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field had not undeceived me; but he will tell you that I displayed no resentment in mentioning what I had heard, though I was not sorry to discover the truth. Perhaps you hardly recollect, some years ago, a short, though, for the time, a warm friendship between us. Why it was not of longer duration I know not. I have still a gift of yours in my possession, that must always prevent me from forgetting it. I also remember being favoured with the perusal of many of your compositions, and several other circumstances very pleasant in their day, which I will not force upon your memory, but entreat you to believe me, with much regret at their short continuance, and a hope they are not irrevocable.
"Yours very sincerely, &c.
I have already mentioned the early friendship that subsisted between this gentleman and Lord Byron, as well as the coolness that succeeded it. The following extract from a letter with which Mr. Harness favoured me, in placing at my disposal those of his noble correspondent, will explain the circumstances that led, at this time, to their reconcilement; and the candid tribute, in the concluding sentences, to Lord Byron, will be found not less honourable to the reverend writer himself than to his friend.
"A coolness afterwards arose, which Byron alludes to in the first of the accompanying letters, and we never spoke during the last year of his remaining at school, nor till after the publication of his Hours of Idleness.' Lord Byron was then at Cambridge; I, in one of the upper forms, at Harrow. In an English theme I happened to quote from the volume, and mention it with praise. It was reported to Byron that I had, on the contrary, spoken slightingly of his work and of himself, for the purpose of conciliating the favour of Dr. Butler, the master, who had been severely satirised in one of the poems. Wingfield, who was afterwards Lord Powerscourt, a mutual friend of Byron and myself, disabused him of the error into which he had been led, and this was the occasion of the first letter of the
collection. Our intimacy was renewed, and continued from that time till his going abroad. Whatever faults Lord Byron might have had towards others, to myself he was always uniformly affectionate. I have many slights and neglects towards him to reproach myself with; but I cannot call to mind a a single instance of caprice or unkindness, in the whole course of our friendship, to allege
66 HOURS OF IDLENESS. 39 ITS EFFECT.-
MURRAY.- ANECCOMMENCEMENT OF 66 ENGLISH BARDS AND SCOTCH REVIEWERS." LORD BYRON'S MAJORITY.
My dear Becher,
"Dorant's Hotel, Feb. 26. 1808.
"Now for Apollo. I am happy that you still retain your predilection, and that the public allow me some share of praise. I am of so much importance that a most violent of the Edinburgh Review. This I had from attack is preparing for me in the next number the authority of a friend who has seen the proof and manuscript of the critique. You know the system of the Edinburgh gentleand neither the public nor the author expects men is universal attack. They praise none; praise from them. It is, however, something to be noticed, as they profess to pass judgattention. You will see this when it comes ment only on works requiring the public out; it is, I understand, of the most unmerciful description; but I am aware of it, and hope you will not be hurt by its severity.
with them, and to prepare her mind for the Tell Mrs. Byron not to be out of humour injury whatever, and I trust her mind will greatest hostility on their part. It will do no not be ruffled. They defeat their object by indiscriminate abuse, and they never praise except the partisans of Lord Holland and Co. It is nothing to be abused when Southey, Moore, Lauderdale, Strangford, and Payne Knight, share the same fate.
must be suppressed during this edition. I "I am sorry-but 'Childish Recollections' have altered, at your suggestion, the ob
noxious allusions in the sixth stanza of my last ode.
"And now, my dear Becher, I must return my best acknowledgments for the interest you have taken in me and my poetical bantlings, and I shall ever be proud to show how much I esteem the advice and the adviser. Believe me most truly," &c.
Soon after this letter appeared the dreaded article, an article which, if not witty in itself," deserved eminently the credit of causing "wit in others." Seldom, indeed, has it fallen to the lot of the justest criticism to attain celebrity such as injustice has procured for this; nor as long as the short, but glorious race of Byron's genius is remembered, can the critic, whoever he may be, that so unintentionally ministered to its first start, be forgotten.
It is but justice, however, to remark,without at the same time intending any excuse for the contemptuous tone of criticism assumed by the reviewer, that the early verses of Lord Byron, however distinguished by tenderness and grace, give but little promise of those dazzling miracles of poesy with which he afterwards astonished and enchanted the world; and that, if his youthful verses now have a peculiar charm in our eyes, it is because we read them, as it were, by the light of his subsequent glory.
There is, indeed, one point of view, in which these productions are deeply and intrinsically interesting. As faithful reflections of his character at that period of life, they enable us to judge of what he was in his yet unadulterated state,- before disappointment had begun to embitter his ardent spirit, or the stirring up of the energies of his nature had brought into activity also its defects. Tracing him thus through these natural effusions of his young genius, we find him pictured exactly such, in all the features of his character, as every anecdote of his boyish days proves him really to have been, proud, daring, and passionate, resentful of slight or injustice, but still more so in the cause of others than in his own; and yet, with all this vehemence, docile and placable, at the least touch of a hand authorised by love to guide him. The affectionateness, indeed, of his disposition
1["This is admirable,-all but the last sentence in which we see the hand of a man of finest feelings and genius trying in vain to wash the greasy face of a stupid slanderer, more hopelessly black than an Ethiop's skin." -WILSON.
"Mr. Moore 'walks delicately,' like Agag, when the course of his narrative brings him to the truculent critique on these boyish essays, which appeared in the Edinburgh Review. Himself a distinguished victim and prop of that journal, he writes elegantly and eloquently
traceable as it is through every page of this volume, is yet but faintly done justice to, even by himself; his whole youth being, from earliest childhood, a series of the most passionate attachments, of those overflowings of the soul, both in friendship and love, which are still more rarely responded to than felt, and which, when checked or sent back upon the heart, are sure to turn into bitterness.
We have seen also, in some of his early unpublished poems, how apparent, even through the doubts that already clouded them, are those feelings of piety which a soul like his could not but possess, and which, when afterwards diverted out of their legitimate channel, found a vent in the poetical worship of nature, and in that shadowy substitute for religion which superstition offers. When, in addition, too, to these traits of early character, we find scattered through his youthful poems such anticipations of the glory that awaited him,- such, alternately, proud and saddened glimpses into the future, as if he already felt the elements of something great within him, but doubted whether his destiny would allow him to bring it forth,—it is not wonderful that, with the whole of his career present to our imaginations, we should see a lustre round these first puerile attempts not really their own, but shed back upon them from the bright eminence which he afterwards attained; and that, in our indignation against the fastidious blindness of the critic, we should forget that he had not then the aid of this reflected charm, with which the subsequent achievements of the poet now irradiate all that bears his name.
The effect this criticism produced upon him can only be conceived by those who, besides having an adequate notion of what most poets would feel under such an attack, can understand all that there was in the temper and disposition of Lord Byron to make him feel it with tenfold more acuteness than others. We have seen with what feverish anxiety he awaited the verdicts of all the minor Reviews, and, from his sensibility to the praise of the meanest of these censors, may guess how painfully he must have writhed under the sneers of the highest. A friend, who found him in the first moments
on the subject, and contrives to drop no hint of what every human being felt at the time to be the simple truth of the whole matter-to wit, that out of the thousand and one volumes of indifferent verse, which happened to be printed in the year of grace, 1807, only one bore a noble name on the title-page; and the opportunity of insulting a lord, under pretext of admonishing a poetaster, was too tempting to be resisted, in a particular quarter, at that particular time." - Quarterly Reviews, 1831.]
of excitement after reading the article, inquired anxiously whether he had just received a challenge, not knowing how else to account for the fierce defiance of his looks. It would, indeed, be difficult for sculptor or painter to imagine a subject of more fearful beauty than the fine countenance of the young poet must have exhibited in the collected energy of that crisis. | His pride had been wounded to the quick, and his ambition humbled ;—but this feeling of humiliation lasted but for a moment. The very reaction of his spirit against aggression roused him to a full consciousness of his own powers; and the pain and the shame of the injury were forgotten in the proud certainty of revenge.
Among the less sentimental effects of this Review upon his mind, he used to mention that, on the day he read it, he drank three bottles of claret to his own share after dinner; that nothing, however, relieved him till he had given vent to his indignation in rhyme, and that “ after the first twenty lines, he felt himself considerably better." His chief care, indeed, afterwards, was amiably devoted, —as we have seen it was, in like manner, before the criticism, to allaying, as far as he could, the sensitiveness of his mother; who, not having the same motive or power to summon up a spirit of resistance, was, of course, more helplessly alive to this attack upon his fame, and felt it far more than, after the first burst of indignation, he did himself. But the state of his mind upon the subject will be best understood from the following letter.
LETTER 25. TO MR. BECHER.
"Dorant's, March 28. 1808. "I have lately received a copy of the new edition from Ridge, and it is high time for me to return my best thanks to you for the trouble you have taken in the superintendence. This I do most sincerely, and only regret that Ridge has not seconded you as I could wish,—at least, in the bindings, paper, &c., of the copy he sent to me. Perhaps those for the public may be more respectable in such articles.
You have seen the Edinburgh Review, of course. I regret that Mrs. Byron is so much annoyed. For my own part, these 'paper
1 ""Tis a quality very observable in human nature, that any opposition which does not entirely discourage and intimidate us, has rather a contrary effect, and inspires us with a more than ordinary 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.". HUME, Treatise of Human Nature.
2 ["Dr. Johnson's reply to the friend who asked him
bullets of the brain' have only taught me to stand fire; and, as I have been lucky enough upon the whole, my repose and appetite are not discomposed. Pratt, the gleaner, author, poet, &c. &c., addressed a long rhyming epistle to me on the subject, by way of consolation; but it was not well done, so I do not send it, though the name of the man might make it go down. The E. R'. have not performed their task well; at least the literati tell me this; and I think I could write a more sarcastic critique on myself than any yet published. For instance, instead of the remark,―ill-natured enough, but not keen,-about Macpherson, I (quoad reviewers) could have said, 'Alas, this imitation only proves the assertion of Dr. Johnson, that many men, women, and children, could write such poetry as Ossian's.'
I am thin and in exercise. During the spring or summer I trust we shall meet. I hear Lord Ruthyn leaves Newstead in April. As soon as he quits it for ever, I wish much you would take a ride over, survey the mansion, and give me your candid opinion on the most advisable mode of proceeding with regard to the house. Entre nous, I am cursedly dipped; my debts, every thing inclusive, will be nine or ten thousand before I am twenty-one. But I have reason to think my property will turn out better than general expectation may conceive. Of Newstead I have little hope or care; but Hanson, my agent, intimated my Lancashire property was worth three Newsteads. I believe we have it hollow; though the defendants are protracting the surrender, if possible, till after my majority, for the purpose of forming some arrangement with me, thinking I shall probably prefer a sum in hand to a reversion. Newstead I may sell ;-perhaps I will not, though of that more anon. I will come down in May or June.
"Yours most truly," &c.
The sort of life which he led at this period between the dissipations of London and of Cambridge, without a home to welcome, or even the roof of a single relative to receive him, was but little calculated to render him satisfied either with himself or the world. Unrestricted as he was by deference to any will but his own3, even the pleasures to
if any man living could have written such a book is well known: Yes, Sir; many men, many women, and many children.' I inquired of him myself if this story was authentic, and he said it was."- MRS. Piozzi, Johnsoniana, p. 84.]
3 "The colour of our whole life is generally such as the three or four first years in which we are our own masters make it."-COWPER.
which he was naturally most inclined prematurely palled upon him, for want of those best zests of all enjoyment, rarity and restraint. I have already quoted, from one of his note-books, a passage descriptive of his feelings on first going to Cambridge, in which he says that "one of the deadliest and heaviest feelings of his life was to feel that he was no longer a boy."- -"From that moment (he adds) I began to grow old in my own esteem, and in my esteem age is not estimable. I took my gradations in the vices with great promptitude, but they were not to my taste; for my early passions, though violent in the extreme, were concentrated, and hated division or spreading abroad. could have left or lost the whole world with, or for, that which I loved; but, though my temperament was naturally burning, I could not share in the common-place libertinism of the place and time without disgust. And yet this very disgust, and my heart thrown back upon itself, threw me into excesses perhaps more fatal than those from which I shrunk, as fixing upon one (at a time) the passions which spread amongst many would have hurt only myself."
Though, from the causes here alleged, the irregularities he, at this period, gave way to were of a nature far less gross and miscellaneous than those, perhaps, of any of his associates, yet, partly from the vehemence which this concentration caused, and, still more, from that strange pride in his own errors, which led him always to bring them forth in the most conspicuous light, it so happened that one single indiscretion, in his hands, was made to go farther, if I may so express it, than a thousand in those of others. An instance of this, that occurred about the time of which we are speaking, was, I am inclined to think, the sole foundation of the mysterious allusions just cited. An amour (if it may be dignified with such a name) of that sort of casual description which less attachable natures would have forgotten, and more prudent ones at least concealed, was by him converted, at this period, and with circumstances of most unnecessary display, into a connection of some continuance, the object of it not only becoming domesticated with him in lodgings at Brompton, but accompanied him afterwards, disguised in boy's clothes, to Brighton. He introduced this young person, who used to ride about with him in her male attire, as his younger brother; and the late Lady
1 "I refer to my old friend and corporeal pastor and master, John Jackson, Esq., Professor of Pugilism, who I trust still retains the strength and symmetry of his
P**, who was at Brighton at the time, and had some suspicion of the real nature of the relationship, said one day to the poet's companion, What a pretty horse that is you are riding!"-"Yes," answered the pretended cavalier, "it was gave me by my brother!" Beattie tells us, of his ideal poet,
"The exploits of strength, dexterity, or speed,
To him nor vanity nor joy could bring." But far different were the tastes of the real poet, Byron; and among the least romantic, perhaps, of the exercises in which he took delight was that of boxing or sparring. This taste it was that, at a very early period, brought him acquainted with the distinguished professor of that art, Mr. Jackson, for whom he continued through life to entertain the sincerest regard, one of his latest works containing a most cordial tribute not only to the professional but social qualities of this sole prop and ornament of pugilism. During
his stay at Brighton this year, Jackson was one of his most constant visiters, -the expense of the professor's chaise thither and back being always defrayed by his noble patron. He also honoured with his notice, at this time, D'Egville, the ballet-master, and Grimaldi; to the latter of whom he sent, as I understand, on one of his benefit nights a present of five guineas.
Having been favoured by Mr. Jackson with copies of the few notes and letters, which he has preserved out of the many addressed to him by Lord Byron, I shall here lay before the reader one or two, which bear the date of the present year, and which, though referring to matters of no interest in themselves, give, perhaps, a better notion of the actual life and habits of the young poet, at this time, than could be afforded by the most elaborate and, in other respects, important correspondence. They will show, at least, how very little akin to romance were the early pursuits and associates of the author of Childe Harold, and, combined with what we know of the still less romantic youth of Shakspeare, prove how unhurt the vital principle of genius can preserve itself even in atmospheres apparently the most ungenial and noxious to it.
Square, concerning the pony I returned as unsound.
"I have also to request you will call on Louch at Brompton, and inquire what the devil he meant by sending such an insolent letter to me at Brighton; and at the same time tell him I by no means can comply with the charge he has made for things pretended to be damaged.
"Ambrose behaved most scandalously about the pony. You may tell Jekyll if he does not refund the money, I shall put the affair into my lawyer's hands. Five and twenty guineas is a sound price for a pony, and by, if it costs me five hundred pounds, I will make an example of Mr. Jekyll, and that immediately, unless the cash is returned.
"Believe me, dear Jack," &c.
LETTER 27. TO MR. JACKSON.
"N. A., Notts. October 4. 1808. "You will make as good a bargain as possible with this Master Jekyll, if he is not a gentleman. If he is a gentleman, inform me, for I shall take different steps. very If he is not, you must get what you can of the money, for I have too much business on hand at present to commence an action. Besides, Ambrose is the man who ought to refund, but I have done with him. You can settle with L. out of the balance, and dispose of the bidets, &c. as you best can.
"I should be very glad to see you here; but the house is filled with workmen, and undergoing a thorough repair. I hope, however, to be more fortunate before many months have elapsed.
"If you see Bold Webster, remember me to him, and tell him I have to regret Sydney, who has perished, I fear, in my rabbit warren, for we have seen nothing of him for the last fortnight.
"Adieu.-Believe me," &c.
LETTER 28. TO MR. JACKSON.
My dear Jack,
"N. A., Notts. December 12. 1808.
You will get the greyhound from the owner at any price, and as many more of the same breed (male or female) as you can collect. Tell D'Egville his dress shall be returned -I am obliged to him for the pattern. am sorry you should have so much trouble, but I was not aware of the difficulty of procuring the animals in question. I shall have finished part of my mansion in a few weeks, and, if you can pay me a visit at Christmas, I shall be very glad to see you.
"Believe me," &c.
The dress alluded to here was, no doubt, wanted for a private play, which he, at this time, got up at Newstead, and of which there are some further particulars in the annexed letter to Mr. Becher.
LETTER 29. TO MR. BECHER.
"Newstead Abbey, Notts. Sept. 14. 1808.
"My dear Becher,
"I am much obliged to you for your inquiries, and shall profit by them accordingly. I am going to get up a play here; the hall will constitute a most admirable theatre. I have settled the dram. pers., and can do without ladies, as I have some young friends who will make tolerable substitutes for females, and we only want three male characters, beside Mr. Hobhouse and myself, for the play we have fixed on, which will be the Revenge. Pray direct Nicholson the carpenter to come over to me immediately, and inform me what day you will dine and pass the night here. "Believe me," &c.
It was in the autumn of this year, as the letters I have just given indicate, that he, for the first time, took up his residence at Newstead Abbey. Having received the place in a most ruinous condition from the Ruthyn, he proceeded immediately to repair hands of its late occupant, Lord Grey de and fit up some of the apartments, so as to render them-more with a view to his mother's accommodation than his own
comfortably habitable. In one of his letters to Mrs. Byron, published by Mr. Dallas, he this subject. thus explains his views and intentions on
TO THE HONOURABLE MRS. BYRON. "Newstead Abbey, Notts. October 7. 1808. "Dear Madam,
"I have no beds for the H✶✶ s or any body else at present. The H ** s sleep at Mansfield. I do not know that I resemble Jean Jacques Rousseau. I have no ambition to be like so illustrious a madman-but this I know, that I shall live in my own manner, and as much alone as possible. When my rooms are ready I shall be glad to see you: at present it would be improper, and uncomfortable to both parties. You can hardly object to my rendering my mansion habitable, notwithstanding my departure for Persia in March (or May at farthest), since you will be tenant till my return; and in case of any accident (for I have already arranged my will
1 Thus addressed always by Lord Byron, but without any right to the distinction.