The Project Gutenberg eBook of Life of Lord Byron, Vol. 6

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Title: Life of Lord Byron, Vol. 6

Author: Thomas Moore

Release date: January 30, 2005 [eBook #14841]
Most recently updated: December 19, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Leonard Johnson and the PG Online
Distributed Proofreading Team.















"Genoa, February 20. 1823.

"My Dear Tom,

"I must again refer you to those two letters addressed to you at Passy before I read your speech in Galignani, &c., and which you do not seem to have received.[1]

[Footnote 1: I was never lucky enough to recover these two letters, though frequent enquiries were made about them at the French post-office.]

"Of Hunt I see little—once a month or so, and then on his own business, generally. You may easily suppose that I know too little of Hampstead and his satellites to have much communion or community with him. My whole present relation to him arose from Shelley's unexpected wreck. You would not have had me leave him in the street with his family, would you? and as to the other plan you mention, you forget how it would humiliate him—that his writings should be supposed to be dead 002 weight![1] Think a moment—he is perhaps the vainest man on earth, at least his own friends say so pretty loudly; and if he were in other circumstances, I might be tempted to take him down a peg; but not now,—it would be cruel. It is a cursed business; but neither the motive nor the means rest upon my conscience, and it happens that he and his brother have been so far benefited by the publication in a pecuniary point of view. His brother is a steady, bold fellow, such as Prynne, for example, and full of moral, and, I hear, physical courage.

[Footnote 1: The passage in one of my letters to which he here refers shall be given presently.]

"And you are really recanting, or softening to the clergy! It will do little good for you—it is you, not the poem, they are at. They will say they frightened you—forbid it, Ireland!

"Yours ever,

Lord Byron had now, for some time, as may be collected from his letters, begun to fancy that his reputation in England was on the wane. The same thirst after fame, with the same sensitiveness to every passing change of popular favour, which led Tasso at last to look upon himself as the most despised of writers[1], had more than once disposed 003 Lord Byron, in the midst of all his triumphs, if not to doubt their reality, at least to distrust their continuance; and sometimes even, with that painful skill which sensibility supplies, to extract out of the brightest tributes of success some omen of future failure, or symptom of decline. New successes, however, still came to dissipate these bodings of diffidence; nor was it till after his unlucky coalition with Mr. Hunt in the Liberal, that any grounds for such a suspicion of his having declined in public favour showed themselves.

[Footnote 1: In one of his letters this poet says:—"Non posso negare che io mi doglio oltramisura di esser stato tanto disprezzato dal mondo quanto non e altro scrittore di questo secolo." In another letter, however, after complaining of being "perseguitato da molti più che non era convenevole," he adds, with a proud prescience of his future fame, "Laondé stimo di poter mene ragionevolmente richiamare alla posterità."]

The chief inducements, on the part of Lord Byron, to this unworthy alliance were, in the first place, a wish to second the kind views of his friend Shelley in inviting Mr. Hunt to join him in Italy; and, in the next, a desire to avail himself of the aid of one so experienced, as an editor, in the favourite project he had now so long contemplated, of a periodical work, in which all the various offspring of his genius might be received fast as they sprung to light. With such opinions, however, as he had long entertained of Mr. Hunt's character and talents[1], the facility with which he now admitted him—not certainly to any degree of confidence or intimacy, but to a declared fellowship of fame and interest in the eyes of the world, is, I own, an inconsistency not easily to be accounted for, and argued, at all events, 004 a strong confidence in the antidotal power of his own name to resist the ridicule of such an association.

[Footnote 1: See Letter 317. p. 103.]

As long as Shelley lived, the regard which Lord Byron entertained for him extended its influence also over his relations with his friend; the suavity and good-breeding of Shelley interposing a sort of softening medium in the way of those unpleasant collisions which afterwards took place, and which, from what is known of both parties, may be easily conceived to have been alike trying to the patience of the patron and the vanity of the dependent. That even, however, during the lifetime of their common friend, there had occurred some of those humiliating misunderstandings which money engenders,—humiliating on both sides, as if from the very nature of the dross that gives rise to them,—will appear from the following letter of Shelley's which I find among the papers in my hands.


"February 15. 1823.

"My dear Lord Byron.

"I enclose you a letter from Hunt, which annoys me on more than one account. You will observe the postscript, and you know me well enough to feel how painful a task is set me in commenting upon it. Hunt had urged me more than once to ask you to lend him this money. My answer consisted in sending him all I could spare, which I have now literally done. Your kindness in fitting up a part of 005 your own house for his accommodation I sensibly felt, and willingly accepted from you on his part, but, believe me, without the slightest intention of imposing, or, if I could help it, allowing to be imposed, any heavier task on your purse. As it has come to this in spite of my exertions, I will not conceal from you the low ebb of my own money affairs in the present moment,—that is, my absolute incapacity of assisting Hunt farther.

"I do not think poor Hunt's promise to pay in a given time is worth very much; but mine is less subject to uncertainty, and I should be happy to be responsible for any engagement he may have proposed to you. I am so much annoyed by this subject that I hardly know what to write, and much less what to say; and I have need of all your indulgence in judging both my feelings and expressions.

"I shall see you by and by. Believe me

"Yours most faithfully and sincerely,

Of the book in which Mr. Hunt has thought it decent to revenge upon the dead the pain of those obligations he had, in his hour of need, accepted from the living, I am luckily saved from the distaste of speaking at any length, by the utter and most deserved oblivion into which his volume has fallen. Never, indeed, was the right feeling of the world upon such subjects more creditably displayed than in the reception given universally to that ungenerous book;—even those the least disposed to think approvingly of Lord Byron having shrunk back from such a corroboration 006 of their own opinion as could be afforded by one who did not blush to derive his authority, as an accuser, from those facilities of observation which he had enjoyed by having been sheltered and fed under the very roof of the man whom he maligned.

With respect to the hostile feeling manifested in Mr. Hunt's work towards myself, the sole revenge I shall take is, to lay before my readers the passage in one of my letters which provoked it; and which may claim, at least, the merit of not being a covert attack, as throughout the whole of my remonstrances to Lord Byron on the subject of his new literary allies, not a line did I ever write respecting either Mr. Shelley or Mr. Hunt which I was not fully prepared, from long knowledge of my correspondent, to find that he had instantly, and as a matter of course, communicated to them. That this want of retention was a fault in my noble friend, I am not inclined to deny; but, being undisguised, it was easily guarded against, and, when guarded against, harmless. Besides, such is the penalty generally to be paid for frankness of character; and they who could have flattered themselves that one so open about his own affairs as Lord Byron would be much more discreet where the confidences of others were concerned, would have had their own imprudence, not his, to blame for any injury that their dependence upon his secrecy had brought on them.

The following is the passage, which Lord Byron, as I take for granted, showed to Mr. Hunt, and to which one of his letters to myself (February 20.) refers:—

007 "I am most anxious to know that you mean to emerge out of the Liberal. It grieves me to urge any thing so much against Hunt's interest; but I should not hesitate to use the same language to himself, were I near him. I would, if I were you, serve him in every possible way but this—I would give him (if he would accept of it) the profits of the same works, published separately—but I would not mix myself up in this way with others. I would not become a partner in this sort of miscellaneous 'pot au feu,' where the bad flavour of one ingredient is sure to taint all the rest. I would be, if I were you, alone, single-handed, and, as such, invincible."

While on the subject of Mr. Hunt, I shall avail myself of the opportunity it affords me of introducing some portions of a letter addressed to a friend of that gentleman by Lord Byron, in consequence of an appeal made to the feelings of the latter on the score of his professed "friendship" for Mr. Hunt. The avowals he here makes are, I own, startling, and must be taken with more than the usual allowance, not only for the particular mood of temper or spirits in which the letter was written, but for the influence also of such slight casual piques and resentments as might have been, just then, in their darkening transit through his mind,—indisposing him, for the moment, to those among his friends whom, in a sunnier mood, he would have proclaimed as his most chosen and dearest.


LETTER 509. TO MRS. ——.

"I presume that you, at least, know enough of me to be sure that I could have no intention to insult Hunt's poverty. On the contrary, I honour him for it; for I know what it is, having been as much embarrassed as ever he was, without perceiving aught in it to diminish an honourable man's self-respect. If you mean to say that, had he been a wealthy man, I would have joined in this Journal, I answer in the negative. * * * I engaged in the Journal from good-will towards him, added to respect for his character, literary and personal; and no less for his political courage, as well as regret for his present circumstances: I did this in the hope that he might, with the same aid from literary friends of literary contributions (which is requisite for all journals of a mixed nature), render himself independent.

"I have always treated him, in our personal intercourse, with such scrupulous delicacy, that I have forborne intruding advice which I thought might be disagreeable, lest he should impute it to what is called 'taking advantage of a man's situation.'

"As to friendship, it is a propensity in which my genius is very limited. I do not know the male human being, except Lord Clare, the friend of my infancy, for whom I feel any thing that deserves the name. All my others are men-of-the-world friendships. I did not even feel it for Shelley, however much I admired and esteemed him, so that you see not even vanity could bribe me into it, for, of all 009 men, Shelley thought highest of my talents,—and, perhaps, of my disposition.

"I will do my duty by my intimates, upon the principle of doing as you would be done by. I have done so, I trust, in most instances. I may be pleased with their conversation—rejoice in their success—be glad to do them service, or to receive their counsel and assistance in return. But as for friends and friendship, I have (as I already said) named the only remaining male for whom I feel any thing of the kind, excepting, perhaps, Thomas Moore. I have had, and may have still, a thousand friends, as they are called, in life, who are like one's partners in the waltz of this world—not much remembered when the ball is over, though very pleasant for the time. Habit, business, and companionship in pleasure or in pain, are links of a similar kind, and the same faith in politics is another." * * *


"Genoa, March 28. 1823.

"Mr. Hill is here: I dined with him on Saturday before last; and on leaving his house at S. P. d'Arena, my carriage broke down. I walked home, about three miles,—no very great feat of pedestrianism; but either the coming out of hot rooms into a bleak wind chilled me, or the walking up-hill to Albaro heated me, or something or other set me wrong, and next day I had an inflammatory attack in the face, to which I have been subject this winter for the first time, and I suffered a good deal of pain, but no peril. 010 My health is now much as usual. Mr. Hill is, I believe, occupied with his diplomacy. I shall give him your message when I see him again.

"My name, I see in the papers, has been dragged into the unhappy Portsmouth business, of which all that I know is very succinct. Mr. H—— is my solicitor. I found him so when I was ten years old—at my uncle's death—and he was continued in the management of my legal business. He asked me, by a civil epistle, as an old acquaintance of his family, to be present at the marriage of Miss H——. I went very reluctantly, one misty morning (for I had been up at two balls all night), to witness the ceremony, which I could not very well refuse without affronting a man who had never offended me. I saw nothing particular in the marriage. Of course I could not know the preliminaries, except from what he said, not having been present at the wooing, nor after it, for I walked home, and they went into the country as soon as they had promised and vowed. Out of this simple fact I hear the Debats de Paris has quoted Miss H. as 'autrefois trés liée avec le célebre,' &c. &c. I am obliged to him for the celebrity, but beg leave to decline the liaison, which is quite untrue; my liaison was with the father, in the unsentimental shape of long lawyers' bills, through the medium of which I have had to pay him ten or twelve thousand pounds within these few years. She was not pretty, and I suspect that the indefatigable Mr. A—— was (like all her people) more attracted by her title than her charms. I regret very much that I was present at the prologue to the happy 011 state of horse-whipping and black jobs, &c. &c.; but I could not foresee that a man was to turn out mad, who had gone about the world for fifty years, as competent to vote, and walk at large; nor did he seem to me more insane than any other person going to be married.

"I have no objection to be acquainted with the Marquis Palavicini, if he wishes it. Lately I have gone little into society, English or foreign, for I had seen all that was worth seeing in the former before I left England, and at the time of life when I was more disposed to like it; and of the latter I had a sufficiency in the first few years of my residence in Switzerland, chiefly at Madame de Staël's, where I went sometimes, till I grew tired of conversazioni and carnivals, with their appendages; and the bore is, that if you go once, you are expected to be there daily, or rather nightly. I went the round of the most noted soirées at Venice or elsewhere (where I remained not any time) to the Benzona, and the Albrizzi, and the Michelli, &c. &c. and to the Cardinals and the various potentates of the Legation in Romagna, (that is, Ravenna,) and only receded for the sake of quiet when I came into Tuscany. Besides, if I go into society, I generally get, in the long run, into some scrape of some kind or other, which don't occur in my solitude. However, I am pretty well settled now, by time and temper, which is so far lucky, as it prevents restlessness; but, as I said before, as an acquaintance of yours, I will be ready and willing to know your friends. He may be a sort of connection for aught I know; for a Palavicini, of 012 Bologna, I believe, married a distant relative of mine half a century ago. I happen to know the fact, as he and his spouse had an annuity of five hundred pounds on my uncle's property, which ceased at his demise; though I recollect hearing they attempted, naturally enough, to make it survive him. If I can do any thing for you here or elsewhere, pray order, and be obeyed."


"Genoa, April 2. 1823.

"I have just seen some friends of yours, who paid me a visit yesterday, which, in honour of them and of you, I returned to-day;—as I reserve my bear-skin and teeth, and paws and claws, for our enemies.

"I have also seen Henry F——, Lord H——'s son, whom I had not looked upon since I left him a pretty, mild boy, without a neckcloth, in a jacket, and in delicate health, seven long years agone, at the period of mine eclipse—the third, I believe, as I have generally one every two or three years. I think that he has the softest and most amiable expression of countenance I ever saw, and manners correspondent. If to those he can add hereditary talents, he will keep the name of F—— in all its freshness for half a century more, I hope. I speak from a transient glimpse—but I love still to yield to such impressions; for I have ever found that those I liked longest and best, I took to at first sight; and I always liked that boy—perhaps, in part, from some resemblance in the less fortunate part of our destinies—I mean, to avoid 013 mistakes, his lameness. But there is this difference, that he appears a halting angel, who has tripped against a star; whilst I am Le Diable Boiteux,—a soubriquet, which I marvel that, amongst their various nominis umbræ, the Orthodox have not hit upon.

"Your other allies, whom I have found very agreeable personages, are Milor B—— and épouse, travelling with a very handsome companion, in the shape of a 'French Count' (to use Farquhar's phrase in the Beaux Stratagem), who has all the air of a Cupidon déchainé, and is one of the few specimens I have seen of our ideal of a Frenchman before the Revolution—an old friend with a new face, upon whose like I never thought that we should look again. Miladi seems highly literary,—to which, and your honour's acquaintance with the family, I attribute the pleasure of having seen them. She is also very pretty, even in a morning,—a species of beauty on which the sun of Italy does not shine so frequently as the chandelier. Certainly, English-women wear better than their continental neighbours of the same sex. M—— seems very good-natured, but is much tamed, since I recollect him in all the glory of gems and snuff-boxes, and uniforms, and theatricals, and speeches in our house—'I mean, of peers,'—(I must refer you to Pope—who you don't read and won't appreciate—for that quotation, which you must allow to be poetical,) and sitting to Stroeling, the painter, (do you remember our visit, with Leckie, to the German?) to be depicted as one of the 014 heroes of Agincourt, 'with his long sword, saddle, bridle, Whack fal de, &c. &c.'

"I have been unwell—caught a cold and inflammation, which menaced a conflagration, after dining with our ambassador, Monsieur Hill,—not owing to the dinner, but my carriage broke down in the way home, and I had to walk some miles, up hill partly, after hot rooms, in a very bleak, windy evening, and over-hotted, or over-colded myself. I have not been so robustious as formerly, ever since the last summer, when I fell ill after a long swim in the Mediterranean, and have never been quite right up to this present writing. I am thin,—perhaps thinner than you saw me, when I was nearly transparent, in 1812,—and am obliged to be moderate of my mouth; which, nevertheless, won't prevent me (the gods willing) from dining with your friends the day after to-morrow.

"They give me a very good account of you, and of your nearly 'Emprisoned Angels.' But why did you change your title?—you will regret this some day. The bigots are not to be conciliated; and, if they were—are they worth it? I suspect that I am a more orthodox Christian than you are; and, whenever I see a real Christian, either in practice or in theory, (for I never yet found the man who could produce either, when put to the proof,) I am his disciple. But, till then, I cannot truckle to tithe-mongers,—nor can I imagine what has made you circumcise your Seraphs.

"I have been far more persecuted than you, as you may judge by my present decadence,—for I 015 take it that I am as low in popularity and book-selling as any writer can be. At least, so my friends assure me—blessings on their benevolence! This they attribute to Hunt; but they are wrong—it must be, partly at least, owing to myself; be it so. As to Hunt, I prefer not having turned him to starve in the streets to any personal honour which might have accrued from such genuine philanthropy. I really act upon principle in this matter, for we have nothing much in common; and I cannot describe to you the despairing sensation of trying to do something for a man who seems incapable or unwilling to do any thing further for himself,—at least, to the purpose. It is like pulling a man out of a river who directly throws himself in again. For the last three or four years Shelley assisted, and had once actually extricated him. I have since his demise,—and even before,—done what I could: but it is not in my power to make this permanent. I want Hunt to return to England, for which I would furnish him with the means in comfort; and his situation there, on the whole, is bettered, by the payment of a portion of his debts, &c.; and he would be on the spot to continue his Journal, or Journals, with his brother, who seems a sensible, plain, sturdy, and enduring person." * *

The new intimacy of which he here announces the commencement, and which it was gratifying to me, as the common friend of all, to find that he had formed, was a source of much pleasure to him during the stay of his noble acquaintances at Genoa. So long, indeed, 016 had he persuaded himself that his countrymen abroad all regarded him in no other light than as an outlaw or a show, that every new instance he met of friendly reception from them was as much a surprise as pleasure to him; and it was evident that to his mind the revival of English associations and habitudes always brought with it a sense of refreshment, like that of inhaling his native air.

With the view of inducing these friends to prolong their stay at Genoa, he suggested their taking a pretty villa called "Il Paradiso," in the neighbourhood of his own, and accompanied them to look at it. Upon that occasion it was that, on the lady expressing some intentions of residing there, he produced the following impromptu, which—but for the purpose of showing that he was not so "chary of his fame" as to fear failing in such trifles—I should have thought hardly worth transcribing.

"Beneath ——'s eyes

The reclaim'd Paradise

Should be free as the former from evil;

But, if the new Eve

For an apple should grieve,

What mortal would not play the devil?"[1]

[Footnote 1: The Genoese wits had already applied this threadbare jest to himself. Taking it into their heads that this villa (which was also, I believe, a Casa Saluzzo) had been the one fixed on for his own residence, they said "Il Diavolo é ancora entrato in Paradise."]

Another copy of verses addressed by him to the same lady, whose beauty and talent might well have 017 claimed a warmer tribute from such a pen, is yet too interesting, as descriptive of the premature feeling of age now stealing upon him, to be omitted in these pages.



"You have ask'd for a verse:—the request

In a rhymer 'twere strange to deny,

But my Hippocrene was but my breast,

And my feelings (its fountain) are dry.


"Were I now as I was, I had sung

What Lawrence has painted so well;

But the strain would expire on my tongue,

And the theme is too soft for my shell.


"I am ashes where once I was fire,

And the bard in my bosom is dead;

What I loved I now merely admire,

And my heart is as grey as my head.


"My life is not dated by years—

There are moments which act as a plough,

And there is not a furrow appears

But is deep in my soul as my brow.


"Let the young and the brilliant aspire

To sing what I gaze on in vain;

For sorrow has torn from my lyre

The string which was worthy the strain.


018The following letters written during the stay of this party at Genoa will be found,—some of them at least,—not a little curious.


"April 5. 1823.

"My dear Lord,

"How is your gout? or rather, how are you? I return the Count ——'s Journal, which is a very extraordinary production[1], and of a most melancholy truth in all that regards high life in England. I know, or knew personally, most of the personages and societies which he describes; and after reading his remarks, have the sensation fresh upon me as if I had seen them yesterday. I would however plead in behalf of some few exceptions, which I will mention by and by. The most singular thing is, how he should have penetrated not the fact, but the mystery of the English ennui, at two-and-twenty. I was about the same age when I made the same discovery, in almost precisely the same circles,—(for there is scarcely a person mentioned whom I did not see nightly or daily, and was acquainted more or less intimately with most of them,)—but I never could have described it so well. Il faut étre Français, to effect this.

[Footnote 1: In another letter to Lord B—— he says of this gentleman, "he seems to have all the qualities requisite to have figured in his brother-in-law's ancestor's Memoirs."]

"But he ought also to have been in the country during the hunting season, with 'a select party of 019 distinguished guests,' as the papers term it. He ought to have seen the gentlemen after dinner (on the hunting days), and the soiree ensuing thereupon,—and the women looking as if they had hunted, or rather been hunted; and I could have wished that he had been at a dinner in town, which I recollect at Lord C——'s—small, but select, and composed of the most amusing people. The dessert was hardly on the table, when, out of twelve, I counted five asleep; of that five, there were Tierney, Lord ——, and Lord —— —I forget the other two, but they were either wits or orators—perhaps poets.

"My residence in the East and in Italy has made me somewhat indulgent of the siesta;—but then they set regularly about it in warm countries, and perform it in solitude (or at most in a tête-à-tête with a proper companion), and retire quietly to their rooms to get out of the sun's way for an hour or two.

"Altogether, your friend's Journal is a very formidable production. Alas! our dearly beloved countrymen have only discovered that they are tired, and not that they are tiresome; and I suspect that the communication of the latter unpleasant verity will not be better received than truths usually are. I have read the whole with great attention and instruction. I am too good a patriot to say pleasure—at least I won't say so, whatever I may think. I showed it (I hope no breach of confidence) to a young Italian lady of rank, très instruite also; and who passes, or passed, for being one of the three most celebrated belles in the district of Italy, where 020 her family and connections resided in less troublesome times as to politics, (which is not Genoa, by the way,) and she was delighted with it, and says that she has derived a better notion of English society from it than from all Madame de Staël's metaphysical disputations on the same subject, in her work on the Revolution. I beg that you will thank the young philosopher, and make my compliments to Lady B. and her sister.

"Believe me your very obliged and faithful
"N. B.

"P.S. There is a rumour in letters of some disturbance or complot in the French Pyrenean army—generals suspected or dismissed, and ministers of war travelling to see what's the matter. 'Marry (as David says), this hath an angry favour.'

"Tell Count —— that some of the names are not quite intelligible, especially of the clubs; he speaks of Watts—perhaps he is right, but in my time Watiers was the Dandy Club, of which (though no dandy) I was a member, at the time too of its greatest glory, when Brummell and Mildmay, Alvanley and Pierrepoint, gave the Dandy Balls; and we (the club, that is,) got up the famous masquerade at Burlington House and Garden, for Wellington. He does not speak of the Alfred, which was the most recherché and most tiresome of any, as I know by being a member of that too."



"April 6. 1823.

"It would be worse than idle, knowing, as I do, the utter worthlessness of words on such occasions, in me to attempt to express what I ought to feel, and do feel for the loss you have sustained[1]; and I must thus dismiss the subject, for I dare not trust myself further with it for your sake, or for my own. I shall endeavour to see you as soon as it may not appear intrusive. Pray excuse the levity of my yesterday's scrawl—I little thought under what circumstances it would find you.

[Footnote 1: The death of Lord B——'s son, which had been long expected, but of which the account had just then arrived.]

"I have received a very handsome and flattering note from Count ——. He must excuse my apparent rudeness and real ignorance in replying to it in English, through the medium of your kind interpretation. I would not on any account deprive him of a production, of which I really think more than I have even said, though you are good enough not to be dissatisfied even with that; but whenever it is completed, it would give me the greatest pleasure to have a copy—but how to keep it secret? literary secrets are like others. By changing the names, or at least omitting several, and altering the circumstances indicative of the writer's real station or situation, the author would render it a most amusing publication. His countrymen have not been treated, either in a literary or personal point of view, with 022 such deference in English recent works, as to lay him under any very great national obligation of forbearance; and really the remarks are so true and piquante, that I cannot bring myself to wish their suppression; though, as Dangle says, 'He is my friend,' many of these personages 'were my friends, but much such friends as Dangle and his allies.

"I return you Dr. Parr's letter—I have met him at Payne Knight's and elsewhere, and he did me the honour once to be a patron of mine, although a great friend of the other branch of the House of Atreus, and the Greek teacher (I believe) of my moral Clytemnestra—I say moral, because it is true, and is so useful to the virtuous, that it enables them to do any thing without the aid of an Ægisthus.

"I beg my compliments to Lady B., Miss P., and to your Alfred. I think, since his Majesty of the same name, there has not been such a learned surveyor of our Saxon society.

"Ever yours most truly, N. B."

"April 9. 1823.

"P.S. I salute Miledi, Mademoiselle Mama, and the illustrious Chevalier Count ——; who, I hope, will continue his history of 'his own times.' There are some strange coincidences between a part of his remarks and a certain work of mine, now in MS. in England, (I do not mean the hermetically sealed Memoirs, but a continuation of certain Cantos of a certain poem,) especially in what a man may do in London with impunity while he is 'à la mode;' which I think it well to state, that he may not suspect me 023 of taking advantage of his confidence. The observations are very general."


"April 14. 1823.

"I am truly sorry that I cannot accompany you in your ride this morning, owing to a violent pain in my face, arising from a wart to which I by medical advice applied a caustic. Whether I put too much, I do not know, but the consequence is, that not only I have been put to some pain, but the peccant part and its immediate environ are as black as if the printer's devil had marked me for an author. As I do not wish to frighten your horses, or their riders, I shall postpone waiting upon you until six o'clock, when I hope to have subsided into a more christian-like resemblance to my fellow-creatures. My infliction has partially extended even to my fingers; for on trying to get the black from off my upper lip at least, I have only transfused a portion thereof to my right hand, and neither lemon-juice nor eau de Cologne, nor any other eau, have been able as yet to redeem it also from a more inky appearance than is either proper or pleasant. But 'out, damn'd spot'—you may have perceived something of the kind yesterday, for on my return, I saw that during my visit it had increased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished; and I could not help laughing at the figure I must have cut before you. At any rate, I shall be with you at six, with the advantage of twilight.

Ever most truly, &c.

024"Eleven o'clock.

"P.S. I wrote the above at three this morning. I regret to say that the whole of the skin of about an inch square above my upper lip has come off, so that I cannot even shave or masticate, and I am equally unfit to appear at your table, and to partake of its hospitality. Will you therefore pardon me, and not mistake this rueful excuse for a 'make-believe,' as you will soon recognise whenever I have the pleasure of meeting you again, and I will call the moment I am, in the nursery phrase, 'fit to be seen.' Tell Lady B. with my compliments, that I am rummaging my papers for a MS. worthy of her acceptation. I have just seen the younger Count Gamba, and as I cannot prevail on his infinite modesty to take the field without me, I must take this piece of diffidence on myself also, and beg your indulgence for both."


"April 22. 1823.

"My dear Count —— (if you will permit me to address you so familiarly), you should be content with writing in your own language, like Grammont, and succeeding in London as nobody has succeeded since the days of Charles the Second and the records of Antonio Hamilton, without deviating into our barbarous language,—which you understand and write, however, much better than it deserves.

"My 'approbation,' as you are pleased to term it, was very sincere, but perhaps not very impartial; 025 for, though I love my country, I do not love my countrymen—at least, such as they now are. And, besides the seduction of talent and wit in your work, I fear that to me there was the attraction of vengeance. I have seen and felt much of what you have described so well. I have known the persons, and the re-unions so described,—(many of them, that is to say,) and the portraits are so like that I cannot but admire the painter no less than his performance.

"But I am sorry for you; for if you are so well acquainted with life at your age, what will become of you when the illusion is still more dissipated? But never mind—en avant!—live while you can; and that you may have the full enjoyment of the many advantages of youth, talent, and figure, which you possess, is the wish of an—Englishman,—I suppose, but it is no treason; for my mother was Scotch, and my name and my family are both Norman; and as for myself, I am of no country. As for my 'Works,' which you are pleased to mention, let them go to the Devil, from whence (if you believe many persons) they came.

"I have the honour to be your obliged," &c. &c.

During this period a circumstance occurred which shows, most favourably for the better tendencies of his nature, how much allayed and softened down his once angry feeling, upon the subject of his matrimonial differences, had now grown. It has been seen that his daughter Ada,—more especially since his late loss of the only tie of blood which he could 026 have a hope of attaching to himself,—had become the fond and constant object of his thoughts; and it was but natural, in a heart kindly as his was, that, dwelling thus with tenderness upon the child, he should find himself insensibly subdued into a gentler tone of feeling towards the mother. A gentleman, whose sister was known to be the confidential friend of Lady Byron, happening at this time to be at Genoa, and in the habit of visiting at the house of the poet's new intimates, Lord Byron took one day an opportunity, in conversing with Lady ——, to say, that she would render him an essential kindness if, through the mediation of this gentleman and his sister, she could procure for him from Lady Byron, what he had long been most anxious to possess, a copy of her picture. It having been represented to him, in the course of the same, or a similar conversation, that Lady Byron was said by her friends to be in a state of constant alarm lest he should come to England to claim his daughter, or, in some other way, interfere with her, he professed his readiness to give every assurance that might have the effect of calming such apprehensions; and the following letter, in reference to both these subjects, was soon after sent by him.


"May 3. 1823.

"Dear Lady ——,

"My request would be for a copy of the miniature of Lady B. which I have seen in possession of 027 the late Lady Noel, as I have no picture, or indeed memorial of any kind of Lady B., as all her letters were in her own possession before I left England, and we have had no correspondence since—at least on her part.

My message, with regard to the infant, is simply to this effect—that in the event of any accident occurring to the mother, and my remaining the survivor, it would be my wish to have her plans carried into effect, both with regard to the education of the child, and the person or persons under whose care Lady B. might be desirous that she should be placed. It is not my intention to interfere with her in any way on the subject during her life; and I presume that it would be some consolation to her to know,(if she is in ill health, as I am given to understand,) that in no case would any thing be done, as far as I am concerned, but in strict conformity with Lady B.'s own wishes and intentions—left in what manner she thought proper.

"Believe me, dear Lady B., your obliged," &c.

This negotiation, of which I know not the results, nor whether, indeed, it ever ended in any, led naturally and frequently to conversations on the subject of his marriage,—a topic he was himself always the first to turn to,—and the account which he then gave, as well of the circumstances of the separation, as of his own entire unconsciousness of the immediate causes that provoked it, was, I find, exactly such as, upon every occasion when the subject presented itself, he, with an air of sincerity in which it was 028 impossible not to confide, promulgated. "Of what really led to the separation (said he, in the course of one of these conversations,) I declare to you that, even at this moment, I am wholly ignorant; as Lady Byron would never assign her motives, and has refused to answer my letters. I have written to her repeatedly, and am still in the habit of doing so. Some of these letters I have sent, and others I did not, simply because I despaired of their doing any good. You may, however, see some of them if you like;—they may serve to throw some light upon my feelings."

In a day or two after, accordingly, one of these withheld letters was sent by him, enclosed in the following, to Lady ——.


"Albaro, May 6.1828.

My dear Lady ——,

I send you the letter which I had forgotten, and the book[1], which I ought to have remembered. It contains (the book, I mean,) some melancholy truths; though I believe that it is too triste a work ever to have been popular. The first time I ever read it (not the edition I send you,—for I got it since,) was at the desire of Madame de Staël, who was supposed by the good-natured world to be the heroine;—which she was not, however, and was furious at the supposition. This occurred in Switzerland, 029 in the summer of 1816, and the last season in which I ever saw that celebrated person.

[Footnote 1: Adolphe, by M. Benjamin Constant.]

"I have a request to make to my friend Alfred (since he has not disdained the title), viz. that he would condescend to add a cap to the gentleman in the jacket,—it would complete his costume,—and smooth his brow, which is somewhat too inveterate a likeness of the original, God help me!"

"I did well to avoid the water-party,—why, is a mystery, which is not less to be wondered at than all my other mysteries. Tell Milor that I am deep in his MS., and will do him justice by a diligent perusal."

"The letter which I enclose I was prevented from sending by my despair of its doing any good. I was perfectly sincere when I wrote it, and am so still. But it is difficult for me to withstand the thousand provocations on that subject, which both friends and foes have for seven years been throwing in the way of a man whose feelings were once quick, and whose temper was never patient. But 'returning were as tedious as go o'er.' I feel this as much as ever Macbeth did; and it is a dreary sensation, which at least avenges the real or imaginary wrongs of one of the two unfortunate persons whom it concerns."

"But I am going to be gloomy;—so 'to bed, to bed.' Good night,—or rather morning. One of the reasons why I wish to avoid society is, that I can never sleep after it, and the pleasanter it has been the less I rest."

"Ever most truly," &c. &c. 030

I shall now produce the enclosure contained in the above; and there are few, I should think, of my readers who will not agree with me in pronouncing, that if the author of the following letter had not right on his side, he had at least most of those good feelings which are found in general to accompany it.



Pisa, November 17. 1821.

I have to acknowledge the receipt of 'Ada's hair,'which is very soft and pretty, and nearly as dark already as mine was at twelve years old, if I may judge from what I recollect of some in Augusta's possession, taken at that age. But it don't curl,—perhaps from its being let grow.

"I also thank you for the inscription of the date and name, and I will tell you why;—I believe that they are the only two or three words of your handwriting in my possession. For your letters I returned, and except the two words, or rather the one word, 'Household,' written twice in an old account book, I have no other. I burnt your last note, for two reasons:—firstly, it was written in a style not very agreeable; and, secondly, I wished to take your word without documents, which are the worldly resources of suspicious people.

I suppose that this note will reach you somewhere about Ada's birthday—the 10th of December, I believe. She will then be six, so that in about 031 twelve more I shall have some chance of meeting her;—perhaps sooner, if I am obliged to go to England by business or otherwise. Recollect, however, one thing, either in distance or nearness;—every day which keeps us asunder should, after so long a period, rather soften our mutual feelings, which must always have one rallying-point as long as our child exists, which I presume we both hope will be long after either of her parents.

The time which has elapsed since the separation has been considerably more than the whole brief period of our union, and the not much longer one of our prior acquaintance. We both made a bitter mistake; but now it is over, and irrevocably so. For, at thirty-three on my part, and a few years less on yours, though it is no very extended period of life, still it is one when the habits and thought are generally so formed as to admit of no modification; and as we could not agree when younger, we should with difficulty do so now.

I say all this, because I own to you, that, notwithstanding every thing, I considered our re-union as not impossible for more than a year after the separation;—but then I gave up the hope entirely and for ever. But this very impossibility of re-union seems to me at least a reason why, on all the few points of discussion which can arise between us, we should preserve the courtesies of life, and as much of its kindness as people who are never to meet may preserve perhaps more easily than nearer connections. For my own part, I am violent, but not malignant; for only fresh provocations can awaken my resentments. 032 To you, who are colder and more concentrated, I would just hint, that you may sometimes mistake the depth of a cold anger for dignity, and a worse feeling for duty. I assure you that I bear you now (whatever I may have done) no resentment whatever. Remember, that if you have injured me in aught, this forgiveness is something; and that, if I have injured you, it is something more still, if it be true, as the moralists say, that the most offending are the least forgiving.

"Whether the offence has been solely on my side, or reciprocal, or on yours chiefly, I have ceased to reflect upon any but two things,—viz. that you are the mother of my child, and that we shall never meet again. I think if you also consider the two corresponding points with reference to myself, it will be better for all three.

"Yours ever,

It has been my plan, as must have been observed, wherever my materials have furnished me with the means, to leave the subject of my Memoir to relate his own story; and this object, during the two or three years of his life just elapsed, I have been enabled by the rich resources in my hands, with but few interruptions, to attain. Having now, however, reached that point of his career from which a new start was about to be taken by his excursive spirit, and a course, glorious as it was brief and fatal, entered upon,—a moment of pause may be permitted while we look back through the last few years, and 033 for a while dwell upon the spectacle, at once grand and painful, which his life during that most unbridled period of his powers exhibited.

In a state of unceasing excitement, both of heart and brain,—for ever warring with the world's will, yet living but in the world's breath,—with a genius taking upon itself all shapes, from Jove down to Scapin, and a disposition veering with equal facility to all points of the moral compass,—not even the ancient fancy of the existence of two souls within one bosom would seem at all adequately to account for the varieties, both of power and character, which the course of his conduct and writings during these few feverish years displayed. Without going back so far as the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold, which one of his bitterest and ablest assailants has pronounced to be, "in point of execution, the sublimest poetical achievement of mortal pen," we have, in a similar strain of strength and splendour, the Prophecy of Dante, Cain, the Mystery of Heaven and Earth, Sardanapalus,—all produced during this wonderful period of his genius. To these also are to be added four other dramatic pieces, which, though the least successful of his compositions, have yet, as Poems, few equals in our literature; while, in a more especial degree, they illustrate the versatility of taste and power so remarkable in him, as being founded, and to this very circumstance, perhaps, owing their failure, on a severe classic model, the most uncongenial to his own habits and temperament, and the most remote from that bold, unshackled license which it had been 034 the great mission of his genius, throughout the whole realms of Mind, to assert.

In contrast to all these high-toned strains, and struck off during the same fertile period, we find his Don Juan—in itself an epitome of all the marvellous contrarieties of his character—the Vision of Judgment, the Translation from Pulci, the Pamphlets on Pope, on the British Review, on Blackwood,—together with a swarm of other light, humorous trifles, all flashing forth carelessly from the same mind that was, almost at the same moment, personating, with a port worthy of such a presence, the mighty spirit of Dante, or following the dark footsteps of Scepticism over the ruins of past worlds, with Cain.

All this time, too, while occupied with these ideal creations, the demands upon his active sympathies, in real life, were such as almost any mind but his own would have found sufficient to engross its every thought and feeling. An amour, not of that light, transient kind which "goes without a burden," but, on the contrary, deep-rooted enough to endure to the close of his days, employed as restlessly with its first hopes and fears a portion of this period as with the entanglements to which it led, political and domestic, it embarrassed the remainder. Scarcely, indeed, had this disturbing passion begun to calm, when a new source of excitement presented itself in that conspiracy into which he flung himself so fearlessly, and which ended, as we have seen, but in multiplying the objects of his sympathy and protection, and driving him to a new change of home and scene. 035

When we consider all these distractions that beset him, taking into account also the frequent derangement of his health, and the time and temper he must have thrown away on the minute drudgery of watching over every item of his household expenditure, the mind is lost in almost incredulous astonishment at the wonders he was able to achieve under such circumstances—at the variety and prodigality of power with which, in the midst of such interruptions and hinderances, his "bright soul broke out on every side," and not only held on its course, unclogged, through all these difficulties, but even extracted out of the very struggles and annoyances it encountered new nerve for its strength, and new fuel for its fire.

While thus at this period, more remarkably than at any other during his life, the unparalleled versatility of his genius was unfolding itself, those quick, cameleon-like changes of which his character, too, was capable were, during the same time, most vividly, and in strongest contrast, drawn out. To the world, and more especially to England,—the scene at once of his glories and his wrongs,—he presented himself in no other aspect than that of a stern, haughty misanthrope, self-banished from the fellowship of men, and, most of all, from that of Englishmen. The more genial and beautiful inspirations of his muse were, in this point of view, looked upon but as lucid intervals between the paroxysms of an inherent malignancy of nature; and even the laughing effusions of his wit and humour got credit for no other aim than that which Swift boasted of, as the 036 end of all his own labours, "to vex the world rather than divert it."

How totally all this differed from the Byron of the social hour, they who lived in familiar intercourse with him may be safely left to tell. The sort of ferine reputation which he had acquired for himself abroad prevented numbers, of course, of his countrymen, whom he would have most cordially welcomed, from seeking his acquaintance. But, as it was, no English gentleman ever approached him, with the common forms of introduction, that did not come away at once surprised and charmed by the kind courtesy and facility of his manners, the unpretending play of his conversation, and, on a nearer intercourse, the frank, youthful spirits, to the flow of which he gave way with such a zest, as even to deceive some of those who best knew him into the impression, that gaiety was after all the true bent of his disposition.

To these contrasts which he presented, as viewed publicly and privately, is to be added also the fact, that, while braving the world's ban so boldly, and asserting man's right to think for himself with a freedom and even daringness unequalled, the original shyness of his nature never ceased to hang about him; and while at a distance he was regarded as a sort of autocrat in intellect, revelling in all the confidence of his own great powers, a somewhat nearer observation enabled a common acquaintance at Venice[1] to 037 detect, under all this, traces of that self-distrust and bashfulness which had marked him as a boy, and which never entirely forsook him through the whole of his career.

[Footnote 1: The Countess Albrizzi—see her Sketch of his Character.]

Still more singular, however, than this contradiction between the public and private man,—a contradiction not unfrequent, and, in some cases, more apparent than real, as depending upon the relative position of the observer,—were those contrarieties and changes not less startling, which his character so often exhibited, as compared with itself. He who, at one moment, was seen intrenched in the most absolute self-will, would, at the very next, be found all that was docile and amenable. To-day, storming the world in its strong-holds, as a misanthrope and satirist—to-morrow, learning, with implicit obedience, to fold a shawl, as a Cavaliere—the same man who had so obstinately refused to surrender, either to friendly remonstrance or public outcry, a single line of Don Juan, at the mere request of a gentle Donna agreed to cease it altogether; nor would venture to resume this task (though the chief darling of his muse) till, with some difficulty, he had obtained leave from the same ascendant quarter. Who, indeed, is there that, without some previous clue to his transformations, could have been at all prepared to recognise the coarse libertine of Venice in that romantic and passionate lover who, but a few months after, stood weeping before the fountain in the garden at Bologna? or, who could have expected to find in the close calculator of sequins and baiocchi, that generous champion 038 of Liberty whose whole fortune, whose very life itself were considered by him but as trifling sacrifices for the advancement, but by a day, of her cause?

And here naturally our attention is drawn to the consideration of another feature of his character, connected more intimately with the bright epoch of his life now before us. Notwithstanding his strongly marked prejudices in favour of rank and high birth, we have seen with what ardour,—not only in fancy and theory, bet practically, as in the case of the Italian Carbonari,—he embarked his sympathies unreservedly on the current of every popular movement towards freedom. Though of the sincerity of this zeal for liberty the seal set upon it so solemnly by his death leaves us no room to doubt, a question may fairly arise whether that general love of excitement, let it flow from whatever source it might, by which, more or less, every pursuit of his whole life was actuated, was not predominant among the impulses that governed him in this; and, again, whether it is not probable that, like Alfieri and other aristocratic lovers of freedom, he would not ultimately have shrunk from the result of his own equalising doctrines; and, though zealous enough in lowering those above his own level, rather recoil from the task of raising up those who were below it.

With regard to the first point, it may be conceded, without deducting much from his sincere zeal in the cause, that the gratification of his thirst of fame, and, above all, perhaps, that supply of excitement so necessary to him, to whet, as it were, the edge of his self-wearing spirit, were not the least of the attractions 039 and incitements which a struggle under the banners of Freedom presented to him. It is also but too certain that, destined as he was to endless disenchantment, from that singular and painful union which existed in his nature of the creative imagination that calls up illusions, and the cool, searching sagacity that, at once, detects their hollowness, he could not long have gone on, even in a path so welcome to him, without finding the hopes with which his fancy had strewed it withering away beneath him at every step.

In politics, as in every other pursuit, his ambition was to be among the first; nor would it have been from the want of a due appreciation of all that is noblest and most disinterested in patriotism, that he would ever have stooped his flight to any less worthy aim. The following passage in one of his Journals will be remembered by the reader:—"To be the first man (not the Dictator), not the Sylla, but the Washington, or Aristides, the leader in talent and truth, is to be next to the Divinity." With such high and pure notions of political eminence, he could not be otherwise than fastidious as to the means of attaining it; nor can it be doubted that with the sort of vulgar and sometimes sullied instruments which all popular leaders must stoop to employ, his love of truth, his sense of honour, his impatience of injustice, would have led him constantly into such collisions as must have ended in repulsion and disgust; while the companionship of those beneath him, a tax all demagogues must pay, would, as soon as it had ceased to amuse his fancy for the new and the 040 ridiculous, have shocked his taste and mortified his pride. The distaste with which, as appears from more than one of his letters, he was disposed to view the personal, if not the political, attributes of what is commonly called the Radical party in England, shows how unsuited he was naturally to mix in that kind of popular fellowship which, even to those far less aristocratic in their notions and feelings, must be sufficiently trying.

But, even granting that all these consequences might safely be predicted as almost certain to result from his engaging in such a career, it by no means the more necessarily follows that, once engaged, he would not have persevered in it consistently and devotedly to the last; nor that, even if reduced to say, with Cicero, "nil boni præter causam," he could not have so far abstracted the principle of the cause from its unworthy supporters as, at the same time, to uphold the one and despise the others. Looking back, indeed, from the advanced point where we are now arrived through the whole of his past career, we cannot fail to observe, pervading all its apparent changes and inconsistencies, an adherence to the original bias of his nature, a general consistency in the main, however shifting and contradictory the details, which had the effect of preserving, from first to last, all his views and principles, upon the great subjects that interested him through life, essentially unchanged.[1]

[Footnote 1: Colonel Stanhope, who saw clearly this leading character of Byron's mind, has thus justly described it:—"Lord Byron's was a versatile and still a stubborn mind; it wavered, but always returned to certain fixed principles."]

041At the worst, therefore, though allowing that, from disappointment or disgust, he might have been led to withdraw all personal participation in such a cause, in no case would he have shown himself a recreant to its principles; and though too proud to have ever descended, like Egalité, into the ranks of the people, he would have been far too consistent to pass, like Alfieri, into those of their enemies.

After the failure of those hopes with which he had so sanguinely looked forward to the issue of the late struggle between Italy and her rulers, it may be well conceived what a relief it was to him to turn his eyes to Greece, where a spirit was now rising such as he had himself imaged forth in dreams of song, but hardly could have even dreamed that he should live to see it realised. His early travels in that country had left a lasting impression on his mind; and whenever, as I have before remarked, his fancy for a roving life returned, it was to the regions about the "blue Olympus" he always fondly looked back. Since his adoption of Italy as a home, this propensity had in a great degree subsided. In addition to the sedatory effects of his new domestic r, there had, at this time, grown upon him a degree of inertness, or indisposition to change of residence, which, in the instance of his departure from Ravenna, was with some difficulty surmounted.

The unsettled state of life he was from thenceforward thrown into, by the precarious fortunes of those with whom he had connected himself, conspired with one or two other causes to revive within him all his former love of change and adventure; nor is it wonderful 042 that to Greece, as offering both in their most exciting form, he should turn eagerly his eyes, and at once kindle with a desire not only to witness, but perhaps share in, the present triumphs of Liberty on those very fields where he had already gathered for immortality such memorials of her day long past.

Among the causes that concurred with this sentiment to determine him to the enterprise he now meditated, not the least powerful, undoubtedly, was the supposition in his own mind that the high tide of his poetical popularity had been for some time on the ebb. The utter failure of the Liberal,—in which, splendid as were some of his own contributions to it, there were yet others from his pen hardly to be distinguished from the surrounding dross,—confirmed him fully in the notion that he had at last wearied out his welcome with the world; and, as the voice of fame had become almost as necessary to him as the air he breathed, it was with a proud consciousness of the yet untouched reserves of power within him he now saw that, if arrived at the end of one path of fame, there were yet others for him to strike into, still more glorious.

That some such vent for the resources of his mind had long been contemplated by him appears from a letter of his to myself, in which it will be recollected he says,—"If I live ten years longer, you will see that it is not over with me. I don't mean in literature, for that is nothing; and—it may seem odd enough to say—I do not think it was my vocation. But you will see that I shall do something,—the times and Fortune permitting,—that 'like the 043 cosmogony of the world will puzzle the philosophers of all ages.'" He then adds this but too true and sad prognostic:—"But I doubt whether my constitution will hold out."

His zeal in the cause of Italy, whose past history and literature seemed to call aloud for redress of her present vassalage and wrongs, would have, no doubt, led him to the same chivalrous self-devotion in her service, as he displayed afterwards in that of Greece. The disappointing issue, however, of that brief struggle is but too well known; and this sudden wreck of a cause so promising pained him the more deeply from his knowledge of some of the brave and true hearts embarked in it. The disgust, indeed, which that abortive effort left behind, coupled with the opinion he had early formed of the "hereditary bonds-men" of Greece, had kept him for some time in a state of considerable doubt and misgiving as to their chances of ever working out their own enfranchisement; nor was it till the spring of this year, when, rather by the continuance of the struggle than by its actual success, some confidence had begun to be inspired in the trust-worthiness of the cause, that he had nearly made up his mind to devote himself to its aid. The only difficulty that still remained to retard or embarrass this resolution was the necessity it imposed of a temporary separation from Madame Guiccioli, who was herself, as might be expected, anxious to participate his perils, but whom it was impossible he could think of exposing to the chances of a life, even for men, so rude.

At the beginning of the month of April he received 044 a visit from Mr. Blaquiere, who was then proceeding on a special mission to Greece, for the purpose of procuring for the Committee lately formed in London correct information as to the state and prospects of that country. It was among the instructions of this gentleman that he should touch at Genoa and communicate with Lord Byron; and the following note will show how cordially the noble poet was disposed to enter into all the objects of the Committee.


"Albaro, April 5. 1823.

"Dear Sir,

"I shall be delighted to see you and your Greek friend, and the sooner the better. I have been expecting you for some time,—you will find me at home. I cannot express to you how much I feel interested in the cause, and nothing but the hopes I entertained of witnessing the liberation of Italy itself prevented me long ago from returning to do what little I could, as an individual, in that land which it is an honour even to have visited.

"Ever yours truly, NOEL BYRON."

Soon after this interview with their agent, a more direct communication on the subject was opened between his Lordship and the Committee itself.


"Genoa, May 12. 1823


"I have great pleasure in acknowledging your letter, and the honour which the Committee have 045 done me:—I shall endeavour to deserve their confidence by every means in my power. My first wish is to go up into the Levant in person, where I might be enabled to advance, if not the cause, at least the means of obtaining information which the Committee might be desirous of acting upon; and my former residence in the country, my familiarity with the Italian language, (which is there universally spoken, or at least to the same extent as French in the more polished parts of the Continent,) and my not total ignorance of the Romaic, would afford me some advantages of experience. To this project the only objection is of a domestic nature, and I shall try to get over it;—if I fail in this, I must do what I can where I am; but it will be always a source of regret to me, to think that I might perhaps have done more for the cause on the spot.

"Our last information of Captain Blaquiere is from Ancona, where he embarked with a fair wind for Corfu, on the 15th ult.; he is now probably at his destination. My last letter from him personally was dated Rome; he had been refused a passport through the Neapolitan territory, and returned to strike up through Romagna for Ancona:—little time, however, appears to have been lost by the delay.

"The principal material wanted by the Greeks appears to be, first, a park of field artillery—light, and fit for mountain-service; secondly, gunpowder; thirdly, hospital or medical stores. The readiest mode of transmission is, I hear, by Idra, addressed to Mr. Negri, the minister. I meant to send up a certain quantity of the two latter—no great deal—but 046 enough for an individual to show his good wishes for the Greek success,—but am pausing, because, in case I should go myself, I can take them with me. I do not want to limit my own contribution to this merely, but more especially, if I can get to Greece myself, I should devote whatever resources I can muster of my own, to advancing the great object. I am in correspondence with Signor Nicolas Karrellas (well known to Mr. Hobhouse), who is now at Pisa; but his latest advice merely stated, that the Greeks are at present employed in organising their internal government, and the details of its administration: this would seem to indicate security, but the war is however far from being terminated.

"The Turks are an obstinate race, as all former wars have proved them, and will return to the charge for years to come, even if beaten, as it is to be hoped they will be. But in no case can the labours of the Committee be said to be in vain; for in the event even of the Greeks being subdued, and dispersed, the funds which could be employed in succouring and gathering together the remnant, so as to alleviate in part their distresses, and enable them to find or make a country (as so many emigrants of other nations have been compelled to do), would 'bless both those who gave and those who took,' as the bounty both of justice and of mercy.

"With regard to the formation of a brigade, (which Mr. Hobhouse hints at in his short letter of this day's receipt, enclosing the one to which I have the honour to reply,) I would presume to suggest—but merely as an opinion, resulting rather from the melancholy 047 experience of the brigades embarked in the Columbian service than from any experiment yet fairly tried in GREECE,—that the attention of the Committee had better perhaps be directed to the employment of officers of experience than the enrolment of raw British soldiers, which latter are apt to be unruly, and not very serviceable, in irregular warfare, by the side of foreigners. A small body of good officers, especially artillery; an engineer, with quantity (such as the Committee might deem requisite) of stores of the nature which Captain Blaquiere indicated as most wanted, would, I should conceive, be a highly useful accession. Officers, also, who had previously served in the Mediterranean would be preferable, as some knowledge of Italian is nearly indispensable.

"It would also be as well that they should be aware, that they are not going 'to rough it on a beef-steak and bottle of port,'—but that Greece—never, of late years, very plentifully stocked for a mess—is at present the country of all kinds of privations. This remark may seem superfluous; but I have been led to it, by observing that many foreign officers, Italian, French, and even Germans (butfewer of the latter), have returned in disgust, imagining either that they were going up to make a party of pleasure, or to enjoy full pay, speedy promotion, and a very moderate degree of duty. They complain, too, of having been ill received by the Government or inhabitants; but numbers of these complainants were mere adventurers, attracted by a hope of command and plunder, and disappointed of both. Those 048 Greeks I have seen strenuously deny the charge of inhospitality, and declare that they shared their pittance to the last crum with their foreign volunteers.

"I need not suggest to the Committee the very great advantage which must accrue to Great Britain from the success of the Greeks, and their probable commercial relations with England in consequence; because I feel persuaded that the first object of the Committee is their EMANCIPATION, without any interested views. But the consideration might weigh with the English people in general, in their present passion for every kind of speculation,—they need not cross the American seas, for one much better worth their while, and nearer home. The resources even for an emigrant population, in the Greek islands alone, are rarely to be paralleled; and the cheapness of every kind of, not only necessary, but luxury, (that is to say, luxury of nature,) fruits, wine, oil, &c. in a state of peace, are far beyond those of the Cape, and Van Dieman's Land, and the other places of refuge, which the English people are searching for over the waters.

"I beg that the Committee will command me in any and every way. If I am favoured with any instructions, I shall endeavour to obey them to the letter, whether conformable to my own private opinion or not. I beg leave to add, personally, my respect for the gentleman whom I have the honour of addressing,

"And am, Sir, your obliged, &c.

049"P.S. The best refutation of Gell will be the active exertions of the Committee;—I am too warm a controversialist; and I suspect that if Mr. Hobhouse have taken him in hand, there will be little occasion for me to 'encumber him with help.' If I go up into the country, I will endeavour to transmit as accurate and impartial an account as circumstances will permit.

"I shall write to Mr. Karrellas. I expect intelligence from Captain Blaquiere, who has promised me some early intimation from the seat of the Provisional Government. I gave him a letter of introduction to Lord Sydney Osborne, at Corfu; but as Lord S. is in the government service, of course his reception could only be a cautious one."


"Genoa, May 21. 1823.


"I received yesterday the letter of the Committee, dated the 14th of March. What has occasioned the delay, I know not. It was forwarded by Mr. Galignani, from Paris, who stated that he had only had it in his charge four days, and that it was delivered to him by a Mr. Grattan. I need hardly say that I gladly accede to the proposition of the Committee, and hold myself highly honoured by being deemed worthy to be a member. I have also to return my thanks, particularly to yourself, for the accompanying letter, which is extremely flattering. 050

"Since I last wrote to you, through the medium of Mr. Hobhouse, I have received and forwarded a letter from Captain Blaquiere to me, from Corfu, which will show how he gets on. Yesterday I fell in with two young Germans, survivors of General Normann's band. They arrived at Genoa in the most deplorable state—without food—without a soul—without shoes. The Austrians had sent them out of their territory on their landing at Trieste; and they had been forced to come down to Florence, and had travelled from Leghorn here, with four Tuscan livres (about three francs) in their pockets. I have given them twenty Genoese scudi (about a hundred and thirty-three livres, French money,) and new shoes, which will enable them to get to Switzerland, where they say that they have friends. All that they could raise in Genoa, besides, was thirty sous. They do not complain of the Greeks, but say that they have suffered more since their landing in Italy.

"I tried their veracity, 1st, by their passports and papers; 2dly, by topography, cross-questioning them about Arta, Argos, Athens, Missolonghi, Corinth, c.; and, 3dly, in Romaic, of which I found one of them, at least, knew more than I do. One of them (they are both of good families) is a fine handsome young fellow of three-and-twenty—a Wirtembergher, and has a look of Sandt about him—the other a Bavarian, older and flat-faced, and less ideal, but a great, sturdy, soldier-like personage. The Wirtembergher was in the action at Arta, where the Philhellenists were cut to pieces after killing six hundred Turks, they themselves being only a hundred and 051 fifty in number, opposed to about six or seven thousand; only eight escaped, and of them about three only survived; so that General Normann 'posted his ragamuffins where they were well peppered—not three of the hundred and fifty left alive—and they are for the town's end for life.'

"These two left Greece by the direction of the Greeks. When Churschid Pacha over-run the Morea, the Greeks seem to have behaved well, in wishing to save their allies, when they thought that the game was up with themselves. This was in September last (1822): they wandered from island to island, and got from Milo to Smyrna, where the French consul gave them a passport, and a charitable captain a passage to Ancona, whence they got to Trieste, and were turned back by the Austrians. They complain only of the minister (who has always been an indifferent character); say that the Greeks fight very well in their own way, but were at first afraid to fire their own cannon—but mended with practice.

"Adolphe (the younger) commanded at Navarino for a short time; the other, a more material person, 'the bold Bavarian in a luckless hour,' seems chiefly to lament a fast of three days at Argos, and the loss of twenty-five paras a day of pay in arrear, and some baggage at Tripolitza; but takes his wounds, and marches, and battles in very good part. Both are very simple, full of naïveté, and quite unpretending: they say the foreigners quarrelled among themselves, particularly the French with the Germans, which produced duels. 052

"The Greeks accept muskets, but throw away bayonets, and will not be disciplined. When these lads saw two Piedmontese regiments yesterday, they said, 'Ah! if we had but these two, we should have cleared the Morea:' in that case the Piedmontese must have behaved better than they did against the Austrians. They seem to lay great stress upon a few regular troops—say that the Greeks have arms and powder in plenty, but want victuals, hospital stores, and lint and linen, &c. and money, very much. Altogether, it would be difficult to show more practical philosophy than this remnant of our 'puir hill folk' have done; they do not seem the least cast down, and their way of presenting themselves was as simple and natural as could be. They said, a Dane here had told them that an Englishman, friendly to the Greek cause, was here, and that, as they were reduced to beg their way home, they thought they might as well begin with me. I write in haste to snatch the post.

"Believe me, and truly,
"Your obliged, &c.

"P.S. I have, since I wrote this, seen them again. Count P. Gamba asked them to breakfast. One of them means to publish his Journal of the campaign. The Bavarian wonders a little that the Greeks are not quite the same with them of the time of Themistocles, (they were not then very tractable, by the by,) and at the difficulty of disciplining them; but he is a 'bon homme' and a tactician, and a little like Dugald Dalgetty, who would insist upon the erection of 'a sconce on the hill of 053 Drumsnab,' or whatever it was;—the other seems to wonder at nothing."


"May 17. 1823.

"My voyage to Greece will depend upon the Greek Committee (in England) partly, and partly on the instructions which some persons now in Greece on a private mission may be pleased to send me. I am a member, lately elected, of the said Committee; and my object in going up would be to do any little good in my power;—but as there are some pros and cons on the subject, with regard to how far the intervention of strangers may be advisable, I know no more than I tell you; but we shall probably hear something soon from England and Greece, which may be more decisive.

"With regard to the late person (Lord Londonderry), whom you hear that I have attacked, I can only say that a bad minister's memory is as much an object of investigation as his conduct while alive,—for his measures do not die with him like a private individual's notions. He is a matter of history; and, wherever I find a tyrant or a villain, I will mark him. I attacked him no more than I had been wont to do. As to the Liberal,—it was a publication set up for the advantage of a persecuted author and a very worthy man. But it was foolish in me to engage in it; and so it has turned out—for I have hurt myself without doing much good to those for whose benefit it was intended. 054

"Do not defend me—it will never do—you will only make yourself enemies.

"Mine are neither to be diminished nor softened, but they may be overthrown; and there are events which may occur, less improbable than those which have happened in our time, that may reverse the present state of things—nous verrons.

"I send you this gossip that you may laugh at it, which is all it is good for, if it is even good for so much. I shall be delighted to see you again; but it will be melancholy, should it be only for a moment.

"Ever yours, N. B."

It being now decided that Lord Byron should proceed forthwith to Greece, all the necessary preparations for his departure were hastened. One of his first steps was to write to Mr. Trelawney, who was then at Rome, to request that he would accompany him. "You must have heard," he says, "that I am going to Greece—why do you not come to me? I can do nothing without you, and am exceedingly anxious to see you. Pray, come, for I am at last determined to go to Greece:—it is the only place I was ever contented in. I am serious; and did not write before, as I might have given you a journey for nothing. They all say I can be of use to Greece; I do not know how—nor do they; but, at all events, let us go."

A physician, acquainted with surgery, being considered a necessary part of his suite, he requested of his own medical attendant at Genoa, Dr. Alexander, 055 to provide him with such a person; and, on the recommendation of this gentleman, Dr. Bruno, a young man who had just left the university with considerable reputation, was engaged. Among other preparations for his expedition, he ordered three splendid helmets to be made,—with his never forgotten crest engraved upon them,—for himself and the two friends who were to accompany him. In this little circumstance, which in England (where the ridiculous is so much better understood than the heroic) excited some sneers at the time, we have one of the many instances that occur amusingly through his life, to confirm the quaint but, as applied to him, true observation, that "the child is father to the man;"—the characteristics of these two periods of life being in him so anomalously transposed, that while the passions and ripened views of the man developed themselves in his boyhood, so the easily pleased fancies and vanities of the boy were for ever breaking out among the most serious moments of his manhood. The same schoolboy whom we found, at the beginning of the first volume, boasting of his intention to raise, at some future time, a troop of horse in black armour, to be called Byron's Blacks, was now seen trying on with delight his fine crested helmet, and anticipating the deeds of glory he was to achieve under its plumes.

At the end of May a letter arrived from Mr. Blaquiere communicating to him very favourable intelligence, and requesting that he would as much as possible hasten his departure, as he was now anxiously looked for, and would be of the 056 greatest service. However encouraging this summons, and though Lord Byron, thus called upon from all sides, had now determined to give freely the aid which all deemed so essential, it is plain from his letters that, in the cool, sagacious view which he himself took of the whole subject, so far from agreeing with these enthusiasts in their high estimate of his personal services, he had not yet even been able to perceive any definite way in which those services could, with any prospect of permanent utility, be applied.

For an insight into the true state of his mind at this crisis, the following observations of one who watched him with eyes quickened by anxiety will be found, perhaps, to afford the clearest and most certain clue. "At this time," says the Contessa Guiccioli, "Lord Byron again turned his thoughts to Greece; and, excited on every side by a thousand combining circumstances, found himself, almost before he had time to form a decision, or well know what he was doing, obliged to set out for that country. But, notwithstanding his affection for those regions,—notwithstanding the consciousness of his own moral energies, which made him say always that 'a man ought to do something more for society than write verses,'—notwithstanding the attraction which the object of this voyage must necessarily have for his noble mind, and that, moreover, he was resolved to return to Italy within a few months,—notwithstanding all this, every person who was near him at the time can bear witness to the struggle which his mind underwent (however much he endeavoured 057 to hide it), as the period fixed for his departure approached."[1]

[Footnote 1: "Fu allora che Lord Byron rivolse i suoi pensieri alla Grecia; e stimolato poi da ogni parte per mille combinazioni egli si trovo quasi senza averlo deciso, e senza saperlo, obbligato di partire per la Grecia. Ma, non ostante il suo affetto per quelle contrade,—non ostante il sentimento delle sue forze morali che gli faceva dire sempre 'che un uomo e obbligato a fare per la societa qualche cosa di piu che dei versi,—non ostante le attrative che doveva avere pel nobile suo animo l'oggetto di que viaggio,—e non ostante che egli fosse determinato di ritornare in Italia fra non molti mesi,—pure in quale combattimento si trovasse il suo cuore mentre si avvanzava l'epoca della sua parenza (sebbene cercasse occultarlo) ognuno che lo ha avvicinato allora puù dirlo."]

In addition to the vagueness which this want of any defined object so unsatisfactorily threw round the enterprise before him, he had also a sort of ominous presentiment—natural, perhaps, to one of his temperament under such circumstances—that he was but fulfilling his own doom in this expedition, and should die in Greece. On the evening before the departure of his friends, Lord and Lady B——, from Genoa, he called upon them for the purpose of taking leave, and sat conversing for some time. He was evidently in low spirits, and after expressing his regret that they should leave Genoa before his own time of sailing, proceeded to speak of his intended voyage in a tone full of despondence. "Here," said he, "we are all now together—but when, and where, shall we meet again? I have a sort of boding that we see each other for the last time; as something tells me I shall never again return from Greece." 058 Having continued a little longer in this melancholy strain, he leaned his head upon the arm of the sofa on which they were seated, and, bursting into tears, wept for some minutes with uncontrollable feeling. Though he had been talking only with Lady B——, all who were present in the room observed, and were affected by his emotion, while he himself, apparently ashamed of his weakness, endeavoured to turn off attention from it by some ironical remark, spoken with a sort of hysterical laugh, upon the effects of "nervousness."

He had, previous to this conversation, presented to each of the party some little farewell gift—a book to one, a print from his bust by Bartolini to another, and to Lady B—— a copy of his Armenian Grammar, which had some manuscript remarks of his own on the leaves. In now parting with her, having begged, as a memorial, some trifle which she had worn, the lady gave him one of her rings; in return for which he took a pin from his breast, containing a small cameo of Napoleon, which he said had long been his companion, and presented it to her Ladyship.

The next day Lady B—— received from him the following note.


"Albaro, June 2. 1823.

"My dear Lady B——, 'I am superstitious, and have recollected that memorials with a point are of less fortunate augury; I will, therefore, request you to accept, instead of the 059 pin, the enclosed chain, which is of so slight a value that you need not hesitate. As you wished for something worn, I can only say, that it has been worn oftener and longer than the other. It is of Venetian manufacture; and the only peculiarity about it is, that it could only be obtained at or from Venice. At Genoa they have none of the same kind. I also enclose a ring, which I would wish Alfred to keep; it is too large to wear; but is formed of lava, and so far adapted to the fire of his years and character. You will perhaps have the goodness to acknowledge the receipt of this note, and send back the pin (for good luck's sake), which I shall value much more for having been a night in your custody.

"Ever and faithfully your obliged, &c.

"P.S. I hope your nerves are well to-day, and will continue to flourish."

In the mean time the preparations for his romantic expedition were in progress. With the aid of his banker and very sincere friend, Mr. Barry, of Genoa, he was enabled to raise the large sums of money necessary for his supply;—10,000 crowns in specie, and 40,000 crowns in bills of exchange, being the amount of what he took with him, and a portion of this having been raised upon his furniture and books, on which Mr. Barry, as I understand, advanced a sum far beyond their worth. An English brig, the Hercules, had been freighted to convey himself and his suite, which consisted, at this time, of Count Gamba, Mr. Trelawney, Dr. Bruno, and eight 060 domestics. There were also aboard five horses, sufficient arms and ammunition for the use of his own party, two one-pounders belonging to his schooner, the Bolivar, which he had left at Genoa, and medicine enough for the supply of a thousand men for a year.

The following letter to the Secretary of the Greek Committee announces his approaching departure.


"July 7. 1823.

"We sail on the 12th for Greece.—I have had a letter from Mr, Blaquiere, too long for present transcription, but very satisfactory. The Greek Government expects me without delay.

"In conformity to the desires of Mr. B. and other correspondents in Greece, I have to suggest, with all deference to the Committee, that a remittance of even 'ten thousand pounds only' (Mr. B.'s expression) would be of the greatest service to the Greek Government at present. I have also to recommend strongly the attempt of a loan, for which there will be offered a sufficient security by deputies now on their way to England. In the mean time, I hope that the Committee will be enabled to do something effectual.

"For my own part, I mean to carry up, in cash or credits, above eight, and nearly nine thousand pounds sterling, which I am enabled to do by funds I have in Italy, and credits in England. Of this sum I 061 must necessarily reserve a portion for the subsistence of myself and suite; the rest I am willing to apply in the manner which seems most likely to be useful to the cause—having of course some guarantee or assurance, that it will not be misapplied to any individual speculation.

"If I remain in Greece, which will mainly depend upon the presumed probable utility of my presence there, and of the opinion of the Greeks themselves as to its propriety—in short, if I am welcome to them, I shall continue, during my residence at least, to apply such portions of my income, present and future, as may forward the object—that is to say, what I can spare for that purpose. Privations I can, or at least could once bear—abstinence I am accustomed to—and as to fatigue, I was once a tolerable traveller. What I may be now, I cannot tell—but I will try.

"I await the commands of the Committee—Address to Genoa—the letters will be forwarded me, wherever I may be, by my bankers, Messrs. Webb and Barry. It would have given me pleasure to have had some more defined instructions before I went, but these, of course, rest at the option of the Committee.

I have the honour to be,
"Yours obediently, &c.

"P.S. Great anxiety is expressed for a printing press and types, &c. I have not the time to provide them, but recommend this to the notice of the Committee. I presume the types must, partly at least, be Greek: they wish to publish papers, and perhaps 062 a Journal, probably in Romaic, with Italian translations."

All was now ready; and on the 13th of July himself and his whole party slept on board the Hercules. About sunrise the next morning they succeeded in clearing the port; but there was little wind, and they remained in sight of Genoa the whole day. The night was a bright moonlight, but the wind had become stormy and adverse, and they were, for a short time, in serious danger. Lord Byron, who remained on deck during the storm, was employed anxiously, with the aid of such of his suite as were not disabled by sea-sickness from helping him in preventing further mischief to the horses, which, having been badly secured, had broken loose and injured each other. After making head against the wind for three or four hours, the captain was at last obliged to steer back to Genoa, and re-entered the port at six in the morning. On landing again, after this unpromising commencement of his voyage, Lord Byron (says Count Gamba) "appeared thoughtful, and remarked that he considered a bad beginning a favourable omen."

It has been already, I believe, mentioned that, among the superstitions in which he chose to indulge, the supposed unluckiness of Friday, as a day for the commencement of any work, was one by which he, almost always, allowed himself to be influenced. Soon after his arrival at Pisa, a lady of his acquaintance happening to meet him on the road from her house as she was herself returning thither, and supposing 063 that he had been to make her a visit, requested that he would go back with her. "I have not been to your house," he answered; "for, just before I got to the door, I remembered that it was Friday; and, not liking to make my first visit on a Friday, I turned back." It is even related of him that he once sent away a Genoese tailor who brought him home a new coat on the same ominous day.

With all this, strange to say, he set sail for Greece on a Friday:—and though, by those who have any leaning to this superstitious fancy, the result maybe thought but too sadly confirmatory of the omen, it is plain that either the influence of the superstition over his own mind was slight, or, in the excitement of self-devotion under which he now acted, was forgotten, In truth, notwithstanding his encouraging speech to Count Gamba, the forewarning he now felt of his approaching doom seems to have been far too deep and serious to need the aid of any such accessory. Having expressed a wish, on relanding, to visit his own palace, which he had left to the care of Mr. Barry during his absence, and from which Madame Guiccioli had early that morning departed, he now proceeded thither, accompanied by Count Gamba alone. "His conversation," says this gentleman, "was somewhat melancholy on our way to Albaro: he spoke much of his past life, and of the uncertainty of the future. 'Where,' said he, 'shall we be in a year?'—It looked (adds his friend) like a melancholy foreboding; for, on the same day, of the same month, in the next year, he was carried to the tomb of his ancestors." 064

It took nearly the whole of the day to repair the damages of their vessel; and the greater part of this interval was passed by Lord Byron, in company with Mr. Barry, at some gardens near the city. Here his conversation, as this gentleman informs me, took the same gloomy turn. That he had not fixed to go to England, in preference, seemed one of his deep regrets; and so hopeless were the views he expressed of the whole enterprise before him, that, as it appeared to Mr. Barry, nothing but a devoted sense of duty and honour could have determined him to persist in it.

In the evening of that day they set sail;—and now, fairly launched in the cause, and disengaged, as it were, from his former state of existence, the natural power of his spirit to shake off pressure, whether from within or without, began instantly to display itself. According to the report of one of his fellow-voyagers, though so clouded while on shore, no sooner did he find himself, once more, bounding over the waters, than all the light and life of his better nature shone forth. In the breeze that now bore him towards his beloved Greece, the voice of his youth seemed again to speak. Before the titles of hero, of benefactor, to which he now aspired, that of poet, however pre-eminent, faded into nothing. His love of freedom, his generosity, his thirst for the new and adventurous,—all were re-awakened; and even the bodings that still lingered at the bottom of his heart but made the course before him more precious from his consciousness of its brevity, and from the high 065 and self-ennobling resolution he had now taken to turn what yet remained of it gloriously to account.

"Parte, e porta un desio d'eterna ed alma

Gloria che a nobil cuor e sferza e sprone;

A magnanime imprese intenta ha l'alma,

Ed insolite cose oprar dispone.

Gir fra i nemici—ivi o cipresso o palma


After a passage of five days, they reached Leghorn, at which place it was thought necessary to touch, for the purpose of taking on board a supply of gunpowder, and other English goods, not to be had elsewhere.

It would have been the wish of Lord Byron, in the new path he had now marked out for himself, to disconnect from his name, if possible, all those poetical associations, which, by throwing a character of romance over the step he was now taking, might have a tendency, as he feared, to impair its practical utility; and it is, perhaps, hardly saying too much for his sincere zeal in the cause to assert, that he would willingly at this moment have sacrificed his whole fame, as poet, for even the prospect of an equivalent renown, as philanthropist and liberator. How vain, however, was the thought that he could thus supersede his own glory, or cause the fame of the lyre to be forgotten in that of the sword, was made manifest to him by a mark of homage which reached him, while at Leghorn, from the hands of one of the only two men of the age who could contend with him in the universality of his literary fame.

Already, as has been seen, an exchange of courtesies, 066 founded upon mutual admiration, had taken place between Lord Byron and the great poet of Germany, Goethe. Of this intercourse between two such men,—the former as brief a light in the world's eyes, as the latter has been long and steadily luminous,—an account has been by the venerable survivor put on record, which, as a fit preliminary to the letter I am about to give, I shall here insert in as faithful a translation as it has been in my power to procure.


"The German poet, who, down to the latest period of his long life, had been always anxious to acknowledge the merits of his literary predecessors and contemporaries, because he has always considered this to be the surest means of cultivating his own powers, could not but have his attention attracted to the great talent of the noble Lord almost from his earliest appearance, and uninterruptedly watched the progress of his mind throughout the great works which he unceasingly produced. It was immediately perceived by him that the public appreciation of his poetical merits kept pace with the rapid succession of his writings. The joyful sympathy of others would have been perfect, had not the poet, by a life marked by self-dissatisfaction, and the indulgence of strong passions, disturbed the enjoyment which his infinite genius produced. But his German admirer was not led astray by this, or prevented from following with close attention both his works and his life in all their eccentricity. These 067 astonished him the more, as he found in the experience of past ages no element for the calculation of so eccentric an orbit.

"These endeavours of the German did not remain unknown to the Englishman, of which his poems contain unambiguous proofs; and he also availed himself of the means afforded by various travellers, to forward some friendly salutation to his unknown admirer. At length a manuscript Dedication of Sardanapaius, in the most complimentary terms, was forwarded to him, with an obliging enquiry whether it might be prefixed to the tragedy. The German, who, at his advanced age, was conscious of his own powers and of their effects, could only gratefully and modestly consider this Dedication as the expression of an inexhaustible intellect, deeply feeling and creating its own object. He was by no means dissatisfied when, after a long delay, Sardanapaius appeared without the Dedication; and was made happy by the possession of a fac-simile of it, engraved on stone, which he considered a precious memorial.

The noble Lord, however, did not abandon his purpose of proclaiming to the world his valued kindness towards his German contemporary and brother poet, a precious evidence of which was placed in front of the tragedy of Werner. It will be readily believed, when so unhoped for an honour was conferred upon the German poet,—one seldom experienced in life, and that too from one himself so highly distinguished,—he was by no means reluctant to express the high esteem and sympathising 068 sentiment with which his unsurpassed contemporary had inspired him. The task was difficult, and was found the more so, the more it was contemplated;—for what can be said of one whose unfathomable qualities are not to be reached by words? But when a young gentleman, Mr. Sterling, of pleasing person and excellent character, in the spring of 1823, on a journey from Genoa to Weimar, delivered a few lines under the hand of the great man as an introduction, and when the report was soon after spread that the noble Peer was about to direct his great mind and various power to deeds of sublime daring beyond the ocean, there appeared to be no time left for further delay, and the following lines were hastily written[1]:—

[Footnote 1: I insert the verses in the original language, as an English version gives but a very imperfect notion of their meaning.]

"Ein freundlich Wort kommt eines nach dem andern

Von Süden her und bringt uns frohe Stunden;

Es ruft uns auf zum Edelsten zu wandern,

Nich ist der Geist, doch ist der Fuss gebunden.

"Wie soil ich dem, den ich so lang begleitet,

Nun etwas Traulich's in die Ferne sagen?

Ihm der sich selbst im Innersten bestreitet,

Stark angewohnt das tiefste Weh zu tragen.

"Wohl sey ihm doch, wenn er sich selbst empfindet!

Er wage selbst sich hoch beglückt zu nennen,

Wenn Musenkraft die Schmerzen überwindet,

Und wie ich ihn erkannt mög' er sich kennen.

"The verses reached Genoa, but the excellent friend to whom they were addressed was already 069 gone, and to a distance, as it appeared, inaccessible. Driven back, however, by storms, he landed at Leghorn, where these cordial lines reached him just as he was about to embark, on the 24th of July, 1823. He had barely time to answer by a well-filled page, which the possessor has preserved among his most precious papers, as the worthiest evidence of the connection that had been formed. Affecting and delightful as was such a document, and justifying the most lively hopes, it has acquired now the greatest, though most painful value, from the untimely death of the lofty writer, which adds a peculiar edge to the grief felt generally throughout the whole moral and poetical world at his loss: for we were warranted in hoping, that when his great deeds should have been achieved, we might personally have greeted in him the pre-eminent intellect, the happily acquired friend, and the most humane of conquerors. At present we can only console ourselves with the conviction that his country will at last recover from that violence of invective and reproach which has been so long raised against him, and will learn to understand that the dross and lees of the age and the individual, out of which even the best have to elevate themselves, are but perishable and transient, while the wonderful glory to which he in the present and through all future ages has elevated his country, will be as boundless in its splendour as it is incalculable in its consequences. Nor can there be any doubt that the nation, which can boast of so many great names, will class him among 070 the first of those through whom she has acquired such glory."

The following is Lord Byron's answer to the communication above mentioned from Goethe:—


"Leghorn, July 24. 1823.

"Illustrious Sir,

"I cannot thank you as you ought to be thanked for the lines which my young friend, Mr. Sterling, sent me of yours; and it would but ill become me to pretend to exchange verses with him who, for fifty years, has been the undisputed sovereign of European literature. You must therefore accept my most sincere acknowledgments in prose—and in hasty prose too; for I am at present on my voyage to Greece once more, and surrounded by hurry and bustle, which hardly allow a moment even to gratitude and admiration to express themselves.

"I sailed from Genoa some days ago, was driven back by a gale of wind, and have since sailed again and arrived here, 'Leghorn,' this morning, to receive on board some Greek passengers for their struggling country.

"Here also I found your lines and Mr. Sterling's letter; and I could not have had a more favourable omen, a more agreeable surprise, than a word of Goethe, written by his own hand.

"I am returning to Greece, to see if I can be of 071 any little use there: if ever I come back, I will pay a visit to Weimar, to offer the sincere homage of one of the many millions of your admirers. I have the honour to be, ever and most,

"Your obliged,

From Leghorn, where his Lordship was joined by Mr. Hamilton Browne, he set sail on the 24th of July, and, after about ten days of most favourable weather, cast anchor at Argostoli, the chief port of Cephalonia.

It had been thought expedient that Lord Byron should, with the view of informing himself correctly respecting Greece, direct his course, in the first instance, to one of the Ionian islands, from whence, as from a post of observation, he might be able to ascertain the exact position of affairs before he landed on the continent. For this purpose it had been recommended that either Zante or Cephalonia should be selected; and his choice was chiefly determined towards the latter island by his knowledge of the talents and liberal feelings of the Resident, Colonel Napier. Aware, however, that, in the yet doubtful aspect of the foreign policy of England, his arrival thus on an expedition so declaredly in aid of insurrection might have the effect of embarrassing the existing authorities, he resolved to adopt such a line of conduct as would be the least calculated either to compromise or offend them. It was with this view he now thought it prudent not to land at Argostoli, but to await on board his vessel such information 072 from the Government of Greece as should enable him to decide upon his further movements.

The arrival of a person so celebrated at Argostoli excited naturally a lively sensation, as well among the Greeks as the English of that place; and the first approaches towards intercourse between the latter and their noble visiter were followed instantly, on both sides, by that sort of agreeable surprise which, from the false notions they had preconceived of each other, was to be expected. His countrymen, who, from the exaggerated stories they had so often heard of his misanthropy and especial horror of the English, expected their courtesies to be received with a haughty, if not insulting coldness, found, on the contrary, in all his demeanour a degree of open and cheerful affability which, calculated, as it was, to charm under any circumstances, was to them, expecting so much the reverse, peculiarly fascinating;—while he, on his side, even still more sensitively prepared, by a long course of brooding over his own fancies, for a cold and reluctant reception from his countrymen, found himself greeted at once with a welcome so cordial and respectful as not only surprised and flattered, but, it was evident, sensibly touched him. Among other hospitalities accepted by him was a dinner with the officers of the garrison, at which, on his health being drunk, he is reported to have said, in returning thanks, that "he was doubtful whether he could express his sense of the obligation as he ought, having been so long in the practice of speaking a foreign language 073 that it was with some difficulty he could convey the whole force of what he felt in his own."

Having despatched messengers to Corfu and Missolonghi in quest of information, he resolved, while waiting their return, to employ his time in a journey to Ithaca, which island is separated from that of Cephalonia but by a narrow strait. On his way to Vathi, the chief city of the island, to which place he had been invited, and his journey hospitably facilitated, by the Resident, Captain Knox, he paid a visit to the mountain-cave in which, according to tradition, Ulysses deposited the presents of the Phæacians. "Lord Byron (says Count Gamba) ascended to the grotto, but the steepness and height prevented him from reaching the remains of the Castle. I myself experienced considerable difficulty in gaining it. Lord Byron sat reading in the grotto, but fell asleep. I awoke him on my return, and he said that I had interrupted dreams more pleasant than ever he had before in his life."

Though unchanged, since he first visited these regions, in his preference of the wild charms of Nature to all the classic associations of Art and History, he yet joined with much interest in any pilgrimage to those places which tradition had sanctified. At the Fountain of Arethusa, one of the spots of this kind which he visited, a repast had been prepared for himself and his party by the Resident; and at the School of Homer,—as some remains beyond Chioni are called,—he met with an old refugee bishop, whom he had known thirteen years before in Livadia, and with whom he now 074 conversed of those times, with a rapidity and freshness of recollection with which the memory of the old bishop could but ill keep pace. Neither did the traditional Baths of Penelope escape his research; and "however sceptical (says a lady, who, soon after, followed his footsteps,) he might have been as to these supposed localities, he never offended the natives by any objection to the reality of their fancies. On the contrary, his politeness and kindness won the respect and admiration of all those Greek gentlemen who saw him; and to me they spoke of him with enthusiasm."

Those benevolent views by which, even more, perhaps, than by any ambition of renown, he proved himself to be actuated in his present course, had, during his short stay at Ithaca, opportunities of disclosing themselves. On learning that a number of poor families had fled thither from Scio, Patras, and other parts of Greece, he not only presented to the Commandant three thousand piastres for their relief, but by his generosity to one family in particular, which had once been in a state of affluence at Patras, enabled them to repair their circumstances and again live in comfort. "The eldest girl (says the lady whom I have already quoted) became afterwards the mistress of the school formed at Ithaca; and neither she, her sister, nor mother, could ever speak of Lord Byron without the deepest feeling of gratitude, and of regret for his too premature death."

After occupying in this excursion about eight days, he had again established himself on board the Hercules, when one of the messengers whom he had 075 despatched returned, bringing a letter to him from the brave Marco Botzari, whom he had left among the mountains of Agrafa, preparing for that attack in which he so gloriously fell. The following are the terms in which this heroic chief wrote to Lord Byron:—

"Your letter, and that of the venerable Ignazio, have filled me with joy. Your Excellency is exactly the person of whom we stand in need. Let nothing prevent you from coming into this part of Greece. The enemy threatens us in great number; but, by the help of God and your Excellency, they shall meet a suitable resistance. I shall have something to do to-night against a corps of six or seven thousand Albanians, encamped close to this place. The day after to-morrow I will set out with a few chosen companions, to meet your Excellency. Do not delay. I thank you for the good opinion you have of my fellow-citizens, which God grant you will not find ill-founded; and I thank you still more for the care you have so kindly taken of them.

"Believe me," &c.

In the expectation that Lord Byron would proceed forthwith to Missolonghi, it had been the intention of Botzari, as the above letter announces, to leave the army, and hasten, with a few of his brother warriors, to receive their noble ally on his landing in a manner worthy of the generous mission on which he came. The above letter, however, preceded but by a few hours his death. That very night he penetrated, 076 with but a handful of followers, into the midst of the enemy's camp, whose force was eight thousand strong, and after leading his heroic band over heaps of dead, fell, at last, close to the tent of the Pasha himself.

The mention made in this brave Suliote's letter of Lord Byron's care of his fellow-citizens refers to a popular act done recently by the noble poet at Cephalonia, in taking into his pay, as a body-guard, forty of this now homeless tribe. On finding, however, that for want of employment they were becoming restless and turbulent, he despatched them off soon after, armed and provisioned, to join in the defence of Missolonghi, which was at that time besieged on one side by a considerable force, and blockaded on the other by a Turkish squadron. Already had he, with a view to the succour of this place, made a generous offer to the Government, which he thus states himself in one of his letters:—"I offered to advance a thousand dollars a month for the succour of Missolonghi, and the Suliotes under Botzari (since killed); but the Government have answered me, that they wish to confer with me previously, which is in fact saying they wish me to expend my money in some other direction. I will take care that it is for the public cause, otherwise I will not advance a para. The opposition say they want to cajole me, and the party in power say the others wish to seduce me, so between the two I have a difficult part to play; however, I will have nothing to do with the factions unless to reconcile them if possible." 077

In these last few sentences is described briefly the position in which Lord Byron was now placed, and in which the coolness, foresight, and self-possession he displayed sufficiently refute the notion that even the highest powers of imagination, whatever effect they may sometimes produce on the moral temperament, are at all incompatible with the sound practical good sense, the steadily balanced views, which the business of active life requires.

The great difficulty, to an observer of the state of Greece at this crisis, was to be able clearly to distinguish between what was real and what was merely apparent in those tests by which the probability of her future success or failure was to be judged. With a Government little more than nominal, having neither authority nor resources, its executive and legislative branches being openly at variance, and the supplies that ought to fill its exchequer being intercepted by the military Chiefs, who, as they were, in most places, collectors of the revenue, were able to rob by authority;—with that curse of all popular enterprises, a multiplicity of leaders, each selfishly pursuing his own objects, and ready to make the sword the umpire of their claims;—with a fleet furnished by private adventure, and therefore precarious; and an army belonging rather to its Chiefs than to the Government, and, accordingly, trusting more to plunder than to pay;—with all these principles of mischief, and, as it would seem, ruin at the very heart of the struggle, it had yet persevered, which was in itself victory, through three trying campaigns; and at this moment presented, 078 in the midst of all its apparent weakness and distraction, some elements of success which both accounted for what had hitherto been effected, and gave a hope, with more favouring circumstances, of something nobler yet to come.

Besides the never-failing encouragement which the incapacity of their enemies afforded them, the Greeks derived also from the geographical conformation of their country those same advantages with which nature had blessed their great ancestors, and which had contributed mainly perhaps to the formation, as well as maintenance, of their high national character. Islanders and mountaineers, they were, by their very position, heirs to the blessings of freedom and commerce; nor had the spirit of either, through all their long slavery and sufferings, ever wholly died away. They had also, luckily, in a political as well as religious point of view, preserved that sacred line of distinction between themselves and their conquerors which a fond fidelity to an ancient church could alone have maintained for them;—keeping thus holily in reserve, against the hour of struggle, that most stirring of all the excitements to which Freedom can appeal when she points to her flame rising out of the censer of Religion. In addition to these, and all the other moral advantages included in them, for which the Greeks were indebted to their own nature and position, is to be taken also into account the aid and sympathy they had every right to expect from others, as soon as their exertions in their own cause should justify the confidence that it would be something 079 more than the mere chivalry of generosity to assist them.[1]

[Footnote 1: For a clear and concise sketch of the state of Greece at this crisis, executed with all that command of the subject which a long residence in the country alone could give, see Colonel Leake's "Historical Outline of the Greek Revolution."]

Such seem to have been the chief features of hope which the state of Greece, at this moment, presented. But though giving promise, perhaps, of a lengthened continuance of the struggle, they, in that very promise, postponed indefinitely the period of its success; and checked and counteracted as were these auspicious appearances by the manifold and inherent evils above enumerated,—by a consideration, too, of the resources and obstinacy of the still powerful Turk, and of the little favour with which it was at all probable that the Courts of Europe would ever regard the attempt of any people, under any circumstances, to be their own emancipators,—none, assuredly, but a most sanguine spirit could indulge in the dream that Greece would be able to work out her own liberation, or that aught, indeed, but a fortuitous concurrence of political circumstances could ever accomplish it. Like many other such contests between right and might, it was a cause destined, all felt, to be successful, but at its own ripe hour;—a cause which individuals might keep alive, but which events, wholly independent of them, alone could accomplish, and which, after the hearts, and hopes, and lives of all its bravest defenders had been wasted upon it, would at last to other hands, and 080 even to other means than those contemplated by its first champions, owe its completion.

That Lord Byron, on a nearer view of the state of Greece, saw it much in the light I have here regarded it in, his letters leave no room to doubt. Neither was the impression he had early received of the Greeks themselves at all improved by the present renewal of his acquaintance with them. Though making full allowance for the causes that had produced their degeneracy, he still saw that they were grossly degenerate, and must be dealt with and counted upon accordingly. "I am of St. Paul's opinion," said he, "that there is no difference between Jews and Greeks,—the character of both being equally vile." With such means and materials, the work of regeneration, he knew, must be slow; and the hopelessness he therefore felt as to the chances of ever connecting his name with any essential or permanent benefit to Greece, gives to the sacrifice he now made of himself a far more touching interest than had the consciousness of dying for some great object been at once his incitement and reward. He but looked upon himself,—to use a favourite illustration of his own,—as one of the many waves that must break and die upon the shore, before the tide they help to advance can reach its full mark. "What signifies Self," was his generous thought, "if a single spark of that which would be worthy of the past can be bequeathed unquenchedly to the future?"[1] Such 081 was the devoted feeling with which he embarked in the cause of Italy; and these words, which, had they remained only words, the unjust world would have pronounced but an idle boast, have now received from his whole course in Greece a practical comment, which gives them all the right of truth to be engraved solemnly on his tomb.

[Footnote 1: Diary of 1821.—The same distrustful and, as it turned out, just view of the chances of success were taken by him also on that occasion:—"I shall not," he says, "fall back;—though I don't think them in force or heart sufficient to make much of it."]

Though with so little hope of being able to serve signally the cause, the task of at least lightening, by his interposition, some of the manifold mischiefs that pressed upon it, might yet, he thought, be within his reach. To convince the Government and the Chiefs of the paralysing effect of their dissensions;—to inculcate that spirit of union among themselves which alone could give strength against their enemies;—to endeavour to humanise the feelings of the belligerents on both sides, so as to take from the war that character of barbarism which deterred the more civilised friends of freedom through Europe from joining in it;—such were, in addition to the now essential aid of his money, the great objects which he proposed to effect by his interference; and to these he accordingly, with all the candour, clear-sightedness, and courage which so pre-eminently distinguished his great mind, applied himself.

Aware that, to judge deliberately of the state of parties, he must keep out of their vortex, and warned, by the very impatience and rivalry with which the 082 different chiefs courted his presence, of the risk he should run by connecting himself with any, he resolved to remain, for some time longer, in his station at Cephalonia, and there avail himself of the facilities afforded by the position for collecting information as to the real state of affairs, and ascertaining in what quarter his own presence and money would be most available. During the six weeks that had elapsed since his arrival at Cephalonia, he had been living in the most comfortless manner, pent up with pigs and poultry, on board the vessel which brought him. Having now come, however, to the determination of prolonging his stay, he decided also upon fixing his abode on shore; and, for the sake of privacy, retired to a small village, called Metaxata, about seven miles from Argostoli, where he continued to reside during the remainder of his stay on the island.

Before this change of residence, he had despatched Mr. Hamilton Browne and Mr. Trelawney with a letter to the existing Government of Greece, explanatory of his own views and those of the Committee whom he represented; and it was not till a month after his removal to Metaxata that intelligence from these gentlemen reached him. The picture they gave of the state of the country was, in most respects, confirmatory of what has already been described as his own view of it;—incapacity and selfishness at the head of affairs, disorganisation throughout the whole body politic, but still, with all this, the heart of the nation sound, and bent on resistance. Nor could he have failed to be struck with 083 the close family resemblance to the ancient race of the country which this picture exhibited;—that great people, in the very midst of their own endless dissensions, having been ever ready to face round in concert against the foe.

His Lordship's agents had been received with all due welcome by the Government, who were most desirous that he should set out for the Morea without delay; and pressing letters to the same purport, both from the Legislative and Executive bodies, accompanied those which reached him from Messrs. Browne and Trelawney. He was, however, determined not to move till his own selected time, having seen reason, the farther insight he obtained into their intrigues, to congratulate himself but the more on his prudence in not plunging into the maze without being first furnished with those guards against deception which the information he was now acquiring supplied him.

To give an idea, as briefly as possible, of the sort of conflicting calls that were from various scenes of action, reaching him in his retirement, it may be sufficient to mention that, while by Metaxa, the present governor of Missolonghi, he was entreated earnestly to hasten to the relief of that place, which the Turks were now blockading both by land and by sea, the head of the military chiefs, Colocotroni, was no less earnestly urging that he should present himself at the approaching congress of Salamis, where, under the dictation of these rude warriors, the affairs of the country were to be settled,—while at the same time, from another quarter, the great opponent of 084 these chieftains, Mavrocordato, was, with more urgency, as well as more ability than any, endeavouring to impress upon him his own views, and imploring his presence at Hydra, whither he himself had just been forced to retire.

The mere knowledge, indeed, that a noble Englishman had arrived in those regions, so unprepossessed by any party as to inspire a hope of his alliance in all, and with money, by common rumour, as abundant as the imaginations of the needy chose to make it, was, in itself, fully sufficient, without any of the more elevated claims of his name, to attract towards him all thoughts. "It is easier to conceive," says Count Gamba, "than to relate the various means employed to engage him in one faction or the other: letters, messengers, intrigues, and recriminations,—nay, each faction had its agents exerting every art to degrade its opponent." He then adds a circumstance strongly illustrative of a peculiar feature in the noble poet's character:—"He occupied himself in discovering the truth, hidden as it was under these intrigues, and amused himself in confronting the agents of the different factions."

During all these occupations he went on pursuing his usual simple and uniform course of life,—rising, however, for the despatch of business, at an early hour, which showed how capable he was of conquering even long habit when necessary. Though so much occupied, too, he was, at all hours, accessible to visitors; and the facility with which he allowed even the dullest people to break in upon him was exemplified, 085 I am told, strongly in the case of one of the officers of the garrison, who, without being able to understand any thing of the poet but his good-nature, used to say, whenever he found his time hang heavily on his hands,—"I think I shall ride out and have a little talk with Lord Byron."

The person, however, whose visits appeared to give him most pleasure, as well from the interest he took in the subject on which they chiefly conversed, as from the opportunities, sometimes, of pleasantry which the peculiarities of his visiter afforded him, was a medical gentleman named Kennedy, who, from a strong sense of the value of religion to himself, had taken up the benevolent task of communicating his own light to others. The first origin of their intercourse was an undertaking, on the part of this gentleman, to convert to a firm belief in Christianity some rather sceptical friends of his, then at Argostoli. Happening to hear of the meeting appointed for this purpose, Lord Byron begged that he might be allowed to attend, saying to the person through whom he conveyed his request, "You know I am reckoned a black sheep,—yet, after all, not so black as the world believes me." He had promised to convince Dr. Kennedy that, "though wanting, perhaps, in faith, he at least had patience:" but the process of so many hours of lecture,—no less than twelve, without interruption, being stipulated for,—was a trial beyond his strength; and, very early in the operation, as the Doctor informs us, he began to show evident signs of a wish to exchange the part of hearer for that of speaker. Notwithstanding 086 this, however, there was in all his deportment, both as listener and talker, such a degree of courtesy, candour, and sincere readiness to be taught, as excited interest, if not hope, for his future welfare in the good Doctor; and though he never after attended the more numerous meetings, his conferences, on the same subject, with Dr. Kennedy alone, were not infrequent during the remainder of his stay at Cephalonia.

These curious conversations are now published; and to the value which they possess as a simple and popular exposition of the chief evidences of Christianity, is added the charm that must ever dwell round the character of one of the interlocutors, and the almost fearful interest attached to every word that, on such a subject, he utters. In the course of the first conversation, it will be seen that Lord Byron expressly disclaimed being one of those infidels "who deny the Scriptures, and wish to remain in unbelief." On the contrary, he professed himself "desirous to believe; as he experienced no happiness in having his religious opinions so unfixed." He was unable, however, he added, "to understand the Scriptures. Those who conscientiously believed them he could always respect, and was always disposed to trust in them more than in others; but he had met with so many whose conduct differed from the principles which they professed, and who seemed to profess those principles either because they were paid to do so, or from some other motive which an intimate acquaintance with their character would enable one to detect, that altogether he had seen 087 few, if any, whom he could rely upon as truly and conscientiously believing the Scriptures."

We may take for granted that these Conversations,—more especially the first, from the number of persons present who would report the proceedings,—excited considerable interest among the society of Argostoli. It was said that Lord Byron had displayed such a profound knowledge of the Scriptures as astonished, and even puzzled, the polemic Doctor; while in all the eminent writers on theological subjects he had shown himself far better versed than his more pretending opponent. All this Dr. Kennedy strongly denies; and the truth seems to be, that on neither side were there much stores of theological learning. The confession of the lecturer himself, that he had not read the works of Stillingfleet or Barrow, shows that, in his researches after orthodoxy, he had not allowed himself any very extensive range; while the alleged familiarity of Lord Byron with the same authorities must be taken with a similar abatement of credence and wonder to that which his own account of his youthful studies, already given, requires;—a rapid eye and retentive memory having enabled him, on this as on most other subjects, to catch, as it were, the salient points on the surface of knowledge, and the recollections he thus gathered being, perhaps, the livelier from his not having encumbered himself with more. To any regular train of reasoning, even on this his most favourite topic, it was not possible to lead him. He would start objections to the arguments of others, and detect their fallacies; but of 088 any consecutive ratiocination on his own side he seemed, if not incapable, impatient. In this, indeed, as in many other peculiarities belonging to him,—his caprices, fits of weeping, sudden affections and dislikes,—may be observed striking traces of a feminine cast of character;—it being observable that the discursive faculty is rarely exercised by women; but that nevertheless, by the mere instinct of truth (as was the case with Lord Byron), they are often enabled at once to light upon the very conclusion to which man, through all the forms of reasoning, is, in the mean time, puzzling, and, perhaps, losing his way:—

"And strikes each point with native force of mind,

While puzzled logic blunders far behind."

Of the Scriptures, it is certain that Lord Byron was a frequent and almost daily reader,—the small pocket Bible which, on his leaving England, had been given him by his sister, being always near him. How much, in addition to his natural solicitude on the subject of religion, the taste of the poet influenced him in this line of study, may be seen in his frequently expressed admiration of "the ghost-scene," as he called it, in Samuel, and his comparison of this supernatural appearance with the Mephistopheles of Goethe. In the same manner, his imagination appears to have been much struck by the notion of his lecturer, that the circumstance mentioned in Job of the Almighty summoning Satan into his presence was to be interpreted, not, as he thought, allegorically and poetically, but literally. More than once we find him expressing to Dr. Kennedy "how much this 089 belief of the real appearance of Satan to hear and obey the commands of God added to his views of the grandeur and majesty of the Creator."

On the whole, the interest of these Conversations, as far as regards Lord Byron, arises not so much from any new or certain lights they supply us with on the subject of his religious opinions, as from the evidence they afford of his amiable facility of intercourse, the total absence of bigotry or prejudice from even his most favourite notions, and—what may be accounted, perhaps, the next step in conversion to belief itself—his disposition to believe. As far, indeed, as a frank submission to the charge of being wrong may be supposed to imply an advance on the road to being right, few persons, it must be acknowledged, under a process of proselytism, ever showed more of this desired symptom of change than Lord Byron. "I own," says a witness to one of these conversations[1], "I felt astonished to hear Lord Byron submit to lectures on his life, his vanity, and the uselessness of his talents, which made me stare."

[Footnote 1: Mr. Finlay.]

As most persons will be tempted to refer to the work itself, there are but one or two other opinions of his Lordship recorded in it which I shall think necessary to notice here. A frequent question of his to Dr. Kennedy was,—"What, then, you think me in a very bad way?"—the usual answer to which being in the affirmative, he, on one occasion, replied,—"I am now, however, in a fairer way. I 090 already believe in predestination, which I know you believe, and in the depravity of the human heart in general, and of my own in particular:—thus you see there are two points in which we agree. I shall get at the others by and by; but you cannot expect me to become a perfect Christian at once." On the subject of Dr. Southwood's amiable and, it is to be hoped for the sake of Christianity and the human race, orthodox work on "The Divine Government," he thus spoke:—"I cannot decide the point; but to my present apprehension it would be a most desirable thing could it be proved, that ultimately all created beings were to be happy. This would appear to be most consistent with God, whose power is omnipotent, and whose chief attribute is Love. I cannot yield to your doctrine of the eternal duration of punishment. This author's opinion is more humane, and I think he supports it very strongly from Scripture."

I shall now insert, with such explanatory remarks as they may seem to require, some of the letters, official as well as private, which his Lordship wrote while at Cephalonia; and from which the reader may collect, in a manner far more interesting than through the medium of any narrative, a knowledge both of the events now passing in Greece, and of the views and feelings with which they were regarded by Lord Byron.

To Madame Guiccioli he wrote frequently, but briefly, and, for the first time, in English; adding always a few lines in her brother Pietro's letters to her. The following are extracts. 091

"October 7.

"Pietro has told you all the gossip of the island,—our earthquakes, our politics, and present abode in a pretty village. As his opinions and mine on the Greeks are nearly similar, I need say little on that subject. I was a fool to come here; but, being here, I must see what is to be done."

"October ——.

"We are still in Cephalonia, waiting for news of a more accurate description; for all is contradiction and division in the reports of the state of the Greeks. I shall fulfil the object of my mission from the Committee, and then return into Italy; for it does not seem likely that, as an individual, I can be of use to them;—at least no other foreigner has yet appeared to be so, nor does it seem likely that any will be at present.

"Pray be as cheerful and tranquil as you can; and be assured that there is nothing here that can excite any thing but a wish to be with you again,—though we are very kindly treated by the English here of all descriptions. Of the Greeks, I can't say much good hitherto, and I do not like to speak ill of them, though they do of one another."

"October 29.

"You may be sure that the moment I can join you again, will be as welcome to me as at any period of our recollection. There is nothing very attractive here to divide my attention; but I must attend to the Greek cause, both from honour and inclination. Messrs. B. and T. are both in the Morea, where they have been very well received, and both of them write 092 in good spirits and hopes. I am anxious to hear how the Spanish cause will be arranged, as I think it may have an influence on the Greek contest. I wish that both were fairly and favourably settled, that I might return to Italy, and talk over with you our, or rather Pietro's adventures, some of which are rather amusing, as also some of the incidents of our voyages and travels. But I reserve them, in the hope that we may laugh over them together at no very distant period."


"9bre 29. 1823.

"This letter will be presented to you by Mr. Hamilton Browne, who precedes or accompanies the Greek deputies. He is both capable and desirous of rendering any service to the cause, and information to the Committee. He has already been of considerable advantage to both, of my own knowledge. Lord Archibald Hamilton, to whom he is related, will add a weightier recommendation than mine.

"Corinth is taken, and a Turkish squadron said to be beaten in the Archipelago. The public progress of the Greeks is considerable, but their internal dissensions still continue. On arriving at the seat of Government, I shall endeavour to mitigate or extinguish them—though neither is an easy task. I have remained here till now, partly in expectation of the squadron in relief of Missolonghi, partly of Mr. Parry's detachment, and partly to receive from 093 Malta or Zante the sum of four thousand pounds sterling, which I have advanced for the payment of the expected squadron. The bills are negotiating, and will be cashed in a short time, as they would have been immediately in any other mart; but the miserable Ionian merchants have little money, and no great credit, and are besides politically shy on this occasion; for although I had letters of Messrs. Webb (one of the strongest houses of the Mediterranean), and also of Messrs. Ransom, there is no business to be done on fair terms except through English merchants. These, however, have proved both able and willing,—and upright as usual.[1]

[Footnote 1: The English merchants whom he thus so justly describes, are Messrs. Barff and Hancock, of Zante, whose conduct, not only in the instance of Lord Byron, but throughout the whole Greek struggle, has been uniformly most zealous and disinterested.]

"Colonel Stanhope has arrived, and will proceed immediately; he shall have my co-operation in all his endeavours: but, from every thing that I can learn, the formation of a brigade at present will be extremely difficult, to say the least of it. With regard to the reception of foreigners,—at least of foreign officers,—I refer you to a passage in Prince Mavrocordato's recent letter, a copy of which is enclosed in my packet sent to the Deputies. It is my intention to proceed by sea to Napoli di Romania as soon as I have arranged this business for the Greeks themselves—I mean the advance of two hundred thousand piastres for their fleet.

"My time here has not been entirely lost,—as 094 you will perceive by some former documents that any advantage from my then proceeding to the Morea was doubtful. We have at last moved the Deputies, and I have made a strong remonstrance on their divisions to Mavrocordato, which, I understand, was forwarded by the Legislative to the Prince. With a loan they may do much, which is all that I, for particular reasons, can say on the subject.

"I regret to hear from Colonel Stanhope that the Committee have exhausted their funds. Is it supposed that a brigade can be formed without them? or that three thousand pounds would be sufficient? It is true that money will go farther in Greece than in most countries; but the regular force must be rendered a national concern, and paid from a national fund; and neither individuals nor committees, at least with the usual means of such as now exist, will find the experiment practicable.

"I beg once more to recommend my friend, Mr. Hamilton Browne, to whom I have also personal obligations, for his exertions in the common cause, and have the honour to be

"Yours very truly."

His remonstrance to Prince Mavrocordato, here mentioned, was accompanied by another, addressed to the existing Government; and Colonel Stanhope, who was about to proceed to Napoli and Argos, was made the bearer of both. The wise and noble spirit that pervades these two papers must, of itself, without any further comment, be appreciated by all readers.[1]

[Footnote 1: The originals of both are in Italian.]




"Cephalonia, November 30. 1823.

"The affair of the Loan, the expectations so long and vainly indulged of the arrival of the Greek fleet, and the danger to which Missolonghi is still exposed, have detained me here, and will still detain me till some of them are removed. But when the money shall be advanced for the fleet, I will start for the Morea; not knowing, however, of what use my presence can be in the present state of things. We have heard some rumours of new dissensions, nay, of the existence of a civil war. With all my heart I pray that these reports may be false or exaggerated, for I can imagine no calamity more serious than this; and I must frankly confess, that unless union and order are established, all hopes of a Loan will be vain; and all the assistance which the Greeks could expect from abroad—an assistance neither trifling nor worthless—will be suspended or destroyed; and, what is worse, the great powers of Europe, of whom no one was an enemy to Greece, but seemed to favour her establishment of an independent power, will be persuaded that the Greeks are unable to govern themselves, and will, perhaps, themselves undertake to settle your disorders in such a way as to blast the brightest hopes of yourselves and of your friends.

"Allow me to add, once for all,—I desire the well-being of Greece, and nothing else; I will do all I can to secure it; but I cannot consent, I never will 096 consent, that the English public, or English individuals, should be deceived as to the real state of Greek affairs. The rest, Gentlemen, depends on you. You have fought gloriously;—act honourably towards your fellow-citizens and the world, and it will then no more be said, as has been repeated for two thousand years with the Roman historians, that Philopoemen was the last of the Grecians. Let not calumny itself (and it is difficult, I own, to guard against it in so arduous a struggle,) compare the patriot Greek, when resting from his labours, to the Turkish pacha, whom his victories have exterminated.

"I pray you to accept these my sentiments as a sincere proof of my attachment to your real interests, and to believe that I am and always shall be

"Yours," &c.


"Cephalonia, Dec. 2. 1823.


"The present will be put into your hands by Colonel Stanhope, son of Major-General the Earl of Harrington, &c. &c. He has arrived from London in fifty days, after having visited all the Committees of Germany. He is charged by our Committee to act in concert with me for the liberation of Greece. I conceive that his name and his mission will be a sufficient recommendation, without the necessity of any other from a foreigner, although one who, in common with all Europe, respects and admires the 097 courage, the talents, and, above all, the probity of Prince Mavrocordato.

"I am very uneasy at hearing that the dissensions of Greece still continue, and at a moment when she might triumph over every thing in general, as she has already triumphed in part. Greece is, at present, placed between three measures: either to reconquer her liberty, to become a dependence of the sovereigns of Europe, or to return to a Turkish province. She has the choice only of these three alternatives. Civil war is but a road which leads to the two latter. If she is desirous of the fate of Walachia and the Crimea, she may obtain it to-morrow; if of that of Italy, the day after; but if she wishes to become truly Greece, free and independent, she must resolve to-day, or she will never again have the opportunity.

"I am, with all respect,

"Your Highness's obedient servant,
"N. B.

"P.S. Your Highness will already have known that I have sought to fulfil the wishes of the Greek government, as much as it lay in my power to do so: but I should wish that the fleet so long and so vainly expected were arrived, or, at least, that it were on the way; and especially that your Highness should approach these parts, either on board the fleet, with a public mission, or in some other manner." 098


"10bre 7. 1823.

"I confirm the above[1]: it is certainly my opinion that Mr. Millingen is entitled to the same salary with Mr. Tindall, and his service is likely to be harder.

[Footnote 1: He here alludes to a letter, forwarded with his own, from Mr. Millingen, who was about to join, in his medical capacity, the Suliotes, near Fatras, and requested of the Committee an increase of pay. This gentleman, having mentioned in his letter "that the retreat of the Turks from before Missolonghi had rendered unnecessary the appearance of the Greek fleet," Lord Byron, in a note on this passage, says, "By the special providence of the Deity, the Mussulmans were seized with a panic, and fled; but no thanks to the fleet, which ought to have been here months ago, and has no excuse to the contrary, lately—at least since I had the money ready to pay."

On another passage, in which Mr. Millingen complains that his hope of any remuneration from the Greeks has "turned out perfectly chimerical," Lord Byron remarks, in a note, "and will do so, till they obtain a loan. They have not a rap, nor credit (in the islands) to raise one. A medical man may succeed better than others; but all these penniless officers had better have stayed at home. Much money may not be required, but some must."]

"I have written to you (as to Mr. Hobhouse for your perusal) by various opportunities, mostly private; also by the Deputies, and by Mr. Hamilton Browne.

"The public success of the Greeks has been considerable,—Corinth taken, Missolonghi nearly safe, and some ships in the Archipelago taken from the 099 Turks; but there is not only dissension in the Morea, but civil war, by the latest accounts[1]; to what extent we do not yet know, but hope trifling.

[Footnote 1: The Legislative and Executive bodies having been for some time at variance, the latter had at length resorted to violence, and some skirmishes had already taken place between the factions.]

"For six weeks I have been expecting the fleet, which has not arrived, though I have, at the request of the Greek Government, advanced—that is, prepared, and have in hand two hundred thousand piastres (deducting the commission and bankers' charges) of my own monies to forward their projects. The Suliotes (now in Acarnania) are very anxious that I should take them under my directions, and go over and put things to rights in the Morea, which, without a force, seems impracticable; and, really, though very reluctant (as my letters will have shown you) to take such a measure, there seems hardly any milder remedy. However, I will not do any thing rashly, and have only continued here so long in the hope of seeing things reconciled, and have done all in my power thereto. Had I gone sooner, they would have forced me into one party or other, and I doubt as much now; but we will do our best.

"Yours," &c.


"October 10. 1823.

"Colonel Napier will present to you this letter. Of his military character it were superfluous to speak: 100 of his personal, I can say, from my own knowledge, as well as from all public rumour or private report, that it is as excellent as his military: in short, a better or a braver man is not easily to be found. He is our man to lead a regular force, or to organise a national one for the Greeks. Ask the army—ask any one. He is besides a personal friend of both Prince Mavrocordato, Colonel Stanhope, and myself, and in such concord with all three that we should all pull together—an indispensable, as well as a rare point, especially in Greece at present.

"To enable a regular force to be properly organised, it will be requisite for the loan-holders to set apart at least 50,000l. sterling for that particular purpose—perhaps more; but by so doing they will guarantee their own monies, 'and make assurance doubly sure.' They can appoint commissioners to see that part property expended—and I recommend a similar precaution for the whole.

"I hope that the deputies have arrived, as well as some of my various despatches (chiefly addressed to Mr. Hobhouse) for the Committee. Colonel Napier will tell you the recent special interposition of the gods, in behalf of the Greeks—who seem to have no enemies in heaven or on earth to be dreaded but their own tendency to discord amongst themselves. But these, too, it is to be hoped, will be mitigated, and then we can take the field on the offensive, instead of being reduced to the petite guerre of defending the same fortresses year after year, and taking a few ships, and starving out a castle, and making more fuss about them than Alexander in his cups, or 101 Buonaparte in a bulletin. Our friends have done something in the way of the Spartans—(though not one tenth of what is told)—but have not yet inherited their style.

"Believe me yours," &c.


"October 13. 1823.

"Since I wrote to you on the 10th instant, the long-desired squadron has arrived in the waters of Missolonghi and intercepted two Turkish corvettes—ditto transports—destroying or taking all four—except some of the crews escaped on shore in Ithaca—and an unarmed vessel, with passengers, chased into a port on the opposite side of Cephalonia. The Greeks had fourteen sail, the Turks four—but the odds don't matter—the victory will make a very good puff, and be of some advantage besides. I expect momentarily advices from Prince Mavrocordato, who is on board, and has (I understand) despatches from the Legislative for me; in consequence of which, after paying the squadron, (for which I have prepared, and am preparing,) I shall probably join him at sea or on shore.

"I add the above communication to my letter by Col. Napier, who will inform the Committee of every thing in detail much better than I can do.

"The mathematical, medical, and musical preparations of the Committee have arrived, and in good condition, abating some damage from wet, and some ditto from a portion of the letter-press 102 being spilt in landing—(I ought not to have omitted the press—but forgot it a moment—excuse the same)—they are excellent of their kind, but till we have an engineer and a trumpeter (we have chirurgeons already) mere 'pearls to swine,' as the Greeks are quite ignorant of mathematics, and have a bad ear for our music. The maps, &c. I will put into use for them, and take care that all (with proper caution) are turned to the intended uses of the Committee—but I refer you to Colonel Napier, who will tell you, that much of your really valuable supplies should be removed till proper persons arrive to adapt them to actual service.

"Believe me, my dear Sir, to be, &c.

"P.S. Private—I have written to our friend Douglas Kinnaird on my own matters, desiring him to send me out all the' further credits I can command,—and I have a year's income, and the sale of a manor besides, he tells me, before me,—for till the Greeks get their Loan, it is probable that I shall have to stand partly paymaster—as far as I am 'good upon Change,' that is to say. I pray you to repeat as much to him, and say that I must in the interim draw on Messrs. Ransom most formidably. To say the truth, I do not grudge it now the fellows have begun to fight again—and still more welcome shall they be if they will go on. But they have had, or are to have, some four thousand pounds (besides some private extraordinaries for widows, orphans, refugees, and rascals of all descriptions,) of mine at one 'swoop;' and it is to be expected the next will be at least as much more. And how can I refuse it 103 if they will fight?—and especially if I should happen ever to be in their company? I therefore request and require that you should apprise my trusty and trust-worthy trustee and banker, and crown and sheet-anchor, Douglas Kinnaird the Honourable, that he prepare all monies of mine, including the purchase money of Rochdale manor and mine income for the year ensuing, A.D. 1824, to answer, or anticipate, any orders or drafts of mine for the good cause, in good and lawful money of Great Britain, &c. &c. May you live a thousand years I which is nine hundred and ninety-nine longer than the Spanish Cortes' Constitution."



"Cephalonia, December 23. 1823.

"I shall be as saving of my purse and person as you recommend; but you know that it is as well to be in readiness with one or both, in the event of either being required.

"I presume that some agreement has been concluded with Mr. Murray about 'Werner.' Although the copyright should only be worth two or three hundred pounds, I will tell you what can be done with them. For three hundred pounds I can maintain in Greece, at more than the fullest pay of the Provisional Government, rations included, one hundred armed men for three months. You may judge of this when I tell you, that the four thousand pounds advanced by me to the Greeks is likely to set a fleet and an army in motion for some months. 104

"A Greek vessel has arrived from the squadron to convey me to Missolonghi, where Mavrocordato now is, and has assumed the command, so that I expect to embark immediately. Still address, however, to Cephalonia, through Messrs. Welch and Barry of Genoa, as usual; and get together all the means and credit of mine you can, to face the war establishment, for it is 'in for a penny, in for a pound,' and I must do all that I can for the ancients.

"I have been labouring to reconcile these parties, and there is now some hope of succeeding. Their public affairs go on well. The Turks have retreated from Acarnania without a battle, after a few fruitless attempts on Anatoliko. Corinth is taken, and the Greeks have gained a battle in the Archipelago. The squadron here, too, has taken a Turkish corvette with some money and a cargo. In short, if they can obtain a Loan, I am of opinion that matters will assume and preserve a steady and favourable aspect for their independence.

"In the mean time I stand paymaster, and what not; and lucky it is that, from the nature of the warfare and of the country, the resources even of an individual can be of a partial and temporary service.

"Colonel Stanhope is at Missolonghi. Probably we shall attempt Patras next. The Suliotes, who are friends of mine, seem anxious to have me with them, and so is Mavrocordato. If I can but succeed in reconciling the two parties (and I have left no stone unturned), it will be something; and if not, we roust go over to the Morea with the Western Greeks—who 105 are the bravest, and at present the strongest, having beaten back the Turks—and try the effect of a little physical advice, should they persist in rejecting moral persuasion.

"Once more recommending to you the reinforcement of my strong box and credit from all lawful sources and resources of mine to their practicable extent—for, after all, it is better playing at nations than gaming at Almack's or Newmarket—and requesting you to write to me as often as you can,

"I remain ever," &c.

The squadron, so long looked for, having made its appearance at last in the waters of Missolonghi, and Mavrocordato, the only leader of the cause worthy the name of statesman, having been appointed, with full powers, to organise Western Greece, the fit moment for Lord Byron's presence on the scene of action seemed to have arrived. The anxiety, indeed, with which he was expected at Missolonghi was intense, and can be best judged from the impatient language of the letters written to hasten him. "I need not tell you, my Lord," says Mavrocordato, "how much I long for your arrival, to what a pitch your presence is desired by every body, or what a prosperous direction it will give to all our affairs. Your counsels will be listened to like oracles." Colonel Stanhope, with the same urgency, writes from Missolonghi,—"The Greek ship sent for your Lordship has returned; your arrival was anticipated, and the disappointment has been great indeed. The Prince is in a state of anxiety, the Admiral 106 looks gloomy, and the sailors grumble aloud." He adds at the end, "I walked along the streets this evening, and the people asked me after Lord Byron !!!" In a Letter to the London Committee of the same date, Colonel Stanhope says, "All are looking forward to Lord Byron's arrival, as they would to the coming of the Messiah."

Of this anxiety, no inconsiderable part is doubtless to be attributed to their great impatience for the possession of the loan which he had promised them, and on which they wholly depended for the payment of the fleet—"Prince Mavrocordato and the Admiral (says the same gentleman) are in a state of extreme perplexity: they, it seems, relied on your loan for the payment of the fleet; that loan not having been received, the sailors will depart immediately. This will be a fatal event indeed, as it will place Missolonghi in a state of blockade; and will prevent the Greek troops from acting against the fortresses of Nepacto and Patras."

In the mean time Lord Byron was preparing busily for his departure, the postponement of which latterly had been, in a great measure, owing to that repugnance to any new change of place which had lately so much grown upon him, and which neither love, as we have seen, nor ambition, could entirely conquer. There had been also considerable pains taken by some of his friends at Argostoli to prevent his fixing upon a place of residence so unhealthy as Missolonghi; and Mr. Muir, a very able medical officer, on whose talents he had much dependence, endeavoured most earnestly to dissuade him from such an imprudent 107 step. His mind, however, was made up,—the proximity of that port, in some degree, tempting him,—and having hired, for himself and suite, a light, fast-sailing vessel, called the Mistico, with a boat for part of his baggage, and a larger vessel for the remainder, the horses, &c. he was, on the 26th of December, ready to sail. The wind, however, being contrary, he was detained two days longer, and in this interval the following letters were written.


"10bre 26. 1823.

"Little need be added to the enclosed, which arrived this day, except that I embark to-morrow for Missolonghi. The intended operations are detailed in the annexed documents. I have only to request that the Committee will use every exertion to forward our views by all its influence and credit.

"I have also to request you personally from myself to urge my friend and trustee, Douglas Kinnaird (from whom I have not heard these four months nearly), to forward to me all the resources of my own we can muster for the ensuing year; since it is no time to ménager purse, or, perhaps, person. I have advanced, and am advancing, all that I have in hand, but I shall require all that can be got together;—and (if Douglas has completed the sale of Rochdale, that and my year's income for next year ought to form a good round sum,)—as you may perceive that there will be little cash of their own amongst the Greeks (unless they get the Loan), it is the more necessary 108 that those of their friends who have any should risk it.

"The supplies of the Committee are, some, useful, and all excellent in their kind, but occasionally hardly practical enough, in the present state of Greece; for instance, the mathematical instruments are thrown away—none of the Greeks know a problem from a poker—we must conquer first, and plan afterwards. The use of the trumpets, too, may be doubted, unless Constantinople were Jericho, for the Helenists have no ears for bugles, and you must send us somebody to listen to them.

"We will do our best—and I pray you to stir your English hearts at home to more general exertion; for my part, I will stick by the cause while a plank remains which can be honourably clung to. If I quit it, it will be by the Greeks' conduct, and not the Holy Allies or holier Mussulmans—but let us hope better things.

"Ever yours, N. B.

"P.S. I am happy to say that Colonel Leicester Stanhope and myself are acting in perfect harmony together—he is likely to be of great service both to the cause and to the Committee, and is publicly as well as personally a very valuable acquisition to our party on every account. He came up (as they all do who have not been in the country before) with some high-flown notions of the sixth form at Harrow or Eton, &c.; but Col. Napier and I set him to rights on those points, which is absolutely necessary to prevent disgust, or perhaps return; but now we can set our shoulders soberly to the wheel, without 109 quarrelling with the mud which may clog it occasionally.

"I can assure you that Col. Napier and myself are as decided for the cause as any German student of them all; but like men who have seen the country and human life, there and elsewhere, we must be permitted to view it in its truth, with its defects as well as beauties,—more especially as success will remove the former gradually. N. B.

"P.S. As much of this letter as you please is for the Committee, the rest may be 'entre nous.'"


"Cephalonia, December 27. 1823.

"I received a letter from you some time ago. I have been too much employed latterly to write as I could wish, and even now must write in haste.

"I embark for Missolonghi to join Mavrocordato in four-and-twenty hours. The state of parties (but it were a long story) has kept me here till now; but now that Mavrocordato (their Washington, or their Kosciusko) is employed again, I can act with a safe conscience. I carry money to pay the squadron, &c., and I have influence with the Suliotes, supposed sufficient to keep them in harmony with some of the dissentients;—for there are plenty of differences, but trifling.

"It is imagined that we shall attempt either Patras or the castles on the Straits; and it seems, by most accounts, that the Greeks, at any rate, the Suliotes, who are in affinity with me of 'bread and 110 salt,'—expect that I should march with them, and—be it even so! If any thing in the way of fever, fatigue, famine, or otherwise, should cut short the middle age of a brother warbler,—like Garcilasso de la Vega, Kleist, Korner, Joukoffsky[1] (a Russian nightingale—see Bowring's Anthology), or Thersander, or,—or somebody else—but never mind—I pray you to remember me in your 'smiles and wine.'

[Footnote 1: One of the most celebrated of the living poets of Russia, who fought at Borodino, and has commemorated that battle in a poem of much celebrity among his countrymen.]

"I have hopes that the cause will triumph; but whether it does or no, still 'honour must be minded as strictly as milk diet,' I trust to observe both,

"Ever," &c.

It is hardly necessary to direct the attention of the reader to the sad, and but too true anticipation expressed in this letter—the last but one I was ever to receive from my friend. Before we accompany him to the closing scene of all his toils, I shall here, as briefly as possible, give a selection from the many characteristic anecdotes told of him, while at Cephalonia, where (to use the words of Colonel Stanhope, in a letter from thence to the Greek committee,) he was "beloved by Cephalonians, by English, and by Greeks;" and where, approached as he was familiarly by persons of all classes and countries, not an action, not a word is recorded of him that does not bear honourable testimony to the benevolence and soundness 111 of his views, his ever ready but discriminating generosity, and the clear insight, at once minute and comprehensive, which he had acquired into the character and wants of the people and the cause he came to serve. "Of all those who came to help the Greeks," says Colonel Napier, (a person himself the most qualified to judge, as well from long local knowledge, as from the acute, straightforward cast of his own mind,) "I never knew one, except Lord Byron and Mr. Gordon, that seemed to have justly estimated their character. All came expecting to find the Peloponnesus filled with Plutarch's men, and all returned thinking the inhabitants of Newgate more moral. Lord Byron judged them fairly: he knew that half-civilised men are full of vices, and that great allowance must be made for emancipated slaves. He, therefore, proceeded, bridle in hand, not thinking them good, but hoping to make them better."[1]

[Footnote 1: A similar tribute was paid to him by Count Delladecima, a gentleman of some literary acquirements, of whom he saw a good deal at Cephalonia, and to whom he was attracted by that sympathy which never failed to incline him towards those who laboured, like himself, under any personal defects. "Of all the men," said this gentleman, "whom I have had an opportunity of conversing with, on the means of establishing the independence of Greece, and regenerating the character of the natives, Lord Byron appears to entertain the most enlightened and correct views."]

In speaking of the foolish charge of avarice brought against Lord Byron by some who resented thus his not suffering them to impose on his generosity, 112 Colonel Napier says, "I never knew a single instance of it while he was here. I saw only a judicious generosity in all that he did. He would not allow himself to be robbed, but he gave profusely where he thought he was doing good. It was, indeed, because he would not allow himself to be fleeced, that he was called stingy by those who are always bent upon giving money from any purses but their own. Lord Byron had no idea of this; and would turn sharply and unexpectedly on those who thought their game sure. He gave a vast deal of money to the Greeks in various ways."

Among the objects of his bounty in this way were many poor refugee Greeks from the Continent and the Isles. He not only relieved their present distresses, but allotted a certain sum monthly to the most destitute. "A list of these poor pensioners," says Dr. Kennedy, "was given me by the nephew of Professor Bambas."

One of the instances mentioned of his humanity while at Cephalonia will show how prompt he was at the call of that feeling, and how unworthy, sometimes, were the objects of it. A party of workmen employed upon one of those fine roads projected by Colonel Napier having imprudently excavated a high bank, the earth fell in, and overwhelmed nearly a dozen persons; the news of which accident instantly reaching Metaxata, Lord Byron despatched his physician Bruno to the spot, and followed with Count Gamba, as soon as their horses could be saddled. They found a crowd of women and children wailing round the ruins; while the workmen, who had just dug out 113 three or four of their maimed companions, stood resting themselves unconcernedly, as if nothing more was required of them; and to Lord Byron's enquiry whether there were not still some other persons below the earth, answered coolly that "they did not know, but believed that there were." Enraged at this brutal indifference, he sprang from his horse, and seizing a spade himself, began to dig with all his strength; but it was not till after being threatened with the horsewhip that any of the peasants could be brought to follow his example. "I was not present at this scene myself," says Colonel Napier, in the Notices with which he has favoured me, "but was told that Lord Byron's attention seemed quite absorbed in the study of the faces and gesticulations of those whose friends were missing. The sorrow of the Greeks is, in appearance, very frantic, and they shriek and howl, as in Ireland.

It was in alluding to the above incident that the noble poet is stated to have said that he had come out to the Islands prejudiced against Sir T. Maitland's government of the Greeks: "but," he added, "I have now changed my opinion. They are such barbarians, that if I had the government of them, I would pave these very roads with them."

While residing at Metaxata, he received an account of the illness of his daughter Ada, which "made him anxious and melancholy (says Count Gamba) for several days." Her indisposition he understood to have been caused by a determination of blood to the head; and on his remarking to Dr. Kennedy, as curious, that it was a complaint to which 114 he himself was subject, the physician replied, that he should have been inclined to infer so, not only from his habits of intense and irregular study, but from the present state of his eyes,—the right eye appearing to be inflamed. I have mentioned this latter circumstance as perhaps justifying the inference that there was in Lord Byron's state of health at this moment a predisposition to the complaint of which he afterwards died. To Dr. Kennedy he spoke frequently of his wife and daughter, expressing the Strongest affection for the latter, and respect towards the former, and while declaring as usual his perfect ignorance of the causes of the separation, professing himself fully disposed to welcome any prospect of reconcilement.

The anxiety with which, at all periods of his life, but particularly at the present, he sought to repel the notion that, except when under the actual inspiration of writing, he was at all influenced by poetical associations, very frequently displayed itself. "You must have been highly gratified (said a gentleman to him) by the classical remains and recollections which you met with in your visit to Ithaca."—"You quite mistake me," answered Lord Byron—"I have no poetical humbug about me; I am too old for that. Ideas of that sort are confined to rhyme."

For the two days during which he was delayed by contrary winds, he took up his abode at the house of Mr. Hancock, his banker, and passed the greater part of the time in company with the English authorities of the Island. At length the wind becoming fair, he prepared to embark. "I called upon him to take 115 leave," says Dr. Kennedy, "and found him alone, reading Quentin Durward. He was, as usual, in good spirits." In a few hours after the party set sail,—Lord Byron himself on board the Mistico, and Count Gamba, with the horses and heavy baggage, in the larger vessel, or Bombarda. After touching at Zante, for the purpose of some pecuniary arrangements with Mr. Barff, and taking on board a considerable sum of money in specie, they, on the evening of the 29th, proceeded towards Missolonghi. Their last accounts from that place having represented the Turkish fleet as still in the Gulf of Lepanto, there appeared not the slightest grounds for apprehending any interruption in their passage. Besides, knowing that the Greek squadron was now at anchorage near the entrance of the Gulf, they had little doubt of soon falling in with some friendly vessel, either in search, or waiting for them.

"We sailed together," says Count Gamba, in a highly picturesque and affecting passage, "till after ten at night; the wind favourable—a clear sky, the air fresh but not sharp. Our sailors sang alternately patriotic songs, monotonous indeed, but to persons in our situation extremely touching, and we took part in them. We were all, but Lord Byron particularly, in excellent spirits. The Mistico sailed the fastest. When the waves divided us, and our voices could no longer reach each other, we made signals by firing pistols and carabines—'To-morrow we meet at Missolonghi—to-morrow.' Thus, full of confidence and spirits, we sailed along. At twelve we were out of sight of each other." 116

In waiting for the other vessel, having more than once shortened sail for that purpose, the party on board the Mistico were upon the point of being surprised into an encounter which might, in a moment, have changed the future fortunes of Lord Byron. Two or three hours before daybreak, while steering towards Missolonghi, they found themselves close under the stern of a large vessel, which they at first took to be Greek, but which, when within pistol shot, they discovered to be a Turkish frigate. By good fortune, they were themselves, as it appears, mistaken for a Greek brulot by the Turks, who therefore feared to fire, but with loud shouts frequently hailed them, while those on board Lord Byron's vessel maintained the most profound silence; and even the dogs (as I have heard his Lordship's valet mention), though they had never ceased to bark during the whole of the night, did not utter, while within reach of the Turkish frigate, a sound;—a no less lucky than a curious accident, as, from the information the Turks had received of all the particulars of his Lordship's departure from Zante, the harking of the dogs, at that moment, would have been almost certain to betray him. Under the favour of these circumstances, and the darkness, they were enabled to bear away without further molestation, and took shelter among the Scrofes, a cluster of rocks but a few hours' sail from Missolonghi. From this place the following letter, remarkable, considering his situation at the moment, for the light, careless tone that pervades it, was despatched to Colonel Stanhope. 117



"Scrofer (or some such name), on board a
Cephaloniote Mistico, Dec. 31. 1823.

"My dear Stanhope,

"We are just arrived here, that is, part of my people and I, with some things, &c., and which it may be as well not to specify in a letter (which has a risk of being intercepted, perhaps);—but Gamba, and my horses, negro, steward, and the press, and all the Committee things, also some eight thousand dollars of mine, (but never mind, we have more left, do you understand?) are taken by the Turkish frigates, and my party and myself, in another boat, have had a narrow escape last night, (being close under their stern and hailed, but we would not answer, and bore away,) as well as this morning. Here we are, with the sun and clearing weather, within a pretty little port enough; but whether our Turkish friends may not send in their boats and take us out (for we have no arms except two carbines and some pistols, and, I suspect, not more than four fighting people on board,) is another question, especially if we remain long here, since we are blocked out of Missolonghi by the direct entrance.

"You had better send my friend George Drake (Draco), and a body of Suliotes, to escort us by land or by the canals, with all convenient speed. Gamba and our Bombard are taken into Patras, I suppose; and we must take a turn at the Turks to get them out: but where the devil is the fleet gone?—the Greek, I mean; leaving us to get in without the least 118 intimation to take heed that the Moslems were out again.

"Make my respects to Mavrocordato, and say that I am here at his disposal. I am uneasy at being here: not so much on my own account as on that of a Greek boy with me, for you know what his fate would be; and I would sooner cut him in pieces, and myself too, than have him taken out by those barbarians. We are all very well. N. B.

"The Bombard was twelve miles out when taken; at least, so it appeared to us (if taken she actually be, for it is not certain); and we had to escape from another vessel that stood right between us and the port."

Finding that his position among the rocks of the Scrofes would be untenable in the event of an attack by armed boats, he thought it right to venture out again, and making all sail, got safe to Dragomestri, a small sea-port town on the coast of Acarnania; from whence the annexed letters to two of the most valued of his Cephalonian friends were written.


"Dragomestri, January 2. 1824.

"My dear Muir,

"I wish you many returns of the season, and happiness therewithal. Gamba and the Bombard (there is a strong reason to believe) are carried into Patras by a Turkish frigate, which we saw chase them at dawn on the 31st: we had been close under the stern in the night, believing her a Greek till 119 within pistol shot, and only escaped by a miracle of all the Saints (our captain says), and truly I am of his opinion, for we should never have got away of ourselves. They were signalising their consort with lights, and had illuminated the ship between decks, and were shouting like a mob;—but then why did they not fire? Perhaps they took us for a Greek brulot, and were afraid of kindling us—they had no colours flying even at dawn nor after.

"At daybreak my boat was on the coast, but the wind unfavourable for the port;—a large vessel with the wind in her favour standing between us and the Gulf, and another in chase of the Bombard about twelve miles off, or so. Soon after they stood (i.e. the Bombard and frigate) apparently towards Patras, and a Zantiote boat making signals to us from the shore to get away. Away we went before the wind, and ran into a creek called Scrofes, I believe, where I landed Luke[1] and another (as Luke's life was in most danger), with some money for themselves, and a letter for Stanhope, and sent them up the country to Missolonghi, where they would be in safety, as the place where we were could be assailed by armed boats in a moment, and Gamba had all our arms except two carbines, a fowling-piece, and some pistols.

[Footnote 1: A Greek youth whom he had brought with him, in his suite, from Cephalonia.]

"In less than an hour the vessel in chase neared us, and we dashed out again, and showing our stern (our boat sails very well), got in before night to Dragomestri, where we now are. But where is the 120 Greek fleet? I don't know—do you? I told our master of the boat that I was inclined to think the two large vessels (there were none else in sight) Greeks. But he answered, 'They are too large—why don't they show their colours?' and his account was confirmed, be it true or false, by several boats which we met or passed, as we could not at any rate have got in with that wind without beating about for a long time; and as there was much property, and some lives to risk (the boy's especially) without any means of defence, it was necessary to let our boatmen have their own way.

"I despatched yesterday another messenger to Missolonghi for an escort, but we have yet no answer. We are here (those of my boat) for the fifth day without taking our clothes off, and sleeping on deck in all weathers, but are all very well, and in good spirits. It is to be supposed that the Government will send, for their own sakes, an escort, as I have 16,000 dollars on board, the greater part for their service. I had (besides personal property to the amount of about 5000 more) 8000 dollars in specie of my own, without reckoning the Committee's stores, so that the Turks will have a good thing of it, if the prize be good.

"I regret the detention of Gamba, &c., but the rest we can make up again; so tell Hancock to set my bills into cash as soon as possible, and Corgialegno to prepare the remainder of my credit with Messrs. Webb to be turned into monies. I shall remain here, unless something extraordinary occurs, till Mavrocordato sends, and then go on, and act 121 according to circumstances. My respects to the two colonels, and remembrances to all friends. Tell 'Ultima Anahse'[1] that his friend Raidi did not make his appearance with the brig, though I think that he might as well have spoken with us in or off Zante, to give us a gentle hint of what we had to expect.

[Footnote 1: Count Delladecima, to whom he gives this name in consequence of a habit which that gentleman had of using the phrase "in ultima analise" frequently in conversation.]

"Yours, ever affectionately, N. B.

"P.S. Excuse my scrawl on account of the pen and the frosty morning at daybreak. I write in haste, a boat starting for Kalamo. I do not know whether the detention of the Bombard (if she be detained, for I cannot swear to it, and I can only judge from appearances, and what all these fellows say,) be an affair of the Government, and neutrality, and &c.—but she was stopped at least twelve miles distant from any port, and had all her papers regular from Zante for Kalamo and we also. I did not land at Zante, being anxious to lose as little time as possible, but Sir F. S. came off to invite me, &c. and every body was as kind as could be, even in Cephalonia."


"Dragomestri, January 2. 1824.

"Dear Sir 'Ancock[1],'

[Footnote 1: This letter is, more properly, a postscript to one which Dr. Bruno had, by his orders, written to Mr. Hancock, with some particulars of their voyage; and the Doctor having begun his letter, "Pregiat'mo. Sig'r. Ancock," Lord Byron thus parodies his mode of address.]

"Remember me to Dr. Muir and every body else. I have still the 16,000 dollars with me, the rest were 122 on board the Bombarda. Here we are—the Bombarda taken, or at least missing, with all the Committee stores, my friend Gamba, the horses, negro, bull-dog, steward, and domestics, with all our implements of peace and war, also 8000 dollars; but whether she will be lawful prize or no, is for the decision of the Governor of the Seven Islands. I have written to Dr. Muir, by way of Kalamo, with all particulars. We are in good condition; and what with wind and weather, and being hunted or so, little sleeping on deck, &c. are in tolerable seasoning for the country and circumstances. But I foresee that we shall have occasion for all the cash I can muster at Zante and elsewhere. Mr. Barff gave us 8000 and odd dollars; so there is still a balance in my favour. We are not quite certain that the vessels were Turkish which chased; but there is strong presumption that they were, and no news to the contrary. At Zante, every body, from the Resident downwards, were as kind as could be, especially your worthy and courteous partner.

"Tell our friends to keep up their spirits, and we may yet do well. I disembarked the boy and another Greek, who were in most terrible alarm—the boy, at least, from the Morea—on shore near Anatoliko, I believe, which put them in safety; and, as for me and mine, we must stick by our goods.

"I hope that Gamba's detention will only be 123 temporary. As for the effects and monies, if we have them,—well; if otherwise, patience. I wish you a happy new year, and all our friends the same.

"Yours," &c.

During these adventures of Lord Byron, Count Gamba, having been brought to by the Turkish frigate, had been carried, with his valuable charge, into Patras, where the Commander of the Turkish fleet was stationed. Here, after an interview with the Pacha, by whom he was treated, during his detention, most courteously, he had the good fortune to procure the release of his vessel and freight; and, on the 4th of January, reached Missolonghi. To his surprise, however, he found that Lord Byron had not yet arrived; for,—as if everything connected with this short voyage were doomed to deepen whatever ill bodings there were already in his mind,—on his Lordship's departure from Dragomestri, a violent gale of wind had come on; his vessel was twice driven on the rocks in the passage of the Scrofes, and, from the force of the wind, and the captain's ignorance of those shoals, the danger was by all on board considered to be most serious. "On the second time of striking," says Count Gamba, "the sailors, losing all hope of saving the vessel, began to think of their own safety. But Lord Byron persuaded them to remain; and by his firmness, and no small share of nautical skill, got them out of danger, and thus saved the vessel and several lives, with 25,000 dollars, the greater part in specie."

The wind still blowing right against their course 124 to Missolonghi, they again anchored between two of the numerous islets by which this part of the coast is lined; and here Lord Byron, as well for refreshment as ablution, found himself tempted into an indulgence which, it is not improbable, may have had some share in producing the fatal illness that followed. Having put off in a boat to a small rock at some distance, he sent back a messenger for the nankeen trowsers which he usually wore in bathing; and, though the sea was rough and the night cold, it being then the 3d of January, swam back to the vessel. "I am fully persuaded," says his valet, in relating this imprudent freak, "that it injured my Lord's health. He certainly was not taken ill at the time, but in the course of two or three days his Lordship complained of a pain in all his bones, which continued, more or less, to the time of his death."

Setting sail again next morning with the hope of reaching Missolonghi before sunset, they were still baffled by adverse winds, and, arriving late at night in the port, did not land till the morning of the 5th.

The solicitude, in the mean time, of all at Missolonghi, knowing that the Turkish fleet was out, and Lord Byron on his way, may without difficulty be conceived, and is most livelily depicted in a letter written during the suspense of that moment, by an eye-witness. "The Turkish fleet," says Colonel Stanhope, "has ventured out, and is, at this moment, blockading the port. Beyond these again are seen the Greek ships, and among the rest the one that was sent for Lord Byron. Whether he is on board or not is a question. You will allow that this is an 125 eventful day." Towards the end of the letter, he adds, "Lord Byron's servants have just arrived; he himself will be here to-morrow. If he had not come, we had need have prayed for fair weather; for both fleet and army are hungry and inactive. Parry has not appeared. Should he also arrive to-morrow, all Missolonghi will go mad with pleasure."

The reception their noble visiter experienced on his arrival was such as, from the ardent eagerness with which he had been looked for, might be expected. The whole population of the place crowded to the shore to welcome him: the ships anchored off the fortress fired a salute as he passed; and all the troops and dignitaries of the place, civil and military, with the Prince Mavrocordato at their head, met him on his landing, and accompanied him, amidst the mingled din of shouts, wild music, and discharges of artillery, to the house that had been prepared for him. "I cannot easily describe," says Count Gamba, "the emotions which such a scene excited. I could scarcely refrain from tears."

After eight days of fatigue such as Lord Byron had endured, some short interval of rest might fairly have been desired by him. But the scene on which he had now entered was one that precluded all thoughts of repose. He on whom the eyes and hopes of all others were centred, could but little dream of indulging any care for himself. There were, at this particular moment, too, collected within the precincts of that town as great an abundance of the materials of unquiet and misrule as had been ever brought together in so small a space. In every 126 quarter; both public and private, disorganisation and dissatisfaction presented themselves. Of the fourteen brigs of war which had come to the succour of Missolonghi, and which had for some time actually protected it against a Turkish fleet double its number, nine had already, hopeless of pay, returned to Hydra, while the sailors of the remaining five, from the same cause of complaint, had just quitted their ships, and were murmuring idly on shore. The inhabitants, seeing themselves thus deserted or preyed upon by their defenders, with a scarcity of provisions threatening them, and the Turkish fleet before their eyes, were no less ready to break forth into riot and revolt; while, at the same moment, to complete the confusion, a General Assembly was on the point of being held in the town, for the purpose of organising the forces of Western Greece, and to this meeting all the wild mountain chiefs of the province, ripe, of course, for dissension, were now flocking with their followers. Mavrocordato himself, the President of the intended Congress, had brought in his train no less than 5000 armed men, who were at this moment in the town. Ill provided, too, with either pay or food by the Government, this large military mob were but little less discontented and destitute than the sailors; and in short, in every direction, the entire population seems to have presented such a fermenting mass of insubordination and discord as was far more likely to produce warfare among themselves than with the enemy.

Such was the state of affairs when Lord Byron arrived at Missolonghi;—such the evils he had now 127 to encounter, with the formidable consciousness that to him, and him alone, all looked for the removal of them.

Of his proceedings during the first weeks after his arrival, the following letters to Mr. Hancock (which by the great kindness of that gentleman I am enabled to give) will, assisted by a few explanatory notes, supply a sufficiently ample account.


"Missolonghi, January 13. 1824.

"Dear Sir,

"Many thanks for yours of the fifth; ditto to Muir for his. You will have heard that Gamba and my vessel got out of the hands of the Turks safe and intact; nobody knows well how or why, for there's a mystery in the story somewhat melodramatic. Captain Valsamachi has, I take it, spun a long yarn by this time in Argostoli. I attribute their release entirely to Saint Dionisio, of Zante, and the Madonna of the Rock, near Cephalonia.

"The adventures of my separate luck were also not finished at Dragomestri; we were conveyed out by some Greek gun-boats, and found the Leonidas brig-of-war at sea to look after us. But blowing weather coming on, we were driven on the rocks twice in the passage of the Scrofes, and the dollars had another narrow escape. Two thirds of the crew got ashore over the bowsprit: the rocks were rugged enough, but water very deep close in shore, so that she was, after much swearing and some exertion, got off again, and away we went with a third 128 of our crew, leaving the rest on a desolate island, where they might have been now, had not one of the gun-boats taken them off, for we were in no condition to take them off again.

"Tell Muir that Dr. Bruno did not show much fight on the occasion; for besides stripping to his flannel waistcoat, and running about like a rat in an emergency, when I was talking to a Greek boy (the brother of the Greek girls in Argostoli), and telling him of the fact that there was no danger for the passengers, whatever there might be for the vessel, and assuring him that I could save both him and myself without difficulty[1] (though he can't swim), as the water, though deep, was not very rough,—the wind not blowing right on shore (it was a blunder of the Greeks who missed stays),—the Doctor exclaimed, 'Save him, indeed! by G—d! save me rather—I'll be first if I can'—a piece of egotism which he pronounced with such emphatic simplicity as to set all who had leisure to hear him laughing[2], and in a 129 minute after the vessel drove off again after striking twice. She sprung a small leak, but nothing further happened, except that the captain was very nervous afterwards.

[Footnote 1: He meant to have taken the boy on his shoulders and swum with him to shore. This feat would have been but a repetition of one of his early sports at Harrow; where it was a frequent practice of his thus to mount one of the smaller boys on his shoulders, and, much to the alarm of the urchin, dive with him into the water.]

[Footnote 2: In the Doctor's own account this scene is described, as might be expected, somewhat differently:—"Ma nel di lui passaggio marittimo una fregata Turca insegui la di lui nave, obligandola di ricoverarsi dentro le Scrofes, dove per l'impeto dei venti fù gettata sopra i scogli: tutti i marinari dell' equipaggio saltarono a terra per salvare la loro vita: Milord solo col di lui Medico Dottr. Bruno rimasero sulla nave che ognuno vedeva colare a fondo: ma dopo qualche tempo non essendosi visto che ciò avveniva, le persone fuggite a terra respinsero la nave nell' acque: ma il tempestoso mare la ribastò una seconda volta contro i scogli, ed allora si aveva per certo che la nave coll' illustre personaggio, una grande quantità di denari, e molti preziosi effetti per i Greci anderebbero a fondo. Tuttavia Lord Byron non si perturbò per nulla; anzi disse al di lui medico che voleva gettarsi al nuoto onde raggiungere la spiaggia: 'Non abbandonate la nave finchè abbiamo forze per direggerla: allorchè saremo coperti dall' acque, allora gettatevi pure, che io vi salvo.'"]

"To be brief, we had bad weather almost always, though not contrary; slept on deck in the wet generally for seven or eight nights, but never was in better health (I speak personally)—so much so that I actually bathed for a quarter of an hour on the evening of the 4th instant in the sea, (to kill the fleas, and other &c.) and was all the better for it.

"We were received at Missolonghi with all kinds of kindness and honours; and the sight of the fleet saluting, &c. and the crowds and different costumes, was really picturesque. We think of undertaking an expedition soon, and I expect to be ordered with the Suliotes to join the army.

"All well at present. We found Gamba already arrived, and every thing in good condition. Remember me to all friends.

"Yours ever, N. B. 130

"P.S. You will, I hope, use every exertion to realise the assets. For besides what I have already advanced, I have undertaken to maintain the Suliotes for a year, (and will accompany them either as a Chief, or whichever is most agreeable to the Government,) besides sundries. I do not understand Brown's 'letters of credit.' I neither gave nor ordered a letter of credit that I know of; and though of course, if you have done it, I will be responsible, I was not aware of any thing, except that I would have backed his bills, which you said was unnecessary. As to orders—I ordered nothing but some red cloth and oil cloths, both of which I am ready to receive; but if Gamba has exceeded my commission, the other things must be sent back, for I cannot permit any thing of the kind, nor will. The servants' journey will of course be paid for, though that is exorbitant. As for Brown's letter, I do not know any thing more than I have said, and I really cannot defray the charges of half Greece and the Frank adventurers besides. Mr. Barff must send us some dollars soon, for the expenses fall on me for the present.

"January 14. 1824.

"P.S. Will you tell Saint (Jew) Geronimo Corgialegno that I mean to draw for the balance of my credit with Messrs. Webb and Co. I shall draw for two thousand dollars (that being about the amount, more or less); but, to facilitate the business, I shall make the draft payable also at Messrs. Ransom and Co., Pall-Mall East, London. I believe I already showed you my letters, (but if not, I have them to 131 show,) by which, besides the credits now realising, you will have perceived that I am not limited to any particular amount of credit with my bankers. The Honourable Douglas, my friend and trustee, is a principal partner in that house, and having the direction of my affairs, is aware to what extent my present resources may go, and the letters in question were from him. I can merely say, that within the current year, 1824, besides the money already advanced to the Greek Government, and the credits now in your hands and your partner's (Mr. Barff), which are all from the income of 1823, I have anticipated nothing from that of the present year hitherto. I shall or ought to have at my disposition upwards of one hundred thousand dollars, (including my income, and the purchase-monies of a manor lately sold,) and perhaps more, without infringing on my income for 1825, and not including the remaining balance of 1823.

Yours ever, N. B."


"Missolonghi, January 17, 1824.

"I have answered, at some length, your obliging letter, and trust that you have received my reply by means of Mr. Tindal. I will also thank you to remind Mr. Tindal that I would thank him to furnish you, on my account, with an order of the Committee for one hundred dollars, which I advanced to him on their account through Signor Corgialegno's agency at Zante on his arrival in October, as it is but fair that the said Committee should pay 132 their own expenses. An order will be sufficient, as the money might be inconvenient for Mr. T. at present to disburse.

"I have also advanced to Mr. Blackett the sum of fifty dollars,-which I will thank Mr. Stevens to pay to you, on my account, from monies of Mr. Blackett now in his hands. I have Mr. B.'s acknowledgment in writing.

"As the wants of the State here are still pressing, and there seems very little specie stirring except mine, I will stand paymaster; and must again request you and Mr. Barff to forward by a safe channel (if possible) all the dollars you can collect upon the bills now negotiating. I have also written to Corgialegno for two thousand dollars, being about the balance of my separate letter from Messrs. Webb and Co., making the bills also payable at Ransom's in London.

"Things are going on better, if not well; there is some order, and considerable preparation. I expect to accompany the troops on an expedition shortly, which makes me particularly anxious for the remaining remittance, as 'money is the sinew of war,' and of peace, too, as far as I can see, for I am sure there would be no peace here without it. However, a little does go a good way, which is a comfort. The Government of the Morea and of Candia have written to me for a further advance from my own peculium of 20 or 30,000 dollars, to which I demur for the present, (having undertaken to pay the Suliotes as a free gift and other things already, besides the loan which I have already advanced,) till I receive 133 letters from England, which I have reason to expect.

"When the expected credits arrive, I hope that you will bear a hand, otherwise I must have recourse to Malta, which will be losing time and taking trouble; but I do not wish you to do more than is perfectly agreeable to Mr. Barffand to yourself. I am very well, and have no reason to be dissatisfied with my personal treatment, or with the posture of public affairs—others must speak for themselves. Yours ever and truly, &c.

"P.S. Respects to Colonels Wright and Duffie, and the officers civil and military; also to my friends Muir and Stevens particularly, and to Delladecima."


"Missolonghi, January 19. 1824.

"Since I wrote on the 17th, I have received a letter from Mr. Stevens, enclosing an account from Corfu, which is so exaggerated in price and quantity, that I am at a loss whether most to admire Gamba's folly, or the merchant's knavery. All that I requested Gamba to order was red cloth enough to make a jacket, and some oil-skin for trowsers, &c.—the latter has not been sent—the whole could not have amounted to fifty dollars. The account is six hundred and forty-five!!! I will guarantee Mr. Stevens against any loss, of course, but I am not disposed to take the articles (which I never ordered), nor to pay the amount. I will take one hundred dollars' worth; the rest may be sent back, and I will make the merchant an allowance of so much per-cent.; 134 or, if that is not to be done, you must sell the whole by auction at what price the things may fetch; for I would rather incur the dead loss of part, than be encumbered with a quantity of things, to me at present superfluous or useless. Why, I could have maintained three hundred men for a month for the sum in Western Greece.

"When the dogs, and the dollars, and the negro; and the horses, fell into the hands of the Turks, I acquiesced with patience, as you may have perceived, because it was the work of the elements of war, or of Providence: but this is a piece of mere human knavery or folly, or both, and I neither can nor will submit to it.[1] I have occasion for every 135 dollar I can muster to keep the Greeks together, and I do not grudge any expense for the cause; but to throw away as much as would equip, or at least maintain, a corps of excellent ragamuffins with arms in their hands, to furnish Gamba and the Doctor with blank bills (see list), broad cloth, Hessian boots, and horsewhips (the latter I own that they have richly earned), is rather beyond my endurance, though a pacific person, as all the world knows, or at least my acquaintances. I pray you to try to help me out of this damnable commercial speculation of Gamba's, for it is one of those pieces of impudence or folly which I don't forgive him in a hurry. I will of course see Stevens free of expense out of the transaction;—by the way, the Greek of a Corfiote has thought proper to draw a bill, and get it discounted at 24 dollars: if I had been there, it should have been protested also.

[Footnote 1: We have here as striking an instance as could be adduced of that peculiar feature of his character which shallow or malicious observers have misrepresented as avarice, but which in reality was the result of a strong sense of justice and fairness, and an indignant impatience of being stultified or over-reached. Colonel Stanhope, in referring to the circumstance mentioned above, has put Lord Byron's angry feeling respecting it in the true light.

"He was constantly attacking Count Gamba, sometimes, indeed, playfully, but more often with the bitterest satire, for having purchased for the use of his family, while in Greece, 500 dollars' worth of cloth. This he used to mention as an instance of the Count's imprudence and extravagance. Lord Byron told me one day, with a tone of great gravity, that this 500 dollars would have been most serviceable in promoting the siege of Lepanto; and that he never would, to the last moment of his existence, forgive Gamba, for having squandered away his money in the purchase of cloth. No one will suppose that Lord Byron could be serious in such a denunciation: he entertained, in reality, the highest opinion of Conant Gamba, who, both on account of his talents and devotedness to his friend, merited his Lordship's esteem. As to Lord Byron's generosity, it is before the world; he promised to devote his large income to the cause of Greece, and he honestly acted up to his pledge."]

"Mr. Blackett is here ill, and will soon set out for Cephalonia. He came to me for some pills, and I gave him some reserved for particular friends, and which I never knew any body recover from under several months; but he is no better, and, what is odd, no worse; and as the doctors have had no better success with him than I, he goes to Argostoli, sick of the Greeks and of a constipation.

"I must reiterate my request for specie, and that 136 speedily, otherwise public affairs will be at a standstill here. I have undertaken to pay the Suliotes for a year, to advance in March 3000 dollars, besides, to the Government for a balance due to the troops, and some other smaller matters for the Germans, and the press, &c. &c. &c.; so what with these, and the expenses of my suite, which, though not extravagant, is expensive, with Gamba's d—d nonsense, I shall have occasion for all the monies I can muster; and I have credits wherewithal to face the undertakings, if realised, and expect to have more soon.

"Believe me ever and truly yours," &c.

On the morning of the 22d of January, his birthday,—the last my poor friend was ever fated to see,—he came from his bedroom into the apartment where Colonel Stanhope and some others were assembled, and said with a smile, "You were complaining the other day that I never write any poetry now. This is my birthday, and I have just finished something which, I think, is better than what I usually write." He then produced to them those beautiful stanzas, which, though already known to most readers, are far too affectingly associated with this closing scene of his life to be omitted among its details. Taking into consideration, indeed, every thing connected with these verses,—the last tender aspirations of a loving spirit which they breathe, the self-devotion to a noble cause which they so nobly express, and that consciousness of a near grave glimmering sadly through the whole,—there is perhaps 137 no production within the range of mere human composition round which the circumstances and feelings under which it was written cast so touching an interest.



"'Tis time this heart should be unmoved,

Since others it hath ceased to move;

Yet though I cannot be beloved,

Still let me love!


"My days are in the yellow leaf;

The flowers and fruits of love are gone;

The worm, the canker, and the grief

Are mine alone!


"The fire that on my bosom preys

Is lone as some volcanic isle;

No torch is kindled at its blaze—

A funeral pile!


"The hope, the fear, the jealous care,

The exalted portion of the pain

And power of love, I cannot share,

But wear the chain.


"But 'tis not thus—and 'tis not here

Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now,

Where glory decks the hero's bier,

Or binds his brow.



"The sword, the banner, and the field,

Glory and Greece, around roe see!

The Spartan, borne upon his shield,

Was not more free.


"Awake! (not Greece—she is awake!)

Awake, my spirit! Think through whom

Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,

And then strike home!


"Tread those reviving passions down,

Unworthy manhood!—unto thee

Indifferent should the smile or frown

Of beauty be.


"If thou regret'st thy youth, why live?

The land of honourable death

Is here:—up to the field, and give

Away thy breath!


"Seek out—less often sought than found—

A soldier's grave, for thee the best;

Then look around, and choose thy ground,—

And take thy rest."

"We perceived," says Count Gamba, "from these lines, as well as from his daily conversations, that his ambition and his hope were irrevocably fixed upon the glorious objects of his expedition to Greece, and that he had made up his mind to 'return victorious, or return no more.' Indeed, he often said 139 to me, 'Others may do as they please—they may go—but I stay here, that is certain.' The same determination was expressed in his letters to his friends; and this resolution was not unaccompanied with the very natural presentiment—that he should never leave Greece alive. He one day asked his faithful servant, Tita, whether he thought of returning to Italy? 'Yes,' said Tita: 'if your Lordship goes, I go.' Lord Byron smiled, and said, 'No, Tita, I shall never go back from Greece—either the Turks, or the Greeks, or the climate, will prevent that.'"


"Missolonghi, February 5. 1824.

"Dr. Muir's letter and yours of the 23d reached me some days ago. Tell Muir that I am glad of his promotion for his sake, and of his remaining near us for all our sakes; though I cannot but regret Dr. Kennedy's departure, which accounts for the previous earthquakes and the present English weather in this climate. With all respect to my medical pastor, I have to announce to him, that amongst other fire-brands, our firemaster Parry (just landed) has disembarked an elect blacksmith, intrusted with three hundred and twenty-two Greek Testaments. I have given him all facilities in my power for his works spiritual and temporal; and if he can settle matters as easily with the Greek Archbishop and hierarchy, I trust that neither the heretic nor the supposed sceptic will be accused of intolerance. 140

"By the way, I met with the said Archbishop at Anatolico (where I went by invitation of the Primates a few days ago, and was received with a heavier cannonade than the Turks, probably,) for the second time (I had known him here before); and he and P. Mavrocordato, and the Chiefs and Primates and I, all dined together, and I thought the metropolitan the merriest of the party, and a very good Christian for all that. But Gamba (we got wet through on our way back) has been ill with a fever and cholic; and Luke has been out of sorts too, and so have some others of the people, and I have been very well,—except that I caught cold yesterday, with swearing too much in the rain at the Greeks, who would not bear a hand in landing the Committee stores, and nearly spoiled our combustibles; but I turned out in person, and made such a row as set them in motion, blaspheming at them from the Government downwards, till they actually did some part of what they ought to have done several days before, and this is esteemed, as it deserves to be, a wonder.

"Tell Muir that, notwithstanding his remonstrances, which I receive thankfully, it is perhaps best that I should advance with the troops; for if we do not do something soon, we shall only have a third year of defensive operations and another siege, and all that. We hear that the Turks are coming down in force, and sooner than usual; and as these fellows do mind me a little, it is the opinion that I should go,—firstly, because they will sooner listen to a foreigner than one of their own people, out of 141 native jealousies; secondly, because the Turks will sooner treat or capitulate (if such occasion should happen) with a Frank than a Greek; and, thirdly, because nobody else seems disposed to take the responsibility—Mavrocordato being very busy here, the foreign military men too young or not of authority enough to be obeyed by the natives, and the Chiefs (as aforesaid) inclined to obey any one except, or rather than, one of their own body. As for me, I am willing to do what I am bidden, and to follow my instructions. I neither seek nor shun that nor any thing else they may wish me to attempt: as for personal safety, besides that it ought not to be a consideration, I take it that a man is on the whole as safe in one place as another; and, after all, he had better end with a bullet than bark in his body. If we are not taken off with the sword, we are like to march off with an ague in this mud basket; and to conclude with a very bad pun, to the ear rather than to the eye, better martially than marsh-ally:—the situation of Missolonghi is not unknown to you. The dykes of Holland when broken down are the Deserts of Arabia for dryness, in comparison.

"And now for the sinews of war. I thank you and Mr. Barff for your ready answers, which, next to ready money, is a pleasant thing. Besides the assets and balance, and the relics of the Corgialegno correspondence with Leghorn and Genoa, (I sold the dog flour, tell him, but not at his price,) I shall request and require, from the beginning of March ensuing, about five thousand dollars every two months, i.e., about twenty-five thousand within the 142 current year, at regular intervals, independent of the sums now negotiating. I can show you documents to prove that these are considerably within my supplies for the year in more ways than one; but I do not like to tell the Greeks exactly what I could or would advance on an emergency, because otherwise, they will double and triple their demands, (a disposition that they have already sufficiently shown): and though I am willing to do all I can when necessary, yet I do not see why they should not help a little; for they are not quite so bare as they pretend to be by some accounts.

"February 7. 1824.

"I have been interrupted by the arrival of Parry and afterwards by the return of Hesketh, who has not brought an answer to my epistles, which rather surprises me. You will write soon, I suppose. Parry seems a fine rough subject, but will hardly be ready for the field these three weeks; he and I will (I think) be able to draw together,—at least, I will not interfere with or contradict him in his own department. He complains grievously of the mercantile and enthusymusy part of the Committee, but greatly praises Gordon and Hume. Gordon would have given three or four thousand pounds and come out himself, but Kennedy or somebody else disgusted him, and thus they have spoiled part of their subscription and cramped their operations. Parry says B—— is a humbug, to which I say nothing. He sorely laments the printing and civilising expenses, and wishes that there was not a Sunday-school in 143 the world, or any school here at present, save and except always an academy for artilleryship.

"He complained also of the cold, a little to my surprise; firstly, because, there being no chimneys, I have used myself to do without other warmth than the animal heat and one's cloak, in these parts; and, secondly, because I should as soon have expected to hear a volcano sneeze, as a firemaster (who is to burn a whole fleet) exclaim against the atmosphere. I fully expected that his very approach would have scorched up the town like the burning-glasses of Archimedes.

"Well, it seems that I am to be Commander-in-Chief, and the post is by no means a sinecure, for we are not what Major Sturgeon calls 'a set of the most amicable officers.' Whether we shall have 'a boxing bout between Captain Sheers and the Colonel,' I cannot tell; but, between Suliote chiefs, German barons, English volunteers, and adventurers of all nations, we are likely to form as goodly an allied army as ever quarrelled beneath the same banner.

"February 8. 1824.

"Interrupted again by business yesterday, and it is time to conclude my letter. I drew some time since on Mr. Barff for a thousand dollars, to complete some money wanted by the Government. The said Government got cash on that bill here, and at a profit; but the very same fellow who gave it to them, after proposing to give me money for other bills on Barff to the amount of thirteen hundred dollars, either could not, or thought better of it. I had written to 144 Barff advising him, but had afterwards to write to tell him of the fellow's having not come up to time. You must really send me the balance soon. I have the artillerists and my Suliotes to pay, and Heaven knows what besides; and as every thing depends upon punctuality, all our operations will be at a standstill unless you use despatch. I shall send to Mr. Barff or to you further bills on England for three thousand pounds, to be negotiated as speedily as you can. I have already stated here and formerly the sums I can command at home within the year,—without including my credits, or the bills already negotiated or negotiating, as Corgialegno's balance of Mr. Webb's letter,—and my letters from my friends (received by Mr. Parry's vessel) confirm what I have already stated. How much I may require in the course of the year I can't tell, but I will take care that it shall not exceed the means to supply it.

Yours ever, N.B.

"P.S. I have had, by desire of a Mr. Jerostati, to draw on Demetrius Delladecima (is it our friend in ultima analise?) to pay the Committee expenses. I really do not understand what the Committee mean by some of their freedoms. Parry and I get on very well hitherto: how long this may last, Heaven knows, but I hope it will, for a good deal for the Greek service depends upon it; but he has already had some" miffs with Col. S. and I do all I can to keep the peace amongst them. However, Parry is a fine fellow, extremely active, and of strong, sound, practical talents, by all accounts. Enclosed are bills for three thousand pounds, drawn in the mode directed 145 (i.e. parcelled out in smaller bills). A good opportunity occurring for Cephalonia to send letters on, I avail myself of it. Remember me to Stevens and to all friends. Also my compliments and every thing kind to the colonels and officers.

"February 9. 1824.

"P.S. 2d or 3d. I have reason to expect a person from England directed with papers (on business) for me to sign, somewhere in the Islands, by and by: if such should arrive, would you forward him to me by a safe conveyance, as the papers regard a transaction with regard to the adjustment of a lawsuit, and a sum of several thousand pounds, which I, or my bankers and trustees for me, may have to receive (in England) in consequence. The time of the probable arrival I cannot state, but the date of my letters is the 2d Nov. and I suppose that he ought to arrive soon."

How strong were the hopes which even those who watched him most observingly conceived from the whole tenor of his conduct since his arrival at Missolonghi, will appear from the following words of Colonel Stanhope, in one of his letters to the Greek Committee:—

"Lord Byron possesses all the means of playing a great part in the glorious revolution of Greece. He has talent; he professes liberal principles; he has money, and is inspired with fervent and chivalrous feelings. He has commenced his career by two good measures: 1st, by recommending union, 146 and declaring himself of no party; and, 2dly, by taking five hundred Suliotes into pay, and acting as their chief. These acts cannot fail to render his Lordship universally popular, and proportionally powerful. Thus advantageously circumstanced, his Lordship will have an opportunity of realising all his professions."

That the inspirer, however, of these hopes was himself far from participating in them is a fact manifest from all he said and wrote on the subject, and but adds painfully to the interest which his position at this moment excites. Too well, indeed, did he both understand and feel the difficulties into which he was plunged to deceive himself into any such sanguine delusions. In one only of the objects to which he had looked forward with any hope,—that of endeavouring to humanise, by his example, the system of warfare on both sides,—had he yet been able to gratify himself. Not many days after his arrival an opportunity, as we have seen, had been afforded him of rescuing an unfortunate Turk out of the hands of some Greek sailors; and, towards the end of the month, having learned that there were a few Turkish prisoners in confinement at Missolonghi, he requested of the Government to place them at his disposal, that he might send them to Yussuff Pacha. In performing this act of humane policy, he transmitted with the rescued captives the following letter:— 147


"Missolonghi, January 23. 1824.


"A vessel, in which a friend and some domestics of mine were embarked, was detained a few days ago, and released by order of your Highness. I have now to thank you; not for liberating the vessel, which, as carrying a neutral flag, and being under British protection, no one had a right to detain; but for having treated my friends with so much kindness while they were in your hands.

"In the hope, therefore, that it may not be altogether displeasing to your Highness, I have requested the governor of this place to release four Turkish prisoners, and he has humanely consented to do so. I lose no time, therefore, in sending them back, in order to make as early a return as I could for your courtesy on the late occasion. These prisoners are liberated without any conditions: but should the circumstance find a place in your recollection, I venture to beg, that your Highness will treat such Greeks as may henceforth fall into your hands with humanity; more especially since the horrors of war are sufficiently great in themselves, without being aggravated by wanton cruelties on either side. NOEL BYRON."

Another favourite and, as it appeared for some time, practicable object, on which he had most ardently set his heart, was the intended attack upon 148 Lepanto—a fortified town[1] which, from its command of the navigation of the Gulf of Corinth, is a position of the first importance. "Lord Byron," says Colonel Stanhope, in a letter dated January 14., "burns with military ardour and chivalry, and will accompany the expedition to Lepanto." The delay of Parry, the engineer, who had been for some months anxiously expected with the supplies necessary for the formation of a brigade of artillery, had hitherto paralysed the preparations for this important enterprise; though, in the mean time, whatever little could be effected, without his aid, had been put in progress both by the appointment of a brigade of Suliotes to act under Lord Byron, and by the formation, at the joint expense of his Lordship and Colonel Stanhope, of a small corps of artillery.

[Footnote 1: The ancient Naupactus, called Epacto by the modern Greeks, and Lepauto by the Italians.]

It was towards the latter end of January, as we have seen, that Lord Byron received his regular commission from the Government, as Commander of the expedition. In conferring upon him full powers, both civil and military, they appointed, at the same time, a Military Council to accompany him, composed of the most experienced Chieftains of the army, with Nota Bozzari, the uncle of the famous warrior, at their head.

It had been expected that, among the stores sent with Parry, there would be a supply of Congreve rockets,—an instrument of warfare of which 149 such wonders had been related to the Greeks as filled their imaginations with the most absurd ideas of its powers. Their disappointment, therefore, on finding that the engineer had come unprovided with these missiles was excessive. Another hope, too,—that of being enabled to complete an artillery corps by the accession of those Germans who had been sent for into the Morea,—was found almost equally fallacious; that body of men having, from the death or retirement of those who originally composed it, nearly dwindled away; and the few officers that now came to serve being, from their fantastic notions of rank and etiquette, far more troublesome than useful. In addition to these discouraging circumstances, the five Speziot ships of war which had for some time formed the sole protection of Missolonghi were now returned to their home, and had left their places to be filled by the enemy's squadron.

Perplexing as were all these difficulties in the way of the expedition, a still more formidable embarrassment presented itself in the turbulent and almost mutinous disposition of those Suliote troops on whom he mainly depended for success in his undertaking. Presuming as well upon his wealth and generosity as upon their own military importance, these unruly warriors had never ceased to rise in the extravagance of their demands upon him;—the wholly destitute and homeless state of their families at this moment affording but too well founded a pretext both for their exaction and discontent. Nor were their leaders much more amenable to management than themselves. "There were," says Count Gamba, 150 "six heads of families among them, all of whom had equal pretensions both by their birth and their exploits; and none of whom would obey any one of his comrades."

A serious riot to which, about the middle of January, these Suliotes had given rise, and in which some lives were lost, had been a source of much irritation and anxiety to Lord Byron, as well from the ill-blood it was likely to engender between his troops and the citizens, as from the little dependence it gave him encouragement to place upon materials so unmanageable. Notwithstanding all this, however, neither his eagerness nor his efforts for the accomplishment of this sole personal object of his ambition ever relaxed a single instant. To whatever little glory was to be won by the attack upon Lepanto, he looked forward as his only reward for all the sacrifices he was making. In his conversations with Count Gamba on the subject, "though he joked a good deal," says this gentleman, "about his post of 'Archistrategos,' or Commander in Chief, it was plain that the romance and the peril of the undertaking were great allurements to him." When we combine, indeed, his determination to stand, at all hazards, by the cause, with the very faint hopes his sagacious mind would let him indulge as to his power of serving it, I have little doubt that the "soldier's grave" which, in his own beautiful verses, he marked out for himself, was no idle dream of poetry; but that, on the contrary, his "wish was father to the thought," and that to an honourable death, in some such achievement as that of storming 151 Lepanto, he looked forward, not only as the sole means of redeeming worthily the great pledge he had now given, but as the most signal and lasting service that a name like his,—echoed, as it would then be, among the watch-words of Liberty, from age to age,—could bequeath to her cause.

In the midst of these cares he was much gratified by the receipt of a letter from an old friend of his, Andrea Londo, whom he had made acquaintance with in his early travels in 1809, and who was at that period a rich proprietor, under the Turks, in the Morca.[1] This patriotic Greek was one of the foremost to raise the standard of the Cross; and at the present moment stood distinguished among the supporters of the Legislative Body and of the new national Government. The following is a translation of Lord Byron's answer to his letter.

[Footnote 1: This brave Moriote, when Lord Byron first knew him, was particularly boyish in his aspect and manners, but still cherished, under this exterior, a mature spirit of patriotism which occasionally broke forth; and the noble poet used to relate that, one day, while they were playing at draughts together, on the name of Riga being pronounced, Londo leaped from the table, and clapping violently his hands, began singing the famous song of that ill-fated patriot:—

"Sons of the Greeks, arise!

The glorious hour's gone forth."]


"Dear Friend,

"The sight of your handwriting gave me the greatest pleasure. Greece has ever been for me, as 152 it must be for all men of any feeling or education, the promised land of valour, of the arts, and of liberty; nor did the time I passed in my youth in travelling among her ruins at all chill my affection for the birthplace of heroes. In addition to this, I am bound to yourself by ties of friendship and gratitude for the hospitality which I experienced from you during my stay in that country, of which you are now become one of the first defenders and ornaments. To see myself serving, by your side and under your eyes, in the cause of Greece, will be to me one of the happiest events of my life. In the mean time, with the hope of our again meeting,

"I am, as ever," &c.

Among the less serious embarrassments of his position at this period, may be mentioned the struggle maintained against him by his colleague, Colonel Stanhope,—with a degree of conscientious perseverance which, even while thwarted by it, he could not but respect, on the subject of a Free Press, which it was one of the favourite objects of his fellow-agent to bring instantly into operation in all parts of Greece. On this important point their opinions differed considerably; and the following report, by Colonel Stanhope, of one of their many conversations on the subject, may be taken as a fair and concise statement of their respective views:—"Lord Byron said that he was an ardent friend of publicity and the press: but that he feared it was not applicable to this society in its present combustible state. I answered that I thought it applicable 153 to all countries, and essential here, in order to put an end to the state of anarchy which at present prevailed. Lord B. feared libels and licentiousness. I said that the object of a free press was to check public licentiousness, and to expose libellers to odium. Lord B. had mentioned his conversation with Mavrocordato[1] to show that the Prince was not hostile to the press. I declared that I knew him to be an enemy to the press, although he dared not openly to avow it. His Lordship then said that he had not made up his mind about the liberty of the press in Greece, but that he thought the experiment worth trying."

[Footnote 1: Lord Byron had, it seems, acknowledged, on the preceding evening, his having remarked to Prince Blavrocordato that "if he were in his situation, he would have placed the press under a censor;" to which the Prince had replied, "No; the liberty of the press is guaranteed by the Constitution."]

That between two men, both eager in the service of one common cause, there should arise a difference of opinion as to the means of serving it is but a natural result of the varieties of human judgment, and detracts nothing from the zeal or sincerity of either. But by those who do not suffer themselves to be carried away by a theory, it will be conceded, I think, that the scruples professed by Lord Byron, with respect to the expedience or safety of introducing what is called a Free Press into a country so little advanced in civilisation as Greece, were founded on just views of human nature and practical good sense. To endeavour to force upon a state of society, so unprepared for them, such full grown institutions; to 154 think of engrafting, at once, on an ignorant people the fruits of long knowledge and cultivation,—of importing among them, ready made, those advantages and blessings which no nation ever attained but by its own working out, nor ever was fitted to enjoy but by having first struggled for them; to harbour even a dream of the success of such an experiment, implies a sanguineness almost incredible, and such as, though, in the present instance, indulged by the political economist and soldier, was, as we have seen, beyond the poet.

The enthusiastic and, in many respects, well founded confidence with which Colonel Stanhope appealed to the authority of Mr. Bentham on most of the points at issue between himself and Lord Byron, was, from that natural antipathy which seems to exist between political economists and poets, but little sympathised in by the latter;—such appeals being always met by him with those sallies of ridicule, which he found the best-humoured vent for his impatience under argument, and to which, notwithstanding the venerable name and services of Mr. Bentham himself, the quackery of much that is promulgated by his followers presented, it must be owned, ample scope. Romantic, indeed, as was Lord Byron's sacrifice of himself to the cause of Greece, there was in the views he took of the means of serving her not a tinge of the unsubstantial or speculative. The grand practical task of freeing her from her tyrants was his first and main object. He knew that slavery was the great bar to knowledge, and must be broken through before her light could 155 come; that the work of the sword must therefore precede that of the pen, and camps be the first schools of freedom.

With such sound and manly views of the true exigencies of the crisis, it is not wonderful that he should view with impatience, and something, perhaps, of contempt, all that premature apparatus of printing-presses, pedagogues, &c. with which the Philhellenes of the London Committee were, in their rage for "utilitarianism," encumbering him. Nor were some of the correspondents of this body much more solid in their speculations than themselves; one intelligent gentleman having suggested, as a means of conferring signal advantages on the cause, an alteration of the Greek alphabet.

Though feeling, as strongly, perhaps, as Lord Byron, the importance of the great object of their mission,—that of rousing and, what was far more difficult, combining against the common foe the energies of the country,—Colonel Stanhope was also one of those who thought that the lights of their great master, Bentham, and the operations of a press unrestrictedly free, were no less essential instruments towards the advancement of the struggle; and in this opinion, as we have seen, the poet and man of literature differed from the soldier. But it was such a difference as, between men of frank and fair minds, may arise without either reproach to themselves, or danger to their cause,—a strife of opinion which; though maintained with heat, may be remembered without bitterness, and which, in the present instance, neither prevented Byron, at the close of one 156 of their warmest altercations, from exclaiming generously to his opponent, "Give me that honest right hand," nor withheld the other from pouring forth, at the grave of his colleague, a strain of eulogy[1] not the less cordial for being discriminatingly shaded with censure, nor less honourable to the illustrious dead for being the tribute of one who had once manfully differed with him.

[Footnote 1: Sketch of Lord Byron.—See Colonel Stanhope's "Greece in 1823, 1824," &c.]

Towards the middle of February, the indefatigable activity of Mr. Parry having brought the artillery brigade into such a state of forwardness as to be almost ready for service, an inspection of the Suliote corps took place, preparatory to the expedition; and after much of the usual deception and unmanageableness on their part, every obstacle appeared to be at length surmounted. It was agreed that they should receive a month's pay in advance;—Count Gamba, with 300 of their corps, as a vanguard, was to march next day and take up a position under Lepanto, and Lord Byron with the main body and the artillery was speedily to follow.

New difficulties, however, were soon started by these untractable mercenaries; and under the instigation, as was discovered afterwards, of the great rival of Mavrocordato, Colocotroni, who had sent emissaries into Missolonghi for the purpose of seducing them, they now put forward their exactions in a new shape, by requiring of the Government to appoint, out of their number, two generals, two colonels, 157 two captains, and inferior officers in the same proportion:—"in short," says Count Gamba, "that, out of three or four hundred actual Suliotes, there should be about one hundred and fifty above the rank of common soldiers." The audacious dishonesty of this demand,—beyond what he could have expected even from Greeks,—roused all Lord Byron's rage, and he at once signified to the whole body, through Count Gamba, that all negotiation between them and himself was at an end; that he could no longer have any confidence in persons so little true to their engagements; and that though the relief which he had afforded to their families should still be continued, all his agreements with them, as a body, must be thenceforward void.

It was on the 14th of February that this rupture with the Suliotes took place; and though, on the following day, in consequence of the full submission of their Chiefs, they were again received into his Lordship's service on his own terms, the whole affair, combined with the various other difficulties that now beset him, agitated his mind considerably. He saw with pain that he should but place in peril both the cause of Greece and his own character, by at all relying, in such an enterprise, upon troops whom any intriguer could thus seduce from their duty; and that, till some more regular force could be organised, the expedition against Lepanto must be suspended.

While these vexatious events were occurring, the interruption of his accustomed exercise by the rains but increased the irritability that such delays were 158 calculated to excite; and the whole together, no doubt, concurred with whatever predisposing tendencies were already in his constitution, to bring on that convulsive fit,—the forerunner of his death,—which, on the evening of the 15th of February, seized him. He was sitting, at about eight o'clock, with only Mr. Parry and Mr. Hesketh, in the apartment of Colonel Stanhope,—talking jestingly upon one of his favourite topics, the differences between himself and this latter gentleman, and saying that "he believed, after all, the author's brigade would be ready before the soldier's printing-press." There was an unusual flush in his face, and from the rapid changes of his countenance it was manifest that he was suffering under some nervous agitation. He then complained of being thirsty, and, calling for some cider, drank of it; upon which, a still greater change being observable over his features, he rose from his seat, but was unable to walk, and, after staggering forward a step or two, fell into Mr. Parry's arms. In another minute, his teeth were closed, his speech and senses gone, and he was in strong convulsions. So violent, indeed, were his struggles, that it required all the strength both of Mr. Parry and his servant Tita to hold him during the fit. His face, too, was much distorted; and, as he told Count Gamba afterwards, "so intense were his sufferings during the convulsion, that, had it lasted but a minute longer, he believed he must have died." The fit was, however, as short as it was violent; in a few minutes his speech and senses returned; his features, though still pale and haggard, resumed their natural shape, and no effect remained from the attack but excessive 159 weakness. "As soon as he could speak," says Count Gamba, "he showed himself perfectly free from all alarm; but he very coolly asked whether his attack was likely to prove fatal. 'Let me know,' he said; 'do not think I am afraid to die—I am not.'"

This painful event had not occurred more than half an hour, when a report was brought that the Suliotes were up in arms, and about to attack the seraglio, for the purpose of seizing the magazines. Instantly Lord Byron's friends ran to the arsenal; the artillery-men were ordered under arms; the sentinels doubled, and the cannon loaded and pointed on the approaches to the gates. Though the alarm proved to be false, the very likelihood of such an attack shows sufficiently how precarious was the state of Missolonghi at this moment, and in what a scene of peril, confusion, and uncomfort, the now nearly numbered days of England's poet were to close.

On the following morning he was found to be better, but still pale and weak, and complained much of a sensation of weight in his head. The doctors, therefore, thought it right to apply leeches to his temples; but found it difficult, on their removal, to stop the blood, which continued to flow so copiously, that from exhaustion he fainted. It must have been on this day that the scene thus described by Colonel Stanhope occurred:—

"Soon after his dreadful paroxysm, when, faint with over-bleeding, he was lying on his sick bed, with his whole nervous system completely shaken, 160 the mutinous Suliotes, covered with dirt and splendid attires, broke into his apartment, brandishing their costly arms, and loudly demanding their wild rights. Lord Byron, electrified by this unexpected act, seemed to recover from his sickness; and the more the Suliotes raged, the more his calm courage triumphed. The scene was truly sublime."

Another eye-witness, Count Gamba, bears similar testimony to the presence of mind with which he fronted this and all other such dangers. "It is impossible," says this gentleman, "to do justice to the coolness and magnanimity which he displayed upon every trying occasion. Upon trifling occasions he was certainly irritable; but the aspect of danger calmed him in an instant, and restored to him the free exercise of all the powers of his noble nature. A more undaunted man in the hour of peril never breathed."

The letters written by him during the few following weeks form, as usual, the best record of his proceedings, and, besides the sad interest they possess as being among the latest from his hand, are also precious, as affording proof that neither illness nor disappointment, neither a worn-out frame nor even a hopeless spirit, could lead him for a moment to think of abandoning the great cause he had espoused; while to the last, too, he preserved unbroken the cheerful spring of his mind, his manly endurance of all ills that affected but himself, and his ever-wakeful consideration for the wants of others. 161


"February 21.

"I am a good deal better, though of course weakly; the leeches took too much blood from my temples the day after, and there was some difficulty in stopping it, but I have since been up daily, and out in boats of on horseback. To-day I have taken a warm bath, and live as temperately as can well be, without any liquid but water, and without animal food.

"Besides the four Turks sent to Patras, I have obtained the release of four-and-twenty women and children, and sent them at my own expense to Prevesa, that the English Consul-General may consign them to their relations. I did this by their own desire. Matters here are a little embroiled with the Suliotes and foreigners, &c., but I still hope better things, and will stand by the cause as long as my health and circumstances will permit me to be supposed useful.[1]

[Footnote 1: In a letter to the same gentleman, dated January 27., he had already said, "I hope that things here will go on well some time or other. I will stick by the cause as long as a cause exists—first or second."]

"I am obliged to support the Government here for the present."

The prisoners mentioned in this letter as having been released by him and sent to Prevesa, had been held in captivity at Missolonghi since the beginning 162 of the Revolution. The following was the letter which he forwarded with them to the English Consul at Prevesa.



"Coming to Greece, one of my principal objects was to alleviate as much as possible the miseries incident to a warfare so cruel as the present. When the dictates of humanity are in question, I know no difference between Turks and Greeks. It is enough that those who want assistance are men, in order to claim the pity and protection of the meanest pretender to humane feelings. I have found here twenty-four Turks, including women and children, who have long pined in distress, far from the means of support and the consolations of their home. The Government has consigned them to me; I transmit them to Prevesa, whither they desire to be sent. I hope you will not object to take care that they may be restored to a place of safety, and that the Governor of your town may accept of my present. The best recompense I can hope for would be to find that I had inspired the Ottoman commanders with the same sentiments towards those unhappy Greeks who may hereafter fall into their hands.

"I beg you to believe me," &c.




"Missolonghi, February 21. 1824.

"I have received yours of the 2d of November. It is essential that the money should be paid, as I have drawn for it all, and more too, to help the Greeks. Parry is here, and he and I agree very well; and all is going on hopefully for the present, considering circumstances.

"We shall have work this year, for the Turks are coming down in force; and, as for me, I must stand by the cause. I shall shortly march (according to orders) against Lepanto, with two thousand men. I have been here some time, after some narrow escapes from the Turks, and also from being ship-wrecked. We were twice upon the rocks; but this you will have heard, truly or falsely, through other channels, and I do not wish to bore you with a long story.

"So far I have succeeded in supporting the Government of Western Greece, which would otherwise have been dissolved. If you have received the eleven thousand and odd pounds, these, with what I have in hand, and my income for the current year, to say nothing of contingencies, will, or might, enable me to keep the 'sinews of war' properly strung. If the deputies be honest fellows, and obtain the loan, they will repay the 4000,'. as agreed upon; and even then I shall save little, or indeed less than little, since I am maintaining nearly the whole machine—in this place, at least—at my own 164 cost. But let the Greeks only succeed, and I don't care for myself.

"I have been very seriously unwell, but am getting better, and can ride about again; so pray quiet our friends on that score.

"It is not true that I ever did, will, would, could, or should write a satire against Gifford, or a hair of his head. I always considered him as my literary father, and myself as his 'prodigal son;' and if I have allowed his 'fatted calf' to grow to an ox before, he kills it on my return, it is only because I prefer beef to veal.

Yours," &c


"February 23.

"My health seems improving, especially from riding and the warm bath. Six Englishmen will be soon in quarantine at Zante; they are artificers[1], and have had enough of Greece in fourteen days. If you could recommend them to a passage home, I would thank you; they are good men enough, but do not quite understand the little discrepancies in these countries, and are not used to see shooting and slashing in a domestic quiet way, or (as it forms here) a part of housekeeping.

[Footnote 1: The workmen who came out with Parry; and who, alarmed by the scene of confusion and danger they found at Missolonghi, had resolved to return home.]

"If they should want any thing during their quarantine, you can advance them not more than a dollar a day (amongst them) for that period, to 165 purchase them some little extras as comforts (as they are quite out of their element). I cannot afford them more at present."

The following letter to Mr. Murray,—which it is most gratifying to have to produce, as the last completing link of a long friendship and correspondence which had been but for a short time, and through the fault only of others, interrupted,—contains such a summary of the chief events now passing round Lord Byron, as, with the assistance of a few notes, will render any more detailed narrative unnecessary.


"Missolonghi, February 25. 1824.

"I have heard from Mr. Douglas Kinnaird that you state 'a report of a satire on Mr. Gifford having arrived from Italy, said to be written by me! but that you do not believe it.' I dare say you do not, nor anybody else, I should think. Whoever asserts that I am the author or abettor of any thing of the kind on Gifford lies in his throat. If any such composition exists it is none of mine. You know as well as any body upon whom I have or have not written; and you also know whether they do or did not deserve that same. And so much for such matters.

"You will perhaps be anxious to hear some news from this part of Greece (which is the most liable to invasion); but you will hear enough through public and private channels. I will, however, give you the 166 events of a week, mingling my own private peculiar with the public; for we are here a little jumbled together at present.

"On Sunday (the 15th, I believe,) I had a strong and sudden convulsive attack, which left me speechless, though not motionless—for some strong men could not hold me; but whether it was epilepsy, catalepsy, cachexy, or apoplexy, or what other exy or epsy, the doctors have not decided; or whether it was spasmodic or nervous, &c.; but it was very unpleasant, and nearly carried me off, and all that. On Monday, they put leeches to my temples, no difficult matter, but the blood could not be stopped till eleven at night (they had gone too near the temporal artery for my temporal safety), and neither styptic nor caustic would cauterise the orifice till after a hundred attempts.

"On Tuesday, a Turkish brig of war ran on shore. On Wednesday, great preparations being made to attack her, though protected by her consorts[1], the Turks burned her and retired to Patras. On Thursday a quarrel ensued between the Suliotes and the Frank guard at the arsenal: a Swedish officer[2] was 167 killed, and a Suliote severely wounded, and a general fight expected, and with some difficulty prevented. On Friday, the officer was buried; and Captain Parry's English artificers mutinied, under pretence that their lives are in danger, and are for quitting the country:—they may.[3]

[Footnote 1: "Early in the morning we prepared for our attack on the brig. Lord Byron, notwithstanding his weakness, and an inflammation that threatened his eyes, was most anxious to be of our party; but the physicians would not suffer him to go."—COUNT GAMBA'S Narrative.

His Lordship had promised a reward for every Turk taken alive in the proposed attack on this vessel.]

[Footnote 2: Captain Sasse, an officer esteemed as one of the best and bravest of the foreigners in the Greek service. "This," says Colonel Stanhope, in a letter, February 18th, to the Committee, "is a serious affair. The Suliotes have no country, no home for their families; arrears of pay are owing to them; the people of Missolonghi hate and pay them exorbitantly. Lord Byron, who was to have led them to Lepanto, is much shaken by his fit, and will probably be obliged to retire from Greece. In short, all our hopes in this quarter are damped for the present. I am not a little fearful, too, that these wild warriors will not forget the blood that has been spilt. I this morning told Prince Mavrocordato and Lord Byron that they must come to some resolution about compelling the Suliotes to quit the place."]

[Footnote 3: This was a fresh, and, as may be conceived, serious disappointment to Lord Byron. "The departure of these men," says Count Gamba, "made us fear that our laboratory would come to nothing; for, if we tried to supply the place of the artificers with native Greeks, we should make but little progress.]

"On Saturday we had the smartest shock of an earthquake which I remember, (and I have felt thirty, slight or smart, at different periods; they are common in the Mediterranean,) and the whole army discharged their arms, upon the same principle that savages beat drums, or howl, during an eclipse of the moon:—it was a rare scene altogether—if you had but seen the English Johnnies, who had never been out of a cockney workshop before!—or will again, if they can help it—and on Sunday, we heard 168 that the Vizier is come down to Larissa, with one hundred and odd thousand men.

"In coming here, I had two escapes, one from the Turks, (one of my vessels was taken, but afterwards released,) and the other from shipwreck. We drove twice on the rocks near the Scrophes (islands near the coast).

"I have obtained from the Greeks the release of eight-and-twenty Turkish prisoners, men, women, and children, and sent them to Patras and Prevesa at my own charges. One little girl of nine years old, who prefers remaining with me, I shall (if I live) send, with her mother, probably, to Italy, or to England. Her name is Hato, or Hatagee. She is a very pretty, lively child. All her brothers were killed by the Greeks, and she herself and her mother merely spared by special favour and owing to her extreme youth, she being then but five or six years old.

"My health is now better, and I ride about again. My office here is no sinecure, so many parties and difficulties of every kind; but I will do what I can. Prince Mavrocordato is an excellent person, and does all in his power, but his situation is perplexing in the extreme. Still we have great hopes of the success of the contest. You will hear, however, more of public news from plenty of quarters; for I have little time to write.

"Believe me yours, &c. &c. N. BN."

The fierce lawlessness of the Suliotes had now risen to such a height that it became necessary, for the 169 safety of the European population, to get rid of them altogether; and, by some sacrifices on the part of Lord Byron, this object was at length effected. The advance of a month's pay by him, and the discharge of their arrears by the Government, (the latter, too, with money lent for that purpose by the same universal paymaster,) at length induced these rude warriors to depart from the town, and with them vanished all hopes of the expedition against Lepanto.


"Missolonghi, Western Greece, March 4. 1824.

"My dear Moore,

"Your reproach is unfounded—I have received two letters from you, and answered both previous to leaving Cephalonia. I have not been 'quiet' in an Ionian island, but much occupied with business,—as the Greek deputies (if arrived) can tell you. Neither have I continued 'Don Juan,' nor any other poem. You go, as usual, I presume, by some newspaper report or other.[1]

[Footnote 1: Proceeding, as he here rightly supposes, upon newspaper authority, I had in my letter made some allusion to his imputed occupations, which, in his present sensitiveness on the subject of authorship, did not at all please him. To this circumstance Count Gamba alludes in a passage of his Narrative; where, after mentioning a remark of Byron's, that "Poetry should only occupy the idle, and that in more serious affairs it would be ridiculous," he adds— "——, at this time writing to him, said, that he had heard that 'instead of pursuing heroic and warlike adventures, he was residing in a delightful villa, continuing Don Juan.' This offended him for the moment, and he was sorry that such a mistaken judgment had been formed of him."

It is amusing to observe that, while thus anxious, and from a highly noble motive, to throw his authorship into the shade while engaged in so much more serious pursuits, it was yet an author's mode of revenge that always occurred to him, when under the influence of any of these passing resentments. Thus, when a little angry with Colonel Stanhope one day, he exclaimed, "I will libel you in your own Chronicle;" and in this brief burst of humour I was myself the means of provoking in him, I have been told, on the authority of Count Gamba, that he swore to "write a satire" upon me.

Though the above letter shows how momentary was any little spleen he may have felt, there not unfrequently, I own, comes over me a short pang of regret to think that a feeling of displeasure, however slight, should have been among the latest I awakened in him.]

170 "When the proper moment to be of some use arrived, I came here; and am told that my arrival (with some other circumstances) has been of, at least, temporary advantage to the cause. I had a narrow escape from the Turks, and another from Shipwreck on my passage. On the 15th (or 16th) of February I had an attack of apoplexy, or epilepsy,—the physicians have not exactly decided which, but the alternative is agreeable. My constitution, therefore, remains between the two opinions, like Mahomet's sarcophagus between the magnets. All that I can say is, that they nearly bled me to death, by placing the leeches too near the temporal artery, so that the blood could with difficulty be stopped, even with caustic, I am supposed to be getting better, slowly, 171 however. But my homilies will, I presume, for the future, be like the Archbishop of Grenada's—in this case, 'I order you a hundred ducats from my treasurer, and wish you a little more taste.'

"For public matters I refer you to Colonel Stanhope's and Capt. Parry's reports,—and to all other reports whatsoever. There is plenty to do—war without, and tumult within—they 'kill a man a week,' like Bob Acres in the country. Parry's artificers have gone away in alarm, on account of a dispute in which some of the natives and foreigners were engaged, and a Swede was killed, and a Suliote wounded. In the middle of their fright there was a strong shock of an earthquake; so, between that and the sword, they boomed off in a hurry, in despite of all dissuasions to the contrary. A Turkish brig run ashore, &c. &c. &c.[1]

[Footnote 1: What I have omitted here is but a repetition of the various particulars, respecting all that had happened since his arrival, which have already been given in the letters to his other correspondents.]

"You, I presume, are either publishing or meditating that same. Let me hear from and of you, and believe me, in all events,

"Ever and affectionately yours,
"N. B.

"P.S. Tell Mr. Murray that I wrote to him the other day, and hope that he has received, or will receive, the letter." 172


"Missolonghi, March 4. 1824.

"My dear Doctor,

"I have to thank you for your two very kind letters, both received at the same time, and one long after its date. I am not unaware of the precarious state of my health, nor am, nor have been, deceived on that subject. But it is proper that I should remain in Greece; and it were better to die doing something than nothing. My presence here has been supposed so far useful as to have prevented confusion from becoming worse confounded, at least for the present. Should I become, or be deemed useless or superfluous, I am ready to retire; but in the interim I am not to consider personal consequences; the rest is in the hands of Providence,—as indeed are all things. I shall, however, observe your instructions, and indeed did so, as far as regards abstinence, for some time past.

"Besides the tracts, &c. which you have sent for distribution, one of the English artificers (hight Brownbill, a tinman,) left to my charge a number of Greek Testaments, which I will endeavour to distribute properly. The Greeks complain that the translation is not correct, nor in good Romaic: Bambas can decide on that point. I am trying to reconcile the clergy to the distribution, which (without due regard to their hierarchy) they might contrive to impede or neutralise in the effect, from their power over their people. Mr. Brownbill has gone to the Islands, having some apprehension for his life, (not 173 from the priests, however,) and apparently preferring rather to be a saint than a martyr, although his apprehensions of becoming the latter were probably unfounded. All the English artificers accompanied him, thinking themselves in danger on account of some troubles here, which have apparently subsided.

"I have been interrupted by a visit from Prince Mavrocordato and others since I began this letter, and must close it hastily, for the boat is announced as ready to sail. Your future convert, Hato, or Hatagée, appears to me lively, and intelligent, and promising, and possesses an interesting countenance. With regard to her disposition, I can say little, but Millingen, who has the mother (who is a middle-aged woman of good character) in his house as a domestic (although their family was in good worldly circumstances previous to the Revolution), speaks well of both, and he is to be relied on. As far as I know, I have only seen the child a few times with her mother, and what I have seen is favourable, or I should not take so much interest in her behalf. If she turns out well, my idea would be to send her to my daughter in England (if not to respectable persons in Italy), and so to provide for her as to enable her to live with reputation either singly or in marriage, if she arrive at maturity. I will make proper arrangements about her expenses through Messrs. Barff and Hancock, and the rest I leave to your discretion and to Mrs. K.'s, with a great sense of obligation for your kindness in undertaking her temporary superintendence.

"Of public matters here, I have little to add to 174 what you will already have heard. We are going on as well as we can, and with the hope and the endeavour to do better. Believe me,

"Ever and truly," &c.


"March 5. 1824.

"If Sisseni[1] is sincere, he will be treated with, and well treated; if he is not, the sin and the shame may lie at his own door. One great object is to heal those internal dissensions for the future, without exacting too rigorous an account of the past. Prince Mavrocordato is of the same opinion, and whoever is disposed to act fairly will be fairly dealt with. I have heard a good deal of Sisseni, but not a deal of good: however, I never judge from report, particularly in a Revolution. Personally, I am rather obliged to him, for he has been very hospitable to all friends of mine who have passed through his district. You may therefore assure him that any overture for the advantage of Greece and its internal pacification will be readily and sincerely met here. I hardly think that he would have ventured 175 a deceitful proposition to me through you, because he must be sure that in such a case it would eventually be exposed. At any rate, the healing of these dissensions is so important a point, that something must be risked to obtain it."

[Footnote 1: This Sisseni, who was the Capitano of the rich district about Gastouni, and had for some time held out against the general Government, was now, as appears by the above letter, making overtures, through Mr. Barff, of adhesion. As a proof of his sincerity, it was required by Lord Byron that he should surrender into the hands of the Government the fortress of Chiarenza.]


"March 10.

"Enclosed is an answer to Mr. Parruca's letter, and I hope that you will assure him from me, that I have done and am doing all I can to re-unite the Greeks with the Greeks.

"I am extremely obliged by your offer of your country house (as for all other kindness) in case that my health should require my removal; but I cannot quit Greece while there is a chance of my being of any (even supposed) utility:—there is a stake worth millions such as I am, and while I can stand at all, I must stand by the cause. When I say this, I am at the same time aware of the difficulties and dissensions and defects of the Greeks themselves; but allowance must be made for them by all reasonable people.

"My chief, indeed nine tenths of my expenses here are solely in advances to or on behalf of the Greeks[1], and objects connected with their independence."

[Footnote 1: "At this time (February 14th)," says Mr. Parry, who kept the accounts of his Lordship's disbursements, "the expenses of Lord Byron in the cause of the Greeks did not amount to less than two thousand dollars per week in rations alone." In another place this writer says, "The Greeks seemed to think he was a mine from which they could extract gold at their pleasure. One person represented that a supply of 20,000 dollars would save the island of Candia from falling into the hands of the Pacha of Egypt; and there not being that sum in hand, Lord Byron gave him authority to raise it if he could in the Islands, and he would guarantee its repayment. I believe this person did not succeed."]


The letter of Parruca, to which the foregoing alludes, contained a pressing invitation to Lord Byron to present himself in the Peloponnesus, where, it was added, his influence would be sure to bring about the Union of all parties. So general, indeed, was the confidence placed in their noble ally, that, by every Chief of every faction, he seems to have been regarded as the only rallying point round which there was the slightest chance of their now split and jarring interests being united. A far more flattering, as well as more authorised, invitation soon after reached him, through an express envoy, from the Chieftain, Colocotroni, recommending a National Council, where his Lordship, it was proposed, should act as mediator, and pledging this Chief himself and his followers to abide by the result. To this application an answer was returned similar to that which he sent to Parruca, and which was in terms as follows:— 177


"March 10. 1824.


"I have the honour of answering your letter. My first wish has always been to bring the Greeks to agree amongst themselves. I came here by the invitation of the Greek Government, and I do not think that I ought to abandon Roumelia for the Peloponnesus until that Government shall desire it; and the more so, as this part is exposed in a greater degree to the enemy. Nevertheless, if my presence can really be of any assistance in uniting two or more parties, I am ready to go any where, either as a mediator, or, if necessary, as a hostage. In these affairs I have neither private views, nor private dislike of any individual, but the sincere wish of deserving the name of the friend of your country, and of her patriots. I have the honour," &c.


"Missolonghi, March 10. 1824.


"I sent by Mr. J.M. Hodges a bill drawn on Signer C. Jerostatti for three hundred and eighty-six pounds, on account of the Hon. the Greek Committee, for carrying on the service at this place. But Count Delladecima sent no more than two hundred dollars until he should receive instructions from C. Jerostatti. Therefore I am obliged to advance 178 that sum to prevent a positive stop being put to the Laboratory service at this place, &c. &c.

"I beg you will mention this business to Count Delladecima, who has the draft and every account, and that Mr. Barff, in conjunction with yourself, will endeavour to arrange this money account, and, when received, forward the same to Missolonghi.

"I am, Sir, yours very truly.

"So far is written by Captain Parry; but I see that I must continue the letter myself. I understand little or nothing of the business, saving and except that, like most of the present affairs here, it will be at a stand-still if monies be not advanced, and there are few here so disposed; so that I must take the chance, as usual.

"You will see what can be done with Delladecima and Jerostatti, and remit the sum, that we may have some quiet; for the Committee have somehow embroiled their matters, or chosen Greek correspondents more Grecian than ever the Greeks are wont to be.

"Yours ever, NL. BN.

"P.S. A thousand thanks to Muir for his cauliflower, the finest I ever saw or tasted, and, I believe, the largest that ever grew out of Paradise, or Scotland. I have written to quiet Dr. Kennedy about the newspaper (with which I have nothing to do as a writer, please to recollect and say). I told the fools of conductors that their motto would play the devil; but, like all mountebanks, they persisted. Gamba, who is any thing but lucky, had something to do with it; and, as usual, the moment he had, 179 matters went wrong. [1] It will be better, perhaps, in time. But I write in haste, and have only time to say, before the boat sails, that I am ever

"Yours, N. BN.

[Footnote 1: He had a notion that Count Gamba was destined to be unfortunate,—that he was one of those ill-starred persons with whom every thing goes wrong. In speaking of this newspaper to Parry, he said, "I have subscribed to it to get rid of importunity, and, it may be, keep Gamba out of mischief. At any rate, he can mar nothing that is of less importance."]

"P.S. Mr. Findlay is here, and has received his money."


"Missolonghi, March 10. 1824.

"Dear Sir,

"You could not disapprove of the motto to the Telegraph more than I did, and do; but this is the land of liberty, where most people do as they please, and few as they ought.

"I have not written, nor am inclined to write, for that or for any other paper, but have suggested to them, over and over, a change of the motto and style. However, I do not think that it will turn out either an irreligious or a levelling publication, and they promise due respect to both churches and things, i.e. the editors do.

"If Bambas would write for the Greek Chronicle, he might have his own price for articles.

"There is a slight demur about Hato's voyage, her mother wishing to go with her, which is quite 180 natural, and I have not the heart to refuse it; for even Mahomet made a law, that in the division of captives, the child should never be separated from the mother. But this may make a difference in the arrangement, although the poor woman (who has lost half her family in the war) is, as I said, of good character, and of mature age, so as to render her respectability not liable to suspicion. She has heard, it seems, from Prevesa, that her husband is no longer there. I have consigned your Bibles to Dr. Meyer; and I hope that the said Doctor may justify your confidence; nevertheless, I shall keep an eye upon him. You may depend upon my giving the Society as fair play as Mr. Wilberforce himself would; and any other commission for the good of Greece will meet with the same attention on my part.

"I am trying, with some hope of eventual success, to re-unite the Greeks, especially as the Turks are expected in force, and that shortly. We must meet them as we may, and fight it out as we can.

"I rejoice to hear that your school prospers, and I assure you that your good wishes are reciprocal. The weather is so much finer, that I get a good deal of moderate exercise in boats and on horseback, and am willing to hope that my health is not worse than when you kindly wrote to me. Dr. Bruno can tell you that I adhere to your regimen, and more, for I do not eat any meat, even fish.

"Believe me ever, &c.

"P.S. The mechanics (six in number) were all pretty much of the same mind. Brownbill was but 181 one. Perhaps they are less to blame than is imagined, since Colonel Stanhope is said to have told them, 'that he could not positively say their lives were safe.' I should like to know where our life is safe, either here or any where else? With regard to a place of safety, at least such hermetically sealed safety as these persons appeared to desiderate, it is not to be found in Greece, at any rate; but Missolonghi was supposed to be the place where they would be useful, and their risk was no greater than that of others."


"Missolonghi, March 19. 1824.

"My dear Stanhope,

"Prince Mavrocordato and myself will go to Salona to meet Ulysses, and you may be very sure that P.M. will accept any proposition for the advantage of Greece. Parry is to answer for himself on his own articles[1]: if I were to interfere with him, it would only stop the whole progress of his exertion; and he is really doing all that can be done without more aid from the Government.

[Footnote 1: Colonel Stanhope had, at the instance of the Chief Odysseus, written to request that some stores from the laboratory at Missolonghi might be sent to Athens. Neither Prince Mavrocordato, however, nor Lord Byron considered it prudent, at this time, to weaken their means for defending Missolonghi, and accordingly sent back by the messenger but a few barrels of powder.]

182 "What can be spared will be sent; but I refer you to Captain Humphries's report, and to Count Gamba's letter for details upon all subjects.

"In the hope of seeing you soon, and deferring much that will be to be said till then,

"Believe me ever, &c.

"P.S. Your two letters (to me) are sent to Mr. Barff, as you desire. Pray remember me particularly to Trelawney, whom I shall be very much pleased to see again."


"March 19.

"As Count Mercati is under some apprehensions of a direct answer to him personally on Greek affairs, I reply (as you authorised me) to you, who will have the goodness to communicate to him the enclosed. It is the joint answer of Prince Mavrocordato and of myself, to Signor Georgio Sisseni's propositions. You may also add, both to him and to Parruca, that I am perfectly sincere in desiring the most amicable termination of their internal dissensions, and that I believe P. Mavrocordato to be so also; otherwise I would not act with him, or any other, whether native or foreigner.

"If Lord Guilford is at Zante, or, if he is not, if Signor Tricupi is there, you would oblige me by presenting my respects to one or both, and by telling them, that from the very first I foretold to Col. Stanhope and to P. Mavrocordato that a Greek newspaper (or indeed any other) in the present state of 183 Greece might and probably would tend to much mischief and misconstruction, unless under some restrictions, nor have I ever had any thing to do with either, as a writer or otherwise, except as a pecuniary contributor to their support in the outset, which I could not refuse to the earnest request of the projectors. Col. Stanhope and myself had considerable differences of opinion on this subject, and (what will appear laughable enough) to such a degree, that he charged me with despotic principles, and I him with ultra radicalism.

"Dr. ——, the editor, with his unrestrained freedom of the press, and who has the freedom to exercise an unlimited discretion,—not allowing any article but his own and those like them to appear,—and in declaiming against restrictions, cuts, carves, and restricts (as they tell me) at his own will and pleasure. He is the author of an article against Monarchy, of which he may have the advantage and fame—but they (the editors) will get themselves into a scrape, if they do not take care.

"Of all petty tyrants, he is one of the pettiest, as are most demagogues, that ever I knew. He is a Swiss by birth, and a Greek by assumption, having married a wife and changed his religion.

"I shall be very glad, and am extremely anxious for some favourable result to the recent pacific overtures of the contending parties in the Peloponnese." 184


"March 23.

"If the Greek deputies (as seems probable) have obtained the Loan, the sums I have advanced may perhaps be repaid; but it would make no great difference, as I should still spend that in the cause, and more to boot—though I should hope to better purpose than paying off arrears of fleets that sail away, and Suliotes that won't march, which, they say, what has hitherto been advanced has been employed in. But that was not my affair, but of those who had the disposal of affairs, and I could not decently say to them, 'You shall do so and so, because, &c. &c. &c.'

"In a few days P. Mavrocordato and myself, with a considerable escort, intend to proceed to Salona at the request of Ulysses and the Chiefs of Eastern Greece, and take measures offensive and defensive for the ensuing campaign. Mavrocordato is almost recalled by the new Government to the Morea, (to take the lead, I rather think,) and they have written to propose to me to go either to the Morea with him, or to take the general direction of affairs in this quarter—with General Londo, and any other I may choose, to form a council. A. Londo is my old friend and acquaintance since we were lads in Greece together. It would be difficult to give a positive answer till the Salona meeting is over[1]; but I am willing to 185 serve them in any capacity they please, either commanding or commanded—it is much the same to me, as long as I can be of any presumed use to them.

[Footnote 1: To this offer of the Government to appoint him Governor-General of Greece, (that is, of the enfranchised part of the continent, with the exception of the Morea and the Islands,) his answer was, that "he was first going to Salona, and that afterwards he would be at their commands; that he could have no difficulty in accepting any office, provided he could persuade himself that any good would result from it."]

"Excuse haste; it is late, and I have been several hours on horseback in a country so miry after the rains, that every hundred yards brings you to a ditch, of whose depth, width, colour, and contents, both my horses and their riders have brought away many tokens."


"March 26.

"Since your intelligence with regard to the Greek loan, P. Mavrocordato has shown to me an extract from some correspondence of his, by which it would appear that three commissioners are to be named to see that the amount is placed in proper hands for the service of the country, and that my name is amongst the number. Of this, however, we have as yet only the report.

"This commission is apparently named by the Committee or the contracting parties in England. I am of opinion that such a commission will be necessary, but the office will be both delicate and difficult. The weather, which has lately been equinoctial, has flooded the country, and will probably retard our 186 proceeding to Salona for some days, till the road becomes more practicable.

"You were already apprised that P. Mavrocordato and myself had been invited to a conference by Ulysses and the Chiefs of Eastern Greece. I hear (and am indeed consulted on the subject) that in case the remittance of the first advance of the Loan should not arrive immediately, the Greek General Government mean to try to raise some thousand dollars in the islands in the interim, to be repaid from the earliest instalments on their arrival. What prospect of success they may have, or on what conditions, you can tell better than me: I suppose, if the Loan be confirmed, something might be done by them, but subject of course to the usual terms. You can let them and me know your opinion. There is an imperious necessity for some national fund, and that speedily, otherwise what is to be done? The auxiliary corps of about two hundred men, paid by me, are, I believe, the sole regularly and properly furnished with the money, due to them weekly, and the officers monthly. It is true that the Greek Government give their rations; but we have had three mutinies, owing to the badness of the bread, which neither native nor stranger could masticate (nor dogs either), and there is still great difficulty in obtaining them even provisions of any kind.

"There is a dissension among the Germans about the conduct of the agents of their Committee, and an examination amongst themselves instituted. What the result may be cannot be anticipated, except that it will end in a row, of course, as usual. 187

"The English are all very amicable as far as I know; we get on too with the Greeks very tolerably, always making allowance for circumstances; and we have no quarrels with the foreigners."

During the month of March there occurred but little, besides what is mentioned in these letters, that requires to be dwelt upon at any length, or in detail. After the failure of his design against Lepanto, the two great objects of his daily thoughts were, the repairs of the fortifications of Missolonghi [1], and the formation of a brigade;—the one, with a view to such defensive measures as were alone likely to be called for during the present campaign; and the other in preparation for those more active enterprises, which he still fondly flattered himself he should undertake in the next. "He looked forward (says Mr. Parry) for the recovery of his health and spirits, to the return of the fine weather, and the commencement of the campaign, when he proposed to take the field at the head of his own brigade, and the troops which the Government of Greece were to place under his orders."

[Footnote 1: The generous zeal with which he applied himself to this important object will be understood from the following statement:—"On reporting to Lord Byron what I thought might be done, he ordered me to draw up a plan for putting the fortifications in thorough repair, and to accompany it with an estimate of the expense. It was agreed that I should make the estimate only one third of what I thought would be the actual expense; and if that third could be procured from the magistrates, Lord Byron undertook secretly to pay the remainder."]

188 With that thanklessness which too often waits on disinterested actions, it has been sometimes tauntingly remarked, and in quarters from whence a more generous judgment might be expected [1], that, after all, Lord Byron effected but little for Greece:—as if much could be effected by a single individual, and in so short a time, for a cause which, fought as it has been almost incessantly through the six years since his death, has required nothing less than the intervention of all the great Powers of Europe to give it a chance of success, and, even so, has not yet succeeded. That Byron himself was under no delusion as to the importance of his own solitary aid,—that he knew, in a struggle like this, there must be the same prodigality of means towards one great end as is observable in the still grander operations of nature, where individuals are as nothing in the tide of events,—that such was his, at once, philosophic and melancholy view of his own sacrifices, I have, I trust, clearly shown. But that, during this short period of action, he did not do well and wisely all that man could achieve in the time, and under the circumstances, is an assertion which the noble facts here recorded fully and triumphantly disprove. He knew that, placed as he was, his measures, to be wise, must be prospective, and from the nature of the seeds thus sown by him, the benefits that were to be expected must be judged. To reconcile the rude chiefs to the Government and to each other;—to 189 infuse a spirit of humanity, by his example, into their warfare;—to prepare the way for the employment of the expected Loan, in a manner most calculated to call forth the resources of the country;—to put the fortifications of Missolonghi in such a state of repair as might, and eventually did, render it proof against the besieger;—to prevent those infractions of neutrality, so tempting to the Greeks, which brought their Government in collision with the Ionian authorities[2], and to restrain all such license of the Press as might indispose the Courts of Europe to their cause:—such were the important objects which he had proposed to himself to accomplish, and towards which, in this brief interval, and in the midst of such dissensions and hinderances, he had already made considerable and most promising progress. But it would be unjust to close even here the bright catalogue of his services. It is, after all, not with the span of mortal life that the good achieved by a name immortal ends. The charm acts into the future,—it is an auxiliary through all time; and the inspiring example of Byron, as a martyr of liberty, is for ever freshly embalmed in his glory as a poet. From the period of his attack in February he had 190 been, from time to time, indisposed; and, more than once, had complained of vertigos, which made him feel, he said, as if intoxicated. He was also frequently affected with nervous sensations, with shiverings and tremors, which, though apparently the effects of excessive debility, he himself attributed to fulness of habit. Proceeding upon this notion, he had, ever since his arrival in Greece, abstained almost wholly from animal food, and ate of little else but dry toast, vegetables, and cheese. With the same fear of becoming fat, which had in his young days haunted him, he almost every morning measured himself round the wrist and waist, and whenever he found these parts, as he thought, enlarged, took a strong dose of medicine.

[Footnote 1: Articles in the Times newspaper, Foreign Quarterly Review, &c.]

[Footnote 2: In a letter which he addressed to Lord Sidney Osborne, enclosing one, on the subject of these infractions, from Prince Mavrocordato to Sir T. Maitland, Lord Byron says,—"You must all be persuaded how difficult it is, under existing circumstances, for the Greeks to keep up discipline, however they may be all disposed to do so, I am doing all I can to convince them of the necessity of the strictest observance of the regulations of the Islands, and, I trust, with some effect"]

Exertions had, as we have seen, been made by his friends at Cephalonia, to induce him, without delay, to return to that island, and take measures, while there was yet time, for the re-establishment of his health. "But these entreaties (says Count Gamba) produced just the contrary effect; for in proportion as Byron thought his position more perilous, he the more resolved upon remaining where he was." In the midst of all this, too, the natural flow of his spirits in society seldom deserted him; and whenever a trick upon any of his attendants, or associates, suggested itself, he was as ready to play the mischief-loving boy as ever. His engineer, Parry, having been much alarmed by the earthquake they had experienced, and still continuing in constant apprehension of its return, Lord Byron contrived, as they were all sitting together one evening, to have 191 some barrels full of cannon-balls trundled through the room above them; and laughed heartily, as he would have done when a Harrow boy, at the ludicrous effect which this deception produced on the poor frightened engineer.

Every day, however, brought new trials both to his health and temper. The constant rains had rendered the swamps of Missolonghi almost impassable;—an alarm of plague, which, about the middle of March, was circulated, made it prudent, for some time, to keep within doors; and he was thus, week after week, deprived of his accustomed air and exercise. The only recreation he had recourse to was that of playing with his favourite dog, Lion; and, in the evening, going through the exercise of drilling with his officers, or practising at single-stick.

At the same time, the demands upon his exertions, personal and pecuniary, poured in from all sides, while the embarrassments of his public position every day increased. The chief obstacle in the way of his plan for the reconciliation of all parties had been the rivalry so long existing between Mavrocordato and the Eastern Chiefs; and this difficulty was now not a little heightened by the part taken by Colonel Stanhope and Mr. Trelawney, who, having allied themselves with Odysseus, the most powerful of these Chieftains, were endeavouring actively to detach Lord Byron from Mavrocordato, and enlist him in their own views. This schism was,—to say the least of it,—ill-timed and unfortunate. For, as Prince Mavrocordato and Lord Byron were now acting in complete harmony with the Government, 192 a co-operation of all the other English agents on the same side would have had the effect of assuring a preponderance to this party (which was that of the civil and commercial interests all through Greece), that might, by strengthening the hands of the ruling power, have afforded some hope of vigour and consistency in its movements. By this division, however, the English lost their casting weight; and not only marred whatever little chance they might have had of extinguishing the dissensions of the Greeks, but exhibited, most unseasonably, an example of dissension among themselves.

The visit to Salona, in which, though distrustful of the intended Military Congress, Mavrocordato had consented to accompany Lord Byron, was, as the foregoing letters have mentioned, delayed by the floods,—the river Fidari having become so swollen as not to be fordable. In the mean time, dangers, both from within and without, threatened Missolonghi. The Turkish fleet had again come forth from the Gulf, while, in concert, it was apprehended, with this resumption of the blockade, insurrectionary movements, instigated, as was afterwards known, by the malcontents of the Morea, manifested themselves formidably both in the town and its neighbourhood. The first cause for alarm was the landing, in canoes, from Anatolico, of a party of armed men, the followers of Cariascachi of that place, who came to demand retribution from the people of Missolonghi for some injury that, in a late affray, had been inflicted on one of their clan. It was also rumoured that 300 Suliotes were marching upon the town; and 193 the following morning, news came that a party of these wild warriors had actually seized upon Basiladi, a fortress that commands the port of Missolonghi, while some of the soldiers of Cariascachi had, in the course of the night, arrested two of the Primates, and carried them to Anatolico. The tumult and indignation that this intelligence produced was universal. All the shops were shut, and the bazaars deserted. "Lord Byron," says Count Gamba, "ordered his troops to continue under arms; but to preserve the strictest neutrality, without mixing in any quarrel, either by actions or words."

During this crisis, the weather had become sufficiently favourable to admit of his paying the visit to Salona, which he had purposed. But, as his departure at such a juncture might have the appearance of abandoning Missolonghi, he resolved to wait the danger out. At this time the following letters were written.


"April 3.

"There is a quarrel, not yet settled, between the citizens and some of Cariascachi's people, which has already produced some blows. I keep my people quite neutral; but have ordered them to be on their guard.

"Some days ago we had an Italian private soldier drummed out for thieving. The German officers wanted to flog him; but I flatly refused to permit the use of the stick or whip, and delivered him over 194 to the police.[1] Since then a Prussian officer rioted in his lodgings; and I put him under arrest, according to the order. This, it appears, did not please his German confederation: but I stuck by my text; and have given them plainly to understand, that those who do not choose to be amenable to the laws of the country and service, may retire; but that in all that I have to do, I will see them obeyed by foreigner or native.

[Footnote 1: "Lord Byron declared that, as far as he was concerned, no barbarous usages, however adopted even by some civilised people, should be introduced into Greece; especially as such a mode of punishment would disgust rather than reform. We hit upon an expedient which favoured our military discipline: but it required not only all Lord Byron's eloquence, but his authority, to prevail upon our Germans to accede to it. The culprit had his uniform stripped off his back, in presence of his comrades, and was afterwards marched through the town with a label on his back, describing, both in Greek and Italian, the nature of his offence; after which he was given up to the regular police. This example of severity, tempered by a humane spirit, produced the best effect upon our soldiers, as well as upon the citizens of the town. But it was very near causing a most disagreeable circumstance; for, in the course of the evening, some very high words passed on the subject between three Englishmen, two of them officers of our brigade, in consequence of which cards were exchanged, and two duels were to have been fought the next morning. Lord Byron did not hear of this till late at night: but he immediately ordered me to arrest both parties, which I according did; and, after some difficulty, prevailed on them to shake hands."—COUNT GAMBA'S Narrative.]

"I wish something was heard of the arrival of 195 part of the Loan, for there is a plentiful dearth of every thing at present."


"April 6.

"Since I wrote, we have had some tumult here with the citizens and Cariascachi's people, and all are under arms, our boys and all. They nearly fired on me and fifty of my lads[1], by mistake, as we were taking our usual excursion into the country. To-day matters are settled or subsiding; but, about an hour ago, the father-in-law of the landlord of the house where I am lodged (one of the Primates the said landlord is) was arrested for high treason.

[Footnote 1: A corps of fifty Suliotes which he had, almost ever since his arrival at Missolonghi, kept about him as a body-guard. A large outer room of his house was appropriated to these troops; and their carbines were suspended along the walls. "In this room (says Mr. Parry), and among these rude soldiers, Lord Byron was accustomed to walk a great deal, particularly in wet weather, accompanied by his favourite dog, Lion."

When he rode out, these fifty Suliotes attended him on foot; and though they carried their carbines, "they were always," says the same authority, "able to keep up with the horses at full speed. The captain, and a certain number, preceded his Lordship, who rode accompanied on one side by Count Gamba, and on the other by the Greek interpreter. Behind him, also on horseback, came two of his servants,—generally his black groom, and Tita,—both dressed like the chasseurs usually seen behind the carriages of ambassadors, and another division of his guard closed the cavalcade."—PARRY'S Last Days of Lord Byron.]

196 "They are in conclave still with Mavrocordato; and we have a number of new faces from the hills, come to assist, they say. Gun-boats and batteries all ready, &c.

"The row has had one good effect—it has put them on the alert. What is to become of the father-in-law, I do not know: nor what he has done, exactly[1]: but

"''Tis a very fine thing to be father-in-law

To a very magnificent three-tail'd bashaw,'

as the man in Bluebeard says and sings. I wrote to you upon matters at length, some days ago; the letter, or letters, you will receive with this. We are desirous to hear more of the Loan; and it is some time since I have had any letters (at least of an interesting description) from England, excepting one of 4th February, from Bowring (of no great importance). My latest dates are of 9bre, or of the 6th 10bre, four months exactly. I hope you get on well in the islands: here most of us are, or have been, more or less indisposed, natives as well as foreigners."

[Footnote 1: This man had, it seems, on his way from Ioannina, passed by Anatolico, and held several conferences with Cariascachi. He had long been suspected of being a spy; and the letters found upon him confirmed the suspicion.]


"April 7.

"The Greeks here of the Government have been boring me for more money.[1] As I have the brigade 197 to maintain, and the campaign is apparently now to open, and as I have already spent 30,000 dollars in three months upon them in one way or another, and more especially as their public loan has succeeded, so that they ought not to draw from individuals at that rate, I have given them a refusal, and—as they would not take that,—another refusal in terms of considerable sincerity.

[Footnote 1: In consequence of the mutinous proceedings of Cariascachi's people, most of the neighbouring chieftains hastened to the assistance of the Government, and had already with this view marched to Anatolico near 2000 men. But, however opportune the arrival of such a force, they were a cause of fresh embarrassment, as there was a total want of provisions for their daily maintenance. It was in this emergency that the Governor, Primates, and Chieftains had recourse, as here stated, to their usual source of supply.]

"They wish now to try in the Islands for a few thousand dollars on the ensuing Loan. If you can serve them, perhaps you will, (in the way of information, at any rate,) and I will see that you have fair play; but still I do not advise you, except to act as you please. Almost every thing depends upon the arrival, and the speedy arrival, of a portion of the Loan to keep peace among themselves. If they can but have sense to do this, I think that they will be a match and better for any force that can be brought against them for the present. We are all doing as well as we can."

It will be perceived from these letters, that besides the great and general interests of the cause, which were in themselves sufficient to absorb all his thoughts, he was also met on every side, in the 198 details of his duty, by every possible variety of obstruction and distraction that rapacity, turbulence, and treachery could throw in his way. Such vexations, too, as would have been trying to the most robust health, here fell upon a frame already marked out for death; nor can we help feeling, while we contemplate this last scene of his life, that, much as there is in it to admire, to wonder at, and glory in, there is also much that awakens sad and most distressful thoughts. In a situation more than any other calling for sympathy and care, we see him cast among strangers and mercenaries, without either nurse or friend;—the self-collectedness of woman being, as we shall find, wanting for the former office, and the youth and inexperience of Count Gamba unfitting him wholly for the other. The very firmness with which a position so lone and disheartening was sustained, serves, by interesting us more deeply in the man, to increase our sympathy, till we almost forget admiration in pity, and half regret that he should have been great at such a cost.

The only circumstances that had for some time occurred to give him pleasure were, as regarded public affairs, the news of the successful progress of the Loan, and, in his personal relations, some favourable intelligence which he had received, after a long interruption of communication, respecting his sister and daughter. The former, he learned, had been seriously indisposed at the very time of his own fit, but had now entirely recovered. While delighted at this news, he could not help, at the 199 same time, remarking, with his usual tendency to such superstitious feelings, how strange and striking was the coincidence.

To those who have, from his childhood, traced him through these pages, it must be manifest, I think, that Lord Byron was not formed to be long-lived. Whether from any hereditary defect in his organisation,—as he himself, from the circumstance of both his parents having died young, concluded,—or from those violent means he so early took to counteract the natural tendency of his habit, and reduce himself to thinness, he was, almost every year, as we have seen, subject to attacks of indisposition, by more than one of which his life was seriously endangered. The capricious course which he at all times pursued respecting diet,—his long fastings, his expedients for the allayment of hunger, his occasional excesses in the most unwholesome food, and, during the latter part of his residence in Italy, his indulgence in the use of spirituous beverages,—all this could not be otherwise than hurtful and undermining to his health; while his constant recourse to medicine,—daily, as it appears, and in large quantities,—both evinced and, no doubt, increased the derangement of his digestion. When to all this we add the wasteful wear of spirits and strength from the slow corrosion of sensibility, the warfare of the passions, and the workings of a mind that allowed itself no sabbath, it is not to be wondered at that the vital principle in him should so soon have burnt out, or that, at the age of thirty-three, he should have had—as he himself drearily 200 expresses it—"an old feel." To feed the flame, the all-absorbing flame, of his genius, the whole powers of his nature, physical as well as moral, were sacrificed;—to present that grand and costly conflagration to the world's eyes, in which,

"Glittering, like a palace set on fire,

His glory, while it shone, but ruin'd him!"[1]

[Footnote 1: Beaumont and Fletcher.]

It was on the very day when, as I have mentioned, the intelligence of his sister's recovery reached him, that, having been for the last three or four days prevented from taking exercise by the rains, he resolved, though the weather still looked threatening, to venture out on horseback. Three miles from Missolonghi Count Gamba and himself were overtaken by a heavy shower, and returned to the town walls wet through and in a state of violent perspiration. It had been their usual practice to dismount at the walls and return to their house in a boat, but, on this day, Count Gamba, representing to Lord Byron how dangerous it would be, warm as he then was, to sit exposed so long to the rain in a boat, entreated of him to go back the whole way on horseback. To this however, Lord Byron would not consent; but said, laughingly, "I should make a pretty soldier indeed, if I were to care for such a trifle." They accordingly dismounted and got into the boat as usual.

About two hours after his return home he was seized with a shuddering, and complained of fever and rheumatic pains. "At eight that evening," 201 says Count Gamba, "I entered his room. He was lying on a sofa restless and melancholy. He said to me, 'I suffer a great deal of pain. I do not care for death, but these agonies I cannot bear.'"

The following day he rose at his accustomed hour,—transacted business, and was even able to take his ride in the olive woods, accompanied, as usual, by his long train of Suliotes. He complained, however, of perpetual shudderings, and had no appetite. On his return home he remarked to Fletcher that his saddle, he thought, had not been perfectly dried since yesterday's wetting, and that he felt himself the worse for it. This was the last time he ever crossed the threshold alive. In the evening Mr. Finlay and Mr. Millingen called upon him. "He was at first (says the latter gentleman) gayer than usual; but on a sudden became pensive."

On the evening of the 11th his fever, which was pronounced to be rheumatic, increased; and on the 12th he kept his bed all day, complaining that he could not sleep, and taking no nourishment whatever. The two following days, though the fever had apparently diminished, he became still more weak, and suffered much from pains in the head.

It was not till the 14th that his physician, Dr. Bruno, finding the sudorifics which he had hitherto employed to be unavailing, began to urge upon his patient the necessity of being bled. Of this, however, Lord Byron would not hear. He had evidently but little reliance on his medical attendant; and from the specimens this young man has since given of his intellect to the world, it is, indeed, lamentable,—supposing 202 skill to have been, at this moment, of any avail,—that a life so precious should have been intrusted to such ordinary hands. "It was on this day, I think," says Count Gamba, "that, as I was sitting near him, on his sofa, he said to me, 'I was afraid I was losing my memory, and, in order to try, I attempted to repeat some Latin verses with the English translation, which I have not endeavoured to recollect since I was at school. I remembered them all except the last word of one of the hexameters.'"

To the faithful Fletcher, the idea of his master's life being in danger seems to have occurred some days before it struck either Count Gamba or the physician. So little, according to his friend's narrative, had such a suspicion crossed Lord Byron's own mind, that he even expressed himself "rather glad of his fever, as it might cure him of his tendency to epilepsy." To Fletcher, however, it appears, he had professed, more than once, strong doubts as to the nature of his complaint being so slight as the physician seemed to suppose it, and on his servant renewing his entreaties that he would send for Dr. Thomas to Zante, made no further opposition; though still, out of consideration for those gentlemen, he referred him on the subject to Dr. Bruno and Mr. Millingen. Whatever might have been the advantage or satisfaction of this step, it was now rendered wholly impossible by the weather,—such a hurricane blowing into the port that not a ship could get out. The rain, too, descended in torrents, and between the floods on the land-side and the 203 sirocco from the sea, Missolonghi was, for the moment, a pestilential prison.

It was at this juncture that Mr. Millingen was, for the first time, according to his own account, invited to attend Lord Byron in his medical capacity,—his visit on the 10th being so little, as he states, professional, that he did not even, on that occasion, feel his Lordship's pulse. The great object for which he was now called in, and rather, it would seem, by Fletcher than Dr. Bruno, was for the purpose of joining his representations and remonstrances to theirs, and prevailing upon the patient to suffer himself to be bled,—an operation now become absolutely necessary from the increase of the fever, and which Dr. Bruno had, for the last two days, urged in vain.

Holding gentleness to be, with a disposition like that of Byron, the most effectual means of success, Mr. Millingen tried, as he himself tells us, all that reasoning and persuasion could suggest towards attaining his object. But his efforts were fruitless:—Lord Byron, who had now become morbidly irritable, replied angrily, but still with all his accustomed acuteness and spirit, to the physician's observations. Of all his prejudices, he declared, the strongest was that against bleeding. His mother had obtained from him a promise never to consent to being bled; and whatever argument might be produced, his aversion, he said, was stronger than reason. "Besides, is it not," he asked, "asserted by Dr. Reid, in his Essays, that less slaughter is effected by the lance than the lancet:—that minute instrument of mighty 204 mischief!" On Mr. Millingen observing that this remark related to the treatment of nervous, but not of inflammatory complaints, he rejoined, in an angry tone, "Who is nervous, if I am not? And do not those other words of his, too, apply to my case, where he says that drawing blood from a nervous patient is like loosening the chords of a musical instrument, whose tones already fail for want of sufficient tension? Even before this illness, you yourself know how weak and irritable I had become;—and bleeding, by increasing this state, will inevitably kill me. Do with me whatever else you like, but bleed me you shall not. I have had several inflammatory fevers in my life, and at an age when more robust and plethoric: yet I got through them without bleeding. This time, also, will I take my chance."[1]

[Footnote 1: It was during the same, or some similar conversation, that Dr. Bruno also reports him to have said, "If my hour is come, I shall die, whether I lose my blood or keep it."]

After much reasoning and repeated entreaties, Mr. Millingen at length succeeded in obtaining from him a promise, that should he feel his fever increase at night, he would allow Dr. Bruno to bleed him.

During this day he had transacted business and received several letters; particularly one that much pleased him from the Turkish Governor, to whom he had sent the rescued prisoners, and who, in this communication, thanked him for his humane interference, and requested a repetition of it. 205

In the evening he conversed a good deal with Parry, who remained some hours by his bedside. "He sat up in his bed (says this officer), and was then calm and collected. He talked with me on a variety of subjects connected with himself and his family; he spoke of his intentions as to Greece, his plans for the campaign, and what he should ultimately do for that country. He spoke to me about my own adventures. He spoke of death also with great composure; and though he did not believe his end was so very near, there was something about him so serious and so firm, so resigned and composed, so different from any thing I had ever before seen in him, that my mind misgave me, and at times foreboded his speedy dissolution."

On revisiting his patient early next morning, Mr. Millingen learned from him, that having passed, as he thought, on the whole, a better night, he had not considered it necessary to ask Dr. Bruno to bleed him. What followed, I shall, in justice to Mr. Millingen, give in his own words.[1] "I thought it my duty now to put aside all consideration of his feelings, and to declare solemnly to him, how deeply I lamented to see him trifle thus with his life, and show so little resolution. His pertinacious refusal had already, I said, caused most precious time to be lost;—but few hours of hope now remained, and, unless he submitted immediately to be bled, we could not answer for the consequences. It was true, he cared 206 not for life; but who could assure him that, unless he changed his resolution, the uncontrolled disease might not operate such disorganisation in his system as utterly and for ever to deprive him of reason?—I had now hit at last on the sensible chord; and, partly annoyed by our importunities, partly persuaded, he cast at us both the fiercest glance of vexation, and throwing out his arm, said, in the angriest tone, 'There,—you are, I see, a d—d set of butchers,—take away as much blood as you like, but have done with it.'

[Footnote 1: MS.—This gentleman is, I understand, about to publish the Narrative from which the above extract is taken.]

"We seized the moment (adds Mr. Millingen), and drew about twenty ounces. On coagulating, the blood presented a strong buffy coat; yet the relief obtained did not correspond to the hopes we had formed, and during the night the fever became stronger than it had been hitherto. The restlessness and agitation increased, and the patient spoke several times in an incoherent manner."

On the following morning, the 17th, the bleeding was repeated; for, although the rheumatic symptoms had been completely removed, the appearances of inflammation on the brain were now hourly increasing. Count Gamba, who had not for the last two days seen him, being confined to his own apartment by a sprained ankle, now contrived to reach his room. "His countenance," says this gentleman, "at once awakened in me the most dreadful suspicions. He was very calm; he talked to me in the kindest manner about my accident, but in a hollow, sepulchral tone. 'Take care of your foot,' said he; 'I know by experience how painful it must be.' I 207 could not stay near his bed: a flood of tears rushed into my eyes, and I was obliged to withdraw." Neither Count Gamba, indeed, nor Fletcher, appear to have been sufficiently masters of themselves to do much else than weep during the remainder of this afflicting scene.

In addition to the bleeding, which was repeated twice on the 17th, it was thought right also to apply blisters to the soles of his feet. "When on the point of putting them on," says Mr. Millingen, "Lord Byron asked me whether it would answer the purpose to apply both on the same leg. Guessing immediately the motive that led him to ask this question, I told him that I would place them above the knees. 'Do so,' he replied."

It is painful to dwell on such details,—but we are now approaching the close. In addition to most of those sad varieties of wretchedness which surround alike the grandest and humblest deathbeds, there was also in the scene now passing around the dying Byron such a degree of confusion and uncomfort as renders it doubly dreary to contemplate. There having been no person invested, since his illness, with authority over the household, neither order nor quiet was maintained in his apartment. Most of the comforts necessary in such an illness were wanting; and those around him, either unprepared for the danger, were, like Bruno, when it came, bewildered by it; or, like the kind-hearted Fletcher and Count Gamba, were by their feelings rendered no less helpless.

"In all the attendants," says Parry, "there was 208 the officiousness of zeal; but, owing to their ignorance of each other's language, their zeal only added to the confusion. This circumstance, and the want of common necessaries, made Lord Byron's apartment such a picture of distress and even anguish during the two or three last days of his life, as I never before beheld, and wish never again to witness."

The 18th being Easter day,—a holiday which the Greeks celebrate by firing off muskets and artillery,—it was apprehended that this noise might be injurious to Lord Byron; and, as a means of attracting away the crowd from the neighbourhood, the artillery brigade were marched out by Parry, to exercise their guns at some distance from the town; while, at the same time, the town-guard patrolled the streets, and informing the people of the danger of their benefactor, entreated them to preserve all possible quiet.

About three o'clock in the afternoon, Lord Byron rose and went into the adjoining room. He was able to walk across the chamber, leaning on his servant Tita; and, when seated, asked for a book, which the servant brought him. After reading, however, for a few minutes, he found himself faint; and, again taking Tita's arm, tottered into the next room, and returned to bed.

At this time the physicians, becoming still more alarmed, expressed a wish for a consultation; and proposed calling in, without delay, Dr. Freiber, the medical assistant of Mr. Millingen, and Luca Vaya, a Greek, the physician of Mavrocordato. On hea[r]ing 209 this, Lord Byron at first refused to see them; but being informed that Mavrocordato advised it, he said,—"Very well, let them come; but let them look at me and say nothing." This they promised, and were admitted; but when one of them, on feeling his pulse, showed a wish to speak—"Recollect," he said, "your promise, and go away."

It was after this consultation of the physicians[1], that, as it appeared to Count Gamba, Lord Byron was, for the first time, aware of his approaching end. Mr. Millingen, Fletcher, and Tita had been standing round his bed; but the two first, unable to restrain their tears, left the room. Tita also wept; but, as Byron held his hand, could not retire. He, however, turned away his face; while Byron, looking at him steadily, said, half smiling, "Oh questa è una bella scena!" He then seemed to reflect a moment, and exclaimed, "Call Parry." Almost immediately afterwards, a fit of delirium ensued; and he began to talk wildly, as if he were mounting a breach in an assault,—calling out, half in English, half in Italian, "Forwards—forwards—courage—follow my example," &c. &c.

[Footnote 1: For Mr. Millingen's account of this consultation, see Appendix.]

On coming again to himself, he asked Fletcher, who had then returned into the room, "whether he had sent for Dr. Thomas, as he desired?" and the servant answering in the affirmative, he replied, "You have done right, for I should like to know what is the matter with me." He had, a short time before, with 210 that kind consideration for those about him which was one of the great sources of their lasting attachment to him, said to Fletcher, "I am afraid you and Tita will be ill with sitting up night and day." It was now evident that he knew he was dying; and between his anxiety to make his servant understand his last wishes, and the rapid failure of his powers of utterance, a most painful scene ensued. On Fletcher asking whether he should bring pen and paper to take down his words—"Oh no," he replied—"there is no time—it is now nearly over. Go to my sister—tell her—go to Lady Byron—you will see her, and say ——" Here his voice faltered, and became gradually indistinct; notwithstanding which he continued still to mutter to himself, for nearly twenty minutes, with much earnestness of manner, but in such a tone that only a few words could be distinguished. These, too, were only names,—"Augusta,"—"Ada,"—"Hobhouse,"—"Kinnaird." He then said, "Now, I have told you all." "My Lord," replied Fletcher, "I have not understood a word your Lordship has been saying."—"Not understand me?" exclaimed Lord Byron, with a look of the utmost distress, "what a pity!—then it is too late; all is over."—"I hope not," answered Fletcher; "but the Lord's will be done!"—"Yes, not mine," said Byron. He then tried to utter a few words, of which none were intelligible, except "my sister—my child."

The decision adopted at the consultation had been, contrary to the opinion of Mr. Millingen and Dr. Freiber, to administer to the patient a strong antispasmodic 211 potion, which, while it produced sleep, but hastened perhaps death. In order to persuade him into taking this draught, Mr. Parry was sent for[1], and, without any difficulty, induced him to swallow a few mouthfuls. "When he took my hand," says Parry, "I found his hands were deadly cold. With the assistance of Tita I endeavoured gently to create a little warmth in them; and also loosened the bandage which was tied round his head. Till this was done he seemed in great pain, clenched his hands at times, gnashed his teeth, and uttered the Italian exclamation of 'Ah Christi!' He bore the loosening of the band passively, and, after it was loosened, shed tears; then taking my hand again, uttered a faint good night, and sunk into a slumber."

[Footnote 1: From this circumstance, as well as from the terms in which he is mentioned by Lord Byron, it is plain that this person had, by his blunt, practical good sense, acquired far more influence over his Lordship's mind than was possessed by any of the other persons about him.]

In about half an hour he again awoke, when a second dose of the strong infusion was administered to him. "From those about him," says Count Gamba, who was not able to bear this scene himself, "I collected that, either at this time, or in his former interval of reason, he could be understood to say—'Poor Greece!—poor town!—my poor servants!' Also, 'Why was I not aware of this sooner?' and 'My hour is come!—I do not care for death—but why did I not go home before I came here?' At another time he said, 'There are 212 things which make the world dear to me Io lascio qualche cosa di caro nel mondo: for the rest, I am content to die.' He spoke also of Greece, saying, 'I have given her my time, my means, my health—and now I give her my life!—what could I do more?'"[1]

[Footnote 1: It is but right to remind the reader, that for the sayings here attributed to Lord Byron, however natural and probable they may appear, there is not exactly the same authority of credible witnesses by which all the other details I have given of his last hours are supported.]

It was about six o'clock on the evening of this day when he said, "Now I shall go to sleep;" and then turning round fell into that slumber from which he never awoke. For the next twenty-four hours he lay incapable of either sense or motion,—with the exception of, now and then, slight symptoms of suffocation, during which his servant raised his head,—and at a quarter past six o'clock on the following day, the 19th, he was seen to open his eyes and immediately shut them again. The physicians felt his pulse—he was no more!

To attempt to describe how the intelligence of this sad event struck upon all hearts would be as difficult as it is superfluous. He, whom the whole world was to mourn, had on the tears of Greece peculiar claim,—for it was at her feet he now laid down the harvest of such a life of fame. To the people of Missolonghi, who first felt the shock that was soon to spread through all Europe, the event seemed almost incredible. It was but the other day that he had come among them, radiant with renown,—inspiring 213 faith, by his very name, in those miracles of success that were about to spring forth at the touch of his ever-powerful genius. All this had now vanished like a short dream:—nor can we wonder that the poor Greeks, to whom his coming had been such a glory, and who, on the last evening of his life, thronged the streets, enquiring as to his state, should regard the thunder-storm which, at the moment he died, broke over the town, as a signal of his doom, and, in their superstitious grief, cry to each other, "The great man is gone!"[1]

[Footnote 1: Parry's "Last Days of Lord Byron," p. 128.]

Prince Mavrocordato, who of all best knew and felt the extent of his country's loss, and who had to mourn doubly the friend of Greece and of himself, on the evening of the 19th issued this melancholy proclamation:—


"ART. 1185.

"The present day of festivity and rejoicing has become one of sorrow and of mourning. The Lord Noel Byron departed this life at six o'clock in the afternoon, after an illness of ten days; his death being caused by an inflammatory fever. Such was the effect of his Lordship's illness on the public mind, that all classes had forgotten their usual recreations of Easter, even before the afflicting event was apprehended. 214

"The loss of this illustrious individual is undoubtedly to be deplored by all Greece; but it must be more especially a subject of lamentation at Missolonghi, where his generosity has been so conspicuously displayed, and of which he had even become a citizen, with the further determination of participating in all the dangers of the war.

"Every body is acquainted with the beneficent acts of his Lordship, and none can cease to hail his name as that of a real benefactor.

"Until, therefore, the final determination of the National Government be known, and by virtue of the powers with which it has been pleased to invest me, I hereby decree,—

"1st, To-morrow morning, at daylight, thirty seven minute guns will be fired from the Grand Battery, being the number which corresponds with the age of the illustrious deceased.

"2d, All the public offices, even the tribunals, are to remain closed for three successive days.

"3d, All the shops, except those in which provisions or medicines are sold, will also be shut; and it is strictly enjoined that every species of public amusement, and other demonstrations of festivity at Easter, shall be suspended.

"4th, A general mourning will be observed for twenty-one days.

"5th, Prayers and a funeral service are to be offered up in all the churches.


"Given at Missolonghi,
this 19th day of April, 1824."

215Similar honours were paid to his memory at many other places through Greece. At Salona, where the Congress had assembled, his soul was prayed for in the Church; after which the whole garrison and the citizens went out into the plain, where another religious ceremony took place, under the shade of the olive trees. This being concluded, the troops fired; and an oration, full of the warmest praise and gratitude, was pronounced by the High Priest.

When such was the veneration shown towards him by strangers, what must have been the feelings of his near associates and attendants? Let one speak for all:—"He died (says Count Gamba) in a strange land, and amongst strangers; but more loved, more sincerely wept he never could have been, wherever he had breathed his last. Such was the attachment, mingled with a sort of reverence and enthusiasm, with which he inspired those around him, that there was not one of us who would not, for his sake, have willingly encountered any danger in the world."

Colonel Stanhope, whom the sad intelligence reached at Salona, thus writes to the Committee:—"A courier has just arrived from the Chief Scalza. Alas! all our fears are realised. The soul of Byron has taken its last flight. England has lost her brightest genius, Greece her noblest friend. To console them for the loss, he has left behind the emanations of his splendid mind. If Byron had faults, he had redeeming virtues too—he sacrificed his comfort, fortune, health, and life, to the cause of an oppressed nation. Honoured be his memory!"

Mr. Trelawney, who was on his way to Missolonghi 216 at the time, describes as follows the manner in which he first heard of his friend's death:—"With all my anxiety I could not get here before the third day. It was the second, after having crossed the first great torrent, that I met some soldiers from Missolonghi. I had let them all pass me, ere I had resolution enough to enquire the news from Missolonghi. I then rode back, and demanded of a straggler the news. I heard nothing more than—Lord Byron is dead,—and I proceeded on in gloomy silence." The writer adds, after detailing the particulars of the poet's illness and death, "Your pardon, Stanhope, that I have thus turned aside from the great cause in which I am embarked. But this is no private grief. The world has lost its greatest man; I my best friend."

Among his servants the same feeling of sincere grief prevailed:—"I have in my possession (says Mr. Hoppner, in the Notices with which he has favoured me,) a letter written by his gondolier Tita, who had accompanied him from Venice, giving an account to his parents of his master's decease. Of this event the poor fellow speaks in the most affecting manner, telling them that in Lord Byron he had lost a father rather than a master; and expatiating upon the indulgence with which he had always treated his domestics, and the care he expressed for their comfort and welfare."

His valet Fletcher, too, in a letter to Mr. Murray, announcing the event, says, "Please to excuse all defects, for I scarcely know what I either say or do; for, after twenty years' service with my Lord, he 217 was more to me than a father, and I am too much distressed to give now a correct account of every particular."

In speaking of the effect produced on the friends of Greece by this event, Mr. Trelawney says,—"I think Byron's name was the great means of getting the Loan. A Mr. Marshall, with 8000l. per annum, was as far as Corfu, and turned back on hearing of Lord Byron's death. Thousands of people were flocking here: some had arrived as far as Corfu, and hearing of his death, confessed they came out to devote their fortunes not to the Greeks, or from interest in the cause, but to the noble poet; and the 'Pilgrim of Eternity[1]' having departed, they turned back."[2]

[Footnote 1: The title given by Shelley to Lord Byron in his Elegy on the death of Keats.

"The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame

Over his living head like Heaven is bent,

An early but enduring monument,

Came veiling all the lightnings of his song

In sorrow."]

[Footnote 2: Parry, too, mentions an instance to the same effect:—"While I was on the quarantine-house at Zante, a gentleman called on me, and made numerous enquiries as to Lord Byron. He said he was only one of fourteen English gentlemen, then at Ancona, who had sent him on to obtain intelligence, and only waited his return to come and join Lord Byron. They were to form a mounted guard for him, and meant to devote their personal services and their incomes to the Greek cause. On hearing of Lord Byron's death, however, they turned back."]

The funeral ceremony, which, on account of the rains, had been postponed for a day, took place in 218 the church of St. Nicholas, at Missolonghi, on the 22d of April, and is thus feelingly described by an eye-witness:—

"In the midst of his own brigade, of the troops of the Government, and of the whole population, on the shoulders of the officers of his corps, relieved occasionally by other Greeks, the most precious portion of his honoured remains were carried to the church, where lie the bodies of Marco Bozzari and of General Normann. There we laid them down: the coffin was a rude, ill-constructed chest of wood; a black mantle served for a pall; and over it we placed a helmet and a sword, and a crown of laurel. But no funeral pomp could have left the impression, nor spoken the feelings, of this simple ceremony. The wretchedness and desolation of the place itself; the wild and half-civilised warriors around us; their deep-felt, unaffected grief; the fond recollections; the disappointed hopes; the anxieties and sad presentiments which might be read on every countenance;—all contributed to form a scene more moving, more truly affecting, than perhaps was ever before witnessed round the grave of a great man.

"When the funeral service was over, we left the bier in the middle of the church, where it remained until the evening of the next day, and was guarded by a detachment of his own brigade. The church was crowded without cessation by those who came to honour and to regret the benefactor of Greece. In the evening of the 23d, the bier was privately carried back by his officers to his own house. The coffin was not closed till the 29th of the month. 219 Immediately after his death, his countenance had an air of calmness, mingled with a severity, that seemed gradually to soften; for when I took a last look of him, the expression, at least to my eyes, was truly sublime."

We have seen how decidedly, while in Italy, Lord Byron expressed his repugnance to the idea of his remains resting upon English ground; and the injunctions he so frequently gave to Mr. Hoppner on this point show his wishes to have been,—at least, during that period,—sincere. With one so changing, however, in his impulses, it was not too much to take for granted that the far more cordial feeling entertained by him towards his countrymen at Cephalonia would have been followed by a correspondent change in this antipathy to England as a last resting-place. It is, at all events, fortunate that by no such spleen of the moment has his native country been deprived of her natural right to enshrine within her own bosom one of the noblest of her dead, and to atone for any wrong she may have inflicted upon him, while living, by making his tomb a place of pilgrimage for her sons through all ages.

By Colonel Stanhope and others it was suggested that, as a tribute to the land he celebrated and died for, his remains should be deposited at Athens, in the Temple of Theseus; and the Chief Odysseus despatched an express to Missolonghi to enforce this wish. On the part of the town, too, in which he breathed his last, a similar request had been made by the citizens; and it was thought advisable so far to accede to their desires as to leave with them, for 220 interment, one of the vessels, in which his remains, after embalmment, were enclosed.

The first step taken, before any decision as to its ultimate disposal, was to have the body conveyed to Zante; and every facility having been afforded by the Resident, Sir Frederick Stoven, in providing and sending transports to Missolonghi for that purpose, on the morning of the 2d of May the remains were embarked, under a mournful salute from the guns of the fortress:—"How different," says Count Gamba, "from that which had welcomed the arrival of Byron only four months ago!"

At Zante, the determination was taken to send the body to England; and the brig Florida, which had just arrived there with the first instalment of the Loan, was engaged for the purpose. Mr. Blaquiere, under whose care this first portion of the Loan had come, was also the bearer of a Commission for the due management of its disposal in Greece, in which Lord Byron was named as the principal Commissioner. The same ship, however, that brought this honourable mark of confidence was to return with him a corpse. To Colonel Stanhope, who was then at Zante, on his way homeward, was intrusted the charge of his illustrious colleague's remains; and on the 25th of May he embarked with them on board the Florida for England.

In the letter which, on his arrival in the Downs, June 29th, this gentleman addressed to Lord Byron's executors, there is the following passage:—"With respect to the funeral ceremony, I am of opinion that his Lordship's family should be immediately consulted, 221 and that sanction should be obtained for the public burial of his body either in the great Abbey or Cathedral of London." It has been asserted, and I fear too truly, that on some intimation of the wish suggested in this last sentence being conveyed to one of those Reverend persons who have the honours of the Abbey at their disposal, such an answer was returned as left but little doubt that a refusal would be the result of any more regular application.[1]

[Footnote 1: A former Dean of Westminster went so far, we know, in his scruples as to exclude an epitaph from the Abbey, because it contained the name of Milton:—"a name, in his opinion," says Johnson, "too detestable to be read on the wall of a building dedicated to devotion."—Life of MILTON.]

There is an anecdote told of the poet Hafiz, in Sir William Jones's Life, which, in reporting this instance of illiberality, recurs naturally to the memory. After the death of the great Persian bard, some of the religious among his countrymen protested strongly against allowing to him the right of sepulture, alleging, as their objection, the licentiousness of his poetry. After much controversy, it was agreed to leave the decision of the question to a mode of divination, not uncommon among the Persians, which consisted in opening the poet's book at random and taking the first verses that occurred. They happened to be these:—

"Oh turn not coldly from the poet's bier,

Nor check the sacred drops by Pity given;

For though in sin his body slumbereth here,

His soul, absolved, already wings to heaven."

222These lines, says the legend, were looked upon as a divine decree; the religionists no longer enforced their objections, and the remains of the bard were left to take their quiet sleep by that "sweet bower of Mosellay" which he had so often celebrated in his verses.

Were our Byron's right of sepulture to be decided in the same manner, how few are there of his pages, thus taken at hazard, that would not, by some genial touch of sympathy with virtue, some glowing tribute to the bright works of God, or some gush of natural devotion more affecting than any homily, give him a title to admission into the purest temple of which Christian Charity ever held the guardianship.

Let the decision, however, of these Reverend authorities have been, finally, what it might, it was the wish, as is understood, of Lord Byron's dearest relative to have his remains laid in the family vault at Hucknall, near Newstead. On being landed from the Florida, the body had, under the direction of his Lordship's executors, Mr. Hobhouse and Mr. Hanson, been removed to the house of Sir Edward Knatchbull in Great George Street, Westminster, where it lay in state during Friday and Saturday, the 9th and 10th of July, and on the following Monday the funeral procession took place. Leaving Westminster at eleven o'clock in the morning, attended by most of his Lordship's personal friends and by the carriages of several persons of rank, it proceeded through various streets of the metropolis towards the North Road. At Pancras Church, the ceremonial of the procession being at an end, the carriages returned; 223 and the hearse continued its way, by slow stages, to Nottingham.

It was on Friday the 16th of July that, in the small village church of Hucknall, the last duties were paid to the remains of Byron, by depositing them, close to those of his mother, in the family vault. Exactly on the same day of the same month in the preceding year, he had said, it will be recollected, despondingly, to Count Gamba, "Where shall we be in another year?" The gentleman to whom this foreboding speech was addressed paid a visit, some months after the interment, to Hucknall, and was much struck, as I have heard, on approaching the village, by the strong likeness it seemed to him to bear to his lost friend's melancholy deathplace, Missolonghi.

On a tablet of white marble in the chancel of the Church of Hucknall is the following inscription:—



22D OF JANUARY, 1788.
19TH OF APRIL, 1824,


224From among the tributes that have been offered, in prose and verse, and in almost every language of Europe, to his memory, I shall select two which appear to me worthy of peculiar notice, as being, one of them,—so far as my limited scholarship will allow me to judge,—a simple and happy imitation of those laudatory inscriptions with which the Greece of other times honoured the tombs of her heroes; and the other as being the production of a pen, once engaged controversially against Byron, but not the less ready, as these affecting verses prove, to offer the homage of a manly sorrow and admiration at his grave.



Ton en tê Helladi têleutêsanta


Ou to zên tanaon biou euklees oud' enarithmein

Arxaiax progonôn eunxneôn aretas

Ton d' eudaimonias moir' amphepei, hosper apantôn

Aien aristeuôn gignetai athanatos.—

Eudeis oun su, teknon, xaritôn ear? ouk eti thallei

Akmaios meleôn hêdupnoôn stephanos?—

Alla teon, tripophête, moron penphousin Aphênê,

Mousai, patris, Arês, Ellas, eleupheria.[1]]

[Footnote 1: By John Williams, Esq.—The following translation of this inscription will not be unacceptable to my readers:—

"Not length of life—not an illustrious birth,

Rich with the noblest blood of all the earth;—

Nought can avail, save deeds of high emprize,

Our mortal being to immortalise.

"Sweet child of song, thou deepest!—ne'er again

Shall swell the notes of thy melodious strain:

Yet, with thy country wailing o'er thy urn,

Pallas, the Muse, Mars, Greece, and Freedom mourn."

H.H. JOY.]




Upon the shores of Greece he stood, and cried

'LIBERTY!' and those shores, from age to age

Renown'd, and Sparta's woods and rocks replied

'Liberty!' But a Spectre, at his side,

Stood mocking;—and its dart, uplifting high,

Smote him;—he sank to earth in life's fair pride:

SPARTA! thy rocks then heard another cry,

And old Ilissus sigh'd—'Die, generous exile, die!'

"I will not ask sad Pity to deplore

His wayward errors, who thus early died;

Still less, CHILDE HAROLD, now thou art no more,

Will I say aught of genius misapplied;

Of the past shadows of thy spleen or pride:—

But I will bid th' Arcadian cypress wave,

Pluck the green laurel from Peneus' side,

And pray thy spirit may such quiet have,

That not one thought unkind be murmur'd o'er thy grave.


There fitly ending,—in that land renown'd,

Whose mighty genius lives in Glory's page,—

He, on the Muses' consecrated ground,

Sinking to rest, while his young brows are bound

With their unfading wreath!—To bands of mirth,

No more in TEMPE let the pipe resound!

HAROLD, I follow to thy place of birth

The slow hearse—and thy LAST sad PILGRIMAGE on earth.


"Slow moves the plumed hearse, the mourning train,—

I mark the sad procession with a sigh,

Silently passing to that village fane,

Where, HAROLD, thy forefathers mouldering lie;—

There sleeps THAT MOTHER, who with tearful eye,

Pondering the fortunes of thy early road,

Hung o'er the slumbers of thine infancy;

Her son, released from mortal labour's load,

Now comes to rest, with her, in the same still abode.

"Bursting Death's silence—could that mother speak—

(Speak when the earth was heap'd upon his head)—

In thrilling, but with hollow accent weak,

She thus might give the welcome of the dead:—

'Here rest, my son, with me;—the dream is fled;—

The motley mask and the great stir is o'er:

Welcome to me, and to this silent bed,

Where deep forgetfulness succeeds the roar

Of life, and fretting passions waste the heart no more.'"

By his Lordship's Will, a copy of which will be found in the Appendix, he bequeathed to his executors in trust for the benefit of his sister, Mrs. Leigh, the monies arising from the sale of all his real estates at Rochdale and elsewhere, together with such part of his other property as was not settled upon Lady Byron and his daughter Ada, to be by Mrs. Leigh enjoyed, free from her husband's control, during her life, and, after her decease, to be inherited by her children.

We have now followed to its close a life which, brief as was its span, may be said, perhaps, to have comprised within itself a greater variety of those excitements and interest which spring out of the 227 deep workings of passion and of intellect than any that the pen of biography has ever before commemorated. As there still remain among the papers of my friend some curious gleanings which, though in the abundance of our materials I have not hitherto found a place for them, are too valuable towards the illustration of his character to be lost, I shall here, in selecting them for the reader, avail myself of the opportunity of trespassing, for the last time, on his patience with a few general remarks.

It must have been observed, throughout these pages, and by some, perhaps, with disappointment, that into the character of Lord Byron, as a poet, there has been little, if any, critical examination; but that, content with expressing generally the delight which, in common with all, I derive from his poetry, I have left the task of analysing the sources from which this delight springs to others.[1] In thus evading, if it 228 must be so considered, one of my duties as a biographer, I have been influenced no less by a sense of my own inaptitude for the office of critic than by recollecting with what assiduity, throughout the whole of the poet's career, every new rising of his genius was watched from the great observatories of Criticism, and the ever changing varieties of its course and splendour tracked out and recorded with a degree of skill and minuteness which has left but little for succeeding observers to discover. It is, moreover, into the character and conduct of Lord Byron, as a man, not distinct from, but forming, on the contrary, the best illustration of his character, as a writer, that it has been the more immediate purpose of these volumes to enquire; and if, in the course of them, any satisfactory clue has been afforded to those anomalies, moral and intellectual, which his life exhibited,—still more, should it have been the effect of my humble labours to clear away some of those mists that hung round my friend, and show him, in most respects, as worthy of love as he was, in all, of admiration, then will the chief and sole aim of this work have been accomplished.

[Footnote 1: It may be making too light of criticism to say with Gray that "even a bad verse is as good a thing or better than the best observation that ever was made upon it;" but there are surely few tasks that appear more thankless and superfluous than that of following, as Criticism sometimes does, in the rear of victorious genius (like the commentators on a field of Blenheim or of Waterloo), and either labouring to point out to us why it has triumphed, or still more unprofitably contending that it ought to have failed. The well-known passage of La Bruyère, which even Voltaire's adulatory application of it to some work of the King of Prussia has not spoiled for use, puts, perhaps, in its true point of view the very subordinate rank which Criticism must be content to occupy in the train of successful Genius:—"Quand une lecture vous élève l'esprit et qu'elle vous inspire des sentimens nobles, ne cherehez pas une autre règle pour juger de l'ouvrage; il est bon et fait de main de l'ouvrier: La Critique, après ça, peut s'exercer sur les petites choses, relever quelques expressions, corriger des phrases, parler de syntaxe," &c. &c.]

Having devoted to this object so large a portion of my own share of these pages, and, yet more fairly, enabled the world to form a judgment for itself, by placing the man, in his own person, and without 229 disguise, before all eyes, there would seem to remain now but an easy duty in summing up the various points of his character, and, out of the features, already separately described, combining one complete portrait. The task, however, is by no means so easy as it may appear. There are few characters in which a near acquaintance does not enable us to discover some one leading principle or passion consistent enough in its operations to be taken confidently into account in any estimate of the disposition in which they are found. Like those points in the human face, or figure, to which all its other proportions are referable, there is in most minds some one governing influence, from which chiefly,—though, of course, biassed on some occasions by others,—all its various impulses and tendencies will be found to radiate. In Lord Byron, however, this sort of pivot of character was almost wholly wanting. Governed as he was at different moments by totally different passions, and impelled sometimes, as during his short access of parsimony in Italy, by springs of action never before developed in his nature, in him this simple mode of tracing character to its sources must be often wholly at fault; and if, as is not impossible, in trying to solve the strange variances of his mind, I should myself be found to have fallen into contradictions and inconsistencies, the extreme difficulty of analysing, without dazzle or bewilderment, such an unexampled complication of qualities must be admitted as my excuse.

So various, indeed, and contradictory, were his attributes, both moral and intellectual, that he may 230 be pronounced to have been not one, but many: nor would it be any great exaggeration of the truth to say, that out of the mere partition of the properties of his single mind a plurality of characters, all different and all vigorous, might have been furnished. It was this multiform aspect exhibited by him that led the world, during his short wondrous career, to compare him with that medley host of personages, almost all differing from each other, which he thus playfully enumerates in one of his Journals:—

"I have been thinking over, the other day, on the various comparisons, good or evil, which I have seen published of myself in different journals, English and foreign. This was suggested to me by accidentally turning over a foreign one lately,—for I have made it a rule latterly never to search for any thing of the kind, but not to avoid the perusal, if presented by chance.

"To begin, then: I have seen myself compared, personally or poetically, in English, French, German (as interpreted to me), Italian, and Portuguese, within these nine years, to Rousseau, Goethe, Young, Aretine, Timon of Athens, Dante, Petrarch, 'an alabaster vase, lighted up within,' Satan, Shakspeare, Buonaparte, Tiberius, Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Harlequin, the Clown, Sternhold and Hopkins, to the phantasmagoria, to Henry the Eighth, to Chenier, to Mirabeau, to young R. Dallas (the schoolboy), to Michael Angelo, to Raphael, to a petit-maître, to Diogenes, to Childe Harold, to Lara, to the Count in Beppo, to Milton, to Pope, to Dryden, to Burns, to Savage, to Chatterton, to 'oft have I 231 heard of thee, my Lord Biron,' in Shakspeare, to Churchill the poet, to Kean the actor, to Alfieri, &c. &c. &c.

"The likeness to Alfieri was asserted very seriously by an Italian who had known him in his younger days. It of course related merely to our apparent personal dispositions. He did not assert it to me (for we were not then good friends), but in society.

"The object of so many contradictory comparisons must probably be like something different from them all; but what that is, is more than I know, or any body else."

It would not be uninteresting, were there either space or time for such a task, to take a review of the names of note in the preceding list, and show in how many points, though differing so materially among themselves, it might be found that each presented a striking resemblance to Lord Byron. We have seen, for instance, that wrongs and sufferings were, through life, the main sources of Byron's inspiration. Where the hoof of the critic struck, the fountain was first disclosed; and all the tramplings of the world afterwards but forced out the stream stronger and brighter. The same obligations to misfortune, the same debt to the "oppressor's wrong," for having wrung out from bitter thoughts the pure essence of his genius, was due no less deeply by Dante!—"quum illam sub amarâ cogitatione excitatam, occulti divinique ingenii vim exacuerit et inflammarit."[1]

[Footnote 1: Paulus Jovius.—Bayle, too, says of him, "Il fit entrer plus de feu et plus de force dans ses livres qu'il n'y en eût mis s'il avoit joui d'une condition plus tranquille."]

232 In that contempt for the world's opinion, which led Dante to exclaim, "Lascia dir le genti," Lord Byron also bore a strong resemblance to that poet,—though far more, it must be confessed, in profession than reality. For, while scorn for the public voice was on his lips, the keenest sensitiveness to its every breath was in his heart; and, as if every feeling of his nature was to have some painful mixture in it, together with the pride of Dante which led him to disdain public opinion, he combined the susceptibility of Petrarch which placed him shrinkingly at its mercy.

His agreement, in some other features of character, with Petrarch, I have already had occasion to remark[1]; and if it be true, as is often surmised, that Byron's want of a due reverence for Shakspeare arose from some latent and hardly conscious jealousy 233 of that poet's fame, a similar feeling is known to have existed in Petrarch towards Dante; and the same reason assigned for it,—that from the living he had nothing to fear, while before the shade of Dante he might have reason to feel humbled,—is also not a little applicable[2] in the case of Lord Byron.

[Footnote 1: Some passages in Foscolo's Essay on Petrarch may be applied, with equal truth, to Lord Byron.—For instance, "It was hardly possible with Petrarch to write a sentence without portraying himself"—"Petrarch, allured by the idea that his celebrity would magnify into importance all the ordinary occurrences of his life, satisfied the curiosity of the world," &c. &c.—and again, with still more striking applicability,—"In Petrarch's letters, as well as in his Poems and Treatises, we always identify the author with the man, who felt himself irresistibly impelled to develope his own intense feelings. Being endowed with almost all the noble, and with some of the paltry passions of our nature, and having never attempted to conceal them, he awakens us to reflection upon ourselves while we contemplate in him a being of our own species, yet different from any other, and whose originality excites even more sympathy than admiration."]

[Footnote 2: "II Petrarca poteva credere candidamente ch'ei non pativa d'invidia solamente, perché fra tutti i viventi non v'era chi non s'arretrasse per cedergli il passo alla prima gloria, ch'ei non poteva sentirsi umiliato, fuorchè dall' ombra di Dante."]

Between the dispositions and habits of Alfieri and those of the noble poet of England, no less remarkable coincidences might be traced; and the sonnet in which the Italian dramatist professes to paint his own character contains, in one comprehensive line, a portrait of the versatile author of Don Juan,—

"Or stimandome Achille ed or Tersite."

By the extract just given from his Journal, it will be perceived that, in Byron's own opinion, a character which, like his, admitted of so many contradictory comparisons, could not be otherwise than wholly undefinable itself. It will be found, however, on reflection, that this very versatility, which renders it so difficult to fix, "ere it change," the fairy fabric of his character, is, in itself, the true clue through all that fabric's mazes,—is in itself the solution of whatever was most dazzling in his might or startling in his levity, of all that most 234 attracted and repelled, whether in his life or his genius. A variety of powers almost boundless, and a pride no less vast in displaying them,—a susceptibility of new impressions and impulses, even beyond the usual allotment of genius, and an uncontrolled impetuosity, as well from habit as temperament, in yielding to them,—such were the two great and leading sources of all that varied spectacle which his life exhibited; of that succession of victories achieved by his genius, in almost every field of mind that genius ever trod, and of all those sallies of character in every shape and direction that unchecked feeling and dominant self-will could dictate.

It must be perceived by all endowed with quick powers of association how constantly, when any particular thought or sentiment presents itself to their minds, its very opposite, at the same moment, springs up there also:—if any thing sublime occurs, its neighbour, the ridiculous, is by its side;—across a bright view of the present or the future, a dark one throws its shadow;—and, even in questions respecting morals and conduct, all the reasonings and consequences that may suggest themselves on the side of one of two opposite courses will, in such minds, be instantly confronted by an array just as cogent on the other. A mind of this structure,—and such, more or less, are all those in which the reasoning is made subservient to the imaginative faculty,—though enabled, by such rapid powers of association, to multiply its resources without end, has need of the constant exercise of a controlling judgment to keep its perceptions pure and 235 undisturbed between the contrasts it thus simultaneously calls up; the obvious danger being that, where matters of taste are concerned, the habit of forming such incongruous juxtapositions—as that, for example, between the burlesque and sublime—should at last vitiate the mind's relish for the nobler and higher quality; and that, on the yet more important subject of morals, a facility in finding reasons for every side of a question may end, if not in the choice of the worst, at least in a sceptical indifference to all.

In picturing to oneself so awful an event as a shipwreck, its many horrors and perils are what alone offer themselves to ordinary fancies. But the keen, versatile imagination of Byron could detect in it far other details, and, at the same moment with all that is fearful and appalling in such a scene, could bring together all that is most ludicrous and low. That in this painful mixture he was but too true to human nature, the testimony of De Retz (himself an eye-witness of such an event) attests:—"Vous ne pouvez vous imaginer (says the Cardinal) l'horreur d'une grande tempête;—vous en pouvez imaginer aussi pen le ridicule." But, assuredly, a poet less wantoning in the variety of his power, and less proud of displaying it, would have paused ere he mixed up, thus mockingly, the degradation of humanity with its sufferings, and, content to probe us to the core with the miseries of our fellow-men, would have forborne to wring from us, the next moment, a bitter smile at their baseness.

To the moral sense so dangerous are the effects 236 of this quality, that it would hardly, perhaps, be generalising too widely to assert that wheresoever great versatility of power exists, there will also be found a tendency to versatility of principle. The poet Chatterton, in whose soul the seeds of all that is good and bad in genius so prematurely ripened, said, in the consciousness of this multiple faculty, that he "held that man in contempt who could not write on both sides of a question;" and it was by acting in accordance with this principle himself that he brought one of the few stains upon his name which a life so short afforded time to incur. Mirabeau, too, when, in the legal warfare between his father and mother, he helped to draw up for each the pleadings against the other, was influenced less, no doubt, by the pleasure of mischief than by this pride of talent, and lost sight of the unnatural perfidy of the task in the adroitness with which he executed it.

The quality which I have here denominated versatility, as applied to power, Lord Byron has himself designated by the French word "mobility," as applied to feeling and conduct; and, in one of the Cantos of Don Juan, has described happily some of its lighter features. After telling us that his hero had begun to doubt, from the great predominance of this quality in her, "how much of Adeline was real," he says,—

"So well she acted, all and every part,

By turns,—with that vivacious versatility,

Which many people take for want of heart.


They err—'tis merely what is called mobility,

A thing of temperament and not of art,

Though seeming so, from its supposed facility;

And false—though true; for surely they're sincerest,

Who are strongly acted on by what is nearest."

That he was fully aware not only of the abundance of this quality in his own nature, but of the danger in which it placed consistency and singleness of character, did not require the note on this passage, where he calls it "an unhappy attribute," to assure us. The consciousness, indeed, of his own natural tendency to yield thus to every chance impression, and change with every passing impulse, was not only for ever present in his mind, but,—aware as he was of the suspicion of weakness attached by the world to any retractation or abandonment of long professed opinions,—had the effect of keeping him in that general line of consistency, on certain great subjects, which, notwithstanding occasional fluctuations and contradictions as to the details of these very subjects, he continued to preserve throughout life. A passage from one of his manuscripts will show how sagaciously he saw the necessity of guarding himself against his own instability in this respect. "The world visits change of politics or change of religion with a more severe censure than a mere difference of opinion would appear to me to deserve. But there must be some reason for this feeling;—and I think it is that these departures from the earliest instilled ideas of our childhood, and from the line of conduct chosen by us when we first enter into public life, have been seen to have more mischievous results 238 for society, and to prove more weakness of mind than other actions, in themselves, more immoral."

The same distrust in his own steadiness, thus keeping alive in him a conscientious self-watchfulness, concurred not a little, I have no doubt, with the innate kindness of his nature, to preserve so constant and unbroken the greater number of his attachments through life;—some of them, as in the instance of his mother, owing evidently more to a sense of duty than to real affection, the consistency with which, so creditably to the strength of his character, they were maintained.

But while in these respects, as well as in the sort of task-like perseverance with which the habits and amusements of his youth were held fast by him, he succeeded in conquering the variableness and love of novelty so natural to him, in all else that could engage his mind, in all the excursions, whether of his reason or his fancy, he gave way to this versatile humour without scruple or check,—taking every shape in which genius could manifest its power, and transferring himself to every region of thought where new conquests were to be achieved.

It was impossible but that such a range of will and power should be abused. It was impossible that, among the spirits he invoked from all quarters, those of darkness should not appear, at his bidding, with those of light. And here the dangers of an energy so multifold, and thus luxuriating in its own transformations, show themselves. To this one great object of displaying power,—various, splendid, and all-adorning power,—every other consideration and 239 duty were but too likely to be sacrificed. Let the advocate but display his eloquence and art, no matter what the cause;—let the stamp of energy be but left behind, no matter with what seal. Could it have been expected that from such a career no mischief would ensue, or that among these cross-lights of imagination the moral vision could remain undisturbed? Is it to be at all wondered at that in the works of one thus gifted and carried away, we should find,—wholly, too, without any prepense design of corrupting on his side,—a false splendour given to Vice to make it look like Virtue, and Evil too often invested with a grandeur which belongs intrinsically but to Good?

Among the less serious ills flowing from this abuse of his great versatile powers,—more especially as exhibited in his most characteristic work, Don Juan,—it will be found that even the strength and impressiveness of his poetry is sometimes not a little injured by the capricious and desultory flights into which this pliancy of wing allures him. It must be felt, indeed, by all readers of that work, and particularly by those who, being gifted with but a small portion of such ductility themselves, are unable to keep pace with his changes, that the suddenness with which he passes from one strain of sentiment to another,—from the frolic to the sad, from the cynical to the tender,—begets a distrust in the sincerity of one or both moods of mind which interferes with, if not chills, the sympathy that a more natural transition would inspire. In general such a suspicion would do him injustice; as, among the singular combinations 240 which his mind presented, that of uniting at once versatility and depth of feeling was not the least remarkable. But, on the whole, favourable as was all this quickness and variety of association to the extension of the range and resources of his poetry, it may be questioned whether a more select concentration of his powers would not have afforded a still more grand and precious result. Had the minds of Milton and Tasso been thus thrown open to the incursions of light, ludicrous fancies, who can doubt that those solemn sanctuaries of genius would have been as much injured as profaned by the intrusion?—and it is at least a question whether, if Lord Byron had not been so actively versatile, so totally under the dominion of

"A fancy, like the air, most free,

And full of mutability,"

he would not have been less wonderful, perhaps, but more great.

Nor was it only in his poetical creations that this love and power of variety showed itself:—one of the most pervading weaknesses of his life may be traced to the same fertile source. The pride of personating every description of character, evil as well as good, influenced but too much, as we have seen, his ambition, and, not a little, his conduct; and as, in poetry, his own experience of the ill effects of passion was made to minister materials to the workings of his imagination, so, in return, his imagination supplied that dark colouring under which he so often disguised his true aspect from the world. To such 241 a perverse length, indeed, did he carry this fancy for self-defamation, that if (as sometimes, in his moments of gloom, he persuaded himself,) there was any tendency to derangement in his mental conformation[1], on this point alone could it be pronounced to have manifested itself.[2] In the early part of my 242 acquaintance with him, when he most gave way to this humour,—for it was observable afterwards, when the world joined in his own opinion of himself, he rather shrunk from the echo,—I have known him more than once, as we have sat together after dinner, and he was, at the time, perhaps, a little under the influence of wine, to fall seriously into this sort of dark and self-accusing mood, and throw out hints of his past life with an air of gloom and mystery designed evidently to awaken curiosity and interest. He was, however, too promptly alive to the least approaches of ridicule not to perceive, on these occasions, that the gravity of his hearer was only prevented from being disturbed by an effort of politeness, and he accordingly never again tried this romantic mystification upon me. From what I have known, however, of his experiments upon more impressible listeners, I have little doubt that, to produce effect at the moment, there is hardly any crime so dark or desperate of which, in the excitement of thus acting upon the imaginations of others, he would not have hinted that he had been guilty; and it has sometimes occurred to me that the occult cause of his lady's separation from him, round which herself and her legal adviser have thrown such formidable mystery, may have been nothing more, after all, than some imposture of this kind, some dimly hinted confession of undefined horrors, which, though intended by the relater but to mystify and surprise, the hearer so little understood him as to take in sober seriousness.

[Footnote 1: We have seen how often, in his Journals and Letters, this suspicion of his own mental soundness is intimated. A similar notion, with respect to himself, seems to have taken hold also of the strong mind of Johnson, who, like Byron, too, was disposed to attribute to an hereditary tinge that melancholy which, as he said, "made him mad all his life, at least not sober." This peculiar feature of Johnson's mind has, in the late new edition of Boswell's Life of him, given rise to some remarks, pregnant with all the editor's well known acuteness, which, as bearing on a point so important in the history of the human intellect, will be found worthy of all attention.

In one of the many letters of Lord Byron to myself, which I have thought right to omit, I find him tracing this supposed disturbance of his own faculties to the marriage of Miss Chaworth;—"a marriage," he says, "for which she sacrificed the prospects of two very ancient families, and a heart which was hers from ten years old, and a head which has never been quite right since."]

[Footnote 2: In his Diary of 1814 there is a passage (vol. ii. page 270.) which I had preserved solely for the purpose of illustrating this obliquity of his mind, intending, at the same time, to accompany it with an explanatory note. From some inadvertence, however, the note was omitted; and, thus left to itself, this piece of mystification has, with the French readers of the work, I see, succeeded most perfectly; there being no imaginable variety of murder which the votaries of the new romantic school have not been busily extracting out of the mystery of that passage.]

This strange propensity with which the man was, as it were, inoculated by the poet, re-acted back again 243 upon his poetry, so as to produce, in some of his delineations of character, that inconsistency which has not unfrequently been noticed by his critics,—namely, the junction of one or two lofty and shining virtues with "a thousand crimes" altogether incompatible with them; this anomaly being, in fact, accounted for by the two different sorts of ambition that actuated him,—the natural one, of infusing into his personages those high and kindly qualities he felt conscious of within himself, and the artificial one, of investing them with those crimes which he so boyishly wished imputed to him by the world.

Independently, however, of any such efforts towards blackening his own name, and even after he had learned from bitter experience the rash folly of such a system, there was still, in the openness and over-frankness of his nature, and that indulgence of impulse with which he gave utterance to, if not acted upon, every chance impression of the moment, more than sufficient to bring his character, in all its least favourable lights, before the world. Who is there, indeed, that could bear to be judged by even the best of those unnumbered thoughts that course each other, like waves of the sea, through our minds, passing away unuttered, and, for the most part, even unowned by ourselves?—Yet to such a test was Byron's character throughout his whole life exposed. As well from the precipitance with which he gave way to every impulse as from the passion he had for recording his own impressions, all those heterogeneous thoughts, fantasies, and desires that, in other men's minds, "come like shadows, so depart," were 244 by him fixed and embodied as they presented themselves, and, at once, taking a shape cognizable by public opinion, either in his actions or his words, either in the hasty letter of the moment, or the poem for all time, laid open such a range of vulnerable points before his judges, as no one individual perhaps ever before, of himself, presented.

With such abundance and variety of materials for portraiture, it may easily be conceived how two professed delineators of his character, the one over partial and the other malicious, might,—the former, by selecting only the fairer, and the latter only the darker, features,—produce two portraits of Lord Byron, as much differing from each other as they would both be, on the whole, unlike the original.

Of the utter powerlessness of retention with which he promulgated his every thought and feeling,—more especially if at all connected with the subject of self,—without allowing even a pause for the almost instinctive consideration whether by such disclosures he might not be conveying a calumnious impression of himself, a stronger instance could hardly be given than is to be found in a conversation held by him with Mr. Trelawney, as reported by this latter gentleman, when they were on their way together to Greece. After some remarks on the state of his own health[1], mental and bodily, he said, 245 "I don't know how it is, but I am so cowardly at times, that if, this morning, you had come down and horsewhipped me, I should have submitted without opposition. Why is this? If one of these fits come over me when we are in Greece, what shall I do?"—"I told him (continues Mr. Trelawney) that it was the excessive debility of his nerves. He said, 'Yes, and of my head, too. I was very heroic when I left Genoa, but, like Acres, I feel my courage oozing out at my palms.'"

[Footnote 1: "He often mentioned," says Mr. Trelawney, "that he thought he should not live many years, and said that he would die in Greece." This he told me at Cephalonia. He always seemed unmoved on these occasions, perfectly indifferent as to when he died, only saying that he could not bear pain. On our voyage we had been reading with great attention the life and letters of Swift, edited by Scott, and we almost daily, or rather nightly, talked them over; and he more than once expressed his horror of existing in that state, and expressed some fears that it would be his fate.]

It will hardly, by those who know any thing of human nature, be denied that such misgivings and heart-sinkings as are here described may, under a similar depression of spirits, have found their way into the thoughts of some of the gallantest hearts that ever breathed;—but then, untold and unremembered, even by the sufferer himself, they passed off with the passing infirmity that produced them, leaving neither to truth to record them as proofs of want of health, nor to calumny to fasten upon them a suspicion of want of bravery. The assertion of some one that all men are by nature cowardly would seem to be countenanced by the readiness with which most men believe others so. "I have lived," says the Prince de Ligne, "to hear Voltaire called a fool, and the 246 great Frederick a coward." The Duke of Marlborough in his own times, and Napoleon in ours, have found persons not only to assert but believe the same charge against them. After such glaring instances of the tendency of some minds to view greatness only through an inverting medium, it need little surprise us that Lord Byron's conduct in Greece should, on the same principle, have engendered a similar insinuation against him; nor should I have at all noticed the weak slander, but for the opportunity which it affords me of endeavouring to point out what appears to me the peculiar nature of the courage by which, on all occasions that called for it, he so strikingly distinguished himself.

Whatever virtue may be allowed to belong to personal courage, it is, most assuredly, they who are endowed by nature with the liveliest imaginations, and who have therefore most vividly and simultaneously before their eyes all the remote and possible consequences of danger, that are most deserving of whatever praise attends the exercise of that virtue. A bravery of this kind, which springs more out of mind than temperament,—or rather, perhaps, out of the conquest of the former over the latter,—will naturally proportion its exertion to the importance of the occasion; and the same person who is seen to shrink with an almost feminine fear from ignoble and every-day perils, may be found foremost in the very jaws of danger where honour is to be either maintained or won. Nor does this remark apply only to the imaginative class, of whom I am chiefly treating. By the same calculating principle, it will 247 be found that most men whose bravery is the result not of temperament but reflection, are regulated in their daring. The wise De Wit, though negligent of his life on great occasions, was not ashamed, we are told, of dreading and avoiding whatever endangered it on others.

Of the apprehensiveness that attends quick imaginations, Lord Byron had, of course, a considerable share, and in all situations of ordinary peril gave way to it without reserve. I have seldom seen any person, male or female, more timid in a carriage; and, in riding, his preparation against accidents showed the same nervous and imaginative fearfulness. "His bridle," says the late Lord B——, who rode frequently with him at Genoa, "had, besides cavesson and martingale, various reins; and whenever he came near a place where his horse was likely to shy, he gathered up these said reins and fixed himself as if he was going at a five-barred gate." None surely but the most superficial or most prejudiced observers could ever seriously found upon such indications of nervousness any conclusion against the real courage of him who was subject to them. The poet Ariosto, who was, it seems, a victim to the same fair-weather alarms,—who, when on horseback, would alight at the least appearance of danger, and on the water was particularly timorous,—could yet, in the action between the Pope's vessels and the Duke of Ferrara's, fight like a lion; and in the same manner the courage of Lord Byron, as all his companions in peril testify, was of that noblest kind 248 which rises with the greatness of the occasion, and becomes but the more self-collected and resisting, the more imminent the danger.

In proposing to show that the distinctive properties of Lord Byron's character, as well moral as literary, arose mainly from those two great sources, the unexampled versatility of his powers and feelings, and the facility with which he gave way to the impulses of both, it had been my intention to pursue the subject still further in detail, and to endeavour to trace throughout the various excellences and defects, both of his poetry and his life, the operation of these two dominant attributes of his nature. "No men," says Cowper, in speaking of persons of a versatile turn of mind, "are better qualified for companions in such a world as this than men of such temperament. Every scene of life has two sides, a dark and a bright one; and the mind that has an equal mixture of melancholy and vivacity is best of all qualified for the contemplation of either." It would not be difficult to show that to this readiness in reflecting all hues, whether of the shadows or the lights of our variegated existence, Lord Byron owed not only the great range of his influence as a poet, but those powers of fascination which he possessed as a man. This susceptibility, indeed, of immediate impressions, which in him was so active, lent a charm, of all others the most attractive, to his social intercourse, by giving to those who were, at the moment, present, such ascendant influence, that they alone for the time occupied all his thoughts and 249 feelings, and brought whatever was most agreeable in his nature into play.[1]

[Footnote 1: In reference to his power of adapting himself to all sorts of society, and taking upon himself all varieties of character, I find a passage in one of my early letters to him (from Ireland) which, though it might be expressed, perhaps, in better taste, is worth citing for its truth:—"Though I have not written, I have seldom ceased to think of you; for you are that sort of being whom every thing, high or low, brings into one's mind. Whether I am with the wise or the waggish, among poets or among pugilists, over the book or over the bottle, you are sure to connect yourself transcendently with all, and come 'armed for every field' into my memory."]

So much did this extreme mobility,—this readiness to be "strongly acted on by what was nearest,"—abound in his disposition, that, even with the casual acquaintances of the hour, his heart was upon his lips[1], and it depended wholly upon themselves whether they might not become at once the depositories of every secret, if it might be so called, of his whole life. That in this convergence of all the powers of pleasing towards present objects, those absent should be sometimes forgotten, or, what is worse, sacrificed to the reigning desire of the moment, 250 is unluckily one of the alloys attendant upon persons of this temperament, which renders their fidelity, either as lovers or confidants, not a little precarious. But of the charm which such a disposition diffuses through the manner there can be but little doubt,—and least of all among those who have ever felt its influence in Lord Byron. Neither are the instances in which he has been known to make imprudent disclosures of what had been said or written by others of the persons with whom he was conversing to be all set down to this rash overflow of the social hour. In his own frankness of spirit, and hatred of all disguise, this practice, pregnant as it was with inconvenience, and sometimes danger, in a great degree originated. To confront the accused with the accuser was, in such cases, his delight,—not only as a revenge for having been made the medium of what men durst not say openly to each other, but as a gratification of that love of small mischief which he had retained from boyhood, and which the confusion that followed such exposures was always sure to amuse. This habit, too, being, as I have before remarked, well known to his friends, their sense of prudence, if not their fairness, was put fully on its guard, and he himself was spared the pain of hearing what he could not, without inflicting still worse, repeat.

[Footnote 1: It is curious to observe how, in all times, and all countries, what is called the poetical temperament has, in the great possessors, and victims, of that gift, produced similar effects. In the following passage, the biographer of Tasso has, in painting that poet, described Byron also:—"There are some persons of a sensibility so powerful, that whoever happens to be with them is, at that moment, to them the world: their hearts involuntarily open; they are prompted by a strong desire to please; and they thus make confidants of their sentiments people whom they in reality regard with indifference."]

A most apt illustration of this point of his character is to be found in an anecdote told of him by Parry, who, though himself the victim, had the sense and good temper to perceive the source to which Byron's conduct was to be traced. While the Turkish 251 fleet was blockading Missolonghi, his Lordship, one day, attended by Parry, proceeded in a small punt, rowed by a boy, to the mouth of the harbour, while in a large boat accompanying them were Prince Mavrocordato and his attendants. In this situation, an indignant feeling of contempt and impatience at the supineness of their Greek friends seized the engineer, and he proceeded to vent this feeling to Lord Byron in no very measured terms, pronouncing Prince Mavrocordato to be "an old gentlewoman," and concluding, according to his own statement, with the following words:—"If I were in their place, I should be in a fever at the thought of my own incapacity and ignorance, and should burn with impatience to attempt the destruction of those rascal Turks. But the Greeks and the Turks are opponents worthy, by their imbecility, of each other."

"I had scarcely explained myself fully," adds Mr. Parry, "when his Lordship ordered our boat to be placed alongside the other, and actually related our whole conversation to the Prince. In doing it, however, he took on himself the task of pacifying both the Prince and me, and though I was at first very angry, and the Prince, I believe, very much annoyed, he succeeded. Mavrocordato afterwards showed no dissatisfaction with me, and I prized Lord Byron's regard too much, to remain long displeased with a proceeding which was only an unpleasant manner of reproving us both."

Into these and other such branches from the main course of his character, it might have been a task of 252 some interest to investigate,—certain as we should be that, even in the remotest and narrowest of these windings, some of the brightness and strength of the original current would be perceptible. Enough however has been, perhaps, said to set other minds upon supplying what remains:—if the track of analysis here opened be the true one, to follow it in its further bearings will not be difficult. Already, indeed, I may be thought by some readers to have occupied too large a portion of these pages, not only in tracing out such "nice dependencies" and gradations of my friend's character, but still more uselessly, as may be conceived, in recording all the various habitudes and whims by which the course of his every-day life was distinguished from that of other people. That the critics of the day should think it due to their own importance to object to trifles is naturally to be expected; but that, in other times, such minute records of a Byron will be read with interest, even such critics cannot doubt. To know that Catiline walked with an agitated and uncertain gait is, by no mean judge of human nature, deemed important as an indication of character. But far less significant details will satisfy the idolaters of genius. To be told that Tasso loved malmsey and thought it favourable to poetic inspiration is a piece of intelligence, even at the end of three centuries, not unwelcome; while a still more amusing proof of the disposition of the world to remember little things of the great is, that the poet Petrarch's excessive fondness for turnips is one of the few traditions still preserved of him at Arqua. 253

The personal appearance of Lord Byron has been so frequently described, both by pen and pencil, that were it not the bounden duty of the biographer to attempt some such sketch, the task would seem superfluous. Of his face, the beauty may be pronounced to have been of the highest order, as combining at once regularity of features with the most varied and interesting expression. The same facility, indeed, of change observable in the movements of his mind was seen also in the free play of his features, as the passing thoughts within darkened or shone through them.

His eyes, though of a light grey, were capable of all extremes of expression, from the most joyous hilarity to the deepest sadness, from the very sunshine of benevolence to the most concentrated scorn or rage. Of this latter passion, I had once an opportunity of seeing what fiery interpreters they could be, on my telling him, thoughtlessly enough, that a friend of mine had said to me—"Beware of Lord Byron; he will some day or other do something very wicked."—"Was it man or woman said so?" he exclaimed, suddenly turning round upon me with a look of such intense anger as, though it lasted not an instant, could not easily be forgot, and of which no better idea can be given than in the words of one who, speaking of Chatterton's eyes, says that "fire rolled at the bottom of them."

But it was in the mouth and chin that the great beauty as well as expression of his fine countenance lay. "Many pictures have been painted of him," 254 says a fair critic of his features, "with various success; but the excessive beauty of his lips escaped every painter and sculptor. In their ceaseless play they represented every emotion, whether pale with anger, curled in disdain, smiling in triumph, or dimpled with archness and love." It would be injustice to the reader not to borrow from the same pencil a few more touches of portraiture. "This extreme facility of expression was sometimes painful, for I have seen him look absolutely ugly—I have seen him look so hard and cold, that you must hate him, and then, in a moment, brighter than the sun, with such playful softness in his look, such affectionate eagerness kindling in his eyes, and dimpling his lips into something more sweet than a smile, that you forgot the man, the Lord Byron, in the picture of beauty presented to you, and gazed with intense curiosity—I had almost said—as if to satisfy yourself, that thus looked the god of poetry, the god of the Vatican, when he conversed with the sons and daughters of man."

His head was remarkably small[1],—so much so as to be rather out of proportion with his face. The forehead, though a little too narrow, was high, and appeared more so from his having his hair (to preserve 255 it, as he said,) shaved over the temples; while the glossy, dark-brown curls, clustering over his head, gave the finish to its beauty. When to this is added, that his nose, though handsomely, was rather thickly shaped, that his teeth were white and regular, and his complexion colourless, as good an idea perhaps as it is in the power of mere words to convey may be conceived of his features.

[Footnote 1: "Several of us, one day," says Colonel Napier, "tried on his hat, and in a party of twelve or fourteen, who were at dinner, not one could put it on, so exceedingly small was his head. My servant, Thomas Wells, who had the smallest head in the 90th regiment (so small that he could hardly get a cap to fit him), was the only person who could put on Lord Byron's hat, and him it fitted exactly."]

In height he was, as he himself has informed us, five feet eight inches and a half, and to the length of his limbs he attributed his being such a good swimmer. His hands were very white, and—according to his own notion of the size of hands as indicating birth—aristocratically small. The lameness of his right foot[1], though an obstacle to grace, 256 but little impeded the activity of his movements; and from this circumstance, as well as from the skill with which the foot was disguised by means of long trowsers, it would be difficult to conceive a defect of this kind less obtruding itself as a deformity; while the diffidence which a constant consciousness of the infirmity gave to his first approach and address made, in him, even lameness a source of interest.

[Footnote 1: In speaking of this lameness at the commencement of my work, I forbore, both from my own doubts on the subject and the great variance I found in the recollections of others, from stating in which of his feet this lameness existed. It will, indeed, with difficulty be believed what uncertainty I found upon this point, even among those most intimate with him. Mr. Hunt, in his book, states it to have been the left foot that was deformed, and this, though contrary to my own impression, and, as it appears also, to the fact, was the opinion I found also of others who had been much in the habit of living with him. On applying to his early friends at Southwell and to the shoemaker of that town who worked for him, so little prepared were they to answer with any certainty on the subject, that it was only by recollecting that the lame foot "was the off one in going up the street" they at last came to the conclusion that his right limb was the one affected; and Mr. Jackson, his preceptor in pugilism, was, in like manner, obliged to call to mind whether his noble pupil was a right or left hand hitter before he could arrive at the same decision.]

In looking again into the Journal from which it was my intention to give extracts, the following unconnected opinions, or rather reveries, most of them on points connected with his religious opinions, are all that I feel tempted to select. To an assertion in the early part of this work, that "at no time of his life was Lord Byron a confirmed unbeliever," it has been objected, that many passages of his writings prove the direct contrary. This assumption, however, as well as the interpretation of most of the passages referred to in its support, proceed, as it appears to me, upon the mistake, not uncommon in conversation, of confounding together the meanings of the words unbeliever and sceptic,—the former implying decision of opinion, and the latter only doubt. I have myself, I find, not always kept the significations of the two words distinct, and in one instance have so far fallen into the notion of these objectors as to speak of Byron in his youth as "an unbelieving school-boy," when the word "doubting" would have more truly expressed my meaning. With this necessary explanation, I shall here repeat my assertion; or rather—to clothe its substance in a different form—shall say that Lord Byron was, to the last, 257 a sceptic, which, in itself, implies that he was, at no time, a confirmed unbeliever.

"If I were to live over again, I do not know what I would change in my life, unless it were for—not to have lived at all.[1] All history and experience, and the rest, teaches us that the good and evil are pretty equally balanced in this existence, and that what is most to be desired is an easy passage out of it. What can it give us but years? and those have little of good but their ending.

[Footnote 1: Swift "early adopted," says Sir Walter Scott, "the custom of observing his birth-day, as a term, not of joy, but of sorrow, and of reading, when it annually recurred, the striking passage of Scripture, in which Job laments and execrates the day upon which it was said in his father's house 'that a man-child was born.'"—Life of Swift.]

"Of the immortality of the soul it appears to me that there can be little doubt, if we attend for a moment to the action of mind: it is in perpetual activity. I used to doubt of it, but reflection has taught me better. It acts also so very independent of body—in dreams, for instance;—incoherently and madly, I grant you, but still it is mind, and much more mind than when we are awake. Now that this should not act separately, as well as jointly, who can pronounce? The stoics, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, call the present state 'a soul which drags a carcass,'—a heavy chain, to be sure, but all chains being material may be shaken off. How far our future life will be individual, or, rather, how far it will 258 at all resemble our present existence, is another question; but that the mind is eternal seems as probable as that the body is not so. Of course I here venture upon the question without recurring to revelation, which, however, is at least as rational a solution of it as any other. A material resurrection seems strange and even absurd, except for purposes of punishment; and all punishment which is to revenge rather than correct must be morally wrong; and when the world is at an end, what moral or warning purpose can eternal tortures answer? Human passions have probably disfigured the divine doctrines here;—but the whole thing is inscrutable.

"It is useless to tell me not to reason, but to believe. You might as well tell a man not to wake, but sleep. And then to bully with torments, and all that! I cannot help thinking that the menace of hell makes as many devils as the severe penal codes of inhuman humanity make villains.

"Man is born passionate of body, but with an innate though secret tendency to the love of good in his main-spring of mind. But, God help us all! it is at present a sad jar of atoms.

"Matter is eternal, always changing, but reproduced, and, as far as we can comprehend eternity, eternal; and why not mind? Why should not the mind act with and upon the universe, as portions of it act upon, and with, the congregated dust called mankind? See how one man acts upon himself and others, or upon multitudes! The same agency, in a 259 higher and purer degree, may act upon the stars, &c. ad infinitum.

"I have often been inclined to materialism in philosophy, but could never bear its introduction into Christianity, which appears to me essentially founded upon the soul. For this reason Priestley's Christian Materialism always struck me as deadly. Believe the resurrection of the body, if you will, but not without a soul. The deuce is in it, if after having had a soul, (as surely the mind, or whatever you call it, is,) in this world, we must part with it in the next, even for an immortal materiality! I own my partiality for spirit.

"I am always most religious upon a sunshiny day, as if there was some association between an internal approach to greater light and purity and the kindler of this dark lantern of our external existence.

"The night is also a religious concern, and even more so when I viewed the moon and stars through Herschell's telescope, and saw that they were worlds.

"If, according to some speculations, you could prove the world many thousand years older than the Mosaic chronology, or if you could get rid of Adam and Eve, and the apple, and serpent, still, what is to be put up in their stead? or how is the difficulty removed? Things must have had a beginning, and what matters it when or how?

260 "I sometimes think that man may be the relic of some higher material being wrecked in a former world, and degenerated in the hardship and struggle through chaos into conformity, or something like it,—as we see Laplanders, Esquimaux, &c. inferior in the present state, as the elements become more inexorable. But even then this higher pre-Adamite supposititious creation must have had an origin and a Creator—for a creation is a more natural imagination than a fortuitous concourse of atoms: all things remount to a fountain, though they may flow to an ocean.

"Plutarch says, in his Life of Lysander, that Aristotle observes 'that in general great geniuses are of a melancholy turn, and instances Socrates, Plato, and Hercules (or Heraclitus), as examples, and Lysander, though not while young, yet as inclined to it when approaching towards age.' Whether I am a genius or not, I have been called such by my friends as well as enemies, and in more countries and languages than one, and also within a no very long period of existence. Of my genius, I can say nothing, but of my melancholy, that it is 'increasing, and ought to be diminished.' But how?

"I take it that most men are so at bottom, but that it is only remarked in the remarkable. The Duchesse de Broglio, in reply to a remark of mine on the errors of clever people, said that 'they were not worse than others, only, being more in view, more noted, especially in all that could reduce them 261 to the rest, or raise the rest to them.' In 1816, this was.

"In fact (I suppose that) if the follies of fools were all set down like those of the wise, the wise (who seem at present only a better sort of fools) would appear almost intelligent.

"It is singular how soon we lose the impression of what ceases to be constantly before us: a year impairs; a lustre obliterates. There is little distinct left without an effort of memory. Then, indeed, the lights are rekindled for a moment; but who can be sure that imagination is not the torch-bearer? Let any man try at the end of ten years to bring before him the features, or the mind, or the sayings, or the habits of his best friend, or his greatest man, (I mean his favourite, his Buonaparte, his this, that, or t'other,) and he will be surprised at the extreme confusion of his ideas. I speak confidently on this point, having always passed for one who had a good, ay, an excellent memory. I except, indeed, our recollection of womankind; there is no forgetting them (and be d—d to them) any more than any other remarkable era, such as 'the revolution,' or 'the plague,' or 'the invasion,' or 'the comet,' or 'the war' of such and such an epoch,—being the favourite dates of mankind who have so many blessings in their lot that they never make their calendars from them, being too common. For instance, you see 'the great drought,' 'the Thames frozen over,' 'the seven years' war broke out,' 'the English, or French, or Spanish revolution commenced,' 'the 262 Lisbon earthquake,' 'the Lima earthquake,' 'the earthquake of Calabria,' 'the plague of London,' ditto 'of Constantinople,' 'the sweating sickness,' 'the yellow fever of Philadelphia,' &c. &c. &c.; but you don't see 'the abundant harvest,' 'the fine summer,' 'the long peace,' 'the wealthy speculation,' 'the wreckless voyage,' recorded so emphatically! By the way, there has been a thirty years' war and a seventy years' war; was there ever a seventy or a thirty years' peace? or was there even a DAY'S universal peace? except perhaps in China, where they have found out the miserable happiness of a stationary and unwarlike mediocrity. And is all this because nature is niggard or savage? or mankind ungrateful? Let philosophers decide. I am none.

"In general, I do not draw well with literary men; not that I dislike them, but I never know what to say to them after I have praised their last publication. There are several exceptions, to be sure, but then they have either been men of the world, such as Scott and Moore, &c. or visionaries out of it, such as Shelley, &c.: but your literary every-day man and I never went well in company, especially your foreigner, whom I never could abide; except Giordani, and—and—and—(I really can't name any other)—I don't remember a man amongst them whom I ever wished to see twice, except perhaps Mezzophanti, who is a monster of languages, the Briareus of parts of speech, a walking Polyglott and more, who ought to have existed at the time of the 263 Tower of Babel as universal interpreter. He is indeed a marvel—unassuming, also. I tried him in all the tongues of which I knew a single oath, (or adjuration to the gods against post-boys, savages, Tartars, boatmen, sailors, pilots, gondoliers, muleteers, camel-drivers, vetturini, post-masters, post-horses, post-houses, post every thing,) and egad! he astounded me—even to my English.

"'No man would live his life over again,' is an old and true saying which all can resolve for themselves. At the same time, there are probably moments in most men's lives which they would live over the rest of life to regain. Else why do we live at all? because Hope recurs to Memory, both false—but—but—but—but—and this but drags on till—what? I do not know; and who does? 'He that died o' Wednesday.'"

In laying before the reader these last extracts from the papers in my possession, it may be expected, perhaps, that I should say something,—in addition to what has been already stated on this subject,—respecting those Memoranda, or Memoirs, which, in the exercise of the discretionary power given to me by my noble friend, I placed, shortly after his death, at the disposal of his sister and executor, and which they, from a sense of what they thought due to his memory, consigned to the flames. As the circumstances, however, connected with the surrender of that manuscript, besides requiring much more detail than my present limits allow, do not, in any respect, 264 concern the character of Lord Byron, but affect solely my own, it is not here, at least, that I feel myself called upon to enter into an explanation of them. The world will, of course, continue to think of that step as it pleases; but it is, after all, on a man's own opinion of his actions that his happiness chiefly depends, and I can only say that, were I again placed in the same circumstances, I would—even at ten times the pecuniary sacrifice which my conduct then cost me—again act precisely in the same manner.

For the satisfaction of those whose regret at the loss of that manuscript arises from some better motive than the mere disappointment of a prurient curiosity, I shall here add, that on the mysterious cause of the separation, it afforded no light whatever;—that, while some of its details could never have been published at all[1], and little, if any, of what it contained personal towards others could have appeared till long after the individuals concerned had left the scene, all that materially related to Lord Byron himself was (as I well knew when I made that sacrifice) to be found repeated in the various Journals and Memorandum-books, which, though not all to be made use of, were, as the reader has seen from the preceding pages, all preserved.

[Footnote 1: This description applies only to the Second Part of the Memoranda; there having been but little unfit for publication in the First Part, which was, indeed, read, as is well known, by many of the noble author's friends.]

265 As far as suppression, indeed, is blamable, I have had, in the course of this task, abundantly to answer for it; having, as the reader must have perceived, withheld a large portion of my materials, to which Lord Byron, no doubt, in his fearlessness of consequences, would have wished to give publicity, but which, it is now more than probable, will never meet the light.

There remains little more to add. It has been remarked by Lord Orford[1], as "strange, that the writing a man's life should in general make the biographer become enamoured of his subject, whereas one should think that the nicer disquisition one makes into the life of any man, the less reason one should find to love or admire him." On the contrary, may we not rather say that, as knowledge is ever the parent of tolerance, the more insight we gain into the springs and motives of a man's actions, the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed, and the influences and temptations under which he acted, the more allowance we may be inclined to make for his errors, and the more approbation his virtues may extort from us?

[Footnote 1: In speaking of Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Life of Henry VIII.]

The arduous task of being the biographer of Byron is one, at least, on which I have not obtruded myself: the wish of my friend that I should undertake that office having been more than once expressed, at a time when none but a boding imagination like his could have foreseen much chance of the sad honour 266 devolving to me. If in some instances I have consulted rather the spirit than the exact letter of his injunctions, it was with the view solely of doing him more justice than he would have done himself, there being no hands in which his character could have been less safe than his own, nor any greater wrong offered to his memory than the substitution of what he affected to be for what he was. Of any partiality, however, beyond what our mutual friendship accounts for and justifies, I am by no means conscious; nor would it be in the power, indeed, of even the most partial friend to allege any thing more convincingly favourable of his character than is contained in the few simple facts with which I shall here conclude,—that, through life, with all his faults, he never lost a friend;—that those about him in his youth, whether as companions, teachers, or servants, remained attached to him to the last;—that the woman, to whom he gave the love of his maturer years, idolises his name; and that, with a single unhappy exception, scarce an instance is to be found of any one, once brought, however briefly, into relations of amity with him, that did not feel towards him a kind regard in life, and retain a fondness for his memory.

I have now done with the subject, nor shall be easily tempted to recur to it. Any mistakes or misstatements I may be proved to have made shall be corrected;—any new facts which it is in the power of others to produce will speak for themselves. To mere opinions I am not called upon to pay attention—and 267 still less to insinuations or mysteries. I have here told what I myself know and think concerning my friend; and now leave his character, moral as well as literary, to the judgment of the world. 268





1 STEPHEN[2], and the elders with him, Dabnus, Eubulus, Theophilus, and Xinon, to Paul, our father and evangelist, and faithful master in Jesus Christ, health.[3]

2 Two men have come to Corinth, Simon by name, and Cleobus[4], who vehemently disturb the faith of some with deceitful and corrupt words;

3 Of which words thou shouldst inform thyself:

4 For neither have we heard such words from thee, nor from the other apostles:

5 But we know only that what we have heard from thee and from them, that we have kept firmly.

6 But in this chiefly has our Lord had compassion, that, whilst thou art yet with us in the flesh, we are again about to hear from thee.

7 Therefore do thou write to us, or come thyself amongst us quickly. 270

8 We believe in the Lord, that, as it was revealed to Theonas, he hath delivered thee from the hands of the unrighteous.[5]

9 But these are the sinful words of these impure men, for thus do they say and teach:

10 That it behoves not to admit the Prophets.[6]

11 Neither do they affirm the omnipotence of God:

12 Neither do they affirm the resurrection of the flesh:

13 Neither do they affirm that man was altogether created by God:

14 Neither do they affirm that Jesus Christ was born in the flesh from the Virgin Mary:

15 Neither do they affirm that the world was the work of God, but of some one of the angels.

16 Therefore do thou make haste[7] to come amongst us.

17 That this city of the Corinthians may remain without scandal.

18 And that the folly of these men may be made manifest by an open refutation. Fare thee well.[8]

The deacons Thereptus and Tichus[9] received and conveyed this Epistle to the city of the Philippians.[10]

When Paul received the Epistle, although he was then in chains on account of Stratonice[11], the wife of Apofolanus[12], yet, as it were forgetting his bonds, he mourned over these words, and said, weeping: "It were better for me to be dead, and with the Lord. For while I am in this body, and hear 271 the wretched words of such false doctrine, behold, grief arises upon grief, and my trouble adds a weight to my chains; when I behold this calamity, and progress of the machinations of Satan, who searcheth to do wrong."

And thus, with deep affliction, Paul composed his reply to the Epistle.[13]

[Footnote 1: Some MSS. have the title thus: Epistle of Stephen the Elder to Paul the Apostle, from the Corinthians.]

[Footnote 2: In the MSS. the marginal verses published by the Whistons are wanting.]

[Footnote 3: In some MSS. we find, The elders Numenus, Eubulus, Theophilus, and Nomeson, to Paul their brother, health!]

[Footnote 4: Others read, There came certain men, ... and Clobeus, who vehemently shake.]

[Footnote 5: Some MSS. have, We believe in the Lord, that his presence was made manifest; and by this hath the Lord delivered as from the hands of the unrighteous.]

[Footnote 6: Others read, To read the Prophets.]

[Footnote 7: Some MSS. have, Therefore, brother, do thou make haste.]

[Footnote 8: Others read, Fare thee well in the Lord.]

[Footnote 9: Some MSS. have, The deacons Therepus and Techus]

[Footnote 10: The Whistons have, To the city of Phoenicia; but in all the MSS. we find, To the city of the Philippians.]

[Footnote 11: Others read, On account of Onotice.]

[Footnote 12: The Whistons have, Of Apollophanus: but in all the MSS. we read, Apofolanus.]

[Footnote 13: In the text of this Epistle there are some other variations in the words, but the sense is the same.]


1 Paul, in bonds for Jesus Christ, disturbed by so many errors [2], to his Corinthian brethren, health.

2 I nothing marvel that the preachers of evil have made this progress.

3 For because the Lord Jesus is about to fulfil his coming, verily on this account do certain men pervert and despise his words.

4 But I, verily, from the beginning, have taught you that only which I myself received from the former apostles, who always remained with the Lord Jesus Christ.

5 And I now say unto you, that the Lord Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, who was of the seed of David,

6 According to the annunciation of the Holy Ghost, sent to her by our Father from heaven;

7 That Jesus might be introduced into the world [3], and deliver our flesh by his flesh, and that he might raise us up from the dead;

8 As in this also he himself became the example:

9 That it might be made manifest that man was created by the Father,

10 He has not remained in perdition unsought [4]; 272

11 But he is sought for, that he might be revived by adoption.

12 For God, who is the Lord of all, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who made heaven and earth, sent, firstly, the Prophets to the Jews:

13 That he would absolve them from their sins, and bring them to his judgment.

14 Because he wished to save, firstly, the house of Israel, he bestowed and poured forth his Spirit upon the Prophets;

15 That they should, for a long time, preach the worship of God, and the nativity of Christ.

16 But he who was the prince of evil, when he wished to make himself God, laid his hand upon them,

17 And bound all men in sin,[5]

18 Because the judgment of the world was approaching.

19 But Almighty God, when he willed to justify, was unwilling to abandon his creature;

20 But when he saw his affliction, he had compassion upon him:

21 And at the end of a time he sent the Holy Ghost into the Virgin foretold by the Prophets.

22 Who, believing readily [6], was made worthy to conceive, and bring forth our Lord Jesus Christ.

23 That from this perishable body, in which the evil spirit was glorified, he should be cast out, and it should be made manifest

24 That he was not God: For Jesus Christ, in his flesh, had recalled and saved this perishable flesh, and drawn it into eternal life by faith.

25 Because in his body he would prepare a pure temple of justice for all ages;

26 In whom we also, when we believe, are saved.

27 Therefore know ye that these men are not the children of justice, but the children of wrath;

28 Who turn away from themselves the compassion of God; 273

29 Who say that neither the heavens nor the earth were altogether works made by the hand of the Father of all things.[7]

30 But these cursed men[8] have the doctrine of the serpent.

31 But do ye, by the power of God, withdraw yourselves far from these, and expel from amongst you the doctrine of the wicked.

32 Because you are not the children of rebellion [9]; but the sons of the beloved church.

33 And on this account the time of the resurrection is preached to all men.

34 Therefore they who affirm that there is no resurrection of the flesh, they indeed shall not be raised up to eternal life;

35 But to judgment and condemnation shall the unbeliever arise in the flesh:

36 For to that body which denies the resurrection of the body, shall be denied the resurrection: because such are found to refuse the resurrection.

37 But you also, Corinthians! have known, from the seeds of wheat, and from other seeds,

38 That one grain falls [10] dry into the earth, and within it first dies,

39 And afterwards rises again, by the will of the Lord, endued with the same body:

40 Neither indeed does it arise with the same simple body, but manifold, and filled with blessing.

41 But we produce the example not only from seeds, but from the honourable bodies of men. [11]

42 Ye have also known Jonas, the son of Amittai.[12]

43 Because he delayed to preach to the Ninevites, he was swallowed up in the belly of a fish for three days and three nights: 274

44 And after three days God heard his supplication, and brought him out of the deep abyss;

45 Neither was any part of his body corrupted; neither was his eyebrow bent down.[13]

46 And how much more for you, oh men of little faith;

47 If you believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, will he raise you up, even as he himself hath arisen.

48 If the bones of Elisha the prophet, falling upon the dead, revived the dead,

49 By how much more shall ye, who are supported by the flesh and the blood and the Spirit of Christ, arise again on that day with a perfect body?

50 Elias the prophet, embracing the widow's son, raised him from the dead:

51 By how much more shall Jesus Christ revive you, on that day, with a perfect body, even as he himself hath arisen?

52 But if ye receive other things vainly [14],

53 Henceforth no one shall cause me to travail; for I bear on my body these fetters [15],

54 To obtain Christ; and I suffer with patience these afflictions to become worthy of the resurrection of the dead.

55 And do each of you, having received the law from the hands of the blessed Prophets and the holy gospel [16], firmly maintain it;

56 To the end that you may be rewarded in the resurrection of the dead, and the possession of the life eternal.

57 But if any of ye, not believing, shall trespass, he shall be judged with the misdoers, and punished with those who have false belief.

58 Because such are the generation of vipers, and the children of dragons and basilisks. 275

59 Drive far from amongst ye, and fly from such, with the aid of our Lord Jesus Christ.

60 And the peace and grace of the beloved Son be upon you.[17] Amen.

Done into English by me, January-February, 1817, at the Convent of San Lazaro, with the aid and exposition of the Armenian text by the Father Paschal Aucher, Armenian Friar.


Venice, April 10, 1817.

I had also the Latin text, but it is in many places very corrupt, and with great omissions.

[Footnote 1: Some MSS. have, Paul's Epistle from prison, for the instruction of the Corinthians.]

[Footnote 2: Others read, Disturbed by various compunctions.]

[Footnote 3: Some MSS. have. That Jesus might comfort the world.]

[Footnote 4: Others read, He has not remained indifferent.]

[Footnote 5: Some MSS have, Laid his hand, and then and all body bound in sin.]

[Footnote 6: Others read, Believing with a pure heart.]

[Footnote 7: Some MSS. have, Of God the Father of all things.]

[Footnote 8: Others read, They curse themselves in this thing.]

[Footnote 9: Others read, Children of the disobedient.]

[Footnote 10: Some MSS. have, That one grain falls not dry into the earth.]

[Footnote 11: Others read, But we have not only produced from seeds, but from the honourable body of man.]

[Footnote 12: Others read, The son of Ematthius.]

[Footnote 13: Others add, Nor did a hair of his body fall therefrom.]

[Footnote 14: Some MSS. have, Ye shall not receive other things in vain.]

[Footnote 15: Others finished here thus, Henceforth no one can trouble me further, for I bear in my body the sufferings of Christ. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, my brethren. Amen.]

[Footnote 16: Some MSS. have, Of the holy evangelist.]

[Footnote 17: Others add, Our Lord be with ye all. Amen.]


"I have disregarded various publications in which facts within my own knowledge have been grossly misrepresented; but I am called upon to notice some of the erroneous statements proceeding from one who claims to be considered as Lord Byron's confidential and authorised friend. Domestic details ought not to be intruded on the public attention: if, however, they are so intruded, the persons affected by them have a right to refute injurious charges. Mr. Moore has promulgated his own impressions of private events in which I was most nearly concerned, as if he possessed a competent knowledge of the subject. Having survived Lord Byron, I feel increased reluctance to advert to any circumstances connected with the period of my marriage; nor is it now my intention to disclose them, further than may be indispensably requisite for 276 the end I have in view. Self-vindication is not the motive which actuates me to make this appeal, and the spirit of accusation is unmingled with it; but when the conduct of my parents is brought forward in a disgraceful light, by the passages selected from Lord Byron's letters, and by the remarks of his biographer, I feel bound to justify their characters from imputations which I know to be false. The passages from Lord Byron's letters, to which I refer, are the aspersion on my mother's character (vol. iii. p. 206. last line):—'My child is very well, and flourishing, I hear; but I must see also. I feel no disposition to resign it to the contagian of its grandmother's society.' The assertion of her dishonourable conduct in employing a spy (vol. iii. p. 202. l. 20, &c.), 'A Mrs. C. (now a kind of housekeeper and spy of Lady N's), who, in her better days, was a washerwoman, is supposed to be—by the learned—very much the occult cause of our domestic discrepancies.' The seeming exculpation of myself, in the extract (vol. iii. p. 205.), with the words immediately following it,—'Her nearest relatives are a ——;' where the blank clearly implies something too offensive for publication. These passages tend to throw suspicion on my parents, and give reason to ascribe the separation either to their direct agency, or to that of 'officious spies' employed by them.[1] From the following part of the narrative (vol. iii. p. 198.) it must also be inferred that an undue influence was exercised by them for the accomplishment of this purpose. 'It was in a few weeks after the latter communication between us (Lord Byron and Mr. Moore), that Lady Byron adopted the determination of parting from him. She had left London at the latter end of January, on a visit to her father's house, in Leicestershire, and Lord Byron was in a short time to follow her. They had parted in the utmost kindness,—she wrote him a letter full of playfulness and affection, on the road; and immediately on her arrival at Kirkby Mallory, her father wrote to acquaint Lord Byron that she would return to him no more.' In my observations upon this statement, I shall, as far as possible, 277 avoid touching on any matters relating personally to Lord Byron and myself. The facts are:—I left London for Kirkby Mallory, the residence of my father and mother, on the 15th of January, 1816. Lord Byron had signified to me in writing (Jan. 6th) his absolute desire that I should leave London on the earliest day that I could conveniently fix. It was not safe for me to undertake the fatigue of a journey sooner than the 15th. Previously to my departure, it had been strongly impressed on my mind, that Lord Byron was under the influence of insanity. This opinion was derived in a great measure from the communications made to me by his nearest relatives and personal attendant, who had more opportunities than myself of observing him during the latter part of my stay in town. It was even represented to me that he was in danger of destroying himself. With the concurrence of his family, I had consulted Dr. Baillie, as a friend (Jan. 8th), respecting this supposed malady. On acquainting him with the state of the case, and with Lord Byron's desire that I should leave London, Dr. Baillie thought that my absence might be advisable as an experiment, assuming the fact of mental derangement; for Dr. Baillie, not having had access to Lord Byron, could not pronounce a positive opinion on that point. He enjoined, that in correspondence with Lord Byron, I should avoid all but light and soothing topics. Under these impressions, I left London, determined to follow the advice given by Dr. Baillie. Whatever might have been the nature of Lord Byron's conduct towards me from the time of my marriage, yet, supposing him to be in a state of mental alienation, it was not for me, nor for any person of common humanity, to manifest, at that moment, a sense of injury. On the day of my departure, and again on my arrival at Kirkby, Jan. 16th, I wrote to Lord Byron in a kind and cheerful tone, according to those medical directions. The last letter was circulated, and employed as a pretext for the charge of my having been subsequently influenced to 'desert[2]' my husband. It has been argued, that I parted from Lord Byron in perfect 278 harmony; that feelings, incompatible with any deep sense of injury, had dictated the letter which I addressed to him; and that my sentiments must have been changed by persuasion and interference, when I was under the roof of my parents. These assertions and inferences are wholly destitute of foundation. When I arrived at Kirkby Mallory, my parents were unacquainted with the existence of any causes likely to destroy my prospects of happiness; and when I communicated to them the opinion which had been formed concerning Lord Byron's state of mind, they were most anxious to promote his restoration by every means in their power. They assured those relations who were with him in London, that 'they would devote their whole care and attention to the alleviation of his malady,' and hoped to make the best arrangements for his comfort, if he could be induced to visit them. With these intentions, my mother wrote on the 17th to Lord Byron, inviting him to Kirkby Mallory. She had always treated him with an affectionate consideration and indulgence, which extended to every little peculiarity of his feelings. Never did an irritating word escape her lips in her whole intercourse with him. The accounts given me after I left Lord Byron by the persons in constant intercourse with him, added to those doubts which had before transiently occurred to my mind, as to the reality of the alleged disease, and the reports of his medical attendant, were far from establishing the existence of any thing like lunacy. Under this uncertainty, I deemed it right to communicate to my parents, that if I were to consider Lord Byron's past conduct as that of a person of sound mind, nothing could induce me to return to him. It therefore appeared expedient, both to them and myself, to consult the ablest advisers. For that object, and also to obtain still further information respecting the appearances which seemed to indicate mental derangement, my mother determined to go to London. She was empowered by me to take legal opinions on a written statement of mine, though I had then reasons for reserving a part of the case from the knowledge even of my father and mother. Being convinced by the result of these enquiries, and by the 279 tenor of Lord Byron's proceedings, that the notion of insanity was an illusion, I no longer hesitated to authorise such measures as were necessary, in order to secure me from being ever again placed in his power. Conformably with this resolution, my father wrote to him on the 2d of February, to propose an amicable separation. Lord Byron at first rejected this proposal; but when it was distinctly notified to him, that if he persisted in his refusal, recourse must be had to legal measures, he agreed to sign a deed of separation. Upon applying to Dr. Lushington, who was intimately acquainted with all the circumstances, to state in writing what he recollected upon this subject, I received from him the following letter, by which it will be manifest that my mother cannot have been actuated by any hostile or ungenerous motives towards Lord Byron.

[Footnote 1: "The officious spies of his privacy," vol. iii. p. 211.]

[Footnote 2: "The deserted husband," vol. iii. p. 212.]

"'My dear Lady Byron,

"'I can rely upon the accuracy of my memory for the following statement. I was originally consulted by Lady Noel on your behalf, whilst you were in the country; the circumstances detailed by her were such as justified a separation, but they were not of that aggravated description as to render such a measure indispensable. On Lady Noel's representation, I deemed a reconciliation with Lord Byron practicable, and felt most sincerely a wish to aid in effecting it. There was not on Lady Noel's part any exaggeration of the facts; nor, so far as I could perceive, any determination to prevent a return to Lord Byron: certainly none was expressed when I spoke of a reconciliation. When you came to town in about a fortnight, or perhaps more, after my first interview with Lady Noel, I was, for the first time, informed by you of facts utterly unknown, as I have no doubt, to Sir Ralph and Lady Noel. On receiving this additional information, my opinion was entirely changed: I considered a reconciliation impossible. I declared my opinion, and added, that if such an idea should be entertained, I could not, either professionally or otherwise, take any part towards effecting it. Believe me, very faithfully yours, STEPH. LUSHINGTON.

"'Great George-street, Jan. 31. 1830.'

280"I have only to observe, that if the statements on which my legal advisers (the late Sir Samuel Komilly and Dr. Lushington) formed their opinions were false, the responsibility and the odium should rest with me only. I trust that the facts which I have here briefly recapitulated will absolve my father and mother from all accusations with regard to the part they took in the separation between Lord Byron and myself. They neither originated, instigated, nor advised, that separation; and they cannot be condemned for having afforded to their daughter the assistance and protection which she claimed. There is no other near relative to vindicate their memory from insult. I am therefore compelled to break the silence which I had hoped always to observe, and to solicit from the readers of Lord Byron's life an impartial consideration of the testimony extorted from me.


"Hanger Hill, Feb. 19. 1830."


Referred to in vol. v. p. 129.

"Eight months after the publication of my 'Tour in the Levant,' there appeared in the London Magazine, and subsequently in most of the newspapers, a letter from the late Lord Byron to Mr. Murray.

"I naturally felt anxious at the time to meet a charge of error brought against me in so direct a manner: but I thought, and friends whom I consulted at the time thought with me, that I had better wait for a more favourable opportunity than that afforded by the newspapers of vindicating my opinion, which even so distinguished an authority as the letter of Lord Byron left unshaken, and which, I will venture to add, remains unshaken still.

"I must ever deplore that I resisted my first impulse to reply immediately. The hand of Death has snatched Lord 281 Byron from his kingdom of literature and poetry, and I can only guard myself from the illiberal imputation of attacking the mighty dead, whose living talent I should have trembled to encounter, by scrupulously confining myself to such facts and illustrations as are strictly necessary to save me from the charges of error, misrepresentation, and presumptuousness, of which every writer must wish to prove himself undeserving.

"Lord Byron began by stating, 'The tide was not in our favour,' and added, 'neither I nor any person on board the frigate had any notion of a difference of the current on the Asiatic side; I never heard of it till this moment.' His Lordship had probably forgotten that Strabo distinctly describes the difference in the following words;—

[Greek: 'Dio kai eupetesteron ek tês Sêstou diairousi parallaxamenoi mikron epi ton tês Hêrous purgon, kakeithen aphientes ta ploia sumprattontos tou rhou pros tên peraiôsin: Tois d' ex Abudou peraioumenois parallakteon estin eis tanantia, oktô pou stadious epi purgon tina kat' antikru tês Sêstou, epeita diairein plagion, kai mê teleôs echousin enantion ton rhoun.'—] Ideoque facilius a Sesto, trajiciunt paululum deflexâ navigatione ad Herus turrim, atque inde navigia dimittentes adjuvante etiam fluxu trajectum. Qui ab Abydo trajiciunt, in contrarium flectunt partem ad octo stadia ad turrim quandam e regione Sesti: hinc oblique trajiciunt, non prorsus contrario fluxu.'[1]

[Footnote 1: "Strabo, book xiii. Oxford Edition."]

"Here it is clearly asserted, that the current assists the crossing from Sestos, and the words [Greek: 'aphientes ta ploia']—'navigia dimittentes,'—'letting the vessels go of themselves,' prove how considerable the assistance of the current was; while the words [Greek: 'plagion']—'oblique,' and '[Greek: teleôs],'—'prorsus,' show distinctly that those who crossed from Abydos were obliged to do so in an oblique direction, or they would have the current entirely against them.

"From this ancient authority, which, I own, appears to me unanswerable, let us turn to the moderns. Baron de Tott, who, having been for some time resident on the spot, employed as an engineer in the construction of batteries, must be supposed 282 well cognisant of the subject, has expressed himself as follows:—

"'La surabondance des eaux que la Mer Noire reçoit, et qu'elle ne peut evaporer, versée dans la Méditerranée par le Bosphore de Thrace et La Propontide, forme aux Dardanelles des courans si violens, que souvent les batimens, toutes voiles dehors, out peine à les vaincre. Les pilotes doivent encore observer, lorsque le vent suffit, de diriger leur route de manière à présenter le moins de résistance possible à l'effort des eaux. On sent que cette étude a pour base la direction des courans, qui, renvoyés d'une points à l'autre, forment des obstacles à la navigation, et feroient courir les plus grands risques si l'on negligeoit ces connoissances hydrographiques.'—Mémoires de TOTT, 3^{me} Partie.

"To the above citations, I will add the opinion of Tournefort, who, in his description of the strait, expresses with ridicule his disbelief of the truth of Leander's exploit; and to show that the latest travellers agree with the earlier, I will conclude my quotation with a statement of Mr. Madden, who is just returned from the spot. 'It was from the European side Lord Byron swam with the current, which runs about four miles an hour. But I believe he would have found it totally impracticable to have crossed from Abydos to Europe.'—MADDEN'S Travels, vol. i.

"There are two other observations in Lord Byron's letter on which I feel it necessary to remark.

"'Mr. Turner says, "Whatever is thrown into the stream on this part of the European bank must arrive at the Asiatic shore." This is so far from being the case, that it must arrive in the Archipelago, if left to the current, although a strong wind from the Asiatic[1] side might have such an effect occasionally.'

[Footnote 1: "This is evidently a mistake of the writer or printer. His Lordship must here have meant a strong wind from the European side, as no wind from the Asiatic side could have the effect of driving an object to the Asiatic shore."

I think it right to remark, that it is Mr. Turner himself who has here originated the inaccuracy of which he accuses others; the words used by Lord Byron being, not, as Mr. Turner says, "from the Asiatic side," but "in the Asiatic direction."—T. M.]

283 "Here Lord Byron is right, and I have no hesitation in confessing that I was wrong. But I was wrong only in the letter of my remark, not in the spirit of it. Any thing thrown into the stream on the European bank would be swept into the Archipelago, because, after arriving so near the Asiatic-shore as to be almost, if not quite, within a man's depth, it would be again floated off from the coast by the current that is dashed from the Asiatic promontory. But this would not affect a swimmer, who, being so near the land, would of course, if he could not actually walk to it, reach it by a slight effort.

"Lord Byron adds, in his P.S. 'The strait is, however, not extraordinarily wide, even where it broadens above and below the forts.' From this statement I must venture to express my dissent, with diffidence indeed, but with diffidence diminished by the ease with which the fact may be established. The strait is widened so considerably above the forts by the Bay of Maytos, and the bay opposite to it on the Asiatic coast, that the distance to be passed by a swimmer in crossing higher up would be, in my poor judgment, too great for any one to accomplish from Asia to Europe, having such a current to stem.

"I conclude by expressing it as my humble opinion that no one is bound to believe in the possibility of Leander's exploit, till the passage has been performed by a swimmer, at least from Asia to Europe. The sceptic is even entitled to exact, as the condition of his belief, that the strait be crossed, as Leander crossed it, both ways within at most fourteen hours.



Referred to in vol. vi. p. 209.

As the account given by Mr. Millingen of this consultation differs totally from that of Dr. Bruno, it is fit that the reader should have it in Mr. Millingen's own words:— 284

"In the morning (18th) a consultation was proposed, to which Dr. Lucca Vega and Dr. Freiber, my assistants, were invited. Dr. Bruno and Lucca proposed having recourse to antispasmodics and other remedies employed in the last stage of typhus. Freiber and I maintained that they could only hasten the fatal termination, that nothing could be more empirical than flying from one extreme to the other; that if, as we all thought, the complaint was owing to the metastasis of rheumatic inflammation, the existing symptoms only depended on the rapid and extensive progress it had made in an organ previously so weakened and irritable. Antiphlogistic means could never prove hurtful in this case; they would become useless only if disorganisation were already operated; but then, since all hopes were gone, what means would not prove superfluous? We recommended the application of numerous leeches to the temples, behind the ears, and along the course of the jugular vein; a large blister between the shoulders, and sinapisms to the feet, as affording, though feeble, yet the last hopes of success. Dr. B., being the patient's physician, had the casting vote, and prepared the antispasmodic potion which Dr. Lucca and he had agreed upon; it was a strong infusion of valerian and ether, &c. After its administration, the convulsive movement, the delirium increased; but, notwithstanding my representations, a second dose was given half an hour after. After articulating confusedly a few broken phrases, the patient sunk shortly after into a comatose sleep, which the next day terminated in death. He expired on the 19th of April, at six o'clock in the afternoon."


Extracted from the Registry of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

This is the last will and testament of me, George Gordon, Lord Byron, Baron Byron, of Rochdale, in the county of Lancaster, as follows:—I give and devise all that my manor 285 or lordship of Rochdale, in the said county of Lancaster, with all its rights, royalties, members, and appurtenances, and all my lands, tenements, hereditaments, and premises situate, lying, and being within the parish, manor, or lordship of Rochdale aforesaid, and all other my estates, lands, hereditaments, and premises whatsoever and wheresoever, unto my friends John Cam Hobhouse, late of Trinity College, Cambridge, Esquire, and John Hanson, of Chancery-lane, London, Esquire, to the use and behoof of them, their heirs and assigns, upon trust that they the said John Cam Hobhouse and John Hanson, and the survivor of them, and the heirs and assigns of such survivor, do and shall, as soon as conveniently may be after my decease, sell and dispose of all my said manor and estates for the most money that can or may be had or gotten for the same, either by private contract or public sale by auction, and either together or in lots, as my said trustees shall think proper; and for the facilitating such sale and sales, I do direct that the receipt and receipts of my said trustees, and the survivor of them, and the heirs and assigns of such survivor, shall be a good and sufficient discharge, and good and sufficient discharges to the purchaser or purchasers of my said estates, or any part or parts thereof, for so much money as in such receipt or receipts shall be expressed or acknowledged to be received; and that such purchaser or purchasers, his, her, or their heirs and assigns, shall not afterwards be in any manner answerable or accountable for such purchase-monies, or be obliged to see to the application thereof: And I do will and direct that my said trustees shall stand possessed of the monies to arise by the sale of my said estates upon such trusts and for such intents and purposes as I have hereinafter directed of and concerning the same: And whereas I have by certain deeds of conveyance made on my marriage with my present wife conveyed all my manor and estate of Newstead, in the parishes of Newstead and Limby, in the county of Nottingham, unto trustees, upon trust to sell the same, and apply the sum of sixty thousand pounds, part of the money to arise by such sale; upon the trusts of my marriage settlement: Now I do hereby 286 give and bequeath all the remainder of the purchase-money to arise by sale of my said estate at Newstead, and all the whole of the said sixty thousand pounds, or such part thereof as shall not become vested and payable under the trusts of my said marriage settlement, unto the said John Cam Hobhouse and John Hanson, their executors, administrators, and assigns, upon such trusts and for such ends, intents, and purposes as hereinafter directed of and concerning the residue of my personal estate. I give and bequeath unto the said John Cam Hobhouse and John Hanson, the sum of one thousand pounds each, I give and bequeath all the rest, residue, and remainder of my personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever unto the said John Cam Hobhouse and John Hanson, their executors, administrators, and assigns, upon trust that they, my said trustees and the survivor of them, and the executors and administrators of such survivor, do and shall stand possessed of all such rest and residue of my said personal estate and the money to arise by sale of my real estates hereinbefore devised to them for sale, and such of the monies to arise by sale of my said estate at Newstead as I have power to dispose of, after payment of my debts and legacies hereby given, upon the trusts and for the ends, intents, and purposes hereinafter mentioned and directed of and concerning the same, that is to say, upon trust, that they my said trustees and the survivor of them, and the executors and administrators of such survivor, do and shall lay out and invest the same in the public stocks or funds, or upon government or real security at interest, with power from time to time to change, vary, and transpose such securities, and from time to time during the life of my sister Augusta Mary Leigh, the wife of George Leigh, Esquire, pay, receive, apply, and dispose of the interest, dividends, and annual produce thereof, when and as the same shall become due and payable, into the proper hands of the said Augusta Mary Leigh, to and for her sole and separate use and benefit, free from the control, debts, or engagements of her present or any future husband, or unto such person or persons as she my said sister shall from time to time, by any writing under her hand, notwithstanding her 287 present or any future coverture, and whether covert or sole, direct or appoint; and from and immediately after the decease of my said sister, then upon trust, that they my said trustees and the survivor of them, his executors or administrators, do and shall assign and transfer all my said personal estate and other the trust property hereinbefore mentioned, or the stocks, funds, or securities wherein or upon which the same shall or may be placed out or invested, unto and among all and every the child and children of my said sister, if more than one, in such parts, shares, and proportions, and to become a vested interest, and to be paid and transferred at such time and times, and in such manner, and with, under, and subject to such provisions, conditions, and restrictions, as my said sister, at any time during her life, whether covert or sole, by any deed or deeds, instrument or instruments, in writing, with or without power of revocation, to be sealed and delivered in the presence of two or more credible witnesses, or by her last will and testament in writing, or any writing of appointment in the nature of a will, shall direct or appoint; and in default of any such appointment, or in case of the death of my said sister in my lifetime, then upon trust that they my said trustees and the survivor of them, his executors, administrators, and assigns, do and shall assign and transfer all the trust, property, and funds unto and among the children of my said sister, if more than one, equally to be divided between them, share and share alike, and if only one such child, then to such only child the share and shares of such of them as shall be a son or sons, to be paid and transferred unto him and them when and as he or they shall respectively attain his or their age or ages of twenty-one years; and the share and shares of such of them as shall be a daughter or daughters, to be paid and transferred unto her or them when and as she or they shall respectively attain her or their age or ages of twenty-one years, or be married, which shall first happen; and in case any of such children shall happen to die, being a son or sons, before he or they shall attain the age of twenty-one years, or being a daughter or daughters, before she or they shall attain the said age of 288 twenty-one, or be married; then it is my will and I do direct that the share and shares of such of the said children as shall so die shall go to the survivor or survivors of such children, with the benefit of further accruer in case of the death of any such surviving children before their shares shall become vested. And I do direct that my said trustees shall pay and apply the interest and dividends of each of the said children's shares in the said trust funds for his, her, or their maintenance and education during their minorities, notwithstanding their shares may not become vested interests, but that such interest and dividends as shall not have been so applied shall accumulate, and follow, and go over with the principal. And I do nominate, constitute, and appoint the said John Cam Hobhouse and John Hanson executors of this my will. And I do will and direct that my said trustees shall not be answerable the one of them for the other of them, or for the acts, deeds, receipts, or defaults of the other of them, but each of them for his own acts, deeds, receipts, and wilful defaults only, and that they my said trustees shall be entitled to retain and deduct out of the monies which shall come to their hands under the trusts aforesaid all such costs, charges, damages, and expenses which they or any of them shall bear, pay, sustain, or be put unto, in the execution and performance of the trusts herein reposed in them. I make the above provision for my sister and her children, in consequence of my dear wife Lady Byron, and any children I may have, being otherwise amply provided for; and, lastly, I do revoke all former wills by me at any time heretofore made, and do declare this only to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof, I have to this my last will, contained in three sheets of paper, set my hand to the first two sheets thereof, and to this third and last sheet my hand and seal this 29th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1815.


Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the said Lord Byron, the testator, as and for his last will and testament, in the presence of us, who, at his request, in his presence, and in 289 the presence of each other, have hereto subscribed our names as witnesses.




Clerks to Mr. Hanson, Chancery-lane.

CODICIL.—This is a Codicil to the last will and testament of me, the Right Honourable George Gordon, Lord Byron. I give and bequeath unto Allegra Biron, an infant of about twenty months old, by me brought up, and now residing at Venice, the sum of five thousand pounds, which I direct the executors of my said will to pay to her on her attaining the age of twenty-one years, or on the day of her marriage, on condition that she does not marry with a native of Great Britain, which shall first happen. And I direct my said executors, as soon as conveniently may be after my decease, to invest the said sum of five thousand pounds upon government or real security, and to pay and apply the annual income thereof in or towards the maintenance and education of the said Allegra Biron until she attains her said age of twenty-one years, or shall be married as aforesaid; but in case she shall die before attaining the said age and without having been married, then I direct the said sum of five thousand pounds to become part of the residue of my personal estate, and in all other respects I do confirm my said will, and declare this to be a codicil thereto. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, at Venice, this 17th day of November, in the year of our Lord 1818,


Signed, sealed, published, and declared by the said Lord Byron, as and for a codicil to his will, in the presence of us, who, in his presence, at his request, and in the presence of each other, have subscribed our names as witnesses.



290 Proved at London (with a Codicil), 6th of July, 1824, before the Worshipful Stephen Lushington, Doctor of Laws, and surrogate, by the oaths of John Cam Hobhouse and John Hanson, Esquires, the executors, to whom administration was granted, having been first sworn duly to administer.




Deputy Registrars.






2 Vols. 1807.[1]

[Footnote 1: I have been a reviewer. In 1807, in a Magazine called "Monthly Literary Recreations," I reviewed Wordsworth's trash of that time. In the Monthly Review I wrote some articles which were inserted. This was in the latter part of 1811.—BYRON.]

(From "Monthly Literary Recreations," for August, 1807.)

The volumes before us are by the author of Lyrical Ballads, a collection which has not undeservedly met with a considerable share of public applause. The characteristics of Mr. W.'s muse are simple and flowing, though occasionally inharmonious verse, strong, and sometimes irresistible appeals to the feelings, with unexceptionable sentiments. Though the present work may not equal his former efforts, many of the poems possess a native elegance, natural and unaffected, totally devoid of the tinsel embellishments and abstract hyperboles of several contemporary sonneteers. The last sonnet in the first volume, p. 152., is perhaps the best, without any novelty in the sentiments, which we hope are common to every Briton at the present crisis; the force and expression is that of a genuine poet, feeling as he writes:—

"Another year! another deadly blow!

Another mighty empire overthrown!

And we are left, or shall be left, alone—

The last that dares to struggle with the foe.

'Tis well!—from this day forward we shall know

That in ourselves our safety must be sought,

That by our own right-hands it must be wrought;

That we must stand unprop'd, or be laid low.

O dastard! whom such foretaste doth not cheer!

We shall exult, if they who rule the land


Be men who hold its many blessings dear,

Wise, upright, valiant, not a venal band,

Who are to judge of danger which they fear,

And honour which they do not understand."

The song at the Feast of Brougham Castle, the Seven Sisters, the Affliction of Margaret —— of ——, possess all the beauties, and few of the defects, of this writer: the following lines from the last are in his first style:—

"Ah! little doth the young one dream

When full of play and childish cares,

What power hath e'en his wildest scream,

Heard by his mother unawares:

He knows it not, he cannot guess:

Years to a mother bring distress,

But do not make her love the less."

The pieces least worthy of the author are those entitled "Moods of my own Mind." We certainly wish these "Moods" had been less frequent, or not permitted to occupy a place near works which only make their deformity more obvious; when Mr. W. ceases to please, it is by "abandoning" his mind to the most commonplace ideas, at the same time clothing them in language not simple, but puerile. What will any reader or auditor, out of the nursery, say to such namby-pamby as "Lines written at the Foot of Brother's Bridge?"

"The cock is crowing,

The stream is flowing,

The small birds twitter,

The lake doth glitter.

The green field sleeps in the sun;

The oldest and youngest,

Are at work with the strongest;

The cattle are grazing,

Their heads never raising,

There are forty feeding like one.

Like an army defeated,

The snow hath retreated,

And now doth fare ill,

On the top of the bare hill."

295 "The plough-boy is whooping anon, anon," &c. &c. is in the same exquisite measure. This appears to us neither more nor less than an imitation of such minstrelsy as soothed our cries in the cradle, with the shrill ditty of

"Hey de diddle,

The cat and the fiddle:

The cow jump'd over the moon,

The little dog laugh'd to see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the spoon."

On the whole, however, with the exception of the above, and other INNOCENT odes of the same cast, we think these volumes display a genius worthy of higher pursuits, and regret that Mr. W. confines his muse to such trifling subjects. We trust his motto will be in future, "Paulo majora canamus." Many, with inferior abilities, have acquired a loftier seat on Parnassus, merely by attempting strains in which Mr. Wordsworth is more qualified to excel.[1]

[Footnote 1: This first attempt of Lord Byron at reviewing is remarkable only as showing how plausibly he could assume the established tone and phraseology of these minor judgment-seats of criticism. If Mr. Wordsworth ever chanced to cast his eye over this article, how little could he have expected that under that dull prosaic mask lurked one who, in five short years from thence, would rival even him in poetry!—MOORE.]


(From the "Monthly Review" for August, 1811.)

That laudable curiosity concerning the remains of classical antiquity, which has of late years increased among our countrymen, is in no traveller or author more conspicuous than in Mr. Gell. Whatever difference of opinion may yet exist with regard to the success of the several disputants in the famous Trojan controversy[1], or, indeed, relating to the present author's merits as an inspector of the Troad, it must universally be acknowledged that any work, which more forcibly impresses on our imaginations the scenes of heroic action, and the subjects of immortal song, possesses claims on the attention of every scholar.

[Footnote 1: We have it from the best authority that the venerable leader of the Anti-Homeric sect, Jacob Bryant, several years before his death, expressed regret for his ungrateful attempt to destroy some of the most pleasing associations of our youthful studies. One of his last wishes was—"Trojaque nunc stares," &c.]

Of the two works which now demand our report, we conceive the former to be by far the most interesting to the reader, as the latter is indisputably the most serviceable to the traveller. Excepting, indeed, the running commentary which it contains on a number of extracts from Pausanias and Strabo, it is, as the title imports, a mere itinerary of Greece, or rather of Argolis only, in its present circumstances. This being the case, surely it would have answered every purpose of utility much better by being printed as a pocket road-book of that part of the Morea; for a quarto is a very unmanageable travelling companion. The maps[1] and 297 drawings, we shall be told, would not permit such an arrangement: but as to the drawings, they are not in general to be admired as specimens of the art; and several of them, as we have been assured by eye-witnesses of the scenes which they describe, do not compensate for their mediocrity in point of execution, by any extraordinary fidelity of representation. Others, indeed, are more faithful, according to our informants. The true reason, however, for this costly mode of publication is in course to be found in a desire of gratifying the public passion for large margins, and all the luxury of typography; and we have before expressed our dissatisfaction with Mr. Gell's aristocratical mode of communicating a species of knowledge, which ought to be accessible to a much greater portion of classical students than can at present acquire it by his means:—but, as such expostulations are generally useless, we shall be thankful for what we can obtain, and that in the manner in which Mr. Gell has chosen to present it.

[Footnote 1: Or, rather, Map; for we have only one in the volume, and that is on too small a scale to give more than a general idea of the relative position of places. The excuse about a larger map not folding well is trifling; see, for instance, the author's own map of Ithaca.]

The former of these volumes, we have observed, is the most attractive in the closet. It comprehends a very full survey of the far-famed island which the hero of the Odyssey has immortalized; for we really are inclined to think that the author has established the identity of the modern Theaki with the Ithaca of Homer. At all events, if it be an illusion, it is a very agreeable deception, and is effected by an ingenious interpretation of the passages in Homer that are supposed to be descriptive of the scenes which our traveller has visited. We shall extract some of these adaptations of the ancient picture to the modern scene, marking the points of resemblance which appear to be strained and forced, as well as those which are more easy and natural: but we must first insert some preliminary matter from the opening chapter. 298

The following passage conveys a sort of general sketch of the book, which may give our readers a tolerably adequate notion of its contents:—

"The present work may adduce, by a simple and correct survey of the island, coincidences in its geography, in its natural productions, and moral state, before unnoticed. Some will be directly pointed out; the fancy or ingenuity of the reader may be employed in tracing others; the mind familiar with the imagery of the Odyssey will recognise with satisfaction the scenes themselves; and this volume is offered to the public, not entirely without hopes of vindicating the poem of Homer from the scepticism of those critics who imagine that the Odyssey is a mere poetical composition, unsupported by history, and unconnected with the localities of any particular situation.

"Some have asserted that, in the comparison of places now existing with the descriptions of Homer, we ought not to expect coincidence in minute details; yet it seems only by these that the kingdom of Ulysses, or any other, can be identified, as, if such as idea be admitted, every small and rocky island in the Ionian Sea, containing a good port, might, with equal plausibility, assume the appellation of Ithaca.

"The Venetian geographers have in a great degree contributed to raise those doubts which have existed on the identity of the modern with the ancient Ithaca, by giving, in their charts, the name of Val di Compare to the island. That name is, however, totally unknown in the country, where the isle is invariably called Ithaca by the upper ranks, and Theaki by the vulgar. The Venetians have equally corrupted the name of almost every place in Greece; yet, as the natives of Epactos or Naupactos never heard of Lepanto, those of Zacynthos of Zante, or the Athenians of Settines, it would be as unfair to rob Ithaca of its name, on such authority, as it would be to assert that no such island existed, because no tolerable representation of its form can be found in the Venetian surveys.

"The rare medals of the Island, of which three are represented in the title-page, might be adduced as a proof that the name of Ithaca was not lost during the reigns of the Roman emperors. They have the head of Ulysses, recognised by the pileum, or pointed cap, while the reverse of one presents the figure of a cock, the emblem of his vigilance, with the legend [Greek: ITHAKON]. A few of these medals are preserved in the cabinets of the curious, and one also, with the cock, found in the island, is in the possession of Signor Zavo, of Bathi. The uppermost 299 coin is in the collection of Dr. Hunter; the second is copied from Newman, and the third is the property of R.P. Knight, Esq.

"Several inscriptions, which will be hereafter produced, will tend to the confirmation of the idea that Ithaca was inhabited about the time when the Romans were masters of Greece; yet there is every reason to believe that few, if any, of the present proprietors of the soil are descended from ancestors who had long resided successively in the island. Even those who lived, at the time of Ulysses, in Ithaca, seem to have been on the point of emigrating to Argos, and no chief remained, after the second in descent from that hero, worthy of being recorded in history. It appears that the isle has been twice colonised from Cephalonia in modern times, and I was informed that a grant had been made by the Venetians, entitling each settler in Ithaca to as much land as his circumstances would enable him to cultivate."

Mr. Gell then proceeds to invalidate the authority of previous writers on the subject of Ithaca. Sir George Wheeler and M. le Chevalier fall under his severe animadversion; and, indeed, according to his account, neither of these gentlemen had visited the island, and the description of the latter is "absolutely too absurd for refutation." In another place, he speaks of M. le C. "disgracing a work of such merit by the introduction of such fabrications;" again, of the inaccuracy of the author's maps; and, lastly, of his inserting an island at the southern entry of the Channel between Cephalonia and Ithaca, which has no existence. This observation very nearly approaches to the use of that monosyllable which Gibbon[1], without expressing it, so adroitly applied to some assertion of his antagonist, Mr. Davies. In truth, our traveller's words are rather bitter towards his brother tourist: but we must conclude that their justice warrants their severity.

[Footnote 1: See his Vindication of the 15th and 16th chapters of the Decline and Fall, &c.]

In the second chapter, the author describes his landing in Ithaca, and arrival at the rock Korax and the fountain Arethusa, as he designates it with sufficient positiveness.—This 300 rock, now known by the name of Korax, or Koraka Petra, he contends to be the same with that which Homer mentions as contiguous to the habitation of Eumæus, the faithful swine-herd of Ulysses.—We shall take the liberty of adding to our extracts from Mr. Gell some of the passages in Homer to which he refers only, conceiving this to be the fairest method of exhibiting the strength or the weakness of his argument. "Ulysses," he observes, "came to the extremity of the isle to visit Eumusæ, and that extremity was the most southern; for Telemachus, coming from Pylos, touched at the first south-eastern part of Ithaca with the same intention."


Kai tote dê r' Odusêa kakos pothen êgage daimôn

Agrou ep' eschatiên, hothi domata naie subôtês;

Enth' êlthen philos uios Odussêos theioio,

Ek Pulou êmathoenios iôn sun nêi melainê;

Odussei O.

Autar epên prôtên aktên Ithakês aphikêai,

Nêa men es polin otrunai kai panlas hetairous;

Autos de prôtisa subôtên eisaphikesthai,

k.t.l. Odussei O.]

These citations, we think, appear to justify the author in his attempt to identify the situation of his rock and fountain with the place of those mentioned by Homer. But let us now follow him in the closer description of the scene.—After some account of the subjects in the plate affixed, Mr. Gell remarks: "It is impossible to visit this sequestered spot without being struck with the recollection of the Fount of Arethusa and the Rock Korax, which the poet mentions in the same line, adding, that there the swine eat the sweet[1] acorns, and drank the black water."

[Footnote 1: "Sweet acorns." Does Mr. Gell translate from the Latin? To avoid similar cause of mistake, [Greek: menoeikea] should not be rendered suavem but gratam, as Barnes has given it.]


Dêeis ton ge suessi parêmenon; ai de nemontai

Par Korakos petrê, epi te krênê Arethousê,

Esthousai balanon menoeikea, kai melan hudôr


Odussei N.]

301 "Having passed some time at the fountain, taken a drawing, and made the necessary observations on the situation of the place, we proceeded to an examination of the precipice, climbing over the terraces above the source, among shady fig-trees, which, however, did not prevent us from feeling the powerful effects of the mid-day sun. After a short but fatiguing ascent, we arrived at the rock, which extends in a vast perpendicular semicircle, beautifully fringed with trees, facing to the southeast. Under the crag we found two caves of inconsiderable extent, the entrance of one of which, not difficult of access, is seen in the view of the fount. They are still the resort of sheep and goats, and in one of them are small natural receptacles for the water, covered by a stalagmitic incrustation.

"These caves, being at the extremity of the curve formed by the precipice, open toward the south, and present us with another accompaniment of the fount of Arethusa, mentioned by the poet, who informs us that the swineherd Eumæus left his guests in the house, whilst he, putting on a thick garment, went to sleep near the herd, under the hollow of the rock, which sheltered him from the northern blast. Now we know that the herd fed near the fount; for Minerva tells Ulysses that he is to go first to Eumæus, whom he should find with the swine, near the rock Korax and the fount of Arethusa. As the swine then fed at the fountain, so it is necessary that a cavern should be found in its vicinity; and this seems to coincide, in distance and situation, with that of the poem. Near the fount also was the fold or stathmos of Eumæus; for the goddess informs Ulysses that he should find his faithful servant at or above the fount.

"Now the hero meets the swineherd close to the fold, which was consequently very near that source. At the top of the rock, and just above the spot where the waterfall shoots down the precipice, is at this day a stagni or pastoral dwelling, which the herdsmen of Ithaca still inhabit, on account of the water necessary for their cattle. One of these people walked on the verge of the precipice at the time of our visit to the place, and seemed so anxious to know how we had been conveyed to the spot, that his enquiries reminded us of a question probably not uncommon in the days of Homer, who more than once represents the Ithacences demanding of strangers what ship had brought them to the island, it being evident they could not come on foot. He told us that there was, on the summit where he stood, a small cistern of water, and a kalybea, or shepherd's hut. There are also vestiges of ancient habitations, and the place is now called Amarâthia. 302

"Convenience, as well as safety, seems to have pointed out the lofty situation of Amarathia as a fit place for the residence of the herdsmen of this part of the island from the earliest ages. A small source of water is a treasure in these climates; and if the inhabitants of Ithaca now select a rugged and elevated spot, to secure them from the robbers of the Echinades, it is to be recollected that the Taphian pirates were not less formidable, even in the days of Ulysses, and that a residence in a solitary part of the island, far from the fortress, and close to a celebrated fountain, must at all times have been dangerous, without some such security as the rocks of Korax. Indeed, there can be no doubt that the house of Eumæus was on the top of the precipice; for Ulysses, in order to evince the truth of his story to the swineherd, desires to be thrown from the summit if his narration does not prove correct.

"Near the bottom of the precipice is a curious natural gallery, about seven feet high, which is expressed in the plate. It may be fairly presumed, from the very remarkable coincidence between this place and the Homeric account, that this was the scene designated by the poet as the fountain of Arethusa, and the residence of Eumæus; and, perhaps, it would be impossible to find another spot which bears, at this day, so strong a resemblance to a poetic description composed at a period so very remote. There is no other fountain in this part of the island, nor any rock which bears the slightest resemblance to the Korax of Homer.

"The stathmos of the good Eumæus appears to have been little different, either in use or construction, from the stagni and kalybea of the present day. The poet expressly mentions that other herdsmen drove their flocks into the city at sunset,—a custom which still prevails throughout Greece during the winter, and that was the season in which Ulysses visited Eumæus. Yet Homer accounts for this deviation from the prevailing custom, by observing that he had retired from the city to avoid the suitors of Penelope. These trifling occurrences afford a strong presumption that the Ithaca of Homer was something more than the creature of his own fancy, as some have supposed it; for though the grand outline of a fable may be easily imagined, yet the consistent adaptation of minute incidents to a long and elaborate falsehood is a task of the most arduous and complicated nature."

After this long extract, by which we have endeavoured to do justice to Mr. Gell's argument, we cannot allow room for any farther quotations of such extent; and we 303 must offer a brief and imperfect analysis of the remainder of the work.

In the third chapter, the traveller arrives at the capital, and in the fourth, he describes it in an agreeable manner. We select his account of the mode of celebrating a Christian festival in the Greek church:—

"We were present at the celebration of the feast of the Ascension, when the citizens appeared in their gayest dresses, and saluted each other in the streets with demonstrations of pleasure. As we sate at breakfast in the house of Zignor Zavo, we were suddenly roused by the discharge of a gun, succeeded by a tremendous crash of pottery, which fell on the tiles, steps, and pavements, in every direction. The bells of the numerous churches commenced a most discordant jingle; colours were hoisted on every mast in the port, and a general shout of joy announced some great event. Our host informed us that the feast of the Ascension was annually commemorated in this manner at Bathi, the populace exclaiming [Greek: anesê o Chrisos, alêthinos o Theos,] Christ is risen, the true God."

In another passage, he continues this account as follows:—"In the evening of the festival, the inhabitants danced before their houses; and at one we saw the figure which is said to have been first used by the youths and virgins of Delos, at the happy return of Theseus from the expedition of the Cretan Labyrinth. It has now lost much of that intricacy which was supposed to allude to the windings of the habitation of the Minotaur," &c. &c. This is rather too much for even the inflexible gravity of our censorial muscles. When the author talks, with all the reality (if we may use the expression) of a Lempriere, on the stories of the fabulous ages, we cannot refrain from indulging a momentary smile; nor can we seriously accompany him in the learned architectural detail by which he endeavours to give us, from the Odyssey, the ground-plot of the house of Ulysses.—of which he actually offers a plan in drawing! "showing how the description of the house of Ulysses in the Odyssey may be supposed to correspond with the foundations yet visible on the hill of Aito!"—Oh, 304 Foote! Foote! why are you lost to such inviting subjects for your ludicrous pencil!—In his account of this celebrated mansion, Mr. Gell says, one side of the court seems to have been occupied by the Thalamos, or sleeping apartments of the men, &c. &c.; and, in confirmation of this hypothesis, he refers to the 10th Odyssey, line 340. On examining his reference, we read,

[Greek: Es thalamon t ienai, kai sês epibêmenai eunês.]

where Ulysses records an invitation which he received from Circe to take a part of her bed. How this illustrates the above conjecture, we are at a loss to divine: but we suppose that some numerical error has occurred in the reference, as we have detected a trifling mistake or two of the same nature.

Mr. G. labours hard to identify the cave of Dexia near Bathi (the capital of the island), with the grotto of the Nymphs described in the 13th Odyssey. We are disposed to grant that he has succeeded: but we cannot here enter into the proofs by which he supports his opinion; and we can only extract one of the concluding sentences of the chapter, which appears to us candid and judicious:—

"Whatever opinion may be formed as to the identity of the cave of Dexia with the grotto of the Nymphs, it is fair to state, that Strabo positively asserts that no such cave as that described by Homer existed in his time, and that geographer thought it better to assign a physical change, rather than ignorance in Homer, to account for a difference which he imagined to exist between the Ithaca of his time and that of the poet. But Strabo, who was an uncommonly accurate observer with respect to countries surveyed by himself, appears to have been wretchedly misled by his informers on many occasions.

"That Strabo had never visited this country is evident, not only from his inaccurate account of it, but from his citation of Appollodorus and Scepsius, whose relations are in direct opposition to each other on the subject of Ithaca, as will be demonstrated on a future opportunity."

We must, however, observe that "demonstration" is 305 a strong term.—In his description of the Leucadian Promontory (of which we have a pleasing representation in the plate), the author remarks that it is "celebrated for the leap of Sappho, and the death of Artemisia." From this variety in the expression, a reader would hardly conceive that both the ladies perished in the same manner: in fact, the sentence is as proper as it would be to talk of the decapitation of Russell, and the death of Sidney. The view from this promontory includes the island of Corfu; and the name suggests to Mr. Gell the following note, which, though rather irrelevant, is of a curious nature, and we therefore conclude our citations by transcribing it:—

"It has been generally supposed that Corfu, or Corcyra, was the Phæacia of Homer; but Sir Henry Englefield thinks the position of that island inconsistent with the voyage of Ulysses as described in the Odyssey. That gentleman has also observed a number of such remarkable coincidences between the courts of Alcinous and Solomon, that they may be thought curious and interesting. Homer was familiar with the names of Tyre, Sidon, and Egypt; and, as he lived about the time of Solomon, it would not have been extraordinary if he had introduced some account of the magnificence of that prince into his poem. As Solomon was famous for wisdom, so the name of Alcinous signifies strength of knowledge; as the gardens of Solomon were celebrated, so are those of Alcinous (Od. 7.112.); as the kingdom of Solomon was distinguished by twelve tribes under twelve princes (1 Kings, ch. 4.), so that of Alcinous (Od. 8. 390.) was ruled by an equal number; as the throne of Solomon was supported by lions of gold (1 Kings, ch. 10.), so that of Alcinous was placed on dogs of silver and gold (Od, 7. 91.); as the fleets of Solomon were famous, so were those of Alcinous. It is perhaps worthy of remark, that Neptune sate on the mountains of the SOLYMI, as he returned from Æthiopia to Ægæ, while he raised the tempest which threw Ulysses on the coast of Phæacia; and that the Solymi of Pamphylia are very considerably distant from the route.—The suspicious character, also, which Nausicaa attributes to her countryman agrees precisely with that which the Greeks and Romans gave of the Jews."

The seventh chapter contains a description of the Monastery of Kathara, and several adjacent places. The 306 eighth, among other curiosities, fixes on an imaginary site for the Farm of Laertes: but this is the agony of conjecture indeed!—and the ninth chapter mentions another Monastery, and a rock still called the School of Homer. Some sepulchral inscriptions of a very simple nature are included.—The tenth and last chapter brings us round to the Port of Schoenus, near Bathi; after we have completed, seemingly in a very minute and accurate manner, the tour of the island.

We can certainly recommend a perusal of this volume to every lover of classical scene and story. If we may indulge the pleasing belief that Homer sang of a real kingdom, and that Ulysses governed it, though we discern many feeble links in Mr. Gell's chain of evidence, we are on the whole induced to fancy that this is the Ithaca of the bard and of the monarch. At all events, Mr. Gell has enabled every future traveller to form a clearer judgment on the question than he could have established without such a "Vade-mecum to Ithaca," or a "Have with you, to the House of Ulysses," as the present. With Homer in his pocket, and Gell on his sumpter-horse or mule, the Odyssean tourist may now make a very classical and delightful excursion; and we doubt not that the advantages accruing to the Ithacences, from the increased number of travellers who will visit them in consequence of Mr. Gell's account of their country, will induce them to confer on that gentleman any heraldic honours which they may have to bestow, should he ever look in upon them again.—Baron Bathi would be a pretty title:—

"Hoc Ithacus velit, et magno mercentur Atridæ."—Virgil.

For ourselves, we confess that all our old Grecian feelings would be alive on approaching the fountain of Melainudros, where, as the tradition runs, or as the priests relate, Homer was restored to sight.

We now come to the "Grecian Patterson," or "Cary," which Mr. Gell has begun to publish; and 307 really he has carried the epic rule of concealing the person of the author to as great a length as either of the above-mentioned heroes of itinerary writ. We hear nothing of his "hair-breadth 'scapes" by sea or land; and we do not even know, for the greater part of his journey through Argolis, whether he relates what he has seen or what he has heard. Prom other parts of the book, we find the former to be the case: but, though there have been tourists and "strangers" in other countries, who have kindly permitted their readers to learn rather too much of their sweet selves, yet it is possible to carry delicacy, or cautious silence, or whatever it may be called, to the contrary extreme. We think that Mr. Gell has fallen into this error, so opposite to that of his numerous brethren. It is offensive, indeed, to be told what a man has eaten for dinner, or how pathetic he was on certain occasions; but we like to know that there is a being yet living who describes the scenes to which he introduces us; and that it is not a mere translation from Strabo or Pausanias which we are reading, or a commentary on those authors. This reflection leads us to the concluding remark in Mr. Gell's preface (by much the most interesting part of his book) to his Itinerary of Greece, in which he thus expresses himself:—

"The confusion of the modern with the ancient names of places in this volume is absolutely unavoidable; they are, however, mentioned in such a manner, that the reader will soon be accustomed to the indiscriminate use of them. The necessity of applying the ancient appellations to the different routes, will be evident from the total ignorance of the public on the subject of the modern names, which, having never appeared in print, are only known to the few individuals who have visited the country.

"What could appear less intelligible to the reader, or less useful to the traveller, than a route from Chione and Zaracca to Kutchukmadi, from thence to Krabata to Schoenochorio, and by the mills of Peali, while every one is in some degree acquainted with the names of Stymphalus, Nemea, Mycenæ, Lyrceia, Lerna, and Tegea?"

308 Although this may be very true inasmuch as it relates to the reader, yet to the traveller we must observe, in opposition to Mr. Gell, that nothing can be less useful than the designation of his route according to the ancient names. We might as well, and with as much chance of arriving at the place of our destination, talk to a Hounslow post-boy about making haste to Augusta, as apply to our Turkish guide in modern Greece for a direction to Stymphalus, Nemea, Mycenæ, &c. &c. This is neither more nor less than classical affectation; and it renders Mr. Gell's book of much more confined use than it would otherwise have been:—but we have some other and more important remarks to make on his general directions to Grecian tourists; and we beg leave to assure our readers that they are derived from travellers who have lately visited Greece. In the first place, Mr. Gell is absolutely incautious enough to recommend an interference on the part of English travellers with the Minister at the Porte, in behalf of the Greeks. "The folly of such neglect (page 16. preface,) in many instances, where the emancipation of a district might often be obtained by the present of a snuff-box or a watch, at Constantinople, and without the smallest danger of exciting the jealousy of such a court as that of Turkey, will be acknowledged when we are no longer able to rectify the error." We have every reason to believe, on the contrary, that the folly of half a dozen travellers, taking this advice, might bring us into a war. "Never interfere with any thing of the kind," is a much sounder and more political suggestion to all English travellers in Greece.

Mr. Gell apologises for the introduction of "his panoramic designs," as he calls them, on the score of the great difficulty of giving any tolerable idea of the face of a country in writing, and the ease with which a very accurate knowledge of it may be acquired by maps and panoramic designs. We are informed that this is not the case with many of these designs. The small scale of the single map we have already censured; and we have hinted 309 that some of the drawings are not remarkable for correct resemblance of their originals. The two nearer views of the Gate of the Lions at Mycenæ are indeed good likenesses of their subject, and the first of them is unusually well executed; but the general view of Mycenæ is not more than tolerable in any respect; and the prospect of Larissa, &c. is barely equal to the former. The view from this last place is also indifferent; and we are positively assured that there are no windows at Nauplia which look like a box of dominos,—the idea suggested by Mr. Gell's plate. We must not, however, be too severe on these picturesque bagatelles, which, probably, were very hasty sketches; and the circumstances of weather, &c. may have occasioned some difference in the appearance of the same objects to different spectators. We shall therefore return to Mr. Gell's preface; endeavouring to set him right in his directions to travellers, where we think that he is erroneous, and adding what appears to have been omitted. In his first sentence, he makes an assertion which is by no means correct. He says, "We are at present as ignorant of Greece, as of the interior of Africa." Surely not quite so ignorant; or several of our Grecian Mungo Parks have travelled in vain, and some very sumptuous works have been published to no purpose! As we proceed, we find the author observing that "Athens is now the most polished city of Greece," when we believe it to be the most barbarous, even to a proverb—


O Athêna, protê chora,

Ti gaidarous trepheis tora[1]?]

[Footnote 1: We write these lines from the recitation of the travellers to whom we have alluded; but we cannot vouch for the correctness of the Romaic.]

is a couplet of reproach now applied to this once famous city; whose inhabitants seem little worthy of the inspiring call which was addressed to them within these twenty years, by the celebrated Riga:—

[Greek: Deute paides tôn Ellênôn—k.t.l.]

310 Iannina, the capital of Epirus, and the seat of Ali Pacha's government, is in truth deserving of the honours which Mr. Gell has improperly bestowed on degraded Athens. As to the correctness of the remark concerning the fashion of wearing the hair cropped in Molossia, as Mr. Gell informs us, our authorities cannot depose: but why will he use the classical term of Eleuthero-Lacones, when that people are so much better known by their modern name of Mainotes? "The court of the Pacha of Tripolizza" is said "to realise the splendid visions of the Arabian Nights." This is true with regard to the court: but surely the traveller ought to have added that the city and palace are most miserable, and form an extraordinary contrast to the splendour of the court.—Mr. Gell mentions gold mines in Greece: he should have specified their situation, as it certainly is not universally known. When, also, he remarks that "the first article of necessity in Greece is a firman, or order from the Sultan, permitting the traveller to pass unmolested," we are much misinformed if he be right. On the contrary, we believe this to be almost the only part of the Turkish dominions in which a firman is not necessary; since the passport of the Pacha is absolute within his territory (according to Mr. G.'s own admission), and much more effectual than a firman.—"Money," he remarks, "is easily procured at Salonica, or Patrass, where the English have Consuls." It is much better procured, we understand, from the Turkish governors, who never charge discount. The Consuls for the English are not of the most magnanimous order of Greeks, and far from being so liberal, generally speaking; although there are, in course, some exceptions, and Strune of Patrass has been more honourably mentioned.—After having observed that "horses seem the best mode of conveyance in Greece," Mr. Gell proceeds: "Some travellers would prefer an English saddle; but a saddle of this sort is always objected to by the owner of the horse, and not without reason" &c. This, we 311 learn, is far from being the case; and, indeed, for a very simple reason, an English saddle must seem to be preferable to one of the country, because it is much lighter. When, too, Mr. Gell calls the postilion "Menzilgi," he mistakes him for his betters: Serrugees are postilions; Mensilgis are postmasters.—Our traveller was fortunate in his Turks, who are hired to walk by the side of the baggage-horses. They "are certain," he says, "of performing their engagement without grumbling." We apprehend that this is by no means certain:—but Mr. Gell is perfectly right in preferring a Turk to a Greek for this purpose; and in his general recommendation to take a Janissary on the tour: who, we may add, should be suffered to act as he pleases, since nothing is to be done by gentle means, or even by offers of money, at the places of accommodation. A courier, to be sent on before to the place at which the traveller intends to sleep, is indispensable to comfort: but no tourist should be misled by the author's advice to suffer the Greeks to gratify their curiosity, in permitting them to remain for some time about him on his arrival at an inn. They should be removed as soon as possible; for, as to the remark that "no stranger would think of intruding when a room is pre-occupied," our informants were not so well convinced of that fact.

Though we have made the above exceptions to the accuracy of Mr. Gell's information, we are most ready to do justice to the general utility of his directions, and can certainly concede the praise which he is desirous of obtaining,—namely, "of having facilitated the researches of future travellers, by affording that local information which it was before impossible to obtain." This book, indeed, is absolutely necessary to any person who wishes to explore the Morea advantageously; and we hope that Mr. Gell will continue his Itinerary over that and over every other part of Greece. He allows that his volume "is only calculated to become a book of reference, and not of general entertainment:" but we 312 do not see any reason against the compatibility of both objects in a survey of the most celebrated country of the ancient world. To that country, we trust, the attention not only of our travellers, but of our legislators, will hereafter be directed. The greatest caution will, indeed, be required, as we have premised, in touching on so delicate a subject as the amelioration of the possessions of an ally: but the field for the exercise of political sagacity is wide and inviting in this portion of the globe; and Mr. Gell, and all other writers who interest us, however remotely, in its extraordinary capabilities, deserve well of the British empire. We shall conclude by an extract from the author's work: which, even if it fails of exciting that general interest which we hope most earnestly it may attract, towards its important subject, cannot, as he justly observes, "be entirely uninteresting to the scholar;" since it is a work "which gives him a faithful description of the remains of cities, the very existence of which was doubtful, as they perished before the æra of authentic history." The subjoined quotation is a good specimen of the author's minuteness of research as a topographer; and we trust that the credit which must accrue to him from the present performance will ensure the completion of his Itinerary:—

"The inaccuracies of the maps of Anacharsis are in many respects very glaring. The situation of Phlius is marked by Strabo as surrounded by the territories of Sicyon, Argos, Cleonæ, and Stymphalus. Mr. Hawkins observed, that Phlius, the ruins of which still exist near Agios Giorgios, lies in a direct line between Cleonæ and Stymphalus, and another from Sicyon to Argos; so that Strabo was correct in saying that it lay between those four towns; yet we see Phlius, in the map of Argolis by M. Barbie du Bocage, placed ten miles to the north of Stymphalus, contradicting both history and fact. D'Anville is guilty of the same error.

"M. du Bocage places a town named Phlius, and by him Phlionte, on the point of land which forms the port of Drepano: there are not at present any ruins there. The maps of D'Anville are generally more correct than any others where 313 ancient geography is concerned. A mistake occurs on the subject of Tiryns, and a place named by him Vathia, but of which nothing can be understood. It is possible that Vathi, or the profound valley, may be a name sometimes used for the valley of Barbitsa, and that the place named by D'Anville Claustra may be the outlet of that valley called Kleisoura, which has a corresponding signification.

"The city of Tiryns is also placed in two different positions, once by its Greek name, and again as Tirynthus. The mistake between the islands of Sphæria and Calaura has been noticed in page 135. The Pontinus, which D'Anville represents as a river, and the Erasinus are equally ill placed in his map. There was a place called Creopolis, somewhere toward Cynouria; but its situation is not easily fixed. The ports called Bucephalium and Piræus seem to have been nothing more than little bays in the country between Corinth and Epidaurus. The town called Athenæ, in Cynouria, by Pausanias, is called Anthena by Thucydides, book 5. 41.

"In general, the map of D'Anville will be found more accurate than those which have been published since his time; indeed the mistakes of that geographer are in general such as could not be avoided without visiting the country. Two errors of D'Anville may be mentioned, lest the opportunity of publishing the itinerary of Arcadia should never occur. The first is, that the rivers Malætas and Mylaon, near Methydrium, are represented as running toward the south, whereas they flow northwards to the Ladon; and the second is, that the Aroanius, which falls into the Erymanthus at Psophis, is represented as flowing from the lake of Pheneos; a mistake which arises from the ignorance of the ancients themselves who have written on the subject. The fact is that the Ladon receives the waters of the lakes of Orchomenos and Pheneos: but the Aroanius rises at a spot not two hours distant from Psophis."

In furtherance of our principal object in this critique, we have only to add a wish that some of our Grecian tourists, among the fresh articles of information concerning Greece which they have lately imported, would turn their minds to the language of the country. So strikingly similar to the ancient Greek is the modern Romaic as a written language, and so dissimilar in sound, that even a few general rules concerning pronunciation would be of most extensive use. 314



The order of the day for the second reading of this Bill being read,

Lord BYRON rose, and (for the first time) addressed their Lordships as follows:—

My Lords; the subject now submitted to your Lordships for the first time, though new to the House, is by no means new to the country. I believe it had occupied the serious thoughts of all descriptions of persons, long before its introduction to the notice of that legislature, whose interference alone could be of real service. As a person in some degree connected with the suffering county, though a stranger not only to this House in general, but to almost every individual whose attention I presume to solicit, I must claim some portion of your Lordships' indulgence, whilst I offer a few observations on a question in which I confess myself deeply interested.

To enter into any detail of the riots would be superfluous: the House is already aware that every outrage short of actual bloodshed has been perpetrated, and that the proprietors of the Frames obnoxious to the rioters, and all persons supposed to be connected with them, have been liable to insult and violence. During the short time I recently passed in Nottinghamshire, not twelve hours elapsed without some fresh act of violence; and on the day I left the county I was informed that forty Frames had been broken the preceding 315 evening, as usual, without resistance and without detection.

Such was then the state of that county, and such I have reason to believe it to be at this moment. But whilst these outrages must be admitted to exist to an alarming extent, it cannot be denied that they have arisen from circumstances of the most unparalleled distress: the perseverance of these miserable men in their proceedings, tends to prove that nothing but absolute want could have driven a large, and once honest and industrious, body of the people, into the commission of excesses so hazardous to themselves, their families, and the community. At the time to which I allude, the town and county were burdened with large detachments of the military; the police was in motion, the magistrates assembled, yet all the movements, civil and military, had led to—nothing. Not a single instance had occurred of the apprehension of any real delinquent actually taken in the fact, against whom there existed legal evidence sufficient for conviction. But the police, however useless, were by no means idle: several notorious delinquents had been detected; men, liable to conviction, on the clearest evidence, of the capital crime of poverty; men, who had been nefariously guilty of lawfully begetting several children, whom, thanks to the times! they were unable to maintain. Considerable injury has been done to the proprietors of the improved Frames. These machines were to them an advantage, inasmuch as they superseded the necessity of employing a number of workmen, who were left in consequence to starve. By the adoption of one species of Frame in particular, one man performed the work of many, and the superfluous labourers were thrown out of employment. Yet it is to be observed, that the work thus executed was inferior in quality; not marketable at home, and merely hurried over with a view to exportation. It was called, in the cant of the trade, by the name of "Spider work." The rejected workmen, in the blindness of their ignorance, 316 instead of rejoicing at these improvements in arts so beneficial to mankind, conceived themselves to be sacrificed to improvements in mechanism. In the foolishness of their hearts they imagined, that the maintenance and well doing of the industrious poor, were objects of greater consequence than the enrichment of a few individuals by any improvement, in the implements of trade, which threw the workmen out of employment, and rendered the labourer unworthy of his hire. And it must be confessed that although the adoption of the enlarged machinery in that state of our commerce which the country once boasted, might have been beneficial to the master without being detrimental to the servant; yet, in the present situation of our manufactures, rotting in warehouses, without a prospect of exportation, with the demand for work and workmen equally diminished, Frames of this description tend materially to aggravate the distress and discontent of the disappointed sufferers. But the real cause of these distresses and consequent disturbances lies deeper. When we are told that these men are leagued together not only for the destruction of their own comfort, but of their very means of subsistence, can we forget that it is the bitter policy, the destructive warfare of the last eighteen years, which has destroyed their comfort, your comfort, all men's comfort? That policy, which, originating with "great statesmen now no more," has survived the dead to become a curse on the living, unto the third and fourth generation! These men never destroyed their looms till they were become useless, worse than useless; till they were become actual impediments to their exertions in obtaining their daily bread. Can you, then, wonder that in times like these, when bankruptcy, convicted fraud, and imputed felony, are found in a station not far beneath that of your Lordships, the lowest, though once most useful portion of the people, should forget their duty in their distresses, and become only less guilty than one of their representatives? But while the exalted offender can find means to baffle 317 the law, new capital punishments must be devised, new snares of death must be spread for the wretched mechanic, who is famished into guilt. These men were willing to dig, but the spade was in other hands: they were not ashamed to beg, but there was none to relieve them: their own means of subsistence were cut off, all other employments pre-occupied; and their excesses, however to be deplored and condemned, can hardly be subject of surprise.

It has been stated that the persons in the temporary possession of frames connive at their destruction; if this be proved upon enquiry, it were necessary that such material accessories to the crime should be principles in the punishment. But I did hope, that any measure proposed by his Majesty's government, for your Lordships' decision, would have had conciliation for its basis; or, if that were hopeless, that some previous enquiry, some deliberation would have been deemed requisite; not that we should have been called at once without examination, and without cause, to pass sentences by wholesale, and sign death-warrants blindfold. But, admitting that these men had no cause of complaint; that the grievances of them and their employers were alike groundless; that they deserved the worst; what inefficiency, what imbecility has been evinced in the method chosen to reduce them! Why were the military called out to be made a mockery of, if they were to be called out at all? As far as the difference of seasons would permit, they have merely parodied the summer campaign of Major Sturgeon; and, indeed, the whole proceedings, civil and military, seemed on the model of those of the mayor and corporation of Garratt.—Such marchings and counter-marchings! from Nottingham to Bullwell, from Bullwell to Banford, from Banford to Mansfield! and when at length the detachments arrived at their destination, in all "the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war," they came just in time to witness the mischief which had been done, and ascertain the escape of the perpetrators, 318 to collect the "spolia opima" in the fragments of broken frames, and return to their quarters amidst the derision of old women, and the hootings of children. Now, though, in a free country, it were to be wished, that our military should never be too formidable, at least to ourselves, I cannot see the policy of placing them in situations where they can only be made ridiculous. As the sword is the worst argument that can be used, so should it be the last. In this instance it has been the first; but providentially as yet only in the scabbard. The present measure will, indeed, pluck it from the sheath; yet had proper meetings been held in the earlier stages of these riots, had the grievances of these men and their masters (for they also had their grievances) been fairly weighed and justly examined, I do think that means might have been devised to restore these workmen to their avocations, and tranquillity to the county. At present the county suffers from the double infliction of an idle military and a starving population. In what state of apathy have we been plunged so long, that now for the first time the house has been officially apprised of these disturbances? All this has been transacting within 130 miles of London, and yet we, "good easy men, have deemed full sure our greatness was a ripening," and have sat down to enjoy our foreign triumphs in the midst of domestic calamity. But all the cities you have taken, all the armies which have retreated before your leaders, are but paltry subjects of self-congratulation, if your land divides against itself, and your dragoons and your executioners must be let loose against your fellow-citizens.—You call these men a mob, desperate, dangerous, and ignorant; and seem to think that the only way to quiet the "Bellua multorum capitum" is to lop off a few of its superfluous heads. But even a mob may be better reduced to reason by a mixture of conciliation and firmness, than by additional irritation and redoubled penalties. Are we aware of our obligations to a mob? It is the mob that labour in your fields and serve in your 319 houses,—that man your navy, and recruit your army,—that have enabled you to defy all the world, and can also defy you when neglect and calamity have driven them to despair! You may call the people a mob; but do not forget, that a mob too often speaks the sentiments of the people. And here I must remark, with what alacrity you are accustomed to fly to the succour of your distressed allies, leaving the distressed of your own country to the care of Providence or—the parish. When the Portuguese suffered under the retreat of the French, every arm was stretched out, every hand was opened, from the rich man's largess to the widow's mite, all was bestowed, to enable them to rebuild their villages and replenish their granaries. And at this moment, when thousands of misguided but most unfortunate fellow-countrymen are struggling with the extremes of hardships and hunger, as your charity began abroad it should end at home. A much less sum, a tithe of the bounty bestowed on Portugal, even if those men (which I cannot admit without enquiry) could not have been restored to their employments, would have rendered unnecessary the tender mercies of the bayonet and the gibbet. But doubtless our friends have too many foreign claims to admit a prospect of domestic relief; though never did such objects demand it. I have traversed the seat of war in the Peninsula, I have been in some of the most oppressed provinces of Turkey, but never under the most despotic of infidel governments did I behold such squalid wretchedness as I have seen since my return in the very heart of a Christian country. And what are your remedies? After months of inaction, and months of action worse than inactivity, at length comes forth the grand specific, the never-failing nostrum of all state physicians, from the days of Draco to the present time. After feeling the pulse and shaking the head over the patient, prescribing the usual course of warm water and bleeding, the warm water of your mawkish police, and the lancets of your military, these convulsions must 320 terminate in death, the sure consummation of the prescriptions of all political Sangrados. Setting aside the palpable injustice and the certain inefficiency of the bill, are there not capital punishments sufficient in your statutes? Is there not blood enough upon your penal code, that more must be poured forth to ascend to Heaven and testify against you? How will you carry the bill into effect? Can you commit a whole county to their own prisons? Will you erect a gibbet in every field, and hang up men like scarecrows? or will you proceed (as you must to bring this measure into effect) by decimation? place the county under martial law? depopulate and lay waste all around you? and restore Sherwood Forest as an acceptable gift to the crown, in its former condition of a royal chase and an asylum for outlaws? Are these the remedies for a starving and desperate populace? Will the famished wretch who has braved your bayonets be appalled by your gibbets? When death is a relief, and the only relief it appears that you will afford him, will he be dragooned into tranquillity? Will that which could not be effected by your grenadiers, be accomplished by your executioners? If you proceed by the forms of law, where is your evidence? Those who have refused to impeach their accomplices, when transportation only was the punishment, will hardly be tempted to witness against them when death is the penalty. With all due deference to the noble lords opposite, I think a little investigation, some previous enquiry would induce even them to change their purpose. That most favourite state measure, so marvellously efficacious in many and recent instances, temporising, would not be without its advantages in this. When a proposal is made to emancipate or relieve, you hesitate, you deliberate for years, you temporise and tamper with the minds of men; but a death-bill must be passed off hand, without a thought of the consequences. Sure I am, from what I have heard, and from what I have seen, that to pass the hill under all the 321 existing circumstances, without enquiry, without deliberation, would only be to add injustice to irritation, and barbarity to neglect. The framers of such a bill must be content to inherit the honours of that Athenian lawgiver whose edicts were said to be written not in ink but in blood. But suppose it past; suppose one of these men, as I have seen them,—meagre with famine, sullen with despair, careless of a life which your Lordships are perhaps about to value at something less than the price of a stocking-frame;—suppose this man surrounded by the children for whom he is unable to procure bread at the hazard of his existence, about to be torn for ever from a family which he lately supported in peaceful industry, and which it is not his fault that he can no longer so support;—suppose this man, and there are ten thousand such from whom you may select your victims, dragged into court, to be tried for this new offence, by this new law; still, there are two things wanting to convict and condemn him; and these are, in my opinion,—twelve butchers for a jury, and a Jefferies for a judge!


Lord BYRON rose and said:—

My Lords,—The question before the House has been so frequently, fully, and ably discussed, and never perhaps more ably than on this night, that it would be difficult to adduce new arguments for or against it. But with each discussion, difficulties have been removed, objections have been canvassed and refuted, and some of the former opponents of Catholic emancipation have at length conceded to the expediency of relieving the petitioners. In conceding thus much, however, a new objection is started; it is not the time, say they, or it is an improper 322 time, or there is time enough yet. In some degree I concur with those who say, it is not the time exactly; that time is passed; better had it been for the country, that the Catholics possessed at this moment their proportion of our privileges, that their nobles held their due weight in our councils, than that we should be assembled to discuss their claims. It had indeed been better—

"Non tempore tali

"Cogere concilium cum muros obsidet hostis."

The enemy is without, and distress within. It is too late to cavil on doctrinal points, when we must unite in defence of things more important than the mere ceremonies of religion. It is indeed singular, that we are called together to deliberate, not on the God we adore, for in that we are agreed; not about the king we obey, for to him we are loyal; but how far a difference in the ceremonials of worship, how far believing not too little, but too much (the worst that can be imputed to the Catholics), how far too much devotion to their God may incapacitate our fellow-subjects from effectually serving their king.

Much has been said, within and without doors, of church and state, and although those venerable words have been too often prostituted to the most despicable of party purposes, we cannot hear them too often; all, I presume, are the advocates of church and state,—the church of Christ, and the state of Great Britain; but not a state of exclusion and despotism, not an intolerant church, not a church militant, which renders itself liable to the very objection urged against the Romish communion, and in a greater degree, for the Catholic merely withholds its spiritual benediction (and even that is doubtful), but our church, or rather our churchmen, not only refuse to the Catholic their spiritual grace, but all temporal blessings whatsoever. It was an observation of the great Lord Peterborough, made within these walls, or within the walls where the Lords then assembled, 323 that he was for a "parliamentary king and a parliamentary constitution, but not a parliamentary God and a parliamentary religion." The interval of a century has not weakened the force of the remark. It is indeed time that we should leave off these petty cavils on frivolous points, these Lilliputian sophistries, whether our "eggs are best broken at the broad or narrow end."

The opponents of the Catholics may be divided into two classes; those who assert that the Catholics have too much already, and those who allege that the lower orders, at least, have nothing more to require. We are told by the former, that the Catholics never will be contented: by the latter, that they are already too happy. The last paradox is sufficiently refuted by the present as by all past petitions; it might as well be said, that the negroes did not desire to be emancipated, but this is an unfortunate comparison, for you have already delivered them out of the house of bondage without any petition on their part, but many from their task-masters to a contrary effect; and for myself, when I consider this, I pity the Catholic peasantry for not having the good fortune to be born black. But the Catholics are contented, or at least ought to be, as we are told; I shall, therefore, proceed to touch on a few of those circumstances which so marvellously contribute to their exceeding contentment. They are not allowed the free exercise of their religion in the regular army; the Catholic soldier cannot absent himself from the service of the Protestant clergyman, and unless he is quartered in Ireland, or in Spain, where can he find eligible opportunities of attending his own? The permission of Catholic chaplains to the Irish militia regiments was conceded as a special favour, and not till after years of remonstrance, although an act, passed in 1793, established it as a right. But are the Catholics properly protected in Ireland? Can the church purchase a rood of land whereon to erect a chapel? No! all the places of worship are built on leases of trust or 324 sufferance from the laity, easily broken, and often betrayed. The moment any irregular wish, any casual caprice of the benevolent landlord meets with opposition, the doors are barred against the congregation. This has happened continually, but in no instance more glaringly, than at the town of Newton-Barry, in the county of Wexford. The Catholics enjoying no regular chapel, as a temporary expedient, hired two barns; which, being thrown into one, served for public worship. At this time, there was quartered opposite to the spot an officer whose mind appears to have been deeply imbued with those prejudices which the Protestant petitions now on the table prove to have been fortunately eradicated from the more rational portion of the people; and when the Catholics were assembled on the Sabbath as usual, in peace and good-will towards men, for the worship of their God and yours, they found the chapel door closed, and were told that if they did not immediately retire (and they were told this by a yeoman officer and a magistrate), the riot act should be read, and the assembly dispersed at the point of the bayonet! This was complained of to the middle man of government, the secretary at the castle in 1806, and the answer was (in lieu of redress), that he would cause a letter to be written to the colonel, to prevent, if possible, the recurrence of similar disturbances. Upon this fact, no very great stress need be laid; but it tends to prove that while the Catholic church has not power to purchase land for its chapels to stand upon, the laws for its protection are of no avail. In the mean time, the Catholics are at the mercy of every "pelting petty officer," who may choose to play his "fantastic tricks before high heaven," to insult his God, and injure his fellow-creatures.

Every school-boy, any foot-boy (such have held commissions in our service), any foot-boy who can exchange his shoulder-knot for an epaulette, may perform all this and more against the Catholic by virtue of that 325 very authority delegated to him by his sovereign, for the express purpose of defending his fellow subjects to the last drop of his blood, without discrimination or distinction between Catholic and Protestant.

Have the Irish Catholics the full benefit of trial by jury? They have not; they never can have until they are permitted to share the privilege of serving as sheriffs and under-sheriffs. Of this a striking example occurred at the last Enniskillen assizes. A yeoman was arraigned for the murder of a Catholic named Macvournagh: three respectable, uncontradicted witnesses deposed that they saw the prisoner load, take aim, fire at, and kill the said Macvournagh. This was properly commented on by the judge: but to the astonishment of the bar, and indignation of the court, the Protestant jury acquitted the accused. So glaring was the partiality, that Mr. Justice Osborne felt it his duty to bind over the acquitted, but not absolved assassin, in large recognizances; thus for a time taking away his license to kill Catholics.

Are the very laws passed in their favour observed? They are rendered nugatory in trivial as in serious cases. By a late act, Catholic chaplains are permitted in gaols, but in Fermanagh county the grand jury lately persisted in presenting a suspended clergyman for the office, thereby evading the statute, notwithstanding the most pressing remonstrances of a most respectable magistrate, named Fletcher, to the contrary. Such is law, such is justice, for the happy, free, contented Catholic!

It has been asked, in another place, Why do not the rich Catholics endow foundations for the education of the priesthood? Why do you not permit them to do so? Why are all such bequests subject to the interference, the vexatious, arbitrary, peculating interference of the Orange commissioners for charitable donations?

As to Maynooth college, in no instance, except at the time of its foundation, when a noble Lord (Camden), at the head of the Irish administration, did appear to interest 326 himself in its advancement; and during the government of a noble Duke (Bedford), who, like his ancestors, has ever been the friend of freedom and mankind, and who has not so far adopted the selfish policy of the day as to exclude the Catholics from the number of his fellow-creatures; with these exceptions, in no instance has that institution been properly encouraged. There was indeed a time when the Catholic clergy were conciliated, while the Union was pending, that Union which could not be carried without them, while their assistance was requisite in procuring addresses from the Catholic counties; then they were cajoled and caressed, feared and flattered, and given to understand that "the Union would do every thing;" but the moment it was passed, they were driven back with contempt into their former obscurity.

In the conduct pursued towards Maynooth college, every thing is done to irritate and perplex—every thing is done to efface the slightest impression of gratitude from the Catholic mind; the very hay made upon the lawn, the fat and tallow of the beef and mutton allowed, must be paid for and accounted upon oath. It is true, this economy in miniature cannot sufficiently be commended, particularly at a time when only the insect defaulters of the Treasury, your Hunts and your Chinnerys, when only those "gilded bugs" can escape the microscopic eye of ministers. But when you come forward, session after session, as your paltry pittance is wrung from you with wrangling and reluctance, to boast of your liberality, well might the Catholic exclaim, in the words of Prior:—

"To John I owe some obligation,

But John unluckily thinks fit

To publish it to all the nation,

So John and I are more than quit."

Some persons have compared the Catholics to the beggar in Gil Bias: who made them beggars? Who 327 are enriched with the spoils of their ancestors? And cannot you relieve the beggar when your fathers have made him such? If you are disposed to relieve him at all, cannot you do it without flinging your farthings in his face? As a contrast, however, to this beggarly benevolence, let us look at the Protestant Charter Schools; to them you have lately granted 41,000l.: thus are they supported, and how are they recruited? Montesquieu observes on the English constitution, that the model may be found in Tacitus, where the historian describes the policy of the Germans, and adds, "This beautiful system was taken from the woods;" so in speaking of the charter schools, it may be observed, that this beautiful system was taken from the gipsies. These schools are recruited in the same manner as the Janissaries at the time of their enrolment under Amurath, and the gipsies of the present day with stolen children, with children decoyed and kidnapped from their Catholic connections by their rich and powerful Protestant neighbours: this is notorious, and one instance may suffice to show in what manner:—The sister of a Mr. Carthy (a Catholic gentleman of very considerable property) died, leaving two girls, who were immediately marked out as proselytes, and conveyed to the charter school of Coolgreny; their uncle, on being apprised of the fact, which took place during his absence, applied for the restitution of his nieces, offering to settle an independence on these his relations; his request was refused, and not till after five years' struggle, and the interference of very high authority, could this Catholic gentleman obtain back his nearest of kindred from a charity charter school. In this manner are proselytes obtained, and mingled with the offspring of such Protestants as may avail themselves of the institution. And how are they taught? A catechism is put into their hands, consisting of, I believe, forty-five pages, in which are three questions relative to the Protestant religion; one of these queries is, "Where was the Protestant religion before Luther?" 328

Answer, "In the Gospel." The remaining forty-four pages and a half regard the damnable idolatry of Papists!

Allow me to ask our spiritual pastors and masters, is this training up a child in the way which he should go? Is this the religion of the Gospel before the time of Luther? that religion which preaches "Peace on earth, and glory to God?" Is it bringing up infants to be men or devils? Better would it be to send them any where than teach them such doctrines; better send them to those islands in the South Seas, where they might more humanely learn to become cannibals; it would be less disgusting that they were brought up to devour the dead, than persecute the living. Schools do you call them? call them rather dunghills, where the viper of intolerance deposits her young, that when their teeth are cut and their poison is mature, they may issue forth, filthy and venomous, to sting the Catholic. But are these the doctrines of the Church of England, or of churchmen? No, the most enlightened churchmen are of a different opinion. What says Paley? "I perceive no reason why men of different religious persuasions should not sit upon the same bench, deliberate in the same council, or fight in the same ranks, as well as men of various religious opinions, upon any controverted topic of natural history, philosophy, or ethics." It may be answered, that Paley was not strictly orthodox; I know nothing of his orthodoxy, but who will deny that he was an ornament to the church, to human nature, to Christianity?

I shall not dwell upon the grievance of tithes, so severely felt by the peasantry, but it may be proper to observe, that there is an addition to the burden, a per centage to the gatherer, whose interest it thus becomes to rate them as highly as possible, and we know that in many large livings in Ireland the only resident Protestants are the tithe proctor and his family.

Amongst many causes of irritation, too numerous for 329 recapitulation, there is one in the militia not to be passed over,—I mean the existence of Orange lodges amongst the privates. Can the officers deny this? And if such lodges do exist, do they, can they, tend to promote harmony amongst the men, who are thus individually separated in society, although mingled in the ranks? And is this general system of persecution to be permitted; or is it to be believed that with such a system the Catholics can or ought to be contented? If they are, they belie human nature; they are then, indeed, unworthy to be any thing but the slaves you have made them. The facts stated are from most respectable authority, or I should not have dared in this place, or any place, to hazard this avowal. If exaggerated, there are plenty as willing, as I believe them to be unable, to disprove them. Should it be objected that I never was in Ireland, I beg leave to observe, that it is as easy to know something of Ireland without having been there, as it appears with some to have been born, bred, and cherished there, and yet remain ignorant of its best interests.

But there are who assert that the Catholics have already been too much indulged. See (cry they) what has been done: we have given them one entire college, we allow them food and raiment, the full enjoyment of the elements, and leave to fight for us as long as they have limbs and lives to offer, and yet they are never to be satisfied!—Generous and just declaimers! To this, and to this only, amount the whole of your arguments, when stript of their sophistry. Those personages remind me of a story of a certain drummer, who, being called upon in the course of duty to administer punishment to a friend tied to the halberts, was requested to flog high, he did—to flog low, he did—to flog in the middle, he did,—high, low, down the middle, and up again, but all in vain; the patient continued his complaints with the most provoking pertinacity, until the drummer, exhausted and angry, flung down his scourge, exclaiming, "The devil burn you, there's no pleasing you, flog where 330 one will!" Thus it is, you have flogged the Catholic high, low, here, there, and every where, and then you wonder he is not pleased. It is true that time, experience, and that weariness which attends even the exercise of barbarity, have taught you to flog a little more gently; but still you continue to lay on the lash, and will so continue, till perhaps the rod may be wrested from your hands, and applied to the backs of yourselves and your posterity.

It was said by somebody in a former debate, (I forget by whom, and am not very anxious to remember,) if the Catholics are emancipated, why not the Jews? If this sentiment was dictated by compassion for the Jews, it might deserve attention, but as a sneer against the Catholic, what is it but the language of Shylock transferred from his daughter's marriage to Catholic emancipation—

"Would any of the tribe of Barabbas

Should have it rather than a Christian."

I presume a Catholic is a Christian, even in the opinion of him whose taste only can be called in question for his preference of the Jews.

It is a remark often quoted of Dr. Johnson, (whom I take to be almost as good authority as the gentle apostle of intolerance, Dr. Duigenan,) that he who could entertain serious apprehensions of danger to the church in these times, would have "cried fire in the deluge." This is more than a metaphor; for a remnant of these antediluvians appear actually to have come down to us, with fire in their mouths and water in their brains, to disturb and perplex mankind with their whimsical outcries. And as it is an infallible symptom of that distressing malady with which I conceive them to be afflicted (so any doctor will inform your Lordships), for the unhappy invalids to perceive a flame perpetually flashing before their eyes, particularly when their eyes are shut (as those of the persons to whom I allude have long been), it is impossible to convince these poor creatures, that the fire against which they are perpetually warning us and themselves 331 is nothing but an ignis fatuus of their own drivelling imaginations. What rhubarb, senna, or "what purgative drug can scour that fancy thence?"—It is impossible, they are given over, theirs is the true

"Caput insanabile tribus Anticyris."

These are your true Protestants. Like Bayle, who protested against all sects whatsoever, so do they protest against Catholic petitions, Protestant petitions, all redress, all that reason, humanity, policy, justice, and common sense, can urge against the delusions of their absurd delirium. These are the persons who reverse the fable of the mountain that brought forth a mouse; they are the mice who conceive themselves in labour with mountains.

To return to the Catholics; suppose the Irish were actually contented under their disabilities; suppose them capable of such a bull as not to desire deliverance, ought we not to wish it for ourselves? Have we nothing to gain by their emancipation? What resources have been wasted? What talents have been lost by the selfish system of exclusion? You already know the value of Irish aid; at this moment the defence of England is intrusted to the Irish militia; at this moment, while the starving people are rising in the fierceness of despair, the Irish are faithful to their trust. But till equal energy is imparted throughout by the extension of freedom, you cannot enjoy the full benefit of the strength which you are glad to interpose between you and destruction. Ireland has done much, but will do more. At this moment the only triumph obtained through long years of continental disaster has been achieved by an Irish general: it is true he is not a Catholic; had he been so, we should have been deprived of his exertions: but I presume no one will assert that his religion would have impaired his talents or diminished his patriotism; though, in that case, he must have conquered in the ranks, for he never could have commanded an army. 332

But he is fighting the battles of the Catholics abroad; his noble brother has this night advocated their cause, with an eloquence which I shall not depreciate by the humble tribute of my panegyric; whilst a third of his kindred, as unlike as unequal, has been combating against his Catholic brethren in Dublin, with circular letters, edicts, proclamations, arrests, and dispersions;—all the vexatious implements of petty warfare that could be wielded by the mercenary guerillas of government, clad in the rusty armour of their obsolete statutes. Your Lordships will, doubtless, divide new honours between the Saviour of Portugal, and the Dispenser of Delegates. It is singular, indeed, to observe the difference between our foreign and domestic policy; if Catholic Spain, faithful Portugal, or the no less Catholic and faithful king of the one Sicily, (of which, by the by, you have lately deprived him,) stand in need of succour, away goes a fleet and an army, an ambassador and a subsidy, sometimes to fight pretty hardly, generally to negotiate very badly, and always to pay very dearly for our Popish allies. But let four millions of fellow-subjects pray for relief, who fight and pay and labour in your behalf, they must be treated as aliens; and although their "father's house has many mansions," there is no resting-place for them. Allow me to ask, are you not fighting for the emancipation of Ferdinand VII., who certainly is a fool, and, consequently, in all probability a bigot? and have you more regard for a foreign sovereign than your own fellow-subjects, who are not fools, for they know your interest better than you know your own; who are not bigots, for they return you good for evil; but who are in worse durance than the prison of a usurper, inasmuch as the fetters of the mind are more galling than those of the body?

Upon the consequences of your not acceding to the claims of the petitioners, I shall not expatiate; you know them, you will feel them, and your children's children when you are passed away. Adieu to that Union so 333 called, as "Lucus a non lucendo," a Union from never uniting, which in its first operation gave a death-blow to the independence of Ireland, and in its last may be the cause of her eternal separation from this country. If it must be called a Union, it is the union of the shark with his prey; the spoiler swallows up his victim, and thus they become one and indivisible. Thus has Great Britain swallowed up the parliament, the constitution, the independence of Ireland, and refuses to disgorge even a single privilege, although for the relief of her swollen and distempered body politic.

And now, my Lords, before I sit down, will his Majesty's ministers permit me to say a few words, not on their merits, for that would be superfluous, but on the degree of estimation in which they are held by the people of these realms? The esteem in which they are held has been boasted of in a triumphant tone on a late occasion within these walls, and a comparison instituted between their conduct and that of noble lords on this side of the House.

What portion of popularity may have fallen to the share of my noble friends (if such I may presume to call them), I shall not pretend to ascertain; but that of his Majesty's ministers it were vain to deny. It is, to be sure, a little like the wind, "no one knows whence it cometh or whither it goeth," but they feel it, they enjoy it, they boast of it. Indeed, modest and unostentatious as they are, to what part of the kingdom, even the most remote, can they flee to avoid the triumph which pursues them? If they plunge into the midland counties, there will they be greeted by the manufacturers, with spurned petitions in their hands, and those halters round their necks recently voted in their behalf, imploring blessings on the heads of those who so simply, yet ingeniously, contrived to remove them from their miseries in this to a better world. If they journey on to Scotland, from Glasgow to Johnny Groats, every where will they receive similar marks of approbation. If 334 they take a trip from Portpatrick to Donaghadee, there will they rush at once into the embraces of four Catholic millions, to whom their vote of this night is about to endear them for ever. When they return to the metropolis, if they can pass under Temple Bar without unpleasant sensations at the sight of the greedy niches over that ominous gateway, they cannot escape the acclamations of the livery, and the more tremulous, but not less sincere, applause, the blessings, "not loud but deep," of bankrupt merchants and doubting stock-holders. If they look to the army, what wreaths, not of laurel, but of nightshade, are preparing for the heroes of Walcheren. It is true, there are few living deponents left to testify to their merits on that occasion; but a "cloud of witnesses" are gone above from that gallant army which they so generously and piously despatched, to recruit the "noble army of martyrs."

What if in the course of this triumphal career (in which they will gather as many pebbles as Caligula's army did on a similar triumph, the prototype of their own,) they do not perceive any of those memorials which a grateful people erect in honour of their benefactors; what although not even a sign-post will condescend to depose the Saracen's head in favour of the likeness of the conquerors of Walcheren, they will not want a picture who can always have a caricature; or regret the omission of a statue who will so often see themselves exalted in effigy. But their popularity is not limited to the narrow bounds of an island; there are other countries where their measures, and above all, their conduct to the Catholics, must render them preeminently popular. If they are beloved here, in France they must be adored. There is no measure more repugnant to the designs and feelings of Bonaparte than Catholic emancipation; no line of conduct more propitious to his projects, than that which has been pursued, is pursuing, and, I fear, will be pursued, towards Ireland. What is England without Ireland, and what is 335 Ireland without the Catholics? It is on the basis of your tyranny Napoleon hopes to build his own. So grateful must oppression of the Catholics be to his mind, that doubtless (as he has lately permitted some renewal of intercourse) the next cartel will convey to this country cargoes of seve-china and blue ribands, (things in great request, and of equal value at this moment,) blue ribands of the Legion of Honour for Dr. Duigenan and his ministerial disciples. Such is that well-earned popularity, the result of those extraordinary expeditions, so expensive to ourselves, and so useless to our allies; of those singular enquiries, so exculpatory to the accused and so dissatisfactory to the people; of those paradoxical victories, so honourable, as we are told, to the British name, and so destructive to the best interests of the British nation: above all, such is the reward of a conduct pursued by ministers towards the Catholics.

I have to apologise to the House, who will, I trust, pardon one, not often in the habit of intruding upon their indulgence, for so long attempting to engage their attention. My most decided opinion is, as my vote will be, in favour of the motion.


Lord BYRON rose and said:—

My Lords,—The petition which I now hold for the purpose of presenting to the House, is one which I humbly conceive requires the particular attention of your Lordships, inasmuch as, though signed but by a single individual, it contains statements which (if not disproved) demand most serious investigation. The grievance of which the petitioner complains is neither selfish nor imaginary. It is not his own only, for it has been, and is still felt by numbers. No one without these walls, nor indeed 336 within, but may to-morrow be made liable to the same insult and obstruction, in the discharge of an imperious duty for the restoration of the true constitution of these realms, by petitioning for reform in parliament. The petitioner, my Lords, is a man whose long life has been spent in one unceasing struggle for the liberty of the subject, against that undue influence which has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished; and whatever difference of opinion may exist as to his political tenets, few will be found to question the integrity of his intentions. Even now oppressed with years, and not exempt from the infirmities attendant on his age, but still unimpaired in talent, and unshaken in spirit—"frangas non fleetes"—he has received many a wound in the combat against corruption; and the new grievance, the fresh insult of which he complains, may inflict another scar, but no dishonour. The petition is signed by John Cartwright, and it was in behalf of the people and parliament, in the lawful pursuit of that reform in the representation, which is the best service to be rendered both to parliament and people, that he encountered the wanton outrage which forms the subject-matter of his petition to your Lordships. It is couched in firm, yet respectful language—in the language of a man, not regardless of what is due to himself, but at the same time, I trust, equally mindful of the deference to be paid to this House. The petitioner states, amongst other matter of equal, if not greater importance, to all who are British in their feelings, as well as blood and birth, that on the 21st January, 1813, at Huddersfield, himself and six other persons, who, on hearing of his arrival, had waited on him merely as a testimony of respect, were seized by a military and civil force, and kept in close custody for several hours, subjected to gross and abusive insinuation from the commanding officer, relative to the character of the petitioner; that he (the petitioner) was finally carried before a magistrate, and not released till an examination of his papers proved that 337 there was not only no just, but not even statutable charge against him; and that, notwithstanding the promise and order from the presiding magistrates of a copy of the warrant against your petitioner, it was afterwards withheld on divers pretexts, and has never until this hour been granted. The names and condition of the parties will be found in the petition. To the other topics touched upon in the petition, I shall not now advert, from a wish not to encroach upon the time of the House; but I do most sincerely call the attention of your Lordships to its general contents—it is in the cause of the parliament and people that the rights of this venerable freeman have been violated, and it is, in my opinion, the highest mark of respect that could be paid to the House, that to your justice, rather than by appeal to any inferior court, he now commits, himself. Whatever may be the fate of his remonstrance, it is some satisfaction to me, though mixed with regret for the occasion, that I have this opportunity of publicly stating the obstruction to which the subject is liable, in the prosecution of the most lawful and imperious of his duties, the obtaining by petition reform in parliament. I have shortly stated his complaint; the petitioner has more fully expressed it. Your Lordships will, I hope, adopt some measure fully to protect and redress him, and not him alone, but the whole body of the people, insulted and aggrieved in his person, by the interposition of an abused civil, and unlawful military force between them and their right of petition to their own representatives.

His Lordship then presented the petition from Major Cartwright, which was read, complaining of the circumstances at Huddersfield, and of interruptions given to the right of petitioning in several places in the northern parts of the kingdom, and which his Lordship moved should be laid on the table.

Several lords having spoken on the question,

Lord Byron replied, that he had, from motives of duty, presented this petition to their Lordships' consideration. 338 The noble Earl had contended, that it was not a petition, but a speech; and that, as it contained no prayer, it should not be received. What was the necessity of a prayer? If that word were to be used in its proper sense, their Lordships could not expect that any man should pray to others. He had only to say, that the petition, though in some parts expressed strongly perhaps, did not contain any improper mode of address, but was couched in respectful language towards their Lordships; he should therefore trust their Lordships would allow the petition to be received. 339


[Footnote 1: During a week of rain at Diodati, in the summer of 1816, the party having amused themselves with reading German ghost stories, they agreed at last to write something in imitation of them. "You and I," said Lord Byron to Mrs. Shelley, "will publish ours together." He then began his tale of the Vampire; and, having the whole arranged in his head, repeated to them a sketch of the story one evening;—but, from the narrative being in prose, made but little progress in filling up his outline. The most memorable result, indeed, of their storytelling compact, was Mrs. Shelley's wild and powerful romance of Frankenstein.—MOORE.

"I began it," says Lord Byron, "in an old account book of Miss Milbanke's, which I kept because it contains the word 'Household,' written by her twice on the inside blank page of the covers; being the only two scraps I have in the world in her writing, except her name to the Deed of Separation."]

June 17. 1816.

In the year 17—, having for some time determined on a journey through countries not hitherto much frequented by travellers, I set out, accompanied by a friend, whom I shall designate by the name of Augustus Darvell. He was a few years my elder, and a man of considerable fortune and ancient family; advantages which an extensive capacity prevented him alike from undervaluing or overrating. Some peculiar circumstances in his private history had rendered him to me an object of attention, of interest, and even of regard, which neither the reserve of his manners, nor occasional indications of an inquietude at times nearly approaching to alienation of mind, could extinguish.

I was yet young in life, which I had begun early; but my intimacy with him was of a recent date: we had been educated at the same schools and university; but his progress through these had preceded mine, and he had been deeply initiated, into what is called the world, 340 while I was yet in my noviciate. While thus engaged, I heard much both of his past and present life; and, although in these accounts there were many and irreconcileable contradictions, I could still gather from the whole that he was a being of no common order, and one who, whatever pains he might take to avoid remark, would still be remarkable. I had cultivated his acquaintance subsequently, and endeavoured to obtain his friendship, but this last appeared to be unattainable; whatever affections he might have possessed, seemed now, some to have been extinguished, and others to be concentred: that his feelings were acute, I had sufficient opportunities of observing; for, although he could control, he could not altogether disguise them: still he had a power of giving to one passion the appearance of another, in such a manner that it was difficult to define the nature of what was working within him; and the expressions of his features would vary so rapidly, though slightly, that it was useless to trace them to their sources. It was evident that he was a prey to some cureless disquiet; but whether it arose from ambition, love, remorse, grief, from one or all of these, or merely from a morbid temperament akin to disease, I could not discover: there were circumstances alleged, which might have justified the application to each of these causes; but, as I have before said, these were so contradictory and contradicted, that none could be fixed upon with accuracy. Where there is mystery, it is generally supposed that there must also be evil: I know not how this may be, but in him there certainly was the one, though I could not ascertain the extent of the other—and felt loth, as far as regarded himself, to believe in its existence. My advances were received with sufficient coldness; but I was young, and not easily discouraged, and at length succeeded in obtaining, to a certain degree, that common-place intercourse and moderate confidence of common and every-day concerns, created and cemented by similarity of pursuit and frequency of meeting, 341 which is called intimacy, or friendship, according to the ideas of him who uses those words to express them.

Darvell had already travelled extensively; and to him I had applied for information with regard to the conduct of my intended journey. It was my secret wish that he might be prevailed on to accompany me; it was also a probable hope, founded upon the shadowy restlessness which I observed in him, and to which the animation which he appeared to feel on such subjects, and his apparent indifference to all by which he was more immediately surrounded, gave fresh strength. This wish I first hinted, and then expressed: his answer, though I had partly expected it, gave me all the pleasure of surprise—he consented; and, after the requisite arrangement, we commenced our voyages. After journeying through various countries of the south of Europe, our attention was turned towards the East, according to our original destination; and it was in my progress through those regions that the incident occurred upon which will turn what I may have to relate.

The constitution of Darvell, which must from his appearance have been in early life more than usually robust, had been for some time gradually giving way, without the intervention of any apparent disease: he had neither cough nor hectic, yet he became daily more enfeebled: his habits were temperate, and he neither declined nor complained of fatigue; yet he was evidently wasting away: he became more and more silent and sleepless, and at length so seriously altered, that my alarm grew proportionate to what I conceived to be his danger.

We had determined, on our arrival at Smyrna, on an excursion to the ruins of Ephesus and Sardis, from which I endeavoured to dissuade him in his present state of indisposition—but in vain: there appeared to be an oppression on his mind, and a solemnity in his manner, which ill corresponded with his eagerness to 342 proceed on what I regarded as a mere party of pleasure, little suited to a valetudinarian; but I opposed him no longer—and in a few days we set off together, accompanied only by a serrugee and a single janizary.

We had passed halfway towards the remains of Ephesus, leaving behind us the more fertile environs of Smyrna, and were entering upon that wild and tenantless track through the marshes and defiles which lead to the few huts yet lingering over the broken columns of Diana—the roofless walls of expelled Christianity, and the still more recent but complete desolation of abandoned mosques—when the sudden and rapid illness of my companion obliged us to halt at a Turkish cemetery, the turbaned tombstones of which were the sole indication that human life had ever been a sojourner in this wilderness. The only caravansera we had seen was left some hours behind us, not a vestige of a town or even cottage was within sight or hope, and this "city of the dead" appeared to be the sole refuge for my unfortunate friend, who seemed on the verge of becoming the last of its inhabitants.

In this situation, I looked round for a place where he might most conveniently repose:—contrary to the usual aspect of Mahometan burial-grounds, the cypresses were in this few in number, and these thinly scattered over its extent: the tombstones were mostly fallen, and worn with age:—upon one of the most considerable of these, and beneath one of the most spreading trees, Darvell supported himself, in a half-reclining posture, with great difficulty. He asked for water. I had some doubts of our being able to find any, and prepared to go in search of it with hesitating despondency: but he desired me to remain; and turning to Suleiman, our janizary, who stood by us smoking with great tranquillity, he said, "Suleiman, verbana su," (i.e. bring some water,) and went on describing the spot where it was to be found with great minuteness, at a small well for camels, a few hundred yards to the right: the janizary obeyed. I 343 said to Darvell, "How did you know this?"—He replied, "From our situation; you must perceive that this place was once inhabited, and could not have been so without springs: I have also been here before."

"You have been here before!—How came you never to mention this to me? and what could you be doing in a place where no one would remain a moment longer than they could help it?"

To this question I received no answer. In the mean time Suleiman returned with the water, leaving the serrugee and the horses at the fountain. The quenching of his thirst had the appearance of reviving him for a moment; and I conceived hopes of his being able to proceed, or at least to return, and I urged the attempt. He was silent—and appeared to be collecting his spirits for an effort to speak. He began.

"This is the end of my journey, and of my life;—I came here to die: but I have a request to make, a command—for such my last words must be.—You will observe it?"

"Most certainly; but have better hopes."

"I have no hopes, nor wishes, but this—conceal my death from every human being."

"I hope there will be no occasion; that you will recover, and——"

"Peace!—it must be so: promise this."

"I do."

"Swear it, by all that"——He here dictated an oath of great solemnity.

"There is no occasion for this—I will observe your request; and to doubt me is——"

"It cannot be helped,—you must swear."

I took the oath: it appeared to relieve him. He removed a seal ring from his finger, on which were some Arabic characters, and presented it to me. He proceeded—

"On the ninth day of the month, at noon precisely (what month you please, but this must be the day), you 344 must fling this ring into the salt springs which run into the Bay of Eleusis: the day after, at the same hour, you must repair to the ruins of the temple of Ceres, and wait one hour."


"You will see."

"The ninth day of the month, you say?"

"The ninth."

As I observed that the present was the ninth day of the month; his countenance changed, and he paused. As he sat, evidently becoming more feeble, a stork, with a snake in her beak, perched upon a tombstone near us; and, without devouring her prey, appeared to be steadfastly regarding us. I know not what impelled me to drive it away, but the attempt was useless; she made a few circles in the air, and returned exactly to the same spot. Darvell pointed to it, and smiled: he spoke—I know not whether to himself or to me—but the words were only, "'Tis well!"

"What is well? what do you mean?"

"No matter: you must bury me here this evening, and exactly where that bird is now perched. You know the rest of my injunctions."

He then proceeded to give me several directions as to the manner in which his death might be best concealed. After these were finished, he exclaimed, "You perceive that bird?"


"And the serpent writhing in her beak?"

"Doubtless: there is nothing uncommon in it; it is her natural prey. But it is odd that she does not devour it."

He smiled in a ghastly manner, and said, faintly, "It is not yet time!" As he spoke, the stork flew away. My eyes followed it for a moment—it could hardly be longer than ten might be counted. I felt Darvell's weight, as it were, increase upon my shoulder, 345 and, turning to look upon his face, perceived that he was dead!

I was shocked with the sudden certainty which could not be mistaken—his countenance in a few minutes became nearly black. I should have attributed so rapid a change to poison, had I not been aware that he had no opportunity of receiving it unperceived. The day was declining, the body was rapidly altering, and nothing remained but to fulfil his request. With the aid of Suleiman's ataghan and my own sabre, we scooped a shallow grave upon the spot which Darvell had indicated: the earth easily gave way, having already received some Mahometan tenant. We dug as deeply as the time permitted us, and throwing the dry earth upon all that remained of the singular being so lately departed, we cut a few sods of greener turf from the less withered soil around us, and laid them upon his sepulchre.

Between astonishment and grief, I was tearless. 346


"I'll play at Bowls with the sun and moon."—OLD SONG.

"My mither's auld, Sir, and she has rather forgotten hersel in speaking to my Leddy, that canna weel bide to be contradickit, (as I ken nobody likes it, if they could help themsels.)"

TALES OF MY LANDLORD, Old Mortality, vol. ii. p. 163.

Ravenna, February 7. 1821.

Dear Sir,

In the different pamphlets which you have had the goodness to send me, on the Pope and Bowles' controversy, I perceive that my name is occasionally introduced by both parties. Mr. Bowles refers more than once to what he is pleased to consider "a remarkable circumstance," not only in his letter to Mr. Campbell, but in his reply to the Quarterly. The Quarterly also and Mr. Gilchrist have conferred on me the dangerous honour of a quotation; and Mr. Bowles indirectly makes a kind of appeal to me personally, by saying, "Lord Byron, if he remembers the circumstance, will witness"—(witness IN ITALICS, an ominous character for a testimony at present).

I shall not avail myself of a "non mi ricordo," even after so long a residence in Italy;—I do "remember the circumstance,"—and have no reluctance to relate it (since called upon so to do), as correctly as the distance of time and the impression of intervening events will permit me. In the year 1812, more than three 347 years after the publication of "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," I had the honour of meeting Mr. Bowles in the house of our venerable host of "Human Life," &c. the last Argonaut of classic English poetry, and the Nestor of our inferior race of living poets. Mr. Bowles calls this "soon after" the publication; but to me three years appear a considerable segment of the immortality of a modern poem. I recollect nothing of "the rest of the company going into another room,"—nor, though I well remember the topography of our host's elegant and classically furnished mansion, could I swear to the very room where the conversation occurred, though the "taking down the poem" seems to fix it in the library. Had it been "taken up" it would probably have been in the drawing-room. I presume also that the "remarkable circumstance" took place after dinner; as I conceive that neither Mr. Bowles's politeness nor appetite would have allowed him to detain "the rest of the company" standing round their chairs in the "other room," while we were discussing "the Woods of Madeira," instead of circulating its vintage. Of Mr. Bowles's "good humour" I have a full and not ungrateful recollection; as also of his gentlemanly manners and agreeable conversation. I speak of the whole, and not of particulars; for whether he did or did not use the precise words printed in the pamphlet, I cannot say, nor could he with accuracy. Of "the tone of seriousness" I certainly recollect nothing: on the contrary, I thought Mr. Bowles rather disposed to treat the subject lightly: for he said (I have no objection to be contradicted if incorrect), that some of his good-natured friends had come to him and exclaimed, "Eh! Bowles! how came you to make the Woods of Madeira?" &c. &c. and that he had been at some pains and pulling down of the poem to convince them that he had never made "the Woods" do any thing of the kind. He was right, and I was wrong, and have been wrong still up to this acknowledgment; for I ought to have looked twice before I wrote 348 that which involved an inaccuracy capable of giving pain. The fact was, that, although I had certainly before read "the Spirit of Discovery," I took the quotation from the review. But the mistake was mine, and not the review's, which quoted the passage correctly enough, I believe. I blundered—God knows how—into attributing the tremors of the lovers to "the Woods of Madeira," by which they were surrounded. And I hereby do fully and freely declare and asseverate, that the Woods did not tremble to a kiss, and that the lovers did. I quote from memory—

———"A kiss

Stole on the listening silence, &c. &c.

They [the lovers] trembled, even as if the power," &c.

And if I had been aware that this declaration would have been in the smallest degree satisfactory to Mr. Bowles, I should not have waited nine years to make it, notwithstanding that "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers" had been suppressed some time previously to my meeting him at Mr. Rogers's. Our worthy host might indeed have told him as much, as it was at his representation that I suppressed it. A new edition of that lampoon was preparing for the press, when Mr. Rogers represented to me, that "I was now acquainted with many of the persons mentioned in it, and with some on terms of intimacy;" and that he knew "one family in particular to whom its suppression would give pleasure." I did not hesitate one moment, it was cancelled instantly; and it is no fault of mine that it has ever been republished. When I left England, in April, 1816, with no very violent intentions of troubling that country again, and amidst scenes of various kinds to distract my attention,—almost my last act, I believe, was to sign a power of attorney, to yourself, to prevent or suppress any attempts (of which several had been made in Ireland) at a republication. It is proper that I should state, that the persons with whom I was subsequently 349 acquainted, whose names had occurred in that publication, were made my acquaintances at their own desire, or through the unsought intervention of others. I never, to the best of my knowledge, sought a personal introduction to any. Some of them to this day I know only by correspondence; and with one of those it was begun by myself, in consequence, however, of a polite verbal communication from a third person.

I have dwelt for an instant on these circumstances, because it has sometimes been made a subject of bitter reproach to me to have endeavoured to suppress that satire. I never shrunk, as those who know me know, from any personal consequences which could be attached to its publication. Of its subsequent suppression, as I possessed the copyright, I was the best judge and the sole master. The circumstances which occasioned the suppression I have now stated; of the motives, each must judge according to his candour or malignity. Mr. Bowles does me the honour to talk of "noble mind," and "generous magnanimity;" and all this because "the circumstance would have been explained had not the book been suppressed." I see no "nobility of mind" in an act of simple justice; and I hate the word "magnanimity," because I have sometimes seen it applied to the grossest of impostors by the greatest of fools; but I would have "explained the circumstance," notwithstanding "the suppression of the book," if Mr. Bowles had expressed any desire that I should. As the "gallant Galbraith" says to "Baillie Jarvie," "Well, the devil take the mistake, and all that occasioned it." I have had as great and greater mistakes made about me personally and poetically, once a month for these last ten years, and never cared very much about correcting one or the other, at least after the first eight and forty hours had gone over them.

I must now, however, say a word or two about Pope, of whom you have my opinion more at large in the unpublished letter on or to (for I forget which) the 350 editor of "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine;"—and here I doubt that Mr. Bowles will not approve of my sentiments.

Although I regret having published "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," the part which I regret the least is that which regards Mr. Bowles with reference to Pope. Whilst I was writing that publication, in 1807 and 1808, Mr. Hobhouse was desirous that I should express our mutual opinion of Pope, and of Mr. Bowles's edition of his works. As I had completed my outline, and felt lazy, I requested that he would do so. He did it. His fourteen lines on Bowles's Pope are in the first edition of "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers;" and are quite as severe and much more poetical than my own in the second. On reprinting the work, as I put my name to it, I omitted Mr. Hobhouse's lines, and replaced them with my own, by which the work gained less than Mr. Bowles. I have stated this in the preface to the second edition. It is many years since I have read that poem; but the Quarterly Review, Mr. Octavius Gilchrist, and Mr. Bowles himself, have been so obliging as to refresh my memory, and that of the public. I am grieved to say, that in reading over those lines, I repent of their having so far fallen short of what I meant to express upon the subject of Bowles's edition of Pope's Works. Mr. Bowles says, that "Lord Byron knows he does not deserve this character." I know no such thing. I have met Mr. Bowles occasionally, in the best society in London; he appeared to me an amiable, well-informed, and extremely able man. I desire nothing better than to dine in company with such a mannered man every day in the week: but of "his character" I know nothing personally; I can only speak to his manners, and these have my warmest approbation. But I never judge from manners, for I once had my pocket picked by the civilest gentleman I ever met with; and one of the mildest persons I ever saw was All Pacha. Of Mr. Bowles's "character" I will 351 not do him the injustice to judge from the edition of Pope, if he prepared it heedlessly; nor the justice, should it be otherwise, because I would neither become a literary executioner nor a personal one. Mr. Bowles the individual, and Mr. Bowles the editor, appear the two most opposite things imaginable.

"And he himself one—antithesis."

I won't say "vile," because it is harsh; nor "mistaken," because it has two syllables too many: but every one must fill up the blank as he pleases.

What I saw of Mr. Bowles increased my surprise and regret that he should ever have lent his talents to such a task. If he had been a fool, there would have been some excuse for him; if he had been a needy or a bad man, his conduct would have been intelligible: but he is the opposite of all these; and thinking and feeling as I do of Pope, to me the whole thing is unaccountable. However, I must call things by their right names. I cannot call his edition of Pope a "candid" work; and I still think that there is an affectation of that quality not only in those volumes, but in the pamphlets lately published.

"Why yet he doth deny his prisoners."

Mr. Bowles says, that "he has seen passages in his letters to Martha Blount which were never published by me, and I hope never will be by others; which are so gross as to imply the grossest licentiousness." Is this fair play? It may, or it may not be that such passages exist; and that Pope, who was not a monk, although a Catholic, may have occasionally sinned in word and deed with woman in his youth: but is this a sufficient ground for such a sweeping denunciation? Where is the unmarried Englishman of a certain rank of life, who (provided he has not taken orders) has not to reproach himself between the ages of sixteen and thirty with far more licentiousness than has ever yet been traced to Pope? Pope lived in the public eye from his youth 352 upwards; he had all the dunces of his own time for his enemies, and, I am sorry to say, some, who have not the apology of dulness for detraction, since his death; and yet to what do all their accumulated hints and charges amount?—to an equivocal liaison with Martha Blount, which might arise as much from his infirmities as from his passions; to a hopeless flirtation with Lady Mary W. Montagu; to a story of Cibber's; and to two or three coarse passages in his works. Who could come forth clearer from an invidious inquest on a life of fifty-six years? Why are we to be officiously reminded of such passages in his letters, provided that they exist. Is Mr. Bowles aware to what such rummaging among "letters" and "stories" might lead? I have myself seen a collection of letters of another eminent, nay, pre-eminent, deceased poet, so abominably gross, and elaborately coarse, that I do not believe that they could be paralleled in our language. What is more strange, is, that some of these are couched as postscripts to his serious and sentimental letters, to which are tacked either a piece of prose, or some verses, of the most hyperbolical indecency. He himself says, that if "obscenity (using a much coarser word) be the sin against the Holy Ghost, he most certainly cannot be saved." These letters are in existence, and have been seen by many besides myself; but would his editor have been "candid" in even alluding to them? Nothing would have even provoked me, an indifferent spectator, to allude to them, but this further attempt at the depreciation of Pope.

What should we say to an editor of Addison, who cited the following passage from Walpole's letters to George Montagu? "Dr. Young has published a new book, &c. Mr. Addison sent for the young Earl of Warwick, as he was dying, to show him in what peace a Christian could die; unluckily he died of brandy: nothing makes a Christian die in peace like being maudlin! but don't say this in Gath where you are." Suppose the editor introduced it with this preface: "One 353 circumstance is mentioned by Horace Walpole, which, if true, was indeed flagitious. Walpole informs Montagu that Addison sent for the young Earl of Warwick, when dying, to show him in what peace a Christian could die; but unluckily he died drunk," &c. &c. Now, although there might occur on the subsequent, or on the same page, a faint show of disbelief, seasoned with the expression of "the same candour" (the same exactly as throughout the book), I should say that this editor was either foolish or false to his trust; such a story ought not to have been admitted, except for one brief mark of crushing indignation, unless it were completely proved. Why the words "if true?" that "if" is not a peacemaker. Why talk of "Cibber's testimony" to his licentiousness? to what does this amount? that Pope when very young was once decoyed by some noblemen and the player to a house of carnal recreation. Mr. Bowles was not always a clergyman; and when he was a very young man, was he never seduced into as much? If I were in the humour for story-telling, and relating little anecdotes, I could tell a much better story of Mr. Bowles than Cibber's, upon much better authority, viz. that of Mr. Bowles himself. It was not related by him in my presence, but in that of a third person, whom Mr. Bowles names oftener than once in the course of his replies. This gentleman related it to me as a humorous and witty anecdote; and so it was, whatever its other characteristics might be. But should I, for a youthful frolic, brand Mr. Bowles with a "libertine sort of love," or with "licentiousness?" is he the less now a pious or a good man, for not having always been a priest? No such thing; I am willing to believe him a good man, almost as good a man as Pope, but no better.

The truth is, that in these days the grand "primum mobile" of England is cant; cant political, cant poetical, cant religious, cant moral; but always cant, multiplied through all the varieties of life. It is the fashion, and while it lasts will be too powerful for those who can 354 only exist by taking the tone of the time. I say cant, because it is a thing of words, without the smallest influence upon human actions; the English being no wiser, no better, and much poorer, and more divided amongst themselves, as well as far less moral, than they were before the prevalence of this verbal decorum. This hysterical horror of poor Pope's not very well ascertained, and never fully proved amours (for even Cibber owns that he prevented the somewhat perilous adventure in which Pope was embarking) sounds very virtuous in a controversial pamphlet; but all men of the world who know what life is, or at least what it was to them in their youth, must laugh at such a ludicrous foundation of the charge of "a libertine sort of love;" while the more serious will look upon those who bring forward such charges upon an insulated fact as fanatics or hypocrites, perhaps both. The two are sometimes compounded in a happy mixture.

Mr. Octavius Gilchrist speaks rather irreverently of a "second tumbler of hot white-wine negus." What does he mean? Is there any harm in negus? or is it the worse for being hot? or does Mr. Bowles drink negus? I had a better opinion of him. I hoped that whatever wine he drank was neat; or, at least, that, like the ordinary in Jonathan Wild, "he preferred punch, the rather as there was nothing against it in Scripture." I should be sorry to believe that Mr. Bowles was fond of negus; it is such a "candid" liquor, so like a wishy-washy compromise between the passion for wine and the propriety of water. But different writers have divers tastes. Judge Blackstone composed his "Commentaries" (he was a poet too in his youth) with a bottle of port before him. Addison's conversation was not good for much till he had taken a similar dose. Perhaps the prescription of these two great men was not inferior to the very different one of a soi-disant poet of this day, who, after wandering amongst the hills, returns, goes to bed, and dictates his verses, being fed by 355 a by-stander with bread and butter during the operation.

I now come to Mr. Bowles's "invariable principles of poetry." These Mr. Bowles and some of his correspondents pronounce "unanswerable;" and they are "unanswered," at least by Campbell, who seems to have been astounded by the title. The sultan of the time being offered to ally himself to a king of France because "he hated the word league;" which proves that the Padishan understood French. Mr. Campbell has no need of my alliance, nor shall I presume to offer it; but I do hate that word "invariable." What is there of human, be it poetry, philosophy, wit, wisdom, science, power, glory, mind, matter, life, or death, which is "invariable?" Of course I put things divine out of the question. Of all arrogant baptisms of a book, this title to a pamphlet appears the most complacently conceited. It is Mr. Campbell's part to answer the contents of this performance, and especially to vindicate his own "Ship," which Mr. Bowles most triumphantly proclaims to have struck to his very first fire.

"Quoth he, there was a Ship;

Now let me go, thou grey-haired loon,

Or my staff shall make thee skip."

It is no affair of mine, but having once begun, (certainly not by my own wish, but called upon by the frequent recurrence to my name in the pamphlets,) I am like an Irishman in a "row," "any body's customer." I shall therefore say a word or two on the "Ship."

Mr. Bowles asserts that Campbell's "Ship of the Line" derives all its poetry, not from "art," but from "nature." "Take away the waves, the winds, the sun, &c. &c. one will become a stripe of blue bunting; and the other a piece of coarse canvass on three tall poles." Very true; take away the "waves," "the winds," and there will be no ship at all, not only for poetical, but for any other purpose; and take away "the sun," and we must 356 read Mr. Bowles's pamphlet by candle-light. But the "poetry" of the "Ship" does not depend on "the waves," &c.; on the contrary, the "Ship of the Line" confers its own poetry upon the waters, and heightens theirs. I do not deny, that the "waves and winds," and above all "the sun," are highly poetical; we know it to our cost, by the many descriptions of them in verse: but if the waves bore only the foam upon their bosoms, if the winds wafted only the sea-weed to the shore, if the sun shone neither upon pyramids, nor fleets, nor fortresses, would its beams be equally poetical? I think not: the poetry is at least reciprocal. Take away "the Ship of the line" "swinging round" the "calm water," and the calm water becomes a somewhat monotonous thing to look at, particularly if not transparently clear; witness the thousands who pass by without looking on it at all. What was it attracted the thousands to the launch? they might have seen the poetical "calm water" at Wapping, or in the "London Dock," or in the Paddington Canal, or in a horse-pond, or in a slop-basin, or in any other vase. They might have heard the poetical winds howling through the chinks of a pigsty, or the garret window; they might have seen the sun shining on a footman's livery, or on a brass warming pan; but could the "calm water," or the "wind," or the "sun," make all, or any of these "poetical?" I think not. Mr. Bowles admits "the Ship" to be poetical, but only from those accessaries: now if they confer poetry so as to make one thing poetical, they would make other things poetical; the more so, as Mr. Bowles calls a "ship of the line" without them,—that is to say, its "masts and sails and streamers,"—"blue bunting," and "coarse canvass," and "tall poles." So they are; and porcelain is clay, and man is dust, and flesh is grass, and yet the two latter at least are the subjects of much poesy.

Did Mr. Bowles ever gaze upon the sea? I presume that he has, at least upon a sea-piece. Did any painter ever paint the sea only, without the addition of a ship, boat, wreck, or some such adjunct? Is the sea 357 itself a more attractive, a more moral, a more poetical object, with or without a vessel, breaking its vast but fatiguing monotony? Is a storm more poetical without a ship? or, in the poem of the Shipwreck, is it the storm or the ship which most interests? both much undoubtedly; but without the vessel, what should we care for the tempest? It would sink into mere descriptive poetry, which in itself was never esteemed a high order of that art.

I look upon myself as entitled to talk of naval matters, at least to poets:—with the exception of Walter Scott, Moore, and Southey, perhaps, who have been voyagers, I have swam more miles than all the rest of them together now living ever sailed, and have lived for months and months on shipboard; and, during the whole period of my life abroad, have scarcely ever passed a month out of sight of the ocean: besides being brought up from two years till ten on the brink of it. I recollect, when anchored off Cape Sigeum in 1810, in an English frigate, a violent squall coming on at sunset, so violent as to make us imagine that the ship would part cable, or drive from her anchorage. Mr. Hobhouse and myself, and some officers, had been up the Dardanelles to Abydos, and were just returned in time. The aspect of a storm in the Archipelago is as poetical as need be, the sea being particularly short, dashing, and dangerous, and the navigation intricate and broken by the isles and currents. Cape Sigeum, the tumuli of the Troad, Lemnos, Tenedos, all added to the associations of the time. But what seemed the most "poetical" of all at the moment, were the numbers (about two hundred) of Greek and Turkish craft, which were obliged to "cut and run" before the wind, from their unsafe anchorage, some for Tenedos, some for other isles, some for the main, and some it might be for eternity. The sight of these little scudding vessels, darting over the foam in the twilight, now appearing and now disappearing between the waves in the cloud of night, with their peculiarly 358 white sails, (the Levant sails not being of "coarse canvass," but of white cotton,) skimming along as quickly, but less safely than the sea-mews which hovered over them; their evident distress, their reduction to fluttering specks in the distance, their crowded succession, their littleness, as contending with the giant element, which made our stout forty-four's teak timbers (she was built in India) creak again; their aspect and their motion, all struck me as something far more "poetical" than the mere broad, brawling, shipless sea, and the sullen winds, could possibly have been without them.

The Euxine is a noble sea to look upon, and the port of Constantinople the most beautiful of harbours, and yet I cannot but think that the twenty sail of the line, some of one hundred and forty guns, rendered it more "poetical" by day in the sun, and by night perhaps still more, for the Turks illuminate their vessels of war in a manner the most picturesque, and yet all this is artificial. As for the Euxine, I stood upon the Symplegades—I stood by the broken altar still exposed to the winds upon one of them—I felt all the "poetry" of the situation, as I repeated the first lines of Medea; but would not that "poetry" have been heightened by the Argo? It was so even by the appearance of any merchant vessel arriving from Odessa. But Mr. Bowles says, "Why bring your ship off the stocks?" for no reason that I know, except that ships are built to be launched. The water, &c. undoubtedly HEIGHTENS the poetical associations, but it does not make them; and the ship amply repays the obligation: they aid each other; the water is more poetical with the ship—the ship less so without the water. But even a ship laid up in dock, is a grand and a poetical sight. Even an old boat, keel upwards, wrecked upon the barren sand, is a "poetical" object, (and Wordsworth, who made a poem about a washing tub and a blind boy, may tell you so as well as I,) whilst a long extent of sand and unbroken water, 359 without the boat, would be as like dull prose as any pamphlet lately published.

What makes the poetry in the image of the "marble waste of Tadmor," or Grainger's "Ode to Solitude," so much admired by Johnson? Is it the "marble" or the "waste," the artificial or the natural object? The "waste" is like all other wastes; but the "marble" of Palmyra makes the poetry of the passage as of the place.

The beautiful but barren Hymettus, the whole coast of Attica, her hills and mountains, Pentelicus, Anchesmus, Philopappus, &c. &c. are in themselves poetical, and would be so if the name of Athens, of Athenians, and her very ruins, were swept from the earth. But am I to be told that the "nature" of Attica would be more poetical without the "art" of the Acropolis? of the Temple of Theseus? and of the still all Greek and glorious monuments of her exquisitely artificial genius? Ask the traveller what strikes him as most poetical, the Parthenon, or the rock on which it stands? The COLUMNS of Cape Colonna, or the Cape itself? The rocks at the foot of it, or the recollection that Falconer's ship was bulged upon them? There are a thousand rocks and capes far more picturesque than those of the Acropolis and Cape Sunium in themselves; what are they to a thousand scenes in the wilder parts of Greece, of Asia Minor, Switzerland, or even of Cintra in Portugal, or to many scenes of Italy, and the Sierras of Spain? But it is the "art," the columns, the temples, the wrecked vessel, which give them their antique and their modern poetry, and not the spots themselves. Without them, the spots of earth would be unnoticed and unknown; buried, like Babylon and Nineveh, in indistinct confusion, without poetry, as without existence; but to whatever spot of earth these ruins were transported, if they were capable of transportation, like the obelisk, and the sphinx, and the Memnon's head, there they would still exist in the perfection of their beauty, and in the 360 pride of their poetry. I opposed, and will ever oppose, the robbery of ruins from Athens, to instruct the English in sculpture; but why did I do so? The ruins are as poetical in Piccadilly as they were in the Parthenon; but the Parthenon and its rock are less so without them. Such is the poetry of art.

Mr. Bowles contends again that the pyramids of Egypt are poetical, because of "the association with boundless deserts," and that a "pyramid of the same dimensions" would not be sublime in "Lincoln's Inn Fields:" not so poetical certainly; but take away the "pyramids," and what is the "desert?" Take away Stone-henge from Salisbury plain, and it is nothing more than Hounslow heath, or any other unenclosed down. It appears to me that St. Peter's, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Palatine, the Apollo, the Laocoon, the Venus di Medicis, the Hercules, the dying Gladiator, the Moses of Michael Angelo, and all the higher works of Canova, (I have already spoken of those of ancient Greece, still extant in that country, or transported to England,) are as poetical as Mont Blanc or Mount Ætna, perhaps still more so, as they are direct manifestations of mind, and presuppose poetry in their very conception; and have, moreover, as being such, a something of actual life, which cannot belong to any part of inanimate nature, unless we adopt the system of Spinosa, that the world is the Deity. There can be nothing more poetical in its aspect than the city of Venice: does this depend upon the sea, or the canals?—

"The dirt and sea-weed whence proud Venice rose?"

Is it the canal which runs between the palace and the prison, or the "Bridge of Sighs," which connects them, that render it poetical? Is it the "Canal Grande," or the Rialto which arches it, the churches which tower over it, the palaces which line, and the gondolas which glide over the waters, that render this city more poetical than Rome itself? Mr. Bowles will say, perhaps, that the 361 Rialto is but marble, the palaces and churches only stone, and the gondolas a "coarse" black cloth, thrown over some planks of carved wood, with a shining bit of fantastically formed iron at the prow, "without" the water. And I tell him that without these, the water would be nothing but a clay-coloured ditch; and whoever says the contrary, deserves to be at the bottom of that, where Pope's heroes are embraced by the mud nymphs. There would be nothing to make the canal of Venice more poetical than that of Paddington, were it not for the artificial adjuncts above mentioned; although it is a perfectly natural canal, formed by the sea, and the innumerable islands which constitute the site of this extraordinary city.

The very Cloaca of Tarquin at Rome are as poetical as Richmond Hill; many will think more so: take away Rome, and leave the Tibur and the seven hills, in the nature of Evander's time. Let Mr. Bowles, or Mr. Wordsworth, or Mr. Southey, or any of the other "naturals," make a poem upon them, and then see which is most poetical, their production, or the commonest guide-book, which tells you the road from St. Peter's to the Coliseum, and informs you what you will see by the way. The ground interests in Virgil, because it will be Rome, and not because it is Evander's rural domain.

Mr. Bowles then proceeds to press Homer into his service, in answer to a remark of Mr. Campbell's, that "Homer was a great describer of works of art." Mr. Bowles contends, that all his great power, even in this, depends upon their connection with nature. The "shield of Achilles derives its poetical interest from the subjects described on it." And from what does the spear of Achilles derive its interest? and the helmet and the mail worn by Patroclus, and the celestial armour, and the very brazen greaves of the well-booted Greeks? Is it solely from the legs, and the back, and the breast, and the human body, which they enclose? In that case, it would have been more poetical to have made them fight 362 naked; and Gulley and Gregson, as being nearer to a state of nature, are more poetical boxing in a pair of drawers than Hector and Achilles in radiant armour, and with heroic weapons.

Instead of the clash of helmets, and the rushing of chariots, and the whizzing of spears, and the glancing of swords, and the cleaving of shields, and the piercing of breast-plates, why not represent the Greeks and Trojans like two savage tribes, tugging and tearing, and kicking and biting, and gnashing, foaming, grinning, and gouging, in all the poetry of martial nature, unencumbered with gross, prosaic, artificial arms; an equal superfluity to the natural warrior, and his natural poet. Is there any thing unpoetical in Ulysses striking the horses of Rhesus with his bow (having forgotten his thong), or would Mr. Bowles have had him kick them with his foot, or smack them with his hand, as being more unsophisticated?

In Gray's Elegy, is there an image more striking than his "shapeless sculpture?" Of sculpture in general, it may be observed, that it is more poetical than nature itself, inasmuch as it represents and bodies forth that ideal beauty and sublimity which is never to be found in actual nature. This at least is the general opinion. But, always excepting the Venus di Medicis, I differ from that opinion, at least as far as regards female beauty; for the head of Lady Charlemont (when I first saw her nine years ago) seemed to possess all that sculpture could require for its ideal. I recollect seeing something of the same kind in the head of an Albanian girl, who was actually employed in mending a road in the mountains, and in some Greek, and one or two Italian, faces. But of sublimity, I have never seen any thing in human nature at all to approach the expression of sculpture, either in the Apollo, the Moses, or other of the sterner works of ancient or modern art.

Let us examine a little further this "babble of green fields" and of bare nature in general as superior 363 to artificial imagery, for the poetical purposes of the fine arts. In landscape painting, the great artist does not give you a literal copy of a country, but he invents and composes one. Nature, in her actual aspect, does not furnish him with such existing scenes as he requires. Even where he presents you with some famous city, or celebrated scene from mountain or other nature, it must be taken from some particular point of view, and with such light, and shade, and distance, &c. as serve not only to heighten its beauties, but to shadow its deformities. The poetry of nature alone, exactly as she appears, is not sufficient to bear him out. The very sky of his painting is not the portrait of the sky of nature; it is a composition of different skies, observed at different times, and not the whole copied from any particular day. And why? Because nature is not lavish of her beauties; they are widely scattered, and occasionally displayed, to be selected with care, and gathered with difficulty.

Of sculpture I have just spoken. It is the great scope of the sculptor to heighten nature into heroic beauty, i.e. in plain English, to surpass his model. When Canova forms a statue, he takes a limb from one, a hand from another, a feature from a third, and a shape, it may be, from a fourth, probably at the same time improving upon all, as the Greek of old did in embodying his Venus.

Ask a portrait painter to describe his agonies in accommodating the faces with which nature and his sitters have crowded his painting-room to the principles of his art: with the exception of perhaps ten faces in as many millions, there is not one which he can venture to give without shading much and adding more. Nature, exactly, simply, barely nature, will make no great artist of any kind, and least of all a poet—the most artificial, perhaps, of all artists in his very essence. With regard to natural imagery, the poets are obliged to take some of their best illustrations from art. You say that a 364 "fountain is as clear or clearer than glass" to express its beauty:—

"O fons Bandusiæ, splendidior vitro!"

In the speech of Mark Antony, the body of Cæsar is displayed, but so also is his mantle:—

"You all do know this mantle," &c.

"Look! in this place ran Cassius' dagger through."

If the poet had said that Cassius had run his fist through the rent of the mantle, it would have had more of Mr. Bowles's "nature" to help it; but the artificial dagger is more poetical than any natural hand without it. In the sublime of sacred poetry, "Who is this that cometh from Edom? with dyed garments from Bozrah?" Would "the comer" be poetical without his "dyed garments?" which strike and startle the spectator, and identify the approaching object.

The mother of Sisera is represented listening for the "wheels of his chariot." Solomon, in his Song, compares the nose of his beloved to "a tower," which to us appears an eastern exaggeration. If he had said, that her stature was like that of a "tower's," it would have been as poetical as if he had compared her to a tree.

"The virtuous Marcia towers above her sex,"

is an instance of an artificial image to express a moral superiority. But Solomon, it is probable, did not compare his beloved's nose to a "tower" on account of its length, but of its symmetry; and making allowance for eastern hyperbole, and the difficulty of finding a discreet image for a female nose in nature, it is perhaps as good a figure as any other.

Art is not inferior to nature for poetical purposes. What makes a regiment of soldiers a more noble object of view than the same mass of mob? Their arms, their dresses, their banners, and the art and artificial symmetry 365 of their position and movements. A Highlander's plaid, a Mussulman's turban, and a Roman toga, are more poetical than the tattooed or untattooed buttocks of a New Sandwich savage, although they were described by William Wordsworth himself like the "idiot in his glory."

I have seen as many mountains as most men, and more fleets than the generality of landsmen; and, to my mind, a large convoy with a few sail of the line to conduct them is as noble and as poetical a prospect as all that inanimate nature can produce. I prefer the "mast of some great ammiral," with all its tackle, to the Scotch fir or the alpine tannen; and think that more poetry has been made out of it. In what does the infinite superiority of "Falconer's Shipwreck" over all other shipwrecks consist? In his admirable application of the terms of his art; in a poet-sailor's description of the sailor's fate. These very terms, by his application, make the strength and reality of his poem. Why? because he was a poet, and in the hands of a poet, art will not be found less ornamental than nature. It is precisely in general nature, and in stepping out of his element, that Falconer fails; where he digresses to speak of ancient Greece, and "such branches of learning."

In Dyer's Grongar Hill, upon which his fame rests, the very appearance of nature herself is moralised into an artificial image:

"Thus is nature's vesture wrought,

To instruct our wandering thought;

Thus she dresses green and gay,

To disperse our cares away."

And here also we have the telescope; the misuse of which, from Milton, has rendered Mr. Bowles so triumphant over Mr. Campbell:—

"So we mistake the future's face,

Eyed through Hope's deluding glass."

366 And here a word en passant to Mr. Campbell:—

"As yon summits, soft and fair

Clad in colours of the air,

Which to those who journey near

Barren, brown, and rough appear,

Still we tread the same coarse way—

The present's still a cloudy day."

Is not this the original of the far-famed—

"'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,

And robes the mountain in its azure hue?"

To return once more to the sea. Let any one look on the long wall of Malamocco, which curbs the Adriatic, and pronounce between the sea and its master. Surely that Roman work (I mean Roman in conception and performance), which says to the ocean, "Thus far shalt thou come, and no further," and is obeyed, is not less sublime and poetical than the angry waves which vainly break beneath it.

Mr. Bowles makes the chief part of a ship's poesy depend upon the "wind:" then why is a ship under sail more poetical than a hog in a high wind? The hog is all nature, the ship is all art, "coarse canvass," "blue bunting," and "tall poles;" both are violently acted upon by the wind, tossed here and there, to and fro, and yet nothing but excess of hunger could make me look upon the pig as the more poetical of the two, and then only in the shape of a griskin.

Will Mr. Bowles tell us that the poetry of an aqueduct consist in the water which it conveys? Let him look on that of Justinian, on those of Rome, Constantinople, Lisbon, and Elvas, or even at the remains of that in Attica.

We are asked, "What makes the venerable towers of Westminster Abbey more poetical, as objects, than the tower for the manufactory of patent shot, surrounded by the same scenery?" I will answer—the architecture. Turn Westminster Abbey, or Saint Paul's 367 into a powder magazine, their poetry, as objects, remains the same; the Parthenon was actually converted into one by the Turks, during Morosini's Venetian siege, and part of it destroyed in consequence. Cromwell's dragoons stalled their steeds in Worcester cathedral; was it less poetical as an object than before? Ask a foreigner on his approach to London, what strikes him as the most poetical of the towers before him: he will point out Saint Paul's and Westminster Abbey, without, perhaps, knowing the names or associations of either, and pass over the "tower for patent shot,"—not that, for any thing he knows to the contrary, it might not be the mausoleum of a monarch, or a Waterloo column, or a Trafalgar monument, but because its architecture is obviously inferior.

To the question, "Whether the description of a game of cards be as poetical, supposing the execution of the artists equal, as a description of a walk in a forest?" it may be answered, that the materials are certainly not equal; but that "the artist," who has rendered the "game of cards poetical," is by far the greater of the two. But all this "ordering" of poets is purely arbitrary on the part of Mr. Bowles. There may or may not be, in fact, different "orders" of poetry, but the poet is always ranked according to his execution, and not according to his branch of the art.

Tragedy is one of the highest presumed orders. Hughes has written a tragedy, and a very successful one; Fenton another; and Pope none. Did any man, however,—will even Mr. Bowles himself,—rank Hughes and Fenton as poets above Pope? Was even Addison (the author of Cato), or Rowe (one of the higher order of dramatists as far as success goes), or Young, or even Otway and Southerne, ever raised for a moment to the same rank with Pope in the estimation of the reader or the critic, before his death or since? If Mr. Bowles will contend for classifications of this kind, let him recollect that descriptive poetry has been 368 ranked as among the lowest branches of the art, and description as a mere ornament, but which should never form the "subject" of a poem. The Italians, with the most poetical language, and the most fastidious taste in Europe, possess now five great poets, they say, Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, Tasso, and, lastly, Alfieri[1]; and whom do they esteem one of the highest of these, and some of them the very highest? Petrarch the sonneteer: it is true that some of his Canzoni are not less esteemed, but not more; who ever dreams of his Latin Africa?

[Footnote 1: Of these there is one ranked with the others for his SONNETS, and two for compositions which belong to no class at all? Where is Dante? His poem is not an epic; then what is it? He himself calls it a "divine comedy;" and why? This is more than all his thousand commentators have been able to explain. Ariosto's is not an epic poem; and if poets are to be classed according to the genus of their poetry, where is he to be placed? Of these five, Tasso and Alfieri only come within Aristotle's arrangement, and Mr. Bowles's class-book. But the whole position is false. Poets are classed by the power of their performance, and not according to its rank in a gradus. In the contrary case, the forgotten epic poets of all countries would rank above Petrarch, Dante, Ariosto, Burns, Gray, Dryden, and the highest names of various countries. Mr. Bowles's title of "invariable principles of poetry," is, perhaps, the most arrogant ever prefixed to a volume. So far are the principles of poetry from being "invariable," that they never were nor ever will be settled. These "principles" mean nothing more than the predilections of a particular age; and every age has its own, and a different from its predecessor. It is now Homer, and now Virgil; once Dryden, and since Walter Scott; now Corneille, and now Racine; now Crebillon, now Voltaire. The Homerists and Virgilians in France disputed for half a century. Not fifty years ago the Italians neglected Dante—Bettinelli reproved Monti for reading "that barbarian;" at present they adore him. Shakspeare and Milton have had their rise, and they will have their decline. Already they have more than once fluctuated, as must be the case with all the dramatists and poets of a living language. This does not depend upon their merits, but upon the ordinary vicissitudes of human opinions. Schlegel and Madame de Stael have endeavoured also to reduce poetry to two systems, classical and romantic. The effect is only beginning.]

369 Were Petrarch to be ranked according to the "order" of his compositions, where would the best of sonnets place him? with Dante and the others? no; but, as I have before said, the poet who executes best, is the highest, whatever his department, and will ever be so rated in the world's esteem.

Had Gray written nothing but his Elegy, high as he stands, I am not sure that he would not stand higher; it is the corner-stone of his glory: without it, his odes would be insufficient for his fame. The depreciation of Pope is partly founded upon a false idea of the dignity of his order of poetry, to which he has partly contributed by the ingenuous boast,

"That not in fancy's maze he wandered long,

But stoop'd to truth, and moralised his song."

He should have written "rose to truth." In my mind, the highest of all poetry is ethical poetry, as the highest of all earthly objects must be moral truth. Religion does not make a part of my subject; it is something beyond human powers, and has failed in all human hands except Milton's and Dante's, and even Dante's powers are involved in his delineation of human passions, though in supernatural circumstances. What made Socrates the greatest of men? His moral truth—his ethics. What proved Jesus Christ the Son of God hardly less than his miracles? His moral precepts. And if ethics have made a philosopher the first of men, and have not been disdained as an adjunct to his Gospel by the Deity himself, are we to be told that ethical poetry, or didactic poetry, or by whatever name you term it, whose object is to make men better and wiser, is not the very first order of poetry; and are we to be told this too by one of the priesthood? It requires more mind, more wisdom, more power, than all the "forests" that ever were "walked" for their "description," and all the epics that ever were founded upon fields of battle. The Georgics are indisputably, and, I believe, 370 undisputedly even a finer poem than the Æneid. Virgil knew this; he did not order them to be burnt.

"The proper study of mankind is man."

It is the fashion of the day to lay great stress upon what they call "imagination" and "invention," the two commonest of qualities: an Irish peasant with a little whiskey in his head will imagine and invent more than would furnish forth a modern poem. If Lucretius had not been spoiled by the Epicurean system, we should have had a far superior poem to any now in existence. As mere poetry, it is the first of Latin poems. What then has ruined it? His ethics. Pope has not this defect; his moral is as pure as his poetry is glorious.

In speaking of artificial objects, I have omitted to touch upon one which I will now mention. Cannon may be presumed to be as highly poetical as art can make her objects. Mr. Bowles will, perhaps, tell me that this is because they resemble that grand natural article of sound in heaven, and simile upon earth—thunder. I shall be told triumphantly, that Milton made sad work with his artillery, when he armed his devils therewithal. He did so; and this artificial object must have had much of the sublime to attract his attention for such a conflict. He has made an absurd use of it; but the absurdity consists not in using cannon against the angels of God, but any material weapon. The thunder of the clouds would have been as ridiculous and vain in the hands of the devils, as the "villanous saltpetre:" the angels were as impervious to the one as to the other. The thunderbolts become sublime in the hands of the Almighty not as such, but because he deigns to use them as a means of repelling the rebel spirits; but no one can attribute their defeat to this grand piece of natural electricity: the Almighty willed, and they fell; his word would have been enough; and Milton is as absurd, (and, in fact, blasphemous,) in putting material lightnings into the hands of the Godhead, as in giving him hands at all. 371

The artillery of the demons was but the first step of his mistake, the thunder the next, and it is a step lower. It would have been fit for Jove, but not for Jehovah. The subject altogether was essentially unpoetical; he has made more of it than another could, but it is beyond him and all men.

In a portion of his reply, Mr. Bowles asserts that Pope "envied Phillips," because he quizzed his pastorals in the Guardian, in that most admirable model of irony, his paper on the subject. If there was any thing enviable about Phillips, it could hardly be his pastorals. They were despicable, and Pope expressed his contempt. If Mr. Fitzgerald published a volume of sonnets, or a "Spirit of Discovery," or a "Missionary," and Mr. Bowles wrote in any periodical journal an ironical paper upon them, would this be "envy?" The authors of the "Rejected Addresses" have ridiculed the sixteen or twenty "first living poets" of the day, but do they "envy" them? "Envy" writhes, it don't laugh. The authors of the Rejected Addresses may despise some, but they can hardly "envy" any of the persons whom they have parodied; and Pope could have no more envied Phillips than he did Welsted, or Theobald, or Smedley, or any other given hero of the Dunciad. He could not have envied him, even had he himself not been the greatest poet of his age. Did Mr. Ings "envy" Mr. Phillips when he asked him, "How came your Pyrrhus to drive oxen and say, I am goaded on by love?" This question silenced poor Phillips; but it no more proceeded from "envy" than did Pope's ridicule. Did he envy Swift? Did he envy Bolingbroke? Did he envy Gay the unparalleled success of his "Beggar's Opera?" We may be answered that these were his friends—true: but does friendship prevent envy? Study the first woman you meet with, or the first scribbler, let Mr. Bowles himself (whom I acquit fully of such an odious quality) study some of his own poetical intimates: the most envious man I ever heard of is a poet, and a high 372 one; besides, it is an universal passion. Goldsmith envied not only the puppets for their dancing, and broke his shins in the attempt at rivalry, but was seriously angry because two pretty women received more attention than he did. This is envy; but where does Pope show a sign of the passion? In that case Dryden envied the hero of his Mac Flecknoe. Mr. Bowles compares, when and where he can, Pope with Cowper—(the same Cowper whom in his edition of Pope he laughs at for his attachment to an old woman, Mrs. Unwin; search and you will find it; I remember the passage, though not the page;) in particular he requotes Cowper's Dutch delineation of a wood, drawn up, like a seedsman's catalogue[1], with an affected imitation of Milton's style, as 373 burlesque as the "Splendid Shilling." These two writers, for Cowper is no poet, come into comparison in one great work, the translation of Homer. Now, with all the great, and manifest, and manifold, and reproved, and acknowledged, and uncontroverted faults of Pope's translation, and all the scholarship, and pains, and time, and trouble, and blank verse of the other, who can ever read Cowper? and who will ever lay down Pope, unless for the original? Pope's was "not Homer, it was Spondanus;" but Cowper's is not Homer either, it is not even Cowper. As a child I first read Pope's Homer with a rapture which no subsequent work could ever afford, and children are not the worst judges of their own language. As a boy I read Homer in the original, as we have all done, some of us by force, and a few by favour; under which description I come is nothing to the purpose, it is enough that I read him. As a man I have tried to read Cowper's version, and I found it impossible. Has any human reader ever succeeded?

[Footnote 1: I will submit to Mr. Bowles's own judgment a passage from another poem of Cowper's, to be compared with the same writer's Sylvan Sampler. In the lines to Mary,—

"Thy needles, once a shining store,

For my sake restless heretofore,

Now rust disused, and shine no more,

My Mary,"

contain a simple, household, "indoor," artificial, and ordinary image; I refer Mr. Bowles to the stanza, and ask if these three lines about "needles" are not worth all the boasted twaddling about trees, so triumphantly re-quoted? and yet, in fact, what do they convey? A homely collection of images and ideas, associated with the darning of stockings, and the hemming of shirts, and the mending of breeches; but will any one deny that they are eminently poetical and pathetic as addressed by Cowper to his nurse? The trash of trees reminds me of a saying of Sheridan's. Soon after the "Rejected Address" scene in 1812, I met Sheridan. In the course of dinner, he said, "Lord Byron, did you know that, amongst the writers of addresses, was Whitbread himself?" I answered by an enquiry of what sort of an address he had made. "Of that," replied Sheridan, "I remember little, except that there was a phoenix in it."—"A phoenix!! Well, how did he describe it?"—"Like a poulterer," answered Sheridan: "it was green, and yellow, and red, and blue: he did not let us off for a single feather." And just such as this poulterer's account of a phoenix is Cowper's stick-picker's detail of a wood, with all its petty minutiæ of this, that, and the other.]

And now that we have heard the Catholic repreached 374 with envy, duplicity, licentiousness, avarice—what was the Calvinist? He attempted the most atrocious of crimes in the Christian code, viz. suicide—and why? because he was to be examined whether he was fit for an office which he seems to wish to have made a sinecure. His connection with Mrs. Unwin was pure enough, for the old lady was devout, and he was deranged; but why then is the infirm and then elderly Pope to be reproved for his connection with Martha Blount: Cowper was the almoner of Mrs. Throgmorton; but Pope's charities were his own, and they were noble and extensive, far beyond his fortune's warrant. Pope was the tolerant yet steady adherent of the most bigoted of sects; and Cowper the most bigoted and despondent sectary that ever anticipated damnation to himself or others. Is this harsh? I know it is, and I do not assert it as my opinion of Cowper personally, but to show what might be said, with just as great an appearance of truth and candour, as all the odium which has been accumulated upon Pope in similar speculations. Cowper was a good man, and lived at a fortunate time for his works.

[Footnote: One more poetical instance of the power of art, and even its superiority over nature, in poetry; and I have done:—the bust of Antinous! Is there any thing in nature like this marble, excepting the Venus? Can there be more poetry gathered into existence than in that wonderful creation of perfect beauty? But the poetry of this bust is in no respect derived from nature, nor from any association of moral exaltedness; for what is there in common with moral nature, and the male minion of Adrian? The very execution is not natural, but super-natural, or rather super-artificial, for nature has never done so much.

Away, then, with this cant about nature, and "invariable principles of poetry!" A great artist will make a block of stone as sublime as a mountain, and a good poet can imbue a pack of cards with more poetry than inhabits the forests of America. It is the business and the proof of a poet to give the lie to the proverb, and sometimes to "make a silken purse out of a sow's ear;" and to conclude with another homely proverb, "a good workman will not find fault with his tools."]

Mr. Bowles, apparently not relying entirely upon his own arguments, has, in person or by proxy, brought forward the names of Southey and Moore. Mr. Southey "agrees entirely with Mr. Bowles in his invariable principles of poetry." The least that Mr. Bowles can do in return is to approve the "invariable principles of Mr. Southey." I should have thought that the word "invariable" might have stuck in Southey's throat, like Macbeth's "Amen!" I am sure it did in mine, and I am not the least consistent of the two, at least as a voter. Moore (et tu, Brute!) also approves, and a Mr. J. Scott. There is a letter also of two lines from a gentleman in asterisks, who, it seems, is a poet of "the highest rank:"—who can this be? not my friend, Sir Walter, surely. Campbell it can't be; Rogers it won't be. 375

"You have hit the nail in the head, and * * * * [Pope, I presume] on the head also.

"I remain yours, affectionately, "(Five Asterisks.)"

And in asterisks let him remain. Whoever this person may be, he deserves, for such a judgment of Midas, that "the nail" which Mr. Bowles has "hit in the head," should he driven through his own ears; I am sure that they are long enough.

The attempt of the poetical populace of the present day to obtain an ostracism against Pope is as easily accounted for as the Athenian's shell against Aristides; they are tired of hearing him always called "the Just." They are also fighting for life; for, if he maintains his station, they will reach their own by falling. They have raised a mosque by the side of a Grecian temple of the purest architecture; and, more barbarous than the barbarians from whose practice I have borrowed the figure, they are not contented with their own grotesque edifice, unless they destroy the prior, and purely beautiful fabric which preceded, and which shames them and theirs for ever and ever. I shall be told that amongst those I have been (or it may be, still am) conspicuous—true, and I am ashamed of it. I have been amongst the builders of this Babel, attended by a confusion of tongues, but never amongst the envious destroyers of the classic temple of our predecessor. I have loved and honoured the fame and name of that illustrious and unrivalled man, far more than my own paltry renown, and the trashy jingle of the crowd of "Schools" and upstarts, who pretend to rival, or even surpass him. Sooner than a single leaf should be torn from his laurel, it were better that all which these men, and that I, as one of their set, have ever written, should

"Line trunks, clothe spice, or, fluttering in a row,

Befringe the rails of Bedlam, or Soho!"

There are those who will believe this, and those who 376 will not. You, sir, know how far I am sincere, and whether my opinion, not only in the short work intended for publication, and in private letters which can never be published, has or has not been the same. I look upon this as the declining age of English poetry; no regard for others, no selfish feeling, can prevent me from seeing this, and expressing the truth. There can be no worse sign for the taste of the times than the depreciation of Pope. It would be better to receive for proof Mr. Cobbett's rough but strong attack upon Shakspeare and Milton, than to allow this smooth and "candid" undermining of the reputation of the most perfect of our poets, and the purest of our moralists. Of his power in the passions, in description, in the mock heroic, I leave others to descant. I take him on his strong ground as an ethical poet: in the former, none excel; in the mock heroic and the ethical, none equal him; and in my mind, the latter is the highest of all poetry, because it does that in verse, which the greatest of men have wished to accomplish in prose. If the essence of poetry must be a lie, throw it to the dogs, or banish it from your republic, as Plato would have done. He who can reconcile poetry with truth and wisdom, is the only true "poet" in its real sense, "the maker" "the creator,"—why must this mean the "liar," the "feigner," the "tale-teller?" A man may make and create better things than these.

I shall not presume to say that Pope is as high a poet as Shakspeare and Milton, though his enemy, Warton, places him immediately under them.[1] I would no more 377 say this than I would assert in the mosque (once Saint Sophia's), that Socrates was a greater man than Mahomet. But if I say that he is very near them, it is no more than has been asserted of Burns, who is supposed

"To rival all but Shakspeare's name below."

[Footnote 1: If the opinions cited by Mr. Bowles, of Dr. Johnson against Pope, are to be taken as decisive authority, they will also hold good against Gray, Milton, Swift, Thomson, and Dryden: in that case what becomes of Gray's poetical, and Milton's moral character? even of Milton's poetical character, or, indeed, of English poetry in general? for Johnson strips many a leaf from every laurel. Still Johnson's is the finest critical work extant, and can never be read without instruction and delight.]

I say nothing against this opinion. But of what "order," according to the poetical aristocracy, are Burns's poems? There are his opus magnum, "Tam O'Shanter," a tale; the Cotter's Saturday Night, a descriptive sketch; some others in the same style: the rest are songs. So much for the rank of his productions; the rank of Burns is the very first of his art. Of Pope I have expressed my opinion elsewhere, as also of the effect which the present attempts at poetry have had upon our literature. If any great national or natural convulsion could or should overwhelm your country in such sort, as to sweep Great Britain from the kingdoms of the earth, and leave only that, after all, the most living of human things, a dead language, to be studied and read, and imitated by the wise of future and far generations, upon foreign shores; if your literature should become the learning of mankind, divested of party cabals, temporary fashions, and national pride and prejudice; an Englishman, anxious that the posterity of strangers should know that there had been such a thing as a British Epic and Tragedy, might wish for the preservation of Shakspeare and Milton; but the surviving world would snatch Pope from the wreck, and let the rest sink with the people. He is the moral poet of all civilisation; and as such, let us hope that he will one day be the national poet of mankind. He is the only poet that never shocks; the only poet whose faultlessness has been made his reproach. Cast your eye over his productions; consider their extent, and contemplate their variety:—pastoral, passion, mock heroic, translation, satire, ethics,—all excellent, and often perfect. If his great charm be his melody, how comes it that foreigners 378 adore him even in their diluted translations? But I have made this letter too long. Give my compliments to Mr. Bowles.

Yours ever, very truly,

To John Murray, Esq.

Post Scriptum.—Long as this letter has grown, I find it necessary to append a postscript; if possible, a short one. Mr. Bowles denies that he has accused Pope of "a sordid money-getting passion;" but, he adds, "if I had ever done so, I should be glad to find any testimony that, might show he was not so." This testimony he may find to his heart's content in Spence and elsewhere. First, there is Martha Blount, who, Mr. Bowles charitably says, "probably thought he did not save enough for her, as legatee." Whatever she thought upon this point, her words are in Pope's favour. Then there is Alderman Barber; see Spence's Anecdotes. There is Pope's cold answer to Halifax when he proposed a pension; his behaviour to Craggs and to Addison upon like occasions, and his own two lines—

"And, thanks to Homer, since I live and thrive,

Indebted to no prince or peer alive;"

written when princes would have been proud to pension, and peers to promote him, and when the whole army of dunces were in array against him, and would have been but too happy to deprive him of this boast of independence. But there is something a little more serious in Mr. Bowles's declaration, that he "would have spoken" of his "noble generosity to the outcast Richard Savage," and other instances of a compassionate and generous heart, "had they occurred to his recollection when he wrote." What! is it come to this? Does Mr. Bowles sit down to write a minute and laboured life and edition of a great poet? Does he anatomise his character, moral and poetical? Does he present us with his faults and 379 with his foibles? Does he sneer at his feelings, and doubt of his sincerity? Does he unfold his vanity and duplicity? and then omit the good qualities which might, in part, have "covered this multitude of sins?" and then plead that "they did not occur to his recollection?" Is this the frame of mind and of memory with which the illustrious dead are to be approached? If Mr. Bowles, who must have had access to all the means of refreshing his memory, did not recollect these facts, he is unfit for his task; but if he did recollect and omit them, I know not what he is fit for, but I know what would be fit for him. Is the plea of "not recollecting" such prominent facts to be admitted? Mr. Bowles has been at a public school, and as I have been publicly educated also, I can sympathise with his predilection. When we were in the third form even, had we pleaded on the Monday morning, that we had not brought up the Saturday's exercise, because "we had forgotten it," what would have been the reply? And is an excuse, which would not be pardoned to a schoolboy, to pass current in a matter which so nearly concerns the fame of the first poet of his age, if not of his country? If Mr. Bowles so readily forgets the virtues of others, why complain so grievously that others have a better memory for his own faults? They are but the faults of an author; while the virtues he omitted from his catalogue are essential to the justice due to a man.

Mr. Bowles appears, indeed, to be susceptible beyond the privilege of authorship. There is a plaintive dedication to Mr. Gifford, in which he is made responsible for all the articles of the Quarterly. Mr. Southey, it seems, "the most able and eloquent writer in that Review," approves of Mr. Bowles's publication. Now it seems to me the more impartial, that notwithstanding that "the great writer of the Quarterly" entertains opinions opposite to the able article on Spence, nevertheless that essay was permitted to appear. Is a review to be devoted to the opinions of any one man? 380

Must it not vary according to circumstances, and according to the subjects to be criticised? I fear that writers must take the sweets and bitters of the public journals as they occur, and an author of so long a standing as Mr. Bowles might have become accustomed to such incidents; he might be angry, but not astonished. I have been reviewed in the Quarterly almost as often as Mr. Bowles, and have had as pleasant things said, and some as unpleasant, as could well be pronounced. In the review of "The Fall of Jerusalem" it is stated, that I have devoted "my powers, &c. to the worst parts of Manicheism;" which, being interpreted, means that I worship the devil. Now, I have neither written a reply, nor complained to Gifford. I believe that I observed in a letter to you, that I thought "that the critic might have praised Milman without finding it necessary to abuse me;" but did I not add at the same time, or soon after, (à propos, of the note in the book of Travels,) that I would not, if it were even in my power, have a single line cancelled on my account in that nor in any other publication? Of course, I reserve to myself the privilege of response when necessary. Mr. Bowles seems in a whimsical state about the author of the article on Spence. You know very well that I am not in your confidence, nor in that of the conductor of the journal. The moment I saw that article, I was morally certain that I knew the author "by his style." You will tell me that I do not know him: that is all as it should be; keep the secret, so shall I, though no one has ever intrusted it to me. He is not the person whom Mr. Bowles denounces. Mr. Bowles's extreme sensibility reminds me of a circumstance which occurred on board of a frigate in which I was a passenger and guest of the captain's for a considerable time. The surgeon on board, a very gentlemanly young man, and remarkably able in his profession, wore a wig. Upon this ornament he was extremely tenacious. As naval jests are sometimes a little rough, his brother officers made occasional 381 allusions to this delicate appendage to the doctor's person. One day a young lieutenant, in the course of a facetious discussion, said, "Suppose now, doctor, I should take off your hat,"—"Sir," replied the doctor, "I shall talk no longer with you; you grow scurrilous." He would not even admit so near an approach as to the hat which protected it. In like manner, if any body approaches Mr. Bowles's laurels, even in his outside capacity of an editor, "they grow scurrilous." You say that you are about to prepare an edition of Pope; you cannot do better for your own credit as a publisher, nor for the redemption of Pope from Mr. Bowles, and of the public taste from rapid degeneracy. 382


Now first published.

Ravenna, March 25. 1821.

Dear Sir,

In the further "Observations" of Mr. Bowles, in rejoinder to the charges brought against his edition of Pope, it is to be regretted that he has lost his temper. Whatever the language of his antagonists may have been, I fear that his replies have afforded more pleasure to them than to the public. That Mr. Bowles should not be pleased is natural, whether right or wrong; but a temperate defence would have answered his purpose in the former case—and, in the latter, no defence, however violent, can tend to any thing but his discomfiture. I have read over this third pamphlet, which you have been so obliging as to send me, and shall venture a few observations, in addition to those upon the previous controversy.

Mr. Bowles sets out with repeating his "confirmed conviction," that "what he said of the moral part of Pope's character was, generally speaking, true; and 383 that the principles of poetical criticism which he has laid down are invariable and invulnerable," &c.; and that he is the more persuaded of this by the "exaggerations of his opponents." This is all very well, and highly natural and sincere. Nobody ever expected that either Mr. Bowles, or any other author, would be convinced of human fallibility in their own persons. But it is nothing to the purpose—for it is not what Mr. Bowles thinks, but what is to be thought of Pope, that is the question. It is what he has asserted or insinuated against a name which is the patrimony of posterity, that is to be tried; and Mr. Bowles, as a party, can be no judge. The more he is persuaded, the better for himself, if it give him any pleasure; but he can only persuade others by the proofs brought out in his defence.

After these prefatory remarks of "conviction," &c. Mr. Bowles proceeds to Mr. Gilchrist; whom he charges with "slang" and "slander," besides a small subsidiary indictment of "abuse, ignorance, malice," and so forth. Mr. Gilchrist has, indeed, shown some anger; but it is an honest indignation, which rises up in defence of the illustrious dead. It is a generous rage which interposes between our ashes and their disturbers. There appears also to have been some slight personal provocation. Mr. Gilchrist, with a chivalrous disdain of the fury of an incensed poet, put his name to a letter avowing the production of a former essay in defence of Pope, and consequently of an attack upon Mr. Bowles. Mr. Bowles appears to be angry with Mr. Gilchrist for four reasons:—firstly, because he wrote an article in "The London Magazine;" secondly, because he afterwards avowed it; thirdly, because he was the author of a still more extended article in "The Quarterly Review;" and, fourthly, because he was NOT the author of the said Quarterly article, and had the audacity to disown it—for no earthly reason but because he had NOT written it.

Mr. Bowles declares, that "he will not enter into a 384 particular examination of the pamphlet," which by a misnomer is called "Gilchrist's Answer to Bowles," when it should have been called "Gilchrist's Abuse of Bowles." On this error in the baptism of Mr. Gilchrist's pamphlet, it may be observed, that an answer may be abusive and yet no less an answer, though indisputably a temperate one might be the better of the two: but if abuse is to cancel all pretensions to reply, what becomes of Mr. Bowles's answers to Mr. Gilchrist?

Mr. Bowles continues:—"But as Mr. Gilchrist derides my peculiar sensitiveness to criticism, before I show how destitute of truth is this representation, I will here explicitly declare the only grounds," &c. &c. &c.—Mr. Bowles's sensibility in denying his "sensitiveness to criticism" proves, perhaps, too much. But if he has been so charged, and truly—what then? There is no moral turpitude in such acuteness of feeling: it has been, and may be, combined with many good and great qualities. Is Mr. Bowles a poet, or is he not? If he be, he must, from his very essence, be sensitive to criticism; and even if he be not, he need not be ashamed of the common repugnance to being attacked. All that is to be wished is, that he had considered how disagreeable a thing it is, before he assailed the greatest moral poet of any age, or in any language.

Pope himself "sleeps well,"—nothing can touch him further; but those who love the honour of their country, the perfection of her literature, the glory of her language—are not to be expected to permit an atom of his dust to be stirred in his tomb, or a leaf to be stripped from the laurel which grows over it.

Mr. Bowles assigns several reasons why and when "an author is justified in appealing to every upright and honourable mind in the kingdom." If Mr. Bowles limits the perusal of his defence to the "upright and honourable" only, I greatly fear that it will not be extensively circulated. I should rather hope that some 385 of the downright and dishonest will read and be converted, or convicted. But the whole of his reasoning is here superfluous—"an author is justified in appealing," &c. when and why he pleases. Let him make out a tolerable case, and few of his readers will quarrel with his motives.

Mr. Bowles "will now plainly set before the literary public all the circumstances which have led to his name and Mr. Gilchrist's being brought together," &c. Courtesy requires, in speaking of others and ourselves, that we should place the name of the former first—and not "Ego et Rex meus." Mr. Bowles should have written "Mr. Gilchrist's name and his."

This point he wishes "particularly to address to those most respectable characters, who have the direction and management of the periodical critical press." That the press may be, in some instances, conducted by respectable characters is probable enough; but if they are so, there is no occasion to tell them of it; and if they are not, it is a base adulation. In either case, it looks like a kind of flattery, by which those gentry are not very likely to be softened; since it would be difficult to find two passages in fifteen pages more at variance, than Mr. Bowles's prose at the beginning of this pamphlet, and his verse at the end of it. In page 4. he speaks of "those most respectable characters who have the direction, &c. of the periodical press," and in page 10. we find—

"Ye dark inquisitors, a monk-like band,

Who o'er some shrinking victim-author stand,

A solemn, secret, and vindictive brand,

Only terrific in your cowl and hood."

And so on—to "bloody law" and "red scourges," with other similar phrases, which may not be altogether agreeable to the above-mentioned "most respectable characters." Mr. Bowles goes on, "I concluded my observations in the last Pamphleteer with feelings not unkind towards Mr. Gilchrist, or" [it should be nor] 386 "to the author of the review of Spence, be he whom he might."—"I was in hopes, as I have always been ready to admit any errors I might have been led into, or prejudice I might have entertained, that even Mr. Gilchrist might be disposed to a more amicable mode of discussing what I had advanced in regard to Pope's moral character." As Major Sturgeon observes, "There never was a set of more amicable officers—with the exception of a boxing-bout between Captain Shears and the Colonel."

A page and a half—nay only a page before—Mr. Bowles re-affirms his conviction, that "what he has said of Pope's moral character is (generally speaking) true, and that his "poetical principles are invariable and invulnerable." He has also published three pamphlets,—ay, four of the same tenour,—and yet, with this declaration and these declamations staring him and his adversaries in the face, he speaks of his "readiness to admit errors or to abandon prejudices!!!" His use of the word "amicable" reminds me of the Irish Institution (which I have somewhere heard or read of) called the "Friendly Society," where the president always carried pistols in his pocket, so that when one amicable gentleman knocked down another, the difference might be adjusted on the spot, at the harmonious distance of twelve paces.

But Mr. Bowles "has since read a publication by him (Mr. Gilchrist) containing such vulgar slander, affecting private life and character," &c. &c.; and Mr. Gilchrist has also had the advantage of reading a publication by Mr. Bowles sufficiently imbued with personality; for one of the first and principal topics of reproach is that he is a grocer, that he has a "pipe in his mouth, ledger-book, green canisters, dingy shop-boy, half a hogshead of brown treacle," &c. Nay, the same delicate raillery is upon the very title-page. When controversy has once commenced upon this footing, as Dr. Johnson said to Dr. Percy, "Sir, there is an end of politeness—we are to be as rude as we please—Sir, 387 you said that I was short-sighted." As a man's profession is generally no more in his own power than his person—both having been made out for him—it is hard that he should be reproached with either, and still more that an honest calling should be made a reproach. If there is any thing more honourable to Mr. Gilchrist than another it is, that being engaged in commerce he has had the taste, and found the leisure, to become so able a proficient in the higher literature of his own and other countries. Mr. Bowles, who will be proud to own Glover, Chatterton, Burns, and Bloomfleld for his peers, should hardly have quarrelled with Mr. Gilchrist for his critic. Mr. Gilchrist's station, however, which might conduct him to the highest civic honours, and to boundless wealth, has nothing to require apology; but even if it had, such a reproach was not very gracious on the part of a clergyman, nor graceful on that of a gentleman. The allusion to "Christian criticism" is not particularly happy, especially where Mr. Gilchrist is accused of having "set the first example of this mode in Europe." What Pagan criticism may have been we know but little; the names of Zoilus and Aristarchus survive, and the works of Aristotle, Longinus, and Quintilian: but of "Christian criticism" we have already had some specimens in the works of Philelphus, Poggius, Scaliger, Milton, Salmasius, the Cruscanti (versus Tasso), the French Academy (against the Cid), and the antagonists of Voltaire and of Pope—to say nothing of some articles in most of the reviews, since their earliest institution in the person of their respectable and still prolific parent, "The Monthly." Why, then, is Mr. Gilchrist to be singled out "as having set the first example?" A sole page of Milton or Salmasius contains more abuse—rank, rancorous, unleavened abuse—than all that can be raked forth from the whole works of many recent critics. There are some, indeed, who still keep up the good old custom; but fewer English than foreign. It is a pity that 388 Mr. Bowles cannot witness some of the Italian controversies, or become the subject of one. He would then look upon Mr. Gilchrist as a panegyrist.

In the long sentence quoted from the article in "The London Magazine," there is one coarse image, the justice of whose application I shall not pretend to determine:—"The pruriency with which his nose is laid to the ground" is an expression which, whether founded or not, might have been omitted. But the "anatomical minuteness" appears to me justified even by Mr. Bowles's own subsequent quotation. To the point:—"Many facts tend to prove the peculiar susceptibility of his passions; nor can we implicitly believe that the connexion between him and Martha Blount was of a nature so pure and innocent as his panegyrist Ruffhead would have us believe," &c.—"At no time could she have regarded Pope personally with attachment," &c.—"But the most extraordinary circumstance in regard to his connexion with female society, was the strange mixture of indecent and even profane levity which his conduct and language often exhibited. The cause of this particularity may be sought, perhaps, in his consciousness of physical defect, which made him affect a character uncongenial, and a language opposite to the truth."—If this is not "minute moral anatomy," I should be glad to know what is! It is dissection in all its branches. I shall, however, hazard a remark or two upon this quotation.

To me it appears of no very great consequence whether Martha Blount was or was not Pope's mistress, though I could have wished him a better. She appears to have been a cold-hearted, interested, ignorant, disagreeable woman, upon whom the tenderness of Pope's heart in the desolation of his latter days was cast away, not knowing whither to turn as he drew towards his premature old age, childless and lonely,—like the needle which, approaching within a certain distance of the pole, becomes helpless and useless, and, ceasing to tremble, rusts. She seems to have been so totally unworthy of 389 tenderness, that it is an additional proof of the kindness of Pope's heart to have been able to love such a being. But we must love something. I agree with Mr. B. that she "could at no time have regarded Pope personally with attachment," because she was incapable of attachment; but I deny that Pope could not be regarded with personal attachment by a worthier woman. It is not probable, indeed, that a woman would have fallen in love with him as he walked along the Mall, or in a box at the opera, nor from a balcony, nor in a ball-room; but in society he seems to have been as amiable as unassuming, and, with the greatest disadvantages of figure, his head and face were remarkably handsome, especially his eyes. He was adored by his friends—friends of the most opposite dispositions, ages, and talents—by the old and wayward Wycherley, by the cynical Swift, the rough Atterbury, the gentle Spence, the stern attorney-bishop Warburton, the virtuous Berkeley, and the "cankered Bolingbroke." Bolingbroke wept over him like a child; and Spence's description of his last moments is at least as edifying as the more ostentatious account of the deathbed of Addison. The soldier Peterborough and the poet Gay, the witty Congreve and the laughing Rowe, the eccentric Cromwell and the steady Bathurst, were all his intimates. The man who could conciliate so many men of the most opposite description, not one of whom but was a remarkable or a celebrated character, might well have pretended to all the attachment which a reasonable man would desire of an amiable woman.

Pope, in fact, wherever he got it, appears to have understood the sex well, Bolingbroke, "a judge of the subject," says Warton, thought his "Epistle on the Characters of Women" his "masterpiece." And even with respect to the grosser passion, which takes occasionally the name of "romantic," accordingly as the degree of sentiment elevates it above the definition of love by Buffon, it may be remarked, that it does not always 390 depend upon personal appearance, even in a woman. Madame Cottin was a plain woman, and might have been virtuous, it may be presumed, without much interruption. Virtuous she was, and the consequences of this inveterate virtue were that two different admirers (one an elderly gentleman) killed themselves in despair (see Lady Morgan's "France"). I would not, however, recommend this rigour to plain women in general, in the hope of securing the glory of two suicides apiece. I believe that there are few men who, in the course of their observations on life, may not have perceived that it is not the greatest female beauty who forms the longest and the strongest passions.

But, apropos of Pope.—Voltaire tells us that the Marechal Luxembourg (who had precisely Pope's figure) was not only somewhat too amatory for a great man, but fortunate in his attachments. La Valière, the passion of Louis XIV., had an unsightly defect. The Princess of Eboli, the mistress of Philip II. of Spain, and Maugiron, the minion of Henry III. of France, had each of them lost an eye; and the famous Latin epigram was written upon them, which has, I believe, been either translated or imitated by Goldsmith:—

"Lumine Acon dextro, capta est Leonilla sinistro,

Et potis est forma vincere uterque Deos;

Blande puer, lumen quod habes concede sorrori,

Sic tu cæcus Amor, sic erit illa Venus."

Wilkes, with his ugliness, used to say that "he was but a quarter of an hour behind the handsomest man in England;" and this vaunt of his is said not to have been disproved by circumstances. Swift, when neither young, nor handsome, nor rich, nor even amiable, inspired the two most extraordinary passions upon record, Vanessa's and Stella's.

"Vanessa, aged scarce a score,

Sighs for a gown of forty-four."

He requited them bitterly; for he seems to have broken the heart of the one, and worn out that of the 391 other; and he had his reward, for he died a solitary idiot in the hands of servants.

For my own part, I am of the opinion of Pausanias. that success in love depends upon Fortune. "They particularly renounce Celestial Venus, into whose temple, &c. &c. &c. I remember, too, to have seen a building in Ægina in which there is a statue of Fortune, holding a horn of Amalthea; and near her there is a winged Love. The meaning of this is, that the success of men in love affairs depends more on the assistance of Fortune than the charms of beauty. I am persuaded, too, with Pindar (to whose opinion I submit in other particulars), that Fortune is one of the Fates, and that in a certain respect she is more powerful than her sisters."—See Pausanias, Achaics, book vii. chap.26. p.246. Taylor's "Translation."

Grimm has a remark of the same kind on the different destinies of the younger Crebillon and Rousseau. The former writes a licentious novel, and a young English girl of some fortune and family (a Miss Strafford) runs away, and crosses the sea to marry him; while Rousseau, the most tender and passionate of lovers, is obliged to espouse his chambermaid. If I recollect rightly, this remark was also repeated in the Edinburgh Review of Grimm's correspondence, seven or eight years ago.

In regard "to the strange mixture of indecent, and sometimes profane levity, which his conduct and language often exhibited," and which so much shocks Mr. Bowles, I object to the indefinite word "often;" and in extenuation of the occasional occurrence of such language it is to be recollected, that it was less the tone of Pope, than the tone of the time. With the exception of the correspondence of Pope and his friends, not many private letters of the period have come down to us; but those, such as they are—a few scattered scraps from Farquhar and others—are more indecent and coarse than any thing in Pope's letters. The comedies of Congreve, Vanbrugh, Farquhar, Cibber, &c., which 392 naturally attempted to represent the manners and conversation of private life, are decisive upon this point; as are also some of Steele's papers, and even Addison's. We all know what the conversation of Sir R. Walpole, for seventeen years the prime minister of the country, was at his own table, and his excuse for his licentious language, viz. "that every body understood that, but few could talk rationally upon less common topics." The refinement of latter days,—which is perhaps the consequence of vice, which wishes to mask and soften itself, as much as of virtuous civilisation,—had not yet made sufficient progress. Even Johnson, in his "London," has two or three passages which cannot be read aloud, and Addison's "Drummer" some indelicate allusions.

The expression of Mr. Bowles, "his consciousness of physical defect," is not very clear. It may mean deformity or debility. If it alludes to Pope's deformity, it has been attempted to be shown that this was no insuperable objection to his being beloved. If it alludes to debility, as a consequence of Pope's peculiar conformation, I believe that it is a physical and known fact that hump-backed persons are of strong and vigorous passions. Several years ago, at Mr. Angelo's fencing rooms, when I was a pupil of him and of Mr. Jackson, who had the use of his rooms in Albany on the alternate days, I recollect a gentleman named B—ll—gh—t, remarkable for his strength, and the fineness of his figure. His skill was not inferior, for he could stand up to the great Captain Barclay himself, with the muffles on;—a task neither easy nor agreeable to a pugilistic aspirant. As the by-standers were one day admiring his athletic proportions, he remarked to us, that he had five brothers as tall and strong as himself, and that their father and mother were both crooked, and of very small stature;—I think he said, neither of them five feet high. It would not be difficult to adduce similar instances; but I abstain, because the subject is 393 hardly refined enough for this immaculate period, this moral millenium of expurgated editions in books, manners, and royal trials of divorce.

This laudable delicacy—this crying-out elegance of the day—reminds me of a little circumstance which occurred when I was about eighteen years of age. There was then (and there may be still) a famous French "entremetteuse," who assisted young gentlemen in their youthful pastimes. We had been acquainted for some time, when something occurred in her line of business more than ordinary, and the refusal was offered to me (and doubtless to many others), probably because I was in cash at the moment, having taken up a decent sum from the Jews, and not having spent much above half of it. The adventure on the tapis, it seems, required some caution and circumspection. Whether my venerable friend doubted my politeness I cannot tell; but she sent me a letter couched in such English as a short residence of sixteen years in England had enabled her to acquire. After several precepts and instructions, the letter closed. But there was a postscript. It contained these words:—"Remember, Milor, that delicaci ensure everi succés." The delicacy of the day is exactly, in all its circumstances, like that of this respectable foreigner. "It ensures every succès," and is not a whit more moral than, and not half so honourable as, the coarser candour of our less polished ancestors.

To return to Mr. Bowles. "If what is here extracted can excite in the mind (I will not say of any 'layman', of any 'Christian', but) of any human being," &c. &c. Is not Mr. Gilchrist a "human being?" Mr. Bowles asks "whether in attributing an article," &c. &c, "to the critic, he had any reason for distinguishing him with that courtesy," &c. &c. But Mr. Bowles was wrong in "attributing the article" to Mr. Gilchrist at all; and would not have been right in calling him a dunce and a grocer, if he had written it.

Mr. Bowles is here "peremptorily called upon to 394 speak of a circumstance which gives him the greatest pain,—the mention of a letter he received from the editor of 'The London Magazine.'" Mr. Bowles seems to have embroiled himself on all sides; whether by editing, or replying, or attributing, or quoting,—it has been an awkward affair for him.

Poor Scott is now no more. In the exercise of his vocation, he contrived at last to make himself the subject of a coroner's inquest. But he died like a brave man, and he lived an able one. I knew him personally, though slightly. Although several years my senior, we had been schoolfellows together at the "grammar-schule" (or, as the Aberdonians pronounce it, "squeel") of New Aberdeen. He did not behave to me quite handsomely in his capacity of editor a few years ago, but he was under no obligation to behave otherwise. The moment was too tempting for many friends and for all enemies. At a time when all my relations (save one) fell from me like leaves from the tree in autumn winds, and my few friends became still fewer,—when the whole periodical press (I mean the daily and weekly, not the literary press) was let loose against me in every shape of reproach, with the two strange exceptions (from their usual opposition) of "The Courier" and "The Examiner,"—the paper of which Scott had the direction was neither the last nor the least vituperative. Two years ago I met him at Venice, when he was bowed in griefs by the loss of his son, and had known, by experience, the bitterness of domestic privation. He was then earnest with me to return to England; and on my telling him, with a smile, that he was once of a different opinion, he replied to me, 'that he and others had been greatly misled; and that some pains, and rather extraordinary means, had been taken to excite them.' Scott is no more, but there are more than one living who were present at this dialogue. He was a man of very considerable talents, and of great acquirements. He had made his way, as a literary character, with high success, and 395 in a few years. Poor fellow! I recollect his joy at some appointment which he had obtained, or was to obtain, through Sir James Mackintosh, and which prevented the further extension (unless by a rapid run to Rome) of his travels in Italy. I little thought to what it would conduct him. Peace be with him!—and may all such other faults as are inevitable to humanity be as readily forgiven him, as the little injury which he had done to one who respected his talents, and regrets his loss.

I pass over Mr. Bowles's page of explanation, upon the correspondence between him and Mr. S——. It is of little importance in regard to Pope, and contains merely a re-contradiction of a contradiction of Mr. Gilchrist's. We now come to a point where Mr. Gilchrist has, certainly, rather exaggerated matters; and, of course, Mr. Bowles makes the most of it. Capital letters, like Kean's name, "large upon the bills," are made use of six or seven times to express his sense of the outrage. The charge is, indeed, very boldly made; but, like "Ranold of the Mist's" practical joke of putting the bread and cheese into a dead man's mouth, is, as Dugald Dalgetty says, "somewhat too wild and salvage, besides wasting the good victuals."

Mr. Gilchrist charges Mr. Bowles with "suggesting" that Pope "attempted" to commit "a rape" upon Lady M. Wortley Montague. There are two reasons why this could not be true. The first is, that like the chaste Letitia's prevention of the intended ravishment by Fireblood (in Jonathan Wild), it might have been impeded by a timely compliance. The second is, that however this might be, Pope was probably the less robust of the two; and (if the Lines on Sappho were really intended for this lady) the asserted consequences of her acquiescence in his wishes would have been a sufficient punishment. The passage which Mr. Bowles quotes, however, insinuates nothing of the kind: it merely charges her with encouragement, and him with wishing 396 to profit by it,—a slight attempt at seduction, and no more. The phrase is, "a step beyond decorum." Any physical violence is so abhorrent to human nature, that it recoils in cold blood from the very idea. But, the seduction of a woman's mind as well as person is not, perhaps, the least heinous sin of the two in morality. Dr. Johnson commends a gentleman who having seduced a girl who said, "I am afraid we have done wrong," replied, "Yes, we have done wrong,"—"for I would not pervert her mind also." Othello would not "kill Desdemona's soul." Mr. Bowles exculpates himself from Mr. Gilchrist's charge; but it is by substituting another charge against Pope. "A step beyond decorum," has a soft sound, but what does it express? In all these cases, "ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute." Has not the Scripture something upon "the lusting after a woman" being no less criminal than the crime? "A step beyond decorum," in short, any step beyond the instep, is a step from a precipice to the lady who permits it. For the gentleman who makes it it is also rather hazardous if he does not succeed, and still more so if he does.

Mr. Bowles appeals to the "Christian reader!" upon this "Gilchristian criticism." Is not this play upon such words "a step beyond decorum" in a clergyman? But I admit the temptation of a pun to be irresistible.

But "a hasty pamphlet was published, in which some personalities respecting Mr. Gilchrist were suffered to appear." If Mr. Bowles will write "hasty pamphlets," why is he so surprised on receiving short answers? The grand grievance to which he perpetually returns is a charge of "hypochondriacism," asserted or insinuated in the Quarterly. I cannot conceive a man in perfect health being much affected by such a charge, because his complexion and conduct must amply refute it. But were it true, to what does it amount?—to an impeachment of a liver complaint. "I will tell it to the world," exclaimed the learned Smelfungus.—"You had better," said I, "tell it to your physician." There is nothing 397 dishonourable in such a disorder, which is more peculiarly the malady of students. It has been the complaint of the good, and the wise, and the witty, and even of the gay. Regnard, the author of the last French comedy after Molière, was atrabilious; and Molière himself, saturnine. Dr. Johnson, Gray, and Burns, were all more or less affected by it occasionally. It was the prelude to the more awful malady of Collins, Cowper, Swift, and Smart; but it by no means follows that a partial affliction of this disorder is to terminate like theirs. But even were it so,—

"Nor best, nor wisest, are exempt from thee;

Folly—Folly's only free." PENROSE.

If this be the criterion of exemption, Mr. Bowles's last two pamphlets form a better certificate of sanity than a physician's. Mendehlson and Bayle were at times so overcome with this depression, as to be obliged to recur to seeing "puppet-shows, and counting tiles upon the opposite houses," to divert themselves. Dr. Johnson at times "would have given a limb to recover his spirits." Mr. Bowles, who is (strange to say) fond of quoting Pope, may perhaps answer,—

"Go on, obliging creatures, let me see

All which disgrac'd my betters met in me."

But the charge, such as it is, neither disgraces them nor him. It is easily disproved if false; and even if proved true, has nothing in it to make a man so very indignant. Mr. Bowles himself appears to be a little ashamed of his "hasty pamphlet;" for he attempts to excuse it by the "great provocation;" that is to say, by Mr. Bowles's supposing that Mr. Gilchrist was the writer of the article in the Quarterly, which he was not.

"But, in extenuation, not only the great provocation should be remembered, but it ought to be said, that orders were sent to the London booksellers, that the most direct personal passages should be omitted entirely," 398 &c. This is what the proverb calls "breaking a head and giving a plaster;" but, in this instance, the plaster was not spread in time, and Mr. Gilchrist does not seem at present disposed to regard Mr. Bowles's courtesies like the rust of the spear of Achilles, which had such "skill in surgery."

But "Mr. Gilchrist has no right to object, as the reader will see." I am a reader, a "gentle reader," and I see nothing of the kind. Were I in Mr. Gilchrist's place, I should object exceedingly to being abused; firstly, for what I did write, and, secondly, for what I did not write; merely because it is Mr. Bowles's will and pleasure to be as angry with me for having written in the London Magazine, as for not having written in the Quarterly Review.

"Mr. Gilchrist has had ample revenge; for he has, in his answer, said so and so," &c. &c. There is no great revenge in all this; and I presume that nobody either seeks or wishes it. What revenge? Mr. Bowles calls names, and he is answered. But Mr. Gilchrist and the Quarterly Reviewer are not poets, nor pretenders to poetry; therefore they can have no envy nor malice against Mr. Bowles: they have no acquaintance with Mr. Bowles, and can have no personal pique; they do not cross his path of life, nor he theirs. There is no political feud between them. What, then, can be the motive of their discussion of his deserts as an editor?—veneration for the genius of Pope, love for his memory, and regard for the classic glory of their country. Why would Mr. Bowles edite? Had he limited his honest endeavours to poetry, very little would have been said upon the subject, and nothing at all by his present antagonists.

Mr. Bowles calls the pamphlet a "mud-cart," and the writer a "scavenger." Afterward he asks, "Shall he fling dirt and receive rose-water?" This metaphor, by the way, is taken from Marmontel's Memoirs; who, lamenting to Chamfort the shedding of blood during the 399 French revolution, was answered, "Do you think that revolutions are to be made with rose-water?"

For my own part, I presume that "rose-water" would be infinitely more graceful in the hands of Mr. Bowles than the substance which he has substituted for that delicate liquid. It would also more confound his adversary, supposing him a "scavenger." I remember, (and do you remember, reader, that it was in my earliest youth, "Consule Planco,")—on the morning of the great battle, (the second)—between Gulley and Gregson,—Cribb, who was matched against Horton for the second fight, on the same memorable day, awaking me (a lodger at the inn in the next room) by a loud remonstrance to the waiter against the abomination of his towels, which had been laid in lavender. Cribb was a coal-heaver—and was much more discomfited by this odoriferous effeminacy of fine linen, than by his adversary Horton, whom, he "finished in style," though with some reluctance; for I recollect that he said, "he disliked hurting him, he looked so pretty,"—Horton being a very fine fresh-coloured young man.

To return to "rose-water"—that is, to gentle means of rebuke. Does Mr. Bowles know how to revenge himself upon a hackney-coachman, when he has overcharged his fare? In case he should not, I will tell him. It is of little use to call him "a rascal, a scoundrel, a thief, an impostor, a blackguard, a villain, a raggamuffin, a—what you please;" all that he is used to—it is his mother-tongue, and probably his mother's. But look him steadily and quietly in the face, and say—"Upon my word, I think you are the ugliest fellow I ever saw in my life," and he will instantly roll forth the brazen thunders of the charioteer Salmoneus as follows:—"Hugly! what the h—ll are you? You a gentleman! Why ——!" So much easier it is to provoke—and therefore to vindicate—(for passion punishes him who feels it more than those whom the passionate would excruciate)—by 400 a few quiet words the aggressor, than by retorting violently. The "coals of fire" of the Scripture are benefits;—but they are not the less "coals of fire."

I pass over a page of quotation and reprobation—"Sin up to my song"—"Oh let my little bark"—"Arcades ambo"—"Writer in the Quarterly Review and himself"—"In-door avocations, indeed"—"King of Brentford"—"One nosegay"—"Perennial nosegay"—"Oh Juvenes,"—and the like.

Page 12. produces "more reasons,"—(the task ought not to have been difficult, for as yet there were none)—"to show why Mr. Bowles attributed the critique in the Quarterly to Octavius Gilchrist." All these "reasons" consist of surmises of Mr. Bowles, upon the presumed character of his opponent. "He did not suppose there could exist a man in the kingdom so impudent, &c. &c. except Octavius Gilchrist."—"He did not think there was a man in the kingdom who would pretend ignorance, &c. &c. except Octavius Gilchrist."—"He did not conceive that one man in the kingdom would utter such stupid flippancy, &c. &c. except Octavius Gilchrist."—"He did not think there was one man in the kingdom who, &c. &c. could so utterly show his ignorance, combined with conceit, &c. as Octavius Gilchrist."—"He did not believe there was a man in the kingdom so perfect in Mr. Gilchrist's 'old lunes,'" &c. &c.—"He did not think the mean mind of any one in the kingdom," &c. and so on; always beginning with "any one in the kingdom," and ending with "Octavius Gilchrist," like the word in a catch. I am not "in the kingdom," and have not been much in the kingdom since I was one and twenty, (about five years in the whole, since I was of age,) and have no desire to be in the kingdom again, whilst I breathe, nor to sleep there afterwards; and I regret nothing more than having ever been "in the kingdom" at all. But though no longer a man "in the kingdom," let me hope that when I have ceased to 401 exist, it may be said, as was answered by the master of Clanronald's henchman, his day after the battle of Sheriff-Muir, when he was found watching his chief's body. He was asked, "who that was?" he replied—"it was a man yesterday." And in this capacity, "in or out of the kingdom," I must own that I participate in many of the objections urged by Mr. Gilchrist. I participate in his love of Pope, and in his not understanding, and occasionally finding fault with, the last editor of our last truly great poet.

One of the reproaches against Mr. Gilchrist is, that he is (it is sneeringly said) an F. S. A. If it will give Mr. Bowles any pleasure, I am not an F. S. A. but a Fellow of the Royal Society at his service, in case there should be any thing in that association also which may point a paragraph.

"There are some other reasons," but "the author is now not unknown." Mr. Bowles has so totally exhausted himself upon Octavius Gilchrist, that he has not a word left for the real quarterer of his edition, although now "deterré."

The following page refers to a mysterious charge of "duplicity, in regard to the publication of Pope's letters." Till this charge is made in proper form, we have nothing to do with it: Mr. Gilchrist hints it—Mr. Bowles denies it; there it rests for the present. Mr. Bowles professes his dislike to "Pope's duplicity, not to Pope"—a distinction apparently without a difference. However, I believe that I understand him. We have a great dislike to Mr. Bowles's edition of Pope, but not to Mr. Bowles; nevertheless, he takes up the subject as warmly as if it was personal. With regard to the fact of "Pope's duplicity," it remains to be proved—like Mr. Bowles's benevolence towards his memory.

In page 14. we have a large assertion, that "the 'Eloisa' alone is sufficient to convict him of gross licentiousness." Thus, out it comes at last. Mr. Bowles does accuse Pope of "gross licentiousness," and grounds 402 the charge upon a poem. The licentiousness is a "grand peut-être," according to the turn of the times being. The grossness I deny. On the contrary, I do believe that such a subject never was, nor ever could be, treated by any poet with so much delicacy, mingled with, at the same time, such true and intense passion. Is the "Atys" of Catullus licentious? No, nor even gross; and yet Catullus is often a coarse writer. The subject is nearly the same, except that Atys was the suicide of his manhood, and Abelard the victim.

The "licentiousness" of the story was not Pope's,—it was a fact. All that it had of gross, he has softened;—all that it had of indelicate, he has purified;—all that it had of passionate, he has beautified;—all that it had of holy, he has hallowed. Mr. Campbell has admirably marked this in a few words (I quote from memory), in drawing the distinction between Pope and Dryden, and pointing out where Dryden was wanting "I fear," says he, "that had the subject of 'Eloisa' fallen into his (Dryden's) hands, that he would have given us but a coarse draft of her passion." Never was the delicacy of Pope so much shown as in this poem. With the facts and the letters of "Eloisa" he has done what no other mind but that of the best and purest of poets could have accomplished with such materials. Ovid, Sappho (in the Ode called hers)—all that we have of ancient, all that we have of modern poetry, sinks into nothing compared with him in this production.

Let us hear no more of this trash about "licentiousness." Is not "Anacreon" taught in our schools?—translated, praised, and edited? Are not his Odes the amatory praises of a boy? Is not Sappho's Ode on a girl? Is not this sublime and (according to Longinus) fierce love for one of her own sex? And is not Phillips's translation of it in the mouths of all your women? And are the English schools or the English women the more corrupt for all this? When you have thrown the ancients into the fire it will be time to denounce the 403 moderns. "Licentiousness!"—there is more real mischief and sapping licentiousness in a single French prose novel, in a Moravian hymn, or a German comedy, than in all the actual poetry that ever was penned, or poured forth, since the rhapsodies of Orpheus. The sentimental anatomy of Rousseau and Mad. de S. are far more formidable than any quantity of verse. They are so, because they sap the principles, by reasoning upon the passions; whereas poetry is in itself passion, and does not systematise. It assails, but does not argue; it may be wrong, but it does not assume pretensions to Optimism.

Mr. Bowles now has the goodness "to point out the difference between a traducer and him who sincerely states what he sincerely believes." He might have spared himself the trouble. The one is a liar, who lies knowingly; the other (I speak of a scandal-monger of course) lies, charitably believing that he speaks truth, and very sorry to find himself in falsehood;—because he

"Would rather that the dean should die,

Than his prediction prove a lie."

After a definition of a "traducer," which was quite superfluous (though it is agreeable to learn that Mr. Bowles so well understands the character), we are assured, that "he feels equally indifferent, Mr. Gilchrist, for what your malice can invent, or your impudence utter." This is indubitable; for it rests not only on Mr. Bowles's assurance, but on that of Sir Fretful Plagiary, and nearly in the same words,—"and I shall treat it with exactly the same calm indifference and philosophical contempt, and so your servant."

"One thing has given Mr. Bowles concern." It is "a passage which might seem to reflect on the patronage a young man has received." MIGHT seem!! The passage alluded to expresses, that if Mr. Gilchrist be the reviewer of "a certain poet of nature," his praise 404 and blame are equally contemptible."—Mr. Bowles, who has a peculiarly ambiguous style, where it suits him, comes off with a "not to the poet, but the critic," &c. In my humble opinion, the passage referred to both. Had Mr. Bowles really meant fairly, he would have said so from the first—he would have been eagerly transparent.—"A certain poet of nature" is not the style of commendation. It is the very prologue to the most scandalous paragraphs of the newspapers, when

"Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike."

"A certain high personage,"—"a certain peeress,"—"a certain illustrious foreigner,"—what do these words ever precede, but defamation? Had he felt a spark of kindling kindness for John Clare, he would have named him. There is a sneer in the sentence as it stands. How a favourable review of a deserving poet can "rather injure than promote his cause" is difficult to comprehend. The article denounced is able and amiable, and it has "served" the poet, as far as poetry can be served by judicious and honest criticism.

With the two next paragraphs of Mr. Bowles's pamphlet it is pleasing to concur. His mention of "Pennie," and his former patronage of "Shoel," do him honour. I am not of those who may deny Mr. Bowles to be a benevolent man. I merely assert, that he is not a candid editor.

Mr. Bowles has been "a writer occasionally upwards of thirty years," and never wrote one word in reply in his life "to criticisms, merely as criticisms." This is Mr. Lofty in Goldsmith's Good-natured Man; "and I vow by all that's honourable, my resentment has never done the men, as mere men, any manner of harm,—that is, as mere men."

"The letter to the editor of the newspaper" is owned; but "it was not on account of the criticism. It was because the criticism came down in a frank directed to Mrs. Bowles!!!"—(the italics and three 405 notes of admiration appended to Mrs. Bowles are copied verbatim from the quotation), and Mr. Bowles was not displeased with the criticism, but with the frank and the address. I agree with Mr. Bowles that the intention was to annoy him; but I fear that this was answered by his notice of the reception of the criticism. An anonymous letter-writer has but one means of knowing the effect of his attack. In this he has the superiority over the viper; he knows that his poison has taken effect, when he hears the victim cry;—the adder is deaf. The best reply to an anonymous intimation is to take no notice directly nor indirectly. I wish Mr. Bowles could see only one or two of the thousand which I have received in the course of a literary life, which, though begun early, has not yet extended to a third part of his existence as an author. I speak of literary life only. Were I to add personal, I might double the amount of anonymous letters. If he could but see the violence, the threats, the absurdity of the whole thing, he would laugh, and so should I, and thus be both gainers.

To keep up the farce,—within the last month of this present writing (1821), I have had my life threatened in the same way which menaced Mr. Bowles's fame,—excepting that the anonymous denunciation was addressed to the Cardinal Legate of Romagna, instead of to Mrs. Bowles. The Cardinal is, I believe, the elder lady of the two. I append the menace in all its barbaric but literal Italian, that Mr. Bowles may be convinced; and as this is the only "promise to pay," which the Italians ever keep, so my person has been at least as much exposed to a "shot in the gloaming," from "John Heatherblutter" (see Waverley), as ever Mr. Bowles's glory was from an editor. I am, nevertheless, on horseback and lonely for some hours (one of them twilight) in the forest daily; and this, because it was my "custom in the afternoon," and that I believe if the tyrant cannot escape amidst his guards (should it be 406 so written?), so the humbler individual would find precautions useless.

Mr. Bowles has here the humility to say, that "he must succumb; for with Lord Byron turned against him, he has no chance,"—a declaration of self-denial not much in unison with his "promise," five lines afterwards, that "for every twenty-four lines quoted by Mr. Gilchrist, or his friend, to greet him with as many from the 'Gilchrisiad';" but so much the better. Mr. Bowles has no reason to "succumb" but to Mr. Bowles. As a poet, the author of "The Missionary" may compete with the foremost of his cotemporaries. Let it be recollected, that all my previous opinions of Mr. Bowles's poetry were written long before the publication of his last and best poem; and that a poet's last poem should be his best, is his highest praise. But, however, he may duly and honourably rank with his living rivals. There never was so complete a proof of the superiority of Pope, as in the lines with which Mr. Bowles closes his "to be concluded in our next."

Mr. Bowles is avowedly the champion and the poet of nature. Art and the arts are dragged, some before, and others behind his chariot. Pope, where he deals with passion, and with the nature of the naturals of the day, is allowed even by themselves to be sublime; but they complain that too soon—

"He stoop'd to truth and moralised his song,"

and there even they allow him to be unrivalled. He has succeeded, and even surpassed them, when he chose, in their own pretended province. Let us see what their Coryphæus effects in Pope's. But it is too pitiable, it is too melancholy, to see Mr. Bowles "sinning" not "up" but "down" as a poet to his lowest depth as an editor. By the way, Mr. Bowles is always quoting Pope. I grant that there is no poet—not Shakspeare himself—who can be so often quoted, with reference to life;—but his editor is so like the devil quoting Scripture, 407 that I could wish Mr. Bowles in his proper place, quoting in the pulpit.

And now for his lines. But it is painful—painful—to see such a suicide, though at the shrine of Pope. I can't copy them all:—

"Shall the rank, loathsome miscreant of the age

Sit, like a night-mare, grinning o'er a page."

"Whose pye-bald character so aptly suit

The two extremes of Bantam and of Brute,

Compound grotesque of sullenness and show,

The chattering magpie, and the croaking crow."

"Whose heart contends with thy Saturnian head,

A root of hemlock, and a lump of lead.

Gilchrist proceed," &c. &c.

"And thus stand forth, spite of thy venom'd foam,

To give thee bite for bite, or lash thee limping home."

With regard to the last line, the only one upon which I shall venture for fear of infection, I would advise Mr. Gilchrist to keep out of the way of such reciprocal morsure—unless he has more faith in the "Ormskirk medicine" than most people, or may wish to anticipate the pension of the recent German professor, (I forget his name, but it is advertised and full of consonants,) who presented his memoir of an infallible remedy for the hydrophobia to the German diet last month, coupled with the philanthropic condition of a large annuity, provided that his cure cured. Let him begin with the editor of Pope, and double his demand.

Yours ever,

To John Murray, Esq.

P.S. Amongst the above-mentioned lines there occurs the following, applied to Pope—

"The assassin's vengeance, and the coward's lie."

And Mr. Bowles persists that he is a well-wisher to Pope!!! He has, then, edited an "assassin" and a 408 "coward" wittingly, as well as lovingly. In my former letter I have remarked upon the editor's forgetfulness of Pope's benevolence. But where he mentions his faults it is "with sorrow"—his tears drop, but they do not blot them out. The "recording angel" differs from the recording clergyman. A fulsome editor is pardonable though tiresome, like a panegyrical son whose pious sincerity would demi-deify his father. But a detracting editor is a paricide. He sins against the nature of his office, and connection—he murders the life to come of his victim. If his author is not worthy to be mentioned, do not edit at all: if he be, edit honestly, and even flatteringly. The reader will forgive the weakness in favour of mortality, and correct your adulation with a smile. But to sit down "mingere in patrios cineres," as Mr. Bowles has done, merits a reprobation so strong, that I am as incapable of expressing as of ceasing to feel it.

Further Addenda.

It is worthy of remark that, after all this outcry about "in-door nature" and "artificial images," Pope was the principal inventor of that boast of the English, Modern Gardening. He divides this honour with Milton. Hear Warton:—"It hence appears, that this enchanting art of modern gardening, in which this kingdom claims a preference over every nation in Europe, chiefly owes its origin and its improvements to two great poets, Milton and Pope."

Walpole (no friend to Pope) asserts that Pope formed Kent's taste, and that Kent was the artist to whom the English are chiefly indebted for diffusing "a taste in laying out grounds." The design of the Prince of Wales's garden was copied from Pope's at Twickenham. Warton applauds "his singular effort of art and taste, in impressing so much variety and scenery on a spot of five acres." Pope was the first who ridiculed the "formal, French, Dutch, false and unnatural taste in gardening," 409 both in prose and verse. (See, for the former, "The Guardian.")

"Pope has given not only some of our first but best rules and observations on Architecture and Gardening." (See Warton's Essay, vol. ii. p. 237, &c. &c.)

Now, is it not a shame, after this, to hear our Lakers in "Kendal Green," and our Bucolical Cockneys, crying out (the latter in a wilderness of bricks and mortar) about "Nature," and Pope's "artificial in-door habits?" Pope had seen all of nature that England alone can supply. He was bred in Windsor Forest, and amidst the beautiful scenery of Eton; he lived familiarly and frequently at the country seats of Bathurst, Cobham, Burlington, Peterborough, Digby, and Bolingbroke; amongst whose seats was to be numbered Stowe. He made his own little "five acres" a model to princes, and to the first of our artists who imitated nature. Warton thinks "that the most engaging of Kent's works was also planned on the model of Pope's,—at least in the opening and retiring shades of Venus's Vale."

It is true that Pope was infirm and deformed; but he could walk, and he could ride (he rode to Oxford from London at a stretch), and he was famous for an exquisite eye. On a tree at Lord Bathurst's is carved "Here Pope sang,"—he composed beneath it. Bolingbroke, in one of his letters, represents them both writing in the hay-field. No poet ever admired Nature more, or used her better, than Pope has done, as I will undertake to prove from his works, prose and verse, if not anticipated in so easy and agreeable a labour. I remember a passage in Walpole, somewhere, of a gentleman who wished to give directions about some willows to a man who had long served Pope in his grounds: "I understand, sir," he replied: "you would have them hang down, sir, somewhat poetical." Now, if nothing existed but this little anecdote, it would suffice to prove Pope's taste for Nature, and the impression which he had made on a common-minded man. But I have already quoted Warton and Walpole (both his enemies), 410 and, were it necessary, I could amply quote Pope himself for such tributes to Nature as no poet of the present day has even approached.

His various excellence is really wonderful: architecture, painting, gardening, all are alike subject to his genius. Be it remembered, that English gardening is the purposed perfectioning of niggard Nature, and that without it England is but a hedge-and-ditch, double-post-and-rail, Hounslow Heath and Clapham Common sort of country, since the principal forests have been felled. It is, in general, far from a picturesque country. The case is different with Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; and I except also the lake counties and Derbyshire, together with Eton, Windsor, and my own dear Harrow on the Hill, and some spots near the coast. In the present rank fertility of "great poets of the age," and "schools of poetry"—a word which, like "schools of eloquence" and of "philosophy," is never introduced till the decay of the art has increased with the number of its professors—in the present day, then, there have sprung up two sorts of Naturals;—the Lakers, who whine about Nature because they live in Cumberland; and their under-sect (which some one has maliciously called the "Cockney School"), who are enthusiastical for the country because they live in London. It is to be observed, that the rustical founders are rather anxious to disclaim any connexion with their metropolitan followers, whom they ungraciously review, and call cockneys, atheists, foolish fellows, bad writers, and other hard names not less ungrateful than unjust. I can understand the pretensions of the aquatic gentlemen of Windermere to what Mr. Braham terms "entusumusy," for lakes, and mountains, and daffodils, and buttercups; but I should be glad to be apprised of the foundation of the London propensities of their imitative brethren to the same "high argument." Southey, Wordsworth, and Coleridge have rambled over half Europe, and seen Nature in most of her varieties (although I think that they have occasionally not used her very well); but what on 411 earth—of earth, and sea, and Nature—have the others seen? Not a half, nor a tenth part so much as Pope. While they sneer at his Windsor Forest, have they ever seen any thing of Windsor except its brick?

The most rural of these gentlemen is my friend Leigh Hunt, who lives at Hampstead. I believe that I need not disclaim any personal or poetical hostility against that gentleman. A more amiable man in society I know not; nor (when he will allow his sense to prevail over his sectarian principles) a better writer. When he was writing his "Rimini," I was not the last to discover its beauties, long before it was published. Even then I remonstrated against its vulgarisms; which are the more extraordinary, because the author is any thing but a vulgar man. Mr. Hunt's answer was, that he wrote them upon principle; they made part of his "system!!" I then said no more. When a man talks of his system, it is like a woman's talking of her virtue. I let them talk on. Whether there are writers who could have written "Rimini," as it might have been written, I know not; but Mr. Hunt is, probably, the only poet who could have had the heart to spoil his own Capo d'Opera.

With the rest of his young people I have no acquaintance, except through some things of theirs (which have been sent out without my desire), and I confess that till I had read them I was not aware of the full extent of human absurdity. Like Garrick's "Ode to Shakspeare," they "defy criticism." These are of the personages who decry Pope. One of them, a Mr. John Ketch, has written some lines against him, of which it were better to be the subject than the author. Mr. Hunt redeems himself by occasional beauties; but the rest of these poor creatures seem so far gone that I would not "march through Coventry with them, that's flat!" were I in Mr. Hunt's place. To be sure, he has "led his ragamuffins where they will be well peppered;" but a system-maker must receive all sorts of 412 proselytes. When they have really seen life—when they have felt it—when they have travelled beyond the far distant boundaries of the wilds of Middlesex—when they have overpassed the Alps of Highgate, and traced to its sources the Nile of the New River—then, and not till then, can it properly he permitted to them to despise Pope; who had, if not in Wales, been near it, when he described so beautifully the "artificial" works of the Benefactor of Nature and mankind, the "Man of Ross," whose picture, still suspended in the parlour of the inn, I have so often contemplated with reverence for his memory, and admiration of the poet, without whom even his own still existing good works could hardly have preserved his honest renown.

I would also observe to my friend Hunt, that I shall be very glad to see him at Ravenna, not only for my sincere pleasure in his company, and the advantage which a thousand miles or so of travel might produce to a "natural" poet, but also to point out one or two little things in "Rimini," which he probably would not have placed in his opening to that poem, if he had ever seen Ravenna;—unless, indeed, it made "part of his system!!" I must also crave his indulgence for having spoken of his disciples—by no means an agreeable or self-sought subject. If they had said nothing of Pope, they might have remained "alone with their glory" for aught I should have said or thought about them or their nonsense. But if they interfere with the "little Nightingale" of Twickenham, they may find others who will bear it—I won't. Neither time, nor distance, nor grief, nor age, can ever diminish my veneration for him, who is the great moral poet of all times, of all climes, of all feelings, and of all stages of existence. The delight of my boyhood, the study of my manhood, perhaps (if allowed to me to attain it) he may be the consolation of my age. His poetry is the Book of Life. Without canting, and yet without neglecting religion, he has assembled all that a 413 good and great man can gather together of moral wisdom clothed in consummate beauty. Sir William Temple observes, "that of all the members of mankind that live within the compass of a thousand years, for one man that is born capable of making a great poet, there may be a thousand born capable of making as great generals and ministers of state as any in story." Here is a statesman's opinion of poetry: it is honourable to him and to the art. Such a "poet of a thousand years" was Pope. A thousand years will roll away before such another can be hoped for in our literature. But it can want them—he himself is a literature.

One word upon his so brutally abused translation of Homer. "Dr. Clarke, whose critical exactness is well known, has not been able to point out above three or four mistakes in the sense through the whole Iliad. The real faults of the translation are of a different kind." So says Warton, himself a scholar. It appears by this, then, that he avoided the chief fault of a translator. As to its other faults, they consist in his having made a beautiful English poem of a sublime Greek one. It will always hold. Cowper and all the rest of the blank pretenders may do their best and their worst: they will never wrench Pope from the hands of a single reader of sense and feeling.

The grand distinction of the under forms of the new school of poets is their vulgarity. By this I do not mean that they are coarse, but "shabby-genteel," as it is termed. A man may be coarse and yet not vulgar, and the reverse. Burns is often coarse, but never vulgar. Chatterton is never vulgar, nor Wordsworth, nor the higher of the Lake school, though they treat of low life in all its branches. It is in their finery that the new under school are most vulgar, and they may be known by this at once; as what we called at Harrow "a Sunday blood" might be easily distinguished from a gentleman, although his clothes might be the better cut, and his boots the best blackened, of the two;—probably because 414 he made the one, or cleaned the other, with his own hands.

In the present case, I speak of writing, not of persons. Of the latter, I know nothing; of the former, I judge as it is found. Of my friend Hunt, I have already said, that he is any thing but vulgar in his manners; and of his disciples, therefore, I will not judge of their manners from their verses. They may be honourable and gentlemanly men, for what I know; but the latter quality is studiously excluded from their publications. They remind me of Mr. Smith and the Miss Broughtons at the Hampstead Assembly, in "Evelina." In these things (in private life, at least,) I pretend to some small experience; because, in the course of my youth, I have seen a little of all sorts of society, from the Christian prince and the Mussulman sultan and pacha, and the higher ranks of their countries, down to the London boxer, the "flash and the swell," the Spanish muleteer, the wandering Turkish dervise, the Scotch highlander, and the Albanian robber;—to say nothing of the curious varieties of Italian social life. Far be it from me to presume that there ever was, or can be, such a thing as an aristocracy of poets; but there is a nobility of thought and of style, open to all stations, and derived partly from talent, and partly from education,—which is to be found in Shakspeare, and Pope, and Burns, no less than in Dante and Alfieri, but which is nowhere to be perceived in the mock birds and bards of Mr. Hunt's little chorus. If I were asked to define what this gentlemanliness is, I should say that it is only to be defined by examples—of those who have it, and those who have it not. In life, I should say that most military men have it, and few naval;—that several men of rank have it, and few lawyers;—that it is more frequent among authors than divines (when they are not pedants); that fencing-masters have more of it than dancing-masters, and singers than players; and that (if it be not an Irishism to say so) it is far 415 more generally diffused among women than among men. In poetry, as well as writing in general, it will never make entirely a poet or a poem; but neither poet nor poem will ever be good for any thing without it. It is the salt of society, and the seasoning of composition. Vulgarity is far worse than downright blackguardism; for the latter comprehends wit, humour, and strong sense at times; while the former is a sad abortive attempt at all things, "signifying nothing." It does not depend upon low themes, or even low language, for Fielding revels in both;—but is he ever vulgar? No. You see the man of education, the gentleman, and the scholar, sporting with his subject,—its master, not its slave. Your vulgar writer is always most vulgar, the higher, his subject; as the man who showed the menagerie at Pidcock's was wont to say,—"This, gentlemen, is the eagle of the sun, from Archangel, in Russia; the otterer it is, the igherer he flies." But to the proofs. It is a thing to be felt more than explained. Let any man take up a volume of Mr. Hunt's subordinate writers, read (if possible) a couple of pages, and pronounce for himself, if they contain not the kind of writing which may be likened to "shabby-genteel" in actual life. When he has done this, let him take up Pope;—and when he has laid him down, take up the cockney again—if he can.

Note to the passage in page 396. relative to Pope's lines upon Lady Mary W. Montague.] I think that I could show, if necessary, that Lady Mary W. Montague was also greatly to blame in that quarrel, not for having rejected, but for having encouraged him: but I would rather decline the task—though she should have remembered her own line, "He comes too near, that comes to be denied." I admire her so much—her beauty, her talents—that I should do this reluctantly. I, besides, am so attached to the very name of Mary, that as Johnson once said, "If you called a dog Harvey, I should love him;" so, if you were to call a female of the same species "Mary," I should love it better than others 416 (biped or quadruped) of the same sex with a different appellation. She was an extraordinary woman: she could translate Epictetus, and yet write a song worthy of Aristippus. The lines,

"And when the long hours of the public are past,

And we meet, with champaigne and a chicken, at last,

May every fond pleasure that moment endear!

Be banish'd afar both discretion and fear!

Forgetting or scorning the airs of the crowd,

He may cease to be formal, and I to be proud,

Till," &c. &c.

There, Mr. Bowles!—what say you to such a supper with such a woman? and her own description too? Is not her "champaigne and chicken" worth a forest or two? Is it not poetry? It appears to me that this stanza contains the "purée" of the whole philosophy of Epicurus:—I mean the practical philosophy of his school, not the precepts of the master; for I have been too long at the university not to know that the philosopher was himself a moderate man. But, after all, would not some of us have been as great fools as Pope? For my part, I wonder that, with his quick feelings, her coquetry, and his disappointment, he did no more,—instead of writing some lines, which are to be condemned if false, and regretted if true.417


The Roman letters refer to the Volume; the Arabic figures to the Page.