Imagens das páginas

been the poker and toogs, which both parties Used and taking physic. The two last amusements have not bad

the best effect in the world: for my attentions have been with peculiar dexterity.

divided amongst so many fair damsels, and the drugs I swalAn anecdote relative to these disputes is worth

low are of such variety in their composition, that between mentioning, viz.:—that each was known to bave gone

Venus and Æsculapius I am harassed to death. However, privately, after one of them, to the apothecary's, in- I have still leisure to devote some hours to the recollections quiring anxiously whether the other had been to pur- of past regretted friendships, and in the interval to take the

advantage of the moment, to assure you how much I am, chase poison, and cautioning the vender of drugs not

and ever will be, my dearest Clare, to attend to such an application, if made.

“ Your truly attached and sincere It was at Newark that Byron, under the superintendence of Mr. Ridge, bookseller and publisher,

Byron." first appeared as a poet. All the anecdotes told of

The poems, first published for a few friends, were him at this time are indicative of that passion for

soon afterwards given to the public in general. These bull-dogs and Newfoundland dogs, and Wogden's poems were, as it appears from his own account, repistols, which seems to have been as much blended ceived favourably, and noticed with eulogium in most with his character and pursuits as even the poetry of the periodical papers of the day, always excepting which he was then preparing to produce; while, in the Edinburgh Review, the severity of whose attack, some private theatricals, acting alternately Penrud

as well as the consequences attendant thereupon, are dock in the Wheel of Fortune, and the whimsical well known. The celebrated article which called Tristram Fickle in the farce of the Weathercock, he forth English Bards and Scotch Reviewers was, as even then displayed that powerful versatility and sin- it is now pretty well ascertained, from the pen of our gular contrast of light and shade which in after-life late Lord Chancellor, at that time Mr. Brougham, became so conspicuous.

and who then seemed to feel no common pleasure It would be difficult to give a more amiable and in displaying the energy of his sneer on a bad poet, interesting account of his pursuits at this time than he who happened to be a lord. It has been usual of gave in a letter to Lord Clare.

late years to discover a merit in these


which would render the review in question not only most « South well, Notts, February 6th, 1807. "My dearest Clare,

ungenerous (we don't expect generosity from re

viewers), but also most unjust. For my own part, "Were I to make all the apologies necessary to atone for

I confess that I do not think I have ever read, even my late negligence, you would justly say you had received a petition instead of a letter, as it would be filled with among the most paltry of Lord Byron's juvenile imiprayers for forgiveness; but, instead of this, I will acknow.

tators, a more decided specimen of the to-be-damned ledge my sins at once, and I trust to your friendship and

doggrel, than was then exhibited by Lord Byron generosity rather than to my own excuses. Though my

himself, with a kind of absurd apology for a lord conhealth is not perfectly re-established, I am out of all danger, and have recovered every thing but my spirits, which are

descending to be a poet. The little volume, under the subject to depression. You will be astonished to hear I have title of Hours of Idleness, gave small promise as to lately written to Delawarr, for the purpose of explaining his Lordship's future hours being well employed. This (as far as possible without involving some old friends of mine

does not justify the reviewer, since unnecessary sevein the business) the cause of my behaviour to him during my last residence at Harrow (nearly two years ago), which you rity is never justifiable; but it justifies, in a certain will recollect was rather · en cavalier. Since that period i degree, the aspirations of other young scribblers, who, bave discovered be was treated with injustice, both by those in testifying a propensity, should not be at once driven who misrepresented bis conduct, and by me in consequence from indulging it, even if the early specimens of their of their suggestions. I have made all the reparation in my

taste should seem an accusation on their genius. power, by apologizing for my mistake, though with very faint hopes of success; indeed I never expected any answer,

The value which Lord Byron set upon his aristobat desired one for form's sake; that has not yet arrived, and cratical pretensions, and upon those who enjoy simimost probably never will. However, I have eased my own lar titles to respect, fully appears in the letter wherein conscience by the atonement, which is humiliating enough to

he states himself, for these anti-poetic compositions, one of my disposition; yet I could not have slept satisfied with the reflection of having, even unintentionally, injured admired by duchesses, and much above the consideraany individual. I have done all that could be done to repair

tion of rustic readers :-"My cousin,” he says,

" Lord the injury, and there the affair must end. Whether we re. Alexander Gordon, who resided in the same hotel as new our intimacy or not is of very trivial consequence. myself, told me bis mother, her Grace of Gordon, "My time bas lately been much occupied with very diffe.

requested he would introduce my poetical Lordship to rent pursoits. I have been transporting a servant(1) who

her Highness, as she had bought my volume, and cheated me, rather a disagreeable event;-performing in private theatricals ;-publisbing a volume of poems (at the

admired it exceedingly, in common with the rest of request of my friends, for their perusal);-making love, -- the fashionable world.” (2) (!lis valet Frank.

blank verse, on the subject of Bosworth Field; amidst the (2) At this time he seems to have undertaken a poem in excitement of which he does not forget to inform his cor.

It is not however in his successes, but in his disap- a prostitute, who accompanied him in man's clothes pointments, that the genius of Byron seemed to de- to Brighton, and laid the foundation of reporus hich light: then all that was great and masculine in his subsequently blackened his reputation,- utwardly character came forth. Instead of sickening, like the occupied with this disgraceful attachment, auu with unfortunate Keats, at the Northern criticism of his those hardly more honourable amusements that were work, it was that criticism which seemed to give a to be found in Mr. Jackson's pugilistic academy, tone to his mind, and to awaken po'wers in his in- and d'Egville the ballet-master's and Grimaldi the tellect which had hitherto lain dormant; the clang of clown's most intellectual entertainments,- his mind battle struck upon the ears of a courser, who seemed must have been inwardly the prey to a feverish to have an instinctive passion for the strife. A friend, anxiety after nobler pursuits; and it was the imwho found him in the first moments of excitement patience, which would not permit him to pause after this attack, inquired anxiously whether he had before the different paths which might equally have just received a challenge, not knowing how else led to fame, that made him at once take that path to account for the fierce defiance of his looks. It which was open to all ages, which required no pawould indeed be difficult for a sculptor or painter trons, and which was in harmony with the singular to imagine a subject of more fearful beauty than the solitude in which a man of his rank and station is fine countenance of the young Poet, in the collected hardly ever similarly found. energy of this crisis, when, instead of despairing of Having determined to quit, for a time at all events, poetic immortality, he drank three bottles of claret, the country in which he was so unnaturally placed, and commenced at once twenty lines of that satire by be resolved to mark his passage from it by a mewhich he ultimately avenged himself.

teor, which should warn the coming times that there Lord Byron's situation was a singular one. High was something to expect from his career. Mortion the rolls of the aristocracy, without one single fied in his person, because the handsome intelligence aristocratical acquaintance,—the heir to a property of his countenance rather served to call a halt in his which had been for centuries in his family,--the ex- gait into notice than to extinguish its effects,--morpectant of wealth which, if not of the nature we are tified in his love, since the only person for whom he accustomed to consider concomitant with the British seems to have felt a real affection had treated his peerage, was still such as would in any other country pretensions with a contempt not easily, under similar have been considered a noble independence,-having circumstances, to be forgiven,-mortified in his ama right to claim a relationship with some of the bition, since the effort which he made to show the greatest names in the country, and yet ostensibly injustice of the attack apon his muse proved his connected with only a vulgar and violent old woman, sensibility to it,-mortified also, in a greater degree, -having no home but a coffee-house, little imme- where he was most likely to be susceptible, having diate income beyond the debts he could create, - been nursed up in all those ideas of family pride totally unlinked from that society to which he was and feudal consequence which poverty, allied to noborn, and just launched in a career which, if we con- bility and unexpectedly called to assume its honours, sider the boyish talents, or the more manly propen- is sure to engender, -never had a man more elements sities which he had evinced, seemed as little likely in his mind, out of which to form a satirist, than to suit his abilities and his character, as to be in young Lord Byron, when he flung in the face of the harmony with his situation,

critics he was answering, and the country he was

quitting, his refutation of one and his farewell to the Reft of his sire-- too young such loss to know;

other. Lord of himself-that heritage of woe;

It was in the beginning of the year 1809, that he He seemed, indeed, in a position where, with every- set out for London, in his way, as he then intended, thing to choose from, there was nothing eligible to for Persia, with the intention of first publishing his

Half adventurer, half lord, still more poem, and taking his seat with the peerage. inclined to be the peer than the poet, and driven as He first entered the House of Lords in this it were into poesy by his susceptibility to the rights year, 1809, March 13, more lone and unfriended," of the peerage, there never was a man who appeared writes his biographer, “ than perhaps any youth in to owe less to Providence and more to fortune, or his high station had ever been before," not having a who, by the disadvantages he was assailed with, single individual of his own class, either to take him was so cast in spite of himself, as it were, upon a by the hand as a friend, or to acknowledge him as an glorious career.

acquaintance. “His countenance," says Mı. Dallas, Outwardly occupied at this time by his passion for who accompanied him on this occasion, “paler than respondents that the Duke of York, the Marchioness of Head

usual, showed that his mind was agitated. There fort, and the again-to-be-mentioned Duchess of Gordon, was not a single member of the senate to which he were among the purchasers of his other publication, belonged to whom he could or would apply to intro

decide upon.

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duce him in a manner becoming his birth. I saw a mule, and swears Portuguese, and have got a di-
that he felt the situation, and I fully partook of his arrhea, and bites from the musquitos. But wliat of
indignation.” This indignation, indeed, was not di- that ? Comfort must not be expected by folks that
minished by certain difficulties that had attended the go a-pleasuring." Few boarding-school misses would
proof of his birth, and consequently the ceremonial have received this as an autograph note from the ro-
claim of his station; the marriage of Admiral Byron mantic author of Childe Harold!
with Miss Trevanion having taken place in a private Lord Byrou's travels at this time form an epoch-
chapel at Carhais, from which no regular certificate and not the least important epoch-in his life. There
of the ceremony could be produced. Speaking of was naturally in his character a strange assemblage
this, and of his reception by the Chancellor, Lord of different and, as some would imagine, incompatible
Eldon, whose cordial welcome to him was not very qualities. He had in that character much romance :
welcomely received, Lord Byron himself says:- his early verses, his early loves, his early friend-
“When I came of age, some delays, on account of ships and fights, his mysterious passion for parading
birth and marriage certificates from Cornwall, occa- fire-arms, and even the anecdote of his disinterring and
sioned me not to take my seat for several weeks ; drinking out of the old monk's skull, are all proofs of
wben these were over, and I had taken the oaths, the this. He had also much common sense.

This we see Chancellor apologised to me for the delay, observing in his admiration of Pope, in his horror of the Lakethat these forms were part of his duty. I begged school, and the Cockney-school, in his careful imihim to make no apology, and added, as he had cer- tation of the beauties of Shelley, and as careful tainly shown no violent hurry, `Your Lordship is ex- abstainment from his faults. One of the memorialists actly like Tom Thumb,' which was then being acted, of Byron has said, that he had much playfulness and 'you did your duty, and you did no more.'»

satire; he might have said so from his works-from A few days after this, was published the bitter the English Bards, from Beppo, and from Don Juan: expression of those feelings which, even thus early, but this talent is far more visible in his incomparable a variety of circumstances had excited: and now, letters, written evidently without effort or affectation, wrapping himself up in his loneliness, and a desola- and totally free from that dressiug and drapery for tion which his ardent temperament and poetic ima- stage effect, which is seen in most of his other pergination led him naturally even to exaggerate, he formances. Indeed, if Byron had one quality more retired to the seclusion of his cowl-haunted Abbey, naturally conspicuous than the rest, it was wit. in part to brood over the disappointments he had ex

Had he not travelled at this time, left to the success perienced, in part, perhaps, to indulge unchecked in of the English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, and to

those anticipations of brighter lands and more glo- his own strong taste and inclination, which, eren
1 rious days which the poem he was publishing, and amidst the mountains of Albania and the temples of
: the expedition he was undertaking, were likely to

Athens, did not wholly yield to more lone and magnicreate. Not but that in his solitude-a solitude ficent aspirations,(2) it is very probable, not that his perhaps not the less lonely for a crowd-he was, if fame would have been less, but that it would have we may credit his own accounts (which his now sage

rested on a totally different basis from that which now companions do not disavow)

forms the mystic pedestal of his genius.

His travels at this period, when his mind was most “Sore given to revel and ungodly slee;

likely to be susceptible to their impressions, developed Few earthly things found favour in his sight Save concubines and carnal companie,

the romantic part of his character in such a manAnd flaunting wassailers of high and low degree." ner as to throw the other parts of it into the shade. i

Remembering, as I do, the sensations which even
saluted me on my first visiting a southern clime -

remembering the strange and wild ecstacy with

which I also at an early period of life first found In June be set sail with Mr. Hobhouse for Lisbon, myself on those shores, the images of which are, from describing the commencement of his undertaking in their singularity as well as their associations, the Ferses that do no disgrace to the author of Beppo.(1) most striking-remembering, as I well remember,

The following passage, in a prose letter to Mr. the strange, exulting, and indescribable feeling with Hodgson, exhibits the same boyish and light-hearted which I stood on the shores of Greece, hearing a spirit:-“I am very happy here (Lisbon), because I new and yet half-familiar language, gazing on garbs loces oranges, and talks bad Latin to the monks, who wild and picturesque, and looking over, from the spot understand it, as it is like their own; and I goes into on which I stood, those plains so sacred to history and society (with my pocket-pistols), and I swims in the to song, and which mingled so naturally with all my Tagus all across at once, and I rides on an ass and youthful recollections and heroic reveries--remember(1) See page 851,

(9) Sce Hints from Horace.

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ing my own sensations, as I well remember them, at passing out with dispatches, the kettle-drums beating, such a time and in such scenes, it is not difficult for boys calling the hour from the minaret of the mosque, me to imagine what must have been the sensations of altogether with the singular appearance of the building a more poetic and impassioned mind, which a passage itself, formed a new and delightful spectacle to a through Portugal and Spain must have already deeply stranger.” excited.

At last, after crossing Portugal, traversing the South In Cadiz' white walls, indeed, the young poet seems of Spain, visiting Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, and thence to have experienced some of the effects of that Spa- passing through Albania, Myria, and Chaonia, over nish beauty which I, judging very differently from Mr. the Gulf of Actium and the Achelous, tarrying in the Galt(1) on this subject, think he has sc voluptuously Morea, visiting Thebes, Athens, Delphi, Parnassus, described. Among those women of long black hair, and finally Constantinople (2)— having lived with the dark languishing eyes, clear olive complexions, and highest and the lowest, been for days in a Pacha's forms more graceful in motion than can be conceived palace, and nights in a cow-house,- baving stored by an Englishman, used to the drowsy listlessness of his mind with all that adventure, nature, art, and his countrywomen,” he found one to whom he made history, could pour into it,-having, moreover, sticarnest love, by the help of a dictionary. At Malta mulated and excited those passions which chimed in again, the interesting and romantic Mrs. S. with the wild and wandering existence he had been whom he has celebrated as Florence, drew from him leading, the Childe returned to his native England, those beautiful lines, which I still remember, though with much that had been doubtful in his destiny deI have not read them since I was a boy at school:- cided, and all that had been doubtful in his character

confirmed. Before his journey, Lord Byron might “Though far from Albin's craggy shore, Divided by the dark blue main,

have been any thing ;-after it, he must have been A few brief rolling seasons o'er,

a Poet. Perchance I view her cliffs again:

His welcome back again was certainly not an in“ But wberesoe'er I now may roam,

viting one; and affords a new proof of the almost Through scorching clime, and varied sca,

perpetual unhappiness in which persons, eminent in Though time restore ine to my home,

literature, seem usually to pass their lives :-" Indeed, I ne'er may bend my eyes on thee," etc. etc.

my prospects are not very pleasant. Embarrassed When I said that I could well conceive Lord in my private affairs, indifferent to public, solitary Byron's feelings on this his first and least fatal visit without the wish to be social, with a body a little to Greece, I ought to have added, that if one man was enfeebled by a succession of fevers, but a spirit, I more likely than another to have deepened the im- trust, yet unbroken, I am returning home without a pressions naturally produced by that land, and its hope, and almost without a desire. The first thing I people strange and wild, it was the Albanian chief shall have to encounter will be a lawyer, the next a to whose camp our Poet, on first arriving, directed his creditor, then colliers, farmers, surveyors, and all the steps. On many of his subsequent pages fell the dark agreeable attachments to estates out of repair and conshadow of the daring Ruler of Albania; and, indeed, tested coal-pits. In short, I am sick and sorry, and it is difficult to underrate the effect which such scenes when I have a little repaired my irreparable affairs, as the following must have had upon a young and away I shall march, either to campaign in Spain, or imaginative mind:

back again to the East, where I can at least hare “I shall never forget the singular scene on entering cloudless skies and a cessation from impertinence.”— Tepaleen at five in the afternoon, as the sun was going Such were his feelings on arriving ; nor did fate seem down. It brought to my mind (with some change of to brighten with his stay. dress, however) Scott's description of Branksome A short time after his return, died Mrs. Byron, at Castle in his Lay, and the feudal system. The Al- Newstead. She died suddenly." I heard,” he says, banians, in their dresses (the most magnificent in the one day of her illness—the next, of her death.." —Nor world, consisting of a long while kilt, gold-worked was this all: besides the loss of his mother, he had cloak, crimson velvet gold-laced jacket and waistcoat, to mourn, within a few weeks, two of his most valued silver-mounted pistols and daggers), the Tartars with friends, Mr. Wingfield and Mr. Matthews. their high caps, the Turks in their vast pelisses curse, ,” he writes to Mr. S. Davies, “ hangs over me and turbans, the soldiers and black slaves with the and mine. My mother lies a corpse in this house; horses, the former in groups in an immense large open one of my best friends is drowned (3) in a ditch. gallery in front of the palace, the latter placed in a What can I say, or think, or do? Come to me, kind of cloister below it, two hundred steeds ready Scrope, I am almost desolate-left almost alone in caparisoned to move in a moment, couriers entering or the world." “Peace, however,” he adds, in another

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(1) Sce Galt's Life of Byron.
(2) He returned from Constantinople again to Grocce.

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letter, -"peace be with the dead. Regret cannot wake Byron after it, in spite of his bear, in spite of bis them. With a sigh to the departed, let us resume skull, might have passed for any thing he pleased. the dull business of life, in the certainty that we also But upon The Childe they were all so much approsball have our repose.”

priate drapery, and set off, with a wilder horror, the And now, upshooting from these dark vexations, enchanting young lord who wrote such beautiful poetry, appeared the glories of his fature career; for we and who seemed to have known every thing,--himself are at the dawn of that fame which was soon to rise unknown. In a town always panting for novelty, and so brightly above all contemporary reputations. amidst that part of a town the curiosity of which is

Returning from his travels, Lord Byron had brought ever most alive, such a melancholy and romantic with him a kind of light satire, similar in many phænix as the new poet, a gentleman who had been respects to the English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, guilty of every misdemeanour, and, as he seemed to and another work which, as well, perhaps, from its imply, of some dark and unutterable crimes; who novelty as its merit, created a sensation, which hardly had been to Lisbon and to Cadiz, to Athens, and to any poem ever produced at its appearance. The first Constantinople, regions then much more unknown was called Hints from Horace, the second, Childe and remote than at the present time; and who, moreHarold; and, if we are to believe Mr. Dallas, the over, added to all these qualifications an old title, Poet gave his preference to the first, a very clever but and a declaration that he had loved very much, and by no means surprising performance. To account was determined never to love again; having, also, for this is not difficult; a writer who has been for small ears and white hands, and curly hair, as he some time employed over his work does not perceive told the world Ali Pacha had told him, and a counthe merits of its originality, while he trembles for tenance peculiarly adapted to a frontispiece arraugebis want of example; and Byron, seeing no existing ment-was destined, for a year at least, to figure as model of his method, shrunk from doing that which the personage of the epoch. nobody had done, nor saw that the very reason of his It was at this time, however, when the moodiness apprehensions would be the cause of his success. of his supposed character added in no small degree 1

Childe Harold succeeded more than, I think, the to his reputation, that Byron's real character became merits of the two first Cantos deserved; and not only more amiable and composed. His manners, too, lost was the success extraordinary, but of a description that unevenness, betwixt pride and playfulness, which

the most likely to please. It was not the poem that had formerly distinguished them. He was no longer
| was admired only; it was the poet, about whom an so proud of being a peer, because he found his rank
interest was excited. The fictitious hero of the tale, at last attended naturally by all those circumstances
between whom and the writer of it, we must con- which a patrician by birth expected, and which, as a
fess, there was some kind of resemblance, was con- plebeian by acquaintance, he did not formerly enjoy.
sidered at once as an accurate portrait of the myste- It was now that a long series of gallantries began,
rious young noble who had just returned from the the most notorious of which, as well on account of
lands of romance and song, which he had been de the singularities as the talent of the lady, was that of

scribing. If Lord Byron had been known in the Lady Caroline Lamb.
| world before his travels, the world would have viewed Whatever might have been the subsequent faults of

both himself and his travels differently; but, though this lady, her affection for Lord Byron was the first;
a peer of England, he was unknown, as I have said, and, though not beautiful, it would be difficult to
to English society; and those who for the first time imagine a person who, from the originality of her
now made inquiries respecting him, heard that he was mind, and the fascination of her manners, was more
the grand-nephew of the singular old lord who had likely to have attracted the attention, and, if the vo-
been tried for killing Mr. Chaworth; that he had a latility of her character had permitted it, to have
ruined Abbey, and a damaged estate; that at college riveted the affections, of the Poet. Deeply attached
he had been known for keeping a bear; and on leave to her he was at one time, and an elopement was
ing college for drinking out of a skull; while name- meditated, which the lady had the merit of refusing.
rous tales, not altogether without foundation, were This refusal, and an offence to his personal vanity,
circulated as to that life of licentiousness, under the which was supposed to have followed at no great dis-
satiety of which his pilgrimage was said to have been tance of time, Lord Byron never forgave, and, up to

the last hour of his existence, the lady in question, who His previous satire, though popular and admired, adored his memory, was treated by him with ridicule had never awakened any of those stories, and Lord and contempt. (1)

(1) That Lord Byron bad in all his passions a kind of were nothing more nor less than actual translations from a premeditation is no where better proved than by a cir. French novel," which every libertine bus studied, but of cumstance which I venture to state, namely, tbat many wbich few lovers have made so profligate a use of the most apparently inspired letters which be sent

Les Liaisons Dangereuses. | about this time, as the outpourings of a deep attachment

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