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LIFE OF LORD BYRON.
Commodore Anson, in the dangerous tricities, than any surprising profienterprise they encountered in thrice ciency. In regard to his studies and circumnavigating the globe. The son conduct there he speaks in the follow. of this gallant veteran by no means dis- ing terms :tinguished himself by the virtues of his 6. There are two things that strike ancestors. The only instance that his- me at this moment, which I did at Hartory has recorded, that in any degree row: I fought. Lord Calthorpe for writrenders his name conspicuous, reflects ing Dmd Atheist ! under my name; the deepest dishonour, though partially and prevented the school-room from redeemed by his future atonement being burnt during a rebellion, by the, seduction of the Marchioness of pointing out to the boys the names of Carmarthen, who, after being divorced their fathers and grandfathers on the from her injured husband, he married. walls. On her decease, he married Miss Gor “ I was not a slow, though an idle, don, a Scotch lady of noble family, of boy, and I believe no one could be more which marriage the subject of this me- attached to Harrow than I have always moir was the fruit, who succeeded to been, and with reason : a part of the the title and estates of his uncle, Wil- time passed there was the happiest of liám, the fifth Lord Byrou, in default my life; and my preceptor (the Rev. of issue, in the year 1798, when he Dr. Joseph Drury) was the best and was pot more than ten years of age. worthiest friend I ever had, whose
Until this event he had resided warning I have remembered but too principally on his mother's estate at late when I have erred." Raine, in the district of Gairwik, vear How closely do these unaffected obAberdeen. The wild and beautiful servations mark the character of the scenery of that neighbourhood contri- man who gives them as his own : the buted greatly in imbuing his mind with regretful looking on the time of his a taste for the picturesque, and that ro- childhood as the days of innocence and mantic tinge that was ever visible in his peace, when his heart was unknown to, after-life. It was the noble and loity and untainted by, the follies of the mountains of the western highlands world—the admiration of that excelwith their snow-clad summits, that, as lence which be duly appreciated, and he himself acknowledges,first awakened yet had not fortitude to point at the in his mind a sense of the sublime and contrition for past error, that shewed beautiful, which ever afterward so he swerved pot from the ways of virprominently distinguished bis charac tue from want of principle, or relish to ter.
admire their beauty, but steadiness to It was roving among these wild and pursue them. romantic gleos, habituating his youth He became a member of the univerful mind to the contemplation of the sity at an early age, we believe he was wonders of nature, and listening to the not more than sixteen; here he did not traditionary songs of the superstitious seem inspired with that love of excelhigblanders, that formed the natural lence that would have prompted him to enthusiasm of his mind, and tempered obtain academical honours. Yet still, it to the reception of every poetical though his collegiate career was not beauty.
brilliant, or outainted from those ble. Although he enjoyed the liberty of mishes young men in that situation are ranging, without control, the hills too apt to indulge in, yet it was far from and valleys of the surrounding coun- being contemptible. His great fault try, it appears it was allowed for the and leading principle, even at this strengthening of his bodily frame, early age, seemed to be a contempt of which was naturally weak and delicate. the world and its opinions; he thereHis early education seems to have fore attracted more notice by the sinclaimed from his maternal, and only gularities of bis disposition, among existing parent, the closest degree of which was the circumstance of his attention. He acknowledged she en- keeping a bear in the vicinity of his deavoured to inculcate the strongest room, than the excellence of his attainveneration for religion into his youth- ments. ful mind, the loss of which he ever la On his leaving the university about mented.
the year 1807, for Newstead Abbey, he On his taking possession of his title, published a volume of poems, entitled, he was removed to Harrow, for the “ Hours of Idleness," which, although purpose of education. Here he distin- not abounding with any extraordinary guished himself more by various eccen- merit, or strongly indicative of his füs
ture excellence, has excited more sen- found of critics; they made another sation in the world than any juvenile bit, which will stamp both the writer productions that have gone before or and the book for a depth of knowledge, after it. Its celebrity may be, in a and acuteness of discernment, no others great degree, attributed to the rough ever arrived at. treatment it experienced from the dif “ Beside our desire to counsel him ferent reviewers. The Edinburgh Re- that he do forth with abandon poetry, view, in particular, immortalized itself and turn his talents and opportunities by a most unmanly, illiberal, and pal- to better account!" pable want of judgment. The volume Had Lord Byron followed this excel was presented to the world as the first lent advice, how much the world would efforts of a young man, with the have been indebted to the Edinburgh greatest diffidence, and not the slightest Review. The world are really more appearance of conceitor arrogance. indebted to those critics than it would Every line within it displayed a gem willingly own. If it had not been of talent, which only required to be for this provocation, it is more than fostered to arrive at maturity. How probable, that the spirit of Byron would was he treated in return ? With that have slumbered for ever in the recesses smiling encouragement and genial of his own bosom, instead of delighting nourishing that should always guide and astonishing the world. They acted the timid steps of an adventurer's first on him as a powerful stimulus, and essay towards the temple of fame? called into life every dormant faculty No: the severest (and yet most ill- of his soul, and produced an effusion, founded) sarcasm, abuse, and ridicule, entitled, “ English Bards and Scotch were employed to deter him, but, for- Reviewers,” which displayed most briltunately for the world he was destined liant wit, poignant satire, and powers to delight, without effect.
so infinitely superior to any of his preThe worst passages in his unobtrud- vious attempts, as completely astoing volume were selected as the best, nished his revilers, and excited more prefaced by the following liberal and highly the expectations of the warmest encouraginy anathema, in allusion to of his friends. the poet's apology of youth, for the If it had not been for the persecucrudeness of many of his essays: tions of Sir Peter Thomas Lucy, this
“So far from hearing with any de- country would, most likely, never have gree of surprise that these very poor been possessed of one of its brightest verses were written by a youth from ornaments-Shakspeare. And to the his leaving school to his leaving college, petty circumstance of the ignorance inclusive; we really believe this to be and stupidity of a per; dical scribbler, the most common of all occurrences, we are, in all probability, indebted for that it happens in the life of nine men the efforts of Byron's gigantic mind. in ten who are educated in England, Respecting these poems, we quote and that the tenth man writes better his own words, as reported by his bioverses than Lord Byron.” Matchless grapher :criticism! what strength of judgment, and what foresight it displays!
HIS EARLY POEMS. It may be a question of surprise, « When I first saw the review of why did these high and mighty Go- 'Hours of Idleness,' I was furious liaths of Edinburgh take notice of the in such a rage as I have never been in weak and youthful David ? Why did since. I dined that day with Scroope they stoop to crush an insect, inflict a Davies, and drank three bottles of clablow upon that it could annihilate with ret to drown it, but it only boiled the a look? Oh! it was only in considera- more. The critique was a master-piece tion of the author's rank they ridiculed of low wit-a tissue of scurrilous abuse. him, and abused his work. What force I remember there was a great deal of of reasoning! what a perfect keeping vulgar trash in it, that was meant for with those independent principles humour, about people being thankthe Edinburgh Review claims as its ful for what they could get, lookleading object, which never give pre- ing a gift horse in the mouth,' and other ference to any one in the republic of such stable expressions. The severity letters, however high may be the ob. of the Quarterly killed poor Keats, and ject, and exalted its station.
neglect Kirk White. But I was made Not contented with this tirade, but of different stuff-of tougher materials. ambitious of being handed down, we So far from bullying me, or deterring suppose, to posterity, as the most pro. me from writing, I was bent upon fal
I am often with him from the time he gets thousand a-year for a yacht t; dining for up, till two or three o'clock in the morning, a few pauls when alone---spending 1. unand, after sitting up so late, he must re- dreds when he has friends. quire rest; but he produces proofs, next “Nil fuit unquam sic impar sibi.” morning, that he has not been idle. We now come to the most painful part Sometimes, when I call, I find him at his of our office ---to speak of his death, desk ; but he either talks as he writes, or which happened on the 19th of April last. lays down his pen to play at billiards, till It appears from the best authority we it is time to take his airing. He seems to can obtain, that on the 9th of the month, be able to resume the thread of his subject Lord Byron, who had been living very at all times, and to weave it of an equal low, had exposed himself in a violent rain, texture. Such talent is that of an impro- the consequence of which was a severe visatore. The faimess, too, of his manu- cold, and he was immediately confined to scripts (I do not speak of the hand-wri. his bed. The low state to which he had ting) astonisbes no less than the perfection been reduced by his abstinence, and, of every thing he writes. He hardly ever probably, by some of the remaining effects alters a word for whole pages*, and he of his previous illness, made him unwilling, never corrects a line in subsequent edi- at any rate he refused, to submit to be tions. I do not believe that he has ever bled. read his works since he examined the It is to be lamented that no one was proof-sheets, and yet he remembers every near his Lordship who bad sufficient influword of them, and every thing else worth ence over his mind, or who was himself remembering that he has ever known.” sufficiently aware of the necessity of the
“I never met with any man who shines case. so much in conversation. He shines the The noble invalid, being at that time more, perhaps, for not seeking to shine. suffering under a mental delusion, caused His ideas flow without effort, without his by the height of the fever, which being baving occasion to think. As in his let- unchecked, terminated fatally, as our reaters, he is not nice about expressions of ders are well aware of. words; there are no concealments in bim, We have obtained the following inteno injunctions to secrecy; he tells every resting particulars respecting the situation thing that he has thought or done without of his affairs with Greece, from Col. Stanthe least reserve, and as if he wished the hope's letters on Greece. whole world to know it ; and does not Capt. York, of the Alacrity, a tenthrow the slightest gloss over his errors. gun-brig, came on shore a few days ago, Brief himself, he is impatient of diffuse- to demand an equivalent for an Ionian ness in others, hates long stories, and sel- boat that had been taken in the act of dom repeats his own. If he has heard a going out of the gulf of Lepanto, with prostory you are telling, he will say, “you visions, arms, &c. The Greek fleet, at told me that,' and, with good humour, that time, blockaded the harbour with five sometimes finish it for you himself.” brigs, and the Turks had fourteen vessels
" He bates arguments, and never argues of war in the Gulf. The Captain mainfor victory. He gives every one an op- tained, that the British Government reportunity of sharing in the conversation, cognised no blockade that was not effiand has the art of turning it to subjects cient, and that that efficiency depended that may bring out the person with whom on the numerical superiority of cannon. be converses. He never shews the author, On this principle, without going at all into prides himself most on being a man of the the merits of the case, he demanded restiworld and of fashion, and his anecdotes of tution of the property. Prince Mavrocorlife and living characters are inexhaustible. dato remonstrated, and offered to submit In spirits, as in every thing else, he is in the case to the decision of the British Goextremes.
veroment; but the Captain peremptorily " Miserly in trifles about to lavish his demanded restitution of the property in whole fortune on the Greeks ; to day-di- four hours. He received 200 dollars as minishing his stud---to-morrow taking a an equivalent. Lord Byron conducted the large family under his roof, or giving a business in behalf of the Captain. In the
evening he conversed with me on the subUnfortunately for Mr. Medwin's re- ject. I said the affair was conducted in a marks, as to the correctness of Lord By- bullying manner, and not according to the ron's manuscript, the only fac-siniile he gives of it is a letter from his Lordship to
t . He sold it for 3001. and refused to Mr. Hobhouse, which, though only about give the sailors their jackets ; and offered a dozen lines contains two long interline- once to bet Hay that he would live on 601. ations.
principles of oquity and the law of nations. inst. with a severe fit. His Lordwhip was His Lordship started into a passion. He sitting in my room, anıl jesting with Parry, contended, that law, justice, and equity, but his eyes and his brow occasionally had nothing to do with politics.
That discovered that he was agitated by strong may be ; but I will never lend myself to feelings. On a sudden he complained of injustice. His Lordship then began, ac- a weakness in one of his legs. He rose, cording to custom, to attack Mr. Bentham. but finding himself unable to walk, called I said, that it was highly illiberal to make for assistance. He then fell into a viopersonal attacks on Mr. Bentham before lent nervous convulsion, and was placed a friend who held him in high estimation. upon my bed. During this period his He said, that he only attacked his public face was much distorted. In a few miprinciples, which were mere theories, but nutes he began to recover his senses ; his dangerous ;---injurious to Spain, and calcu- speech returned, and he was soon well, lated to do great mischief in Greece. I though exhausted with the struggle. His did not object to his Lordship’s attacking Piedmontese surgeon and Dr. Millinger, Mr. B.'s principles ; what I objected to both assured me that the fit, though of a were his personalities. His Lordship ne- dangerous character while it lasted, was ver reasoned on Mr. B.'s writings, but not so in its consequences. During the fit merely made sport of them. I would, his Lordship was as strong as a giant, and therefore, ask him what it was that he ob- after it behaved with his usual firmness. jected to. Lord Byron mentioned his Pa- I conceive that this fit was occasioned by nopticon as visionary. I said that expe- over-excitement. The mind of Byron is rience in Pennsylvania, at Milbank, &c. like a tolcano ; it is full of fire, wealth, had proved it otherwise. I said that Ben- and combustibles ; and when this matter tham had a truly British heart; but that comes to be strongly agitated, the exploLord Byron after professing liberal princi- sion is dreadful. With respect to the ples from his boyhood, had, when called causes that produced this excess of feeling, upon to act, proved himself a Turk. Lord they are beyond my reach, except one Byron asked, what proofs have you of this ? great cause, which was the provoking conYour conduct in endeavouring to crush duct of the Suliots. Lord Byron had the press, by declaiming against it to Mar- acted towards them with a degree of gerocordato, and your general abuse of libe- nerosity that could not be exceeded ; and ral principles. Lord Byron said, that if then, when his plans were all formed for he had held up his finger he could have the attack of Lepanto, and his hopes were crushed the press.--- I replied, With all this raised on the delivery of Western Greece power, which, by the way, you never pos- from the inroads of the Turks, these unsessed, you went to the Prince and poi- grateful soldiers demanded, and extorted, soned bis car.---Lord Byron declaimed and refused to march till all was settled to against the liberals whom he knew.---But gratify their avarice. This was enough what liberals ? I asked ; did he borrow to agitate every heart warm in the cause his notions of freedom from the Italians ? of Greece." ---Lord Byron. No; nor from the Hunts, He died in a manner the best and most Cartwrights, &c.---And still, said I, you virtuous of us would desire, with the knowpresented Cartwright's Reform Bill, and ledge that his life was valuable in the aided Hunt by praising his poetry and most noble of human causes, and that his giving him the sale of your works. Lord death would be universally deplored by a B. exclaimed, You are worse than Wilson, world, of whom he was the principal orand should quit the army.---I replied, I nament. am a mere soldier, but never will I aban The last words of the unfortunate Nodon my principles. Our principles are di- bleman corresponded closely with his chaametrically opposite, so let us avoid the racter, and we cannot do better in closing subject. If Lord Byron acts up to his this memoir, than in giving them as our professions, he will be the greatest---if own: "I wish it to be known, that my last not, the meanest of mankind.---He said he thoughts were given to my wife, my hoped his character did not depend on my child *, and
sister." assertions. No, said I, your genius has, May 17th, 1894. immortalized you. The worst could not deprive you of fame.---Lord Byron ; Well; • The only fruit of his marriage was you shall see ; judge me by my acts. a daughter, who must be now in her pinth When he wished me good-night, I took year, of whom he speaks in the followup the light to conduct him to the passage, ing affectionate words. but he said, What! hold up a light to a ** What do you think of Ada ? said Turk?
he, looking earnestly at his daughter's mi“ Lord Byron was seized on the 15th niature, that hung by the side of his writ
LIFE OF LORD BYRON.
Drury-lane Theatre, I have no doubt that the sake of doing justice to the memory of several actresses called on me; but as to the dead. Mrs. Mardyn, who was a beautiful woman, The wish to be reconciled with Lady and might have been a dangerous visitress, I Byron, seems, by the following passage, was scarcely acquainted(to speak)with her. dearest to his heart. I might even make a more serious charge “ I have just heard (said he) of Lady against than employing spies to watch Noel's death. I am distressed for poor Lady suspected amours. * I had been Byron! She must be in great affliction, shut in a dark street in London, writ- for she adored her mother! The world ing (I think he said) The Siege of Co- will think I am pleased at this event, but rinth, and had refused myself to every one they are much mistaken. I never wished till it was finished. I was surprised one for accession of fortune; I have enough day by a doctor and a lawyer, almost forc- without the Wentworth property. I have ing themselves at the same time into written a letter of condolence to Lady Bymy room.
I did not know till after- ron,- you may suppose in the kindest ward the real object of their visit. terms, beginning, My dear Lady Byron.' I thought their questions singular, frivo If we are not reconciled, it is not my lous, and somewhat importunate, if not im- fault!”—“I shall be delighted (I said) to pertinent; but what should I have thought, see you restored to her and to your counif I had known that they were sent to try; which, notwithstanding all you say provide proofs of my insanity? •
and write against it, I am sure you like. I have no doubt that my answers to these Do you remember a sentiment iri' the Two emissaries' interrogations were not very ra- Foscari?tional or consistent, for my imagination
“ He who loves not his country, can was heated by other things. But Dr. Bailey could not conscientiously make me
love nothing." out a certificate for Bedlam; and perhaps "I am becoming more weaned from it every the lawyer gave a more favourable report day," said he, after a pause, “and have had to his employer."
enough to wean me from it ! No! Lady We must confess, that a degree of pain Byron will not make it up with me now, pervades us at our arrival at this stage of lest the world should say that her mother hiography. As he himself admits he was only was to blame! Lady Noel certainly originally to blame, there appears some identifies herself very strongly in the quarfoundation for the many vague and extra- rel, even by the account of her last injuncordinary reports that have been circulated tions; for she directs in her will that my as the reason of the separation that shortly portrait, shut up in a case by her orders, afterward took place between him and his shall not be opened till her grand-daughter lady. It afforded his enemies the com- be of age, and then not given to her if pletest triumph---every one was ready to Lady Byron should be alive. blame, and few to pity. Every report "'I might have claimed all the fortune seemed to gain credit, by its promulgation, for my life if I had chosen to have done One, most insidiously spread abroad, was so ; but have agreed to leave the division the alleged circumstance of bis bringing to of it to Lord Dacre and Sir Francis Burhis house, and seating at the same table dett. The whole management of the affair with bis lady, an actress, whom rumour is confided to them; and I shall not interhad made out as his mistress. Thus the fere or make any suggestion or objection, promulgators of falsehood, knowing well if they award Lady Byron the whole.” it was not in their power to inflict a wound After his separation from Lady Byron, on the high and mighty spirit that they he left England for Waterloo, from whence endeavoured to crush, fearlessly, yet cow- he went to Brussels, and after that time ardly wounded an innocent object in her he was joined by his friends, Messrs. most vital part-her reputation. This Shelley and Hunt. His attachment to the lady, for ber own honour, and that of his former of these distinguished individuals, Lordship, immediately denied the foul is faithfully displayed by the strange feelcharge, and challenged her accusers to ing he displayed, in performing the last bring forward the slightest evidence to sup- sad offices of friendship, as is related by port it. Their silence was her and his Captain Medwin. Lordship's best vindication. That some ** 18th August, 1822.-On the occasion indiscretion did take place, we must in of Shelley's melancholy fate I revisited justice own, but the many foul charges Pisa, and on the day of my arrival learnt that have been alleged against the unfore that Lord Byron was gone to the sea-shore, tunate individual we could at once over- to assist in performing the last offices to turn, did we not remember that the feel- his friend. We came to a spot marked by ings of the living must not be wounded for an old and withered trunk of a fir-tree;