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LIFE OF LORD BYRON.
BETTER than a month since I last journalized:most of it out of London, and at Notts., but a busy 'one and a pleasant, at least three weeks of it. On
my return, I find all the newspapers in hysterics*, ' and town in an uproar, on the avowal and republica
* Immediately on the appearance of the Corsair (with those obnoxious verses, Weep, daughter of a royal line,' appended to it), a series of attacks, not confined to Lord Byron himself, but aimed also at all those who had lately become his friends, was commenced in the Courier and Morning Post, and carried on through the greater part of the months of February and March. The point selected by these writers, as a ground of censure on the poet, was one which now, perhaps, even themselves would agree to class among his claims to praise,-namely, the atonement which he had endeavoured to make for the youthful violence of his Satire by a measure of justice, amiable even in its overflowings, to every one whom he conceived he had wronged.
Notwithstanding the careless tone in which, here and elsewhere, he speaks of these assaults, it is evident that they annoyed him;—an effect which, in reading them over now, we should be apt to wonder they could produce, did we not recollect the property which Dryden attributes to small wits,' in common with certain other small animals:'We scarce could know they live, but that they bite.'
The following is a specimen of the terms in which these party scribes could then speak of one of the masters of English song:- They might have slept in oblivion with Lord Carlile's Dramas and Lord Byron's Poems. -Some certainly extol Lord Byron's Poem much, but most of the best judges place his lordship rather low in the list of our minor poets."
'tion of two stanzas on Princess Charlotte's weeping 'at Regency's speech to Lauderdale in 1812. They ' are daily at it still;-some of the abuse good, all of 'it hearty. They talk of a motion in our House upon 'it-be it so.
'Got up-redde the Morning Post, containing the 'battle of Buonaparte, the destruction of the Customhouse, and a paragraph on me as long as my pedigree, and vituperative, as usual.
'Hobhouse is returned to England. He is my best 'friend, the most lively, and a man of the most sterling talents extant.
"The Corsair" has been conceived, written, pub'lished, &c. since I last took up this Journal. They 'tell me it has great success;-it was written con amore, and much from existence. Murray is satisfied 'with its progress; and if the public are equally so ' with the perusal, there's an end of the matter.
• Nine o'clock.
'Been to Hanson's on business. Saw Rogers, and ' had a note from Lady Melbourne, who says, it is said "I am "much out of spirits." I wonder if I really 'am or not? I have certainly enough of " that peril'ous stuff which weighs upon the heart," and it is 'better they should believe it to be the result of these ' attacks than of the real cause; but-ay, ay, always but, to the end of the chapter.
'Hobhouse has told me ten thousand anecdotes of Napoleon, all good and true. My friend H. is the 'most entertaining of companions, and a fine fellow to 'boot.
'Redde a little-wrote notes and letters, and am ' alone, which, Locke says, is bad company. "Be not solitary, be not idle "-Um!-the idleness is trouble
some; but I can't see so much to regret in the soli'tude. The more I see of men, the less I like them. 'If I could but say so of women too, all would be well. "Why can't I? I am now six-and-twenty; my passions 'have had enough to cool them; my affections more than enough to wither them, and yet-and yetalways yet and but" Excellent well, you are a 'fishmonger-get thee to a nunnery." 'me to the top of my bent."
Began a letter, which I threw into the fire. 'Redde—but to little purpose. Did not visit Hobhouse, as I promised and ought. No matter, the loss 'is mine. Smoked cigars.
Napoleon!-this week will decide his fate. All seems against him; but I believe and hope he will win '-at least, beat back the Invaders. What right have we to prescribe sovereigns to France? Oh for a Republic! "Brutus, thou sleepest." Hobhouse abounds in continental anecdotes of this extraordinary man; all in favour of his intellect and courage, but against 'his bonhommie. No wonder;-how should he, who 'knows mankind well, do other than despise and abhor them.
'The greater the equality, the more impartially ' evil is distributed, and becomes lighter by the divi*sion among so many-therefore, a Republic!
( More notes from Mad. de ** unanswered-and so they shall remain. I admire her abilities, but really her society is overwhelming an avalanche 'that buries one in glittering nonsense-all snow and 'sophistry.
Shall I go to Mackintosh's on Tuesday? um!'I did not go to Marquis Lansdowne's, nor to Miss
Berry's, though both are pleasant. So is Sir James's, '-but I don't know-I believe one is not the better 'for parties; at least, unless some regnante is there.
'I wonder how the deuce any body could make 'such a world; for what purpose dandies, for instance, were ordained and kings-and fellows of colleges' and women of "a certain age"-and many men of any age-and myself, most of all!
Is there anything beyond?-who knows? 'that can't tell. Who tells that there is? 'don't know. And when shall he know? perhaps, 'when he don't expect, and generally, when he don't wish it. In this last respect, however, all are not alike it depends a good deal upon education,'something upon nerves and habits-but most upon digestion.
Saturday, Feb. 19th.
'Just returned from seeing Kean in Richard. Joye, he is a soul! Life-nature-truth-without exaggeration or diminution. Kemble's Hamlet is perfect; but Hamlet is not Nature. Richard is a 'man; and Kean is Richard. Now to my own con
Went to Waite's. Teeth all right and white; but he says that I grind them in my sleep and 'chip the edges. That same sleep is no friend of mine, though I court him sometimes for half the twenty-four.
'Got up and tore out two leaves of this Journal-I 'don't know why. Hodgson just called and gone. 'He has much bonhommie with his other good qualities, and more talent than he has yet had credit for 'beyond his circle.
An invitation to dine at Holland-house to meet Kean. He is worth meeting; and I hope, by getting into good society, he will be prevented from falling 'like Cooke. He is greater now on the stage, and off he should never be less. There is a stupid and ' under-rating criticism upon him in one of the newspapers. I thought that, last night, though great, he 'rather under-acted more than the first time. This may be the effect of these cavils; but I hope he has 'more sense than to mind them. He cannot expect to maintain his present eminence, or to advance still higher, without the envy of his green-room fellows, ' and the nibbling of their admirers. But, if he don't 'beat them all, why, then-merit hath no purchase " in "these coster-monger days."
'I wish that I had a talent for the drama; I would 'write a tragedy now. But no,-it is gone. Hodgson 'talks of one, he will do it well;-and I think M-e 'should try. He has wonderful powers, and much variety; besides, he has lived and felt. To write so as to bring home to the heart, the heart must have 'been tried, but, perhaps, ceased to be so. While you are under the influence of passions, you only 'feel, but cannot describe them, -any more than, when ' in action, you could turn round and tell the story to your next neighbour! When all is over,-all, all, ' and irrevocable,-trust to memory-she is then but 'too faithful.
Went out, and answered some letters, yawned now