books' 'al 
dilettar le femine e la plebe.' I have written from the fulness of my 
, mind, from passion, from impulse, from many motives, but not for 
their 'sweet voices.' 

" I know the precise worth of popular applause, for few scribblers 
have had more of it ; and if I chose to swerve into their paths, I could 
retain it, or resume it. But I neither love ye, nor fear ye ; and though 
I buy with ye and sell with ye, I will neither eat with ye, drink with 
ye, nor pray with ye. They made me, without my search, a species 
of popular idol ; they, without reason or judgment, beyond the caprice 
of their good pleasure, threw down the image from its pedestal : it 
was not broken with the fall, and they would, it seems, again replace 
it, — but they shall not. 

"You ask about my health: about the beginning of the year I 
was in a state of great exhaustion, attended by such debility of sto- 
mach that nothing remained upon it; and I was obliged to reform my 
'way of life,' which was conducting me from the 'yellow leaf to the 
ground, with all deliberate speed. I am better in health and morals, 
and very much yours, &c. 

"P.S. I have read Hodgson's 'Friends.' * * * * He is right in 
defending Pope against the bastard pelicans of the poetical winter 
day, who add insult to their parricide, by sucking the blood of the 
parent of English real poetry — poetry without fault — and then spurning 
the bosom which fed them." 

It was about the time when the foregoing letter was written, and 
when, as we perceive, like the first return of reason after intoxication, 
a full consciousness of some of the evils of his late libertine course 
of life had broken upon him, that an attachment, differing altogether, 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. US 

both in duration and devotion, from any of those that, since the dream 
of his boyhood, had inspired him, gained an influence over his mind 
which lasted through his few remaining years ; and, undeniably wrong 
and immoral (even allowing for the Italian estimate of such frailties) 
as was the nature of the connexion to which this attachment led, we 
can hardly, perhaps,— taking into account the far worse wrong from 
which it rescued and preserved him, — consider it otherwise than an 
event fortunate both for his reputation and happiness. 

The fair object of this last, and (with one signal exception) only 
real love of his whole life, was a young Romagnese lady, the daughter 
of Count Gamba, of Ravenna, and married but a short time before 
Lord Byron first met with her, to an old and wealthy widower, of the 
same city, Count Guiceioli. Her husband had in early life been the 
friend of Alfieri, and had distinguished himself by his zeal in pro- 
moting the establishment of a National Theatre, in which the talents 
of Alfieri and his own wealth were to 1 j ombined. Notwithstanding 
his age, and a character, as it appears, jy no means reputable, his 
great opulence rendered him an object of ambition among the mothers 
of Ravenna, who, according to the too frequent maternal practice, 
were seen vying with each other in attracting so rich a purchaser for 
their daughters, and the young Teresa Gamba, then only eighteen, 
and just emancipated from a convent, was the selected victim. 

The first time Lord Byron had ever seen this lady was in the autumn 
of 1818, when she made her appearance, soon after her marriage, at 
the house of the Countess Albrizzi, in all the gayety of bridal array, 
and the first delight of exchanging a convent for the world. At this 
time, however, no acquaintance ensued between them ; — it was not 
till the spring of the present year that, at an evening party of Madame 
Benzoni's, they were introduced to each other. The love that sprung 
out of this meeting was instantaneous and mutual, — though with the 
usual disproportion of sacrifice between the parties ; such an event be- 
ing, to the man, but one of the many scenes of life, while, with woman, 
it generally constitutes the whole drama. The young Italian found 
herself suddenly inspired with a passion, of which, till that moment, 
her mind could not have formed the least idea; — she had thought of 
love but as an amusement, and now became its slave. If at the 
outset, too, less slow to be won than an Englishwoman, no sooner did 
she begin to understand the full despotism of the passion, tbj^n her 
heart shrunk from it as something terrible, and she would have escaped, 
but that the chain was already around her. 

No words, however, can describe so simply and feelingly as her 
own, the strong impression which their first meeting left upon her 
mind : — 

" I became acquainted (says Madame Guiceioli) with Lord Byron 
in the April of 1819: — he was introduced to me at Venice, by the 
Countess Benzoni, at one of that lady's parties. This introduction, 
which had so much influence over the lives of us both, took place 
contrary to our wishes, and had been permitted by us only from 
courtesy. For myself, more fatigued than usual that evening on 
account of the late hours they keep at Venice, T went with great 
repugnance to this party, and purely in obedience to Count Guiceioli. 
Lord Bvron, too, who was averse to forming new acquaintances, — 
alleging that he had entirely renounced all attachments, and was 
unwilling any more to expose himself to their consequences, — on 
being requested by the Countess Benzoni to allow himself to be pre- 

144 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

sented to me, refused, and, at last, only assented from a desire to 
oblige her. 

" His noble and exquisitely beautiful countenance, the tone of his 
voice, his maimers, the thousand enchantments that surrounded him, 
rendered him so different and so superior a being to any whom I had 
hitherto seen, that it was impossible he should not have left the most 
profound impression upon me. From that evening-, during the whole 
of my subsequent stay at Venice, we met every day."* 



" Venice, May 15th, 1819. 


" I have got your extract, and the ' Vampire.' I need not say it is 
not mine. There is a rule to go by : you are my publisher (till we 

quarrel), and what is not published by you is not written by me. 


" Next week I set out for Romagna — at least in all probability. 
You had better go on with the publications, without waiting to hear 
farther, for I have other things in my head. ' Mazeppa' and the ' Ode' 
separate 1 — what think you 1 Juan anonymous, without the Dedication , 
for I won't be shabby, and attack Southey under cloud of night. 

" Yours, &c." 

In another letter on the subject of the Vampire, I find the following 
interesting particulars. 


" The story of Shelley's agitation is true.f I can't tell what seized 
him for he do n't want courage. He was once with me in a gale of 
wind, in a small boat, right under the rocks between Meillerie and St. 
Gingo. We were five in the boat — a servant, two boatmen, and our- 

* " Nell' Aprile del 1819, io feci la conoscenza di Lord Byron ; e mi fu 
presentato a Venezia dalla Contessa Benzoni nella di lei societa. Questa 
presentazione che ebbe tante consequenze per tutti e due fu fatta contro la 
volonta d'entrambi, e solo per condiscendenza Tabbiamo permessa. Io stanca 
piu che mai quella sera per le ore tarde clie si costuma fare in Venezia andai 
con molta ripugnanza e solo per ubbidire al Conte Guiccioli in quella societa. 
Lord Byron che scansava di fare nuove conoscenze, dicendo sempre che 
aveva interamente rinunciato alle passioni e che non volev'a esporsi piu alle 
loro consequenze, quando la Contessa Benzoni la prego di volersi far pre- 
sentare a me egli ricuso, e solo per la compiacenza glielo permise. La nobile 
e bellissima sua fisonomia, il suono della sua voce, le sue maniere, i mille 
incanti che lo circondavano lo iendevano un essere cosi difFerente, cosi supe- 
riore a tutti quelli che io aveva sino allora veduti che non potei a meno di 
non provarne la piu profonda impressione. Da quella sera in poi in tutti i 
giorni che mi fermai in Venezia ei siamo sempre veduti.'' — JWS. 

t This story, ;is given in the Preface to the " Vampire," is as follows : — 
" It appears, that one evening Lord B., Mr. P. B. Shelley, two ladies, and 
the gentleman befoie alluded to, after having perused a German work called 
Phantasmagoria, began relaling ghost stories, when his lordship having re- 
cited the beginning of Christabel, then unpublished, the whole took so strong 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 145 

selves. The sail was mismanaged, and the boat was filling fast. He 
can't swim. I stripped off my coat, made Iii;n strip off his, and take 
hold of an oar, telling him that I thought (being myself an expert 
swimmer) I could save him, if he would not struggle when I took 
hold of him — unless we got smashed against the rocks, which were 
high and sharp, with an awkward surf on them at that minute. We 
were then about a hundred yards from shore, and the boat in peril. 
He answered me, with the greatest coolness, ' that he had no notion of 
being saved, and that I would have enough to do to save myself, and. 
begged not to trouble me.' Luckily, the boat righted, and, bailing, we 
got round a point into St. Gingo, where the inhabitants came down 
and embraced the boatmen on their escape, the wind having been high 
enough to tear up some huge trees from the Alps above us, as we saw 
next day. 

" And yet the same Shelley, who was as cool as it was possible to 
be in such circumstances (of which I am no judge myself, as the 
chance of swimming naturally gives self-possessioti when near shore), 
certainly had the fit of fantasy which Polidori describes, though not 
exactly as he describes it. 

" The story of the agreement to write the ghost-books is true ; but 
the ladies are not sisters. ***** 

* * * ***** 

Mary Godwin (now Mrs. Shelley) wrote Frankenstein, which you have 
reviewed, thinking it Shelley's. Methinks it is a wonderful book for a 
girl of nineteen, not nineteen indeed, at that time. I enclose you the 
beginning of mine, by which you will see how far it resembles Mr. 
Colburn's publication. If you choose to publish it, you may, stating 
why, and with such explanatory proem as you please. I never went 
on with it, as you will perceive by the date. I began it in an old ac- 
count-book of Miss Milbanke's, which I kept because it contained the 
word ' Household,' written by her twice on the inside blank page of 
the covers, hying the only two scraps I have in the world in her wait- 
ing, except her name to the Deed of Separation. Her letters I sent 
back, except those of the quarrelling correspondence, and those, 
being documents, are placed in the hands of a third person, with copies 
of several of my own ; so that I have no kind of memorial whatever 
of her, but these two words, — and her actions. I have torn the leaves 
containing the part of the Tale out of the book, and enclose them with 

this sheet. 


" What do you mean 1 First you seem hurt by my letter, and then, 
in your next, you talk of its ' power,' and so forth. ' This is a d — d 
blind story, Jack ; but never mind, go on.' You may be sure I said 
nothing on purpose to plague you, but if you will put me ' in a phrensy, 
I will never call you Jack again.' I remember nothing.of the epistle 
at present. 

a hold of Mr. Shelley's mind, that he suddenly started up, and ran out of the 
room. The physician and Lord Byron followed, and discovered him leaning 
against a mantel-piece, with cold drops of perspiration trickling down his 
face. After having given him something to refresh him, upon inquiring into 
the cause of his alarm, they found that his wild imagination having pictured 
to him the bosom of one of the ladies with eyes (which was reported of a 
lady in the neighbourhood where he lived), he was obliged to leave the room 
in order to destroy the impression." 
Vol. II.— K 

146 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819, 

"What do you mean by Polidori's Diary? Why, I defy him to 
say any thing about me but he is welcome. 1 have nothing to reproach 
me with on his score, and I am much mistaken if that is not his own 
opinion. But why publish the name of the two girls? and in such a 
manner? — what a blundering piece of exculpation ! He asked Pictet, 
&c. to dinner, and of course was left to entertain them. 1 went into 
society solely to present him (as 1 told him), that he might return into 
good company if he chose; it was the best thing for his youth and 
circumstances : for myself, I had done with society, and, having pre- 
sented him, wiihdrew to ray own ' way of life.' It is true that I re- 
turned without entering Lady Dalrymple Hamilton's, because I saw it 
full. It is true that Mrs. Hervey (she writes novels) fainted at my 
entrance into Copet, and then came back again. On her fainting, the 
Duchesse de liroglie exclaimed, ' This is too much at sixty-Jive years 
of age !' — I never gave ' the English' an opportunity of avoiding me ; 
but 1 trust that if ever 1 do, they will seize it. With regard to Ma- 
zeppa and the Ode, you may join or separate them, as you please, from 
the two Cantos. 

" Do n't suppose I want to put you out of humour. I have a great 
respect for your good and gentlemanly qualities, and return your per- 
sonal friendship towards me ; and although I think you a little spoiled 
by 'villanous company,' — wits, persons of honour about town, au- 
thors, and fashionables, together with your ' I am just going to call 
at Carlton House, are you walking that way V — I say, notwithstanding 
' pictures, taste, Shakspeare, and the musical glasses,' you deserve 
and possess the esteem of those whose esteem is worth having, and 
of none more (however useless it may be) than yours very truly, &c. 

" P.S. Make my respects to Mr. GifTord. I rm perfectly aware that 
' Don Juan' must set us all by the ears, but thai *s my concern, and my 
beginning. There will be the ' Edinburgh,' and all, too, against it, 
so that, like ' Rob Roy,' I shall have my hands ?jll." 



"Venice, May 25th, 1819. 
" I have received no proofs by the last post, and shall probably have 
quitted Venice before the arrival of the next. There wanted a few 
stanzas to the termination of Canto First in the last proof; the next 
will, I presume, contain them, and the whole or a portion of Canto 
Second ; but it will be idle to wait for farther answers from me, as I 
have directed that my letters wait for my return (perhaps in a month, 
and probably so) ; therefore do not wait for farther advice from me. 
You may as well talk to the wind, and better — for it will at least con- 
vey your accents a little farther than they would otherwise have gone ; 
whereas / shall neither echo nor acquiesce in your ' exquisite reasons.* 
You may omit the note of reference to Hobho use's travels, in Canto 
Second, and you will put as motto to the whole — 

'Difficile est proprie communia dicere.' — Horace. 

" A few days ago I sent you all I know of Polidori's Vampire. He 

> * 

A. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 147 

may do, say, or write what he pleases, but 1 wish he would not attri- 
bute to me his own compositions. If he has any thing of mine in his 
possession, the manuscript will put it beyond controversy; but I 
scarcely think that any one who knows me would believe the thing in 
the Magazine to be mine, even if they saw it in my own hieroglyphics. 
"I write to you in the agonies of a sirocco, which annihilates me; 
and I have been fool enough to do four things since dinner, which are 
as well omitted in very hot weather : lstly, * * * *; 2dly, to play 
at billiards from 10 to 12, under the influence of lighted lamps, that 
doubled the heat ; 3dly, to go afterward into a red-hot conversazione 
of the Countess Benzoni's ; and 4thly, to begin this letter at three in 
the morning : but being begun, it must be finished. 

" Ever very truly and affectionately yours, 


"P.S. I petition for tooth-brushes, powder, magnesia, Macassar oil 
(or Russia), the sashes, and Sir Nl. Wraxall's Memoirs of his Own 
Times. I want, besides, a bull-dog, a terrier, and two Newfoundland 
dogs ; and 1 want (is it Buck's ]) a life of Richard 3d, advertised by 
Longman long, long, long ago ; I asked for it at least three years 
since. See Longman's advertisements." 


About the middle of April, Madame Guiccioli had been obliged to 
quit Venice with her husband. Having several houses on the road 
from Venice to Ravenna, it was his habit to stop at these mansions, 
one after the other, in his journeys between the two cities ; and from 
all these places the enamoured young Countess now wrote to her 
lover, expressing in the most passionate and pathetic terms, her de- 
spair at leaving him. So utterly, indeed, did this feeling overpower 
her, that three times, in the course of her first clay's journey, she was 
seized with fainting-fits. In one of her letters, which I saw when at 
Venice, dated, if I recollect right, from " Ca Zen, Cavanelle di Po," 
she tells him that the solitude of this place, which she had before 
found irksome, was, now that one sole idea occupied her mind, become 
dear and welcome to her, and promises that, as soon as she arrives at 
Ravenna, " she will, according to his wish, avoid all general society, 
and devote herself to reading, music, domestic occupations, riding on 
horseback, — exery thing, in short, that she knew he would most like." 
What a change for a young and simple girl, who, but a few weeks 
before, had thought only of society and the world, but who now saw 
no other happiness but in the hope of becoming worthy, by seclusion 
and self-instruction, of the illustrious object of her love ! 

On leaving this place she was attacked with a dangerous illness on 
the road, and arrived half dead at Ravenna; nor was it found possi- 
ble to revive or comfort her till an assurance was received from Lord 
Byron, expressed with all the fervour of real passion, that, in the 
course of the ensuing month, he would pay her a visit. Symptoms 
of consumption, brought on by her state of mind, had already shown 
themselves ; and, in addition to the pain which this separation had 
caused her, she was also suffering much grief from the loss of her 
mother, who, at this time, died in giving birth to her twentieth child. 
Towards the latter end of May she wrote to acquaint Lord Byron that^ 
having prepared all her relatives and friends to expect him, he might 
now, she thought, venture to make his appearance at Ravenna. 
Though, on the lady's account, hesitating as to the prudence of such 


148 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

a step, he, in obedience to her wishes, on the 2d of June, set out from 
La Mira (at which place he had again taken a villa for the summer), 
and proceeded towards Romagna. 

From Padua he addressed a letter to Mr. Hoppner, chiefly occupied 
with matters of household concern which that gentleman had under- 
taken to manage for him at Venice, but on the immediate object of 
his journey, expressing himself in a tone so light and jesting, as it 
would be difficult for those not versed in his character to conceive that 
he could ever bring himself, while under the influence of a passion 
so sincere, to assume. But such is ever the wantonness of the 
mocking spirit, from which nothing, — not even love, — remains sacred ; 
and which at last, for want of other food, turns upon self. The same 
horror, too, of hypocrisy that led Lord Byron to exaggerate his own 
errors, led him also to disguise, under a seemingly heartless ridicule, 
all those natural and kindly qualities by which they were redeemed. 

This letter from Padua concludes thus : — 

"A journey in an Italian June is a conscription; and if I was not 
the most constant of men, 1 should now be swimming from the Lido, 
instead of smoking in hie dust of Padua. Should there be letters from 
England, let them wait my return. And do look at my house and (not 
lands, but) waters, and scold ; — and deal out the moneys to Edge- 
combe* with an air of reluctance and a shake of the head — and put 
queer questions to him — and turn up your nose when he answers. 

" Make my respects to the Consuless — and to the Chevalier — and to 
Scotin — and to all the counts and countesses of our acquaintance. 

" And believe me ever 

" Your disconsolate and affectionate, &c." 

As a contrast to the strange levity of this letter, as well as in justice 
to the real earnestness of the passion, however censurable in all other 
respects, that now engrossed him, I shall here transcribe some stanzas 
which he wrote in the course of this journey to Romagna, and which, 
though already published, are not comprised in the regular collection 
of his works. 

" River,f that rollest by the ancient walls, 

Where dwells the lady of my love, when she 
Walks by thy brink, and there perchance recalls 
A faint and fleeting memory of me ; 

" W 7 hat if thy deep and ample stream should be 
A mirror of my heart, where she may read 
The thousand thoughts I now betray to thee 
Wild as thy wave, and headlong as thy speed ! 

"What do I say — a mirror of my heart? 

Are not thy waters sweeping, dark, and strong? 
Such as my feelings were and are, thou art ; 
And such as thou art were my passions long. 

* A clerk of iheEri^-i-k Consulate, whom he at this time employed to 
control his accounts. 
t The Po. 

a. d. 1319.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. H9 

" Time may have somewhat tamed them. — not for ever; 
Thou overrlow'st thy banks, an:. ::. i tor ave 
Thy bosom overboils, congeni i] river ! 
Thy rloods subside, ai] 1 mine have sank away. 

"But left Ions: wrecks belli" 1 i. and now again. 
Borne in our old onchangM career, we move ; 
Thou tendest wildly onwards to the main. 
And I — to loving one I shoula not iove. 

" The current I behold will sweep beneath 

Her native walls and murmur a: km feet: 
Her eyes will look on thee, when she shall breathe 
The twilight air. unharm'd by summer's heat. 

" She will look on thee. — I have look'd on thee, 

Full of that thought : and. from that moment, ne'er 
Thy waters could 1 dream of, name, or see, 
Without the inseparable sigh for her ! 

"Her bright eyes will be imaged in thy stream, — 
Yes ! they will meet the wave I gaze on now: 
Mine cannot witness, even in a dream. 
That happy wave repass me m its now ! 

" The wave that bears my tears returns no more : 

Will she return by whom that wave shall sweep] — 
Both tread thy banks, both wander on thy shore, 

I by thy source, she by the dark-blue deep. 

" But that which keepeth us apart is not 

Distance, nor depth of wave, nor space of earth, 
But the distraction of a various lot. 
As various as the climates of our birth. 

"A stranger loves the lady of the land. 

Born far beyond the mountains, but his blood 
Is all meridian, as if never fann'd 

By the black wind that chills the polar flood. 

" Mv blood is all meridian ; were it not, 
1 had not left my clime, nor should I be, 
In spite of tortures, ne'er to be forgot, 

A slave again of love. — at least of thee. v 

" 'T is vain to struggle — let me perish young — 
Live as 1 lived, and love as I have loved; 
To dust if I return, from ' M st I sprung, 
And then, at least, my heart can ne'er be moved." 

On arriving at Bologna and receiving no farther intelligence from 
the Contessa, he began to be of opinion, as we shall perceive in the 
annexed interesting letters, that he should act most prudently, for all 
parties, by returning to Venice. 

150 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 



" Bologna, June 6th, 1819. 

" I am at length joined to Bologna, where I am settled like a sausage, 
and shall be broiled like one, if this weather continues. Will you 
thank Mengaldo on my part for the Ferrara acquaintance, which was 
a very agreeable one. 1 staid two days at Ferrara, and was much 
pleased with the Count Mosti, and the little the shortness of the time 
permitted me to see of his family. I went to his conversazione which 
is very far superior to any thing of the kind at Venice — the women 
almost all young — several pretty — and the men courteous and cleanly. 
The lady of the mansion, who is young, lately married, and with child, 
appeared very pretty by candlelight (I did not see her by day), pleas- 
ing in her manners, and very lady-like, or thorough-bred, as we call it 
in England, — a kind of thing which reminds one of a racer, an ante- 
lope, or an Italian greyhound. She seems very fond of her husband, 
who is amiable and accomplished ; he has been in England two or 
three times, and is young. The sister, a Countess somebody — I for- 
get what — (they are both Maffei by birth, and Veronese of course) — 
is a lady of more display ; she sings and plays divinely ; but I thought 
she was a d — d long time about it. Her likeness to Madame Flahaut 
(Miss Mercer that was) is something quite extraordinary. 

" I had but a bird's-eye view of these people, and shall not probably 
gee them again ; but I am very much obliged to Mengaldo for letting 
me see them at all. Whenever I meet with any thing agreeable in this 
world, it surprises me so much, and pleases me so much (when my 
passions are not interested one way or the other), that I go on won- 
dering for a week to come. I feel, too, in great admiration of the Car- 
dinal Legate's red stockings. 

"1 found, too, such a pretty epitaph in the Certosa cemetery, or 
rather two : one was 

the other, 

' Martini Luigi 

Implora pace ;' 

' Lucretia Picini 

Implora eterna quiete.' 

That was all ; but it appears to me that these two and three words 
comprise and compress all that can be said on the subject, — and then, 
in Italian, they are absolute music. They contain doubt, hope, and 
humility ; nothing can be more pathetic than the ' implora' and the 
modesty of the request ; — they have had enough of life — they want 
nothing but rest — they implore it, and ' eterna quiete.' It is like a 
Greek inscription in some good old heathen ' City of the Dead.' Pray, 
if I am shovelled into the Lido churchyard in your time, let me have 
the ' implora pace,' and nothing else, for my epitaph. I never met 
with any, ancient or modern, that pleased me a tenth part so much. 

" In about a day or two after you receive this letter, I will thank 
you to desire Edgecombe to prepare for my return. I shall go back 
to Venice before I village on the Brenta. 1 shall stay but a few days 

A. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYKON. 151 

in Bologna. I am just going out to see sights, but shall not present 
my introductory letters for a day or two, till I have run over again the 
place and pictures ; nor perhaps at all, if I find that I have books and 
sights enough to do without the inhabitants. After that, I shall return 
to Venice, where you may expect me about the eleventh, or perhaps 
sooner. Pray make my thanks acceptable to Mengaldo ; my respects 
to the Consuless, and to Mr. Scott. 
" I hope my daughter is well. 

" Ever yours, and truly. 

"P.S. I went over the Ariosto MS. &c. &c. again at Ferrara, with 
the castle, and cell, and house, &c. &c. 

" One of the Ferrarese asked me if I knew ' Lord Byron,' an ac- 
quaintance of his now at Naples. I told him * No /' which was true 
both ways ; for I knew not the impostor, and in the other, no one knows 
himself. He stared when told that I was ' the real Simon Pure.' — 
Another asked me if I had not translated ' Tasso.' You see what 
Fame is ! how accurate ! how boundless ! I do n't know how others 
feel, but I am always the lighter and the better looked on when I have 
got rid of mine ; it sits on me like armour on the Lord Mayor's cham- 
pion ; and I got rid of all the husk of literature, and the attendant 
babble, by answering, that I had not translated Tasso, but a namesake 
had ; and by the blessing of Heaven, I looked so little like a poet, 
that every body believed me." 



" Bologna, June 7th, 1819. 

" Tell Mr. Hobhouse that I wrote to him a few days ago from Fer- 
rara. It will therefore be idle in him or you to wait for any farther 
answers or returns of proofs from Venice, as I have directed that no 
English letters be sent after me. The publication can be proceeded 
in without, and I am already sick of your remarks, to which I think 
not the least attention ought to be paid. 

" Tell Mr. Hobhouse, that since I wrote to him, I had availed my- 
self of my Ferrara letters, and found the society much younger and 
better there than at Venice. I am very much pleased with the little 
the shortness of my stay permitted me to see of the Gonfaloniere 
Count Mosti, and his family and friends in general. 

"I have been picture-gazing this morning at the famous Domeni- 
chino and Guido, both of which are superlative. I afterward went to 
the beautiful cemetery of Bologna, beyond the walls, and found, besides 
the superb burial ground, an original of a Custode, who reminded one 
of the grave-digger in Hamlet. He has a collection of capuchins' 
skulls, labelled on the forehead, and taking down one of them, said, 
' This was Brother Desiderio Berro, who died at forty — one of my best 
friends. I begged his head of his brethren after his decease, and they 
gave it me. 1 put it in lime, and then boiled it. Here it is, teeth and 
all, in excellent preservation. He was the merriest, cleverest fellow I 
ever knew. Wherever he went he brought joy; and whenever any one 
was melancholy, the sight of him was enough to make him cheerful 
again. He walked so actively, you might have taken him for a dancer 

152 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

— he joked — he laughed — oh ! he was such a Frate as I never saw 
before, nor ever shall again !' 

" He told me that he had himself planted all the cypresses in the 
cemetery ; that he had the greatest attachment to them and to his dead 
people ; that since 1801 they had buried fifty-three thousand persons. 
In showing - some older monuments, there was that of a Roman girl 
of twenty, with a bust by Bernini. She was a princess Barlorini, dead 
two centuries ago : he said, that on opening her grave, they had found 
her hair complete, and ' as yellow as gold.' Some of the epitaphs at 
Ferrara pleased me more than the more splendid monuments at Bo- 
logna ; for instance — 

4 Martini Luigi 

Implora pace ;' 

' Lucrezia Picini 

Implora eterna quiete.' 

Can any thing be more full of pathos ? Those few words say all that 
can be said or sought ; the dead had had enough of life ; all they 
wanted was rust, and this they implore ! There is all the helpless- 
ness, and humble hope, and deathlike prayer, that can arise from the 
grave — ' implora pace.'* I hope whoever may survive me, and shall 
see me put m the foreigners' burying ground at the Lido, within the 
fortress by the Adriatic, will see those two words, and no more, put 
over me. I trust they won't think of ' pickling, and bringing me home 
to Clod or Blunderbuss Hall.' I am sure my bones would not rest in 
an English grave, or my clay mix with the earth of that country. I 
believe the thought would drive me mad on my deathbed, could I 
suppose that any of my friends would be base enough to convey my 
carcass back to your soil. — 1 would not even feed your worms, if I 
could help it. 

" So, as Shakspeare says of Mowbray, the banished Duke of Nor- 
folk, who died at Venice (see Richard 2d), that he, after fighting 

* Against black Pagans, Turks, and Saracens, 
And toil'd with works of war, retired himself 
To Italy, and there, at Venice, gave 
His body to that pleasant country's earth, 
And his pure soul unto his captain, Christ, 
Under whose colours he had lought so long 

" Before I left Venice, I had returned to you your late, and Mr. Hob- 
house's, sheets of Juan. Do n't wait for farther answers from me, 
but address yours to Venice, as usual. I know nothing of my own 
movements ; I may return there in a few days, or not for some time. 

* Though Lord Byron, like most other persons, in writing' to different 
friends, was sometimes led to repeat the same circumstances and thoughts, 
there is, from the ever ready fertility of his mind, much less of such repe- 
tition in his correspondence than in that, perhaps, of any other multifarious 
letter-writer; and, in the instance before us, where the same facts und re- 
flections are, for the second time, introduced, it is with such new touches, 
both of thought and expiession, as render them, even a second time, interest- 
ing ;— what is wanting in the novelty of the matter being made up by the 
new aspect given to it. 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 153 

All this depends on circumstances. I left Mr. Hoppner very well. 
My daughter Allegra was well too, and is growing pretty ; her hair is 
growing darker, and her eyes are blue. Her temper and her ways, 
Mr. Hoppner says, are like mine, as well as her features : she will 
make, in that case, a manageable young lady. 

" I have never heard any thing of Ada, the little Electra of my My- 
cenae. * * * *. But there will come a day of reckoning, 
even if I should not live to see it. I have at least seen * * * shivered, 
who was one of my assassins. When that man was doing his worst 
to uproot my whole family, tree, branch, and blossoms — when, after 
taking my retainer, he went over to them — when he was bringing 
desolation on my hearth, and destruction on my household gods — did 
he think that, in less than three years, a natural event — a severe, do- 
mestic, but an expected and common calamity — would lay his carcass 
in a cross-road, or stamp his name in a Verdict of Lunacy ! Did he 
(who in his sexagenary * * *) reflect or consider what my feelings 
must have been, when wife, and child, and sister, and name, and fame, 
and country, were to be my sacrifice on his legal altar — and this at a 
moment when my health was declining, my fortune embarrassed, and 
my mind had been shaken by many kinds of disappointment — while 
I was yet young, and might have reformed what might be wrong in 
my conduct, and retrieved what was perplexing in my affairs ! But 
he is in his grave, and * * * *. What a long letter I have 
scribbled! "Yours, &c. 

"P.S. Here, as in Greece, they strew flowers on the tombs. I 
saw a quantity of rose-leaves, and entire roses, scattered over the 
graves at Ferrara. It has the most pleasing effect you can imagine." 

While he was thus lingering irresolute at Bologna, the Countess 
Guiccioli had been attacked with an intermittent fever, the violence 
of which, combining with the absence of a confidential person to 
whom she had been in the habit of intrusting her letters, prevented 
her from communicating with him. At length, anxious to spare him 
the disappointment of finding her so ill on his arrival, she had begun 
a letter, requesting that he would remain at Bologna till the visit to 
which she looked forward should bring her there also ; and was in the 
act of writing, when a friend came in to announce the arrival of an 
English lord at Ravenna. She could not doubt for an instant that it 
was her noble lover; and he had, in fact, notwithstanding his declara- 
tion to Mr. Hoppner that it was his intention to return to Venice im- 
mediately, wholly altered this resolution before the letter announcing 
it was despatched, — the following words being written on the outside 
cover: — " I am just setting off for Ravenna, June 8, 1819. — I changed 
my mind this morning, and decided to go on." 

The reader, however, shall have Madame Guiccioli's own account 
of these events, which, fortunately for the interest of my narration, I 
am enabled to communicate. 

" On my departure from Venice, he had promised to come and see 
me at Ravenna. Dante's tomb, the classical pine wood,* the relics of 

* " Tal qual di ramo in ramo si raccoglie 
Per la pineta in sul lito di Chiassi, 
Quando Eolo Scirocco fuor discioglie." 

Dante, purg. canto xxviii. 
Dante himself (says Mr. Carey, in one of the notes on his admirable trans- 

154 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

antiquity which are to be found in that place, afforded a sufficient pre- 
text for me to invite him to come, and for him to accept my invitation. 
He came, in fact, in the month of June, arriving- at Ravenna on the day 
of the festival of the Corpus Domini ; while J, attacked by a consump- 
tive complaint, which had its origin from the moment of my quitting 
Tcnice, appeared on the point of death. The arrival of a distinguished 
foreigner at Ravenna, a town so remote from the routes ordinarily 
followed by travellers, was an event which gave rise to a good deal 
of conversation. His motives for such a visit became the subject of 
discussion, and these he himself afterward involuntarily divulged ; for 
having made some inquiries with a view to paying me a visit, and being 
told that it was unlikely that he would ever see me again, as I was at 
the point of death, he replied, if such were the case, he hoped that he 
should die also; which circumstance, being repeated, revealed the object 
of his journey. Count Guiccioli, having been acquainted with Lord By- 
ron at Venice, went to visit him now, and in the hope that his presence 
might amuse, and be of some use to me in the state in which I then found 
myself, invited him to call upon me. He came the day following. 
It is impossible to describe the anxiety he showed, — the delicate atten- 
tions that he paid me. For a long time he had perpetually medical 
books in his hands ; and not trusting my physicians, he obtained per- 
mission from Count Guiccioli to send for a very clever physician, a 
friend of his, in whom he placed great confidence. The attentions of 
the Professor Aglietti (for so this celebrated Italian was called), 
together with tranquillity, and the inexpressible happiness which I ex- 
perienced in Lord Byron's society, had so good an effect on my health, 
that only two months afterward I was able to accompany my husband 
in a tour he was obliged to make to visit his various estates."* 

lation of this poet) " perhaps wandered in this wood during his abode with 
Guido Novello da Polenta." 

* " Partendo io da Venezia egli promise di venir a vedermi a Ravenna. 
La Tomba di Dante, il classico bosco di pini, gli avvanzi di antichita che a 
Ravenna si trovano davano a me ragioni plausibili per invitarlo a venire, ed 
a lui per accettare Pinvito. Egli venne difatti nel mese Guigno, e giunse a 
Ravenna nel giorno della Solennita del Corpus Domini, mentre in attaccata 
da una malattia de consunzione ch' ebbe principio dalla mia partenza da Ve- 
nezia ero vicini a morire. L'arrivo in Ravenna d'un forestiero distinto, in 
un paese cosi lontano dalle strade che ordinariamente tengono i viaggiatori 
era un avvenimento del quale molto si parlava, indagandosene i motivi, che 
involontariamente poi egli feci conoscere. Perche avendo egli domandato 
di me per venire a vedermi ed essendogli risposto ' che non potrebbe vedermi 
piu perche ero vicina a morire' — e<fh rispose che in quel caso voleva morire egli 
pure ; la qual cosaessendosi poi ripetata si conobbe cosiPoggetto del suo viaggio. 

u II Conte Guiccioli visito Lord Byron, essendolo conosciuto in Venezia, e 
nella speranza che la di lui compagnia potesse distrarmi ed essermi di qualche 
giovamento nello stato in cui mi trovavo egli lo invito di venire a visitarmi. 
II giorno appresso egli venne. Non si pctrebbero descrivere le cure, i pensieri 
delicati, quanto egli fece per me. Per molto tempo egli non ebbe per le mani 
che dei Libri di Medicini ; e poco confidandosi nel miei mcdici ottenne dal 
Conte Guiccioli il perrnesso di far venire un valente medico di lui amico nel 
quale egli aveva molta confidenza. Le cure del Professorc Aglietti (cosi si 
chiama questo distinto Italiano) la tranquillita, anzi la felicita inespr^mibile 
che mi cagionava la presenza di Lord Byron migliorarono cosl rapidamento 
la mia salute che entro lo spazio di due inesi potei seguire mio marito in un 
giro che egli doveva fare per lc sue terre." — JtfiS'. 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 155 



" Ravenna, June 20th, 1819. 


" I wrote to you from Padua, and from Bologna, and since from 
Ravenna. I find my situation very agreeable, but want my horses very 
much, there being good riding in the environs. I can fix no time for 
my return to Venice — it may be soon or late — or not at all — it all de- 
pends on the Donna, whom I found very seriously in bed with a cough 
and spitting of blood, &c, all of which has subsided. * * 
*****.***'*.! found all the people 
here firmly persuaded that she would never recover ; — they were mis- 
taken, however. 

" My letters were useful as far as I employed them ; and I like both 
the place and people, though I do n't trouble the latter more than I can 
help. She manages very well — * * * * * 

but if I come away with a stiletto in my gizzard some fine afternoon, 
I shall not be astonished. I can't make him out at all — he visits me 
frequently, and takes me out (like W hjttington, the Lord Mayor) in a 
coach and six horses. The fact appears to be, that he is completely 
governed by her — for that matter, so am I.* The people, here do n't 
know what to make of us, as he had tne character of jealousy with all 
his wives — this is the third. He is the richest of the Ravennese, by 

their own account, but is not popular among them. 

# # # * # # 

# * # * # # 

Now do, pray, send off Augustine, and carriage and cattle, to Bologna, 
without fail or delay, or I shall lose my remaining shred of senses. 
Do n't forget this. My coming, going-, and every thing depend upon 
her entirely, just as Mrs. Hoppner (to whom I remit my reverences) 
said in the true spirit of female prophecy. 
" You are but a shabby fellow not to have written before. 

" And 1 am truly yours, &c." 

* That this task of " governing" him was one of more ease than, from the 
ordinary view of his character, might be concluded, I have more than once, 
in these pages, expressed my opinion, and shall here quote, in corroboration 
of it, the remark of his own servant (founded on an observation of more than 
twenty years), in speaking of his master's matrimonial fate: — " It is very 
odd, but I never yet knew a lady that could not manage my Lord, except my 

" More knowledge," says Johnson, " may be gained of a man's real cha- 
racter by a short conversation with one of his servants, than from the most 
formal and studied narrative." 

156 NOTICES OF THE [ A . d 1819 



" Ravenna, June 29th, 1819. 
" The letters have been forwarded from Venice, but 1 trust that you 
will not have waited for farther alterations — I will make none. You 
ask me to spare * * * * — ask the worms. His dust can suffer 
nothing- from the truth being spoken — and if it could, how did he be- 
have to me r You may talk to the wind, which will carry the sound — 
and to the caves, which will echo you — but not to me, on the sub- 
ject of a * * * who wronged me — whether dead or alive. 

" I have no time to return you the proofs — publish without them. 1 
am glad you think the poesy good ; and as to 'thinking of the effect, 
think you of the sale, and leave me to pluck the porcupines who may 
point their quills at you. 

" I have been here (at Ravenna) these four weeks, having left Ve- 
nice a month ago ; — I came to see my ' Arnica,' the Countess Guiccioli, 
who has been, and still continues, very unwell. * * * 

She is only twenty years old, but not of a strong constitution. * 

She has a. perpetual cough and an intermittent fever, but bears up most 
gallantly in every sense of the word. Her husband (this is his third 
wife) is the richest noble of Ravenna, and almost of Romagna ; he is 
also not the youngest, being upwards of threescore, but in good pre- 
servation. All this will appear strange to you, who do not understand 
the meridian morality, nor our way of life in such respects, and I 
cannot at present expound the difference ; — but you would find it much 
the same in these parts. At 1 aenza there is Lord * * * * with an opera 
girl ; and at the inn in the same town is a Neapolitan Prince, who 
serves the wife of the Gonfaloniere of that city. I am on duty here — so 
you see • Cosi fan tutti e tutte.' 

" I have my horses here, saddle as well as carriage, and ride or drive 
every day in the forest, the Pineta, the scene of Boccaccio's novel, 
and Dryden's fable of Houoria, &c. &c. ; and I see my Dama every 
day ******; but I feel seriously uneasy about her health, 
which seems very precarious. In losing her, I should lose a being 
who has run great risks on my account, and whom I have every rea- 
son to love — but I must not think this possible. I do not know what 
I should do if she died, but I ought to blow my brains out — and I hope 
that I should. Her husband is a very polite personage, but I wish he 
would not carry me out in his coach and six, like Whittington and 
his cat. 

" You ask me if I mean to continue D. J., &c. How should I 
know ? What encouragement do you give me, all of you, with your 
nonsensical prudery 1 — publish the two Cantos, and then you will see. 
I desired Mr. Kinnaird to speak to you on a little matter of business ; 
either he has not spoken, or you have not answered. You are a pretty 
pair, but I will be even with you both. I perceive that Mr. Hobhouse 
has been challenged by Major Cartwright. — Is the Major 'so cunning 
of fence V — why did not they fight 1 — they ought. 

" Y'ours, &c." 

a d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 157 



"Ravenna, July 2d, 1819. 

"Thanks for your letter and forMadame's. I will answer it directly. 
Will you recollect whether I did not consign to you one or two receipts 
of Madame Mocenigo's for house-rent — (I am not sure of this, but 
think I did — if not, they will be in my drawers) — and will you desire 
Mr. Dorville* to have the goodness to see if Edgecombe has receipts 
to all payments hitherto made by him on my account, and that there 
are no debts at Venice 1 On your answer, I shall send order of farther 
remittance to carry on my household expenses, as my present return 
to Venice is very problematical; and it may happen — but I can say 
nothing positive — every thing with me being indecisive and undecided, 
except the disgust which Venice excites when fairly compared with 
any other city in this part of Italy. When I say Venice, 1 mean the 
Venetians — the city itself is superb as its history — but the people are 
what I never thought them till they taught me to think so. 

" The best way will be to leave Allegra with Antonio's spouse till 
I can decide something about her and myself — but I thought that you 

would have had an answer from Mrs. V r.f You have had bore 

enough with me and mine already. 

" 1 greatly fear that the Guiccioli is going into a consumption, to 
which her constitution tends. Thus it is with every thing and every 
body for whom I feel any thing like a real attachment ; — ' War, death, 
or discord, doth lay siege to them.' I never even could keep alive a 
dog that I liked or that liked me. Her symptoms are obstinate cough 
of the lungs, and occasional fever, &c. &c, and there are latent causes 
of an eruption in the skin, which she foolishly repelled into the system 
two years ago; but I have made them send her case to Aglietti; and 
have begged him to come — if only for a day or two — to consult upon 

her state. 



If it would not bore Mr. Dorville, I wish he would keep an eye on 

E and on my other ragamuffins. I might have more to say, 

but I am absorbed about La Gui. and her illness. I cannot tell you 
the effect it has upon me. 

" The horses came, &c. &c, and I have been galloping through the 
pine forest daily. 

"Believe me, &c. 

* The Vice-Consul of Mr. Hoppner. 

t An English widow lady, of considerable property in the north of Eng- 
land, who, having seen the little Allegra at Mr. Hoppner's, took an interest 
in the poor child's fate, and having no family of her own, offered to adopt 
and provide for this little girl, if Lord Byron would consent to renounce all 
claim to her. At first he seemed not disinclined to enter into her views- so 
far, at least, as giving permission that she should take the child with her to 
England and educate it ; but the entire surrender of his paternal authority 
he would by no means conseaUto. The proposed arrangement accordingly 
was never carried into «ifbct. 

158 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

"P.S. My benediction on Mrs. Hoppner, a pleasant journey among 
the Bernese tyrants, and safe return. You ought to bring- back a 
Platonic Bernese for my reformation.' If any thing happens to my 
present Arnica, I have done with the passion for ever — it is my last 
love. As to libertinism, 1 have sickened myself of that, as was natu- 
ral in the way 1 went on, and I have at least derived that advantage 
from vice, to love in the better sense of the word. This will be my 
last adventure — I can hope no more to inspire attachment, and I trust 
never again to feel it." 

The impression which, I think, cannot but be entertained, from 
some passages of these letters, of the real fervour and sincerity of his 
attachment to Madame Guiccioli,* would be still farther confirmed by 
the perusal of his letters to that lady herself, both from Venice and 
during his present stay at Ravenna — all bearing, throughout, the true 
marks both of affection and passion. Such effusions, however, are 
but little suited to the general eye. It is the tendency of all strong 
feeling, from dwelling constantly on the same idea, to be monotonous ; 
and those often-repeated vows and verbal endearments, which make 
the charm of true love-letters to the parties concerned in them, must 
for ever render even the best of them cloying to others. Those of 
Lord Byron to Madame Guiccioli, which are for the most part in Italian, 
and written with a degree of ease and correctness attained rarely 
by foreigners, refer chiefly to the difficulties thrown in the way of 
their meetings, — not so much by the husband himself, who appears to 
have liked and courted Lord Byron's society, as by the watchfulness 
of other relatives, and the apprehension felt by the lovers themselves 
lest their imprudence should give uneasiness to the father of the lady, 
Count Gamba, a gentleman to whose good-nature and amiableness 
of character all who know him bear testimony. 

In the near approaching departure of the young Countess for 
Bologna, Lord Byron foresaw a risk of their being again separated ; 
and under the impatience of this prospect, though through the whole 
of his preceding letters the fear of committing her by any imprudence 
seems to have been his ruling thought, he now, with that wilfulness 
of the moment which has so often sealed the destiny of years, pro- 
posed that she should, at once, abandon her husband and fly with 
him: — "c'e uno solo rimedio efficace," he says,— " cioe d' andar via 
insieme." To an Italian wife, almost every thing but this is permis- 
sible. The same system which so indulgently allows her a lover, as 
one of the regular appendages of her matrimonial establishment, takes 

* u During my illness," says Madame Guiccioli, in her recollections of 
this period, "he was for ever near me. paying me the most amiable atten- 
tions, and when I became convalescent he was constantly at my side. In 
society, at the theatre, riding, walking, he never was absent from me. Being 
deprived at that time of his books, his horses, and all that occupied him at 
Venice, I begged him to gratify me by writing something on the subject of 
Dante, and, with his usual facility and rapidity, he composed his 'Prophecy.'" 
— " Durante la mia malattia L B. era sempre presso di me, prestandomi 
le piu sensibili cure, e quando passai alio stato di convalescenza egli era 
6empre al mio fianco ; — e in societa, e al teatro, e cavalcando, e passeggiando 
egli non si allontanava mai da me. In quel' epoca essendo egli privo de' 
suoi libri, e de' suoi cavalli e di tuttocio die lo occupava in Venezia io lo 
prcgai di volersi oc-cupare per me scrivendo qualche cosa sul Dante ; ed egli 
colla usata sua facilita e rapidita scrisse la sua ' Profezia.' " 

A< b. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 159 

care also to guard against all unseemly consequences of this privi- 
lege ; and in return for such convenient facilities of wrong exacts 
rigidly an observance of all the appearances of right. Accordingly, 
the open step of deserting the husband for the lover, instead of being 
considered, as in England, but a sign and sequel of transgression, 
takes rank, in Italian morality, as the main transgression itself; and 
being an offence, too, rendered wholly unnecessary by the latitude 
otherwise enjoyed, becomes, from its rare occurrence, no less mon- 
strous than odious. 

The proposition, therefore, of her noble lover seemed to the young 
Contessa little less than sacrilege, and the agitation of her mind, 
between the horrors of such a step, and her eager readiness to give 
up all and every thing - for him she loved, was depicted most strongly 
in her answer to the proposal. In a subsequent letter, too, the 
romantic girl even proposed, as a means of escaping the ignominy of 
an elopement, that she should, like another Juliet, " pass for dead," — 
assuring him that there were many easy ways of effecting such a 



" Ravenna, August 1st, 1819. 
" [Address your answer to Venice, however.} 

" Do n't be alarmed. You will see me defend n^self gayly — that is, 
if I happen to be in spirits ; and by spirits, I do n't mean your meaning 
of the word, but the spirit of a bull-dog when pinched, or a bull when 
pinned ; it is then that they make best sport ; and as my sensations 
under an attack are probably a happy compound of the united ener- 
gies of these amiable animals, you may perhaps see what Marrall 
calls ' rare sport,' and some good tossing and goring, in the course of 
the controversy. But I must be in the right cue first, and I doubt 
I am almost too far off to be in a sufficient fury for the purpose. And 
then I have effeminated and enervated myself with love and the 
summer in these last two months. 

" I wrote to Mr. Hobhouse the other day, and foretold that Juan 
would either fall entirely or succeed completely; there will be no 
medium. Appearances are not favourable ; but as you write the day 
after publication, it can hardly be decided what opinion will predomi- 
nate. You seem in a fright, and doubtless with cause. Come what 
may, I never will flatter the million's canting in any shape. Circum- 
stances may or may not have placed me at times in a situation to lead 
the public opinion, but the public opinion never led, nor ever shall 
lead, me. I will not sit on a degraded throne ; so pray put Messrs. * * 
or * *, or Tom Moore, or * * * upon it ; they will all of them be trans- 
ported with their coronation. 

"P.S. The Countess Guiccioli is much better than she was. I 
sent you, before leaving Venice, the real original sketch which gave 
rise to the * Vampire,' &c. Did you get it ?" 

This letter was, of course, (like most of those he addressed to 
England at this time) intended to be |hown ; and having been, among 


160 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

others, permitted to see it, I took occasion, in my very next communi- 
cation to Lord Byron, to twit him a little with the passage in it relating 
to myself, — the only one, as far as I can learn, that ever fell from my 
noble friend's pen during our intimacy, in which he has spoken of me 
otherwise than in terms of kindness and the most undeserved praise. 
Transcribing his own words, as well as I could recollect them, at the 
top of my letter, I added, underneath, " Is this the way you speak of 
your friends !" Not long after, too, when visiting him at Venice, I 
remember making the same harmless little sneer a subject of raillery 
with him ; but he declared boldly that he had no recollection of having 
ever written such words, and that, if they existed, " he must have 
been half asleep when he wrote them." 

I have mentioned this circumstance merely for the purpose of 
remarking, that with a sensibility vulnerable at so many points as his 
was, and acted upon by an imagination so long practised in self- 
tormenting, it is only wonderful that, thinking constantly, as his letters 
prove him to have been, of distant friends, and receiving from few or 
none equal proofs of thought fulness in return, he should not more fre- 
quently have broken out into such sallies against the absent and "un- 
replying." For myself, I can only say that, from the moment I began to 
unravel his character, the most slighting and even acrimonious expres- 
sions that I could have heard he had, in a fit of spleen, uttered against 
me, would have no more altered my opinion of his disposition, nor 
disturbed my affection for him, than the momentary clouding over cf 
a bright sky could leave an impression on the mind of gloom, after its 
shadow had passed away. 



" Ravenna, August 9th, 1819. 


"Talking of blunders reminds me of Ireland — Ireland of Moore. 
What is this I see in Galignani about 'Bermuda — agent — deputy — 
appeal — attachment,' &c. ? What is the matter'? Is it any thing in 
which his friends can be of use to him 1 Pray inform me. 

"Of Don Juan I hear nothing farther from yon; * * *, but the 
papers do n't seem so fierce as the letter you sent me seemed to antici- 
pate, by their extracts at least in Galignani's Messenger. I never saw 
such a set of fellows as you are ! And then the pains taken to excul- 
pate the modest publisher — he remonstrated, forsooth! I will write a 
preface that shall exculpate you and***, &c. completely on that 
point ; but, at the same time, I will cut you up like gourds. You 
have no more soul than the Count de Caylus (who assured his friends, 
on his death-bed, that he had none, and that he must know better than 
they whether he had one or no), and no more blood than a water- 
melon ! And I see there hath been asterisks, and what Perry used to 
call 'domned cutting and slashing' — but, nevermind. 

"I write in haste. To-morrow I set off for Bologna. I write to 
you with thunder, lightning 1 , &c. and all the winds of heaven whistling 
through my hair, and the racket of preparation to boot. ' My mistress 
dear, who hath fed my heart upon smiles and wine' for the last two 
months, set off with her husband for Bologna this morning, and it 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 161 

seems that I follow him at three to-morrow morning". I cannot tell 
how our romance will end, but it hath gone on hitherto most eroti- 
cally. Such perils and escapes! Juan's are as child's play in com- 
parison. The fools think that all my poeshie is always allusive to my 
own adventures : 1 have had at one time or another better and more 
extraordinary and perilous and pleasant than these, every day of the 
week, if 1 might tell them ; but that must never be. 
" 1 hope Mrs. M. has accouched. 

" Yours ever." 



" Bologna, August 12th, 1819. 

" I do not know how far I may be able to reply to your letter, for I 
am not very well to-day. Last night I went to the representation of 
Alfieri's Mirra, the last two acts of which threw me into convulsions. 
I do not mean by that word a lady's hysterics, but the agony of reluc- 
tant tears, and the choking shudder, which I do not often undergo for 
fiction. This is but the second time for any thing under reality : the 
first was on seeing Kean's Sir Giles Overreach. The worst was, that 
the ' Damn,' in whose box I was, went off in the same way, I really 
believe more from fright than any other sympathy — at least with the 
players : but she has been ill, and I have been ill, and we are all lan- 
guid and pathetic this morning, with great expenditure of sal volatile.* 
But, to return to your letter of the 23d of July. 

" You are right, Gifford is right, Crabbe is right, Hobhouse is right 
— you are all right, and I am all wrong; but do, pray, let me have that 
pleasure. Cut me up root and branch; quarter me in the Quarterly; 
send round my ' disjecti membra poetae,' like those of the Levite's 
concubine ; make me if you will a spectacle to men and angels ; but 
do n't ask me to alter, for I won't : — 1 am obstinate and lazy — and 
there's the truth. 

" But, nevertheless, I will answer your friend P * *, who objects to 
the quick succession of fun and gravity, as if in that case the gravity 
did not (in intention, at least) heighten the fun. His metaphor is, 

* The " Dama," in whose company he witnessed this representation, thus 
describes its effect upon him: — " The play was that of Mirra; the actors, 
and particularly the actress who performed the part of Mirra, seconded with 
much success the intentions of our great dramatist. Lord Byron took a 
strong interest in the representation, and it was evident that he was deeply 
affected. At length there came a point of the performance at which he could 
no longer restrain his emotions ; — he burst into a flood of tears, and, his sobs 
preventing him from remaining any longer in the box, lie rose and left the 
theatre.— I saw him similarly affected another time during a representa- 
tion of Alfieri's ' Philip,' at Ravenna." — "• Gli attori, e specialmente 1' attrice 
che rappresentava Mirra secondava assai bene la mente del nostro grande 
Tragico. L. B. prese molto interesse alia rappresentazione, e si conosceva 
che era molto commosso. Venne un punto poi della Tragedia in cui non 
pote piu frenare la sua emozione, — diede in un diretto pianto e i singhiozzi 
gl 1 impedirono di piu restare nel palco ; onde si levo, e parti dal teatro. In 
uno statu simile lo viddi un altra volta a Ravenna ad una rappresentazione 
del Filippo d'Alfieri." 

Vol. II.— L 

162 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

that ' we are never scorched and drenched at the same time.' Bless- 
ings on his experience ! Ask him these questions about ' scorching 
and drenching.' Did he never play at cricket, or walk a mile in hot 
weather? Did he never spill a dish of tea over himself in handing' the 
cup to his charmer, to the great shame of his nankeen breeches ! Did 
he never swim in the sea at noonday with the sun in his eyes and on 
his head, which all the foam of ocean could not cool"? Did he never 
draw his foot out of too hot water, d — ning his eyes and his valet's ! 
* * * * * * * Was he ever in a 

Turkish bath — that marble paradise of sherbet and * * ! Was he ever 
in a cauldron of boiling oil, like St. John ! or in the sulphureous waves 
ofh — 1? (where he ought to be for his 'scorching and drenching at 
the same time.') Did he never tumble into a river or lake, fishing, 
and sit in his wet clothes in the boat, or on the bank afterward, 
' scorched and drenched,' like a true sportsman'? ' Oh for breath to 
utter!' — but make him my compliments; he is a clever fellow for all 
that — a very clever fellow. 

" You ask me for the plan of Donny Johnny : I have no plan ; I had 
no plan; but I had or have materials; though if, like Tony Lumpkin, 
' I am to be snubbed so when 1 am in spirits,' the poem will be naught, 
and the poet turn serious again. If it don't take, I will leave it off 
where it is, with all due respect to the public ; but if continued, it must 
be in my own way. You might as well make Hamlet (or Diggory) 
'act mad' in a strait waistcoat as trammel my buffoonery, if I am to 
be a buffoon ; their gestures and my thoughts would only be pitiably 
absurd and ludicrously constrained. Why, man, the soul of such 
writing is its license ; at least the liberty of that license, if one likes — 
not that one should abuse it. It is like Trial by Jury and Peerage and 
the Habeas Corpus — a very fine thing, but chiefly in the reversion ; 
because no one wishes to be tried for the mere pleasure of proving his 
possession of the privilege. 

" But a truce with these reflections. You are too earnest and eager 
about a work never intended to be serious. Do you suppose that I 
could have any intention but to giggle and make giggle ! — a playful 
satire, with as little poetry as could be helped, w as what I meant. 
And as to the indecency, do pray, read in Boswell what Johnson, the 
sullen moralist, says of Prior and Paulo Purgante. 

"Will you get a favour done for rae? You can, by your govern- 
ment friends, Croker, Canning, or my old schoolfellow Peel, and I 
can't. Here it is. Will you ask them to appoint (without salary or 
emolument) a noble Italian (whom I will name afterward) consul or 
vice-consul for Ravenna'? He is a man of very large property — noble 
too ; but he wishes to have a British protection in case of changes. 
Ravenna is near the sea. He wants no emolument whatever. That 
his office might be useful, I know; as I lately sent off from Ravenna 
to Trieste a poor devil of an English sailor, who had remained there 
sick, sorry, and pennyless (having been set ashore in 1814), from the 
want of any accredited agent able or willing to help him homewards. 
Will you get this done 1 ? If you do, I will then send his name and 
condition, subject of course to rejection, if not approved when known. 

" I know that in the Levant you make consuls and vice-consuls, 
perpetually, of foreigners. This man is a patrician, and has twelve 
thousand a year. His motive is a British protection in case of new 
invasions. Do n't you think Croker would do it for us! To be sure, 
my interest is rare ! ! but perhaps a. brother wit in the Tory line might 

a.d. 1819.-" LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 163 

do a good turn at the request of so harmless and long absent a Whig, 
particularly as there is no salary or burthen of any sort to be annexed 
to the office. 

" I can assure you, I should look upon it as a great obligation ; but, 
alas! that very circumstance may, very probably, operate to the con- 
trary — indeed, it ought; but I have, at least, been an honest and an 
open enemy. Among your many splendid government connexions, 
could not you, think you, get our Bibulus made a Consul 1 or make 
me one, that I may make him my Vice. You may be assured 
that, in case of accidents in Italy, he would be no feeble adjunct — as 
you would think, if you knew his patrimony. 

" What is all this about Tom Moore ] but why do I ask 1 since the 
state of my own affairs would not permit me to be of use to him, 
though they are greatly improved since 1816, and may, with some 
more luck and a little prudence, become quite clear. It seems his 
claimants are American merchants'? There goes Nemesis! Moore 
abused America. It is always thus in the long run : — Time, the 
Avenger. You have seen every trampler down, in turn, from Buona- 
parte to the simplest individuals. You saw how some were avenged 
even upon my insignificance, and how in turn * * * paid for his atro- 
city. It is an odd world; but the watch has its mainspring, after all. 

" So the Prince has been repealing Lord Edward Fitzgerald's for- 
feiture 1 Ecco un > sonetto! 

" To be the father of the fatherless, 

To stretch the hand from the throne's height, and raise 

His offspring, who expired in other days 
To make thy sire's sway by a kingdom less, — 
This is to be a monarch and repress 

Envy into unutterable praise. 

Dismiss thy guard and trust thee to such traits, 
For who would lift a hand except to bless 1 

" Were it not easy, sir, and is 't not sweet, 
To make thyself beloved 1 and to be 

Omnipotent by Mercy's means 1 for thus 
Thy sovereignty would grow but more complete, 
A despot thou, and yet thy people free, 
And by the heart, not hand, enslaving us. 

" There, you dogs ! there 's a sonnet for you : you won't have such 
as that in a hurry from Mr. Fitzgerald. You may publish it with my 
name, an ye wool. He deserves all praise, bad and good ; it was a 
very noble piece of principality. Would you like an epigram — a 
translation ] 

" If for silver, or for gold, 

You could melt ten thousand pimples 
Into half a dozen dimples, 
Then your face we might behold, 
Looking doubtless much more snugly, 
Yet ev'n then 't would be d d ugly. 

" This was written on some Frenchwoman, by Rulhieres, I believe. 


164 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 



" Bologna, August 23d, 1819. 
"I send you a letter to R * * ts, signed' Wortley Clutterbuck/ 
which you may publish in what form you please, in answer to his 
article. I have had many proofs of men's absurdity, but he beats all 
in folly. Why, the wolf in sheep's clothing has tumbled into the very 
trap ! We '11 strip him. The letter is written in great haste, and amid 
a thousand vexations. Your letter only came yesterday, so that there 
is no time to polish : the post goes out to-morrow. The date is 
4 Little Pidlington.' Let * * * * correct the press : he knows and can 
read the handwriting. Continue to keep the anonymous about ' Juan ;' 
it helps us to fight against overwhelming numbers. I have a thousand 
distractions at present ; so excuse haste, and wonder I can act or 
write at all. Answer by post, as usual. 

" Yours. 

" P.S. If I had had time, and been quieter and nearer, I would have 
cut him to hash ; but as it is, you can judge for yourselves." 

The letter to the Reviewer, here mentioned, had its origin in rathei 
an amusing circumstance. In the First Canto of Don Juan appeared 
the following passage. 

*' For fear some prudish readers should grow skittish, 
I've bribed My Grandmother's Review, — the British! 

" I sent it in a letter to the editor, 

Who thank'd me duly by return of post — 

I 'm for a handsome article his creditor; 
Yet if my gentle Muse he please to roast, 

And break a promise after having made it her, 
Denying the receipt of what it cost, 

And smear his page with gall instead of honey, 

All I can say is — that he had the money." 

On the appearance of the Poem, the learned editor of the Review 
in question allowed himself to be decoyed into the ineffable absurdity 
of taking the charge as serious, and, in his succeeding number, came 
forth with an indignant contradiction of it. To this tempting subject 
the letter, written so hastily off at Bologna, related ; but, though printed 
for Mr. Murray, in a pamphlet consisting of twenty-three pages, it was 
never published.* Being valuable, however, as one of the best speci- 
mens we have of Lord Byron's simple and thoroughly English prose, 
I shall here preserve some extracts from it. 

* It has appeared, however, I understand, in some of the foreign editions 
of his lordship's works. 

A. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 165 



" As a believer in the church of England — to say nothing of the 
State — I have been an occasional reader, and great admirer, though 
not a subscriber to your Review. But I do not know that any article 
of its contents ever gave me much surprise till the eleventh of your 
late twenty-seventh number made its appearance. You have there 
most manfully refuted a calumnious accusation of bribery and corrup- 
tion, the credence of which in the public mind might not only have 
damaged your reputation as a clergyman and an editor, but, what would 
have been still worse, have injured the circulation of your journal; 
which, I regret to hear, is not so extensive as the ' purity (as you well 
observe) of its, &c. &c.' and the present taste for propriety, would in- 
duce us to expect. The charge itself is of a solemn nature, and, 
although in verse, is couched in terms of such circumstantial gravity 
as to induce a belief little short of that generally accorded to the 
thirty-nine articles, to which you so generously subscribed on taking 
your degrees. It is a charge the most revolting to the heart of man 
from its frequent occurrence ; to the mind of a statesman from its oc- 
casional truth ; and to the soul of an editor from its moral impossi- 
bility. You are charged then in the last line of one octave stanza, 
and the whole eight lines of the next, viz. 209th and 210th of the First 
Canto of that 'pestilent poem,' Don Juan, with receiving, and still 
more foolishly acknowledging, the receipt of certain moneys to eulo- 
gize the unknown author, who by this account must be known to you, 
if to nobody else. An impeachment of this nature, so seriously made, 
there is but one way of refuting; and it is my firm persuasion, that 
whether you did or did not (and /believe that you did not) receive the 
said moneys, of which I wish that he had specified the sum, you are 
quite right in denying all knowledge of the transaction. If charges of 
this nefarious description are to go forth, sanctioned by all the solem- 
nity of circumstance, and guaranteed by the veracity of verse (as Coun- 
sellor Phillips would say), what is to become of readers hitherto im- 
plicitly confident in the not less veracious prose of our critical jour- 
nals ] what is to become of the reviews; and, if the reviews fail, what 
is to become of the editors 1 It is common cause, and you have done 
well to sound the alarm. I myself, in my humble sphere, will be one 
of your echoes. In the words of the tragedian Liston, ' I love a row,' 
and you seem justly determined to make one. 

" It is barely possible, certainly improbable, that the writer might 
have been in jest ; but this only aggravates his crime. A joke, the 
proverb says, * breaks no bones ;' but it may break a bookseller, or it 
may be the cause of bones being broken. The jest is but a bad one 
at the best for the author, and might have been a still worse one for 
you, if your copious contradiction did not certify to all whom it may 
concern your own indignant innocence, and the immaculate purity of 

the British Review. I do not doubt your word, my dear R ts, yet 

I cannot help wishing that in a case of such vital importance, it had 
assumed the more substantial shape of an affidavit sworn before the 
Lord Mayor Atkins, who readily receives any deposition ; and doubt- 
less would have brought it in some way as evidence of the designs of 

166 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

the Reformers to set fire to London, at the same time that he himself 

meditates the same good office towards the river Thames. 


" I recollect hearing - , soon after the publication, this subject discnss°d 
at the tea-table of Mr. * * * the poet, — and Mrs. and the Misses ***** 
being- in a corner of the room perusing the proof sheets of Mr. * * *'s 
poems, the male part of the conversazione were at liberty to make 
some observations on the poem and passage in question, and there was 
a difference of opinion. Some thought the allusion was to the 4 British, 
Critic ;' others, that by the expression, 'My Grandmother's Review,' it 
was intimated that ' my grandmother' was not the reader of the review, 

but actually the writer; thereby insinuating, my dear Mr. R ts, 

that you were an old woman ; because, as people often say, ' Jeffrey's 
Review,' ' Gifford's Review,' in lieu of Edinburgh and Quarterly, so 
1 My Grandmother's Review' and R ts's might be also synony- 
mous. Now, whatever colour this insinuation might derive from the 
circumstance of your wearing a gown, as well as from your time of 
life, your general style, and various passages of your writings, — I will 
take upon myself to exculpate you from all suspicion of the kind, and 

assert, without calling Mrs. R ts in testimony, that if ever you 

should be chosen Pope, you will pass through all the previous cere- 
monies with as much credit as any pontiff since the parturition of 
Joan. It is very unfair to judge of sex from writings, particularly 
from those of the British Review. We are all liable to be deceived, 
and it is an indisputable fact that many of the best articles in your 
journal, which were attributed to a veteran female, were actually 
written by you yourself, and yet to this day there are p-sople who 
could never find out the difference. But let us return to the more im- 
mediate question. 

" I agree with you that it is impossible Lord B. should be the author, 
not only because, as a British peer and a British poet, it would be im- 
practicable for him to have recourse to such facetious fiction, but for 
some other reasons which you have omitted to state. In the first 
place, his lordship has no grandmother. Now the author — and we 
may believe him in this — doth expressly state that the ' British' is his 
* Grandmother's Review;' and if, as I think I have distinctly proved, 
this was not a mere figurative allusion to your supposed intellectual 
age and sex, my dear friend, it follows, whether you be she or no, that 

there is such an elderly lady still extant. 


" Shall I give you what I think a prudent opinion 1 I do n't mean 
to insinuate, God forbid! but if, by any accident, there should have 
been such a correspondence between you and the unknown author, 
whoever he may be, send him back his money; I dare say he will be 
very glad to have it again ; it can't be much, considering the value of 
the article and the circulation of the journal ; and you are too modest 
to rate your praise beyond its real worth : — do n't be angry, I know 
you won't, at this appraisement of your powers of eulogy : for on the 
other hand, my dear fellow, depend upon it your abuse is worth, not 
its own weight, that 's a feather, but your weight in gold. So do n't 
spare it; if he has bargained for that, give it handsomely, and depend 

upon your doing him a friendly office. 


" What the motives of this writer may have been for (as you mag- 
nificently translate his quizzing you) ' stating, with the particularity 


a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 167 

which belongs to fact, the forgery of a groundless fiction' (do, pray, 
my dear R., talk a little less ' in king Cambyses' vein'), I cannot pre- 
tend to say ; perhaps to laugh at you, but that is no reason for your be- 
nevolently making all the world laugh also. 1 approve of your being 
angry, 1 tell you I am angry too, but you should not have shown it so 
outrageously. Your solemn 'if somebody personating the editor of 
the &c. &c. has received from Lord B. or from any other person,' re- 
minds me of Charley Tncledon's usual exordium when people came 
into the tavern to hear him sing without paying their share of the 
reckoning — ' if a maun, or ony maun, or ony other maun,' &c. &c. ; you 
have both the same redundant eloquence. But why should you think 
any body would personate you] Nobody would dream of such a 
prank whoever read your compositions, and perhaps not many who 
have heard your conversation. But I have been inoculated with a 

little of your prolixity. The fact is, my dear R ts, that somebody 

has tried to make a fool of you, and what he did not succeed in 
doing, you have done for him and for yourself." 

Towards the latter end of August, Count Guiccioli, accompanied 
by his lady, went for a short time to visit some of his Romagnese 
estates, while Lord Byron remained at Bologna alone. And here, with 
a heart softened and excited by the new feeling that had taken pos- 
session of him, he appears to have given himself up, during this in- 
terval of solitude, to a train of melancholy and impassioned thought 
such as, for a time, brought back all the romance of his youthful days. 
That spring of natural tenderness within his soul, which neither the 
world's efforts nor his own, had been able to chill or choke up, was 
now, with something of its first freshness, set flowing once more. 
He again knew what it was to love and be loved, — too late, it is true, 
for happiness, and too wrongly for peace, but with devotion enough, 
on the part of the woman, to satisfy even his thirst for affection, and 
with a sad earnestness, on his own, a foreboding fidelity, which made 
him cling but the more passionately to this attachment from feeling 
that it would be his last. 

A circumstance which he himself used to mention as having oc- 
curred at this period will show how overpowering, at times, was the 
rush of melancholy over his heart. It was his fancy, during Madame 
Guiccioli's absence from Bologna, to go daily to her house at his usual 
hour of visiting her, and there, causing her apartments to be opened, 
to sit turning over her books, and writing in them.* He would then 
descend into her garden, where he passed hours in musing ; and it 
was on an occasion of this kind, as he stood looking, in a state of 
unconscious reverie, into one of those fountains so common in the 
gardens of Italy, that there came suddenly into his mind such deso- 

* One of these notes, written at the end of the 5th chapter, 18th book 
of Corinne (" Fragmens des Pensees de Corinne"), is as follows : — 

" I knew Madame de Stael well. — better than she knew Italy, — but I litUo 
thought that, one day, I should think with her thoughts, in the country where 
she has laid the scene of her most attractive productions. She is sometimes 
right, and oftfiii wrong, about Italy and England ; but almost always true in 
delineating the heart, which is of but one nation, and of no country, — or, 
rather, of all. 

w Byron. 

" Bologna, August 23, 1819." 

168 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

late fancies, such bodings of the misery he might bring- on her he 
loved, by that doom which (as he has himself written) "makes it 
fatal to be loved,"* that, overwhelmed with his own thoughts, he burst 
into an agony of tears. 

During the same few days it was that he wrote in the last page of 
Madame Guiccioli's copy of " Corinne" the following remarkable note: 

" My dearest Teresa, — I have read this book in your garden ; — my 
love, you wc-re absent, or else I could not have read it. It is a favour- 
ite book of yours, and the writer was a friend of mine. You will not 
understand these English words, and others will not understand them, 
— which is the reason I have not scrawled them in Italian. But 
you will recognise the handwriting of him who passionately loved 
you, and you will divine that, over a book which was yours, he could 
only think of love. In that word, beautiful in all languages, but most 
so in yours — Amor mio — is comprised my existence here and here- 
after. I feel I exist here, and I fear that I shall exist hereafter,— to 
what purpose you will decide ; my destiny rests with you, and you 
are a woman, eighteen years of age, and two out of a convent. I wish 
that you had staid there, with all my heart, — or, at least, that I had 
never met you in your married state. 

" But all this is too late. I love you, and you love me, — at least, 
you say so, and act as if you did so, which last is a great consolation 
in all events. But / more than love you, and cannot cease to love you. 

" Think of me, sometimes, when the Alps and the ocean divide us, 
— but they never will, unless you wish it. " Byron. 

" Bologna, August 25, 1£19." 



"Bologna, August 24, 1819. 

" I wrote to you by last post, enclosing a buffooning letter for pub- 
lication, addressed to the buffoon R ts, who has thought proper 

to tie a canister to his own tail. It was written off-hand, and in the 
midst of circumstances not very favourable to facetiousness, so that 
there may, perhaps, be more bitterness than enough for that sort of 
small acid punch : — you will tell me. 

" Keep the anonymous, in any case : it helps what fun there may be. 
But if the matter grows serious about Don Juan, and you feel your- 
self in a scrape, or me either, own that I am the author. I will never 
shrink ; and if you do, I can always answer you in the question of 
Guatimozin to his minister — each being on his own coals. f 

* M Oh Love, what is it, in this world of ours, 

Which makes it fatal to be loved ? ah, why 

With cypress branches hast thou wreatiYd thy bowers, 
And made thy best interpreter a sigh ? 

As those who dote on odours pluck the flowers, 

And place them on their breasts — but place to die — 

Thus the frail beings we would fondly cherish 

Are laid within our bosoms but to perish. 

t *' Ami now reposing on a bed of flowers?" — Seo Robertson. 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 169 

" I wish that I had been in better spirits ; but I am out of sorts, out 
of nerves, and now and then (I begin to fear) out of my senses. All 
this Italy has done for me, and not England : I defy all you, and your 
climate to boot, to make me mad. But if ever I do really become a 
bedlamite, and wear a strait waistcoat, let me be brought back among 
you ; your people will then be proper company. 

" 1 assure you what I here say and feel has nothing to do with 
England, either in a literary or personal point of view. All my present 
pleasures or plagues are as Italian as the opera. And after all, they 
are but trifles ; for all this arises from my ' Dama's' being in the coun- 
try for three days (at Capo-fiume). But as I could never live but for 
one human being at a time (and, I assure you, that one has never been 
myself, as you may know by the consequences, for the selfish are suc- 
cessful in life), 1 feel alone and unhappy. 

" I have sent for my daughter from Venice, and I ride daily, and 
walk in a garden, under a purple canopy of grapes, and sit by a foun- 
tain, and talk with the gardener of his tools, which seem greater than 
Adam's, and with his wife, and with his son's wife, who is the youngest 
of the party, and, I think, talks best of the three. Then I revisited the 
Campo Santo, and my old friend, the sexton, has two — but one the 
prettiest daughter imaginable; and I amuse myself with contrasting 
her beautiful and innocent face of fifteen, with the skulls with which 
he has peopled several cells, and particularly with that of one skull 
dated 1766, which was once covered (the tradition goes) by the most 
lovely features of Bologna — noble and rich. When I look at these, 
and at this girl — when I think of what they were, and what she must 
be — why, then, my dear Murray, I won't shock you by saying what 
I think. It is little matter what becomes of us ' bearded men,' but I 
do n't like the notion of a beautiful woman's lasting less than a beau- 
tiful tree — than her own picture — her own shadow, which won't 
change so to the sun as her face to the mirror. — I must leave off, for 
my head aches consumedly. I have never been quite well since the 
night of the representation of Alfieri's Mirra, a fortnight ago. 

" Yours ever." 



" Bologna, August 29, 1819. 
" I have been in a rage these two days, and am still bilious there- 
from. You shall hear. A captain of dragoons, * *, Hanoverian by 
birth, in the Papal troops at present, whom I had obliged by a loan 
when nobody would lend him a paul, recommended a horse to me, on 
sale by a Lieutenant * *, an officer who unites the sale of cattle to the 
purchase of men. 1 bought it. The next day, on shoeing the horse, 
we discovered the thrush, — the animal being warranted sound. I sent 
to reclaim the contract and the money. The lieutenant desired to 
speak with me in person. I consented. He came. It was his own 
particular request. He began a story. I asked him if he would 
return the money. He said no — but he would exchange. He asked 
an exorbitant price for his other horses. 1 told him that he was a 
thief. He said he was an officer and a man of honour, and pulled out 
a Parmesan passport signed by General Count Neifperg. 1 answered, 

170 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

that as he was an officer, I would treat him as such ; and that as to 
his being a gentleman, he might prove it by returning the money : as 
for his Parmesan passport, I should have valued it more if it had been 
a Parmesan cheese. He answered in high terms, and said that if it 
were in the morning (it was about eight o'clock in the evening) he 
would have satisfaction. I then lost my temper: 'As for that,' 1 
replied, 'you shall have it directly, — it will be mutual satisfaction, 1 can 
assure you. You are a thief, and, as you say, an officer; my pistols 
are in the next room loaded; take one of the candles, examine, <\nd 
make your choice of weapons.' He replied that jjistols. were English 
weapons; he always fought with the sword. 1 told him that 1 was 
able to accommodate him, having three regimental swords in a drawer 
near us ; and he might take the longest, and put himself on guard. 

"All this passed in presence of a third person. He then said Ao, 
but to-morrow morning he would give me the meeting at any time 
or place. I answered that it was not usual to appoint meetings in 
the presence of witnesses, and that we had best speak man to man, 
and appoint time and instruments. But as the man present was leav- 
ing the room, the Lieutenant * *, before he could shut the door after 
him, ran out, roaring 'help and murder' most lustily, and fell into a 
sort of hysteric in the arms of about fifty people, who all saw that I 
had no weapon of any sort or kind about me, and followed him, asking 
him what the devil was the matter with him. Nothing would do : he 
ran away without his hat, and went to bed, ill of the fright. He then 
tried his complaint at the police, which dismissed it as frivolous. He 
is, I believe, gone away, or going. 

"The horse was warranted, but, I believe, so worded that the 
villain will not be obliged to refund, according to law. He endea- 
voured to raise up an indictment of assault and battery, but as it was 
in a public inn, in a frequented street, there were too many witnesses 
to the contrary ; and, as a military man, he has not cut a martial figure, 
even in the opinion of the priests. He ran off in such a hurry that 
he left his hat, and never missed it till he got to his hostel or inn. 
The facts are as I tell you, I can assure you. He began by 'coming 
Captain Grand over me,' or I should never have thought of trying his 
* cunning in fence.' But what could I do? He talked of 'honour, 
and satisfaction, and his commission ;' he produced a military pass- 
port ; there are severe punishments for regular duels on the continent, 
and trifling ones for rencontres, so that it is best to fight it out directly ; 
he had robbed, and then wanted to insult me ; — what could 1 do ] My 
patience was gone, and the weapons at hand, fair and equal. Besides, 
it was just after dinner, when my digestion was bad, and I do n't like 
to be disturbed. His friend * * is at Forli ; we shall meet on my way 
back to Ravenna. The Hanoverian seems the greater rogue of the 
two ; and if my valour does not ooze away like Acres's — ' Odds flints 
and triggers !' if it should be a rainy morning, and my stomach in 
disorder, there may be something for the obituary. 

"Now pray, 'Sir Lucius, do not you look upon me as a very ill- 
used gentleman V I send my Lieutenant to match Mr. Hobhouse's 
Major Cartwright: and so 'good morrow to you, good master Lieu- 
tenant.' With regard to other things, I will write soon, but 1 have 
been quarrelling and fooling till 1 can scribble no more." 

In the month ot September, Count Guiccioli, being called away by 
business to Ravenna, left his young Countess and her lover to the 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 171 

free enjoyment of each other's society at Bologna. The lady's ill 
health, which had been the cause of her thus remaining' behind, was 
thought soon after to require the still farther advantage of a removal 
to Venice, and the Count her husband, being written to on the subject, 
consented, with the most complaisant readiness, that she should pro- 
ceed thither in company with Lord Byron. " Some business," says 
the lady's own Memoir, "having called Count Guiccioli to Ravenna, 
I was obliged by the state of my health, instead of accompanying 
him, to return to Venice, and he consented that Lord Byron should be 
the companion of my journey. We left Bologna on the fifteenth of 
September; we visited the Euganean Hills and Arqua, and wrote our 
names in the book which is presented to those who make this pilgrim- 
age. But I cannot linger over these recollections of happiness ; — the 
contrast with the present is too dreadful. If a blessed spirit, while 
in the full enjoyment of heavenly happiness, were sent down to this 
earth to suffer all its miseries, the contrast could not be more dreadful 
between the past and the present, than what I have endured from the 
moment when that terrible word reached my ears, and I for ever lost 
the hope of again beholding him, one look from whom I valued be- 
yond all earth's happiness. When I arrived at Venice, the physicians 
ordered that I should try the country air, and Lord Byron, having a 
villa at La Mira, gave it up to me, and came to reside there with me. 
At this place we passed the autumn, and there T had the pleasure of 
forming your acquaintance."* 

It was my good fortune, at this period, in the course of a short and 
hasty tour through the north of Italy, to pass five or six days with 
Lord Byron at Venice. I had written to him on my way thither to 
announce my coming, and to say how happy it would make me could 
I tempt him to accompany me as far as Rome.. 

During my stay at Geneva, an opportunity had been afforded me of 
observing the exceeding readiness with which even persons the least 
disposed to be prejudiced gave an ear to any story relating to Lord 
Byron, in which the proper portions of odium and romance were but 
plausibly mingled. In the course of conversation, one day, with the 
late amiable and enlightened Monsieur D * *, that gentleman related, 
with much feeling, to my fellow-traveller and myself, the details of a 
late act of seduction of which Lord Byron had, he said, been guilty, 
and which was made to comprise within itself all the worst features 
of such unmanly frauds upon innocence ; — the victim, a young un- 

* " II Conte Guiocioli doveva per aflari ritornare a Ravenna ; lo stato 
della mia salute esiggeva che io ritomassi in vece a Venezia. Egli accon- 
senti dunque che Lord Byron, mi fosse compagno di viaggio. Partimmo da 
Bologna alii 15 di S re . — visitammo insieme i Colli Euganei ed Arqua; 
scrivemmo i nostri nomi nel libro che si presenta a quelli che fanno quel 
pellegrinaggio. Ma sopra tali rimembranze di felicita non posso fermarmi, 
caro Sign 1 ". Moore ; Topposizione col presente e troppo forte, e se un annua 
benedetta nel pieno godimento di tutte le felicita celesti fosse mandataquaggiu 
e condannata a sopportaie tutte le miserie della nostra terra non potrebbe 
sentire piu terribile contrasto fra il passato ed il presente di quello che io 
sento dacche quella terribile parola e giunta alle mie orecchie, daccbe ho 
perduto la speranza di piu vedere quello di cui uno sguardo valeva per me 
piu di tutte le felicita della terra. Giunti a Venezia i medici mi ordinarono 
di res}.irare Taria della campagna. Egli aveva una. villa alia Mira, — la ce- 
desse a me, e venne meco. La passammo Tautunno, e la ebbi il bene di fare 
la vostra conoscenza-" — MS. 

172 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

married lady, of one of the first families of Venice, whom the noble 
seducer had lured from her father's house to his own, and, after a few- 
weeks, most inhumanly turned her out of doors. In vain, said the 
relater, did she entreat to become his servant, his slave ; — in vain did 
she ask to remain in some dark corner of his mansion, from which 
she might be able to catch a glimpse of his form as he passed. Her 
betrayer was obdurate, and the unfortunate young - lady, in despair at 
being thus abandoned by him, threw herself into the canal, from which 
she was taken out but to be consigned to a mad-house. Though con- 
vinced that there must be considerable exaggeration in this story, it was 
only on my arrival at Venice I ascertained that the whole was a ro- 
mance; and that out of the circumstances (already laid before the 
reader) connected with Lord Byron's fantastic and, it must be owned, 
discreditable fancy for the Fornarina, this pathetic tale, so implicitly 
believed at Geneva, was fabricated. 

Having parted, at Milan, with Lord John Russell, whom I had 
accompanied from England, and whom I was to rejoin, after a short 
visit to Rome, at Genoa, I made purchase of a small and (as it soon 
proved) crazy travelling carriage, and proceeded alone on my way to 
Venice. My time being limited, I stopped no longer at the intervening 
places than was sufficient to hurry over their respective wonders, and, 
leaving Padua at noon on the 8th of October, I found myself, about two 
o'clock, at the door of my friend's villa, at La Mira. He was but just 
up, and in his bath ; but the servant having announced my arrival, he 
returned a message that, if 1 would wait till he was dressed, he would 
accompany me to Venice. The interval I employed in conversing 
with my old acquaintance, Fletcher. and in viewing, unJer his guidance, 
some of the apartments of the villa. 

It was not long before Lord Byron himself made his appearance, 
and the delight I felt in meeting him once more, after a separation of 
so many years, was not a little heightened by observing that his plea- 
sure was, to the full, as great, while it was rendered doubly touching 
by the evident rarity of such meetings to him of late, and the frank 
outbreak of cordiality and gayety with which he gave way to his 
feelings. It would be impossible, indeed, to convey to those who 
have not, at some time or other, felt the charm of his manner, any 
idea of what it could be when under the influence of such pleasurable 
excitement as it was most flatteringly evident he experienced at this 

I was a good deal struck, however, by the alteration that had taken 
place in his personal appearance. He had grown fatter both in person 
and face, and the latter had most suffered by the change, — having lost, 
by the enlargement of the features, some of that refined and spirit- 
ualized look that had, in other times, distinguished it. The addition 
of whiskers, too, which he had not long before been induced to adopt, 
from hearing that some one had said he had a " faccia di musico," as 
well as the length to which his hair grew down on his neck, and the 
rather foreign air of his coat and cap, — all combined to produce that 
dissimilarity to his former self I had observed in him. He was still, 
however, eminently handsome ; and, in exchange for whatever his 
features might have lost of their high, romantic character, they had 
become more filted for the expression of that arch, waggish wisdom, 
that Epicurean play of humour, which he had shown to be equally 
inherent in his various and prodigally gifted nature; while, by the 
somewhat increased roundness of the contours, the resemblance of 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 173 

his finely formed mouth and chin to those of the Belvedere Apollo 
had become still more striking-. 

His breakfast, which I found he rarely took before three or four 
o'clock in the afternoon, was speedily despatched, — his habit being to 
eat it standing, and the meal in general consisting of one or two raw 
eggs, a cup of tea without either milk or sugar, and a bit of dry bis- 
cuit. Before we took our departure, he presented me to the Countess 
Guiccioli, who was at this time, as my readers already know, living 
under'the same roof with him at La Mira; and who, with a style of 
beauty singular in an Italian, as being fair-complexioned and delicate, 
left an impression upon my mind, during this our first short interview, 
of intelligence and amiableness such as all that I have since known 
or heard of her has but served to confirm. 

We now started together, Lord Byron and myself, in my little 
Milanese vehicle, for Fusina, — his portly gondolier Tita, in a rich 
livery and most redundant mustachios, having seated himself on the 
front of the carriage, to the no small trial of its strength, which had 
already once given way, even under my own weight, between Verona 
and Vicenza. On our arrival at Fusina, my noble friend, from his 
familiarity with all the details of the place, had it m his power to save 
me both trouble and expense in the different arrangements relative to 
the custom-house, remise, &c. ; and the good-natured assiduity with 
which he bustled about in despatching these matters gave me an op- 
portunity of observing, in his use of the infirm limb, a much greater 
degree of activity than I had ever before, except in sparring, wit- 

As we proceeded across the Lagoon in his gondola, the sun was 
just setting, and it was an evening such as Romance would have 
chosen for a first sight of Venice, rising " with her tiara of bright 
towers" above the wave; while, to complete, as might be imagined, 
the solemn interest of the scene, I beheld it in company with him who 
had lately given a new life to its glories, and sung of that fair City 
of the Sea thus grandly : 

" I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs ; 
A palace and a prison on each hand : 
I saw from out the wave her structures rise 
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand : 
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand 
Around me, and a dying glory smiles 
O'er the far times, when many a subject land 
Look'd to the winged lion's marble piles, 
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles." 

But, whatever emotions the first sight of such a scene might, under 
other circumstances, have inspired me with, the mood of mind in 
which I now viewed it was altogether the very reverse of what might 
have been expected. The exuberant gayety of my companion, and 
the recollections, — any thing but romantic, — into which our conversa- 
tion wandered, put at once completely to flight all poetical and histo- 
rical associations; and our course was, I am almost ashamed to say, 
one of uninterrupted merriment and laughter till we found ourselves 
at the steps of my friend's palazzo on the Grand Canal. All that had 
ever happened of gay or ridiculous, during our London life together, — 
his scrape* and my lecturings, — our joint adventures with the Bores and 

174 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819, 

Blues, the two great enemies, as he always called them, of London 
happiness, — our joyous nights together at Watier's, Kinnuird's, &c, 
and " that d — d supper of Rancliffe's which ought to have been a 
dinner," — all was passed rapidly in review between us, and with a flow 
of humour and hilarity, on his side, of which it would have been dif- 
ficult, even for persons far graver than I can pretend to be, not to have 
caught the contagion. 

He had all along expressed his determination that I should not go 
to any hotel, but fix my quarters at his house during the period of my 
stay ; and, had he been residing there himself, such an arrangement 
would have been all that I most desired. But this not being the case, 
a common hotel was, I thought, a far readier resource ; and I there- 
fore entreated that he would allow me to order an apartment at the 
Gran Bretagna, which had the reputation, I understood, of being a 
comfortable hotel. This, however, he would not hear of; and, as an 
inducement for me to agree to his plan, said, that as long as I chose to 
stay, though he should be obliged to return to La Mira in the evenings, 
he would make it a point to come to Venice every day and dine with me. 
As we now turned into the dismal canal, and stopped before his damp- 
looking mansion, my predilection for the Gran Bretagna returned in 
full force ; and I again ventured to hint that it would save an abun- 
dance of trouble to let me proceed thither. But " No — no," he an- 
swered, — " I see you think you '11 be very uncomfortable here ; but 
you '11 find that it is not quite so bad as you expect." 

As I groped my w r ay after him through the dark hall, he cried out, 
"Keep clear of the dog;" and before we had proceeded many paces 
farther, " Take care, or that monkey will fly at you ;" — a curious proof, 
among many others, of his fidelity to all the tastes of his youth, as it 
agrees perfectly with the description of his life at Newstead, in 1809, 
and of the sort of menagerie which his visiters had then to encounter 
in their progress through his hall. Having escaped these dangers, I 
followed him up the staircase to the apartment destined for me. All 
this time he had been despatching servants in various directions, — 
one, to procure me a laquais de place ; another to go in quest of Mr. 
Alexander Scott, to whom he wished to give me in charge ; while a 
third was sent to order his Segretario to come to him. " So, then, you 
keep a secretary ?" I said. " Ves," he answered, " a fellow who can't 
■write* — but such are the names these pompous people give to things." 

When we had reached the door of the apartment it was discovered 
to be locked, and, to all appearance, had been so for some time, as the 
key could not be found ; — a circumstance which, to my English appre- 
hension, naturally connected itself with notions of damp and desola- 
tion, and I again sighed inwardly for the Gran Bretagna. Impatient 
at the delay of the key, my noble host, with one of his humorous male- 
dictions, gave a vigorous kick to the door and burst it open ; on which 
we at once entered into an apartment not only spacious and elegant, 
but wearing an aspect of comfort and habitableness which to a tra- 
veller's eye is as welcome as it is rare. " Here," he said, in a voice 
whose every tone spoke kindness and hospitality, — " these are the 
rooms I use myself, and here I mean to establish you." 

He had ordered dinner from some Tratteria, and while waiting its 
arrival — as well as that of Mr. Alexander Scott, whom he had invited 

* The title of Segretario is sometimes given, as in this case, to a head- 
servant or house-steward. 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 175 

to join lis — we stood out on the balcony, in order that, before the day- 
light was quite gone, I might have some glimpses of the scene which 
the canal presented. Happening to remark, in looking up at the clouds, 
which were still bright in the west, that, " what had struck me in 
Italian sunsets was that peculiar rosy hue " I had hardly pro- 
nounced the word " rosy," when Lord Byron, clapping his hand on my 
mouth, said, with a laugh, "Come, d — n it, Tom don't be poetical." 
.Among the few gondolas passing at the time, there was one at some 
distance, in which sat two gentlemen, who had the appearance of 
being English ; and, observing them to look our way, Lord Byron, 
putting his arms a-kimbo, said, with a sort of comic swagger, "Ah, if 
you, John Bulls, knew who the two fellows are, now standing up here, 
I think you would stare !" — I risk mentioning these things, though 
aware how they may be turned against myself, for the sake of the 
otherwise indescribable traits of manner and character which they 
convey. After a very agreeable dinner, through which the jest, the 
story, and the laugh were almost uninterruptedly carried on, our noble 
host took leave of us to return to LaMira, while Mr. Scott and I went 
to one of the theatres, to see the Ottavia of Alfieri. 

The ensuing evenings, during my stay, were passed much in the 
same manner, — my mornings being devoted, under the kind superin- 
tendence of Mr. Scott, to a hasty and, I fear, unprofitable view of the 
treasures of art with which Venice abounds. On the subjects of 
painting and sculpture Lord Byron has, in several of his letters, 
expressed strongly and, as to most persons will appear, heretically 
his opinions. In his want, however, of a due appreciation of these 
arts, he but resembled some of his great precursors in the field of 
poetry; — both Tasso and Milton, for example, having evinced so little 
tendency to such tastes,* that, throughout the whole of their pages, 
there is not, I fear, one single allusion to any of those great masters 
of the pencil and chisel, whose works, nevertheless, both had seen. 
That Lord Byron, though despising the imposture and jargon with 
which the worship of the arts is, like other worships, clogged and 
mystified, felt deeply, more especially in sculpture, whatever imaged 
forth true grace and energy, appears from passages of his poetry 
which are in every body's memory, and not a line of which but thrills 
alive with a sense of grandeur and beauty such as it never entered 
into the capacity of a mere connoisseur even to conceive. 

In reference to this subject, as we were conversing one day after 
dinner about the various collections I had visited that morning, on my 
saying that fearful as I was, at all times, of praising any picture, lest 
I should draw upon myself the connoisseur's sneer for my pains, I 
would yet, to him, venture to own that I had seen a picture at Milan 

* That this was the case with Milton is acknowledged by Richardson, who 
admired both Milton and the arts too warmly to make such an admission 
upon any but valid grounds. " He does not appear." says this writer, " to 
have much regarded what was done with the pencil ; no, not even when in 
Italy, in Rome, in the Vatican. Neither does it seem sculpture was much 
esteemed by him." After an authority like this, the theories of Hayley and 
others, with respect to the impressions left upon Milton's mind by the works 
of art he had seen tn Italy, are hardly worth a thought. 

Though it may be conceded that Dante w r as an admirer of the arts, his 
recommendation of the Apocalypse to Giotto, as a source of subjects for the 
pencil, shows, at least, what indifferent judges poets are, in general, of the 
sort of fancies fittest to be imbodied by the painter. 

176 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

which " The Hagar !" he exclaimed, eagerly interrupting me ; and 

it was, in fact, this very picture I was about to mention as having 
wakened in me, by the truth of its expression, more real emotion than 
any I had yet seen among the chefs-d'oeuvre of Venice. It was with 
no small degree of pride and pleasure I now discovered that my noble 
friend had felt equally with myself the affecting mixture of sorrow 
and reproach with which the woman's eyes tell the whole story in that 

On the second evening of my stay, Lord Byron having, as before, 
left us for La Mira, I most willingly accepted the offer of Mr. Scott to 
introduce me to the conversazioni of the two celebrated ladies, with 
whose names, as leaders of Venetian fashion, the tourists to Italy have 
made every body acquainted. To the Countess A * *'s parties Lord 
Byron had chiefly confined himself during the first winter he passed 
at Venice ; but the tone of conversation at these small meetings being 
much too learned for his tastes, he was induced, the following year, 
to discontinue his attendance at them, and chose, in preference, the less 
erudite, but more easy, society of the Countess B * *. Of the sort 
of learning sometimes displayed by the "blue" visitants at Madame 
A * *'s, a circumstance mentioned by the noble poet himself may 
afford some idea. The conversation happening to turn, one evening, 
upon the statue of Washington, by Canova, which had been just 
snipped off for the United States, Madame A * *, who was then engaged 
in compiling a Description Raisonnee of Canova's works, and was 
anxious for information respecting the subject of this statue, requested 
that some of her learned guests would detail to her all they knew of 
him. This task a Signor * * (author of a book on Geography and 
Statistics) undertook to perform, and, after some other equally sage 
and authentic details, concluded by informing her that " Washington 
was killed in a duel by Burke." — " What," exclaimed Lord Byron, 
as he stood biting his lips with impatience during this conversation, 
"what, in the name of folly, are you all thinking of?" — for he now 
recollected the famous duel between Hamilton and Colonel Burr, 
whom, it was evident, this learned worthy had confounded with Wash- 
ington and Burke ! 

In addition to the motives easily conceivable for exchanging such a 
society for one that offered, at least, repose from such erudite efforts, 
there was also another cause more immediately leading to the discon- 
tinuance of his visits to Madame A * *. This lady, who has been 
sometimes honoured with the title of " the De Stacl of Italy," had 
written a book called " Portraits," containing sketches of the charac- 
ters of various persons of note ; and it being her intention to introduce 
Lord Byron into this assemblage, she had it intimated to his lordship 
that an article in which his portraiture had been attempted was to 
appear in a new edition she was about to publish of her work. It was 
expected, of course, that this intimation would awaken in him some 
desire to see the sketch ; but, on the contrary, he was provoking enough 
not to manifest the least symptoms of curiosity. Again and again 
■was the same hint, with as little success, conveyed ; till, at length, on 
finding that no impression could be produced in this manner, a direct 
offer was made, in Madame A * *'s own name, to submit the article to 
his perusal. He could now contain himself no longer. With more 
sincerity than politeness, he returned for answer to the lady, that he 
was by no means ambitious of appearing in her work ; that, from the 
shortness, as well as the distant nature of their acquaintance, it was 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 177 

impossible she could have qualified herself to be his portrait-painter, 
and that, in short, she could not oblige him more than by committing 
the article to the flames. 

Whether the tribute thus unceremoniously treated ever met the 
eyes of Lord Byron, I know not ; but he could hardly, I think, had he 
seen it, have escaped a slight touch of remorse at having thus spurned 
from him a portrait drawn in no unfriendly spirit, and, though affect- 
edly expressed, seizing some of the less obvious features of his cha 
racter, — as, for instance, that diffidence so little to be expected from a 
career like his, — with the discriminating niceness of a female hand. 
The following are extracts from this Portrait : — 

" ' Toi, dont le monde encore ignore le vrai nom, 
Esprit mysterieux, Mortel Ange, ou Demon, 
Qui que tu sois, Byron, bon ou fatal genie, 
J'aime de tes conceits la sauvage harmonie.' 


" It would be to little purpose to dwell upon the mere beauty of a 
countenance in which the expression of an extraordinary mind was so 
conspicuous. What serenity was seated on the forehead, adorned 
with the finest chesnut hair, light, curling, and disposed with such art, 
that the art was hidden in the imitation of most pleasing nature ! 
What varied expression in his eyes ! They were of the azure colour 
of the heavens, from which they seemed to derive their origin. His 
teeth, in form, in colour, and transparency, resembled pearls ; but his 
cheeks were too delicately tinged with the hue of the pale rose. His 
neck, which he was in the habit of keeping uncovered as much as the 
usages of society permitted, seemed to have been formed in a mould, 
and was very white. His hands were as beautiful as if they had been 
the works of art. His figure left nothing to be desired, particularly 
by those who found rather a grace than a defect in a certain light and 
gentle undulation of the person when he entered a room, and of which 
you hardly felt tempted to inquire the cause. Indeed it was scarcely 
perceptible, — the clothes he wore were so long. 

" He was never seen to walk through the streets of Venice, nor 
along the pleasant banks of the Brenta, where he spent some weeks 
of the summer; and there are some who assert that he has never seen, 
excepting from a window, the wonders of the ' Piazza di San Marco ;' 
— so powerful in him was the desire of not showing himself to be 
deformed in any part of his person. I, however, believe that he has often 
gazed on those wonders, but in the late and solitary hour, when the 
stupendous edifices which surrounded him, illuminated by the soft and 
placid light of the moon, appeared a thousand times more lovely. 

" His face appeared tranquil like the ocean on a fine spring morning; 
but, like it, in an instant became changed into the tempestuous and 
terrible, if a passion, (a passion did I say ]) a thought, a word, occur- 
red to disturb his mind. His eyes then lost all their sweetness, and 
sparkled so that it became difficult to look on them. So rapid a change 
would not have been thought possible ; but it was impossible to avoid 
acknowledging that the natural state of his mind was the tempestuous. 

" What delighted him greatly one day annoyed him the next ; and 
whenever he appeared constant in the practice of any habits, it arose 
merely from the indifference, not to say contempt, in which he held 
them all : whatever they might be, thev were not worthy that he 

Vol. II.— M 

178 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

should occupy his thoughts with them. His heart was highly sensi- 
tive, and suffered itself to be governed in an extraordinary degree 
by sympathy ; but his imagination carried him away, and spoiled every 
thing. He believed in presages, and delighted in the recollection that 
he held this belief in common with Napoleon. It appeared that, in 
proportion as his intellectual education was cultivated, his moral 
education was neglected, and that he never suffered himself to know 
or observe other restraints than those imposed by his inclinations. 
Nevertheless, who could believe that he had a constant, and almost 
infantine timidity, of which the evidences were so apparent as to 
render its existence indisputable, notwithstanding the difficulty expe- 
rienced in associating with Lord Byron a sentiment which had the 
appearance of modesty. Conscious as he was that, wherever he pre- 
sented himself, all eyes were fixed on him, and all lips, particularly 
those of the women, were opened to say ' There he is, that is Lord 
Byron,' — he necessarily found himself in the situation' of an actor 
obliged to sustain a character, and to render an account, not to others 
(for about them he gave himself no concern), but to himself, of his 
every action and word. This occasioned him a feeling of uneasiness 
which was obvious to every one. 

" He remarked on a certain subject (which in 1814 was the topic of 
universal discourse), that ' the world was worth neitherthe trouble taken 
in its conquest, nor the regret felt at its loss,' which saying (if the 
worth of an expression could ever equal that of many and great actions) 
would almost show the thoughts and feelings of Lord Byron to be 
more stupendous and unmeasured than those of him respecting whom 
he spoke. 

" His gymnastic exercises were sometimes violent, and at others 
almost nothing. His body, like his spirit, readily accommodated itself 
to all his inclinations. During an entire winter, he went out every 
morning alone to row himself to the island of Armenians (a small 
island situated in the midst of a tranquil lake, and distant from Venice 
about half a league), to enjoy the society of those learned and hospi- 
table monks, and to learn their difficult language ; and, in the evening, 
entering again into his gondola, he went but only for a couple of hours 
into company. A second winter, whenever the water of the lake was 
violently agitated, he was observed to cross it, and landing on the 
nearest terra Jirma, to fatigue at least two horses with riding. 

" No one ever heard him utter a word of French, although he was 
perfectly conversant with that language. He hated the nation and its 
modern literature ; in like maimer, he held the modern Italian litera- 
ture in contempt, and said it possessed but one living author, — a 
restriction which I know not whether to term ridiculous, or false and 
injurious. His voice was sufficiently sweet and flexible. He spoke 
with much suavity, if not contradicted, but rather addressed himself 
to his neighbour than to the entire company. 

"Very little food sufficed him; and he preferred fish to flesh for 
this extraordinary reason, that the latter, he said, rendered him fero- 
cious. He disliked seeing women eat ; and the cause of this extra- 
ordinary antipathy must be sought in the dread he always had, that 
the notion he loved to cherish of their perfection and almost divine 
nature might be disturbed. Having always been governed by them, 
it would seem that his very self-love was pleased to take refuge in the 
idea of their excellence, — a sentiment which he knew how (God 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 179 

knows how) to reconcile with the contempt in which, shortly after- 
ward, almost with the appearance of satisfaction, he seemed to hold 
them. But contradictions ought not to surprise us in characters like 
Lord Byron's ; and then, who does not know that the slave holds in 

detestation his ruler 1 


"Lord Byron disjiked his countrymen, but only because he knew 
that his morals were held in contempt by them. The English, them- 
selves rigid observers of family duties, could not pardon him the 
neglect of his, nor his trampling on principles ; therefore neither did 
he like being presented to them, nor did they, especially when they 
had their wives with them, like to cultivate his acquaintance. Still 
there was a strong desire in all of them to see him, and the women in 
particular, who did not dare to look at him but by stealth, said in an 
under voice, * What a pity it is !' If, however, any of his compatriots 
of exalted rank and of high reputation came forward to treat him with 
courtesy, he showed himself obviously flattered by it, and was greatly 
pleased with such association. It seemed that to the wound which 
remained always open in his ulcerated heart, such soothing attentions 
were as drops of healing balm, which comforted him. 

" Speaking of his marriage, — a delicate subject, but one still agree- 
able to him, if it was treated in a friendly voice, — he was greatly 
moved, and said it had been the innocent cause of all his errors and 
all his griefs. Of his wife he spoke with much respect and affection. 
He said she was an illustrious lady, distinguished for the qualities of 
her heart and understanding, and that all the fault of their cruel separa- 
tion lay with himself. Now, was such language dictated by justice 
or by vanity 1 Does it not bring to mind the saying of Julius, that 
the wife of Caesar must not even be suspected ? What vanity in that 
saying of Caesar ! In fact, if it had not been from vanity, Lord Byron 
would have admitted this to no one. Of his young daughter, his dear 
Ada, he spoke with great tenderness, and seemed to be pleased at the 
great sacrifice he had made in leaving her to comfort her mother. The 
intense hatred he bore his mother-in-law, and a sort of Euryclea of Lady 
Byron, — two women, to whose influence he, in a great measure, attri- 
buted her estrangement from him, — demonstrated clearly how painful 
the separation was to him, notwithstanding some bitter pleasantries 
which occasionally occur in his writings against her also, dictated 
rather by rancour than by indifference." 


From the time of his misunderstanding with Madame A * * *, the 
visits of the noble poet were transferred to the house of the other 
great rallying point of Venetian society, Madame B * * *, — a lady in 
whose manners, though she had long ceased to be young, there still 
lingered much of that attaching charm, which a youth passed in suc- 
cessful efforts to please seldom fails to leave behind. That those 
powers of pleasing too, were not yet gone, the fidelity of, at least, one 
devoted admirer testified ; nor is she supposed to have thought it im- 
possible that Lord Byron himself might yet be linked on at the end 
of that long chain of lovers, which had, through so many years, 
graced the triumphs of her beauty. If, however, there could have 
been, in any case, the slightest chance of such a conquest, she had 
herself completely frustrated it by introducing her distinguished 
visiter to Madame Guiccioli, — a step by which she at last lost, too, 
even the ornament of his presence at her parties, as in consequence 


180 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

of some slighting conduct, on her part, towards his " Daraa," he dis- 
continued his attendance at her evening assemblies, and at the time of 
my visit to Venice had given up society altogether. 

I could soon collect, from the tone held respecting his conduct at 
Madame B * -* *'s, how subversive of all the morality of intrigue 
they considered the late step of which he had been guilty in with- 
drawing his acknowledged " Arnica" from the protection of her hus- 
band, and placing her, at once, under the same roof with himself. 
" You must really," said the hostess herself to me, " scold your 
friend; — till this unfortunate affair, he conducted himself so well!" — 
a eulogy on his previous moral conduct, which, when I reported it the 
following day to my noble host, provoked at once a smile and sigh 
from his lips. 

The chief subject of our conversation, when alone, was his mar- 
riage, and the load of obloquy which it had brought upon him. He 
was most anxious to know the worst that had been alleged of his 
conduct, and as this was our first opportunity of speaking together on 
the subject, I did not hesitate to put his candour most searchingly to 
the proof, not only by enumerating the various charges I had heard 
brought against him by others, but by specifying such portions of these 
charges as 1 had been inclined to think not incredible myself. To all 
this he listened with patience, and answered with the most unhesi- 
tating frankness, laughing to scorn the tales of unmanly outrage 
related of him, but at the same time, acknowledging that there had 
been in his conduct but too much to blame and regret, and stating one 
or two occasions, during his domestic life, when he had been irritated 
into letting " the breath of bitter words" escape him, — words, rather 
those of the unquiet spirit that possessed him than his own, and which 
he now evidently remembered with a degree of remorse and pain 
which might well have entitled them to be forgotten by others. 

It was, at the same time, manifest, that, whatever admissions he 
might be inclined to make respecting his own delinquencies, the inor- 
dinate measure of the punishment dealt out to him had sunk deeply 
into his mind, and, with the usual effect of such injustice, drove him 
also to be unjust himself; — so much so, indeed, as to impute to the 
quarter, to which he now traced all his ill fate, a feeling of fixed hos- 
tility to himself, which would not rest, he thought, even at his grave, 
but continue to persecute his memory as it was now imbittering his 
life. So strong was this impression upon him, that during one of our 
few intervals of seriousness, he conjured me, by our friendship, if, as 
he both felt and hoped, I should survive him, not to let unmerited cen- 
sure settle upon his name, but, while 1 surrendered him up to con- 
demnation, where he deserved it, to vindicate him where aspersed. 

How groundless and wrongful were these apprehensions, the early 
death which he so often predicted and sighed for has enabled us, un- 
fortunately but too soon, to testify. So far from having to defend him 
against any such assailants, an unworthy voice or two, from persons 
more injurious as friends than as enemies, is all that I find raised in 
hostility to his name ; while by none, I am inclined to think, would a 
generous amnesty over his grave be more readily and cordially con- 
curred in than by her, among whose numerous virtues a forgiving 
charity towards himself was the only one to which she had not yet 
taught him to render justice. 

1 have already had occasion to remark, in another part of this work, 
that with persons, who, like Lord Byron, live centred in their own 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 181 

tremulous web of sensitiveness, those friends of whom they see 
least, and who, therefore, least frequently come in collision with them 
in those every day realities from which such natures shrink so mor- 
bidly, have proportionately a greater chance of retaining' a hold on 
their affections. There is, however, in long absence from persons of 
this temperament, another description of risk hardly less, perhaps, to 
be dreaded. If the station a friend holds in their hearts is, in near 
intercourse with them, in danger from their sensitiveness, it is almost 
equally, perhaps, at the mercy of their too active imaginations during 
absence. On this very point, I recollect once expressing my appre- 
hensions to Lord Byron, in a passage of a letter addressed to him but 
a short time before his death, of which the following is, as nearly as 
I can recall it, the substance : — " When with you, I feel sure of you ; 
but. at a distance, one is often a little afraid of being made the victim, 
all of a sudden, of some of those fanciful suspicions, which, like 
meteoric stones, generate themselves (God knows how) in the upper 
regions of your imagination, and come clattering down upon our 
heads, some fine sunny day, when we are least expecting such an 

In writing thus to him, I had more particularly in recollection a 
fancy of this kind respecting myself, which he had, not long before 
my present visit to him at Venice, taken into his head. In a ludicrous, 
and now, perhaps, forgotten publication of mine, giving an account 
of the adventures of an English family in Paris, there had occurred 
the following description of the chief hero of the tale. 

" A fine, sallow, sublime sort of Werter-faced man, 
With mustachios which gave (what we read of so oft) 
The dear Corsair expression, half savage, half soft, — 
As hyaenas in love may be fancied to look, or 
A something between Abelard and old Blucher." 

On seeing this doggerel, my noble friend, — as 1 might, indeed, with 
a little more thought, have anticipated, — conceived the notion that I 
meant to throw ridicule on his whole race of poetic heroes, and ac- 
cordingly, as I learned from persons then in frequent intercourse with 
him, flew out into one of his fits of half-humorous rage against me. 
This he now confessed himself, and, in laughing over the circum- 
stance with me, owned that he had even gone so far as, in his first 
moments of wrath, to contemplate some little retaliation for this per- 
fidious hit at h>s heroes. "But when I recollected," said he, "what 
pleasure it would give the whole tribe of blockheads and Blues to see 
you and me turning out against each other, I gave up the idea." He 
was, indeed, a striking instance of what may be almost invariably 
observed, that they who best know how to wield the weapon of ridi- 
cule themselves, are the most alive to its power in the hands of others. 
I remember, one day, — in the year 1813, I think, — as we were con- 
versing together about critics and their influence on the public, " For 
my part," he exclaimed, " I do n't care what they say of me, so they 
do n't quiz me." " Oh you need not fear that," — I answered, with 
something, perhaps, of a half-suppressed smile on my features, — 
" nobody could quiz you." " You could, you villain !" he replied, 
clenching his hand at me, and looking, at the same time, with comic 
earnestness into my face. 

Before I proceed any farther with my own recollections, I shall here 

182 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819, 

take the opportunity of extracting some curious particulars respecting 
the habits and mode of life of my friend while at Venice, from an 
account obligingly furnished me by a gentleman who long resided in 
that city, and who, during the greater part of Lord Byron's stay, lived 
on terms of the most friendly intimacy with him. 

" I have often lamented that I kept no notice of his observa- 
tions during our rides and aquatic excursions. Nothing could exceed 
the vivacity and variety of his conversation, or the cheerfulness ol 
his manner. His remarks on the surrounding objects were always 
original ; and most particularly striking was the quickness with which 
he availed himself of every circumstance, however trifling in itself, 
and such as would have escaped the notice of almost any other 
person, to carry his point in such arguments as we might chance to 
be engaged in. He was feelingly alive to the beauties of nature, and 
took great interest in any observations, which, as a dabbler in the arts, 
I ventured to make upon the effects of light and shadow, or the 
changes produced in the colour of objects by every variation in the 

" The spot where we usually mounted our horses had been a Jewish 
cemetery ; but the French, during their occupation of Venice, had 
thrown down the enclosures, and levelled all the tombstones with the 
ground, in order that they might not interfere with the fortifications 
upon the Lido, under the guns of which it was situated. To this 
place, as it was known to be that where he alighted from his gondola 
and met his horses, the curious among our country people, who were 
anxious to obtain a glimpse of him, used to resort ; and it was amusing 
in the extreme to witness the excessive coolness with which ladies, 
as well as gentlemen, would advance within a very few paces of him, 
eyeing him, some with their glasses, as they would have done a statue 
in a museum, or the wild beasts at Exeter 'Change. However flat- 
tering this might be to a man's vanity, Lord Byron, though he bore it 
very patiently, expressed himself, as I believe he really was, exces- 
sively annoyed at it. 

" I have said that our usual ride was along the seashore, and that the 
spot where we took horse, and of course dismounted, had been a 
cemetery. It will readily be believed, that some caution was neces- 
sary in riding over the broken tombstones, and that it was altogether 
an awkward place for horses to pass. As the length of our ride was 
not very great, scarcely more than six miles in all, we seldom rode 
fast, that we might at least prolong its duration, and enjoy as much 
as possible the refreshing air of the Adriatic. One day, as we were lei- 
surely returning homewards, Lord Byron, all at once, and without 
saying any thing to me, set spurs to his horse and started off at full 
gallop, making the greatest haste he could to get to his gondola. I 
could not conceive what fit had seized him, and had some difficulty in 
keeping even within a reasonable distance of him, while I looked 
around me to discover, if I were able, what could be the cause of his 
unusual precipitation. At length I perceived at some distance two or 
three gentlemen, who were running along the opposite side of the 
island nearest the Lagoon, parallel with him, towards his gondola, 
hoping to get there in time to see him alight ; and a race actually took 
place between them, he endeavouring to outstrip them. In this he, in 
fact, succeeded, and, throwing himself quickly from his horse, leaped 
into his gondola, of which he hastily closed the blinds, ensconcing 
himself in a corner so as not to be seen. For my own part, not 

a»d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 183 

choosing" to risk my neck over the ground I have spoken of, I followed 
more leisurely as soon as I came among the gravestones, but got to 
the place of embarkation just at the same moment with my curious 
countrymen, and in time to witness their disappointment at having 
had their run for nothing. I found him exulting in his success in out- 
stripping them. He expressed in strong terms his annoyance at what 
he called their impertinence, while I could not but laugh at his impa- 
tience, as well as at the mortification of the unfortunate pedestrians, 
whose eagerness to see him, I said, was, in my opinion, highly flat- 
tering to him. That, he replied, depended on the feeling with which 
they came, and he had not the vanity to believe that they were influ- 
enced by any admiration of his character or of his abilities, but that 
they were impelled merely by idle curiosity. Whether it was so or 
not, I cannot help thinking that if they had been of the other sex, he 
would not have been so eager to escape from their observation, as in 
that case he would have repaid them glance for glance. 

" The curiosity that was expressed by all classes of travellers to 
see him, and the eagerness with which they endeavoured to pick up 
any anecdotes of his mode of life, were cariied to a length which will 
hardly be credited. It formed the chief subject, of their inquiries of 
the gondoliers who conveyed them from terra firma to the floating 
city ; and these people, who are generally loquacious, were not at all 
backward in administering to the taste and humours of their passen- 
gers, relating to them the most extravagant and often unfounded 
stories. They took care to point out the house where he lived, and 
to give such hints of his movements as might afford them an oppor- 
tunity of seeing him. Many of the English visiters, under pretext of 
seeing his house, in which there were no paintings of any consequence, 
nor, besides himself, any thing worthy of notice, contrived to obtain 
admittance through the cupidity of his servants, and with the most 
barefaced impudence forced their way even into his bedroom, in the 
hopes of seeing him. Hence arose, in a great measure, his bitterness 
towards them, which he has expressed in a note to one of his poems, 
on the occasion of some unfounded remark made upon him by an 
anonymous traveller in Italy ; and it certainly appears well calculated 
to foster that cynicism which prevails in his latter works more par- 
ticularly, and which, as well as the misanthropical expressions that 
occur in those which first raised his reputation, I do not believe to 
have been his natural feeling. Of this I am certain, that I never wit- 
nessed greater kindness than in Lord Byron. 

" The inmates of his family were all extremely attached to him, 
and would have endured any thing on his account. He was indeed 
culpably lenient to them ; for even when instances occurred of their 
neglecting their duty, or taking an undue advantage of his good-nature, 
he rather bantered than spoke seriously to them upon it, and could not 
bring himself to discharge them even when he had threatened to do 
so. An instance occurred within my knowledge of his unwillingness 
to act harshly towards a tradesman whom he had materially assisted, 
not only by lending him money, but by forwarding his interest in every 
way that he could. Notwithstanding repeated acts of kindness on 
Lord Byron's part, this man robbed and cheated him in the most bare- 
faced manner ; and when at length Lord Byron was induced to sue 
him at law for the recovery of his money, the only punishment he 
inflicted upon him, when sentence against him was passed, was to 

184 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

put him in prison for one week, and then to let him out again, although 
his debtor had subjected him to a considerable additional expense, by 
dragging him into all the different courts of appeal, and that he never 
at last recovered one halfpenny of the money owed to him. Upon 
this subject he writes to me from Ravenna. 'If * * is in (prison), 
let him out ; if out, put him in for a week merely for a lesson, and 
give him a good lecture.' 

" He was also ever ready to assist the distressed, and he was most 
unostentatious in his charities : for besides considerable sums which 
he gave away to applicants at his own house, he contributed largely 
by weekly and monthly allowances to persons whom he had never 
seen, and who, as the money reached them by other hands, did not 
even know who was their benefactor. One or two instances might 
be adduced where his charity certainly bore an appearance of osten- 
tation ; one particularly when he sent fifty louis-d'or to a poor printer 
whose house had been burned to the ground, and all his property 
destroyed ; but even this was not unattended with advantage ; for it 
in a manner compelled the Austrian authorities to do something for 
the poor sufferer, which I have no hesitation in saying they would 
not have done otherwise ; and I attribute it entirely to the publicity 
of his donation, that they allowed the man the use of an unoccupied 
house belonging to the government until he could rebuild his own, or 
re-establish his business elsewhere. Other instances might be per- 
haps discovered where his liberalities proceeded from selfish, and not 
very worthy motives ;* but these are rare, and it would be unjust in 
the extreme to assume them as proofs of his character." 

It has been already mentioned that, in writing to my noble friend 
to announce my coming, I had expressed a hope that he would be able 
to go on with me to Rome ; and I had the gratification of finding, on 
my arrival, that he was fully prepared to enter into this plan. On 
becoming acquainted, however, with all the details of his present situ- 
ation, I so far sacrificed my own wishes and pleasure as to advise 
strongly that he should remain at La Mira. In the first place, I saw 
reason to apprehend that his leaving Madame Guiccioli at this crisis 
might be the means of drawing upon him the suspicion of neglecting, 
if not actually deserting, a young person who had just sacrificed so 
much to her love for him, and whose position, at this moment, between 
husband and lover, it required all the generous prudence of the latter 
to shield from farther shame or fall. There had just occurred too, as 
it appeared to me, a most favourable opening for the retrieval of, at 
least, the imprudent part of the transaction, by replacing the lady 
instantly under her husband's protection, and thus enabling her still 
to retain that station in society which, in such society, nothing but 
such imprudence could have endangered. 

This latter hope had been suggested by a letter he one day showed 
me (as we were dining together alone, at the well-known Pellegrino), 
which had that morning been received by the Contessa from her 
husband, and the chief object of which was — not to express any cen- 
sure of her conduct, but to suggest that she should prevail upon her 
noble admirer to transfer into his keeping a sum of £1000, which was 
then lying, if 1 remember right, in the hands of Lord Byron's banker 

* The writer here, no doubt, alludes to such questionable liberalities as 
those exercised towards the husbands of his two favourites, Madame S * * 
and the Fornarina. 

a.d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 185 

at Ravenna, but which the worthy Count professed to think would be 
more advantageously placed in his own. Security, the writer added, 
would be given, and five per cent, interest allowed ; as to accept of 
the sum on any other terms he should hold to be an " avvilimento" to 
him. Though, as regarded the lady herself, who has since proved, by 
a most noble sacrifice, how perfectly disinterested were her feelings 
throughout, this trait of so wholly opposite a character in her lord 
must have still farther increased her disgust at returning to him ; yet 
so important did it seem, as well for her lover's sake as her own, to 
retrace, while there was yet time, their last imprudent step, that even 
the sacrifice of this sum, which I saw would materially facilitate such 
an arrangement, did not appear to me by any means too high a price 
to pay for it. On this point, however, my noble friend entirely dif- 
fered with me ; and nothing could be more humorous and amusing 
than the manner in which, in his newly assumed character of a lover 
of money, he dilated on the many virtues of a thousand pounds, and 
his determination not to part with a single one of them to Count 
Guiccioli. Of his confidence, too, in his own power of extricating 
himself from this difficulty he spoke with equal gayety and humour; 
and Mr. Scott, who joined our party after dinner, having taken the 
same view of the subject as I did, he laid a wager of two sequins with 
that gentleman, that, without any such disbursement, he would yet 
bring all right again, and " save the lady and the money too." 

It is, indeed, certain, that he had at this time taken up the whim 
(for it hardly deserves a more serious name) of minute and constant 
watchfulness over his expenditure ; and, as most usually happens, it 
was with the increase of his means that this increased sense of the 
value of money came. The first symptom I saw of this new fancy of 
his, was the exceeding joy which he manifested on my presenting to 
him a rouleau of twenty Napoleons, which Lord K * * d, to whom he 
had, on some occasion, lent that sum, had intrusted me with, at Milan,' 
to deliver into his hands. With the most joyous and diverting eager- 
ness, he tore open the paper, and, in counting over the sum, stopped 
frequently to congratulate himself on the recovery of it. 

Of his household frugalities I speak but on the authority of others; 
but it is not difficult to- conceive that, with a restless spirit like his, 
which delighted always in having something to contend with, and 
which, but a short time before, " for want," as he said, " of something 
craggy to break upon," had tortured itself with the study of the Ar- 
menian language, he should, in default of all better excitement, find 
a sort of stir and amusement in the task of contesting, inch by inch, 
every encroachment of expense, and endeavouring to suppress what 
he himself calls 

" That climax of all earthly ills, 
The inflammation of our weekly bills." 

In truth, his constant recurrence to the praise of avarice in Don 
Juan, and the humorous zest with which he delights to dwell on it, 
shows how new-fangled, as well as how far from serious, was his 
adoption of this " good old-gentlemanly vice." In the same spirit he 
had, a short time before my arrival at Venice, established a hoarding- 
box, with a slit in the lid, into which he occasionally put sequins, and, 
at stated periods, opened it to contemplate his treasures. His own 
ascetic style of living enabled him, as far as himself was concert- 

186 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

to gratify this taste for economy in no ordinary degree, — his daily bill 
of fare, when the Margarita was his companion, consisting, I have 
been assured, of but four baccafichi, of which the Fornarina eat three, 
leaving even him hungry. 

That his parsimony, however (if this new phasis of his ever-shifting 
character is to be called by such a name), was very far from being of 
that kind which Bacon condemns, " as withholding men from works 
of liberality," is apparent from all that is known of his munificence, at 
this very period, — some particulars of which, from a most authentic 
source, have just been cited, proving amply that while, for the indul- 
gence of a whim, he kept one hand closed, he gave free course to his 
generous nature by dispensing lavishly from the other. It should be 
remembered, too, that as long as money shall continue lo be one of 
the great sources of power, so long will they who seek influence over 
their fellow-men attach value to it as an instrument ; and the more 
lowly they are inclined to estimate the disinterestedness of the human 
heart, the more available and precious will they consider the talisman 
that gives such power over it. Hence, certainly, it is not among those 
who have thought highest of mankind that the disposition to avarice 
has most generally displayed itself. In Swift the love of money was 
strong and avowed ; and to Voltaire the same propensity was also 
frequently imputed, — on about as sufficient grounds, perhaps, as to 
Lord Byron. 

On the day preceding that of my departure from Venice, my noble 
host, on arriving from La Mira to dinner, told me, with all the glee of 
a schoolboy who had been just granted a holyday, that, as this was my 
last evening, the Contessa had given him leave to " make a night of 
it," and that accordingly he would not only accompany me to the 
opera, but that we should sup together at some cafe (as in the old 
times) afterward. Observing a volume in his gondola, with a num- 
ber of paper marks between the leaves, I inquired of him what it was 1 
— " Only a book," he answered, " from which I am trying to crib, as I 
do whenever I can ;* — and that 's the way I get the character of an 
original poet." On taking it up and looking into it, I exclaimed, "Ah, 
my old friend Agathon !"f — " What !" he cried, archly, " you have 
been beforehand with me there, have you V 1 

Though in thus imputing to himself premeditated plagiarism, he 
was, of course, but jesting, it was, I am inclined to think, his practice, 
when engaged in the composition of any work, to excite his vein by 
the perusal of others, on the same subject or plan, from which the 
slightest hint caught by his imagination, as he read, was sufficient to 
kindle there such a train of thought as, but for that spark, had never 
been awakened, and of which he himself soon forgot the source. In 
the present instance, the inspiration he sought was of no very 
elevating nature, — the antispiritual doctrines of the Sophist in this 
Romance:}: being what chiefly, I suspect, attracted his attention to its 

* This will remind the reader of Moliere's avowal in speaking of wit :— 
" C'est mon bien et je le prends partout ou je le trouve." 

t The History of Agathon, by Wieland. 

J Between Wieland, the author of this Romance, and Lord Byron, may 
be observed some of those generic points of resemblance which it is so inte- 
resting to trace in the characters of men of genius. The German poet, it is said, 
never perused any work that made a strong impression upon him, without 
being stimulated to commence one, himself, on the same topic and plan ; 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 187 

pages, as not unlikely to supply him with fresh argument and sarcasm 
for those depreciating views of human nature and its destiny, which 
he was now, with all the wantonness of unbounded genius, enforcing 
in Don Juan. 

Of this work he was, at the time of my visit to him, writing the 
Third Canto, and before dinner, one day, read me two or three hundred 
lines of it ; — beginning with the stanzas " Oh Wellington," &c. which 
at that time formed the opening of this Third Canto, but were after- 
ward reserved for the commencement of the Ninth. My opinion of 
the Poem, both as regarded its talent and its mischief, he had already 
been made acquainted with, from my having been one of those, — his 
Committee, as he called us, — to whom, at his own desire, the manu- 
script of the first two Cantos had been submitted, and who, as the 
reader has seen, angered him not a little by deprecating the publica- 
tion of it. In a letter which I, at that time, wrote to him on the sub- 
ject, after praising the exquisite beauty of the scenes between Juan and 
Haidee, I ventured to say, " Is it not odd that the same license which, 
in your early Satire, you blamed me for being guilty of on the borders of 
my twentieth year, you are now yourself (with infinitely greater power, 
and therefore infinitely greater mischief) indulging in after thirty !" 

Though I now found him, in full defiance of such remonstrances, 
proceeding with this work, he had yet, as his own letters prove, been 
so far influenced by the general outcry against his Poem, as to feel 
the zeal and zest with which he had commenced it considerably 
abated, — so much so, as to render, ultimately, in his own opinion, the 
Third and Fourth Cantos much inferior in spirit to the first two. So 
sensitive, indeed, — in addition to his usual abundance of this quality, 
did he, at length, grow on the subject, that when Mr. W. Bankes, who 
succeeded me as his visiter, happened to tell him, one day, that he 
had heard a Mr. Saunders (or some such name), then resident at 
Venice, declare that, in his opinion, " Don Juan was all Grub-street," 
such an effect had this disparaging speech upon his mind (though 
coming from a person who, as he himself would have it, was " nothing 
but a d — d salt-fish seller"), that, for some time after, by his own con- 
fession to Mr. Bankes, he could not bring himself to write another 
line of the Poem ; and, one morning, opening a drawer where the 
neglected manuscript lay, he said to his friend, " Look here — this is 
all Mr. Saunders's ' Grub-street.' " 

To return, however, to the details of our last evening together at 
Venice. After a dinner with Mr. Scott at the Pellegrino, we all went, 
rather late, to the opera, where the principal part in the Baccanali di 
Roma was represented by a female singer, whose chief claim to repu- 
tation, according to Lord Byron, lay in her having stilettoed one of her 

and in Lord Byron the imitative principle was almost equally active, — there 
being few of his Poems that might not, in the same manner, be traced to the 
strong impulse given to his imagination by the perusal of some work that 
had interested him. In the history, too, of their lives and feelings, there 
was a strange and painful coincidence, — the revolution that took place in all 
Wieland's opinions, from the Platonism and romance of his youthful days, 
to the material and Epicurean doctrines that pervaded all his maturer works, 
being chiefly, it is supposed, brought about by the shock his heart had re- 
ceived from a disappointment of his affections in early life. Speaking of the 
illusion of this first passion, in one of his letters, he says, — " It is one for 
which no joys, no honours, no gifts of fortune, not even wisdom itself can 
afford an equivalent, and which, when it has once vanished, returns no more." 

188 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

favourite lovers. In the intervals between the singing he pointed out 
to me different persons among the audience, to whom celebrity of 
various sorts, but, for the most part, disreputable, attached ; and of 
one lady who sat near us, he related an anecdote, which, whether new 
or old, may, as creditable to Venetian facetiousness, be worth, per- 
haps, repeating. This lady had, it seems, been pronounced by Napo- 
leon the finest woman in Venice ; but the Venetians, not quite agreeing 
with this opinion of the great man, contented themselves with calling 
her " La Bella per Decr^to^ — adding (as the Decrees always begin 
with the word " Considerando"), " Ma senza il Considerando." 

From the opera, in pursuance of our agreement to " make a night 
of it," we betook ourselves to a sort of cabaret in the Place of St. 
Mark, and there, within a few yards of the Palace of the Doges, sat 
drinking hot brandy punch, and laughing over old times, till the clock 
of St. Mark struck the second hour of the morning. Lord Byron 
then took me in his gondola, and, the moon being in its fullest 
splendour, he made the gondoliers row us to such points of view as 
might enable me to see Venice, at that hour, to advantage. Nothing 
could be more solemnly beautiful than the whole scene around, and I 
had, for the first time, the Venice of my dreams before me. All those 
meaner details which so offend the eye by day were now softened 
down by the moonlight into a sort of visionary indistinctness ; and 
the effect of that silent city of palaces, sleeping, as it were, upon the 
waters, in the bright stillness of the night, was such as could not but 
affect deeply even the least susceptible imagination. My companion 
saw that I was moved by it, and, though familiar with the scene him- 
self, seemed to give w r ay, for the moment, to the same strain of feeling • 
and, as we exchanged a few remarks suggested by that wreck of 
human glory before us, his voice, habitually so cheerful, sunk into a 
tone of mournful sweetness, such as I had rarely before heard from 
him, and shall not easily forget. This mood, however, was but of the 
moment; some quick turn of ridicule soon carried him off into a 
totally different vein, and at about three oclock in the morning, at the 
door of his own palazzo, we parted, laughing, as we had met ; — an 
agreement having been first made that I should take an early dinner 
with him next day, at his villa, on my road to Ferrara. 

Having employed the morning of the following day in completing 
my round of sights at Venice, — taking care to visit specially " that 
picture by Giorgione," to which the poet's exclamation, "such a 
woman !"* will long continue to attract all votaries of beauty, — I took 
my departure from Venice, and, at about three o'clock, arrived at La 
Mira. I found my noble host waiting to receive me, and, in passing 
with him through the hall, saw his little Allegra, who, with her 
nursery-maid, was standing there as if just returned from a walk. 
To the perverse fancy he had for falsifying his own character, and 
even imputing to himself faults the most alien to his nature, I have 
already frequently adverted, and had, on this occasion, a striking 
instance of it. After I had spoken a little, in passing, to the child, 

* " 'T is but a portrait of his son and wife, 
And self; but such a woman ! love in life !" 


This seems, by-the-way, to be an incorrect description of the picture, as, 
according to Vasari and others, Giorgione never was married, ana died 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LOUD BYRON. 189 

and made some remark on its beauty, he said to me — " Have you any 
notion — but I suppose you have — of what they call the parental feel- 
ing ? For myself, I have not the least." And yet, when that child 
died, in a year or two afterward, he who now uttered this artificial 
speech was so overwhelmed by the event, that those who were about 
him at the time actually trembled for his reason! 

A short time before dinner he left the room, and in a 'minute or two 
returned, carrying in his hand a white leather bag. " Look here," 
he said, holding it up, — " this would be worth something to Murray, 
though you, I dare say, would not give sixpence for it." " What is 
it ]" I asked. — " My Life and Adventures," he answered. On hearing 
this, I raised my hands in a gesture of wonder. " It is not a thing," 
he continued, " that can be published during my lifetime, but you may 
have it, if you like — there, do whatever you please with it." In taking 
the bag, and thanking him most warmly, I added, " This will make a 
nice legacy for my little Tom, who shall astonish the latter days of 
the nineteenth century with it." He then added, "You may show it 
to any of our friends you think worthy of it :" — and this is, nearly 
word for word, the whole of what passed between us on the subject. 

At dinner we were favoured with the presence of Madame Guiccioli, 
who was so obliging as to furnish me, at Lord Byron's suggestion, 
with a letter of introduction to her brother, Count Gamba, whom it 
was probable, they both thought, I should meet at Rome. This letter 
I never had an opportunity of presenting ; and as it was left open for 
me to read, and was, the greater part of it, I have little doubt, dictated 
by my noble friend, I may venture, without impropriety, to give an 
extract from it here ; — premising that the allusion to the " Castle," &c. 
refers to some tales respecting the cruelty of Lord Byron to his wife 
which the young count had heard, and, at this time, implicitly believed. 
After a few sentences of compliment to the bearer, the letter proceeds 
— " He is on his way to see the wonders of Rome, and there is no one, 
I am sure, more qualified to enjoy them. I shall be gratified and 
obliged by your acting, as far as you can, as his guide. He is a friend 
of Lord Byron's, and much more accurately acquainted with his his- 
tory than those who have related it to you. He will accordingly 
describe to you, if you ask him, the shape, the dimensions, and what- 
ever else you may please to require, of that Castle, in which he keeps 
imprisoned a young and innocent wife, &c. &c. My dear Pietro, when- 
ever you feel inclined to laugh, do send two lines of answer to your 
sister, who loves and ever will love you with the greatest tenderness. 
— Teresa Guiccioli."* 

After expressing his regret that I had not been able to prolong my 
stay at Venice, my noble friend said, " At least, I think, you might 
spare a day or two to go with me to Arqua. I should like," he con- 
tinued, thoughtfully, " to visit that tomb with you :" — then, breaking 

* " Egli viene per vedere le meraviglie di questa Citta, e sono certa che 
nessuno meglio di lui saprebbe gustarle. Mi sara grato che vi facciate sua 
guida come potrete, e voi poi me ne avrete obbligo. Egli e amico de Lord 
Byron — sa la sua storia assai piu. precisamente di quelli che a voi la raccon- 
tarono. Egli dunque vi raccontera se io interrogherete la forma, le dimen- 
sioni, e tuttocio che vi piacera del Castello ore tiene imprigionata una giovane 
innotente sposa, &c. &c. Mio caro Pietro, quando ti sei bene sfogato a ridere, 
allora rispondi due righe alia tua sorella, che t' ama e t' amera sempre colla 
maggiore tenerezza." 

190 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

off into his usual gay tone, " a pair of poetical pilgrims — eh, Tom, 
what say you ?" — That I should have declined this offer and thus lost 
the opportunity of an excursion, which would have been remembered, 
as a bright dream, through all my after life, is a circumstance I never 
can think of without wonder and self-reproach. But the main design 
on which I had then set my mind of reaching Rome and, if possible, 
Naples, within the limited period which circumstances allowed, ren- 
dered me far less alive than I ought to have been to the preciousness 
of the episode thus offered to me. 

When it was time for me to depart, he expressed his intention to 
accompany me a few miles, and, ordering his horses to follow, pro- 
ceeded with me in the carriage as far as Stra, where for the last time 
— how little thinking it was to be the last ! — I bade my kind and 
admirable friend farewell. 



" October 22d, 1819. 

" 1 am glad to hear of your return, but I do not know how to con- 
gratulate you — unless you think differently of Venice from what I 
think now, and you thought always. I am, besides, about to renew 
your troubles by requesting you to be judge between Mr. E * * * and 
myself in a small matter of imputed peculation and irregular accounts 
on the part of that phcenix of secretaries. As I knew that you had 
not parted friends, at the same time that I refused for my own 
part any judgment but yours, I offered him his choice of any person, 
the least scoundrel native to be found in Venice, as his own umpire ; 
but he expressed himself so convinced of your impartiality, that he 
declined any but you. This is in his favour. — The paper within will 
explain to you the default in his accounts. You will hear his explana- 
tion, and decide, if it so please you. I shall not appeal from the 

"As he complained that his salary was insufficient, I determined to 
have his accounts examined, and the enclosed was the result. — It is 
all in black and white with documents, and I have despatched Fletcher 
to explain (or rather to perplex) the matter. 

" I have had much civility and kindness from Mr. Dorville during 
your journey, and I thank him accordingly. 

" Your letter reached me at your departure,* and displeased me 
very much : — not that it might not be true in its statement and kind in 
its intention, but you have lived long enough to know how useless all 
such representations ever are and must be in cases where the passions 

* Mr. Hoppner, before his departure from Venice for Switzerland, had, 
with all the zeal of a true friend, written a letter to Lord Byron, entreating 
him " to leave Ravenna, while yet he had a whole skin, and urging him not 
to risk the safety of a person he appeared so sincerely attached to — as well 
as his own — for the gratification of a momentary passion, which could only 
be a source of regret to both parties." In the same letter Mr. Hoppner in- 
formed him of some reports he had heard lately at Venice, which, though 
possibly, he said, unfounded, had much increased his anxiety respecting the 
consequences of the connexion formed by him. 

a. d. 1619.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 191 

are concerned. To reason with men in such a situation is like rea- 
soning - with a drunkard in his cups — the only answer you will get 
from him is that he is sober, and you are drunk. 

" Upon that subject we will (if you like) be silent. You might 
only say what would distress me without answering 1 any purpose 
whatever; and I have too many obligations to you to answer you in 
the same style. So that you should recollect that you have also that 
advantage over me. 1 hope to see you soon. 

" I suppose you know that they said at Venice, that I was arrested 
at Bologna as a Carbonaro — a story about as true as their usual con- 
versation. Moore has been here — 1 lodged him in my house at 
Venice, and went to see him daily ; but I could not at that time quit 
La Mira entirely. You and I were not very far from meeting in 
Switzerland. With my best respects to Mrs'. Hoppner, believe me 
ever and truly, &c. 

" P.S. Allegra is here in good health and spirits — I shall keep her 
with me till I go to England, which will perhaps be in the spring. It 
has just occurred to me that you may not perhaps like to under- 
take the office of judge between Mr. E. and your humble servant. — 
Of course, as Mr. Liston (the comedian, not the ambassador) says, 
'it is all hoptional? but I have no other resource. I do not wish to 
find him a rascal, if it can be avoided, and would rather think him 
guilty of carelessness than cheating. The case is this— can I, or not, 
give him a character for honesty ? — It is not my intention to continue 
him in my service." 



" October 25th, 1819. 
" You need not have made any excuses about the letter ; I never 
said but that you might, could, should, or would have reason. I 
merely described my own state of inaptitude to listen to it at that 
time, and in those circumstances. Besides, you did not speak from 
your own authority — but from what you said you had heard. Now 
my blood boils to hear an Italian speaking ill of another Italian, 
because, though they lie in particular, they speak truth in general by 
speaking ill at all — and although they know that they are trying and 
wishing to lie, they do not succeed, merely because they can say 
nothing so bad of each other, that it may not, and must not be true 
from the atrocity of their long-debased national character.* 

* " This language," says Mr. Hoppner, in some remarks upon the above 
letter, " is strong, but it was the language of prejudice ; and he was rather 
apt thus to express the feelings of the moment, without troubling himself to 
consider how soon he might be induced to change them. He was at this 
time so sensitive on the subject of Madame * *, that, merely because some 
nersons had disapproved of her conduct, he declaimed in the above manner 
against the whole nation. I never," continues Mr. Hoppner, '* was partial 
to Venice ; but disliked it almost from the first month of my residence there. 
Yet I experienced more kindness in that place than I ever met with in any 
country, and witnessed acts of generosity and disinterestedness such as 
rarely are met with elsewhere.'* 

192 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

" With regard to E. you will perceive a most irregular, extravagant 
account, without proper documents to support it. He demanded an 
increase of salary, which made me suspect him; he supported an 
outrageous extravagance of expenditure, and did not like the dis- 
mission of the cook ; he never complained of him — as in duty bound 
— at the time of his robberies. I can only say, that the house expense 
is now under one-half of what it then was, as he himself admits. He 
charged for a comb eighteen francs, — the real price was eight. He 
charged a passage from Fusina for a person named Iambelli, who paid it 
herself, as she will prove, if necessary. He fancies, or asserts himself, 
the victim of a domestic complot against him ; — accounts are accounts 
— prices are prices ; — let him make out a fair detail. I am not pre- 
judiced against him — on the contrary, I supported him against the 
complaints of his wife, and of his former master, at a time when I 
could have crushed him like an ear-wig, and if he is a scoundrel, he 
is the greatest of scoundrels, an ungrateful one. The truth is, pro- 
bably, that he thought I was leaving Venice, and determined to make 
the most of it. At present he keeps bringing in account after account, 
though he had always money in hand — as I believe you know my 
system was never to allow longer than a week's bills to run. Pray 
read him this letter — I desire nothing to be concealed against which 
he may defend himself. 

"Pray how is your little boy? and how are you — I shall be up in 
Venice very soon, and we will be bilious together. I hate the place 
and all that it inherits. 

" Yours, &c." 



" October 28th, 1819. 
* •* * # * * 

" I have to thank you for your letter, and your compliment to Don 
Juan. I said nothing to you about it, understanding that it is a sore 
subject with the moral reader, and has been the cause of a great row ; 
but I am glad you like it. I will say nothing about the shipwreck, 
except that I hope you think it is as nautical and technical as verse could 
admit in the octave measure. 

" The poem has not sold well, so Murray says — ' but the best judges, 
&c. say, &c.' so says that worthy man. I have never seen it in 
print. The Third Canto is in advance about one hundred stanzas ; 
but the failure of the first two has weakened my estro, and it will 
neither be so good as the former two, nor completed, unless I get a 
little more riscaldato in its behalf. I understand the outcry was 
beyond every thing. — Pretty cant for people who read Tom Jones, 
and Roderick Random, and the Bath Guide, and Ariosto, and Dryden, 
and Pope — to say nothing of Little's Poems. Of course I refer to 
the morality of these works, and not to any pretension of mine to 
compete with them in any thing but decency. I hope yours is the 
Paris edition, and that you did not pay the London price. I have seen 
neither except in the newspapers. 

" Pray make my respects to Mrs. H., and take care of your little 
boy. All my household have the fever and ague, except Fletcher, 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 193 

Allegra, and mysen (as we used to say in Nottinghamshire), and the 
horses, and Mutz, and Moretto. In the beginning of November, 
perhaps sooner, I expect to have the pleasure of seeing you. To-day 
I got drenched by a thunder-storm, and my horse and groom too, and 
his horse all bemired up to the middle in a cross-road. It was 
summer, at noon, and at five we were bewintered ; but the lightning 
was sent perhaps to let us know that the summer was not yet over. 
It is queer weather for the 27th of October. 

"Yours, &c." 



"Venice, October 29th, 1819. 

"Yours of the 15th came yesterday. I am sorry that you do not 
mention a large letter addressed to your care for Lady Byron, from 
me, at Bologna, two months ago. Pray tell me, was this letter re- 
ceived and forwarded 1 

" You say nothing of the vice-consulate for the Ravenna patrician, 
from which it is to be inferred that the thing will not be done. 

" I had written about a hundred stanzas of a Third Canto to Don 
Juan, but the reception of the first two is no encouragement to you 
nor me to proceed. 

" I had also written about six hundred lines of a poem, the Vision 
for Prophecy) of Dante, the subject a view of Italy in the ages down 
to the present — supposing Dante to speak in his own person, previous 
to his death, and embracing all topics in the way of prophecy, like 
Lycophron's Cassandra; but this and the other are both at a stand- 
still for the present. 

" I gave Moore, who is gone to Rome, my life in MS., in 78 folio 
sheets, brought down to 1816. But this I put into his hands for his 
care, as he has some other MSS. of mine — a Journal kept in 1814, &c. 
Neither are for publication during my life, but when I am cold, you 
may do what you please. In the mean time, if you like to read them 
you may, and show them to any body you like — I care not. 

" The Life is Memoranda, and not Confessions. I have left out all 
my loves (except in a general way), and many other of the most im- 
portant things (because I must not compromise other people), so that 
it is like the play of Hamlet — ' the part of Hamlet omitted by particu- 
lar desire.' But you will find many opinions, and some fun, with a 
detailed account of my marriage and its consequences, as true as a 
party concerned can make such account, for I suppose we are all pre- 

" I have never read over this Life since it was written, so that 1 
know not exactly what it may repeat or contain. Moore and I passed 
some merry days together. *##### 

" I probably must return for business, or in my way to America. 
Pray, did you get a letter for Hobhouse, who will have told you the 
contents? I understand that the Venezuelan commissioners had 
orders to treat with emigrants ; now I want to go there. I should not 
make a bad South American planter, and I should take n\y natural 
daughter, Allegra, with me, and settle. I Avrote, at length, to Hob- 

Vol. II.— N 

194 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 181& 

house, to get information from Perry, who, 1 suppose, is the best 
topographer and trumpeter of the new republicans. Pray write. 

" Yours, ever. 

" P.S. Moore and I did nothing but laugh. He will tell you of 
4 my whereabouts,' and all my proceedings at this present ; they arc 
as usual. You should not let those fellows publish false ' Don Juans ; 
but do not put my name, because I mean to cut R — ts up like a gourr 
in the preface, if I continue the poem." 



" October 29th, 1819. 

" The Ferrara story is of a piece with all the rest of the Venetian 
manufacture, — you may judge : 1 only changed horses there since I 
wrote to you, after my visit in June last. * Convent,'' and ' carry qfff 
quotha ! and ' girl.* 1 should like to know who has been carried off, 
except poor dear me. I have been more ravished myself than any 
body since the Trojan war ; but as to the arrest, and its causes, one is 
as true as the other, and I can account for the invention of neither. I 
suppose it is some confusion of the tale of the F** and of M e . Guiccioli, 
and half a dozen more ; but it is useless to unravel the web, when one 
has only to brush it away, I shall settle with Master E., who looks 
very blue at your in-decision, and swears that he is the best arithme- 
tician in Europe ; and so I think also, for he makes out two and two 
to be five. 

" You may see me next week. I have a horse or two more (five in 
all), and I shall repossess myself of Lido, and I will rise earlier, and 
we will go and shake our livers over the beach, as heretofore, if you 
like — and we will make the Adriatic roar again with our hatred of 
that now empty oyster-shell, without its pearl, the city of Venice. 

" Murray sent me a letter yesterday : the impostors have published 
two new Third Cantos of Don Juan : — the devil take the impudence 
of some blackguard bookseller or other there/or / Perhaps I did not 
make myself understood ; he told me the sale had been great, 1200 
out of 1500 quarto, I believe (which is nothing, after selling 13,000 
of the Corsair in one day) ; but that the ' best judges,' &c. had said 
it was very fine, and clever, and particularly good English, and poetry, 
and all those consolatory things, which are not, however, worth a 
single copy to a bookseller: and as to the author, of course I am in 
a d — ned passion at the bad taste of the times, and swear there is 
nothing like posterity, who, of course, must know more of the matter 
than their grandfathers. There has been an eleventh commandment 
to the women not to read it, and what is still more extraordinary, 
they seem not to have broken it. But that can be of little import to 

them, poor things, for the reading or non-reading a book will never 

« * * # 


" Count G. comes to Venice next week, and I am requested to con- 
sign his wife to him, which shall be done. * * What 
you say of the long evenings at the Mira, or Venice, reminds me of 
what Curran said to Moore : — ' So I hear you have married a pretty 
woman, and a very good creature, too — an excellent creature. Pray 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 195 

— um ! — how do you pass your evenings P It is a devil of a question 
that, and perhaps as easy to answer with a wife as with a mistress. 

" If you go to Milan, pray leave at least a Vice-Consul— the only 
vice that will ever be wanting at Venice. D'Orville is a good fellow. 
But you shall go to England in the spring with me, and plant Mrs. 
Hoppner at Berne with her relations for a few months. I wish you 
had been here (at Venice, I mean, not the Mira) when Moore was 
here— we were very merry and tipsy. He hated Venice, by-the-way, 
and swore it was a sad place.* 

" So Madame Albrizzi's death is in danger — poor woman ! * * 
******* Moore told me 

that at Geneva they had made a devil of a story of the Fornaretta : — 
* Young lady seduced ! — subsequent abandonment ! — leap into the 
Grand Canal !' — and her being in the ' hospital oifous in consequence P 
I should like to know who was nearest being made ',/ow,' and be 

d d to them ! Do n't you think me in the interesting character of 

a very ill-used gentleman ? I hope your little boy is well. Allegrina 
is flourishing like a pomegranate blossom. 

" Yours, &c." 



"Venice, November 8th, 1819. 
"Mr. Hoppner has lent me a copy of ' Don Juan,' Paris edition, 
which he tells me is read in Switzerland by clergymen and ladies, 
with considerable approbation. In the Second Canto, you must alter 
the 49th stanza to 

" 'T was twilight, and the sunless day went down 

Over the waste of waters, like a veil 
Which if withdrawn would but disclose the frown 

Of one whose hate is mask'd but to assail ; 
Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown, 

And grimly darkled o'er their faces pale 
And the dim desolate deep ; twelve days had Fear 
Been their familiar, and now Death was here. 

" I have been ill these eight days with a tertian fever, caught in the 
country on horseback in a thunder-storm. Yesterday I had the fourth 
attack : the two last were very smart, the first day as well as the last 
being preceded by vomiting. It is the fever of the place and the 
season. I feel weakened, but not unwell, in the intervals, except 
headache and lassitude. 

" Count Guiccioli has arrived in Venice, and has presented his 
spouse (who had preceded him two months for her health and the 
prescriptions of Dr. Aglietti) with a paper of conditions, regulations 
of hours, and conduct, and morals, &c. &c. &c, which he insists on her 
accepting, and she persists in refusing. I am expressly, it should 
seem, excluded by this treaty, as an indispensable preliminary ; so 

* I beg to say, that this report of my opinion of Venice is coloured some- 
what too deeply by the feelings of the reporter. 


196 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

that they are in high dissension, and what the result may be, I know 
not, particularly as they are consulting friends. 

" To-night, as Countess Guiccioli observed me poring over ' Don 
Juan,' she stumbled by mere chance on the 137th stanza of the first 
Canto, and asked me what it meant. I told her, ' Nothing, — but " your 
husband is coming." ' As I said this in Italian with some emphasis, 
she started up in a fright, and said, ' Oh, my God, is he coming- V 
thinking it was her own, who either was or ought to have been at the 
theatre. You may suppose we laughed when she found out the mis- 
take. You will be amused, as I was ;— it happened not three hours 

" I wrote to you last week, but have added nothing to the Third 
Canto since my fever, nor to ' The Prophecy of Dante.' Of the for- 
mer there are about a hundred octaves done ; of the latter about five 
hundred lines — perhaps more. Moore saw the Third Juan, as far as it 
then went. I do not know if my fever will let me go on with either* 
and the tertian lasts, they say, a good while. I had it in Malta on my 
way home, and the malaria fever in Greece the year before that. 
The Venetian is not very fierce, but I was delirious one of the nights 
with it, for an hour or two, and, on my senses coming back, found 
Fletcher sobbing on one side of the bed, and La Contessa Guiccioli* 
weeping on the other ; so that I had no want of attendance. I have 
not yet taken any physician, because, though I think they may relieve 
in chronic disorders, such as gout and the like, &c. &c. &c. (though 
they can't cure them) — just as surgeons are necessary to set bones 
and tend wounds — yet I think fevers quite out of their reach, and re- 
mediable only by diet and nature. 

" I do n't like the taste of bark, but I suppose that 1 must take ife 

" Tell Rose that somebody at Milan (an Austrian, Mr. Hoppner 
says), is answering his book. William Bankes is in quarantine at 
Trieste. I have not lately heard from you. Excuse this paper : it is, 

* The following curious particulars of his deliriam are given by Madame 
Guiccioli : — ; ' At the beginning of winter Count Guiccioli came from Ra- 
venna to fetch me. When he arrived, Lord Byron was ill of a fever, occa~ 
sioned by his having got wet through ; a violent storm having surprised 
him while taking his usual exercise on horseback. He had been delirious 
the whole night, and I had watched continually by his bedside. During his 
delirium he composed a good many verses, and ordered his servant to write 
them down from his dictation. The rhythm of these verses was quite correct, 
and the poetry itself had no appearance of being the work of a delirious 
mind. He preserved them for some time after he got well, and then burned 
them." — " Sul cominciare dell' inverno il Conte Guiccioli venne a prendermi 
per ricondurmi a Ravenna. Quando egli giunse Ld. Byron era ammalato di 
febbri prese per essersi bagnato avendolo sorpreso un forte temporale mentre 
faceva 1'usato suo esercizio a cavallo. Egli aveva delirato tut-ta la notte, ed 
io aveva sempre vegliato presso al suo letto. Nel suo delirio egli compose 
molti versi che ordino al suo domestico di scrivere sotto la sua dittatura. 
La misura dei versi era esatissima, e la poesia pure non pareva opera di una 
mente in delirio. Egli la conservo lungo tempo dopo restabilito — poi l'ab- 

I have been informed, too, that during his ravings at this time, he was 
constantly haunted by the idea of his mother-in-law, — taking every one that 
came near him for her, and reproaching those about him for letting her 
enter his room. 

a. d. 1819. J LIFE X)F LORD BYRON. 197 

long- paper shortened for the occasion. What folly is this of Carlisle's 
trial ? why let him have the honours of a martyr 1 it will only adver- 
tise the books in question. 

" Yours, &c. 

*' P.S. As I tell you that the Guiccioli business is on the eve of ex- 
ploding- in one way or the other, 1 will just add, that without attempt- 
ing to influence the decision of the Contessa, a good deal depends 
upon it. If she and her husband make it up, you will perhaps see me 
in England sooner than you expect. If not, I shall retire with her to 
France or America, change my name, and lead a quiet provincial life. 
All this may seem odd, but I have got the poor girl into a scrape ; 
and as neither her birth, nor her rank, nor her connexions by birth or 
marriage, are inferior to my own, I am in honour bound to support her 
through. Besides, she is a very pretty woman — ask Moore — and not 
yet one-and-twenty. 

" If she gets over this, and I get over my tertian, I will perhaps look 
in at Albemarle-street, some of these days, en passant to Bolivar. 



"Venice, November 20th, 1819. 

" A tertian ague which has troubled me for some time, and the indis- 
position of my daughter, have prevented me from replying before to 
your welcome letter. I have not been ignorant of your progress nor 
of your discoveries, and I trust that you are no worse in health from 
your labours. You may rely upon finding every body in England 
eager to reap the fruits of them ; and as you have done more than 
other men, I hope you will not limit yourself to saying less than may 
do justice to the talents and time you have bestowed on your perilous 
researches. The first sentence of my letter will have explained 
to you why I cannot join you at Trieste. I was on the point of 
setting out for England (before I knew of your arrival) when my 
Child's illness has made her and me dependent on a Venetian Proto- 

" It is now seven years since you and I met ; — which time you 
have employed better for others, and more honourably for yourself, 
than I have done. 

" In England you will find considerable changes, public and private, 
— you will see some of our old college contemporaries turned into 
lords of the treasury, admiralty, and the like, — others become reform- 
ers and orators, — many settled in life, as it is called, — and others 
settled in death ; among the latter (by-the-way, not our fellow-col- 
legians), Sheridan, Curran, Lady Melbourne, Monk Lewis, Frederick 
Douglas, &c. &c. &c. ; but you will still find Mr. * * living and all 
his family, as also # * # & * *. 

" Should you come up this way, and I am still here, you need not 
be assured how glad I shall be to see you ; 1 long to hear some part, 
from you, of that which I expect in no long time to see. At length 
you have had better fortune than any traveller of equal enterprise 
^except Humboldt), in returning safe 5 and after the fate of the 

198 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 

Brownes, and the Parkes, and the Burckhardts, it is hardly less sur- 
prise than satisfaction to get you back again. 

" Believe me ever 

" and very affectionately yours, 

" Byron." 



" Venice, Dec. 4th, 1819. 
" You may do as you please, but you are about a hopeless experi- 
ment. Eldon will decide against you, were it only that my name is 
in the record. You will also recollect that if the publication is pro- 
nounced against, on the grounds you mention, as indecent and blas- 
phemous, that J lose all right in my daughter's guardianship and edu- 
cation, in short, all paternal authority, and every thing concerning her, 

It was so decided in Shelley's case, because he had written Queen 
Mab, &c. &c. However, you can ask the lawyers, and do as you 
like : I do not inhibit you trying the question ; I merely state one of 
the consequences to me. With regard to the copyright, it is hard 
that you should pay for a nonentity : I will therefore refund it, which 
I can very well do, not having spent it, nor begun upon it ; and so we 
will be quits on that score. It lies at my banker's. 

" Of the Chancellor's law I am no judge ; but take up Tom Jones, 
and read his Mrs. Waters and Molly Seagrim ; or Prior's Hans Carvel 
and Paulo Purganti ; Smollett's Roderick Random, the chapter of 
Lord Strutwell, and many others ; Peregrine Pickle, the scene of the 
Beggar Girl ; Johnson's London, for coarse expressions ; for instance, 
the words ' * *,' and ' * * ;' Anstey's Bath Guide, the ' Hearken, Lady 
Betty, hearken ;' — take up, in short, Pope, Prior, Congreve, Dryden, 
Fielding, Smollett, and let the Counsel select passages, and what be- 
comes of their copyright, if his Wat Tyler decision is to pass into a 
precedent 1 I have nothing more to say : you must judge for your- 

" I wrote to you some time ago. I have had a tertian ague ; my 
daughter Allegra has been ill also, and I have been almost obliged to 
run away with a married woman ; but with some difficulty, and many 
internal struggles, I reconciled the lady with her lord, and cured the 
fever of the child with bark, and my own with cold water. I think of 
setting out for England by the Tyrol in a few days, so that I could 
wish you to direct your next letter to Calais. Excuse my writing in 
great haste and late in the morning, or night, whichever you please 
to call it. The Third Canto of ' Don Juan' is completed, in about two 
hundred stanzas ; very decent, I believe, but do not know, and it is 
useless to discuss until it be ascertained, if it may or may not be a 

" My present determination to quit Italy was unlooked for ; but I 
have explained the reasons in letters to my sister and Douglas Kin- 
naird, a week or two ago. My progress will depend upon the snows 
of the Tyrol, and the health of my child, who is at present quite re- 
covered ; — but I hope to get on well, and am 

" Yours ever and truly. 

A. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 199 

" P.S. Many thanks for your letters, to which you are not to con- 
sider this as an answer, but as an acknowledgment." 

The struggle which, at the time of my visit to him, I had found 
Lord Byron so well disposed to make towards averting, as far as now 
lay in his power, some of the mischievous consequences which, both 
to the object of his attachment and himself, were likely to result from 
their connexion, had been brought, as the foregoing letters show, to a 
crisis soon after I left him. The Count Guiccioli, on his arrival at 
Venice, insisted, as we have seen, that his lady should return with 
him; and, after some conjugal negotiations, in which Lord Byron 
does not appear to have interfered, the young Contessa consented re- 
luctantly to accompany her lord to Ravenna, it being first covenanted, 
that, in future, all communication between her and her lover should 

" In a few days after this," says Mr. Hoppner, in some notices of 
his noble friend with which he has favoured me, " he returned to 
Venice, very much out of spirits, owing to Madame Guiccioli's de- 
parture, and out of humour with every body and every thing around 
him. We resumed our rides at the Lido, and I did my best, not only 
to raise his spirits, but to make him forget his absent mistress, and 
to keep him to his purpose of returning to England. He went into 
no society, and having no longer any relish for his former occupation 
his time, when he was not writing, hung heavy enough on hand." 

The promise given by the lovers not to correspond, was, as all par- 
ties must have foreseen, soon violated ; and the letters Lord Byron 
addressed to the lady, at this time, though written in a language not 
his own, are rendered frequently even eloquent by the mere force of 
the feeling that governed him — a feeling which could not have owed 
its fuel to fancy alone, since now that reality had been so long sub- 
stituted, it still burned on. From one of these letters, dated Novem- 
ber 25th, I shall so far presume upon the discretionary power vested 
in me, as to lay a short extract or two before the reader— not merely 
as matters of curiosity, but on account of the strong evidence they 
afford of the struggle between passion and a sense of right that now 
agitated him. 

" You are," he says, " and ever will be, my first thought. But at 
this moment, I am in a state most dreadful, not knowing which way 
to decide ; — on the one hand, fearing that I should compromise you 
for ever, by my return to Ravenna and the consequences of such a 
step, and, on the other, dreading that I shall lose both you and myself, 
and all that I have ever known or tasted of happiness, by never seeing 
you more. I pray of you, I implore you to be comforted, and to be- 
lieve that I cannot cease to love you but with my life."* In another 
part he says, " I go to save you, and leave a country insupportable 
to me without you. Your letters to F * * and myself do wrong to my 
motives — but you will yet see your injustice. It is not enough that I 
must leave you — from motives of which ere long you will be con- 

* " Tu sei, e sarai sempre mio primo pensier. Ma in questo momento 
sono in un' stato orribile non sapendo cosa decidere ; temendo, da una parte 
comprometterti in eterno col mio ritorno a Ravenna, e colle sue consequenze ; 
e, dal' altra psrderti, e me stesso, e tutto quel che ho conosciuto ho gustato 
di felicita, nel non vederti piu. Ti prego, ti supplico calmarti, e credere che 
non posso cessare ad amarti che colla vita." 

200 NOTICES OP THE [a. d. 1819. 

vinced — it is not enough that I must fly from Italy, with a heart deeply 
wounded, after having- passed all my days in solitude since your de- 
parture, sick both in body and mind — but I must also have to endure 
your reproaches without answering and without deserving them. 
Farewell ! — in that one word is comprised the death of my happiness."* 

He had now arranged every thing for his departure for England, 
and had even fixed the day, when accounts reached him from Ravenna 
that the Contessa was alarmingly ill ; — her sorrow at their separation 
having so much preyed upon her mind, that even her own family, 
fearful of the consequences, had withdrawn all opposition to her 
wishes, and now, with the sanction of Count Guiccioli himself, en- 
treated her lover to hasten to Ravenna. What was he, in this dilemma, 
to do 1 Already had he announced his coming to different friends in 
England, and every dictate, he felt, of prudence and manly fortitude 
urged his departure. While thus balancing between duty and incli- 
nation, the day appointed for his setting out arrived ; and the follow- 
ing picture, from the life, of his irresolution on the occasion, is from a 
letter written by a female friend of Madame Guiccioli, who was pre- 
sent at the scene. " He was ready dressed for the journey, his gloves 
and cap on, and even his little cane in his hand. Nothing was now 
waited for but his coming down stairs, — his boxes being already all 
on board the gondola. At this moment, my lord, by way of pretext 
declares, that if it should strike one o'clock before every thing was in 
order (his arms being the only thing not yet quite ready), he would 
not go that day. The hour strikes, and he remains !"j 

The writer adds, " it is evident he has not the heart to go ;" and the 
result proved that she had not judged him wrongly. The very next 
day's tidings from Ravenna decided his fate, and he himself, in a let- 
ter to the Contessa, thus announces the triumph which she had 
achieved. " F * * * will already have told you, with her accustomed 
sublimity, that Love has gained the victory. I could not summon up 
resolution enough to leave the country where you are, without, at 
least, once more seeing you. On yourself, perhaps, it will depend, 
whether I ever again shall leave you. Of the rest we shall speak 
when we meet. You ought, by this time, to know which is most con- 
ducive to your welfare, my presence or my absence. For myself, I 
am a citizen of the world — all countries are alike to me. You have 

* " lo parto, per salvartU e lascio un paese divenuto insopportabile senza 
di te. Le tue lettere alia F * *. ed anche a me stesso fanno torto ai miei 
motivi : ma col tempo vedrai la tua ingiustizia. Tu parli del dolor — io lo 
sento, ma mi mancano le parole. Non basta lasciarti per dei motivi dei 
quali tu eri persuasa (non motto tempo fa) — non basta partire dall' Italia 
col cuore lacerato, dopo aver passato tutti i giorni dopo la tua partenza nella 
solitudine, ammalato di corpo e di anima — ma ho anche a sopportare i tuoi 
rimproveri, senza replicarti, e senza meritarli. Addio— in quella parola e 
compresa la morte di mia felicita." 

The close of this last sentence exhibits one of the very few instances of 
incorrectness that Lord Byron falls into in these letters ; — the proper con- 
struction being " delta mia felicita." 

t " Egli era tutto vestito di viaggio coi guanti fra le mani, col suo bonnet 4 
e persino colla piccola sua canna; non altro aspettavasi che egli scendesse lo 
scale tutti i bauli erano in barca. Milord fa la pretesta che se suona un ora 
dopo il mezzodi e che non sia ogni cosa all' ordine (poiche le armi sole non 
erano in pronto) egli non partirebbe piu per quel giorno. L'ora euona ed 
egli rcsta." 

A. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 201 

ever l»een, smce our first acquaintance, the sole object of my thoughts. 
Mj T opinion was, that the best course I could adopt, both for your 
peace and that of all your family, would have been to depart and go 
far, far away from you ; — since to have been near and not approach 
you would have been, for me, impossible. You have however decided 
that I am to return to Ravenna. I shall accordingly return — and 
shall do —and be all that you wish. I cannot say more."* 

On quitting Venice he took leave of Mr. Hoppner in a short but cor- 
dial letter, which I cannot better introduce than by prefixing to it the 
few words of comment with which this excellent friend of the noble 
poet has himself accompanied it. " I need not say with what painful 
feeling I witnessed the departure of a person who, from the first day 
of our acquaintance, had treated me with unwearied kindness, repos- 
ing a confidence in me which it was beyond the power of my utmost 
efforts to deserve ; admitting me to an intimacy which I had no right 
to claim, and listening with patience, and the greatest good temper, to 
the remonstrances I ventured to make upon his conduct. 5 ' 



" Partings are but bitter work at best, so that I shall not venture on 
a second with you. Pray make my respects to Mrs. Hoppner, and 
assure her of my unalterable reverence for the singular goodness of 
her disposition, which is not without its reward even in this world — 
for those who are no great believers in human virtues would discover 
enough in her to give them a better opinion of their fellow-creatures, 
and — what is still more difficult— of themselves, as being of the same 
species, howevev inferior in approaching its nobler models. Make, 
too, what excuses jou can for my omission of the ceremony of leave- 
taking. If we all meat again, I will make my humblest apology; if 
not, recollect that I wished you all well ; and, if you can, forget that I 
have given you a great deal of trouble. 

" Yours, &c. &c»" 

* " La F * * ti avra detta, colla s%a solita sublimita, che TAmor ha vinto* 
Io non ho potuto trovare forza di anima par lasciare il paese dove tu sei* 
senza vederti almeno un' altra volta : — C rse dipendera da te se mai ti lascio 
phi. Per il resto parleremo. Tu dovresU adesso sapere cosa sara piu con- 
venevole al tuo ben essere la mia presenza ola mia lontananza. Io sono cit- 
tadino del mondo — tutti i paesi sono eguali p>er me. Tu sei stata sempre 
(dopo che ci siamo conosciuti) Vunico oggetlo di miei pensieri. Credeva che 
il miglior partito per la pace tua e la pace di tua famiglia fosse il mio partire* 
e andare ben lontano ; poiche stare vicino e non avvicinarti sarebbe per me 
impossible. Ma tu hai deciso che io debbo ritornare a Ravenna — tornaro-^- 
e faro — e sard cio che tu vuoi. Non posso dirti di piu." 

202 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1819. 



"Venice, December 10th, 1819. 

" Since I last wrote, I have changed my mind, and shall not come 
to England. The more I contemplate, the more 1 dislike the place 
and the prospect. You may therefore address to me as usual here, 
though I mean to go to another city. I have finished the Third Canto 
of Don Juan, but the things I have read and heard discourage all far- 
ther publication — at least for the present. Yon may try the copy 
question, but you '11 lose it : the cry is up, and cant is up. I should 
have no objection to return the price of the copyright, and have writ- 
ten to Mr. Kinnaird by this post on the subject. Talk with him. 

" I have not the patience, nor do I feel interest enough in the ques- 
tion, to contend with the fellows in their own slang ; but I perceive 
Mr. Blackwood's Magazine and one or two others of your missives 
have been hyperbolical in their praise, and diabolical in their abuse. 
I like and admire W * * n, and he should not have indulged himself 
in such outrageous license.* It is overdone and defeats itself. What 
would he say to the grossness without passion and the misanthropy 
without feeling of Gulliver's Travels ] — When he talks of lady Byron's 
business, he talks of what he knows nothing about ; and you may tell 
him that no one can more desire a public investigation of that affair 
than I do. 

" I sent home by Moore {for Moore only, who has my journal also] 
my Memoir written up to 1816, and I gave him leave to show it to 
whom he pleased, but not to publish, on any account. You may read 
it, and you may let W * * n read it, if he likes — not for his public opi- 
nion, but his private ; for I like the man, and care very little about his 
magazine. And I could wish Lady B. herself to read it. that she may 
have it in her power to mark any thing mistaken or misstated ; as it 
may probably appear after my extinction, and it would be but fair 
she should see it, — that is to say, herself willing 

"Perhaps i may take a journey to you ip the spring; but I have 
been ill and am indolent and indecisive, because few things interest 
me. These fellows first abused me for being gloomy, and now they 
are wroth that I am, or attempted to be, facetious. I have got such a 
eold and headache that I can hardly -see what I scrawl ; — the winters 
here are as sharp as needles. Sorce time ago I wrote to you rather 
fully about my Italian affairs ; at present I can say no more except 
that you shall hear farther by-pnd-by. 

" Your Blackwood accuses? me of treating women harshly : it may 
be so, but I have been their martyr ; my whole life has been sacrificed 
to them and by them. I mean to leave Venice in a few days, but you 
will address your letters here as usual. When I fix elsewhere, you 
shall know." 

* This is one of the many mistakes into which his distance from the scene 
of literary operations led him. The gentleman to whom the hostile article 
in the Magazine is here attributed, has never, either then or since, written upon 
the subject of the noble poefs character or genius, without giving vent to a 
feeling of admiration as enthusiastic as it is always eloquently and power- 
fully expressed. 

a. d. 1819.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 203 

Soon after this letter to Mr. Murray he set out for Ravenna, from 
which place we shall find his correspondence for the next year and a 
half dated. For a short time after his arrival, he took up his residence 
at an inn ; but the Count Guiccioli having- allowed him to hire a suite 
of apartments in the Palazzo Guiccioli itself, he was once more lodged 
under the same roof with his mistress. 



"Ravenna, December 31st, 1819. 

" I have been here this week, and was obliged to put on my armour 
and go the night after my arrival to the Marquis Cavalli's, where there 
were between two and three hundred of the best company I have seen 
in Italy, — more beauty, more youth, and more diamonds among the 
women than have been seen these fifty years in the Sea-Sodom.* I 
never saw such a difference between two places of the same latitude 
(or platitude, it is all one), — music, dancing, and play, all in the same 
salle. The G.'s object appeared to be to parade her foreign lover as 
much as possible, and, faith, if she seemed to glory in the scandal, it 
was not for me to be ashamed of it. Nobody seemed surprised ; — all 
the women, on the contrary, were, as it were, delighted with the excel- 
lent example. The vice-legate, and all the other vices, were as polite 
as could be ; — and I, who had acted on the reserve, was fairly obliged 
to take the lady under my arm, and look as much like a cicisbeo as I 
could on so short a notice, — to say nothing of the embarrassment of a 
cocked hat and sword, much more formidable to me than ever it will 
be to the enemy. 

" I write in great haste — do you answer as hastily. I can under- 
stand nothing of all this ; but it seems as if the G. had been presumed 
to be planted, and was determined to show that she was not,— planta- 
tion, in this hemisphere, being the greatest moral misfortune. But 
this is mere conjecture, for I know nothing about it — except that every 
body are very kind to her, and not discourteous to me. . Fathers, and 
all relations, quite agreeable. 

"Yours ever, 

"P.S. Best respects to Mrs. H. 

" I would send the compliments of the season ; but the season itself 
is so little complimentary with snow and rain that I wait for sun- 

* " Gehenna of the waters! thou Sea-Sodom!" 


204 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 



" January 2d, 1820. 


" ' To-day it is my wedding-day, 
And all the folks would stare 
If wife should dine at Edmonton, 
And I should dine at Ware.' 
Or thus, — 

" Here 's a happy new year ! but with reason 
I beg- you '11 permit me to say — 
Wish me many returns of the season, 
But as Jew as you please of the day. 

" My this present writing is to direct you that, if she chooses, she 
may see the MS. Memoir in your possession. I wish her to have fair 
play, in all cases, even though it will not be published till after my 
decease. For this purpose, it were but just that Lady B. should know 
what is there said of her and hers, that she may have full power to 
remark on or respond to any part or parts, as may seem fitting to her- 
self. This is fair dealing, I presume, in all events. 

* To change the subject, are you in England 1 I send you an epitaph 

for Castlereagh. 


Another for Pitt — 

" With death doom'd to grapple 
Beneath this cold slab, he 
Who lied in the Chapel 
Now lies in the Abbey. 

* The gods seem to have made me poetical this day : — ■ 

" In digging up your bones, Tom Paine, 
Will. Cobbett has done well : 
You visit him on earth again, 
He '11 visit you in hell. 

" You come to him on earth again, 
He '11 go with you to hell. 

* fray let not these versiculi go forth with my name, except among 
the initiated, because my friend H. has foamed into a reformer, and, I 
greatly fear, will subside into Newgate ; since the Honourable House, 
according to Galignani's Reports of Parliamentary Debates, are 
menacing a prosecution to a pamphlet of his. I shall be very sorry 
to hear of any thing but good for him, particularly in these miserable 
squabbles ; but these are the natural effects of taking a part in them; 

" For my own part, I had a sad scene since you went. Count Gu* 
came for his wife, and none of those consequences which Scott pro- 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 205 

phesied ensued. There was no damages, as in England, and so Scott 
lost his wager. But there was a great scene, for she would not, at 
first, go back with him — at least, she did go back with him ; but he 
insisted, reasonably enough, that all communication should be broken 
off between her and me. So, finding Italy very dull, and having a 
fever tertian, I packed up my valise and prepared to cross the Alps ; 
but my daughter fell ill, and detained me. 

" After her arrival at Ravenna, the Guiccioli fell ill again too ; and, 
at last, her father (who had, all along, opposed the liaison most vio- 
lently till now) wrote to me to say that she was in such a state that 
he begged me to come and see her, — and that her husband had 
acquiesced, in consequence of her relapse, and that he (her father) 
would guarantee all this, and that there would be no farther scenes in 
consequence between them, and that I should not be compromised in 
any way. I set out soon after, and have been here ever since. I 
found her a good deal altered, but getting better : — all tins comes of 
reading Corinna. 

" The Carnival is about to begin, and I saw about two or three 
hundred people at the Marquis Cavalli's the other evening, with as 
much youth, beauty, and diamonds among the women, as ever ave- 
raged in the like number. My appearance in waiting on the Guiccioli 
was considered as a thing of course. The Marquis is her uncle, and 
naturally considered me as her relation. 

" The paper is out, and so is the letter. Pray write. Address to 
Venice, whence the letters will be forwarded. 

" Yours, &c. 



" Ravenna, January 20th, 1820V 
" I have not decided any thing about remaining at Ravenna. I may 
stay a day, a week, a year, all my life ; but all this depends upon what 
I can neither see nor foresee. I came because I was called, and will 
go the moment that I perceive what may render my departure proper. 
My attachment has neither the blindness of the beginning, nor the 
microscopic accuracy of the close to such liaisons ; but ' time and the 
hour' mast decide upon what I do. I can as yet say nothing, because 
I hardly kr\r>w any thing beyond what I have told you. 

" I wrote to you last post for my moveables, as there is no getting 
a lodging with a chair or table here ready ; and as I have already some 
things of the sort at Bologna which I had last summer there for my 
daughter, I have directed them to be moved ; and wish the like to be 
done with those of Venice, that I may at least get out of the ' Albergo 
Imperiale,' which is imperial is all true sense of the epithet. Buffini 
may be paid for his poison. I forgot to thank you and Mrs. Hoppner 
for a whole treasure of toys for Allegra before our departure ; it was 
very kind, and we are very grateful. 

"Your account of the weeding of the Governor's party is very en- 
tertaining. If you do not understand the consular exceptions, I do;: 
and it is right that a man of honour, and a woman of probity, should 
find it so, particularly in a place where there are not ' ten righteous.' 

206 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820 

As to nobility — in England none are strictly noble but peers, not even 
peers' sons, though titled by courtesy ; nor knights of the garter, un- 
less of the peerage, so that Castlereagh himself would hardly pass 
through a foreign herald's ordeal till the death of his father. 

" The snow is a foot deep here. There is a theatre, and opera,— 
the Barber of Seville. Balls begin on Monday next. Pay the porter 
for never looking after the gate, and ship my chattels, and let me know, 
or let Castelli let me know, how my lawsuits go on — but fee him only 
in proportion to his success. Perhaps we may meet in the spring yet, 
if you are for England. I see H * * has got into a scrape, which 
does not please me ; he should not have gone so deep among those 
men, without calculating the consequences. I used to think myself 
the most imprudent of all among my friends and acquaintances, but 
almost begin to doubt it. 

" Yours, &c." 



" Ravenna, January 31st, 1820. 

" You would hardly have been troubled with the removal of my fur- 
niture, but there is none to be had nearer than Bologna, and I have 
been fain to have that of the rooms which I fitted up for my daughter 
there in the summer removed here. The expense will be at least as 
great of the land carriage, so that you see it was necessity, and not 
choice. Here they get every thing from Bologna, except some lighter 
articles from Forli or Faenza. 

" If Scott is returned, pray remember me to him, and plead laziness 
the whole and sole cause of my not replying : — dreadful is the exertion 
of letter-writing. The Carnival here is less boisterous, but we have 
balls and a theatre. I carried Bankes to both, and he carried away, I 
believe, a much more favourable impression of the society here than 
of that of Venice — recollect that I speak of the native society only. 

" I am drilling very hard to learn how to double a shawl, and should 
succeed to admiration if I did not always double it the wrong side 
out ; and then I sometimes confuse and bring away two, so as to put 
all the Serventi out, besides keeping their Servile in the cold till every 
body can get back their property. But it is a dreadfully moral place, 
for you must not look at any body's wife except your neighbour's, — 
if you go to the next door but one, you are scolded, and presumed to 
be perfidious. And then a relazione or an amicizia seems to be a re- 
gular affair of from five to fifteen years, at which period, if there oc- 
cur a widowhood, it finishes by a sposalizio ; and i-i the mean time, it 
has so many rules of its own that it is not much better. A man actu- 
ally becomes apiece of female property, — they won't let their Serventi 
marry until there is a vacancy for themselves. I know two instances 
of this in one family here. 

" To-night there was a * Lottery after the opera ; it is an odd 

ceremony. Bankes and I took tickets of it, and buffooned together 
very merrily. He is gone to Firenze. Mrs. J * * should have sent 
you my postscript ; there was no occasion to have bored you in person* 

* The word here, being under the seal, is illegible. 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OP LORD BYRON. 207 

I never interfere in any body's squabbles, — she may scratch your face 

" The weather here has been dreadful — snow several feet — a Jiume 
broke down a bridge, and flooded heaven knows how many campi; 
then rain came — and it is stirl thawing — so that my saddle-horses have 
a sinecure till the roads become more practicable. Why did Lega give 
away the goat 1 a blockhead — I must have him again. 

" Will you pay Missiaglia and the Buffo Buffini of the Gran Bre- 
tagna. I heard from Moore, who is at Paris ; I had previously written 
to him in London, but he has not yet got my letter, apparently. 

" Believe me, &c.'* 



" Ravenna, February 7th, 1820. 

" I have had no letter from you these two months ; but since I came 
here in December, 1819, I sent you a letter for Moore, who is God 
knows where — in Paris or London, I presume. I have copied and cut 
the Third Canto of Don Juan into two, because it was too long ; and I 
tell you this beforehand, because in case of any reckoning between 
you and me, these two are only to go for one, as this was the original 
form, and, in fact, the two together are not longer than one of the first : 
so remember that I have not made this division to double upon you ; 
but merely to suppress some tediousness in the aspect of the thing. 
I should have served you a pretty trick if I had sent you, for example, 
cantos of 50 stanzas each. 

" I am translating the First Canto of Pulci's Morgante Maggiore, 
and have half done it ; but these last days of the Carnival confuse and 
interrupt every thing. 

" I have not yet sent off the Cantos, and have some doubt whether 
they ought to be published, for they have not the spirit of the first. 
The outcry has not frightened but it has hurt me, and I have not writ- 
ten con amove this time. It is very decent, however, and as dull as 
'the last new comedy.' 

" I think my translations of Pulci will make you stare. It must be 
put by the original, stanza for stanza, and verse for verse ; and you 
will see what was permitted in a Catholic country and a bigoted age 
to a churchman, on the score of religion ; — and so tell those buffoons 
who accuse me of attacking the Liturgy. 

" I write in the greatest haste, it being the hour of the Corso, and I 
must go and buffoon with the rest. My daughter Allegra is just gone 
with the Countess G. in Count G.'s coach and six, to join the caval- 
cade, and I must follow with all the rest of the Ravenna world. Our 
old Cardinal is dead, and the new one not appointed yet ; but the 
masking goes on the same, the vice-legate being a good governor. 
We have had hideous frost and snow, but all is mild again. 

" Yours, &c," 

£08 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 



" Ravenna, February 19, 1820. 
" I have room for you in the house here, as I had in Venice, if yon 
think fit to make use of it ; but do not expect to find the same gor- 
geous suite of tapestried halls. Neither dangers nor tropical heats have 
ever prevented your penetrating wherever you had a mind to it, and 
why should the snow now ! — Italian snow — fie on it ! — so pray come. 
Tita's heart yearns for you, and mayhap for your silver broad pieces ; 
and your playfellow, the monkey, is alone and inconsolable. 

" 1 forget whether you admire or tolerate red hair, so that I rather 
dread showing you all that I have about me and around me in this 
city. Come, nevertheless, — you can pay Dante a morning visit, and 
I will undertake that Theodore and Honoria will be most happy to see 
you in the forest hard by. We Goths, also, of Ravenna hope you will 
not despise our arch-Goth, Theodoric. I must leave it to these 
worthies to entertain you all the fore part of the day, seeing that I have 
none at all myself — the lark, that rouses me from my slumbers, being 
an afternoon bird. But, then, all your evenings, and as much as you 
can give me of your nights, will be mine. Ay ! and you will find me 
eating flesh, too, like yourself or any other cannibal, except it be upon 
Fridays. Then, there are more Cantos (and be d — d to them") of what 

the courteous reader, Mr. S , calls Grub-street, in my drawer, 

which I have a little scheme to commit to your charge for England ; 
only I must first cut up (or cut down) two aforesaid Cantos into three, 
because I am grown base and mercenary, and it is an ill precedent to 
let my Mecaenas, Murray, get too much for his money. I am busy, 
also, with Pulci — translating — servilely translating, stanza for stanza, 
and line for line — two octaves every night, — the same allowance as at 

" Would you call at your banker's at Bologna, and ask him for some 
letters lying there for me, and burn them 1 — or I will — so do not burn 
them, but bring them, — and believe me ever and very affectionately 

" Yours, 

" Byron. 

" P.S. I have a particular wish to hear from yourself something: 
about Cyprus, so pray recollect all that you can. — Good night." 



"Ravenna, Feb. 21st, 1820. 

" The bull-dogs will be very agreeable. I have only those of this 
country, who, though good, have not the tenacity of tooth and stoic- 
ism in endurance of my canine fellow-citizens : then pray send them 
by the readiest conveyance — perhaps best by sea. Mr. Kinnaird will 
disburse for them, and deduct from the amount on your application or 
that of Captain Tyler. 

" I see the good old King is gone to his place. One can't help being 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 209 

sorry, though blindness, and age, and insanity are supposed to be 
drawbacks on human felicity ; but I am not at all sure that the latter 
at least might not render him happier than any of his subjects. 

" I have no thoughts of coming to the coronation, though I should 
like to see it, and though I have a right to be a puppet in it ; but my 
division with Lady Byron, which has drawn an equinoctial line be- 
tween me and mine in all other things, will operate in this also to pre- 
vent my being in the same procession. 

" By Saturday's post I sent you four packets, containing Cantos 
Third and Fourth. Recollect that these two cantos reckon only as 
one with you and me, being in fact the third canto cut into two, because 
I found it too long. Remember this, and do n't imagine that there 
could be any other motive. The whole is about 225 stanzas, more or 
less, and a lyric of 96 lines, so that they are no longer than the first 
single cantos : but the truth is, that I made the first too long, and 
should have cut those down also had I thought better. Instead of 
saying in future for so many cantos, say so many stanzas or pages : 
it was Jacob Tonson's way, and certainly the best ; it prevents mis- 
takes. I might have sent you a dozen cantos, of 40 stanzas each, — 
those of ' The Minstrel' (Beattie's) are no longer, — and ruined you 
at once, if you do n't suffer as it is. But recollect that you are not 
pinned down to any thing you say in a letter, and that, calculating 
even these two cantos as one only (which they were and are to be 
reckoned), you are not bound by your offer. Act as may seem fair to 
all parties. 

" I have finished my translation of the First Canto of the ' Morgante 
Maggiore' of Pulci, which I will transcribe and send. It is the parent, 
not only of Whistlecraft, but of all jocose Italian poetry. You must 
print it side by side with the original Italian, because I wish the reader 
to judge of the fidelity : it is stanza for stanza, and often line for line, 
if not word for word. 

" You ask me for a volume of manners, &c. on Italy. Perhaps I 
am in the case to know more of them than most Englishmen, because 
I have lived among the natives, and in parts of the country where 
Englishmen never resided before (I speak of Romagna and this place 
particularly) ; but there are many reasons why I do not choose to 
treat in print on such a subject. I have lived in their houses and in 
the heart of their families, sometimes merely as ' amico di casa,' and 
sometimes as * amico di cuore' of the Dama, and in neither case do I 
feel myself authorized in making a book of them. Their moral is not 
your moral ; their life is not your life ; you would not understand it : 
it is not English, nor French, nor German, which you would all under- 
stand. The conventual education, the cavalier servitude, the habits 
of thought and living are so entirely different, and the difference 
becomes so much more striking the more you live intimately with 
them, that I know not how to make you comprehend a people who 
are at once temperate and profligate, serious in their characters and 
buffoons in their amusements, capable of impressions and passions, 
which are at once sudden and durable (what you find in no other 
nation), and who actually have no society (what we would call so), 
as you may see by their comedies ; they have no real comedy, not 
even in Goldoni, and that is because they have no society to draw it 

" Their conversazioni are not society at all. They go to the theatre 
o talk, and into company to hold their tongues. The women sit in a 

Vol. II.— O 

210 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

circle, and the men gather into groups, or they play at dreary faro, or 
* lotto reale,' for small sums. Their academie are concerts like our 
own, with better music and more form. Their best things are the car- 
nival balls and masquerades, when every body runs mad for six weeks. 
After their dinners and suppers they make extempore verses and buf- 
foon one another ; but it is in a humour which you would not enter 
into, ye of the north. 

" In their houses it is better. I should know something of the mat- 
ter, having had a pretty general experience among their women, from 
the fisherman's wife up to the Nobil Dama, whom I serve. Their 
system has its rules, and its fitnesses, and its decorums, so as to be 
reduced to a kind of discipline or game at hearts, which admits few 
deviations, unless you wish to lose it. They are extremely tenacious, 
and jealous as furies, not permitting their lovers even to marry if they 
can help it, and keeping them always close to them in public as in 
private, whenever they can. In short, they transfer marriage to 
adultery, and strike the not out of that commandment. The reason 
is, that they marry for their parents, and love for themselves. They 
exact fidelity from a lover as a debt of honour, while they pay the hus- 
band as a tradesman, that is, not at all. You hear a person's charac- 
ter, male or female, canvassed, not as depending on their conduct to 
their husbands or wives, but to their mistress or lover. If I wrote a 
quarto, I do n't know that I could do more than amplify what I have 
here noted. It is to be observed that while they do all this, the 
greatest outward respect is to be paid to the husbands, not only by the 
ladies, but by their Serventi — particularly if the husband serves no one 
himself (which is not often the case, however) ; so that you would 
often suppose them relations — the Servente making the figure of one 
adopted into the family. Sometimes the ladies run a little restive and 
elope, or divide, or make a scene ; but this is at starting, generally, 
when they know no better, or when they fall in love with a foreigner, 
or some such anomaly, — and is always reckoned unnecessary and 

" You inquire after Dante's Prophecy : I have not done more than 
six hundred lines, but will vaticinate at leisure. 

" Of the bust I know nothing. No cameos or seals are to be cut 
here or elsewhere that I know of, in any good style. Hobhouse should 
write himself to Thorwaldsen : the bust was made and paid for three 
years ago. 

" Pray tell Mrs. Leigh to request Lady Byron to urge forward the 
transfer from the funds. I wrote to Lady Byron on business this post, 
addressed to the care of Mr. D. Kinnaird." " 



" Ravenna, February 26th, 1820. 
" Pulci and I are waiting for you with impatience ; but I suppose 
we must give way to the attraction of the Bolognese galleries for a 
time. I know nothing of pictures myself, and care almost as little ; 
but to me there are none like the Venetian — above all, Giorgione. I 
remember well his judgment of Solomon in the Mariscalcbi in Bo- 
logna. The real mother is beautiful, exquisitely beautiful. Buy her, 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 211 

by all means, if you can, and take her home with you : put her in 
safety— for be assured there are troublous times brewing for Italy; 
and as I never could keep out of a row in my life, it will be my fate, 
I dare say, to be over head and ears in it ; but no matter, these are the 
stronger reasons for coming to see me soon. 

" I have more of Scott's novels (for surely they are Scott's) since 
we met, and am more and more delighted. I think that I even prefer 
them to his poetry, which (by-the-way) I redde for the first time in my 
life in your rooms in Trinity College. 

" There are some curious commentaries on Dante preserved here, 
which you should see. Believe me ever, faithfully and most affec- 

" Yours, &c." 



"Ravenna, March 1st, 1820. 

" I sent you by last post the translation of the First Canto of the 
Morgante Maggiore, and wish you to ask Rose about the word 
1 sbergo,' i. e. ' usbergo,' which I have translated cuirass. I suspect 
that it means helmet also. Now, if so, which of the senses is best 
accordant with the text 1 I have adopted cuirass, but will be amena- 
ble to reasons. Of the natives, some say one, and some t'other; 
but they are no great Tuscans in Romagna. However, I will ask 
Sgricci (the famous improvisatore) to-morrow, who is a native of 
Arezzo. The Countess Guiccioli, who is reckoned a very cultivated 
young lady, and the dictionary, say cuirass. I have written cuirass, 
but helmet runs in my head nevertheless — and will run in verse very 
well, whilk is the principal point. I will ask the Sposa Spina Spinelli, 
too, the Florentine bride of Count Gabriel Rusponi, just imported 
from Florence, and get the sense out of somebody. 

" I have just been visiting the new Cardinal, who arrived the day 
before yesterday in his legation. He seems a good old gentleman, 
pious and simple, and not quite like his predecessor, who was a bon- 
vivant, in the worldly sense of the words. 

" Enclosed is a letter which I received some time ago from Dallas. 
It will explain itself. I have not answered it. This comes of doing 
people good. At one time or another (including copyrights) this per- 
son has had about fourteen hundred pounds of my money, and he 
writes what he calls a posthumous work about me, and a scrubby 
letter accusing me of treating him ill, when I never did any such 
thing. It is true that I left off letter-writing, as I have done with 
almost every body else ; but I can't see how that was misusing him. 

" I look upon his epistle as the consequence of my not sending him 
another hundred pounds, which he wrote to me for about two years 
ago, and which I thought proper to withhold, he having had his share, 
methought, of what I could dispone upon others. 

" In your last you ask me after my articles of domestic wants : I 
believe they are as usual ; the bull-dogs, magnesia, soda-powders, 
tooth-powders, brushes, and every thing of the kind which are here 
unattainable. You stiU ask me to return to England: alas! to what 
purpose ] You do not know what you are requiring. Return I must, 
probably, some day or other (if 1 live), sooner or later • but it will not 


212 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

be for pleasure, nor can it end in good. You inquire after my health 
and spirits in large letters ; my health can't be very bad, for I cured 
myself of a sharp tertian ague, in three weeks, with cold water, which 
had held my stoutest gondolier for months, notwithstanding all the 
bark of the apothecary, — a circumstance which surprised Dr. Aglietti, 
who said it was a proof of great stamina, particularly in so epidemic 
a season. I did it out of dislike to the taste of bark (which I can't 
bear), and succeeded, contrary to the prophecies of every body, by 
simply taking nothing at all. As to spirits, they are unequal, now 
high, now low, like other people's, I suppose, and depending upon 

" Pray send me W. Scott's new novels. What are their names and 
characters ? I read some of his former ones, at least once a day, for 
an hour or so. The last are too hurried : he forgets Ravenswood's 
name, and calls him Edgar and then Norman ; and Girder, the cooper, 
is styled now Gilbert, and now John ; and he do n't make enough of 
Montrose ; but Dalgetty is excellent, and so is Lucy Ashton, and the 
b— h her mother. What is Ivanhoe ? and what do you call his other 1 
are there two ? Pray make him write at least two a year : I like no 
reading so well. 

" The editor of the Bologna Telegraph has sent me a paper with 
extracts from Mr. Mulock's (his name always reminds me of Muley 
Moloch of Morocco) • Atheism answered,' in which there is a long 
eulogium of my poesy, and a great ' compatimento' for my misery. 
I never could understand what they mean by accusing me of irreligion. 
However, they may have it their own way. This gentleman seems 
to be my great admirer, so I take what he says in good part, as he 
evidently intends kindness, to which I can't accuse myself of being 

" Yours, &c." 



" Ravenna, March 5th, 1820. 

" In case, in your country, you should not readily lay hands on the 
Morgante Maggiore, I send you the original text of the First Canto, 
to correspond with the translation which I sent you a few days ago. 
It is from the Naples edition in quarto of 1732, — dated Florence, how- 
ever, by a trick of the trade, which you, as one of the allied sove- 
reigns of the profession, will perfectly understand without any farther 

11 It is strange that here nobody understands the real precise mean- 
ing of ' sbergo,' or usbergo,'* an old Tuscan word, which I have ren- 
dered cuirass (but am not sure it is not helmet). I have asked at least 
twenty people, learned and ignorant, male and female, including poets, 
and officers civil and military. The dictionary says cuirass, but 
gives no authority ; and a female friend of mine says positively cuirass, 
which makes me doubt the fact still more than before. Ginguene 
says, • bonnet de fer,' with the usual superficial decision of a French- 

* It has been suggested to me that usbergo is obviously the same as hau- 
berk, habergeon, &c, all from the German hals-berg, or covering of the neck. 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 213 

man, so that I can't believe him : and what between the dictionary, 
the Italian woman, and the Frenchman, there 's no trusting to a word 
they say. The context too, which should decide, admits equally of 
either meaning 1 , as you will perceive. Ask Rose, Hobhouse, Meri- 
vale, and Foscolo, and vote with the majority. Is Frere a good Tus- 
can ? if he be, bother him too. I have tried, you see, to be as accurate 
as I well could. This is my third or fourth letter, or packet, within 
the last twenty days." 



" Ravenna, March 14th, 1820. 

" Enclosed is Dante's Prophecy — Vision — or what not.* Where I 
have left more than one reading (which I have done often), you may 
adopt that which Gifford, Frere, Rose, and Hobhouse, and others of 
your Utican Senate think the best, or least bad. The preface will ex- 
plain all that is explicable. These are but the first four cantos : if 
approved, I will go on. 

" Pray mind in printing ; and let some good Italian scholar correct 
the Italian quotations. 

" Four days ago I was overturned in an open carriage between the 
river and a steep bank : — wheels dashed to pieces, slight bruises, nar- 
row escape, and all that ; but no harm done, though coachman, foot- 
man, horses, and vehicle were all mixed together like macaroni. It 
was owing to bad driving, as I say ; but the coachman swears to a 
start on the part of the horses. We went against a post on the verge 
of a steep bank, and capsized. I usually go out of the town in a car- 
riage, and meet the saddle horses at the bridge ; it was in going there 
that we boggled ; but I got my ride, as usual, after the accident. They 
say here it was all owing to St. Antonio of Padua (serious, I assure 
you), — who does thirteen miracles a day, — that worse did not come 
of it. I have no objection to this being his fourteenth in the four-and- 
twenty hours. He presides over overturns and all escapes therefrom, 
it seems ; and they dedicate pictures, &c. to him, as the sailors once 
did to Neptune, after * the high Roman fashion.' 

" Yours, in haste." 

* There were in this Poem, originally, three lines of remarkable strength 
and severity, which, as the Italian poet against whom they were directed was 
then living, were omitted in the publication. I shall here give them from 

" The prostitution of his Muse and Wife, 
Both beautiful, and both by him debased, 
Shall salt his bread and give him means of life." 

214 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 



" Ravenna, March 20th, 1820. 
" Last post I sent you ' The Vision of Dante,' — first four cantos. 
Enclosed you will find, line for line, in third rhyme {terza rima), of 
which your British blackguard reader as yet understands nothing', 
Fanny of Rimini. You know that she was born here, and married, 
and slain, from Cary, Boyd, and such people. I have done it into 
cramp English, line for line, and rhyme for rhyme, to try the possi- 
bility. You had best append it to the poems already sent by last three 
posts. I shall not allow you to play the tricks you did last year, with 
the prose you post-scribed to Mazeppa, which I sent to you not to be 
published, if not in a periodical paper, — and there you tacked it, without 
a word of explanation. If this is published, publish it with the original, 
and together with the Pulci translation, or the Dante imitation. 1 sup- 
pose you have both by now, and the Juan long before. 


" Translation from the Inferno of Dante, Canto bth. 

" ' The land where I was born sits by the seas, 
Upon that shore to which the Po descends, 
With all his followers, in search of peace. 

Love, which the gentle heart soon apprehends, 
Seized him for the fair person which was ta'en 
From me, and me even yet the mode offends. 

Love, who to none beloved to love asrain 
Remits, seized me with wish to please, so strong, 
That, as thou seest, yet, yet it doth remain. 

Love to one death conducted us along, 

But Caina waits for him our life who ended :' 
These were the accents utter'd by her tongue. — 

Since first I listen'd to these souls offended, 
I bow'd my visage and so kept it till — 

*s then I 

* What think'st thou V said the bard : ) when $ I unbended, 
And recommenced : ' Alas ! unto such ill 

How many sweet thoughts, what strong ecstasies 

Led these their evil fortune to fulfil !' 
And then I turn'd unto their side my eyes, 

And said, ' Francesca, thy sad destinies 

Have made me sorrow till the tears arise. 
But tell me, in the season of sweet sighs, 

By what and how thy Love to Passion rose, 

So as his dim desires to recognise V 
Then she to me : ' The greatest of all woes 
S recall to mind ) 

Is to J remind us of S our happy days 
t this i 

In misery, and ) that $ thy teacher knows. 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 215 

But if to learn our passion's first root preys 

Upon thy spirit with such sympathy, 
^ relate ) 

I will } do* even s as he who weeps and says. 

We read one day for pastime, seated nigh, 

Of Lancilot, how Love enchain'd him too. 

We were alone, quite unsuspiciously, 
But oft our eyes met, and our cheeks in hue 

All o'er discolour'd by that reading- were ; 

^ overthrew ) 

But one point only wholly ( us o'erthrew ; s 
\ desired ) 
When we read the ( long-sighed-for s smile of her, 

^ a fervent ) 

To be thus kiss'd by such ( devoted s lover 

He who from me can be divided ne'er 
Kiss'd my mouth, trembling in the act all over. 

Accursed was the book and he who wrote ! 

That day no farther leaf we did uncover.- 
While thus one Spirit told us of their lot, 

The other wept, so that with pity's thralls 

I swoon'd as if by death I had been smote, 
And fell down even as a dead body falls.' " 



" Ravenna, March 23d, 1820. 

" I have received your letter of the 7th. Besides the four packets 
you have already received, I have sent the Pulci a few days after, and 
since (a few days ago) the first four Cantos of Dante's Prophecy (the 
best thing I ever wrote, if it be not unintelligible), and by last post a 
literal translation, word for word (versed like the original), of the 
episode of Francesca of Rimini. I want to hear what you think of 
the new Juans, and the translations, and the Vision. They are all 
things that are, or ought to be, very different from one another. 

" If you choose to make a print from the Venetian, you may ; but 
she don't correspond at all to the character you mean her to represent. 
On the contrary, the Contessa G. does (except that she is fair), and is 
much prettier than the Fornarina ; but J have no picture of her except 
a miniature, which is very ill done ; and, besides, it would not be pro- 
per, on any account whatever, to make such a use of it, even if you 
had a copy. 

" Recollect that the two new Cantos only count with us for one. 
You may put the Pulci and Dante together : perhaps that were best. 
So you have put your name to Juan after all your panic. You are 
a rare fellow. — I must now put myself in a passion to continue my 

" Yours, &c. 

* " In some of the editions, it is ' diro,' in others ' faro ;' — an essential dif- 
ference between ' saying' and ' doing,' which I know not how to decide. 
Ask Foscolo. The d — d editions drive me mad." 

216 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

" I have caused write to Thorwaldsen. Pray be careful in sending 
my daughter's picture — I mean, that it be not hurt in the carriage, for 
it is a journey rather long and jolting." 



" Ravenna, March 28th, 1820. 

" Enclosed is a ' Screed of Doctrine' for you, of which I will trouble 
you to acknowledge the receipt by next post. Mr. Hobhouse must 
have the correction of it for the press. You may show it first to 
whom you please. 

" I wish to know what became of my two Epistles from St. Paul 
(translated from the Armenian three years ago and more), and of the 

letter to R ts of last autumn, which you never have attended to 1 

There are two packets with this. 

" P.S. I have some thoughts of publishing the ' Hints from Horace,' 
written ten years ago,* — if Hobhouse can rummage them out of my 
papers left at his father's, — with some omissions and alterations pre- 
viously to be made when I see the proofs." 



" Ravenna, March 29th, 1820. 

" Herewith you will receive a note (enclosed) on Pope, which you 
will find tally with a part of the text of last post. I have at last lost 
all patience with the atrocious cant and nonsense about Pope, with 
which our present * *s are overflowing, and am determined to make 
such head against it as an individual can, by prose or verse ; and I 
will at least do it with good-will. There is no bearing it any longer ; 
and if it goes on, it will destroy what little good writing or taste 
remains among us. I hope there are still a few men of taste to second 
me ; but if not, I '11 battle it alone, convinced that it is in the best cause 
of English literature. 

" I have sent you so many packets, verse and prose, lately, that you 
will be tired of the postage, if not of the perusal. I want to answer 
some parts of your last letter, but I have not time, for I must ' boot 
and saddle,' as my Captain Craigengilt (an officer of the old Napoleon 
Italian army) is in waiting, and my groom and cattle to ooot. 

" You have given me a screed of metaphor and what not about Pulci, 
and manners, and 'going without clothes, like our Saxon ancestors.' 

* When making the observations which occur in the early part of this work, 
on the singular preference given by the noble author to the 'Hints from 
Horace,' I was not aware of the revival of this strange predilection, which 
(as it appears from the above letter, and, still more strongly, from some that 
follow) took place so many years after, in the full maturity of his powers 
and taste. Such a delusion is hardly conceivable, and can only, perhaps, be 
accounted for by that tenaciousness of early opinions and impressions by 
which his mind, in other respects so versatile, was characterized. 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 217 

Now, the Saxons did not go without clothes; and, in the next place, they 
are not my ancestors, nor yours either ; for mine were Norman, and 
yours, I take it by your name, were Gael. And, in the next, I differ 
from you about the 'refinement' which has banished the comedies 
of Congreve. Are not the comedies of Sheridan acted to the thinnest 
houses'? I know (as ex-committed) that 'The School for Scandal' 
was the worst stock-piece upon record. 1 also know that Congreve 
gave up writing because Mrs. Centlivre's balderdash drove his come- 
dies off. So it is not decency, but stupidity, that does all this ; for 
Sheridan is as decent a writer as need be, and Congreve no worse than 
Mrs. Centlivre, of whom Wilkes (the actor) said, ' not only her play 
would be damned, but she too.' He alluded to * A Bold Stroke for a 
Wife.' But last, and most to the purpose, Pulci is not an indecent 
writer — at least in his first Canto, as you will have perceived by this 

" You talk of refinement : — are you all more moral ] are you so 
moral ? No such thing. / know what the world is in England, by 
my own proper experience of the best of it — at least of the loftiest ; 
and I have described it every where as it is to be found in all places. 

" But to return. I should like to see the proof's of mine answer, be- 
cause there will be something to omit or to alter. But pray let it be 
carefully printed. When convenient let me have an answer. 

" Yours." 



" Ravenna, March 31st, 1820. 

•& W W W Tv 

" Ravenna continues much the same as I described it. Conversa- 
zioni all Lent, and much better ones than any at Venice. There are 
small games at hazard, that is, faro, where nobody can point more 
than a shilling or two ; — other card-tables, and as much talk and coffee 
as you please. Every body does and says what they please ; and I do 
not recollect any disagreeable events, except being three times falsely 
accused of flirtation, and once being robbed of six sixpences by a no- 
bleman of the city, a Count * * *. I did not suspect the illustrious 
delinquent ; but the Countess V * * * and the Marquis L * * * told me 
of it directly, and also that it was a way he had, of filching money when 
he saw it before him ; but I did not ax him for the cash, but contented 
myself with telling him that if he did it again, 1 should anticipate 
the law. 

" There is to be a theatre in April, and a fair, and an opera, and 
another opera in June, besides the fine weather of nature's giving, and 
the rides in the Forest of Pine. With my best respects to Mrs. Hopp- 
ner, believe me ever, &c. 

" Byron. 

" P.S. Could you give me an item of what books remain at Venice ? 
I do nH want them, but want to know whether the few that are not here 
are there, and were not lost by the way. I hope and trust you have 
got all your wine safe, and that it is drinkable. Allegra is prettier, I 
think, but as obstinate as a mule, and as ravenous as a vulture : health 

218 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

good, to judge of the complexion — temper tolerable, but for vanity and 
pertinacity. She thinks herself handsome and will do as she pleases." 



" Ravenna, April 9th, 1820. 
" In the name of all the devils in the printing office, why do n't you 
write to acknowledge the receipt of the second, third, and fourth 
packets, viz. the Pulci translation and original, the Danticles, the Ob- 
servations on, &c. ? You forget that you keep me in hot water till I 

know whether they are arrived, or if I must have the bore of recopying. 

# # * * # 

" Have you gotten the cream of translations, Francesca of Rimini, 
from the Inferno ? Why, I have sent you a warehouse of trash within 
the last month, and you have no sort of feeling about you : a pastry- 
cook would have had twice the gratitude, and thanked me at least for 
the quantity. 

" To make the letter heavier, I enclose you the Cardinal Legate's 
(our Campeius) circular for his conversazione this evening. It is the 
anniversary of the Pope's tiara-tion, and all polite Christians, even of 
the Lutheran creed, must go and be civil. And there will be a circle, 
and a faro-table (for shillings, that is, they do n't allow high play), 
and all the beauty, nobility, and sanctity of Ravenna present. The Car- 
dinal himself is a veiy good-natured little fellow, bishop of Muda, and 
legate here, — a decent believer in all the doctrines of the church. He 
has kept his housekeeper these forty years * * * *; but is 
reckoned a pious man, and a moral liver. 

" I am not quite sure that I won't be among you this autumn, for 
I find that business don't go on — what with trustees and lawyers — as 
it should do, ' with all deliberate speed.' They differ about invest- 
ments in Ireland. 

" Between the devil and deep sea, 
Between the lawyer and trustee, 

I am puzzled ; and so much time is lost by my not being upon the spot, 
what with answers, demurs, rejoinders, that it may be I must come 
and look to it ; for one says do, and t' other do n't, so that I know not 
which way to turn : but perhaps they can manage without me. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P.S. I have begun a tragedy on the subject of Marino Faliero, the 
Doge of Venice ; but you sha' n't see it these six years, if you do n't 
acknowledge my packets with more quickness and precision. Always 
write, if but a line, by return of post, when any thing arrives, which 
is not a mere letter. 

" Address direct to Ravenna ; it saves a week's time, and much 


a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 219 



"Ravenna, April 16th, 1820. 
Post after post arrives without bringing; any acknowledgment 
from you of the different packets (excepting; the first) which I have 
sent within the last two months, all of which ought to be arrived long 
ere now; and as they were announced in other letters, you ought 
at least to say whether they are come or not. You are not expected 
to write frequent or long letters, as your time is much occupied ; 
but when parcels that have cost some pains in the composition, 
and great trouble in the copying, are sent to you, I should at least 
be put out of suspense, by the immediate acknowledgment, per 
return of post, addressed directly to Ravenna. I am naturally — 
knowing what continental posts are — anxious to hear that they are ar- 
rived : especially as I loath the task of copying so much, that if there 
was a human being that could copy my blotted MSS., he should have 
all they can ever bring for his trouble. All I desire is two lines, to 
say, such a day I received such a packet. There are at least six un- 
acknowledged. This is neither kind nor courteous. 

" I have, besides, another reason for desiring you to be speedy, 
which is, that there is that brewing in Italy which will speedily cut off 
all security of communication, and set all your Anglo-travellers flying 
in every direction, with their usual fortitude in foreign tumults. The 
Spanish and French affairs have set the Italians in a ferment ; and no 
wonder : they have been too long trampled on. This will make a 
sad scene for your exquisite traveller, but not for the resident, who 
naturally wishes a people to redress itself. I shall, if permitted by 
the natives, remain to see what will come of it, and perhaps to take a 
turn with them, like Dugald Dalgetty and his horse, in case of busi- 
ness ; for I shall think it by far the most interesting spectacle and 
moment in existence, to see the Italians send the barbarians of all 
nations back to their own dens. I have lived long enough among 
them to feel more for them as a nation than for any other people in 
existence. But they want union, and they want principle ; and I 
doubt their success. However, they will try, probably, and if they 
do, it will be a good cause. No Italian can hate an Austrian more 
than I do : unless it be the English, the Austrians seem to me the most 
obnoxious race under the sky. 

" But I doubt, if any thing be done, it won't be so quietly as in 
Spain. To be sure, revolutions are not to be made with rose-water, 
where there are foreigners as masters. 

" Write while you can ; for it is but the toss up of a paul that there 
will not be a row that will somewhat retard the mail by-and-by. 

" Yours, &c." 


220 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820 



" Ravenna, April 18th, 1820. 
I have caused write to Siri and Willhalm to send with Vincenza, 
in a boat, the camp-beds and swords left in their care when I quitted 
Venice. There are also several pounds of MantorCs best powder in a 
japan case; but unless I felt sure of getting it away from V. without 
seizure, I won't have it ventured. I can get it in here, by means of an 
acquaintance in the customs, who has offered to get it ashore for me ; 
but should like to be certiorated of its safety in leaving Venice. I 
would not lose it for its weight in gold — there is none such in Italy, 
as I take it to be. 

" I wrote to you a week or so ago, and hope you are in good plight 
and spirits. Sir Humphry Davy is here, and was last night at the 
Cardinal's. As I had been there last Sunday, and yesterday was 
warm, I did not go, which I should have done, if I had thought of 
meeting the man of chemistry. He called this morning, and I shall 
go in search of him at Corso time. I believe to-day, being Monday, 
there is no great conversazione, and only the family one at the Ma,r- 
chese Cavalli's, where I go as a relation sometimes, so that, unless he 
stays a day or two, we should hardly meet in public. 

" The theatre is to open in May for the fair, if there is not a row 
in all Italy by that time, — the Spanish business has set them all a 
constitutioning, and what will be the end no one knows — it is also 
necessary thereunto to have a beginning. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P.S. My benediction to Mrs. Hoppner. How is your little boy? 
Allegra is growing, and has increased in good looks and obstinacy." 



" Ravenna, April 23d, 1820. 
The proofs do n't contain the last stanzas of Canto Second, but 
end abruptly with the 105th stanza. 

" I told you long ago that the new Cantos* were not good, and I also 
told you a reason. Recollect, I do not oblige you to publish them ; you 
may suppress them, if you like, but 1 can alter nothing. I have erased 
the six stanzas about those two impostors, * * * * (which I 
suppose will give you great pleasure), but I can do no more. I can 
neither recast, nor replace ; but I give you leave to put it all into the 
fire, if you like, or not to publish, and I think that 's sufficient. 

" I told you that I wrote on with no good- will — that I had been, not 
frightened, but hurt by the outcry, and, besides, that when I wrote last 
November, I was ill in body, and in very great distress of mind about 
some private things of my own ; but you would have it : so I sent it 

* Of Don Juan. 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 221 

to you, and to make it lighter, cut it in two — but I can't piece it toge- 
ther again. I can't cobble : I must ' either make a spoon or spoil a 
horn,' — and there 's an end ; for there 's no remeid : but I leave you 
free will to suppress the whole, if you like it. 

" About the Morgante Maggiore, I won't have a line omitted. It may 
circulate, or it may not ; but all the criticism on earth sha' n't touch a 
line, unless it be because it is badly translated. Now you say, and I 
say, and others say, that the translation is a good one ; and so it shall 
go to press as it is. Pulci must answer for his own irreligion : I 

answer for the translation only. 


" Pray let Mr. Hobhouse look to the Italian next time in the proofs : 
this time, while I am scribbling to you, they are corrected by one who 
passes for the prettiest woman in Romagna, and even the Marches, 
as far as Ancona, be the other who she may. 

" I am glad you like my answer to your inquiries about Italian 
society. It is fit you should like something, and be d — d to you. 

" My love to Scott. I shall think higher of knighthood ever after 
for his being dubbed. By-the-way, he is the first poet titled for his 
talent in Britain : it has happened abroad before now ; but on the con- 
tinent titles are universal and worthless. Why do n't you send me 
Ivanhoe and the Monastery ? I have never written to Sir Walter, for 
I know he has a thousand things, and I a thousand nothings, to do ; 
but I hope to see him at Abbotsford before very long, and I will sweat 
his claret for him, though Italian abstemiousness has made my brain 
but a shilpit concern for a Scotch sitting 'inter pocula.' I love Scott, 
and Moore, and all the better brethren; but I hate and abhor that 
puddle of water-worms whom you have taken into your troop. 

"Yours, &c. 

"P.S. You say that one-half is very good: you are wrong; for, if 
it were, it would be the finest poem in existence. Where is the poetry 
of which one-half is good? is it the JEneid? is it Milton's? is it 
Dryden's? is it any one's except Pope's and Goldsmith's, of which all 
is good 1 and yet these last two are the poets your pond poets would 
explode. But if one-half of the two new Cantos be good in your 
opinion, what the devil would you have more ] No — no ; no poetry 
is generally good — only by fits and starts — and you are lucky to get a 
sparkle here and there. You might as well want a midnight all stars 
as rhyme all perfect. 

" We are on the verge of a row here. Last night they have over- 
written all the city walls with * Up with the republic !' and ' Death to 
the Pope !' &c. &c. This would be nothing in London, where the 
walls are privileged. But here it is a different thing : they are not 
used to such fierce political inscriptions, and the police is all on the 
alert, and the Cardinal glares pale through all his purple. 

" April 24th, 1820, 8 o'clock, p. m. 
" The police have been, all noon and after, searching for the 
inscribers, but have caught none as yet. They must have been all 
night about it, for the ' Live republics — Death to Popes and Priests,' 
are innumerable, and plastered over all the palaces : ours has plenty. 
There is ' Down with the Nobility,' too ; they are down enough already, 
for that matter. A very heavy rain and wind having come on, I did 
not go out and • skirr the country ;' but I shall mount to-morrow, and 

222 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

take a canter among the peasantry, who are a savage, resolute race, 
always riding with guns in their hands. I wonder they do n't suspect 
the serenaders, for they play on the guitar here all night, as in Spain, 
to their mistresses. 

" Talking of politics, as Caleb Quotem says, pray look at the con- 
clusion of my Ode on Waterloo, written in the year 1815, and, com- 
paring it with the Duke de Berri's catastrophe in 1820, tell me if I 
have not as good a right to the character of ' Vates? in both senses of 
the word, as Fitzgerald and Coleridge ? 

* Crimson tears will follow yet — * 

and have not they 1 

" I can't pretend to foresee what will happen among you Englishers 
at this distance, but I vaticinate a row in Italy ; in whilk case, 1 do n't 
know that I won't have a finger in it. I dislike the Austrians, and 
think the Italians infamously oppressed; and if they begin, why, I 
will recommend 'the erection of a sconce upon Drumsnab,' like 
Dugald Dalgetty." 



" Ravenna, May 8th, 1820. 

"From your not having written again, an intention which your 
letter of the 7th ultimo indicated, I have to presume that the ' Pro- 
phecy of Dante' has not been found more worthy than its predeces- 
sors in the eyes of your illustrious synod. In that case, you will be 
in some perplexity ; to end which, I repeat to you, that you are not to 
consider yourself as bound or pledged to publish any thing because it 
is mine, but always to act according to your own views, or opinions, or 
those of your friends ; and to be sure that you will in no degree offend 
me by ' declining the article,' to use a technical phrase. The prose 
observations on John Wilson's attack, I do not intend for publication 
at this time ; and I send a copy of verses to Mr. Kinnaird (they were 
written last year on crossing the Po), which must not be published 
either. I mention this, because it is probable he may give you a copy. 
Pray recollect this, as they are mere verses of society, and written 
upon private feelings and passions. And, moreover, I can't consent 
to any mutilations or omissions of Pulci : the original has been ever 
free from such in Italy, the capital of Christianity, and the translation 
may be so in England ; though you will think it strange that they 
should have allowed suchfreedom for many centuries to the Morgante, 
while the other day they confiscated the whole translation of the 
Fourth Canto of Childe Harold, and have persecuted Leoni, the trans- 
lator — so he writes me, and so I could have told him, had he consulted 
me before his publication. This shows how much more politics inte- 
rest men in these parts than religion. Half a dozen invectives against 
tyranny confiscate Childe Harold in a month ; and eight-and-twenty 
canto? of quizzing monks and knights, and church government, are 
let loose for centuries. I copy Leoni's account. 

" ' Non ignorera forse che la mia versione del 4° Canto del Childe 
Harold fu confiscata in ogni parte : ed io stesso ho dovuto softrir ves- 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 223 

sazioni altrettanto ridicole quanto illiberali, ad arte che alcuni versi 
fossero esclusi dalla censura. Ma siccome il divieto non fa d'ordi- 
nario che accrescere la curiosita cosi quel carme sull' Italia e ricer- 
cato piu che mai, e penso di farlo ristampare in Inghilterra senza nulla 
escludere. Sciagurata condizione di questa mia patria ! se patria si 
pud chiamare una terra cosi avvilita dalla fortuna, dagli uomini, da 
se medesima.' 

" Rose will translate this to you. Has he had his letter 1 I enclosed 
it to you months ago. 

" This intended piece of publication I shall dissuade him from, 
or he may chance to see the inside of St. Angelo's. The last sen- 
tence of his letter is the common and pathetic sentiment of all his 

" Sir Humphry Davy was here last fortnight, and I was in his com- 
pany in the house of a very pretty Italian lady of rank, who, by way 
of displaying her learning in presence of the great chemist, then 
describing his fourteenth ascension of Mount Vesuvius, asked 'if 
there was not a similar volcano in Ireland?' My only notion of an 
Irish volcano consisted of the lake of Killarney, which I naturally 
conceived her to mean; but on second thoughts I divined that she 
alluded to Iceland and to Hecla — and so it proved, though she sustained 
her volcanic topography for some time with all the amiable pertinacity 
of ' the feminie.' She soon after turned to me, and asked me various 
questions about Sir Humphry's philosophy, and I explained as well as 
an oracle his skill in gasen safety lamps, and ungluing the Pompeian 
MSS. 'But what do you call him?' said she. 'A great chemist,' 
quoth I. ' What can he do V repeated the lady. ■ ' Almost any thing,' 
said I. 'Oh, then, mio caro, do pray beg him to give me something 
to dye my eyebrows black. I have tried a thousand things, and the 
colours all come off; and besides, they do n't grow : can't he invent 
something to make them grow?' All this with the greatest earnest- 
ness ; and what you will be surprised at, she is neither ignorant nor a 
fool, but really well educated and clever. But they speak like chil- 
dren, when first out of their convents ; and, after all, this is better 
than an English blue-stocking. 

" I did not tell Sir Humphry of this last piece of philosophy, not 
knowing how he might take it. Davy was much taken with Ravenna, 
and the primitive Italianism of the people, who are unused to foreign- 
ers : but he only staid a day. 

" Send me Scott's novels and some news. 

" P.S. I have begun and advanced into the second act of a tragedy 
on the subject of the Doge's conspiracy (i. e. the story of Marino Fa- 
liero) ; but my present feeling is so little encouraging on such mat- 
ters that I begin to think I have mined my talent out, and proceed in 
no great phantasy of finding a new vein. 

" P.S. I sometimes think (if the Italians do n't rise) of coming over 
to England in the autumn after the coronation (at which I would not 
appear, on account of my family schism), but as yet I can decide 
nothing. The place must be a great deal changed since I left it, now 
more than four years ago." 

924 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 



" Ravenna, May 20th, 1820. 

" Murray, my dear, make my respects to Thomas Campbell, and tell 
him from me, with faith and friendship, three things that he must right 
in his poets : Firstly, he says Anstey's Bath Guide characters are taken 
from Smollett. 'T is impossible : — the Guide was published in 1766, 
and Humphrey Clinker in 1771 — dunque, 't is Smollett who has taken 
from Anstey. Secondly, he does not know to whom Cowper alludes, 
when he says that there was one who ' built a church to God, and 
then blasphemed his name :' it was * Deo erexit Voltaire' to whom 
that maniacal Calvinist and coddled poet alludes. Thirdly, he mis- 
quotes and spoils a passage from Shakspeare, ' to gild refined gold, 
to paint the lily,' &c. ; for lily he puts rose, and bedevils in more words 
than one the whole quotation. 

" Now, Tom is a fine fellow ; but he should be correct : for the first 
is an injustice (to Anstey), the second an ignorance, and the third a 
blunder. Tell him all this, and let him take it in good part ; for I 
might have rammed it into a review and rowed him — instead of which, 
I act like a Christian. 

" Yours, &c." 



" Ravenna, May 20th, 1820. 

" First and foremost, you must forward my letter to Moore dated 
2d January, which I said you might open, but desired you to forward. 
Now, you should really not forget these little things, because they do 
mischief among friends. You are an excellent man, a great man, and 
live among great men, but do pray recollect your absent friends and 

" In the first place, your packets ; then a letter from Kinnaird, on 
the most urgent business ; another from Moore, about a communica- 
tion to Lady Byron of importance ; a fourth from the mother of Alle- 
gra ; and fifthly, at Ravenna, the Contessa G. is on the eve of being 
divorced. — But the Italian public are on our side, particularly the 
women, — and the men also, because they say that he had no business 
to take the business up now after a year of toleration. All her rela- 
tions (who are numerous, high in rank, and powerful) are furious 
against him for his conduct. I am warned to be on my guard, as he is 
very capable of employing sicarii — this is Latin as well as Italian, so 
you can understand it ; but I have arms, and do n't mind them, think- 
ing that I could pepper his ragamuffins, if they do n't come unawares, 
and that, if they do, one may as well end that way as another; and it 
would besides serve you as an advertisement. 

♦ Man may escape from rope or gun, &c. 

But he who takes woman, woman, woman,' &c. 

" Yours." 

A. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 225 

" P.S. I have looked over the press, but heaven knows how. Think 
what I have on hand and, the post going out to-morrow. Do you re- 
member the epitaph on Voltaire ? 

' Ci-git l'enfant gate,' &c. 

* Here lies the spoil'd child 
Of the world which he spoil'd.' 

The original is in Grimm and Diderot, &c. &c. &c." 




" Ravenna, May 24th, 1820. 
I wrote to you a few days ago. There is also a letter of January 
last for you at Murray's, which will explain to you why I am here. 
Murray ought to have forwarded it long ago. I enclose you an epistle 
from a countrywoman of yours at Paris, which has moved my entrails. 
You will have the goodness, perhaps, to inquire into the truth of her 
story, and I will help her as far as I can, — though not in the useless 
way she proposes. Her letter is evidently unstudied, and so natural, 
that the orthography is also in a state of nature. 

" Here is a poor creature, ill and solitary, who thinks, as a last re- 
source, of translating you or me into French ! Was there ever such 
a notion ? It seems to me the consummation of despair. Pray in- 
quire, and let me know, and, if you could draw a bill on me here for a 
few hundred francs, at your banker's, I will duly honour it, — that is, 
if she is not an impostor.* If not, let me know, that I may get some- 
thing remitted by my banker Longhi, of Bologna, for I have no cor- 
respondence, myself, at Paris ; but tell her she must not translate ; — 
if she does, it will be the height of ingratitude. 

" I had a letter (not of the same kind, but in French and flattery) 
from a Madame Sophie Gail, of Paris, whom I take to be the spouse 
of a Gallo-Greek of that name. Who is she ? and what is she 1 and 
how came she to take an interest in my poeshie or its author 1 If you 
know her, tell her, with my compliments, that, as I only read French, 
I have not answered her letter ; but would have done so in Italian, if 
I had not thought it would look like an affectation. I have just been 
scolding my monkey for tearing the seal of her letter, and spoiling a 
mock book, in which I put rose leaves. I had a civet-cat the other 
day, too ; but it ran away after scratching my monkey's cheek, and 1 
am in search of it still. It was the fiercest beast I ever saw, and like 
* * in the face and manner. 

* According to his desire, I waited upon this young lady, having provided 
myself with a rouleau of fifteen or twenty Napoleons to present to her from 
his lordship ; but with a very creditable spirit, my young countrywoman de- 
clined the gift, saying that Lord Byron had mistaken the object of her appli- 
cation to him, which was to request that, by allowing her to have the sheets 
of some of his works before publication, he would enable her to prepare early 
translations for the French booksellers, and thus afford her the means of ac- 
quiring something towards a livelihood. 

Vol. II.— P 

226 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

" I have a world of things to say ; but as they are not come to a de- 
nouement, I do n't care to begin their history till it is wound up. After 
you went I had a fever, but got well again without bark. Sir Hum- 
phry Davy was here the other day, and liked Ravenna very much. He 
will tell you any thing you may wish to know about the place and 
your humble servitor. 

" Your apprehensions (arising from Scott's) were unfounded. There 
are no damages in this country, but there will probably be a separation 
between them, as her family, which is a principal one, by its connexions, 
are very much against him, for the whole of his conduct ; — and he is old 
and obstinate, and she is young and a woman, determined to sacrifice 
every thing to her affections. I have given her the best advice, viz. 
to stay with him, — pointing out the state of a separated woman (for 
the priests won't let lovers live openly together, unless the husband 
sanctions it), and making the most exquisite moral reflections, — but to 
no purpose. She says, ' I will stay with him, if he will let you remain 
with me. It is hard that I should be the only woman in Romagna 
who is" not to have her Amico ; but, if not, I will not live with him ; 
and as for the consequences, love, &c. &c. &c.' — you know how 
females reason on such occasions. 

" He says he has let it go on, till he can do so no longer. But he 
wants her to stay, and dismiss me ; for he does n't like to pay back 
her dowry and to make an alimony. Her relations are rather for the 
separation, as they detest him, — indeed, so does every body. The 
populace and the women are, as usual, all for those who are in the 
wrong, viz. the lady and her lover. I should have retreated, but ho- 
nour, and an erysipelas which has attacked her, prevent me, — to say 
nothing of love, for I love her most entirely, though not enough to 
persuade her to sacrifice every thing to a phrensy. * I see how it will 
end ; she will be the sixteenth Mrs. Shuffleton.' 

" My paper is finished, and so must this letter. 

" Yours ever, 


" P.S. I regret that you have not completed the Italian Fudges. 
Pray, how come you to be still in Paris ? Murray has four or five 
things of mine in hand — the new Don Juan, which his back-shop 
synod don't admire ; — a translation of the first Canto of Pulci's Mor- 
gante Maggiore, excellent ; — a short ditto from Dante, not so much 
approved ; — the Prophecy of Dante, very grand and worthy, &c. &c. 
&c. ; — a furious prose answer to Blackwood's Observations on Don 
Juan, with a savage Defence of Pope — likely to make a row. The 
opinions above I quote from Murray and his Utican senate ; — you will 
form your own, when you see the things. 

" You will have no great chance of seeing me, for I begin to think I 
must finish in Italy. But, if you come my way, you shall have a 
tureen of macaroni. Pray tell me about yourself and your intents. 

" My trustees are going to lend Earl Blessington sixty thousand 
pounds (at six per cent.) on a Dublin mortgage. Only think of my 
becoming" an Irish absentee !" 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 227 



" Ravenna, May 25, 1820. 

" A German named Ruppsecht has sent me, heaven knows why, 
several Deutsche Gazettes, of all which I understand neither word nor 
letter. I have sent you the enclosed to beg you to translate to me 
some remarks, which appear to be Goethe's upon Manfred — and if I 
may judge by two notes of admiration (generally put after something 
ridiculous by us), and the word ' hypocondrisch,'' are any thing but fa- 
vourable. I shall regret this, for I should have been proud of Goethe's 
good word ; but I sha' n't alter my opinion of him, even though he 
should be savage. 

" Will you excuse this trouble, and do me this favour ? — Never mind 
— soften nothing — I am literary proof — having had good and evil said 
in most modern languages. 

" Believe me, &c." 



"Ravenna, June 1st, 1820. 

" I have received a Parisian letter from W. W., which I prefer an- 
swering through you, if that worthy be still at Paris, and, as he says, 
an occasional visiter of yours. In November last he wrote to me a 
well-meaning letter, stating, for some reasons of his own, his belief 
that a reunion might be effected between Lady B. and myself. To 
this I answered as usual; and he sent me a second letter, repeating 
his notions, which letter I have never answered, having had a thou- 
sand other things to think of. He now writes as if he believed that 
he had offended me by touching on the topic ; and I wish you to as- 
sure him that I am not at all so, — but, on the contrary, obliged by his 
good-nature. At the same time acquaint him the thing is impossible. 
You know this, as well as I, — and there let it end. 

" I believe that I showed you his epistle in autumn last. He asks 
me if 1 have heard of my ' laureate' at Paris,* — somebody who has 
written ' a most sanguinary Epitre' against me ; but whether in French, 
or Dutch, or on what score, I know not, and he do n't say, — except 
that (for my satisfaction) he says it is the best thing in the fellow's 
volume. If there is any thing of the kind that I ought to know, you 
will doubtless tell me. I suppose it to be something of the usual sort ; 
— he says, he do n't remember the author's name. 

" I wrote to you some ten days ago, and expect an answer at your 

" The separation business still continues, and all the word are im- 
plicated, including priests and cardinals. The public opinion is 
furious against him, because he ought to have cut the matter short at 
jirst, and not waited twelve months to begin. He has been trying at 

* M. Lamartine. 

228 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

evidence, but can get none sufficient; for what would make fifty di- 
vorces in England won't do here — there must be the most decided 
proofs. * * * 

" It is the first cause of the kind attempted in Ravenna for these two 
hundred years ; for, though they often separate, they assign a different 
motive. You know that the continental incontinent are more delicate 
than the English, and do n't like proclaiming their coronation in a 
court, even when nobody doubts it. 

" All her relations are furious against him. The father has chal- 
lenged him — a superfluous valour, for he do n't fight, though suspected 
of two assassinations — one of the famous Monzoni of Forli. Warn- 
ing was given me not to take such long rides in the Pine Forest with- 
out being on my guard ; so I take my stiletto and a pair of pistols in 
my pocket during my daily rides. 

" I won't stir from this place till the matter is settled one way or 
the other. She is as femininely firm as possible ; and the opinion is 
so much against him, that the advocates decline to undertake his cause, 
because they say that he is either a fool or a rogue — fool, if he did not 
discover the liaison till now ; and rogue, if he did know it, and waited, 
for some bad end, to divulge it. In short, there has been nothing like 
it since the days of Guido di Polenta's family, in these parts. 

" If the man has me taken off, like Polonius, ' say he made a good 
end' — for a melodrame. The principal security is, that he has not the 
courage to spend twenty scudi — the average price of a clean-handed 
bravo — otherwise there is no want of opportunity, for I ride about the 
woods every evening, with one servant, and sometimes an acquaint- 
ance, who latterly looks a little queer in solitary bits of bushes. 

" Good-by. — Write to yours ever, &a * 



" Ravenna, June 7th, 1820. 
" Enclosed is something which will interest you, to wit, the opinion 
of the greatest man of Germany — perhaps of Europe — upon one of the 
great men of your advertisements (all ' famous hands,' as Jacob Ton- 
son used to say of his ragamuffins) — in short, a critique of Goethe's 
upon Manfred. There is the original, an English translation, and an 
Italian one ; keep them all in your archives, for the opinions of such a 
man as Goethe, whether favourable or not, are always interesting — 
and this is more so, as favourable. His Faust I never read, for I do n't 
know German ; but Matthew Monk Lewis, in 1816, at Coligny, trans- 
lated most of it to me vivd voce, and I was naturally much struck with 
it; but it was the Steinbach and the Jungfrau, and something else, 
much more than Faustus, that made me write Manfred. The first 
scene, however, and that of Faustus, are very similar. Acknowledge 
this letter. " Yours ever. 

" P.S. I have received Ivanhoe; — good. Pray send me some tooth- 
powder and tincture of myrrh, by JVaite, &c. Ricciardetto should 
have been translated literally, or not at all. As to puffing Whistlecraft, 
it won't do. I '11 tell you why some day or other. Cornwall 's a poet, 
but spoiled by the detestable schools of the day. Mrs. Hemans is a 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 229 

poet also, but too stiltified and apostrophic, — and quite wrong. Men 
died calmly before the Christian era, and since, without Christianity : 
witness the Romans, and, lately, Thistlewood, Sandt, and Lovel — men 
who ought to have been weighed down with their crimes, even had they be- 
lieved. A death-bed is a matter of nerves and constitution, and not of 
religion. Voltaire was frightened, Frederick of Prussia not : Chris- 
ans the same, according to their strength rather than their creed. 
vVhat does H * * H * * mean by his stanza 1 which is octave got 
urunk or gone mad. He ought to have his ears boxed with Thor's 
hammer for rhyming so fantastically." 

The following is the article from Goethe's " Kunst und Alterthum," 
enclosed in this letter. The grave confidence with which the venera- 
ble critic traces the fancies of his brother poet to real persons and 
events, making no difficulty even of a double murder at Florence to 
furnish grounds for his theory, affords an amusing instance of the dis- 
position so prevalent throughout Europe, to picture Byron as a man of 
marvels and mysteries, as well in his life as his poetry. To these ex- 
aggerated, or wholly false, notions of him, the numerous fictions 
palmed upon the world of his romantic tours and wonderful adven- 
tures, in places he never saw, and with persons that never existed,* 
nave, no doubt, considerably contributed ; and the consequence is, so 
utterly out of truth and nature are the representations of his life and 
character long current upon the continent, that it may be questioned 
whether the real "flesh and blood" hero of these pages, — the social, 
practical-minded, and, with all his faults and eccentricities, English 
Lord Byron, — may not, to the over-exalted imaginations of most of 
his foreign admirers, appear but an ordinary, unromantic, and prosaic 



" Byron's tragedy, Manfred, was to me a wonderful phenomenon, 
and one that closely touched me. This singular intellectual poet has 
taken my Faustus to himself, and extracted from it the strongest nou- 
rishment for his hypochondriac humour. He has made use of the im- 
pelling principles in his own way, for his own purposes, so that no 
one of them remains the same ; and it is particularly on this account 
that 1 cannot enough admire his genius. The whole is in this way 
so completely formed anew, that it would be an interesting task for 
the critic to point out not only the alterations he has made, but their 
degree of resemblance with, or dissimilarity to, the original : in the 
course of which I cannot deny that the gloomy heat of an unbounded 
and exuberant despair becomes at last oppressive to us. Yet is the 
dissatisfaction we feel always connected with esteem and admiration. 

* Of this kind are the accounts, filled with all sorts of circumstantial won- 
ders, of his residence in the island of Mytilene ; — his voyages to Sicily, — to 
Ithaca, with the Countess Guiccioli, &c. &c. But the most absurd, perhaps, 
of all these fabrications, are the stories told by Pouqueville, of the poet's 
religious conferences in the cell of Father Paul, at Athens; and the still moro 
unconscionable fiction in which Rizo has indulged, in giving the details of a 
pretended theatrical scene, got up (according to this poetical historian) be- 
tween Lord Byron and the Archbishop of Arta, at the tomb of Botzaris, in 

230 NOTICES OF THE [a. r>. 1820, 

" We find thus in this tragedy the quintessence of the most asto- 
nishing talent born to be its own tormentor. The character of Lord 
Byron's life and poetry hardly permits a just and equitable appreciation 
He has often enough confessed what it is that torments him. He has re- 
peatedly portrayed it ; and scarcely any one feels compassion for this 
intolerable suffering, over which he is ever laboriously ruminating. 
There are, properly speaking, two females whose phantoms for ever 
haunt him, and which, in this piece also, perform principal parts — one 
under the name of Astarte, the other without form or actual pre- 
sence, and merely a voice. Of the horrid occurrence which took 
place with the former, the following is related. When a bold and en- 
terprising young man, he won the affections of a Florentine lady. Her 
husband discovered the amour, and murdered his wife ; but the mur- 
derer was the same night found dead in the street, and there was no 
one on whom any suspicion could be attached. Lord Byron removed 
from Florence, and these spirits haunted him all his life after. 

" This romantic incident is rendered highly probable by innumerable 
allusions to it in his poems. As, for instance, when turning his sad 
contemplations inwards, he applies to himself the fatal history of the 
king of Sparta. It is as follows : — Pausanias, a Lacedaemonian gene- 
ral, acquires glory by the important victory at Plataea, but afterward 
forfeits the confidence of his countrymen through his arrogance, ob- 
stinacy, and secret intrigues with the enemies of his country. This 
man draws upon himself the heavy guilt of innocent blood, which at- 
tends him to his end ; for, while commanding the fleet of the allied 
Greeks, in the Black Sea, he is inflamed with a violent passion for a 
Byzantine maiden. After long resistance, he at length obtains her 
from her parents, and she is to be delivered up to him at night. She 
modestly desires the servant to put out the lamp, and, while groping 
her way in the dark, she overturns it. Pausanias is awakened from 
his sleep, apprehensive of an attack from murderers — he seizes his 
sword, and destroys his mistress. The horrid sight never leaves him. 
Her shade pursues him unceasingly, and he implores for aid in vain 
from the gods and the exorcising priests. 

" That poet must have a lacerated heart who selects such a scene 
from antiquity, appropriates it to himself, and burthens his tragic 
image with it. The following soliloquy, which is overladen with 
gloom and a weariness of life, is, by this remark, rendered intelligible. 
We recommend it as an exercise to all friends of declamation. Ham- 
let's soliloquy appears improved upon here."* 



" Ravenna, June 9th, 1820. 
a Galignani has just sent me the Paris edition of your works (which 
I wrote to order), and I am glad to see my old friends with a French 
face. I have been skimming and dipping, in and over them, like a 
swallow, and as pleased as one. It is the first time that I had seen 
the Melodies without music ; and, I do n't know how, but I can't read 

* The critic here subjoins the soliloquy from Manfred, beginning ■ We are 
the fools of time and terror," in which the allusion to Pausanias occurs. 

a. D. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 231 

in a music-book — the crotchets confound the words in my head, though 
I recollect them perfectly when sung. Music assists my memory 
through the ear, not through the eye ; I mean, that her quavers perplex 
me upon paper, but they are a help when heard. And thus I was glad 
to see the words without their borrowed robes ; — to my mind they 
look none the worse for their nudity. 

" The biographer has made a botch of your life — calling your father 
* a venerable old gentleman,' and prattling of * Addison,' and * dowager 
countesses.' If that damned fellow was to write my life, I would cer- 
tainly take his. And then, at the Dublin dinner, you have ' made a 
speech' (do you recollect, at Douglas K.'s, ' Sir, he made me a speech V) 
too complimentary to the * living poets,' and somewhat redolent of 
universal praise. / am but too well off in it, but * * * 


" You have not sent me any poetical or personal news of yourself. 
Why do n't you complete an Italian Tour of the Fudges 1 I have just 
been turning over Little, which I knew by heart in 1803, being then in 
my fifteenth summer. Heigho ! I believe all the mischief I have ever 
done, or sung, has been owing to that confounded book of yours. 

" In my last I told you of a cargo of ' Poeshie,' which I had sent to 
M. at his own impatient desire ; — and, now he has got it, he do n't like 
it, and demurs. Perhaps he is right. I have no great opinion of any 
of my last shipment, except a translation from Pulci, which is word 
for word, and verse for verse. 

" I am in the Third Act of a Tragedy ; but whether it will be finished 
or not, I know not : I have, at this present, too many passions of my 
own on hand to do justice to those of the dead. Besides the vexations 
mentioned in my last, I have incurred a quarrel with the Pope's cara- 
biniers, or gens-d'armerie, who have petitioned the Cardinal against 
my liveries, as resembling too nearly their own lousy uniform. They 
particularly object to the epaulettes, which all the world with us have 
upon gala days. My liveries are of the colours conforming to my 
arms, and have been the family hue since the year 1066. 

" I have sent a tranchant reply, as you may suppose ; and have given 
to understand that, if any soldados of that respectable corps insult my 
servants, I will do likewise by their gallant commanders ; and I have 
directed my ragamuffins, six in number, who are tolerably savage, to 
defend themselves, in case of aggression ; and, on holydays and gaudy 
days, 1 shall arm the whole set, including myself, in case of accidents 
or treachery. I used to play pretty well at the broadsword, once 
upon a time, at Angelo's ; but I should like the pistol, our national 
buccaneer weapon, better, though I am out of practice at present. 
However, I can ' wink and hold out mine iron.' It makes me think 
(the whole thing does) of Romeo and Juliet — * now, Gregory, remem- 
ber thy smashing blow.' 

" All these feuds, however, with the Cavalier for his wife, and the 
troopers for my liveries, are very tiresome to a quiet man, who does 
his best to please all the world, and longs for fellowship and good-will. 
Pray write. 

" I am yours, &c." 

232 NOTICES OF THE La. d. 1820. 



" Ravenna, July 13th, 1820. 

" To remove or increase your Irish anxiety about my being ' in a 
wisp,'* I answer your letter forthwith ; premising that, as I am a ' Will 
of the wisp,' I may chance to flit out of it. But, first, a word on the 
Memoir ; — I have no objection, nay, I would rather that one correct 
copy was taken and deposited in honourable hands, in case of accidents 
happening to the original ; for you know that I have none, and have 
never even re-read, nor, indeed, read at all what is there written ; I only 
know that I wrote it with the fullest intention to be ' faithful and true' 
in my narrative, but not impartial — no, by the Lord ! I can't pretend to 
be that, while I feel. But I wish to give every body concerned the 
opportunity to contradict or correct me. 

" I have no objection to any proper person seeing what is there 
written, — seeing it was written, like every thing else, for the purpose 
of being read, however much many writings may fail in arriving at 
that object. 

" With regard to ' the wisp,' the Pope has pronounced their separa- 
tion. The decree came yesterday from Babylon, — it was she and her 
friends who demanded it, on the grounds of her husband's (the noble 
Count Cavalier's) extraordinary usage. He opposed it with all his 
might, because of the alimony, which has been assigned, with all her 
goods, chattels, carriage, &c. to be restored by him. In Italy they 
can't divorce. He insisted on her giving me up, and he would for- 
give every thing, — even the adultery which he swears that he can prove 
by ' famous witnesses.' But, in this country, the very courts hold 
such proofs in abhorrence, the Italians being as much more delicate 
in public than the English, as they are more passionate in private. 

" The friends and relatives, who are numerous and powerful, reply 
to him — ' You yourself are either fool or knave, — fool, if you did not 
see the consequences of the approximation of these two young per- 
sons, — knave, if you connive at it. Take your choice, — but do n't 
break out (after twelve months of the closest intimacy, under your 
own eyes and positive sanction) with a scandal, which can only make 
you ridiculous and her unhappy.' 

" He swore that he thought our intercourse was purely amicable, 
and that J was more partial to him than to her, till melancholy testi- 
mony proved the contrary. To this they answer, that ' Will of this 
wisp' was not an unknown person, and that « clamosa Fama' had not 
proclaimed the purity of my morals ; — that her brother, a year ago, 
wrote from Rome to warn him, that his wife would infallibly be led 
astray by this ignis fatuus, unless he took proper measures, all of 
which he neglected to take, &c. &c. 

" Now, he says, that he encouraged my return to Ravenna, to see 
* in quanti piedi di acqua siamoj and he has found enough to drown 
him in. In short, 

' Ce ne fut pas le tout ; sa femme se plaignit — 
^roces — La parente se joint en excuse et dit 

An Irish phrase for being in a scrape. 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 233 

Que du Docieur venoit tout le mauvais menage ; 
Que cet homme etoit fou, que sa femme etoit sage. 
On fit casser le manage.' 

It is but to let the women alone, in the way of conflict, for they are 
sure to win against the field. She returns to her father's house, and I 
can only see her under great restrictions — such is the custom of the 
country. The relations behaved very well ; — I offered any settlement, 
but they refused to accept it, and swear she sha? n't live with G. (as he 
has tried to prove her faithless), but that he shall maintain her ; and, 
in fact, a judgment to this effect came yesterday. I am, of course, in 
an awkward situation enough. 

" I have heard no more of the carabiniers who protested against 
my liveries. They are not popular, those same soldiers, and, in a 
small row, the other night, one was slain, another wounded, and divers 
put to flight, by some of the Romagnuole youth, who are dexterous, 
and somewhat liberal of the knife. The perpetrators are not dis- 
covered, but I hope and believe that none of my ragamuffins were 
in it, though they are somewhat savage, and secretly armed, like most 
of the inhabitants. It is their way, and saves sometimes a good deal 
of litigation. 

" There is a revolution at Naples. If so, it will probably leave a 
card at Ravenna in its way to Lombardy. 

" Your publishers seem to have used you like mine. M. has shuf- 
fled, and almost insinuated that my last productions are dull. Dull, 
sir ! — damme, dull ! I believe he is right. He begs for the comple- 
tion of my tragedy on Marino Faliero, none of which is yet gone to 
England. The fifth act is nearly completed, but it is dreadfully long 
— 40 sheets of long paper, 4 pages each — about 150 when printed; but 
* so full of pastime and prodigality' that I think it will do. 

" Pray send and publish your Pome upon me ; and do n't be afraid 
of praising me too highly. I shall pocket my blushes. 

" ' Not actionable !' — Chantre aVenfer I* — by * * that 's ' a speech,' 
and I won't put up with it. A pretty title to give a man for doubting 
if there be any such place ! 

" So my Gail is gone — and Miss Mahoray won't take money. I am 
very glad of it — I like to be generous free of expense. But beg her 
not to translate me. 

" Oh, pray tell Galignani that I shall send him a screed of doctrine 
if he do n't be more punctual. Somebody regularly detains two, and 
sometimes four, of his messengers by the way. Do, pray, entreat 
him to be more precise. News are worth money in this remote king- 
dom of the Ostrogoths. 

" Pray, reply. I should like much to share some of your Cham- 
pagne and La Fitte, but I am too Italian for Paris in general. Make 
Murray send my letter to you — it is full of epigrams. 

" Yours, &c." 

In the separation that had now taken place between Count Guiccioli 
and his wife, it was one of the conditions that the lady should, in 
future, reside under the paternal roof: — in consequence of which, 
Madame Guiccioli, on the 16th of July, left Ravenna and retired to a 
villa belonging to Count Gamba, about fifteen miles distant from that 


* The title given him by M. Lamartine, in one of his Poems. 

254 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820.' 

city. Here Lord Byron occasionally visited her — about once or twice, 
perhaps, in the month — passing the rest of his time in perfect soli- 
tude. To a mind like his, whose world was within itself, such a 
mode of life could have been neither new nor unwelcome ; but to the 
woman, young - and admired, whose acquaintance with the world and 
its pleasures had but just begun, this change was, it must be confessed, 
most sudden and trying. Count Guiccioli was rich, and, as a young 
wife, she had g~ained absolute power over him. She was proud, and 
his station placed her among the highest in Ravenna. They had 
talked of travelling to Naples, Florence, Paris, — and every luxury, in 
short, that wealth could command was at her disposal. 

All this she now voluntarily and determinedly sacrificed for Byron. 
Her spendid home abandoned — her relations all openly at war with 
her — her kind father but tolerating, from fondness, what he could not 
approve — she was now, upon a pittance of 2001. a year, living apart 
from the world, her sole occupation the task of educating herself for 
her illustrious lover, and her sole reward the few brief glimpses of 
him which their now restricted intercourse allowed. Of the man who 
could inspire and keep alive so devoted a feeling, it may be pro- 
nounced with confidence that he could not have been such as, in the 
freaks of his own wayward humour, he represented himself; while, 
on the lady's side, the whole history of her attachment goes to prove 
how completely an Italian woman, whether by nature or from her social 
position, is led to invert the usual course of such frailties among our- 
selves, and, weak in resisting the first impulses of passion, to reserve 
the whole strength of her character for a display of constancy and 
devotedness afterward. 



"Ravenna, July 17th, 1820. 

" I have received some books, and Quarterlies, and Edinburghs, for 
all which I am grateful ; they contain all I know of England, except 
by Galignani's newspaper. 

" The Tragedy is completed, but now comes the task of copy and 
correction. It is very long (42 sheets of long paper, of four pages each), 
and I believe must make more than 140 or 150 pages, besides many 
historical extracts as notes, which I mean to append. History is closely 
followed. Dr. Moore's account is in some respects false, and in all 
foolish and flippant. None of the chronicles (and I have consulted 
Sanuto, Sandi, Navagero, and an anonymous Siege of Zara, besides the 
histories of Laugier, Daru, Sismondi, &c.) state, or even hint, that he 
begged his life ; they merely say that he did not deny the conspiracy. 
He was one of their great men, — commander at the siege of Zara, — 
beat 80,000 Hungarians, killing 8000, and at the same time kept the 
town he was besieging in order, — took Capo d'Istria,— was ambassador 
at Genoa, Rome, and finally Doge, where he fell for treason, in attempt- 
ing to alter the government, by what Sanuto calls a judgment on him 
for, many years before (when Podesta and Captain of Treviso), having 
knocked down a bishop, who was sluggish in carrying the host at a 
procession. He ' saddles him,' as Thwackum did Square, ' with a 
judgment;' but he does not mention whether he had been punished at 

a. D. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 235 

the time for what would appear very strange, even now, and must 
have been still more so in an age of papal power and glory. Sanuto 
says, that Heaven took away his senses for this buffet, and induced 
him to conspire. ' Pero fu permesso che il Faliero perdette 1' intel- 
letto,' &c. 

" I do not know what your parlour-boarders will think of the Drama 
I have founded upon this extraordinary event. The only similar one 
in history is the story of Agis, King of Sparta, a prince with the com- 
mons against the aristocracy, and losing his life therefor. But it shall 
be sent when copied. 

" I should be glad to know why your Quartering- Reviewers, at the 
close of ' the Fall of Jerusalem,' accuse me of Manicheism ? a com- 
pliment to which the sweetener of ' one of the mightiest spirits' by no 
means reconciles me. The Poem they review is very noble ; but 
could they not do justice to the writer without converting him into 
my religious antidote ? I am not a Manichean, nor an ji/iy-chean. I 
should like to know what harm my ' poeshies' have done ] I can't tell 

what people mean by making me a hobgoblin." 




" Ravenna, August 31st, 1820. 

11 1 have ' put my $ouP into the tragedy (as you if it) ; but you know 
that there are d — d souls as well as tragedies. Recollect that it is not 
a political play, though it may look like it : it is strictly historical. 
Read the history and judge. 

" Ada's picture is her mother's. I am glad of it — the mother made 
a good daughter. Send me Gifford's opinion, and never mind the 
Archbishop. I can neither send you away, nor give you a hundred 
pistoles, nor a better taste : I send you a tragedy, and you asked for 
* facetious epistles ;' a little like your predecessor, who advised Dr, 
Prideaux to ' put some more humour into his Life of Mahomet.' 

" Bankes is a wonderful fellow. There is hardly one of my school 
or college contemporaries that has not turned out more or less cele- 
brated. Peel, Palmerstone, Bankes, Hobhouse, Tavistock, Bob Mills, 

Douglas Kinnaird, &c. &c. have all talked and been talked about. 

* # * * # # 

" We are here going to fight a little next month, if the Huns do n't 
cross the Po, and probably if they do. I can't say more now. If any 
thing happens, you have matter for a posthumous work in MS. ; so 
pray be civil. Depend upon it, there will be savage work, if once they 
begin here. The French courage proceeds from vanity, the German 
from phlegm, the Turkish from fanaticism and opium, the Spanish 
from pride, the English from coolness, the Dutch from obstinacy, the 
Russian from insensibility, but the Italian from anger; so you '11 see 
that they will spare nothing." 

236 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820 



"Ravenna, August 31st, 1820. 

" D — n your * mezzo cammin'* — you should say ■ the prime of life,' 

a much more consolatory phrase. Besides, it is not correct. I was 

born in 1788, and consequently am but thirty-two. You are mistaken 

on another point. The ' Sequin Box' never came into requisition, nor 

is it likely to do so. It were better that it had, for then a man is not 

bound, you know. As to reform, I did reform — what would you have ? 

* Rebellion lay in his way, and he found it.' I verily believe that nor 

you, nor any man of poetical temperament, can avoid a strong- passion 

of some kind. It is the poetry of life. What should I have known or 

written, had I been a quiet, mercantile politician, or a lord in waiting? 

A man must travel and turmoil, or there is no existence. Besides, I 

only meant to be a Cavalier Servente, and had no idea it would turn 

out a romance, in the Anglo fashion. 

"However, I suspect I know a thing or two of Italy — more than 
Lady Morgan has picked up in her posting. What do Englishmen 
know of Italians beyond their museums and saloons — and some hack 
* *, en passant ? Now, I have lived in the heart of their houses, in parts 
of Italy freshest and least influenced by strangers, — have seen and be- 
come (pars magna fui) a portion of their hopes, and fears, and passions, 
and am almost inoculated into a family. This is to see men and 
things as they are. 

" You say that I called you ' quiet'f — I do n't recollect any thing of 
the sort. On the contrary, you are always in scrapes. 

" What think you of the Queen ? I hear Mr. Hoby says, * that it 
makes him weep to see her, she reminds him so much of Jane Shore.' 

" Mr. Hoby the bootmaker's heart is quite sore, 
For seeing the Queen makes him think of Jane Shore ; 
And, in fact, * * * * * 

Pray excuse this ribaldry. What is your Poem about ? Write and 
tell me all about it and you. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P.S. Did you write the lively quiz on Peter Bell \ It has wit 
enough to be yours, and almost too much to be any body else's now 
going. It was in Galignani the other day or week." 

* I had congratulated him upon arriving at what Dante calls the " mezzo 
cammin" of life, the age of thirty-three. 

1 1 had mistaken the concluding words of his letter of the 9th of June. 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 237 



" Ravenna, September 7th, 1820. 

" In correcting the proofs you must refer to the manuscript, because 
there are in it various readings. Pray attend to this, and choose what 
GirTord thinks best. Let me hear what he thinks of the whole. 

" You speak of Lady * *'s illness : she is not of those who die : — 
the amiable only do; and those whose death would do good live. 
Whenever she is pleased to return, it may be presumed she will take 
her ' divining rod' along with her : it may be of use to her at home, as 
well as to the ' rich man' of the Evangelists. 

" Pray do not let the papers paragraph me back to England. They 
may say what they please, any loathsome abuse but that. Contra- 
dict it. 

" My last letters will have taught you to expect an explosion here . 
it was primed and loaded, but they hesitated to fire the train. One of 
the cities shirked from the league. I cannot write more at large for a 
thousand reasons. Our * puir hill folk' offered to strike, and raise the 
first banner, but Bologna paused ; and now 't is autumn, and the season 
half over. ' O Jerusalem ! Jerusalem !' The Huns are on the Po ; 
but if once they pass it on their way to Naples, all Italy will be behind 
them. The dogs — the wolves — may they perish like the host of Sen- 
nacherib ! If you want to publish the Prophecy of Dante, you never 
will have a better time." 



"Ravenna, Sept. 11th, 1820. 

" Here is another historical note for you. I want to be as near truth 
as the drama can be. 

" Last post I sent you a note fierce as Faiiero himself,* in answer 
to a trashy tourist, who pretends that he could have been introduced 
to me. Let me have a proof of it, that I may cut its lava into some 

" What GirTord says is very consolatory (of the First Act). English, 
sterling genuine English, is a desideratum among you, and I am glad 
that I have got so much left ; though Heaven knows how I retain it : 
I hear none but from my valet, and his is Nottinghamshire; and I 
see none but in your new publications, and theirs is no language at all, 
but jargon. Even your * * * * is terribly stilted and affected, with 
1 very, very 1 so soft and pamby. 

" Oh ! if ever I do come among you again, I will give you such a 
* Baviad and Maeviad !' not as good as the old, but even better merited. 
There never was such a set as your ragamuffins (I mean not yours 

* The angry note against English travellers appended to this tragedy, in 
consequence of an assertion made by some recent tourist that he (or, as it 
afterwards turned out, she) " had repeatedly declined an introduction to Lord 
Byron while in Italy." 

238 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

only, but every body's). What with the Cockneys, and the Lakers, 
and the followers of Scott, and Moore, and Byron, you are in the very 
uttermost decline and degradation of literature. I can't think of it 
without all the remorse of a murderer. I wish that Johnson were alive 
again to crush them !" 



" Ravenna, Sept. 14th, 1820. 
" What ! not a line ? Well, have it in your own way. 
'I wish you would inform Perry that his stupid paragraph is the 
cause of all my newspapers being stopped in Paris. The fools believe 
me in your infernal country, and have not sent on their gazettes, so 
that I know nothing of your beastly trial of the Queen. 

" I cannot avail myself of Mr. Gifford's remarks, because I have 
received none, except on the first act. 

" Yours, &c. 

"P.S. Do, pray, beg the editors of papers to say any thing black- 
guard they please ; but not to put me among their arrivals. They do 
me more mischief by such nonsense than all their abuse can do.' 



" Ravenna, Sept. 21st, 1820. 
" So you are at your old tricks again. This is the second packet 
I have received unaccompanied by a single line of good, bad, or in- 
different. It is strange that you have never forwarded any farther ob- 
servations of Gifford's. How am I to alter or amend, if I hear no 
farther 1 or does this silence mean that it is well enough as it is, or too 
bad to be repaired ? if the last, why do you not say so at once, instead 
of playing pretty, while you know that soon or late you must out with 
the truth. 

" Yours, &c. 

"P.S. My sister tells me that you sent to her to inquire where I 
was, believing in my arrival, ' driving a curricle,' 9 &c. &c. into Palace- 
yard. Do you think me a coxcomb or a madman, to be capable of 
such an exhibition 1 My sister knew me better, and told you, that 
could not be me. You might as well have thought me entering on ' a 
pale horse,' like Death in the Revelations." 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 239 




" Ravenna, Sept. 23d, 1820. 

" Get from Mr. Hobhouse, and send me a proof (with the Latin) of 
my Hints from Horace : it has now the nonum premature in annum 
complete for its production, being written at Athens in 1811. I have 
a notion that, with some omissions of names and passages, it will do ; 
and I could put my late observations/or Pope among the notes, with 
the date of 1820, and so on. As far as versification goes, it is good ; 
and on looking back to what I wrote about that period, I am astonished 
to see how little I have trained on. I wrote better then than now ; but 
that comes of my having fallen into the atrocious bad taste of the 
times. If I can trim it for present publication, what with the other 
things you have of mine, you will have a volume or two of variety at 
least, for there will be all measures, styles, and topics, whether good 
or no. I am anxious to hear what Gifford thinks of the tragedy ; pray 
let me know. I really do not know what to think myself. 

" If the Germans pass the Po, they will be treated to a mass out of 
the Cardinal de Retz's Breviary. * * 's a fool, and could not under- 
stand this : Frere will. It is as pretty a conceit as you would wish to 
see on a summer's day. 

" Nobody here believes a word of the evidence against the Queen. 
The very mob cry shame against their countrymen, and say, that for 
half the money spent upon the trial, any testimony whatever may be 
brought out of Italy. This you may rely upon as fact. I told you as 
much before. As to what travellers report, what are travellers ? Now 
I have lived among the Italians — not Florenced, and Romed, and gal- 
leried, and conversationed it for a few months, and then home again ; 
but. been of their families, and friendships, and feuds, and loves, and 
councils, and correspondence, in a part of Italy least known to 
foreigners, — and have been among them of all classes, from the Conte 
to the Contadine ; and you may be sure of what I say to you. 

" Yours, &c " 



" Ravenna, September 28th, 1820. 

" I thought that I had told you long ago, that it never was intended 
nor written with any view to the stage. I have said so in the preface 
too. It is too long and too regular for your stage, the persons too 
few, and the unity too much observed. It is more like a play of Alfi- 
eri's than of your stage (I say this humbly in speaking of that great 
man) ; but there is poetry, and it is equal to Manfred, though I know 
not what esteem is held of Manfred. 

" I have now been nearly as long out of England as I was there 
during the time I saw you frequently. I came home July 14th, 1811, 
and left again April 25th, 1816 : so that Sept. 28th, 1820, brings me 
within a very few months of the same duration of time of my stay and 
my absence. In course, I can know nothing of the public taste and 
feelings, but from what I glean from letters, &c. Both seem to be as 
bad as possible. 

240 NOTICES OF THE [a. b. 1820. 

" I thought Anastasius excellent : did I not say so 1 Matthews's Diary 
most excellent ; it, and Forsyth, and parts of Hobhouse, are ail we 
have of truth or sense upon Italy. The letter to Julia very good in- 
deed. I do not despise******; but if she knit blue-stockings 
instead of wearing them, it would be better. You are taken in by that 
false, stilted, trashy style, which is a mixture of all the styles of the day, 
which are all bombastic (I do n't except my own — no one has done more 
through negligence to coirupt the language) ; but it is neither English 
nor poetry, rime will show. 

" 1 am sorry Gifford has made no farther remarks beyond the first 
Act : does he think all the English equally sterling as he thought the 
first 1 You did right to send the proofs : I was a fool ; but I do really 
detest the sight of proofs : it is an absurdity ; but comes from laziness. 

" You can steal the two Juans into the world quietly, tagged to the 
others. The play as you will — the Dante too; but the Pulcil am 
proud of: it is superb ; you have no such translation. It is the best 
thing I ever did in my life. I wrote the play from beginning to end, 
and not a single scene without interruption, and being obliged to break 
off in the middle ; for I had my hands full, and my head, too, just then ; 
so it can be no great shakes — I mean the play ; and the head too, if 
you like. 

"P.S. Politics here still savage and uncertain. However, we are 
all in our ' bandaliers' to join the 'Highlanders if they cross the Forth,' 
i. e. to crush the Austrians if they pass the Po. The rascals ! — and 

that dog L 1, to say their subjects are happy ! If ever 1 come 

back, I '11 work some of these ministers. 

" Sept. 29th. 

" I open my letter to say that on reading more of the four volumes 
on Italy, where the author says ' declined an introduction,' I perceive 
(horresco referens) it is written by a WOMAN ! ! ! In that case you 
must suppress my note and answer, and all I have said about the book 
and the writer. I never dreamed of it until now, in my extreme wrath 
at that precious note. I can only say that I am sorry that a lady 
should say any thing of the kind. What I would have said to one of 
the other sex you know already. Her book too (as a s/iebook) is not 
a bad one ; but she evidently do n't know the Italians, or rather do n't 
like them, and forgets the causes of their misery and profligacy {Mat- 
thews and Forsyth are your men for the truth and tact), and has gone 

over Italy in company always a bad plan : you must be alone with 

people to know them well. Ask her, who was the * descendant of' Lady 
M. W. Montague,'' and by whom 1 by Algarotti 1 

" I suspect that in Marino Faliero, you and yours won't like the po- 
litics which are perilous to you in these times : but recollect that it is 
not a political play, and that I was obliged to put into the mouths of 
the characters the sentiments upon which they acted. I hate all things 
written like Pizarro, to represent France, England, and so forth. All 
I have done is meant to be purely Venetian, even to the very prophecy 
of its present state. 

" Your Angles in general know little of the Italians, who detest 
them for their numbers and their Genoa treachery. Besides, the 
English travellers have not been composed of the best company. 
How could they 1 — out of 100,000, how many gentlemen were there, 
or honest men 1 

" Mitchell's Aristophanes is excellent, Send me the rest of it. 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 241 

" These fools will force me to write a book about Italy myself, to 
give them ' the loud lie.' They prate about assassination ; what is it 
but the origin of duelling — and * a wild justice,'' as Lord Bacon calls it? 
It is the fount of the modern point of honour in what the laws can't or 
won't reach. Every man is liable to it more or less, according to cir- 
cumstances or place. For instance, I am living here exposed to it 
daily, for I have happened to make a powerful and unprincipled man 
my enemy ; — and I never sleep the worse for it, or ride in less soli- 
tary places, because precaution is useless, and one thinks of it as of a 
disease which may or may not strike. It is true that there are those 
here, who, if he did, would ' live to think on 't ;' but that would not 
awake my bones : I should be sorry if it would, were they once at 




" Ravenna, 8bre 6P, 1820. 

" You will have now received all the Acts, corrected, of the Marino 
Faliero. What you say of the ' bet of 100 guineas' made by some one 
who says that he saw me last week reminds me of what happened in 
1810; you can easily ascertain the fact, and it is an odd one. 

" In the latter end of 1811, 1 met one evening at the Alfred my old 
school and form-fellow (for we were within two of each other, he the 
higher, though both very near the top of our remove) Peel, the Irish 
secretary. He told me that, in 1810, he met me, as he thought, in St. 
James-street, but we passed without speaking. He mentioned this, 
and it was denied as impossible ; I being then in Turkey. A day or 
two afterward, he pointed out to his brother a person on the opposite 
side of the way: — ' There,' said he, ' is the man whom I took for By- 
ron.' His brother instantly, answered ' Why, it is Byron, and no one 
else.' But this is not all : — I was seen by somebody to write down my 
name among the inquirers after the king's health, then attacked by 
insanity. Now, at this very period, as nearly as I could make out, I 
was ill of a strong fever at Patras, caught in the marshes near Olympia, 
from the malaria. If I had died there, this would have been a new 
ghost story for you. You can easily make out the accuracy of this 
from Peel himself, who told it in detail. I suppose you will be of the 
opinion of Lucretius, who (denies the immortality of the soul, but) 
asserts that from the * flying off of the surfaces of bodies, these sur- 
faces or cases, like the coats of an onion, are sometimes seen entire 
when they are separated from it, so that the shapes and shadows of 
both the dead and living are frequently beheld.' 

" But if they are, are their coats and waistcoats also seen 1 I do not 
disbelieve that we may be two by some unconscious process, to a 
certain sign, but which of these two I happen at present to be, I leave 
you to decide. I only hope that f other me behaves like a gemman. 

" I wish you would get Peel asked how far I am accurate in my re- 
collection of what he told me ; for I do n't like to say such things 
without authority. 

" I am not sure that I was not spoken with ; but this also you can 
ascertain. I have written to you such letters that I stop. 

" Yours, &c. 

Vol. II.— Q 

242 NOTICES OF THE fA. v. 1820. 

" P.S. Last year (in June, 1819) I met at Count Mosti's, at Fer' 
rara, an Italian, who asked me 'if I knew Lord Byron? I told him 
no (no one knows himself, you know). ' Then,' says he, 'I do ; I 
met him at Naples the other day.' I pulled out my card and asked 
him if that was the way he spelled his name : he answered, yes. I 
suspect that it was a blackguard navy surgeon, who attended a young 
travelling madam about, and passed himself for a lord at the post- 
houses. He was a vulgar dog — quite of the cock-pit order — and a 
precious representative I must have had of him, if it was even so ; 
but I do n't know. He passed himself off as a gentleman, and squired 
about a Countess * * (of this place), then at Venice, an ugly, battered 
woman, of bad morals even for Italy.'" 




" Ravenna, 8bre 8°, 1820. 
" Foscolo's letter is exactly the thing wanted ; firstly, because he is 
a man of genius ; and, next, because he is an Italian, and therefore 
the best judge of Italics. Besides, 

* He 's more an antique Roman than a Dane ;' 

that is, he is more of the ancient Greek than of the modern Italian. 
Though ' somewhat,' as Dugald Dalgetty says, • too wild and sa/vage' 
(like * Ronald of the Mist'), 't is a wonderful man, and my friends 
Hobhouse and Rose both swear by him ; and they are good judges of 
men and of Italian humanity. 

' Here are in all two worthy voices gain'd :' 

Gifford says it is good ' sterling genuine English,' and Foscolo says 
that the characters are right Venetian. Shakspeare and Otway had 
a million of advantages over me, besides the incalculable one of being 
dead from one to two centuries, and having been both born black- 
guards (which are such attractions to the gentle living reader) ; let 
me then preserve the only one which I could possibly have — that of 
having been at Venice, and entered more into the local spirit of it. I 
claim no more. 

" I know what Foscolo means about Calendaro's spitting at Ber- 
tram; that's national — the objection, I mean. The Italians and 
French, with those ' flags of abomination,' their pocket-handkerchiefs, 
spit there, and here, and every where else — in your face almost, and 
therefore object to it on the stage as too familiar. But we who spit 
nowhere — but in a man's face when we grow savage — are not likely 
to feel this. Remember Massinger, and Kean's Sir Giles Overreach — 

' Lord ! thus I spit at thee and at thy counsel !' 

Besides, Calendaro does not spit in Bertram's face ; he spits at him, 
as I have seen the Mussulmans do upon the ground when they are in 
a rage. Again, he does not in fact despise Bertram, though he affects 
it, — as we all do, when angry with one we think our inferior. He is 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 243 

angry at not being allowed to die in his own way (although not afraid 
of death) ; and recollect that he suspected and hatred Bertram from 
the first. Israel Bertuccio, on the other hand, is a cooler and more 
concentrated fellow : he acts upon principle and impulse ; Calendaro 
upon impulse and example. 

" So there 's argument for you. 

"The Doge repeats; — true, but it is from engrossing passion, and 
because he sees different persons, and is always obliged to recur to 
the cause uppermost in his mind. His speeches are long ; — true, but 
I wrote for the closet, and on the French and Italian model rather than 
yours, which I think not very highly of, for all your old dramatists, 
who are long enough, too, God knows : — look into any of them. 

" I return you Foscolo's letter, because it alludes also to his private 
affairs. I am sorry to see such a man in straits, because I know what 
they are, or what they were. I never met but three men who would 
have held out a finger to me : one was yourself, the other William 
Bankes, and the other a nobleman long ago dead : but of these the 
first was the only one who offered it while I really wanted it ; the 
second from good-will — but I was not in need of Bankes's aid, and 
would not have accepted it if I had (though I love and esteem him) ; 
— and the third — — — — — — — .* 

" So you see that 1 have seen some strange things in my time. As 
for your own offer, it was in 1815, when I was in actual uncertainty 
of five pounds. I rejected it ; but I have not forgotten it, although 
you probably have. 

" P.S. Foscolo's Ricciardo was lent, with the leaves uncut, to some 
Italians, now in villeggiatura, so that I have had no opportunity of 
hearing their decision, or of reading it. They seized on it as Fos- 
colo's, on account of the beauty of the paper and printing, directly. 
If I find it takes, I will reprint it here. The Italians think as highly 
of Foscolo as they can of any man, divided and miserable as they are, 
and with neither leisure at present to read, nor head nor heart to 
judge of any thing but extracts from French newspapers and the Lu- 
gano Gazette. 

" We are all looking at one another, like wolves on their prey in 
pursuit, only waiting for the first falling on to do unutterable things. 
They are a great world in chaos, or angels in hell, which you please ; 
but out of chaos came paradise, and out of hell — I do n't know 
what ; but the Devil went in there, and he was a fine fellow once, you 

" You need never favour me with any periodical publication, except 
the Edinburgh, Quarterly, and an occasional Blackwood ; or now and 
then a Monthly Review : for the rest I do not feel curiosity enough to 
look beyond their covers. 

" To be sure I took in the Editor of the British finely. He fell 
precisely into the glaring trap laid for him. It was inconceivable how 
he could be so absurd as to imagine us serious with him. 

" Recollect, that if you put my name to ' Don Juan' in these canting 
days, any lawyer might oppose my guardian right of my daughter in 
chancery, on the plea of its containing the parody ; — such are the 
perils of a foolish jest. I was not aware of this at the time, but you 
will find it correct, I believe ; and you may be sure that the Noels 

* The paragraph is left thus imperfect in the original. 

Q 2 

244 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

would not let it slip. Now I prefer my child to a poem at any time, 
and so should you, as having half a dozen. 

" Let me know your notions. 

" If you turn over the earlier pages of the Huntingdon peerage 
story, you will see how common a name Ada was in the early Planta- 
genet days. I found it in my own pedigree in the reign of John and 
Henry, and gave it to my daughter. It was also the name of Char- 
lemagne's sister. It is in an early chapter of Genesis, as the name of 
the wife of Lamech; and I suppose Ada is the feminine of Adam. 
It is short, ancient, vocalic, and had been in my family for which 
reason I gave it to my daughter." 



" Ravenna, 8 bre 12°, 1820. 
" By land and sea carriage a considerable quantity of books have 
arrived ; and I am obliged and grateful : but ' medio de fonte leporum, 
surgit amari aliquid,' &c. &c. ; which, being interpreted, means, 

* I 'm thankful for your books, dear Murray ; 
But why not send Scott's Monastery ? 

the only book in four living volumes I would give a baioccolo to see 
— 'bating the rest of the same author, and an occasional Edinburgh 
and Quarterly, as brief chroniclers of the times. Instead of this, here 
are Johnny Keats's * * poetry, and three novels, by God knows 
whom, except that there is Peg * * *'s name to one of them — a 
spinster whom I thought we had sent back to her spinning. Crayon 
is very good ; Hogg's Tales rough, but racy, and welcome. 

" Books of travels are expensive, and I do n't want them, having 
travelled already ; besides, they lie. Thank the author of ' the Pro- 
fligate' for- his (or her) present. Pray send me no more poetry but 
what is rare and decidedly good. There is such a trash of Keats 
and the like upon my tables that I am ashamed to look at them. I 
say nothing against your parsons, your S * * s, and your C * * s — 
it is all very fine — but pray dispense me from the pleasure. Instead 
of poetry, if you will favour me with a few soda-powders, I shall be 
delighted : but all prose ('bating travels and novels not by Scott) is 
welcome, especially Scott's Tales of My Landlord, and so on. 

" In the notes to Marino Faliero, it may be as well to say that 
1 Beniniende* was not really of the Ten, but merely Grand Chancellory 
a separate office (although important) ; it was an arbitrary altera- 
tion of mine. The Doges too were all buried in St. Marks before 
Faliero. It is singular that when his predecessor, Andrea Dandolo, 
died, the Ten made a law that all the future Doges should be buried 
"with their families, in their own churches, — one would think by a kind of 
presentiment. So that all that is said of his ancestral Doges, as buried 
at St. John's and Paul's, is altered from the fact, they being in St. 
Mark's. Make a note of this, and put Editor as the subscription to it. 

" As I make such pretensions to accuracy, I should not like to be 
twitted even with such trifles on that score. Of the play they may 

a.d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 245 

say what they please, but not so of my costume and dram, pers., they 
having been real existences. 

" I omitted Foscolo in my list of living Venetian worthies, in the 
notes, considering him as an Italian in general, and not a mere pro- 
vincial like the rest ; and as an Italian I have spoken of him in the 
preface to canto 4th of Childe Harold. 

" The French translation of us ! ! ! oime I oime ! — and the German ; 
but I do n't understand the latter, and his long dissertation at the end 
about the Fausts. Excuse haste. Of politics it is not safe to speak, 
but nothing is decided as yet. 

" I am in a very fierce humour at not having Scott's Monastery. — 
You are too liberal in quantity, and somewhat careless of the quality, 
of your missives. All the Quarterlies (four in number) I had had 
before from you, and two of the Edinburgh ; but no matter, we shall 
have new ones by-and-by. No more Keats, I entreat : — flay him 
jilive ; if some of you do n't, I must skin him myself. There is no 
bearing the drivelling idiotism of the manikin. 

" I do n't feel inclined to care farther about ' Don Juan.' What do 
you think a very pretty Italian lady said to me the other day % She 
had read it in the French, and paid me some compliments, with due 
drawbacks, upon it. I answered that what she said was true, but that 
I suspected it would live longer than Childe Harold. — ' Ah, but 1 (said 
she) ' I would rather have the fame qf Childe Harold for three years than 
an immortality of Don Juan /' The truth is that it is too true, and 
the women hate many things which strip off the tinsel of sentiment ; 
and they are right, as it would rob them of their weapons. I never 
knew a woman who did not hate De GrammonVs Memoirs for the 
same reason : even Lady * * used to abuse them. 

" Rose's work I never received. It was seized at Venice. Such is 
the liberality of the Huns, with their two hundred thousand men, that 
they dare not let such a volume as his circulate." 



" Ravenna, & bre 16°, 1820. 

" The Abbot has just arrived ; many thanks ; as also for the Mo- 
nastery — when you send it ! ! ! 

41 The Abbot will have a more than ordinary interest for me, for an 
ancestor of mine by the mother's side, Sir J. Gordon of Gight, the 
handsomest of his day, died on a scaffold at Aberdeen for his loyalty 
to Mary, of whom he was an imputed paramour as well as her relation. 
His fate was much commented on in the Chronicles of the times. If 
I mistake not, he had something to do with her escape from Loch 
Leven, or with her captivity there. But this you will know better 
than I. 

" I recollect Loch Leven as it were but yesterday. I saw it in my 
way to England, in 1798, being then ten years of age. My mother, 
who was as haughty as Lucifer with her descent from the Stuarts, 
and her right line from the old Gordons, not the Seyton Gordons, as she 
disdainfully termed the ducal branch, told me the story, always 
reminding me how superior her Gordons were to the southern Byrons, 
— notwithstanding our Norman, and always masculine descent, which 

24G NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

has never lapsed into a female, as my mother's Gordons had done in 
her own person. 

" I have written to you so often lately that the brevity of this will 
be welcome. 

" Yours, &c." 



" Ravenna, 8 ,jre 17°, 1820. 
" Enclosed is the Dedication of Marino Faliero to Goethe. Query, 
— is his title Baron or not 1 I think yes. Let me know your opi- 
nion, and so forth. 

" P.S. Let me know what Mr. Hobhouse and you have decided 
about the two prose letters and their publication. 

" I enclose you an Italian abstract of the German translator of 
Manfred's Appendix, in which you will perceive quoted what Goethe 
says of the whole body of English poetry (and not of me in particular). 
On this the Dedication is founded, as you will perceive, though I had 
thought of it before, for I look upon him as a great man." 

The very singular Dedication transmitted with this letter has never 
before been published, nor, as far as I can learn, ever reached the 
hands of the illustrious German. It is written in the poet's most 
whimsical and mocking mood ; and the unmeasured severity poured 
out in it upon the two favourite objects of his wrath and ridicule com- 
pels me to deprive the reader of some of its most amusing passages. 


" SIR, 

" In the Appendix to an English work lately translated into Ger- 
man and published at Leipsic, a judgment of yours upon English 
poetry is quoted as follows : ' That in English poetry, great genius, 
universal power, a feeling of profundity, with sufficient tenderness 
and force, are to be found ; but that altogether these do not constitute 
poets,'' &c. &c. 

" I regret to see a great man falling into a great mistake. This 
opinion of yours only proves that the ' Dictionary often thousand living 
English authors' 1 has not been translated into German. You will have 
read, in your friend Schlegel's version, the dialogue in Macbeth — 

4 There are ten thousand I 
Macbeth. Geese, villain 1 
Answer. Authors, sir.' 

Now, of these * ten thousand authors,' there are actually nineteen 
hundred and eighty-seven poets, all alive at this moment, whatever 
their works may be, as their booksellers well know ; and among 
these there are several who possess a far greater reputation than 
mine, although considerably less than yours. It is owing to this 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 247 

neglect on the part of your German translators that you are not aware 
of the works of******* 

" There is also another, named ***** 


" I mention these poets by way of sample to enlighten you. They 
form but two bricks of our Babel (Windsor bricks, by-the-way), but 
may serve for a specimen of the building. 

" It is, moreover, asserted that ' the predominant character of the 
whole body of the present English poetry is a disgust and contempt for 
life.' But I rather suspect that, by one single work of prose, you 
yourself have excited a greater contempt for life than all the English 
volumes of poesy that ever were written. Madame de Stael says, 
that ' Werther has occasioned more suicides than the most beautiful 
woman ;' and I really believe that he has put more individuals out of 
this world than Napoleon himself, — except in the way of his profes- 
sion. Perhaps, illustrious sir, the acrimonious judgment passed by a 
celebrated northern journal upon you in particular, and the Germans 
in general, has rather indisposed you towards English poetry as well 
as criticism. But you must not regard our critics, who are at bottom 
good-natured fellows, considering their two professions, — taking up 
the law in court, and laying it down out of it. No one can more 
lament their hasty and unfair judgment, in your particular, than I do ; 
and I so expressed myself to your friend Schlegel, in 1816, at Copet. 

" In behalf of my ' ten thousand' living brethren, and of myself, 
I have thus far taken notice of an opinion expressed with regard to 
* English poetry' in general, and which merited notice, because it was 


" My principal object in addressing you was to testify my sincere 
respect and admiration of a man, who, for half a century, has led the 
literature of a great nation, and will go down to posterity as the first 
literary character of his age. 

" You have been fortunate, sir, not only in the writings which have 
illustrated your name, but in the name itself, as being sufficiently 
musical for the articulation of posterity. In this you have the advan- 
tage of some of your countrymen, whose names would perhaps be 
immortal also — if any body could pronounce them. 

" It may, perhaps, be supposed, by this apparent tone of levity, that 
I am wanting in intentional respect towards you ; but this will be a 
mistake : I am always flippant in prose. Considering you, as I really 
and warmly do, in common with all your own, and with most other 
nations, to be by far the first literary character which has existed in 
Europe since the death of Voltaire, I felt, and feel, desirous to inscribe 
to you the following work, — not as being either a tragedy or a poem 
(for I cannot pronounce upon its pretensions to be either one or the 
other, or both, or neither), but as a mark of esteem and admiration 
from a foreigner to the man who has been hailed in Germany * the 
great Goethe.' 

" I have the honour to be, 

" with the truest respect, 
" your most obedient 

" and very humble servant, 

" Byron. 

248 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

" Ravenna, 8 bre 14°, 1820. 


P.S. I perceive that in Germany, as v/ell as in Italy, there is a 
great struggle about what they call ' Classical* and ' Romantic? — terms 
which were not subjects of classification in England, at least when I 
left it four or five years ago. Some of the English scribblers, it is 
true, abused Pope and Swift, but the reason was that they themselves 
did not know how to write either prose or verse ; but nobody thought 
them worth making a sect of. Perhaps there may be something of 
the kind sprung up lately, but I have not heard much about it, and it 
would be such bad taste that I shall be very sorry to believe it." 



" Ravenna, October 17th, 1820. 

" You owe me two letters — pay them. I want to know what you 
are about. The summer is over, and you will be back to Paris. Apro- 
pos of Paris, it was not Sophia Gail, but Sophia Gay — the English 
word Gay — who was my correspondent.* Can you tell who she is, as 
you did of 'he defunct * * 1 

" Have you gone on with your Poem 1 I have received the French 
of mine. Only think of being traduced into a foreign language in 
such an abominable travesty ! It is useless to rail, but one can't 
help it. 

" Have you got my Memoir copied 1 I have begun a continuation. 
Shall I send it you, as far as it is gone 1 

" I can't say any thing to you about Italy, for the Government here 
look upon me with a suspicious eye, as I am well informed. Pretty 
fellows ! — as if I, a solitary stranger, could do any mischief. It is 
because I am fond of rifle and pistol shooting, I believe ; for they 
took the alarm at the quantity of cart] idges I consumed, — the wiseacres ! 

" You do n't deserve a long letter — nor a letter at all — for your 
silence. You have got a new Bourbon, it seems, whom they have 
christened ' Dieu-donne :' — perhaps the honour of the present may be 
disputed. Did you write the good lines on , the Laker? * 

" The queen has made a pretty theme for the journals. Was there 
ever such evidence published ? Why it is worse than ' Little's Poems' 
or ' Don Juan.' If you do n't write soon, I will ' make you a speech.' 

" Yours, &c." 



" Ravenna, 8 bre 25, 1820. 
" Pray forward the enclosed to Lady Byron. It is on business. 
" In thanking you for the Abbot, I made four grand mistakes. Sir 

* I had mistaken the name of the lady he inquired after, and reported her 
to him as dead. But, on the receipt of the above letter, I discovered that his 
correspondent was Madame Sophie Gay, mother of the celebrated poctesa 
*nd beauty, Mademoiselle Delphine Gay. 


a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 249 

John Gordon was not of Gight, but of Bogagicht, and a son of Hunt- 
ley's. He suffered not for his loyalty, but in an insurrection. He 
had nothing to do with Loch Leven, having been dead some time at 
the period of the Queen's confinement: and, fourthly, I am not sure 
that he was the Queen's paramour or no, for Robertson does not allude 
to this, though Walter Scott does, in the list he gives of her admirers (as 
unfortunate) at the close of ' the Abbot.' 

" I must have made all these mistakes in recollecting my mother's 
account of the matter, although she was more accurate than I am, being 
precise upon points of genealogy, like all the aristocratical Scotch. 
She had a long list of ancestors, like Sir Lucius O'Trigger's, most 
of whom are to be found in the old Scotch Chronicles, Spalding, &c. 
in arms and doing mischief. 1 remember well passing Loch Leven, 
as well as the Queen's Ferry: we were on our way to England in 1798. 

" Yours. 

" You had better not publish Blackwood and the Roberts' prose, 
except what regards Pope ; — you have let the time slip by." 

The Pamphlet in answer to Blackwood's Magazine, here mentioned, 
was occasioned by an article in that work entitled " Remarks on Don 
Juan," and, though put to press by Mr. Murray, was never published. 
The writer in the Magazine having, in reference to certain passages 
in Don Juan, taken occasion to pass some severe strictures on the 
author's matrimonial conduct, Lord Byron, in his reply, enters at some 
length into that painful subject ; and the following extracts from his 
defence — if defence it can be called, where there has never yet been 
any definite charge, — will be perused with strong interest. 

"My learned brother proceeds to observe, that 'it is in vain for Lord 
B. to attempt in any way to justify his own behaviour in that affair; 
and now that he has so openly and audaciously invited inquiry and 
reproach, we do not see any good reason why he should not be plainly 
told so by the voice of his countrymen.' How far the ' openness' of 
an anonymous poem, and the ' audacity' of an imaginary character, 
which the writer supposes to be meant for Lady B., may be deemed to 
merit this formidable denunciation from their ' most sweet voices,' I 
neither know nor care ; but when he tells me that I cannot ' in any 
way justify my own behaviour in that affair,' I acquiesce, because no 
man can 'justify' himself until he knows of what he is accused ; and 
1 have never had — and, God knows, my whole desire has ever been 
to obtain it — any specific charge, in a tangible shape, submitted to me 
by the adversary, nor by others, unless the atrocities of public rumour 
and the mysterious silence of the lady's legal advisers maybe deemed 
such.* But is not the writer content with what has been already said 
and done 1 Has not ' the general voice of his countrymen' long ago 
pronounced upon the subject — sentence without trial, and condemna- 
tion without a charge? Have I not been exiled by ostracism, except 
that the shells which proscribed me were anonymous ? Is the writer 
ignorant of the public opinion and the public conduct upon that occa- 
sion? If he is, I am not: the public will forget both long before I 
shall cease to remember either. 

* While these sheets are passing through the press, a printed statement 
has been transmitted to me by Lady Noel Byron, which the reader will find 
inserted in the Appendix to this volume. 

250 NOTICES OF THE L a. d. 1820. 

" The man who is exiled by a faction has the consolation of think- 
ing that he is a martyr ; he is upheld by hope and the dignity of his 
cause, real or imaginary : he who withdraws from the pressure of 
debt may indulge in the thought that time and prudence will retrieve 
his circumstances : he who is condemned by the law has a term to 
his banishment, or a dream of its abbreviation ; or, it may be, the 
knowledge or the belief of some injustice of the law, or of its admi- 
nistration in his own particular : but he who is outlawed^by general 
opinion, without the intervention of hostile politics, illegal judgment, 
or embarrassed circumstances, whether he be innocent or guilty, must 
undergo all the bitterness of exile, without hope, without pride, without 
alleviation. This case was mine. Upon what grounds the public 
founded their opinion, I am not aware ; but it was general, and it was 
decisive. Of me or of mine they knew little, except that I had 
written what is called poetry, was a nobleman, had married, became 
a father, and was involved in differences with my wife and her rela- 
tives, no one knew why, because the persons complaining refused to 
state their grievances. The fashionable world was divided into par- 
ties, mine consisting of a very small minority : the reasonable world 
was naturally on the stronger side, which happened to be the lady's, 
as was most proper and polite. The press was active and scurrilous ; 
and such was the rage of the day, that the unfortunate publication of 
two copies of verses, rather complimentary than otherwise to the 
subjects of both, was tortured into a species of crime, or constructive 
petty treason. I was accused of every monstrous vice, by public 
rumour and private rancour : my name, which had been a knightly or 
a noble one since my fathers helped to conquer the kingdom for 
William the Norman, was tainted. I felt that, if what was whispered, 
and muttered, and murmured was true, I was unfit for England ; if 
false, England was unfit for me. I withdrew : but this was not 
enough. In other countries, in Switzerland, in the shadow of the 
Alps, and by the blue depth of the lakes, I was pursued and breathed 
upon by the same blight. I crossed the mountains, but it was the 
same ; so I went a little farther, and settled myself by the waves of 
the Adriatic, like the stag at bay, who betakes him to the waters. 

"If I may judge by the statements of the few friends who gathered 
round me, the outcry of the period to which I allude was beyond all 
precedent, all parallel, even in those cases where political motives 
have sharpened slander and doubled enmity. I was advised not to go 
to the theatres, lest I should be hissed, nor to my duty in parliament, 
lest I should be insulted by the way; even on the day of my departure, 
my most intimate friend told me afterward that he was under appre- 
hensions of violence from the people who might be assembled at the 
door of the carriage. However, I was not deterred by these counsels 
from seeing Kean in his best characters, nor from voting according to 
my principles ; and, with regard to the third and last apprehensions 
of my friends, I could not share in them, not being made acquainted 
with their extent till some time after I had crossed the channel. Even 
if I had been so, I am not of a nature to be much affected by men's 
anger, though I may feel hurt by their aversion. Against all individual 
outrage, I could protect or redress myself; and against that of a crowd, 
I should probably have been enabled to defend myself, with the assist- 
ance of others, as has been done on similar occasions. 

" I retired from the country, perceiving that I was the object of 
general obloquy ; I did not indeed imagine, like Jean Jacques Rousseau 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 251 

that all mankind was in a conspiracy against me, though I had per- 
haps as good grounds for such a chimera as ever he had : but I per- 
ceived that I had to a great extent become personally obnoxious in 
England, perhaps through my own fault, but the fact was indisputable; 
the public in general would hardly have been so much excited against 
a more popular character, without at least an accusation or a charge 
of some kind actually expressed or substantiated, for I can hardly 
conceive that the common and every-day occurrence of a separation 
between man and wife could in'itself produce so great a ferment. I 
shall say nothing of the usual complaints of 'being prejudged,' 'con- 
demned unheard,' 'unfairness,' 'partiality,' and so forth, the usual 
changes rung by parties who have had, or are to have, a trial ; but I 
was a little surprised to find myself condemned without being favoured 
with the act of accusation, and to perceive in the absence of this por- 
tentous charge or charges, whatever it or they were to be, that every 
possible or impossible crime was rumoured to supply its place, and 
taken for granted. This could only occur in the case of a person 
very much disliked, and I knew no remedy, having already used to 
their extent whatever little powers I might possess of pleasing in 
society. I had no party in fashion, though I was afterward told that 
there was one — but it was not of my formation, nor did I then know 
of its existence — none in literature ; and in politics I had voted with 
the Whigs, with precisely that importance which a Whig vote pos- 
sesses in these Tory days, and with such personal acquaintance with 
the leaders in both houses as the society in which I lived sanctioned, 
but without claim or expectation of any thing like friendship from any 
one, except a few young men of my own age and standing, and a few 
others more advanced in life, which last it had been my fortune to 
serve in circumstances of difficulty. This was, in fact, to stand alone : 
and I recollect, some time after, Madame de Stael said to me in 
Switzerland, ' You should not have warred with the world — it will 
not do — it is too strong always for any individual : I myself once 
tried it in early life, but it will not do.' I perfectly acquiesce in the 
truth of this remark ; but the world had done me the honour to begin 
the war ; and, assuredly, if peace is only to be obtained by courting 
and paying tribute to it, I am not qualified to obtain its countenance. 
I thought, in the words of Campbell, 

1 Then wed thee to an exiled lot, 
And if the world hath loved thee not, 
Its absence may be borne.' 

" I recollect, however, that having been much hurt by Romilly's 
conduct (he, having a general retainer for me, had acted as adviser to 
the adversary, alleging, on being reminded of his retainer, that he had 
forgotten it, as his clerk had so many), I observed that some of those 
who were now eagerly laying the axe to my roof-tree, might see their 
own shaken, and feel a portion of what they had inflicted. — His fell, 
and crushed him. 

" I have heard of, and believe, that there are human beings so con- 
stituted as to be insensible to injuries ; but I believe that the best mode 
to avoid taking vengeance is to get out of the way of temptation. I 
hope that I may never have the opportunity, for I am not quite sure 
that I could resist it, having derived from my mother something of ^ v, ° 
' perfervidum ingenium ScotorumS I have not sought, and shah 

252 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

seek it, and perhaps it may never come in my path. I do not in this 
allude to the party, who might be right or wrong ; but to many who 
made her cause the pretext of their own bitterness. She, indeed, 
must have long avenged me in her own feelings, for whatever her 
reasons may have been (and she never adduced them to me at least), 
she probably neither contemplated nor conceived to what she became 
the means of conducting the father of her child, and the husband of 
her choice. 

"So much for 'the general voice of his countrymen:' I will now 
speak of some in particular. 

"In the beginning of the year 1817, an article appeared in the 
Quarterly Review, written, I believe, by Walter Scott, doing great 
honour to him, and no disgrace to me, though both poetically and per- 
sonally more than sufficiently favourable to the work and the author 
of whom it treated. It was written at a time when a selfish man 
would not, and a timid one dared not, have said a word in favour of 
either ; it was written by one to whom temporary public opinion had 
elevated me to the rank of a rival — a proud distinction, and unmerited ; 
but which has not prevented me from feeling as a friend, nor him from 
more than corresponding to that sentiment. The article in question 
was written upon the Third Canto of Childe Harold, and after many 
observations, which it would as ill become me to repeat as to forget, 
concluded with ' a hope that I might yet return to England.' How this 
expression was received in England itself I am not acquainted, but it 
gave great offence at Rome to the respectable ten or twenty thousand 
English travellers then and there assembled. I did not visit Rome till 
some time after, so that I had no opportunity of knowing the fact ; 
but I was informed, long afterward, that the greatest indignation had 
been manifested in the enlightened Anglo-circle of that year, which 
happened to comprise within it — amid a considerable leaven of Wel- 
beck-street and Devonshire-place, broken loose upon their travels — 
several really well-born and well-bred families, who did not the less 
participate in the feeling of the hour. ' Why should he return to Eng- 
land !' was the general exclamation — I answer why? It is a question 
1 have occasionally asked myself, and I never yet could give it a satis- 
factory reply. I had then no thoughts of returning, and if I have any 
now, they are of business, and not of pleasure. Amid the ties that 
have been dashed to pieces, there are links yet entire, though the 
chain itself be broken. There are duties and connexions which may 
one day require my presence — and I am a father. I have still some 
friends whom I wish to meet again, and, it may be, an enemy. These 
things, and those minuter details of business, which time accumulates 
during absence, in every man's affairs and property, may, and probably 
will, recall me to England; but I shall return with the same feelings 
with which I left it, in respect to itself, though altered with regard to 
individuals, as I have been more or less informed of their conduct 
since my departure ; for it was only a considerable time after it that I 
was made acquainted with the real facts and full extent of some of 
their proceedings and language. My friends, like other friends, from 
conciliatory motives, withheld from me much that they could, and 
some things which they should have unfolded ; however, that which is 
deferred is not lost — but it has been no fault of mine that it has been 
deferred at all. 

" I have alluded to what is said to have passed at Rome merely to 
show that the sentiment which I have described was not confined to the 

A. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 263 

English in England, and as forming part of my answer to the re* 
proach cast upon what has been called my ' selfish exile,' and my * vo- 
luntary exile.' ' Voluntary' it has been ; for who would dwell among 
a people entertaining strong hostility against him ] How far it has 
been ' selfish' has been already explained." 

The following passages from the same unpublished pamphlet will 
be found, in a literary point of view, not less curious. 

" And here I wish to say a few words on the present state of English 
poetry. That this is the age of the decline of English poetry will be 
doubted by few who have calmly considered the subject. That there 
are men of genius among the present poets makes little against the 
fact, because it has been well said, that 'next to him who forms the 
taste of his country, the greatest genius is he who corrupts it.' No 
one has ever denied genius to Marino, who corrupted not merely the 
taste of Italy, but that of all Europe for nearly a century. The great 
cause of the present deplorable state of English poetry is to be attri- 
buted to that absurd and systematic depreciation of Pope, in which, 
for the last few years there has been a kind of epidemical concurrence. 
Men of the most opposite opinions have united upon this topic. 
Warton and Churchill began it, having borrowed the hint probably 
from the heroes of the Dunciad, and their own internal conviction that 
their proper reputation can be as nothing till the most perfect and 
harmonious of poets — he who, having no fault, has had reason made 
his reproach — was reduced to what they conceived to be his level ; 
but even they dared not degrade him below Dryden. Goldsmith, and 
Rogers, and Campbell, his most successful disciples ; and Hayley, 
who, however feeble, has left one poem ' that will not be willingly let 
die' (the Triumphs of Temper), kept up the reputation of that pure 
and perfect style : and Crabbe, the first of living poets, has almost 
equalled the master. Then came Darwin, who was put down by a 
single poem in the Antijacobin : and the Cruscans, from Merry to 
Jerningham, who were annihilated (if Nothing can be said to be anni- 
hilated) by Gifford, the last of the wholesome English satirists. 
* # * * * 

" These three personages, S * *, W * *, and C * *, had all of them a 
very natural antipathy to Pope, and I respect them for it, as the only 
original feeling or principle which they have contrived to preserve. 
But they have been joined in it by those who have joined them in no- 
thing else : by the Edinburgh Reviewers, by the whole heterogeneous 
mass of living English poets, excepting Crabbe, Rogers, Gifford, and 
Campbell, who, both by precept and practice, have proved their adhe- 
rence ; and by me, who have shamefully deviated in practice, but have 
ever loved and honoured Pope's poetry with my whole soul, and hope 
to do so till my dying day. I would rather see all I have ever written 
lining the same trunk in which I actually read the eleventh book of a 
modern Epic poem at Malta in 1811 (I opened it to take out a change 
after the paroxysm of a tertian, in the absence of my servant, and 
found it lined with the name of the maker, Eyre, Cockspur-street, and 
with the Epic poetry alluded to), "than sacrifice what I firmly believe 

in as the Christianity of English poetry, the poetry of Pope. 


" Nevertheless, I will not go so far as * * in his postscript, who pre- 
tends that no great poet ever had immediate fame ; which, being inter- 

254 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

preted, means that * * is not quite so much read by his contemporaries 
as might be desirable. This assertion is as false as it is foolish. Ho- 
mer's glory depended upon his present popularity : he recited, — and 
without the strongest impression of the moment, who would have 
gotten the Iliad by heart, and given it to tradition ? Ennius, Terence, 
Plautus, Lucretius, Horace, Virgil, iEschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, 
Sappho, Anacreon, Theocritus, all the great poets of antiquity, were 
the delight of their contemporaries.* The very existence of a poet, 
previous to the invention of printing, depended upon his present popu- 
larity ; and how often has it impaired his future fame ? Hardly ever. 
History informs us, that the best have come down to us. The reason 
is evident ; the most popular found the greatest number of transcribers 
for their MSS., and that the taste of their contemporaries was corrupt 
can hardly be avouched by the moderns, the mightiest of whom have 
but rarely approached them. Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, and Tasso 
were all the darlings of the contemporary reader. Dante's Poem was 
celebrated long before his death ; and, not long after it, states nego- 
tiated for his ashes, and disputed for the sites of the composition of 
the Divina Commedia. Petrarch was crowned in the Capitol. Ari- 
osto was permitted to pass free by the public robber who had read the 
Orlando Furioso. I would not recommend Mr. * * to try the same 
experiment with his Smugglers. Tasso, notwithstanding the criti- 
cisms of the Cruscanti, would have been crowned in the Capitol, but 
for his death. 

" It is easy to prove the immediate popularity of the chief poets of 
the only modern nation in Europe that has a poetical language, the 
Italian. In' our own, Shakspeare, Spenser, Jonson, Waller, Dryden, 
Congreve, Pope, Young, Shenstone, Thomson, Johnson, Goldsmith, 
Gray, were all as popular in their lives as since. Gray's Elegy 
pleased instantly, and eternally. His Odes did not, nor yet do they 
please like his Elegy. Milton's politics kept him down; but the 
Epigram of Dryden, and the very sale of his work, in proportion to the 
less reading time of its publication, prove him to have been honoured 
byhis contemporaries. I will venture to assert, that the sale of the Para- 
dise Lost was greater in the first four years after its publication than 
that of * the Excursion' in the same number, with the difference of 
nearly a century and a half between them of time, and of thousands 
in point of general readers. 

" It may be asked, why, having this opinion of the present state of 
poetry in England, and having had it long, as my friends and others 
well know — possessing, or having possessed too, as a writer, the 

* As far as regards the poets of ancient times, this assertion is, perhaps, 
right ; though, if there be any truth in what .Elian and Seneca have left on 
record, of the obscurity, during their lifetime, of such men as Socrates and 
Epicurus, it would seem to prove that, among the ancients, contemporary 
fame was a far more rare reward of literary or philosophical eminence than 
among us moderns. When the " Clouds" of Aristophanes was exhibited 
before the assembled deputies of the towns of Attica, these personages, as 
./Elian tells us, were unanimously of opinion, that the character of an un- 
known person, called Socrates, was uninteresting upon the stage ; and 
Seneca has given the substance of an authentic letter of Epicurus, in which 
that philosopher declares that nothing hurt him so much, in the midst of all 
his happiness, as to think that Greece, — " ilia nobilis Graecia," — so far from 
knowing him, had scarcely even heard of his existence. — Epist. 79. 

a.d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 255 

ear of the public for the time being — I have not adopted a different 
plan in my own compositions, and endeavoured to correct rather than 
encourage the taste of the day. To this I would answer, that it is 
easier to perceive the wrong than to pursue the right, and that I have 
never contemplated the prospect ' of filling (with Peter Bell, see its 
Preface) permanently a station in the literature of the country.' Those 
who know me best, know this, and that I have been considerably 
astonished at the temporary success of my works, having flattered no 
person and no party, and expressed opinions which are not those of the 
general reader. Could I have anticipated the degree of attention which 
has been accorded, assuredly I would have studied more to deserve it. 
But I have lived in far countries abroad, or in the agitating world at 
home, which was not favourable to study or reflection ; so that almost 
all I have written has been mere passion, — passion, it is true, of differ- 
ent kinds, but always passion ; for in me (if it be not an Irishism to 
say so) my indifference was a kind of passion, the result of experience, 
and not the philosophy of nature. Writing grows a habit, like a wo- 
man's gallantry : there are women who have had no intrigue, but few 
who have had but one only ; so there are millions of men who have 
never written a book, but few who have written only one. And thus, 
having written once, I wrote on ; encouraged no doubt by the success 
of the moment, yet by no means anticipating its duration, and, I will 
venture to say, scarcely even wishing it. But then I did other things 
besides write, which by no means contributed either to improve my 

writings or my prosperity. 


" I have thus expressed publicly upon the poetry of the day the 
opinion I have long entertained and expressed of it to all who have 
asked it, and to some who would rather not have heard it ; as I told 
Moore not very long ago, * we are all wrong except Rogers, Crabbe, 
and Campbell.'* Without being old in years, I am old in days, and 
do not feel the adequate spirit within me to attempt a work which 
should show what I think right in poetry, and must content myself 
with having denounced what is wrong. There are, I trust, younger 
spirits rising up in England, who, escaping the contagion which has 
swept away poetry from our literature, will recall it to their country, 
such as it once was and may still be. 

" In the mean time, the best sign of amendment will be repentance, 
and new and frequent editions of Pope and Dryden. 

" There will be found as comfortable metaphysics, and ten times 
more poetry in the ' Essay on Man,' than in the ' Excursion.' If you 

* 1 certainly ventured to differ from the judgment of my noble friend, no less 
in his attempts to depreciate that peculiar walk of the art in which he himself 
so grandly trod, than in the inconsistency of which I thought him guilty, in 
condemning all those who stood up for particular " schools" of poetry, and 
yet, at the same time, maintaining so exclusive a theory of the art himself. 
How little, however, he attended to either the grounds or degrees of my dis- 
sent from him, will appear by the following wholesale report of my opinion, 
in his » Detached Thoughts :" 

44 One of my notions different from those of my contemporaries is, that the 
present is not a high age of English poetry. There are more poets (soi-disant) 
than ever there were, and proportionally less poetry. 

" This thesis I have maintained for some years, but, strange to say, it 
meeteth not with favour from my brethren of the shell. Even Moore shakes 
his head, and firmly believes that it is the grand age of British poesy." 

256 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

search for passion, where is it to be found stronger than in the epistle 
from Eloisa to Abelard, or in Palamon and Arcite 1 Do you wish for 
invention, imagination, sublimity, character ? seek them in the Rape 
of the Lock, the Fables of Dryden, the Ode on Saint Cecilia's Day, 
and Absalom and Achitophel : you will discover in these two poets 
only, all for which you must ransack innumerable metres, and God 
only knows how many writers of the day, without finding a tittle of 
the same qualities, — with the addition, too, of wit, of which the latter 
have none. I have not, however, forgotten Thomas Brown the 
younger, nor the Fudge Family, nor Whistlecraft ; but that is not wit 
— it is humour. I will say nothing of the harmony of Pope and Dry- 
den in comparison, for there is not a living poet (except Rogers, 
Gifford, Campbell, and Crabbe) who can write an heroic couplet. The 
fact is, that the exquisite beauty of their versification has withdrawn 
the public attention from their other excellences, as the vulgar eye will 
rest more upon the splendour of the uniform than the quality of the 
troops. It is this very harmony, particularly in Pope, which has 
raised the vulgar and atrocious cant against him : — because his versi- 
fication is perfect, it is assumed that it is his only perfection ; because 
his truths are so clear, it is asserted that he has no invention ; and 
because he is always intelligible, it is taken for granted that he has no 
genius. We are sneeringly told that he is the ' Poet of Reason,' as if 
this was a reason for his being no poet. Taking passage for passage, 
I will undertake to cite more lines teeming with imagination from Pope 
than from any two living poets, be they who they may. To take an 
instance at random from a species of composition not very favourable 
to imagination — Satire : set down the character of Sporus, with all the 
wonderful play of fancy which is scattered over it, and place by its 
side an equal number of verses, from any two existing poets, of the 
same power and the same variety — where will you find them? 

" I merely mention one instance of many in reply to the injustice 
done to the memory of him who harmonized our poetical language. 
The attorneys' clerks, and other self-educated genii, found it easier to 
distort themselves to the new models than to toil after the symmetry 
of him who had enchanted their fathers. They were besides smitten 
by being told that the new school were to revive the language of 
Queen Elizabeth, the true English ; as every body in the reign of 
Queen Anne wrote no better than French, by a species of literary 

" Blank verse, which, unless in the drama, no one except Milton 
ever wrote who could rhyme, became the order of the day, — or else 
such rhyme as looked still blanker than the verse without it. I am 
aware that Johnson has said, after some hesitation, that he could 
not ' prevail upon himself to wish that Milton had been a rhymer.' 
The opinions of that truly great man, whom it is also the present fashion 
to decry, will ever be received by me with that deference which time 
will restore to him from all ; but, with all humility, I am not persuaded 
that the Paradise Lost would not have been more nobly conveyed to 
posterity, not perhaps in heroic couplets, although even they could sus- 
tain the subject if well balanced, but in the stanza of Spenser, or of 
Tasso, or in the Terza rima of Dante, which the powers of Milton 
could easily have grafted on our language. The seasons of Thomson 
would have been better in rhyme, although still inferior to his Castle 
of Indolence ; and Mr. Southey's Joan of Arc no worse, although it 
might have taken up six months instead of weeks in the composition. 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 257 

I recommend also to the lovers of lyrics the perusal of the present 
laureate's odes by the side of Dryden's on Saint Cecilia, but let him 
be sure to readers* those of Mr. Southey. 

" To the heaven born genii and inspired young - scriveners of the 
day much of this will appear paradox; it will appear so even to the 
higher order of our critics : but it was a truism twenty years ago, and 
it will be a re-acknowledged truth in ten more. In the mean time, 
I will conclude with two quotations, both intended for some of my old 
classical friends who have still enough of Cambridge about them to 
think themselves honoured by having had John Dryden as a prede- 
cessor in their college, and to recollect that their earliest English poet- 
ical pleasures were drawn from the 'little nightingale' of Twickenham. 

" The first is from the notes to the Poem of the ' Friends,'* pages 
181, 182. 

" It is only within the last twenty or thirty years that those notable 
discoveries in criticism have been made which have taught our recent 
versifiers to undervalue this energetic, melodious, and moral poet. The 
consequences of this want of due esteem for a writer whom the good 
sense of our predecessors had raised to his proper station have been 
numerous and degrading enough. This is not the place to enter into 
the subject, even as far as it affects our poetical numbers alone, and there 
is matter of more importance that requires present reflection.' 

" The second is from the volume of a young person learning to write 
poetry, and beginning by teaching the art. Hear him :f 

' But ye were dead 
To things ye knew not of — were closely wed 
To musty laws lined out with wretched rule 
And compass vile ; so that ye taught a schoolj 
Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and chip, and Jit, 
Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit, 
Their verses tallied. Easy was the task : 
A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask 
Of poesy. Ill-fated, impious race, 
That blasphemed the bright lyrist to his face, 
And did not know it ; no, they went about 
Holding a poor decrepit standard out 

* Written by Lord Byron's early friend, the Rev. Francis Hodg-son. 

t The strange verses that follow are from a poem by Keats. — In a manu- 
script note on this passage of the pamphlet, dated Nov. 12, 1821, Lord By- 
ron says, w Mr. Keats died at Rome about a year after this was written, of a 
decline produced by his having burst a blood-vessel on reading the article on 
his ' Endymion' in the Quarterly Review. I have read the article before and 
since ; and although it is bitter, I do not think that a man should permit him- 
self to be killed by it. But a young man little dreams what he must inevi- 
tably encounter in the course of a life ambitious of public notice. My indig- 
nation at Mr. Keats's depreciation of Pope has hardly permitted me to do 
justice to his own genius, which, malgre all the fantastic fopperies of ..« 
style, was undoubtedly of great promise. His fragment of ' Hyperion' seems 
actually inspired by the Titans, and is as sublime as iEschylus. He is a loss 
to our literature ; and the more so, as he himself, before his death, is said to 
have been persuaded that he had not taken the right line, and was reform- 
ing his style upon the more classical models of the language." 

* * It was at least a grammar ' school.' " 
Vol. II.— R 

25S NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820 

Mark'd with most flimsy mottoes, and in large 
The name of one Boileau !' 

M A little before the manner of Pope is termed 

* A seism,* 
Nurtured by foppery and barbarism, 
Made great Apollo blush for this his land.' 

" I thought 'foppery* was a consequence of refinement; bul 

" The above will suffice to show the notions entertained by the new 
performers on the English lyre of him who made it most tunable, and 
the great improvements of their own variazioni. 

" The writer of this is a tadpole of the Lakes, a young disciple of 
the six or seven new schools, in which he has learned to write such 
lines and such sentiments as the above. He says, ' easy was the task* 
of imitating Pope, or it may be of equalling him, I presume. I recom- 
mend him to try before he is so positive on the subject, and then com- 
pare what he will have then written and what he has now written with 
the humblest and earliest compositions of Pope, produced in years 
still more youthful than those of Mr. K. when he invented his new 
1 Essay on Criticism,' entitled ' Sleep and Poetry' (an ominous title), 
from whence the above canons are taken. Pope's was written at 
nineteen, and published at twenty-two. 

" Such are the triumphs of the new schools, and such their scholars. 
The disciples of Pope were Johnson, Goldsmith, Rogers, Campbell, 
Crabbe, Gifford, Matthias, Hayley, and the author of the Paradise of 
Coquettes; to whom may be added Richards, Heber, Wrangham, 
Bland, Hodgson, Merivale, and others who have not had their full 
fame, because ' the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to 
the strong,' and because there is a fortune in fame as in all other 
things. Now of all the new schools—I say all, for, < like Legion, they 
are many'— has there appeared a single scholar who has not made his 
master ashamed of him? unless it be * *, who has imitated every 
body, and occasionally surpassed his models. Scott found peculiar 
favour and imitation among the fair sex : there was Miss Holford, and 
Miss Mitford, and Miss Francis ; but with the greatest respect be it 
spoken, none of his imitators did much honour to the original except 
Hogg, the Ettrick shepherd, until the appearance of ' The Bridal of 
Triermain,' and • Harold the Dauntless,' which in the opinion of some 
equalled if not surpassed him ; and lo ! after three or four years they 
turned out to be the master's own compositions. Have Southey, or 
Coleridge, or Wordsworth made a follower of renown? Wilson 
never did well till he set up for himself in the ' City of the Plague.' 
Has Moore, or any other living writer of reputation, had a tolerable 
imitator, or rather disciple 1 Now it is remarkable that almost all the 
followers of Pope, whom I have named, have produced beautiful and 
standard works, and it was not the number of his imitators who 
finally hurt his fame, but the despair of imitation, and the ease of not 
imitating him sufficiently. This and the same reason which induced 
the Athenian burgher to vote for the banishment of Aristides, « be- 
cause he was tired of always hearing him called the Just,' have pro- 

* .» 

So fpejled by the author." 

a. d. 1820.J LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 259 

duced the temporary exile of Pope from the state of literature. But 
the term of his ostracism will expire, and the sooner the better, not 
for him, but for those who banished him, and for the coming gene- 
ration, who 

* Will blush to find their fathers were his foes.' " 



" Ravenna, 9bre 4, 1820. 

"* 1 have received from Mr. Galignani the enclosed letters, dupli- 
cates, and receipts, which will explain themselves.* As the poems 
are your property by purchase, right, and justice, all matters of publi- 
cation, &c. &c. are for you to decide upon. I know not how far my 
compliance with Mr. Galignani's request might be legal, and I doubt 
that it would not be honest. In case you choose to arrange with 
him, I enclose the permits to you, and in so doing I wash my hands 
of the business altogether. I sign them merely to enable you to 
exert the power you justly possess more properly. I will have no- 
thing to do with it farther, except, in my answer to Mr. Galignani, to 
state that the letters, &c. &c. are sent to you, and the causes thereof. 

" If you can check these foreign pirates, do ; if not, put the per- 
missive papers in the fire. I can have no view nor object whatever, 
but to secure to you your property. 

" Yours, &c. 

"P.S. I have read part of the Quarterly just arrived; Mr. Bowles 
shall be answered : — he is not quite correct in his statement about 
English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. They support Pope, I see, in 
the Quarterly ; let them continue to do so : it is a sin, and a shame, 
and a damnation to think that Pope ! ! should require it — but he does. 
Those miserable mountebanks of the day, the poets, disgrace them- 
selves and deny God in running down Pope, the most faultless of 
poets, and almost of men. 



"Ravenna, November 5th, 1820. 
" Thanks for your letter, which hath come somewhat costively, — 
but better late than never. Of it anon. Mr. Galignani, of the Press, 
hath, it seems, been supplanted and sub-pirated by another Parian 
publisher, who has audaciously printed an edition of L. B.'s "Works, 
at the ultra-liberal price of 10 francs, and (as Galignani piteously ob- 

* Mr. Galignani had applied to Lord Byron with the view of procuring 
from him such legal right over those works of his lordship of which he had 
hitherto been the sole publisher in France, as would enable him to prevent 
others, in future, from usurping the same privilege. 


260 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

serves) 8 francs only for booksellers ! ' horresco referens.' Think of 
a man's whole works producing so little ! 

*' Galignani sends me, post haste, a permission for him, from me, to 
publish, &c. &c, which permit I have signed and sent to Mr. Murray, 
of Albemarle-street. Will you explain to G. that I have no right to 
dispose of Murray's works without his leave 1 and therefore 1 must 
refer him to M. to get the permit out of his claws — no easy matter, I 
suspect. I have written to G. to say as much ; but a word of mouth 
from a ' great brother author' would convince him that I could not 
honestly have complied with his wish, though I might legally. What 
I could do I have done, viz. signed the warrant and sent it to Murray. 
Let the dogs divide the carcass, if it is killed to their liking. 

" I am glad of your epigram. It is odd that we should both let our 
wits run away with our sentiments ; for I am sure that we are both 
Queen's men at bottom. But there is no resisting a clinch — it is so 
clever! Apropos of that — we have 'a diphthong' also in this part of 
the world — not a Greek, but a Spanish one — do you understand me 1 — 
which is about to blow up the whole alphabet. It was first pro- 
nounced at Naples, and is spreading; — but we are nearer the Barba- 
rians ; who are in great force on the Po, and will pass it, with the first 
legitimate pretext. 

" There will be the devil to pay, and there is no saying who will or 
who will not be set down in his bill. If ' honour should come un- 
looked for' to any of your acquaintance, make a Melody of it, that 
his ghost, like poor Yorick's, may have the satisfaction of being 
plaintively pitied — or still more nobly commemorated, like ' Oh 
breathe not his name.' In case you should not think him worth it, 
here is a Chant for you instead — 

" When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home, 
Let him combat for that of his neighbours ; 
Let him think of the glories of Greece and of Rome, 
And get knock'd on the head for his labours. 

" To do good to mankind is the chivalrous plan, 
And is always as nobly requited ; 
Then battle for freedom wherever you can, 
And, if not shot or hang'd, you'll get knighted. 

" So you have gotten the letter of ' Epigrams' — I am glad of it. 
You will not be so, for I shall send you more. Here is one 1 wrote 
for the endorsement of 'the Deed of Separation' in 1816; but the 
lawyers objected to it, as superfluous. It was written as we were 
getting up the signing and sealing. * * has the original. 

"Endorsement to the Deed of Separation, in the April of 1816. 

" A year ago you swore, fond she ! 
' To love, to honour,' and so forth : 
Such was the vow you pledged to me, 
And here 's exactly what 't is worth. 

"For the anniversary of January 2, 1821, I have a small grateful 
anticipation, which, in case of accident, I add — 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 261 

" To Penelope, January 2d, 1821. 

" This day, of all our days, has done 
The worst for me and you : — 
'Tis just six years since we were one, 
And jive since we were two. 

" Pray, excuse all this nonsense ; for I must talk nonsense just now, 
for fear of wandering - to more serious topics, which, in the present 
state of things, is not safe by a foreign post. 

" I told you, in my last, that I had been going on with the • Me- 
moirs,' and have got as far as twelve more sheets. But I suspect 
they will be interrupted. In that case I will send them on by post, 
though I feel remorse at making a friend pay so much for postage, for 
we can't frank here beyond the frontier. 

" I shall be glad to hear of the event of the Queen's concern. As 
to the ultimate effect, the most inevitable one to you and me (if they 
and we live so long) will be that the Miss Moores and Miss Byrons 
will present us with a great variety of grandchildren by different 

"Pray, where did you get hold of Goethe's Florentine husband- 
killing story? upon such matters, in general, I may say, with Beau 
Clincher, in reply to Errand's wife — 

" ' Oh the villain, he hath murdered my poor Timothy ! 

" ' Clincher. Damn your Timothy ! — I tell you, woman, your hus- 
band has murdered me — he has carried away my fine jubilee clothes.' 

" So Bowles has been telling a story, too ('t is in the Quarterly), 
about the woods of ' Madeira,' and so forth. I shall be at Bowles 
again, if he is not quiet. He misstates, or mistakes, in a point or 
two. The paper is finished, and so is the letter. 

"Yours, &c." 



" Ravenna, 9 br e 9°, 1820. 
" The talent you approve of is an amiable one, and might prove a 
1 national service,' but unfortunately I must be angry with a man before 
I draw his real portrait ; and I can't deal in 'generals? so that I trust 
never to have provocation enough to make a Gallery. If ' the parson' 
had not by many little dirty sneaking traits provoked it, I should have 
been silent, though I had observed him. Here follows an alteration : 
put — 

" Devil, with such delight in damning, 
That if at the resurrection 
Unto him the free election 
Of his future could be given, 
'T would be rather Hell than Heaven , 

that is to say, if these two new lines do not too much lengthen out 
and weaken the amiability of the original thought and expression. 
You have a discretionary power about showing. I should tjiink that 

262 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820, 

Croker would not disrelish a sight of these light little humoroug 
things, and may be indulged now and then. 

" Why, I do like one or two vices, to be sure ; but I can back a horse 
and fire a pistol 4 without thinking or blinking' like Major Sturgeon ; 
I have feu at times for two months together on sheer biscuit and 
water (without metaphor) ; I can get over seventy or eighty miles a 
day riding' post, and swimjive at a stretch, as at Venice, in 1818, or at 
least I could do, and have done it once. 

"I know Hemy Matthews; he is the image, to the very voice, of 
his brother Charles, only darker— his cough his in particular. The 
first time I ever met him was in Scrope Davies's rooms after his bro- 
ther's death, and I nearly dropped, thinking that it was his ghost. I 
have also dined with him in his rooms at King's College. Hobhouse 
once purposed a similar Memoir ; but I am afraid the letters of Charles's 
correspondence with me (which are at Whitton with my other papers) 
would hardly do for the public ; for our lives were not over strict, and 

our letters somewhat lax upon most subjects.* 


" Last week I sent you a correspondence with Galignani, and some 
documents on your property. You have now, I think, an opportunity 
of checking, or at least limiting, those French republications. You may 
let all your authors publish what they please against me and mine. A 
publisher is not, and cannot be, responsible for all the works that issue 
from his printer's. 

" The ' White Lady of Avenel,' is not quite so good as a real well 
authenticated ('Donna Bianca') White Lady of Colalto, or spectre in 
the Marca Trivigiana, who has been repeatedly seen. There is a man 
(a huntsman) now alive who saw her also. Hoppner could tell you 
all about her, and so can Rose, perhaps. I myself have no doubt of 
the fact, historical and spectral. f She always appeared on particular 
occasions, before the deaths of the family, &c. &c. I heard Madame 
Benzoni say, that she knew a gentleman who had seen her cross his 
room at Colalto Castle. Hoppner saw and spoke with the huntsman, 
who met her at the chase, and never hunted afterward. She was a 
girl attendant, who, one day dressing the hair of a Countess Colalto, 
was seen by her mistress to smile upon her husband in the glass. 
The Countess had her shut up in the wall of the castle, like Constance 
de Beverly. Ever after, she haunted them and all the Colaltos. She 
is described as very beautiful and fair. It is well authenticated." 



" Ravenna, 9bre 18°, 1820. 
" The death of Waite is a shock to the — teeth, as well as to the 
feelings of all who knew him. Good God, he and Blake% both gone ! 

* Here follow some details respecting his friend Charles S. Matthews, 
which have already been given in the first volume of this work. 

t The ghost-story, in which he here professes such serious belief, forms 
the subject of one of Mr. Rogers's beautiful Italian sketches. — See " Italy," 
p. 43, edit. 1830. 

J A celebrated hair-dresser. 

a, d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 263 

I left them both in the most robust health, and little thought of the 
national loss in so short a time as five years. They were both as 
much superior to Wellington in rational greatness, as he who preserves 
the hair and the teeth is preferable to ' the bloody blustering warrior 1 
who gains a name by breaking heads and knocking out grinders. 
Who succeeds him 1 Where is tooth-powder, mild, and yet effica- 
cious — where is tincture — where are clearing-roote and brushes now to 
be obtained 1 Pray obtain what information you can upon these 
1 Twsculan questions.' My jaws ache to think on't. Poor fellows ! I 
anticipated seeing both again ; and yet they are gone to that place 
where both teeth and hair last longer than they do in this life. I have 
seen a thousand graves opened, and always perceived, that whatever 
was gone, the teeth and hair remain with those who had died with 
them. Is not this odd 1 They go the very first things in youth, 
and yet last the longest in the dust, if people will but die to preserve 
them ! It is a queer life, and a queer death, that of mortals. 

" I knew that Waite had married, but little thought that the other 
decease was so soon to overtake him. Then he was such a delight, 
such a coxcomb, such a jewel of a man ! There is a tailor at Bologna 
so like him ! and also at the top of his profession. Do not neglect 
this commission. Who or what can replace him? What says the 
public ? 

" I remand you the Preface. Do n't forget that the Italian extract 
from the chronicle must be translated. With regard to what you say 
of retouching the Juans and the Hints, it is all very well ; but I can't 
furbish. I am like the tiger (in poesy), if I miss the first spring I go 
growling back to my jungle. There is no second : I can't correct; I 
can't, and I won't. Nobody ever succeeds in it, great or small. Tasso 
remade the whole of his Jerusalem ; but who ever reads that version? 
all the world goes to the first. Pope added to * The Rape of the 
Lock,' but did not reduce it. You must take my things as they happen 
to be. If they are not likely to suit, reduce their estimate accordingly. 
I would rather give them away than hack and hew them. I do n't 
say that you are not right ; I merely repeat that I cannot better them. 
I must ' either make a spoon or spoil a horn ;' and there 's an end. 

" Yours. 

" P.S. Of the praises of that little * * * Keats, I shall observe, as 
Johnson did when Sheridan the actor got a pension, 'What ! has he 
got a pension * Then it is time that I should give up mine P Nobody 
could be prouder of the praise of the Edinburgh than I was, or more 
alive to their censure, as T showed in English Bards and Scotch Re- 
viewers. At present, all the men they have ever praised are degraded 
by that insane article. Why do n't they review and praise « Solo- 
mon's Guide to Health V it is better sense and as much poetry as 
Johnny Keats. . ' 

" Bowles must be bowled down. 'T is a sad match at cricket if he 
can get any notches at Pope's expense. If he once get into 'Lord's 
ground' (to continue the pun, because it is foolish), I think I could 
beat him in one innings. You did not know, perhaps, that I was once 
(not metaphorically, but really) a good cricketer, particularly in batting, 
and I played in the Harrow match against the Etonians in 1805, gain- 
ing more notches (as one of our chosen eleven) than any, except Lord 
Ipswich and Brookman, on our side." 

254 NOTICES OF THE [4, d. 1820. 



" Ravenna, 9bre 23°, 1830. 

" The ' Hints,' Hobhouse says, will require a good deal of slashing 
to suit the times, which will be a work of time, for I do n't feel at all 
laborious just now. Whatever effect they are to have would perhaps 
be greater in a separate form, and they also must have my name to 
them. Now, if you publish them in the same volume with Don Juan, 
they identify Don Juan as mine, which I do n't think worth a chancery 
suit about my daughter's guardianship, as in your present code a face- 
tious poem is sufficient to take away a man's right over his family. 

" Of the state of things here it would be difficult and not very pru- 
dent to speak at large, the Huns opening all letters. I wonder if they 
can read them when they have opened them ; if so, they may see, in 


and barbarians, and their emperor a fool, and themselves more 
fools than he ; all which they may send to Vienna for any thing I 
care. They have got themselves masters of the Papal police, and are 
bullying away: but some day or other they will pay for all : it may 
not be very soon, because these unhappy Italians have no consistency 
among themselves ; but I suppose that Providence will get tired of 
them at last, ****** 

" Yours, &c." 



" Ravenna, Dec. 9th, 1820. 

" Besides this letter, you will receive three packets, containing, in 
all, 18 more sheets of Memoranda, which, I fear, will cost you more 
in postage than they will ever produce by being printed in the next 
century. Instead of waiting so long, if you could make any thing of 
them now in the way of reversion (that is, after my death), I should be 
very glad, — as, with all due regard to your progeny, I prefer you to 
your grandchildren. Would not Longman or Murray advance you 
a certain sum now, pledging themselves not to have them published 
till after my decease, think you 1 — and what say you 1 

" Over these latter sheets I would leave you a discretionary power ; 
because they contain, perhaps, a thing or two which is too sincere for 
the public. If I consent to your disposing of the reversion now, 
where would be the harm 1 Tastes may change. I would, in your 
case, make my essay to dispose of them, not publish, now ; and if you 
(as is most likely) survive me, add what you please from your own 
knowledge, and, above all, contradict any thing, if I have mis-stated ; 
for my first object is the truth, even at my own expense. 

"I have some knowledge of your countryman, Muley Moloch, the 
lecturer. He wrote to me several letters upon Christianity, to convert 
me ; and, if I had not been a Christian already, I should probably 
have been now, in consequence. I thought there was something of 

a. d. 1820. J LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 265 

wild talent in him, mixed with a due leaven of absurdity, — as there 
must be in all talent let loose upon the world without a martingale. 

" The ministers seem still to persecute the Queen ***** 
* * * but they won't go out, the sons of b — es. Damn reform — I 
want a place — what say you 1 You must applaud the honesty of the 
declaration, whatever you may think of the intention. 

" I have quantities of paper in England, original and translated — ■ 
tragedy, &c. &c, and am now copying out a Fifth Canto of Don Juan", 
149 stanzas. So that there will be near three thin Albemarle, or two 
thick volumes of all sorts of my Muses. I mean to plunge thick, too, 
into the contest upon Pope, and to lay about me like a dragon till 
make manure of * * * for the top of Parnassus. 

" Those rogues are right — we do laugh at f others — eh ] — do n't we 1* 
You shall see — you shall see what things I '11 say, 'an it pleases Pro- 
vidence to leave us leisure. But in these parts they are all going to 
war ; and there is to be liberty, and a row, and a constitution — when 
they can get them. But I won't talk politics — it is low. Let us talk 
of the Queen, and her bath, and her bottle — that's the only motley 

" If there are any acquaintances of mine, salute them. The priests 
here are trying to persecute me, — but no matter. 


"Yours, &c. 



" Ravenna, Dec. 9th, 1820. 

" I open my letter to tell you a fact, which will show the state of 
this country better than I can. The commandant of the troops is now 
lying dead in my house. He was shot at a little past eight o'clock, 
about two hundred paces from my door. I was putting on my great- 
coat to visit Madame la Contessa G., when I heard the shot. On 
coming into the hall, I found all my servants on the balcony, exclaim- 
ing that a man was murdered. I immediately ran down, calling on 
Tita (the bravest of them) to follow me. The rest wanted to hinder 
us from going, as it is the custom for everybody here, it seems, to run 
away from ' the stricken deer.' 

" However, down we ran, and found him lying on his back, almost, 
if not quite, dead, with five wounds, one in the heart, two in the 
stomach, one in the finger, and the other in the arm. Some soldiers 
cocked their guns, and wanted to hinder me from passing. However, 
we passed, and I found Diego, the adjutant, crying over him like a 
child — a surgeon, who said nothing of his profession — a priest, sobbing 
a frightened prayer — and the commandant, all this time, on his back, 
on the hard, cold pavement, without light or assistance, or any thing 
around him but confusion and dismay. 

" As nobody could, or would, do any thing but howl and pray, and 
as no one would stir a finger to move him, for fear of consequences, I 

* He here alludes to a humorous article, of which I had told him, in 
Blackwood's Magazine, where the poets of the day were all grouped toge- 
ther in a variety of fantastic shapes, with " Lord Byron and little Moore 
laughing behind, as if they would split," at the rest of the fraternity 

266 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

lost my patience — made my servant and a couple of the mob take up 
the bod) T — sent off two soldiers to the guard — despatched Diego to the 
Cardinal with the news, and had the commandant carried up stairs 
into my own quarter. But it was too late, he was gone — not at all 
disfigured — bled inwardly — not above an ounce or two came out. 

" I had him partly stripped — made the surgeon examine him, and 
examined him myself. He had been shot by cut balls, or slugs. I 
felt one of the slugs, which had gone through him, all but the skin 
Every body conjectures why he was killed, but no one knows how 
The gun was found close by him — an old gun, half filed down. 

" He only said, « O Dio !' and ' Gesu !' two or three times, and ap- 
peared to have suffered little. Poor fellow ! he was a brave officer, 
but had made himself much disliked by the people. I knew him per- 
sonally, and had met him often at conversazioni and elsewhere. My 
house is full of soldiers, dragoons, doctors, priests, and all kinds of 
persons, — though 1 have now cleared it, and clapped sentinels at the 
doors. To-morrow the body is to be moved. The town is in the 
greatest confusion, as you may suppose. 

" You are to know that, if I had not had the body moved, they 
would have left him there till morning in the street, for fear of con- 
sequences. I would not choose to let even a dog die in such a manner, 
without succour; — and, as for conseouences, I care for none in a duty. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P.S. The lieutenant on duty by the body is smoking his pipe with 
great composure. — A queer people this." 



" Ravenna, December 25th, 1820. 


You will or ought to have received the packet and letters which I 
remitted to your address a fortnight ago (or it may be more days), and 
I shall be glad of an answer, as, in these times and places, packets 
per post are in some risk of not reaching their destination. 

" I have been thinking of a project for you and me, in case we both 
get to London again, which (if a Neapolitan war don't suscitate) may 
be calculated as possible for one of us about the spring of 1821. I 
presume that you, too, will be back by that time, or never; but on 
that you will give me some index. The project, then, is for you and 
me to set up jointly a newspaper— nothing more nor less — weekly, or 
so, with some improvement or modifications upon the plan of the 
present scoundrels, who degrade that department, — but a newspaper, 
which we will edit in due form, and, nevertheless, with some 

" There must always be in it a piece of poesy from one or other of 
us two, leaving room, however, for such dilettanti rhymers as may be 
deemed worthy of appearing in the same column ; but this must be a 
sine qud non ; and also as much prose as we can compass. We will 
take an office — our names not announced, but suspected — and, by the 
blessing of Providence, give the age some new lights upon policy, 
poesy, biography, criticism, morality, theology, and all other ism, alily, 
and ology whatsoever. 

a. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 267 

" Why, man, if we were to take to this in good earnest, your debts 
would be paid off in a twelvemonth, and by dint of a little diligence 
and practice, I doubt not that we could distance the commonplace 
blackguards, who have so long disgraced common sense and the 
common reader. They have no merit but practice and impudence, 
both of which we may acquire, and, as for talent and culture, the 
devil's in 't if such proofs as we have given of both can't furnish out 
something better than the * funeral baked meats' which have coldly set 
forth the breakfast table of all Great Britain for so many years. Now, 
what think you 1 Let me know ; and recollect that, if we take to such 
an enterprise, we must do so in good earnest. Here is a hint, — do you 
make it a plan. We will modify it into as literary and classical a 
concern as you please, only let us put out our powers upon it, and it 
will most likely succeed. But you must live in London, and I also, 
to bring it to bear, and we must keep it a secret. 

" As for the living in London, I would make that not difficult to you 
(if you would allow me), until we could see whether one means or 
other (the success of the plan, for instance) would not make it quite 
easy for you, as well as your family ; and, in any case, we should have 
some fun, composing, correcting, supposing, inspecting, and supping 
together over our lucubrations. If you think this worth a thought, 
let me know, and I will begin to lay in a small literary capital of com- 
position for the occasion. 

" Yours ever affectionately, 


" P.S. If you thought of a middle plan between a Spectator and a 
newspaper, why not 1 — only not on a Sunday. Not that Sunday is 
not an excellent day, but it is engaged already. We will call it the 
' Tenda Rossa,' the name Tassoni gave an answer of his in a contro- 
versy, in allusion to the delicate hint of Timour the Lame, to his ene- 
mies, by a * Tenda' of that colour, before he gave battle. Or we will 
call it ' Gli,' or ' I Carbonari,' if it so please you — or any other name 
full of 'pastime and prodigality,' which you may prefer. * * * * 
* * Let me have an answer. I conclude poetically, with the bell- 
man, ( A merry Christmas to you !' " 

The year 1820 was an era signalized, as will be remembered, by 
the many efforts of the revolutionary spirit which, at that time, broke 
forth, like ill-suppressed fire, throughout the greater part of the South 
of Europe. In Italy, Naples had already raised the constitutional 
standard, and her example was fast operating through the whole of 
;hat country. Throughout Romagna, secret societies, under the 
name of Carbonari, had been organized, which waited but the word 
of their chiefs to break out into open insurrection. We have seen 
from Lord Byron's Journal in 1814, what intense interest he took in 
the last struggles of revolutionary France under Napoleon ; and 
his exclamations, " Oh for a Republic ! — ' Brutus, thou sleepest !' " 
show the lengths to which, in theory at least, his political zeal ex- 
tended. Since then, he had but rarely turned his thoughts to politics ; 
the tame, ordinary vicissitude of public affairs having but little in it 
to stimulate a mind like his, whose sympathies nothing short of a 
crisis seemed worthy to interest. This the present state of Italy 
gave every promise of affording him ; and, in addition to the great 
national cause itself, in which there was every thing that a lover of 

268 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

liberty, warm from the pages of Petrarch and Dante, could desire, he 
had also private ties and regards to enlist him socially in the contest. 
The brother of Madame Guiccioli, Count Pietro Gamba, who had been 
passing some time at Rome and Naples, was now returned from his 
tour ; and the friendly sentiments with which, notwithstanding a 
natural bias previously in the contrary direction, he at length learned 
to regard the noble lover of his sister, cannot better be described than 
in the words of his fair relative herself. 

" At this time," says Madame Guiccioli, " my beloved brother, Pie- 
tro, returned to Ravenna from Rome and Naples. He had been pre- 
judiced by some enemies of Lord Byron against his character, and 
my intimacy with him afflicted him greatly; nor had my letters suc- 
ceeded in entirely destroying the evil impression which Lord Byron's 
detractors had produced. No sooner, however, had he seen and known 
him, than he became inspired with an interest in his favour, such as 
could not have been produced by mere exterior qualities, but was the 
result only of that union he saw in him of all that is most great and 
beautiful, as well in the heart as mind of man. From that moment 
every former prejudice vanished, and the conformity of their opinions 
and studies contributed to unite them in a friendship, which only 
ended with their lives."* 

The young Gamba, who was, at this time, but twenty years of 
age, with a heart full of all those dreams of the regeneration of Italy, 
which not only the example of Naples, but the spirit working beneath 
the surface all around him, inspired, had, together with his father, 
who was still in the prime of life, become enrolled in the secret bands 
now organizing throughout Romagna, and Lord Byron was, by their 
intervention, admitted also among the brotherhood. The following 
heroic Address to the Neapolitan government (written by the noble 
poet in Italian,! and forwarded, it is thought, by himself to Naples, 
but intercepted on the way) will show how deep, how earnest, and 
expansive was his zeal in that great, general cause of political free- 
dom, for which he soon after laid down his life among the marshes of 


"An Englishman, a friend to liberty, having understood that the 
Neapolitans permit even foreigners to contribute to the good cause, is 

* " In quest' epoca venne a Ravenna di ritorno da B-oma e Napoli il mio 
diletto fratello Pietro. Egli era stato prevenuto da dei nemici di Lord By- 
ron contro il di lui carattere ; molto lo affligeva la mia intimita con lui, e le 
mie lettere non avevano riuscito a bene distruggere la cattiva impressione 
ricevuta dei detrattori di Lord Byron. Ma appena lo vidde e lo conobbe egli 
pure ricevesse quella impressione che non pu6 essere prodotta da dei pregi 
esteriori, ma solamente dall unione di tuttocio che vi e di piu bello e di piu 
grande nel euore e nella mente dell' uomo. Svani ogni sua anteriore pre- 
venzione contro di Lord Byron, e la conformita della loro idee e dei studii 
loro contribui a stringerli in quella amicizia che non doveva avere fine che 
colla loro vita." 

t A draft of this Address, in his own handwriting, was found among his 
papers. He is supposed to have intrusted it to a professed agent of the con- 
stitutional government of Naples, who had waited upon him secretly at Ra- 
venna, and, under the pretence of having been waylaid and robbed, induced 
hia lordship to supply him with money for his return. This man turned out 
afterward to have been a spy, and the above paper, if confided to him, fell 
most probably into the hands of the pontifical government. 

A. d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 269 

desirous that they should do him the honour of accepting a thousand 
louis, which he takes the liberty of offering. Having already, not 
long since, been an ocular witness of the despotism of the Barbarians 
in the States occupied by them in Italy, he sees, with the enthusiasm 
natural to a cultivated man, the generous determination of the Nea- 
politans to assert their well-won independence. As a member of the 
English House of Peers, he would be a traitor to the principles which 
placed the reigning family of England on the throne, if he were not 
grateful for the noble lesson so lately given both to people and to 
kings. The offer which he desires to make is small in itself, as must 
always be that presented from an individual to a nation; but he trusts 
that it will not be the last they will receive from his countrymen. 
His distance from the frontier, and the feeling of his personal incapa- 
city to contribute efficaciously to the service of the nation, prevents 
him from proposing himself as worthy of the lowest commission, for 
which experience and talent might be requisite. But if, as a mere 
volunteer, his presence were not a burden to whomsoever he might 
serve under, he would repair to whatever place the Neapolitan go- 
vernment might point out, there to obey the orders and participate in 
the dangers of his commanding officer, without any other motive than 
that of sharing the destiny of a brave nation, defending itself against 
the self-called Holy Alliance, which but combines the vice of hypo- 
crisy with despotism."* 

It was during the agitation of this crisis, while surrounded by 
rumours and alarms, and expecting, every moment, to be summoned 
into the field, that Lord Byron commenced the Journal which I am 
now about to give ; and which it is impossible to peruse, with the 
recollection of his former Diary of 1814 in our minds, without reflect- 
ing how wholly different, in all the circumstances connected with 
them, were the two periods at which these records of his passing 
thoughts were traced. The first he wrote at a time which may be 
considered, to use his own words, as " the most poetical part of his 
whole life," — not, certainly, in what regarded the powers of his genius, 

* " Un Inglese amico della liberta avendo sentito che i Napolitani permet- 
tono anche agli stranieri di contribuire alia buona causa, bramerebbe l'onore 
di vedere accettata la sua offerta di mille luigi, la quale egli azzarda di fare. 
Gia testimonio oculare non molto fa della tirannia dei Barbari negli stati da 
loro occupati nell' Italia, egli vede can tutto l'entusiasmo di un uomo ben 
nato la generosa determinazione dei Napolitani per confermare la loro bene 
acquistata indipendenza. Membro della Camera dei Pari della nazione 
Inglese egli sarebbe un traditore ai principii che hanno posto sul trono la fa- 
miglia regnante d' Inghilterra se non riconoscesse la bella lezione di bel nuovo 
data ai popoli ed ai Re. L'offerta che egli brama di presentare e poca 
in se stessa, come bisogna che sia sempre quella di un individuo ad una 
nazione, ma egli spera che non sara l'ultima dalla parte dei suoi compatri- 
otti. La sua lontananza dalle frontiere, e il sentimento della sua poca capa- 
city personale di contribuire efficacimente a servire la nazione gl' irnpedisce 
di proporsi come degno della piu piccola commissione che domanda dell' es- 
perienza e del talento. Ma, se come semplice volontario la sua presenzanon 
fosse un incomodo a quello che l'accetasse egli riparebbe a qualunque luogo 
indicato dal governo Napolitano, per ubbidire agli ordini e participare ai 
pericoli del suo superiore, senza avere altri motivi che quello di dividere i' 
destino di una brava nazione resistendo alia se dicente Santa Allianza la quale 
agguingo 1' ippocrisia al despotismo." 

270 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

to which every succeeding year added new force and range, but in all 
that may be said to constitute the poetry of character, — those fresh 
unworldly feelings, of which, in spite of his early plunge into expe- 
rience, he still retained the gloss, and that ennobling light of imagina- 
tion, which, with all his professed scorn of mankind, still followed in 
the track of his affections, giving a lustre to every object on which 
they rested. There was, indeed, in his misanthropy, as in his sorrows, 
at that period, to the full as much of fancy as of reality ; and even 
those gallantries and loves in which he at the same time entangled 
himself, partook equally, as I have endeavoured to show, of the same 
imaginative character. Though brought early under the dominion of 
the senses, he had been also early rescued from this thraldom by, in 
the first place, the satiety such excesses never fail to produce, and, at 
no long interval after, by this series of half-fanciful attachments, 
which, though in their moral consequences to society, perhaps, still 
more mischievous, had the varnish at least of refinement on the sur- 
face, and by the novelty and apparent difficulty that invested them, 
served to keep alive that illusion of imagination from which such pur- 
suits derive their sole redeeming charm. 

With such a mixture, or rather predominance, of the ideal in his 
loves, his hates, and his sorrows, the state of his existence at that pe- 
riod, animated as it was, and kept buoyant, by such a flow of success, 
must be acknowledged, even with every deduction for the unpjc- 
turesque associations of a London life, to have been, in a high degree, 
poetical, and to have worn round it altogether a sort of halo of ro- 
mance, which the events that followed were but too much calculated 
to dissipate. By his marriage, and its results, he was again brought 
back to some of those bitter realities of which his youth had had a 
foretaste. Pecuniary embarrassment, — that ordeal, of all others, the 
most trying to delicacy and high-mindedness — now beset him with 
all the indignities that usually follow in its train ; and he was thus 
rudely schooled into the advantages of possessing money, when he had 
hitherto thought but of the generous pleasure of dispensing it. No 
stronger proof, indeed, is wanting of the effect of such difficulties in 
tempering down even the most chivalrous pride, than the necessity to 
which he found himself reduced in 1816, not only of departing from 
his resolution never to profit by the sale of his works, but of accepting 
a sum of money, for copyright, from his publisher, which he had for 
some time persisted in refusing for himself, and, in the full sincerity 
of his generous heart, had destined for others. 

The injustice and malice to which he soon after became a victim 
had an equally fatal effect in disenchanting the dream of his existence. 
Those imaginary, or, at least, retrospective sorrows, in which he had 
once loved to indulge, and whose tendency it was, through the me- 
dium of his fancy, to soften and refine his heart, were now exchanged 
for a host of actual, ignoble vexations, which it was even more humi- 
liating than painful to encounter. His misanthropy, instead of being, 
as heretofore, a vague and abstract feeling, without any object to light 
upon, and loosing therefore its acrimony in diffusion, was now, by the 
hostility he came in contact with, condensed into individual enmities, 
and narrowed into personal resentments ; and from the lofty, and, as it 
appeared to himself, philosophical luxury of hating mankind in the 
gross, he was now brought down to the self-humbling necessity of 
despising them in detail. 

Bv all these influences, so fatal to enthusiasm of character, and 


a> d. 1820.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 271 

forming, most of them, indeed, apart of the ordinary process by which 
hearts become chilled and hardened in the world, it was impossible but 
that some material change must have been effected in a disposition at 
once so susceptible and tenacious of impressions. By compelling 
him to concentre himself in his own resources and energies, as 
the only stand now left against the world's injustice, his enemies but 
succeeded in giving to the principle of self-dependence within him a 
new force and spring, which, however it added to the vigour of his 
character, could not fail, by bringing Self into such activity* to 
impair a little its amiableness. Among the changes in his disposition^ 
attributable mainly to this source, may be mentioned that diminished 
deference to the opinions and feelings of others which, after this com- 
pulsory rally of all his powers of resistance, he exhibited. Some por- 
tion, no doubt, of this refractoriness may be accounted for by his ab- 
sence from all those whose slightest word or look would have done 
more with him than whole volumes of correspondence ; but by no 
cause less powerful and revulsive than the struggle in which he had 
been committed could a disposition naturally diffident as his was, 
and diffident even through all this excitement, have been driven into the 
assumption of a tone so universally defying, and so full, if not of pride, 
in his own pre-eminent powers, of such a contempt for some of the 
ablest among his contemporaries, as almost implied it. It was, in fact^, 
as has been more than once remarked in these pages, a similar stirring 
up of all the best and worst elements of his nature, to that which a like 
rebound against injustice had produced in his youth ; — though with a 
difference, in point of force and grandeur, between the two explosions, 
almost as great as between the out-breaks of a firework and a volcano. 
Another consequence of the spirit of defiance now roused in him, and 
one that tended, perhaps, even more fatally than any yet mentioned, to 
sully and, for a time, bring down to earth the romance of his character, 
was the course of life to which, outrunning even the license of his 
youth, he abandoned himself at Venice. From this, as from his ear- 
lier excesses, the timely warning of disgust soon rescued him ; and 
the connexion with Madame Guiccioli which followed, and which, 
however much to be reprehended, had in it all of marriage that his 
real marriage wanted, seemed to place, at length, within reach of his 
affectionate spirit that union and sympathy for which, through life, it 
had thirsted. But the treasure came too late ; — the pure poetry of the 
feeling had vanished, and those tears he shed so passionately in the 
garden at Bologna flowed less, perhaps, from the love which he felt at 
that moment, than from the saddening consciousness, how differently 
he could have felt formerly. It was, indeed, wholly beyond the power, 
even of an imagination like his, to go on investing with its own ideal 
glories a sentiment which, — more from daring and vanity than from 
any other impulse, — he had taken such pains to tarnish and debase in 
his own eyes. Accordingly, instead of being able, as once, to elevate 
and embellish all that interested him, to make an idol of every passing 
creature of his fancy, and mistake the form of love, which he so often 
conjured up, for its substance, he now degenerated into the wholly 
opposite and perverse error of depreciating and making light of what, 
intrinsically, he valued, and, as the reader has seen, throwing slight 
and mockery upon a tie in which it was evident some of the best feel- 
ings of his nature were wrapped up. That foe to all enthusiasm and 
romance, the habit of ridicule, had, in proportion as he exchanged the 
illusions for the realities of life, gained farther empire over him ; and 

272 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1820. 

how far it had, at this time, encroached upon the loftier and fairer 
regions of his mind may be seen in the pages of Don Juan, — that 
diversified arena, on which the two genii, good and evil, that governed 
his thoughts, hold, with alternate triumph, their ever powerful combat. 
Even this, too, this vein of mockery, — in the excess to which, at 
last, he carried it, — was but another result of the shock his proud mind 
had received from those events that had cast him off, branded and heart- 
stricken, from country and from home. As he himself touchingly 

" And if I laugh at any mortal thing, 
'T is that I may not weep." 

This laughter, — which, in such temperaments, is the near neighbour of 
tears, — served as a diversion to him from more painful vents of bitter- 
ness ; and the same philosophical calculation which made the poet of 
melancholy, Young, declare, that " he preferred laughing at the world 
to being angry with it," led Lord Byron also to settle upon the same 
conclusion ; and to feel, in the misanthropic views he was inclined to 
take of mankind, that mirth often saved him the pain of hate. 

That, with so many drawbacks upon all generous effusions of sen- 
timent, he should still have preserved so much of his native tenderness 
and ardour as is conspicuous, through all disguises, in his unquestion- 
able love for Madame Guiccioli, and in the still more undoubted zeal 
with which he now entered, heart and soul, into the great cause of 
human freedom, wheresoever, or by whomsoever, asserted,* — only 
shows how rich must have been the original stores of sensibility and 
enthusiasm which even a career such as his could so little chill or 
exhaust. Most consoling, too, is it to reflect that the few latter years 
of his life should have been thus visited with a return of that poetic 
lustre, which, though it never had ceased to surround the bard, had but 
too much faded away from the character of the man ; and that while 
Love, — reprehensible as it was, but still Love, — had the credit of res- 
cuing him from the only errors that disgraced his maturer years, for 
Liberty was reserved the proud, but mournful, triumph of calling the 
last stage of his glorious course her own, and lighting him, amid the 
sympathies of the world, to his grave. 

Having endeavoured, in this comparison between his present and 
former self, to account, by what I consider to be their true causes, for 
the new phenomena which his character, at this period, exhibited, I 

* Among his " Detached Thoughts" I find this general passion for liberty 
thus strikingly expressed. After saying, in reference to his own choice of 
Venice as a place of residence, " I remembered General Ludlow's domal in- 
scription, ' Omne solum forti patria,' and sat down free in a country which 
had been one of slavery for centuries," he adds, " But there is no freedom, 
even for masters, in the midst of slaves. It makes my blood boil to see the 
thing. I sometimes wish that I was the owner of Africa, to do at once what 
Wilberforce will do in time, viz., sweep slavery from her deserts, and look on 
upon the first dance of their freedom. 

M As to political slavery, so general, it is men's own fault : if they willbe 
slaves, let them! Yet it is but ' a word and a blow.' See how England for- 
merly, France, Spain, Portugal, America, Switzerland, freed themselves ! 
There is no one instance of a long contest in which men did not triumph over 
systems. If Tyranny misses her fust spring, she is cowardly as the tiger, and 
retires to be hunted."' 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 273 

shall now lay before the reader the Journal by which these remarks 
were more immediately suggested, and from which I fear they will be 
thought to have too long detained him. 


" Ravenna, January 4th, 1821. 

" * A sudden thought strikes me.' Let me begin a Journal once more. 
The last I kept was in Switzerland, in record of a tour made in the 
Bernese Alps, which I made to send to my sister in 1816, and I sup- 
pose that she has it still, for she wrote to me that she was pleased with 
it. Another, and longer, I kept in 1813-1814, which I gave to Thomas 
Moore in the same year. 

" This morning I gat me up late, as usual — weather bad — bad as 
England — worse. The snow of last week melting to the sirocco of 
to-day, so that there were two d — d things at once. Could not even 
get to ride on horseback in the forest. Stayed at home all the morn- 
ing — looked at the fire — wondered when the post would come. Post 
came at the Ave Maria, instead of half-past one o'clock, as it ought. 
Galignani's Messengers, six in number — a letter from Faenza, but none 
from England. Very sulky in consequence (for there ought to have 
been letters), and ate in consequence a copious dinner; for when I am 
vexed, it makes me swallow quicker — but drank very little. 

" I was out of spirits — read the papers — thought whatyarae was, on 
reading, in a case of murder, that ' Mr. Wych, grocer, at Tunbridge, 
sold some bacon, flour, cheese, and, it is believed, some plums, to some 

fipsy woman accused. He had on his counter (I quote faithfully) a 
ook, the Life of Pamela, which he was tearing for waste paper, &c. &c. 
In the cheese was found, &c.,and a leaf 'of Pamela wrapped round the 
bacon.' What would Richardson, the vainest and luckiest of living 
authors (i. e. while alive) — he who, with Aaron Hill, used to prophesy 
and chuckle over the presumed fall of Fielding (the prose Homer of 
human nature) and of Pope (the most beautiful of poets) — what would 
he have said could he have traced his pages from their place on the 
French prince's toilets (see Boswell's Johnson) to the grocer's counter 
and the gipsy-murderess's bacon ! ! ! 

" What would he have said 1 what can any body say, save what 
Solomon said long before us 1 After all, it is but passing from one 
counter to another, from the bookseller's to the other tradesman's— 
grocer or pastry-cook. For my part, I have met with most poetry upon 
trunks ; so that I am apt to consider the trunk-maker as the sexton of 

" Wrote five letters in about half an hour, short and savage, to all my 
rascally correspondents. Carriage came. Heard the news of three 
murders at Faenza and Forli — a carabinier, a smuggler, and an attorney 
— all last night. The first two in a quarrel, the latter by premeditation. 

" Three weeks ago — almost a month — the 7th it was — I picked up 
the Commandant, mortally wounded, out of the street ; he died in my 
house ; assassins unknown, but presumed political. His brethren wrote 
from Rome last night to thank me for having assisted him in his last 
moments. Poor fellow ! it was a pity ; he was a good soldier, but 
imprudent. It was eight in the evening when they killed him. We 
heard the shot ; my servants and I ran out, and found him expiring, 
with five wounds, two whereof mortal — by slugs they seemed. I ex- 
amined him, but did not go to the dissection next morning. 

Vol. II.— S 

274 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

" Carriage at 8 or so — went to visit La Contessa G. — found her 
playing on the piano-forte — talked till ten, when the Count, her father, 
and the no less Count, her brother, came in from the theatre. Play, 
they said, Alfieri's Filippo — well received. 

" Two days ago the king of Naples passed through Bologna on his 
way to congress. My servant Luigi brought the news. 1 had sent 
him to Bologna for a lamp. How will it end 1 Time will show. 

" Came home at eleven, or rather before. If the road and weather 
are conformable, mean to ride to-morrow. High time — almost a week 
at this work — snow, sirocco, one day — frost and snow the other — sad 
climate for Italy. But the two seasons, last and present, are extra- 
ordinary. Read a Life of Leonardo da Vinci by Rossi — ruminated — 
wrote this much, and will go to bed. 

" January 5th, 1821. 

" Rose late — dull and drooping — the weather dripping and dens& 
Snow on the ground, and sirocco above in the sky, like yesterday. 
Roads up to the horse's belly, so that riding (at least for pleasure) is 
not very feasible. Added a postcript to my letter to Murray. Read 
the conclusion, for the fiftieth time (1 have read all W. Scott's novels 
at least fifty times) of the third series of ' Tales of my Landlord,' — 
grand work — Scotch Fielding, as well as great English poet — wonder- 
ful man ! I long to get drunk with him. 

" Dined versus six o' the clock. Forgot that there was a plum-pud- 
ding (I have added, lately, eating to my ' family of vices'), and had 
dined before I knew it. Drank half a bottle of some sort of spirits — 
probably spirits of wine ; for, what they call brandy, rum, &c. &c. here 
is nothing but spirits of wine, coloured accordingly. Did not eat two 
apples, which were placed, by way of dessert. Fed the two cats, the 
hawk, and the tame (but not tamed) crow. Read Mitford's History of 
Greece — Xenophon's Retreat of the Ten Thousand. Up to this pre- 
sent moment writing, 6 minutes before 8 o' the clock — French hours, 
not Italian. 

" Hear the carriage — order pistols and great coat, as usual — neces- 
sary articles. Weather cold — carriage open, and inhabitants somewhat 
savage — rather treacherous and highly inflamed by politics. Fine fel- 
lows, though — good materials for a nation. Out of chaos God made 
a world, and out of high passions comes a people. 

" Clock strikes — going out to make love. Somewhat perilous, but 
not disagreeable. Memorandum — a new screen put up to-day. It is 
rather antique, but will do with a little repair. 

" Thaw continues — hopeful that riding may be practicable to-mor- 
row. Sent the papers to All' — grand events coming. 

"11 o' the clock and nine, minutes. Visited La Contessa G. Nata 
G. G. Found her beginning my letter of answer to the thanks of 
Alessio del Pinto of Rome for assisting his brother the late Command- 
int in his last moments, as I had begged her to pen my reply for the 
purer Italian, I being an ultra-montane, little skilled in the set phrase 
of Tuscany. Cut short the letter — finish it another day. Talked of 
Italy, patriotism, Alfieri, Madame Albany, and other branches of learn- 
ing. Also Sallust's Conspiracy of Catiline, and the war of Jugurtha. 
At 9 came in her brother, II Conte Pietro — at 10, her father, Conte 

" Talked of various modes of warfare — of the Hungarian and High- 
land modes of broadsword exercise, in both whereof I was once a 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 275 

moderate ' master of fence.' Settled that the R. will break out on the 
7th or 8th of March, in which appointment I should trust, had it not 
been settled that it was to have broken out in October, 1820. But those 
Bolognese shirked the Romagnuoles. 

" ' It is all one to Ranger.' One must not be particular, but take re- 
bellion when it lies in the way. Came home — read the ' Ten Thou- 
sand' again, and will go to bed. 

"Mem. — Ordered Fletcher (at four o'clock this afternoon) to copy 
out 7 or 8 apophthegms of Bacon, in which 1 have detected such blun- 
ders as a schoolboy might detect, rather than commit. Such are the 
sages ! What must they be, when such as I can stumble on their mis- 
takes or mistatements ? I will go to bed, for I find that I grow cynical. 

" January 6th, 1821. 

" Mist — thaw — slop — rain. No stirring out on horseback. Read 
Spence's Anecdotes. Pope a fine fellow — always thought him so. 
Corrected blunders in nine apophthegms of Bacon — all historical—and 
read Mitford's Greece. Wrote an epigram. Turned to a passage in 
Guinguene — ditto, in Lord Holland's Lope de Vega. Wrote a note on 
Don Juan. 

"At eight went out to visit. Heard a little music — like music. 
Talked with Count Pietro G. of the Italian comedian Vestris, who is 
now at Rome — have seen him often act in Venice — a good actor — very. 
Somewhat of a mannerist ; but excellent in broad comedy, as well as 
in the sentimental pathetic. He has made me frequently laugh and 
cry, neither of which is now a very easy matter — at least, for a player 
to produce in me. 

" Thought of the state of women under the ancient Greeks — con- 
venient enough. Present state, a remnant of the barbarism of the 
chivalry and feudal ages — artificial and unnatural. They ought to 
mind home— and be well fed and clothed — but not mixed in society. 
Well educated, too, in religion — but to read neither poetry nor politics 
--nothing but books of piety and cookery. Music — drawing — dancing 
- -also a little gardening and ploughing now and then. I have seen 
them mending the roads in Epirus with good success. Why not, as 
well as hay-making and milking] 

" Came home, and read Mitford again, and played with my mastiff 
— gave him his supper. Made another reading to the epigram, but the 
turn the same. To-night at the theatre, there being a prince on his 
throne in the last scene of the comedy, — the audience laughed, and 
asked him for a Constitution. This shows the state of the public mind 
here, as well as the assassinations. It won't do. There must be a uni- 
versal republic, — and there ought to be. 

" The crow is lame of a leg — wonder how it happened — some fool 
trod upon his toe, I suppose. The falcon pretty brisk — the cats large 
and noisy — the monkeys I have not looked to since the cold weather, 
as they suffer by being brought up. Horses must be gay — get a ride 
as soon as weather serves. Deused muggy still — an Italian winter is 
a sad thing, but all the other seasons are charming. 

" What is the reason that I have been, all my lifetime, more or less 
ennuyt? and that, if any thing, I am rather less so now than I was at 
twenty, as far as my recollection serves ] I do not know how to an- 
swer this, but presume that it is constitutional, — as well as the waking 
in low spirits,which I have invariably done for many years. Temper- 


276 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

ance and exercise, which I have practised at times, and for a long 
time together vigorously and violently, made little or no difference. 
Violent passions did; — when under their immediate influence — it is 
odd, but — I was in agitated, but not in depressed spirits. 

" A. dose of salts has the effect of a temporary inebriation, like light 
champaign, upon me. But wine and spirits make me sullen and sa- 
vage to ferocity — silent, however, and retiring, and not quarrelsome, 
if not spoken to. Swimming also raises my spirits, — but in general 
they are low, and get daily lower. That is hopeless ; for I do not think 
I am so much ennuyt as 1 was at nineteen. The proof is, that then I 
must game, or drink, or be in motion of some kind, or I was misera- 
ble. At present, I can mope in quietness; and like being alone bet- 
ter than any company — except the lady's whom I serve. But I feel 
a something, which makes me think that, if 1 ever reach near to old 
age, like Swift, ' I shall die at top' first. Only I do not dread idiotism 
or madness so much as he did. On the contrary, I think some quieter 
stages of both must be preferable to much of what men think the pos- 
session of their senses. 

"January 7th, 1821, Sunday. 

" Still rain — mist — snow — drizzle — and all the incalculable com- 
binations of a climate, where heat and cold struggle for mastery. 
Read Spence, and turned over Roscoe, to find a passage 1 have not 
found. Read the 4th vol. of W. Scott's second series of ' Tales of my 
Landlord.' Dined. Read the Lugano Gazette. Read — I forget 
what. At 8 went to conversazione. Found there the Countess Gel- 
trude, Betti V. and her husband, and others. Pretty black-eyed wo- 
man that — only twenty-two — same age as Teresa, who is prettier, 

" The Count Pietro G. took me aside to say that the Patriots have 
had notice from Forli (twenty miles off) that to-night the government 
and its party mean to strike a stroke — that the Cardinal here has had 
orders to make several arrests immediately, and that, in consequence, 
the Liberals are arming, and have posted patroles in the streets, to 
sound the alarm and give notice to fight for it. 

" He asked me ' what should be done 1 ?' — I answered, 'fight for it, 
rather than be taken in detail ;' and offered, if any of them are in imme- 
diate apprehension of arrest, to receive them in my house (which is 
defensible), and to defend them, with my servants and themselves (we 
have arms and ammunition), as long as we can, — or to try to get them 
away under cloud of night. On going home, I offered him the pistols 
which I had about me — but he refused, but said he would come off to 
me in case of accidents. 

" It wants half an hour of midnight, and rains ; — as Gibbet says, ■ a 
fine night for their enterprise — dark as hell, and blows like the devil.' 
If the row do n't happen nom\ it must soon. I thought that their system 
of shooting people would soon produce a reaction — and now it seems 
coming. I will do what I can in the way of combat, though a little out 
of exercise. The cause is a good one. 

" Turned over and over half a score of books for the passage in 
question, and can't find it. Expect to hear the drum and the mus- 
ketry momently (for they swear to resist, and are right) — but I hear 
nothing, as yet, save the plash of the rain and the gusts of the wind at 
intervals. Do n't like to go to bed, because 1 hate to be waked, and 
would rather sit up for the row, if there is to be one. 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 277 

" Mended the fire — have got the arms — and a book or two, which I 
shall turn over. I know little of their numbers, but think the Carbo- 
nari strong enough to beat the troops, even here. With twenty men 
this house might be defended for twenty-four hours against any force 
to be brought against it, now in this place, for the same time; and, in 
such a time, the country would have notice, and would rise, — if ever 
they will rise, of which there is some doubt. In the mean time, I may 
as well read as do any thing else, being alone. 

" January 8th, 1821, Monday. 

" Rose, and found Count P. G. in my apartments. Sent away the 
servant. Told me that, according to the best information, the Go- 
vernment, had not issued orders for the arrests apprehended ; that the 
attack in Forli had not taken place (as expected) by the Sanfedisti — 
the opponents of the Carbonari or Liberals — and that, as yet, they are 
still in apprehension only. Asked me for some arms of a better sort, 
which I gave him. Settled that, in case of a row, the Liberals were to 
assemble here (with me), and that he had given the word to Vincenzo 
G. and others of the Chiefs for that purpose. He himself and father 
are going to the chase in the forest; but V. G. is to come to me, and 
an express to be sent off to him, P. G., if any thing occurs. Con- 
certed operations. They are to seize — but no matter. 

"I advised them to attack in detail, and in different parties, in dif- 
ferent places (though at the same time), so as to divide the attention 
of the troops, who, though few, yet being disciplined, would beat any 
body of people (not trained) in a regular fight — unless dispersed in 
small parties, and distracted with different assaults. Offered to let 
them assemble here, if they choose. It is a strongish post — narrow 
street, commanded from within — and tenable walls. * * * 

"Dined. Tried on a new coat. Letter to Murray, with corrections 
of Bacon's Apophthegms and an epigram — the latter not for publica- 
tion. At eight went to Teresa, Countess G. * * * * 
At nine and a half came in II Conte P. and Count P. G. Talked of 
a certain proclamation lately issued. Count R. G. had been with * * 
(the * *), to sound him about the arrests. He,* *, is a trimmer, and 
deals, at present, his cards with both hands. If he do n't mind, they '11 
be full. * * pretends (/ doubt him — they do n't, — we shall see) 
that there is no such order, and seems staggered by the immense ex- 
ertions of the Neapolitans, and the fierce spirit of the Liberals here. 
The truth is, that * * cares for little but his place (which is a good 
one) and wishes to play pretty with both parties. He has changed his 
mind thirty times these last three moons, to my knowledge, for he 
corresponds with me. But he is not a bloody fellow — only an avari- 
cious one. 

" It seems that, just at this moment (as Lydia Languish says) there 
will be no elopement after all. I wish that I had known as much last 
night — or, rather, this morning — I should have gone to bed two hours 
earlier. And yet 1 ought not to complain; for, though it is a sirocco, 
and heavy rain, I have not yawned for these two days. 

" Came home — read History of Greece — before dinner had read 
Walter Scott's Rob Roy. Wrote address to the letter in answer to 
Alessio del Pinto, who has thanked me for helping his brother (the late 
Commandant, murdered here last month) in his last moments. Have 
told him I only did a duty of humanity— as is true. The brother lives 
at Rome. 

278 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

" Mended the fire with some ■ sgobole' (a Romagnuole word), and 
gave the falcon some water. Drank some Seltzer-water. Mem. — 
received to-day a print, or etching - , of the story of Ugolino, by an Ita- 
lian painter — different, of course, from Sir Joshua Reynolds's, and I 
think (as far as recollection goes) no worse, for Reynolds is not good 
in history. Tore a button in my new coat. 

" 1 wonder what figure these Italians will make in a regular row. I 
sometimes think that, like the Irishman's gun (somebody had sold him 
a crooked one), they will only do for 'shooting round a corner;' at 
least this sort of shooting has been the late tenor of their exploits. 
And yet, there are materials in this people, and a noble energy, if well 
directed. But who is to direct them? No matter. Out of such times 
heroes spring. Difficulties are the hot-beds of high spirits, and Free- 
dom the mother of the few virtues incident to human nature. 

"Tuesday, January 9th, 1821. 
" Rose — the day fine. Ordered the horses, but Lega (my secretary, 
an Italianism for steward or chief servant) coming to tell me that the 
painter had finished the work in fresco, for the room he has been 
employed on lately, I went to see it before I set out. The painter has 
not copied badly the prints from Titian, &c, considering all things. * 

" Dined. Read Johnson's ' Vanity of Human Wishes,' — all the 
examples and mode of giving them sublime, as well as the latter part, 
with the exception of an occasional couplet. I do not so much 
admire the opening. I remember an observation of Sharpe's (the 
Conversationist, as he was called in London, and a very clever man), 
that the first line of this poem was superfluous, and that Pope (the 
very best of poets I think) would have begun at once, only changing 
the punctuation — 

' Survey mankind from China to Peru !' 

The former line, ' Let observation,' &c, is certainly heavy and useless. 
But 't is a grand poem — and so true ! — true as the 10th of Juvenile him- 
self. The lapse of ages changes all things — time — language — the 
earth — the bounds of the sea — the stars of the sky, and every thing 
• about, around, and underneath' man, except man himself, who has 
always been, and always will be, an unlucky rascal. The infinite 
variety of lives conducts but to death, and the infinity of wishes leads 
but to disappointment. All the discoveries which have yet been 
made have multiplied little but existence. An extirpated disease is 
succeeded by some new pestilence; and a discovered world has 
brought little to the old one, except the p — first and freedom after- 
ward — the latter a fine thing, particularly as they gave it to Europe in 
exchange for slavery. But it is doubtful whether * the Sovereigns' 
would not think the first the best present of the two to their subjects. 
" At eight went out — heard some news. They say the king of 
Naples has declared, by couriers from Florence, to the Powers (as they 
call now those wretches with crowns) that his Constitution was com- 
pulsive, &c. &c, and that the Austrian barbarians are placed again on 
war pay, and will march. Let them — * they come like sacrifices in 
tiieir trim,' the hounds of hell ! Let it rtill be a hope to see their bones 

Eiled like those of the human dogs at Morat, in Switzerland, which I 
ave seen. 

A . d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 279 

* Heard some music. At nine the usual visiters — news, war, or 
rumours of war. Consulted with P. G. &c. &c. They mean to in- 
surreci here, and are to honour me with a call thereupon. I shall not 
fall back; though 1 do n't think them in force or heart sufficient to 
make much of it. But onward! — it is now the time to act, and what 
signifies self, if a single spark of that which would be worthy of the 
past can be bequeathed unquenchedly to the future 1 It is not one man, 
nor a million, but the spirit of liberty which must be spread. The 
waves which dash upon the shore are, one by one, broken, but yet the 
ocean conquers, nevertheless. It overwhelms the Armada, it wears 
the rock, and, if the Neptunians are to be believed it has not only de- 
stroyed, but made a world. In like manner, whatever the sacrifice of 
individuals, the great cause will gather strength, sweep down what is 
rugged, and fertilize (for sea-weed is manure) what is cultivable. And 
so, the mere selfish calculation ought never to be made on such occa- 
sions; and, at present, it shall not be computed by me. I was never 
a good arithmetician of chances, and shall not commence now. 

" January 10th, 1821. 

" Day fine — rained only in the morning. Looked over accounts. 
Read Campbell's Poets — marked errors of Tom (the author) for cor- 
rection. Dined — went out — music — Tryolese air, with variations. 
Sustained the cause of the original simple air against the variations 
of the Italian school. ******** 

" Politics somewhat tempestuous, and cloudier daily. To-morrow 
being foreign post-day, probably something more will be known. 

" Came home — read. Corrected Tom Campbell's slips of the pen. 
A good work, though — style affected — but his defence of Pope is 
glorious. To be sure, it is his own cause too, — but no matter it is 
very good, and does him great credit. 

" Midnight. 
" I have been turning over different Lives of the Poets. I rarely 
read their works, unless an occasional flight over the classical ones, 
Pope, Dryden, Johnson, Gray, and those who approach them nearest 
(I leave the rant of the rest to the cant of the day), and — I had made 
several reflections, but I feel sleepy, and may as well go to bed. 

"January 11th, 1821. 

" Read the letters. Corrected the tragedy and the ' Hints from 
Horace.' Dined, and got into better spirits. Went out — returned-^- 
finished letters, five in number. Read Poets, and an anecdote in 

" All 1 , writes to me that the Pope, and Duke of Tuscany, and King 
of Sardinia have also been called to Congress; but the Pope will only 
deal there by proxy. So the interests of millions are in the hands of 
about twenty coxcombs, at a place called Leibach ! 

" I should almost regret that my own affairs went well, when those 
of nations are in peril. If the interests of mankind could be esssn- 
tially bettered (particularly of these oppressed Italians), I should not 
so much mind my own ' sma' peculiar.' God grant us all better times, 
or more philosophy. 

" In reading, 1 have just chanced upon an expression of Tom Camp- 
bell's ; — speaking of Collins, he says that ' no reader cares any mora 
about the characteristic manners of his Eclogues than about the authen 

280 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

ticity of the tale of Troy.' 'T is false — we do care about * the authen- 
ticity of the tale of Troy. 5 I have stood upon that plain daily, for 
more than a month, in 1810; and, if any thing diminished my plea- 
sure, it was that the blackguard Bryant had impugned its veracity. 
It is true I read ' Homer Travestied' (the first twelve books), because 
Hobhouse and others bored me with their learned localities, and 1 love 
quizzing. But I still venerated the grand original as the truth of history 
(in the material facts) and of place. Otherwise, it would have given 
me no delight. Who will persuade me, when I reclined upon a mighty 
tomb, that it did not contain a hero 1 — its very magnitude proved this. 
Men do not labour over the ignoble and petty dead — and why should 
not the dead be Homer's dead 1 The secret of Tom Campbell's de- 
fence of inaccuracy in costume and description is, that his Gertrude, &c. 
has no more locality in common with Pennsylvania than with Pen- 
manmaur. It is notoriously full of grossly false scenery, as all 
Americans declare, though they praise parts of the Poem. It is thus 
that self-love for ever creeps out, like a snake, to sting any thing 
which happens, even accidentally, to stumble upon it. 

"January 12th, 1821. 

" The weather still so humid and impracticable, that London, in its 
most oppressive fogs, were a summer-bower to this mist and sirocco, 
which has now lasted (but with one day's interval), checkered with 
snow or heavy rain only, since the 30th of December, 1820. It is so 
far lucky that I have a literary turn ; — but it is very tiresome not to be 
able to stir out, in comfort, on any horse but Pegasus, for so many 
days. The roads are even worse than the weather, by the long 
splashing, and the heavy soil, and the growth of the waters- 

"Read the Poets — English, that is to say — out of Campbell's edition. 
There is a good deal of taffeta in some of Tom's prefatory phrases, 
but his work is good as a whole. I like him best, though, in his own 

" Murray writes that they want to act the Tragedy of Marino Fa- 
liero ; more fools they — it was written for the closet. I have protested 
against this piece of usurpation (which, it seems, is legal for mana- 
gers over any printed work, against the author's will), and I hope they 
will not attempt it. Why do n't they bring out some of the number- 
less aspirants for theatrical celebrity, now encumbering their shelves, 
instead of lugging me out of the library 1 I have written a fierce pro- 
test against any such attempt, but I still would hope that it will not 
be necessary, and that they will see, at once, that it is not intended 
for the stage. It is too regular — the time, twenty-four hours — the 
change of place not frequent — nothing ?ne/o-dramatic — no surprises, 
no starts, nor trap-doors, nor opportunities ' for tossing their heads 
and kicking their heels' — and no love — the grand ingredient of a 
modern play. 

" I have found out the seal cut on Murray's letter. It is meant for 
Walter Scott— or Sir Walter — he is the first poet knighted since Sir 
Richard Blackmore. But it does not do him justice. Scott's — parti- 
cularly when he recites — is a very intelligent countenance, and this 
seal says nothing. 

" Scott is certainly the most wonderful writer of the day. His 
novels are a new literature in themselves, and his poetry as good as 
any — if not better (only on an erroneous system) — and only ceased 
to be so popular, because the vulgar learned were tired of hearing 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 281 

4 Aristides called the Just' and Walter Scott the Best, and ostracised 

" I like him, too, for his manliness of character, for the extreme 
pleasantness of his conversation, and his good-nature towards myself, 
personally. May he prosper ! — for he deserves it. I know no read- 
ing- to which I fall with such alacrity as a work of W. Scott's. I shall 
give the seal, with his bust on it, to Madame la Contesse G. this eve- 
ning, who will be curious to have the effigies of a man so celebrated. 

" How strange are our thoughts, &c. &c. &c* 


" Midnight. 
Read the Italian translation by Guido Sorelli of the German Grill- 
parzer — a devil of a name, to be sure, for posterity ; but they must 
learn to pronounce it. With all the allowance for a translation, and, 
above all, an Italian translation (they are the very worst of translators, 
except from the Classics — Annibale Caro, for instance — and there the 
bastardy of their language helps them, as, by way of looking legiti- 
mate, they ape their father's tongue) — but with every allowance for 
such a disadvantage, the tragedy of Sappho is superb and sublime ! 
There is no denying it. The man has done a great thing in writing 
that play. And who is he ? I know him not ; but ages will. 'T is a 
high intellect. 

" I must premise, however, that I have read nothing of Adolph 
Mullner's (the author of ' Guilt'), and much less of Goethe, and Schiller, 
ind Wieland than I could wish. I only know them through the me- 
dium of English, French, and Italian translations. Of the real lan- 
guage I know absolutely nothing, — except oaths learned from postillions 
and officers in a squabble. I can swear in German potently, when I 
like — * Sacrament — Verflutcher — Hundsfott' — and so forth; but I have 
little of their less energetic conversation. 

" I like, however, their women (I was once so desperately in love 
with a German woman, Constance), and all that I have read, translated 
of their writings, and all that I have seen on the Rhine of their coun- 
try and people — all, except the Austrians, whom I abhor, loathe, and 
— I cannot find words for my hate of them, and should be sorry to find 
deeds correspondent to my hate ; for 1 abhor cruelty more than I 
abhor the Austrians — except on an impulse, and then I am savage-— 
but not deliberately so. 

" Grillparzer is grand — antique — not so simple as the ancients, but 
very simple for a modern — too Madame de StaeWsft, now and then — 
but altogether a great and goodly writer. 

"January 13th, 1821, Saturday. 

" Sketched the outline and Drams. Pers. of an intended tragedy of 
Sardanapalus, which I have for some time meditated. Took the 
names from Diodorus Siculus (I know the history of Sardanapalus, 
and have known it since I was twelve years old), and read over a 
passage in the ninth vol. octavo of Mitford's Greece, where he rather 
vindicates the memory of this last of the Assyrians. 

" Dined — news come — the Powers mean to war with the peoples. 
The intelligence seems positive — let it be so — they will be beaten in 
the end. The king-times are fast finishing. There will be blood 

* Here follows a long passage, already extracted, relative to Ids early 
friend, Edward Noel Long. 

282 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

shed like water, and tears like mist ; but the peoples will conquer in 
the end. I shall not live to see it, but I foresee it. 

" I carried Teresa the Italian translation of Grillparzer's Sappho, 
which she promises to read. She quarrelled with me, because I said 
that love was not the loftiest theme for true tragedy; and, having the 
advantage of her native language, and natural female eloquence, she 
overcame my fewer arguments. I believe she was right. 1 must put 
more love into ' Sardanapalus' than I intended. I speak, of course, ij 
the times will allow me leisure. That if will hardly be a peacemaker. 

"January 14th, 1821. 
" Turned over Seneca's tragedies. Wrote the opening lines of the 
intended tragedy of Sardanapalus. Rode out some miles into the 
forest. Misty and rainy. Returned — dined — wrote some more of 
my tragedy. 

" Read Diodorus Siculus — turned over Seneca, and some other 
books. Wrote some more of the tragedy. Took a glass of grog. 
After having ridden hard in rainy weather, and scribbled, and scrib- 
bled again, the spirits (at least mine) need a little exhilaration, and I 
do n't like laudanum now as I used to do. So I have mixed a glass 
of strong waters and single waters, which I shall now proceed to 
empty. Therefore and thereunto I conclude this day's diary. 

" The effect of all wines and spirits upon me is, however, strange. 
It settles, but it makes me gloomy — gloomy at the very moment of 
their effect, and not gay hardly ever. But it composes for a time, 
though sullenly. 

"January 15th, 1821. 
" Weather fine. Received visit. Rode out into the forest — fired 
pistols. Returned home — dined — dipped into a volume of Mitford's 
Greece — wrote part of a scene of * Sardanapalus.' Went out — heard 
some music — heard some politics. More ministers from the other 
Italian powers gone to Congress. W'ar seems certain — in that case, 
It will be a savage one. Talked over various important matters with 
one of the initiated. At ten and half returned home. 

" I have just thought of something odd. In the year 1814, Moore 
(* the poet,' par excellence, and he deserves it) and I were going to- 
gether, in the same carriage, to dine with Earl Grey, the Capo Politico 
of the remaining Whigs. Murray, the magnificent (the illustrious 
publisher of that name), had just sent me a Java gazette — I know not 
why or wherefore. Pulling it out, by way of curiosity, we found it 
to contain a dispute (the said Java gazette) on Moore's merits and 
mine. I think, if I had been there, that I could have saved them the 
trouble of disputing on the subject. But, there is fame for you at 
six-and-twenty ! Alexander had conquered India at the same age ; 
but I doubt if he was disputed about, or his conquests compared with 
those of Indian Bacchus, at Java. 

" It was great fame to be named with Moore ; greater to be com- 
pared with him; greatest — pleasure, at least— to be with him; and, 
surely, an odd coincidence, that we should be dining together while 
they were quarrelling about us beyond the equinoctial line. 

" Well, the same evening, I met Lawrence, the painter, and heard 
one of Lord Grey's daughters fa fine, tall, spirit-looking girl, with 
much of the patrician, thorough-bred look of her father, which I dote 
upon) play on the harp, so modestly and ingenuously, that she looked 
music. Well, I would rather have had my talk with Lawrence (who 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 283 

talked delightfully) and heard the girl, than have had all the fame of 
Moore and me put together. 

" The only pleasure of fame is that it paves the way to pleasure ; 
and the more intellectual our pleasure, the better for the pleasure and 
for us too. It was, however, agreeable to have heard our fame before 
dinner, and a girl's harp after. 

" January 16th, 1821. 

" Read — rode — fired pistols — returned — dined — wrote — visited — 
heard music — talked nonsense — and went home. 

" Wrote part of a Tragedy— advance in Act 1st with * all deliberate 
speed.' Bought a blanket. The weather is still muggy as a London 
May — mist, mizzle, the air replete with Scotticisms, which, though 
fine in the descriptions of Ossian, are somewhat tiresome, in real, 
prosaic perspective. Politics still mysterious. 

11 January 17th, 1821. 

"Rode i' the forest — fired pistols — dined. Arrived a packet of 
books from England and Lombardy — English, Italian, French, and 
Latin. Read till eight — went out. 

"January 18th, 1821. 

" To-day, the post arriving late, did not ride. Read letters — only 
two gazettes, instead of twelve now due. Made Lega write to that 
negligent Galignani, and added a postscript. Dined. 

" At eight proposed to go out. Lega came in with a letter about a 
bill unpaid at Venice, which I thought paid months ago. I flew into 
a paroxysm of rage, which almost made me faint. I have not been 
well ever since. I deserve it for being such a fool — but it was pro- 
voking — a set of scoundrels ! It is, however, but five-and-twenty 

. " January 19th, 1821. 

"Rode. Winter's wind somewhat more unkind than ingratitude 
itself, though Shakspeare says otherwise. At least, I am so much more 
accustomed to meet with ingratitude than the north wind, that 1 thought 
the latter the sharper of the two. I had met with both in the course 
of the twenty-four hours, so could judge. 

" Thought of a plan of education for my daughter Allegra, who 
ought to begin soon with her studies. Wrote a letter — afterward a 
postscript. Rather in low spirits — certainly hippish— liver touched — 
will take a dose of salts. 

" I have been reading the Life, by himself and daughter, of Mr. R. 
L. Edgeworth, the father of the Miss Edgeworth. It is altogether a 
great name. In 1813, 1 recollect to have met them in the fashionable 
world of London (of which I then formed an item, a fraction, the seg- 
ment of a circle, the unit of a million, the nothing of something) in 
the assemblies of the hour, and at a breakfast of Sir Humphry and 
Lady Davy's, to which I was invited for the nonce. I had been the 
lion of 18 12 ; Miss Edgeworth and Madame de Stael, with * the Cossack,' 
towards the end of 1813, were the exhibitions of the succeeding year. 

"I thought Edgeworth a fine old fellow, of a clarety, elderly, red 
complexion, but active, brisk, and endless. He was seventy, but did 
not look fifty — no, nor forty-eight even. I had seen poor Fitzpatrick 
not very long before — a man of pleasure, wit, eloquence, all things. 
He tottered — but still talked like a gentleman, though feebly. Edge- 
worth bounced about, and talked loud and long ; but he seemed neither 
weakly nor decrepit, and hardly old. 

284 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

" He began by telling ' that he had given Dr. Parr a dressing, who 
had taken him for an Irish bog-trotter,' &c. &c. Now I, who know 
Dr. Parr, and who know (not by experience — for I never should have 
presumed so far as to contend with him — but by hearing him with others, 
and of others) that it is not so easy a matter to ' dress him,' thought 
Mr. Edgeworth an assertor of what was not true. He could not have 
stood before Parr an instant. For the rest, he seemed intelligent, ve- 
hement, vivacious, and full of life. He bids fair for a hundred years. 
" He was not much admired in London, and I remember a ' ryghte 
merrie' and conceited jest which was rife among the gallants of the 
day, — viz. a paper had been presented for the recall of Mrs. Siddonsto 
the stage (she having lately taken leave, to the loss of ages, — for nothing 
ever was, or can be, like her), to which all men had been called to su£ 
scribe. Whereupon, Thomas Moore, of profane and poetical memory, 
did propose that a similar paper should be subscribed and circumscribed 
'for the recall of Mr. Edgeworth to Ireland.'* 

" The fact was — every body cared more about her. She was a nice 
little unassuming • Jeannie Deans'-looking bodie,' as we Scotch say — 
and, if not handsome, certainly not ill-looking. Her conversation was 
as quiet as herself. One would never have guessed she could write 
her name; whereas her father talked, not as if he could write nothing 
else, but as if nothing else was worth writing. 

" As for Mrs. Edgeworth, I forget — except that I think she was the 
youngest of the party. Altogether, they were an excellent cage of 
the kind ; and succeeded for two months, till the landing of Madame 
de Stael. 

" To turn from them to their works, I admire them ; but they excite 
no feeling, and they leave no love — except for some Irish steward or 
postillion. However, the impression of intellect and prudence is pro- 
found — and may be useful. 

"January 20th, 1821. 
" Rode — fired pistols. Read from Grimm's Correspondence. Dined 
— went out — heard music — returned — wrote a letter to the Lord 
Chamberlain to request him to prevent the theatres from representing 
the Doge, which the Italian papers say that they are going to act. 
This is pretty work — what ! without asking my consent, and even in 
opposition to it ! 


"January 21st, 1821. 
Fine, clear, frosty day — that is to say, an Italian frost, for their 
winters hardly get beyond snow ; for which reason nobody knows how 
to skate (or skait) — a Dutch and English accomplishment. Rode 
out, as usual, and fired pistols. Good snooting — broke four common, 
and rather small, bottles, in four shots, at fourteen paces, with a com- 
mon pair of pistols and indifferent powder. Almost as good wafering 
or shooting — considering the difference of powder and pistols — as 
when, in 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1813, 1814, it was my luck to split 
walking-sticks, wafers, half-crowns, shillings, and even the eye of a 
walking-stick, at twelve paces, with a single bullet — and all by eye 
and calculation ; for my hand is not steady, and apt to change with 
the very weather. To the prowess which I here note, Joe Manton and 

* In this, I rather think he was misinformed ; — whatever merit there may 
be in the jest, I have not, as far as I can recollect, the slightest claim to it. 

A. D. 1821.] 



others can bear testimony ; — for the former taught, and the latter has 
seen me do, these feats. 

" Dined — visited — came home — read. Remarked on an anecdote 
In Grimm's Correspondence, which says that ' Regnard et la plfipart 
des poetes comiques etaient gens bilieux et melancoliques ; etque M. 
de Voltaire, qui est tres gai, n'a jamais fait que des tragedies — et que 
la comedie gaie est le seul genre ou il n'ait point reussi. C'est que 
celui qui rit et celui qui fait rire sont deux hommes fort differens.' — 
Vol. vi. 

" At this moment I feel as bilious as the best comic writer of them 
all (even as Regnard himself, the next to Moliere, who has written 
some of the best comedies in any language, and who is supposed to 
have committed suicide), and am not in spirits to continue my pro- 
posed tragedy of Sardanapalus, which I have, for some days, ceased 
to compose. 

" To-morrow is my birthday — that is to say, at twelve o' the clock, 
midnight, i. e. in twelve minutes, I shall have completed thirty and 
three years of age ! ! ! — and I go to my bed with a heaviness of heart 
at having lived so long, and to so little purpose. 

" It is three minutes past twelve. — * 'T is the middle of night by 
the castle clock,' and I am now thirty-three ! 

* Eheu, fugaces, Posthume, Posthume, 
Labuntur anni ; — ' 

but 1 do n't regret them so much for what I have done, as for what I 
might have done. 

"Through life's road, so dim and dirty, 
1 have dragg'd to three-and-thirty. 
What have these years left to me? 
Nothing — except thirty-three. 

" January 22d, 1821. 


Here lies, 

interred in the Eternity 

of the Past, 

from whence there is no 


for the Days — whatever there may be 

for the Dust — 

the Thirty-third Year 

of an ill-spent Life, 

Which, after 

a lingering disease of many months, 

sunk into a lethargy, 

and expired, 

January 22d, 1821, a. d. 

Leaving a successor 


for the very loss which 

occasioned its 


286 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821, 

" January 23d, 1821. 

" Fine day. Read — rode — fired pistols, and returned. Dined— 
read. Went out at eight — made the usual visit. Heard of nothing 
but war, — ' the cry is still, They come.' The Car 1 , seem to have no 
plan — nothing fixed among themselves, how, when, or what to do. 
In that case, they will make nothing of this project, so often postponed, 
and never put in action. 

" Came home, and gave some necessary orders, in case of circum- 
stances requiring a change of place. I shall act according to what 
may seem proper, when 1 hear decidedly what the Barbarians mean 
to do. At present, they are building a bridge of boats over the Po, 
which looks very warlike. A few days will probably show. I think 
of retiring towards Ancona, nearer the northern frontier ; that is to say, 
if Teresa and her father are obliged to retire, which is most likely, as 
all the family are Liberals. If not, I shall stay. But my movements 
will depend upon the lady's wishes, for myself, it is much the same. 

" I am somewhat puzzled what to do with my little daughter, and 
my effects, which are of some quantity and value, — and neither of 
them do in the seat of w r ar where 1 think of going. But there is an 
elderly lady who will take charge of her, and T. says that the 
Marchese C. will undertake to hold the chattels in safe keeping. 
Half the city are getting their affairs in marching trim. A pretty 
Carnival ! The blackguards might as well have waited till Lent. 

" January 24th, 1821. 

" Returned — met some masques in the Corso — ' Vive la bagatelle !' 
— the Germans are on the Po, the Barbarians at the gate, and their 
masters in council at Leybach (or whatever the eructation of the sound 
may syllable into a human pronunciation), and lo ! they dance and 
sing, and make merry, ' for to morrow they may die.' Who can say 
that the Arlequins are not right 1 Like the Lady Baussiere, and my 
old friend Burton — I ' rode on.' 

" Dined — (damn this pen !) — beef tough — there is no beef in Italy 
worth a curse ; unless a man could eat an old ox with the hide on, 
singed in the sun. 

" The principal persons in the events which may occur in a few days 
are gone out on a shooting party. If it were like a ' highland hunting,' 
a pretext of the chase for a grand reunion of counsellors and chiefs, 
it would be all very well. But it is nothing more or less than a real 
snivelling, popping, small-shot, water-hen waste of powder, ammuni- 
tion, and shot, for their own special amusement : — a rare set of fel- 
lows for ' a man to risk his neck with,' as ' Marishal Wells' sa)'s in the 
Black Dwarf. 

" If they gather, — ' whilk is to be doubted,' — they will not muster a 
thousand men. The reason of this is, that the populace are not inte- 
rested, — only the higher and middle orders. I wish that the peasantry 
were : they are a fine savage race of two-legged leopards. But the 
Bolognese won't — the Romagnuoles can't without them. Or, if they 
try — what then ? They will try, and man can do no more — and, if he 
would but try his utmost, much might be done. The Dutch, for 
instance, against the Spaniards — then, the tyrants of Europe — since r 
the slaves — and, lately, the freedmen. 

"The year 1820 was not a fortunate one for the individual me, 
whatever it may be for the nations. I lost a lawsuit, after two deci- 
sions in my favour. The project of lending money on an Irish mort- 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 287 

gage was finally rejected by my wife's trustee after a year's hope and 
trouble. The Rochdale lawsuit had endured fifteen years, and always 
prospered till I married ; since which, every thing - has gone wrong — 
with me, at least. 

" In the same year, 1820, the Countess T. G. nata G a . G 1 ., in despite 
of all I said and did to prevent it, would separate from her husband, II 
Cavalier Commendatore G'., &c. &c. &c, and all on the account of 
- P. P. clerk of this parish.' The other little petty vexations of the 
year — overturns in carriages — the murder of people before one's door, 
and dying in one's beds — the cramp in swimming — colics — indigestions 
and bilious attacks, &c. &c. &c. — 

' Many small articles make up a sum, 
And hey ho for Caleb Quotem, oh V 

" January 25th, 1821. 

" Received a letter from Lord S. 0. state secretary of the Seven 
Islands — a fine fellow — clever — dished in England five years ago, and 
came abroad to retrench and to renew. He wrote from Ancona, in his 
way back to Corfu, on some matters of our own. He is son of the late 
Duke of L. by a second marriage. He wants me to go to Corfu. 
Why not ? — perhaps I may, next spring. 

" Answered Murray's letter — read — lounged. Scrawled this addi- 
tional page of life's log-book. One day more is over, of it and of me ; 
— but 'which is best, life or death, the gods only know,' as Socrates 
said to his judges, on the breaking up of the tribunal. Two thousand 
years since that sage's declaration of ignorance have not enlightened 
us more upon this important point ; for, according to the Christian dis- 
pensation, no one can know whether he is sure of salvation — even the 
most righteous — since a single slip of faith may throw him on his 
back, like a skaiter, while gliding smoothly to his paradise. Now, 
therefore, whatever the certainty of faith in the facts may be, the cer- 
tainty of the individual as to his happiness or misery is no greater 
than it was under Jupiter. 

" It has been said that the immortality of the soul is a - grand peut- 
etre' — but still it is a grand one. Every body clings to it — the stu- 
pidest, and dullest, and wickedest of human bipeds is still persuaded 
that he is immortal. 

" January 26th, 1821. 

" Fine da}* — a few mares' tails portending change, but the sky clear, 
upon the whole. Rode — fired pistols — good shooting. Coming back, 
met an old man. Charity — purchased a shilling's worth of salvation. 
If that was to be bought, 1 have given more to my fellow-creatures in 
this life — sometimes for vice, but, if not more often, at least more con- 
siderably, for virtue — than I now possess. I never in my life gave a 
mistress so much as I have sometimes given a poor man in honest dis- 
tress ; — but, no matter. The scoundrels who have all along perse- 
cuted me (with the help of * * who has crowned their efforts) will 
triumph ; — and, when justice is done to me, it will be when this hand 
that writes is as cold as the hearts which have stung me. 

" Returning, on the bridge near the mill, met an old woman. I 
asked her age — she said, ' Tre croci'' I asked my groom (though my- 
self a decent Italian) what the devil her three crosses meant. He 
said, ninety years, and that she had five years more to boot!! I 

288 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

repeated the same three times, not to mistake — ninety-five years ! ! ! — 
and she was yet rather active — heard my question, for she answered 
it — saw me, for she advanced towards me ; and did not appear at all 
decrepit, though certainly touched with years. Told her to come to- 
morrow, and will examine her myself. I love phenomena. If she is 
ninety-five years old, she must recollect the Cardinal Alberoni, who 
was leg-ate here. 

" On dismounting-, found Lieutenant E. just arrived from Faenza. 
Invited him to dine with me to-morrow. Did not invite him for to-day, 
because there was a small turbot (Friday, fast regularly and reli- 
giously), which I wanted to eat all myself. Ate it. 

" Went out — found T. as usual — music. The gentlemen, who make 
revolutions, and are gone on a shooting, are not yet returned. They 
do n't return till Sunday — that is to say, they have been out for five days, 
buffooning, while the interests of a whole country are at stake, and 
even they themselves compromised. 

" It is a difficult part to play among such a set of assassins and 
blockheads — but, when the scum is skimmed off, or has boiled over, 
good may come of it. If this country could but be freed, what would 
be too great for the accomplishment of that desire 1 for the extinction 
of that Sigh of Ages ? Let us hope. They have hoped these thou- 
sand years. The very revolvement of the chances may bring it — it is 
upon the dice. 

" If the Neapolitans have but a single Massaniello among them, 
they will beat the bloody butchers of the crown and sabre. Holland, 
in worse circumstances, beat the Spains and Philips ; America beat 
the English ; Greece beat Xerxes ; and France beat Europe, till she 
took a tyrant ; South America beats her old vultures out of their nest; 
and, if these men are but firm in themselves, there is nothing to shake 
them from without. 

" January 28th, 1821. 

" Lugano Gazette did not come. Letters from Venice. It appears 
that the Austrian brutes have seized my three or four pounds of Eng- 
lish powder. The scoundrels ! — I hope to pay them in ball for that 
powder. Rode out till twilight. 

" Pondered the subjects of four tragedies to be written (life and 
circumstances permitting), to wit, Sardanapalus, already begun ; Cain, 
a metaphysical subject, something in the style of Manfred, but in five 
acts, perhaps, with the chorus ; Francesca of Rimini, in five acts ; and 
I am not sure that I would not try Tiberius. I think that I could ex- 
tract a something, of my tragic;, at least, out of the gloomy seques- 
tration and old age of the tyrant — and even out of his sojourn at 
Caprea — by softening the details, and exhibiting the despair which 
must have led to those very vicious pleasures. For none but a power- 
ful and gloomy mind overthrown would have had recourse to such 
solitary horrors, — being also, at the same time, old, and the master of 
the world. 

" Memoranda. 
"What is Poetry? — The feeling of a Former world and Future. 

" Thought Second. 
" Why, at the very height of desire and human pleasure, — worldly, 
social, amorous, ambitious, or even avaricious, — does there mingle a 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 289 

certain sense of doubt and sorrow — a fear of what is to come — a doubt 
of what is — a retrospect to the past, leading- to a prognostication of the 
future. (The best of Prophets of the Future is the Past.) Why is 
this ? or these ? — 1 know not, except that on a pinnacle we are most 
susceptible of giddiness, and that we never fear falling except from a 
precipice — the higher, the more awful, and the more sublime ; and, 
therefore, I am not sure that fear is not a pleasurable sensation ; at 
least, Hope is ; and what Hope is there without a deep leaven of Fear 1 
and what sensation is so delightful as Hope ? and, if it were not for 
Hope, where would the Future be 1 — in hell. It is useless to say where 
the Present is, for most of us know ; and as for the Past, what pre- 
dominates in memory 1 — Hope baffled. Ergo, in all human affairs, it is 
Hope — Hope — Hope. I allow sixteen minutes, though I never counted 
them, to any given or supposed possession. From whatever place we 
commence, we know where it all must end. And yet, what good is 
there in knowing it 1 It does not make men better or wiser. During 
the greatest horrors of the greatest plagues (Athens and Florence, for 
example — see Thucydides and Machiavelli), men were more cruel 
and profligate than ever. It is all a mystery. I feel most things, but 
I know nothing, except — — — — 


" Thought for a speech of Lucifer, in the tragedy of Cain : — 

" Were Death an evil, would / let thee live? 
Fool ! live as I live — as thy father lives, 
And thy son's sons shall live for evermore. 

" Past midnight. One o' the clock. 

" I have been reading W T . F. S * * (brother to the other of the name) 
till now, and I can make out nothing. He evidently shows a great 
power of words, but there is nothing to be taken hold of. He is like 
Hazlitt, in English, who talks pimples — a red and white corruption 
rising up (in little imitation of mountains upon maps), but containing 
nothing, and discharging nothing, except their own humours. 

" I dislike him the worse (that is, S * *), because he always seems 
upon the verge of meaning ; and, lo, he goes down like sunset, or 
melts like a rainbow, leaving a rather rich confusion, — to which, 
however, the above comparisons do too much honour. 

" Continuing to read Mr. F. S * *. He is not such a fool as I took 
him for, that is to say, when he speaks of the North. But still he 
speaks of things all over the world with a kind of authority that a phi- 
losopher would disdain, and a man of common sense, feeling, and 
knowledge of his own ignorance, would be ashamed of. The man is 
evidently wanting to make an impression, like his brother,— or like 
George in the Vicar of Wakefield, who found out that all the good 
things had been said already on the right side, and therefore * dressed 
up some paradoxes' upon the wrong side — ingenious, but false, as he 

* Thus marked, with impatient strokes of the pen, by himself in the original. 
Vol. II — T 

290 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

himseK sa}'s — to which ' the learned world said nothing, nothing at 
all, sir.' The ' learned world,' however, has said something to the 
brothers S * *. 

" It is high time to think of something else. What they say of the 
antiquities of the North is best. 

"January 29th, 1821. 

" Yesterday the woman of ninety-five years of age was with me. 
She said her eldest son (if now alive) would have been seventy. She 
is thin — short, but active — hears, and sees, and talks incessantly. 
Several teeth left— all in the lower jaw, and single front teeth. She 
is very deeply wrinkled, and has a sort of scattered gray beard over 
her chin, at least as long as my mustachios. Her head, in fact, re- 
sembles the drawing in crayons of Pope the poet's mother, which is 
in some editions of his works. 

" I forgot to ask her if she remembered Alberoni (legate here), but 
will ask her next time. Gave her a louis — ordered her a new suit of 
clothes, and put her upon a weekly pension. Till noAv, she had 
worked at gathering wood and pine-nuts in the forest, — pretty work 
at ninety-five years old ! "She had a dozen children, of whom some 
are alive. Her name is Maria Montanari. 

" Met a company of the sect (a kind of Liberal Club) called the 
' Americani' in the forest, all armed, and singing, with all their might, 
in Romagnuole — ' Sem tutti soldat' per la liberta' (' we are all soldiers 
for liberty'). They cheered me as I passed — I returned their salute, 
and rode on. This may show the spirit of .Italy at present. 

"My to-day's journal consists of what I omitted yesterday. To- 
day was much as usual. Have rather a better opinion of the writings 
of the Schlegels than I had four-and-twenty hours ago ; and will 
amend it still farther, if possible. 

" They say that the Piedmontese have at length risen — ca ira! 

" Read S * *. Of Dante he says that ' at no time has the greatest 
and most national of all Italian poets ever been much the favourite 
of his countrymen.' 'Tis false! There have been more editors and com- 
mentators (and imitators, ultimately) of Dante than of all their poets 
put together. Not a favourite ! Why, they talk Dante — write Dante 
— and think and dream Dante at this moment (1821) to an excess, 
which would be ridiculous, but that he deserves it. 

" In the same style this German talks of gondolas on the Arno — a 
precious fellow to dare to speak of Italy ! 

"He says also that Dante's chief defect is a want, in a word, o! 
gentle feelings. Of gentle feelings! — and Francesca of Rimini— 
and the father's feelings in Ugolino — and Beatrice — and ' La Pia ! 
Why, there is a gentleness in Dante beyond all gentleness, when he 
is tender. It is true that, treating of the Christian Hades, or Hell, 
there is not much scope or site for gentleness — but who but Dante 
could have introduced any ' gentleness' at all into Hell? Is there any 
in Milton's? No — and Dante's Heaven is all love, and glory, and 

" 1 o'clock. 

"I have found out, however, where the German is right — it is about 

the Vicar of Wakefield. ' Of all romances in miniature (and, perhaps, 

this is the best shape in which romance can appear), the Vicar of 

Wakefield is, I think, the most exquisite.' He thinks !— he might be 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 291 

sure. But it is very well for a S * *. I feel sleepy, and may as well 
get me to bed. To-morrow there will be fine weather. 

1 Trust on, and think to-morrow will repay.' 

" January 30th, 1821. 

" The Count P. G. this evening (by commission from the CK) trans- 
mitted to me the new words for the next six months. * * * and * * *. 
The new sacred word is * * * — the reply * * * — the rejoinder * * *. 
The former word (now changed) was * * *— there is also * * * — * * *.f 
Things seem fast coming to a crisis — qa ira ! 

" We talked over various matters of moment and movement. These 
I omit ; — if they come to any thing, they will speak for themselves. 
After these, we spoke of Kosciusko. Count R. G. told me that he 
has seen the Polish officers in the Italian war burst into tears on 
hearing his name. 

" Something must be up in Piedmont — all the letters and papers are 
stopped. Nobody knows any thing, and the Germans are concen- 
trating near Mantua. Of the decision of Leybach, nothing is known. 
This state of things cannot last long. The ferment in men's minds 
at present cannot be conceived without seeing it. 

"January 31st, 1821. 

" For several days I have not written any thing except a few an- 
swers to letters. In momentary expectation of an explosion of some 
kind, it is not easy to settle down to the desk for the higher kinds of 
composition. I could do it, to be sure, for, last summer, I wrote my 
drama in the very bustle of Madame la Contesse G.'s divorce, and all 
its process of accompaniments. At the same time, 1 also had the 
news of the loss of an important lawsuit in England. But these 
were only private and personal business ; the present is of a different 

" I suppose it is this, but have some suspicion that it may be lazi- 
ness, which prevents me from writing ; especially as Rochefoucault 
says that ' laziness often masters them all' — speaking of the passions. 
If this were true, it could hardly be said that * idleness is the root of 
all evil,' since this is supposed to spring from the passions only : ergo, 
that which masters all the passions (laziness, to wit) would in so 
much be a good. Who knows 1 


"I have been reading Grimm's Correspondence. He repeats fre- 
quently, in speaking of a poet, or of a man of genius in any depart- 
ment, even in music (Gretry, for instance), that he must have ' une 
ame qui se tourmente, un esprit violent.' How far this may be true, 
I know not ; but if it were, I should be a poet ' per eccellenza ;' for I 
have always had ' une ame,' which not only tormented itself but every 
body else in contact with it ; and an \ esprit violent,' which has almost 
left me without any 'esprit' at all. As to defining what a poet should 
be, it is not worth while, for what are they worth ? what have they 

"Grimm, however, is an excellent critic and literary historian. 

t In the original MS. these watch-words are blotted over so as to bo 


292 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

His Correspondence forms the annals of the literary part of that age 
of France, with much of her politics, and still more of her ' way of 
life.' He is as valuable, and far more entertaining than Muratori or 
Tiraboschi — I had almost said, than Guingene — but there we should 
pause. However, 't is a great man in its line. 
" Monsieur St. Lambert has 

' Et lorsqu'a ses regards la lumiere est ravie, 
II n'a plus, en mourant, aperdre que la vie.' 

This is, word for word, Thomson's 

* And dying, all we can resign is breath,' 

without the smallest acknowledgment from the Lorrainer of a poet. 
M. St. Lambert is dead as a man, and (for any thing I know to the 
contrary) damned as a poet, by this time. However, his Seasons have 
good things, and, it may be, some of his own. 

" February 2d, 1821. 

" I have been considering what can be the reason why I always 
wake at a certain hour in the morning, and always in very bad 
spirits — I may say, in actual despair and despondency, in all respects 
— even of that which pleased me over night. In about an hour or 
two, this goes off, and I compose either to sleep again, or, at least, to 
quiet. In England, five years ago, I had the same kind of hypochon- 
dria, but accompanied with so violent a thirst that I have drank as 
many as fifteen bottles of soda-water in one night, after going to bed, 
and been still thirsty — calculating, however, some lost from the 
bursting out and effervescence and overflowing of the soda-water, in 
drawing the corks, or striking off the necks of the bottles from mere 
thirsty impatience. At present, 1 have not the thirst ; but the depres- 
sion of spirits is no less violent. 

" I read in Edgeworth's Memoirs, of something similar (except that 
his thirst expended itself on small beer) in the case of Sir F. B. Delaval ; 
— but then he was, at least, twenty years older. What is it 1 — liver 1 
In England, Le Man (the apothecary) cured me of the thirst in three 
days, and it had lasted as many years. I suppose that it is all hypo- 

"What I feel most growing upon me are laziness and a disrelish 
more powerful than indifference. If I rouse, it is into fury. I pre- 
sume that I shall end (if not earlier by accident, or some such termi- 
nation) like Swift — ' dying at top.' I confess I do not contemplate 
this with so much horror as he apparently did for some years before 
it happened. But Swift had hardly begun life at the very period (thirty- 
three) when I feel quite an old sort of feel. 

" Oh ! there is an organ playing in the street — a waltz, too ! I must 
leave off to listen. They are playing a waltz, which I have heard ten 
thousand times at the balls in London, between 1812 and 1815. Music 
is a strange thing.* 

* In this little incident of the music in the streets thus touching so sud- 
denly upon the nerve of memory, and calling away his mind from its dark 
bodings to a recollection of years and scenes the happiest, perhaps, of his 
whole Life, there is something that appear.; to me peculiarly affecting. 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 293 

" February 5th, 1821. 

" At last, ' the kiln 's in a low. The Germans are ordered to march, 
and Italy is, for the ten thousandth time, to become a field of battle. 
Last night the news came. 

" This afternoon, Count P. G. came to me to consult upon divers 
matters. We rode out together. They have sent off to the C. for 
orders. To-morrow the decision ought to arrive, and then soni2thing 
will be done. Returned — dined — read — went out — talked over matters. 
Made a purchase of some armfc for the new enrolled Americani, who 
are all on tiptoe to march. Gave orders for some harness and port- 
manteaus necessary for the horses. 

"Read some of Bowles's dispute about Pope, with all the replies 
and rejoinders. Perceive that my name has been lugged into the con- 
troversy, but have not time to state what I know of the subject. On 
some ' piping day of peace' it is probable that I may resume it. 

" February 9th, 1821. 

" Before dinner wrote a little ; also, before I rode out. Count P. G. 
called upon me, to let me know the result of the meeting of the C 1 . at 
F. and at B. * * returned late last night. Every thing was com- 
bined under the idea that the Barbarians would pass the Po on the 
15th inst. Instead of this, from some previous information or other- 
wise, they have hastened their march and actually passed two days 
ago ; so that all that can be done at present in Romagna is, to stand 
on the alert and wait for the advance of the Neapolitans. Every 
thing was ready, and the Neapolitans had sent on their own instruc- 
tions and intentions, all calculated for the tenth and eleventh, on which 
days a general rising was to take place, under the supposition that the 
Barbarians could not advance before the 15th. 

" As it is, they have but fifty or sixty thousand troops, a number 
with which they might as well attempt to conquer the world as secure 
Italy in its present state. The artillery marches last, and alone, and 
there is an idea of an attempt to cut part of them off. All this will 
much depend upon the first steps of the Neapolitans. Here, the pub- 
lic spirit is excellent, provided it be kept up. This will be seen by 
the event. 

" It is probable that Italy will be delivered from the Barbarians if 
the Neapolitans will but stand firm, and are united among themselves. 
Here they appear so 

"February 10th, 1821. 

" Day passed as usual — nothing new. Barbarians still in march — 
not well equipped, and, of course, not well received on their route. 
There is some talk of a commotion at Paris. 

" Rode out between four and six — finished my letter to Murray on 
Bowles's pamphlets — added postscript. Passed the evening as usual 
— out till eleven — and subsequently at home. 

"February 11th, 1821. 
" Wrote — had a copy taken of an extract from Petrarch's Letters, 
with reference to the conspiracy of the Doge, M. Faliero, containing 
the poet's opinon of the matter. Heard a heavy firing of cannon to- 
wards Comacchio — the Barbarians rejoicing for their principal pig's 
birthday, which is to-morrow — or Saint day — I forget which. Re- 
ceived a ticket for the first ball to-morrow. Shall not go to the first, 
but intend going to the second, as also to the Veglioni. 

294 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

" February 13 th, 1821. 

" To-day read a little in Louis B.'s Hollande, but have written 
nothing since the completion of the letter on the Pope controversy. 
Politics are quite misty for the present. The Barbarians still upon 
their march. It is not easy to divine what the Italians will now do. 

" Was elected yesterday * Socio' of the Carnival ball society. This 
is the fifth carnival that I have passed. In the four former, I racketed 
a good deal. In the present, I have been as sober as Lady Grace herself. 

" February 14th, 1821. 

" Much as Urinal. Wrote, before riding out, part of a scene of 
'Sardanapalus.' The first act nearly finished. The rest of the day 
and evening as before — partly without, in conversazione — partly at 

"Heard the particulars of the late fray at Russi, a town not far 
from this. It is exactly the fact of Romeo and Giulietta — not Romeo, 
as the Barbarian writes it. Two families of Contadini (peasants) are 
at feud. At a ball, the younger part of the families forget their 
quarrels, and dance together. An old man of one of them enters, and 
reproves the young men for dancing with the females of the opposite 
family. The male relatives of the latter resent this. Both parties 
rush home, and arm themselves. They meet directly, by moonlight, 
in the public way, and fight it out. Three are killed on the spot, and 
six wounded, most of them dangerously, — pretty well for two fami- 
lies, methinks — and all fact, of the last week. Another assassination 
has taken place at Cesenna, — in all about forty in Romagna within 
these last three months. These people retain much of the middle ages. 

"February 15th, 1821. 
" Last night finished the first act of Sardanapalus. To-night*, or 
to-morrow, I ought to answer letters. 

" February 1 6th, 1821. 

" Last night II Conte P. G. sent a man with a bag full of bayonets, 
some muskets, and some hundreds of cartridges to my house, without 
apprizing me, though I had seen him not half an hour before. About 
ten days ago, when there was to be a rising here, the Liberals and 
my brethren C 1 . asked me to purchase some arms for a certain few of 
our ragamuffins. I did so immediately, and ordered ammunition, &c. 
and they were armed accordingly. Well — the rising is prevented by 
the Barbarians marching a week sooner than appointed ; and an order 
is issued, and in force, by the Government, ' that all persons having 
arms concealed, &c. &c. shall be liable to,' &c. &c. — and what do my 
friends, the patriots, do two days afterward 1 Why, they throw back 
upon my hands, and into my house, these very arms (without a word 
of warning previously) with which I had furnished them at their own 
request, and at my own peril and expense. 

" It was lucky that Lega was at home to receive them. If any of 
the servants had (except Tita and F. and Lega) they would have be- 
trayed it immediately. In the mean time, if they are denounced, or 
discovered, I shall be in a scrape. 

" At nine went out — at eleven returned. Beat the crow for stealing 
the falcon's victuals. Read ■ Tales of my Landlord' — wrote a letter — 
and mixed a moderate beaker of water with other ingredients. 

a d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 295 

"February 18th, 1821. 

" The news are that the Neapolitans have broken a bridge, and 
slain four pontifical carabiniers, whilk carabiniers wished to oppose. 
Besides the disrespect to neutrality, it is a pity that the first blood 
shed in this German quarrel should be Italian. However, the war 
seems begun in good earnest ; for, if the Neapolitans kill the Pope's 
carabiniers, they will not be more delicate towards the Barbarians. 
If it be even so, in a short time, ' there will be news o' thae craws,' 
as Mrs. Alison Wilson says of Jenny Blane's ' unco cockernony' in 
the Tales of my Landlord. 

" In turning over Grimm's Correspondence to-day, I found a thought 
of Tom Moore's in a song of Maupertuis to a female Laplander. 

' Et tons les lieux, 
Ou sont ses yeux, 
Font la Zone brulante.' 

This is Moore's — 

* And those eyes make my climate, wherever I roam.' 

But I am sure that Moore never saw it ; for this song was published 
in Grimm's Correspondence in 1813, and I knew Moore's by heart in 
1812. There is also another, but an antithetical coincidence — 

' Le soleil luit, 
Des jours sans nuit 
Bientot il nous destine ; 
Mais ces longs jours 
Seront trop courts, 
Passes pres des Christine.' 

This is the thought, reversed, of the last stanza of the ballad on 
Charlotte Lynes, given in Miss Seward's Memoirs of Darwin, which 
is pretty — I quote from memory of these last fifteen years. 

' For my first night I '11 go 

To those regions of snow, 
Where the sun for six months never shines ; 

And think, even then, 

He too soon came again, 
To disturb me with fair Charlotte Lynes.' 

" To-day I have had no communication with my Carbonari cronies ; 
but, in the mean time, my lower apartments are full of their bayonets, 
fusils, cartridges, and what not. I suppose that they consider me as 
a depot, to be sacrificed, in case of accidents. It is no great matter, 
supposing that Italy could be liberated, who or what is sacrificed. It 
is a grand object — the very poetry of politics. Only think — a free 
Italy ! ! ! Why, there has been nothing like it since the days of Au- 
gustus. I reckon the times of Caesar (Julius) free ; because the com- 
motions left everybody a side to take, and the parties were pretty equal 
at the set out. But, afterward, it was all Praetorian and legionary 
business — we shall see, or at least, some will see, what card will turn 
up. It is best to hope, even of the hopeless. The Dutch did more 
than these fellows have to do. in the Seventy Years' War. 

296 NOTICES OF THE [a d. 1821. 

" February 19th, 1821. 

" Came home solus — very high wind — lightning- — moonshine — soli- 
tary stragglers muffled in cloaks — women in mask — white houses — 
clouds hurrying over the sky, like spilt milk blown out of the pail — 
altogether very poetical. It is still blowing hard — the tiles flying, and 
the house rocking — rain splashing — lightning flashing — quite a fine 
Swiss Alpine evening, and the sea roaring in the distance. 

" Visited — conversazione. All the women frightened by the squall : 
they won't go to the masquerade because it lightens — the pious reason ! 

" Still blowing away. A. has sent me some news to-day. The war 
approaches nearer and nearer. Oh those scoundrel sovereigns ! Let 
us but see them beaten — let the Neapolitans but have the pluck of the 
Dutch of old, or of the Spaniards of now, or of the German Protestants, 
the Scotch presbyterians, the Swiss under Tell, or the Greeks under 
Themistocles — all small and solitary nations (except the Spaniards 
and German Lutherans), and there is yet a resurrection for Italy, and 
a hope for the world. 

" February 20th, 1821. 

" The news of the day are, that the Neapolitans are full of energy. 
The public spirit here is certainly well kept up. The ' Americani' (a 
patriotic society here, an under-branch of the ' Carbonari') give a dinner, 
in the Forest in a few days, and have invited me, as one of the C 1 . It 
is to be in the Forest of Boccacio's and Dryden's ' Huntsman's Ghost ;' 
and, even if I had not the same political feelings (to say nothing of 
my old convivial turn, which every now and then revives), I would 
go as a poet, or, at least, as a lover of poetry. I shall expect to see 
the spectre of ' Ostasio* degli Onesti' (Dryden has turned him into 
Guido Cavalcanti — an essentially different person, as may be found in 
Dante) come ' thundering for his prey' in the midst of the festival. 
At anf rate, whether he does or no, I will get as tipsy and patriotic as 

" Within these few days I have read, but not written. 

"February 21st, 1821. 

" As usual, rode — visited, &c. Business begins to thicken. The 
Pope has printed a declaration against the patriots, who, he says, me- 
ditate a rising. The consequence of all this will be, that, in a fortnight, 
the whole country will be up. The proclamation is not yet published, 
but printed, ready for distribution. * * sent me a copy privately — a 
sign that he does not know what to think. When he wants to be well 
with the patriots, he sends to me some civil message or other. 

" For my own part, it seems to me, that nothing but the most de- 
cided success of the Barbarians can prevent a general and immediate 
rise of the whole nation. 

" February 23d, 1821. 

" Almost ditto with yesterday — rode, &c. — visited — wrote nothing 
— read Roman History. 

" Had a curious letter from a fellow, who informs me that the Bar- 
barians are ill-disposed towards me. He is probably a spy, or an im- 
postor. But be it so, even as he says. They cannot bestow their 

* In Boccacio, tho name is, I think, Nsstagio. 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 297 

hostility on one who loathes and execrates them more than I do, or who 
will oppose their views with more zeal, when the opportunity offers. 

" February 24th, 1821. 

" Rode, &c. as usual. The secret intelligence arrived this morning 
from the frontier to the C 1 . is as bad as possible. The plan has missed 
— the chiefs are betrayed, military as well as civil — and the Neapoli- 
tans not only have not moved, but have declared to the P. government, 
and to the Barbarians, that they know nothing of the matter ! ! ! 

" Thus the world goes ; and thus the Italians are always lost for 
lack of union among themselves. What is to be done here, between 
the two fires, and cut off from the N n . frontier, is not decided. My 
opinion was, — better to rise than be taken in detail ; but how it will be 
settled now, I cannot tell. Messengers are despatched to the dele- 
gates of the other cities to learn their resolutions. 

" I always had an idea that it would be bungled ; but was willing to 
hope, and am so still. Whatever I can do by money, means, or per- 
son, I will venture freely for their freedom ; and have so repeated to 
them (some of the Chiefs here) half an hour ago. I have two thou- 
sand five hundred scudi, better than five hundred pounds, in the house, 
which I offered to begin with. 

"February 25th, 1821. 
" Came home — my heac aches — plenty of news, but too tiresome to 
set down. I have neither read, nor written, nor thought, but led a 
purely animal life all day. I mean to try to write a page or two before 
I go to bed. But, as Squire Sullen says, ' My head aches consumedly : 
Scrub, bring me a dram !' Drank some Imola wine, and some punch. 

Log-book continued* 

February 27th, 1821. 

" I have been a day without continuing the log, because I could not 
find a blank book. At length I recollected this. 

" Rode, &c. — dined — wrote down an additional stanza for the 5th 
canto of D. J., which I had composed in bed this morning. Visited 
V Arnica. We are invited on the night of the Veglione (next Dome- 
nica), with the Marchesa Clelia Cavalli and the Countess Spinelli Rus- 
poni. ] promised to go. Last night there was a row at the ball, of 
which I am a * socio.' The vice-legate had the impudent insolence 
to introduce three of his servants in mask — without tickets, too ! and 
in spite of remonstrances. The consequence was, that the young 
men of the ball took it up, and were near throwing the vice-legate out 
of the window. His servants, seeing the scene, withdrew, and he 
after them. His reverence Monsignore ought to know, that these are 
not times for the predominance of priests over decorum. Two mi- 
nutes more, two steps farther, and the whole city would have been in 
arms, and the government driven out of it. 

" Such is the spirit of the day, and these fellows appear not to per- 
ceive it. As far as the simple fact went, the young men were right, 
servants being prohibited always at these festivals. 

"Yesterday wrote two notes on the * Bowles and Pope' controversy, 
and sent them off to Murray by the post. The old woman whom I 

* In another paper-book. 

298 NOTICES OF THE [ A . d. 1821. 

relieved in the forest (she is ninety-four years of age) brought me two 
bunches of violets. ' Nam vita gaudet mortua floribus.' I was much 
pleased with the present. An Englishwoman would have presented a 
pair of worsted stockings, at least, in the month of February. Both 
excellent things ; but the former are more elegant. The present, at 
this season, reminds one of Gray's stanza, omitted from his elegy. 

4 Here scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year, 

By hands unseen, are showers of violets found ; 
The red-breast loves to build and warble here, 
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.' 

As fine a stanza as any in his elegy. I wonder that he could have the 
heart to omit it. 

" Last night I suffered horribly — from an indigestion, I believe. I 
never sup — that is, never at home. But, last night, I was prevailed 
upon by the Countess Gamba's persuasion, and the strenuous example 
of her brother, to swallow, at supper, a quantity of boiled cockles, and 
to dilute them, not reluctantly, with some Imola wine. When I came 
home, apprehensive of the consequences, I swallowed three or four 
glasses of spirits, which men (the venders) call brandy, rum, or Hol- 
lands, but which gods would entitle spirits of wine, coloured or su- 
gared. All was pretty well till I got to bed, when I became somewhat 
swollen, and considerably vertiginous. I got out, and mixing some 
soda-powders, drank them off. This brought on temporary relief. I 
returned to bed ; but grew sick and sorry once and again. Took more 
soda-water. At last I fell into a dreary sleep. Woke, and was ill all 
day, till I had galloped a few miles. Query — was it the cockles, or 
what I took to correct them, that caused the commotion 1 I think both. 
I remarked in my illneSs the complete inertion, inaction, and destruc- 
tion of my chief mental faculties. I tried to rouse them, and yet 
could not — and this is the Soul ! ! ! I should believe that it was mar- 
ried to the body, if they did not sympathize so much with each other. 
If the one rose, when the other fell, it would be a sign that they longed 
for the natural state of divorce. But, as it is, they seem to draw to- 
gether like, post-horses. 

" Let us hope the best — it is the grand possession." 

During the two months comprised in this Journal, some of the 
letters of the following series were written. The reader must, there- 
fore, be prepared to find them occasional notices of the same train of 



" Ravenna, January 2d, 1821. 
" Your entering into my project for the Memoir is pleasant to me. 
But I doubt (contrary to my dear Mad e MacF * *, whom I always 
loved, and always shall — not only because I really did feel attached to 
her personally, but because she and about a dozen others of that sex 
were all who stuck by me in the grand conflict of 1815) — but I doubt, 
I say, whether the Memoir could appear in my lifetime ; — and, indeed, 

A. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 299 

I had rather it did not; for a man always looks dead after his Life has 
appeared, and I should certes not survive the appearance of mine. The 
first part I cannot consent to alter, even although Mad e . de S.'s opi- 
nion of B. C, and my remarks upon Lady C.'s beauty (which is surely 
great, and I suppose that I have said so — at least, I ought) should go 
down to our grandchildren in unsophisticated nakedness. 

" As to Madame de S * *, I am by no means bound to be her beads- 
man — she was always more civil to me in person than during my ab- 
sence. Our dear defunct friend, M * * Lf,* * who was too great a bore 
ever to lie, assured me, upon his tiresome word of honour, that, at 
Florence, the said Madame de S * * was open-mouthed against me ; 
and, when asked, in Switzerland, why she had changed her opinion, 
replied, with laudable sincerity, that I had named her in a sonnet with 
Voltaire, Rousseau, &c. &c, and that she could not help it, through 
decency. Now, I have not forgotten this, but I have been generous, 
— as mine acquaintance, the late Captain Whitby, of the navy, used to 
say to his seamen (when ' married to the gunner's daughter') — ' two 
dozen, and let you off easy.' The 'two dozen' were with the cat-o'- 
nine-tails ; — the ' let you off easy' was rather his own opinion than 
that of the patient. 

" My acquaintance with these terms and practices arises from my 
having been much conversant with ships of war and naval heroes in 
the years of my voyages in the Mediterranean. Whitby was in the 
gallant action off Lissa in 1811. He was brave, but a disciplinarian. 
When he left his frigate, he left a parrot, which was taught by the 
crew the following sounds — (It must be remarked that Captain Whitby 
was the image of Fawcett the actor, in voice, face, and figure, and that 
he squinted). 

+ Of this gentleman, the following notice occurs in the " Detached 
Thoughts," — " L * * was a good man, a clever man, but a bore. My only 
revenge or consolation used to be, setting him by the ears with some viva- 
cious person who hated bores especially, — Madame de S — or H — , for ex- 
ample. But I liked L * * ; he was a jewel of a man, had he been better set ; 
— I do n't mean personally, but less tiresome, for he was tedious, as well as 
contradictory to every thing and every body. Being short-sighted, when wo 
used to ride out together near the Brenta in the twilight in summer, he made 
me go before, to pilot him : I am absent at times, especially towards evening ; 
and the consequence of this pilotage was some narrow escapes to the M * * 
on horseback. Once I led him into a ditch over which I had passed as usual, 
forgetting to warn my convoy ; once I led him nearly into the river, instead 
of on the moveable bridge which incommodes passengers ; and twice did we 
both run against the Diligence, which, being heavy and slow, did commu- 
nicate less damage than it received in its leaders, who were terrafied by the 
charge ; thrice did I lose him in the gray of the gloaming, and was obliged to 
bring-to to his distant signals of distance and distress ; — all the time he went 
on talking without intermission, for he was a man of many words. Poor 
fellow 1 he died a martyr to his new riches — of a second visit to Jamaica. 

•' I 'd give the lands of Deloraine 
Dark Musgrave were alive again ! 
that is — 

" I would give many a sugar cane 
]\I * * L * * were alive agam '" 

300 NOTICES OF THE [ A . d. 1821. 

" The Parrot loquitur. 

'" Whitby! Whitby! funny eye! funny eye! two dozen, and let 
you off easy. Oh you !' 

" Now, if Madame de B. has a parrot, it had better be taught a French 
parody of the same sounds. 

"With regard to our purposed Journal, I will call it what you 
please, but it should be a newspaper, to make it pay. We can call it 
* The Harp,' if you like — or any thing. 

" I feel exactly as you do about our ' art,'* but it comes over me in 
a kind of rage every now and then, like * * * * and 
then, if I do n't write to empty my mind, I go mad. As to that regular, 
uninterrupted love of writing, which you describe in your friend, I do 
not understand it. I feel it as a torture, which I must get rid of, but 
never as a pleasure. On the contrary, I think composition a great pain. 

" I wish you to think seriously of the Journal scheme — for I am as 
serious as one can be, in this world, about any thing. As to matters 
here, they are high and mighty — but not for paper. It is much about 
the state of things between Cain and Abel. There is, in fact, no law or 
government at all; and it is wonderful how well things go on without 
them. Excepting a few occasional murders (every body killing whom- 
soever he pleases, and being killed, in turn, by a friend, or relative, of 
the defunct), there is as quiet a society and as merry a Carnival as can 
be met with in a tour through Europe. There is nothing like habit 
in these things. 

" I shall remain here till May or June, and, unless ' honour comes 
unlooked-for,' we may perhaps meet, in France or England, within the 

" Yours, &c. 

" Of course, I cannot explain to you existing circumstances, as they 
open all letters. 

" Will you set me right about your cursed ' Champs Elysees V — are 
they 'es' or ' ees' for the adjective 1 I know nothing of French, being 
all Italian. Though I can read and understand French, I never 
attempt to speak it ; for I hate it. From the second part of the Memoirs 
cut what you please." 

* The following passage from the letter of mine, to which the above was 
an answer, will best explain what follows : — "With respect to the newspa- 
per, it is odd enough that Lord * * * * and myself had been (about a week 
or two before I received your letter) speculating upon your assistance in a 
plan somewhat similar, but more literary and less regularly periodical in its 
appearance. Lord * *, as you will see by his volume of Essays, if it reaches 
you, has a very sly, dry, and pithy way of putting sound truths, upon po- 
litics and manners, and whatever scheme we adopt, he will be a very useful 
and active ally in it, as he has a pleasure in writing quite inconceivable to a 
poor hack scribe like me, who always feel, about my art, as the French hus- 
band did when he found a man making love to his (the Frenchman's) wife : 
— ' Comment, Monsieur, — sans y etre oblige /' When I say this, however, I 
mean it only of the executive part of writing ; for the imagining, the shadow- 
ing out of the future work is, 1 own, a delicious fool's-paradise." 

a. d. 1821 1 LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 301 



" Ravenna, January 4th, 1821. 

" I just see, by the papers of Galig-nani, that there is a new tragedy 
of great expectation by Barry Cornwall. Of what I have read of his 
works, I liked the Dramatic Sketches, but thought his Sicilian story 
and Marcian Colonna, in rhyme, quite spoiled, by 1 know not what 
affectation of Wordsworth, and Moore, and myself, — all mixed up into 
a kind of chaos. I think him very likely to produce a good tragedy, 
if he keep to a natural style, and not play tricks to form harlequinades 
for an audience. As he (Barry Cornwall is not his true name) was a 
schoolfellow of mine, I take more than common interest in his suc- 
cess, and shall be glad to hear of it speedily. If I had been aware 
that he was in that line, I should have spoken of him in the preface to 
Marino Faliero. He will do a world's wonder if he produce a great 
tragedy. I am, however, persuaded, that this is not to be done by 
following the old dramatists, — who are full of gross faults, pardoned 
only for the beauty of their language, — but by writing naturally and 
regularly, and producing regular tragedies, like the Greeks ; but not 
in imitation, — merely the outline of their conduct, adapted to our own 
times and circumstances, and of course no chorus. 

" You will laugh, and say, * Why do n't you do so V I have, you 
see, tried a sketch in Marino Faliero ; but many people think my 
talent ' essentially undramatic, 1 and I am not at all clear that they are 
not right. If Marino Faliero do n't fall — in the perusal — I shall, per- 
haps, try again (but not for the stage) ; and as I think that love is not 
the principal passion for tragedy (and yet most of ours turn upon it), 
you will not find me a popular writer. Unless it is love, furious, cri- 
minal, and hapless, it ought not to make a tragic subject. When it is 
melting and maudlin, it does, but it ought not to do ; it is then for the 
gallery and second-price boxes. 

" If you want to have a notion of what I am trying, take up a trans- 
lation of any of the Greek tragedians. If I said the original, it would 
be an impudent presumption of mine; but the translations are so infe- 
rior to the originals that I think I may risk it. Then judge of the 
* simplicity of plot,' &c, and do not judge me by your old mad dra- 
matists, which is like drinking usquebaugh and then proving a foun- 
tain. Yet, after all, I suppose that you do not mean that spirits is a 
nobler element than a clear spring bubbling in the sun 1 and this I 
take to be the difference between the Greeks and those turbid mounte- 
banks — always excepting Ben Jonson, who was a scholar and a clas- 
sic. Or, take up a translation of Alfieri, and try the interest, &c. of 
these my new ^attempts in the old line, by him in English; and then 
tell me fairly your opinion. But do n't measure me by your own old 
or new tailors' yards. Nothing so easy as intricate confusion of plot 
and rant. Mrs. Centlivre, in comedy, has ten times the bustle of Con- 
greve ; but are they to be compared 1 and yet she drove Congreve 
from the theatre." 

302 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 



" Ravenna, January 19th, 1821. 

" Yours of the 29th ultimo hath arrived. I must really and seri- 
ously request that you will beg of Messrs. Harris or Elliston to let 
the Doge alone : it is not an acting play ; it will not serve their pur- 
pose ; it will destroy yours (the sale) ; and it will distress me. It is 
not courteous, it is hardly even gentlemanly, to persist in this appro- 
priation of a man's writings to their mountebanks. 

41 1 have already sent you by last post a short protest* to the public 
(against this proceeding); in case that they persist, which I trust that 
they will not, you must then publish it in the newspapers. I shall not 
let them off with that only, if they go on ; but make a longer appeal 
on that subject, and state what I think the injustice of their mode of 
behaviour. It is hard that I should have all the ? ,buffoons in Britain to 
deal with — -pirates who will publish, and players who will act — when 
there are thousands of worthy men who can neither get bookseller nor 
manager for love nor money. 

" You never answered me a word about Galignani. If you mean to 
use the two documents, do ; if not, hum them. I do not choose to leave 
them in any one's possession ; suppose some one found them without 
the letters, what would they think ? why, that J had been doing the 
opposite of what I have done, to wit, referred the whole thing to you — 
an act of civility, at least, which required saying, ' 1 have received your 
letter.' I thought that you might have some hold upon those publica- 
tions by this means ; to me it can be no interest one way or the other.t 

" The third canto of Don Juan is * dull,' but you must really put up 
with it: if the first two and the two following are tolerable, what do 
you expect? particularly as I neither dispute with you on it as a mat- 
ter of criticism or as a matter of business. 

" Besides, what am I to understand 1 you, and Douglas Kinnaird, 
and others, write to me, that the first two published cantos are among 
the best that I ever wrote, and are reckoned so ; Augusta writes that 
they are thought 'execrable" 1 (bitter word that for an author — eh, 
Murray?) as a composition even, and that she had heard so much 
against them that she would never read them, and never has. Be that 
as it may, I can't alter ; that is not my forte. If you publish the three 
new ones without ostentation, they may perhaps succeed. 

" Pray publish the Dante and the Pulci (the Prophecy of Dante, I 

* To the letter which enclosed this protest, and which has been omitted to 
avoid repetitions, he had subjoined a passage from Spence's Anecdotes (p. 197 
of Singer's edition), where Pope says, speaking of himself, "I had taken such 
strong resolutions against any thing of that kind, from seeing how much 
every body that did write for the stage was obliged to subject themselves to 
the players and the town." — Spence's Anecdotes, p. 22. 

In the same paragraph, Pope is made to say, " After I had got acquainted 
with the town, I resolved never to write any thing for the stage, though 
solicited by many of my friends to do so, and particularly Betterton." 

t No farther step was ever taken in this affair ; and the documents, which 
were of no use whatever, are, I believe, still in Mr. Murray's possession. 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 30S 

mean). I look upon the Pulci as my grand performance.* The 
remainder of the ' Hints",' where be they 1 Now, bring them all out 
about the same time, otherwise ' the variety'' you wot of will be less 

" I am in bad humour : — some obstructions in business with those 
plaguy trustees, who object to an advantageous loan which I was to 
furnish to a nobleman on mortgage, because his property is in Ireland, 
have shown me how a man is treated in his absence. Oh, if I do come 
back, I will make some of those who little dream of it spin, — or they 
or I shall go down." ****** 



" January 20th, 1821. 

" I did not think to have troubled you with the plague and postage 
of a double letter this time, but 1 have just read in an Italian paper, 
' That Lord Byron has a tragedy coming out,' &c. &c. &c, and that 
the Courier and Morning Chronicle, &c. &c. are pulling one another 
to pieces about him, &c. 

" Now I do reiterate and desire, that every thing may be done to 
prevent it from coming out on any theatre, for which it never was 
designed, and on which (in the present state of the stage of London) 
it could never succeed. I have sent you my appeal by last post, which 
you must publish in case of need ; and I require you even in your own 
name (if my honour is dear to you) to declare that such representation 
would be contrary to my wish and to my judgment. If you do not 
wish to drive me mad altogether, you will hit upon some way to 
prevent this. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P.S. I cannot conceive how Harris or Elliston should be so insane 
as to think of acting Marino Faliero ; they might as well act the Pro- 
metheus of iEschylus. I speak of course humbly, and with the great- 
est sense of the distance of time and merit between the two perform- 
ances ; but merely to show the absurdity of the attempt. 

" The Italian paper speaks of a ' party against it :' to be sure there 
would be a party. Can you imagine, that after having never flattered 
man, nor beast, nor opinion, nor politics, there would not be a party 
against a man, who is also a popular writer — at least a successful ? 
Why, all parties would be a party against." 

* The self-will of Lord Byron was in no point more conspicuous than in 
the determination with which he thus persisted in giving the preference to 
one or two works of his own which, in the eyes of ail other persons, were 
most decided failures. Of this class was the translation from Pulci, so fre- 
quently mentioned by him, which appeared afterward in the Liberal, and 
which, though thus rescued from the fate of remaining unpublished, must 
for ever, I fear, submit to the doom of being unread. 

304 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 



" Ravenna, January 20th, 1821. 

" If Harris or Elliston persist, after the remonstrance which I 
desired you and Mr. Kinnaird to make on my behalf, and which I hope 
will be sufficient — but if, I say, they do persist, then I pray you to 
present in person the enclosed letter to the Lord Chamberlain: I have 
said inperson, because otherwise I shall have neither answer nor know- 
ledge that it has reached its address, owing to ' the insolence of office.' 

" I wish you would speak to Lord Holland, and to all my friends and 
yours, to interest themselves in preventing this cursed attempt at 

" God help me ! at this distance, I am treated like a corpse or a fool 
by the few people that I thought I could rely upon ; and I was a fool 
to think any better of them than of the rest of mankind. 

" Pray write. 

" Yours, &c. 

" P.S. I have nothing more at heart (that is, in literature) than to 
prevent this drama from going upon the stage : in short, rather than 
permit it, it must be suppressed altogether, and only forty copies struck 
off privately for presents to my friends. What cursed fools those 
speculating buffoons must be not to see that it is unfit for their fair — or 
their booth !" 



"Ravenna, January 22d, 1821. 
" Pray get well. I do not like your complaint. So, let me have a 
line to say you are up and doing- again. To-day I am 33 years of age. 

1 Through life's road,' &c. &c* 

" Have you heard that the ' Braziers' Company' have, or mean to 
present an address at Brandenburgh-house, l in armour,' and with all 
possible variety and splendour of brazen apparel ? 

" The Braziers, it seems, are preparing to pass 
An address, and present it themselves all in brass — 
A superfluous pageant — for, by the Lord Harry, 
They '11 find where they 're going much more than they carry. 

There 's an Ode for you, is it not ] — worthy 

" Of * * * *, the grand metaquizzical poet, 
A man of vast merit, though few people know it; 

* Already given in his Journal. 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 305 

The perusal of whom (as I told you at Mestri) 
1 owe, in great part, to my passion for pastry. 

" Mestri and Fusina are the 4 trajects, or common ferries,' to Venice ; 
but it was from Fusina that you and I embarked, though 'the wicked 
necessity of rhyming' has made me press Mestri into the voyage. 

" So, you have had a book dedicated to you ? I am glad of it, and 
shall be very happy to see the volume. 

"I am in a peck of troubles about a tragedy of mine, which is fit 
only for the (*****) closet, and which it seems that the managers, 
assuming a right over published poetry, are determined to enact, 
whether I will or no, with their own alterations by Mr. Dibdin, I pre- 
sume. I have written to Murray, to the Lord Chamberlain, and to 
others, to interfere and preserve me from such an exhibition. I want 
neither the impertinence of their hisses nor the insolence of their ap- 
plause. I write only for the reader, and care for nothing but the silent 
approbation of those who close one's book with good-humour and 
quiet contentment. 

" Now if you would also write to our friend Perry, to beg of him 
to mediate with Harris and Elliston to forbear this intent, you will 
greatly oblige me. The play is quite unfit for the stage, as a single 
glance will show them, and, I hope, has shown them ; and, if it 
were ever so fit, I will never have any thing to do willingly with the 

" Yours ever, in haste, &c." 



" Ravenna, January 27th, 1821. 

" I differ from you about the Dante, which I think should be pub- 
lished with the tragedy. But do as you please : you must be the best 
judge of your own craft. I agree with you about the title. The play 
may be good or bad, but I flatter myself that it is original as a pic- 
ture of that kind of passion, which to my mind is so natural, that I 
am convinced that I should have done precisely what the Doge did on 
those provocations. 

" I am glad of Foscolo's approbation. 

" Excuse haste. I believe I mentioned to you that 1 forget 

what it was ; bu.t no matter. 

" Thanks for your compliments of the year. I hope that it will be 
pleasanter than the last. I speak with reference to England only, as 
far as regards myself, where I had every kind of disappointment — lost 
an important lawsuit — and the trustees of Lady Byron refusing to 
allow of an advantageous loan to be made from my property to Lord 
Blessington, &c. &c, by way of closing the four seasons. These, 
and a hundred other such things, made a year of bitter business forme 
in England. Luckily, things were a little pleasanter for me here, else 
I should have taken the liberty of Hannibal's ring. 

" Pray thank Gifford for all his goodnesses. The winter is as cold 
here as Parry's polarities. I must now take a canter in the forest ; 
my horses are waiting. 

" Yours ever and truly." 

Vol. II.— U 

306 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 



" Ravenna, February 2d, 1821. 

" Your letter of excuses has arrived. I receive the letter, but do 
not admit the excuses, except in courtesy; as when a man treads on 
your toes and begs your pardon the pardon is granted, but the joint 
aches, especially if there be a corn upon it. However, I shall scold 
you presently. 

" In the last speech of the Doge, there occurs (I think, from me- 
mory) the phrase — 

1 And Thou who makest and unmakest suns :' 

change this to — 

1 And Thou who kindlest and who quenchest suns ;* 

that is to say, if the verse runs equally well, and Mr. GifFord thinks the 
expression improved. Pray have the bounty to attend to this. You 
are grown quite a minister of state. Mind if some of these days you 
are not thrown out. * * will not be always a Tory, though Johnson 
says the first Whig was the Devil. 

" You have learned one secret from Mr. Galignani's (somewhat tardily 
acknowledged) correspondence: this is, that an English author may 
dispose of his exclusive copyright in France, — a fact of some conse- 
quence (in time of peace) in the case of a popular writer. Now I will 
tell you what you shall do, and take no advantage of you, though you 
were scurfy enough never to acknowledge my letter for three months. 
Offer Galignani the refusal of the copyright in France; if he refuses, 
appoint any bookseller in France you please, and I will sign any as- 
signment you please, and it shall never cost you a sou on my account. 

" Recollect that I will have nothing to do with it, except as far as it 
may secure the copyright to yourself. I will have no bargain but with 
the English booksellers, and I desire no interest out of that country. 

" Now, that 's fair and open, and a little handsomer than your 
dodging- silence, to see what would come of it. You are an excellent 
fellow, mio caro Moray, but there is still a little leaven of Fleet-street 
about you now and then — a crum of the old loaf. You have no right 
to act suspiciously with me, for I have given you no reason. I shall 
always be frank with you ; as, for instance, whenever you talk with 
the votaries of Apollo arithmetically, it should be in guineas, not 
pounds — to poets, as well as physicians, and bidders at auctions. 

*' I shall say no more at this present, save that I am 

" Yours, &c. 

" P.S. If you venture, as you say, to Ravenna this year, I will 
exercise the rites of hospitality while you live, and bury you hand- 
somely (though not in holy ground), if you get ' shot or slashed in a 
creagh or splore,' which are rather frequent here of late among the 
native parties. But perhaps your visit may be anticipated; 1 may 
probably come to your country ; in which case write to her ladyship 
the duplicate of the epistle the king of France wrote to Prince John." 

A. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 307 



" Ravenna, February 16th, 1821. 

" In the month of March will arrive from Barcelona Signor Curioni, 
engaged for the Opera. He is an acquaintance of mine, and a gentle- 
manly young man, high in his profession. I must request your per- 
sonal kindness and patronage in his favour. Pray introduce him to 
such of the theatrical people, editors of papers, and others, as may be 
useful to him in his profession, publicly and privately. 

" The fifth is so far from being the last of Don Juan, that it is hardly 
the beginning. I meant to take him the tour of Europe, with a proper 
mixture of siege, battle, and adventure, and to make him finish as 
Anacharsis Cloots, in the French Revolution. To how many cantos 
this may extend, I know not, nor whether, (even if I live) I shall com- 
plete it; but this was my notion. I meant to have made him a cava- 
lier servente in Italy, and a cause for a divorce in England, and a 
sentimental ' Werther-faced man' in Germany, so as to show the dif- 
ferent ridicules of the society in each of those countries, and to have 
displayed him gradually gate and blase' as he grew older, as is natural. 
But I had not quite fixed whether to make him end in hell, or in an 
unhappy marriage, not knowing which would be the severest : the 
Spanish tradition says hell ; but it is probably only an allegory of 
the other state. You are now in possession of my notions on the 

" You say the Doge will not be popular : did I ever write for popu- 
larity? I defy you to show a work of mine (except a tale or two) of 
a popular style or complexion. It appears to me that there is room 
for a different style of the drama; neither a servile following of the 
old drama, which is a grossly erroneous one, nor yet too French, like 
those who succeeded the older writers. It appears to me that good 
English, and a severer approach to the rules, might combine some- 
thing not dishonourable to our literature. I have also attempted to 
make a play without love ; and there are neither rings, nor mistakes, 
nor starts, nor outrageous ranting villains, nor melodrame in it. All 
this will prevent its popularity, but does not persuade me that it is 
therefore faulty. Whatever faults it has will arise from deficiency in 
the conduct, rather than in the conception, which is simple and severe. 

" So you epigrammatize upon my epigram ? I will pay you for 
that, mind if I do n't, some day. I never let any one off in the long 
run (who first begins). Remember * * *, and see if I do n't do you as 
good a turn. You unnatural publisher ! what ! quiz your own 
authors 1 you are a paper cannibal ! 

" In the letter on Bowles (which I sent by Tuesday's post), after 
the words ' attempts had been made' (alluding to the republication of 
' English Bards'), add the words, l in Ireland? for I believe that Eng- 
lish pirates did not begin their attempts till after I had left England the 
second time. Pray attend to this. Let me know what you and your 
synod think on Bowles. 

" I did not think the second seal so bad ; surely it is far better than 
the Saracen's head with which you have sealed your last letter; the 
larger, in profile, was surely much better than that. 


308 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

" So Foscolo says he will get you a seal cut better in Italy ? he 
means a throat — that is the only thing they do dexterously. The Arts 
— all but Canova's, and Morghen's, and Ovid's (I do n't mean poetry) 
— are as low as need be : look at the seal which I gave to William 
Bankes, and own it. How came George Bankes to quote * English 
Bards' in the House of Commons 1 All the world keep flinging that 
poem in my face. 

" Belzoni is a grand traveller, and his English is very prettily 

" As for news, the Barbarians are marching on Naples, and if they 
lose a single battle, all Italy will be up. It will be like the Spanish 
row, if they have any bottom. 

" ' Letters opened V — to be sure they are, and that 's the reason why 
I always put in my opinion of the German Austrian scoundrels. 
There is not an Italian who loathes them more than I do; and what- 
ever I could do to scour Italy and the earth of their infamous oppres- 
sion would be done con amore. 

"Yours, &c." 



" Ravenna, February 21st, 1821. 

" In the forty-fourth page, volume first, of Turner's Travels (which 
you lately sent me), it is stated that ' Lord Byron, when he expressed 
such confidence of its practicability, seems to have forgotten that 
Leander swam both ways, with and against the tide ; whereas he 
(Lord Byron) only performed the easiest part of the task by swim- 
ming with it from Europe to Asia.' I certainly could not have for- 
gotten, what is known to every schoolboy, that Leander crossed in 
the night, and returned towards the morning. My object was, to ascer- 
tain that the Hellespont could be crossed at all by swimming, and in 
this Mr. Ekenhead and myself both succeeded, the one in an hour and 
ten minutes, and the other in one hour and five minutes. The tide 
was not in our favour; on the contrary, the great difficulty was to 
bear up against the current, which, so far from helping us into the 
Asiatic side, set us down right towards the Archipelago. Neither Mr. 
Ekenhead, myself, nor, I will venture to add, any person on board the 
frigate, from Captain Bathurst downwards, had any notion of a dif- 
ference of the current on the Asiatic side, of which Mr. Turner speaks. 
I never heard of it till this moment, or I would have taken the other 
course. Lieutenant Ekenhead's sole motive, and mine also, for set- 
ting out from the European side was, that the little cape above Sestos 
was a more prominent starting-place, and the frigate, which lay below, 
close under the Asiatic castle, formed a better point of view for us to 
swim towards ; and, in fact, we landed immediately below it. 

" Mr. Turner says, 'Whatever is thrown into the stream on this 
part of the European bank must arrive at the Asiatic shore.' This is 
so far from being the case, that it must arrive in the Archipelago, if 
left to the current, although a strong wind in the Asiatic direction 
might have such an effect occasionally. 

" Mr. Turner attempted the passage from the Asiatic side, and 
failed : * After five-and-twenty minutes, in which he did not advance a 


a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 309 

hundred yards, he gave it up from complete exhaustion/ This is 
very possihle, and might have occurred to him just as readily on the 
European side. He should have set out a couple of miles higher, and 
could then have come out below the European castle. I particularly 
stated, and Mr. Hobhouse has done so also, that we were obliged to 
make the real passage of one mile extend to between three and four, 
owing to the force of the stream. I can assure Mr. Turner, that his 
success would have given me great pleasure, as it would have added 
one more instance to the proofs of the probability. It is not quite 
fair in him to infer, that because he failed, Leander could not succeed. 
There are still four instances on record : a Neapolitan, a young Jew, 
Mr. Ekenhead, and myself; the two last done in the presence of hun- 
dreds of English witnesses. 

" With regard to the difference of the current 1 perceived none ; it 
is favourable to the swimmer on neither side, but maybe stemmed by 
plunging into the sea, a considerable way above the opposite point of 
the coast which the swimmer wishes to make, but still bearing up 
against it ; it is strong, but if you calculate well, you may reach land. 
My own experience and that of others bids me pronounce the passage 
of Leander perfectly practicable. Any young man, in good and tole- 
rable skill in swimming, might succeed in it from either side. I was 
three hours in swimming across the Tagus, which is much more 
hazardous, being two hours longer than the Hellespont. Of what may 
be done in swimming, I will mention one more instance. In 1818, 
the Chevalier Mengaldo (a gentleman of Bassano), a good swimmer, 
wished to swim with my friend Mr. Alexander Scott and myself. As 
he seemed particularly anxious on the subject, we indulged him. We 
all three started from the island of the Lido and swam to Venice. At 
the entrance of the Grand Canal, Scott and I were a good way ahead, 
and we saw no more of our foieign friend, which, however, was of no 
consequence, as there was a gondola to hold his clothes and pick him 
up. Scott swam on till past the Rialto, where he got out, less from 
fatigue than from chill, having been four hours in the water, without 
rest or stay, except what is to be obtained by floating on one's back — ■ 
this being the condition of our performance. I continued my course 
on to Santa Chiara, comprising the whole of the Grand Canal (besides 
the distance from the Lido), and got out where the Laguna once more 
opens to Fusina. I had been in the water, by my watch, without help 
or rest, and never touching ground or boat, jour hours and twenty 
minutes. To this match, and during the greater part of its performance, 
Mr. Hoppner, the consul-general, was witness, and it is well known 
to many others. Mr. Turner can easily verify the fact, if he thinks it 
worth while, by referring to Mr. Hoppner. The distance we could 
not accurately ascertain ; it was of course considerable. 

" I crossed the Hellespont in one hour and ten minutes only. I am 
now ten years older in time, and twenty in constitution, than I was 
when I passed the Dardanelles, and yet two years ago I was capable 
of swimming four hours and twenty minutes ; and I am sure that I 
could have continued two hours longer, though I had on a pair of 
trowsers, an accoutrement which by no means assists the performance. 
My two companions were also four hours in the water. Mengaldo 
might be about thirty years of age ; Scott about six-and-twenty. 

"With this experience in swimming at different periods of life, not 
only upon the spot, but elsewhere, of various persons, what is there 
to make me doubt that Leander's exploit was perfectly practicable ] If 

310 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

three individuals did more than the passage of the Hellespont, why- 
should he have done less? But Mr. Turner failed, and, naturally 
seeking a plausible reason for his failure, lays the blame on the Asiatic 
side of the strait. He tried to swim directly across, instead of going 
higher up to take the vantage : he might as well have tried to Jly over 
Mount Athos. 

" That a young Greek of the heroic times, in love, and with his 
limbs in full vigour, might have succeeded in such an attempt is nei- 
ther wonderful nor doubtful. Whether he attempted it or not is an- 
other question, because he might have had a small boat to save him 
the trouble. 

" I am yours very truly, 

" Byron. 

" P.S. Mr. Turner says that the swimming from Europe to Asia was 
1 the easiest part of the task.' I doubt whether Leander found it so, as 
it was the return ; however, he had several hours between the inter- 
vals. The argument of Mr. Turner 'that higher up, or lower down, 
the strait widens so considerably that he could save little labour by 
his starting,' is only good for indifferent swimmers ; a man of any prac- 
tice or skill will always consider the distance less than the strength 
of the stream. If Ekenhead and myself had thought of crossing at 
the narrowest point, instead of going up to the Cape above it, we 
should have been swept down to Tenedos. The strait, however, is 
not so extremely wide even where it broadens above and below the 
forts. As the frigate was stationed some time in the Dardanelles 
waiting for the firman, I bathed often in the straits subsequently to our 
traject, and generally on the Asiatic side, without perceiving the 
greater strength of the opposite stream by which the diplomatic tra- 
veller palliates his own failure. Our amusement in the small bay 
which opens immediately below the Asiatic fort was to dive for the 
land tortoises, which we flung in on purpose, as they amphibiously 
crawled along the bottom. This does not argue any greater violence 
of current than on the European shore. With regard to the modest in- 
sinuation that we chose the European side as 'easier,' I appeal to Mr. 
Hobhouse and Captain Bathurst if it be true or no (poor Ekenhead 
being since dead). Had we been aware of any such difference of 
current as is asserted, we would at least have proved it, and were not 
likely to have given it up in the twenty-five minutes of Mr. Turner's 
own experiment. The secret of all this is, that Mr. Turner failed, and 
that we succeeded ; and he is consequently disappointed, and seems 
not unwilling to overshadow whatever little merit there might be in 
our success. Why did he not try the European side 1 If he had suc- 
ceeded there, after failing un the Asiatic, his plea w'ould have been 
more graceful and gracious. Mj\ Turner may find what fault he 
pleases with my poetry, or my politics ; but I recommend him to leave 
aquatic reflections till he is able to swim ' five-and-twenty minutes' 
without being ' exhausted,' though I believe he is the first modern Tory 
who ever swam 'against the stream' for half the time."* 

* To the above letter, which was published at the time, Mr. Turner wrote 
a reply, but, for reasons stated by himself, did not print it. At his request, I 
give insertion to his paper in the Appendix. 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 311 



" Ravenna, February 22d, 1821. 

" As I wish the soul of the late Antoine Galignani to rest in peace 
(you will have read his death published by himself, in his own news- 
paper), you are requested particularly to inform his children and heirs, 
that of their ' Literary Gazette,' to which I subscribed more than two 
months ago, I have only received one number, notwithstanding I have 
written to them repeatedly. If they have no regard for me, a sub- 
scriber, they ought to have some for their deceased parent, who is 
undoubtedly no better off in his present residence for this total want 
of attention. If not, let me have my francs. They were paid by 
Missiaglia, the Venetian bookseller. You may also hint to them that 
when a gentleman writes a letter, it is usual to send an answer. If 
not, I shall make them * a speech,' which will comprise an eulogy on 
the deceased. 

" We are here full of war, and within two days of the seat of it, 
expecting intelligence momently. We shall now see if our Italian 
friends are good for any thing but ' shooting round a corner,' like the 
Irishman's gun. Excuse haste, — I write with my spurs putting on. 
My horses are at the door, and an Italian Count waiting to accompany 
me in my ride. " Yours, &c. 

" P.S. Pray, among my letters, did you get one detailing the death 
of the commandant here 1 He was killed near my door, and died in 
my house. 


" To the air of i How now, Madame Flirt,'' in the Beggar's Opera. 

" Bowles. 

" Why, how now, saucy Tom, 
If you thus must ramble, 
I will publish some 
Remarks on Mr. Campbell. 

" Campbell. 

" Why, how now, Billy Bowles 
&c. &c. &c. 



" March 2, 1821. 
" This was the beginning of a letter which I meant for Perry, but 
stopped short hoping that you would be able to prevent the theatres. 
Of course you need not send it; but it explains to you my feelings on 
the subject. You say that ' there is nothing to fear, let them do 
what they please ;' that is to say, that you would see me damned with 
great tranquillitv. Yo«a^ a fine fellow." 

312 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 


" Ravenna, January 22d, 1821. 
"dear sir, 

" I have received a strange piece of news, which cannot be more 
disagreeable to your public than it is to me. Letters and the gazettes 
do me the honour to say, that it is the intention of some of the London 
managers to bring forward on their stage the poem of ' Marino Faliero,' 
&c, which was never intended for such an exhibition, and I trust will 
never undergo it. It is certainly unfit for it. I have never written 
but for the solitary reader, and require no experiments for applause 
beyond his silent approbation. Since such an attempt to drag me 
forth as a gladiator in the theatrical arena is a violation of all the cour- 
tesies of literature, I trust that the impartial part of the press will step 
between me and this pollution. I say pollution, because every viola- 
tion of a right is such, and I claim my right as an author to prevent 
what I have written from being turned into a stage-play. I have too 
much respect for the public to permit this of my own free will. Had 
I sought their favour, it would have been by a pantomime. 

" I have said that I write only for the reader. Beyond this I cannot 
consent to any publication, or to the abuse of any publication of mine to 
the purposes of histrionism. The applauses of an audience would 
give me no pleasure ; their disapprobation might, however, give me 
pain. The wager is therefore not equal. You may, perhaps, say, 
* How can this be V if their disapprobation gives pain, their praise 
might afford pleasure V By no means : the kick of an ass or the sting 
of a wasp may be painful to those who would find nothing agreeable in 
the braying of the one or the buzzing of the other. 

" This may not seem a courteous comparison, but I have no other 
ready ; and it occurs naturally." 




"Ravenna, Marzo, 1821. 

" In my packet of the 12th instant, in the last sheet {not the half 
sheet), last page, omit the sentence which (defining, or attempting to 
define, what and who are gentlemen) begins ' I should say at least in 
life that most military men have it, and few naval; that several men 
of rank have it, and few lawyers,' &c. &c. I say, omit the whole of 
that sentence, because, like the ' cosmogony, or creation of the world,' 
in the ' Vicar of Wakefield,' it is not much to the purpose. 

" In the sentence above, too, almost at the top of the same page, 
after the words ' that there ever was, or can be, an aristocracy of poets,' 
add and insert these words — ' I do not mean that they should write 
in the style of the song by a person of quality, or parte euphuism; but 
there is a nobility of thought and expression to be found no less in 
Shakspeare, Pope, and Burns, than in Dante, Alfieri,' &c. &c, and so 
on. Or, if you please, perhaps you had better omit the whole of the 
latter digression on the vulgar poets, and insert only as far as the end 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 313 

of the sentence on Pope's Homer, where I prefer it to Cowper's and 
quote Dr. Clarke in favour of its accuracy. 

" Upon all these points, take an opinion ; take the sense (or non- 
sense) of your learned visitants, and act thereby. I am very tractable 
— in prose. 

" Whether I have made out the case for Pope, I know not ; but I 
am very sure that 1 have been zealous in the attempt. If it comes to 
the proofs, we shall beat the blackguards. I will show more imagery 
in twenty lines of Pope than in any equal length of quotation in Eng- 
lish poesy, and that in places where they least expect it. For instance, 
in his lines on Sporus, — now, do just read them over — the subject is of 
no consequence (whether it be satire or epic) — we are talking of poetry 
and imagery from nature and art. Now mark the images separately 
and arithmetically : — 

1. The thing of silk. 

2. Curd of ass's milk. 

3. The butterfly. 

4. The wheel. 

5. Bug with gilded wings. 

6. Painted child of dirt. 

7. Whose buzz. 

8. Well-bred spaniels. 

9. Shallow streams run dimpling. 

10. Florid impotence. 

11. Prompter. Puppet squeaks. 

12. The ear of Eve. 

13. Familiar toad. 

14. Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad. 

15. Fop at the toilet. 

16. Flatterer at the board. 

17. Amphibious thing. 

18. Now trips a lady. 

19. Now struts a lord. 

20. A cherub's face. 

21. A reptile all the rest. 

22. The Rabbins. 

23. Pride that licks the dust — 

* Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust, 
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust. 1 

*« Now, is there a line of all the passage without the most forcible 
imagery (for his purpose) ] Look at the variety— at the poetry of the 
passage — at the imagination : there is hardly a line from which a paint- 
ing might not be made, and is. But this is nothing in comparison 
with his higher passages in the Essay on Man, and many of his other 
poems, serious and comic. There never was such an unjust outcry 
in this world as that which these fellows are trying against Pope. 

" Ask Mr. Gifford if, in the fifth act of * the Doge,' you could not con- 
trive (where the sentence of the Veil is passed) to insert the following 
lines in Marino Faliero's answer ? 

* But let it. be so. It will be in vain : 
The veil which blackens o'er this blighted name, 
And hides, or seems to hide, these lineaments, 

314 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

Shall draw more gazers than the thousand portraits 
Which glitter round it in their painted trappings, 
Your delegated slaves — the people's tyrants.* 

" Yours truly, &c. 

" P.S. Upon public matters here I say little : you will all hear soon 
enough of a general row throughout Italy. There never was a more 
foolish step than the expedition to Naples by these fellows. 

" I wish to propose to Holmes, the miniature painter, to come out 
to me this spring. I will pay his expenses, and any sum in reason. 
I wish him to take my daughter's picture (who is in a convent) and 
the Countess G.'s, and the head of a peasant girl, which latter would 
make a study for Raphael. It is a complete peasant face, but an Italian 
peasant's, and quite in the Raphael Fornarina style. Her figure is tall, 
but rather large, and not at all comparable to her face, which is really 
superb. She is not seventeen, and I am anxious to have her face 
while it lasts. Madame G. is also very handsome, but ti is quite in a 
different style — completely blonde and fair — very uncommon in Italy; 
yet not an English fairness, but more likely a Swede or a Norwegian. 
Her figure, too, particularly the bust, is uncommonly good. It must 
be Holmes : I like him because he takes such inveterate likenesses. 
There is a war here ; but a solitary traveller, with little baggage, and 
nothing to do with politics, has nothing to fear. Pack him up in the 
Diligence. Do n't forget." 



"Ravenna, April 3d, 1821. 

"Thanks for the translation. I have sent you some books, which 
I do not know whether you have read or no — you need not return them, 
in any case. I enclose you also a letter from Pisa. I have neither 
spared trouble nor expense in the care of the child; and as she was now 
four years old complete, and quite above the control of the servants — 
and as a man living without any woman at the head of his house cannot 
much attend to a nursery — I had no resource but to place her for a time 
(at a high pension too) in the convent of Bagna-Cavalli (twelve miles 
off), where the air is good, and where she will, at least, have her 
learning advanced, and her morals and religion inculcated. f I had 
also another reason ; — things were and are in such a state here, that 
I had no reason to look upon my own personal safety as particularly 
ensurable ; and I thought the infant best out of harm's way for the 

" It is also fit that I should add that I by no means intended, nor 
intend, to give a natural child an English education, because with the 

* These lines, — perhaps from some difficulty in introducing them, — were 
never inserted in the Tragedy. 

t With such anxiety did he look to this essential part of his daughter's 
education, that, notwithstanding the many advantages she was sure to derive 
from the kind and feminine superintendence of Mrs. Shelley, his apprehen- 
sions lest her feeling upon religious subjects might be disturbed by the con- 
versation of Shelley himself, prevented him from allowing her to remain 
under his friend's roof. 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 315 

disadvantages of her birth, her after-settlement would be doubly diffi- 
cult. Abroad, with a fair foreign education and a portion of five or six 
thousand pounds, she might and may marry very respectably. In 
England such a dowry would be a pittance, while elsewhere it is a 
fortune. It is, besides, my wish that she should be a Roman Catholic, 
which I look upon as the best religion, as it is assuredly the oldest of 
the various branches of Christianity. 1 have now "explained my 
notions as to the place where she now is — it is the best I could find 
for the present ; but I have no prejudices in its favour. 

"I do not speak of politics, because it seems a hopeless subject, as 
long as those scoundrels are to be permitted to bully states out of their 
independence. Believe me 

" Yours ever and truly. 

" P.S. There is a report here of a change in France ; but with what 
truth is not yet known. 

"P.S. My respects to Mrs. H. I have the 'best opinion' of her 
countrywomen ; and at my time of life (three-and-thirty, 22d Janu- 
ary, 1821), that is to say, after the life I have led, a. good opinion is the 
only rational one which a man should entertain of the whole sex : — up 
to thirty, the worst possible opinion a man can have of them in general, 
the better for himself. Afterward, it is a matter of no importance to 
them., nor to him either, -what opinion he entertains — his day is over, or, 
at least, should be. 

" You see how sober I am become." 



"Ravenna, April 21st, 1821. 
"I enclose you another letter on Bowles. But I premise that it is 
not like the former, and that I am not at all sure how much, if any, of 
it should be published. Upon this point you can consult with Mr. 
Gifford, and think twice before you publish it at all. 

" Yours truly, 

"P.S. You may make my subscription for Mr. Scott's widow, &c. 
thirty instead of the proposed ten pounds : but do not put down my 
name ; put down N. N. only. The reason is, that, as I have mentioned 
him in the enclosed pamphlet, it would look indelicate. I would give 
more, but my disappointments last year about Rochdale and the trans- 
fer from the funds render me more economical for the present." 



" Ravenna, April 26th, 1821. 
" The child continues doing well, and the accounts are regular and 
favourable. It is gratifying to me that you »ud Mrs. Shelley do not 
disapprove of the step which I have taken, which is merely temporary. 

316 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 


I am very sorry to hear what you say of Keats — is it actually 
true ? I did not think criticism had been so killing. Though I differ 
from you essentially in your estimate of his performances, I so much 
abhor all unnecessary pain, that I would rather he had been seated on 
the highest peak of Parnassus than have perished in such a manner. 
Poor fellow ! though with such inordinate self-love he would probably 
have not been very happy. I read the review of ' Endymion' in the 
Quarterly. It was severe, — but surely not so severe as my reviews 
in that and other journals upon others. 

" I recollect the effect on me of the Edinburgh on my first poem ; 
it was rage, and resistance, and redress — but not despondency nor 
despair. I grant that those are not amiable feelings ; but, in this 
world of bustle and broil, and especially in the career of writing, a 
man should calculate upon his powers of resistance before he goes 
into the arena. 

4 Expect not life from pain nor danger free, 
Nor deem the doom of man reversed for thee.' 

" You know my opinion of that second-hand school of poetry. You 
also know my high opinion of your own poetry, — because it is of no 
school. I read Cenci — but, besides that I think the subject essentially 
imdramatic, 1 am not an admirer of our old dramatists, as models. I 
deny that the English have hitherto had a drama at all. Your Cenci, 
however, was a work of power and poetry. As to my drama, pray 
revenge yourself upon it, by being as free as I have been with yours. 

" I have not yet got your Prometheus, which I long to see. I have 
heard nothing of mine, and do not know that it is yet published. I 
have published a pamphlet on the Pope controversy, which you will 
not like. Had I known that Keats was dead — or that he was alive 
and so sensitive — I should have omitted some remarks upon his 
poetry, to which I was provoked by his attack upon Pope, and my dis- 
approbation of his own style of writing. 

44 You want me to undertake a great Poem — I have not the inclina- 
tion nor the power. As I grow older, the indifference — not to life, 
for we love it by instinct — but to the stimuli of life, increases. Be- 
sides, this late failure of the Italians has latterly disappointed me for 
many reasons, — some public, some personal. My respects to Mrs. S. 

" Yours ever. 

" P.S. Could not you and I contrive to meet this summer] Could 
not you take a run here alone? 



" Ravenna, April 26th, 1821. 

" I sent you by last postis a large packet, which will not do for 
publication (I suspect), being, as the apprentices say, ' damned low. 1 
I put off also for a week or two sending the Italian scrawl which will 
form a note to it. The reason is, that letters being opened, I wish to 
4 bide a wee.' 

" Well, have you published the Tragedy 1 and does the Letter take3 

a. d. 1821.] LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 317 

" Is it true what Shelley writes me, that poor John Keats died at 
Rome of the Quarterly Review 1 I am very sorry for it, though I 
think he took the wrong line as a poet, and was spoiled by Cockney fy- 
ing, and suburbing, and versifying Tooke's Pantheon and Lempriere's 
Dictionary. I know, by experience, that a savage review is hemlock 
to a sucking author; and the one on me (which produced the English 
Bards, &c.) knocked me down — but I got up again. Instead of burst- 
ing a blood-vessel, I drank three bottles of claret, and begun an an- 
swer, finding that there was nothing in the article for which I could 
lawfully knock Jeffrey on the head, in an honourable way. However, 
I would not be the person who wrote the homicidal article for all 
the honour and glory in the world, though I by no means approve of 
that school of scribbling which it treats upon. 

" You see the Italians have made a sad business of it, — all owing to 
treachery and disunion among themselves. It has given me great 
vexation. The execrations heaped upon the Neapolitans by the other 
Italians are quite in unison with those of the rest of Europe. 

" Yours, &c 

"P.S. Your latest packet of books is on its way here, but not 
arrived. Kenilworth excellent. Thanks for the pocket-books, of 
which I have made presents to those ladies who like cuts, and land- 
scapes, and all that. I have got an Italian book or two which I should 
like to send you if I had an opportunity. 

" T am not at present in the very highest health, — spring, probably ; 
so I have lowered my diet and taken to Epsom salts. 

"As you say my prose is good, why do n't you treat with Moore for 
the reversion of the Memoirs 1— conditionally, recollect; not to be pub- 
lished before decease. He has the permission to dispose of them, and 
I advised him to do so." 



" Ravenna, April 28th, 1821. 

" You cannot have been more disappointed than myself, nor so 
much deceived. I have been so at some personal risk also, which is 
not yet done away with. However, no time nor circumstances shall 
alter my tone nor my feelings of indignation against tyranny tri- 
umphant. The present business has been as much a work of treachery 
as of cowardice, — though both may have done their part. If ever you 
and I meet again, I will have a talk with you upon the subject. At 
present, for obvious reasons, I can write but little, as all letters are 
opened. In mine they shall always find my sentiments, but nothing 
that can lead to the oppression of others. 

" You will please to recollect that the Neapolitans are nowhere now 
more execrated than in Italy, and not blame a whole people for the 
vices of a province. That would be like condemning Great Britain 
because they plunder wrecks in Cornwall 

" And now, let us be literary ; — a sad falling off, but it is always a 
consolation. If ' Othello's occupation be gone,' let us take to the 
next best; and, if we cannot contribute to make mankind more free 
and wise, we may amuse ourselves and those who like it. What are 

318 NOTICES OF THE [a. d. 1821. 

you writing ? I have been scribbling at intervals, and Murray will be 
publishing about now. 

" Lady Noel has, as you say, been dangerously ill ; but it may con- 
sole you to learn that she is dangerously well again. 

"I have written a sheet or two more of Memoranda for you; and I 
kept a little Journal for about a month or two, till I had filled the pa- 
per-book. I then left it off, as things grew busy and, afterward, too 
gloomy to set down without a painful feeling. This I should be glad 
to send you, if I had an opportunity ; but a volume, however small, 
do n't go well by such posts as exist in this Inquisition of a country. 

" I have no news. As a very pretty woman said to me a few nights 
ago, with the tears in her eyes, as she sat at the harpsichord, ' Alas ! 
the Italians must now return to making operas.' I fear that and mac- 
caroni are their forte, and ' motley their only wear.' However, there 
are some high spirits among them still. Pray write. 

" And believe me, &c." 




" Ravenna, May 3d, 1821. 

"Though I wrote to you on the 28th ultimo, I must acknowledge 
yours of this day, with the lines.* They are sublime, as well as beau- 
tiful, and in your very best mood and manner. They are also but too 
true. However, do not confound the scoundrels at the heel of the 
boot with their betters at the top of it. I assure you that there are 
some loftier spirits. 

" Nothing, however, can be better than your poem, or more deserved 
by the Lazzaroni. They are now abhorred and disclaimed nowhere 
more than here. We will talk over these things (if we meet) some 
day, and I will recount my own adventures, some of which have been 
a little hazardous, perhaps. 

"So you have got the Letter on Bowles ?f 1 do not recollect to 
have said any thing of you that could offend, — certainly, nothing in- 
tentionally. As for * *, I meant him a compliment. I wrote the 
whole off-hand, without copy or correction, and expecting then every 
day to be called into the field. What have I said of you? I am sure 
I forget. It must be something of regret for your approbation of 
Bowles. And did you not approve, as he says] Would I had known 
that before ! I would have given him some more gruel.| My inten- 

* " Ay, down to the dust with them, slaves as they are," &c. &c. 

1 1 had not, when I wrote, seen this pamphlet, as he supposes, but had 
merely heard from some friends, that his pen had "run a-muck" in it, and 
that I myself had not escaped a slight graze in its career. 

^ It may be sufficient t