Page images
PDF
EPUB

sunny skies",

and near it, on the beach, stood a solitary mid ;--- a spot so beautiful,' said Lord hut, covered with reeds. The situation Byron, that it might almost make one in was well calculated for a poet's grave. love with death.'” A few weeks before I had ridden with him During his residence at Venice, he sufand Lord Byron to this very spot, which fered so few of his countrymen to come I afterward visited more than once. In near him, that our intelligence during this front it was a magnificent extent of the blue period is very barren. It was during his and windless Mediterranean, with the residence beneath those“ isles of Elba and Gorgona.---Lord Byron's that he presented the world with what yacht at anchor in the offing : on the other must ever be associated with his nameside an almost boundless extent of sandy Don Juan. Of this poem, we are really wilderness, uncultivated and uninhabited, unacquainted with any thing that ever gave here and there interspersed in tufts with us so much pleasure and pain. The first underwood curved by the sea-breeze, and five cantos abound with passages of such stunted by the barren and dry nature of delicacy of sentiment, beauty of poetry, the soil in which it grew. At equal dis- and knowledge of the human heart, as tances along the coast stood high square cannot fail to cause it the greatest delight; towers, for the double purpose of guard- while on the other hand, it must be pering the coast from smuggling, and en- mitted that they contain sentiments wholly forcing the quarantine laws. This view repugnant to the Christian Creed, and the was bounded by an immense extent of the unpolluted heart. With this view we canItalian Alps, which are here particularly not but lament, that one so far above the picturesque from their volcanic and mani. level of his fellow-creatures, should subject fold appearances, and which being com- himself to be reviled and abused by the posed of white marble, gave their summits lowest. In regard to the succeeding canthe resemblance of snow.--- As a fore- tos, although deficient of that poetical ground to this picture appeared as extra- beauty which distinguishes the former, if ordinary a group. Lord Byron and Tre- we do not find much room for praise, there lawney were seen standing over the burn- is certainly less for censure. ing pile, with some of the soldiers of the We have hitherto neglected to speak of guard ; and Leigh Hunt, whose feelings his person : of that, Captain Medwin says, and nerves could not carry him through “ His face was fine, and the lower part the scene of horror, lying back in the car- symmetrically moulded, for the lips and riage ; the four post-horses ready to drop chin had that curved and definite outline with the intensity of the noon-day sın. that distinguishes Grecian beauty. His The stillness of all around was yet more forehead was high, and his temples broad; felt by the shrill scream of a solitary cur- and he had a paleness in his complexion, few, which, perhaps, attracted by the almost to wanness. His hair, thin and body, wheeled in such narrow circles round fine, had almost become gray, and waved the pile, that it might have been struck in natural and graceful curls over his head, with the hand, and was so fearless that that was assimilating itself fast to the it could not be driven away. Looking at bald first Cæsar's.' He allowed it to the corpse, Lord Byron said, 'Why, that grow longer behind than it is accustomed old silk handkerchief retains its form bet- to be worn, and, at that time, had mustater than that human body! Scarcely was chios, which were not sufficiently dark to the ceremony concluded, when Lord By- be becoming. In criticising his features, ron, agitated by the spectacle he bad wit- it might, perhaps, be said, that his eyes Dessed, tried to dissipate, in some degree, were placed too near his nose, and that the impression of it by his favourite recre- one was rather smaller than the other; ation. He took off his clothes, therefore, they were of a grayish brown, but of a and swam off to his yacht, which was rid- peculiar cleamess, and, when animated, ing a few miles distant.

possessed a fire which seemed to look " For fifteen days after the loss of the through and penetrate the thoughts of vessel, his (Mr. Shelley's) body was undis- others, while they marked the inspirations covered ; and when found, was not in a of his own. His teeth were small, regustate to be removed. In order to comply lar, and white ; these, I afterward found, with his wish of being buried at Rome, he took great pains to preserve.”. his corpse was directed to be burnt, and As a farther insight into the nice shades Lord Byron, faithful to his trust as an ex- of his character, we feel assured our reaecutor, and duty as a friend, superintended ders will not regret the space the following the ceremony which I have described.--- extract occupies. The remains of one who was destined to " It may be asked when Lord Byron have little repose or happiness here, dow writes? The same question was put to sleep with those of his friend Keats, in the Madame de Staël : " Vous ne comptez burial ground near Caius Cettus's Pyra- pas sur ma chaise-à-porteur," said she.

LIFE OF LORD BYRON.

153

women.

[ocr errors]

minded me of them in England, and won- There she died, a few days after her are dered I had not authenticated them in rival, of a fever---perhaps of love." the Preface :-When I was at Athens, We now come to the most important there was an edict in force similar to that period of his life, one which was the of Ali's, except that the mode of punish- means of shedding over his latter years ment was different. It was necessary, an impenetrable melancholy, which neither therefore, that all love-affairs should be the change of scene, the gaiety of courts, carried on with the greatest privacy. I or the bustle of camps, could ever subdue. was very fond at that time of a Turkish We mean his marriage with the daughter girl-ay, fond of her as I bave been of few of Sir Ralph Milbanke (since Noel),

All went on very well till the which occurred on the 2d of January 1815. Ramazan for forty days, which is rather & Of this marriage we have omitted many long fast for lovers : all intercourse between observations of his own, in order to give the sexes is forbidden by law, as well as our readers his sentiments, as related by by religion. During this Lent of the Muse Captain Medwin :--selmans, the women are not allowed to · The first time of my seeing Miss Milquit their apartments. I was in despair, banke was at Lady

It was a and could hardly contrive to get a cinder fatal day; and I remeniher that in going or a token flower sent to express it. We up stairs I stumbled, and remarked to had not met for several days, and all my Moore, who accompanied me, that it was thoughts were occupied in planning an ag a bad omen. I ought to have taken warnsigpation, when, as ill fate would

have it, ing. On entering the room I observed a the means I took to effect it led to the young lady, more simply dressed than the discovery of our secret. The penalty was rest, sitting alone upon a sofa. I took her death-death without reprieve -a horrible for an humble companion, and asked Moore death of which one cannot think without if I was right in my conjecture. She is shuddering! An order was issued for the great heiress,' said he, in a whisper, that law being put into immediate effect. In became lower as he proceeded, you had the mean time I knew nothing of what better marry her, and repair the old place had happened, and it was determined that at Newstead.' There was something I should be kept in ignorance of the whole piquant, and what we term pretty, in affair till it was too late to interfere. A Miss Milbanke; her features were small mere accident only enabled me to prevent and feminine, though not regular. She the completion of the sentence. I was had the fairest skin imaginable. Her taking one of my evening rides by the sea- figure was perfect for her height, and there side, when I observed a crowd of people was a simplicity and retired modesty about moving down to the shore, and the arms ber, which were characteristic, and formed of the soldiers glittering among them. & striking contrast to the cold artificial forThey were not so far off, but that I thought mality and studied stiffness of what is callI could now and then distinguish a faint ed fashion. She interested me exceedand stifled shriek.---My curiosity was for- ingly. It is unnecessary to detail the procibly excited, and I despatched one of my gress of our acquaintance; I became followers to inquire the cause of the pro- daily more attached to her, and it ended cession. What was my horror to learn in my making her a proposal that was rethat they were carrying an unfortunate jected. Her refusal was couched in terms girl, sown up in a sack, to be thrown into that could not offend me. I was besides the sea! I did not hesitate as to what persuaded, that in declining my offer, she was to be done. I knew I could depend was governed by the influence of her moon my faithful Albanians, and rode up to ther; and was the more confirmed in this the officer commanding the party, threat- opinion, by her reviving the corresponening, in case of his refusal to give up his dence herself twelve months after. The prisoner, that I would adopt means to tenor of the letter was, that although she compel him. He did not like the business could not love me, she desired my friendhe was on, or perhaps the determined ship. Friendship is a dangerous word for look of my body-guard, and consented to young ladies. It is love full fledged, and accompany me back to the city with the waiting for a fine day to fly. It had been girl, whom I soon discovered to be my predicted by Mrs. Williams, that 27 was Turkish favourite. Suffice it to say, that to be a dangerous age to me. The formy interference with the chief magistrate, tune-telling witch was right. It was desbacked by a heavy bribe, saved her ; but tined to prove so. I shall never forget it. it was only on condition that I should Lady Byron (Burne he pronounced it) break off all intercourse with her, and was the only unconcerned person present. that she should immediately quit Athens, Lady Noel, her mother, cried. I trembled and be sent to her friends in Thebes. like a leaf---made the wrong responses,

• Sir,

see

and after the ceremony called her Miss suppose on what terms we perted, from Milbanke. There is a singular history at- the style of a letter she wrote me on the tached to the ring. The very day the road. You will think it began ridiculousmatch was concluded, a ring of my mo. ly enough, • Dear Duck,' &c. Imagine ther's that had been lost, was dug up by my astonishment to receive, immediatethe gardener at Newstead. I thought it ly on her arrival, a few lines from her had been sent on purpose for the wedding; father of a very unlike and very un: but my mother's marriage had not been a affectionate nature, beginning, fortunate one, and this ring was doomed to and ending with saying, that his daughbe the seal of an unhappier union still. ter should never me again. In After the ordeal was over, we set off for my reply, I disclaimed his authority a country-seat of Sir Ralph's, and I was as a parent over my wife; and told him, surprised at the arrangements for the jour- I was convinced the sentiments expressed ney; and somewhat out of humour to find were his, not hers. Another poat, howa lady's maid stuck between me and my ever, brought me a confirmation, under her bride. It was rather too early to assume own hand and seal, of her father's senthe husband, and I was forced to submit, tence. There can be no doubt that but with a very bad grace. Put yourself the influence of her enemies prevailed over in my situation, and tell me whether I had her affection for me. You ask me if no not some reason to be in the sulks. I cause were assigned for this sudden resohave been accused, on getting into the car- lution; if I formed no conjecture about the riage, of saying that I had married Lady cause. I will tell you, I have prejudices B. out of spite, and because she bad re- about women-I do not like to see them fused me twice. Though I was for a eat. Rousseau makes Julie un peu goutmoment astonished at her prudlery, or mande, but that is not at all according to whatever you may choose to call it, if I my taste. I do not like to be interrupted had made so un-cavalier, not to say, bru- when I am writing. Lady Byron did not tal speech, I am convinced Lady B. would attend to these whims of mine. The only have immediately left the carriage to me harsh thing I ever remember saying to her, and the maid (Ỉ mean the lady's). She was one evening shortly before our parting. had spirit enough to have done so, and I was standing before the fire, ruminating would properly bave resented the affront." upon the embarrassment of my affairs and

other annoyances, when Lady Byron came up to me, and said, “Byron, am I in your

way ? to which I replied, Damnably.' “Our honey-moon was not all sunshine. I was afterward sorry, and reproached myIt had its clouds ; and Hobhouse has some self for the expression, but it escaped me letters which would serve to explain the unconsciously, involuntarily; I hardly knew rise and fall of the barometer; but it was what I said.

Mrs. Charlemont never down at zero. You tell me the had been the means of poisoning Lady world say I married Miss Milbanke for Noel's mind against me; she bad employed her fortune, because she was a great herself and others in watching me to Lonheiress. All I have ever received, or am don, and had reported having traced me likely to receive, was 10,000 l. My own into a house in Portland Place. There income, at this period, was small, and was one act of which I might justly have somewhat bespoke.

Newstead was a complained, and which was unworthy of very unprofitable estate, and brought me any one but such a confidante--- I allude to in å bare 1,500 1. a-year. The Lanca- the breaking open of my writing-desk. A shire property was hampered with a law- book was found in it that did not do much suit, which has cost me 14,000 1. and is credit to my taste in literature, and some not yet finished. We had a house in letters from a married woman with whom town, gave dinner parties, had separate I had been intimate before my marriage. carriages, and launched into every sort of The use that was made of the latter extravagance. This could not last long. was most unjustitiable, whatever may be My wife's 10,000 l. soon melted away. thought of the breach of confidence that I was beset by duns, and at length an ex. led to their discovery. Lady Byron sent ecution was levied, and the bailiffs put in them to the husband of the lady, who had possession of the very beds we had to sleep the good sense to take no notice of their upon. This was no very agreeable state contents. The gravest accusation that has of affairs, no very pleasant scene for Lady been made agaiust me is that of having inByron to witness, and it was agreed she trigued with Mrs. Mardyu in my own should pay her father a visit till the storm house; introduced her to my own table, had blown over, and some arrangements &c. There never was a more unfounded boen made with my crediturs. You may calumny. Being on the Committee of

CAUSES 01 HIS SEPARATION FROM

LADY BYRON.

LIFE OF LORD BYRON.

159

[ocr errors]

venna.

The following poems are, we believe, following immortal verses of Lord Byron, the last that proceeded from his immortal the last he ever composed. Four of the pen.

lines bave already appeared in an article “ We have been indebted to a friend," in The Westminster Review." says The Morning Chronicle," for the

Messolunghi, Jan. 22, 1824. ing table.

They tell me she is like me, On this day I complete my thirty-sixth but she has her mother's eyes. It is very

year. odd that my mother was an only child, and Ada is an only child. It is a singular

'Tis time this heart should be unmoved, coincidence---the least that can be said of

Since others it has ceased to move ; it . I can't help thinking it was destined Yet, though I cannot be beloved,

Still let me love. to be so, and perhaps it is best. I was anxious for a son, for if I had one he would My days are in the yellow leaf, be a peer at once, but after our separation The flowers and fruits of love are gone, was glad to have a daughter, for it would The worm, the canker, and the grief, have distressed me too much to have taken

Are mine alone. him away from Lady Byron, and I could

The fire that in my bosom preys, not have trusted her with a son's education. I have no idea of boys being brought No torch is kindled at its blaze ;--

Is like to some volcanic isle, up by mothers. I suffered too much from

A funeral pile. that myself; and then, wandering about the world as I do, I could not take proper The hopes, the fears, the jealous care, care of a child, otherwise I should not Th' exalted portion of the pain, have left Allegra, poor little thing, at Ra- And power of love, I cannot share, She has been a great resource to

But wear the chain. me, though I am not so fond of her as of But 'tis not here---it is not here--. Ada ; and yet I mean to make their for

Such thoughts should shake my soul ; tunes equal---there will be enough for them

nor now--both. I have desired in my will that Al- Where glory seals the hero's bier, legra shall not marry an Englishman.

Or binds his brow. The Irish and Scotch make better hus

The sword, the banner, and the field, bands than we do. You will think it was an odd fancy---but I was not in the best

Glory and Greece around us see ; of humours with my countrymen at that

The Spartan borne upon his shield

Was not more free. moment. You know the reason. I am told that Ada is a little termagant; I Awake! not Greece !---she is awake !--hope not. I shall write to my sister to Awake, my spirit---think through whom know if this is the case. Perhaps I am My life-blood tastes its parent lake--wrong in letting Lady Byron bave entirely

And then strike home! her own way in her education. I hear I tread reviving passions down, that my name is never mentioned in her

Unworthy manbood---unto thee, presence, that a green curtain is always Indifferent should the smile or frown kept over my portrait, as something for

Of beauty be. bidden, and that she is not to know that she has a father till she comes of age. of If thou regret thy youth---why live ?--

The land of honourable death course she will be taught to hate ine---she will be brought up to it. Lady Byron is Is here---up to the field, and give conscious of all this, and is afraid that I

Away thy breath! shall some day carry off her daughter by Seek o`t---less often sought than found--stealth or force. î might claim her from A soldier's grave, for thee the best. the Chancellor, without having recourse to Then look around, and choose thy ground, either one or the other ; but I had rather be

And take thy rest. unhappy myself than make her mother só. Probably, I shall never see ber again!' melancholy, that I dared not interrupt. Here he opened his writing-desk, and At length' he said, “This is Ada's birthshewed me some hair, which he told me day, and might have been the happiest was his child's. During our drive and day my

life. As it is'---He stopped, ride this evening, he declined our usual seemingly ashamed of having betrayed his amusement of pistol-firing, without as- feelings. He tried in vain to rally his signing a cause. He hardly spoke a word spirits by turning the conversation, but he during the first half-hour, and it was evi- created a laugh in which he could not dent that something weighed heavily on join, and soon relapsed into his former bis mind. There was a sacredness in his reverie."

100

PUBLIC AND DOMESTIC LIFE OF LORD BYRON.

stream;

now:

more :

strong?

art :

STANZAS.

She will look on thee; I have look'd on

thee, River* that rollest by the ancient walls

Full of that thought, and from that moWhere dwells the lady of my love, when ment ne'er she

Thy waters could I dream of, name or see, Walks by the brink, and there perchance without th' inseparable sigh for her.

recalls A faint and fleeting memory of me: Her bright eyes will be imaged in thy What if thy deep and ample stream Yes, they will meet the wave I gaze on

should be A mirror of my heart, where she may read Mine cannot witness, even in a dream, The thousand thoughts I now betray to That happy wave repass me in its flow.

thee, Wild as thy wave, and headlong as thy The wave that bears my tears returns no speed ?

Will she retum by whom that wave shall What do I say---a mirror of my heart ?

sweep? Are not thy waters sweeping, dark and Both tread thy banks, both wander on thy

shore'; Such as my feelings were and are, thou I near thy source, she by the dark blue

deep. And such as thou 'art, were my passions long.

But that which keepeth us apart is not,

Distance, nor depth of wave, nor space of Time may have somewhat tamed them,

earth, not for ever ;

But the distraction of a various lot, Thou overflow'st thy banks, and not for As various as the climates of our birth.

aye; Thy bosom overboils, congenial river ! A stranger loves a lady of the land, Thy floods subside ; and mine bave sunk. Bom far beyond the mountains, but hisaway--

blood

Is all meridian, as if never fann'd But left long wrecks behind them, and. By the bleak wind that chills the polar. again:

flood. Borne on our old unchanged career,' we move ;

My blood is all meridian; were it not, Thou tendest wildly onward to the main, I had not left my clime“;---I shall not be, And I to loving one I should not love. In spite of tortures ne'er to be forgot,

A slave again of love, at least of thee. The current I behold will sweep beneath Her native walls, and murmur at her feet ; 'Tis vain to struggle---let me perish Her eyes will look on thee, when she shali

young--breathe

Live as I lived, and love as I have loved : The twilight air, unharm'd by summer's To dust if I return, from dust I sprung, heat.

And then, at least, my heart can ne'er be • The Po.

moved.

PUBLISHED EVERY SATURDAY, BY WILLIAM CHARLTON WRIGHT,

65, PATERNOSTER Row, LONDON. Printed by A. SWEETING, 21, Aldersgate Street.

« PreviousContinue »