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2.

"Then thus to form Apollo's crown." "A crown! why, twist it how you will,

Thy chaplet must be foolscap still.
When next you visit Delphi's town,

Inquire amongst your fellow-lodgers, They'll tell you Phoebus gave his crown, Some years before your birth, to Rogers.

every

3.

666 Let other bring his own?'
"When coals to Newcastle are carried,

And owls sent to Athens as wonders,
From his spouse when the Regent's unmarried,
Or Liverpool weeps o'er his blunders;
When Tories and Whigs cease to quarrel,
When Castlereagh's wife has an heir,
Then Rogers shall ask us for laurel,

And thou shalt have plenty to spare."

The mention which he makes of Sheridan in the note just cited affords a fit opportunity of producing, from one of his Journals, some particulars which he has noted down respecting this extraordinary man, for whose talents he entertained the most unbounded admiration, — rating him, in natural powers, far above all his great political contemporaries.

"In society I have met Sheridan frequently he was superb! He had a sort of liking for me, and never attacked me, at least to my face, and he did every body else -high names, and wits, and orators, some of them poets also. I have seen him cut up Whitbread, quiz Madame de Staël, annihilate Colman, and do little less by some others (whose names, as friends, I set not down) of good fame and ability.

The last time I met him was, I think, at Sir Gilbert Heathcote's, where he was as quick as ever- no, it was not the last time; the last time was at Douglas Kin

naird's.

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I have met him in all places and parties, -at Whitehall with the Melbournes, at the Marquis of Tavistock's, at Robins's the auctioneer's, at Sir Humphrey Davy's, at Sam Rogers's, in short, in most kinds of company, and always found him very convivial and delightful.

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I have seen Sheridan weep two or three times. It may be that he was maudlin; but this only renders it more impressive, for who would see

"From Marlborough's eyes the tears of dotage flow, And Swift expire a driveller and a show? Once I saw him cry at Robins's the auctioneer's, after a splendid dinner, full of great names and high spirits. I had the honour of sitting next to Sheridan. The occasion of his tears was some observation

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or other upon the subject of the sturdiness of the Whigs in resisting office and keeping to their principles: Sheridan turned round: - Sir, it is easy for my Lord G. or Earl G. or Marquis B. or Lord H. with thousands upon thousands a year, some of it either presently derived, or inherited in sinecure or acquisitions from the public money, to boast of their patriotism and keep aloof from temptation; but they do not know from what temptation those have kept aloof who had equal pride, at least equal talents, and not unequal passions, and nevertheless knew not in the course of their lives what it was to have a shilling of their own.' And in saying this he wept.

"I have more than once heard him say, 'that he never had a shilling of his own.' To be sure, he contrived to extract a good many of other people's.

"In 1815, I had occasion to visit my lawyer in Chancery Lane; he was with Sheridan. After mutual greetings, &c., Sheridan retired first. Before recurring to my own business, I could not help inquiring that of Sheridan. 'Oh,' replied the attorney, the usual thing! to stave off an action from his wine-merchant, my client.'—'Well,' said I,

and what do you mean to do?'-'Nothing at all for the present,' said he: 'would you have us proceed against old Sherry? what would be the use of it?' and here he began laughing, and going over Sheridan's good gifts of conversation.

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Now, from personal experience, I can vouch that my attorney is by no means the tenderest of men, or particularly accessible to any kind of impression out of the statute or record; and yet Sheridan, in half an hour, had found the way to soften and that I almost seduce him in such a manner, think he would have thrown his client (an honest man, with all the laws, and some justice, on his side) out of the window, had he come in at the moment.

"Such was Sheridan! he could soften an attorney! There has been nothing like it since the days of Orpheus.

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"One day I saw him take up his own Monody on Garrick.' He lighted upon the Dedication to the Dowager Lady Spencer. On seeing it, he flew into a rage, and exclaimed, that it must be a forgery, that he had never dedicated any thing of his to such a d-d canting,' &c. &c. &c. - and so went on for half an hour abusing his own dedication, or at least the object of it. If all writers were equally sincere, it would be ludicrous.

"He told me that, on the night of the grand success of his School for Scandal, he

Ær. 25.

SHERIDAN AND COLMAN.

was knocked down and put into the watchhouse for making a row in the street, and being found intoxicated by the watchmen. "When dying, he was requested to undergo an operation.' He replied, that he had already submitted to two, which were enough for one man's lifetime. Being asked what they were, he answered, 'having his hair cut, and sitting for his picture.'

"I have met George Colman occasionally, and thought him extremely pleasant and convivial. Sheridan's humour, or rather wit, was always saturnine, and sometimes savage; he never laughed, (at least that I saw, and I watched him,) but Colman did. If I had to choose, and could not have both at a time, I should say, 'Let me begin the evening with Sheridan, and finish it with Colman.' Sheridan for dinner, Colman for supper; Sheridan for claret or port, but Colman for every thing, from the madeira and champagne at dinner, the claret with a layer of port between the glasses, up to the punch of the night, and down to the grog, or gin and water, of daybreak ;-all these I have threaded with both the same. Sheridan was a grenadier company of life guards, but Colman a whole regiment of light infantry, to be sure, but still a regiment."

It was at this time that Lord Byron became acquainted (and, I regret to have to add, partly through my means) with Mr. Leigh Hunt, the editor of a well-known weekly journal, the Examiner.

This gentleman I had myself formed an acquaintance with in the year 1811, and, in common with a large portion of the public, entertained a sincere admiration of his talents and courage as a journalist. The interest I took in him personally had been recently much increased by the manly spirit which he had displayed throughout a prosecution instituted against himself and his brother, for a libel that had appeared in their paper on the Prince Regent, and in consequence of which they were both sentenced to imprisonment for two years. It will be recollected that there existed among the Whig party, at this period, a strong feeling of indignation at the late defection from themselves and their principles of the illustrious personage who had been so long looked up to as the friend and patron of both. Being myself, at the time, warmly perhaps intemperately — under the influence of this feeling, I regarded the fate of Mr. Hunt with more than common interest, and, immediately on my arrival in town, paid him a visit in his prison. On mentioning the circumstance, soon after, to Lord Byron, and describing my surprise at the sort of

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luxurious comforts with which I had found the "wit in the dungeon" surrounded,—his trellised flower-garden without, and his books, busts, pictures, and piano-forte within, -the noble poet, whose political view of the case coincided entirely with my own, expressed a strong wish to pay a similar tribute of respect to Mr. Hunt, and accordingly, a day or two after, we proceeded for that purpose to the prison. The introduction which then took place was soon followed by a request from Mr. Hunt that we would dine with him; and the noble poet having good-naturedly accepted the invitation, Horsemonger Lane gaol had, in the month of June, 1813, the honour of receiving Lord Byron, as a guest, within its walls.

On the morning of our first visit to the journalist, I received from Lord Byron the following lines, written, it will be perceived, the night before :

"May 19. 1813.

"Oh you, who in all names can tickle the town, Anacreon, Tom Little, Tom Moore, or Tom Brown,For hang me if I know of which you may most brag, Your Quarto two-pounds, or your Twopenny Post Bag;

*

But now to my letter-to yours 'tis an answer-
To-morrow be with me, as soon as you can, sir,
All ready and dress'd for proceeding to spunge on
(According to compact) the wit in the dungeon —
Pray Phoebus at length our political malice
May not get us lodgings within the same palace!
I suppose that to-night you're engaged with some
codgers,

And for Sotheby's Blues have deserted Sam Rogers;
And I, though with cold I have nearly my death got,
Must put on my breeches, and wait on the Heathcote.
But to-morrow at four, we will both play the Scurra,
And you'll be Catullus, the Regent Mamurra." i

"Dear M.- having got thus far, I am interrupted by ****. 10 o'clock.

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Half-past 11. **** is gone, I must dress for Lady Heathcote's. Addio."

Our day in the prison was, if not agreeable, at least novel and odd. I had, for Lord Byron's sake, stipulated with our host beforehand, that the party should be, as much as possible, confined to ourselves; and, as far as regarded dinner, my wishes had been attended to;—there being present, besides a member or two of Mr. Hunt's own family, no other stranger, that I can recollect, but Mr. Mitchell, the ingenious translator of Aristophanes. Soon after dinner, however, there dropped in some of our host's literary friends, who, being utter strangers to Lord Byron and myself, rather disturbed the ease into which we were all

1 [See Works, p. 556. note 2.]

settling. Among these, I remember, was Mr. John Scott, - the writer, afterwards, of some severe attacks on Lord Byron; and it is painful to think that, among the persons then assembled round the poet, there should have been one so soon to step forth the assailant of his living fame, while another, less manful, was to reserve the cool venom for his grave.1

On the 2d of June, in presenting a petition to the House of Lords, he made his third and last appearance as an orator, in that assembly. In his way home from the House that day, he called, I remember, at my lodgings, and found me dressing in a very great hurry for dinner. He was, I recollect, in a state of most humorous exaltation after his display, and, while I hastily went on with my task in the dressing-room, continued to walk up and down the adjoining chamber, spouting forth for me, in a sort of mock heroic voice, detached sentences of the speech he had just been delivering. "I told them," he said, "that it was a most flagrant violation of the Constitution that, if such things were permitted, there was an end of English freedom"But what was this dreadful grievance?" I asked, interrupting him in his eloquence. - The grievance?" he repeated, pausing as if to consider Oh, that I forget."2 It is impossible, of course to convey an idea of the dramatic humour with which he gave effect to these words; but his look and manner on such occasions were irresistibly comic; and it was, indeed, rather in such turns of fun and oddity, than in any more elaborate exhibition of wit, that the pleasantry of his conversation consisted.

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Though it is evident that, after the brilliant success of Childe Harold, he had ceased to think of Parliament as an arena of ambition, yet, as a field for observation, we

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1 ["We remember, when, on that fatal separation, the soul of the poet was wrenched with a woeful agony,' how some of these scribblers turned round to sting the feet from which they had been pitifully proud to lick the dust. Of all such, not one darted forth a more poisonous fang than the infatuated person who, in Mr. Moore's too mild expression, stepped forth the assailant of his living fame.' Leigh Hunt, he says, was less manful' than John Scott. That we deny. There could be nothing manly - there must have been every thing unmanly in bitterly abusing Byron at that cruel crisis of his life. Scott did so and, forsooth, as a champion of the morality, the religion of the land! He wrote of Byron as if he had been a felon: and condemned him as from the judgmentseat. Years afterwards, he had the effrontery to seek out Byron in a foreign land, and was not unkindly received by the noble being, whom he had so cruelly traduced. In all this we can see nothing more manful,' than in Hunt's reservation of his cool venom for Byron's grave." WILSON, 1830.]

may take for granted it was not unstudied by him. To a mind of such quick and various views, every place and pursuit presented some aspect of interest; and whether in the ball-room, the boxing-school, or the senate, all must have been, by genius like his, turned to profit. The following are a few of the recollections and impressions which I find recorded by himself of his short parliamentary career :—

3

"I have never heard any one who fulfilled my ideal of an orator. Grattan would have been near it, but for his harlequin delivery. Pitt I never heard. Fox but once, and then he struck me as a debater, which to me seems as different from an orator as an improvisatore, or a versifier, from a poet. Grey is great, but it is not oratory. Canning is sometimes very like one. Windham I did not admire, though all the world did; it seemed sad sophistry. Whitbread was the Demosthenes of bad taste and vulgar vehemence, but strong, and English. Holland is impressive from sense and sincerity. Lord Lansdowne good, but still a debater only. Grenville I like vastly, if he would prune his speeches down to an hour's delivery. Burdett is sweet and silvery as Belial himself, and I think the greatest favourite in Pandemonium; at least I always heard the country gentlemen and the ministerial devilry praise his speeches up stairs, and run down from Bellamy's when he was upon his legs. I heard Bob Milnes make his second speech; it made no impression. I like Ward — studied, but keen, and sometimes eloquent. Peel, my school and form fellow (we sat within two of each other), strange to say, I have never heard, though I often wished to do so; but, from what I remember of him at Harrow, he is, or should be, among the best of them. Now I do not admire Mr. Wilberforce's speaking;

2 His speech was on presenting a petition from Major Cartwright. [It will be found among the Miscellaneous Pieces at the end of this volume.]

3 ["Windham," says Sir James Mackintosh, "was an indiscreet debater, who sacrificed his interest as a statesman to his momentary feelings as an orator. For the sake of a new subtlety or a forcible phrase, he was content to utter what loaded him with permanent unpopularity: his logical propensity led him always to extreme conse quences; and he expressed his opinions so strongly, that they seemed to furnish the most striking examples of political inconsistency: though, if prudence had limited his logic and mitigated his expressions, they would have been acknowledged to be no more than those views of different sides of an object, which, in the changes of politics, must present themselves to the mind of a statesman."-Life, vol. ii. p. 60.]

ÆT. 25.

PARLIAMENTARY RECOLLECTIONS.

it is nothing but a flow of words - words, words, alone.'

“I doubt greatly if the English have any eloquence, properly so called; and am inclined to think that the Irish had a great deal, and that the French will have, and have had in Mirabeau. Lord Chatham and Burke are the nearest approaches to orators in England. I don't know what Erskine may have been at the bar, but in the House I wish him at the bar once more. Lauderdale is shrill, and Scotch, and acute.

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But amongst all these, good, bad, and indifferent, I never heard the speech which was not too long for the auditors, and not very intelligible, except here and there. The whole thing is a grand deception, and as tedious and tiresome as may be to those who must be often present. I heard Sheridan only once, and that briefly, but I liked his voice, his manner, and his wit: and he is the only one of them I ever wished to hear at greater length.

"The impression of Parliament upon me was, that its members are not formidable as speakers, but very much so as an audience; because in so numerous a body there may be little eloquence, (after all, there were but two thorough orators in all antiquity, and I suspect still fewer in modern times,) but there must be a leaven of thought and good sense sufficient to make them know what is right, though they can't express it nobly.

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within,-knowing (as all know) that Cicero himself, and probably the Messiah, could never have altered the vote of a single lord of the bedchamber, or bishop. I thought our House dull, but the other animating enough upon great days.

"I have heard that when Grattan made his first speech in the English Commons, it was for some minutes doubtful whether to laugh at or cheer him. The débût of his predecessor, Flood, had been a complete failure, under nearly similar circumstances. But when the ministerial part of our senators had watched Pitt (their thermometer) for the cue, and saw him nod repeatedly his stately nod of approbation, they took the hint from their huntsman, and broke out into the most rapturous cheers. Grattan's speech, indeed, deserved them; it was a chef-d'ouvre. I did not hear that speech of his (being then at Harrow), but heard most of his others on the same question-also that on the war of 1815. I differed from his opinions on the latter question, but coincided in the general admiration of his eloquence.

“When I met old Courtenay, the orator, at Rogers's the poet's, in 1811-12, I was much taken with the portly remains of his fine figure, and the still acute quickness of his conversation. It was he who silenced Flood in the English House by a crushing reply to a hasty début of the rival of Grattan in Ireland. I asked Courtenay (for I like Horne Tooke and Roscoe both are to trace motives) if he had not some persaid to have declared that they left Parlia-sonal provocation; for the acrimony of his ment with a higher opinion of its aggregate answer seemed to me, as I read it, to involve integrity and abilities than that with which it. Courtenay said he had; that, when in they entered it. The general amount of Ireland (being an Irishman), at the bar of both in most Parliaments is probably about the Irish House of Commons, Flood had the same, as also the number of speakers and made a personal and unfair attack upon himtheir talent. I except orators, of course, self, who, not being a member of that House, because they are things of ages, and not of could not defend himself, and that some septennial or triennial re-unions. Neither years afterwards the opportunity of retort House ever struck me with more awe or re-offering in the English Parliament, he could spect than the same number of Turks in a divan, or of Methodists in a barn, would have done. Whatever diffidence or nervousness I felt (and I felt both, in a great degree) arose from the number rather than the quality of the assemblage, and the thought rather of the public without than the persons

1 [Mr. Courtenay was a native of Ireland, but descended from a branch of the noble Devonshire family of that name. He was the intimate friend of Boswell, and a member of the Literary Club. In 1786, he published a "Poetical Review of the Literary and Moral Character of Dr. Johnson ;" and in 1793," A Poetical and Philosophical Essay on the French Revolution, addressed

not resist it.' He certainly repaid Flood with interest, for Flood never made any figure, and only a speech or two afterwards, in the English House of Commons. I must except, however, his speech on Reform in 1790, which Fox called the best he ever heard upon that subject.'"

to Mr. Burke." He died in 1816, at the age of seventyfour. "He was," says Sir James Mackintosh," a man of fine talents and of various accomplishments, which rendered his conversation agreeable, as his good nature and kind heart obtained for him the attachment of many excellent friends: but, from his speeches in parliament, strangers mistook him for a jester by profession."]

CHAPTER XVII.

1813.

singer near the end, and one cannot quarrel with one's company, at any rate. The author detects some incongruous figures in a passage of English Bards, page 23., but which edition I do not know. In the sole copy in your possession - I mean the fifth edition-you may make these alterations, that I may profit MR. GIFFORD, THANKING HIM FOR ADVICE (though a little too late) by his remarks :For hellish instinct,' substitute brutal instinct;' harpies' alter to felons ;' and for

DESIGN OF VISITING SICILY. -LETTER TO

ON RELIGIOUS TOPICS. MADAME DE STAEL.- PROJECTED VOYAGE TO THE

-

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EAST. ANECDOTES.—ADDITIONS TO THE blood-hounds' write 'hell-hounds.' These GIAOUR.- COOKE, THE ACTOR. -TRAbe very bitter words, by my troth,' and the VELLING PROJECTS.- ABYSSINIA. LU alterations not much sweeter; but as I shall CIEN BUONAPARTE'S not publish the thing, they can do no harm, but are a satisfaction to me in the way of amendment. The passage is only twelve lines.

CHARLEMAGNE.

LETTER FROM ALI PACHA AND ΤΟ MR. SOUTHEY. IMPROMPTU. INTROCOMMENCE

DUCTION TO MR. CURRAN.
MENT OF THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS.

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For some time he had entertained thoughts of going again abroad; and it appeared, indeed, to be a sort of relief to him, whenever he felt melancholy or harassed, to turn to the freedom and solitude of a life of travel as his resource. During the depression of spirits which he laboured under, while printing Childe Harold, he would frequently," says Mr. Dallas, talk of selling Newstead, and of going to reside at Naxos, in the Grecian Archipelago, to adopt the eastern costume and customs, and to pass his time in studying the Oriental languages and literature." The excitement of the triumph that soon after ensued, and the success which, in other pursuits besides those of literature, attended him, again diverted his thoughts from these migratory projects. But the roving fit soon returned; and we have seen, from one of his letters to Mr. William Bankes, that he looked forward to finding himself, in the course of this spring, among the mountains of his beloved Greece once

more.

For a time, this plan was exchanged for the more social project of accompanying his friends, the family of Lord Oxford, to Sicily; and it was while engaged in his preparatives for this expedition that the annexed letters were written.

LETTER 121. TO MR. MURRAY.

"Maidenhead, June 13. 1813.

"You do not answer me about H.'s book; I want to write to him, and not to say any thing unpleasing. If you direct to Post Office, Portsmouth, till called for, I will send and receive your letter. You never told me of the forthcoming critique on Columbus, which is not too fair; and I do not think justice quite done to the Pleasures,' which surely entitle the author to a higher rank than that assigned him in the Quarterly. But I must not cavil at the decisions of the invisible infallibles; and the article is very well written. The general horror of fragments' makes me tremulous for The Giaour;' but you would publish it — I presume, by this time, to your repentance. But as I consented, whatever be its fate, I won't now quarrel with you, even though I detect it in my pastry; but I shall not open a pie without apprehension for some weeks.

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"Dear Sir,

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"I have read the 'Strictures,' which are just enough, and not grossly abusive, in very 'Will you forward the enclosed answer fair couplets. There is a note against Mas- to the kindest letter I ever received in my

1 In an article on this Satire (written for Cumberland's Review, but never printed) by that most amiable man and excellent poet, the late Rev. William Crowe, the incongruity of these metaphors is thus noticed:"Within the space of three or four couplets, he transforms a man into as many different animals. Allow him but the compass of three lines, and he will metamorphose

him from a wolf into a harpy, and in three more he will make him a bloodhound."

There are also in this MS. critique some curious instances of oversight or ignorance adduced from the Satire; such as "Fish from Helicon”—“ Attic flowers Aonian odours breathe," &c. &c.

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