Page images


did not sail away with his fleet, but and giving, hating and loving, just as stayed behind, thinking more was to the wind of his humour blew. This be obtained, as more indeed was, penchant for outlaws and pirates and the whole consumed nobody might naturally enough flow from knows how. However, the sums his own character, and the circumprocured from his Lordship were by stances of his life, without there no means so large as has been sup- being the slightest resemblance beposed; five thousand pounds would tween the poet and the Corsair. probably cover the whole, and that He had a kind and generous heart, chiefly by way of loan, which has, I and gloried in a splendid piece of hear, been repaid since his death. benevolence; that is to say, the The truth is, that the only good dearest exercise of power to him Lord Byron did, or probably ever was in unexpectedly changing the could have done to Greece was, that state of another from misery to haphis presence conferred an eclat on the piness: he sympathized deeply with cause all over Europe, and disposed the joy he was the creator of. But the people of England to join in the he was in a great error with reloan. The lenders were dazzled, by spect to the merit of such actions, his co-operation with the Greeks, and in a greater still respecting the into an idea of the security of their reward which he thought awaited him. money, which they ought to have He imagined that he was laying up been assured of on much better a great capital at compound interest. grounds; but it requires some time He reckoned upon a large return of and labour to learn the real state of gratitude and devotion, and was not a country, while it was pleasant content with the instant recompense gossip to talk of Lord Byron in which charity receives. They who Greece. The fact is, that if any of understand the principles of human the foreign loans are worth a farthing action know that it is foolish in a it is that to the Greeks, who are de- benefactor to look further than the cidedly more under the controul of pleasure of consciousness and symEuropean public opinion than any pathy, and that if he does, he is a other nation in the world; about creditor, and not a donor, and must their capability to pay no one can be content to be viewed as creditors doubt, and their honesty is secured are always viewed by their debtors, by their interest.

with distrust and uneasiness. On Lord Byron was noted for a kind this mistake were founded most of of poetical misanthropy, but it ex- his charges against human nature; isted much more in the imagination but his feelings, true to nature, and of the public than in reality. He not obeying the false direction of his was fond of society, very good-na- prejudices and erroneous opinions, tured when not irritated, and, so far still made him love his kind with an from being gloomy, was, on the con- ardour which removed him as far as trary, of a cheerful jesting tempera- possible from misanthropy. It is ment, and fond of witnessing even very remarkable that all your misanlow buffoonery; such as setting a thropists as painted by the poets are couple of vulgar fellows to quarrel, the very best men in the world—to making them drunk, or disposing be sure, they do not go much into them in any other way to show their company, but they are always on folly; In his writings he certainly the watch to do benevolent actions dwelt with pleasure on a character in secret, and no distress is ever sufwhich had somehow or other laid fered to remain long unrelieved in hold of his fancy, and consequently the neighbourhood of a hater of his under this character he has appeared fellow men. Another cause of Lord to the public: viz. that of a proud Byron's misanthropical turn of and scornful being, who pretended to writing was his high respect for be disgusted with his species, be- himself. He had a vast reverence cause he himself had been guilty of for his own person, and all he did and all sorts of crimes against society, thought of doing, inculcated into and who made a point of dividing him, as into other lords, by mothers, his time between cursing and bless- governors, grooms, and nurse-maids. ing, murdering and saving, robbing When he observed another man nega


lecting his wants for the sake of readers, to represent himself in the some petty gratification of his own, masquerade dress of Childe Harold. it appeared to him very base in the One day when Fletcher, his valet, individual, and a general charge a- was cheapening some monkeys, which gainst all mankind-he was posi- he thought exorbitantly dear, and tively filled with indignation. He refused to purchase without abatementions somewhere in his works ment, his master said to him, with becoming scorn, that one of his Buy them, buy them, Fletcher, I relatives accompanied a female friend like them better than men; they ato a milliner's, in preference to coming muse and never plague me.” In the to take leave of him when he was same spirit is his epitaph on his going abroad. The fact is, no one Newfoundland dog, a spirit partly ever loved his fellow man more than affected and partly genuine. The Lord Byron; he stood in continual genuine part he would certainly never need of his sympathy, his respect, have retained, if he had reflected a his affection, his attentions, and he little more upon the nature of his was proportionably disgusted and own feelings, and the motives which depressed when they were found actuate men in every the least action wanting ; this was foolish enough, of their lives. Boys enter upon the but he was not much of a reasoner on world stuffed with school-boy nothese points,-- he was a poet. In his tions which their tutors think it nelatter quality, it was his business to cessary to fill them with, about genefoster all these discontented feelings, rosity, disinterestedness, liberty, hofor the public like in poetry nothing nour, and patriotism; and when in better than scorn, contempt, derision, life they find nobody acting upon indignation; and especially a kind of these, and that they never did and fierce mockery which distinguishes never can, they are disgusted, and the transition from a disturbed state consider themselves entitled to despise of the imagination to lunacy. Con- mankind, because they are under a sequently, finding this mood take delusion with respect to themselves with the public, when he sat down to and every body else. Some of them, write he began by lashing himself up if men of genius, turn poets and miinto this state, his first business being, santhropists; some sink into mere senlike Jove, to compel all the black sualists; and some, convinced of the clouds together he could lay his hollowness of the things they have hands on. Besides, there is much been taught to declaim about, unthat is romantic and interesting in a wisely conclude that no better system moody and mysterious Beltenebros; of morality is to be had, that there is it is not every body that can be sated nothing real but place, power, and with the most exquisite joys of so- profit, and become the willing instrua ciety; a man to have had his appetite ments of the oppressors of mankind. so palled must have had huge suc- The fault lies in EDUCATION, and if cess, he must have been a man of there is any good to be done in the consideration in the eyes of the beau- world that is the end to begin at. tiful and the rich. To scorn implies Much of Lord Byron's poetry took that you are very much better than its peculiar hue from the circumthose you scorn; that you are very stances of his life,—such as his tragood, or very great, or very wise, and vels in Greece, which formed a most that others are the direct contrary. important epoch in the history of his To despise is another mark of supe- mind. The “ oriental twist in his riority. To be sad and silent are proofs imagination," was thence derived ; that much sensation, perhaps of the his scenery, his imagery, his cosmost impassioned kind, has been ex- tume, and many of the materials perienced, is departed, and is mourn- of his stories, and a great deal of ed: this is touching; and a man who the character of his personages.wishes to attract attention cannot do That country was the stimulant better, if he be handsome and gen- which excited his great powers ; teel, than look woeful and affect ta- and much of the form in which citurnity. Lord Byron was well a- they showed themselves is to be atware of all this, and chose, for the tributed to it. His great susceppurpose of exciting sympathy in his tibility to external impressions, his


intense sympathy with the appear. Certainly he did not travel for faances of nature, which distinguished shion's sake, nor would he follow in him, were the fruits either of original the wake of the herd of voyagers. conformation, or a much earlier stage As much as he had been about the of his experience; but it was in Mediterranean, he had never visited Greece, the most beautiful and pics Vesuvius or Ætna, because all the turesque of countries, that he came world had ; and when any of the to the full enjoyment of himself. well-known European volcanic mounCertainly no poet either before of tains were mentioned he would talk since so completely identified himself of the Andes, which he used to exa with nature, and gave to it all the press himself as most anxious to animation and the intellection of a visit. In going to Greece the last human being. Benjamin Constant, time, he went out of his way to in his work on Religion, lately pubá see Stromboli; and when it happens lished in Paris, quotes this passage ed that there was 110 eruption during from the Island, and appends to it the night his vessel lay off there, he the observation which I shall copy cursed and swore bitterly for no short at the end.


In travelling, he was an odd mixHow often we forget all time, when lone ture of indolence and capricious acAdmiring nature's universal throne, Her woods, her wilds, her waters, the in- tivity; it was scarcely possible to

get him away from a place under six Reply of hers to our intelligence !

months, and very difficult to keep Live not the stars and mountains ? Are

him longer.

In the Westminster the waves

Review, there is an interesting paWithout a spirit ? Are the drooping caves

per formed out of his letters, and out Without a feeling in their silent tears ?

of Fletcher's account of his last illa No--no--they woo and clasp us to their ness, which though written with fairspheres,

ness, has unhappily the usual fault Dissolve this clog and clod of clay before of going upon stilts. All Lord Its hour, and merge our soul in the great Byron's movements are attributed to shore.

some high motive or other, or some Strip off this fond and false identity! Who thinks of self when gazing on the well know that he went just as the

deep deliberation, when his friends sea ?

The Island.

wind did or did not blow. Among On this fine passage Benjamin Con- a deal more of bamboozlement about stant observes : « On nous assure Lord Byron going to Greece or stayque certains hommes accusent Lord ing here or there, very sage reasons Byron d'athéisme, et d'impiété. Il are given for his remaining in Cephay a plus de religion dans ces douze lonia so long. The fact is, he had vers que dans les ecrits passés, pre- got set down there, and he was too sents, et futurs, de tous ces denon- idle to be removed ; first, he was eiateurs mis ensemble.” Such is the not to be got out of the vesseb Frenchman's notion of religion ; if it in which he had sailed, in which be correct, our poets must be as of he dawdled for six weeks after his old our priests again, and clergymen arrival, when the charter of the vese be dismissed for want of imagina- sel expired and he was compelled to tion. Lord Byron had not the dra. change his quarters ;-he then took matic talent, that is, he could not up his residence in the little village discriminate human characters and of Metaxata, where again he was assume them ; but he seems to have not to be moved to Missolonghi, had this dramatic talent as applied, whither he had declared his resolunot to human beings, but to natural tion of proceeding: ship after ship objects, in the greatest perfection. was sent for him by Mavrocordato, He could nicely discern their distinc- and messenger upon messenger; he tive differences, adapt words and promised and promised, until at sentiments to them, and hold inter- length, either worn out by importucourse with them of a very refined nity, or weary of his abode, he hired and beautiful description. When he a couple of vessels (refusing the travelled, he communed with the Greek ships) and crossed. hills, and the valleys, and the ocean. It is said that his intention was not to remain in Greece,that he de- for, and probably he married her termined to return after his attack from mercenary motives. of epilepsy. Probably it was only I shall not attempt any summing his removal into some better climate up of the desultory observations that was intended. Certainly a more which I have thrown together, in miserable and unhealthy bog than the hope of superseding the cant and Missolonghi is not to be found out trash that has and will be said and of the fens of Holland, or the Isle of sung about the character of this Ely. He either felt or affected to great man. All that it is necessary feel a presentiment that he should to add by way of conclusion, may be die in Greece, and when his return condensed into a very few words. was spoken of, considered it as out Lord Byron was a Lord of very of the question, predicting that the powerful intellect and strong pasTurks, the Greeks, or the Malaria, sions; these are almost sufficient data would effectually put an end to any for a moral geometer to construct the designs he might have of returning. whole figure; at least, add the followAt the moment of his seizure with ing sentence, and sufficient is given: the epileptic fits prior to his last whether by early romantic experiillness, he was jesting with Parry, ence, or by a natural extreme sensian engineer sent out by the Greek tiveness to external impressions, it committee, who, by dint of being was of all his intellectual faculties his butt, had got great power over the imagination which was chiefly him, and indeed, became every developed. Putting them together, we thing to him. Besides this man

may conclude, as was the fact, that there was Fletcher, who had lived he was irritable, capricious, at times with him twenty years, and who even childish, wilful, dissipated, inwas originally a shoemaker, whom fidel, sensual; with little of that his Lordship had picked up in the knowledge which is got at school, village where he lived, at Newstead, and much of that acquired afterand who, after attending him in wards: he was capable of enthusome of his rural adventures, became siasm; and though intensely selfish, attached to his service: he had also that is, enjoying his own a faithful Italian servant, Battista; tions, he was able to make great saa Greek secretary; and Count Gamba crifices, or, in other words, he had a seems to have acted the part of his taste for the higher kinds of selfishItalian secretary. Lord Byron spoke ness, i. e. the most useful and valuaFrench very imperfectly, and Italian ble kinds; he was generous, fearless, not correctly, and it was with the open, veracious, and a cordiał lover of greatest difficulty he could be pre- society and of conviviality; he was vailed upon to make attempts in a ardent in his friendships, but inconforeign language. He would get stant; and, however generally fond any body about him to interpret for of his friends, more apt to be heartily him, though he might know the lan- weary of them than people usually guage better than his interpreter.

When dying, he did not know his No more epithets need be heaped situation till a very short time before together; all that men have in genehe fell into the profound lethargy from ral, he had in more than ordinary which he never awoke; and after he force; some of the qualities which knew his danger, he could never men rarely have he possessed to a speak intelligibly, but muttered his splendid degree of perfection. indistinct directions in three lan- Such is the PERSONAL character of guages. He seems to have spoken Lord Byron, as I have been able to of his wife and his daughter-chiefly draw it from having had access to of the latter; to this child he was peculiar sources of information, and very strongly attached, with indeed from being placed in a situation best an intense parental feeling; his wife I calculated, as I think, to form an imdo not believe he ever cared much partial opinion.

R. N.





Desd. Am I that name, Iago ?
Iago. What name, my gracious lady ?

Desd. Such as, she said, my lord did say I was...Othello.
CERTAINLY, even though a man

The first mentioned is in very geshould not be incapable of doing an neral use in our day, as indeed are ill action, we ought not to think they all. Every body remembers the the worse of him for being ashamed immortal instance of the preacher to talk about it. There is no ordi- who damned his congregation so ponary vice of which human nature is litely that he would only insinuate capable, which under certain circum- the nature of the retribution they stances may not assume an appear- had to expect-but I recollect witance of irreprehensibility, nay, of ami- nessing one scarcely less ingenious at ability--and this proposition may even the front of a provincial court-house. extend to hypocrisy, when it is not the A rather unusual case had been tried hypocrisy of self interest. For this in the forenoon--it was an action reason, I am much inclined to ques- brought against a quaker for defamation the sanity of the reasoning which tion, which defamation consisted in would cite the delicate cuphuism of the too unguarded use of the word the livers of the nineteenth century rogue,” as applied to the plaintiff, as an inferential argument of their and heavy damages had been obtainmoral degeneracy from the plained. As both parties were leaving speakers of the eighteenth or any court, the quaker, who, though a preceding one. Perhaps the only very belligerent fellow, was rendered objection worth refuting which has a little more cautious by the experiever been urged against the use of ence he had just acquired, shook his the Inuendo, is, that it seems to show head at the victor, and exclaimed a want of honesty, and throws an ob- “Ah, thee art-thee art stacle in our way to the goal of truth, and made a pause. “What am I, or at least causes a delay in our now?” cried the other, chucklingefforts to arrive there. No such

am I a rogue, now, eh?”_" Thee thing; it is on the contrary, in hast said it, friend,” rejoined the many instances, a surer and even quaker. a readier mode of achieving truth, Passing the other day through than the direct speech of him whó Holborn, my attention was directed despises it. A man may examine the by a companion to one of those cousun's disk more clearly by reflection cerns (which, lest this should meet than by gazing immediately upon it, the eyes of persons of peculiar feelso it is that the Inuendo shadows ings, I shall not particularize), it was, down, mellows, and clarifies. however, a place which is by some

“ What is it” (the riddle is Tony considered of great convenience-ocLumpkin’s I think) “ that goes round casionally. But the nature of the the house, and round the house, and business there transacted was annever touches the house?” It is nounced to the public by the words Inuendo. 'Tis a beautiful engine in “ Miscellaneous Repository," which the hands of one who knows how to were neatly inscribed in yellow letuse it, comme il faut-and is of the ters over the door. What a philansame elegance and utility in argu- thropic—what a delicate soul must ment that idiom is in language. the man possess to whom such an

There are various uses for, and idea suggested itself !—“ John, take classes of, the Inuendo. Perhaps we

my repeater to the Miscellaneous Remight allow some of the principal to pository." If Claude Lorraine had run in this order.

turned pawn-broker, could he have The Inuendo courteous.

conveyed the intelligence more poetiphilanthropic.

cally? modest.

If a friend happens by some awksarcastic or malicious. ward train of circumstances to find



« PreviousContinue »