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Sromsw< ODES and SHAW, 
New-iueet- Square. 


HIS LIFE, from the Period of his Return from the Con- 
tinent, July, 1811, to January, 1814. 



HAVING landed the young pilgrim once more in 
England, it may be worth while, before we accom- 
pany him into the scenes that awaited him at home, 
to consider how far the general character of his 
mind and disposition may have been affected by the 
course of travel and adventure, in which he had 
been, for the last two years, engaged. A life less 
savouring of poetry and romance than that which 
he had pursued previously to his departure on his 
travels, it would be difficult to imagine. In his 
^ and 

(wanderer., amoeg- scenes -well calculated, according 
tolTie ordinary notion, to implant the first rudiments 
of poetic feeling Bu^^oja^^ 
wards feed on thre5Jifiqtioa oi-^eli^s^enes^jtjs 
more than questionable, as has been already ob- 
served, whether he ever has been formed by them. 
If a childhood, indeed, passed among mountainous 
scenery were so favourable to the awakening of the 
imaginative power, both the Welsh, among ourselves, 



and the Swiss, abroad, ought to rank much higher 
on the scale of poetic excellence than they do at 
present. But, even allowing the picturesqueness of 
his early haunts to have had some share in giving a 
direction to the fancy of Byron, the actual operation 
of this influence, whatever it may have been, ceased 
with his childhood ; and the life which he led after- 
wards during his school-days at Harrow, was, as 
naturally the life of so idle and daring a schoolboy 
must be, the very reverse of jaoetical. For a 
soldier or an adventurer, the course of training 
through which he then passed would have been 
perfect; his athletic sports, his battles, his love of 
dangerous enterprise, gave every promise of a spirit 
fit for the most stormy career. But to the medi- 
tative pursuits of poesy, these dispositions seemed, 
of all others, the least friendly; and, however they 
might promise to render him, at some future time, 
a subject for bards, gave, assuredly, but little hope 
of his shining first among bards himself. 

The habits of his life at the university were even 
still less intellectual and literary. While a school- 
boy, he had read abundantly and eagerly, though 
desultorily; but even this discipline of his mind, 
irregular and undirected as it was, he had, in a 
great measure, given up, after leaving Harrow ; and 
among the pursuits that occupied his academic 
hours, those of playing at hazard, sparring, and 
keeping a bear and bull-dogs, were, if not the most 
favourite, at least, perhaps, the most innocent. His 
time in London passed equally unmarked either by 
mental cultivation or refined amusement. Having 


no resources in private society, from his total want 
of friends and connections, he was left to live loosely 
about town among the loungers in coffee-houses; 
and to those who remember what his two favourite 
haunts, Limmer's and Stevens's, were at that period, 
it is needless to say that, whatever else may have 
been the merits of these establishments, they were 
anythingjDut fit schools for the formation of poetic 

But however incompatible such a life must have 
been with those habits of contemplation, by which, 
and which only, the faculties he had already dis- 
played could be ripened, or those that were still 
latent could be unfolded, yet, in another point of 
view, the time now apparently squandered by him, 
was, in after-days, turned most invaluably to account. 
By thus initiating him into a knowledge of the vari- 
eties of human character, by giving him an insight 
into the details of society, in their least artificial form, 
in short, by mixing him up, thus early, with the 
world, its business and its pleasures, his London 
life but contributed its share in forming that won- 
derful combination which his mind afterwards ex- 
hibited, of the imaginative and the practical the 
heroic and the humorous of the keenest and 
most dissecting views of real life, with the grandest 
and most spiritualised conceptions of ideal grandeur. 

To the same period, perhaps, another predominant 
characteristic of his maturer mind and writings may 
be traced. In this anticipated experience of the 
world which his early mixture with its crowd gave 
him, it is but little probable that many of the more 
B 2 


favourable specimens of human kind should have 
fallen under his notice. On the contrary, it is but 
too likely that some of the lightest and least estim- 
able of both sexes may have been among the models, 
on which, at an age when impressions sink deepest, 
his earliest judgments of human nature were formed. 
Hence, probably, those contemptuous and debasing 
views of humanity with which he was so often led 
to alloy his noblest tributes to the loveliness and 
majesty of general nature. Hence the contrast that 
appeared between the fruits of his imagination and 
of his experience, between those dreams, full of 
beauty and kindliness, with which the one teemed 
at his bidding, and the dark, desolating bitterness 
that overflowed when he drew from the other. 

Unpromising, however, as was his youth of the 
high destiny that awaited him, there was one un- 
failing characteristic of the imaginative order of 
minds his love of solitude which very early 
gave signs of those habits of self-study and intro- 
spection by which alone the " diamond quarries" of 
genius are worked and brought to light. When 
but a boy, at Harrow, he had shown this disposition 
strongly, being often known, as I have already 
mentioned, to withdraw himself from his playmates, 
and sitting alone upon a tomb in the churchyard, 
give himself up, for hours, to thought. As his 
mind began to disclose its resources, this feeling 
grew upon him ; and, had his foreign travel done no 
more than, by detaching him from the distractions 
of society, to enable him, solitarily and freely, to 
commune with his own spirit, it would have been 


an all- important step gained towards the full ex- 
pansion of his faculties. It was only then, indeed, 
that he began to feel himself capable of the abstrac- 
tion which self-study requires, or to enjoy that 
freedom from the intrusion of others' thoughts, 
which alone leaves the contemplative mind master 
of its own. In the solitude of his nights at sea, in 
his lone wanderings through Greece, he had sufficient 
leisure and seclusion to look within himself, and 
there catch the first " glimpses of his glorious mind." 
One of his chief delights, as he mentioned in his 
" Memoranda," was, when bathing in some retired 
spot, to seat himself on a high rock above the sea, 
and there remain for hours, gazing upon the sky 
and the waters*, and lost in that sort of vague 
reverie, which, however formless and indistinct at 
the moment, settled afterwards on his pages, into 

* To this he alludes in those beautiful stanzas, 

" To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell," &c. 

Alfieri, before his dramatic genius had yet unfolded itself, 
used to pass hours, as he tells us, in this sort of dreaming 
state, gazing upon the ocean : " Apres le spectacle un de 
mes amusemens, a Marseille, tait de me baigner presque tous 
les soirs dans la mer. J'avais trouve" un petit endroit fort 
agre*able, sur une langue de terre placed a droite hors du port, 
ou, en m'asseyant sur le sable, le dos appuye" contre un petit 
rocher qui empe"chait qu'on ne put me voir du c6t de la terre, 
je n'avais plus devant moi que le ciel et la mer. Entre ces 
deux immensity's qu'embellissaient les rayons d'un soleil 
couchant, je passai en revant des heures delicieuses ; et la, je 
serais devenu poete, si j'avais su e"crire dans une langue quel- 

B 3 



those clear, bright pictures which will endure for 

Were it not for the doubt and diffidence that 
hang round the first steps of genius, this growing 
consciousness of his own power, these openings into 
a new domain of intellect, where he was to reign 
supreme, must have made the solitary hours of the 
young traveller one dream of happiness. But it 
will be seen that, even yet, he distrusted his own 
strength, nor was at all aware of the height to 
which the spirit he was now calling up would grow. 
So enamoured, nevertheless, had he become of 
these lonely musings, that even the society of his 
fellow-traveller, though with pursuits so congenial 
to his own, grew at last to be a chain and a burden 
on him ; and it was not till he stood, companionless, 
on the shore of the little island in the JEgean, that 
he found his spirit breathe freely. If any stronger 
proof were wanting of his deep passion for solitude, 
we shall find it, not many years after, in his own 
written avowal, that, even when in the company of 
the woman he most loved, he not unfrequently 
found himself sighing to be alone. 

It was not only, however, by affording him the 
concentration necessary for this silent drawing out 
of his feelings and powers, that travel conduced so 
essentially to the formation of his poetical cha- 
racter. To the East he had looked, with the eyes 
of romance, from his very childhood. Before he 
was ten years of age, the perusal of Rycaut's His- 
tory of the Turks had taken a strong hold of his 
imagination, and he read eagerly, in consequence, 


every book concerning the East he could find.* 
In visiting, therefore, those countries, he was but 
realising the dreams of his childhood ; and this re- 
turn of his thoughts to that innocent time, gave a 
freshness and purity to their current which they 
had long wanted. Under the spell of such recol- 
lections, the attraction of novelty was among the 
least that the scenes, through which he wandered, 
presented. Fond traces of the past and few 
have ever retained them so vividly mingled them- 
selves with the impressions of the objects before 
him ; and as, among the Highlands, he had often 

* But a few months before he died, in a conversation with 
Maurocordato at Missolonghi, Lord Byron said " The 
Turkish History was one of the first books that gave me plea- 
sure when a child ; and I believe it had much influence on my 
subsequent wishes to visit the Levant, and gave perhaps the 
oriental colouring which is observed in my poetry." COUNT 
GAMBA'S Narrative-, 

In the last edition of Mr. D'Israeli's work on " the Literary 
Character," that gentleman has given some curious marginal 
notes, which he found written by Lord Byron in a copy of this 
work that belonged to him. Among them is the following 
enumeration of the writers that, besides Rycaut, had drawn 
his attention so early to the East : 

" Knolles, Cantemir, De Tott, Lady M. "W. Montague, 
Hawkins's Translation from Mignot's History of the Turks, 
the Arabian Nights, all travels, or histories, or books upon the 
East I could meet with, I had read, as well as Rycaut, before 
I was ten years old. I think the Arabian Nights first. After 
these, I preferred the history of naval actions, Don Quixote, 
and Smollett's novels, particularly Roderick Random, and I 
was passionate for the Roman History. When a boy, I could 
never bear to read any Poetry whatever without disgust and 

B 4 




traversed, in fancy, the land of the Moslem, so 
memory, from the wild hills of Albania, now " car- 
ried him back to Morven." 

While such sources of poetic feeling were stirred 
at every step, there was also in his quick change of 
place and scene in the diversity of men and 
manners surveyed by him in the perpetual hope 
of adventure and thirst of enterprise, such a suc- 
cession and variety of ever fresh excitement as not 
only brought into play, but invigorated, all the 
energies of his character : as he, himself, describes 
his mode of living, it was " To-day in a palace, to- 
morrow in a cow-house this day with the Pacha, 
the next with a shepherd." Thus were his powers 
of observation quickened, and the impressions on 
his imagination multiplied. Thus schooled, too, in 
some of the roughnesses and privations of life, and, 
so far, made acquainted with the flavour of ad- 
versity, he learned to enlarge, more than is common 
in his high station, the circle of his sympathies, 
and became inured to that manly and vigorous cast 
of thought which is so impressed on all his writings. 
Nor must we forget, among these strengthening 
and animating effects of travel, the ennobling ex- 
citement of danger, which he more than once ex- 
perienced, having been placed in situations, both 
on land and sea, well calculated to call forth that 
pleasurable sense of energy, which perils, calmly 
confronted, never fail to inspire. 

The strong interest which in spite of his 
assumed philosophy on this subject in Childe 
Harold he took in every thing connected with a 

1811. LIFE OF LORD BYRON 1 . 9 

life of warfare, found frequent opportunities of 
gratification, not only on board the English ships of 
war in which he sailed, but in his occasional inter- 
course with the soldiers of the country. At Salora, 
a solitary place on the Gulf of Arta, he once passed 
two or three days, lodged in a small miserable bar- 
rack. Here, he lived the whole time, familiarly, 
among the soldiers ; and a picture of the singular 
scene which their evenings presented of those 
wild, half-bandit warriors, seated round the young 
poet, and examining with savage admiration his 
fine Manton gun * and English sword might be 
contrasted, but too touchingly, with another and a 
later picture of the same poet, dying, as a chieftain, 
on the same land, with Suliotes for his guards, and 
all Greece for his mourners. 

It is true, amidst all this stimulating variety of 
objects, the melancholy which he had brought from 
home still lingered around his mind. To Mr. Adair 
and Mr. Bruce, as I have before mentioned, he 
gave the idea of a person labouring under deep 
dejection; and Colonel Leake, who was, at that 
time, resident at loannina, conceived very much 
the same impression of the state of his mind.f 

* " It rained hard the next day, and we spent another 
evening with our soldiers. The captain, Elmas, tried a fine 
Manton gun belonging to my Friend, and hitting his mark 
every time was highly delighted." HOBHOUSE'S Journey, $c. 

f It must be recollected that by two of these gentlemen he 
was seen chiefly under the restraints of presentation and 
etiquette, when whatever gloom there was on his spirits would, 
in a shy nature like his, most show itself. The account which 
his fellow-traveller gives of him is altogether different. In 



But, assuredly, even this melancholy, habitually as 
it still clung to him, must, under the stirring and 
healthful influences of his roving life, have become 
a far more elevated and abstract feeling than it 
ever could have expanded to within reach of those 
annoyances, whose tendency was to keep it wholly 
concentrated round self. Had he remained idly at 
home, he would have sunk, perhaps, into a queru- 
lous satirist. But, as his views opened on a freer 
and wider horizon, every feeling of his nature kept 
pace with their enlargement ; and this inborn sad- 
ness, mingling itself with the effusions of his genius, 
became one of the chief constituent charms not 
only of their pathos, but their grandeur. For, 
when did ever a sublime thought spring up in the 

introducing the narration of a short tour to Negroponte, 
in which his noble friend was unable to accompany him, 
Mr. Hobhouse expresses strongly the deficiency of which he is 
sensible, from the absence, on this occasion, of " a companion, 
who, to quickness of observation and ingenuity of remark, 
united that gay good-humour which keeps alive the attention 
under the pressure of fatigue, and softens the aspect of every 
difficulty and danger." In some lines, too, of the " Hints 
from Horace," addressed evidently to Mr. Hobhouse, Lord 
Byron not only renders the same justice to his own social 
cheerfulness, but gives a somewhat more distinct idea of the 
frame of mind out of which it rose ; 

" Moschus ! with whom I hope once more to sit, 
And smile at folly, if we can't at wit ; 
Yes, friend, for thee I'll quit my Cynic cell, 
And bear Swift's motto, " Vive la bagatelle !" 
Which charm'd our days in each JEgean clime, 
And oft at home with revelry and rhyme." 


soul, that melancholy was not to be found, however 
latent, in its neighbourhood? 

We have seen, from the letters written by him on 
his passage homeward, how far from cheerful or 
happy was the state of mind in which he returned. 
In truth, even for a disposition of the most san- 
guine cast, there was quite enough in the discom- 
forts that now awaited him in England, to sadden 
its hopes, and check its buoyancy. " To be happy 
at home," says Johnson, " is the ultimate result of 
all ambition, the end to which every enterprise 
and labour tends." But Lord Byron had no home, 
at least none that deserved this endearing name. 
A fond family circle, to accompany him with its 
prayers, while away, and draw round him, with 
listening eagerness, on his return, was what, un- 
luckily, he never knew, though with a heart, as we 
have seen, by nature formed for it. In the absence, 
too, of all that might cheer and sustain, he had 
every thing to encounter that could distress and 
humiliate. To the dreariness of a home without 
affection, was added the burden of an establishment 
without means ; and he had thus all the embarrass- 
ments of domestic life, without its charms. His 
affairs had, during his absence, been suffered to fall 
into confusion, even greater than their inherent 
tendency to such a state warranted. There had 
been, the preceding year, an execution on New- 
stead, for a debt of 1500/. owing to the Messrs. 
Brothers, upholsterers ; and a circumstance told of 
the veteran, Joe Murray, on this occasion, well de- 
serves to be mentioned. To this faithful old servant, 


jealous of the ancient honour of the Byrons, the 
sight of the notice of sale, pasted up on the abbey- 
door, could not be otherwise than an unsightly and 
intolerable nuisance. Having enough, however, of 
the fear of the law before his eyes, not to tear the 
writing down, he was at last forced, as his only 
consolatory expedient, to paste a large piece of 
brown paper over it. 

Notwithstanding the resolution, so recently ex- 
pressed by Lord Byron, to abandon for ever the 
vocation of authorship, and leave " the whole Cas- 
talian state " to others, he was hardly landed in 
England when we find him busily engaged in pre- 
parations for the publication of some of the poems 
which he had produced abroad. So eager was he, 
indeed, to print, that he had already, in a letter 
written at sea, announced himself to Mr. Dallas, as 
ready for the press. Of this letter, which, from its 
date, ought to have preceded some of the others 
that have been given, I shall here lay before the 
reader the most material parts. 


" Volage Frigate, at sea, June 28. 1811 

" After two years' absence, (to a day, on the 2d 
of July, before which we shall not arrive at Ports- 
mouth,) I am retracing my way to England. 

" I am coming back with little prospect of plea- 
sure at home, and with a body a little shaken by 
one or two smart fevers, but a spirit I hope yet un- 
broken. My affairs, it seems, are considerably h~ 


volved,and much business must be done with lawyers, 
colliers, farmers, and creditors. Now this, to a man 
who hates bustle as he hates a bishop, is a serious 
concern. But enough of my home department. 

" My Satire, it seems, is in a fourth edition, a 
success rather above the middling run, but not 
much for a production which, from its topics, must 
be temporary, and of course be successful at first, 
or not at all. At this period, when I can think and 
act more coolly, I regret that I have written it, 
though I shall probably find it forgotten by all 
except those whom it has offended. 

" Yours and Pratt' s protege, Blackett, the cobbler, 
is dead, in spite of his rhymes, and is probably one 
of the instances where death has saved a man from 
damnation. You were the ruin of that poor fellow 
amongst you : had it not been for his patrons, he 
might now have been in very good plight, shoe- (not 
verse-) making : but you have made him immortal 
with a vengeance. I write this, supposing poetry, 
patronage, and strong waters, to have been the 
death of him. If you are in town in or about the 
beginning of July, you will find me at Dorant's, in 
Albemarie Street, glad to see you. I have an 
imitation of Horace's Art of Poetry ready for Caw- 
thorn, but don't let that deter you, for I sha'n't 
inflict it upon you. You know I never read my 
rhymes to visitors. I shall quit town in a few days 
for Notts., and thence to Rochdale. 

" Yours, &c." 

Immediately, on Lord Byron's arrival in London, 



Mr. Dallas called upon him. " On the 15th of 
July," says this gentleman, I had the pleasure of 
shaking hands with him at Reddish's Hotel in St. 
James's Street. I thought his looks belied the re- 
port he had given me of his bodily health, and his 
countenance did not betoken melancholy, or dis- 
pleasure at his return. He was very animated in 
the account of his travels, but assured me he had 
never had the least idea of writing them. He said 
he believed satire to be his forte, and to that he had 
adhered, having written, during his stay at different 
places abroad, a Paraphrase of Horace's Art of 
Poetry, which would be a good finish to English 
Bards and Scotch Reviewers. He seemed to pro- 
mise himself additional fame from it, and I under- 
took to superintend its publication, as I had done 
that of the Satire. I had chosen the time ill for my 
visit, and we had hardly any time to converse unin- 
terruptedly, he therefore engaged me to breakfast 
with him next morning." 

In the interval Mr. Dallas looked over this Para- 
phrase, which he had been permitted by Lord 
Byron to take home with him for the purpose, and 
his disappointment was, as he himself describes it, 
" grievous," on finding, that a pilgrimage of two 
years to the inspiring lands of the East had been 
attended with no richer poetical result. On their 
meeting again next morning, though unwilling to 
speak disparagingly of the work, he could not re- 
frain, as he informs us, from expressing some sur- 
prise that his noble friend should have produced 
nothing else during his absence. " Upon this," he 


continues, " Lord Byron told me that he had occa- 
sionally written short poems, besides a great many 
stanzas in Spenser's measure, relative to the countries 
he had visited. ' They are not worth troubling you 
with, but you shall have them all with you if you 
like.' So came I by Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. 
He took it from a small trunk, with a number of 
verses. He said they had been read but by one 
person, who had found very little to commend and 
much to condemn : that he himself was of that 
opinion, and he was sure I should be so too. Such 
as it was, however, it was at my service : but he 
was urgent that ' The Hints from Horace' should 
be immediately put in train, which I promised to 
have done." 

The value of the treasure thus presented to him, 
Mr. Dallas was not slow in discovering. That very 
evening he despatched a letter to his noble friend, 
saying " You have written one of the most de- 
lightful poems I ever read. If I wrote this in 
flattery, I should deserve your contempt rather 
than your friendship. I have been so fascinated 
with Childe Harold that I have not been able to lay 
it down. I would almost pledge my life on its 
advancing the reputation of your poetical powers, 
and on its gaining you great honour and regard, if 
you will do me the credit and favour of attending to 
my suggestions respecting," &c. &c. &c. 

Notwithstanding this just praise, and the secret 
echo it must have found in a heart so awake to the 
slightest whisper of fame, it was some time before 



Lord Byron's obstinate repugnance to the idea of 
publishing Childe Harold could be removed. 

" Attentive," says Mr. Dallas, " as he had hitherto 
been to my opinions and suggestions, and natural as 
it was that he should be swayed by such decided 
praise, I was surprised to find that I could not at 
first obtain credit with him for my judgment on 
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. < It was any thing 
but poetry it had been condemned by a good 
critic had I not myself seen the sentences on the 
margins of the manuscripts ? ' He dwelt upon the 
Paraphrase of the Art of Poetry with pleasure, and 
the manuscript of that was given to Cawthorn, the 
publisher of the Satire, to be brought forth without 
delay. I did not, however, leave him so : before I 
quitted him I returned to the charge, and told him 
that I was so convinced of the merit of Childe 
Harold's Pilgrimage, that, as he had given it to me, 
I should certainly publish it, if he would have the 
kindness to attend to some corrections and alter- 

Among the many instances, recorded in literary 
history, of the false judgments of authors respecting 
their own productions, the preference given by Lord 
Byron to a work so little worthy of his genius, over 
a poem of such rare and original beauty as the first 
Cantos of Childe Harold, maybe accounted, perhaps, 
one of the most extraordinary and inexplicable.* 

* It is, however, less wonderful that authors should thus 
misjudge their productions, when whole generations have 
sometimes fallen into the same sort of error. The Sonnets of 
Petrarch were, by the learned of his day, considered only 


" It is in men as in soils," says Swift, " where 
sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner 
knows not of." But Lord Byron had made the dis- 
covery of the vein, without, as it would seem, being 
aware of its value. I have already had occasion to 
observe that, even while occupied with the com- 
position of Childe Harold, it is questionable whether 
he himself was yet fully conscious of the new powers, 
both of thought and feeling, that had been awakened 
in him ; and the strange estimate we now find him 
forming of his own production appears to warrant 
the remark. It would seem, indeed, as if, while 
the imaginative powers of his mind had received 
such an impulse forward, the faculty of judgment, 
slower in its developement, was still immature, and 
that of seZf-judgment, the most difficult of all, still 

On the other hand, from the deference which, 
particularly at this period of his life, he was inclined 
to pay to the opinions of those with whom he as- 
sociated, it would be fairer, perhaps, to conclude 
that this erroneous valuation arose rather from a 
diffidence in his own judgment than from any de- 
ficiency of it. To his college companions, almost 
all of whom were his superiors in scholarship, and 
some of them even, at this time, his competitors in 

worthy of the ballad-singers by whom they were chanted about 
the streets ; while his Epic Poem, " Africa," of which few now 
even know the existence, was sought for on all sides, and the 
smallest fragment of it begged from the author, for the libraries 
of the learned. 



irl fl^- 

poetry, he looked up with a degree of fond and ad- 
miring deference, for which his ignorance of his own 
intellectual strength alone could account ; and the 
example, as well as tastes, of these young writers 
being mostly on the side of established models, 
their authority, as long as it influenced him, would, 
to a certain degree, interfere with his striking con- 
fidently into any new or original path. That some 
remains of this bias, with a little leaning, perhaps, 
towards school recollections *, may have had a share 
in prompting his preference of the Horatian Para- 
phrase, is by no means improbable; at least, that 
it was enough to lead him, untried as he had yet 
been in the new path, to content himself, for the 
present, with following up his success in the old. 
We have seen, indeed, that the manuscript of the 
two Cantos of Childe Harold had, previously to its 
being placed in the hands of Mr. Dallas, been sub- 
mitted by the noble author to the perusal of some 
friend the first and only one, it appears, who at 
that time had seen them. Who this fastidious 
critic was, Mr. Dallas has not mentioned ; but the 
sweeping tone of censure in which he conveyed his 
remarks was such as, at any period of his career, 

* Gray, under the influence of a similar predilection, pre- 
ferred, for a long time, his Latin poems to those by which he 
has gained such a station in English literature. " Shall we 
attribute this," says Mason, " to his having been educated at 
Eton, or to what other cause ? Certain it is, that when I first 
knew him, he seemed to set a greater value on his Latin 
poetry than on that which he had composed in his native lan- 


would have disconcerted the judgment of one, who, 
years after, in all the plenitude of his fame, con- 
fessed, that " the depreciation of the lowest of 
mankind was more painful to him than the applause 
of the highest was pleasing." * 

Though on every thing that, after his arrival at the 
age of manhood, he produced, some mark or other 
of the master-hand may be traced ; yet, to print the 
whole of his Paraphrase of Horace, which extends 
to nearly 800 lines, would be, at the best, but a 
questionable compliment to his memory. That the 
reader, however, may be enabled to form some 
opinion of a performance, which by an error or 
caprice of judgment, unexampled, perhaps, in the 
annals of literature its author, for a time, pre- 
ferred to the sublime musings of Childe Harold, I 
shall here select a few such passages from the Para- 
phrase as may seem calculated to give an idea as 
well of its merits as its defects. 

The opening of the poem is, with reference to the 
original, ingenious : 

" Who would not laugh, if Lawrence, hired to grace 
His costly canvass with each flatter'd face, 
Abused his art, till Nature, with a blush, 
Saw cits grow centaurs underneath his brush ? 
Or should some limner join, for show or sale, 
A maid of honour to a mermaid's tail ? 
Or low Dubost (as once the world has seen) 
Degrade God's creatures in his graphic spleen? 

* One of the manuscript notes of Lord Byron on Mr. 
D'Israeli's work, already referred to. Vol. i. p. 144. 
C 2 




Not all that forced politeness, which defends 
Fools in their faults, could gag his grinning friends. 
Believe me, Moschus, like that picture seems 
The book, which, sillier than a sick man's dreams, 
Displays a crowd of figures incomplete, 
Poetic nightmares, without head or feet." 

The following. is pointed, and felicitously ex- 
pressed : 

" Then glide down Grub Street, fasting and forgot, 
Laugh'd into Lethe by some quaint Review, 
Whose wit is never troublesome till true." 

Of the graver parts, the annexed is a favourable 
specimen : 

" New words find credit in these latter days, 
If neatly grafted on a Gallic phrase : 
What Chaucer, Spenser, did, we scarce refuse 
To Dryden's or to Pope's maturer muse. 
If you can add a little, say why not, 
As well as William Pitt and Walter Scott, 
Since they, by force of rhyme, and force of lungs, 
Enrich'd our island's ill-united tongues ? 
'Tis then, and shall be, lawful to present 
Reforms in writing as in parliament. 

" As forests shed their foliage by degrees, 
So fade expressions which in season please ; 
And we and ours, alas ! are due to fate, 
And works and words but dwindle to a date. 
Though, as a monarch nods and commerce calls, 
Impetuous rivers stagnate in canals ; 
Though swamps subdued, and marshes drain'd sustain 
The heavy ploughshare and the yellow grain ; 
And rising ports along the busy shore 
Protect the vessel from old Ocean's roar 


All, all must perish. But, surviving last, 
The love of letters half preserves the past : 
True, some decay, yet not a few survive, 
Though those shall sink which now appear to thrive, 
As custom arbitrates, whose shifting sway 
Our life and language must alike obey." 

I quote what follows chiefly for the sake of the 
note attached to it : 

" Satiric rhyme first sprang from selfish spleen. 
You doubt? See Dryden, Pope, St. Patrick's Dean.* 

" Blank verse is now with one consent allied 
To Tragedy, and rarely quits her side ; 
Though mad Almanzor rhymed in Dryden's days, 
No sing-song hero rants in modern plays ; 
While modest Comedy her verse foregoes 
For jest and pun in very middling prose. 
Not that our Bens or Beaumonts show the worse, 
Or lose one point because they wrote in verse ; 
But so Thalia pleases to appear, 
Poor virgin ! damn'd some twenty times a year ! " 

There is more of poetry in the following verses 
upon Milton than in any other passage throughout 
the Paraphrase : 

" ' Awake a louder and a loftier strain,' 
And, pray, what follows from his boiling brain ? 
He sinks to S * * 's level in a trice, 
Whose epic mountains never fail in mice ! 

* " Mac Flecknoe, the Dunciad, and all Swift's lampooning 

ballads Whatever their other works may be, these originated 

in personal feelings and angry retort on unworthy rivals ; and 
though the ability of these satires elevates the poetical, their 
poignancy detracts from the personal, character of the writers." 
c 3 

22 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

Not so of yore awoke your mighty sire 
The temper'd warblings of his master lyre ; 
Soft as the gentler breathing of the lute, 
* Of man's first disobedience and the fruit' 
He speaks ; but, as his subject swells along, 
Earth, Heaven, and Hades, echo with the song." 

The annexed sketch contains some lively 
touches : 

" Behold him, Freshman ! forced no more to groan 
O'er Virgil's devilish verses*, and his own; 
Prayers are too tedious, lectures too abstruse, 

He flies from T IPs frown to ' Fordham's Mews j* 

(Unlucky T 11, doom'd to daily cares 

By pugilistic pupils and by bears !) 

Fines, tutors, tasks, conventions, threat in vain, 

Before hounds, hunters, and Newmarket plain : 

Rough with his elders ; with his equals rash ; 

Civil to sharpers ; prodigal of cash. 

Fool'd, pillaged, dunn'd, he wastes his terms away ; 

And, unexpell'd perhaps, retires M. A. : 

Master of Arts ! as Hells and Clubs f proclaim, 

Where scarce a black-leg bears a brighter name. 

* " Harvey, the circulator of the circulation of the blood, 
used to fling away Virgil in his ecstasy of admiration, and say 
* the book had a devil.' Now, such a character as I am 
copying would probably fling it away also, but rather wish that 
the devil had the book ; not from a dislike to the poet, but a 
well-founded horror of hexameters. Indeed, the public-school 
penance of ' Long and Short ' is enough to beget an antipathy 
to poetry for the residue of a man's life, and perhaps so far 
may be an advantage." 

f " Hell,' a gaming-house so called, where you risk little, 
and are cheated a good deal : ' Club,' a pleasant purgatory, 
where you ?ose more, and are not supposed to be cheated at 


u Launch'd into life, extinct his early fire, 
He apes the selfish prudence of his sire ; 
Marries for money ; chooses friends for rank : 
Buys land, and shrewdly trusts not to the Bank ; 
Sits in the senate ; gets a son and heir ; 
Sends him to Harrow for himself was there ; 
Mute though he votes, unless when call'd to cheer, 
His son's so sharp he '11 see the dog a peer ! 

" Manhood declines ; age palsies every limb ; 
He quits the scene, or else the scene quits him; 
Scrapes wealth, o'er each departing penny grieves, 
And Avarice seizes all Ambition leaves ; 
Counts cent, per cent., and smiles, or vainly frets 
O'er hoards diminish'd by young Hopeful's debts; 
Weighs well and wisely what to sell or buy, 
Complete in all life's lessons but to die ; 
Peevish and spiteful, doting, hard to please, 
Commending every time save times like these ; 
Crazed, querulous, forsaken, half forgot, 
Expires unwept, is buried let him rot ! " 

In speaking of the opera, he says : 

" Hence the pert shopkeeper, whose throbbing ear 
Aches with orchestras which he pays to hear, 
Whom shame, not sympathy, forbids to snore, 
His anguish doubled by his own ' encore ! ' 
Squeezed in Fop's Alley,' jostled by the beaux, 
Teased with his hat, and trembling for his toes, 
Scarce wrestles through the night, nor tastes of ease 
Till the dropp'd curtain gives a glad release : 
Why this and more he suffers, can ye guess? 
Because it costs him dear, and makes him dress ! " 

The concluding couplet of the following lines is 
amusingly characteristic of that mixture of fun and 
c 4, 

24; NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

bitterness with which their author sometimes spoke 
in conversation ; so much so, that those who 
knew him might almost fancy they hear him utter 
the words : 

" But every thing has faults, nor is't unknown 
That harps and fiddles often lose their tone, 
And wayward voices at their owner's call, 
With all his best endeavours, only squall ; 
Dogs blink their covey, flints withhold the spark, 
And double barrels (damn them) miss their mark ! " * 

One more passage, with the humorous note ap- 
pended to it, will complete the whole amount of my 
favourable specimens : 

" And that's enough then write and print so fast, 
If Satan take the hindmost, who'd be last ? 
They storm the types, they publish one and all, 
They leap the counter, and they leave the stall : 
Provincial maidens, men of high command, 
Yea, baronets, have ink'd the bloody hand ! 
Cash cannot quell them Pollio play'd this prank : 
(Then Phoebus first found credit in a bank ;) 
Not all the living only, but the dead 
Fool on, as fluent as an Orpheus' head ! 
Damn'd all their days, they posthumously thrive, 
Dug up from dust, though buried when alive ! 
Reviews record this epidemic crime, 
Those books of martyrs to the rage for rhyme 

* " As Mr. Pope took the liberty of damning Homer, to 
whom he was under great obligations ' And Homer (damn 
him) calls ' it may be presumed that any body or any thing 
may be damned in verse by poetical license ; and in case of 
accident, I beg leave to plead so illustrious a precedent " 


Alas ! woe worth the scribbler, often seen 

In Morning Post or Monthly Magazine ! 

There lurk his earlier lays, but soon, hot-press' d, 

Behold a quarto ! tarts must tell the rest ! 

Then leave, ye wise, the lyre's precarious chords 

To muse-mad baronets or madder lords, 

Or country Crispins, now grown somewhat stale, 

Twin Doric minstrels, drunk with Doric ale ! 

Hark to those notes, narcotically soft, 

The cobbler-laureates sing to Capel Lofft ! " * 

* " This well-meaning gentleman has spoilt some excellent 
shoemakers, and been accessary to the poetical undoing of 
many of the industrious poor. Nathaniel Bloomfield and his 
brother Bobby have set all Somersetshire singing. Nor has 
the malady confined itself to one county. Pratt, too (who 
once was wiser), has caught the contagion of patronage, and 
decoyed a poor fellow, named Blackett, into poetry; but he 
died during the operation, leaving one child and two volumes 
of ' Remains ' utterly destitute. The girl, if she don't take a 
poetical twist, and come forth as a shoemaking Sappho, may 
do well, but the ' Tragedies ' are as rickety as if they had been 
the offspring of an Earl or a Seatonian prize-poet. The 
patrons of this poor lad are certainly answerable for his end, 
and it ought to be an indictable offence. But this is the least 
they have done ; for, by a refinement of barbarity, they have 
made the (late) man posthumously ridiculous, by printing 
what he would have had sense enough never to print himself. 
Certes, these rakers of ' Remains ' come under the statute 
against resurrection-men. What does it signify whether a 
poor dear dead dunce is to be stuck up in Surgeons' or in 
Stationers' Hall? is it so bad to unearth his bones as his 
blunders ? is it not better to gibbet his body on a heath than 
his soul in an octavo ? We know what we are, but we know 
not what we may be,' and it is to be hoped we never shall 
know, if a man who has passed through life with a sort of 
clat is to find himself a mountebank on the other side of 



From these select specimens, which comprise, 
altogether, little more than an eighth of the whole 
poem, the reader may be enabled to form some 
notion of the remainder, which is, for the most part, 
of a very inferior quality, and, in some parts, de- 
scending to the depths of doggerel. Who, for 
instance, could trace the hand of Byron in such 
" prose, fringed with rhyme," as the following ? 

" Peace to Swift's faults ! his wit hath made them pass 
Unmatch'd by all, save matchless Hudibras, 
Whose author is perhaps the first we meet 
Who from our couplet lopp'd two final feet ; 
Nor less in merit than the longer line 
This measure moves, a favourite of the Nine. 

" Though at first view, eight feet may seem in vain 
Form'd, save in odes, to bear a serious strain, 
Yet Scott has shown our wondering isle of late 
This measure shrinks not from a theme of weight, 

Styx, and made, like poor Joe Blackett, the laughing-stock of 
purgatory. The plea of publication is to provide for the child. 
Now, might not some of this sutor ultra crepidam's ' friends 
and seducers have done a decent action without inveigling 
Pratt into biography ? And then, his inscriptions split into 
so many modicums ' To the Duchess of So Much, the Right 
Honble. So-and-so, and Mrs. and Miss Somebody, these 
volumes are,' &c. &c. Why, this is doling out the * soft 
milk of dedication' in gills; there is but a quart, and he 
divides it among a dozen. Why, Pratt ! hadst thou not a puff 
left ? dost thou think six families of distinction can share this 
in quiet ? There is a child, a book, and a dedication : send 
the girl to her grace, the volumes to the grocer, and the dedi- 
cation to the d-v-1." 


And, varied skilfully, surpasses far 

Heroic rhyme, but most in love or war, 

Whose fluctuations, tender or sublime, 

Are curb'd too much by long recurring rhyme, 

" In sooth, I do not know, or greatly care 
To learn who our first English strollers were, 
Or if till roofs received the vagrant art 
Our Muse like that of Thespis kept a cart. 
But this is certain, since our Shakspeare's days, 
There 's pomp enough, if little else, in plays ; 
Nor will Melpomene ascend her throne 
Without high heels, white plume, and Bristol stone. 

" Where is that living language which could claim 
Poetic more, as philosophic fame, 
If all our bards, more patient of delay, 
Would stop like Pope to polish by the way ? " 

In tracing the fortunes of men, it is not a little 
curious to observe, how often the course of a whole 
life has depended on one single step. Had Lord 
Byron now persisted in his original purpose of giving 
this poem to the press, instead of Childe Harold, it 
is more than probable that he would have been lost, 
as a great poet, to the world.* Inferior as the Para- 
phrase is, in every respect, to his former Satire, and, 
in some places, even descending below the level of 

* That he himself attributed every thing to fortune, appears 
from the following passage in one of his journals : " Like 
Sylla, I have always believed that all things depend upon for- 
tune, and nothing upon ourselves. I am not aware of any 
one thought or action worthy of being called good to myself or 
others, which is not to be attributed to the good goddess, 


under-graduate versifiers, its failure, there can be 
little doubt, would have been certain and signal; 
his former assailants would have resumed their ad- 
vantage over him, and either, in the bitterness of 
his mortification, he would have flung Childe Harold 
into the fire ; or, had he summoned up sufficient con- 
fidence to publish that poem, its reception, even if 
sufficient to retrieve him in the eyes of the public 
and his own, could never have, at all, resembled that 
explosion of success, that instantaneous and uni- 
versal acclaim of admiration into which, coming, as 
it were, fresh from the land of song, he now sur- 
prised the world, and in the midst of which he was 
borne, buoyant and self-assured, along, through a 
succession of new triumphs, each more splendid 
than the last. 

Happily, the better judgment of his friends 
averted such a risk ; and he at length consented 
to the immediate publication of Childe Harold, 
still, however, to the last, expressing his doubts of 
its merits, and his alarm at the sort of reception it 
might meet with in the world. 

" I did all I could," says his adviser, " to raise 
his opinion of this composition, and I succeeded ; 
but he varied much in his feelings about it, nor was 
he, as will appear, at his ease until the world de- 
cided on its merit. He said again and again that I 
was going to get him into a scrape with his old 
enemies, and that none of them would rejoice more 
than the Edinburgh Reviewers at an opportunity 
to humble him. He said I must not put his name 


to it. I entreated him to leave it to me, and that 
I would answer for this poem silencing all his 

The publication being now determined upon, 
there arose some doubts and difficulty as to a 
publisher. Though Lord Byron had intrusted Caw- 
thorn with what he considered to be his surer card, 
the " Hints from Horace," he did not, it seems, think 
him of sufficient station in the trade to give a sanc- 
tion or fashion to his more hazardous experiment. 
The former refusal of the Messrs. Longman* to 
publish his " English Bards and Scotch Reviewers" 
was not forgotten ; and he expressly stipulated 
with Mr. Dallas that the manuscript should not be 
offered to that house. An application was, at first, 
made to Mr. Miller, of Albemarle Street ; but, in 
consequence of the severity with which Lord Elgin 
was treated in the poem, Mr. Miller (already the 
publisher and bookseller of this latter nobleman) 
declined the work. Even this circumstance, so 
apprehensive was the poet for his fame, began to 
re-awaken all the qualms and terrors he had, at 
first, felt; and, had any further difficulties or ob- 
jections arisen, it is more than probable he might 
have relapsed into his original intention. It was 
not long, however, before a person was found 
willing and proud to undertake the publication. 

* The grounds on which the Messrs. Longman refused to 
publish his Lordship's Satire, were the severe attacks it con- 
tained upon Mr. Southey and others of their literary friends. 


Mr. Murray, who, at this period, resided in Fleet 
Street, having, some time before, expressed a de- 
sire to be allowed to publish some work of Lord 
Byron, it was in his hands that Mr. Dallas now 
placed the manuscript of Childe Harold ; and 
thus was laid the first foundation of that connection 
between this gentleman and the noble poet, which 
continued, with but a temporary interruption, 
throughout the lifetime of the one, and has proved 
an abundant source of honour, as well as emolu- 
ment, to the other. 

While thus busily engaged in his literary pro- 
jects, and having, besides, some law affairs to trans- 
act with his agent, he was called suddenly away to 
Newstead by the intelligence of an event which 
seems to have affected his mind far more deeply 
than, considering all the circumstances of the case, 
could have been expected. Mrs. Byron, whose ex- 
cessive corpulence rendered her, at all times, rather 
a perilous subject for illness, had been of late indis- 
posed, but not to any alarming degree ; nor does it 
appear that, when the following note was written, 
there existed any grounds for apprehension as to 
her state. 

" Reddish's Hotel, St. James's Street, London, July 23. 1811. 
" My dear Madam, 

" I am only detained by Mr. H * * to sign some 
copyhold papers, and will give you timely notice of 
my approach. It is with great reluctance I remain 
in town. 1 shall pay a short visit as we go on to 


Lancashire on Rochdale business. I shall attend to 
your directions, of course, and am, 

" With great respect, yours ever, 


" p. g. You will consider Newstead as your 
house, not mine ; and me only as a visitor." 

On his going abroad, she had conceived a sort of 
superstitious fancy that she should never see him 
again; and when he returned, safe and well, and 
wrote to inform her that he should soon see her at 
Newstead, she said to her waiting-woman, " If I 
should be dead before Byron comes down, what a 
strange thing it would be ! " and so, in fact, it 
happened. At the end of July, her illness took a 
new and fatal turn ; and, so sadly characteristic was 
the close of the poor lady's life, that a fit of rage, 
brought on, it is said, by reading over the up- 
holsterer's bills, was the ultimate cause of her death. 
Lord Byron had, of course, prompt intelligence of 
the attack. But, though he started instantly from 
town, he was too late, she had breathed her last. 

The following letter, it will be perceived, was 
written on his way to Newstead. 


" Newport Pagnell, August 2. 1811. 
" My dear Doctor, 

" My poor mother died yesterday ! and I am 
on my way from town to attend her to the family 
vault. I heard one day of her illness, the next of 



her death. Thank God her last moments were 
most tranquil. I am told she was in little pain, and 
not aware of her situation. I now feel the truth of 
Mr. Gray's observation, ' That we can only have 
one mother.' Peace be with her ! I have to thank 
you for your expressions of regard ; and as in six 
weeks I shall be in Lancashire on business, I may 
extend to Liverpool and Chester, at least I shall 

" If it will be any satisfaction, I have to inform 
you that in November next the Editor of the 
Scourge will be tried for two different libels on the 
late Mrs. B. and myself (the decease of Mrs. B. 
makes no difference in the proceedings) ; and as he 
is guilty, by his very foolish and unfounded as- 
sertion, of a breach of privilege, he will be pro- 
secuted with the utmost rigour. 

" I inform you of this as you seem interested in 
the affair, which is now in the hands of the Attorney- 

" I shall remain at Newstead the greater part of 
this month, where I shall be happy to hear from 
you, after my two years' absence in the East. 
" I am, dear Pigot, yours very truly, 

" BYRON." 

It can hardly have escaped the observation of the 
reader, that the general tone of the noble poet's 
correspondence with his mother is that of a son, 
performing, strictly and conscientiously, what he 
deems to be his duty, without the intermixture of 
any sentiment of cordiality to sweeten the task. 


The very title of " Madam,*' by which he addresses 
her, and which he but seldom exchanges for the 
endearing name of " mother *," is, of itself, a 
sufficient proof of the sentiments he entertained for 
her. That such should have been his dispositions 
towards such a parent, can be matter neither of sur- 
prise or blame, but that, notwithstanding this alien- 
ation, which her own unfortunate temper produced, 
he should have continued to consult her wishes, 
and minister to her comforts, with such unfailing 
though tfulness as is evinced not only in the fre- 
quency of his letters, but in the almost exclusive 
appropriation of Newstead to her use, redounds, 
assuredly, in no ordinary degree, to his honour ; and 
was even the more strikingly meritorious from the 
absence of that affection which renders kindnesses 
to a beloved object little more than an indulgence 
of self. 

But, however estranged from her his feelings 
must be allowed to have been while she lived, her 
death seems to have restored them into their na- 
tural channel. Whether from a return of early 
fondness and the all-atoning power of the grave, or 

* In many instances the mothers of illustrious poets have 
had reason to be proud no less of the affection than of the 
glory of their sons ; and Tasso, Pope, Gray, and Cowper, are 
among these memorable examples of filial tenderness. In the 
lesser poems of Tasso, there are few things so beautiful as his 
description, in the Canzone to the Metauro, of his first parting 
with his mother : 

" Me dal sen della madre empia fortuna 

Pargoletto divelse," &c. 
VOL. II. T , 



from the prospect of that void in his future life 
which this loss of his only link with the past would 
leave, it is certain that he felt the death of his 
mother acutely, if not deeply. On the night after 
his arrival at Newstead, the waiting-woman of 
Mrs. Byron, in passing the door of the room where 
the deceased lady lay, heard a sound as of some 
one sighing heavily from within ; and, on entering 
the chamber, found, to her surprise, Lord Byron, 
sitting in the dark, beside the bed. On her repre- 
senting to him the weakness of thus giving way to 
grief, he burst into tears, and exclaimed, " Oh, 
Mrs. By, I had but one friend in the world, and she 
is gone ! " 

While his real thoughts were thus confided to 
silence and darkness, there was, in other parts of 
his conduct more open to observation, a degree of 
eccentricity and indecorum which, with superficial 
observers, might well bring the sensibility of his 
nature into question. On the morning of the 
funeral, having declined following the remains him- 
self, he stood looking, from the abbey door, at the 
procession, till the whole had moved off; then, 
turning to young Rushton, who was the only per- 
son left besides himself, he desired him to fetch the 
sparring-gloves, and proceeded to his usual exercise 
with the boy. He was silent and abstracted all the 
time, and, as if from an effort to get the better of 
his feelings, threw more violence, Rushton thought, 
into his blows than was his habit ; but, at last, 
the struggle seeming too much for him, he flung 
away the gloves, and retired to his room. 


Of Mrs. Byron, sufficient, perhaps, has been re- 
lated in these pages to enable the reader to form 
fully his own opinion, as well with respect to the 
character of this lady herself, as to the degree of 
influence her temper and conduct may have ex- 
ercised on those of her son. It was said by one of 
the most extraordinary of men*, who was himself, 
as he avowed, principally indebted to maternal cul- 
ture for the unexampled elevation to which he sub- 
sequently rose, that " the future good or bad 
conduct of a child depends entirely on the mother." 
How far the leaven that sometimes mixed itself 
with the better nature of Byron, his uncertain 
and wayward impulses, his defiance of restraint, 
the occasional bitterness of his hate, and the 
precipitance of his resentments, may have had 
their origin in his early collisions with maternal 
caprice and violence, is an enquiry for which suffi- 
cient materials have been, perhaps, furnished in 
these pages, but which every one will decide upon, 
according to the more or less weight he may attri- 
bute to the influence of such causes on the formation 
of character. 

That, notwithstanding her injudicious and coarse 
treatment of him, Mrs. Byron loved her son, with 
that sort of fitful fondness of which alone such a 
nature is capable, there can be little doubt, and 
still less, that she was ambitiously proud of him. 
Her anxiety for the success of his first literary 
essays may be collected from the pains which he so 

* Napoleon. 
D 2 


considerately took to tranquillise her on the appear- 
ance of the hostile article in the Review. As his 
fame began to brighten, that notion of his future 
greatness and glory, which, by a singular forecast 
of superstition, she had entertained from his very 
childhood, became proportionably confirmed. Every 
mention of him in print was watched by her with 
eagerness ; and she had got bound together in a 
volume, which a friend of mine once saw, a collec- 
tion of all the literary notices, that had then ap- 
peared, of his early Poems and Satire, written 
over on the margin, with observations of her own, 
which to my informant appeared indicative of much 
more sense and ability than, from her general cha- 
racter, we should be inclined to attribute to her. 

Among those lesser traits of his conduct through 
which an observer can trace a filial wish to uphold, 
and throw respect around, the station of his mother, 
may be mentioned his insisting, while a boy, on 
being called " George Byron Gordon " giving 
thereby precedence to the maternal name, and 
his continuing, to the last, to address her as " the 
Honourable Mrs. Byron," a mark of rank to which, 
he must have been aware, she had no claim what- 
ever. Neither does it appear that, in his habitual 
manner towards her, there was any thing denoting 
a want of either affection or deference, with the 
exception, perhaps, occasionaDy, of a somewhat 
greater degree of familiarity than comports with the 
ordinary notions of filial respect. Thus, the usual 
name he called her by, when they were on good- 
humoured terms together, was "Kitty Gordon;" 


and I have heard an eye-witness of the scene de- 
scribe the look of arch, dramatic humour, with 
which, one day, at Southwell, when they were in 
the height of their theatrical rage, he threw open 
the door of the drawing-room, to admit his mother, 
saying, at the same time, " Enter the Honourable 

The pride of birth was a feeling common alike to 
mother and son, and, at times, even became a point 
of rivalry between them, from their respective claims, 
English and Scotch, to high lineage. In a letter 
written by him from Italy, referring to some anec- 
dote which his mother had told him, he says, 
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, notwith- 
standing our Norman, and always masculine, descent, 
which has never lapsed into a female, as my mother's 
Gordons had done in her own person." 

If, to be able to depict powerfully the painful 
emotions, it is necessary first to have experienced 
them, or, in other words, if, for the poet to be great, 
the man must suffer, Lord Byron, it must be owned, 
paid early this dear price of mastery. Few as were 
the ties by which his affections held, whether within 
or without the circle of relationship, he was now 
doomed, within a short space, to see the most of 
D 3 

38 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

them swept away by death. * Besides the loss of 
his mother, he had to mourn over, in quick succes- 
sion, the untimely fatalities that carried off, within 
a few weeks of each other, two or three of his most 
loved and valued friends. " In the short space of 
one month," he says, in a note on Childe Harold, 
" I have lost her who gave me being, and most of 
those who made that being tolerable." f Of these 
young Wingfield, whom we have seen high on the 
list of his Harrow favourites, died of a fever at 
Coimbra ; and Matthews, the idol of his admiration 
at college, was drowned while bathing in the waters 
of the Cam. 

The following letter, written immediately after 
the latter event, bears the impress of strong and 
even agonised feeling, to such a degree as renders 
it almost painful to read it : 

* In a letter, written between two and three months after 
his mother's death, he states no less a number than six persons, 
all friends or relatives, who had been snatched away from him 
by death between May and the end of August. 

t In continuation of the note quoted in the text, he says of 
Matthews " His powers of mind, shown in the attainment 
of greater honours, against the ablest candidates, than those of 
any graduate on record at Cambridge, have sufficiently esta- 
blished his fame on the spot where it was acquired. " One of 
the candidates, thus described, was Mr. Thomas Barnes, a 
gentleman whose career since has kept fully the promise of his 
youth, though, from the nature of the channels through which 
his literary labours have been directed, his great talents are far 
more extensively known than his name. 



" Newstead Abbey, August 7. 1811. 
" My dearest Davies, 

" Some curse hangs over me and mine. My 
mother lies a corpse in this house ; one of my best 
friends is drowned in a ditch. What can I say, or 
think, or do ? I received a letter from him the day 
before yesterday. My dear Scrope, if you can 
spare a moment, do come down to me I want a 
friend. Matthews's last letter was written on Friday, 
on Saturday he was not. In ability, who was 
like Matthews ? How did we all shrink before him? 
You do me but justice in saying, I would have 
risked my paltry existence to have preserved his. 
This very evening did I mean to write, inviting him, 
as I invite you, my very dear friend, to visit me. 
God forgive * * * for his apathy ! What will our 
poor Hobhouse feel? His letters breathe but or 
Matthews. Come to me, Scrope, I am almost 
desolate left almost alone in the world I had 
but you, and H., and M., and let me enjoy the sur- 
vivors whilst I can. Poor M., in his letter of Friday, 
speaks of his intended contest for Cambridge*, and 

* It had been the intention of Mr. Matthews to offer himself, 
at the ensuing election, for the university. In reference to 
this purpose, a manuscript Memoir of him, now lying before 
me, says " If acknowledged and successful talents if prin- 
ciples of the strictest honour if the devotion of many friends 
could have secured the success of an ' independent pauper ' (as 
he jocularly called himself in a letter on the subject), the vision 
would have been realised." 

D 4 

40 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

a speedy journey to London. Write or come, but 
come if you can, or one or both. 

" Yours ever." 

Of this remarkable young man, Charles Skinner 
Matthews*, I have already had occasion to speak 
but the high station which he held in Lord Byror 
affection and admiration may justify a somewh 
ampler tribute to his memory. 

There have seldom, perhaps, started together i. 
life so many youths of high promise and hope a 
were to be found among the society of which Lore 
Byron formed a part at Cambridge. Of some ol 
these, the names have since eminently distinguished 
themselves in the world, as the mere mention of 
Mr. Hobhouse and Mr. William Bankes is sufficient 
to testify ; while in the instance of another of this 
lively circle, Mr. Scrope Daviesf, the only regret 

* He was the third son of the late John Matthews, Esq. of 
Belmont, Herefordshire, representative of that county in the 
parliament of 1802 6. The author of " The Diary of an 
Invalid," also untimely snatched away, was another son of the 
same gentleman, as is likewise the present Prebendary of 
Hereford, the Reverend Arthur Matthews, who, by his ability 
and attainments, sustains worthily the reputation of the name. 

The father of this accomplished family was himself a man of 
considerable talent, and the author of several unavowed poetical 
pieces ; one of which, a Parody of Pope's Eloisa, written in 
early youth, has been erroneously ascribed to the late Professor 
Porson, who was in the habit of reciting it, and even printed 
an edition of the verses. 

f " One of the cleverest men I ever knew, in conversation, 
was Scrope Berdmore Davies. Hobhouse is also very good in 


ot his friends is, that the social wit of which he is 
such a master shoul d in the memories of his hearers 
alone be like to leave any record of its brilliancy. 
Among all these young men of learning and talent, 
(including Byron himself, whose genius was, how- 
ver, as yet, " an undiscovered world/') the supe- 
prity, in almost every department of intellect, 
.ems to have been, by the ready consent of all, 
.varded to Matthews; a concurrence of homage 
,hich, considering the persons from whom it came, 
ives such a high notion of the powers of his mind 
.t that period, as renders the thought of what he 
might have been, if spared, a matter of interesting, 
though vain and mournful, speculation. To mere 
mental pre-eminence, unaccompanied by the kindlier 
qualities of the heart, such a tribute, however de- 
served, might not, perhaps, have been so uncon- 
testedly paid. But young Matthews appears, in 
spite of some little asperities of temper and manner, 
which he was already beginning to soften down when 
snatched away, to have been one of those rare 
individuals who, while they command deference, 
can, at the same time, win regard, and who, as it 
were, relieve the intense feeling of admiration which 
they excite by blending it with love. 

To his religious opinions, and their unfortunate 

that line, though it is of less consequence to a man who has 
other ways of showing his talents than in company. Scrope 
was always ready and often witty Hobhouse as witty, but 
not always so ready, being more diffident." MS. Journal of 
Lord Byron. 


coincidence with those of Lord Byron, I have before 
adverted. Like his noble friend, ardent in the pur- 
suit of Truth, he, like him too, unluckily lost his 
way in seeking her, " the light that led astray" 
being by both friends mistaken for hers. That in 
his scepticism he proceeded any farther than Lord 
Byron, or ever suffered his doubting, but still in- 
genuous, mind to persuade itself into the " incredible 
creed*' of atheism, is, I find (notwithstanding an 
assertion in a letter of the noble poet to this effect), 
disproved by the testimony of those among his re- 
lations and friends, who are the most ready to admit 
and, of course, lament his other heresies; nor 
should I have felt that I had any right to allude 
thus to the religious opinions of one who had never, 
by promulgating his heterodoxy, brought himself 
within the jurisdiction of the public, had not the 
wrong impression, as it appears, given of those 
opinions, on the authority of Lord Byron, rendered 
it an act of justice to both friends to remove the 

In the letters to Mrs. Byron, written previously 
to the departure of her son on his travels, there 
occurs, it will be recollected,- some mention of a 
Will, which it was his intention to leave behind him 
in the hands of his trustees. Whatever may have 
been the contents of this former instrument, we 
find that, in about a fortnight after his mother's 
death, he thought it right to have a new form of 
will drawn up; and the following letter, enclosing 
his instructions for that purpose, was addressed to 
the late Mr. Bolton, a solicitor of Nottingham. Of 


the existence, in any serious or formal shape, of the 
strange directions here given, respecting his own 
interment, I was, for some time, I confess, much 
inclined to doubt ; but the curious documents here 
annexed put this remarkable instance of his eccen- 
tricity beyond all question. 


" Newstead Abbey, August 12. 1811. 
" Sir, 

" I enclose a rough draught of my intended 
will, which I beg to have drawn up as soon as pos- 
sible, in the firmest manner. The alterations are 
principally made in consequence of the death of 
Mrs. Byron. I have only to request that it may 
be got ready in a short time, and have the honour, 
to be, 

" Your most obedient, humble servant, 


" Newstead Abbey, August 12. 1811. 


" The estate of Newstead to be entailed (subject 
to certain deductions) on George Anson Byron, 
heir-at-law, or whoever may be the heir-at-law on 
the death of Lord B. The Rochdale property to 
be sold in part or the whole, according to the debts 
and legacies of the present Lord B. 

"To Nicolo Giraud of Athens, subject of France, 
but born in Greece, the sum of seven thousand 



pounds sterling, to be paid from the sale of such 
parts of Rochdale. Newstead, or elsewhere, as may 
enable the said Nicolo Giraud (resident at Athens 
and Malta in the year 1810) to receive the above 
sum on his attaining the age of twenty-one years. 

" To William Fletcher, Joseph Murray, and De- 
metrius Zograffo * (native of Greece), servants, the 
sum of fifty pounds p r . ann. each, for their natural 
lives. To W m . Fletcher, the Mill at Newstead, on 
condition that he payeth rent, but not subject to 
the caprice of the landlord. To R l . Rushton the 
sum of fifty pounds per ann. for life, and a further 
sum of one thousand pounds on attaining the age of 
twenty-five years. 

" To J n . Hanson, Esq. the sum of two thousand 
pounds sterling. 

" The claims of S. B. Davies, Esq. to be satisfied 
on proving the amount of the same. 

" The body of Lord B. to be buried in the vault 
of the garden of Newstead, without any ceremony 
or burial-service whatever, or any inscription, save 

* If the papers lie not (which they generally do), Demetrius 
Zograffo of Athens is at the head of the Athenian part of the 
Greek insurrection. He was my servant in 1809, 1810, 1811, 
1812, at different intervals of those years (for I left him in 
Greece when I went to Constantinople), and accompanied me 
to England in 1811: he returned to Greece, spring, 1812. 
He was a clever, but not apparently an enterprising man ; but 
circumstances make men. His two sons (then infants) were 
named Miltiades and Alcibiades : may the omen be happy ! " 
MS- Journal. 


his name and age. His dog not to be removed from 
the said vault. 

" My library and furniture of every description 
to my friends J n . Cam Hobhouse, Esq., and S. B. 
Davies, Esq. my executors. In case of their de- 
cease, the Rev. J. Becher, of Southwell, Notts., and 
R. C. Dallas, Esq., of Mortlake, Surrey, to be ex- 

" The produce of the sale of Wymondham in 
Norfolk, and the late Mrs. B.'s Scotch property*, 
to be appropriated in aid of the payment of debts 
and legacies." 

In sending a copy of the Will, framed on these 
instructions, to Lord Byron, the solicitor accom- 
panied some of the clauses with marginal queries, 
calling the attention of his noble client to points 
which he considered inexpedient or questionable; 
and as the short pithy answers to these suggestions 
are strongly characteristic of their writer, I shall 
here give one or two of the clauses in full, with the 
respective queries and answers annexed. 

" This is the last will and testament of me, the 
Rt. Hon ble George Gordon Lord Byron, Baron 
Byron of Rochdale, in the county of Lancaster. 
I desire that my body may be buried in the vault 
of the garden of Newstead, without any ceremony 

* On the death of his mother, a considerable sum of money, 
the remains of the price of the estate of Gight, was paid into 
his hands by her trustee, Baron Clerk. 

46 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

or burial-service whatever, and that no inscription, 
save my name and age, be written on the tomb or 
tablet ; and it is my will that my faithful dog may 
not be removed from the said vault. To the per- 
formance of this my particular desire, I rely on the 
attention of my executors hereinafter named." 

" It is submitted to Lord Byron whether this clause 
relative to the funeral had not better be omitted. The 
substance of it can be given in a letter from his Lord- 
ship to the executors, and accompany the will ; and 
the will may state that the funeral shall be performed 
in such manner as his Lordship may by letter direct, 
and, in default of any such letter, then at the discretion 
of his executors" 

" It must stand. B." 

" I do hereby specifically order and direct that all 
the claims of the said S. B. Davies upon me shall 
be fully paid and satisfied as soon as conveniently 
may be after my decease, on his proving [by vouchers, 
or otherwise, to the satisfaction of my executors 
hereinafter named] * the amount thereof, and the 
correctness of the same." 

" If Mr. Davies has any unsettled claims upon 
Lord Byron, that circumstance is a reason for his not 
being appointed executor ; each executor having an 
opportunity of paying himself his own debt without 
consulting his co-executors" 

* Over the words which I have here placed between 
brackets, Lord Byron drew his pen. 


" So much the better if possible, let him be an 
executor. B." 

The two following letters contain further in- 
structions on the same subject : 


" Newstead Abbey, August 16. 1811. 

" I have answered the queries on the margin. * 
I wish Mr. Davies's claims to be most fully allowed, 
and, further, that he be one of my executors. I wish 
the will to be made in a manner to prevent all dis- 
cussion, if possible, after my decease ; and this I 
leave to you as a professional gentleman. 

" With regard to the few and simple directions 
for the disposal of my carcass, I must have them im- 
plicitly fulfilled, as they will, at least, prevent trouble 
and expense ; and (what would be of little conse- 
quence to me, but may quiet the conscience of the 
survivors) the garden is consecrated ground. These 
directions are copied verbatim from my former will ; 
the alterations in other parts have arisen from the 
death of Mrs. B. I have the honour to be 

" Your most obedient, humble servant, 

" BYRON." 

* In the clause enumerating the names and places of abode 
of the executors, the solicitor had left blanks for the Christian 
names of these gentlemen, and Lord Byron, having filled up 
all but that of Dallas, writes in the margin " I. forget the 
Christian name of Dallas cut him out." 



" Newstead Abbey, August 20. 1 
" Sir, 

" The witnesses shall be provided from amongst 
my tenants, and I shall be happy to see you on any 
day most convenient to yourself. I forgot to men- 
tion, that it must be specified by codicil, or other- 
wise, that my body is on no account to be removed 
from the vault where I have directed it to be placed ; 
and in case any of my successors within the entail 
(from bigotry, or otherwise) might think proper to 
remove the carcass, such proceeding shall be at- 
tended by forfeiture of the estate, which in such 
case shall go to my sister, the Hon ble Augusta 
Leigh and her heirs on similar conditions. I have 
the honour to be, sir, 

" Your very obedient, humble servant, 


In consequence of this last letter, a proviso and 
declaration, in conformity with its instructions, were 
inserted in the will. He also executed, on the 28th 
of this month, a codicil, by which he revoked the 
bequest of his " household goods and furniture, 
library, pictures, sabres, watches, plate, linen, 
trinkets, and other personal estate (except money 
and securities) situate within the walls of the 
mansion-house and premises at his decease and 
bequeathed the same (except his wine and spirituous 
liquors) to his friends, the said J. C. Hobhouse^ 


S. B. Davies, and Francis Hodgson, their executors, 
c., to be equally divided between them for their 
own use ; and he bequeathed his wine and spi- 
rituous liquors, which should be in the cellars and 
premises at Newstead, unto his friend, the said 
J. Becher, for his own use, and requested the said 
J. C. Hobhouse, S. B. Davies, F. Hodgson, and J. 
Becher, respectively, to accept the bequest therein 
contained, to them respectively, as a token of his 

The following letters, written while his late losses 
were fresh in his mind, will be read with painful 
interest : 


" Newstead Abbey, Notts., August 12. 1811. 

" Peace be with the dead ! Regret cannot wake 
them. With a sigh to the departed, let us resume 
the dull business of life, in the certainty that we 
also shall have our repose. Besides her who gave 
me being, I have lost more than one who made that 
being tolerable The best friend of my friend Hob- 
house, Matthews, a man of the first talents, and also 
not the worst of my narrow circle, has perished 
miserably in the muddy waves of the Cam, always 
fatal to genius : my poor school-fellow, Wingfield, 
at Coimbra within a month; and whilst I had 
heard from all three, but not seen one. Matthews 
wrote to me the very day before his death ; and 
though I feel for his fate, I am still more anxious for 
Hobhouse, who, I very much fear, will hardly retain 





his senses : his letters to me since the event have 
been most incoherent. But let this pass ; we shall 
all one day pass along with the rest the world 
is too full of such things, and our very sorrow is 

" I received a letter from you, which my late oc- 
cupations prevented me from duly noticing. I hope 
your friends and family will long hold together. I 
shall be glad to hear from you, on business, on com- 
mon-place, or any thing, or nothing but death I 
am already too familiar with the dead. It is strange 
that I look on the skulls which stand beside me (I 
have always had four in my study) without emotion, 
but I cannot strip the features of those I have known 
of their fleshy covering, even in idea, without a 
hideous sensation; but the worms are less cere- 
monious. Surely, the Romans did well when they 
burned the dead. I shall be happy to hear from 
you, and am yours," &c. 


" Newstead Abbey, August 22. 1811. 

" You may have heard of the sudden death of my 
mother, and poor Matthews, which, with that of 
Wingfield, (of which I was not fully aware till just 
before I left town, and indeed hardly believed it,) 
has made a sad chasm in my connections. Indeed 
the blows followed each other so rapidly that I am 
yet stupid from the shock ; and though I do eat, and 
drink, and talk, and even laugh, at times, yet I can 
hardly persuade myself that I am awake, did not 


every morning convince me mournfully to the con- 
trary. I shall now wave the subject, the dead 
are at rest, and none but the dead can be so. 

"You will feel for poor Hobhouse, Matthews 
was the 'god of his idolatry;' and if intellect could 
exalt a man above his fellows, no one could refuse 
him pre-eminence. I knew him most intimately, 
and valued him proportionably ; but I am recurring 
so let us talk of life and the living. 

" If you should feel a disposition to come here, 
you will find * beef and a sea-coal fire,' and not un- 
generous wine. Whether Otway's two other re- 
quisites for an Englishman or not, I cannot tell, but 
probably one of them. Let me know when I may 
expect you, that I may tell you when I go and when 
return. I have not yet been to Lanes. Davies has 
been here, and has invited me to Cambridge for a 
week in October, so that, peradventure, we may 
encounter glass to glass. His gaiety (death cannot 
mar it) has done me service ; but, after all, ours 
was a hollow laughter. 

" You will write to me? I am solitary, and I 
never felt solitude irksome before. Your anxiety 
about the critique on * *'s book is amusing ; as it 
was anonymous, certes it was of little consequence: 
I wish it had produced a little more confusion, being 
l a lover of literary malice. Are you doing nothing ? 
writing nothing? printing nothing? why not your 
Satire on Methodism? the subject (supposing the 
public to be blind to merit) would do wonders. 
Besides, it would be as well for a destined deacon 
to prove his orthodoxy. It really would give me 
E 2 


pleasure to see you properly appreciated. I say 
really, as, being an author, my humanity might be 
suspected. Believe me, dear H., yours always." 


" Newstead, August 21. 1811. 

" Your letter gives me credit for more acute 
feelings than I possess ; for though I feel tolerably 
miserable, yet I am at the same time subject to a 
kind of hysterical merriment, or rather laughter 
without merriment, which I can neither account for 
nor conquer, and yet I do not feel relieved by it ; 
but an indifferent person would think me in excellent 
spirits. * We must forget these things,' and have 
recourse to our old selfish comforts, or rather com- 
fortable selfishness. I do not think I shall return 
to London immediately, and shall therefore accept 
freely what is offered courteously your mediation 
between me and Murray. I don't think my name 
will answer the purpose, and you must be aware 
that my plaguy Satire will bring the north and 
south Grub Streets down upon the Pilgrimage ;' 
but, nevertheless, if Murray makes a point of it, 
and you coincide with him, I will do it daringly ; 
so let it be entitled * By the Author of English 
Bards and Scotch Reviewers.' My remarks on the 
Romaic, &c., once intended to accompany the 
' Hints from Horace,' shall go along with the other, 
as being indeed more appropriate ; also the smaller 
poems now in my possession, with a few selected 
from those published in * *'s Miscellany. I have 


found amongst my poor mother's papers all my 
letters from the East, and one in particular of some 
length from Albania. From this, if necessary, I 
can work up a note or two on that subject. As I 
kept no journal, the letters written on the spot are 
the best. But of this anon, when we have definitively 

" Has Murray shown the work to any one ? He 
may but I will have no traps for applause. Of 
course there are little things I would wish to alter, 
and perhaps the two stanzas of a buffooning cast on 
London's Sunday are as well left out. I much wish 
to avoid identifying Childe Harold's character with 
mine, and that, in sooth, is my second objection to 
my name appearing in the title-page. When you 
have made arrangements as to time, size, type, &c. 
favour me with a reply. I am giving you an universe 
of trouble, which thanks cannot atone for. I made 
a kind of prose apology for my scepticism at the 
head of the MS., which, on recollection, is so much 
more like an attack than a defence, that, haply, it 
might better be omitted : perpend, pronounce. 
After all, I fear Murray will be in a scrape with 
the orthodox ; but I cannot help it, though I wish 
him well through it. As for me, * I have supped 
full of criticism,' and I don't think that the * most 
dismal treatise ' will stir and rouse my * fell of hair ' 
till ' Birnam wood do come to Dunsinane.' 

" I shall continue to write at intervals, and hope 

you will pay me in kind. How does Pratt get on, 

or rather get off, Joe Blackett's posthumous stock ? 

You killed that poor man amongst you, in spite of 

E 3 

54? NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

your Ionian friend and myself, who would have 
saved him from Pratt, poetry, present poverty, and 
posthumous oblivion. Cruel patronage ! to ruin a 
man at his calling ; but then he is a divine subject for 
subscription and biography; and Pratt, who makes the 
most of his dedications, has inscribed the volume to 
no less than five families of distinction. 

" I am sorry you don't like Harry White : with a 
great deal of cant, which in him was sincere (indeed 
it killed him as you killed Joe Blackett), certes there 
is poesy and genius. I don't say this on account of 
my simile and rhymes ; but surely he was beyond all 
the Bloomfields and Blacketts, and their collateral 
cobblers, whom Lofft and Pratt have or may kidnap 
from their calling into the service of the trade. You 
must excuse my flippancy, for I am writing I know 
not what, to escape from myself. Hobhouse is gone 
to Ireland. Mr. Davies has been here on his way 
to Harrowgate. 

" You did not know M. : he was a man of the 
most astonishing powers, as he sufficiently proved at 
Cambridge, by carrying off more prizes and fellow- 
ships, against the ablest candidates, than any other 
graduate on record ; but a most decided atheist, in- 
deed noxiously so, for he proclaimed his principles in 
all societies. I knew him well, and feel a loss not 
easily to be supplied to myself to Hobhouse never. 
Let me hear from you, and believe me," &c. 

The progress towards publication of his two forth- 
coming works will be best traced in his letters to 
Mr. Murray and Mr. Dallas. 



" Newstead Abbey, Notts., August 23. 1811. 
" Sir, 

" A domestic calamity in the death of a near 
relation has hitherto prevented my addressing you 
on the subject of this letter. My friend,, Mr. Dallas, 
has placed in your hands a manuscript poem written 
by me in Greece, which he tells me you do not 
object to publishing. But he also informed me in 
London that you wished to send the MS. to Mr. 
GifFord. Now, though no one would feel more gra- 
tified by the chance of obtaining his observations on 
a work than myself, there is in such a proceeding a 
kind of petition for praise, that neither my pride 
or whatever you please to call it will admit. Mr. 
G. is not only the first satirist of the day, but editor 
of one of the principal reviews. As such, he is the 
last man whose censure (however eager to avoid it) 
I would deprecate by clandestine means. You will 
therefore retain the manuscript in your own care, 
or, if it must needs be shown, send it to another. 
Though not very patient of censure, I would fain 
obtain fairly any little praise my rhymes might de- 
serve, at all events not by extortion, and the humble 
solicitations of a bandied about MS. I am sure a 
little consideration will convince you it would be 

" If you determine on publication, I have some 
smaller poems (never published), a few notes, and 
a short dissertation on the literature of the modern. 




Greeks (written at Athens), which will come in at 
the end of the volume. And, if the present poem 
should succeed, it is my intention, at some subse- 
quent period, to publish some selections from my 
first work, my Satire, another nearly the same 
length, and a few other things, with the MS. now 
in your hands, in two volumes. But of these 
hereafter. You will apprize me of your determin- 
ation. I am, Sir, your very obedient," &c. 



" Newstead Abbey, August 25. 1811. 
" Being fortunately enabled to frank, I do not 
spare scribbling, having sent you packets within 
the last ten days. I am passing solitary, and do 
not expect my agent to accompany me to Rochdale 
before the second week in September; a delay 
which perplexes me, as I wish the business over, 
and should at present welcome employment. I 
sent you exordiums, annotations, &c. for the forth- 
coming quarto, if quarto it is to be: and I also 
have written to Mr. Murray my objection to send- 
ing the MS. to Juvenal, but allowing him to show 
it to any others of the calling. Hobhouse is 
amongst the types already : so, between his prose 
and my verse, the world will be decently drawn 
upon for its paper-money and patience. Besides 
all this, my * Imitation of Horace' is gasping for 
the press at Cawthorn's, but I am hesitating as to 
the how and the when, the single or the double, the 
present or the future. You must excuse all this, 


for I have nothing to say in this lone mansion but 
of myself, and yet I would willingly talk or think of 
aught else. 

" What are you about to do ? Do you think of 
perching in Cumberland, as you opined when I was 
in the metropolis ? If you mean to retire, why not 
occupy Miss ***'s ' Cottage of Friendship,' late 
the seat of Cobbler Joe, for whose death you and 
others are answerable? His 'Orphan Daughter' 
(pathetic Pratt!) will, certes, turn out a shoe- 
making Sappho. Have you no remorse? I think 
that elegant address to Miss Dallas should be in- 
scribed on the cenotaph which Miss * * * means to 
stitch to his memory. 

" The newspapers seem much disappointed at 
his Majesty's not dying, or doing something better. 
I presume it is almost over. If parliament meets 
in October, I shall be in town to attend. I am 
also invited to Cambridge for the beginning of that 
month, but am first to jaunt to Rochdale. Now 
Matthews is gone, and Hobhouse in Ireland, I have 
hardly one left there to bid me welcome, except 
my inviter. At three- and- twenty I am left alone, 
and what more can we be at seventy ? It is true I 
am young enough to begin again, but with whom 
can I retrace the laughing part of life ? It is odd 
how few of my friends have died a quiet death, 
I mean, in their beds. But a quiet life is of more 
consequence. Yet one loves squabbling and jostling 
better than yawning. This last word admonishes 
me to relieve you from yours very truly," c. 





" Newstead Abbey, August 27. 1811. 

" I was so sincere in my note on the late Charles 
Matthews, and do feel myself so totally unable to 
do justice to his talents, that the passage must 
stand for the very reason you bring against it. To 
him all the men I ever knew were pigmies. He 
was an intellectual giant. It is true I loved W. 
better; he was the earliest and the dearest, and 
one of the few one could never repent of having 
loved : but in ability ah ! you did not know 
Matthews ! 

" ' Childe Harold' may wait and welcome 
books are never the worse for delay in the publi- 
cation. So you have got our heir, George Anson 
Byron, and his sister, with you. 

" You may say what you please, but you are one 
of the murderers of Blackett, and yet you won't 
allow Harry White's genius. Setting aside his 
bigotry, he surely ranks next Chatterton. It is 
astonishing how little he was known ; and at Cam- 
bridge no one thought or heard of such a man till 
his death rendered all notice useless. For my own 
part, I should have been most proud of such an 
acquaintance: his very prejudices were respectable. 
There is a sucking epic poet at Granta, a Mr. 
Townsend, protege of the late Cumberland. Did 
you ever hear of him and his ( Armageddon?' I 
think his plan (the man I don't know) borders ori 
the sublime : though, perhaps, the anticipation of 


the * Last Day' (according to you Nazarenes) is a 
little too daring: at least, it looks like telling the 
Lord what he is to do, and might remind an ill- 
natured person of the line, 

* And fools rush in where angels fear to tread.' 

But I don't mean to cavil, only other folks will, 
and he may bring all the lambs of Jacob Behmen 
about his ears. However, I hope he will bring it 
to a conclusion, though Milton is in his way. 

" Write to me I dote on gossip and make a 
bow to Ju , and shake George by the hand for 
me ; but, take care, for he has a sad sea paw. 

" P. S. I would ask George here, but I don't 
know how to amuse him all my horses were sold 
when I left England, and I have not had time to 
replace them. Nevertheless, if he will come down 
and shoot in September, he will be very welcome : 
but he must bring a gun, for I gave away all mine 
to Ali Pacha, and other Turks. Dogs, a keeper, 
and plenty of game, with a very large manor, I 
have a lake, a boat, house-room, and neat wines." 


" Newstead Abbey, Notts., Sept. 5. 1811. 

" The time seems to be past when (as Dr. 
Johnson said) a man was certain to ' hear the truth 
from his bookseller,' for you have paid me so many 
compliments, that, if I was not the veriest scribbler 
on earth, I should feel affronted. As I accept your 

60 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

compliments, it is but fair I should give equal or 
greater credit to your objections, the more so, as I 
believe them to be well founded. With regard to 
the political and metaphysical parts, I am afraid 1 
can alter nothing ; but I have high authority for 
my errors in that point, for even the JEneid was a 
political poem, and written for a political purpose ; 
and as to my unlucky opinions on subjects of more 
importance, I am too sincere in them for recant- 
ation. On Spanish affairs I have said what I saw, 
and every day confirms me in that notion of the 
result formed on the spot ; and I rather think honest 
John Bull is beginning to come round again to that 
sobriety which Massena's retreat had begun to reel 
from its centre the usual consequence of un- 
usual success. So you perceive I cannot alter the 
sentiments ; but if there are any alterations in the 
structure of the versification you would wish to be 
made, I will tag rhymes and turn stanzas as much 
as you please. As for the orthodox,' let us hope 
they will buy, on purpose to abuse you will for- 
give the one, if they will do the other. You are 
aware that any thing from my pen must expect no 
quarter, on many accounts ; and as the present 
publication is of a nature very different from the 
former, we must not be sanguine. 

" You have given me no answer to my question 
tell me fairly, did you show the MS. to some of 
your corps? I sent an introductory stanza to Mr. 
Dallas, to be forwarded to you ; the poem else will 
open too abruptly. The stanzas had better be num- 
bered in Roman characters. There is a disquisition 


on the literature of the modern Greeks and some 
smaller poems to come in at the close. These are 
now at Newstead, but will be sent in time. If Mr. 
D. has lost the stanza and note annexed to it, write, 
and I will send it myself. You tell me to add two 
Cantos, but I am about to visit my collieries in Lan- 
cashire on the 15th instant, which is so unpoetical 
an employment that I need say no more. I am, 
sir, your most obedient," &c. 

The manuscripts of both his poems having been 
shown, much against his own will, to Mr. Gifford, 
the opinion of that gentleman was thus reported to 
him by Mr. Dallas : "Of your Satire he spoke 
highly ; but this poem (Childe Harold) he pro- 
nounced not only the best you have written, but 
equal to any of the present age." 


" Newstead Abbey, September 7. 1811. 

" As Gifford has been ever my ' Magnus Apollo/ 
any approbation, such as you mention, would, of 
course, be more welcome than ' all Bokara's vaunted 
gold, than all the gems of Samarkand.' But I am 
sorry the MS. was shown to him in such a manner, 
and I had written to Murray to say as much, before 
I was aware that it was too late. 

" Your objection to the expression * central line ' 
I can only meet by saying that, before Childe Harold 
left England, it was his full intention to traverse 



Persia, and return by India, which he could not 
have done without passing the equinoctial. 

" The other errors you mention, I must correct 
in the progress through the press. I feel honoured 
by the wish of such men that the poem should be 
continued, but to do that, I must return to Greece 
and Asia ; I must have a warm sun and a blue sky ; 
I cannot describe scenes so dear to me by a sea- 
coal fire. I had projected an additional Canto when 
I was in the Troad and Constantinople, and if I 
saw them again, it would go on; but under existing 
circumstances and sensations, I have neither harp, 

* heart, nor voice ' to proceed. I feel that you are 
all right as to the metaphysical part ; but I also feel 
that I am sincere, and that if I am only to write 

* ad captandum vulgus? I might as well edit a 
magazine at once, or spin canzonettas for Vaux- 
hall. * * * 

" My work must make its way as well as it can ; 
I know I have every thing against me, angry poets 
and prejudices ; but if the poem is a poem, it will 
surmount these obstacles, and if not, it deserves its 
fate. Your friend's Ode I have read it is no great 
compliment to pronounce it far superior to S * *'s 
on the same subject, or to the merits of the new 
Chancellor. It is evidently the production of a man 
of taste, and a poet, though I should not be willing 
to say it was fully equal to what might be expected 
from the author of i Horce lonicce.* I thank you 
for it, and that is more than I would do for any 
other Ode of the present day. 

" I am very sensible of your good wishes, and, 


indeed, I have need of them. My whole life has 
been at variance with propriety, not to say decency ; 
my circumstances are become involved ; my friends 
are dead or estranged, and my existence a dreary 
void. In Matthews I have lost my * guide, philo- 
sopher, and friend;' in Wingfield a friend only, but 
one whom I could have wished to have preceded in 
his long journey. 

" Matthews was indeed an extraordinary man ; it 
has not entered into the heart of a stranger to con- 
ceive such a man : there was the stamp of immor- 
tality in all he said or did; and now what is he? 
When we see such men pass away and be no more 
men, who seem created to display what the 
Creator could make his creatures, gathered into cor- 
ruption, before the maturity of minds that might 
have been the pride of posterity, what are we to 
conclude? For my own part, I am bewildered. To 
me he was much, to Hobhouse every thing. My 
poor Hobhouse doted on Matthews. For me, I did 
not love quite so much as I honoured him ; I was 
indeed so sensible of his infinite superiority, that 
though I did not envy, I stood in awe of it. He, 
Hobhouse, Davies, and myself, formed a coterie of 
our own at Cambridge and elsewhere. Davies is a 
wit and man of the world, and feels as much as 
such a character can do ; but not as Hobhouse has 
been affected. Davies, who is not a scribbler, has 
always beaten us all in the war of words, and by 
his colloquial powers at once delighted and kept us 
in order. H. and myself always had the worst of it 
with the other two ; and even M. yielded to the 


dashing vivacity of S. D. But I am talking to you 
of men, or boys, as if you cared about such beings. 
" I expect mine agent down on the 14th to pro- 
ceed to Lancashire, where I hear from all quarters 
that I have a very valuable property in coals, &c. 
I then intend to accept an invitation to Cambridge 
in October, and shall, perhaps, run up to town. I 
have four invitations to Wales, Dorset, Cambridge, 
and Chester ; but I must be a man of business. I 
am quite alone, as these long letters sadly testify. 
I perceive, by referring to your letter, that the Ode 
is from the author ; make my thanks acceptable to 
him. His muse is worthy a nobler theme. You 
will write as usual, I hope. I wish you good even- 
ing, and am," &c. 


" Newstead Abbey, Notts., Sept. 14. 1811. 

" Since your former letter, Mr. Dallas informs 
me that the MS. has been submitted to the perusal 
of Mr. Gifford, most contrary to my wishes, as 
Mr. D. could have explained, and as my own letter 
to- you did, in fact, explain, with my motives for 
objecting to such a proceeding. Some late domestic 
events, of which you are probably aware, prevented 
my letter from being sent before ; indeed, I hardly 
conceived you would so hastily thrust my productions 
into the hands of a stranger, who could be as little 
pleased by receiving them, as their author is at 


their being offered, in such a manner, and to such a 

" My address, when I leave Newstead, will be to 
' Rochdale, Lancashire ; ' but I have not yet fixed 
the day of departure, and I will apprise you when 
ready to set off. 

" You have placed me in a very ridiculous situ- 
ation, but it is past, and nothing more is to be said 
on the subject. You hinted to me that you wished 
some alterations to be made ; if they have nothing 
to do with politics or religion, I will make them 
with great readiness. I am, Sir," &c. &c. 


" Newstead Abbey, Sept. 16. 1811.* 

" I return the proof, which I should wish to be 
shown to Mr. Dallas, who understands typographical 
arrangements much better than I can pretend to do. 
The printer may place the notes in his own way, or 

* On a leaf of one of his paper-books I find an Epigram 
written at this time, which, though not perhaps particularly 
good, I consider myself bound to insert : 


" Good plays are scarce, 
So Moore writes farce : 
The poet's fame grows brittle 
We knew before 
That Little 's Moore, 
But now 'tis Moore that 's little. 

Sept. 14. 1811. 

66 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

any way so that they are out of my way , I care 
nothing about types or margins. 

" If you have any communication to make, I shall 
be here at least a week or ten days longer. 

" I am, Sir," &c. &c. 


" Newstead Abbey, Sept. 17. 1811. 

" I can easily excuse your not writing, as you 
have, I hope, something better to do, and you must 
pardon my frequent invasions on your attention, 
because I have at this moment nothing to interpose 
between you and my epistles. 

" I cannot settle to any thing, and my days pass, 
with the exception of bodily exercise to some ex- 
tent, with uniform indolence, and idle insipidity. I 
have been expecting, and still expect, my agent, 
when I shall have enough to occupy my reflections 
in business of no very pleasant aspect. Before my 
journey to Rochdale, you shall have due notice 
where to address me I believe at the post-office 
of that township. From Murray I received a 
second proof of the same pages, which I requested 
him to show you, that any thing which may have 
escaped my observation may be detected before the 
printer lays the corner-stone of an errata column. 

" I am now not quite alone, having an old ac- 
quaintance and school-fellow with me, so old, indeed, 
that we have nothing new to say on any subject, 
and yawn at each other in a sort of quiet inquietude. 
I hear nothing from Cawthorn, or Captain Hob- 


house ; and their quarto Lord have mercy on 
mankind ! We come on like Cerberus with our 
triple publications. As for myself, by myself, I must 
be satisfied with a comparison to Janus. 

" I am not at all pleased with Murray for showing 
the MS. ; and I am certain Gifford must see it in the 
same light that I do. His praise is nothing to the 
purpose : what could he say ? He could not spit in 
the face of one who had praised him in every pos- 
sible way. I must own that I wish to have the 
impression removed from his mind, that I had any 
concern in such a paltry transaction. The more I 
think, the more it disquiets me ; so I will say no 
more about it. It is bad enough to be a scribbler, 
without having recourse to such shifts to extort 
praise, or deprecate censure. It is anticipating, it 
is begging, kneeling, adulating, the devil ! the 
devil! the devil! and all without my wish, and 
contrary to my express desire. I wish Murray had 
been tied to Payne's neck when he jumped into the 
Paddington Canal*, and so tell him, that is the 

* In a note on his " Hints from Horace," he thus humor- 
ously applies this incident : 

" A literary friend of mine walking out one lovely evening 
last summer on the eleventh bridge of the Paddington Canal, 
was alarmed by the cry of ' One in jeopardy!' He rushed 
along, collected a body of Irish haymakers (supping on butter- 
milk in an adjoining paddock), procured three rakes, one eel' 
spear, and a landing-net, and at last (horresco referens) pulled 
out his own publisher. The unfortunate man was gone for 
ever, and so was a large quarto wherewith he had taken the 

leap, which proved, on enquiry, to have been Mr. S 's last 

work. Its ' alacrity of sinking ' was so great, that it has never 
F 2 

68 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

proper receptacle for publishers. You have thoughts 
of settling in the country, why not try Notts. ? I 
think there are places which would suit you in all 
points, and then you are nearer the metropolis. But 
of this anon. I am, yours," &c. 


Newstead Abbey, Sept. 21. 1811. 

" I have shown my respect for your suggestions 
by adopting them ; but I have made many alter- 
ations in the first proof, over and above; as, for 
example : 

" Oh Thou, in Hellas deem'd of heavenly birth, 

&c. &c. 
" Since shamed full oft by later lyres on earth, 

Mine, &c. 
" Yet there Vve ivandtr^d by the vaunted rill ; 

and so on. So I have got rid of Dr. Lowth and 

since been heard of, though some maintain that it is at this 
moment concealed at Alderman Birch's pastry-premises, Corn- 
hill. Be this as it may, the coroner's inquest brought in a 
verdict of ' Felo de Bibliopola ' against a quarto unknown,' 
and circumstantial evidence being since strong against the 
' Curse of Kehama ' (of which the above words are an exact 
description), it will be tried by its peers next session in Grub 
Street. Arthur, Alfred, Davideis, Richard Coeur de Lion, 
Exodus, Exodiad, Epigoniad, Calvary, Fall of Cambria, Siege 
of Acre, Don Roderick, and Tom Thumb the Great, are the 
names of the twelve jurors. The judges are Pye, * * *, and the 
bellman of St. Sepulchre's.'' 


* drunk ' to boot, and very glad I am to say so. I 
have also sullenised the line as heretofore, and in 
short have been quite conformable. 

" Pray write ; you shall hear when I remove to 
Lanes. I have brought you and my friend Juvenal 
Hodgson upon my back, on the score of revelation. 
You are fervent, but he is quite glowing ; and if he 
take half the pains to save his own soul, which he 
volunteers to redeem mine, great will be his reward 
hereafter. I honour and thank you both, but am 
convinced by neither. Now for notes. Besides 
those I have sent, I shall send the observations on 
the Edinburgh Reviewer's remarks on the modern 
Greek, an Albanian song in the Albanian (not Greek) 
language, specimens of modern Greek from their 
New Testament, a comedy of Goldoni's translated, 
one scene, a prospectus of a friend's book, and per- 
haps a song or two, all in Romaic, besides their 
Pater Noster ; so there will be enough, if not too 
much, with what I have already sent. Have you 
received the Noctes Attica??' I sent also an 
annotation on Portugal. Hobhouse is also forth- 


Newstead Abbey, Sept. 23. 1811. 

" Lisboa is the Portuguese word, consequently 

the very best. Ulissipont is pedantic; arid as I 

have Hellas and Eros not long before, there would 

be something like an affectation of Greek terms, 

which I wish to avoid, since I shall have a perilous 


70 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

quantity of modern Greek in my notes, as specimens 
of the tongue ; therefore Lisboa may keep its place. 
You are right about the * Hints;' they must not 
precede the 'Romaunt;' but Cawthorn will be 
savage if they don't ; however, keep them back, and 
him in good humour, if we can, but do not let him 

" I have adopted, I believe, most of your sug- 
gestions, but * Lisboa' will be an exception to prove 
the rule. I have sent a quantity of notes, an-d shall 
continue ; but pray let them be copied ; no devil can 
read my hand. By the by, I do not mean to ex- 
change the ninth verse of the * Good Night.' I have 
no reason to suppose my dog better than his brother 
brutes, mankind ; and Argus we know to be a fable. 
The ' Cosmopolite ' was an acquisition abroad. I do 
not believe it is to be found in England. It is an 
amusing little volume, and full of French flippancy. 
I read, though I do not speak the language. 

" I will be angry with Murray. It was a book- 
selling, back shop, Paternoster-row, paltry pro- 
ceeding, and if the experiment had turned out as it 
deserved, I would have raised all Fleet Street, and 
borrowed the giant's staff from St. Dunstan's church, 
to immolate the betrayer of trust. I have written 
to him as he never was written to before by an 
author, I '11 be sworn, and I hope you will amplify 
my wrath, till it has an effect upon him. You tell 
me alwa3'S you have much to write about. Write 
it, but let us drop metaphysics ; on that point we 
shall never agree. I am dull and drowsy, as usual. 

181 1. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 71 

I do nothing, and even that nothing fatigues me. 


Newstead Abbey, Oct. 11. 1811. 

" I have returned from Lanes., and ascertained 
that my property there may be made very valuable, 
but various circumstances very much circumscribe 
my exertions at present. I shall be in town on busi- 
ness in the beginning of November, and perhaps at 
Cambridge before the end of this month ; but of my 
movements you shall be regularly apprised. Your 
objections I have in part done away by alterations, 
which I hope will suffice ; and I have sent two or 
three additional stanzas for both Fyttas! I have 
been again shocked with a death, and have lost one 
very dear to me in happier times ; but * I have 
almost forgot the taste of grief/ and ( supped full 
of horrors ' till I have become callous, nor have I a 
tear left for an event which, five years ago, would 
have bowed down my head to the earth. It seems 
as though I were to experience in my youth the 
greatest misery of age. My friends fall around me, 
and I shall be left a lonely tree before I am withered. 
Other men can always take refuge in their families ; 
I have no resource but my own reflections, and they 
present no prospect here or hereafter, except the 
selfish satisfaction of surviving my betters. I am 
indeed very wretched, and you will excuse my 
saying so, as you know I am not apt to cant of 

F 4? 




" Instead of tiring yourself with my concerns, I 
should be glad to hear your plans of retirement. I 
suppose you would not like to be wholly shut out of 
society? Now I know a large village, or small town, 
about twelve miles off, where your family would 
have the advantage of very genteel society, without 
the hazard of being annoyed by mercantile af- 
fluence; where you would meet with men of in- 
formation and independence ; and where I have 
friends to whom I should be proud to introduce you. 
There are, besides, a coffee-room, assemblies, &c. 
&c., which bring people together. My mother had 
a house there some years, and I am well acquainted 
with the economy of Southwell, the name of this 
little commonwealth. Lastly, you will not be very 
remote from me ; and though I am the very worst 
companion for young people in the world, this ob- 
jection would not apply to you> whom I could see 
frequently. Your expenses, too, would be such as 
best suit your inclinations, more or less, as you 
thought proper ; but very little would be requisite 
to enable you to enter into all the gaieties of a 
country life. You could be as quiet or bustling as 
you liked, and certainly as well situated as on the 
lakes of Cumberland, unless you have a particular 
wish to be picturesque. 

" Pray, is your Ionian friend in town ? You have 
promised me an introduction. You mention having 
consulted some friend on the MSS Is not this con- 
trary to our usual way? Instruct Mr. Murray not 
to allow his shopman to call the work * Child of 
Harrow's Pilgrimage !!!!!' as he has done to some 


of my astonished friends, who wrote to enquire after 
my sanity on the occasion, as well they might. I 
have heard nothing of Murray, whom I scolded 
heartily. Must I write more notes ? Are there 
not enough ? Cawthorn must be kept back with the 
' Hints.' I hope he is getting on with Hobhouse's 
quarto. Good evening. Yours ever," &c. 

Of the same date with this melancholy letter are 
the following verses, never before printed, which he 
wrote in answer to some lines received from a friend, 
exhorting him to be cheerful, and to " banish care.'* 
They will show with what gloomy fidelity, even while 
under the pressure of recent sorrow, he reverted to 
the disappointment of his early affection, as the chief 
source of all his sufferings and errors, present and 
to come. 

" Newstead Abbey, October 11. 1811. 

" ' Oh ! banish care ' such ever be 
The motto of thy revelry ! 
Perchance of mine, when wassail nights 
Renew those riotous delights, 
Wherewith the children of Despair 
Lull the lone heart, and ' banish care.' , 
But not in morn's reflecting hour, 
When present, past, and future lower, 
When all I loved is changed or gone, 
Mock with such taunts the woes of one, 
Whose every thought but let them pass 
Thou know'st I am not what I was. 
But, above all, if thou wouldst hold 
Place in a heart that ne'er was cold, 

74- NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

By all the powers that men revere, 
By all unto thy bosom dear, 
Thy joys below, thy hopes above, 
Speak speak of any thing but love. 

" 'Twere long to tell, and vain to hear 
The tale of one who scorns a tear ; 
And there is little in that tale 
Which better bosoms would bewail. 
But mine has sufFer'd more than well 
'T would suit Philosophy to tell. 
I 've seen my bride another's bride, 
Have seen her seated by his side, 
Have seen the infant which she bore, 
Wear the sweet smile the mother wore, 
When she and I in youth have smiled 
As fond and faultless as her child ; 
Have seen her eyes, in cold disdain, 
Ask if I felt no secret pain. 
And /have acted well my part, 
And made my cheek belie my heart, 
Return'd the freezing glance she gave, 
Yet felt the while that woman's slave ; 
Have kiss'd, as if without design, 
The babe which ought to have been mine, 
And show'd, alas ! in each caress 
Time had not made me love the less. 

" But let this pass I '11 whine no more. 
Nor seek again an eastern shore ; 
The world befits a busy brain, 
I '11 hie me to its haunts again. 
But if, in some succeeding year, 
When Britain's ' May is in the sere,' 
Thou hear'st of one, whose deepening crimes 
Suit with the sablest of the times, 


Of one, whom Love nor Pity sways, 
Nor hope of fame, nor good men's praise, 
One, who in stern Ambition's pride, 
Perchance not Blood shall turn aside, 
One rank'd in some recording page 
With the worst anarchs of the age, 
Him wilt thou know and, knowing, pause, 
Nor with the effect forget the cause." 

The anticipations of his own future career in 
these concluding lines are of a nature, it must be 
owned, to awaken more of horror than of interest, 
were we not prepared, by so many instances of his 
exaggeration in this respect, not to be startled at 
any lengths to which the spirit of self-libelling 
would carry him. It seemed as if, with the power 
of painting fierce and gloomy personages, he had 
also the ambition to be, himself, the dark " sublime 
he drew," and that, in his fondness for the de- 
lineation of heroic crime, he endeavoured to fancy, 
where he could not find, in his own character, fit 
subjects for his pencil. 

It was about the time when he was thus bitterly 
feeling and expressing the blight which his heart 
had suffered from a real object of affection, that his 
poems on the death of an imaginary one, " Thyrza," 
were written ; nor is it any wonder, when we 
consider the peculiar circumstances under which 
these beautiful effusions flowed from his fancy, that 
of all his strains of pathos, they should be the most 
touching and most pure. They were, indeed, the 
essence, the abstract spirit, as it were, of many 
griefs; a confluence of sad thoughts from many 

75 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

sources of sorrow, refined and warmed in their 
passage through his fancy, and forming thus one 
deep reservoir of mournful feeling. In retracing the 
happy hours he had known with the friends now 
lost, all the ardent tenderness of his youth came 
back upon him. His school-sports with the fa- 
vourites of his boyhood, Wingfield and Tattersall, 
his summer days with Long *, and those even- 
ings of music and romance which he had dreamed 
away in the society of his adopted brother, Eddie- 
stone, all these recollections of the young and 
dead now came to mingle themselves in his mind 
with the image of her who, though living, was, for 
him, as much lost as they, and diffused that ge- 
neral feeling of sadness and fondness through his 
soul, which found a vent in these poems. No 
friendship, however warm, could have inspired sor- 
row so passionate ; as no love, however pure, could 
have kept passion so chastened. It was the blend- 
ing of the two affections, in his memory and ima- 
gination, that thus gave birth to an ideal object 
combining the best features of both, and drew from 
him these saddest and tenderest of love-poems, in 
which we find all the depth and intensity of real 
feeling touched over with such a light as no reality 
ever wore. 

The following letter gives some further account 
of the course of his thoughts and pursuits at this 
period : 

* Sec the extract from one of his journals, vol. i. p. 94. 



" Newstead Abbey, Oct. 13. 1811. 

" You will begin to deem me a most liberal cor- 
respondent; but as my letters are free, you will 
overlook their frequency. I have sent you answers 
in prose and verse * to all your late communications, 
and though I am invading your ease again, I don't 
know why, or what to put down that you are not 
acquainted with already. I am growing nervous 
(how you will laugh!) but it is true, really, 
wretchedly, ridiculously, fme-ladically nervous. Your 
climate kills me ; I can neither read, write, nor 
amuse myself, or any one else. My days are list- 
less, and my nights restless ; I have very seldom 
any society, and when I have, I run out of it. At 
* this present writing,' there are in the next room 
three ladies., and I have stolen away to write this 
grumbling letter. I don't know that I sha'n't end 
with insanity, for I find a want of method in ar- 
ranging my thoughts that perplexes me strangely ; 
but this looks more like silliness than madness, as 
Scrope Davies would facetiously remark in his con- 
soling manner. I must try the hartshorn of your 
company ; and a session of Parliament would suit 
me well, any thing to cure me of conjugating the 
accursed verb * ennuyer.' 

" When shall you be at Cambridge ? You have 
hinted, I think, that your friend Bland is returned 
from Holland. I have always had a great respect 

* The verses in vol. ii. p. 73. 



for his talents, and for all that I have heard of his 
character ; but of me, I believe he knows nothing, 
except that he heard my sixth form repetitions ten 
months together, at the average of two lines a 
morning, and those never perfect. 1 remembered 
him and his ' Slaves' as I passed between Capes 
Matapan, St. Angelo, and his Isle of Ceriga, and I 
always bewailed the absence of the Anthology. I 
suppose he will now translate Vondel, the Dutch 
Shakspeare, and ' Gysbert van Amstel ' will easily 
be accommodated to our stage in its present state ; 
and I presume he saw the Dutch poem, where the 
love of Pyramus and Thisbe is compared to the 
passion of Christ; also the love of Lucifer for Eve, 
and other varieties of Low Country literature. No 
doubt you will think me crazed to talk of such 
things, but they are all in black and white and good 
repute on the banks of every canal from Amster- 
dam to Alkmaar. 

" Yours ever, B." 

" My poesy is in the hands of its various pub- 
lishers; but the * Hints from Horace,' (to which I 
have subjoined some savage lines on Methodism, 
and ferocious notes on the vanity of the triple 
Editory of the Edin. Annual Register,) my * Hints,' 
I say, stand still, and why ? I have not a friend 
in the world (but you and Drury) who can construe 
Horace's Latin or my English well enough to ad- 
just them for the press, or to correct the proofs in 
a grammatical way. So that, unless you have 
bowels when you return to town (I am too far off to 

1811. LIFE OF LORD EYilON. 7I> 

do it for myself), this ineffable work will be lost to 
the world for I don't know how many weeks. 

" t Childe Harold's Pilgrimage ' must wait till 
Murray 's is finished. He is making a tour in Mid- 
dlesex, and is to return soon, when high matter 
may be expected. He wants to have it in quarto, 
which is a cursed unsaleable size ; but it is pestilent 
long, and one must obey one's bookseller. I trust 
Murray will pass the Paddington Canal without 
being seduced by Payne and Mackinlay's example, 
I say Payne and Mackinlay, supposing that the 
partnership held good. Drury, the villain, has not 
written to me ; * I am never (as Mrs. Lumpkin says 
to Tony) to be gratified with the monster's dear 
wild notes.' 

" So you are going (going indeed !) into orders. 
You must make your peace with the Eclectic Re- 
viewers they accuse you of impiety, I fear, with 
injustice. Demetrius, the ( Sieger of Cities,' is 
here, with ' Gilpin Homer.' The painter * is not 
necessary, as the portraits he already painted are 
(by anticipation) very like the new animals. Write, 
and send me your * Love Song ' but I want 
* paulo majora ' from you. Make a dash before you 
are a deacon, and try a dry publisher. 

" Yours always, B." 

It was at this period that I first had the happiness 
of seeing and becoming acquainted with Lord Byron. 

* Barber, whom he had brought down to Newstead to paint 
his wolf and his bear. 




The correspondence in which our acquaintance ori- 
ginated is, in a high degree, illustrative of the frank 
manliness of his character ; and as it was begun on 
my side, some egotism must be tolerated in the de- 
tail which I have to give of the circumstances that 
led to it. So far back as the year 1806, on the 
occasion of a meeting which took place at Chalk 
Farm between Mr. Jeffrey and myself, a good deal 
of ridicule and raillery, founded on a false repre- 
sentation of what occurred before the magistrates 
at Bow Street, appeared in almost all the public 
prints. In consequence of this, I was induced to 
address a letter to the Editor of one of the Journals, 
contradicting the falsehood that had been cir- 
culated, and stating briefly the real circumstances 
of the case. For some time my letter seemed to 
produce the intended effect, but, unluckily, the 
original story was too tempting a theme for humour 
and sarcasm to be so easily superseded by mere 
matter of fact. Accordingly, after a little time, 
whenever the subject was publicly alluded to, 
more especially by those who were at all " willing 
to wound," the old falsehood was, for the sake 
of its ready sting, revived. 

In the year 1809, on the first appearance of 
" English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," I found 
the author, who was then generally understood to 
be Lord Byron, not only jesting on the subject 
and with sufficiently provoking pleasantry and clever- 
ness in his verse, but giving also, in the more 
responsible form of a note, an outline of the trans- 
action in accordance with the original misreport, and, 


therefore, in direct contradiction to my published 
statement. Still, as the Satire was anonymous 
and unacknowledged, I did not feel that I was, in 
any way, called upon to notice it, and therefore dis- 
missed the matter entirely from my mind. In the 
summer of the same year appeared the Second 
Edition of the work, with Lord Byron's name pre- 
fixed to it. I was, at the time, in Ireland, and but 
little in the way of literary society ; and it so hap- 
pened that some months passed away before the 
appearance of this new edition was known to me. 
Immediately on being apprised of it, the offence 
now assuming a different form, I addressed the 
following letter to Lord Byron, and, transmitting it 
to a friend in London, requested that he would 
have it delivered into his Lordship's hands.* 

" Dublin, January 1. 1810. 

" My Lord, 

" Having just seen the name of < Lord Byron ' 
prefixed to a work entitled English Bards and 
Scotch Reviewers,' in which, as it appears to me, 
the lie is given to a public statement of mine, re- 
specting an affair with Mr. Jeffrey some years since, 

* This is the only entire letter of my own that, in the course 
of this work, I mean to obtrude upon my readers. Being 
short, and in terms more explanatory of the feeling on which I 
acted than any others that could be substituted, it might be 
suffered, I thought, to form the single exception to my general 
rule. In all other cases, I shall merely give such extracts 
from my own letters as may be necessary to elucidate those of 
iny correspondent. 


82 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

I beg you will have the goodness to inform me 
whether I may consider your Lordship as the author 
of this publication. 

" I shall not, I fear, be able to return to London 
for a week or two ; but, in the mean time, I trust 
your Lordship will not deny me the satisfaction of 
knowing whether you avow the insult contained in 
the passages alluded to. 

" It is needless to suggest to your Lordship the 
propriety of keeping our correspondence secret. 

" I have the honour to be 
" Your Lordship's very humble servant, 

" 22. Molesworth Street." 

In the course of a week, the friend to whom I 
intrusted this letter wrote to inform me that Lord 
Byron had, as he learned on enquiring of his pub- 
lisher, gone abroad immediately on the publication 
of his Second Edition ; but that my letter had been 
placed in the hands of a gentleman, named Hodg- 
son, who had undertaken to forward it carefully to 
his Lordship. Though the latter step was not ex- 
actly what I could have wished, I thought it as 
well, on the whole, to let my letter take its chance, 
and again postponed all consideration of the matter. 

During the interval of a year and a half which 
elapsed before Lord Byron's return, I had taken 
upon myself obligations, both as husband and 
father, which make most men, and especially 
those who have nothing to bequeath, less willing 


to expose themselves unnecessarily to danger. On 
hearing, therefore, of the arrival of the noble tra- 
veller from Greece, though still thinking it due to 
myself to follow up my first request of an ex- 
planation, I resolved, in prosecuting that object, to 
adopt such a tone of conciliation as should not only 
prove my sincere desire of a pacific result, but 
show the entire freedom from any angry or resent- 
ful feeling with which I took the step. The death 
of Mrs. Byron, for some time, delayed my purpose. 
But as soon after that event as was consistent with 
decorum, I addressed a letter to Lord Byron, in 
which, referring to my former communication, and 
expressing some doubts as to its having ever reached 
him, I re-stated, in pretty nearly the same words, 
the nature of the insult, which, as it appeared to 
me, the passage in his note was calculated to con- 
vey. " It is now useless," I continued, " to speak 
of the steps with which it was my intention to fol- 
low up that letter. The time which has elapsed 
since then, though it has done away neither the 
injury nor the feeling of it, has, in many respects, 
materially altered my situation ; and the only object 
which I have now in writing to your Lordship is to 
preserve some consistency with that former letter, 
and to prove to you that the injured feeling still 
exists, however circumstances may compel me to 
be deaf to its dictates, at present. When I say 
* injured feeling,' let me assure your Lordship, that 
there is not a single vindictive sentiment in my 
mind towards you. I mean but to express that 
G 2 




uneasiness, under (what I consider to be) a charge 
of falsehood, which must haunt a man of any feel- 
ing to his grave, unless the insult be retracted or 
atoned for ; and which, if I did not feel, I should, 
indeed, deserve far worse than your Lordship's 
satire could inflict upon me." In conclusion I 
added, that so far from being influenced by any 
angry or resentful feeling towards him, it would 
give me sincere pleasure if, by any satisfactory ex- 
planation, he would enable me to seek the honour 
of being henceforward ranked among his acquaint- 
ance. * 

To this letter, Lord Byron returned the following 
answer : - 



" Cambridge, October 27. 1811. 
" Sir, 

" Your letter followed me from Notts, to this 
place, which will account for the delay of my reply. 
Your former letter I never had the honour to re- 
ceive ; be assured, in whatever part of the world 
it had found me, I should have deemed it my duty 
to return and answer it in person. 

" The advertisement you mention, I know nothing 
of. At the time of your meeting with Mr. Jeffrey, 

* Finding two different draughts of this letter among my 
papers, I cannot be quite certain as to some of the terms em- 
ployed; but have little doubt that they are here given cor- 


I had recently entered College, and remember to 
have heard and read a number of squibs on the oc- 
casion ; and from the recollection of these I de- 
rived all my knowledge on the subject, without the 
slightest idea of ' giving the lie ' to an address which 
I never beheld. When I put my name to the pro- 
duction, which has occasioned this correspondence, 
I became responsible to all whom it might concern, 
to explain where it requires explanation, and, 
where insufficiently, or too sufficiently explicit, at 
all events to satisfy. My situation leaves me no 
choice ; it rests with the injured and the angry to 
obtain reparation in their own way. 

" With regard to the passage in question, you 
were certainly not the person towards whom I felt 
personally hostile. On the contrary, my whole 
thoughts were engrossed by one, whom I had reason 
to consider as my worst literary enemy, nor could 
I foresee that his former antagonist was about to 
become his champion. You do not specify what 
you would wish to have done : I can neither retract 
nor apologise for a charge of falsehood which I never 

" In the beginning of the week, I shall be at 

No. 8. St. James's Street Neither the letter nor 

the friend to whom you stated your intention ever 
made their appearance. 

" Your friend, Mr. Rogers, or any other gentleman 
delegated by you, will find me most ready to adopt 
any conciliatory proposition which shall not com- 
promise my own honour, or, failing in that, to 
G 3 

00 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

make the atonement you deem it necessary to 

" I have the honour to be, Sir, 
" Your most obedient, humble servant, 

" BYRON." 

In my reply to this, I commenced by saying that 
his Lordship's letter was,' upon the whole, as satisfac- 
tory as I could expect. It contained all that, in the 
strict diplomatique of explanation, could be required, 
namely, that he had never seen the statement 
which I supposed him wilfully to have contradicted, 

that he had no intention of bringing against me 
any charge of falsehood, and that the objectionable 
passage of his work was not levelled personally at 
me. This, I added, was all the explanation I had 
a right to expect, and I was, of course, satisfied 
with it. 

I then entered into some detail relative to the 
transmission of my first letter from Dublin, giving, 
as my reason for descending to these minute par- 
ticulars, that I did not, I must confess, feel quite 
easy under the manner in which his Lordship had 
noticed the miscarriage of that first application to 

My reply concluded thus : "As your Lordship 
does not show any wish to proceed beyond the 
rigid formulary of explanation, it is not for me to 
make any further advances. We Irishmen, in 
businesses of this kind, seldom know any medium 
between decided hostility and decided friendship ; 

but, as any approaches towards the latter alter- 


native must now depend entirely on your Lordship, 
I have only to repeat that I am satisfied with your 
letter, and that I have the honour to be," &c. &c. 

On the following day I received the annexed re- 
joinder from Lord Byron : 


" 8. St. James's Street, October 29. 1811. 
" Sir, 

" Soon after my return to England, my friend, 
Mr. Hodgson, apprised me that a letter for me was 
in his possession ; but a domestic event hurrying 
me from London, immediately after, the letter 
(which may most probably be your own) is still 
unopened in his keeping. If, on examination of the 
address, the similarity of the handwriting should 
lead to such a conclusion, it shall be opened in 
your presence, for the satisfaction of all parties. 
Mr. H. is at present out of town ; on Friday I 
shall see him, and request him to forward it to my 

" With regard to the latter part of both your 
letters, until the principal point was discussed be- 
tween us, I felt myself at a loss in what manner to 
reply. Was I to anticipate friendship from one, 
who conceived me to have charged him with false- 
hood? Were not advances, under such circum- 
stances, to be misconstrued, not, perhaps, by the 
person to whom they were addressed, but by others? 
In my case, such a step was impracticable. If you, 
who conceived yourself to be the offended person, 
G 4} 

88 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

are satisfied that you had no cause for offence, it 
will not be difficult to convince me of it. My situ- 
ation, as I have before stated, leaves me no choice. 
I should have felt proud of your acquaintance, had 
it commenced under other circumstances ; but it 
must rest with you to determine how far it may 
proceed after so auspicious a beginning. I have the 
honour to be," &c. 

Somewhat piqued, I own, at the manner in which 
my efforts towards a more friendly understanding, 
ill-timed as I confess them to have been, were 
received, I hastened to close our correspondence by 
a short note, saying, that his Lordship had made 
me feel the imprudence I was guilty of, in wandering 
from the point immediately in discussion between 
us ; and I should now, therefore, only add, that if, 
in my last letter, I had correctly stated the sub- 
stance of his explanation, our correspondence might, 
from this moment, cease for ever, as with that ex- 
planation I declared myself satisfied. 

This brief note drew immediately from Lord 
Byron the following frank and open-hearted 


" 8. St. James's Street, October 30. 1811. 

" Sir, 

" You must excuse my troubling you once 
more upon this very unpleasant subject. It would 
be a satisfaction to me, and I should think, to your- 


self, that the unopened letter in Mr. Hodgson's pos- 
session (supposing it to prove your own) should 
be returned ' in statu quo ' to the writer ; parti- 
cularly as you expressed yourself < not quite easy 
under the manner in which I had dwelt on its mis- 

" A few words more, and I shall not trouble you 
further. I felt, and still feel, very much flattered 
by those parts of your correspondence, which held 
out the prospect of our becoming acquainted. If 
I did not meet them in the first instance as per- 
haps I ought, let the situation I was placed in 
be my defence. You have now declared yourself 
satisfied, and on that point we are no longer at 
issue. If, therefore, you still retain any wish to do 
me the honour you hinted at, I shall be most happy 
to meet you, when, where, and how you please, and 
I presume you will not attribute my saying thus 
much to any unworthy motive. I have the honour 
to remain," &c. 

On receiving this letter, I went instantly to my 
friend, Mr. Rogers, who was, at that time, on a visit 
at Holland House, and, for the first time, informed 
him of the correspondence in which I had been en- 
gaged. With his usual readiness to oblige and serve, 
he proposed that the meeting between Lord Byron 
and myself should take place at his table, and re- 
quested of me to convey to the noble Lord his wish, 
that he would do him the honour of naming some 
day for that purpose. The following is Lord Byron's 
answer to the note which I then wrote : 



" 8. St. James's Street, November 1. 1811. 
" Sir, 

" As I should be very sorry to interrupt your 
Sunday's engagement, if Monday, or any other day 
of the ensuing week, would be equally convenient 
to yourself and friend, I will then have the honour 
of accepting his invitation. Of the professions of 
esteem with which Mr. Rogers has honoured me, I 
cannot but feel proud, though undeserving. I should 
be wanting to myself, if insensible to the praise of 
such a man ; and, should my approaching interview 
with him and his friend lead to any degree of inti- 
macy with both or either, I shall regard our past 
correspondence as one of the happiest events of my 
life. I have the honour to be, 

" Your very sincere and obedient servant, 

44 BYRON." 

It can hardly, I think, be necessary to call the 
reader's attention to the good sense, self-possession, 
and frankness, of these letters of Lord Byron. I 
had placed him, by the somewhat national con- 
fusion which I had made of the boundaries of peace 
and war, of hostility and friendship, in a position 
which, ignorant as he was of the character of the 
person who addressed him, it required all the watch- 
fulness of his sense of honour to guard from surprise 
or snare. Hence, the judicious reserve with which 
he abstained from noticing my advances towards 
acquaintance, till he should have ascertained exactly 


whether the explanation which he was willing to 
give would be such as his correspondent would be 
satisfied to receive. The moment he was set at 
rest on this point, the frankness of his nature dis- 
played itself; and the disregard of all further medi- 
ation or etiquette with which he at once professed 
himself ready to meet me, " when, where, and how " 
I pleased, showed that he could be as pliant and 
confiding after such an understanding, as he had 
been judiciously reserved and punctilious before it. 

Such did I find Lord Byron, on my first experience 
of him ; and such, so open and manly -minded, 
did 1 find him to the last. 

It was, at first, intended by Mr. Rogers that his 
company at dinner should not extend beyond Lord 
Byron and myself; but Mr. Thomas Campbell, 
having called upon our host that morning, was in- 
vited to join the party, and consented. Such a 
meeting could not be otherwise than interesting to 
us all. It was the first time that Lord Byron was 
ever seen by any of his three companions ; while 
he, on his side, for the first time, found himself in 
the society of persons, whose names had been asso- 
ciated with his first literary dreams, and to two* of 
whom he looked up with that tributary admiration 

* In speaking thus, I beg to disclaim all affected modesty. 
Lord Byron had already made the same distinction himself in 
the opinions which he expressed of the living poets ; and I 
cannot but be aware that, for the praises which he afterwards 
bestowed on my writings, I was, in a great degree, indebted to 
his partiality to myself. 

92 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

which youthful genius is ever ready to pay its pre- 

Among the impressions which this meeting left 
upon me, what I chiefly remember to have remarked 
was the nobleness of his air, his beauty, the gentle- 
ness of his voice and manners, and what was, na- 
turally, not the least attraction his marked kind- 
ness to myself. Being in mourning for his mother, 
the colour, as well of his dress, as of his glossy, 
curling, and picturesque hair, gave more effect to 
the pure, spiritual paleness of his features, in the 
expression of which, when he spoke, there was 
a perpetual play of lively thought, though me- 
lancholy was their habitual character when in 

As we had none of us been apprised of his pecu- 
liarities with respect to food, the embarrassment of 
our host was not a little, on discovering that there 
was nothing upon the table which his noble guest 
could eat or drink. Neither meat, fish, nor wine, 
would Lord Byron touch ; and of biscuits and soda- 
water, which he asked for, there had been, un- 
luckily, no provision. He professed, however, to 
be equally well pleased with potatoes and vinegar ; 
and of these meagre materials contrived to make 
rather a hearty dinner. 

I shall now resume the series of his correspondence 
with other friends. 



" 8. St. James's Street, Dec. 6. 1811. 

" My dear Harness, 

" I write again, but don't suppose I mean to 
lay such a tax on your pen and patience as to ex- 
pect regular replies. When you are inclined, write ; 
when silent, I shall have the consolation of knowing 
that you are much better employed. Yesterday, 
Bland and I called on Mr. Miller, who, being then 
out, will call on Bland* to-day or to-morrow. I 
shall certainly endeavour to bring them together. 
You are censorious, child; when you are a little 
older, you will learn to dislike every body, but 
abuse nobody. 

" With regard to the person of whom you speak, 
your own good sense must direct you. I never 
pretend to advise, being an implicit believer in the 
old proverb. This present frost is detestable. It is 
the first I have felt for these three years, though I 
longed for one in the oriental summer, when no 
such thing is to be had, unless I had gone to the 
top of Hymettus for it. 

" I thank you most truly for the concluding part 
of your letter. I have been of late not much accus- 
tomed to kindness from any quarter, and am not the 
less pleased to meet with it again from one where I 

* The Rev. Robert Bland, one of the authors of " Col- 
lections from the Greek Anthology." Lord Byron was, at 
this time, endeavouring to secure for Mr. Bland the task of 
translating Lucien Buonaparte's poem. 




had known it earliest. I have not changed in all 
my ramblings, Harrow, and, of course, yourself 
never left me, and the 

" ' Dulces reminiscitur Argos ' 

attended me to the very spot to which that sen- 
tence alludes in the mind of the fallen Argive. 
Our intimacy began before we began to date at all, 
and it rests with you to continue it till the hour 
which must number it and me with the things that 

" Do read mathematics. I should think Xplus Y 
at least as amusing as the Curse of Kehama, and 
much more intelligible. Master S.'s poems are, in 
fact, what parallel lines might be viz. prolonged 
ad infinitum without meeting any thing half so ab- 
surd as themselves. 

" What news, what news ? Queen Oreaca, 
What news of scribblers five ? 

S , W , C e, L d, and L e? 

All damn'd, though yet alive. 

C e is lecturing. l Many an old fool,' said 

Hannibal to some such lecturer, * but such as this, 

" Ever yours, &c." 


" St. James's Street, Dec. 8. 1811. 

" Behold a most formidable sheet, without gilt 
or black edging, and consequently very vulgar and 
indecorous, particularly to one of your precision ; 
but this being Sunday, I can procure no better, and 


will atone for its length by not filling it. Bland I 
have not seen since my last letter ; but on Tuesday 
he dines with me, and will meet M * * e, the epi- 
tome of all that is exquisite in poetical or personal 
accomplishments. How Bland has settled with 
Miller, I know not. I have very little interest with 
either, and they must arrange their concerns accord- 
ing to their own gusto. I have done my endeavours, 
at your request, to bring them together, and hope 
they may agree to their mutual advantage. 

" Coleridge has been lecturing against Campbell. 
Rogers was present, and from him I derive the in- 
formation. We are going to make a party to hear 
this Manichean of poesy. Pole is to marry Miss 
Long, and will be a very miserable dog for all that. 
The present ministers are to continue, and his Ma- 
jesty does continue in the same state ; so there's 
folly and madness for you, both in a breath. 

" I never heard but of one man truly fortunate, 
and he was Beaumarchais, the author of Figaro, 
who buried two wives and gained three law-suits 
before he was thirty. 

" And now, child, what art thou doing ? Reading, 
I trust. I want to see you take a degree. Re- 
member, this is the most important period of your 
life ; and don't disappoint your papa and your aunt, 
and all your kin besides myself. Don't you know 
that all male children are begotten for the express 
purpose of being graduates ? and that even I am an 
A.M., though how I became so, the Public Orator 
only can resolve. Besides, you are to be a priest : 
and to confute Sir William Drummond's late book 

96 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

about the Bible, (printed, but not published,) and all 
other infidels whatever. Now leave Master H.'s 
gig, and Master S.'s Sapphics, and become as im- 
mortal as Cambridge can make you. 

" You see, Mio Carissimo, what a pestilent cor- 
respondent I am likely to become ; but then you 
shall be as quiet at Newstead as you please, and I 
won't disturb your studies as I do now. When do 
you fix the day, that I may take you up according 
to contract ? Hodgson talks of making a third in 
our journey ; but we can't stow him, inside at least. 
Positively you shall go with me as was agreed, and 
don't let me have any of your politesse to H. on the 
occasion. I shall manage to arrange for both with 
a little contrivance. I wish H. was not quite so fat, 
and we should pack better. You will want to know 
what I am doing chewing tobacco. 

" You see nothing of my allies, Scrope Davies 
and Matthews* they don't suit you; and how- 
does it happen that I who am a pipkin of the 
same pottery continue in your good graces ? 
Good night, I will go on in the morning. 

" Dec. 9th. In a morning, I'm always sullen, 
and to-day is as sombre as myself. Rain and mist 
are worse than a sirocco, particularly in a beef- 
eating and beer-drinking country. My bookseller, 
Cawthorne, has just left me, and tells me, with a 
most important face, that he is in treaty for a novel 
of Madame D'Arblay's, for which 1000 guineas are 
asked I He wants me to read the MS. (if he obtains 

* The brother of his late friend, Charles Skinner Matthews. 


it), which I shall do with pleasure ; but I should be 
very cautious in venturing an opinion on her whose 
Cecilia Dr. Johnson superintended. * If he lends it 
to me, I shall put it into the hands of Rogers and 
M * * e, who are truly men of taste. I have filled 
the sheet, and beg your pardon ; I will not do it 
again. I shall, perhaps, write again, but if not, 
believe, silent or scribbling, that I am, my dearest 
William, ever," &c. 


" London, Dec. 8. 1811. 

" I sent you a sad Tale of Three Friars the other 
day, and now take a dose in another style. I wrote 
it a day or two ago, on hearing a song of former 

" Away, away, ye notes of woef, &c. &c. 

" I have gotten a book by Sir W. Drummond, 
(printed, but not published,) entitled GEdipus Ju- 
daicus, in which he attempts to prove the greater 
part of the Old Testament an allegory, particularly 
Genesis and Joshua. He professes himself a theist 
in the preface, and handles the literal interpretation 
very roughly. I wish you could see it. Mr. W * * 

* Lord Byron is here mistaken. Dr. Johnson never saw 
Cecilia till it was in print. A day or two before publication, 
the young authoress, as I understand, sent three copies to the 
three persons who had the best claim to them, her father, 
Mrs. Thrale, and Dr. Johnson. Second edition. 

f- This poem is now printed in Lord Byron's Works. 


has lent it me, and I confess, to me it is worth fifty 

" You and Harness must fix on the time for your 
visit to Newstead; I can command mine at your 
wish, unless any thing particular occurs in the 
interim. Bland dines with me on Tuesday to meet 
Moore. Coleridge has attacked the < Pleasures of 
Hope,' and all other pleasures whatsoever. Mr. 
Rogers w r as present, and heard himself indirectly 
rowed by the lecturer. We are going in a party to 
hear the new Art of Poetry by this reformed schis- 
matic ; and were I one of these poetical luminaries, 
or of sufficient consequence to be noticed by the 
man of lectures, I should not hear him without an 
answer. For you know, ' an' a man will be beaten 
with brains, he shall never keep a clean doublet.' 
C * * will be desperately annoyed. I never saw a 
man (and of him I have seen very little) so sensitive; 
what a happy temperament ! I am sorry for it ; 
what can he fear from criticism ? I don't know if 
Bland has seen Miller, who was to call on him 

" To-day is the Sabbath, a day I never pass 
pleasantly, but at Cambridge ; and, even there, the 
organ is a sad remembrancer. Things are stagnant 
enough in town, as long as they don't retrograde, 
'tis all very well. H * * writes and writes and 
writes, and is an author. I do nothing but eschew 
tobacco. I wish parliament were assembled, that I 
may hear, and perhaps some day be heard ; but on 
this point I am not very sanguine. I have many 
plans; sometimes I think of the East again, and 


dearly beloved Greece. I am well, but weakly. 
Yesterday Kinnaird told me I looked very ill, and 
sent me home happy. 

* * * * * Is Scrope still interesting and 
invalid? And how does Hinde with his cursed 
chemistry ? To Harness I have written, and he has 
written, and we have all written, and have nothing 
now to do but write again, till death splits up the 
pen and the scribbler. 

" The Alfred has three hundred and fifty-four 
candidates for six vacancies. The cook has run 
away and left us liable, which makes our committee 
very plaintive. Master Brook, our head serving- 
man, has the gout, and our new cook is none of the 
best. I speak from report, for what is cookery to 
a leguminous- eating ascetic? So now you know as 
much of the matter as I do. Books and quiet are 
still there, and they may dress their dishes in their 
own way for me. Let me know your determination 
as to Newstead, and believe me, 
" Yours ever, 


" 8. St. James's Street, Dec. 12. 1811. 

" Why, Hodgson ! I fear you have left off wine 
and me at the same time, I have written and 
written and written, and no answer ! My dear Sir 
Edgar, water disagrees with you, drink sack and 
write. Bland did not come to his appointment, 
being unwell, but M**e supplied all other vacancies 
most delectably. I have hopes of his joining us at 





Newstead. I am sure you would like him more and 
more as he dev elopes, at least I do. 

" How Miller and Bland go on, I don't know. 
Cawthorne talks of being in treaty for a novel of 
M e . D'Arblay's, and if he obtains it (at 1500 gs. I !) 
wishes me to see the MS. This I should read with 
pleasure, not that I should ever dare to venture a 
criticism on her whose writings Dr. Johnson once 
revised, but for the pleasure of the thing. If my 
worthy publisher wanted a sound opinion, I should 
send the MS. to Rogers and M * * e, as men most 
alive to true taste. I have had frequent letters from 
Wm. Harness, and you are silent ; certes, you are 
not a schoolboy. However, I have the consolation 
of knowing that you are better employed, viz. re- 
viewing. You don't deserve that I should add 
another syllable, and I won't. Yours, &c. 

" P. S. I only wait for your answer to fix our 


8. St. James's Street, Dec. 15. 1811. 

" I wrote you an answer to your last, which, on 
reflection, pleases me as little as it probably has 
pleased yourself. I will not wait for your rejoinder; 
but proceed to tell you, that I had just then been 
greeted with an epistle of * * 's, full of his petty 
grievances, and this at the moment when (from cir- 
cumstances it is not necessary to enter upon) I was 
bearing up against recollections to which his ima- 
ginary sufferings are as a scratch to a cancer. These 

1811. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 101 

things combined, put me out of humour with him 
and all mankind. The latter part of my life has 
been a perpetual struggle against affections which 
embittered the earliest portion ; and though I flatter 
myself I have in a great measure conquered them, 
yet there are moments (and this was one) when I 
am as foolish as formerly. I never said so much 
before, nor had I said this now, if I did not suspect 
myself of having been rather savage in my letter, 
and wish to inform you thus much of the cause. 
You know I am not one of your dolorous gentlemen : 
so now let us laugh again. 

" Yesterday I went with Moore to Sydenham to 
visit Campbell.* He was not visible, so we jogged 
homeward, merrily enough. To-morrow I dine with 
Rogers, and am to hear Coleridge, who is a kind of 
rage at present. Last night I saw Kemble in Co- 
riolanus; he was glorious, and exerted himself 
wonderfully. By good luck I got an excellent place 
in the best part of the house, which was more than 
overflowing. Clare and Delawarre, who were there 
on the same speculation, were less fortunate. I saw 
them by accident, we were not together. I wished 

* On this occasion, another of the noble poet's peculiarities 
was, somewhat startlingly, introduced to my notice. When 
we were on the point of setting out from his lodgings in St. 
James's Street, it being then about mid- day, he said to the 
servant, who was shutting the door of the vis-a-vis, " Have 
you put in the pistols? " and was answered in the affirmative. 
It was difficult, more especially, taking into account the cir- 
cumstances under which we had just become acquainted, to 
keep from smiling at this singular noon-day precaution. 
H 3 




for you, to gratify your love of Shakspeare and of 
fine acting to its fullest extent. Last week I saw 
an exhibition of a different kind in a Mr. Coates, at 
the Haymarket, who performed Lothario in a damned 
and damnable manner. 

" I told you the fate of B. and H. in my last. So 
much for these sentimentalists, who console them- 
selves in their stews for the loss the never to be 
recovered loss the despair of the refined attach- 
ment of a couple of drabs ! You censure my life, 
Harness, when I compare myself with these men, 
my elders and my betters, I really begin to conceive 
myself a monument of prudence a walking statue 
without feeling or failing ; and yet the world in 
general hath given me a proud pre-eminence over 
them in profligacy. Yet I like the men, and, God 
knows, ought not to condemn their aberrations. 
But I own I feel provoked when they dignify all 
this by the name of love romantic attachments for 
things marketable for a dollar ! 

" Dec. 16th. I have just received your letter; 
I feel your kindness very deeply. The foregoing 
part of my letter, written yesterday, will, I hope, 
account for the tone of the former, though it cannot 
excuse it. I do like to hear from you more than 
like. Next to seeing you, I have no greater satis- 
faction. But you have other duties, and greater 
pleasures, and I should regret to take a moment 
from either. H * * was to call to-day, but I have 
not seen him. The circumstances you mention at 
the close of your letter is another proof in favour of 
my opinion of mankind. Such you will always find 

1811. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 103 

them selfish and distrustful. I except none. The 
cause of this is the state of society. In the world, 
every one is to stir for himself it is useless, perhaps 
selfish, to expect any thing from his neighbour. But 
I do not think we are born of this disposition ; for 
you find friendship as a schoolboy, and love enough 
before twenty. 

" I went to see * * ; he keeps me in town, where 
1 don't wish to be at present. He is a good man, 
but totally without conduct. And now, my dearest 
William, I must wish you good morrow, and remain 
ever, most sincerely and affectionately yours," &c. 

From the time of our first meeting, there seldom 
elapsed a day that Lord Byron and I did not see 
each other ; and our acquaintance ripened into in- 
timacy and friendship with a rapidity of which I 
have seldom known an example. I was, indeed, 
lucky in all the circumstances that attended my 
first introduction to him. In a generous nature like 
his, the pleasure of repairing an injustice would 
naturally give a zest to any partiality I might have 
inspired in his mind ; while the manner in which I 
had sought this reparation, free as it was from re- 
sentment or defiance, left nothing painful to re- 
member in the transaction between us, no com- 
promise or concession that could wound self-love, or 
take away from the grace of that frank friendship to 
which he at once, so cordially and so unhesitatingly, 
admitted me. I was also not a little fortunate in 
forming my acquaintance with him, before his suc- 
cess had yet reached its meridian burst, before 
H 4. 

104? NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

the triumphs that were in store for him had brought 
the world all in homage at his feet, and, among the 
splendid crowds that courted his society, even claims 
less humble than mine had but a feeble chance of 
fixing his regard. As it was, the new scene of life 
that opened upon him with his success, instead of 
detaching us from each other, only multiplied our 
opportunities of meeting, and increased our intimacy. 
In that society where his birth entitled him to move, 
circumstances had already placed me, notwithstand- 
ing mine ; and when, after the appearance of " Childe 
Harold," he began to mingle with the world, the 
same persons, who had long been my intimates and 
friends, became his ; our visits were mostly to the 
same places, and, in the gay and giddy round of a 
London spring, we were generally (as in one of his 
own letters he expresses it) " embarked in the same 
Ship of Fools together." 

But, at the time when we first met, his position 
in the world was most solitary. Even those coffee- 
house companions who, before his departure from 
England, had served him as a sort of substitute for 
more worthy society, were either relinquished or 
had dispersed ; and, with the exception of three or 
four associates of his college days (to whom he 
appeared strongly attached), Mr. Dallas and his 
solicitor seemed to be the only persons whom, even 
in their very questionable degree, he could boast of 
as friends. Though too proud to complain of this 
loneliness, it was evident that he felt it ; and that 
the state of cheerless isolation, " unguided and un- 
friended," to which, on entering into manhood, he 
had found himself abandoned, was one of the chief 

1811. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 105 

sources of that resentful disdain of mankind, which 
even their subsequent worship of him came too 
late to remove. The effect, indeed, which his 
subsequent commerce with society had, for the 
short period it lasted, in softening and exhila- 
rating his temper, showed how fit a soil his 
heart would have been for the growth of all the 
kindlier feelings, had but a portion of this sunshine 
of the world's smiles shone on him earlier. 

At the same time, in all such speculations and 
conjectures as to what might have been, under more 
favourable circumstances, his character, it is inva- 
riably to be borne in mind, that his very defects 
were among the elements of his greatness, and that 
it was out of the struggle between the good and 
evil principles of his nature that his mighty genius 
drew its strength. A more genial and fostering 
introduction into life, while it would doubtless have 
softened and disciplined his mind, might have im- 
paired its vigour; and the same influences that 
would have diffused smoothness and happiness over 
his life might have been fatal to its glory. In a short 
poem of his*, which appears to have been produced 
at Athens, (as I find it written on a leaf of the 
original MS. of Childe Harold, and dated " Athens, 
1811,") there are two lines which, though hardly 
intelligible as connected with the rest of the poem, 
may, taken separately, be interpreted as implying a 
sort of prophetic consciousness that it was out of 
the wreck and ruin of all his hopes the immortality 
of his name was to arise. 

* " Written beneath the picture of " 


* Dear object of defeated care, 

Though now of love and thee bereft, 
To reconcile me with despair, 

Thine image and my tears are left. 
' Tis said with sorrow Time can cope, 

But this, I feel, can ne'er be true ; 
For, by the death-blow of my hope, 

My Memory immortal grew I " 

We frequently, during the first months of our 
acquaintance, dined together alone ; and as we had 
no club, in common, to resort to, the Alfred 
being the only one to which he, at that period, 
belonged, and I being then a member of none but 
Watier's, our dinners used to be either at the 
St. Alban's, or at his old haunt, Stevens's. Though 
at times he would drink freely enough of claret, he 
still adhered to his system of abstinence in food. 
He appeared, indeed, to have conceived a notion 
that animal food has some peculiar influence on the 
character ; and I remember, one day, as I sat op- 
posite to him, employed, I suppose, rather earnestly 
over a beef-steak, after watching me for a few 
seconds, he said, in a grave tone of enquiry, 
" Moore, don't you find eating beef-steak makes you 
ferocious ? " 

Understanding me to have expressed a wish to 
become a member of the Alfred, he very good- 
naturedly lost no time in proposing me as a candi- 
date ; but as the resolution which I had then nearly 
formed of betaking myself to a country life ren- 
dered an additional club in London superfluous, I 

1811. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 107 

wrote to beg that he would, for the present, at 
least, withdraw my name ; and his answer, though 
containing little, being the first familiar note he 
ever honoured me with, I may be excused for feel- 
ing a peculiar pleasure in inserting it. 


December 11. 1811. 
" My dear Moore, 

" If you please, we will drop our former mono- 
syllables, and adhere to the appellations sanctioned 
by our godfathers and godmothers. If you make it 
a point, I will withdraw your name ; at the same 
time there is no occasion, as I have this day post- 
poned your election ( sine die,' till it shall suit your 
wishes to be amongst us. I do not say this from 
any awkwardness the erasure of your proposal would 
occasion to me, but simply such is the state of the 
case ; and, indeed, the longer your name is up, the 
stronger will become the probability of success, 
and your voters more numerous. Of course you 
will decide your wish shall be my law. If my 
zeal has already outrun discretion, pardon me, and 
attribute my officiousness to an excusable motive. 

" I wish you would go down with me to New- 
stead. Hodgson will be there, and a young friend, 
named Harness, the earliest .and dearest I ever had 
from the third form at Harrow to this hour. I can 
promise you good wine, and, if you like shooting, a 
manor of 4000 acres, fires, books, your own free 

108 NOTICES OF THE 1811 

will, and my own very indifferent company. * Bal- 
nea, vina * *. ' 

" Hodgson will plague you, I fear, with verse ; 
for my own part I will conclude, with Martial, ' nil 
recitabo tibi ;' and surely the last inducement is 
not the least. Ponder on my proposition, and be- 
lieve me, my dear Moore, yours ever, 


Among those acts of generosity and friendship 
by which every year of Lord Byron's life was sig- 
nalised, there is none, perhaps, that, for its own 
peculiar seasonableness and delicacy, as well as for 
the perfect worthiness of the person who was the 
object of it, deserves more honourable mention 
than that which I am now about to record, and 
which took place nearly at the period of which I 
am speaking. The friend, whose good fortune 
it was to inspire the feeling thus testified, was 
Mr. Hodgson, the gentleman to whom so many of 
the preceding letters are addressed ; and as it would 
be unjust to rob him of the grace and honour of 
being, himself, the testimony of obligations so sig- 
nal, I shall here lay before my readers an extract 
from the letter with which, in reference to a pas- 
sage in one of his noble friend's Journals, he has 
favoured me. 

" I feel it incumbent upon me to explain the cir- 
cumstances to which this passage alludes, however 
private their nature. They are, indeed, calculated 
to do honour to the memory of my lamented friend. 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 109 

Having become involved, unfortunately, in diffi- 
culties and embarrassments, I received from Lord 
Byron (besides former pecuniary obligations) assist- 
ance, at the time in question, to the amount of a 
thousand pounds. Aid of such magnitude was 
equally unsolicited and unexpected on my part; 
but it was a long-cherished, though secret, purpose 
of my friend to afford that aid ; and he only waited 
for the period when he thought it would be of most 
service. His own words were, on the occasion of 
conferring this overwhelming favour, < / always in- 
tended to do it.' " 

During all this time, and through the months of 
January and February, his poem of " Childe Harold" 
was in its progress through the press ; and to the 
changes and additions which he made in the course 
of printing, some of the most beautiful passages of 
the work owe their existence. On comparing, in- 
deed, his rough draft of the two Cantos with the 
finished form in which they exist at present, we 
are made sensible of the power which the man of 
genius possesses, not only of surpassing others, but 
of improving on himself. Originally, the " little 
Page " and " Yeoman " of the Childe were intro- 
duced to the reader's notice in the following tame 
stanzas, by expanding the substance of which into 
their present light, lyric shape, it is almost needless 
to remark how much the poet has gained in variety 
and dramatic effect : 

" And of his train there was a henchman page, 
A peasant boy, who serv'd his master well j 

110 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

And often would his pranksome prate engage 
Childe Burun's * ear, when his proud heart did swell 
With sullen thoughts that he disdain'd to tell. 
Then would he smile on him, and Alwin f smiled, 
When aught that from his young lips archly fell, 
The gloomy film from Harold's eye beguiled. . . . 

" Him and one yeoman only did he take 

To travel eastward to a far countrie ; 

And, though the boy was grieved to leave the lake, 

On whose fair banks he grew from infancy, 

Eftsoons his little heart beat merrily, 

With hope of foreign nations to behold, 

And many things right marvellous to see, 

Of which our vaunting travellers oft have told, 
From Mandeville f ' 

In place of that mournful song " To Ines," in the 
first Canto, which contains some of the dreariest 
touches of sadness that even his pen ever let fall, 
he had, in the original construction of the poem, 
been so little fastidious as to content himself with 
such ordinary sing-song as the following : 

" Oh never tell again to me 

Of Northern climes and British ladies, 

* If there could be any doubt as to his intention of deline- 
ating himself in his hero, this adoption of the old Norman 
name of his family, which he seems to have at first contem- 
plated, would be sufficient to remove it. 

f In the MS. the names " Robin " and " Rupert " had been 
successively inserted here and scratched out again. 

f Here the manuscript is illegible. 


It has not been your lot to see, 

Like me, the lovely girl of Cadiz, 
Although her eye be not of blue, 

Nor fair her locks, like English lasses," &c. &c. 

There were also, originally, several stanzas full 
of direct personality, and some that degenerated 
into a style still more familiar and ludicrous than 
that of the description of a London Sunday, which 
still disfigures the poem. In thus mixing up the 
light with the solemn, it was the mttioa_jQ_the- 
poet to inaitate-AriostG.- But it is far easier to rise, 
with grace, from the level of a strain generally 
familiar, into an occasional short burst of pathos or 
splendour, than to interrupt thus a prolonged tone 
of solemnity by any descent into the ludicrous or 
burlesque.* In the former case, the transition 
may have the effect of softening or elevating, while, 
in the latter, it almost invariably shocks ; for the 
same reason, perhaps, that a trait of pathos or high 
feeling, in comedy, has a peculiar charm ; while 
the intrusion of comic scenes into tragedy, however 
sanctioned among us by habit and authority, rarely 
fails to offend. The noble poet was, himself, con- 
vinced of the failure of the experiment, and in 
none of the succeeding Cantos of Childe Harold 
repeated it. 

Of the satiric parts, some verses on the well- 

* Among the acknowledged blemishes of Milton's great 
poem, is his abrupt transition, in this manner, into an imitation 
of Ariosto's style, in the " Paradise of Fools." 

112 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

known traveller, Sir John Carr, may supply us with, 
at least, a harmless specimen : 

" Ye, who would more of Spain and Spaniards know, 
Sights, saints, antiques, arts, anecdotes, and war, 
Go, hie ye hence to Paternoster Row, 
Are they not written in the boke of Carr ? 
Green Erin's Knight, and Europe's wandering star. 
Then listen, readers, to the Man of Ink, 
Hear what he did, and sought, and wrote afar : 
All these are coop'd within one Quarto's brink, 

This borrow, steal (don't buy), and tell us what you think." 

Among those passages which, in the course of 
revisal, he introduced, like pieces of " rich inlay," 
into the poem, was that fine stanza 

" Yet if, as holiest men have deem'd, there be 
A land of souls beyond that sable shore," &c. 

through which lines, though, it must be confessed, 
a tone of scepticism breathes, (as well as in those 
tender verses 

" Yes, I will dream that we may meet again," ) 

it is a scepticism whose sadness calls far more for 
pity than blame; there being discoverable, even 
through its very doubts, an innate warmth of piety, 
which they had been able to obscure, but not to 
chill. To use the words of the poet himself, in a 
note which it was once his intention to affix to 
these stanzas, " Let it be remembered that the 
spirit they breathe is desponding, not sneering, 
scepticism," a distinction never to be lost sight 
of; as, however hopeless may be the conversion of 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 113 

the scoffing infidel, he who feels pain in doubting 
has still alive within him the seeds of belief. 

At the same time with Childe Harold, he had 
three other works in the press, his " Hints from 
Horace," " The Curse of Minerva," and a fifth 
edition of " English Bards and Scotch Reviewers." 
The note upon the latter poem, which had been 
the lucky origin of our acquaintance, was with- 
drawn in this edition, and a few words of explana- 
tion, which he had the kindness to submit to my 
perusal, substituted in its place. 

In the month of January, the whole of the two 
Cantos being printed off, some of the poet's friends, 
and, among others, Mr. Rogers and myself, were so 
far favoured as to be indulged with a perusal of the 
sheets. In adverting to this period in his " Memo- 
randa," Lord Byron, I remember, mentioned, as 
one of the ill omens which preceded the publi- 
cation of the poem, that some of the literary 
friends to whom it was shown expressed doubts 
of its success, and that one among them had told 
him " it was too good for the age." Whoever may 
have pronounced this opinion, and I have some 
suspicion that I am myself the guilty person, the 
age has, it must be owned, most triumphantly 
refuted the calumny upon its taste which the re- 
mark implied. 

It was in the hands of Mr. Rogers I first saw the 
sheets of the poem, and glanced hastily over a few 
of the stanzas which he pointed out to me as 
beautiful. Having occasion, the same morning, to 
write a note to Lord Byron, I expressed strongly 

VOL. n. i 

114 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

the admiration which this foretaste of his work had 
excited in me ; and the following is as far as 
relates to literary matters the answer I received 
from him. 

LETTER 83. ___TQ_^L 

January 29. II 

" My dear Moore, 

" I wish very much I could have seen you ; I 
am in a state of ludicrous tribulation. * * * 

" Why do you say that I dislike your poesy ? I 
have expressed no such opinion, either in print or 
elsewhere. In scribbling myself, it was necessary 
for me to find fault, and I fixed upon the trite 
charge of immorality, because I could discover no 
other, and was so perfectly qualified in the inno- 
cence of my heart, to ' pluck that mote from my 
neighbour's eye.' 

" I feel very, very much obliged by your appro- 
bation ; but, at this moment, praise, even your 
praise, passes by me like < the idle wind.' I meant 
and mean to send you a copy the moment of pub- 
lication ; but now I can think of nothing but 
damned, deceitful, delightful woman, as Mr. 
Listen says in the Knight of Snowdon. Believe 
me, my dear Moore, 

'* Ever yours, most affectionately, 


The passages here omitted contain rather too 
amusing an account of a disturbance that had just 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 115 

occurred in the establishment at Newstead, in con- 
sequence of the detected misconduct of one of the 
maid-servants, who had been supposed to stand 
rather too high in the favour of her master, and, by 
the airs of authority which she thereupon assumed, 
had disposed all the rest of the household to regard 
her with no very charitable eyes. The chief actors 
in the strife were this sultana and young Rushton ; 
and the first point in dispute that came to Lord 
Byron's knowledge (though circumstances, far from 
creditable to the damsel, afterwards transpired) 
was, whether Rushton was bound to carry letters 
to " the Hut " at the bidding of this female. To 
an episode of such a nature I should not have 
thought of alluding, were it not for the two rather 
curious letters that follow, which show how gravely 
and coolly the young lord could arbitrate on such 
an occasion, and with what considerate leaning to- 
wards the servant whose fidelity he had proved, in 
preference to any new liking or fancy by which it 
might be suspected he was actuated towards the 


" 8. St. James's Street, Jan. 21. 1812. 

" Though I have no objection to your refusal to 

carry letters to Mealey's, you will take care that the 

letters are taken by Spero at the proper time. I 

have also to observe, that Susan is to be treated 

with civility, and not insulted by any person over 

I 2 

116 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

whom I have the smallest .control, or, indeed, by 
any one whatever, while I have the power to protect 
her. I am truly sorry to have any subject of com- 
plaint against you; I have too good an opinion of 
you to think I shall have occasion to repeat it, after 
the care I have taken of you, and my favourable in- 
tentions in your behalf. I see no occasion for any 
communication whatever between you and the women, 
and wish you to occupy yourself in preparing for 
the situation in which you will be placed. If a 
common sense of decency cannot prevent you from 
conducting yourself towards them with rudeness, I 
should at least hope that your own interest, and 
regard for a master who has never treated you with 
unkindness, will have some weight. Yours, &c. 


" P. S. I wish you to attend to your arithmetic, 
to occupy yourself in surveying, measuring, and 
making yourself acquainted with every particular 
relative to the land of Newstead, and you will write 
to me one letter every week, that I may know how 
you go on." 


" 8. St. James's Street, January 25. 1812. 

" Your refusal to carry the letter was not a 
subject of remonstrance ; it was not a part of your 
business ; but the language you used to the girl was 
( as she stated it) highly improper. 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 117 

" You say that you also have something to com- 
plain of; then state it to me immediately ; it would 
be very unfair, and very contrary to my disposition, 
not to hear both sides of the question. 

" If any thing has passed between you before or 
since my last visit to Newstead, do not be afraid to 
mention it. 1 am sure you would not deceive me, 
though she would. Whatever it is, you shall be 
forgiven. I have not been without some suspicions 
on the subject, and am certain that, at your time of 
life, the blame could not attach to you. You will 
not consult any one as to your answer, but write to 
me immediately. I shall be more ready to hear 
what you have to advance, as I do not remember 
ever to have heard a word from you before against 
any human being, which convinces me you would 
not maliciously assert an untruth. There is not any 
one who can do the least injury to you while you 
conduct yourself properly. I shall expect your 
answer immediately. Yours, &c. 


It was after writing these letters that he came to 
the knowledge of some improper levities on the part 
of the girl, in consequence of which he dismissed 
her and another female servant from Newstead ; and 
how strongly he allowed this discovery to affect his 
mind, will be seen in a subsequent letter to Mr. 

I 3 

118 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 


" 8. St. James's Street, February 16. 1812. 

" Dear Hodgson, 

" I send you a proof. Last week I was very ill 
and confined to bed with stone in the kidney, but I 
am now quite recovered. If the stone had got into 
my heart instead of my kidneys, it would have been 
all the better. The women are gone to their rela- 
tives, after many attempts to explain what was 
already too clear. However, I have quite recovered 
that also, and only wonder at my folly in excepting 
my own strumpets from the general corruption, 
albeit a two months' weakness is better than ten 
years. I have one request to make, which is, never 
mention a woman again in any letter to me, or even 
allude to the existence of the sex. I won't even 
read a word of the feminine gender ; it must all be 
* propria quae maribus.' 

" In the spring of 1813 I shall leave England for 
ever. Every thing in my affairs tends to this, and 
my inclinations and health do not discourage it. 
Neither my habits nor constitution are improved by 
your customs or your climate. I shall find employ- 
ment in making myself a good Oriental scholar. I 
shall retain a mansion in one of the fairest islands, 
and retrace, at intervals, the most interesting por- 
tions of the East. In the mean time, I am adjusting 
my concerns, which will (when arranged) leave me 
with wealth sufficient even for home, but enough for 
a principality in Turkey. At present they are in- 

1812, LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 119 

volved, but I hope, by taking some necessary but 
unpleasant steps, to clear every thing. Hobhouse is 
expected daily in London ; we shall be very glad to 
see him ; and, perhaps, you will come up and ' drink 
deep ere he depart,' if not, ' Mahomet must go to 
the mountain;' but Cambridge will bring sad re- 
collections to him, and worse to me, though for very 
different reasons. I believe the only human being 
that ever loved me in truth and entirely was of, or 
belonging to, Cambridge, and, in that, no change 
can now take place. There is one consolation in 
death where he sets his seal, the impression can 
neither be melted nor broken, but endureth for ever. 
" Yours always, B." 

Among those lesser memorials of his good nature 
and mindfulness, which, while they are precious to 
those who possess them, are not unworthy of admir- 
ation from others, may be reckoned such letters as 
the following, to a youth at Eton, recommending 
another, who was about to be entered at that school, 
to his care. 


" 8. St. James's Street, February 12. 1812. 
" My dear John, 

" You have probably long ago forgotten the 
writer of these lines, who would, perhaps, be unable 
to recognise yourself, from the difference which 
must naturally have taken place in your stature and 
appearance since he saw you last. I have been 
I 4- 


rambling through Portugal, Spain, Greece, c. & 
for some years, and have found so many changes on 
my return, that it would be very unfair not to expect 
that you should have had your share of alteration 
and improvement with the rest. I write to request 
a favour of you : a little boy of eleven years, the 
son of Mr. * *, my particular friend, is about to be- 
come an Etonian, and I should esteem any act of 
protection or kindness to him as an obligation to 
myself; let me beg of you then to take some little 
notice of him at first, till he is able to shift for him- 

" I was happy to hear a very favourable account 
of you from a schoolfellow a few weeks ago, and 
should be glad to learn that your family are as well 
as I wish them to be. I presume you are in the 
upper school; as an Etonian, you will look down 
upon a Harrow man ; but I never, even in my 
boyish days, disputed your superiority, which I 
once experienced in a cricket match, where I had 
the honour of making one of eleven, who were 
beaten to their hearts' content by your college in 
one innings. 

" Believe me to be, with great truth," &c. &c. 

On the 27th of February, a day or two before 
the appearance of Childe Harold, he made the first 
trial of his eloquence in the House of Lords; and it 
was on this occasion he had the good fortune to be- 
come acquainted with Lord Holland, an acquaint- 
ance no less honourable than gratifying to both, as 
having originated in feelings the most generous, 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 121 

perhaps, of our nature, a ready forgiveness of in- 
juries, on the one side, and a frank and unqualified 
atonement for them, on the other. The subject of 
debate was the Nottingham Frame-breaking Bill, 
and, Lord Byron having mentioned to Mr. Rogers 
his intention to take a part in the discussion, a com- 
munication was, by the intervention of that gen- 
tleman, opened between the noble poet and Lord 
Holland, who, with his usual courtesy, professed 
himself ready to afford all the information and advice 
in his power. The following letters, however, will 
best explain their first advances towards acquaint- 


" February 4. 1812. 
." My dear Sir, 

" With my best acknowledgments to Lord Hol- 
land, I have to offer my perfect concurrence in the 
propriety of the question previously to be put to 
ministers. If their answer is in the negative, I 
shall, with his Lordship's approbation, give notice of 
a motion for a Committee of Enquiry. I would also 
gladly avail myself of his most able advice, and any 
information or documents with which he might be 
pleased to intrust me, to bear me out in the state- 
ment of facts it may be necessary to submit to the 

" From all that fell under my own observation 
during my Christmas visit to Newstead, I feel con- 
vinced that, if conciliatory measures are not very 



is may 

soon adopted, the most unhappy consequences 
be apprehended. Nightly outrage and daily depre- 
dation are already at their height, and not only the 
masters of frames, who are obnoxious on account of 
their occupation, but persons in no degree connected 
with the malecontents or their oppressors, are liable 
to insult and pillage. 

" I am very much obliged to you for the trouble 
you have taken on my account, and beg you to be- 
lieve me ever your obliged and sincere," &c. 


" 8. St. James's Street, February 25. 1812. 
My Lord, 

" With my best thanks, I have the honour to 
return the Notts, letter to your Lordship. I have 
read it with attention, but do not think I shall ven- 
ture to avail myself of its contents, as my view of 
the question differs in some measure from Mr. 
Coldham's. I hope I do not wrong him, but his 
objections to the bill appear to me to be founded on 
certain apprehensions that he and his coadjutors 
might be mistaken for the ' original advisers' (to 
quote him) of the measure. For my own part, I 
consider the manufacturers as a much injured body 
of men, sacrificed to the views of certain individuals 
who have enriched themselves by those practices 
which have deprived the frame-workers of employ- 
ment. For instance ; by the adoption of a certain 
kind of frame, one man performs the work of seven 
six are thus thrown out of business. But it is to 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 123 

be observed that the work thus done is far inferior 
in quality, hardly marketable at home, and hurried 
over with a view to exportation. Surely, my Lord, 
however we may rejoice in any improvement in the 
arts which may be beneficial to mankind, we must 
not allow mankind to be sacrificed to improvements 
in mechanism. The maintenance and well-doing of 
the industrious poor is an object of greater conse- 
quence to the community than the enrichment of a 
few monopolists by any improvement in the imple- 
ments of trade, which deprives the workman of 
his bread, and renders the labourer " unworthy of 
his hire." My own motive for opposing the bill is 
founded on its palpable injustice, and its certain 
inefficacy. I have seen the state of these miserable 
men, and it is a disgrace to a civilised country. 
Their excesses may be condemned, but cannot be 
subject of wonder. The effect of the present bill 
would be to drive them into actual rebellion. The 
few words I shall venture to offer on Thursday will 
be founded upon these opinions formed from my own 
observations on the spot. By previous enquiry, I 
am convinced these men would have been restored 
to employment, and the county to tranquillity. It is, 
perhaps, not yet too late, and is surely worth the 
trial. It can never be too late to employ force in 
such circumstances. I believe your Lordship does 
not coincide with me entirely on this subject, and 
most cheerfully and sincerely shall I submit to your 
superior judgment and experience, and take some 
other line of argument against the bill, or be silent 
altogether, should you deem it more advisable. Con- 

124- NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

demning, as every one must condemn, the conduct 
of these wretches, I believe in the existence of 
grievances which call rather for pity than punish- 
ment. I have the honour to be, with great respect, 
my Lord, your Lordship's 

" Most obedient and obliged servant, 


" P. S. I am a little apprehensive that your 
Lordship will think me too lenient towards these 
men, and half aframebreaker myself. " 

It would have been, no doubt, the ambition of 
Lord Byron to acquire distinction as well in oratory 
as in poesy ; but Nature seems to set herself against 
pluralities in fame. He had prepared himself for 
this debate, as most of the best orators have done, 
in their first essays, not only by composing, but 
writing down, the whole of his speech beforehand. 
The reception he met with was flattering ; some of 
the noble speakers on his own side complimented 
him very warmly ; and that he was himself highly 
pleased with his success, appears from the annexed 
account of Mr. Dallas, which gives a lively notion 
of his boyish elation on the occasion. 

" When he left the great chamber, I went and 
met him in the passage ; he was glowing with suc- 
cess, and much agitated. I had an umbrella in my 
right hand, not expecting that he would put out his 
hand to me ; in my haste to take it when offered, 
I had advanced my left hand 'What!' said he, 
* give your friend your left hand upon such an oc- 
casion?' I showed the cause, and immediately 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 125 

changing the umbrella to the other hand, I gave him 
my right hand, which he shook and pressed warmly. 
He was greatly elated, and repeated some of the 
compliments which had been paid him, and men- 
tioned one or two of the peers who had desired to 
be introduced to him. He concluded with saying, 
that he had, by his speech, given me the best ad- 
vertisement for Childe Harold's Pilgrimage." 

The speech itself, as given by Mr. Dallas from the 
noble speaker's own manuscript, is pointed and vi- 
gorous ; and the same sort of interest that is felt in 
reading the poetry of a Burke, may be gratified., 
perhaps, by a few specimens of the oratory of a 
Byron. In the very opening of his speech, he thus 
introduces himself by the melancholy avowal, that 
in that assembly of his brother nobles he stood 
almost a stranger. 

" As a person in some degree connected with the 
suffering county, though a stranger not only to this 
House in general, but to almost every individual 
whose attention I presume to solicit, I must claim 
some portion of your Lordships' indulgence." 

The following extracts comprise, I think, the pas- 
sages of most spirit : 

" When we are told that these men are leagued 
together, not only for the destruction of their own 
comfort, but of their very means of subsistence, can 
we forget that it is the bitter policy, the destructive 
warfare, of the last eighteen years which has de- 
stroyed their comfort, your comfort, all men's com- 
fort ; that policy which, originating with great 
statesmen now no more,' has survived the dead to 


become a curse on the living, unto the third an 
fourth generation ! These men never destroyed their 
looms till they were become useless, worse than 
useless ; till they were become actual impediments 
to their exertions in obtaining their daily bread. 
Can you then wonder that, in times like these, when 
bankruptcy, convicted fraud, and imputed felony, 
are found in a station not far beneath that of your 
Lordships, the lowest, though once most useful, 
portion of the people should forget their duty in 
their distresses, and become only less guilty than one 
of their representatives? But while the exalted 
offender can find means to baffle the law, new capital 
punishments must be devised, new snares of death 
must be spread for the wretched mechanic who is 
famished into guilt. These men were willing to dig, 
but the spade was in other hands : they were not 
ashamed to beg, but there was none to relieve 
them. Their own means of subsistence were cut off; 
all other employments pre-occupied ; and their ex- 
cesses, however to be deplored or condemned, can 
hardly be the subject of surprise. 

" I have traversed the seat of war in the Penin- 
sula ; I have been in some of the most oppressed 
provinces of Turkey; but never, under the most 
despotic of infidel governments, did I behold such 
squalid wretchedness as I have seen since my 
return, in the very heart of a Christian country. 
And what are your remedies ? After months of in- 
action, and months of action worse than inactivity, 
at length comes forth the grand specific, the never- 
failing nostrum of all state physicians from the days 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 127 

of Draco to the present time. After feeling the 
pulse, and shaking the head over the patient, pre- 
scribing the usual course of warm water and bleed- 
ing the warm water of your mawkish police, and 
the lancets of your military these convulsions 
must terminate in death, the sure consummation of 
the prescriptions of all political Sangrados. Setting 
aside the palpable injustice and the certain in- 
efficiency of the bill, are there not capital punish- 
ments sufficient on your statutes? Is there not 
blood enough upon your penal code, that more must 
be poured forth to ascend to heaven and testify 
against you? How will you carry this bill into 
effect? Can you commit a whole county to their 
own prisons ? Will you erect a gibbet in every 
field, and hang up men like scare-crows ? or will you 
proceed (as you must, to bring this measure into 
effect,) by decimation ; place the country under 
martial law ; depopulate and lay waste all around 
you, and restore Sherwood forest as an acceptable 
gift to the crown in its former condition of a royal 
chase, and an asylum for outlaws ? Are these the 
remedies for a starving and desperate populace? 
Will the famished wretch who has braved your 
bayonets be appalled by your gibbets? When 
death is a relief, and the only relief it appears that 
you will afford him, will he be dragooned into tran- 
quillity? Will that which could not be effected 
by your grenadiers, be accomplished by your ex- 
ecutioners ? If you proceed by the forms of law, 
where is your evidence ? Those who refused to 
impeach their accomplices, when transportation only 

128 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

was the punishment, will hardly be tempted to 
witness against them when death is the penalty. 
With all due deference to the noble lords opposite, 
I think a little investigation, some previous enquiry* 
would induce even them to change their purpose. 
That most favourite state measure, so marvellously 
efficacious in many and recent instances, temporising, 
would not be without its advantage in this. When 
a proposal is made to emancipate or relieve, you 
hesitate, you deliberate for years, you temporise 
and tamper with the minds of men ; but a death- 
bill must be passed off hand, without a thought of 
the consequences." 

In reference to his own parliamentary displays, 
and to this maiden speech in particular, I find the 
following remarks in one of his Journals : 

" Sheridan's liking for me (whether he was not 
mystifying me, I do not know, but Lady Caroline 
Lamb and others told me that he said the same both 
before and after he knew me,) was founded upon 
'English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,.' He told 
me that he did not care about poetry, (or about mine 
at least, any but that poem of mine,) but he was 
sure, from that and other symptoms, I should make 
an orator, if I would but take to speaking, and grow 
a parliament man. He never ceased harping upon 
this to me to the last ; and I remember my old tutor, 
Dr. Drury, had the same notion when I was a boy ; 
but it never was my turn of inclination to try. I 
spoke once or twice, as all young peers do, as a kind 
of introduction into public life ; but dissipation, shy- 
ness, haughty and reserved opinions, together with 



the short time I lived in England after my majority 
(only about five years in all), prevented me from 
resuming the experiment. As far as it went, it was 
not discouraging, particularly my first speech (I 
spoke three or four times in all); but just after it, my 
poem of Childe Harold was published, and nobody 
ever thought about my prose afterwards, nor indeed 
did I ; it became to me a secondary and neglected 
object, though I sometimes wonder to myself if I 
should have succeeded." 

His immediate impressions with respect to the 
success of his first speech may be collected from a 
letter addressed soon after to Mr. Hodgson. 


" 8. St. James's Street, March 5. 1812. 
" My dear Hodgson, 

" We are not answerable for reports of speeches 
in the papers; they are always given incorrectly, and 
on this occasion more bo than usual, from the deoate 
in the Commons on the same night. The Morning 
Post should have said eighteen years. However, you 
will find the speech, as spoken, in the Parliamentary 
Register, when it comes out. Lords Holland and 
Grenville, particularly the latter, paid me some high 
compliments in the course of their speeches, as you 
may have seen in the papers, and Lords Eldon and 
Harrowby answered me. I have had many marvel- 
lous eulogies repeated to me since, in person and by 
proxy, from divers persons ministerial yea, minis- 


130 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

terialf as well as oppositionists; of them I shall 
only mention Sir F. Burdett. He says it is the best 
speech by a lord since the * Lord knows when/ 
probably from a fellow-feeling in the sentiments. 
Lord H. tells me I shall beat them all if I persevere; 
and Lord G. remarked that the construction of some 
of my periods are very like Burke & ! ! And so much 
for vanity. I spoke very violent sentences with a 
sort of modest impudence, abused every thing and 
every body, and put the Lord Chancellor very much 
out of humour ; and if I may believe what I hear, 
have not lost any character by the experiment. As 
to my delivery, loud and fluent enough, perhaps a 
little theatrical. I could not recognise myself or any 
one else in the newspapers. 

" My poesy comes out on Saturday. Hobhouse is 
here ; I shall tell him to write. My stone is gone 
for the present, but I fear is part of my habit. We 
all talk of a visit to Cambridge. 

" Yours ever, B." 

Of the same date as the above is the following 
letter to Lord Holland, accompanying a copy of his 
new publication, and written in a tone that cannot 
fail to give a high idea of his good feeling and can- 


" St. James's Street, March 5. 1812. 
" My Lord, 

*' May I request your Lordship to accept a copy 
of the thing which accompanies this note? You 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 13fc 

have already so fully proved the truth of the first 
line of Pope's couplet, 

" ' Forgiveness to the injured doth belong,' 

that I long for an opportunity to give the lie to the 
verse that follows. If I were not perfectly con- 
vinced that any thing I may have formerly uttered 
in the boyish rashness of my misplaced resentment 
had made as little impression as it deserved to make, 
I should hardly have the confidence perhaps your 
Lordship may give it a stronger and more appro- 
priate appellation to send you a quarto of the 
same scribbler. But your Lordship, I am sorry to 
observe to-day, is troubled with the gout ; if my< 
book can produce a laugh against itself or the author, 
it will be of some service. If it can set you to sleep^ 
the benefit will be yet greater ; and as some facetious 
personage observed half a century ago, that ' poetry 
is a mere drug,' I offer you mine as a humble as- 
sistant to the * eau medicinale.' I trust you will 
forgive this and all my other buffooneries, and be- 
lieve me to be, with great respect, 

" Your Lordship's obliged and 

" Sincere servant, 

" BYRON." 

It was within two days after his speech in the 
House of Lords that Childe Harold appeared*; 

* To his sister, Mrs. Leigh, one of the first presentation 
copies was sent, with the following inscription in it : - 

" To Augusta, my dearest sister, and my best friend, who 
K 2 

132 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

and the impression which it produced upon the 
public was as instantaneous as it has proved deep 
and lasting. The permanence of such success 
genius alone could secure, but to its instant and 
enthusiastic burst, other causes, besides the merit 
of the work, concurred. 

There are those who trace in the peculiar cha- 
racter of Lord Byron's genius strong features of 
relationship to the times in which he lived ; who 
think that the great events which marked the close 
of the last century, by giving a new impulse to 
men's minds, by habituating them to the daring and 
the free, and allowing full vent to " the flash and 
outbreak of fiery spirits," had led naturally to the 
production of such a poet as Byron ; and that he 
was, in short, as much the child and representative 
of the Revolution, in poesy, as another great man of 
the age, Napoleon, was in statesmanship and warfare. 
Without going the full length of this notion, it will, 
at least, be conceded, that the free loose which had 
been given to all the passions and energies of the 
human mind, in the great struggle of that period, 
together with the constant spectacle of such as- 
tounding vicissitudes as were passing, almost daily, 
on the theatre of the world, had created, in all 
minds, and in every walk of intellect, a taste for 
strong excitement, which the stimulants supplied 
from ordinary sources were insufficient to gratify; 

has ever loved me much better than I deserved, this volume is 
presented by her father's son, and most affectionate brother, 


1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 133 

that a tame deference to established authorities 
had fallen into disrepute, no less in literature than 
in politics, and that the poet who should breathe 
into his songs the fierce and passionate spirit of the 
age, and assert, untrammelled and unawed, the high 
dominion of genius, would be the most sure of an 
audience toned in sympathy with his strains. 

It is true that, to the licence on religious subjects, 
which revelled through the first acts of that tremen- 
dous drama, a disposition of an opposite tendency 
had, for some time, succeeded. Against the wit of 
the scoffer, not only piety, but a better taste, re- 
volted; and had Lord Byron, in touching on such 
themes in Childe Harold, adopted a tone of levity 
or derision, (such as, unluckily, he sometimes after- 
wards descended to,) not all the originality and 
beauty of his work would have secured for it a 
prompt or uncontested triumph. As it was, how- 
ever, the few dashes of scepticism with which he 
darkened his strain, far from checking his popularity, 
were among those attractions which, as I have said, 
independent of all the charms of the poetry, acce- 
lerated and heightened its success. The religious 
feeling that has sprung up through Europe since the 
French revolution like the political principles that 
have emerged out of the same event in rejecting 
all the licentiousness of that period, have preserved 
much of its spirit of freedom and enquiry; and, 
among the best fruits of this enlarged and enlightened 
piety is the liberty which it disposes men to accord 
to^the opinions, and even heresies, of others. To 
persons thus sincerely, and, at the same time, to- 
K 3 

134- NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

lerantly, devout, the spectacle of a great mind, like 
that of Byron, labouring in the eclipse of scepticism, 
could not be otherwise than an object of deep and 
solemn interest. If they had already known what 
it was to doubt, themselves, they would enter into 
his fate with mournful sympathy ; while, if safe in 
the tranquil haven of faith, they would look with 
pity on one who was still a wanderer. Besides, 
erring and dark as might be his views at that mo- 
ment, there were circumstances in his character and 
fate that gave a hope of better thoughts yet dawning 
upon him. From his temperament and youth, there 
could be little fear that he was yet hardened in his 
heresies, and as, for a heart wounded like his, there 
was, they knew, but one true source of consolation, 
so it was hoped that the love of truth, so apparent 
in all he wrote, would, one day, enable him to 
find it. 

Another, and not the least of those causes which 
concurred with the intrinsic claims of his genius to 
give an impulse to the tide of success that now 
flowed upon him, was, unquestionably, the pecu- 
liarity of his personal history and character. There 
had been, in his very first introduction of himself to 
the public, a sufficient portion of singularity to ex- 
cite strong attention and interest. While all other 
youths of talent, in his high station, are heralded 
into life by the applauses and anticipations of a host 
of friends, young Byron stood forth alone, unan- 
nounced by either praise or promise, the repre- 
sentative of an ancient house, whose name, long lost 
in the gloomy solitudes of Newstead, seemed to 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 135 

have just awakened from the sleep of half a century 
in his person. The circumstances that, in succes- 
sion, followed, the prompt vigour of his reprisals 
upon the assailants of his fame, his disappearance, 
after this achievement, from the scene of his triumph, 
without deigning even to wait for the laurels which 
he had earned, and his departure on a far pilgrimage, 
whose limits he left to chance and fancy, all these 
successive incidents had thrown an air of adventure 
round the character of the young poet, which pre- 
pared his readers to meet half-way the impressions 
of his genius. Instead of finding him, on a nearer 
view, fall short of their imaginations, the new fea- 
tures of his disposition now disclosed to them far 
outwent, in peculiarity and interest, whatever they 
might have preconceived; while the curiosity and 
sympathy, awakened by what he suffered to transpire 
of his history, were still more heightened by the 
mystery of his allusions to much that yet remained 
untold. The late losses by death which he had 
sustained, and which, it was manifest, he most deeply 
mourned, gave a reality to the notion formed of him 
by his admirers which seemed to authorise them in 
imagining still more ; and what has been said of the 
poet Young, that he found out the art of " making 
the public a party to his private sorrows," may be, 
with infinitely more force and truth, applied to Lord 

On that circle of society with whom he came im- 
mediately in contact, these personal influences acted 
with increased force, from being assisted by others, 
which, to female imaginations especially, would have 

136 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

presented a sufficiency of attraction, even without 
the great qualities joined with them. His youth, 
the noble beauty of his countenance, and its constant 
play of lights and shadows, the gentleness of his 
voice and manner to women, and his occasional 
haughtiness to men, the alleged singularities of 
his mode of life, which kept curiosity alive and in- 
quisitive, all these lesser traits and habitudes 
concurred towards the quick spread of his fame ; 
nor can it be denied that, among many purer 
sources of interest in his poem, the allusions which 
he makes to instances of " successful passion " in his 
career* were not without their influence on the 
fancies of that sex, whose weakness it is to be most 
easily won by those who come recommended by the 
greatest number of triumphs over others. 

That his rank was also to be numbered among 
these extrinsic advantages appears to have been 
partly, perhaps, from a feeling of modesty at the 
time his own persuasion. " I may place a great 
deal of it," said he to Mr. Dallas, " to my being a 
lord." It might be supposed that it is only on a 

* " Little knew she, that seeming marble heart, 
Now mask'd in silence, or withheld by pride, 
Was not unskilful in the spoiler's art, 
And spread its snares licentious far and wide." 


We have here another instance of his propensity to self- 
misrepresentation. However great might have been the ir- 
regularities of his college life, such phrases as the " art of the 
spoiler " and " spreading snares " were in nowise applicable to 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 137 

rank inferior to his own such a charm could oper- 
ate ; but this very speech is, in itself, a proof, that 
in no class whatever is the advantage of being noble 
more felt and appreciated than among nobles them- 
selves. It was, also, natural that, in that circle, the 
admiration of the new poet should be, at least, 
quickened by the consideration that he had sprung 
up among themselves, and that their order had, at 
length, produced a man of genius, by whom the 
arrears of contribution, long due from them to the 
treasury of English literature, would be at once 
fully and splendidly discharged. 

Altogether, taking into consideration the various 
points I have here enumerated, it may be asserted, 
that never did there exist before, and it is most pro- 
bable never "will exist again, a combination of such 
vast mental power and surpassing genius, with so 
many other of those advantages and attractions, by 
which the world is, in general, dazzled and capti- 
vated. The effect was, accordingly, electric ; his 
fame had not to wait for any of the ordinary grada- 
tions, but seemed to spring up, like the palace of a 
fairy tale, in a night. As he himself briefly described 
it in his memoranda, "I awoke one morning and 
found myself famous." The first edition of his work 
was disposed of instantly ; and, as the echoes of its 
reputation multiplied on all sides, " Childe Harold" 
and " Lord Byron" became the theme of every 
tongue. At his door, most of the leading names of 
the day presented themselves, some of them 
persons whom he had much wronged in his Satire, 
but who now forgot their resentment in generous 

138 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

admiration. From morning till night the most flat- 
tering testimonies of his success crowded his table, 
from the grave tributes of the statesman and the 
philosopher down to (what flattered him still more) 
the romantic billet of some incognita, or the pressing 
note of invitation from some fair leader of fashion ; 
and, in place of the desert which London had been 
to him but a few weeks before, he now not only 
saw the whole splendid interior of High Life thrown 
open to receive him, but found himself, among its 
illustrious crowds, the most distinguished object. 

The copyright of the poem, which was purchased 
by Mr. Murray for 600/., he presented, in the most 
delicate and unostentatious manner, to Mr. Dallas*, 
saying, at the same time, that he " never would 
receive money for his writings;" a resolution, the 
mixed result of generosity and pride, which he after- 
wards wisely abandoned, though borne out by the 
example of Swift f and Voltaire, the latter of whom 
gave away most of his copyrights to Prault and 
other booksellers, and received books, not money, 
for those he disposed of otherwise. To his young 
friend, Mr. Harness, it had been his intention, at 

* " After speaking to him of the sale, and settling the new 
edition, I said, How can I possibly think of this rapid sale, 
and the profits likely to ensue, without recollecting ' ' What?' 
' Think what sum your work may produce.' ' I shall be 
rejoiced, and wish it doubled and trebled ; but do not talk to 
me of money. I never will receive money for my writings.' " 
DALLAS'S Recollections. 

t In a letter to Pulteney, 12th May, 173.5, Swift says, " I 
never got a farthing for any thing I writ, except once." 

.1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 139 

first, to dedicate the work, but, on further consider- 
ation, he relinquished his design ; and in a letter to 
that gentleman (which, with some others, is un- 
fortunately lost) alleged, as his reason for this 
change, the prejudice which, he foresaw, some parts 
of the poem would raise against himself, and his 
fear lest, by any possibility, a share of the odium 
might so far extend itself to his friend, as to injure 
him hi the profession to which he was about to 
devote himself. 

Not long after the publication of Childe Harold, 
the noble author paid me a visit, one morning, and, 
putting a letter into my hands, which he had just 
received, requested that I would undertake to ma- 
nage for him whatever proceedings it might render 
necessary. This letter, I found, had been delivered 
to him by Mr. Leckie (a gentleman well known by 
a work on Sicilian affairs), and came from a once 
active and popular member of the fashionable world, 
Colonel Greville, its purport being to require of 
his Lordship, as author of" English Bards," &c., such 
reparation as it was in his power to make for the 
injury which, as Colonel Greville conceived, certain 
passages in that satire, reflecting upon his conduct 
as manager of the Argyle Institution, were calcu- 
lated to inflict upon his character. In the appeal of 
the gallant Colonel, there were some expressions of 
rather an angry cast, which Lord Byron, though 
fully conscious of the length to which he himself 
had gone, was but little inclined to brook, and, on 
my returning the letter into his hands, he said, " To 
such a letter as that there can be but one sort -of 


answer." He agreed, however, to trust the matter 
entirely to my discretion, and I had, shortly after, 
an interview with the friend of Colonel Greville. 
By this gentleman, who was then an utter stranger 
to me, I was received with much courtesy, and with 
every disposition to bring the affair intrusted to us to 
an amicable issue. On my premising that the tone 
of his friend's letter stood in the way of negotiation, 
and that some obnoxious expressions which it con- 
tained must be removed before I could proceed a 
single step towards explanation, he most readily 
consented to remove this obstacle. At his request 
I drew a pen across the parts I considered objec- 
tionable, and he undertook to send me the letter 
re-written, next morning. In the mean time I re- 
ceived from Lord Byron the following paper for my 
guidance : 

" With regard to the passage on Mr. Way's loss, 
no unfair play was hinted at, as may be seen by re- 
ferring to the book ; and it is expressly added that 
the managers were ignorant of that transaction. As 
to the prevalence of play at the Argyle, it cannot be 
denied that there were billiards and dice; Lord B. 
has been a witness to the use of both at the Argyle 
Rooms. These, it is presumed, come under the 
denomination of play. If play be allowed, the Pre- 
sident of the Institution can hardly complain of 
being termed the ' Arbiter of Play,' or what be- 
comes of his authority ? 

" Lord B. has no personal animosity to Colonel 
Greville. A public institution, to which he himself 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 141 

was a subscriber, he considered himself to have a 
right to notice publicly. Of that institution Colonel 
Greville was the avowed director ; it is too late to 
enter into the discussion of its merits or demerits. 

" Lord B. must leave the discussion of the repar- 
ation, for the real or supposed injury, to Colonel G.'s 
friend, and Mr. Moore, the friend of Lord B. 
begging them to recollect that, while they consider 
Colonel G.'s honour, Lord B. must also maintain his 
own. If the business can be settled amicably, Lord 
B. will do as much as can and ought to be done by 
a man of honour towards conciliation ; if not, he 
must satisfy Colonel G. in the manner most condu- 
cive to his further wishes." 

In the morning I received the letter, in its new 
form, from Mr. Leckie, with the annexed note. 

" My dear Sir, 

" I found my friend very ill in bed ; he has, how- 
ever, managed to copy the enclosed, with the alter- 
ations proposed. Perhaps you may wish to see me 
in the morning; I shall therefore be glad to see you 
any time till twelve o'clock. If you rather wish me 
to call on you, tell me, and I shall obey your sum- 
mons. Yours, very truly, 


With such facilities towards pacification, it is 
almost needless to add that there was but little 
delay in settling the matter amicably. 

While upon this subject, I shall avail myself of the 


opportunity which it affords of extracting an amusing 
account given by Lord Byron himself of some affairs 
of this description, in which he was, at different 
times, employed as mediator. 

" I have been called in as mediator, or second, at 
least twenty times, in violent quarrels, and have 
always contrived to settle the business without com- 
promising the honour of the parties, or leading them 
to mortal consequences, and this, too, sometimes in 
very difficult and delicate circumstances, and having 
to deal with very hot and haughty spirits, Irish- 
men, gamesters, guardsmen, captains, and cornets of 
horse, and the like. This was, of course, in my 
youth, when I lived in hot-headed company. I have 
had to carry challenges from gentlemen to noble- 
men, from captains to captains, from lawyers to 
counsellors, and once from a clergyman to an officer 
in the Life Guards; but I found the latter by far the 
most difficult, 

" ' to compose 
The bloody duel without blows,' 

the business being about a woman : I must add, 
too, that I never saw a woman behave so ill, like a 
cold-blooded, heartless b as she was, but very 
handsome for all that. A certain Susan C * * was 
she called. I never saw her but once ; and that 
was to induce her but to say two words (which in 
no degree compromised herself), and which would 
have had the effect of saving a priest or a lieutenant 
of cavalry. She would not say them, and neither 
N * * nor myself (the son of Sir E. N * *, and a 

1812. LIFE OB 1 LORD BYRON. 14-3 

friend to one of the parties,) could prevail upon her 
to say them, though both of us used to deal in 
some sort with womankind. At last I managed to 
quiet the combatants without her talisman, and, I 
believe, to her great disappointment : she was the 
damnedest b that I ever saw, and 1 have seen a 
great many. Though my clergyman was sure to 
lose either his life or his living, he was as warlike 
as the Bishop of Beauvais, and would hardly be 
pacified ; but then he was in love, and that is a 
martial passion." 

However disagreeable it was to find the conse- 
quences of his Satire thus rising up against him in 
a hostile shape, he was far more embarrassed in 
those cases where the retribution took a friendly 
form. Being now daily in the habit of meeting 
and receiving kindnesses from persons who, either 
in themselves, or through their relatives, had been 
wounded by his pen, he felt every fresh instance of 
courtesy from such quarters to be, (as he some- 
times, in the strong language of Scripture, ex- 
pressed it,) like " heaping coals of fire upon his 
head." He was, indeed, in a remarkable degree, 
sensitive to the kindness or displeasure of those he 
lived with ; and had he passed a life subject to the 
immediate influence of society, it may be doubted 
whether he ever would have ventured upon those 
unbridled bursts of energy in which he at once de- 
monstrated and abused his power. At the period 
when he ran riot in his Satire, society had not yet 
caught him within its pale ; and in the time of his 
Cains and Don Juans, he had again broken loose 



f soli- 

from it. Hence, his instinct towards a life of 
tude and independence, as the true element of his 
strength. In his own domain of imagination he 
could defy the whole world ; while, in real life, a 
frown or smile could rule him. The facility with 
which he sacrificed his first volume, at the mere 
suggestion of his friend, Mr. Becher, is a strong 
proof of this pliableness ; and in the instance of 
Childe Harold, such influence had the opinions of 
Mr. Gifford and Mr. Dallas on his mind, that he 
not only shrunk from his original design of identify- 
ing himself with his hero, but surrendered to them 
one of his most favourite stanzas, whose heterodoxy 
they had objected to ; nor is it too much, perhaps, 
to conclude, that had a more extended force of 
such influence then acted upon him, he would have 
consented to omit the sceptical parts of his poem 
altogether. Certain it is that, during the re- 
mainder of his stay in England, no such doctrines 
were ever again obtruded on his readers; and in 
all those beautiful creations of his fancy, with 
which he brightened that whole period, keeping 
the public eye in one prolonged gaze of admiration, 
both the bitterness and the licence of his impetuous 
spirit were kept effectually under control. The 
world, indeed, had yet to witness what he was 
capable of, when emancipated from this restraint. 
For, graceful and powerful as were his flights while 
society had still a hold of him, it was not till let 
loose from the leash that he rose into the true re- 
gion of his strength ; and though almost in propor- 
tion to that strength was, too frequently, his abuse 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 14-5 

of it, yet so magnificent are the very excesses of 
such energy, that it is impossible, even while we 
condemn, not to admire. 

The occasion by which I have been led into 
these remarks, namely, his sensitiveness on the 
subject of his Satire, is one of those instances 
that show how easily his gigantic spirit could be, if 
not held down, at least entangled, by the small ties 
of society. The aggression of which he had been 
guilty was not only past, but, by many of those 
most injured, forgiven ; and yet, highly, it must 
be allowed, to the credit of his social feelings, r 
the idea of living familiarly and friendlily with per- 
sons, respecting whose character or talents there 
were such opinions of his on record, became, at 
length, insupportable to him ; and, though far ad- 
vanced in a fifth edition of " English Bards," &c., 
he came to the resolution of suppressing the Satire 
altogether ; and orders were sent to Cawthorn, the 
publisher, to commit the whole impression to the 
flames. At the same time, and from similar mo- 
tives, aided, I rather think, by a friendly remon- 
strance from Lord Elgin, or some of his connections, 
the " Curse of Minerva," a poem levelled against 
that nobleman, and already in progress towards 
publication, was also sacrificed ; while the " Hints 
from Horace," though containing far less personal 
satire than either of the others, shared their fate. 

To exemplify what I have said of his extreme 
sensibility, to the passing sunshine or clouds of the 
society in which he lived, I need but cite the fol- 
lowing notes, addressed by him to his friend Mr. 


146 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

William Bankes, under the apprehension that this 
gentleman was, for some reason or other, dis- 
pleased with him. 


"April 20. 181! 
" My dear Bankes, 

" I feel rather hurt (not savagely) at the 
speech you made to me last night, and my hope is, 
that it was only one of your profane jests. I should 
be very sorry that any part of my behaviour should 
give you cause to suppose that I think higher of 
myself, or otherwise of you than I have always 
done. I can assure you that I am as much the 
humblest of your servants as at Trin. Coll.; and if 
I have not been at home when you favoured me 
with a call, the loss was more mine than yours. In 
the bustle of buzzing parties, there is, there can be, 
no rational conversation ; but when I can enjoy it, 
there is nobody's I can prefer to your own. Be- 
lieve me ever faithfully and most affectionately 

" BYRON." 


" My dear Bankes, 

" My eagerness to come to an explanation 
has, I trust, convinced you that whatever my un- 
lucky manner might inadvertently be, the change 
was as unintentional as (if intended) it would have 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 147 

been ungrateful. I really was not aware that, 
while we were together, I had evinced such ca- 
prices ; that we were not so much in each other's 
company as I could have wished, I well know, but 
I think so acute an observer as yourself must have 
perceived enough to explain this, without sup- 
posing any slight to one in whose society I have 
pride and pleasure. Recollect that I do not allude 
here to ' extended ' or * extending ' acquaintances, 
but to circumstances you will understand, I think, 
on a little reflection. 

" And now, my dear Bankes, do not distress me 
by supposing that I can think of you, or you of me, 
otherwise than I trust we have long thought. You 
told me not long ago that my temper was improved, 
and I should be sorry that opinion should be re- 
voked. Believe me, your friendship is of more 
account to me than all those absurd vanities in 
which, I fear, you conceive me to take too much 
interest. I have never disputed your superiority, 
or doubted (seriously) your good will, and no one 
shall ever < make mischief between us ' without the 
sincere regret on the part of your ever affec- 
tionate, &c. 

" P. S. I shall see you, I hope, at Lady Jersey's. 
Hobhouse goes also." 

In the month of April he was again tempted to 
try his success in the House of Lords ; and, on the 
motion of Lord Donoughmore for taking into con- 
sideration the claims of the Irish catholics, de- 
livered his sentiments strongly in favour of the 
L 2 

148 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

proposition. His display, on this occasion, seems 
to have been less promising than in his first essay. 
His delivery was thought mouthing and theatrical, 
being infected, I take for granted (having never 
heard him speak in Parliament), with the same 
chanting tone that disfigured his recitation of 
poetry, a tone contracted at most of the public 
schools, but more particularly, perhaps, at Harrow, 
and encroaching just enough on the boundaries of 
song to offend those ears most by which song is 
best enjoyed and understood. 

On the subject of the negotiations for a change 
of ministry which took place during this session, I 
find the following anecdotes recorded in his note- 

" At the opposition meeting of the peers in 
1812, at Lord Grenville's, when Lord Grey and he 
read to us the correspondence upon Moira's nego- 
tiation, I sate next to the present Duke of Grafton, 
and said, * What is to be done next ? ' ' Wake 
the Duke of Norfolk * (who was snoring away near 
us), replied he : 'I don't think the negotiators have 
left any thing else for us to do this turn.' 

" In the debate, or rather discussion, afterwards 
in the House of Lords upon that very question, I 
sate immediately behind Lord Moira, who was ex- 
tremely annoyed at Grey's speech upon the subject ; 
and, while Grey was speaking, turned round to me 
repeatedly, and asked me whether I agreed with 
him. It was an awkward question to me who had 
not heard both sides. Moira kept repeating to me, 
* It was not so, it was so and so,' &c. I did not 


know very well what to think, but I sympathised 
with the acuteness of his feelings upon the subject." 

The subject of the Catholic claims was, it is well 
known, brought forward a second time this session 
by Lord Wellesley, whose motion for a future con- 
sideration of the question was carried by a majority 
of one. In reference to this division, another rather 
amusing anecdote is thus related. 

" Lord * * affects an imitation of two very different 
Chancellors, Thurlow and Loughborough, and can 
indulge in an oath now and then. On one of the 
debates on the Catholic question, when we were 
either equal or within one (I forget which), I had 
been sent for in great haste to a ball, which I quitted, 
I confess, somewhat reluctantly, to emancipate five 
millions of people. I came in late, and did not go 
immediately into the body of the House, but stood 
just behind the woolsack. * * turned round, and, 
catching my eye, immediately said to a peer, (who 
had come to him for a few minutes on the woolsack, 
as is the custom of his friends,) ' Damn them ! 
they'll have it now, by G-d ! the vote that is just 
come in will give it them.' " 

During all this time, the impression which he had 
produced in society, both as a poet and a man, went 
on daily increasing ; and the facility with which he 
gave himself up to the current of fashionable life, 
and mingled in all the gay scenes through which it 
led, showed that the novelty, at least, of this mode 
of existence had charms for him, however he might 
estimate its pleasures. That sort of vanity which is 
almost inseparable from genius, and which consists 
L 3 

150 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

in an extreme sensitiveness on the subject of self, 
Lord Byron, I need not say, possessed in no ordinary 
degree ; and never was there a career in which this 
sensibility to the opinions of others was exposed to 
more constant and various excitement than that on 
which he was now entered. I find in a note of my 
own to him, written at this period, some jesting 
allusions to the " circle of star-gazers " whom I had 
left around him at some party on the preceding 
night ; and such, in fact, was the flattering ordeal 
he had to undergo wherever he went. On these 
occasions, particularly before the range of his ac- 
quaintance had become sufficiently extended to set 
him wholly at his ease, his air and port were those 
of one whose better thoughts were elsewhere, and 
who looked with melancholy abstraction on the gay 
crowd around him. This deportment, so rare in 
such scenes, and so accordant with the romantic 
notions entertained of him, was the result partly of 
shyness, and partly, perhaps, of that love of effect 
and impression to which the poetical character of 
his mind naturally led. Nothing, indeed, could be 
more amusing and delightful than the contrast which 
his manners afterwards, when we were alone, pre- 
sented to his proud reserve in the brilliant circle we 
had just left. It was like the bursting gaiety of a 
boy let loose from school, and seemed as if there 
was no extent of fun or tricks of which he was 
not capable. Finding him invariably thus lively 
when we were together, I often rallied him on the 
gloomy tone of his poetry, as assumed ; but his 
constant answer was (and I soon ceased to doubt of 


1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 151 

its truth), that, though thus merry and full of 
laughter with those he liked, he was, at heart, one 
of the most melancholy wretches in existence. 

Among the numerous notes which I received from 
him at this time, some of them relating to our 
joint engagements in society, and others to matters 
now better forgotten,- I shall select a few that 
(as showing his haunts and habits) may not, perhaps, 
be uninteresting. 

March 25. 1812. 

" Know all men by these presents, that you, 
Thomas Moore, stand indicted no invited, by 
special and particular solicitation, to Lady C. L * * 's 
to-morrow evening, at half-past nine o'clock, where 
you will meet with a civil reception and decent en- 
tertainment. Pray, come I was so examined after 
you this morning, that I entreat you to answer in 

" Believe me," &c. 

" Friday noon. 

" I should have answered your note yesterday, 
but I hoped to have seen you this morning. I must 
consult with you about the day we dine with Sir 
Francis. I suppose we shall meet at Lady Spencer's 
to-night. I did not know that you were at Miss 
Berry's the other night, or I should have certainly 
gone there. 

" As usual, I am in all sorts of scrapes, though 
none, at present, of a martial description. 

" Believe me," &c. 
L 4 

152 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

" May 8. 1812. 

" I am too proud of being your friend to care with 
whom I am linked in your estimation, and, God 
knows, I want friends more at this time than at any 
other. I am < taking care of myself to no great 
purpose. If you knew my situation in every point 
of view you would excuse apparent and unintentional 
neglect. I shall leave town, I think ; but do not 
you leave it without seeing me. I wish you, from 
my soul, every happiness you can wish yourself; and 
I think you have taken the road to secure it. Peace 
be with you ! I fear she has abandoned me. 

" Ever," &c. 

" May 20. 1812. 

" On Monday, after sitting up all night, I saw Bel- 
lingham launched into eternity *, and at three the 
same day I saw * * * launched into the country. 

* He had taken a window opposite for the purpose, and was 
accompanied on the occasion by his old schoolfellows, Mr. 
Bailey and Mr. John Madocks. They went together from 
some assembly, and, on their arriving at the spot, about three 
o'clock in the morning, not finding the house that was to re- 
ceive them open, Mr. Madocks undertook to rouse the inmates, 
while Lord Byron and Mr. Bailey sauntered, arm in arm, up 
the street. During this interval, rather a painful scene oc- 
curred. Seeing an unfortunate woman lying on the steps of a 
door, Lord Byron, with some expression of compassion, offered 
her a few shillings : but, instead of accepting them, she vio- 
lently pushed away his hand, and, starting up with a yell of 
laughter, began to mimic the lameness of his gait. He did 
not utter a word; but " I could feel," said Mr. Bailey, " his 
arm trembling within mine, as we left her." 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 153 

" I believe, in the beginning of June, I shall be 
down for a few days in Notts. If so, I shall beat 
you up ' en passant ' with Hobhouse, who is endea- 
vouring, like you and every body else, to keep me 
out of scrapes. 

" I meant to have written you a long letter, but 1 
find I cannot. If any thing remarkable occurs, you 
will hear it from me if good ; if bad, there are 
plenty to tell it. In the mean time, do you be happy. 

" Ever yours, &c. 

" P. S. My best wishes and respects to Mrs. * * ; 

she is beautiful. I may say so even to you, for I 
never was more struck with a countenance." 

Among the tributes to his fame, this spring, it 
should have been mentioned that, at some evening 
party, he had the honour of being presented, at that 
royal personage's own desire, to the Prince Regent. 
" The Regent," says Mr. Dallas, " expressed his ad- 
miration of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and con- 
tinued a conversation, which so fascinated the poet, 
that had it not been for an accidental deferring of 
the next levee, he bade fair to become a visiter at 
Carlton House, if not a complete courtier." 

I may take this opportunity of mentioning another anecdote 
connected with his lameness. In coming out, one night, from 
a ball, with Mr. Rogers, as they were on their way to their 
carriage, one of the link-boys ran on before Lord Byron, 
crying, " This way, my Lord." " He seems to know you," 
said Mr. Rogers. " Know me ! " answered Lord Byron, with 
some degree of bitterness in his tone " every one knows me, 

I am deformed." 

154? NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

After this wise prognostic, the writer adds, "I 
called on him on the morning for which the levee 
had been appointed, and found him in a full dress 
court suit of clothes, with his fine black hair in 
powder, which by no means suited his countenance. 
I was surprised, as he had not told me that he should 
go to court ; and it seemed to me as if he thought 
it necessary to apologise for his intention, by his ob- 
serving that he could not in decency but do it, as 
the Regent had done him the honour to say that he 
hoped to see him soon at Carlton House." 

In the two letters that follow we find his own ac- 
count of the introduction. 


" June 25. 1812. 

" My dear Lord, 

" I must appear very ungrateful, and have, in- 
deed, been very negligent, but till last night I was 
not apprised of Lady Holland's restoration, and I 
shall call to-morrow to have the satisfaction, I trust, 
of hearing that she is well. I hope that neither 
politics nor gout have assailed your Lordship since I 
last saw you, and that you also are ' as well as could 
be expected.' 

" The other night, at a ball, I was presented by 
order to our gracious Regent, who honoured me with 
some conversation, and professed a predilection for 
poetry. I confess it was a most unexpected honour, 

and I thought of poor B s's adventure, with 

some apprehension of a similar blunder. I have now 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 155 

great hope, in the event of Mr. Pye's decease, of 
'warbling truth at court,' like Mr. Mallet of in- 
different memory. Consider, one hundred marks 
a year ! besides the wine and the disgrace ; but 
then remorse would make me drown myself in my 
own butt before the year's end, or the finishing of 
my first dithyrambic. So that, after all, I shall not 
meditate our laureate's death by pen or poison. 

" Will you present my best respects to Lady 
Holland ? and believe me hers and yours very sin- 

The second letter, entering much more fully into 
the particulars of this interview with Royalty, was 
in answer, it will be perceived, to some enquiries 
which Sir Walter Scott (then Mr. Scott) had ad- 
dressed to him on the subject ; and the whole ac- 
count reflects even still more honour on the Sovereign 
himself than on the two poets. 


" St. James's Street, July 6. 1812. 

" I have just been honoured with your letter. 
I feel sorry that you should have thought it 
worth while to notice the * evil works of my nonage,' 
as the thing is suppressed voluntarily, and your ex- 
planation is too kind not to give me pain. The 
Satire was written when I was very young and very 
angry, and fully bent on displaying my wrath and 
my wit, and now I am haunted by the ghosts of my 

156 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

wholesale assertions. I cannot sufficiently thank you 
for your praise; and now, waving myself, let me 
talk to you of the Prince Regent. He ordered me 
to be presented to him at a ball ; and after some 
sayings peculiarly pleasing from royal lips, as to my 
own attempts, he talked to me of you and your im- 
mortalities : he preferred you to every bard past and 
present, and asked which of your works pleased me 
most. It was a difficult question. I answered, I 
thought the " Lay." He said his own opinion was 
nearly similar. In speaking of the others, I told 
him that I thought you more particularly the poet 
of Princes, as they never appeared more fascinating 
than in Marmion ' and the < Lady of the Lake.* 
He was pleased to coincide, and to dwell on the de- 
scription of your Jameses as no less royal than 
poetical. He spoke alternately of Homer and your- 
self, and seemed well acquainted with both ; so that 
(with the exception of the Turks and your humble 
servant) you were in very good company. I defy 
Murray to have exaggerated his Royal Highness's 
opinion of your powers, nor can I pretend to enu- 
merate all he said on the subject ; but it may give 
you pleasure to hear that it was conveyed in language 
which would only suffer by my attempting to tran- 
scribe it, and with a tone and taste which gave me 
a very high idea of his abilities and accomplish- 
ments, which I had hitherto considered as confined 
to manners, certainly superior to those of any living 

" This interview was accidental. I never went to 
the levee ; for having seen the courts of Mussulman 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 157 

and Catholic sovereigns, my curiosity was sufficiently 
allayed ; and my politics being as perverse as my 
rhymes, I had, in fact, < no business there.' To be 
thus praised by your Sovereign must be gratifying 
to you ; and if that gratification is not alloyed by 
the communication being made through me, the 
bearer of it will consider himself very fortunately 
and sincerely, 

" Your obliged and obedient servant, 


p.S. Excuse this scrawl, scratched in a great 
hurry, and just after a journey. " 

During the summer of this year, he paid visits to 
some of his noble friends, and, among others, to the 
Earl of Jersey and the Marquis of Lansdowne. " In 
1812," he says, " at Middleton (Lord Jersey's), 
amongst a goodly company of lords, ladies, and wits, 
&c., there was ***.-(- 

" Erskine, too ! Erskine was there ; good, but in- 
tolerable. He jested, he talked, he did every thing 
admirably, but then he would be applauded for the 
same thing twice over. He would read his own 
verses, his own paragraph, and tell his own story 
again and again ; and then the * Trial by Jury ! ! ! ' 
I almost wished it abolished, for I sat next him at 
dinner. As I had read his published speeches, 
there was no occasion to repeat them to me. 

" C * * (the fox-hunter), nicknamed ' Cheek C * *,' 

f A review, somewhat too critical, of some of the guests is 
here omitted. 

158 NOTICES OF THE 1812.' 

and I, sweated the claret, being the only two who 
did so. C * *, who loves his bottle, and had no 
notion of meeting with a ' bon-vivant' in a scrib- 
bler*, in making my eulogy to somebody one 
evening, summed it up in { By G d he drinks 
like a man.' 

" Nobody drank, however, but C * * and I. To 
be sure, there was little occasion, for we swept off 
what was on the table (a most splendid board, as 
may be supposed, at Jersey's) very sufficiently. 
However, we carried our liquor discreetly, like the 
Baron of Bradwardine." 

In the month of August this year, on the comple- 
tion of the new Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the 
Committee of Management, desirous of procuring 
an Address for the opening of the theatre, took 
the rather novel mode of inviting, by an advertise- 
ment in the newspapers, the competition of all the 
poets of the day towards this object. Though the 
contributions that ensued were sufficiently numerous* 
it did not appear to the Committee that there was 
any one among the number worthy of selection. In 

* For the first day or two, at Middleton, he did not join his 
noble host's party till after dinner, but took his scanty repast 
of biscuits and soda water in his own room. Being told by 
somebody that the gentleman above mentioned had pronounced 
such habits to be " effeminate," he resolved to show the " fox- 
hunter " that he could be, on occasion, as good a bon-vivant as 
himself, and, by his prowess at the claret next day, after 
dinner, drew forth from Mr. C * * the eulogium here re- 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 159 

this difficulty it occurred to Lord Holland that they 
could not do better than have recourse to Lord 
Byron, whose popularity would give additional vogue 
to the solemnity of their opening, and to whose 
transcendant claims, as a poet, it was taken for 
granted, (though without sufficient allowance, as it 
proved, for the irritability of the brotherhood,) even 
the rejected candidates themselves would bow with- 
out a murmur. The first result of this application 
to the noble poet will be learned from what follows. 


" Cheltenham, September 10. 1812. 
" My dear Lord, 

" The lines which I sketched off on your hint 
are still, or rather were, in an unfinished state, for I 
have just committed them to a flame more decisive 
than that of Drury. Under all the circumstances, 
I should hardly wish a contest with Philo-drama 
Philo-Drury Asbestos, H **, and all the anonymes 
and synonymes of Committee candidates. Seriously, 
I think you have a chance of something much better; 
for prologuising is not my forte, and, at all events, 
either my pride or my modesty won't let me incur 
the hazard of having my rhymes buried in next 
month's Magazine, under Essays on the Murder of 
Mr. Perceval,' and < Cures for the Bite of a Mad 
Dog,' as poor Goldsmith complained of the fate of 
far superior performances. 

" I am still sufficiently interested to wish to know 
the successful candidate ; and, amongst so many, I 

160 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

have no doubt some will be excellent, particularly in 
an age when writing verse is the easiest of all attain- 

" I cannot answer your intelligence with the ' like 
comfort,' unless, as you are deeply theatrical, you 
may wish to hear of Mr. * *, whose acting is, I fear, 
utterly inadequate to the London engagement into 
which the managers of Covent Garden have lately 
entered. His figure is fat, his features flat, his 
voice unmanageable, his action ungraceful, and, as 
Diggory says, 'I defy him to extort that d d muffin 
face of his into madness.' I was very sorry to see 
him in the character of the ' Elephant on the slack 
rope;' for, when I last saw him, I was in raptures 
with his performance. But then I was sixteen an 
age to which all London condescended to subside. 
After all, much better judges have admired, and 
may again ; but I venture to ' prognosticate a pro- 
phecy' (see the Courier) that he will not succeed. 

" So, poor dear Rogers has stuck fast on ' the 
brow of the mighty Helvellyn ' I hope not for ever. 
My best respects to Lady H.: her departure, with 
that of my other friends, was a sad event for me, 
now reduced to a state of the most cynical solitude. 
' By the waters of Cheltenham I sat down and drank, 
when I remembered thee, oh Georgiana Cottage ! 
As for our harps, we hanged them up upon the 
willows that grew thereby. Then they said, Sing 
us a song of Drury Lane,' &c.; but I am dumb and 
dreary as the Israelites. The waters have disordered 
me to my heart's content you were right, as you 


always are. Believe me ever your obliged and 
affectionate servant, 

" BYRON." 

The request of the Committee for his aid having 
been, still more urgently, repeated, he, at length, 
notwithstanding the difficulty and invidiousness of 
the task, from his strong wish to oblige Lord Holland, 
consented to undertake it ; and the quick succeed- 
ing notes and letters, which he addressed, during 
the completion of the Address, to his noble friend, 
afford a proof (in conjunction with others of still 
more interest, yet to be cited) of the pains he, at 
this time, took in improving and polishing his first 
conceptions, and the importance he wisely attached 
to a judicious choice of epithets as a means of en- 
riching both the music and the meaning of his verse. 
They also show, what, as an illustration of his 
character, is even still more valuable, the exceed- 
ing pliancy and good humour with which he could 
yield to friendly suggestions and criticisms; nor 
can it be questioned, I think, but that the docility 
thus invariably exhibited by him, on points where 
most poets are found to be tenacious and irritable, 
was a quality natural to his disposition, and such 
as might have been turned to account in far more 
important matters, had he been fortunate enough 
to meet with persons capable of understanding and 
guiding him. 

The following are a few of these hasty notes, on 
the subject of the Address, which I allude to : 


162 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 


" September 22. 1812. 

" My dear Lord, 

" In a day or two I will send you something 
which you will still have the liberty to reject if you 
dislike it. I should like to have had more time, but 
will do my best, but too happy if I can oblige you, 
though I may offend a hundred scribblers and the 
discerning public. Ever yours. 

" Keep my name a secret; or I shall be beset by 
all the rejected, and, perhaps, damned by a party." 


" Cheltenham, September 23. 1812. 

"Ecco! I have marked some passages with 
double readings choose between them cut add 
reject or destroy do with them as you will I 
leave it to you and the Committee you cannot say 
so called l a non committendo.' What will they do 
(and I do) with the hundred and one rejected Trou- 
badours ? ' With trumpets, yea, and with shawms,' 
will you be assailed in the most diabolical doggerel. 
I wish my name not to transpire till the day is 
decided. I shall not be in town, so it won't much 
matter ; but let us have a good deliverer. I think 
Elliston should be the man, or Pope; not Raymond, 
I implore you, by the love of Rhythmus ! 

" The passages marked thus = =, above and 
below, are for you to choose between epithets, and 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 163 

such like poetical furniture. Pray write me a line, 
and believe me ever, &c. 

" My best remembrances to Lady H. Will you 
be good enough to decide between the various 
readings marked, and erase the other; or our de- 
liverer may be as puzzled as a commentator, and 
belike repeat both. If these versicles won't do, 1 
will hammer out some more endecasyllables. 

p. S. Tell Lady H. I have had sad work to 
keep out the Phcenix I mean the Fire Office of 
that name. It has insured the theatre, and why not 
the Address?" 


" September 24. 

I send a recast of the four first lines of the 
concluding paragraph. 

" This greeting o'er, the ancient rule obey'd, 
The drama's homage by her Herald paid, 
Receive our welcome too, whose every tone 

Springs from our hearts, and fain would win your own. 
The curtain rises, &c. &c. 

And do forgive all this trouble. See what it is to 
have to do even with the genteelest of us. Ever," &c. 


September 26. 1812. 

" You will think there is no end to my villanous 
emendations. The fifth and sixth lines I think to 
alter thus: 

M 2 

164- NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

" Ye who beheld oh sight admired and mouru'd, 
Whose radiance mock'd the ruin it adorn' dj 

because ( night' is repeated the next line but one ; 
and, as it now stands, the conclusion of the para- 
graph, 'worthy him (Shakspeare) and you,' appears 
to apply the 'you to those only who were out of 
bed and in Covent Garden Market on the night of 
conflagration, instead of the audience or the dis- 
cerning public at large, all of whom are intended to 
be comprised in that comprehensive and, I hope, 
comprehensible pronoun. 

" By the by, one of my corrections in the fair 
copy sent yesterday has dived into the bathos some 
sixty fathom 

" When Garrick died, and Brinsley ceased to write. 

Ceasing to live is a much more serious concern, and 
ought not to be first ; therefore I will let the old 
couplet stand, with its half rhymes * sought ' and 
' wrote.'* Second thoughts in every thing are best, 
but, in rhyme, third and fourth don't come amiss. 
I am very anxious on this business, and I do hope 
that the very trouble I occasion you will plead its 
own excuse, and that it will tend to show my endea- 
vour to make the most of the time allotted. I wish 

* " Such are the names that here your plaudits sought, 
When Garrick acted, and when Brinsley wrote." 

At present the couplet stands thus : 

" Dear are the days that made our annals bright, 
Ere Garrick fled, or Brinsley ceased to write." 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 165 

1 had known it months ago, for in that case I had 
not left one line standing on another. I always 
scrawl in this way, and smooth as much as I can, but 
never sufficiently ; and, latterly, I can weave a nine- 
line stanza faster than a couplet, for which measure 
I have not the cunning. When I began * Childe 
Harold,' I had never tried Spenser's measure, and 
now I cannot scribble in any other. 

" After all, my dear Lord, if you can get a decent 
Address elsewhere, don't hesitate to put this aside. 
Why did you not trust your own Muse? I am 
very sure she would have been triumphant, and 
saved the Committee their trouble ' 'tis a joyful 
one 'to me, but I fear I shall not satisfy even my- 
self. After the account you sent me, 'tis no com- 
pliment to say you would have beaten your candi- 
dates ; but I mean that, in that case, there would 
have been no occasion for their being beaten at all. 

" There are but two decent prologues in our 
tongue Pope's to Cato Johnson's to Drury 
Lane. These, with the epilogue to the ( Distrest 
Mother,' and, I think, one of Goldsmith's, and a 
prologue of old Colman's to Beaumont and Fletcher's 
Philaster, are the best things of the kind we have. 

" P. S. I am diluted to the throat with me- 
dicine for the stone ; and Boisragon wants me to 
try a warm climate for the winter but I won't." 


" September 27. 1812. 

" I have just received your very kind letter, 
and hope 3011 have met with a second copy cor- 
M 3 

166 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

rected and addressed to Holland House, with some 
omissions and this new couplet, 

" As glared each rising flash *, and ghastly shone 
The skies with lightnings awful as their own. 

As to remarks, I can only say I will alter and ac- 
quiesce in any thing. With regard to the part 
which Whitbread wishes to omit, I believe the 
Address will go off quicker without it, though, like 
the agility of the Hottentot, at the expense of its 
vigour. I leave to your choice entirely the dif- 
ferent specimens of stucco-work ; and a brick of 
your own will also much improve my Babylonish 
turret. I should like Elliston to have it, with your 
leave. ' Adorn ' and ' mourn ' are lawful rhymes 
in Pope's Death of the unfortunate Lady. Gray 
has ' forlorn ' and * mourn ; ' and ' torn ' and 
* mourn ' are in Smollet's famous Tears of Scotland. 
" As there will probably be an outcry amongst 
the rejected, I hope the committee will testify 
(if it be needful) that I sent in nothing to the con- 
gress whatever, with or without a name, as your 
Lordship well knows. All I have to do with it is 
with and through you ; and though I, of course, 
wish to satisfy the audience, I do assure you my 
first object is to comply with your request, and in 
so doing to show the sense I have of the many 
obligations you have conferred upon me. Yours 
ever, B." 

* At present, " As glared the volumed blaze." 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 167 


September 29. 1812. 

" Shakspeare certainly ceased to reign in one 
of his kingdoms, as George III. did in America, 
and George IV. may in Ireland.* Now, we have 
nothing to do out of our own realms, and when the 
monarchy was gone, his majesty had but a barren 
sceptre. I have cut away, you will see, and al- 
tered, but make it what you please ; only I do im- 
plore, for my own gratification, one lash on those 
accursed quadrupeds * a long shot, Sir Lucius, if 
you love me.' I have altered ' wave,' &c., and the 
' fire,' and so forth for the timid. 

" Let me hear from you when convenient, and 
believe me, &c. 

" P. S. Do let that stand, and cut out else- 
where. I shall choke, if we must overlook their 
d d menagerie." 


" Far be from him that hour which asks in vain 
Tears such as flow for Garrick in his strain ; 

" Far be that hour that vainly asks in turn 

f crown d his \ 
Such verse for him as \_ wept o'er J Garrick's urn. 

September 30. 1812. 

" Will you choose between these added to the 

* Some objection, it appears from this, had been made to 
the passage, " and Shakspeare ceased to reign." 
M 4 


lines on Sheridan ? * I think they will wind up the 
panegyric, and agree with the train of thought pre- 
ceding them. 

" Now, one word as to the Committee he 
could they resolve on a rough copy of an Address 
never sent in, unless you had been good enough to 
retain in memory, or on paper, the thing they have 
been good enough to adopt ? By the by, the cir- 
cumstances of the case should make the Committee 
less ' avidus gloriae,' for all praise of them would 
look plaguy suspicious. If necessary to be stated 
at all, the simple facts bear them out. They surely 
had a right to act as they pleased. My sole object 
is one which, I trust, my whole conduct has shown ; 
viz. that I did nothing insidious sent in no Ad- 
dress whatever but, when applied to, did my best 
for them and myself; but, above all, that there was 
no undue partiality, which will be what the rejected 
will endeavour to make out. Fortunately most 
fortunately I sent in no lines on the occasion. 
For I am sure that had they, in that case, been 
preferred, it would have been asserted that / was 
known, and owed the preference to private friend- 
ship. This is what we shall probably have to en- 
counter; but, if once spoken and approved, we 
sha'n't be much embarrassed by their brilliant con- 
jectures ; and, as to criticism, an old author, like an 
old bull, grows cooler (or ought) at every baiting. 

" The only thing would be to avoid a party on 

* These added lines, as may be seen by reference to the 
printed Address, were not retained. 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 169 

the night of delivery afterwards, the more the 
better, and the whole transaction inevitably tends 
to a good deal of discussion. Murray tells me there 
are myriads of ironical Addresses ready some, in 
imitation of what is called my style. If they are as 
good as the Probationary Odes, or Hawkins's Pipe 
of Tobacco, it will not be bad fun for the imitated. 

" Ever," &c. 

The time comprised in the series of letters to 
Lord Holland, of which the above are specimens, 
Lord Byron passed, for the most part, at Chelten- 
ham ; and during the same period, the following 
letters to other correspondents were written. 


" High Street, Cheltenham, Sept. 5. 1812. 

" Pray have the goodness to send those de- 
spatches, and a No. of the Edinburgh Review with 
the rest. I hope you have written to Mr. Thomp- 
son, thanked him in my name for his present, and 
told him that I shall be truly happy to comply with 
his request. How do you go on ? and when is the 
graven image, with bays and wicked rhyme upon 't,' 
to grace, or disgrace, some of our tardy editions ? 

" Send me ' Rokeby? Who the devil is he ? 
no matter, he has good connections, and will be 
well introduced. I thank you for your enquiries : 
I am so so, but my thermometer is sadly below the 
poetical point. What will you give me or mine for 
a poem of six cantos, (when complete no rhyme, 

170 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

no recompense,) as like the last two as I can make 
them? I have some ideas that one day may be 
embodied, and till winter I shall have much leisure. 
" P. S. My last question is in the true style of 
Grub Street ; but, like Jeremy Diddler, I only < ask 
for information.' Send me Adair on Diet and 
Regimen, just republished by Ridgway." 


Cheltenham, Sept. 14. 1812. 

" The parcels contained some letters and verses, 
all but one anonymous and complimentary, and 
very anxious for my conversion from certain 
infidelities into which my good-natured corre- 
spondents conceive me to have fallen. The books 
were presents of a convertible kind. Also, { Chris- 
tian Knowledge ' and the * Bioscope,' a religious 
Dial of Life explained; and to the author of the 
former (Cadell, publisher,) I beg you will forward 
my best thanks for his letter, his present, and, 
above all, his good intentions. The * Bioscope ' 
contained a MS. copy of very excellent verses, 
from whom I know not, but evidently the com- 
position of some one in the habit of writing, and of 
writing well. I do not know if he be the author of 
the < Bioscope ' which accompanied them ; but who- 
ever he is, if you can discover him, thank him from 
me most heartily. The other letters were from 
ladies, who are welcome to convert me when they 
please ; and if I can discover them, and they be 
young, as they say they are, I could convince them 
perhaps of my devotion. I had also a letter from 


Mr. Walpole on matters of this world, which I have 

" So you are Lucien's publisher ? I am promised 
an interview with him, and think I shall ask you 
for a letter of introduction, as ' the gods have made 
him poetical.' From whom could it come with a 
better grace than from his publisher and mine ? Is 
it not somewhat treasonable in you to have to do 
with a relative of the * direful foe,' as the Morning 
Post calls his brother ? 

" But my book on ' Diet and Regimen,' where is 
it ? I thirst for Scott's Rokeby ; let me have your 
first-begotten copy. The Anti-jacobin Review is 
all very well, and not a bit worse than the Quar- 
terly, and at least less harmless. By the by, have 
you secured my books? I want all the Reviews, 
at least the critiques, quarterly, monthly, &c., Portu- 
guese and English, extracted, and bound up in one 
volume for my old age; and pray, sort my Romaic 
books, and get the volumes lent to Mr. Hobhouse 
he has had them now a long time. If any thing 
occurs, you will favour me with a line, and in winter 
we shall be nearer neighbours. 

" P.S. I was applied to, to write the Address 
for Drury Lane, but the moment I heard of the con- 
test, I gave up the idea of contending against all 
Grub Street, and threw a few thoughts on the sub- 
ject into the fire. I did this out of respect to you, 
being sure you would have turned off any of your 
authors who had entered the lists with such scurvy 
competitors. To triumph would have been no glory; 
and to have been defeated 'sdeath ! I would 

172 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

have choked myself, like Otway, with a quartern 
loaf; so, remember I had, and have, nothing to do 
with it, upon my honour" 


" Cheltenham, September 28. 1812. 

" My dear Bankes, 

" When you point out to one how people can be 
intimate at the distance of some seventy leagues, I 
will plead guilty to your charge, and accept your 
farewell, but not wittingly, till you give me some 
better reason than my silence, which merely pro- 
ceeded from a notion founded on your own declara- 
tion of old, that you hated writing and receiving 
letters. Besides, how was I to find out a man of 
many residences ? If I had addressed you now, it 
had been to your borough, where I must have con- 
jectured you were amongst your constituents. So 
now, in despite of Mr. N. and Lady W., you shall 
be as c much better' as the Hexham post-office will 
allow me to make you. I do assure you I am much 
indebted to you for thinking of me at all, and can't 
spare you even from amongst the superabundance of 
friends with whom you suppose me surrounded. 
" You heard that Newstead* is sold the sum 

* " Early in the autumn of 1812," says Mr. Dallas, " he 
told me that he was urged by his man of business, and that 
Newstead must be sold." It was accordingly brought to the 
hammer at Garraway's, but not, at that time, sold, only 90,000/. 
being offered for it. The private sale to which he alludes in 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 173 

140,0007. ; sixty to remain in mortgage on the estate 
for three years, paying interest, of course. Roch- 
dale is also likely to do well so my worldly matters 
are mending. I have been here some time drinking 
the waters, simply because there are waters to drink, 
and they are very medicinal, and sufficiently disgust- 
ing. In a few days I set out for Lord Jersey's, but 
return here, where I am quite alone, go out very 
little, and enjoy in its fullest extent the 'dolce far 
niente.' What you are about, I cannot guess, even 
from your date; not dauncing to the sound of the 
gitourney in the Halls of the Lowthers ? one of 
whom is here, ill, poor thing, with a phthisic. I 
heard that you passed through here (at the sordid 
inn where I first alighted) the very day before I 
arrived in these parts. We had a very pleasant set 
here ; at first the Jerseys, Melbournes, Cowpers, 
and Hollands, but all gone ; and the only persons I 
know are the Rawdons and Oxfords, with some later 
acquaintances of less brilliant descent. 

" But I do not trouble them much ; and as for 
your rooms and your assemblies, * they are not 
dreamed of in our philosophy ! ! ' Did you read of 
a sad accident in the Wye t' other day ? a dozen 
drowned, and Mr. Rossoe, a corpulent gentleman, 
preserved by a boat-hook or an eel-spear, begged, 
when he heard his wife was saved no lost to 

this letter took place soon after, Mr. Claughton, the agent 
for Mr. Leigh, being the purchaser. It was never, however, 
for reasons which we shall see, completed. 

174? NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

be thrown in again ! ! as if he could not have 
thrown himself in, had he wished it; but this passes 
for a trait of sensibility. What strange beings men 
are, in and out of the Wye ! 

" I have to ask you a thousand pardons for not 
fulfilling some orders before I left town ; but if you 
knew all the cursed entanglements I had to wade 
through, it would be unnecessary to beg your for- 
giveness. When will Parliament (the new one) 
meet ? in sixty days, on account of Ireland, I 
presume: the Irish election will demand a longer 
period for completion than the constitutional allot- 
ment. Yours, of course, is safe, and all your side of 
the question. Salamanca is the ministerial watch- 
word, and all will go well with you. I hope you will 
speak more frequently, I am sure at least you ought, 
and it will be expected. I see Portman means to 
stand again. Good night. 

" Ever yours most affectionately, 


" Cheltenham, September 27. 1812. 

t( I sent in no Address whatever to the Com- 

mittee ; but out of nearly one hundred (this is con- 

fidential), none have been deemed worth acceptance ; 

and in consequence of their subsequent application 

to me, I have written a prologue, which has been re- 

* A mode of signature he frequently adopted at this time, 


ceived, and will be spoken. The MS. is now in the 
hands of Lord Holland. 

" I write this merely to say, that (however it is 
received by the audience) you will publish it in the 
next edition of Childe Harold ; and I only beg you 
at present to keep my name secret till you hear 
further from me, and as soon as possible I wish 
you to, have a correct copy, to do with as you think 

" P.S. I should wish a few copies printed off 
before, that the newspaper copies may be correct 
after the delivery" 


" Cheltenham, Oct. 12. 1812. 

" I have a very strong objection to the engraving 
of the portrait*, and request that it may, on no 
account, be prefixed; but let all the proofs be burnt, 
and the plate broken. I will be at the expense 
which has been incurred; it is but fair that /should, 
since I cannot permit the publication. I beg, as a 
particular favour, that you will lose no time in having 
this done, for which I have reasons that I will state 

* A miniature by Sanders. Besides this miniature, Sanders 
had also painted a full length of his Lordship, from which the 
portrait prefixed to this work is engraved. In reference to the 
latter picture, Lord Byron says, in a note to Mr. Rogers, " If 
you think the picture you saw at Murray's worth your accept- 
ance, it is yours ; and you may put a glove or mask on it, if 
you like." 

176 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

when I see you. Forgive all the trouble 1 have oc- 
casioned you. 

" I have received no account of the reception 
the Address, but see it is vituperated in the papers, 
which does not much embarrass an old author. I 
leave it to your own judgment to add it, or not, to 
your next edition when required. Pray comply 
strictly with my wishes as to the engraving, and 
believe me, &c. 

" P.S. Favour me with an answer, as I shall not 
be easy till I hear that the proofs, &c. are destroyed. 
I hear that the Satirist has reviewed Childe Harold, 
in what manner I need not ask ; but I wish to know 
if the old personalities are revived? I have a better 
reason for asking this than any that merely concerns 
myself; but in publications of that kind, others, par- 
ticularly female names, are sometimes introduced." 


" Cheltenham, Oct. 14. 1812. 
" My dear Lord, 

" I perceive that the papers, yea, even Perry's, 
are somewhat ruffled at the injudicious preference of 
the Committee. My friend Perry has, indeed, * et 
tu Brute' -d me rather scurvily, for which I will send 
him, for the M.C., the next epigram I scribble, as a 
token of my full forgiveness. 

" Do the Committee mean to enter into no ex- 
planation of their proceedings ? You must see there 
is a leaning towards a charge of partiality. You 
will, at least, acquit me of any great anxiety to push 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 177 

myself before so many elder and better anonymous, 
to whom the twenty guineas (which I take to be 
about two thousand pounds Bank currency) and the 
honour would have been equally welcome. ' Ho- 
nour,' I see, * hath no skill in paragraph-writing.' 

" I wish to know how it went off at the second 
reading, and whether any one has had the grace to 
give it a glance ot approbation. I have seen no 
paper but Perry's and two Sunday ones. Perry is 
severe, and the others silent. If, however, you and 
your Committee are not now dissatisfied with your 
own judgments, I shall not much embarrass myself 
about the brilliant remarks of the journals. My own 
opinion upon it is what it always was, perhaps pretty 
near that of the public. 

" Believe me, my dear Lord, &c. &c. 

" P.S. My best respects to Lady H., whose 
smiles will be very consolatory, even at this dis- 


" Cheltenham, Oct. 18. 1812. 

" Will you have the goodness to get this Parody 
of a peculiar kind* (for all the first lines are Busby $ 

* Among the Addresses sent in to the Drury Lane Com- 
mittee was one by Dr. Busby, entitled a Monologue, of which 
the Parody was enclosed in this letter. A short specimen of 
this trifle will be sufficient. The four first lines of the 
Joctor's Address are as follows : 

" When energising objects men pursue, 

What are the prodigies they cannot do ? 

178 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

entire) inserted in several of the papers (correctly 
and copied correctly ; my hand is difficult) parti- 
cularly the Morning Chronicle ? Tell Mr. Perry 
I forgive him all he has said, and may say against 
my address, but he will allow me to deal with the 
Doctor (audi alteram partem) and not betray 
me. I cannot think what has befallen Mr. Perry, 
for of yore we were very good friends ; but no 
matter, only get this inserted. 

" I have a poem on Waltzing for you, of which I 
make you a present; but it must be anonymous. 
It is in the old style of English Bards and Scotch 

P.S. With the next edition of Childe Harold 
you may print the first fifty or a hundred opening 
lines of the ' Curse of Minerva' down to the couplet 

" Mortal ('twas thus she spake), &c. 

Of course, the moment the Satire begins, there you 
will stop, and the opening is the best part." 

A magic Edifice you here survey, 
Shot from the ruins of the other day ! * 

Which verses are thus ridiculed, unnecessarily, in the 
Parody : 

" < When energising objects men pursue,' 
The Lord knows what is writ by Lord knows who, 
< A modest Monologue you here survey,* 
Hiss'd from the theatre the ' other day.' " 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 179 


" Oct. 19. 1812. 

" Many thanks, but I must pay the damage, and 
will thank you to tell me the amount for the engrav- 
ing. I think the ' Rejected Addresses' by far the 
best thing of the kind since the Rolliad, and wish 
you had published them. Tell the author ' I for- 
give him, were he twenty times over a satirist;' 
and think his imitations not at all inferior to the 
famous ones of Hawkins Browne. He must be a 
man of very lively wit, and less scurrilous than wits 
often are : altogether, I very much admire the per- 
formance, and wish it all success. The Satirist has 
taken a new tone, as you will see : we have now, I 
think, finished with Childe Harold's critics. I have 
in hand a Satire on Waltzing, which you must pub- 
lish anonymously : it is not long, not quite two 
hundred lines, but will make a very small boarded 
pamphlet. In a few days you shall have it. 

" P. S. The editor of the Satirist ought to be 
thanked for his revocation ; it is done handsomely, 
after five years' warfare." 


Oct. 23. 1812. 

" Thanks, as usual. You go on boldly ; but 
have a care of glutting the public, who have by this 
time had enough of Childe Harold. ' Waltzing' 
shall be prepared. It is rather above two hundred 

N 2 

180 NOTICES OF THE 1812. 

lines, with an introductory Letter to the Publisher. 
I think of publishing, with Childe Harold, the open- 
ing lines of the ' Curse of Minerva,' as far as the 
first speech of Pallas, because some of the readers 
like that part better than any I have ever written, 
and as it contains nothing to affect the subject of the 
subsequent portion, it will find a place as a Descrip- 
tive Fragment. 

" The plate is broken 9 between ourselves, it was 
unlike the picture ; and besides, upon the whole, 
the frontispiece of an author's visage is but a paltry 
exhibition. At all events, this would have been no 
recommendation to the book. I am sure Sanders 
would not have survived the engraving. By the by, 
the picture may remain with you or him (which you 
please), till my return. The one of two remaining 
copies is at your service till I can give you a better ; 
the other must be burned peremptorily. Again, do 
not forget that I have an account with you, and that 
this is included. I give you too much trouble to 
allow you to incur expense also. 

" You best know how far this ' Address Riot' will 
affect the future sale of Childe Harold. I like the 
volume of' Rejected Addresses' better and better. 
The other parody which Perry has received is mine 
also (I believe). It is Dr. Busby's speech versified. 
You are removing to Albemarle Street, I find, and I 
rejoice that we shall be nearer neighbours. I am 
going to Lord Oxford's, but letters here will be for- 
warded. When at leisure, all communications from 
you will be willingly received by the humblest of 
your scribes. Did Mr. Ward write the review of 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 181 

Horne Tooke's Life in the Quarterly ? it is excel- 


Cheltenham, November 22. 1812. 

" On my return here from Lord Oxford's, I 
found your obliging note, and will thank you to re- 
tain the letters, and any other subsequent ones to 
the same address, till I arrive in town to claim them, 
which will probably be in a few days. I have in 
charge a curious and very long MS. poem, written 
by Lord Brooke (the friend of Sir Philip Sidney), 
which I wish to submit to the inspection of Mr. 
Gifford, with the following queries: first, whether 
it has ever been published, and, secondly (if not), 
whether it is worth publication ? It is from Lord 
Oxford's library, and must have escaped or been 
overlooked amongst the MSS. of the Harleian Mis- 
cellany. The writing is Lord Brooke's, except a 
different hand towards the close. It is very long, 
and in the six-line stanza. It is not for me to hazard 
an opinion upon its merits ; but I would take the 
liberty, if not too troublesome, to submit it to Mr. 
Gifford's judgment, which, from his excellent edition 
of Massinger, I should conceive to be as decisive on 
the writings of that age as on those of our own. 

" Now for a less agreeable and important topic. 
How came Mr. Mac- Somebody, without consulting 
you or me, to prefix the Address to his volume* of 

* " The Genuine Rejected Addresses, presented to the 
Committee of Management for Drury Lane Theatre : preceded 

XT 1 
* O 


* Dejected Addresses ? ' Is not this somewhat lar- 
cenous ? I think the ceremony of leave might have 
been asked, though I have no objection to the thing 
itself; and leave the ' hundred and eleven' to tire 
themselves with base comparisons.' I should think 
the ingenuous public tolerably sick of the subject, 
and, except the Parodies, I. have not interfered, nor 
shall ; indeed I did not know that Dr. Busby had 
published his Apologetical Letter and Postscript, or 
I should have recalled them. But, I confess, I 
looked upon his conduct in a different light before 
its appearance. I see some mountebank has taken 
Alderman Birch's name to vituperate Dr. Busby ; 
he had much better have pilfered his pastry, which 
I should imagine the more valuable ingredient at 
least for a puff. Pray secure me a copy of Wood- 
fall's new Junius, and believe me," &c. 


" December 26. 

" The multitude of your recommendations has 
already superseded my humble endeavours to be 
of use to you ; and, indeed, most of my principal 
friends are returned. Leake from Joannina, Canning 
and Adair from the city of the Faithful, and at 
Smyrna no letter is necessary, as the consuls are 
always willing to do every thing for personages of 
respectability. I have sent you three, one to Gib- 

by that written by Lord Byron and adopted by the Com- 
mittee: " published by B. M'Millan. 

1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 183 

raltar, which, though of no great necessity, will, 
perhaps, put you on a more intimate footing with a 
very pleasant family there. You will very soon find 
out that a man of any consequence has very little 
occasion for any letters but to ministers and bankers, 
and of them we have already plenty, I will be sworn. 
" It is by no means improbable that I shall go in 
the spring, and if you will fix any place of rendez- 
vous about August, I will write or join you. When 
in Albania, I wish you would enquire after Dervise 
Tahiri and Vascillie (or Bazil), and make my respects 
to the viziers, both there and in the Morea. If you 
mention my name to Suleyman of Thebes, I think it 
will not hurt you ; if I had my dragoman, or wrote 
Turkish, I could have given you letters of real ser- 
vice ; but to the English they are hardly requisite, 
and the Greeks themselves can be of little ad- 
vantage. Listen you know already, and I do not, 
as he was not then minister. Mind you visit Ephe- 
sus and the Troad, and let me hear from you when 
you please. I believe G. Forresti is now at Yanina, 
but if not, whoever is there will be too happy to 
assist you. Be particular about Jirmauns ; never 
allow yourself to be bullied, for you are better pro- 
tected in Turkey than any where; trust not the 
Greeks ; and take some knicknackeries for presents 
watches, pistols, &c. &c. to the Beys and Pachas. 
If you find one Demetrius, at Athens or elsewhere, 
I can recommend him as a good dragoman. I hope 
to join you, however ; but you will find swarms of 
English now in the Levant. 

Believe me," &c. 

184- NOTICES OF THE 1813. 


" February 20. 1813. 

" In * Horace in London' I perceive some 
stanzas on Lord Elgin in which (waving the kind 
compliment to myself*) I heartily concur. I wish 
I had the pleasure of Mr. Smith's acquaintance, as 
I could communicate the curious anecdote you 
read in Mr. T.'s letter. If he would like it, he can 
have the substance for his second edition ; if not, I 
shall add it to our next, though I think we already 
have enough of Lord Elgin. 

" What I have read of this work seems admirably 
done. My praise, however, is not much worth the 
author's having ; but you may thank him in my name 
for his. The idea is new we have excellent imita- 
tions of the Satires, &c. by Pope ; but I remember 
but one imitative Ode in his works, and none any 
where else. I can hardly suppose that they have 
lost any fame by the fate of the farce ; but even 
should this be the case, the present publication will 
again place them on their pinnacle. 

" Yours," &c. 

* In the Ode entitled " The Parthenon," Minerva thus 
speaks : 

" All who behold my mutilated pile 

Shall brand its ravager with classic rage ; 
And soon a titled bard from Britain's isle 
Thy country's praise and suffrage shall engage, 
And fire with Athens' wrongs an angry age ! " 


1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 185 

It has already been stated that the pecuniary sup- 
plies, which he found it necessary to raise on arriv- 
ing at majority, were procured for him on ruinously 
usurious terms. * To some transactions connected 
with this subject, the following characteristic letter 


March 25. 1813. 

" I enclose you a draft for the usurious interest 
due to Lord * * 's protegt ; I also could wish you 
would state thus much for me to his Lordship. 
Though the transaction speaks plainly in itself for 
the borrower's folly and the lender's usury, it never 
was my intention to quash the demand, as I legally 
might, nor to withhold payment of principal, or, 
perhaps, even unlawful interest. You know what 
my situation has been, and what it is. I have parted 
with an estate (which has been in my family for 
nearly three hundred years, and was never disgraced 
by being in possession of a lawyer, a churchman, or 
a woman, during that period,) to liquidate this and 

* " Tis said that persons living on annuities 

Are longer lived than others, God knows why, 
Unless to plague the grantors, yet so true it is, 

That some, I really think, do never die. 
Of any creditors, the worst a Jew it is ; 

And that 's their mode of furnishing supply : 
In my young days they lent me cash that way, 
Which I found very troublesome to pay." 

DON JUAN, Canto II. 



similar demands ; and the payment of the purchase 
is still withheld, and*may be, perhaps, for years. 
If, therefore, I am under the necessity of making 
those persons wait for their money, (which,consider- 
ing the terms, they can afford to suffer,) it is my 

" When I arrived at majority in 1809, I offered my 
own security on legal interest, and it was refused. 
Now> I will not accede to this. This man I may 
have seen, but I have no recollection of the names 
of any parties but the agents and the securities. The 
moment I can it is assuredly my intention to pay 
my debts. This person's case may be a hard one ; 
but, under all circumstances, what is mine ? I could 
not foresee that the purchaser of my estate was to 
demur in paying for it. 

" I am glad it happens to be in my power so far 
to accommodate my Israelite, and only wish I could 
do as much for the rest of the Twelve Tribes. 

" Ever yours, dear R., BN." 

At the beginning of this year, Mr. Murray having 
it in contemplation to publish an edition of the two 
Cantos of Childe Harold with engravings, the noble 
author entered with much zeal into his plan ; and, in 
a note on the subject to Mr. Murray, says, 
" Westall has, I believe, agreed to illustrate your 
book, and I fancy one of the engravings will be from 
the pretty little girl you saw the other day *, though 

* Lady Charlotte Harley, to whom, under the name of 
lanthe, the introductory lines to Childe Harold were after- 
wards addressed. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 187 

without her name, and merely as a model for some 
sketch connected with the subject. I would also 
have the portrait (which you saw to-day) of the 
friend who is mentioned in the text at the close of 
Canto 1st, and in the notes, which are subjects 
sufficient to authorise ihat addition." 

Early in the spring he brought out, anonymously, 
his poem on Waltzing, which, though full of very 
lively satire, fell so far short of what was now ex- 
pected from him by the public, that the disavowal of 
it, which, as we see by the following letter,he thought 
right to put forth, found ready credence: 


" April 21. 1813. 

" I shall be in town by Sunday next, and will 
call and have some conversation on the subject of 
Westall's designs. I am to sit to him for a picture 
at the request of a friend of mine, and as Sanders's 
is not a good one, you will probably prefer the 
other. I wish you to have Sanders's taken down 
and sent to my lodgings immediately before my 
arrival. I hear that a certain malicious publication 
on Waltzing is attributed to me. This report, I 
suppose, you will take care to contradict, as the 
author, I am sure, will not like that I should wear 
his cap and bells. Mr. Hobhouse's quarto will be 
out immediately ; pray send to the author for an 
early copy, which I wish to take abroad with me. 

" P. S. I see the Examiner threatens some ob- 
servations upon you next week. What can you have 

188 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

done to share the wrath which has heretofore been 
principally expended upon the Prince ? I presume 
all your Scribleri will be drawn up in battle array 
in defence of the modern Tonson Mr. Bucke, for 

" Send in my account to Bennet Street, as I wish 
to settle it before sailing." 

In the month of May appeared his wild and beau- 
tiful "Fragment," The Giaour; and though, in 
its first flight from his hands, some of the fairest 
feathers of its wing were yet wanting, the public 
hailed this new offspring of his genius with wonder 
and delight. The idea of writing a poem in fragments 
had been suggested to him by the Columbus of Mr. 
Rogers ; and, whatever objections may lie against 
such a plan in general, it must be allowed to have 
been well suited to the impatient temperament of 
Byron, as enabling him to overleap those mechanical 
difficulties, which, in a regular narrative, embarrass, 
if not chill, the poet, leaving it to the imagination 
of his readers to fill up the intervals between those 
abrupt bursts of passion in which his chief power 
lay. The story, too, of the poem possessed that 
stimulating charm for him, almost indispensable to 
his fancy, of being in some degree connected with 
himself, an event in which he had been personally 
concerned, while on his travels, having supplied the 
groundwork on which the fiction was founded. After 
the appearance of The Giaour, some incorrect state- 
ment of this romantic incident having got into cir- 
culation, the noble author requested of his friend, 


the Marquis of Sligo, who had visited Athens soon 
after it happened, to furnish him with his recol- 
lections on the subject ; and the following is the 
answer which Lord Sligo returned: 

" Albany, Monday, August 31. 1813. 
" My dear Byron, 

" You have requested me to tell you all that I 
heard at Athens about the affair of that girl who was 
so near being put an end to while you were there ; 
you have asked me to mention every circumstance, 
in the remotest degree relating to it, which I heard. 
In compliance with your wishes, I write to you all I 
heard, and I cannot imagine it to be very far from 
the fact, as the circumstance happened only a day 
or two before I arrived at Athens, and, consequently, 
was a matter of common conversation at the time. 

" The new governor, unaccustomed to have the 
same intercourse with the Christians as his pre- 
decessor, had of course the barbarous Turkish ideas 
with regard to women. In consequence, and in 
compliance with the strict letter of the Mahom- 
medan law, he ordered this girl to be sewed up in a 
sack, and thrown into the sea, as is, indeed, quite 
customary at Constantinople. As you were return- 
ing from bathing in the Piraeus, you met the pro- 
cession going down to execute the sentence of the 
Waywode on this unfortunate girl. Report continues 
to say, that on finding out what the object of their 
journey was, and who was the miserable sufferer, you 
immediately interfered ; and on some delay in obey- 
ing your orders, you were obliged to inform the 

190 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

leader of the escort, that force should make him 
comply ; that, on farther hesitation, you drew a 
pistol, and told him, that if he did not immediately 
obey your orders, and come back with you to the 
Aga's house, you would shoot him dead. On this, 
the man turned about and went with you to the 
governor's house; here you succeeded, partly by 
personal threats, and partly by bribery and entreaty, 
to procure her pardon on condition of her leaving 
Athens. I was told that you then conveyed her in 
safety to the convent, and despatched her off at 
night to Thebes, where she found a safe asylum. 
Such is the story I heard, as nearly as I can recollect 
it at present. Should you wish to ask me any further 
questions about it, I shall be very ready and willing 
to answer them. I remain, my dear Byron, 

" Yours, very sincerely, 


" I am afraid you will hardly be able to read this 
scrawl ; but I am so hurried. with the preparations 
for my journey, that you must excuse it." 

Of the prodigal flow of his fancy, when its sources 
were once opened on any subject, The Giaour 
affords one of the most remarkable instances, this 
poem having accumulated under his hand, both in 
printing and through successive editions, till from 
four hundred lines, of which it consisted in his first 
copy, it at present amounts to nearly fourteen 
hundred. The plan, indeed, which he had adopted, 
of a series of fragments, a set of " orient pearls 
at random strung," left him free to introduce, 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 191 

without reference to more than the general com- 
plexion of his story, whatever sentiments or images 
his fancy, in its excursions, could collect ; and how 
little fettered he was by any regard to connection in 
these additions, appears from a note which ac- 
companied his own copy of the paragraph com- 
mencing " Fair clime, where every season smiles," 
in which he says, " I have not yet fixed the place 
of insertion for the following lines, but will, when I 
see you as I have no copy." 

Even into this new passage, rich as it was at first, 
his fancy afterwards poured a fresh infusion, the 
whole of its most picturesque portion, from the line 
" For there, the Rose o'er crag or vale," down to 
" And turn to groans his roundelay," having been 
suggested to him during revision. In order to show, 
however, that though so rapid in the first heat of 
composition, he formed no exception to that law 
which imposes labour as the price of perfection, I 
shall here extract a few verses from his original 
draft of this paragraph, by comparing which with 
the form they wear at present * we may learn to 

* The following are the lines in their present shape, and it 
will be seen that there is not a single alteration in which the 
music of the verse has not been improved as well as the 
thought : 

" Fair clime ! where every season smiles 
Benignant o'er those blessed isles, 
Which, seen from far Colonna's height, 
Make glad the heart that hails the sight, 
And lend to loneliness delight. 


192 NOTICES OF THE 1813 

appreciate the value of these after-touches of the 

" Fair clime ! where ceaseless summer smiles 
Benignant o'er those blessed isles, 
Which, seen from far Colonna's height, 
Make glad the heart that hails the sight, 
And give to loneliness delight. 
There shine the bright abodes ye seek. 
Like dimples upon Ocean s cheek, 
So smiling round the waters lave 
These Edens of the eastern wave. 
Or if, at times, the transient breeze 
Break the smooth crystal of the seas, 
Or brush one blossom from the trees, 
How grateful is the gentle air 
That wakes and wafts the fragrance there." 

Among the other passages added to this edition 
(which was either the third or fourth, and between 
which and the first there intervened but about six 
weeks) was that most beautiful and melancholy il- 
lustration of the lifeless aspect of Greece, beginning 
" He who hath bent him o'er the dead,'' of which 
the most gifted critic of our day * has justly pro- 
There, mildly dimpling, Ocean's cheek 
Reflects the tints of many a peak 
Caught by the laughing tides that lave 
These Edens of the eastern wave : 
And if at times a transient breeze 
Break the blue crystal of the seas, 
Or sweep one blossom from the trees, 
How welcome is each gentle air 
That wakes and wafts the odours there ! " 
* Mr. Jeffrey. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 193 

nounced, that " it contains an image more true, more 
mournful, and more exquisitely finished, than any 
we can recollect in the whole compass of poetry."* 
To the same edition also were added, among other 
accessions of wealth -j-, those lines, " The cygnet 
proudly walks the water," and the impassioned verses, 
" My memory now is but the tomb." 

On my rejoining him in town this spring, I found 
the enthusiasm about his writings and himself, which 
I left so prevalent, both in the world of literature 
and in society, grown, if any thing, still more general 
and intense. In the immediate circle, perhaps, 
around him, familiarity of intercourse might have 
begun to produce its usual disenchanting effects. 
His own liveliness and unreserve, on a more intimate 
acquaintance, would not be long in dispelling that 
charm of poetic sadness, which to the eyes of dis- 
tant observers hang about him ; while the romantic 
notions, connected by some of his fair readers with 
those past and nameless loves alluded to in his poems, 
ran some risk of abatement from too near an ac- 

* In Dallaway's Constantinople, a book which Lord Byron 
is not unlikely to have consulted, I find a passage quoted from 
Gillies' s History of Greece, which contains, perhaps, the first 
seed of the thought thus expanded into full perfection by 
genius : " The present state of Greece compared to the 
ancient is the silent obscurity of the grave contrasted with the 
vivid lustre of active life." 

f Among the recorded instances of such happy after- 
thoughts in poetry may be mentioned, as one of the most 
memorable, Denham's four lines, " Oh could I flow like thee," 
&c., which were added in the second edition of his poem. 


194? NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

quaintance with the supposed objects of his fancy 
and fondness at present. A poet's mistress should 
remain, if possible, as imaginary a being to others, 
as, in most of the attributes he clothes her with, 
she has been to himself; the reality, however fair, 
being always sure to fall short of the picture which 
a too lavish fancy has drawn of it. Could we call up 
in array before us all the beauties whom the love of 
poets has immortalised, from the high-born dame to 
the plebeian damsel, from the Lauras and Sacha- 
rissas down to the Cloes and Jeannies, we should, 
it is to be feared, sadly unpeople our imaginations of 
many a bright tenant that poesy has lodged there, 
and find, in more than one instance, our admiration 
of the faith and fancy of the worshipper increased 
by our discovery of the worthlessness of the idol. 

But, whatever of its first romantic impression the 
personal character of the poet may, from such causes, 
have lost in the circle he most frequented, this dis- 
appointment of the imagination was far more than 
compensated by the frank, social, and engaging qua- 
lities, both of disposition and manner, which, on a 
nearer intercourse, he disclosed, as well as by that 
entire absence of any literary assumption or pe- 
dantry, which entitled him fully to the praise be- 
stowed by Sprat upon Cowley, that few could " ever 
discover he was a great poet by his discourse." 
While thus, by his intimates, and those who had 
got, as it were, behind the scenes of his fame, he 
was seen in his true colours, as well of weakness as 
of amiableness, on strangers and such as were out 
of this immediate circle, the spell of his poetical 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 195 

character still continued to operate ; and the fierce 
gloom and sternness of his imaginary personages 
were, by the greater number of them, supposed to 
belong, not only as regarded mind, but manners, to 
himself. So prevalent and persevering has been 
this notion, that, in some disquisitions on his cha- 
racter published since his death, and containing 
otherwise many just and striking views, we find, in 
the professed portrait drawn of him, such features 
as the following : " Lord Byron had a stern, 
direct, severe mind : a sarcastic, disdainful, gloomy 
temper. He had no light sympathy with heartless 
cheerfulness ; upon the surface was sourness, 
discontent, displeasure, ill will. Beneath all this 
weight of clouds and darkness *," &c. &c. 

Of the sort of double aspect which he thus pre- 
sented, as viewed by the world and by his friends, 
he was himself fully aware ; and it not only amused 
him, but, as a proof of the versatility of his powers, 
flattered his pride. He was, indeed, as I have 
already remarked, by no means insensible or inat- 
tentive to the effect he produced personally on 
society; and though the brilliant station he had 
attained, since the commencement of my acquaint- 
ance with him, made not the slightest alteration in 
the unaffectedness of his private intercourse, I could 
perceive, I thought, with reference to the external 
world, some slight changes in his conduct, which 
seemed indicative of the effects of his celebrity upon 

* Letters on the Character and Poetical Genius of Lord 
Byron, by Sir Egerton Brydges, Bart. 

o 2 

196 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

him. Among other circumstances, I observed that, 
whether from shyness of the general gaze, or from 
a notion, like Livy's, that men of eminence should 
not too much familiarise the public to their persons *, 
he avoided showing himself in the mornings, and in 
crowded places, much more than was his custom 
when we first became acquainted. The preceding 
year, before his name had grown " so rife and cele- 
brated," we had gone together to the exhibition at 
Somerset House, and other such places f ; and the 
true reason, no doubt, of his present reserve, in 
abstaining from all such miscellaneous haunts, was 
the sensitiveness, so often referred to, on the subject 
of his lameness, -a feeling which the curiosity of 
the public eye, now attracted to this infirmity by his 
fame, could not fail, he knew, to put rather painfully 
to the proof. 

Among the many gay hours we passed together 
this spring, I remember particularly the wild flow of 
his spirits one evening, when we had accompanied 
Mr. Rogers home from some early assembly, and 
when Lord Byron, who, according to his frequent 
custom, had not dined for the last two days, found 

* " Continuus aspectus minus verendos magnos homines 

f The only peculiarity that struck me on those occasions 
was the uneasy restlessness which he seemed to feel in wearing 
a hat, an article of dress which, from his constant use of a 
carriage while in England, he was almost wholly unaccustomed 
to, and which, after that year, I do not remember to have ever 
seen upon him again, Abroad, he always wore a kind of 
foraging cap. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 197 

his hunger no longer governable, and called aloud 
for " something to eat." Our repast, of his own 
choosing, was simple bread and cheese; and seldom 
have I partaken of so joyous a supper. It happened 
that our host had just received a presentation copy 
of a volume of poems, written professedly in imita- 
tion of the old English writers, and containing, like 
many of these models, a good deal that was striking 
and beautiful, mixed up with much that was trifling, 
fantastic, and absurd. In our mood, at the moment, 
it was only with these latter qualities that either 
Lord Byron or I felt disposed to indulge ourselves ; 
and, in turning over the pages, we found, it must be 
owned, abundant matter for mirth. In vain did Mr. 
Rogers, in justice to the author, endeavour to direct 
our attention to some of the beauties of the work : 
it suited better our purpose (as is too often the 
case with more deliberate critics) to pounce only on 
such passages as ministered to the laughing humour 
that possessed us. In this sort of hunt through the 
volume, we at length lighted on the discovery that 
our host, in addition to his sincere approbation of 
some of its contents, had also the motive of gratitude 
for standing by its author, as one of the poems was 
a warm and, I need not add, well-deserved panegyric 
on himself. We were, however, too far gone in 
nonsense for even this eulogy, in which we both so 
heartily agreed, to stop us. The opening line of the 
poem was, as well as I can recollect, " When Rogers 
o'er this labour bent;" and Lord Byron undertook 
to read it aloud; but he found it impossible to get 
beyond the first two words. Our laughter had now 
o 3 

198 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

increased to such a pitch that nothing could restrain 
it. Two or three times he began ; but no sooner 
had the words " When Rogers" passed his lips, than 
our fit burst forth afresh, till even Mr. Rogers 
himself, with all his feeling of our injustice, found it 
impossible not to join us ; and we were, at last, all 
three, in such a state of inextinguishable laughter, 
that, had the author himself been of the party, I 
question much whether he could have resisted the 

A day or two after, Lord Byron sent me the 

" My dear Moore, 

" ( When Rogers ' must not see the enclosed, 
which I send for your perusal. I am ready to fix 
any day you like for our visit. Was not Sheridan 
good upon the whole ? The ' Poulterer ' was the 
first and best.* 

" Ever yours," &c. 

* He here alludes to a dinner at Mr. Rogers's, of which I 
have elsewhere given the following account : 

" The company consisted but of Mr. Rogers himself, Lord 
Byron, Mr. Sheridan, and the writer of this Memoir. Sheridan 
knew the admiration his audience felt for him ; the presence of 
the young poet, in particular, seemed to bring back his own 
youth and wit ; and the details he gave of his early life were 
not less interesting and animating to himself than delightful to 
us. It was in the course of this evening that, describing to us 
the poem which Mr. Whitbread had written, and sent in, 
among the other addresses for the opening of Drury Lane 
theatre, and which, like the rest, turned chiefly on allusions to 
the Phoenix, he said ' But Whitbread made more of this 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 199 


When T * * this damn'd nonsense sent, 
(I hope I am not violent), 
Nor men nor gods knew what he meant. 


" And since not ev'n our Rogers' praise 
To common sense his thoughts could raise 
Why would they let him print his lays ? 




" To me, divine Apollo, grant O ! 
Hermilda's first and second canto, 
I'm fitting up a new portmanteau ; 


" And thus to furnish decent lining, 
My own and others' bays I'm twining- 
So gentle T * *, throw me thine in." 

On the same day I received from him the follow- 
ing additional scraps. The lines in italics are from 
the eulogy that provoked his waggish comments. 

bird than any of them : he entered into particulars, and 
described its wings, beak, tail, &c. ; in short, it was a 
poulterers description of a Phoenix." Life of Sheridan. 
o 4- 

200 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 


" * / lay my branch of laurel down.' 

" Thou ' lay thy branch of laurel down ! * 

Why, what thou'st stole is not enow ; 
And, were it lawfully thine own, 

Does Rogers want it most, or thou ? 
Keep to thyself thy wither'd bough, 

Or send it back to Dr. Donne 
Were justice done to both, I trow, 

He'd have but little, and thou none. 

" * Then thus to form Apollo's crown. 

" A crown ! why, twist it how you will, 
Thy chaplet must be foolscap still. 
When next you visit Delphi's town, 

Enquire amongst your fellow-lodgers, 
They '11 tell you Phoebus gave his crown, 

Some years before your birth, to Rogers. 

" * Let every other bring his own. 1 

'* When coals to Newcastle are carried, 

And owls sent to Athens as wonders, 
From his spouse when the * * 's unmarried, 

Or Liverpool weeps o'er his blunders ; 
When Tories and Whigs cease to quarrel, 

When C * * 's wife has an heir, 
Then Rogers shall ask us for laurel, 

And thou shalt have plenty to spare." 

The mention which he makes of Sheridan in the 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 201 

note just cited affords a fit opportunity of producing, 
from one of his Journals, some particulars which he 
has noted down respecting this extraordinary man, 
for whose talents he entertained the most unbounded 
admiration, rating him, in natural powers, far 
above all his great political contemporaries. 

" In society I have met Sheridan frequently : he 
was superb ! He had a sort of liking for me, and 
never attacked me, at least to my face, and he did 
every body else high names, and wits, and orators, 
some of them poets also. I have seen him cut up 
Whitbread, quiz Madame de Stael, annihilate Col- 
man, and do little less by some others (whose 
names, as friends, I set not down) of good fame and 

" The last time I met him was, I think, at Sir 
Gilbert Heathcote's, where he was as quick as ever 
no, it was not the last time ; the last time was at 
Douglas Kinnaird's. 

" I have met him in all places and parties, at 
Whitehall with the Melbournes, at the Marquis of 
Tavistock's, at Robins's the auctioneer's, at Sir 
Humphrey Davy's, at Sam Rogers's, in short, in 
most kinds of company, and always found him very 
convivial and delightful. 

" I have seen Sheridan weep two or three times. 
It may be that he was maudlin ; but this only renders 
it more impressive, for who would see 

" From Marlboro ugh's eyes the tears of dotage flow, 
And Swift expire a driveller and a show ? 

Once I saw him cry at Robins's the auctioneer's, 

202 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

after a splendid dinner, full of great names and high 
spirits. I had the honour of sitting next to Sheridan. 
The occasion of his tears was some observation or 
other upon the subject of the sturdiness of the 
Whigs in resisting office and keeping to their prin- 
ciples : Sheridan turned round : ' Sir, it is easy for 
my Lord G. or Earl G. or Marquis B. or Lord H. 
with thousands upon thousands a year, some of it 
either presently derived, or inherited in sinecure or 
acquisitions from the public money, to boast of their 
patriotism and keep aloof from temptation; but 
they do not know from what temptation those have 
kept aloof who had equal pride, at least equal 
talents, and not unequal passions, and nevertheless 
knew not in the course of their lives what it was to 
have a shilling of their own.' And in saying this he 

" I have more than once heard him say, * that he 
never had a shilling of his own.' To be sure, he 
contrived to extract a good many of other people's. 

"In 1815, I had occasion to visit my lawyer in 
Chancery Lane, he was with Sheridan. After 
mutual greetings, &c., Sheridan retired first. Be- 
fore recurring to my own business, I could not help 
enquiring that of Sheridan. 'Oh,' replied the at- 
torney, ' the usual thing ! to stave off an action from 
his wine-merchant, my client.' ' Well,' said I, 
* and what do you mean to do?' ' Nothing at all 
for the present,' said he : ' would you have us pro- 
ceed against old Sherry ? what would be the use of 
it?' and here he began laughing, and going over 
Sheridan's good gifts of conversation. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 203 

" Now, from personal experience, I can vouch 
that my attorney is by no means the tenderest of 
men, or particularly accessible to any kind of im- 
pression out of the statute or record ; and yet Sheri- 
dan, in half an hour, had found the way to soften 
and seduce him in such a manner, that I almost 
think he would have thrown his client (an honest 
man, with all the laws, and some justice, on his side) 
out of the window, had he come in at the moment. 

" Such was Sheridan ! he could soften an at- 
torney ! There has been nothing like it since the 
days of Orpheus. 

" One day I saw him take up his own ' Monody 
on Garrick.' He lighted upon the Dedication to 
the Dowager Lady * *. On seeing it, he flew into 
a rage, and exclaimed, < that it must be a forgery, 
that he had never dedicated any thing of his to such 
a d d canting,' &c. &c. &c. and so went on for 
half an hour abusing his own dedication, or at least 
the object of it. If all writers were equally sincere, 
it would be ludicrous. 

" He told me that, on the night of the grand 
success of his School for Scandal, he was knocked 
down and put into the watch-house for making a 
row in the street, and being found intoxicated by 
the watchmen. 

" When dying, he was requested to undergo ' an 
operation.' He replied, that he had already sub- 
mitted to two, which were enough for one man's 
lifetime. Being asked what they were, he answered, 
* having his hair cut, and sitting for his picture.' 

" I have met George Colman occasionally, and 

204 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

thought him extremely pleasant and convivial. She- 
ridan's humour, or rather wit, was always saturnine, 
and sometimes savage ; he never laughed, (at least 
that / saw, and I watched him,) but Colman did. If 
I had to choose, and could not have both at a time, 
I should say, ' Let me begin the evening with 
Sheridan, and finish it with Colman.' Sheridan 
for dinner, Colman for supper ; Sheridan for claret 
or port, but Colman for every thing, from the 
madeira and champagne at dinner, the claret with a 
layer of port between the glasses, up to the punch 
of the night, and down to the grog, or gin and water, 
of daybreak; all these I have threaded with both 
the same. Sheridan was a grenadier company of 
life-guards, but Colman a whole regiment of light 
infantry, to be sure, but still a regiment," 

It was at this time that Lord Byron became ac- 
quainted (and, I regret to have to add, partly 
through my means) with Mr. Leigh Hunt, the 
editor of a well-known weekly journal, the Ex- 
aminer. This gentleman I had myself formed an 
acquaintance with in the year 1811, and, in common 
with a large portion of the public, entertained a 
sincere admiration of his talents and courage as a 
journalist. The interest I took in him personally 
had been recently much increased by the manly 
spirit, which he had displayed throughout a pro- 
secution instituted against himself and his brother, 
for a libel that had appeared in their paper on the 
Prince Regent, and in consequence of which they 
were both sentenced to imprisonment for two years. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 205 

It will be recollected that there existed among the 
Whig party, at this period, a strong feeling of in- 
dignation at the late defection from themselves and 
their principles of the illustrious personage who 
had been so long looked up to as the friend and 
patron of both. Being myself, at the time, warmly 
perhaps intemperately under the influence of 
this feeling, I regarded the fate of Mr. Hunt with 
more than common interest, and, immediately on 
my arrival in town, paid him a visit in his prison. 
On mentioning the circumstance, soon after, to 
Lord Byron, and describing my surprise at the sort 
of luxurious comforts with which I had found the 
" wit in the dungeon" surrounded, his trellised 
flower-garden without, and his books, busts, pic- 
tures, and piano-forte within, the noble poet, 
whose political view of the case coincided entirely 
with my own, expressed a strong wish to pay a 
similar tribute of respect to Mr. Hunt, and accord- 
ingly, a day or two after, we proceeded for that 
purpose to the prison. The introduction which 
then took place was soon followed by a request 
from Mr. Hunt that we would dine with him ; and 
the noble poet having good-naturedly accepted the 
invitation, Horsemonger Lane gaol had, in the month 
of June, 1813, the honour of receiving Lord Byron, 
as a guest, within its walls. 

On the morning of our first visit to the journalist, 
I received from Lord Byron the following lines 
written, it will be perceived, the night before : 




" May 19. 1813. 

" Oh you, who in all names can tickle the town, 
Anacreon, Tom Little, Tom Moore, or Tom Brown, 
For hang me if I know of which you may most brag, 
Your Quarto two-pounds, or your Twopenny Post Bag ; 

* * * * 

But now to my letter to yours 'tis an answer 
To-morrow be with me, as soon as you can, sir, 
All ready and dress'd for proceeding to spunge on 
(According to compact) the wit in the dungeon 
Pray Phoebus at length our political malice 
May not get us lodgings within the same palace ! 
I suppose that to-night you 're engaged with some codgers, 
And for Sotheby's Blues have deserted Sam Rogers ; 
And I, though with cold I have nearly my death got, 
Must put on my breeches, and wait on the Heathcote. 
But to-morrow at four, we will both play the Scurra, 
And you'll be Catullus, the R t Mamurra." 

" Dear M. having got thus far, I am inter- 
rupted by * * * *. 10 o'clock. 

" Half-past 11. * * * * is gone. I must dress 
for Lady Heathcote's. Addio." 

Our day in the prison was, if not agreeable, at 
least novel and odd. I had, for Lord Byron's sake, 
stipulated with our host beforehand, that the party 
should be, as much as possible, confined to our- 
selves ; and, as far as regarded dinner, my wishes 
had been attended to ; there being present, be- 
sides a member or two of Mr. Hunt's own family, 
no other stranger, that I can recollect, but Mr. 
Mitchell, the ingenious translator of Aristophanes. 
Soon after dinner, however, there dropped in some 
of our host's literary friends, who, being utter 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 207 

strangers to Lord Byron and myself, rather dis- 
turbed the ease into which we were all settling. 
Among these, I remember, was Mr. John Scott, 
the writer, afterwards, of some severe attacks on 
Lord Byron ; and it is painful to think that, among 
the persons then assembled round the poet, there 
should have been one so soon to step forth the as- 
sailant of his living fame, while another, less man- 
ful, was to reserve the cool venom for his grave. 

On the 2d of June, in presenting a petition to 
the House of Lords, he made his third and last ap- 
pearance as an orator, in that assembly. In his 
way home from the House that day, he called, I 
remember, at my lodgings, and found me dressing 
in a very great hurry for dinner. He was, I recol- 
lect, in a state of most humorous exaltation after 
his display, and, while I hastily went on with my 
task in the dressing-room, continued to walk up 
and down the adjoining chamber, spouting forth for 
me, in a sort of mock heroic voice, detached sen- 
tences of the speech he had just been delivering. 
" I told them," he said, " that it was a most flagrant 
violation of the Constitution that, if such things 
were permitted, there was an end of English free- 
dom, and that " " But what was this dreadful 

grievance ? " I asked, interrupting him in his elo- 
quence. " The grievance ? " he repeated, pausing 
as if to consider " Oh, that I forget." * It is 
impossible, of course, to convey an idea of the dra- 
matic humour with which he gave effect to these 

His speech was on presenting a petition from Major 



words ; but his look and manner on such occasions 
were irresistibly comic ; and it was, indeed, rather 
in such turns of fun and oddity, than in any more 
elaborate exhibition of wit, that the pleasantry of 
his conversation consisted. 

Though it is evident that, after the brilliant suc- 
cess of Childe Harold, he had ceased to think of 
Parliament as an arena of ambition, yet, as a field 
for observation, we may take for granted it was 
not unstudied by him. To a mind of such quick 
and various views, every place and pursuit pre- 
sented some aspect of interest ; and whether in the 
ball-room, the boxing-school, or the senate, all 
must have been, by genius like his, turned to profit. 
The following are a few of the recollections and 
impressions which I find recorded by himself of his 
short parliamentary career : 

" I have never heard any one who fulfilled my 
ideal of an orator. Grattan would have been near 
it, but for his harlequin delivery. Pitt I never 
heard. Fox but once, and then he struck me as a 
debater, which to me seems as different from an 
orator as an improvisatore, or a versifier, from 
a poet. Grey is great, but it is not oratory. 
Canning is sometimes very like one. Windham 
I did not admire, though all the world did ; it 
seemed sad sophistry. Whitbread was the Demos- 
thenes of bad taste and vulgar vehemence, but 
strong, and English. Holland is impressive from 
sense and sincerity. Lord Lansdowne good, but 
still a debater only. Grenville I like vastly, if he 
would prune his speeches down to an hour's de- 


livery. Burdett is sweet and silvery as Belial 
himself, and I think the greatest favourite in Pan- 
demonium; at least I always heard the country 
gentlemen and the ministerial devilry praise his 
speeches up stairs, and run down from Bellamy's 
when he was upon his legs. I heard Bob Milnes 
make his second speech ; it made no impression. I 
like Ward studied, but keen, and sometimes elo- 
quent. Peel, my school and form fellow (we sat 
within two of each other), strange to say, I have 
never heard, though I often wished to do so ; but 
from what I remember of him at Harrow, he is, or 
should be, among the best of them. Now I do not 
admire Mr. Wilberforce's speaking ; it is nothing 
but a flow of words ' words, words, alone.' 

" I doubt greatly if the English have any elo- 
quence, properly so called; and am inclined to 
think that the Irish had a great deal, and that the 
French will have, and have had in Mirabeau. Lord 
Chatham and Burke are the nearest approaches to 
orators in England. I don't know what Erskine 
may have been at the bar, but in the House I wish 
him at the bar once more. Lauderdale is shrill, 
and Scotch, and acute. 

" But amongst all these, good, bad, and indif- 
ferent, I never heard the speech which was not too 
long for the auditors, and not very intelligible, ex- 
cept here and there. The whole thing is a grand 
deception, and as tedious and tiresome as may be 
to those who must be often present. I heard 
Sheridan only once, and that briefly, but I liked 
his voice, his manner, and his wit : and he is the 


210 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

only one of them I ever wished to hear at greater 

" The impression of Parliament upon me was, 
that its members are not formidable as speakers, 
but very much so as an audience; because in so 
numerous a body there may be little eloquence, 
(after all, there were but two thorough orators in 
all antiquity, and I suspect still fewer in modern 
times,) but there must be a leaven of thought and 
good sense sufficient to make them know what is 
right, though they can't express it nobly. 

" Home Tooke and Roscoe both are said to have 
declared that they left Parliament with a higher 
opinion of its aggregate integrity and abilities than 
that with which they entered it. The general 
amount of both in most Parliaments is probably 
about the same, as also the number of speakers and 
their talent. I except orators, of course, because 
they are things of ages, and not of septennial or 
triennial re-unions. Neither House ever struck me 
with more awe or respect than the same number of 
Turks in a divan, or of Methodists in a barn, would 
have done. Whatever diffidence or nervousness I 
felt (and I felt both, in a great degree) arose from 
the number rather than the quality of the assem- 
blage, and the thought rather of the public without 
than the persons within, knowing (as all know) 
that Cicero himself, and probably the Messiah, 
could never have altered the vote of a single lord 
of the bedchamber, or bishop. I thought our House 
dull, but the other animating enough upon great 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 211 

" I have heard that when Grattan made his first 
speech in the English Commons, it was for some 
minutes doubtful whether to laugh at or cheer him. 
The debut of his predecessor, Flood, had been a 
complete failure, under nearly similar circum- 
stances. But when the ministerial part of our 
senators had watched Pitt (their thermometer) for 
the cue, and saw him nod repeatedly his stately 
nod of approbation, they took the hint from their 
huntsman, and broke out into the most rapturous 
cheers. Grattan's speech, indeed, deserved them ; 
it was a chef-d'oeuvre. I did not hear that speech of 
his (being then at Harrow), but heard most of his 
others on the same question also that on the war 
of 1815. I differed from his opinions on the latter 
question, but coincided in the general admiration of 
his eloquence. 

" When I met old Courtenay, the orator, at 
Rogers's, the poet's, in 181112, I was much taken 
with the portly remains of his fine figure, and the 
still acute quickness of his conversation. It was he 
who silenced Flood in the English House by a 
crushing reply to a hasty debut of the rival of 
Grattan in Ireland. I asked Courtenay (for I like 
to trace motives) if he had not some personal pro- 
vocation ; for the acrimony of his answer seemed to 
me, as I had read it, to involve it. Courtenay said 
' he had ; that, when in Ireland (being an Irish- 
man), at the bar of the Irish House of Commons, 
Flood had made a personal and unfair attack upon 
himself, who, not being a member of that House, 
\ 2 

212 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

could not defend himself, and that some years 
afterwards the opportunity of retort offering in the 
English Parliament, he could riot resist it.' He 
certainly repaid Flood with interest, for Flood never 
made any figure, and only a speech or two after- 
wards, in the English House of Commons. I must 
except, however, his speech on Reform in 1790, 
which Fox called ' the best he ever heard upon that 
subject/ " 

For some time he had entertained thoughts of 
going again abroad ; and it appeared, indeed, to be 
a sort of relief to him, whenever he felt melancholy 
or harassed, to turn to the freedom and solitude of 
a life of travel as his resource. During the depres- 
sion of spirits which he laboured under, while print- 
ing Childe Harold, " he would frequently," says 
Mr. Dallas, " talk of selling Newstead, and of going 
to reside at Naxos, in the Grecian Archipelago, 
to adopt the eastern costume and customs, and to 
pass his time in studying the Oriental languages 
and literature." The excitement of the triumph 
that soon after ensued, and the success which, in 
other pursuits besides those of literature, attended 
him, again diverted his thoughts from these migra- 
tory projects. But the roving fit soon returned; 
and we have seen, from one of his letters to Mr. 
William Bankes, that he looked forward to finding 
himself, in the course of this spring, among the 
mountains of his beloved Greece once more. For 
a time, this plan was exchanged for the more 
social project of accompanying his friends, the 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 213 

family of Lord Oxford, to Sicily; and it was while 
engaged in his preparatives for this expedition that 
the annexed letters were written. 


" Maidenhead, June 13. 1813. 

# * * I have read the ' Strictures/ which are 
just enough, and not grossly abusive, in very fair 
couplets. There is a note against Massinger near 
the end, and one cannot quarrel with one's com- 
pany, at any rate. The author detects some in- 
congruous figures in a passage of English Bards, 
page 23., but which edition I do not know. In the 
sole copy in your possession I mean the fifth 
edition you may make these alterations, that I 
may profit (though a little too late) by his remarks : 
For ' hellish instinct,' substitute ' brutal instinct;' 
( harpies' alter to 'felons;' and for ' blood-hounds' 
write ' hell-hounds.' * These be ' very bitter words, 

* In an article on this Satire (written for Cumberland's 
Review, but never printed) by that most amiable man and 
excellent poet, the late Rev. William Crowe, the incongruity 
of these metaphors is thus noticed : " Within the space of 
three or four couplets, he transforms a man into as many 
different animals. Allow him but the compass of three lines, 
and he will metamorphose him from a wolf into a harpy, and 
in three more he will make him a blood-hound." 

There are also in this MS. critique some curious instances 
of oversight or ignorance adduced from the Satire ; such as 
" Fish from Helicon" "Attic flowers Aortian odours 
breathe," &c. &c. 

p 3 

214 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

by my troth,' and the alterations not much sweeter ; 
but as I shall not publish the thing, they can do no 
harm, but are a satisfaction to me in the way of 
amendment. The passage is only twelve lines. 

" You do not answer me about H.'s book ; I 
want to write to him, and not to say any thing un- 
pleasing. If you direct to Post Office, Portsmouth, 
till called for, I will send and receive your letter. 
You never told me of the forthcoming critique on 
Columbus, which is not too fair ; and I do not think 
justice quite done to the * Pleasures,' which surely 
entitle the author to a higher rank than that as- 
signed him in the Quarterly. But I must not cavil 
at the decisions of the invisible infallibles ; and the 
article is very well written. The general horror of 
' fragments ' makes me tremulous for The Giaour ; ' 
but you would publish it I presume, by this time, 
to your repentance. But as I consented, whatever 
be its fate, I won't now quarrel with you, even 
though I detect it in my pastry ; but I shall not 
open a pie without apprehension for some weeks. 

" The books which may be marked G. O. I will 
carry out. Do you know Clarke's Naufragia? I 
am told that he asserts the first volume of Robin- 
son Crusoe was written by the first Lord Oxford, 
when in the Tower, and given by him to Defoe ; if 
true, it is a curious anecdote. Have you got back 
Lord Brooke's MS.? and what does Heber say of 
it ? Write to me at Portsmouth. Ever yours, &c. 


1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 215 


" June IS. 1813. 

" Dear Sir, 

" Will you forward the enclosed answer to the 
kindest letter I ever received in my life, my sense 
of which I can neither express to Mr. Gifford him- 
self nor to any one else ? Ever yours, 



"June 18. 1813. 
" My dear Sir, 

" I feel greatly at a loss how to write to you 
at all still more to thank you as I ought. If you 
knew the veneration with which I have ever re- 
garded you, long before I had the most distant 
prospect of becoming your acquaintance, literary 
or personal, my embarrassment would not surprise 

" Any suggestion of yours, even were it con- 
veyed in the less tender shape of the text of the 
Baviad, or a Monk Mason note in Massinger, would 
have been obeyed; I should have endeavoured to 
improve myself by your censure : judge then if I 
should be less willing to profit by your kindness. 
It is not for me to bandy compliments with *my 
elders and my betters : I receive your approbation 

tith gratitude, and will not return my brass for 
aur gold by expressing more fully those sentiments 

216 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

of admiration, which, however sincere, would, I 
know, be unwelcome. 

" To your advice on religious topics, I shall equally 
attend. Perhaps the best way will be by avoiding 
them altogether. The already published objection- 
able passages have been much commented upon, 
but certainly have been rather strongly interpreted. 
I am no bigot to infidelity, and did not expect that, 
because I doubted the immortality of man, I should 
be charged with denying the existence of a God. It 
was the comparative insignificance of ourselves and 
our world, when placed in comparison with the 
mighty whole, of which it is an atom, that first led 
me to imagine that our pretensions to eternity might 
be over-rated. 

" This, and being early disgusted with a Cal- 
vinistic Scotch school, where I was cudgelled to 
church for the first ten years of my life, afflicted me 
with this malady; for, after all, it is, I believe, a 
disease of the mind as much as other kinds of hypo- 
chondria." * 


' June 22. 1813. 

" Yesterday I dined in company with * * *, the 
Epicene,' whose politics are sadly changed. She 
is for the Lord of Israel and the Lord of Liverpool 
a vile antithesis of a Methodist and a Tory talks 
of nothing but devotion and the ministry, and, I pre- 

* The remainder of this letter, it appears, has been lost. 


1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 217 

sume, expects that God and the government will 
help her to a pension. 

" Murray, the az/af of publishers, the Anac of 
stationers, has a design upon you in the paper line. 
He wants you to become the staple and stipendiary 
editor of a periodical work. What say you ? Will 
you be bound, like * Kit Smart, to write for ninety- 
nine years in the Universal Visiter ? ' Seriously he 
talks of hundreds a year, and though I hate 
prating of the beggarly elements his proposal may 
be to your honour and profit, and, I am very sure, 
will be to our pleasure. 

" I don't know what to say about i friendship.' I 
never was in friendship but once, in my nineteenth 
year, and then it gave me as much trouble as love. 
I am afraid, as Whitbread's sire said to the king, 
when he wanted to knight him, that I am ' too old :' 
but, nevertheless, no one wishes you more friends, 
fame, and felicity, than Yours," &c. 

Having relinquished his design of accompanying 
the Oxfords to Sicily, he again thought of the East, 
as will be seen by the following letters, and pro- 
ceeded so far in his preparations for the voyage as 
to purchase of Love, the jeweller, of Old Bond 
Street, about a dozen snuff-boxes, as presents for 
some of his old Turkish acquaintances. 


"4. Benedictine Street, St. James's, July 8. 1813. 
" I presume by your silence that I have blundered 

218 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

into something noxious in my reply to your letter, 
for the which I beg leave to send beforehand a 
sweeping apology, which you may apply to any, or 
all, parts of that unfortunate epistle. If I err in my 
conjecture, I expect the like from you, in putting 
our correspondence so long in quarantine. God he 
knows what I have said ; but he also knows (if he 
is not as indifferent to mortals as the nonchalant 
deities of Lucretius), that you are the jast^ person I 
want to offend. So, if^liaVe,^whytnTdevil don't 
you say it at once, and expectorate your spleen ? 

" Rogers is out of town with Madame de Stael, 
who hath published an Essay against Suicide, which, 
I presume, will make somebody shoot himself; as 
a sermon by Blinkensop, in proof of Christianity, sent 
a hitherto most orthodox acquaintance of mine out 
of a chapel of ease a perfect atheist. Have you 
found or founded a residence yet? and have you 
begun or finished a poem ? If you won't tell me 

what / have done, pray say what you have done, or 

left undone, yourself. I am still in equipment for 
voyaging, and anxious to hear from, or of, you before 
I go, which anxiety you should remove more readily, 
as you think I sha'n't cogitate about you afterwards. 
I shall give the lie to that calumny by fifty foreign 
letters, particularly from any place where the plague 
is rife, without a drop of vinegar or a whiff of 
sulphur to save you from infection. 

" The Oxfords have sailed almost a fortnight, and 
my sister is in town, which is a great comfort for, 
never having been much together, we are naturally 
more attached to each other. 1 presume the illu- 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 219 

minations have conflagrated to Derby (or wherever 
you are) by this time. We are just recovering from 
tumult and train oil, and transparent fripperies, and 
all the noise and nonsense of victory. Drury Lane 
had a large M. W., which some thought was Mar- 
shal Wellington ; others, that it might be translated 
into Manager Whitbread; while the ladies of the 
vicinity of the saloon conceived the last letter to be 
complimentary to themselves. I leave this to the 
commentators to illustrate. If you don't answer 
this, I sha'n't say what you deserve, but I think / 
deserve a reply. Do you conceive there is no Post- 
Bag but the Twopenny ? Sunburn me, if you are 
not too bad." 


" July 13. 1813. 

" Your letter set me at ease ; for I really thought 
(as I hear of your susceptibility) that I had said I 
know not what but something I should have been 
very sorry for, had it, or I, offended you ; though 
I don't see how a man with a beautiful wife his 
own children, quiet fame competency and 
friends, (I will vouch for a thousand, which is more 
than I will for a unit in my own behalf,) can be of- 
fended with any thing. 

" Do you know, Moore, I am amazingly inclined 
remember I say but inclined to be seriously en- 
amoured with Lady A. F. but this * * has ruined 
all my prospects. However, you know her ; is she 
clever, or sensible, or good-tempered? either would 

220 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

do I scratch out the will. I don't ask as to her 
beauty that I see; but my circumstances are 
mending, and were not my other prospects blacken- 
ing, I would take a wife, and that should be the 
woman, had I a chance. I do not yet know her 
much, but better than I did. 

" I want to get away, but find difficulty in com- 
passing a passage in a ship of war. They had 
better let me go ; if I cannot, patriotism is the word 
' nay, an' they '11 mouth, I '11 rant as well 

Now, what are you doing? writing, we all hope, 
for our own sakes. Remember you must edite my 
posthumous works, with a Life of the Author, for 
which I will send you Confessions, dated, 'Laza- 
retto,' Smyrna, Malta, or Palermo one can die any 

" There is to be a thing on Tuesday ycleped a 
national fete. The Regent and * * * are to be there, 
and every body else, who has shillings enough for 
what was once a guinea. Vauxhall is the scene 
there are six tickets issued for the modest women, 
and it is supposed there will be three to spare. The 
passports for the lax are beyond my arithmetic. 

" P. S. The Stael last night attacked me most 
furiously said that I had ' no right to make love 
that I had used * * barbarously that I had no feel- 
ing, and was totally zVzsensible to la belle passion* 
and had been all my life/ I am very glad to hear 
it, but did not know it before. Let me hear from 
you anon." 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 221 


" July 25. 1813. 

" I am not well versed enough in the ways of 
single woman to make much matrimonial progress. 

" I have been dining like the dragon of Wantley 
for this last week. My head aches with the vintage 
of various cellars, and my brains are muddled as 
their dregs. I met your friends the D * * s : she 
sung one of your best songs so well, that, but for the 
appearance of affectation, I could have cried ; he 
reminds me of Hunt, but handsomer, and more 
musical in soul, perhaps. I wish to God he may 
conquer his horrible anomalous complaint. The 
upper part of her face is beautiful, and she seems 
much attached to her husband. He is right, never- 
theless, in leaving this nauseous town. The first 
winter would infallibly destroy her complexion, 
and the second, very probably, every thing else. 

" I must tell you a story. M * * (of indifferent 
memory) was dining out the other day, and com- 
plaining of the P e's coldness to his old wassailers. 
D * * (a learned Jew) bored him with questions 
why this ? and why that ? ' Why did the P e act 
thus?' 'Why, sir, on account of Lord * *, who 
ought to be ashamed of himself.' ' And why ought 
Lord * * to be ashamed of himself?' ' Because 
the P e, sir, ********.' < And why, sir, 
did the P e cut youT ' Because, G d d mme, 
sir, I stuck to my principles.' * And why did you 
stick to your principles ? ' 



" Is not this last question the best that was ever 
put, when you consider to whom ? It nearly killed 
M * *. Perhaps you may think it stupid, but, as 
Goldsmith said about the peas, it was a very good 
joke when I heard it as I did from an ear-witness 
and is only spoilt in my narration. 

" The season has closed with a dandy ball ; 
but I have dinners with the Harrowbys, Rogers, 
and Frere and Mackintosh, where I shall drink your 
health in a silent bumper, and regret your absence 
till * too much canaries ' wash away my memory, or 
render it superfluous by a vision of you at the oppo- 
site side of the table. Canning has disbanded his 
party by a speech from his * * * * the true throne 
of a Tory. Conceive his turning them off in a formal 
harangue, and bidding them think for themselves. 
* I have led my ragamuffins where they are well 
peppered. There are but three of the 1 50 left alive, 
and they are for the Towns-end (query, might not 
Falstaff mean the Bow Street officer ? I dare say 
Malone's posthumous edition will have it so) for 

" Since I wrote last, I have been into the country. 
I journeyed by night no incident, or accident, but 
an alarm on the part of my valet on the outside, 
who, in crossing Epping Forest, actually, I believe, 
flung down his purse before a mile-stone, with a 
glow-worm in the second figure of number XIX 
mistaking it for a footpad and dark lantern. I can 
only attribute his fears to a pair of new pistols where- 
with I had armed him ; and he thought it necessary 
to display his vigilance by calling out to me when- 

.1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 223 

ever we passed any thing no matter whether 
moving or stationary. Conceive ten miles, with a 
tremor every furlong. I have scribbled you a fear- 
fully long letter. This sheet must be blank, and is 
merely a wrapper, to preclude the tabellarians of the 
post from peeping. You once complained of my not 
writing ; I will ' heap coals of fire upon your head' 
by not complaining of your not reading. Ever, my 
dear Moore, your'n (isn't that the Staffordshire ter- 
mination ?) 

" BYRON." 


"July 27. 1813. 

" When you next imitate the style of * Tacitus,' 
pray add, ' de moribus Germanorum;' this last 
was a piece of barbarous silence, and could only be 
taken from the Woods, and, as such, I attribute it 
entirely to your sylvan sequestration at Mayfield 
Cottage. You will find, on casting up accounts, 
that you are my debtor by several sheets and one 
epistle. I shall bring my action ; if you don't dis- 
charge, expect to hear from my attorney. I have 
forwarded your letter to Ruggiero ; but don't make 
a postman of me again, for fear I should be tempted 
to violate your sanctity of wax or wafer. 

" Believe me ever yours indignantly, 


224 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 


"July 28. 181 a 

" Can't you be satisfied with the pangs of my 
jealousy of Rogers, without actually making me the 
pander of your epistolary intrigue ? This is the se- 
cond letter you have enclosed to my address, not- 
withstanding a miraculous long answer, and a sub- 
sequent short one or two of your own. If you do 
so again, I can't tell to what pitch my fury may soar. 
I shall send you. verse or arsenic, as likely as any 
thing, four thousand couplets on sheets beyond 
the privilege of franking; that privilege, sir, of which 
you take an undue advantage over a too susceptible 
senator, by forwarding your lucubrations to every 
one but himself. I won't frank from you, or^br you, 
or to you may I be curst if I do, unless you mend 
your manners. I disown you I disclaim you and 
by all the powers of Eulogy, I will write a panegyric 
upon you or dedicate a quarto if you don't make 
me ample amends. 

p. S. I am in training to dine with Sheridan 
and Rogers this evening. I have a little spite against 
11., and will shed his ' Clary wines pottle-deep.' 
This is nearly my ultimate or penultimate letter; 
for I am quite equipped, and only wait a passage. 
Perhaps I may wait a few weeks for Sligo, but not 
if I can help it." 

He had, with the intention of going to Greece, 
applied to Mr. Croker, the Secretary of the Ad- 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 225 

miralty, to procure him a passage on board a king's 
ship to the Mediterranean ; and, at the request of 
this gentleman, Captain Carlton, of the Boyne, who 
was just then ordered to reinforce Sir Edward Pel- 
lew, consented to receive Lord Byron into his cabin 
for the voyage. To the letter announcing this offer, 
the following is the reply. 


" Bt. Str., August 2. 1813. 
Dear Sir, 

" I was honoured with your unexpected* and 
very obliging letter, when on the point of leaving 
London, which prevented me from acknowledging 
my obligation as quickly as I felt it sincerely. I am 
endeavouring all in my power to be ready before 
Saturday and even if I should not succeed, I can 
only blame my own tardiness, which will not the 
less enhance the benefit I have lost. I have only to 
add my hope of forgiveness for all my trespasses on 
your time and patience, and with my best wishes for 
your public and private welfare, I have the honour 
to be, most truly, your obliged and most obedient 

" BYRON." 

* He calls the letter of Mr. Croker " unexpected," because, 
in their previous correspondence and interviews on the subject, 
that gentleman had not been able to hold out so early a pros- 
pect of a passage, nor one which was likely to be so agreeable 
in point of society. 



So early as the autumn of this year, a fifth edition 
of The Giaour was required ; and again his fancy 
teemed with fresh materials for its pages. The 
verses commencing " The browsing camels' bells are 
tinkling," and the four pages that follow the line, 
" Yes, love indeed is light from heaven," were all 
added at this time. Nor had the overflowings of his 
mind even yet ceased, as I find in the poem, as it 
exists at present, still further additions, and, among 
them, those four brilliant lines, 

" She was a form of life and light, 
That, seen, became a part of sight, 
And rose, where'er I turn'd mine eye, 
The Morning-star of memory !" 

The following notes and letters to Mr. Murray, 
during these outpourings, will show how irresistible 
was the impulse under which he vented his thoughts. 

" If you send more proofs, I shall never finish 
this infernal story Ecce signum ' thirty-three 
more lines enclosed ! to the utter discomfiture of 
the printer, and, I fear, not to your advantage. 


" Half-past two in the morning, Aug. 10. 1813. 
" Dear Sir, 

" Pray suspend the proofs, for I am bitten again, 
and have quantities for other parts of the bravura. 
" Yours ever, B. 

" P. S You shall have them in the course of the 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 227 


August 26. 1813. 

" I have looked over and corrected one proof, but 
not so carefully (God knows if you can read it 
through, but I can't) as to preclude your eye from 
discovering some omission of mine or commission of 
your printer. If you have patience, look it over. 
Do you know any body who can stop I mean point 
commas, and so forth? for I am, I hear, a sad 
hand at your punctuation. I have, but with some 
difficulty, not added any more to this snake of a 
poem, which has been lengthening its rattles every 
month. It is now fearfully long, being more than a 
Canto and a half of Childe Harold, which contains 
but 882 lines per book, with all late additions in- 

" The last lines Hodgson likes. It is not often he 
does, and when he don't he tells me with great 
energy, and I fret and alter. I have thrown them 
in to soften the ferocity of our Infidel, and, for a 
dying man, have given him a good deal to say for 

" I was quite sorry to hear you say you stayed in 
town on my account, and I hope sincerely you did 
not mean so superfluous a piece of politeness. 

" Our six critiques ! they would have made half 
a Quarterly by themselves ; but this is the age of 




The following refer apparently to a still later 


" Stilton, Oct. 3. 1813. 

" I have just recollected an alteration you may 
make in the proof to be sent to Aston. Among the 
lines on Hassan's Serai, not far from the beginning, 
is this 

" Unmeet for Solitude to share. 

Now to share implies more than one, and Solitude is 
a single gentleman ; it must be thus 

" For many a gilded chamber 's there, 
Which Solitude might well forbear ; 

and so on. My address is Aston Hall, Rotherham. 

" Will you adopt this correction ? and pray accept 
a Stilton cheese from me for your trouble. Ever 
yours, B. 

" If* the old line stands let the other run thus 

" Nor there will weary traveller halt, 
To bless the sacred bread and salt. 

<( Note. To partake of food to break bread and 
taste salt with your host, ensures the safety of the 
guest ; even though an enemy, his person from that 
moment becomes sacred. 

" There is another additional note sent yesterday 
on the Priest in the Confessional. 

* This is written on a separate slip of paper enclosed. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 229 

P. S. I leave this to your discretion ; if any 
body thinks the old line a good one or the cheese a 
bad one, don't accept either. But, in that case, the 
word share is repeated soon after in the line 

" To share the master's bread and salt ; 
and must be altered to 

" To break the master's bread and salt. 
This is not so well, though confound it !" 


Oct. 12. 1813. 

" You must look The Giaour again over carefully ; 
there are a few lapses, particularly in the last page. 
' I know 'twas false; she could not die;' it was, 
and ought to be * I knew' Pray observe this and 
similar mistakes. 

" I have received and read the British Review. I 
really think the writer in most points very right. The 
only mortifying thing is the accusation of imitation. 
Crabbe's passage I never saw * ; and Scott I no 

* The passage referred to by the Reviewers is in the poem 
entitled " Resentment;" and the following is, I take for 
granted, the part which Lord Byron is accused by them of 
having imitated : 

" Those are like wax apply them to the fire, 
Melting, they take th' impressions you desire ; 
Easy to mould, and fashion as you please, 
And again moulded with an equal ease : 
Like smelted iron these the forms retain ; 
But, once impress'd, will never melt again." 
Q 3 

230 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

further meant to follow than in his lyric measure, 
which is Gray's, Milton's, and any one's who likes 
it. The Giaour is certainly a bad character, but not 
dangerous ; and I think his fate and his feelings will 
meet with few proselytes. I shall be very glad to 
hear from or of you, when you please ; but don't 
put yourself out of your way on my account." 


" Bennet Street, August 22. 1813. 

" As our late I might say, deceased corre- 
spondence had too much of the town-life leaven in 
it, we will now, paulo majora,' prattle a little of 
literature in all its branches ; and first of the first 
criticism. The Prince is at Brighton, and Jackson, 
the boxer, gone to Margate, having, I believe, de- 
coyed Yarmouth to see a milling in that polite 
neighbourhood. Mad e . de Stael Holstein has lost 
one of her young barons, who has been carbonadoed 
by a vile Teutonic adjutant, kilt and killed in a 
coffee-house at Scrawsenhawsen. Corinne is, of 
course, what all mothers must be, but will, I ven- 
ture to prophesy, do what few mothers could 
write an Essay upon it. She cannot exist without 
a grievance and somebody to see, or read, how 
much grief becomes her. I have not seen her since 
the event; but merely judge (not very charitably) 
from prior observation. 

"In a mail-coach copy ' of the Edinburgh, I 
perceive The Giaour is second article. The numbers 
are still in the Leith smack pray, which way is 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 231 

the wind? The said article is so very mild and 
sentimental, that it must be written by Jeffrey in 
love ; you know he is gone to America to marry 
some fair one, of whom he has been, for several 
quarters, tperdument amoureux. Seriously as 
Winifred Jenkins says of Lismahago Mr. Jeffrey 
(or his deputy) * has done the handsome thing by 
me/ and I say nothing. But this I will say, if you 
and I had knocked one another on the head in this 
quarrel, how he would have laughed, and what a 
mighty bad figure we should have cut in our post- 
humous works. By the by, I was called in the 
other day to mediate between two gentlemen bent 
upon carnage, and, after a long struggle be- 
tween the natural desire of destroying one's fellow- 
creatures, and the dislike of seeing men play the 
fool for nothing, I got one to make an apology, 
and the other to take it, and left them to live happy 
ever after. One was a peer, the other a friend un- 
titled, and both fond of high play ; and one, I can 
swear for, though very mild, ' not fearful,' and so 
dead a shot, that, though the other is the thinnest 
of men, he would have split him like a cane. They 
both conducted themselves very well, and I put them 
out of pain as soon as I could. 

" There is an American Life of G. F. Cooke, 
Scurra deceased, lately published. Such a book ! 
I believe, since Drunken Barnaby's Journal, 
nothing like it has drenched the press. All green- 
room and tap-room drams and the drama 
brandy, whisky-punch, and, latterly, toddy, overflow 
every page. Two things are rather marvellous, 
Q 4 

232 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

first, that a man should live so long drunk, and, next, 
that he should have found a sober biographer. There 
are some very laughable things in it, nevertheless ; 
but the pints he swallowed, and the parts he 
performed, are too regularly registered. 

" All this time you wonder I am not gone ; so do 
I ; but the accounts of the plague are very per- 
plexing not so much for the thing itself as the 
quarantine established in all ports, and from all 
places, even from England. It is true, the forty or 
sixty days would, in all probability, be as foolishly 
spent on shore as in the ship ; but one like's to have 
one's choice, nevertheless. Town is awfully empty ; 
but not the worse for that. I am really puzzled with 
my perfect ignorance of what I mean to do ; not 
stay, if I can help it, but where to go ? * Sligo is 
for the North ; a pleasant place, Petersburgh, in 

* One of his travelling projects appears to have been a visit 
to Abyssinia : at least, I have found, among his papers, a 
letter founded on that supposition, in which the writer entreats 
of him to procure information concerning " a kingdom of Jews 
mentioned by Bruce as residing on the mountain of Samen in 
that country. I have had the honour," he adds, " of some 
correspondence with the Rev. Dr. Buchanan and the reverend 
and learned G. S. Faber, on the subject of the existence of this 
kingdom of Jews, which, if it prove to be a fact, will more 

clearly elucidate many of the Scripture prophecies ; and, 

if Providence favours your Lordship's mission to Abyssinia, an 
intercourse might be established between England and that 
country, and the English ships, according to the Rev. Mr. 
Faber, might be the principal means of transporting the 
kingdom of Jews, now in Abyssinia, to Egypt, in the way to 
their own country, Palestine." 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 233 

September, with one's ears and nose in a muff, or 
else tumbling into one's neckcloth or pocket-hand- 
kerchief! If the winter treated Buonaparte with so 
little ceremony, what would it inflict upon your 
solitary traveller ? Give me a sun, I care not how 
hot, and sherbet, I care not how cool, and my 
Heaven is as easily made as your Persian's. * The 
Giaour is now a thousand and odd lines. * Lord 
Fanny spins a thousand such a day,' eh, Moore ? 
thou wilt needs be a wag, but I forgive it. Yours 
ever, " BN. 

" P. S. I perceive I have written a flippant and 
rather cold-hearted letter! let it go, however. I 
have said nothing, either, of the brilliant sex ; but 
the fact is, I am at this moment in a far more 
serious, and entirely new, scrape than any of the 
last twelve months, and that is saying a good deal. 
It is unlucky we can neither live with nor without 
these women. 

" I am now thinking of regretting that, just as I 
have left Newstead, you reside near it. Did you 
ever see it ? do but don't tell me that you like it. 
If I had known of such intellectual neighbourhood, 
I don't think I should have quitted it. You could 
have come over so often, as a bachelor, for it was 
a thorough bachelor's mansion plenty of wine and 
such sordid sensualities with books enough, room 
enough, and an air of antiquity about all (except the 

* " A Persian's Heav'n is easily made 
'Tis but black eyes and lemonade." 

234) NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

lasses) that would have suited you, when pensive, 
and served you to laugh at when in glee. I had 
built myself a bath and a vault and now I sha'n't 
even be buried in it. It is odd that we can't even 
be certain of a grave, at least a particular one. I 
remember, when about fifteen, reading your poems 
there, which I can repeat almost now, and asking 
all kinds of questions about the author, when I 
heard that he was not dead according to the preface ; 
wondering if I should ever see him and though, 
at that time, without the smallest poetical propensity 
myself, very much taken, as you may imagine, with 
that volume. Adieu I commit you to the care 
of the gods Hindoo, Scandinavian, and JRtellemfft- 
"P. o. 2d. There is an excellent review 67 
Grimm's Correspondence and Mad e . de Stael in this 
N. of the E. R. Jeffrey, himself, was my critic 
last year ; but this is, I believe, by another hand. 
I hope you are going on with your grand coup 
pray do or that damned Lucien Buonaparte 
will beat us all. I have seen much of his poem in 
MS., and he really surpasses every thing beneath 
Tasso. Hodgson is translating him against another 
bard. You and (I believe, Rogers,) Scott, Gifford, 
and myself, are to be referred to as judges between 
the twain, that is, if you accept the office. Con- 
ceive our different opinions ! I think we, most of 
us (I am talking very impudently, you will think 
us, indeed !) have a way of our own, at least, you 
and Scott certainly have." 


1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 235 


August 28. 1813. 

" Ay, my dear Moore, ' there was a time ' I 
have heard of your tricks, when * you was cam- 
paigning at the King of Bohemy.' I am much mis- 
taken if, some fine London spring, about the year 
1815, that time does not come again. After all, 
we must end in marriage ; and I can conceive 
nothing more delightful than such a state in the 
country, reading the county newspaper, &c., and 
kissing one's wife's maid. Seriously, I would in- 
corporate with any woman of decent demeanour to- 
morrow that is, I would a month ago, but, at pre- 
sent, * * * 

" Why don't you < parody that Ode?'* Do you 
think I should be tetchy '9 or have you done it, and 
won't tell me ? You are quite right about Giam- 
schid, and I have reduced it to a dissyllable within 
this half hour, f I am glad to hear you talk of 

* The Ode of Horace, 

" Natis in usum laetitiae," &c. ; 

some passages of which I told him might be parodied, in 
allusion to some of his late adventures : 

" Quanta laboras in Chaiybdi ! 
Digne puer meliore flamma ! " 

f* In his first edition of The Giaour he had used this word as 
a trisyllable, " Bright as the gem of Giamschid," but on 
my remarking to him, upon the authority of Richardson's 
Persian Dictionary, that this was incorrect, he altered it to 



Richardson, because it tells me what you won't 
that you are going to beat Lucien. At least tell 
me how far you have proceeded. Do you think 
me less interested about your works, or less sincere 
than our friend Ruggiero ? I am not and never 
was. In that thing of mine, the * English Bards/ 
at the time when I was angry with all the world, I 
never ' disparaged your parts,' although I did not 
know you personally ; and have always regretted 
that you don't give us an entire work, and not 
sprinkle yourself in detached pieces beautiful, I 
allow, and quite alone in our language*, but still 
giving us a right to expect a Shah. Nameh (is that 
the name ?) as well as gazels. Stick to the East ; 
the oracle, Stael, told me it was the only poetical 
policy. The North, South, and West, have all 
been exhausted ; but from the East, we have 

" Bright as the ruby of Giamschid." On seeing this, however, 
I wrote to him, " that, as the comparison of his heroine's eye 
to a ruby ' might unluckily call up the idea of its being blood- 
shot, he had better change the line to " Bright as the jewel of 
Giamschid;" which he accordingly did in the following 

* Having already endeavoured to obviate the charge of 
vanity, to which I am aware I expose myself by being thus 
accessory to the publication of eulogies, so warm and so little 
merited, on myself, I shall here only add, that it will abun- 
dantly console me under such a charge, if, in whatever degree 
the judgment of my noble friend may be called in question for 
these praises, he shall, in the same proportion, receive credit 
for the good-nature and warm-heartedness by which they were 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 237. 

nothing but S * * 's unsaleables, and these he has 
contrived to spoil, by adopting only their most out- 
rageous fictions. His personages don't interest us, 
and yours will. You will have no competitor ; and, if 
you had, you ought to be glad of it. The little I 
have done in that way is merely a * voice in the 
wilderness ' for you ; and if it has had any success, 
that also will prove that the public are orientalising, 
and pave the path for you. 

" I have been thinking of a story, grafted on the 
amours of a Peri and a mortal something like, 
only more philanthropical than, Gazette's Diable 
Amoureux. It would require a good deal of poesy, 
and tenderness is not my forte. For that, and 
other reasons, I have given up the idea, and merely 
suggest it to you, because, in intervals of your 
greater work, I think it a subject you might make 
much of. * If you want any more books, there is 
4 Castellan's Mceurs des Ottomans,' the best com- 

* I had already, singularly enough, anticipated this sug- 
gestion, by making the daughter of a Peri the heroine of one 
of my stories, and detailing the love adventures of her aerial 
parent in an episode. In acquainting Lord Byron with this 
circumstance, in my answer to the above letter, I added, " All 
I ask of your friendship is not that you will abstain from 
Peris on my account, for that is too much to ask of human 
(or, at least, author's) nature but that, whenever you mean 
to pay your addresses to any of these aerial ladies, you will, at 
once, tell me so, frankly and instantly, and let me, at least, 
have my choice whether I shall be desperate enough to go on, 
with such a rival, or at once surrender the whole race into your 
hands, and take, for the future, to Antediluvians with Mr. 
Montgomery. " 

238 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

pendium of the kind I ever met with, in six small 
tomes. I am really taking a liberty by talking in 
this style to my * elders and my betters ;' pardon 
it, and don't Rochefoucault my motives." 


" August September, I mean 1. 1813. 

" I send you, begging your acceptance, Castellan, 
and three vols. on Turkish Literature, not yet 
looked into. The last I will thank you to read, ex- 
tract what you want, and return in a week, as they 
are lent to me by that brightest of Northern con- 
stellations, Mackintosh, amongst many other kind 
things into which India has warmed him, for I am 
sure your home Scotsman is of a less genial de- 

tf Your Peri, my dear M., is sacred and in- 
violable ; I have no idea of touching the hem of her 
petticoat. Your affectation of a dislike to encounter 
me is so flattering, that I begin to think myself a 
very fine fellow. But you are laughing at me 
' Stap my vitals, Tarn ! thou art a very impudent 
person;' and, if you are not laughing at me, you 
deserve to be laughed at. Seriously, what on earth 
can you, or have you, to dread from any poetical 
flesh breathing ? It really puts me out of humour 
to hear you talk thus. 

" ' The Giaour ' I have added to a good deal ; 
but still in foolish fragments. It contains about 
1200 lines, or rather more now printing. You 
will allow me to send you a copy^ You delight me 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 239 

much by telling me that I am in your good graces, 
and more particularly as to temper ; for, unluckily, 
I have the reputation of a very bad one. But they 
say the devil is amusing when pleased, and I must 
have been more venomous than the old serpent, to 
have hissed or stung in your company. It may be, 
and would appear to a third person, an incredible 
thing, but I know you will believe me when I say, 
that I am as anxious for your success as one human 
being can be for another's, as much as if I had 
never scribbled a line. Surely the field of fame is 
wide enough for all ; and if it were not, I would 
not willingly rob my neighbour of a rood of it. 
Now you have a pretty property of some thousand 
acres there, and when you have passed your pre- 
sent Inclosure Bill, your income will be doubled, 
(there's a metaphor, worthy of a Templar, namely, 
pert and low,) while my wild common is too remote 
to incommode you, and quite incapable of such 
fertility. I send you (which return per post, as the 
printer would say) a curious letter from a friend of 
mine *, which will let you into the origin of ' The 
Giaour.' Write soon. Ever, dear Moore, yours 
most entirely, &c. 

" P. S. This letter was written to me on ac- 
count of a different story circulated by some gentle- 
women of our acquaintance, a little too close to the 
text. The part erased contained merely some 
Turkish names, and circumstantial evidence of the 
girl's detection, not very important or decorous." 

* The letter of Lord Sligo, already given. 

240 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 


Sept. 5. 1813. 

" You need not tie yourself down to a day with 
Toderini, but send him at your leisure, having ana- 
tomised him into such annotations as you want ; I 
do not believe that he has ever undergone that pro- 
cess before, which is the best reason for not sparing 
him now. 

" * * has returned to town, but not yet recovered 
of the Quarterly. What fellows these reviewers are ! 
' these bugs do fear us all.' They made you fight, 
and me (the milkiest of men) a satirist, and will 
end by making * * madder than Ajax. I have 
been reading Memory again, the other day, and 
Hope together, and retain all my preference of the 
former. His elegance is really wonderful there 
is no such thing as a vulgar line in his book. 

" What say you to Buonaparte ? Remember, I 
back him against the field, barring Catalepsy and 
the Elements. Nay, I almost wish him success 
against all countries but this, were it only to 
choke the Morning Post, and his undutiful father- 
in-law, with that rebellious bastard of Scandinavian 
adoption, Bernadotte. Rogers wants me to go 
with him on a crusade to the Lakes, and to besiege 
you on our way. This last is a great temptation, 
but I fear it will not be in my power, unless you 
would go on with one of us somewhere no matter 
where. It is too late for Matlock, but we might 
hit upon some scheme, high life or low, - the last 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 241 

would be much the best for amusement. I am so 
sick of the other, that I quite sigh for a cider-cellar, 
or a cruise in a smuggler's sloop. 

" You cannot wish more than I do that the Fates 
were a little more accommodating to our parallel 
lines, which prolong ad infinitum without coming a 
jot nearer. I almost wish I were married, too 
which is saying much. All my friends, seniors and 
juniors, are in for it, and ask me to be godfather, 
the only species of parentage which, I believe, will 
ever come to my share in a lawful way ; and, in an 
unlawful one, by the blessing of Lucina, we can 
never be certain, though the parish may. I sup- 
pose I shall hear from you to-morrow. If not, this 
goes as it is ; but I leave room for a P. S., in case 
any thing requires an answer. Ever, &c. 

" No letter riimporte. R. thinks the Quarterly 
will be at me this time : if so, it shall be a war of 
extermination no quarter. From the youngest 
devil down to the oldest woman of that review, all 
shall perish by one fatal lampoon. The ties of 
nature shall be torn asunder, for I will not even 
spare my bookseller ; nay, if one were to include 
readers also, all the better." 


" September 8. 1813. 

" I am sorry to see Tod. again so soon, for fear 
your scrupulous conscience should have prevented 
you from fully availing yourself of his spoils. By 
this coach I send you a copy of that awful pam- 


242 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

phlet ' The Giaour,' which has never procured me 
half so high a compliment as your modest alarm. 
You will (if inclined in an evening) perceive that I 
have added much in quantity, a circumstance 
which may truly diminish your modesty upon the 

" You stand certainly in great need of a ' lift ' 
with Mackintosh. My dear Moore, you strangely 
under-rate yourself. I should conceive it an affect- 
ation in any other ; but I think I know you well 
enough to believe that you don't know your own 
value. However, 'tis a fault that generally mends ; 
and, in your case, it really ought. I have heard 
him speak of you as highly as your wife could 
wish ; and enough to give all your friends the 

" Yesterday I had a letter from All Paclia ! 
brought by Dr. Holland, who is just returned from 
Albania. It is in Latin, and begins * Excellentis- 
sime nee non Carissime,' and ends about a gun he 
wants made for him ; it is signed ' AH Vizir.' 
What do you think he has been about ? H. tells 
me that, last spring, he took a hostile town, where, 
forty-two years ago, his mother and sisters were 
treated as Miss Cunigunde was by the Bulgarian 
cavalry. He takes the town, selects all the sur- 
vivors of this exploit children, grandchildren, 
&c. to the tune of six hundred, and has them shot 
before his face. Recollect, he spared the rest of the 
city, and confined himself to the Tarquin pedigree, 
which is more than I would. So much for 
' dearest friend.' " 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 243 


" Sept. 9. 18 IS. 

" I write to you from Mr. Murray's, and I may 
say, from Murray, who, if you are not predisposed 
in favour of any other publisher, would be happy to 
treat with you, at a fitting time, for your work. I 
can safely recommend him as fair, liberal, and at- 
tentive, and certainly, in point of reputation, he 
stands among the first of ( the trade.' I am sure 
he would do you justice. I have written to you 
so much lately, that you will be glad to see so little 

" Ever," &c. &c. 


" September 27. 1813. 
" Thomas Moore, 

" (Thou wilt never be called * true Thomas,' 
like he of Ercildoune,) why don't you write to 
me ? as you won't, I must. I was near you at 
Aston the other day, and hope I soon shall be 
again. If so, you must and shall meet me, and go 
to Matlock and elsewhere, and take what, in flash 
dialect, is poetically termed a lark,' with Rogers 
and me for accomplices. Yesterday, at Holland 
House, I was introduced to Southey the best 
looking bard I have seen for some time. To have 
that poet's head and shoulders, I would almost have 
written his Sapphics. He is certainly a prepossess- 
R 2 

244 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

ing person to look on, and a man of talent, and all 
that, and there is his eulogy. 

" * * read me part of a letter from you. By the 
foot of Pharaoh, I believe there was abuse, for he 
stopped short, so he did, after a fine saying about 
our correspondence, and looked I wish I could 
revenge myself by attacking you, or by telling you 
that I have had to defend you an agreeable way 
which one's friends have of recommending them- 
selves by saying ' Ay, ay, / gave it Mr. Such- 
a-one for what he said about your being a plagiary, 
and a rake, and so on.' But do you know that you 
are one of the very few whom I never have the 
satisfaction of hearing abused, but the reverse ; 
and do you suppose I will forgive that ? 

" I have been in the country, and ran away from 
the Doncaster races. It is odd, I was a visiter 
in the same house which came to my sire as a resi- 
dence with Lady Carmarthen, (with whom he adul- 
terated before his majority by the by, remember, 
she was not my mamma,) and they thrust me into 
an old room, with a nauseous picture over the 
chimney, which I should suppose my papa regarded 
with due respect, and which, inheriting the family 
taste, I looked upon with great satisfaction. I 
stayed a week with the family, and behaved very 
we ll though the lady of the house is young, and 
religious, and pretty, and the master is my par- 
ticular friend. I felt no wish for any thing but a 
poodle dog, which they kindly gave me. Now, for 
a man of my courses not even to have coveted, is 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 24-5 

a sign of great amendment. Pray pardon all this 
nonsense, and don't * snub me when I'm in spirits.' 

" Ever, yours, BN. 

" Here's an impromptu for you by a person of 
quality,' written last week, on being reproached for 
low spirits. 

" When from the heart where Sorrow sits *, 

Her dusky shadow mounts too high, 
And o'er the changing aspect flits, 

And clouds the brow, or fills the eye : 
Heed not that gloom, which soon shall sink ; 

My Thoughts their dungeon know too well - 
Back to my breast the wanderers shrink, 

And bleed within their silent cell." 


October 2. 1813. 

" You have not answered some six letters of 
mine. This, therefore, is my penultimate. I will 
write to you once more, but, after that I swear 
by all the saints I am silent and supercilious. I 
have met Curran at Holland House he beats 
every body ; his imagination is beyond human, 
and his humour (it is difficult to define what is wit) 
perfect. Then he has fifty faces, and twice as 
many voices, when he mimics I never met his 
equal. Now, were I a woman, and eke a virgin, 
that is the man I should make my Scamander. He 
is quite fascinating. Remember, I have met him 
but once ; and you, who have known him long, may 

* Now printed in his Works. 
R 3 

24-6 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

probably deduct from my panegyric. I almost fear 
to meet him again, lest the impression should be 
lowered. He talked a great deal about you a 
theme never tiresome to me, nor any body else 
that I know. What a variety of expression he con- 
jures into that naturally not very fine countenance 
of his ! He absolutely changes it entirely. I have 
done for I can't describe him, and you know him. 
On Sunday I return to * *, where I shall not be far 
from you. Perhaps I shall hear from you in the 
mean time. Good night. 

" Saturday morn. Your letter has cancelled all 
my anxieties. I did not suspect you in earnest. 
Modest again ! Because I don't do a very shabby 
thing, it seems, I * don't fear your competition.' if 
it were reduced to an alternative of preference, I 
should dread you, as much as Satan does Michael. 
But is there not room enough in our respective 
regions ? Go on it will soon be my turn to for- 
give. To-day I dine with Mackintosh and Mrs. 
Stale as John Bull may be pleased to denominate 
Corinne whom I saw last night, at Covent 
Garden, yawning over the humour of Falstaff. 

" The reputation of ' gloom,' if one's friends are 
not included in the reputants, is of great service ; 
as it saves one from a legion of impertinents, in the 
shape of common-place acquaintance. But thou 
know'st I can be a right merry and conceited fellow, 
and rarely * larmoyant.' Murray shall reinstate 
your line forthwith.* I believe the blunder in the 

* The motto to The Giaour, which is taken from one of the 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYROX. 24-7 

motto was mine ; and yet I have, in general, a 
memory for you, and am sure it was rightly printed 
at first. 

" I do < blush ' very often, if I may believe Ladies 
H. and M. ; but luckily, at present, no one sees 
me. Adieu." 


November 30. 1813. 

" Since I last wrote to you, much has occurred, 
good,, bad, and indifferent, not to make me forget 
you, but to prevent me from reminding you of 
one who, nevertheless, has often thought of you, 
and to whom your thoughts, in many a measure, 
have frequently been a consolation. We were once 
very near neighbours this autumn ; and a good and 
bad neighbourhood it has proved to me. Suffice it 
to say, that your French quotation was confoundedly 
to the purpose, though very unexpectedly per- 
tinent, as you may imagine by what I said before, 
and my silence since. However, ' Richard's him- 
self again,' and except all night and some part 
of the morning, I don't think very much about the 

" All convulsions end with me in rhyme ; and to 
solace my midnights, I have scribbled another 

Irish Melodies, had been quoted by him incorrectly in the first 
editions of the poem. He made afterwards a similar mistake 
in the lines from Burns prefixed to the Bride of Abydos. 
R 4 

24?8 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

Turkish story* not a Fragment which you 
will receive soon after this. It does not trench 
upon your kingdom in the least, and if it did, you 
would soon reduce me to my proper boundaries. 
You will think, and justly, that I run some risk of 
losing the little I have gained in fame, by this fur- 
ther experiment on public patience; but I have 
really ceased to care on that head. I have written 
this, and published it, for the sake of the employ- 
ment, to wring my thoughts from reality, and 
take refuge in l imaginings,' however * horrible ; ' 
and, as to success ! those who succeed will console 
me for a failure excepting yourself and one or 
two more, whom luckily I love too well to wish 
one leaf of their laurels a tint yellower. This is 
the work of a week, and will be the reading of 
an hour to you, or even less, and so, let it go 
* * * * 

P. S. Ward and I talk of going to Holland. I 
want to see how a Dutch canal looks after the Bos- 
phorus. Pray respond." 


" December 8. 1813. 

" Your letter, like all the best, and even kindest 
things in this world, is both painful and pleasing. 
But, first, to what sits nearest. Do you know I was 
actually about to dedicate to you, not in a formal 
inscription, as to one's elders, but through a short 

* The Bride of Abydos. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 249 

prefatory letter, in which I boasted myself your in- 
timate, and held forth the prospect of your poem ; 
when, lo! the recollection of your strict injunctions 
of secrecy as to the said poem, more than once re- 
peated by word and letter, flashed upon me, and 
marred my intents. I could have no motive for re- 
pressing my own desire of alluding to you (and not 
a day passes that I do not think and talk of you), 
but an idea that you might, yourself, dislike it. 
You cannot doubt my sincere admiration, waving 
personal friendship for the present, which, by the 
by, is not less sincere and deep rooted. I have you 
by rote and by heart; of which * ecce signum!' 
When I was at * *, on my first visit, I have a habit, 
in passing my time a good deal alone, of I won't 
call it singing, for that I never attempt except to 
myself but of uttering, to what I think tunes, 
your Oh breathe not,' * When the last glimpse,' 
and ' When he who adores thee,' with others of the 
same minstrel ; they are my matins and vespers. 
I assuredly did not intend them to be overheard, 
but, one morning, in comes, not La Donna, but II 
Marito, with a very grave face, saying, < Byron, I 
must request you won't sing any more, at least of 
those songs.' I stared, and said, Certainly, but 
why?' < To tell you the truth,' quoth he, they 
make my wife cry, and so melancholy, that I wish 
her to hear no more of them.' 

" Now, my dear M., the effect must have been 
from your words, and certainly not my music. 
I merely mention this foolish story to show you 
how much I am indebted to you for even your pas- 

250 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

times. A man may praise and praise, but no one 
recollects but that which pleases at least, in com- 
position. Though I think no one equal to you in 
that department, or in satire, and surely no one 
was ever so popular in both, I certainly am of 
opinion that you have not yet done all you can do, 
though more than enough for any one else. I want, 
and the world expects, a longer work from you; 
and I see in you what I never saw in poet before, a 
strange diffidence of your own powers, which I can- 
not account for, and which must be unaccountable, 
when a Cossac like me can appal a cuirassier. 
Your story I did not, could not, know, I thought 
only of a Peri. I wish you had confided in me, 
not for your sake, but mine, and to prevent the 
world from losing a much better poem than my 
own, but which, I yet hope, this clashing will 
not even now deprive them of. * Mine is the work 

* Among the stories intended to be introduced into Lalla 
Rookh, which I had begun, but, from various causes, never 
finished, there was one which I had made some progress in, at 
the time of the appearance of " The Bride," and which, on 
reading that poem, I found to contain such singular coin- 
cidences with it, not only in locality and costume, but in plot and 
characters, that I immediately gave up my story altogether, and 
began another on an entirely new subject, the Fire- worshippers. 
To this circumstance, which I immediately communicated to 
him, Lord Byron alludes in this letter. In my hero (to whom 
I had even given the name of " Zelim," and who was a 
descendant of Ali, outlawed, with all his followers, by the 
reigning Caliph) it was my intention to shadow out, as I did 
afterwards in another form, the national cause of Ireland. To 
quote the words of my letter to Lord Byron on the subject : 
" I chose this story because one writes best about what one 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 251 

of a week, written, why I have partly told you, 
and partly I cannot tell you by letter some day I 

" Go on I shall really be very unhappy if I at 
all interfere with you. The success of mine is yet 
problematical ; though the public will probably pur- 
chase a certain quantity, on the presumption of their 
own propensity for * The Giaour ' and such ' horrid 
mysteries.' The only advantage I have is being on 
the spot ; and that merely amounts to saving me the 
trouble of turning over books which I had better 
read again. If your chamber was furnished in the 
same way, you have no need to go there to describe 
I mean only as to accuracy because I drew it 
from recollection. 

** This last thing of mine may have the same fate, 
and I assure you I have great doubts about it. But, 
even if not, its little day will be over before you are 
ready and willing. Come out * screw your courage 
to the sticking-place.' Except the Post Bag (and 
surely you cannot complain of a want of success 
there), you have not been regularly out for some 
years. No man stands higher, whatever you may 
think on a rainy day, in your provincial retreat. 
* Aucun homme, dans aucune langue, n'a ete, peut- 
etre, plus completement le poe'te du coeur et le poe'te 
des femmes. Les critiques lui reprochent de n'avoir 

feels most, and I thought the parallel with Ireland would 
enable me to infuse some vigour into my hero's character. 
But to aim at vigour and strong feeling after you is hopeless; 
that region < was made for Caesar.' " 

252 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

represented le monde ni tel qu'il est, ni tel qu'il doit 
etre ; mats lesfemmes repondent qu'il Va represents tel 
quelles le desirent.' I should have thought Sismondi 
had written this for you instead of Metastasio. 

" Write to me, and tell me of yourself. Do you 
remember what Rousseau said to some one * Have 
we quarrelled? you have talked to me often, and 
never once mentioned yourself.' 

" P. S. The last sentence is an indirect apology 
for my own egotism, but I believe in letters it is 
allowed. I wish it was mutual. I have met with 
an odd reflection in Grimm ; it shall not at least 
the bad part be applied to you or me, though one 
of us has certainly an indifferent name but this it 
is : * Many people have the reputation of being 
wicked, with whom we should be too happy to pass 
our lives.' I need not add it is a woman's saying 
a Mademoiselle de Sommery's." 

At this time Lord Byron commenced a Journal, 
or Diary, from the pages of which I have already 
selected a few extracts, and of which I shall now lay 
as much more as is producible before the reader. 
Employed chiefly, .as such a record, from its nature, 
must be, about persons still living, and occurrences 
still recent, it would be impossible, of course, to 
submit it to the public eye, without the omission of 
some portion of its contents, and unluckily, too, of 
that very portion which, from its reference to the 
secret pursuits and feelings of the writer, would the 
most livelily pique and gratify the curiosity of the 
reader. Enough, however, will, I trust, still remain, 


even after all this necessary winnowing, to enlarge 
still further the view we have here opened into the 
interior of the poet's life and habits, and to indulge 
harmlessly that taste, as general as it is natural, 
which leads us to contemplate with pleasure a great 
mind in its undress, and to rejoice in the discovery, 
so consoling to human pride, that even the mightiest, 
in their moments of ease and weakness, resemble 


" If this had been begun ten years ago, and faith- 
fully kept ! ! ! heigho ! there are too many things 
I wish never to have remembered, as it is. Well, 
I have had my share of what are called the pleasures 
of this life, and have seen more of the European 
and Asiatic world than I have made a good use of. 
They say ' Virtue is its own reward,' it certainly 
should be paid well for its trouble. At five-and- 
twenty, when the better part of life is over, one 
should be something; and what am I ? nothing but 
five-and-twenty and the odd months. What have 
I seen ? the same man all over the world, ay, and 
woman too. Give me a Mussulman who never asks 
questions, and a she of the same race who saves 
one the trouble of putting them. But for this 
same plague yellow fever and Newstead delay, I 

* " C'est surtout aux hommes qui sont hors de toute com- 
paraison par le gnie qu'on aime a ressembler au moins par les 
foiblesses." GINGUENE. 

254? NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

should have been by this time a second time close 
to the Euxine. If I can overcome the last, I don't 
so much mind your pestilence; and, at any rate, 
the spring shall see me there, provided I neither 
marry myself, nor unmarry any one else in the in- 
terval. I wish one was I don't know what I wish. 
It is odd I never set myself seriously to wishing 
without attaining it and repenting. I begin to 
believe with the good old Magi, that one should 
only pray for the nation, and not for the individual ; 
but, on my principle, this would not be very pa- 

u No more reflections. Let me see last night 
I finished ' Zuleika,' my second Turkish Tale. I 
believe the composition of it kept me alive for it 
was written to drive my thoughts from the recol- 
lection of 

' Dear sacred name, rest ever unreveal'd.' 

At least, even here, my hand would tremble to write 
it. This afternoon I have burnt the scenes of my 
commenced comedy. I have some idea of expec- 
torating a romance, or rather a tale in prose ; but 
what romance could equal the events 

' quaeque ipse vidi, 

Et quorum pars magna fui.' 

" To-day Henry Byron called on me with my 
little cousin Eliza. She will grow up a beauty and 
a plague ; but, in the mean time, it is the prettiest 
child ! dark eyes and eyelashes, black and long as 
the wing of a raven. I think she is prettier even 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 255 

than my niece, Georgina, yet I don't like to think 
so neither ; and though older, she is not so clever. 

" Dallas called before I was up, so we did not 
meet. Lewis, too, who seems out of humour with 
every thing. What can be the matter ? he is not 
married has he lost his own mistress, or any other 
person's wife ? Hodgson, too, came. He is going 
to be married, and he is the kind of man who will 
be the happier. He has talent, cheerfulness, every 
thing that can make him a pleasing companion ; and 
his intended is handsome and young, and all that. 
But I never see any one much improved by matri- 
mony. All my coupled contemporaries are bald 
and discontented. W. and S. have both lost their 
hair and good humour ; and the last of the two had 
a good deal to lose. But it don't much signify what 
falls off a man's temples in that state. 

" Mem. I must get a toy to-morrow, for Eliza, and 
send the device for the seals of myself and ***** 
Mem. too, to call on the Stae'l and Lady Holland 
to-morrow, and on * *, who has advised me (without 
seeing it, by the by) not to publish 'Zuleika;' I 
believe he is right, but experience might have taught 
him that not to print is physically impossible. No 
one has seen it but Hodgson and Mr. Gifford. I 
never in my life read a composition, save to Hodg- 
son, as he pays me in kind. It is a horrible thing 
to do too frequently ; better print, and they who 
like may read, and if they don't like, you have the 
satisfaction of knowing that they have, at least, pur- 
chased the right of saying so. 

" I have declined presenting the Debtors' Petition, 



being sick of parliamentary mummeries. I have 
spoken thrice ; but I doubt my ever becoming an 
orator. My first was liked ; the second and third 
I don't know whether they succeeded or not. I 
have never yet set to it con amore; one must have 
some excuse to one's self for laziness, or inability, or 
both, and this is mine. * Company, villanous com- 
pany, hath been the spoil of me ;' and then, I have 

* drunk medicines,' not to make me love others, but 
certainly enough to hate myself* 

" Two nights ago I saw the tigers sup at Exeter 
'Change. Except Veli Pacha's lion in the Morea, 
who followed the Arab keeper like a dog, the 
fondness of the hyaena for her keeper amused me 
most. Such a conversazione I There was a ' hip- 
popotamus/ like Lord L 1 in the face ; and the 

* Ursine Sloth ' hath the very voice and manner of 
my valet but the tiger talked too much. The 
elephant took and gave me my money again took 
off my hat opened a door trunked a whip and 
behaved so well, that I wish he was my butler. The 
handsomest animal on earth is one of the panthers ; 
but the poor antelopes were dead. I should hate 
to see one here: the sight of the camel made me 
pine again for Asia Minor. * Oh quando te aspi- 
ciam ? ' 

" November 16. 

" Went last night with Lewis to see the first of 
Antony and Cleopatra. It was admirably got up, 
and well acted a salad of Shakspeare and Dry den. 
Cleopatra strikes me as the epitome of her sex 


fond, lively, sad, tender, teasing, humble, haughty, 
beautiful, the devil ! coquettish to the last, as well 
with the * asp' as with Antony. After doing all she 
can to persuade him that but why do they abuse 
him for cutting off that poltroon Cicero's head? 
Did not Tully tell Brutus it was a pity to have 
spared Antony ? and did he not speak the Philippics? 
and are not 'words things?' and such * words' very 
pestilent 'things' too? If he had had a hundred 
heads, they deserved (from Antony) a rostrum (his 
was stuck up there) apiece though, after all, he 
might as well have pardoned him, for the credit of 
the ' thing. But to resume Cleopatra, after se- 
curing him,, says, ' yet go it is your interest,' &c. 

how like the sex ! and the questions about Octa- 
via it is woman all over. 

" To-day received Lord Jersey's invitation to Mid- 
dleton to travel sixty miles to meet Madame * * ! 
I once travelled three thousand to get among silent 
people ; and this same lady writes octavos, and talks 
folios. I have read her books like most of them, 
and delight in the last ; so I won't hear it, as well as 

" Read Burns to-day. What would he have been, 
if a patrician ? We should have had more polish 
less force just as much verse, but no immortality 

a divorce and a duel or two, the which had he 
survived, as his potations must have been less spi- 
rituous, he might have lived as long as Sheridan, 
and outlived as much as poor Brinsley. What a 
wreck is that man ! and all from bad pilotage ; for 


258 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

no one had ever better gales, though now and then 
a little too squally. Poor dear Sherry ! I shall 
never forget the day he and Rogers and Moore and 
I passed together ; when lie talked, and we listened, 
without one yawn, from six till one in the morning. 

" Got my seals ****** Have again forgot a 
plaything for ma petite cousine Eliza; but I must 
send for it to-morrow. I hope Harry will bring her 
to me. I sent Lord Holland the proofs of the last 
* Giaour,' and The Bride of Abydos.' He won't 
like the latter, and I don't think that I shall long. 
It was written in four nights to distract my dreams 
from * *. Were it not thus, it had never been com- 
posed ; and had I not done something at that time, 
I must have gone mad, by eating my own heart, 
bitter diet ! Hodgson likes it better than ( The 
Giaour,' but nobody else will, and he never liked 
the Fragment. I am sure, had it not been for 
Murray, that would never have been published, 
though the circumstances which are the ground- 
work make it * * * heigh-ho ! 

" To-night I saw both the sisters of * * ; my God ! 
the youngest so like ! I thought I should have sprung 
across the house, and am so glad no one was with 
me in Lady H.'s box. I hate those likenesses the 
mock-bird, but not the nightingale so like as to 
remind, so different as to be painful.* One quarrels 

* " Earth holds no other like to thee, 
Or, if it doth, in vain for me : 
For worlds I dare not view the dame 
Resembling thee, yet not the same." 



equally with the points of resemblance and of dis- 

Nov. 17. 

" No letter from * * ; but I must not complain. 
The respectable Job says, ' Why should a living man 
complain ? ' I really don't know, except it be that a 
dead man can't ; arid he, the said patriarch, did com- 
plain, nevertheless, till his friends were tired and his 
wife recommended that pious prologue, ' Curse 
and die ;' the only time, I suppose, when but little 
relief is to be found in swearing. I have had a most 
kind letter from Lord Holland on ' The Bride of 
Abydos,' which he likes, and so does Lady H. This 
is very good-natured in both, from whom I don't 
deserve any quarter. Yet I did think, at the time, 
that my cause of enmity proceeded from Holland 
House, and am glad I was wrong, and wish I had 
not been in such a hurry with that confounded 
satire, of which I would suppress even the memory; 

but people, now they can't get it, make a fuss, I 
verily believe, out of contradiction. 

" George Ellis and Murray have been talking 
something about Scott and me, George pro Scoto, 

and very right too. If they want to depose him, 
I only wish they would not set me up as a com- 
petitor. Even if I had my choice, I would rather 
be the Earl of Warwick than all the kings he ever 
made ! Jeffrey and Gifford I take to be the mo- 
narch-makers in poetry and prose. The British 
Critic, in their Rokeby Review, have presupposed 
a comparison, which I am sure my friends never 

s 2 

260 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

thought of, and W. Scott's subjects are injudicious 
in descending to. I like the man and admire his 
works to what Mr. Braham calls Entusymusy. All 
such stuff can only vex him, and do me no good. 
Many hate his politics (I hate all politics) ; and, 
here, a man's politics are like the Greek soul an 
siSwXov, besides God knows what other soul; but 
their estimate of the two generally go together. 

" Harry has not brought ma petite cousine. I 
want us to go to the play together ; she has been 
but once. Another short note from Jersey, inviting 
Rogers and me on the 23d. I must see my agent 
to-night. I wonder when that Newstead business 
will be finished. It cost me more than words to 
part with it and to have parted with it ! What 
matters it what I do ? or what becomes of me ? 
but let me remember Job's saying, and console my- 
self with being f a living man.' 

" I wish I could settle to reading again, my 
life is monotonous, and yet desultory. I take up 
books, and fling them down again. I began a co- 
medy, and burnt it because the scene ran into reality; 
a novel, for the same reason. In rhyme, I can 
keep more away from facts ; but the thought always 

runs through, through yes, yes, through. I 

have had a letter from Lady Melbourne the best 
friend I ever had in my life, and the cleverest of 

" Not a word from * *. Have they set out from 
* * ? or has my last precious epistle fallen into the 
lion's jaws ? If so and this silence looks suspi- 
cious, I must clap on my ' musty morion ' and ' hold 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 261 

out my iron.' I am out of practice but I won't 
begin again at Manton's now. Besides, I would 
not return his shot. I was once a famous wafer- 
splitter; but then the bullies of society made it 
necessary. Ever since I began to feel that I had a 
bad cause to support, I have left off the exercise. 

" What strange tidings from that Anakim of 
anarchy Buonaparte ! Ever since I defended my 
bust of him at Harrow against the rascally time- 
servers, when the war broke out in 1803, he has 
been a ' Heros de Roman ' of mine on the Con- 
tinent; I don't want him here. But I don't like 
those same flights leaving of armies, &c. &c. I 
am sure when I fought for his bust at school, I did 
not think he would run away from himself. But I 
should not wonder if he banged them yet. To be 
beat by men would be something; but by three 
stupid, legitimate-old-dynasty boobies of regular- 
bred sovereigns O-hone-a-rie ! O-hone-a-rie ! It 
must be, as Cobbett says, his marriage with the 
thick-lipped and thick-headed Autrichienne brood. 
He had better have kept to her who was kept by 
Barras. I never knew any good come of your young 
wife, and legal espousals, to any but your * sober- 
blooded boy' who * eats fish' and drinketh * no sack.' 
Had he not the whole opera? all Paris? all France? 
But a mistress is just as perplexing that is, one 
two or more are manageable by division. 

'* I have begun, or had begun, a song, and flung 

it into the fire. It was in remembrance of Mary 

Duff, my first of flames, before most people begin to 

burn. I wonder what the devil is the matter with 

s 3 

262 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

me ! I can do nothing, and fortunately there is 
nothing to do. It has lately been in my power to 
make two persons (and their connections) comfort- 
able, pro tempore, and one happy, ex tempore, I 
rejoice in the last particularly, as it is an excellent 
man.* I wish there had been more inconvenience 
and less gratification to my self-love in it, for then 
there had been more merit. We are all selfish 
and I believe, ye gods of Epicurus ! I believe in 
Rochefoucault about men, and in Lucretius (not 
Busby's translation) about yourselves. Your bard 
has made you very nonchalant and blest ; but as he 
has excused us from damnation, I don't envy you 
your blessedness much a little, to be sure. I re- 
member, last year, * * said to me, at * *, ( Have we 
not passed our last month like the gods of Lucretius? ' 
And so we had. She is an adept in the text of the 
original (which I like too) ; and when that booby 
Bus. sent his translating prospectus, she subscribed. 
But, the devil prompting him to add a specimen, 
she transmitted him a subsequent answer, saying, 
that ' after perusing it, her conscience would not 
permit her to allow her name to remain on the list 
of subscribblers.' Last night, at Lord H.'s 
Mackintosh, the Ossulstones, Puysegur, &c. there 
I was trying to recollect a quotation (as / think) 
of StaeTs, from some Teutonic sophist about archi- 
tecture. * Architecture,' says this Macoronico Te- 
descho, ' reminds me of frozen music.' It is some- 
where but where ? the demon of perplexity 

* Evidently, Mr. Hodgson. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 263 

must know and won't tell. I asked M., and he said 

it was not in her : but P r said it must be hers, 

it was so like. H. laughed, as he does at all De 
1' Allemagne,' in which, however, I think he goes 
a little too far. B., I hear, contemns it too. But 
there are fine passages; and, after all, what is a 
work any or every work but a desert with 
fountains, and, perhaps, a grove or two, every day's 
journey? To be sure, in Madame, what we often 
mistake, and ' pant for,' as the * cooling stream,' turns 
out to be the * mirage' (critice verbiage] ; but we do, 
at last, get to something like the temple of Jove 
Ammon, and then the waste we have passed is only 
remembered to gladden the contrast. 

" Called on C * *, to explain * * *. She is very 
beautiful, to my taste, at least ; for on coming home 
from abroad, I recollect being unable to look at any 
woman but her they were so fair, and unmeaning, 
and blonde. The darkness and regularity of her 
features reminded me of my Jannat al Aden.' But 
this impression wore off; and now I can look at a 
fair woman, without longing for a Houri. She was 
very good-tempered, and every thing was explained. 

" To-day, great news * the Dutch have taken 
Holland,' which, I suppose, will be succeeded by 
the actual explosion of the Thames. Five provinces 
have declared for young Stadt, and there will be in- 
undation, conflagration, constupration, consternation, 
and every sort of nation and nations, fighting away, 
up to their knees, in the damnable quags of this 
will-o'-the-wisp abode of Boors. It is said Berna- 
dotte is amongst them, too ; and, as Orange will be 

264? NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

there soon, they will have (Crown) Prince Stork and 
King Log in their Loggery at the same time. Two 
to one on the new dynasty ! 

" Mr. Murray has offered me one thousand guineas 
for < The Giaour' and < The Bride of Abydos.' I 
won't it is too much, though I am strongly 
tempted, merely for the say of it. No bad price 
for a fortnight's (a week each) what ? the gods 
know it was intended to be called poetry. 

" I have dined regularly to-day, for the first time 
since Sunday last this being Sabbath, too. All 
the rest, tea and dry biscuits six per diem. I wish 
to God I had not dined now ! It kills me with 
heaviness, stupor, and horrible dreams ; and yet 
it was but a pint of bucellas, and fish.* Meat I 
never touch, nor much vegetable diet. I wish I 
were in the country, to take exercise, instead of 
being obliged to cool by abstinence, in lieu of it. I 
should not so much mind a little accession of flesh, 
my bones can well bear it. But the worst is, 
the devil always came with it, till I starved him 
out, and I will not be the slave of any appetite. 
If I do err, it shall be my heart, at least, that 
heralds the way. Oh, my head how it aches ? 
the horrors of digestion ! I wonder how Buonaparte's 
dinner agrees with him ? 

" Mem. I must write to-morrow to ' Master 
Shallow, who owes me a thousand pounds,' and 

* He had this year so far departed from his strict plan of 
diet as to eat fish occasionally. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 265 

seems, in his letter, afraid I should ask him for it * ; 
as if I would ! I don't want it (just now, at 
least,) to begin with; and though I have often wanted 
that sum, I never asked for the repayment of WL 
in my life from a friend. His bond is not due 
this year, and I told him when it was, I should not 
enforce it. How often must he make me say the 
same thing? 

" I am wrong I did once ask ***-]- to repay 
me. But it was under circumstances that excused 
me to him, and would to any one. I took no interest, 
nor required security. He paid me soon, at 
least, his padre. My head ! I believe it was given 
me to ache with. Good even. 

" Nov. 22. 1813. 

" f Orange Boven ! ' So the bees have expelled 
the bear that broke open their hive. Well, if we 
are to have new De Witts and De Ruyters, God 
speed the little republic ! I should like to see the 
Hague and the village of Brock, where they have 
such primitive habits. Yet, I don't know, their 
canals would cut a poor figure by the memory of 
the Bosphorus ; and the Zuyder Zee look awkwardly 
after < Ak-Denizi.' No matter, the bluff burghers, 
puffing freedom out of their short tobacco-pipes, 

* We have here another instance, in addition to the munifi- 
cent aid afforded to Mr. Hodgson, of the generous readiness of 
the poet, notwithstanding his own limited means, to make the 
resources he possessed available for the assistance of his 

f Left blank thus in the original. 

266 NOTICES OF THE 1813, 

might be worth seeing ; though I prefer a cigar or 
a hooka, with the rose-leaf mixed with the milder 
herb of the Levant. I don't know what liberty 
means, never having seen it, but wealth is 
power all over the world ; and as a shilling performs 
the duty of a pound (besides sun and sky and beauty 
for nothing) in the East, thai is the country. 
How I envy Herodes Atticus ! more than Pom- 
ponius. And yet a little tumult, now and then, is 
an agreeable quickener of sensation ; such as a 
revolution, a battle, or an aventure of any lively 
description. I think I rather would have been Bon- 
neval, Ripperda, Alberoni, Hayreddin, or Horuc Bar- 
barossa, or even Wortley Montague, than Mahomet 

" Rogers will be in town soon? the 23d is fixed 
for our Middleton visit. Shall I go ? umph ! In 
this island, where one can't ride out without over- 
taking the sea, it don't much matter where one goes. 

" I remember the effect of the first Edinburgh 
Review on me. I heard of it six weeks before, 
read it the day of its denunciation, dined and 
drank three bottles of claret, (with S. B. Davies, I 
think,) neither ate nor slept the less, but, neverthe- 
less, was not easy till I had vented my wrath and 
my rhyme, in the same pages, against every thing 
and every body. Like George, in the Vicar of 
Wakefield, ' the fate of my paradoxes' would allow 
me to perceive no merit in another. I remembered 
only the maxim of my boxing-master, which, in my 
youth, was found useful in all general riots, 
' Whoever is not for you is against you mill away 


right and left,' and so I did ; like Ishmael, my 
hand was against all men, and all men's anent me. 
I did wonder, to be sure, at my own success 

" ' And marvels so much wit is all his own,* 

as Hobhouse sarcastically says of somebody (not un- 
likely myself, as we are old friends); but were it to 
come over again, I would not. I have since redde* 
the cause of my couplets, and it is not adequate to 
the effect. C * * told me that it was believed I al- 
luded to poor Lord Carlisle's nervous disorder in one 
of the lines. I thank Heaven I did not know it 
and would not, could not, if I had. I must naturally 
be the last person to be pointed on defects or ma- 

" Rogers is silent, and, it is said, severe. When 
he does talk, he talks well ; and, on all subjects of 
taste, his delicacy of expression is pure as his poetry. 
If you enter his house his drawing-room his 
library you of yourself say, this is not the dwell- 
ing of a common mind. There is not a gem, a coin, 
a book thrown aside on his chimney-piece, his sofa, 
his table, that does not bespeak an almost fastidious 
elegance in the possessor. But this very delicacy 
must be the misery of his existence. Oh the jar- 
rings his disposition must have encountered through 

" Southey, I have not seen much of. His appear- 
ance is Epic; and he is the only existing entire man 
of letters. All the others have some pursuit annexed 

* It was thus that he, in general, spelled this word. 

268 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

to their authorship. His manners are mild, but not 
those of a man of the world, and his talents of the 
first order. His prose is perfect. Of his poetry 
there are various opinions : there is, perhaps, too 
much of it for the present generation ; posterity 
will probably select. He has passages equal to any 
thing. At present, he has a party, but no public 
except for his prose writings. The life of Nelson is 

" * * is a Litterateur, the Oracle of the Coteries, 
of the * * s, L* W* (Sydney Smith's ' Tory Vir- 
gin'), Mrs. Wilmot, (she, at least, is a swan, and 
might frequent a purer stream,) Lady B * *, and all 
the Blues, with Lady C * * at their head but I 
say nothing of her ' look in her face and you for- 
get them all/ and every thing else. Oh that face ! 
by ' te, Diva potens Cypri,' I would, to be beloved 
by that woman, build and burn another Troy. 

" M * * e has a peculiarity of talent, or rather 
talents, poetry, music, voice, all his own ; and an 
expression in each, which never was, nor will be, 
possessed by another. But he is capable of still 
higher flights in poetry. By the by, what humour, 
what every thing, in the Post-Bag ! ' There is 
nothing M * * e may not do, if he will but seriously 
set about it. In society, he is gentlemanly, gentle, 
and, altogether, more pleasing than any individual 
with whom I am acquainted. For his honour, prin- 
ciple, and independence, his conduct to * * * * 
speaks * trumpet- tongued.' He has but one fault 
and that one I daily regret he is not here. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 269 

" Nov. 23. 

"Ward -I like Ward.* By Mahomet! I begin 
to think I like every body; a disposition not to be 
encouraged ; a sort of social gluttony that swal- 
lows every thing set before it. But I like Ward. He 
is piquant ; and, in my opinion, will stand very high 
in the House, and every where else, if he applies 
regularly. By the by, I dine with him to-morrow, 
which may have some influence on my opinion. It 
is as well not to trust one's gratitude after dinner. 
I have heard many a host libelled by his guests, 
with his burgundy yet reeking on their rascally lips. 

" I have taken Lord Salisbury's box at Covent 
Garden for the season ; and now I must go and 
prepare to join Lady Holland and party, in theirs, at 
Drury Lane, questa sera. 

"Holland doesn't think the man is Junius ; but 
that the yet unpublished journal throws great light 
on the obscurities of that part of George the Se- 
cond's reign. What is this to George the Third's? 
I don't know what to think. Why should Junius be 
yet dead? If suddenly apoplexed, would he rest in 
his grave without sending his ctSwXov to shout in 
the ears of posterity, * Junius was X. Y. Z., Esq., 
buried in the parish of * * *. Repair his monu- 
ment, ye churchwardens ! Print a new edition of 
his Letters, ye booksellers ! ' Impossible, the man 
must be alive, and will never die without the disclo- 
sure. I like him ; he was a good hater. 

* The present Lord Dudley. 

270 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

" Came home unwell and went to bed, not so 
sleepy as might be desirable. 

" Tuesday morning. 

" I awoke from a dream ! well ! and have not 
others dreamed ? Such a dream ! but she did not 
overtake me. I wish the dead would rest, however. 
Ugh ! how my blood chilled and I could not wake 

and and heigho ! 

" ' Shadows to-night 

Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard, 
Than could the substance of ten thousand * * s, 
Arm'd all in proof, and led by shallow * *.' 

I do not like this dream, I hate its ' foregone 
conclusion.' And am I to be shaken by shadows ? 
Ay, when they remind us of no matter but, if 
I dream thus again, I will try whether all sleep has 
the like visions. Since I rose, I've been in con- 
siderable bodily pain also ; but it is gone, and now, 
like Lord Ogleby, I am wound up for the day. 
" A note from Mountnorris I dine with Ward ; 

Canning is to be there, Frere and Sharpe, 
perhaps Gifford. I am to be one of ' the five ' (or 
rather six), as Lady * * said a little sneeringly 
yesterday. They are all good to meet, particularly 
Canning, and Ward, when he likes. I wish I 
may be well enough to listen to these intellectuals. 

" No letters to-day ; so much the better, there 
are no answers. I must not dream again; it 
spoils even reality. I will go out of doors, and see 
what the fog will do for me. Jackson has been 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 2?l 

here : the boxing world much as usual ; but the 
club increases. I shall dine at Crib's to-morrow. I 
like energy even animal energy of all kinds ; 
and I have need of both mental and corporeal. I 
have not dined out, nor, indeed, at all, lately ; have 
heard no music have seen nobody. Now for a 
plunge high life and low life. * Amant alter na 
Camcense ! ' 

" I have burnt my Roman as I did the first 
scenes and sketch of my comedy and, for aught 
I see, the pleasure of burning is quite as great as 
that of printing. These two last would not have 
done. I ran into realities more than ever ; and 
some would have been recognised and others 
guessed at. 

" Redde the Ruminator a collection of Essays, 
by a strange, but able, old man (Sir E. B.), and a 
half-wild young one, author of a poem on the 
Highlands, called * Childe Alarique.' The word 
* sensibility ' (always my aversion) occurs a thou- 
sand times in these Essays ; and, it seems, is to be 
an excuse for all kinds of discontent. This young 
man can know nothing of life ; and, if he cherishes 
the disposition which runs through his papers, will 
become useless, and, perhaps, not even a poet, after 
all, which he seems determined to be. God help 
him ! no one should be a rhymer who could be 
any thing better. And this is what annoys one, to 
see Scott and Moore, and Campbell and Rogers, 
who might have all been agents and leaders, now 
mere spectators. For, though they may have other 
ostensible avocations, these last are reduced to a 


secondary consideration. * *, too, frittering away 
his time among dowagers and unmarried girls. If 
it advanced any serious affair, it were some excuse ; 
but, with the unmarried, that is a hazardous specu- 
lation, and tiresome enough, too ; and, with the 
veterans, it is not much worth trying, unless, per- 
haps, one in a thousand. 

" If I had any views in this country, they would 
probably be parliamentary. But I have no am- 
bition ; at least, if any, it would be ' aut Caesar aut 
nihil.' My hopes are limited to the arrangement 
of my affairs, and settling either in Italy or the 
East (rather the last), and drinking deep of the 
languages and literature of both. Past events have 
unnerved me ; and all I can now do is to make life 
an amusement, and look on while others play. 
After all, even the highest game of crowns and 
sceptres, what is it ? Vide Napoleon's last twelve- 
month. It has completely upset my system of 
fatalism. I thought, if crushed, he would have 
fallen, when ' fractus illabitur orbis,' and not have 
been pared away to gradual insignificance ; that all 
this was not a mere jeu of the gods, but a prelude 
to greater changes and mightier events. But men 
never advance beyond a certain point ; and here we 
are, retrograding to the dull, stupid old system, 
balance of Europe poising straws upon kings' 
noses, instead of wringing them off! Give me a 
republic, or a despotism of one, rather than the 
mixed government of one, two, three. A republic! 
look in the history of the Earth Rome, Greece, 
Venice, France, Holland, America, our short (eheu I) 

1813. LIVE OF LORD BYRON. 273 

Commonwealth, and compare it with what they did 
under masters. The Asiatics are not qualified to 
be republicans, but they have the liberty of de- 
molishing despots, which is the next thing to it. 
To be the first man not the Dictator not the 
Sylla, but the Washington or the Aristides the 
leader in talent and truth is next to the Divinity ! 
Franklin, Penn, and, next to these, either Brutus 
or Cassius even Mirabeau or St. Just. I shall 
never be any thing, or rather always be nothing. 
The most I can hope is, that some will say, He 
might, perhaps, if he would.' 

" 12, midnight. 

" Here are two confounded proofs from the 
printer. I have looked at the one, but for the soul 
of me, I can't look over that ' Giaour ' again, at 
least, just now, and at this hour and yet there is 
no moon. 

" Ward talks of going to Holland, and we have 
partly discussed an ensemble expedition. It must 
be in ten days, if at all, if we wish to be in at the 
Revolution. And why not? * * is distant, and 
will be at * *, still more distant, till spring. No 
one else, except Augusta, cares for me ; no ties 
no trammels andiamo dunque se torniamo, bene 
se non, cK importa? Old W T illiam of Orange 
talked of dying in the last ditch ' of his dingy 
country. It is lucky I can swim, or I suppose I 
should not well weather the first. But let us see. 
I have heard hyaenas and jackalls in the ruins of 
Asia ; and bull-frogs in the marshes ; besides wolves 


274- NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

and angry Mussulmans. Now, I should like 
listen to the shout of a free Dutchman. 

" Alia ! Viva ! For ever ! Hourra ! Huzza ! 
which is the most rational or musical of these cries ? 
' Orange Boven,' according to the Morning Post. 

41 Wednesday, 24. 

" No dreams last night of the dead nor the living, 
so I am firm as the marble, founded as the 
rock/ till the next earthquake. 

" Ward's dinner went off well. There was not a 
disagreeable person there unless /offended any 
body, which I am sure I could not by contradiction, 
lor~T~saTd little, and opposed nothing. Sharpe (a 
man of elegant mind, and who has lived much with 
the best Fox, Home Tooke, Windham, Fitz- 
patrick, and all the agitators of other times and 
tongues,) told us the particulars of his last interview 
with Windham, a few days before the fatal oper- 
ation which sent ' that gallant spirit to aspire the 
skies.' Windham, the first in one department of 
oratory and talent, whose only fault was his refine- 
ment beyond the intellect of half his hearers, 
Windham, half his life an active participator in the 
events of the earth, and one of those who governed 
nations, he regretted, and dwelt much on that 
regret, that * he had not entirely devoted himself 
to literature and science ! ! ! ' His mind certainly 
would have carried him to eminence there, as else- 
where ; but I cannot comprehend what debility 
of that mind could suggest such a wish. I, who 
have heard him, cannot regret any thing but that J 

,1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 275 

shall never hear him again. What ! would he have 
been a plodder ? a metaphysician ? perhaps a 
rhymer? a scribbler? Such an exchange must 
have been suggested by illness. But he is gone, 
and Time * shall not look upon his like again.' 

" 1 am tremendously in arrear with my letters, 
except to * *, and to her my thoughts overpower 
me : my words never compass them. To Lady 
Melbourne I write with most pleasure and her 
answers, so sensible, so tactique I never met with 
half her talent. If she had been a few years 
younger, what a fool she would have made of me, 
had she thought it worth her while, and I should 
have lost a valuable and most agreeable friend. 
Mem. a mistress never is nor can be a friend. 
While you agree, you are lovers ; and, when it is 
over, any thing but friends. 

" I have not answered W. Scott's last letter, but 
I will. I regret to hear from others that he has 
lately been unfortunate in pecuniary involvements. 
He is undoubtedly the Monarch of Parnassus, and 
the most English of bards. I should place Rogers 
next in the living list (I value him more as the last 
of the best school) Moore and Campbell both 
third Southey and Wordsworth and Coleridge 
the rest, o* wo\Xoi thus : 








There is a triangular * Gradus ad Parnassum ! ' 
the names are too numerous for the base of the tri- 
angle. Poor Thurlow has gone wild about the 
poetry of Queen Bess's reign cest dommage. I 
have ranked the names upon my triangle more upon 
what I believe popular opinion, than any decided 
opinion of my own. For, to me, some of M * * e's 
last Erin sparks ' As a beam o'er the face of the 
waters ' * When he who adores thee ' 'Oh 
blame not' and ' Oh breathe not his name' 
are worth all the Epics that ever were composed. 

" * * thinks the Quarterly will attack me next. 
Let them. I have been ' peppered so highly ' in 
my time, both ways, that it must be cayenne or 
aloes to make me taste. I can sincerely say that I 
am not very much alive now to criticism. But 
in tracing this I rather believe, that it proceeds 
from my not attaching that importance to author- 

1813. LIFE OP LORD BYRON, 277 

ship which many do, and which, when young, I did 
also. ' One gets tired of every thing, my angel,' 
says Valmont. The ' angels ' are the only things of 
which I am not a little sick but I do think the 
preference of writers to agents the mighty stir 
made about scribbling and scribes, by themselves 
and others a sign of effeminacy, degeneracy, and 
weakness. Who would write, who had any thing 
better to do ? * Action action action' said 
Demosthenes : ( Actions actions,' I say, and not 
writing, least of all, rhyme. Look at the queru- 
lous and monotonous lives of the * genus;' except 
Cervantes, Tasso, Dante, Ariosto, Kleist (who were 
brave and active citizens), ^Eschylus, Sophocles, 
and some other of the antiques also what a worth- 
less, idle brood it is ! 

*' 12, Mezza notte. 

" Just returned from dinner with Jackson (the 
Emperor of Pugilism) and another of the select, at 
Crib's the champion's. I drank more than I like, 
and have brought away some three bottles of very 
fair claret for I have no headach. We had Tom 
* * up after dinner; very facetious, though some- 
what prolix. He don't like his situation wants 
to fight again pray Pollux (or Castor, if he was 
the miller) he may ! Tom has been a sailor a coal 
heaver and some other genteel profession, before 
he took to the cestus. Tom has been in action at 
sea, and is now only three-and-thirty. A great 
man ! has a wife and a mistress, and conversations 
T 3 

278 NOTICES OF THE 1813.' 

well bating some sad omissions and misapplica- 
tions of the aspirate. Tom is an old friend of mine ; 
I have seen some of his best battles in my nonage. 
He is now a publican, and, I fear, a sinner ; for 
Mrs. * * is on alimony, and * * 's daughter lives with 
the champion. This * * told me, Tom, having an 
opinion of my morals, passed her off as a legal spouse. 
Talking of her, he said, < she was the truest of 
women' from which I immediately inferred she 
could not be his wife, and so it turned out. 

"These panegyrics don't belong to matrimony; 
for, if l true,' a man don't think it necessary to say 
so ; and if not, the less he says the better. * * * * is 
the only man, except ****,! ever heard harangue 
upon his wife's virtue ; and I listened to both with 
great credence and patience, and stuffed my hand- 
kerchief into my mouth, when I found yawning 
irresistible. By the by, I am yawning now so, 
good night to thee. 

" Thursday, November 26. 

" Awoke a little feverish, but no headach no 
dreams neither, thanks to stupor ! Two letters ; one 
from * * * * 's, the other from Lady Melbourne 
both excellent in their respective styles. * * * * 's 
contained also a very pretty lyric on * concealed 
griefs;' if not her own, yet very like her. Why 
did she not say that the stanzas were, or were not, of 
her composition ? I do not know whether to wish 
them hers or not. I have no great esteem for 
poetical persons, particularly women ; they have so 
much of the * ideal ' in practics, as well as ethics. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 279 

" I have been thinking lately a good deal of 
Mary Duff, &c. &c. &c. &c.* 

" Lord Holland invited me to dinner to-day ; but 
three days' dining would destroy me. So, without 
eating at all since yesterday, I went to my box at 
Covent Garden. 

" Saw * * * * looking very pretty, though quite a 
different style of beauty from the other two. She 
has the finest eyes in the world, out of which she 
pretends not to see, and the longest eyelashes I ever 
saw, since Leila's and Phannio's Moslem curtains of 
the light. She has much beauty, just enough, 
but is, I think, mechanic. 

" I have been pondering on the miseries of separ- 
ation, that oh how seldom we see those we love ! 
yet we live ages in moments, when met. The only 
thing that consoles me during absence is the reflec- 
tion that no mental or personal estrangement, from 
ennui or disagreement, can take place ; and when 
people meet hereafter, even though many changes 
may have taken place in the mean time, still, unless 
they are tired of each other, they are ready to re- 
unite, and do not blame each other for the circum- 
stances that severed them. 

" Saturday 27. (I believe or rather am in doubt, 
which is the ne plus ultra of mortal faith. ) 

" I have missed a day ; and, as the Irishman said, 
or Joe Miller says for him, 'have gained a loss,' 
or by the loss. Every thing is settled for Holland, 

* This passage has been already extracted, 
T 4> 

280 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

and nothing but a cough, or a caprice of my fellow- 
traveller's, can stop us. Carriage ordered, funds 
prepared, and, probably, a gale of wind into the 
bargain. N'importe I believe, with Clym o' the 
Clow, or Robin Hood, * By our Mary, (dear name !) 
that art both Mother and May, I think it never was 
a man's lot to die before this day.' Heigh for Hel- 
voetsluys, and so forth ! 

" To-night I went with young Henry Fox to see 
* Nourjahad,' a drama, which the Morning Post 
hath laid to my charge, but of which I cannot even 
guess the author. I wonder what they will next 
inflict upon me. They cannot well sink below a 
melodrama ; but that is better than a Satire, (at 
least, a personal one,) with which I stand truly 
arraigned, and in atonement of which I am resolved 
to bear silently all criticisms, abuses, and even praises, 
for bad pantomimes never composed by me, without 
even a contradictory aspect. I suppose the root of 
this report is my loan to the manager of my Turkish 
drawings for his dresses, to which he was more wel- 
come than to my name. I suppose the real author 
will soon own it, as it has succeeded ; if not, Job be 
my model, and Lethe my beverage ! 

* * * * h as received the portrait safe ; and, in 
answer, the only remark she makes upon it is, ' in- 
deed it is like' and again, ' indeed it is like.' With 
her the likeness { covered a multitude of sins ;' for 
I happen to know that this portrait was not a flat- 
terer, but dark and stern, even black as the mood 
in which my mind was scorching last July, when I 
sat for it. All the others of me, like most portraits 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 281 

whatsoever, are, of course, more agreeable than 

" Redde the Ed. Review of Rogers. He is ranked 
highly ; but where he should be. There is a sum- 
mary view of us all Moore and me among the rest ; 
and both (the first justly) praised though, by im- 
plication (justly again) placed beneath our me- 
morable friend. Mackintosh is the writer, and also 
of the critique on the Stael. His grand essay on 
Burke, I hear, is for the next number. But I know 
nothing of the Edinburgh, or of any other Review, but 
from rumour; and I have long ceased indeed, I 
could not, in justice, complain of any, even though I 
were to rate poetry, in general, and my rhymes in 
particular, more highly than I really do. To with- 
draw myself from myself (oh. that cursed selfishness !) 
has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive 
in scribbling at all ; and publishing is also the con- 
tinuance of the same object, by the action it affords 
to the mind, which else recoils upon itself. If I 
valued fame, I should flatter received opinions, 
which have gathered strength by time, and will yet 
wear longer than any living works to the contrary. 
But, for the soul of me, I cannot and will not give 
the lie to my own thoughts and doubts, come what 
may. If I am a fool, it is, at least, a doubting one ; 
and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved 

" All are inclined to believe what they covet, 
from a lottery-ticket up to a passport to Paradise, 
in which, from the description, I see nothing very 
tempting. My restlessness tells me I have some- 

282 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

thing within that ( passeth show.' It is for Him, 
who made it, to prolong that spark of celestial fire 
which illuminates, yet burns, this frail tenement ; 
but I see no such horror in a dreamless sleep,' and 
I have no conception of any existence which duration 
would not render tiresome. How else ' fell the 
angels,' even according to your creed ? They were 
immortal, heavenly, and happy as their apostate 
Abdiel is now by his treachery. Time must decide ; 
and eternity won't be the less agreeable or more 
horrible because one did not expect it. In the mean 
time, I am grateful for some good, and tolerably 
patient under certain evils grace a Dieu et mon 
bon temperament. 

" Sunday, 28th. 
" Monday, 29th. 

" Tuesday, 30th. 

" Two days missed in my log-book ; hiatus hand 
deflendus. They were as little worth recollection as 
the rest ; and, luckily, laziness or society prevented 
me from notching them. 

" Sunday, I dined with the Lord Holland in St. 
James's Square. Large party among them Sir S. 
llomilly and Lady R y . General Sir Somebody 
Bentham, a man of science and talent, I am told 
Homer the Horner, an Edinburgh Reviewer, an 
excellent speaker in the * Honourable House,' very 
pleasing, too, and gentlemanly in company, as far as 


1 have seen Sharpe Phillips of Lancashire 
Lord John Russell, and others, 'good men and true.' 
Holland's society is very good ; you always see some 
one or other in it worth knowing. Stuffed myself 
with sturgeon, and exceeded in champagne and wine 
in general, but not to confusion of head. When I 
do dine, I gorge like an Arab or a Boa snake, on fish 
and vegetables, but no meat. I am always better, 
however, on my tea and biscuit than any other re- 
gimen, and even that sparingly. 

" Why does Lady H. always have that damned 
screen between the whole room and the fire ? I, 
who bear cold no better than an antelope, and never 
yet found a sun quite done to my taste, was abso- 
lutely petrified, and could not even shiver. All the 
rest, too, looked as if they were just unpacked, like 
salmon from an ice-basket, and set down to table for 
that day only. When she retired, I watched their 
looks as I dismissed the screen, and every cheek 
thawed, and every nose reddened with the antici- 
pated glow. 

" Saturday, I went with Harry Fox to Nourja- 
had; and, I believe, convinced him, by incessant 
yawning, that it was not mine. I wish the precious 
author would own it, and release me from his fame. 
The dresses are pretty, but not in costume ; Mrs. 
Horn's, all but the turban, and the want of a small 
dagger (if she is a sultana), perfect. I never saw a 
Turkish woman with a turban in my life nor did 
any one else. The sultanas have a small poniard at 
the waist. The dialogue is drowsy the action 

284? NOTICES OP THE 1813. 

heavy the scenery fine the actors tolerable. I 
can't say much for their seraglio Teresa, Phannio, 
or * * * *, were worth them all. 

" Sunday, a very handsome note from Mackintosh, 
who is a rare instance of the union of very tran- 
scendent talent and great good nature. To-day 
(Tuesday) a very pretty billet from M. la Baronne 
de Stael Holstein. She is pleased to be much 
pleased with my mention of her and her last work 
in my notes. I spoke as I thought. Her works 
are my delight, and so is she herself, for half an 
hour. I don't like her politics at least, her having 
changed them; had she been qualis ab incepto, it 
were nothing. But she is a woman by herself, and 
has done more than all the rest of them together, 
intellectually; she ought to have been a man. 
She flatters me very prettily in her note ; but I 
know it. The reason that adulation is not dis- 
pleasing is, that, though untrue, it shows one to be 
of consequence enough, in one way or other, to in-r 
duce people to lie, to make us their friend : that 
is their concern. 

" * * is, I hear, thriving on the repute of a pun 
which was mine (at Mackintosh's dinner some time 
back), on Ward, who was asking < how much it 
would take to re-whig him?' I answered that, 
probably, ' he must first, before he was re-whigged, 
be re-warded.' This foolish quibble, before the 
Stael and Mackintosh, and a number of conversa- 
tioners, has been mouthed about, and at last settled 
on the head of * *, where long may it remain I 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 285 

George * is returned from afloat to get a new 
ship. He looks thin, but better than I expected. I 
like George much more than most people like their 
heirs. He is a fine fellow, and every inch a sailor. 
I would do any thing, but apostatise, to get him on 
in his profession. 

" Lewis called. It is a good and good-humoured 
man, but pestilently prolix and paradoxical and per- 
sonal. If he would but talk half, and reduce his 
visits to an hour, he would add to his popularity. 
As an author he is very good, and his vanity is 
ouverte, like Erskine's, and yet not offending. 

" Yesterday, a very pretty letter from Annabella-f-, 
which I answered. What an odd situation and 
friendship is ours ! without one spark of love on 
either side, and produced by circumstances which 
in general lead to coldness on one side, and aversion 
on the other. She is a very superior woman, and 
very little spoiled, which is strange in an heiress 
a girl of twenty a .peeress that is to be, in her 
own right an only child, and a savante, who has 
always had her own way. She is a poetess a 
mathematician a metaphysician, and yet, withal, 
very kind, generous, and gentle, with very little 
pretension. Any other head would be turned with 
half her acquisitions, and a tenth of her advantages. 

" Wednesday, December 1. 1813. 
" To-day responded to La Baronne de Stael Hoi- 
stein, and sent to Leigh Hunt (an acquisition to 

* His cousin, the present Lord Byron, 
f Miss Milbanke, afterwards Lady Byron. 

286 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

my acquaintance through Moore of last sum- 
mer) a copy of the two Turkish tales. Hunt is an 

extraordinary character, and not exactly of the 
present age. He reminds me more 

Hampden times much talent, great independence 
of spirit, and an austere, yet not repulsive, aspect. 
If he goes on qualis ab incepto, I know few men who 
will deserve more praise or obtain it. I must go 
and see him again ; the rapid succession of ad- 
venture, since last summer, added to some serious 
uneasiness and business, have interrupted our ac- 
quaintance ; but he is a man worth knowing ; and 
though, for his own sake, I wish him out of prison, 
I like to study character in such situations. He 
has been unshaken, and will continue so. I don't 
think him deeply versed in life ; he is the bigot 
of virtue (not religion), and enamoured of the beauty 
of that empty name,' as the last breath of Brutus 
pronounced, and every day proves it. He is, 
perhaps, a little opiniated, as all men who are the 
centre of circles, wide or narrow the Sir Oracles, 
in whose name two or three are gathered together 

must be, and as even Johnson was ; but,, withal, 
a valuable man, and less vain than success and even 
the consciousness of preferring the right to the 
expedient' might excuse. 

" To-morrow there is a party of purple at the 
' blue' Miss * * * 's. Shall I go ? urn ! I don't 
much affect your blue-bottles ; but one ought to 
be civil. There will be, * I guess now' (as the 
Americans say), the Stae'ls and Mackintoshes good 

the *** s and ***s not so good the* **s, 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 287 

&c. c. good for nothing. Perhaps that blue- 
winged Kashmirian butterfly of book-learning, Lady 
* * * *, will be there. I hope so ; it is a pleasure 
to look upon that most beautiful of faces. 

" Wrote to H. : he has been telling that I *, 

I am sure, at least, / did not mention it, and I wish 
he had not. He is a good fellow, and I obliged 
myself ten times more by being of use than I did 
him, and there 's an end on 't. 

" Baldwin is boring me to present their King's 
Bench petition. I presented Cartwright's last year ; 
and Stanhope and I stood against the whole House, 
and mouthed it valiantly and had some fun and a 
little abuse for our opposition. But ' I am not i' th* 
vein' for this business. Now, had * * been here, 
she would have made me do it. There is a woman, 
who, amid all her fascination, always urged a man 
to usefulness or glory. Had she remained, she had 
been my tutelar genius. 

" Baldwin is very importunate but, poor fellow, 
' I can't get out, I can't get out said the starling.' 
Ah, I am as bad as that dog Sterne, who preferred 
whining over ' a dead ass to relieving a living mo- 
ther' villain hypocrite slave sycophant ! but 
/ am no better. Here I cannot stimulate myself to 
a speech for the sake of these unfortunates, and 
three words and half a smile of * * had she been 
here to urge it, (and urge it she infallibly would 

* Two or three words are here scratched out in the manu- 
script, but the import of the sentence evidently is that Mr. 
Hodgson (to whom the passage refers) had been revealing ta 
some friends the secret of Lord Byron's kindness to him. 

288 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

at least she always pressed me on senatorial duties, 
and particularly in the cause of weakness,) would 
have made me an advocate, if not an orator. Curse 
on Rochefoucault for being always right ! In him 
a lie were virtue, or, at least, a comfort to his 

" George Byron has not called to-day ; I hope he 
will be an admiral, and, perhaps, Lord Byron into 
the bargain. If he would but marry, I would engage 
never to marry myself, or cut him out of the heir- 
ship. He would be happier, and I should like 
nephews better than sons. 

" I shall soon be six-and-twenty (January 22d, 
181 4-). Is there any thing in the future that can 
possibly console us for not being always tioenty-five? 

" Oh Gioventu ! 

Oh Primavera! gioventu dell' anno. 
Oh Gioventu ! primavera della vita. 

" Sunday, December 5. 

" Dallas's nephew (son to the American Attorney- 
general) is arrived in this country, and tells Dallas 
that my rhymes are very popular in the United 
States. These are the first tidings that have ever 
sounded like Fame to my ears to be redde on the 
banks of the Ohio ! The greatest pleasure I ever 
derived, of this kind, was from an extract, in Cooke 
the actor's life, from his Journal, stating that in the 
reading-room at Albany, near Washington, he pe- 
rused English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. To be 
popular in a rising and far country has a kind of 
posthumous feel, very different from the ephemeral 


eclat and fete-ing, buzzing and party-ing compli- 
ments of the well-dressed multitude. I can safely 
say that, during my reign in the spring of 1812, 
I regretted nothing but its duration of six weeks 
instead of a fortnight, and was heartily glad to 

" Last night I supped with Lewis ; and, as 
usual, though I neither exceeded in solids nor fluids, 
have been half dead ever since. My stomach is 
entirely destroyed by long abstinence, and the rest 
will probably follow. Let it I only wish the pain 
over. The ' leap in the dark' is the least to be 

The Duke of * * called. I have told them forty 
times that, except to half-a-dozen old and specified 
acquaintances, I am invisible. His Grace is a good, 
noble, ducal person ; but I am content to think so 
at a distance, and so I was not at home. 

" Gait called. Mem. to ask some one to 
speak to Raymond in favour of his play. We are 
old fellow-travellers, and, with all his eccentricities, 
he has much strong sense, experience of the world, 
and is, as far as I have seen, a good-natured philo- 
sophical fellow. I showed him Sligo's letter on 
the reports of the Turkish girl's aventure at Athens 
soon after it happened. He and Lord Holland, 
Lewis, and Moore, and Rogers, and Lady Mel- 
bourne have seen it. Murray has a copy. I thought 
it had been unknown, and wish it were ; but Sligo 
arrived only some days after, and the rumours are 
the subject of his letter. That I shall preserve, 
it is as well. Lewis and Gait were both horrified ; 


290 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

and L. wondered I did not introduce the situation 
into ' The Giaour.' He may wonder ; he might 
wonder more at that production's being written at 
all. But to describe the feelings of that situation 
were impossible it is icy even to recollect them. 

" The Bride of Abydos was published on Thurs- 
day the second of December ; but how it is liked or 
disliked, I know not. Whether it succeeds or not is 
no fault of the public, against whom I can have no 
complaint. But I am much more indebted to the 
tale than I can ever be to the most partial reader ; 
as it wrung my thoughts from reality to imagination 
from selfish regrets to vivid recollections and 
recalled me to a country replete with the brightest 
and darkest, but always most lively colours of my 
memory. Sharpe called, but was not let in which 
I gret. 

" Saw * * yesterday. I have not kept my appoint- 
ment at Middleton, which has not pleased him, 
perhaps; and my projected voyage with ** will, 
perhaps, please him less. But I wish to keep well 
with both. They are instruments that don't do, in 
concert ; but, surely, their separate tones are very 
musical, and I won't give up either. 

" It is well if I don't jar between these great dis- 
cords. At present I stand tolerably well with all, 
but I cannot adopt their dislikes; so many sets. 
Holland's is the first ; every thing distingue is wel- 
come there, and certainly the ton of his society is 
the best. Then there is M de . de StaeTs there I 
never go, though I might, had I courted it. It is 
composed of the * * 's and the * * family, with a 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 291 

strange sprinkling, orators, dandies, and all kinds 
of Blue, from the regular Grub Street uniform, down 
to the azure jacket of the Litterateur. To see * * 
and * * sitting together, at dinner, always reminds 
me of the grave, where all distinctions of friend and 
foe are levelled; and they the Reviewer and Re- 
viewee the Rhinoceros and Elephant the Mam- 
moth and Megalonyx all will lie quietly together. 
They now sit together, as silent, but not so quiet, as 
if they were already immured. 

" I did not go to the Berrys' the other night. The 
elder is a woman of much talent, and both are hand- 
some, and must have been beautiful. To-night 
asked to Lord H.'s shall I go ? um ! perhaps. 

" Morning, two o'clock. 

" Went to Lord H.'s party numerous ?m'lady 
in perfect good humour, and consequently perfect. 
No one more agreeable, or perhaps so much so, when 
she will. Asked for Wednesday to dine and meet 
the Stae'l asked particularly, I believe, out of mis- 
chief, to see the first interview after the note, with 
which Corinne professes herself to be so much taken. 
I don't much like it ; she always talks of myself or 
Aerself, and I am not (except in soliloquy, as now,) 
much enamoured of either subject especially one's 
works. What the devil shall I say about ' De 
1'Allemagne ? ' I like it prodigiously ; but unless I 
can twist my admiration into some fantastical ex- 
pression, she won't believe me ; and I know, by ex- 
perience, I shall be overwhelmed with fine things 
about rhyme, &c. &c. The lover, Mr. * *, was 
u 2 

292 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

there to-night, and C * * said * it was the only proof 
lie had seen of her good taste/ Monsieur L' Amant 
is remarkably handsome ; but / don't think more so 
than her book. 

C * * looks well, seems pleased, and dressed 
to sprucery. A blue coat becomes him, so does 
his new wig. He really looked as if Apollo had sent 
him a birthday suit, or a wedding-garment, and was 
witty and lively. He abused Corinne's book, which 
I regret ; because, firstly, he understands German, 
and is consequently a fair judge ; and, secondly, he 
is first-rate, and, consequently, the best of judges. I 
reverence and admire him ; but I won't give up my 
opinion why should I ? I read her again and 
again, and there can be no affectation in this. I 
cannot be mistaken (except in taste) in a book I 
read and lay down, and take up again ; and no book 
can be totally bad which finds one, even one reader, 
who can say as much sincerely. 

" C. talks of lecturing next spring ; his last lectures 
were eminently successful. Moore thought of it, 
but gave it up, I don't know why. * * had been 
prating dignity to him, and such stuff; as if a man 
disgraced himself by instructing and pleasing at the 
same time. 

" Introduced to Marquis Buckingham saw Lord 
Gower he is going to Holland ; Sir J. and Lady 
Mackintosh and Homer, G. Lamb, with I know not 
how many (R. Wellesley, one a clever man) 
grouped about the room. Little Henry Fox, a very 
fine boy, and very promising in mind and manner, 
he went away to bed*, before I had time to talk 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 293 

to him. I am sure I had rather hear him than all 
the savans. 

" Monday, Dec. 6. 

"Murray tells me that C r asked him why 

the thing was called the Bride of Abydos ? It is a 
cursed awkward question, being unanswerable. SJ& 
is not a bride, only about to be one ; but for, &c. 
&c. &c. 

" I don't wonder at his finding out the Bull; but 
the detection * * * is too late to do any good. I 
was a great fool to make it, and am ashamed of not 
being an Irishman. 

" C 1 last night seemed a little nettled at 

something or other I know not what. We were 
standing in the ante-saloon, when Lord H. brought 
out of the other room a vessel of some composition 
similar to that which is used in Catholic churches, 
and, seeing us, he exclaimed, * Here is some incense 

for you.' C 1 answered < Carry it to Lord 

Byron, he is used to it' 

" Now, this comes of ' bearing no brother near the 
throne.' I, who have no throne, nor wish to have 
one now, whatever I may have done, am at perfect 
peace with all the poetical fraternity : or, at least, if 
I dislike any, it is not poetically, but personally. 
Surely the field of thought is infinite ; what does it 
signify who is before or behind in a race where there 
is no goal9 The temple of fame is like that of the 
Persians, the universe ; our altar, the tops of moun- 
tains. I should be equally content with Mount 
Caucasus, or Mount Anything ; and those who like 
u 3 

294? NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

it, may have Mount Blanc or Chimborazo, without 
my envy of their elevation. 

" I think I may now speak thus ; for I have just 
published a poem, and am quite ignorant whether it 
is likely to be liked or not. I have hitherto heard 
little in its commendation, and no one can downright 
abuse it to one's face, except in print. It can't be 
good, or I should not have stumbled over the 
threshold, and blundered in my very title. But I 
began it with my heart full of * * *, and my head 
of orientalizes (I can't call them isms), and wrote 
on rapidly. 

" This journal is a relief. When I am tired as 
I generally am out comes this, and down goes 
every thing. But I can't read it over; and God 
knows what contradictions it may contain. If I am 
sincere with myself (but I fear one lies more to one's 
self than to any one else), every page should confute, 
refute, and utterly abjure its predecessor. 

" Another scribble from Martin Baldwin the peti- 
tioner ; I have neither head nor nerves to present it. 
That confounded supper at Lewis's has spoiled my 
digestion and my philanthropy. I have no more 
charity than a cruet of vinegar. Would I were an 
ostrich, and dieted on fire-irons, or any thing that 
my gizzard could get the better of. 

" To-day saw W. His uncle is dying, and W. 
don't much affect our Dutch determinations. I dine 
with him on Thursday, provided I'oncle is not dined 
upon, or peremptorily bespoke by the posthumous 
epicures before that day. I wish he may recover 
not for our dinner's sake, but to disappoint the 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 295 

undertaker, and the rascally reptiles that may well 
wait, since they will dine at last. 

" Gell called he of Troy after I was out. 
Mem. to return his visit. But my Mems. are 
the very land-marks of forgetfulness ; something 
like a light-house, with a ship wrecked under the 
nose of its lantern. I never look at a Mem. without 
seeing that I have remembered to forget. Mem. 
I have forgotten to pay Pitt's taxes, and suppose I 
shall be surcharged. ' An I do not turn rebel when 
thou art king' oons ! I believe my very biscuit is 
leavened with that impostor's imposts. 

" IA M e . returns from Jersey's to-morrow ; I 
must call. A Mr. Thomson has sent a song, which 
I must applaud. I hate annoying them with censure 
or silence ; and yet I hate lettering. 

" Saw Lord Glenbervie and his Prospectus, at 
Murray's, of a new Treatise on Timber. Now here 
is a man more useful than all the historians and 
rhymers ever planted. For, by preserving our 
woods and forests, he furnishes materials for all the 
history of Britain worth reading, and all the odes 
worth nothing. 

" Redde a good deal, but desultorily. My head 
is crammed with the most useless lumber. It is odd 
that when I do read, I can only bear the chicken 
broth of any thing but Novels. It is many a year 
since I looked into one, (though they are sometimes 
ordered, by way of experiment, but never taken,) 
till I looked yesterday at the worst parts of the 
Monk. These descriptions ought to have been 
written by Tiberius at Caprea they are forced 
u 4 

296 . NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

the philtred ideas of a jaded voluptuary. It is to 
me inconceivable how they could have been com- 
posed by a man of only twenty his age when he 
wrote them. They have no nature all the sour 
cream of cantharides. I should have suspected 
Buffon of writing them on the death-bed of his de- 
testable dotage. I had never redde this edition, 
and merely looked at them from curiosity and recol- 
lection of the noise they made, and the name they 
have left to Lewis. But they could do no harm, 
except * * * *. 

" Called this evening on my agent my business 
as usual. Our strange adventures are the only in- 
heritances of our family that have not diminished. 

" I shall now smoke two cigars, and get me to 
bed. The cigars don't keep well here. They get 
as old as a donna di quaranti anni in the sun of 
Africa. The Havannah are the best ; but neither 
are so pleasant as a hooka or chibouque. The 
Turkish tobacco is mild, and their horses entire 
two things as they should be. I am so far obliged 
to this Journal, that it preserves me from verse, 
at least from keeping it. I have just thrown a poem 
into the fire (which it has relighted to my great 
comfort), and have smoked out of my head the plan 
of another. I wish I could as easily get rid of 
thinking, or, at least, the confusion of thought. 

" Tuesday, December 7. 

" Went to bed, and slept dreamlessly, but not 
refreshingly. Awoke, and up an hour before being 
called ; but dawdled three hours in dressing. When 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 297 

one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation), 
sleep, eating, and swilling buttoning and un- 
buttoning how much remains of downright exist- 
ence ? The summer of a dormouse. 

" Redde the papers and fea-ed and soda-watered, 
and found out that the fire was badly lighted. Ld. 
Glenbervie wants me to go to Brighton um ! 

" This morning, a very pretty billet from the 
Stael about meeting her at Ld. H.'s to-morrow. 
She has written, I dare say, twenty such this morn- 
ing to different people, all equally flattering to each. 
So much the better for her and those who believe 
all she wishes them, or they wish to believe. She 
has been pleased to be pleased with my slight 
eulogy in the note annexed to ' The Bride/ This 
is to be accounted for in several ways, firstly, 
all women like all, or any, praise ; secondly, this 
was unexpected, because I have never courted her ; 
and, thirdly, as Scrub says, those who have been 
all their lives regularly praised, by regular critics, 
like a little variety, and are glad when any one 
goes out of his way to say a civil thing ; and, 
fourthly, she is a very good-natured creature, which 
is the best reason, after all, and, perhaps, the only 

" A knock knocks single and double. Bland 
called. He says Dutch society (he has been in 
Holland) is second-hand French ; but the women 
are like women every where else. This is a bore ; I 
should like to see them a little unlike ; but that 
can't be expected. 

" Went out came home this, that, and the 

298 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

other and l all is vanity, saith the preacher,' and 
so say I, as part of his congregation. Talking of 
vanity, whose praise do I prefer? Why, Mrs. 
Inchbald's, and that of the Americans. The first, 
because her Simple Story' and ' Nature and Art' 
are, to me, true to their titles; and, consequently, 
her short note to Rogers about * The Giaour ' de- 
lighted me more than any thing, except the Edin- 
burgh Review. I like the Americans, because / 
happened to be in Asia, while the English Bards 
and Scotch Reviewers were redde in America. If 
I could have had a speech against the Slave Trade, 
in Africa, and an epitaph on a dog in Europe (i. e. 
in the Morning Post), my vertex sublimis would cer- 
tainly have displaced stars enough to overthrow the 
Newtonian system. 

" Friday, December 10. 1813. 

" I am ennuye beyond my usual tense of that 
yawning verb, which I am always conjugating ; and 
I don't find that society much mends the matter. 
I am too lazy to shoot myself and it would annoy 
Augusta, and perhaps * * ; but it would be a good 
thing for George, on the other side, and no bad one 
for me ; but I won't be tempted. 

" I have had the kindest letter from M * * e. I 
do think that man is the best-hearted, the only 
hearted being I ever encountered; and, then, his 
talents are equal to his feelings. 

" Dined on Wednesday at Lord H.'s the Staf- 
fords, Staels, Cowpers, Ossulstones, Melbournes, 
Mackintoshes, &c. &c. and was introduced to the 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 299 

Marquis and Marchioness of Stafford, an unex- 
pected event. My quarrel with Lord Carlisle (their 
or his brother-in-law) having rendered it improper, 
I suppose, brought it about. But, if it was to hap- 
pen at all, I wonder it did not occur before. She 
is handsome, and must have been beautiful and 
her manners are princessly. 

" The Stael was at the other end of the table, 
and less loquacious than heretofore. We are now 
very good friends ; though she asked Lady Mel- 
bourne whether I had really any bonhommie. She 
might as well have asked that question before she 
told C. L. * c'est un demon.' True enough, but 
rather premature, for she could not have found it 
out, and so she wants me to dine there next 

" Murray prospers, as far as circulation. For 
my part, I adhere (in liking) to my Fragment. It 
is no wonder that I wrote one my mind is a frag- 

" Saw Lord Gower, Tierney, c. in the square. 
Took leave of Lord Gr. who is going to Holland 
and Germany. He tells me that he carries with 
him a parcel of ' Harolds ' and ' Giaours,' &c. for 
the readers of Berlin, who, it seems, read English, 
and have taken a caprice for mine. Um ! have 
I been German all this time, when I thought my- 
self Oriental? 

" Lent Tierney my box for to-morrow ; and re- 
ceived a new comedy sent by Lady C. A. but 
not hers. I must read it, and endeavour not to dis- 
please the author. I hate annoying them with 




cavil ; but a comedy I take to be the most difficult 
of compositions, more so than tragedy. 

" G t says there is a coincidence between the 
first part of ' The Bride ' and some story of his 
whether published or not, I know not, never having 
seen it. He is almost the last person on whom any 
one would commit literary larceny, and I am not 
conscious of any witting thefts on any of the genus. 
As to originality, all pretensions are ludicrous,-^ 
* there is nothing new under the sun.' 

" Went last night to the play. Invited out to a 
party, but did not go ; right. Refused to go to 
Lady * * 's on Monday ; right again. If I must 
fritter away my life, I would rather do it alone. I 
was much tempted ; C * * looked so Turkish 
with her red Turban, and her regular, dark, and 
clear features. Not that she and / ever were, or 
could be, any thing ; but I love any aspect that re- 
minds me of the ' children of the sun.' 

" To dine to-day with Rogers and Sharpe, for 
which I have some appetite, not having tasted food 
for the preceding forty-eight hours. I wish I could 
leave off eating altogether. 

" Saturday, December 11. 
" Sunday, December 12. 

" By G t's answer, I find it is some story in 
real life, and not any work with which my late com- 
position coincides. It is still more singular, for 
mine is drawn from existence also. 

" I have sent an excuse to M. de Stae'l. I do 
not feel sociable enough for dinner to-day ; and 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 301 

I will not go to Sheridan's on Wednesday. Not 
that I do not admire and prefer his unequalled con- 
versation ; but that * but' must only be intelligible 
to thoughts I cannot write. Sheridan was in good 
talk at Roger s's the other night, but I only stayed 
till nine. All the world are to be at the StaeTs 
to-night, and I am not sorry to escape any part 
of it. I only go out to get me a fresh appetite for 
being alone. Went out did not go to the StaeTs 
but to Ld. Holland's. Party numerous convers- 
ation general. Stayed late made a blunder 
got over it came home and went to bed, not 
having eaten. Rather empty, but fresco, which is 
the great point with me. 

Monday, December 13. 1813. 

" Called at three places read, and got ready to 
leave town to-morrow. Murray has had a letter 
from his brother bibliopole of Edinburgh, who says, 
' he is lucky in having such a poet 9 something as 
if one was a pack-horse, or * ass, or any thing that 
is his : ' or, like Mrs. Packwood, who replied to 
some enquiry after the Odes on Razors, * Laws, 
sir, we keeps a poet.' The same illustrious Edin- 
burgh bookseller once sent an order for books, 
poesy, and cookery, with this agreeable postscript 
' The Harold and Cookery are much wanted.' 
Such is fame, and, after all, quite as good as any 
other 'life in other's breath.' 'Tis much the same 
to divide purchasers with Hannah Glasse or Hannah 

1 Some editor of some magazine has announced 




to Murray his intention of abusing the thing * with- 
out reading it.' So much the better ; if he redde i 
first, he would abuse it more. 

" Allen (Lord Holland's Allen the best in 
formed and one of the ablest men I know a per 
feet Magliabecchi a devourer, a Helluo of books, 
and an observer of men,) has lent me a quantity of 
Burns's unpublished, and never-to-be published, 
Letters. They are full of oaths and obscene songs. 
What an antithetical mind ! tenderness, rough- 
ness delicacy, coarseness sentiment, sensuality 
soaring and grovelling, dirt and deity all 
mixed up in that one compound of inspired clay ! 

" It seems strange ; a true voluptuary will never 
abandon his mind to the grossness of reality. It is 
by exalting the earthly, the material, the physique 
of our pleasures, by veiling these ideas, by forgetting 
them altogether, or, at least, never naming them 
hardly to one's self, that we alone can prevent them 
from disgusting. 

" December 14, 15, 16. 

" Much done, but nothing to record. It is quite 
enough to set down my thoughts, my actions will 
rarely bear retrospection. 

" Decemoei 17, IS. 

" Lord Holland told me a curious piece of sen- 
timentality in Sheridan.* The other night we were 

* This passage of the Journal has already appeared in my 
Life of Sheridan. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 303 

all delivering our respective and various opinions 
on him and other homines marquans, and mine was 
this : * Whatever Sheridan has done or chosen to 
do has been, par excellence, always the best of its 
kind. He has written the best comedy (School for 
Scandal), the best drama, (in my mind, far before 
that St. Giles's lampoon, the Beggar's Opera,) the 
best farce (the Critic it is only too good for a 
farce), and the best Address (Monologue on Gar- 
rick), and, to crown all, delivered the very best 
Oration (the famous Begum Speech) ever con- 
ceived or heard in this country.' Somebody told S. 
this the next day, and on hearing it, he burst into 
tears ! 

" Poor Brinsley ! if they were tears of pleasure, 
I would rather have said these few, but most sin- 
cere, words than have written the Iliad or made his 
own celebrated Philippic. Nay, his own comedy 
never gratified me more than to hear that he had 
derived a moment's gratification from any praise of 
mine, humble as it must appear to ' my elders and 
my betters.' 

" Went to my box at Covent Garden to night; and 
my delicacy felt a little shocked at seeing S * * *'s 
mistress (who, to my certain knowledge, was actu- 
ally educated, from her birth, for her profession) 

sitting with her mother, ' a three-piled b -d, 

b d-Major to the army,' in a private box oppo- 
site. I felt rather indignant ; but, casting my eyes 
round the house, in the next box to me, and the 
next, and the next, were the most distinguished 
old and young Babylonians of quality ; so I burst 

304 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

out a laughing. It was really odd ; Lady * * di- 
vorced Lady * * and her daughter, Lady * *, both 
divorceable Mrs. **f, in the next, the like, and 
still nearer ******! What an assemblage to 
me, who know all their histories. It was as if the 
house had been divided between your public and 
your understood courtesans ; but the intriguantes 
much outnumbered the regular mercenaries. On 
the other side were only Pauline and her mother, 
and, next box to her, three of inferior note. Now, 
where lay the difference between her and mamma, 
and Lady * * and daughter ? except that the two 
last may enter Carleton and any other house, and 

the two first are limited to the opera and b 

house. How I do delight in observing life as it 
really is ! and myself, after all, the worst of any. 
But no matter I must avoid egotism, which, just 
now, would be no vanity. 

" I have lately written a wild, rambling, unfinished 
rhapsody, called * The Devil's Drive J,' the notion of 
which I took from Person's ' Devil's Walk.' 

f These names are all left blank in the original. 

J Of this strange, wild poem, which extends to about two 
hundred and fifty lines, the only copy that Lord Byron, I 
believe, ever wrote, he presented to Lord Holland. Though 
with a good deal of vigour and imagination, it is, for the most 
part, rather clumsily executed, wanting the point and condens- 
ation of those clever verses of Mr. Coleridge , which Lord 
Byron, adopting a notion long prevalent, has attributed to 

Or Mr. Southey, for the right of authorship in them 
seems still undecided. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 305 

" Redde some Italian, and wrote two Sonnets on 
* * *. I never wrote but one sonnet before, and 

Professor Person. There are, however, some of the stanzas of 
" The Devil's Drive " well worth preserving. 

The Devil return'd to hell by two, 

And he stay'd at home till five ; 
When he dined on some homicides done in ragout, 

And a rebel or so in an Irish stew 
And sausages made of a self- slain Jew, 
And bethought himself what next to do, 

And,' quoth he, ' I'll take a drive. 
I walk'd in the morning, I'll ride to-night; 
In darkness my children take most delight, 

And I'll see how my favourites thrive. 

" ' And what shall I ride in ? ' quoth Lucifer, then 

' If I follow'd my taste, indeed, 
I should mount in a wagon of wounded men, 

And smile to see them bleed. 
But these will be furnish'd again and again, 

And at present my purpose is speed ; 
To see my manor as much as I may, 
And watch that no souls shall be poach'd away. 

" ' I have a state coach at Carleton House, 

A chariot in Seymour Place ; 
But they 're lent to two friends, who make me amends 

By driving my favourite pace : 
And they handle their reins with such a grace, 
I have something for both at the end of the race. 





that was not in earnest, and many years ago, as 
an exercise and I will never write another. 

" So now for the earth to take my chance.' 

Then up to the earth sprung he ; 
And making a jump from Moscow to France, 

He stepped across the sea, 
And rested his hoof on a turnpike road, 
No very great way from a bishop's abode. 


" But first as he flew, I forgot to say, 
That he hover'd a moment upon his way 

To look upon Leipsic plain; 
And so sweet to his eye was its sulphury glare, 
And so soft to his ear was the cry of despair, 

That he perch'd on a mountain of slain ; 
And he gazed with delight from its growing height ; 
Not often on earth had he seen such a sight, 

Nor his work done half as well : 
For the field ran so red with the blood of the dead, 

That it blush'd like the waves of hell ! 
Then loudly, and wildly, and long laugh'd he 
Methinks they have here little need of me / ' * * * 

" But the softest note that sooth'd his ear 

Was the sound of a widow sighing, 
And the sweetest sight was the icy tear, 
Which Horror froze in the blue eye clear 

Of a maid by her lover lying 
As round her fell her long fair hair ; 
And she look'd to Heaven with that frenzied air 
Which seem'd to ask if a God were there ! 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 307 

They are the most puling, petrifying, stupidly 
platonic compositions. I detest the Petrarch so 

And, stretch'd by the wall of a ruin'd hut, 
With its hollow cheek, and eyes half shut, 

A child of famine dying : 
And the carnage begun, when resistance is done, 

And the fall of the vainly flying ! 

" But the Devil has reach'd our cliffs so white, 

And what did he there, I pray ? 
If his eyes were good, he but saw by night 

What we see every day ; 
But he made a tour, and kept a journal 
Of all the wondrous sights nocturnal, 
And he sold it in shares to the Men of the Row, 
Who bid pretty well but they cheated him, though ! 

" The Devil first saw, as he thought, the Mail, 

Its coachman and his coat ; 
So instead of a pistol, he cock'd his tail, 
And seized him by the throat : 

* Aha,' quoth he, * what have we here? 
"Pis a new barouche, and an ancient peer ! * 

" So he sat him on his box again, 

And bade him have no fear, 
But be true to his club, and stanch to his rein. 
His brothel, and his beer ; 

* Next to seeing a lord at the council board, 

I would rather see him here.' 

x 2 

308 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

much*, that I would not be the man even to have 
obtained his Laura, which the metaphysical, whining 
dotard never could. 

January 16. 1814. 
" To-morrow I leave town for a few days. I saw 

The Devil gat next to Westminster, 

And he turn'd to ' the room ' of the Commons ; 
But he heard, as he purposed to enter in there, 

That ' the Lords ' had received a summons ; 
And he thought, as a ' quondam aristocrat,' 
He might peep at the peers, though to hear them were flat : 
A nd he walk'd up the house, so like one of our own, 
That they say that he stood pretty near the throne. 

He saw the Lord L 1 seemingly wise, 

The Lord W d certainly silly, 

And Johnny of Norfolk a man of some size 

And Chatham, so like his friend Billy; 
And he saw the tears in Lord E n's eyes, 

Because the Catholics would not rise, 

In spite of his prayers and his prophecies ; 
And he heard which set Satan himself a staring 
A certain Chief Justice say something like swearing. 
And the Devil was shock 'd and quoth he, ' I must go, 
For I find we have much better manners below. 
If thus he harangues when he passes my border, 
I shall hint to friend Moloch to call him to order.' " 

* He learned to think more reverently of " the Petrarch " 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 309 

Lewis to-day, who is just returned from Oatlands, 
where he has been squabbling with Mad. de Stae'l 
about himself, Clarissa Harlowe, Mackintosh, and 
me. My homage has never been paid in that quar- 
ter, or we would have agreed still worse. I don't 
talk I can't flatter, and won't listen, except to a 
pretty or a foolish woman. She bored Lewis with 
praises of himself till he sickened found out that 
Clarissa was perfection, and Mackintosh the first 
man in England. There I agree, at least one of 
the first but Lewis did not. As to Clarissa, I 
leave to those who can read it to judge and dispute. 
I could not do the one, and am, consequently, not 
qualified for the other. She told Lewis wisely, he 
being my friend, that I was affected, in the first 
place ; and that, in the next place, I committed the 
heinous offence of sitting at dinner with my eyes 
shut, or half shut. I wonder if I really have this 
trick. I must cure myself of it, if true. One in- 
sensibly acquires awkward habits, which should be 
broken in time. If this is one, I wish I had been 
told of it before. It would not so much signify if 
one was always to be checkmated by a plain woman, 
but one may as well see some of one's neighbours, 
as well as the plate upon the table. 

" I should like, of all things, to have heard the 
Amabaean eclogue between her and Lewis both 
obstinate, clever, odd, garrulous, and shrill. In 
fact, one could have heard nothing else. But they 
fell out, alas! and now they will never quarrel 
again. Could not one reconcile them for the ' nonce? ' 
x 3 

310 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

Poor Corinne she will find that some of her fine 
sayings won't suit our fine ladies and gentlemen. 

" I am getting rather into admiration of * *, the 
youngest sister of * *. A wife would be my salva- 
tion. I am sure the wives of my acquaintances have 
hitherto done me little good. * * is beautiful, but 
very young, and, I think, a fool. But I have not 
seen enough to judge ; besides, I hate an esprit in 
petticoats. That she won't love me is very pro- 
bable, nor shall I love her. But, on my system, 
and the modern system in general, that don't sig- 
nify. The business (if it came to business) would 
probably be arranged between papa and me. She 
would have her own way ; I am good-humoured to 
women, and docile; and, if I did not fall in love with 
her, which I should try to prevent, we should be a 
very comfortable couple. As to conduct, that she 
must look to. But if I love, I shall be jealous ; 
and for that reason I will not be in love. Though, 
after all, I doubt my temper, and fear I should not 
be so patient as becomes the bienseance of a married 
man in my station. Divorce ruins the poor femme, 
and damages are a paltry compensation. I do fear 
my temper would lead me into some of our oriental 
tricks of vengeance, or, at any rate, into a summary 
appeal to the court of twelve paces. So * I '11 none 
on 't,' but e'en remain single and solitary; though 
I should like to have somebody now and then to 
yawn with one. 

W, and, after him, * *, has stolen one of my 
buffooneries about Mde. de StaeTs Metaphysics and 
the Fog, and passed it, by speech and letter, as 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 311 

their own. As Gibbet says, ' they are the most of a 
gentleman of any on the road.' W. is in sad en- 
mity with the Whigs about this Review of Fox (if 
he did review him) ; all the epigrammatists and 
essayists are at him. I hate odds, and wish he may 
beat them. As for me, by the blessing of indiffer- 
ence, I have simplified my politics into an utter de- 
testation of all existing governments ; and, as it is 
the shortest and most agreeable and summary feel- 
ing imaginable, the first moment of an universal 
republic would convert me into an advocate for 
single and uncontradicted despotism. The fact is, 
riches are power, and poverty is slavery all over 
the earth, and one sort of establishment is no better 
nor worse for a people than another. I shall adhere 
to my party, because it would not be honourable to 
act otherwise; but, as to opinions, I don't think 
politics worth, an opinion. Conduct is another 
thing : if you begin with a party, go on with 
them. I have no consistency, except in politics ; 
and that probably arises from my indiiference on 
the subject altogether." 

I must here be permitted to interrupt, for a 
while, the progress of this Journal, which extends 
through some months of the succeeding year, 
for the purpose of noticing, without infringement of 
chronological order, such parts of the poet's literary 
history and correspondence as belong properly to 
the date of the year 1813. 

At the beginning, as we have seen, of the month 

312 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

of December, The Bride of Abydos was published, 
having been struck off, like its predecessor, The 
Giaour, in one of those paroxysms of passion and 
imagination, which adventures such as the poet was 
now engaged in were, in a temperament like his, 
calculated to excite. As the mathematician of old 
required but a spot to stand upon, to be able, as he 
boasted, to move the world, so a certain degree of 
foundation in fact seemed necessary to Byron, be- 
fore that lever which he knew how to apply to the 
world of the passions could be wielded by him. So 
small, however, was, in many instances, the con- 
nection with reality which satisfied him, that to aim 
at tracing through his stories these links with his 
own fate and fortunes, which were, after all, per- 
haps, visible but to his own fancy, would be a task 
as uncertain as unsafe ; and this remark applies 
not only to The Bride of Abydos, but to The Corsair, 
Lara, and all the other beautiful fictions that fol- 
lowed, in which, though the emotions expressed by 
the poet may be, in general, regarded as vivid 
recollections of what had at different times agitated 
his own bosom, there are but little grounds, 
however he might himself, occasionally, encourage 
such a supposition, for connecting him personally 
with the groundwork or incidents of the stories. 

While yet uncertain about the fate of his own 
new poem, the following observations on the work 
of an ingenious follower in the same track were 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 313 


" Dec. 4. 1813. 

" I have redde through your Persian Tales *, 
and have taken the liberty of making some remarks 
on the blank pages. There are many beautiful 
passages, and an interesting story; and I cannot 
give you a stronger proof that such is my opinion, 
than by the date of the hour two o clock, till 
which it has kept me awake without a yawn. The 
conclusion is not quite correct in costume : there is 
no Mussulman suicide on record at least for love. 
But this matters not. The tale must have been 
written by some one who has been on the spot, and 
I wish him, and he deserves, success. Will you 
apologise to the author for the liberties I have 
taken with his MS.? Had I been less awake to, 
and interested in, his theme, I had been less ob- 
trusive ; but you know / always take this in good 
part, and I hope he will. It is difficult to say what 
will succeed, and still more to pronounce what will 
not. I am at this moment in that uncertainty (on 
our own score) ; and it is no small proof of the 
author's powers to be able to charm andfix a mind's 
attention on similar subjects and climates in such a 
predicament. That he may have the same effect 

* Poems by Mr. Gaily Knight, of which Mr. Murray had 
transmitted the MS. to Lord Byron, without, however, com- 
municating the name of the author. 

314? NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

upon all his readers is very sincerely the wish, and 
hardly the doubt, of yours truly, B." 

To The Bride of Abydos he made additions, in 
the course of printing, amounting, altogether, to 
near two hundred lines ; and, as usual, among the 
passages thus added, were some of the happiest 
and most brilliant in the whole poem. The opening 
lines, "Know ye the land,' &c. supposed to 
have been suggested to him by a song of Goethe's * 
were among the number of these new insertions, 
as were also those fine verses, " Who hath not 
proved how feebly words essay," &c. Of one of 
the most popular lines in this latter passage, it is 
not only curious, but instructive, to trace the pro- 
gress to its present state of finish. Having at first 

" Mind on her lip and music in her face," 
he afterwards altered it to 

" The mind of music breathing in her face." 

But, this not satisfying him, the next step of cor- 
rection brought the line to what it is at present 

" The mind, the music breathing from her face." f 

* " Kennst du das Land wo die Citronen bliihn," &c. 
t Among the imputed plagiarisms so Industriously hunted 
out in his writings, this line has been, with somewhat more 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 315 

But the longest, as well as most splendid, of 
those passages, with which the perusal of his own 
strains, during revision, inspired him, was that rich 
flow of eloquent feeling which follows the couplet, 
" Thou, my Zuleika, share and bless my bark," 
&c. a strain of poetry, which, for energy and ten- 
derness of thought, for music of versification, and 
selectness of diction, has, throughout the greater 
portion of it, but few rivals in either ancient or 
modern song. All this passage was sent, in suc- 
cessive scraps, to the printer, correction following 
correction, and thought reinforced by thought. We 
have here, too, another example of that retouching 
process by which some of his most exquisite effects 
were attained. Every reader remembers the four 
beautiful lines 

plausibility than is frequent in such charges, included, the 
lyric poet Lovelace having, it seems, written, 

" The melody and music of her face." 

Sir Thomas Brown, too, in his Religio Medici, says 
" There is music even in beauty," &c. The coincidence, no 
doubt, is worth observing, and the task of " tracking" thus a 
favourite writer " in the snow (as Dryden expresses it) of 
others " is sometimes not unamusing ; but to those who found 
upon such resemblances a general charge of plagiarism, we 
may apply what Sir Walter Scott says, in that most agreeable 
work, his Lives of the Novelists : " It is a favourite theme 
of laborious dulness to trace such coincidences, because they 
appear to reduce genius of the higher order to the usual 
standard of humanity, and of course to bring the author nearer 
to a level with his critics." 

316 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

" Or, since that hope denied in worlds of strife, 
Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life ! 
The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, 
And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray ! " 

In the first copy of this passage sent to the pub- 
lisher, the last line was written thus 

f an airy ~\ 
" And tints to-morrow with \_ a fancied J ray " 

the following note being annexed: " Mr. Murray, 
Choose which of the two epithets, * fancied,' or 
' airy,' may be the best ; or, if neither will do, tell 
me, and I will dream another." The poet's dream 
was, it must be owned, lucky, " prophetic" being 
the word, of all others, for his purpose. * 

I shall select but one more example, from the 
additions to this poem, as a proof that his eagerness 
and facility in producing, was sometimes almost 
equalled by his anxious care in correcting. In the 
long passage just referred to, the six lines beginning 
" Blest as the Muezzin's strain," &c., having been 
despatched to the printer too late for insertion, were, 
by his desire, added in an errata page; the first 
couplet, in its original form, being as follows : 

" Soft as the Mecca- Muezzin's strains invite 
Him who hath journey'd far to join the rite." 

* It will be seen, however, from a subsequent letter to Mr. 
Murray, that he himself was at first unaware of the peculiar 
felicity of this epithet ; and it is therefore, probable, that, after 
all, the merit of the choice may have belonged to Mr. Gifford. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 317 

In a few hours after, another scrap was sent off, 
containing the lines thus 

" Blest as the Muezzin's strain from Mecca's dome, 
Which welcomes Faith to view her Prophet's tomb " 

with the following note to Mr. Murray : 

December 3. 1813. 

" Look out in the Encyclopedia, article Mecca, 
whether it is there or at Medina the Prophet is 
entombed. If at Medina, the first lines of my alter- 
ration must run 

" Blest as the call which from Medina's dome 
Invites Devotion to her Prophet's tomb," &c. 

If at Mecca, the lines may stand as before. Page 
45. canto 2d, Bride of Abydos. Yours, B. 

" You will find this out either by article Mecca, 
Medina, or Mohammed. I have no book of reference 
by me." 

Immediately after succeeded another note : 
" Did you look out ? Is it Medina or Mecca that 
contains the Holy Sepulchre? Don't make me 
blaspheme by your negligence. I have no book of 
reference, or I would save you the trouble. I blush, 
as a good Mussulman, to have confused the point. 

Yours, B." 

Notwithstanding all these various changes, the 
couplet in question stands at present thus: 

318 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

" Blest as the Muezzin's strain from Mecca's wall 
To pilgrims pure and prostrate at his call." 

In addition to his own watchfulness over the birth 
of his new poem, he also, as will be seen from the 
following letter, invoked the veteran taste of Mr. 
Gifford on the occasion : 


" November 12. 1813. 
" My dear Sir, 

" I hope you will consider, when I venture on 
any request, that it is the reverse of a certain Dedi- 
cation, and is addressed, not to * The Editor of the 
Quarterly Review/ but to Mr. Gifford. You will 
understand this, and on that point I need trouble 
you no farther. 

" You have been good enough to look at a thing 
of mine in MS. a Turkish story, and I should feel 
gratified if you would do it the same favour in its 
probationary state of printing. It was written, I 
cannot say for amusement, nor ' obliged by hunger 
and request of friends,' but in a state of mind from 
circumstances which occasionally occur to ' us youth,' 
that rendered it necessary for me to apply my mind 
to something, any thing but reality ; and under this 
not very brilliant inspiration it was composed. 
Being done, and having at least diverted me from 
myself, I thought you would not perhaps be offended 
if Mr. Murray forwarded it to you. He has done 
so, and to apologise for his doing so a second time is 
the object of my present letter. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 319 

" I beg you will not send me any answer. I assure 
you very sincerely I know your time to be occupied, 
and it is enough, more than enough, if you read ; 
you are not to be bored with the fatigue of answers. 

" A word to Mr. Murray will be sufficient, and 
send it either to the flames or 

" A hundred hawkers' load, 
On wings of wind to fly or fall abroad. 

It deserves no better than the first, as the work of a 
week, and scribbled ' stans pede in uno' (by the by, 
the only foot I have to stand on) ; and I promise 
never to trouble you again under forty Cantos, and 
a voyage between each. Believe me ever 

" Your obliged and affectionate servant, 

" BYRON." 

The following letters and notes, addressed to Mr. 
Murray at this time, cannot fail, I think, to gratify 
all those to whom the history of the labours of genius 
is interesting : 


" Nov. 12. 1813. 

" Two friends of mine (Mr. Rogers and Mr. 
Sharpe) have advised me not to risk at present any 
single publication separately, for various reasons. 
As they have not seen the one in question, they can 
have no bias for or against the merits (if it has any) 
or the faults of the present subject of our convers- 
ation. You say all the last of * The Giaour' are 

320 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

gone at least out of your hands. Now, if you 
think of publishing any new edition with the last 
additions which have not yet been before the reader 
(I mean distinct from the two-volume publication), 
we can add * The Bride of Abydos,' which will thus 
steal quietly into the world : if liked, we can then 
throw off some copies for the purchasers of former 
' Giaours;' and, if not, I can omit it in any future 
publication. What think you? I really am no 
judge of those things, and with all my natural par- 
tiality for one's own productions, I would rather 
follow any one's judgment than my own. 

" P. S. Pray let me have the proofs I sent all to- 
night. I have some alterations that I have thought 
of that I wish to make speedily. I hope the proof 
will be on separate pages, and not all huddled to- 
gether on a mile-long ballad-singing sheet, as those 
of The Giaour sometimes are ; for then I can't read 
them distinctly." 


" Nov. 13. 1813. 

" Will you forward the letter to Mr. Gifford with 
the proof? There is an alteration I may make in 
Zuleika's speech, in second Canto (the only one of 
hers in that Canto). It is now thus : 

" And curse, if I could curse, the day. 

It must be 

" And mourn I dare not curse the day 
That saw my solitary birth, &c. c. 

" Ever yours, B. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 321 

" In the last MS. lines sent, instead of ' living 
heart,' convert to * quivering heart.' It is in line 
ninth of the MS. passage. 

" Ever yours again, B." 


" Alteration of a line in Canto second. 
" Instead of 

" And tints to-morrow with a, fancied ray,, 


" And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray. 

" The evening beam that smiles the clouds away 
And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray ; 


f gfds \ 
" And l_ tints J the hope of morning with its ray ; 


" And gilds to-morrow's hope with heavenly ray. 

" I wish you would ask Mr. Gifford which of them 
is best, or rather not worst. Ever, &c. 

" You can send the request contained in this at 
the same time with the revise, after I have seen the 
said revise." 


Nov. 13. 181S. 

" Certainly. Do you suppose that no one but the 
Galileans are acquainted with Adam, and Eve, and 


322 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

Cain*, and Noah? Surely, I might have had So- 
lomon, and Abraham, and David, and even Moses. 
When you know that Zuleika is the Persian poetical 
name for Potiphars wife, on whom and Joseph there 
is a long poem, in the Persian, this will not surprise 
you. If you want authority, look at Jones, D'Her- 
belot, Vathek, or the notes to the Arabian Nights ; 
and, if you think it necessary, model this into a note. 
"Alter, in the inscription, 'the most affectionate 
respect,' to * with every sentiment of regard and 
respect.' " 


" Nov. 14. 1813. 

' I send you a note for the ignorant, but I really 
wonder at finding you among them. I don't care 
one lump of sugar for my poetry ; but for my costume 
and my correctness on those points (of which I think 
the funeral was a proof), I will combat lustily. 

" Yours," &c. 

Nov. 14. 1813. 

" Let the revise which I sent just now (and not 
the proof in Mr. GhTord's possession) be returned 
to the printer, as there are several additional cor- 
rections, and two new lines in it. Yours," &c. 

* Some doubt had been expressed by Mr. Murray as to the 
propriety of his putting the name of Cain into the mouth of a 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 323 


"November 15. 1813. 

" Mr. Hodgson has looked over and stopped, or 
rather pointed, this revise, which must be the one to 
print from. He has also made some suggestions, 
with most of which I have complied, as he has 
always, for these ten years, been a very sincere, and 
by no means (at times) flattering intimate of mine. 
He likes it (you will think flatteringly, in this in- 
stance) better than The Giaour, but doubts (and so 
do I) its being so popular ; but, contrary to some 
others, advises a separate publication. On this we 
can easily decide. I confess I like the double form 
better. Hodgson says, it is better versified than any 
of the others ; which is odd, if true, as it has cost 
me less time (though more hours at a time) than 
any attempt I ever made. 

" P. S. Do attend to the punctuation : I can't, 
for I don't know a comma at least where to place 

" That Tory of a printer has omitted two lines of 
the opening, and perhaps more, which were in the 
MS. Will you, pray, give him a hint of accuracy ? 
I have reinserted the two, but they were in the ma- 
nuscript, I can swear." 


November 17. 1813. 

" That you and I may distinctly understand each 
other on a subject, which, like ' the dreadful reckon- 
y 2 

324 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

ing when men smile no more/ makes conversation 
not very pleasant, I think it as well to write a few 
lines on the topic. Before I left town for York- 
shire, you said that you were ready and willing to 
give five hundred guineas for the copyright of ' The 
Giaour;' and my answer was from which I do 
not mean to recede that we would discuss the 
point at Christmas, The new story may or may 
not succeed ; the probability, under present circum- 
stances, seems to be, that it may at least pay its 
expenses but even that remains to be proved, and 
till it is proved one way or another, we will say no- 
thing about it. Thus then be it : I will postpone all 
arrangement about it, and The Giaour also, till 
Easter, 1814; and you shall then, according to your 
own notions of fairness, make your own offer for the 
two. At the same time, I do not rate the last in 
my own estimation at half The Giaour ; and accord- 
ing to your own notions of its worth and its success 
within the time mentioned, be the addition or de- 
duction to or from whatever sum may be your 
proposal for the first, which has already had its 

" The pictures of Phillips I consider as mine, all 
three ; and the one (not the Arnaout) of the two 
best is much at your service, if you will accept it as 
a present. 

" P. S. The expense of engraving from the minia- 
ture send me in my account, as it was destroyed by 
my desire ; and have the goodness to bum that de- 
testable print from it immediately. 

" To make you some amends for eternally pester* 


1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 325 

ing you with alterations, I send you Cobbett to con- 
firm your orthodoxy. 

" One more alteration of a into the in the MS. ; it 
must be * The heart whose softness,' &c. 

" Remember and in the inscription, ' To the 
Right Honourable Lord Holland/ without the pre- 
vious names, Henry," &c. 


" November 20. 1813. 

" More work for the Row. I am doing my best 
to beat ' The Giaour* no difficult task for any one 
but the author." 


" November 22. 1813. 

" I have no time to cross-investigate, but I believe 
and hope all is right. I care less than you will 
believe about its success, but I can't survive a single 
misprint: it chokes me to see words misused by the 
printers. Pray look over, in case of some eyesore- 
escaping me. 

" P. S. Send the earliest copies to Mr. Frere, Mr 
Canning, Mr. Heber, Mr. Gifford, Lord Holland, 
Lord Melbourne (Whitehall), Lady Caroline Lamb, 
(Brocket), Mr. Hodgson (Cambridge), Mr. Merivale, 
Mr. Ward, from the author." 


" November 23. 1813. 

" You wanted some reflections, and I send you 
Y 3 

326 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

per Selim (see his speech in Canto 2d, page 46.), 
eighteen lines in decent couplets, of a pensive, if 
not an ethical tendency. One more revise posi- 
tively the last, if decently done at any rate the 
joe/mltimate. Mr. Canning's approbation (if he did 
approve) I need not say makes me proud.* As to 
printing, print as you will and how you will by 
itself, if you like ; but let me have a few copies in 

" November 24. 1813. 

" You must pardon me once more, as it is all for 
your good : it must be thus 

" He makes a solitude, and calls it peace. 

* Makes' is closer to the passage of Tacitus, from 
which the line is taken, and is, besides, a stronger 
word than * leaves' 

" Mark where his carnage and his conquests cease 
He makes a solitude, and calls it peace." 


" November 27. 1813. 

" If you look over this carefully by the last proof 
with my corrections, it is probably right ; this you 

* Mr. Canning's note was as follows : "I received the 
books, and, among them, The Bride of Abydos. It is very, 
very beautiful. Lord Byron (when I met him, one day, at 
dinner at Mr. Ward's) was so luiid as to promise to give me a 
copy of it. I mention this, not to save my purchase, but 
because I should be really flattered by the present." 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 327 

can do as well or better ; I have not now time. 
The copies I mentioned to be sent to different friends 
last night, I should wish to be made up with the 
new Giaours, if it also is ready. If not, send The 
Giaour afterwards. 

" The Morning Post says / am the author of 
Nourjahad ! ! This comes of lending the drawings 
for their dresses ; but it is not worth a formal con- 
tradiction. Besides, the criticisms on the supposition 
will, some of them, be quite amusing and furious. 
The Orientalism which I hear is very splendid 
of the melodrame (whosever it is, and I am sure I 
don't know) is as good as an advertisement for your 
Eastern Stories, by filling their heads with glitter. 

" P. S. You will of course say the truth, that I am 
not the melodramist if any one charges me in your 
presence with the performance." 


November 28. 1813. 

" Send another copy (if not too much of a re- 
quest) to Lady Holland of the Journal*^ in my 
name, when you receive this ; it is for Earl Grey 
and I will relinquish my own. Also to Mr. Sharpe, 
and Lady Holland, and Lady Caroline Lamb, copies 
of' The Bride' as soon as convenient. 

" P. S. Mr. Ward and myself still continue our 
purpose ; but I shall not trouble you on any arrange- 
ment on the score of The Giaour and The Bride till 

* Penrose's Journal, a book published by Mr. Murray at 
this time. 

y 4? 

328 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

our return, or, at any rate, before May, 1814, 
that is, six months from hence : and before that time 
you will be able to ascertain how far your offer may 
be a losing one ; if so, you can deduct proportion- 
ably ; and if not, I shall not at any rate allow you to 
go higher than your present proposal, which is very 
handsome, and more than fair. * 

" I have had but this must be entre nous a very 
kind note, on the subject of i The Bride,' from Sir 
James Mackintosh, and an invitation to go there this 
evening, which it is now too late to accept." 


November 29. 1813. 

Sunday Monday morning three o'clock in 
my doublet and hose, swearing. 

" I send you in time an errata page, containing an 
omission of mine, which must be thus added, as it is 
too late for insertion in the text. The passage is 
an imitation altogether from Medea in Ovid, and is 
incomplete without these two lines. Pray let this 
be done, and directly ; it is necessary, will add one 
page to your book (making), and can do no harm, 
and is yet in time for the public. Answer me, thou 
oracle, in the affirmative. You can send the loose 
pages to those who have copies already, if they like ; 
but certainly to all the critical copyholders. 

" P. S. I have got out of my bed, (in which, how- 
ever, I could not sleep, whether I had amended 

* Mr. Murray had offered him a thousand guineas for the 
two poems. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 329 

this or not,) and so good morning. I am trying 
whether De 1'Allemagne will act as an opiate, but 
I doubt it." 


" November 29. 1813. 

" < You have looked at it ! ' to much purpose, to 
allow so stupid a blunder to stand; it is not * courage" 1 
but * carnage ; ' and if you don't want me to cut my 
own throat, see it altered. 

" I am very sorry to hear of the fall of Dresden." 


" Nov. 29. 1813. Monday. 

" You will act as you please upon that point ; but 
whether I go or stay, I shall not say another word on 
the subject till May nor then, unless quite con- 
venient to yourself. I have many things I wish to 
leave to your care, principally papers. The vases 
need not be now sent, as Mr. Ward is gone to Scot- 
land. You are right about the errata page ; place 
it at the beginning. Mr. Perry is a little premature 
in his compliments : these may do harm by exciting 
expectation, and I think we ought to be above it 
though I see the next paragraph is on the Journal*, 
which makes me suspect you as the author of both. 

" Would it not have been as well to have said * in 
two Cantos ' in the advertisement ? they will else 
think of fragments, a species of composition very 

* Penrose's Journal. 


well for once, like one ruin in a view ; but one would 
not build a town of them. The Bride, such as it is, 
is my first entire composition of any length (except 
the Satire, and be d d to it), for The Giaour is but 
a string of passages, and Childe Harold is, and I 
rather think always will be, unconcluded. I return 
Mr. Hay's note, with thanks to him and you. 

" There have been some epigrams on Mr. Ward : 
one I see to-day. The first I did not see, but heard 
yesterday. The second seems very bad. I only 
hope that Mr. Ward does not believe that I had any 
connection with either. I like and value him too 
well to allow my politics to contract into spleen, or 
to admire any thing intended to annoy him or his. 
You need not take the trouble to answer this, as I 
shall see you in the course of the afternoon. 

" P. S. I have said this much about the epigrams, 
because I lived so much in the opposite camp, and, 
from my post as an engineer, might be suspected as 
the flinger of these hand-grenadoes ; but with a 
worthy foe, I am all for open war, and not this bush- 
fighting, and have not had, nor will have, any thing 
to do with it. I do not know the author." 


" Nov. SO. 1813. 

" Print this at the end of all that is of The Bride 
of Abydos,' as an errata page. BN. 

" Omitted, Canto 2d, page 4-7., after line 449., 

" So that those arms cling closer round my neck. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 331 


" Then if my lip once murmur, it must be 
No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee." 


" Tuesday evening, Nov. 30. 1813. 
" For the sake of correctness, particularly in an 
errata page, the alteration of the couplet I have just 
sent (half an hour ago) must take place, in spite of 
delay or cancel ; let me see the proof early to-mor- 
row. I found out murmur to be a neuter verb, and 
have been obliged to alter the line so as to make it 
a substantive, thus 

" The deepest murmur of this lip shall be 
No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee ! 

Don't send the copies to the country till this is all 


" Dec. 2. 1813. 

" When you can, let the couplet enclosed be in- 
serted either in the page, or in the errata page. I 
trust it is in time for some of the copies. This alter- 
ation is in the same part the page but one before 
the last correction sent. 

P. S. I am afraid, from all I hear, that people are 
rather inordinate in their expectations, which is very 
unlucky, but cannot now be helped. This comes of 
Mr. Perry and one's wise friends ; but do not you 
wind your hopes of success to the same pitch, for 

332 NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

fear of accidents, and I can assure you that my phi- 
losophy will stand the test very fairly ; and 1 have 
done every thing to ensure you, at all events, from 
positive loss, which will be some satisfaction to 


" Dec. 3. 1813. 

" I send you a scratch or two, the which heal. 
The Christian Observer is very savage, but certainly 
well written and quite uncomfortable at the 
naughtiness of book and author. I rather suspect 
you won't much like the present to be more moral, if 
it is to share also the usual fate of your virtuous 

" Let me see a proof of the six before incorpora- 


Monday evening, Dec. 6. 1813. 

" It is all very well, except that the lines are not 
numbered properly, and a diabolical mistake, page 
67., which mustbe corrected with the pen, if no other 
way remains ; it is the omission of ' not ' before 
'disagreeable,' in the note on the amber rosary. 
This is really horrible, and nearly as bad as the 
stumble of mine at the threshold I mean the mis- 
nomer of Bride. Pray do not let a copy go without 
the 'not;' it is nonsense, and worse than nonsense 
as it now stands. I wish the printer was saddled 
with a vampire. 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 333 

" P. S. It is still hath instead of have in page 20. ; 
never was any one so misused as I am by your devils 
of printers. 

" P. S. I hope and trust the 'not' was inserted 
in the first edition. We must have something 
any thing to set it right. It is enough to answer 
for one's own bulls, without other people's." 


" December 27. 1813. 

" Lord Holland is laid up with the gout, and 
would feel very much obliged if you could obtain,, 
and send as soon as possible, Madame d'Arblay's 
(or even Miss Edgeworth's) new work. I know they 
are not out; but it is perhaps possible for your 
Majesty to command what we cannot with much 
suing purchase, as yet. I need not say that when 
you are able or willing to confer the same favour on 
me, I shall be obliged. I would almost fall sick 
myself to get at Madame d'Arblay's writings. 

" P. S. You were talking to-day of the American 
edition of a certain unquenchable memorial of my 
younger days. As it can't be helped now, I own I 
have some curiosity to see a copy of trans-Atlantic 
typography. This you will perhaps obtain, and one 
for yourself; but I must beg that you will not import 
more, because, seriously, I do wish to have that thing, 
forgotten as much as it has been forgiven, 

" If you send to the Globe editor, say that I want 
neither excuse nor contradiction, but merely a dis- 
continuance of a most ill-grounded charge. I never 

334- NOTICES OF THE 1813. 

was consistent in any thing but my politics ; and as 
my redemption depends on that solitary virtue, it 
is murder to carry away my last anchor." 

Of these hasty and characteristic missives with 
which he despatched offhis "still-breeding thoughts," 
there yet remain a few more that might be presented 
to the reader ; but enough has here been given to 
show the fastidiousness of his self-criticism, as well 
as the restless and unsatisfied ardour with which he 
pressed on in pursuit of perfection, still seeing, 
according to the usual doom of genius, much farther 
than he could reach. 

An appeal was, about this time, made to his ge- 
nerosity, which the reputation of the person from 
whom it proceeded would, in the minds of most 
people, have justified him in treating with disregard, 
but which a more enlarged feeling of humanity led 
him to view in a very different light ; for, when ex- 
postulated with by Mr. Murray on his generous 
intentions towards one " whom nobody else would 
give a single farthing to," he answered, " it is for 
that very reason /give it, because nobody else will." 
The person in question was Mr. Thomas Ashe, author 
of a certain notorious publication called " The Book," 
which, from the delicate mysteries discussed in its 
pages, attracted far more notice than its talent, or 
even mischief, deserved. In a fit, it is to be hoped, 
of sincere penitence, this man wrote to Lord Byron, 
alleging poverty as his excuse for the vile uses to 
which he had hitherto prostituted his pen, and 

1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 335 

soliciting his Lordship's aid towards enabling him to 
exist, in future, more reputably. To this application 
the following answer, marked, in the highest degree, 
by good sense, humanity, and honourable sentiment, 
was returned by Lord Byron: 


" 4. Bennet Street, St. James's, Dec. 14. 1813. 

" I leave town for a few days to-morrow ; on my 
return, I will answer your letter more at length. 
Whatever may be your situation, I cannot but com- 
mend your resolution to abjure and abandon the 
publication and composition of works such as those 
to which you have alluded. Depend upon it they 
amuse few, disgrace both reader and writer, and 
benefit none. It will be my wish to assist you, as 
far as my limited means will admit, to break such a 
bondage. In your answer, inform me what sum 
you think would enable you to extricate yourself 
from the hands of your employers, and to regain, at 
least, temporary independence, and I shall be glad 
to contribute my mite towards it. At present, I 
must conclude. Your name is not unknown to me, 
and I regret, for your own sake, that you have ever 
lent it to the works you mention. In saying this, 
I merely repeat your own words in your letter to 
me, and have no wish whatever to say a single 
syllable that may appear to insult your misfortunes. 
If I have, excuse me ; it is unintentional. Yours, &c. 


836 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

In answer to this letter, Ashe mentioned, as the 
sum necessary to extricate him from his difficulties, 
] 50Z. to be advanced at the rate of ten pounds 
per month ; and, some short delay having occurred 
in the reply to this demand, the modest applicant, in 
renewing his suit, complained, it appears, of neglect : 
on which Lord Byron, with a good temper which 
few, in a similar case, could imitate, answered him 
as follows : 


" January 5. 1814. 

" When you accuse a stranger of neglect, you 
forget that it is possible business or absence from 
London may have interfered to delay his answer, 
as has actually occurred in the present instance. 
But to the point. I am willing to do what I can 
to extricate you from your situation. Your first 
scheme * I was considering ; but your own im- 
patience appears to have rendered it abortive, if 
not irretrievable. I will deposit in Mr. Murray's 
hands (with his consent) the sum you mentioned, 
to be advanced for the time at ten pounds per 

" P. S. I write in the greatest hurry, which 
may make my letter a little abrupt ; but, as I said 
before, I have no wish to distress your feelings." 

* His first intention had been to go out, as a settler, to 
Botany Bay. 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 337 

The service thus humanely proffered was no less 
punctually performed ; and the following is one of 
the many acknowledgments of payment which I 
find in A she's letters to Mr. Murray : " I have 
the honour to enclose you another, memorandum 
for the sum of ten pounds, in compliance with the 
munificent instructions of Lord Byron."* 

His friend, Mr. Merivale, one of the translators 
of those Selections from the Anthology which we 
have seen he regretted so much not having taken 
with him on his travels, published a poem about 
this time, which he thus honours with his praise. 


"January, 1814. 
" My dear Merivale, 

" I have redde Roncesvaux with very great plea- 
sure, and (if I were so disposed) see very little room 
for criticism. There is a choice of two lines in one 
of the last Cantos, I think ' Live and protect ' 
better, because * Oh who ? ' implies a doubt of 
Roland's power or inclination. I would allow the 

but that point you yourself must determine on 

I mean the doubt as to where to place a part of 
the Poem, whether between the actions or no. 
Only if you wish to have all the success you de- 

* When these monthly disbursements had amounted to 701., 
Ashe wrote to beg that the whole remaining sum of 80/. might 
be advanced to him at one payment, in order to enable him, as 
he said, to avail himself of a passage to New South Wales, 
which had been again offered to him. The sum was accord- 
ingly, by Lord Byron's orders, paid into his hands. 


338 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

serve, never listen to friends, and as I am not the 
least troublesome of the number, least of all to me. 
" I hope you will be out soon. March) sir, 
March is the month for the trade, and they must be 
considered. You have written a very noble Poem, 
and nothing but the detestable taste of the day can 
do you harm, but I think you will beat it. Your 
measure is uncommonly well chosen and wielded." * 

In the extracts from his Journal, just given, there 
is a passage that cannot fail to have been remarked, 
where, in speaking of his admiration of some lady, 
whose name he has himself left blank, the noble 
writer says "a wife would be the salvation of 
me." It was under this conviction, which not only 
himself but some of his friends entertained, of the 
prudence of his taking timely refuge in matrimony 
from those perplexities which form the sequel of 
all less regular ties, that he had been induced, 
about a year before, to turn his thoughts seriously 
to marriage, at least, as seriously as his thoughts 
were ever capable of being so turned, and chiefly, 
I believe, by the advice and intervention of his 
friend Lady Melbourne, to become a suitor for the 
hand of a relative of that lady, Miss Milbanke. 
Though his proposal was not then accepted, every 
assurance of friendship and regard accompanied 
the refusal ; a wish was even expressed that they 
should continue to write to each other, and a 
correspondence, in consequence, somewhat sin- 

* This letter is but a fragment, the remainder being lost. 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 339 

gular between two young persons of different sexes, 
inasmuch as love was not the subject of it, en- 
sued between them. We have seen how highly 
Lord Byron estimated as well the virtues as the 
accomplishments of the young lady ; but it is evi- 
dent that on neither side, at this period, was love 
either felt or professed. * 

In the mean time, new entanglements, in which 
his heart was the willing dupe of his fancy and vanity, 
came to engross the young poet : and still, as the 
usual penalties of such pursuits followed, he again 
found himself sighing for the sober yoke of wedlock, 
as some security against their recurrence. There 
were, indeed, in the interval between Miss Mil- 
banke's refusal and acceptance of him, two or three 
other young women of rank who, at different times, 
formed the subject of his matrimonial dreams. In 
the society of one of these, whose family had long 
honoured me with their friendship, he and I passed 
much of our time, during this and the preceding 
spring ; and it will be found that, in a subsequent 
part of his correspondence, he represents me as 
having entertained an anxious wish that he should 
so far cultivate my fair friend's favour as to give a 
chance, at least, of matrimony being the result. 

That I, more than once, expressed some such 
feeling is undoubtedly true. Fully concurring with 
the opinion, not only of himself, but of others of his 

* The reader has already seen what Lord Byron himself 
says, in his Journal, on this subject : " What an odd situation 
and friendship is ours ! without one spark of love on either 
side," &c. &c. 

z 2 

34-0 NOTICES OF THE 1814, 

friends, that in marriage lay his only chance of sal- 
vation from the sort of perplexing nttachments into 
which he was now constantly tempted, I saw in none 
of those whom he admired with more legitimate 
views so many requisites for the difficult task of 
winning him into fidelity and happiness as in the 
lady in question. Combining beauty of the highest 
order with a mind intelligent and ingenuous, 
having just learning enough to give refinement to 
her taste, and far too much taste to make pre- 
tensions to learning, with a patrician spirit proud 
as his own, but showing it only in a delicate gene- 
rosity of spirit, a feminine high-mindedness, which 
would have led her to tolerate his defects in con- 
sideration of his noble qualities and his glory, and 
even to sacrifice silently some of her own happiness 
rather than violate the responsibility in which she 
stood pledged to the world for his ; such was, 
from long experience, my impression of the cha- 
racter of this lady ; and perceiving Lord Byron to 
be attracted by her more obvious claims to ad- 
miration, I felt a pleasure no less in rendering jus- 
tice to the still rarer qualities which she possessed, 
than in endeavouring to raise my noble friend's 
mind to the contemplation of a higher model of 
female character than he had, unluckily for himself, 
been much in the habit of studying. 

To this extent do I confess myself to have been 
influenced by the sort of feeling which he attributes 
to me. But in taking for granted (as it will appear 
he did from one of his letters) that I entertained 
any very decided or definite wishes on the subject, 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYROST. 34-1 

lie gave me more credit for seriousness in my sug- 
gestions than I deserved. If even the lady herself, 
the unconscious object of these speculations, by 
whom he was regarded in no other light than that 
of a distinguished acquaintance, could have con- 
sented to undertake the perilous, but still pos- 
sible and glorious, achievement of attaching Byron 
to virtue, I own that, sanguinely as, in theory, I 
might have looked to the result, I should have seen, 
not without trembling, the happiness of one whom 
I had known and valued from her childhood risked 
in the experiment. 

I shall now proceed to resume the thread of the 
Journal, which I had broken off, and of which, it 
will be perceived, the noble author himself had, for 
some weeks, at this time, interrupted the progress.