ePub 版
[blocks in formation]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]




" In presenting these volumes to the public, I should bave

felt, I own, considerable diffidence, from a sincere distrust Laters and Journals of Lord Byron ; with Notices of his not well convinced that there is in the subject itself, and in Life By Thomas Moore. In Two Vols. Vol. I. | the rich variety of inatcrials here brought to illustrate it, a Landon John Murray. 1830. 4to.. Pp. 670. degree of attraction and interest which it would be difficult,

even for hands the most unskilful, to extinguish. HowIs mir hamable opiniont, this is the most interesting ever lamentable were the circumstances under which Lord iratk that hins issued from the British press since the Byron became estranged from his country, to his long abtruth of Lord Byron. Containing, as it does, (and wė, sence from England, during the most brilliant period of his of course, speak of the first volame alone, which is ali powers, we are indebted for all those interesting letters that the published, ) two fundred and forty-one origi- work, and which will be found equal, if not superior, in mal letters by Lord Byron, together with numerous ex.

point of vigour, variety, and liveliness, to any that have yet tracts from his private journals, memoranda, and unpub- adorned this branch of our literature, listed grens to say nothing of the rich thread of narra " What has been said of Petrarch, that his correspond tire up which they are strunig, we are not sure but that ence and verses together afford the progressive interest of a fredi Haring, by the polite attention of the publisher, Lord Byron, in whom the literary and the personal chaIt is een more interesting work than “Childe Harold” narrative in which the Poet is always identified with the been favoured with an early copy, we have devoted oursoires de it exclusively for the greater part of the last without the instructive commentary which his Life and

racter were so closely interwoven, that to have left his works Frek; and we have found the contents from beginning Correspondence afford, would have been equally an injusthe end so irresistible, that they have stood us in stead of tice both to himself and the world." both food and sleep. Here, at length, have we seen the

Without attempting to connect the extracts which we Righty problem of Byron's mind and character satisfac- shall now subjoin in any way than by a single explanaerity and fully solved; and now, for the first time, have tory remark in introducing them, and by observing a Fe been introduced iäto the private society and secret chronological order in their arrangement, we commence drughts of that mighty spirit, whose brief existence gave at once with the following passage, which is taken from sedar to the literature of an age. The work would one of Byron's own Note-books : bete bez, intensely interesting had it contained nothing bet a statement of facts, interspersed with Moore's obserthens tencerning them; but when; in addition to this, had never read a Review. But while at Harrow, my ge

“ Till I was eighteen years old, (odd as it may seem,) I - find that its still more prominent feature is, that it neral information was so great on modern topics, as to intams with the breathing thoughts and barning words of duce a suspicion that I could

only collect so much informaBiron himself, it becomes, beyond all doubt, the most va- tion from Reviews, because I was never seen reading, but bustle and important piece of biography, ever produced in always idle, and in mischjef, or at play. The truth is, that

I read eating, read in bed, read when no one else read, and bilst we are delighted, in no small degree, with the had read all sorts of reading since I was five years old, and tener in which Mr Moore performs his task-with yet never met with a Review, which is the only reason I te manly, candid, impartial, and dignified tone of his know of why I should not have read them. But it is true; Tative, we have been still more delighted to And, that for reinember when Hunter and Curzon, in 1804, told

me this opinion at Harrow, I made them laugh, by my luby malightened and generous views he is disposed to take dicrous astonishment, in asking them, "What is a Review?" the baracter of his deceased friend are amply—we may To be sure, they were then less common.

In three years triumphantly_borne out by the immense mass of more, I was better acquainted with that same; but the first pet's private documents, now for the first time I ever read was in 1806-7.

ta the public, and which form an almost inex “ At school I was (as I have said) remarked for the ex-, husble literary banquet. To this subject we must, tent and readiness of my general information ; but in all raste , rector at our earliest opportunity'; but we shall other respects idle, capable of great sudden exertions such

as thirty or forty Greek hexameters, of course with such te present intrude upon the patience of our readers prosody as it pleased God—but of few continuous drudge; Ceny farther remarks of our own, as we are anxious ries. My qualities were much more oratorical and martial pite them a foretaste, as far as lies in our power, of than poetical, and Dr Drury, my grand patron, (our head

pitasure they will receive from a complete perusal of master,) had a great potion that I should turn out an orapark itself

, which, however, cannot be generally tor, from my fluency, my turbulence, my voice, my copioustheir possession for some little time to come.

ness of declamation, and my action. I remember that my fer mentioning that the Dedication is in these words it Sir Walter Scott, Baronet, these volumes are in *" For this display of his declamatory powers, on the speech days, by bis affectionate friend, Thomas Moore,”

he selected always the most vehement passages, such as the speech & right to begin our extracts with the Preface, On one of these public occasions, when it was arranged that he should •

of Zanga over the body of Alonzo, and Lear's address to the storm. thongt short, cannot fail to convey to the reader take the part of Drances, and young Peel that of Turnus, Lo-d Bysent favourable impressions both of the work and -fearing, it was supposed, some ridicule from the inappropriate

taunt of Turnus,.' Ventosa in linguâ, pedibusque fugacibus iştis.'"

his reantry.


agtapher :

first declamation astonished him into some unwonted (for could meet again-being usually about twelve hours of sehe was economical of such ) and sudden compliments, before paration! But I was a fool then, and am not much wiser the declaimers at our first rehearsal. "My first Harrow now.' ”- Pp. 35, 6. “ verses, (that is, English, as exercises,), a translation of a chorus from the Prometheus of Æschylus, were received by

Tracing our hero a year or twoʻfarther on in his career, him but coolly. No one had the least notion that I should

we come to the celebrated attack made upon him in the subside into poesy.

Edinburgh Review : “ Peel, the orator and statesman, (“that was, or is, or is

LORD BYRON AND THE EDINBURGH REVIEW. to be,') was my form fellow, and we were both at the top “ The effect this criticism produced upon him can only be of our remove, (a public school phrase.) We were on good conceived by those who, besides having an adequate notion terms, but his brother was my intimate friend. There were of what most poets would feel under such an attack, can always great hopes of Peel amongst us all, masters and scho- understand all that there was in the temper and disposition lars; and he has not disappointed them. As a scholar, be of Lord Byron to make him feel it with tenfold more acutewas greatly my superior; as a declaimer and actor, I was ness than others. We have seen with what feverish anxiety reckoned at least his equal; as a school-boy, out of school, he awaited the verdict of all the minor reviews, and, from I was always in scrapes, and he never ; and in school, he his sensibility to the praise of the meanest of these censors, always knew his lesson, and I rarely; but when I knew it, may guess how painfully he must have writhed under the I knew it nearly as well. In general information, history, sneers of the highest. A friend, who found him in the first &c. &c. I think I was his superior, as well as of most boys moments of excitement after reading the article, enquired of my standing.

anxiously whether he had just received a challenge ?- not "The prodigy of our school-days was George Sinclair, (son knowing how else to account for the fierce defiance of his of Sir John); he made exercises for half the school (literally), looks. It would indeed be difficult for sculptor or painter verses at will, and themes without it.

He was a

to imagine a subject of more fearful beauty than the fine friend of mine, and in the same remove, and used, at times, countenance of the young poet must have exhibited in the to beg me to let him do my exercise a request always most collected energy of that crisis. His pride had been wounded readily accorded upon a pinch, or when I wanted to do to the quick, and bis ambition humbled :—but this feeling something else, which was usually once an hour. On the of humiliation lasted but for a moment. The very reaction other hand, he was pacific, and I savage ; so I fought for of his spirit against aggression roused him to a full conscious him, or thrashed others for him, or thrashed himself to make

ness of his own powers;' and the pain and the shame of him thrash others, when it was necessary, as a point of the injury were forgotten in the proud certainty of rehonour and stature, that he should so chastise; or we talked

venge. politics, for be was a great politician, and were very good " Among the less sentimental effects of this review upon friends. I have some of his letters, written to me from his mind, he used to mention that, on the day he read it, he school, still."-P. 40-2.

drank three bottles of claret, to his own share, after dinWe think it may be safely said, that it was not till he ner ;-that nothing, however, relieved him, till he had given saw Miss Chaworth that Byron ever seriously fell in vent to his indignation in rhyme, and that, after the first love; for, though he himself never quite forgot a boyish twenty, lines, he felt himself considerably better. His sentiment he entertained for a certain Mary Duff, before chief care, indeed, afterwards, was amiably devoted, -as

we have seen it was, in like manner, before the criticism,he was eight years old, it is evident that his subsequent to allaying, as far as he could, the sensitiveness of his moimagination alone could have magnified such a sentiment ther, who, not having the same motive or power to suminto real passion. At the age of twelve, however, he met mon up a spirit of resistance, was of course more helplessly with another young lady, who made a considerable im- alive to this attack upon his fame, and felt it far more than, pression upon him; and we shall therefore entitle our after the first burst of indignation, he did himself. But the next extract

state of his mind upon the subject will be best understood

by the following extract from a letter : LORD BYRON'S FIRST LOVE.

" • You have seen the Edinburgh Review, of course. I “ It was probably during one of the vacations of this regret that Mrs Byron is so much annoyed. For my own year, that the boyish love for his young cousin, Miss Parker, part, these paper bullets of the brain have only taught me to which he attributes the glory of having first inspired him to stand tire; and, as I have been lucky enough upon the with poetry, took possession of his fancy. My first dash whole, my repose and appetite are not discomposed. Pratt, into poetry, he says, was as early as 1800. It was the the gleaner, author, poet, &c. &c. addressed a long rhyming ébullition of a passion for my first cousin, Margaret Parker, epistle to me on the subject, by way of consolation ; but it (daughter and grand-daughter of the two Admirals Park was not well done, so I do not send it, though the name of er,) one of the most beautiful of evanescent beings. I have the man might make it go down. The E. R.s have not long forgotten the verses, but it would be difficult for me to performed their task well; at least, the literati tell me this, forget her-her dark eyes—her long eye-lashes

her com and I think I could write a more sarcastic critique on mypletely Greek cast of face and figure! I was then about self than any yet published. For instance, instead of the twelve-she, rather older, perhaps a year. She died about remark,-ill-natured enough, but not keen,about Maca year or two afterwards, in consequence of a fall, wbich Pherson, I (quoad Reviewers) could have said, • Alas! this injured her spine, and induced consumption. Her sister, imitation only proves the assertion of Doctor Johnson, that Augusta, (by some thought still more beautiful,) died of the many men, women, and children, could write such poetry as same malady; and it was, indeed, in attending her, that Ossian's.'”—P. 143-5. Margaret met with the accident which occasioned her own death. My sister told me, that when she went to see her, Reviewers," elicited by the severity of the latter, was

The publication of the “ English Bards and Scotch shortly before her death, upon accidentally mentioning my name, Margaret coloured through the paleness of mortality Byron's first steppivg-stone to literary eminence ; yet, to to the eyes, to the great astonishment of my sister, who (re- show how little malevolence there really existed in his siding with her grandmother, Lady Holderness, and seeing nature, we consider the following curious information but little of me, for family reasons) knew nothing of our concerning that satire, not the least interesting portion of attachment, nor could conceive why my name should affect the volume before us : her at such a time. I knew nothing of her illness, being at Harrow and in the country, till she was gone. Some


years after, I made an attempt at an elegy-a very dull one.*

.“ But wbatever may have been the faults or indiscretions “I do not recollect scarcely any thing equal to the trans- of this satire, there are few who would now sit in judgment parent beauty of my cousin, or to the sweetness of her tem- upon it so severely as did the author himself, on reading it per, during the short period of our intimacy. She looked over nine years after, when he had quitted England, never as if she had been made out of a rainbow-all beauty and

to return.' The copy which he then perused is now in the

possession of Mr Murray, and the remarks which he has peace.

My passion had its usual effects upon me. I could not sleep-I could not eat-I could not rest; and although I position that does not entirely discourage and intimidate us, has ra

“ 'Tis a quality very observable in human nature, that any ophad reason to know that she loved me, it was the texture ther a contrary effect, and inspires us with a more than ordinary of my life to think of the time which must elapse before we grandeur and magnanimity. In collecting our force to overcome the

opposition, we invigorate the soul, and give it an elevation with

which otherwise it would never have been acquainted." * “ This elegy is in his first (unpublished) volume."

Hume, Treatise of Human Nature.

left scribbled over its pages, are well worth transcribing.

LETTER TO SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART. On the first leaf we find The binding of this volume is considerably too valuable for its contents ! Nothing but the

“ St James's Street, July 6, 1812. cousideration of its being the property of another prevents “ Sir,- I have just been honoured with your letter. I me from consigning this miserable record of misplaced anger feel sorry that you should have thought it worth while to and indiscriminate acrimony to the flames. B.'-Opposite notice the evil works of my nonage,' as the thing is supthe passage,

pressed voluntarily, and your explanation is too kind not to

give me pain. The Satire was written when I was very to be misled

young and very angry, and fully bent on displaying my By Jeffrey's heart, or Lamb's Bæotian head,

wrath and my wit, and now I am haunted by the ghosts of is written, • This was not just. Neither the heart nor the my wholesale assertions. I cannot sufficiently thank you head of these gentlemen are at all what they are here repre- for your praise; and now, waving myself, lei me talk to sented.' Along the whole of the severe verses against Mr you of the Prince Regent." He ordered me to be presented Wordsworth, he has scrawled, · Unjust,' and the same ver

to him at a ball; and after some sayings, peculiarly pleasing. dict is affixed to those against Mr Coleridge. On his un from royal lips, as to my own attempts, he talked to me of measured attack upon Mr Bowles, the comment is, Too you, and your immortalities : he preferred you to every bard savage all this on Bowles;' and down the margin of the past and present, and asked which of your works pleased page containing the lines,'• Health to immortal Jeffrey,' me most. It was a difficult question. I answered, I thought &c. he writes, • Too ferocious—this is mere insanity,' –adů- the .Lay.' He said his own opinion was nearly similar. ing, on the verses that follow, (* Can none remember that In speaking of the others, I told him that I thought you eventful day?' &c.). All this is bad, because personal.' more particularly the Poet of Princes, as they never appearSometimes, however, he shows a disposition to stand by his ed more fascinating than in Marmion' and the Lady of original decisions. Thus, on the passage relating to a writer the Lake.'. He was pleased to coincide, and to dwell on of certain obscure Epics, (v. 379,) he says, “ All right;' add the description of your Jameses, as no less royal than poetiing of the same person, : I saw some letters of this fellow to cal. He spoke alternately of Homer and yourself, and an unfortunate poetess, whose productions (which the poor seemed well acquainted with both ; so that (with the exwoman by no means thought vainly of) he attacked so ception of the Turks and your humble servant) you were roughly and bitterly, that I could hardly regret a sailing in very good company. I defy Murray to have exaggerated him, even were it unjust, which it is not ; for, really, he bis Royal Highness's opinion of your powers, nor can I preis an ass.'. On the strong lines, too, (v. 953,) upon Clarke, tend to enumerate all he said on the subject; but it may (a writer in a Magazine called the Satirist,) he remarks,-- give you pleasure to hear that it was conveyed in language Right enough,—this was well deserved, and well laid on.' which would only suffer by my attempting to transcribe it, To the whole paragraph beginning, Illustrious Holland,' and with a tone and taste which gave me a very high idea are affixed the words, Bad enough; and on mistaken of his abilities and accomplishments, which I had hitherto grounds, besides.' The bitter verses against Lord Carlisle considered as confined to manners, certainly superior to those he pronounces • Wrong also—the provocation was not suffi- of any living gentleman. cient to justify such acerbity ;' and of a subsequent note re

“ 'This interview was accidental ; I never went to the specting the same nobleman, he says, “Much too savage,

levee ; for having seen the courts of Mussulman and Cathowhatever the foundation may be. of Rosa Matilda, lic sovereigns, my curiosity was sufficiently allayed; and (v. 738,) he tells us, She has since married the Morning my politics being as perverse as my rhymes, I had, in fact, Post, an exceeding good match.' To the verses, · When no business there.' To be thus praised by your Sovereign, some brisk youth, the tenant of a stall,' &c. he has append

must be gratifying to you; and if that gratitication is not ed the following interesting note :- This was meant at alloyed by the communication being made through me, the poor Blackett, who was then patronized by A. I. B.,*

bearer of it will consider himself very fortunately and sinbut that I did not know, or this would not have been writ- cerely your obliged and obedient servant, ten; at least, I think not.' Farther on, where Mr Camp

“ Byron. bell and other poets are mentioned, the following jingle on « P. S. Excuse this scrawl, scratched in a great hurry, the names of their respective poems is scribbled :

and just after a journey."-Pp. 359, 60. Pretty Miss Jacqueline

Our readers have not, of course, forgotten the meanHad a nose aquiline ;

spirited and vulgar Memoirs of Lord Byron, published And would assert rude

some time ago by Mr Leigh Hunt. The manner in Things of Miss Gertrude;

which Mr Moore alludes to this person, is to us infinitely While Mr Marmion

delightful ; and the calm tone of contempt with which Led a great army on,

he mentions him, must gall the Cockney to the quick, if Making Kehama look: Like a fierce Mamaluke.'

he has one spark of gentlemanly feeling in his whole

composition : Opposite the paragraph in praise of Mr Crabbe, he has

LORD BYRON'S FIRST INTERVIEW WITH LEIGH HUNT. written, I consider Crabbe and Coleridge as the first of these times in point of power and genius.' On his own

“ It was at this time that Lord Byron became acquaintline, in a subsequent paragraph, And glory, like the Phe- ed (and, I regret

to have to add, partiy through my means) nix ’mid her fires,' he says, comically, * The Devil take that with Mr Leigh Hunt, the editor of a well-known weekly Phenix-how came it there ?' and his concluding remark journal, the Eraminer. This gentleman I had myself on the whole poem is as follows:- The greater part of this formed an acquaintance with in the year 1811, and, in commtire, I most sincerely wish had never been written; not

mon with a large portion of the public, entertained a sincere only on account of the injustice of much of the critical, and interest I took in him personally had

been recently much

admiration of his talents and courage as a journalist. The some of the personal part of it, but the tone and temper are such as I cannot approve.


increased by the manly spirit which he had displayed

throughout a prosecution, instituted against himself and his * Diodati, Geneva, July 14, 1816.'”_P. 169-171.

brother, for a libel that had appeared in their paper on the After the publication of the two first cantos of “ Childe Prince Regent, and in consequence of which they were both Harold,” in 1812, Lord Byron passed, as it were, into a collected, that there existed among the Whig party, at this

sentenced to imprisonment for two years. It will be renew state of existence. From simply lingering round period, a strong feeling of indignation at the late defection, the base of the Parnassian hill, he at once stepped up to from themselves and their principles, of the illustrious perthe summit. His name became familiar in the mouths sonage, who had been so long looked up to as the friend and of men, and he himself was courted and flattered every- patron of both. Being myself, at the time, warmly-perwhere. Among other tributes to his fame, he had the haps intemperately-under the influence of this feeling, I honour of being presented to the present King, then regarded the fate of Mr Hunt with more than common inPrince Regent, and having occasion to write soon after- terest, and, immediately on my arrival in town, paid him a

visit in his prison. On mentioning the circumstance, soon wards to Sir Walter Scott, we find him mentioning the after, to Lord Byron, and describing my surprise at the particulars of this interview in the following terms : sort of luxurious comforts with which I found the wit in

the dungeon' surrounded_his trellised flower-garden with " Lady Byron, then Miss Milbank,"

out, and his books, busts, pictures, and piano-forte within

the noble poet, whose political view of the case coincided my draft, and go on as usual : in that case, we shall recur entirely with my own, expressed a strong wish to pay a si- to our former basis. That I was perfectly serious in wishmilar tribute of respect to Mr Hunt; and accordingly, a day ing to suppress all future publication, is true; but certainly or two after, we proceeded for that purpose to the prison. not to interfere with the convenience of others, and more The introduction which then took place was soon followed particularly your own. Some day, I will tell you the rea. by a request from Mr Hunt that he would dine with him, son of this apparently strange resolution. Ai present, it and the noble poet having good-naturedly accepted the invi- may be enough to say that I recall it at your suggestion ; tation, the Cold Bath Fields Prison had, in the month of and as it appears to have annoyed you, I lose no time in June, 1813, the honour of receiving Lord Byron, as a guest, saying so.-Yours truly,

• B.'" within its walls.

- Pp. 550, 1. “Our day in the prison was, if not agreeable, at least no

The event which, more than any other, coloured Lord vel and odd. I had, for Lord Byron's sake, stipulated with Byron's destiny, was his marriage. Of the ciacumstance our host beforehand, that the party should be, as much as possible, confined to ourselves;

and, as far as regarded din- which led to it we have the following account: ner, my wishes had been attended to,—there being present,

LORD BYRON'S PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE. besides a member or two of Mr Hunt's own family, no * The circumstance of importance to which he alludes other stranger, that I can recollect, but Mr Mitehell, the in this letter, was his second proposal for Miss Milbank, ingenious translator of Aristophanes. Soon after dinner, for which he was now waiting the result. His own achowever, there dropped in some of our host's literary count in his memoranda, of the circumstances that led to friends, who, being utter strangers to Lord Byron and my- this step, is in substance, as far as I can trust my recolletself, rather disturbed the ease into which we were all set- tion, as follows: A person who had for some time stood tling. Among these, I remember, was Mr John Scott, high in his affection and confidence, observing how cheer. the writer afterwards of some severe attacks upon Lord less and unsettled was the state both of his mind and proByron ; and it is painful to think that, among the persons spects, advised bim strenuously to marry; and after much there assembled, round the poet, there should have been one discussion he consented. The next point for consideration 60 soon to step forth the assailant of his living fame, while was, who was to be the ob;ect of his choice? and while another, less manful, would reserve the cool venom for his his friend mentioned one lady, he himself named Miss Milgrave.”-P. 400-2.

bank. To this, however, his adviser strongly objected, In a remarkable mood of mind which overtook him in remarking to him that Miss Milbank had at prevent no for1814, Lord Byron formed a sudden resolution not only tune, and that his embarrassed affairs would not allow him never to write another word, but to purchase back the co- lady, which would not at all suit him. In consequence of these

to marry without one; that she was, moreover, a learned pyright of all his previous works, and suppress every line representations, he agreed that his friend should write a pro of them. The following extract explains his feelings upon posal for him to the other lady named, which was accordingly this subject.

done, and an answer, containing a refusal, arrived as they LORD BYRON'S DETERMINATION TO SUPPRESS HIS WORKS.

were, one morning, sitting together. "You see,' said Lord “ In this sensitive state of mind, which he but ill dis Byron, that after all, Miss Milbank is to be the person; gaised or relieved by an exterior of gay defiance or philoso I will write to her. He accordingly wrote on the me phic contempt, we can hardly feel surprised that he should ment, and as soon as he had finished, his friend, remonstrahave, all at once, come to the resolution, not only of perse ting still strongly against his choice, took up the letter ; but vering in his determination to write no more in future, bat

on reading it over, observed, Well, really, this is a very of purchasing back the whole of his past copyrights,' and pretty letter ;-it is a pity it should not go. I never read a suppressing every page and line he had ever written. On prettier one.' - Then it shall go,' said Lord Byron; and his first mention of this design, Mr Murray naturally

so saying, sealed and sent off on the instant this fiat of his doubted as to his seriousness; but the arrival of the follow

fate. ing letter, enclosing a draft for the amount of the copyrights, put his intentions beyond question :

Newstead Abbey, Sept. 20, 1814.. * To Me Murray.

“ Here's to her who long • 2, Albany, April 29, 1814.

Hath waked the Poet's sigh! Dear Sir, I enclose a draft for the money ; when paid,

The girl who gave to song send the copyright. I release you from the thousand pounds

What gold could never buy! agreed on for the Giaour and Bride-there's an end. “My Dear Moore, -I am going to be married--that is,

• If any accident occurs to me, you may do then as you I am accepted, and one usually hopes the rest will follow. please; but, with the exception of two copies of each for My mother of the Gracchi (that are to be) you think too yourself only, I expect, and request, that the advertise strait-laced for me, although the paragon of only children, ments be withdrawn, and the remaining copies of all des and invested with golden opinions of all sorts of men,' and stroyed ; and any expense so incurred I will be glad to de- full of most blest conditions' as Desdemona herself. Mjes fray.

Milbank is the lady, and I have her father's invitation to • For all this, it might be as well to assign some reason. proceed there in my elect capacity'; which, however, I canI have none to give, except my own caprice, and I do not

pot do till I have settled some business in London, and get consider the circumstance of consequence enough to require a blue coat. explanation.

“She is said to be an heiress, but of that I really know In course, I need hardly assure you, that they never shall nothing, certainly I shall not enquire. But I do know be published with my consent, directly or indirectly, by any that she has talents and excellent qualities, and you will not other person whatsoever,--that I am perfectly satisfied, and deny her judgment, after having refused six suitors, and have every reason so to be, with your conduct in all trans- taken me. actions between us as publisher and author.

“Now, if you have any thing to say against this, pray * It will give me great pleasure to preserve your acquaint-do; my mind's made up, positively fixed, determined, and ance, and to consider you as my friend. Believe me very therefore I will listen to reason, because now it can do no truly, and for much attention, your obliged and very obe- harm. Things may occur to break it off, but I will hope dient servant,

• Byron. * P. S. I do not think that I have overdrawn at Ham- least till I know she wishes it to be public-ihat I have

not. In the meantime, I tell you a secret, by the bg, at mersley's; but if that be the case, I can draw for the super proposed, and am accepted. You need not be in a hurry to Aux on Honres'. The draft is L.) short, but that I will wish me joy, for one mayn't be married for months. I am make up. On payment-not before-return the copyright going to town to-morrow, but expect to be here, on my way papers.'

there, within a fortnight. « In such a conjuncture, an appeal to his good natured considerateness was, as Mr Murray well judged, his best re “On the day of the arrival of the lady's answer, he was sitting source; and the following prompt reply will show how at dinner, when his gardener came in, and presented him with his easily, and at ouce, it succeeded :

mother's wedding-ring, which she had lost many years before, and • To MR MURRAY.

which the gardener had just found in digging up the mould under

her window. Almost at the same moment, the letter from Misi

May 1, 1814. Milbank arrived, and Lord Byron exclaimed. If it contains a canDear Sir, If your present note is serious, and it really | ing acceptance of his proposal, and a duplicate of the letter had been

sent, I will be married with this ring.' It did contain a very flater. would be inconvenient, there is an end of the matter; tear sent to London, in case this should have missed him. - Memoranda.


“ If this had not happened, I should have gone to Italy. that the pleasure it afforded him as a vehicle of displaying In my way down, perhaps, you will meet me at Notting- his wit and satire against individuals in office, was at the ham, and come over with me bere. I need not say that no bottom of this habit of thinking, rather than any real conthing will give me greater pleasure. I must, of course, re- viction of the principles on which he talked. He was cerform thoroughly; and seriously, if I can contribute to her tainly proud of his rank and ancient family, and, in that happiness, I shall secure my own. She is so good a person, respect, as much an aristocrat as was consistent with good that-that-in short, I wish I was a better. Ever, &c.". sense and good breeding. Some disgusts, how adopted I P. 580-3.

know not, seemed to me to have given this peculiar, and, as Near the conclusion of this delightful volume, which it appeared to me, contradictory cast of mind; but, at heart,

I would have termed Byron a patrician on principle. brings us down only to the time of Lord Byron's separa

“ Lord Byron's reading did not seem to me to have been tion from his wife and final departure to the Continent, very extensive, either in poetry or history. Having the in 1816, we find a highly interesting letter by Sir Walter advantage of him in that respect, and possessing a good Scott, mentioning the particulars of his acquaintance with competent share of such reading as is little read, I was someByron, which we gladly extract :

times able to put under his eye objects which had for him

the interest of novelty. I remember, particularly, repeating SIR WALTER SCOrt's ACCOUNT OF HIS ACQUAINTANCE WITH to him the fine poem of Hardyknute, an imitation of the LORD BYROX.

old Scottish ballad, with which he was so much affected, “My first acquaintance with Byron began in a manner that some one who was in the same apartment asked me rather doubtful. I was so far from having any thing to do what I could possibly have been telling Byron, by which with the offensive criticism in the Edinburgh, that I re- he was so much agitated. member remonstrating against it with our friend the Edi “I saw Byron, for the last time, in 1815, after I returned tor, because I thought the · Hours of Idleness' treated with from France. He dined, or lunched, with me at Long's, undue severity. They were written, like all juvenile in Bond Street. I never saw him so full of gaiety and poetry, rather from the recollection of what had pleased good humour, to which the presence of Mr Mathews, the the author in others, than what had been suggested by his comedian, added not a little. Poor Terry was also present. own imagination; but, nevertheless, I thought they con After one of the gayest parties I ever was present at, my tained some passages of noble promise. I was so much im- fellow-traveller, Mr Scott of Gala, and I set off for Scute pressed with this, that I had thoughts of writing to the au- land, and I never saw Lord Byron again. Several letters thor ; but some exaggerated reports concerning his peculiari- passed between us-one per baps every half year. Like the ties, and a natural unwillingness to intrude an opinion old heroes in Homer, we exchanged gifts ;-I gave Byron which was uncalled for, induced me to relinquish the idea. | a beautiful dagger, mounted with gold, which had been the

“ When Byron wrote his famous satire, I had my share property of the redoubted Elfi Bey. But I was to play the of flagellation among my betters. My crime was, baving part of Diomed in the Iliad, for Byron sent me, some time written a poem (Marmion, I think) for a thousand pounds, after, a large sepulchral vase of silver. It was full of deadi which was no otherwise true than that I sold the copyright men's bones, and had inscriptions on two sides of the vase. for that sum. Now, not to mention that an author can One ran thus,— The bones contained in this urn were bardly be censured for accepting such a sum as the book.. I found in certain ancient sepulchres within the land walls of sellers are willing to give him, especially as the gentlemen of Athens, in the month of February, 1811.' The other face the trade made no complaints of their bargain, I thought bears the lines of Juvenal : the interference with my private affairs was rather beyond the limits of literary satire. On the other hand, Lord

• Expende-quot libras in duce sumno invenies. Byron paid me, in several passages, so much more praise

-Mors sola fatetur quantula hominum corpuscula.'

Juv. X. ! than I deserved, that I must have been more irritable than I have ever felt upon such subjects, not to sit down con “ To these I have added a third inscription, in these tented, and think no more about the matter.

words,— The gift of Lord Byron to Walter Scott.'* There * I was very much struek, with all the rest of the world,

was a letter with this vase, more valuable to me than the gift at the vigour and force of imagination displayed in the first itself, from the kindness with which the donor expressed Cantos of Childe Harold, and the other splendid produc- himself towards me. I left it naturally in the urn with tions which Lord Byron flung from him to the public, the bones, but it is now missing. As the theft was not with a promptitude that savoured of profusion. My own of a nature to be practised by a mere domestic, I am compopularity as a poet was then on the wane, and I was un- pelled to suspect the inhospitality of some individual of affectedly pleased to see an author of so much power and higher station, -most gratuitously exercised certainly, since, energy taking the field. Mr John Murray happened to be after what I have bere said, no one will probably choose to in Scotland that season, and as I mentioned to him the boast of possessing this literary curiosity. pleasure I should have in making Lord Byron's acquaint “ We had a good deal of laughing, I remember, on what ance, he had the kindness to mention my wish to his Lord- the public might be supposed to think, or say, concerning ship, which led to some correspondence.

the gloomy and ominous nature of our mutual gifts. It was in the spring of 1815 that, chancing to be in

“I think I can add little more to my recollections of London, I had the advantage of a personal introduction to Byron. He was often melancholy, almost gloomy. When Lord Byron. Report had prepared me to meet a man of I observed him in this humour, l' used either to wait till it peculiar habits and a quick temper, and I had some doubts went off of its own accord, or till some natural and easy whether we were likely to suit each other in society. I was mode occurred of leading him into conversation, when the most agreeably disappointed in this respect. I found Lord shadows alınost always left his countenance, like the mist

Byron in the highest degree courteous, and even kind. We rising from a landscape, la conversation, he was very animet, for an hour or two, almost daily, in Mr Murray's mated. drawing-room, and found a great deal to say to each other.

“ I met with him very frequently in society; our mutual We also met frequently in parties and evening society, so acquaintances doing me the honour to think that he liked that, for about two months, I had the advantage of consi- to meet with me. Some very agreeable parties I can recol, derable intimacy with this distinguished individual. Our lect,-particularly one at Sir Geo. Beaumont's, where the sentiments agreed a good deal, except upon the subjects of amiable landlord had assembled some persons distinguished religion and politics, upon neither of which I was inclined for talent. Of these, I need only mention the late Sir to believe that Lord Byron entertained very fixed opinions. Humphry Davy, whose talents for literature were as reI remember saying to him, that I really thought that, if he markable as his einpire over science. Mr Richard Sharpe lived a few years, he would alter his sentiments. He an

and Mr Rogers were also present. swered, rather sharply, 'I suppose you are one of those who

“I think I also remarked in Byron's temper starts of prophesy I will turn Methodist.' 'I replied, “No I don't suspicion, when he seemed to pause and consider whether expect your conversion to be of such an ordinary kind. I would rather wish to see you retreat upon the Catholic

# “ Mr Murray had, at the time of giving the vase, suggested to faith, and distioguish yourself by the austerity of your pe- Lord Byrou, that it would increase the value of the gift w add some nances. The species of religion to which you must, or may, such inscription; but the feeling of the noble poet on this subject one day attach yourself, inust exercise a strong power on

will be understood from the following answer which he returned : the imagination.' He smiled gravely, and seemed to allow

April 9, 1815. I might be right.

• Thanks for the books. I have great objection to your proposi

tion about inscribing the vase, which is, that it would appear osten « On politics, he used sometimes to express a high strain tations on my part; and, of course, I must send it as it is, without of what is now called Liberalism ; but it appeared to me, any alteration-Yours,' &c."

« 上一頁繼續 »