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Title: Life of Lord Byron, Vol. II - With His Letters and Journals
Author: Moore, Thomas, 1779-1852
Language: English
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Period of his Return from the Continent, July, 1811, to January, 1814.




Having landed the young pilgrim once more in England, it may be worth
while, before we accompany him into the scenes that awaited him at home,
to consider how far the general character of his mind and disposition
may have been affected by the course of travel and adventure, in which
he had been, for the last two years, engaged. A life less savouring of
poetry and romance than that which he had pursued previously to his
departure on his travels, it would be difficult to imagine. In his
childhood, it is true, he had been a dweller and wanderer among scenes
well calculated, according to the ordinary notion, to implant the first
rudiments of poetic feeling. But, though the poet may afterwards feed on
the recollection of such scenes, it is more than questionable, as has
been already observed, whether he ever has been formed by them. If a
childhood, indeed, passed among mountainous scenery were so favourable
to the awakening of the imaginative power, both the Welsh, among
ourselves, and the Swiss, abroad, ought to rank much higher on the
scale of poetic excellence than they do at present. But, even allowing
the picturesqueness of his early haunts to have had some share in giving
a direction to the fancy of Byron, the actual operation of this
influence, whatever it may have been, ceased with his childhood; and the
life which he led afterwards during his school-days at Harrow, was,--as
naturally the life of so idle and daring a schoolboy must be,--the very
reverse of poetical. For a soldier or an adventurer, the course of
training through which he then passed would have been perfect;--his
athletic sports, his battles, his love of dangerous enterprise, gave
every promise of a spirit fit for the most stormy career. But to the
meditative pursuits of poesy, these dispositions seemed, of all others,
the least friendly; and, however they might promise to render him, at
some future time, a subject for bards, gave, assuredly, but little hope
of his shining first among bards himself.

The habits of his life at the university were even still less
intellectual and literary. While a schoolboy, he had read abundantly and
eagerly, though desultorily; but even this discipline of his mind,
irregular and undirected as it was, he had, in a great measure, given
up, after leaving Harrow; and among the pursuits that occupied his
academic hours, those of playing at hazard, sparring, and keeping a bear
and bull-dogs, were, if not the most favourite, at least, perhaps, the
most innocent. His time in London passed equally unmarked either by
mental cultivation or refined amusement. Having no resources in private
society, from his total want of friends and connections, he was left to
live loosely about town among the loungers in coffee-houses; and to
those who remember what his two favourite haunts, Limmer's and
Stevens's, were at that period, it is needless to say that, whatever
else may have been the merits of these establishments, they were
anything but fit schools for the formation of poetic character.

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

To the same period, perhaps, another predominant characteristic of his
maturer mind and writings may be traced. In this anticipated experience
of the world which his early mixture with its crowd gave him, it is but
little probable that many of the more favourable specimens of human
kind should have fallen under his notice. On the contrary, it is but too
likely that some of the lightest and least estimable of both sexes may
have been among the models, on which, at an age when impressions sink
deepest, his earliest judgments of human nature were formed. Hence,
probably, those contemptuous and debasing views of humanity with which
he was so often led to alloy his noblest tributes to the loveliness and
majesty of general nature. Hence the contrast that appeared between the
fruits of his imagination and of his experience,--between those dreams,
full of beauty and kindliness, with which the one teemed at his bidding,
and the dark, desolating bitterness that overflowed when he drew from
the other.

Unpromising, however, as was his youth of the high destiny that awaited
him, there was one unfailing characteristic of the imaginative order of
minds--his love of solitude--which very early gave signs of those habits
of self-study and introspection by which alone the "diamond quarries" of
genius are worked and brought to light. When but a boy, at Harrow, he
had shown this disposition strongly,--being often known, as I have
already mentioned, to withdraw himself from his playmates, and sitting
alone upon a tomb in the churchyard, give himself up, for hours, to
thought. As his mind began to disclose its resources, this feeling grew
upon him; and, had his foreign travel done no more than, by detaching
him from the distractions of society, to enable him, solitarily and
freely, to commune with his own spirit, it would have been an
all-important step gained towards the full expansion of his faculties.
It was only then, indeed, that he began to feel himself capable of the
abstraction which self-study requires, or to enjoy that freedom from the
intrusion of others' thoughts, which alone leaves the contemplative mind
master of its own. In the solitude of his nights at sea, in his lone
wanderings through Greece, he had sufficient leisure and seclusion to
look within himself, and there catch the first "glimpses of his glorious
mind." One of his chief delights, as he mentioned in his "Memoranda,"
was, when bathing in some retired spot, to seat himself on a high rock
above the sea, and there remain for hours, gazing upon the sky and the
waters[1], and lost in that sort of vague reverie, which, however
formless and indistinct at the moment, settled afterwards on his pages,
into those clear, bright pictures which will endure for ever.

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

It was not only, however, by affording him the concentration necessary
for this silent drawing out of his feelings and powers, that travel
conduced so essentially to the formation of his poetical character. To
the East he had looked, with the eyes of romance, from his very
childhood. Before he was ten years of age, the perusal of Rycaut's
History of the Turks had taken a strong hold of his imagination, and he
read eagerly, in consequence, every book concerning the East he could
find.[2] In visiting, therefore, those countries, he was but realising
the dreams of his childhood; and this return of his thoughts to that
innocent time, gave a freshness and purity to their current which they
had long wanted. Under the spell of such recollections, the attraction
of novelty was among the least that the scenes, through which he
wandered, presented. Fond traces of the past--and few have ever retained
them so vividly--mingled themselves with the impressions of the objects
before him; and as, among the Highlands, he had often traversed, in
fancy, the land of the Moslem, so memory, from the wild hills of
Albania, now "carried him back to Morven."

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

The strong interest which--in spite of his assumed philosophy on this
subject in Childe Harold--he took in every thing connected with a life
of warfare, found frequent opportunities of gratification, not only on
board the English ships of war in which he sailed, but in his occasional
intercourse with the soldiers of the country. At Salora, a solitary
place on the Gulf of Arta, he once passed two or three days, lodged in a
small miserable barrack. Here, he lived the whole time, familiarly,
among the soldiers; and a picture of the singular scene which their
evenings presented--of those wild, half-bandit warriors, seated round
the young poet, and examining with savage admiration his fine Manton
gun[3] and English sword--might be contrasted, but too touchingly, with
another and a later picture of the same poet, dying, as a chieftain, on
the same land, with Suliotes for his guards, and all Greece for his

It is true, amidst all this stimulating variety of objects, the
melancholy which he had brought from home still lingered around his
mind. To Mr. Adair and Mr. Bruce, as I have before mentioned, he gave
the idea of a person labouring under deep dejection; and Colonel Leake,
who was, at that time, resident at Ioannina, conceived very much the
same impression of the state of his mind.[4] But, assuredly, even this
melancholy, habitually as it still clung to him, must, under the
stirring and healthful influences of his roving life, have become a far
more elevated and abstract feeling than it ever could have expanded to
within reach of those annoyances, whose tendency was to keep it wholly
concentrated round self. Had he remained idly at home, he would have
sunk, perhaps, into a querulous satirist. But, as his views opened on a
freer and wider horizon, every feeling of his nature kept pace with
their enlargement; and this inborn sadness, mingling itself with the
effusions of his genius, became one of the chief constituent charms not
only of their pathos, but their grandeur. For, when did ever a sublime
thought spring up in the soul, that melancholy was not to be found,
however latent, in its neighbourhood?

We have seen, from the letters written by him on his passage homeward,
how far from cheerful or happy was the state of mind in which he
returned. In truth, even for a disposition of the most sanguine cast,
there was quite enough in the discomforts that now awaited him in
England, to sadden its hopes, and check its buoyancy. "To be happy at
home," says Johnson, "is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to
which every enterprise and labour tends." But Lord Byron had no
home,--at least none that deserved this endearing name. A fond family
circle, to accompany him with its prayers, while away, and draw round
him, with listening eagerness, on his return, was what, unluckily, he
never knew, though with a heart, as we have seen, by nature formed for
it. In the absence, too, of all that might cheer and sustain, he had
every thing to encounter that could distress and humiliate. To the
dreariness of a home without affection, was added the burden of an
establishment without means; and he had thus all the embarrassments of
domestic life, without its charms. His affairs had, during his absence,
been suffered to fall into confusion, even greater than their inherent
tendency to such a state warranted. There had been, the preceding year,
an execution on Newstead, for a debt of 1500_l._ owing to the Messrs.
Brothers, upholsterers; and a circumstance told of the veteran, Joe
Murray, on this occasion, well deserves to be mentioned. To this
faithful old servant, jealous of the ancient honour of the Byrons, the
sight of the notice of sale, pasted up on the abbey-door, could not be
otherwise than an unsightly and intolerable nuisance. Having enough,
however, of the fear of the law before his eyes, not to tear the writing
down, he was at last forced, as his only consolatory expedient, to paste
a large piece of brown paper over it.

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

[Footnote 1: To this he alludes in those beautiful stanzas,

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

Alfieri, before his dramatic genius had yet unfolded itself, used to
pass hours, as he tells us, in this sort of dreaming state, gazing upon
the ocean:--"Après le spectacle un de mes amusemens, à Marseille, était
de me baigner presque tous les soirs dans la mer. J'avais trouvé un
petit endroit fort agréable, sur une langue de terre placée à droite
hors du port, où, en m'asseyant sur le sable, le dos appuyé contre un
petit rocher qui empêchait qu'on ne pût me voir du côté de la terre, je
n'avais plus devant moi que le ciel et la mer. Entre ces deux immensités
qu'embellissaient les rayons d'un soleil couchant, je passai en rêvant
des heures délicieuses; et là, je serais devenu poëte, si j'avais su
écrire dans une langue quelconque."]

[Footnote 2: But a few months before he died, in a conversation with
Maurocordato at Missolonghi, Lord Byron said--"The Turkish History was
one of the first books that gave me pleasure when a child; and I believe
it had much influence on my subsequent wishes to visit the Levant, and
gave perhaps the oriental colouring which is observed in my
poetry."--COUNT GAMBA's _Narrative_.

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

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

[Footnote 3: "It rained hard the next day, and we spent another evening
with our soldiers. The captain, Elmas, tried a fine Manton gun belonging
to my Friend, and hitting his mark every time was highly
delighted."--HOBHOUSE'_s_ _Journey_, &c.]

[Footnote 4: It must be recollected that by two of these gentlemen he
was seen chiefly under the restraints of presentation and etiquette,
when whatever gloom there was on his spirits would, in a shy nature like
his, most show itself. The account which his fellow-traveller gives of
him is altogether different. In introducing the narration of a short
tour to Negroponte, in which his noble friend was unable to accompany
him, Mr. Hobhouse expresses strongly the deficiency of which he is
sensible, from the absence, on this occasion, of "a companion, who, to
quickness of observation and ingenuity of remark, united that gay
good-humour which keeps alive the attention under the pressure of
fatigue, and softens the aspect of every difficulty and danger." In some
lines, too, of the "Hints from Horace," addressed evidently to Mr.
Hobhouse, Lord Byron not only renders the same justice to his own social
cheerfulness, but gives a somewhat more distinct idea of the frame of
mind out of which it rose;--

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     _"Volage Frigate, at sea, June 28. 1811_.

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

     "I am coming back with little prospect of pleasure at home, and
     with a body a little shaken by one or two smart fevers, but a
     spirit I hope yet unbroken. My affairs, it seems, are considerably
     involved, and much business must be done with lawyers, colliers,
     farmers, and creditors. Now this, to a man who hates bustle as he
     hates a bishop, is a serious concern. But enough of my home

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

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

     "Yours, &c."

       *       *       *       *       *

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

In the interval Mr. Dallas looked over this Paraphrase, which he had
been permitted by Lord Byron to take home with him for the purpose, and
his disappointment was, as he himself describes it, "grievous," on
finding, that a pilgrimage of two years to the inspiring lands of the
East had been attended with no richer poetical result. On their meeting
again next morning, though unwilling to speak disparagingly of the work,
he could not refrain, as he informs us, from expressing some surprise
that his noble friend should have produced nothing else during his
absence.--"Upon this," he continues, "Lord Byron told me that he had
occasionally written short poems, besides a great many stanzas in
Spenser's measure, relative to the countries he had visited. 'They are
not worth troubling you with, but you shall have them all with you if
you like.' So came I by Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. He took it from a
small trunk, with a number of verses. He said they had been read but by
one person, who had found very little to commend and much to condemn:
that he himself was of that opinion, and he was sure I should be so too.
Such as it was, however, it was at my service; but he was urgent that
'The Hints from Horace' should be immediately put in train, which I
promised to have done."

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

Notwithstanding this just praise, and the secret echo it must have found
in a heart so awake to the slightest whisper of fame, it was some time
before Lord Byron's obstinate repugnance to the idea of publishing
Childe Harold could be removed.

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

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

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

On the other hand, from the deference which, particularly at this period
of his life, he was inclined to pay to the opinions of those with whom
he associated, it would be fairer, perhaps, to conclude that this
erroneous valuation arose rather from a diffidence in his own judgment
than from any deficiency of it. To his college companions, almost all of
whom were his superiors in scholarship, and some of them even, at this
time, his competitors in poetry, he looked up with a degree of fond and
admiring deference, for which his ignorance of his own intellectual
strength alone could account; and the example, as well as tastes, of
these young writers being mostly on the side of established models,
their authority, as long as it influenced him, would, to a certain
degree, interfere with his striking confidently into any new or original
path. That some remains of this bias, with a little leaning, perhaps,
towards school recollections[6], may have had a share in prompting his
preference of the Horatian Paraphrase, is by no means improbable;--at
least, that it was enough to lead him, untried as he had yet been in the
new path, to content himself, for the present, with following up his
success in the old. We have seen, indeed, that the manuscript of the two
Cantos of Childe Harold had, previously to its being placed in the hands
of Mr. Dallas, been submitted by the noble author to the perusal of some
friend--the first and only one, it appears, who at that time had seen
them. Who this fastidious critic was, Mr. Dallas has not mentioned; but
the sweeping tone of censure in which he conveyed his remarks was such
as, at any period of his career, would have disconcerted the judgment
of one, who, years after, in all the plenitude of his fame, confessed,
that "the depreciation of the lowest of mankind was more painful to him
than the applause of the highest was pleasing."[7]

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

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

    "Who would not laugh, if Lawrence, hired to grace
    His costly canvass with each flatter'd face,
    Abused his art, till Nature, with a blush,
    Saw cits grow centaurs underneath his brush?
    Or should some limner join, for show or sale,
    A maid of honour to a mermaid's tail?
    Or low Dubost (as once the world has seen)
    Degrade God's creatures in his graphic spleen?
    Not all that forced politeness, which defends
    Fools in their faults, could gag his grinning friends.
    Believe me, Moschus, like that picture seems
    The book, which, sillier than a sick man's dreams,
    Displays a crowd of figures incomplete,
    Poetic nightmares, without head or feet."

The following is pointed, and felicitously expressed:--

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

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

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

    "As forests shed their foliage by degrees,
    So fade expressions which in season please;
    And we and ours, alas! are due to fate,
    And works and words but dwindle to a date.
    Though, as a monarch nods and commerce calls,
    Impetuous rivers stagnate in canals;
    Though swamps subdued, and marshes drain'd sustain
    The heavy ploughshare and the yellow grain;
    And rising ports along the busy shore
    Protect the vessel from old Ocean's roar--
    All, all must perish. But, surviving last,
    The love of letters half preserves the past:
    True,--some decay, yet not a few survive,
    Though those shall sink which now appear to thrive,
    As custom arbitrates, whose shifting sway
    Our life and language must alike obey."

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

    "Satiric rhyme first sprang from selfish spleen.
    You doubt?--See Dryden, Pope, St. Patrick's Dean.[8]

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

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

    "'Awake a louder and a loftier strain,'
    And, pray, what follows from his boiling brain?
    He sinks to S * *'s level in a trice,
    Whose epic mountains never fail in mice!
    Not so of yore awoke your mighty sire
    The tempered warblings of his master lyre;
    Soft as the gentler breathing of the lute,
    'Of man's first disobedience and the fruit'
    He speaks; but, as his subject swells along,
    Earth, Heaven, and Hades, echo with the song."

The annexed sketch contains some lively touches:--

    "Behold him, Freshman!--forced no more to groan
    O'er Virgil's devilish verses[9], and--his own;
    Prayers are too tedious, lectures too abstruse,
    He flies from T----ll's frown to 'Fordham's Mews;'
    (Unlucky T----ll, doom'd to daily cares
    By pugilistic pupils and by bears!)
    Fines, tutors, tasks, conventions, threat in vain,
    Before hounds, hunters, and Newmarket plain:
    Rough with his elders; with his equals rash;
    Civil to sharpers; prodigal of cash.
    Fool'd, pillaged, dunn'd, he wastes his terms away;
    And, unexpell'd perhaps, retires M.A.:--
    Master of Arts!--as Hells and Clubs[10] proclaim,
    Where scarce a black-leg bears a brighter name.

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

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

In speaking of the opera, he says:--

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

The concluding couplet of the following lines is amusingly
characteristic of that mixture of fun and bitterness with which their
author sometimes spoke in conversation;--so much so, that those who knew
him might almost fancy they hear him utter the words:--

    "But every thing has faults, nor is't unknown
    That harps and fiddles often lose their tone,
    And wayward voices at their owner's call,
    With all his best endeavours, only squall;
    Dogs blink their covey, flints withhold the spark,
    And double barrels (damn them) miss their mark!"[11]

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

    "And that's enough--then write and print so fast,--
    If Satan take the hindmost, who'd be last?
    They storm the types, they publish one and all,
    They leap the counter, and they leave the stall:--
    Provincial maidens, men of high command,
    Yea, baronets, have ink'd the bloody hand!
    Cash cannot quell them--Pollio play'd this prank:
    (Then Phoebus first found credit in a bank;)
    Not all the living only, but the dead
    Fool on, as fluent as an Orpheus' head!
    Damn'd all their days, they posthumously thrive,
    Dug up from dust, though buried when alive!
    Reviews record this epidemic crime,
    Those books of martyrs to the rage for rhyme
    Alas! woe worth the scribbler, often seen
    In Morning Post or Monthly Magazine!
    There lurk his earlier lays, but soon, hot-press'd,
    Behold a quarto!--tarts must tell the rest!
    Then leave, ye wise, the lyre's precarious chords
    To muse-mad baronets or madder lords,
    Or country Crispins, now grown somewhat stale,
    Twin Doric minstrels, drunk with Doric ale!
    Hark to those notes, narcotically soft,
    The cobbler-laureates sing to Capel Lofft!"[12]

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

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

    "Though at first view, eight feet may seem in vain
    Form'd, save in odes, to bear a serious strain,
    Yet Scott has shown our wondering isle of late
    This measure shrinks not from a theme of weight,
    And, varied skilfully, surpasses far
    Heroic rhyme, but most in love or war,
    Whose fluctuations, tender or sublime,
    Are curb'd too much by long recurring rhyme.

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

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

In tracing the fortunes of men, it is not a little curious to observe,
how often the course of a whole life has depended on one single step.
Had Lord Byron now persisted in his original purpose of giving this poem
to the press, instead of Childe Harold, it is more than probable that he
would have been lost, as a great poet, to the world.[13] Inferior as the
Paraphrase is, in every respect, to his former Satire, and, in some
places, even descending below the level of under-graduate versifiers,
its failure, there can be little doubt, would have been certain and
signal;--his former assailants would have resumed their advantage over
him, and either, in the bitterness of his mortification, he would have
flung Childe Harold into the fire; or, had he summoned up sufficient
confidence to publish that poem, its reception, even if sufficient to
retrieve him in the eyes of the public and his own, could never have, at
all, resembled that explosion of success,--that instantaneous and
universal acclaim of admiration into which, coming, as it were, fresh
from the land of song, he now surprised the world, and in the midst of
which he was borne, buoyant and self-assured, along, through a
succession of new triumphs, each more splendid than the last.

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

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

The publication being now determined upon, there arose some doubts and
difficulty as to a publisher. Though Lord Byron had intrusted Cawthorn
with what he considered to be his surer card, the "Hints from Horace,"
he did not, it seems, think him of sufficient station in the trade to
give a sanction or fashion to his more hazardous experiment. The former
refusal of the Messrs. Longman[14] to publish his "English Bards and
Scotch Reviewers" was not forgotten; and he expressly stipulated with
Mr. Dallas that the manuscript should not be offered to that house. An
application was, at first, made to Mr. Miller, of Albemarle Street; but,
in consequence of the severity with which Lord Elgin was treated in the
poem, Mr. Miller (already the publisher and bookseller of this latter
nobleman) declined the work. Even this circumstance,--so apprehensive
was the poet for his fame,--began to re-awaken all the qualms and
terrors he had, at first, felt; and, had any further difficulties or
objections arisen, it is more than probable he might have relapsed into
his original intention. It was not long, however, before a person was
found willing and proud to undertake the publication. Mr. Murray, who,
at this period, resided in Fleet Street, having, some time before,
expressed a desire to be allowed to publish some work of Lord Byron, it
was in his hands that Mr. Dallas now placed the manuscript of Childe
Harold;--and thus was laid the first foundation of that connection
between this gentleman and the noble poet, which continued, with but a
temporary interruption, throughout the lifetime of the one, and has
proved an abundant source of honour, as well as emolument, to the other.

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

[Footnote 5: It is, however, less wonderful that authors should thus
misjudge their productions, when whole generations have sometimes fallen
into the same sort of error. The Sonnets of Petrarch were, by the
learned of his day, considered only worthy of the ballad-singers by whom
they were chanted about the streets; while his Epic Poem, "Africa," of
which few now even know the existence, was sought for on all sides, and
the smallest fragment of it begged from the author, for the libraries of
the learned.]

[Footnote 6: Gray, under the influence of a similar predilection,
preferred, for a long time, his Latin poems to those by which he has
gained such a station in English literature. "Shall we attribute this,"
says Mason, "to his having been educated at Eton, or to what other
cause? Certain it is, that when I first knew him, he seemed to set a
greater value on his Latin poetry than on that which he had composed in
his native language."]

[Footnote 7: One of the manuscript notes of Lord Byron on Mr.
D'Israeli's work, already referred to.--Vol. i. p. 144.]

[Footnote 8: "Mac Flecknoe, the Dunciad, and all Swift's lampooning
ballads.--Whatever their other works may be, these originated in
personal feelings and angry retort on unworthy rivals; and though the
ability of these satires elevates the poetical, their poignancy detracts
from the personal, character of the writers."]

[Footnote 9: "Harvey, the _circulator_ of the _circulation_ of the
blood, used to fling away Virgil in his ecstasy of admiration, and say
'the book had a devil.' Now, such a character as I am copying would
probably fling it away also, but rather wish that the devil had the
book; not from a dislike to the poet, but a well-founded horror of
hexameters. Indeed, the public-school penance of 'Long and Short' is
enough to beget an antipathy to poetry for the residue of a man's life,
and perhaps so far may be an advantage."]

[Footnote 10: "'Hell,' a gaming-house so called, where you risk little,
and are cheated a good deal: 'Club,' a pleasant purgatory, where you
lose more, and are not supposed to be cheated at all."]

[Footnote 11: "As Mr. Pope took the liberty of damning Homer, to whom he
was under great obligations--'And Homer (damn him) calls'--it may be
presumed that any body or any thing may be damned in verse by poetical
license; and in case of accident, I beg leave to plead so illustrious a

[Footnote 12: "This well-meaning gentleman has spoilt some excellent
shoemakers, and been accessary to the poetical undoing of many of the
industrious poor. Nathaniel Bloomfield and his brother Bobby have set
all Somersetshire singing. Nor has the malady confined itself to one
county. Pratt, too (who once was wiser), has caught the contagion of
patronage, and decoyed a poor fellow, named Blackett, into poetry; but
he died during the operation, leaving one child and two volumes of
'Remains' utterly destitute. The girl, if she don't take a poetical
twist, and come forth as a shoemaking Sappho, may do well, but the
'Tragedies' are as rickety as if they had been the offspring of an Earl
or a Seatonian prize-poet. The patrons of this poor lad are certainly
answerable for his end, and it ought to be an indictable offence. But
this is the least they have done; for, by a refinement of barbarity,
they have made the (late) man posthumously ridiculous, by printing what
he would have had sense enough never to print himself. Certes, these
rakers of 'Remains' come under the statute against resurrection-men.
What does it signify whether a poor dear dead dunce is to be stuck up in
Surgeons' or in Stationers' Hall? is it so bad to unearth his bones as
his blunders? is it not better to gibbet his body on a heath than his
soul in an octavo? 'We know what we are, but we know not what we may
be,' and it is to be hoped we never shall know, if a man who has passed
through life with a sort of éclat is to find himself a mountebank on the
other side of Styx, and made, like poor Joe Blackett, the laughing-stock
of purgatory. The plea of publication is to provide for the child. Now,
might not some of this 'sutor ultra crepidam's' friends and seducers
have done a decent action without inveigling Pratt into biography? And
then, his inscriptions split into so many modicums! 'To the Duchess of
So Much, the Right Honble. So-and-so, and Mrs. and Miss Somebody, these
volumes are,' &c. &c. Why, this is doling out the 'soft milk of
dedication' in gills; there is but a quart, and he divides it among a
dozen. Why, Pratt! hadst thou not a puff left? dost thou think six
families of distinction can share this in quiet? There is a child, a
book, and a dedication: send the girl to her grace, the volumes to the
grocer, and the dedication to the d-v-l."]

[Footnote 13: That he himself attributed every thing to fortune, appears
from the following passage in one of his journals: "Like Sylla, I have
always believed that all things depend upon fortune, and nothing upon
ourselves. I am not aware of any one thought or action worthy of being
called good to myself or others, which is not to be attributed to the
good goddess, FORTUNE!"]

[Footnote 14: The grounds on which the Messrs. Longman refused to
publish his Lordship's Satire, were the severe attacks it contained upon
Mr. Southey and others of their literary friends.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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

     "My dear Madam,

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

     "With great respect, yours ever,"


     "P.S.--You will consider Newstead as your house, not mine; and me
     only as a visitor."

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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


     "Newport Pagnell, August 2. 1811.

     "My dear Doctor,

     "My poor mother died yesterday! and I am on my way from town to
     attend her to the family vault. I heard _one_ day of her illness,
     the _next_ of her death. Thank God her last moments were most
     tranquil. I am told she was in little pain, and not aware of her
     situation. I now feel the truth of Mr. Gray's observation, 'That we
     can only have _one_ mother.' Peace be with her! I have to thank you
     for your expressions of regard; and as in six weeks I shall be in
     Lancashire on business, I may extend to Liverpool and Chester,--at
     least I shall endeavour.

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

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

     "I shall remain at Newstead the greater part of this month, where I
     shall be happy to hear from you, after my two years' absence in the

     "I am, dear Pigot, yours very truly,


       *       *       *       *       *

It can hardly have escaped the observation of the reader, that the
general tone of the noble poet's correspondence with his mother is that
of a son, performing, strictly and conscientiously, what he deems to be
his duty, without the intermixture of any sentiment of cordiality to
sweeten the task. The very title of "Madam," by which he addresses
her,--and which he but seldom exchanges for the endearing name of
"mother[15],"--is, of itself, a sufficient proof of the sentiments he
entertained for her. That such should have been his dispositions towards
such a parent, can be matter neither of surprise or blame,--but that,
notwithstanding this alienation, which her own unfortunate temper
produced, he should have continued to consult her wishes, and minister
to her comforts, with such unfailing thoughtfulness as is evinced not
only in the frequency of his letters, but in the almost exclusive
appropriation of Newstead to her use, redounds, assuredly, in no
ordinary degree, to his honour; and was even the more strikingly
meritorious from the absence of that affection which renders kindnesses
to a beloved object little more than an indulgence of self.

But, however estranged from her his feelings must be allowed to have
been while she lived, her death seems to have restored them into their
natural channel. Whether from a return of early fondness and the
all-atoning power of the grave, or from the prospect of that void in
his future life which this loss of his only link with the past would
leave, it is certain that he felt the death of his mother acutely, if
not deeply. On the night after his arrival at Newstead, the
waiting-woman of Mrs. Byron, in passing the door of the room where the
deceased lady lay, heard a sound as of some one sighing heavily from
within; and, on entering the chamber, found, to her surprise, Lord
Byron, sitting in the dark, beside the bed. On her representing to him
the weakness of thus giving way to grief, he burst into tears, and
exclaimed, "Oh, Mrs. By, I had but one friend in the world, and she is

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

Of Mrs. Byron, sufficient, perhaps, has been related in these pages to
enable the reader to form fully his own opinion, as well with respect to
the character of this lady herself, as to the degree of influence her
temper and conduct may have exercised on those of her son. It was said
by one of the most extraordinary of men[16],--who was himself, as he
avowed, principally indebted to maternal culture for the unexampled
elevation to which he subsequently rose,--that "the future good or bad
conduct of a child depends entirely on the mother." How far the leaven
that sometimes mixed itself with the better nature of Byron,--his
uncertain and wayward impulses,--his defiance of restraint,--the
occasional bitterness of his hate, and the precipitance of his
resentments,--may have had their origin in his early collisions with
maternal caprice and violence, is an enquiry for which sufficient
materials have been, perhaps, furnished in these pages, but which every
one will decide upon, according to the more or less weight he may
attribute to the influence of such causes on the formation of character.

That, notwithstanding her injudicious and coarse treatment of him, Mrs.
Byron loved her son, with that sort of fitful fondness of which alone
such a nature is capable, there can be little doubt,--and still less,
that she was ambitiously proud of him. Her anxiety for the success of
his first literary essays may be collected from the pains which he so
considerately took to tranquillise her on the appearance of the hostile
article in the Review. As his fame began to brighten, that notion of his
future greatness and glory, which, by a singular forecast of
superstition, she had entertained from his very childhood, became
proportionably confirmed. Every mention of him in print was watched by
her with eagerness; and she had got bound together in a volume, which a
friend of mine once saw, a collection of all the literary notices, that
had then appeared, of his early Poems and Satire,--written over on the
margin, with observations of her own, which to my informant appeared
indicative of much more sense and ability than, from her general
character, we should be inclined to attribute to her.

Among those lesser traits of his conduct through which an observer can
trace a filial wish to uphold, and throw respect around, the station of
his mother, may be mentioned his insisting, while a boy, on being called
"George Byron Gordon"--giving thereby precedence to the maternal
name,--and his continuing, to the last, to address her as "the
Honourable Mrs. Byron,"--a mark of rank to which, he must have been
aware, she had no claim whatever. Neither does it appear that, in his
habitual manner towards her, there was any thing denoting a want of
either affection or deference,--with the exception, perhaps,
occasionally, of a somewhat greater degree of familiarity than comports
with the ordinary notions of filial respect. Thus, the usual name he
called her by, when they were on good-humoured terms together, was
"Kitty Gordon;" and I have heard an eye-witness of the scene describe
the look of arch, dramatic humour, with which, one day, at Southwell,
when they were in the height of their theatrical rage, he threw open the
door of the drawing-room, to admit his mother, saying, at the same time,
"Enter the Honourable Kitty."

The pride of birth was a feeling common alike to mother and son, and, at
times, even became a point of rivalry between them, from their
respective claims, English and Scotch, to high lineage. In a letter
written by him from Italy, referring to some anecdote which his mother
had told him, he says,--"My mother, who was as haughty as Lucifer with
her descent from the Stuarts, and her right line from the _old
Gordons_,--_not_ the _Seyton Gordons_, as she disdainfully termed the
ducal branch,--told me the story, always reminding me how superior _her_
Gordons were to the southern Byrons, notwithstanding our Norman, and
always masculine, descent, which has never lapsed into a female, as my
mother's Gordons had done in her own person."

If, to be able to depict powerfully the painful emotions, it is
necessary first to have experienced them, or, in other words, if, for
the poet to be great, the man must suffer, Lord Byron, it must be owned,
paid early this dear price of mastery. Few as were the ties by which his
affections held, whether within or without the circle of relationship,
he was now doomed, within a short space, to see the most of them swept
away by death.[17] Besides the loss of his mother, he had to mourn over,
in quick succession, the untimely fatalities that carried off, within a
few weeks of each other, two or three of his most loved and valued
friends. "In the short space of one month," he says, in a note on Childe
Harold, "I have lost _her_ who gave me being, and most of those who made
that being tolerable."[18] Of these young Wingfield, whom we have seen
high on the list of his Harrow favourites, died of a fever at Coimbra;
and Matthews, the idol of his admiration at college, was drowned while
bathing in the waters of the Cam.

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


     "Newstead Abbey, August 7. 1811.

     "My dearest Davies,

     "Some curse hangs over me and mine. My mother lies a corpse in this
     house; one of my best friends is drowned in a ditch. What can I
     say, or think, or do? I received a letter from him the day before
     yesterday. My dear Scrope, if you can spare a moment, do come down
     to me--I want a friend. Matthews's last letter was written on
     _Friday_,--on Saturday he was not. In ability, who was like
     Matthews? How did we all shrink before him? You do me but justice
     in saying, I would have risked my paltry existence to have
     preserved his. This very evening did I mean to write, inviting him,
     as I invite you, my very dear friend, to visit me. God forgive * *
     * for his apathy! What will our poor Hobhouse feel? His letters
     breathe but or Matthews. Come to me, Scrope, I am almost
     desolate--left almost alone in the world--I had but you, and H.,
     and M., and let me enjoy the survivors whilst I can. Poor M., in
     his letter of Friday, speaks of his intended contest for
     Cambridge[19], and a speedy journey to London. Write or come, but
     come if you can, or one or both.

     "Yours ever."

[Footnote 15: In many instances the mothers of illustrious poets have
had reason to be proud no less of the affection than of the glory of
their sons; and Tasso, Pope, Gray, and Cowper, are among these memorable
examples of filial tenderness. In the lesser poems of Tasso, there are
few things so beautiful as his description, in the Canzone to the
Metauro, of his first parting with his mother:--

    "Me dal sen della madre empia fortuna
    Pargoletto divelse," &c.

[Footnote 16: Napoleon.]

[Footnote 17: In a letter, written between two and three months after
his mother's death, he states no less a number than six persons, all
friends or relatives, who had been snatched away from him by death
between May and the end of August.]

[Footnote 18: In continuation of the note quoted in the text, he says of
Matthews--"His powers of mind, shown in the attainment of greater
honours, against the _ablest candidates_, than those of any graduate on
record at Cambridge, have sufficiently established his fame on the spot
where it was acquired." One of the candidates, thus described, was Mr.
Thomas Barnes, a gentleman whose career since has kept fully the promise
of his youth, though, from the nature of the channels through which his
literary labours have been directed, his great talents are far more
extensively known than his name.]

[Footnote 19: It had been the intention of Mr. Matthews to offer
himself, at the ensuing election, for the university. In reference to
this purpose, a manuscript Memoir of him, now lying before me, says--"If
acknowledged and successful talents--if principles of the strictest
honour--if the devotion of many friends could have secured the success
of an 'independent pauper' (as he jocularly called himself in a letter
on the subject), the vision would have been realised."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Of this remarkable young man, Charles Skinner Matthews[20], I have
already had occasion to speak; but the high station which he held in
Lord Byron's affection and admiration may justify a somewhat ampler
tribute to his memory.

There have seldom, perhaps, started together in life so many youths of
high promise and hope as were to be found among the society of which
Lord Byron formed a part at Cambridge. Of some of these, the names have
since eminently distinguished themselves in the world, as the mere
mention of Mr. Hobhouse and Mr. William Bankes is sufficient to testify;
while in the instance of another of this lively circle, Mr. Scrope
Davies[21], the only regret of his friends is, that the social wit of
which he is such a master should in the memories of his hearers alone be
like to leave any record of its brilliancy. Among all these young men of
learning and talent, (including Byron himself, whose genius was,
however, as yet, "an undiscovered world,") the superiority, in almost
every department of intellect, seems to have been, by the ready consent
of all, awarded to Matthews;--a concurrence of homage which, considering
the persons from whom it came, gives such a high notion of the powers of
his mind at that period, as renders the thought of what he might have
been, if spared, a matter of interesting, though vain and mournful,
speculation. To mere mental pre-eminence, unaccompanied by the kindlier
qualities of the heart, such a tribute, however deserved, might not,
perhaps, have been so uncontestedly paid. But young Matthews
appears,--in spite of some little asperities of temper and manner, which
he was already beginning to soften down when snatched away,--to have
been one of those rare individuals who, while they command deference,
can, at the same time, win regard, and who, as it were, relieve the
intense feeling of admiration which they excite by blending it with

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

In the letters to Mrs. Byron, written previously to the departure of her
son on his travels, there occurs, it will be recollected, some mention
of a Will, which it was his intention to leave behind him in the hands
of his trustees. Whatever may have been the contents of this former
instrument, we find that, in about a fortnight after his mother's death,
he thought it right to have a new form of will drawn up; and the
following letter, enclosing his instructions for that purpose, was
addressed to the late Mr. Bolton, a solicitor of Nottingham. Of the
existence, in any serious or formal shape, of the strange directions
here given, respecting his own interment, I was, for some time, I
confess, much inclined to doubt; but the curious documents here annexed
put this remarkable instance of his eccentricity beyond all question.

[Footnote 20: He was the third son of the late John Matthews, Esq. of
Belmont, Herefordshire, representative of that county in the parliament
of 1802-6. The author of "The Diary of an Invalid," also untimely
snatched away, was another son of the same gentleman, as is likewise the
present Prebendary of Hereford, the Reverend Arthur Matthews, who, by
his ability and attainments, sustains worthily the reputation of the

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

[Footnote 21: "One of the cleverest men I ever knew, in conversation,
was Scrope Berdmore Davies. Hobhouse is also very good in that line,
though it is of less consequence to a man who has other ways of showing
his talents than in company. Scrope was always ready and often
witty--Hobhouse as witty, but not always so ready, being more
diffident."--_MS. Journal of Lord Byron._]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, August 12. 1811.


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

     "Your most obedient, humble servant,


       *       *       *       *       *

     "Newstead Abbey, August 12. 1811.


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

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

     "To William Fletcher, Joseph Murray, and Demetrius Zograffo[22]
     (native of Greece), servants, the sum of fifty pounds pr. ann.
     each, for their natural lives. To Wm. Fletcher, the Mill at
     Newstead, on condition that he payeth rent, but not subject to the
     caprice of the landlord. To Rt. Rushton the sum of fifty pounds
     per ann. for life, and a further sum of one thousand pounds on
     attaining the age of twenty-five years.

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

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

     "The body of Lord B. to be buried in the vault of the garden of
     Newstead, without any ceremony or burial-service whatever, or any
     inscription, save his name and age. His dog not to be removed from
     the said vault.

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

     "The produce of the sale of Wymondham in Norfolk, and the late Mrs.
     B.'s Scotch property[23], to be appropriated in aid of the payment
     of debts and legacies."

[Footnote 22: "If the papers lie not (which they generally do),
Demetrius Zograffo of Athens is at the head of the Athenian part of the
Greek insurrection. He was my servant in 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, at
different intervals of those years (for I left him in Greece when I went
to Constantinople), and accompanied me to England in 1811: he returned
to Greece, spring, 1812. He was a clever, but not _apparently_ an
enterprising man; but circumstances make men. His two sons (_then_
infants) were named Miltiades and Alcibiades: may the omen be happy!"
--_MS. Journal._]

[Footnote 23: On the death of his mother, a considerable sum of money,
the remains of the price of the estate of Gight, was paid into his hands
by her trustee, Baron Clerk.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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

"This is the last will and testament of me, the Rt. Honble George
Gordon Lord Byron, Baron Byron of Rochdale, in the county of
Lancaster.--I desire that my body may be buried in the vault of the
garden of Newstead, without any ceremony or burial-service whatever,
and that no inscription, save my name and age, be written on the tomb or
tablet; and it is my will that my faithful dog may not be removed from
the said vault. To the performance of this my particular desire, I rely
on the attention of my executors hereinafter named."

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

     "It must stand. B."

"I do hereby specifically order and direct that all the claims of the
said S.B. Davies upon me shall be fully paid and satisfied as soon as
conveniently may be after my decease, on his proving [by vouchers, or
otherwise, to the satisfaction of my executors hereinafter named][24]
the amount thereof, and the correctness of the same."

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

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

[Footnote 24: Over the words which I have here placed between brackets,
Lord Byron drew his pen.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The two following letters contain further instructions on the same


     "Newstead Abbey, August 16. 1811.


     "I have answered the queries on the margin.[25] I wish Mr. Davies's
     claims to be most fully allowed, and, further, that he be one of my
     executors. I wish the will to be made in a manner to prevent all
     discussion, if possible, after my decease; and this I leave to you
     as a professional gentleman.

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

     "Your most obedient, humble servant,


[Footnote 25: In the clause enumerating the names and places of abode of
the executors, the solicitor had left blanks for the Christian names of
these gentlemen, and Lord Byron, having filled up all but that of
Dallas, writes in the margin--"I forget the Christian name of
Dallas--cut him out."]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, August 20. 1811.


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

     "Your very obedient, humble servant,


       *       *       *       *       *

In consequence of this last letter, a proviso and declaration, in
conformity with its instructions, were inserted in the will. He also
executed, on the 28th of this month, a codicil, by which he revoked the
bequest of his "household goods and furniture, library, pictures,
sabres, watches, plate, linen, trinkets, and other personal estate
(except money and securities) situate within the walls of the
mansion-house and premises at his decease--and bequeathed the same
(except his wine and spirituous liquors) to his friends, the said J.C.
Hobhouse, S.B. Davies, and Francis Hodgson, their executors, &c., to be
equally divided between them for their own use;--and he bequeathed his
wine and spirituous liquors, which should be in the cellars and premises
at Newstead, unto his friend, the said J. Becher, for his own use, and
requested the said J.C. Hobhouse, S.B. Davies, F. Hodgson, and J.
Becher, respectively, to accept the bequest therein contained, to them
respectively, as a token of his friendship."

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


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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, August 22. 1811.

     "You may have heard of the sudden death of my mother, and poor
     Matthews, which, with that of Wingfield, (of which I was not fully
     aware till just before I left town, and indeed hardly believed it,)
     has made a sad chasm in my connections. Indeed the blows followed
     each other so rapidly that I am yet stupid from the shock; and
     though I do eat, and drink, and talk, and even laugh, at times, yet
     I can hardly persuade myself that I am awake, did not every
     morning convince me mournfully to the contrary.--I shall now wave
     the subject,--the dead are at rest, and none but the dead can be

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

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

     "You will write to me? I am solitary, and I never felt solitude
     irksome before. Your anxiety about the critique on * *'s book is
     amusing; as it was anonymous, certes it was of little consequence:
     I wish it had produced a little more confusion, being a lover of
     literary malice. Are you doing nothing? writing nothing? printing
     nothing? why not your Satire on Methodism? the subject (supposing
     the public to be blind to merit) would do wonders. Besides, it
     would be as well for a destined deacon to prove his orthodoxy.--It
     really would give me pleasure to see you properly appreciated. I
     say _really_, as, being an author, my humanity might be suspected.
     Believe me, dear H., yours always."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead, August 21. 1811.

     "Your letter gives me credit for more acute feelings than I
     possess; for though I feel tolerably miserable, yet I am at the
     same time subject to a kind of hysterical merriment, or rather
     laughter without merriment, which I can neither account for nor
     conquer, and yet I do not feel relieved by it; but an indifferent
     person would think me in excellent spirits. 'We must forget these
     things,' and have recourse to our old selfish comforts, or rather
     comfortable selfishness. I do not think I shall return to London
     immediately, and shall therefore accept freely what is offered
     courteously--your mediation between me and Murray. I don't think my
     name will answer the purpose, and you must be aware that my plaguy
     Satire will bring the north and south Grub Streets down upon the
     'Pilgrimage;'--but, nevertheless, if Murray makes a point of it,
     and you coincide with him, I will do it daringly; so let it be
     entitled 'By the Author of English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.' My
     remarks on the Romaic, &c., once intended to accompany the 'Hints
     from Horace,' shall go along with the other, as being indeed more
     appropriate; also the smaller poems now in my possession, with a
     few selected from those published in * *'s Miscellany. I have
     found amongst my poor mother's papers all my letters from the East,
     and one in particular of some length from Albania. From this, if
     necessary, I can work up a note or two on that subject. As I kept
     no journal, the letters written on the spot are the best. But of
     this anon, when we have definitively arranged.

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

     "I shall continue to write at intervals, and hope you will pay me
     in kind. How does Pratt get on, or rather get off, Joe Blackett's
     posthumous stock? You killed that poor man amongst you, in spite
     of your Ionian friend and myself, who would have saved him from
     Pratt, poetry, present poverty, and posthumous oblivion. Cruel
     patronage! to ruin a man at his calling; but then he is a divine
     subject for subscription and biography; and Pratt, who makes the
     most of his dedications, has inscribed the volume to no less than
     five families of distinction.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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


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


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

     "If you determine on publication, I have some smaller poems (never
     published), a few notes, and a short dissertation on the literature
     of the modern Greeks (written at Athens), which will come in at
     the end of the volume.--And, if the present poem should succeed, it
     is my intention, at some subsequent period, to publish some
     selections from my first work,--my Satire,--another nearly the same
     length, and a few other things, with the MS. now in your hands, in
     two volumes.--But of these hereafter. You will apprize me of your
     determination. I am, Sir, your very obedient," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, August 25. 1811.

     "Being fortunately enabled to frank, I do not spare scribbling,
     having sent you packets within the last ten days. I am passing
     solitary, and do not expect my agent to accompany me to Rochdale
     before the second week in September; a delay which perplexes me, as
     I wish the business over, and should at present welcome employment.
     I sent you exordiums, annotations, &c. for the forthcoming quarto,
     if quarto it is to be: and I also have written to Mr. Murray my
     objection to sending the MS. to Juvenal, but allowing him to show
     it to any others of the calling. Hobhouse is amongst the types
     already: so, between his prose and my verse, the world will be
     decently drawn upon for its paper-money and patience. Besides all
     this, my 'Imitation of Horace' is gasping for the press at
     Cawthorn's, but I am hesitating as to the _how_ and the _when_, the
     single or the double, the present or the future. You must excuse
     all this, for I have nothing to say in this lone mansion but of
     myself, and yet I would willingly talk or think of aught else.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, August 27. 1811.

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

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

     "You may say what you please, but you are one of the _murderers_ of
     Blackett, and yet you won't allow Harry White's genius. Setting
     aside his bigotry, he surely ranks next Chatterton. It is
     astonishing how little he was known; and at Cambridge no one
     thought or heard of such a man till his death rendered all notice
     useless. For my own part, I should have been most proud of such an
     acquaintance: his very prejudices were respectable. There is a
     sucking epic poet at Granta, a Mr. Townsend, _protégé_ of the late
     Cumberland. Did you ever hear of him and his 'Armageddon?' I think
     his plan (the man I don't know) borders on the sublime: though,
     perhaps, the anticipation of the 'Last Day' (according to you
     Nazarenes) is a little too daring: at least, it looks like telling
     the Lord what he is to do, and might remind an ill-natured person
     of the line,

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

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *


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


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

     "You have given me no answer to my question--tell me fairly, did
     you show the MS. to some of your corps?--I sent an introductory
     stanza to Mr. Dallas, to be forwarded to you; the poem else will
     open too abruptly. The stanzas had better be numbered in Roman
     characters. There is a disquisition on the literature of the
     modern Greeks and some smaller poems to come in at the close. These
     are now at Newstead, but will be sent in time. If Mr. D. has lost
     the stanza and note annexed to it, write, and I will send it
     myself.--You tell me to add two Cantos, but I am about to visit my
     _collieries_ in Lancashire on the 15th instant, which is so
     unpoetical an employment that I need say no more. I am, sir, your
     most obedient," &c.

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, September 7. 1811.

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

     "Your objection to the expression 'central line' I can only meet by
     saying that, before Childe Harold left England, it was his full
     intention to traverse Persia, and return by India, which he could
     not have done without passing the equinoctial.

     "The other errors you mention, I must correct in the progress
     through the press. I feel honoured by the wish of such men that the
     poem should be continued, but to do that, I must return to Greece
     and Asia; I must have a warm sun and a blue sky; I cannot describe
     scenes so dear to me by a sea-coal fire. I had projected an
     additional Canto when I was in the Troad and Constantinople, and if
     I saw them again, it would go on; but under existing circumstances
     and _sensations_, I have neither harp, 'heart, nor voice' to
     proceed. I feel that _you are all right_ as to the metaphysical
     part; but I also feel that I am sincere, and that if I am only to
     write '_ad captandum vulgus_,' I might as well edit a magazine at
     once, or spin canzonettas for Vauxhall. * * *

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

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *


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


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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, Sept. 16. 1811.[26]

     "I return the proof, which I should wish to be shown to Mr. Dallas,
     who understands typographical arrangements much better than I can
     pretend to do. The printer may place the notes in his _own way_,
     or any _way_ so that they are out of _my way_; I care nothing
     about types or margins.

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

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

[Footnote 26: On a leaf of one of his paper-books I find an Epigram
written at this time, which, though not perhaps particularly good, I
consider myself bound to insert:--


      "Good plays are scarce,
      So Moore writes farce:
    The poet's fame grows brittle--
      We knew before
      That _Little's_ Moore,
    But now 'tis _Moore_ that's _little_.
                    Sept. 14. 1811."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, Sept. 17. 1811.

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

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

     "I am now not quite alone, having an old acquaintance and
     school-fellow with me, so _old_, indeed, that we have nothing _new_
     to say on any subject, and yawn at each other in a sort of _quiet
     inquietude_. I hear nothing from Cawthorn, or Captain Hobhouse;
     and _their quarto_--Lord have mercy on mankind! We come on like
     Cerberus with our triple publications. As for _myself_, by
     _myself_, I must be satisfied with a comparison to _Janus_.

     "I am not at all pleased with Murray for showing the MS.; and I am
     certain Gifford must see it in the same light that I do. His praise
     is nothing to the purpose: what could he say? He could not spit in
     the face of one who had praised him in every possible way. I must
     own that I wish to have the impression removed from his mind, that
     I had any concern in such a paltry transaction. The more I think,
     the more it disquiets me; so I will say no more about it. It is bad
     enough to be a scribbler, without having recourse to such shifts to
     extort praise, or deprecate censure. It is anticipating, it is
     begging, kneeling, adulating,--the devil! the devil! the devil! and
     all without my wish, and contrary to my express desire. I wish
     Murray had been tied to _Payne_'s neck when he jumped into the
     Paddington Canal[27], and so tell him,--_that_ is the proper
     receptacle for publishers. You have thoughts of settling in the
     country, why not try Notts.? I think there are places which would
     suit you in all points, and then you are nearer the metropolis. But
     of this anon. I am, yours," &c.

[Footnote 27: In a note on his "Hints from Horace," he thus humorously
applies this incident:--

"A literary friend of mine walking out one lovely evening last summer on
the eleventh bridge of the Paddington Canal, was alarmed by the cry of
'One in jeopardy!' He rushed along, collected a body of Irish haymakers
(supping on buttermilk in an adjoining paddock), procured three rakes,
one eel spear, and a landing-net, and at last (_horresco referens_)
pulled out--his own publisher. The unfortunate man was gone for ever,
and so was a large quarto wherewith he had taken the leap, which proved,
on enquiry, to have been Mr. S----'s last work. Its 'alacrity of
sinking' was so great, that it has never since been heard of, though
some maintain that it is at this moment concealed at Alderman Birch's
pastry-premises, Cornhill. Be this as it may, the coroner's inquest
brought in a verdict of 'Felo de Bibliopolâ' against a 'quarto unknown,'
and circumstantial evidence being since strong against the 'Curse of
Kehama' (of which the above words are an exact description), it will be
tried by its peers next session in Grub Street. Arthur, Alfred,
Davideis, Richard Coeur de Lion, Exodus, Exodiad, Epigoniad, Calvary,
Fall of Cambria, Siege of Acre, Don Roderick, and Tom Thumb the Great,
are the names of the twelve jurors. The judges are Pye, * * *, and the
bellman of St. Sepulchre's."]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, Sept. 21. 1811.

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

        "Oh Thou, in _Hellas_ deem'd of heavenly birth,
        &c. &c.

        "Since _shamed full oft_ by _later lyres_ on earth,
        Mine, &c.

        "Yet there _I've wander'd_ by the vaunted rill;

     and so on. So I have got rid of Dr. Lowth and 'drunk' to boot, and
     very glad I am to say so. I have also sullenised the line as
     heretofore, and in short have been quite conformable.

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, Sept. 23. 1811.

     "_Lisboa_ is the Portuguese word, consequently the very best.
     Ulissipont is pedantic; and as I have _Hellas_ and _Eros_ not long
     before, there would be something like an affectation of Greek
     terms, which I wish to avoid, since I shall have a perilous
     quantity of _modern_ Greek in my notes, as specimens of the tongue;
     therefore Lisboa may keep its place. You are right about the
     'Hints;' they must not precede the 'Romaunt;' but Cawthorn will be
     savage if they don't; however, keep _them_ back, and _him_ in _good
     humour_, if we can, but do not let him publish.

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

     "I _will_ be angry with Murray. It was a book-selling, back shop,
     Paternoster-row, paltry proceeding, and if the experiment had
     turned out as it deserved, I would have raised all Fleet Street,
     and borrowed the giant's staff from St. Dunstan's church, to
     immolate the betrayer of trust. I have written to him as he never
     was written to before by an author, I'll be sworn, and I hope you
     will amplify my wrath, till it has an effect upon him. You tell me
     always you have much to write about. Write it, but let us drop
     metaphysics;--on that point we shall never agree. I am dull and
     drowsy, as usual. I do nothing, and even that nothing fatigues me.

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Newstead Abbey, Oct. 11. 1811.

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

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

     "Pray, is your Ionian friend in town? You have promised me an
     introduction.--You mention having consulted some friend on the
     MSS.--Is not this contrary to our usual way? Instruct Mr. Murray
     not to allow his shopman to call the work 'Child of Harrow's
     Pilgrimage!!!!!' as he has done to some of my astonished friends,
     who wrote to enquire after my sanity on the occasion, as well they
     might. I have heard nothing of Murray, whom I scolded heartily.
     Must I write more notes?--Are there not enough?--Cawthorn must be
     kept back with the 'Hints.'--I hope he is getting on with
     Hobhouse's quarto. Good evening. Yours ever," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

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

     "Newstead Abbey, October 11. 1811.

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

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

        "But let this pass--I'll whine no more.
        Nor seek again an eastern shore;
        The world befits a busy brain,--
        I'll hie me to its haunts again.
        But if, in some succeeding year,
        When Britain's 'May is in the sere,'
        Thou hear'st of one, whose deepening crimes
        Suit with the sablest of the times,
        Of one, whom Love nor Pity sways,
        Nor hope of fame, nor good men's praise,
        One, who in stern Ambition's pride,
        Perchance not Blood shall turn aside,
        One rank'd in some recording page
        With the worst anarchs of the age,
        Him wilt thou _know_--and, _knowing_, pause,
        Nor with the _effect_ forget the cause."

       *       *       *       *       *

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

It was about the time when he was thus bitterly feeling and expressing
the blight which his heart had suffered from a _real_ object of
affection, that his poems on the death of an _imaginary_ one, "Thyrza,"
were written;--nor is it any wonder, when we consider the peculiar
circumstances under which these beautiful effusions flowed from his
fancy, that of all his strains of pathos, they should be the most
touching and most pure. They were, indeed, the essence, the abstract
spirit, as it were, of many griefs;--a confluence of sad thoughts from
many sources of sorrow, refined and warmed in their passage through his
fancy, and forming thus one deep reservoir of mournful feeling. In
retracing the happy hours he had known with the friends now lost, all
the ardent tenderness of his youth came back upon him. His school-sports
with the favourites of his boyhood, Wingfield and Tattersall,--his
summer days with Long[28], and those evenings of music and romance which
he had dreamed away in the society of his adopted brother,
Eddlestone,--all these recollections of the young and dead now came to
mingle themselves in his mind with the image of her who, though living,
was, for him, as much lost as they, and diffused that general feeling of
sadness and fondness through his soul, which found a vent in these
poems. No friendship, however warm, could have inspired sorrow so
passionate; as no love, however pure, could have kept passion so
chastened. It was the blending of the two affections, in his memory and
imagination, that thus gave birth to an ideal object combining the best
features of both, and drew from him these saddest and tenderest of
love-poems, in which we find all the depth and intensity of real feeling
touched over with such a light as no reality ever wore.

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


     "Newstead Abbey, Oct. 13. 1811.

     "You will begin to deem me a most liberal correspondent; but as my
     letters are free, you will overlook their frequency. I have sent
     you answers in prose and verse[29] to all your late communications,
     and though I am invading your ease again, I don't know why, or what
     to put down that you are not acquainted with already. I am growing
     nervous (how you will laugh!)--but it is true,--really, wretchedly,
     ridiculously, fine-ladically _nervous_. Your climate kills me; I
     can neither read, write, nor amuse myself, or any one else. My days
     are listless, and my nights restless; I have very seldom any
     society, and when I have, I run out of it. At 'this present
     writing,' there are in the next room three ladies, and I have
     stolen away to write this grumbling letter.--I don't know that I
     sha'n't end with insanity, for I find a want of method in arranging
     my thoughts that perplexes me strangely; but this looks more like
     silliness than madness, as Scrope Davies would facetiously remark
     in his consoling manner. I must try the hartshorn of your company;
     and a session of Parliament would suit me well,--any thing to cure
     me of conjugating the accursed verb '_ennuyer_.'

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

     "Yours ever, B."

[Footnote 28: See the extract from one of his journals, vol. i. p. 94.]

[Footnote 29: The verses in vol. ii. p. 73.]

       *       *       *       *       *

     "My poesy is in the hands of its various publishers; but the 'Hints
     from Horace,' (to which I have subjoined some savage lines on
     Methodism, and ferocious notes on the vanity of the triple Editory
     of the Edin. Annual Register,) my '_Hints_,' I say, stand still,
     and why?--I have not a friend in the world (but you and Drury) who
     can construe Horace's Latin or my English well enough to adjust
     them for the press, or to correct the proofs in a grammatical way.
     So that, unless you have bowels when you return to town (I am too
     far off to do it for myself), this ineffable work will be lost to
     the world for--I don't know how many _weeks._

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

     "So you are going (going indeed!) into orders. You must make your
     peace with the Eclectic Reviewers--they accuse you of impiety, I
     fear, with injustice. Demetrius, the 'Sieger of Cities,' is here,
     with 'Gilpin Homer.' The painter[30] is not necessary, as the
     portraits he already painted are (by anticipation) very like the
     new animals.--Write, and send me your 'Love Song'--but I want
     'paulo majora' from you. Make a dash before you are a deacon, and
     try a _dry_ publisher.

     "Yours always, B."

[Footnote 30: Barber, whom he had brought down to Newstead to paint his
wolf and his bear.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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

In the year 1809, on the first appearance of "English Bards and Scotch
Reviewers," I found the author, who was then generally understood to be
Lord Byron, not only jesting on the subject--and with sufficiently
provoking pleasantry and cleverness--in his verse, but giving also, in
the more responsible form of a note, an outline of the transaction in
accordance with the original misreport, and, therefore, in direct
contradiction to my published statement. Still, as the Satire was
anonymous and unacknowledged, I did not feel that I was, in any way,
called upon to notice it, and therefore dismissed the matter entirely
from my mind. In the summer of the same year appeared the Second Edition
of the work, with Lord Byron's name prefixed to it. I was, at the time,
in Ireland, and but little in the way of literary society; and it so
happened that some months passed away before the appearance of this new
edition was known to me. Immediately on being apprised of it,--the
offence now assuming a different form,--I addressed the following letter
to Lord Byron, and, transmitting it to a friend in London, requested
that he would have it delivered into his Lordship's hands.[31]

     "Dublin, January 1. 1810.

     "My Lord,

     "Having just seen the name of 'Lord Byron' prefixed to a work
     entitled 'English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,' in which, as it
     appears to me, _the lie is given_ to a public statement of mine,
     respecting an affair with Mr. Jeffrey some years since, I beg you
     will have the goodness to inform me whether I may consider your
     Lordship as the author of this publication.

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

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

     "I have the honour to be

     "Your Lordship's very humble servant,


     "22. Molesworth Street."

[Footnote 31: This is the only entire letter of my own that, in the
course of this work, I mean to obtrude upon my readers. Being short, and
in terms more explanatory of the feeling on which I acted than any
others that could be substituted, it might be suffered, I thought, to
form the single exception to my general rule. In all other cases, I
shall merely give such extracts from my own letters as may be necessary
to elucidate those of my correspondent.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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

During the interval of a year and a half which elapsed before Lord
Byron's return, I had taken upon myself obligations, both as husband and
father, which make most men,--and especially those who have nothing to
bequeath,--less willing to expose themselves unnecessarily to danger.
On hearing, therefore, of the arrival of the noble traveller from
Greece, though still thinking it due to myself to follow up my first
request of an explanation, I resolved, in prosecuting that object, to
adopt such a tone of conciliation as should not only prove my sincere
desire of a pacific result, but show the entire freedom from any angry
or resentful feeling with which I took the step. The death of Mrs.
Byron, for some time, delayed my purpose. But as soon after that event
as was consistent with decorum, I addressed a letter to Lord Byron, in
which, referring to my former communication, and expressing some doubts
as to its having ever reached him, I re-stated, in pretty nearly the
same words, the nature of the insult, which, as it appeared to me, the
passage in his note was calculated to convey. "It is now useless," I
continued, "to speak of the steps with which it was my intention to
follow up that letter. The time which has elapsed since then, though it
has done away neither the injury nor the feeling of it, has, in many
respects, materially altered my situation; and the only object which I
have now in writing to your Lordship is to preserve some consistency
with that former letter, and to prove to you that the injured feeling
still exists, however circumstances may compel me to be deaf to its
dictates, at present. When I say 'injured feeling,' let me assure your
Lordship, that there is not a single vindictive sentiment in my mind
towards you. I mean but to express that uneasiness, under (what I
consider to be) a charge of falsehood, which must haunt a man of any
feeling to his grave, unless the insult be retracted or atoned for; and
which, if I did _not_ feel, I should, indeed, deserve far worse than
your Lordship's satire could inflict upon me." In conclusion I added,
that so far from being influenced by any angry or resentful feeling
towards him, it would give me sincere pleasure if, by any satisfactory
explanation, he would enable me to seek the honour of being henceforward
ranked among his acquaintance.[32]

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


     "Cambridge, October 27. 1811.


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

     "The advertisement you mention, I know nothing of.--At the time of
     your meeting with Mr. Jeffrey, I had recently entered College, and
     remember to have heard and read a number of squibs on the occasion;
     and from the recollection of these I derived all my knowledge on
     the subject, without the slightest idea of 'giving the lie' to an
     address which I never beheld. When I put my name to the production,
     which has occasioned this correspondence, I became responsible to
     all whom it might concern,--to explain where it requires
     explanation, and, where insufficiently, or too sufficiently
     explicit, at all events to satisfy. My situation leaves me no
     choice; it rests with the injured and the angry to obtain
     reparation in their own way.

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

     "In the beginning of the week, I shall be at No. 8. St. James's
     Street.--Neither the letter nor the friend to whom you stated your
     intention ever made their appearance.

     "Your friend, Mr. Rogers, or any other gentleman delegated by you,
     will find me most ready to adopt any conciliatory proposition which
     shall not compromise my own honour,--or, failing in that, to make
     the atonement you deem it necessary to require.

     "I have the honour to be, Sir,

     "Your most obedient, humble servant,


[Footnote 32: Finding two different draughts of this letter among my
papers, I cannot be quite certain as to some of the terms employed; but
have little doubt that they are here given correctly.]

       *       *       *       *       *

In my reply to this, I commenced by saying that his Lordship's letter
was, upon the whole, as satisfactory as I could expect. It contained all
that, in the strict _diplomatique_ of explanation, could be required,
namely,--that he had never seen the statement which I supposed him
wilfully to have contradicted,--that he had no intention of bringing
against me any charge of falsehood, and that the objectionable passage
of his work was not levelled personally at _me_. This, I added, was all
the explanation I had a right to expect, and I was, of course, satisfied
with it.

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

My reply concluded thus:--"As your Lordship does not show any wish to
proceed beyond the rigid formulary of explanation, it is not for me to
make any further advances. We Irishmen, in businesses of this kind,
seldom know any medium between decided hostility and decided
friendship;--but, as any approaches towards the latter alternative must
now depend entirely on your Lordship, I have only to repeat that I am
satisfied with your letter, and that I have the honour to be," &c. &c.

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


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


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

     "With regard to the latter part of both your letters, until the
     principal point was discussed between us, I felt myself at a loss
     in what manner to reply. Was I to anticipate friendship from one,
     who conceived me to have charged him with falsehood? Were not
     _advances_, under such circumstances, to be misconstrued,--not,
     perhaps, by the person to whom they were addressed, but by others?
     In _my_ case, such a step was impracticable. If you, who conceived
     yourself to be the offended person, are satisfied that you had no
     cause for offence, it will not be difficult to convince me of it.
     My situation, as I have before stated, leaves me no choice. I
     should have felt proud of your acquaintance, had it commenced under
     other circumstances; but it must rest with you to determine how far
     it may proceed after so _auspicious_ a beginning. I have the honour
     to be," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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


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


     "You must excuse my troubling you once more upon this very
     unpleasant subject. It would be a satisfaction to me, and I should
     think, to yourself, that the unopened letter in Mr. Hodgson's
     possession (supposing it to prove your own) should be returned 'in
     statu quo' to the writer; particularly as you expressed yourself
     'not quite easy under the manner in which I had dwelt on its

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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


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


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

     "Your very sincere and obedient servant,


       *       *       *       *       *

It can hardly, I think, be necessary to call the reader's attention to
the good sense, self-possession, and frankness, of these letters of Lord
Byron. I had placed him,--by the somewhat national confusion which I had
made of the boundaries of peace and war, of hostility and
friendship,--in a position which, ignorant as he was of the character of
the person who addressed him, it required all the watchfulness of his
sense of honour to guard from surprise or snare. Hence, the judicious
reserve with which he abstained from noticing my advances towards
acquaintance, till he should have ascertained exactly whether the
explanation which he was willing to give would be such as his
correspondent would be satisfied to receive. The moment he was set at
rest on this point, the frankness of his nature displayed itself; and
the disregard of all further mediation or etiquette with which he at
once professed himself ready to meet me, "when, where, and how" I
pleased, showed that he could be as pliant and confiding _after_ such an
understanding, as he had been judiciously reserved and punctilious
_before_ it.

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

It was, at first, intended by Mr. Rogers that his company at dinner
should not extend beyond Lord Byron and myself; but Mr. Thomas Campbell,
having called upon our host that morning, was invited to join the party,
and consented. Such a meeting could not be otherwise than interesting to
us all. It was the first time that Lord Byron was ever seen by any of
his three companions; while he, on his side, for the first time, found
himself in the society of persons, whose names had been associated with
his first literary dreams, and to _two_[33] of whom he looked up with
that tributary admiration which youthful genius is ever ready to pay
its precursors.

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

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

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

[Footnote 33: In speaking thus, I beg to disclaim all affected modesty,
Lord Byron had already made the same distinction himself in the opinions
which he expressed of the living poets; and I cannot but be aware that,
for the praises which he afterwards bestowed on my writings, I was, in a
great degree, indebted to his partiality to myself.]

       *       *       *       *       *


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

     "My dear Harness,

     "I write again, but don't suppose I mean to lay such a tax on your
     pen and patience as to expect regular replies. When you are
     inclined, write; when silent, I shall have the consolation of
     knowing that you are much better employed. Yesterday, Bland and I
     called on Mr. Miller, who, being then out, will call on Bland[34]
     to-day or to-morrow. I shall certainly endeavour to bring them
     together.--You are censorious, child; when you are a little older,
     you will learn to dislike every body, but abuse nobody.

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

     "I thank you most truly for the concluding part of your letter. I
     have been of late not much accustomed to kindness from any quarter,
     and am not the less pleased to meet with it again from one where I
     had known it earliest. I have not changed in all my
     ramblings,--Harrow, and, of course, yourself never left me, and the

        "'Dulces reminiscitur Argos'

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

     "Do read mathematics.--I should think _X plus Y_ at least as
     amusing as the Curse of Kehama, and much more intelligible. Master
     S.'s poems _are_, in fact, what parallel lines might be--viz.
     prolonged _ad infinitum_ without meeting any thing half so absurd
     as themselves.

        "What news, what news? Queen Oreaca,
          What news of scribblers five?
        S----, W----, C----e, L----d, and L----e?--
          All damn'd, though yet alive.

     C----e is lecturing. 'Many an old fool,' said Hannibal to some such
     lecturer, 'but such as this, never.'

     "Ever yours, &c."

[Footnote 34: The Rev. Robert Bland, one of the authors of "Collections
from the Greek Anthology." Lord Byron was, at this time, endeavouring to
secure for Mr. Bland the task of translating Lucien Buonaparte's poem.]

       *       *       *       *       *


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

     "Behold a most formidable sheet, without gilt or black edging, and
     consequently very vulgar and indecorous, particularly to one of
     your precision; but this being Sunday, I can procure no better,
     and will atone for its length by not filling it. Bland I have not
     seen since my last letter; but on Tuesday he dines with me, and
     will meet M * * e, the epitome of all that is exquisite in poetical or
     personal accomplishments. How Bland has settled with Miller, I know
     not. I have very little interest with either, and they must arrange
     their concerns according to their own gusto. I have done my
     endeavours, _at your request_, to bring them together, and hope
     they may agree to their mutual advantage.

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

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

     "And now, child, what art thou doing? _Reading, I trust._ I want to
     see you take a degree. Remember, this is the most important period
     of your life; and don't disappoint your papa and your aunt, and all
     your kin--besides myself. Don't you know that all male children are
     begotten for the express purpose of being graduates? and that even
     I am an A.M., though how I became so, the Public Orator only can
     resolve. Besides, you are to be a priest: and to confute Sir
     William Drummond's late book about the Bible, (printed, but not
     published,) and all other infidels whatever. Now leave Master H.'s
     gig, and Master S.'s Sapphics, and become as immortal as Cambridge
     can make you.

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

     "You see nothing of my allies, Scrope Davies and Matthews[35]--they
     don't suit you; and how does it happen that I--who am a pipkin of
     the same pottery--continue in your good graces? Good night,--I will
     go on in the morning.

     "Dec. 9th. In a morning, I'm always sullen, and to-day is as sombre
     as myself. Rain and mist are worse than a sirocco, particularly in
     a beef-eating and beer-drinking country. My bookseller, Cawthorne,
     has just left me, and tells me, with a most important face, that he
     is in treaty for a novel of Madame D'Arblay's, for which 1000
     guineas are asked! He wants me to read the MS. (if he obtains it),
     which I shall do with pleasure; but I should be very cautious in
     venturing an opinion on her whose Cecilia Dr. Johnson
     superintended.[36] If he lends it to me, I shall put it into the
     hands of Rogers and M * * e, who are truly men of taste. I have filled
     the sheet, and beg your pardon; I will not do it again. I shall,
     perhaps, write again, but if not, believe, silent or scribbling,
     that I am, my dearest William, ever," &c.

[Footnote 35: The brother of his late friend, Charles Skinner Matthews.]

[Footnote 36: Lord Byron is here mistaken. Dr. Johnson never saw Cecilia
till it was in print. A day or two before publication, the young
authoress, as I understand, sent three copies to the three persons who
had the best claim to them,--her father, Mrs. Thrale, and Dr.
Johnson.--_Second edition_.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "London, Dec. 8. 1811.

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

        "Away, away, ye notes of woe[37], &c. &c.

     "I have gotten a book by Sir W. Drummond, (printed, but not
     published,) entitled Oedipus Judaicus, in which he attempts to
     prove the greater part of the Old Testament an allegory,
     particularly Genesis and Joshua. He professes himself a theist in
     the preface, and handles the literal interpretation very roughly. I
     wish you could see it. Mr. W * * has lent it me, and I confess, to
     me it is worth fifty Watsons.

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

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

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

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

     "Yours ever, [Greek: Mpairôn]."

[Footnote 37: This poem is now printed in Lord Byron's Works.]

       *       *       *       *       *


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

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *


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

     "I wrote you an answer to your last, which, on reflection, pleases
     me as little as it probably has pleased yourself. I will not wait
     for your rejoinder; but proceed to tell you, that I had just then
     been greeted with an epistle of * *'s, full of his petty
     grievances, and this at the moment when (from circumstances it is
     not necessary to enter upon) I was bearing up against recollections
     to which _his_ imaginary sufferings are as a scratch to a cancer.
     These things combined, put me out of humour with him and all
     mankind. The latter part of my life has been a perpetual struggle
     against affections which embittered the earliest portion; and
     though I flatter myself I have in a great measure conquered them,
     yet there are moments (and this was one) when I am as foolish as
     formerly. I never said so much before, nor had I said this now, if
     I did not suspect myself of having been rather savage in my letter,
     and wish to inform you thus much of the cause. You know I am not
     one of your dolorous gentlemen: so now let us laugh again.

     "Yesterday I went with Moore to Sydenham to visit Campbell.[38] He
     was not visible, so we jogged homeward, merrily enough. To-morrow I
     dine with Rogers, and am to hear Coleridge, who is a kind of rage
     at present. Last night I saw Kemble in Coriolanus;--he _was
     glorious_, and exerted himself wonderfully. By good luck I got an
     excellent place in the best part of the house, which was more than
     overflowing. Clare and Delawarre, who were there on the same
     speculation, were less fortunate. I saw them by accident,--we were
     not together. I wished for you, to gratify your love of Shakspeare
     and of fine acting to its fullest extent. Last week I saw an
     exhibition of a different kind in a Mr. Coates, at the Haymarket,
     who performed Lothario in a _damned_ and damnable manner.

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

     "Dec. 16th.--I have just received your letter;--I feel your
     kindness very deeply. The foregoing part of my letter, written
     yesterday, will, I hope, account for the tone of the former, though
     it cannot excuse it. I do _like_ to hear from you--more than
     _like_. Next to seeing you, I have no greater satisfaction. But you
     have other duties, and greater pleasures, and I should regret to
     take a moment from either. H * * was to call to-day, but I have not
     seen him. The circumstances you mention at the close of your letter
     is another proof in favour of my opinion of mankind. Such you will
     always find them--selfish and distrustful. I except none. The
     cause of this is the state of society. In the world, every one is
     to stir for himself--it is useless, perhaps selfish, to expect any
     thing from his neighbour. But I do not think we are born of this
     disposition; for you find _friendship_ as a schoolboy, and _love_
     enough before twenty.

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

[Footnote 38: On this occasion, another of the noble poet's
peculiarities was, somewhat startlingly, introduced to my notice. When
we were on the point of setting out from his lodgings in St. James's
Street, it being then about mid-day, he said to the servant, who was
shutting the door of the vis-à-vis, "Have you put in the pistols?" and
was answered in the affirmative. It was difficult,--more especially,
taking into account the circumstances under which we had just become
acquainted,--to keep from smiling at this singular noon-day precaution.]

       *       *       *       *       *

From the time of our first meeting, there seldom elapsed a day that Lord
Byron and I did not see each other; and our acquaintance ripened into
intimacy and friendship with a rapidity of which I have seldom known an
example. I was, indeed, lucky in all the circumstances that attended my
first introduction to him. In a generous nature like his, the pleasure
of repairing an injustice would naturally give a zest to any partiality
I might have inspired in his mind; while the manner in which I had
sought this reparation, free as it was from resentment or defiance, left
nothing painful to remember in the transaction between us,--no
compromise or concession that could wound self-love, or take away from
the grace of that frank friendship to which he at once, so cordially and
so unhesitatingly, admitted me. I was also not a little fortunate in
forming my acquaintance with him, before his success had yet reached its
meridian burst,--before the triumphs that were in store for him had
brought the world all in homage at his feet, and, among the splendid
crowds that courted his society, even claims less humble than mine had
but a feeble chance of fixing his regard. As it was, the new scene of
life that opened upon him with his success, instead of detaching us from
each other, only multiplied our opportunities of meeting, and increased
our intimacy. In that society where his birth entitled him to move,
circumstances had already placed me, notwithstanding mine; and when,
after the appearance of "Childe Harold," he began to mingle with the
world, the same persons, who had long been _my_ intimates and friends,
became his; our visits were mostly to the same places, and, in the gay
and giddy round of a London spring, we were generally (as in one of his
own letters he expresses it) "embarked in the same Ship of Fools

But, at the time when we first met, his position in the world was most
solitary. Even those coffee-house companions who, before his departure
from England, had served him as a sort of substitute for more worthy
society, were either relinquished or had dispersed; and, with the
exception of three or four associates of his college days (to whom he
appeared strongly attached), Mr. Dallas and his solicitor seemed to be
the only persons whom, even in their very questionable degree, he could
boast of as friends. Though too proud to complain of this loneliness, it
was evident that he felt it; and that the state of cheerless isolation,
"unguided and unfriended," to which, on entering into manhood, he had
found himself abandoned, was one of the chief sources of that resentful
disdain of mankind, which even their subsequent worship of him came too
late to remove. The effect, indeed, which his subsequent commerce with
society had, for the short period it lasted, in softening and
exhilarating his temper, showed how fit a soil his heart would have been
for the growth of all the kindlier feelings, had but a portion of this
sunshine of the world's smiles shone on him earlier.

At the same time, in all such speculations and conjectures as to what
_might_ have been, under more favourable circumstances, his character,
it is invariably to be borne in mind, that his very defects were among
the elements of his greatness, and that it was out of the struggle
between the good and evil principles of his nature that his mighty
genius drew its strength. A more genial and fostering introduction into
life, while it would doubtless have softened and disciplined his mind,
might have impaired its vigour; and the same influences that would have
diffused smoothness and happiness over his life might have been fatal to
its glory. In a short poem of his[39], which appears to have been
produced at Athens, (as I find it written on a leaf of the original MS.
of Childe Harold, and dated "Athens, 1811,") there are two lines which,
though hardly intelligible as connected with the rest of the poem, may,
taken separately, be interpreted as implying a sort of prophetic
consciousness that it was out of the wreck and ruin of all his hopes the
immortality of his name was to arise.

    "Dear object of defeated care,
      Though now of love and thee bereft,
    To reconcile me with despair,
      Thine image and my tears are left.
    'Tis said with sorrow Time can cope,
      But this, I feel, can ne'er be true;
    For, _by the death-blow of my hope,
      My Memory immortal grew!_"

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

Understanding me to have expressed a wish to become a member of the
Alfred, he very good-naturedly lost no time in proposing me as a
candidate; but as the resolution which I had then nearly formed of
betaking myself to a country life rendered an additional club in London
superfluous, I wrote to beg that he would, for the present, at least,
withdraw my name: and his answer, though containing little, being the
first familiar note he ever honoured me with, I may be excused for
feeling a peculiar pleasure in inserting it.

[Footnote 39: "Written beneath the picture of ----"]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "December 11. 1811.

     "My dear Moore,

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

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

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


       *       *       *       *       *

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

"I feel it incumbent upon me to explain the circumstances to which this
passage alludes, however private their nature. They are, indeed,
calculated to do honour to the memory of my lamented friend. Having
become involved, unfortunately, in difficulties and embarrassments, I
received from Lord Byron (besides former pecuniary obligations)
assistance, at the time in question, to the amount of a thousand pounds.
Aid of such magnitude was equally unsolicited and unexpected on my part;
but it was a long-cherished, though secret, purpose of my friend to
afford that aid; and he only waited for the period when he thought it
would be of most service. His own words were, on the occasion of
conferring this overwhelming favour, '_I always intended to do it_.'"

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

      "And of his train there was a henchman page,
      A peasant boy, who serv'd his master well;
      And often would his pranksome prate engage
      Childe Burun's[40] ear, when his proud heart did swell
      With sullen thoughts that he disdain'd to tell.
      Then would he smile on him, and Alwin[41] smiled,
      When aught that from his young lips archly fell,
      The gloomy film from Harold's eye beguiled....

      "Him and one yeoman only did he take
      To travel eastward to a far countrie;
      And, though the boy was grieved to leave the lake,
      On whose fair banks he grew from infancy,
      Eftsoons his little heart beat merrily,
      With hope of foreign nations to behold,
      And many things right marvellous to see,
      Of which our vaunting travellers oft have told,
    From Mandeville....[42]"

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

    "Oh never tell again to me
      Of Northern climes and British ladies,
    It has not been your lot to see,
      Like me, the lovely girl of Cadiz,
    Although her eye be not of blue,
      Nor fair her locks, like English lasses," &c. &c.

There were also, originally, several stanzas full of direct personality,
and some that degenerated into a style still more familiar and ludicrous
than that of the description of a London Sunday, which still disfigures
the poem. In thus mixing up the light with the solemn, it was the
intention of the poet to imitate Ariosto. But it is far easier to rise,
with grace, from the level of a strain generally familiar, into an
occasional short burst of pathos or splendour, than to interrupt thus a
prolonged tone of solemnity by any descent into the ludicrous or
burlesque.[43] In the former case, the transition may have the effect of
softening or elevating, while, in the latter, it almost invariably
shocks;--for the same reason, perhaps, that a trait of pathos or high
feeling, in comedy, has a peculiar charm; while the intrusion of comic
scenes into tragedy, however sanctioned among us by habit and authority,
rarely fails to offend. The noble poet was, himself, convinced of the
failure of the experiment, and in none of the succeeding Cantos of
Childe Harold repeated it.

Of the satiric parts, some verses on the well-known traveller, Sir John
Carr, may supply us with, at least, a harmless specimen:--

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was in the hands of Mr. Rogers I first saw the sheets of the poem,
and glanced hastily over a few of the stanzas which he pointed out to me
as beautiful. Having occasion, the same morning, to write a note to Lord
Byron, I expressed strongly the admiration which this foretaste of his
work had excited in me; and the following is--as far as relates to
literary matters--the answer I received from him.

[Footnote 40: If there could be any doubt as to his intention of
delineating himself in his hero, this adoption of the old Norman name of
his family, which he seems to have at first contemplated, would be
sufficient to remove it.]

[Footnote 41: In the MS. the names "Robin" and "Rupert" had been
successively inserted here and scratched out again.]

[Footnote 42: Here the manuscript is illegible.]

[Footnote 43: Among the acknowledged blemishes of Milton's great poem,
is his abrupt transition, in this manner, into an imitation of Ariosto's
style, in the "Paradise of Fools."]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "January 29. 1812.

     "My dear Moore,

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

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

     "I feel very, very much obliged by your approbation; but, at _this
     moment_, praise, even _your_ praise, passes by me like 'the idle
     wind.' I meant and mean to send you a copy the moment of
     publication; but now I can think of nothing but damned,
     deceitful,--delightful woman, as Mr. Liston says in the Knight of
     Snowdon. Believe me, my dear Moore,

     "Ever yours, most affectionately,


       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *


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

     "Though I have no objection to your refusal to carry _letters_ to
     Mealey's, you will take care that the letters are taken by _Spero_
     at the proper time. I have also to observe, that Susan is to be
     treated with civility, and not _insulted_ by any person over whom
     I have the smallest control, or, indeed, by any one whatever, while
     I have the power to protect her. I am truly sorry to have any
     subject of complaint against _you_; I have too good an opinion of
     you to think I shall have occasion to repeat it, after the care I
     have taken of you, and my favourable intentions in your behalf. I
     see no occasion for any communication whatever between _you_ and
     the _women_, and wish you to occupy yourself in preparing for the
     situation in which you will be placed. If a common sense of decency
     cannot prevent you from conducting yourself towards them with
     rudeness, I should at least hope that your _own interest_, and
     regard for a master who has _never_ treated you with unkindness,
     will have some weight. Yours, &c.


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

       *       *       *       *       *


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

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

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

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


       *       *       *       *       *

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


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

     "Dear Hodgson,

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

     "In the spring of 1813 I shall leave England for ever. Every thing
     in my affairs tends to this, and my inclinations and health do not
     discourage it. Neither my habits nor constitution are improved by
     your customs or your climate. I shall find employment in making
     myself a good Oriental scholar. I shall retain a mansion in one of
     the fairest islands, and retrace, at intervals, the most
     interesting portions of the East. In the mean time, I am adjusting
     my concerns, which will (when arranged) leave me with wealth
     sufficient even for home, but enough for a principality in Turkey.
     At present they are involved, but I hope, by taking some necessary
     but unpleasant steps, to clear every thing. Hobhouse is expected
     daily in London; we shall be very glad to see him; and, perhaps,
     you will come up and 'drink deep ere he depart,' if not, 'Mahomet
     must go to the mountain;'--but Cambridge will bring sad
     recollections to him, and worse to me, though for very different
     reasons. I believe the only human being that ever loved me in truth
     and entirely was of, or belonging to, Cambridge, and, in that, no
     change can now take place. There is one consolation in death--where
     he sets his seal, the impression can neither be melted nor broken,
     but endureth for ever.

     "Yours always, B."

       *       *       *       *       *

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


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

     "My dear John,

     "You have probably long ago forgotten the writer of these lines,
     who would, perhaps, be unable to recognise _yourself_, from the
     difference which must naturally have taken place in your stature
     and appearance since he saw you last. I have been rambling through
     Portugal, Spain, Greece, &c. &c. for some years, and have found so
     many changes on my return, that it would be very unfair not to
     expect that you should have had your share of alteration and
     improvement with the rest. I write to request a favour of you: a
     little boy of eleven years, the son of Mr. * *, my particular
     friend, is about to become an Etonian, and I should esteem any act
     of protection or kindness to him as an obligation to myself; let me
     beg of you then to take some little notice of him at first, till he
     is able to shift for himself.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 27th of February, a day or two before the appearance of Childe
Harold, he made the first trial of his eloquence in the House of Lords;
and it was on this occasion he had the good fortune to become acquainted
with Lord Holland,--an acquaintance no less honourable than gratifying
to both, as having originated in feelings the most generous, perhaps,
of our nature, a ready forgiveness of injuries, on the one side, and a
frank and unqualified atonement for them, on the other. The subject of
debate was the Nottingham Frame-breaking Bill, and, Lord Byron having
mentioned to Mr. Rogers his intention to take a part in the discussion,
a communication was, by the intervention of that gentleman, opened
between the noble poet and Lord Holland, who, with his usual courtesy,
professed himself ready to afford all the information and advice in his
power. The following letters, however, will best explain their first
advances towards acquaintance.


     "February 4. 1812.

     "My dear Sir,

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

     "From all that fell under my own observation during my Christmas
     visit to Newstead, I feel convinced that, if _conciliatory_
     measures are not very soon adopted, the most unhappy consequences
     may be apprehended. Nightly outrage and daily depredation are
     already at their height, and not only the masters of frames, who
     are obnoxious on account of their occupation, but persons in no
     degree connected with the malecontents or their oppressors, are
     liable to insult and pillage.

     "I am very much obliged to you for the trouble you have taken on my
     account, and beg you to believe me ever your obliged and sincere,"

       *       *       *       *       *


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

     "My Lord,

     "With my best thanks, I have the honour to return the Notts, letter
     to your Lordship. I have read it with attention, but do not think I
     shall venture to avail myself of its contents, as my view of the
     question differs in some measure from Mr. Coldham's. I hope I do
     not wrong him, but _his_ objections to the bill appear to me to be
     founded on certain apprehensions that he and his coadjutors might
     be mistaken for the '_original advisers_' (to quote him) of the
     measure. For my own part, I consider the manufacturers as a much
     injured body of men, sacrificed to the views of certain individuals
     who have enriched themselves by those practices which have deprived
     the frame-workers of employment. For instance;--by the adoption of
     a certain kind of frame, one man performs the work of seven--six
     are thus thrown out of business. But it is to be observed that the
     work thus done is far inferior in quality, hardly marketable at
     home, and hurried over with a view to exportation. Surely, my Lord,
     however we may rejoice in any improvement in the arts which may be
     beneficial to mankind, we must not allow mankind to be sacrificed
     to improvements in mechanism. The maintenance and well-doing of the
     industrious poor is an object of greater consequence to the
     community than the enrichment of a few monopolists by any
     improvement in the implements of trade, which deprives the workman
     of his bread, and renders the, labourer "unworthy of his hire." My
     own motive for opposing the bill is founded on its palpable
     injustice, and its certain inefficacy. I have seen the state of
     these miserable men, and it is a disgrace to a civilised country.
     Their excesses may be condemned, but cannot be subject of wonder.
     The effect of the present bill would be to drive them into actual
     rebellion. The few words I shall venture to offer on Thursday will
     be founded upon these opinions formed from my own observations on
     the spot. By previous enquiry, I am convinced these men would have
     been restored to employment, and the county to tranquillity. It is,
     perhaps, not yet too late, and is surely worth the trial. It can
     never be too late to employ force in such circumstances. I believe
     your Lordship does not coincide with me entirely on this subject,
     and most cheerfully and sincerely shall I submit to your superior
     judgment and experience, and take some other line of argument
     against the bill, or be silent altogether, should you deem it more
     advisable. Condemning, as every one must condemn, the conduct of
     these wretches, I believe in the existence of grievances which call
     rather for pity than punishment. I have the honour to be, with
     great respect, my Lord, your Lordship's

     "Most obedient and obliged servant,


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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

"When he left the great chamber, I went and met him in the passage; he
was glowing with success, and much agitated. I had an umbrella in my
right hand, not expecting that he would put out his hand to me;--in my
haste to take it when offered, I had advanced my left hand--'What!' said
he, 'give your friend your left hand upon such an occasion?' I showed
the cause, and immediately changing the umbrella to the other hand, I
gave him my right hand, which he shook and pressed warmly. He was
greatly elated, and repeated some of the compliments which had been paid
him, and mentioned one or two of the peers who had desired to be
introduced to him. He concluded with saying, that he had, by his speech,
given me the best advertisement for Childe Harold's Pilgrimage."

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

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

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

"When we are told that these men are leagued together, not only for the
destruction of their own comfort, but of their very means of
subsistence, can we forget that it is the bitter policy, the destructive
warfare, of the last eighteen years which has destroyed their comfort,
your comfort, all men's comfort;--that policy which, originating with
'great statesmen now no more,' has survived the dead to become a curse
on the living, unto the third and fourth generation! These men never
destroyed their looms till they were become useless,--worse than
useless; till they were become actual impediments to their exertions in
obtaining their daily bread. Can you then wonder that, in times like
these, when bankruptcy, convicted fraud, and imputed felony, are found
in a station not far beneath that of your Lordships, the lowest, though
once most useful, portion of the people should forget their duty in
their distresses, and become only less guilty than one of their
representatives? But while the exalted offender can find means to baffle
the law, new capital punishments must be devised, new snares of death
must be spread for the wretched mechanic who is famished into guilt.
These men were willing to dig, but the spade was in other hands: they
were not ashamed to beg, but there was none to relieve them. Their own
means of subsistence were cut off; all other employments pre-occupied;
and their excesses, however to be deplored or condemned, can hardly be
the subject of surprise.

"I have traversed the seat of war in the Peninsula I have been in some
of the most oppressed provinces of Turkey; but never, under the most
despotic of infidel governments, did I behold such squalid wretchedness
as I have seen since my return, in the very heart of a Christian
country. And what are your remedies? After months of inaction, and
months of action worse than inactivity, at length comes forth the grand
specific, the never-failing nostrum of all state physicians from the
days of Draco to the present time. After feeling the pulse, and shaking
the head over the patient, prescribing the usual course of warm water
and bleeding--the warm water of your mawkish police, and the lancets of
your military--these convulsions must terminate in death, the sure
consummation of the prescriptions of all political Sangrados. Setting
aside the palpable injustice and the certain inefficiency of the bill,
are there not capital punishments sufficient on your statutes? Is there
not blood enough upon your penal code, that more must be poured forth to
ascend to heaven and testify against you? How will you carry this bill
into effect? Can you commit a whole county to their own prisons? Will
you erect a gibbet in every field, and hang up men like scare-crows? or
will you proceed (as you must, to bring this measure into effect,) by
decimation; place the country under martial law; depopulate and lay
waste all around you, and restore Sherwood Forest as an acceptable gift
to the crown in its former condition of a royal chase, and an asylum for
outlaws? Are these the remedies for a starving and desperate populace?
Will the famished wretch who has braved your bayonets be appalled by
your gibbets? When death is a relief, and the only relief it appears
that you will afford him, will he be dragooned into tranquillity? Will
that which could not be effected by your grenadiers, be accomplished by
your executioners? If you proceed by the forms of law, where is your
evidence? Those who refused to impeach their accomplices, when
transportation only was the punishment, will hardly be tempted to
witness against them when death is the penalty. With all due deference
to the noble lords opposite, I think a little investigation, some
previous enquiry, would induce even them to change their purpose. That
most favourite state measure, so marvellously efficacious in many and
recent instances, _temporising_, would not be without its advantage in
this. When a proposal is made to emancipate or relieve, you hesitate,
you deliberate for years, you temporise and tamper with the minds of
men; but a death-bill must be passed off hand, without a thought of the

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

"Sheridan's liking for me (whether he was not mystifying me, I do not
know, but Lady Caroline Lamb and others told me that he said the same
both before and after he knew me,) was founded upon 'English Bards and
Scotch Reviewers.' He told me that he did not care about poetry, (or
about mine--at least, any but that poem of mine,) but he was sure, from
that and other symptoms, I should make an orator, if I would but take to
speaking, and grow a parliament man. He never ceased harping upon this
to me to the last; and I remember my old tutor, Dr. Drury, had the same
notion when I was a _boy_; but it never was my turn of inclination to
try. I spoke once or twice, as all young peers do, as a kind of
introduction into public life; but dissipation, shyness, haughty and
reserved opinions, together with the short time I lived in England
after my majority (only about five years in all), prevented me from
resuming the experiment. As far as it went, it was not discouraging,
particularly my _first_ speech (I spoke three or four times in all); but
just after it, my poem of Childe Harold was published, and nobody ever
thought about my _prose_ afterwards, nor indeed did I; it became to me a
secondary and neglected object, though I sometimes wonder to myself if I
should have succeeded."

       *       *       *       *       *

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


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

     "My dear Hodgson,

     "_We_ are not answerable for reports of speeches in the papers;
     they are always given incorrectly, and on this occasion more so
     than usual, from the debate in the Commons on the same night. The
     Morning Post should have said _eighteen years_. However, you will
     find the speech, as spoken, in the Parliamentary Register, when it
     comes out. Lords Holland and Grenville, particularly the latter,
     paid me some high compliments in the course of their speeches, as
     you may have seen in the papers, and Lords Eldon and Harrowby
     answered me. I have had many marvellous eulogies repeated to me
     since, in person and by proxy, from divers persons
     _ministerial_--yea, _ministerial!_--as well as oppositionists; of
     them I shall only mention Sir F. Burdett. _He_ says it is the best
     speech by a _lord_ since the '_Lord_ knows when,' probably from a
     fellow-feeling in the sentiments. Lord H. tells me I shall beat
     them all if I persevere; and Lord G. remarked that the construction
     of some of my periods are very like _Burke's_! And so much for
     vanity. I spoke very violent sentences with a sort of modest
     impudence, abused every thing and every body, and put the Lord
     Chancellor very much out of humour; and if I may believe what I
     hear, have not lost any character by the experiment. As to my
     delivery, loud and fluent enough, perhaps a little theatrical. I
     could not recognise myself or any one else in the newspapers.

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

     "Yours ever, B."

       *       *       *       *       *

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


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

     "My Lord,

     "May I request your Lordship to accept a copy of the thing which
     accompanies this note? You have already so fully proved the truth
     of the first line of Pope's couplet,

        "'_Forgiveness to the injured doth belong,_'

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

     "Your Lordship's obliged and

     "Sincere servant,


       *       *       *       *       *

It was within two days after his speech in the House of Lords that
Childe Harold appeared[44];--and the impression which it produced upon
the public was as instantaneous as it has proved deep and lasting. The
permanence of such success genius alone could secure, but to its instant
and enthusiastic burst, other causes, besides the merit of the work,

There are those who trace in the peculiar character of Lord Byron's
genius strong features of relationship to the times in which he lived;
who think that the great events which marked the close of the last
century, by giving a new impulse to men's minds, by habituating them to
the daring and the free, and allowing full vent to "the flash and
outbreak of fiery spirits," had led naturally to the production of such
a poet as Byron; and that he was, in short, as much the child and
representative of the Revolution, in poesy, as another great man of the
age, Napoleon, was in statesmanship and warfare. Without going the full
length of this notion, it will, at least, be conceded, that the free
loose which had been given to all the passions and energies of the human
mind, in the great struggle of that period, together with the constant
spectacle of such astounding vicissitudes as were passing, almost daily,
on the theatre of the world, had created, in all minds, and in every
walk of intellect, a taste for strong excitement, which the stimulants
supplied from ordinary sources were insufficient to gratify;--that a
tame deference to established authorities had fallen into disrepute, no
less in literature than in politics, and that the poet who should
breathe into his songs the fierce and passionate spirit of the age, and
assert, untrammelled and unawed, the high dominion of genius, would be
the most sure of an audience toned in sympathy with his strains.

It is true that, to the licence on religious subjects, which revelled
through the first acts of that tremendous drama, a disposition of an
opposite tendency had, for some time, succeeded. Against the wit of the
scoffer, not only piety, but a better taste, revolted; and had Lord
Byron, in touching on such themes in Childe Harold, adopted a tone of
levity or derision, (such as, unluckily, he sometimes afterwards
descended to,) not all the originality and beauty of his work would have
secured for it a prompt or uncontested triumph. As it was, however, the
few dashes of scepticism with which he darkened his strain, far from
checking his popularity, were among those attractions which, as I have
said, independent of all the charms of the poetry, accelerated and
heightened its success. The religious feeling that has sprung up through
Europe since the French revolution--like the political principles that
have emerged out of the same event--in rejecting all the licentiousness
of that period, have preserved much of its spirit of freedom and
enquiry; and, among the best fruits of this enlarged and enlightened
piety is the liberty which it disposes men to accord to the opinions,
and even heresies, of others. To persons thus sincerely, and, at the
same time, tolerantly, devout, the spectacle of a great mind, like that
of Byron, labouring in the eclipse of scepticism, could not be otherwise
than an object of deep and solemn interest. If they had already known
what it was to doubt, themselves, they would enter into his fate with
mournful sympathy; while, if safe in the tranquil haven of faith, they
would look with pity on one who was still a wanderer. Besides, erring
and dark as might be his views at that moment, there were circumstances
in his character and fate that gave a hope of better thoughts yet
dawning upon him. From his temperament and youth, there could be little
fear that he was yet hardened in his heresies, and as, for a heart
wounded like his, there was, they knew, but one true source of
consolation, so it was hoped that the love of truth, so apparent in all
he wrote, would, one day, enable him to find it.

Another, and not the least of those causes which concurred with the
intrinsic claims of his genius to give an impulse to the tide of success
that now flowed upon him, was, unquestionably, the peculiarity of his
personal history and character. There had been, in his very first
introduction of himself to the public, a sufficient portion of
singularity to excite strong attention and interest. While all other
youths of talent, in his high station, are heralded into life by the
applauses and anticipations of a host of friends, young Byron stood
forth alone, unannounced by either praise or promise,--the
representative of an ancient house, whose name, long lost in the gloomy
solitudes of Newstead, seemed to have just awakened from the sleep of
half a century in his person. The circumstances that, in succession,
followed,--the prompt vigour of his reprisals upon the assailants of his
fame,--his disappearance, after this achievement, from the scene of his
triumph, without deigning even to wait for the laurels which he had
earned, and his departure on a far pilgrimage, whose limits he left to
chance and fancy,--all these successive incidents had thrown an air of
adventure round the character of the young poet, which prepared his
readers to meet half-way the impressions of his genius. Instead of
finding him, on a nearer view, fall short of their imaginations, the new
features of his disposition now disclosed to them far outwent, in
peculiarity and interest, whatever they might have preconceived; while
the curiosity and sympathy, awakened by what he suffered to transpire of
his history, were still more heightened by the mystery of his allusions
to much that yet remained untold. The late losses by death which he had
sustained, and which, it was manifest, he most deeply mourned, gave a
reality to the notion formed of him by his admirers which seemed to
authorise them in imagining still more; and what has been said of the
poet Young, that he found out the art of "making the public a party to
his private sorrows," may be, with infinitely more force and truth,
applied to Lord Byron.

On that circle of society with whom he came immediately in contact,
these personal influences acted with increased force, from being
assisted by others, which, to female imaginations especially, would
have presented a sufficiency of attraction, even without the great
qualities joined with them. His youth,--the noble beauty of his
countenance, and its constant play of lights and shadows,--the
gentleness of his voice and manner to women, and his occasional
haughtiness to men,--the alleged singularities of his mode of life,
which kept curiosity alive and inquisitive,--all these lesser traits and
habitudes concurred towards the quick spread of his fame; nor can it be
denied that, among many purer sources of interest in his poem, the
allusions which he makes to instances of "_successful_ passion" in his
career[45] were not without their influence on the fancies of that sex,
whose weakness it is to be most easily won by those who come recommended
by the greatest number of triumphs over others.

That his rank was also to be numbered among these extrinsic advantages
appears to have been--partly, perhaps, from a feeling of modesty at the
time--his own persuasion. "I may place a great deal of it," said he to
Mr. Dallas, "to my being a lord." It might be supposed that it is only
on a rank inferior to his own such a charm could operate; but this very
speech is, in itself, a proof, that in no class whatever is the
advantage of being noble more felt and appreciated than among nobles
themselves. It was, also, natural that, in that circle, the admiration
of the new poet should be, at least, quickened by the consideration that
he had sprung up among themselves, and that their order had, at length,
produced a man of genius, by whom the arrears of contribution, long due
from them to the treasury of English literature, would be at once fully
and splendidly discharged.

Altogether, taking into consideration the various points I have here
enumerated, it may be asserted, that never did there exist before, and
it is most probable never will exist again, a combination of such vast
mental power and surpassing genius, with so many other of those
advantages and attractions, by which the world is, in general, dazzled
and captivated. The effect was, accordingly, electric;--his fame had not
to wait for any of the ordinary gradations, but seemed to spring up,
like the palace of a fairy tale, in a night. As he himself briefly
described it in his memoranda,--"I awoke one morning and found myself
famous." The first edition of his work was disposed of instantly; and,
as the echoes of its reputation multiplied on all sides, "Childe Harold"
and "Lord Byron" became the theme of every tongue. At his door, most of
the leading names of the day presented themselves,--some of them persons
whom he had much wronged in his Satire, but who now forgot their
resentment in generous admiration. From morning till night the most
flattering testimonies of his success crowded his table,--from the grave
tributes of the statesman and the philosopher down to (what flattered
him still more) the romantic billet of some _incognita,_ or the pressing
note of invitation from some fair leader of fashion; and, in place of
the desert which London had been to him but a few weeks before, he now
not only saw the whole splendid interior of High Life thrown open to
receive him, but found himself, among its illustrious crowds, the most
distinguished object.

The copyright of the poem, which was purchased by Mr. Murray for
600_l._, he presented, in the most delicate and unostentatious manner,
to Mr. Dallas[46], saying, at the same time, that he "never would
receive money for his writings;"--a resolution, the mixed result of
generosity and pride, which he afterwards wisely abandoned, though borne
out by the example of Swift[47] and Voltaire, the latter of whom gave
away most of his copyrights to Prault and other booksellers, and
received books, not money, for those he disposed of otherwise. To his
young friend, Mr. Harness, it had been his intention, at first, to
dedicate the work, but, on further consideration, he relinquished his
design; and in a letter to that gentleman (which, with some others, is
unfortunately lost) alleged, as his reason for this change, the
prejudice which, he foresaw, some parts of the poem would raise against
himself, and his fear lest, by any possibility, a share of the odium
might so far extend itself to his friend, as to injure him in the
profession to which he was about to devote himself.

Not long after the publication of Childe Harold, the noble author paid
me a visit, one morning, and, putting a letter into my hands, which he
had just received, requested that I would undertake to manage for him
whatever proceedings it might render necessary. This letter, I found,
had been delivered to him by Mr. Leckie (a gentleman well known by a
work on Sicilian affairs), and came from a once active and popular
member of the fashionable world, Colonel Greville,--its purport being to
require of his Lordship, as author of "English Bards," &c., such
reparation as it was in his power to make for the injury which, as
Colonel Greville conceived, certain passages in that satire, reflecting
upon his conduct as manager of the Argyle Institution, were calculated
to inflict upon his character. In the appeal of the gallant Colonel,
there were some expressions of rather an angry cast, which Lord Byron,
though fully conscious of the length to which he himself had gone, was
but little inclined to brook, and, on my returning the letter into his
hands, he said, "To such a letter as that there can be but one sort of
answer." He agreed, however, to trust the matter entirely to my
discretion, and I had, shortly after, an interview with the friend of
Colonel Greville. By this gentleman, who was then an utter stranger to
me, I was received with much courtesy, and with every disposition to
bring the affair intrusted to us to an amicable issue. On my premising
that the tone of his friend's letter stood in the way of negotiation,
and that some obnoxious expressions which it contained must be removed
before I could proceed a single step towards explanation, he most
readily consented to remove this obstacle. At his request I drew a pen
across the parts I considered objectionable, and he undertook to send me
the letter re-written, next morning. In the mean time I received from
Lord Byron the following paper for my guidance:--

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

     "Lord B. has no personal animosity to Colonel Greville. A public
     institution, to which he himself was a subscriber, he considered
     himself to have a right to notice _publicly_. Of that institution
     Colonel Greville was the avowed director;--it is too late to enter
     into the discussion of its merits or demerits.

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

[Footnote 44: To his sister, Mrs. Leigh, one of the first presentation
copies was sent, with the following inscription in it:--

     "To Augusta, my dearest sister, and my best friend, who has ever
     loved me much better than I deserved, this volume is presented by
     her father's son, and most affectionate brother,


[Footnote 45:

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

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

[Footnote 46: "After speaking to him of the sale, and settling the new
edition, I said, 'How can I possibly think of this rapid sale, and the
profits likely to ensue, without recollecting--'--'What?'--'Think what
sum your work may produce.'--'I shall be rejoiced, and wish it doubled
and trebled; but do not talk to me of money. I never will receive money
for my writings.'"--DALLAS'S _Recollections_.]

[Footnote 47: In a letter to Pulteney, 12th May, 1735, Swift says, "I
never got a farthing for any thing I writ, except once."]

       *       *       *       *       *

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

     "My dear Sir,

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

     "G.T. LECKIE."

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

While upon this subject, I shall avail myself of the opportunity which
it affords of extracting an amusing account given by Lord Byron himself
of some affairs of this description, in which he was, at different
times, employed as mediator.

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

                    "'to compose
    The bloody duel without blows,'--

the business being about a woman: I must add, too, that I never saw a
_woman_ behave so ill, like a cold-blooded, heartless b---- as she
was,--but very handsome for all that. A certain Susan C * * was she
called. I never saw her but once; and that was to induce her but to say
two words (which in no degree compromised herself), and which would have
had the effect of saving a priest or a lieutenant of cavalry. She would
not say them, and neither N * * nor myself (the son of Sir E. N * *, and
a friend to one of the parties,) could prevail upon her to say them,
though both of us used to deal in some sort with womankind. At last I
managed to quiet the combatants without her talisman, and, I believe, to
her great disappointment: she was the damnedest b---- that I ever saw,
and I have seen a great many. Though my clergyman was sure to lose
either his life or his living, he was as warlike as the Bishop of
Beauvais, and would hardly be pacified; but then he was in love, and
that is a martial passion."

However disagreeable it was to find the consequences of his Satire thus
rising up against him in a hostile shape, he was far more embarrassed in
those cases where the retribution took a friendly form. Being now daily
in the habit of meeting and receiving kindnesses from persons who,
either in themselves, or through their relatives, had been wounded by
his pen, he felt every fresh instance of courtesy from such quarters to
be, (as he sometimes, in the strong language of Scripture, expressed
it,) like "heaping coals of fire upon his head." He was, indeed, in a
remarkable degree, sensitive to the kindness or displeasure of those he
lived with; and had he passed a life subject to the immediate influence
of society, it may be doubted whether he ever would have ventured upon
those unbridled bursts of energy in which he at once demonstrated and
abused his power. At the period when he ran riot in his Satire, society
had not yet caught him within its pale; and in the time of his Cains and
Don Juans, he had again broken loose from it. Hence, his instinct
towards a life of solitude and independence, as the true element of his
strength. In his own domain of imagination he could defy the whole
world; while, in real life, a frown or smile could rule him. The
facility with which he sacrificed his first volume, at the mere
suggestion of his friend, Mr. Becher, is a strong proof of this
pliableness; and in the instance of Childe Harold, such influence had
the opinions of Mr. Gifford and Mr. Dallas on his mind, that he not only
shrunk from his original design of identifying himself with his hero,
but surrendered to them one of his most favourite stanzas, whose
heterodoxy they had objected to; nor is it too much, perhaps, to
conclude, that had a more extended force of such influence then acted
upon him, he would have consented to omit the sceptical parts of his
poem altogether. Certain it is that, during the remainder of his stay in
England, no such doctrines were ever again obtruded on his readers; and
in all those beautiful creations of his fancy, with which he brightened
that whole period, keeping the public eye in one prolonged gaze of
admiration, both the bitterness and the licence of his impetuous spirit
were kept effectually under control. The world, indeed, had yet to
witness what he was capable of, when emancipated from this restraint.
For, graceful and powerful as were his flights while society had still a
hold of him, it was not till let loose from the leash that he rose into
the true region of his strength; and though almost in proportion to that
strength was, too frequently, his abuse of it, yet so magnificent are
the very excesses of such energy, that it is impossible, even while we
condemn, not to admire.

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

To exemplify what I have said of his extreme sensibility, to the passing
sunshine or clouds of the society in which he lived, I need but cite the
following notes, addressed by him to his friend Mr. William Bankes,
under the apprehension that this gentleman was, for some reason or
other, displeased with him.

       *       *       *       *       *


     "April 20. 1812.

     "My dear Bankes,

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


       *       *       *       *       *


     "My dear Bankes,

     "My eagerness to come to an explanation has, I trust, convinced you
     that whatever my unlucky manner might inadvertently be, the change
     was as unintentional as (if intended) it would have been
     ungrateful. I really was not aware that, while we were together, I
     had evinced such caprices; that we were not so much in each other's
     company as I could have wished, I well know, but I think so _acute_
     an _observer_ as yourself must have perceived enough to _explain
     this_, without supposing any slight to one in whose society I have
     pride and pleasure. Recollect that I do not allude here to
     'extended' or 'extending' acquaintances, but to circumstances you
     will understand, I think, on a little reflection.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

In the month of April he was again tempted to try his success in the
House of Lords; and, on the motion of Lord Donoughmore for taking into
consideration the claims of the Irish catholics, delivered his
sentiments strongly in favour of the proposition. His display, on this
occasion, seems to have been less promising than in his first essay. His
delivery was thought mouthing and theatrical, being infected, I take for
granted (having never heard him speak in Parliament), with the same
chanting tone that disfigured his recitation of poetry,--a tone
contracted at most of the public schools, but more particularly,
perhaps, at Harrow, and encroaching just enough on the boundaries of
song to offend those ears most by which song is best enjoyed and

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

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

"In the debate, or rather discussion, afterwards in the House of Lords
upon that very question, I sate immediately behind Lord Moira, who was
extremely annoyed at Grey's speech upon the subject; and, while Grey was
speaking, turned round to me repeatedly, and asked me whether I agreed
with him. It was an awkward question to me who had not heard both sides.
Moira kept repeating to me, 'It was _not so_, it was so and so,' &c. I
did not know very well what to think, but I sympathised with the
acuteness of his feelings upon the subject."

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

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

During all this time, the impression which he had produced in society,
both as a poet and a man, went on daily increasing; and the facility
with which he gave himself up to the current of fashionable life, and
mingled in all the gay scenes through which it led, showed that the
novelty, at least, of this mode of existence had charms for him, however
he might estimate its pleasures. That sort of vanity which is almost
inseparable from genius, and which consists in an extreme sensitiveness
on the subject of self, Lord Byron, I need not say, possessed in no
ordinary degree; and never was there a career in which this sensibility
to the opinions of others was exposed to more constant and various
excitement than that on which he was now entered. I find in a note of my
own to him, written at this period, some jesting allusions to the
"circle of star-gazers" whom I had left around him at some party on the
preceding night;--and such, in fact, was the flattering ordeal he had to
undergo wherever he went. On these occasions,--particularly before the
range of his acquaintance had become sufficiently extended to set him
wholly at his ease,--his air and port were those of one whose better
thoughts were elsewhere, and who looked with melancholy abstraction on
the gay crowd around him. This deportment, so rare in such scenes, and
so accordant with the romantic notions entertained of him, was the
result partly of shyness, and partly, perhaps, of that love of effect
and impression to which the poetical character of his mind naturally
led. Nothing, indeed, could be more amusing and delightful than the
contrast which his manners afterwards, when we were alone, presented to
his proud reserve in the brilliant circle we had just left. It was like
the bursting gaiety of a boy let loose from school, and seemed as if
there was no extent of fun or tricks of which he was not capable.
Finding him invariably thus lively when we were together, I often
rallied him on the gloomy tone of his poetry, as assumed; but his
constant answer was (and I soon ceased to doubt of its truth), that,
though thus merry and full of laughter with those he liked, he was, at
heart, one of the most melancholy wretches in existence.

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

     "March 25. 1812.

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

     "Believe me," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Friday noon.

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

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

     "Believe me," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "May 8. 1812.

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

     "Ever," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "May 20. 1812.

     "On Monday, after sitting up all night, I saw Bellingham launched
     into eternity[48], and at three the same day I saw * * * launched
     into the country.

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

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

     "Ever yours, &c.

     "P.S.--My best wishes and respects to Mrs. * *;--she is beautiful.
     I may say so even to you, for I never was more struck with a

[Footnote 48: He had taken a window opposite for the purpose, and was
accompanied on the occasion by his old schoolfellows, Mr. Bailey and Mr.
John Madocks. They went together from some assembly, and, on their
arriving at the spot, about three o'clock in the morning, not finding
the house that was to receive them open, Mr. Madocks undertook to rouse
the inmates, while Lord Byron and Mr. Bailey sauntered, arm in arm, up
the street. During this interval, rather a painful scene occurred.
Seeing an unfortunate woman lying on the steps of a door, Lord Byron,
with some expression of compassion, offered her a few shillings: but,
instead of accepting them, she violently pushed away his hand, and,
starting up with a yell of laughter, began to mimic the lameness of his
gait. He did not utter a word; but "I could feel," said Mr. Bailey, "his
arm trembling within mine, as we left her."

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

In the two letters that follow we find his own account of the


     "June 25. 1812.

     "My dear Lord,

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

     "The other night, at a ball, I was presented by order to our
     gracious Regent, who honoured me with some conversation, and
     professed a predilection for poetry.--I confess it was a most
     unexpected honour, and I thought of poor B-----s's adventure, with
     some apprehension of a similar blunder, I have now great hope, in
     the event of Mr. Pye's decease, of 'warbling truth at court,' like
     Mr. Mallet of indifferent memory.--Consider, one hundred marks a
     year! besides the wine and the disgrace; but then remorse would
     make me drown myself in my own butt before the year's end, or the
     finishing of my first dithyrambic.--So that, after all, I shall not
     meditate our laureate's death by pen or poison.

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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


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


     "I have just been honoured with your letter.--I feel sorry that you
     should have thought it worth while to notice the 'evil works of my
     nonage,' as the thing is suppressed voluntarily, and your
     explanation is too kind not to give me pain. The Satire was written
     when I was very young and very angry, and fully bent on displaying
     my wrath and my wit, and now I am haunted by the ghosts of my
     wholesale assertions. I cannot sufficiently thank you for your
     praise; and now, waving myself, let me talk to you of the Prince
     Regent. He ordered me to be presented to him at a ball; and after
     some sayings peculiarly pleasing from royal lips, as to my own
     attempts, he talked to me of you and your immortalities: he
     preferred you to every bard past and present, and asked which of
     your works pleased me most. It was a difficult question. I
     answered, I thought the "Lay." He said his own opinion was nearly
     similar. In speaking of the others, I told him that I thought you
     more particularly the poet of _Princes_, as _they_ never appeared
     more fascinating than in 'Marmion' and the 'Lady of the Lake.' He
     was pleased to coincide, and to dwell on the description of your
     Jameses as no less royal than poetical. He spoke alternately of
     Homer and yourself, and seemed well acquainted with both; so that
     (with the exception of the Turks and your humble servant) you were
     in very good company. I defy Murray to have exaggerated his Royal
     Highness's opinion of your powers, nor can I pretend to enumerate
     all he said on the subject; but it may give you pleasure to hear
     that it was conveyed in language which would only suffer by my
     attempting to transcribe it, and with a tone and taste which gave
     me a very high idea of his abilities and accomplishments, which I
     had hitherto considered as confined to _manners_, certainly
     superior to those of any living _gentleman_.

     "This interview was accidental. I never went to the levee; for
     having seen the courts of Mussulman and Catholic sovereigns, my
     curiosity was sufficiently allayed; and my politics being as
     perverse as my rhymes, I had, in fact, 'no business there.' To be
     thus praised by your Sovereign must be gratifying to you; and if
     that gratification is not alloyed by the communication being made
     through me, the bearer of it will consider himself very fortunately
     and sincerely,

     "Your obliged and obedient servant,


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

       *       *       *       *       *

During the summer of this year, he paid visits to some of his noble
friends, and, among others, to the Earl of Jersey and the Marquis of
Lansdowne. "In 1812," he says, "at Middleton (Lord Jersey's), amongst a
goodly company of lords, ladies, and wits, &c., there was (* * *.) [49]

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

"C * * (the fox-hunter), nicknamed '_Cheek_ C * *,' and I, sweated the
claret, being the only two who did so. C * *, who loves his bottle, and
had no notion of meeting with a 'bon-vivant' in a scribbler[50], in
making my eulogy to somebody one evening, summed it up in--'By G----d he
drinks like a man.'

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

[Footnote 49: A review, somewhat too critical, of some of the guests is
here omitted.]

[Footnote 50: For the first day or two, at Middleton, he did not join
his noble host's party till after dinner, but took his scanty repast of
biscuits and soda water in his own room. Being told by somebody that the
gentleman above mentioned had pronounced such habits to be "effeminate,"
he resolved to show the "fox-hunter" that he could be, on occasion, as
good a _bon-vivant_ as himself, and, by his prowess at the claret next
day, after dinner, drew forth from Mr. C * * the eulogium here

       *       *       *       *       *

In the month of August this year, on the completion of the new Theatre
Royal, Drury Lane, the Committee of Management, desirous of procuring an
Address for the opening of the theatre, took the rather novel mode of
inviting, by an advertisement in the newspapers, the competition of all
the poets of the day towards this object. Though the contributions that
ensued were sufficiently numerous, it did not appear to the Committee
that there was any one among the number worthy of selection. In this
difficulty it occurred to Lord Holland that they could not do better
than have recourse to Lord Byron, whose popularity would give additional
vogue to the solemnity of their opening, and to whose transcendant
claims, as a poet, it was taken for granted, (though without sufficient
allowance, as it proved, for the irritability of the brotherhood,) even
the rejected candidates themselves would bow without a murmur. The first
result of this application to the noble poet will be learned from what


     "Cheltenham, September 10. 1812.

     "My dear Lord,

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

     "I am still sufficiently interested to wish to know the successful
     candidate; and, amongst so many, I have no doubt some will be
     excellent, particularly in an age when writing verse is the easiest
     of all attainments.

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

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


       *       *       *       *       *

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

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


     "September 22. 1812.

     "My dear Lord,

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

     "Keep _my name_ a _secret_; or I shall be beset by all the
     rejected, and, perhaps, damned by a party."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Cheltenham, September 23. 1812.

     "Ecco!--I have marked some passages with _double_ readings--choose
     between them--_cut_--_add_--_reject_--or _destroy_--do with them
     as you will--I leave it to you and the Committee--you cannot say so
     called 'a _non committendo_.' What will _they_ do (and I do) with
     the hundred and one rejected Troubadours? 'With trumpets, yea, and
     with shawms,' will you be assailed in the most diabolical doggerel.
     I wish my name not to transpire till the day is decided. I shall
     not be in town, so it won't much matter; but let us have a good
     _deliverer_. I think Elliston should be the man, or Pope; _not_
     Raymond, I implore you, by the love of Rhythmus!

     "The passages marked thus ==, above and below, are for you to
     choose between epithets, and such like poetical furniture. Pray
     write me a line, and believe me ever, &c.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "September 24.

     "I send a recast of the four first lines of the concluding

          "This greeting o'er, the ancient rule obey'd,
          The drama's homage by her Herald paid,
          Receive _our welcome too_, whose every tone
        Springs from our hearts, and fain would win your own.
            The curtain rises, &c. &c.

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "September 26. 1812.

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

        "Ye who beheld--oh sight admired and mourn'd,
        Whose radiance mock'd the ruin it adorn'd;

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

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

        "When Garrick died, and Brinsley ceased to write.

     Ceasing to _live_ is a much more serious concern, and ought not to
     be first; therefore I will let the old couplet stand, with its half
     rhymes 'sought' and 'wrote.'[51] Second thoughts in every thing are
     best, but, in rhyme, third and fourth don't come amiss. I am very
     anxious on this business, and I do hope that the very trouble I
     occasion you will plead its own excuse, and that it will tend to
     show my endeavour to make the most of the time allotted. I wish I
     had known it months ago, for in that case I had not left one line
     standing on another. I always scrawl in this way, and smooth as
     much as I can, but never sufficiently; and, latterly, I can weave a
     nine-line stanza faster than a couplet, for which measure I have
     not the cunning. When I began 'Childe Harold,' I had never tried
     Spenser's measure, and now I cannot scribble in any other.

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

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

     "P.S.--I am diluted to the throat with medicine for the stone; and
     Boisragon wants me to try a warm climate for the winter--but I

[Footnote 51:

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

At present the couplet stands thus:--

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "September 27. 1812.

     "I have just received your very kind letter, and hope you have met
     with a second copy corrected and addressed to Holland House, with
     some omissions and this new couplet,

        "As glared each rising flash[52], and ghastly shone
        The skies with lightnings awful as their own.

     As to remarks, I can only say I will alter and acquiesce in any
     thing. With regard to the part which Whitbread wishes to omit, I
     believe the Address will go off _quicker_ without it, though, like
     the agility of the Hottentot, at the expense of its vigour. I leave
     to your choice entirely the different specimens of stucco-work; and
     a _brick_ of your own will also much improve my Babylonish turret.
     I should like Elliston to have it, with your leave. 'Adorn' and
     'mourn' are lawful rhymes in Pope's Death of the unfortunate
     Lady.--Gray has 'forlorn' and 'mourn;'--and 'torn' and 'mourn' are
     in Smollet's famous Tears of Scotland.

     "As there will probably be an outcry amongst the rejected, I hope
     the committee will testify (if it be needful) that I sent in
     nothing to the congress whatever, with or without a name, as your
     Lordship well knows. All I have to do with it is with and through
     you; and though I, of course, wish to satisfy the audience, I do
     assure you my first object is to comply with your request, and in
     so doing to show the sense I have of the many obligations you have
     conferred upon me. Yours ever, B."

[Footnote 52: At present, "As glared the volumed blaze."]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "September 29. 1812.

     "Shakspeare certainly ceased to reign in _one_ of his kingdoms, as
     George III. did in America, and George IV. may in Ireland.[53] Now,
     we have nothing to do out of our own realms, and when the monarchy
     was gone, his majesty had but a barren sceptre. I have _cut away_,
     you will see, and altered, but make it what you please; only I do
     implore, for my _own_ gratification, one lash on those accursed
     quadrupeds--'a long shot, Sir Lucius, if you love me.' I have
     altered 'wave,' &c., and the 'fire,' and so forth for the timid.

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

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

[Footnote 53: Some objection, it appears from this, had been made to the
passage, "and Shakspeare _ceased to reign_."]

       *       *       *       *       *


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


        "Far be that hour that vainly asks in turn
                              {_crown'd his_}
        Such verse for him as {  wept o'er  } Garrick's urn.

     "September 30. 1812.

     "Will you choose between these added to the lines on Sheridan?[54]
     I think they will wind up the panegyric, and agree with the train
     of thought preceding them.

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

     "The only thing would be to avoid a party on the night of
     delivery--afterwards, the more the better, and the whole
     transaction inevitably tends to a good deal of discussion. Murray
     tells me there are myriads of ironical Addresses ready--_some_, in
     imitation of what is called _my style_. If they are as good as the
     Probationary Odes, or Hawkins's Pipe of Tobacco, it will not be bad
     fun for the imitated.

     "Ever," &c.

[Footnote 54: These added lines, as may be seen by reference to the
printed Address, were not retained.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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


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

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

     "Send me '_Rokeby_.' Who the devil is he?--no matter, he has good
     connections, and will be well introduced. I thank you for your
     enquiries: I am so so, but my thermometer is sadly below the
     poetical point. What will you give _me_ or _mine_ for a poem of six
     cantos, (_when complete_--_no_ rhyme, _no_ recompense,) as like
     the last two as I can make them? I have some ideas that one day may
     be embodied, and till winter I shall have much leisure.

     "P.S.--My last question is in the true style of Grub Street; but,
     like Jeremy Diddler, I only 'ask for information.'--Send me Adair
     on Diet and Regimen, just republished by Ridgway."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Cheltenham, Sept. 14. 1812.

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

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

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

     "P.S.--I was applied to, to write the Address for Drury Lane, but
     the moment I heard of the contest, I gave up the idea of contending
     against all Grub Street, and threw a few thoughts on the subject
     into the fire. I did this out of respect to you, being sure you
     would have turned off any of your authors who had entered the lists
     with such scurvy competitors. To triumph would have been no glory;
     and to have been defeated--'sdeath!--I would have choked myself,
     like Otway, with a quartern loaf; so, remember I had, and have,
     nothing to do with it, upon _my honour_."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Cheltenham, September 28. 1812.

     "My dear Bankes,

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

     "You heard that Newstead[55] is sold--the sum 140,000_l._; sixty
     to remain in mortgage on the estate for three years, paying
     interest, of course. Rochdale is also likely to do well--so my
     worldly matters are mending. I have been here some time drinking
     the waters, simply because there are waters to drink, and they are
     very medicinal, and sufficiently disgusting. In a few days I set
     out for Lord Jersey's, but return here, where I am quite alone, go
     out very little, and enjoy in its fullest extent the 'dolce far
     niente.' What you are about, I cannot guess, even from your
     date;--not dauncing to the sound of the gitourney in the Halls of
     the Lowthers? one of whom is here, ill, poor thing, with a
     phthisic. I heard that you passed through here (at the sordid inn
     where I first alighted) the very day before I arrived in these
     parts. We had a very pleasant set here; at first the Jerseys,
     Melbournes, Cowpers, and Hollands, but all gone; and the only
     persons I know are the Rawdons and Oxfords, with some later
     acquaintances of less brilliant descent.

     "But I do not trouble them much; and as for your rooms and your
     assemblies, 'they are not dreamed of in our philosophy!!'--Did you
     read of a sad accident in the Wye t' other day? a dozen drowned, and
     Mr. Rossoe, a corpulent gentleman, preserved by a boat-hook or an
     eel-spear, begged, when he heard his wife was
     saved--no--_lost_--to be thrown in again!!--as if he could not
     have thrown himself in, had he wished it; but this passes for a
     trait of sensibility. What strange beings men are, in and out of
     the Wye!

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

     "Ever yours most affectionately,

     "[Greek: Mpahirôn]."[56]

[Footnote 55: "Early in the autumn of 1812," says Mr. Dallas, "he told
me that he was urged by his man of business, and that Newstead _must_ be
sold." It was accordingly brought to the hammer at Garraway's, but not,
at that time, sold, only 90,000_l._ being offered for it. The private
sale to which he alludes in this letter took place soon after,--Mr.
Claughton, the agent for Mr. Leigh, being the purchaser. It was never,
however, for reasons which we shall see, completed.]

[Footnote 56: A mode of signature he frequently adopted at this time.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Cheltenham, September 27. 1812.

     "I sent in no Address whatever to the Committee; but out of nearly
     one hundred (this is _confidential_), none have been deemed worth
     acceptance; and in consequence of their _subsequent_ application to
     _me_, I have written a prologue, which _has_ been received, and
     will be spoken. The MS. is now in the hands of Lord Holland.

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

     "P.S.--I should wish a few copies printed off _before_, that the
     newspaper copies may be correct _after_ the _delivery_."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Cheltenham, Oct. 12. 1812.

     "I have a very _strong_ objection to the engraving of the
     portrait[57], and request that it may, on no account, be prefixed;
     but let _all_ the proofs be burnt, and the plate broken. I will be
     at the expense which has been incurred; it is but fair that _I_
     should, since I cannot permit the publication. I beg, as a
     particular favour, that you will lose no time in having this done,
     for which I have reasons that I will state when I see you. Forgive
     all the trouble I have occasioned you.

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

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

[Footnote 57: A miniature by Sanders. Besides this miniature, Sanders
had also painted a full length of his Lordship, from which the portrait
prefixed to this work is engraved. In reference to the latter picture,
Lord Byron says, in a note to Mr. Rogers, "If you think the picture you
saw at Murray's worth your acceptance, it is yours; and you may put a
_glove_ or mask on it, if you like."]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Cheltenham, Oct. 14. 1812.

     "My dear Lord,

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

     "Do the Committee mean to enter into no explanation of their
     proceedings? You must see there is a leaning towards a charge of
     partiality. You will, at least, acquit me of any great anxiety to
     push myself before so many elder and better anonymous, to whom the
     twenty guineas (which I take to be about two thousand pounds _Bank_
     currency) and the honour would have been equally welcome. 'Honour,'
     I see, 'hath no skill in paragraph-writing.'

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Cheltenham, Oct. 18. 1812.

     "Will you have the goodness to get this Parody of a peculiar
     kind[58] (for all the first lines are _Busby_'s entire) inserted
     in several of the papers (_correctly_--and copied _correctly_; _my
     hand_ is difficult)--particularly the Morning Chronicle? Tell Mr.
     Perry I forgive him all he has said, and may say against _my
     address_, but he will allow me to deal with the Doctor--(_audi
     alteram partem_)--and not _betray_ me. I cannot think what has
     befallen Mr. Perry, for of yore we were very good friends;--but no
     matter, only get this inserted.

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 58: Among the Addresses sent in to the Drury Lane Committee
was one by Dr. Busby, entitled a Monologue, of which the Parody was
enclosed in this letter. A short specimen of this trifle will be
sufficient. The four first lines of the Doctor's Address are as

    "When energising objects men pursue,
    What are the prodigies they cannot do?
    A magic Edifice you here survey,
    Shot from the ruins of the other day!"

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Oct. 19. 1812.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Oct. 23. 1812.

     "Thanks, as usual. You go on boldly; but have a care of _glutting_
     the public, who have by this time had enough of Childe Harold.
     'Waltzing' shall be prepared. It is rather above two hundred
     lines, with an introductory Letter to the Publisher. I think of
     publishing, with Childe Harold, the opening lines of the 'Curse of
     Minerva,' as far as the first speech of Pallas,--because some of
     the readers like that part better than any I have ever written, and
     as it contains nothing to affect the subject of the subsequent
     portion, it will find a place as a _Descriptive Fragment_.

     "The _plate_ is _broken_? between ourselves, it was unlike the
     picture; and besides, upon the whole, the frontispiece of an
     author's visage is but a paltry exhibition. At all events, _this_
     would have been no recommendation to the book. I am sure Sanders
     would not have _survived_ the engraving. By the by, the _picture_
     may remain with _you_ or _him_ (which you please), till my return.
     The _one_ of two remaining copies is at your service till I can
     give you a _better_; the other must be _burned peremptorily_.
     Again, do not forget that I have an account with you, and _that_
     this is _included_. I give you too much trouble to allow you to
     incur _expense_ also.

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

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Cheltenham, November 22. 1812.

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

     "Now for a less agreeable and important topic.--How came Mr.
     _Mac-Somebody_, without consulting you or me, to prefix the Address
     to his volume[59] of '_Dejected_ Addresses?' Is not this somewhat
     larcenous? I think the ceremony of leave might have been asked,
     though I have no objection to the thing itself; and leave the
     'hundred and eleven' to tire themselves with 'base comparisons.' I
     should think the ingenuous public tolerably sick of the subject,
     and, except the Parodies, I have not interfered, nor shall; indeed
     I did not know that Dr. Busby had published his Apologetical Letter
     and Postscript, or I should have recalled them. But, I confess, I
     looked upon his conduct in a different light before its appearance.
     I see some mountebank has taken Alderman Birch's name to vituperate
     Dr. Busby; he had much better have pilfered his pastry, which I
     should imagine the more valuable ingredient--at least for a
     puff.--Pray secure me a copy of Woodfall's new Junius, and believe
     me," &c.

[Footnote 59: "The Genuine Rejected Addresses, presented to the
Committee of Management for Drury Lane Theatre: preceded by that written
by Lord Byron and adopted by the Committee:"--published by B. M'Millan.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "December 26.

     "The multitude of your recommendations has already superseded my
     humble endeavours to be of use to you; and, indeed, most of my
     principal friends are returned. Leake from Joannina, Canning and
     Adair from the city of the Faithful, and at Smyrna no letter is
     necessary, as the consuls are always willing to do every thing for
     personages of respectability. I have sent you _three_, one to
     Gibraltar, which, though of no great necessity, will, perhaps, put
     you on a more intimate footing with a very pleasant family there.
     You will very soon find out that a man of any consequence has very
     little occasion for any letters but to ministers and bankers, and
     of them we have already plenty, I will be sworn.

     "It is by no means improbable that I shall go in the spring, and if
     you will fix any place of rendezvous about August, I will _write_
     or _join_ you.--When in Albania, I wish you would enquire after
     Dervise Tahiri and Vascillie (or Bazil), and make my respects to
     the viziers, both there and in the Morea. If you mention my name to
     Suleyman of Thebes, I think it will not hurt you; if I had my
     dragoman, or wrote Turkish, I could have given you letters of _real
     service_; but to the English they are hardly requisite, and the
     Greeks themselves can be of little advantage. Liston you know
     already, and I do not, as he was not then minister. Mind you visit
     Ephesus and the Troad, and let me hear from you when you please. I
     believe G. Forresti is now at Yanina, but if not, whoever is there
     will be too happy to assist you. Be particular about _firmauns_;
     never allow yourself to be bullied, for you are better protected in
     Turkey than any where; trust not the Greeks; and take some
     _knicknackeries_ for _presents_--_watches_, _pistols_, &c. &c. to
     the Beys and Pachas. If you find one Demetrius, at Athens or
     elsewhere, I can recommend him as a good dragoman. I hope to join
     you, however; but you will find swarms of English now in the

     "Believe me," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *


     "February 20. 1813.

     "In 'Horace in London' I perceive some stanzas on Lord Elgin in
     which (waving the kind compliment to myself[60]) I heartily concur.
     I wish I had the pleasure of Mr. Smith's acquaintance, as I could
     communicate the curious anecdote you read in Mr. T.'s letter. If he
     would like it, he can have the _substance_ for his second edition;
     if not, I shall add it to our next, though I think we already have
     enough of Lord Elgin.

     "What I have read of this work seems admirably done. My praise,
     however, is not much worth the author's having; but you may thank
     him in my name for _his_. The idea is new--we have excellent
     imitations of the Satires, &c. by Pope; but I remember but one
     imitative Ode in his works, and _none_ any where else. I can hardly
     suppose that _they_ have lost any fame by the fate of the _farce_;
     but even should this be the case, the present publication will
     again place them on their pinnacle.

     "Yours," &c.

[Footnote 60: In the Ode entitled "The Parthenon," Minerva thus

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

       *       *       *       *       *

It has already been stated that the pecuniary supplies, which he found
it necessary to raise on arriving at majority, were procured for him on
ruinously usurious terms.[61] To some transactions connected with this
subject, the following characteristic letter refers.


     "March 25, 1813.

     "I enclose you a draft for the usurious interest due to Lord * *'s
     _protégé_;--I also could wish you would state thus much for me to
     his Lordship. Though the transaction speaks plainly in itself for
     the borrower's folly and the lender's usury, it never was my
     intention to _quash_ the demand, as I _legally_ might, nor to
     withhold payment of principal, or, perhaps, even _unlawful_
     interest. You know what my situation has been, and what it is. I
     have parted with an estate (which has been in my family for nearly
     three hundred years, and was never disgraced by being in possession
     of a _lawyer_, a _churchman_, or a _woman_, during that period,) to
     liquidate this and similar demands; and the payment of the
     purchase is still withheld, and may be, perhaps, for years. If,
     therefore, I am under the necessity of making those persons _wait_
     for their money, (which, considering the terms, they can afford to
     suffer,) it is my misfortune.

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

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

     "Ever yours, dear R., BN."

[Footnote 61:

    "Tis said that persons living on annuities
      Are longer lived than others,--God knows why,
    Unless to plague the grantors,--yet so true it is,
      That some, I really think, _do_ never die.
    Of any creditors, the worst a Jew it is;
      And _that_'s their mode of furnishing supply:
    In my young days they lent me cash that way,
      Which I found very troublesome to pay."
    DON JUAN, Canto II

       *       *       *       *       *

At the beginning of this year, Mr. Murray having it in contemplation to
publish an edition of the two Cantos of Childe Harold with engravings,
the noble author entered with much zeal into his plan; and, in a note on
the subject to Mr. Murray, says,--"Westall has, I believe, agreed to
illustrate your book, and I fancy one of the engravings will be from the
pretty little girl you saw the other day[62], though without her name,
and merely as a model for some sketch connected with the subject. I
would also have the portrait (which you saw to-day) of the friend who is
mentioned in the text at the close of Canto 1st, and in the
notes,--which are subjects sufficient to authorise that addition."

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


     "April 21. 1813.

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

     "P.S.--I see the Examiner threatens some observations upon you next
     week. What can you have done to share the wrath which has
     heretofore been principally expended upon the Prince? I presume all
     your Scribleri will be drawn up in battle array in defence of the
     modern Tonson--Mr. Bucke, for instance.

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

[Footnote 62: Lady Charlotte Harley, to whom, under the name of Ianthe,
the introductory lines to Childe Harold were afterwards addressed.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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

     "Albany, Monday, August 31. 1813.

     "My dear Byron,

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

     "The new governor, unaccustomed to have the same intercourse with
     the Christians as his predecessor, had of course the barbarous
     Turkish ideas with regard to women. In consequence, and in
     compliance with the strict letter of the Mahommedan law, he ordered
     this girl to be sewed up in a sack, and thrown into the sea,--as
     is, indeed, quite customary at Constantinople. As you were
     returning from bathing in the Piraeus, you met the procession going
     down to execute the sentence of the Waywode on this unfortunate
     girl. Report continues to say, that on finding out what the object
     of their journey was, and who was the miserable sufferer, you
     immediately interfered; and on some delay in obeying your orders,
     you were obliged to inform the leader of the escort, that force
     should make him comply;--that, on farther hesitation, you drew a
     pistol, and told him, that if he did not immediately obey your
     orders, and come back with you to the Aga's house, you would shoot
     him dead. On this, the man turned about and went with you to the
     governor's house; here you succeeded, partly by personal threats,
     and partly by bribery and entreaty, to procure her pardon on
     condition of her leaving Athens. I was told that you then conveyed
     her in safety to the convent, and despatched her off at night to
     Thebes, where she found a safe asylum. Such is the story I heard,
     as nearly as I can recollect it at present. Should you wish to ask
     me any further questions about it, I shall be very ready and
     willing to answer them. I remain, my dear Byron,

     "Yours, very sincerely,


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

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the prodigal flow of his fancy, when its sources were once opened on
any subject, The Giaour affords one of the most remarkable
instances,--this poem having accumulated under his hand, both in
printing and through successive editions, till from four hundred lines,
of which it consisted in his first copy, it at present amounts to nearly
fourteen hundred. The plan, indeed, which he had adopted, of a series of
fragments,--a set of "orient pearls at random strung,"--left him free to
introduce, without reference to more than the general complexion of his
story, whatever sentiments or images his fancy, in its excursions, could
collect; and how little fettered he was by any regard to connection in
these additions, appears from a note which accompanied his own copy of
the paragraph commencing "Fair clime, where every season smiles,"--in
which he says, "I have not yet fixed the place of insertion for the
following lines, but will, when I see you--as I have no copy."

Even into this new passage, rich as it was at first, his fancy
afterwards poured a fresh infusion,--the whole of its most picturesque
portion, from the line "For there, the Rose o'er crag or vale," down to
"And turn to groans his roundelay," having been suggested to him during
revision. In order to show, however, that though so rapid in the first
heat of composition, he formed no exception to that law which imposes
labour as the price of perfection, I shall here extract a few verses
from his original draft of this paragraph, by comparing which with the
form they wear at present[63] we may learn to appreciate the value of
these after-touches of the master.

    "Fair clime! where _ceaseless summer_ smiles
    Benignant o'er those blessed isles,
    Which, seen from far Colonna's height,
    Make glad the heart that hails the sight,
    And _give_ to loneliness delight.
    There _shine the bright abodes ye seek,
    Like dimples upon Ocean's cheek,--
    So smiling round the waters lave_
    These Edens of the eastern wave.
    Or if, at times, the transient breeze
    Break the _smooth_ crystal of the seas,
    Or _brush_ one blossom from the trees,
    How _grateful_ is the gentle air
    That wakes and wafts the _fragrance_ there."

Among the other passages added to this edition (which was either the
third or fourth, and between which and the first there intervened but
about six weeks) was that most beautiful and melancholy illustration of
the lifeless aspect of Greece, beginning "He who hath bent him o'er the
dead,"--of which the most gifted critic of our day[64] has justly
pronounced, that "it contains an image more true, more mournful, and
more exquisitely finished, than any we can recollect in the whole
compass of poetry."[65] To the same edition also were added, among other
accessions of wealth[66], those lines, "The cygnet proudly walks the
water," and the impassioned verses, "My memory now is but the tomb."

On my rejoining him in town this spring, I found the enthusiasm about
his writings and himself, which I left so prevalent, both in the world
of literature and in society, grown, if any thing, still more general
and intense. In the immediate circle, perhaps, around him, familiarity
of intercourse might have begun to produce its usual disenchanting
effects. His own liveliness and unreserve, on a more intimate
acquaintance, would not be long in dispelling that charm of poetic
sadness, which to the eyes of distant observers hung about him; while
the romantic notions, connected by some of his fair readers with those
past and nameless loves alluded to in his poems, ran some risk of
abatement from too near an acquaintance with the supposed objects of
his fancy and fondness at present. A poet's mistress should remain, if
possible, as imaginary a being to others, as, in most of the attributes
he clothes her with, she has been to himself;--the reality, however
fair, being always sure to fall short of the picture which a too lavish
fancy has drawn of it. Could we call up in array before us all the
beauties whom the love of poets has immortalised, from the high-born
dame to the plebeian damsel,--from the Lauras and Sacharissas down to
the Cloes and Jeannies,--we should, it is to be feared, sadly unpeople
our imaginations of many a bright tenant that poesy has lodged there,
and find, in more than one instance, our admiration of the faith and
fancy of the worshipper increased by our discovery of the worthlessness
of the idol.

But, whatever of its first romantic impression the personal character of
the poet may, from such causes, have lost in the circle he most
frequented, this disappointment of the imagination was far more than
compensated by the frank, social, and engaging qualities, both of
disposition and manner, which, on a nearer intercourse, he disclosed, as
well as by that entire absence of any literary assumption or pedantry,
which entitled him fully to the praise bestowed by Sprat upon Cowley,
that few could "ever discover he was a great poet by his discourse."
While thus, by his intimates, and those who had got, as it were, behind
the scenes of his fame, he was seen in his true colours, as well of
weakness as of amiableness, on strangers and such as were out of this
immediate circle, the spell of his poetical character still continued
to operate; and the fierce gloom and sternness of his imaginary
personages were, by the greater number of them, supposed to belong, not
only as regarded mind, but manners, to himself. So prevalent and
persevering has been this notion, that, in some disquisitions on his
character published since his death, and containing otherwise many just
and striking views, we find, in the professed portrait drawn of him,
such features as the following:--"Lord Byron had a stern, direct, severe
mind: a sarcastic, disdainful, gloomy temper. He had no light sympathy
with heartless cheerfulness;--upon the surface was sourness, discontent,
displeasure, ill will. Beneath all this weight of clouds and
darkness[67]," &c. &c.

Of the sort of double aspect which he thus presented, as viewed by the
world and by his friends, he was himself fully aware; and it not only
amused him, but, as a proof of the versatility of his powers, flattered
his pride. He was, indeed, as I have already remarked, by no means
insensible or inattentive to the effect he produced personally on
society; and though the brilliant station he had attained, since the
commencement of my acquaintance with him, made not the slightest
alteration in the unaffectedness of his private intercourse, I could
perceive, I thought, with reference to the external world, some slight
changes in his conduct, which seemed indicative of the effects of his
celebrity upon him. Among other circumstances, I observed that, whether
from shyness of the general gaze, or from a notion, like Livy's, that
men of eminence should not too much familiarise the public to their
persons[68], he avoided showing himself in the mornings, and in crowded
places, much more than was his custom when we first became acquainted.
The preceding year, before his name had grown "so rife and celebrated,"
we had gone together to the exhibition at Somerset House, and other such
places[69]; and the true reason, no doubt, of his present reserve, in
abstaining from all such miscellaneous haunts, was the sensitiveness, so
often referred to, on the subject of his lameness,--a feeling which the
curiosity of the public eye, now attracted to this infirmity by his
fame, could not fail, he knew, to put rather painfully to the proof.

Among the many gay hours we passed together this spring, I remember
particularly the wild flow of his spirits one evening, when we had
accompanied Mr. Rogers home from some early assembly, and when Lord
Byron, who, according to his frequent custom, had not dined for the last
two days, found his hunger no longer governable, and called aloud for
"something to eat." Our repast,--of his own choosing,--was simple bread
and cheese; and seldom have I partaken of so joyous a supper. It
happened that our host had just received a presentation copy of a volume
of poems, written professedly in imitation of the old English writers,
and containing, like many of these models, a good deal that was striking
and beautiful, mixed up with much that was trifling, fantastic, and
absurd. In our mood, at the moment, it was only with these latter
qualities that either Lord Byron or I felt disposed to indulge
ourselves; and, in turning over the pages, we found, it must be owned,
abundant matter for mirth. In vain did Mr. Rogers, in justice to the
author, endeavour to direct our attention to some of the beauties of the
work:--it suited better our purpose (as is too often the case with more
deliberate critics) to pounce only on such passages as ministered to the
laughing humour that possessed us. In this sort of hunt through the
volume, we at length lighted on the discovery that our host, in addition
to his sincere approbation of some of its contents, had also the motive
of gratitude for standing by its author, as one of the poems was a warm
and, I need not add, well-deserved panegyric on himself. We were,
however, too far gone in nonsense for even this eulogy, in which we both
so heartily agreed, to stop us. The opening line of the poem was, as
well as I can recollect, "When Rogers o'er this labour bent;" and Lord
Byron undertook to read it aloud;--but he found it impossible to get
beyond the first two words. Our laughter had now increased to such a
pitch that nothing could restrain it. Two or three times he began; but
no sooner had the words "When Rogers" passed his lips, than our fit
burst forth afresh,--till even Mr. Rogers himself, with all his feeling
of our injustice, found it impossible not to join us; and we were, at
last, all three, in such a state of inextinguishable laughter, that, had
the author himself been of the party, I question much whether he could
have resisted the infection.

A day or two after, Lord Byron sent me the following:--

     "My dear Moore,

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

     "Ever yours," &c.


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


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


       * * * *


       * * * *


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


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

[Footnote 63: The following are the lines in their present shape, and it
will be seen that there is not a single alteration in which the music of
the verse has not been improved as well as the thought:--

    "Fair clime! where every season smiles
    Benignant o'er those blessed isles,
    Which, seen from far Colonna's height,
    Make glad the heart that hails the sight,
    And lend to loneliness delight.
    There, mildly dimpling, Ocean's cheek
    Reflects the tints of many a peak
    Caught by the laughing tides that lave
    These Edens of the eastern wave:
    And if at times a transient breeze
    Break the blue crystal of the seas,
    Or sweep one blossom from the trees,
    How welcome is each gentle air
    That wakes and wafts the odours there!"

[Footnote 64: Mr. Jeffrey.]

[Footnote 65: In Dallaway's Constantinople, a book which Lord Byron is
not unlikely to have consulted, I find a passage quoted from Gillies's
History of Greece, which contains, perhaps, the first seed of the
thought thus expanded into full perfection by genius:--"The present
state of Greece compared to the ancient is the silent obscurity of the
grave contrasted with the vivid lustre of active life."]

[Footnote 66: Among the recorded instances of such happy after-thoughts
in poetry may be mentioned, as one of the most memorable, Denham's four
lines, "Oh could I flow like thee," &c., which were added in the second
edition of his poem.]

[Footnote 67: Letters on the Character and Poetical Genius of Lord
Byron, by Sir Egerton Brydges, Bart.]

[Footnote 68: "Continuus aspectus minus verendos magnos homines facit."]

[Footnote 69: The only peculiarity that struck me on those occasions was
the uneasy restlessness which he seemed to feel in wearing a hat,--an
article of dress which, from his constant use of a carriage while in
England, he was almost wholly unaccustomed to, and which, after that
year, I do not remember to have ever seen upon him again. Abroad, he
always wore a kind of foraging cap.]

[Footnote 70: He here alludes to a dinner at Mr. Rogers's, of which I
have elsewhere given the following account:--

"The company consisted but of Mr. Rogers himself, Lord Byron, Mr.
Sheridan, and the writer of this Memoir. Sheridan knew the admiration
his audience felt for him; the presence of the young poet, in
particular, seemed to bring back his own youth and wit; and the details
he gave of his early life were not less interesting and animating to
himself than delightful to us. It was in the course of this evening
that, describing to us the poem which Mr. Whitbread had written, and
sent in, among the other addresses for the opening of Drury Lane
theatre, and which, like the rest, turned chiefly on allusions to the
Phoenix, he said--'But Whitbread made more of this bird than any of
them:--he entered into particulars, and described its wings, beak, tail,
&c.;--in short, it was a _poulterer_'s description of a Phoenix."--_Life
of Sheridan_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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

"TO ----


    "'_I lay my branch of laurel down._'

    "Thou 'lay thy branch of laurel down!"
      Why, what thou'st stole is not enow;
    And, were it lawfully thine own,
      Does Rogers want it most, or thou?
    Keep to thyself thy wither'd bough,
      Or send it back to Dr. Donne--
    Were justice done to both, I trow,
      He'd have but little, and thou--none.


    "'_Then thus to form Apollo's crown_.

    "A crown! why, twist it how you will,
    Thy chaplet must be foolscap still.
    When next you visit Delphi's town,
      Enquire amongst your fellow-lodgers,
    They'll tell you Phoebus gave his crown,
    Some years before your birth, to Rogers.


    "'_Let every other bring his own_.'

    "When coals to Newcastle are carried,
      And owls sent to Athens as wonders,
    From his spouse when the * *'s unmarried,
      Or Liverpool weeps o'er his blunders;
    When Tories and Whigs cease to quarrel,
      When C * *'s wife has an heir,
    Then Rogers shall ask us for laurel,
      And thou shalt have plenty to spare."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was at this time that Lord Byron became acquainted (and, I regret to
have to add, partly through my means) with Mr. Leigh Hunt, the editor of
a well-known weekly journal, the Examiner. This gentleman I had myself
formed an acquaintance with in the year 1811, and, in common with a
large portion of the public, entertained a sincere admiration of his
talents and courage as a journalist. The interest I took in him
personally had been recently much increased by the manly spirit, which
he had displayed throughout a prosecution instituted against himself and
his brother, for a libel that had appeared in their paper on the Prince
Regent, and in consequence of which they were both sentenced to
imprisonment for two years. It will be recollected that there existed
among the Whig party, at this period, a strong feeling of indignation at
the late defection from themselves and their principles of the
illustrious personage who had been so long looked up to as the friend
and patron of both. Being myself, at the time, warmly--perhaps
intemperately--under the influence of this feeling, I regarded the fate
of Mr. Hunt with more than common interest, and, immediately on my
arrival in town, paid him a visit in his prison. On mentioning the
circumstance, soon after, to Lord Byron, and describing my surprise at
the sort of luxurious comforts with which I had found the "wit in the
dungeon" surrounded,--his trellised flower-garden without, and his
books, busts, pictures, and piano-forte within,--the noble poet, whose
political view of the case coincided entirely with my own, expressed a
strong wish to pay a similar tribute of respect to Mr. Hunt, and
accordingly, a day or two after, we proceeded for that purpose to the
prison. The introduction which then took place was soon followed by a
request from Mr. Hunt that we would dine with him; and the noble poet
having good-naturedly accepted the invitation, Horsemonger Lane gaol
had, in the month of June, 1813, the honour of receiving Lord Byron, as
a guest, within its walls.

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

     "May 19. 1813.

        "Oh you, who in all names can tickle the town,
        Anacreon, Tom Little, Tom Moore, or Tom Brown,--
        For hang me if I know of which you may most brag,
        Your Quarto two-pounds, or your Twopenny Post Bag;
             *     *     *      *
        But now to my letter--to yours 'tis an answer--
        To-morrow be with me, as soon as you can, sir,
        All ready and dress'd for proceeding to spunge on
        (According to compact) the wit in the dungeon--
        Pray Phoebus at length our political malice
        May not get us lodgings within the same palace!
        I suppose that to-night you're engaged with some codgers,
        And for Sotheby's Blues have deserted Sam Rogers;
        And I, though with cold I have nearly my death got,
        Must put on my breeches, and wait on the Heathcote.
        But to-morrow at four, we will both play the Scurra,
        And you'll be Catullus, the R----t Mamurra.

     "Dear M.--having got thus far, I am interrupted by * * * *. 10

     "Half-past 11. * * * * is gone. I must dress for Lady

       *       *       *       *       *

Our day in the prison was, if not agreeable, at least novel and odd. I
had, for Lord Byron's sake, stipulated with our host beforehand, that
the party should be, as much as possible, confined to ourselves; and, as
far as regarded dinner, my wishes had been attended to;--there being
present, besides a member or two of Mr. Hunt's own family, no other
stranger, that I can recollect, but Mr. Mitchell, the ingenious
translator of Aristophanes. Soon after dinner, however, there dropped in
some of our host's literary friends, who, being utter strangers to Lord
Byron and myself, rather disturbed the ease into which we were all
settling. Among these, I remember, was Mr. John Scott,--the writer,
afterwards, of some severe attacks on Lord Byron; and it is painful to
think that, among the persons then assembled round the poet, there
should have been _one_ so soon to step forth the assailant of his living
fame, while _another_, less manful, was to reserve the cool venom for
his grave.

On the 2d of June, in presenting a petition to the House of Lords, he
made his third and last appearance as an orator, in that assembly. In
his way home from the House that day, he called, I remember, at my
lodgings, and found me dressing in a very great hurry for dinner. He
was, I recollect, in a state of most humorous exaltation after his
display, and, while I hastily went on with my task in the dressing-room,
continued to walk up and down the adjoining chamber, spouting forth for
me, in a sort of mock heroic voice, detached sentences of the speech he
had just been delivering. "I told them," he said, "that it was a most
flagrant violation of the Constitution--that, if such things were
permitted, there was an end of English freedom, and that ----"--"But
what was this dreadful grievance?" I asked, interrupting him in his
eloquence.--"The grievance?" he repeated, pausing as if to
consider--"Oh, that I forget."[71] It is impossible, of course, to
convey an idea of the dramatic humour with which he gave effect to
these words; but his look and manner on such occasions were
irresistibly comic; and it was, indeed, rather in such turns of fun and
oddity, than in any more elaborate exhibition of wit, that the
pleasantry of his conversation consisted.

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

"I have never heard any one who fulfilled my ideal of an orator. Grattan
would have been near it, but for his harlequin delivery. Pitt I never
heard. Fox but once, and then he struck me as a debater, which to me
seems as different from an orator as an improvisatore, or a versifier,
from a poet. Grey is great, but it is not oratory. Canning is sometimes
very like one. Windham I did not admire, though all the world did; it
seemed sad sophistry. Whitbread was the Demosthenes of bad taste and
vulgar vehemence, but strong, and English. Holland is impressive from
sense and sincerity. Lord Lansdowne good, but still a debater only.
Grenville I like vastly, if he would prune his speeches down to an
hour's delivery. Burdett is sweet and silvery as Belial himself, and I
think the greatest favourite in Pandemonium; at least I always heard the
country gentlemen and the ministerial devilry praise his speeches _up_
stairs, and run down from Bellamy's when he was upon his legs. I heard
Bob Milnes make his _second_ speech; it made no impression. I like
Ward--studied, but keen, and sometimes eloquent. Peel, my school and
form fellow (we sat within two of each other), strange to say, I have
never heard, though I often wished to do so; but from what I remember of
him at Harrow, he _is_, or _should_ be, among the best of them. Now I do
_not_ admire Mr. Wilberforce's speaking; it is nothing but a flow of
words--'words, words, alone.'

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

"But amongst all these, good, bad, and indifferent, I never heard the
speech which was not too long for the auditors, and not very
intelligible, except here and there. The whole thing is a grand
deception, and as tedious and tiresome as may be to those who must be
often present. I heard Sheridan only once, and that briefly, but I liked
his voice, his manner, and his wit: and he is the only one of them I
ever wished to hear at greater length.

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

"Horne Tooke and Roscoe both are said to have declared that they left
Parliament with a higher opinion of its aggregate integrity and
abilities than that with which they entered it. The general amount of
both in most Parliaments is probably about the same, as also the number
of _speakers_ and their talent. I except _orators_, of course, because
they are things of ages, and not of septennial or triennial re-unions.
Neither House ever struck me with more awe or respect than the same
number of Turks in a divan, or of Methodists in a barn, would have done.
Whatever diffidence or nervousness I felt (and I felt both, in a great
degree) arose from the number rather than the quality of the assemblage,
and the thought rather of the _public without_ than the persons
within,--knowing (as all know) that Cicero himself, and probably the
Messiah, could never have altered the vote of a single lord of the
bedchamber, or bishop. I thought _our_ House dull, but the other
animating enough upon great days.

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

"When I met old Courtenay, the orator, at Rogers's, the poet's, in
1811-12, I was much taken with the portly remains of his fine figure,
and the still acute quickness of his conversation. It was _he_ who
silenced Flood in the English House by a crushing reply to a hasty
_débût_ of the rival of Grattan in Ireland. I asked Courtenay (for I
like to trace motives) if he had not some personal provocation; for the
acrimony of his answer seemed to me, as I had read it, to involve it.
Courtenay said 'he had; that, when in Ireland (being an Irishman), at
the bar of the Irish House of Commons, Flood had made a personal and
unfair attack upon _himself_, who, not being a member of that House,
could not defend himself, and that some years afterwards the opportunity
of retort offering in the English Parliament, he could not resist it.'
He certainly repaid Flood with interest, for Flood never made any
figure, and only a speech or two afterwards, in the English House of
Commons. I must except, however, his speech on Reform in 1790, which Fox
called 'the best he ever heard upon that subject.'"

For some time he had entertained thoughts of going again abroad; and it
appeared, indeed, to be a sort of relief to him, whenever he felt
melancholy or harassed, to turn to the freedom and solitude of a life of
travel as his resource. During the depression of spirits which he
laboured under, while printing Childe Harold, "he would frequently,"
says Mr. Dallas, "talk of selling Newstead, and of going to reside at
Naxos, in the Grecian Archipelago,--to adopt the eastern costume and
customs, and to pass his time in studying the Oriental languages and
literature." The excitement of the triumph that soon after ensued, and
the success which, in other pursuits besides those of literature,
attended him, again diverted his thoughts from these migratory projects.
But the roving fit soon returned; and we have seen, from one of his
letters to Mr. William Bankes, that he looked forward to finding
himself, in the course of this spring, among the mountains of his
beloved Greece once more. For a time, this plan was exchanged for the
more social project of accompanying his friends, the family of Lord
Oxford, to Sicily; and it was while engaged in his preparatives for this
expedition that the annexed letters were written.

[Footnote 71: His speech was on presenting a petition from Major

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Maidenhead, June 13. 1813.

     "* * * I have read the 'Strictures,' which are just enough, and not
     grossly abusive, in very fair couplets. There is a note against
     Massinger near the end, and one cannot quarrel with one's company,
     at any rate. The author detects some incongruous figures in a
     passage of English Bards, page 23., but which edition I do not
     know. In the _sole_ copy in your possession--I mean the _fifth_
     edition--you may make these alterations, that I may profit (though
     a little too late) by his remarks:--For '_hellish_ instinct,'
     substitute '_brutal_ instinct;' '_harpies_' alter to '_felons_;'
     and for 'blood-hounds' write 'hell-hounds.'[72] These be 'very
     bitter words, by my troth,' and the alterations not much sweeter;
     but as I shall not publish the thing, they can do no harm, but are
     a satisfaction to me in the way of amendment. The passage is only
     twelve lines.

     "You do not answer me about H.'s book; I want to write to him, and
     not to say any thing unpleasing. If you direct to Post Office,
     Portsmouth, till _called_ for, I will send and receive your letter.
     You never told me of the forthcoming critique on Columbus, which is
     not _too_ fair; and I do not think justice quite done to the
     'Pleasures,' which surely entitle the author to a higher rank than
     that assigned him in the Quarterly. But I must not cavil at the
     decisions of the _invisible infallibles_; and the article is very
     well written. The general horror of '_fragments_' makes me
     tremulous for 'The Giaour;' but you would publish it--I presume, by
     this time, to your repentance. But as I consented, whatever be its
     fate, I won't now quarrel with you, even though I detect it in my
     pastry; but I shall not open a pie without apprehension for some

     "The books which may be marked G.O. I will carry out. Do you know
     Clarke's Naufragia? I am told that he asserts the _first_ volume of
     Robinson Crusoe was written by the first Lord Oxford, when in the
     Tower, and given by him to Defoe; if true, it is a curious
     anecdote. Have you got back Lord Brooke's MS.? and what does Heber
     say of it? Write to me at Portsmouth. Ever yours, &c.


[Footnote 72: In an article on this Satire (written for Cumberland's
Review, but never printed) by that most amiable man and excellent poet,
the late Rev. William Crowe, the incongruity of these metaphors is thus
noticed:--"Within the space of three or four couplets, he transforms a
man into as many different animals. Allow him but the compass of three
lines, and he will metamorphose him from a wolf into a harpy, and in
three more he will make him a blood-hound."

There are also in this MS. critique some curious instances of oversight
or ignorance adduced from the Satire; such as "_Fish_ from
_Helicon_"--"_Attic_ flowers _Aonian_ odours breathe," &c. &c.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "June 18. 1813.

     "Dear Sir,

     "Will you forward the enclosed answer to the kindest letter I ever
     received in my life, my sense of which I can neither express to Mr.
     Gifford himself nor to any one else? Ever yours,


       *       *       *       *       *


     "June 18. 1813.

     "My dear Sir,

     "I feel greatly at a loss how to write to you at all--still more to
     thank you as I ought. If you knew the veneration with which I have
     ever regarded you, long before I had the most distant prospect of
     becoming your acquaintance, literary or personal, my embarrassment
     would not surprise you.

     "Any suggestion of yours, even were it conveyed in the less tender
     shape of the text of the Baviad, or a Monk Mason note in Massinger,
     would have been obeyed; I should have endeavoured to improve myself
     by your censure: judge then if I should be less willing to profit
     by your kindness. It is not for me to bandy compliments with my
     elders and my betters: I receive your approbation with gratitude,
     and will not return my brass for your gold by expressing more fully
     those sentiments of admiration, which, however sincere, would, I
     know, be unwelcome.

     "To your advice on religious topics, I shall equally attend.
     Perhaps the best way will be by avoiding them altogether. The
     already published objectionable passages have been much commented
     upon, but certainly have been rather strongly interpreted. I am no
     bigot to infidelity, and did not expect that, because I doubted the
     immortality of man, I should be charged with denying the existence
     of a God. It was the comparative insignificance of ourselves and
     _our world_, when placed in comparison with the mighty whole, of
     which it is an atom, that first led me to imagine that our
     pretensions to eternity might be over-rated.

     "This, and being early disgusted with a Calvinistic Scotch school,
     where I was cudgelled to church for the first ten years of my life,
     afflicted me with this malady; for, after all, it is, I believe, a
     disease of the mind as much as other kinds of hypochondria."[73]

[Footnote 73: The remainder of this letter, it appears, has been lost.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "June 22. 1813.

     "Yesterday I dined in company with '* *, the Epicene,' whose
     politics are sadly changed. She is for the Lord of Israel and the
     Lord of Liverpool--a vile antithesis of a Methodist and a
     Tory--talks of nothing but devotion and the ministry, and, I
     presume, expects that God and the government will help her to a

     "Murray, the [Greek: anax] of publishers, the Anac of stationers,
     has a design upon you in the paper line. He wants you to become the
     staple and stipendiary editor of a periodical work. What say you?
     Will you be bound, like 'Kit Smart, to write for ninety-nine years
     in the Universal Visiter?' Seriously he talks of hundreds a year,
     and--though I hate prating of the beggarly elements--his proposal
     may be to your honour and profit, and, I am very sure, will be to
     our pleasure.

     "I don't know what to say about 'friendship.' I never was in
     friendship but once, in my nineteenth year, and then it gave me as
     much trouble as love. I am afraid, as Whitbread's sire said to the
     king, when he wanted to knight him, that I am 'too old:' but,
     nevertheless, no one wishes you more friends, fame, and felicity,
     than Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having relinquished his design of accompanying the Oxfords to Sicily, he
again thought of the East, as will be seen by the following letters, and
proceeded so far in his preparations for the voyage as to purchase of
Love, the jeweller, of Old Bond Street, about a dozen snuff-boxes, as
presents for some of his old Turkish acquaintances.


     "4. Benedictine Street, St. James's, July 8. 1813.

     "I presume by your silence that I have blundered into something
     noxious in my reply to your letter, for the which I beg leave to
     send beforehand a sweeping apology, which you may apply to any, or
     all, parts of that unfortunate epistle. If I err in my conjecture,
     I expect the like from you, in putting our correspondence so long
     in quarantine. God he knows what I have said; but he also knows (if
     he is not as indifferent to mortals as the _nonchalant_ deities of
     Lucretius), that you are the last person I want to offend. So, if I
     have,--why the devil don't you say it at once, and expectorate your

     "Rogers is out of town with Madame de Staël, who hath published an
     Essay against Suicide, which, I presume, will make somebody shoot
     himself;--as a sermon by Blinkensop, in _proof_ of Christianity,
     sent a hitherto most orthodox acquaintance of mine out of a chapel
     of ease a perfect atheist. Have you found or founded a residence
     yet? and have you begun or finished a poem? If you won't tell me
     what _I_ have done, pray say what you have done, or left undone,
     yourself. I am still in equipment for voyaging, and anxious to hear
     from, or of, you _before_ I go, which anxiety you should remove
     more readily, as you think I sha'n't cogitate about you afterwards.
     I shall give the lie to that calumny by fifty foreign letters,
     particularly from any place where the plague is rife,--without a
     drop of vinegar or a whiff of sulphur to save you from infection.

     "The Oxfords have sailed almost a fortnight, and my sister is in
     town, which is a great comfort--for, never having been much
     together, we are naturally more attached to each other. I presume
     the illuminations have conflagrated to Derby (or wherever you are)
     by this time. We are just recovering from tumult and train oil, and
     transparent fripperies, and all the noise and nonsense of victory.
     Drury Lane had a large _M.W._, which some thought was Marshal
     Wellington; others, that it might be translated into Manager
     Whitbread; while the ladies of the vicinity of the saloon conceived
     the last letter to be complimentary to themselves. I leave this to
     the commentators to illustrate. If you don't answer this, I sha'n't
     say what _you_ deserve, but I think _I_ deserve a reply. Do you
     conceive there is no Post-Bag but the Twopenny? Sunburn me, if you
     are not too bad."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "July 13. 1813.

     "Your letter set me at ease; for I really thought (as I hear of
     your susceptibility) that I had said--I know not what--but
     something I should have been very sorry for, had it, or I, offended
     you;--though I don't see how a man with a beautiful wife--_his own_
     children,--quiet--fame--competency and friends, (I will vouch for a
     thousand, which is more than I will for a unit in my own behalf,)
     can be offended with any thing.

     "Do you know, Moore, I am amazingly inclined--remember I say but
     _inclined_--to be seriously enamoured with Lady A.F.--but this * *
     has ruined all my prospects. However, you know her; is she
     _clever_, or sensible, or good-tempered? either _would_ do--I
     scratch out the _will_. I don't ask as to her beauty--that I see;
     but my circumstances are mending, and were not my other prospects
     blackening, I would take a wife, and that should be the woman, had
     I a chance. I do not yet know her much, but better than I did.

     "I want to get away, but find difficulty in compassing a passage in
     a ship of war. They had better let me go; if I cannot, patriotism
     is the word--'nay, an' they'll mouth, I'll rant as well as they.'
     Now, what are you doing?--writing, we all hope, for our own sakes.
     Remember you must edite my posthumous works, with a Life of the
     Author, for which I will send you Confessions, dated, 'Lazaretto,'
     Smyrna, Malta, or Palermo--one can die any where.

     "There is to be a thing on Tuesday ycleped a national fête. The
     Regent and * * * are to be there, and every body else, who has
     shillings enough for what was once a guinea. Vauxhall is the
     scene--there are six tickets issued for the modest women, and it is
     supposed there will be three to spare. The passports for the lax
     are beyond my arithmetic.

     "P.S.--The Staël last night attacked me most furiously--said that I
     had 'no right to make love--that I had used * * barbarously--that I
     had no feeling, and was totally insensible to _la belle passion_,
     and _had_ been all my life.' I am very glad to hear it, but did not
     know it before. Let me hear from you anon."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "July 25. 1813.

     "I am not well versed enough in the ways of single woman to make
     much matrimonial progress.

     "I have been dining like the dragon of Wantley for this last week.
     My head aches with the vintage of various cellars, and my brains
     are muddled as their dregs. I met your friends the D * * s:--she
     sung one of your best songs so well, that, but for the appearance
     of affectation, I could have cried; he reminds me of Hunt, but
     handsomer, and more musical in soul, perhaps. I wish to God he may
     conquer his horrible anomalous complaint. The upper part of her
     face is beautiful, and she seems much attached to her husband. He
     is right, nevertheless, in leaving this nauseous town. The first
     winter would infallibly destroy her complexion,--and the second,
     very probably, every thing else.

     "I must tell you a story. M * * (of indifferent memory) was dining
     out the other day, and complaining of the P----e's coldness to his
     old wassailers. D * * (a learned Jew) bored him with questions--why
     this? and why that? 'Why did the P----e act thus?'--'Why, sir, on
     account of Lord * *, who ought to be ashamed of himself.'--'And why
     ought Lord * * to be ashamed of himself?'--'Because the P----e,
     sir, * * * * * * * *.'--'And why, sir, did the P----e cut
     _you_?'--' Because, G----d d----mme, sir, I stuck to my
     principles.'--'And _why_ did you stick to your principles?'

     "Is not this last question the best that was ever put, when you
     consider to whom? It nearly killed M * *. Perhaps you may think it
     stupid, but, as Goldsmith said about the peas, it was a very good
     joke when I heard it--as I did from an ear-witness--and is only
     spoilt in my narration.

     "The season has closed with a dandy ball;--but I have dinners with
     the Harrowbys, Rogers, and Frere and Mackintosh, where I shall
     drink your health in a silent bumper, and regret your absence till
     'too much canaries' wash away my memory, or render it superfluous
     by a vision of you at the opposite side of the table. Canning has
     disbanded his party by a speech from his * * * *--the true throne
     of a Tory. Conceive his turning them off in a formal harangue, and
     bidding them think for themselves. 'I have led my ragamuffins where
     they are well peppered. There are but three of the 150 left alive,
     and they are for the _Towns-end_ (_query_, might not Falstaff mean
     the Bow Street officer? I dare say Malone's posthumous edition will
     have it so) for life.'

     "Since I wrote last, I have been into the country. I journeyed by
     night--no incident, or accident, but an alarm on the part of my
     valet on the outside, who, in crossing Epping Forest, actually, I
     believe, flung down his purse before a mile-stone, with a glow-worm
     in the second figure of number XIX--mistaking it for a footpad and
     dark lantern. I can only attribute his fears to a pair of new
     pistols wherewith I had armed him; and he thought it necessary to
     display his vigilance by calling out to me whenever we passed any
     thing--no matter whether moving or stationary. Conceive ten miles,
     with a tremor every furlong. I have scribbled you a fearfully long
     letter. This sheet must be blank, and is merely a wrapper, to
     preclude the tabellarians of the post from peeping. You once
     complained of my _not_ writing;--I will 'heap coals of fire upon
     your head' by _not_ complaining of your _not_ reading. Ever, my
     dear Moore, your'n (isn't that the Staffordshire termination?)


       *       *       *       *       *


     "July 27. 1813.

     "When you next imitate the style of 'Tacitus,' pray add, 'de
     moribus Germanorum;'--this last was a piece of barbarous silence,
     and could only be taken from the _Woods_, and, as such, I attribute
     it entirely to your sylvan sequestration at Mayfield Cottage. You
     will find, on casting up accounts, that you are my debtor by
     several sheets and one epistle. I shall bring my action;--if you
     don't discharge, expect to hear from my attorney. I have forwarded
     your letter to Ruggiero; but don't make a postman of me again, for
     fear I should be tempted to violate your sanctity of wax or wafer.

     "Believe me ever yours _indignantly_,


       *       *       *       *       *


     "July 28. 1813.

     "Can't you be satisfied with the pangs of my jealousy of Rogers,
     without actually making me the pander of your epistolary intrigue?
     This is the second letter you have enclosed to my address,
     notwithstanding a miraculous long answer, and a subsequent short
     one or two of your own. If you do so again, I can't tell to what
     pitch my fury may soar. I shall send you verse or arsenic, as
     likely as any thing,--four thousand couplets on sheets beyond the
     privilege of franking; that privilege, sir, of which you take an
     undue advantage over a too susceptible senator, by forwarding your
     lucubrations to every one but himself. I won't frank _from_ you, or
     _for_ you, or _to_ you--may I be curst if I do, unless you mend
     your manners. I disown you--I disclaim you--and by all the powers
     of Eulogy, I will write a panegyric upon you--or dedicate a
     quarto--if you don't make me ample amends.

     "P.S.--I am in training to dine with Sheridan and Rogers this
     evening. I have a little spite against R., and will shed his 'Clary
     wines pottle-deep.' This is nearly my ultimate or penultimate
     letter; for I am quite equipped, and only wait a passage. Perhaps I
     may wait a few weeks for Sligo, but not if I can help it."

       *       *       *       *       *

He had, with the intention of going to Greece, applied to Mr. Croker,
the Secretary of the Admiralty, to procure him a passage on board a
king's ship to the Mediterranean; and, at the request of this gentleman,
Captain Carlton, of the Boyne, who was just then ordered to reinforce
Sir Edward Pellew, consented to receive Lord Byron into his cabin for
the voyage. To the letter announcing this offer, the following is the


     "Bt. Str., August 2. 1813.

     "Dear Sir,

     "I was honoured with your unexpected[74] and very obliging letter,
     when on the point of leaving London, which prevented me from
     acknowledging my obligation as quickly as I felt it sincerely. I am
     endeavouring all in my power to be ready before Saturday--and even
     if I should not succeed, I can only blame my own tardiness, which
     will not the less enhance the benefit I have lost. I have only to
     add my hope of forgiveness for all my trespasses on your time and
     patience, and with my best wishes for your public and private
     welfare, I have the honour to be, most truly, your obliged and most
     obedient servant,


[Footnote 74: He calls the letter of Mr. Croker "unexpected," because,
in their previous correspondence and interviews on the subject, that
gentleman had not been able to hold out so early a prospect of a
passage, nor one which was likely to be so agreeable in point of

       *       *       *       *       *

So early as the autumn of this year, a fifth edition of The Giaour was
required; and again his fancy teemed with fresh materials for its pages.
The verses commencing "The browsing camels' bells are tinkling," and the
four pages that follow the line, "Yes, love indeed is light from
heaven," were all added at this time. Nor had the overflowings of his
mind even yet ceased, as I find in the poem, as it exists at present,
still further additions,--and, among them, those four brilliant lines,--

    "She was a form of life and light,
    That, seen, became a part of sight,
    And rose, where'er I turn'd mine eye,
    The Morning-star of memory!"

The following notes and letters to Mr. Murray, during these outpourings,
will show how irresistible was the impulse under which he vented his

     "If you send more proofs, I shall never finish this infernal
     story--'Ecce signum'--thirty-three more lines enclosed! to the
     utter discomfiture of the printer, and, I fear, not to your


       *       *       *       *       *

     "Half-past two in the morning, Aug. 10. 1813.

     "Dear Sir,

     "Pray suspend the _proofs_, for I am _bitten_ again, and have
     _quantities_ for other parts of the bravura.

     "Yours ever, B.

     "P.S.--You shall have them in the course of the day."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "August 26. 1813.

     "I have looked over and corrected one proof, but not so carefully
     (God knows if you can read it through, but I can't) as to preclude
     your eye from discovering some _o_mission of mine or _com_mission
     of your printer. If you have patience, look it over. Do you know
     any body who can stop--I mean _point_--commas, and so forth? for I
     am, I hear, a sad hand at your punctuation. I have, but with some
     difficulty, _not_ added any more to this snake of a poem, which has
     been lengthening its rattles every month. It is now fearfully long,
     being more than a Canto and a half of Childe Harold, which contains
     but 882 lines per book, with all late additions inclusive.

     "The last lines Hodgson likes. It is not often he does, and when he
     don't he tells me with great energy, and I fret and alter. I have
     thrown them in to soften the ferocity of our Infidel, and, for a
     dying man, have given him a good deal to say for himself.

     "I was quite sorry to hear you say you stayed in town on my
     account, and I hope sincerely you did not mean so superfluous a
     piece of politeness.

     "Our _six_ critiques!--they would have made half a Quarterly by
     themselves; but this is the age of criticism."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following refer apparently to a still later edition.


     "Stilton, Oct. 3. 1813.

     "I have just recollected an alteration you may make in the proof to
     be sent to Aston.--Among the lines on Hassan's Serai, not far from
     the beginning, is this--

        "Unmeet for Solitude to share.

     Now to share implies more than _one_, and Solitude is a single
     gentleman; it must be thus--

        "For many a gilded chamber's there,
        Which Solitude might well forbear;

     and so on.--My address is Aston Hall, Rotherham.

     "Will you adopt this correction? and pray accept a Stilton cheese
     from me for your trouble. Ever yours, B.

     "If[75] the old line stands let the other run thus--

        "Nor there will weary traveller halt,
        To bless the sacred bread and salt.

     "_Note_.--To partake of food--to break bread and taste salt with
     your host, ensures the safety of the guest; even though an enemy,
     his person from that moment becomes sacred.

     "There is another additional note sent yesterday--on the Priest in
     the Confessional.

     "P.S.--I leave this to your discretion; if any body thinks the old
     line a good one or the cheese a bad one, don't accept either. But,
     in that case, the word _share_ is repeated soon after in the line--

        "To share the master's bread and salt;

     and must be altered to--

        "To break the master's bread and salt.

     This is not so well, though--confound it!"

[Footnote 75: This is written on a separate slip of paper enclosed.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Oct. 12. 1813.

     "You must look The Giaour again over carefully; there are a few
     lapses, particularly in the last page.--'I _know_ 'twas false; she
     could not die;' it was, and ought to be--'I _knew_.' Pray observe
     this and similar mistakes.

     "I have received and read the British Review. I really think the
     writer in most points very right. The only mortifying thing is the
     accusation of imitation. _Crabbe_'s passage I never saw[76]; and
     Scott I no further meant to follow than in his _lyric_ measure,
     which is Gray's, Milton's, and any one's who likes it. The Giaour
     is certainly a bad character, but not dangerous; and I think his
     fate and his feelings will meet with few proselytes. I shall be
     very glad to hear from or of you, when you please; but don't put
     yourself out of your way on my account."

[Footnote 76: The passage referred to by the Reviewers is in the poem
entitled "Resentment;" and the following is, I take for granted, the
part which Lord Byron is accused by them of having imitated:--

    "Those are like wax--apply them to the fire,
    Melting, they take th' impressions you desire;
    Easy to mould, and fashion as you please,
    And again moulded with an equal ease:
    Like smelted iron these the forms retain;
    But, once impress'd, will never melt again."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Bennet Street, August 22. 1813.

     "As our late--I might say, deceased--correspondence had too much of
     the town-life leaven in it, we will now, 'paulo majora,' prattle a
     little of literature in all its branches; and first of the
     first--criticism. The Prince is at Brighton, and Jackson, the
     boxer, gone to Margate, having, I believe, decoyed Yarmouth to see
     a milling in that polite neighbourhood. Made. de Staël Holstein has
     lost one of her young barons, who has been carbonadoed by a vile
     Teutonic adjutant,--kilt and killed in a coffee-house at
     Scrawsenhawsen. Corinne is, of course, what all mothers must
     be,--but will, I venture to prophesy, do what few mothers
     could--write an Essay upon it. She cannot exist without a
     grievance--and somebody to see, or read, how much grief becomes
     her. I have not seen her since the event; but merely judge (not
     very charitably) from prior observation.

     "In a 'mail-coach copy' of the Edinburgh, I perceive The Giaour is
     second article. The numbers are still in the Leith smack--_pray,
     which way is the wind?_ The said article is so very mild and
     sentimental, that it must be written by Jeffrey _in love_;--you
     know he is gone to America to marry some fair one, of whom he has
     been, for several _quarters, éperdument amoureux_. Seriously--as
     Winifred Jenkins says of Lismahago--Mr. Jeffrey (or his deputy)
     'has done the handsome thing by me,' and I say _nothing_. But this
     I will say, if you and I had knocked one another on the head in
     this quarrel, how he would have laughed, and what a mighty bad
     figure we should have cut in our posthumous works. By the by, I was
     called _in_ the other day to mediate between two gentlemen bent
     upon carnage, and,--after a long struggle between the natural
     desire of destroying one's fellow-creatures, and the dislike of
     seeing men play the fool for nothing,--I got one to make an
     apology, and the other to take it, and left them to live happy ever
     after. One was a peer, the other a friend untitled, and both fond
     of high play;--and one, I can swear for, though very mild, 'not
     fearful,' and so dead a shot, that, though the other is the
     thinnest of men, he would have split him like a cane. They both
     conducted themselves very well, and I put them out of _pain_ as
     soon as I could.

     "There is an American Life of G.F. Cooke, _Scurra_ deceased, lately
     published. Such a book!--I believe, since Drunken Barnaby's
     Journal, nothing like it has drenched the press. All green-room and
     tap-room--drams and the drama--brandy, whisky-punch, and,
     _latterly_, toddy, overflow every page. Two things are rather
     marvellous,--first, that a man should live so long drunk, and,
     next, that he should have found a sober biographer. There are some
     very laughable things in it, nevertheless;--but the pints he
     swallowed, and the parts he performed, are too regularly

     "All this time you wonder I am not gone; so do I; but the accounts
     of the plague are very perplexing--not so much for the thing itself
     as the quarantine established in all ports, and from all places,
     even from England. It is true, the forty or sixty days would, in
     all probability, be as foolishly spent on shore as in the ship; but
     one like's to have one's choice, nevertheless. Town is awfully
     empty; but not the worse for that. I am really puzzled with my
     perfect ignorance of what I mean to do;--not stay, if I can help
     it, but where to go?[77] Sligo is for the North;--a pleasant place,
     Petersburgh, in September, with one's ears and nose in a muff, or
     else tumbling into one's neckcloth or pocket-handkerchief! If the
     winter treated Buonaparte with so little ceremony, what would it
     inflict upon your solitary traveller?--Give me a _sun_, I care not
     how hot, and sherbet, I care not how cool, and my Heaven is as
     easily made as your Persian's.[78] The Giaour is now a thousand and
     odd lines. 'Lord Fanny spins a thousand such a day,' eh,
     Moore?--thou wilt needs be a wag, but I forgive it. Yours ever,


     "P.S. I perceive I have written a flippant and rather cold-hearted
     letter! let it go, however. I have said nothing, either, of the
     brilliant sex; but the fact is, I am at this moment in a far more
     serious, and entirely new, scrape than any of the last twelve
     months,--and that is saying a good deal. It is unlucky we can
     neither live with nor without these women.

     "I am now thinking of regretting that, just as I have left
     Newstead, you reside near it. Did you ever see it? _do_--but don't
     tell me that you like it. If I had known of such intellectual
     neighbourhood, I don't think I should have quitted it. You could
     have come over so often, as a bachelor,--for it was a thorough
     bachelor's mansion--plenty of wine and such sordid
     sensualities--with books enough, room enough, and an air of
     antiquity about all (except the lasses) that would have suited
     you, when pensive, and served you to laugh at when in glee. I had
     built myself a bath and a _vault_--and now I sha'n't even be buried
     in it. It is odd that we can't even be certain of a _grave_, at
     least a particular one. I remember, when about fifteen, reading
     your poems there, which I can repeat almost now,--and asking all
     kinds of questions about the author, when I heard that he was not
     dead according to the preface; wondering if I should ever see
     him--and though, at that time, without the smallest poetical
     propensity myself, very much taken, as you may imagine, with that
     volume. Adieu--I commit you to the care of the gods--Hindoo,
     Scandinavian, and Hellenic!

     "P.S. 2d. There is an excellent review of Grimm's Correspondence
     and Made. de Staël in this No. of the E.R. Jeffrey, himself, was my
     critic last year; but this is, I believe, by another hand. I hope
     you are going on with your _grand coup_--pray do--or that damned
     Lucien Buonaparte will beat us all. I have seen much of his poem in
     MS., and he really surpasses every thing beneath Tasso. Hodgson is
     translating him _against_ another bard. You and (I believe,
     Rogers,) Scott, Gifford, and myself, are to be referred to as
     judges between the twain,--that is, if you accept the office.
     Conceive our different opinions! I think we, most of us (I am
     talking very impudently, you will think--_us_, indeed!) have a way
     of our own,--at least, you and Scott certainly have."

[Footnote 77: One of his travelling projects appears to have been a
visit to Abyssinia:--at least, I have found, among his papers, a letter
founded on that supposition, in which the writer entreats of him to
procure information concerning "a kingdom of Jews mentioned by Bruce as
residing on the mountain of Samen in that country. I have had the
honour," he adds, "of some correspondence with the Rev. Dr. Buchanan and
the reverend and learned G.S. Faber, on the subject of the existence of
this kingdom of Jews, which, if it prove to be a fact, will more clearly
elucidate many of the Scripture prophecies; ... and, if Providence
favours your Lordship's mission to Abyssinia, an intercourse might be
established between England and that country, and the English ships,
according to the Rev. Mr. Faber, might be the principal means of
transporting the kingdom of Jews, now in Abyssinia, to Egypt, in the way
to their own country, Palestine."]

[Footnote 78:

    "A Persian's Heav'n is easily made--
    'Tis but black eyes and lemonade."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "August 28. 1813.

     "Ay, my dear Moore, 'there _was_ a time'--I have heard of your
     tricks, when 'you was campaigning at the King of Bohemy.' I am much
     mistaken if, some fine London spring, about the year 1815, that
     time does not come again. After all, we must end in marriage; and I
     can conceive nothing more delightful than such a state in the
     country, reading the county newspaper, &c., and kissing one's
     wife's maid. Seriously, I would incorporate with any woman of
     decent demeanour to-morrow--that is, I would a month ago, but, at
     present, * * *

     "Why don't you 'parody that Ode?'[79]--Do you think I should be
     _tetchy?_ or have you done it, and won't tell me?--You are quite
     right about Giamschid, and I have reduced it to a dissyllable
     within this half hour.[80] I am glad to hear you talk of
     Richardson, because it tells me what you won't--that you are going
     to beat Lucien. At least tell me how far you have proceeded. Do you
     think me less interested about your works, or less sincere than our
     friend Ruggiero? I am not--and never was. In that thing of mine,
     the 'English Bards,' at the time when I was angry with all the
     world, I never 'disparaged your parts,' although I did not know you
     personally;--and have always regretted that you don't give us an
     _entire_ work, and not sprinkle yourself in detached
     pieces--beautiful, I allow, and quite _alone_ in our language[81],
     but still giving us a right to expect a _Shah Nameh_ (is that the
     name?) as well as gazels. Stick to the East;--the oracle, Staël,
     told me it was the only poetical policy. The North, South, and
     West, have all been exhausted; but from the East, we have nothing
     but S * *'s unsaleables,--and these he has contrived to spoil, by
     adopting only their most outrageous fictions. His personages don't
     interest us, and yours will. You will have no competitor; and, if
     you had, you ought to be glad of it. The little I have done in that
     way is merely a 'voice in the wilderness' for you; and if it has
     had any success, that also will prove that the public are
     orientalising, and pave the path for you.

     "I have been thinking of a story, grafted on the amours of a Peri
     and a mortal--something like, only more _philanthropical_ than,
     Cazotte's Diable Amoureux. It would require a good deal of poesy,
     and tenderness is not my forte. For that, and other reasons, I have
     given up the idea, and merely suggest it to you, because, in
     intervals of your greater work, I think it a subject you might make
     much of.[82] If you want any more books, there is 'Castellan's
     Moeurs des Ottomans,' the best compendium of the kind I ever met
     with, in six small tomes. I am really taking a liberty by talking
     in this style to my 'elders and my betters;'--pardon it, and don't
     _Rochefoucault_ my motives."

[Footnote 79: The Ode of Horace,

    "Natis in usum lætitiæ," &c.;

some passages of which I told him might be parodied, in allusion to some
of his late adventures:

    "Quanta laboras in Charybdi!
    Digne puer meliore flammâ!"

[Footnote 80: In his first edition of The Giaour he had used this word
as a trisyllable,--"Bright as the gem of Giamschid,"--but on my
remarking to him, upon the authority of Richardson's Persian Dictionary,
that this was incorrect, he altered it to "Bright as the ruby of
Giamschid." On seeing this, however, I wrote to him, "that, as the
comparison of his heroine's eye to a 'ruby' might unluckily call up the
idea of its being blood-shot, he had better change the line to "Bright
as the jewel of Giamschid;"--which he accordingly did in the following

[Footnote 81: Having already endeavoured to obviate the charge of
vanity, to which I am aware I expose myself by being thus accessory to
the publication of eulogies, so warm and so little merited, on myself, I
shall here only add, that it will abundantly console me under such a
charge, if, in whatever degree the judgment of my noble friend may be
called in question for these praises, he shall, in the same proportion,
receive credit for the good-nature and warm-heartedness by which they
were dictated.]

[Footnote 82: I had already, singularly enough, anticipated this
suggestion, by making the daughter of a Peri the heroine of one of my
stories, and detailing the love adventures of her aërial parent in an
episode. In acquainting Lord Byron with this circumstance, in my answer
to the above letter, I added, "All I ask of your friendship is--not that
you will abstain from Peris on my account, for that is too much to ask
of human (or, at least, author's) nature--but that, whenever you mean to
pay your addresses to any of these aërial ladies, you will, at once,
tell me so, frankly and instantly, and let me, at least, have my choice
whether I shall be desperate enough to go on, with such a rival, or at
once surrender the whole race into your hands, and take, for the future,
to Antediluvians with Mr. Montgomery."]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "August--September, I mean--1. 1813.

     "I send you, begging your acceptance, Castellan, and three vols. on
     Turkish Literature, not yet looked into. The _last_ I will thank
     you to read, extract what you want, and return in a week, as they
     are lent to me by that brightest of Northern constellations,
     Mackintosh,--amongst many other kind things into which India has
     warmed him, for I am sure your _home_ Scotsman is of a less genial

     "Your Peri, my dear M., is sacred and inviolable; I have no idea of
     touching the hem of her petticoat. Your affectation of a dislike to
     encounter me is so flattering, that I begin to think myself a very
     fine fellow. But you are laughing at me--'Stap my vitals, Tarn!
     thou art a very impudent person;' and, if you are not laughing at
     me, you deserve to be laughed at. Seriously, what on earth can you,
     or have you, to dread from any poetical flesh breathing? It really
     puts me out of humour to hear you talk thus.

     "'The Giaour' I have added to a good deal; but still in foolish
     fragments. It contains about 1200 lines, or rather more--now
     printing. You will allow me to send you a copy. You delight me
     much by telling me that I am in your good graces, and more
     particularly as to temper; for, unluckily, I have the reputation of
     a very bad one. But they say the devil is amusing when pleased, and
     I must have been more venomous than the old serpent, to have hissed
     or stung in your company. It may be, and would appear to a third
     person, an incredible thing, but I know you will believe me when I
     say, that I am as anxious for your success as one human being can
     be for another's,--as much as if I had never scribbled a line.
     Surely the field of fame is wide enough for all; and if it were
     not, I would not willingly rob my neighbour of a rood of it. Now
     you have a pretty property of some thousand acres there, and when
     you have passed your present Inclosure Bill, your income will be
     doubled, (there's a metaphor, worthy of a Templar, namely, pert and
     low,) while my wild common is too remote to incommode you, and
     quite incapable of such fertility. I send you (which return per
     post, as the printer would say) a curious letter from a friend of
     mine[83], which will let you into the origin of 'The Giaour.' Write
     soon. Ever, dear Moore, yours most entirely, &c.

     "P.S.--This letter was written to me on account of a _different
     story_ circulated by some gentlewomen of our acquaintance, a little
     too close to the text. The part erased contained merely some
     Turkish names, and circumstantial evidence of the girl's detection,
     not very important or decorous."

[Footnote 83: The letter of Lord Sligo, already given.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Sept. 5. 1813.

     "You need not tie yourself down to a day with Toderini, but send
     him at your leisure, having anatomised him into such annotations as
     you want; I do not believe that he has ever undergone that process
     before, which is the best reason for not sparing him now.

     "* * has returned to town, but not yet recovered of the Quarterly.
     What fellows these reviewers are! 'these bugs do fear us all.' They
     made you fight, and me (the milkiest of men) a satirist, and will
     end by making * * madder than Ajax. I have been reading Memory
     again, the other day, and Hope together, and retain all my
     preference of the former. His elegance is really wonderful--there
     is no such thing as a vulgar line in his book.

     "What say you to Buonaparte? Remember, I back him against the
     field, barring Catalepsy and the Elements. Nay, I almost wish him
     success against all countries but this,--were it only to choke the
     Morning Post, and his undutiful father-in-law, with that rebellious
     bastard of Scandinavian adoption, Bernadotte. Rogers wants me to go
     with him on a crusade to the Lakes, and to besiege you on our way.
     This last is a great temptation, but I fear it will not be in my
     power, unless you would go on with one of us somewhere--no matter
     where. It is too late for Matlock, but we might hit upon some
     scheme, high life or low,--the last would be much the best for
     amusement. I am so sick of the other, that I quite sigh for a
     cider-cellar, or a cruise in a smuggler's sloop.

     "You cannot wish more than I do that the Fates were a little more
     accommodating to our parallel lines, which prolong ad infinitum
     without coming a jot nearer. I almost wish I were married,
     too--which is saying much. All my friends, seniors and juniors, are
     in for it, and ask me to be godfather,--the only species of
     parentage which, I believe, will ever come to my share in a lawful
     way; and, in an unlawful one, by the blessing of Lucina, we can
     never be certain,--though the parish may. I suppose I shall hear
     from you to-morrow. If not, this goes as it is; but I leave room
     for a P.S., in case any thing requires an answer. Ever, &c.

     "No letter--_n'importe_. R. thinks the Quarterly will be at _me_
     this time: if so, it shall be a war of extermination--no _quarter_.
     From the youngest devil down to the oldest woman of that review,
     all shall perish by one fatal lampoon. The ties of nature shall be
     torn asunder, for I will not even spare my bookseller; nay, if one
     were to include readers also, all the better."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "September 8. 1813.

     "I am sorry to see Tod. again so soon, for fear your scrupulous
     conscience should have prevented you from fully availing yourself
     of his spoils. By this coach I send you a copy of that awful
     pamphlet 'The Giaour,' which has never procured me half so high a
     compliment as your modest alarm. You will (if inclined in an
     evening) perceive that I have added much in quantity,--a
     circumstance which may truly diminish your modesty upon the

     "You stand certainly in great need of a 'lift' with Mackintosh. My
     dear Moore, you strangely under-rate yourself. I should conceive it
     an affectation in any other; but I think I know you well enough to
     believe that you don't know your own value. However, 'tis a fault
     that generally mends; and, in your case, it really ought. I have
     heard him speak of you as highly as your wife could wish; and
     enough to give all your friends the jaundice.

     "Yesterday I had a letter from _Ali Pacha!_ brought by Dr. Holland,
     who is just returned from Albania. It is in Latin, and begins
     'Excellentissime _nec non_ Carissime,' and ends about a gun he
     wants made for him;--it is signed 'Ali Vizir.' What do you think he
     has been about? H. tells me that, last spring, he took a hostile
     town, where, forty-two years ago, his mother and sisters were
     treated as Miss Cunigunde was by the Bulgarian cavalry. He takes
     the town, selects all the survivors of this exploit--children,
     grandchildren, &c. to the tune of six hundred, and has them shot
     before his face. Recollect, he spared the rest of the city, and
     confined himself to the Tarquin pedigree,--which is more than I
     would. So much for 'dearest friend.'"

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Sept. 9. 1813.

     "I write to you from Mr. Murray's, and I may say, from Murray, who,
     if you are not predisposed in favour of any other publisher, would
     be happy to treat with you, at a fitting time, for your work. I can
     safely recommend him as fair, liberal, and attentive, and
     certainly, in point of reputation, he stands among the first of
     'the trade.' I am sure he would do you justice. I have written to
     you so much lately, that you will be glad to see so little now.

     "Ever," &c. &c.

       *       *       *       *       *


     "September 27. 1813.

     "Thomas Moore,

     "(Thou wilt never be called '_true_ Thomas,' like he of
     Ercildoune,) why don't you write to me?--as you won't, I must. I
     was near you at Aston the other day, and hope I soon shall be
     again. If so, you must and shall meet me, and go to Matlock and
     elsewhere, and take what, in _flash_ dialect, is poetically termed
     'a lark,' with Rogers and me for accomplices. Yesterday, at Holland
     House, I was introduced to Southey--the best looking bard I have
     seen for some time. To have that poet's head and shoulders, I would
     almost have written his Sapphics. He is certainly a prepossessing
     person to look on, and a man of talent, and all that, and--_there_
     is his eulogy.

     "* * read me part of a letter from you. By the foot of Pharaoh, I
     believe there was abuse, for he stopped short, so he did, after a
     fine saying about our correspondence, and _looked_--I wish I could
     revenge myself by attacking you, or by telling you that I have
     _had_ to defend you--an agreeable way which one's friends have of
     recommending themselves by saying--'Ay, ay, _I_ gave it Mr.
     Such-a-one for what he said about your being a plagiary, and a
     rake, and so on.' But do you know that you are one of the very few
     whom I never have the satisfaction of hearing abused, but the
     reverse;--and do you suppose I will forgive _that_?

     "I have been in the country, and ran away from the Doncaster races.
     It is odd,--I was a visiter in the same house which came to my sire
     as a residence with Lady Carmarthen, (with whom he adulterated
     before his majority--by the by, remember, _she_ was not my
     mamma,)--and they thrust me into an old room, with a nauseous
     picture over the chimney, which I should suppose my papa regarded
     with due respect, and which, inheriting the family taste, I looked
     upon with great satisfaction. I stayed a week with the family, and
     behaved very well--though the lady of the house is young, and
     religious, and pretty, and the master is my particular friend. I
     felt no wish for any thing but a poodle dog, which they kindly gave
     me. Now, for a man of my courses not even to have _coveted_, is a
     sign of great amendment. Pray pardon all this nonsense, and don't
     'snub me when I'm in spirits.'

     "Ever, yours, BN.

     "Here's an impromptu for you by a 'person of quality,' written last
     week, on being reproached for low spirits.

        "When from the heart where Sorrow sits[84],
          Her dusky shadow mounts too high,
        And o'er the changing aspect flits,
          And clouds the brow, or fills the eye:
        Heed not that gloom, which soon shall sink;
          My Thoughts their dungeon know too well--
        Back to my breast the wanderers shrink,
          And bleed within their silent cell."

[Footnote 84: Now printed in his Works.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "October 2. 1813.

     "You have not answered some six letters of mine. This, therefore,
     is my penultimate. I will write to you once more, but, after
     that--I swear by all the saints--I am silent and supercilious. I
     have met Curran at Holland House--he beats every body;--his
     imagination is beyond human, and his humour (it is difficult to
     define what is wit) perfect. Then he has fifty faces, and twice as
     many voices, when he mimics--I never met his equal. Now, were I a
     woman, and eke a virgin, that is the man I should make my
     Scamander. He is quite fascinating. Remember, I have met him but
     once; and you, who have known him long, may probably deduct from
     my panegyric. I almost fear to meet him again, lest the impression
     should be lowered. He talked a great deal about you--a theme never
     tiresome to me, nor any body else that I know. What a variety of
     expression he conjures into that naturally not very fine
     countenance of his! He absolutely changes it entirely. I have
     done--for I can't describe him, and you know him. On Sunday I
     return to * *, where I shall not be far from you. Perhaps I shall
     hear from you in the mean time. Good night.

     "Saturday morn--Your letter has cancelled all my anxieties. I did
     _not suspect_ you in _earnest_. Modest again! Because I don't do a
     very shabby thing, it seems, I 'don't fear your competition.' If it
     were reduced to an alternative of preference, I _should_ dread you,
     as much as Satan does Michael. But is there not room enough in our
     respective regions? Go on--it will soon be my turn to forgive.
     To-day I dine with Mackintosh and Mrs. _Stale_--as John Bull may be
     pleased to denominate Corinne--whom I saw last night, at Covent
     Garden, yawning over the humour of Falstaff.

     "The reputation of 'gloom,' if one's friends are not included in
     the _reputants_, is of great service; as it saves one from a legion
     of impertinents, in the shape of common-place acquaintance. But
     thou know'st I can be a right merry and conceited fellow, and
     rarely 'larmoyant.' Murray shall reinstate your line forthwith.[85]
     I believe the blunder in the motto was mine:--and yet I have, in
     general, a memory for _you_, and am sure it was rightly printed at

     "I do 'blush' very often, if I may believe Ladies H. and M.;--but
     luckily, at present, no one sees me. Adieu."

[Footnote 85: The motto to The Giaour, which is taken from one of the
Irish Melodies, had been quoted by him incorrectly in the first editions
of the poem. He made afterwards a similar mistake in the lines from
Burns prefixed to the Bride of Abydos.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "November 30. 1813.

     "Since I last wrote to you, much has occurred, good, bad, and
     indifferent,--not to make me forget you, but to prevent me from
     reminding you of one who, nevertheless, has often thought of you,
     and to whom _your_ thoughts, in many a measure, have frequently
     been a consolation. We were once very near neighbours this autumn;
     and a good and bad neighbourhood it has proved to me. Suffice it to
     say, that your French quotation was confoundedly to the
     purpose,--though very _unexpectedly_ pertinent, as you may imagine
     by what I _said_ before, and my silence since. However, 'Richard's
     himself again,' and except all night and some part of the morning,
     I don't think very much about the matter.

     "All convulsions end with me in rhyme; and to solace my midnights,
     I have scribbled another Turkish story[86]--not a Fragment--which
     you will receive soon after this. It does not trench upon your
     kingdom in the least, and if it did, you would soon reduce me to my
     proper boundaries. You will think, and justly, that I run some risk
     of losing the little I have gained in fame, by this further
     experiment on public patience; but I have really ceased to care on
     that head. I have written this, and published it, for the sake of
     the _employment_,--to wring my thoughts from reality, and take
     refuge in 'imaginings,' however 'horrible;' and, as to success!
     those who succeed will console me for a failure--excepting yourself
     and one or two more, whom luckily I love too well to wish one leaf
     of their laurels a tint yellower. This is the work of a week, and
     will be the reading of an hour to you, or even less,--and so, let
     it go * * * *.

     "P.S. Ward and I _talk_ of going to Holland. I want to see how a
     Dutch canal looks after the Bosphorus. Pray respond."

[Footnote 86: The Bride of Abydos.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "December 8. 1813.

     "Your letter, like all the best, and even kindest things in this
     world, is both painful and pleasing. But, first, to what sits
     nearest. Do you know I was actually about to dedicate to you,--not
     in a formal inscription, as to one's _elders_,--but through a
     short prefatory letter, in which I boasted myself your intimate,
     and held forth the prospect of _your_ poem; when, lo! the
     recollection of your strict injunctions of secrecy as to the said
     poem, more than _once_ repeated by word and letter, flashed upon
     me, and marred my intents. I could have no motive for repressing my
     own desire of alluding to you (and not a day passes that I do not
     think and talk of you), but an idea that you might, yourself,
     dislike it. You cannot doubt my sincere admiration, waving personal
     friendship for the present, which, by the by, is not less sincere
     and deep rooted. I have you by rote and by heart; of which 'ecce
     signum!' When I was at * *, on my first visit, I have a habit, in
     passing my time a good deal alone, of--I won't call it singing, for
     that I never attempt except to myself--but of uttering, to what I
     think tunes, your 'Oh breathe not,' 'When the last glimpse,' and
     'When he who adores thee,' with others of the same minstrel;--they
     are my matins and vespers. I assuredly did not intend them to be
     overheard, but, one morning, in comes, not La Donna, but Il Marito,
     with a very grave face, saying, 'Byron, I must request you won't
     sing any more, at least of _those_ songs.' I stared, and said,
     'Certainly, but why?'--'To tell you the truth,' quoth he, 'they
     make my wife _cry_, and so melancholy, that I wish her to hear no
     more of them.'

     "Now, my dear M., the effect must have been from your words, and
     certainly not my music. I merely mention this foolish story to show
     you how much I am indebted to you for even your pastimes. A man
     may praise and praise, but no one recollects but that which
     pleases--at least, in composition. Though I think no one equal to
     you in that department, or in satire,--and surely no one was ever
     so popular in both,--I certainly am of opinion that you have not
     yet done all _you_ can do, though more than enough for any one
     else. I want, and the world expects, a longer work from you; and I
     see in you what I never saw in poet before, a strange diffidence of
     your own powers, which I cannot account for, and which must be
     unaccountable, when a _Cossac_ like me can appal a _cuirassier_.
     Your story I did not, could not, know,--I thought only of a Peri. I
     wish you had confided in me, not for your sake, but mine, and to
     prevent the world from losing a much better poem than my own, but
     which, I yet hope, this _clashing_ will not even now deprive them
     of.[87] Mine is the work of a week, written, _why_ I have partly
     told you, and partly I cannot tell you by letter--some day I will.

     "Go on--I shall really be very unhappy if I at all interfere with
     you. The success of mine is yet problematical; though the public
     will probably purchase a certain quantity, on the presumption of
     their own propensity for 'The Giaour' and such 'horrid mysteries.'
     The only advantage I have is being on the spot; and that merely
     amounts to saving me the trouble of turning over books which I had
     better read again. If _your chamber_ was furnished in the same way,
     you have no need to _go there_ to describe--I mean only as to
     _accuracy_--because I drew it from recollection.

     "This last thing of mine _may_ have the same fate, and I assure you
     I have great doubts about it. But, even if not, its little day will
     be over before you are ready and willing. Come out--'screw your
     courage to the sticking-place.' Except the Post Bag (and surely you
     cannot complain of a want of success there), you have not been
     _regularly_ out for some years. No man stands higher,--whatever you
     may think on a rainy day, in your provincial retreat. 'Aucun homme,
     dans aucune langue, n'a été, peut-être, plus completèment le poëte
     du coeur et le poëte des femmes. Les critiques lui reprochent de
     n'avoir représenté le monde ni tel qu'il est, ni tel qu'il doit
     être; _mais les femmes répondent qu'il l'a représenté tel qu'elles
     le désirent_.'--I should have thought Sismondi had written this for
     you instead of Metastasio.

     "Write to me, and tell me of _yourself_. Do you remember what
     Rousseau said to some one--'Have we quarrelled? you have talked to
     me often, and never once mentioned yourself.'

     "P.S.--The last sentence is an indirect apology for my own
     egotism,--but I believe in letters it is allowed. I wish it was
     _mutual_. I have met with an odd reflection in Grimm; it shall
     not--at least the bad part--be applied to you or me, though _one_
     of us has certainly an indifferent name--but this it is:--'Many
     people have the reputation of being wicked, with whom we should be
     too happy to pass our lives.' I need not add it is a woman's
     saying--a Mademoiselle de Sommery's."

[Footnote 87: Among the stories intended to be introduced into Lalla
Rookh, which I had begun, but, from various causes, never finished,
there was one which I had made some progress in, at the time of the
appearance of "The Bride," and which, on reading that poem, I found to
contain such singular coincidences with it, not only in locality and
costume, but in plot and characters, that I immediately gave up my story
altogether, and began another on an entirely new subject, the
Fire-worshippers. To this circumstance, which I immediately communicated
to him, Lord Byron alludes in this letter. In my hero (to whom I had
even given the name of "Zelim," and who was a descendant of Ali,
outlawed, with all his followers, by the reigning Caliph) it was my
intention to shadow out, as I did afterwards in another form, the
national cause of Ireland. To quote the words of my letter to Lord Byron
on the subject:--"I chose this story because one writes best about what
one feels most, and I thought the parallel with Ireland would enable me
to infuse some vigour into my hero's character. But to aim at vigour and
strong feeling after _you_ is hopeless;--that region 'was made for

       *       *       *       *       *

At this time Lord Byron commenced a Journal, or Diary, from the pages of
which I have already selected a few extracts, and of which I shall now
lay as much more as is producible before the reader. Employed
chiefly,--as such a record, from its nature, must be,--about persons
still living, and occurrences still recent, it would be impossible, of
course, to submit it to the public eye, without the omission of some
portion of its contents, and unluckily, too, of that very portion which,
from its reference to the secret pursuits and feelings of the writer,
would the most livelily pique and gratify the curiosity of the reader.
Enough, however, will, I trust, still remain, even after all this
necessary winnowing, to enlarge still further the view we have here
opened into the interior of the poet's life and habits, and to indulge
harmlessly that taste, as general as it is natural, which leads us to
contemplate with pleasure a great mind in its undress, and to rejoice in
the discovery, so consoling to human pride, that even the mightiest, in
their moments of ease and weakness, resemble ourselves.[88]

[Footnote 88: "C'est surtout aux hommes qui sont hors de toute
comparaison par le génie qu'on aime à ressembler au moins par les


"If this had been begun ten years ago, and faithfully kept!!!--heigho!
there are too many things I wish never to have remembered, as it is.
Well,--have had my share of what are called the pleasures of this life,
and have seen more of the European and Asiatic world than I have made a
good use of. They say 'Virtue is its own reward,'--it certainly should
be paid well for its trouble. At five-and-twenty, when the better part
of life is over, one should be _something_;--and what am I? nothing but
five-and-twenty--and the odd months. What have I seen? the same man all
over the world,--ay, and woman too. Give _me_ a Mussulman who never asks
questions, and a she of the same race who saves one the trouble of
putting them. But for this same plague--yellow fever--and Newstead
delay, I should have been by this time a second time close to the
Euxine. If I can overcome the last, I don't so much mind your
pestilence; and, at any rate, the spring shall see me there,--provided I
neither marry myself, nor unmarry any one else in the interval. I wish
one was--I don't know what I wish. It is odd I never set myself
seriously to wishing without attaining it--and repenting. I begin to
believe with the good old Magi, that one should only pray for the
nation, and not for the individual;--but, on my principle, this would
not be very patriotic.

"No more reflections--Let me see--last night I finished 'Zuleika,' my
second Turkish Tale. I believe the composition of it kept me alive--for
it was written to drive my thoughts from the recollection of--

    'Dear sacred name, rest ever unreveal'd.'

At least, even here, my hand would tremble to write it. This afternoon I
have burnt the scenes of my commenced comedy. I have some idea of
expectorating a romance, or rather a tale in prose;--but what romance
could equal the events--

            'quæque ipse ...vidi,
    Et quorum pars magna fui.'

"To-day Henry Byron called on me with my little cousin Eliza. She will
grow up a beauty and a plague; but, in the mean time, it is the
prettiest child! dark eyes and eyelashes, black and long as the wing of
a raven. I think she is prettier even than my niece, Georgina,--yet I
don't like to think so neither; and though older, she is not so clever.

"Dallas called before I was up, so we did not meet. Lewis, too,--who
seems out of humour with every thing. What can be the matter? he is not
married--has he lost his own mistress, or any other person's wife?
Hodgson, too, came. He is going to be married, and he is the kind of man
who will be the happier. He has talent, cheerfulness, every thing that
can make him a pleasing companion; and his intended is handsome and
young, and all that. But I never see any one much improved by matrimony.
All my coupled contemporaries are bald and discontented. W. and S. have
both lost their hair and good humour; and the last of the two had a good
deal to lose. But it don't much signify what falls _off_ a man's temples
in that state.

"Mem. I must get a toy to-morrow, for Eliza, and send the device for the
seals of myself and * * * * * Mem. too, to call on the Staël and Lady
Holland to-morrow, and on * *, who has advised me (without seeing it, by
the by) not to publish 'Zuleika;' I believe he is right, but experience
might have taught him that not to print is _physically_ impossible. No
one has seen it but Hodgson and Mr. Gifford. I never in my life _read_ a
composition, save to Hodgson, as he pays me in kind. It is a horrible
thing to do too frequently;--better print, and they who like may read,
and if they don't like, you have the satisfaction of knowing that they
have, at least, _purchased_ the right of saying so.

"I have declined presenting the Debtors' Petition, being sick of
parliamentary mummeries. I have spoken thrice; but I doubt my ever
becoming an orator. My first was liked; the second and third--I don't
know whether they succeeded or not. I have never yet set to it _con
amore_;--one must have some excuse to one's self for laziness, or
inability, or both, and this is mine. 'Company, villanous company, hath
been the spoil of me;'--and then, I have 'drunk medicines,' not to make
me love others, but certainly enough to hate myself.

"Two nights ago I saw the tigers sup at Exeter 'Change. Except Veli
Pacha's lion in the Morea,--who followed the Arab keeper like a
dog,--the fondness of the hyæna for her keeper amused me most. Such a
conversazione!--There was a 'hippopotamus,' like Lord L----l in the
face; and the 'Ursine Sloth' hath the very voice and manner of my
valet--but the tiger talked too much. The elephant took and gave me my
money again--took off my hat--opened a door--_trunked_ a whip--and
behaved so well, that I wish he was my butler. The handsomest animal on
earth is one of the panthers; but the poor antelopes were dead. I should
hate to see one _here_:--the sight of the _camel_ made me pine again for
Asia Minor. 'Oh quando te aspiciam?'

"November 16.

"Went last night with Lewis to see the first of Antony and Cleopatra. It
was admirably got up, and well acted--a salad of Shakspeare and Dryden,
Cleopatra strikes me as the epitome of her sex--fond, lively, sad,
tender, teasing, humble, haughty, beautiful, the devil!--coquettish to
the last, as well with the 'asp' as with Antony. After doing all she can
to persuade him that--but why do they abuse him for cutting off that
poltroon Cicero's head? Did not Tully tell Brutus it was a pity to have
spared Antony? and did he not speak the Philippics? and are not '_words
things_?' and such '_words_' very pestilent '_things_' too? If he had
had a hundred heads, they deserved (from Antony) a rostrum (his was
stuck up there) apiece--though, after all, he might as well have
pardoned him, for the credit of the thing. But to resume--Cleopatra,
after securing him, says, 'yet go--it is your interest,' &c.--how like
the sex! and the questions about Octavia--it is woman all over.

"To-day received Lord Jersey's invitation to Middleton--to travel sixty
miles to meet Madame * *! I once travelled three thousand to get among
silent people; and this same lady writes octavos, and _talks_ folios. I
have read her books--like most of them, and delight in the last; so I
won't hear it, as well as read.

"Read Burns to-day. What would he have been, if a patrician? We should
have had more polish--less force--just as much verse, but no
immortality--a divorce and a duel or two, the which had he survived, as
his potations must have been less spirituous, he might have lived as
long as Sheridan, and outlived as much as poor Brinsley. What a wreck is
that man! and all from bad pilotage; for no one had ever better gales,
though now and then a little too squally. Poor dear Sherry! I shall
never forget the day he and Rogers and Moore and I passed together; when
_he_ talked, and _we_ listened, without one yawn, from six till one in
the morning.

"Got my seals * * * * * * Have again forgot a plaything for _ma petite
cousine_ Eliza; but I must send for it to-morrow. I hope Harry will
bring her to me. I sent Lord Holland the proofs of the last 'Giaour,'
and 'The Bride of Abydos.' He won't like the latter, and I don't think
that I shall long. It was written in four nights to distract my dreams
from * *. Were it not thus, it had never been composed; and had I not
done something at that time, I must have gone mad, by eating my own
heart,--bitter diet!--Hodgson likes it better than 'The Giaour,' but
nobody else will,--and he never liked the Fragment. I am sure, had it
not been for Murray, _that_ would never have been published, though the
circumstances which are the groundwork make it * * * heigh-ho!

"To-night I saw both the sisters of * *; my God! the youngest so like! I
thought I should have sprung across the house, and am so glad no one was
with me in Lady H.'s box. I hate those likenesses--the mock-bird, but
not the nightingale--so like as to remind, so different as to be
painful.[89] One quarrels equally with the points of resemblance and of

[Footnote 89:

    "Earth holds no other like to thee,
    Or, if it doth, in vain for me:
    For worlds I dare not view the dame
    Resembling thee, yet not the same."

"Nov. 17.

"No letter from * *; but I must not complain. The respectable Job says,
'Why should a _living man_ complain?' I really don't know, except it be
that a _dead man_ can't; and he, the said patriarch, _did_ complain,
nevertheless, till his friends were tired and his wife recommended that
pious prologue, 'Curse--and die;' the only time, I suppose, when but
little relief is to be found in swearing. I have had a most kind letter
from Lord Holland on 'The Bride of Abydos,' which he likes, and so does
Lady H. This is very good-natured in both, from whom I don't deserve any
quarter. Yet I _did_ think, at the time, that my cause of enmity
proceeded from Holland House, and am glad I was wrong, and wish I had
not been in such a hurry with that confounded satire, of which I would
suppress even the memory;--but people, now they can't get it, make a
fuss, I verily believe, out of contradiction.

"George Ellis and Murray have been talking something about Scott and me,
George pro Scoto,--and very right too. If they want to depose him, I
only wish they would not set me up as a competitor. Even if I had my
choice, I would rather be the Earl of Warwick than all the _kings_ he
ever made! Jeffrey and Gifford I take to be the monarch-makers in poetry
and prose. The British Critic, in their Rokeby Review, have presupposed
a comparison, which I am sure my friends never thought of, and W.
Scott's subjects are injudicious in descending to. I like the man--and
admire his works to what Mr. Braham calls _Entusymusy_. All such stuff
can only vex him, and do me no good. Many hate his politics--(I hate all
politics); and, here, a man's politics are like the Greek _soul_--an
[Greek: eidôlon], besides God knows what _other soul_; but their
estimate of the two generally go together.

"Harry has not brought _ma petite cousine_. I want us to go to the play
together;--she has been but once. Another short note from Jersey,
inviting Rogers and me on the 23d. I must see my agent to-night. I
wonder when that Newstead business will be finished. It cost me more
than words to part with it--and to _have_ parted with it! What matters
it what I do? or what becomes of me?--but let me remember Job's saying,
and console myself with being 'a living man.'

"I wish I could settle to reading again,--my life is monotonous, and yet
desultory. I take up books, and fling them down again. I began a comedy,
and burnt it because the scene ran into _reality_;--a novel, for the
same reason. In rhyme, I can keep more away from facts; but the thought
always runs through, through ... yes, yes, through. I have had a letter
from Lady Melbourne--the best friend I ever had in my life, and the
cleverest of women.

"Not a word from * *. Have they set out from * *? or has my last
precious epistle fallen into the lion's jaws? If so--and this silence
looks suspicious, I must clap on my 'musty morion' and 'hold out my
iron.' I am out of practice--but I won't begin again at Manton's now.
Besides, I would not return his shot. I was once a famous
wafer-splitter; but then the bullies of society made it necessary. Ever
since I began to feel that I had a bad cause to support, I have left off
the exercise.

"What strange tidings from that Anakim of anarchy--Buonaparte! Ever
since I defended my bust of him at Harrow against the rascally
time-servers, when the war broke out in 1803, he has been a 'Héros de
Roman' of mine--on the Continent; I don't want him here. But I don't
like those same flights--leaving of armies, &c. &c. I am sure when I
fought for his bust at school, I did not think he would run away from
himself. But I should not wonder if he banged them yet. To be beat by
men would be something; but by three stupid, legitimate-old-dynasty
boobies of regular-bred sovereigns--O-hone-a-rie!--O-hone-a-rie! It must
be, as Cobbett says, his marriage with the thick-lipped and thick-headed
_Autrichienne_ brood. He had better have kept to her who was kept by
Barras. I never knew any good come of your young wife, and legal
espousals, to any but your 'sober-blooded boy' who 'eats fish' and
drinketh 'no sack.' Had he not the whole opera? all Paris? all France?
But a mistress is just as perplexing--that is, _one_--two or more are
manageable by division.

"I have begun, or had begun, a song, and flung it into the fire. It was
in remembrance of Mary Duff, my first of flames, before most people
begin to burn. I wonder what the devil is the matter with me! I can do
nothing, and--fortunately there is nothing to do. It has lately been in
my power to make two persons (and their connections) comfortable, _pro
tempore_, and one happy, _ex tempore_,--I rejoice in the last
particularly, as it is an excellent man[90]. I wish there had been more
inconvenience and less gratification to my self-love in it, for then
there had been more merit. We are all selfish--and I believe, ye gods of
Epicurus! I believe in Rochefoucault about _men_, and in Lucretius (not
Busby's translation) about yourselves. Your bard has made you very
_nonchalant_ and blest; but as he has excused _us_ from damnation, I
don't envy you your blessedness _much_--a little, to be sure. I
remember, last year, * * said to me, at * *, 'Have we not passed our
last month like the gods of Lucretius?' And so we had. She is an adept
in the text of the original (which I like too); and when that booby Bus.
sent his translating prospectus, she subscribed. But, the devil
prompting him to add a specimen, she transmitted him a subsequent
answer, saying, that 'after perusing it, her conscience would not permit
her to allow her name to remain on the list of subscribblers.' Last
night, at Lord H.'s--Mackintosh, the Ossulstones, Puységur, &c. there--I
was trying to recollect a quotation (as _I_ think) of Staël's, from some
Teutonic sophist about architecture. 'Architecture,' says this
Macoronico Tedescho, 'reminds me of frozen music.' It is somewhere--but
where?--the demon of perplexity must know and won't tell. I asked M.,
and he said it was not in her: but P----r said it must be _hers_, it was
so _like_. H. laughed, as he does at all 'De l'Allemagne,'--in which,
however, I think he goes a little too far. B., I hear, condemns it too.
But there are fine passages;--and, after all, what is a work--any--or
every work--but a desert with fountains, and, perhaps, a grove or two,
every day's journey? To be sure, in Madame, what we often mistake, and
'pant for,' as the 'cooling stream,' turns out to be the '_mirage_'
(criticè _verbiage_); but we do, at last, get to something like the
temple of Jove Ammon, and then the waste we have passed is only
remembered to gladden the contrast.

"Called on C * *, to explain * * *. She is very beautiful, to my taste,
at least; for on coming home from abroad, I recollect being unable to
look at any woman but her--they were so fair, and unmeaning, and
_blonde_. The darkness and regularity of her features reminded me of my
'Jannat al Aden.' But this impression wore off; and now I can look at a
fair woman, without longing for a Houri. She was very good-tempered, and
every thing was explained.

"To-day, great news--'the Dutch have taken Holland,'--which, I suppose,
will be succeeded by the actual explosion of the Thames. Five provinces
have declared for young Stadt, and there will be inundation,
conflagration, constupration, consternation, and every sort of nation
and nations, fighting away, up to their knees, in the damnable quags of
this will-o'-the-wisp abode of Boors. It is said Bernadotte is amongst
them, too; and, as Orange will be there soon, they will have (Crown)
Prince Stork and King Log in their Loggery at the same time. Two to one
on the new dynasty!

"Mr. Murray has offered me one thousand guineas for 'The Giaour' and
'The Bride of Abydos.' I won't--it is too much, though I am strongly
tempted, merely for the _say_ of it. No bad price for a fortnight's (a
week each) what?--the gods know--it was intended to be called poetry.

"I have dined regularly to-day, for the first time since Sunday
last--this being Sabbath, too. All the rest, tea and dry biscuits--six
_per diem_, I wish to God I had not dined now!--It kills me with
heaviness, stupor, and horrible dreams;--and yet it was but a pint of
bucellas, and fish.[91] Meat I never touch,--nor much vegetable diet. I
wish I were in the country, to take exercise,--instead of being obliged
to cool by abstinence, in lieu of it. I should not so much mind a little
accession of flesh,--my bones can well bear it. But the worst is, the
devil always came with it,--till I starved him out,--and I will _not_ be
the slave of _any_ appetite. If I do err, it shall be my heart, at
least, that heralds the way. Oh, my head--how it aches?--the horrors of
digestion! I wonder how Buonaparte's dinner agrees with him?

"Mem. I must write to-morrow to 'Master Shallow, who owes me a thousand
pounds,' and seems, in his letter, afraid I should ask him for
it[92];--as if I would!--I don't want it (just now, at least,) to begin
with; and though I have often wanted that sum, I never asked for the
repayment of 10_l._ in my life--from a friend. His bond is not due this
year, and I told him when it was, I should not enforce it. How often
must he make me say the same thing?

"I am wrong--I did once ask * * * [93] to repay me. But it was under
circumstances that excused me _to him_, and would to any one. I took no
interest, nor required security. He paid me soon,--at least, his
_padre_. My head! I believe it was given me to ache with. Good even.

[Footnote 90: Evidently, Mr. Hodgson.]

[Footnote 91: He had this year so far departed from his strict plan of
diet as to eat fish occasionally.]

[Footnote 92: We have here another instance, in addition to the
munificent aid afforded to Mr. Hodgson, of the generous readiness of the
poet, notwithstanding his own limited means, to make the resources he
possessed available for the assistance of his friends.]

[Footnote 93: Left blank thus in the original.]

"Nov. 22. 1813.

"'Orange Boven!' So the bees have expelled the bear that broke open
their hive. Well,--if we are to have new De Witts and De Ruyters, God
speed the little republic! I should like to see the Hague and the
village of Brock, where they have such primitive habits. Yet, I don't
know,--their canals would cut a poor figure by the memory of the
Bosphorus; and the Zuyder Zee look awkwardly after 'Ak-Denizi.' No
matter,--the bluff burghers, puffing freedom out of their short
tobacco-pipes, might be worth seeing; though I prefer a cigar or a
hooka, with the rose-leaf mixed with the milder herb of the Levant. I
don't know what liberty means,--never having seen it,--but wealth is
power all over the world; and as a shilling performs the duty of a pound
(besides sun and sky and beauty for nothing) in the East,--_that_ is the
country. How I envy Herodes Atticus!--more than Pomponius. And yet a
little _tumult_, now and then, is an agreeable quickener of sensation;
such as a revolution, a battle, or an _aventure_ of any lively
description. I think I rather would have been Bonneval, Ripperda,
Alberoni, Hayreddin, or Horuc Barbarossa, or even Wortley Montague, than
Mahomet himself.

"Rogers will be in town soon?--the 23d is fixed for our Middleton visit.
Shall I go? umph!--In this island, where one can't ride out without
overtaking the sea, it don't much matter where one goes.

"I remember the effect of the _first_ Edinburgh Review on me. I heard of
it six weeks before,--read it the day of its denunciation,--dined and
drank three bottles of claret, (with S.B. Davies, I think,) neither ate
nor slept the less, but, nevertheless, was not easy till I had vented my
wrath and my rhyme, in the same pages, against every thing and every
body. Like George, in the Vicar of Wakefield, 'the fate of my paradoxes'
would allow me to perceive no merit in another. I remembered only the
maxim of my boxing-master, which, in my youth, was found useful in all
general riots,--'Whoever is not for you is against you--_mill_ away
right and left,' and so I did;--like Ishmael, my hand was against all
men, and all men's anent me. I did wonder, to be sure, at my own

    "'And marvels so much wit is all his own,'

as Hobhouse sarcastically says of somebody (not unlikely myself, as we
are old friends);--but were it to come over again, I would _not_. I have
since redde[94] the cause of my couplets, and it is not adequate to the
effect. C * * told me that it was believed I alluded to poor Lord
Carlisle's nervous disorder in one of the lines. I thank Heaven I did
not know it--and would not, could not, if I had. I must naturally be the
last person to be pointed on defects or maladies.

"Rogers is silent,--and, it is said, severe. When he does talk, he talks
well; and, on all subjects of taste, his delicacy of expression is pure
as his poetry. If you enter his house--his drawing-room--his
library--you of yourself say, this is not the dwelling of a common mind.
There is not a gem, a coin, a book thrown aside on his chimney-piece,
his sofa, his table, that does not bespeak an almost fastidious elegance
in the possessor. But this very delicacy must be the misery of his
existence. Oh the jarrings his disposition must have encountered through

"Southey, I have not seen much of. His appearance is _Epic_; and he is
the only existing entire man of letters. All the others have some
pursuit annexed to their authorship. His manners are mild, but not
those of a man of the world, and his talents of the first order. His
prose is perfect. Of his poetry there are various opinions: there is,
perhaps, too much of it for the present generation;--posterity will
probably select. He has passages equal to any thing. At present, he has
a party, but no public--except for his prose writings. The life of
Nelson is beautiful.

"* * is a _Littérateur_, the Oracle of the Coteries, of the * * s, L * W
* (Sydney Smith's 'Tory Virgin'), Mrs. Wilmot, (she, at least, is a
swan, and might frequent a purer stream,) Lady B * *, and all the Blues,
with Lady C * * at their head--but I say nothing of _her_--'look in her
face and you forget them all,' and every thing else. Oh that face!--by
'te, Diva potens Cypri,' I would, to be beloved by that woman, build and
burn another Troy.

"M * * e has a peculiarity of talent, or rather talents,--poetry, music,
voice, all his own; and an expression in each, which never was, nor will
be, possessed by another. But he is capable of still higher flights in
poetry. By the by, what humour, what--every thing, in the 'Post-Bag!'
There is nothing M * * e may not do, if he will but seriously set about
it. In society, he is gentlemanly, gentle, and, altogether, more
pleasing than any individual with whom I am acquainted. For his honour,
principle, and independence, his conduct to * * * * speaks
'trumpet-tongued.' He has but one fault--and that one I daily regret--he
is not _here_.

[Footnote 94: It was thus that he, in general, spelled this word.]

"Nov. 23.

"Ward--I like Ward.[95] By Mahomet! I begin to think I like every
body;--a disposition not to be encouraged;--a sort of social gluttony
that swallows every thing set before it. But I like Ward. He is
_piquant_; and, in my opinion, will stand _very_ high in the House, and
every where else, if he applies regularly. By the by, I dine with him
to-morrow, which may have some influence on my opinion. It is as well
not to trust one's gratitude _after_ dinner. I have heard many a host
libelled by his guests, with his burgundy yet reeking on their rascally

"I have taken Lord Salisbury's box at Covent Garden for the season; and
now I must go and prepare to join Lady Holland and party, in theirs, at
Drury Lane, _questa sera_.

"Holland doesn't think the man _is Junius_; but that the yet unpublished
journal throws great light on the obscurities of that part of George the
Second's reign--What is this to George the Third's? I don't know what to
think. Why should Junius be yet dead? If suddenly apoplexed, would he
rest in his grave without sending his [Greek: eidôlon] to shout in the
ears of posterity, 'Junius was X.Y.Z., Esq., buried in the parish of * *
*. Repair his monument, ye churchwardens! Print a new edition of his
Letters, ye booksellers!' Impossible,--the man must be alive, and will
never die without the disclosure. I like him;--he was a good hater.

"Came home unwell and went to bed,--not so sleepy as might be desirable.

[Footnote 95: The present Lord Dudley.]

"Tuesday morning.

"I awoke from a dream!--well! and have not others dreamed?--Such a
dream!--but she did not overtake me. I wish the dead would rest,
however. Ugh! how my blood chilled--and I could not wake

                          "'Shadows to-night
    Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard,
    Than could the substance of ten thousand * * s,
    Arm'd all in proof, and led by shallow * *.'

I do not like this dream,--I hate its 'foregone conclusion.' And am I to
be shaken by shadows? Ay, when they remind us of--no matter--but, if I
dream thus again, I will try whether _all_ sleep has the like visions.
Since I rose, I've been in considerable bodily pain also; but it is
gone, and now, like Lord Ogleby, I am wound up for the day.

"A note from Mountnorris--I dine with Ward;--Canning is to be there,
Frere and Sharpe,--perhaps Gifford. I am to be one of 'the five' (or
rather six), as Lady * * said a little sneeringly yesterday. They are
all good to meet, particularly Canning, and--Ward, when he likes. I wish
I may be well enough to listen to these intellectuals.

"No letters to-day;--so much the better,--there are no answers. I must
not dream again;--it spoils even reality. I will go out of doors, and
see what the fog will do for me. Jackson has been here: the boxing
world much as usual;--but the club increases. I shall dine at Crib's
to-morrow. I like energy--even animal energy--of all kinds; and I have
need of both mental and corporeal. I have not dined out, nor, indeed,
_at all_, lately; have heard no music--have seen nobody. Now for a
_plunge_--high life and low life. 'Amant _alterna_ Camoenæ!'

"I have burnt my _Roman_--as I did the first scenes and sketch of my
comedy--and, for aught I see, the pleasure of burning is quite as great
as that of printing. These two last would not have done. I ran into
realities more than ever; and some would have been recognised and others
guessed at.

"Redde the Ruminator--a collection of Essays, by a strange, but able,
old man (Sir E.B.), and a half-wild young one, author of a poem on the
Highlands, called 'Childe Alarique.' The word 'sensibility' (always my
aversion) occurs a thousand times in these Essays; and, it seems, is to
be an excuse for all kinds of discontent. This young man can know
nothing of life; and, if he cherishes the disposition which runs through
his papers, will become useless, and, perhaps, not even a poet, after
all, which he seems determined to be. God help him! no one should be a
rhymer who could be any thing better. And this is what annoys one, to
see Scott and Moore, and Campbell and Rogers, who might have all been
agents and leaders, now mere spectators. For, though they may have other
ostensible avocations, these last are reduced to a secondary
consideration. * *, too, frittering away his time among dowagers and
unmarried girls. If it advanced any _serious_ affair, it were some
excuse; but, with the unmarried, that is a hazardous speculation, and
tiresome enough, too; and, with the veterans, it is not much worth
trying, unless, perhaps, one in a thousand.

"If I had any views in this country, they would probably be
parliamentary. But I have no ambition; at least, if any, it would be
'aut Cæsar aut nihil.' My hopes are limited to the arrangement of my
affairs, and settling either in Italy or the East (rather the last), and
drinking deep of the languages and literature of both. Past events have
unnerved me; and all I can now do is to make life an amusement, and look
on while others play. After all, even the highest game of crowns and
sceptres, what is it? _Vide_ Napoleon's last twelve-month. It has
completely upset my system of fatalism. I thought, if crushed, he would
have fallen, when 'fractus illabitur orbis,' and not have been pared
away to gradual insignificance; that all this was not a mere _jeu_ of
the gods, but a prelude to greater changes and mightier events. But men
never advance beyond a certain point; and here we are, retrograding to
the dull, stupid old system,--balance of Europe--poising straws upon
kings' noses, instead of wringing them off! Give me a republic, or a
despotism of one, rather than the mixed government of one, two, three. A
republic!--look in the history of the Earth--Rome, Greece, Venice,
France, Holland, America, our short (eheu!) Commonwealth, and compare
it with what they did under masters. The Asiatics are not qualified to
be republicans, but they have the liberty of demolishing despots, which
is the next thing to it. To be the first man--not the Dictator--not the
Sylla, but the Washington or the Aristides--the leader in talent and
truth--is next to the Divinity! Franklin, Penn, and, next to these,
either Brutus or Cassius--even Mirabeau--or St. Just. I shall never be
any thing, or rather always be nothing. The most I can hope is, that
some will say, 'He might, perhaps, if he would.'

"12, midnight.

"Here are two confounded proofs from the printer. I have looked at the
one, but for the soul of me, I can't look over that 'Giaour' again,--at
least, just now, and at this hour--and yet there is no moon.

"Ward talks of going to Holland, and we have partly discussed an
ensemble expedition. It must be in ten days, if at all, if we wish to be
in at the Revolution. And why not? * * is distant, and will be at * *,
still more distant, till spring. No one else, except Augusta, cares for
me; no ties--no trammels--_andiamo dunque--se torniamo, bene--se non,
ch' importa_? Old William of Orange talked of dying in 'the last ditch'
of his dingy country. It is lucky I can swim, or I suppose I should not
well weather the first. But let us see. I have heard hyænas and jackalls
in the ruins of Asia; and bull-frogs in the marshes; besides wolves and
angry Mussulmans. Now, I should like to listen to the shout of a free

"Alla! Viva! For ever! Hourra! Huzza!--which is the most rational or
musical of these cries? 'Orange Boven,' according to the Morning Post.

"Wednesday, 24.

"No dreams last night of the dead nor the living, so--I am 'firm as the
marble, founded as the rock,' till the next earthquake.

"Ward's dinner went off well. There was not a disagreeable person
there--unless _I_ offended any body, which I am sure I could not by
contradiction, for I said little, and opposed nothing. Sharpe (a man of
elegant mind, and who has lived much with the best--Fox, Horne Tooke,
Windham, Fitzpatrick, and all the agitators of other times and tongues,)
told us the particulars of his last interview with Windham, a few days
before the fatal operation which sent 'that gallant spirit to aspire the
skies.' Windham,--the first in one department of oratory and talent,
whose only fault was his refinement beyond the intellect of half his
hearers,--Windham, half his life an active participator in the events of
the earth, and one of those who governed nations,--_he_ regretted, and
dwelt much on that regret, that 'he had not entirely devoted himself to
literature and science!!!' His mind certainly would have carried him to
eminence there, as elsewhere;--but I cannot comprehend what debility of
that mind could suggest such a wish. I, who have heard him, cannot
regret any thing but that I shall never hear him again. What! would he
have been a plodder? a metaphysician?--perhaps a rhymer? a scribbler?
Such an exchange must have been suggested by illness. But he is gone,
and Time 'shall not look upon his like again.'

"I am tremendously in arrear with my letters,--except to * *, and to her
my thoughts overpower me:--my words never compass them. To Lady
Melbourne I write with most pleasure--and her answers, so sensible, so
_tactique_--I never met with half her talent. If she had been a few
years younger, what a fool she would have made of me, had she thought it
worth her while,--and I should have lost a valuable and most agreeable
friend. Mem. a mistress never is nor can be a friend. While you agree,
you are lovers; and, when it is over, any thing but friends.

"I have not answered W. Scott's last letter,--but I will. I regret to
hear from others that he has lately been unfortunate in pecuniary
involvements. He is undoubtedly the Monarch of Parnassus, and the most
_English_ of bards. I should place Rogers next in the living list (I
value him more as the last of the best school)--Moore and Campbell both
_third_--Southey and Wordsworth and Coleridge--the rest, [Greek: hoi

                   W. SCOTT
                     /  \
                    /    \
                   /      \
                  / ROGERS.\
                /            \
               /              \
              /                \
             / MOORE.--CAMPBELL.\
           /                      \
          /                        \
         /                          \
        /                            \
       /                              \
      /                                \
   /                                      \
  /               THE MANY.                \
 /                                          \

There is a triangular 'Gradus ad Parnassum!'--the names are too numerous
for the base of the triangle. Poor Thurlow has gone wild about the
poetry of Queen Bess's reign--_c'est dommage_. I have ranked the names
upon my triangle more upon what I believe popular opinion, than any
decided opinion of my own. For, to me, some of M * * e's last _Erin_
sparks--'As a beam o'er the face of the waters'--'When he who adores
thee'--'Oh blame not'--and 'Oh breathe not his name'--are worth all the
Epics that ever were composed.

"* * thinks the Quarterly will attack me next. Let them. I have been
'peppered so highly' in my time, both ways, that it must be cayenne or
aloes to make me taste. I can sincerely say that I am not very much
alive _now_ to criticism. But--in tracing this--I rather believe, that
it proceeds from my not attaching that importance to authorship which
many do, and which, when young, I did also. 'One gets tired of every
thing, my angel,' says Valmont. The 'angels' are the only things of
which I am not a little sick--but I do think the preference of _writers_
to _agents_--the mighty stir made about scribbling and scribes, by
themselves and others--a sign of effeminacy, degeneracy, and
weakness. Who would write, who had any thing better to do?
'Action--action--action'--said Demosthenes: 'Actions--actions,' I say,
and not writing,--least of all, rhyme. Look at the querulous and
monotonous lives of the 'genus;'--except Cervantes, Tasso, Dante,
Ariosto, Kleist (who were brave and active citizens), Aeschylus,
Sophocles, and some other of the antiques also--what a worthless, idle
brood it is!

"12, Mezza notte.

"Just returned from dinner with Jackson (the Emperor of Pugilism) and
another of the select, at Crib's the champion's. I drank more than I
like, and have brought away some three bottles of very fair claret--for
I have no headach. We had Tom * * up after dinner;--very facetious,
though somewhat prolix. He don't like his situation--wants to fight
again--pray Pollux (or Castor, if he was the _miller_) he may! Tom has
been a sailor--a coal heaver--and some other genteel profession, before
he took to the cestus. Tom has been in action at sea, and is now only
three-and-thirty. A great man! has a wife and a mistress, and
conversations well--bating some sad omissions and misapplications of
the aspirate. Tom is an old friend of mine; I have seen some of his best
battles in my nonage. He is now a publican, and, I fear, a sinner;--for
Mrs. * * is on alimony, and * *'s daughter lives with the champion.
_This_ * * told me,--Tom, having an opinion of my morals, passed her off
as a legal spouse. Talking of her, he said, 'she was the truest of
women'--from which I immediately inferred she could not be his wife, and
so it turned out.

"These panegyrics don't belong to matrimony;--for, if 'true,' a man
don't think it necessary to say so; and if not, the less he says the
better. * * * * is the only man, except * * * *, I ever heard harangue
upon his wife's virtue; and I listened to both with great credence and
patience, and stuffed my handkerchief into my mouth, when I found
yawning irresistible.--By the by, I am yawning now--so, good night to
thee.--[Greek: Nôhairôn].

"Thursday, November 26.

"Awoke a little feverish, but no headach--no dreams neither, thanks to
stupor! Two letters; one from * * * *'s, the other from Lady
Melbourne--both excellent in their respective styles. * * * *'s
contained also a very pretty lyric on 'concealed griefs;' if not her
own, yet very like her. Why did she not say that the stanzas were, or
were not, of her composition? I do not know whether to wish them hers or
not. I have no great esteem for poetical persons, particularly women;
they have so much of the 'ideal' in _practics_, as well as _ethics_.

"I have been thinking lately a good deal of Mary Duff, &c. &c. &c.

"Lord Holland invited me to dinner to-day; but three days' dining would
destroy me. So, without eating at all since yesterday, I went to my box
at Covent Garden.

"Saw * * * * looking very pretty, though quite a different style of
beauty from the other two. She has the finest eyes in the world, out of
which she pretends _not_ to see, and the longest eyelashes I ever saw,
since Leila's and Phannio's Moslem curtains of the light. She has much
beauty,--just enough,--but is, I think, _méchante_.

"I have been pondering on the miseries of separation, that--oh how
seldom we see those we love! yet we live ages in moments, _when met_.
The only thing that consoles me during absence is the reflection that no
mental or personal estrangement, from ennui or disagreement, can take
place; and when people meet hereafter, even though many changes may have
taken place in the mean time, still, unless they are _tired_ of each
other, they are ready to reunite, and do not blame each other for the
circumstances that severed them.

[Footnote 96: This passage has been already extracted.]

"Saturday 27. (I believe--or rather am in _doubt_, which is the ne plus
ultra of mortal faith.)

"I have missed a day; and, as the Irishman said, or Joe Miller says for
him, 'have gained a loss,' or _by_ the loss. Every thing is settled for
Holland, and nothing but a cough, or a caprice of my fellow-traveller's,
can stop us. Carriage ordered, funds prepared, and, probably, a gale of
wind into the bargain. _N'importe_--I believe, with Clym o' the Clow, or
Robin Hood, 'By our Mary, (dear name!) that art both Mother and May, I
think it never was a man's lot to die before this day.' Heigh for
Helvoetsluys, and so forth!

"To-night I went with young Henry Fox to see 'Nourjahad,' a drama, which
the Morning Post hath laid to my charge, but of which I cannot even
guess the author. I wonder what they will next inflict upon me. They
cannot well sink below a melodrama; but that is better than a Satire,
(at least, a personal one,) with which I stand truly arraigned, and in
atonement of which I am resolved to bear silently all criticisms,
abuses, and even praises, for bad pantomimes never composed by me,
without even a contradictory aspect. I suppose the root of this report
is my loan to the manager of my Turkish drawings for his dresses, to
which he was more welcome than to my name. I suppose the real author
will soon own it, as it has succeeded; if not, Job be my model, and
Lethe my beverage!

"* * * * has received the portrait safe; and, in answer, the only remark
she makes upon it is, 'indeed it is like'--and again, 'indeed it is
like.' With her the likeness 'covered a multitude of sins;' for I happen
to know that this portrait was not a flatterer, but dark and
stern,--even black as the mood in which my mind was scorching last July,
when I sat for it. All the others of me, like most portraits
whatsoever, are, of course, more agreeable than nature.

"Redde the Ed. Review of Rogers. He is ranked highly; but where he
should be. There is a summary view of us all--_Moore_ and _me_ among the
rest; and both (the _first_ justly) praised--though, by implication
(justly again) placed beneath our memorable friend. Mackintosh is the
writer, and also of the critique on the Staël. His grand essay on Burke,
I hear, is for the next number. But I know nothing of the Edinburgh, or
of any other Review, but from rumour; and I have long ceased--indeed, I
could not, in justice, complain of any, even though I were to rate
poetry, in general, and my rhymes in particular, more highly than I
really do. To withdraw _myself_ from _myself_ (oh that cursed
selfishness!) has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive in
scribbling at all; and publishing is also the continuance of the same
object, by the action it affords to the mind, which else recoils upon
itself. If I valued fame, I should flatter received opinions, which have
gathered strength by time, and will yet wear longer than any living
works to the contrary. But, for the soul of me, I cannot and will not
give the lie to my own thoughts and doubts, come what may. If I am a
fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty
of his self-approved wisdom.

"All are inclined to believe what they covet, from a lottery-ticket up
to a passport to Paradise,--in which, from the description, I see
nothing very tempting. My restlessness tells me I have something within
that 'passeth show.' It is for Him, who made it, to prolong that spark
of celestial fire which illuminates, yet burns, this frail tenement; but
I see no such horror in a 'dreamless sleep,' and I have no conception of
any existence which duration would not render tiresome. How else 'fell
the angels,' even according to your creed? They were immortal, heavenly,
and happy as their _apostate_ _Abdiel_ is now by his treachery. Time
must decide; and eternity won't be the less agreeable or more horrible
because one did not expect it. In the mean time, I am grateful for some
good, and tolerably patient under certain evils--grace à Dieu et mon bon

"Sunday, 28th.


"Monday, 29th.


"Tuesday, 30th.

"Two days missed in my log-book;--hiatus _haud_ deflendus. They were as
little worth recollection as the rest; and, luckily, laziness or society
prevented me from _notching_ them.

"Sunday, I dined with the Lord Holland in St. James's Square. Large
party--among them Sir S. Romilly and Lady Ry.--General Sir Somebody
Bentham, a man of science and talent, I am told--Horner--_the_ Horner,
an Edinburgh Reviewer, an excellent speaker in the 'Honourable House,'
very pleasing, too, and gentlemanly in company, as far as I have
seen--Sharpe--Phillips of Lancashire--Lord John Russell, and others,
'good men and true.' Holland's society is very good; you always see some
one or other in it worth knowing. Stuffed myself with sturgeon, and
exceeded in champagne and wine in general, but not to confusion of head.
When I _do_ dine, I gorge like an Arab or a Boa snake, on fish and
vegetables, but no meat. I am always better, however, on my tea and
biscuit than any other regimen, and even _that_ sparingly.

"Why does Lady H. always have that damned screen between the whole room
and the fire? I, who bear cold no better than an antelope, and never yet
found a sun quite _done_ to my taste, was absolutely petrified, and
could not even shiver. All the rest, too, looked as if they were just
unpacked, like salmon from an ice-basket, and set down to table for that
day only. When she retired, I watched their looks as I dismissed the
screen, and every cheek thawed, and every nose reddened with the
anticipated glow.

"Saturday, I went with Harry Fox to Nourjahad; and, I believe, convinced
him, by incessant yawning, that it was not mine. I wish the precious
author would own it, and release me from his fame. The dresses are
pretty, but not in costume;--Mrs. Horn's, all but the turban, and the
want of a small dagger (if she is a sultana), _perfect_. I never saw a
Turkish woman with a turban in my life--nor did any one else. The
sultanas have a small poniard at the waist. The dialogue is drowsy--the
action heavy--the scenery fine--the actors tolerable. I can't say much
for their seraglio--Teresa, Phannio, or * * * *, were worth them all.

"Sunday, a very handsome note from Mackintosh, who is a rare instance of
the union of very transcendent talent and great good nature. To-day
(Tuesday) a very pretty billet from M. la Baronne de Staël Holstein. She
is pleased to be much pleased with my mention of her and her last work
in my notes. I spoke as I thought. Her works are my delight, and so is
she herself, for--half an hour. I don't like her politics--at least, her
_having changed_ them; had she been _qualis ab incepto_, it were
nothing. But she is a woman by herself, and has done more than all the
rest of them together, intellectually;--she ought to have been a man.
She _flatters_ me very prettily in her note;--but I _know_ it. The
reason that adulation is not displeasing is, that, though untrue, it
shows one to be of consequence enough, in one way or other, to induce
people to lie, to make us their friend:--that is their concern.

"* * is, I hear, thriving on the repute of a pun which was mine (at
Mackintosh's dinner some time back), on Ward, who was asking 'how much
it would take to _re-whig_ him?' I answered that, probably, 'he must
first, before he was _re-whigged_, be re-_warded_.' This foolish
quibble, before the Staël and Mackintosh, and a number of
conversationers, has been mouthed about, and at last settled on the head
of * *, where long may it remain!

"George[97] is returned from afloat to get a new ship. He looks thin,
but better than I expected. I like George much more than most people
like their heirs. He is a fine fellow, and every inch a sailor. I would
do any thing, _but apostatise_, to get him on in his profession.

"Lewis called. It is a good and good-humoured man, but pestilently
prolix and paradoxical and _personal_. If he would but talk half, and
reduce his visits to an hour, he would add to his popularity. As an
author he is very good, and his vanity is _ouverte_, like Erskine's, and
yet not offending.

"Yesterday, a very pretty letter from Annabella[98], which I answered.
What an odd situation and friendship is ours!--without one spark of love
on either side, and produced by circumstances which in general lead to
coldness on one side, and aversion on the other. She is a very superior
woman, and very little spoiled, which is strange in an heiress--girl of
twenty--a peeress that is to be, in her own right--an only child, and a
_savante_, who has always had her own way. She is a poetess--a
mathematician--a metaphysician, and yet, withal, very kind, generous,
and gentle, with very little pretension. Any other head would be turned
with half her acquisitions, and a tenth of her advantages.

[Footnote 97: His cousin, the present Lord Byron.]

[Footnote 98: Miss Milbanke, afterwards Lady Byron.]

"Wednesday, December 1. 1813.

"To-day responded to La Baronne de Staël Holstein, and sent to Leigh
Hunt (an acquisition to my acquaintance--through Moore--of last summer)
a copy of the two Turkish tales. Hunt is an extraordinary character, and
not exactly of the present age. He reminds me more of the Pym and
Hampden times--much talent, great independence of spirit, and an
austere, yet not repulsive, aspect. If he goes on _qualis ab incepto_, I
know few men who will deserve more praise or obtain it. I must go and
see him again;--the rapid succession of adventure, since last summer,
added to some serious uneasiness and business, have interrupted our
acquaintance; but he is a man worth knowing; and though, for his own
sake, I wish him out of prison, I like to study character in such
situations. He has been unshaken, and will continue so. I don't think
him deeply versed in life;--he is the bigot of virtue (not religion),
and enamoured of the beauty of that 'empty name,' as the last breath of
Brutus pronounced, and every day proves it. He is, perhaps, a little
opiniated, as all men who are the _centre_ of _circles_, wide or
narrow--the Sir Oracles, in whose name two or three are gathered
together--must be, and as even Johnson was; but, withal, a valuable man,
and less vain than success and even the consciousness of preferring 'the
right to the expedient' might excuse.

"To-morrow there is a party of _purple_ at the 'blue' Miss * * *'s.
Shall I go? um!--I don't much affect your blue-bottles;--but one ought
to be civil. There will be, 'I guess now' (as the Americans say), the
Staëls and Mackintoshes--good--the * * * s and * * * s--not so good--the
* * * s, &c. &c.--good for nothing. Perhaps that blue-winged Kashmirian
butterfly of book-learning, Lady * * * *, will be there. I hope so; it
is a pleasure to look upon that most beautiful of faces.

"Wrote to H.:--he has been telling that I ----[99]. I am sure, at
least, _I_ did not mention it, and I wish he had not. He is a good
fellow, and I obliged myself ten times more by being of use than I did
him,--and there's an end on 't.

"Baldwin is boring me to present their King's Bench petition. I
presented Cartwright's last year; and Stanhope and I stood against the
whole House, and mouthed it valiantly--and had some fun and a little
abuse for our opposition. But 'I am not i' th' vein' for this business.
Now, had * * been here, she would have _made_ me do it. _There_ is a
woman, who, amid all her fascination, always urged a man to usefulness
or glory. Had she remained, she had been my tutelar genius.

"Baldwin is very importunate--but, poor fellow, 'I can't get out, I
can't get out--said the starling.' Ah, I am as bad as that dog Sterne,
who preferred whining over 'a dead ass to relieving a living
mother'--villain--hypocrite--slave--sycophant! but _I_ am no better.
Here I cannot stimulate myself to a speech for the sake of these
unfortunates, and three words and half a smile of * * had she been here
to urge it, (and urge it she infallibly would--at least she always
pressed me on senatorial duties, and particularly in the cause of
weakness,) would have made me an advocate, if not an orator. Curse on
Rochefoucault for being always right! In him a lie were virtue,--or, at
least, a comfort to his readers.

"George Byron has not called to-day; I hope he will be an admiral, and,
perhaps, Lord Byron into the bargain. If he would but marry, I would
engage never to marry myself, or cut him out of the heirship. He would
be happier, and I should like nephews better than sons.

"I shall soon be six-and-twenty (January 22d, 1814). Is there any thing
in the future that can possibly console us for not being always

                  "Oh Gioventu!
    Oh Primavera! gioventu dell' anno.
    Oh Gioventu! primavera della vita.

[Footnote 99: Two or three words are here scratched out in the
manuscript, but the import of the sentence evidently is that Mr. Hodgson
(to whom the passage refers) had been revealing to some friends the
secret of Lord Byron's kindness to him.]

"Sunday, December 5.

"Dallas's nephew (son to the American Attorney-general) is arrived in
this country, and tells Dallas that my rhymes are very popular in the
United States. These are the first tidings that have ever sounded like
_Fame_ to my ears--to be redde on the banks of the Ohio! The greatest
pleasure I ever derived, of this kind, was from an extract, in Cooke the
actor's life, from his Journal, stating that in the reading-room at
Albany, near Washington, he perused English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.
To be popular in a rising and far country has a kind of _posthumous
feel_, very different from the ephemeral _éclat_ and fête-ing, buzzing
and party-ing compliments of the well-dressed multitude. I can safely
say that, during my _reign_ in the spring of 1812, I regretted nothing
but its duration of six weeks instead of a fortnight, and was heartily
glad to resign.

"Last night I supped with Lewis;--and, as usual, though I neither
exceeded in solids nor fluids, have been half dead ever since. My
stomach is entirely destroyed by long abstinence, and the rest will
probably follow. Let it--I only wish the _pain_ over. The 'leap in the
dark' is the least to be dreaded.

"The Duke of * * called. I have told them forty times that, except to
half-a-dozen old and specified acquaintances, I am invisible. His Grace
is a good, noble, ducal person; but I am content to think so at a
distance, and so--I was not at home.

"Galt called.--Mem.--to ask some one to speak to Raymond in favour of
his play. We are old fellow-travellers, and, with all his
eccentricities, he has much strong sense, experience of the world, and
is, as far as I have seen, a good-natured philosophical fellow. I showed
him Sligo's letter on the reports of the Turkish girl's _aventure_ at
Athens soon after it happened. He and Lord Holland, Lewis, and Moore,
and Rogers, and Lady Melbourne have seen it. Murray has a copy. I
thought it had been _unknown_, and wish it were; but Sligo arrived only
some days after, and the _rumours_ are the subject of his letter. That I
shall preserve,--_it is as well_. Lewis and Galt were both _horrified_;
and L. wondered I did not introduce the situation into 'The Giaour.' He
_may_ wonder;--he might wonder more at that production's being written
at all. But to describe the _feelings of that situation_ were
impossible--it is _icy_ even to recollect them.

"The Bride of Abydos was published on Thursday the second of December;
but how it is liked or disliked, I know not. Whether it succeeds or not
is no fault of the public, against whom I can have no complaint. But I
am much more indebted to the tale than I can ever be to the most partial
reader; as it wrung my thoughts from reality to imagination--from
selfish regrets to vivid recollections--and recalled me to a country
replete with the _brightest_ and _darkest_, but always most _lively_
colours of my memory. Sharpe called, but was not let in--which I regret.

"Saw * * yesterday. I have not kept my appointment at Middleton, which
has not pleased him, perhaps; and my projected voyage with * * will,
perhaps, please him less. But I wish to keep well with both. They are
instruments that don't do, in concert; but, surely, their separate tones
are very musical, and I won't give up either.

"It is well if I don't jar between these great discords. At present I
stand tolerably well with all, but I cannot adopt their _dislikes_;--so
many _sets_. Holland's is the first;--every thing _distingué_ is welcome
there, and certainly the _ton_ of his society is the best. Then there is
Mde. de Staël's--there I never go, though I might, had I courted it. It
is composed of the * *'s and the * * family, with a strange
sprinkling,--orators, dandies, and all kinds of _Blue_, from the regular
Grub Street uniform, down to the azure jacket of the _Littérateur_. To
see * * and * * sitting together, at dinner, always reminds me of the
grave, where all distinctions of friend and foe are levelled; and
they--the Reviewer and Reviewée--the Rhinoceros and Elephant--the
Mammoth and Megalonyx--all will lie quietly together. They now _sit_
together, as silent, but not so quiet, as if they were already immured.

"I did not go to the Berrys' the other night. The elder is a woman of
much talent, and both are handsome, and must have been beautiful.
To-night asked to Lord H.'s--shall I go? um!--perhaps.

"Morning, two o'clock.

"Went to Lord H.'s--party numerous--_mi_lady in perfect good humour, and
consequently _perfect_. No one more agreeable, or perhaps so much so,
when she will. Asked for Wednesday to dine and meet the Staël--asked
particularly, I believe, out of mischief, to see the first interview
after the _note_, with which Corinne professes herself to be so much
taken. I don't much like it; she always talks of _my_self or _her_self,
and I am not (except in soliloquy, as now,) much enamoured of either
subject--especially one's works. What the devil shall I say about 'De
l'Allemagne?' I like it prodigiously; but unless I can twist my
admiration into some fantastical expression, she won't believe me; and I
know, by experience, I shall be overwhelmed with fine things about
rhyme, &c. &c. The lover, Mr. * *, was there to-night, and C * * said
'it was the only proof _he_ had seen of her good taste.' Monsieur
L'Amant is remarkably handsome; but _I_ don't think more so than her

"C * * looks well,--seems pleased, and dressed to _sprucery_. A blue
coat becomes him,--so does his new wig. He really looked as if Apollo
had sent him a birthday suit, or a wedding-garment, and was witty and
lively. He abused Corinne's book, which I regret; because, firstly, he
understands German, and is consequently a fair judge; and, secondly, he
is _first-rate_, and, consequently, the best of judges. I reverence and
admire him; but I won't give up my opinion--why should I? I read _her_
again and again, and there can be no affectation in this. I cannot be
mistaken (except in taste) in a book I read and lay down, and take up
again; and no book can be totally bad which finds _one_, even _one_
reader, who can say as much sincerely.

"C. talks of lecturing next spring; his last lectures were eminently
successful. Moore thought of it, but gave it up,--I don't know why. * *
had been prating _dignity_ to him, and such stuff; as if a man disgraced
himself by instructing and pleasing at the same time.

"Introduced to Marquis Buckingham--saw Lord Gower--he is going to
Holland; Sir J. and Lady Mackintosh and Homer, G. Lamb, with I know not
how many (R. Wellesley, one--a clever man) grouped about the room.
Little Henry Fox, a very fine boy, and very promising in mind and
manner,--he went away to bed, before I had time to talk to him. I am
sure I had rather hear him than all the _savans_.

"Monday, Dec. 6.

"Murray tells me that C----r asked him why the thing was called the
_Bride_ of Abydos? It is a cursed awkward question, being unanswerable.
_She_ is not a _bride_, only about to be one; but for, &c. &c. &c.

"I don't wonder at his finding out the _Bull_; but the detection * * *
is too late to do any good. I was a great fool to make it, and am
ashamed of not being an Irishman.

"C----l last night seemed a little nettled at something or other--I know
not what. We were standing in the ante-saloon, when Lord H. brought out
of the other room a vessel of some composition similar to that which is
used in Catholic churches, and, seeing us, he exclaimed, 'Here is some
_incense_ for you.' C----l answered--'Carry it to Lord Byron, _he is
used to it_.'

"Now, this comes of 'bearing no brother near the throne.' I, who have no
throne, nor wish to have one _now_, whatever I may have done, am at
perfect peace with all the poetical fraternity: or, at least, if I
dislike any, it is not _poetically_, but _personally_. Surely the field
of thought is infinite; what does it signify who is before or behind in
a race where there is no _goal_? The temple of fame is like that of the
Persians, the universe; our altar, the tops of mountains. I should be
equally content with Mount Caucasus, or Mount Anything; and those who
like it, may have Mount Blanc or Chimborazo, without my envy of their

"I think I may _now_ speak thus; for I have just published a poem, and
am quite ignorant whether it is _likely_ to be _liked_ or not. I have
hitherto heard little in its commendation, and no one can _downright_
abuse it to one's face, except in print. It can't be good, or I should
not have stumbled over the threshold, and blundered in my very title.
But I began it with my heart full of * * *, and my head of
oriental_ities_ (I can't call them _isms_), and wrote on rapidly.

"This journal is a relief. When I am tired--as I generally am--out comes
this, and down goes every thing. But I can't read it over; and God knows
what contradictions it may contain. If I am sincere with myself (but I
fear one lies more to one's self than to any one else), every page
should confute, refute, and utterly abjure its _predecessor_.

"Another scribble from Martin Baldwin the petitioner; I have neither
head nor nerves to present it. That confounded supper at Lewis's has
spoiled my digestion and my philanthropy. I have no more charity than a
cruet of vinegar. Would I were an ostrich, and dieted on fire-irons,--or
any thing that my gizzard could get the better of.

"To-day saw W. His uncle is dying, and W. don't much affect our Dutch
determinations. I dine with him on Thursday, provided _l'oncle_ is not
dined upon, or peremptorily bespoke by the posthumous epicures before
that day. I wish he may recover--not for _our_ dinner's sake, but to
disappoint the undertaker, and the rascally reptiles that may well
wait, since they _will_ dine at last.

"Gell called--he of Troy--after I was out. Mem.--to return his visit.
But my Mems. are the very land-marks of forgetfulness;--something like a
light-house, with a ship wrecked under the nose of its lantern. I never
look at a Mem. without seeing that I have remembered to forget. Mem.--I
have forgotten to pay Pitt's taxes, and suppose I shall be surcharged.
'An I do not turn rebel when thou art king'--oons! I believe my very
biscuit is leavened with that impostor's imposts.

"Ly. Me. returns from Jersey's to-morrow;--I must call. A Mr. Thomson
has sent a song, which I must applaud. I hate annoying them with censure
or silence;--and yet I hate _lettering_.

"Saw Lord Glenbervie and his Prospectus, at Murray's, of a new Treatise
on Timber. Now here is a man more useful than all the historians and
rhymers ever planted. For, by preserving our woods and forests, he
furnishes materials for all the history of Britain worth reading, and
all the odes worth nothing.

"Redde a good deal, but desultorily. My head is crammed with the most
useless lumber. It is odd that when I do read, I can only bear the
chicken broth of--_any thing_ but Novels. It is many a year since I
looked into one, (though they are sometimes ordered, by way of
experiment, but never taken,) till I looked yesterday at the worst parts
of the Monk. These descriptions ought to have been written by Tiberius
at Caprea--they are forced--the _philtred_ ideas of a jaded voluptuary.
It is to me inconceivable how they could have been composed by a man of
only twenty--his age when he wrote them. They have no nature--all the
sour cream of cantharides. I should have suspected Buffon of writing
them on the death-bed of his detestable dotage. I had never redde this
edition, and merely looked at them from curiosity and recollection of
the noise they made, and the name they have left to Lewis. But they
could do no harm, except * * * *.

"Called this evening on my agent--my business as usual. Our strange
adventures are the only inheritances of our family that have not

"I shall now smoke two cigars, and get me to bed. The cigars don't keep
well here. They get as old as a _donna di quaranti anni_ in the sun of
Africa. The Havannah are the best;--but neither are so pleasant as a
hooka or chibouque. The Turkish tobacco is mild, and their horses
entire--two things as they should be. I am so far obliged to this
Journal, that it preserves me from verse,--at least from keeping it. I
have just thrown a poem into the fire (which it has relighted to my
great comfort), and have smoked out of my head the plan of another. I
wish I could as easily get rid of thinking, or, at least, the confusion
of thought.

"Tuesday, December 7.

"Went to bed, and slept dreamlessly, but not refreshingly. Awoke, and up
an hour before being called; but dawdled three hours in dressing. When
one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation),--sleep, eating,
and swilling--buttoning and unbuttoning--how much remains of downright
existence? The summer of a dormouse.

"Redde the papers and _tea_-ed and soda-watered, and found out that the
fire was badly lighted. Ld. Glenbervie wants me to go to Brighton--um!

"This morning, a very pretty billet from the Staël about meeting her at
Ld. H.'s to-morrow. She has written, I dare say, twenty such this
morning to different people, all equally flattering to each. So much the
better for her and those who believe all she wishes them, or they wish
to believe. She has been pleased to be pleased with my slight eulogy in
the note annexed to 'The Bride.' This is to be accounted for in several
ways,--firstly, all women like all, or any, praise; secondly, this was
unexpected, because I have never courted her; and, thirdly, as Scrub
says, those who have been all their lives regularly praised, by regular
critics, like a little variety, and are glad when any one goes out of
his way to say a civil thing; and, fourthly, she is a very good-natured
creature, which is the best reason, after all, and, perhaps, the only

"A knock--knocks single and double. Bland called. He says Dutch society
(he has been in Holland) is second-hand French; but the women are like
women every where else. This is a bore; I should like to see them a
little unlike; but that can't be expected.

"Went out--came home--this, that, and the other--and 'all is vanity,
saith the preacher,' and so say I, as part of his congregation. Talking
of vanity, whose praise do I prefer? Why, Mrs. Inchbald's, and that of
the Americans. The first, because her 'Simple Story' and 'Nature and
Art' are, to me, _true_ to their _titles;_ and, consequently, her short
note to Rogers about 'The Giaour' delighted me more than any thing,
except the Edinburgh Review. I like the Americans, because _I_ happened
to be in _Asia_, while the English Bards and Scotch Reviewers were redde
in _America_. If I could have had a speech against the _Slave Trade, in
Africa_, and an epitaph on a dog in _Europe_ (i.e. in the Morning Post),
my _vertex sublimis_ would certainly have displaced stars enough to
overthrow the Newtonian system.

"Friday, December 10. 1813.

"I am _ennuyè_ beyond my usual tense of that yawning verb, which I am
always conjugating; and I don't find that society much mends the matter.
I am too lazy to shoot myself--and it would annoy Augusta, and perhaps *
*; but it would be a good thing for George, on the other side, and no
bad one for me; but I won't be tempted.

"I have had the kindest letter from M * * e. I _do_ think that man is
the best-hearted, the only _hearted_ being I ever encountered; and,
then, his talents are equal to his feelings.

"Dined on Wednesday at Lord H.'s--the Staffords, Staëls, Cowpers,
Ossulstones, Melbournes, Mackintoshes, &c. &c.--and was introduced to
the Marquis and Marchioness of Stafford,--an unexpected event. My
quarrel with Lord Carlisle (their or his brother-in-law) having rendered
it improper, I suppose, brought it about. But, if it was to happen at
all, I wonder it did not occur before. She is handsome, and must have
been beautiful--and her manners are _princessly_.

"The Staël was at the other end of the table, and less loquacious than
heretofore. We are now very good friends; though she asked Lady
Melbourne whether I had really any _bonhommie_. She might as well have
asked that question before she told C.L. 'c'est un démon." True enough,
but rather premature, for _she_ could not have found it out, and so--she
wants me to dine there next Sunday.

"Murray prospers, as far as circulation. For my part, I adhere (in
liking) to my Fragment. It is no wonder that I wrote one--my mind is a

"Saw Lord Gower, Tierney, &c. in the square. Took leave of Lord Gr. who
is going to Holland and Germany. He tells me that he carries with him a
parcel of 'Harolds' and 'Giaours,' &c. for the readers of Berlin, who,
it seems, read English, and have taken a caprice for mine. Um!--have I
been _German_ all this time, when I thought myself _Oriental_?

"Lent Tierney my box for to-morrow; and received a new comedy sent by
Lady C.A.--but _not hers_. I must read it, and endeavour not to
displease the author. I hate annoying them with cavil; but a comedy I
take to be the most difficult of compositions, more so than tragedy.

"G----t says there is a coincidence between the first part of 'The
Bride' and some story of his--whether published or not, I know not,
never having seen it. He is almost the last person on whom any one would
commit literary larceny, and I am not conscious of any witting thefts on
any of the genus. As to originality, all pretensions are
ludicrous,--'there is nothing new under the sun.'

"Went last night to the play. Invited out to a party, but did not
go;--right. Refused to go to Lady * *'s on Monday;--right again. If I
must fritter away my life, I would rather do it alone. I was much
tempted;--C * * looked so Turkish with her red Turban, and her regular,
dark, and clear features. Not that _she_ and _I_ ever were, or could be,
any thing; but I love any aspect that reminds me of the 'children of the

"To dine to-day with Rogers and Sharpe, for which I have some appetite,
not having tasted food for the preceding forty-eight hours. I wish I
could leave off eating altogether.

"Saturday, December 11.
"Sunday, December 12.

"By G----t's answer, I find it is some story in _real life_, and not any
work with which my late composition coincides. It is still more
singular, for mine is drawn from _existence_ also.

"I have sent an excuse to M. de Staël. I do not feel sociable enough for
dinner to-day;--and I will not go to Sheridan's on Wednesday. Not that
I do not admire and prefer his unequalled conversation; but--that
'_but_' must only be intelligible to thoughts I cannot write. Sheridan
was in good talk at Rogers's the other night, but I only stayed till
_nine_. All the world are to be at the Staël's to-night, and I am not
sorry to escape any part of it. I only go out to get me a fresh appetite
for being alone. Went out--did not go to the Staël's but to Ld.
Holland's. Party numerous--conversation general. Stayed late--made a
blunder--got over it--came home and went to bed, not having eaten.
Rather empty, but _fresco_, which is the great point with me.

"Monday, December 13. 1813.

"Called at three places--read, and got ready to leave town to-morrow.
Murray has had a letter from his brother bibliopole of Edinburgh, who
says, 'he is lucky in having such a _poet_'--something as if one was a
pack-horse, or 'ass, or any thing that is his:' or, like Mrs. Packwood,
who replied to some enquiry after the Odes on Razors,--'Laws, sir, we
keeps a poet.' The same illustrious Edinburgh bookseller once sent an
order for books, poesy, and cookery, with this agreeable
postscript--'The _Harold_ and _Cookery_ are much wanted.' Such is fame,
and, after all, quite as good as any other 'life in other's breath.'
'Tis much the same to divide purchasers with Hannah Glasse or Hannah

"Some editor of some magazine has _announced_ to Murray his intention
of abusing the thing '_without reading it_.' So much the better; if he
redde it first, he would abuse it more.

"Allen (Lord Holland's Allen--the best informed and one of the ablest
men I know--a perfect Magliabecchi--a devourer, a Helluo of books, and
an observer of men,) has lent me a quantity of Burns's unpublished, and
never-to-be published, Letters. They are full of oaths and obscene
songs. What an antithetical mind!--tenderness, roughness--delicacy,
coarseness--sentiment, sensuality--soaring and grovelling, dirt and
deity--all mixed up in that one compound of inspired clay!

"It seems strange; a true voluptuary will never abandon his mind to the
grossness of reality. It is by exalting the earthly, the material, the
_physique_ of our pleasures, by veiling these ideas, by forgetting them
altogether, or, at least, never naming them hardly to one's self, that
we alone can prevent them from disgusting.

"December 14, 15, 16.

"Much done, but nothing to record. It is quite enough to set down my
thoughts,--my actions will rarely bear retrospection.

"December 17, 18.

"Lord Holland told me a curious piece of sentimentality in
Sheridan.[100] The other night we were all delivering our respective
and various opinions on him and other _hommes marquans_, and mine was
this:--'Whatever Sheridan has done or chosen to do has been, _par
excellence_, always the _best_ of its kind. He has written the _best_
comedy (School for Scandal), the _best_ drama, (in my mind, far before
that St. Giles's lampoon, the Beggar's Opera,) the best farce (the
Critic--it is only too good for a farce), and the best Address
(Monologue on Garrick), and, to crown all, delivered the very best
Oration (the famous Begum Speech) ever conceived or heard in this
country.' Somebody told S. this the next day, and on hearing it, he
burst into tears!

"Poor Brinsley! if they were tears of pleasure, I would rather have said
these few, but most sincere, words than have written the Iliad or made
his own celebrated Philippic. Nay, his own comedy never gratified me
more than to hear that he had derived a moment's gratification from any
praise of mine, humble as it must appear to 'my elders and my betters.'

"Went to my box at Covent Garden to night; and my delicacy felt a little
shocked at seeing S * * *'s mistress (who, to my certain knowledge, was
actually educated, from her birth, for her profession) sitting with her
mother, 'a three-piled b----d, b----d-Major to the army,' in a private
box opposite. I felt rather indignant; but, casting my eyes round the
house, in the next box to me, and the next, and the next, were the most
distinguished old and young Babylonians of quality;--so I burst out a
laughing. It was really odd; Lady * * _divorced_--Lady * * and her
daughter, Lady * *, both _divorceable_--Mrs. * *[101], in the next, the
_like_, and still nearer * * * * * *! What an assemblage to _me_, who
know all their histories. It was as if the house had been divided
between your public and your _understood_ courtesans;--but the
intriguantes much outnumbered the regular mercenaries. On the other side
were only Pauline and _her_ mother, and, next box to her, three of
inferior note. Now, where lay the difference between _her_ and _mamma_,
and Lady * * and daughter? except that the two last may enter Carleton
and any _other house_, and the two first are limited to the opera and
b----house. How I do delight in observing life as it really is!--and
myself, after all, the worst of any. But no matter--I must avoid
egotism, which, just now, would be no vanity.

"I have lately written a wild, rambling, unfinished rhapsody, called
'The Devil's Drive[102],' the notion of which I took from Porson's
'Devil's Walk.'

"Redde some Italian, and wrote two Sonnets on * * *. I never wrote but
one sonnet before, and that was not in earnest, and many years ago, as
an exercise--and I will never write another. They are the most puling,
petrifying, stupidly platonic compositions. I detest the Petrarch so
much[104], that I would not be the man even to have obtained his Laura,
which the metaphysical, whining dotard never could.

[Footnote 100: This passage of the Journal has already appeared in my
Life of Sheridan.]

[Footnote 101: These names are all left blank in the original.]

[Footnote 102: Of this strange, wild poem, which extends to about two
hundred and fifty lines, the only copy that Lord Byron, I believe, ever
wrote, he presented to Lord Holland. Though with a good deal of vigour
and imagination, it is, for the most part, rather clumsily executed,
wanting the point and condensation of those clever verses of Mr.
Coleridge[103], which Lord Byron, adopting a notion long prevalent, has
attributed to Professor Person. There are, however, some of the stanzas
of "The Devil's Drive" well worth preserving.


    "The Devil return'd to hell by two,
      And he stay'd at home till five;
    When he dined on some homicides done in _ragoût_,
      And a rebel or so in an _Irish_ stew,
    And sausages made of a self-slain Jew,
    And bethought himself what next to do,
      'And,' quoth he, 'I'll take a drive.
    I walk'd in the morning, I'll ride to-night;
    In darkness my children take most delight,
      And I'll see how my favourites thrive.'


    "'And what shall I ride in?' quoth Lucifer, then--
      'If I follow'd my taste, indeed,
    I should mount in a wagon of wounded men,
      And smile to see them bleed.
    But these will be furnish'd again and again,
      And at present my purpose is speed;
    To see my manor as much as I may,
    And watch that no souls shall be poach'd away.


    "'I have a state coach at Carleton House,
      A chariot in Seymour Place;
    But they're lent to two friends, who make me amends
      By driving my favourite pace:
    And they handle their reins with such a grace,
    I have something for both at the end of the race.


    "'So now for the earth to take my chance.'
      Then up to the earth sprung he;
    And making a jump from Moscow to France,
      He stepped across the sea,
    And rested his hoof on a turnpike road,
    No very great way from a bishop's abode.


    "But first as he flew, I forgot to say,
    That he hover'd a moment upon his way
      To look upon Leipsic plain;
    And so sweet to his eye was its sulphury glare,
    And so soft to his ear was the cry of despair,
      That he perch'd on a mountain of slain;
    And he gazed with delight from its growing height;
    Not often on earth had he seen such a sight,
      Nor his work done half as well:
    For the field ran so red with the blood of the dead,
      That it blush'd like the waves of hell!
    Then loudly, and wildly, and long laugh'd he--
    'Methinks they have here little need of me!' * * *


    "But the softest note that sooth'd his ear
      Was the sound of a widow sighing,
    And the sweetest sight was the icy tear,
    Which Horror froze in the blue eye clear
      Of a maid by her lover lying--
    As round her fell her long fair hair;
    And she look'd to Heaven with that frenzied air
    Which seem'd to ask if a God were there!
    And, stretch'd by the wall of a ruin'd hut,
    With its hollow cheek, and eyes half shut,
      A child of famine dying:
    And the carnage begun, when resistance is done,
      And the fall of the vainly flying!


    "But the Devil has reach'd our cliffs so white,
      And what did he there, I pray?
    If his eyes were good, he but saw by night
      What we see every day;
    But he made a tour, and kept a journal
    Of all the wondrous sights nocturnal,
    And he sold it in shares to the _Men_ of the _Row_,
    Who bid pretty well--but they _cheated_ him, though!


    "The Devil first saw, as he thought, the _Mail_,
      Its coachman and his coat;
    So instead of a pistol, he cock'd his tail,
      And seized him by the throat:
    'Aha,' quoth he, 'what have we here?
    'Tis a new barouche, and an ancient peer!'


    "So he sat him on his box again,
      And bade him have no fear,
    But be true to his club, and stanch to his rein,
      His brothel, and his beer;
    'Next to seeing a lord at the council board.
      I would rather see him here.'


    "The Devil gat next to Westminster,
    And he turn'd to 'the room' of the Commons;
    But he heard, as he purposed to enter in there,
    That 'the Lords' had received a summons;
    And he thought, as a '_quondam_ aristocrat,'
    He might peep at the peers, though to _hear_ them were flat:
    And he walk'd up the house, so like one of our own,
    That they say that he stood pretty near the throne.


    "He saw the Lord L----l seemingly wise,
    The Lord W----d certainly silly,
    And Johnny of Norfolk--a man of some size--
    And Chatham, so like his friend Billy;
    And he saw the tears in Lord E----n's eyes,
    Because the Catholics would _not_ rise,
    In spite of his prayers and his prophecies;
    And he heard--which set Satan himself a staring--
    A certain Chief Justice say something like _swearing_.
    And the Devil was shock'd--and quoth he, 'I must go,
    For I find we have much better manners below.
    If thus he harangues when he passes my border,
    I shall hint to friend Moloch to call him to order.'"

[Footnote 103: Or Mr. Southey,--for the right of authorship in them
seems still undecided.]

[Footnote 104: He learned to think more reverently of "the Petrarch"

"January 16. 1814.

"To-morrow I leave town for a few days. I saw Lewis to-day, who is just
returned from Oatlands, where he has been squabbling with Mad. de Staël
about himself, Clarissa Harlowe, Mackintosh, and me. My homage has never
been paid in that quarter, or we would have agreed still worse. I don't
talk--I can't flatter, and won't listen, except to a pretty or a foolish
woman. She bored Lewis with praises of himself till he sickened--found
out that Clarissa was perfection, and Mackintosh the first man in
England. There I agree, at least _one_ of the first--but Lewis did not.
As to Clarissa, I leave to those who can read it to judge and dispute. I
could not do the one, and am, consequently, not qualified for the other.
She told Lewis wisely, he being my friend, that I was affected, in the
first place; and that, in the next place, I committed the heinous
offence of sitting at dinner with my _eyes_ shut, or half shut. I wonder
if I really have this trick. I must cure myself of it, if true. One
insensibly acquires awkward habits, which should be broken in time. If
this is one, I wish I had been told of it before. It would not so much
signify if one was always to be checkmated by a plain woman, but one may
as well see some of one's neighbours, as well as the plate upon the

"I should like, of all things, to have heard the Amabæan eclogue between
her and Lewis--both obstinate, clever, odd, garrulous, and shrill. In
fact, one could have heard nothing else. But they fell out, alas!--and
now they will never quarrel again. Could not one reconcile them for the
'nonce?' Poor Corinne--she will find that some of her fine sayings
won't suit our fine ladies and gentlemen.

"I am getting rather into admiration of * *, the youngest sister of * *.
A wife would be my salvation. I am sure the wives of my acquaintances
have hitherto done me little good. * * is beautiful, but very young,
and, I think, a fool. But I have not seen enough to judge; besides, I
hate an _esprit_ in petticoats. That she won't love me is very probable,
nor shall I love her. But, on my system, and the modern system in
general, that don't signify. The business (if it came to business) would
probably be arranged between papa and me. She would have her own way; I
am good-humoured to women, and docile; and, if I did not fall in love
with her, which I should try to prevent, we should be a very comfortable
couple. As to conduct, _that_ she must look to. But _if_ I love, I shall
be jealous;--and for that reason I will not be in love. Though, after
all, I doubt my temper, and fear I should not be so patient as becomes
the _bienséance_ of a married man in my station. Divorce ruins the poor
_femme_, and damages are a paltry compensation. I do fear my temper
would lead me into some of our oriental tricks of vengeance, or, at any
rate, into a summary appeal to the court of twelve paces. So 'I'll none
on 't,' but e'en remain single and solitary;--though I should like to
have somebody now and then to yawn with one.

"W. and, after him, * *, has stolen one of my buffooneries about Mde. de
Staël's Metaphysics and the Fog, and passed it, by speech and letter,
as their own. As Gibbet says, 'they are the most of a gentleman of any
on the road.' W. is in sad enmity with the Whigs about this Review of
Fox (if he _did_ review him);--all the epigrammatists and essayists are
at him. I hate _odds_, and wish he may beat them. As for me, by the
blessing of indifference, I have simplified my politics into an utter
detestation of all existing governments; and, as it is the shortest and
most agreeable and summary feeling imaginable, the first moment of an
universal republic would convert me into an advocate for single and
uncontradicted despotism. The fact is, riches are power, and poverty is
slavery all over the earth, and one sort of establishment is no better
nor worse for a _people_ than another. I shall adhere to my party,
because it would not be honourable to act otherwise; but, as to
_opinions_, I don't think politics _worth_ an _opinion_. _Conduct_ is
another thing:--if you begin with a party, go on with them. I have no
consistency, except in politics; and _that_ probably arises from my
indifference on the subject altogether."

       *       *       *       *       *

I must here be permitted to interrupt, for a while, the progress of this
Journal,--which extends through some months of the succeeding year,--for
the purpose of noticing, without infringement of chronological order,
such parts of the poet's literary history and correspondence as belong
properly to the date of the year 1813.

At the beginning, as we have seen, of the month of December, The Bride
of Abydos was published,--having been struck off, like its predecessor,
The Giaour, in one of those paroxysms of passion and imagination, which
adventures such as the poet was now engaged in were, in a temperament
like his, calculated to excite. As the mathematician of old required but
a spot to stand upon, to be able, as he boasted, to move the world, so a
certain degree of foundation in _fact_ seemed necessary to Byron, before
that lever which he knew how to apply to the world of the passions could
be wielded by him. So small, however, was, in many instances, the
connection with reality which satisfied him, that to aim at tracing
through his stories these links with his own fate and fortunes, which
were, after all, perhaps, visible but to his own fancy, would be a task
as uncertain as unsafe;--and this remark applies not only to The Bride
of Abydos, but to The Corsair, Lara, and all the other beautiful
fictions that followed, in which, though the emotions expressed by the
poet may be, in general, regarded as vivid recollections of what had at
different times agitated his own bosom, there are but little
grounds,--however he might himself, occasionally, encourage such a
supposition,--for connecting him personally with the groundwork or
incidents of the stories.

While yet uncertain about the fate of his own new poem, the following
observations on the work of an ingenious follower in the same track were


     "Dec. 4. 1813.

     "I have redde through your Persian Tales[105], and have taken the
     liberty of making some remarks on the _blank_ pages. There are many
     beautiful passages, and an interesting story; and I cannot give you
     a stronger proof that such is my opinion, than by the _date_ of the
     _hour_--_two o'clock_, till which it has kept me awake _without a
     yawn_. The conclusion is not quite correct in _costume_; there is
     no _Mussulman suicide_ on record--at least for _love_. But this
     matters not. The tale must have been written by some one who has
     been on the spot, and I wish him, and he deserves, success. Will
     you apologise to the author for the liberties I have taken with his
     MS.? Had I been less awake to, and interested in, his theme, I had
     been less obtrusive; but you know _I_ always take this in good
     part, and I hope he will. It is difficult to say what _will_
     succeed, and still more to pronounce what _will not_. _I_ am at
     this moment in _that uncertainty_ (on our _own_ score); and it is
     no small proof of the author's powers to be able to _charm_ and
     _fix_ a _mind_'s attention on similar subjects and climates in such
     a predicament. That he may have the same effect upon all his
     readers is very sincerely the wish, and hardly the _doubt_, of
     yours truly, B."

[Footnote 105: Poems by Mr. Gally Knight, of which Mr. Murray had
transmitted the MS. to Lord Byron, without, however, communicating the
name of the author.]

       *       *       *       *       *

To The Bride of Abydos he made additions, in the course of printing,
amounting, altogether, to near two hundred lines; and, as usual, among
the passages thus added, were some of the happiest and most brilliant in
the whole poem. The opening lines,--"Know ye the land,' &c.--supposed to
have been suggested to him by a song of Goëthe's[106]--were among the
number of these new insertions, as were also those fine verses,--"Who
hath not proved how feebly words essay," &c. Of one of the most popular
lines in this latter passage, it is not only curious, but instructive,
to trace the progress to its present state of finish. Having at first

    "Mind on her lip and music in her face,"

he afterwards altered it to--

    "The mind of music breathing in her face."

But, this not satisfying him, the next step of correction brought the
line to what it is at present--

    "The mind, the music breathing from her face."[107]

But the longest, as well as most splendid, of those passages, with which
the perusal of his own strains, during revision, inspired him, was that
rich flow of eloquent feeling which follows the couplet,--"Thou, my
Zuleika, share and bless my bark," &c.--a strain of poetry, which, for
energy and tenderness of thought, for music of versification, and
selectness of diction, has, throughout the greater portion of it, but
few rivals in either ancient or modern song. All this passage was sent,
in successive scraps, to the printer,--correction following correction,
and thought reinforced by thought. We have here, too, another example of
that retouching process by which some of his most exquisite effects were
attained. Every reader remembers the four beautiful lines--

    "Or, since that hope denied in worlds of strife,
    Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life!
    The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
    And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray!"

In the first copy of this passage sent to the publisher, the last line
was written thus--

                                {_an airy_}
    "And tints to-morrow with a { fancied } ray"--

the following note being annexed:--"Mr. Murray,--Choose which of the two
epithets, 'fancied,' or 'airy,' may be the best; or, if neither will do,
tell me, and I will dream another." The poet's dream was, it must be
owned, lucky,--"prophetic" being the word, of all others, for his

I shall select but one more example, from the additions to this poem, as
a proof that his eagerness and facility in producing, was sometimes
almost equalled by his anxious care in correcting. In the long passage
just referred to, the six lines beginning "Blest as the Muezzin's
strain," &c., having been despatched to the printer too late for
insertion, were, by his desire, added in an errata page; the first
couplet, in its original form, being as follows:--

    "Soft as the Mecca-Muezzin's strains invite
    Him who hath journey'd far to join the rite."

In a few hours after, another scrap was sent off, containing the lines

    "Blest as the Muezzin's strain from Mecca's dome,
    Which welcomes Faith to view her Prophet's tomb"--

with the following note to Mr. Murray:--

     "December 3. 1813.

     "Look out in the Encyclopedia, article _Mecca_, whether it is there
     or at _Medina_ the Prophet is entombed. If at Medina, the first
     lines of my alterration must run--

        "Blest as the call which from Medina's dome
        Invites Devotion to her Prophet's tomb," &c.

     If at Mecca, the lines may stand as before. Page 45. canto 2d,
     Bride of Abydos. Yours, B.

     "You will find this out either by article _Mecca_, _Medina_, or
     _Mohammed_. I have no book of reference by me."

[Footnote 106: "Kennst du das Land wo die Citronen blühn," &c.]

[Footnote 107: Among the imputed plagiarisms so industriously hunted out
in his writings, this line has been, with somewhat more plausibility
than is frequent in such charges, included,--the lyric poet Lovelace
having, it seems, written,

    "The melody and music of her face."

Sir Thomas Brown, too, in his Religio Medici, says--"There is music even
in beauty," &c. The coincidence, no doubt, is worth observing, and the
task of "tracking" thus a favourite writer "in the snow (as Dryden
expresses it) of others" is sometimes not unamusing; but to those who
found upon such resemblances a general charge of plagiarism, we may
apply what Sir Walter Scott says, in that most agreeable work, his Lives
of the Novelists:--"It is a favourite theme of laborious dulness to
trace such coincidences, because they appear to reduce genius of the
higher order to the usual standard of humanity, and of course to bring
the author nearer to a level with his critics."]

[Footnote 108: It will be seen, however, from a subsequent letter to Mr.
Murray, that he himself was at first unaware of the peculiar felicity of
this epithet; and it is therefore, probable, that, after all, the merit
of the choice may have belonged to Mr. Gifford.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Immediately after succeeded another note:--

     "Did you look out? Is it _Medina_ or _Mecca_ that contains the
     _Holy_ Sepulchre? Don't make me blaspheme by your negligence. I
     have no book of reference, or I would save you the trouble. I
     _blush_, as a good Mussulman, to have confused the point.

     "Yours, B."

       *       *       *       *       *

Notwithstanding all these various changes, the couplet in question
stands at present thus:--

    "Blest as the Muezzin's strain from Mecca's wall
    To pilgrims pure and prostrate at his call."

In addition to his own watchfulness over the birth of his new poem, he
also, as will be seen from the following letter, invoked the veteran
taste of Mr. Gifford on the occasion:--


     "November 12. 1813.

     "My dear Sir,

     "I hope you will consider, when I venture on any request, that it
     is the reverse of a certain Dedication, and is addressed, _not_ to
     'The Editor of the Quarterly Review,' but to Mr. Gifford. You will
     understand this, and on that point I need trouble you no farther.

     "You have been good enough to look at a thing of mine in MS.--a
     Turkish story, and I should feel gratified if you would do it the
     same favour in its probationary state of printing. It was written,
     I cannot say for amusement, nor 'obliged by hunger and request of
     friends,' but in a state of mind from circumstances which
     occasionally occur to 'us youth,' that rendered it necessary for me
     to apply my mind to something, any thing but reality; and under
     this not very brilliant inspiration it was composed. Being done,
     and having at least diverted me from myself, I thought you would
     not perhaps be offended if Mr. Murray forwarded it to you. He has
     done so, and to apologise for his doing so a second time is the
     object of my present letter.

     "I beg you will _not_ send me any answer. I assure you very
     sincerely I know your time to be occupied, and it is enough, more
     than enough, if you read; you are not to be bored with the fatigue
     of answers.

     "A word to Mr. Murray will be sufficient, and send it either to the
     flames or

                  "A hundred hawkers' load,
        On wings of wind to fly or fall abroad.

     It deserves no better than the first, as the work of a week, and
     scribbled 'stans pede in uno' (by the by, the only foot I have to
     stand on); and I promise never to trouble you again under forty
     Cantos, and a voyage between each. Believe me ever

     "Your obliged and affectionate servant,


       *       *       *       *       *

The following letters and notes, addressed to Mr. Murray at this time,
cannot fail, I think, to gratify all those to whom the history of the
labours of genius is interesting:--


     "Nov. 12. 1813.

     "Two friends of mine (Mr. Rogers and Mr. Sharpe) have advised me
     not to risk at present any single publication separately, for
     various reasons. As they have not seen the one in question, they
     can have no bias for or against the merits (if it has any) or the
     faults of the present subject of our conversation. You say all the
     last of 'The Giaour' are gone--at least out of your hands. Now, if
     you think of publishing any new edition with the last additions
     which have not yet been before the reader (I mean distinct from the
     two-volume publication), we can add 'The Bride of Abydos,' which
     will thus steal quietly into the world: if liked, we can then throw
     off some copies for the purchasers of former 'Giaours;' and, if
     not, I can omit it in any future publication. What think you? I
     really am no judge of those things, and with all my natural
     partiality for one's own productions, I would rather follow any
     one's judgment than my own.

     "P.S. Pray let me have the proofs I sent _all_ to-night. I have
     some alterations that I have thought of that I wish to make
     speedily. I hope the proof will be on separate pages, and not all
     huddled together on a mile-long ballad-singing sheet, as those of
     The Giaour sometimes are; for then I can't read them distinctly."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Nov. 13. 1813.

     "Will you forward the letter to Mr. Gilford with the proof? There
     is an alteration I may make in Zuleika's speech, in second Canto
     (the only one of hers in that Canto). It is now thus:

        "And curse, if I could curse, the day.

     It must be--

        "And mourn--I dare not curse--the day
        That saw my solitary birth, &c. &c.

     "Ever yours, B.

     "In the last MS. lines sent, instead of 'living heart,' convert to
     'quivering heart.' It is in line ninth of the MS. passage.

     "Ever yours again, B."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Alteration of a line in Canto second.

     "Instead of--

        "And tints to-morrow with a _fancied_ ray,


        "And tints to-morrow with _prophetic_ ray.

        "The evening beam that smiles the clouds away
        And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray;


        "And { tints } the hope of morning with its ray;


        "And gilds to-morrow's hope with heavenly ray.

     "I wish you would ask Mr. Gifford which of them is best, or rather
     _not worst_. Ever, &c.

     "You can send the request contained in this at the same time with
     the _revise_, _after_ I have seen the _said revise_."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Nov. 13. 1813.

     "Certainly. Do you suppose that no one but the Galileans are
     acquainted with _Adam_, and _Eve_, and _Cain_[109], and
     _Noah_?--Surely, I might have had Solomon, and Abraham, and David,
     and even Moses. When you know that _Zuleika_ is the _Persian
     poetical_ name for _Potiphar_'s wife, on whom and Joseph there is a
     long poem, in the Persian, this will not surprise you. If you want
     authority, look at Jones, D'Herbelot, Vathek, or the notes to the
     Arabian Nights; and, if you think it necessary, model this into a

     "Alter, in the inscription, 'the most affectionate respect,' to
     'with every sentiment of regard and respect.'"

[Footnote 109: Some doubt had been expressed by Mr. Murray as to the
propriety of his putting the name of Cain into the mouth of a

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Nov. 14. 1813.

     "I send you a note for the _ignorant_, but I really wonder at
     finding _you_ among them. I don't care one lump of sugar for my
     _poetry_; but for my _costume_ and my _correctness_ on those points
     (of which I think the _funeral_ was a proof), I will combat

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Nov. 14. 1813.

     "Let the revise which I sent just now (and _not_ the proof in Mr.
     Gifford's possession) be returned to the printer, as there are
     several additional corrections, and two new lines in it. Yours,"

       *       *       *       *       *


     "November 15. 1813.

     "Mr. Hodgson has looked over and _stopped_, or rather _pointed_,
     this revise, which must be the one to print from. He has also made
     some suggestions, with most of which I have complied, as he has
     always, for these ten years, been a very sincere, and by no means
     (at times) flattering intimate of mine. _He_ likes it (you will
     think _fatteringly_, in this instance) better than The Giaour, but
     doubts (and so do I) its being so popular; but, contrary to some
     others, advises a separate publication. On this we can easily
     decide. I confess I like the _double_ form better. Hodgson says, it
     is _better versified_ than any of the others; which is odd, if
     true, as it has cost me less time (though more hours at a time)
     than any attempt I ever made.

     "P.S. Do attend to the punctuation: I can't, for I don't know a
     comma--at least where to place one.

     "That Tory of a printer has omitted two lines of the opening, and
     _perhaps more_, which were in the MS. Will you, pray, give him a
     hint of accuracy? I have reinserted the _two_, but they were in the
     manuscript, I can swear."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "November 17. 1813.

     "That you and I may distinctly understand each other on a subject,
     which, like 'the dreadful reckoning when men smile no more,' makes
     conversation not very pleasant, I think it as well to _write_ a few
     lines on the topic.--Before I left town for Yorkshire, you said
     that you were ready and willing to give five hundred guineas for
     the copyright of 'The Giaour;' and my answer was--from which I do
     not mean to recede--that we would discuss the point at Christmas.
     The new story may or may not succeed; the probability, under
     present circumstances, seems to be, that it may at least pay its
     expenses--but even that remains to be proved, and till it is proved
     one way or another, we will say nothing about it. Thus then be it:
     I will postpone all arrangement about it, and The Giaour also, till
     Easter, 1814; and you shall then, according to your own notions of
     fairness, make your own offer for the two. At the same time, I do
     not rate the last in my own estimation at half The Giaour; and
     according to your own notions of its worth and its success within
     the time mentioned, be the addition or deduction to or from
     whatever sum may be your proposal for the first, which has already
     had its success.

     "The pictures of Phillips I consider as _mine_, all three; and the
     one (not the Arnaout) of the two best is much at _your service_, if
     you will accept it as a present.

     "P.S. The expense of engraving from the miniature send me in my
     account, as it was destroyed by my desire; and have the goodness to
     burn that detestable print from it immediately.

     "To make you some amends for eternally pestering you with
     alterations, I send you Cobbett to confirm your orthodoxy.

     "One more alteration of _a_ into _the_ in the MS.; it must be--'The
     _heart whose softness_,' &c.

     "Remember--and in the inscription, 'To the Right Honourable Lord
     Holland,' _without_ the previous names, Henry," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *


     "November 20. 1813.

     "More work for the _Row_. I am doing my best to beat 'The
     Giaour'--_no_ difficult task for any one but the author."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "November 22. 1813.

     "I have no time to _cross_-investigate, but I believe and hope all
     is right. I care less than you will believe about its success, but
     I can't survive a single _misprint_: it _chokes_ me to see words
     misused by the printers. Pray look over, in case of some eyesore
     escaping me.

     "P.S. Send the earliest copies to Mr. Frere, Mr. Canning, Mr. Heber,
     Mr. Gifford, Lord Holland, Lord Melbourne (Whitehall), Lady
     Caroline Lamb, (Brocket), Mr. Hodgson (Cambridge), Mr. Merivale,
     Mr. Ward, from the author."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "November 23. 1813.

     "You wanted some reflections, and I send you _per Selim_ (see his
     speech in Canto 2d, page 46.), eighteen lines in decent couplets,
     of a pensive, if not an _ethical_ tendency. One more
     revise--positively the last, if decently done--at any rate the
     _pen_ultimate. Mr. Canning's approbation (_if_ he did approve) I
     need not say makes me proud.[110] As to printing, print as you will
     and how you will--by itself, if you like; but let me have a few
     copies in _sheets_.

     "November 24. 1813.

     "You must pardon me once more, as it is all for your good: it must
     be thus--

        "He makes a solitude, and calls it peace.

     '_Makes_' is closer to the passage of Tacitus, from which the line
     is taken, and is, besides, a stronger word than '_leaves_'

        "Mark where his carnage and his conquests cease--
        He makes a solitude, and calls it--peace."

[Footnote 110: Mr. Canning's note was as follows:--"I received the
books, and, among them, The Bride of Abydos. It is very, very beautiful.
Lord Byron (when I met him, one day, at dinner at Mr. Ward's) was so
kind as to promise to give me a copy of it. I mention this, not to save
my purchase, but because I should be really flattered by the present."]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "November 27. 1813.

     "If you look over this carefully by the _last proof_ with my
     corrections, it is probably right; this _you_ can do as well or
     better;--I have not now time. The copies I mentioned to be sent to
     different friends last night, I should wish to be made up with the
     new Giaours, if it also is ready. If not, send The Giaour

     "The Morning Post says _I_ am the author of Nourjahad!! This comes
     of lending the drawings for their dresses; but it is not worth a
     _formal contradiction_. Besides, the criticisms on the
     _supposition_ will, some of them, be quite amusing and furious. The
     _Orientalism_--which I hear is very splendid--of the melodrame
     (whosever it is, and I am sure I don't know) is as good as an
     advertisement for your Eastern Stories, by filling their heads with

     "P.S. You will of course _say_ the truth, that I am _not_ the
     melodramist--if any one charges me in your presence with the

       *       *       *       *       *


     "November 28. 1813.

     "Send another copy (if not too much of a request) to Lady Holland
     of the _Journal_[111], in my name, when you receive this; it is for
     _Earl Grey_--and I will relinquish my _own_. Also to Mr. Sharpe,
     and Lady Holland, and Lady Caroline Lamb, copies of 'The Bride' as
     soon as convenient.

     "P.S. Mr. Ward and myself still continue our purpose; but I shall
     not trouble you on any arrangement on the score of The Giaour and
     The Bride till our return,--or, at any rate, before _May_,
     1814,--that is, six months from hence: and before that time you
     will be able to ascertain how far your offer may be a losing one;
     if so, you can deduct proportionably; and if not, I shall not at
     any rate allow you to go higher than your present proposal, which
     is very handsome, and more than fair.[112]

     "I have had--but this must be _entre nous_--a very kind note, on
     the subject of 'The Bride,' from Sir James Mackintosh, and an
     invitation to go there this evening, which it is now too late to

[Footnote 111: Penrose's Journal, a book published by Mr. Murray at this

[Footnote 112: Mr. Murray had offered him a thousand guineas for the two

       *       *       *       *       *


     "November 29. 1813. Sunday--Monday morning--three o'clock--in my
     doublet and hose,--_swearing_.

     "I send you in time an errata page, containing an omission of mine,
     which must be thus added, as it is too late for insertion in the
     text. The passage is an imitation altogether from Medea in Ovid,
     and is incomplete without these two lines. Pray let this be done,
     and directly; it is necessary, will add one page to your book
     (_making_), and can do no harm, and is yet in time for the
     _public_. Answer me, thou oracle, in the affirmative. You can send
     the loose pages to those who have copies already, if they like; but
     certainly to all the _critical_ copyholders.

     "P.S. I have got out of my bed, (in which, however, I could not
     sleep, whether I had amended this or not,) and so good morning. I
     am trying whether De l'Allemagne will act as an opiate, but I doubt

       *       *       *       *       *


     "November 29. 1813.

     "_You have looked at it!_' to much purpose, to allow so stupid a
     blunder to stand; it is _not_ '_courage_' but '_carnage_;' and if
     you don't want me to cut my own throat, see it altered.

     "I am very sorry to hear of the fall of Dresden."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Nov. 29. 1813. Monday.

     "You will act as you please upon that point; but whether I go or
     stay, I shall not say another word on the subject till May--nor
     then, unless quite convenient to yourself. I have many things I
     wish to leave to your care, principally papers. The _vases_ need
     not be now sent, as Mr. Ward is gone to Scotland. You are right
     about the errata page; place it at the beginning. Mr. Perry is a
     little premature in his compliments: these may do harm by exciting
     expectation, and I think we ought to be above it--though I see the
     next paragraph is on the _Journal_[113], which makes me suspect
     _you_ as the author of both.

     "Would it not have been as well to have said 'in two Cantos' in the
     advertisement? they will else think of _fragments_, a species of
     composition very well for _once_, like _one ruin_ in a _view_; but
     one would not build a town of them. The Bride, such as it is, is my
     first _entire_ composition of any length (except the Satire, and be
     d----d to it), for The Giaour is but a string of passages, and
     Childe Harold is, and I rather think always will be, unconcluded. I
     return Mr. Hay's note, with thanks to him and you.

     "There have been some epigrams on Mr. Ward: one I see to-day. The
     first I did not see, but heard yesterday. The second seems very
     bad. I only hope that Mr. Ward does not believe that I had any
     connection with either. I like and value him too well to allow my
     politics to contract into spleen, or to admire any thing intended
     to annoy him or his. You need not take the trouble to answer this,
     as I shall see you in the course of the afternoon.

     "P.S. I have said this much about the epigrams, because I lived so
     much in the _opposite camp_, and, from my post as an engineer,
     might be suspected as the flinger of these hand-grenadoes; but with
     a worthy foe, I am all for open war, and not this bushfighting, and
     have not had, nor will have, any thing to do with it. I do not know
     the author."

[Footnote 113: Penrose's Journal.]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Nov. 30. 1813.

     "Print this at the end of _all that is of 'The Bride of Abydos_,'
     as an errata page. BN.

     "Omitted, Canto 2d, page 47., after line 449.,

        "So that those arms cling closer round my neck.


        "Then if my lip once murmur, it must be
        No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Tuesday evening, Nov. 30. 1813.

     "For the sake of correctness, particularly in an errata page, the
     alteration of the couplet I have just sent (half an hour ago) must
     take place, in spite of delay or cancel; let me see the _proof_
     early to-morrow. I found out _murmur_ to be a neuter _verb_, and
     have been obliged to alter the line so as to make it a substantive,

        "The deepest murmur of this lip shall be
        No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee!

     Don't send the copies to the _country_ till this is all right."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Dec. 2. 1813.

     "When you can, let the couplet enclosed be inserted either in the
     page, or in the errata page. I trust it is in time for some of the
     copies. This alteration is in the same part--the page _but one_
     before the last correction sent.

     "P.S. I am afraid, from all I hear, that people are rather
     inordinate in their expectations, which is very unlucky, but cannot
     now be helped. This comes of Mr. Perry and one's wise friends; but
     do not _you_ wind _your_ hopes of success to the same pitch, for
     fear of accidents, and I can assure you that my philosophy will
     stand the test very fairly; and I have done every thing to ensure
     you, at all events, from positive loss, which will be some
     satisfaction to both."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Dec. 3. 1813.

     "I send you a _scratch_ or _two_, the which _heal_. The Christian
     Observer is very savage, but certainly well written--and quite
     uncomfortable at the naughtiness of book and author. I rather
     suspect you won't much like the _present_ to be more moral, if it
     is to share also the usual fate of your virtuous volumes.

     "Let me see a proof of the six before incorporation."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Monday evening, Dec. 6. 1813.

     "It is all very well, except that the lines are not numbered
     properly, and a diabolical mistake, page 67., which _must_ be
     corrected with the _pen_, if no other way remains; it is the
     omission of '_not_' before '_disagreeable_,' in the _note_ on the
     _amber_ rosary. This is really horrible, and nearly as bad as the
     stumble of mine at the threshold--I mean the _misnomer_ of Bride.
     Pray do not let a copy go without the '_not_;' it is nonsense, and
     worse than nonsense as it now stands. I wish the printer was
     saddled with a vampire.

     "P.S. It is still _hath_ instead of _have_ in page 20.; never was
     any one so _misused_ as I am by your devils of printers.

     "P.S. I hope and trust the '_not_' was inserted in the first
     edition. We must have something--any thing--to set it right. It is
     enough to answer for one's own bulls, without other people's."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "December 27. 1813.

     "Lord Holland is laid up with the gout, and would feel very much
     obliged if you could obtain, and send as soon as possible, Madame
     d'Arblay's (or even Miss Edgeworth's) new work. I know they are not
     out; but it is perhaps possible for your _Majesty_ to command what
     we cannot with much suing purchase, as yet. I need not say that
     when you are able or willing to confer the same favour on me, I
     shall be obliged. I would almost fall sick myself to get at Madame
     d'Arblay's writings.

     "P.S. You were talking to-day of the American edition of a certain
     unquenchable memorial of my younger days. As it can't be helped
     now, I own I have some curiosity to see a copy of trans-Atlantic
     typography. This you will perhaps obtain, and one for yourself; but
     I must beg that you will not _import more_, because, _seriously_, I
     _do wish_ to have that thing forgotten as much as it has been

     "If you send to the Globe editor, say that I want neither excuse
     nor contradiction, but merely a discontinuance of a most
     ill-grounded charge. I never was consistent in any thing but my
     politics; and as my redemption depends on that solitary virtue, it
     is murder to carry away my last anchor."

       *       *       *       *       *

Of these hasty and characteristic missives with which he despatched off
his "still-breeding thoughts," there yet remain a few more that might be
presented to the reader; but enough has here been given to show the
fastidiousness of his self-criticism, as well as the restless and
unsatisfied ardour with which he pressed on in pursuit of
perfection,--still seeing, according to the usual doom of genius, much
farther than he could reach.

An appeal was, about this time, made to his generosity, which the
reputation of the person from whom it proceeded would, in the minds of
most people, have justified him in treating with disregard, but which a
more enlarged feeling of humanity led him to view in a very different
light; for, when expostulated with by Mr. Murray on his generous
intentions towards one "whom nobody else would give a single farthing
to," he answered, "it is for that very reason _I_ give it, because
nobody else will." The person in question was Mr. Thomas Ashe, author of
a certain notorious publication called "The Book," which, from the
delicate mysteries discussed in its pages, attracted far more notice
than its talent, or even mischief, deserved. In a fit, it is to be
hoped, of sincere penitence, this man wrote to Lord Byron, alleging
poverty as his excuse for the vile uses to which he had hitherto
prostituted his pen, and soliciting his Lordship's aid towards enabling
him to exist, in future, more reputably. To this application the
following answer, marked, in the highest degree, by good sense,
humanity, and honourable sentiment, was returned by Lord Byron:--


     "4. Bennet Street, St. James's, Dec. 14. 1813.


     "I leave town for a few days to-morrow; on my return, I will answer
     your letter more at length. Whatever may be your situation, I
     cannot but commend your resolution to abjure and abandon the
     publication and composition of works such as those to which you
     have alluded. Depend upon it they amuse _few_, disgrace both
     _reader_ and _writer_, and benefit _none_. It will be my wish to
     assist you, as far as my limited means will admit, to break such a
     bondage. In your answer, inform me what sum you think would enable
     you to extricate yourself from the hands of your employers, and to
     regain, at least, temporary independence, and I shall be glad to
     contribute my mite towards it. At present, I must conclude. Your
     name is not unknown to me, and I regret, for your own sake, that
     you have ever lent it to the works you mention. In saying this, I
     merely repeat your _own words_ in your letter to me, and have no
     wish whatever to say a single syllable that may appear to insult
     your misfortunes. If I have, excuse me; it is unintentional. Yours,


       *       *       *       *       *

In answer to this letter, Ashe mentioned, as the sum necessary to
extricate him from his difficulties, 150_l_.--to be advanced at the rate
of ten pounds per month; and, some short delay having occurred in the
reply to this demand, the modest applicant, in renewing his suit,
complained, it appears, of neglect: on which Lord Byron, with a good
temper which few, in a similar case, could imitate, answered him as


     "January 5. 1814.


     "When you accuse a stranger of neglect, you forget that it is
     possible business or absence from London may have interfered to
     delay his answer, as has actually occurred in the present instance.
     But to the point. I am willing to do what I can to extricate you
     from your situation. Your first scheme[114] I was considering; but
     your own impatience appears to have rendered it abortive, if not
     irretrievable. I will deposit in Mr. Murray's hands (with his
     consent) the sum you mentioned, to be advanced for the time at ten
     pounds per month.

     "P.S.--I write in the greatest hurry, which may make my letter a
     little abrupt; but, as I said before, I have no wish to distress
     your feelings."

[Footnote 114: His first intention had been to go out, as a settler, to
Botany Bay.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The service thus humanely proffered was no less punctually performed;
and the following is one of the many acknowledgments of payment which I
find in Ashe's letters to Mr. Murray:--"I have the honour to enclose you
another memorandum for the sum of ten pounds, in compliance with the
munificent instructions of Lord Byron."[115]

His friend, Mr. Merivale, one of the translators of those Selections
from the Anthology which we have seen he regretted so much not having
taken with him on his travels, published a poem about this time, which
he thus honours with his praise.


     "January, 1814.

     "My dear Merivale,

     "I have redde Roncesvaux with very great pleasure, and (if I were
     so disposed) see very little room for criticism. There is a choice
     of two lines in one of the last Cantos,--I think 'Live and protect'
     better, because 'Oh who?' implies a doubt of Roland's power or
     inclination. I would allow the--but that point you yourself must
     determine on--I mean the doubt as to where to place a part of the
     Poem, whether between the actions or no. Only if you wish to have
     all the success you deserve, _never listen to friends_, and--as I
     am not the least troublesome of the number, least of all to me.

     "I hope you will be out soon. _March_, sir, _March_ is the month
     for the _trade_, and they must be considered. You have written a
     very noble Poem, and nothing but the detestable taste of the day
     can do you harm,--but I think you will beat it. Your measure is
     uncommonly well chosen and wielded."[116]

[Footnote 115: When these monthly disbursements had amounted to 70_l._,
Ashe wrote to beg that the whole remaining sum of 80_l_. might be
advanced to him at one payment, in order to enable him, as he said, to
avail himself of a passage to New South Wales, which had been again
offered to him. The sum was accordingly, by Lord Byron's orders, paid
into his hands.]

[Footnote 116: This letter is but a fragment,--the remainder being

       *       *       *       *       *

In the extracts from his Journal, just given, there is a passage that
cannot fail to have been remarked, where, in speaking of his admiration
of some lady, whose name he has himself left blank, the noble writer
says--"a wife would be the salvation of me." It was under this
conviction, which not only himself but some of his friends entertained,
of the prudence of his taking timely refuge in matrimony from those
perplexities which form the sequel of all less regular ties, that he had
been induced, about a year before, to turn his thoughts seriously to
marriage,--at least, as seriously as his thoughts were ever capable of
being so turned,--and chiefly, I believe, by the advice and intervention
of his friend Lady Melbourne, to become a suitor for the hand of a
relative of that lady, Miss Milbanke. Though his proposal was not then
accepted, every assurance of friendship and regard accompanied the
refusal; a wish was even expressed that they should continue to write to
each other, and a correspondence, in consequence,--somewhat singular
between two young persons of different sexes, inasmuch as love was not
the subject of it,--ensued between them. We have seen how highly Lord
Byron estimated as well the virtues as the accomplishments of the young
lady; but it is evident that on neither side, at this period, was love
either felt or professed.[117]

In the mean time, new entanglements, in which his heart was the willing
dupe of his fancy and vanity, came to engross the young poet: and still,
as the usual penalties of such pursuits followed, he again found himself
sighing for the sober yoke of wedlock, as some security against their
recurrence. There were, indeed, in the interval between Miss Milbanke's
refusal and acceptance of him, two or three other young women of rank
who, at different times, formed the subject of his matrimonial dreams.
In the society of one of these, whose family had long honoured me with
their friendship, he and I passed much of our time, during this and the
preceding spring; and it will be found that, in a subsequent part of his
correspondence, he represents me as having entertained an anxious wish
that he should so far cultivate my fair friend's favour as to give a
chance, at least, of matrimony being the result.

That I, more than once, expressed some such feeling is undoubtedly true.
Fully concurring with the opinion, not only of himself, but of others of
his friends, that in marriage lay his only chance of salvation from the
sort of perplexing attachments into which he was now constantly tempted,
I saw in none of those whom he admired with more legitimate views so
many requisites for the difficult task of winning him into fidelity and
happiness as in the lady in question. Combining beauty of the highest
order with a mind intelligent and ingenuous,--having just learning
enough to give refinement to her taste, and far too much taste to make
pretensions to learning,--with a patrician spirit proud as his own, but
showing it only in a delicate generosity of spirit, a feminine
high-mindedness, which would have led her to tolerate his defects in
consideration of his noble qualities and his glory, and even to
sacrifice silently some of her own happiness rather than violate the
responsibility in which she stood pledged to the world for his;--such
was, from long experience, my impression of the character of this lady;
and perceiving Lord Byron to be attracted by her more obvious claims to
admiration, I felt a pleasure no less in rendering justice to the still
rarer qualities which she possessed, than in endeavouring to raise my
noble friend's mind to the contemplation of a higher model of female
character than he had, unluckily for himself, been much in the habit of

To this extent do I confess myself to have been influenced by the sort
of feeling which he attributes to me. But in taking for granted (as it
will appear he did from one of his letters) that I entertained any very
decided or definite wishes on the subject, he gave me more credit for
seriousness in my suggestions than I deserved. If even the lady herself,
the unconscious object of these speculations, by whom he was regarded in
no other light than that of a distinguished acquaintance, could have
consented to undertake the perilous,--but still possible and
glorious,--achievement of attaching Byron to virtue, I own that,
sanguinely as, in theory, I might have looked to the result, I should
have seen, not without trembling, the happiness of one whom I had known
and valued from her childhood risked in the experiment.

I shall now proceed to resume the thread of the Journal, which I had
broken off, and of which, it will be perceived, the noble author himself
had, for some weeks, at this time, interrupted the progress.

[Footnote 117: The reader has already seen what Lord Byron himself says,
in his Journal, on this subject:--"What an odd situation and friendship
is ours!--without one spark of love on either side," &c. &c.]


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