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Title: Life of Lord Byron, Vol. IV - With His Letters and Journals
Author: Moore, Thomas, 1779-1852
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Life of Lord Byron, Vol. IV - With His Letters and Journals" ***

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LIFE

OF

LORD BYRON:

WITH HIS LETTERS AND JOURNALS.

BY THOMAS MOORE, ESQ.

IN SIX VOLUMES.--VOL. IV.

NEW EDITION.


LONDON: JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET. 1854.



CONTENTS OF VOL. IV


LETTERS AND JOURNALS OF LORD BYRON, WITH NOTICES OF HIS LIFE, from
April, 1817, to October, 1820.



NOTICES

OF THE

LIFE OF LORD BYRON.



LETTER 272. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, April 9. 1817.

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

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

     "You tell me to 'take care of myself;'--faith, and I will. I won't
     be posthumous yet, if I can help it. Notwithstanding, only think
     what a 'Life and Adventures,' while I am in full scandal, would be
     worth, together with the 'membra' of my writing-desk, the sixteen
     beginnings of poems never to be finished! Do you think I would not
     have shot myself last year, had I not luckily recollected that Mrs.
     C * * and Lady N * *, and all the old women in England would have
     been delighted;--besides the agreeable 'Lunacy,' of the 'Crowner's
     Quest,' and the regrets of two or three or half a dozen? Be assured
     that I _would live_ for two reasons, or more;--there are one or two
     people whom I have to put out of the world, and as many into it,
     before I can 'depart in peace;' if I do so before, I have not
     fulfilled my mission. Besides, when I turn thirty, I will turn
     devout; I feel a great vocation that way in Catholic churches, and
     when I hear the organ.

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

     "I condole with Drury Lane and rejoice with * *,--that is, in a
     modest way,--on the tragical end of the new tragedy.

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

     "I will tell you something about Chillon.--A Mr. _De Luc_, ninety
     years old, a Swiss, had it read to him, and is pleased with it,--so
     my sister writes. He said that he was _with Rousseau_ at _Chillon_,
     and that the description is perfectly correct. But this is not all:
     I recollected something of the name, and find the following passage
     in 'The Confessions,' vol. iii. page 247. liv. viii.:--

     "'De tous ces amusemens celui qui me plût davantage fut une
     promenade autour du Lac, que je fis en bateau avec _De Luc_ père,
     sa bru, ses _deux fils_, et ma Therése. Nous mimes sept jours à
     cette tournée par le plus beau temps du monde. J'en gardai le vif
     souvenir des sites qui m'avoient frappé à l'autre extrémité du Lac,
     et dont je fis la description, quelques années après, dans la
     Nouvelle Heloise'

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

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

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

     "Yours ever, &c.

     "My love and thanks to Mr. Gifford."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 273. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Venice, April 11. 1817.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     "I go alone,--but alone, because I mean to return here. I only want
     to see Rome. I have not the least curiosity about Florence, though
     I must see it for the sake of the Venus, &c. &c.; and I wish also
     to see the Fall of Terni. I think to return to Venice by Ravenna
     and Rimini, of both of which I mean to take notes for Leigh Hunt,
     who will be glad to hear of the scenery of his Poem. There was a
     devil of a review of him in the Quarterly, a year ago, which he
     answered. All answers are imprudent: but, to be sure, poetical
     flesh and blood must have the last word--that's certain. I
     thought, and think, very highly of his Poem; but I warned him of
     the row his favourite antique phraseology would bring him into.

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

     "Ever," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 274. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, April 14. 1817.

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

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

     "To-day, or rather yesterday, for it is past midnight, I have been
     up to the battlements of the highest tower in Venice, and seen it
     and its view, in all the glory of a clear Italian sky. I also went
     over the Manfrini Palace, famous for its pictures. Amongst them,
     there is a portrait of _Ariosto_ by _Titian_, surpassing all my
     anticipation of the power of painting or human expression: it is
     the poetry of portrait, and the portrait of poetry. There was also
     one of some learned lady, centuries old, whose name I forget, but
     whose features must always be remembered. I never saw greater
     beauty, or sweetness, or wisdom:--it is the kind of face to go mad
     for, because it cannot walk out of its frame. There is also a
     famous dead Christ and live Apostles, for which Buonaparte offered
     in vain five thousand louis; and of which, though it is a capo
     d'opera of Titian, as I am no connoisseur, I say little, and
     thought less, except of one figure in it. There are ten thousand
     others, and some very fine Giorgiones amongst them, &c. &c. There
     is an original Laura and Petrarch, very hideous both. Petrarch has
     not only the dress, but the features and air of an old woman, and
     Laura looks by no means like a young one, or a pretty one. What
     struck me most in the general collection was the extreme
     resemblance of the style of the female faces in the mass of
     pictures, so many centuries or generations old, to those you see
     and meet every day among the existing Italians. The queen of Cyprus
     and Giorgione's wife, particularly the latter, are Venetians as it
     were of yesterday; the same eyes and expression, and, to my mind,
     there is none finer.

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

     "When you write, continue to address to me at _Venice_. Where do
     you suppose the books you sent to me are? At _Turin_! This comes of
     '_the Foreign Office_' which is foreign enough, God knows, for any
     good it can be of to me, or any one else, and be d----d to it, to
     its last clerk and first charlatan, Castlereagh.

     "This makes my hundredth letter at least.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, April 14. 1817.

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

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

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

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

     "I am not coming to England; but going to Rome in a few days. I
     return to Venice in _June_; so, pray, address all letters, &c. to
     me _here_, as usual, that is, to _Venice_. Dr. Polidori this day
     left this city with Lord G * * for England. He is charged with
     some books to your care (from me), and two miniatures also to the
     same address, _both_ for my sister.

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

     "I write in haste, and after having lately written very often.
     Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 276. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Foligno, April 26. 1817.

     "I wrote to you the other day from Florence, inclosing a MS.
     entitled 'The Lament of Tasso.' It was written in consequence of my
     having been lately at Ferrara. In the last section of this MS. _but
     one_ (that is, the penultimate), I think that I have omitted a line
     in the copy sent to you from Florence, viz. after the line--

        "And woo compassion to a blighted name,

     insert,

        "Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim.

     The _context_ will show you _the sense_, which is not clear in this
     quotation. _Remember, I write this in the supposition that you have
     received my Florentine packet._

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

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

     "The church of 'Santa Croce' contains much illustrious nothing. The
     tombs of Machiavelli, Michael Angelo, Galileo Galilei, and Alfieri,
     make it the Westminster Abbey of Italy. I did not admire any of
     these tombs--beyond their contents. That of Alfieri is heavy, and
     all of them seem to me overloaded. What is necessary but a bust and
     name? and perhaps a date? the last for the unchronological, of whom
     I am one. But all your allegory and eulogy is infernal, and worse
     than the long wigs of English numskulls upon Roman bodies in the
     statuary of the reigns of Charles II., William, and Anne.

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

     "For the sake of my personal comfort, I pray you send me
     immediately _to Venice_--_mind, Venice_--viz. _Waites'
     tooth-powder_, _red_, a quantity; _calcined magnesia_, of the best
     quality, a quantity; and all this by safe, sure, and speedy means;
     and, by the Lord! do it.

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 277. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Rome, May 5. 1817.

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

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

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

     "Ever, &c.

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

       *       *       *       *       *

From the foregoing letters to Mr. Murray, we may collect some curious
particulars respecting one of the most original and sublime of the noble
poet's productions, the Drama of Manfred. His failure (and to an extent
of which the reader shall be enabled presently to judge), in the
completion of a design which he had, through two Acts, so magnificently
carried on,--the impatience with which, though conscious of this
failure, he as usual hurried to the press, without deigning to woo, or
wait for, a happier moment of inspiration,--his frank docility in, at
once, surrendering up his third Act to reprobation, without urging one
parental word in its behalf,--the doubt he evidently felt, whether, from
his habit of striking off these creations at a heat, he should be able
to rekindle his imagination on the subject,--and then, lastly, the
complete success with which, when his mind _did_ make the spring, he at
once cleared the whole space by which he before fell short of
perfection,--all these circumstances, connected with the production of
this grand poem, lay open to us features, both of his disposition and
genius, in the highest degree interesting, and such as there is a
pleasure, second only to that of perusing the poem itself, in
contemplating.

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

ACT III.--SCENE I.

A Hall in the Castle of Manfred.

      MANFRED and HERMAN.

_Man._ What is the hour?

_Her._                   It wants but one till sunset,
And promises a lovely twilight.

_Man._                          Say,
Are all things so disposed of in the tower
As I directed?

_Her._        All, my lord, are ready:
Here is the key and casket.

_Man._                      It is well:
Thou may'st retire.            [_Exit_ HERMAN.

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

      _Re-enter_ HERMAN.

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

      _Enter the_ ABBOT OF ST. MAURICE.

_Abbot._                Peace be with Count Manfred!

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

_Abbot._               Would it were so, Count!
But I would fain confer with thee alone.

_Man._ Herman, retire. What would my reverend guest?

                                     [_Exit_ HERMAN.

_Abbot._ Thus, without prelude:--Age and zeal, my office,
And good intent, must plead my privilege;
Our near, though not acquainted neighbourhood,
May also be my herald. Rumours strange,
And of unholy nature, are abroad,
And busy with thy name--a noble name
For centuries; may he who bears it now
Transmit it unimpair'd.

_Man._                  Proceed,--I listen.

_Abbot._ 'Tis said thou boldest converse with the things
Which are forbidden to the search of man;
That with the dwellers of the dark abodes,
The many evil and unheavenly spirits
Which walk the valley of the shade of death,
Thou communest. I know that with mankind,
Thy fellows in creation, thou dost rarely
Exchange thy thoughts, and that thy solitude
Is as an anchorite's, were it but holy.

_Man._ And what are they who do avouch these things?

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

_Man._ Take it.

_Abbot._         I come to save, and not destroy--
I would not pry into thy secret soul;
But if these things be sooth, there still is time
For penitence and pity: reconcile thee
With the true church, and through the church to heaven.

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

_Abbot._ Then, hear and tremble! For the headstrong wretch
Who in the mail of innate hardihood
Would shield himself, and battle for his sins,
There is the stake on earth, and beyond earth eternal--

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

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

_Man._             I understand thee,--well!

_Abbot._ Expect no mercy; I have warned thee.

_Man._ (_opening the casket._) Stop--
There is a gift for thee within this casket.

      [MANFRED _opens the casket, strikes a light, and burns some
        incense._

Ho! Ashtaroth!

      _The_ DEMON ASHTAROTH _appears, singing as follows:--_

    The raven sits
      On the raven-stone,
    And his black wing flits
      O'er the milk-white bone;
    To and fro, as the night-winds blow,
      The carcass of the assassin swings;
    And there alone, on the raven-stone[2],
      The raven flaps his dusky wings.

    The fetters creak--and his ebon beak
      Croaks to the close of the hollow sound;
    And this is the tune by the light of the moon
      To which the witches dance their round--
    Merrily, merrily, cheerily, cheerily,
      Merrily, speeds the ball:
    The dead in their shrouds, and the demons in clouds,
      Flock to the witches' carnival.

_Abbot._ I fear thee not--hence--hence--
Avaunt thee, evil one!--help, ho! without there!

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

_Ash._ Had I not better bring his brethren too,
Convent and all, to bear him company?

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

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

      ASHTAROTH _disappears with the_ ABBOT, _singing as follows:--_

    A prodigal son and a maid undone,
      And a widow re-wedded within the year;
    And a worldly monk and a pregnant nun,
      Are things which every day appear.

      MANFRED _alone._

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

      _Re-enter_ HERMAN.

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

_Man._                        Doth he so?
I will look on him.

      [MANFRED _advances to the window of the hall._

                     Glorious orb![3] the idol
Of early nature, and the vigorous race
Of undiseased mankind, the giant sons
Of the embrace of angels, with a sex
More beautiful than they, which did draw down
The erring spirits who can ne'er return.--
Most glorious orb! that wert a worship, ere
The mystery of thy making was reveal'd!
Thou earliest minister of the Almighty,
Which gladden'd, on their mountain tops, the hearts
Of the Chaldean shepherds, till they pour'd
Themselves in orisons! Thou material God!
And representative of the Unknown--
Who chose thee for his shadow! Thou chief star!
Centre of many stars! which mak'st our earth
Endurable, and temperest the hues
And hearts of all who walk within thy rays!
Sire of the seasons! Monarch of the climes,
And those who dwell in them! for, near or far,
Our inborn spirits have a tint of thee,
Even as our outward aspects;--thou dost rise,
And shine, and set in glory. Fare thee well!
I ne'er shall see thee more. As my first glance
Of love and wonder was for thee, then take
My latest look: thou wilt not beam on one
To whom the gifts of life and warmth have been
Of a more fatal nature. He is gone:
I follow.                      [_Exit_ MANFRED.


SCENE II.

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

      HERMAN, MANUEL, _and other dependants of_ MANFRED.

_Her._ 'Tis strange enough; night after night, for years,
He hath pursued long vigils in this tower,
Without a witness. I have been within it,--
So have we all been oft-times; but from it,
Or its contents, it were impossible
To draw conclusions absolute of aught
His studies tend to. To be sure, there is
One chamber where none enter; I would give
The fee of what I have to come these three years,
To pore upon its mysteries.

_Manuel._                   'Twere dangerous;
Content thyself with what thou know'st already.

_Her._ Ah! Manuel! thou art elderly and wise,
And couldst say much; thou hast dwelt within the castle--
How many years is't?

_Manuel._            Ere Count Manfred's birth,
I served his father, whom he nought resembles.

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

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

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

_Manuel._                      These walls
Must change their chieftain first. Oh! I have seen
Some strange things in these few years.[4]

_Her._                                  Come, be friendly;
Relate me some, to while away our watch:
I've heard thee darkly speak of an event
Which happened hereabouts, by this same tower.

_Manuel._ That was a night indeed! I do remember
'Twas twilight, as it may be now, and such
Another evening;--yon red cloud, which rests
On Eigher's pinnacle, so rested then,--
So like that it might be the same; the wind
Was faint and gusty, and the mountain snows
Began to glitter with the climbing moon;
Count Manfred was, as now, within his tower,--
How occupied, we knew not, but with him
The sole companion of his wanderings
And watchings--her, whom of all earthly things
That lived, the only thing he seemed to love,--
As he, indeed, by blood was bound to do,
The lady Astarte, his--

_Her._                  Look--look--the tower--
The tower's on fire. Oh, heavens and earth! what sound,
What dreadful sound is that?         [_A crash like thunder._

_Manuel._ Help, help, there!--to the rescue of the Count,--
The Count's in danger,--what ho! there! approach!

      _The Servants, Vassals, and Peasantry approach, stupified with
        terror._

If there be any of you who have heart
And love of human kind, and will to aid
Those in distress--pause not--but follow me--
The portal's open, follow.               [MANUEL _goes in._

_Her._                      Come--who follows?
What, none of ye?--ye recreants! shiver then
Without. I will not see old Manuel risk
His few remaining years unaided.         [HERMAN _goes in._

_Vassal._                         Hark!--
No--all is silent--not a breath--the flame
Which shot forth such a blaze is also gone;
What may this mean? Let's enter!

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

_Vassal._ Cease your vain prating--come.

_Manuel._ (_speaking within._)      'Tis all in vain--
He's dead.

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

      _Re-enter_ MANUEL _and_ HERMAN, _bearing_ MANFRED _in their arms._

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

_Her._ His cheek is black--but there is a faint beat
Still lingering about the heart. Some water.

      [_They sprinkle_ MANFRED _with water; after a pause, he gives
        some signs of life._

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

      [HERMAN _inclining his head and listening._

_Her._                         I hear a word
Or two--but indistinctly--what is next?
What's to be done? let's bear him to the castle.

      [MANFRED _motions with his hand not to remove him._

_Manuel._ He disapproves--and 'twere of no avail--
He changes rapidly.

_Her._              'Twill soon be over.

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

_Manfred._ (_speaking faintly and slowly._) Old man! 'tis not so difficult
          to die.                   [MANFRED _having said this expires._

_Her._ His eyes are fixed and lifeless.--He is gone.--

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


[Footnote 1: It will be perceived that, as far as this, the original
matter of the third Act has been retained.]

[Footnote 2: "Raven-stone (Rabenstein), a translation of the German word
for the gibbet, which in Germany and Switzerland is permanent, and made
of stone."]

[Footnote 3: This fine soliloquy, and a great part of the subsequent
scene, have, it is hardly necessary to remark been retained in the
present form of the Drama.]

[Footnote 4: Altered in the present form, to "some strange things in
them, Herman."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 278. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Rome, May 9. 1817.

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

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

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

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

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

     "I'll tell you a story: the other day, a man here--an
     English--mistaking the statues of Charlemagne and Constantine,
     which are _equestrian_, for those of Peter and Paul, asked another
     _which_ was Paul of these same horsemen?--to which the reply
     was,--'I thought, sir, that St. Paul had never got on _horseback_
     since his _accident_?'

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

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

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

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

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

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

     "Yours ever.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 279. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Rome, May 12. 1817.

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

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

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

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

     "Yours very and ever, &c.

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 280. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, May 30. 1817.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 281. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, June 4. 1817.

     "I have received the proofs of the 'Lament of Tasso,' which makes
     me hope that you have also received the reformed third Act of
     Manfred, from Rome, which I sent soon after my arrival there. My
     date will apprise you of my return home within these few days. For
     me, I have received _none_ of your packets, except, after long
     delay, the 'Tales of my Landlord,' which I before acknowledged. I
     do not at all understand the _why nots_, but so it is; no Manuel,
     no letters, no tooth-powder, no _extract_ from Moore's Italy
     concerning Marino Faliero, no NOTHING--as a man hallooed out at one
     of Burdett's elections, after a long ululatus of 'No Bastille! No
     governor-ities! No--'God knows who or what;--but his _ne plus
     ultra_ was, 'No nothing!'--and my receipts of your packages amount
     to about his meaning. I want the extract from _Moore's_ Italy very
     much, and the tooth-powder, and the magnesia; I don't care so much
     about the poetry, or the letters, or Mr. Maturin's by-Jasus
     tragedy. Most of the things sent by the post have come--I mean
     proofs and letters; therefore send me Marino Faliero by the post,
     in a letter.

     "I was delighted with Rome, and was on horseback all round it many
     hours daily, besides in it the rest of my time, bothering over its
     marvels. I excursed and skirred the country round to Alba, Tivoli,
     Frescati, Licenza, &c. &c.; besides, I visited twice the Fall of
     Terni, which beats every thing. On my way back, close to the temple
     by its banks, I got some famous trout out of the river
     Clitumnus--the prettiest little stream in all poesy, near the first
     post from Foligno and Spoletto.--I did not stay at Florence, being
     anxious to get home to Venice, and having already seen the
     galleries and other sights. I left my commendatory letters the
     evening before I went, so I saw nobody.

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

     "I forgot to tell you that at Bologna (which is celebrated for
     producing popes, painters, and sausages) I saw an anatomical
     gallery, where there is a deal of waxwork, in which * *.

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

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

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

     "Ever, &c.

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

     "I have had a letter from Mr. Hodgson. He is very happy, has got a
     living, but not a child: if he had stuck to a curacy, babes would
     have come of course, because he could not have maintained them.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 282. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, June 8. 1817.

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

     "BYRON.

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 283. TO MR. MURRAY.

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

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

     "Three months after date (17th March),--like the unnegotiable bill
     despondingly received by the reluctant tailor,--your despatch has
     arrived, containing the extract from Moore's Italy and Mr.
     Maturin's bankrupt tragedy. It is the absurd work of a clever man.
     I think it might have done upon the stage, if he had made Manuel
     (by some trickery, in a masque or vizor) fight his own battle,
     instead of employing Molineux as his champion; and, after the
     defeat of Torismond, have made him spare the son of his enemy, by
     some revulsion of feeling, not incompatible with a character of
     extravagant and distempered emotions. But as it is, what with the
     Justiza, and the ridiculous conduct of the whole _dram. pers._ (for
     they are all as mad as Manuel, who surely must have had more
     interest with a corrupt bench than a distant relation and heir
     presumptive, somewhat suspect of homicide,) I do not wonder at its
     failure. As a play, it is impracticable; as a poem, no great
     things. Who was the 'Greek that grappled with glory naked?' the
     Olympic wrestlers? or Alexander the Great, when he ran stark round
     the tomb of t'other fellow? or the Spartan who was fined by the
     Ephori for fighting without his armour? or who? And as to 'flaying
     off life like a garment,' helas! that's in Tom Thumb--see king
     Arthur's soliloquy:

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

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

     "I returned the proof of Tasso. By the way, have you never received
     a translation of St. Paul which I sent you, _not_ for publication,
     before I went to Rome?

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

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

     "N."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 284. TO MR. MURRAY.

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

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

     "Now to business; * * * * * * I say unto you, verily, it is not so;
     or, as the foreigner said to the waiter, after asking him to bring
     a glass of water, to which the man answered, 'I will, sir,'--'You
     will!--G----d d----n,--I say, you _mush_!' And I will submit this
     to the decision of any person or persons to be appointed by both,
     on a fair examination of the circumstances of this as compared
     with the preceding publications. So there's for you. There is
     always some row or other previously to all our publications: it
     should seem that, on approximating, we can never quite get over the
     natural antipathy of author and bookseller, and that more
     particularly the ferine nature of the latter must break forth.

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

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

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

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 285. TO MR. MURRAY.

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

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

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

     "B."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 286. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "La Mira, near Venice, July 1. 1817.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     "Yours, &c.

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 287. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "La Mira, near Venice, July 8. 1817

     "If you can convey the enclosed letter to its address, or discover
     the person to whom it is directed, you will confer a favour upon
     the Venetian creditor of a deceased Englishman. This epistle is a
     dun to his executor, for house-rent. The name of the insolvent
     defunct is, or was, _Porter Valter_, according to the account of
     the plaintiff, which I rather suspect ought to be _Walter Porter_,
     according to our mode of collocation. If you are acquainted with
     any dead man of the like name a good deal in debt, pray dig him up,
     and tell him that 'a pound of his fair flesh' or the ducats are
     required, and that 'if you deny them, fie upon your law!'

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

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

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

     "Yours, &c. B."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 288. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, July 9, 1817.

     "I have got the sketch and extracts from Lalla Rookh. The plan, as
     well as the extracts, I have seen, please me very much indeed, and
     I feel impatient for the whole.

     "With regard to the critique on 'Manfred,' you have been in such a
     devil of a hurry, that you have only sent me the half: it breaks
     off at page 294. Send me the rest; and also page 270., where there
     is 'an account of the supposed origin of this dreadful story,'--in
     which, by the way, whatever it may be, the conjecturer is out, and
     knows nothing of the matter. I had a better origin than he can
     devise or divine, for the soul of him.

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

     "I got at last an extract, but _no parcels_. They will come, I
     suppose, some time or other. I am come up to Venice for a day or
     two to bathe, and am just going to take a swim in the Adriatic; so,
     good evening--the post waits. Yours, &c.

     "B.

     "P.S. Pray, was Manfred's speech to _the Sun_ still retained in Act
     third? I hope so: it was one of the best in the thing, and better
     than the Colosseum. I have done _fifty-six_ of Canto fourth, Childe
     Harold; so down with your ducats."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 289. TO MR. MOORE.

     "La Mira, Venice, July 10. 1817.

     "Murray, the Mokanna of booksellers, has contrived to send me
     extracts from Lalla Rookh by the post. They are taken from some
     magazine, and contain a short outline and quotations from the two
     first Poems. I am very much delighted with what is before me, and
     very thirsty for the rest. You have caught the colours as if you
     had been in the rainbow, and the tone of the East is perfectly
     preserved. I am glad you have changed the title from 'Persian
     Tale.'

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

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

     "Do you remember Thurlow's poem to Sam--'_When_ Rogers;' and that
     d----d supper of Rancliffe's that ought to have been a _dinner_?
     'Ah, Master Shallow, we have heard the chimes at midnight.' But

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

        "Here's a sigh to those who love me,
          And a smile to those who hate;
        And whatever sky's above me,
          Here's a heart for every fate.

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

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

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

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

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

     "Monk Lewis is here--'how pleasant!'[5] He is a very good fellow,
     and very much yours. So is Sam--so is every body--and amongst the
     number,

     "Yours ever,

     "B.

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

[Footnote 5: An allusion (such as often occurs in these letters) to an
anecdote with which he had been amused.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 290. TO MR. MURRAY.

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

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

     "I lent Lewis, who is at Venice, (in or on the Canalaccio, the
     Grand Canal,) your extracts from Lalla Rookh and Manuel[6], and,
     out of contradiction, it may be, he likes the last, and is not much
     taken with the first, of these performances. Of Manuel, I think,
     with the exception of a few capers, it is as heavy a nightmare as
     was ever bestrode by indigestion.

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

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

[Footnote 6: A tragedy, by the Rev. Mr. Maturin.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 291. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, July 20. 1817.

     "I write to give you notice that I have completed the _fourth_ and
     _ultimate_ Canto of Childe Harold. It consists of 126 stanzas, and
     is consequently the longest of the four. It is yet to be copied and
     polished; and the notes are to come, of which it will require more
     than the _third_ Canto, as it necessarily treats more of works of
     art than of nature. It shall be sent towards autumn;--and now for
     our barter. What do you bid? eh? you shall have samples, an' it so
     please you: but I wish to know what I am to expect (as the saying
     is) in these hard times, when poetry does not let for half its
     value. If you are disposed to do what Mrs. Winifred Jenkins calls
     'the handsome thing,' I may perhaps throw you some odd matters to
     the lot,--translations, or slight originals; there is no saying
     what may be on the anvil between this and the booking season.
     Recollect that it is the _last_ Canto, and completes the work;
     whether as good as the others, I cannot judge, in course--least of
     all as yet,--but it shall be as little worse as I can help. I may,
     perhaps, give some little gossip in the notes as to the present
     state of Italian literati and literature, being acquainted with
     some of their _capi_--men as well as books;--but this depends upon
     my humour at the time. So, now, pronounce: I say nothing.

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 292. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "La Mira, near Venice, August 7, 1817

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

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

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

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

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

     "An Italian translation of 'Glenarvon' came lately to be printed at
     Venice. The censor (Sr. Petrotini) refused to sanction the
     publication till he had seen me on the subject. I told him that I
     did not recognise the slightest relation between that book and
     myself; but that, whatever opinions might be upon that subject, _I_
     would never prevent or oppose the publication of _any_ book, in
     _any_ language, on my own private account; and desired him (against
     his inclination) to permit the poor translator to publish his
     labours. It is going forwards in consequence. You may say this,
     with my compliments, to the author.

     "Yours."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 293. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, August 12. 1817.

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

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

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

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

     "I have, however, heard good of Manfred from two other quarters,
     and from men who would not be scrupulous in saying what they
     thought, or what was said; and so 'good morrow to you, good Master
     Lieutenant.'

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

     "Yours."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 294. TO MR. MURRAY.

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

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

     "It is not Mr. St. John, but _Mr. St. Aubyn_, son of Sir John St.
     Aubyn. _Polidori_ knows him, and introduced him to me. He is of
     Oxford, and has got my parcel. The Doctor will ferret him out, or
     ought. The parcel contains many letters, some of Madame de Staël's,
     and other people's, besides MSS., &c. By ----, if I find the
     gentleman, and he don't find the parcel, I will say something he
     won't like to hear.

     "You want a 'civil and delicate declension' for the medical
     tragedy? Take it--

        "Dear Doctor, I have read your play,
        Which is a good one in its way,--
        Purges the eyes and moves the bowels,
        And drenches handkerchiefs like towels
        With tears, that, in a flux of grief,
        Afford hysterical relief
        To shatter'd nerves and quicken'd pulses,
        Which your catastrophe convulses.
          "I like your moral and machinery;
        Your plot, too, has such scope for scenery!
        Your dialogue is apt and smart;
        The play's concoction full of art;
        Your hero raves, your heroine cries,
        All stab, and every body dies.
        In short, your tragedy would be
        The very thing to hear and see:
        And for a piece of publication,
        If I decline on this occasion,
        It is not that I am not sensible
        To merits in themselves ostensible,
        But--and I grieve to speak it--plays
        Are drugs, mere drugs, sir--now-a-days.
        I had a heavy loss by 'Manuel,'--
        Too lucky if it prove not annual,--
        And S * *, with his 'Orestes,'
        (Which, by the by, the author's best is,)
        Has lain so very long on hand
        That I despair of all demand.
        I've advertised, but see my books,
        Or only watch my shopman's looks;--
        Still Ivan, Ina, and such lumber,
        My back-shop glut, my shelves encumber.
          "There's Byron too, who once did better,
        Has sent me, folded in a letter,
        A sort of--it's no more a drama
        Than Darnley, Ivan, or Kehama;
        So alter'd since last year his pen is,
        I think he's lost his wits at Venice.
        In short, sir, what with one and t'other,
        I dare not venture on another.
        I write in haste; excuse each blunder;
        The coaches through the street so thunder!
        My room's so full--we've Gifford here
        Reading MS., with Hookham Frere,
        Pronouncing on the nouns and particles
        Of some of our forthcoming Articles.
          "The Quarterly--Ah, sir, if you
        Had but the genius to review!--
        A smart critique upon St. Helena,
        Or if you only would but tell in a
        Short compass what--but, to resume:
        As I was saying, sir, the room--
        The room's so full of wits and bards,
        Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres, and Wards,
        And others, neither bards nor wits:--
        My humble tenement admits
        All persons in the dress of gent.,
        From Mr. Hammond to Dog Dent.
          "A party dines with me to-day,
        All clever men, who make their way;
        They're at this moment in discussion
        On poor De Staël's late dissolution.
        Her book, they say, was in advance--
        Pray Heaven, she tell the truth of France!
          "Thus run our time and tongues away.--
        But, to return, sir, to your play:
        Sorry, sir, but I cannot deal,
        Unless 'twere acted by O'Neill.
        My hands so full, my head so busy,
        I'm almost dead, and always dizzy;
        And so, with endless truth and hurry,
        Dear Doctor, I am yours,

        "JOHN MURRAY.

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

     "Yours, &c.

     "There will be a good many notes."

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 295. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Sept. 4. 1817.

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

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

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

     "You offer 1500 guineas for the new Canto: I won't take it. I ask
     two thousand five hundred guineas for it, which you will either
     give or not, as you think proper. It concludes the poem, and
     consists of 144 stanzas. The notes are numerous, and chiefly
     written by Mr. Hobhouse, whose researches have been indefatigable;
     and who, I will venture to say, has more real knowledge of Rome and
     its environs than any Englishman who has been there since Gibbon.
     By the way, to prevent any mistakes, I think it necessary to state
     the fact that _he_, Mr. Hobhouse, has no interest whatever in the
     price or profit to be derived from the copyright of either poem or
     notes directly or indirectly; so that you are not to suppose that
     it is by, for, or through him, that I require more for this Canto
     than the preceding.--No: but if Mr. Eustace was to have had two
     thousand for a poem on Education; if Mr. Moore is to have three
     thousand for Lalla, &c.; if Mr. Campbell is to have three thousand
     for his prose on poetry--I don't mean to disparage these gentlemen
     in their labours--but I ask the aforesaid price for mine. You will
     tell me that their productions are considerably _longer_: very
     true, and when they shorten them, I will lengthen mine, and ask
     less. You shall submit the MS. to Mr. Gifford, and any other two
     gentlemen to be named by you, (Mr. Frere, or Mr. Croker, or
     whomever you please, except such fellows as your * *s and * *s,)
     and if they pronounce this Canto to be inferior as a _whole_ to the
     preceding, I will not appeal from their award, but burn the
     manuscript, and leave things as they are.

     "Yours very truly.

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 296. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "La Mira, Sept. 12. 1817.

     "I set out yesterday morning with the intention of paying my
     respects, and availing myself of your permission to walk over the
     premises.[7] On arriving at Padua, I found that the march of the
     Austrian troops had engrossed so many horses[8], that those I could
     procure were hardly able to crawl; and their weakness, together
     with the prospect of finding none at all at the post-house of
     Monselice, and consequently either not arriving that day at Este,
     or so late as to be unable to return home the same evening, induced
     me to turn aside in a second visit to Arqua, instead of proceeding
     onwards; and even thus I hardly got back in time.

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

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

[Footnote 7: A country-house on the Euganean hills, near Este, which Mr.
Hoppner, who was then the English Consul-General at Venice, had for some
time occupied, and which Lord Byron afterwards rented of him, but never
resided in it.]

[Footnote 8: So great was the demand for horses, on the line of march of
the Austrians, that all those belonging to private individuals were put
in requisition for their use, and Lord Byron himself received an order
to send his for the same purpose. This, however, he positively refused
to do, adding, that if an attempt were made to take them by force, he
would shoot them through the head in the middle of the road, rather than
submit to such an act of tyranny upon a foreigner who was merely a
temporary resident in the country. Whether his answer was ever reported
to the higher authorities I know not; but his horses were suffered to
remain unmolested in his stables.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 297. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "September 15. 1817.

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

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

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

     "With regard to poetry in general[9], I am convinced, the more I
     think of it, that he and _all_ of us--Scott, Southey, Wordsworth,
     Moore, Campbell, I,--are all in the wrong, one as much as another;
     that we are upon a wrong revolutionary poetical system, or systems,
     not worth a damn in itself, and from which none but Rogers and
     Crabbe are free; and that the present and next generations will
     finally be of this opinion. I am the more confirmed in this by
     having lately gone over some of our classics, particularly _Pope_,
     whom I tried in this way,--I took Moore's poems and my own and some
     others, and went over them side by side with Pope's, and I was
     really astonished (I ought not to have been so) and mortified at
     the ineffable distance in point of sense, learning, effect, and
     even _imagination_, passion, and _invention_, between the little
     Queen Anne's man, and us of the Lower Empire. Depend upon it, it is
     all Horace then, and Claudian now, among us; and if I had to begin
     again, I would mould myself accordingly. Crabbe's the man, but he
     has got a coarse and impracticable subject, and * * * is retired
     upon half-pay, and has done enough, unless he were to do as he did
     formerly."

[Footnote 9: On this paragraph, in the MS. copy of the above letter, I
find the following note, in the handwriting of Mr. Gifford:--

"There is more good sense, and feeling, and judgment in this passage,
than in any other I ever read, or Lord Byron wrote."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 298. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "September 17. 1817.

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

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

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

     "Yours ever," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 299. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "October 12. 1817.

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

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

     "As for Bertram, Maturin may defend his own begotten, if he likes
     it well enough; I leave the Irish clergyman and the new Orator
     Henley to battle it out between them, satisfied to have done the
     best I could for _both_. I may say this to _you_, who know it.

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

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

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

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

     "Many thanks for the Edinburgh Review, which is very kind about
     Manfred, and defends its originality, which I did not know that any
     body had attacked. I _never read_, and do not know that I ever saw,
     the 'Faustus of Marlow,' and had, and have, no dramatic works by me
     in English, except the recent things you sent me; but I heard Mr.
     Lewis translate verbally some scenes of _Goethe's Faust_ (which
     were, some good, and some bad) last summer;--which is all I know of
     the history of that magical personage; and as to the germs of
     Manfred, they may be found in the Journal which I sent to Mrs.
     Leigh (part of which you saw) when I went over first the Dent de
     Jaman, and then the Wengen or Wengeberg Alp and Sheideck, and made
     the giro of the Jungfrau, Shreckhorn, &c. &c. shortly before I left
     Switzerland. I have the whole scene of Manfred before me as if it
     was but yesterday, and could point it out, spot by spot, torrent
     and all.

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

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

     "If you can send me the paper in question[10], which the Edinburgh
     Review mentions, _do_. The review in the magazine you say was
     written by Wilson? it had all the air of being a poet's, and was a
     very good one. The Edinburgh Review I take to be Jeffrey's own by
     its friendliness. I wonder they thought it worth while to do so, so
     soon after the former; but it was evidently with a good motive.

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

     "Yours ever truly.

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

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

        "All clever men who make their way."

[Footnote 10: A paper in the Edinburgh Magazine, in which it was
suggested that the general conception of Manfred, and much of what is
excellent in the manner of its execution, had been borrowed from "The
Tragical History of Dr. Faustus," of Marlow.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 300. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, October 23. 1817.

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

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

     "In the Notes to Canto fourth, Mr. Hobhouse has pointed out
     _several errors_ of _Gibbon_. You may depend upon H.'s research and
     accuracy. You may print it in what shape you please.

     "With regard to a future large edition, you may print all, or any
     thing, except 'English Bards,' to the republication of which at
     _no_ time will I consent. I would not reprint them on any
     consideration. I don't think them good for much, even in point of
     poetry; and, as to other things, you are to recollect that I gave
     up the publication on account of the _Hollands_, and I do not think
     that any time or circumstances can neutralise the suppression. Add
     to which, that, after being on terms with almost all the bards and
     critics of the day, it would be savage at any time, but worst of
     all _now_, to revive this foolish lampoon.

     "The review of Manfred came very safely, and I am much pleased with
     it. It is odd that they should say (that is somebody in a magazine
     whom the Edinburgh controverts) that it was taken from Marlow's
     Faust, which I never read nor saw. An American, who came the other
     day from Germany, told Mr. Hobhouse that Manfred was taken from
     Goethe's Faust. The devil may take both the Faustuses, German and
     English--I have taken neither.

     "Will you send to _Hanson_, and say that he has not written since
     9th September?--at least I have had no letter since, to my great
     surprise.

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

     "Mr. Kinnaird is on his way home with the assignments. I can fix no
     time for the arrival of Canto fourth, which depends on the journey
     of Mr. Hobhouse home; and I do not think that this will be
     immediate.

     "Yours in great haste and very truly,

     "B.

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 301. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, November 15. 1817.

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

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

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

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

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

     "Your new Canto has expanded to one hundred and sixty-seven
     stanzas. It will be long, you see; and as for the notes by
     Hobhouse, I suspect they will be of the heroic size. You must keep
     Mr. * * in good humour, for he is devilish touchy yet about your
     Review and all which it inherits, including the editor, the
     Admiralty, and its bookseller. I used to think that _I_ was a good
     deal of an author in _amour propre_ and _noli me tangere_; but
     these prose fellows are worst, after all, about their little
     comforts.

     "Do you remember my mentioning, some months ago, the Marquis
     Moncada--a Spaniard of distinction and fourscore years, my summer
     neighbour at La Mira? Well, about six weeks ago, he fell in love
     with a Venetian girl of family, and no fortune or character; took
     her into his mansion; quarrelled with all his former friends for
     giving him advice (except me who gave him none), and installed her
     present concubine and future wife and mistress of himself and
     furniture. At the end of a month, in which she demeaned herself as
     ill as possible, he found out a correspondence between her and
     some former keeper, and after nearly strangling, turned her out of
     the house, to the great scandal of the keeping part of the town,
     and with a prodigious éclat, which has occupied all the canals and
     coffee-houses in Venice. He said she wanted to poison him; and she
     says--God knows what; but between them they have made a great deal
     of noise. I know a little of both the parties: Moncada seemed a
     very sensible old man, a character which he has not quite kept up
     on this occasion; and the woman is rather showy than pretty. For
     the honour of religion, she was bred in a convent, and for the
     credit of Great Britain, taught by an Englishwoman.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 302. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, December 3. 1817.

     "A Venetian lady, learned and somewhat stricken in years, having,
     in her intervals of love and devotion, taken upon her to translate
     the Letters and write the Life of Lady Mary Wortley Montague,--to
     which undertaking there are two obstacles, firstly, ignorance of
     English, and, secondly, a total dearth of information on the
     subject of her projected biography, has applied to me for facts or
     falsities upon this promising project. Lady Montague lived the last
     twenty or more years of her life in or near Venice, I believe; but
     here they know nothing, and remember nothing, for the story of
     to-day is succeeded by the scandal of to-morrow; and the wit, and
     beauty, and gallantry, which might render your countrywoman
     notorious in her own country, must have been _here_ no great
     distinction--because the first is in no request, and the two latter
     are common to all women, or at least the last of them. If you can
     therefore tell me any thing, or get any thing told, of Lady Wortley
     Montague, I shall take it as a favour, and will transfer and
     translate it to the 'Dama' in question. And I pray you besides to
     send me, by some quick and safe voyager, the edition of her
     Letters, and the stupid Life, by _Dr. Dallaway_, published by her
     proud and foolish family.

     "The death of the Princess Charlotte has been a shock even here,
     and must have been an earthquake at home. The Courier's list of
     some three hundred heirs to the crown (including the house of
     Wirtemberg, with that * * *, P----, of disreputable memory, whom I
     remember seeing at various balls during the visit of the
     Muscovites, &c. in 1814) must be very consolatory to all true
     lieges, as well as foreigners, except Signor Travis, a rich Jew
     merchant of this city, who complains grievously of the length of
     British mourning, which has countermanded all the silks which he
     was on the point of transmitting, for a year to come. The death of
     this poor girl is melancholy in every respect, dying at twenty or
     so, in childbed--of a _boy_ too, a present princess and future
     queen, and just as she began to be happy, and to enjoy herself, and
     the hopes which she inspired.

     "I think, as far as I can recollect, she is the first royal defunct
     in childbed upon record in _our_ history. I feel sorry in every
     respect--for the loss of a female reign, and a woman hitherto
     harmless; and all the lost rejoicings, and addresses, and
     drunkenness, and disbursements, of John Bull on the occasion.

     "The Prince will marry again, after divorcing his wife, and Mr.
     Southey will write an elegy now, and an ode then; the Quarterly
     will have an article against the press, and the Edinburgh an
     article, _half_ and _half_, about reform and right of divorce; the
     British will give you Dr. Chalmers's funeral sermon much commended,
     with a place in the stars for deceased royalty; and the Morning
     Post will have already yelled forth its 'syllables of dolour.'

        "Woe, woe, Nealliny!--the young Nealliny!

     "It is some time since I have heard from you: are you in bad
     humour? I suppose so. I have been so myself, and it is your turn
     now, and by and by mine will come round again. Yours truly,

     "B.

     "P.S. Countess Albrizzi, come back from Paris, has brought me a
     medal of himself, a present from Denon to me, and a likeness of Mr.
     Rogers (belonging to her), by Denon also."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 303. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Venice, December 15. 1817.

     "I should have thanked you before, for your favour a few days ago,
     had I not been in the intention of paying my respects, personally,
     this evening, from which I am deterred by the recollection that you
     will probably be at the Count Goess's this evening, which has made
     me postpone my intrusion.

     "I think your Elegy a remarkably good one, not only as a
     composition, but both the politics and poetry contain a far greater
     portion of truth and generosity than belongs to the times, or to
     the professors of these opposite pursuits, which usually agree only
     in one point, as extremes meet. I do not know whether you wished me
     to retain the copy, but I shall retain it till you tell me
     otherwise; and am very much obliged by the perusal.

     "My own sentiments on Venice, &c., such as they are, I had already
     thrown into verse last summer, in the fourth Canto of Childe
     Harold, now in preparation for the press; and I think much more
     highly of them, for being in coincidence with yours.

     "Believe me yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 304. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, January 8. 1818.

        "My dear Mr. Murray,
        You're in a damn'd hurry
          To set up this ultimate Canto;
        But (if they don't rob us)
        You'll see Mr. Hobhouse
          Will bring it safe in his portmanteau.

        "For the Journal you hint of,
        As ready to print off,
          No doubt you do right to commend it;
        But as yet I have writ off
        The devil a bit of
          Our 'Beppo;'--when copied, I'll send it.

        "Then you've * * * Tour,--
        No great things, so be sure,
          You could hardly begin with a less work;
        For the pompous rascallion,
        Who don't speak Italian
          Nor French, must have scribbled by guess-work.

        "You can make any loss up
        With 'Spence' and his gossip,
          A work which must surely succeed;
        Then Queen Mary's Epistle-craft,
        With the new 'Fytte' of 'Whistlecraft,'
          Must make people purchase and read.

        "Then you've General Gordon,
        Who girded his sword on,
          To serve with a Muscovite master,
        And help him to polish
        A nation so owlish,
          They thought shaving their beards a disaster.

        "For the man, '_poor and shrewd_[11],'
        With whom you'd conclude
          A compact without more delay,
        Perhaps some such pen is
        Still extant in Venice;
          But please, sir, to mention _your pay_."


[Footnote 11: "Vide your letter."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 305. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, January 19. 1818.

     "I send you the Story[12] in three other separate covers. It won't
     do for your Journal, being full of political allusions. _Print
     alone, without name_; alter nothing; get a scholar to see that the
     _Italian phrases_ are correctly published, (your printing, by the
     way, always makes me ill with its eternal blunders, which are
     incessant,) and God speed you. Hobhouse left Venice a fortnight
     ago, saving two days. I have heard nothing of or from him.

     "Yours, &c.

     "He has the whole of the MSS.; so put up prayers in your back shop,
     or in the printer's 'Chapel.'"

[Footnote 12: Beppo.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 306. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, January 27. 1818.

     "My father--that is, my Armenian father, Padre Pasquali--in the
     name of all the other fathers of our Convent, sends you the
     enclosed, greeting.

     "Inasmuch as it has pleased the translators of the long-lost and
     lately-found portions of the text of Eusebius to put forth the
     enclosed prospectus, of which I send six copies, you are hereby
     implored to obtain subscribers in the two Universities, and among
     the learned, and the unlearned who would unlearn their
     ignorance--This _they_ (the Convent) request, _I_ request, and _do
     you_ request.

     "I sent you Beppo some weeks agone. You must publish it alone; it
     has politics and ferocity, and won't do for your isthmus of a
     Journal.

     "Mr. Hobhouse, if the Alps have not broken his neck, is, or ought
     to be, swimming with my commentaries and his own coat of mail in
     his teeth and right hand, in a cork jacket, between Calais and
     Dover.

     "It is the height of the Carnival, and I am in the extreme and
     agonies of a new intrigue with I don't exactly know whom or what,
     except that she is insatiate of love, and won't take money, and has
     light hair and blue eyes, which are not common here, and that I met
     her at the Masque, and that when her mask is off, I am as wise as
     ever. I shall make what I can of the remainder of my youth."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 307. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Venice, February 2. 1818.

     "Your letter of December 8th arrived but this day, by some delay,
     common but inexplicable. Your domestic calamity is very grievous,
     and I feel with you as much as I _dare_ feel at all. Throughout
     life, your loss must be my loss, and your gain my gain; and, though
     my heart may ebb, there will always be a drop for you among the
     dregs.

     "I know how to feel with you, because (selfishness being always the
     substratum of our damnable clay) I am quite wrapt up in my own
     children. Besides my little legitimate, I have made unto myself an
     _il_legitimate since (to say nothing of one before[13]), and I look
     forward to one of these as the pillar of my old age, supposing that
     I ever reach--which I hope I never shall--that desolating period. I
     have a great love for my little Ada, though perhaps she may torture
     me, like * * *.

     "Your offered address will be as acceptable as you can wish. I
     don't much care what the wretches of the world think of me--all
     _that's_ past. But I care a good deal what _you_ think of me, and,
     so, say what you like. You _know_ that I am not sullen; and, as to
     being _savage_, such things depend on circumstances. However, as to
     being in good humour in _your_ society, there is no great merit in
     that, because it would be an effort, or an insanity, to be
     otherwise.

     "I don't know what Murray may have been saying or quoting.[14] I
     called Crabbe and Sam the fathers of present Poesy; and said, that
     I thought--except them--_all_ of '_us youth_' were on a wrong tack.
     But I never said that we did not sail well. Our fame will be hurt
     by _admiration_ and _imitation_. When I say _our_, I mean _all_
     (Lakers included), except the postscript of the Augustans. The next
     generation (from the quantity and facility of imitation) will
     tumble and break their necks off our Pegasus, who runs away with
     us; but we keep the _saddle_, because we broke the rascal and can
     ride. But though easy to mount, he is the devil to guide; and the
     next fellows must go back to the riding-school and the manège, and
     learn to ride the 'great horse.'

     "Talking of horses, by the way, I have transported my own, four in
     number, to the Lido (_beach_ in English), a strip of some ten miles
     along the Adriatic, a mile or two from the city; so that I not only
     get a row in my gondola, but a spanking gallop of some miles daily
     along a firm and solitary beach, from the fortress to Malamocco,
     the which contributes considerably to my health and spirits.

     "I have hardly had a wink of sleep this week past. We are in the
     agonies of the Carnival's last days, and I must be up all night
     again, as well as to-morrow. I have had some curious masking
     adventures this Carnival; but, as they are not yet over, I shall
     not say on. I will work the mine of my youth to the last veins of
     the ore, and then--good night. I have lived, and am content.

     "Hobhouse went away before the Carnival began, so that he had
     little or no fun. Besides, it requires some time to be
     thoroughgoing with the Venetians; but of all this anon, in some
     other letter.

     "I must dress for the evening. There is an opera and ridotto, and I
     know not what, besides balls; and so, ever and ever yours,

     "B.

     "P.S. I send this without revision, so excuse errors. I delight in
     the fame and fortune of Lalla, and again congratulate you on your
     well-merited success."

[Footnote 13: This possibly may have been the subject of the Poem given
in p. 152. of the first volume.]

[Footnote 14: Having seen by accident the passage in one of his letters
to Mr. Murray, in which he denounces, as false and worthless, the
poetical system on which the greater number of his contemporaries, as
well as himself, founded their reputation, I took an opportunity, in the
next letter I wrote to him, of jesting a little on this opinion, and his
motives for it. It was, no doubt (I ventured to say), excellent policy
in him, who had made sure of his own immortality in this style of
writing, thus to _throw overboard_ all _us poor devils_, who were
embarked with him. He was, in fact, I added, behaving towards us much in
the manner of the methodist preacher who said to his congregation--"You
may think, at the Last Day, to get to heaven by laying hold on my
skirts; but I'll cheat you all, for I'll wear a spencer, I'll wear a
spencer!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

Of his daily rides on the Lido, which he mentions in this letter, the
following account, by a gentleman who lived a good deal with him at
Venice, will be found not a little interesting:--

"Almost immediately after Mr. Hobhouse's departure, Lord Byron proposed
to me to accompany him in his rides on the Lido. One of the long narrow
islands which separate the Lagune, in the midst of which Venice stands,
from the Adriatic, is more particularly distinguished by this name. At
one extremity is a fortification, which, with the Castle of St. Andrea
on an island on the opposite side, defends the nearest entrance to the
city from the sea. In times of peace this fortification is almost
dismantled, and Lord Byron had hired here of the Commandant an
unoccupied stable, where he kept his horses. The distance from the city
was not very considerable; it was much less than to the Terra Firma,
and, as far as it went, the spot was not ineligible for riding.

"Every day that the weather would permit, Lord Byron called for me in
his gondola, and we found the horses waiting for us outside of the fort.
We rode as far as we could along the sea-shore, and then on a kind of
dyke, or embankment, which has been raised where the island was very
narrow, as far as another small fort about half way between the
principal one which I have already mentioned, and the town or village of
Malamocco, which is near the other extremity of the island,--the
distance between the two forts being about three miles.

"On the land side of the embankment, not far from the smaller fort, was
a boundary stone which probably marked some division of property,--all
the side of the island nearest the Lagune being divided into gardens for
the cultivation of vegetables for the Venetian markets. At the foot of
this stone Lord Byron repeatedly told me that I should cause him to be
interred, if he should die in Venice, or its neighbourhood, during my
residence there; and he appeared to think, as he was not a Catholic,
that, on the part of the government, there could be no obstacle to his
interment in an unhallowed spot of ground by the sea-side. At all
events, I was to overcome whatever difficulties might be raised on this
account. I was, by no means, he repeatedly told me, to allow his body to
be removed to England, nor permit any of his family to interfere with
his funeral.

"Nothing could be more delightful than these rides on the Lido were to
me. We were from half to three quarters of an hour crossing the water,
during which his conversation was always most amusing and interesting.
Sometimes he would bring with him any new book he had received, and read
to me the passages which most struck him. Often he would repeat to me
whole stanzas of the poems he was engaged in writing, as he had composed
them on the preceding evening; and this was the more interesting to me,
because I could frequently trace in them some idea which he had started
in our conversation of the preceding day, or some remark, the effect of
which he had been evidently trying upon me. Occasionally, too, he spoke
of his own affairs, making me repeat all I had heard with regard to
him, and desiring that I would not spare him, but let him know the worst
that was said."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 308. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, Feb. 20. 1818.

     "I have to thank Mr. Croker for the arrival, and you for the
     contents, of the parcel which came last week, much quicker than any
     before, owing to Mr. Croker's kind attention and the official
     exterior of the bags; and all safe, except much friction amongst
     the magnesia, of which only two bottles came entire; but it is all
     very well, and I am exceedingly obliged to you.

     "The books I have read, or rather am reading. Pray, who may be the
     Sexagenarian, whose gossip is very amusing? Many of his sketches I
     recognise, particularly Gifford, Mackintosh, Drummond, Dutens, H.
     Walpole, Mrs. Inchbald, Opie, &c., with the Scotts, Loughborough,
     and most of the divines and lawyers, besides a few shorter hints of
     authors, and a few lines about a certain '_noble author_,'
     characterised as malignant and sceptical, according to the good old
     story, 'as it was in the beginning, is now, but _not_ always shall
     be:' do you know such a person, Master Murray? eh?--And pray, of
     the booksellers, which be _you_? the dry, the dirty, the honest,
     the opulent, the finical, the splendid, or the coxcomb bookseller?
     Stap my vitals, but the author grows scurrilous in his grand
     climacteric!

     "I remember to have seen Porson at Cambridge, in the hall of our
     college, and in private parties, but not frequently; and I never
     can recollect him except as drunk or brutal, and generally both: I
     mean in an evening, for in the hall he dined at the Dean's table,
     and I at the Vice-master's, so that I was not near him; and he then
     and there appeared sober in his demeanour, nor did I ever hear of
     excess or outrage on his part in public,--commons, college, or
     chapel; but I have seen him in a private party of undergraduates,
     many of them fresh men and strangers, take up a poker to one of
     them, and heard him use language as blackguard as his action. I
     have seen Sheridan drunk, too, with all the world; but his
     intoxication was that of Bacchus, and Porson's that of Silenus. Of
     all the disgusting brutes, sulky, abusive, and intolerable, Porson
     was the most bestial, as far as the few times that I saw him went,
     which were only at William Bankes's (the Nubian discoverer's)
     rooms. I saw him once go away in a rage, because nobody knew the
     name of the 'Cobbler of Messina,' insulting their ignorance with
     the most vulgar terms of reprobation. He was tolerated in this
     state amongst the young men for his talents, as the Turks think a
     madman inspired, and bear with him. He used to recite, or rather
     vomit, pages of all languages, and could hiccup Greek like a Helot;
     and certainly Sparta never shocked her children with a grosser
     exhibition than this man's intoxication.

     "I perceive, in the book you sent me, a long account of him, which
     is very savage. I cannot judge, as I never saw him sober, except in
     _hall_ or combination-room; and then I was never near enough to
     hear, and hardly to see him. Of his drunken deportment, I can be
     sure, because I saw it.

     "With the Reviews I have been much entertained. It requires to be
     as far from England as I am to relish a periodical paper properly:
     it is like soda-water in an Italian summer. But what cruel work you
     make with Lady * * * *! You should recollect that she is a woman;
     though, to be sure, they are now and then very provoking; still, as
     authoresses, they can do no great harm; and I think it a pity so
     much good invective should have been laid out upon her, when there
     is such a fine field of us Jacobin gentlemen for you to work upon.

     "I heard from Moore lately, and was sorry to be made aware of his
     domestic loss. Thus it is--'medio de fonte leporum'--in the acmé of
     his fame and his happiness comes a drawback as usual.

     "Mr. Hoppner, whom I saw this morning, has been made the father of
     a very fine boy[15].--Mother and child doing very well indeed. By
     this time Hobhouse should be with you, and also certain packets,
     letters, &c. of mine, sent since his departure.--I am not at all
     well in health within this last eight days. My remembrances to
     Gifford and all friends.

     "Yours, &c.

     "B.

     "P.S. In the course of a month or two, Hanson will have probably to
     send off a clerk with conveyances to sign (Newstead being sold in
     November last for ninety-four thousand five hundred pounds), in
     which case I supplicate supplies of articles as usual, for which,
     desire Mr. Kinnaird to settle from funds in their bank, and deduct
     from my account with him.

     "P.S. To-morrow night I am going to see 'Otello,' an opera from our
     'Othello,' and one of Rossini's best, it is said. It will be
     curious to see in Venice the Venetian story itself represented,
     besides to discover what they will make of Shakspeare in music."

[Footnote 15: On the birth of this child, who was christened John
William Rizzo, Lord Byron wrote the four following lines, which are in
no other respect remarkable than that they were thought worthy of being
metrically translated into no less than ten different languages; namely,
Greek, Latin, Italian (also in the Venetian dialect), German, French,
Spanish, Illyrian, Hebrew, Armenian, and Samaritan:--

    "His father's sense, his mother's grace
      In him, I hope, will always fit so;
    With (still to keep him in good case)
      The health and appetite of Rizzo."

The original lines, with the different versions just mentioned, were
printed, in a small neat volume (which now lies before me), in the
seminary of Padua.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 309. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Venice, February 28. 1818.

     "My dear Sir,

     "Our friend, il Conte M., threw me into a cold sweat last night, by
     telling me of a menaced version of Manfred (in Venetian, I hope, to
     complete the thing) by some Italian, who had sent it to you for
     correction, which is the reason why I take the liberty of troubling
     you on the subject. If you have any means of communication with the
     man, would you permit me to convey to him the offer of any price he
     may obtain or think to obtain for his project, provided he will
     throw his translation into the fire[16], and promise not to
     undertake any other of that or any other of _my_ things: I will
     send his money immediately on this condition.

     "As I did not write _to_ the Italians, nor _for_ the Italians, nor
     _of_ the Italians, (except in a poem not yet published, where I
     have said all the good I know or do not know of them, and none of
     the harm,) I confess I wish that they would let me alone, and not
     drag me into their arena as one of the gladiators, in a silly
     contest which I neither understand nor have ever interfered with,
     having kept clear of all their literary parties, both here and at
     Milan, and elsewhere.--I came into Italy to feel the climate and be
     quiet, if possible. Mossi's translation I would have prevented, if
     I had known it, or could have done so; and I trust that I shall yet
     be in time to stop this new gentleman, of whom I heard yesterday
     for the first time. He will only hurt himself, and do no good to
     his party, for in _party_ the whole thing originates. Our modes of
     thinking and writing are so unutterably different, that I can
     conceive no greater absurdity than attempting to make any approach
     between the English and Italian poetry of the present day. I like
     the people very much, and their literature very much, but I am not
     the least ambitious of being the subject of their discussions
     literary and personal (which appear to be pretty much the same
     thing, as is the case in most countries); and if you can aid me in
     impeding this publication, you will add to much kindness already
     received from you by yours Ever and truly,

     "BYRON.

     "P.S. How is _the_ son, and mamma? Well, I dare say."

[Footnote 16: Having ascertained that the utmost this translator could
expect to make by his manuscript was two hundred francs, Lord Byron
offered him that sum, if he would desist from publishing. The Italian,
however, held out for more; nor could he be brought to terms, till it
was intimated to him pretty plainly from Lord Byron that, should the
publication be persisted in, he would horsewhip him the very first time
they met. Being but little inclined to suffer martyrdom in the cause,
the translator accepted the two hundred francs, and delivered up his
manuscript, entering at the same time into a written engagement never to
translate any other of the noble poet's works.

Of the qualifications of this person as a translator of English poetry,
some idea may be formed from the difficulty he found himself under
respecting the meaning of a line in the Incantation in Manfred,--"And
the wisp on the morass,"--which he requested of Mr. Hoppner to expound
to him, not having been able to find in the dictionaries to which he had
access any other signification of the word "wisp" than "a bundle of
straw."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 310. TO MR. ROGERS.

     "Venice, March 3. 1828.

     "I have not, as you say, 'taken to wife the Adriatic.' I heard of
     Moore's loss from himself in a letter which was delayed upon the
     road three months. I was sincerely sorry for it, but in such cases
     what are words?

     "The villa you speak of is one at Este, which Mr. Hoppner
     (Consul-general here) has transferred to me. I have taken it for
     two years as a place of Villeggiatura. The situation is very
     beautiful, indeed, among the Euganean hills, and the house very
     fair. The vines are luxuriant to a great degree, and all the fruits
     of the earth abundant. It is close to the old castle of the Estes,
     or Guelphs, and within a few miles of Arqua, which I have visited
     twice, and hope to visit often.

     "Last summer (except an excursion to Rome) I passed upon the
     Brenta. In Venice I winter, transporting my horses to the Lido,
     bordering the Adriatic (where the fort is), so that I get a gallop
     of some miles daily along the strip of beach which reaches to
     Malamocco, when in health; but within these few weeks I have been
     unwell. At present I am getting better. The Carnival was short, but
     a good one. I don't go out much, except during the time of masques;
     but there are one or two conversazioni, where I go regularly, just
     to keep up the system; as I had letters to their givers; and they
     are particular on such points; and now and then, though very
     rarely, to the Governor's.

     "It is a very good place for women. I like the dialect and their
     manner very much. There is a _naïveté_ about them which is very
     winning, and the romance of the place is a mighty adjunct; the _bel
     sangue_ is not, however, now amongst the _dame_ or higher orders;
     but all under _i fazzioli_, or kerchiefs (a white kind of veil
     which the lower orders wear upon their heads);--the _vesta
     zendale_, or old national female costume, is no more. The city,
     however, is decaying daily, and does not gain in population.
     However, I prefer it to any other in Italy; and here have I pitched
     my staff, and here do I purpose to reside for the remainder of my
     life, unless events, connected with business not to be transacted
     out of England, compel me to return for that purpose; otherwise I
     have few regrets, and no desires to visit it again for its own
     sake. I shall probably be obliged to do so, to sign papers for my
     affairs, and a proxy for the Whigs, and to see Mr. Waite, for I
     can't find a good dentist here, and every two or three years one
     ought to consult one. About seeing my children I must take my
     chance. One I shall have sent here; and I shall be very happy to
     see the legitimate one, when God pleases, which he perhaps will
     some day or other. As for my mathematical * * *, I am as well
     without her.

     "Your account of your visit to Fonthill is very striking: could you
     beg of _him_ for _me_ a copy in MS. of the remaining _Tales_?[17] I
     think I deserve them, as a strenuous and public admirer of the
     first one. I will return it when read, and make no ill use of the
     copy, if granted. Murray would send me out any thing safely. If
     ever I return to England, I should like very much to see the
     author, with his permission. In the mean time, you could not oblige
     me more than by obtaining me the perusal I request, in French or
     English,--all's one for that, though I prefer Italian to either. I
     have a French copy of Vathek which I bought at Lausanne. I can read
     French with great pleasure and facility, though I neither speak nor
     write it. Now Italian I _can_ speak with some fluency, and write
     sufficiently for my purposes, but I don't like their _modern_ prose
     at all; it is very heavy, and so different from Machiavelli.

     "They say Francis is Junius;--I think it looks like it. I remember
     meeting him at Earl Grey's at dinner. Has not he lately married a
     young woman; and was not he Madame Talleyrand's _cavaliere
     servente_ in India years ago?

     "I read my death in the papers, which was not true. I see they are
     marrying the remaining singleness of the royal family. They have
     brought out Fazio with great and deserved success at Covent Garden:
     that's a good sign. I tried, during the directory, to have it done
     at Drury Lane, but was overruled. If you think of coming into this
     country, you will let me know perhaps beforehand. I suppose Moore
     won't move. Rose is here. I saw him the other night at Madame
     Albrizzi's; he talks of returning in May. My love to the Hollands.

     "Ever, &c.

     "P.S. They have been crucifying Othello into an opera (_Otello_, by
     Rossini): the music good, but lugubrious; but as for the words, all
     the real scenes with Iago cut out, and the greatest nonsense
     instead; the handkerchief turned into a _billet-doux_, and the
     first singer would not _black_ his face, for some exquisite reasons
     assigned in the preface. Singing, dresses, and music, very good."

[Footnote 17: A continuation of Vathek, by the author of that very
striking and powerful production. The "Tales" of which this unpublished
sequel consists are, I understand, those supposed to have been related
by the Princes in the Hall of Eblis.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 311. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Venice, March 16. 1818.

     "My dear Tom,

     "Since my last, which I hope that you have received, I have had a
     letter from our friend Samuel. He talks of Italy this summer--won't
     you come with him? I don't know whether you would like our Italian
     way of life or not.

     "They are an odd people. The other day I was telling a girl, 'You
     must not come to-morrow, because Margueritta is coming at such a
     time,'--(they are both about five feet ten inches high, with great
     black eyes and fine figures--fit to breed gladiators from--and I
     had some difficulty to prevent a battle upon a rencontre once
     before,)--'unless you promise to be friends, and'--the answer was
     an interruption, by a declaration of war against the other, which
     she said would be a 'Guerra di Candia.' Is it not odd, that the
     lower order of Venetians should still allude proverbially to that
     famous contest, so glorious and so fatal to the Republic?

     "They have singular expressions, like all the Italians. For
     example, 'Viscere'--as we would say, 'My love,' or 'My heart,' as
     an expression of tenderness. Also, 'I would go for you into the
     midst of a hundred _knives_.'--'_Mazza ben_,' excessive
     attachment,--literally, 'I wish you well even to killing.' Then
     they say (instead of our way, 'Do you think I would do you so much
     harm?') 'Do you think I would _assassinate_ you in such a
     manner?'--'Tempo _perfido_,' bad weather; 'Strade _perfide_,' bad
     roads,--with a thousand other allusions and metaphors, taken from
     the state of society and habits in the middle ages.

     "I am not so sure about _mazza_, whether it don't mean _massa_,
     _i.e._ a great deal, a _mass_, instead of the interpretation I have
     given it. But of the other phrases I am sure.

     "Three o' th' clock--I must 'to bed, to bed, to bed,' as mother S *
     * (that tragical friend of the mathematical * * *) says.

     "Have you ever seen--I forget what or whom--no matter. They tell me
     Lady Melbourne is very unwell. I shall be so sorry. She was my
     greatest _friend_, of the feminine gender:--when I say 'friend,' I
     mean _not_ mistress, for that's the antipode. Tell me all about you
     and every body--how Sam is--how you like your neighbours, the
     Marquis and Marchesa, &c. &c.

     "Ever," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 312. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, March 25. 1818.

     "I have your letter, with the account of 'Beppo,' for which I sent
     you four new stanzas a fortnight ago, in case you print, or
     reprint.

     "Croker's is a good guess; but the style is not English, it is
     Italian;--Berni is the original of _all_. Whistlecraft was _my_
     immediate _model_! Rose's 'Animali' I never saw till a few days
     ago,--they are excellent. But (as I said above) Berni is the father
     of that kind of writing, which, I think, suits our language, too,
     very well;--we shall see by the experiment. If it does, I shall
     send you a volume in a year or two, for I know the Italian way of
     life well, and in time may know it yet better; and as for the verse
     and the passions, I have them still in tolerable vigour.

     "If you think that it will do you and the work, or works, any good,
     you may put my name to it; _but first consult the knowing ones_. It
     will, at any rate, show them that I can write cheerfully, and repel
     the charge of monotony and mannerism.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 313. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, April 11. 1818.

     "Will you send me by letter, packet, or parcel, half a dozen of the
     coloured prints from Holmes's miniature (the latter done shortly
     before I left your country, and the prints about a year ago); I
     shall be obliged to you, as some people here have asked me for the
     like. It is a picture of my upright self done for Scrope B. Davies,
     Esq.[18]

     "Why have you not sent me an answer, and list of subscribers to the
     translation of the Armenian _Eusebius_? of which I sent you printed
     copies of the prospectus (in French) two moons ago. Have you had
     the letter?--I shall send you another:--you must not neglect my
     Armenians. Tooth-powder, magnesia, tincture of myrrh,
     tooth-brushes, diachylon plaster, Peruvian bark, are my personal
     demands.

        "Strahan, Tonson, Lintot of the times,
        Patron and publisher of rhymes,
        For thee the bard up Pindus climbs,
                            My Murray.

        "To thee, with hope and terror dumb,
        The unfledged MS. authors come;
        Thou printest all--and sellest some--
                            My Murray.

        "Upon thy table's baize so green
        The last new Quarterly is seen,
        But where is thy new Magazine,
                            My Murray?

        "Along thy sprucest bookshelves shine
        The works thou deemest most divine--
        The 'Art of Cookery,' and mine,
                            My Murray.

        "Tours, Travels, Essays, too, I wist,
        And Sermons to thy mill bring grist!
        And then thou hast the 'Navy List,'
                            My Murray.

        "And Heaven forbid I should conclude
        Without 'the Board of Longitude,'
        Although this narrow paper would,
                            My Murray!"


[Footnote 18: There follows, in this place, among other matter, a long
string of verses, in various metres, to the amount of about sixty lines,
so full of light gaiety and humour, that it is with some reluctance I
suppress them. They might, however, have the effect of giving pain in
quarters where even the author himself would not have deliberately
inflicted it;--from a pen like his, touches may be wounds, and without
being actually intended as such.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 314. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, April 12. 1818.

     "This letter will be delivered by Signor Gioe. Bata. Missiaglia,
     proprietor of the Apollo library, and the principal publisher and
     bookseller now in Venice. He sets out for London with a view to
     business and correspondence with the English booksellers: and it is
     in the hope that it may be for your mutual advantage that I furnish
     him with this letter of introduction to you. If you can be of use
     to him, either by recommendation to others, or by any personal
     attention on your own part, you will oblige him and gratify me. You
     may also perhaps both be able to derive advantage, or establish
     some mode of literary communication, pleasing to the public, and
     beneficial to one another.

     "At any rate, be civil to him for my sake, as well as for the
     honour and glory of publishers and authors now and to come for
     evermore.

     "With him I also consign a great number of MS. letters written in
     English, French, and Italian, by various English established in
     Italy during the last century:--the names of the writers, Lord
     Hervey, Lady M.W. Montague, (hers are but few--some billets-doux in
     French to Algarotti, and one letter in English, Italian, and all
     sorts of jargon, to the same,) Gray, the poet (one letter), Mason
     (two or three), Garrick, Lord Chatham, David Hume, and many of
     lesser note,--all addressed to Count Algarotti. Out of these, I
     think, with discretion, an amusing miscellaneous volume of letters
     might be extracted, provided some good editor were disposed to
     undertake the selection, and preface, and a few notes, &c.

     "The proprietor of these is a friend of mine, _Dr. Aglietti_,--a
     great name in Italy,--and if you are disposed to publish, it will
     be for _his benefit_, and it is to and for him that you will name a
     price, if you take upon you the work. _I_ would _edite_ it myself,
     but am too far off, and too lazy to undertake it; but I wish that
     it could be done. The letters of Lord Hervey, in Mr. Rose's[19]
     opinion and mine, are good; and the _short_ French love letters
     _certainly_ are Lady M.W. Montague's--the _French_ not good, but
     the sentiments beautiful. Gray's letter good; and Mason's
     tolerable. The whole correspondence must be _well weeded_; but this
     being done, a small and pretty popular volume might be made of
     it.--There are many ministers' letters--Gray, the ambassador at
     Naples, Horace Mann, and others of the same kind of animal.

     "I thought of a preface, defending Lord Hervey against Pope's
     attack, but Pope--_quoad_ Pope, the poet--against all the world, in
     the unjustifiable attempts begun by Warton and carried on at this
     day by the new school of critics and scribblers, who think
     themselves poets because they do _not_ write like Pope. I have no
     patience with such cursed humbug and bad taste; your whole
     generation are not worth a Canto of the Rape of the Lock, or the
     Essay on Man, or the Dunciad, or 'any thing that is his.'--But it
     is three in the matin, and I must go to bed. Yours alway," &c.

[Footnote 19: Among Lord Byron's papers, I find some verses addressed to
him, about this time, by Mr. W. Rose, with the following note annexed to
them:--"These verses were sent to me by W.S. Rose, from Abaro, in the
spring of 1818. They are good and true; and Rose is a fine fellow, and
one of the few English who understand _Italy_, without which Italian is
nothing." The verses begin thus:

    "Byron[20], while you make gay what circle fits ye,
    Bandy Venetian slang with the Benzòn,
    Or play at company with the Albrizzi,
    The self-pleased pedant, and patrician crone,
    Grimanis, Mocenigos, Balbis, Rizzi,
    Compassionate our cruel case,--alone,
    Our pleasure an academy of frogs,
    Who nightly serenade us from the bogs," &c. &c.
]

[Footnote 20: "I have _hunted_ out a precedent for this unceremonious
address."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 315. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, April 17. 1818.

     "A few days ago, I wrote to you a letter, requesting you to desire
     Hanson to desire his messenger to come on from Geneva to Venice,
     because I won't go from Venice to Geneva; and if this is not done,
     the messenger may be damned, with him who mis-sent him. Pray
     reiterate my request.

     "With the proofs returned, I sent two additional stanzas for Canto
     fourth: did they arrive?

     "Your Monthly reviewer has made a mistake: _Cavaliere_, alone, is
     well enough; but '_Cavalier' servente_' has always the _e_ mute in
     conversation, and omitted in writing; so that it is not for the
     sake of metre; and pray let Griffiths know this, with my
     compliments. I humbly conjecture that I know as much of Italian
     society and language as any of his people; but, to make assurance
     doubly sure, I asked, at the Countess Benzona's last night, the
     question of more than one person in _the office_, and of these
     'cavalieri serventi' (in the plural, recollect) I found that they
     all accorded in pronouncing for 'cavalier' servente' in the
     _singular_ number. I wish Mr. * * * * (or whoever Griffiths'
     scribbler may be) would not talk of what he don't understand. Such
     fellows are not fit to be intrusted with Italian, even in a
     quotation.

     "Did you receive two additional stanzas, to be inserted towards the
     close of Canto fourth? Respond, that (if not) they may be sent.

     "Tell Mr. * * and Mr. Hanson that they may as well expect Geneva to
     come to me, as that I should go to Geneva. The messenger may go on
     or return, as he pleases; I won't stir: and I look upon it as a
     piece of singular absurdity in those who know me imagining that I
     should;--not to say _malice_, in attempting unnecessary torture.
     If, on the occasion, my interests should suffer, it is their
     neglect that is to blame; and they may all be d----d together.

     "It is ten o'clock and time to dress.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 316. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "April 23. 1818.

     "The time is past in which I could feel for the dead,--or I should
     feel for the death of Lady Melbourne, the best, and kindest, and
     ablest female I ever knew, old or young. But 'I have supped full of
     horrors,' and events of this kind have only a kind of numbness
     worse than pain,--like a violent blow on the elbow or the head.
     There is one link less between England and myself.

     "Now to business. I presented you with Beppo, as part of the
     contract for Canto fourth,--considering the price you are to pay
     for the same, and intending to eke you out in case of public
     caprice or my own poetical failure. If you choose to suppress it
     entirely, at Mr. * * * *'s suggestion, you may do as you please.
     But recollect it is not to be published in a _garbled_ or
     _mutilated_ state. I reserve to my friends and myself the right of
     correcting the press;--if the publication continue, it is to
     continue in its present form.

     "As Mr. * * says that he did not write this letter, &c. I am ready
     to believe him; but for the firmness of my former persuasion, I
     refer to Mr. * * * *, who can inform you how sincerely I erred on
     this point. He has also the note--or, at least, had it, for I gave
     it to him with my verbal comments thereupon. As to 'Beppo,' I will
     not alter or suppress a syllable for any man's pleasure but my own.

     "You may tell them this; and add, that nothing but force or
     necessity shall stir me one step towards places to which they would
     wring me.

     "If your literary matters prosper let me know. If 'Beppo' pleases,
     you shall have more in a year or two in the same mood. And so 'Good
     morrow to you, good Master Lieutenant.' Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 317. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Palazzo Mocenigo, Canal Grande,

     "Venice, June 1. 1818.

     "Your letter is almost the only news, as yet, of Canto fourth, and
     it has by no means settled its fate,--at least, does not tell me
     how the 'Poeshie' has been received by the public. But I suspect,
     no great things,--firstly, from Murray's 'horrid stillness;'
     secondly, from what you say about the stanzas running into each
     other[21], which I take _not_ to be _yours_, but a notion you have
     been dinned with among the Blues. The fact is, that the terza rima
     of the Italians, which always _runs_ on and in, may have led me
     into experiments, and carelessness into conceit--or conceit into
     carelessness--in either of which events failure will be probable,
     and my fair woman, 'superne,' end in a fish; so that Childe Harold
     will be like the mermaid, my family crest, with the fourth Canto
     for a tail thereunto. I won't quarrel with the public, however, for
     the 'Bulgars' are generally right; and if I miss now, I may hit
     another time:--and so, the 'gods give us joy.'

     "You like Beppo, that's right. I have not had the Fudges yet, but
     live in hopes. I need not say that your successes are mine. By the
     way, Lydia White is here, and has just borrowed my copy of 'Lalla
     Rookh.'

     "Hunt's letter is probably the exact piece of vulgar coxcombry you
     might expect from his situation. He is a good man, with some
     poetical elements in his chaos; but spoilt by the Christ-Church
     Hospital and a Sunday newspaper,--to say nothing of the Surrey
     gaol, which conceited him into a martyr. But he is a good man. When
     I saw 'Rimini' in MS., I told him that I deemed it good poetry at
     bottom, disfigured only by a strange style. His answer was, that
     his style was a system, or _upon system_, or some such cant; and,
     when a man talks of system, his case is hopeless: so I said no more
     to him, and very little to any one else.

     "He believes his trash of vulgar phrases tortured into compound
     barbarisms to be _old_ English; and we may say of it as Aimwell
     says of Captain Gibbet's regiment, when the Captain calls it an
     'old corps,'--'the _oldest_ in Europe, if I may judge by your
     uniform.' He sent out his 'Foliage' by Percy Shelley * * *, and, of
     all the ineffable Centaurs that were ever begotten by Self-love
     upon a Night-mare, I think this monstrous Sagittary the most
     prodigious. _He_ (Leigh H.) is an honest charlatan, who has
     persuaded himself into a belief of his own impostures, and talks
     Punch in pure simplicity of heart, taking himself (as poor
     Fitzgerald said of _himself_ in the Morning Post) for _Vates_ in
     both senses, or nonsenses, of the word. Did you look at the
     translations of his own which he prefers to Pope and Cowper, and
     says so?--Did you read his skimble-skamble about * * being at the
     head of his own _profession_, in the _eyes_ of _those_ who followed
     it? I thought that poetry was an _art_, or an _attribute_, and not
     a _profession_;--but be it one, is that * * * * * * at the head of
     _your_ profession in _your_ eyes? I'll be curst if he is of _mine_,
     or ever shall be. He is the only one of us (but of us he is not)
     whose coronation I would oppose. Let them take Scott, Campbell,
     Crabbe, or you, or me, or any of the living, and throne him;--but
     not this new Jacob Behmen, this * * * * * * whose pride might have
     kept him true, even had his principles turned as perverted as his
     _soi-disant_ poetry.

     "But Leigh Hunt is a good man, and a good father--see his Odes to
     all the Masters Hunt;--a good husband--see his Sonnet to Mrs.
     Hunt;--a good friend--see his Epistles to different people;--and a
     great coxcomb and a very vulgar person in every thing about him.
     But that's not his fault, but of circumstances.[22]

     "I do not know any good model for a life of Sheridan but that of
     _Savage_. Recollect, however, that the life of such a man may be
     made far more amusing than if he had been a Wilberforce;--and this
     without offending the living, or insulting the dead. The Whigs
     abuse him; however, he never left them, and such blunderers deserve
     neither credit nor compassion. As for his creditors,--remember,
     Sheridan _never had_ a shilling, and was thrown, with great powers
     and passions, into the thick of the world, and placed upon the
     pinnacle of success, with no other external means to support him in
     his elevation. Did Fox * * * _pay his_ debts?--or did Sheridan take
     a subscription? Was the * *'s drunkenness more excusable than his?
     Were his intrigues more notorious than those of all his
     contemporaries? and is his memory to be blasted, and theirs
     respected? Don't let yourself be led away by clamour, but compare
     him with the coalitioner Fox, and the pensioner Burke, as a man of
     principle, and with ten hundred thousand in personal views, and
     with none in talent, for he beat them all _out_ and _out_. Without
     means, without connection, without character, (which might be false
     at first, and make him mad afterwards from desperation,) he beat
     them all, in all he ever attempted. But alas, poor human nature!
     Good night--or rather, morning. It is four, and the dawn gleams
     over the Grand Canal, and unshadows the Rialto. I must to bed; up
     all night--but, as George Philpot says, 'it's life, though, damme,
     it's life!' Ever yours, B.

     "Excuse errors--no time for revision. The post goes out at noon,
     and I sha'n't be up then. I will write again soon about your _plan_
     for a publication."

[Footnote 21: I had said, I think, in my letter to him, that this
practice of carrying one stanza into another was "something like taking
on horses another stage without baiting."]

[Footnote 22: I had, in first transcribing the above letter for the
press, omitted the whole of this caustic, and, perhaps, over-severe
character of Mr. Hunt; but the tone of that gentleman's book having, as
far as himself is concerned, released me from all those scruples which
prompted the suppression, I have considered myself at liberty to restore
the passage.]

       *       *       *       *       *

During the greater part of the period which this last series of letters
comprises, he had continued to occupy the same lodgings in an extremely
narrow street called the Spezieria, at the house of the linen-draper, to
whose lady he devoted so much of his thoughts. That he was, for the
time, attached to this person,--as far as a passion so transient can
deserve the name of attachment,--is evident from his whole conduct. The
language of his letters shows sufficiently how much the novelty of this
foreign tie had caught his fancy; and to the Venetians, among whom such
arrangements are mere matters of course, the assiduity with which he
attended his Signora to the theatre, and the ridottos, was a subject of
much amusement. It was with difficulty, indeed, that he could be
prevailed upon to absent himself from her so long as to admit of that
hasty visit to the Immortal City, out of which one of his own noblest
titles to immortality sprung; and having, in the space of a few weeks,
drunk in more inspiration from all he saw than, in a less excited state,
possibly, he might have imbibed in years, he again hurried back, without
extending his journey to Naples,--having written to the fair Marianna to
meet him at some distance from Venice.

Besides some seasonable acts of liberality to the husband, who had, it
seems, failed in trade, he also presented to the lady herself a handsome
set of diamonds; and there is an anecdote related in reference to this
gift, which shows the exceeding easiness and forbearance of his
disposition towards those who had acquired any hold on his heart. A
casket, which was for sale, being one day offered to him, he was not a
little surprised on discovering them to be the same jewels which he had,
not long before, presented to his fair favourite, and which had, by some
unromantic means, found their way back into the market. Without
enquiring, however, any further into the circumstances, he generously
repurchased the casket and presented it to the lady once more,
good-humouredly taxing her with the very little estimation in which, as
it appeared, she held his presents.

To whatever extent this unsentimental incident may have had a share in
dispelling the romance of his passion, it is certain that, before the
expiration of the first twelvemonth, he began to find his lodgings in
the Spezieria inconvenient, and accordingly entered into treaty with
Count Gritti for his Palace on the Grand Canal,--engaging to give for
it, what is considered, I believe, a large rent in Venice, 200 louis a
year. On finding, however, that, in the counterpart of the lease brought
for his signature, a new clause had been introduced, prohibiting him not
only from underletting the house, in case he should leave Venice, but
from even allowing any of his own friends to occupy it during his
occasional absence, he declined closing on such terms; and resenting so
material a departure from the original engagement, declared in society,
that he would have no objection to give the same rent, though
acknowledged to be exorbitant, for any other palace in Venice, however
inferior, in all respects, to Count Gritti's. After such an
announcement, he was not likely to remain long unhoused; and the
Countess Mocenigo having offered him one of her three Palazzi, on the
Grand Canal, he removed to this house in the summer of the present year,
and continued to occupy it during the remainder of his stay in Venice.

Highly censurable, in point of morality and decorum, as was his course
of life while under the roof of Madame * *, it was (with pain I am
forced to confess) venial in comparison with the strange, headlong
career of licence to which, when weaned from that connection, he so
unrestrainedly and, it may be added, defyingly abandoned himself. Of the
state of his mind on leaving England I have already endeavoured to
convey some idea, and, among the feelings that went to make up that
self-centred spirit of resistance which he then opposed to his fate, was
an indignant scorn of his own countrymen for the wrongs he thought they
had done him. For a time, the kindly sentiments which he still harboured
towards Lady Byron, and a sort of vague hope, perhaps, that all would
yet come right again, kept his mind in a mood somewhat more softened and
docile, as well as sufficiently under the influence of English opinion
to prevent his breaking out into such open rebellion against it, as he
unluckily did afterwards.

By the failure of the attempted mediation with Lady Byron, his last link
with home was severed; while, notwithstanding the quiet and unobtrusive
life which he had led at Geneva, there was as yet, he found, no
cessation of the slanderous warfare against his character;--the same
busy and misrepresenting spirit which had tracked his every step at home
having, with no less malicious watchfulness, dogged him into exile. To
this persuasion, for which he had but too much grounds, was added all
that an imagination like his could lend to truth,--all that he was left
to interpret, in his own way, of the absent and the silent,--till, at
length, arming himself against fancied enemies and wrongs, and, with the
condition (as it seemed to him) of an outlaw, assuming also the
desperation, he resolved, as his countrymen would not do justice to the
better parts of his nature, to have, at least, the perverse satisfaction
of braving and shocking them with the worst. It is to this feeling, I am
convinced, far more than to any depraved taste for such a course of
life, that the extravagances to which he now, for a short time, gave
loose, are to be attributed. The exciting effect, indeed, of this mode
of existence while it lasted, both upon his spirits and his genius,--so
like what, as he himself tells us, was always produced in him by a state
of contest and defiance,--showed how much of this latter feeling must
have been mixed with his excesses. The altered character too, of his
letters in this respect cannot fail, I think, to be remarked by the
reader,--there being, with an evident increase of intellectual vigour, a
tone of violence and bravado breaking out in them continually, which
marks the high pitch of re-action to which he had now wound up his
temper.

In fact, so far from the powers of his intellect being at all weakened
or dissipated by these irregularities, he was, perhaps, at no time of
his life, so actively in the full possession of all its energies; and
his friend Shelley, who went to Venice, at this period, to see him[23],
used to say, that all he observed of the workings of Byron's mind,
during his visit, gave him a far higher idea of its powers than he had
ever before entertained. It was, indeed, then that Shelley sketched out,
and chiefly wrote, his poem of "Julian and Maddalo," in the latter of
which personages he has so picturesquely shadowed forth his noble
friend[24]; and the allusions to "the Swan of Albion," in his "Lines
written among the Euganean Hills," were also, I understand, the result
of the same access of admiration and enthusiasm.

In speaking of the Venetian women, in one of the preceding letters,
Lord Byron, it will be recollected, remarks, that the beauty for which
they were once so celebrated is no longer now to be found among the
"Dame," or higher orders, but all under the "fazzioli," or kerchiefs, of
the lower. It was, unluckily, among these latter specimens of the "bel
sangue" of Venice that he now, by a suddenness of descent in the scale
of refinement, for which nothing but the present wayward state of his
mind can account, chose to select the companions of his disengaged
hours;--and an additional proof that, in this short, daring career of
libertinism, he was but desperately seeking relief for a wronged and
mortified spirit, and

    "What to us seem'd guilt might be but woe,"--

is that, more than once, of an evening, when his house has been in the
possession of such visitants, he has been known to hurry away in his
gondola, and pass the greater part of the night upon the water, as if
hating to return to his home. It is, indeed, certain, that to this least
defensible portion of his whole life he always looked back, during the
short remainder of it, with painful self-reproach; and among the causes
of the detestation which he afterwards felt for Venice, this
recollection of the excesses to which he had there abandoned himself was
not the least prominent.

The most distinguished and, at last, the reigning favourite of all this
unworthy Harem was a woman named Margarita Cogni, who has been already
mentioned in one of these letters, and who, from the trade of her
husband, was known by the title of the Fornarina. A portrait of this
handsome virago, drawn by Harlowe when at Venice, having fallen into the
hands of one of Lord Byron's friends after the death of that artist, the
noble poet, on being applied to for some particulars of his heroine,
wrote a long letter on the subject, from which the following are
extracts:--

     "Since you desire the story of Margarita Cogni, you shall be told
     it, though it may be lengthy.

     "Her face is the fine Venetian cast of the old time; her figure,
     though perhaps too tall, is not less fine--and taken altogether in
     the national dress.

     "In the summer of 1817, * * * * and myself were sauntering on
     horseback along the Brenta one evening, when, amongst a group of
     peasants, we remarked two girls as the prettiest we had seen for
     some time. About this period, there had been great distress in the
     country, and I had a little relieved some of the people. Generosity
     makes a great figure at very little cost in Venetian livres, and
     mine had probably been exaggerated as an Englishman's. Whether they
     remarked us looking at them or no, I know not; but one of them
     called out to me in Venetian, 'Why do not you, who relieve others,
     think of us also?' I turned round and answered her--'Cara, tu sei
     troppo bella e giovane per aver' bisogna del' soccorso mio.' She
     answered, 'If you saw my hut and my food, you would not say so.'
     All this passed half jestingly, and I saw no more of her for some
     days.

     "A few evenings after, we met with these two girls again, and they
     addressed us more seriously, assuring us of the truth of their
     statement. They were cousins; Margarita married, the other single.
     As I doubted still of the circumstances, I took the business in a
     different light, and made an appointment with them for the next
     evening. In short, in a few evenings we arranged our affairs, and
     for a long space of time she was the only one who preserved over me
     an ascendency which was often disputed, and never impaired.

     "The reasons of this were, firstly, her person;--very dark, tall,
     the Venetian face, very fine black eyes. She was two-and-twenty
     years old, * * * She was, besides, a thorough Venetian in her
     dialect, in her thoughts, in her countenance, in every thing, with
     all their _naïveté_ and pantaloon humour. Besides, she could
     neither read nor write, and could not plague me with
     letters,--except twice that she paid sixpence to a public scribe,
     under the piazza, to make a letter for her, upon some occasion when
     I was ill and could not see her. In other respects, she was
     somewhat fierce and 'prepotente,' that is, over-bearing, and used
     to walk in whenever it suited her, with no very great regard to
     time, place, nor persons; and if she found any women in her way,
     she knocked them down.

     "When I first knew her, I was in 'relazione' (liaison) with la
     Signora * *, who was silly enough one evening at Dolo, accompanied
     by some of her female friends, to threaten her; for the gossips of
     the villeggiatura had already found out, by the neighing of my
     horse one evening, that I used to 'ride late in the night' to meet
     the Fornarina. Margarita threw back her veil (fazziolo), and
     replied in very explicit Venetian, '_You_ are _not_ his _wife_: _I_
     am _not_ his _wife_: you are his Donna, and _I_ am his _Donna_:
     your husband is a _becco_, and mine is another. For the rest, what
     _right_ have you to reproach me? If he prefers me to you, is it my
     fault? If you wish to secure him, tie him to your
     petticoat-string.--But do not think to speak to me without a reply,
     because you happen to be richer than I am.' Having delivered this
     pretty piece of eloquence (which I translate as it was related to
     me by a bystander), she went on her way, leaving a numerous
     audience with Madame * *, to ponder at her leisure on the dialogue
     between them.

     "When I came to Venice for the winter, she followed; and as she
     found herself out to be a favourite, she came to me pretty often.
     But she had inordinate self-love, and was not tolerant of other
     women. At the 'Cavalchina,' the masked ball on the last night of
     the carnival, where all the world goes, she snatched off the mask
     of Madame Contarini, a lady noble by birth, and decent in conduct,
     for no other reason, but because she happened to be leaning on my
     arm. You may suppose what a cursed noise this made; but this is
     only one of her pranks.

     "At last she quarrelled with her husband, and one evening ran away
     to my house. I told her this would not do: she said she would lie
     in the street, but not go back to him; that he beat her, (the
     gentle tigress!) spent her money, and scandalously neglected her.
     As it was midnight I let her stay, and next day there was no moving
     her at all. Her husband came, roaring and crying, and entreating
     her to come back:--_not_ she! He then applied to the police, and
     they applied to me: I told them and her husband to _take_ her; I
     did not want her; she had come, and I could not fling her out of
     the window; but they might conduct her through that or the door if
     they chose it. She went before the commissary, but was obliged to
     return with that 'becco ettico,' as she called the poor man, who
     had a phthisic. In a few days she ran away again. After a precious
     piece of work, she fixed herself in my house, really and truly
     without my consent; but, owing to my indolence, and not being able
     to keep my countenance, for if I began in a rage, she always
     finished by making me laugh with some Venetian pantaloonery or
     another; and the gipsy knew this well enough, as well as her other
     powers of persuasion, and exerted them with the usual tact and
     success of all she-things; high and low, they are all alike for
     that.

     "Madame Benzoni also took her under her protection, and then her
     head turned. She was always in extremes, either crying or laughing,
     and so fierce when angered, that she was the terror of men, women,
     and children--for she had the strength of an Amazon, with the
     temper of Medea. She was a fine animal, but quite untameable. _I_
     was the only person that could at all keep her in any order, and
     when she saw me really angry (which they tell me is a savage
     sight), she subsided. But she had a thousand fooleries. In her
     fazziolo, the dress of the lower orders, she looked beautiful;
     but, alas! she longed for a hat and feathers; and all I could say
     or do (and I said much) could not prevent this travestie. I put the
     first into the fire; but I got tired of burning them, before she
     did of buying them, so that she made herself a figure--for they did
     not at all become her.

     "Then she would have her gowns with a _tail_--like a lady,
     forsooth; nothing would serve her but 'l'abita colla _coua_,' or
     _cua_, (that is the Venetian for 'la cola,' the tail or train,) and
     as her cursed pronunciation of the word made me laugh, there was an
     end of all controversy, and she dragged this diabolical tail after
     her every where.

     "In the mean time, she beat the women and stopped my letters. I
     found her one day pondering over one. She used to try to find out
     by their shape whether they were feminine or no; and she used to
     lament her ignorance, and actually studied her alphabet, on purpose
     (as she declared) to open all letters addressed to me and read
     their contents.

     "I must not omit to do justice to her housekeeping qualities. After
     she came into my house as 'donna di governo,' the expenses were
     reduced to less than half, and every body did their duty
     better--the apartments were kept in order, and every thing and
     every body else, except herself.

     "That she had a sufficient regard for me in her wild way, I had
     many reasons to believe. I will mention one. In the autumn, one
     day, going to the Lido with my gondoliers, we were overtaken by a
     heavy squall, and the gondola put in peril--hats blown away, boat
     filling, oar lost, tumbling sea, thunder, rain in torrents, night
     coming, and wind unceasing. On our return, after a tight struggle,
     I found her on the open steps of the Mocenigo palace, on the Grand
     Canal, with her great black eyes flashing through her tears, and
     the long dark hair, which was streaming, drenched with rain, over
     her brows and breast. She was perfectly exposed to the storm; and
     the wind blowing her hair and dress about her thin tall figure, and
     the lightning flashing round her, and the waves rolling at her
     feet, made her look like Medea alighted from her chariot, or the
     Sibyl of the tempest that was rolling around her, the only living
     thing within hail at that moment except ourselves. On seeing me
     safe, she did not wait to greet me, as might have been expected,
     but calling out to me--'Ah! can' della Madonna, xe esto il tempo
     per andar' al' Lido?' (Ah! dog of the Virgin, is this a time to go
     to Lido?) ran into the house, and solaced herself with scolding the
     boatmen for not foreseeing the 'temporale.' I am told by the
     servants that she had only been prevented from coming in a boat to
     look after me, by the refusal of all the gondoliers of the canal to
     put out into the harbour in such a moment; and that then she sat
     down on the steps in all the thickest of the squall, and would
     neither be removed nor comforted. Her joy at seeing me again was
     moderately mixed with ferocity, and gave me the idea of a tigress
     over her recovered cubs.

     "But her reign drew near a close. She became quite ungovernable
     some months after, and a concurrence of complaints, some true, and
     many false--'a favourite has no friends'--determined me to part
     with her. I told her quietly that she must return home, (she had
     acquired a sufficient provision for herself and mother, &c. in my
     service,) and she refused to quit the house. I was firm, and she
     went threatening knives and revenge. I told her that I had seen
     knives drawn before her time, and that if she chose to begin, there
     was a knife, and fork also, at her service on the table, and that
     intimidation would not do. The next day, while I was at dinner, she
     walked in, (having broken open a glass door that led from the hall
     below to the staircase, by way of prologue,) and advancing straight
     up to the table, snatched the knife from my hand, cutting me
     slightly in the thumb in the operation. Whether she meant to use
     this against herself or me, I know not--probably against
     neither--but Fletcher seized her by the arms, and disarmed her. I
     then called my boatmen, and desired them to get the gondola ready,
     and conduct her to her own house again, seeing carefully that she
     did herself no mischief by the way. She seemed quite quiet, and
     walked down stairs. I resumed my dinner.

     "We heard a great noise, and went out, and met them on the
     staircase, carrying her up stairs. She had thrown herself into the
     canal. That she intended to destroy herself, I do not believe; but
     when we consider the fear women and men who can't swim have of deep
     or even of shallow water, (and the Venetians in particular, though
     they live on the waves,) and that it was also night, and dark, and
     very cold, it shows that she had a devilish spirit of some sort
     within her. They had got her out without much difficulty or damage,
     excepting the salt water she had swallowed, and the wetting she had
     undergone.

     "I foresaw her intention to refix herself, and sent for a surgeon,
     enquiring how many hours it would require to restore her from her
     agitation; and he named the time. I then said, 'I give you that
     time, and more if you require it; but at the expiration of this
     prescribed period, if _she_ does not leave the house, _I_ will.'

     "All my people were consternated. They had always been frightened
     at her, and were now paralysed: they wanted me to apply to the
     police, to guard myself, &c. &c. like a pack of snivelling servile
     boobies as they were. I did nothing of the kind, thinking that I
     might as well end that way as another; besides, I had been used to
     savage women, and knew their ways.

     "I had her sent home quietly after her recovery, and never saw her
     since, except twice at the opera, at a distance amongst the
     audience. She made many attempts to return, but no more violent
     ones. And this is the story of Margarita Cogni, as far as it
     relates to me.

     "I forgot to mention that she was very devout, and would cross
     herself if she heard the prayer time strike.

     "She was quick in reply; as, for instance--One day when she had
     made me very angry with beating somebody or other, I called her a
     _cow_ (_cow_, in Italian, is a sad affront). I called her 'Vacca.'
     She turned round, courtesied, and answered, 'Vacca _tua_,
     'celenza' (_i.e._ eccelenza). '_Your_ cow, please your Excellency.'
     In short, she was, as I said before, a very fine animal, of
     considerable beauty and energy, with many good and several amusing
     qualities, but wild as a witch and fierce as a demon. She used to
     boast publicly of her ascendency over me, contrasting it with that
     of other women, and assigning for it sundry reasons. True it was,
     that they all tried to get her away, and no one succeeded till her
     own absurdity helped them.

     "I omitted to tell you her answer, when I reproached her for
     snatching Madame Contarini's mask at the Cavalchina. I represented
     to her that she was a lady of high birth, 'una Dama,' &c. She
     answered, 'Se ella è dama _mi_ (_io_) son Veneziana;'--'If she is a
     lady, I am a Venetian.' This would have been fine a hundred years
     ago, the pride of the nation rising up against the pride of
     aristocracy: but, alas! Venice, and her people, and her nobles, are
     alike returning fast to the ocean; and where there is no
     independence, there can be no real self-respect. I believe that I
     mistook or mis-stated one of her phrases in my letter; it should
     have been--'Can' della Madonna cosa vus' tu? esto non é tempo per
     andar' a Lido?'"

[Footnote 23: The following are extracts from a letter of Shelley's to a
friend at this time.

     "Venice, August, 1818.

     "We came from Padua hither in a gondola; and the gondolier, among
     other things, without any hint on our part, began talking of Lord
     Byron. He said he was a 'Giovanotto Inglese,' with a 'nome
     stravagante,' who lived very luxuriously, and spent great sums of
     money.

     "At three o'clock I called on Lord Byron. He was delighted to see
     me, and our first conversation of course consisted in the object of
     our visit. He took me in his gondola, across the Laguna, to a long,
     strandy sand, which defends Venice from the Adriatic. When we
     disembarked, we found his horses waiting for us, and we rode along
     the sands, talking. Our conversation consisted in histories of his
     own wounded feelings, and questions as to my affairs, with great
     professions of friendship and regard for me. He said that if he had
     been in England, at the time of the Chancery affair, he would have
     moved heaven and earth to have prevented such a decision. He talked
     of literary matters,--his fourth Canto, which he says is very good,
     and indeed repeated some stanzas, of great energy, to me. When we
     returned to his palace, which is one if the most magnificent in
     Venice," &c. &c.
]

[Footnote 24: In the preface also to this poem, under the fictitious
name of Count Maddalo, the following just and striking portrait of Lord
Byron is drawn:--

"He is a person of the most consummate genius, and capable, if he would
direct his energies to such an end, of becoming the redeemer of his
degraded country. But it is his weakness to be proud: he derives, from a
comparison of his own extraordinary mind with the dwarfish intellects
that surround him, an intense apprehension of the nothingness of human
life. His passions and his powers are incomparably greater than those of
other men, and instead of the latter having been employed in curbing the
former, they have mutually lent each other strength. His ambition preys
upon itself for want of objects which it can consider worthy of
exertion. I say that Maddalo is proud, because I can find no other word
to express the concentred and impatient feelings which consume him; but
it is on his own hopes and affections only that he seems to trample, for
in social life no human being can be more gentle, patient, and
unassuming than Maddalo. He is cheerful, frank, and witty. His more
serious conversation is a sort of intoxication. He has travelled much;
and there is an inexpressible charm in his relation of his adventures in
different countries."]

       *       *       *       *       *

It was at this time, as we shall see by the letters I am about to
produce, and as the features, indeed, of the progeny itself would but
too plainly indicate, that he conceived, and wrote some part of, his
poem of 'Don Juan;'--and never did pages more faithfully and, in many
respects, lamentably, reflect every variety of feeling, and whim, and
passion that, like the wrack of autumn, swept across the author's mind
in writing them. Nothing less, indeed, than that singular combination of
attributes, which existed and were in full activity in his mind at this
moment, could have suggested, or been capable of, the execution of such
a work. The cool shrewdness of age, with the vivacity and glowing
temperament of youth,--the wit of a Voltaire, with the sensibility of a
Rousseau,--the minute, practical knowledge of the man of society, with
the abstract and self-contemplative spirit of the poet,--a
susceptibility of all that is grandest and most affecting in human
virtue, with a deep, withering experience of all that is most fatal to
it,--the two extremes, in short, of man's mixed and inconsistent nature,
now rankly smelling of earth, now breathing of heaven,--such was the
strange assemblage of contrary elements, all meeting together in the
same mind, and all brought to bear, in turn, upon the same task, from
which alone could have sprung this extraordinary poem,--the most
powerful and, in many respects, painful display of the versatility of
genius that has ever been left for succeeding ages to wonder at and
deplore.

I shall now proceed with his correspondence,--having thought some of the
preceding observations necessary, not only to explain to the reader much
of what he will find in these letters, but to account to him for much
that has been necessarily omitted.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 318. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, June 18. 1818.

     "Business and the utter and inexplicable silence of all my
     correspondents renders me impatient and troublesome. I wrote to Mr.
     Hanson for a balance which is (or ought to be) in his hands;--no
     answer. I expected the messenger with the Newstead papers two
     months ago, and instead of him, I received a requisition to proceed
     to Geneva, which (from * *, who knows my wishes and opinions about
     approaching England) could only be irony or insult.

     "I must, therefore, trouble _you_ to pay into my bankers'
     _immediately_ whatever sum or sums you can make it convenient to do
     on our agreement; otherwise, I shall be put to the _severest_ and
     most immediate inconvenience; and this at a time when, by every
     rational prospect and calculation, I ought to be in the receipt of
     considerable sums. Pray do not neglect this; you have no idea to
     what inconvenience you will otherwise put me. * * had some absurd
     notion about the disposal of this money in annuity (or God knows
     what), which I merely listened to when he was here to avoid
     squabbles and sermons; but I have occasion for the principal, and
     had never any serious idea of appropriating it otherwise than to
     answer my personal expenses. Hobhouse's wish is, if possible, to
     force me back to England[25]: he will not succeed; and if he did, I
     would not stay. I hate the country, and like this; and all foolish
     opposition, of course, merely adds to the feeling. _Your_ silence
     makes me doubt the success of Canto fourth. If it has failed, I
     will make such deduction as you think proper and fair from the
     original agreement; but I could wish whatever is to be paid were
     remitted to me, without delay, through the usual channel, by course
     of post.

     "When I tell you that I have not heard a word from England since
     very early in May, I have made the eulogium of my friends, or the
     persons who call themselves so, since I have written so often and
     in the greatest anxiety. Thank God, the longer I am absent, the
     less cause I see for regretting the country or its living contents.
     I am yours," &c.

[Footnote 25: Deeply is it, for many reasons, to be regretted that this
friendly purpose did not succeed.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 319. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, July 10. 1818.

     "I have received your letter and the credit from Morlands, &c. for
     whom I have also drawn upon you at sixty days' sight for the
     remainder, according to your proposition.

     "I am still waiting in Venice, in expectancy of the arrival of
     Hanson's clerk. What can detain him, I do not know; but I trust
     that Mr. Hobhouse, and Mr. Kinnaird, when their political fit is
     abated, will take the trouble to enquire and expedite him, as I
     have nearly a hundred thousand pounds depending upon the completion
     of the sale and the signature of the papers.

     "The draft on you is drawn up by Siri and Willhalm. I hope that
     the form is correct. I signed it two or three days ago, desiring
     them to forward it to Messrs. Morland and Ransom.

     "Your projected editions for November had better be postponed, as I
     have some things in project, or preparation, that may be of use to
     you, though not very important in themselves. I have completed an
     Ode on Venice, and have two Stories, one serious and one ludicrous
     (à la Beppo), not yet finished, and in no hurry to be so.

     "You talk of the letter to Hobhouse being much admired, and speak
     of prose. I think of writing (for your full edition) some Memoirs
     of my life, to prefix to them, upon the same model (though far
     enough, I fear, from reaching it) of Gifford, Hume, &c.; and this
     without any intention of making disclosures or remarks upon living
     people, which would be unpleasant to them: but I think it might be
     done, and well done. However, this is to be considered. I have
     _materials_ in plenty, but the greater part of them could not be
     used by _me_, nor for these hundred years to come. However, there
     is enough without these, and merely as a literary man, to make a
     preface for such an edition as you meditate. But this is by the
     way: I have not made up my mind.

     "I enclose you a _note_ on the subject of '_Parisina_,' which
     Hobhouse can dress for you. It is an extract of particulars from a
     history of Ferrara.

     "I trust you have been attentive to Missiaglia, for the English
     have the character of neglecting the Italians, at present, which I
     hope you will redeem.

     "Yours in haste, B."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 320. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, July 17. 1818.

     "I suppose that Aglietti will take whatever you offer, but till his
     return from Vienna I can make him no proposal; nor, indeed, have
     you authorised me to do so. The three French notes _are_ by Lady
     Mary; also another half-English-French-Italian. They are very
     pretty and passionate; it is a pity that a piece of one of them is
     lost. Algarotti seems to have treated her ill; but she was much his
     senior, and all women are used ill--or say so, whether they are or
     not.

     "I shall be glad of your books and powders. I am still in waiting
     for Hanson's clerk, but luckily not at Geneva. All my good friends
     wrote to me to hasten _there_ to meet him, but not one had the good
     sense or the good nature, to write afterwards to tell me that it
     would be time and a journey thrown away, as he could not set off
     for some months after the period appointed. If I _had_ taken the
     journey on the general suggestion, I never would have spoken again
     to one of you as long as I existed. I have written to request Mr.
     Kinnaird, when the foam of his politics is wiped away, to extract a
     positive answer from that * * * *, and not to keep me in a state of
     suspense upon the subject. I hope that Kinnaird, who has my power
     of attorney, keeps a look-out upon the gentleman, which is the more
     necessary, as I have a great dislike to the idea of coming over to
     look after him myself.

     "I have several things begun, verse and prose, but none in much
     forwardness. I have written some six or seven sheets of a Life,
     which I mean to continue, and send you when finished. It may
     perhaps serve for your projected editions. If you would tell me
     exactly (for I know nothing, and have no correspondents except on
     business) the state of the reception of our late publications, and
     the feeling upon them, without consulting any delicacies (I am too
     seasoned to require them), I should know how and in what manner to
     proceed. I should not like to give them too much, which may
     probably have been the case already; but, as I tell you, I know
     nothing.

     "I once wrote from the fulness of my mind and the love of fame,
     (not as an _end_, but as a _means_, to obtain that influence over
     men's minds which is power in itself and in its consequences,) and
     now from habit and from avarice; so that the effect may probably be
     as different as the inspiration. I have the same facility, and
     indeed necessity, of composition, to avoid idleness (though
     idleness in a hot country is a pleasure), but a much greater
     indifference to what is to become of it, after it has served my
     immediate purpose. However, I should on no account like to--but I
     won't go on, like the Archbishop of Granada, as I am very sure that
     you dread the fate of Gil Blas, and with good reason. Yours, &c.

     "P.S. I have written some very savage letters to Mr. Hobhouse,
     Kinnaird, to you, and to Hanson, because the silence of so long a
     time made me tear off my remaining rags of patience. I have seen
     one or two late English publications which are no great things,
     except Rob Roy. I shall be glad of Whistlecraft."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 321. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, August 26. 1818.

     "You may go on with your edition, without calculating on the
     Memoir, which I shall not publish at present. It is nearly
     finished, but will be too long; and there are so many things,
     which, out of regard to the living, cannot be mentioned, that I
     have written with too much detail of that which interested me
     least; so that my autobiographical Essay would resemble the tragedy
     of Hamlet at the country theatre, recited 'with the part of Hamlet
     left out by particular desire.' I shall keep it among my papers; it
     will be a kind of guide-post in case of death, and prevent some of
     the lies which would otherwise be told, and destroy some which have
     been told already.

     "The tales also are in an unfinished state, and I can fix no time
     for their completion: they are also not in the best manner. You
     must not, therefore, calculate upon any thing in time for this
     edition. The Memoir is already above forty-four sheets of very
     large, long paper, and will be about fifty or sixty; but I wish to
     go on leisurely; and when finished, although it might do a good
     deal for you at the time, I am not sure that it would serve any
     good purpose in the end either, as it is full of many passions and
     prejudices, of which it has been impossible for me to keep
     clear:--I have not the patience.

     "Enclosed is a list of books which Dr. Aglietti would be glad to
     receive by way of price for his MS. letters, if you are disposed to
     purchase at the rate of fifty pounds sterling. These he will be
     glad to have as part, and the rest _I_ will give him in money, and
     you may carry it to the account of books, &c. which is in balance
     against me, deducting it accordingly. So that the letters are
     yours, if you like them, at this rate; and he and I are going to
     hunt for more Lady Montague letters, which he thinks of finding. I
     write in haste. Thanks for the article, and believe me

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the charge brought against Lord Byron by some English travellers of
being, in general, repulsive and inhospitable to his own countrymen, I
have already made allusion; and shall now add to the testimony then
cited in disproof of such a charge some particulars, communicated to me
by Captain Basil Hall, which exhibit the courtesy and kindliness of the
noble poet's disposition in their true, natural light.

"On the last day of August, 1818 (says this distinguished writer and
traveller), I was taken ill with an ague at Venice, and having heard
enough of the low state of the medical art in that country, I was not a
little anxious as to the advice I should take. I was not acquainted with
any person in Venice to whom I could refer, and had only one letter of
introduction, which was to Lord Byron; but as there were many stories
floating about of his Lordship's unwillingness to be pestered with
tourists, I had felt unwilling, before this moment, to intrude myself in
that shape. Now, however, that I was seriously unwell, I felt sure that
this offensive character would merge in that of a countryman in
distress, and I sent the letter by one of my travelling companions to
Lord Byron's lodgings, with a note, excusing the liberty I was taking,
explaining that I was in want of medical assistance, and saying I should
not send to any one till I heard the name of the person who, in his
Lordship's opinion, was the best practitioner in Venice.

"Unfortunately for me, Lord Byron was still in bed, though it was near
noon, and still more unfortunately, the bearer of my message scrupled to
awake him, without first coming back to consult me. By this time I was
in all the agonies of a cold ague fit, and, therefore, not at all in a
condition to be consulted upon any thing--so I replied pettishly, 'Oh,
by no means disturb Lord Byron on my account--ring for the landlord, and
send for any one he recommends.' This absurd injunction being forthwith
and literally attended to, in the course of an hour I was under the
discipline of mine host's friend, whose skill and success it is no part
of my present purpose to descant upon:--it is sufficient to mention that
I was irrevocably in his hands long before the following most kind note
was brought to me, in great haste, by Lord Byron's servant.

     "'Venice, August 31. 1818.

     "'Dear Sir,

     "'Dr. Aglietti is the best physician, not only in Venice, but in
     Italy: his residence is on the Grand Canal, and easily found; I
     forget the number, but am probably the only person in Venice who
     don't know it. There is no comparison between him and any of the
     other medical people here. I regret very much to hear of your
     indisposition, and shall do myself the honour of waiting upon you
     the moment I am up. I write this in bed, and have only just
     received the letter and note. I beg you to believe that nothing but
     the extreme lateness of my hours could have prevented me from
     replying immediately, or coming in person. I have not been called a
     minute.--I have the honour to be, very truly,

     "'Your most obedient servant,

     "'BYRON.'

"His Lordship soon followed this note, and I heard his voice in the next
room; but although he waited more than an hour, I could not see him,
being under the inexorable hands of the doctor. In the course of the
same evening he again called, but I was asleep. When I awoke I found his
Lordship's valet sitting by my bedside. 'He had his master's orders,' he
said, 'to remain with me while I was unwell, and was instructed to say,
that whatever his Lordship had, or could procure, was at my service, and
that he would come to me and sit with me, or do whatever I liked, if I
would only let him know in what way he could be useful.'

"Accordingly, on the next day, I sent for some book, which was brought,
with a list of his library. I forget what it was which prevented my
seeing Lord Byron on this day, though he called more than once; and on
the next, I was too ill with fever to talk to any one.

"The moment I could get out, I took a gondola and went to pay my
respects, and to thank his Lordship for his attentions. It was then
nearly three o'clock, but he was not yet up; and when I went again on
the following day at five, I had the mortification to learn that he had
gone, at the same hour, to call upon me, so that we had crossed each
other on the canal; and, to my deep and lasting regret, I was obliged to
leave Venice without seeing him."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 322. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Venice, September 19. 1818.

     "An English newspaper here would be a prodigy, and an opposition
     one a monster; and except some ex tracts _from_ extracts in the
     vile, garbled Paris gazettes, nothing of the kind reaches the
     Veneto-Lombard public, who are, perhaps, the most oppressed in
     Europe. My correspondences with England are mostly on business, and
     chiefly with my * * *, who has no very exalted notion, or extensive
     conception, of an author's attributes; for he once took up an
     Edinburgh Review, and, looking at it a minute, said to me, 'So, I
     see you have got into the magazine,'--which is the only sentence I
     ever heard him utter upon literary matters, or the men thereof.

     "My first news of your Irish Apotheosis has, consequently, been
     from yourself. But, as it will not be forgotten in a hurry, either
     by your friends or your enemies, I hope to have it more in detail
     from some of the former, and, in the mean time, I wish you joy with
     all my heart. Such a moment must have been a good deal better than
     Westminster-abbey,--besides being an assurance of _that_ one day
     (many years hence, I trust,) into the bargain.

     "I am sorry to perceive, however, by the close of your letter, that
     even _you_ have not escaped the 'surgit amari,' &c. and that your
     damned deputy has been gathering such 'dew from the still _vext_
     Bermoothes'--or rather _vexatious_. Pray, give me some items of the
     affair, as you say it is a serious one; and, if it grows more so,
     you should make a trip over here for a few months, to see how
     things turn out. I suppose you are a violent admirer of England by
     your staying so long in it. For my own part, I have passed, between
     the age of one-and-twenty and thirty, half the intervenient years
     out of it without regretting any thing, except that I ever returned
     to it at all, and the gloomy prospect before me of business and
     parentage obliging me, one day, to return to it again,--at least,
     for the transaction of affairs, the signing of papers, and
     inspecting of children.

     "I have here my natural daughter, by name Allegra,--a pretty little
     girl enough, and reckoned like papa.[26] Her mamma is English,--but
     it is a long story, and--there's an end. She is about twenty
     months old.

     "I have finished the first Canto (a long one, of about 180 octaves)
     of a poem in the style and manner of 'Beppo', encouraged by the
     good success of the same. It is called 'Don Juan', and is meant to
     be a little quietly facetious upon every thing. But I doubt whether
     it is not--at least, as far as it has yet gone--too free for these
     very modest days. However, I shall try the experiment, anonymously,
     and if it don't take, it will be discontinued. It is dedicated to S
     * * in good, simple, savage verse, upon the * * * *'s politics, and
     the way he got them. But the bore of copying it out is intolerable;
     and if I had an amanuensis he would be of no use, as my writing is
     so difficult to decipher.

        "My poem's Epic, and is meant to be
        Divided in twelve books, each book containing
        With love and war, a heavy gale at sea--
        A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning--
        New characters, &c. &c.

     The above are two stanzas, which I send you as a brick of my Babel,
     and by which you can judge of the texture of the structure.

     "In writing the Life of Sheridan, never mind the angry lies of the
     humbug Whigs. Recollect that he was an Irishman and a clever
     fellow, and that we have had some very pleasant days with him.
     Don't forget that he was at school at Harrow, where, in my time, we
     used to show his name--R.B. Sheridan, 1765,--as an honour to the
     walls. Remember * *. Depend upon it that there were worse folks
     going, of that gang, than ever Sheridan was.

     "What did Parr mean by 'haughtiness and coldness?' I listened to
     him with admiring ignorance, and respectful silence. What more
     could a talker for fame have?--they don't like to be answered. It
     was at Payne Knight's I met him, where he gave me more Greek than I
     could carry away. But I certainly meant to (and _did_) treat him
     with the most respectful deference.

     "I wish you a good night, with a Venetian benediction, 'Benedetto
     te, e la terra che ti fara!'--'May you be blessed, and the _earth_
     which you will _make_!'--is it not pretty? You would think it
     still prettier if you had heard it, as I did two hours ago, from
     the lips of a Venetian girl, with large black eyes, a face like
     Faustina's, and the figure of a Juno--tall and energetic as a
     Pythoness, with eyes flashing, and her dark hair streaming in the
     moonlight--one of those women who may be made any thing. I am sure
     if I put a poniard into the hand of this one, she would plunge it
     where I told her,--and into _me_, if I offended her. I like this
     kind of animal, and am sure that I should have preferred Medea to
     any woman that ever breathed. You may, perhaps, wonder that I don't
     in that case. I could have forgiven the dagger or the bowl, any
     thing, but the deliberate desolation piled upon me, when I stood
     alone upon my hearth, with my household gods shivered around me[27]
     * * Do you suppose I have forgotten or forgiven it? It has
     comparatively swallowed up in me every other feeling, and I am only
     a spectator upon earth, till a tenfold opportunity offers. It may
     come yet. There are others more to be blamed than * * * *, and it
     is on these that my eyes are fixed unceasingly."

[Footnote 26: This little child had been sent to him by its mother about
four or five months before, under the care of a Swiss nurse, a young
girl not above nineteen or twenty years of age, and in every respect
unfit to have the charge of such an infant, without the superintendence
of some more experienced person. "The child, accordingly," says my
informant, "was but ill taken care of;--not that any blame could attach
to Lord Byron, for he always expressed himself most anxious for her
welfare, but because the nurse wanted the necessary experience. The poor
girl was equally to be pitied; for, as Lord Byron's household consisted
of English and Italian men servants, with whom she could hold no
converse, and as there was no other female to consult with and assist
her in her charge, nothing could be more forlorn than her situation
proved to be."

Soon after the date of the above letter, Mrs. Hoppner, the lady of the
Consul General, who had, from the first, in compassion both to father
and child, invited the little Allegra occasionally to her house, very
kindly proposed to Lord Byron to take charge of her altogether, and an
arrangement was accordingly concluded upon for that purpose.]

[Footnote 27:

    "I had one only fount of quiet left,
    And that they poison'd! _My pure household gods
    Were shivered on my hearth._" MARINO FALIERO.
]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 323. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, September 24. 1818.

     "In the one hundredth and thirty-second stanza of Canto fourth, the
     stanza runs in the manuscript--

        "And thou, who never yet of human wrong
        Left the unbalanced scale, great Nemesis!

     and _not 'lost,'_ which is nonsense, as what losing a scale means,
     I know not; but _leaving_ an unbalanced scale, or a scale
     unbalanced, is intelligible.[28] Correct this, I pray,--not for the
     public, or the poetry, but I do not choose to have blunders made in
     addressing any of the deities so seriously as this is addressed.

     "Yours, &c.

     "P.S. In the translation from the Spanish, alter

        "In increasing squadrons flew,

     to--

        To a mighty squadron grew.

     "What does 'thy waters _wasted_ them' mean (in the Canto)? _That is
     not me._[29] Consult the MS. _always_.

     "I have written the first Canto (180 octave stanzas) of a poem in
     the style of Beppo, and have Mazeppa to finish besides.

     "In referring to the mistake in stanza 132. I take the opportunity
     to desire that in future, in all parts of my writings referring to
     religion, you will be more careful, and not forget that it is
     possible that in addressing the Deity a blunder may become a
     blasphemy; and I do not choose to suffer such infamous perversions
     of my words or of my intentions.

     "I saw the Canto by accident."

[Footnote 28: This correction, I observe, has never been made,--the
passage still remaining, unmeaningly,

    "_Lost_ the unbalanced scale."
]

[Footnote 29: This passage also remains uncorrected.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 324. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, January 20. 1819.

     "The opinions which I have asked of Mr. H. and others were with
     regard to the poetical merit, and not as to what they may think due
     to the _cant_ of the day, which still reads the Bath Guide,
     Little's Poems, Prior, and Chaucer, to say nothing of Fielding and
     Smollet. If published, publish entire, with the above-mentioned
     exceptions; or you may publish anonymously, or _not at all_. In the
     latter event, print 50 on my account, for private distribution.

     "Yours, &c.

     "I have written to Messrs. K. and H. to desire that they will not
     erase more than I have stated.

     "The second Canto of Don Juan is finished in 206 stanzas."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 325. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, January 25. 1819.

     "You will do me the favour to print privately (for private
     distribution) fifty copies of 'Don Juan.' The list of the men to
     whom I wish it to be presented, I will send hereafter. The other
     two poems had best be added to the collective edition: I do not
     approve of _their_ being published separately. Print Don Juan
     _entire_, omitting, of course, the lines on Castlereagh, as I am
     not on the spot to meet him. I have a second Canto ready, which
     will be sent by and by. By this post, I have written to Mr.
     Hobhouse, addressed to your care.

     "Yours, &c.

     "P.S. I have acquiesced in the request and representation; and
     having done so, it is idle to detail my arguments in favour of my
     own self-love and 'Poeshie;' but I _protest_. If the poem has
     poetry, it would stand; if not, fall; the rest is 'leather and
     prunello,' and has never yet affected any human production 'pro or
     con.' Dulness is the only annihilator in such cases. As to the cant
     of the day, I despise it, as I have ever done all its other finical
     fashions, which become you as paint became the ancient Britons. If
     you admit this prudery, you must omit half Ariosto, La Fontaine,
     Shakspeare, Beaumont, Fletcher, Massinger, Ford, all the Charles
     Second writers; in short, _something_ of most who have written
     before Pope and are worth reading, and much of Pope himself. _Read
     him_--most of you _don't_--but _do_--and I will forgive you; though
     the inevitable consequence would be that you would burn all I have
     ever written, and all your other wretched Claudians of the day
     (except Scott and Crabbe) into the bargain. I wrong Claudian, who
     _was_ a _poet_, by naming him with such fellows; but he was the
     'ultimus Romanorum,' the tail of the comet, and these persons are
     the tail of an old gown cut into a waistcoat for Jackey; but being
     both _tails_, I have compared the one with the other, though very
     unlike, like all similes. I write in a passion and a sirocco, and I
     was up till six this morning at the Carnival: but I _protest_, as I
     did in my former letter."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 326. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, February 1. 1819.

     "After one of the concluding stanzas of the first Canto of 'Don
     Juan,' which ends with (I forget the number)--

        "To have ...
                 ... when the original is dust,
        A book, a d----d bad picture, and worse bust,

     insert the following stanza:--

        "What are the hopes of man, &c.

     "I have written to you several letters, some with additions, and
     some upon the subject of the poem itself, which my cursed
     puritanical committee have protested against publishing. But we
     will circumvent them on that point. I have not yet begun to copy
     out the second Canto, which is finished, from natural laziness, and
     the discouragement of the milk and water they have thrown upon the
     first. I say all this to them as to you, that is, for _you_ to say
     to _them_, for I will have nothing underhand. If they had told me
     the poetry was bad, I would have acquiesced; but they say the
     contrary, and then talk to me about morality--the first time I ever
     heard the word from any body who was not a rascal that used it for
     a purpose. I maintain that it is the most moral of poems; but if
     people won't discover the moral, that is their fault, not mine. I
     have already written to beg that in any case you will print _fifty_
     for private distribution. I will send you the list of persons to
     whom it is to be sent afterwards.

     "Within this last fortnight I have been rather indisposed with a
     rebellion of stomach, which would retain nothing, (liver, I
     suppose,) and an inability, or fantasy, not to be able to eat of
     any thing with relish but a kind of Adriatic fish called 'scampi,'
     which happens to be the most indigestible of marine viands.
     However, within these last two days, I am better, and very truly
     yours."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 327. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, April 6. 1819.

     "The second Canto of Don Juan was sent, on Saturday last, by post,
     in four packets, two of four, and two of three sheets each,
     containing in all two hundred and seventeen stanzas, octave
     measure. But I will permit no curtailments, except those mentioned
     about Castlereagh and * * * *. You sha'n't make _canticles_ of my
     cantos. The poem will please, if it is lively; if it is stupid, it
     will fail: but I will have none of your damned cutting and
     slashing. If you please, you may publish _anonymously_; it will
     perhaps be better; but I will battle my way against them all, like
     a porcupine.

     "So you and Mr. Foscolo, &c. want me to undertake what you call a
     'great work?' an Epic Poem, I suppose, or some such pyramid. I'll
     try no such thing; I hate tasks. And then 'seven or eight years!'
     God send us all well this day three months, let alone years. If
     one's years can't be better employed than in sweating poesy, a man
     had better be a ditcher. And works, too!--is Childe Harold
     nothing? You have so many 'divine poems,' is it nothing to have
     written a _human_ one? without any of your worn-out machinery. Why,
     man, I could have spun the thoughts of the four Cantos of that poem
     into twenty, had I wanted to book-make, and its passion into as
     many modern tragedies. Since you want _length_, you shall have
     enough of _Juan_, for I'll make fifty Cantos.

     "And Foscolo, too! Why does _he_ not do something more than the
     Letters of Ortis, and a tragedy, and pamphlets? He has good fifteen
     years more at his command than I have: what has he done all that
     time?--proved his genius, doubtless, but not fixed its fame, nor
     done his utmost.

     "Besides, I mean to write my best work in _Italian_, and it will
     take me nine years more thoroughly to master the language; and then
     if my fancy exist, and I exist too, I will try what I _can_ do
     _really_. As to the estimation of the English which you talk of,
     let them calculate what it is worth, before they insult me with
     their insolent condescension.

     "I have not written for their pleasure. If they are pleased, it is
     that they chose to be so; I have never flattered their opinions,
     nor their pride; nor will I. Neither will I make 'Ladies' books 'al
     dilettar le femine e la plebe.' I have written from the fulness of
     my mind, from passion, from impulse, from many motives, but not for
     their 'sweet voices.'

     "I know the precise worth of popular applause, for few scribblers
     have had more of it; and if I chose to swerve into their paths, I
     could retain it, or resume it. But I neither love ye, nor fear ye;
     and though I buy with ye and sell with ye, I will neither eat with
     ye, drink with ye, nor pray with ye. They made me, without any
     search, a species of popular idol; they, without reason or
     judgment, beyond the caprice of their good pleasure, threw down the
     image from its pedestal; it was not broken with the fall, and they
     would, it seems, again replace it,--but they shall not.

     "You ask about my health: about the beginning of the year I was in
     a state of great exhaustion, attended by such debility of stomach
     that nothing remained upon it; and I was obliged to reform my 'way
     of life,' which was conducting me from the 'yellow leaf' to the
     ground, with all deliberate speed. I am better in health and
     morals, and very much yours, &c.

     "P.S. I have read Hodgson's 'Friends.' He is right in defending
     Pope against the bastard pelicans of the poetical winter day, who
     add insult to their parricide, by sucking the blood of the parent
     of English _real_ poetry,--poetry without fault,--and then spurning
     the bosom which fed them."

       *       *       *       *       *

It was about the time when the foregoing letter was written, and when,
as we perceive, like the first return of reason after intoxication, a
full consciousness of some of the evils of his late libertine course of
life had broken upon him, that an attachment differing altogether, both
in duration and devotion, from any of those that, since the dream of his
boyhood, had inspired him, gained an influence over his mind which
lasted through his few remaining years; and, undeniably wrong and
immoral (even allowing for the Italian estimate of such frailties) as
was the nature of the connection to which this attachment led, we can
hardly perhaps,--taking into account the far worse wrong from which it
rescued and preserved him,--consider it otherwise than as an event
fortunate both for his reputation and happiness.

The fair object of this last, and (with one signal exception) only
_real_ love of his whole life, was a young Romagnese lady, the daughter
of Count Gamba, of Ravenna, and married, but a short time before Lord
Byron first met with her, to an old and wealthy widower, of the same
city, Count Guiccioli. Her husband had in early life been the friend of
Alfieri, and had distinguished himself by his zeal in promoting the
establishment of a National Theatre, in which the talents of Alfieri and
his own wealth were to be combined. Notwithstanding his age, and a
character, as it appears, by no means reputable, his great opulence
rendered him an object of ambition among the mothers of Ravenna, who,
according to the too frequent maternal practice, were seen vying with
each other in attracting so rich a purchaser for their daughters, and
the young Teresa Gamba, not yet sixteen, and just emancipated from a
convent, was the selected victim.

The first time Lord Byron had ever seen this lady was in the autumn of
1818, when she made her appearance, three days after her marriage, at
the house of the Countess Albrizzi, in all the gaiety of bridal array,
and the first delight of exchanging a convent for the world. At this
time, however, no acquaintance ensued between them;--it was not till the
spring of the present year that, at an evening party of Madame
Benzoni's, they were introduced to each other. The love that sprung out
of this meeting was instantaneous and mutual, though with the usual
disproportion of sacrifice between the parties; such an event being, to
the man, but one of the many scenes of life, while, with woman, it
generally constitutes the whole drama. The young Italian found herself
suddenly inspired with a passion of which, till that moment, her mind
could not have formed the least idea;--she had thought of love but as an
amusement, and now became its slave. If at the outset, too, less slow to
be won than an Englishwoman, no sooner did she begin to understand the
full despotism of the passion than her heart shrunk from it as something
terrible, and she would have escaped, but that the chain was already
around her.

No words, however, can describe so simply and feelingly as her own, the
strong impression which their first meeting left upon her mind:--

"I became acquainted (says Madame Guiccioli) with Lord Byron in the
April of 1819:--he was introduced to me at Venice, by the Countess
Benzoni, at one of that lady's parties. This introduction, which had so
much influence over the lives of us both, took place contrary to our
wishes, and had been permitted by us only from courtesy. For myself,
more fatigued than usual that evening on account of the late hours they
keep at Venice, I went with great repugnance to this party, and purely
in obedience to Count Guiccioli. Lord Byron, too, who was averse to
forming new acquaintances,--alleging that he had entirely renounced all
attachments, and was unwilling any more to expose himself to their
consequences,--on being requested by the countess Benzoni to allow
himself to be presented to me, refused, and, at last, only assented from
a desire to oblige her.

"His noble and exquisitely beautiful countenance, the tone of his voice,
his manners, the thousand enchantments that surrounded him, rendered him
so different and so superior a being to any whom I had hitherto seen,
that it was impossible he should not have left the most profound
impression upon me. From that evening, during the whole of my subsequent
stay at Venice, we met every day."[30]

[Footnote 30: "Nell' Aprile del 1819, io feci la conoscenza di Lord
Byron; e mi fu presentato a Venezia dalla Contessa Benzoni nella di lei
società. Questa presentazione che ebbe tante consequenze per tutti e due
fu fatta contro la volontà d'entrambi, e solo per condiscendenza
l'abbiamo permessa. Io stanca più che mai quella sera par le ore tarde
che si costuma fare in Venezia andai con molta ripugnanza e solo per
ubbidire al Conte Guiccioli in quella società. Lord Byron che scansava
di fare nuove conoscenze, dicendo sempre che aveva interamente
rinunciato alle passioni e che non voleva esporsi più alle loro
consequenze, quando la Contessa Benzoni la pregò di volersi far
presentare a me eglì recusò, e solo per la compiàcenza glielo permise.
La nobile e bellissima sua fisonomia, il suono della sua voce, le sue
maniere, i mille incanti che lo circondavano lo rendevano un essere così
differente, così superiore a tutti quelli che io aveva sino allora
veduti che non potei a meno di non provarne la più profonda impressione.
Da quella sera in poi in tutti i giorni che mi fermai in Venezia ei
siamo seinpre veduti."--MS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 328. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, May 15. 1819.

     "I have got your extract, and the 'Vampire.' I need not say it is
     _not mine_. There is a rule to go by: you are my publisher (till we
     quarrel), and what is not published by you is not written by me.

     "Next week I set out for Romagna--at least, in all probability. You
     had better go on with the publications, without waiting to hear
     farther, for I have other things in my head. 'Mazeppa' and the
     'Ode' separate?--what think you? _Juan anonymous, without the
     Dedication;_ for I won't be shabby, and attack Southey under cloud
     of night.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

In another letter on the subject of the Vampire, I find the following
interesting particulars:--

     "TO MR. ----.

     "The story of Shelley's agitation is true.[31] I can't tell what
     seized him, for he don't want courage. He was once with me in a
     gale of wind, in a small boat, right under the rocks between
     Meillerie and St. Gingo. We were five in the boat--a servant, two
     boatmen, and ourselves. The sail was mismanaged, and the boat was
     filling fast. He can't swim. I stripped off my coat, made him strip
     off his, and take hold of an oar, telling him that I thought (being
     myself an expert swimmer) I could save him, if he would not
     struggle when I took hold of him--unless we got smashed against the
     rocks, which were high and sharp, with an awkward surf on them at
     that minute. We were then about a hundred yards from shore, and the
     boat in peril. He answered me with the greatest coolness, 'that he
     had no notion of being saved, and that I would have enough to do to
     save myself, and begged not to trouble me.' Luckily, the boat
     righted, and, bailing, we got round a point into St. Gingo, where
     the inhabitants came down and embraced the boatmen on their escape,
     the wind having been high enough to tear up some huge trees from
     the Alps above us, as we saw next day.

     "And yet the same Shelley, who was as cool as it was possible to be
     in such circumstances, (of which I am no judge myself, as the
     chance of swimming naturally gives self-possession when near
     shore,) certainly had the fit of phantasy which Polidori describes,
     though _not exactly_ as he describes it.

     "The story of the agreement to write the ghost-books is true; but
     the ladies are _not_ sisters. Mary Godwin (now Mrs. Shelley) wrote
     Frankenstein, which you have reviewed, thinking it Shelley's.
     Methinks it is a wonderful book for a girl of nineteen,--not
     nineteen, indeed, at that time. I enclose you the beginning of
     mine, by which you will see how far it resembles Mr. Colburn's
     publication. If you choose to publish it, you may, _stating why_,
     and with such explanatory proem as you please. I never went on with
     it, as you will perceive by the date. I began it in an old
     account-book of Miss Milbanke's, which I kept because it contains
     the word 'Household,' written by her twice on the inside blank page
     of the covers, being the only two scraps I have in the world in her
     writing, except her name to the Deed of Separation. Her letters I
     sent back except those of the quarrelling correspondence, and
     those, being documents, are placed in the hands of a third person,
     with copies of several of my own; so that I have no kind of
     memorial whatever of her, but these two words,--and her actions. I
     have torn the leaves containing the part of the Tale out of the
     book, and enclose them with this sheet.

     "What do you mean? First you seem hurt by my letter, and then, in
     your next, you talk of its 'power,' and so forth. 'This is a
     d----d blind story, Jack; but never mind, go on.' You may be sure I
     said nothing _on purpose_ to plague you; but if you will put me 'in
     a frenzy, I will never call you _Jack_ again.' I remember nothing
     of the epistle at present.

     "What do you mean by Polidori's _Diary_? Why, I defy him to say any
     thing about me, but he is welcome. I have nothing to reproach me
     with on his score, and I am much mistaken if that is not his _own_
     opinion. But why publish the names of the two girls? and in such a
     manner?--what a blundering piece of exculpation! _He_ asked Pictet,
     &c. to dinner, and of course was left to entertain them. I went
     into society _solely_ to present _him_ (as I told him), that he
     might return into good company if he chose; it was the best thing
     for his youth and circumstances: for myself, I had done with
     society, and, having presented him, withdrew to my own 'way of
     life.' It is true that I returned without entering Lady Dalrymple
     Hamilton's, because I saw it full. It is true that Mrs. Hervey (she
     writes novels) fainted at my entrance into Coppet, and then came
     back again. On her fainting, the Duchess de Broglie exclaimed,
     'This is _too much_--at _sixty-five_ years of age!'--I never gave
     'the English' an opportunity of avoiding me; but I trust that, if
     ever I do, they will seize it. With regard to Mazeppa and the Ode,
     you may join or separate them, as you please, from the two Cantos.

     "Don't suppose I want to put you out of humour. I have a great
     respect for your good and gentlemanly qualities, and return your
     personal friendship towards me; and although I think you a little
     spoilt by 'villanous company,'--wits, persons of honour about town,
     authors, and fashionables, together with your 'I am just going to
     call at Carlton House, are you walking that way?'--I say,
     notwithstanding 'pictures, taste, Shakspeare, and the musical
     glasses,' you deserve and possess the esteem of those whose esteem
     is worth having, and of none more (however useless it may be) than
     yours very truly, &c.

     "P.S. Make my respects to Mr. Gifford. I am perfectly aware that
     'Don Juan' must set us all by the ears, but that is my concern, and
     my beginning. There will be the 'Edinburgh,' and all, too, against
     it, so that, like 'Rob Roy,' I shall have my hands full."

[Footnote 31: This story, as given in the Preface to the "Vampire," is
as follows:--

"It appears that one evening Lord B., Mr. P.B. Shelley, two ladies, and
the gentleman before alluded to, after having perused a German work
called Phantasmagoria, began relating ghost stories, when his Lordship
having recited the beginning of Christabel, then unpublished, the whole
took so strong a hold of Mr. Shelley's mind, that he suddenly started
up, and ran out of the room. The physician and Lord Byron followed, and
discovered him leaning against a mantel-piece, with cold drops of
perspiration trickling down his face. After having given him something
to refresh him, upon enquiring into the cause of his alarm, they found
that his wild imagination having pictured to him the bosom of one of the
ladies with eyes (which was reported of a lady in the neighbourhood
where he lived), he was obliged to leave the room in order to destroy
the impression."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 329. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, May 25. 1819.

     "I have received no proofs by the last post, and shall probably
     have quitted Venice before the arrival of the next. There wanted a
     few stanzas to the termination of Canto first in the last proof;
     the next will, I presume, contain them, and the whole or a portion
     of Canto second; but it will be idle to wait for further answers
     from me, as I have directed that my letters wait for my return
     (perhaps in a month, and probably so); therefore do not wait for
     further advice from me. You may as well talk to the wind, and
     better--for _it_ will at least convey your accents a little further
     than they would otherwise have gone; whereas _I_ shall neither
     echo nor acquiesce in your 'exquisite reasons.' You may omit the
     _note_ of reference to Hobhouse's travels, in Canto second, and you
     will put as motto to the whole--

        'Difficile est proprie communia dicere.'--HORACE.

     "A few days ago I sent you all I know of Polidori's Vampire. He may
     do, say, or write, what he pleases, but I wish he would not
     attribute to me his own compositions. If he has any thing of mine
     in his possession, the MS. will put it beyond controversy; but I
     scarcely think that any one who knows me would believe the thing in
     the Magazine to be mine, even if they saw it in my own
     hieroglyphics.

     "I write to you in the agonies of a _sirocco_, which annihilates
     me; and I have been fool enough to do four things since dinner,
     which are as well omitted in very hot weather: 1stly, * * * *;
     2dly, to play at billiards from 10 to 12, under the influence of
     lighted lamps, that doubled the heat; 3dly, to go afterwards into a
     red-hot conversazione of the Countess Benzoni's; and, 4thly, to
     begin this letter at three in the morning: but being begun, it must
     be finished.

     "Ever very truly and affectionately yours,

     "B.

     "P.S. I petition for tooth-brushes, powder, magnesia, Macassar oil
     (or Russia), _the_ sashes, and Sir Nl. Wraxall's Memoirs of his own
     Times. I want, besides, a bull-dog, a terrier, and two Newfoundland
     dogs; and I want (is it Buck's?) a life of _Richard 3d_,
     advertised by Longman _long, long, long_ ago; I asked for it at
     least three years since. See Longman's advertisements."

       *       *       *       *       *

About the middle of April, Madame Guiccioli had been obliged to quit
Venice with her husband. Having several houses on the road from Venice
to Ravenna, it was his habit to stop at these mansions, one after the
other, in his journeys between the two cities; and from all these places
the enamoured young Countess now wrote to Lord Byron, expressing, in the
most passionate and pathetic terms, her despair at leaving him. So
utterly, indeed, did this feeling overpower her, that three times, in
the course of her first day's journey, she was seized with fainting
fits. In one of her letters, which I saw when at Venice, dated, if I
recollect right, from "Cà Zen, Cavanelle di Po," she tells him that the
solitude of this place, which she had before found irksome, was, now
that one sole idea occupied her mind, become dear and welcome to her,
and promises that, as soon as she arrives at Ravenna, "she will,
according to his wish, avoid all general society, and devote herself to
reading, music, domestic occupations, riding on horseback,--every thing,
in short, that she knew he would most like." What a change for a young
and simple girl, who, but a few weeks before, had thought only of
society and the world, but who now saw no other happiness but in the
hope of making herself worthy, by seclusion and self-instruction, of the
illustrious object of her devotion!

On leaving this place, she was attacked with a dangerous illness on the
road, and arrived half dead at Ravenna; nor was it found possible to
revive or comfort her till an assurance was received from Lord Byron,
expressed with all the fervour of real passion, that, in the course of
the ensuing month, he would pay her a visit. Symptoms of consumption,
brought on by her state of mind, had already shown themselves; and, in
addition to the pain which this separation had caused her, she was also
suffering much grief from the loss of her mother, who, at this time,
died in giving birth to her fourteenth child. Towards the latter end of
May she wrote to acquaint Lord Byron that, having prepared all her
relatives and friends to expect him, he might now, she thought, venture
to make his appearance at Ravenna. Though, on the lady's account,
hesitating as to the prudence of such a step, he, in obedience to her
wishes, on the 2d of June, set out from La Mira (at which place he had
again taken a villa for the summer), and proceeded towards Romagna.

From Padua he addressed a letter to Mr. Hoppner, chiefly occupied with
matters of household concern which that gentleman had undertaken to
manage for him at Venice, but, on the immediate object of his journey,
expressing himself in a tone so light and jesting, as it would be
difficult for those not versed in his character to conceive that he
could ever bring himself, while under the influence of a passion so
sincere, to assume. But such is ever the wantonness of the mocking
spirit, from which nothing,--not even love,--remains sacred; and which,
at last, for want of other food, turns upon himself. The same horror,
too, of hypocrisy that led Lord Byron to exaggerate his own errors, led
him also to disguise, under a seemingly heartless ridicule, all those
natural and kindly qualities by which they were redeemed.

This letter from Padua concludes thus:--

     "A journey in an Italian June is a conscription; and if I was not
     the most constant of men, I should now be swimming from the Lido,
     instead of smoking in the dust of Padua. Should there be letters
     from England, let them wait my return. And do look at my house and
     (not lands, but) waters, and scold;--and deal out the monies to
     Edgecombe[32] with an air of reluctance and a shake of the
     head--and put queer questions to him--and turn up your nose when he
     answers.

     "Make my respect to the Consules--and to the Chevalier--and to
     Scotin--and to all the counts and countesses of our acquaintance.

     "And believe me ever

     "Your disconsolate and affectionate," &c.

[Footnote 32: A clerk of the English Consulate, whom he at this time
employed to control his accounts.]

       *       *       *       *       *

As a contrast to the strange levity of this letter, as well as in
justice to the real earnestness of the passion, however censurable in
all other respects, that now engrossed him, I shall here transcribe some
stanzas which he wrote in the course of this journey to Romagna, and
which, though already published, are not comprised in the regular
collection of his works.

        "River[33], that rollest by the ancient walls,
          Where dwells the lady of my love, when she
        Walks by thy brink, and there perchance recalls
          A faint and fleeting memory of me;

        "What if thy deep and ample stream should be
          A mirror of my heart, where she may read
        The thousand thoughts I now betray to thee,
          Wild as thy wave, and headlong as thy speed!

        "What do I say--a mirror of my heart?
          Are not thy waters sweeping, dark, and strong?
        Such as my feelings were and are, thou art;
          And such as thou art were my passions long.

        "Time may have somewhat tamed them,--not for ever;
          Thou overflow'st thy banks, and not for aye
        Thy bosom overboils, congenial river!
          Thy floods subside, and mine have sunk away,

        "But left long wrecks behind, and now again,
          Borne in our old unchanged career, we move;
        Thou tendest wildly onwards to the main,
          And I--to loving _one_ I should not love.

        "The current I behold will sweep beneath
          Her native walls and murmur at her feet;
        Her eyes will look on thee, when she shall breathe
          The twilight air, unharm'd by summer's heat.

        "She will look on thee,--I have look'd on thee,
          Full of that thought; and, from that moment, ne'er
        Thy waters could I dream of, name, or see,
          Without the inseparable sigh for her!

        "Her bright eyes will be imaged in thy stream,--
           Yes! they will meet the wave I gaze on now:
        Mine cannot witness, even in a dream,
           That happy wave repass me in its flow!

        "The wave that bears my tears returns no more:
           Will she return by whom that wave shall sweep?--
        Both tread thy banks, both wander on thy shore,
           I by thy source, she by the dark-blue deep.

        "But that which keepeth us apart is not
           Distance, nor depth of wave, nor space of earth.
        But the distraction of a various lot,
           As various as the climates of our birth.

        "A stranger loves the lady of the land,
           Born far beyond the mountains, but his blood
        Is all meridian, as if never fann'd
           By the black wind that chills the polar flood.

        "My blood is all meridian; were it not,
           I had not left my clime, nor should I be,
        In spite of tortures, ne'er to be forgot,
           A slave again of love,--at least of thee.

        "'Tis vain to struggle--let me perish young--
           Live as I lived, and love as I have loved;
        To dust if I return, from dust I sprung,
           And then, at least, my heart can ne'er be moved."

On arriving at Bologna and receiving no further intelligence from the
Contessa, he began to be of opinion, as we shall perceive in the annexed
interesting letters, that he should act most prudently, for all parties,
by returning to Venice.

[Footnote 33: The Po.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 330. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Bologna, June 6. 1819.

     "I am at length joined to Bologna, where I am settled like a
     sausage, and shall be broiled like one, if this weather continues.
     Will you thank Mengaldo on my part for the Ferrara acquaintance,
     which was a very agreeable one. I stayed two days at Ferrara, and
     was much pleased with the Count Mosti, and the little the shortness
     of the time permitted me to see of his family. I went to his
     conversazione, which is very far superior to any thing of the kind
     at Venice--the women almost all young--several pretty--and the men
     courteous and cleanly. The lady of the mansion, who is young,
     lately married, and with child, appeared very pretty by candlelight
     (I did not see her by day), pleasing in her manners, and very
     lady-like, or thorough-bred, as we call it in England,--a kind of
     thing which reminds one of a racer, an antelope, or an Italian
     greyhound. She seems very fond of her husband, who is amiable and
     accomplished; he has been in England two or three times, and is
     young. The sister, a Countess somebody--I forget what--(they are
     both Maffei by birth, and Veronese of course)--is a lady of more
     display; she sings and plays divinely; but I thought she was a
     d----d long time about it. Her likeness to Madame Flahaut (Miss
     Mercer that was) is something quite extraordinary.

     "I had but a bird's eye view of these people, and shall not
     probably see them again; but I am very much obliged to Mengaldo for
     letting me see them at all. Whenever I meet with any thing
     agreeable in this world, it surprises me so much, and pleases me so
     much (when my passions are not interested one way or the other),
     that I go on wondering for a week to come. I feel, too, in great
     admiration of the Cardinal Legate's red stockings.

     "I found, too, such a pretty epitaph in the Certosa cemetery, or
     rather two: one was

        'Martini Luigi
          Implora pace;'

     the other,

        'Lucrezia Picini
          Implora eterna quiete.'

     That was all; but it appears to me that these two and three words
     comprise and compress all that can be said on the subject,--and
     then, in Italian, they are absolute music. They contain doubt,
     hope, and humility; nothing can be more pathetic than the 'implora'
     and the modesty of the request;--they have had enough of life--they
     want nothing but rest--they implore it, and 'eterna quiete.' It is
     like a Greek inscription in some good old heathen 'City of the
     Dead.' Pray, if I am shovelled into the Lido churchyard in your
     time, let me have the 'implora pace,' and nothing else, for my
     epitaph. I never met with any, ancient or modern, that pleased me a
     tenth part so much.

     "In about a day or two after you receive this letter, I will thank
     you to desire Edgecombe to prepare for my return. I shall go back
     to Venice before I village on the Brenta. I shall stay but a few
     days in Bologna. I am just going out to see sights, but shall not
     present my introductory letters for a day or two, till I have run
     over again the place and pictures; nor perhaps at all, if I find
     that I have books and sights enough to do without the inhabitants.
     After that, I shall return to Venice, where you may expect me about
     the eleventh, or perhaps sooner. Pray make my thanks acceptable to
     Mengaldo: my respects to the Consuless, and to Mr. Scott. I hope my
     daughter is well.

     "Ever yours, and truly.

     "P.S. I went over the Ariosto MS. &c. &c. again at Ferrara, with
     the castle, and cell, and house, &c. &c.

     "One of the Ferrarese asked me if I knew 'Lord Byron,' an
     acquaintance of his, _now_ at Naples. I told him '_No!_' which was
     true both ways; for I knew not the impostor, and in the other, no
     one knows himself. He stared when told that I was 'the real Simon
     Pure.' Another asked me if I had _not translated_ 'Tasso.' You see
     what _fame_ is! how _accurate!_ how _boundless!_ I don't know how
     others feel, but I am always the lighter and the better looked on
     when I have got rid of mine; it sits on me like armour on the Lord
     Mayor's champion; and I got rid of all the husk of literature, and
     the attendant babble, by answering, that I had not translated
     Tasso, but a namesake had; and by the blessing of Heaven, I looked
     so little like a poet, that every body believed me."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 331. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Bologna, June 7. 1819.

     "Tell Mr. Hobhouse that I wrote to him a few days ago from Ferrara.
     It will therefore be idle in him or you to wait for any further
     answers or returns of proofs from Venice, as I have directed that
     no English letters be sent after me. The publication can be
     proceeded in without, and I am already sick of your remarks, to
     which I think not the least attention ought to be paid.

     "Tell Mr. Hobhouse that, since I wrote to him, I had availed myself
     of my Ferrara letters, and found the society much younger and
     better there than at Venice. I am very much pleased with the little
     the shortness of my stay permitted me to see of the Gonfaloniere
     Count Mosti, and his family and friends in general.

     "I have been picture-gazing this morning at the famous Domenichino
     and Guido, both of which are superlative. I afterwards went to the
     beautiful cemetery of Bologna, beyond the walls, and found, besides
     the superb burial-ground, an original of a Custode, who reminded
     one of the grave-digger in Hamlet. He has a collection of
     capuchins' skulls, labelled on the forehead, and taking down one of
     them, said, 'This was Brother Desiderio Berro, who died at
     forty--one of my best friends. I begged his head of his brethren
     after his decease, and they gave it me. I put it in lime, and then
     boiled it. Here it is, teeth and all, in excellent preservation. He
     was the merriest, cleverest fellow I ever knew. Wherever he went,
     he brought joy; and whenever any one was melancholy, the sight of
     him was enough to make him cheerful again. He walked so actively,
     you might have taken him for a dancer--he joked--he laughed--oh! he
     was such a Frate as I never saw before, nor ever shall again!'

     "He told me that he had himself planted all the cypresses in the
     cemetery; that he had the greatest attachment to them and to his
     dead people; that since 1801 they had buried fifty-three thousand
     persons. In showing some older monuments, there was that of a Roman
     girl of twenty, with a bust by Bernini. She was a princess
     Bartorini, dead two centuries ago: he said that, on opening her
     grave, they had found her hair complete, and 'as yellow as gold.'
     Some of the epitaphs at Ferrara pleased me more than the more
     splendid monuments at Bologna; for instance:--

        "Martini Luigi
          Implora pace;

        "Lucrezia Picini
          Implora eterna quiete.

     Can any thing be more full of pathos? Those few words say all that
     can be said or sought: the dead had had enough of life; all they
     wanted was rest, and this they _implore_! There is all the
     helplessness, and humble hope, and deathlike prayer, that can arise
     from the grave--'implora pace.'[34] I hope, whoever may survive
     me, and shall see me put in the foreigners' burying-ground at the
     Lido, within the fortress by the Adriatic, will see those two
     words, and no more, put over me. I trust they won't think of
     'pickling, and bringing me home to Clod or Blunderbuss Hall.' I am
     sure my bones would not rest in an English grave, or my clay mix
     with the earth of that country. I believe the thought would drive
     me mad on my deathbed, could I suppose that any of my friends would
     be base enough to convey my carcass back to your soil. I would not
     even feed your worms, if I could help it.

     "So, as Shakspeare says of Mowbray, the banished Duke of Norfolk,
     who died at Venice (see Richard II.) that he, after fighting

        "'Against black Pagans, Turks, and Saracens,
        And toiled with works of war, retired himself
        To Italy, and there, at _Venice_, gave
        His body to that _pleasant_ country's earth,
        And his pure soul unto his captain, Christ,
        Under whose colours he had fought so long.'

     "Before I left Venice, I had returned to you your late, and Mr.
     Hobhouse's sheets of Juan. Don't wait for further answers from me,
     but address yours to Venice, as usual. I know nothing of my own
     movements; I may return there in a few days, or not for some time.
     All this depends on circumstances. I left Mr. Hoppner very well. My
     daughter Allegra was well too, and is growing pretty; her hair is
     growing darker, and her eyes are blue. Her temper and her ways, Mr.
     Hoppner says, are like mine, as well as her features: she will
     make, in that case, a manageable young lady.

     "I have never heard any thing of Ada, the little Electra of
     Mycenae. But there will come a day of reckoning, even if I should
     not live to see it.[35] What a long letter I have scribbled! Yours,
     &c.

     "P.S. Here, as in Greece, they strew flowers on the tombs. I saw a
     quantity of rose-leaves, and entire roses, scattered over the
     graves at Ferrara. It has the most pleasing effect you can
     imagine."

[Footnote 34: Though Lord Byron, like most other persons, in writing to
different friends, was sometimes led to repeat the same circumstances
and thoughts, there is, from the ever ready fertility of his mind, much
less of such repetition in his correspondence than in that, perhaps, of
any other multifarious letter-writer; and, in the instance before us,
where the same facts and reflections are, for the second time,
introduced, it is with such new touches, both of thought and expression,
as render them, even a second time, interesting;--what is wanting in the
novelty of the matter being made up by the new aspect given to it.]

[Footnote 35: There were, in the former edition, both here and in a
subsequent letter, some passages reflecting upon the late Sir Samuel
Romilly, which, in my anxiety to lay open the workings of Lord Byron's
mind upon a subject in which so much of his happiness and character were
involved, I had been induced to retain, though aware of the erroneous
impression under which they were written;--the evident morbidness of the
feeling that dictated the attack, and the high, stainless reputation of
the person assailed, being sufficient, I thought, to neutralise any ill
effects such reflections might otherwise have produced. As I find it,
however, to be the opinion of all those whose opinions I most respect,
that, even with these antidotes, such an attack upon such a man ought
not to be left on record, I willingly expunge all trace of it from these
pages.]

       *       *       *       *       *

While he was thus lingering irresolute at Bologna, the Countess
Guiccioli had been attacked with an intermittent fever, the violence of
which, combining with the absence of a confidential person to whom she
had been in the habit of intrusting her letters, prevented her from
communicating with him. At length, anxious to spare him the
disappointment of finding her so ill on his arrival, she had begun a
letter, requesting that he would remain at Bologna till the visit to
which she looked forward should bring her there also; and was in the act
of writing, when a friend came in to announce the arrival of an English
lord in Ravenna. She could not doubt for an instant that it was her
noble friend; and he had, in fact, notwithstanding his declaration to
Mr. Hoppner that it was his intention to return to Venice immediately,
wholly altered this resolution before the letter announcing it was
despatched,--the following words being written on the outside cover:--"I
am just setting off for Ravenna, June 8. 1819.--I changed my mind this
morning, and decided to go on."

The reader, however, shall have Madame Guiccioli's own account of these
events, which, fortunately for the interest of my narration, I am
enabled to communicate.

"On my departure from Venice, he had promised to come and see me at
Ravenna. Dante's tomb, the classical pine wood[36], the relics of
antiquity which are to be found in that place, afforded a sufficient
pretext for me to invite him to come, and for him to accept my
invitation. He came, in fact, in the month of June, arriving at Ravenna
on the day of the festival of the Corpus Domini; while I, attacked by a
consumptive complaint, which had its origin from the moment of my
quitting Venice, appeared on the point of death. The arrival of a
distinguished foreigner at Ravenna, a town so remote from the routes
ordinarily followed by travellers, was an event which gave rise to a
good deal of conversation. His motives for such a visit became the
subject of discussion, and these he himself afterwards involuntarily
divulged; for having made some enquiries with a view to paying me a
visit, and being told that it was unlikely that he would ever see me
again, as I was at the point of death, he replied, if such were the
case, he hoped that he should die also; which circumstance, being
repeated, revealed the object of his journey. Count Guiccioli, having
been acquainted with Lord Byron at Venice, went to visit him now, and in
the hope that his presence might amuse, and be of some use to me in the
state in which I then found myself, invited him to call upon me. He came
the day following. It is impossible to describe the anxiety he
showed,--the delicate attentions that he paid me. For a long time he had
perpetually medical books in his hands; and not trusting my physicians,
he obtained permission from Count Guiccioli to send for a very clever
physician, a friend of his, in whom he placed great confidence. The
attentions of Professor Aglietti (for so this celebrated Italian was
called), together with tranquillity, and the inexpressible happiness
which I experienced in Lord Byron's society, had so good an effect on my
health, that only two months afterwards I was able to accompany my
husband in a tour he was obliged to make to visit his various
estates."[37]

[Footnote 36:

    "Tal qual di ramo in ramo si raccoglie
    Per la pineta in sul lito di Chiassi,
    Quando Eolo Scirocco fuor discioglie."
    DANTE, PURG. Canto xxviii.

Dante himself (says Mr. Carey, in one of the notes on his admirable
translation of this poet) "perhaps wandered in this wood during his
abode with Guido Novello da Polenta."]

[Footnote 37: "Partendo io da Venezia egli promise di venir a vedermi a
Ravenna. La Tomba di Dante, il classico bosco di pini, gli avvanzi di
antichità che a Ravenna si trovano davano a me ragioni plausibili per
invitarlo a venire, ed a lui per accettare l'invito. Egli venne difatti
nel mese Guigno, e giunse a Ravenna nel giorno della Solennità del
Corpus Domini, mentre io attaccata da una malattia de consunzione ch'
ebbe principio dalla mia partenza da Venezia ero vicina a morire.
L'arrivo in Ravenna d'un forestiero distinto, in un paese così lontano
dalle strade che ordinariamente tengono i viaggiatori era un avvenimento
del quale molto si parlava, indagandosene i motivi, che
involontariamente poi egli feci conoscere. Perchè avendo egli domandato
di me per venire a vedermi ed essendogli risposto 'che non potrebbe
vedermi più perchè ero vicina a morire'--egli rispose che in quel caso
voleva morire egli pure; la qual cosa essendosi poi ripetata si conobbe
cosi l'oggetto del suo viaggio.

"Il Conte Guiccioli visitò Lord Byron, essendolo conosciuto in Venezia,
e nella speranza che la di lui compagnia potesse distrarmi ed essermi di
qualche giovamento nello stato in cui mi trovavo egli lo invitò di
venire a visitarmi. Il giorno appresso egli venne. Non si potrebbero
descrivere le cure, i pensieri delicati, quanto egli fece per me. Per
molto tempo egli non ebbe per le mani che dei Libri di Medicina; e poco
confidandosi nel miei medici ottenne dal Conte Guiccioli il permesso di
far venire un valente medico di lui amico nel quale egli aveva molta
confidenza. Le cure del Professore Aglietti (cosi si chiama questo
distinto Italiano) la tranquillità, anzi la felicità inesprimibile che
mi cagionava la presenza di Lord Byron migliorarono così rapidamente la
mia salute che entro lo spazio di due mesi potei seguire mio marito in
un giro che egli doveva fare per le sue terre."--MS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 332. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Ravenna, June 20. 1819.

     "I wrote to you from Padua, and from Bologna, and since from
     Ravenna. I find my situation very agreeable, but want my horses
     very much, there being good riding in the environs. I can fix no
     time for my return to Venice--it may be soon or late--or not at
     all--it all depends on the Donna, whom I found very seriously in
     _bed_ with a cough and spitting of blood, &c. all of which has
     subsided. I found all the people here firmly persuaded that she
     would never recover;--they were mistaken, however.

     "My letters were useful as far as I employed them; and I like both
     the place and people, though I don't trouble the latter more than I
     can help _She_ manages very well--but if I come away with a
     stiletto in my gizzard some fine afternoon, I shall not be
     astonished. I can't make _him_ out at all--he visits me frequently,
     and takes me out (like Whittington, the Lord Mayor) in a coach and
     _six_ horses. The fact appears to be, that he is completely
     _governed_ by her--for that matter, so am I.[38] The people here
     don't know what to make of us, as he had the character of jealousy
     with all his wives--this is the third. He is the richest of the
     Ravennese, by their own account, but is not popular among them. Now
     do, pray, send off Augustine, and carriage and cattle, to Bologna,
     without fail or delay, or I shall lose my remaining shred of
     senses. Don't forget this. My coming, going, and every thing,
     depend upon HER entirely, just as Mrs. Hoppner (to whom I remit my
     reverences) said in the true spirit of female prophecy.

     "You are but a shabby fellow not to have written before. And I am
     truly yours," &c.

[Footnote 38: That this task of "governing" him was one of more ease
than, from the ordinary view of his character, might be concluded, I
have more than once, in these pages, expressed my opinion, and shall
here quote, in corroboration of it, the remark of his own servant
(founded on an observation of more than twenty years), in speaking of
his master's matrimonial fate:--

"It is very odd, but I never yet knew a lady that could not manage my
Lord, _except_ my Lady."

"More knowledge," says Johnson, "may be gained of a man's real character
by a short conversation with one of his servants than from the most
formal and studied narrative."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 333. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, June 29. 1819.

     "The letters have been forwarded from Venice, but I trust that you
     will not have waited for further alterations--I will make none.

     "I have no time to return you the proofs--publish without them. I
     am glad you think the poesy good; and as to 'thinking of the
     effect,' think _you_ of the sale, and leave me to pluck the
     porcupines who may point their quills at you.

     "I have been here (at Ravenna) these four weeks, having left Venice
     a month ago;--I came to see my 'Amica,' the Countess Guiccioli, who
     has been, and still continues, very unwell. * * She is only in her
     seventeenth, but not of a strong constitution. She has a perpetual
     cough and an intermittent fever, but bears up most _gallantly_ in
     every sense of the word. Her husband (this is his third wife) is
     the richest noble of Ravenna, and almost of Romagna; he is also
     _not_ the youngest, being upwards of three-score, but in good
     preservation. All this will appear strange to you, who do not
     understand the meridian morality, nor our way of life in such
     respects, and I cannot at present expound the difference;--but you
     would find it much the same in these parts. At Faenza there is Lord
     * * * * with an opera girl; and at the inn in the same town is a
     Neapolitan Prince, who serves the wife of the Gonfaloniere of that
     city. I am on duty here--so you see 'Così fan tut_ti_ e tut_te_.'

     "I have my horses here, _saddle_ as well as carriage, and ride or
     drive every day in the forest, the _Pineta_, the scene of
     Boccaccio's novel, and Dryden's fable of Honoria, &c. &c.; and I
     see my Dama every day; but I feel seriously uneasy about her
     health, which seems very precarious. In losing her, I should lose a
     being who has run great risks on my account, and whom I have every
     reason to love--but I must not think this possible. I do not know
     what I _should_ do if she died, but I ought to blow my brains
     out--and I hope that I should. Her husband is a very polite
     personage, but I wish he would not carry me out in his coach and
     six, like Whittington and his cat.

     "You ask me if I mean to continue D.J. &c. How should I know? What
     encouragement do you give me, all of you, with your nonsensical
     prudery? publish the two Cantos, and then you will see. I desired
     Mr. Kinnaird to speak to you on a little matter of business; either
     he has not spoken, or you have not answered. You are a pretty pair,
     but I will be even with you both. I perceive that Mr. Hobhouse has
     been challenged by Major Cartwright--Is the Major 'so cunning of
     fence?'--why did not they fight?--they ought.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 334. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Ravenna, July 2. 1819.

     "Thanks for your letter and for Madame's. I will answer it
     directly. Will you recollect whether I did not consign to you one
     or two receipts of Madame Mocenigo's for house-rent--(I am not sure
     of this, but think I did--if not, they will be in my drawers)--and
     will you desire Mr. Dorville[39] to have the goodness to see if
     Edgecombe has _receipts_ to all payments _hitherto_ made by him on
     my account, and that there are _no debts_ at Venice? On your
     answer, I shall send order of further remittance to carry on my
     household expenses, as my present return to Venice is very
     problematical; and it may happen--but I can say nothing
     positive--every thing with me being indecisive and undecided,
     except the disgust which Venice excites when fairly compared with
     any other city in this part of Italy. When I say _Venice_, I mean
     the _Venetians_--the city itself is superb as its history--but the
     people are what I never thought them till they taught me to think
     so.

     "The best way will be to leave Allegra with Antonio's spouse till I
     can decide something about her and myself--but I thought that you
     would have had an answer from Mrs. V----r.[40] You have had bore
     enough with me and mine already.

     "I greatly fear that the Guiccioli is going into a consumption, to
     which her constitution tends. Thus it is with every thing and every
     body for whom I feel any thing like a real attachment;--'War,
     death, or discord, doth lay siege to them.' I never even could
     keep alive a dog that I liked or that liked me. Her symptoms are
     obstinate cough of the lungs, and occasional fever, &c. &c. and
     there are latent causes of an eruption in the skin, which she
     foolishly repelled into the system two years ago: but I have made
     them send her case to Aglietti; and have begged him to come--if
     only for a day or two--to consult upon her state.

     "If it would not bore Mr. Dorville, I wish he would keep an eye on
     E---- and on my other ragamuffins. I might have more to say, but I
     am absorbed about La Gui. and her illness. I cannot tell you the
     effect it has upon me.

     "The horses came, &c. &c. and I have been galloping through the
     pine forest daily.

     "Believe me, &c.

     "P.S. My benediction on Mrs. Hoppner, a pleasant journey among the
     Bernese tyrants, and safe return. You ought to bring back a
     Platonic Bernese for my reformation. If any thing happens to my
     present Amica, I have done with the passion for ever--it is my
     _last_ love. As to libertinism, I have sickened myself of that, as
     was natural in the way I went on, and I have at least derived that
     advantage from vice, to _love_ in the better sense of the word.
     _This_ will be my last adventure--I can hope no more to inspire
     attachment, and I trust never again to feel it."

[Footnote 39: The Vice-Consul of Mr. Hoppner.]

[Footnote 40: An English widow lady, of considerable property in the
north of England, who, having seen the little Allegra at Mr. Hoppner's,
took an interest in the poor child's fate, and having no family of her
own, offered to adopt and provide for this little girl, if Lord Byron
would consent to renounce all claim to her. At first he seemed not
disinclined to enter into her views--so far, at least, as giving
permission that she should take the child with her to England and
educate it; but the entire surrender of his paternal authority he would
by no means consent to. The proposed arrangement accordingly was never
carried into effect.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The impression which, I think, cannot but be entertained, from some
passages of these letters, of the real fervour and sincerity of his
attachment to Madame Guiccioli[41], would be still further confirmed by
the perusal of his letters to that lady herself, both from Venice and
during his present stay at Ravenna--all bearing, throughout, the true
marks both of affection and passion. Such effusions, however, are but
little suited to the general eye. It is the tendency of all strong
feeling, from dwelling constantly on the same idea, to be monotonous;
and those often-repeated vows and verbal endearments, which make the
charm of true love-letters to the parties concerned in them, must for
ever render even the best of them cloying to others. Those of Lord Byron
to Madame Guiccioli, which are for the most part in Italian, and written
with a degree of ease and correctness attained rarely by foreigners,
refer chiefly to the difficulties thrown in the way of their
meetings,--not so much by the husband himself, who appears to have liked
and courted Lord Byron's society, as by the watchfulness of other
relatives, and the apprehension felt by themselves lest their intimacy
should give uneasiness to the father of the lady, Count Gamba, a
gentleman to whose good nature and amiableness of character all who know
him bear testimony.

In the near approaching departure of the young Countess for Bologna,
Lord Byron foresaw a risk of their being again separated; and under the
impatience of this prospect, though through the whole of his preceding
letters the fear of committing her by any imprudence seems to have been
his ruling thought, he now, with that wilfulness of the moment which has
so often sealed the destiny of years, proposed that she should, at once,
abandon her husband and fly with him:--"c'è uno solo rimedio efficace,"
he says,--"cioè d' andar vià insieme." To an Italian wife, almost every
thing but this is permissible. The same system which so indulgently
allows her a friend, as one of the regular appendages of her matrimonial
establishment, takes care also to guard against all unseemly
consequences of this privilege; and in return for such convenient
facilities of wrong exacts rigidly an observance of all the appearances
of right. Accordingly, the open step of deserting the husband for the
lover instead of being considered, as in England, but a sign and sequel
of transgression, takes rank, in Italian morality, as the main
transgression itself; and being an offence, too, rendered wholly
unnecessary by the latitude otherwise enjoyed, becomes, from its rare
occurrence, no less monstrous than odious.

The proposition, therefore, of her noble friend seemed to the young
Contessa little less than sacrilege, and the agitation of her mind,
between the horrors of such a step, and her eager readiness to give up
all and every thing for him she adored, was depicted most strongly in
her answer to the proposal. In a subsequent letter, too, the romantic
girl even proposed, as a means of escaping the ignominy of an elopement,
that she should, like another Juliet, "pass for dead,"--assuring him
that there were many easy ways of effecting such a deception.

[Footnote 41: "During my illness," says Madame Guiccioli, in her
recollections of this period, "he was for ever near me, paying me the
most amiable attentions, and when I became convalescent he was
constantly at my side. In society, at the theatre, riding, walking, he
never was absent from me. Being deprived at that time of his books, his
horses, and all that occupied him at Venice, I begged him to gratify me
by writing something on the subject of Dante, and, with his usual
facility and rapidity, he composed his 'Prophecy.'"--"Durante la mia
malattia L.B. era sempre presso di me, prestandomi le più sensibili
cure, e quando passai allo stato di convalescenza egli era sempre al mio
fianco;--e in società, e al teatro, e cavalcando, e passeggiando egli
non si allontanava mai da me. In quel' epoca essendo egli privo de' suoi
libri, e de' suoi cavalli, e di tuttociò che lo occupava in Venezia io
lo pregai di volersi occupare per me scrivendo qualche cosa sul Dante;
ed egli colla usata sua facilita e rapidita scrisse la sua Profezia."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 335. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, August 1. 1819.

     [Address your Answer to Venice, however.]

     "Don't be alarmed. You will see me defend myself gaily--that is, if
     I happen to be in spirits; and by spirits, I don't mean your
     meaning of the word, but the spirit of a bull-dog when pinched, or
     a bull when pinned; it is then that they make best sport; and as my
     sensations under an attack are probably a happy compound of the
     united energies of these amiable animals, you may perhaps see what
     Marrall calls 'rare sport,' and some good tossing and goring, in
     the course of the controversy. But I must be in the right cue
     first, and I doubt I am almost too far off to be in a sufficient
     fury for the purpose. And then I have effeminated and enervated
     myself with love and the summer in these last two months.

     "I wrote to Mr. Hobhouse, the other day, and foretold that Juan
     would either fall entirely or succeed completely; there will be no
     medium. Appearances are not favourable; but as you write the day
     after publication, it can hardly be decided what opinion will
     predominate. You seem in a fright, and doubtless with cause. Come
     what may I never will flatter the million's canting in any shape.
     Circumstances may or may not have placed me at times in a situation
     to lead the public opinion, but the public opinion never led, nor
     ever shall lead, me. I will not sit on a degraded throne; so pray
     put Messrs. * * or * *, or Tom Moore, or * * * upon it; they will
     all of them be transported with their coronation.

     "P.S. The Countess Guiccioli is much better than she was. I sent
     you, before leaving Venice, the real original sketch which gave
     rise to the 'Vampire,' &c.--Did you get it?"

       *       *       *       *       *

This letter was, of course (like most of those he addressed to England
at this time), intended to be shown; and having been, among others,
permitted to see it, I took occasion, in my very next communication to
Lord Byron, to twit him a little with the passage in it relating to
myself,--the only one, as far as I can learn, that ever fell from my
noble friend's pen during our intimacy, in which he has spoken of me
otherwise than in terms of kindness and the most undeserved praise.
Transcribing his own words, as well as I could recollect them, at the
top of my letter, I added, underneath, "Is _this_ the way you speak of
your friends?" Not long after, too, when visiting him at Venice, I
remember making the same harmless little sneer a subject of raillery
with him; but he declared boldly that he had no recollection of having
ever written such words, and that, if they existed, "he must have been
half asleep when he wrote them."

I have mentioned the circumstance merely for the purpose of remarking,
that with a sensibility vulnerable at so many points as his was, and
acted upon by an imagination so long practised in self-tormenting, it is
only wonderful that, thinking constantly, as his letters prove him to
have been, of distant friends, and receiving from few or none equal
proofs of thoughtfulness in return, he should not more frequently have
broken out into such sallies against the absent and "unreplying." For
myself, I can only say that, from the moment I began to unravel his
character, the most slighting and even acrimonious expressions that I
could have heard he had, in a fit of spleen, uttered against me, would
have no more altered my opinion of his disposition, nor disturbed my
affection for him, than the momentary clouding over of a bright sky
could leave an impression on the mind of gloom, after its shadow had
passed away.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 336. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, August 9. 1819.

     "Talking of blunders reminds me of Ireland--Ireland of Moore.
     What is this I see in Galignani about
     'Bermuda--agent--deputy--appeal--attachment,' &c.? What is the
     matter? Is it any thing in which his friends can be of use to him?
     Pray inform me.

     "Of Don Juan I hear nothing further from you; * * *, but the papers
     don't seem so fierce as the letter you sent me seemed to
     anticipate, by their extracts at least in Galignani's Messenger. I
     never saw such a set of fellows as you are! And then the pains
     taken to exculpate the modest publisher--he remonstrated, forsooth!
     I will write a preface that _shall_ exculpate _you_ and * * *, &c.
     completely, on that point; but, at the same time, I will cut you
     up, like gourds. You have no more soul than the Count de Caylus,
     (who assured his friends, on his death-bed, that he had none, and
     that _he_ must know better than they whether he had one or no,) and
     no more blood than a water-melon! And I see there hath been
     asterisks, and what Perry used to called 'd_o_mned cutting and
     slashing'--but, never mind.

     "I write in haste. To-morrow I set off for Bologna. I write to you
     with thunder, lightning, &c. and all the winds of heaven whistling
     through my hair, and the racket of preparation to boot. 'My
     mistress dear, who hath fed my heart upon smiles and wine' for the
     last two months, set off with her husband for Bologna this morning,
     and it seems that I follow him at three to-morrow morning. I
     cannot tell how our romance will end, but it hath gone on hitherto
     most erotically. Such perils and escapes! Juan's are as child's
     play in comparison. The fools think that all my _poeshie_ is always
     allusive to my _own_ adventures: I have had at one time or another
     better and more extraordinary and perilous and pleasant than these,
     every day of the week, if I might tell them; but that must never
     be.

     "I hope Mrs. M. has accouched.

     "Yours ever."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 337. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Bologna, August 12. 1819.

     "I do not know how far I may be able to reply to your letter, for I
     am not very well to-day. Last night I went to the representation of
     Alfieri's Mirra, the two last acts of which threw me into
     convulsions. I do not mean by that word a lady's hysterics, but the
     agony of reluctant tears, and the choking shudder, which I do not
     often undergo for fiction. This is but the second time for any
     thing under reality: the first was on seeing Kean's Sir Giles
     Overreach. The worst was, that the 'Dama' in whose box I was, went
     off in the same way, I really believe more from fright than any
     other sympathy--at least with the players: but she has been ill,
     and I have been ill, and we are all languid and pathetic this
     morning, with great expenditure of sal volatile.[42] But, to return
     to your letter of the 23d of July.

     "You are right, Gifford is right, Crabbe is right, Hobhouse is
     right--you are all right, and I am all wrong; but do, pray, let me
     have that pleasure. Cut me up root and branch; quarter me in the
     Quarterly; send round my 'disjecti membra poetæ,' like those of
     the Levite's concubine; make me, if you will, a spectacle to men
     and angels; but don't ask me to alter, for I won't:--I am obstinate
     and lazy--and there's the truth.

     "But, nevertheless, I will answer your friend P * *, who objects to
     the quick succession of fun and gravity, as if in that case the
     gravity did not (in intention, at least) heighten the fun. His
     metaphor is, that 'we are never scorched and drenched at the same
     time.' Blessings on his experience! Ask him these questions about
     'scorching and drenching.' Did he never play at cricket, or walk a
     mile in hot weather? Did he never spill a dish of tea over himself
     in handing the cup to his charmer, to the great shame of his
     nankeen breeches? Did he never swim in the sea at noonday with the
     sun in his eyes and on his head, which all the foam of ocean could
     not cool? Did he never draw his foot out of too hot water,
     d----ning his eyes and his valet's? Did he never tumble into a
     river or lake, fishing, and sit in his wet clothes in the boat, or
     on the bank, afterwards 'scorched and drenched,' like a true
     sportsman? 'Oh for breath to utter!'--but make him my compliments;
     he is a clever fellow for all that--a very clever fellow.

     "You ask me for the plan of Donny Johnny: I _have_ no plan; I _had_
     no plan; but I had or have materials; though if, like Tony Lumpkin,
     'I am to be snubbed so when I am in spirits,' the poem will be
     naught, and the poet turn serious again. If it don't take, I will
     leave it off where it is, with all due respect to the public; but
     if continued, it must be in my own way. You might as well make
     Hamlet (or Diggory) 'act mad' in a strait waistcoat as trammel my
     buffoonery, if I am to be a buffoon; their gestures and my thoughts
     would only be pitiably absurd and ludicrously constrained. Why,
     man, the soul of such writing is its licence; at least the
     _liberty_ of that _licence_, if one likes--_not_ that one should
     abuse it. It is like Trial by Jury and Peerage and the Habeas
     Corpus--a very fine thing, but chiefly in the _reversion;_ because
     no one wishes to be tried for the mere pleasure of proving his
     possession of the privilege.

     "But a truce with these reflections. You are too earnest and eager
     about a work never intended to be serious. Do you suppose that I
     could have any intention but to giggle and make giggle?--a playful
     satire, with as little poetry as could be helped, was what I meant.
     And as to the indecency, do, pray, read in Boswell what _Johnson_,
     the sullen moralist, says of _Prior_ and Paulo Purgante.

     "Will you get a favour done for me? _You_ can, by your government
     friends, Croker, Canning, or my old schoolfellow Peel, and I can't.
     Here it is. Will you ask them to appoint (_without salary or
     emolument_) a noble Italian (whom I will name afterwards) consul or
     vice-consul for Ravenna? He is a man of very large
     property,--noble, too; but he wishes to have a British protection,
     in case of changes. Ravenna is near the sea. He wants no
     _emolument_ whatever. That his office might be useful, I know; as I
     lately sent off from Ravenna to Trieste a poor devil of an English
     sailor, who had remained there sick, sorry, and pennyless (having
     been set ashore in 1814), from the want of any accredited agent
     able or willing to help him homewards. Will you get this done? If
     you do, I will then send his name and condition, subject, of
     course, to rejection, if _not_ approved when known.

     "I know that in the Levant you make consuls and vice-consuls,
     perpetually, of foreigners. This man is a patrician, and has twelve
     thousand a year. His motive is a British protection in case of new
     invasions. Don't you think Croker would do it for us? To be sure,
     my _interest_ is rare!! but, perhaps, a brother wit in the Tory
     line might do a good turn at the request of so harmless and long
     absent a Whig, particularly as there is no _salary_ or _burden_ of
     any sort to be annexed to the office.

     "I can assure you, I should look upon it as a great obligation;
     but, alas! that very circumstance may, very probably, operate to
     the contrary--indeed, it ought; but I have, at least, been an
     honest and an open enemy. Amongst your many splendid government
     connections, could not you, think you, get our Bibulus made a
     Consul? or make me one, that I may make him my Vice. You may be
     assured that, in case of accidents in Italy, he would be no feeble
     adjunct--as you would think, if you knew his patrimony.

     "What is all this about Tom Moore? but why do I ask? since the
     state of my own affairs would not permit me to be of use to him,
     though they are greatly improved since 1816, and may, with some
     more luck and a little prudence, become quite clear. It seems his
     claimants are _American_ merchants? _There goes Nemesis!_ Moore
     abused America. It is always thus in the long run:--Time, the
     Avenger. You have seen every trampler down, in turn, from
     Buonaparte to the simplest individuals. You saw how some were
     avenged even upon my insignificance, and how in turn * * * paid for
     his atrocity. It is an odd world; but the watch has its mainspring,
     after all.

     "So the Prince has been repealing Lord Edward Fitzgerald's
     forfeiture? _Ecco un' sonetto!_

        "To be the father of the fatherless,
        To stretch the hand from the throne's height, and raise
        _His_ offspring, who expired in other days
        To make thy sire's sway by a kingdom less,--
        _This_ is to be a monarch, and repress
        Envy into unutterable praise.
        Dismiss thy guard, and trust thee to such traits,
        For who would lift a hand, except to bless?
        Were it not easy, sir, and is't not sweet
        To make thyself beloved? and to be
        Omnipotent by Mercy's means? for thus
        Thy sovereignty would grow but more complete,
        A despot thou, and yet thy people free,
        And by the heart, not hand, enslaving us.

     "There, you dogs! there's a sonnet for you: you won't have such as
     that in a hurry from Mr. Fitzgerald. You may publish it with my
     name, an' ye wool. He deserves all praise, bad and good; it was a
     very noble piece of principality. Would you like an epigram--a
     translation?

        "If for silver, or for gold,
          You could melt ten thousand pimples
          Into half a dozen dimples,
        Then your face we might behold,
          Looking, doubtless, much more snugly,
          Yet ev'n _then_ 'twould be d----d _ugly_.

     "This was written on some Frenchwoman, by Rulhieres, I believe.
     Yours."

[Footnote 42: The "Dama," in whose company he witnessed this
representation, thus describes its effect upon him:--"The play was that
of Mirra; the actors, and particularly the actress who performed the
part of Mirra, seconded with much success the intentions of our great
dramatist. Lord Byron took a strong interest in the representation, and
it was evident that he was deeply affected. At length there came a point
of the performance at which he could no longer restrain his
emotions;--he burst into a flood of tears, and, his sobs preventing him
from remaining any longer in the box, he rose and left the theatre.--I
saw him similarly affected another time during a representation of
Alfieri's 'Philip,' at Ravenna."--"Gli attori, e specialmente l' attrice
che rappresentava Mirra secondava assai bene la mente del nostro grande
tragico. L.B. prece molto interesse alla rappresentazione, e si
conosceva che era molto commosso. Venne un punto poi della tragedia in
cui non potè più frenare la sua emozione,--diede in un diretto pianto e
i singhiozzi gl' impedirono di più restare nel palco; onde si levò, e
parti dal teatro. In uno stato simile lo viddi un altra volta a Ravenna
ad una rappresentazione del Filippo d'Alfieri."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 338. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Bologna, August 23. 1819.

     "I send you a letter to R * *ts, signed Wortley Clutterbuck, which
     you may publish in what form you please, in answer to his article.
     I have had many proofs of men's absurdity, but he beats all in
     folly. Why, the wolf in sheep's clothing has tumbled into the very
     trap! We'll strip him. The letter is written in great haste, and
     amidst a thousand vexations. Your letter only came yesterday, so
     that there is no time to polish: the post goes out to-morrow. The
     date is 'Little Piddlington.' Let * * * * correct the press: he
     knows and can read the handwriting. Continue to keep the
     _anonymous_ about 'Juan;' it helps us to fight against overwhelming
     numbers. I have a thousand distractions at present; so excuse
     haste, and wonder I can act or write at all. Answer by post, as
     usual.

     "Yours.

     "P.S. If I had had time, and been quieter and nearer, I would have
     cut him to hash; but as it is, you can judge for yourselves."

       *       *       *       *       *

The letter to the Reviewer, here mentioned, had its origin in rather an
amusing circumstance. In the first Canto of Don Juan appeared the
following passage:--

    "For fear some prudish readers should grow skittish,
    I've bribed My Grandmother's Review,--the British!

    "I sent it in a letter to the editor,
      Who thank'd me duly by return of post--
    I'm for a handsome article his creditor;
      Yet if my gentle Muse he please to roast,
    And break a promise after having made it her,
      Denying the receipt of what it cost,
    And smear his page with gall instead of honey,
    All I can say is--that he had the money."

On the appearance of the poem, the learned editor of the Review in
question allowed himself to be decoyed into the ineffable absurdity of
taking the charge as serious, and, in his succeeding number, came forth
with an indignant contradiction of it. To this tempting subject the
letter, written so hastily off at Bologna, related; but, though printed
for Mr. Murray, in a pamphlet consisting of twenty-three pages, it was
never published by him.[43] Being valuable, however, as one of the best
specimens we have of Lord Byron's simple and thoroughly English prose, I
shall here preserve some extracts from it.

[Footnote 43: It appeared afterwards in the Liberal.]

       *       *       *       *       *

"TO THE EDITOR OF THE BRITISH REVIEW.

     "My dear R----ts,

     "As a believer in the Church of England--to say nothing of the
     State--I have been an occasional reader, and great admirer, though
     not a subscriber, to your Review. But I do not know that any
     article of its contents ever gave me much surprise till the
     eleventh of your late twenty-seventh number made its appearance.
     You have there most manfully refuted a calumnious accusation of
     bribery and corruption, the credence of which in the public mind
     might not only have damaged your reputation as a clergyman and an
     editor, but, what would have been still worse, have injured the
     circulation of your journal; which, I regret to hear, is not so
     extensive as the 'purity (as you well observe) of its, &c. &c.' and
     the present taste for propriety, would induce us to expect. The
     charge itself is of a solemn nature; and, although in verse, is
     couched in terms of such circumstantial gravity as to induce a
     belief little short of that generally accorded to the thirty-nine
     articles, to which you so generously subscribed on taking your
     degrees. It is a charge the most revolting to the heart of man from
     its frequent occurrence; to the mind of a statesman from its
     occasional truth; and to the soul of an editor from its moral
     impossibility. You are charged then in the last line of one octave
     stanza, and the whole eight lines of the next, viz. 209th and 210th
     of the first Canto of that 'pestilent poem,' Don Juan, with
     receiving, and still more foolishly acknowledging, the receipt of
     certain moneys to eulogise the unknown author, who by this account
     must be known to you, if to nobody else. An impeachment of this
     nature, so seriously made, there is but one way of refuting; and it
     is my firm persuasion, that whether you did or did not (and _I_
     believe that you did not) receive the said moneys, of which I wish
     that he had specified the sum, you are quite right in denying all
     knowledge of the transaction. If charges of this nefarious
     description are to go forth, sanctioned by all the solemnity of
     circumstance, and guaranteed by the veracity of verse (as
     Counsellor Phillips would say), what is to become of readers
     hitherto implicitly confident in the not less veracious prose of
     our critical journals? what is to become of the reviews; and, if
     the reviews fail, what is to become of the editors? It is common
     cause, and you have done well to sound the alarm. I myself, in my
     humble sphere, will be one of your echoes. In the words of the
     tragedian Liston, 'I love a row,' and you seem justly determined to
     make one.

     "It is barely possible, certainly improbable, that the writer might
     have been in jest; but this only aggravates his crime. A joke, the
     proverb says, 'breaks no bones;' but it may break a bookseller, or
     it may be the cause of bones being broken. The jest is but a bad
     one at the best for the author, and might have been a still worse
     one for you, if your copious contradiction did not certify to all
     whom it may concern your own indignant innocence, and the
     immaculate purity of the British Review. I do not doubt your word,
     my dear R----ts, yet I cannot help wishing that, in a case of such
     vital importance, it had assumed the more substantial shape of an
     affidavit sworn before the Lord Mayor Atkins, who readily receives
     any deposition; and doubtless would have brought it in some way as
     evidence of the designs of the Reformers to set fire to London, at
     the same time that he himself meditates the same good office
     towards the river Thames.

     "I recollect hearing, soon after the publication, this subject
     discussed at the tea-table of Mr. * * * the poet,--and Mrs. and the
     Misses * * * * * being in a corner of the room perusing the proof
     sheets of Mr. * * *'s poems, the male part of the _conversazione_
     were at liberty to make some observations on the poem and passage
     in question, and there was a difference of opinion. Some thought
     the allusion was to the 'British Critic;' others, that by the
     expression 'My Grandmother's Review,' it was intimated that 'my
     grandmother' was not the reader of the review, but actually the
     writer; thereby insinuating, my dear Mr. R----ts, that you were an
     old woman; because, as people often say, 'Jeffrey's Review,"
     'Gifford's Review,' in lieu of Edinburgh and Quarterly, so 'My
     Grandmother's Review' and R----ts's might be also synonymous. Now,
     whatever colour this insinuation might derive from the circumstance
     of your wearing a gown, as well as from your time of life, your
     general style, and various passages of your writings,--I will take
     upon myself to exculpate you from all suspicion of the kind, and
     assert, without calling Mrs. R----ts in testimony, that if ever you
     should be chosen Pope, you will pass through all the previous
     ceremonies with as much credit as any pontiff since the parturition
     of Joan. It is very unfair to judge of sex from writings,
     particularly from those of the British Review. We are all liable to
     be deceived, and it is an indisputable fact that many of the best
     articles in your journal, which were attributed to a veteran
     female, were actually written by you yourself, and yet to this day
     there are people who could never find out the difference. But let
     us return to the more immediate question.

     "I agree with you that it is impossible Lord B. should be the
     author, not only because, as a British peer and a British poet, it
     would be impracticable for him to have recourse to such facetious
     fiction, but for some other reasons which you have omitted to
     state. In the first place, his Lordship has no grandmother. Now the
     author--and we may believe him in this--doth expressly state that
     the 'British' is his 'Grandmother's Review;' and if, as I think I
     have distinctly proved, this was not a mere figurative allusion to
     your supposed intellectual age and sex, my dear friend, it follows,
     whether you be she or no, that there is such an elderly lady still
     extant.

     "Shall I give you what I think a prudent opinion? I don't mean to
     insinuate, God forbid! but if, by any accident, there should have
     been such a correspondence between you and the unknown author,
     whoever he may be, send him back his money; I dare say he will be
     very glad to have it again; it can't be much, considering the value
     of the article and the circulation of the journal; and you are too
     modest to rate your praise beyond its real worth:--don't be angry,
     I know you won't, at this appraisement of your powers of eulogy:
     for on the other hand, my dear fellow, depend upon it your abuse is
     worth, not its own weight, that's a feather, but _your_ weight in
     gold. So don't spare it; if he has bargained for _that_, give it
     handsomely, and depend upon your doing him a friendly office.

     "What the motives of this writer may have been for (as you
     magnificently translate his quizzing you) 'stating, with the
     particularity which belongs to fact, the forgery of a groundless
     fiction,' (do, pray, my dear R., talk a little less 'in King
     Cambyses' vein,') I cannot pretend to say; perhaps to laugh at you,
     but that is no reason for your benevolently making all the world
     laugh also. I approve of your being angry, I tell you I am angry
     too, but you should not have shown it so outrageously. Your solemn
     '_if_ somebody personating the Editor of the, &c. &c. has received
     from Lord B. or from any other person,' reminds me of Charley
     Incledon's usual exordium when people came into the tavern to hear
     him sing without paying their share of the reckoning--'if a maun,
     or _ony_ maun, or _ony other_ maun,' &c. &c.; you have both the
     same redundant eloquence. But why should you think any body would
     personate you? Nobody would dream of such a prank who ever read
     your compositions, and perhaps not many who have heard your
     conversation. But I have been inoculated with a little of your
     prolixity. The fact is, my dear R----ts, that somebody has tried to
     make a fool of you, and what he did not succeed in doing, you have
     done for him and for yourself."

       *       *       *       *       *

Towards the latter end of August, Count Guiccioli, accompanied by his
lady, went for a short time to visit some of his Romagnese estates,
while Lord Byron remained at Bologna alone. And here, with a heart
softened and excited by the new feeling that had taken possession of
him, he appears to have given himself up, during this interval of
solitude, to a train of melancholy and impassioned thought, such as, for
a time, brought back all the romance of his youthful days. That spring
of natural tenderness within his soul, which neither the world's efforts
nor his own had been able to chill or choke up, was now, with something
of its first freshness, set flowing once more. He again knew what it was
to love and be loved,--too late, it is true, for happiness, and too
wrongly for peace, but with devotion enough, on the part of the woman,
to satisfy even his thirst for affection, and with a sad earnestness, on
his own, a foreboding fidelity, which made him cling but the more
passionately to this attachment from feeling that it would be his last.

A circumstance which he himself used to mention as having occurred at
this period will show how over-powering, at times, was the rush of
melancholy over his heart. It was his fancy, during Madame Guiccioli's
absence from Bologna, to go daily to her house at his usual hour of
visiting her, and there, causing her apartments to be opened, to sit
turning over her books, and writing in them.[44] He would then descend
into her garden, where he passed hours in musing; and it was on an
occasion of this kind, as he stood looking, in a state of unconscious
reverie, into one of those fountains so common in the gardens of Italy,
that there came suddenly into his mind such desolate fancies, such
bodings of the misery he might bring on her he loved, by that doom which
(as he has himself written) "makes it fatal to be loved[45]," that,
overwhelmed with his own thoughts, he burst into an agony of tears.

During the same few days it was that he wrote in the last page of Madame
Guiccioli's copy of "Corinne" the following remarkable note:--

     "My dearest Teresa,--I have read this book in your garden;--my
     love, you were absent, or else I could not have read it. It is a
     favourite book of yours, and the writer was a friend of mine. You
     will not understand these English words, and _others_ will not
     understand them--which is the reason I have not scrawled them in
     Italian. But you will recognise the hand-writing of him who
     passionately loved you, and you will divine that, over a book which
     was yours, he could only think of love. In that word, beautiful in
     all languages, but most so in yours--_Amor mio_--is comprised my
     existence here and hereafter. I feel I exist here, and I fear that
     I shall exist hereafter,--to _what_ purpose you will decide; my
     destiny rests with you, and you are a woman, seventeen years of
     age, and two out of a convent. I wish that you had stayed there,
     with all my heart,--or, at least, that I had never met you in your
     married state.

     "But all this is too late. I love you, and you love me,--at least,
     you _say so_, and _act_ as if you _did_ so, which last is a great
     consolation in all events. But _I_ more than love you, and cannot
     cease to love you.

     "Think of me, sometimes, when the Alps and the ocean divide
     us,--but they never will, unless you _wish_ it. BYRON.

     "Bologna, August 25. 1819."

[Footnote 44: One of these notes, written at the end of the 5th chapter,
18th book of Corinne ("Fragmens des Pensées de Corinne") is as
follows:--

     "I knew Madame de Staël well,--better than she knew Italy,--but I
     little thought that, one day, I should _think with her thoughts_,
     in the country where she has laid the scene of her most attractive
     productions. She is sometimes right, and often wrong, about Italy
     and England; but almost always true in delineating the heart, which
     is of but one nation, and of no country,--or, rather, of all.

     "BYRON.

     "Bologna, August 23. 1819."
]

[Footnote 45:

    "Oh Love! what is it, in this world of ours,
      Which makes it fatal to be loved? ah! why
    With cypress branches hast thou wreath'd thy bowers,
      And made thy best interpreter a sigh?
    As those who dote on odours pluck the flowers,
      And place them on their breasts--but place to die.--
    Thus the frail beings we would fondly cherish
      Are laid within our bosoms but to perish."
]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 339. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Bologna, August 24. 1819.

     "I wrote to you by last post, enclosing a buffooning letter for
     publication, addressed to the buffoon R----ts, who has thought
     proper to tie a canister to his own tail. It was written off-hand,
     and in the midst of circumstances not very favourable to
     facetiousness, so that there may, perhaps, be more bitterness than
     enough for that sort of small acid punch:--you will tell me.

     "Keep the anonymous, in any case: it helps what fun there may be.
     But if the matter grow serious about _Don Juan_, and you feel
     _yourself_ in a scrape, or _me_ either, _own that I am the author._
     _I_ will never _shrink_; and if _you_ do, I can always answer you
     in the question of Guatimozin to his minister--each being on his
     own coals.[46]

     "I wish that I had been in better spirits; but I am out of sorts,
     out of nerves, and now and then (I begin to fear) out of my senses.
     All this Italy has done for me, and not England: I defy all you,
     and your climate to boot, to make me mad. But if ever I do really
     become a bedlamite, and wear a strait waistcoat, let me be brought
     back among you; your people will then be proper company.

     "I assure you what I here say and feel has nothing to do with
     England, either in a literary or personal point of view. All my
     present pleasures or plagues are as Italian as the opera. And after
     all, they are but trifles; for all this arises from my 'Dama's'
     being in the country for three days (at Capo-fiume). But as I could
     never live but for one human being at a time, (and, I assure you,
     _that one_ has never been _myself_, as you may know by the
     consequences, for the _selfish_ are _successful_ in life,) I feel
     alone and unhappy.

     "I have sent for my daughter from Venice, and I ride daily, and
     walk in a garden, under a purple canopy of grapes, and sit by a
     fountain, and talk with the gardener of his tools, which seem
     greater than Adam's, and with his wife, and with his son's wife,
     who is the youngest of the party, and, I think, talks best of the
     three. Then I revisit the Campo Santo, and my old friend, the
     sexton, has two--but _one_ the prettiest daughter imaginable; and I
     amuse myself with contrasting her beautiful and innocent face of
     fifteen with the skulls with which he has peopled several cells,
     and particularly with that of one skull dated 1766, which was once
     covered (the tradition goes) by the most lovely features of
     Bologna--noble and rich. When I look at these, and at this
     girl--when I think of what _they were_, and what she must be--why,
     then, my dear Murray, I won't shock you by saying what I think. It
     is little matter what becomes of us 'bearded men,' but I don't like
     the notion of a beautiful woman's lasting less than a beautiful
     tree--than her own picture--her own shadow, which won't change so
     to the sun as her face to the mirror. I must leave off, for my head
     aches consumedly. I have never been quite well since the night of
     the representation of Alfieri's Mirra, a fortnight ago. Yours
     ever."

[Footnote 46:

    "Am I now reposing on a bed of flowers?"

See ROBERTSON.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 340. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Bologna, August 29. 1819.

     "I have been in a rage these two days, and am still bilious
     therefrom. You shall hear. A captain of dragoons, * *, Hanoverian
     by birth, in the Papal troops at present, whom I had obliged by a
     loan when nobody would lend him a paul, recommended a horse to me,
     on sale by a Lieutenant * *, an officer who unites the sale of
     cattle to the purchase of men. I bought it. The next day, on
     shoeing the horse, we discovered the _thrush_,--the animal being
     warranted sound. I sent to reclaim the contract and the money. The
     lieutenant desired to speak with me in person. I consented. He
     came. It was his own particular request. He began a story. I asked
     him if he would return the money. He said no--but he would
     exchange. He asked an exorbitant price for his other horses. I told
     him that he was a thief. He said he was an _officer_ and a man of
     honour, and pulled out a Parmesan passport signed by General Count
     Neifperg. I answered, that as he was an officer, I would treat him
     as such; and that as to his being a gentleman, he might prove it by
     returning the money: as for his Parmesan passport, I should have
     valued it more if it had been a Parmesan cheese. He answered in
     high terms, and said that if it were the _morning_ (it was about
     eight o'clock in the evening) he would have _satisfaction_. I then
     lost my temper: 'As for THAT,' I replied, 'you shall have it
     directly,--it will be _mutual_ satisfaction, I can assure you. You
     are a thief, and, as you say, an officer; my pistols are in the
     next room loaded; take one of the candles, examine, and make your
     choice of weapons.' He replied, that _pistols_ were _English
     weapons_; _he_ always fought with the _sword_. I told him that I
     was able to accommodate him, having three regimental swords in a
     drawer near us: and he might take the longest and put himself on
     guard.

     "All this passed in presence of a third person. He then said _No_;
     but to-morrow morning he would give me the meeting at any time or
     place. I answered that it was not usual to appoint meetings in the
     presence of witnesses, and that we had best speak man to man, and
     appoint time and instruments. But as the man present was leaving
     the room, the Lieutenant * *, before he could shut the door after
     him, ran out roaring 'Help and murder' most lustily, and fell into
     a sort of hysteric in the arms of about fifty people, who all saw
     that I had no weapon of any sort or kind about me, and followed
     him, asking him what the devil was the matter with him. Nothing
     would do: he ran away without his hat, and went to bed, ill of the
     fright. He then tried his complaint at the police, which dismissed
     it as frivolous. He is, I believe, gone away, or going.

     "The horse was warranted, but, I believe, so worded that the
     villain will not be obliged to refund, according to law. He
     endeavoured to raise up an indictment of assault and battery, but
     as it was in a public inn, in a frequented street, there were too
     many witnesses to the contrary; and, as a military man, he has not
     cut a martial figure, even in the opinion of the priests. He ran
     off in such a hurry that he left his hat, and never missed it till
     he got to his hostel or inn. The facts are as I tell you, I can
     assure you. He began by 'coming Captain Grand over me,' or I should
     never have thought of trying his 'cunning in fence.' But what could
     I do? He talked of 'honour, and satisfaction, and his commission;'
     he produced a military passport; there are severe punishments for
     _regular duels_ on the Continent, and trifling ones for
     _rencontres_, so that it is best to fight it out directly; he had
     robbed, and then wanted to insult me;--what could I do? My
     patience was gone, and the weapons at hand, fair and equal.
     Besides, it was just after dinner, when my digestion was bad, and I
     don't like to be disturbed. His friend * * is at Forli; we shall
     meet on my way back to Ravenna. The Hanoverian seems the greater
     rogue of the two; and if my valour does not ooze away like
     Acres's--'Odds flints and triggers!' if it should be a rainy
     morning, and my stomach in disorder, there may be something for the
     obituary.

     "Now pray, 'Sir Lucius, do not you look upon me as a very ill-used
     gentleman?' I send my Lieutenant to match Mr. Hobhouse's Major
     Cartwright: and so 'good morrow to you, good master Lieutenant.'
     With regard to other things I will write soon, but I have been
     quarrelling and fooling till I can scribble no more."

       *       *       *       *       *

In the month of September, Count Guiccioli, being called away by
business to Ravenna, left his young Countess and her lover to the free
enjoyment of each other's society at Bologna. The lady's ill health,
which had been the cause of her thus remaining behind, was thought, soon
after, to require the still further advantage of a removal to Venice;
and the Count her husband, being written to on the subject, consented,
with the most complaisant readiness, that she should proceed thither in
company with Lord Byron. "Some business" (says the lady's own Memoir)
"having called Count Guiccioli to Ravenna, I was obliged, by the state
of my health, instead of accompanying him, to return to Venice, and he
consented that Lord Byron should be the companion of my journey. We left
Bologna on the fifteenth of September: we visited the Euganean Hills
and Arquà, and wrote our names in the book which is presented to those
who make this pilgrimage. But I cannot linger over these recollections
of happiness;--the contrast with the present is too dreadful. If a
blessed spirit, while in the full enjoyment of heavenly happiness, were
sent down to this earth to suffer all its miseries, the contrast could
not be more dreadful between the past and the present, than what I have
endured from the moment when that terrible word reached my ears, and I
for ever lost the hope of again beholding him, one look from whom I
valued beyond earth's all happiness. When I arrived at Venice, the
physicians ordered that I should try the country air, and Lord Byron,
having a villa at La Mira, gave it up to me, and came to reside there
with me. At this place we passed the autumn, and there I had the
pleasure of forming your acquaintance."[47]

It was my good fortune, at this period, in the course of a short and
hasty tour through the north of Italy, to pass five or six days with
Lord Byron at Venice. I had written to him on my way thither to announce
my coming, and to say how happy it would make me could I tempt him to
accompany me as far as Rome.

During my stay at Geneva, an opportunity had been afforded me of
observing the exceeding readiness with which even persons the least
disposed to be prejudiced gave an ear to any story relating to Lord
Byron, in which the proper portions of odium and romance were but
plausibly mingled. In the course of conversation, one day, with the late
amiable and enlightened Monsieur D * *, that gentleman related, with
much feeling, to my fellow-traveller and myself, the details of a late
act of seduction of which Lord Byron had, he said, been guilty, and
which was made to comprise within itself all the worst features of such
unmanly frauds upon innocence;--the victim, a young unmarried lady, of
one of the first families of Venice, whom the noble seducer had lured
from her father's house to his own, and, after a few weeks, most
inhumanly turned her out of doors. In vain, said the relator, did she
entreat to become his servant, his slave;--in vain did she ask to
remain in some dark corner of his mansion, from which she might be able
to catch a glimpse of his form as he passed. Her betrayer was obdurate,
and the unfortunate young lady, in despair at being thus abandoned by
him, threw herself into the canal, from which she was taken out but to
be consigned to a mad-house. Though convinced that there must be
considerable exaggeration in this story, it was only on my arrival at
Venice I ascertained that the whole was a romance; and that out of the
circumstances (already laid before the reader) connected with Lord
Byron's fantastic and, it must be owned, discreditable fancy for the
Fornarina, this pathetic tale, so implicitly believed at Geneva, was
fabricated.

Having parted at Milan, with Lord John Russell, whom I had accompanied
from England, and whom I was to rejoin, after a short visit to Rome, at
Genoa, I made purchase of a small and (as it soon proved) crazy
travelling carriage, and proceeded alone on my way to Venice. My time
being limited, I stopped no longer at the intervening places than was
sufficient to hurry over their respective wonders, and, leaving Padua at
noon on the 8th of October, I found myself, about two o'clock, at the
door of my friend's villa, at La Mira. He was but just up, and in his
bath; but the servant having announced my arrival, he returned a message
that, if I would wait till he was dressed, he would accompany me to
Venice. The interval I employed in conversing with my old acquaintance,
Fletcher, and in viewing, under his guidance, some of the apartments of
the villa.

It was not long before Lord Byron himself made his appearance; and the
delight I felt in meeting him once more, after a separation of so many
years, was not a little heightened by observing that his pleasure was,
to the full, as great, while it was rendered doubly touching by the
evident rarity of such meetings to him of late, and the frank outbreak
of cordiality and gaiety with which he gave way to his feelings. It
would be impossible, indeed, to convey to those who have not, at some
time or other, felt the charm of his manner, any idea of what it could
be when under the influence of such pleasurable excitement as it was
most flatteringly evident he experienced at this moment.

I was a good deal struck, however, by the alteration that had taken
place in his personal appearance. He had grown fatter both in person and
face, and the latter had most suffered by the change,--having lost, by
the enlargement of the features, some of that refined and spiritualised
look that had, in other times, distinguished it. The addition of
whiskers, too, which he had not long before been induced to adopt, from
hearing that some one had said he had a "faccia di musico," as well as
the length to which his hair grew down on his neck, and the rather
foreign air of his coat and cap,--all combined to produce that
dissimilarity to his former self I had observed in him. He was still,
however, eminently handsome: and, in exchange for whatever his features
might have lost of their high, romantic character, they had become more
fitted for the expression of that arch, waggish wisdom, that Epicurean
play of humour, which he had shown to be equally inherent in his
various and prodigally gifted nature; while, by the somewhat increased
roundness of the contours, the resemblance of his finely formed mouth
and chin to those of the Belvedere Apollo had become still more
striking.

His breakfast, which I found he rarely took before three or four o'clock
in the afternoon, was speedily despatched,--his habit being to eat it
standing, and the meal in general consisting of one or two raw eggs, a
cup of tea without either milk or sugar, and a bit of dry biscuit.
Before we took our departure, he presented me to the Countess Guiccioli,
who was at this time, as my readers already know, living under the same
roof with him at La Mira; and who, with a style of beauty singular in an
Italian, as being fair-complexioned and delicate, left an impression
upon my mind, during this our first short interview, of intelligence and
amiableness such as all that I have since known or heard of her has but
served to confirm.

We now started together, Lord Byron and myself, in my little Milanese
vehicle, for Fusina,--his portly gondolier Tita, in a rich livery and
most redundant mustachios, having seated himself on the front of the
carriage, to the no small trial of its strength, which had already once
given way, even under my own weight, between Verona and Vicenza. On our
arrival at Fusina, my noble friend, from his familiarity with all the
details of the place, had it in his power to save me both trouble and
expense in the different arrangements relative to the custom-house,
remise, &c.; and the good-natured assiduity with which he bustled about
in despatching these matters, gave me an opportunity of observing, in
his use of the infirm limb, a much greater degree of activity than I had
ever before, except in sparring, witnessed.

As we proceeded across the Lagoon in his gondola, the sun was just
setting, and it was an evening such as Romance would have chosen for a
first sight of Venice, rising "with her tiara of bright towers" above
the wave; while, to complete, as might be imagined, the solemn interest
of the scene, I beheld it in company with him who had lately given a new
life to its glories, and sung of that fair City of the Sea thus
grandly:--

      "I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs;
      A palace and a prison on each hand:
      I saw from out the wave her structures rise
      As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand:
      A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
      Around me, and a dying glory smiles
      O'er the far times, when many a subject land
      Look'd to the winged lion's marble piles,
    Where Venice sat in state, throned in her hundred isles."

But, whatever emotions the first sight of such a scene might, under
other circumstances, have inspired me with, the mood of mind in which I
now viewed it was altogether the very reverse of what might have been
expected. The exuberant gaiety of my companion, and the
recollections,--any thing but romantic,--into which our conversation
wandered, put at once completely to flight all poetical and historical
associations; and our course was, I am almost ashamed to say, one of
uninterrupted merriment and laughter till we found ourselves at the
steps of my friend's palazzo on the Grand Canal. All that had ever
happened, of gay or ridiculous, during our London life together,--his
scrapes and my lecturings,--our joint adventures with the Bores and
Blues, the two great enemies, as he always called them, of London
happiness,--our joyous nights together at Watier's, Kinnaird's, &c. and
"that d----d supper of Rancliffe's which _ought_ to have been a
dinner,"--all was passed rapidly in review between us, and with a flow
of humour and hilarity, on his side, of which it would have been
difficult, even for persons far graver than I can pretend to be, not to
have caught the contagion.

He had all along expressed his determination that I should not go to any
hotel, but fix my quarters at his house during the period of my stay;
and, had he been residing there himself, such an arrangement would have
been all that I most desired. But, this not being the case, a common
hotel was, I thought, a far readier resource; and I therefore entreated
that he would allow me to order an apartment at the Gran Bretagna, which
had the reputation, I understood, of being a comfortable hotel. This,
however, he would not hear of; and, as an inducement for me to agree to
his plan, said that, as long as I chose to stay, though he should be
obliged to return to La Mira in the evenings, he would make it a point
to come to Venice every day and dine with me. As we now turned into the
dismal canal, and stopped before his damp-looking mansion, my
predilection for the Gran Bretagna returned in full force; and I again
ventured to hint that it would save an abundance of trouble to let me
proceed thither. But "No--no," he answered,--"I see you think you'll be
very uncomfortable here; but you'll find that it is not quite so bad as
you expect."

As I groped my way after him through the dark hall, he cried out, "Keep
clear of the dog;" and before we had proceeded many paces farther, "Take
care, or that monkey will fly at you;"--a curious proof, among many
others, of his fidelity to all the tastes of his youth, as it agrees
perfectly with the description of his life at Newstead, in 1809, and of
the sort of menagerie which his visiters had then to encounter in their
progress through his hall. Having escaped these dangers, I followed him
up the staircase to the apartment destined for me. All this time he had
been despatching servants in various directions,--one, to procure me a
_laquais de place_; another to go in quest of Mr. Alexander Scott, to
whom he wished to give me in charge; while a third was sent to order his
Segretario to come to him. "So, then, you keep a Secretary?" I said.
"Yes," he answered, "a fellow who _can't write_[48]--but such are the
names these pompous people give to things."

When we had reached the door of the apartment it was discovered to be
locked, and, to all appearance, had been so for some time, as the key
could not be found;--a circumstance which, to my English apprehension,
naturally connected itself with notions of damp and desolation, and I
again sighed inwardly for the Gran Bretagna. Impatient at the delay of
the key, my noble host, with one of his humorous maledictions, gave a
vigorous kick to the door and burst it open; on which we at once entered
into an apartment not only spacious and elegant, but wearing an aspect
of comfort and habitableness which to a traveller's eye is as welcome as
it is rare. "Here," he said, in a voice whose every tone spoke kindness
and hospitality,--"these are the rooms I use myself, and here I mean to
establish you."

He had ordered dinner from some Tratteria, and while waiting its
arrival--as well as that of Mr. Alexander Scott, whom he had invited to
join us--we stood out on the balcony, in order that, before the daylight
was quite gone, I might have some glimpses of the scene which the Canal
presented. Happening to remark, in looking up at the clouds, which were
still bright in the west, that "what had struck me in Italian sunsets
was that peculiar rosy hue--" I had hardly pronounced the word "rosy,"
when Lord Byron, clapping his hand on my mouth, said, with a laugh,
"Come, d----n it, Tom, don't be poetical." Among the few gondolas
passing at the time, there was one at some distance, in which sat two
gentlemen, who had the appearance of being English; and, observing them
to look our way, Lord Byron putting his arms a-kimbo, said with a sort
of comic swagger, "Ah! if you, John Bulls, knew who the two fellows
are, now standing up here, I think you _would_ stare!"--I risk
mentioning these things, though aware how they may be turned against
myself, for the sake of the otherwise indescribable traits of manner and
character which they convey. After a very agreeable dinner, through
which the jest, the story, and the laugh were almost uninterruptedly
carried on, our noble host took leave of us to return to La Mira, while
Mr. Scott and I went to one of the theatres, to see the Ottavia of
Alfieri.

The ensuing evenings, during my stay, were passed much in the same
manner,--my mornings being devoted, under the kind superintendence of
Mr. Scott, to a hasty, and, I fear, unprofitable view of the treasures
of art with which Venice abounds. On the subjects of painting and
sculpture Lord Byron has, in several of his letters, expressed strongly
and, as to most persons will appear, heretically his opinions. In his
want, however, of a due appreciation of these arts, he but resembled
some of his great precursors in the field of poetry;--both Tasso and
Milton, for example, having evinced so little tendency to such
tastes[49], that, throughout the whole of their pages, there is not, I
fear, one single allusion to any of those great masters of the pencil
and chisel, whose works, nevertheless, both had seen. That Lord Byron,
though despising the imposture and jargon with which the worship of the
Arts is, like other worships, clogged and mystified, felt deeply, more
especially in sculpture, whatever imaged forth true grace and energy,
appears from passages of his poetry, which are in every body's memory,
and not a line of which but thrills alive with a sense of grandeur and
beauty such as it never entered into the capacity of a mere connoisseur
even to conceive.

In reference to this subject, as we were conversing one day after dinner
about the various collections I had visited that morning, on my saying
that fearful as I was, at all times, of praising any picture, lest I
should draw upon myself the connoisseur's sneer for my pains, I would
yet, to _him_, venture to own that I had seen a picture at Milan
which--"The Hagar!" he exclaimed, eagerly interrupting me; and it was in
fact this very picture I was about to mention as having wakened in me,
by the truth of its expression, more real emotion than any I had yet
seen among the chefs-d'oeuvre of Venice. It was with no small degree of
pride and pleasure I now discovered that my noble friend had felt
equally with myself the affecting mixture of sorrow and reproach with
which the woman's eyes tell the whole story in that picture.

On the second evening of my stay, Lord Byron having, as before, left us
for La Mira, I most willingly accepted the offer of Mr. Scott to
introduce me to the conversazioni of the two celebrated ladies, with
whose names, as leaders of Venetian fashion, the tourists to Italy have
made every body acquainted. To the Countess A * *'s parties Lord Byron
had chiefly confined himself during the first winter he passed at
Venice; but the tone of conversation at these small meetings being much
too learned for his tastes, he was induced, the following year, to
discontinue his attendance at them, and chose, in preference, the less
erudite, but more easy, society of the Countess B * *. Of the sort of
learning sometimes displayed by the "blue" visitants at Madame A * *'s,
a circumstance mentioned by the noble poet himself may afford some idea.
The conversation happening to turn, one evening, upon the statue of
Washington, by Canova, which had been just shipped off for the United
States, Madame A * *, who was then engaged in compiling a Description
Raisonnée of Canova's works, and was anxious for information respecting
the subject of this statue, requested that some of her learned guests
would detail to her all they knew of him. This task a Signor * * (author
of a book on Geography and Statistics) undertook to perform, and, after
some other equally sage and authentic details, concluded by informing
her that "Washington was killed in a duel by Burke."--"What," exclaimed
Lord Byron, as he stood biting his lips with impatience during this
conversation, "what, in the name of folly, are you all thinking
of?"--for he now recollected the famous duel between Hamilton and
Colonel Burr, whom, it was evident, this learned worthy had confounded
with Washington and Burke!

In addition to the motives easily conceivable for exchanging such a
society for one that offered, at least, repose from such erudite
efforts, there was also another cause more immediately leading to the
discontinuance of his visits to Madame A * *. This lady, who has been
sometimes honoured with the title of "The De Staël of Italy," had
written a book called "Portraits," containing sketches of the characters
of various persons of note; and it being her intention to introduce Lord
Byron into this assemblage, she had it intimated to his Lordship that an
article in which his portraiture had been attempted was to appear in a
new edition she was about to publish of her work. It was expected, of
course, that this intimation would awaken in him some desire to see the
sketch; but, on the contrary, he was provoking enough not to manifest
the least symptoms of curiosity. Again and again was the same hint, with
as little success, conveyed; till, at length, on finding that no
impression could be produced in this manner, a direct offer was made, in
Madame A * *'s own name, to submit the article to his perusal. He could
now contain himself no longer. With more sincerity than politeness, he
returned for answer to the lady, that he was by no means ambitious of
appearing in her work; that, from the shortness, as well as the distant
nature of their acquaintance, it was impossible she could have qualified
herself to be his portrait-painter, and that, in short, she could not
oblige him more than by committing the article to the flames.

Whether the tribute thus unceremoniously treated ever met the eyes of
Lord Byron, I know not; but he could hardly, I think, had he seen it,
have escaped a slight touch of remorse at having thus spurned from him a
portrait drawn in no unfriendly spirit, and, though affectedly
expressed, seizing some of the less obvious features of his
character,--as, for instance, that diffidence so little to be expected
from a career like his, with the discriminating niceness of a female
hand. The following are extracts from this Portrait:--


    "'Toi, dont le monde encore ignore le vrai nom,
    Esprit mystérieux, Mortel, Ange, ou Démon,
    Qui que tu sois, Byron, bon ou fatal génie,
    J'aime de tes conceits la sauvage harmonie.'
    LAMARTINE.

"It would be to little purpose to dwell upon the mere beauty of a
countenance in which the expression of an extraordinary mind was so
conspicuous. What serenity was seated on the forehead, adorned with the
finest chestnut hair, light, curling, and disposed with such art, that
the art was hidden in the imitation of most pleasing nature! What
varied expression in his eyes! They were of the azure colour of the
heavens, from which they seemed to derive their origin. His teeth, in
form, in colour, in transparency, resembled pearls; but his cheeks were
too delicately tinged with the hue of the pale rose. His neck, which he
was in the habit of keeping uncovered as much as the usages of society
permitted, seemed to have been formed in a mould, and was very white.
His hands were as beautiful as if they had been the works of art. His
figure left nothing to be desired, particularly by those who found
rather a grace than a defect in a certain light and gentle undulation of
the person when he entered a room, and of which you hardly felt tempted
to enquire the cause. Indeed it was scarcely perceptible,--the clothes
he wore were so long.

"He was never seen to walk through the streets of Venice, nor along the
pleasant banks of the Brenta, where he spent some weeks of the summer;
and there are some who assert that he has never seen, excepting from a
window, the wonders of the 'Piazza di San Marco;'--so powerful in him
was the desire of not showing himself to be deformed in any part of his
person. I, however, believe that he has often gazed on those wonders,
but in the late and solitary hour, when the stupendous edifices which
surrounded him, illuminated by the soft and placid light of the moon,
appeared a thousand times more lovely.

"His face appeared tranquil like the ocean on a fine spring morning;
but, like it, in an instant became changed into the tempestuous and
terrible, if a passion, (a passion did I say?) a thought, a word,
occurred to disturb his mind. His eyes then lost all their sweetness,
and sparkled so that it became difficult to look on them. So rapid a
change would not have been thought possible; but it was impossible to
avoid acknowledging that the natural state of his mind was the
tempestuous.

"What delighted him greatly one day annoyed him the next; and whenever
he appeared constant in the practice of any habits, it arose merely from
the indifference, not to say contempt, in which he held them all:
whatever they might be, they were not worthy that he should occupy his
thoughts with them. His heart was highly sensitive, and suffered itself
to be governed in an extraordinary degree by sympathy; but his
imagination carried him away, and spoiled every thing. He believed in
presages, and delighted in the recollection that he held this belief in
common with Napoleon. It appeared that, in proportion as his
intellectual education was cultivated, his moral education was
neglected, and that he never suffered himself to know or observe other
restraints than those imposed by his inclinations. Nevertheless, who
could believe that he had a constant, and almost infantine timidity, of
which the evidences were so apparent as to render its existence
indisputable, notwithstanding the difficulty experienced in associating
with Lord Byron a sentiment which had the appearance of modesty?
Conscious as he was that, wherever he presented himself, all eyes were
fixed on him, and all lips, particularly those of the women, were opened
to say, 'There he is, that is Lord Byron,'--he necessarily found
himself in the situation of an actor obliged to sustain a character, and
to render an account, not to others (for about them he gave himself no
concern), but to himself, of his every action and word. This occasioned
him a feeling of uneasiness which was obvious to every one.

"He remarked on a certain subject (which in 1814 was the topic of
universal discourse) that 'the world was worth neither the trouble taken
in its conquest, nor the regret felt at its loss,' which saying (if the
worth of an expression could ever equal that of many and great actions)
would almost show the thoughts and feelings of Lord Byron to be more
stupendous and unmeasured than those of him respecting whom he spoke.

"His gymnastic exercises were sometimes violent, and at others almost
nothing. His body, like his spirit, readily accommodated itself to all
his inclinations. During an entire winter, he went out every morning
alone to row himself to the island of Armenians, (a small island
situated in the midst of a tranquil lake, and distant from Venice about
half a league,) to enjoy the society of those learned and hospitable
monks, and to learn their difficult language; and, in the evening,
entering again into his gondola, he went, but only for a couple of
hours, into company. A second winter, whenever the water of the lake was
violently agitated, he was observed to cross it, and landing on the
nearest _terra firma_, to fatigue at least two horses with riding.

"No one ever heard him utter a word of French, although he was
perfectly conversant with that language. He hated the nation and its
modern literature; in like manner, he held the modern Italian literature
in contempt, and said it possessed but one living author,--a restriction
which I know not whether to term ridiculous, or false and injurious. His
voice was sufficiently sweet and flexible. He spoke with much suavity,
if not contradicted, but rather addressed himself to his neighbour than
to the entire company.

"Very little food sufficed him; and he preferred fish to flesh for this
extraordinary reason, that the latter, he said, rendered him ferocious.
He disliked seeing women eat; and the cause of this extraordinary
antipathy must be sought in the dread he always had, that the notion he
loved to cherish of their perfection and almost divine nature might be
disturbed. Having always been governed by them, it would seem that his
very self-love was pleased to take refuge in the idea of their
excellence,--a sentiment which he knew how (God knows how) to reconcile
with the contempt in which, shortly afterwards, almost with the
appearance of satisfaction, he seemed to hold them. But contradictions
ought not to surprise us in characters like Lord Byron's; and then, who
does not know that the slave holds in detestation his ruler?

"Lord Byron disliked his countrymen, but only because he knew that his
morals were held in contempt by them. The English, themselves rigid
observers of family duties, could not pardon him the neglect of his, nor
his trampling on principles; therefore neither did he like being
presented to them, nor did they, especially when they had their wives
with them, like to cultivate his acquaintance. Still there was a strong
desire in all of them to see him, and the women in particular, who did
not dare to look at him but by stealth, said in an under voice, 'What a
pity it is!' If, however, any of his compatriots of exalted rank and of
high reputation came forward to treat him with courtesy, he showed
himself obviously flattered by it, and was greatly pleased with such
association. It seemed that to the wound which remained always open in
his ulcerated heart such soothing attentions were as drops of healing
balm, which comforted him.

"Speaking of his marriage,--a delicate subject, but one still agreeable
to him, if it was treated in a friendly voice,--he was greatly moved,
and said it had been the innocent cause of all his errors and all his
griefs. Of his wife he spoke with much respect and affection. He said
she was an illustrious lady, distinguished for the qualities of her
heart and understanding, and that all the fault of their cruel
separation lay with himself. Now, was such language dictated by justice
or by vanity? Does it not bring to mind the saying of Julius, that the
wife of Caesar must not even be suspected? What vanity in that saying of
Caesar! In fact, if it had not been from vanity, Lord Byron would have
admitted this to no one. Of his young daughter, his dear Ada, he spoke
with great tenderness, and seemed to be pleased at the great sacrifice
he had made in leaving her to comfort her mother. The intense hatred he
bore his mother-in-law, and a sort of Euryclea of Lady Byron, two women
to whose influence he, in a great measure, attributed her estrangement
from him,--demonstrated clearly how painful the separation was to him,
notwithstanding some bitter pleasantries which occasionally occur in his
writings against her also, dictated rather by rancour than by
indifference."

[Footnote 47: "Il Conte Guiccioli doveva per affari ritornare a Ravenna;
lo stato della mia salute esiggeva che io ritornassi in vece a Venezia.
Egli acconsenti dunque che Lord Byron, mi fosse compagno di viaggio.
Partimmo da Bologna alli 15 di Sre.--visitammo insieme i Colli Euganei
ed Arquà; scrivemmo i nostri nomi nel libro che si presenta a quelli che
fanno quel pellegrinaggio. Ma sopra tali rimembranze di felicità non
posso fermarmi, caro Signr. Moore; l'opposizione col presente é troppo
forte, e se un anima benedetta nel pieno godimento di tutte le felicità
celesti fosse mandata quaggiù e condannata a sopportare tutte le miserie
della nostra terra non potrebbe sentire più terribile contrasto frà il
passato ed il presente di quello che io sento dacchè quella terribile
parola è giunta alle mie orecchie, dacchè ho perduto la speranza di più
vedere quello di cui uno sguardo valeva per me più di tutte le felicità
della terra. Giunti a Venezia i medici mi ordinarono di respirare l'aria
della campagna. Egli aveva una villa alla Mira,--la cedesse a me, e
venne meco. Là passammo l'autunno, e là ebbi il bene di fare la vostra
conoscenza."--MS.]

[Footnote 48: The title of Segretario is sometimes given, as in this
case, to a head-servant or house-steward.]

[Footnote 49: That this was the case with Milton is acknowledged by
Richardson, who admired both Milton and the Arts too warmly to make such
an admission upon any but valid grounds. "He does not appear," says this
writer, "to have much regarded what was done with the pencil; no, not
even when in Italy, in Rome, in the Vatican. Neither does it seem
Sculpture was much esteemed by him." After an authority like this, the
theories of Hayley and others, with respect to the impressions left upon
Milton's mind by the works of art he had seen in Italy, are hardly worth
a thought. Though it may be conceded that Dante was an admirer of the
Arts, his recommendation of the Apocalypse to Giotto, as a source of
subjects for the pencil, shows, at least, what indifferent judges poets
are, in general, of the sort of fancies fittest to be embodied by the
painter.]

       *       *       *       *       *

From the time of his misunderstanding with Madame A * * *, the visits of
the noble poet were transferred to the house of the other great rallying
point of Venetian society, Madame B * * *,--a lady in whose manners,
though she had long ceased to be young, there still lingered much of
that attaching charm, which a youth passed in successful efforts to
please seldom fails to leave behind. That those powers of pleasing, too,
were not yet gone, the fidelity of, at least, one devoted admirer
testified; nor is she supposed to have thought it impossible that Lord
Byron himself might yet be linked on at the end of that long chain of
lovers, which had, through so many years, graced the triumphs of her
beauty. If, however, there could have been, in any case, the slightest
chance of such a conquest, she had herself completely frustrated it by
introducing her distinguished visitor to Madame Guiccioli,--a step by
which she at last lost, too, even the ornament of his presence at her
parties, as in consequence of some slighting conduct, on her part,
towards his "Dama," he discontinued his attendance at her evening
assemblies, and at the time of my visit to Venice had given up society
altogether.

I could soon collect, from the tone held respecting his conduct at
Madame B * * *'s, how subversive of all the morality of intrigue they
considered the late step of which he had been guilty in withdrawing his
acknowledged "Amica" from the protection of her husband, and placing
her, at once, under the same roof with himself. "You must really (said
the hostess herself to me) scold your friend;--till this unfortunate
affair, he conducted himself _so_ well!"--a eulogy on his previous moral
conduct which, when I reported it the following day to my noble host,
provoked at once a smile and sigh from his lips.

The chief subject of our conversation, when alone, was his marriage, and
the load of obloquy which it had brought upon him. He was most anxious
to know the worst that had been alleged of his conduct; and as this was
our first opportunity of speaking together on the subject, I did not
hesitate to put his candour most searchingly to the proof, not only by
enumerating the various charges I had heard brought against him by
others, but by specifying such portions of these charges as I had been
inclined to think not incredible myself. To all this he listened with
patience, and answered with the most unhesitating frankness, laughing to
scorn the tales of unmanly outrage related of him, but, at the same
time, acknowledging that there had been in his conduct but too much to
blame and regret, and stating one or two occasions, during his domestic
life, when he had been irritated into letting "the breath of bitter
words" escape him,--words, rather those of the unquiet spirit that
possessed him than his own, and which he now evidently remembered with
a degree of remorse and pain which might well have entitled them to be
forgotten by others.

It was, at the same time, manifest, that, whatever admissions he might
be inclined to make respecting his own delinquencies, the inordinate
measure of the punishment dealt out to him had sunk deeply into his
mind, and, with the usual effect of such injustice, drove him also to be
unjust himself;--so much so, indeed, as to impute to the quarter, to
which he now traced all his ill fate, a feeling of fixed hostility to
himself, which would not rest, he thought, even at his grave, but
continue to persecute his memory as it was now embittering his life. So
strong was this impression upon him, that during one of our few
intervals of seriousness, he conjured me, by our friendship, if, as he
both felt and hoped, I should survive him, not to let unmerited censure
settle upon his name, but, while I surrendered him up to condemnation,
where he deserved it, to vindicate him where aspersed.

How groundless and wrongful were these apprehensions, the early death
which he so often predicted and sighed for has enabled us, unfortunately
but too soon, to testify. So far from having to defend him against any
such assailants, an unworthy voice or two, from persons more injurious
as friends than as enemies, is all that I find raised in hostility to
his name; while by none, I am inclined to think, would a generous
amnesty over his grave be more readily and cordially concurred in than
by her, among whose numerous virtues a forgiving charity towards
himself was the only one to which she had not yet taught him to render
justice.

I have already had occasion to remark, in another part of this work,
that with persons who, like Lord Byron, live centred in their own
tremulous web of sensitiveness, those friends of whom they see least,
and who, therefore, least frequently come in collision with them in
those every-day realities from which such natures shrink so morbidly,
have proportionately a greater chance of retaining a hold on their
affections. There is, however, in long absence from persons of this
temperament, another description of risk hardly less, perhaps, to be
dreaded. If the station a friend holds in their hearts is, in near
intercourse with them, in danger from their sensitiveness, it is almost
equally, perhaps, at the mercy of their too active imaginations during
absence. On this very point, I recollect once expressing my
apprehensions to Lord Byron, in a passage of a letter addressed to him
but a short time before his death, of which the following is, as nearly
as I can recall it, the substance:--"When _with_ you, I feel _sure_ of
you; but, at a distance, one is often a little afraid of being made the
victim, all of a sudden, of some of those fanciful suspicions, which,
like meteoric stones, generate themselves (God knows how) in the upper
regions of your imagination, and come clattering down upon our heads,
some fine sunny day, when we are least expecting such an invasion."

In writing thus to him, I had more particularly in recollection a fancy
of this kind respecting myself, which he had, not long before my present
visit to him at Venice, taken into his head. In a ludicrous, and now,
perhaps, forgotten publication of mine, giving an account of the
adventures of an English family in Paris, there had occurred the
following description of the chief hero of the tale:--

    "A fine, sallow, sublime sort of Werter-faced man,
    With mustachios which gave (what we read of so oft)
    The dear Corsair expression, half savage, half soft,--
    As hyænas in love may be fancied to look, or
    A something between Abelard and old Blucher."

On seeing this doggrel, my noble friend,--as I might, indeed, with a
little more thought, have anticipated,--conceived the notion that I
meant to throw ridicule on his whole race of poetic heroes, and
accordingly, as I learned from persons then in frequent intercourse with
him, flew out into one of his fits of half humorous rage against me.
This he now confessed himself, and, in laughing over the circumstance
with me, owned that he had even gone so far as, in his first moments of
wrath, to contemplate some little retaliation for this perfidious hit at
his heroes. "But when I recollected," said he, "what pleasure it would
give the whole tribe of blockheads and blues to see you and me turning
out against each other, I gave up the idea." He was, indeed, a striking
instance of what may be almost invariably observed, that they who best
know how to wield the weapon of ridicule themselves, are the most alive
to its power in the hands of others. I remember, one day,--in the year
1813, I think,--as we were conversing together about critics and their
influence on the public. "For my part," he exclaimed, "I don't care what
they say of me, so they don't quiz me."--"Oh, you need not fear
that,"--I answered, with something, perhaps, of a half suppressed smile
on my features,--"nobody could quiz _you_"--"_You could_, you villain!"
he replied, clenching his hand at me, and looking, at the same time,
with comic earnestness into my face.

Before I proceed any farther with my own recollections, I shall here
take the opportunity of extracting some curious particulars respecting
the habits and mode of life of my friend while at Venice, from an
account obligingly furnished me by a gentleman who long resided in that
city, and who, during the greater part of Lord Byron's stay, lived on
terms of the most friendly intimacy with him.

"I have often lamented that I kept no notes of his observations during
our rides and aquatic excursions. Nothing could exceed the vivacity and
variety of his conversation, or the cheerfulness of his manner. His
remarks on the surrounding objects were always original: and most
particularly striking was the quickness with which he availed himself of
every circumstance, however trifling in itself, and such as would have
escaped the notice of almost any other person, to carry his point in
such arguments as we might chance to be engaged in. He was feelingly
alive to the beauties of nature, and took great interest in any
observations, which, as a dabbler in the arts, I ventured to make upon
the effects of light and shadow, or the changes produced in the colour
of objects by every variation in the atmosphere.

"The spot where we usually mounted our horses had been a Jewish
cemetery; but the French, during their occupation of Venice, had thrown
down the enclosures, and levelled all the tombstones with the ground, in
order that they might not interfere with the fortifications upon the
Lido, under the guns of which it was situated. To this place, as it was
known to be that where he alighted from his gondola and met his horses,
the curious amongst our country people, who were anxious to obtain a
glimpse of him, used to resort; and it was amusing in the extreme to
witness the excessive coolness with which ladies, as well as gentlemen,
would advance within a very few paces of him, eyeing him, some with
their glasses, as they would have done a statue in a museum, or the wild
beasts at Exeter 'Change. However flattering this might be to a man's
vanity, Lord Byron, though he bore it very patiently, expressed himself,
as I believe he really was, excessively annoyed at it.

"I have said that our usual ride was along the sea-shore, and that the
spot where we took horse, and of course dismounted, had been a cemetery.
It will readily be believed, that some caution was necessary in riding
over the broken tombstones, and that it was altogether an awkward place
for horses to pass. As the length of our ride was not very great,
scarcely more than six miles in all, we seldom rode fast, that we might
at least prolong its duration; and enjoy as much as possible the
refreshing air of the Adriatic. One day, as we were leisurely returning
homewards, Lord Byron, all at once, and without saying any thing to me,
set spurs to his horse and started off at full gallop, making the
greatest haste he could to get to his gondola. I could not conceive what
fit had seized him, and had some difficulty in keeping even within a
reasonable distance of him, while I looked around me to discover, if I
were able, what could be the cause of his unusual precipitation. At
length I perceived at some distance two or three gentlemen, who were
running along the opposite side of the island nearest the Lagoon,
parallel with him, towards his gondola, hoping to get there in time to
see him alight; and a race actually took place between them, he
endeavouring to outstrip them. In this he, in fact, succeeded, and,
throwing himself quickly from his horse, leapt into his gondola, of
which he hastily closed the blinds, ensconcing himself in a corner so as
not to be seen. For my own part, not choosing to risk my neck over the
ground I have spoken of, I followed more leisurely as soon as I came
amongst the gravestones, but got to the place of embarkation just at the
same moment with my curious countrymen, and in time to witness their
disappointment at having had their run for nothing. I found him exulting
in his success in outstripping them. He expressed in strong terms his
annoyance at what he called their impertinence, whilst I could not but
laugh at his impatience, as well as at the mortification of the
unfortunate pedestrians, whose eagerness to see him, I said, was, in my
opinion, highly flattering to him. That, he replied, depended on the
feeling with which they came; and he had not the vanity to believe that
they were influenced by any admiration of his character or of his
abilities, but that they were impelled merely by idle curiosity. Whether
it was so or not, I cannot help thinking that if they had been of the
other sex, he would not have been so eager to escape from their
observation, as in that case he would have repaid them glance for
glance.

"The curiosity that was expressed by all classes of travellers to see
him, and the eagerness with which they endeavoured to pick up any
anecdotes of his mode of life, were carried to a length which will
hardly be credited. It formed the chief subject of their enquiries of
the gondoliers who conveyed them from terra firma to the floating city;
and these people, who are generally loquacious, were not at all backward
in administering to the taste and humours of their passengers, relating
to them the most extravagant and often unfounded stories. They took care
to point out the house where he lived, and to give such hints of his
movements as might afford them an opportunity of seeing him. Many of the
English visiters, under pretext of seeing his house, in which there were
no paintings of any consequence, nor, besides himself, any thing worthy
of notice, contrived to obtain admittance through the cupidity of his
servants, and with the most barefaced impudence forced their way even
into his bedroom, in the hopes of seeing him. Hence arose, in a great
measure, his bitterness towards them, which he has expressed in a note
to one of his poems, on the occasion of some unfounded remark made upon
him by an anonymous traveller in Italy; and it certainly appears well
calculated to foster that cynicism which prevails in his latter works
more particularly, and which, as well as the misanthropical expressions
that occur in those which first raised his reputation, I do not believe
to have been his natural feeling. Of this I am certain, that I never
witnessed greater kindness than in Lord Byron.

"The inmates of his family were all extremely attached to him, and would
have endured any thing on his account. He was indeed culpably lenient to
them; for even when instances occurred of their neglecting their duty,
or taking an undue advantage of his good-nature, he rather bantered than
spoke seriously to them upon it, and could not bring himself to
discharge them, even when he had threatened to do so. An instance
occurred within my knowledge of his unwillingness to act harshly towards
a tradesman whom he had materially assisted, not only by lending him
money, but by forwarding his interest in every way that he could.
Notwithstanding repeated acts of kindness on Lord Byron's part, this man
robbed and cheated him in the most barefaced manner; and when at length
Lord Byron was induced to sue him at law for the recovery of his money,
the only punishment he inflicted upon him, when sentence against him was
passed, was to put him in prison for one week, and then to let him out
again, although his debtor had subjected him to a considerable
additional expense, by dragging him into all the different courts of
appeal, and that he never at last recovered one halfpenny of the money
owed to him. Upon this subject he writes to me from Ravenna, 'If * * is
in (prison), let him out; if out, put him in for a week, merely for a
lesson, and give him a good lecture.'

"He was also ever ready to assist the distressed, and he was most
unostentatious in his charities: for besides considerable sums which he
gave away to applicants at his own house, he contributed largely by
weekly and monthly allowances to persons whom he had never seen, and
who, as the money reached them by other hands, did not even know who was
their benefactor. One or two instances might be adduced where his
charity certainly bore an appearance of ostentation; one particularly,
when he sent fifty louis d'or to a poor printer whose house had been
burnt to the ground, and all his property destroyed; but even this was
not unattended with advantage; for it in a manner compelled the Austrian
authorities to do something for the poor sufferer, which I have no
hesitation in saying they would not have done otherwise; and I attribute
it entirely to the publicity of his donation, that they allowed the man
the use of an unoccupied house belonging to the government until he
could rebuild his own, or re-establish his business elsewhere. Other
instances might be perhaps discovered where his liberalities proceeded
from selfish, and not very worthy motives[50]; but these are rare, and
it would be unjust in the extreme to assume them as proofs of his
character."

It has been already mentioned that, in writing to my noble friend to
announce my coming, I had expressed a hope that he would be able to go
on with me to Rome; and I had the gratification of finding, on my
arrival, that he was fully prepared to enter into this plan. On becoming
acquainted, however, with all the details of his present situation, I so
far sacrificed my own wishes and pleasure as to advise strongly that he
should remain at La Mira. In the first place, I saw reason to apprehend
that his leaving Madame Guiccioli at this crisis might be the means of
drawing upon him the suspicion of neglecting, if not actually deserting,
a young person who had just sacrificed so much to her devotion for him,
and whose position, at this moment, between the Count and Lord Byron, it
required all the generous prudence of the latter to shield from shame or
fall. There had just occurred too, as it appeared to me, a most
favourable opening for the retrieval of, at least, the imprudent part of
the transaction, by replacing the lady instantly under her husband's
protection, and thus enabling her still to retain that station in
society which, in such society, nothing but such imprudence could have
endangered.

This latter hope had been suggested by a letter he one day showed me,
(as we were dining together alone, at the well-known Pellegrino,) which
had that morning been received by the Contessa from her husband, and the
chief object of which was--_not_ to express any censure of her conduct,
but to suggest that she should prevail upon her noble admirer to
transfer into his keeping a sum of 1000_l._, which was then lying, if I
remember right, in the hands of Lord Byron's banker at Ravenna, but
which the worthy Count professed to think would be more advantageously
placed in his own. Security, the writer added, would be given, and five
per cent. interest allowed; as to accept of the sum on any other terms
he should hold to be an "avvilimento" to him. Though, as regarded the
lady herself, who has since proved, by a most noble sacrifice, how
perfectly disinterested were her feelings throughout[51], this trait of
so wholly opposite a character in her lord must have still further
increased her disgust at returning to him, yet so important did it seem,
as well for her friend's sake as her own, to retrace, while there was
yet time, their last imprudent step, that even the sacrifice of this
sum, which I saw would materially facilitate such an arrangement, did
not appear to me by any means too high a price to pay for it. On this
point, however, my noble friend entirely differed with me; and nothing
could be more humorous and amusing than the manner in which, in his
newly assumed character of a lover of money, he dilated on the many
virtues of a thousand pounds, and his determination not to part with a
single one of them to Count Guiccioli. Of his confidence, too, in his
own power of extricating himself from this difficulty he spoke with
equal gaiety and humour; and Mr. Scott, who joined our party after
dinner, having taken the same view of the subject as I did, he laid a
wager of two sequins with that gentleman, that, without any such
disbursement, he would yet bring all right again, and "save the lady and
the money too."

It is indeed, certain, that he had at this time taken up the whim (for
it hardly deserves a more serious name) of minute and constant
watchfulness over his expenditure; and, as most usually happens, it was
with the increase of his means that this increased sense of the value of
money came. The first symptom I saw of this new fancy of his was the
exceeding joy which he manifested on my presenting to him a rouleau of
twenty Napoleons, which Lord K * *d, to whom he had, on some occasion,
lent that sum, had intrusted me with, at Milan, to deliver into his
hands. With the most joyous and diverting eagerness, he tore open the
paper, and, in counting over the sum, stopped frequently to congratulate
himself on the recovery of it.

Of his household frugalities I speak but on the authority of others; but
it is not difficult to conceive that, with a restless spirit like his,
which delighted always in having something to contend with, and which,
but a short time before, "for want," as he said, "of something craggy to
break upon," had tortured itself with the study of the Armenian
language, he should, in default of all better excitement, find a sort of
stir and amusement in the task of contesting, inch by inch, every
encroachment of expense, and endeavouring to suppress what he himself
calls

    "That climax of all earthly ills,
    The inflammation of our weekly bills."

In truth, his constant recurrence to the praise of avarice in Don Juan,
and the humorous zest with which he delights to dwell on it, shows how
new-fangled, as well as how far from serious, was his adoption of this
"good old-gentlemanly vice." In the same spirit he had, a short time
before my arrival at Venice, established a hoarding-box, with a slit in
the lid, into which he occasionally put sequins, and, at stated periods,
opened it to contemplate his treasures. His own ascetic style of living
enabled him, as far as himself was concerned, to gratify this taste for
economy in no ordinary degree,--his daily bill of fare, when the
Margarita was his companion, consisting, I have been assured, of but
four beccafichi, of which the Fornarina eat three, leaving even him
hungry.

That his parsimony, however (if this new phasis of his ever-shifting
character is to be called by such a name), was very far from being of
that kind which Bacon condemns, as "withholding men from works of
liberality," is apparent from all that is known of his munificence, at
this very period,--some particulars of which, from a most authentic
source, have just been cited, proving amply that while, for the
indulgence of a whim, he kept one hand closed, he gave free course to
his generous nature by dispensing lavishly from the other. It should be
remembered, too, that as long as money shall continue to be one of the
great sources of power, so long will they who seek influence over their
fellow-men attach value to it as an instrument; and the more lowly they
are inclined to estimate the disinterestedness of the human heart, the
more available and precious will they consider the talisman that gives
such power over it. Hence, certainly, it is not among those who have
thought highest of mankind that the disposition to avarice has most
generally displayed itself. In Swift the love of money was strong and
avowed; and to Voltaire the same propensity was also frequently
imputed,--on about as sufficient grounds, perhaps, as to Lord Byron.

On the day preceding that of my departure from Venice, my noble host, on
arriving from La Mira to dinner, told me, with all the glee of a
schoolboy who had been just granted a holiday, that, as this was my last
evening, the Contessa had given him leave to "make a night of it," and
that accordingly he would not only accompany me to the opera, but we
should sup together at some cafe (as in the old times) afterwards.
Observing a volume in his gondola, with a number of paper marks between
the leaves, I enquired of him what it was?--"Only a book," he answered,
"from which I am trying to _crib_, as I do wherever I can[52];--and
that's the way I get the character of an original poet." On taking it up
and looking into it, I exclaimed, "Ah, my old friend,
Agathon!"[53]--"What!" he cried, archly, "you have been beforehand with
me there, have you?"

Though in imputing to himself premeditated plagiarism, he was, of
course, but jesting, it was, I am inclined to think, his practice, when
engaged in the composition of any work, to excite thus his vein by the
perusal of others, on the same subject or plan, from which the slightest
hint caught by his imagination, as he read, was sufficient to kindle
there such a train of thought as, but for that spark, had never been
awakened, and of which he himself soon forgot the source. In the present
instance, the inspiration he sought was of no very elevating
nature,--the anti-spiritual doctrines of the Sophist in this Romance[54]
being what chiefly, I suspect, attracted his attention to its pages, as
not unlikely to supply him with fresh argument and sarcasm for those
depreciating views of human nature and its destiny, which he was now,
with all the wantonness of unbounded genius, enforcing in Don Juan.

Of this work he was, at the time of my visit to him, writing the third
Canto, and before dinner, one day, read me two or three hundred lines of
it;--beginning with the stanzas "Oh Wellington," &c. which at that time
formed the opening of this third Canto, but were afterwards reserved for
the commencement of the ninth. My opinion of the poem, both as regarded
its talent and its mischief, he had already been made acquainted with,
from my having been one of those,--his Committee, as he called us,--to
whom, at his own desire, the manuscript of the two first Cantos had been
submitted, and who, as the reader has seen, angered him not a little by
deprecating the publication of it. In a letter which I, at that time,
wrote to him on the subject, after praising the exquisite beauty of the
scenes between Juan and Haidée, I ventured to say, "Is it not odd that
the same licence which, in your early Satire, you blamed _me_ for being
guilty of on the borders of my twentieth year, you are now yourself
(with infinitely greater power, and therefore infinitely greater
mischief) indulging in _after_ thirty!"

Though I now found him, in full defiance of such remonstrances,
proceeding with this work, he had yet, as his own letters prove, been so
far influenced by the general outcry against his poem, as to feel the
zeal and zest with which he had commenced it considerably abated,--so
much so, as to render, ultimately, in his own opinion, the third and
fourth Cantos much inferior in spirit to the two first. So sensitive,
indeed,--in addition to his usual abundance of this quality,--did he, at
length, grow on the subject, that when Mr. W. Bankes, who succeeded me,
as his visiter, happened to tell him, one day, that he had heard a Mr.
Saunders (or some such name), then resident at Venice, declare that, in
his opinion, "Don Juan was all Grub Street," such an effect had this
disparaging speech upon his mind, (though coming from a person who, as
he himself would have it, was "nothing but a d----d salt-fish seller,")
that, for some time after, by his own confession to Mr. Bankes, he could
not bring himself to write another line of the poem; and, one morning,
opening a drawer where the neglected manuscript lay, he said to his
friend, "Look here--this is all Mr. Saunders's 'Grub Street.'"

To return, however, to the details of our last evening together at
Venice. After a dinner with Mr. Scott at the Pellegrino, we all went,
rather late, to the opera, where the principal part in the Baccanali di
Roma was represented by a female singer, whose chief claim to
reputation, according to Lord Byron, lay in her having _stilettoed_ one
of her favourite lovers. In the intervals between the singing he pointed
out to me different persons among the audience, to whom celebrity of
various sorts, but, for the most part, disreputable, attached; and of
one lady who sat near us, he related an anecdote, which, whether new or
old, may, as creditable to Venetian facetiousness, be worth, perhaps,
repeating. This lady had, it seems, been pronounced by Napoleon the
finest woman in Venice; but the Venetians, not quite agreeing with this
opinion of the great man, contented themselves with calling her "La
Bella _per Decréto_,"--adding (as the Decrees always begin with the word
"Considerando"), "Ma _senza_ il Considerando."

From the opera, in pursuance of our agreement to "make a night of it,"
we betook ourselves to a sort of _cabaret_ in the Place of St. Mark, and
there, within a few yards of the Palace of the Doges, sat drinking hot
brandy punch, and laughing over old times, till the clock of St. Mark
struck the second hour of the morning. Lord Byron then took me in his
gondola, and, the moon being in its fullest splendour, he made the
gondoliers row us to such points of view as might enable me to see
Venice, at that hour, to advantage. Nothing could be more solemnly
beautiful than the whole scene around, and I had, for the first time,
the Venice of my dreams before me. All those meaner details which so
offend the eye by day were now softened down by the moonlight into a
sort of visionary indistinctness; and the effect of that silent city of
palaces, sleeping, as it were, upon the waters, in the bright stillness
of the night, was such as could not but affect deeply even the least
susceptible imagination. My companion saw that I was moved by it, and
though familiar with the scene himself, seemed to give way, for the
moment, to the same strain of feeling; and, as we exchanged a few
remarks suggested by that wreck of human glory before us, his voice,
habitually so cheerful, sunk into a tone of mournful sweetness, such as
I had rarely before heard from him, and shall not easily forget. This
mood, however, was but of the moment; some quick turn of ridicule soon
carried him off into a totally different vein, and at about three
o'clock in the morning, at the door of his own palazzo, we parted,
laughing, as we had met;--an agreement having been first made that I
should take an early dinner with him next day at his villa, on my road
to Ferrara.

Having employed the morning of the following day in completing my round
of sights at Venice,--taking care to visit specially "that picture by
Giorgione," to which the poet's exclamation, "_such_ a woman!"[55] will
long continue to attract all votaries of beauty,--I took my departure
from Venice, and, at about three o'clock, arrived at La Mira. I found my
noble host waiting to receive me, and, in passing with him through the
hall, saw his little Allegra, who, with her nursery maid, was standing
there as if just returned from a walk. To the perverse fancy he had for
falsifying his own character, and even imputing to himself faults the
most alien to his nature, I have already frequently adverted, and had,
on this occasion, a striking instance of it. After I had spoken a
little, in passing, to the child, and made some remark on its beauty, he
said to me,--"Have you any notion--but I suppose _you_ have--of what
they call the parental feeling? For myself, I have not the least." And
yet, when that child died, in a year or two afterwards, he who now
uttered this artificial speech was so overwhelmed by the event, that
those who were about him at the time actually trembled for his reason!

A short time before dinner he left the room, and in a minute or two
returned, carrying in his hand a white leather bag. "Look here," he
said, holding it up--"this would be worth something to Murray, though
_you_, I dare say, would not give sixpence for it."--"What is it?" I
asked.--"My Life and Adventures," he answered. On hearing this, I raised
my hands in a gesture of wonder. "It is not a thing," he continued,
"that can be published during my lifetime, but you may have it--if you
like--there, do whatever you please with it." In taking the bag, and
thanking him most warmly, I added, "This will make a nice legacy for my
little Tom, who shall astonish the latter days of the nineteenth century
with it." He then added, "You may show it to any of our friends you
think worthy of it:"--and this is, nearly word for word, the whole of
what passed between us on the subject.

At dinner we were favoured with the presence of Madame Guiccioli, who
was so obliging as to furnish me, at Lord Byron's suggestion, with a
letter of introduction to her brother, Count Gamba, whom it was
probable, they both thought, I should meet at Rome. This letter I never
had an opportunity of presenting; and as it was left open for me to
read, and was, the greater part of it, I have little doubt, dictated by
my noble friend, I may venture, without impropriety, to give an extract
from it here;--premising that the allusion to the "Castle," &c. refers
to some tales respecting the cruelty of Lord Byron to his wife, which
the young Count had heard, and, at this time, implicitly believed. After
a few sentences of compliment to the bearer, the letter proceeds:--"He
is on his way to see the wonders of Rome, and there is no one, I am
sure, more qualified to enjoy them. I shall be gratified and obliged by
your acting, as far as you can, as his guide. He is a friend of Lord
Byron's, and much more accurately acquainted with his history than those
who have related it to you. He will accordingly describe to you, if you
ask him, _the shape, the dimensions_, and whatever else you may please
to require, of _that Castle in which he keeps imprisoned a young and
innocent wife_, &c. &c. My dear Pietro, whenever you feel inclined to
laugh, do send two lines of answer to your sister, who loves and ever
will love you with the greatest tenderness.--Teresa Guiccioli."[56]

After expressing his regret that I had not been able to prolong my stay
at Venice, my noble friend said, "At least, I think, you might spare a
day or two to go with me to Arquà. I should like," he continued,
thoughtfully, "to visit that tomb with you:"--then, breaking off into
his usual gay tone; "a pair of poetical pilgrims--eh, Tom, what say
you?"--That I should have declined this offer, and thus lost the
opportunity of an excursion which would have been remembered, as a
bright dream, through all my after-life, is a circumstance I never can
think of without wonder and self-reproach. But the main design on which
I had then set my mind of reaching Rome, and, if possible, Naples,
within the limited period which circumstances allowed, rendered me far
less alive than I ought to have been to the preciousness of the episode
thus offered to me.

When it was time for me to depart, he expressed his intention to
accompany me a few miles; and, ordering his horses to follow, proceeded
with me in the carriage as far as Strà, where for the last time--how
little thinking it was to be the last!--I bade my kind and admirable
friend farewell.

[Footnote 50: The writer here, no doubt, alludes to such questionable
liberalities as those exercised towards the husbands of his two
favourites, Madame S * * and the Fornarina.]

[Footnote 51: The circumstance here alluded to may be most clearly,
perhaps, communicated to my readers through the medium of the following
extract from a letter which Mr. Barry (the friend and banker of Lord
Byron) did me the favour of addressing to me, soon after his Lordship's
death:--"When Lord Byron went to Greece, he gave me orders to advance
money to Madame G * *; but that lady would never consent to receive any.
His Lordship had also told me that he meant to leave his will in my
hands, and that there would be a bequest in it of 10,000_l._ to Madame G
* *. He mentioned this circumstance also to Lord Blessington. When the
melancholy news of his death reached me, I took for granted that this
will would be found among the sealed papers he had left with me; but
there was no such instrument. I immediately then wrote to Madame G * *,
enquiring if she knew any thing concerning it, and mentioning, at the
same time, what his Lordship had said is to the legacy. To this the lady
replied, that he had frequently spoken to her on the same subject, but
that she had always cut the conversation short, as it was a topic she by
no means liked to hear him speak upon. In addition, she expressed a wish
that no such will as I had mentioned would be found; as her
circumstances were already sufficiently independent, and the world might
put a wrong construction on her attachment, should it appear that her
fortunes were, in any degree, bettered by it."]

[Footnote 52: This will remind the reader of Molière's avowal in
speaking of wit:--"C'est mon bien, et je le prends partout où je le
trouve."]

[Footnote 53: The History of Agathon, by Wieland.]

[Footnote 54: Between Wieland, the author of this Romance, and Lord
Byron, may be observed some of those generic points of resemblance which
it is so interesting to trace in the characters of men of genius. The
German poet, it is said, never perused any work that made a strong
impression upon him, without being stimulated to commence one, himself,
on the same topic and plan; and in Lord Byron the imitative principle
was almost equally active,--there being few of his poems that might not,
in the same manner, be traced to the strong impulse given to his
imagination by the perusal of some work that had just before interested
him. In the history, too, of their lives and feelings, there was a
strange and painful coincidence,--the revolution that took place in all
Wieland's opinions, from the Platonism and romance of his youthful days,
to the material and Epicurean doctrines that pervaded all his maturer
works, being chiefly, it is supposed, brought about by the shock his
heart had received from a disappointment of its affections in early
life. Speaking of the illusion of this first passion, in one of his
letters, he says,--"It is one for which no joys, no honours, no gifts of
fortune, not even wisdom itself can afford an equivalent, and which,
when it has once vanished, returns no more."]

[Footnote 55:

    "'Tis but a portrait of his son and wife,
    And self; but such a woman! love in life!"
    BEPPO, Stanza xii.

This seems, by the way, to be an incorrect description of the picture,
as, according to Vasari and others, Giorgione never was married, and
died young.]

[Footnote 56: "Egli viene per vedere le meraviglie di questa Città, e
sono certa che nessuno meglio di lui saprebbe gustarle. Mi sarà grato
che vi facciate sua guida come potrete, e voi poi me ne avrete obbligo.
Egli è amico de Lord Byron--sà la sua storia assai più precisamente di
quelli che a voi la raccontarono. Egli dunque vi racconterà se lo
interrogherete _la forma, le dimensioni_, e tuttociò che vi piacerà del
_Castello ove tiene imprigionata una giovane innocente sposa_, &c. &c.
Mio caro Pietro, quando ti sei bene sfogato a ridere, allora rispondi
due righe alla tua sorella, che t' ama e t' amerà sempre colla maggiore
tenerezza."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 341. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "October 22. 1819.

     "I am glad to hear of your return, but I do not know how to
     congratulate you--unless you think differently of Venice from what
     I think now, and you thought always. I am, besides, about to renew
     your troubles by requesting you to be judge between Mr. E * * * and
     myself in a small matter of imputed peculation and irregular
     accounts on the part of that phoenix of secretaries. As I knew that
     you had not parted friends, at the same time that _I_ refused for
     my own part any judgment but _yours_, I offered him his choice of
     any person, the _least_ scoundrel native to be found in Venice, as
     his own umpire; but he expressed himself so convinced of your
     impartiality, that he declined any but _you_. This is in his
     favour.--The paper within will explain to you the default in his
     accounts. You will hear his explanation, and decide if it so please
     you. I shall not appeal from the decision.

     "As he complained that his salary was insufficient, I determined to
     have his accounts examined, and the enclosed was the result.--It is
     all in black and white with documents, and I have despatched
     Fletcher to explain (or rather to perplex) the matter.

     "I have had much civility and kindness from Mr. Dorville during
     your journey, and I thank him accordingly.

     "Your letter reached me at your departure[57], and displeased me
     very much:--not that it might not be true in its statement and kind
     in its intention, but you have lived long enough to know how
     useless all such representations ever are and must be in cases
     where the passions are concerned. To reason with men in such a
     situation is like reasoning with a drunkard in his cups--the only
     answer you will get from him is, that he is sober, and you are
     drunk.

     "Upon that subject we will (if you like) be silent. You might only
     say what would distress me without answering any purpose whatever;
     and I have too many obligations to you to answer you in the same
     style. So that you should recollect that you have also that
     advantage over me. I hope to see you soon.

     "I suppose you know that they said at Venice, that I was arrested
     at Bologna as a _Carbonaro_--story about as true as their usual
     conversation. Moore has been here--I lodged him in my house at
     Venice, and went to see him daily; but I could not at that time
     quit La Mira entirely. You and I were not very far from meeting in
     Switzerland. With my best respects to Mrs. Hoppner, believe me ever
     and truly, &c.

     "P.S. Allegra is here in good health and spirits--I shall keep her
     with me till I go to England, which will perhaps be in the spring.
     It has just occurred to me that you may not perhaps like to
     undertake the office of judge between Mr. E. and your humble
     servant.--Of course, as Mr. Liston (the comedian, not the
     ambassador) says, '_it is all hoptional_;' but I have no other
     resource. I do not wish to find him a rascal, if it can be avoided,
     and would rather think him guilty of carelessness than cheating.
     The case is this--can I, or not, give him a character for
     _honesty_?--It is not my intention to continue him in my service."

[Footnote 57: Mr. Hoppner, before his departure from Venice for
Switzerland, had, with all the zeal of a true friend, written a letter
to Lord Byron, entreating him "to leave Ravenna while yet he had a whole
skin, and urging him not to risk the safety of a person he appeared so
sincerely attached to--as well as his own--for the gratification of a
momentary passion, which could only be a source of regret to both
parties." In the same letter Mr. Hoppner informed him of some reports he
had heard lately at Venice, which, though possibly, he said, unfounded,
had much increased his anxiety respecting the consequences of the
connection formed by him.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 342. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "October 25. 1819.

     "You need not have made any excuses about the letter: I never said
     but that you might, could, should, or would have reason. I merely
     described my own state of inaptitude to listen to it at that time,
     and in those circumstances. Besides, you did not speak from your
     _own_ authority--but from what you said you had heard. Now my blood
     boils to hear an Italian speaking ill of another Italian, because,
     though they lie in particular, they speak truth in general by
     speaking ill at all;--and although they know that they are trying
     and wishing to lie, they do not succeed, merely because they can
     say nothing so bad of each other, that it _may_ not, and must not
     be true, from the atrocity of their long debased national
     character.[58]

     "With regard to E., you will perceive a most irregular, extravagant
     account, without proper documents to support it. He demanded an
     increase of salary, which made me suspect him; he supported an
     outrageous extravagance of expenditure, and did not like the
     dismission of the cook; he never complained of him--as in duty
     bound--at the time of his robberies. I can only say, that the house
     expense is now under _one half_ of what it then was, as he himself
     admits. He charged for a comb _eighteen_ francs,--the real price
     was _eight_. He charged a passage from Fusina for a person named
     Iambelli, who paid it _herself_, as she will prove if necessary. He
     fancies, or asserts himself, the victim of a domestic complot
     against him;--accounts are accounts--prices are prices;--let him
     make out a fair detail. _I_ am not prejudiced against him--on the
     contrary, I supported him against the complaints of his wife, and
     of his former master, at a time when I could have crushed him like
     an earwig; and if he is a scoundrel, he is the greatest of
     scoundrels, an ungrateful one. The truth is, probably, that he
     thought I was leaving Venice, and determined to make the most of
     it. At present he keeps bringing in _account after account_, though
     he had always money in hand--as I believe you know my system was
     never to allow longer than a week's bills to run. Pray read him
     this letter--I desire nothing to be concealed against which he may
     defend himself.

     "Pray how is your little boy? and how are you?--I shall be up in
     Venice very soon, and we will be bilious together. I hate the place
     and all that it inherits.

     "Yours," &c.

[Footnote 58: "This language" (says Mr. Hoppner, in some remarks upon
the above letter) "is strong, but it was the language of prejudice; and
he was rather apt thus to express the feelings of the moment, without
troubling himself to consider how soon he might be induced to change
them. He was at this time so sensitive on the subject of Madame * *,
that, merely because some persons had disapproved of her conduct, he
declaimed in the above manner against the whole nation. I never"
(continues Mr. Hoppner) "was partial to Venice; but disliked it almost
from the first month of my residence there. Yet I experienced more
kindness in that place than I ever met with in any country, and
witnessed acts of generosity and disinterestedness such as rarely are
met with elsewhere."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 343. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "October 28. 1819.

     "I have to thank you for your letter, and your compliment to Don
     Juan. I said nothing to you about it, understanding that it is a
     sore subject with the moral reader, and has been the cause of a
     great row; but I am glad you like it. I will say nothing about the
     shipwreck, except that I hope you think it is as nautical and
     technical as verse could admit in the octave measure.

     "The poem has _not sold well_, so Murray says--'but the best
     judges, &c. say, &c.' so says that worthy man. I have never seen it
     in print. The third Canto is in advance about one hundred stanzas;
     but the failure of the two first has weakened my _estro_, and it
     will neither be so good as the two former, nor completed, unless I
     get a little more _riscaldato_ in its behalf. I understand the
     outcry was beyond every thing.--Pretty cant for people who read Tom
     Jones, and Roderick Random, and the Bath Guide, and Ariosto, and
     Dryden, and Pope--to say nothing of Little's Poems! Of course I
     refer to the _morality_ of these works, and not to any pretension
     of mine to compete with them in any thing but decency. I hope yours
     is the Paris edition, and that you did not pay the London price. I
     have seen neither except in the newspapers.

     "Pray make my respects to Mrs. H., and take care of your little
     boy. All my household have the fever and ague, except Fletcher,
     Allegra, and my_sen_ (as we used to say in Nottinghamshire), and
     the horses, and Mutz, and Moretto. In the beginning of November,
     perhaps sooner, I expect to have the pleasure of seeing you. To-day
     I got drenched by a thunder-storm, and my horse and groom too, and
     his horse all bemired up to the middle in a cross-road. It was
     summer at noon, and at five we were bewintered; but the lightning
     was sent perhaps to let us know that the summer was not yet over.
     It is queer weather for the 27th October.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 344. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, October 29. 1819.

     "Yours of the 15th came yesterday. I am sorry that you do not
     mention a large letter addressed to _your care_ for Lady Byron,
     from me, at Bologna, two months ago. Pray tell me, was this letter
     received and forwarded?

     "You say nothing of the vice-consulate for the Ravenna patrician,
     from which it is to be inferred that the thing will not be done.

     "I had written about a hundred stanzas of a _third_ Canto to Don
     Juan, but the reception of the two first is no encouragement to you
     nor me to proceed.

     "I had also written about 600 lines of a poem, the Vision (or
     Prophecy) of Dante, the subject a view of Italy in the ages down to
     the present--supposing Dante to speak in his own person, previous
     to his death, and embracing all topics in the way of prophecy, like
     Lycophron's Cassandra; but this and the other are both at a
     stand-still for the present.

     "I gave Moore, who is gone to Rome, my Life in MS., in
     seventy-eight folio sheets, brought down to 1816. But this I put
     into his hands for _his_ care, as he has some other MSS. of mine--a
     Journal kept in 1814, &c. Neither are for publication during my
     life; but when I am cold you may do what you please. In the mean
     time, if you like to read them you may, and show them to anybody
     you like--I care not.

     "The Life is _Memoranda_, and not _Confessions_ I have left out all
     my _loves_ (except in a general way), and many other of the most
     important things (because I must not compromise other people), so
     that it is like the play of Hamlet--'the part of Hamlet omitted by
     particular desire.' But you will find many opinions, and some fun,
     with a detailed account of my marriage, and its consequences, as
     true as a party concerned can make such account, for I suppose we
     are all prejudiced.

     "I have never read over this Life since it was written, so that I
     know not exactly what it may repeat or contain. Moore and I passed
     some merry days together.

     "I probably must return for business, or in my way to America.
     Pray, did you get a letter for Hobhouse, who will have told you the
     contents? I understand that the Venezuelan commissioners had orders
     to treat with emigrants; now I want to go there. I should not make
     a bad South-American planter, and I should take my natural
     daughter, Allegra, with me, and settle. I wrote, at length, to
     Hobhouse, to get information from Perry, who, I suppose, is the
     best topographer and trumpeter of the new republicans. Pray write.

     "Yours ever.

     "P.S. Moore and I did nothing but laugh. He will tell you of 'my
     whereabouts,' and all my proceedings at this present; they are as
     usual. You should not let those fellows publish false 'Don Juans;'
     but do not put _my name_, because I mean to cut R----ts up like a
     gourd, in the preface, if I continue the poem."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 345. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "October 29. 1819.

     "The Ferrara story is of a piece with all the rest of the Venetian
     manufacture,--you may judge. I only changed horses there since I
     wrote to you, after my visit in June last. '_Convent_' and '_carry
     off_', quotha! and '_girl_.' I should like to know _who_ has been
     carried off, except poor dear _me_. I have been more ravished
     myself than anybody since the Trojan war; but as to the arrest and
     its causes, one is as true as the other, and I can account for the
     invention of neither. I suppose it is some confusion of the tale of
     the F * * and of Me. Guiccioli, and half a dozen more; but it is
     useless to unravel the web, when one has only to brush it away. I
     shall settle with Master E. who looks very blue at your
     _in-decision_, and swears that he is the best arithmetician in
     Europe; and so I think also, for he makes out two and two to be
     five.

     "You may see me next week. I have a horse or two more (five in
     all), and I shall repossess myself of Lido, and I will rise
     earlier, and we will go and shake our livers over the beach, as
     heretofore, if you like--and we will make the Adriatic roar again
     with our hatred of that now empty oyster-shell, without its pearl,
     the city of Venice.

     "Murray sent me a letter yesterday: the impostors have published
     _two_ new _third_ Cantos of _Don Juan_;--the devil take the
     impudence of some blackguard bookseller or other _therefor_!
     Perhaps I did not make myself understood; he told me the sale had
     been great, 1200 out of 1500 quarto, I believe (which is nothing
     after selling 13,000 of the Corsair in one day); but that the 'best
     judges,' &c. had said it was very fine, and clever, and
     particularly good English, and poetry, and all those consolatory
     things, which are not, however, worth a single copy to a
     bookseller: and as to the author, of course I am in a d----ned
     passion at the bad taste of the times, and swear there is nothing
     like posterity, who, of course, must know more of the matter than
     their grandfathers. There has been an eleventh commandment to the
     women not to read it, and, what is still more extraordinary, they
     seem not to have broken it. But that can be of little import to
     them, poor things, for the reading or non-reading a book will never
     * * * *.

     "Count G. comes to Venice next week, and I am requested to consign
     his wife to him, which shall be done. What you say of the long
     evenings at the Mira, or Venice, reminds me of what Curran said to
     Moore:--'So I hear you have married a pretty woman, and a very good
     creature, too--an excellent creature. Pray--um! _how do you pass
     your evenings?_' It is a devil of a question that, and perhaps as
     easy to answer with a wife as with a mistress.

     "If you go to Milan, pray leave at least a _Vice-Consul_--the only
     vice that will ever be wanting in Venice. D'Orville is a good
     fellow. But you shall go to England in the spring with me, and
     plant Mrs. Hoppner at Berne with her relations for a few months. I
     wish you had been here (at Venice, I mean, not the Mira) when Moore
     was here--we were very merry and tipsy. He _hated_ Venice, by the
     way, and swore it was a sad place.[59]

     "So Madame Albrizzi's death is in danger--poor woman! Moore told me
     that at Geneva they had made a devil of a story of the
     Fornaretta:--'Young lady seduced!--subsequent abandonment!--leap
     into the Grand Canal!'--and her being in the 'hospital of _fous_ in
     consequence!' I should like to know who was nearest being made
     '_fou_,' and be d----d to them I Don't you think me in the
     interesting character of a very ill used gentleman? I hope your
     little boy is well. Allegrina is flourishing like a pomegranate
     blossom. Yours," &c.

[Footnote 59: I beg to say that this report of my opinion of Venice is
coloured somewhat too deeply by the feelings of the reporter.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 346. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, November 8. 1819.

     "Mr. Hoppner has lent me a copy of 'Don Juan,' Paris edition, which
     he tells me is read in Switzerland by clergymen and ladies with
     considerable approbation. In the second Canto, you must alter the
     49th stanza to

        "'Twas twilight, and the sunless day went down
          Over the waste of waters, like a veil
        Which if withdrawn would but disclose the frown
          Of one whose hate is mask'd but to assail;
        Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown,
          And grimly darkled o'er their faces pale
        And the dim desolate deep; twelve days had Fear
        Been their familiar, and now Death was here.

     "I have been ill these eight days with a tertian fever, caught in
     the country on horseback in a thunderstorm. Yesterday I had the
     fourth attack: the two last were very smart, the first day as well
     as the last being preceded by vomiting. It is the fever of the
     place and the season. I feel weakened, but not unwell, in the
     intervals, except headach and lassitude.

     "Count Guiccioli has arrived in Venice, and has presented his
     spouse (who had preceded him two months for her health and the
     prescriptions of Dr. Aglietti) with a paper of conditions,
     regulations of hours and conduct, and morals, &c. &c. &c. which he
     insists on her accepting, and she persists in refusing. I am
     expressly, it should seem, excluded by this treaty, as an
     indispensable preliminary; so that they are in high dissension, and
     what the result may be I know not, particularly as they are
     consulting friends.

     "To-night, as Countess Guiccioli observed me poring over 'Don
     Juan,' she stumbled by mere chance on the 137th stanza of the first
     Canto, and asked me what it meant. I told her, 'Nothing--but "your
     husband is coming."' As I said this in Italian, with some emphasis,
     she started up in a fright, and said, '_Oh, my God, is_ he
     _coming_?' thinking it was _her own_, who either was or ought to
     have been at the theatre. You may suppose we laughed when she found
     out the mistake. You will be amused, as I was;--it happened not
     three hours ago.

     "I wrote to you last week, but have added nothing to the third
     Canto since my fever, nor to 'The Prophecy of Dante.' Of the former
     there are about 100 octaves done; of the latter about 500
     lines--perhaps more. Moore saw the third Juan, as far as it then
     went. I do not know if my fever will let me go on with either, and
     the tertian lasts, they say, a good while. I had it in Malta on my
     way home, and the malaria fever in Greece the year before that. The
     Venetian is not very fierce, but I was delirious one of the nights
     with it, for an hour or two, and, on my senses coming back, found
     Fletcher sobbing on one side of the bed, and La Contessa
     Guiccioli[60] weeping on the other; so that I had no want of
     attendance. I have not yet taken any physician, because, though I
     think they may relieve in chronic disorders, such as gout and the
     like, &c. &c. &c. (though they can't cure them)--just as surgeons
     are necessary to set bones and tend wounds--yet I think fevers
     quite out of their reach, and remediable only by diet and nature.

     "I don't like the taste of bark, but I suppose that I must take it
     soon.

     "Tell Rose that somebody at Milan (an Austrian, Mr. Hoppner says)
     is answering his book. William Bankes is in quarantine at Trieste.
     I have not lately heard from you. Excuse this paper: it is long
     paper shortened for the occasion. What folly is this of Carlile's
     trial? why let him have the honours of a martyr? it will only
     advertise the books in question. Yours, &c.

     "P.S. As I tell you that the Guiccioli business is on the eve of
     exploding in one way or the other, I will just add that, without
     attempting to influence the decision of the Contessa, a good deal
     depends upon it. If she and her husband make it up, you will,
     perhaps, see me in England sooner than you expect. If not, I shall
     retire with her to France or America, change my name, and lead a
     quiet provincial life. All this may seem odd, but I have got the
     poor girl into a scrape; and as neither her birth, nor her rank,
     nor her connections by birth or marriage are inferior to my own, I
     am in honour bound to support her through. Besides, she is a very
     pretty woman--ask Moore--and not yet one and twenty.

     "If she gets over this and I get over my tertian, I will, perhaps,
     look in at Albemarle Street, some of these days, _en passant_ to
     Bolivar."

[Footnote 60: The following curious particulars of his delirium are
given by Madame Guiccioli:--"At the beginning of winter Count Guiccioli
came from Ravenna to fetch me. When he arrived, Lord Byron was ill of a
fever, occasioned by his having got wet through;--a violent storm having
surprised him while taking his usual exercise on horseback. He had been
delirious the whole night, and I had watched continually by his bedside.
During his delirium he composed a good many verses, and ordered his
servant to write them down from his dictation. The rhythm of these
verses was quite correct, and the poetry itself had no appearance of
being the work of a delirious mind. He preserved them for some time
after he got well, and then burned them."--"Sul cominciare dell' inverno
il Conte Guiccioli venne a prendermi per ricondurmi a Ravenna. Quando
egli giunse Ld. Byron era ammalato di febbri prese per essersi bagnato
avendolo sorpreso un forte temporale mentre faceva l' usato suo
esercizio a cavallo. Egli aveva delirato tutta la notte, ed io aveva
sempre vegliato presso al suo letto. Nel suo delirio egli compose molti
versi che ordinò al suo domestico di scrivere sotto la sua dittatura. La
misura dei versi era esatissima, e la poesia pure non pareva opera di
una mente in delirio. Egli la conservò lungo tempo dopo restabilito--poi
l' abbrucciò."

I have been informed, too, that, during his ravings at this time, he was
constantly haunted by the idea of his mother-in-law,--taking every one
that came near him for her, and reproaching those about him for letting
her enter his room.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 347. TO MR. BANKES.

     "Venice, November 20. 1819.

     "A tertian ague which has troubled me for some time, and the
     indisposition of my daughter, have prevented me from replying
     before to your welcome letter. I have not been ignorant of your
     progress nor of your discoveries, and I trust that you are no worse
     in health from your labours. You may rely upon finding every body
     in England eager to reap the fruits of them; and as you have done
     more than other men, I hope you will not limit yourself to saying
     less than may do justice to the talents and time you have bestowed
     on your perilous researches. The first sentence of my letter will
     have explained to you why I cannot join you at Trieste. I was on
     the point of setting out for England (before I knew of your
     arrival) when my child's illness has made her and me dependent on a
     Venetian Proto-Medico.

     "It is now seven years since you and I met;--which time you have
     employed better for others and more honourably for yourself than I
     have done.

     "In England you will find considerable changes, public and
     private,--you will see some of our old college contemporaries
     turned into lords of the Treasury, Admiralty, and the like,--others
     become reformers and orators,--many settled in life, as it is
     called,--and others settled in death; among the latter, (by the
     way, not our fellow collegians,) Sheridan, Curran, Lady Melbourne,
     Monk Lewis, Frederick Douglas, &c. &c. &c.; but you will still find
     Mr. * * living and all his family, as also * * * * *.

     "Should you come up this way, and I am still here, you need not be
     assured how glad I shall be to see you; I long to hear some part
     from you, of that which I expect in no long time to see. At length
     you have had better fortune than any traveller of equal enterprise
     (except Humboldt), in returning safe; and after the fate of the
     Brownes, and the Parkes, and the Burckhardts, it is hardly less
     surprise than satisfaction to get you back again.

     "Believe me ever

     "And very affectionately yours,

     "BYRON."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 348. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, December 4. 1819.

     "You may do as you please, but you are about a hopeless experiment.
     Eldon will decide against you, were it only that my name is in the
     record. You will also recollect that if the publication is
     pronounced against, on the grounds you mention, as _indecent and
     blasphemous_, that _I_ lose all right in my daughter's
     _guardianship_ and _education_, in short, all paternal authority,
     and every thing concerning her, except * * * * * * * * It was so
     decided in Shelley's case, because he had written Queen Mab, &c.
     &c. However, you can ask the lawyers, and do as you like: I do not
     inhibit you trying the question; I merely state one of the
     consequences to me. With regard to the copyright, it is hard that
     you should pay for a nonentity: I will therefore refund it, which I
     can very well do, not having spent it, nor begun upon it; and so we
     will be quits on that score. It lies at my banker's.

     "Of the Chancellor's law I am no judge; but take up Tom Jones, and
     read his Mrs. Waters and Molly Seagrim; or Prior's Hans Carvel and
     Paulo Purganti: Smollett's Roderick Random, the chapter of Lord
     Strutwell, and many others; Peregrine Pickle, the scene of the
     Beggar Girl; Johnson's _London_, for coarse expressions; for
     instance, the words '* *,' and '* *;' Anstey's Bath Guide, the
     'Hearken, Lady Betty, hearken;'--take up, in short, Pope, Prior,
     Congreve, Dryden, Fielding, Smollett, and let the counsel select
     passages, and what becomes of _their_ copyright, if his Wat Tyler
     decision is to pass into a precedent? I have nothing more to say:
     you must judge for yourselves.

     "I wrote to you some time ago. I have had a tertian ague; my
     daughter Allegra has been ill also, and I have been almost obliged
     to run away with a married woman; but with some difficulty, and
     many internal struggles, I reconciled the lady with her lord, and
     cured the fever of the child with bark, and my own with cold water.
     I think of setting out for England by the Tyrol in a few days, so
     that I could wish you to direct your next letter to Calais. Excuse
     my writing in great haste and late in the morning, or night,
     whichever you please to call it. The third Canto of 'Don Juan' is
     completed, in about two hundred stanzas; very decent, I believe,
     but do not know, and it is useless to discuss until it be
     ascertained if it may or may not be a property.

     "My present determination to quit Italy was unlooked for; but I
     have explained the reasons in letters to my sister and Douglas
     Kinnaird, a week or two ago. My progress will depend upon the snows
     of the Tyrol, and the health of my child, who is at present quite
     recovered; but I hope to get on well, and am

     "Yours ever and truly.

     "P.S. Many thanks for your letters, to which you are not to
     consider this as an answer, but as an acknowledgment."

       *       *       *       *       *

The struggle which, at the time of my visit to him, I had found Lord
Byron so well disposed to make towards averting, as far as now lay in
his power, some of the mischievous consequences which, both to the
object of his attachment and himself, were likely to result from their
connection, had been brought, as the foregoing letters show, to a crisis
soon after I left him. The Count Guiccioli, on his arrival at Venice,
insisted, as we have seen, that his lady should return with him; and,
after some conjugal negotiations, in which Lord Byron does not appear to
have interfered, the young Contessa consented reluctantly to accompany
her lord to Ravenna, it being first covenanted that, in future, all
communication between her and her lover should cease.

"In a few days after this," says Mr. Hoppner, in some notices of his
noble friend with which he has favoured me, "he returned to Venice, very
much out of spirits, owing to Madame Guiccioli's departure, and out of
humour with every body and every thing around him. We resumed our rides
at the Lido; and I did my best not only to raise his spirits, but to
make him forget his absent mistress, and to keep him to his purpose of
returning to England. He went into no society; and having no longer any
relish for his former occupation, his time, when he was not writing,
hung heavy enough on hand."

The promise given by the lovers not to correspond was, as all parties
must have foreseen, soon violated; and the letters Lord Byron addressed
to the lady, at this time, though written in a language not his own, are
rendered frequently even eloquent by the mere force of the feeling that
governed him--a feeling which could not have owed its fuel to fancy
alone, since now that reality had been so long substituted, it still
burned on. From one of these letters, dated November 25th, I shall so
far presume upon the discretionary power vested in me, as to lay a short
extract or two before the reader--not merely as matters of curiosity,
but on account of the strong evidence they afford of the struggle
between passion and a sense of right that now agitated him.

"You are," he says, "and ever will be, my first thought. But, at this
moment, I am in a state most dreadful, not knowing which way to
decide;--on the one hand, fearing that I should compromise you for ever,
by my return to Ravenna and the consequences of such a step, and, on the
other, dreading that I shall lose both you and myself, and all that I
have ever known or tasted of happiness, by never seeing you more. I pray
of you, I implore you to be comforted, and to believe that I cannot
cease to love you but with my life." [61] In another part he says, "I go
to save you, and leave a country insupportable to me without you. Your
letters to F * * and myself do wrong to my motives--but you will yet see
your injustice. It is not enough that I must leave you--from motives of
which ere long you will be convinced--it is not enough that I must fly
from Italy, with a heart deeply wounded, after having passed all my days
in solitude since your departure, sick both in body and mind--but I must
also have to endure your reproaches without answering and without
deserving them. Farewell! in that one word is comprised the death of my
happiness." [62]

He had now arranged every thing for his departure for England, and had
even fixed the day, when accounts reached him from Ravenna that the
Contessa was alarmingly ill;--her sorrow at their separation having so
much preyed upon her mind, that even her own family, fearful of the
consequences, had withdrawn all opposition to her wishes, and now, with
the sanction of Count Guiccioli himself, entreated her lover to hasten
to Ravenna. What was he, in this dilemma, to do? Already had he
announced his coming to different friends in England, and every dictate,
he felt, of prudence and manly fortitude urged his departure. While thus
balancing between duty and inclination, the day appointed for his
setting out arrived; and the following picture, from the life, of his
irresolution on the occasion, is from a letter written by a female
friend of Madame Guiccioli, who was present at the scene:--"He was ready
dressed for the journey, his gloves and cap on, and even his little cane
in his hand. Nothing was now waited for but his coming down
stairs,--his boxes being already all on board the gondola. At this
moment, my Lord, by way of pretext, declares, that if it should strike
one o'clock before every thing was in order (his arms being the only
thing not yet quite ready), he would not go that day. The hour strikes,
and he remains!"[63]

The writer adds, "it is evident he has not the heart to go;" and the
result proved that she had not judged him wrongly. The very next day's
tidings from Ravenna decided his fate, and he himself, in a letter to
the Contessa, thus announces the triumph which she had achieved. "F * *
* will already have told you, _with her accustomed sublimity_, that Love
has gained the victory. I could not summon up resolution enough to leave
the country where you are, without, at least, once more seeing you. On
_yourself_, perhaps, it will depend, whether I ever again shall leave
you. Of the rest we shall speak when we meet. You ought, by this time,
to know which is most conducive to your welfare, my presence or my
absence. For myself, I am a citizen of the world--all countries are
alike to me. You have ever been, since our first acquaintance, _the sole
object of my thoughts_. My opinion was, that the best course I could
adopt, both for your peace and that of all your family, would have been
to depart and go far, _far_ away from you;--since to have been near and
not approach you would have been, for me, impossible. You have however
decided that I am to return to Ravenna. I shall accordingly return--and
shall _do_--and _be_ all that you wish. I cannot say more.[64]

On quitting Venice he took leave of Mr. Hoppner in a short but cordial
letter, which I cannot better introduce than by prefixing to it the few
words of comment with which this excellent friend of the noble poet has
himself accompanied it:--"I need not say with what painful feeling I
witnessed the departure of a person who, from the first day of our
acquaintance, had treated me with unvaried kindness, reposing a
confidence in me which it was beyond the power of my utmost efforts to
deserve; admitting me to an intimacy which I had no right to claim, and
listening with patience, and the greatest good temper, to the
remonstrances I ventured to make upon his conduct."

[Footnote 61: "Tu sei, e sarai sempre mio primo pensier. Ma in questo
momento sono in un' stato orribile non sapendo cosa decidere;--temendo,
da una parte, comprometterti in eterno col mio ritorno a Ravenna, e
colle sue consequenze; e, dal' altra perderti, e me stesso, e tutto quel
che ho conosciuto o gustato di felicità, nel non vederti più. Ti prego,
ti supplico calmarti, e credere che non posso cessare ad amarti che
colla vita."]

[Footnote 62: "Io parto, per _salvarti_, e lascio un paese divenuto
insopportabile senza di te. Le tue lettere alla F * *, ed anche a me
stesso fanno torto ai miei motivi; ma col tempo vedrai la tua
ingiustizia. Tu parli del dolor--io lo sento, ma mi mancano le parole.
Non basta lasciarti per dei motivi dei quali tu eri persuasa (non molto
tempo fa)--non basta partire dall' Italia col cuore lacerato, dopo aver
passato tutti i giorni dopo la tua partenza nella solitudine, ammalato
di corpo e di anima--ma ho anche a sopportare i tuoi rimproveri, senza
replicarti, e senza meritarli. Addio--in quella parola è compresa la
morte _di_ mia felicità."

The close of this last sentence exhibits one of the very few instances
of incorrectness that Lord Byron falls into in these letters;--the
proper construction being "_della_ mia felicità."]

[Footnote 63: "Egli era tutto vestito di viaggio coi guanti fra le mani,
col suo bonnet, e persino colla piccola sua canna; non altro aspettavasi
che egli scendesse le scale, tutti i bauli erano in barca. Milord fa la
pretesta che se suona un ora dopo il mezzodi e che non sia ogni cosa
all' ordine (poichè le armi sole non erano in pronto) egli non
partirebbe più per quel giorno. L'ora suona ed egli resta."]

[Footnote 64: "La F * * ti avra detta, _colla sua solita sublimità_, che
l'Amor ha vinto. Io non ho potuto trovare forza di anima per lasciare il
paese dove tu sei, senza vederti almeno un' altra volta:--forse
dipenderà da _te_ se mai ti lascio più. Per il resto parleremo. Tu
dovresti adesso sapere cosa sarà più convenevole al tuo ben essere la
mia presenza o la mia lontananza. Io sono cittadino del mondo--tutti i
paesi sono eguali per me. Tu sei stata sempre (dopo che ci siamo
conosciuti) _l'unico oggetto di miei_ pensieri. Credeva che il miglior
partito per la pace tua e la pace di tua famiglia fosse il mio partire,
e andare ben _lontano_; poichè stare vicino e non avvicinarti sarebbe
per me impossible. Ma tu hai deciso che io debbo ritornare a
Ravenna--tornaro--e farò--e sarò ciò die tu vuoi. Non posso dirti di
più."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 349. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "My dear Hoppner,

     "Partings are but bitter work at best, so that I shall not venture
     on a second with you. Pray make my respects to Mrs. Hoppner, and
     assure her of my unalterable reverence for the singular goodness of
     her disposition, which is not without its reward even in this
     world--for those who are no great believers in human virtues would
     discover enough in her to give them a better opinion of their
     fellow-creatures and--what is still more difficult--of themselves,
     as being of the same species, however inferior in approaching its
     nobler models. Make, too, what excuses you can for my omission of
     the ceremony of leave-taking. If we all meet again, I will make my
     humblest apology; if not, recollect that I wished you all well;
     and, if you can, forget that I have given you a great deal of
     trouble.

     "Yours," &c. &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 350. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Venice, December 10. 1819.

     "Since I last wrote, I have changed my mind, and shall not come to
     England. The more I contemplate, the more I dislike the place and
     the prospect. You may, therefore, address to me as usual _here_,
     though I mean to go to another city. I have finished the third
     Canto of Don Juan, but the things I have read and heard discourage
     all further publication--at least for the present. You may try the
     copy question, but you'll lose it: the cry is up, and cant is up. I
     should have no objection to return the price of the copyright, and
     have written to Mr. Kinnaird by this post on the subject. Talk with
     him.

     "I have not the patience, nor do I feel interest enough in the
     question, to contend with the fellows in their own slang; but I
     perceive Mr. Blackwood's Magazine and one or two others of your
     missives have been hyperbolical in their praise, and diabolical in
     their abuse. I like and admire W * *n, and _he_ should not have
     indulged himself in such outrageous licence.[65] It is overdone and
     defeats itself. What would he say to the grossness without passion
     and the misanthropy without feeling of Gulliver's Travels?--When he
     talks of Lady's Byron's business, he talks of what he knows nothing
     about; and you may tell him that no one can more desire a public
     investigation of that affair than I do.

     "I sent home by Moore (_for_ Moore only, who has my Journal also)
     my Memoir written up to 1816, and I gave him leave to show it to
     whom he pleased, but _not to publish_, on any account. You may
     read it, and you may let W * *n read it, if he likes--not for his
     _public_ opinion, but his private; for I like the man, and care
     very little about his Magazine. And I could wish Lady B. herself to
     read it, that she may have it in her power to mark any thing
     mistaken or mis-stated; as it may probably appear after my
     extinction, and it would be but fair she should see it,--that is to
     say, herself willing.

     "Perhaps I may take a journey to you in the spring; but I _have_
     been ill and _am_ indolent and indecisive, because few things
     interest me. These fellows first abused me for being gloomy, and
     now they are wroth that I am, or attempted to be, facetious. I have
     got such a cold and headach that I can hardly see what I
     scrawl:--the winters here are as sharp as needles. Some time ago, I
     wrote to you rather fully about my Italian affairs; at present I
     can say no more except that you shall hear further by and by.

     "Your Blackwood accuses me of treating women harshly: it may be so,
     but I have been their martyr; my whole life has been sacrificed
     _to_ them and _by_ them. I mean to leave Venice in a few days, but
     you will address your letters _here_ as usual. When I fix
     elsewhere, you shall know."

[Footnote 65: This is one of the many mistakes into which his distance
from the scene of literary operations led him. The gentleman, to whom
the hostile article in the Magazine is here attributed, has never,
either then or since, written upon the subject of the noble poet's
character or genius, without giving vent to a feeling of admiration as
enthusiastic as it is always eloquently and powerfully expressed.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Soon after this letter to Mr. Murray he set out for Ravenna, from which
place we shall find his correspondence for the next year and a half
dated. For a short time after his arrival, he took up his residence at
an inn; but the Count Guiccioli having allowed him to hire a suite of
apartments in the Palazzo Guiccioli itself, he was once more lodged
under the same roof with the Countess Guiccioli.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 351. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Ravenna, Dec. 31. 1819.

     "I have been here this week, and was obliged to put on my armour
     and go the night after my arrival to the Marquis Cavalli's, where
     there were between two and three hundred of the best company I have
     seen in Italy,--more beauty, more youth, and more diamonds among
     the women than have been seen these fifty years in the
     Sea-Sodom.[66] I never saw such a difference between two places of
     the same latitude, (or platitude, it is all one,)--music, dancing,
     and play, all in the same _salle_. The G.'s object appeared to be
     to parade her foreign friend as much as possible, and, faith, if
     she seemed to glory in so doing, it was not for me to be ashamed of
     it. Nobody seemed surprised;--all the women, on the contrary, were,
     as it were, delighted with the excellent example. The vice-legate,
     and all the other vices, were as polite as could be;--and I, who
     had acted on the reserve, was fairly obliged to take the lady under
     my arm, and look as much like a cicisbeo as I could on so short a
     notice,--to say nothing of the embarrassment of a cocked hat and
     sword, much more formidable to me than ever it will be to the
     enemy.

     "I write in great haste--do you answer as hastily. I can understand
     nothing of all this; but it seems as if the G. had been presumed to
     be _planted_, and was determined to show that she was
     not,--_plantation_, in this hemisphere, being the greatest moral
     misfortune. But this is mere conjecture, for I know nothing about
     it--except that every body are very kind to her, and not
     discourteous to me. Fathers, and all relations, quite agreeable.

     "Yours ever,

     "B.

     "P.S. Best respects to Mrs. H.

     "I would send the _compliments_ of the season; but the season
     itself is so complimentary with snow and rain that I wait for
     sunshine."

[Footnote 66:

    "Gehenna of the waters! thou Sea-Sodom!"
    MARINO FALIERO.
]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 352. TO MR. MOORE.

     "January 2. 1320.

     "My dear Moore,

        "'To-day it is my wedding day;
          And all the folks would stare,
        If wife should dine at Edmonton,
          And I should dine at Ware.'

     Or _thus_:

        "Here's a happy new year! but with reason,
          I beg you'll permit me to say--
        Wish me many returns of the _season_,
          But as _few_ as you please of the _day_.

     "My this present writing is to direct you that, if _she chooses_,
     she may see the MS. Memoir in your possession. I wish her to have
     fair play, in all cases, even though it will not be published till
     after my decease. For this purpose, it were but just that Lady B.
     should know what is there said of her and hers, that she may have
     full power to remark on or respond to any part or parts, as may
     seem fitting to herself. This is fair dealing, I presume, in all
     events.

     "To change the subject, are you in England? I send you an epitaph
     for Castlereagh. * * * * * Another for Pitt:--

        "With death doom'd to grapple
          Beneath this cold slab, he
        Who lied in the Chapel
          Now lies in the Abbey.

     "The gods seem to have made me poetical this day:--

        "In digging up your bones, Tom Paine,
          Will. Cobbett has done well:
        You visit him on earth again,
          He'll visit you in hell.

     Or,

        "You come to him on earth again,
          He'll go with you to hell.

     "Pray let not these versiculi go forth with my name, except among
     the initiated, because my friend H. has foamed into a reformer,
     and, I greatly fear, will subside into Newgate; since the
     Honourable House, according to Galignani's Reports of Parliamentary
     Debates, are menacing a prosecution to a pamphlet of his. I shall
     be very sorry to hear of any thing but good for him, particularly
     in these miserable squabbles; but these are the natural effects of
     taking a part in them.

     "For my own part I had a sad scene since you went. Count Gu. came
     for his wife, and _none_ of those consequences which Scott
     prophesied ensued. There was no damages, as in England, and so
     Scott lost his wager. But there was a great scene, for she would
     not, at first, go back with him--at least, she _did_ go back with
     him; but he insisted, reasonably enough, that all communication
     should be broken off between her and me. So, finding Italy very
     dull, and having a fever tertian, I packed up my valise, and
     prepared to cross the Alps; but my daughter fell ill, and detained
     me.

     "After her arrival at Ravenna, the Guiccioli fell ill again too;
     and at last, her father (who had, all along, opposed the liaison
     most violently till now) wrote to me to say that she was in such a
     state that _he_ begged me to come and see her,--and that her
     husband had acquiesced, in consequence of her relapse, and that
     _he_ (her father) would guarantee all this, and that there would be
     no farther scenes in consequence between them, and that I should
     not be compromised in any way. I set out soon after, and have been
     here ever since. I found her a good deal altered, but getting
     better:--_all_ this comes of reading Corinna.

     "The Carnival is about to begin, and I saw about two or three
     hundred people at the Marquis Cavalli's the other evening, with as
     much youth, beauty, and diamonds among the women, as ever averaged
     in the like number. My appearance in waiting on the Guiccioli was
     considered as a thing of course. The Marquis is her uncle, and
     naturally considered me as her relation.

     "The paper is out, and so is the letter. Pray write. Address to
     Venice, whence the letters will be forwarded. Yours, &c. B."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 353. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Ravenna, January 20. 1820.

     "I have not decided any thing about remaining at Ravenna. I may
     stay a day, a week, a year, all my life; but all this depends upon
     what I can neither see nor foresee. I came because I was called,
     and will go the moment that I perceive what may render my departure
     proper. My attachment has neither the blindness of the beginning,
     nor the microscopic accuracy of the close to such liaisons; but
     'time and the hour' must decide upon what I do. I can as yet say
     nothing, because I hardly know any thing beyond what I have told
     you.

     "I wrote to you last post for my movables, as there is no getting a
     lodging with a chair or table here ready; and as I have already
     some things of the sort at Bologna which I had last summer there
     for my daughter, I have directed them to be moved; and wish the
     like to be done with those of Venice, that I may at least get out
     of the 'Albergo Imperiale,' which _is imperial_ in all true sense
     of the epithet. Buffini may be paid for his poison. I forgot to
     thank you and Mrs. Hoppner for a whole treasure of toys for Allegra
     before our departure; it was very kind, and we are very grateful.

     "Your account of the weeding of the Governor's party is very
     entertaining. If you do not understand the consular exceptions, I
     do; and it is right that a man of honour, and a woman of probity,
     should find it so, particularly in a place where there are not 'ten
     righteous.' As to nobility--in England none are strictly noble but
     peers, not even peers' sons, though titled by courtesy; nor knights
     of the garter, unless of the peerage, so that Castlereagh himself
     would hardly pass through a foreign herald's ordeal till the death
     of his father.

     "The snow is a foot deep here. There is a theatre, and opera,--the
     Barber of Seville. Balls begin on Monday next. Pay the porter for
     never looking after the gate, and ship my chattels, and let me
     know, or let Castelli let me know, how my law-suits go on--but fee
     him only in proportion to his success. Perhaps we may meet in the
     spring yet, if you are for England. I see H * * has got into a
     scrape, which does not please me; he should not have gone so deep
     among those men without calculating the consequences. I used to
     think myself the most imprudent of all among my friends and
     acquaintances, but almost begin to doubt it.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 354. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Ravenna, January 31. 1820.

     "You would hardly have been troubled with the removal of my
     furniture, but there is none to be had nearer than Bologna, and I
     have been fain to have that of the rooms which I fitted up for my
     daughter there in the summer removed here. The expense will be at
     least as great of the land carriage, so that you see it was
     necessity, and not choice. Here they get every thing from Bologna,
     except some lighter articles from Forli or Faenza.

     "If Scott is returned, pray remember me to him, and plead laziness
     the whole and sole cause of my not replying:--dreadful is the
     exertion of letter-writing. The Carnival here is less boisterous,
     but we have balls and a theatre. I carried Bankes to both, and he
     carried away, I believe, a much more favourable impression of the
     society here than of that of Venice,--recollect that I speak of the
     _native_ society only.

     "I am drilling very hard to learn how to double a shawl, and should
     succeed to admiration if I did not always double it the wrong side
     out; and then I sometimes confuse and bring away two, so as to put
     all the Servanti out, besides keeping their _Servite_ in the cold
     till every body can get back their property. But it is a dreadfully
     moral place, for you must not look at anybody's wife except your
     neighbour's,--if you go to the next door but one, you are scolded,
     and presumed to be perfidious. And then a relazione or an amicizia
     seems to be a regular affair of from five to fifteen years, at
     which period, if there occur a widowhood, it finishes by a
     sposalizio; and in the mean time it has so many rules of its own
     that it is not much better. A man actually becomes a piece of
     female property,--they won't let their Serventi marry until there
     is a vacancy for themselves. I know two instances of this in one
     family here.

     "To-night there was a ----[67] Lottery after the opera; it is an
     odd ceremony. Bankes and I took tickets of it, and buffooned
     together very merrily. He is gone to Firenze. Mrs. J * * should
     have sent you my postscript; there was no occasion to have bored
     you in person. I never interfere in anybody's squabbles,--she may
     scratch your face herself.

     "The weather here has been dreadful--snow several feet--a _fiume_,
     broke down a bridge, and flooded heaven knows how many _campi_;
     then rain came--and it is still thawing--so that my saddle-horses
     have a sinecure till the roads become more practicable. Why did
     Lega give away the goat? a blockhead--I must have him again.

     "Will you pay Missiaglia and the Buffo Buffini of the Gran
     Bretagna? I heard from Moore, who is at Paris; I had previously
     written to him in London, but he has not yet got my letter,
     apparently.

     "Believe me," &c.

[Footnote 67: The word here, being under the seal, is illegible.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 355. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, February 7. 1820.

     "I have had no letter from you these two months; but since I came
     here in December, 1819, I sent you a letter for Moore, who is God
     knows _where_--in Paris or London, I presume. I have copied and
     cut the third Canto of Don Juan _into two_, because it was too
     long; and I tell you this beforehand, because in case of any
     reckoning between you and me, these two are only to go for one, as
     this was the original form, and, in fact, the two together are not
     longer than one of the first: so remember that I have not made this
     division to _double_ upon _you_; but merely to suppress some
     tediousness in the aspect of the thing. I should have served you a
     pretty trick if I had sent you, for example, cantos of 50 stanzas
     each.

     "I am translating the first Canto of Pulci's Morgante Maggiore, and
     have half done it; but these last days of the Carnival confuse and
     interrupt every thing.

     "I have not yet sent off the Cantos, and have some doubt whether
     they ought to be published, for they have not the spirit of the
     first. The outcry has not frightened but it has _hurt_ me, and I
     have not written _con amore_ this time. It is very decent, however,
     and as dull as 'the last new comedy.'

     "I think my translations of Pulci will make you stare. It must be
     put by the original, stanza for stanza, and verse for verse; and
     you will see what was permitted in a Catholic country and a bigoted
     age to a churchman, on the score of religion;--and so tell those
     buffoons who accuse me of attacking the Liturgy.

     "I write in the greatest haste, it being the hour of the Corso, and
     I must go and buffoon with the rest. My daughter Allegra is just
     gone with the Countess G. in Count G.'s coach and six to join the
     cavalcade, and I must follow with all the rest of the Ravenna
     world. Our old Cardinal is dead, and the new one not appointed yet;
     but the masquing goes on the same, the vice-legate being a good
     governor. We have had hideous frost and snow, but all is mild
     again.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 356. TO MR. BANKES.

     "Ravenna, February 19. 1820.

     "I have room for you in the house here, as I had in Venice, if you
     think fit to make use of it; but do not expect to find the same
     gorgeous suite of tapestried halls. Neither dangers nor tropical
     heats have ever prevented your penetrating wherever you had a mind
     to it, and why should the snow now?--Italian snow--fie on it!--so
     pray come. Tita's heart yearns for you, and mayhap for your silver
     broad pieces; and your playfellow, the monkey, is alone and
     inconsolable.

     "I forget whether you admire or tolerate red hair, so that I rather
     dread showing you all that I have about me and around me in this
     city. Come, nevertheless,--you can pay Dante a morning visit, and I
     will undertake that Theodore and Honoria will be most happy to see
     you in the forest hard by. We Goths, also, of Ravenna, hope you
     will not despise our arch-Goth, Theodoric. I must leave it to these
     worthies to entertain you all the fore part of the day, seeing that
     I have none at all myself--the lark that rouses me from my
     slumbers, being an afternoon bird. But, then, all your evenings,
     and as much as you can give me of your nights, will be mine. Ay!
     and you will find me eating flesh, too, like yourself or any other
     cannibal, except it be upon Fridays. Then, there are more Cantos
     (and be d----d to them) of what the courteous reader, Mr. S----,
     calls Grub Street, in my drawer, which I have a little scheme to
     commit to your charge for England; only I must first cut up (or cut
     down) two aforesaid Cantos into three, because I am grown base and
     mercenary, and it is an ill precedent to let my Mecænas, Murray,
     get too much for his money. I am busy, also, with
     Pulci--translating--servilely translating, stanza for stanza, and
     line for line--two octaves every night,--the same allowance as at
     Venice.

     "Would you call at your banker's at Bologna, and ask him for some
     letters lying there for me, and burn them?--or I will--so do not
     burn them, but bring them,--and believe me ever and very
     affectionately Yours,

     "BYRON.

     "P.S. I have a particular wish to hear from yourself something
     about Cyprus, so pray recollect all that you can.--Good night."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 357. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, February 21. 1820.

     "The bull-dogs will be very agreeable. I have only those of this
     country, who, though good, have not the tenacity of tooth and
     stoicism in endurance of my canine fellow-citizens: then pray send
     them by the readiest conveyance--perhaps best by sea. Mr. Kinnaird
     will disburse for them, and deduct from the amount on your
     application or that of Captain Tyler.

     "I see the good old King is gone to his place. One can't help being
     sorry, though blindness, and age, and insanity, are supposed to be
     drawbacks on human felicity; but I am not at all sure that the
     latter, at least, might not render him happier than any of his
     subjects.

     "I have no thoughts of coming to the coronation, though I should
     like to see it, and though I have a right to be a puppet in it; but
     my division with Lady Byron, which has drawn an equinoctial line
     between me and mine in all other things, will operate in this also
     to prevent my being in the same procession.

     "By Saturday's post I sent you four packets, containing Cantos
     third and fourth. Recollect that these two cantos reckon only as
     _one_ with you and me, being, in fact, the third canto cut into
     two, because I found it too long. Remember this, and don't imagine
     that there could be any other motive. The whole is about 225
     stanzas, more or less, and a lyric of 96 lines, so that they are no
     longer than the first _single_ cantos: but the truth is, that I
     made the first too long, and should have cut those down also had I
     thought better. Instead of saying in future for so many cantos, say
     so many stanzas or pages: it was Jacob Tonson's way, and certainly
     the best; it prevents mistakes. I might have sent you a dozen
     cantos of 40 stanzas each,--those of 'The Minstrel' (Beattie's) are
     no longer,--and ruined you at once, if you don't suffer as it is.
     But recollect that you are not _pinned down_ to any thing you say
     in a letter, and that, calculating even these two cantos as _one_
     only (which they were and are to be reckoned), you are not bound by
     your offer. Act as may seem fair to all parties.

     "I have finished my translation of the first Canto of 'The Morgante
     Maggiore' of Pulci, which I will transcribe and send. It is the
     parent, not only of Whistlecraft, but of all jocose Italian poetry.
     You must print it side by side with the original Italian, because I
     wish the reader to judge of the fidelity: it is stanza for stanza,
     and often line for line, if not word for word.

     "You ask me for a volume of manners, &c. on Italy. Perhaps I am in
     the case to know more of them than most Englishmen, because I have
     lived among the natives, and in parts of the country where
     Englishmen never resided before (I speak of Romagna and this place
     particularly); but there are many reasons why I do not choose to
     treat in print on such a subject. I have lived in their houses and
     in the heart of their families, sometimes merely as 'amico di
     casa,' and sometimes as 'amico di cuore' of the Dama, and in
     neither case do I feel myself authorised in making a book of them.
     Their moral is not your moral; their life is not your life; you
     would not understand it; it is not English, nor French, nor German,
     which you would all understand. The conventual education, the
     cavalier servitude, the habits of thought and living are so
     entirely different, and the difference becomes so much more
     striking the more you live intimately with them, that I know not
     how to make you comprehend a people who are at once temperate and
     profligate, serious in their characters and buffoons in their
     amusements, capable of impressions and passions, which are at once
     _sudden_ and _durable_ (what you find in no other nation), and who
     actually have no society (what we would call so), as you may see by
     their comedies; they have no real comedy, not even in Goldoni, and
     that is because they have no society to draw it from.

     "Their conversazioni are not society at all. They go to the theatre
     to talk, and into company to hold their tongues. The _women_ sit in
     a circle, and the men gather into groups, or they play at dreary
     faro, or 'lotto reale,' for small sums. Their academic are concerts
     like our own, with better music and more form. Their best things
     are the carnival balls and masquerades, when every body runs mad
     for six weeks. After their dinners and suppers they make extempore
     verses and buffoon one another; but it is in a humour which you
     would not enter into, ye of the north.

     "In their houses it is better. I should know something of the
     matter, having had a pretty general experience among their women,
     from the fisherman's wife up to the Nobil Dama, whom I serve. Their
     system has its rules, and its fitnesses, and its decorums, so as to
     be reduced to a kind of discipline or game at hearts, which admits
     few deviations, unless you wish to lose it. They are extremely
     tenacious, and jealous as furies, not permitting their lovers even
     to marry if they can help it, and keeping them always close to them
     in public as in private, whenever they can. In short, they transfer
     marriage to adultery, and strike the _not_ out of that commandment.
     The reason is, that they marry for their parents, and love for
     themselves. They exact fidelity from a lover as a debt of honour,
     while they pay the husband as a tradesman, that is, not at all. You
     hear a person's character, male or female, canvassed not as
     depending on their conduct to their husbands or wives, but to their
     mistress or lover. If I wrote a quarto, I don't know that I could
     do more than amplify what I have here noted. It is to be observed
     that while they do all this, the greatest outward respect is to be
     paid to the husbands, not only by the ladies, but by their
     Serventi--particularly if the husband serves no one himself (which
     is not often the case, however); so that you would often suppose
     them relations--the Servente making the figure of one adopted into
     the family. Sometimes the ladies run a little restive and elope, or
     divide, or make a scene: but this is at starting, generally, when
     they know no better, or when they fall in love with a foreigner, or
     some such anomaly,--and is always reckoned unnecessary and
     extravagant.

     "You enquire after Dante's Prophecy: I have not done more than six
     hundred lines, but will vaticinate at leisure.

     "Of the bust I know nothing. No cameos or seals are to be cut here
     or elsewhere that I know of, in any good style. Hobhouse should
     write himself to Thorwaldsen: the bust was made and paid for three
     years ago.

     "Pray tell Mrs. Leigh to request Lady Byron to urge forward the
     transfer from the funds. I wrote to Lady Byron on business this
     post, addressed to the care of Mr. D. Kinnaird."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 358. TO MR. BANKES.

     "Ravenna, February 26. 1820.

     "Pulci and I are waiting for you with impatience; but I suppose we
     must give way to the attraction of the Bolognese galleries for a
     time. I know nothing of pictures myself, and care almost as little:
     but to me there are none like the Venetian--above all, Giorgione. I
     remember well his Judgment of Solomon in the Mariscalchi in
     Bologna. The real mother is beautiful, exquisitely beautiful. Buy
     her, by all means, if you can, and take her home with you: put her
     in safety: for be assured there are troublous times brewing for
     Italy; and as I never could keep out of a row in my life, it will
     be my fate, I dare say, to be over head and ears in it; but no
     matter, these are the stronger reasons for coming to see me soon.

     "I have more of Scott's novels (for surely they are Scott's) since
     we met, and am more and more delighted. I think that I even prefer
     them to his poetry, which (by the way) I redde for the first time
     in my life in your rooms in Trinity College.

     "There are some curious commentaries on Dante preserved here,
     which you should see. Believe me ever, faithfully and most
     affectionately, yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 359. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, March 1. 1820.

     "I sent you by last post the translation of the first Canto of the
     Morgante Maggiore, and wish you to ask Rose about the word
     'sbergo,' _i.e._ 'usbergo,' which I have translated _cuirass_. I
     suspect that it means _helmet_ also. Now, if so, which of the
     senses is best accordant with the text? I have adopted cuirass, but
     will be amenable to reasons. Of the natives, some say one, and some
     t'other: but they are no great Tuscans in Romagna. However, I will
     ask Sgricci (the famous improvisatore) to-morrow, who is a native
     of Arezzo. The Countess Guiccioli who is reckoned a very cultivated
     young lady, and the dictionary, say _cuirass_. I have written
     cuirass, but _helmet_ runs in my head nevertheless--and will run in
     verse very well, whilk is the principal point. I will ask the Sposa
     Spina Spinelli, too, the Florentine bride of Count Gabriel Rusponi,
     just imported from Florence, and get the sense out of somebody.

     "I have just been visiting the new Cardinal, who arrived the day
     before yesterday in his legation. He seems a good old gentleman,
     pious and simple, and not quite like his predecessor, who was a
     bon-vivant, in the worldly sense of the words.

     "Enclosed is a letter which I received some time ago from Dallas.
     It will explain itself. I have not answered it. This comes of doing
     people good. At one time or another (including copyrights) this
     person has had about fourteen hundred pounds of my money, and he
     writes what he calls a posthumous work about me, and a scrubby
     letter accusing me of treating him ill, when I never did any such
     thing. It is true that I left off letter-writing, as I have done
     with almost everybody else; but I can't see how that was misusing
     him.

     "I look upon his epistle as the consequence of my not sending him
     another hundred pounds, which he wrote to me for about two years
     ago, and which I thought proper to withhold, he having had his
     share, methought, of what I could dispone upon others.

     "In your last you ask me after my articles of domestic wants; I
     believe they are as usual: the bull-dogs, magnesia, soda-powders,
     tooth-powders, brushes, and every thing of the kind which are here
     unattainable. You still ask me to return to England: alas! to what
     purpose? You do not know what you are requiring. Return I must,
     probably, some day or other (if I live), sooner or later; but it
     will not be for pleasure, nor can it end in good. You enquire after
     my health and SPIRITS in large letters: my health can't be very
     bad, for I cured myself of a sharp tertian ague, in three weeks,
     with cold water, which had held my stoutest gondolier for months,
     notwithstanding all the bark of the apothecary,--a circumstance
     which surprised Dr. Aglietti, who said it was a proof of great
     stamina, particularly in so epidemic a season. I did it out of
     dislike to the taste of bark (which I can't bear), and succeeded,
     contrary to the prophecies of every body, by simply taking nothing
     at all. As to _spirits_, they are unequal, now high, now low, like
     other people's I suppose, and depending upon circumstances.

     "Pray send me W. Scott's new novels. What are their names and
     characters? I read some of his former ones, at least once a day,
     for an hour or so. The last are too hurried: he forgets
     Ravenswood's name, and calls him _Edgar_ and then _Norman_; and
     Girder, the cooper, is styled now _Gilbert_, and now _John_; and he
     don't make enough of Montrose; but Dalgetty is excellent, and so is
     Lucy Ashton, and the b----h her mother. What is _Ivanhoe_? and what
     do you call his other? are there _two_? Pray make him write at
     least two a year: I like no reading so well.

     "The editor of the Bologna Telegraph has sent me a paper with
     extracts from Mr. Mulock's (his name always reminds me of Muley
     Moloch of Morocco) 'Atheism answered,' in which there is a long
     eulogium of my poesy, and a great 'compatimento' for my misery. I
     never could understand what they mean by accusing me of irreligion.
     However, they may have it their own way. This gentleman seems to be
     my great admirer, so I take what he says in good part, as he
     evidently intends kindness, to which I can't accuse myself of being
     invincible.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 360. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, March 5. 1820.

     "In case, in your country, you should not readily lay hands on the
     Morgante Maggiore, I send you the original text of the first Canto,
     to correspond with the translation which I sent you a few days ago.
     It is from the Naples edition in quarto of 1732,--_dated Florence_,
     however, by a trick of _the trade_, which you, as one of the allied
     sovereigns of the profession, will perfectly understand without any
     further spiegazione.

     "It is strange that here nobody understands the real precise
     meaning of 'sbergo,' or 'usbergo[68],' an old Tuscan word, which I
     have rendered _cuirass_ (but am not sure it is not _helmet_). I
     have asked at least twenty people, learned and ignorant, male and
     female, including poets, and officers civil and military. The
     dictionary says _cuirass_, but gives no authority; and a female
     friend of mine says _positively cuirass_, which makes me doubt the
     fact still more than before. Ginguené says 'bonnet de fer,' with
     the usual superficial decision of a Frenchman, so that I can't
     believe him: and what between the dictionary, the Italian woman,
     and the Frenchman, there's no trusting to a word they say. The
     context, too, which should decide, admits equally of either
     meaning, as you will perceive. Ask Rose, Hobhouse, Merivale, and
     Foscolo, and vote with the majority. Is Frere a good Tuscan? if he
     be, bother him too. I have tried, you see, to be as accurate as I
     well could. This is my third or fourth letter, or packet, within
     the last twenty days."

[Footnote 68: It has been suggested to me that usbergo is obviously the
same as hauberk, habergeon, &c. all from the German _halsberg_, or
covering of the neck.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 361. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, March 14. 1820.

     "Enclosed is Dante's Prophecy--Vision--or what not.[69] Where I
     have left more than one reading (which I have done often), you may
     adopt that which Gifford, Frere, Rose, and Hobhouse, and others of
     your Utican Senate think the best or least bad. The preface will
     explain all that is explicable. These are but the four first
     cantos: if approved, I will go on.

     "Pray mind in printing; and let some good Italian scholar correct
     the Italian quotations.

     "Four days ago I was overturned in an open carriage between the
     river and a steep bank:--wheels dashed to pieces, slight bruises,
     narrow escape, and all that; but no harm done, though coachman,
     foot-man, horses, and vehicle, were all mixed together like
     macaroni. It was owing to bad driving, as I say; but the coachman
     swears to a start on the part of the horses. We went against a post
     on the verge of a steep bank, and capsized. I usually go out of
     the town in a carriage, and meet the saddle horses at the bridge;
     it was in going there that we boggled; but I got my ride, as usual,
     after the accident. They say here it was all owing to St. Antonio
     of Padua, (serious, I assure you,)--who does thirteen miracles a
     day,--that worse did not come of it. I have no objection to this
     being his fourteenth in the four-and-twenty-hours. He presides over
     overturns and all escapes therefrom, it seems: and they dedicate
     pictures, &c. to him, as the sailors once did to Neptune, after
     'the high Roman fashion.'

     "Yours, in haste."

[Footnote 69: There were in this Poem, originally, three lines of
remarkable strength and severity, which, as the Italian poet against
whom they were directed was then living, were omitted in the
publication. I shall here give them from memory.

    "The prostitution of his Muse and wife,
    Both beautiful, and both by him debased,
    Shall salt his bread and give him means of life."
]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 362. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, March 20. 1820.

     "Last post I sent you 'The Vision of Dante,'--four first Cantos.
     Enclosed you will find, _line for line_, in _third rhyme_ (_terza
     rima_), of which your British blackguard reader as yet understands
     nothing, Fanny of Rimini. You know that she was born here, and
     married, and slain, from Gary, Boyd, and such people. I have done
     it into _cramp_ English, line for line, and rhyme for rhyme, to try
     the possibility. You had best append it to the poems already sent
     by last three posts. I shall not allow you to play the tricks you
     did last year, with the prose you _post_-scribed to Mazeppa, which
     I sent to you _not_ to be published, if not in a periodical
     paper,--and there you tacked it, without a word of explanation. If
     this is published, publish it _with the original_, and _together_
     with the _Pulci_ translation, _or_ the _Dante imitation_. I suppose
     you have both by now, and the _Juan_ long before.

     "FRANCESCA OF RIMINI.

     "_Translation from the Inferno of Dante, Canto 5th._

          "'The land where I was born sits by the seas,
          Upon that shore to which the Po descends,
          With all his followers, in search of peace.
        Love, which the gentle heart soon apprehends,
          Seized him for the fair person which was ta'en
          From me, and me even yet the mode offends.
        Love, who to none beloved to love again
          Remits, seized me with wish to please, so strong,
          That, as thou seest, yet, yet it doth remain.
        Love to one death conducted us along,
          But Caina waits for him our life who ended:'
          These were the accents utter'd by her tongue,--
        Since first I listen'd to these souls offended,
          I bow'd my visage and so kept it till--

                                               {_then_}
          'What think'st thou?' said the bard; { when } I unbended,
        And recommenced: 'Alas! unto such ill
          How many sweet thoughts, what strong ecstasies
          Led these their evil fortune to fulfil!'
        And then I turn'd unto their side my eyes,
          And said, 'Francesca, thy sad destinies
          Have made me sorrow till the tears arise.
        But tell me, in the season of sweet sighs,
          By what and how thy Love to Passion rose,
          So as his dim desires to recognise?'
        Then she to me: 'The greatest of all woes
                {_recall to mind_}
          Is to {  remind us of  } our happy days
                         {_this_}
          In misery, and { that } thy teacher knows.

        But if to learn our passion's first root preys
          Upon thy spirit with such sympathy,
                 {  _relate_ }
          I will {do[70] even} as he who weeps and says.--
          We read one day for pastime, seated nigh,
          Of Lancilot, how Love enchain'd him too.
          We were alone, quite unsuspiciously,
        But oft our eyes met, and our cheeks in hue
          All o'er discolour'd by that reading were;
                                    { _overthrew_ }
          But one point only wholly {us o'erthrew;}
                         {   _desired_   }
        When we read the {long-sighed-for} smile of her,
                                    {_a fervent_}
          To be thus kiss'd by such {  devoted  } lover,
          He who from me can be divided ne'er
        Kiss'd my mouth, trembling in the act all over.
          Accursed was the book and he who wrote!
          That day no further leaf we did uncover.--
        While thus one Spirit told us of their lot,
          The other wept, so that with pity's thralls
          I swoon'd as if by death I had been smote,
        And fell down even as a dead body falls.'"


[Footnote 70: "In some of the editions, it is, 'diro,' in others
'faro;'--an essential difference between 'saying' and 'doing,' which I
know not how to decide. Ask Foscolo. The d----d editions drive me mad."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 363. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, March 23. 1820.

     "I have received your letter of the 7th. Besides the four packets
     you have already received, I have sent the Pulci a few days after,
     and since (a few days ago) the four first Cantos of Dante's
     Prophecy, (the best thing I ever wrote, if it be not
     _unintelligible_,) and by last post a literal translation, word for
     word (versed like the original), of the episode of Francesca of
     Rimini. I want to hear what you think of the new Juans, and the
     translations, and the Vision. They are all things that are, or
     ought to be, very different from one another.

     "If you choose to make a print from the Venetian, you may; but she
     don't correspond at all to the character you mean her to represent.
     On the contrary, the Contessa G. does (except that she is fair),
     and is much prettier than the Fornarina; but I have no picture of
     her except a miniature, which is very ill done; and, besides, it
     would not be proper, on any account whatever, to make such a use of
     it, even if you had a copy.

     "Recollect that the two new Cantos only count with us for one. You
     may put the Pulci and Dante together: perhaps that were best. So
     you have put your name to Juan, after all your panic. You are a
     rare fellow. I must now put myself in a passion to continue my
     prose. Yours," &c.

     "I have caused write to Thorwaldsen. Pray be careful in sending my
     daughter's picture--I mean, that it be not hurt in the carriage,
     for it is a journey rather long and jolting."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 364. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, March 28. 1820.

     "Enclosed is a 'Screed of Doctrine' for you, of which I will
     trouble you to acknowledge the receipt by next post. Mr. Hobhouse
     must have the correction of it for the press. You may show it first
     to whom you please.

     "I wish to know what became of my two Epistles from St. Paul
     (translated from the Armenian three years ago and more), and of the
     letter to R----ts of last autumn, which you never have attended to?
     There are two packets with this.

     "P.S. I have some thoughts of publishing the 'Hints from Horace,'
     written ten years ago[71],--if Hobhouse can rummage them out of my
     papers left at his father's,--with some omissions and alterations
     previously to be made when I see the proofs."

[Footnote 71: When making the observations which occur in the early part
of this work, on the singular preference given by the noble author to the
"Hints from Horace," I was not aware of the revival of this strange
predilection, which (as it appears from the above letter, and, still more
strongly, from some that follow) took place so many years after, in the
full maturity of his powers and taste. Such a delusion is hardly
conceivable, and can only, perhaps, be accounted for by that tenaciousness
of early opinions and impressions by which his mind, in other respects so
versatile, was characterised.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 365. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, March 29. 1820.

     "Herewith you will receive a note (enclosed) on Pope, which you
     will find tally with a part of the text of last post. I have at
     last lost all patience with the atrocious cant and nonsense about
     Pope, with which our present * *s are overflowing, and am
     determined to make such head against it as an individual can, by
     prose or verse; and I will at least do it with good will. There is
     no bearing it any longer; and if it goes on, it will destroy what
     little good writing or taste remains amongst us. I hope there are
     still a few men of taste to second me; but if not, I'll battle it
     alone, convinced that it is in the best cause of English
     literature.

     "I have sent you so many packets, verse and prose, lately, that you
     will be tired of the postage, if not of the perusal. I want to
     answer some parts of your last letter, but I have not time, for I
     must 'boot and saddle,' as my Captain Craigengelt (an officer of
     the old Napoleon Italian army) is in waiting, and my groom and
     cattle to boot.

     "You have given me a screed of metaphor and what not about _Pulci_,
     and manners, and 'going without clothes, like our Saxon ancestors.'
     Now, the _Saxons did not go without clothes_; and, in the next
     place, they are not my ancestors, nor yours either; for mine were
     Norman, and yours, I take it by your name, were _Gael_. And, in the
     next, I differ from you about the 'refinement' which has banished
     the comedies of Congreve. Are not the comedies of _Sheridan_? acted
     to the thinnest houses? I know (as _ex-committed_) that 'The School
     for Scandal' was the worst stock piece upon record. I also know
     that Congreve gave up writing because Mrs. Centlivre's balderdash
     drove his comedies off. So it is not decency, but stupidity, that
     does all this; for Sheridan is as decent a writer as need be, and
     Congreve no worse than Mrs. Centlivre, of whom Wilks (the actor)
     said, 'not only her play would be damned, but she too.' He alluded
     to 'A Bold Stroke for a Wife.' But last, and most to the purpose,
     Pulci is _not_ an _indecent_ writer--at least in his first Canto,
     as you will have perceived by this time.

     "You talk of _refinement_:--are you all _more_ moral? are you _so_
     moral? No such thing. _I_ know what the world is in England, by my
     own proper experience of the best of it--at least of the loftiest;
     and I have described it every where as it is to be found in all
     places.

     "But to return. I should like to see the _proofs_ of mine answer,
     because there will be something to omit or to alter. But pray let
     it be carefully printed. When convenient let me have an answer.

     "Yours."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 366. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Ravenna, March 31. 1820.

     "Ravenna continues much the same as I described it. Conversazioni
     all Lent, and much better ones than any at Venice. There are small
     games at hazard, that is, faro, where nobody can point more than a
     shilling or two;--other card-tables, and as much talk and coffee as
     you please. Every body does and says what they please; and I do not
     recollect any disagreeable events, except being three times falsely
     accused of flirtation, and once being robbed of six sixpences by a
     nobleman of the city, a Count * * *. I did not suspect the
     illustrious delinquent; but the Countess V * * * and the Marquis L
     * * * told me of it directly, and also that it was a way he had, of
     filching money when he saw it before him; but I did not ax him for
     the cash, but contented myself with telling him that if he did it
     again, I should anticipate the law.

     "There is to be a theatre in April, and a fair, and an opera, and
     another opera in June, besides the fine weather of nature's giving,
     and the rides in the Forest of Pine. With my best respects to Mrs.
     Hoppner, believe me ever, &c. BYRON.

     "P.S. Could you give me an item of what books remain at Venice? I
     don't want them, but want to know whether the few that are not here
     are there, and were not lost by the way. I hope and trust you have
     got all your wine safe, and that it is drinkable. Allegra is
     prettier, I think, but as obstinate as a mule, and as ravenous as a
     vulture: health good, to judge of the complexion--temper tolerable,
     but for vanity and pertinacity. She thinks herself handsome, and
     will do as she pleases."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 367. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, April 9. 1820.

     "In the name of all the devils in the printing-office, why don't
     you write to acknowledge the receipt of the second, third, and
     fourth packets, viz. the Pulci translation and original, the
     _Danticles_, the Observations on, &c.? You forget that you keep me
     in hot water till I know whether they are arrived, or if I must
     have the bore of re-copying.

     "Have you gotten the cream of translations, Francesca of Rimini,
     from the Inferno? Why, I have sent you a warehouse of trash within
     the last month, and you have no sort of feeling about you: a
     pastry-cook would have had twice the gratitude, and thanked me at
     least for the quantity.

     "To make the letter heavier, I enclose you the Cardinal Legate's
     (our Campeius) circular for his conversazione this evening. It is
     the anniversary of the Pope's _tiara_-tion, and all polite
     Christians, even of the Lutheran creed, must go and be civil. And
     there will be a circle, and a faro-table, (for shillings, that is,
     they don't allow high play,) and all the beauty, nobility, and
     sanctity of Ravenna present. The Cardinal himself is a very
     good-natured little fellow, bishop of Muda, and legate here,--a
     decent believer in all the doctrines of the church. He has kept his
     housekeeper these forty years * * * *; but is reckoned a pious man,
     and a moral liver.

     "I am not quite sure that I won't be among you this autumn, for I
     find that business don't go on--what with trustees and lawyers--as
     it should do, 'with all deliberate speed.' They differ about
     investments in Ireland.

        "Between the devil and deep sea,
        Between the lawyer and trustee,

     I am puzzled; and so much time is lost by my not being upon the
     spot, what with answers, demurs, rejoinders, that it may be I must
     come and look to it; for one says do, and t'other don't, so that I
     know not which way to turn: but perhaps they can manage without
     me.

     "Yours, &c.

     "P.S. I have begun a tragedy on the subject of Marino Faliero, the
     Doge of Venice; but you sha'n't see it these six years, if you
     don't acknowledge my packets with more quickness and precision.
     _Always write, if but a line_, by return of post, when any thing
     arrives, which is not a mere letter.

     "Address direct to Ravenna; it saves a week's time, and much
     postage."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 368. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, April 16. 1820.

     "Post after post arrives without bringing any acknowledgment from
     you of the different packets (excepting the first) which I sent
     within the last two months, all of which ought to be arrived long
     ere now; and as they were announced in other letters, you ought at
     least to say whether they are come or not. You are not expected to
     write frequent, or long letters, as your time is much occupied; but
     when parcels that have cost some pains in the composition, and
     great trouble in the copying, are sent to you, I should at least be
     put out of suspense, by the immediate acknowledgment, per return of
     post, addressed _directly_ to _Ravenna_. I am naturally--knowing
     what continental posts are--anxious to hear that they are arrived;
     especially as I loathe the task of copying so much, that if there
     was a human being that could copy my blotted MSS. he should have
     all they can ever bring for his trouble. All I desire is two lines,
     to say, such a day I received such a packet. There are at least six
     unacknowledged. This is neither kind nor courteous.

     "I have, besides, another reason for desiring you to be speedy,
     which is, that there is THAT brewing in Italy which will speedily
     cut off all security of communication, and set all your
     Anglo-travellers flying in every direction, with their usual
     fortitude in foreign tumults. The Spanish and French affairs have
     set the Italians in a ferment; and no wonder: they have been too
     long trampled on. This will make a sad scene for your exquisite
     traveller, but not for the resident, who naturally wishes a people
     to redress itself. I shall, if permitted by the natives, remain to
     see what will come of it, and perhaps to take a turn with them,
     like Dugald Dalgetty and his horse, in case of business; for I
     shall think it by far the most interesting spectacle and moment in
     existence, to see the Italians send the barbarians of all nations
     back to their own dens. I have lived long enough among them to feel
     more for them as a nation than for any other people in existence.
     But they want union, and they want principle; and I doubt their
     success. However, they will try, probably, and if they do, it will
     be a good cause. No Italian can hate an Austrian more than I do:
     unless it be the English, the Austrians seem to me the most
     obnoxious race under the sky.

     "But I doubt, if any thing be done, it won't be so quietly as in
     Spain. To be sure, revolutions are not to be made with rose-water,
     where there are foreigners as masters.

     "Write while you can; for it is but the toss up of a paul that
     there will not be a row that will somewhat retard the mail by and
     by.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 369. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Ravenna, April 18. 1820.

     "I have caused write to Siri and Willhalm to send with Vincenza, in
     a boat, the camp-beds and swords left in their care when I quitted
     Venice. There are also several pounds of Mantons best powder in a
     Japan case; but unless I felt sure of getting it away from V.
     without seizure, I won't have it ventured. I can get it in here, by
     means of an acquaintance in the customs, who has offered to get it
     ashore for me; but should like to be certiorated of its safety in
     leaving Venice. I would not lose it for its weight in gold--there
     is none such in Italy, as I take it to be.

     "I wrote to you a week or so ago, and hope you are in good plight
     and spirits. Sir Humphry Davy is here, and was last night at the
     Cardinal's. As I had been there last Sunday, and yesterday was
     warm, I did not go, which I should have done, if I had thought of
     meeting the man of chemistry. He called this morning, and I shall
     go in search of him at Corso time. I believe to-day, being Monday,
     there is no great conversazione, and only the family one at the
     Marchese Cavalli's, where I go as a relation sometimes, so that,
     unless he stays a day or two, we should hardly meet in public.

     "The theatre is to open in May for the fair, if there is not a row
     in all Italy by that time,--the Spanish business has set them all a
     constitutioning, and what will be the end, no one knows--it is also
     necessary thereunto to have a beginning.

     "Yours, &c.

     "P.S. My benediction to Mrs. Hoppner. How is your little boy?
     Allegra is growing, and has increased in good looks and obstinacy."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 370. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, April 23. 1820.

     "The proofs don't contain the _last_ stanzas of Canto second, but
     end abruptly with the 105th stanza.

     "I told you long ago that the new Cantos[72] were _not_ good, and I
     also _told you a reason_. Recollect, I do not oblige you to publish
     them; you may suppress them, if you like, but I can alter nothing.
     I have erased the six stanzas about those two impostors * * * *
     (which I suppose will give you great pleasure), but I can do no
     more. I can neither recast, nor replace; but I give you leave to
     put it all into the fire, if you like, or _not_ to publish, and I
     think that's sufficient.

     "I told you that I wrote on with no good will--that I had been,
     _not_ frightened, but _hurt_ by the outcry, and, besides, that when
     I wrote last November, I was ill in body, and in very great
     distress of mind about some private things of my own; but you would
     have it: so I sent it to you, and to make it lighter, cut it in
     two--but I can't piece it together again. I can't cobble: I must
     'either make a spoon or spoil a horn,'--and there's an end; for
     there's no remeid: but I leave you free will to suppress the whole,
     if you like it.

     "About the _Morgante Maggiore, I won't have a line omitted_. It may
     circulate, or it may not; but all the criticism on earth sha'n't
     touch a line, unless it be because it is badly translated. Now you
     say, and I say, and others say, that the translation is a good one;
     and so it shall go to press as it is. Pulci must answer for his own
     irreligion: I answer for the translation only.

     "Pray let Mr. Hobhouse look to the Italian next time in the proofs:
     this time, while I am scribbling to you, they are corrected by one
     who passes for the prettiest woman in Romagna, and even the
     Marches, as far as Ancona, be the other who she may.

     "I am glad you like my answer to your enquiries about Italian
     society. It is fit you should like _something_, and be d----d to
     you.

     "My love to Scott. I shall think higher of knighthood ever after
     for his being dubbed. By the way, he is the first poet titled for
     his talent in Britain: it has happened abroad before now; but on
     the Continent titles are universal and worthless. Why don't you
     send me Ivanhoe and the Monastery? I have never written to Sir
     Walter, for I know he has a thousand things, and I a thousand
     nothings, to do; but I hope to see him at Abbotsford before very
     long, and I will sweat his claret for him, though Italian
     abstemiousness has made my brain but a shilpit concern for a Scotch
     sitting 'inter pocula.' I love Scott, and Moore, and all the better
     brethren; but I hate and abhor that puddle of water-worms whom you
     have taken into your troop.

     "Yours, &c.

     "P.S. You say that _one half_ is very good: you are _wrong_; for,
     if it were, it would be the finest poem in existence. _Where_ is
     the poetry of which _one half_ is good? is it the _Æneid_? is it
     _Milton's_? is it _Dryden's_? is it any one's except _Pope's_ and
     _Goldsmith's_, of which _all_ is good? and yet these two last are
     the poets your pond poets would explode. But if _one half_ of the
     two new Cantos be good in your opinion, what the devil would you
     have more? No--no; no poetry is _generally_ good--only by fits and
     starts--and you are lucky to get a sparkle here and there. You
     might as well want a midnight _all stars_ as rhyme all perfect.

     "We are on the verge of a _row_ here. Last night they have
     overwritten all the city walls with 'Up with the republic!' and
     'Death to the Pope!' &c. &c. This would be nothing in London, where
     the walls are privileged. But here it is a different thing: they
     are not used to such fierce political inscriptions, and the police
     is all on the alert, and the Cardinal glares pale through all his
     purple.

     "April 24. 1820. 8 o'clock, P.M.

     "The police have been, all noon and after, searching for the
     inscribers, but have caught none as yet. They must have been all
     night about it, for the 'Live republics--Death to Popes and
     Priests,' are innumerable, and plastered over all the palaces: ours
     has plenty. There is 'Down with the Nobility,' too; they are down
     enough already, for that matter. A very heavy rain and wind having
     come on, I did not go out and 'skirr the country;' but I shall
     mount to-morrow, and take a canter among the peasantry, who are a
     savage, resolute race, always riding with guns in their hands. I
     wonder they don't suspect the serenaders, for they play on the
     guitar here all night, as in Spain, to their mistresses.

     "Talking of politics, as Caleb Quotem says, pray look at the
     _conclusion_ of my Ode on _Waterloo_, written in the year 1815,
     and, comparing it with the Duke de Berri's catastrophe in 1820,
     tell me if I have not as good a right to the character of '_Vates_'
     in both senses of the word, as Fitzgerald and Coleridge?

        "'Crimson tears will follow yet--'

     and have not they?

     "I can't pretend to foresee what will happen among you Englishers
     at this distance, but I vaticinate a row in Italy; in whilk case, I
     don't know that I won't have a finger in it. I dislike the
     Austrians, and think the Italians infamously oppressed; and if they
     begin, why, I will recommend 'the erection of a sconce upon
     Drumsnab,' like Dugald Dalgetty."

[Footnote 72: Of Don Juan.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 371. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, May 8. 1820.

     "From your not having written again, an intention which your letter
     of the 7th ultimo indicated, I have to presume that the 'Prophecy
     of Dante' has not been found more worthy than its predecessors in
     the eyes of your illustrious synod. In that case, you will be in
     some perplexity; to end which, I repeat to you, that you are not to
     consider yourself as bound or pledged to publish any thing because
     it is _mine_, but always to act according to your own views, or
     opinions, or those of your friends; and to be sure that you will in
     no degree offend me by 'declining the article,' to use a technical
     phrase. The _prose_ observations on John Wilson's attack, I do not
     intend for publication at this time; and I send a copy of verses to
     Mr. Kinnaird (they were written last year on crossing the Po) which
     must _not_ be published either. I mention this, because it is
     probable he may give you a copy. Pray recollect this, as they are
     mere verses of society, and written upon private feelings and
     passions. And, moreover, I can't consent to any mutilations or
     omissions of _Pulci_: the original has been ever free from such in
     Italy, the capital of Christianity, and the translation may be so
     in England; though you will think it strange that they should have
     allowed such _freedom_ for many centuries to the Morgante, while
     the other day they confiscated the whole translation of the fourth
     Canto of Childe Harold, and have persecuted Leoni, the
     translator--so he writes me, and so I could have told him, had he
     consulted me before his publication. This shows how much more
     politics interest men in these parts than religion. Half a dozen
     invectives against tyranny confiscate Childe Harold in a month; and
     eight and twenty cantos of quizzing monks and knights, and church
     government, are let loose for centuries. I copy Leoni's account.

     "'Non ignorerà forse che la mia versione del 4° Canto del Childe
     Harold fu confiscata in ogni parte: ed io stesso ho dovuto soffrir
     vessazioni altrettanto ridicole quanto illiberaii, ad arte che
     alcuni versi fossero esclusi dalla censura. Ma siccome il divieto
     non fa d'ordinario che accrescere la curiosita cos! quel carme
     sull' Italia è ricercato più che mai, e penso di farlo ristampare
     in Inghil-terra senza nulla escludere. Sciagurata condizione di
     questa mia patria! se patria si può chiamare una terra così
     avvilita dalla fortuna, dagli uomini, da se medesima.'

     "Rose will translate this to you. Has he had his letter? I enclosed
     it to you months ago.

     "This intended piece of publication I shall dissuade him from, or
     he may chance to see the inside of St. Angelo's. The last sentence
     of his letter is the common and pathetic sentiment of all his
     countrymen.

     "Sir Humphry Davy was here last fortnight, and I was in his company
     in the house of a very pretty Italian lady of rank, who, by way of
     displaying her learning in presence of the great chemist, then
     describing his fourteenth ascension to Mount Vesuvius, asked 'if
     there was not a similar volcano in _Ireland_?' My only notion of an
     Irish volcano consisted of the lake of Killarney, which I naturally
     conceived her to mean; but, on second thoughts, I divined that she
     alluded to _Ice_land and to Hecla--and so it proved, though she
     sustained her volcanic topography for some time with all the
     amiable pertinacity of 'the feminie.' She soon after turned to me
     and asked me various questions about Sir Humphry's philosophy, and
     I explained as well as an oracle his skill in gasen safety lamps,
     and ungluing the Pompeian MSS. 'But what do you call him?' said
     she. 'A great chemist,' quoth I. 'What can he do?' repeated the
     lady. 'Almost any thing,' said I. 'Oh, then, mio caro, do pray beg
     him to give me something to dye my eyebrows black. I have tried a
     thousand things, and the colours all come off; and besides, they
     don't grow; can't he invent something to make them grow?' All this
     with the greatest earnestness; and what you will be surprised at,
     she is neither ignorant nor a fool, but really well educated and
     clever. But they speak like children, when first out of their
     convents; and, after all, this is better than an English
     blue-stocking.

     "I did not tell Sir Humphry of this last piece of philosophy, not
     knowing how he might take it. Davy was much taken with Ravenna, and
     the PRIMITIVE _Italianism_ of the people, who are unused to
     foreigners: but he only stayed a day.

     "Send me Scott's novels and some news.

     "P.S. I have begun and advanced into the second act of a tragedy
     on the subject of the Doge's conspiracy (_i.e._ the story of Marino
     Faliero); but my present feeling is so little encouraging on such
     matters, that I begin to think I have mined my talent out, and
     proceed in no great phantasy of finding a new vein.

     "P.S. I sometimes think (if the Italians don't rise) of coming over
     to England in the autumn after the coronation, (at which I would
     not appear, on account of my family schism,) but as yet I can
     decide nothing. The place must be a great deal changed since I left
     it, now more than four years ago."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 372. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, May 20. 1820.

     "Murray, my dear, make my respects to Thomas Campbell, and tell him
     from me, with faith and friendship, three things that he must right
     in his poets: Firstly, he says Anstey's Bath Guide characters are
     taken from Smollett. 'Tis impossible:--the Guide was published in
     1766, and Humphrey Clinker in 1771--_dunque_, 'tis Smollett who has
     taken from Anstey. Secondly, he does not know to whom Cowper
     alludes, when he says that there was one who 'built a church to
     _God_, and then blasphemed his name:' it was 'Deo erexit
     _Voltaire_' to whom that maniacal Calvinist and coddled poet
     alludes. Thirdly, he misquotes and spoils a passage from
     Shakspeare, 'to gild refined gold, to paint the lily,' &c.; for
     _lily_ he puts rose, and bedevils in more words than one the whole
     quotation.

     "Now, Tom is a fine fellow; but he should be correct; for the first
     is an _injustice_ (to Anstey), the second an _ignorance_, and the
     third a _blunder_. Tell him all this, and let him take it in good
     part; for I might have rammed it into a review and rowed
     him--instead of which, I act like a Christian.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 373. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, May 20. 1820.

     "First and foremost, you must forward my letter to _Moore_ dated 2d
     _January_, which I said you might open, but desired you _to
     forward_. Now, you should really not forget these little things,
     because they do mischief among friends. You are an excellent man, a
     great man, and live among great men, but do pray recollect your
     absent friends and authors.

     "In the first place, _your packets_; then a letter from Kinnaird,
     on the most urgent business; another from Moore, about a
     communication to Lady Byron of importance; a fourth from the mother
     of Allegra; and, fifthly, at Ravenna, the Countess G. is on the eve
     of being separated. But the Italian public are on her side,
     particularly the women,--and the men also, because they say that
     _he_ had no business to take the business up now after a year of
     toleration. All her relations (who are numerous, high in rank, and
     powerful) are furious _against him_ for his conduct. I am warned to
     be on my guard, as he is very capable of employing _sicarii_--this
     is Latin as well as Italian, so you can understand it; but I have
     arms, and don't mind them, thinking that I could pepper his
     ragamuffins, if they don't come unawares, and that, if they do, one
     may as well end that way as another; and it would besides serve
     _you_ as an advertisement:--

        "Man may escape from rope or gun, &c.
        But he who takes woman, woman, woman, &c.

     "Yours.

     "P.S. I have looked over the press, but heaven knows how. Think
     what I have on hand and the post going out to-morrow. Do you
     remember the epitaph on Voltaire?

        "'Ci-git l'enfant gâté,' &c.

        "'Here lies the spoilt child
        Of the world which he spoil'd.'

     The original is in Grimm and Diderot, &c. &c. &c."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 374. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Ravenna, May 24. 1820.

     "I wrote to you a few days ago. There is also a letter of January
     last for you at Murray's, which will explain to you why I am here.
     Murray ought to have forwarded it long ago. I enclose you an
     epistle from a countrywoman of yours at Paris, which has moved my
     entrails. You will have the goodness, perhaps, to enquire into the
     truth of her story, and I will help her as far as I can,--though
     not in the useless way she proposes. Her letter is evidently
     unstudied, and so natural, that the orthography is also in a state
     of nature.

     "Here is a poor creature, ill and solitary, who thinks, as a last
     resource, of translating you or me into French! Was there ever such
     a notion? It seems to me the consummation of despair. Pray enquire,
     and let me know, and, if you could draw a bill on me _here_ for a
     few hundred francs, at your banker's, I will duly honour it,--that
     is, if she is not an impostor.[73] If not, let me know, that I may
     get something remitted by my banker Longhi, of Bologna, for I have
     no correspondence myself, at Paris: but tell her she must not
     translate;--if she does, it will be the height of ingratitude.

     "I had a letter (not of the same kind, but in French and flattery)
     from a Madame Sophie Gail, of Paris, whom I take to be the spouse
     of a Gallo-Greek of that name. Who is she? and what is she? and how
     came she to take an interest in my _poeshie_ or its author? If you
     know her, tell her, with my compliments, that, as I only _read_
     French, I have not answered her letter; but would have done so in
     Italian, if I had not thought it would look like an affectation. I
     have just been scolding my monkey for tearing the seal of her
     letter, and spoiling a mock book, in which I put rose leaves. I had
     a civet-cat the other day, too; but it ran away, after scratching
     my monkey's cheek, and I am in search of it still. It was the
     fiercest beast I ever saw, and like * * in the face and manner.

     "I have a world of things to say; but, as they are not come to a
     _dénouement_, I don't care to begin their history till it is wound
     up. After you went, I had a fever, but got well again without bark.
     Sir Humphry Davy was here the other day, and liked Ravenna very
     much. He will tell you any thing you may wish to know about the
     place and your humble servitor.

     "Your apprehensions (arising from Scott's) were unfounded. There
     are _no damages_ in this country, but there will probably be a
     separation between them, as her family, which is a principal one,
     by its connections, are very much against _him_, for the whole of
     his conduct;--and he is old and obstinate, and she is young and a
     woman, determined to sacrifice every thing to her affections. I
     have given her the best advice, viz. to stay with him,--pointing
     out the state of a separated woman, (for the priests won't let
     lovers live openly together, unless the husband sanctions it,) and
     making the most exquisite moral reflections,--but to no purpose.
     She says, 'I will stay with him, if he will let you remain with me.
     It is hard that I should be the only woman in Romagna who is not to
     have her Amico; but, if not, I will not live with him; and as for
     the consequences, love, &c. &c. &c.'--you know how females reason
     on such occasions.

     "He says he has let it go on till he can do so no longer. But he
     wants her to stay, and dismiss me; for he doesn't like to pay back
     her dowry and to make an alimony. Her relations are rather for the
     separation, as they detest him,--indeed, so does every body. The
     populace and the women are, as usual, all for those who are in the
     wrong, viz. the lady and her lover. I should have retreated, but
     honour, and an erysipelas which has attacked her, prevent me,--to
     say nothing of love, for I love her most entirely, though not
     enough to persuade her to sacrifice every thing to a frenzy. 'I see
     how it will end; she will be the sixteenth Mrs. Shuffleton.'

     "My paper is finished, and so must this letter.

     "Yours ever, B.

     "P.S. I regret that you have not completed the Italian Fudges.
     Pray, how come you to be still in Paris? Murray has four or five
     things of mine in hand--the new Don Juan, which his back-shop synod
     don't admire;--a translation of the first Canto of Pulci's Morgante
     Maggiore, excellent;--short ditto from Dante, not so much approved;
     the Prophecy of Dante, very grand and worthy, &c. &c. &c.;--a
     furious prose answer to Blackwood's Observations on Don Juan, with
     a savage Defence of Pope--likely to make a row. The opinions above
     I quote from Murray and his Utican senate;--you will form your own,
     when you see the things.

     "You will have no great chance of seeing me, for I begin to think
     I must finish in Italy. But, if you come my way, you shall have a
     tureen of macaroni. Pray tell me about yourself, and your intents.

     "My trustees are going to lend Earl Blessington sixty thousand
     pounds (at six per cent.) on a Dublin mortgage. Only think of my
     becoming an Irish absentee!"

[Footnote 73: According to his desire, I waited upon this young lady,
having provided myself with a rouleau of fifteen or twenty Napoleons to
present to her from his Lordship; but, with a very creditable spirit, my
young countrywoman declined the gift, saying that Lord Byron had
mistaken the object of her application to him, which was to request
that, by allowing her to have the sheets of some of his works before
publication, he would enable her to prepare early translations for the
French booksellers, and thus afford her the means of acquiring something
towards a livelihood.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 375. TO MR. HOPPNER.

     "Ravenna, May 25. 1820.

     "A German named Ruppsecht has sent me, heaven knows why, several
     Deutsche Gazettes, of all which I understand neither word nor
     letter. I have sent you the enclosed to beg you to translate to me
     some remarks, which appear to be _Goethe's upon_ Manfred--and if I
     may judge by _two_ notes of _admiration_ (generally put after
     something ridiculous by us) and the word '_hypocondrisch_,' are any
     thing but favourable. I shall regret this, for I should have been
     proud of Goethe's good word; but I sha'n't alter my opinion of him,
     even though he should be savage.

     "Will you excuse this trouble, and do me this favour?--Never
     mind--soften nothing--I am literary proof--having had good and evil
     said in most modern languages.

     "Believe me," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 376. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Ravenna, June 1. 1820,

     "I have received a Parisian letter from W.W., which I prefer
     answering through you, if that worthy be still at Paris, and, as
     he says, an occasional visiter of yours. In November last he wrote
     to me a well-meaning letter, stating, for some reasons of his own,
     his belief that a re-union might be effected between Lady B. and
     myself. To this I answered as usual; and he sent me a second
     letter, repeating his notions, which letter I have never answered,
     having had a thousand other things to think of. He now writes as if
     he believed that he had offended me by touching on the topic; and I
     wish you to assure him that I am not at all so,--but, on the
     contrary, obliged by his good nature. At the same time acquaint him
     the _thing is impossible. You know this_, as well as I,--and there
     let it end.

     "I believe that I showed you his epistle in autumn last. He asks me
     if I have heard of _my_ 'laureat' at Paris[74],--somebody who has
     written 'a most sanguinary Epître' against me; but whether in
     French, or Dutch, or on what score, I know not, and he don't
     say,--except that (for my satisfaction) he says it is the best
     thing in the fellow's volume. If there is any thing of the kind
     that I _ought_ to know, you will doubtless tell me. I suppose it to
     be something of the usual sort;--he says, he don't remember the
     author's name.

     "I wrote to you some ten days ago, and expect an answer at your
     leisure.

     "The separation business still continues, and all the world are
     implicated, including priests and cardinals. The public opinion is
     furious against _him_, because he ought to have cut the matter
     short _at first_, and not waited twelve months to begin. He has
     been trying at evidence, but can get none _sufficient_; for what
     would make fifty divorces in England won't do here--there must be
     the _most decided_ proofs.

     "It is the first cause of the kind attempted in Ravenna for these
     two hundred years; for, though they often separate, they assign a
     different motive. You know that the continental incontinent are
     more delicate than the English, and don't like proclaiming their
     coronation in a court, even when nobody doubts it.

     "All her relations are furious against him. The father has
     challenged him--a superfluous valour, for he don't fight, though
     suspected of two assassinations--one of the famous Monzoni of
     Forli. Warning was given me not to take such long rides in the Pine
     Forest without being on my guard; so I take my stiletto and a pair
     of pistols in my pocket during my daily rides.

     "I won't stir from this place till the matter is settled one way or
     the other. She is as femininely firm as possible; and the opinion
     is so much against him, that the _advocates_ decline to undertake
     his cause, because they say that he is either a fool or a
     rogue--fool, if he did not discover the liaison till now; and
     rogue, if he did know it, and waited, for some bad end, to divulge
     it. In short, there has been nothing like it since the days of
     Guido di Polenta's family, in these parts.

     "If the man has me taken off, like Polonius 'say, he made a good
     end,'--for a melodrama. The principal security is, that he has not
     the courage to spend twenty scudi--the average price of a
     clean-handed bravo--otherwise there is no want of opportunity, for
     I ride about the woods every evening, with one servant, and
     sometimes an acquaintance, who latterly looks a little queer in
     solitary bits of bushes.

     "Good bye.--Write to yours ever," &c.

[Footnote 74: M. Lamartine.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 377. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, June 7. 1820.

     "Enclosed is something which will interest you, to wit, the opinion
     of _the_ greatest man of Germany--perhaps of Europe--upon one of
     the great men of your advertisements, (all 'famous hands,' as Jacob
     Tonson used to say of his ragamuffins,)--in short, a critique of
     _Goethe's_ upon _Manfred_. There is the original, an English
     translation, and an Italian one; keep them all in your
     archives,--for the opinions of such a man as Goethe, whether
     favourable or not, are always interesting--and this is more so, as
     favourable. His _Faust_ I never read, for I don't know German; but
     Matthew Monk Lewis, in 1816, at Coligny, translated most of it to
     me _vivâ voce_, and I was naturally much struck with it; but it was
     the _Steinbach_ and the _Jungfrau_, and something else, much more
     than Faustus, that made me write Manfred. The first scene, however,
     and that of Faustus are very similar. Acknowledge this letter.

     "Yours ever.

     "P.S. I have received _Ivanhoe_;--_good_. Pray send me some
     tooth-powder and tincture of myrrh, by _Waite_, &c. Ricciardetto
     should have been _translated literally, or not at all_. As to
     puffing _Whistlecraft_, it _won't_ do. I'll tell you why some day
     or other. Cornwall's a poet, but spoilt by the detestable schools
     of the day. Mrs. Hemans is a poet also, but too stiltified and
     apostrophic,--and quite wrong. Men died calmly before the Christian
     era, and since, without Christianity: witness the Romans, and,
     lately, Thistlewood, Sandt, and Lovel--_men who ought to have been
     weighed down with their crimes, even had they believed_. A deathbed
     is a matter of nerves and constitution, and not of religion.
     Voltaire was frightened, Frederick of Prussia not: Christians the
     same, according to their strength rather than their creed. What
     does H * * H * * mean by his stanza? which is octave got drunk or
     gone mad. He ought to have his ears boxed with Thor's hammer for
     rhyming so fantastically."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following is the article from Goethe's "Kunst und Alterthum,"
enclosed in this letter. The grave confidence with which the venerable
critic traces the fancies of his brother poet to real persons and
events, making no difficulty even of a double murder at Florence to
furnish grounds for his theory, affords an amusing instance of the
disposition so prevalent throughout Europe, to picture Byron as a man of
marvels and mysteries, as well in his life as his poetry. To these
exaggerated, or wholly false notions of him, the numerous fictions
palmed upon the world of his romantic tours and wonderful adventures in
places he never saw, and with persons that never existed[75], have, no
doubt, considerably contributed; and the consequence is, so utterly out
of truth and nature are the representations of his life and character
long current upon the Continent, that it may be questioned whether the
real "flesh and blood" hero of these pages,--the social,
practical-minded, and, with all his faults and eccentricities, _English_
Lord Byron,--may not, to the over-exalted imaginations of most of his
foreign admirers, appear but an ordinary, unromantic, and prosaic
personage.

[Footnote 75: Of this kind are the accounts, filled with all sorts of
circumstantial wonders, of his residence in the island of Mytilene;--his
voyages to Sicily,--to Ithaca, with the Countess Guiccioli, &c. &c. But
the most absurd, perhaps, of all these fabrications, are the stories
told by Pouqueville, of the poet's religious conferences in the cell of
Father Paul, at Athens; and the still more unconscionable fiction in
which Rizo has indulged, in giving the details of a pretended theatrical
scene, got up (according to this poetical historian) between Lord Byron
and the Archbishop of Arta, at the tomb of Botzaris, in Missolonghi.]

       *       *       *       *       *

"GOETHE ON MANFRED.

[1820.]

"Byron's tragedy, Manfred, was to me a wonderful phenomenon, and one
that closely touched me. This singular intellectual poet has taken my
Faustus to himself, and extracted from it the strongest nourishment for
his hypochondriac humour. He has made use of the impelling principles in
his own way, for his own purposes, so that no one of them remains the
same; and it is particularly on this account that I cannot enough admire
his genius. The whole is in this way so completely formed anew, that it
would be an interesting task for the critic to point out not only the
alterations he has made, but their degree of resemblance with, or
dissimilarity to, the original: in the course of which I cannot deny
that the gloomy heat of an unbounded and exuberant despair becomes at
last oppressive to us. Yet is the dissatisfaction we feel always
connected with esteem and admiration.

"We find thus in this tragedy the quintessence of the most astonishing
talent born to be its own tormentor. The character of Lord Byron's life
and poetry hardly permits a just and equitable appreciation. He has
often enough confessed what it is that torments him. He has repeatedly
pourtrayed it; and scarcely any one feels compassion for this
intolerable suffering, over which he is ever laboriously ruminating.
There are, properly speaking, two females whose phantoms for ever haunt
him, and which, in this piece also, perform principal parts--one under
the name of Astarte, the other without form or actual presence, and
merely a voice. Of the horrid occurrence which took place with the
former, the following is related:--When a bold and enterprising young
man, he won the affections of a Florentine lady. Her husband discovered
the amour, and murdered his wife; but the murderer was the same night
found dead in the street, and there was no one on whom any suspicion
could be attached. Lord Byron removed from Florence, and these spirits
haunted him all his life after.

"This romantic incident is rendered highly probable by innumerable
allusions to it in his poems. As, for instance, when turning his sad
contemplations inwards, he applies to himself the fatal history of the
king of Sparta. It is as follows:--Pausanias, a Lacedemonian general,
acquires glory by the important victory at Platæa, but afterwards
forfeits the confidence of his countrymen through his arrogance,
obstinacy, and secret intrigues with the enemies of his country. This
man draws upon himself the heavy guilt of innocent blood, which attends
him to his end; for, while commanding the fleet of the allied Greeks, in
the Black Sea, he is inflamed with a violent passion for a Byzantine
maiden. After long resistance, he at length obtains her from her
parents, and she is to be delivered up to him at night. She modestly
desires the servant to put out the lamp, and, while groping her way in
the dark, she overturns it. Pausanias is awakened from his
sleep--apprehensive of an attack from murderers, he seizes his sword,
and destroys his mistress. The horrid sight never leaves him. Her shade
pursues him unceasingly, and he implores for aid in vain from the gods
and the exorcising priests.

"That poet must have a lacerated heart who selects such a scene from
antiquity, appropriates it to himself, and burdens his tragic image with
it. The following soliloquy, which is overladen with gloom and a
weariness of life, is, by this remark, rendered intelligible. We
recommend it as an exercise to all friends of declamation. Hamlet's
soliloquy appears improved upon here."[76]

[Footnote 76: The critic here subjoins the soliloquy from Manfred,
beginning "We are the fools of time and terror," in which the allusion
to Pausanias occurs.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 378. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Ravenna, June 9. 1820.

     "Galignani has just sent me the Paris edition of your works (which
     I wrote to order), and I am glad to see my old friends with a
     French face. I have been skimming and dipping, in and over them,
     like a swallow, and as pleased as one. It is the first time that I
     had seen the Melodies without music; and, I don't know how, but I
     can't read in a music-book--the crotchets confound the words in my
     head, though I recollect them perfectly when _sung_. Music assists
     my memory through the ear, not through the eye; I mean, that her
     quavers perplex me upon paper, but they are a help when heard. And
     thus I was glad to see the words without their borrowed robes;--to
     my mind they look none the worse for their nudity.

     "The biographer has made a botch of your life--calling your father
     'a _venerable old_ gentleman,' and prattling of 'Addison,' and
     'dowager countesses.' If that damned fellow was to _write my_ life,
     I would certainly _take his_. And then, at the Dublin dinner, you
     have 'made a speech' (do you recollect, at Douglas K.'s, 'Sir, he
     made me a speech?') too complimentary to the 'living poets,' and
     somewhat redolent of universal praise. _I_ am but too well off in
     it, but * * *.

     "You have not sent me any poetical or personal news of yourself.
     Why don't you complete an Italian Tour of the Fudges? I have just
     been turning over Little, which I knew by heart in 1803, being then
     in my fifteenth summer. Heigho! I believe all the mischief I have
     ever done, or sung, has been owing to that confounded book of
     yours.

     "In my last I told you of a cargo of 'Poeshie,' which I had sent to
     M. at his own impatient desire;--and, now he has got it, he don't
     like it, and demurs. Perhaps he is right. I have no great opinion
     of any of my last shipment, except a translation from Pulci, which
     is word for word, and verse for verse.

     "I am in the third Act of a Tragedy; but whether it will be
     finished or not, I know not: I have, at this present, too many
     passions of my own on hand to do justice to those of the dead.
     Besides the vexations mentioned in my last, I have incurred a
     quarrel with the Pope's carabiniers, or gens d'armerie, who have
     petitioned the Cardinal against my liveries, as resembling too
     nearly their own lousy uniform. They particularly object to the
     epaulettes, which all the world with us have on upon gala days. My
     liveries are of the colours conforming to my arms, and have been
     the family hue since the year 1066.

     "I have sent a tranchant reply, as you may suppose; and have given
     to understand that, if any soldados of that respectable corps
     insult my servants, I will do likewise by their gallant commanders;
     and I have directed my ragamuffins, six in number, who are
     tolerably savage, to defend themselves, in case of aggression; and,
     on holidays and gaudy days, I shall arm the whole set, including
     myself, in case of accidents or treachery. I used to play pretty
     well at the broad-sword, once upon a time, at Angelo's; but I
     should like the pistol, our national buccaneer weapon, better,
     though I am out of practice at present. However, I can 'wink and
     hold out mine iron.' It makes me think (the whole thing does) of
     Romeo and Juliet--'now, Gregory, remember thy _swashing_ blow.'

     "All these feuds, however, with the Cavalier for his wife, and the
     troopers for my liveries, are very tiresome to a quiet man, who
     does his best to please all the world, and longs for fellowship and
     good will. Pray write. I am yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 379. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Ravenna, July 13. 1820.

     "To remove or increase your Irish anxiety about my being 'in a
     wisp[77],' I answer your letter forth-with; premising that, as I am
     a '_Will_ of the wisp,' I may chance to flit out of it. But, first,
     a word on the Memoir;--I have no objection, nay, I would rather
     that _one_ correct copy was taken and deposited in honourable
     hands, in case of accidents happening to the original; for you know
     that I have none, and have never even _re_-read, nor, indeed,
     _read_ at all what is there written; I only know that I wrote it
     with the fullest intention to be 'faithful and true' in my
     narrative, but _not_ impartial--no, by the Lord! I can't pretend to
     be that, while I feel. But I wish to give every body concerned the
     opportunity to contradict or correct me.

     "I have no objection to any proper person seeing what is there
     written,--seeing it was written, like every thing else, for the
     purpose of being read, however much many writings may fail in
     arriving at that object.

     "With regard to 'the wisp,' the Pope has pronounced _their
     separation_. The decree came yesterday from Babylon,--it was _she_
     and _her friends_ who demanded it, on the grounds of her husband's
     (the noble Count Cavalier's) extraordinary usage. _He_ opposed it
     with all his might because of the alimony, which has been assigned,
     with all her goods, chattels, carriage, &c. to be restored by him.
     In Italy they can't divorce. He insisted on her giving me up, and
     he would forgive every thing,--*       *       *       *       *
     *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *
     *       *       *       *       *       *       * But, in this
     country, the very courts hold such proofs in abhorrence, the
     Italians being as much more delicate in public than the English, as
     they are more passionate in private.

     "The friends and relatives, who are numerous and powerful, reply to
     him--'_You_, yourself, are either fool or knave,--fool, if you did
     not see the consequences of the approximation of these two young
     persons,--knave, if you connive at it. Take your choice,--but don't
     break out (after twelve months of the closest intimacy, under your
     own eyes and positive sanction) with a scandal, which can only make
     you ridiculous and her unhappy.'

     "He swore that he thought our intercourse was purely amicable, and
     that _I_ was more partial to him than to her, till melancholy
     testimony proved the contrary. To this they answer, that 'Will of
     _this_ wisp' was not an unknown person, and that 'clamosa Fama' had
     not proclaimed the purity of my morals;--that _her_ brother, a year
     ago, wrote from Rome to warn him that his wife would infallibly be
     led astray by this ignis fatuus, unless he took proper measures,
     all of which he neglected to take, &c. &c.

     "Now he says that he encouraged my return to Ravenna, to see '_in
     quanti piedi di acqua siamo_,' and he has found enough to drown him
     in. In short,

        "'Ce ne fut pas le tout; sa femme se plaignit--
        Procès--La parenté se joint en excuse et dit
        Que du _Docteur_ venoit tout le mauvais ménage;
        Que cet homme étoit fou, que sa femme étoit sage.
        On fit casser le mariage.'

     It is but to let the women alone, in the way of conflict, for they
     are sure to win against the field. She returns to her father's
     house, and I can only see her under great restrictions--such is the
     custom of the country. The relations behave very well:--I offered
     any settlement, but they refused to accept it, and swear she
     _shan't_ live with G. (as he has tried to prove her faithless), but
     that he shall maintain her; and, in fact, a judgment to this
     effect came yesterday. I am, of course, in an awkward situation
     enough.

     "I have heard no more of the carabiniers who protested against my
     liveries. They are not popular, those same soldiers, and, in a
     small row, the other night, one was slain, another wounded, and
     divers put to flight, by some of the Romagnuole youth, who are
     dexterous, and somewhat liberal of the knife. The perpetrators are
     not discovered, but I hope and believe that none of my ragamuffins
     were in it, though they are somewhat savage, and secretly armed,
     like most of the inhabitants. It is their way, and saves sometimes
     a good deal of litigation.

     "There is a revolution at Naples. If so, it will probably leave a
     card at Ravenna in its way to Lombardy.

     "Your publishers seem to have used you like mine. M. has shuffled,
     and almost insinuated that my last productions are _dull_. Dull,
     sir!--damme, dull! I believe he is right. He begs for the
     completion of my tragedy on Marino Faliero, none of which is yet
     gone to England. The fifth act is nearly completed, but it is
     dreadfully long--40 sheets of long paper of 4 pages each--about 150
     when printed; but 'so full of pastime and prodigality' that I think
     it will do.

     "Pray send and publish your _Pome_ upon me; and don't be afraid of
     praising me too highly. I shall pocket my blushes.

     "'Not actionable!'--_Chantre d'enfer!_[78]--by * * that's 'a
     speech,' and I won't put up with it. A pretty title to give a man
     for doubting if there be any such place!

     "So my Gail is gone--and Miss Mah_ony_ won't take _Mo_ney. I am
     very glad of it--I like to be generous free of expense. But beg her
     not to translate me.

     "Oh, pray tell Galignani that I shall send him a screed of doctrine
     if he don't be more punctual. Somebody _regularly detains two_, and
     sometimes _four_, of his Messengers by the way. Do, pray, entreat
     him to be more precise. News are worth money in this remote kingdom
     of the Ostrogoths.

     "Pray, reply. I should like much to share some of your Champagne
     and La Fitte, but I am too Italian for Paris in general. Make
     Murray send my letter to you--it is full of _epigrams_.

     "Yours," &c.

[Footnote 77: An Irish phrase for being in a scrape.]

[Footnote 78: The title given him by M. Lamartine, in one of his Poems.]

       *       *       *       *       *

In the separation that had now taken place between Count Guiccioli and
his wife, it was one of the conditions that the lady should, in future,
reside under the paternal roof:--in consequence of which, Madame
Guiccioli, on the 16th of July, left Ravenna and retired to a villa
belonging to Count Gamba, about fifteen miles distant from that city.
Here Lord Byron occasionally visited her--about once or twice, perhaps,
in a month--passing the rest of his time in perfect solitude. To a mind
like his, whose world was within itself, such a mode of life could have
been neither new nor unwelcome; but to the woman, young and admired,
whose acquaintance with the world and its pleasures had but just begun,
this change was, it must be confessed, most sudden and trying. Count
Guiccioli was rich, and, as a young wife, she had gained absolute power
over him. She was proud, and his station placed her among the highest in
Ravenna. They had talked of travelling to Naples, Florence, Paris,--and
every luxury, in short, that wealth could command was at her disposal.

All this she now voluntarily and determinedly sacrificed for Byron. Her
splendid home abandoned--her relations all openly at war with her--her
kind father but tolerating, from fondness, what he could not
approve--she was now, upon a pittance of 200_l._ a year, living apart
from the world, her sole occupation the task of educating herself for
her illustrious friend, and her sole reward the few brief glimpses of
him which their now restricted intercourse allowed. Of the man who could
inspire and keep alive so devoted a feeling, it may be pronounced with
confidence that he could not have been such as, in the freaks of his own
wayward humour, he represented himself; while, on the lady's side, the
whole history of her attachment goes to prove how completely an Italian
woman, whether by nature or from her social position, is led to invert
the usual course of such frailties among ourselves, and, weak in
resisting the first impulses of passion, to reserve the whole strength
of her character for a display of constancy and devotedness afterwards.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 380. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, July 17. 1820.

     "I have received some books, and Quarterlies, and Edinburghs, for
     all which I am grateful: they contain all I know of England, except
     by Galignani's newspaper.

     "The tragedy is completed, but now comes the task of copy and
     correction. It is very long, (42 _sheets_ of long paper, of four
     pages each,) and I believe must make more than 140 or 150 pages,
     besides many historical extracts as notes, which I mean to append.
     History is closely followed. Dr. Moore's account is in some
     respects false, and in all foolish and flippant. _None_ of the
     chronicles (and I have consulted Sanuto, Sandi, Navagero, and an
     anonymous Siege of Zara, besides the histories of Laugier, Daru,
     Sismondi, &c.) state, or even hint, that he begged his life; they
     merely say that he did not deny the conspiracy. He was one of their
     great men,--commanded at the siege of Zara,--beat 80,000
     Hungarians, killing 8000, and at the same time kept the town he was
     besieging in order,--took Capo d'Istria,--was ambassador at Genoa,
     Rome, and finally Doge, where he fell for treason, in attempting to
     alter the government, by what Sanuto calls a judgment on him for,
     many years before (when Podesta and Captain of Treviso), having
     knocked down a bishop, who was sluggish in carrying the host at a
     procession. He 'saddles him,' as Thwackum did Square, 'with a
     judgment;' but he does not mention whether he had been punished at
     the time for what would appear very strange, even now, and must
     have been still more so in an age of papal power and glory. Sanuto
     says, that Heaven took away his senses for this buffet, and induced
     him to conspire. 'Però fù permesso che il Faliero perdette
     l'intelletto,' &c.

     "I do not know what your parlour-boarders will think of the Drama I
     have founded upon this extraordinary event. The only similar one in
     history is the story of Agis, King of Sparta, a prince _with_ the
     commons against the aristocracy, and losing his life therefor. But
     it shall be sent when copied.

     "I should be glad to know why your Quarter_ing_ Reviewers, at the
     close of 'The Fall of Jerusalem,' accuse me of Manicheism? a
     compliment to which the sweetener of 'one of the mightiest spirits'
     by no means reconciles me. The poem they review is very noble; but
     could they not do justice to the writer without converting him into
     my religious antidote? I am not a Manichean, nor an _Any_-chean. I
     should like to know what harm my 'poeshies' have done? I can't tell
     what people mean by making me a hobgoblin."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 381. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, August 31. 1820.

     "I have '_put my soul_' into the tragedy (as you _if_ it); but you
     know that there are d----d souls as well as tragedies. Recollect
     that it is not a political play, though it may look like it: it is
     strictly historical. Read the history and judge.

     "Ada's picture is her mother's. I am glad of it--the mother made a
     good daughter. Send me Gifford's opinion, and never mind the
     Archbishop. I can neither send you away, nor give you a hundred
     pistoles, nor a better taste: I send you a tragedy, and you ask for
     'facetious epistles;' a little like your predecessor, who advised
     Dr. Prideaux to 'put some more humour into his Life of Mahomet.'

     "Bankes is a wonderful fellow. There is hardly one of my school or
     college contemporaries that has not turned out more or less
     celebrated. Peel, Palmerstone, Bankes, Hobhouse, Tavistock, Bob
     Mills, Douglas Kinnaird, &c. &c. have all talked and been talked
     about.

     "We are here going to fight a little next month, if the Huns don't
     cross the Po, and probably if they do. I can't say more now. If any
     thing happens, you have matter for a posthumous work, in MS.; so
     pray be civil. Depend upon it, there will be savage work, if once
     they begin here. The French courage proceeds from vanity, the
     German from phlegm, the Turkish from fanaticism and opium, the
     Spanish from pride, the English from coolness, the Dutch from
     obstinacy, the Russian from insensibility, but the _Italian_ from
     _anger_; so you'll see that they will spare nothing."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 382. TO MR. MOORE.

     "Ravenna, August 31, 1820.

     "D----n your 'mezzo cammin[79]'--you should say 'the prime of
     life,' a much more consolatory phrase. Besides, it is not correct.
     I was born in 1788, and consequently am but thirty-two. You are
     mistaken on another point. The 'Sequin Box' never came into
     requisition, nor is it likely to do so. It were better that it had,
     for then a man is not _bound_, you know. As to reform, I did
     reform--what would you have? 'Rebellion lay in his way, and he
     found it.' I verily believe that nor you, nor any man of poetical
     temperament, can avoid a strong passion of some kind. It is the
     poetry of life. What should I have known or written, had I been a
     quiet, mercantile politician, or a lord in waiting? A man must
     travel, and turmoil, or there is no existence. Besides, I only
     meant to be a Cavalier Servente, and had no idea it would turn out
     a romance, in the Anglo fashion.

     "However, I suspect I know a thing or two of Italy--more than Lady
     Morgan has picked up in her posting. What do Englishmen know of
     Italians beyond their museums and saloons--and some hack * *, _en
     passant_? Now, I have lived in the heart of their houses, in parts
     of Italy freshest and least influenced by strangers,--have seen and
     become (_pars magna fui_) a portion of their hopes, and fears, and
     passions, and am almost inoculated into a family. This is to see
     men and things as they are.

     "You say that I called you 'quiet [80]'--I don't recollect any
     thing of the sort. On the contrary, you are always in scrapes.

     "What think you of the Queen? I hear Mr. Hoby says, 'that it makes
     him weep to see her, she reminds him so much of Jane Shore.'

        "Mr. Hoby the bootmaker's heart is quite sore,
        For seeing the Queen makes him think of Jane Shore;
        And, in fact, * *

     Pray excuse this ribaldry. What is your poem about? Write and tell
     me all about it and you.

     "Yours, &c.

     "P.S. Did you write the lively quiz on Peter Bell? It has wit
     enough to be yours, and almost too much to be any body else's now
     going. It was in Galignani the other day or week."

[Footnote 79: I had congratulated him upon arriving at what Dante calls
the "mezzo cammin" of life, the age of thirty-three.]

[Footnote 80: I had mistaken the concluding words of his letter of the
9th of June.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 383. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, September 7. 1820.

     "In correcting the proofs you must refer to the _manuscript_,
     because there are in it various readings. Pray attend to this, and
     choose what Gifford thinks best, Let me hear what he thinks of the
     whole.

     "You speak of Lady * *'s illness; she is not of those who die:--the
     amiable only do; and those whose death would _do good_ live.
     Whenever she is pleased to return, it may be presumed she will take
     her 'divining rod' along with her: it may be of use to her at home,
     as well as to the 'rich man' of the Evangelists.

     "Pray do not let the papers paragraph me back to England. They may
     say what they please, any loathsome abuse but that. Contradict it.

     "My last letters will have taught you to expect an explosion here:
     it was primed and loaded, but they hesitated to fire the train. One
     of the cities shirked from the league. I cannot write more at large
     for a thousand reasons. Our 'puir hill folk' offered to strike, and
     raise the first banner, but Bologna paused; and now 'tis autumn,
     and the season half over. 'O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!' The Huns are on
     the Po; but if once they pass it on their way to Naples, all Italy
     will be behind them. The dogs--the wolves--may they perish like the
     host of Sennacherib! If you want to publish the Prophecy of Dante,
     you never will have a better time."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 384. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, Sept. 11. 1820.

     "Here is another historical _note_ for you. I want to be as near
     truth as the drama can be.

     "Last post I sent you a note fierce as Faliero himself[81], in
     answer to a trashy tourist, who pretends that he could have been
     introduced to me. Let me have a proof of it, that I may cut its
     lava into some shape.

     "What Gifford says is very consolatory (of the first act). English,
     sterling _genuine English_, is a desideratum amongst you, and I am
     glad that I have got so much left; though Heaven knows how I
     retain it: I _hear_ none but from my valet, and his is
     _Nottinghamshire_: and I _see_ none but in your new publications,
     and theirs is _no_ language at all, but jargon. Even your * * * *
     is terribly stilted and affected, with '_very, very_' so soft and
     pamby.

     "Oh! if ever I do come amongst you again, I will give you such a
     'Baviad and Mæviad!' not as good as the old, but even _better
     merited_. There never was such a _set_ as your _ragamuffins_ (I
     mean _not_ yours only, but every body's). What with the Cockneys,
     and the Lakers, and the _followers_ of Scott, and Moore, and Byron,
     you are in the very uttermost decline and degradation of
     literature. I can't think of it without all the remorse of a
     murderer. I wish that Johnson were alive again to crush them!"

[Footnote 81: The angry note against English travellers appended to this
tragedy, in consequence of an assertion made by some recent tourist,
that he (or as it afterwards turned out, she) "had repeatedly declined
an introduction to Lord Byron while in Italy."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 385. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, Sept. 14. 1820.

     "What! not a line? Well, have it your own way.

     "I wish you would inform Perry, that his stupid paragraph is the
     cause of all my newspapers being stopped in Paris. The fools
     believe me in your infernal country, and have not sent on their
     gazettes, so that I know nothing of your beastly trial of the
     Queen.

     "I cannot avail myself of Mr. Gifford's remarks, because I have
     received none, except on the first act. Yours, &c.

     "P.S. Do, pray, beg the editors of papers to say any thing
     blackguard they please; but not to put me amongst their arrivals.
     They do me more mischief by such nonsense than all their abuse can
     do."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 386. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, Sept. 21. 1820.

     "So you are at your old tricks again. This is the second packet I
     have received unaccompanied by a single line of good, bad, or
     indifferent. It is strange that you have never forwarded any
     further observations of Gifford's. How am I to alter or amend, if I
     hear no further? or does this silence mean that it is well enough
     as it is, or too bad to be repaired? If the last, why do you not
     say so at once, instead of playing pretty, while you know that soon
     or late you must out with the truth.

     "Yours, &c.

     "P.S. My sister tells me that you sent to her to enquire where I
     was, believing in my arrival, _driving a curricle_, &c. &c. into
     Palace-yard. Do you think me a coxcomb or a madman, to be capable
     of such an exhibition? My sister knew me better, and told you, that
     could not be me. You might as well have thought me entering on 'a
     pale horse,' like Death in the Revelations."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 387. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, Sept. '23. 1820.

     "Get from Mr. Hobhouse, and send me a proof (with the Latin) of my
     Hints from Horace; it has now the _nonum prematur in annum_
     complete for its production, being written at Athens in 1811. I
     have a notion that, with some omissions of names and passages, it
     will do; and I could put my late observations _for_ Pope amongst
     the notes, with the date of 1820, and so on. As far as
     versification goes, it is good; and, on looking back to what I
     wrote about that period, I am astonished to see how _little_ I have
     trained on. I wrote better then than now; but that comes of my
     having fallen into the atrocious bad taste of the times. If I can
     trim it for present publication, what with the other things you
     have of mine, you will have a volume or two of _variety_ at least,
     for there will be all measures, styles, and topics, whether good or
     no. I am anxious to hear what Gifford thinks of the tragedy: pray
     let me know. I really do not know what to think myself.

     "If the Germans pass the Po, they will be treated to a mass out of
     the Cardinal de Retz's _Breviary_. * *'s a fool, and could not
     understand this: Frere will. It is as pretty a conceit as you would
     wish to see on a summer's day.

     "Nobody here believes a word of the evidence against the Queen. The
     very mob cry shame against their countrymen, and say, that for half
     the money spent upon the trial, any testimony whatever may be
     brought out of Italy. This you may rely upon as fact. I told you as
     much before. As to what travellers report, what _are travellers_?
     Now I have _lived_ among the Italians--not _Florenced_, and
     _Romed_, and galleried, and conversationed it for a few months, and
     then home again; but been of their families, and friendships, and
     feuds, and loves, and councils, and correspondence, in a part of
     Italy least known to foreigners,--and have been amongst them of all
     classes, from the Conte to the Contadine; and you may be sure of
     what I say to you.

     "Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 388. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, Sept. 28. 1820.

     "I thought that I had told you long ago, that it never was intended
     nor written with any view to the stage. I have said so in the
     preface too. It is too long and too regular for your stage, the
     persons too few, and the _unity_ too much observed. It is more like
     a play of Alfieri's than of your stage (I say this humbly in
     speaking of that great man); but there is poetry, and it is equal
     to Manfred, though I know not what esteem is held of Manfred.

     "I have now been nearly as long _out_ of England as I was there
     during the time I saw you frequently. I came home July 14th, 1811,
     and left again April 25th, 1816: so that Sept. 28th, 1820, brings
     me within a very few months of the same duration of time of my stay
     and my absence. In course, I can know nothing of the public taste
     and feelings, but from what I glean from letters, &c. Both seem to
     be as bad as possible.

     "I thought _Anastasius excellent_: did I not say so? Matthews's
     Diary most excellent; it, and Forsyth, and parts of Hobhouse, are
     all we have of truth or sense upon Italy. The Letter to Julia very
     good indeed, I do not despise * * * * * *; but if she knit blue
     stockings instead of wearing them, it would be better. _You_ are
     taken in by that false stilted trashy style, which is a mixture of
     all the styles of the day, which are _all bombastic_ (I don't
     except my _own_--no one has done more through negligence to corrupt
     the language); but it is neither English nor poetry. Time will
     show.

     "I am sorry Gifford has made no further remarks beyond the first
     Act: does he think all the English equally sterling as he thought
     the first? You did right to send the proofs: I was a fool; but I do
     really detest the sight of proofs: it is an absurdity; but comes
     from laziness.

     "You can steal the two Juans into the world quietly, tagged to the
     others. The play as you will--the Dante too; but the _Pulci_ I am
     proud of: it is superb; you have no such translation. It is the
     best thing I ever did in my life. I wrote the play from beginning
     to end, and not a _single scene without interruption_, and being
     obliged to break off in the middle; for I had my hands full, and my
     head, too, just then; so it can be no great shakes--I mean the
     play; and the head too, if you like.

     "P.S. Politics here still savage and uncertain. However, we are all
     in our 'bandaliers,' to join the 'Highlanders if they cross the
     Forth,' _i.e._ to crush the Austrians if they cross the Po. The
     rascals!--and that dog Liverpool, to say their subjects are
     _happy_! If ever I come back, I'll work some of these ministers.

     "Sept. 29.

     "I opened my letter to say, that on reading _more_ of the four
     volumes on Italy, where the author says 'declined an introduction,'
     I perceive (_horresco referens_) it is written by a WOMAN!!! In
     that case you must suppress my note and answer, and all I have said
     about the book and the writer. I never dreamed of it until now, in
     my extreme wrath at that precious note. I can only say that I am
     sorry that a lady should say any thing of the kind. What I would
     have said to one of the other sex you know already. Her book too
     (as a _she_ book) is not a bad one; but she evidently don't know
     the Italians, or rather don't like them, and forgets the _causes_
     of their misery and profligacy (_Matthews_ and _Forsyth_ are your
     men for truth and tact), and has gone over Italy in
     _company_--_always_ a _bad_ plan: you must be _alone_ with people
     to know them well. Ask her, who was the '_descendant of Lady M.W.
     Montague_,' and by whom? by Algarotti?

     "I suspect that, in Marino Faliero, you and yours won't like the
     _politics_, which are perilous to you in these times; but recollect
     that it is _not a political_ play, and that I was obliged to put
     into the mouths of the characters the sentiments upon which they
     acted. I hate all things written like Pizarro, to represent France,
     England, and so forth. All I have done is meant to be purely
     Venetian, even to the very prophecy of its present state.

     "Your Angles in general know little of the _Italians_, who detest
     them for their numbers and their GENOA treachery. Besides, the
     English travellers have not been composed of the best company. How
     could they?--out of 100,000, how many gentlemen were there, or
     honest men?

     "Mitchell's Aristophanes is excellent. Send me the rest of it.

     "These fools will force me to write a book about Italy myself, to
     give them 'the loud lie.' They prate about assassination; what is
     it but the origin of duelling--and '_a wild justice_,' as Lord
     Bacon calls it? It is the fount of the modern point of honour in
     what the laws can't or _won't_ reach. Every man is liable to it
     more or less, according to circumstances or place. For instance, I
     am living here exposed to it daily, for I have happened to make a
     powerful and unprincipled man my enemy;--and I never sleep the
     worse for it, or ride in less solitary places, because precaution
     is useless, and one thinks of it as of a disease which may or may
     not strike. It is true that there are those here, who, if he did,
     would 'live to think on't;' but that would not awake my bones: I
     should be sorry if it would, were they once at rest."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 389. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, 8bre 6°, 1820.

     "You will have now received all the Acts, corrected, of the Marino
     Faliero. What you say of the 'bet of 100 guineas' made by some one
     who says that he saw me last week, reminds me of what happened in
     1810: you can easily ascertain the fact, and it is an odd one.

     "In the latter end of 1811, I met one evening at the Alfred my old
     school and form fellow (for we were within two of each other, _he_
     the higher, though both very near the top of our remove,) _Peel_,
     the Irish secretary. He told me that, in 1810, he met me, as he
     thought, in St. James's Street, but we passed without speaking. He
     mentioned this, and it was denied as impossible, I being then in
     Turkey. A day or two afterward, he pointed out to his brother a
     person on the opposite side of the way:--'There,' said he, 'is the
     man whom I took for Byron.' His brother instantly answered, 'Why,
     it is Byron, and no one else.' But this is not all:--I was _seen_
     by somebody to _write down my name_ amongst the enquirers after the
     King's health, then attacked by insanity. Now, at this very period,
     as nearly as I could make out, I was ill of a _strong fever_ at
     Patras, caught in the marshes near Olympia, from the _malaria_. If
     I had died there, this would have been a new ghost story for you.
     You can easily make out the accuracy of this from Peel himself, who
     told it in detail. I suppose you will be of the opinion of
     Lucretius, who (denies the immortality of the soul, but) asserts
     that from the 'flying off of the surfaces of bodies, these surfaces
     or cases, like the coats of an onion, are sometimes seen entire
     when they are separated from it, so that the shapes and shadows of
     both the dead and living are frequently beheld.'

     "But if they are, are their coats and waistcoats also seen? I do
     not disbelieve that we may be two by some unconscious process, to a
     certain sign, but which of these two I happen at present to be, I
     leave you to decide. I only hope that _t'other me_ behaves like a
     gemman.

     "I wish you would get Peel asked how far I am accurate in my
     recollection of what he told me; for I don't like to say such
     things without authority.

     "I am not sure that I was _not spoken_ with; but this also you can
     ascertain. I have written to you such letters that I stop.

     "Yours, &c.

     "P.S. Last year (in June, 1819), I met at Count Mosti's, at
     Ferrara, an Italian who asked me 'if I knew Lord Byron?' I told him
     _no_ (no one knows himself, _you_ know). 'Then,' says he, 'I do; I
     met him at Naples the other day.' I pulled out my card and asked
     him if that was the way he spelt his name: he answered, _yes_. I
     suspect that it was a blackguard navy surgeon, who attended a young
     travelling madam about, and passed himself for a lord at the
     post-houses. He was a vulgar dog--quite of the cock-pit order--and
     a precious representative I must have had of him, if it was even
     so; but I don't know. He passed himself off as a gentleman, and
     squired about a Countess * * (of this place), then at Venice, an
     ugly battered woman, of bad morals even for Italy."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 390. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, 8bre 8°, 1820.

     "Foscolo's letter is exactly the thing wanted; firstly, because he
     is a man of genius; and, next, because he is an Italian, and
     therefore the best judge of Italics. Besides,

        "He's more an antique Roman than a Dane;

     that is, he is more of the ancient Greek than of the modern
     Italian. Though 'somewhat,' as Dugald Dalgetty says, 'too wild and
     sa_l_vage' (like 'Ronald of the Mist'), 'tis a wonderful man, and
     my friends Hobhouse and Rose both swear by him; and they are good
     judges of men and of Italian humanity.

        "Here are in all _two_ worthy voices gain'd:

     Gifford says it is good 'sterling genuine English,' and Foscolo
     says that the characters are right Venetian. Shakspeare and Otway
     had a million of advantages over me, besides the incalculable one
     of being _dead_ from one to two centuries, and having been both
     born blackguards (which ARE such attractions to the gentle living
     reader); let me then preserve the only one which I could possibly
     have--that of having been at Venice, and entered more into the
     local spirit of it. I claim no more.

     "I know what Foscolo means about Calendaro's _spitting_ at Bertram;
     _that's_ national--the objection, I mean. The Italians and French,
     with those 'flags of abomination,' their pocket handkerchiefs, spit
     there, and here, and every where else--in your face almost, and
     therefore _object_ to it on the stage as _too familiar_. But we who
     _spit_ nowhere--but in a man's face when we grow savage--are not
     likely to feel this. Remember _Massinger_, and Kean's Sir Giles
     Overreach--

        "Lord! _thus_ I _spit_ at thee and at thy counsel!

     Besides, Calendaro does _not_ spit in Bertram's face; he spits _at_
     him, as I have seen the Mussulmans do upon the ground when they are
     in a rage. Again, he _does not in fact despise_ Bertram, though he
     affects it--as we all do, when angry with one we think our
     inferior. He is angry at not being allowed to die in his own way
     (although not afraid of death); and recollect that he suspected and
     hated Bertram from the first. Israel Bertuccio, on the other hand,
     is a cooler and more concentrated fellow: he acts upon _principle
     and impulse_; Calendaro upon _impulse_ and _example_.

     "So there's argument for you.

     "The Doge _repeats_;--_true_, but it is from engrossing passion,
     and because he sees _different_ persons, and is always obliged to
     recur to the _cause_ uppermost in his mind. His speeches are
     long:--true, but I wrote for the _closet_, and on the French and
     Italian model rather than yours, which I think not very highly of,
     for all your _old_ dramatists, who are long enough too, God
     knows:--_look_ into any of them.

     "I return you Foscolo's letter, because it alludes also to his
     private affairs. I am sorry to see such a man in straits, because I
     know what they are, or what they were. I never met but three men
     who would have held out a finger to me: one was yourself, the other
     William Bankes, and the other a nobleman long ago dead: but of
     these the first was the only one who offered it while I _really_
     wanted it; the second from good will--but I was not in need of
     Bankes's aid, and would not have accepted it if I had (though I
     love and esteem him); and the _third_ --------.[82]

     "So you see that I have seen some strange things in my time. As for
     your own offer, it was in 1815, when I was in actual uncertainty of
     five pounds. I rejected it; but I have not forgotten it, although
     you probably have.

     "P.S. Foscolo's Ricciardo was lent, with the _leaves uncut_, to
     some Italians, now in villeggiatura, so that I have had no
     opportunity of hearing their decision, or of reading it. They
     seized on it as Foscolo's, and on account of the beauty of the
     paper and printing, directly. If I find it takes, I will reprint it
     _here_. The Italians think as highly of Foscolo as they can of any
     man, divided and miserable as they are, and with neither leisure at
     present to read, nor head nor heart to judge of any thing but
     extracts from French newspapers and the Lugano Gazette.

     "We are all looking at one another, like wolves on their prey in
     pursuit, only waiting for the first falling on to do unutterable
     things. They are a great world in chaos, or angels in hell, which
     you please; but out of chaos came Paradise, and out of hell--I
     don't know what; but the devil went _in_ there, and he was a fine
     fellow once, you know.

     "You need never favour me with any periodical publication, except
     the Edinburgh Quarterly, and an occasional Blackwood; or now and
     then a Monthly Review; for the rest I do not feel curiosity enough
     to look beyond their covers.

     "To be sure I took in the British finely. He fell precisely into
     the glaring trap laid for him. It was inconceivable how he could be
     so absurd as to imagine us serious with him.

     "Recollect, that if you put my name to 'Don Juan' in these canting
     days, any lawyer might oppose my guardian right of my daughter in
     Chancery, on the plea of its containing the _parody_;--such are the
     perils of a foolish jest. I was not aware of this at the time, but
     you will find it correct, I believe; and you may be sure that the
     Noels would not let it slip. Now I prefer my child to a poem at any
     time, and so should you, as having half a dozen.

     "Let me know your notions.

     "If you turn over the earlier pages of the Huntingdon peerage
     story, you will see how common a name Ada was in the early
     Plantagenet days. I found it in my own pedigree in the reign of
     John and Henry, and gave it to my daughter. It was also the name of
     Charlemagne's sister. It is in an early chapter of Genesis, as the
     name of the wife of Lamech; and I suppose Ada is the feminine of
     _Adam_. It is short, ancient, vocalic, and had been in my family;
     for which reason I gave it to my daughter."

[Footnote 82: The paragraph is left thus imperfect in the original.]

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 391. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, 8bre 12°, 1820.

     "By land and sea carriage a considerable quantity of books have
     arrived; and I am obliged and grateful: but 'medio de fonte
     leporum, surgit amari aliquid,' &c. &c.; which, being interpreted,
     means,

        "I'm thankful for your books, dear Murray;
        But why not send Scott's Monast_ery_?

     the only book in four _living_ volumes I would give a baioccolo to
     see--'bating the rest of the same author, and an occasional
     Edinburgh and Quarterly, as brief chroniclers of the times. Instead
     of this, here are Johnny Keats's * * poetry, and three novels by
     God knows whom, except that there is Peg * * *'s name to one of
     them--a spinster whom I thought we had sent back to her spinning.
     Crayon is very good; Hogg's Tales rough, but RACY, and welcome.

     "Books of travels are expensive, and I don't want them, having
     travelled already; besides, they lie. Thank the author of 'The
     Profligate' for his (or her) present. Pray send me _no more_ poetry
     but what is rare and decidedly good. There is such a trash of Keats
     and the like upon my tables that I am ashamed to look at them. I
     say nothing against your parsons, your S * *s and your C * *s--it
     is all very fine--but pray dispense me from the pleasure. Instead
     of poetry, if you will favour me with a few soda-powders, I shall
     be delighted: but all prose ('bating _travels_ and novels NOT by
     Scott) is welcome, especially Scott's Tales of my Landlord, and so
     on.

     "In the notes to Marino Faliero, it may be as well to say that
     '_Benintende_' was not really of _the Ten_, but merely _Grand
     Chancellor_, a separate office (although important): it was an
     arbitrary alteration of mine. The Doges too were all _buried_ in
     St. _Mark's before_ Faliero. It is singular that when his
     predecessor, Andrea Dandolo, died, _the Ten_ made a law that _all_
     the _future Doges_ should be _buried with their families, in their
     own churches,--one would think by a kind of presentiment_. So that
     all that is said of his _ancestral Doges_, as buried at St. John's
     and Paul's, is altered from the fact, _they being in St. Mark's.
     Make a note_ of this, and put _Editor_ as the subscription to it.

     "As I make such pretensions to accuracy, I should not like to be
     _twitted_ even with such trifles on that score. Of the play they
     may say what they please, but not so of my costume and _dram.
     pers._ they having been real existences.

     "I omitted Foscolo in my list of living _Venetian worthies, in the
     notes_, considering him as an _Italian_ in general, and not a mere
     provincial like the rest; and as an Italian I have spoken of him in
     the preface to Canto 4th of Childe Harold.

     "The French translation of us!!! _oimè! oimè!_--the German; but I
     don't understand the latter and his long dissertation at the end
     about the Fausts. Excuse haste. Of politics it is not safe to
     speak, but nothing is decided as yet.

     "I am in a very fierce humour at not having Scott's Monastery. You
     are _too liberal_ in quantity, and somewhat careless of the
     quality, of your missives. All the _Quarterlies_ (four in number) I
     had had before from you, and _two_ of the Edinburgh; but no matter;
     we shall have new ones by and by. No more Keats, I entreat:--flay
     him alive; if some of you don't, I must skin him myself. There is
     no bearing the drivelling idiotism of the manikin.

     "I don't feel inclined to care further about 'Don Juan.' What do
     you think a very pretty Italian lady said to me the other day? She
     had read it in the French, and paid me some compliments, with due
     DRAWBACKS, upon it. I answered that what she said was true, but
     that I suspected it would live longer than Childe Harold. '_Ah
     but_' (said she). '_I would rather have the fame of Childe Harold
     for three years than an_ IMMORTALITY _of Don Juan!_' The truth is
     that _it is_ TOO TRUE, and the women hate many things which strip
     off the tinsel of _sentiment_; and they are right, as it would rob
     them of their weapons. I never knew a woman who did not hate _De
     Grammont's Memoirs_ for the same reason: even Lady * * used to
     abuse them.

     "Rose's work I never received. It was seized at Venice. Such is the
     liberality of the Huns, with their two hundred thousand men, that
     they dare not let such a volume as his circulate."

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 392. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, 8bre 16°, 1820.

     "The Abbot has just arrived; many thanks; as also for the
     _Monastery--when you send it!!!_

     "The Abbot will have a more than ordinary interest for me, for an
     ancestor of mine by the mother's side, Sir J. Gordon of Gight, the
     handsomest of his day, died on a scaffold at Aberdeen for his
     loyalty to Mary, of whom he was an imputed paramour as well as her
     relation. His fate was much commented on in the Chronicles of the
     times. If I mistake not, he had something to do with her escape
     from Loch Leven, or with her captivity there. But this you will
     know better than I.

     "I recollect Loch Leven as it were but yesterday. I saw it in my
     way to England in 1798, being then ten years of age. My mother, who
     was as haughty as Lucifer with her descent from the Stuarts, and
     her right line from the _old Gordons, not the Seyton Gordons_, as
     she disdainfully termed the ducal branch, told me the story, always
     reminding me how superior _her_ Gordons were to the southern
     Byrons, notwithstanding our Norman, and always masculine descent,
     which has never lapsed into a female, as my mother's Gordons had
     done in her own person.

     "I have written to you so often lately, that the brevity of this
     will be welcome. Yours," &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

LETTER 393. TO MR. MURRAY.

     "Ravenna, 8bre 17°, 1820.

     "Enclosed is the Dedication of Marino Faliero to _Goethe_.
     Query,--is his title _Baron_ or not? I think yes. Let me know your
     opinion, and so forth.

     "P.S. Let me know what Mr. Hobhouse and you have decided about the
     two prose letters and their publication.

     "I enclose you an Italian abstract of the German translator of
     Manfred's Appendix, in which you will perceive quoted what Goethe
     says of the _whole body_ of English poetry (and _not_ of me in
     particular). On this the Dedication is founded, as you will
     perceive, though I had thought of it before, for I look upon him as
     a great man."

       *       *       *       *       *

The very singular Dedication transmitted with this letter has never
before been published, nor, as far as I can learn, ever reached the
hands of the illustrious German. It is written in the poet's most
whimsical and mocking mood; and the unmeasured severity poured out in it
upon the two favourite objects of his wrath and ridicule compels me to
deprive the reader of some of its most amusing passages.

DEDICATION TO BARON GOETHE, &c. &c. &c.

     "Sir,--In the Appendix to an English work lately translated into
     German and published at Leipsic, a judgment of yours upon English
     poetry is quoted as follows: 'That in English poetry, great genius,
     universal power, a feeling of profundity, with sufficient
     tenderness and force, are to be found; but that _altogether these
     do not constitute poets_,' &c. &c.

     "I regret to see a great man falling into a great mistake. This
     opinion of yours only proves that the '_Dictionary of ten thousand
     living English Authors_' has not been translated into German. You
     will have read, in your friend Schlegel's version, the dialogue in
     Macbeth--

          "'There are _ten thousand_!
        _Macbeth_. _Geese_, villain?
        _Answer_. _Authors_, sir.'

     Now, of these 'ten thousand authors,' there are actually nineteen
     hundred and eighty-seven poets, all alive at this moment, whatever
     their works may be, as their booksellers well know; and amongst
     these there are several who possess a far greater reputation than
     mine, although considerably less than yours. It is owing to this
     neglect on the part of your German translators that you are not
     aware of the works of * * *.

     "There is also another, named * * * *

     "I mention these poets by way of sample to enlighten you. They form
     but two bricks of our Babel, (WINDSOR bricks, by the way,) but may
     serve for a specimen of the building.

     "It is, moreover, asserted that 'the predominant character of the
     whole body of the present English poetry is a _disgust_ and
     _contempt_ for life.' But I rather suspect that, by one single work
     of _prose_, _you_ yourself have excited a greater contempt for life
     than all the English volumes of poesy that ever were written.
     Madame de Staël says, that 'Werther has occasioned more suicides
     than the most beautiful woman;' and I really believe that he has
     put more individuals out of this world than Napoleon himself,
     except in the way of his profession. Perhaps, Illustrious Sir, the
     acrimonious judgment passed by a celebrated northern journal upon
     you in particular, and the Germans in general, has rather
     indisposed you towards English poetry as well as criticism. But you
     must not regard our critics, who are at bottom good-natured
     fellows, considering their two professions,--taking up the law in
     court, and laying it down out of it. No one can more lament their
     hasty and unfair judgment, in your particular, than I do; and I so
     expressed myself to your friend Schlegel, in 1816, at Coppet.

     "In behalf of my 'ten thousand' living brethren, and of myself, I
     have thus far taken notice of an opinion expressed with regard to
     'English poetry' in general, and which merited notice, because it
     was YOURS.

     "My principal object in addressing you was to testify my sincere
     respect and admiration of a man, who, for half a century, has led
     the literature of a great nation, and will go down to posterity as
     the first literary character of his age.

     "You have been fortunate, Sir, not only in the writings which have
     illustrated your name, but in the name itself, as being
     sufficiently musical for the articulation of posterity. In this you
     have the advantage of some of your countrymen, whose names would
     perhaps be immortal also--if any body could pronounce them.

     "It may, perhaps, be supposed, by this apparent tone of levity,
     that I am wanting in intentional respect towards you; but this will
     be a mistake: I am always flippant in prose. Considering you, as I
     really and warmly do, in common with all your own, and with most
     other nations, to be by far the first literary character which has
     existed in Europe since the death of Voltaire, I felt, and feel,
     desirous to inscribe to you the following work,--_not_ as being
     either a tragedy or a _poem_, (for I cannot pronounce upon its
     pretensions to be either one or the other, or both, or neither,)
     but as a mark of esteem and admiration from a foreigner to the man
     who has been hailed in Germany 'THE GREAT GOETHE.'

     "I have the honour to be,

     "With the truest respect,

     "Your most obedient and

     "Very humble servant,

     "BYRON.

     "Ravenna, 8bre 14°, 1820.

     "P.S. I perceive that in Germany, as well as in Italy, there is a
     great struggle about what they call '_Classical_' and
     '_Romantic_,'--terms which were not subjects of classification in
     England, at least when I left it four or five years ago. Some of
     the English scribblers, it is true, abused Pope and Swift, but the
     reason was that they themselves did not know how to write either
     prose or verse; but nobody thought them worth making a sect of.
     Perhaps there may be something of the kind sprung up lately, but I
     have not heard much about it, and it would be such bad taste that I
     shall be very sorry to believe it."


END OF THE FOURTH VOLUME.





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