Byron's Poetical Works, Vol. 1
by Byron
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['MSS. M., L. (a').]

'Sweitzer is your man'.

[MS. M. 'erased'.]]

[Footnote xiv:

'Him who hath sense to make a skilful choice Nor lucid Order, nor the Siren Voice Of Eloquence shall shun, and Wit and Grace (Or I'm deceived) shall aid him in the Race: These too will teach him to defer or join To future parts the now omitted line: This shall the Author like or that reject, Sparing in words and cautious to select: Nor slight applause will candid pens afford To him who well compounds a wanting word, And if, by chance, 'tis needful to produce Some term long laid and obsolete in use'.—

['MSS. M., L'. ('a' and 'b'). 'The last line partly erased.']

[Footnote xv:

'The dextrous Coiner of a' wanting 'word'.—

['Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xvi:

'Adroitly grafted.'

['Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xvii:

'Since they enriched our language in their time In modern speeches or Black letter rhyme.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xviii:

'Though at a Monarch's nod, and Traffic's call Reluctant rivers deviate to Canal'.

['MSS. M., L'. ('a' and 'b').]]

[Footnote xix:

'marshes dried, sustain'.

['Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xx:

'Thus—future years dead volumes shall revive'.

['Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xxi:

'As Custom fluctuates whose Iron Sway Though ever changing Mortals must obey'.

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote xxii:

'To mark the Majesty of Epic song'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]]

[Footnote xxiii:

'But which is preferable rhyme or blank Which holds in poesy'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]

[Footnote xxiv:

—'ventures to appear.—'

['MS. Corr. in Proof b, British Museum'.]

[Footnote xxv:

'And Harry Monmouth, till the scenes require, Resigns heroics to his sceptred Sire.'

['MS. L'. (a).]]

[Footnote xxvi:

'To "hollaing Hotspur" and the sceptred sire.'—

['MS. Corr. in Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xxvii:

'Dull as an Opera, I should sleep or sneer.'

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote xxviii:

'And for Emotion's aid 'tis said and sung'.

['MS. L, (a)'.]]

[Footnote xxix:

'or form a plot'.

['Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xxx:

'Whate'er the critic says or poet sings 'Tis no slight task to write on common things'.

['MS. L. (a).']]

[Footnote xxxi:

'Ere o'er our heads your Muse's Thunder rolls.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xxxii:

'Earth, Heaven and Hell, are shaken with the Song.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xxxiii:

'Through deeds we know not, though already done,'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xxxiv:

'What soothes the people's, Peer's, and Critic's ear.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xxxv:

'And Vice buds forth developed with his Teens.'

[MS. M.]]

[Footnote xxxvi:

'The beardless Tyro freed at length from school.

[MSS. L. (b), M. erased'.]

'And blushing Birch disdains all College rule.

[MS. M. erased'.]

'And dreaded Birch.

[MS. L.' (a' and 'b').]]

[Footnote xxxvii:

'Unlucky Tavell! damned to daily cares By pugilistic Freshmen, and by Bears.'

['MS. M. erased'.]]

[Footnote xxxviii:

'Ready to quit whatever he loved before, Constant to nought, save hazard and a whore.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xxxix:

'The better years of youth he wastes away.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xl:

'Master of Arts, as all the Clubs proclaim.'

['MS. L. (b)'.]]

[Footnote xli:

'Scrapes wealth, o'er Grandam's endless jointure grieves.'

['MS. erased'.]

'O'er Grandam's mortgage, or young hopeful's debts.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

'O'er Uncle's mortgage.'

['MS. L. (b)'.]]

[Footnote xlii:

'Your plot is told or acted more or less.'

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote xliii:

'To greater sympathy our feelings rise When what is done is done before our eyes.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xliv:

'Appalls an audience with the work of Death— To gaze when Hubert simply threats to sere.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xlv:

'Nor call a Ghost, unless some cursed hitch Requires a trapdoor Goblin or a Witch.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xlvi:

'This comes from Commerce with our foreign friends These are the precious fruits Ausonia sends.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote xlvii:

'Our Giant Capital where streets still spread Where once our simpler sins were bred.'

['MS. L. (a).']

'Our fields where once the rustic earned his bread.'

['MS. L. (b)'.]]

[Footnote xlviii:

'Aches with the Orchestra he pays to hear.

[MS. M.']]

[Footnote xlix:

'Scarce kept awake by roaring out encore.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote l:

'Ere theatres were built and reverend clerks Wrote plays as some old book remarks.'

[MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote li:

'Who did what Vestris—yet, at least,—cannot, And cut his kingly capers "Sans culotte."'

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote lii:

'Who yet squeaks on nor fears to be forgot If good Earl Grosvenor supersede them not'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]

'Who still frisk on with feats so vastly low 'Tis strange Earl Grosvenor suffers such a show'.

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote liii:

'Suppressing Peer! to whom all vice gives place, Save Gambling—for his Lordship loves a Race'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]]

[Footnote liv:

'Hobhouse, since we have roved through Eastern climes, While all the AEgean echoed to our rhymes, And bound to Momus by some pagan spell Laughed, sang and quaffed to "Vive la Bagatelle!'"—

['MS. L'. ('a').]

'Hobhouse, with whom once more I hope to sit And smile at what our Stage retails for wit. Since few, I know, enjoy a laugh so well Sardonic slave to "Vive la Bagatelle" So that in your's like Pagan Plato's bed They'll find some book of Epigrams when dead'.

['MS. L'. ('b').]]

[Footnote lv:

'My wayward Spirit weakly yields to gloom, But thine will waft thee lightly to the Tomb, So that in thine, like Pagan Plato's, bed They'll find some Manuscript of Mimes, when dead'.

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote lvi:

'And spite of Methodism and Collier's curse'.

['MS. M'.]

'He who's seduced by plays must be a fool'

'If boys want teaching let them stay at school'.

[MS. L. (a).]]

[Footnote lvii:

'Whom Nature guides so writes that he who sees Enraptured thinks to do the same with ease'.

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote lviii:

'But after toil-inked thumbs and bitten nails Scratched head, ten quires—the easy scribbler fails'.—

['MS. L'. ('a').]

[Footnote lix:

'The one too rustic, t'other too refined'.

['MS. L'. ('a' and 'b').]]

[Footnotes lx:

'Offensive most to men with house and land Possessed of Pedigree and bloody hand'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]]

Footnote lxi:

'Composed for any but the lightest strain'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]]

Footnote lxii:

'And must I then my'—

['MS.L'. ('a').]

[Footnote lxiii:

'Ye who require Improvement'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]]

[Footnote lxiv:

'And Tragedy, whatever stuff he spoke Now wants high heels, long sword and velvet cloak'.—

['MS. L'. ('a') 'erased'.]]

[Footnote lxv:

'Curtail or silence the offensive jest'.

['MS. M'.]

'Curtail the personal or smutty jest'.

['MS. L'. ('a') 'erased'.]]

[Footnote lxvi:

'Overthrow whole books with all their hosts of faults'.—

['MS. L'. ('a').]]

[Footnotes lxvii:

'So that not Hellebore with all its juice'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]]

[Footnote lxviii:

'I'll act instead of whetstone—blunted, but Of use to make another's razor cut'.

['MS. L.' ('a').]]

[Footnote lxix:

'From Horace show the better arts of song'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]]

[Footnote lxx:

'To Trade, but gave their hours to arms and arts'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]

'With traffic'.

['MS. L'. ('b').]]

[Footnote lxxi:

'Babe of old Thelusson' [A]——.

['MS. L'. ('a' and 'b').]]

[Sub-Footnote A: [Peter Isaac Thellusson, banker (died July 21, 1797), by his will directed that his property should accumulate for the benefit of the unborn heir of an unborn grandson. The will was, finally, upheld, but, meanwhile, on July 28, 1800, an act (39 and 40 Geo. III.c.98) was passed limiting such executory devises.]]

[Footnote lxxii:

'A groat—ah bravo! Dick's the boy for sums He'll swell my fifty thousand into plums'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]]

[Footnote lxxiii:

'Are idle dogs and (damn them!) always poor'.—

['MS. L'. ('a' and 'b').]]

[Footnote lxxiv:

'Unlike Potosi holds no silver mine'.

['MS. L'. ('a').]

'Keeps back his ingots like'} 'Is rather costive—like' } 'an Irish Mine'. 'Is no Potosi, but' }

['MS. L'. ('b').]]

[Footnote lxxv:

'Write but recite not, e'en Apollo's song Mouthed in a mortal ear would seem too long, Long as the last year of a lingering lease, When Revel pauses until Rents increase'.

['MS. M. erased'.]]

[Footnote lxxvi:

'To finish all'.

['MS. L'. ('b').]

'That Bard the mask will fit'.

['MS. L'. ('b').]]

[Footnote lxxvii:

'Revenge defeats its object in the dark And pistols (courage bullies!) miss their mark.'

['MS. L. (a).']

And pistols (courage duellists!) miss their mark.

['MS. L. (b)'.]]

[Footnote lxxviii:

'Though much displeased.'

['MS. L. (a and b)'.]]

[Footnote lxxix:

'The scrutiny.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote lxxx:

'Oh ye aspiring youths whom fate or choice.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]

[Footnote lxxxi:

'All are not Erskines who adorn the bar.'

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote lxxxii:

'With very middling verses to offend The Devil and Jeffrey grant but to a friend.'

['MS. L. (a).']

'Though what "Gods, men, and columns" interdict, The Devil and Jeffrey [A] pardon—in a Pict.'

['MS. M.']]

[Sub-Footnote A: "The Devil and Jeffrey are here placed antithetically to gods and men, such being their usual position, and their due one—according to the facetious saying, 'If God won't take you, the Devil must;' and I am sure no one durst object to his taking the poetry, which, rejected by Horace, is accepted by Jeffrey. That these gentlemen are in some cases kinder,—the one to countrymen, and the other from his odd propensity to prefer evil to good,—than the 'gods, men, and columns' of Horace, may be seen by a reference to the review of Campbell's 'Gertrude of Wyoming'; and in No. 31 of the 'Edinburgh Review' (given to me the other day by the captain of an English frigate off Salamis), there is a similar concession to the mediocrity of Jamie Graham's 'British Georgics'. It is fortunate for Campbell, that his fame neither depends on his last poem, nor the puff of the 'Edinburgh Review'. The catalogues of our English are also less fastidious than the pillars of the Roman librarians. A word more with the author of 'Gertrude of Wyoming'. At the end of a poem, and even of a couplet, we have generally 'that unmeaning thing we call a thought;' so Mr. Campbell concludes with a thought in such a manner as to fulfil the whole of Pope's prescription, and be as 'unmeaning' as the best of his brethren:—

'Because I may not 'stain' with grief The death-song of an Indian chief.'

"When I was in the fifth form, I carried to my master the translation of a chorus in Prometheus, wherein was a pestilent expression about 'staining a voice,' which met with no quarter. Little did I think that Mr. Campbell would have adopted my fifth form 'sublime'—at least in so conspicuous a situation. 'Sorrow' has been 'dry' (in proverbs), and 'wet' (in sonnets), this many a day; and now it ''stains',' and stains a sound, of all feasible things! To be sure, death-songs might have been stained with that same grief to very good purpose, if Outalissi had clapped down his stanzas on wholesome paper for the 'Edinburgh Evening Post', or any other given hyperborean gazette; or if the said Outalissi had been troubled with the slightest second sight of his own notes embodied on the last proof of an overcharged quarto; but as he is supposed to have been an improvisatore on this occasion, and probably to the last tune he ever chanted in this world, it would have done him no discredit to have made his exit with a mouthful of common sense. Talking of ''staining'' (as Caleb Quotem says) 'puts me in mind' of a certain couplet, which Mr. Campbell will find in a writer for whom he, and his school, have no small contempt:—

'E'en copious Dryden wanted, or forgot, The last and greatest art—the art to 'blot'!'"

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote lxxxiii:

'And mustard rarely pleases in a pie.'

['MS. L. '(a).]]

[Footnote lxxxiv:

'At the Sessions'.

['MS. L.' (b), 'in pencil'.] ]

[Footnote lxxxv: Lines 647-650—

Whose character contains no glaring fault... Shall I, I say.

[MS. L. (a).]]

[Footnote lxxxvi: After 660—

'But why this hint-what author e'er could stop His poems' progress in a Grocers shop.'

['MS. L. (a).'] ]

[Footnote lxxxvii:

'As lame as I am, but a better bard.'

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote lxxxviii:

'Apollo's song the fate of men foretold.'

['MS. L. (a).']]

[Footnote lxxxix:

'Have studied with a Master day and night'.

['MS. L. (a, b).']]

[Footnote xc:

'They storm Bolt Court, they publish one and all'.—

['MS. M. erased.']]

[Footnote xci:

'Rogers played this prank'.

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote xcii:

'There see their sonnets first—but Spring—hot prest Beholds a Quarto—Tarts must tell the Rest.'

['MS. M. erased.']]

[Footnote xciii:

'To fuddled Esquires or to flippant Lords.'

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote xciv:

'Till lo! that modern Midas of the swains— Feels his ears lengthen—with the lengthening strains'.—

['MS. M. erased'.]]

[Footnote xcv:

'Adds a week's growth to his enormous ears'.

['MS. M. erased.']]

[Footnote xcvi:

'But what are these? Benefits might bind Some decent ties about a manly mind'.

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote xcvii:

'Our modern sceptics can no more allow.'

['MS. L. (a).']]

[Footnote xcviii:

'Some rhyming peer—Carlisle or Carysfort.'[A]

['MS. M.']]

[Sub-Footnote A: [To variant ii. (p. 444) (this footnote) is subjoined this note:

"Of 'John Joshua, Earl of Carysfort,' I know nothing at present, but from an advertisement in an old newspaper of certain Poems and Tragedies by his Lordship, which I saw by accident in the Morea. Being a rhymer himself, he will forgive the liberty I take with his name, seeing, as he must, how very commodious it is at the close of that couplet; and as for what follows and goes before, let him place it to the account of the other Thane; since I cannot, under these circumstances, augur pro or con the contents of his 'foolscap crown octavos.'"

[John Joshua Proby, first Earl of Carysfort, was joint postmaster-general in 1805, envoy to Berlin in 1806, and ambassador to Petersburgh in 1807. Besides his poems ('Dramatic and Miscellaneous Works', 1810), he published two pamphlets (1780,1783), to show the necessity of universal suffrage and short parliaments. He died in 1828.]]

[Footnote xcix:

'Hoarse with bepraising, and half choaked with lies, Sweat on his brow and tear drops in his eyes.'

['MS. L. (a).']]

[Footnote c:

'Then sits again, then shakes his piteous head As if the Vicar were already dead.'

['MS. L. (a).']]

[Footnote ci:

'But if you're too conceited to amend.'

['MS. L. (a).]']

[Footnote cii:

'On pain of suffering from their pen or tongues.'

['MS. M. erased.']

'—fly Fitzgerald's lungs.'

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote ciii:

'Ah when Bards mouth! how sympathetic Time Stagnates, and Hours stand still to hear their rhyme.'

['MS. M. erased'.]]

[Footnote civ:

'Besides how know ye? that he did not fling Himself there—for the humour of the thing.'

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote cv:

'Small thanks, unwelcome life he quickly leaves; And raving poets—really should not lose.'

['MS. M'.]

[Footnote cvi:

'Nor is it clearly understood that verse Has not been given the poet for a curse; Perhaps he sent the parson's pig to pound, Or got a child on consecrated ground; But, be this as it may, his rhyming rage Exceeds a Bear who strives to break his cage. If free, all fly his versifying fit; The young, the old, the simpleton and wit.'

['MS. L. (a)'.]]


—"Pallas te hoc vulnere, Pallas Immolat, et poenam scelerato ex sanguine sumit."

Aeneid, lib. xii, 947, 948.


In 'The Malediction of Minerva (New Monthly Magazine', vol. iii. p. 240) additional footnotes are appended

(1) to line 106, recording the obliteration of Lord Elgin's name, "which had been inscribed on a pillar of one of the principal temples," while that of Lady Elgin had been left untouched; and

(2) to line 196, giving quotations from pp. 158, 269, 419 of Eustace's 'Classical Tour in Italy'.

After line 130, which reads, "And well I know within that murky land" ('i.e'. Caledonia), the following apology for a hiatus was inserted:

"Here follows in the original certain lines which the editor has exercised his discretion by suppressing; inasmuch as they comprise national reflections which the bard's justifiable indignation has made him pour forth against a people which, if not universally of an amiable, is generally of a respectable character, and deserves not in this case to be censured 'en masse' for the faults of an individual."


The text of 'The Curse of Minerva' is based on that of the quarto printed by T. Davison in 1813. With the exception of the variants, as noted, the text corresponds with the MS. in the possession of Lord Stanhope. Doubtless it represents Byron's final revision. The text of an edition of 'The Curse, etc'., Philadelphia, 1815, 8vo [printed by De Silver and Co.], was followed by Galignani (third edit., 1818, etc.). The same text is followed, but not invariably, in the selections printed by Hone in 1816 (111 lines); Wilson, 1818 (112 lines); and Knight and Lacy, 1824 (111 lines). It exhibits the following variants from the quarto of 1813:—

Line. Variant.

56.——'lands and main.' 81. 'Her helm was deep indented and her lance.' 94. 'Seek'st thou the cause? O mortal, look around.' 102. 'That Hadrian——' 116. 'The last base brute——' 143. 'Ten thousand schemes of petulance and pride.' 152. '——victors o'er the grave.' 162. '——Time shall tell the rest.' 199. 'Loath'd throughout life—scarce pardon'd in the dust.' 203. 'Erostratus and Elgin, etc.' 206. '——viler than the first. 222. 'Shall shake your usurpation to its base.' 233. 'While Lusitania——' 273. 'Then in the Senates——' 290. '——decorate his fall.'

The following variants may also be noted:—

Line. Variant. Publisher

1. 'Slow sinks now lovely, etc.' Hone

110. 'The Gothic monarch and the British——.' Wilson '——and his fit compeer.'

131. 'And well I know within that murky land. ... Dispatched her reckoning children far and wide. Hone

And well I know, albeit afar, the land, Where starving Avarice keeps her chosen band; Or sends their hungry numbers eager forth. ... And aye accursed, etc.' Wilson


'The Curse of Minerva', which was written at Athens, and is dated March 17, 1811, remained unpublished, as a whole, in this country, during Byron's life-time. The arrangement which had been made with Cawthorn, to bring out a fifth edition of 'English Bards', included the issue of a separate volume, containing 'Hints from Horace' and 'The Curse of Minerva;' and, as Moore intimates, it was the withdrawal of the latter, in deference to the wishes of Lord Elgin or his connections, which led to the suppression of the other satires.

The quarto edition of The 'Curse of Minerva', printed by T. Davison in 1812, was probably set up at the same time as Murray's quarto edition of 'Childe Harold', and reserved for private circulation. With or without Byron's consent, the poem as a whole was published in Philadelphia by De Silver and Co., 1815, 8vo (for variants, see p. 453, 'note'). In a letter to Murray, March 6, 1816, he says that he "disowns" 'The Curse, etc.', "as stolen and published in a miserable and villainous copy in the magazine." The reference is to 'The Malediction of Minerva, or The Athenian Marble-Market', which appeared in the 'New Monthly Magazine' for April, 1818, vol. iii. 240. It numbers 111 lines, and is signed "Steropes" (The Lightner, a Cyclops). The text of the magazine, with the same additional footnotes, but under the title of 'The Curse', etc., was republished in the eighth edition of 'Poems on His Domestic Circumstances', W. Hone, London, 1816, 8vo, and, thenceforth, in other piratical issues. Whatever may have been his feelings or intentions in 1812, four years later Byron was well aware that 'The Curse of Minerva' would not increase his reputation as a poet, while the object of his satire—the exposure and denunciation of Lord Elgin—had been accomplished by the scathing stanzas (canto ii. 10-15), with their accompanying note, in 'Childe Harold'. "Disown" it as he might, his words were past recall, and both indictments stand in his name.

Byron was prejudiced against Elgin before he started on his tour. He had, perhaps, glanced at the splendid folio, 'Specimens of Ancient Sculpture', which was issued by the Dilettanti Society in 1809. Payne Knight wrote the preface, in which he maintains that the friezes and metopes of the Parthenon were not the actual work of Phidias, "but ... architectural studies ... probably by workmen scarcely ranked among artists." So judged the leader of the 'cognoscenti', and, in accordance with his views, Elgin and Aberdeen are held up to ridicule in 'English Bards' (second edition, October, 1809, 1. 1007, and 'note') as credulous and extravagant collectors of "maimed antiques." It was, however, not till the first visit to Athens (December, 1809-March, 1810), when he saw with his own eyes the "ravages of barbarous and antiquarian despoilers" (Lord Broughton's 'Travels in Albania', 1858, i. 259), that contempt gave way to indignation, and his wrath found vent in the pages of 'Childe Harold'.

Byron cared as little for ancient buildings as he did for the authorities, or for patriotic enterprise, but he was stirred to the quick by the marks of fresh and, as he was led to believe, wanton injury to "Athena's poor remains." The southern side of the half-wrecked Parthenon had been deprived of its remaining metopes, which had suffered far less from the weather than the other sides which are still in the building; all that remained of the frieze had been stripped from the three sides of the cella, and the eastern pediment had been despoiled of its diminished and mutilated, but still splendid, group of figures; and, though five or six years had gone by, the blank spaces between the triglyphs must have revealed their recent exposure to the light, and the shattered edges of the cornice, which here and there had been raised and demolished to permit the dislodgment of the metopes, must have caught the eye as they sparkled in the sun. Nor had the removal and deportation of friezes and statues come to an end. The firman which Dr. Hunt, the chaplain to the embassy, had obtained in 1801, which empowered Elgin and his agents to take away 'qualche pezzi di pietra', still ran, and Don Tita Lusieri, the Italian artist, who remained in Elgin's service, was still, like the 'canes venatici' (Americane, "smell-dogs") employed by Verres in Sicily (see 'Childe Harold', canto ii. st. 12, 'note'), finding fresh relics, and still bewailing to sympathetic travellers the hard fate which compelled him to despoil the temples 'malgre lui'. The feelings of the inhabitants themselves were not much in question, but their opinions were quoted for and against the removal of the marbles. Elgin's secretary and prime agent, W.R. Hamilton, testifies, from personal knowledge, that, "so far from exciting any unpleasant sensations, the people seemed to feel it as the means of bringing foreigners into the country, and of having money spent there" ('Memoir on the Earl of Elgin's Pursuits in Greece', 1811). On the other hand, the traveller, Edward Daniel Clarke, with whom Byron corresponded (see 'Childe Harold', canto ii. st. 12, 'note'), speaks of the attachment of the Turks to the Parthenon, and their religious veneration for the building as a mosque, and tells a pathetic story of the grief of the Disdar when "a metope was lowered, and the adjacent masonry scattered its white fragments with thundering noise among the ruins" ('Travels in Various Countries', part ii, sect. ii, p. 483).

Other travellers of less authority than Clarke—Dodwell, for instance, who visited the Parthenon before it had been dismantled, and, afterwards, was present at the removal of metopes; and Hughes, who came after Byron (autumn, 1813)—make use of such phrases as "shattered desolation," "wanton devastation and avidity of plunder." Even Michaelis, the great archaeologist, who denounces 'The Curse of Minerva' as a "'libellous' poem," and affirms "that only blind passion could doubt that Lord Elgin's act was an act of preservation," admits that "the removal of several metopes and of the statue from the Erechtheion had severely injured the surrounding architecture" ('Ancient Marbles in Great Britain', by A. Michaelis, translated by C.A.M. Fennell, 1882, p. 135). Highly coloured and emotional as some of these phrases may be, they explain, if they do not justify, the 'saeva indignatio' of Byron's satire.

It is almost, if not quite, unnecessary to state the facts on the other side. History regards Lord Elgin as a disinterested official, who at personal loss (at least thirty-five thousand pounds on his own showing), and in spite of opposition and disparagement, secured for his own country and the furtherance of art the perishable fragments of Phidian workmanship, which, but for his intervention, might have perished altogether. If they had eluded the clutches of Turkish mason and Greek dealer in antiquities—if, by some happy chance, they had escaped the ravages of war, the gradual but gradually increasing assaults of rain and frost would have already left their effacing scars on the "Elgin marbles." As it is, the progress of decay has been arrested, and all the world is the gainer. Byron was neither a prophet nor an archaeologist, and time and knowledge have put him in the wrong. But in 1810 the gaps in the entablature of the Parthenon were new, the Phidian marbles were huddled in a "damp dirty penthouse" in Park Lane (see 'Life of Haydon', i. 84), and the logic of events had not justified a sad necessity.


Pallas te hoc Vulnere Pallas Immolat et poenam scelerato ex Sanguine Sumit.


Slow sinks, more lovely ere his race be run, [1] Along Morea's hills the setting Sun; Not, as in northern climes, obscurely bright, But one unclouded blaze of living light; O'er the hushed deep the yellow beam he throws, [i] Gilds the green wave that trembles as it glows; On old AEgina's rock and Hydra's isle [2] The God of gladness sheds his parting smile; O'er his own regions lingering loves to shine, Though there his altars are no more divine. [ii] 10 Descending fast, the mountain-shadows kiss Thy glorious Gulf, unconquered Salamis! Their azure arches through the long expanse, [iii] More deeply purpled, meet his mellowing glance, And tenderest tints, along their summits driven, Mark his gay course, and own the hues of Heaven; Till, darkly shaded from the land and deep, Behind his Delphian rock he sinks to sleep. [iv]

On such an eve his palest beam he cast When, Athens! here thy Wisest looked his last. 20 How watched thy better sons his farewell ray, That closed their murdered Sage's [3] latest day! Not yet—not yet—Sol pauses on the hill, The precious hour of parting lingers still; But sad his light to agonizing eyes, And dark the mountain's once delightful dyes; Gloom o'er the lovely land he seemed to pour, The land where Phoebus never frowned before; But ere he sunk below Cithaeron's head, The cup of Woe was quaffed—the Spirit fled; 30 The soul of Him that scorned to fear or fly, [v] Who lived and died as none can live or die.

But lo! from high Hymettus to the plain The Queen of Night asserts her silent reign; ǐ [4] No murky vapour, herald of the storm, [vii] Hides her fair face, or girds her glowing form; With cornice glimmering as the moonbeams play, There the white column greets her grateful ray, And bright around, with quivering beams beset, Her emblem sparkles o'er the Minaret; 40 The groves of olive scattered dark and wide, Where meek Cephisus sheds his scanty tide, The cypress saddening by the sacred mosque, The gleaming turret of the gay kiosk, [5] And sad and sombre 'mid the holy calm, Near Theseus' fane, yon solitary palm; All, tinged with varied hues, arrest the eye; And dull were his that passed them heedless by. [6] Again the AEgean, heard no more afar, Lulls his chafed breast from elemental war: 50 Again his waves in milder tints unfold Their long expanse of sapphire and of gold, Mixed with the shades of many a distant isle That frown, where gentler Ocean deigns to smile. [viii]

As thus, within the walls of Pallas' fane, I marked the beauties of the land and main, Alone, and friendless, on the magic shore, Whose arts and arms but live in poets' lore; Oft as the matchless dome I turned to scan, Sacred to Gods, but not secure from Man, 60 The Past returned, the Present seemed to cease, And Glory knew no clime beyond her Greece!

Hour rolled along, and Dian's orb on high Had gained the centre of her softest sky; And yet unwearied still my footsteps trod O'er the vain shrine of many a vanished God: [ix] But chiefly, Pallas! thine, when Hecate's glare Checked by thy columns, fell more sadly fair O'er the chill marble, where the startling tread Thrills the lone heart like echoes from the dead. 70 Long had I mused, and treasured every trace The wreck of Greece recorded of her race, When, lo! a giant-form before me strode, And Pallas hailed me in her own Abode!

Yes,'twas Minerva's self; but, ah! how changed, Since o'er the Dardan field in arms she ranged! Not such as erst, by her divine command, Her form appeared from Phidias' plastic hand: Gone were the terrors of her awful brow, Her idle AEgis bore no Gorgon now; 80 Her helm was dinted, and the broken lance Seemed weak and shaftless e'en to mortal glance; The Olive Branch, which still she deigned to clasp, Shrunk from her touch, and withered in her grasp; And, ah! though still the brightest of the sky, Celestial tears bedimmed her large blue eye; Round the rent casque her owlet circled slow, And mourned his mistress with a shriek of woe!

"Mortal!"—'twas thus she spake—"that blush of shame Proclaims thee Briton, once a noble name; 90 First of the mighty, foremost of the free, [x] Now honoured 'less' by all, and 'least' by me: Chief of thy foes shall Pallas still be found. Seek'st thou the cause of loathing!—look around. Lo! here, despite of war and wasting fire, I saw successive Tyrannies expire; 'Scaped from the ravage of the Turk and Goth, [xi] Thy country sends a spoiler worse than both. Survey this vacant, violated fane; Recount the relics torn that yet remain: 100 'These' Cecrops placed, 'this' Pericles adorned, [7] 'That' Adrian reared when drooping Science mourned. What more I owe let Gratitude attest— Know, Alaric and Elgin did the rest. That all may learn from whence the plunderer came, The insulted wall sustains his hated name: [8] For Elgin's fame thus grateful Pallas pleads, Below, his name—above, behold his deeds! Be ever hailed with equal honour here The Gothic monarch and the Pictish peer: [xii] 110 Arms gave the first his right, the last had none, But basely stole what less barbarians won. So when the Lion quits his fell repast, Next prowls the Wolf, the filthy Jackal last: [xiii] Flesh, limbs, and blood the former make their own, The last poor brute securely gnaws the bone. Yet still the Gods are just, and crimes are crossed: See here what Elgin won, and what he lost! Another name with his pollutes my shrine: Behold where Dian's beams disdain to shine! 120 Some retribution still might Pallas claim, When Venus half avenged Minerva's shame." [9]

She ceased awhile, and thus I dared reply, To soothe the vengeance kindling in her eye: "Daughter of Jove! in Britain's injured name, [xiv] A true-born Briton may the deed disclaim. Frown not on England; England owns him not: Athena, no! thy plunderer was a Scot. Ask'st thou the difference? From fair Phyles' towers Survey Boeotia;—Caledonia's ours. 130 And well I know within that bastard land [10] Hath Wisdom's goddess never held command; A barren soil, where Nature's germs, confined To stern sterility, can stint the mind; Whose thistle well betrays the niggard earth, Emblem of all to whom the Land gives birth; Each genial influence nurtured to resist; A land of meanness, sophistry, and mist. [xv] Each breeze from foggy mount and marshy plain Dilutes with drivel every drizzly brain, 140 Till, burst at length, each wat'ry head o'erflows, Foul as their soil, and frigid as their snows: Then thousand schemes of petulance and pride Despatch her scheming children far and wide; Some East, some West, some—everywhere but North! In quest of lawless gain, they issue forth. And thus—accursed be the day and year! She sent a Pict to play the felon here. Yet Caledonia claims some native worth, [11] As dull Boeotia gave a Pindar birth; 150 So may her few, the lettered and the brave, Bound to no clime, and victors of the grave, Shake off the sordid dust of such a land, And shine like children of a happier strand; As once, of yore, in some obnoxious place, Ten names (if found) had saved a wretched race."

"Mortal!" the blue-eyed maid resumed, "once more Bear back my mandate to thy native shore. [12] Though fallen, alas! this vengeance yet is mine, To turn my counsels far from lands like thine. 160 Hear then in silence Pallas' stern behest; Hear and believe, for Time will tell the rest.

"First on the head of him who did this deed My curse shall light,—on him and all his seed: Without one spark of intellectual fire, Be all the sons as senseless as the sire: If one with wit the parent brood disgrace, Believe him bastard of a brighter race: Still with his hireling artists let him prate, And Folly's praise repay for Wisdom's hate; 170 Long of their Patron's gusto let them tell, Whose noblest, native gusto is—to sell: To sell, and make—may shame record the day!— The State—Receiver of his pilfered prey. Meantime, the flattering, feeble dotard, West, Europe's worst dauber, and poor Britain's best, With palsied hand shall turn each model o'er, And own himself an infant of fourscore. [13] Be all the Bruisers culled from all St. Giles', That Art and Nature may compare their styles; [xvi] 180 While brawny brutes in stupid wonder stare, And marvel at his Lordship's 'stone shop' there. [14] Round the thronged gate shall sauntering coxcombs creep To lounge and lucubrate, to prate and peep; While many a languid maid, with longing sigh, On giant statues casts the curious eye; The room with transient glance appears to skim, Yet marks the mighty back and length of limb; Mourns o'er the difference of now and then; Exclaims, 'These Greeks indeed were proper men!' 190 Draws slight comparisons of 'these' with 'those', [xvii] And envies Lais all her Attic beaux. When shall a modern maid have swains like these? [xviii] Alas! Sir Harry is no Hercules! And last of all, amidst the gaping crew, Some calm spectator, as he takes his view, In silent indignation mixed with grief, Admires the plunder, but abhors the thief. Oh, loathed in life, nor pardoned in the dust, May Hate pursue his sacrilegious lust! 200 Linked with the fool that fired the Ephesian dome, Shall vengeance follow far beyond the tomb, [15] And Eratostratus [16] and Elgin shine In many a branding page and burning line; Alike reserved for aye to stand accursed, Perchance the second blacker than the first.

"So let him stand, through ages yet unborn, Fixed statue on the pedestal of Scorn; Though not for him alone revenge shall wait, But fits thy country for her coming fate: 210 Hers were the deeds that taught her lawless son To do what oft Britannia's self had done. Look to the Baltic—blazing from afar, Your old Ally yet mourns perfidious war. [17] Not to such deeds did Pallas lend her aid, Or break the compact which herself had made; Far from such counsels, from the faithless field She fled—but left behind her Gorgon shield; A fatal gift that turned your friends to stone, And left lost Albion hated and alone. 220

"Look to the East, [18] where Ganges' swarthy race Shall shake your tyrant empire to its base; Lo! there Rebellion rears her ghastly head, And glares the Nemesis of native dead; Till Indus rolls a deep purpureal flood, And claims his long arrear of northern blood. So may ye perish!—Pallas, when she gave Your free-born rights, forbade ye to enslave.

"Look on your Spain!—she clasps the hand she hates, But boldly clasps, and thrusts you from her gates. 230 Bear witness, bright Barossa! [19] thou canst tell Whose were the sons that bravely fought and fell. But Lusitania, kind and dear ally, Can spare a few to fight, and sometimes fly. Oh glorious field! by Famine fiercely won, The Gaul retires for once, and all is done! But when did Pallas teach, that one retreat Retrieved three long Olympiads of defeat?

"Look last at home—ye love not to look there On the grim smile of comfortless despair: 240 Your city saddens: loud though Revel howls, Here Famine faints, and yonder Rapine prowls. See all alike of more or less bereft; No misers tremble when there's nothing left. 'Blest paper credit;' [20] who shall dare to sing? It clogs like lead Corruption's weary wing. Yet Pallas pluck'd each Premier by the ear, Who Gods and men alike disdained to hear; But one, repentant o'er a bankrupt state, On Pallas calls,—but calls, alas! too late: 250 Then raves for'——'; to that Mentor bends, Though he and Pallas never yet were friends. Him senates hear, whom never yet they heard, Contemptuous once, and now no less absurd. So, once of yore, each reasonable frog, Swore faith and fealty to his sovereign 'log.' Thus hailed your rulers their patrician clod, As Egypt chose an onion [21] for a God.

"Now fare ye well! enjoy your little hour; Go, grasp the shadow of your vanished power; 260 Gloss o'er the failure of each fondest scheme; Your strength a name, your bloated wealth a dream. Gone is that Gold, the marvel of mankind. And Pirates barter all that's left behind. [22] No more the hirelings, purchased near and far, Crowd to the ranks of mercenary war. The idle merchant on the useless quay Droops o'er the bales no bark may bear away; Or, back returning, sees rejected stores Rot piecemeal on his own encumbered shores: 270 The starved mechanic breaks his rusting loom, And desperate mans him 'gainst the coming doom. Then in the Senates of your sinking state Show me the man whose counsels may have weight. Vain is each voice where tones could once command; E'en factions cease to charm a factious land: Yet jarring sects convulse a sister Isle, And light with maddening hands the mutual pile.

"'Tis done, 'tis past—since Pallas warns in vain; The Furies seize her abdicated reign: 280 Wide o'er the realm they wave their kindling brands, And wring her vitals with their fiery hands. But one convulsive struggle still remains, [xix] And Gaul shall weep ere Albion wear her chains, The bannered pomp of war, the glittering files, [xx] O'er whose gay trappings stern Bellona smiles; The brazen trump, the spirit-stirring drum, That bid the foe defiance ere they come; The hero bounding at his country's call, The glorious death that consecrates his fall, 290 Swell the young heart with visionary charms. And bid it antedate the joys of arms. But know, a lesson you may yet be taught, With death alone are laurels cheaply bought; Not in the conflict Havoc seeks delight, His day of mercy is the day of fight. But when the field is fought, the battle won, Though drenched with gore, his woes are but begun: His deeper deeds as yet ye know by name; The slaughtered peasant and the ravished dame, 300 The rifled mansion and the foe-reaped field, Ill suit with souls at home, untaught to yield. Say with what eye along the distant down Would flying burghers mark the blazing town? How view the column of ascending flames Shake his red shadow o'er the startled Thames? Nay, frown not, Albion! for the torch was thine That lit such pyres from Tagus to the Rhine: Now should they burst on thy devoted coast, Go, ask thy bosom who deserves them most? 310 The law of Heaven and Earth is life for life, And she who raised, in vain regrets, the strife."

[Footnote 1: The lines (1-54) with which the Satire begins, down to "As thus, within the walls of Pallas' fane," first appeared (1814) as the opening stanza of the Third Canto of 'The Corsair'. At that time the publication of 'The Curse of Minerva' had been abandoned. (See Byron's 'note' to 'The Corsair', Canto III. st. i. line i.)]

[Footnote 2: Idra; 'The Corsair', III. st. i. line 7. Hydra, or Hydrea, is an island on the east coast of the Peloponnese, between the gulfs of Nauplia and AEgina. As an "isle of Greece" it had almost no history until the War of Independence, when its chief town became a "city of refuge" for the inhabitants of the Morea and Northern Greece. Byron was, perhaps, the first poet to give it a name in song.]

[Footnote 3: Socrates drank the hemlock a short time before sunset (the hour of execution), notwithstanding the entreaties of his disciples to wait till the sun went down.]

[Footnote 4: The twilight in Greece is much shorter than in our own country; the days in winter are longer, but in summer of less duration.]

[Footnote 5: The kiosk is a Turkish summer-house; the palm is without the present walls of Athens, not far from the temple of Theseus, between which and the tree the wall intervenes. Cephisus' stream is indeed scanty, and Ilissus has no stream at all.]

[Footnote 6:

"The Temple of Theseus is the most perfect ancient edifice in the world. In this fabric, the most enduring stability, and a simplicity of design peculiarly striking, are united with the highest elegance and accuracy of workmanship."

'Travels in Albania, etc.', by Lord Broughton (1858), i. 259.]

[Footnote 7: This is spoken of the city in general, and not of the Acropolis in particular. The temple of Jupiter Olympius, by some supposed the Pantheon, was finished by Hadrian; sixteen columns are standing, of the most beautiful marble and architecture.]

[Footnote 8: The following lines, of which the first two were written on the original 'MS'., are in Byron's handwriting:—

"Aspice quos Scoto Pallas concedit honores; Subter stat nomen, facta superque vide. Scote miser! quamvis nocuisti Palladis aedi, Infandum facinus vindicat ipsa Venus. Pygmalion statuam pro sponsa arsisse refertur; Tu statuam rapias, Scote, sed uxor abest."

Compare 'Horace in London', by the authors of 'Rejected Addresses' (James and Horace Smith), London, 1813, ode xv., "The Parthenon," "'Pastor quum traheret per freta navibus'."

"And Hymen shall thy nuptial hopes consume, Unless, like fond Pygmalion, thou canst wed Statues thy hand could never give to bloom. In wifeless wedlock shall thy life be led, No marriage joys to bless thy solitary bed."

[Lord Elgin's first marriage with Mary, daughter of William Hamilton Nisbet, was dissolved by Act of Parliament in 1808.]]

[Footnote 9: His lordship's name, and that of one who no longer bears it, are carved conspicuously on the Parthenon; above, in a part not far distant, are the torn remnants of the bassorelievos, destroyed in a vain attempt to remove them.

[On the Erechtheum there was deeply cut in a plaster wall the words—


[Footnote 10: "Irish bastards," according to Sir Callaghan O'Brallaghan. ["A wild Irish soldier in the Prussian Army," in Macklin's 'Love-a-la-Mode' (first played December 12, 1759).]]

[Footnote 11: Lines 149-156 not in original 'MS'.]

[Footnote 12: Compare 'Horace in London', ode xv:—

"All who behold my mutilated pile, Shall brand its ravages with classic rage; And soon a titled bard from Britain's isle Thy country's praise and suffrage shall engage, And fire with Athens' wrongs an angry age."]

[Footnote 13: Mr. West, on seeing the "Elgin Collection," (I suppose we shall hear of the "Abershaw" and "Jack Shephard" collection) declared himself a "mere tyro" in art.

[Compare Letters of Benjamin West to the Earl of Elgin, February 6, 1809, March 20, 1811, published in W.R. Hamilton's 'Memorandum', 1811.]]

[Footnote 14: Poor Crib was sadly puzzled when the marbles were first exhibited at Elgin House; he asked if it was not "a stone shop?"—He was right; it 'is' a shop.]

[Footnote 15: Lines 202-265 are not in the MS.]

[Footnote 16: Herostratus or Eratostratus fired the temple of Artemis on the same night that Alexander the Great was born. (See Plut., 'Alex'., 3, etc.)]

[Footnote 17: The affair of Copenhagen. Copenhagen was bombarded by sea by Admiral Lord Gambier (1756-1833), and by land by General Lord Cathcart (1755-1843), September 2-8, 1807. The citadel was given up to the English, and the Danes surrendered their fleet, with all the naval stores, and their arsenals and dockyards. The expedition was "promptly and secretly equipped" by the British Government "with an activity and celerity," says Koch ('Hist. of Europe', p. 214), "such as they had never displayed in sending aid to their allies," with a view to anticipate the seizure and appropriation of the Danish fleet by Napoleon and Alexander (Green's 'Hist. English People' (1875), p. 799).]]

[Footnote 18: "The East" is brought within range of Minerva's curse, 'symmetriae causa', and it is hard to say to which "rebellion" she refers. A choice lies between the mutiny which broke out in 1809, during Sir George Barlow's presidency of Madras, among the officers of the Company's service, and which at one time threatened the continuance of British sway in India; and later troubles, in 1810, arising from the Pindari hordes, who laid waste the villages of Central India and Hindostan, and from the Pathans, who invaded Berar under Ameer Khan. But here, as in lines 245-258 ('vide infra', p. 470, 'note' i), Byron is taking toll of a note to 'Epics of the Ton', pp. 246, 247, which enlarges on the mutiny of native soldiers which took place at Vellore in 1806, where several "European officers and a considerable portion of the 69th Regiment were massacred," in consequence of "an injudicious order with respect to the dress of the Sepoys."—Gleig's 'History of the British Empire in India' (1835), iii. 233, 'note'.]]

[Footnote 19: The victory of "bright Barossa," March 5, 1811, was achieved by the sudden determination—"an inspiration rather than a resolution," says Napier—of the British commander, General Graham (Thomas, Lord Lynedoch, 1750-1843), to counter-march his troops, and force the eminence known as the Cerro de Puerco, or hill of Barosa, which had fallen into the hands of the French under Ruffin. Graham was at this time second in command to the Spanish Captain-general, La Pena, and at his orders, but under the impression that the hill would be guarded by the Spanish troops, was making his way to a neighbouring height. Meantime La Pena had withdrawn the corps of battle to a distance, and left the hill covered with baggage and imperfectly protected. Graham recaptured Barosa, and repulsed the French with heavy loss, in an hour and a half. Napier affirms that La Pena "looked idly on, neither sending his cavalry nor his horse artillery to the assistance of his ally;" and testifies "that no stroke in aid of the British was struck by a Spanish sabre that day."

"Famine" may have raised the devil in the English troops, but it prevented them from following up the victory. A further charge against the Spaniards was that, after Barosa had been won, the English were left for hours without food, and, as they had marched through the night before they came into action, they could only look on while the French made good their retreat.

Two companies of the 20th Portuguese formed part of the British contingent, and took part in the engagement. The year before, at Busaco (September 27, 1810), the Portuguese had displayed signal bravery; but at Gebora (February 19, 1811) "Madden's Portuguese, regardless of his example and reproaches, shamefully turned their backs" (Napier's 'History of the Peninsular War' (1890), iii. 26, 98, 102-107).]

[Footnote 20:

"Blest paper credit! last and best supply, That lends Corruption lighter wings to fly."


[In February, 1811, a select committee of the House of Commons "on commercial credit" recommended an advance of L6,000,000 to manufacturers who were suffering from over-speculation. "Did they not know," asked Lord Grenville, in the House of Lords, March 21, "that they were adding to the mass of paper at this moment in existence a sum of L6,000,000, as if there was not paper enough already in the country, in order to protect their commerce and manufactures from destruction?" Nevertheless, the measure passed. The year before (February 19, 1810), a committee which had sat under the presidency of Francis Horner, to inquire into the cause of the high price of gold bullion (gold was worth L4. 10s. an ounce), returned (June 10) a report urging the resumption of cash payment at the end of two years.

It has been suggested to the editor that the asterisks ('——') in line 251 (which are not filled up in Lord Stanhope's MS. of 'The Curse of Minerva') stand for "Horner," and that Byron, writing at Athens in March, 1811, was under the impression that Perceval would adopt sound views on the currency question, and was not aware that he was strongly anti-bullionist. On that supposition the two premiers are Portland and Perceval, Horner is the Mentor, and Perceval (line 257) the "patrician clod." To what extent Byron was 'au courant' with home politics when he wrote the lines, it is impossible to say, and without such knowledge some doubt must rest on any interpretation of the passage. But of its genesis there is no doubt. Lady Ann Hamilton, in her estimate of Lord Henry Petty, in 'Epics of the Ton' (p. 139), has something to say on budget "figures"—

"Those imps which make the senses reel, and zounds! Mistake a cypher for a thousand pounds;"

and her note-writer comments thus: "It somewhat hurts the feelings to see a minister stand up in his place, and after a very pretty exordium to the budget, take up a bundle of papers from the table, gaze at the incomprehensible calculations before him, stammer out a few confused numbers, and then, with a rueful face, look over his shoulder to V—ns—rt for assistance. How often have I grieved to see unhappy A—d—g—n in this lamentable predicament!" Again, on Thellusson being raised to the peerage as Lord Rendlesham, she asks—

"Say, shall we bend to titles thus bestowed, And like the Egyptians, hail the calf a god? With toads, asps, onions, ornament the shrine, And reptiles own and pot-herbs things divine?"

It is evident that Byron, uninspired by Pallas, turned to the 'Epics of the Ton' for "copy," but whether he left a blank on purpose because "Vansittart" (to whom Perceval did turn) would not scan, or, misled by old newspapers, would have written "Horner," must remain a mystery.]]

[Footnote 21: See the portrait of Spencer Perceval in the National Portrait Gallery.]

[Footnote 22: The Deal and Dover traffickers in specie.]

[Footnote i:

'O'er the blue ocean way his'.


[Sub-Footnote A: The only MS. of 'The Curse of Minerva' which the editor has seen, is in the possession of the Earl of Stanhope. A second MS., formerly in the possession of the Duke of Newcastle, is believed to have perished in a fire which broke out at Clumber in 1879.]

[Footnote ii:

'Nor yet forbears each long-abandoned shrine'.


[Footnote iii:

'Their 'varying azure mingled with the sky Beneath his rays assumes a deeper dye'.


[Footnote iv:

'Behind his Delphian cliff'——.

['Corsair', III. st. i. l. 18.]]

[Footnote v:

'The soul of him who'——.

['Corsair, III. st. i. 1. 31.']]

[Footnote vi:

'silver reign'.


[Footnote vii:

'How sweet and Silent, not a passing cloud Hides her fair face with intervening shroud'.


[Footnote viii:

'seems to smile',

['Corsair', III. st. i. 1. 54.]]

[Footnote ix:

'Sad shrine'.


[Footnote x:

'Welcome to slaves, and foremost'.

['MS'.] ]

[Footnote xi:

'Ah, Athens! scarce escaped from Turk and Goth, Hell sends a paltry Scotchman worse than both.'


[Footnote xii:

'British peer'.

['MS'.] ]

[Footnote xiii:

'Sneaking Jackal'.

['MS'.] ]

[Footnote xiv:

'guilty name'.


[Footnote xv:

'A land of liars, mountebanks, and Mist'.


[Footnote xvi:

'That Art may measure old and modern styles'.


[Footnote xvii:

'shy comparisons'.


[Footnote xviii:

'In sooth the Nymph 'twere no slight task to please Since young Sir Harry, etc.'


[Footnote xix:

'Fallen is each dear bought friend on Foreign Coast Or leagued to add you to the world you lost'.


[Footnote xx:

'——'the glittering file The martial sounds that animate the while'.



Byron spent the autumn of 1812 "by the waters of Cheltenham," and, besides writing to order his 'Song of Drury Lane' (the address spoken at the opening of the theatre, Oct. 10, 1812), he put in hand a 'Satire on Waltzing'. It was published anonymously in the following spring; but, possibly, because it was somewhat coolly received, he told Murray (April 21, 1813) "to contradict the report that he was the author of a certain malicious publication on waltzing." In his memoranda "chiefly with reference to my Byron," Moore notes "Byron's hatred of waltzing," and records a passage of arms between "the lame boy" and Mary Chaworth, which arose from her "dancing with some person who was unknown to her." Then, and always, he must have experienced the bitter sense of exclusion from active amusements; but it is a hasty assumption that Byron only denounced waltzing because he was unable to waltz himself. To modern sentiment, on the moral side, waltzing is unassailable; but the first impressions of spectators, to whom it was a novelty, were distinctly unfavourable.

In a letter from Germany (May 17, 1799) Coleridge describes a dance round the maypole at Ruebeland.

"The dances were reels and the waltzes, but chiefly the latter; this dance is in the higher circles sufficiently voluptuous, but here the motions of it were 'far' more faithful interpreters of the passions."

A year later, H.C. Robinson, writing from Frankfort in 1800 ('Diary and Letters', i. 76), says, "The dancing is unlike anything you ever saw. You must have heard of it under the name of waltzing, that is rolling and turning, though the rolling is not horizontal but perpendicular. Yet Werther, after describing his first waltz with Charlotte, says, and I say so too, 'I felt that if I were married my wife should waltz (or roll) with no one but myself.'" Ten years later, Gillray publishes a caricature of the waltz, as a French dance, which he styles, "Le bon Genre." It is not a pretty picture. By degrees, however, and with some reluctance, society yielded to the fascinations of the stranger.

"My cousin Hartington," writes Lady Caroline Lamb, in 1812 ('Memoirs of Viscount Melbourne', by W.T. McCullagh Torrens, i. 105), "wanted to have waltzes and quadrilles; and at Devonshire House it could not be allowed, so we had them in the great drawing-room at Whitehall. All the 'bon ton' assembled there continually. There was nothing so fashionable."

"No event," says Thomas Raikes ('Personal Reminiscences', p. 284), ever produced so great a sensation in English society as the introduction of the German waltz.... Old and young returned to school, and the mornings were now absorbed at home in practising the figures of a French quadrille or whirling a chair round the room to learn the step and measure of the German waltz. The anti-waltzing party took the alarm, cried it down; mothers forbad it, and every ballroom became a scene of feud and contention. The foreigners were not idle in forming their 'eleves'; Baron Tripp, Neumann, St. Aldegonde, etc., persevered in spite of all prejudices which were marshalled against them. It was not, however, till Byron's "malicious publication" had been issued and forgotten that the new dance received full recognition. "When," Raikes concludes, "the Emperor Alexander was seen waltzing round the room at Almack's with his tight uniform and numerous decorations," or [Gronow, 'Recollections', 1860, pp. 32, 33] "Lord Palmerston might have been seen describing an infinite number of circles with Madame de Lieven," insular prejudices gave way, and waltzing became general.




"Qualis in Eurotae ripis, aut per juga Cynthi, Exercet DIANA choros."

VIRGIL, 'AEn'. i. 502.

"Such on Eurotas's banks, or Cynthus's height, Diana seems: and so she charms the sight, When in the dance the graceful goddess leads The quire of nymphs, and overtops their heads."

DRYDEN'S Virgil.


The title-page of the first edition (4to.) of The Waltz bears the imprint:

London: Printed by S. Gosnell, Little Queen Street, Holborn. For Sherwood, Neely and Jones, Paternoster Row. 1813. (Price Three Shillings.)

Successive Revises had run as follows:—

i. London: Printed for John Murray, Albemarle Street, Piccadilly. By S. Gosnell, Little Queen Street. 1813.

ii. Cambridge: Printed by G. Maitland. For John Murray, etc.

iii. Cambridge: Printed by G. Maitland. For Sherwood, Neely and Jones, Paternoster Row. 1813.

For the Bibliography of The Waltz, see vol. vi. of the present issue.



I am a country Gentleman of a midland county. I might have been a Parliament-man for a certain borough; having had the offer of as many votes as General T. at the general election in 1812. [1] But I was all for domestic happiness; as, fifteen years ago, on a visit to London, I married a middle-aged Maid of Honour. We lived happily at Hornem Hall till last Season, when my wife and I were invited by the Countess of Waltzaway (a distant relation of my Spouse) to pass the winter in town. Thinking no harm, and our Girls being come to a marriageable (or, as they call it, 'marketable') age, and having besides a Chancery suit inveterately entailed upon the family estate, we came up in our old chariot,—of which, by the bye, my wife grew so ashamed in less than a week, that I was obliged to buy a second-hand barouche, of which I might mount the box, Mrs. H. says, if I could drive, but never see the inside—that place being reserved for the Honourable Augustus Tiptoe, her partner-general and Opera-knight. Hearing great praises of Mrs. H.'s dancing (she was famous for birthnight minuets in the latter end of the last century), I unbooted, and went to a ball at the Countess's, expecting to see a country dance, or, at most, Cotillons, reels, and all the old paces to the newest tunes, But, judge of my surprise, on arriving, to see poor dear Mrs. Hornem with her arms half round the loins of a huge hussar-looking gentleman I never set eyes on before; and his, to say truth, rather more than half round her waist, turning round, and round, to a d——d see-saw up-and-down sort of tune, that reminded me of the "Black Joke," only more "'affettuoso'"[1] till it made me quite giddy with wondering they were not so. By and by they stopped a bit, and I thought they would sit or fall down:—but no; with Mrs. H.'s hand on his shoulder, "'Quam familiariter'"[2] (as Terence said, when I was at school,) they walked about a minute, and then at it again, like two cock-chafers spitted on the same bodkin. I asked what all this meant, when, with a loud laugh, a child no older than our Wilhelmina (a name I never heard but in the 'Vicar of Wakefield', though her mother would call her after the Princess of Swappenbach,) said, "L—d! Mr. Hornem, can't you see they're valtzing?" or waltzing (I forget which); and then up she got, and her mother and sister, and away they went, and round-abouted it till supper-time. Now that I know what it is, I like it of all things, and so does Mrs. H. (though I have broken my shins, and four times overturned Mrs. Hornem's maid, in practising the preliminary steps in a morning). Indeed, so much do I like it, that having a turn for rhyme, tastily displayed in some election ballads, and songs in honour of all the victories (but till lately I have had little practice in that way), I sat down, and with the aid of William Fitzgerald, Esq., and a few hints from Dr. Busby, (whose recitations I attend, and am monstrous fond of Master Busby's manner of delivering his father's late successful "Drury Lane Address,")[1] I composed the following hymn, wherewithal to make my sentiments known to the Public; whom, nevertheless, I heartily despise, as well as the critics.

I am, Sir, yours, etc., etc.


[Footnote 1: State of the poll (last day) 5.

[General Tarleton (1754-1833) contested Liverpool in October, 1812. For three days the poll stood at five, and on the last day, eleven. Canning and Gascoigne were the successful candidates.]]

[Footnote 2: More expressive.—[MS.]

[Footnote 3: My Latin is all forgotten, if a man can be said to have forgotten what he never remembered; but I bought my title-page motto of a Catholic priest for a three-shilling bank token, after much haggling for the even sixpence. I grudged the money to a papist, being all for the memory of Perceval and "No popery," and quite regretting the downfall of the pope, because we can't burn him any more.—[Revise No. 2.] ]

[Footnote 4: See 'Rejected Addresses'.]


Muse of the many-twinkling feet! [1] whose charms Are now extended up from legs to arms; Terpsichore!—too long misdeemed a maid— Reproachful term—bestowed but to upbraid— Henceforth in all the bronze of brightness shine, [i] The least a Vestal of the Virgin Nine. Far be from thee and thine the name of Prude: Mocked yet triumphant; sneered at, unsubdued; Thy legs must move to conquer as they fly, If but thy coats are reasonably high! 10 Thy breast—if bare enough—requires no shield; Dance forth—sans armour thou shalt take the field And own—impregnable to most assaults, Thy not too lawfully begotten "Waltz."

Hail, nimble Nymph! to whom the young hussar, [2] The whiskered votary of Waltz and War, His night devotes, despite of spur and boots; A sight unmatched since Orpheus and his brutes: Hail, spirit-stirring Waltz!—beneath whose banners A modern hero fought for modish manners; 20 On Hounslow's heath to rival Wellesley's [3] fame, Cocked, fired, and missed his man—but gained his aim; Hail, moving muse! to whom the fair one's breast Gives all it can, and bids us take the rest. Oh! for the flow of Busby, [4] or of Fitz, The latter's loyalty, the former's wits, To "energise the object I pursue," And give both Belial and his Dance their due! [ii]

Imperial Waltz! imported from the Rhine (Famed for the growth of pedigrees and wine), 30 Long be thine import from all duty free, And Hock itself be less esteemed than thee; In some few qualities alike—for Hock Improves our cellar—thou our living stock. The head to Hock belongs—thy subtler art Intoxicates alone the heedless heart: Through the full veins thy gentler poison swims, And wakes to Wantonness the willing limbs.

Oh, Germany! how much to thee we owe, As heaven-born Pitt can testify below, 40 Ere cursed Confederation made thee France's, And only left us thy d—d debts and dances! [5] Of subsidies and Hanover bereft, We bless thee still—George the Third is left! Of kings the best—and last, not least in worth, For graciously begetting George the Fourth. To Germany, and Highnesses serene, Who owe us millions—don't we owe the Queen? To Germany, what owe we not besides? So oft bestowing Brunswickers and brides; 50 Who paid for vulgar, with her royal blood, Drawn from the stem of each Teutonic stud: Who sent us—so be pardoned all her faults— A dozen dukes, some kings, a Queen—and Waltz.

But peace to her—her Emperor and Diet, Though now transferred to Buonaparte's "fiat!" Back to my theme—O muse of Motion! say, How first to Albion found thy Waltz her way?

Borne on the breath of Hyperborean gales, From Hamburg's port (while Hamburg yet had mails), 60 Ere yet unlucky Fame—compelled to creep To snowy Gottenburg-was chilled to sleep; Or, starting from her slumbers, deigned arise, Heligoland! to stock thy mart with lies; [iii] While unburnt Moscow [6] yet had news to send, Nor owed her fiery Exit to a friend, She came—Waltz came—and with her certain sets Of true despatches, and as true Gazettes; Then flamed of Austerlitz the blest despatch, [7] Which Moniteur nor Morning Post can match 70 And—almost crushed beneath the glorious news— Ten plays, and forty tales of Kotzebue's; [8] One envoy's letters, six composer's airs, And loads from Frankfort and from Leipsic fairs: Meiners' four volumes upon Womankind, [9] Like Lapland witches to ensure a wind; Brunck's heaviest tome for ballast, [10] and, to back it, Of Heyne, [11] such as should not sink the packet. [iv]

Fraught with this cargo—and her fairest freight, Delightful Waltz, on tiptoe for a Mate, 80 The welcome vessel reached the genial strand, And round her flocked the daughters of the land. Not decent David, when, before the ark, His grand Pas-seul excited some remark; Not love-lorn Quixote, when his Sancho thought The knight's Fandango friskier than it ought; Not soft Herodias, when, with winning tread, Her nimble feet danced off another's head; Not Cleopatra on her Galley's Deck, Displayed so much of leg or more of neck, 90 Than Thou, ambrosial Waltz, when first the Moon Beheld thee twirling to a Saxon tune!

To You, ye husbands of ten years! whose brows Ache with the annual tributes of a spouse; To you of nine years less, who only bear The budding sprouts of those that you shall wear, With added ornaments around them rolled Of native brass, or law-awarded gold; To You, ye Matrons, ever on the watch To mar a son's, or make a daughter's match; 100 To You, ye children of—whom chance accords— Always the Ladies, and sometimes their Lords; To You, ye single gentlemen, who seek Torments for life, or pleasures for a week; As Love or Hymen your endeavours guide, To gain your own, or snatch another's bride;— To one and all the lovely Stranger came, And every Ball-room echoes with her name.

Endearing Waltz!—to thy more melting tune Bow Irish Jig, and ancient Rigadoon. [12] 110 Scotch reels, avaunt! and Country-dance forego Your future claims to each fantastic toe! Waltz—Waltz alone—both legs and arms demands, Liberal of feet, and lavish of her hands; Hands which may freely range in public sight Where ne'er before—but—pray "put out the light." Methinks the glare of yonder chandelier Shines much too far—or I am much too near; And true, though strange—Waltz whispers this remark, "My slippery steps are safest in the dark!" 120 But here the Muse with due decorum halts, And lends her longest petticoat to "Waltz."

Observant Travellers of every time! Ye Quartos published upon every clime! 0 say, shall dull Romaika's heavy round, Fandango's wriggle, or Bolero's bound; Can Egypt's Almas [13]—tantalising group— Columbia's caperers to the warlike Whoop— Can aught from cold Kamschatka to Cape Horn With Waltz compare, or after Waltz be born? 130 Ah, no! from Morier's pages down to Galt's, [14] Each tourist pens a paragraph for "Waltz."

Shades of those Belles whose reign began of yore, With George the Third's—and ended long before!— Though in your daughters' daughters yet you thrive, [v] Burst from your lead, and be yourselves alive! Back to the Ball-room speed your spectred host, Fool's Paradise is dull to that you lost. ǐ No treacherous powder bids Conjecture quake; No stiff-starched stays make meddling fingers ache; [vii] 140 (Transferred to those ambiguous things that ape Goats in their visage, [15] women in their shape;) No damsel faints when rather closely pressed, But more caressing seems when most caressed; Superfluous Hartshorn, and reviving Salts, Both banished by the sovereign cordial "Waltz."

Seductive Waltz!—though on thy native shore Even Werter's self proclaimed thee half a whore; Werter—to decent vice though much inclined, Yet warm, not wanton; dazzled, but not blind— 150 Though gentle Genlis, [16] in her strife with Stael, Would even proscribe thee from a Paris ball; The fashion hails—from Countesses to Queens, And maids and valets waltz behind the scenes; Wide and more wide thy witching circle spreads, And turns—if nothing else—at least our heads; With thee even clumsy cits attempt to bounce, And cockney's practise what they can't pronounce. Gods! how the glorious theme my strain exalts, And Rhyme finds partner Rhyme in praise of "Waltz!" 160 Blest was the time Waltz chose for her debut! The Court, the Regent, like herself were new; [17] New face for friends, for foes some new rewards; New ornaments for black-and royal Guards; [viii] New laws to hang the rogues that roared for bread; New coins (most new) [18] to follow those that fled; New victories—nor can we prize them less, Though Jenky [19] wonders at his own success; New wars, because the old succeed so well, That most survivors envy those who fell; 170 New mistresses—no, old—and yet 'tis true, Though they be old, the thing is something new; Each new, quite new—(except some ancient tricks), [20] New white-sticks—gold-sticks—broom-sticks—all new sticks! With vests or ribands—decked alike in hue, New troopers strut, new turncoats blush in blue: So saith the Muse: my——, [21] what say you? Such was the time when Waltz might best maintain Her new preferments in this novel reign; Such was the time, nor ever yet was such; 180 Hoops are more, and petticoats not much; Morals and Minuets, Virtue and her stays, And tell-tale powder—all have had their days. The Ball begins—the honours of the house First duly done by daughter or by spouse, Some Potentate—or royal or serene— With Kent's gay grace, or sapient Gloster's mien, [ix] Leads forth the ready dame, whose rising flush Might once have been mistaken for a blush. From where the garb just leaves the bosom free, 190 That spot where hearts [22] were once supposed to be; Round all the confines of the yielded waist, The strangest hand may wander undisplaced: The lady's in return may grasp as much As princely paunches offer to her touch. Pleased round the chalky floor how well they trip One hand reposing on the royal hip! [23] The other to the shoulder no less royal Ascending with affection truly loyal! Thus front to front the partners move or stand, 200 The foot may rest, but none withdraw the hand; And all in turn may follow in their rank, The Earl of—Asterisk—and Lady—Blank; Sir—Such-a-one—with those of fashion's host, [x] [24] For whose blest surnames—vide "Morning Post." (Or if for that impartial print too late, Search Doctors' Commons six months from my date)— Thus all and each, in movement swift or slow, The genial contact gently undergo; Till some might marvel, with the modest Turk, 210 If "nothing follows all this palming work?" [25] True, honest Mirza!—you may trust my rhyme— Something does follow at a fitter time; The breast thus publicly resigned to man, In private may resist him—if it can.

O ye who loved our Grandmothers of yore, Fitzpatrick, [26] Sheridan, and many more! And thou, my Prince! whose sovereign taste and will [xi] It is to love the lovely beldames still! Thou Ghost of Queensberry! [27] whose judging Sprite 220 Satan may spare to peep a single night, Pronounce—if ever in your days of bliss Asmodeus struck so bright a stroke as this; To teach the young ideas how to rise, Flush in the cheek, and languish in the eyes; Rush to the heart, and lighten through the frame, With half-told wish, and ill-dissembled flame, For prurient Nature still will storm the breast— Who, tempted thus, can answer for the rest?

But ye—who never felt a single thought 230 For what our Morals are to be, or ought; Who wisely wish the charms you view to reap, Say—would you make those beauties quite so cheap? Hot from the hands promiscuously applied, Round the slight waist, or down the glowing side, Where were the rapture then to clasp the form From this lewd grasp and lawless contact warm? [xii] At once Love's most endearing thought resign, To press the hand so pressed by none but thine; To gaze upon that eye which never met 240 Another's ardent look without regret; Approach the lip which all, without restraint, Come near enough—if not to touch—to taint; If such thou lovest—love her then no more, Or give—like her—caresses to a score; Her Mind with these is gone, and with it go The little left behind it to bestow.

Voluptuous Waltz! and dare I thus blaspheme? Thy bard forgot thy praises were his theme. Terpsichore forgive!—at every Ball 250 My wife now waltzes—and my daughters shall; My son—(or stop—'tis needless to inquire— These little accidents should ne'er transpire; Some ages hence our genealogic tree [xiii] Will wear as green a bough for him as me)— Waltzing shall rear, to make our name amends Grandsons for me—in heirs to all his friends.

[Footnote 1: "Glance their many-twinkling feet."—GRAY.]

[Footnote 2: Lines 15-28 do not appear in the MS., but ten lines (omitting lines 21-24) were inserted in Proof No. 1.]

[Footnote 3: To rival Lord Wellesley's, or his nephew's, as the reader pleases:—the one gained a pretty woman, whom he deserved, by fighting for; and the other has been fighting in the Peninsula many a long day, "by Shrewsbury clock," without gaining anything in 'that' country but the title of "the Great Lord," and "the Lord;" which savours of profanation, having been hitherto applied only to that Being to whom "'Te Deums'" for carnage are the rankest blasphemy.—It is to be presumed the general will one day return to his Sabine farm: there

"To tame the genius of the stubborn plain, 'Almost as quickly' as he conquer'd Spain!"

The Lord Peterborough conquered continents in a summer; we do more—we contrive both to conquer and lose them in a shorter season. If the "great Lord's" 'Cincinnatian' progress in agriculture be no speedier than the proportional average of time in Pope's couplet, it will, according to the farmer's proverb, be "ploughing with dogs."

By the bye—one of this illustrious person's new titles is forgotten—it is, however, worth remembering—"'Salvador del mundo!" credite, posteri'! If this be the appellation annexed by the inhabitants of the Peninsula to the name of a 'man' who has not yet saved them—query—are they worth saving, even in this world? for, according to the mildest modifications of any Christian creed, those three words make the odds much against them in the next—"Saviour of the world," quotha!—it were to be wished that he, or any one else, could save a corner of it—his country. Yet this stupid misnomer, although it shows the near connection between superstition and impiety, so far has its use, that it proves there can be little to dread from those Catholics (inquisitorial Catholics too) who can confer such an appellation on a 'Protestant'. I suppose next year he will be entitled the "Virgin Mary;" if so, Lord George Gordon himself would have nothing to object to such liberal bastards of our Lady of Babylon.

[William Pole-Wellesley (1785?-1857), afterwards fourth Lord Mornington, a nephew of the great Duke of Wellington, married, in March, 1812, Catharine, daughter and heiress of Sir Tylney Long, Bart. On his marriage he added his wife's double surname to his own, and, thereby, gave the wits their chance. In 'Rejected Addresses' Fitzgerald is made to exclaim—

"Bless every man possess'd of aught to give, Long may Long-Tilney-Wellesley-Long-Pole live."

The principals in the duel to which Byron alludes were Wellesley-Pole and Lord Kilworth. The occasion of the quarrel was a misconception of some expression of Pole's at an assembly at Lady Hawarden's (August 6, 1811). A meeting took place on Wimbledon Common (August 9), at which the seconds intervened, and everything was "amicably adjusted." Some days later a letter appeared in the 'Morning Post' (August 14, 1811), signed "Kilworth," to the effect that an apology had been offered and accepted. This led to a second meeting on Hounslow Heath (August 15), when shots were exchanged. Again the seconds intervened, and, after more explanations, matters were finally arranged. A 'jeu d'esprit' which appeared in the 'Morning Chronicle' (August 16, 1811) connects the "mortal fracas" with Pole's prowess in waltzing at a fete at Wanstead House, near Hackney, where, when the heiress had been wooed and won, his guests used to dine at midnight after the opera.

"Mid the tumult of waltzing and wild Irish reels, A prime dancer, I'm sure to get at her— And by Love's graceful movements to trip up her heels, Is the Long and the short of the matter."]

[Footnote 4: Thomas Busby, Mus. Doc. (1755-1838), musical composer, and author of 'A New and Complete Musical Dictionary', 1801, etc. He was also a versifier. As early as 1785 he published 'The Age of Genius, A Satire'; and, after he had ceased to compose music for the stage, brought out a translation of Lucretius, which had long been in MS. His "rejected address" on the reopening of Drury Lane Theatre, would have been recited by his son (October 15), but the gallery refused to hear it out. On the next night (October 16) "Master" Busby was more successful. Byron's parody of Busby's address, which began with the line, "When energising objects men pursue," is headed, "Parenthetical Address. By Dr. Plagiary."]

[Footnote 5: The Confederation of the Rhine (1803-1813), by which the courts of Wuertemberg and Bavaria, together with some lesser principalities, detached themselves from the Germanic Body, and accepted the immediate protection of France.]

[Footnote 6: The patriotic arson of our amiable allies cannot be sufficiently commended—nor subscribed for. Amongst other details omitted in the various [A] despatches of our eloquent ambassador, he did not state (being too much occupied with the exploits of Colonel C——, in swimming rivers frozen, and galloping over roads impassable,) that one entire province perished by famine in the most melancholy manner, as follows:—In General Rostopchin's consummate conflagration, the consumption of tallow and train oil was so great, that the market was inadequate to the demand: and thus one hundred and thirty-three thousand persons were starved to death, by being reduced to wholesome diet! the lamp-lighters of London have since subscribed a pint (of oil) a piece, and the tallow-chandlers have unanimously voted a quantity of best moulds (four to the pound), to the relief of the surviving Scythians;—the scarcity will soon, by such exertions, and a proper attention to the 'quality' rather than the quantity of provision, be totally alleviated. It is said, in return, that the untouched Ukraine has subscribed sixty thousand beeves for a day's meal to our suffering manufacturers.

[Hamburg fell to Napoleon's forces in 1810, and thence-forward the mails from the north of Europe were despatched from Anholt, or Gothenberg, or Heligoland. In 1811 an attempt to enforce the conscription resulted in the emigration of numbers of young men of suitable age for military service. The unfortunate city was deprived of mails and males at the same time. Heligoland, which was taken by the British in 1807, and turned into a depot for the importation of smuggled goods to French territory, afforded a meeting-place for British and continental traders. Mails from Heligoland detailed rumours of what was taking place at the centres of war; but the newspapers occasionally threw doubts on the information obtained from this source. Lord Cathcart's despatch, dated November 23, appeared in the 'Gazette' December 16, 1812. The paragraph which appealed to Byron's sense of humour is as follows: "The expedition of Colonel Chernichef ('sic') [the Czar's aide-de-camp] was a continued and extraordinary exertion, he having marched seven hundred wersts ('sic') in five days, and swam several rivers."]

[Sub-Footnote A: Veracious despatches.—['MS. M'.] ]

[Footnote 7: Austerlitz was fought on Dec. 2, 1805. On Dec. 20 the 'Morning Chronicle' published a communication from a correspondent, giving the substance of Napoleon's "Proclamation to the Army," issued on the evening after the battle, which had reached Bourrienne, the French minister at Hamburg. "An army," ran the proclamation, "of 100,000 men, which was commanded by the Emperors of Russia and Austria, has been in less than four hours either cut off or dispersed." It was an official note of this "blest despatch," forwarded by courier to Bath, which brought "the heavy news" to Pitt, and, it is believed, hastened his death.]

[Footnote 8: August Frederick Ferdinand von Kotzebue (1761-1819), whom Coleridge appraised as "the German Beaumont and Fletcher without their poetic powers," and Carlyle as "a bundle of dyed rags," wrote over a hundred plays, publishing twenty within a few years.

An adaptation of 'Misanthropy and Repentance' as 'The Stranger', Sheridan's 'Pizarro', and Lewis' 'Castle Spectre' are well-known instances of his powerful influence on English dramatists.

"The Present," writes Sara Coleridge, in a note to one of her father's letters, "will ever have her special votaries in the world of letters, who collect into their focus, by a kind of burning-glass, the feelings of the day. Amongst such Kotzebue holds a high rank. Those 'dyed rags' of his once formed gorgeous banners, and flaunted in the eyes of refined companies from London to Madrid, from Paris to Moscow."

Coleridge's 'Biographia Literaria' (1847), ii. 227.]

[Footnote 9: A translation of Christopher Meiner's 'History of the Female Sex', in four volumes, was published in London in 1808. Lapland wizards, not witches, were said to raise storms by knotting pieces of string, which they exposed to the wind.]

[Footnote 10: Richard Franz Philippe Brunck (1729-1803). His editions of the 'Anthologia Graeca', and of the Greek dramatists are among his best known works. Compare Sheridan's doggerel—

"Huge leaves of that great commentator, old Brunck, Perhaps is the paper that lined my poor 'Trunk'."]

[Footnote 11: Christian Gottlob Heyne (1729-1812) published editions of 'Virgil' (1767-1775), 'Pindar' (1773), and 'Opuscula Academica', in six vols. (1785-1812).]

[Footnote 12: A lively dance for one couple, characterized by a peculiar jumping step. It probably originated in Provence.]

[Footnote 13: Dancing girls—who do for hire what Waltz doth gratis.

[The Romaika is a modern Greek dance, characterized by serpentining figures and handkerchief-throwing among the dancers. The Fandango (Spaniards use the word "seguidilla") was of Moorish origin. The Bolero was brought from Provence, circ. 1780.

"The Bolero intoxicates, the Fandango inflames"

('Hist. of Dancing', by G. Vuillier-Heinemann, 1898).]]

[Footnote 14: For Morier, see note to line 211. Galt has a paragraph descriptive of the waltzing Dervishes ('Voyages and Travels' (1812), p.190).]

[Footnote 15: It cannot be complained now, as in the Lady Baussiere's time, of the "Sieur de la Croix," that there be "no whiskers;" but how far these are indications of valour in the field, or elsewhere, may still be questionable. Much may be, and hath been;[A] avouched on both sides. In the olden time philosophers had whiskers, and soldiers none—Scipio himself was shaven—Hannibal thought his one eye handsome enough without a beard; but Adrian, the emperor, wore a beard (having warts on his chin, which neither the Empress Sabina nor even the courtiers could abide)—Turenne had whiskers, Marlborough none—Buonaparte is unwhiskered, the Regent whiskered; "'argal'" greatness of mind and whiskers may or may not go together; but certainly the different occurrences, since the growth of the last mentioned, go further in behalf of whiskers than the anathema of Anselm did 'against' long hair in the reign of Henry I.—Formerly, 'red' was a favourite colour. See Lodowick Barrey's comedy of 'Ram Alley', 1661; Act I. Scene I.

'Taffeta'. Now for a wager—What coloured beard comes next by the window?

'Adriana'. A black man's, I think.

'Taffeta'. I think not so: I think a 'red', for that is most in fashion.

There is "nothing new under the sun:" but 'red', then a 'favourite', has now subsided into a favourite's colour. [This is, doubtless, an allusion to Lord Yarmouth, whose fiery whiskers gained him the nickname of "Red Herrings."]

[Sub-Footnote A: The paragraph "Much may be" down to "reign of Henry I." was added in Revise 1, and the remainder of the note in Revise 2.]]

[Footnote 16: Madame Genlis (Stephanie Felicite Ducrest, Marquise de Sillery), commenting on the waltz, writes,

"As a foreigner, I shall not take the liberty to censure this kind of dance; but this I can say, that it appears intolerable to German writers of superior merits who are not accused of severity of manners,"

and by way of example instances M. Jacobi, who affirms that "Werther ('Sorrows of Werther', Letter ix.), the lover of Charlotte, swears that, were he to perish for it, never should a girl for whom he entertained any affection, and on whom he had honourable views, dance the waltz with any other man besides himself."—'Selections from the Works of Madame de Genlis' (1806), p. 65.

Compare, too, "Faulkland" on country-dances in 'The Rivals', act ii. sc. I,

"Country-dances! jigs and reels! ... A minuet I could have forgiven ... Zounds! had she made one in a cotillon—I believe I could have forgiven even that—but to be monkey-led for a night! to run the gauntlet through a string of amorous palming puppies ... Oh, Jack, there never can be but one man in the world whom a truly modest and delicate woman ought to pair with in a country-dance; and even then, the rest of the couples should be her great-uncles and aunts!"]

[Footnote 17: An anachronism—Waltz and the battle of Austerlitz are before said to have opened the ball together; the bard means (if he means anything), Waltz was not so much in vogue till the Regent attained the acme of his popularity. Waltz, the comet, whiskers, and the new government, illuminated heaven and earth, in all their glory, much about the same time: of these the comet only has disappeared; the other three continue to astonish us still.—'Printers Devil'.

[As the 'Printer's Devil' intimates, the various novelties of the age of "Waltz" are somewhat loosely enumerated. The Comet, which signalized 1811, the year of the restricted Regency, had disappeared before the Prince and his satellites burst into full blaze in 1812. It was (see 'Historical Record of the Life Guards', 1835, p.177) in 1812 that the Prince Regent commanded the following alterations to be made in the equipments of the regiment of Life Guards: "Cocked hats with feathers to be discontinued, and brass helmets with black horsehair crests substituted. Long coats, trimmed with gold lace across the front. Shirts and cuffs to be replaced by short coatees," etc., etc. In the same branch of the service, whiskers were already in vogue. The "new laws" were those embodied in the "Frame-work Bill," which Byron denounced in his speech in the House of Lords, Feb. 27, 1812. Formerly the breaking of frames had been treated "as a minor felony, punishable by transportation for fourteen years," and the object of the bill was to make such offences capital. The bill passed into law on March 5, and as a result we read ('Annual Register', 1812, pp. 38, 39) that on May 24 a special commission for the rioters of Cheshire was opened by Judge Dallas at Chester. "His lordship passed the awful sentence of death upon sixteen, and in a most impressioned address, held out not the smallest hope of mercy." Of these five 'only' were hanged.

Owing to the scarcity of silver coinage, the Bank of England was empowered to issue bank-tokens for various sums (Mr. Hornem bought his motto for 'The Waltz' with a three-shilling bank-token; see 'note' to Preface) which came into circulation on July 9, 1811. The "new ninepences" which were said to be forthcoming never passed into circulation at all. A single "pattern" coin (on the obverse, 'Bank Token, Ninepence, 1812') is preserved in the British Museum (see privately printed 'Catalogue', by W. Boyne (1866), p.11). The "new victories" were the fall of Ciudad Rodrigo (Jan. 17), the capture of Badajoz (April 7), and the Battle of Salamanca (July 12, 1812). By way of "new wars," the President of the United States declared war with Great Britain on June 18, and Great Britain with the United States, Oct. 13, 1812. As to "new mistresses," for a reference to "'Our' Sultan's" "she-promotions" of "those only plump and sage, Who've reached the regulation age," see 'Intercepted Letters, or the Twopenny Post-bag', by Thomas Brown the Younger, 1813, and for "gold sticks," etc., see "Promotions" in the 'Annual Register' for March, 1812, in which a long list of Household appointments is duly recorded.]]

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