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6 [For some particulars relating to Dr. Polidori see Moore's "Notices." 66 I never," says Lord Byron, "was much more disgusted with any human production than with the eternal nonsense, and tracasseries, and emptiness, and ill-humour, and vanity of this young person; but he has some talent, and is a man of honour, and has dispositions of amendment. Therefore use your interest for him, for he is improved and improvable. You want a civil and delicate declension' for the medical tragedy? Take it."-Lord Byron to Mr. Murray, Aug. 21. 1817.]
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
Or only watch my shopman's looks; -
1 [On the birth of this child, the son of the British viceconsul at Venice, Lord Byron wrote these lines. They 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. The original lines, with the different versions above mentioned, were printed, in a small neat volume, in the seminary of Padua; from which we take the following:
Φρὸν πυκνὴ Πατρὸς καὶ Μητέρος ἀγλαὸν είδος
Magnanimos Patris verset sub pectore sensus,
Del Padre il senno, e il bel materno aspetto Splendano ognora in Te, fanciul diletto: Felice appien se al tuo corporeo velo Dona il lieto vigor di Rizzo il cielo.
THE VENETIAN DIALECT.
In ti cressa co l' età;
Aus des Kindes Auge strahlet
Seiner Stärke dich erfreu 'n.
Sois en tout fortuné, semillant Jouvenceau,
Porte dans les festins la valeur de Rizzo,
Et pour vaincre ?-au boudoir sois beau comme ta mère.
Si á la gracia materna el gusto ayuntas
2 [About the middle of April, 1819, Lord Byron travelled from Venice to Ravenna, at which last city he expected to find the Countess Guiccioli. The above stanzas, which have been as much admired as any thing of the kind he ever wrote, were composed, according to Madame Guiccioli's statement, during this journey, and while Lord Byron was actually sailing on the Po. In transmitting them to England, in May, 1820, he says," They must not be published: pray recollect this, as they are mere verses of society, and written upon private feelings and passions." They were first printed in 1824.]
3 [Ravenna-a city to which Lord Byron afterwards declared himself more attached than to any other place, except Greece. He resided in it rather more than two years, "and quitted it," says Madame Guiccioli, "with the deepest regret, and with a presentiment that his departure would be the forerunner of a thousand evils: he was continually performing generous actions: many families owed to him the few prosperous days they ever enjoyed; his arrival was spoken of as a piece of public good fortune, and his departure as a public calamity." In the third canto of Don Juan," Lord Byron has pictured the tranquil life which, at this time, he was leading:
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.
This is to be a monarch, and repress
Dismiss thy guard, and trust thee to such traits,
Thy sovereignty would grow but more complete; A despot thou, and yet thy people free, And by the heart, not hand, enslaving us.
Bologna, August 12. 1819. 1
FROM THE FRENCH OF RULHIERES. 2
If, for silver or for gold,
You could melt ten thousand pimples
Then your face we might behold,
Looking, doubtless, much more snugly;
COULD Love for ever
We'd hug the chain.
Then for this reason
But let that season be only Spring.
When lovers parted
And, all hopes thwarted,
A few years older,
For whom they sigh!
He'll stay for ever,
Without his plumage, when past the Spring. ♦
[A friend of Lord Byron's, who was with him at Ravenna when he wrote these Stanzas, says,-" They were composed, like many others, with no view of publication, but merely to relieve himself in a moment of suffering. He had been painfully excited by some circumstances which appeared to make it necessary that he should immediately quit Italy; and in the day and the hour that he wrote the song was labouring under an access of fever."]
[V. L."That sped his Spring."]