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London : 

Spottiswoo!>bs and Shaw, 

New-street- Square. 


i/. 3 


Letters and Journals of Lord Btron, with Notices or 
his Life, from February, 1814, to April, 181 7. 




" JOURNAL, 1814. 

" February 18. 
" Setter than a month since Hast journalised : — 
most of it out of London and at Notts., but a busy 
one and a pleasant, at least three weeks of it. On 
my return, I find all the newspapers in hysterics *, 

* Immediately on the appearance of The Corsair, (with those 
obnoxious verses, " Weep, daughter of a royal line," appended 
to it,) a series of attacks, not confined to Lord Byron himself, 
but aimed also at all those who had lately become his friends, 
was commenced in the Courier and Morning Post, and carried 
on through the greater part of the months of February and 
March. The point selected by these writers, as a ground of 
censure on the poet, was one which now, perhaps, even them- 
selves would agree to class among his claims to praise, — 
namely, the atonement which he had endeavoured to make for 
the youthful violence of his Satire by a measure of justice, 
amiable even in its overflowings, to every one whom he con- 
ceived he had wronged. 

Notwithstanding the careless tone in which, here and else- 
where, he speaks of these assaults, it is evident that they an- 
noyed him ; — an effect which, in reading them over now, we 

vol. in. a 


and town in an uproar, on the avowal and republica- 
tion of two stanzas on Princess Charlotte's weeping 
at Regency's speech to Lauderdale in 1812. They 
are daily at it still ; — some of the abuse good, all of 
it hearty. They talk of a motion in our House upon 
it — be it so. 

" Got up — reade the Morning Post, containing 
the battle of Buonaparte, the destruction of the Cus- 
tom-house, and a paragraph on me as long as my 
pedigree, and vituperative, as usual. 

" Hobhouse is returned to England. He is my 
best friend, the most lively, and a man of the most 
sterling talents extant. 

" ' The Corsair' has been conceived, written, pub- 
lished, &c. since I last took up this journal. They 
tell me it has great success ; — it was written con 
amove, and much from existence. Murray is satis- 
fied with its progress ; and if the public are equally 
so with the perusal, there 's an end of the matter. 

" Nine o'clock. 

" Been to Hanson's on business. Saw Rogers, 

and had a note from Lad}' Melbourne, who says, it 

should be apt to wonder they could produce, did we not recol- 
lect the property which Dryden attributes to " small wits," in 
common with certain other small animals : — 

" We scarce could know they live, but that they bite." 
The following is a specimen of the terms in which these 
party scribes could then speak of one of the masters of English 
song : — " They might have slept in oblivion with Lord Car- 
lisle's Dramas and Lord Byron's Poems." — " Some certainly 
extol Lord Byron's Poem much, but most of the best judges 
place his Lordship rather low in the list of our minor poets." 


is said I am < much out of spirits.' I wonder if I 
really am or not ? I have certainly enough of ' that 
perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart,' and it is 
better they should believe it to be the result of these 
attacks than of the real cause ; but — ay, ay, always 
but, to the end of the chapter. 

" Hobhouse has told me ten thousand anecdotes of 
Napoleon, all good and true. My friend H. is the 
most entertaining of companions, and a fine fellow 
to boot. 

" Redde a little — wrote notes and letters, and 
am alone, which Locke says, is bad company. ' Be 
not solitary, be not idle.' — Urn! — the idleness is 
troublesome ; but I can't see so much to regret in 
the solitude. The more I see of men, the less I like 
them. If I could but say so of women too, all would 
be well. Why can't I ? I am now six-and-twenty ; 
my passions have had enough to cool them ; my 
affections more than enough to wither them, — and 
yet — and yet — always yet and but — ' Excellent well, 
you are a fishmonger — get thee to a nunnery.' — 
' They fool me to the top of my bent.' 

" Midnight. 

" Began a letter, which I threw into the fire. 
Redde — but to little purpose. Did not visit Hob- 
house, as I promised and ought. No matter, the loss 
is mine. Smoked cigars. 

" Napoleon ! — this week will decide his fate. All 
seems against him ; but I believe and hope he will 
win — at least, beat back the invaders. What right 
have we to prescribe sovereigns to France ? Oh for 

b 2 


a Republic ! ' Brutus, thou sleepest.' Hobhouse 
abounds in continental anecdotes of this extraordinary 
man; all in favour of his intellect and courage, but 
against his bonhommie. No wonder ; — how should 
he, who knows mankind well, do other than despise 
and abhor them? 

" The greater the equality, the more impartially 
evil is distributed, and becomes lighter by the divi- 
sion among so many — therefore, a Republic ! 

" More notes from Mad. de * * unanswered — and 
so the} r shall remain. I admire her abilities, but 
really her society is overwhelming — an avalanche 
that buries one in glittering nonsense — all snow and 

" Shall I go to Mackintosh's on Tuesday ? um ! — 
I did not go to Marquis Lansdowne's, nor to Miss 
Berry's, though both are pleasant. So is Sir 
James's, — but I don't know — I believe one is not 
the better for parties ; at least, unless some reg- 
nante is there. 

" I wonder how the deuce any body could make 
such a world ; for what purpose dandies, for instance, 
were ordained — and kings — and fellows of colleges 
— and women of ' a certain age ' — and many men 
of any age — and myself, most of all ! 

" ' Divesne prisco et nattis ab Inacho, 
Nil interest, an pauper, et infima 
De gente, sub dio moreris, 

Victima nil miserantis Orel. 

* * * * 

Omnes eodem cogimur.' 

" Is there any thing beyond ? — tcho knows ? He 
that can't tell. Who tells that there is ? He who 


don't know. And when shall he know? perhaps, 
when he don't expect, and generally when he don't 
wish it. In this last respect, however, all are not 
alike : it depends a good deal upon education, — 
something upon nerves and habits — but most upon 

" Saturday, Feb. 19. 

" Just returned from seeing Kean in Richard. By 
Jove, he is a soul ! Life — nature — truth without 
exaggeration or diminution. Kemble's Hamlet is per- 
fect ; — but Hamlet is not Nature. Richard is a man ; 
and Kean is Richard. Now to my own concerns. 

" Went to Waite's. Teeth all right and white ; 
but he says that I grind them in my sleep and 
chip the edges. That same sleep is no friend of 
mine, though I court him sometimes for half the 

" February 20. 

" Got up and tore out two leaves of this Journal 
— I don't know why. Hodgson just called and gone. 
He has much bonhommie with his other good quali- 
ties, and more talent than he has yet had credit for 
beyond his circle. 

" An invitation to dine at Holland House to meet 
Kean. He is worth meeting ; and I hope, by getting 
into good society, he will be prevented from falling 
like Cooke. He is greater now on the stage, and off 
he should never be less. There is a stupid and 
under-rating criticism upon him in one of the news- 
papers. I thought that, last night, though great, he 
rather under-acted more than the first time. This 
may be the effect of these cavils ; but I hope he has 

b 3 


more sense than to mind them. He cannot expect 
to maintain his present eminence, or to advance still 
higher, without the envy of his green-room fellows, 
and the nibbling of their admirers. But, if he don't 
beat them all, why then — merit hath no purchase 
in ' these coster-monger days.' 

" I wish that I had a talent for the drama ; I would 
write a tragedy now. But no, — it is gone. Hodg- 
son talks of one, — he will do it well ; — and I think 
M — e should try. He has wonderful powers, and 
much variety ; besides, he has lived and felt. To 
write so as to bring home to the heart, the heart 
must have been tried, — but, perhaps, ceased to be so. 
While you are under the influence of passions, you 
only feel, but cannot describe them, — any more 
than, when in action, you could turn round and tell 
the story to your next neighbour ! When all is 
over, — all, all, and irrevocable, — trust to memory 
— she is then but too faithful. 

" Went out, and answered some letters, yawned 
now and then, and redde the Robbers. Fine, — but 
Fiesco is better ; and Alfieri and Monti's Aristo- 
demo best. They are more equal than the Tedeschi 

" Answered — or, rather acknowledged — the re- 
ceipt of young Reynolds's Poem, Safie. The lad is 
clever, but much of his thoughts are borrowed, — 
whence, the Reviewers may find out. I hate dis- 
couraging a young one ; and I think, — though wild 
and more oriental than he would be, had he seen the 
scenes where he has placed his tale, — that he has 
much talent, and, certainly, fire enough. 


" Received a very singular epistle ; and the mode 
of its conveyance, through Lord H.'s hands, as 
curious as the letter itself. But it was gratifying 
and pretty. 

" Sunday, February 27. 

" Here I am, alone, instead of dining at Lord H.'s, 
where I was asked, — but not inclined to go anywhere. 
Hobhouse says I am growing a loup garou, — a so- 
litary hobgoblin. True ; — 'I am myself alone.' 
The last week has been passed in reading — seeing 
plays — now and then visiters — sometimes yawn- 
ing and sometimes sighing, but no writing, — save 
of letters. If I could always read, I should never 
feel the want of society. Do I regret it ? — um ! 
— ' Man delights not me,' and only one woman — 
at a time. 

" There is something to me very softening in the 
presence of a woman, — some strange influence, 
even if one is not in love with them, — which I can- 
not at all account for, having no very high opinion 
of the sex. But yet, — I always feel in better hu- 
mour with myself and every thing else, if there is a 
woman within ken. Even Mrs. Mule *, my fire- 

* This ancient housemaid, of whose gaunt and witch-like 
appearance it would be impossible to convey any idea but by 
the pencil, furnished one among the numerous instances of 
Lord Byron's proneness to attach himself to any thing, however 
homely, that had once enlisted his good nature in its behalf, 
and become associated with his thoughts. He first found this 
old woman at his lodgings in Bennet Street, where, for a whole 
season, she was the perpetual scarecrow of his visiters. When, 
next year, he took chambers in Albany, one of the great advan- 

B 4 


lighter, — the most ancient and withered of her 
kind, — and (except to myself) not the best-tem- 
pered — always makes me laugh, — no difficult task 
when I am ' i' the vein.' 

" Heigho ! I would I were in mine island ! — I 
am not well ; and yet I look in good health. At 
times, I fear, 'I am not in my perfect mind;' — and yet 
my heart and head have stood many a crash, and 
what should ail them now ? They prey upon them- 
selves, and I am sick — sick — ' Prithee, undo this 
button — why should a cat, a rat, a dog have life — 
and thou no life at all ? ' Six-and-twenty years, as 
they call them, why, I might and should have been 
a Pasha by this time. ' I 'gin to be a weary of the 

tages which his friends looked to in the change was, that they 
should get rid of this phantom. But, no, — there she was 
again — he had actually brought her with him from Bennet 
Street. The following year saw him married, and, with a re- 
gular establishment of servants, in Piccadilly ; and here, — as 
Mrs. Mule had not made her appearance to any of the visiters, 
— it was concluded, rashly, that the witch had vanished. One 
of those friends, however, who had most fondly indulged in 
this persuasion, happening to call one day when all the male 
part of the establishment were abroad, saw, to his dismay, the 
door opened by the same grim personage, improved consider- 
ibly in point of habiliments since he last saw her, and keeping 
pace with the increased scale of her master's household, as a 
new peruke, and other symptoms of promotion, testified. 
When asked " how he came to carry this old woman about 
with him from place to place," Lord Byron's only answer was, 
" The poor old devil was so kind to me." 


" Buonaparte is not yet beaten ; but has rebutted 
Blueher, and repiqued Swartzenburg. This it is to 
have a head. If he again wins, ' Vae victis ! ' 

" Sunday, March 6. 

" On Tuesday last dined with Rogers, — Madame 
de Stael, Mackintosh, Sheridan, Erskine, and Payne 
Knight, Lady Donegall and Miss It. there. Sheridan 
told a very good story of himself and Madame de 
Recamier's handkerchief; Erskine a few stories of 
himself only. Site is going to write a big book about 
England, she says ; — I believe her. Asked b} r her 
how I liked Miss * * 's thing, called * *, and answered 
(very sincerely) that I thought it very bad for her, 
and worse than any of the others. Afterwards 
thought it possible Lady Donegall, being Irish, might 
be a patroness of * *, and was rather sorry for my 
opinion, as I hate putting people into fusses, either 
with themselves or their favourites ; it looks as if 
one did it on purpose. The party went off very well, 
and the fish was very much to my gusto. But we 
got up too soon after the women ; and Mrs. Corinne 
always lingers so long after dinner that we wish 
her in — the drawing-room. 

" To-day C. called, and while sitting here, in came 
Merivale. During our colloquy, C. (ignorant that 
M. was the writer) abused the 'mawkishness of the 
Quarterly Review of Grimm's Correspondence. ' I 
(knowing the secret) changed the conversation as 
soon as I could ; and C. went away, quite convinced 
of having made the most favourable impression on 
his new acquaintance. Merivale is luckily a very 

10 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

good-natured fellow, or, God he knows what might 
have been engendered from such a malaprop. I did 
not look at him while this was going on, but I felt 
like a coal — for I like Merivale, as well as the ar- 
ticle in question. 

" Asked to Lady Keith's to-morrow evening — I 
think I will go ; but it is the first party invitation I 
have accepted this ' season,' as the learned Fletcher 
called it, when that youngest brat of Lady * * 's cut 
my eye and cheek open with a misdirected pebble 
— ' Never mind, my Lord, the scar will be gone 
before the season;' as if one's eye was of no im- 
portance in the mean time. 

" Lord Erskine called, and gave me his famous 
pamphlet, with a marginal note and corrections in 
his handwriting. Sent it to be bound superbly, and 
shall treasure it. 

" Sent my fine print of Napoleon to be framed. It 
is framed ; and the Emperor becomes his robes as 
if he had been hatched in them. 

" March 7. 

" Rose at seven — ready by half-past eight — 
went to Mr. Hanson's, Berkeley Square — went to 
church with his eldest daughter, Mary Anne (a good 
girl), and gave her away to the Earl of Portsmouth, 
Saw her fairly a countess — congratulated the 
family and groom (bride) — drank a bumper of wine 
(wholesome sherris) to their felicity, and all that — 
and came home. Asked to stay to dinner, but 
could not. At three sat to Phillips for faces. 
Called on Lady M. — I like her so well, that I always 
stay too long. (Mem. to mend of that.) 



" Passed the evening with Hobhouse, who has 
begun a poem, which promises highly ; — wish he 
would go on with it. Heard some curious extracts 
from a life of Morosini, the blundering Venetian, 
who blew up the Acropolis at Athens with a bomb, 
and bed — d to him ! Waxed sleepy — just come 
home — must go to bed, and am engaged to meet 
Sheridan to-morrow at Rogers's. 

" Queer ceremony that same of marriage — saw 
many abroad, Greek and Catholic — one, at home, 
many years ago. There be some strange phrases in 
the prologue (the exhortation), which made me turn 
away, not to laugh in the face of the surpliceman. 
Made one blunder, when I joined the hands of the 
happy — rammed their left hands, by mistake, into 
one another. Corrected it — bustled back to the 
altar-rail, and said ' Amen.' Portsmouth responded 
as if he had got the whole by heart ; and, if any 
thing, was rather before the priest. It is now mid- 
night, and * * *. 

" March 10. Thor's Day. 

" On Tuesday dined with Rogers, — Mackintosh, 
Sheridan, Sharpe, — much talk, and good, — all, ex- 
cept my own little prattlement. Much of old times 
— Home Tooke — the Trials — evidence of Sheridan, 
and anecdotes of those times, when /, alas! was an 
infant. If I had been a man, I would have made an 
English Lord Edward Fitzgerald. 

" Set down Sheridan at Brookes's, — where, by 
the by, he could not have well set down himself, as 
be and I were the only drinkers. Sherry means to 

12 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

stand for Westminster, as Cochrane (the stock-job- 
bing hoaxer) must vacate. Brougham is a candidate. 
I fear for poor dear Sherry. Both have talents of 
the highest order, but the youngster has yet a charac- 
ter. We shall see, if he lives to Sherry's age, how 
he will pass over the redhot ploughshares of public 
life. I don't know why, but I hate to see the old 
ones lose ; particularly Sheridan, notwithstanding 
all his mechancete. 

" Received many, and the kindest, thanks from 
Lady Portsmouth, pere and mere, for my match- 
making. I don't regret it, as she looks the countess 
well, and is a very good girl. It is odd how well 
she carries her new honours. She looks a different 
woman, and high-bred, too. I had no idea that I 
could make so good a peeress. 

" Went to the play with Hobhouse. Mrs. Jordan 
superlative in Hoyden, and Jones well enough in 
Foppington. What plays ! what wit ! — helas ! 
Congreve and Vanbrugh are your only comedy. 
Our society is too insipid now for the like copy. 
Would not go to Lady Keith's. Hobhouse thought 
it odd. I wonder he should like parties. If one is 
in love, and wants to break a commandment and 
covet any thing that is there, they do very well. But 
to go out amongst the mere herd, without a motive, 
pleasure, or pursuit — 'sdeath ! ' I '11 none of it.' 
He told me an odd report, — that / am the actual 
Conrad, the veritable Corsair, and that part of my 
travels are supposed to have passed in privacy. 
Um ! — people sometimes hit near the truth ; but 
never the whole truth. H. don't know what I was 


about the year after he left the Levant ; nor does 
any one — nor — nor — nor — however, it is a lie 

— but, ' I doubt the equivocation of the fiend that 
lies like truth ! ' 

" I shall have letters of importance to-morrow. 
Which, * *, * *, or * * ? heigho ! — * * is in my 
heart, * * in my head, * * in my eye, and the sin- 
gle one, Heaven knows where. All write, and will 
be answered. ' Since I have crept in favour with 
myself, I must maintain it ; ' but / never ' mistook 
my person,' though I think others have. 

" * * called to-day in great despair about his mis- 
tress, who has taken a freak of * * *. He began a 
letter to her, but was obliged to stop short — I finish- 
ed it for him, and he copied and sent it. If he holds 
out, and keeps to my instructions of affected indiffer- 
ence, she will lower her colours. If she don't, he 
will, at least, get rid of her, and she don't seem 
much worth keeping. But the poor lad is in love — 
if that is the case, she will win. When they once 
discover their power, finita e la musica. 

" Sleepy, and must go to bed. 

" Tuesday, March 15. 
" Dined yesterday with R., Mackintosh, and 
Sharpe. Sheridan could not come. Sharpe told 
several very amusing anecdotes of Henderson, the 
actor. Stayed till late, and came home, having 
drank so much tea, that I did not get to sleep till six 
this morning. R. says I am to be in this Quarterly 

— cut up, I presume, as they ' hate us youth.' 
N'importe. As Sharpe was passing by the doors of 

14 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

some debating society (the Westminster Forum), in 
his way to dinner, he saw rubricked on the walls 
Scott's name and mine — 'Which the best poet?' 
being the question of the evening ; and I suppose all 
the Templars and loould bes took our rhymes in 
vain, in the course of the controversy. Which had 
the greater show of hands, I neither know nor care; 
but I feel the coupling of the names as a com- 
pliment, — though I think Scott deserves better 

" W. W. called — Lord Erskine, Lord Holland, &c. 
&c. Wrote to * * the Corsair report. She says 
she don't wonder, since ' Conrad is so like.' It is 
odd that one, who knows me so thoroughly, should 
tell me this to my face. However, if she don't know, 
nobody can. 

" Mackintosh is, it seems, the writer of the de- 
fensive letter in the Morning Chronicle. If so, it is 
very kind, and more than I did for myself. 

" Told Murray to secure for me Bandello's Italian 
Novels at the sale to-morrow. To me they will be 
nuts. Redde a satire on myself, called 'Anti-Byron,' 
and told Murray to publish it if he liked. The 
object of the author is to prove me an atheist and a 
systematic conspirator against law and government. 
Some of the verse is good ; the prose I don't quite 
understand. He asserts that my 'deleterious works' 
have had ' an eifect upon civil society, which re- 
quires,' &c. &c. &c. and his own poetry. It is a 
lengthy poem, and a long preface, with a harmonious 
title-page. Like the fly in the fable, I seem to have 
got upon a wheel which makes much dust ; but, un- 


like the said fly, I do not take it all for my own 

" A letter from Bella, which I answered. I shall 
be in love with her again, if I don't take care. 

" I shall begin a more regular system of reading 

" Thursday, March ] 7. 

" I have been sparring with Jackson for exercise 
this morning ; and mean to continue and renew my 
acquaintance with the muffles. My chest, and 
arms, and wind are in very good plight, and I am 
not in flesh. I used to be a hard hitter, and my 
arms are very long for my height (5 feet 8 1 inches). 
At any rate, exercise is good, and this the severest 
of all ; fencing and the broad-sword never fatigued 
me half so much. 

" Redde the ' Quarrels of Authors ' (another sort 
of sparring) — a new work, by that most entertain- 
ing and researching writer, Israeli. They seem to 
be an irritable set, and I wish myself well out of it. 
' I'll not march through Coventry with them, that's 
flat.' What the devil had I to do with scribbling? 
It is too late to enquire, and all regret is useless. 
But, an' it were to do again, — I should write again, 
I suppose. Such is human nature, at least my share 
of it ; — though I shall think better of myself, if I 
have sense to stop now. If I have a wife, and that 
wife has a son — by any body — I will bring up mine 
heir in the most anti-poetical way — make him a 
lawyer, or a pirate, or — any thing. But, if he writes 
too, I shall be sure he is none of mine, and cut him 
off with a Bank token. Must write a letter — three 

16 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

" Sunday, March 20. 

" I intended to go to Lady Hardwicke's, but won't. 
I always begin the day with a bias towards going to 
parties ; but, as the evening advances, my stimulus 
fails, and I hardly ever go out — and, when I do, al- 
ways regret it. This might have been a pleasant 
one ; — at least, the hostess is a very superior woman. 
Lady Lansdowne's to morrow — Lady Heathcote's 
Wednesday. Urn ! — I must spur myself into going 
to some of them, or it will look like rudeness, and it 
is better to do as other people do — confound them ! 

" Redde Machiavel, parts of Chardin, and Sis- 
mondi, and Bandello — by starts. Redde the Edin- 
burgh, 44, just come out. In the beginning of the 
article on ' Edgeworth's Patronage,' I have gotten 
a high compliment, I perceive. Whether this is 
creditable to me, I know not ; but it does honour to 
the editor, because he once abused me. Many a man 
will retract praise ; none but a high-spirited mind 
will revoke its censure, or can praise the man it has 
once attacked. I have often, since my return to 
England, heard Jeffrey most highly commended by 
those who know him for things independent of his 
talents. I admire him for this — not because he has 
praised me, (I have been so praised elsewhere and 
abused, alternately, that mere habit has rendered 
me as indifferent to both as a man at twenty-six can 
be to any thing,) but because he is, perhaps, the 
only man who, under the relations in which he and 
I stand, or stood, with regard to each other, Avoulcl 
have had the liberality to act thus ; none but a great 
soul dared hazard it. The height on which he stands 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON 1 . 17 

has not made him giddy : — a little scrihhler would 
have gone on cavilling to the end of the chapter. 
As to the justice of his panegyric, that is matter of 
taste. There are plenty to question it, and glad, too, 
of the opportunity. 

" Lord Erskine called to-day. He means to carry 
down his reflections on the war — or rather wars — 
to the present day. I trust that he will. Must send 
to Mr. Murray to get the binding of my copy of his 
pamphlet finished, as Lord E. has promised me to 
correct it, and add some marginal notes to it. Any 
thing in his handwriting will be a treasure, which 
will gather compound interest from years. Erskine 
has high expectations of Mackintosh's promised 
History. Undoubtedly it must be a classic, when 

" Sparred with Jackson again yesterday morning, 
and shall to-morrow. I feel all the better for it, in 
spirits, though my arms and shouldos are very stiff 
from it. Mem. to attend the pugilistic dinner : — 
Marquess Huntley is in the chair. 

" Lord Erskine thinks that ministers must be in 
peril of going out. So much the better for him. To 
me it is the same who are in or out ; — we want 
something more than a change of ministers, and some 
day we will have it. 

" I remember *, in riding from Chrisso to Castri 
(Delphos), along the sides of Parnassus, I saw six 

* Part of this passage lias been already extracted, but I 
liave allowed it to remain here in its original position, on 
account of the singularly sudden manner in which it is intro- 



eagles in the air. It is uncommon to see so manv 
together; and it was the number — not the species, 
which is common enough — that excited my atten- 

" The last bird I ever fired at was an eaglet, on the 
shore of the Gulf of Lepanto, near Vostitza. It was 
only wounded, and I tried to save it, the eye was so 
bright ; but it pined, and died in a few days ; and I 
never did since, and never will, attempt the death of 
another bird. I wonder what put these two things 
into my head just now ? I have been reading Sis- 
mondi, and there is nothing there that could induce 
the recollection. 

" I am mightily taken with Braccio di Montone, 
Giovanni Galeazzo, and Eccelino. But the last is 
not Bracciaferro (of the same name), Count of Ra- 
venna, whose history I want to trace. There is a 
fine engraving in Lavater, from a picture by Fuseli, 
of that Ezzelin, over the body of Meduna, punished 
by him for a hitch in her constancy during his 
absence in the Crusades. He was right — but I want 
to know the story. 

" Tuesday, March 22, 

" Last night, party at Lansdowne House. To- 
night, jmrty at Lady Charlotte Greville's — deplo- 
rable waste of time, and something of temper. 
Nothing imparted — nothing acquired — talking 
without ideas : — if any thing like thought in my mind, 
it was not on the subjects on which we were gabbling. 
Heigho ! — and in this way half London pass what 
is called life. To-morrow there is Lady Heathcote's 


— shall I go ? yes — to punish myself for not having 
a pursuit. 

" Let me see — what did I see ? The only person 
who much struck me was Lady S * * d's eldest daugh- 
ter, Lady C. L. They say she is not pretty. I don't 
know — every thing is pretty that pleases ; but there 
is an air of soul about her — and her colour changes — 
and there is that shyness of the antelope (which I 
delight in) in her manner so much, that I observed 
her more than I did any other woman in the rooms, 
and only looked at any thing else when I thought 
she might perceive and feel embarrassed by my scru- 
tiny. After all, there may be something of associa- 
tion in this. She is a friend of Augusta's, and 
whatever she loves I can't help liking. 

" Her mother, the Marchioness, talked to me a 
little ; and I was twenty times on the point of asking 
her to introduce me to safille, but I stopped short. 
This comes of that affray with the Carlisles. 

" Earl Grey told me laughingly of a paragraph in 
the last Moniteur, which has stated, among other 
symptoms of rebellion, some particulars of the sensa- 
tion occasioned in all our government gazettes by the 
' tear' lines, — only amplifying, in its re-statement, 
an epigram (by the by, no epigram except in the 
Greek acceptation of the word) into a roman. I 
wonder the Couriers, &c. &c, have not translated 
that part of the Moniteur, with additional com- 

" The Princess of Wales has requested Fuseli to 
paint from 'The Corsair,' — leaving to him the choice 
of any passage for the subject: so Mr. Locke tells 

c 2 

20 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

me. Tired, jaded, selfish, and supine — must go to 

" Roman, at least Romance, means a song some- 
times, as in the Spanish. I suppose this is the 
Moniteur's meaning, unless he has confused it with 
' The Corsair.' 

" Albany, March 28. 

" This night got into my new apartments, rented 
of Lord Althorpe, on a lease of seven years. 
Spacious, and room for my books and sabres. In 
the house, too, another advantage. The last few 
days, or whole week, have been very abstemious, 
regular in exercise, and yet very unweW. 

" Yesterday, dined tete-a-tete at the Cocoa with 
Scrope Davies — sat from six till midnight — drank 
between us one bottle of champagne and six of 
claret, neither of which wines ever affect me. 
Offered to take Scrope home in my carriage ; but he 
was tipsy and pious, and I was obliged to leave him 
on his knees praying to I know not what purpose or 
pagod. No headach, nor sickness, that night nor 
to-day. Got up, if any thing, earlier than usual — 
sparred with Jackson ad sudorem, and have been 
much better in health than for many days. I have 
heard nothing more from Scrope. Yesterday paid 
him four thousand eight hundred pounds, a debt of 
some standing, and which I wished to have paid 
before. My mind is much relieved by the removal 
of that debit. 

" Augusta wants me to make it up with Carlisle. 
I have refused every body else, but I can't deny her 
any thing ; — so I must e'en do it, though I had as 


lief ' drink up Eisel — eat a crocodile.' Let me 
see — Ward, the Hollands, the Lambs, Rogers, &c. 
&c. — every body, more or less, have been trying 
for the last two years to accommodate this couplet 
quarrel to no purpose. I shall laugh if Augusta 

" Redde a little of many things — shall get in all 
my books to-morrow. Luckily this room will hold 
them — with 'ample room and verge, Sec. the cha- 
racters of hell to trace.' I must set about some em- 
ployment soon ; my heart begins to eat itself again. 

" April 8. 
" Out of town six days. On my return, find my 
poor little pagod, Napoleon, pushed off his pedes- 
tal ; — the thieves are in Paris. It is his own fault. 
Like Milo, he would rend the oak * ; but it closed 
again, wedged his hands, and now the beasts — lion, 
bear, down to the dirtiest jackall — may all tear him. 
That Muscovite winter wedged his arms; — ever since, 
he has fought with his feet and teeth. The last may 
still leave their marks; and « I guess now' (as the 
Yankees say) that he will yet play them a pass. He 
is in their rear — between them and their homes. 
Query — will they ever reach them? 

" Saturday, April 9. 1814. 
" I mark this day ! 

" Napoleon Buonaparte has abdicated the throne 


He adopted this thought afterwards in his Ode to Napo- 
leon, as well as most of the historical examples in the following 

c 3 

22 NOTICES OF THE 1814- 

of the world. ' Excellent well.' Methinks Sylla did 
better ; for he revenged and resigned in the height 
of his sway, red with the slaughter of his foes — the 
finest instance of glorious contempt of the rascals 
upon record. Dioclesian did well too — Amurath 
not amiss, had he become aught except a dervise — 
Charles the Fifth but so so — but Napoleon, worst of 
all. What ! wait till they were in his capital, and 
then talk of his readiness to give up what is already 
gone ! ! ' What whining monk art thou ■ — what holy 
cheat?' 'Sdeath ! — Dionysius at Corinth was yet a 
king to this. The ' Isle of Elba' to retire to! — 
Well — if it had been Caprea, I should have mar- 
velled less. ' I see men's minds are but a parcel of 
their fortunes.' I am utterly bewildered and con- 

" I don't know — but I think I, even /(an insect 
compared with this creature), have set my life on 
casts not a millionth part of this man's. But, after 
all, a crown may be not worth dying for. Yet, to 
outlive Lodi for this ! ! ! Oh that Juvenal or Johnson 
could rise from the dead ! * Expende — quot libras 
in duce summo invenies?' I knew they were light 
in the balance of mortality; but I thought their 
living dust weighed more carats. Alas ! this imperial 
diamond hath a flaw in it, and is now hardly fit to 
stick in a glazier's pencil : — the pen of the historian 
won't rate it worth a ducat. 

" Psha! ' something too much of this.' But I 
won't give him up even now ; though all his admirers 
have, ' like the thanes, fallen from him.' 


" April 10. 

*' I do not know that I am happiest when alone ; 
but this I am sure of, that I never am long in the 
society even of her I love, (God knows too well, and 
the devil probably too,) without a yearning for the 
company of my lamp and my utterly confused and 
tumbled-over library. * Even in the day, I send 
away my carriage oftener than I use or abuse it. 
Per esempio, — I have not stirred out of these rooms 
for these four days past : but I have sparred for 
exercise (windows open) with Jackson an hour daiby, 
to attenuate and keep up the ethereal part of me. 
The more violent the fatigue, the better my spirits 
for the rest of the day ; and then, my evenings have 
that calm nothingness of languor, which I most 
delight in. To-day I have boxed one hour — written 
an ode to Napoleon Buonaparte — copied it — eaten 
six biscuits — drunk four bottles of soda water — 
redde away the rest of my time — besides giving 
poor * * a world of advice about this mistress of his, 
who is plaguing him into a phthisic and intolerable 
tediousness. I am a pretty fellow truly to lecture 
about ' the sect.' No matter, my counsels are all 
thrown away. 

" April 19. 1814. 

" There is ice at both poles, north and south — 
all extremes are the same — misery belongs to the 
highest and the lowest only, — to the emperor and 

* " As much company," says Pope, " as I have kept, and 
as much as I love it, I love reading better, and would rather 
be employed in reading than in the most agreeable convers- 

C 4 

2i NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

the beggar, when unsixpencecl and unthroned. There 
is, to be sure, a damned insipid medium — an equi- 
noctial line — no one knows where, except upon maps 
and measurement. 

" ' And all our yesterdays have lighted fools 
The way to dusty death.' 

I will keep no further journal of that same hesternal 
torch-light ; and, to prevent me from returning, like 
a dog, to the vomit of memory, I tear out the remain- 
ing leaves of this volume, and write, in Ipecacuanha, 
— ' that the Bourbons are restored ! ! ! ' — 'Hang up 
philosophy. ' To be sure, I have long despised myself 
and man, but I never spat in the face of my species 
before — ' O fool ! I shall go mad.' " 

The perusal of this singular Journal having made 
the reader acquainted with the chief occurrences 
that marked the present period of his history — the 
publication of The Corsair, the attacks upon him in 

the newspapers, &c there only remains for me to 

add his correspondence at the same period, by which 
the moods and movements of his mind, during these 
events, will be still further illustrated. 


" Sunday, Jan. 2. 1814. 
" Excuse this dirty paper — it is the penultimate 
half-sheet of a quire. Thanks for your book and 
the Ln. Chron., which I return. The Corsair is 
copied, and now at Lord Holland's ; but I wish 
Mr. GifFord to have it to-night. 


"Mr. Dallas is very perverse; so that I have offended 
both him and you, when I really meaned to do good, 
at least to one, and certainly not to annoy either. * 

* He had made a present of the copyright of " The Cor- 
sair" to Mr. Dallas, who thus describes the manner in which 
the gift was bestowed : — " On the 28th of December, I 
called in the morning on Lord Byron, whom I found com- 
posing ' The Corsair.' He had been working upon it but a 
few days, and he read me the portion he had written. After 
some observations, he said, « I have a great mind — I will.' 
He then added that he should finish it soon, and asked me to 
accept of the copyright. I was much surprised. He had, 
before he was aware of the value of his works, declared that he 
never would take money for them, and that I should have the 
whole advantage of all he wrote. This declaration became 
morally void when the question was about thousands, instead 
of a few hundreds ; and I perfectly agree with the admired 
and admirable author of Waverley, that ' the wise and good 
accept not gifts which are made in heat of blood, and which 
may be after repented of. ' — I felt this on the sale of ' Childe 
Harold,' and observed it to him. The copyright of ' The 
Giaour' and ' The Bride of Abydos' remained undisposed 
of, though the poems were selling rapidly, nor had I the 
slightest notion that he would ever again give me a copyright. 
But as he continued in the resolution of not appropriating the 
sale of his works to his own use, I did not scruple to accept 
that of ' The Corsair,' and I thanked him. He asked me to 
call and hear the portions read as he wrote them. I went every 
morning, and was astonished at the rapidity of his composition. 
He gave me the poem complete on New-year's day, 1814, 
saying, that my acceptance of it gave him great pleasure, and 
that I was fully at liberty to publish it with any bookseller I 
pleased, independent of the profit." 

Out of this last-mentioned permission arose the momentary 
embarrassment between the noble poet and his publisher, to 
which the above notes allude. 

26 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

But I shall manage him, I hope. — I am pretty con- 
fident of the Tale itself; but one cannot be sure. If 
1 get it from Lord Holland, it shall be sent. 

" Yours," &c. 


[" Jan. 1814.] 

" I will answer your letter this evening; in the 
mean time, it may be sufficient to say ; that there was 
no intention on my part to annoy you, but merely to 
serve Dallas, and also to rescue m} 7 self from a possi- 
ble imputation that /had other objects than fame in 
writing so frequently. Whenever I avail myself of 
any profit arising from rny pen, depend upon it, it is 
not for my own convenience ; at least it never has 
been so, and I hope never will. 

" P. S. I shall answer this evening, and will set all 
right about Dallas. I thank you for your expressions 
of personal regard, which I can assure you I do not 
lightly value." 

Letter 155. TO MR. MOORE. 

" January 6. 1814. 
" I have got a devil of a long story in the press, 
entitled ' The Corsair,' in the regular heroic mea- 
sure. It is a pirate's isle, peopled with my own 
creatures, and you may easily suppose they do a 
world of mischief through the three cantos. Now 
for your dedication — if you will accept it. This is 
positively my last experiment on public literary opi- 
nion, till I turn my thirtieth year, — if so be I flourish 


until that downhill period. I have a confidence for 
you — a perplexing one to me, and, just at present, 
in a state of abeyance in itself. 

" However, we shall see. In the mean time, you 
may amuse yourself with my suspense, and put all 
the justices of peace in requisition, in case I come 
into your county with ' hackbut bent.' 

" Seriously, whether I am to hear from her or him, 
it is a pause, which I shall fill up with as few thoughts 
of my own as I can borrow from other people. Any 
thing is better than stagnation ; and now, in the 
interregnum of my autumn and a strange summer 
adventure, which I don't like to think of, (I don't 
mean * * 's, however, which is laughable only,) the 
antithetical state of my lucubrations makes me alive, 
and Macbeth can ' sleep no more:' — he was lucky 
in getting rid of the drowsy sensation of waking 

" Pray write to me. I must send you a copy of 
the letter of dedication. When do you come out ? 
I am sure we don't clash this time, for I am all at 
sea, and in action, — and a wife, and a mistress, &c. 

" Thomas, thou art a happy fellow ; but if you 
wish us to be so, you must come up to town, as you 
did last year : and we shall have a world to say, and 
to see, and to hear. Let me hear from you. 

" P. S. Of course you will keep my secret, and 
don't even talk in your sleep of it. Happen what 
may, your dedication is ensured, being already 
written ; and I shall copy it out fair to-night, in case 
business or amusement — Amant alterna Camcena." 



" Jan. 7. 1814. 
" You don't like the dedication — very well ; 
there is another: but you will send the other to 
Mr. Moore, that he may know I had written it. I 
send also mottoes for the cantos. I think you will 
allow that an elephant may be more sagacious, but 
cannot be more docile. 

" Yours, Bn. 

" The name is again altered to Medora." * 

Letter 156. TO MR. MOORE. 

" January 8. IS 14. 

" As it would not be fair to press you into a 
dedication, without previous notice, I send you tico, 
and I will tell you why two. The first, Mr. M., who 
sometimes takes upon him the critic (and I bear it 
from astonishment), says, may do you harm — God 
forbid i — this alone makes me listen to him. The 
fact is, he is a damned Tory, and has, I dare swear, 
something of self, which I cannot divine, at the bot- 
tom of his objection, as it is the allusion to Ireland 
to which he objects. But he be d — d — though a 
good fellow enough (your sinner would not be worth 
a d — n). 

" Take your choice; — no one, save he and Mr. 
Dallas, has seen either, and D. is quite on my side, 

* tt had been at first Genevra, — not Francesca, as Mx. 
Dallas asserts. 


and for the first.* If I can but testify to you and 
the world how truly I admire and esteem you, I 
shall be quite satisfied. As to prose, I don't know 
Addison's from Johnson's ; but I will try to mend 
my cacology. Pray perpend, pronounce, and don't 
be offended with either. 

" My last epistle would probably put you in a 
fidget. But the devil, who ought to be civil on such 
occasions, proved so, and took my letter to the right 

" Is it not odd ? — the very fate I said she had 
escaped from * *, she has now undergone from the 
worthy * *. Like Mr. Fitzgerald, shall I not lay 
claim to the character of ' Vates?' — as he did in 
the Morning Herald for prophesying the fall of 

* The first was, of course, the one that I preferred. The 
other ran as follows : — 

" My dear Moore, January 7. 1814. 

" I had written to you a long letter of dedication, which 
I suppress, because, though it contained something relating to 
you which every one had been glad to hear, yet there was too 
much about politics, and poesy, and all things whatsoever, 
ending with that topic on which most men are fluent, and none 
very amusing — ones self. It might have been re-written — . 
but to what purpose ? My praise could add nothing to your 
well-earned and firmly-established fame ; and with my most 
hearty admiration of your talents, and delight in your convers- 
ation, you are already acquainted. In availing myself of your 
friendly permission to inscribe this poem to you, I can only 
wish the offering were as worthy your acceptance as your 
regard is dear to, 

" Yours, most affectionately and faithfully, 

" Bvron." 

30 NOTICES OF THE 181 4. 

Buonaparte, — who, by the by, I don't think is yet 
fallen. I wish he would rally and route your legi- 
timate sovereigns, having a mortal hate to all royal 
entails. — But I am scrawling a treatise. Good 
night. Ever," &c. 


" January 11. 1814. 

" Correct this proof by Mr. Gifford's (and from 
the MSS.), particularly as to the pointing. I have 
added a section for Gulnare, to fill up the parting, 
and dismiss her more ceremoniously. If Mr. GifFord 
or you dislike, 'tis but a sponge and another mid- 
night better employed than in yawning over 
Miss * * ; who, by the by, may soon return the 

" Wednesday or Thursday. 

" P. S. I have redde # *. It is full of praises of 
Lord Ellenborough ! ! ! (from which I infer near and 
dear relations at the bar), and * * * *. 

" I do not love Madame de Stael ; but, depend upon 
it, she beats all your natives hollow as an authoress. 
in my opinion ; and I would not say this if I could 
help it. 

" P. S. Pray report my best acknowledgments to 
Mr. GifFord in any words that may best express how 
truly his kindness obliges me. I won't bore him 
■with lip thanks or ?iotes." 



" January 13. 1814. 

" I have but a moment to write, but all is as it 
should be. I have said really far short of my opi- 
nion, but if you think enough, I am content. Will 
you return the proof by the post, as I leave town on 
Sunday, and have no other corrected copy. I put 
* servant,' as being less familiar before the public ; 
because I don't like presuming upon our friendship 
to infringe upon forms. As to the other word, you 
may be sure it is one I cannot hear or rejieat too 
often . 

" I write in an agony of haste and confusion. — 

Letter 157. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" January 15. 1814. 

" Before any proof goes to Mr. Giffbrd, it may be 
as well to revise this, where there are words omitted, 
faults committed, and the devil knows what. As to 
the dedication, I cut out the parenthesis of Mr.*, 
but not another word shall move unless for a better. 
Mr. Moore has seen, and decidedly preferred the 
part your Tory bile sickens at. If every syllable 
were a rattle-snake, or every letter a pestilence, 
they should not be expunged. Let those who cannot 
swallow chew the expressions on Ireland; or should 
even Mr. Croker array himself in all his terrors 

* He had at first, after the words " Scott alone," inserted, 
in a parenthesis, — " He will excuse the Mr. — ' we do not 
say Mr. Cssar.' " 

82 NOTICES OF THE 1814' 

against them, I care for none of you, except GifFord ; 
and he won't abuse me, except I deserve it — which 
will at least reconcile me to his justice. As to the 
poems in Hobhouse*s volume, the translation from 
the Romaic is well enough ; but the best of the other 
volume (of mine, I mean) have been already printed. 
But do as you please — only, as I shall be absent 
when you come out, do, pray, let Mr. Dallas and you 
have a care of the press. lours," &c. 


[" 1S14. January 16.] 

" I do believe that the devil never created or 
perverted such a fiend as the fool of a printer.* I 
am obliged to enclose you, luckily for me, this second 
proof, corrected, because there is an ingenuity in 
his blunders peculiar to himself. Let the press be 
guided by the present sheet. Yours, &c. 

" Burn the other. 

" Correct this also by the other in some things 
which I may have forgotten. There is one mistake 
he made, which, if it had stood, I would most 
certainly have broken his neck." 

* The amusing rages into which he was thrown by the 
printer were vented not only in these notes, but frequently on 
the proof-sheets themselves. Thus, a passage in the dedi- 
cation having been printed " the first of her bands in esti- 
mation," he writes in the margin, "bards, not bands — was 
there ever such a stupid misprint ? " and, in correcting a line 
that had been curtailed of its due number of syllables, he 
says, " Do not omit words — it is quite enough to alter or 
mis-spell them." 


Letter 158. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Newstead Abbey, January 22. 1814. 

" You will be glad to hear of my safe arrival 
here. The time of my return will depend upon the 
weather, which is so impracticable, that this letter 
has to advance through more snows than ever op- 
posed the Emperor's retreat. The roads are im- 
passable, and return impossible for the present ; which 
I do not regret, as I am much at my ease, and six- 
arid-twenty complete this day — a very pretty age, 
if it would always last. Our coals are excellent, our 
fire-places large, my cellar full, and my head empty ; 
and I have not yet recovered my joy at leaving 
London. If any unexpected turn occurred with my 
purchasers, I believe I should hardly quit the place 
at all ; but shut my door, and let my beard grow. 

" I forgot to mention (and I hope it is unneces- 
sary) that the lines beginning — Remember him, &c. 
must not appear with The Corsair. You may slip 
them in with the smaller pieces newly annexed to 
Childe Harold; but on no account permit them to 
be appended to The Corsair. Have the goodness to 
recollect this particularly. 

" The books I have brought with me are a great 
consolation for the confinement, and I bought more 
as we came along. In short, I never consult the 
thermometer, and shall not put up prayers for a 
thaw, unless I thought it would sweep away the 
rascally invaders of France. Was ever such a thing 
as Blucher's proclamation ? 

" Just before I left town, Kemble paid me the 
compliment of desiring me to write a tragedy; I wish 


34- NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

I could, but I find my scribbling mood subsiding — 
not before it was time ; but it is lucky to check it at 
all. If I lengthen my letter, you will think it is 
coming on again ; so, good-by. Yours alway, 


" P. S. If you hear any news of battle or retreat 
on the part of the Allies (as they call them), pray 
send it. He has my best wishes to manure the fields 
of France with an invading army. I hate invaders 
of all countries, and have no patience with the cow- 
ardly cry of exultation over him, at whose name 
you all turned whiter than the snow to which you 
are indebted for your triumphs. 

" I open my letter to thank you for yours just 
received. The ' Lines to a Lady Weeping ' must 
go with The Corsair. I care nothing for consequence, 
on this point. My politics are to me like a young 
mistress to an old man — the worse they grow, the 
fonder I become of them. As Mr. Gifford likes the 
' Portuguese Translation*,' pray insert it as an ad- 
dition to The Corsair. 

" In all points of difference between Mr. Gifford 
and Mr. Dallas, let the first keep his place ; and in 
all points of difference between Mr. Gifford and Mr. 

* His translation of the pretty Portuguese song, " Tu mi 
chamas." He was tempted to try another -version of this inge- 
nious thought, which is, perhaps, still more happy, and has 
never, I believe, appeared in print. 

" You call me still your life — ah ! change the word — 
Life is as transient as th' inconstant's sigh ; 
Say rather I'm your soul, more just that name, 
For, like the soul, my love can never die." 


Anybody-else, I shall abide by the former; if I am 
wrong, I can't help it. But I would rather not be 
right with any other person. So there is an end of 
that matter. After all the trouble he has taken about 
me and mine, I should be very ungrateful to feel 
or act otherwise. Besides, in point of judgment, he 
is not to be lowered by a comparison. In politics, he 
may be right too ; but that with me is a. feeling, and 
I can't torify my nature." 

Letter 159. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Nevvstead Abbey, February 4. 1814. 

" I need not say that your obliging letter was 
very welcome, and not the less so for being unex- 

" It doubtless gratifies me much that our finale 
has pleased, and that the curtain drops gracefully.* 
You deserve it should, for your promptitude and good 
nature in arranging immediately with Mr. Dallas ; 
and I can assure you that I esteem your entering so 
warmly into the subject, and writing to me so soon 
upon it, as a personal obligation. We shall now 
part, I hope, satisfied with each other. I teas and 
am quite in earnest in my prefatory promise not to 
intrude any more ; and this not from any affectation, 
but a thorough conviction that it is the best policy, 
and is at least respectful to my readers, as it shows 
that I would not willingly run the risk of forfeiting 

* It will be recollected that he had announced The Corsair 
as " the last production with which he should trespass on 
public patience for some years." 

D 2 

36 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

their favour in future. Besides, I have other views 
and objects, and think that I shall keep this reso- 
lution ; for, since I left London, though shut up, 
snow-bound, thaw-bound, and tempted with all kinds 
of paper, the dirtiest of ink, and the bluntest of pens, 
I have not even been haunted by a wish to put them 
to their combined uses, except in letters of business. 
My rhyming propensity is quite gone, and I feel 
much as I did at Patras on recovering from my fever 
— weak, but in health, and only afraid of a relapse. 
I do most fervently hope I never shall. 

" I see by the Morning Chronicle there hath been 
discussion in the Courier ; and I read in the Morn- 
ing Post a wrathful letter about Mr. Moore, in which 
some Protestant Reader has made a sad confusion 
about India and Ireland. 

" You are to do as you please about the smaller 
poems ; but I think removing them now from The 
Corsair looks like fear ; and if so, you must allow 
me not to be pleased. I should also suppose that, 
after the fuss of these newspaper esquires, they 
would materially assist the circulation of The Cor- 
sair ; an object I should imagine at present of more 
importance to yourself than Childe Harold's seventh 
appearance. Do as you like ; but don't allow the 
withdrawing that poem to draw any imputation of 
dismay upon me. 

" Pray make my respects to Mr. Ward, whose 
praise I value most highly, as you well know ; it is 
in the approbation of such men that fame becomes 
worth having. To Mr. GifFord I am always grate- 


ful, and surely not less so now than ever. And so 
good night to my authorship. 

" I have been sauntering and dozing here very 
quietly, and not unhappily. You will be happy to 
hear that I have completely established my title- 
deeds as marketable, and that the purchaser has 
succumbed to the terms, and fulfils them, or is to 
fulfil them forthwith. He is now here, and we go 
on very amicably together, — one in each wing of 
the Abbey. We set off on Sunday — I for town, he 
for Cheshire. 

" Mrs. Leigh is with me — much pleased with the 
place, and less so with me for parting with it, to 
which not even the price can reconcile her. Your 
parcel has not yet arrived — at least the Mags. &c; 
but I have received Childe Harold and The Corsair. 

" I believe both are very correctly printed, which 
is a great satisfaction. 

" I thank you for wishing me in town ; hut I 
think one's success is most felt at a distance, and I 
enjoy my solitary self-importance in an agreeable 
sulky way of my own, upon the strength of your 
letter — for which I once more thank you, and am, 
very truly, &c. 

" P. S. Don't you think Buonaparte's next jmbli- 
cation will be rather expensive to the Allies ? 
Perry's Paris letter of yesterday looks very reviv- 
ing. What a Hydra and Briareus it is ! I wish 
they would pacify : there is no end to this cam- 

d 3 

38 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

Letter 160. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Newstead Abbey, February 5. 1814. 

" I quite forgot, in my answer of yesterday, to 
mention that I have no means of ascertaining 
whether the Newark Pirate has been doing what 
you say.* If so, he is a rascal, and a shabby rascal 
too ; and if his offence is punishable by law or pugi- 
lism, he shall be fined or buffeted. Do you try and 
discover, and I will make some enquiry here. Per- 
haps some other in town may have gone on printing, 
and used the same deception. 

"The facsimile is omitted in Childe Harold, 
which is very awkward, as there is a ?wte expressly 
on the subject. Pray replace it as usual. 

" On second and third thoughts, the withdrawing 
the small poems from The Corsair (even to add to 
Childe Harold) looks like shrinking and shuffling 
after the fuss made upon one of them by the Tories. 
Pray replace them in The Corsair's appendix. I am 
sorry that Childe Harold requires some and such 
abetments to make him move off; but, if you re- 
member, I told you his popularity would not be per- 
manent. It is very lucky for the author that he had 
made up his mind to a temporary reputation in time. 
The truth is, I do not think that any of the present 
day (and least of all, one who has not consulted the 
flattering side of human nature,) have much to hope 
from posterity ; and you may think it affectation 
very probably, but, to me, my present and past suc- 
cess has appeared very singular, since it was in the 

* Reprinting the " Hours of Idleness." 



teeth of so many prejudices. I almost think people 
like to be contradicted. If Childe Harold flags, it 
will hardly be worth while to go on with the engrav- 
ings : but do as you please ; I have done with the 
whole concern; and the enclosed lines, written years 
ago, and copied from my skull-cap, are among the 
last with which you will be troubled. If you like, 
add them to Childe Harold, if only for the sake of 
another outcry. You received so long an answer 
yesterday, that I will not intrude on you further 

than to repeat myself, 

" Yours, &c. 
" P. S. Of course, in reprinting (if you have occa- 
sion), you will take great care to be correct. The 
present editions seem very much so, except in the 
last note of Childe Harold, where the word respon- 
sible occurs twice nearly together; correct the second 
into answerable? 


" Newark, February 6. 1814. 
" I am thus far on my way to town. Master 
Ridge * I have seen, and he owns to having reprinted 
some sheets, to make up a few complete remaining 
copies ! I have now given him fair warning, and if 
he plays such tricks again, I must either get an in- 
junction, or call for an account of profits (as I never 
have parted with the copyright), or, in short, any 
thing vexatious, to repay him in his own way. If 
the weather does not relapse, I hope to be in town 
in a day or two. Yours," &c. 

* The printer at Newark. 
D 4- 

40 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 


" February 7. 1814. 

" I see all the papers in a sad commotion with 
those eight lines ; and the Morning Post, in particu- 
lar, has found out that I am a sort of Richard III. — 
deformed in mind and body. The last piece of in- 
formation is not very new to a man who passed five 
years at a public school. 

" I am very sorry you cut out those lines for 
Childe Harold. Pray re-insert them in their old 
place in ' The Corsair.' " 

Letter 161. TO MR. HODGSON. 

" February 28. 1814. 

" There is a youngster, and a clever one, named 
Reynolds, who has just published a poem called 
' Safie,' published by Cawthorne. He is in the 
most natural and fearful apprehension of the Re- 
viewers ; and as you and I both know by experience 
the effect of such things upon & young mind, I wish 
you would take his production into dissection, and 
do it gently, /cannot, because it is inscribed to me ; 
but I assure you this is not my motive for wishing 
him to be tenderly entreated, but because I know 
the misery at his time of life, of untoward remarks 
upon first appearance. 

" Now for self. Pray thank your cousin — it is 
just as it should be, to my liking, and probably more 
than will suit any one else's. I hope and trust that 
you are well and well doing. Peace be with you. 
Ever yours, my dear friend." 



Letter 162. TO MR. MOORE. 

" February 10. 1814. 
" I arrived in town late yesterday evening, having 
been absent three weeks, which I passed in Notts. 
quietly and pleasantly. You can have no conception 
of the uproar the eight lines on the little Royalty's 
weeping in 1812 (now republished) have occasioned. 
The R * *, who had always thought them yours, 
chose — God knows why — on discovering them to 
be mine, to be affected 'in sorrow rather than anger.' 
The Morning Post, Sun, Herald, Courier, have all 
been in hysterics ever since. M. is in a fright, and 
wanted to shuffle ; and the abuse against me in all 
directions is vehement, unceasing, loud — some of it 
good, and all of it hearty. I feel a little compunc- 
tious as to the R * * 's regret; — ' would he had been 
only angry! but I fear him not.' 

" Some of these same assailments you have pro- 
bably seen. My person (which is excellent for ' the 
nonce ') has been denounced in verses, the more 
like the subject, inasmuch as they halt exceedingly. 
Then, in another, I am an atheist, a rebel, and, at 
last, the devil (boiteux, I presume). My demonism 
seems to be a female's conjecture ; if so, perhaps, I 
could convince her that I am but a mere mortal, — 
if a queen of the Amazons may be believed, who 
says apio-Toi/ %wXo? oiipEi. I quote from memory, so 
my Greek is probably deficient ; but the passage is 
meant to mean * *. 

" Seriously, I am in, what the learned call, a 
dilemma, and the vulgar, a scrape ; and my friends 
desire me not to be in a passion ; and, like Sir Fret- 


fill, I assure them that I am ' quite calm,' —but I 
am nevertheless in a fury. 

" Since I wrote thus far, a friend has come in, 
and we have been talking and buffooning till I 
have quite lost the thread of my thoughts ; and, as 
I won't send them unstrung to you, good morning, 

" Believe me ever, &c. 

" P. S. Murray, during my absence, omitted the 
Tears in several of the copies. I have made him 
replace them, and am very wroth with his qualms . 
— ' as the wine is poured out, let it be drunk to 
the dregs.' " 


" February 10. 1814. 
" I am much better, and indeed quite well, this 
morning. I have received two, but I presume there 
are more of the Ana, subsequently, and also some- 
thing previous, to which the Morning Chronicle 
replied. You also mentioned a parody on the Skull. 
I wish to see them all, because there may be things 
that require notice either by pen or person. 

" Yours, &c. 
" You need not trouble yourself to answer this ; 
but send me the things when you get them." 


" February 12. 1814. 
" If you have copies of the ' Intercepted Let- 
ters,' Lady Holland would be glad of a volume ; and 


when you have served others, have the goodness to 
think of your humble servant. 

" You have played the devil by that injudicious 
suppression, which you did totally without my con- 
sent. Some of the papers have exactly said what 
might be expected. Now I do not, and will not 
be supposed to shrink, although myself and every 
thing belonging to me were to perish with my 
memory. Yours, &c. Bn. 

" P. S. Pray attend to what I stated yesterday 
on technical topics." 

Letter 163. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Monday, February 14. 1814. 

" Before I left town yesterday, I wrote you a 
note, which I presume you received. I have heard 
so many different accounts of your proceedings, or 
rather of those of others towards you, in conse- 
quence of the publication of these everlasting lines, 
that I am anxious to hear from yourself the real 
state of the case. Whatever responsibility, obloquy, 
or effect is to arise from the publication, should surely 
not fall upon you in any degree ; and I can have no 
objection to your stating, as distinctly and publicly 
as you please, your unwillingness to publish them, 
and my own obstinacy upon the subject. Take any 
course you please to vindicate yourself, but leave me 
to fight my own way ; and, as I before said, do not 
compromise me by any thing which may look like 
shrinking on my part ; as for your own, make the 
best of it. Yours, Bn." 


Letter 164. TO MR. ROGERS. 

" February 16. 1S14. 
" My dear Rogers, 

" I wrote to Lord Holland briefly, but I hope 
distinctly, on the subject which has lately occupied 
much of my conversation with him and you.* As 
things now stand, upon that topic my determination 
must be unalterable. 

" I declare to you most sincerely that there is no 
human being on whose regard and esteem I set a 
higher value than on Lord Holland's ; and, as far as 
concerns himself, I would concede even to humilia- 
tion, without any view to the future, and solely 
from my sense of his conduct as to the past. For 
the rest, I conceive that I have already done all in 
my power by the suppression.-]- If that is not 
enough, they must act as they please ; but I will not 
' teach my tongue a most inherent baseness,' come 
what may. You will probably be at the Marquis 
Lansdowne's to-night. I am asked, but I am not sure 
that I shall be able to go. Hobhouse will be there. 
I think, if you knew him well, you would like him. 

" Believe me always yours very affectionately, 

« B." 

Letter 165. TO MR. ROGERS. 

« February 16. 1814. 

" If Lord Holland is satisfied, as far as regards 
himself and Lady Hd., and as this letter expresses 
him to be, it is enough. 

* Relative to a proposed reconciliation between Lord Car- 
lisle and himself, 
■j- Of the Satire. 


" As for any impression the public may receive 
from the revival of the lines on Lord Carlisle, let 
them keep it, — the more favourable for him, and 
the worse for me, — better for all. 

" All the sayings and doings in the world shall 
not make me utter another word of conciliation to 
any thing that breathes. I shall bear what I can, 
and what I cannot I shall resist. The worst they 
could do would be to exclude me from society. I 
have never courted it, nor, I may add, in the 
general sense of the word, enjoyed it — and ' there 
is a world elsewhere ! ' 

" Any thing remarkably injurious, I have the same 
means of repaying as other men, with such interest 
as circumstances may annex to it. 

" Nothing but the necessity of adhering to regimen 
prevents me from dining with you to-morrow. 
" I am yours most truly, 

« Bn." 

Letter. 166. TO MR. MOORE. 

" February 16. 1814. 

" You may be assured that the only prickles 
that sting from the Royal hedgehog are those which 
possess a torpedo property, and may benumb some 
of my friends. / am quite silent, and ' hush'd in 
grim repose.' The frequency of the assaults has 
weakened their effects, — if ever they had any ; — 
and, if they had had much, I should hardly have 
held my tongue, or withheld my fingers. It is some- 
thing quite new to attack a man for abandoning his 
resentments. I have heard that previous praise and 

46 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

subsequent vituperation were rather ungrateful, but 
I did not know that it was wrong to endeavour to do 
justice to those who did not wait till I had made 
some amends for former and boyish prejudices, but 
received me into their friendship, when I might still 
have been their enemy. 

" You perceive justly that I must intentionally 
have made my fortune like Sir Francis Wronghead. 
It were better if there were more merit in my in- 
dependence, but it really is something nowadays to 
be independent at all, and the less temptation to be 
otherwise, the more uncommon the case, in these 
times of paradoxical servility. I believe that most 
of our hates and likings have been hitherto nearly 
the same ; but from henceforth they must, of neces- 
sity, be one and indivisible, — and now for it ! I 
am for any weapon, — the pen, till one can find 
something sharper, will do for a beginning. 

" You can have no conception of the ludicrous 
solemnity with which these two stanzas have been 
treated. The Morning Post gave notice of an in- 
tended motion in the House of my brethren on the 
subject, and God he knows what proceedings besides; 
— and all this, as Bedreddin in the ' Nights ' saj^s, 
' for making a cream tart without pepper.' This 
last piece of intelligence is, I presume, too laughable 
to be true ; and the destruction of the Custom-house 
appears to have, in some degree, interfered with 
mine; added to which, the last battle of Buonaparte 
has usurped the column hitherto devoted to my bul- 

" I send you from this day's Morning Post the 


best which have hitherto appeared on this ' impu- 
dent doggerel,' as the Courier calls it. There was 
another about my diet, when a boy — not at all 
bad — some time ago ; but the rest are but indif- 

" I shall think about your oratorical hint* ; — but 
I have never set much upon ' that cast,' and am 
grown as tired as Solomon of every thing, and of 
myself more than any thing. This is being what the 
learned call philosophical, and the vulgar lack-a-dai- 
sical. I am, however, always glad of a blessing f ; 
pray, repeat yours soon, — at least your letter, and 
I shall think the benediction included. 

" Ever," &c. 

Letter 167. TO MR. DALLAS. 

" February IT. 1814. 

" The Courier of this evening accuses me of 
having ' received and pocketed ' large sums for my 
works. I have never yet received, nor wish to receive, 
a farthing for any. Mr. Murray offered a thousand 
for The Giaour and Bride of Abydos, which I said 
was too much, and that if he could afford it at the end 
of six months, I would then direct how it might be 
disposed of; but neither then, nor at any other pe- 
riod, have I ever availed myself of the profits on my 
own account. For the republication of the Satire I 

* I had endeavoured to persuade him to take a part in 
parliamentary affairs, and to exercise his talent for oratory 
more frequently. 

t In concluding my letter, having said " God bless you ! " 
I added — " that is, if you have no objection." 

48 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

refused four hundred guineas ; and for the previous 
editions I never asked nor received a sous, nor for 
any writing whatever. I do not wish you to do any 
thing disagreeable to yourself; there never was nor 
shall be any conditions nor stipulations with regard 
to any accommodation that I could afford you ; and, 
on your part, I can see nothing derogatory in receiv- 
ing the copyright. It was only assistance afforded 
to a worthy man, by one not quite so worthy. 

" Mr. Murray is going to contradict this * ; but 
your name will not be mentioned : for your own 
part, you are a free agent, and are to do as you 
please. I only hope that now, as always, you will 
think that I wish to take no unfair advantage of the 
accidental opportunity which circumstances permit- 
ted me of being of use to you. Ever," &c. 

In consequence of this letter, Mr. Dallas addressed 
an explanation to one of the newspapers, of which the 
following is a part ; — the remainder being occupied 
with a rather clumsily managed defence of his noble 
benefactor on the subject of the Stanzas. 


" Sir, 

" I have seen the paragraph in an evening paper, 
in which Lord Byron is accused of ' receiving and 
pocketing' large sums for his works. I believe no 
one who knows him has the slightest suspicion of this 
kind; but the assertion being public, I think it a 

* The statement of the Courier, &c. 

1814. LIFE OF LOUD BYRON'. 49 

justice I owe to Lord Byron to contradict it publicly. 
I address this letter to you for that purpose, and I 
am happy that it gives me an opportunity at this 
moment to make some observations which I have for 
several days been anxious to do publicly, but from 
which I have been restrained by an apprehension 
that I should be suspected of being prompted by his 

" I take upon me to affirm, that Lord Byron never 
received a shilling for any of his works. To my 
certain knowledge, the profits of the Satire were left 
entirely to the publisher of it. The gift of the 
copyright of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage I have 
already publicly acknowledged in the dedication of 
the new edition of my novels ; and I now add my 
acknowledgment for that of The Corsair, not only 
for the profitable part of it, but for the delicate 
and delightful manner of bestowing it while yet 
unpublished. With respect to his two other poems, 
The Giaour and The Bride of Abydos, Mr. Murray, 
the publisher of them, can truly attest that no part 
of the sale of them has ever touched his hands, or 
been disposed of for his use. Having said thus 
much as to facts, I cannot but express my surprise 
that it should ever be deemed a matter of reproach 
that he should appropriate the pecuniary returns of 
his works. Neither rank nor fortune seems to me to 
place any man above this ; for what difference does 
it make in honour and noble feelings, whether a 
copyright be bestowed, or its value employed, in 
beneficent purposes ? I differ with my Lord Byron 
on this subject as well as some others ; and he has 

vol. in. E 

.50 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

constantly, both by word and action, shown his 
aversion to receiving money for his productions." 

Letter 163. TO MR. MOORE. 

" February 2G. 1814. 

" Dallas had, perhaps, have better kept silence ; — 
but that was his concern, and, as his facts are correct, 
and his motive not dishonourable to himself, I wished 
him well through it. As for his interpretations of 
the lines, he and any one else may interpret them as 
they please. I have and shall adhere to my taci- 
turnity, unless something very particular occurs to 
render this impossible. Do not you say a word. If 
any one is to speak, it is the person principally con- 
cerned. The most amusing thing is, that every one 
(to me) attributes the abuse to the man they per- 
sonally most dislike ! — some say C * * r, some 
C * * e, others F * * d, &c. &c. &c. 1 do not know, 
and have no clue but conjecture. If discovered, 
and he turns out a hireling, he must be left to his 
wages ; if a cavalier, he must ' wink, and hold out 
his iron.' 

" I had some thoughts of putting the question to 
C * * r, but H., who, I am sure, would not dissuade 
me if it were right, advised me by all means not ; — 
' that I had no right to take it upon suspicion,' &c. 
&c. Whether H. is correct I am not aware, but he 
believes himself so, and says there can be but one 
opinion on that subject. This I am, at least, sure 
of, that he would never prevent me from doing what 
he deemed the duty of a preux chevalier. In such 
cises — at least, in this country — we must act ac- 


cording to usages. In considering this instance, I 
dismiss my own personal feelings. Any man will 
and must fight, when necessary, — even without a 
motive. Here, I should take it up really without 
much resentment ; for, unless a woman one likes is 
in the way, it is some years since I felt a long anger. 
But, undoubtedly, could I, or may I, trace it to a man 
of station, I should and shall do what is proper. 

" * * was angerly, but tried to conceal it. You 
are not called upon to avow the ' Twopenny,' and 
would only gratify them by so doing. Do you not 
see the great object of all these fooleries is to set 
him, and you, and me, and all persons whatsoever, 
by the ears ? — more especially those who are on 
good terms, — and nearly succeeded. Lord H. wished 
me to concede to Lord Carlisle — concede to the devil ! 
— to a man who used me ill ? I told him, in answer, 
that I would neither concede, nor recede on the 
subject, but be silent altogether; unless any thing 
more could be said about Lady H. and himself, who 
had been since my very good friends ; — and there 
it ended. This was no time for concessions to 
Lord C. 

" I have been interrupted, but shall write again 
soon. Believe me ever, my dear Moore," &c. 

Another of his friends having expressed, soon 
after, some intention of volunteering publicly in his 
defence, he lost no time in repressing him by the 
following sensible letter: — 

e 2 

52 NOTICES OF THK 1814. 

Letter 169. TO W * * W * *, ESQ. 

" February 28. 1814. 

" My dear W., 

" I have but a few moments to write to you. 
Silence is the only answer to the things you mention ; 
nor should I regard that man as my friend who said 
a word more on the subject. I care little for attacks, 
but I will not submit to defences ; and I do hope and 
trust that you have never entertained a serious 
thought of engaging in so foolish a controversy. 
Dallas's letter was, to his credit, merely as to facts 
which he had a right to state ; / neither have nor 
shall take the least public notice, nor permit any one 
else to do so. If I discover the writer, then I may 
act in a different manner ; but it will not be in 

" An expression in your letter has induced me to 
write this to you, to entreat you not to interfere in 
any way in such a business, — it is now nearly over, 
and depend upon it they are much more chagrined 
by my silence than they could be by the best defence 
in the world. I do not know any thing that would 
vex me more than any further reply to these things. 
" Ever yours, in haste, 

« B. " 

Letter 170. TO MR. MOORE. 

" March S. 1814. 
" My dear Friend, 

" I have a great mind to tell you that I am ' un- 
comfortable,' if only to make you come to town ; 
where no one ever more delighted in seeing you, nor 


is there any one to whom I would sooner turn for 
consolation in my most vapourish moments. The 
truth is, I have ' no lack of argument ' to ponder 
upon of the most gloomy description, but this arises 
from other causes. Some day or other, when we are 
veterans, I may tell you a tale of present and past 
times; and it is not from want of confidence that I do 
not now, — but — but — always a but to the end of 
the chapter. 

" There is nothing, however, upon the spot either 
to love or hate ; — but I certainly have subjects for 
both at no very great distance, and am besides em- 
barrassed between three whom I know, and one 
(whose name, at least,) I do not know. All this 
would be very well if I had no heart ; but, unluckily, 
I have found that there is such a thing still about 
me, though in no very good repair, and, also, that it 
has a habit of attaching itself to one whether I will 
or no. * Divide et impera,' I begin to think, will 
only do for politics. 

" If I discover the ' toad ' as you call him, I shall 
' tread,' — and put spikes in my shoes to do it more 
effectually. The effect of all these fine things I do 
not enquire much nor perceive. I believe * * Felt 
them more than either of us. People are civil 
enough, and I have had no dearth of invitations, — 
none of which, however, I have accepted. I went 
out very little last year, and mean to go about still 
less. I have no passion for circles, and have long 
regretted that I ever gave way to what is called a town 
life ; — which, of all the lives I ever saw (and they 

£ 3 

54- NOTICES OF THE ]814. 

are nearly as many as Plutarch's), seems to me to 
leave the least for the past and future. 

" How proceeds the poem ? Do not neglect it, 
and I have no fears. I need not say to you that your 
fame is dear to me, — I really might say dearer than 
my own ; for I have lately begun to think my things 
have been strangely over-rated ; and, at any rate, 
whether or not, I have done with them for ever. I 
may say to you what I would not say to every body, 
that the last two were written, The Bride in four, and 
The Corsair in ten days*, — which I take to be a 
most humiliating confession, as it proves my own 
want of judgment in publishing, and the public's in 
reading things, which cannot have stamina for per- 
manent attention. ' So much for Buckingham.' 

" I have no dread of your being too hasty, and I 
have still less of your failing. But I think & year a 
very fair allotment of time to a composition which is 

* In asserting that he devoted but four days to the compo- 
sition of The Bride, he must be understood to refer only to the 
first sketch of that poem, — the successive additions by which 
it was increased to its present length having occupied, as we 
have seen, a much longer period. The Corsair, on the con- 
trary, was, from beginning to end, struck oiF at a heat — there 
being but little alteration or addition afterwards, — and the ra- 
pidity with which it was produced (being at the rate of nearly 
two hundred lines a day) would be altogether incredible, had 
we not his own, as well as his publisher's, testimony to the fact. 
Such an achievement, — taking into account the surpassing 
beauty of the work, — is, perhaps, wholly without a parallel 
in the history of Genius, and shows that ' £crire par passion,' 
as Rousseau expresses it, may be sometimes a shorter road to 
perfection than any that Art has ever struck out. 


not to be Epic ; and even Horace's < Nonum pre- 
rnatur' must have been intended for the Millennium, 
or some longer-lived generation than ours. I wonder 
how much we should have had of him, had he ob- 
served his own doctrines to the letter. Peace be 
with you ! Remember that I am always and most 
truly yours, &c. 

" P. S. I never heard the ' report' you mention, 
nor, I dare say, many others. But, in course, 
you, as well as others, have ' damned good-natured 
friends,' who do their duty in the usual way. One 
thing will make you laugh. * * * * " 

Letter 171. TO MR. MOORE. 

" March 12. 1814. 

" Guess darkly, and you will seldom err. At 
present, I shall say no more, and, perhaps — but no 
matter. I hope we shall some day meet, and what- 
ever years may precede or succeed it, I shall mark 
it with the ' white stone ' in my calendar. I am 
not sure that I shall not soon be in your neighbour- 
hood again. If so, and I am alone (as will probably 
be the case), I shall invade and carry you off, and 
endeavour to atone for sorry fare by a sincere wel- 
come. I don't know the person absent (barring ' the 
sect') I should be so glad to see again. 

" I have nothing of the sort you mention but the 
lines (the Weepers), if you like to have them in the 
Bag. I wish to give them all possible circulation. 
The Vault reflection is downright actionable, and to 
print it would be peril to the publisher ; but I think 
the Tears have a natural right to be bagged, and the 

r. 4 

56 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

editor (whoever he may be) might supply a facetious 
note or not, as he pleased. 

" I cannot conceive how the Vault * has got about, 
— but so it is. It is too farouche ; but, truth to say, 
my satires are not very playful. I have the plan of 
an epistle in my head, at him and to him ; and, if 
they are not a little quieter, I shall embody it. I 
should say little or nothing of myself. As to mirth 
and ridicule, that is out of my way ; but I have a 
tolerable fund of sternness and contempt, and, with 
Juvenal before me, I shall perhaps read him a lec- 
ture he has not lately heard in the C 1. From 

particular circumstances, which came to my know- 
ledge almost by accident, I could ' tell him what he 
is — I know him well.' 

" I meant, my dear M., to write to you a long 
letter, but I am hurried, and time clips my inclination 
down to yours, &c. 

" P. S. Think again before you shelf your poem. 
There is a youngster, (older than me, by the by, but 
a younger poet,) Mr. G. Knight, with a vol. of 
Eastern Tales, written since his return, — for he has 
been in the countries. He sent to me last summer, 
and I advised him to write one in each measure, with- 
out any intention, at that time, of doing the same 
thing. Since that, from a habit of writing in a fever, 
I have anticipated him in the variety of measures, 
but quite unintentionally. Of the stories, I know 

* Those bitter and powerful lines which he wrote on the 
opening of the vault that contained the remains of Henry VIII. 
a.nd Charles I. 


nothing, not having seen them * ; but he has some 
lady in a sack, too, like The Giaour : — he told me at 
the time. 

" The best way to make the public ' forget' me 
is to remind them of yourself. You cannot suppose 
that / would ask you or advise you to publish, if I 
thought you would fail. I really have no literary 
envy ; and I do not believe a friend's success ever 
sat nearer another than yours do to my best wishes. 
It is for elder/// gentlemen to ' bear no brother near,' 
and cannot become our disease for more years 
than we may perhaps number. I wish you to be 
out before Eastern subjects are again before the 

Letter 172. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" March 12. 1814. 

" I have not time to read the whole MS. +, but 
what I have seen seems very well written (both prose 
and verse), and, though I am and can be no judge (at 
least a fair one on this subject), containing nothing 
which you ought to hesitate publishing upon my 
account. If the author is not Dr. Busby himself, I 
think it a pity, on his own account, that he should 

* He was not yet aware, it appears, that the anonymous 
manuscript sent to him hy his publisher was from the pen of 
Mr. Knight. 

f The manuscript of a long grave satire, entitled " Anti- 
Byron," which had been sent to Mr. Murray, and by him for- 
warded to Lord Byron, with a request — not meant, I believe, 
seriously — that he would give his opinion as to the propriety 
of publishing it. 

58 NOTICES OF THE 1811. 

dedicate it to his subscribers ; nor can I perceive 
what Dr. Busby has to do with the matter except as 
a translator of Lucretius, for whose doctrines he is 
surely not responsible. I tell you openly, and really 
most sincerely, that, if published at all, there is no 
earthly reason why you should not; on the con- 
trary, I should receive it as the greatest compliment 
you could pay to your good opinion of my candour, 
to print and circulate that or any other work, attack- 
ing me in a manly manner, and without any malicious 
intention, from which, as far as I have seen, I must 
exonerate this writer. 

" He is wrong in one thing — / am no atheist; 
but if he thinks I have published principles tending 
to such opinions, he has a perfect right to controvert 
them. Pray publish it ; I shall never forgive myself 
if I think that I have prevented you. 

" Make my compliments to the author, and tell 
him I wish him success : his verse is very deserving 
of it ; and I shall be the last person to suspect his 
motives. Yours, &c. 

" P. S. If you do not publish it, some one else will. 
You cannot suppose me so naiTOw-minded as to 
shrink from discussion. I repeat once for all, that I 
think it a good poem (as far as I have redde) ; and 
that is the only point you should consider. How odd 
that eight lines should have given birth, I really think, 
to eight thousand, including all that has been said, 
and will be on the subject ! " 


Letter 173. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" April 9. 1814. 

" All these news are very fine ; but nevertheless 
I want my books, if you can find, or cause them to 
be found for me, — if only to lend them to Napoleon, 
in " the Island of Elba," during his retirement. I 
also (if convenient, and you have no party with you,) 
should be glad to speak with you, for a few minutes, 
this evening, as I have had a letter from Mr. Moore, 
and wish to ask you, as the best judge, of the best 
time for him to publish the work he has composed. 
I need not say, that I have his success much at heart ; 
not only because he is my friend, but something 
much better — a man of great talent, of which he is 
less sensible than I believe any even of his enemies. 
If you can so far oblige me as to step down, do so ; 
and if you are otherwise occupied, say nothing about 
it. I shall find you at home in the course of next 

" P. S. I see Sotheby's Tragedies advertised. 
The Death of Darnley is a famous subject — one of 
the best, I should think, for the drama. Pray let 
me have a copy when ready. 

" Mrs. Leigh was very much pleased with her 
books, and desired me to thank you ; she means, I 
believe, to write to you her acknowledgments." 

Letter 174. TO MR. MOORE. 

" 2. Albany, April 9. 1814. 

" Viscount Althorp is about to be married, and I 
have gotten his spacious bachelor apartments in 

60 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

Albany, to which you will, I hope, address a speedy 
answer to this mine epistle. 

" I am but just returned to town, from which you 
mav infer that I have been out of it ; and I have 
been boxing, for exercise, with Jackson for this last 
month daily. I have also been drinking, and, on one 
occasion, with three other friends at the Cocoa Tree, 
from six till four, yea, unto five in the matin. We 
clareted and champagned till two — then supped, 
and finished with a kind of regency punch composed 
of madeira, brandy, and green tea, no real water 
being admitted therein. There was a night for 
you ! without once quitting the table, except to 
ambulate home, which I did alone, and in utter con- 
tempt of a hackney-coach and my own vis, both of 
which were deemed necessary for our conveyance. 
And so, — I am very well, and they say it will hurt 
my constitution. 

" I have also, more or less, been breaking a few 
of the favourite commandments ; but I mean to pull 
up and marry, if any one will have me. In the mean 
time, the other day I nearly killed myself with a 
collar of brawn, which I swallowed for supper, and 
^digested for I don't know how long : but that is by 
the by. All this gourmandise was in honour of 
Lent ; for I am forbidden meat all the rest of the 
year, but it is strictly enjoined me during your 
solemn fast. I have been, and am, in very tolerable 
love ; but of that hereafter as it may be. 

" My dear Moore, say what you will in your pre- 
face ; and quiz any thing or any body, — me if you 
like it. Oons ! dost thou think me of the old, or 

1814. LIFE OF LOUD EYltON. 61 

rather elderly, school? If one can't jest with one's 
friends, with whom can we be facetious ? You have 
nothing to fear from * * , whom I have not seen, 
being out of town when he called. He will be very 
correct, smooth, and all that, but I doubt whether 
there will be any < grace beyond the reach of art ;' 

— and, whether there is or not, how long will you be 
so d — d modest ? As for Jeffrey, it is a very hand- 
some thing of him to speak well of an old antagonist, 

— and what a mean mind dared not do. Any one 
will revoke praise ; but — were it not partly my 
own case — I should say that very few have strength 
of mind to unsay their censure, or follow it up with 
praise of other things. 

" What think you of the review of Levis ? It beats 
the Bag and my hand-grenade hollow, as an invec- 
tive, and hath thrown the Court into hysterics, as 
I hear from very good authority. Have you heard 
from * * * ' ? 

" No more rhyme for — or rather, from — me. I 
have taken my leave of that stage, and henceforth 
will mountebank it no longer. I have had my clay, 
and there's an end. The utmost I expect, or even 
wish, is to have it said in the Biographia Britannica, 
that I might perhaps have been a poet, had I gone 
on and amended. My great comfort is, that the 
temporary celebrity I have wrung from the world 
has been in the very teeth of all opinions and pre- 
judices. I have flattered no ruling powers ; I have 
never concealed a single thought that tempted me. 
They can't say I have truckled to the times, nor to 
popular topics, (as Johnson, or somebodv, said of 

62 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

Cleveland,) and whatever I have gained has heen at 
the expenditure of as much personal favour as pos- 
sible ; for I do believe never was a bard more un- 
popular, quoad homo, than myself. And now I have 
done ; — ' ludite nunc alios.' Every body may be 
d — d, as they seem fond of it, and resolve to stickle 
lustily for endless brimstone. 

" Oh — by the by, I had nearly forgot. There is 
a long poem, an ' Anti-Byron,' coming out, to prove 
that I have formed a conspiracy to overthrow, by 
rhyme, all religion and government, and have already 
made great progress ! It is not very scurrilous, but 
serious and ethereal. I never felt myself important, 
till I saw and heard of my being such a little Voltaire 
as to induce such a production. Murray would not 
publish it, for which he was a fool, and so I told 
him ; but some one else will, doubtless. ' Some- 
thing too much of this.' 

" Your French scheme is good, but let it be 
Italian ; all the Angles will be at Paris. Let it be 
Rome, Milan, Naples, Florence, Turin, Venice, or 
Switzerland, and ' egad ! ' (as Bayes saith,) I will 
connubiate and join you ; and we will write a new 
' Inferno' in our Paradise. Pray think of this — and 
I will really buy a wife and a ring, and say the cere- 
mony, and settle near you in a summer-house upon 
the Arno, or the Po, or the Adriatic. 

" Ah ! my poor little pagod, Napoleon, has walked 
off his pedestal. He has abdicated, they say. This 
would draw molten brass from the eyes of Zatanai. 
What ! ' kiss the ground before young Malcolm's 
feet, and then be baited by the rabble's curse ! ' I 


cannot bear such a crouching catastrophe. I must 
stick to Sylla, for my modern favourites don't do, — 
their resignations are of a different kind. All health 
and prosperity, my dear Moore. Excuse this lengthy 
letter. Ever, &c. 

" P. S. The Quarterly quotes you frequently in 
an article on America ; and every body I know asks 
perpetually after you and yours. When will you 
answer them in person ? " 

He did not long persevere in his resolution against 
writing, as will be seen from the following notes to 
his publisher. 


" April 10. 1814. 

" I have written an Ode on the fall of Napoleon, 
which, if you like, I will copy out, and make you a 
present of. Mr. Merivale has seen part of it, and 
likes it. You may show it to Mr. Gifford, and print 
it, or not, as you please — it is of no consequence. 
It contains nothing in his favour, and no allusion 
whatever to our own government or the Bourbons. 
Yours, &c. 

" P.S. It is in the measure of my stanzas at the 
end of Childe Harold, which were much liked, be- 
ginning < And thou art dead,' &c. &c. There are 
ten stanzas of it — ninety lines in all." 


" April 11. ISM. 

" I enclose you a letter^ from Mrs. Leigh. 

" It will be best not to put my name to our Ode; 

6t NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

but you may say as openly as you like that it is mine, 
and I can inscribe it to Mr. Hobhouse, from the 
author, which will mark it sufficiently. After the 
resolution of not publishing, though it is a thing ot 
little length and less consequence, it will be better 
altogether that it is anonymous ; but we will incor- 
porate it in the first tome of ours that you find time 
or the wish to publish. Yours alway, B. 

ct P. S. I hope you got a note of alterations, sent 
this matin ? 

" P. S. Oh my books ! my books ! will you never 
find my books ? 

" Alter ' potent spell ' to ' quickening spell : ' the 
first (as Polonius says) ' is a vile phrase,' and means 
nothing, besides being common-place and Rosa- 


" April 12. 1814. 

" I send you a few notes and trifling alterations, 
and an additional motto from Gibbon, which you 
will find singularly appropriate. A ' Good-natured 
Friend ' tells me there is a most scurrilous attack on 
us in the Anti-jacobin Review, which you have not 
sent. Send it, as I am in that state of languor 
which will derive benefit from getting into a passion. 
Ever," &c. 

Letter 175. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Albany, April 20. 1814. 

" I am very glad to hear that you are to be tran- 
sient from Mayfield so very soon, and was taken in 


by the first part of your letter.* Indeed, for aught 
I know, you may be treating me, as Slipslop says, 
with ' ironing ' even now. I shall say nothing of 
the shock, which had nothing of humeur in it ; as I 
am apt to take even a critic, and still more a friend, 
at his word, and never to doubt that I have been 
writing cursed nonsense, if they say so. There was 
a mental reservation in my pact with the public f, 
in behalf of anonymes ; and, even had there not, the 
provocation was such as to make it physically impos- 
sible to pass over this damnable epoch of triumphant 
tameness. "Tis a cursed business ; and, after all, I 
shall think higher of rhyme and reason, and very 
humbly of your heroic people, till — Elba becomes a 

* I had begun my letter in the following manner : — 
" Have you seen the ' Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte?' — I 
suspect it to be either F — g — d's or Rosa Matilda's. Those 
rapid and masterly portraits of all the tyrants that preceded 
Napoleon have a vigour in them which would incline me to 
say that Rosa Matilda is the person — but then, on the other 
hand, that powerful grasp of history," &c. &c. After a little 
more of this mock parallel, the letter went on thus : — " I 
should like to know what you think of the matter? — Some 
friends of mine here will insist that it is the work of the author 
of Childe Harold, — but then they are not so well read in 
F — g — d and Rosa Matilda as I am ; and, besides, they seem 
to forget that you promised, about a month or two ago, not to 
write any more for years. Seriously," &c. &c. 

I quote this foolish banter merely to show how safely, even on 
his most sensitive points, one might venture to jest with him. 

t We find D'Argenson thus encouraging Voltaire to break 
a similar vow : — " Continue to write without fear for five-and- 
twenty years longer, but write poetry, notwithstanding your 
oath in the preface to Newton." 


66 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

volcano, and sends him out again. I can't think it 
all over yet. 

" My departure for the Continent depends, in some 
measure, on the incontinent. I have two country 
invitations at home, and don't know what to say or 
do. In the mean time, I have bought a macaw 
and a parrot, and have got up my books ; and I box 
and fence daily, and go out very little. 

" At this present writing, Louis the Gouty is 
wheeling in triumph into Piccadilly, in all the pomp 
and rabblement of royalty. I had an offer of seats 
to see them pass ; but, as I have seen a Sultan going 
to mosque, and been at his reception of an ambassador, 
the most Christian King ' hath no attractions for me:' 
— though in some coming year of the Hegira, I should 
not dislike to see the place where he had reigned, 
shortly after the second revolution, and a happy sove- 
reignty of two months, the last six weeks being civil 

" Pray write, and deem me ever," &c. 

Letter 176. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" April 21. 1814. 

" Many thanks with the letters which I return. 
You know I am a jacobin, and could not wear white, 
nor see the installation of Louis the Gouty. 

" This is sad news, and very hard upon the 
sufferers at any, but more at such a time — I mean 
the Bayonne sortie. 

" You should urge Moore to come out. 

" P. S. I want Moreri to purchase for good and all. 
I have a Bayle, but want Moreri too. 


" P. S. Perry hath a piece of compliment to-day ; 
but I think the name might have been as well omit- 
ted. No matter ; they can but throw the old story 
of inconsistency in my teeth — let them, — I mean, 
as to not publishing. However, now I will keep my 
word. Nothing but the occasion, which was jihysi- 
cally irresistible, made me swerve ; and I thought an 
anonyme within my pact with the public. It is the 
only thing I have or shall set about." 

Letter 177. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" April 25. 1814. 

" Let Mr. Gifford have the letter and return it at 
his leisure. I would have offered it, had I thought 
that he liked things of the kind. 

" Do you want the last page immediately ! I have 
doubts about the lines being worth printing ; at any 
rate, I must see them again and alter some passages, 
before they go forth in any shape into the ocean of 
circulation ; — a very conceited phrase, by the by : 
well then — channel of publication will do. 

" ' I am not i' the vein,' or I could knock off a 
stanza or three for the Ode, that might answer the 
purpose better. * At all events, I must see the lines 

* Mr. Murray had requested of him to make some additions 
to the Ode, so as to save the stamp duty imposed upon pub- 
lications not exceeding a single sheet ; and he afterwards added, 
in successive editions, five or six stanzas, the original number 
being but eleven. There were also three more stanzas, which 
he never printed, but which, for the just tribute they contain to 
Washington, are worthy of being preserved : — 

F 2 

68 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

again first, as there be two I have altered in my 
mind's manuscript already. Has any one seen or 
judged of them? that is the criterion by which I 
will abide — only give me a fair report, and ' nothing 
extenuate,' as 1 will in that case do something else. 

" Ever,"&c. 
" I want 3/oreri, and an Athenceus." 

" There was a day — there was an hour, 

While earth was Gaul's — Gaul thine — 
When that immeasurable power 

Unsated to resign 
Had been" an act of purer fame 
Than gathers round Marengo's name 

And gilded thy decline, 
Through the long twilight of all time, 
Despite some passing clouds of crime. 

" But thou, forsooth, must be a king, 

And don the purple vest, 
As if that foolish robe could wring 

Remembrance from thy breast. 
Where is that faded garment ? where 
The gewgaws thou wert fond to wear, 

The star — the string — the crest? 
Vain froward child of empire ! say, 
Are all thy playthings snatch'd away ? 

" Where may the wearied eye repose 

When gazing on the great ; 
Where neither guilty glory glows, 

Nor despicable state ? 
Yes — one — the first — the last — the best — 
The Cincinnatus of the West, 

Whom envy dared not hate, 
Bequeathed the name of Washington, 
To make man blush there was but One ! " 


Letter 178. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" April 26. 1814. 

" I have been thinking that it might be as well to 
publish no more of the Ode separately, but incor- 
porate it with any of the other things, and include 
the smaller poem too (in that case) — which I must 
previously correct, nevertheless. I can't, for the 
head of me, add a line worth scribbling; my ' vein' 
is quite gone, and my present occupations are of the 
gymnastic order — boxing and fencing — and my 
principal conversation is with my macaw and Bayle. 
I want my Moreri, and I want Athenaeus. 

" P. S. I hope you sent back that poetical packet 
to the address which I forwarded to you on, Sunday : 
if not, pray do ; or I shall have the author screaming 
after his Epic." 

Letter 179. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" April 26. 1814. 

" I have no guess at your author, — but it is a 
noble poem*, and worth a thousand odes of any- 
body's. I suppose I may keep this copy ; — after 
reading it, I really regret having written my own. I 
say this very sincerely, albeit unused to think humbly 
of myself. 

" I don't like the additional stanzas at all, and they 
had better be left out. The fact is, I can't do any 

* A Poem by Mr. Stratford Canning, full of spirit and 
power, entitled " Buonaparte." In a subsequent note to 
Mr. Murray, Lord Byron says, _ " I do not think less highly 
of ' Buonaparte ' for knowing the author. I was aware that 
he was a man of talent, but did not suspect him of possessing 
all the family talents in such perfection." 

F 3 

70 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

thing I am asked to do, however gladly I would; 
and at the end of a week my interest in a composi- 
tion goes off. This will account to you for my doing 
no better for your ' Stamp Duty' postscript. 

" The S- R. is very civil — but what do they mean 
by Childe Harold resembling Marmion ? and the 
next two, Giaour and Bride, not resembling Scott ? 
I certainly never intended to copy him ; but, if there 
be any copyism, it must be in the two poems, where 
the same versification is adopted. However, they 
exempt The Corsair from all resemblance to any 
thing, though I rather wonder at his escape. 

"If ever I did any thing original, it was in Childe 
Harold, which / prefer to the other things always, 
after the first week. Yesterday I re-read English 
Bards; — bating the malice, it is the best. 

" Ever," &c. 

A resolution was, about this time, adopted by him, 
which, however strange and precipitate it appeared, 
a knowledge of the previous state of his mind may 
enable us to account for satisfactorily. He had now, 
for two years, been drawing upon the admiration of 
the public with a rapidity and success which seemed 
to defy exhaustion, — having crowded, indeed, into 
that brief interval the materials of a long life of fame. 
But admiration is a sort of impost from which most 
minds are but too willing to relieve themselves. The 
eye grows weary of looking up to the same object of 
wonder, and begins to exchange, at last, the delight 
of observing its elevation for the less generous plea- 
sure of watching and speculating on its fall. The 
reputation of Lord Byron had already begun to ex- 


perience some of these consequences of its own pro- 
longed and constantly renewed splendour. Even 
among that host of admirers who would have been 
the last to find fault, there were some not unwilling to 
repose from praise ; while they, who had been from 
the first reluctant eulogists, took advantage of these 
apparent symptoms of satiety to indulge in blame. * 

* It was the fear of this sort of back-water current to which 
so rapid a flow of fame seemed liable, that led some even of his 
warmest admirers, ignorant as they were yet of the boundless- 
ness of his resources, to tremble a little at the frequency of his 
appearances before the public. In one of my own letters to 
him, I find this apprehension thus expressed : — "If you did 
not write so well, — as the Royal wit observed, — I should say 
you write too much ; at least, too much in the same strain. 
The Pythagoreans, you know, were of opinion that the reason 
why we do not hear or heed the music of the heavenly bodies 
is that they are always sounding in our ears ; and I fear that 
even the influence of your song may be diminished by falling 
upon the world's dull ear too constantly." 

The opinion, however, which a great writer of our day (him- 
self one of the few to whom his remark replies) had the ge- 
nerosity, as well as sagacity, to pronounce on this point, at a 
time when Lord Byron was indulging in the fullest lavishment 
of his powers, must be regarded, after all, as the most judicious 
and wise : — " But they cater ill for the public," says Sir 
Walter Scott, " and give indifferent advice to the poet, sup- 
posing him possessed of the highest qualities of his art, who 
do not advise him to labour while the laurel around his brows 
yet retains its freshness. Sketches from Lord Byron are more 
valuable than finished pictures from others ; nor are we at all 
sure that any labour which he might bestow in revisal would 
not rather efface than refine those outlines of striking and 
powerful originality which they exhibit when flung rough 
from the hand of a master." — Biographical Memoirs, by 
Sir W. Scott. 

F 4- 

72 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

The loud outcry raised, at the beginning of the 
present year, by his verses to the Princess Charlotte, 
had afforded a vent for much of this reserved venom ; 
and the tone of disparagement in which some of his 
assailants now affected to speak of his poetry was, 
however absurd and contemptible in itself, precisely 
that sort of attack which was the most calculated to 
wound his, at once, proud and diffident spirit. As 
long as they confined themselves to blackening his 
moral and social character, so far from offending, 
their libels rather fell in with his own shadowy 
style of self-portraiture, and gratified the strange 
inverted ambition that possessed him. But the 
slighting opinion which they ventured to express of 
his genius, — seconded as it was by that inward 
dissatisfaction with his own powers, which they 
whose standard of excellence is highest are always 
the surest to feel, — mortified and disturbed him ; 
and, being the first sounds of ill augury that had 
come across his triumphal career, startled him, as 
we have seen, into serious doubts of its continuance. 

Had he been occupying himself, at the time, with 
any new task, that confidence in his own energies, 
which he never truly felt but while in the actual 
exercise of them, would have enabled him to forget 
these humiliations of the moment in the glow and 
excitement of anticipated success. But he had just 
pledged himself to the world to take a long farewell 
of poesy, — had sealed up that only fountain from 
which his heart ever drew refreshment or strength, 
— and thus was left, idly and helplessly, to brood 
over the daily taunts of his enemies, without the 


power of avenging himself when they insulted his 
person, and but too much disposed to agree with 
them when they made light of his genius. " I am 
afraid, (he says, in noticing these attacks in one of 
his letters,) what you call trash is plaguily to the 
purpose, and very good sense into the bargain ; and, 
to tell the truth, for some little time past, I have 
been myself much of the same opinion." 

In this sensitive state of mind, — which he but ill 
disguised or relieved by an exterior of gay defiance 
or philosophic contempt, — we can hardly feel sur- 
prised that he should have, all at once, come to the 
resolution, not only of persevering in his determin- 
ation to write no more in future, but of purchasing 
back the whole of his past copyrights, and suppres- 
sing every page and line he had ever written. On 
his first mention of this design, Mr. Murray natu- 
rally doubted as to its seriousness ; but the arrival 
of the following letter, enclosing a draft for the 
amount of the copyrights, put his intentions beyond 

Letter 180. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" 2. Albany, April 29. 18M. 
" Dear Sir, 

" I enclose a draft for the money ; when paid, 
send the copyright. I release you from the thousand 
pounds agreed on for The Giaour and Bride, and 
there 's an end. 

" If any accident occurs to me, you may do then 
as you please ; but, with the exception of two copies 
of each for yourself only, I expect and request that 

74- NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

the advertisements be withdrawn, and the remaining 
copies of all destroyed ; and any expense so incurred 
I will be glad to defray. 

" For all this, it might be as well to assign some 
reason. I have none to give, except my own caprice, 
and I do not consider the circumstances of conse- 
quence enough to require explanation. 

" In course, I need hardly assure you that they 
never shall be published with my consent, directly, 
or indirectly, by any other person whatsoever, — that 
I am perfectly satisfied, and have every reason so to 
be, with your conduct in all transactions between us 
as publisher and author. 

" It will give me great pleasure to preserve your 
acquaintance, and to consider you as my friend. 
Believe me very truly, and for much attention, 

" Your obliged and very obedient servant, 

" Byron. 

" P. S. I do not think that I have overdrawn at 
Hammersley's ; but if that be the case, I can draw 
for the superflux on Hoare's. The draft is 51. short, 
but that I will make up. On payment — not before 
— return the copyright papers.'' 

In such a conjuncture, an appeal to his good 
nature and considerateness was, as Mr. Murray well 
judged, his best resource ; and the following prompt 
reply, will show how easily, and at once, it suc- 


Letter 181. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" May 1. 1811. 

" Dear Sir, 

" If your present note is serious, and it really 
would be inconvenient, there is an end of the 
matter ; tear my draft, and go on as usual : in that 
case, we will recur to our former basis. That I was 
perfectly serious, in wishing to suppress all future 
publication, is true ; but certainly not to interfere 
with the convenience of others, and more particu- 
larly your own. Some day, I will tell you the 
reason of this apparently strange resolution. At 
present, it may be enough to say that I recall it at 
your suggestion ; and as it appears to have annoyed 
you, I lose no time in saying so. 

" Yours truly, 

" B." 

During my stay in town this year, we were almost 
daily together ; and it is in no spirit of flattery to the 
dead I say, that the more intimately I became ac- 
quainted with his disposition and character, the more 
warmly I felt disposed to take an interest in every 
thing that concerned him. Not that, in the oppor- 
tunities thus afforded me of observing more closely 
his defects, I did not discover much to lament, and 
not a little to condemn. But there was still, in the 
neighbourhood of even his worst faults, some atoning 
good quality, which was always sure, if brought 
kindly and with management into play, to neutralise 
their ill effects. The very frankness, indeed, with 
which he avowed his errors seemed to imply a confi- 

76 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

dence in his own power of redeeming them, — a 
consciousness that he could afford to be sincere- 
There was also, in such entire unreserve, a pledge 
that nothing worse remained behind ; and the same 
quality that laid open the blemishes of his nature 
gave security for its honesty. " The cleanness and 
purity of one's mind," says Pope, " is never better 
proved than in discovering its own faults, at first 
view ; as when a stream shows the dirt at its bottom, 
it shows also the transparency of the water." 

The theatre was, at this time, his favourite place 
of resort. We have seen how enthusiastically he 
expresses himself on the subject of Mr. Kean's 
acting, and it was frequently my good fortune, 
during this season, to share in his enjoyment of it, 
— the orchestra being, more than once, the place 
where, for a nearer view of the actor's countenance, 
we took our station. For Kean's benefit, on the 
25th of May, a large party had been made by Lady 
J * *, to which we both belonged ; but Lord Byron 
having also taken a box for the occasion, so anxious 
was he to enjoy the representation uninterrupted, 
that, by rather an unsocial arrangement, only him- 
self and I occupied his box during the play, while 
every other in the house was crowded almost to suf- 
focation ; nor did we join the remainder of our 
friends till supper. Between the two parties, how- 
ever, Mr. Kean had no reason to complain of a want 
of homage to his talents ; as Lord J * *, on that 
occasion, presented him with a hundred pound share 
in the theatre; while Lord Byron sent him, next day, 


the sum of fifty guineas* ; and, not long after, on 
seeing him act some of his favourite parts, made him 
presents of a handsome snuff-box and a costly Turk- 
ish sword. 

Such effect had the passionate energy of Kean's 
acting on his mind, that, once, in seeing him play 
Sir Giles Overreach, he was so affected as to be 
seized with a sort of convulsive fit ; and we shall 
find him, some years after, in Italy, when the repre- 
sentation of Alfieri's tragedy of Mirra had agitated 
him in the same violent manner, comparing the two 
instances as the only ones in his life when " any 
thing under reality " had been able to move him so 

The following are a few of the notes which I re- 
ceived from him during this visit to town. 

* To such lengths did he, at this time, carry his enthusiasm 
for Kean, that when Miss O'Neil soon after appeared, and, by 
her matchless representation of feminine tenderness, attracted 
all eyes and hearts, he was not only a little jealous of her repu- 
tation, as interfering with that of his favourite, but, in order to 
guard himself against the risk of becoming a convert, refused 
to go to see her act. I endeavoured sometimes to persuade 
him into witnessing, at least, one of her performances ; but his 
answer was, (punning upon Shakspeare's word, " unanealed,") 
u No — I'm resolved to continue un-Oneiled." 

To the great queen of all actresses, however, it will be seen, 
by the following extract from one of his journals, he rendered 
due justice : — 

" Of actors, Cooke was the most natural, Kemble the most 
supernatural, — Kean the medium between the two. But 

Mrs. Siddons was worth them all put together. " Detached 


78 KOTICES OF THE 1814. 


" May 4. 1814. 
*• Last night we supp'd at R fe's board, &c. * 

" I wish people would not shirk their dinners — 
ought it not to have been a dinner ?f — and that 
d — d anchovy sandwich I 

" That plaguy voice of yours made me sentimen- 
tal, and almost fall in love with a girl who was re- 
commending herself, during your song, by hating 
music. But the song is past, and my passion can 
wait, till the pucelle is more harmonious. 

" Do you go to Lady Jersey's to-night ? It is a 
large party, and you won't be bored into ' softening 
rocks,' and all that. Othello is to-morrow and 
Saturday too. Which day shall we go ? when shall 
I see you ? If you call, let it be after three, and as 
near four as you please. 

" Ever," &c. 


" May 4. 1814. 

" Dear Tom, 

" Thou hast asked me for a song, and I enclose 
you an experiment, which has cost me something 

* An epigram here followed, which, as founded on a scrip, 
tural allusion, I thought it better to omit. 

■f We had been invited by Lord R. to dine after the play, — 
an arrangement which, from its novelty, delighted Lord Byron 
exceedingly. The dinner, however, afterwards dwindled into 
a mere supper, and this change was long a subject of jocular 
resentment with him. 


more than trouble, and is, therefore, less likely to 
be worth your taking any in your proposed set- 
ting.* Now, if it be so, throw it into the fire with- 
out phrase. 

" Ever yours, 

" Byron. 

" I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name, 
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame ; 
But the tear which now burns on my cheek may impart 
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart. 

" Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace 

Were those hours — can their joy or their bitterness cease ? 

We repent — we abjure — we will break from our chain 

We will part, — we will fly to — unite it again ! 

" Oh ! thine be the gladness, and mine be the guilt ! 
Forgive me, adored one ! — forsake, if thou wilt ; — 
But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased, 
And man shall not break it — whatever thou mayst. 

" And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee, 
This soul, in its bitterest blackness, shall be ; 
And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet, 
With thee by my side, than with worlds at our feet. 

" One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thy love, 
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove ; 
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign — 
Thy lip shall reply, not to them, but to mine." 

* I had begged of him to write something for me to set to 

80 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 


" Will you and Rogers come to my box at Covent, 
then? I shall be there, and none else — or 1 won't 
be there, if you twain would like to go without me. 
You will not get so good a place hustling among the 
publican boxers, with damnable apprentices (six feet 
high) on a back row. Will you both oblige me and 
come, — or one — or neither — or, what you will? 

" P. S. An' you will, I will call for you at half- 
past six, or any time of your own dial." 


"I have gotten a box for Othello to-night, and 
send the ticket for your friends the R — fes. I 
seriously recommend to you to recommend to them 
to go for half an hour, if only to see the third act — 
they will not easily have another opportunity. We 
— at least, I — cannot be there, so there will be no 
one in their way. Will you give or send it to 
them ? it will come with a better grace from you 
than me. 

"I am in no good plight, but will dine at * * 's 
with you, if I can. There is music and Covent-g. 

Will you go, at all events, to my box there after- 
wards, to see a debut of a young 16* in the 'Child of 

* Miss Foote's first appearance, which we witnessed 



" Sunday matin. 

" Was not Iago perfection ? particularly the last 
look. I was close to him (in the orchestra), and 
never saw an English countenance half so expres- 

" I am acquainted with no ^material sensuality 
so delightful as good acting ; and, as it is fitting 
there should be good plays, now and then, besides 
Shakspeare's, I wish you or Campbell would write 
one: — the rest of 'us youth' have not heart 

" You were cut up in the Champion — is it not so ? 
this day so am I — even to shocking the editor. The 
critic writes well ; and as, at present, poesy is not 
my passion predominant, and my snake of Aaron has 
swallowed up all the other serpents, I don't feel frac- 
tious. I send you the paper, which I mean to take 
in for the future. We go to M.'s together. Perhaps 
I shall see you before, but don't let me bore you, now 
nor ever. 

" Ever, as now, truly and affectionately," &c. 


" May 5. 1814. 

" Do you go to the Lady Cahir's this even ? If 
you do — and whenever we are bound to the same 
follies — let us embark in the same ' Shippe of 
Fooles.' I have been up till five, and up at nine ; 
and feel heavy with only winking for the last three 
or four nights. 

vol. in. G 

82 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

" I lost my party and place at supper trying to 
keep out of the way of * * * *. 1 would have gone 
away altogether, but that would have appeared a 
worse affectation than t'other. You are of course 
engaged to dinner, or we may go quietly together to 
my box at Covent Garden, and afterwards to this 
assemblage. Why did you go away so soon ? 

" Ever, &c 

" P. S. Ought not R * * * fe's supper to have been 
a dinner ? Jackson is here, and I must fatigue my- 
self into spirits." 


" May 18. 1814. 
" Thanks — and punctuality. What has passed at 

* * * * s House ? I suppose that /am to know, and 
' pars fui' of the conference. I regret that your 

* * * *s will detain you so late, but I suppose you 
will be at Lady Jersey's. I am going earlier with 
Hobhouse. You recollect that to-morrow we sup and 
see Kean. 

" P. S. Two to-morrow is the hour of pugilism." 

The supper, to which he here looks forward, took 
place at Watier's, of which club he had lately become 
a member ; and, as it may convey some idea of his 
irregular mode of diet, and thus account, in part, for 
the frequent derangement of his health, I shall here 
attempt, from recollection, a description of his supper 
on this occasion. We were to have been joined by 
Lord R * *, who however did not arrive, and the 
party accordingly consisted but of ourselves. Having 



taken upon me to order the repast, and knowing that 
Lord Byron, for the last two days, had done nothing 
towards sustenance, beyond eating a few biscuits and 
(to appease appetite) chewing mastic, I desired that 
we should have a good supply of, at least, two kinds 
of fish. My companion, however, confined himself 
to lobsters, and of these finished two or three, to his 
own share, — interposing, sometimes, a small liqueur- 
glass of strong white brandy, sometimes a tumbler of 
very hot water, and then pure brandy again, to the 
amount of near half a dozen small glasses of the 
latter, without which, alternately with the hot water, 
he appeared to think the lobster could not be di- 
gested. After this, we had claret, of which having 
despatched two bottles between us, at about four 
o'clock in the morning we parted. 

As Pope has thought his " delicious lobster-nights" 
worth commemorating, these particulars of one in 
which Lord Byron was concerned may also have 
some interest. 

Among other nights of the same description which 
I had the happiness of passing with him, I remember 
once, in returning home from some assembly at rather 
a late hour, we saw lights in the windows of his old 
haunt Stevens's, in Bond Street, and agreed to stop 
there and sup. On entering, we found an old friend 
of his, Sir G * * W* *, who joined our party, and 
the lobsters and brandy and water being put in re- 
quisition, it was (as usual on such occasions) broad 
daylight before we separated. 


Letter 182. TO MR. MOORE. 

" May 23. 1814. 

" I must send you the Java government gazette 
of July 3d, 1813, just sent to me by Murray. Only 
think of our (for it is you and I) setting paper war- 
riors in array in the Indian seas. Does not this 
sound like fame — something almost like posterity ? 
It is something to have scribblers squabbling about 
us 5000 miles off, while we are agreeing so well at 
home. Bring it with you in your pocket ; — it will 
make you laugh, as it hath me. Ever yours, 


"P.S. Oh the anecdote!" * * * 

To the circumstance mentioned in this letter he 
recurs more than once in the Journals which he kept 
abroad ; as thus, in a passage of his " Detached 
Thoughts," — where it will be perceived that, by a 
trifling lapse of memory, he represents himself as 
having produced this gazette, for the first time, on 
our way to dinner. 

" In the year 1814, as Moore and I were going to 
dine with Lord Grey in Portman Square, I pulled 
out a ' Java Gazette' (which Murray had sent to 
me), in which there was a controversy on our respect- 
ive merits as poets. It was amusing enough that 
we should be proceeding peaceably to the same table 
while they were squabbling about us in the Indian 
seas (to be sure the paper was dated six months 
before), and filling columns with Batavian criticism. 
But this is fame, I presume." 



The following poem, written about this time, and, 
apparently, for the purpose of being recited at the 
Caledonian Meeting, I insert principally on account 
of the warm feeling which it breathes towards Scot- 
land and her sons : — 

" Who hath not glow'd above the page where Fame 
Hath fix'd high Caledon's unconquer'd name ; 
The mountain-land which spurn'd the Roman chain, 
And baffled back the fiery-crested Dane, 
Whose bright claymore and hardihood of hand 
No foe could tame — no tyrant could command. 

" That race is gone — but still their children breathe, 
And glory crowns them with redoubled wreath : 
O'er Gael and Saxon mingling banners shine, 
And, England ! add their stubborn strength to thine. 
The blood which flow'd with Wallace flows as free, 
But now 'tis only shed for fame and thee ! 
Oh ! pass not by the Northern veteran's claim, 
But give support — the world hath given him fame ! 

" The humbler ranks, the lowly brave, who bled 
While cheerly following where the mighty led — 
Who sleep beneath the undistinguish'd sod 
Where happier comrades in their triumph trod, 
To us bequeath — 'tis all their fate allows — 
The sireless offspring and the lonely spouse : 
She on high Albyn's dusky hills may raise 
The tearful eye in melancholy gaze, 
Or view, while shadowy auguries disclose 
The Highland seer's anticipated woes, 
The bleeding phantom of each martial form 
Dim in the cloud, or darkling in the storm ; 
While sad, she chants the solitary song, 
The soft lament for him who tarries long — 
For him, whose distant relics vainly crave 
The coronach's wild requiem to the brave ! 
G 3 

86 NOTICES OF THE 1614. 

" 'Tis Heaven — not man — must charm away the woe 
Which bursts when Nature's feelings newly flow ; 
Yet tenderness and time may rob the tear 
Of half its bitterness for one so dear : 
A nation's gratitude perchance may spread 
A thornless pillow for the widow'd head ; 
May lighten well her heart's maternal care, 
And wean from penury the soldier's heir." 

Letter 183. TO MR. MOORE. 

« May 31. 1814. 

" As I shall probably not see you here to-day, I 
write to request that, if not inconvenient to yourself, 
you will stay in town till Sunday ; if not to gratify 
me, yet to please a great many others, who will be 
very sorry to lose you. As for myself, I can only 
repeat that I wish you would either remain a long 
time with us, or not come at all ; for these snatches 
of society make the subsequent separations bitterer 
than ever. 

" I believe you think that I have not been quite 
fair with that Alpha and Omega of beauty, &c. with 
whom you would willingly have united me. But if 
you consider what her sister said on the subject, you 
will less wonder that my pride should have taken the 
alarm ; particularly as nothing but the every-day 
flirtation of every-day people ever occurred between 
your heroine and myself. Had Lady * * appeared 
to wish it — or even not to oppose it — I would 
have gone on, and very possibly married (that is, if 
the other had been equally accordant) with the same 
indifference which has frozen over the ' Black Sea' 



of almost all my passions. It is that very indiffer- 
ence which makes me so uncertain and apparently 
capricious. It is not eagerness of new pursuits, but 
that nothing impresses me sufficiently toflx ; neither 
do I feel disgusted, but simply indifferent to almost 
all excitements. The proof of this is, that obstacles, 
the slightest even, stop me. This can hardly be 
timidity, for I have done some impudent things too, 
in my time ; and in almost all cases, opposition is a 
stimulus. In mine, it is not; if a straw were in my 
way, I could not stoop to pick it up. 

" I have sent this long tirade, because I would not 
have you suppose that I have been trifling designedly 
with you or others. If you think so, in the name of 
St. Hubert (the patron of antlers and hunters) let me 
be married out of hand — I don't care to whom, so 
it amuses any body else, and don't interfere with me 
much in the daytime. Ever," &c. 

Letter 184. TO MR. MOORE. 

" June 14. 1814. 

" I could be very sentimental now, but I won't. 
The truth is, that I have been all my life trying to 
harden my heart, and have not yet quite succeeded 
— though there are great hopes — and you do not 
know how it sunk with your departure. What adds 
to my regret is having seen so little of you during 
your stay in this crowded desert, where one ought 
to be able to bear thirst like a camel, — the springs 
aie so few, and most of them so muddy. 

" The newspapers will tell you all that is to be 

c 4< 

88 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

told of emperors, &c. * They have dined, and 
supped, and shown their flat faces in all thorough- 
fares, and several saloons. Their uniforms are very 
becoming, but rather short in the skirts ; and their 

* In a few days after this, he sent me a long rhyming 
epistle full of jokes and pleasantries upon every thing and 
every one around him, of which the following are the only 
parts producible : — 

" ' What say I? ' — not a syllable further in prose ; 

I'm your man ' of all measures,' dear Tom, — so, here goes! 
Here goes, for a swim on the stream of old Time, 
On those buoyant supporters the bladders of rhyme. 
If our weight breaks thera down, and we sink in the flood, 
We are smother'd, at least, in respectable mud, 
Where the divers of bathos lie drown'd in a heap, 
And S * * 's last pa?an has pillow'd his sleep ; — 
That ' felo de se ' who, half drunk with his malmsey, 
Walk'd out of his depth and was lost in a calm sea, 
Singing ' Glory to God ' in a spick-and-span stanza, 
The like (since Tom Sternhold was choked) never man saw. 

" The papers have told you, no doubt, of the fusses, 

The fetes, and the gapings to get at these Russes, — 

Of his Majesty's suite, up from coachman to Hetman, — 

And what dignity decks the flat face of the great man. 

I saw him, last week, at two balls and a party, — 

For a prince, his demeanour was rather too hearty. 

You know, we are used to quite different graces, 

The Czar's look, I own, was much brighter and brisker, 
But then he is sadly deficient in whisker ; 
And wore but a starless blue coat, and in kersey- 
mere breeches whisk'd round in a waltz with the J * *, 
Who, lovely as ever, seem 'd just as delighted 
With majesty's presence as those she invited." 


conversation is a catechism, for which and the 
answers I refer you to those who have heard it. 

" I think of leaving town for Newstead soon. Jf 
so, I shall not be remote from your recess, and 
(unless Mrs. M. detains you at home over the 
caudle-cup and a new cradle,) we will meet. You 
shall come to me, or I to you, as you like it; — but 
meet we will. An invitation from Aston has reached 
me, but I do not think I shall go. I have also heard 
of * * * — I should like to see her again, for I have 
not met her for years ; and though ' the light that 
ne'er can shine again' is set, I do not know that ' one 
dear smile like those of old' might not make me for 
a moment forget the ' dulness' of 'life's stream.' 

" I am going to R * * 's to-night — to one of those 
suppers which ' ought to be dinners.' I have hardly 
seen her, and never him, since you set out. I told 
you, you were the last link of that chain. As for 
* *, we have not syllabled one another's names since. 
The post will not permit me to continue my scrawl. 
More anon. 

" Ever, dear Moore, &c. 

" P. S. Keep the Journal * ; I care not what 
becomes of it ; and if it has amused you I am glad 
that I kept it. ' Lara' is finished, and I am copj'ing 
him for my third vol., now collecting; — but no 
separate publication." 

* The Journal from which I have given extracts in the 
preceding pages. 

90 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 


" June 14. 1814. 
" I return your packet of this morning. Have 
) r ou heard that Bertrand has returned to Paris with 
the account of Napoleon's having lost his senses? 
It is a report; but, if true, I must, like Mr. Fitzgerald 
and Jeremiah (of lamentable memory), lay claim to 
prophecy ; that is to say, of saying, that he ought to 
go out of his senses, in the penultimate stanza of a 
certain Ode, — the which, having been pronounced 
nonsense by several profound critics, has a still 
further pretension, by its unintelligibility, to inspir- 
ation. Ever," &c. 

Letter 185. TO MR. ROGERS. 

" June 19. 1814. 

" I am always obliged to trouble you with my 
awkwardnesses, and now I have a fresh one. Mr. 
W. * called on me several times, and I have missed 
the honour of making his acquaintance, which I 
regret, but which you, who know my desultory and 
uncertain habits, will not wonder at, and will, I am 
sure, attribute to any thing but a wish to offend a 
person who has shown me much kindness, and 
possesses character and talents entitled to general 
respect. My mornings are late, and passed in 
fencing and boxing, and a variety of most unpoetical 
exercises, very wholesome, &c, but would be very 
disagreeable to my friends, whom I am obliged to 
exclude during their operation. I never go out 

* Mr. Wraneham. 


till the evening, and I have not been fortunate 
enough to meet Mr. W. at Lord Lansdowne's or 
Lord Jersey's, where I had hoped to pay him my 

" 1 would have written to him, but a few words 
from you will go further than all the apologetical 
sesquipedalities I could muster on the occasion. It 
is only to say that, without intending it, I contrive 
to behave very ill to every body, and am very sorry 
for it. 

" Ever, dear R.," &c. 

The following undated notes to Mr. Rogers must 
Lave been written about the same time: — 

" Sunday. 
"Your non-attendance atCorinne's is very apropos, 
as I was on the eve of sending you an excuse. I do 
not feel well enough to go there this evening, and 
have been obliged to despatch an apology. I believe 
I need not add one for not accepting Mr. Sheridan's 
invitation on Wednesday, which I fancy both you 
and I understood in the same sense: — with him the 
saying of Mirabeau, that ' ivorcls are things,' is not 
to be taken literally. 

" Ever," &c. 

" I will call for you at a quarter before seven, if 
that will suit you. I return you Sir Proteus *, and 

* A satirical pamphlet, in which all the writers of the day 
were attacked. 

92 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

shall merely add in return, as Johnson said of, and 
to, somebody or other, ' Are we alive after all this 
censure ? ' 

" Believe me," &c. 

" Tuesday. 
" Sheridan was yesterday, at first, too sober to 
remember your invitation, but in the dregs of the 
third bottle he fished up his memory. The Stael 
out-talked Whitbread, was ironed by Sheridan, con- 
founded Sir Humphry, and utterly perplexed your 
slave. The rest (great names in the red book, 
nevertheless,) were mere segments of the circle. 
Ma'mselle danced a Russ saraband with great vigour, 
grace, and expression. 

" Ever," &-c. 


" June 21. 1814. 
" I suppose ' Lara' is gone to the devil, — which 
is no great matter, only let me know, that I may be 
saved the trouble of copying the rest, and put the 
first part into the fire. I really have no anxiety 
about it, and shall not be sorry to be saved the 
copying, which goes on very slowly, and may prove 
to you that you may speak out — or I should be less 
sluggish. Yours," &c. 

Letter 186. TO MR. ROGERS. 

" June 27. 1814. 

" You could not have made me a more acceptable 
present than Jacqueline, — she is all grace, and soft- 

1814. LIFE OF LORD B^RON. 93 

ness, and poetry ; there is so much of the last, that 
we do not feel the want of story, which is simple, 
yet enough. I wonder that you do not oftener 
unbend to more of the same kind. I have some 
sympathy with the softer affections, though very 
little in my way, and no one can depict them so 
truly and successfully as yourself. I have half a 
mind to pay you in kind, or rather wwkind, for I 
have just ' supped full of horror' in two cantos of 
darkness and dismay. 

" Do you go to Lord Essex's to-night ? if so, will 
you let me call for you at your own hour? I dined 
with Holland-house yesterday at Lord Cowper's ; my 
Lady very gracious, which she can be more than any 
one when she likes. I was not sorry to see them 
again, for I can't forget that they have been very 
kind to me. Ever yours most truly, 


" P. S. Is there any chance or possibility of 
making it up with Lord Carlisle, as I feel disposed 
to do any thing reasonable or unreasonable to effect 
it ? I would before, but for the ' Courier,' and the 
possible misconstructions at such a time. Perpend, 

On my return to London, for a short time, at the 
beginning of July, I found his poem of ' Lara,' which 
he had begun at the latter end of May, in the hands 
of the printer, and nearly ready for publication. He 
had, before I left town, repeated to me, as we were 
on our way to some evening party, the first one 
hundred and twenty lines of the poem, which he 

94 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

had written the day before, — at the same time 
giving me a general sketch of the characters and 
the story. 

His short notes to Mr. Murray, during the printing 
of this work, are of the same impatient and whimsical 
character as those, of which I have already given 
specimens, in my account of his preceding publi- 
cations : but, as matter of more interest now presses 
upon us, I shall forbear from transcribing them at 
length. In one of them he says, " I have just cor- 
rected some of the most horrible blunders that ever 
crept into a proof:" — in another, " I hope the next 
proof will be better ; this was one which would have 
consoled Job, if it had been of his ' enemy's book :' ' : 
— a third contains only the following words : " Dear 
sir, you demanded more battle — there it is. 

" Yours," (Sec. 

The two letters that immediately follow were ad- 
dressed to me, at this time, in town. 

Letter 187. TO MR. MOORE. 

" July 8. 1814. 
" I returned to town last night, and had some 
hopes of seeing you to-day, and would have called, — 
but I have been (though in exceeding distempered 
good health) a little head-achy with free living, as 
it is called, and am now at the freezing point of 
returning soberness. Of course, I should be sorry 
that our parallel lines did not deviate into intersec- 
tion before you return to the country, — after that 


same nonsuit*, whereof the papers have told us, — 
but, as you must be much occupied, I won't be af- 
fronted, should your time and business militate 
against our meeting. 

" Rogers and I have almost coalesced into a joint 
invasion of the public. Whether it will take place 
or not, I do not yet know, and I am afraid Jacqueline 
(which is very beautiful) will be in bad company, f 
But in this case, the lady will not be the sufferer. 

" I am going to the sea, and then to Scotland ; and 
I have been doing nothing, — that is, no good, — 
and am very truty," &c. 

Letter 188. TO MR. MOORE. 

" I suppose, by your non-appearance, that the 
philasophy of my note, and the previous silence of 
the writer, have put or kept you in humeur. Never 
mind — it is hardly worth while. 

" This day have I received information from my 
man of law of the non — and never likely to be — 
performance of purchase by Mr. Claughton, of im- 
pecuniary memory. He don't know what to do, or 
when to pay ; and so all my hopes and worldly pro- 
jects and prospects are gone to the devil. He 
(the purchaser, and the devil too, for aught I care,) 
and I, and my legal advisers, are to meet to-morrow, 


He alludes to an action for piracy brought by Mr. Power 
(the publisher of my musical works), to the trial of which I 
had been summoned as a witness. 

t Lord Byron afterwards proposed that I should make a 
third in this publication ; but the honour was a perilous one, 
and I begged leave to decline it. 

96 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

the said purchaser having first taken special care to 
enquire ' whether I would meet him with temper ?' 
— Certainly. The question is this — I shall either 
have the estate back, which is as good as ruin, or I 
shall go on with him dawdling, which is rather 
worse. I have brought my pigs to a Mussulman 
market. If I had but a wife now, and children, of 
whose paternity I entertained doubts, I should be 
happy, or rather fortunate, as Candide or Scarmen- 
tado. In the mean time, if you don't come and see 
me, I shall think that Sam.'s bank is broke too ; and 
that you, having assets there, are despairing of more 
than a piastre in the pound for your dividend. 
Ever," &c. 


" July 11. 1814. 
" You shall have one of the pictures. I wish you 
to send the proof of ' Lara' to Mr. Moore, 33. Bury 
Street, to-night, as he leaves town to-morrow, and 
wishes to see it before he goes* ; and I am also will- 
ing to have the benefit of his remarks. Yours," &c. 


" July 18. 1814. 

" I think you will be satisfied even to repletion 

with our northern friends f, and I won't deprive you 

* In a note which I wrote to him, before starting, next 
day, I find the following : — "I got Lara at three o'clock this 
morning — read him before I slept, and was enraptured. I 
take the proofs with me." 

t He here refers to an article in the number of the Edin- 
burgh Review, just then published (No. 45.), on The Corsair 
and Bride of Abydos. 


longer of what I think will give you pleasure ; for 
my own part, my modesty, or my vanity, must be 

" P. S. If you could spare it for an hour in the 
evening, I wish you to send it up to Mrs. Leigh, 
your neighbour, at the London Hotel, Albemarle 

Letter. 189. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" July 23. 1814. 

" I am sorry to say that the print* is by no 
means approved of by those who have seen it, who 
are pretty conversant with the original, as well as 
the picture from whence it is taken. I rather sus- 
pect that it is from the copy and not the exhibited 
portrait, and in this dilemma would recommend a 
suspension, if not an abandonment, of the prefixion 
to the volumes which you purpose inflicting upon 
the public. 

" With regard to Lara, don't be in any hurry. I 
have not yet made up my mind on the subject, nor 
know what to think or do till I hear from you ; and 
Mr. Moore appeared to me in a similar state of inde- 
termination. I do not know that it may not be 
better to reserve it for the entire publication you 
proposed, and not adventure in hardy singleness, or 
even backed by the fairy Jacqueline. I have been 
seized with all kinds of doubts, &c. &c. since I left 

" Pray let me hear from you, and believe me," <S'c. 

* An engraving by Agar from Phillips's portrait of him. 

vol. m. ii 


Letter 190. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" July 24. 1814. 

" The minority must, in this case, carry it, so pray 
let it be so, for I don't care sixpence for any of the 
opinions you mention, on such a subject: and P * * 
must be a dunce to agree with them. For my own 
part, I have no objection at all ; but Mrs. Leigh and 
my cousin must be better judges of the likeness than 
others ; and they hate it ; and so I won't have it 
at all. 

" Mr. Hobhouse is right as for his conclusion : but 
I deny the premises. The name only is Spanish* ; 
the country is not Spain, but the Morea. 

" Waverley is the best and most interesting novel 
I have redde since — I don't know when. I like it 
as much as I hate * *, and * *, and * *. and all the 
feminine trash of the last four months. Besides, it 
is all easy to me, I have been in Scotland so much 
(though then young enough too), and feel at home 
with the people, Lowland and Gael. 

" A note will correct what Mr. Hobhouse thinks 
an error (about the feudal system in Spain) ; — it is 
not Spain. If he puts a few words of prose any 
where, it will set all right. 

" I have been ordered to town to vote. I shall 
disobey. There is no good in so much prating, 
since ' certain issues strokes should ai'bitrate.' If 
you have any thing to say, let me hear from you. 

" Yours," cvc 

* Alluding to Lara. 


Letteii 191. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" August 3. 1814. 

" It is certainly a little extraordinary that you 
have not sent the Edinburgh Review, as I requested, 
and hoped it would not require a note a day to 
remind you. I see advertisements of Lara and 
Jacqueline ; pray, why ? when I requested you to 
postpone publication till my return to town. 

u I have a most amusing epistle from the Ettrick 
bard — Hogg; in which, speaking of his bookseller, 
whom he denominates the ' shabbiest' of the trade 
for not ' lifting his bills,' he adds, in so many words, 
* G — d d — n him and them both.' This is a 
pretty prelude to asking you to adopt him (the said 
Hogg) ; but this he wishes ; and if you please, you 
and I will talk it over. He has a poem ready for the 
press (and your bills too, if ' ///table'), and bestows 
some benedictions on Mr. Moore for his abduction 
of Lara from the forthcoming Miscellany.* 

" P. S. Sincerely, I think Mr. Hogg would suit 
you very well ; and surely he is a man of great 
powers, and deserving of encouragement. I must 
knock out a Tale for him, and you should at all events 
consider before you reject his suit. Scott is gone 
to the Orkneys in a gale of wind ; and Hogg says 

* Mr. Hogg had been led to hope that he should be per- 
mitted to insert this poem in a Miscellany which he had at this 
time some thoughts of publishing ; and whatever advice I may 
have given against such a mode of disposing of the work arose 
certainly not from any ill will to this ingenious and remarkable 
man, but from a consideration of what I thought most advan- 
tageous to the fame of Lord Byron- 



that, during the said gale, ' he is sure that Scott is 
not quite at his ease, to say the best of it.' Ah ! I 
wish these home-keeping bards could taste a Medi- 
terranean white squall, or ' the Gut' in a gale of wind, 
or even the ' Bay of Biscay' with no wind at all. " 

Letter 192. TO MR. RIO ORE. 

" Hastings, August 3. 1814. 

" By the time this reaches your dwelling, I shall 
(God wot) be in town again probably. I have been 
here renewing my acquaintance with my old friend 
Ocean ; and I find his bosom as pleasant a pillow for 
an hour in the morning as his daughters of Paphos 
could be in the twilight. I have been swimming and 
rating turbot, and smuggling neat brandies and silk 
handkerchiefs, — and listening to my friend Hodg- 
son's raptures about a pretty wife-elect of his, — and 
walking on cliffs, and tumbling down hills, and making 
the most of the ' dolce far-niente' for the last fort- 
night. I met a son of Lord Erskine's, who says he 
has been married a year, and is the ' happiest of 
men ;' and I have met the aforesaid H., who is also 
the ' happiest of men ; ' so, it is worth while being 
here, if only to witness the superlative felicity of 
these foxes, who have cut off their tails, and would 
persuade the rest to part with their brushes to keep 
them in countenance. 

" It rejoiceth me that you like ' Lara.' Jeffrey is 
out with his 45th Number, which I suppose you have 
got. He is only too kind to me, in my share of it, 
and I begin to fancy myself a golden pheasant, upon 
the strength of the plumage wherewith he hath 

1814. LIFE OF LOUD BYRON. 101 

bedecked me. But then, ' surgit amari,' &c the 

gentlemen of the Champion, and Perry, have got 
hold (I know not how) of the condolatory address 
to Lady J. on the picture-abduction by our R * * *, 
and have published them — with my name, too, smack 
— without even asking leave, or enquiring whether 
or no ! D — n their impudence, and d — n every 
thing. It has put me out of patience, and so, I shall 
say no more about it. 

" You shall have Lara and Jacque (both with 
some additions) when out ; but I am still demur- 
ring and delaying, and in a fuss, and so is R. in his 

" Newstead is to be mine again. Claughton for- 
feits twenty-five thousand pounds ; but that don't 
prevent me from being very prettily ruined. I mean 
to bury myself there — and let my beard grow — 
and hate you all. 

" Oh ! 1 have had the most amusing letter from 
Hogg, the Ettrick minstrel and shepherd. He 
wants me to recommend him to Murray ; and, speak- 
ing of his present bookseller, whose 'bills' are never 
' lifted,' he adds, totidem verbis, ' God d — n him and 
them both.' I laughed, and so would you too, at 
the way in which this execration is introduced. The 
said Hogg is a strange being, but cf great, though 
uncouth, powers. I think very highly of him, as a 
poet ; but he, and half of these Scotch and Lake 
troubadours, are spoilt by living in little circles and 
petty societies. London and the world is the only 
place to take the conceit out of a man — in the mill- 
ing phrase. Scott, he says, is gone to the Orkneys 

h 3 

102 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

in a gale of wind ; — during which wind, he affirms, 
the said Scott, ' he is sure, is not at his ease, — to 
say the best of it.' Lord, Lord, if these homekeep- 
ing minstrels had crossed ycur Atlantic or my Medi- 
terranean, and tasted a little open boating in a white 
squall — or a gale in ' the Gut ' — or the ' Bay of 
Biscay,' with no gale at all — how it would enliven 
and introduce them to a few of the sensations! — to 
say nothing of an illicit amour or two upon shore, in 
the way of essay upon the Passions, beginning with 
simple adulter} 1 -, and compounding it as they went 

" I have forwarded your letter to Murray, — by 
the way, you had addressed it to Miller. Pray 
write to me, and say what art thou doing ? ' Not 
finished ! ' — Oons ! how is this ? — these ' flaws and 
starts' must be ' authorised by your grandam,' and 
are unbecoming of any other author. I was sorry 
to hear of your discrepancy with the * *s, or rather 
your abjuration of agreement. I don't want to be 
impertinent, or buffoon on a serious subject, and am 
therefore at a loss what to say. 

" I hope nothing will induce you to abate from 
the proper price of your poem, as long as there is a 
prospect of getting it. For my own part, I have 
seriously and not whiningly, (for that is not my way 
— at least, it used not to be,) neither hopes, nor 
prospects, and scarcely even wishes. I am, in some 
respects, happy, but not in a manner that can or 
ought to last, — but enough of that. The worst of 
it is, I feel quite enervated and indifferent. I really 
do not know, if Jupiter were to offer me my choice 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 103 

of the contents of his henevolent cask, what I 
would pick out of it. If I was born, as the nurses 
say, with a ' silver spoon in my mouth,' it has stuck 
in my throat, and spoiled my palate, so that nothing 
put into it is swallowed with much relish, — unless 
it be cayenne. However, I have grievances enough 
to occupy me that way too ; — but for fear of adding 
to yours by this pestilent long diatribe, I postpone 
the reading of them, sine die. 

" Ever, dear M., yours, Sec. 
" P. S. Don't forget my godson. You could not 
have fixed on a fitter porter for his sins than me, 
being used to carry double without inconvenience." 

Letteb 193. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" August 4. 1814. 
" Not having received the slightest answer to my 
last three letters, nor the book (the last number of 
the Edinburgh Review) which they requested, I 
presume that you were the unfortunate person who 
perished in the pagoda on Monday last, and address 
this rather to your executors than yourself, regret- 
ting that you should have had the ill luck to be the 
sole victim on that joyous occasion. 

" I beg leave, then, to inform these gentlemen 
^whoever they may be) that I am a little surprised 
at the previous neglect of the deceased, and also at 
observing an advertisement of an approaching pub- 
lication on Saturday next, against the which I pro- 
tested, and do protest for the present. 

" Yours (or theirs), &c. 

» E." 
li 4- 

104 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

Letter 194. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" August 5. 1814. 

" The Edinburgh Review is arrived — thanks. I 
enclose Mr. Hobhouse's letter, from which you will 
perceive the work you have made. However, I have 
done : you must send my rhymes to the devil your 
own way. It seems, also, that the ' faithful and 
spirited likeness' is another of your publications. I 
wish you joy of it ; but it is no likeness — that is the 
point. Seriously, if I have delayed your journey to 
Scotland, I am sorry that you carried your complai- 
sance so far ; particularly as upon trifles you have a 
more summary method ; — witness the grammar of 
Hobhouse's ' bit of prose,' which has put him and 
me into a fever. 

" Hogg must translate his own words : 'lifting' h 
a quotation from his letter, together with ' God 
d — n,' Sec, which I suppose requires no translation. 

" I was unaware of the contents of Mr. Moore's 
letter ; I think your offer very handsome, but of that 
you and he must judge. If he can get more, you 
won't wonder that he should accept it. 

" Out with Lara, since it must be. The tome 
looks pretty enough — on the outside. I shall be in 
town next week, and in the mean time wish you 
a pleasant journey. 

" Yours," &c. 

Letter 195. TO MR. MOORE. 

" August 12. 1814. 

" I was not alone, nor will be while I can help it. 

Newstead is not yet decided. Claughton is to make 

1314. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 105 

a grand effort by Saturday week to complete, — 
if not, he must give up twenty-five thousand pound? 
and the estate, with expenses, &c. &c. If I resume 
the Abbacy, you shall have due notice, and a cell 
set apart for your reception, with a pious welcome. 
Rogers I have not seen, but Larry and Jacky came 
out a iew days ago. Of their effect I know nothing. 

" There is something very amusing in your being 
an Edinburgh Reviewer. You know, I suppose, that 
T * * is none of the placidest, and may possibly 
enact some tragedy on being told that he is only a 
fool. If, now, Jeffery were to be slain on account of 
an article of yours, there would be a fine conclusion. 
For my part, as Mrs. Winifred Jenkins says, ' he 
has done the handsome thing by me,' particularly 
in his last number ; so, he is the best of men and the 
ablest of critics, and I won't have him killed, — 
though I dare say many wish he were, for being so 

" Before I left Hastings I got in a passion with 
an ink bottle, which I flung out of the window one 
night with a vengeance ; — and what then ? Why, 
next morning I was horrified by seeing that it had 
struck, and split upon, the petticoat of Euterpe's 
graven image in the garden, and grimed her as if it 
were on purpose.* Only think of my distress, — 

* His servant had brought him up a large jar of ink, into 
which, not supposing it to be full, he had thrust his pen down 
to the very bottom. Enraged, on finding it come out all 
smeared with ink, he flung the bottle out of the window into 
the garden, where it lighted, as here described, upon one of eight 
leaden Muses, that had been imported, some time before, from 
Holland, — the ninth having been, by some accident, left behind. 

106 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

and the epigrams that might be engendered on the 
Muse and her misadventure. 

" T had an adventure almost as ridiculous, at some 
private theatricals near Cambridge — though of a 
different description — since I saw you last. I quar- 
relled with a man in the dark for asking me who I 
was (insolently enough to be sure), and followed 
him into the green-room (a stable) in a rage, 
amongst a set of people I never saw before. He 
turned out to be a low comedian, engaged to act 
with the amateurs, and to be a civil-spoken man 
enough, when he found out that nothing very plea- 
sant was to be got by rudeness. But you would 
have been amused with the row, and the dialogue, 
and the dress — or rather the undress — of the 
party, where I had introduced myself in a devil of a 
hurry, and the astonishment that ensued. I had 
gone out of the theatre, for coolness, into the 
garden ; — there I had tumbled over some dogs, and, 
coming away from them in very ill humour, encoun- 
tered the man in a worse, which produced all this 

" Well — and why don't you ' launch ? ' — Now 
is your time. The people are tolerably tired with 
me, and not very much enamoured of * *, who has 
just spawned a quarto of metaphysical blank verse, 
which is nevertheless only a part of a poem. 

" Murray talks of divorcing Larry and Jacky — a 
bad sign for the authors, who, I suppose, will be di- 
vorced too, and throw the blame upon one another. 
Seriously, I don't care a cigar about it, and I don't 
see why Sam should. 

1814. LIFE OF LOUD BYRON. 107 

" Let me hear from and of you and my godson. 
If a daughter, the name will do quite as well. 

" Ever," &c. 

Letter 196. TO MR. MOORE. 

« August 13. 1814. 

" I wrote yesterday to Mayfield, and have just now 
enfranked your letter to mamma. My stay in town 
is so uncertain (not later than next week) that your 
packets for the north may not reach me ; and as I 
know not exactly where I am going — however, 
Newstead is my most probable destination, and if 
you send your despatches before Tuesday, I can for- 
ward them to our new ally. But, after that day, you 
had better not trust to their arrival in time. 

" * * has been exiled from Paris, ondit, for saying 
the Bourbons were old women. The Bourbons 
might have been content, I think, with returning 
the compliment. 

" I told you all about Jacky and Larry yesterday ; 
— they are to be separated, — at least, so says the 
grand M., and I know no more of the matter. 
Jeffrey has done me more than ' justice ; ' but as to 
tragedy — urn ! — I have no time for fiction at pre- 
sent. A man cannot paint a storm with the vessel 
under bare poles on a lee-shore. When I get to 
land, I will try what is to be done, and, if I founder, 
there be plenty of mine elders and betters to con- 
sole Melpomene. 

" When at Newstead, you must come over, if only 
for a day — should Mrs. M. be exigeante of your pre- 
sence. The place is worth seeing, as a ruin, and I 


can assure you there was some fun there, even in my 
time ; but that is past. The ghosts *, however, and 
the gothies, and the waters, and the desolation, 
make it very lively still. 

" Ever, dear Tom, yours," &c. 

Letter 197. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Newstead Abbey, September 2. 1814. 

" I am obliged by what you have sent, but would 
rather not see any thing of the kindf ; we have had 
enough of these things already, good and bad, and 
next month you need not trouble yourself to collect 
even the higher generation — on my account. It 
gives me much pleasure to hear of Mr. Hobhouse's 

* It was, if I mistake not, during his recent visit to New- 
stead, that he himself actually fancied he saw the ghost of the 
Black Friar, which was supposed to have haunted the Abbey 
from the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, and which 
he thus describes, from the recollection perhaps of his own 
fantasy, in Don Juan : — 

" It was no mouse, but, lo ! a monk, array'd 

In cowl and beads and dusky garb, appear'd, 
Now in the moonlight, and now lapsed in shade, 

With steps that trod as heavy, yet unheard : 
His garments only a slight murmur made : 

He moved as shadowy as the sisters weird, 
But slowly ; and as he pass'd Juan by, 

Glanced, without pausing, on him a bright eye." 

It is said, that the Newstead ghost appeared, also, to Lord 
Byron's cousin, Miss Fanny Parkins, and that she made a 
sketch of him from memory. 

f The reviews and magazines of the month. 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYROX. 109 

and Mr. Merivale's good entreatment by the jour- 
nals you mention. 

" I still think Mr. Hogg and yourself might make 
out an alliance. Dodsleys was, I believe, the last 
decent thing of the kind, and his had great success 
in its day, and lasted several years ; but then he had 
the double advantage of editing and publishing. 
The Spleen, and several of Gray's odes, much of 
Shenstone, and many others of good repute, made 
their first appearance in his collection. Now, with 
the support of Scott, Wordsworth, Southey, &c, I 
see little reason why you should not do as well ; and, 
if once fairly established, you would have assistance 
from the youngsters, I dare say. Stratford Canning 
(whose ' Buonapai'te' is excellent), and many others, 
and Moore, and Hobhouse, and I, would try a fall 
now and then (if permitted), and you might coax 
Campbell, too, into it. By the by, fie has an unpub- 
lished (though printed) poem on a scene in Ger- 
many, (Bavaria, I think,) which I saw last year, that 
is perfectly magnificent, and equal to himself. I 
wonder he don't publish it. 

" Oh ! — do you recollect S * *, the engraver's, 
mad letter about not engraving Phillips's picture of 
Lord Foley ? (as he blundered it ;) well, I have 
traced it, I think. It seems, by the papers, a 
preacher of Johanna Southcote's is named Foley ; 
and I can no way account for the said S * * 's con- 
fusion of words and ideas, but by that of his head's 
running on Johanna and her apostles. It was a 
mercy he did not say Lord Tozer. You know, of 
course, that S * * is a believer in this new (old) 
virgin of spiritual impregnation. 

110 NOTICES OF THE 181-,. 

" I long to know what she will produce * ; her 
being with child at sixty-five is indeed a miracle, 
but her getting any one to beget it, a greater. 

" If you were not going to Paris or Scotland, I 
could send you some game : if you remain, let me 

" P. S. A word or two of ' Lara, ' which vour en- 
closure brings before me. It is of no great promise 
separately ; but, as connected with the other tales, 
it will do very well for the volumes you mean to 
publish. I would recommend this arrangement — 
Childe Harold, the smaller Poems, Giaour, Bride, 
Corsair, Lara ; the last completes the series, and its 
very likeness renders it necessary to the others. 
Cawthorne writes that they are publishing English 
Bards in Ireland : pray enquire into this ; because 
it must be stopped." 

Letter 198. TO MR. MURRAY- 

" Newstead Abbey, September 7. 1814. 

" I should think Mr. Hogg, for his own sake as 
well as yours, would be ' critical' as Iago himself 
in his editorial capacity ; and that such a publication 
would answer his purpose, and yours too, with tole- 
rable management. You should, however, have a 
good number to start with — I mean, good in quality ; 

* The following characteristic note, in reference to this 
passage, appears, in Mr. Gifford's band-writing, on the copy 
of the above letter : — " It is a pity that Lord B. was ignorant 
of Jonson. The old poet has a Satire on the Court Pucelle 
that would have supplied him with some pleasantry on Jo- 
hanna's pregnancy." 



in these days, there can be little fear of not coming 
np to the mark in quantity. There must be many 
* fine things ' in Wordsworth ; but I should think it 
difficult to make six quartos (the amount of the whole) 
all fine, particularly the pedler's portion of the poem ; 
but there can be no doubt of his powers to do almost 
any thing. 

" I am ' very idle.' I have read the few books I 
had with me, and been forced to fish, for lack of 
argument. I have caught a great many perch and 
some carp, which is a comfort, as one would not lose 
one's labour willingly. 

" Pray, who corrects the press of your volumes ? 
I hope ' The Corsair ' is printed from the copy I 
corrected, with the additional lines in the first Canto, 
and some notes from Sismondi and Lavater, which I 
gave you to add thereto. The arrangement is very 

" My cursed people have not sent my papers 
since Sunday, and I have lost Johanna's divorce 
from Jupiter. Who hath gotten her with prophet ? 
Is it Sharpe, and how ? * * * I should 

like to buy one of her seals : if salvation can be had 
at half-a-guinea a head, the landlord of the Crown and 
Anchor should be ashamed of himself for charging 
double for tickets to a mere terrestrial banquet. I 
am afraid, seriously, that these matters will lend a 
sad handle to your profane scoffers, and give a loose 
to much damnable laughter. 

" I have not seen Hunt's Sonnets nor Descent of 
Liberty : he has chosen a pretty place wherein to 
compose the last. Let me hear from you before you 
embark. Ever," &c. 

112 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

Letter 19.9. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Newstead Abbey, September 15. 1814. 

" This is the fourth letter I have begun to you 
within the month. Whether I shall finish or not, or 
burn it like the rest, I know not. When we meet, I 
will explain why I have not written — ichy I have not 
asked you here, as I wished — with a great many 
other ichys and wherefores, which will keep cold. 
In short, you must excuse all my seeming omissions 
and commissions, and grant me more remission than 
St. Athanasius will to yourself, if you lop off a 
single shred of mystery from his pious puzzle. It 
is my creed (and it may be St. Athanasius's too) 
that your article on T * * will get somebody killed, 
and that, on the Saints, get him d — d afterwards, 
which will be quite enow for one number. Oons, 
Tom ! you must not meddle just now with the in- 
comprehensible ; for if Johanna Southcote turns out 
to be * * * 

'•' Now for a little egotism. My affairs stand thus. 
To-morrow, I shall know whether a circumstance of 
importance enough to change many of my plans will 
occur or not. If it does not, I am off for Italy next 
month, and London, in the mean time, next week. 
I have got back Newstead and twenty-five thousand 
pounds (out of twenty-eight paid already), — as a 
' sacrifice,' the late purchaser calls it, and he may 
choose his own name. I have paid some of my debts, 
and contracted others; but I have a few thousand 
pounds, which I can't spend after my own heart in 
this climate, and so, I shall go back to the south. 
Hobhouse. I think and hope, v. ill go with me; but, 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYROX. 113 

whether he will or not, I shall. I want to see Venice, 
and the Alps, and Parmesan cheeses, and look at the 
coast of Greece, or rather Epirus, from Italy, as I 
once did — or fancied I did — that of Italy, when off 
Corfu. All this, however, depends upon an event, 
which may, or may not, happen. Whether it will, I 
shall know probably to-morrow, and, if it does, I 
can't well go abroad at present. 

" Pray pardon this parenthetical scrawl. You shall 
hear from me again soon ; — I don't call this an an- 
swer. Ever most affectionately," &c 

The " circumstance of importance," to which he 
alludes in this letter, was his second proposal for 
Miss Milbanke, of which he was now waiting the 
result. His own account, in his Memoranda, of the 
circumstances that led to this step is, in substance, 
as far as I can trust my recollection, as follows. A 
person, who had for some time stood high in his 
affection and confidence, observing how cheerless 
and unsettled was the state both of his mind and 
prospects, advised him strenuously to marry ; and, 
after much discussion, he consented. The next point 
for consideration was — who was to be the object of 
his choice ; and while his friend mentioned one lady, 
he himself named Miss Milbanke. To this, however, 
his adviser strongly objected, — remarking to him, 
that Miss Milbanke had at present no fortune, and 
that his embarrassed affairs would not allow him to 
marry without one ; that she was, moreover, a learned 
lady, which would not at all suit him. In conse- 
quence of these representations, he agreed that his 

VOL. III. i 

114 NOTICES OF THE 18]4. 

friend should write a proposal for him to the other 
lady named, which was accordingly done ; — and an 
answer, containing a refusal, arrived as they were, 
one morning, sitting together. " You see," said Lord 
Byron, " that, after all, Miss Milbanke is to be the 
person ; — I will write to her." He accordingly 
wrote on the moment, and, as soon as he had finished, 
his friend, remonstrating still strongly against his 
choice, took up the letter, — but, on reading it over, 
observed, " Well, really, this is a very pretty letter ; 
— it is a pity it should not go. I never read a 
prettier one." — " Then it shall go," said Lord Byron; 
and in so saying, sealed and sent off, on the instant, 
this fiat of his fate. 

Letter 200. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Nd., September 15. 1814. 

" I have written to you one letter to-night, but 
must send you this much more, as I have not franked 
my number, to say that I rejoice in my god-daughter, 
and will send her a coral and bells, which I hope she 
will accept, the moment I get back to London. 

" My head is at this moment in a state of confusion, 
from various causes, which I can neither describe 
nor explain — but let that pass. My employments 
have been very rural — fishing, shooting, bathing, and 
boating. Books I have but few here, and those I 
have read ten times over, till sick of them. So, I 
have taken to breaking soda-water bottles with my 
pistols, and jumping into the water, and rowing over 
it, and firing at the fowls of the air. But why should 
I < monster my nothings' to you, who are well em- 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 115 

ployed, and happily too, I should hope ? For my part, 
I am happy, too, in my way — but, as usual, have con- 
trived to get into three or four perplexities, which I 
do not see my way through. But a few days, per- 
haps a day, will determine one of them. 

" You do not say a word to me of your poem. I 
wish I could see or hear it. I neither could, nor 
would, do it or its author any harm. I believe I told 
you of Larry and Jacquy. A friend of mine was 
reading — at least a friend of his was reading — said 
Larry and Jacquy in a Brighton coach. A passenger 
took up the book and queried as to the author. The 
proprietor said ' there were tioo ' — to which the 
answer of the unknown was, ' Ay, ay — a joint con- 
cern, I suppose, summot like Sternhold and Hop- 

" Is not this excellent? I would not have missed 
the 'vile comparison' to have 'scaped being one of 
the ' Arcades ambo et cantare pares.' Good night. 
Again yours." 

Letter 201. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Newstead Abbey, Sept. 20. 1814. 
" Here's to her who long 

Hath waked the poet's sigh ! 
The girl who gave to song 
What gold could never buy. — My dear Moore, 
I am going to be married — that is, I am accepted*, 
and one usually hopes the rest will follow. My 

* On the day of the arrival of the lady's answer, he was 
sitting at dinner, when his gardener came in and presented 
him with his mother's wedding ring, which she had lost many 

i 2 

]16 NOTICES OF THE ]814. 

mother of the Gracchi (that are to be) you think too 
strait-laced for me, although the paragon of only 
children, and invested with ' golden opinions of all 
sorts of men,' and full of ' most blest conditions ' as 
Desdemona herself. Miss Milbanke is the lady, and 
I have her father's invitation to proceed there in my 
elect capacity, — which, however, I cannot do till I 
have settled some business in London and got a blue 

" She is said to be an heiress, but of that I really 
know nothing certainly, and shall not enquire. But 
I do know, that she has talents and excellent 
qualities ; and you will not deny her judgment, after 
having refused six suitors and taken me. 

" Now, if you have any thing to say against this, 
pray do ; my mind's made up, positively fixed, deter- 
mined, and therefore I will listen to reason, because 
now it can do no harm. Things may occur to break 
it off, but I will hope not. In the mean time, I tell 
you (a secret, by the by, — at least, till I know she 
wishes it to be public,) that I have proposed and am 
accepted. You need not be in a hurry to wish me 
joy, for one mayn't be married for months. I am 
going to town to-morrow ; but expect to be here, on 
my way there, within a fortnight. 

years before, and which the gardener had just found in digging 
up the mould under her window. Almost at the same mo- 
ment, the letter from Miss Milbanke arrived ; and Lord Byron 
exclaimed, " If it contains a consent, I will be married with 
this very ring." It did contain a very flattering acceptance of 
his proposal, and a duplicate of the letter had been sent to 
London, in case this should have missed him, — Memoranda. 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 117 

" If this had not happened, I should have gone to 
Italy. In my way down, perhaps, you will meet me 
at Nottingham, and come over with me here. I need 
not say that nothing will give me greater pleasure. 
I must, of course, reform thoroughly ; and, seriously, 
if I can contribute to her happiness, I shall secure 
my own. She is so good a person, that — that — in 
short, I wish I was a better. Ever," &c. 

Letter 202. TO THE COUNTESS OF * * *. 

" Albany, October 5. 1S14. 

" Dear Lady * *, 

" Your recollection and invitation do me great 
honour ; but I am going to be < married, and can't 
come.' My intended is two hundred miles off, and 
the moment my business here is arranged, I must set 
out in a great hurry to be happy. Miss Milbanke is 
the good-natured person who has undertaken me, 
and, of course, I am very much in love, and as silly 
as all single gentlemen must be in that sentimental 
situation. I have been accepted these three weeks ; 
but when the event will take place, I don't exactly 
know. It depends partly upon lawyers, who are 
never in a hurry. One can be sure of nothing ; but, 
at present, there appears no other interruption to 
this intention, which seems as mutual as possible, and 
now no secret, though I did not tell first, — and 
all our relatives are congratulating away to right and 
left in the most fatiguing manner. 

" You perhaps know the lady. She is niece to 
Lady Melbourne, and cousin to Lady Cowper and 
others of your acquaintance, and has no fault, except 

i 3 

118 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

being a great deal too good for me, and that / must 
pardon, if nobody else should. It might have been 
two years ago, and, if it had, would have saved me a 
world of trouble. She has employed the interval 
in refusing about half a dozen of my particular 
friends, (as she did me once, by the way,) and has 
taken me at last, for which I am very much obliged 
to her. I wish it was well over, for I do hate bustle, 
and there is no marrying without some ; — and then, 
I must not marry in a black coat, they tell me, and 
I can't bear a blue one. 

" Pray forgive me for scribbling all this nonsense. 
You know I must be serious all the rest of my life, 
and this is a parting piece of buffoonery, which I 
write with tears in my eyes, expecting to be agitated. 
Believe me most seriously and sincerely your obliged 
servant, Byron. 

" P. S. My best rems. to Lord * * on his return." 

Letter 203. TO MR. MOORE. 

« October?. 1814. 

" Notwithstanding the contradictory paragraph in 
the Morning Chronicle, which must have been sent 
by * *, or perhaps — I know not why I should sus- 
pect Claughton of such a thing, and yet I partly do, 
because it might interrupt his renewal of purchase, 
if so disposed ; in short it matters not, but we are 
all in the road to matrimony — lawyers settling, re- 
lations congratulating, my intended as kind as heart 
could wish, and every one, whose opinion I value, 
very glad of it. All her relatives, and all mine too, 
seem equally pleased. 



" Perry was very sorry, and has re-contradicted, as 
you will perceive by this day's paper. It was, to be 
sure, a devil of an insertion, since the first paragraph 
came from Sir Ralph's own County Journal, and this 
in the teeth of it would appear to him and his as my 
denial. But I have written to do away that, enclos- 
ing Perry's letter, which was very polite and kind. 

" Nobody hates bustle so much as I do ; but there 
seems a fatality over every scene of my drama, 
always a row of some sort or other. No matter — 
Fortune is my best friend ; and as I acknowledge my 
obligations to her, I hope she will treat me better 
than she treated the Athenian, who took some merit 
to himself on some occasion, but (after that) took 
no more towns. In fact, she, that exquisite goddess, 
has hitherto carried me through every thing, and 
will I hope, now ; since I own it will be all her doing. 

" Well, now, for thee. Your article on * * is 
perfection itself. You must not leave off reviewing. 
By Jove, I believe you can do any thing. There is 
wit, and taste, and learning, and good humour 
(though not a whit less severe for that), in every line 
of that critique. 

" Next to your being an E. Reviewer, my being of 
the same kidney, and Jeffrey's being such a friend to 
both, are amongst the events which I conceive were 
not calculated upon in Mr. — what's his name?'s — 
1 Essay on Probabilities.' 

" But, Tom, I say — Oons ! Scott menaces the 
< Lord of the Isles.' Do you mean to compete ? or 
lay by, till this wave has broke upon the shelves ? (of 
booksellers, not rocks — a broken metaphor, by the 

i 4 



way.) You ought to be afraid of nobody ; but your 
modesty is really as provoking and unnecessary as 
a * *'s. I am very merry, and have just been writing 
some elegiac stanzas on the death of Sir P. Parker. 
He was my first cousin, but never met since boyhood. 
Our relations desired me, and I have scribbled and 
given it to Perry, who will chronicle it to-morrow. 
I am as sorry for him as one could be for one I never 
saw since I was a child ; but should not have wept 
melodiously, except ' at the request of friends.' 

" I hope to get out of town and be married, but I 
shall take Newstead in my way ; and you must meet 
me at Nottingham and accompany me to mine Abbey. 
I will tell you the day when I know it. 

" Ever," &c. 

" P. S. By the way nry wife elect is perfection, 
and I hear of nothing but her merits and her wonders, 
and that she is ' very pretty.' Her expectations, I 
am told, are great ; but what, I have not asked. I 
have not seen her these ten months." 

Letter 204. TO MR. MOORE. 

" October 14. 1814. 

" An' there were any thing in marriage that would 
make a difference between my friends and me, par- 
ticularly in your case, I would ' none on't.' My 
agent sets off for Durham next week, and I shall 
follow him, taking Newstead and you in my way. 
I certainly did not address Miss Milbanke with 
these views, but it is likely she may prove a con- 
siderable parti. All her father can give, or leave 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 121 

her, he will : and from her childless uncle, Lord 
Wentworth, whose barony, it is supposed, will de- 
volve on Ly. Milbanke (her sister), she has ex- 
pectations. But these will depend upon his own 
disposition, which seems very partial towards her. 
She is an only child, and Sir R.'s estates, though 
dipped by electioneering, are considerable. Part 
of them are settled on her ; but whether thai will be 
doivered now, I do not know, — though, from what 
has been intimated to me, it probably will. The 
lawyers are to settle this among them, and I am 
getting my property into matrimonial array, and 
myself ready for the journey to Seaham, which I 
must make in a week or ten days. 

" I certainly did not dream that she was attached 
to me, which it seems she has been for some time. 
I also thought her of a very cold disposition, in 
which I was also mistaken — it is a long story, and 
I won't trouble you with it. As to her virtues, &c. 
&c. you will hear enough of them (for she is a kind 
of pattern in the north), without my running into a 
display on the subject. It is well that one of us is 
of such fame, since there is sad deficit in the morale 
of that article upon my part, — all owing to my 
1 bitch of a star,' as Captain Tranchemont says of 
his planet. 

" Don't think you have not said enough of me in 
your article on T * * ; what more could or need be 
said ? 

" Your long-delayed and expected work — I suppose 
you will take fright at ' The Lord of the Isles' and 
Scott now. You must do as you like, — I have said 

122 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

my say. You ought to fear comparison with none, 
and any one would stare, who heard you were so 
tremulous, — though, after all, I believe it is the 
surest sign of talent. Good morning. I hope we 
shall meet soon, but I will write again, and perhaps 
you will meet me at Nottingham. Pray say so. 

" P. S. If this union is productive, you shall 
name the first fruits." 

Letter 205. TO MR. HENRY DRURY. 

" October 18. 1814. 
" My dear Drury, 

" Many thanks for your hitherto unacknowledged 
' Anecdotes.' Now for one of mine — I am going to 
be married, and have been engaged this month. It 
is a long story, and, therefore, I won't tell it, — an old 
and (though I did not know it till lately) a mutual 
attachment. The very sad life I have led since I 
was your pupil must partly account for the offs and 
ons in this now to be arranged business. We are 
only waiting for the lawyers and settlements, &c. ; 
and next week, or the week after, I shall go down to 
Seaham in the new character of a regular suitor for 
a wife of mine own. 

" I hope Hodgson is in a fair way on the same 
voyage — I saw him and his idol at Hastings. I wish 
he would be married at the same time, — I should 
like to make a party, — like people electrified in a 
row, by (or rather through) the same chain, holding 
one another's hands, and all feeling the shock at 
once. I have not yet apprised him of this. He 
makes such a serious matter of all these things, and 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 123 

is so ' melancholy and gentlemanlike,' that it is quite 
overcoming to us choice spirits. 

" They say one shouldn't be married in a black 
coat. I won't have a blue one, — that's flat. I 

hate it. 

" Yours," &c. 

Letter 206. TO MR. COWELL. 

« October 22. 1814. 

" My dear Cowell, 

" Many and sincere thanks for your kind letter 
— the bet, or rather forfeit, was one hundred to 
Hawke, and fifty to Hay (nothing to Kelly), for a 
guinea received from each of the two former. * I 
shall feel much obliged by your setting me right if I 
am incorrect in this statement in any way, and have 
reasons for wishing you to recollect as much as 
possible of what passed, and state it to Hodgson. 
My reason is this : some time ago Mr. * * * required 
a bet of me which I never made, and of course 
refused to pay, and have heard no more of it ; to 
prevent similar mistakes is my object in wishing you 
to remember well what passed, and to put Hodgson 
in possession of your memory on the subject. 

" I hope to see you soon in my way through 
Cambridge. Remember me to H., and believe me 
ever and truly," &c. 

Soon after the date of this letter, Lord Byron had 
to pay a visit to Cambridge for the purpose of voting 

* He had agreed to forfeit these sums to the persons men- 
tioned, should he ever marry. 

124" NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

for Mr. Clarke, who had been started by Trinity 
College as one of the candidates for Sir Busick 
Harwood's Professorship. On this occasion, a cir- 
cumstance occurred which could not but be gratify- 
ing to him. As he was delivering in his vote to the 
Vice-Chancellor, in the Senate House, the under- 
graduates in the gallery ventured to testify their 
admiration of him by a general murmur of applause 
and stamping of the feet. For this breach of order, 
the gallery was immediately cleared by order of the 

At the beginning of the month of December, 
being called up to town by business, I had oppor- 
tunities, from being a good deal in my noble friend's 
society, of observing the state of his mind and feelings, 
under the prospect of the important change he was 
now about to undergo ; and it was with pain I found 
that those sanguine hopes * with which I had some- 
times looked forward to the happy influence of mar- 
riage, in winning him over to the brighter and 
better side of life, were, by a view of all the circum- 
stances of his present destiny, considerably dimin- 
ished ; while, at the same time, not a few doubts and 

* I had frequently, both in earnest and in jest, expressed 
these hopes to him ; and, in one of my letters, after touching 
upon some matters relative to my own little domestic circle, I 
added, " This will all be unintelligible to you ; though I some- 
times cannot help thinking it within the range of possibility, 
that even you, volcano as you are, may, one day, cool down 
into something of the same habitable state. Indeed, when one 
thinks of lava having been converted into buttons for Isaac 
Hawkins Browne, there is no saying what such fiery things 
may be brought to at last." 

1814, LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 125 

misgivings, which had never before so strongly oc- 
curred to me, with regard to his own fitness, under 
any circumstances, for the matrimonial tie, filled me 
altogether with a degree of foreboding anxiety as to 
his fate, which the unfortunate events that followed 
but too fully justified. 

The truth is, I fear, that rarely, if ever, have men 
of the higher order of genius shown themselves fitted 
for the calm affections and comforts that form the 
cement of domestic life. " One misfortune (says 
Pope) of extraordinary geniuses is, that their very 
friends are more apt to admire than love them." To 
this remark there have, no doubt, been exceptions, — 
and I should pronounce Lord Byron, from my own 
experience, to be one of them, — but it would not be 
difficult, perhaps, to show, from the very nature and 
pursuits of genius, that such must generally be the 
lot of all pre-eminently gifted with it ; and that the 
same qualities which enable them to command ad- 
miration are also those that too often incapacitate 
them from conciliating love. 

The very habits, indeed, of abstraction and self- 
study to which the occupations of men of genius 
lead, are, in themselves, necessarily, of an unsocial 
and detaching tendency, and require a large portion 
of indulgence from others not to be set down as 
unamiable. One of the chief sources, too, of sym- 
pathy and society between ordinary mortals being 
their dependence on each other's intellectual re- 
sources, the operation of this social principle must 
naturally be weakest in those whose own mental 
stores are most abundant and self-sufficing, and who, 

126 KOTICES OF THE 1814. 

rich in such materials for thinking within themselves, 
are rendered so far independent of any aid from 
others. It was this solitary luxury (which Plato 
called <f banqueting his own thoughts ") that led 
Pope, as well as Lord Byron, to prefer the silence 
and seclusion of his library to the most agreeable 
conversation. — And not only too, is the necessity 
of commerce with other minds less felt by such 
persons, but, from that fastidiousness which the 
opulence of their own resources generates, the 
society of those less gifted than themselves becomes 
often a restraint and burden, to which not all the 
charms of friendship, or even love, can reconcile 
them. " Nothing is so tiresome (says the poet of 
Vaucluse, in assigning a reason for not living with 
some of his dearest friends) as to converse with 
persons who have not the same information as 
one's self." 

But it is the cultivation and exercise of the 
imaginative faculty that, more than any thing, tends 
to wean the man of genius from actual life, and, by 
substituting the sensibilities of the imagination for 
those of the heart, to render, at last, the medium 
through which he feels no less unreal than that 
through which he thinks. Those images of ideal 
good and beauty that surround him in his musings 
soon accustom him to consider all that is beneath 
this high standard unworthy of his care ; till, at 
length, the heart becoming chilled as the fancy 
warms, it too often happens that, in proportion as 
he has refined and elevated his theory of all the 
social affections, he has unfitted himself for the 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 127 

practice of them. * Hence so frequently it arises 
that, in persons of this temperament, we see some 
bright but artificial idol of the brain usurp the 
place of all real and natural objects of tenderness. 
The poet Dante, a wanderer away from wife and 
children, passed the whole of a restless and detached 
life in nursing his immortal dream of Beatrice ; 
while Petrarch, who would not suffer his only 
daughter to reside beneath his roof, expended 
thirty-two years of poetry and passion on an ideal- 
ised love. 

It is, indeed, in the very nature and essence of 
genius to be for ever occupied intensely with Self, >t 
as the great centre and source of its strength. Like 
the sister Rachel, in Dante, sitting all day before her 

" mai non si smaga 
Del suo ammiraglio, e siede tutto giorno." 

To this power of self-concentration, by which 
alone all the other powers of genius are made avail- 
able, there is, of course, no such disturbing and fatal 

* Of the lamentable contrast between sentiments and con- 
duct, which this transfer of the seat of sensibility from the 
heart to the fancy produces, the annals of literary men afford 
unluckily too many examples. Alfieri, though he could write 
a sonnet full of tenderness to his mother, never saw her (says 
Mr. W. Rose) but once after their early separation, though he 
frequently passed within a few miles of her residence. The 
poet Young, with all his parade of domestic sorrows, was, it 
appears, a neglectful husband and harsh father; and Sterne 
(to use the words employed by Lord Byron) preferred 
" whining over a dead ass to relieving a living mother." 

128 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

enemy as those sympathies and affections that draw 
the mind out actively towards others*; and, accord- 
ingly, it will be found that, among those who have felt 
within themselves a call to immortality, the greater 
number have, by a sort of instinct, kept aloof from 
such ties, and, instead of the softer duties and re- 
wards of being amiable, reserved themselves for the 
high, hazardous chances of being great. In looking 
back through the lives of the most illustrious poets, 
— the class of intellect in which the characteristic 
features of genius are, perhaps, most strongly mark- 
ed, — we shall find that, with scarcely one exception, 
from Homer down to Lord Byron, they have been, 
in their several degrees, restless and solitary spirits, 
with minds wrapped up, like silk-worms, in their own 
tasks, either strangers, or rebels to domestic ties, and 
bearing about with them a deposit for posterity in 
their souls, to the jealous watching and enriching of 
which almost all other thoughts and considerations 
have been sacrificed. 

" To follow poetry as one ought (says the autho- 
rity f I have already quoted), one must forget father 
and mother and cleave to it alone." In these few 
words is pointed out the sole path that leads genius 
to greatness. On such terms alone are the high 

* It is the opinion of Diderot, in his Treatise on Acting, 
that not only in the art of which he treats, but in all those 
which are called imitative, the possession of real sensibility is a 
bar to eminence; — sensibility being, according to his view, 
" le caractere de la bonte de 1'ame et de la m^diocrite" du 

t Pope. 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 129 

places of fame to be won ; — nothing less than the 
sacrifice of the entire man can achieve them. How- 
ever delightful, therefore, may be the spectacle of a 
man of genius tamed and domesticated in society, 
taking docilely upon him the yoke of the social ties, 
and enlightening without disturbing the sphere in 
which he moves, we must nevertheless, in the midst 
of our admiration, bear in mind that it is not thus 
smoothly or amiably immortality has been ever 
struggled for, or won. The poet thus circumstanced 
may be populai-, may be loved ; for the happiness 
of himself and those linked with him he is in the 
right road, — but not for greatness. The marks by 
which Fame has always separated her great martyrs 
from the rest of mankind are not upon him, and the 
crown cannot be his. He may dazzle, may captivate 
the circle, and even the times in which he lives, but 
he is not for hereafter. 

To the general description here given of that high 
class of human intelligences to which he belonged, 
the character of Lord Byron was, in many respects, 
a signal exception. Born with strong affections and 
ardent passions, the world had, from first to last, too 
firm a hold on his sympathies to let imagination al- 
together usurp the place of reality, either in his feel- 
ings, or in the objects of them. His life, indeed, 
was one continued struggle between that instinct of 
genius, which was for ever drawing him back into 
the lonely laboratory of Self, and those impulses of 
passion, ambition, and vanity, which again hurried 
him off into the crowd, and entangled him in its in- 
terests ; and though it may be granted that he 

VOL. III. k 

130 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

would have been more purely and abstractedly the 
poet, had he been less thoroughly, in all his pursuits 
and propensities, the man, yet from this very mix- 
ture and alloy has it arisen that his pages bear so 
deeply the stamp of real life, and that in the works 
of no poet, with the exception of Shakspeare, can 
every various mood of the mind — whether solemn 
or gay, whether inclined to the ludicrous or the sub- 
lime, whether seeking to divert itself with the follies 
of society or panting after the grandeur of solitary 
nature — find so readily a strain of sentiment in ac- 
cordance with its every passing tone. 

But while the naturally warm cast of his affections 
and temperament gave thus a substance and truth to 
his social feelings which those of too many of his 
fellow votaries of Genius have wanted, it was not to 
be expected that an imagination of such range and 
power should have been so early developed and un- 
restrainedly indulgedwithout producing, at last, some 
of those effects upon the heart which have invariably 
been found attendant on such a predominance of this 
faculty. It must have been observed, indeed, that 
the period when his natural affections flourished 
most healthily was before he had yet arrived at the 
full consciousness of his genius, — before Imagin- 
ation had yet accustomed him to those glowing pic- 
tures, after gazing upon which all else appeared cold 
and colourless. From the moment of this initiation 
into the wonders of his own mind, a distaste for the 
realities of life began to grow upon him. Not even 
that intense craving after affection, which nature had 
implanted in him, could keep his ardour still alive in 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 131 

a pursuit whose results fell so short of his " imagin- 
ings ; " and though, from time to time, the combined 
warmth of his fancy and temperament was able to 
call up a feeling which to his eyes wore the semblance 
of love, it may be questioned whether his heart had 
ever much share in such passions, or whether, after 
his first launch into the boundless sea of imagination, 
he could ever have been brought back and fixed by 
any lasting attachment. Actual objects there were, 
in but too great number, who, as long as the illusion 
continued, kindled up his thoughts and were the 
themes of his song. But they were, after all, little 
more than mere dreams of the hour ; — the qualities 
with which he invested them were almost all ideal, 
nor could have stood the test of a month's, or even 
week's, cohabitation. It was but the reflection of his 
own bright conceptions that he saw in each new 
object; and while persuading himself that they fur- 
nished the models of his heroines, he was, on the 
contrary, but fancying that he beheld his heroines 
in them. 

There needs no stronger proof of the predomin- 
ance of imagination in these attachments than his 
own serious avowal, in the Journal already given, 
that often, when in the company of the woman he 
most loved, he found himself secretly wishing for 
the solitude of his own study. It was there, indeed, — 
in the silence and abstraction of that study, — that 
the chief scene of his mistress's empire and glory 
lay. It was there that, unchecked by reality, and 
without any fear of the disenchantments of truth, he 
could view her through the medium of his own fer- 

k 2 

132 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

vid fancy, enamour himself of an idol of his own 
creating, and out of a brief delirium of a few days 
or weeks, send forth a dream of beauty and passion 
through all ages. 

While such appears to have been the imaginative 
character of his loves, (of all, except the one that 
lived unquenched through all,) his friendships, 
though, of course, far less subject to the influence 
of fancy, could not fail to exhibit also some features 
characteristic of the peculiar mind in which they 
sprung. It was a usual saying of his own, and will 
be found repeated in some of his letters, that he 
had " no genius for friendship," and that whatever 
capacity he might once have possessed for that sen- 
timent had vanished with his youth. If in saying 
thus he shaped his notions of friendship according 
to the romantic standard of his boyhood, the fact 
must be admitted : but as far as the assertion was 
meant to imply that he had become incapable of a 
warm, manly, and lasting friendship, such a charge 
against himself was unjust, and I am not the only 
living testimony of its injustice. 

To a certain degree, however, even in his friend- 
ships, the effects of a too vivid imagination, in dis- 
qualifying the mind for the cold contact of reality, 
were visible. We are told that Petrarch (who, in 
this respect, as in most others, may be regarded 
as a genuine representative of the poetic character,) 
abstained purposely from a too frequent intercourse 
with his nearest friends, lest, from the sensitiveness 
he was so aware of in himself, there should occur 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 133 

any thing that might chill his regard for them * ; 
and though Lord Byron was of a nature too full of 
social and kindly impulses ever to think of such a 
precaution, it is a fact confirmatory, at least, of the 
principle on which his brother poet, Petrarch, acted, 
that the friends, whether of his youth or manhood, 
of whom he had seen least, through life, were those 
of whom he always thought and spoke with the most 
warmth and fondness. Being brought less often to 
the touchstone of familiar intercourse, they stood 
naturally a better chance of being adopted as the 
favourites of his imagination, and of sharing, in con- 
sequence, a portion of that bright colouring reserved 
for all that gave it interest and pleasure. Next to 
the dead, therefore, whose hold upon his fancy had 
been placed beyond all risk of severance, those 
friends whom he but saw occasionally, and by such 
favourable glimpses as only renewed the first 
kindly impression they had made, were the surest 
to live unchangingly, and without shadow, in his 

To this same cause, there is little doubt, his love 
for his sister owed much of its devotedness and fer- 
■ vour. In a mind sensitive and versatile as his, long 
habits of family intercourse might have estranged, 
or at least dulled, his natural affection for her ; — 
but their separation, during youth, left this feeling 

* See Foscolo's Essay on Petrarch. On the same prin- 
ciple, Orrery says, in speaking of Swift, " I am persuaded 
that his distance from his English friends proved a strong 
incitement to their mutual affection. " 

K 3 

134? NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

fresh and untried.* His very inexperience in such 
ties made the smile of a sister no less a novelty than 
a charm to him ; and before the first gloss of this 
newly awakened sentiment had time to wear off, 
they were again separated, and for ever. 

If the portrait which I have here attempted of the 
general character of those gifted with high genius 
be allowed to bear, in any of its features, a resem- 
blance to the originals, it can no longer, I think, be 
matter of question whether a class so set apart from 
the track of ordinary life, so removed, by their very 
elevation, out of the influences of our common atmo- 
sphere, are at all likely to furnish tractable subjects 
for that most trying of all social experiments, matri- 
mony. In reviewing the great names of philosophy 
and science, we shall find that all who have most 
distinguished themselves in those walks have, at 
least, virtually admitted their own unfitness for the 
marriage tie by remaining in celibacy ; — Newton, 
Gassendi, Galileo, Descartes, Bayle, Locke, Leib- 
nitz, Boyle, Hume, and a long list of other illustrious 
sages, having all led single lives, -j- 

* That he was himself fully aware of this appears from a 
passage in one of his letters already given : — " My sister is in 
town, which is a great comfort ; for, never having been much 
together, we are naturally more attached to each ocher." 

T Wife and children, Bacon tells us in one of his Essays, 
are " impediments to great enterprises ; " and adds, " Cer- 
tainly, the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, 
have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men." See, 
with reference to this subject, chapter xviii. of Mr. D'Israeli's 
work on " The Literary Character." 


The poetic race, it is true, from the greater sus- 
ceptibility of their imaginations, have more frequently 
fallen into the ever ready snare. But the fate of the 
poets in matrimony has but justified the caution of 
the philosophers. While the latter have given 
warning to genius by keeping free of the yoke, the 
others have still more effectually done so by their 
misery under it ; — the annals of this sensitive race 
having, at all times, abounded with proofs, that genius 
ranks but low among the elements of social happi- 
ness, — that, in general, the brighter the gift, the 
more disturbing its influence, and that in married 
life particularly, its effects have been too often like 
that of the " Wormwood Star," whose light filled 
the waters on which it fell with bitterness. 

Besides the causes already enumerated as leading 
naturally to such a result, from the peculiarities by 
which, in most instances, these great labourers in 
the field of thought are characterised, there is also 
much, no doubt, to be attributed to an unluckiness 
in the choice of helpmates, — dictated, as that 
choice frequently must be, by an imagination ac- 
customed to deceive itself. But from whatever 
causes it may have arisen, the coincidence is no 
less striking than saddening, that, on the list of 
married poets who have been unhappy in their 
homes, there should already be found four such 
illustrious names as Dante, Milton *, Shaks- 

* Milton's first wife, it is well known, ran away from him, 
within a month after their marriage, disgusted, says Phillips, 
" with his spare diet and hard study ; " and it is difficult to 
conceive a more melancholy picture of domestic life than is 

K 4 


peare *, and Dryden ; and that we should now 
have to add, as a partner in their destiny, a name 
worthy of being placed beside the greatest of them, 
— Lord Byron. 

I have already mentioned my having been called 
up to town in the December of this year. The op- 
portunities I had of seeing Lord Byron during my 
stay were frequent ; and, among them, not the least 
memorable or agreeable were those evenings we 
passed together at the house of his banker, Mr. 
Douglas Kinnaird, where music, — followed by its 
accustomed sequel of supper, brandy and water, and 

disclosed in his nuncupative will, one of the witnesses to 
which deposes to having heard the great poet himself complain, 
that his children " were careless of him, being blind, and made 
nothing of deserting him." 

* By whatever austerity of temper or habits the poets Dante 
and Milton may have drawn upon themselves such a fate, it 
might be expected that, at least, the " gentle Shakspeare " 
would have stood exempt from the common calamity of his 
brethren. But, among the very few facts of his life that have 
been transmitted to us, there is none more clearly proved than 
the unhappiness of his marriage. The dates of the birth of 
his children, compared with that of his removal from Stratford, 
— the total omission of his wife's name in the first draft of his 
will, and the bitter sarcasm of the bequest by which he remem- 
bers her afterwards, — all prove beyond a doubt both his separ- 
ation from the lady early in life, and his unfriendly feeling 
towards her at the close of it. 

In endeavouring to argue against the conclusion naturally 
to be deduced from this will, Boswell, with a strange ignorance 
of human nature, remarks : — "If he had taken offence at any 
part of his wife's conduct, I cannot believe that he would have 
taken this petty mode of expressing it." 

1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 137 

not a little laughter, — kept us together, usually, till 
rather a late hour. Besides those songs of mine which 
he has himself somewhere recorded as his favourites, 
there was also one to a Portuguese air, " The song 
of war shall echo through our mountains," which 
seemed especially to please him ; — the national 
character of the music, and the recurrence of the 
words " sunny mountains," bringing back freshly to 
his memory the impressions of all he had seen in 
Portugal. I have, indeed, known few persons more 
alive to the charms of simple music ; and not unfre- 
quently have seen the tears in his eyes while lis- 
tening to the Irish Melodies. Among those that 
thus affected him was one beginning " When first 
I met thee warm and young," the words of which, 
besides the obvious feeling which they express, 
were intended also to admit of a political appli- 
cation. He, however, discarded the latter sense 
wholly from his mind, and gave himself up to the 
more natural sentiment of the song with evident 

On one or two of these evenings, his favourite 
actor, Mr. Kean, was of the party ; and on another 
occasion, we had at dinner his early instructor in pu- 
gilism, Mr. Jackson, in conversing with whom, all his 
boyish tastes seemed to revive ; — and it was not a 
little amusing to observe how perfectly familiar with 
the annals of " The Ring *," and with all the most 

* In a small book which I have in my possession, contain- 
ing a sort of chronological History of the Ring, I find the 
name of Lord Byron, more than once, recorded among the 
« backers." 

138 NOTICES OF THE 1814. 

recondite phraseology of " the Fancy," was the 
sublime poet of Childe Harold. 

The following note is the only one, of those I re- 
ceived from him at this time, worth transcribing : — 

" December 14. 1814. 
" My dearest Tom, 

" I will send the pattern to-morrow, and since 
you don't go to our friend (' of the keeping part of 
the town ') this evening, I shall e'en sulk at home 
over a solitary potation. My self-opinion rises much 
by your eulogy of my social qualities. As my 
friend Scrope is pleased to say, I believe I am very 
well for a ' holiday drinker.' Where the devil are 
you ? With W T oolridge *, I conjecture — for which 
you deserve another abscess. Hoping that the 
American war will last for many years, and that all 
the prizes may be registered at Bermoothes, believe 
me, &c. 

" P. S. I have just been composing an epistle 
to the Archbishop for an especial licence. Oons ! it 
looks serious. Murray is impatient to see you, and 
would call, if you will give him audience. Your 
new coat ! — I wonder you like the colour, and 
don't go about, like Dives, in purple." 

Letter 207. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" December 31. 1814. 
" A thousand thanks for Gibbon : all the additions 
are very great improvements. 

* Dr. Woolriche, an old and valued friend of mine, to 
whose skill, on the occasion here alluded to, I was indebted 
for my life. 

1815. LIFE OF LOKD BYRON. 139 

" At last I must be most peremptory with you 
about the print from Phillips's picture : it is pro- 
nounced on all hands the most stupid and disagree- 
able possible : so do, pray, have a new engraving, and 
let me see it first ; there really must be no more 
from the same plate. I don't much care, myself; 
but every one I honour torments me to death about 
it, and abuses it to a degree beyond repeating. 
Now, don't answer with excuses ; but, for my sake, 
have it destroyed : I never shall have peace till it is. 
I write in the greatest haste. 

" P. S. I have written this most illegibly ; but 
it is to beg you to destroy the print, and have 
another ' by particular desire.' It must be d — d 
bad, to be sure, since every body says so but the 
original ; and he don't know what to say. But do 
do it : that is, burn the plate, and employ a new 
etcher from the other picture. This is stupid and 

On his arrival in town, he had, upon enquiring 
into the state of his affairs, found them in so utterly 
embarrassed a condition as to fill him with some 
alarm, and even to suggest to his mind the prudence 
of deferring his marriage. The die was, however, 
cast, and he had now no alternative but to proceed. 
Accordingly, at the end of December, accompanied 
by his friend Mr. Hobhouse, he set out for Seaham, 
the seat of Sir Ralph Milbanke, the lady's father, in 
the county of Durham, and on the 2d of January, 
1815, was married. 

110 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

" I saw him stand 
Before an altar with a gentle bride ; 
Her face was fair, but was not that which made 
The Starlight of his Boyhood ; — as he stood 
Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came 
The self-same aspect, and the quivering shock 
That in the antique Oratory shook 
His bosom in its solitude ; and then — 
As in that hour — a moment o'er his face, 
The tablet of unutterable thoughts 
Was traced, — and then it faded as it came, 
And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke 
The fitting vows, but heard not his own words, 
And all things reel'd around him ; he could see 
Not that which was, nor that which should have been — 
But the old mansion, and the accustom'd hall, 
And the remember'd chambers, and the place, 
The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade, 
All things pertaining to that place and hour, 
And her, who was his destiny, came back, 
And thrust themselves between him and the light : — 
What business had they there at such a time ? " * 

This touching picture agrees so closely in many of 
its circumstances, with his own prose account of the 
wedding in his Memoranda, that I feel justified in 
introducing it, historically, here. In that Memoir, 
he described himself as waking, on the morning of 
his marriage, with the most melancholy reflections, 
on seeing his wedding-suit spread out before him. 
In the same mood, he wandered about the grounds 
alone, till he was summoned for the ceremony, and 
joined, for the first time on that day, his bride and 
her family. He knelt down, he repeated the words 

* The Dream. 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 141 

after the clergyman ; but a mist was before His eyes, 
— his thoughts were elsewhere; and he was but 
awakened by the congratulations of the bystanders, 
to find that he was — married. 

The same morning, the wedded pair left Seaham 
for Halnaby, another seat of Sir Ralph Milbanke, in 
the same county. When about to depart, Lord 
Byron said to the bride, " Miss Milbanke, are you 
ready?'* — a mistake which the lady's confidential 
attendant pronounced to be a " bad omen." 

It is right to add, that I quote these slight details 
from memory, and am alone answerable for any in- 
accuracy there may be found in them. 

Letter 208. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Kirkby, January 6. 1815. 

" The marriage took place on the 2d instant : so 
pray make haste and congratulate away. 

" Thanks for the Edinburgh Review and the aboli- 
tion of the print. Let the next be from the other of 
Phillips — I mean (not the Albanian, but) the ori- 
ginal one in the exhibition ; the last was from the 
copy. I should wish my sister and Lady Byron to 
decide upon the next, as they found fault with the 
last. / have no opinion of my own upon the 

" Mr. Kinnaird will, I dare say, have the goodness 
to furnish copies of the Melodies*, if you state my 
wish upon the subject. You may have them, if you 

* The Hebrew Melodies which he had employed himself in 
writing, during his recent stay in London. 

142 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

think them worth inserting. The volumes in their 
collected state must be inscribed to Mr. Hobhouse, 
but I have not yet mustered the expressions of my 
inscription ; but will supply them in time. 

" With many thanks for your good wishes, which 
have all been realised, I remain, very truly, yours, 

" Byron." 

Letter 209. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Halnaby, Darlington, January 10. 1815. 

" I was married this day week. The parson has 
pronounced it — Perry has announced it — and the 
Morning Post, also, under the head of ' Lord Byron's 
Marriage ' — as if it were a fabrication, or the puff- 
direct of a new stay-maker. 

" Now for thine affairs. I have redde thee upon 
the Fathers, and it is excellent well. Positively, you 
must not leave off reviewing. You shine in it — you 
kill in it ; and this article has been taken for Sydney 
Smith's (as I heard in town), which proves not only 
your proficiency in parsonology, but that you have 
all the airs of a veteran critic at your first onset. So, 
prithee, go on and prosper. 

" Scott's ' Lord of the Isles' is out — ' the mail- 
coach copy ' I have, by special licence, of Murray. 

" Now is your time ; — you will come upon them 
newly and freshly. It is impossible to read what 
you have lately done (verse or prose) without seeing 
that you have trained on tenfold. * * has floundered ; 
* * has foundered. I have tried the rascals (i. e. 
the public) with my Harrys and Larrys, Pilgrims 
and Pirates. Nobody but S * * * *y has done any 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 1 43 

thing worth a slice of bookseller's pudding; and he 
has not luck enough to be found out in doing a 
good thing. Now, Tom, is thy time — ' Oh joyful 
day! — I would not take a knighthood for thy fortune. 
Let me hear from you soon, and believe me ever, &c. 

" P. S. Lady Byron is vastly well. How are 
Mrs. Moore and Joe Atkinson's ' Graces ? ' We must 
present our women to one another." 

Letter 210. TO MR. MOORE. 

" January 19. 1815. 

" Egad ! I don't think he is ' down ;' and my pro- 
phecy — like most auguries, sacred and profane — is 
not annulled, but inverted. 

"To your question about the 'dog'* — Urnph' 
— my 'mother,' I won't say any thing against — 
that is, about her: but how long a 'mistress' or 
friend may recollect paramours or competitors (lust 
and thirst being the two great and only bonds be- 
tween the amatory or the amicable) I can't say, — 
or, rather, you know, as well as I could tell you. 

* I had just been reading Mr. Southey's fine poem of 
" Roderick ; " and with reference to an incident in it, had put 
the following question to Lord Byron: — " I should like to 
know from you, who are one of the philocynic sect, whether 
it is probable, that any dog (out of a melodrame) could recog- 
nise a master, whom neither his own mother or mistress was 

able to find out. I don't care about Ulysses's dog, &c. all 

I want is to know from you (who are renowned as ' friend of 
the dog, companion of the bear') whether such a thing is 



But as for canine recollections, as far as 1 could 
judge by a cur of mine own, (always bating Boatswain, 
tbe dearest and, alas ! the maddest of dogs,) I had 
one (half a wolf by the she side) that doted on me 
at ten years old, and very nearly ate me at twenty. 
When I thought he was going to enact Argus, he 
bit away the backside of my breeches, and never 
would consent to any kind of recognition, in despite 
of all kinds of bones which I offered him. So, let 
Southey blush and Homer too, as far as I can decide 
upon quadruped memories. 

" I humbly take it, the mother knows the son that 
pays her jointure — a mistress her mate, till he * * 
and refuses salary — a friend his fellow, till he loses 
cash and character — and a dog his master, till he 
changes him. 

" So, you want to know about milady and me ? 
But let me not, as Roderick Random says, ' profane 
the chaste mysteries of Hymen ' * — damn the word, 
I had nearly spelt it with a small h. I like Bell as 
well as you do (or did, you villain !) Bessy — and 
that is (or was) saying a great deal. 

" Address your next to Seaham, Stockton-on-Tees, 
where we are going on Saturday (a bore, by the 
way,) to see father-in-law, Sir Jacob, and my lady's 
lady-mother. Write — and write more at length — 
both to the public and yours ever most affectionately, 

« B." 

* The letter H. is blotted in the MS, 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 145 

Letter 211. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Seahain, Stockton-on-Tees, February 2. 1815. 

Cl I have heard from London that you have let't 
Chatsworth and all the women full of ' entusy- 
musy'* about you, personally and poetically ; and. in 
particular, that ' When first I met thee' has been 
quite overwhelming in its effect. I told you it was 
one of the best things you ever wrote, though that 
dog Power wanted you to omit part of it. They are 
all regretting your absence at Chatsworth, according 
to my informant — ' all the ladies quite,' &c. &c. &C 
Stap my vitals ! 

" Well, now you have got home again — which I 
dare say is as agreeable as a ' draught of cool small 
beer to the scorched palate of a waking sot' — now 
you have got home again, I say, probably I shall 
hear from you. Since I wrote last, I have been trans- 
ferred to my father-in-law's, with my lady and my 
lady's maid, &c. &c. &c. and the treacle-moon is over, 
and I am awake, and find myself married. My spouse 
and I agree to — and in — admiration. Swift says 
' no wise man ever married ;' but, for a fool, I think 
it the most ambrosial of all possible future states. I 
still think one ought to marry upon lease; but am 
very sure I should renew mine at the expiration, 
though next term were for ninety and nine years. 

" I wish you would respond, for I am here 
' oblitusque meorum obliviscendus et illis.' Pray 

* It was thus that, according to his account, a certain cele- 
brated singer and actor used frequently to pronounce the word 
" enthusiasm." 


146 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

tell me what is going on in the way of intriguery, 

and how the w s and rogues of the upper 

Beggar's Opera go on — or rather go off — in or 
after marriage ; or who are going to break any par- 
ticular commandment. Upon this dreary coast, we 
have nothing but county meetings and shipwrecks ; 
and I have this day dined upon fish, which probably 
dined upon the crews of several colliers lost in the 
late gales. But I saw the sea once more in all the 
glories of surf and foam, — almost equal to the Bay 
of Biscay, and the interesting white squalls and 
short seas of Archipelago memory. 

" My papa, Sir Ralpho, hath recently made a 
speech at a Durham tax-meeting ; and not only at 
Durham, but here, several times since, after dinner. 
He is now, I believe, speaking it to himself (I left 
him in the middle) over various decanters, which 
can neither interrupt him nor fall asleep, — as might 
possibly have been the case with some of his audience. 
Ever thine, B. 

" I must go to tea — damn tea. I wish it was 
Kinnaird's brandy, and with you to lecture me 
about it." 

Letter 212. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Seaham, Stockton-upon-Tees, February 2. 1815. 

" You will oblige me very much by making an 
occasional enquiry at Albany, at my chambers, whe- 
ther my books, &c. are kept in tolerable order, and 
how far my old woman * continues in health and 

* Mrs. Mule. 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYKON. 147 

industry as keeper of my old den. Your parcels 
have been duly received and perused; but I had 
hoped to receive ' Guy M^nnering' before this 
time. I won't intrude further for the present on 
your avocations, professional or pleasurable, but 
am, as usual, 

" Very truly," &c. 

Letter 213. TO MR. MOORE. 

" February 4. 1815. 

" I enclose you half a letter from * *, which will 
explain itself — at least the latter part — the former 
refers to private business of mine own. If Jeffrey 
will take such an article, and you will undertake 
the revision, or, indeed, any portion of the article 
itself, (for unless you do, by Phoebus, I will have 
nothing to do with it,) we can cook up, between us 
three, as pretty a dish of sour-crout as ever tipped 
over the tongue of a bookmaker. 

" You can, at any rate, try Jeffrey's inclination. 
Your late proposal from him made me hint this to * *, 
who is a much better proser and scholar than I am, 
and a very superior man indeed. Excuse haste — 
answer this. Ever yours most, 


" P. S. All is well at home. I wrote to yoia 

Letter 214. TO MR. MOORE. 

" February 10. 1815. 
" My dear Tom, 

" Jeffrey has been so very kind about me and 

my damnable works, that I would not be indirect or 

L 2 

148 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

equivocal with him, even for a friend. So, it may 
be as well to tell him that it is not mine ; but that 
if I did not firmly and truly believe it to be much 
better than I could offer, I would never have troubled 
him or you about it. You can judge between you 
how far it is admissible, and reject it, if not of the 
right sort. For my own part, I have no interest in 
the article one way or the other, further than to 
oblige * * ; and should the composition be a good 
one, it can hurt neither party, — nor, indeed, any 
one, saving and excepting Mr. * * * *. 

" Curse catch me if I know what H * * means or 
meaned about the demonstrative pronoun *, but I 
admire your fear of being inoculated with the same. 
Have you never found out that you have a par- 
ticular style of your own, which is as distinct from 
all other people, as Hafiz of Shiraz from Hafiz of 
the Morning Post? 

" So you allowed B * * and such like to hum and 
haw you, or, rather, Lady J * * out of her compli- 
ment, and me out of mine. \ Sun-burn me, but 
this was pitiful-hearted. However, I will tell her 
all about it when I see her. 

" Bell desires me to say all kinds of civilities, and 
assure you of her recognition and high consideration. 
I will tell you of our movements south, which may 

* Some remark which he told me had been made with 
respect to the frequent use of the demonstrative pronoun both 
by himself and by Sir W. Scott. 

f Verses to Lady J * * (containing an allusion to Lord 
Byron), which I had written, while at Chatsworth, but con- 
signed afterwards to the flames. 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 149 

be in about three weeks from this present writing. 
By the way, don't engage yourself in any travelling 
expedition, as I have a plan of travel into Italy, 
which we will discuss. And then, think of the 
poesy wherewithal we should overflow, from Venice 
to Vesuvius, to say nothing of Greece, through all 
which — God willing — we might perambulate in 
one twelve months. If I take my wife, you can 
take yours ; and if I leave mine, you may do the 
same. ' Mind you stand by me in either case, 
Brother Bruin.' 

" And believe me inveterately yours, 

« B" 

Letter 215. TO MR. MOORE. 

" February 22. 1815. 

" Yesterday I sent off the packet and letter to 
Edinburgh. It consisted of forty-one pages, so that 
I have not added a line ; but in my letter, I men- 
tioned what passed between you and me in autumn, 
as my inducement for presuming to trouble him 
either with my own or * * 's lucubrations. I am 
any thing but sure that it will do ; but I have told 
J. that if there is any decent raw material in it, he 
may cut it into what shape he pleases, and warp it 
to his liking. 

" So you wont go abroad, then, with me, — but 
alone. I fully purpose starting much about the 
time you mention, and alone, too. 

" I hope J. won't think me very impudent in 
sending * * only : there was not room for a syllable. 
I have avowed * * as the author, and said that you 

L 3 

150 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

thought or said, when I met you last, that he (J.) 
would not be angry at the coalition, (though, alas ! 
we have not coalesced,) and so, if I have got into a 
scrape, I must get out of it — Heaven knows how. 

" Your Anacreon * is come, and with it I sealed 
(its first impression) the packet and epistle to our 

" Curse the Melodies and the Tribes, to boot, f 
Braham is to assist — or hath assisted — but will do 
no more good than a second physician. I merely 
interfered to oblige a whim of K.'s, and all I have 
got by it was ' a speech' and a receipt for stewed 

" ' Not meet' — pray don't say so. We must meet 
somewhere or somehow. Newstead is out of the 
question, being nearly sold again, or, if not, it is 
uninhabitable for my spouse. Pray write again. I 
will soon. 

" P. S. Pray when do you come out? ever, or 
never? I hope I have made no blunder; but I 
certainly think you said to me, (after W * * th, 
whom I first pondered upon, was given up,) that * 
and I might attempt * * * *. His length alone 
prevented me from trying my part, though I should 
have been less severe upon the Reviewee. 

" Your seal is the best and prettiest of my set, and 
I thank you very much therefor. 1 have just been — 
or rather, ought to be — very much shocked by the 

* A seal, with the head of Anacreon, which I had given him. 

+ I had taken the liberty of laughing a little at the manner 

in which some of his Hebrew Melodies had been set to music. 




death of the Duke of Dorset. We were at school 
together, and there I was passionately attached to 
him. Since, we have never met — but once, I 
think, since 1805 — and it would be a paltry affect- 
ation to pretend that I had any feeling for him 
worth the name. But there was a time in my life 
when this event would have broken my heart; and 
all I can say for it now is that — it is not worth 

" Adieu — it is all a farce." 

Letteh 216. TO MR. MOORE. 

" March 2. 1815. 

" My dear Thorn, 

" Jeffrey has sent me the most friendly of all 
possible letters, and has accepted * *'s article. He 
says he has long liked not only, clc &c. but my 
' character.' This must be your doing, you dog — 
ar'nt you ashamed of yourself, knowing me so well ? 
This is what one gets for having you for a father 

" I feel merry enough to send you a sad song. * 
You once asked me for some words which you 
would set. Now you may set or not, as you like, — 
but there they are, in a legible handf, and not in 
mine, but of my own scribbling ; so you may say of 
them what you please. Why don't you write to me ? 

* The verses enclosed were those melancholy ones, now 
printed in his works, " There's not a joy the world can give 
like those it takes away." 

\ The MS. was in the handwriting of Lady Byron. 

L 4 

152 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

I shall make you « a speech ' * if you don't respond 

" I am in such a state of sameness and stagnation, 
and so totally occupied in consuming the fruits — 
and sauntering — and playing dull games at cards 
— and yawning — and trying to read old Annual 
Registers and the daily papers — and gathering 
shells on the shore — and watching the growth of 
stunted gooseberry bushes in the garden — that I 
have neither time nor sense to say more than yours 
ever, B. 

" P. S. I open my letter again to put a question 

to you. What would Lady C k, or any other 

fashionable Pidcock, give to collect you and Jeffrey 
and me to one party ? I have been answering his 
letter, which suggested this dainty query. I can't 
help laughing at the thoughts of your face and mine; 
and our anxiety to keep the Aristarch in good hu- 
mour during the early part of a compotation, till we 
got drunk enough to make him ' a speech.' I think 
the critic would have much the best of us — of one, 
at least — for I don't think diffidence (I mean social) 
is a disease of yours." 

* These allusions to " a speech " are connected with a little 
incident, not worth mentioning, which had amused us both 
when I was in town. He was rather fond (and had been 
always so, as may be seen in his early letters,) of thus harping 
on some conventional phrase or joke. 

1315. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 153 

Letter 217. TO MR. MOORE. 

" March 8. 1815. 

" An event — the death of poor Dorset — and the 
recollection of what I once felt, and ought to have 
felt now, but could not — set me pondering, and 
finally into the train of thought which you have in 
your hands. I am very glad you like them, for I 
flatter myself they will pass as an imitation of your 
style. If I could imitate it well, I should have no 
great ambition of originality — I wish I could make 
you exclaim with Dennis, ' That's my thunder, by 
G — d ! ' I wrote them with a view to your setting 
them, and as a present to Power, if he would accept 
the words, and you did not think yourself degraded, 
for once in a way, by marrying them to music. 

" Sun-burn N * * ! — why do you always twit me 
with his vile Ebrew nasalities? Have I not told 
you it was all K.'s doing, and my own exquisite 
facility of temper? But thou wilt be a wag, 
Thomas ; and see what you get for it. Now for my 

" Depend — and perpend — upon it that your 
opinion of * * 's poem will travel through one or 
other of the quintuple correspondents, till it reaches 
the ear, and the liver of the author. * Your adven- 

* He here alludes to a circumstance which I had commu- 
nicated to him in a preceding letter. In writing to one of the 
numerous partners of a well-known publishing establishment 
(with which I have since been lucky enough to form a more 
intimate connection), I had said confidentially (as I thought), 
in reference to a poem that had just appeared, — " Between 
you and me, I do not much admire Mr. * * 's poem." The 

15 i NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

ture, however, is truly laughable — but how could 
you be such a potatoe ? You ' a brother ' (of the 
quill) too, ' near the throne,' to confide to a man's 
own publisher (who has ' bought,' or rather sold, 
' golden opinions ' about him) such a damnatory 
parenthesis ! ' Between you and me,' quotha — it 
reminds me of a passage in the Heir at Law — 
' Tete-a-tete with Lady Duberly, I suppose.' — 
' No — tete-a-tete with five hundred people ; ' and 
your confidential communication will doubtless be in 
circulation to that amount, in a short time, with 
several additions, and in several letters, all signed 
L. H. R. O. B., &c &c. cvc. 

" We leave this place to-morrow, and shall stop 
on our way to town (in the interval of taking a 
house there) at Col. Leigh's, near Newmarket, where 
any epistle of yours will find its welcome way. 

" I have been very comfortable here, — listening 
to that d — d monologue, which elderly gentlemen 
call conversation, and in which my pious father-in- 
law repeats himself every evening — save one, when 
he played upon the fiddle. However, they have 
been very kind and hospitable, and I like them and 
the place vastly, and I hope they will live many 
happy months. Bell is in health, and unvaried 
good-humour and behaviour. But we are all in the 

letter being chiefly upon business, was answered through the 
regular business channel, and, to my dismay, concluded with 
the following words : — " We are very sorry that you do not 
approve of Mr. * * 's new poem, and are your obedient, 
&c. &c. L. H. R. O., &c. &c." 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 155 

agonies of packing and parting ; and I suppose by 
this time to-morrow I shall be stuck in the chariot 
with my chin upon a band-box. I have prepared, 
however, another carriage for the abigail, and all the 
trumpery which our wives drag along with them. 
" Ever thine, most affectionately, 

" B." 

Letter 218. TO MR. MOORE. 

" March 17. 1815. 

" I meaned to write to you before on the subject 
of your loss*; but the recollection of the useless- 
ness and worthlessness of any observations on such 
events prevented me. I shall only now add, that I 
rejoice to see you bear it so well, and that I trust 
time will enable Mrs. M. to sustain it better. 
Every thing should be done to divert and occupy 
her with other thoughts and cares, and I am sure 
that all that can be done will. 

" Now to your letter. Napoleon — but the 
papers will have told you all. I quite think with 
you upon the subject, and for my real thoughts this 
time last year, I would refer you to the last pages of 
the Journal I gave you. I can forgive the rogue for 
utterly falsifying every line of mine Ode — which I 
take to be the last and uttermost stretch of human 
magnanimity. Do you remember the story of a 
certain Abbe, who wrote a treatise on the Swedish 
Constitution, and proved it indissoluble and eternal ? 

* The death of his infant god-daughter, Olivia Byron 

156 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

Just as he had corrected the last sheet, news came 
that Gustavus III. had destroyed this immortal 
government. < Sir,' quoth the Abbe, ' the King of 
Sweden may overthrow the constitution, but not my 
book ! ! ' I think of the Abbe, but not with him. 

" Making every allowance for talent and most con- 
summate daring, there is, after all, a good deal in 
luck or destiny. He might have been stopped by 
our frigates — or wrecked in the Gulf of Lyons, 
which is particularly tempestuous — or — a thousand 
things. But he is certainly Fortune's favourite, and 

Once fairly set out on his party of pleasure, 
Taking towns at his liking and crowns at his leisure, 
From Elba to Lyons and Paris he goes, 
Making balls for the ladies, and bows to his foes. 

You must have seen the account of his driving into 
the middle of the royal army, and the immediate ef- 
fect of his pretty speeches. And now if he don't 
drub the allies, there is ' no purchase in money.' 
If he can take France by himself, the devil's in 't if 
he don't repulse the invaders, when backed by those 
celebrated sworders — those boys of the blade, the 
Imperial Guard, and the old and new army. It is 
impossible not to be dazzled and overwhelmed by 
his character and career. Nothing ever so disap- 
pointed me as his abdication, and nothing could 
have reconciled me to him but some such revival 
as his recent exploit ; though no one could anticipate 
such a complete and brilliant renovation. 

" To your question, I can only answer that there 
have been some symptoms which look a little gesta- 
tory. It is a subject upon which I am not particular- 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 157 

ly anxious, except that I think it would please her 
uncle, Lord Wentworth, and her father and mother. 
The former (Lord W.) is now in town, and in very 
indifferent health. You, perhaps, know that his 
property, amounting to seven or eight thousand a 
year, will eventually devolve upon Bell. But the old 
gentleman has been so very kind to her and me, that 
I hardly know how to wish him in heaven, if he can 
be comfortable on earth. Her father is still in the 

" We mean to metropolise to-morrow, and you will 
address your next to Piccadilly. We have got the 
Duchess of Devon's house there, she being in 

" 1 don't care what Power says to secure the pro- 
perty of the Song, so that it is not complimentary 
to me, nor any thing about ' condescending ' or 
* noble author' — both ' vile phrases,' as Polonius says. 

" Pray, let me hear from you, and when you mean 
to be in town. Your continental scheme is imprac- 
ticable for the present. I have to thank you for a 
longer letter than usual, which I hope will induce 
you to tax my gratitude still further in the same 

" You never told me about 'Longman' and 'next 
winter,' and I am not a ' mile-stone.' " * 

* I had accused him of having entirely forgot that, in a 
preceding letter, I had informed him of my intention to pub- 
lish with the Messrs. Longman in the ensuing winter, and 
added that, in giving him this information, I found I had 
been — to use an elegant Irish metaphor — " whistling jigs to 
a mile-stone." 

158 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

Letter 219. TO MR. COLERIDGE. 

" Piccadilly, March 31. 1815. 
" Dear Sir, 

" It will give me great pleasure to comply with 
your request, though I hope there is still taste 
enough left amongst us to render it almost unneces- 
sary, sordid and interested as, it must be admitted, 
many of ' the trade ' are, where circumstances give 
them an advantage. I trust you do not permit 
yourself to be depressed by the temporary partiality 
of what is called ' the public ' for the favourites of 
the moment ; all experience is against the perma- 
nency of such impressions. You must have lived to 
see many of these pass away, and will survive many 
more — I mean personally, for poetically, I would 
not insult you by a comparison. 

" If I may be permitted, I would suggest that 
there never was such an opening for tragedy. In 
Kean, there is an actor worthy of expressing the 
thoughts of the characters which you have every 
power of embodying ; and I cannot but regret that 
the part of Ordonio was disposed of before his ap- 
pearance at Drury Lane. We have had nothing to 
be mentioned in the same breath with ' Remorse ' 
for very many years ; and I should think that the 
reception of that play was sufficient to encourage 
the highest hopes of author and audience. It is to 
be hoped that you are proceeding in a career which 
could not but be successful. With my best respects 
to Mr. Bowles, I have the honour to be 

" Your obliged and very obedient servant, 

" Byron. 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 159 

" P. S. You mention my ' Satire,' lampoon, or 
whatever you or others please to call it. I can only 
say, that it was written when I was very young and 
very angry, and has been a thorn in my side ever 
since ; more particularly as almost all the persons 
animadverted upon became subsequently my ac- 
quaintances, and some of them my friends, which is 
' heaping fire upon an enemy's head,' and forgiving 
me too readily to permit me to forgive myself. The 
part applied to you is pert, and petulant, and shallow 
enough ; but, although I have long done every thing 
in my power to suppress the circulation of the whole 
thing, I shall always regret the wantonness or gene- 
rality of many of its attempted attacks." 

It was in the course of this spring that Lord 
Byron and Sir Walter Scott became, for the first 
time, personally acquainted with each other. Mr. 
Murray, having been previously on a visit to the 
latter gentleman, had been intrusted by him with a 
superb Turkish dagger as a present to Lord Byron ; 
and the noble poet, on their meeting this year in 
London, — the only time when these two great men 
had ever an opportunity of enjoying each other's 
society, — presented to Sir Walter, in return, a 
vase containing some human bones that had been 
dug up from under apart of the old walls of Athens. 
The reader, however, will be much better pleased 
to have these particulars in the words of Sir Walter 
Scott himself, who, with that good-nature which 
renders him no less amiable than he is admirable, 
has found time, in the midst of all his marvellous 

160 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

labours for the world, to favour me with the follow- 
ing interesting communication : * — 

" My first acquaintance with Byron began in a 
manner rather doubtful. I was so far from having: 

* A few passages at the beginning of these recollections 
have been omitted, as containing particulars relative to Lord 
Byron's mother, which have already been mentioned in the 
early part of this work. Among these, however, there is one 
anecdote, the repetition of which will be easily pardoned, on 
account of the infinitely greater interest as well as authenticity 
imparted to its details by coming from such an eye-witness as 
Sir Walter Scott : — "I remember," he says, " having seen 
Lord Byron's mother before she was married, and a certain 
coincidence rendered the circumstance rather remarkable. It 
was during Mrs. Siddons's first or second visit to Edinburgh, 
when the music of that wonderful actress's voice, looks, 
manner, and person, produced the strongest effect which could 
possibly be exerted by a human being upon her fellow-crea- 
tures. Nothing of the kind that I ever witnessed approached 
it by a hundred degrees. The high state of excitation was 
aided by the difficulties of obtaining entrance and the ex- 
hausting length of time that the audience were contented to 
wait until the piece commenced. When the curtain fell, a 
large proportion of the ladies were generally in hysterics. 

" I remember Miss Gordon of Ghight, in particular, har- 
rowing the house by the desperate and wild way in which she 
shrieked out Mrs. Siddons's exclamation, in the character of 
Isabella, ' Oh my Byron ! Oh my Byron ! ' A well-known 
medical gentleman, the benevolent Dr. Alexander Wood, ten- 
dered his assistance ; but the thick-pressed audience could not 
for a long time, make way for the doctor to approach his 
patient, or the patient the physician. The remarkable circum- 
stance was, that the lady had not then seen Captain Byron, 
who, like Sir Toby, made her conclude with ' Oh ! ' as she 
had begun with it." 


any thing to do with the offensive criticism in the 
Edinburgh, that I remember remonstrating against 
it with our friend, the editor, because I thought the 
' Hours of Idleness' treated with undue severity. 
They were written, like all juvenile poetry, rather 
from the recollection of what had pleased the author 
in others than what had been suggested by his own 
imagination ; but, nevertheless, I thought they con- 
tained some passages of noble promise. I was so 
much impressed with this, that I had thoughts of 
writing to the author ; but some exaggerated reports 
concerning his peculiarities, and a natural unwilling- 
ness to intrude an opinion which was uncalled for, 
induced me to relinquish the idea. 

" When Byron wrote his famous Satire, I had my 
share of flagellation among my betters. My crime 
was having written a poem (Marmion, I think) for a 
thousand pounds ; which was no otherwise true than 
that I sold the copy-right for that sum. Now, not to 
mention that an author can hardly be censured for 
accepting such a sum as the booksellei-s are willing 
to give him, especially as the gentlemen of the trade 
made no complaints of their bargain, I thought the 
interference with my private affairs was rather be- 
yond the limits of literary satire. On the other hand, 
Lord Byron paid me, in several passages, so much 
more praise than I deserved, that I must have been 
more irritable than I have ever felt upon such 
subjects, not to sit down contented, and think no 
more about the matter. 

" I was very much struck, with all the rest of the 
world, at the vigour and force of imagination dis- 

VOL. III. m 

162 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

played in the first Cantos of Childe Harold, and the 
other splendid productions which Lord Byron flung 
from him to the public with a promptitude that 
savoured of profusion. My own popularity, as a 
poet, was then on the wane, and I was unaffectedly 
pleased to see an author of so much power and energy 
taking the field. Mr. John Murray happened to be 
in Scotland that season, and as I mentioned to him 
the pleasure I should have in making Lord Byron's 
acquaintance, he had the kindness to mention my 
wish to his Lordship, which led to some correspond- 

" It was in the spring of 1815 that, chancing to be 
in London, I had the advantage of a personal intro- 
duction to Lord Byron. Report had prepared me to 
meet a man of peculiar habits and a quick temper, 
and I had some doubts whether we were likely to 
suit each other in society. I was most agreeably dis- 
appointed in this respect. I found Lord Byron in 
the highest degree courteous, and even kind. We 
met, for an hour or two almost daily, in Mr. Murray's 
drawing-room, and found a great deal to say to each 
other. We also met frequently in parties and even- 
ing society, so that for about two months I had the 
advantage of a considerable intimacy with this dis- 
tinguished individual. Our sentiments agreed agood 
deal, except upon the subjects of religion and politics, 
upon neither of which I was inclined to believe that 
Lord Byron entertained very fixed opinions. I re- 
member saying to him, that I really thought, that if 
he lived a few years he would alter his sentiments. 
He answered, rather sharply, ' I suppose you are 


one of those who prophesy I will turn Methodist.' I 
replied, ' No — I don't expect your conversion to be 
of such an ordinary kind. I would rather look to 
see you retreat upon the Catholic faith, and distin- 
guish yourself by the austerity of your penances. 
The species of religion to which you must, or may, 
one day attach yourself must exercise a strong power 
on the imagination.' He smiled gravely, and seemed 
to allow I might be right. 

" On politics, he used sometimes to express a high 
strain of what is now called Liberalism ; but it ap- 
peared to me that the pleasure it afforded him as a 
vehicle of displaying his wit and satire against indivi- 
duals in office was at the bottom of this habit of 
thinking, rather than any real conviction of the poli- 
tical principles on which he talked. He was certainly 
proud of his rank and ancient family, and, in that 
respect, as much an aristocrat as was consistent with 
good sense and good breeding. Some disgusts, how 
adopted I know not, seemed to me to have given 
this peculiar and, as it appeared to me, contradic- 
tory cast of mind : but, at heart, I would have 
termed Byron a patrician on principle. 

" Lord Byron's reading did not seem to me to have 
been very extensive either in poetry or history. 
Having the advantage of him in that respect, and 
possessing a good competent share of such reading 
as is little read, I was sometimes able to put under 
his eye objects which had for him the interest of 
novelty. I remember particularly repeating to him 
the fine poem of Hardyknute, an imitation of the old 
Scottish Ballad, with which he was so much affected, 

M 2 

16i NOTICES OF THE 1815.' 

that some one who was in the same apartment asked 
me what I could possibly have been telling Byron by 
which he was so much agitated. 

" I saw Byron, for the last time, in 1815, after I 
returned from France. He dined, or lunched, with 
me at Long's in Bond Street. I never saw him so 
full of gaiety and good-humour, to which the pre- 
sence of Mr. Mathews, the comedian, added not a 
little. Poor Terry was also present. After one of 
the gayest parties I ever was present at, my fellow- 
traveller, Mr. Scott, of Gala, and I set off for Scot- 
land, and I never saw Lord Byron again. Several 
letters passed between us — one perhaps every half 
year. Like the old heroes in Homer, we exchanged 
gifts : — I gave Byron a beautiful dagger mounted 
with gold, which had been the property of the re- 
doubted Elfi Bey. But I was to play the part of 
Diomed, in the Biad, for Byron sent me, some time 
after, a large sepulchral vase of silver. It was full 
of dead men's bones, and had inscriptions on two 
sides of the base. One ran thus : — ' The bones con- 
tained in this urn were found in certain ancient 
sepulchres within the land walls of Athens, in the 
month of February, 1811.' The other face bears the 
lines of Juvenal : 

" Expende — quot libras in duce summo invenies. 
— Mors sola fatetur quantula hominum corpuscula." 

Juv. X. 

"To these I have added a third inscription, in these 
words — ' The gift of Lord Byron to Walter Scott.' * 

* Mr. Murray had, at the time of giving the vase, sug- 
gested to Lord Byron, that it would increase the value of the 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 165 

There was a letter with this vase more valuable 
to me than the gift itself, from the kindness with 
which the donor expressed himself towards me. I 
left it naturally in the urn with the bones, — but 
it is now missing. As the theft was not of a nature 
to be practised by a mere domestic, I am compelled 
to suspect the inhospitality of some individual of 
higher station, — most gratuitously exercised cer- 
tainly, since, after what I have here said, no one will 
probably cboose to boast of possessing this literary 

" We had a good deal of laughing, I remember, 
on what the public might be supposed to think, or 
say, concerning the gloomy and ominous nature of 
our mutual gifts. 

" I think 1 can add little more to my recollections 
of Byron. He was often melancholy, — almost 
gloomy. When I observed him in this humour, I 
used either to wait till it went off of its own accord, 
or till some natural and easy mode occurred of lead- 
ing him into conversation, when the shadows almost 
always left his countenance, like the mist rising from 
a landscape. In conversation he was very animated 

gift to add some such inscription ; but the feeling of the noble 
poet on this subject will be understood from the following 
answer which he returned : — 

" April 9. 1815. 
" Thanks for the books. I have great objection to your pro- 
position about inscribing the vase, — which is, that it would 
appear ostentatious on my part ; and of course I must send it 
as it is, without any alteration. 

" Yours," &c. 
M 3 

166 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

" I met with him very frequently in society ; our 
mutual acquaintances doing me the honour to think 
that he liked to meet with me. Some very agree- 
able parties I can recollect, — particularly one at Sir 
George Beaumont's, where the amiable landlord 
had assembled some persons distinguished for talent. 
Of these I need only mention the late Sir Hum- 
phry Davy, whose talents for literature were as re- 
markable as his empire over science. Mr. Richard 
Sharpe and Mr. Rogers were also present. 

" I think I also remarked in Byron's temper starts 
of suspicion, when he seemed to pause and consider 
whether there had not been a secret, and perhaps 
offensive, meaning in something casually said to him. 
In this case, I also judged it best to let his mind, 
like a troubled spring, work itself clear, which it did 
in a minute or two. I was considerably older, you 
will recollect, than my noble friend, and had no 
reason to fear his misconstruing my sentiments 
towards him, nor had I ever the slightest reason to 
doubt that they were kindly returned on his part. 
If I had occasion to be mortified by the display of 
genius which threw into the shade such pretensions 
as I was then supposed to possess, I might console 
myself that, in my own case, the materials of men- 
tal happiness had been mingled in a greater propor- 

" I rummage my brains in vain for what often 
rushes into my head unbidden, — little traits and say- 
ings which recall his looks, manner, tone,and gestures; 
and I have always continued to think that a crisis 
of life was arrived in which a new career of fame 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 167 

was opened to him, and that had he been permitted 
to start upon it, he would have obliterated the 
memory of such parts of his life as friends would 
wish to forget." 

Letter 220. TO MR. MOORE. 

" April 23. 1815. 

" Lord Wentworth died last week. The bulk of 
his property (from seven to eight thousand per ann.) 
is entailed on Lady Milbanke and Lady Byron. 
The first is gone to take possession in Leicestershire, 
and attend the funeral, &c. this day. 

" I have mentioned the facts of the settlement of 
Lord W.'s property, because the newspapers, with 
their usual accuracy, have been making all kinds of 
blunders in their statement. His will is just as ex- 
pected — the principal part settled on Lady Milbanke 
(now Noel) and Bell, and a separate estate left for 
sale to pay debts (which are not great) and legacies 
to his natural son and daughter. 

" Mrs. * * 's tragedy was last night damned. They 
may bring it on again, and probably will ; but 
damned it was, — not a word of the last act audible. 
I went (matgre that I ought to have stayed at home 
in sackcloth for unc, but I could not resist Hie first 
night of any thing) to a private and quiet nook of my 
private box, and witnessed the whole process. The 
first three acts, with transient gushes of applause, 
oozed patiently but heavily on. I must say it was 
badly acted, particularly by * *, who was groaned 
upon in the third act, — something about ' horror — 
such a horror' was the cause. Well, the fourth 

m 4 

16S NOTICES OF THE 131.". 

act became as muddy and turbid as need be ; but 
the fifth — what Garrick used to call (like a fool) 
the concoction of a play — the fifth act stuck fast at 
the King's prayer. You know he says, ' he never 
went to bed without saying them, and did not like 
to omit them now.' But he was no sooner upon his 
knees, than the audience got upon their legs — the 
damnable pit — and roared, and groaned, and hissed, 
and whistled. Well, that was choked a little ; but 
the ruffian-scene — the penitent peasantry — and 
killing the Bishop and Princes — oh, it was all over. 
The curtain fell upon unheard actors, and the an- 
nouncement attempted by Kean for Monday was 
equally ineffectual. Mrs. Bartley was so frightened, 
that, though the people were tolerably quiet, the 
epilogue was quite inaudible to half the house. In 
short, — you know all. I clapped till my hands 
were skinless, and so did Sir James Mackintosh, 
who was with me in the box. All the world were 
in the house, from the Jerseys, Greys, &c. &c. 
downwards. But it would not do. It is, after all, 
not an acting play ; good language, but no power. 
* * * Women (saving Joanna Baillie) 

cannot write tragedy : they have not seen enough 
nor felt enough of life for it. I think Semiramis 
or Catherine II. might have written (could they 
have been unqueened) a rare play. 

" It is, however, a good warning not to risk or 
write tragedies. I never had much bent that way ; 
but if I had, this would have cured me. 

" Ever, carissime Thom., 

" Thine, B." 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 169 

Letter 221. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" May 21. 1815. 

" You must have thought it very odd, not to say 
ungrateful, that I made no mention of the drawings*, 
&c. when I had the pleasure of seeing you this morn- 
ing. The fact is, that till this moment I had not 
seen them, nor heard of their arrival : they were 
carried up into the library, where I have not been 
till just now, and no intimation given to me of their 
coming. The present is so very magnificent, that — 
in short, I leave Lady Byron to thank you for it 
herself, and merely send this to apologise for a 
piece of apparent and unintentional neglect on my 
own part. Yours," &c. 

Letter 222. TO MR. MOORE, f 

" 13. Piccadilly Terrace, June 12. 1815. 

" I have nothing to offer in behalf of my late 
silence, except the most inveterate and ineffable 
laziness ; but I am too supine to invent a lie, or I 
certainly should, being ashamed of the truth. K* *, 
I hope, has appeased your magnanimous indigna- 
tion at his blunders. I wished and wish you were 
in the Committee, with all my heart. \ It seems so 
hopeless a business, that the company of a friend 

* Mr. Murray had presented Lady Byron with twelve 
drawings, by Stothard, from Lord Byron's Poems. 

f This and the following letter were addressed to me in 
Ireland, whither I had gone about the middle of the preceding 

f He had lately become one of the members of the Sub- 
Committee, (consisting, besides himself, of the persons men- 

170 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

would be quite consoling, — but more of this when 
we meet. In the mean time, you are entreated to 
prevail upon Mrs. Esterre to engage herself. I be- 
lieve she has been written to, but your influence, in 
person or proxy, would probably go further than our 
proposals. What they are, I know not ; all my new 
function consists in listening to the despair of Caven- 
dish Bradshaw, the hopes of Kinnaird, the wishes of 
Lord Essex, the complaints of Whitbread, and the 
calculations of Peter Moore, — all of which, and 
whom, seem totally at variance. C. Bradshaw wants 
to light the theatre with gas, which may, perhaps (if 
the vulgar be believed), poison half the audience, 
and all the dramatis personce. Essex has endea- 
voured to persuade K * * not to get drunk, the con- 
sequence of which is, that he has never been sober 
since. Kinnaird, with equal success, would have 
convinced Raymond, that he, the said Raymond, 
had too much salary. Whitbread wants us to assess 
the pit another sixpence, — a d — d insidious pro- 
position, — which will end in an O. P. combustion. 
To crown all, R * *, the auctioneer, has the impu- 
dence to be displeased, because he has no dividend. 
The villain is a proprietor of shares, and a long 
lunged orator in the meetings. I hear he has 
prophesied our incapacity, — * a foregone conclu- 

tioned in this letter,) who had taken upon themselves the 
management of Drury Lane Theatre ; and it had been his 
wish, on the first construction of the Committee, that I should 
be one of his colleagues. To some mistake in the mode of 
conveying this proposal to me, he alludes in the preceding 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON* 171 

sion,' whereof I hope to give him signal proofs be- 
fore we are done. 

" Will you give us an opera? No, I'll be sworn ; 
but I wish you would. 

" To go on with the poetical world, Walter Scott 
has gone back to Scotland. Murray, the bookseller, 
has been cruelly cudgelled of misbegotten knaves, 
' in Kendal green, ' at Newington Butts, in his way 
home from a purlieu dinner, — and robbed — would 
you believe it ? — of three or four bonds of forty 
pound a piece, and a seal-ring of his grandfather's, 
worth a million! This is his version, — but others 
opine that D' Israeli, with whom he dined, knocked 
him down with his last publication, ' The Quarrels of 
Authors, ' in a dispute about copyright. Be that 
as it may, the newspapers have teemed with his 
' injuria formse,' and he has been embrocated, and 
invisible to all but the apothecary ever since. 

" Lady B. is better than three months advanced 
in her progress towards maternity, and, we hope, 
likely to go well through with it. We have been 
very little out this season, as I wish to keep her quiet 
in her present situation. Her father and mother have 
changed their names to Noel, in compliance with 
Lord Wentworth's will, and in complaisance to the 
property bequeathed by him. 

" I hear that you have been gloriously received 
by the Irish, — and so you ought. But don't let 
them kill you with claret and kindness at the national 
dinner in your honour, which, I hear and hope, is in 
contemplation. If you will tell me the day, I'll get 

172 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

drunk myself on this side of the water, and waft you 
an applauding hiccup over the Channel. 

" Of politics, we have nothing but the yell for 
war ; and C * * h is preparing his head for the pike, 
on which we shall see it carried before he has done. 
The loan has made every body sulky. I hear often 
from Paris, but in direct contradiction to the home 
statements of our hirelings. Of domestic doings, 
there has been nothing since Lady D * *. Not a 
divorce stirring, — but a good many in embryo, in 
the shape of marriages. 

" I enclose you an epistle received this morning 
from I know not whom ; but I think it will amuse 
you. The writer must be a rare fellow. * 

" P. S. A gentleman named D' Alton (not your 

* The following is the enclosure here referred to : — 

« Darlington, June 3. 1815. 
" My Lord, 

" I have lately purchased a set of your works, and am quite 
vexed that you have not cancelled the Ode to Buonaparte. It 
certainly was prematurely written, without thought or reflec- 
tion. Providence has now brought him to reign over millions 
again, while the same Providence keeps as it were in a garrison 
another potentate, who, in the language of Mr. Burke, ' he 
hurled from his throne.' See if you cannot make amends for 
your folly, and consider that, in almost every respect, human 
nature is the same, in every clime and in every period, and 
don't act the part of a foolish boy. — Let not Englishmen talk 
of the stretch of tyrants, while the torrents of blood shed in 
the East Indies cry aloud to Heaven for retaliation. Learn, 
good sir, not to cast the first stone. I remain your Lordship's 

» J. R * *." 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 173 

Dal ton) has sent me a National Poem called ' Dermic!.' 
The same cause which prevented my writing to you 
operated against my wish to write to him an epistle 
of thanks. If you see him, will you make all kinds 
of fine speeches for me, and tell him that I am the 
laziest and most ungrateful of mortals? 

" A word more; — don't let Sir John Stevenson 
(as an evidence on trials for copy-right, &c.) talk 
about the price cf your next poem, or they will 
come upon you for the property tax for it. I am 
serious, and have just heard a long story of the 
rascally tax-men making Scott pay for his. So, 
take care. Three hundred is a devil of a deduction 
out of three thousand." 

Letter 223. TO MR. MOORE. 

" July 7. 1815. 

" ' Grata superveniet,' &c. &c. I had written to 
you again, but burnt the letter, because I began to 
think you seriously hurt at my indolence, and did 
not know how the buffoonery it contained might be 
taken. In the mean time, I have yours, and all is 

" I had given over all hopes of yours. By-the-by, 
my ' grata superveniet' should be in the present 
tense ; for I perceive it looks now as if it applied to 
this present scrawl reaching you, whereas it is to the 
receipt of thy Kilkenny epistle that I have tacked 
that venerable sentiment. 

" Poor "Whitbread died yesterday morning, — a 
sudden and severe loss. His health had been 
wavering, but so fatal an attack was not appre- 

174- NOTICES OF THE ]S15. 

bended. He dropped down, and I believe never 
spoke afterwards. I perceive Perry attributes his 
death to Drury Lane, — a consolatory encouragement 
to the new Committee. I have no doubt that * *, 
who is of a plethoric habit, will be bled immediately ; 
and as I have, since my marriage, lost much of my 
paleness, and — ' horresco referens' (for I hate even 
moderate fat) — that happy slenderness, to which, 
when I first knew you, I had attained, I by no means 
sit easy under this dispensation of the Morning 
Chronicle. Every one must regret the loss of 
Whitbread ; he was surely a great and very good 

" Paris is taken for the second time. I presume 
it, for the future, will have an anniversary capture. 
In the late battles, like all the world, I have lost a 
connection, — poor Frederick Howard, the best of 
his race. I had little intercourse, of late years, 
with his family, but I never saw or heard but good 
of him. Hobhouse's brother is killed. In short, 
the havoc has not left a family out of its tender 

" Every hope of a republic is over, and we must 
go on under the old system. But I am sick at 
heart of politics and slaughters ; and the luck which 
Providence is pleased to lavish on Lord Castlereagh 
is only a proof of the little value the gods set upon 
prosperity, when they permit such * * * s as he and 
that drunken corporal, old Blucher, to bully their 
betters. From this, however, Wellington should be 
excepted. He is a man, — and the Scipio of our 
Hannibal. However, he may thank the Russian 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 175 

frosts, which destroyed the real elite of the French 
army, for the successes of Waterloo. 

" La ! Moore — how you blasphemes about ' Par- 
nassus' and 'Moses!' I am ashamed for you. 
Won't you do any thing for the drama ? We 
beseech an Opera. Kinnaird's blunder was partly 
mine. I wanted you of all things in the Committee, 
and so did he. But we are now glad you were wiser ; 
for it is, I doubt, a bitter business. 

When shall we see you in England ? Sir Ralph 
Noel {late Milbanke — he don't promise to be late 
Noel in a hurry), finding that one man can't inhabit 
two houses, has given his place in the north to me 
for a habitation ; and there Lady B. threatens to be 
brought to bed in November. Sir R. and my Lady 
Mother are to quarter at Kirby — Lord Wentworth's 
that was. Perhaps you and Mrs. Moore will pay us 
a visit at Seaham in the course of the autumn. If 
so, you and I {without our tcives) will take a lark to 
Edinburgh and embrace Jeffrey. It is not much 
above one hundred miles from us. But all this, and 
other high matters, we will discuss at meeting, which 
I hope will be on your return. We don't leave 
town till August. 

" Ever," &c. 

Letter 224. TO MR. SOTHEBY. 

" Sept. 15. 1815. Piccadilly Terrace. 

" Dear Sir, 

" ' Ivan' is accepted, and will be put in progress 
on Kean's arrival. 

" The theatrical gentlemen have a confident hope 

176 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

of its success. I know not that any alterations for 
the stage will be necessary ; if any, they will be 
trifling, and you shall be duly apprised. I would 
suggest that you should not attend any except the 
latter rehearsals — the managers have requested me 
to state this to you. You can see them, viz. Dibdin 
and llae, whenever you please, and I will do any 
tiling you wish to be done on your suggestion, in the 
mean time. 

" Mrs. Mardyn is not yet out, and nothing can be 
determined till she has made her appearance — I 
mean as to her capacity for the part you mention, 
which I take it for granted is not in Ivan — as I 
think Ivan may be performed very well without her. 
But of that hereafter. Ever yours, very truly, 

" Byron. 

" P. S. You will be glad to hear that the season 
has begun uncommonly well — great and constant 
houses — the performers in much harmony with the 
Committee and one another, and as much good- 
humour as can be preserved in such complicated 
and extensive interests as the Drury Lane propri- 


" September 25. 1815. 
" Dear Sir, 

" I think it would be advisable for you to see 
the acting managers when convenient, as there must 
be points on which you will want to confer ; the 
objection I stated was merely on the part of the 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 177 

performers, and is general and not particular to this 
instance. I thought it as well to mention it at once 
— and some of the rehearsals you will doubtless see, 

" Rae, I rather think, has his eye on Naritzin for 
himself. He is a more popular performer than 
Bartley, and certainly the cast will be stronger with 
him in it ; besides, he is one of the managers, and 
will feel doubly interested if he can act in both 
capacities. Mrs. Bartley will be Petrowna ; — as to 
the Empress, I know not what to say or think. The 
truth is, we are not amply furnished with tragic 
women ; but make the best of those we have, — you 
can take your choice of them. We have all great 
hopes of the success — on which, setting aside other 
considerations, we are particularly anxious, as being 
the first tragedy to be brought out since the old 

" By the way — I have a charge against you. 
As the great Mr. Dennis roared out on a similar 
occasion — ' By G— d, that is my thunder ! ' so do I 
exclaim, ' This is my lightning!' I allude to a 
speech of Ivan's, in the scene with Petrowna and 
the Empress, where the thought and almost ex- 
pression are similar to Conrad's in the 3d Canto of 
' The Corsair.' I, however, do not say this to accuse 
you, but to exempt myself from suspicion *, as there 


Notwithstanding this precaution of the poet, the coinci- 
dence in question was, but a few years after, triumphantly 
cited in support of the sweeping charge of plagiarism brought 
against him by some scribblers. The following are Mr. 
Sotheby's lines : — 


178 NOTICES OF THE 1«15. 

is a priority of six months' publication, on my part, 
between the appearance of that composition and of 
your tragedies. 

" George Lambe meant to have written to you. If 
you don't like to confer with the managers at present, 
I will attend to your wishes — so state them. Yours 
very truly, Byron." 

Letter 225. TO MR. TAYLOR. 

" 13. Terrace, Piccadilly, September 25. 1815. 
" Dear Sir, 

" I am sorry you should feel uneasy at what has 
by no means troubled me. * If your editor, his 
correspondents, and readers, are amused, I have no 
objection to be the theme of all the ballads he can 

" And I have leapt 
In transport from my flinty couch, to welcome 
The thunder as it burst upon my roof, 
And beckon'd to the lightning, as it flash'd 
And sparkled on these fetters." 
I have since been informed by Mr. Sotlieby that, though not 
published, these lines had been written long before the appear- 
ance of Lord Byron's poem. 

* Mr. Taylor having inserted in the Sun newspaper (of 
which he was then chief proprietor) a sonnet to Lord Byron, 
in return for a present which his Lordship had sent him of a 
handsomely bound copy of all his works, there appeared in the 
same journal, on the following day (from the pen of some 
person who had acquired a control over the paper), a parody 
upon this sonnet, containing some disrespectful allusion to Lady 
Byron ; and it is to this circumstance, which Mr. Taylor had 
written to explain, that the above letter, so creditable to the 
feelings of the noble husband, refers. 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 179 

find room for, — provided his lucubrations are con- 
fined to me only. 

" It is a long time since things of this kind have 
ceased to ' fright me from my propriety ; ' nor do I 
know any similar attack which would induce me to 
turn again, — unless it involved those connected with 
me, whose qualities, I hope, are such as to exempt 
them in the eyes of those who bear no good-will to 
myself. In such a case, supposing it to occur — to 
reverse the saying of Dr. Johnson, — ' what the law 
could not do for me, I would do for myself,' be the 
consequences what they might. 

" I return you, with many thanks, Colman and the 
letters. The poems, I hope, you intended me to 
keep ; — at least, I shall do so, till I hear the con- 
trary. Very truly yours." 


" Sept. 25. 1815. 

" Will you publish the Drury Lane ' Magpie ?' 
or, what is more, will you give fifty, or even forty, 
pounds for the copyright of the said ? I have under- 
taken to ask you this question on behalf of the trans- 
lator, and wish you would. We can't get so much 
for him by ten pounds from any body else, and I, 
knowing your magnificence, would be glad of an 
answer. Ever," &c. 

Letter 226. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" September 27. 18i5. 
" That's right and splendid, and becoming a pub- 
lisher of high degree. Mr. Concanen (the translator) 

v o 


will be delighted, and pay his washerwoman ; and, 
in reward for your bountiful behaviour in this in- 
stance, I won't ask you to publish any more for 
Drury Lane, or any lane whatever, again. You will 
have no tragedy or any thing else from me, I assure 
vou, and may think yourself lucky in having got rid 
of me, for good and all, without more damage. But 
I'll tell you what we will do for you, — act Sotheby's 
Ivan, winch will succeed; and then your present and 
next impression of the dramas of that dramatic gen- 
tleman will be expedited to your heart's content ; and 
if there is any thing very good, you shall have the 
refusal ; but you sha'n't have any more requests. 

" Sotheby has got a thought, and almost the words, 
from the third Canto of The Corsair, which, you 
know, was published six months before his tragedy. 
It is from the storm in Conrad's cell. I have written 
to Mr. Sotheby to claim it ; and, as Dennis roared 
out of the pit, ' By G — d, that 's my thunder ! ' so do 
I, and will I, exclaim, ' By G — d that 's my light- 
ning /' that electrical fluid being, in fact, the subject 
of the said passage. 

" You will have a print of Fanny Kelly, in the 
Maid, to prefix, which is honestly worth twice the 
monej' you have given for the MS. Pray what did 
you do with the note I gave you about Mungo Park ? 

" Ever," &c. 

Letter 227. TO MR. MOORE. 

" J 3. Terrace, Piccadilly, October 28. 1815. 

" You are, it seems, in England again, as I am to 

hear from every body but yourself; and I suppose 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 18] 

you punctilious, because I did not answer your last 
Irish letter. When did you leave the ' swate 
country?' Never mind, I forgive you; — a strong 
proof of — I know not what — to give the lie to — 

' He never pardons who hath done the wrong.' 

" You have written to * *. You have also written 
to Perry, who intimates hope of an Opera from you. 
Coleridge has promised a Tragedy. Now, if you 
keep Perry's word, and Coleridge keeps his owiij 
Drury Lane will be set up ; and, sooth to say, it is in 
grievous want of such a lift. We began at speed, 
and are blown already. When I say ' we,' I mean 
Kinnaird, who is the ' all in all sufficient,' and can 
count, which none of the rest of the Committee can. 

" It is really very good fun, as far as the daily and 
nightly stir of these strutters and fretters go ; and, 
if the concern could be brought to pay a shilling in 
the pound, would do much credit to the management. 

Mr. has an accepted tragedy * * * * *, whose 

first scene is in his sleep (I don't mean the author's). 
It was forwarded to us as a prodigious favourite of 
Kean's ; but the said Kean, upon interrogation, 
denies his eulogy, and protests against his part. 
How it will end, I know not. 

" I say so much about the theatre, because there 
is nothing else alive in London at this season. All 
the world are out of it, except us, who remain to lie 
in, — in December, or perhaps earlier. Lady B. is 
very ponderous and prosperous, apparently, and I 
wish it well over. 

" There is a play before me from a personage who 

n 3 

182 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

signs himself ' Hibernicus.' The hero is Malachi, 
the Irishman and king ; and the villain and usurper, 
Turgesius, the Dane. The conclusion is fine. Tur- 
gesius is chained by the leg (vide stage direction) 
to a pillar on the stage ; and King Malachi makes 
him a speech, not unlike Lord Castlereagh's about 
the balance of power and the lawfulness of legiti- 
macy, which puts Turgesius into a frenzy — as Castle- 
reagh's would, if his audience was chained by the 
leg. He draws a dagger and rushes at the orator ; 
but, finding himself at the end of his tether, he sticks 
it into his own carcass, and dies, saying, he has ful- 
filled a prophecy. 

" Now, this is serious dotvnright matter of fact, and 
the gravest part of a tragedy which is not intended 
for burlesque. I tell it you for the honour of Ireland. 
The writer hopes it will be represented : — but what 
is Hope ? nothing but the paint on the face of Exist- 
ence ; the least touch of Truth rubs it off, and then 
we see what a hollow-cheeked harlot we have got 
hold of. I am not sure that I have not said this 
last superfine reflection before. But never mind ; 
— it will do for the tragedy of Turgesius, to which 
I can append it. 

" Well, but how dost thou do ? thou bard not of a 
thousand but three thousand ! I wish your friend, 
Sir John Piano-forte, had kept that to himself, and 
not made it public at the trial of the song-seller in 
Dublin. I tell you why : it is a liberal thing for 
Longman to do, and honourable for you to obtain ; 
but it will set all the ' hungry and dinnerless, lank- 
jawed judges' upon the fortunate author. But they 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 183 

be d — d ! — the ' Jeffrey and the Moore together are 
confident against the world in ink !' By the way, if 
poor C * * e — who is a man of wonderful talent, 
and in distress*, and about to publish two vols, of 
Poesy and Biography, and who has been worse used 
by the critics than ever we were — will you, if he 
comes out, promise me to review him favourably in 
the E. R. ? Praise him I think you must, but you 
will also praise him icell, — of all things the most 
difficult. It will be the making of him. 

" This must be a secret between you and me, as 
Jeffrey might not like such a project ; — nor, indeed, 
might C. himself like it. But I do think he only 
wants a pioneer and a sparkle or two to explode most 
gloriously. Ever yours most affectionately, B. 

" P. S. This is a sad scribbler's letter ; but the 
next shall be 'more of this world.' " 

As, after this letter, there occur but few allusions 
to his connection with the Drury Lane Management, 
I shall here avail myself of the opportunity to give 
some extracts from his " Detached Thoughts," con- 
taining recollections of his short acquaintance with 
the interior of the theatre. 

" When I belonged to the Drury Lane Committee, 
and was one of the Sub-Committee of Management, 

* It is but justice both to " him that gave and him that 
took " to mention that the noble poet, at this time, with a 
delicacy which enhanced the kindness, advanced to the eminent 
person here spoken of, on the credit of some work he was about 
to produce, one hundred pounds. 

N 4> 


the number of plays upon the shelves were about^'ve 
hundred. Conceiving that amongst these there must 
be somt of merit, in person and by proxy I caused 
an investigation. I do not think that of those which 
I saw there was one which could be conscientiously 
tolerated. There never were such things as most of 
them ! Mathurin was very kindly recommended to 
me by Walter Scott, to whom I had recourse, firstly, 
in the hope that he would do something for us him- 
self; and, secondly, in my despair, that he would point 
out to us any young (or old) writer of promise. 
Mathurin sent his Bertram and a letter without his 
address, so that at first I could give him no answer. 
When I at last hit upon his residence, I sent him a 
favourable answer and something more substantial. 
His play succeeded ; but I was at that time absent 
from England. 

" I tried Coleridge too ; but he had nothing feas- 
ible in hand at the time. Mr. Sotheby obligingly 
offered all his tragedies, and I pledged myself, and 
notwithstanding many squabbles with my Committed 
Brethren, did get ' Ivan ' accepted, read, and the 
parts distributed. But, lo ! in the very heart of the 
matter, upon some tepidness on the part of Kean, or 
warmth on that of the author, Sotheby withdrew his 
play. Sir J. B. Burgess did also present four trage- 
dies and a farce, and I moved green-room and Sub- 
Committee, but they would not. 

" Then the scenes I had to go through ! — the au- 
thors, and the authoresses, and the milliners, and 
the wild Irishmen, — the people from Brighton, from 
Blackwall, from Chatham, from Cheltenham, from 



Dublin, from Dundee, — who came in upon me ! to 
all of whom it was proper to give a civil answer, and 
a hearing, and a reading. ■ Mrs. * * * * 's father, an 
Irish dancing-master of sixty years, calling upon me 
to request to play Archer, dressed in silk stockings 
on a frosty morning to show his legs (which were 
certainly good and Irish for his age, and had been 
still better,) — Miss Emma Somebody, with a play 
entitled ' The Bandit of Bohemia,' or some such title 
or production, — Mr. O'Higgins, then resident at 
Richmond, with an Irish tragedy, in which the uni- 
ties could not fail to be observed, for the protagonist 
was chained by the leg to a pillar during the chief 
part of the performance. He was a wild man, of 
a salvage appearance, and the difficulty of not laugh- 
ing at him was only to be got over by reflecting 
upon the probable consequences of such cachin- 

" As I am really a civil and polite person, and do 
hate giving pain when it can be avoided, I sent them 
up to Douglas Kinnaird, — who is a man of business, 
and sufficiently ready with a negative, — and left 
them to settle with him ; and as the beginning of 
next year I went abroad, I have since been little 
aware of the progress of the theatres. 

" Players are said to be an impracticable people. 
They are so ; but I managed to steer clear of any 
disputes with them, and excepting one debate * with 

* A correspondent of one of the monthly Miscellanies gives 
the following account of this incident : — 

" During Lord Byron's administration, a ballet was invented 
by the elder Byrne, in which Miss Smith (since Mrs. Oscar 

186 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

the elder Byrne about Miss Smith's pas de — (some- 
thing — I forget the technicals,) — I do not remember 
any litigation of my own. I used to protect Miss 
Smith, because she was like Lady Jane Harley in 
the face, and likenesses go a great way with me. 
Indeed, in general, I left such things to my more 
bustling colleagues, who used to reprove me serious- 
ly for not being able to take such things in hand 
without buffooning with the histrions, or throwing 
things into confusion by treating light matters with 

" Then the Committee ! — then the Sub-Commit- 
tee ! — we were but few, but never agreed. There 
was Peter Moore who contradicted Kinnaird, and 
Kinnaird who contradicted every body : then our 
two managers, Rae and Dibdin ; and our secretary, 
Ward ! and yet we were all very zealous and in 

Byrne) had a pas seul. This the lady wished to remove to a 
later period in the ballet. The ballet-master refused, and the 
lady swore she would not dance it at all. The music inci- 
dental to the dance began to play, and the lady walked off the 
stage. Both parties flounced into the green-room to lay the 
case before Lord Byron, who happened to be the only person 
in that apartment. The noble committee-man made an award 
in favour of Miss Smith, and both complainants rushed angrily 
out of the room at the instant of my entering it. ' If you 
had come a minute sooner,' said Lord Byron, ' you would 
have heard a curious matter decided on by me : a question of 
dancing ! — by me,' added he, looking down at the lame limb, 
' whom Nature from my birth has prohibited from taking a 
single step.' His countenance fell after he had uttered this, 
as if he had said too much ; and for a moment there was an 
embarrassing silence on both sides." 



earnest to do good and so forth. * * * * furnished 
us with prologues to our revived old English plays ; 
but was not pleased with me for complimenting him 
as ' the Upton ' of our theatre (Mr. Upton is or was 
the poet who writes the songs for Astley's), and al- 
most gave up prologuing in consequence. 

" In the pantomime of 1815-16 there was a re- 
presentation of the masquerade of 1814 given by 
« us youth ' of Watier's Club to Wellington and Co. 
Douglas Kinnaird and one or two others, with my- 
self, put on masks, and went on the stage with the 
oj ttoXXoi, to see the effect of a theatre from the 
stage : — it is very grand. Douglas danced among 
the figuranti too, and they were puzzled to find out 
who we were, as being more than their number. It 
was odd enough that Douglas Kinnaird and I should 
have been both at the real masquerade, and after- 
wards in the mimic one of the same, on the stage of 
Drury Lane theatre." 

Letter 228. TO MR. MOORE. 

« Terrace, Piccadilly, October 31. 1815. 
" I have not been able to ascertain precisely the 
time of duration of the stock market ; but I believe 
it is a good time for selling cut, and I hope so. 
First, because I shall see you ; and, next, because I 
shall receive certain monies on behalf of Lady B., 
the which will materially conduce to my comfort, 
— I wanting (as the duns say) ' to make up a sum.' 

" Yesterday, I dined out with a large-ish party, 
where were Sheridan and Colman, Harry Harris of 
C. G> and his brother, Sir Gilbert Heathcote, Ds. 



Kinnaird, and others, of note and notoriety. Like 
other parties of the kind, it was first silent, then 
talky, then argumentative, then disputatious, then 
unintelligible, then altogethery, then inarticulate, 
and then drunk. When we had reached the last 
step of this glorious ladder, it was difficult to get 
down again without stumbling ; and to crown all, 
Kinnaird and I had to conduct Sheridan down a 
d — d corkscrew staircase, which had certainly been 
constructed before the discovery of fermented li- 
quors, and to which no legs, however crooked, could 
possibly accommodate themselves. We deposited 
him safe at home, where his man, evidently used to 
the business, waited to receive him in the hall. 

" Both he and Colman were, as usual, very good ; 
but I carried away much wine, and the wine had 
previously carried away my memory ; so that all was 
hiccup and happiness for the last hour or so, and I 
am not impregnated with any of the conversation. 
Perhaps you heard of a late answer of Sheridan to 
the watchman who found him bereft of that ' divine 
particle of air,' called reason, * * *. He, 
the watchman, who found Sherry in the street, fud- 
dled and bewildered, and almost insensible. ' Who 
are you, sir ? ' — no answer. ' What's your name ? ' 
— a hiccup. ' WTiat's your name ? ' — Answer, in 
a slow, deliberate and impassive tone — ' Wilber- 
force III' Is not that Sherry all over ? — and, to 
mj' mind, excellent. Poor fellow, his very dregs 
are better than the ' first sprightly runnings ' of 

]815. MFE OF LORD BYRON. 189 

" My paper is full, and I have a grievous head- 

" P. S. Lady B. is in full progress. Next month 
will bring to light (with the aid of ' Juno Lucina, 
Jer opetn,' or rather opes, for the last are most 
wanted,) the tenth wonder of the world — Gil Bias 
being the eighth, and he (my son's father) the 

Letter 229. TO MR. MOORE. 

" November 4. 1815. 

" Had you not bewildered my head with the 
' stocks,' your letter would have been answered 
directly. Hadn't I to go to the city ? and hadn't I 
to remember what to ask when I got there ? and 
hadn't I forgotten it ? 

" I should be undoubtedly delighted to see you ; 
but I don't like to urge against your reasons my own 
inclinations. Come you must soon, for stay you 
wont. I know you of old ; — you have been too 
much leavened with London to keep long out of it. 

" Lewis is going to Jamaica to suck his sugar canes. 
He sails in two days ; I enclose you his farewell note. 
I saw him last night at D. L. T. for the last time pre- 
vious to his voyage. Poor fellow ! he is really a good 
man— an excellent man — he left me his walking-stick 
and a pot of preserved ginger. I shall never eat 
the last without tears in my eyes, it is so hot. We 
liave had a devil of a row among our ballerinas. 
Miss Smith has been wronged about a hornpipe. The 

Committee have interfered ; but Byrne, the d d 

ballet master, won't budge a step. / am furious, so 

190 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

is George Lamb. Kinnaird is very glad, because — 
he don't know why ; and I am very sorry, for the 
same reason. To-day I dine with Kd. — we are to 
have Sheridan and Colman again ; and to-morrow, 
once more, at Sir Gilbert Heathcote's. 

" Leigh Hunt has written a real good and very 
original Poem, which I think will be a great hit. 
You can have no notion how very well it is writ- 
ten, nor should I, had I not redde it. As to us, 
Tom — eh, when art thou out ? If you think the 
verses worth it, I would rather they were embalmed 
in the Irish Melodies, than scattered abroad in a 
separate song — much rather. But when are thy 
great things out ? I mean the Po of Pos — thy 
Shah Nameh. It is very kind in Jeffrey to like the 
Hebrew Melodies. Some of the fellows here pre- 
ferred Sternhold and Hopkins, and said so ; — ' the 
fiend receive their souls therefor ! ' 

" I must go and dress for dinner. Poor, dear 

Murat, what an end ! You know, I suppose, that 

his white plume used to be a rallying point in battle, 

like Henry IV.'s. He refused a confessor and a 

bandage ; so would neither suffer his soul or body 

to be bandaged. You shall have more to-morrow 

or next day. 

" Ever," &c 

Letter 230. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" November 4. 1815. 

" When you have been enabled to form an opinion 

on Mr. Coleridge's MS. * you will oblige me by 

* A tragedy entitled, I think, Zopolia. 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 191 

returning it, as, in fact, I have no authority to let it 
out of my hands. I think most highly of it, and 
feel anxious that you should be the publisher; but 
if you are not, I do not despair of finding those who 

" I have written to Mr. Leigh Hunt, stating your 
willingness to treat with him, which, when I saw 
you, I understood you to be. Terms and time, 
I leave to his pleasure and your discernment ; but 
this I will say, that I think it the safest thing you 
ever engaged in. I speak to you as a man of busi- 
ness ; were I to talk to you as a reader or a critic, 
I should say it was a very wonderful and beautiful 
performance, with just enough of fault to make its 
beauties more remarked and remarkable. 

" And now to the last — my own, which I feel 
ashamed of after the others : — publish or not as you 
like, I don't care one damn. If you don't, no one else 
shall, and I never thought or dreamed of it, except 
as one in the collection. If it is worth being in the 
fourth volume, put it there and nowhere else ; and if 
not, put it in the fire. Yours, N. 

S.T " 

Those embarrassments which, from a review of his 
affairs previous to the marriage, he had clearly fore- 
seen would, before long, overtake him, were not slow 
in realising his worst omens. The increased expenses 
induced by his new mode of life, with but very little 
increase of means to meet them, — the long arrears 
of early pecuniary obligations, as well as the claims 
which had been, gradually, since then, accumulating, 
all pressed upon him now with collected force, and 

192 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

reduced him to some of the worst humiliations of 
poverty. He had been even driven, by the neces- 
sity of encountering such demands, to the trying ex- 
pedient of parting with his books, — which circum- 
stance coming to Mr. Murray's ears, that gentleman 
instantly forwarded to him 1500/., with an assurance 
that another sum of the same amount should be at 
his service in a few weeks, and that if such assist- 
ance should not be sufficient, Mr. Murray was most 
ready to dispose of the copyrights of all his past 
works for his use. 

This very liberal offer Lord Byron acknowledged 
in the following letter : — 

Letter 231. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" November 14. 1815. 

" I return you your bills not accepted, but cer- 
tainly not unhonoured. Your present offer is a 
favour which I would accept from you, if I accepted 
such from any man. Had such been my intention, 
I can assure you I would have asked you fairly, and 
as freely as you would give ; and I cannot say more 
of my confidence or your conduct. 

" The circumstances which induce me to \ art with 
my books, though sufficiently, are not immediately, 
pressing. I have made up my mind to them, and 
there 's an end. 

" Had I been disposed to trespass on your kind- 
ness in this way, it would have been before now; but 
I am not sorry to have an opportunity of declining it, 
as it sets my opinion of you, and indeed of human 

1815. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 193 

nature, in a different light from that in which I have 
I een accustomed to consider it. 

" Believe me very truly," &c. 


" December 25. 1815. 
" I send some lines, written some time ago, and 
intended as an opening to ' The Siege of Corinth.' I 
had forgotten them, and am not sure that they had 
not better be left out now : — on that, you and your 
Synod can determine. Yours," &c. 

The following are the lines alluded to in this note. 
They are written in the loosest form of that rambling 
style of metre which his admiration of Mr. Cole- 
ridge's "Christabel" led him, at this time, to adopt ; 
and he judged rightly, perhaps, in omitting them as 
the opening of his poem. They are, however, too 
full of spirit and character to be lost. Though 
breathing the thick atmosphere of Piccadilly when 
he wrote them, it is plain that his fancy was far 
away, among the sunny hills and vales of Greece ; 
and their contrast with the tame life he was leading 
at the moment, but gave to his recollections a fresher 
spring and force. 

" In the year since Jesus died for men, 
Eighteen hunched years and ten, 
We were a gallant company, 
Riding o'er land, and sailing o'er sea. 
Oh ! but we went merrily ! 
We forded the river, and clomb the high hill, 
Never our steeds for a day stood still ; 

194- NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

Whether we lay in the cave or the shed, 

Our sleep fell soft on the hardest bed ; 

Whether we couch'd in our rough capote, 

On the rougher plank of our gliding boat, 

Or stretch'd on the beach, or our saddles spread 

As a pillow beneath the resting head, 

Fresh we woke upon the morrow : 

All our thoughts and words had scope, 

We had health, and we had hope, 
Toil and travel, but no sorrow. 
We were of all tongues and creeds ; — 
Some were those who counted beads, 
Some of mosque, and some of church, 

And some, or I mis-say, of neither ; 
Yet through the wide world might ye search 

Nor find a mother crew nor blither. 

" But some are dead, and some are gone, 
And some are scatter'd and alone, 
And some are rebels on the hills * 

That look along Epirus' valleys 

Where Freedom still at moments rallies, 
And pays in blood Oppression's ills : 

And some are in a far countree, 
And some all restlessly at home ; 

But never more, oh ! never, we 
Shall meet to revel and to roam. 
But those hardy days flew cheerily ; 
And when they now fall drearily, 
My thoughts, like swallows, skim the main 
And bear my spirit back again 
Over the earth, and through the air, 
A wild bird, and a wanderer. 

* " The last tidings recently heard of Dervish (one of the 
Arnaouts who followed me) state him to be in revolt upon the 
mountains, at the head of some of the bands common in that 
country in times of trouble." 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 195 

'Tis this that ever wakes my strain, 
And oft, too oft, implores again 
The few who may endure my lay, 
To follow me so far away. 

" Stranger — wilt thou follow now, 

And sit with me on Aero- Corinth's brow ? " 

Letter 232. TO MR. MOORE. 

" January 5. 1816. 

" I hope Mrs. M. is quite re-established. The 
little girl was born on the 10th of December last ; 
her name is Augusta Ada (the second a very antique 
family name, — I believe not used since the reign of 
King John). She was, and is, very flourishing and 
fat, and reckoned very large for her days — squalls 
and sucks incessantly. Are you answered ? Her 
mother is doing very well, and up again. 

" I have now been married a year on the second 
of this month — heigh-ho ! I have seen nobody 
lately much worth noting, except S * * and another 
general of the Gauls, once or twice at dinners out of 
doors. S * * is a fine, foreign, villanous-looking, 
intelligent, and very agreeable man ; his compatriot 
is more of the petit-maitre, and younger, but I should 
think not at all of the same intellectual calibre with 
the Corsican — which S * *, you know, is, and a 
cousin of Napoleon's. 

" Are you never to be expected in town again? 
To be sure, there is no one here of the 1500 fillers 
of hot-rooms, called the fashionable world. My ap- 
proaching papa-ship detained us for advice, &c. &c. 

o c 2 

196 NOTICES OF THE 1816". 

though I would as soon be here as any where else on 
this side of the Straits of Gibraltar. 

" I would gladly — or, rather, sorrowfully — com- 
ply with your request of a dirge for the poor girl 
you mention.* But how can I write on one I have 
never seen or known ? Besides, you will do it much 
better yourself. I could not write upon any thing, 
without some personal experience and foundation ; 
far less on a theme so peculiar. Now, you have both 
in this case ; and, if you had neither, you have more 
imagination, and would never fail. 

" This is but a dull scrawl, and I am but a dull fel- 
low. Just at present, I am absorbed in 500 contra- 
dictory contemplations, though with but one object 
in view — which will probably end in nothing, as 
most things we wish do. But never mind, — as 
somebody says, ' for the blue sky bends over all.' I 
only could be glad, if it bent over me where it is a 
little bluer ; like the ' skyish top of blue Olympus,' 
which, by the way, looked very white when I last 
saw it. 

" Ever," &c 

On reading over the foregoing letter, I was much 
struck by the tone of melancholy that pervaded it ; 
and well knowing it to be the habit of the writer's 
mind to seek relief, when under the pressure of any 

* I had mentioned to him, as a subject worthy of his best 
powers of pathos, a melancholy event which had just occurred 
in my neighbourhood, and to which I have myself made allu- 
sion in one of the Sacred Melodies — " Weep not for her." 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 197 

disquiet or disgust, in that sense of freedom which 
told him that there were homes for him elsewhere, 
I could perceive, I thought, in his recollections of 
the " blue Olympus," some return of the restless 
and roving spirit, which unhappiness or impatience 
always called up in his mind. I had, indeed, at 
the time when he sent me those melancholy verses, 
" There's not a joy this world can give," &c. felt 
some vague apprehensions as to the mood into 
which his spirits then seemed to be sinking, and, in 
acknowledging the receipt of the verses, thus tried to 
banter him out of it: — "But why thus on your stool 
of melancholy again, Master Stephen ? — This will 
never do — it plays the deuce with all the matter- 
of-fact duties of life, and you must bid adieu to it. 
Youth is the only time when one can be melancholy 
with impunity. As life itself grows sad and serious 
we have nothing for it but — to be as much as pos- 
sible the contrary." 

My absence from London during the whole of this 
year had deprived me of all opportunities of judging 
for myself how far the appearances of his domestic 
state gave promise of happiness ; nor had any ru- 
mours reached me which at all inclined me to sus- 
pect that the course of his married life hitherto 
exhibited less smoothness than such unions,— on the 
surface, at least, — generally wear. The strong 
and affectionate terms in which, soon after the mar- 
riage, he had, in some of the letters I have given, 
declared his own happiness — a declaration which 
his known frankness left me no room to question — 
had, in no small degree, tended to still those appre- 

o 3 

198 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

hensions which my first view of the lot he had 
chosen for himself awakened. I could not, however, 
but observe that these indications of a contented 
heart soon ceased. His mention of the partner of 
his home became more rare and formal, and there 
was observable, I thought, through some of his let- 
ters a feeling of unquiet and weariness that brought 
back all those gloomy anticipations with which I had, 
from the first, regarded his fate. This last letter ot 
his, in particular, struck me as full of sad omen, and, 
in the course of my answer, I thus noticed to him 
the impression it had made on me : — " And so you 
are a whole year married ! — 

' It was last year I vow'd to thee 
That fond impossibility.' 

Do you know, my dear B., there was a something in 
your last letter — a sort of unquiet mystery, as well 
as a want of your usual elasticity of spirits — which 
has hung upon my mind unpleasantly ever since. I 
long to be near you, that I might know how you 
really look and feel ; for these letters tell nothing, 
and one word, a quattrocchi, is worth whole reams 
of correspondence. But only do tell me you are 
happier than that letter has led me to fear, and I 
shall be satisfied." 

It was in a few weeks after this latter communica- 
tion between us that Lady Byron adopted the reso- 
lution of parting from him. She had left London 
about the middle of January, on a visit to her father's 
house, in Leicestershire, and Lord Byron was, in a 
short time after, to follow her. They had parted 



in the utmost kindness, — she wrote him a letter, 
full of playfulness and affection, on the road, and, 
immediately on her arrival at Kirkby Mallory, her 
father wrote to acquaint Lord Byron that she would 
return to him no more. At the time when he had 
to stand this unexpected shock, his pecuniary em- 
barrassments, which had been fast gathering around 
him during the whole of the last year (there having 
been no less than eight or nine executions in his 
house within that period), had arrived at their 
utmost; and at a moment when, to use his own 
strong expressions, he was " standing alone on his 
hearth, with his household gods shivered around 
him," he was also doomed to receive the startling 
intelligence that the wife who had just parted with 
him in kindness, had parted with him — for ever. 
About this time the following note was written : — 


" February 8. 1816. 

" Do not mistake me — I really returned your 
book for the reason assigned, and no other. It is 
too good for so careless a fellow. I have parted 
with all my own books, and positively won't deprive 
you of so valuable ' a drop of that immortal man.' 

" I shall be very glad to see you, if you like to call, 
though I am at present contending with ' the slings 
and arrows of outrageous fortune,' some of which 
have struck at me from a quarter whence I did not 

indeed expect them But, no matter, * there is a 

world elsewhere,' and I will cut my way through 
this as I can. 

o 4 

200 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

" If you write to Moore, will you tell him that I 
shall answer his letter the moment I can muster 
time and spirits ? Ever yours, 

« Bn." 

The rumours of the separation did not reach me 
till more than a week afterwards, when I immediately 
wrote to him thus : — "I am most anxious to hear 
from you, though I doubt whether I ought to men- 
tion the subject on which I am so anxious. If, how- 
ever, what I heard last night, in a letter from town, 
be true, you will know immediately what I allude to, 
and just communicate as much or as little upon the 
subject as you think proper; — only something I 
should like to know, as soon as possible, from your- 
self, in order to set my mind at rest with respect to 
the truth or falsehood of the report." The following 
is his answer : — 

Letter 233. TO MR. MOORE. 

" February 29. 1816. 

" I have not answered your letter for a time ; and. 
at present, the reply to part of it might extend to 
such a length, that I shall delay it till it can be made 
in person, and then I will shorten it as much as I can. 

" In the mean time, I am at war ' with all the 
world and his wife ;' or rather, ' all the world and my 
wife' are at war with me, and have not yet crushed 
me, — whatever they may do. I don't know that in 
the course of a hair-breadth existence I was ever, at 
home or abroad, in a situation so completely uproot- 
ing of present pleasure, or rational hope for the 



future, as this same. I say this, because I think so, 
and feel it. But I shall not sink under it the more 
for that mode of considering the question — I have 
made up my mind. 

" By the way, however, you must not believe all 
you hear on the subject ; and don't attempt to de- 
fend me. If you succeeded in that, it would be a 
mortal, or an immortal, offence — who can bear re- 
futation ? I have but a very short answer for those 
whom it concerns ; and all the activity of myself and 
some vigorous friends have not yet fixed on any 
tangible ground or personage, on which or with whom 
I can discuss matters, in a summary way, with a 
fair pretext ; — though I nearly had nailed one yes- 
terday, but he evaded by — what was judged by 
others — a satisfactory explanation. I speak of 
circulators — against whom I have no enmity, though 
I must act according to the common code of usage, 
when I hit upon those of the serious order. 

" Now for other matters — poesy, for instance. 
Leigh Hunt's poem is a devilish good one — quaint, 
here and there, but with the substratum of originality, 
and with poetry about it, that will stand the test. I 
do not say this because he has inscribed it to me, 
which I am sorry for, as I should otherwise have 
begged you to review it in the Edinburgh. * It is 

* My re-ply to this part of his letter was, I find, as follows : 
— " With respect to Hunt's poem, though it is, I own, full 
of beauties, and though I like himself sincerely, I really could 
not undertake to praise it sei~iousli/. There is so much of the 
quizzible in all he writes, that I never can put on the proper 
pathetic face in reading him." 

202 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

really deserving of much praise, and a favourable 
critique in the E. R. would but do it justice, and set 
it up before the public eye where it ought to be. 

" How are you ? and where ? I have not the 
most distant idea what I am going to do myself, or 
with myself — or where — or what. I had, a few 
weeks ago, some things to say that would have made 
j r ou laugh ; but they tell me now that I must not 
laugh, and so I have been very serious — and am. 

" I have not been very well — with a liver com- 
plaint — but am much better within the last fortnight, 
though still under Iatrical advice. I have latterly 
seen a little of * * * * 

" I must go and dress to dine. My little girl is in 
the country, and, they tell me, is a very fine child, 
and now nearly three months old. Lady Noel (my 
mother-in-law, or, rather, at law) is at present over- 
looking it. Her daughter (Miss Milbanke that was) 
is, I believe, in London with her father. A Mrs. C. 
(now a kind of housekeeper and spy of Lady N.'s) 
who, in her better days, was a washerwoman, is sup- 
posed to be — by the learned — very much the 
occult cause of our late domestic discrepancies. 

" In all this business, I am the sorriest for Sir 
Ralph. He and I are equally punished, though 
magis pares quam similes in our affliction. Yet it is 
hard for both to suffer for the fault of one, and so it 
is — I shall be separated from my wife ; he will 
retain his. 

" Ever," &c. 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYROX. 203 

In my reply to this letter, written a few clays after, 
there is a passage which (though containing an opi- 
nion it might have been more prudent, perhaps, to 
conceal,) I feel myself called upon to extract on ac- 
count of the singularly generous avowal, — honourable 
alike to both the parties in this unhappy affair, — 
which it was the means of drawing from Lord Byron. 
The following are my words : — "I am much in the 
same state as yourself with respect to the subject of 
your letter, my mind being so full of things which I 
don't know how to write about, that / too must defer 
the greater part of them till we meet in May, when 
I shall put you fairly on your trial for all crimes and 
misdemeanors. In the mean time, you will not be 
at a loss for judges, nor executioners either, if they 
could have their will. The world, in their generous 
ardour to take what they call the weaker side, soon 
contrive to make it most formidably the strongest. 
Most sincerely do I grieve at what has happened. 
It has upset all my wishes and theories as to the in- 
fluence of marriage on your life ; for, instead of 
bringing jrou, as I expected, into something like a 
regular orbit, it has only cast you off again into in- 
finite space, and left you, I fear, in a far worse state 
than it found you. As to defending you, the only 
person with whom I have yet attempted this task is 
myself; and, considering the little I know upon the 
subject, (or rather, perhaps, oiving to this cause,) I 
have hitherto done it with very tolerable success. 
After all, your choice was the misfortune. I never 
liked, — but I'm here wandering into the unopp-ziTa, 

201 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

and so must change the subject for a far pleasanter 
one, your last new poems, which," &c. &c. 

The return of post brought me the following 
answer, which, while it raises our admiration of the 
generous candour of the writer, but adds to the 
sadness and strangeness of the whole transaction. 

Letter 234. TO MR. MOORE. 

" March 8. 1816. 

" I rejoice in your promotion as Chairman and 
Charitable Steward, ccc. &c, These be dignities 
which await only the virtuous. But then, recollect 
you are six and thirty, (I speak this enviously — not 
of your age, but the ' honour — love — obedience — 
troops of friends,' which accompany it,) and I have 
eight years good to run before I arrive at such hoary 
perfection ; by which time, — if I am at all *, — it 
will probably be in a state of grace or progressing 

" I must set you right in one point, however. 
The fault was not — no, nor even the misfortune — in 
my ' choice ' (unless in choosing at all) — for I do 
not believe — and I must say it, in the very dregs 
of all this bitter business — that there ever was a 
better, or even a brighter, a kinder, or a more amiable 
and agreeable being than Lady B. I never had, nor 

* This sad doubt, — "if I am at all," — becomes no less 
singular than sad when we recollect that six and thirty was 
actually the age when he ceased to " be," and at a moment, 
too, when (as even the least friendly to him allow) he was in 
that state of "progressing merits" which he here jestingly 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 205 

can have, any reproach to make her, while with me. 
Where there is blame, it belongs to myself, and, if I 
cannot redeem, I must bear it. 

" Her nearest relatives are a * * * * — my cir- 
cumstances have been and are in a state of great 
confusion — my health has been a good deal dis- 
ordered, and my mind ill at ease for a considerable 
period. Such are the causes (I do not name them 
as excuses) which have frequently driven me into 
excess, and disqualified my temper for comfort. 
Something also may be attributed to the strange 
and desultory habits which, becoming my own mas- 
ter at an early age, and scrambling about, over and 
through the world, may have induced. I still, how- 
ever, think that, if I had had a fair chance, by being 
placed in even a tolerable situation, I might have 
gone on fairly. But that seems hopeless, — and 
there is nothing more to be said. At present — 
except my health, which is better (it is odd, but 
agitation or contest of any kind gives a rebound to 
my spirits and sets me up for the time) — I have to 
battle with all kinds of unpleasantnesses, including 
private and pecuniary difficulties, &c. &c. 

" I believe I may have said this before to you, 
but I risk repeating it. It is nothing to bear the 
privations of adversity, or, more properly, ill fortune ; 
but my pride recoils from its indignities. However, 
I have no quarrel with that same pride, which will, 
I think, buckler me through every thing. If my 
heart could have been broken, it would have been 
so years ago, and by events more afflicting than 

206 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

" I agree with you (to turn from this topic to our 
shop) that I have written too much. The last things 
were, however, published very reluctantly by me, 
and for reasons I will explain when we meet. I 
know not why I have dwelt so much on the same 
scenes, except that I find them fading, or confusing 
(if such a word may be) in my memory, in the 
midst of present turbulence and pressure, and I felt 
anxious to stamp before the die was worn out. I 
now break it. With those countries, and events 
connected with them, all my really poetical feelings 
begin and end. Were I to try, I could make nothing 
of any other subject, and that I have apparently ex- 
hausted. ' Wo to him,' says Voltaire, ' who says all 
lie could say on any subject.' There are some on 
which, perhaps, I could have said still more : but I 
leave them all, and too soon. 

" Do you remember the lines I sent you early 
last year, which you still have ? I don't wish (like 
Mr. Fitzgerald, in the Morning Post) to claim the 
character of ' Vates ' in all its translations, but were 
they not a little prophetic ? I mean those beginning, 
' There's not a joy the world can,' &c. &c, on which 
I rather pique myself as being the truest, though 
the most melancholy, I ever wrote. 

" What a scrawl have I sent you ! You say nothing 
of yourself, except that you are a Lancasterian 
churchwarden, and an encourager of mendicants. 
When are you out ? and how is your family ? My 
child is very well and flourishing, I hear; but I 
must see also. I feel no disposition to resign it to 
the contagion of its grandmother's society, though I 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. c i07 

am unwilling to take it from the mother. It is 
weaned, however, and something about it must be 
decided. Ever," &c. 

Having already gone so far in laying open to my 
readers some of' the sentiments which I entertained, 
respecting Lord Byron's marriage, at a time when, 
little foreseeing that I should ever become his bio- 
grapher, I was, of course, uninfluenced by the peculiar 
bias supposed to belong to that task, it may still fur- 
ther, perhaps, be permitted me to extract from my 
reply to the foregoing letter some sentences of 
explanation which its contents seemed to me to 

" I had certainly no right to say any thing about 
the unluckiness of your choice, though I rejoice now 
that I did, as it has drawn from you a tribute which, 
however unaccountable and mysterious it renders 
the whole affair, is highly honourable to both parties. 
What I meant in hinting a doubt with respect to 
the object of your selection did not imply the least 
impeachment of that perfect amiableness which the 
world, I find, by common consent, allows to her. I 
only feared that she might have been too perfect — 
too precisely excellent — too matter-of-fact a para- 
gon for you to coalesce with comfortably ; and that 
a person whose perfection hung in more easy folds 
about her, whose brightness was softened down by 
some of ' those fair defects which best conciliate 
love,' would, by appealing more dependency to your 
protection, have stood a much better chance with 

208 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

jour good nature. All these suppositions, however, 
I have been led into by my intense anxiety to acquit 
you of any thing like a capricious abandonment of 
such a woman * ; and, totally in the dark as I am 
with respect to all but the fact of your separation, 
you cannot conceive the solicitude, the fearful soli- 
citude, with which I look forward to a history of the 
transaction from your own lips when we meet, — a 
history in which I am sure of, at least, one virtue — 
manly candour." 

With respect to the causes that may be supposed 
to have led to this separation, it seems needless, with 
the characters of both parties before our eyes, to go 
in quest of any very remote or mysterious reasons 
to account for it. I have already, in some observ- 
ations on the general character of men of genius, 
endeavoured to point out those peculiarities, both 
in disposition and habitudes, by which, in the far 
greater number of instances, they have been found 
unfitted for domestic happiness. Of these defects, 
(which are, as it were, the shadow that genius casts, 
and too generally, it is to be feared, in proportion to 
its stature,) Lord Byron could not, of course, fail to 
have inherited his share, in common with all the 
painfully-gifted class to which he belonged. How 
thoroughly, with respect to one attribute of this 
temperament which he possessed, — one, that " sick- 
lies o'er " the face of happiness itself, — he was un- 

* It will be perceived from this that I was as yet unac- 
quainted with the true circumstances of the transaction. 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 209 

derstood by the person most interested in observing 
him, will appear from the following anecdote, as re- 
lated by himself. * 

" People have wondered at the melancholy which 
runs through my writings. Others have wondered 
at my personal gaiety. But I recollect once, after 
an hour in which I had been sincerely and particu- 
larly gay and rather brilliant, in company, my wife 
replying to me when I said (upon her remarking my 
high spirits), ' And yet, Bell, I have been called and 
miscalled melancholy — you must have seen how 
falsely, frequently ? ' — ' No, Byron,' she answered, 
' it is not so : at heart you are the most melancholy 
of mankind ; and often when apparently gayest.' ' : 

To these faults and sources of faults inherent, in 
his own sensitive nature, he added also many of 
those which a long indulgence of self-will generates, 
— the least compatible, of all others, (if not softened 
down, as they were in him, by good nature,) with 
that system of mutual concession and sacrifice by 
which the balance of domestic peace is maintained. 
When we look back, indeed, to the unbridled career, 
of which this marriage was meant to be the goal, — 
to the rapid and restless course in which his life had 
run along, like a burning train, through a series of 
wanderings, adventures, successes, and passions, the 
fever of all which was still upon him, when, with the 
same headlong recklessness, he rushed into this mar- 
riage, — it can but little surprise us that, in the space 
of one short year, he should not have been able to re- 

* MS.—" Detached Thoughts. 


210 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

cover all at once from his bewilderment, or to settle 
down into that tame level of conduct which the close 
observers of his every action required. As well 
might it be expected that a steed like his own Ma- 

" Wild as the wild deer and untaught, 
With spur and bridle undefiled — 
'Twas but a day he had been caught," 

should stand still, when reined, without chafing or 
champing the bit. 

Even had the new condition of life into which he 
passed been one of prosperity and smoothness, some 
time, as well as tolerance, must still have been 
allowed for the subsiding of so excited a spirit into 
rest. But, on the contrary, his marriage (from the 
reputation, no doubt, of the lady, as an heiress,) was, 
at once, a signal for all the arrears and claims of a 
long-accumulating state of embarrassment to explode 
upon him ; — his door was almost daily beset by 
duns, and his house nine times during that year in 
possession of bailiffs * ; while, in addition to these 

* An anecdote connected with one of these occasions is thus 
related in the Journal just referred to : — 

" When the bailiff (for I have seen most kinds of life) came 
upon me in 1815 to seize my chattels, (being a peer of parlia- 
ment, my person was beyond him,) being curious (as is my 
habit), I first asked him " what extents elsewhere he had 
for government ? " upon which he showed me one upon one 
house only for seventy thousand pounds ! Next I asked him if 
lie had nothing for Sheridan ? " Oh — Sheridan ! " said he ; 
"ay, I have this" (pulling out a pocket-book, &c. ); "but, 
my Lord, I have been in Sheridan's house a twelvemonth at a 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 211 

anxieties and — what he felt still more — indignities 
of poverty, he had also the pain of fancying, whether 
rightly or wrongly, that the eyes of enemies and 
spies were upon him, even under his own roof, and 
that his every hasty word and look were interpreted 
in the most perverting light. 

As, from the state of their means, his lady and he 
saw but little society, his only relief from the 
thoughts which a life of such embarrassment brought 
with it was in those avocations which his duty, as a 
member of the Drury Lane Committee, imposed 
upon him. And here, — in this most unlucky con- 
nection with the theatre, — one of the fatalities of 
his short year of trial, as husband, lay. From the 
reputation which he had previously acquired for gal- 
lantries, and the sort of reckless and boyish levity to 
which — often in very "bitterness of soul " — he 
gave way, it was not difficult to bring suspicion upon 
some of those acquaintances which his frequent in- 
tercourse with the green-room induced him to 
form, or even (as, in one instance, was the case,) to 
connect with his name injuriously that of a person 
to whom he had scarcely ever addressed a single 

time — a civil gentleman — knows how to deal with us," 
&c. &c. &c. Our own business was then discussed, which 
was none of the easiest for me at that time. But the man was 
civil, and (what I valued more) communicative. I had met 
many of his brethren, years before, in affairs of my friends, 
(commoners, that is,) but this was the first (or second) on my 
own account. — A civil man ; fee'd accordingly ; probably he 
anticipated as much." 

p 2 

212 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

Notwithstanding, however, this ill-starred con- 
currence of circumstances, which might have palli- 
ated any excesses either of temper or conduct into 
which they drove him, it was, after all, I am per- 
suaded, to no such serious causes that the unfortu- 
nate alienation, which so soon ended in disunion, is 
to be traced. " In all the marriages I have ever 
seen," says Steele, " most of which have been 
unhappy ones, the great cause of evil has proceeded 
from slight occasions;" and to this remark, I think, 
the marriage under ovir consideration would not be 
found, upon enquiry, to be an exception. Lord 
Byron himself, indeed, when at Cephalonia, a short 
time before his death, seems to have expressed, in a 
few words, the whole pith of the mystery. An 
English gentleman with whom he was conversing on 
the subject of Lady Byron, having ventured to enu- 
merate to him the various causes he had heard alleged 
for the separation, the noble poet, who had seemed 
much amused with their absurdity and falsehood, said, 
after listening to them all, — " The causes, my dear 
sir, were too simple to be easily found out." 

In truth, the circumstances, so unexampled, that 
attended their separation, — the last words of the 
parting wife to the husband being those of the most 
playful affection, while the language of the deserted 
husband towards the wife was in a strain, as the 
world knows, of tenderest eulogy, — are in them- 
selves a sufficient proof that, at the time of then- 
parting, there could have been no very deep sense 
of injury on either side. It was not till afterwards 
that, in both bosoms, the repulsive force came into 

1816. I1FE OF LORD BYRON. 213 

operation, — when, to the party which had taken the 
first decisive step in the strife, it became naturally 
a point of pride to persevere in it with dignity, and 
this unbendingness provoked, as naturally, in the 
haughty spirit of the other, a strong feeling of 
resentment which overflowed, at last, in acrimony 
and scorn. If there be any truth, however, in the 
principle, that they " never pardon who have done 
the wrong," Lord Byron, who was, to the last, 
disposed to reconciliation, proved so far, at least, 
his conscience to have been unhaunted by any very 
disturbing consciousness of aggression. 

But though it would have been difficult, perhaps, 
for the victims of this strife, themselves, to have 
pointed out any single, or definite, cause for their 
disunion, — beyond that general incompatibility which 
is the canker of all such marriages, — the public, which 
seldom allows itself to be at a fault on these occasions, 
was, as usual, ready with an ample supply of reasons 
for the breach, — all tending to blacken the already 
darkly painted character of the poet, and represent- 
ing him, in short, as a finished monster of cruelty 
and depravity. The reputation of the object of his 
choice for every possible virtue, (a reputation which 
had been, I doubt not, one of his own chief incen- 
tives to the marriage, from the vanity, reprobate as 
he knew he was deemed, of being able to win such a 
paragon,) was now turned against him by his assail- 
ants, not only in the way of contrast with his own 
character, but as if the excellences of the wife were 
proof positive of every enormity they chose to charge 
upon the husband. 

p 3 

214- NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

Meanwhile, the unmoved silence of the lady herself, 
(from motives, it is but fair to suppose, of generosity 
and delicacy,) under the repeated demands made 
for a specification of her charges against him, left to 
malice and imagination the fullest range for their 
combined industry. It was accordingly stated, and 
almost universally believed, that the noble lord's 
second proposal to Miss Milbanke had been but 
with a view to revenge himself for the slight 
inflicted by her refusal of the first, and that he 
himself had confessed so much to her on their way 
from church. At the time when, as the reader has 
seen from his own honey-moon letters, he was, with 
all the good will in the world, imagining himself into 
happiness, and even boasting, in the pride of his fancy, 
that if marriage were to be upon lease, he would 
gladly renew his own for a term of ninety-nine years, 
— at this very time, according to these veracious 
chroniclers, he was employed in darkly following up 
the aforesaid scheme of revenge, and tormenting his 
lady by all sorts of unmanly cruelties, — such as 
firing off pistols, to frighten her as she lay in bed *, 
and other such freaks. 

* For this story, however, there was so far a foundation that 
the practice to which he had accustomed himself from boy- 
hood, of having loaded pistols always near him at night, was 
considered so strange a propensity as to be included in that list 
of symptoms (sixteen, I believe, in number,) which were sub- 
mitted to medical opinion, in proof of his insanity. Another 
symptom was the emotion, almost to hysterics, which he had 
exhibited on seeing Kean act Sir Giles Overreach. But the 
most plausible of all the grounds, as he himself used to allow, 


To the falsehoods concerning his green-room inti- 
macies, and particularly with respect to one beauti- 
ful actress, with whom, in reality, he had hardly 
ever exchanged a single word, I have already ad- 
verted ; and the extreme confidence with which this 
tale was circulated and believed affords no unfair 
specimen of the sort of evidence with which the 
public, in all such fits of moral wrath, is satisfied. 
It is, at the same time, very far from my intention 
to allege that, in the course of the noble poet's 
intercourse with the theatre, he was not sometimes 
led into a line of acquaintance and converse, un- 
befitting, if not dangerous to, the steadiness of mar- 
ried life. But the imputations against him on this 
head were (as far as affected his conjugal character) 
not the less unfounded, — as the sole case in which 
he afforded any thing like real grounds for such an 
accusation did not take place till after the period of 
the separation. 

Not content with such ordinary and tangible 
charges, the tongue of rumour was emboldened to 
proceed still further ; and, presuming upon the 
mysterious silence maintained by one of the parties, 

on which these articles of impeachment against his sanity were 
drawn up, was an act of violence committed by him on a favour- 
ite old watch that had been his companion from boyhood, and 
had gone with him to Greece. In a fit of vexation and rage, 
brought on by some of those humiliating embarrassments to 
which he was now almost daily a prey, he furiously dashed 
this watch upon the hearth, and ground it to pieces among the 
ashes with the poker. 

P 4 


ventured to throw out dark hints and vague insinu- 
ations, of which the fancy of every hearer was left 
to fill up the outline as he pleased. In consequence 
of all this exaggeration, such an outcry was now 
raised against Lord Byron as, in no case of private, 
life, perhaps, was ever before witnessed ; nor had the 
whole amount of fame which he had gathered, in 
the course of the last four years, much exceeded in 
proportion the reproach and obloquy that were now, 
within the space of a few weeks, showered upon him. 
In addition to the many who, no doubt, conscientiously 
believed and reprobated what they had but too much 
right, whether viewing him as poet or man of fashion, 
to consider credible excesses, there were also actively 
on the alert that large class of persons who seem to 
hold violence against the vices of others to be equi- 
valent to virtue in themselves, together with all those 
natural haters of success who, having long sickened 
under the splendour of the poet, were now enabled, 
in the guise of champions for innocence, to wreak 
their spite on the man. In every various form 
of paragraph, pamphlet, and caricature, both his 
character and person were held up to odium * ; — 

* Of the abuse lavished upon him, the following extract 
from a poem, published at this time, will give some idea : — 

" From native England, that endured too long 
The ceaseless burden of his impious song ; 
His mad career of crimes and follies run, 
And grey in vice, when life was scarce begun ; 
He goes, in foreign lands prepared to find 
A life more suited to his guilty mind ; 
Where other climes new pleasures may supply 
For that pall'd taste, and that unhallow'd eye ; — 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 217 

hardly a voice was raised, or at least listened to, in 
his behalf; and though a few faithful friends re- 
mained unshaken by his side, the utter hopelessness 
of stemming the torrent was felt as well by them as 
by himself, and, after an effort or two to gain a fair 
hearing, they submitted in silence. Among the 
few attempts made by himself towards confuting his 
calumniators was an appeal (such as the following 
short letter contains) to some of those persons with 
whom he had been in the habit of living familiarly. 

Letter 235. TO MR. ROGERS. 

" March 25. 1 S 1 6. 

" You are one of the few persons with whom I 
have lived in what is called intimacy, and have 
heard me at times conversing on the untoward topic 
of my recent family disquietudes. Will you have 
the goodness to say to me at once, whether you 
ever heard me speak of her with disrespect, with 
unkindness, or defending myself at her expense by 
any serious imputation of any description against 

Wisely he seeks some yet untrodden shore, 

For those who know him less may pme him more." 

Tn a rhyming pamphlet, too, entitled " A Poetical Epistle 
from Delia, addressed to Lord Byron," the writer thus cha- 
ritably expresses herself: — 

" Hopeless of peace below, and, shuddering thought ! 
Far from that Heav'n, denied, if never sought, 
Thy light a beacon — a reproach thy name — 
Thy memory " damn'd to everlasting fame," 
Shunn'd by the wise, admired by fools alone — 
The good shall mourn thee — and the Muse disown." 

218 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

her ? Did you never hear me say ' that when there 
was a right or a wrong, she had the right?' — The 
reason I put these questions to you or others of my 
friends is, because I am said, by her and hers, to 
have resorted to such means of exculpation. 

" Ever very truly yours, 

« B." 

In those Memoirs (or, more properly, Memoranda,) 
of the noble poet, which it was thought expedient, 
for various reasons, to sacrifice, he gave a detailed 
account of all the circumstances connected with his 
marriage, from the first proposal to the lady till his 
own departure, after the breach, from England. In 
truth, though the title of " Memoirs," which he 
himself sometimes gave to that manuscript, conveys 
the idea of a complete and regular piece of biography, 
it was to this particular portion of his life that the 
work was principally devoted ; while the anecdotes, 
having reference to other parts of his career, not 
only occupied a very disproportionate space in its 
pages, but were most of them such as are found 
repeated in the various Journals and other MSS. he 
left behind. The chief charm, indeed, of that nar- 
rative, was the melancholy playfulness — melancholy, 
from the wounded feeling so visible through its 
pleasantry — with which events unimportant and 
persons uninteresting, in almost every respect but 
their connection with such a man's destiny, were 
detailed and described in it. Frank, as usuaL 
throughout, in his avowal of his own errors, and 
generously just towards her who was his fellow- 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 219 

sufferer in the strife, the impression his recital left 
on the minds of all who perused it was, to say the 
least, favourable to him ; — though, upon the whole, 
leading to a persuasion, which I have already inti- 
mated to be my own, that, neither in kind nor 
degree, did the causes of disunion between the 
parties much differ from those that loosen the links 
of most such marriages. 

With respect to the details themselves, though all 
important in his own eyes at the time, as being con- 
nected with the subject that superseded most others 
in his thoughts, the interest they would possess for 
others, now that their first zest as a subject of scan- 
dal is gone by, and the greater number of the persons 
to whom they relate forgotten, would be too slight 
to justify me in entering upon them more particularly, 
or running the risk of any offence that might be in- 
flicted by their disclosure. As far as the character 
of the illustrious subject of these pages is concerned, 
I feel that Time and Justice are doing far more in its 
favour than could be effected by any such gossiping 
details. During the lifetime of a man of genius, the 
world is but too much inclined to judge of him 
rather by what he wants than by what he possesses, 
and even where conscious, as in the present case, 
that his defects are among the sources of his great- 
ness, to require of him unreasonably the one with- 
out the other. If Pope had not been splenetic and 
irritable, we should have wanted his Satires ; and an 
impetuous temperament, and passions untamed, were 
indispensable to the conformation of a poet like 
Byron. It is by posterity only that full justice is 

220 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

rendered to those who have paid such hard penalties 
to reach it. The dross that had once hung about 
the ore drops away, and the infirmities, and even 
miseries, of genius are forgotten in its greatness. 
Who now asks whether Dante was right or wrong 
in his matrimonial differences? or by how many of 
those whose fancies dwell fondly on his Beatrice is 
even the name of his Gemma Donati remembered ? 
Already, short as has been the interval since Lord 
Byron's death, the charitable influence of time in 
softening, if not rescinding, the harsh judgments of 
the world against genius is visible. The utter un- 
reasonableness of trying such a character by ordinary 
standards, or of expecting to find the materials of 
order and happiness in a bosom constantly heaving 
forth from its depths such " lava floods," is — now 
that his spirit has passed from among us — felt and 
acknowledged. In reviewing the circumstances of 
his marriage, a more even scale of justice is held ; 
and while every tribute of sympathy and commis- 
eration is accorded to her, who, unluckily for her 
own peace, became involved in such a destiny, — 
who, with virtues and attainments that would have 
made the home of a more ordinary man happy, 
undertook, in evil hour, to " turn and wind a fiery 
Pegasus," and but failed where it may be doubted 
whether even the fittest for such a task would have 
succeeded, — full allowance is, at the same time, 
made for the great martyr of genius himself, whom 
so many other causes, beside that restless fire within 
him, concurred to unsettle in mind and (as he himself 
feelingly expresses it) " disqualify for comfort ;" — 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 221 

whose doom it was to be either thus or less great, 
and whom to have tamed might have been to extin- 
guish ; there never, perhaps, having existed an 
individual to whom, whether as author or man, the 
following line was more applicable : — 

" Si non errasset, fecerat ille minus." * 

While these events were going on, — events, of 
which his memory and heart bore painfully the 
traces through the remainder of his short life, — 
some occurrences took place, connected with his 
literary history, to which it is a relief to divert the 
attention of the reader from the distressing subject 
that has now so long detained us. 

The letter that follows was in answer to one re- 
ceived from Mr. Murray, in which that gentleman 
had enclosed him a draft for a thousand guineas for 
the copyright of his two poems, The Siege of Corinth 
and Parisina : — 

Letter 236. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" January 3. 1816. 

" Your offer is liberal in the extreme, (you see I 
use the word to you and of you, though I would not 
consent to your using it of yourself to Mr. * * * *,) 
and much more than the two poems can possibly be 
worth ; but I cannot accept it, nor will not. You are 
most welcome to them as additions to the collected 
volumes, without any demand or expectation on my 
part whatever. But I cannot consent to their se- 
parate publication. I do not like to risk any fame 

* Had he not erred, lie had far less achieved. 

222 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

(whether merited or not), which I have been favour- 
ed with, upon compositions which I do not feel to be 
at all equal to my own notions of what they should 
be, (and as I flatter myself some have been, here and 
there,) though they may do very well as things with- 
out pretension, to add to the publication with the 
lighter pieces. 

" I am very glad that the handwriting was a favour- 
able omen of the morale of the piece : but you must 
not trust to that, for my copyist would write out any 
thing I desired in all the ignorance of innocence — I 
hope, however, in this instance, with no great peril 
to either. 

" P. S. I have enclosed your draft torn, for fear of 
accidents by the way — I wish you would not throw 
temptation in mine. It is not from a disdain of the 
universal idol, nor from a present superfluity of his 
treasures, I can assure you, that I refuse to worship 
him ; but what is right is right, and must not yield 
to circumstances." 

Notwithstanding the ruinous state of his pecuniary 
affairs, the resolution which the poet had formed not 
to avail himself of the profits of his works still con- 
tinued to be held sacred by him ; and the sum thus 
offered for the copyright of The Siege of Corinth and 
Parisina was, as we see, refused and left untouched in 
the publisher's hands. It happened that, at this time, 
a well-known and.eminent writer on political science 
had been, by some misfortune, reduced to pecuniary 
embarrassment ; and the circumstance having be- 
come known to Mr. Rogers and Sir James Mackin- 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 223 

tosh, it occurred to them that a part of the sum thus 
unappropriated by Lord Byron could not be better 
bestowed than in relieving the necessities of this 
gentleman. The suggestion was no sooner conveyed 
to the noble poet than he proceeded to act upon it ; 
and the following letter to Mr. Rogers refers to his 
intentions : — 

Letter 237. TO MR. ROGERS. 

" February 20. 1816. 

" I wrote to you hastily this morning by Murray, 
to say that I was glad to do as Mackintosh and you 
suggested about Mr. * *. It occurs to me now, that 
as I have never seen Mr. * * but once, and conse- 
quently have no claim to his acquaintance, that you 
or Sir J. had better arrange it with him in such a 
manner as may be least offensive to his feelings, and 
so as not to have the appearance of officiousness nor 
obtrusion on my part. I hope you will be able to do 
this, as I should be very sorry to do any thing by 
him that may be deemed indelicate. The sum 
Murray offered and offers was and is one thousand 
and fifty pounds : — this I refused before, because I 
thought it more than the two things were worth to 
Murray, and from other objections, which are of no 
consequence. I have, however, closed with M., in 
consequence of Sir J.'s and your suggestion, and 
propose the sum of six hundred pounds to be trans- 
ferred to Mr. * * in such a manner as may seem best 
to your friend, — the remainder I think of for other 

" As Murray has offered the money down for the 
copyrights, it may be done directly. I am ready to 



sign and seal Immediately, and perhaps it had better 
not be delayed. I shall feel very glad if it can be 
of any use to * * ; only don't let him be plagued, 
nor think himself obliged and all that, which makes 
people hate one another, &c. Yours, very truly, 

" B." 

In his mention here of other " purposes," he refers 
to an intention which he had of dividing the residue 
of the sum between two other gentlemen of literary 
celebrity, equally in want of such aid, Mr. Maturin 
and Mr. * *. The whole design, however, though 
entered into with the utmost sincerity on the part of 
the noble poet, ultimately failed. Mr. Murray, who 
was well acquainted with the straits to which Lord 
Byron himself had been reduced, and foresaw that a 
time might come when even money thus gained 
would be welcome to him, on learning the uses to 
which the sum was to be applied, demurred in ad- 
vancing it, — alleging that, though bound not only 
by his word but his will to pay the amount to Lord 
Byron, he did not conceive himself called upon to 
part with it to others. How earnestly the noble 
poet himself, though with executions, at the time, 
impending over his head, endeavoured to urge the 
point, will appear from the following letter : — 

Letter 238. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" February 22. 1816. 

" When the sum offered by you, and even pressed 
by you, was declined, it was with reference to a se- 
parate publication, as you know and I know. That it 

]k;,t. life of lord byrox. 225 

was large, I admitted and admit ; and that made part 
of my consideration in refusing it, till I knew better 
what you were likely to make of it. With regard to 
what is past, or is to pass, about Mr. M * *, the 
case is in no respect different from the transfer of 
former copyrights to Mr. Dallas. Had I taken you 
at your word, that is, taken your money, I might 
have used it as I pleased ; and it could be in no re- 
spect different to you whether I paid it to a w , 

or a hospital, or assisted a man of talent in distress. 
The truth of the matter seems this : you offered 
more than the poems are worth. I said so, and I 
think so ; but you know, or at least ought to know, 
your own business best ; and when you recollect 
what passed between you and me upon pecuniary 
subjects before this occurred, you will acquit me of 
any wish to take advantage of your imprudence. 

" The things in question shall not be published al 
all, and there is an end of the matter. 

" Yours," Sec. 

The letter that follows will give some idea of those 
embarrassments in his own affairs, under the pressure 
of which he could be thus considerate of the wants 
of others. 

Letter 239. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" March 6. 181G. 

'* I sent to you to-day for this reason — the books 
you purchased are again seized, and, as matters 
stand, had much better be sold at once by public 

vol. in. Q 

226 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

auction. * I wish to see you to return your bill for 
them, which, thank God, is neither due nor paid. 
That part, as far as you are concerned, being settled, 
(which it can be, and shall be, when I see you to- 
morrow,) I have no further delicacy about the mat- 
ter. This is about the tenth execution in as many 
months ; so I am pretty well hardened ; but it is fit 
I should pay the forfeit of my forefathers' extrava- 
gance and my own ; and whatever my faults may be, 
I suppose they will be pretty well expiated in time 
— or eternity. Ever, &c. 

" P. S. 1 need hardly say that I knew nothing till 
this day of the new seizure. I had released them 
from former ones, and thought, when you took them, 
that they were yours. 

" You shall have your bill again to-morrow." 

* The sale of these books took place the following month, 
and they were described in the catalogue as the property of 
" a Nobleman about to leave England on a tour." 

From a note to Mr. Murray, it would appear that he had 
been first announced as going to the Morea. 

" I hope that the catalogue of the books, &c, has not been 
published without my seeing it. I must reserve several, and 
many ought not to be printed. The advertisement is a very 
bad one. I am not going to the Morea ; and if I was, you 
might as well advertise a man in Russia cs going to Yorkshire. — 
Ever," &c. 

Together with the books was sold an article of furniture, 
which is now in the possession of Mr. Murray, namely, " a 
large screen covered with portraits of actors, pugilists, iepre- 
s^ntations of boxing-matches," &c. 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 227 

During the month of January and part of Feb- 
ruary, his poems of The Siege of Corinth and Parisina 
were in the hands of the printers, and about the end 
of the latter month made their appearance. The 
following letters are the only ones I find connected 
with their publication. 

Letter 240. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" February 3. 1816. 

" I sent for ' Marmion,' which I return, because 
it occurred to me, there might be a resemblance be- 
tween part of ' Parisina ' and a similar scene in 
Canto 2d of ' Marmion.' I fear there is, though I 
never thought of it before, and could hardly wish to 
imitate that which is inimitable. I wish you would 
ask Mr. Gifford whether I ought to say any thing 
upon it ; — I had completed the story on the passage 
from Gibbon, which indeed leads to a like scene 
naturally, without a thought of the kind: but it 
comes upon me not very comfortably. 

" There are a few words and phrases I want to 
alter in the MS., and should like to do it before you 
print, and will return it in an hour. 

" Yours ever." 

Letter 241. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" February 20. 1816. 

" To return to our business — your epistles are 
vastly agreeable. With regard to the observations 
on carelessness, &c. I thimc, with all humility, that 

Q 2 

228 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

the gentle reader has considered a rather uncommon, 
and designedly irregular, versification for haste and 
negligence. The measure is not that of any of the 
other poems, which (I believe) were allowed to be 
tolerably correct, according to Byshe and the fingers 

— or ears — by which bards write, and readers 
reckon. Great part of ' The Siege ' is in (I think) 
what the learned call Anapests, (though I am not 
sure, being heinously forgetful of my metres and my 
'Gradus',) and many of the lines intentionally 
longer or shorter than its rhyming companion ; and 
rhyme also occurring at greater or less intervals of 
caprice or convenience. 

" I mean not to say that this is right or good, but 
merely that I could have been smoother, had it ap- 
peared to me of advantage ; and that I was not 
otherwise without being aware of the deviation, 
though I now feel sorry for it, as I would undoubt- 
edly rather please than not. My wish has been to 
try at something different from my former efforts ; 
as I endeavoured to make them differ from each 
other. The versification of ' The Corsair' is not that 
of ' Lara ; ' nor ' The Giaour ' that of ' The Bride ; ' 
Childe Harold is again varied from these ; and I 
strove to vary the last somewhat from all of the 

" Excuse all this d — d nonsense and egotism. 
The fact is, that I am rather trying to think on 
the subject of this note, than really thinking on it. 

— I did not know you had called : you are always 
admitted and welcome when you choose. 

" Yours. &c. &c. 


" P. S. You need not be in any apprehension or 
grief on my account : were I to be beaten down by 
the world and its inheritors, I should have suc- 
cumbed to many things, years ago. You must not 
mistake my not bullying for dejection ; nor imagine 
that because I feel, I am to faint : — but enough for 
the present. 

" I am sorry for Sotheby's row. What the devil 
is it about ? I thought it all settled ; and if I can 
do any thing about him or Ivan still, I am ready and 
willing. I do not think it proper for me just now to 
be much behind the scenes, but I will see the com- 
mittee and move upon it, if Sotheby likes. 

" If you see Mr. Sotheby, will you tell him that I 
wrote to Mr. Coleridge, on getting Mr. Sotheby's 
note, and have, I hope, done what Mr. S. wished on 
that subject? " 

It was about the middle of April that his two cele- 
brated copies of verses, " Fare thee well," and " A 
Sketch," made their appearance in the newspapers : 
— and while the latter poem was generally and, it 
must be owned, justly condemned, as a sort of lite- 
rary assault on an obscure female, whose situation 
ought to have placed her as much beneath his satire 
as the undignified mode of his attack certainly raised 
her above it, with regard to the other poem, opinions 
were a good deal more divided. To many it ap- 
peared a strain of true conjugal tenderness, a kind 
of appeal, which no woman with a heart could resist : 
while by others, on the contrary, it was considered 
to be a mere showy effusion of sentiment, as difficult 

a 3 

230 NOTICES OF THE ]816. 

for real feeling to have produced as it was easy for 
fancy and art, and altogether unworthy of the deep 
interests involved in the subject. To this latter 
opinion, I confess my own to have, at first, strongly 
inclined; and suspicious as I could not help regard- 
ing the sentiment that could, at such a moment, in- 
dulge in such verses, the taste that prompted or 
sanctioned their publication appeared to me even 
still more questionable. On reading, however, his 
own account of all the circumstances in the 
Memoranda, I found that on both points I had, in 
common with a large portion of the public, done him 
injustice. He there described, and in a manner 
whose sincerity there was no doubting, the swell of 
tender recollections under the influence of which, as 
he sat one night musing in his study, these stanzas 
were produced, — the tears, as he said, falling fast 
over the paper as he wrote them. Neither, from 
that account, did it appear to have been from any 
wish or intention of his own, but through the injudi- 
cious zeal of a friend whom he had suffered to take 
a copy, that the verses met the public eye. 

The appearance of these poems gave additional 
violence to the angry and inquisitorial feeling now 
abroad against him ; and the title under which both 
pieces were immediately announced by various pub- 
lishers, as " Poems by Lord Byron on his domestic 
Circumstances," carried with it a sufficient exposure 
of the utter unfitness of such themes for rhyme. It 
is, indeed, only in those emotions and passions, of 
which imagination forms a predominant ingredient, 
— such as love, in its first dreams, before reality has 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 231 

come to embody or dispel them, or sorrow, in its 
wane, when beginning to pass away from the heart 
into the fancy, — that poetry ought ever to be em- 
ployed as an interpreter of feeling. For the expres- 
sion of all those immediate affections and disquietudes ' 
that have their root in the actual realities of life, the 
art of the poet, from the very circumstance of its being 
an art, as well as from the coloured form in which 
it is accustomed to transmit impressions, cannot be 
otherwise than a medium as false as it is feeble. 

To so very low an ebb had the industry of his as- 
sailants now succeeded in reducing his private cha- 
racter, that it required no small degree of courage, 
even among that class who are supposed to be the 
most tolerant of domestic irregularities, to invite him 
into their society. One distinguished lady of fashion, 
however, ventured so far as, on the eve of his de- 
parture from England, to make a party for him ex- 
pressly ; and nothing short, perhaps, of that high 
station in society which a life as blameless as it is 
brilliant has secured to her, could have placed be- 
yond all reach of misrepresentation, at that moment, 
such a compliment to one marked with the world's 
censure so deeply. At this assembly of Lady J * *'s 
he made his last appearance, publicly, in England ; 
and the amusing account given of some of the 
company in his Memoranda, — of the various and 
characteristic ways in which the temperature of their 
manner towards him was affected by the cloud under 
which he now appeared, — was one of the passages 
of that Memoir it would have been most desirable, 
perhaps, to have preserved; though, from being a 

Q 4 

232 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

gallery of sketches, all personal and many satirical, 
but a small portion of it, if any, could have been pre- 
sented to the public till a time when the originals 
had long left the scene, and any interest they might 
once have excited was gone with themselves. Be- 
sides the noble hostess herself, whose kindness to him, 
on this occasion, he never forgot, there was also one 
other person (then Miss M * *, now Lady K * *,) 
whose frank and fearless cordiality to him on that 
evening he most gratefully commemorated, — adding, 
in acknowledgment of a still more generous service, 
" She is a high-minded woman, and showed me more 
friendship than I deserved from her. I heard also 
of her having defended me in a large company, 
which at that time required more courage and firm- 
ness than most women possess." 

As we are now approaching so near the close 
of his London life, I shall here throw together the 
few remaining recollections of that period with 
which the gleanings of his Memorandum-book, so 
often referred to, furnish me. 

" I liked the Dandies ; they were always very civil 
to me, though in general they disliked literary 
people, and persecuted and mystified Madame de 
Stael, Lewis, * * * *, and the like, damnably. They 
persuaded Madame de Stael that A * * had a 
hundred thousand a year, &c. &c, till she praised 
him to his face for his beauty ! and made a set at 
him for * *, and a hundred fooleries besides. The 
truth is, that, though I gave up the business early, 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 233 

I had a tinge of dandyism * in my minority, and 
probably retained enough of it to conciliate the 
great ones at five-and-twenty. I had gamed, and 
drank, and taken my degrees in most dissipations, 
and having no pedantry, and not being overbearing, 
we ran quietly together. I knew them all more or 
less, and they made me a member of Watier's (a 
superb club at that time), being, I take it, the only 
literary man (except two others, both men of the 
world, Moore and Spenser,) in it. Our masquerade j- 
was a grand one ; so was the dandy-ball too, at the 
Argyle, but that (the latter) was given by the four 
chiefs, B., M., A., and P., if I err not. 

" I was a member of the Alfred, too, being 
elected while in Greece. It was pleasant; a little 
too sober and literary, and bored with * * and Sir 
Francis D' Ivernois ; but one met Peel, and Ward, 
and Valentia, and many other pleasant or known 
people ; and it was, upon the whole, a decent 
resource in a rainy day, in a dearth of parties, or 
parliament, or in an empty season. 

" I belonged, or belong, to the following clubs or 
societies: — to the Alfred; to the Cocoa Tree; to 

* Petrarch was, it appears, also in his youth, a Dandy. 
" Recollect," he says, in a letter to his brother, " the time, 
when we wore white habits, on which the least spot, or a plait 
ill placed, would have been a subject of grief ; when our shoes 
were so tight we suffered martyrdom," &c. 

f To this masquerade he went in the habit of a Caloyer, or 
Eastern monk, — a dress particularly well calculated to set off 
the beauty of his fine countenance, which was accordingly, 
that night, the subject of general admiration. 

234? NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

Watier's ; to the Union ; to Racket's (at Brighton) ; 
to the Pugilistic; to the Owls, or " Fly-by-night;" 
to the Cambridge Whig Club ; to the Harrow Club, 
Cambridge ; and to one or two private clubs ; to the 
Hampden (political) Club ; and to the Italian Carbo- 
nari, &c. &c, ' though last, not least.' I got into 
all these, and never stood for any other — at least to 
my own knowledge. I declined being proposed to 
several others, though pressed to stand candidate." 

" When I met H * * L * *, the gaoler, at Lord 
Holland's, before he sailed for St. Helena, the 
discourse turned upon the battle of Waterloo. I 
asked him whether the dispositions of Napoleon 
were those of a great general? He answered, dis- 
paragingly, ' that they were very simple.' I had 
always thought that a degree of simplicity was an 
ingredient of greatness." 

" I was much struck with the simplicity of 
Grattan's manners in private life ; they were odd, 
but they were natural. Curran used to take him 
off, bowing to the very ground, and ' thanking God 
that he had no peculiarities of gesture or appear- 
ance,' in a way irresistibly ludicrous ; and * * used 
to call him a ' Sentimental Harlequin.' " 

" Curran ! Curran's the man who struck me 
most. * Such imagination ! there never was any 

* In his Memoranda there were equally enthusiastic praises 
of Curran. " The riches," said he, " of his Irish imagination 
were exhaustless. I have heard that man speak more poetry 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 235 

thing like it that ever I saw or heard of. His 
published life — his published speeches, give you no 
idea of the man — none at all. He was a machine 
of imagination, as some one said that Piron was an 
epigrammatic machine. 

" I did not see a great deal of Curran — only in 
1813 ; but I met him at home (for he used to call on 
me), and in society, at Mackintosh's, Holland House, 
&c. &c. and he was wonderful even to me, who had 
seen many remarkable men of the time." 

a * * * (commonly called long * * *, a very clever 
man, but odd) complained of our friend Scrope B. 
Davies, in riding, that he had a stitch in his side. 
' I don't wonder at it,' said Scrope, ' for you ride 
like a tailor. ' Whoever had seen * * * on horseback, 
with his very tall figure on a small nag, would not 
deny the justice of the repartee." 

" When B * * was obliged (by that affair of poor 
M * *, who thence acquired the name of ' Dick the 

than I have ever seen written, — though I saw him seldom and 
but occasionally. I saw him presented to Madame de Stael at 
Mackintosh's; — it was the grand confluence between the 
Rhone and the Saone, and they were both so d — d ugly, that I 
could not help wondering how the best intellects of France and 
Ireland could have taken up respectively such residences." 

In another part, however, he was somewhat more fair to 
Madame de Stael's personal appearance : — " Her figure was 
not bad ; her legs tolerable ; her arms good. Altogether, I 
can conceive her having been a desirable woman, allowing a 
little imagination for her soul, and so forth. She would have 
made a great man." 



Dandy-killer ' ■ — it was about money, and debt, and 
all that) to retire to France, he knew no French, and 
having obtained a grammar for the purpose of study, 
our friend Scrope Davies was asked what progress 
Brummell had made in French ; he responded, 
' that Brummell had been stopped, like Buonaparte 
in Russia, by the Elements' 

" I have put this pun into Beppo, which is 'a fair 
exchange and no robbery ;' for Scrope made his 
fortune at several dinners (as he owned himself) by 
repeating occasionally, as his own, some of the 
buffooneries with which I had encountered him in 
the morning." 


" * * * is a good man, rhymes well (if not wisely), 
but is a bore. He seizes you by the button. One 
night of a rout, at Mrs. Hope's, he had fastened 
upon me, notwithstanding my symptoms of manifest 
distress, (for I was in love, and had just nicked a 
minute when neither mothers, nor husbands, nor 
rivals, nor gossips, were near my then idol, who was 
beautiful as the statues of the gallery where we stood 
at the time,) — * * *, I say, had seized upon me by 
the button and the heart-strings, and spared neither. 
W. Spencer, who likes fun, and don't dislike mis- 
chief, saw my case, and coming up to us both, took 
me by the hand, and pathetically bade me farewell ; 
< for,' said he, ' I see it is all over with you.' * * * 
then went away. Sic me servavit Apollo!' 

" I remember seeing Blucher in the London 
assemblies, and never saw any thing of his age less 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 237 

venerable. With the voice and manners of a re- 
cruiting sergeant, he pretended to the honours of a 
hero, — just as if a stone could be worshipped 
because a man had stumbled over it, " 

We now approach the close of this eventful period 
of his history. In a note to Mr. Rogers, written a 
short time before his departure for Ostend*, he says, 
— " My sister is now with me, and leaves town to- 
morrow ; we shall not meet again for some time, at 
all events — if ever ; and, under these circumstances, 
I trust to stand excused to you and Mr. Sheridan 
for being unable to wait upon him this evening." 

This was his last interview with his sister, — 
almost the only person from whom he now parted 
with regret; it being, as he said, doubtful which had 
given him most pain, the enemies who attacked or 
the friends who condoled with him. Those beau- 
tiful and most tender verses, " Though the day of 
my destiny's over," were now his parting tribute to 
herf who, through all this bitter trial, had been his 
sole consolation ; and, though known to most readers, 
so expressive are they of his wounded feelings at 
this crisis, that there are few, I think, who will 
object to seeing some stanzas of them here. 

" Though the rock of my last hope is shiver'd, 
And its fragments are sunk in the wave, 
Though I feel that my soul is deliver'd 
To pain — it shall not be its slave. 

* Dated April 16. 

h It will be seen, from a subsequent letter, that the first 
stanza of that most cordial of Farewells, " My boat is on the 
shore," was also written at this time. 

238 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

There is many a pang to pursue me : 

They may crush, but they shall not contemn — 

They may torture, but shall not subdue me — 
'Tis of thee that I think — not of them. 

" Though human, thou didst not deceive me, 

Though woman, thou didst not forsake, 
Though lov'd, thou forborest to grieve me, 

Though slander'd, thou never couldst shake, 
Though trusted, thou didst not disclaim me, 

Though parted, it was not to fly, 
Though watchful, 'twas not to defame me, 

Nor mute, that the world might belie. 

" From the wreck of the past, which hath perish'd, 

Thus much I at least may recall, 
It hath taught me that what I most cherish'd 

Deserved to be dearest of all : 
In the desert a fountain is springing, 

In the wide waste there still is a tree, 
And a bird in the solitude singing, 

Which speaks to my spirit of thee." 

On a scrap of paper, in his handwriting, dated 
April 14. 1816, I find the following list of his 
attendants, with an annexed outline of his projected 

tour : — " Servants, Berger, a Swiss, William 

Fletcher, and Robert Rushton. — John William 
Polidori, M. D. — Switzerland, Flanders, Italy, and 
(perhaps) France." The two English servants, it 
will be observed, were the same " yeoman" and 
" page " who had set out with him on his youthful 
travels in 1809; and now, — for the second and 
last time taking leave of his country, — on the 25th 
of April he sailed for Ostend. 



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

Thus surrounded by vexations, and thus deeply 
feeling them, it is not too much to say, that any 

2*0 NOTICES OF THE 18Ifl. 

other spirit but his own would have sunk under the 
struggle, and lost, perhaps irrecoverably, that level 
of self-esteem which alone affords a stand against 
the shocks of fortune. But in him, — furnished as 
was his mind with reserves of strength, waiting to 
be called out, — the very intensity of the pressure 
brought relief by the proportionate re-action which 
it produced. Had his transgressions and frailties 
been visited with no more than their due portion of 
punishment, there can be little doubt that a very 
different result would have ensued. Not only would 
such an excitement have been insufficient to waken 
up the new energies still dormant in him, but that 
consciousness of his own errors, which was for ever 
livelily present in his mind, would, under such cir- 
cumstances, have been left, undisturbed by any un- 
just provocation, to work its usual softening and, 
perhaps, humbling influences on his spirit. But, 
— luckily, as it proved, for the further triumphs of 
his genius, — no such moderation was exercised. 
The storm of invective raised around him, so utterly 
out of proportion with his offences, and the base ca- 
lumnies that were every where heaped upon his 
name, left to his wounded pride no other resource 
than in the same summoning up of strength, the 
same instinct of resistance to injustice, which had 
first forced out the energies of his youthful genius, 
and was now destined to give a still bolder and 
loftier range to its powers. 

It was, indeed, not without truth, said of him by 
Goethe, that he was inspired by the Genius of Pain; 
for, from the first to the last of his agitated career, 

1816. LIFE OF LOUD BYRON. 241 

every fresh recruitment of his faculties was imbibed 
from that bitter source. His chief incentive, when 
a boy, to distinction was, as we have seen, that mark 
of deformity on his person, by an acute sense of 
which he was first stung into the ambition of being 
exeat. * As, with an evident reference to his own 
fate,he himself describes the feeling, — 

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

Then came the disappointment of his youthful 
passion, — tbe lassitude and remorse of premature 
excess, — the lone friendlessness of his entrance into 
life, and the ruthless assault upon his first literary 
efforts, — all links in that chain of trials, errors, and 
sufferings, by which his great mind was gradually 
and painfully drawn out ; — all bearing their re- 
spective shares in accomplishing that destiny which 
seems to have decreed that the triumphal march of 

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

f" The Deformed Transformed. 



his genius should be over the waste and ruins of his 
heart. He appeared, indeed, himself to have had 
an instinctive consciousness that it was out of such 
ordeals his strength and glory were to arise, as his 
whole life was passed in courting agitation and diffi- 
culties ; and whenever the scenes around him were 
too tame to furnish such excitement, he flew to 
fancy or memory for " thorns " whereon to " lean 
his breast." 

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

This buoyancy it was, — this irrepressible spring 

1S16. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 2-1-3 

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

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

" Lord Byron travelled in a huge coach, copied 
from the celebrated one of Napoleon, taken at Ge- 
nappe, with additions. Besides a lit dt repos, it con- 
tained a library, a plate-chest, and every apparatus 
for dining in it. It was not, however, found suffi- 
ciently capacious for his baggage and suite ; and he 
purchased a caleche at Brussels for his servants. It 
broke down going to Waterloo, and I advised him 

R 2 

244 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

to return it, as it seemed to be a crazy machine ; 
but as he had made a deposit of forty Napoleons 
(certainly double its value), the honest Fleming 
would not consent to restore the cash, or take back 
his packing case, except under a forfeiture of thirty 
Napoleons. As his Lordship was to set out the 
following day, he begged me to make the best ar- 
rangement I could in the affair. He had no sooner 
taken his departure, than the worthy sellier inserted 
a paragraph in ' The Brussels Oracle,' stating ' that 
the noble milor Anglais had absconded with his ca- 
leche, value 1800 francs ! '" 

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

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

It was not till the beginning of the following 
month that a contradiction of this falsehood, stating 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 245 

the real circumstances of the case, as above re- 
lated, was communicated to the Morning Chroni- 
cle, in a letter from Brussels, signed " Pryce L. 

Another anecdote, of far more interest, has been 
furnished from the same respectable source. It ap- 
pears that the two first stanzas of the verses relat- 
ing to Waterloo, " Stop, for thy tread is on an 
empire's dust *," were written at Brussels, after a 
visit to that memorable field, and transcribed by 
Lord Byron, next morning, in an album belonging to 
the lady of the gentleman who communicates the 

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

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

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

" I had occasion to write to his Lordship, and men- 
tioned having got this clever artist to draw a vignette 
to his beautiful lines, and the liberty he had taken 

* Childe Harold, Canto iii. stanza 17. 
R 3 

246 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

by altering the action of the eagle. In reply to this, 
he wrote to me, — ' Reinagle is a better poet and a 
better ornithologist than I am ; eagles, and all birds 
of prey, attack with their talons, and not with their 
beaks, and I have altered the line thus : — 

" ' Then tore, with bloody talon, the rent plain.' 

This is, I think, a better line, besides its poetical 
justice.' I need hardly add, when I communicated 
this flattering compliment to the painter, that he 
was highly gratified." 

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

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

Letter 242. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Ouchy, near Lausanne, June 27. 1816. 

" I am thus far (kept by stress of weather) on my 
way back to Diodati (near Geneva) from a voyage 
in my boat round the Lake ; and I enclose you a sprig 
of Gibbon's acacia and some rose-leaves from his gar- 
den, which, with part of his house, I have just seen. 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 217 

You will find honourable mention, in his Life, made 
of this ' acacia,' when he walked out on the night ot 
concluding his history. The garden and summer- 
house, where he composed, are neglected, and the 
last utterly decayed ; but they still show it as his 
' cabinet,' and seem perfectly aware of his memory. 

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

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

" Three days ago, we were most nearly wrecked 
in a squall off Meillerie, and driven to shore. I ran 
no risk, being so near the rocks, and a good 
swimmer ; but our party were wet, and incommoded 
a good deal. The wind was strong enough to blow 
down some trees, as we found at landing : however, 
all is righted and right, and we are thus far on our 

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

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

" I have finished a third canto of Childe Harold 
(consisting of one hundred and seventeen stanzas), 

R 4 

248 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

longer than either of the two former, and in some 
parts, it may be, better ; but of course on that I 
cannot determine. I shall send it by the first safe- 
looking opportunity. Ever," &c. 

Letter 243. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Diodati, near Geneva, July 22. 1816. 

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

* The following was the advertisement enclosed : — 

" Neatly printed and hot-pressed, 2s. 6d. 
" Lord Byron's Farewell to England, with Three other 
Poems — Ode to St. Helena, to My Daughter on her Birth- 
day, and To the Lily of France. 

" Printed by J. Johnston, Cheapside, 335. ; Oxford, 9. 

" The above beautiful Poems will be read with the most 
lively interest, as it is probable they will be the last of the 
author's that will appear in England." 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 249 

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

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

" Of Glenarvon, Madame de Stael told me (ten 
days ago, at Copet) marvellous and grievous things ; 
but I have seen nothing of it but the motto, which 
promises amiably ' for us and for our tragedy.' If 
such be the posy, what should the ring be? 'a 
name to all succeeding *,' &c. The generous 
moment selected for the publication is probably its 
kindest accompaniment, and — truth to say — the 

* The motto is — 

" He left a name to all succeeding times, 

Link'd with one virtue ana a thousand crimes.' 

250 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

time was well chosen. I have not even a guess at 
the contents, except from the very vague accounts 
I have heard. 

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

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

Letter 244. TO MR. ROGERS. 

" Diodati, near Geneva, July 29. 1816. 

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

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 251 

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

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

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

" Ever, &c. 

252 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

" P. S. I send you a facsimile, a note of Bon- 
stetten's, thinking you might like to see the hand of 
Gray's correspondent." 

Letter 245. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Diodati, Sept. 29. 1816. 

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

" The Monody * was written by request of Mr. 
Kinnaird for the theatre. I did as well as I could ; 

* A Monody on the death of Sheridan, which was spoken 
at Drury Lane theatre. 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 253 

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

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

" Ever, &c. 

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

" I am sorry thatMr.Maturindidnot like Phillips's 
picture. I thought it was reckoned a good one. 
If he had made the speech on the original, perhaps 
he would have been more readily forgiven by the 
proprietor and the painter of the portrait * * *." 

Letter 246. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Diodati, Sept. 30. 181 G. 

" I answered your obliging letters yesterday : to- 
day the Monody arrived with its title-page, which is, 

254< NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

I presume, a separate publication. ' The request of 
a friend : ' — 

* Obliged by hunger and request of friends.* 

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

" You want the original MSS. Mr. Davies has 
the first fair copy in my own hand, and I have the 
rough composition here, and will send or save it for 
you, since you wish it. 

" With regard to your new literary project, if any 
thing falls in the way which will, to the best of my 
judgment, suit you, I will send you what I can. At 



present I must lay by a little, having pretty well ex- 
hausted myself in what I have sent you. Italy or 
Dalmatia and another summer may, or may not, set 
me off again. 1 have no plans, and am nearly as 
indifferent what may come as where I go. I shall 
take Felicia Heman's Restoration, &c. with me ; it 
is a good poem — very. 

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

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

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

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

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

« N." 

256 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

From the Journal mentioned in the foregoing let- 
ter, I am enabled to give the following extracts : — 


" September 18. 1816- 

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

" September 17. 

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

and slept at Went to bed at nine : slept till 

five o'clock. 

" September 18. 

" Called by my courier ; got up. Hobhouse 
walked on before. A mile from Lausanne, the road 
overflowed by the lake ; got on horseback and rode 
till within a mile of Vevay. The colt young, but 
went very well. Overtook Hobhouse, and resumed 
the carriage, which is an open one. Stopped at 
Vevay two hours (the second time I had visited it) ; 
walked to the church ; view from the churchyard 
superb ; within it General Ludlow (the regicide's) 
monument — black marble — long inscription — 
Latin, but simple ; he was an exile two-and-thirty- 
vears — one of King Charles's judges. Near him 
Broughton (who read King Charles's sentence to 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 257 

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

" After a slight and short dinner we visited the 
Chateau de Clarens ; an English woman has rented 
it recently (it was not let when I saw it first) ; the 
roses are gone with their summer ; the family out, 
but the servants desired us to walk over the interior 
of the mansion. Saw on the table of the saloon 
Blair's Sermons and somebody else's (I forget who's) 
sermons, and a set of noisy children. Saw all worth 
seeing, and then descended to the ' Bosquet de 
Julie, ' &c. &c. ; our guide full of Rousseau, whom 
he is eternally confounding with St. Preux, and 

vol. m. s 

258 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

mixing the man and the book. Went again as far 
as Chillon to revisit the little torrent from the hill 
behind it. Sunset reflected in the lake. Have to 
get up at five to-morrow to cross the mountains on 
horseback ; carriage to be sent round; lodged at my 
old cottage — hospitable and comfortable ; tired with 
a longish ride on the colt, and the subsequent jolt- 
ing of the char-a-banc, and my scramble in the hot 

" Mem. The corporal who showed the wonders of 
Chillon was as drunk as Blucher, and (to my mind) 
as great a man ; he was deaf also, and thinking every 
one else so, roared out the legends of the castle so 
fearfully that H. got out of humour. However, we 
saw things from the gallows to the dungeons (the 
potence and the cacl/ots), and returned to Clarens 
with more freedom than belonged to the fifteenth 

" September 19. 

" Rose at five. Crossed the mountains to Mont- 
bovon on horseback, and on mules, and, by dint of 
scrambling, on foot also ; the whole route beautiful 
as a dream, and now to me almost as indistinct. I 
am so tired ; — for though healthy, I have not the 
strength I possessed but a few years ago. At Mont- 
bovon we breakfasted ; afterwards, on a steep ascent 
dismounted ; tumbled down ; cut a finger open ; the 
baggage also got loose and fell down a ravine, till 
stopped by a large tree ; recovered baggage ; horse 
tired and drooping ; mounted mule. At the ap- 
proach of the summit of Dent Jument * dismounted 
* Dent de Jaman. 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 259 

again with Hobhouse and all the party. Arrived at 
a lake in the very bosom of the mountains ; left our 
quadrupeds with a shepherd, and ascended farther ; 
came to some snow in patches, upon which my fore- 
head's perspiration fell like rain, making the same 
dints as in a sieve; the chill of the wind and the 
snow turned me giddy, but I scrambled on and up- 
wards. Hobhouse went to the highest pinnacle ; I 
did not, but paused within a few yards (at an open- 
ing of the cliff). In coming down, the guide tum- 
bled three times ; I fell a laughing, and tumbled too 
— the descent luckily soft, though steep and slip- 
pery : Hobhouse also fell, but nobody hurt. The 
whole of the mountains superb. A shepherd on a 
very steep and high cliff playing upon his pipe; very 
different from Arcadia, where I saw the pastors with 
a long musket instead of a crook, and pistols in their 
girdles. Our Swiss shepherd's pipe was sweet, and 
his tune agreeable. I saw a cow strayed ; am told 
that they often break their necks on and over the 
crags. Descended to Montbovon ; pretty scraggy 
village, with a wild river and a wooden bridge. 
Hobhouse went to fish — caught one. Our carriage 
not come ; our horses, mules, &c. knocked up ; our- 
selves fatigued ; but so much the better — I shall 

" The view from the highest points of to-day's 
journey comprised on one side the greatest part of 
Lake Leman ; on the other, the valleys and moun- 
tain of the Canton of Fribourg, and an immense 
plain, with the lakes of Neuchatel and Morat, and all 
which the borders of the Lake of Geneva inherit ; 

s 2 

260 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

we had both sides of the Jura before us in one point 
of view, with Alps in plenty. In passing a ravine, 
the guide recommended strenuously a quickening of 
pace, as the stones fall with great rapidity and occa- 
sional damage ; the advice is excellent, but, like 
most good advice, impracticable, the road being so 
rough that neither mules, nor mankind, nor horses, 
can make any violent progress. Passed without 
fractures or menace thereof. 

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

" September 20. 

Up at six ; off at eight. The whole of this day's 
journey at an average of between from 2700 to 3000 
feet above the level of the sea. This valley, the 
longest, narrowest, and considered the finest of the 
Alps, little traversed by travellers. Saw the bridge 
of La Roche. The bed of the river very low and 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 261 

deep, between immense rocks, and rapid as anger ; 
— a man and mule said to have tumbled over 
without damage. The people looked free, and 
happy, and rich (which last implies neither of the 
former) ; the cows superb ; a bull nearly leapt into 
the char-a-banc — ' agreeable companion in a post- 
chaise ; ' goats and sheep very thriving. A moun- 
tain with enormous glaciers to the right — the 
Klitzgerberg ; further on, the Hockthorn — nice 
names — so soft 1 — Stockhom, I believe, very lofty 
and scraggy, patched with snow only ; no glaciers on 
it, but some good epaulettes of clouds. 

" Passed the boundaries, out of Vaud and into 
Berne canton ; Frjnch exchanged for bad German ; 
the district famous for cheese, liberty, property, and 
no taxes. Hobhouse went to fish — caught none. 
Strolled to the river ; saw boy and kid ; kid followed 
him like a dog ; kid could not get over a fence, and 
bleated piteously ; tried myself to help kid, but 
nearly overset both self and kid into the river. 
Arrived here about six in the evening. Nine 
o'clock — going to bed ; not tired to day, but hope 
to sleep, nevertheless. 

" September 21. 

" Off early. The valley of Simmenthal as before. 
Entrance to the plain of Thoun very narrow ; high 
rocks, wooded to the top ; river ; new mountains, 
with fine glaciers. Lake of Thoun ; extensive plain 
with a girdle of Alps. Walked down to the Cha- 
teau de Schadau ; view along the lake ; crossed the 
river in a boat rowed by women. Thoun a very 

s 3 

262 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

pretty town. The whole day's journey Alpine and 

" September 22. 

" Left Thoun in a boat, which carried us the 
length of the lake in three hours. The lake small ; 
but the banks fine. Rocks down to the water's edge. 
Landed at Newhause ; passed Interlachen ; entered 
upon a range of scenes beyond all description or 
previous conception. Passed a rock ; inscription — 
two brothers — one murdered the other; just the 
place for it. After a variety of windings came to 
an enormous rock. Arrived at the foot of the 
mountain (the Jungfrau, that is, the Maiden) ; gla- 
ciers ; torrents ; one of these torrents nine hundred 
feet in height of visible descent. Lodged at the 
curate's. Set out to see the valley ; heard an ava- 
lanche fall, like thunder ; glaciers enormous ; storm 
came on, thunder, lightning, hail ; all in perfection, 
and beautiful. I was on horseback ; guide wanted 
to carry my cane ; I was going to give it him, when 
I recollected that it was a sword-stick, and I thought 
the lightning might be attracted towards him ; kept 
it myself; a good deal encumbered with it, as it was 
too heavy for a whip, and the horse was stupid, and 
stood with every other peal. Got in, not very wet, 
the cloak being stanch. Hobhouse wet through ; 
Hobhouse took refuge in cottage ; sent man, um- 
brella, and cloak (from the curate's when I arrived) 
after him. Swiss curate's house very good indeed 
— much better than most English vicarages. It is 
immediately opposite the torrent I spoke of. The 
torrent is in shape curving over the rock, like the 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 263 

tail of a white horse streaming in the wind, such as 
it might be conceived would be that of the ' pale 
horse ' on which Death is mounted in the Apoca- 
lypse. * It is neither mist nor water, but a some- 
thing between both ; its immense height (nine hun- 
dred feet) gives it a wave or curve, a spreading here 
or condensation there, wonderful and indescribable. 
I think, upon the whole, that this day has been bet- 
ter than any of this present excursion. 

" September 23. 
" Before ascending the mountain, went to the 
torrent (seven in the morning) again ; the sun upon 
it, forming a rainbow of the lower part of all colours, 
but principally purple and gold ; the bow moving as 
you move ; I never saw any thing like this ; it is only 
in the sunshine. Ascended the Wengen mountain ; 
at noon reached a valley on the summit ; left the 
horses, took off my coat, and went to the summit, 
seven thousand feet (English feet) above the level 
of the sea, and about five thousand above the valley 

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

" It is not noon — the sunbow's rays still arch 
The torrent with the many hues of heaven, 
And roll the sheeted silver's waving column 
O'er the crag's headlong perpendicular, 
And fling its lines of foaming light along, 
And to and fro, like the pale courser s tail, 
The Giant steed, to be bestrode by Death 
As told in the Apocalypse." 

s 4. 

264 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

we left in the morning. On one side, our view com- 
prised the Jungfrau, with all her glaciers ; then the 
Dent d' Argent, shining like truth ; then the Little 
Giant (the Kleine Eigher); and the Great Giant (the 
Grosse Eigher), and last, not least, the Wetterhorn. 
The height of Jungfrau is 13,000 feet above the sea, 
11,000 above the valley ; she is the highest of this 
range. Heard the avalanches falling every five mi- 
nutes nearly. From whence we stood, on the Wengen 
Alp, we had all these in view on one side ; on the 
other, the clouds rose from the opposite valley, 
curling up perpendicular precipices like the foam of 
the ocean of hell, during a spring tide — it was white, 
and sulphury, and immeasurably deep in appear- 
ance.* The side we ascended was (of course) not 
of so precipitous a nature ; but on arriving at the 
summit, we looked down upon the other side upon 
a boiling sea of cloud, dashing against the crags on 
which we stood (these crags on one side quite per- 
pendicular). Stayed a quarter of an hour ; begun to 
descend ; quite clear from cloud on that side of the 
mountain. In passing the masses of snow, I made 
a snowball and pelted Hobhouse with it. 

" Got down to our horses again ; ate something ; 

* " Ye avalanches, whom a breath draws down 

In mountainous o'erwhelming, come and crush me ! 

I hear ye momently above, beneath, 

Crash with a frequent conflict. * * * 

The mists boil up around the glaciers ; clouds 

Eise curling fast beneath me, white and sulphury, 

Like foam from the roused ocean of deep hell ! " 


1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 265 

remounted ; heard the avalanches still ; came to a 
morass ; Hobhouse dismounted to get over well ; I 
tried to pass my horse over ; the horse sunk up to the 
chin, and of course he and I were in the mud toge- 
ther ; bemired, but not hurt ; laughed, and rode on. 
Arrived at the Grindelwald ; dined ; mounted again, 
and rode to the higher glacier — like a frozen hurri- 
cane. * Starlight, beautiful, but a devil of a path ! 
Never mind, got safe in ; a little lightning ; but the 
whole of the day as fine in point of weather as the 
day on which Paradise was made. Passed whole 
woods of withered pines, all withered; trunks stripped 
and barkless, branches lifeless ; done by a single 
winter f, — their appearance reminded me of me 
and my family. 

" September 24. 

" Set off at seven ; up at five. Passed the black 
glacier, the mountain Wetterhorn on the right; 
crossed the Scheideck mountain ; came to the Hose 
glacier, said to be the largest and finest in Switzer- 
land. / think the Bossons glacier at Chamouni as 
fine ; Hobhouse does not. Came to the Reichenbach 
waterfall, two hundred feet high ; halted to rest the 
horses. Arrived in the valley of Overland ; rain 
came on ; drenched a little ; only four hours' rain, 

* " O'er the savage sea, 

The glassy ocean of the mountain ice, 
We skim its rugged breakers, which put on 
The aspect of a tumbling tempest's foam, 
Frozen in a moment." Manfred. 

+ "■ Like these blasted pines, 

Wrecks of a single winter, barkless, branchless." Ibid. 


266 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

however, in eight days. Came to the lake of Brientz, 
then to the town of Brientz ; changed. In the 
evening, four Swiss peasant girls of Oberhasli came 
and sang the airs of their country ; two of the voices 
beautiful — the tunes also : so wild and original, and 
at the same time of great sweetness. The singing 
is over ; but below stairs I hear the notes of a fiddle, 
which bode no good to my night's rest ; I shall go 
down and see the dancing. 

" September 25. 

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

" Got to Interlachen in three hours; pretty lake; 
not so large as that of Thoun. Dined at Interlachen. 
Girl gave me some flowers, and made me a speech in 
German, of which I know nothing ; I do not know 
whether the speech was pretty, but as the woman 
was, I hope so. Re-embarked on the lake of Thoun ; 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 267 

fell asleep part of the way ; sent our horses round ; 
found peopJe on the shore, blowing up a rock with 
gunpowder ; they blew it up near our boat, only 
telling us a minute before ; — mere stupidity, but 
they might have broken our noddles. Got to Thoun 
in the evening; the weather has been tolerable 
the whole day. But as the wild part of our tour 
is finished, it don't matter to us ; in all the desir- 
able part, we have been most lucky in warmth and 
clearness of atmosphere. 

" September 26. 

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

" September 28. 

" Saw the tree planted in honour of the battle of 
Morat ; three hundred and forty years old ; a good 
deal decayed. Left Fribourg, but first saw the 
cathedral ; high tower. Overtook the baggage of the 
nuns of La Trappe, who are removing to Normandy ; 
afterwards a coach, with a quantity of nuns in it. 
Proceeded along the banks of the lake of Neuchatel ; 
very pleasing and soft, but not so mountainous — at 
least, the Jura, not appearing so, after the Bernese 
Alps. Reached Yverdun in the dusk ; a long line 
of large trees on the border of the lake ; fine and 

268 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

sombre ; the auberge nearly full — a German princess 
and suite ; got rooms. 

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

With the following melancholypassage this Journal 
concludes : — 

" In the weather for this tour (of 13 days), I have 
been very fortunate — fortunate in a companion 
(Mr. H.) — fortunate in our prospects, and exempt 
from even the little petty accidents and delays 
which often render journeys in a less wild country 
disappointing. I was disposed to be pleased. I am 
a lover of nature and an admirer of beauty. I can 
bear fatigue and welcome privation, and have seen 
some of the noblest views in the world. But in all 
this — the recollection of bitterness, and more espe- 
cially of recent and more home desolation, which 
must accompany me through life, have preyed upon 
me here ; and neither the music of the shepherd, 

1816. LIFE OF LOUD BYRON. 269 

the crashing of the avalanche, nor the torrent, the 
mountain, the glacier, the forest, nor the cloud, 
have for one moment lightened the weight upon 
my heart, nor enabled me to lose my own wretched 
identity in the majesty, and the power, and the glory, 
around, above, and beneath me." 

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

There was, therefore, on their present meeting at 
Geneva, no want of disposition towards acquaintance 
on either side, and an intimacy almost immediately 
sprung up between them. Among the tastes common 
to both, that for boating was not the least strong ; 
and in this beautiful region they had more than 
ordinary temptations to indulge in it. Every evening, 
during their residence under the same roof at Se- 

270 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

cheron, they embarked, accompanied by the ladies 
and Polidori, on the Lake ; and to the feelings and 
fancies inspired by these excursions, which were not 
unfrequently prolonged into the hours of moonlight, 
we are indebted for some of those enchanting 
stanzas *, in which the poet has given way to his 
passionate love of Nature so fervidly. 

" There breathes a living fragrance from the shore 
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood ; on the ear 

Drips the light drop of the suspended oar. 


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

A person who was of these parties has thus 
described to me one of their evenings: — " When the 
bise or north-east wind blows, the waters of the Lake 
are driven towards the town, and with the stream of 
the Rhone, which sets strongly in the same direction, 
combine to make a very rapid current towards the 
harbour. Carelessly, one evening, we had yielded 
to its course, till we found ourselves almost driven 
on the piles ; and it required all our rowers' strength 
to master the tide. The waves were high and in- 
spiriting — we were all animated by our contest 
with the elements. ' I will sing you an Albanian 
song,' cried Lord Byron ; ' now, be sentimental and 

* Cliilde Harold, Canto iii. 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 271 

give me all your attention.' It was a strange, wild 
howl that he gave forth ; but such as, he declared, 
was an exact imitation of the savage Albanian mode, 
— laughing, the while, at our disappointment, who 
had expected a wild Eastern melody." 

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

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

In Lord Byron, the real was never forgotten in 
the fanciful. However Imagination had placed her 
whole realm at his disposal, he was no less a man of 
this world than a ruler of hers ; and, accordingly, 


through the airiest and most subtile creations of 
his brain still the life-blood of truth and reality 
circulates. With Shelley it was far otherwise ; — 
his fancy (and he had sufficient for a whole generation 
of poets) was the medium through which he saw all 
things, his facts as well as his theories ; and not only 
the greater part of his poetry, but the political and 
philosophical speculations in which he indulged, 
were all distilled through the same over-refining 
and unrealising alembic. Having started as a 
teacher and reformer of the world, at an age when 
he could know nothing of the world but from fancy, 
the persecution he met with on the threshold of this 
boyish enterprise but confirmed him in his first pa- 
radoxical views of human ills and their remedies ; 
and, instead of waiting to take lessons of authority 
and experience, he, with a courage, admirable had 
it been but wisely directed, made war upon both. 
From this sort of self-willed start in the world, an 
impulse was at once given to his opinions and powers 
directly contrary, it would seem, to their natural 
bias, and from which his life was too short to allow 
him time to recover. With a mind, by nature, 
fervidly pious, he yet refused to acknowledge a 
Supreme Providence, and substituted some airy 
abstraction of " Universal Love " in its place. An 
aristocrat by birth and, as I understand, also in ap- 
pearance and manners, he was yet a leveller in 
politics, and to such an Utopian extent as to be, 
seriously, the advocate of a community of property. 
With a delicacy and even romance of sentiment, 
which lends such grace to some of his lesser poems, 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. £73 

he could notwithstanding contemplate a change in 
the relations of the sexes, which would have led to 
results fully as gross as his arguments for it were 
fastidious and refined; and though benevolent and 
generous to an extent that seemed to exclude all idea 
of selfishness, he yet scrupled not, in the pride of 
system, to disturb wantonly the faith of his fellow- 
men, and, without substituting any equivalent good 
in its place, to rob the wretched of a hope, which, 
even if false, would be worth all this world's best 

Upon no point were the opposite tendencies of 
the two friends, — to long-established opinions and 
matter of fact on one side, and to all that was most 
innovating and visionary on the other, — more ob- 
servable than in their notions on philosophical sub- 
jects ; Lord Byron being, with the great bulk of 
mankind, a believer in the existence of Matter and 
Evil, while Shelley so far refined upon the theory of 
Berkeley as not only to resolve the whole of Creation 
into spirit, but to add also to this immaterial system 
some pervading principle, some abstract non-entity 
of Love and Beauty, of which — as a substitute, at 
least, for Deity — the philosophic bishop had never 
dreamed. On such subjects, and on poetry, their 
conversation generally turned ; and, as might be 
expected, from Lord Byron's facility in receiving 
new impressions, the opinions of his companion 
were not altogether without some influence on his 
mind. Here and there, among those fine bursts of 
passion and description that abound in the third 
Canto of Childe Harold, may be discovered traces of 


274- NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

that mysticism of meaning, — that sublimity, losing 
itself in its own vagueness, — which so much cha- 
racterised the writings of his extraordinary friend; 
and in one of the notes we find Shelley's favourite 
Pantheism of Love thus glanced at: — " But this is 
not all : the feeling with which all around Clarens 
and the opposite rocks of Meillerie is invested, is of 
a still higher and more comprehensive order than 
the mere sympathy with individual passion ; it is a 
sense of the existence of love in its most extended 
and sublime capacity, and of our own participation 
of its good and of its glory : it is the great principle 
of the universe, which is there more condensed, but 
not less manifested; and of which, though knowing 
ourselves a part, we lose our individuality, and 
mingle in the beauty of the whole." 

Another proof of the ductility with which he fell in- 
to his new friend's tastes and predilections, appears in 
the tinge, if not something deeper, of the manner and 
cast of thinking of Mr. Wordsworth, which is trace- 
able through so many of his most beautiful stanzas. 
Being naturally, from his love of the abstract and 
imaginative, an admirer of the great poet of the 
Lakes, Mr. Shelley omitted no opportunity of bring- 
ing the beauties of his favourite writer under the 
notice of Lord Byron ; and it is not surprising that, 
once persuaded into a fair perusal, the mind of the 
noble poet should — in spite of some personal and 
political prejudices which unluckily survived this 
short access of admiration — not only feel the influ- 
ence but, in seme degree, even reflect the hues of 
one of the very few real and original poets that this 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 275 

age (fertile as it is in rhymers qitales ego et Clu- 
vie?ms) has had the glory of producing. 

When Polidori was of their party, (which, till he 
found attractions elsewhere, was generally the case,) 
their more elevated subjects of conversation were 
almost always put to flight by the strange sallies of 
this eccentric young man, whose vanity made him a 
constant butt for Lord Byron's sarcasm and merri- 
ment. The son of a highly respectable Italian 
gentleman, who was in early life, I understand, the 
secretary of Alfieri, Polidori seems to have possessed 
both talents and dispositions which, had he lived, 
might have rendered him a useful member of his 
profession and of society. At the time, however, of 
which we are speaking, his ambition of distinction 
far outwent both his powers and opportunities of 
attaining it. His mind, accordingly, between ardour 
and weakness, was kept in a constant hectic of vanity, 
and he seems to have alternately provoked and 
amused his noble employer, leaving him seldom any 
escape from anger but in laughter. Among other 
pretensions, he had set his heart upon shining as an 
author, and one evening at Mr. Shelley's, producing 
a tragedy of his own writing, insisted that they should 
undergo the operation of hearing it. To lighten the 
infliction, Lord Byron took upon himself the task of 
reader ; and the whole scene, from the description 
I have heard of it, must have been not a little trying 
to gravity. In spite of the jealous watch kept upon 
every countenance by the author, it was impossible 
to withstand the smile lurking in the eye of the 
reader, whose only resource against the outbreak of 

x 2 

276 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

his own laughter lay in lauding, from time to time, 
most vehemently, the sublimity of the verses; — 
particularly some that began " Tis thus the goiter'd 
idiot of the Alps,' — and then adding, at the close of 
every such eulogy, " I assure you when I was in the 
Drury Lane Committee, much worse things were 
offered to us."' 

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

In the mean time, Polidori had become jealous of 
the growing intimacy of his noble patron with 
Shelley ; and the plan which he now understood 
them to have formed of making a tour of the Lake 
without him completed his mortification. In the 
soreness of his feelings on this subject he indulged 
in some intemperate remonstrances, which Lord 
Byron indignantly resented ; and the usual bounds 
of courtesy being passed on both sides, the dismissal 
of Polidori appeared, even to himself, inevitable. 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 277 

With this prospect, which he considered nothing 
less than ruin, before his eyes, the poor young man 
was, it seems, on the point of committing that fatal 
act which, two or three years afterwards, he actually 
did perpetrate. Retiring to his own room, he 
had already drawn forth the poison from his medicine 
chest, and was pausing to consider whether he should 
write a letter before he took it, when Lord Ityron 
(without, however, the least suspicion of his inten- 
tion) tapped at the door and entered, with his hand 
held forth in sign of reconciliation. The sudden 
revulsion was too much for poor Polidori, who burst 
into tears ; and, in relating all the circumstances of 
the occurrence afterwards, he declared that nothing: 
could exceed the gentle kindness of Lord Byron in 
soothing his mind and restoring him to composure. 

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

The liberty, indeed, which this young pen-on 

t 3 

278 NOTICES OF THE 1815. 

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

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

A few more anecdotes of this young man, while in 
the service of Lord Byron, may, as throwing light 
upon the character of the latter, be not inappro- 
priately introduced. While the whole party were, 
one day, out boating, Polidori, by some accident, in 
rowing, struck Lord Byron violently on the knee-pan 
with his oar ; and the latter, without speaking, turned 
his face away to hide the pain. After a moment he 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 279 

said, " Be so kind, Polidori, another time, to take 
more care, for you hurt me very much." — " I am 
glad of it," answered the other ; " I am glad to see 
you can suffer pain." In a calm suppressed tone, 
Lord Byron replied, " Let me advise you, Polidori, 
when you, another time, hurt any one, not to express 
your satisfaction. People don't like to be told that 
those who give them pain are glad of it ; and they 
cannot always command their anger. It was with 
some difficulty that I refrained from throwing you 
into the water ; and, but for Mrs. Shelley's presence, 
I should probably have done some such rash thing." 
This was said without ill temper, and the cloud soon 
passed away. 

Another time, when the lady just mentioned was, 
after a shower of rain, walking up the hill to Diodati, 
Lord Byron, who saw her from his balcony where he 
was standing with Polidori, said to the latter, " Now, 
you who wish to be gallant ought to jump down this 
small height, and offer your arm." Polidori chose 
the easiest part of the declivity, and leaped ; — but 
the ground being wet, his foot slipped, and he 
sprained his ankle.* Lord Byron instantly helped 
to carry him in and procure cold water for the foot ; 
and, after he was laid on the sofa, perceiving that he 
was uneasy, went up stairs himself (an exertion 
which his lameness made painful and disagreeable) 
to fetch a pillow for him. " Well, I did not believe 
you had so much feeling," was Polidori' s gracious 

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

T 4 


remark, which, it may be supposed, not a little 
clouded the noble poet's brow. 

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

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

At Diodati, his life was passed in the same regular 
round of habits and occupations into which, when 
* The Corsair. 



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

During a week of rain at this time, having amused 
themselves with reading German ghost-stories, they 
agreed, at last, to write something in imitation of 
them. " You and I," said Lord Byron to Mrs. 
Shelley, " will publish ours together." He then 
began his tale of the Vampire ; and, having the 

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


whole arranged in his head, repeated to them a 
sketch of the story * one evening, — but, from the 
narrative being in prose, made but little progress in 
filling up his outline. The most memorable result, 
indeed, of their story-telling compact, was Mrs. 
Shelley's wild and powerful romance of Franken- 
stein, — one of those original conceptions that take 
hold of the public mind at once, and for ever. 

Towards the latter end of June, as we have seen 
in one of the preceding letters, Lord Byron, accom- 
panied by his friend Shelley, made a tour in his 
boat round the Lake, and visited, " with the Heloise 
before him," all those scenes around Meillerie and 
Clarens, which have become consecrated for ever 
by ideal passion, and by that power which Genius 
alone possesses, of giving such life to its dreams 
as to make them seem realities. In the squall off 
Meillerie, which he mentions, their danger was con- 
siderable, -j- In the expectation, every moment, of 

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

f " The wind (says Lord Byron's fellow-voyager) gradually 
increased in violence until it blew tremendously ; and, as it 
came from the remotest extremity of the Lake, produced waves 
of a frightful height, and covered the whole surface with a 
chaos of foam. One of our boatmen, who was a dreadfully 
stupid fellow, persisted in holding the sail at a time when the 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 283 

being obliged to swim for his life, Lord Byron had 
already thrown off his coat, and, as Shelley was 
no swimmer, insisted upon endeavouring, by some 
means, to save him. This offer, however, Shelley 
positively refused ; and seating himself quietly upon 
a locker, and grasping the rings at each end firmly 
in his hands, declared his determination to go down 
in that position, without a struggle.* 

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

boat was on the point of being driven under water by the hur- 
ricane. On discovering this error, he let it entirely go, and 
the boat for a moment refused to obey the helm ; in addition, 
the rudder was so broken as to render the management of it 
very difficult ; one wave fell in, and then another." 

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



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

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

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

That the glowing stanzas suggested to him by 
this scene were written upon the spot itself appears 
almost certain, from the letter addressed to Mr. 
Murray on his way back to Diodati, in which he 
announces the third Canto as complete, and con- 
sisting of 117 stanzas. At Ouchy, near Lausanne, 
— the place from which that letter is dated — he 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 285 

and his friend were detained two days, in a small 
inn, by the weather : and it was there, in that short 
interval, that he wrote his " Prisoner of Chillon," 
adding one more deathless association to the already 
immortalised localities of the Lake. 

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

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

* In the account of this visit to Copet in his Memoranda. 
he spoke in high terms of the daughter of his hostess, the pre- 


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

Of the particulars of this brief negotiation that 
ensued upon Madame de StaeTs suggestion, I have 

sent Duchess de Broglie, and, in noticing how much she ap- 
peared to be attached to her husband, remarked that " Nothing 
was more pleasing than to see the developement of the do- 
mestic affections in a very young woman." Of Madame de 
Stael, in that Memoir, he spoke thus: — " Madame de Stael was 
a good woman at heart and the cleverest at bottom, but spoilt 
by a wish to be — -she knew not what. In her own house 
she was amiable ; in any other person's, you wished her gone, 
and in her own acrain." 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 287 

no very accurate remembrance ; but there can be 
little doubt that its failure, after the violence he 
had done his own pride in the overture, was what 
first infused any mixture of resentment or bitterness 
into the feelings hitherto entertained by him through- 
out these painful differences. He had, indeed, 
since his arrival in Geneva, invariably spoken of his 
lady with kindness and regret, imputing the course 
she had taken, in leaving him, not to herself but others, 
and assigningwhatever little share of blame he would 
allow her to bear in the transaction to the simple 
and, doubtless, true cause — her not at all under- 
standing him. " I have no doubt," he would some- 
times say, " that she really did believe me to be mad." 

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

The effects of the late struggle on his mind, in 
stirring up all its resources and energies, was visible 
in the great activity of his genius during the whole 
of this period, and the rich variety, both in character 
and colouring, of the works with which it teemed. 
Besides the third Canto of Childe Harold and the 
Prisoner of Chillon, he produced also his two poems, 
" Darkness" and " The Dream," the latter of which 
cost him many a tear in writing, — being, indeed, 

288 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

the most mournful, as well as picturesque, " story 
of a wandering life " that ever came from the pen 
and heart of man. Those verses, too, entitled " The 
Incantation," which he introduced afterwards, with- 
out any connection with the subject, into Manfred, 
were also (at least, the less bitter portion of them) 
the production of this period ; and as they were 
written soon after the last fruitless attempt at recon- 
ciliation, it is needless to say who was in his thoughts 
while he penned some of the opening stanzas. 

" Though thy slumber must he deep, 
Yet thy spirit shall not sleep ; 
There are shades which will not vanish, 
There are thoughts thou canst not banish ; 
By a power to thee unknown, 
Thou canst never be alone ; 
Thou art wrapt as with a shroud, 
Thou art gather'd in a cloud ; 
And for ever shalt thou dwell 
In the spirit of this spell. 

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

Besides the unfinished " Vampire," he began also, 
at this time, another romance in prose, founded upon 
the story of the Marriage of Belphegor, and intended 


to shadow out his own matrimonial fate. The wife 
of this satanic personage he described much in the 
same spirit that pervades his delineation of Donna 
Inez in the first Canto of Don Juan. While en- 
gaged, however, in writing this story, he heard from 
England that Lady Byron was ill, and, his heart 
softening at the intelligence, he threw the manu- 
script into the fire. So constantly were the good 
and evil principles of his nature conflicting for mas- 
tery over him. * 

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


" Could I remount the river of my years 
To the first fountain of our smiles and tears, 
I would not trace again the stream of hours 
Between their outworn banks of wither'd flowers, 

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

" And thou wert sad — yet I was not with thee ! 
And thou wert sick — and yet I was not near. 
Methought that Joy and Health alone could be 
Where I was not, and pain and sorrow here. 
And is it thus ? — it is as I foretold, 
And shall be more so : — " &c. &c. 

290 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

But bid it flow as now — until it glides 

Into the number of the nameless tides. * * * 

What is this Death? — a quiet of the heart? 

The whole of that of which we are a part ? 

For Life is but a vision — what I see 

Of all which lives alone is life to me, 

And being so — the absent are the dead, 

Who haunt us from tranquillity, and spread 

A dreary shroud around us, and invest 

With sad remembrances our hours of rest. 

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

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

1816. LIFE OF LOUD BYRON. 291 


" My sister ! my sweet sister ! if a name 
Dearer and purer were, it should be thine. 
Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim 
No tears, but tenderness to answer mine : 
Go where I will, to me thou art the same — 
A loved regret which I would not resign. 
There yet are two things in my destiny, — 

A world to roam through, and a home with thee. 

" The first were nothing — had I still the last, 

It were the haven of my happiness ; 

But other claims and other ties thou hast, 

And mine is not the wish to make them less. 

A strange doom is thy father's son's, and past 

Recalling, as it lies beyond redress ; 

Reversed for him our grandsire's * fate of yore, — 
He had no rest at sea, nor I on shore. 

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

The careful pilot of my proper woe. 

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

" But, though it were tempest-tost, 
Still his bark could not be lost. 
He returned safely from the wreck of the Wager (in Anson's 
Voyage), and subsequently circumnavigated the world, many 
years after, as commander of a similar expedition." 

U 2 

292 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

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

If but to see what next can well arrive. 

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

Even for its own sake, do we purchase pain. 

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

The chief companion of a calmer lot. 

" I feel almost at times as I have felt 

In happy childhood ; trees, and flowers, and brooks, 
Which do remember me of where I dwelt 
Ere my young mind was sacrificed to books, 
Come as of yore upon me, and can melt 
My heart with recognition of their looks ; 
And even at. moments I could think I seo 

Some living thing to love — but none like thee. 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 293 

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

Lovelier, not dearer, than our own of old. 

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

And the tide rising in my alter'd eye. 

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

Resign'd for ever, or divided far. 

" The world is all before me ; I but ask 

Of nature that with which she will comply — 

It is but in her summer's sun to bask, 

To mingle with the quiet of her sky, 

To see her gentle face without a mask, 

And never gaze on it with apathy. 

She was my early friend, and now shall be 
My sister — till I look again on thee. 

* The lake of Newstead Abbey. 

u 3 

294 1 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

" I can reduce all feelings but this one ; 

And that I would not ; — for at length I see 

Such scenes as those wherein my life begun. 

The earliest — even the only paths for me — 

Had I but sooner learnt the crowd to shun ; 

I had been better than I now can be ; 

The passions which have torn me would have slept ; 

/ had not suffer'd, and thou hadst not wept. 

" With false ambition what had I to do ? 

Little with love, and least of all with fame ; 

And yet they came unsought, and with me grew, 

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

Yet this was not the end I did pursue ; 

Surely I once beheld a nobler aim. 

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

" And for the future, this world's future may 
From me demand but little of my care ; 
I have outlived myself by many a day ; 
Having survived so many things that were ; 
My years have been no slumber, but the prey 
Of ceaseless vigils ; for I had the share 
Of life which might have fill'd a century, 

Before its fourth in time had pass'd me by. 

" And for the remnant which may be to come 
I am content ; and for the past I feel 
Not thankless, — for within the crowded sum 
Of struggles, happiness at times would steal, 
And for the present, I would not benumb 

My feelings farther Nor shall I conceal 

That with all this I still can look around 

And worship Nature with a thought profound. 

1816. LI pE OF LORD BYRON. 295 

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

The tie which bound the first endures the last! " 

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

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

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

u 4 

296 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

Letter 247. TO MR. MURRAY. 

"Diodati, Oct. 5. 1816. 

" Save me a copy of < Buck's Richard III.' re- 
published by Longman ; but do not send out more 
books, I have too many. 

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

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

" Be careful in the printing the stanzas begin- 

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

which I think well of as a composition. 

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

" And so you have been publishing ' Margaret of 
Anjou' and an Assyrian tale, and refusing W. W.'s 
Waterloo, and the ' Hue and Cry.' I know not which 
most to admire, your rejections or acceptances. I 
believe that prose is, after all, the most reputable, for 
certes, if one could foresee — but I won't go on — 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 297 

that is with this sentence ; but poetry is, I fear, in- 
curable. God help me ! if I proceed in this scrib- 
bling, I shall have frittered away my mind before I 
am thirty, but it is at times a real relief to me. For 
the present — good evening." 

Letter 248. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Martigny, October 9. 1816. 

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

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

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

298 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

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

Letter 249. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Milan, October 15. 1816. 

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

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

" I wrote to you, on my way here, a short note, 
dated Martigny. Mr. Hobhouse and myself arrived 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 299 

here a few days ago, by the Simplon and Lago Mag- 
giore route. Of course we visited the Borromean 
Islands, which are fine, but too artificial. The Sim- 
plon is magnificent in its nature and its art, — both 
God and man have done wonders, — to say nothing 
of the devil who must certainly have had a hand (or 
a hoof) in some of the rocks and ravines through 
and over which the works are carried. 

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

300 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

and as for one's own people, one can't carry them 
about like Robinson Crusoe with a gun on each 

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

" The Italians I have encountered here are very 
intelligent and agreeable. In a few days I am to 
meet Monti. By the way, I have just heard an 



anecdote of Beccaria, who published such admirable 
things against the punishment of death. As soon as 
his book was out, his servant (having read it, I pre- 
sume) stole his watch ; and his master, while cor- 
recting the press of a second edition, did all he could 
to have him hanged by way of advertisement. 

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

" Yours ever." 

Letter 250. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Milan, November 1. 1816. 

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

" I do not know whether I mentioned to you some 
time ago, that I had parted with the Dr. Polidori a 
few weeks previous to my leaving Diodati. I know 
no great harm of him ; but he had an alacrity of 
getting into scrapes, and was too young and heed- 
less ; and having enough to attend to in my own 
concerns, and without time to become his tutor, I 

302 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

thought it much better to give him his conge. He 
arrived at Milan some weeks before Mr. Hobhouse 
and myself. About a week ago, in consequence of 
a quarrel at the theatre with an Austrian officer, in 
which he was exceedingly in the wrong, he has con- 
trived to get sent out of the territory, and is gone to 
Florence. I was not present, the pit having been 
the scene of altercation ; but on being sent for from 
the Cavalier Breme's box, where I was quietly staring 
at the ballet, I found the man of medicine begirt 
with grenadiers, arrested by the guard, convejed 
into the guard-room, where there was much swear- 
ing in several languages. They were going to keep 
him there for the night ; but on my giving my name, 
and answering for his apparition next morning, he 
was permitted egress. Next clay he had an order 
from the government to be gone in twenty-four 
hours, and accordingly gone he is, some days ago. 
We did what we could for him, but to no purpose ; 
and indeed he brought it upon himself, as far as I 
could learn, for I was not present at the squabble 
itself. I believe this is the real state of his case ; 
and I tell it you because I believe things sometimes 
reach you in England in a false or exaggerated form. 
We found Milan very polite and hospitable*, and 

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

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 303 

have the same hopes of Verona and Venice. I have 
filled my paper. 

" Ever yours," &c. 

" Ce fut pendant l'automne de 1816, que je le rencontrai au. 
theatre de la Scala, a Milan, dans la loge de M. Louis de 
Breme. Je fus frappe des yeux de Lord Byron au moment 
ou il ecoutait un sestetto d'un opera de Mayer intitule Elena. 
Je n'ai vu de ma vie, rien de plus beau ni de plus expressif. 
Encore aujourd'hui, si je viens a penser a l'expression qu'un 
grand peintre devrait donner au geYiie, cette tete sublime 
reparait tout-a-coup devant moi. J'eus un instant d'enthou- 
siasme, et oubliant la juste repugnance que tout homme un peu 
fier doit avoir a se faire presenter a un pair d'Angleterre, je 
priai M. de Br£me de m'introduire a Lord Byron, je me 
trouvai le lendemain a diner chez M. de Breme, avec lui, et le 
celebre Monti, l'immortel auteur de la Basvigliana. On parla 
poesie, on en vint a demander quels £taient les douze plus 
beaux vers faits depuis un siecle, en Francais, en Italien, 
en Anglais. Les Italiens presens s'accorderent a designer les 
douze premiers vers de la Mascheroniana de Monti, comme ce 
que Ton avait fait de plus beau dans leur langue, depuis cent 
ans. Monti voulut bien nous les reciter. Je regardai Lord 
Bvron, il fut ravi. La nuance de hauteur, ou plutot l'air d'un 
homme qui se trouve avoir a repousser une importunite, qui 
deparait un peu sa belle figure, disparut tout-a-coup pour faire 
a l'expression du bonheur. Le premier chant de la Masche- 
roniana, que Monti recita presque en entier, vaincu par les 
acclamations des auditeurs, causa la plus vive sensation a 
I'auteur de Childe Harold. Je n'oublierai jamais l'expression 
divine de ses traits ; c'etait l'air serein de la puissance et du 
g^nie, et suivant moi, Lord Byron n'avait, en ce moment, 
aucune affectation a se reprocher," 


Letter 251. TO MR. MOORE. 

"Verona, November 6. 1816. 

" My dear Moore, 

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

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

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 305 

did for itself. They still pretend to show, I believe, 
the ' tomb of all the Capulets ' — we shall see. 

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

" I have seen the finest parts of Switzerland, the 
Rhine, the Rhone, and the Swiss and Italian lakes; 
for the beauties of which, I refer you to the Guide- 
book. The north of Italy is tolerably free from the 
English ; but the south swarms with them, I am told. 
Madame de Stael I saw frequently at Copet, which 
she renders remarkably pleasant. She has been par- 
ticularly kind to me. I was for some months her 
neighbour, in a country house called Diodati, which 
I had on the Lake of Geneva. My plans are very 
uncertain ; but it is probable that you will see me 
in England in the spring. I have some business 
there. If you write to me, will you address to the 
care of Mons. Hentsch, Banquier, Geneva, who re- 

vol. in. x 


ceives and forwards my letters. Remember me to 
Rogers, who wrote to me lately, with a short ac- 
count of your poem, which, I trust, is near the light. 
He speaks of it most highly. 

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

At Milan I saw, and was visited by, Monti, the 
most celebrated of the living Italian poets. He 
seems near sixty ; in face he is like the late Cooke 
the actor. His frequent changes in politics have 
made him very unpopular as a man. I saw many 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 307 

more of their literati; but none whose names are well 
known in England, except Acerbi. I lived much 
with the Italians, particularly with the Marquis of 
Breme's family, who are very able and intelligent 
men, especially the Abate. There was a famous 
improvvisatore who held forth while I was there. 
His fluency astonished me ; but, although I under- 
stand Italian, and speak it (with more readiness than 
accuracy), I could only carry off a few very common- 
place mythological images, and one line about Arte- 
misia, and another about Algiers, with sixty words 
of an entire tragedy about Etocles and Polynices. 
Some of the Italians liked him — others called his 
performance ' seccatura ' (a devilish good word, by 
the way) — and all Milan was in controversy about 

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

" The peasant girls have all very fine dark eyes, 
and many of them are beautiful. There are also 
two dead bodies in fine preservation — one Saint 
Carlo Boromeo, at Milan ; the other not a saint, but 
a chief, named Visconti, at Monza — both of which 
appeared very agreeable. In one of the Boromean 

x 2 

308 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

isles (the Isola bella), there is a large laurel — the 
largest known — on which Buonaparte, staying there 
just before the battle of Marengo, carved with his 
knife the word ' Battaglia.' I saw the letters, now 
half worn out and partly erased. 

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

" B. 

" P. S. November 7. 1816. 

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

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYROM. 309 

to judge. The gothic monuments of the Scaligers 
pleased me, but ' a poor virtuoso am I,' and ever 

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

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

x 3 

310 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

with reference rather to our views and usages than 

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



Having premised these few observations, I shall 
now proceed, with less interruption, to lay his cor- 
respondence, during this and the two succeeding 
years, before the reader: — 

Letter 252. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Venice, November 17. 181G. 

" I wrote to you from Verona the other day in my 
progress hither, which letter I hope you will receive. 
Some three years ago, or it may be more, I recollect 
your telling me that you had received a letter from 
our friend Sam, dated ' On board his gondola.' My 
gondola is, at this present, waiting for me on the 
canal ; but I prefer writing to you in the house, it 
being autumn — and rather an English autumn than 
otherwise. It is my intention to remain at Venice 
during the winter, probably, as it has always been 
(next to the East) the greenest island of my imagin- 
ation. It has not disappointed me ; though its evi- 
dent decay would, perhaps, have that effect upon 
others. But I have been familiar with ruins too 
long to dislike desolation. Besides, I have fallen in 
love, which, next to falling into the canal, (which 
would be of no use, as I can swim,) is the best or 
the worst thing I could do. I have got some 
extremely good apartments in the house of a 
' Merchant of Venice,' who is a good deal occu- 
pied with business, and has a wife in her twenty- 
second year. Marianna (that is her name) is in 
her appearance altogether like an antelope. She 
has the large, black, oriental eyes, with that peculiar 
expression in them which is seen rarely among Eu- 

x 4 

312 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

ropeans — even the Italians — and which many of the 
Turkish women give themselves by tinging the eye- 
lid, — an art not known out of that country, I believe. 
This expression she has naturally, — and something 
more than this. In short, I cannot describe the 
effect of this kind of eye, — at least upon me. Her 
features are regular, and rather aquiline — mouth 
small — skin clear and soft, with a kind cf hectic co- 
lour — forehead remarkably good: her hair is of the 
dark gloss, curl, and colour of Lady J * *'s : her figure 
is light and pretty, and she is a famous songstress — 
scientifically so ; her natural voice (in conversation, 
I mean) is very sweet ; and the naivete of the 
Venetian dialect is always pleasing in the mouth of 
a woman. 

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

" December 5. 

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

" By way cf divertisement, I am studying daily, at 
an Armenian monastery, the Armenian language. 
I found that my mind wanted something craggy to 
break upon ; and this — as the most difficult thing I 
could discover here for an amusement — I have 
chosen, to torture me into attention. It is a rich 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 313 

language, however, and would amply repay any one 
the trouble of learning it. I try, and shall go on ; — 
but I answer for nothing, least of all for my inten- 
tions or my success. There are some very curious 
MSS. in the monastery, as well as books ; transla- 
tions also from Greek originals, now lost, and from 
Persian and Syriac, &c. ; besides works of their own 
people. Four years ago the French instituted an 
Armenian professorship. Twenty pupils presented 
themselves on Monday morning, full of noble ardour, 
ingenuous youth, and impregnable industry. They 
persevered, with a courage worthy of the nation and 
of universal conquest, till Thursday; when Jjfteen of 
the twenty succumbed to the six-and-twentieth letter 
of the alphabet. It is, to be sure, a Waterloo of an 
Alphabet— that must be said for them. But it is so 
like these fellows, to do by it as they did by their 
sovereigns — abandon both; to parody the old rhymes, 
' Take a thing and give a thing' — ' Take a king 
and give a king.' They are the worst of animals, 
except their conquerors. 

" I hear that H — n is your neighbour, having a 
living in Derbyshire. You will find him an excellent- 
hearted fellow, as well as one of the cleverest; a little, 
perhaps, too much japanned by preferment in the 
church and the tuition of youth, as well as ino- 
culated with the disease of domestic felicity, besides 
being over-run with fine feelings about woman and 
constancy (that small change of Love, which people 
exact so rigidly, receive in such counterfeit coin, and 
repay in baser metal); but, otherwise, a very worthy 
man, who has lately got a pretty wife, and (I suppose) 

314 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

a child by this time. Pray remember me to him, and 
say that I know not which to envy most his neigh- 
bourhood — him, or you. 

" Of Venice I shall say little. You must have 
seen many descriptions ; and they are most of them 
like. It is a poetical place ; and classical, to us, from 
Shakspeare and Otway. I have not yet sinned against 
it in verse, nor do I know that I shall do so, having 
been tuneless since I crossed the Alps, and feeling, 
as yet, no renewal of the ' estro.' By the way, I 
suppose you have seen ' Glenarvon.' Madame de 
Stael lent it me to read from Copet last autumn. It 
seems to me that if the authoress had written the 
truth, and nothing but the truth — the whole truth — 
the romance would not only have been more romantic, 
but more entertaining. As for the likeness, the 
picture can't be good — I did not sit long enough. 
When you have leisure, let me hear from and of 
you, believing me ever and truly yours most affec- 
tionately, B. 

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



ton, most of them as ugly as virtue — at least, those 
that I saw." 

Letter. 253. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Venice, December 24. 1816. 

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

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

" Last night I was at the Count Governor's, which, 
of course, comprises the best society, and is very 

316 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

much like other gregarious meetings in every coun- 
try, — as in ours, — except that, instead of the 
Bishop of Winchester, you have the Patriarch of 
Venice, and a motley crew of Austrians, Germans, 
nohle Venetians, foreigners, and, if you see a quiz, 
you may be sure" he is a Consul. Oh, by the way, 
I forgot, when I wrote from Verona, to tell you that 
at Milan I met with a countryman of yours — a 
Colonel * * * *, a very excellent, good-natured fellow, 
who knows and shows all about Milan, and is, as it 
were, a native there. He is particularly civil to 
strangers, and this is his history, — at least, an 
episode of it. 

" Six-and-twenty years ago, Col. * * * *, then an 
ensign, being in Italy, fell in love with the Marchesa 

* * * *, and she with him. The lady must be, at 
least, twenty years his senior. The war broke out; 
he returned to England, to serve — not his country, 
for that's Ireland — but England, which is a different 
thing ; and she — heaven knows what she did. In the 
year 1814, the first annunciation of the Definitive 
Treaty of Peace (and tyranny) was developed to the 
astonished Milanese by the arrival of Col. * * * *, 
who, flinging himself full length at the feet of Mad. 

* * * *, murmured forth, in half-forgotten Irish Ita- 
lian, eternal vows of indelible constancy. The lady 
screamed, and exclaimed, ' Who are you ? ' The 
Colonel cried, 'What! don't you know me ? I am so 
and so,' &c. &c. &c. ; till, at length, the Marchesa, 
mounting from reminiscence to reminiscence, through 
the lovers of the intermediate twenty-five years, 
arrived at last at the recollection of her povero sub- 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 317 

lieutenant. She then said, ' Was there ever such 
virtue? ' (that was her very word) and, being now 
a widow, gave him apartments in her palace, rein- 
stated him in all the rights of wrong, and held 
him up to the admiring world as a miracle of 
incontinent fidelity, and the unshaken Abdiel of 

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

318 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

there on purpose to meet him, and had chosen this 
method for an harmonic surprise. So much for this 
gossip, which amused me when I heard it, and I 
send it to you, in the hope it may have the like 
effect. Now we'll return to Venice. 

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

" My flame (my ' Donna' whom I spoke of in my 
former epistle, my Marianna) is still my Marianna, 
and I, her — what she pleases. She is by far the 
prettiest woman I have seen here, and the most love- 
able I have met with any where — as well as one of 
the most singular. I believe I told you the rise and 
progress of our liaison in my former letter. Lest 
that should not have reached you, 1 will merely 
repeat, that she is a Venetian, two-and-twenty years 
old, married to a merchant well to do in the world, 
and that she has great black oriental eyes, and all the 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 319 

qualities which her eyes promise. Whether being 
in love with her has steeled me or not, I do not 
know ; but I have not seen many other women who 
seem pretty. The nobility, in particular, are a sad- 
looking race — the gentry rather better. And now, 
what art thou doing ? 

" What are you doing now, 

Oh Thomas Moore? 
What are you doing now, 

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

Which, Thomas Moore? 

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

" As the Liberty lads o'er the sea 

Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood, 

So we, boys, we 
" Will die fighting, or live free, 
And down with all kings but King Ludd ! 

" When the web that we weave is complete, 
And the shuttle exchanged for the sword, 

We will fling the winding-sheet 

O'er the despot at our feet, 
And dye it deep in the gore he has pour'd. 

" Though black as his heart its hue, 
Since his veins are corrupted to mud, 
Yet this is the dew 
Which the tree shall renew 
Of Liberty, planted by Ludd ! 

320 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

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

" But the Carnival's coming, 

Oh Thomas Moore, 
The Carnival's coming, 

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

Oh Thomas Moore. 

The other night I saw a new play, — and the author. 
The subject was the sacrifice of Isaac. The play 
succeeded, and they called for the author — accord- 
ing to continental custom — and he presented him- 
self, a noble Venetian, Mali, or Malapiero, by name. 
Mala was his name, and pessima his production, — 
at least, I thought so, and I ought to know, having 
read more or less of five hundred Drury Lane offer- 
ings, during my coadjutorship with the sub-and- 
super Committee. 

" When does your poem of poems come out ? I 
hear that the E. R. has cut up Coleridge's Christa- 
bel, and declared against me for praising it. I 
praised it, firstly, because I thought well of it ; 
secondly, because Coleridge was in great distress, 
and, after doing what little I could for him in essen- 
tials, I thought that the public avowal of my good 
opinion might help him further, at least with the 
booksellers. I am very sorry that J * * has attacked 


him, because, poor fellow, it will hurt him in mind 
and pocket. As for me, he's welcome — I shall never 
think less of J * * for any thing he may say against 
me or mine in future. 

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

" Ever and ever, &c. 

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

Letter 254. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, November 25. 181 6. 

" It is some months since I have heard from or of 
you — I think, not since I left Diodati. From Milan 
I wrote once or twice ; but have been here some 
little time, and intend to pass the winter without 
removing. I was much pleased with the Lago di 

VOL. III. y 

322 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

Garda, and with Verona, particularly the amphi- 
theatre, and a sarcophagus in a convent garden, 
which they show as Juliet's : they insist on the truth 
of her history. Since my arrival at Venice, the lady 
of the Austrian governor told me that between 
Verona and Vicenza there are still ruins of the 
castle of the Montecclti, and a chapel once appertain- 
ing to the Capulets. Romeo seems to have been of 
Vicenza by the tradition ; but I was a good deal 
surprised to find so firm a faith in Bandello's novel, 
which seems really to have been founded on a fact. 

u Venice pleases me as much as I expected, and I 
expected much. It is one of those places which 
I know before I see them, and has always haunted 
me the most after the East. I like the gloomy gaiety 
of their gondolas, and the silence of their canals. I 
do not even dislike the evident decay of the city, 
though I regret the singularity of its vanished cos- 
tume ; however, there is much left still ; the Carni- 
val, too, is coming. 

" St. Mark's, and indeed Venice, is most alive at 
night. The theatres are not open till nine, and the 
society is proportionably late. All this is to my 
taste, but most of your countrymen miss and regret 
the rattle of hackney coaches, without which they 
can't sleep. 

" I have got remarkably good apartments in a 
private house ; I see something of the inhabitants 
(having had a good many letters to some of them) ; 
I have got my gondola ; I read a little, and luckily 
could speak Italian (more fluently than correctly) 
long ago. I am studying, out of curiosity, the 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 323 

Venetian dialect, which is very naive, and soft, and 
peculiar, though not at all classical ; I go out fre- 
quently, and am in very good contentment. 

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

" In this beloved marble view, 

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

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

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

Behold the Helen of the heart ! 

Talking of the ' heart ' reminds me that I have fallen 
in love — fathomless love ; but lest you should make 
some splendid mistake, and envy me the possession 
of some of those princesses or countesses with whose 
affections your English voyagers are apt to invest 
themselves, I beg leave to tell you that my goddess 
is only the wife of a ' Merchant of Venice ;' but then 
she is pretty as an antelope, is but two-and-twenty 
years old, has the large, black, oriental eyes, with 
the Italian countenance, and dark glossy hair, of the 
curl and colour of Lady J * *'s. Then she has the 
voice of a lute, and the song of a seraph (though not 
quite so sacred), besides a long postscript of graces, 
virtues, and accomplishments, enough to furnish ou 
a new chapter for Solomon's Song. But her greuv 

y 2 

32 !• NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

merit is finding out mine — there is nothing so ami- 
able as discernment. 

" The general race of women appear to be hand- 
some ; but in Italy, as on almost all the Continent, 
the highest orders are by no means a well-looking 
generation, and indeed reckoned by their country- 
men very much otherwise. Some are exceptions, 
but most of them as ugly as Virtue herself. 

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

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

Letter 255. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, December 4. 1816. 

" I have written to you so frequently of late, that 
you will think me a bore; as I think you a very 
impolite person, for not answering my letters from 
Switzerland, Milan, Verona, and Venice. There 
are some things I wanted, and want, to know, viz. 
whether Mr. Davies, of inaccurate memory, had or 
had not delivered the MS. as delivered to him ; be- 
cause, if he has not, you will find that he will boun- 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 325 

tifully bestow transcriptions on all the curious of his 
acquaintance, in which case you may probably find 
your publication anticipated by the ' Cambridge' or 
other Chronicles. In the next place, — I forget what 
was next; but in the third place, I want to hear 
whether you have yet published, or when you mean 
to do so, or why you have not done so, because in 
your last (Sept. 20th, — you may be ashamed of the 
date), you talked of this being done immediately. 

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

Y 3 

326 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

mind round some severer study, and this, as being 
the hardest I could devise here, will be a file for 
the serpent. 

" I mean to remain here till the spring, so address 
to me directly to Venice, posts restante. — Mr. 
Hobhouse, for the present, is gone to Rome, with 
his brother, brother's wife, and sister, who overtook 
him here : he returns in two months. I should have 
gone too, but I fell in love, and must stay that over. 
I should think that and the Armenian alphabet will 
last the winter. The lady has, luckily for me, been 
less obdurate than the language, or, between the 
two, I should have lost my remains of sanity. By 
the way, she is not an Armenian but a Venetian, as 
I believe I told you in my last. As for Italian, I 
am fluent enough, even in its Venetian modification, 
which is something like the Somersetshire version 
of English ; and as for the more classical dialects, I 
had not forgot my former practice much during my 


" Yours, ever and truly, 

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

Letter 256. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, Dec. 9. 1816. 
" In a letter from England, I am informed that a 
man named Johnson has taken upon himself to pub- 
lish some poems called a ' Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, 
a Tempest, and an Address to my Daughter,' &c, and 
to attribute them to me, adding that he had paid five 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 327 

hundred guineas for them. The answer to this is 
short : / never wrote such poems, never received tlie 
sum he mentions, nor any other in the same quarter, 
nor (as far as moral or mortal certainty can he sure) 
ever had, directly or indirectly, the slightest communi- 
cation with Johnson in my life ; not being aware that 
the person existed till this intelligence gave me to 
understand that there were such people. Nothing 
surprises me, or this perhaps would, and most things 
amuse me, or this probably would not. With regard 
to myself, the man has merely lied ; that's natural ; 
his betters have set him the example. But with 
regard to you, his assertion may perhaps injure you 
in your publications ; and I desire that it may receive 
the most public and unqualified contradiction. I do 
not know that there is any punishment for a thing of 
this kind, and if there were, I should not feel dis- 
posed to pursue this ingenious mountebank farther 
than was necessary for his confutation ; but thus far 
it may be necessary to proceed. 

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

" Ever, &c. 

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

" To prevent the recurrence of similar fabrications, 

v 4- 

328 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

you may state, that I consider myself responsible for 
no publication from tbe year 1312 up to the present 
date which is not from your press. I speak of course 
from that period, because, previously, Cawthorn and 
Ridge had both printed compositions of mine. ' A 
Pilgrimage to Jerusalem!' How the devil should I 
write about Jerusalem, never having yet been there ? 
As for ' A Tempest,' it was not a tempest when I left 
England, but a very fresh breeze : and as to an ' Ad- 
dress to little Ada,' (who, by the way, is a year old 
to-morrow,) I never wrote a line about her, except 
in ' Farewell' and the third Canto of Childe Harold." 

Letter 257. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, Dec. 27. 1816. 

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

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

" Yesterday being the feast of St. Stephen, every 
mouth was put in motion. There was nothing but 
fiddling and playing on the virginals, and all kinds 
of conceits and divertissements, on every canal of 
this aquatic city. I dined with the Countess Albrizzi 

1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 329 

and a Paduan and Venetian party, and afterwards 
went to the opera, at the Fenice theatre (which opens 
for the Carnival on that day), — the finest, by the 
way, I have ever seen : it beats our theatres hollow 
in beauty and scenery, and those of Milan and 
Brescia bow before it. The opera and its sirens 
were much like other operas and women, but the 
subject of the said opera was something edifying ; it 
turned — the plot and conduct thereof — upon a 
fact narrated by Livy of a hundred and fifty married 
ladies having poisoned a hundred and fifty husbands 
in good old times. The bachelors of Rome believed 
this extraordinary mortality to be merely the com- 
mon effect of matrimony or a pestilence ; but the 
surviving Benedicts, being all seized with the cholic, 
examined into the matter, and found that ' their pos- 
sets had been drugged ;' the consequence of which 
was, much scandal and several suits at law. This is 
really and truly the subject of the musical piece at 
the Fenice; and you can't conceive what pretty things 
are sung and recitativoed about the horrenda strage. 
The conclusion was a lady's head about to be chop- 
ped off by a lictor, but (I am sorry to say) he left it 
on, and she got up and sung a trio with the two 
Consuls, the Senate in the back-ground being chorus. 
The ballet was distinguished by nothing remarkable, 
except that the principal she-dancer went into 
convulsions because she was not applauded on her 
first appearance ; and the manager came forward 
to ask if there was 'ever a physician in the theatre.' 
There was a Greek one in my box, whom I wished 
very much to volunteer his services, being sure that 

330 NOTICES OF THE 1816. 

in this case these would havebeen the lastconvulsions 
which would have troubled the ballarina; but he 
would not. The crowd was enormous, and in coming 
out, having a lady under my arm, I was obliged, in 
making way, almost to ' beat a Venetian and traduce 
the state,' being compelled to regale a person with an 
English punch in the guts, which sent him as far 
back as the squeeze and the passage would admit. 
He did not ask for another, but, with great signs of 
disapprobation and dismay, appealed to his compa- 
triots, who laughed at him. 

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

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

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

" And now, if you don't write, I don't know what 
I won't say or do, nor what I will. Send me some 
news — good news. Yours very truly, &c. &c. &c. 




" P. S. Remember me to Mr. Gifford, with all 

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

Letter 258. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, Jan. 2.1817. 

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

" To-day is the 2d of January. On this day three 
years ago The Corsair's publication is dated, I think, 
in my letter to Moore. On this day two years I 
married, (' Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth,' 
— I sha'n't forget the day in a hurry,) and it is odd 
enough that I this day received a letter from you 
announcing the publication of Childe Harold, &c. &c. 



on the day of the date of ' The Corsair ; ' and I also 
received one from my sister, written on the 10th of 
December, my daughter's birth-day (and relative 
chiefly to my daughter), and arriving on the day of 
the date of my marriage, this present 2d of January, 
the month of my birth, — and various other astrolo- 
gous matters, which I have no time to enumerate. 

" By the way, you might as well write to Hentsch, 
my Geneva banker, and enquire whether the two 
packets consigned to his care were or were not deli- 
vered to Mr. St. Aubyn, or if they are still in his 
keeping. One contains papers, letters, and all the 
original MS. of your third Canto, as first con- 
ceived ; and the other, some bones from the field of 
Morat. Many thanks for your news, and the good 
spirits in which your letter is written. 

" Venice and I agree very well ; but I do not know 
that I have any thing new to say, except of the last 
new opera, which I sent in my late letter. The 
Carnival is commencing, and there is a good deal of 
fun here and there — besides business ; for all the 
world are making up their intrigues for the season, 
changing, or going on upon a renewed lease. I am very 
well off with Marianna, who is not at all a person to 
tire me; firstly, because I do not tire of a woraanjoe?'- 
sonally, but because they are generally bores in 
their disposition ; and, secondly, because she is 
amiable, and has a tact which is not always the por- 
tion of the fair creation ; and, thirdly, she is very 
pretty ; and, fourthly — but there is no occasion for 
further specification. So far we have gone on very 
well ; as to the future, I never anticipate — carpe 

1817. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 333 

diem — the past at least is one's own, which is one 
reason for making sure of the present. So much for 
my proper liaison. 

" The general state of morals here is much the 
same as in the Doges' time ; a woman is virtuous 
(according to the code) who limits herself to her 
husband and one lover ; those who have two, three, 
or more, are a little wild ; but it is only those who 
are indiscriminately diffuse, and form a low connec- 
tion, such as the Princess of Wales with her courier, 
(who, by the way, is made a knight of Malta.) who 
are considered as overstepping the modesty of mar- 
riage. In Venice, the nobility have a trick of mar- 
rying with dancers and singers ; and, truth to say, 
the women of their own order are by no means hand- 
some ; but the general race, the women of the 
second and other orders, the wives of the merchants, 
and proprietors, and untitled gentry, are mostly beV 
sangue, and it is with these that the more amatory 
connections are usually formed. There are also in- 
stances of stupendous constancy. I know a woman 
of fifty who never had but one lover, who dying 
early, she became devout, renouncing all but her 
husband. She piques herself, as may be presumed, 
upon this miraculous fidelity, talking of it occa- 
sionally with a species of misplaced morality, which 
is rather amusing. There is no convincing a woman 
here that she is in the smallest degree deviating from 
the rule of right or the fitness of things in having an 
amoroso. The great sin seems to lie in concealing 
it, or having more than one, that is, unless such an 

33-1? NOTICES OF THE 131? 

extension of the prerogative is understood and ap- 
proved of by the prior claimant. 

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

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

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

1817. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 335 

ardour by some literary Frenchmen in Buonaparte's 

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

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

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

" Yours," &c. 

To the Armenian Grammar, mentioned in the 
foregoing letter, the following interesting fragment, 
found among his papers, seems to have been in- 
tended as a Preface : — 

336 NOTICES OF THE ]817, 

" The English reader will probably be surprised 
to find my name associated with a work of the 
present description, and inclined to give me more 
credit for my attainments as a linguist than they 

" As I would not willingly be guilty of a decep- 
tion, I will state, as shortly as I can, my own share 
in the compilation, with the motives which led to it. 
On my arrival at Venice, in the year 1816, I found 
my mind in a state which required study, and study 
of a nature which should leave little scope for the 
imagination, and furnish some difficulty in the pur- 

" At this period I was much struck — in common, 
I believe, with every other traveller — with the 
society of the Convent of St. Lazarus, which ap- 
pears to unite all the advantages of the monastic 
institution, without any of its vices. 

" The neatness, the comfort, the gentleness, the 
unaffected devotion, the accomplishments, and the 
virtues of the brethren of the order, are well fitted 
to strike the man of the world with the conviction 
that ' there is another and a better' even in this 

" These men are the priesthood of an oppressed 
and a noble nation, which has partaken of the pro- 
scription and bondage of the Jews and of the 
Greeks, without the sullenness of the former or the 
servility of the latter. This people has attained 
riches without usury, and all the honours that can 
be awarded to slavery without intrigue. But they 
have long occupied, nevertheless, a part of ' the 


House of Bondage,' who has lately multiplied her 
many mansions. It would be difficult, perhaps, to 
find the annals of a nation less stained with crimes 
than those of the Armenians, whose virtues have 
been those of peace, and their vices those of com- 
pulsion. But whatever may have been their destiny 

— and it has been bitter — whatever it may be in 
future, their country must ever be one of the most 
interesting on the globe ; and perhaps their language 
only requires to be more studied to become more 
attractive. If the Scriptures are rightly under- 
stood, it was in Armenia that Paradise was placed 

— Armenia, which has paid as dearly as the 
descendants of Adam for that fleeting participation 
of its soil in the happiness of him who was created 
from its dust. It was in Armenia that the flood 
first abated, and the dove alighted. But with the 
disappearance of Paradise itself may be dated al- 
most the unhappiness of the country ; for though 
long a powerful kingdom, it was scarcely ever an 
independent one, and the satraps of Persia and the 
pachas of Turkey have alike desolated the region 
where God created man in his own imasje." 

"Q v 

Letter 259. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Venice, January 28. 1817. 

" Your letter of the 8th is before me. The re- 
medy for your plethora is simple — abstinence. I 
was obliged to have recourse to the like some years 
ago, I mean in point of diet, and, with the exception 
of some convivial weeks and days, (it might be 

vol. ni. z 


months, now and then,) have kept to Pythagoras 
ever since. For all this, let me hear that you are 
better. You must not indulge in ' filthy beer,' nor 
in porter, nor eat suppers — the last are the devil to 
those who swallow dinner. 

" I am truly sorry to hear of your father's misfor- 
tune — cruel at any time, but doubly cruel in ad- 
vanced life. However, you will, at least, have the 
satisfaction of doing your part by him, and depend 
upon it, it will not be in vain. Fortune, to be sure, 
is a female, but not such a b * * as the rest (always 
excepting your wife and my sister from such sweep- 
ing terms) ; for she generally has some justice in 
the long run. I have no spite against her, though 
between her and Nemesis I have had some sore 
gauntlets to run — but then I have done my best 
to deserve no better. But to you, she is a good deal 
in arrear, and she will come round — mind if she 
don't : you have the vigour of life, of independence, 
of talent, spirit, and character all with you. What 
you can do for yourself, you have done and will do ; 
and surely there are some others in the world who 
would not be sorry to be of use, if you would allow 
them to be useful, or at least attempt it. 

" I think of being in England in the spring. If 
there is a row, by the sceptre of King Ludd, but I'll 
be one ; and if there is none, and only a continuance 
of ' this meek, piping time of peace,' I will take a 
cottage a hundred yards to the south of your abode, 
and become your neighbour ; and we will compose 
such canticles, and hold such dialogues, as shall be 
the terror of the Times (including the newspaper of 



that name), and the wonder, and honour, and praise 
of the Morning Chronicle and posterity. 

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

" Venice is in the estro of her carnival, and I have 
been up these last two nights at the ridotto and the 
opera, and all that kind of thing. Now for an adven- 
ture. A few days ago a gondolier brought me a 
billet without a subscription, intimating a wish on 
the part of the writer to meet me either in gondola, 
or at the island of San Lazaro, or at a third rendez- 
vous, indicated in the note. ' I know the country's 
disposition well' — in Venice ' they do let Heaven 
see those tricks they dare not show,' &c. &c. ; so, for 
all response, I said that neither of the three places 
suited me ; but that I would either be at home at ten 
at night alone, or be at the ridotto at midnight, where 
the writer might meet me masked. At ten o'clock I 
was at home and alone (Marianna was gone with her 
husband to a conversazione), when the door of my 

z 2 

310 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

apartment opened, and in walked a well-looking and 
(for an Italian) bionda girl of about nineteen, who 
informed me that she was married to the brother of 
my amorosa, and wished to have some conversation 
with me. I made a decent reply, and we had some 
talk in Italian and Romaic (her mother being a Greek 
of Corfu), when lo ! in a very few minutes in marches, 
to my very great astonishment, Marianna S * *, in 
propria persona, and after making a most polite 
courtesy to her sister-in-law and to me, without a 
single word seizes her said sister-in-law by the hair, 
and bestows upon her some sixteen slaps, which 
would have made your ear ache only to hear their 
echo. I need not describe the screaming which 
ensued. The luckless visiter took flight. I seized 
Marianna, who, after several vain efforts to get 
away in pursuit of the enemy, fairly went into fits in 
my arms ; and, in spite of reasoning, eau de Cologne, 
vinegar, half a pint of water, and God knows what 
other waters beside, continued so till past midnight. 
" After damning my servants for letting people in 
without apprizing me, I found that Marianna in the 
morning had seen her sister-in-law's gondolier on the 
stairs, and, suspecting that his apparition boded her 
no good, had either returned of her own accord, or 
been followed by her maids or some other spy of her 
people to the conversazione, from whence she re- 
turned to perpetrate this piece of pugilism. I had 
seen fits before, and also some small scenery of the 
same genus in and out of our island : but this was 
not all. After about an hour, in comes — who ? why, 
Signor S * *, her lord and husband, and finds me 


with his wife fainting upon a sofa, and all the appa- 
ratus of confusion, dishevelled hair, hats, handker- 
chiefs, salts, smelling bottles — and the lady as pale 
as ashes, without sense or motion. His first ques- 
tion was, ' What is all this?' The lady could not 
reply — so I did. I told him the explanation was 
the easiest thing in the world ; but in the mean 
time it would be as well to recover his wife — at 
least, her senses. This came about in due time of 
suspiration and respiration. 

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

z 3 

34-2 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

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

" Believe me ever,"' &c. 

Letter 260. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, January 24. 1817. 

" I have been requested by the Countess Albrizzi 
here to present her with ' the Works ; ' and wish 
you therefore to send me a copy, that I may comply 
with her requisition. You may include the last pub- 
lished, of which I have seen and know nothing, but 
from your letter of the 13th of December. 

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

" Dr. Polidori, as I hear from him by letter from 
Pisa, is about to return to England, to go to the 
Brazils on a medical speculation with the Danish 
consul. As you are in the favour of the powers that 
be, could you not get him some letters of recom- 

1817. LIFE OF LORD BYRON T . 34-3 

mendation from some of your government friends 
to some of the Portuguese settlers ? He under- 
stands his profession well, and has no want of ge- 
neral talents ; his faults are the faults of a pardon- 
able vanity and youth. His remaining with me was 
out of the question : I have enough to do to manage 
my own scrapes ; and as precepts without example 
are not the most gracious homilies, I thought it better 
to give him his conge : but I know no great harm of 
him, and some good. He is clever and accomplished ; 
knows his profession, by all accounts, well ; and is 
honourable in his dealings, and not at all malevolent. 
I think, with luck, he will turn out a useful member 
of society (from which he will lop the diseased mem- 
bers) and the College of Physicians. If you can be 
of any use to him, or know any one who can, pray 
be so, as he has his fortune to make. He has kept 
a medical journal under the eye of Vacca (the first 
surgeon on the Continent) at Pisa : Vacca has cor- 
rected it, and it must contain some valuable hints or 
information on the practice of this country. If you 
can aid him in publishing this also, by your influ- 
ence with your brethren, do ; I do not ask you to 
publish it yourself, because that sort of request is too 
personal and embarrassing. He has also a tragedy, 
of which, having seen nothing, I say nothing : but the 
very circumstance of his having made these efforts (if 
they are only efforts), at one-and-twenty, is in his 
favour, and proves him to have good dispositions for 
his own improvement. So if, in the way of com- 
mendation or recommendation, you can aid his ob- 
jects with your government friends, I wish you would. 

z 4 

344 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

I should think some of your Admiralty Board might 
be likely to have it in their power." 

Letter 261. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, February 15. 1817. 

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

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

" Of Mr. Hobhouse's quarrel with the Quarterly 
Review, I know very little except * *'s article itself, 
which was certainly harsh enough ; but I quite agree 
that it would have been better not to answer — par- 
ticularly after Mr. W. W., who never more will 
trouble you, trouble you. I have been uneasy, be- 
cause Mr. H. told me that his letter or preface was 
to be addressed to me. Now, he and I are friends 
of many years ; I have many obligations to him, and 
he none to me, which have not been cancelled and 
more than repaid ; but Mr. Gifford and I are friends 
also, and he has moreover been literally so, through 
thick and thin, in despite of difference of years, 



morals, habits, and even politics ; and therefore I 
feel in a very awkward situation between the two, 
Mr. Gifford and my friend Hobhouse, and can only 
wish that they had no difference, or that such as 
they have were accommodated. The Answer I have 
not seen, for — it is odd enough for people so inti- 
mate — but Mr. Hobhouse and I are very sparing 
of our literary confidences. For example, the other 
day he wished to have a MS. of the third Canto 
to read over to his brother, &c, which was refused ; 

— and I have never seen his journals, nor he mine 

— (I only kept the short one of the mountains for 
my sister) — nor do I think that hardly ever he or 
I saw any of the other's productions previous to 
their publication. 

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

" I forgot to mention to you that a kind of Poem 
in dialogue * (in blank verse) or Drama, from which 
' The Incantation' is an extract, begun last summer 
in Switzerland, is finished ; it is in three acts ; but 
of a very wild, metaphysical, and inexplicable kind. 
Almost all the persons — but two or three — are 
Spirits of the earth and air, or the waters ; the scene 
is in the Alps ; the hero a kind of magician, who 
is tormented by a species of remorse, the cause of 

* Manfred. 

346 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

which is left half unexplained. He wanders about 
invoking these Spirits, which appear to him, and are 
of no use ; he at last goes to the very abode of the 
Evil Principle, in propria persona, to evocate a ghost, 
which appears, and gives him an ambiguous and dis- 
agreeable answer ; and in the third act he is found 
by his attendants dying in a tower where he had 
studied his art. You may perceive by this outline 
that I have no great opinion of this piece of fan- 
tasy ; but I have at least rendered it quite impossible 
for the stage, for which my intercourse with Drury 
Lane has given me the greatest contempt. 

" I have not even copied it off, and feel too lazy 
at present to attempt the whole ; but when I have, 
I will send it you, and you may either throw it into 
the fire or not." 

Letter 262. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, February 25. 1817. 

" I wrote to you the other day in answer to your 
letter; at present I would trouble you with a com- 
mission, if you would be kind enough to under- 
take it. 

" You, perhaps, know Mr. Love, the jeweller, of 
Old Bond Street ? In 1813, when in the intention of 
returning to Turkey, I purchased of him, and paid 
(argent comptant) for about a dozen snuff-boxes, of 
more or less value, as presents for some of my Mussul- 
man acquaintance. These I have now with me. The 
other day, having occasion to make an alteration in 
the lid of one (to place a portrait in it), it has turned 



out to be silver-gilt instead of gold, for which last it 
was sold and paid for. This was discovered by the 
workman in trying it, before taking oif the hinges 
and working upon the lid. I have of course recalled 
and preserved the box in statu quo. What I wish 
you to do is, to see the said Mr. Love, and inform 
him of this circumstance, adding, from me, that I 
will take care he shall not have done this with 

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

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

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

" The Carnival closed this day last week. 

" Mr. Hobhouse is still at Rome, I believe. I am 
at present a little unwell ; — sitting up too late and 
some subsidiary dissipations have lowered my blood 
a good deal ; but 1 have at present the quiet and 
temperance of Lent before me. 

" Believe me, &c. 

348 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

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

" I mean to write a tragedy on the subject, which 
appears to me very dramatic ; an old man, jealous, 
and conspiring against the state of which he was the 
actually reigning chief. The last circumstance makes 
it the most remarkable and only fact of the kind in 
all history of all nations." 

Letter 263. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Venice, February 28. 1817. 

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

1817. LIFE OF LOUD BYRON. 349 

little. But it is over, — and it is now Lent, with all 
its abstinence and sacred music. 

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

" So, we'll go no more a roving 

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

And the moon be still as bright. 
For the sword out-wears its sheath, 

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

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

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

By the light of the moon. 

I have lately had some news of Yitteratoor, as I heard 
the editor of the Monthly pronounce it once upon 
a time. I hear that W. W. has been publishing and 
responding to the attacks of the Quarterly, in the 
learned Perry's Chronicle. I read his poesies last 
autumn, and, amongst them, found an epitaph on his 
bull-dog, and another on myself. But I beg leave to 
assure him (like the astrologer Partridge) that I am 
not only alive now, but was alive also at the time he 
wrote it. Hobhouse has (I hear, also) expectorated 
a letter against the Quarterly, addressed to me. I 

350 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 


feel awkwardly situated between him and Gifford, 
both being my friends. 

" And this is your month of going to press — by 
the body of Diana ! (a Venetian oath,) I feel as anxi- 
ous — but not fearful for you — as if it were myself 
coming out in a work of humour, which would, you 
know, be the antipodes of all my previous publica- 
tions. I don't think you have any thing to dread but 
your own reputation. You must keep up to that. 
As you never showed me a line of your work, I do 
not even know your measure ; but you must send 
me a copy by Murray forthwith, and then you shall 
hear what I think. I dare say you are in a pucker. 
Of all authors, you are the only really modest one I 
ever met with, — which would sound oddly enough 
to those who recollect your morals when you were 
young — that is, when you were extremely young — 
I don't mean to stigmatise you either with years or 

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

" If I live ten years longer, you will see, however, 
that it is not over with me — I don't mean in litera- 
ture, for that is nothing ; and it may seem odd enough 

1817. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 351 

to say, I do not think it my vocation. But you will 
see that I shall do something or other — the times 
and fortune permitting — that, ' like the cosmogony, 
or creation of the world, will puzzle the philosophers 
of all ages.' But I doubt whether my constitution 
will hold out. I have, at intervals, exorcised it most 

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

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

Letter 264. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, March 3. 1817. 

" In acknowledging the arrival of the article from 
the ' Quarterly*,' which I received two days ago, I 
cannot express myself better than in the words of 
my sister Augusta, who (speaking of it) says, that it 
is written in a spirit ' of the most feeling and kind 
nature.' It is, however, something more ; it seems 
to me (as far as the subject of it may be permitted 

* An article in No. 31. of this Review, written, as Lord 
Byron afterwards discovered, by Sir Walter Scott, and well 
meriting, by the kind and generous spirit that breathes through 
it, the warm and lasting gratitude it awakened in the noble 

352 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

to judge) to be very well written as a composition, 
and I think will do the journal no discredit, because 
even those who condemn its partiality must praise 
its generosity. The temptations to take another 
and a less favourable view of the question have been 
so great and numerous, that, what with public 
opinion, politics, &c. he must be a gallant as well as 
a good man, who has ventured in that place, and at 
this time, to write such an article even anonymously. 
Such things are, however, their own reward ; and I 
even flatter myself that the writer, whoever he may 
be (and I have no guess), will not regret that the 
perusal of this has given me as much gratification 
as any composition of that nature could give, and 
more than any other has given, — and I have had a 
good many in my time of one kind or the other. It is 
not the mere praise, but there is a tact and a delicacy 
throughout, not only with regard to me, but to 
others, which, as it had not been observed elsew/iere, 
I had till now doubted whether it could be observed 
any w/iere. 

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

" I have lately written to you frequently, with 
extracts, &c, which I hope you have received, or 
will receive, with or before this letter. — Ever since 
the conclusion of the Carnival I have been unwell, 
(do not mention this, on any account, to Mrs. Leigh ; 
for if I grow worse, she will know it too soon, and if 
I get better, there is no occasion that she should 
know it at all,) and have hardly stirred out of the 

1817. LIFE OF LORD BYROX. 353 

house. However, I don't want a physician, and if I 
did, very luckily those of Italy are the worst in the 
world, so that I should still have a chance. They 
have, I believe, one famous surgeon, Vacca, who 
lives at Pisa, who might be useful in case of dissec- 
tion : — but he is some hundred miles off. My 
malady is a sort of lowish fever, originating from 
what my ' pastor and master,' Jackson, would call 
' taking too much out of one's self.' However, I am 
better within this day or two. 

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


354" NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

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

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

" Yours ever very truly and obligedly," &c. 

Letter 265. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, March 9. 1817. 

" In remitting the third Act of the sort of dramatic 
poem of which you will by this time have received 
the two first (at least I hope so), which were sent 
within the last three weeks, I have little to observe, 
except that you must not publish it (if it ever is 
published) without giving me previous notice. I 
have really and truly no notion whether it is good or 
bad ; and as this was not the case with the principal 
of my former publications, I am, therefore, inclined 
to rank it very humbly. You will submit it to Mr. 
GifFord, and to whomsoever you please besides. 
With regard to the question of copyright (if it ever 
comes to publication), I do not know whether you 
would think three hundred guineas an over-estimate; 
if you do, you may diminish it : I do not think it 
worth more ; so you may see I make some difference 
between it and the others. 

" I have received your two Reviews (but not the 



< Tales of my Landlord') ; the Quarterly I acknow-. 
ledged particularly to you, on its arrival, ten days 
ago. What you tell me of Perry petrifies me ; it is 
a rank imposition. In or about February or March, 
1816, 1 was given to understand that Mr. Croker was 
not only a coadjutor in the attacks of the Courier in 
1814, but the author of some lines tolerably fero- 
cious, then recently published in a morning paper. 
Upon this I wrote a reprisal. The whole of the 
lines I have forgotten, and even the purport of them 
I scarcely remember ; for on your assuring me that 
he was not, &c. &c, I put them into the fire before 
your face, and there never was but that one rough 
copy. Mr. Davies, the only person who ever heard 
them read, wanted a copy, which I refused. If, 
however, by some impossibility, which I cannot divine, 
the ghost of these rhymes should walk into the world, 
I never will deny what I have really written, but 
hold myself personally responsible for satisfaction, 
though I reserve to myself the right of disavowing 
all or any fabrications. To the previous facts you 
are a witness, and best know how far my recapitula- 
tion is correct ; and I request that you will inform 
Mr. Perry from me, that I wonder he should permit 
such an abuse of my name in his paper ; I say an 
abuse, because my absence, at least, demands some 
respect, and my presence and positive sanction could 
alone justify him in such a proceeding, even were 
the lines mine ; and if false, there are no words for 
him. I repeat to you that the original was burnt 
before you on your assurance, and there never was a 
copy, nor even a verbal repetition, — very much to 

a x 2 

356 NOTICES OF THE 1817 

the discomfort of some zealous Whigs, who bored 
me for them (having heard it bruited by Mr. Davies 
that there were such matters) to no purpose ; for, 
having written them solely with the notion that Mr. 
Croker was the aggressor, and for my own and not 
party reprisals, I would not lend me to the zeal of 
any sect when I was made aware that he was not 
the writer of the offensive passages. You knoiv, if 
there was such a thing, I would not deny it. I 
mentioned it openly at the time to you, and you will 
remember why and where I destroyed it ; and no 
power nor wheedling on earth should have made, or 
could make, me (if I recollected them) give a copy 
after that, unless I was well assured that Mr. Croker 
was really the author of that which you assured me 
he was not. 

" I intend for England this spring, where I have 
some affairs to adjust; but the post hurries me. For 
this month past I have been unwell, but am getting 
better, and thinking of moving homewards towards 
May, without going to Rome, as the unhealthy 
season comes on soon, and I can return when I have 
settled the business I go upon, which need not be 
long. I should have thought the Assyrian tale very 

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

" The thing I have sent you, you will see at a 
glimpse, could never be attempted or thought of for 
the stage ; I much doubt it for publication even. 
It is too much in my old style ; but I composed it 


actually with a horror of the stage, and with a view 
to render the thought of it impracticable, knowing 
the zeal of my friends that I should try that for 
which I have an invincible repugnance, viz. a repre- 

" I certainly am a devil of a mannerist, and must 
leave off; but what could I do? Without exertion 
of some kind, I should have sunk under my ima- 
gination and reality. My best respects to Mr. 
GifFord, to Walter Scott, and to all friends. 

" Yours ever." 

Letter 266. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Venice, March 10. 1817. 

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

" Murray has sent me the Quarterly and the 
Edinburgh. Wlien I tell you that Walter Scott is 
the author of the article in the former, you will 
agree with me that such an article is still more 
honourable to him than to myself. I am perfectly 
pleased with Jeffrey's also, which I wish you to tell 
him, with my remembrances — not that I suppose 

a A 3 


it is of any consequence to him, or ever could have 
been, whether I am pleased or not, but simply in 
my private relation to him, as his well-wisher, and 
it may be one day as his acquaintance. I wish you 
would also add, what you know, that I was not, and, 
indeed, am not even now, the misanthropical and 
gloomy gentleman he takes me for, but a facetious 
companion, well to do with those with whom I am 
intimate, and as loquacious and laughing as if I 
were a much cleverer fellow. 

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

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

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

" Ever," &c. 



Letter 267. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Venice, March 25. 1817. 

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

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

A A 4- 

360 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

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

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

" I read the ' Christabel ; ' 

Very well : 
I read the ' Missionary ; ' 

Pretty — very : 
I tried at ' Ilderim ; ' 

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

Can you ? 

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

1817. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 361 

I rjm'd a page of * * 's ' Waterloo ; ' 

Pooh ! pooh ! 
I !ook'd at Wordsworth's milk-white ' Iiylstone Doe : ' 

&c. &c. &c. 

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

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

" By the way, I think the Jungfrau, and all that 
region of Alps, which I traversed in September — 
going to the very top of the Wengen, which is not 
the highest (the Jungfrau itself is inaccessible) but 
the best point of view — much finer than Mont- 
Blanc and Chamouni. or the Simplon I kept a 


journal of the whole for my sister Augusta, part oi 
which she copied and let Murray see. 

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

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

" I am still in love, — which is a dreadful drawback 
in quitting a place, and I can't stay at Venice much 
longer. What I shall do on this point I don't know. 
The girl means to go with me, but I do not like this 
for her own sake. I have had so many conflicts in 
my own mind on this subject, that I am not at all sure 
they did not help me to the fever I mentioned above. 
I am certainly very much attached to her, and I 
have cause to be so, if you knew all. But she has 
a child j c:.d though, like all the ' children of the 

1817'. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 363 

sun,' she consults nothing but passion, it is necessary 
I should think for both ; and it is only the virtuous, 
like * * * *, who can afford to give up husband and 
child, and live happy ever after. 

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

" Ever, &c. 

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

Letter 268. TO MR. MURRAY. 

" Venice, March 25. 1817. 

" Your letter and enclosure are safe ; but ' English 
gentlemen' are very rare — at least in Venice. I 
doubt whether there are at present any, save the 
consul and vice-consul, with neither of whom I have 

364 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

the slightest acquaintance. The moment I can 
pounce upon a witness, I will send the deed proper!)' 
signed : but must he necessarily be genteel ? Venice 
is not a place where the English are gregarious ; 
their pigeon-houses are Florence, Naples, Rome, 
Sec. ; and to tell you the truth, this was one reason 
why I stayed here till the season of the purgation 
of Rome from these people, which is infected with 
them at this time, should arrive. Besides, I abhor 
the nation and the nation me ; it is impossible for 
me to describe my oivn sensation on that point, but 
it may suffice to say, that, if I met with any of the 
race in the beautiful parts of Switzerland, the most 
distant glimpse or aspect of them poisoned the 
whole scene, and I do not choose to have the 
Pantheon, and St. Peter's, and the Capitol, spoiled for 
me too. This feeling may be probably owing to recent 
events ; but it does not exist the less, and while it 
exists, I shall conceal it as little as any other. 

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

" I feel sorry for Horner, if there was any thing 
in the world to make him like it ; and still more 
sorry for his friends, as there was much to make 


them regret him. I had not heard of his death till 
by your letter. 

" Some weeks ago I wrote to you my acknowledg- 
ments of Walter Scott's article. Now I know it to 
be his, it cannot add to my good opinion of him, but 
it adds to that of myself. He, and Gifford, and 
Moore, are the only regulars I ever knew who had 
nothing of the garrison about their manner : no non- 
sense, nor affectations, look you ! As for the rest 
whom I have known, there was always more or less 
of the author about them — the pen peeping from 
behind the ear, and the thumbs a little inky, or so. 

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

366 NOTICES OF THE 1817- 

me, and I would not have him succeed otherwise 
than splendidly, which I trust he will do. 

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

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

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

who are the same blue*, by , all the world over. 

I fell in love the first week with Madame * *, and I 

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



have continued so ever since, because she is very 
pretty and pleasing, and talks Venetian, which 
amuses me, and is naive. 

" Very truly, &c. 
" P. S. Pray send the red tooth-powder by a safe 
hand, and speedily.* 

« To hook the reader, you, John Murray, 

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

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

So mind you don't get into debt, 
Because as how, if you should fail, 
These books would be but baddish bail. 
And mind you do not let escape 

These rhymes to Morning Post or Perry, 

Which would be very treacherous — very, 
And get me into such a scrape ! 
For, firstly, I should have to sally, 
All in my little boat, against a Gaily ; 
And, should I chance to slay the Assyrian wight, 
Have next to combat with the female knight. 

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

* Here follow the same rhymes ("I read the Christabel," 
&c.) which have already been given in one of his letters to 

368 NOTICES OP THE 1817. 

Letter 269. TO MR. MOORE. 

" Venice, March 31. 1817. 

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

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

1817. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 369 

delirium. Seriously speaking, there is a malady 
rife in the city — a dangerous one, they say. How- 
ever, mine did not appear so, though it was not 

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

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

" Will you remember me to Rogers? whom I pre- 
sume to be flourishing, and whom I regard as our 
poetical papa. You are his lawful son, and I the 
illegitimate. Has he begun yet upon Sheridan ? If 
you see our republican friend, Leigh Hunt, pray 
present my remembrances. I saw about nine months 
ago that he was in a row (like my friend Hobhouse) 
with the Quarterly Reviewers. For my part, I never 
could understand these quarrels of authors with cri- 
tics and with one another. ' For God's sake, gentle- 
men, what do they mean ? ' 

" What think you of your countryman, Maturin ? 


370 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

I take some credit to myself for having done my best 
to bring out Bertram ; but I must say my colleagues 
were quite as ready and willing. Walter Scott, 
however, was the first who mentioned him, which he 
did to me, with great commendation, in 1815 ; and 
it is to this casualty, and two or three other acci- 
dents, that this very clever fellow owed his first and 
well-merited public success. What a chance is 
fame ! 

" Did I tell you that I have translated two Epis- 
tles ? — a correspondence between St. Paul and the 
Corinthians, not to be found in our version, but 
the Armenian — but which seems to me very ortho- 
dox, and I have done it into scriptural prose 

" Ever," &c. 

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

The translation by Lord Byron is, as far as I can learn, the 
first that has ever been attempted in English ; and as, pro- 
ceeding from his pen, it must possess, of course, additional in- 
terest, the reader will not be displeased to find it in the 
Appendix. Annexed to the copy in my possession are the fol- 
lowing words in his own handwriting : — " Done into English 



Letter 270. TO MR. MURRAY. 

"Venice, April 2. 1817. 

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

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

" I am aware of what you say of Otway ; and am 
a very great admirer of his, — all except of that 
maudlin b— h of chaste lewdness and blubbering 
curiosity, Belvidera, whom I utterly despise, abhor, 
and detest. But the story of Marino Faliero is dif- 
ferent, and, I think, so much finer, that I wish Ot- 
way had taken it instead : the head conspiring 
against the body for refusal of redress for a real in- 
jury, — jealousy — treason, with the more fixed and 
inveterate passions (mixed with policy) of an old or 

by me, January, February, 1817, at the Convent of San Lazaro, 
villi the aid and exposition of the Armenian text by the Father 
Paschal Aucher, Armenian friar. — Byron. I had also (he 
adds) the Latin text, but it is in many places very corrupt, and 
with great omissions." 

B B 2 

372 NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

elderly man — the devil himself could not have a 
finer subject, and he is your only tragic dramatist. 

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

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

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

" You should close with Madame de Stael. This 
will be her best work, and permanently historical ; it 
is on her father, the Revolution, and Buonaparte, 
&C Bonstetten told me in Switzerland it was very 

1817. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 373 

great. I have not seen it myself, but the author 
often. She was very kind to me at Copet. 

" There have been two articles in the Venice 
papers, one a Review of Glenarvon * * * *, and the 
other a Review of Childe Harold, in which it pro- 
claims me the most rebellious and contumacious ad- 
mirer of Buonaparte now surviving in Europe. 
Both these articles are translations from the Lite- 
rary Gazette of German Jena. 

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

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

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

" It is useless to send to the Foreign Office : 
nothing arrives to me by that conveyance. I sup- 
pose some zealous clerk thinks it a Tory duty to pre- 
vent it." 

Letter 271. TO MR. ROGERS. 

" Venice, April 4. 1817. 

" It is a considerable time since I wrote to you 

last, and I hardly know why I should trouble you 

374* NOTICES OF THE 1817. 

now, except that I think you will not be sorry to 
hear from me now and then. You and I were never 
correspondents, but always something better, which 
is, very good friends. 

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

" I was at Milan about a moon, and saw Monti 
and some other living curiosities, and thence on to 
Verona, where I did not forget your story of the 
assassination during your sojourn there, and brought 
away with me some fragments of Juliet's tomb, and 



a lively recollection of the amphitheatre. The 
Countess Goetz (the governor's wife here) told me 
that there is still a ruined castle of the Montecchi 
between Verona and Vicenza. I have been at 
Venice since November, but shall proceed to Rome 
shortly. For my deeds here, are they not written 
in my letters to the unreplying Thomas Moore ? to 
him I refer you : he has received them all, and not 
answered one. 

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

"■ I forgot to tell you that, last autumn, I furnished 
Lewis with ' bread and salt' for some days at Dio- 
dati, in reward for which (besides his conversation) 
he translated ' Goethe's Faust ' to me by word of 
mouth, and I set him by the ears with Madame de 
Stael about the slave trade. I am indebted for many 
and kind courtesies to our Lady of Copet, and I now 

376 LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 1817. 

love her as much as I always did her works, of which 
I was and am a great admirer. When are you to 
begin with Sheridan ? what are you doing, and how 
do you do ? Ever very truly,"' &c. 



London : 

Spottiswoodes and Shaw, 


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Los Angeles 

This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

; 0-BW. 

JUN 5 1989 

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