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greater part, was composed (as “The Pri- which are above all power of expressoner of Chillon ') in the prison. The place sion. of Dante's fifteen years' exile, where he so One would have thought that he pathetically prayed for his country, and spoke in a kind of prophetic allusion deprecated the thought of being buried out to the fate of his own remains when of it; and the sight of his tomb, which I he uttered these sentiments : passed in my almost daily rides,-inspired me. Besides, there was somewhat of re- “ Of all the disgraces that attach to semblance in our destinies-he had a England in the eye of foreigners, who adwife, and I have the same feelings about mire Pope more than any of our poets, leaving my bones in a strange land.” (though it is the fashion to under-rate him It is curious to observe how willing that there should be no place assigned to
among ourselves,) the greatest perhaps is, the noble author was to receive coun- him in Poet's Corner. I have often thought tenance for his faults from our greater of erecting a monument to him at my own poets, yet how slow to afford them expence, in Westminster Abbey; and hope his in return. The Note-taker thus to do so yet. But he was a Catholic, and, relates a conversation which took what was worse, puzzled Tillotson and the place between him and his idol. Divines. That accounts for his not hay. I asked Lord Byron the meaning of a
ing any national monument. Milton, too, passage in The Prophecy of Dante.' He the mention of his name on the tomb of
had very nearly been without a stone ; and laughed, and said : " I suppose I had some meaning when fanation to a church. The French, I am
another was at one time considered a proI wrote it: I believe I understood it then."
. That,” said I, " is what the disciples told, lock up Voltaire's tomb. Will there of Swedenborg say. There are many peo.
never be an end to this bigotry? Will ple who do not understand passages in your necessarily a religious man 2-0 at least
men never learn that every great poet is writings, among our own countrymen : I
Coleridge says." wonder how foreigners contrive to translate
Yes," replied Shelley ; “ and he them.” " And yet,” said he, " they have been truly religious man is a poet ; meaning
might maintain the converse,--that every translated into all the civilized, and many by poetry the power of communicating inuncivilized tongues. Several of them have
terse and impassioned impressions respectappeared in Danish, Polish, and even Russian dresses. These last, being transla- ing man and Nature." tions of translations from the French, must Shelley himself (if not Lord Bybe very diluted. The greatest compliment ron) refutes Coleridge; and every ever paid me has been shown in Germany, pious Dr. Drowsy in the kingdom rewhere a translation of the Fourth Canto of futes Shelley. * Childe Harold' has been the subject of Lord Byron's opinion of his great a University prize. But as to obscurity, cotemporary and rival in public fais not Milton obscure? How do you ex. plain
vour, Sir Walter Scott, was honour-56 Smoothing
able to both. He says of him : 66• The raven down of darkness till it
“ He spoiled the fame of his poetry by smiled!'
his superior prose. He has such extent • Is it not a simile taken from the elec. and versatility of powers in writing, that, tricity of a cat's back ? I'll leave you to should his Novels ever tire the public, be my commentator, and hope you will which is not likely, he will apply himself make better work with me than Taafe is to something else, and succeed as well. doing with Dante, who perhaps could not “ His mottoes from old plays prove that himself explain half that volumes are writ- he, at all events, possesses the dramatic ten about, if his ghost were to rise again faculty, which is denied mc.
And yet I from the dead. I am sure I wonder he am told that his “ Halidon Hill' did not and Shakspeare have not been raised by justify expectation. I have never met with their commentators long ago!'
it, but have seen extracts from it." The distinction between Byronian Upon being asked if he thought the and Miltonian obscurity is this; that Novels owed any part of their reputhe former results, when not from in- tation to the concealment of the audolence, from an illogical mind; the thor's name, he made the following other, when not from pedantry, from reply, containing dcsultory remarks an extravagant imagination. Byron upon their author, and affording a often attempts to express ideas which good specimen of his conversational are above his power of expression;
and critical powers : Milton often attempts to cxpress ideas “ No," said he ; " such works do not
gain or lose by it. I am at a loss to know oldest poem. I had an idea of writing his reason for keeping up the incognito, a Job,' but I found it too sublime. -but that the reigning family could not There is no poetry to be compared have been very well pleased with Wa. with it.” The Book of Job can borverley.'. There is a degree of charlatanism in some authors keeping up the Unknown.
row no glory from Lord Byron's comJunius owed much of his faine to that mendation of it, but the commendatrick ; and now that it is known to be the tion bestows glory upon him. work of Sir Philip Francis, who reads it ?
He also appears to have estimated A political writer, and one who descends his own character not inaccurately or to personalities such as disgrace Junius, unfairly : should be immaculate as a public, as well
“ I take little interest,” replied he, “ in as a private, character; and Sir Philip the politics at home. I am not made for Francis was neither. He had his price, what you call a politician, and should and was gagged by being sent to India. He there seduced another man's wife. It have taken no part in the petty intrigues
never have adhered to any party. I should would have been a new case for a Judge of cabinets, or the pettier factions and conto sit in judgment on himself, in a Crim. Con. It seems that his conjugal felicity Among our statesmen, Castlereagh is al
tests for power among parliamentary men. was not great, for, when his wife died, he
most the only one whom I have attacked; came into the room where they were sitting the only public character whom I thoup with the corpse, and said Solder her roughly detest, and against whom
will up, solder her up!' He saw his daughter never cease to level the shafts of my polia crying, and scolded her, saying, An
tical hate. old hag--she ought to have died thirty
" I only addressed the House twice, years ago!' He married shortly after a
and made little impression. They told me young woman.
He hated Hastings to a violent degree ; all he hoped and prayed fied enough for the Lords, but was more
that my manner of speaking was not dignifor was to outlive him.—But many of the calculated for the Commons. I believe it newspapers of the day are written as well
was a Don Juan kind of speech. The as Junius. Matthias's book, " The Pursuits of Literature,' now almost a dead- and (I think he said) some Manchester
two occasions were, the Catholic question, letter, had once a great fame.
affair. “ When Walter Scott began to write
“ Perhaps, if I had never travelled, poetry, which was not at a very early age,
never left my own country young, my Monk Lewis corrected his verse: he under- views would have been more limited. stood little then of the mechanical part of They extend to the good of mankind in the art. The Fire King in • The Min- general-of the world at large. Perhaps strelsy of the Scottish Border,' was al- the prostrate situation of Portugal and most all Lewis's. One of the ballads in Spain—the tyranny of the Turks in Greece that work, and, except some of Leyden's, the oppression of the Austrian Govern perhaps one of the best, was made from a
ment at Venice--the mental debasement of story picked up in a stage-coach ;-I mean
the Papal States, (not to mention Ireland,) that of " Will Jones.'
-tended to inspire me with a love of li• They boil'd Will Jones within the pot, berty. No Italian could have rejoiced And not much fat had Will.'
more than I, to have seen a Constitution " I hope Walter Scott did not write the established on this side the Alps. I felt review on Christabel ;' for he certainly, for Romagna as if she had been my own in common with many of us, is indebted to country, and would have risked my life Coleridge. But for him, perlaps, The and fortune for her, as I may yet for the Lay of the Last Minstrel' would never
Greeks. I am become a citizen of the world. have been thought of. The line
There is no man I envy so much as Lord Jesu Maria shield thee well!'
Cochrane. His entrance into Lima, which
I see announced in to-day's paper, is one is word for word from Christabel." “ Of all the writers of the day, Walter dato, too, (whom you know so well,) is.
of the great events of the day. Mavrocor.. Scott is the least jealous: he is too confi- also worthy of the best times of Greece dent of his own fame to dread the rivalry Patriotism and virtue are not quite exof others. He does not think of good tinct." writing, as the Tuscans do of fever,--that there is only a certain quantity of it in the In aid of our attempt to illustrate world."
the genius and character of Lord In speaking of Goëthe's Faust and Byron from his Conversations, we the pretensions of the author to ori- shall subjoin a passage concerning ginality, he observes that “ the pro- him out of another work lately publogue is from Job, which is the first lished, together with a few of his drama in the world, and perhaps the letters. The passage is to be found
in Captain Stanhope's “ Greece," Lord Byron. Well; you shall see : p. 96, and is highly characteristic of judge me by my acts. When he wished the impetuous, overbearing, variable, me good night, I took up the light to conyet noble disposition of Byron.
duct him to the passage, but he said, Lord Byron conducted the business in
What! hold up a light to a Turk ! behalf of the Captain. In the evening he The letters also display much naconversed with me on the subject. I said tive vigour of mind and magnanimity the affair was conducted in a bullying of temper, which a whole life of dismanner, and not according to the princi- sipation could not permanently unples of equity and the law of nations. His
nerve or break down : Lordship started into a passion. He contended, that law, justice, and equity, had
Genoa, May 29, 1823. nothing to do with politics. That may be ; Sir, but I will never lend myself to injustice.
At present, that I know to His Lordship then began, according to whom I am indebted for a very flattering custom, to attack Mr. Bentham. I said, mention in the “ Rome, Naples, and Flothat it was highly illiberal to make perso- rence in 1817, by Mons. Stendhal,” it is nal attacks on Mr. Bentham before a fit that I should return my thanks (however friend who held him in high estimation. undesired or undesirable) to Mons. Beyle, He said, that he only attacked his public with whom I had the honour of being acprinciples, which were mere theories, but quainted at Milan in 1816. You only did dangerous ;-injurious to Spain, and cal- me too much honour in what you were culated to do great mischief in Greece. I pleased to say in that work ; but it has did not object to his Lordship's attacking hardly given me less pleasure than the Mr. B.'s principles; what I objected to praise itself, to become at length aware were his personalities. His Lordship never (which I have done by mere accident) that reasoned on any of Mr. B.'s writings, but I am indebted for it to one of whose good merely made sport of them. I would, opinion I was really ambitious. therefore, ask him what it was that he obé changes have taken place since that period jected to Lord Byron mentioned his in the Milan circle, that I hardly dare rePanopticon as visionary. I said that ex- cur to it ;-some dead, some banished, and perience in Pennsylvania, at Millbank, &c. some in the Austrian dungeons.- Poor had proved it otherwise. I said that Ben. Pellico ! I trust that, in his iron solitude, that had a truly British heart ; but that his Muse is consoling him in part—one Lord Byron, after professing liberal prin. day to delight us again, when both she and ciples from his boyhood, had, when called her Poet are restored to freedom. upon to act, proved himself a Turk. Of your works I have only seen Lord Byron asked, what proofs have you
&c., the Lives of Haydn and of this ?-Your conduct in endeavouring Mozart, and the brochure on Racine and to crush the press, by declaiming against Shakspeare. The“ Histoire de la Peinture" it to Mavrocordato, and your general abuse I have not yet the good fortune to possess. of liberal principles.- Lord Byron said, There is one part of your observations in that if he had held up his finger he could the pamphlet which I shall venture to rehave crushed the press.- I replied, with mark upon ;-it regards Walter Scott. all this power, which, by the way, you You say that “ his character is little wornever possessed, you went to the Prince thy of enthusiasm," at the same time that and poisoned his ear.—Lord Byron de- you mention his productions in the manner claimed against the liberals whom he they deserve. I have known Walter knew. But what liberals ? I asked ; did Scott long and well, and in occasional sihe borrow his notions of free-men from the tuations which call forth the real character Italians ?-Lord Byron. No; from the - and I can assure you that his character Hunts, Cartwrights, &c.-And still, said is worthy of admiration—that of all men I, you presented Cartwright's Reform he is the most open, the most honourable, Bill, and aided Hunt by praising his the most amiable. With his politics I poetry and giving him the sale of your have nothing to do: they differ from mine, works.-Lord Byron exclaimed, you are which renders it difficult for me to speak worse than Wilson, and should quit the of them. But he is perfectly sincere in army.--I replied, I am a mere soldier, them; and Sincerity may be humble, but but never will I abandon my principles. she cannot be servile. I pray you, thereOur principles are diametrically opposite, fore, to correct or soften that passage. You so let us avoid the subject. If Lord Byron may, perhaps, attribute this officiousness of acts up to his professions, he will be the mine to a false affectation of candour, as I greatest ;-if not, the meanest of mankind. happen to be a writer also. Attribute it -He said he hoped his character did not to what motive you please, but believe the depend on my assertions. No, said I, truth. I say that Walter Scott is as nearly your genius has immortalized you. The a thorough good man as can be, because I worst could not deprive you of fame.- know it by experience to be the case.
If you do me the honour of an answer, From Lord Byron to Colonel Stanhope. may I request a speedy one ? --because it
Serofer, or some such name, on board a is possible (though not yet decided) that circumstances may conduct me once more
Cephaloniote Mistice, Dec. 31st, 1823. to Greece. My present address is Genoa, My dear Stanhope, where an answer will reach me in a short We are just arrived here, that is, part of time, or be forwarded to me wherever I my people and I, with some things, &c.
and which it may be as well not to specify I beg you to believe me, with a lively in a letter, (which has a risk of being in. recollection of our brief acquaintance, and tercepted, perhaps,) but Gamba and my the hope of one day renewing it,
horses, negro, steward, and the press, and Your ever obliged
all the Committee things, also some eight And obedient humble servant, thousand dollars of mine, (but never mind, (Signed)
NOEL BYRON. we have more left :-do you understand ?)
are taken by the Turkish frigates, and my
party and myself, in another boat, have had Translation,
a narrow escape last night, (being close
under her stern, and hailed, but we would Cephalonia, 22 December, 1823. not answer and bore away,) as well as this Prince,
morning. Here we are, with sun and The present will be put into your hands clearing weather, within a pretty little port by Colonel Stanhope, son of Major-Gene- enough ; but whether our Turkish friends ral the Earl of Harrington, &c. &c. He may not send in their boats and take us has arrived from London for fifty days, out, (for we have no arms, except two carafter having visited all the Committees of bines and some pistols, and. I suspect, not Germany. He is charged by our Com- more than four fighting people on board,) mittee to act in concert with me for the li- is another question, especially if we remain beration of Greece. I conceive that his long here, since we are blocked out of name and his mission will be a sufficient Missolonghi by the direct entrance.
You recommendation, without the necessity of had better send my friend George Drake, any other from a foreigner, although one, and a body of Suliots, to escort us by land who, in common with all Europe, respects or by the canals, with all convenient speed. and admires the courage, the talents, and, Gamba and our Bombard are taken into above all, the probity of Prince Mavrocor- Patras, I suppose, and we must take a dato,
turn at the Turks to get them out: but I am very uneasy at hearing that the where the devil is the fleet gone? the Greek dissensions of Greece still continue, and at I mean, leaving us to get in without the a moment when she might triumph over least intimation to take heed that the Mosevery thing in general, as she has already lems were out again. Make my respects triumphed in part. Greece is, at present, to Mavrocordato, and say, that I am here placed between three measures ; either to at his disposal. I am uneasy at being re-conquer her liberty, or to become a here; not so much on our account as on dependence of the sovereigns of Europe, or that of a Greek boy with me, for you know to return to a Turkish province : she has what his fate would be; and I would sooner the choice only of these three alternatives. cut him in pieces and myself too, than have Civil war is but a road which leads to the him taken out by those barbarians. We two latter. If she is desirous of the fate of are all very well. Yours, &c. Wallachia and the Crimea, she may obtain
N. B. it to-morrow; if that of Italy, the day
P.S. The Bombard was twelve miles after ; but if she wishes to become truly Greece, free and independent, she must
out when taken, at least so it appeared to resolve to-day, or she will never again have us, (if taken she actually be, for it is not
certain,) and we had to escape from an. the opportunity. I am, with due respect,
other vessel that stood right in between us
and the port. Your highness's obedient servant,
As might be expected, the ConverP. S. Your highness will already have sations of Lord Byron, however liknown, that I have sought to fulfil the mited in their present scope, give the wishes of the Greek government, as much lie to many slanderous reports which as it lay in my power to do ; but I should have long been afloat in society; and wish that the fleet, so long and so vainly expected, were arrived, or at least, that it
no reason why Lord Byron's were on the way, and especially that your word should not be held as good as highness should approach these parts either that of his enemies. Until we find on board the fleet, with a public mission, or more cause to doubt his veracity than in some other manner.
theirs, we shall, therefore, from
henceforward persist in disbelieving passages which had already appearevery thing that he has peremptorily ed; which is no more valid than if disavowed: that he introduced Mrs. Clarence were to say that he was Mardyn to his wife's dinner-table, as guiltless of stabbing Prince Edward that he patronised the Manichæan because Gloucester had stabbed him heresy ; that he told Lady Byron he before. It amounts exactly to this, married her for spite, as that he wrote that he knew he was doing wrong, the “ Verses to Thyrza" on his bear. and nevertheless did it. After such
Combining our previous knowledge an unreserved exposure of private of Lord Byron with the information conversation, what security has any afforded by this volume of his Con- man that he, his family, or his friends versations, we have little difficulty in may not be dragged in the same coming to what we believe is a fair manner before the eye of a censorious estimate of his character. As to public, and the secrets of his fireside mind, our opinion is,—that he was proclaimed in every quarter of the either the last of the first class, or kingdom? Or must he annex a perthe first of the second class of poets. mission or injunction to the end of As to morals, that he would have every sentence he utters, such as,been a very bad man but for some “ that may be repeated,” “that may great redeeming virtues, a very good not?” Every great man henceforman but for some predominant vices. ward will suspect his friend for a That his genius was glorious to his Note-taker; confidence will be decountry is beyond doubt; that it stroyed, the freedom of social conwas injurious is equally certain. He verse will be annihilated. We can who balances the profit accruing from conceive a man's idolatry for his its influence on our literature against Magnus Apollo leading him to “take the loss proceeding from its effect on notes of the God's table-talk and our morals, will find it hard to deter- parlour chit-chat, however insipid it mine whether Byron should have may be, though it is a species of lived another age, or not have lived at piety for which we have no very exall.
alted respect; but we cannot conIt remains to speak of the man-ceive how any one could publish such ner in which the Conversations of a compilation, without first suppressLord Byron have been got up for ing every thing of a scandalous or dispublication. No terms of repre- graceful nature. If such injudicious hension are strong enough to ex
and indecent disclosures are not propress our sense of the impropriety, hibited by a general condemnation of the indelicacy, and the injudicious- the practice, that great bond of soness, of the work in its present form. ciety,-mutual confidence, will be The very Publisher apologizes for it. rent asunder, and suspiciousness beHe attempts an excuse by saying come, instead of a mean vice, a nethat he only reprints objectionable cessary virtue.
My friends! when I am dead and gone,