During his stay at Constantinople, the English minister, Mr. Adair, being indisposed the greater part of the time, had but few opportunities of seeing him. He, however, pressed him, with much hospitality, to accept a lodging at the English palace, which Lord Byron, preferring the freedom of his homely inn, declined. At the audience granted to the ambassador, on his taking leave, by the Sultan, the noble poet attended in the train of Mr. Adair,—having shown an anxiety as to the place he was to hold in the procession, not a little characteristic of his jealous pride of rank. In vain had the minister assured him that no particular station could be allotted to him;—that the Turks, in their arrangements for the ceremonial, considered only the persons connected with the embassy, and neither attended to, nor acknowledged, the precedence which our forms assign to nobility. Seeing the young peer still unconvinced by these representations, Mr. Adair was, at length, obliged to refer him to an authority, considered infallible on such points of etiquette, the old Austrian Internuncio;—on consulting whom, and finding his opinions agree fully with those of the English minister, Lord Byron declared himself perfectly satisfied.
On the 14th of July his fellow-traveller and himself took their departure from Constantinople on board the Salsette frigate,—Mr. Hobhouse with the intention of accompanying the ambassador to England, and Lord Byron with the resolution of visiting his beloved Greece again. To Mr. Adair he appeared, at this time, (and I find that Mr. Bruce, who met him afterwards at Athens, conceived the same impression of him,) to be labouring under great dejection of spirits. One circumstance related to me, as having occurred in the course of the passage, is not a little striking. Perceiving, as he walked the deck, a small yataghan, or Turkish dagger, on one of the benches, he took it up, unsheathed it, and, having stood for a few moments contemplating the blade, was heard to say, in an under voice, "I should like to know how a person feels after committing a murder!" In this startling speech we may detect, I think, the germ of his future Giaours and Laras. This intense wish to explore the dark workings of the passions was what, with the aid of imagination, at length generated the power; and that faculty which entitled him afterwards to be so truly styled "the searcher of dark bosoms," may be traced to, perhaps, its earliest stirrings in the sort of feeling that produced these words.
On their approaching the island of Zea, he expressed a wish to be put on shore. Accordingly, having taken leave of his companions, he was landed upon this small island, with two Albanians, a Tartar, and one English servant; and in one of his manuscripts he has himself described the proud, solitary feeling with which he stood to see the ship sail swiftly away—leaving him there, in a land of strangers alone.
A few days after, he addressed the following letters to Mrs. Byron from Athens.
TO MRS. BYRON.
"Athens, July 25. 1810.
"I have arrived here in four days from Constantinople, which is considered as singularly quick, particularly for the season of the year. You northern gentry can have no conception of a Greek summer; which, however, is a perfect frost compared with Malta and Gibraltar, where I reposed myself in the shade last year, after a gentle gallop of four hundred miles, without intermission, through Portugal and Spain. You see, by my date, that I am at Athens again, a place which I think I prefer, upon the whole, to any I have seen.
"My next movement is to-morrow into the Morea, where I shall probably remain a month or two, and then return to winter here, if I do not change my plans, which, however, are very variable, as you may suppose; but none of them verge to England.
"The Marquis of Sligo, my old fellow-collegian, is here, and wishes to accompany me into the Morea. We shall go together for that purpose. Lord S. will afterwards pursue his way to the capital; and Lord B., having seen all the wonders in that quarter, will let you know what he does next, of which at present he is not quite certain. Malta is my perpetual post-office, from which my letters are forwarded to all parts of the habitable globe:—by the by, I have now been in Asia, Africa, and the east of Europe, and, indeed, made the most of my time, without hurrying over the most interesting scenes of the ancient world. F——, after having been toasted, and roasted, and baked, and grilled, and eaten by all sorts of creeping things, begins to philosophise, is grown a refined as well as a resigned character, and promises at his return to become an ornament to his own parish, and a very prominent person in the future family pedigree of the F——s, who I take to be Goths by their accomplishments, Greeks by their acuteness, and ancient Saxons by their appetite. He (F——) begs leave to send half-a-dozen sighs to Sally his spouse, and wonders (though I do not) that his ill written and worse spelt letters have never come to hand; as for that matter, there is no great loss in either of our letters, saving and except that I wish you to know we are well, and warm enough at this present writing, God knows. You must not expect long letters at present, for they are written with the sweat of my brow, I assure you. It is rather singular that Mr. H—— has not written a syllable since my departure. Your letters I have mostly received as well as others; from which I conjecture that the man of law is either angry or busy.
"I trust you like Newstead, and agree with your neighbours; but you know you are a vixen—is not that a dutiful appellation? Pray, take care of my books and several boxes of papers in the hands of Joseph; and pray leave me a few bottles of champagne to drink, for I am very thirsty;—but I do not insist on the last article, without you like it. I suppose you have your house full of silly women, prating scandalous things. Have you ever received my picture in oil from Sanders, London? It has been paid for these sixteen months: why do you not get it? My suite, consisting of two Turks, two Greeks, a Lutheran, and the nondescript, Fletcher, are making so much noise, that I am glad to sign myself
"Yours, &c. &c.
A day or two after the date of this, he left Athens in company with the Marquis of Sligo. Having travelled together as far as Corinth, they from thence branched off in different directions,—Lord Sligo to pay a visit to the capital of the Morea, and Lord Byron to proceed to Patras, where he had some business, as will be seen by the following letter, with the English consul, Mr. Strane:—
TO MRS. BYRON.
"Patras, July 30. 1810.
"In four days from Constantinople, with a favourable wind, I arrived in the frigate at the island of Ceos, from whence I took a boat to Athens, where I met my friend the Marquis of Sligo, who expressed a wish to proceed with me as far as Corinth. At Corinth we separated, he for Tripolitza, I for Patras, where I had some business with the consul, Mr. Strane, in whose house I now write. He has rendered me every service in his power since I quitted Malta on my way to Constantinople, whence I have written to you twice or thrice. In a few days I visit the Pacha at Tripolitza, make the tour of the Morea, and return again to Athens, which at present is my head-quarters. The heat is at present intense. In England, if it reaches 98 deg., you are all on fire: the other day, in travelling between Athens and Megara, the thermometer was at 125 deg.!!! Yet I feel no inconvenience; of course I am much bronzed, but I live temperately, and never enjoyed better health.
"Before I left Constantinople, I saw the Sultan (with Mr. Adair), and the interior of the mosques, things which rarely happen to travellers. Mr. Hobhouse is gone to England: I am in no hurry to return, but have no particular communications for your country, except my surprise at Mr. H——'s silence, and my desire that he will remit regularly. I suppose some arrangement has been made with regard to Wymondham and Rochdale. Malta is my post-office, or to Mr. Strane, consul-general, Patras, Morea. You complain of my silence—I have written twenty or thirty times within the last year: never less than twice a month, and often more. If my letters do not arrive, you must not conclude that we are eaten, or that there is a war, or a pestilence, or famine: neither must you credit silly reports, which I dare say you have in Notts., as usual. I am very well, and neither more nor less happy than I usually am; except that I am very glad to be once more alone, for I was sick of my companion,—not that he was a bad one, but because my nature leads me to solitude, and that every day adds to this disposition. If I chose, here are many men who would wish to join me—one wants me to go to Egypt, another to Asia, of which I have seen enough. The greater part of Greece is already my own, so that I shall only go over my old ground, and look upon my old seas and mountains, the only acquaintances I ever found improve upon me.
"I have a tolerable suite, a Tartar, two Albanians, an interpreter, besides Fletcher; but in this country these are easily maintained. Adair received me wonderfully well, and indeed I have no complaints against any one. Hospitality here is necessary, for inns are not. I have lived in the houses of Greeks, Turks, Italians, and English—to-day in a palace, to-morrow in a cowhouse; this day with a Pacha, the next with a shepherd. I shall continue to write briefly, but frequently, and am glad to hear from you; but you fill your letters with things from the papers, as if English papers were not found all over the world. I have at this moment a dozen before me. Pray take care of my books, and believe me, my dear mother,
The greater part of the two following months he appears to have occupied in making a tour of the Morea; and the very distinguished reception he met with from Veley Pacha, the son of Ali, is mentioned with much pride, in more than one of his letters.
On his return from this tour to Patras, he was seized with a fit of illness, the particulars of which are mentioned in the following letter to Mr. Hodgson; and they are, in many respects, so similar to those of the last fatal malady, with which, fourteen years afterwards, he was attacked, in nearly the same spot, that, livelily as the account is written, it is difficult to read it without melancholy:—
TO MR. HODGSON.
"Patras, Morea, October 3. 1810.
"As I have just escaped from a physician and a fever, which confined me five days to bed, you won't expect much 'allegrezza' in the ensuing letter. In this place there is an indigenous distemper, which, when the wind blows from the Gulf of Corinth (as it does five months out of six), attacks great and small, and makes woful work with visiters. Here be also two physicians, one of whom trusts to his genius (never having studied)—the other to a campaign of eighteen months against the sick of Otranto, which he made in his youth with great effect.
"When I was seized with my disorder, I protested against both these assassins;—but what can a helpless, feverish, toast-and-watered poor wretch do? In spite of my teeth and tongue, the English consul, my Tartar, Albanians, dragoman, forced a physician upon me, and in three days vomited and glystered me to the last gasp. In this state I made my epitaph—take it:—
"Youth, Nature, and relenting Jove, To keep my lamp in strongly strove; But Romanelli was so stout, He beat all three—and blew it out.
But Nature and Jove, being piqued at my doubts, did, in fact, at last, beat Romanelli, and here I am, well but weakly, at your service.
"Since I left Constantinople, I have made a tour of the Morea, and visited Veley Pacha, who paid me great honours, and gave me a pretty stallion. H. is doubtless in England before even the date of this letter:—he bears a despatch from me to your bardship. He writes to me from Malta, and requests my journal, if I keep one. I have none, or he should have it; but I have replied in a consolatory and exhortatory epistle, praying him to abate three and sixpence in the price of his next boke seeing that half-a-guinea is a price not to be given for any thing save an opera ticket.
"As for England, it is long since I have heard from it. Every one at all connected with my concerns is asleep, and you are my only correspondent, agents excepted. I have really no friends in the world; though all my old school companions are gone forth into that world, and walk about there in monstrous disguises, in the garb of guardsmen, lawyers, parsons, fine gentlemen, and such other masquerade dresses. So, I here shake hands and cut with all these busy people, none of whom write to me. Indeed I ask it not;—and here I am, a poor traveller and heathenish philosopher, who hath perambulated the greatest part of the Levant, and seen a great quantity of very improvable land and sea, and, after all, am no better than when I set out—Lord help me!
"I have been out fifteen months this very day, and I believe my concerns will draw me to England soon; but of this I will apprise you regularly from Malta. On all points Hobhouse will inform you, if you are curious as to our adventures. I have seen some old English papers up to the 15th of May. I see the 'Lady of the Lake' advertised. Of course it is in his old ballad style, and pretty. After all, Scott is the best of them. The end of all scribblement is to amuse, and he certainly succeeds there. I long to read his new romance.
"And how does 'Sir Edgar?' and your friend Bland? I suppose you are involved in some literary squabble. The only way is to despise all brothers of the quill. I suppose you won't allow me to be an author, but I contemn you all, you dogs!—I do.
"You don't know D——s, do you? He had a farce ready for the stage before I left England, and asked me for a prologue, which I promised, but sailed in such a hurry, I never penned a couplet. I am afraid to ask after his drama, for fear it should be damned—Lord forgive me for using such a word! but the pit, Sir, you know the pit—they will do those things in spite of merit. I remember this farce from a curious circumstance. When Drury Lane was burnt to the ground, by which accident Sheridan and his son lost the few remaining shillings they were worth, what doth my friend D—— do? Why, before the fire was out, he writes a note to Tom Sheridan, the manager of this combustible concern, to enquire whether this farce was not converted into fuel, with about two thousand other unactable manuscripts, which of course were in great peril, if not actually consumed. Now was not this characteristic?—the ruling passions of Pope are nothing to it. Whilst the poor distracted manager was bewailing the loss of a building only worth 300,000 l., together with some twenty thousand pounds of rags and tinsel in the tiring rooms, Bluebeard's elephants, and all that—in comes a note from a scorching author, requiring at his hands two acts and odd scenes of a farce!!
"Dear H., remind Drury that I am his well-wisher, and let Scrope Davies be well affected towards me. I look forward to meeting you at Newstead, and renewing our old champagne evenings with all the glee of anticipation. I have written by every opportunity, and expect responses as regular as those of the liturgy, and somewhat longer. As it is impossible for a man in his senses to hope for happy days, let us at least look forward to merry ones, which come nearest to the other in appearance, if not in reality; and in such expectations,
I remain," &c.
He was a good deal weakened and thinned by his illness at Patras, and, on his return to Athens, standing one day before a looking-glass, he said to Lord Sligo—"How pale I look!—I should like, I think, to die of a consumption."—"Why of a consumption?" asked his friend. "Because then (he answered) the women would all say, 'See that poor Byron—how interesting he looks in dying!'" In this anecdote,—which, slight as it is, the relater remembered, as a proof of the poet's consciousness of his own beauty,—may be traced also the habitual reference of his imagination to that sex, which, however he affected to despise it, influenced, more or less, the flow and colour of all his thoughts.
He spoke often of his mother to Lord Sligo, and with a feeling that seemed little short of aversion. "Some time or other," he said, "I will tell you why I feel thus towards her."—A few days after, when they were bathing together in the Gulf of Lepanto, he referred to this promise, and, pointing to his naked leg and foot, exclaimed—"Look there!—it is to her false delicacy at my birth I owe that deformity; and yet, as long as I can remember, she has never ceased to taunt and reproach me with it. Even a few days before we parted, for the last time, on my leaving England, she, in one of her fits of passion, uttered an imprecation upon me, praying that I might prove as ill formed in mind as I am in body!" His look and manner, in relating this frightful circumstance, can be conceived only by those who have ever seen him in a similar state of excitement.
The little value he had for those relics of ancient art, in pursuit of which he saw all his classic fellow-travellers so ardent, was, like every thing he ever thought or felt, unreservedly avowed by him. Lord Sligo having it in contemplation to expend some money in digging for antiquities, Lord Byron, in offering to act as his agent, and to see the money, at least, honestly applied, said—"You may safely trust me—I am no dilettante. Your connoisseurs are all thieves; but I care too little for these things ever to steal them."
The system of thinning himself, which he had begun before he left England, was continued still more rigidly abroad. While at Athens, he took the hot bath for this purpose, three times a week,—his usual drink being vinegar and water, and his food seldom more than a little rice.
Among the persons, besides Lord Sligo, whom he saw most of at this time, were Lady Hester Stanhope and Mr. Bruce. One of the first objects, indeed, that met the eyes of these two distinguished travellers, on their approaching the coast of Attica, was Lord Byron, disporting in his favourite element under the rocks of Cape Colonna. They were afterwards made acquainted with each other by Lord Sligo; and it was in the course, I believe, of their first interview, at his table, that Lady Hester, with that lively eloquence for which she is so remarkable, took the poet briskly to task for the depreciating opinion, which, as she understood, he entertained of all female intellect. Being but little inclined, were he even able, to sustain such a heresy, against one who was in her own person such an irresistible refutation of it, Lord Byron had no other refuge from the fair orator's arguments than in assent and silence; and this well-bred deference being, in a sensible woman's eyes, equivalent to concession, they became, from thenceforward, most cordial friends. In recalling some recollections of this period in his "Memoranda," after relating the circumstance of his being caught bathing by an English party at Sunium, he added, "This was the beginning of the most delightful acquaintance which I formed in Greece." He then went on to assure Mr. Bruce, if ever those pages should meet his eyes, that the days they had passed together at Athens were remembered by him with pleasure.
During this period of his stay in Greece, we find him forming one of those extraordinary friendships,—if attachment to persons so inferior to himself can be called by that name,—of which I have already mentioned two or three instances in his younger days, and in which the pride of being a protector, and the pleasure of exciting gratitude, seem to have constituted to his mind the chief, pervading charm. The person, whom he now adopted in this manner, and from similar feelings to those which had inspired his early attachments to the cottage-boy near Newstead, and the young chorister at Cambridge, was a Greek youth, named Nicolo Giraud, the son, I believe, of a widow lady, in whose house the artist Lusieri lodged. In this young man he appears to have taken the most lively, and even brotherly, interest;—so much so, as not only to have presented to him, on their parting, at Malta, a considerable sum of money, but to have subsequently designed for him, as the reader will learn, a still more munificent, as well as permanent, provision.
Though he occasionally made excursions through Attica and the Morea, his head-quarters were fixed at Athens, where he had taken lodgings in a Franciscan convent, and, in the intervals of his tours, employed himself in collecting materials for those notices on the state of modern Greece which he has appended to the second Canto of Childe Harold. In this retreat, also, as if in utter defiance of the "genius loci," he wrote his "Hints from Horace,"—a Satire which, impregnated as it is with London life from beginning to end, bears the date, "Athens, Capuchin Convent, March 12. 1811."
From the few remaining letters addressed to his mother, I shall content myself with selecting the two following:—
TO MRS. BYRON.
"Athens, January 14, 1811.
"My dear Madam,
"I seize an occasion to write as usual, shortly, but frequently, as the arrival of letters, where there exists no regular communication, is, of course, very precarious. I have lately made several small tours of some hundred or two miles about the Morea, Attica, &c., as I have finished my grand giro by the Troad, Constantinople, &c., and am returned down again to Athens. I believe I have mentioned to you more than once that I swam (in imitation of Leander, though without his lady) across the Hellespont, from Sestos to Abydos. Of this, and all other particulars, F., whom I have sent home with papers, &c., will apprise you. I cannot find that he is any loss; being tolerably master of the Italian and modern Greek languages, which last I am also studying with a master, I can order and discourse more than enough for a reasonable man. Besides, the perpetual lamentations after beef and beer, the stupid, bigoted contempt for every thing foreign, and insurmountable incapacity of acquiring even a few words of any language, rendered him, like all other English servants, an incumbrance. I do assure you, the plague of speaking for him, the comforts he required (more than myself by far), the pilaws (a Turkish dish of rice and meat) which he could not eat, the wines which he could not drink, the beds where he could not sleep, and the long list of calamities, such as stumbling horses, want of tea!!! &c., which assailed him, would have made a lasting source of laughter to a spectator, and inconvenience to a master. After all, the man is honest enough, and, in Christendom, capable enough; but in Turkey, Lord forgive me! my Albanian soldiers, my Tartars and Janissary, worked for him and us too, as my friend Hobhouse can testify.
"It is probable I may steer homewards in spring; but to enable me to do that, I must have remittances. My own funds would have lasted me very well; but I was obliged to assist a friend, who, I know, will pay me; but, in the mean time, I am out of pocket. At present, I do not care to venture a winter's voyage, even if I were otherwise tired of travelling; but I am so convinced of the advantages of looking at mankind instead of reading about them, and the bitter effects of staying at home with all the narrow prejudices of an islander, that I think there should be a law amongst us, to set our young men abroad, for a term, among the few allies our wars have left us.
"Here I see and have conversed with French, Italians, Germans, Danes, Greeks, Turks, Americans, &c. &c. &c.; and without losing sight of my own, I can judge of the countries and manners of others. Where I see the superiority of England (which, by the by, we are a good deal mistaken about in many things,) I am pleased, and where I find her inferior, I am at least enlightened. Now, I might have stayed, smoked in your towns, or fogged in your country, a century, without being sure of this, and without acquiring any thing more useful or amusing at home. I keep no journal, nor have I any intention of scribbling my travels. I have done with authorship; and if, in my last production, I have convinced the critics or the world I was something more than they took me for, I am satisfied; nor will I hazard that reputation by a future effort. It is true I have some others in manuscript, but I leave them for those who come after me; and, if deemed worth publishing, they may serve to prolong my memory when I myself shall cease to remember. I have a famous Bavarian artist taking some views of Athens, &c. &c. for me. This will be better than scribbling, a disease I hope myself cured of. I hope, on my return, to lead a quiet, recluse life, but God knows and does best for us all; at least, so they say, and I have nothing to object, as, on the whole, I have no reason to complain of my lot. I am convinced, however, that men do more harm to themselves than ever the devil could do to them. I trust this will find you well, and as happy as we can be; you will, at least, be pleased to hear I am so, and yours ever."
TO MRS. BYRON.
"Athens, February 28. 1811.
"As I have received a firman for Egypt, &c., I shall proceed to that quarter in the spring, and I beg you will state to Mr. H. that it is necessary to further remittances. On the subject of Newstead, I answer as before, No. If it is necessary to sell, sell Rochdale. Fletcher will have arrived by this time with my letters to that purport. I will tell you fairly, I have, in the first place, no opinion of funded property; if, by any particular circumstances, I shall be led to adopt such a determination, I will, at all events, pass my life abroad, as my only tie to England is Newstead, and, that once gone, neither interest nor inclination lead me northward. Competence in your country is ample wealth in the East, such is the difference in the value of money and the abundance of the necessaries of life; and I feel myself so much a citizen of the world, that the spot where I can enjoy a delicious climate, and every luxury, at a less expense than a common college life in England, will always be a country to me; and such are in fact the shores of the Archipelago. This then is the alternative—if I preserve Newstead, I return; if I sell it, I stay away. I have had no letters since yours of June, but I have written several times, and shall continue, as usual, on the same plan.
Believe me, yours ever,
"P.S.—I shall most likely see you in the course of the summer, but, of course, at such a distance, I cannot specify any particular month." The voyage to Egypt, which he appears from this letter to have contemplated, was, probably for want of the expected remittances, relinquished; and, on the 3d of June, he set sail from Malta, in the Volage frigate, for England, having, during his short stay at Malta, suffered a severe attack of the tertian fever. The feelings with which he returned home may be collected from the following melancholy letters.
TO MR. HODGSON.
"Volage frigate, at sea, June 29. 1811.
"In a week, with a fair wind, we shall be at Portsmouth, and on the 2d of July, I shall have completed (to a day) two years of peregrination, from which I am returning with as little emotion as I set out. I think, upon the whole, I was more grieved at leaving Greece than England, which I am impatient to see, simply because I am tired of a long voyage.
"Indeed, my prospects are not very pleasant. Embarrassed in my private affairs, indifferent to public, solitary without the wish to be social, with a body a little enfeebled by a succession of fevers, but a spirit, I trust, yet unbroken, I am returning home without a hope, and almost without a desire. The first thing I shall have to encounter will be a lawyer, the next a creditor, then colliers, farmers, surveyors, and all the agreeable attachments to estates out of repair, and contested coal-pits. In short, I am sick and sorry, and when I have a little repaired my irreparable affairs, away I shall march, either to campaign in Spain, or back again to the East, where I can at least have cloudless skies and a cessation from impertinence.
"I trust to meet, or see you, in town, or at Newstead, whenever you can make it convenient—I suppose you are in love and in poetry as usual. That husband, H. Drury, has never written to me, albeit I have sent him more than one letter;—but I dare say the poor man has a family, and of course all his cares are confined to his circle.
'For children fresh expenses get, And Dicky now for school is fit.'
If you see him, tell him I have a letter for him from Tucker, a regimental chirurgeon and friend of his, who prescribed for me, —— and is a very worthy man, but too fond of hard words. I should be too late for a speech-day, or I should probably go down to Harrow. I regretted very much in Greece having omitted to carry the Anthology with me—I mean Bland and Merivale's.—What has Sir Edgar done? And the Imitations and Translations—where are they? I suppose you don't mean to let the public off so easily, but charge them home with a quarto. For me, I am 'sick of fops, and poesy, and prate,' and shall leave the 'whole Castilian state' to Bufo, or any body else. But you are a sentimental and sensibilitous person, and will rhyme to the end of the chapter. Howbeit, I have written some 4000 lines, of one kind or another, on my travels.
"I need not repeat that I shall be happy to see you. I shall be in town about the 8th, at Dorant's Hotel, in Albemarle Street, and proceed in a few days to Notts., and thence to Rochdale on business.
"I am, here and there, yours," &c.
TO MRS. BYRON.
"Volage frigate, at sea, June 25. 1811.
"This letter, which will be forwarded on our arrival at Portsmouth, probably about the 4th of July, is begun about twenty-three days after our departure from Malta. I have just been two years (to a day, on the 2d of July) absent from England, and I return to it with much the same feelings which prevailed on my departure, viz. indifference; but within that apathy I certainly do not comprise yourself, as I will prove by every means in my power. You will be good enough to get my apartments ready at Newstead; but don't disturb yourself, on any account, particularly mine, nor consider me in any other light than as a visiter. I must only inform you that for a long time I have been restricted to an entire vegetable diet, neither fish nor flesh coming within my regimen; so I expect a powerful stock of potatoes, greens, and biscuit: I drink no wine. I have two servants, middle-aged men, and both Greeks. It is my intention to proceed first to town, to see Mr. H——, and thence to Newstead, on my way to Rochdale. I have only to beg you will not forget my diet, which it is very necessary for me to observe. I am well in health, as I have generally been, with the exception of two agues, both of which I quickly got over.
"My plans will so much depend on circumstances, that I shall not venture to lay down an opinion on the subject. My prospects are not very promising, but I suppose we shall wrestle through life like our neighbours; indeed, by H.'s last advices, I have some apprehension of finding Newstead dismantled by Messrs. Brothers, &c., and he seems determined to force me into selling it, but he will be baffled. I don't suppose I shall be much pestered with visiters; but if I am, you must receive them, for I am determined to have nobody breaking in upon my retirement: you know that I never was fond of society, and I am less so than before. I have brought you a shawl, and a quantity of attar of roses, but these I must smuggle, if possible. I trust to find my library in tolerable order.
"Fletcher is no doubt arrived. I shall separate the mill from Mr. B——'s farm, for his son is too gay a deceiver to inherit both, and place Fletcher in it, who has served me faithfully, and whose wife is a good woman; besides, it is necessary to sober young Mr. B——, or he will people the parish with bastards. In a word, if he had seduced a dairy-maid, he might have found something like an apology; but the girl is his equal, and in high life or low life reparation is made in such circumstances. But I shall not interfere further than (like Buonaparte) by dismembering Mr. B.'s kingdom, and erecting part of it into a principality for field-marshal Fletcher! I hope you govern my little empire and its sad load of national debt with a wary hand. To drop my metaphor, I beg leave to subscribe myself yours, &c.
"P.S.—This letter was written to be sent from Portsmouth, but, on arriving there, the squadron was ordered to the Nore, from whence I shall forward it. This I have not done before, supposing you might be alarmed by the interval mentioned in the letter being longer than expected between our arrival in port and my appearance at Newstead."
TO MR. HENRY DRURY.
"Volage frigate, off Ushant, July 17. 1811.
"My dear Drury,
"After two years' absence (on the 2d) and some odd days, I am approaching your country. The day of our arrival you will see by the outside date of my letter. At present, we are becalmed comfortably, close to Brest Harbour;—I have never been so near it since I left Duck Puddle. We left Malta thirty-four days ago, and have had a tedious passage of it. You will either see or hear from or of me, soon after the receipt of this, as I pass through town to repair my irreparable affairs; and thence I want to go to Notts. and raise rents, and to Lanes. and sell collieries, and back to London and pay debts,—for it seems I shall neither have coals nor comfort till I go down to Rochdale in person.
"I have brought home some marbles for Hobhouse;—for myself, four ancient Athenian skulls, dug out of sarcophagi—a phial of Attic hemlock—four live tortoises—a greyhound (died on the passage)—two live Greek servants, one an Athenian, t'other a Yaniote, who can speak nothing but Romaic and Italian—and myself, as Moses in the Vicar of Wakefield says, slily, and I may say it too, for I have as little cause to boast of my expedition as he had of his to the fair.
"I wrote to you from the Cyanean Rocks to tell you I had swam from Sestos to Abydos—have you received my letter? Hodgson I suppose is four deep by this time. What would he have given to have seen, like me, the real Parnassus, where I robbed the Bishop of Chrissae of a book of geography!—but this I only call plagiarism, as it was done within an hour's ride of Delphi."
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
[Footnote 1: Published in two volumes, 4to.]
[Footnote 2: It is almost unnecessary to apprise the reader that the paragraph at the bottom of p. 222. vol. iv. was written before the appearance of this extraordinary paper.]
[Footnote 3: From p. 4. to 11. vol. v. inclusive.]
[Footnote 4: In p. 232. vol. iv. however, the reader will find it alluded to, and in terms such as conduct so disinterested deserves.]
[Footnote 5: June 12, 1828.]
[Footnote 6: "In the park of Horseley," says Thoroton, "there was a castle, some of the ruins whereof are yet visible, called Horestan Castle, which was the chief mansion of his (Ralph de Burun's) successors."]
[Footnote 7: The priory of Newstead had been founded and dedicated to God and the Virgin, by Henry II.; and its monks, who were canons regular of the order of St. Augustine, appear to have been peculiarly the objects of royal favour, no less in spiritual than in temporal concerns. During the lifetime of the fifth Lord Byron, there was found in the lake at Newstead,—where it is supposed to have been thrown for concealment by the monks,—a large brass eagle, in the body of which, on its being sent to be cleaned, was discovered a secret aperture, concealing within it a number of old legal papers connected with the rights and privileges of the foundation. At the sale of the old lord's effects in 1776-7, this eagle, together with three candelabra, found at the same time, was purchased by a watch-maker of Nottingham (by whom the concealed manuscripts were discovered), and having from his hands passed into those of Sir Richard Kaye, a prebendary of Southwell, forms at present a very remarkable ornament of the cathedral of that place. A curious document, said to have been among those found in the eagle, is now in the possession of Colonel Wildman, containing a grant of full pardon from Henry V. of every possible crime (and there is a tolerably long catalogue enumerated) which the monks might have committed previous to the 8th of December preceding:—"Murdris, per ipsos post decimum nonum diem Novembris, ultimo praeteritum perpetratis, si quae fuerint, exceptis."]
[Footnote 8: The Earl of Shrewsbury.]
[Footnote 9: Afterwards Admiral.]
[Footnote 10: The following particulars respecting the amount of Mrs. Byron's fortune before marriage, and its rapid disappearance afterwards, are, I have every reason to think, from the authentic source to which I am indebted for them, strictly correct:—
"At the time of the marriage, Miss Gordon was possessed of about 3000 l. in money, two shares of the Aberdeen Banking Company, the estates of Gight and Monkshill, and the superiority of two salmon fishings on Dee. Soon after the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Byron Gordon in Scotland, it appeared that Mr. Byron had involved himself very deeply in debt, and his creditors commenced legal proceedings for the recovery of their money. The cash in hand was soon paid away,—the bank shares were disposed of at 600 l. (now worth 5000 l.)—timber on the estate was cut down and sold to the amount of 1500l.—the farm of Monkshill and superiority of the fishings, affording a freehold qualification, were disposed of at 480l.; and, in addition to these sales, within a year after the marriage, 8000l. was borrowed upon a mortgage on the estate, granted by Mrs. Byron Gordon to the person who lent the money.
"In March, 1786, a contract of marriage in the Scotch form was drawn up and signed by the parties. In the course of the summer of that year, Mr. and Mrs. Byron left Gight, and never returned to it; the estate being, in the following year, sold to Lord Haddo for the sum of 17,850l., the whole of which was applied to the payment of Mr. Byron's debts, with the exception of 1122l., which remained as a burden on the estate, (the interest to be applied to paying a jointure of 55l. 11s. 1d. to Mrs. Byron's grandmother, the principal reverting, at her death, to Mrs. Byron,) and 3000l. vested in trustees for Mrs. Byron's separate use, which was lent to Mr. Carsewell of Ratharllet, in Fifeshire."
"A strange occurrence," says another of my informants, "took place previous to the sale of the lands. All the doves left the house of Gight and came to Lord Haddo's, and so did a number of herons, which had built their nests for many years in a wood on the banks of a large loch, called the Hagberry Pot. When this was told to Lord Haddo, he pertinently replied, 'Let the birds come, and do them no harm, for the land will soon follow;' which it actually did."]
[Footnote 11: It appears that she several times changed her residence during her stay at Aberdeen, as there are two other houses pointed out, where she lodged for some time; one situated in Virginia Street, and the other, the house of a Mr. Leslie, I think, in Broad Street.]
[Footnote 12: By her advances of money to Mr. Byron (says an authority I have already cited) on the two occasions when he visited Aberdeen, as well as by the expenses incurred in furnishing the floor occupied by her, after his death, in Broad Street, she got in debt to the amount of 300 l., by paying the interest on which her income was reduced to 135 l. On this, however, she contrived to live without increasing her debt; and on the death of her grandmother, when she received the 122 l. set apart for that lady's annuity, discharged the whole.]
[Footnote 13: In Long Acre. The present master of this school is Mr. David Grant, the ingenious editor of a collection of "Battles and War Pieces," and of a work of much utility, entitled "Class Book of Modern Poetry."]
[Footnote 14: The old porter, too, at the College, "minds weel" the little boy, with the red jacket and nankeen trowsers, whom he has so often turned out of the College court-yard.]
[Footnote 15: "He was," says one of my informants, "a good hand at marbles, and could drive one farther than most boys. He also excelled at 'Bases,' a game which requires considerable swiftness of foot."]
[Footnote 16: On examining the quarterly lists kept at the grammar-school of Aberdeen, in which the names of the boys are set down according to the station each holds in his class, it appears that in April of the year 1794, the name of Byron, then in the second class, stands twenty-third in a list of thirty-eight boys. In the April of 1798, however, he had risen to be fifth in the fourth class, consisting of twenty-seven boys, and had got ahead of several of his contemporaries, who had previously always stood before him.]
[Footnote 17: Notwithstanding the lively recollections expressed in this poem, it is pretty certain, from the testimony of his nurse, that he never was at the mountain itself, which stood some miles distant from his residence, more than twice.]
[Footnote 18: The Island.]
[Footnote 19: Dante, we know, was but nine years old when, at a May-day festival, he saw and fell in love with Beatrice; and Alfieri, who was himself a precocious lover, considers such early sensibility to be an unerring sign of a soul formed for the fine arts:—"Effetti," he says, in describing the feelings of his own first love, "che poche persone intendono, e pochissime provano: ma a quei soli pochissimi e concesso l' uscir dalla folla volgare in tutte le umane arti." Canova used to say, that he perfectly well remembered having been in love when but five years old.]
[Footnote 20: To this Lord Byron used to add, on the authority of old servants of the family, that on the day of their patron's death, these crickets all left the house simultaneously, and in such numbers, that it was impossible to cross the hall without treading on them.]
[Footnote 21: The correct reading of this legend is, I understand, as follows:—
"Brig o' Balgounie, wight (strong) is thy wa'; Wi' a wife's ae son on a mare's ae foal, Down shall thou fa'." ]
[Footnote 22: In a letter addressed lately by Mr. Sheldrake to the editor of a Medical Journal, it is stated that the person of the same name who attended Lord Byron at Dulwich owed the honour of being called in to a mistake, and effected nothing towards the remedy of the limb. The writer of the letter adds that he was himself consulted by Lord Byron four or five years afterwards, and though unable to undertake the cure of the defect, from the unwillingness of his noble patient to submit to restraint or confinement, was successful in constructing a sort of shoe for the foot, which in some degree alleviated the inconvenience under which he laboured.]
[Footnote 23: "Quoique," says Alfieri, speaking of his school-days, "je fusse le plus petit de tons les grands qui se trouvaient au second appartement ou j'etais descendu, e'etait precisement mon inferiorite de taille, d'age, et de force, qui me donnait plus de courage, et m'engageait a me distinguer."]
[Footnote 24: The following is Lord Byron's version of this touching narrative; and it will be felt, I think, by every reader, that this is one of the instances in which poetry must be content to yield the palm to prose. There is a pathos in the last sentences of the seaman's recital, which the artifices of metre and rhyme were sure to disturb, and which, indeed, no verses, however beautiful, could half so naturally and powerfully express:—
"There were two fathers in this ghastly crew, And with them their two sons, of whom the one Was more robust and hardy to the view, But he died early; and when he was gone, His nearest messmate told his sire, who threw One glance on him, and said, 'Heaven's will be done, I can do nothing,' and he saw him thrown Into the deep without a tear or groan.
"The other father had a weaklier child, Of a soft cheek, and aspect delicate; But the boy bore up long, and with a mild And patient spirit held aloof his fate; Little be said, and now and then he smiled, As if to win a part from off the weight He saw increasing on his father's heart, With the deep, deadly thought, that they must part.
"And o'er him bent his sire, and never raised His eyes from off his face, but wiped the foam From his pale lips, and ever on him gazed, And when the wish'd-for shower at length was come, And the boy's eyes, which the dull film half glazed, Brighten'd, and for a moment seem'd to roam, He squeezed from out a rag some drops of rain Into his dying child's mouth—but in vain.
"The boy expired—the father held the clay, And look'd upon it long, and when at last Death left no doubt, and the dead burden lay Stiff on his heart, and pulse and hope were past, He watch'd it wistfully, until away 'Twas borne by the rude wave wherein 'twas cast: Then he himself sunk down all dumb and shivering, And gave no sign of life, save his limbs quivering."
DON JUAN, CANTO II.
In the collection of "Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea," to which Lord Byron so skilfully had recourse for the technical knowledge and facts out of which he has composed his own powerful description, the reader will find the account of the loss of the Juno here referred to.]
[Footnote 25: This elegy is in his first (unpublished) volume.]
[Footnote 26: See page 25.]
[Footnote 27: For the display of his declamatory powers, on the speech-days, he selected always the most vehement passages,—such as the speech of Zanga over the body of Alonzo, and Lear's address to the storm. On one of these public occasions, when it was arranged that he should take the part of Drances, and young Peel that of Turnus, Lord Byron suddenly changed his mind, and preferred the speech of Latinus,—fearing, it was supposed, some ridicule from the inappropriate taunt of Turnus, "Ventosa in lingua, pedibusque fugacibus istis."]
[Footnote 28: His letters to Mr. Sinclair, in return, are unluckily lost,—one of them, as this gentleman tells me, having been highly characteristic of the jealous sensitiveness of his noble schoolfellow, being written under the impression of some ideal slight, and beginning, angrily, "Sir."]
[Footnote 29: On a leaf of one of his note-books, dated 1808, I find the following passage from Marmontel, which no doubt struck him as applicable to the enthusiasm of his own youthful friendships:—"L'amitie, qui dans le monde est a peine un sentiment, est une passion dans les cloitres."—Contes Moraux.]
[Footnote 30: Mr. D'Israeli, in his ingenious work "On the Literary Character," has given it as his opinion, that a disinclination to athletic sports and exercises will be, in general, found among the peculiarities which mark a youthful genius. In support of this notion he quotes Beattie, who thus describes his ideal minstrel:—
"Concourse, and noise, and toil, he ever fled, Nor cared to mingle in the clamorous fray Of squabbling imps, but to the forest sped."
His highest authority, however, is Milton, who says of himself,
"When I was yet a child, no childish play To me was pleasing."
Such general rules, however, are as little applicable to the dispositions of men of genius as to their powers. If, in the instances which Mr. D'Israeli adduces an indisposition to bodily exertion was manifested, as many others may be cited in which the directly opposite propensity was remarkable. In war, the most turbulent of exercises, AEschylus, Dante, Camoens, and a long list of other poets, distinguished themselves; and, though it may be granted that Horace was a bad rider, and Virgil no tennis-player, yet, on the other hand, Dante was, we know, a falconer as well as swordsman; Tasso, expert both as swordsman and dancer; Alfieri, a great rider; Klopstock, a skaiter; Cowper, famous, in his youth, at cricket and foot-ball; and Lord Byron, pre-eminent in all sorts of exercises.]
[Footnote 31: "At eight or nine years of age the boy goes to school. From that moment he becomes a stranger in his father's house. The course of parental kindness is interrupted. The smiles of his mother, those tender admonitions, and the solicitous care of both his parents, are no longer before his eyes—year after year he feels himself more detached from them, till at last he is so effectually weaned from the connection, as to find himself happier anywhere than in their company."—Cowper, Letters.]
[Footnote 32: Even previously to any of these school friendships, he had formed the same sort of romantic attachment to a boy of his own age, the son of one of his tenants at Newstead; and there are two or three of his most juvenile poems, in which he dwells no less upon the inequality than the warmth of this friendship. Thus:—
"Let Folly smile, to view the names Of thee and me in friendship twined; Yet Virtue will have greater claims To love, than rank with Vice combined.
"And though unequal is thy fate, Since title deck'd my higher birth, Yet envy not this gaudy state, Thine is the pride of modest worth.
"Our souls at least congenial meet, Nor can thy lot my rank disgrace; Our intercourse is not less sweet Since worth of rank supplies the place.
[Footnote 33: There are, in other letters of the same writer, some curious proofs of the passionate and jealous sensibility of Byron. From one of them, for instance, we collect that he had taken offence at his young friend's addressing him "my dear Byron," instead of "my dearest;" and from another, that his jealousy had been awakened by some expressions of regret which his correspondent had expressed at the departure of Lord John Russell for Spain:—
"You tell me," says the young letter-writer, "that you never knew me in such an agitation as I was when I wrote my last letter; and do you not think I had reason to be so? I received a letter from you on Saturday, telling me you were going abroad for six years in March, and on Sunday John Russell set off for Spain. Was not that sufficient to make me rather melancholy? But how can you possibly imagine that I was more agitated on John Russell's account, who is gone for a few months, and from whom I shall hear constantly, than at your going for six years to travel over most part of the world, when I shall hardly ever hear from you, and perhaps may never see you again?
"It has very much hurt me your telling me that you might be excused if you felt rather jealous at my expressing more sorrow for the departure of the friend who was with me, than of that one who was absent. It is quite impossible you can think I am more sorry for John's absence than I shall be for yours;—I shall therefore finish the subject."]
[Footnote 34: To this tomb he thus refers in the "Childish Recollections," as printed in his first unpublished volume:—
"Oft when, oppress'd with sad, foreboding gloom, I sat reclined upon our favourite tomb." ]
[Footnote 35: I find this circumstance, of his having occasionally slept at the Hut, though asserted by one of the old servants, much doubted by others.]
[Footnote 36: It may possibly have been the recollection of these pictures that suggested to him the following lines in the Siege of Corinth:—
"Like the figures on arras that gloomily glare, Stirr'd by the breath of the wintry air, So seen by the dying lamp's fitful light, Lifeless, but life-like and awful to sight; As they seem, through the dimness, about to come down From the shadowy wall where their images frown." ]
[Footnote 37: Among the unpublished verses of his in my possession, I find the following fragment, written not long after this period:—
"Hills of Annesley, bleak and barren, Where my thoughtless childhood stray'd, How the northern tempests, warring, Howl above thy tufted shade!
"Now no more, the hours beguiling, Former favourite haunts I see; Now no more my Mary smiling, Makes ye seem a heaven to me." ]
[Footnote 38: The lady's husband, for some time, took her family name.]
[Footnote 39: These stanzas, I have since found, are not Lord Byron's, but the production of Lady Tuite, and are contained in a volume published by her Ladyship in the year 1795.—(Second edition.)]
[Footnote 40: Gibbon, in speaking of public schools, says—"The mimic scene of a rebellion has displayed, in their true colours, the ministers and patriots of the rising generation." Such prognostics, however, are not always to be relied on;—the mild, peaceful Addison was, when at school, the successful leader of a barring-out.]
[Footnote 41: This anecdote, which I have given on the testimony of one of Lord Byron's schoolfellows, Doctor Butler himself assures me has but very little foundation in fact.—(Second Edition.)]
[Footnote 42: "It is deplorable to consider the loss which children make of their time at most schools, employing, or rather casting away, six or seven years in the learning of words only, and that very imperfectly."—Cowley, Essays.
"Would not a Chinese, who took notice of our way of breeding, be apt to imagine that all our young gentlemen were designed to be teachers and professors of the dead languages of foreign countries, and not to be men of business in their own?"—Locke on Education.]
[Footnote 43: "A finished scholar may emerge from the head of Westminster or Eton in total ignorance of the business and conversation of English gentlemen in the latter end of the eighteenth century."—Gibbon.]
[Footnote 44: "Byron, Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, Alumnus Scholae; Lyonensis primus in anno Domini 1801, Ellison Duce."
"Monitors, 1801.—Ellison, Royston, Hunxman, Rashleigh, Rokeby, Leigh."]
[Footnote 45: "Drury's Pupils, 1804.—Byron, Drury, Sinclair, Hoare, Bolder, Annesley, Calvert, Strong, Acland, Gordon, Drummond."]
[Footnote 46: During one of the Harrow vacations, he passed some time in the house of the Abbe de Roufigny, in Took's-court, for the purpose of studying the French language; but he was, according to the Abbe's account, very little given to study, and spent most of his time in boxing, fencing, &c. to the no small disturbance of the reverend teacher and his establishment.]
[Footnote 47: Between superior and inferior, "whose fortunes (as he expresses it) comprehend the one and the other."]
[Footnote 48: A gentleman who has since honourably distinguished himself by his philanthropic plans and suggestions for that most important object, the amelioration of the condition of the poor.]
[Footnote 49: In a suit undertaken for the recovery of the Rochdale property.]
[Footnote 50: This precious pencilling is still, of course, preserved.]
[Footnote 51: The verses "To a beautiful Quaker," in his first volume, were written at Harrowgate.]
[Footnote 52: A horse of Lord Byron's:—the other horse that he had with him at this time was called Sultan.]
[Footnote 53: The favourite dog, on which Lord Byron afterwards wrote the well-known epitaph.]
[Footnote 54: Lord Byron and Dr. Pigot continued to be correspondents for some time, but, after their parting this autumn, they never met again.]
[Footnote 55: Of this edition, which was in quarto, and consisted but of a few sheets, there are but two, or, at the utmost, three copies in existence.]
[Footnote 56: His valet, Frank.]
[Footnote 57: Of this "Mary," who is not to be confounded either with the heiress of Annesley, or "Mary" of Aberdeen, all I can record is, that she was of an humble, if not equivocal, station in life,—that she had long, light golden hair, of which he used to show a lock, as well as her picture, among his friends; and that the verses in his "Hours of Idleness," entitled "To Mary, on receiving her Picture," were addressed to her.]
[Footnote 58: Here the imperfect sheet ends.]
[Footnote 59: Though always fond of music, he had very little skill in the performance of it. "It is very odd," he said, one day, to this lady,—"I sing much better to your playing than to any one else's."—"That is," she answered, "because I play to your singing."—In which few words, by the way, the whole secret of a skilful accompanier lies.]
[Footnote 60: Cricketing, too, was one of his most favourite sports; and it was wonderful, considering his lameness, with what speed he could run. "Lord Byron (says Miss ——, in a letter, to her brother, from Southwell) is just gone past the window with his bat on his shoulder to cricket, which he is as fond of as ever."]
[Footnote 61: In one of Miss ——'s letters, the following notice of these canine feuds occurs:—"Boatswain has had another battle with Tippoo at the House of Correction, and came off conqueror. Lord B. brought Bo'sen to our window this morning, when Gilpin, who is almost always here, got into an amazing fury with him."]
[Footnote 62: "It was the custom of Burns," says Mr. Lockhart, in his Life of that poet, "to read at table."]
[Footnote 63: "I took to reading by myself," says Pope, "for which I had a very great eagerness and enthusiasm;... I followed every where, as my fancy led me, and was like a boy gathering flowers in the fields and woods, just as they fell in his way. These five or six years I still look upon as the happiest part of my life." It appears, too, that he was himself aware of the advantages which this free course of study brought with it:—"Mr. Pope," says Spence, "thought himself the better, in some respects, for not having had a regular education. He (as he observed in particular) read originally for the sense, whereas we are taught, for so many years, to read only for words."]
[Footnote 64: Before Chatterton was twelve years old, he wrote a catalogue, in the same manner as Lord Byron, of the books he had already read, to the number of seventy. Of these the chief subjects were history and divinity.]
[Footnote 65: The perfect purity with which the Greeks wrote their own language, was, with justice, perhaps, attributed by themselves to their entire abstinence from the study of any other. "If they became learned," says Ferguson, "it was only by studying what they themselves had produced."]
[Footnote 66: The only circumstance I know, that bears even remotely on the subject of this poem, is the following. About a year or two before the date affixed to it, he wrote to his mother, from Harrow (as I have been told by a person to whom Mrs. Byron herself communicated the circumstance), to say, that he had lately had a good deal of uneasiness on account of a young woman, whom he knew to have been a favourite of his late friend, Curzon, and who, finding herself, after his death, in a state of progress towards maternity, had declared Lord Byron was the father of her child. This, he positively assured his mother, was not the case; but, believing, as he did firmly, that the child belonged to Curzon, it was his wish that it should be brought up with all possible care, and he, therefore, entreated that his mother would have the kindness to take charge of it. Though such a request might well (as my informant expresses it) have discomposed a temper more mild than Mrs. Byron's, she notwithstanding answered her son in the kindest terms, saying that she would willingly receive the child as soon as it was born, and bring it up in whatever manner he desired. Happily, however, the infant died almost immediately, and was thus spared the being a tax on the good nature of any body.]
[Footnote 67: In this practice of dating his juvenile poems he followed the example of Milton, who (says Johnson), "by affixing the dates to his first compositions, a boast of which the learned Politian had given him an example, seems to commend the earliness of his own compositions to the notice of posterity."
The following trifle, written also by him in 1807, has never, as far as I know, appeared in print:—
"EPITAPH ON JOHN ADAMS, OF SOUTHWELL, A CARRIER,
"WHO DIED OF DRUNKENNESS.
"John Adams lies here, of the parish of Southwell, A Carrier, who carried his can to his mouth well; He carried so much, and he carried so fast, He could carry no more—so was carried at last; For, the liquor he drank being too much for one, He could not carry off,—so he 's now carri-on.
"B——, Sept. 1807." ]
[Footnote 68: Annesley is, of course, not forgotten among the number:—
"And shall I here forget the scene, Still nearest to my breast? Rocks rise and rivers roll between The rural spot which passion blest; Yet, Mary, all thy beauties seem Fresh as in Love's bewitching dream," &c. &c. ]
[Footnote 69: It appears from a passage in one of Miss ——'s letters to her brother, that Lord Byron sent, through this gentleman, a copy of his poems to Mr. Mackenzie, the author of the Man of Feeling:—"I am glad you mentioned Mr. Mackenzie's having got a copy of Lord B.'s poems, and what he thought of them—Lord B. was so much pleased!"
In another letter, the fair writer says,—"Lord Byron desired me to tell you that the reason you did not hear from him was because his publication was not so forward as he had flattered himself it would have been. I told him, 'he was no more to be depended on than a woman,' which instantly brought the softness of that sex into his countenance, for he blushed exceedingly."]
[Footnote 70: He was, indeed, a thorough boy, at this period, in every respect:—"Next Monday" (says Miss ——) "is our great fair. Lord Byron talks of it with as much pleasure as little Henry, and declares he will ride in the round-about,—but I think he will change his mind."]
[Footnote 71: He here alludes to an odd fancy or trick of his own;—whenever he was at a loss for something to say, he used always to gabble over "1 2 3 4 5 6 7."]
[Footnote 72: Notwithstanding the abuse which, evidently more in sport than seriousness, he lavishes, in the course of these letters, upon Southwell, he was, in after days, taught to feel that the hours which he had passed in this place were far more happy than any he had known afterwards. In a letter written not long since to his servant, Fletcher, by a lady who had been intimate with him, in his young days, at Southwell, there are the following words:—"Your poor, good master always called me 'Old Piety,' when I preached to him. When he paid me his last visit, he said, 'Well, good friend, I shall never be so happy again as I was in old Southwell.'" His real opinion of the advantages of this town, as a place of residence, will be seen in a subsequent letter, where he most strenuously recommends it, in that point of view, to Mr. Dallas.]
[Footnote 73: It may be as well to mention here the sequel of this enthusiastic attachment. In the year 1811 young Edleston died of a consumption, and the following letter, addressed by Lord Byron to the mother of his fair Southwell correspondent, will show with what melancholy faithfulness, among the many his heart had then to mourn for, he still dwelt on the memory of his young college friend:—
"Cambridge, Oct. 28. 1811.
"I am about to write to you on a silly subject, and yet I cannot well do otherwise. You may remember a cornelian, which some years ago I consigned to Miss ——, indeed gave to her, and now I am going to make the most selfish and rude of requests. The person who gave it to me, when I was very young, is dead, and though a long time has elapsed since we met, as it was the only memorial I possessed of that person (in whom I was very much interested), it has acquired a value by this event I could have wished it never to have borne in my eyes. If, therefore, Miss —— should have preserved it, I must, under these circumstances, beg her to excuse my requesting it to be transmitted to me at No. 8. St. James's Street, London, and I will replace it by something she may remember me by equally well. As she was always so kind as to feel interested in the fate of him that formed the subject of our conversation, you may tell her that the giver of that cornelian died in May last of a consumption, at the age of twenty-one, making the sixth, within four months, of friends and relatives that I have lost between May and the end of August.
"Believe me, dear Madam, yours very sincerely,
"P.S. I go to London to-morrow."
The cornelian heart was, of course, returned, and Lord Byron, at the same time, reminded that he had left it with Miss ——]
[Footnote 74: In the Collection of his Poems printed for private circulation, he had inserted some severe verses on Dr. Butler, which he omitted in the subsequent publication,—at the same time explaining why he did so, in a note little less severe than the verses.]
[Footnote 75: This first attempt of Lord Byron at reviewing (for it will be seen that he, once or twice afterwards, tried his hand at this least poetical of employments) is remarkable only as showing how plausibly he could assume the established tone and phraseology of these minor judgment-seats of criticism. For instance:—"The volumes before us are by the author of Lyrical Ballads, a collection which has not undeservedly met with a considerable share of public applause. The characteristics of Mr. Wordsworth's muse are simple and flowing, though occasionally inharmonious, verse,—strong and sometimes irresistible appeals to the feelings, with unexceptionable sentiments. Though the present work may not equal his former efforts, many of the poems possess a native elegance," &c. &c. &c. If Mr. Wordsworth ever chanced to cast his eye over this article, how little could he have suspected that under that dull prosaic mask lurked one who, in five short years from thence, would rival even him in poetry.]
[Footnote 76: This plan (which he never put in practice) had been talked of by him before he left Southwell, and is thus noticed in a letter of his fair correspondent to her brother:—"How can you ask if Lord B. is going to visit the Highlands in the summer? Why, don't you know that he never knows his own mind for ten minutes together? I tell him he is as fickle as the winds, and as uncertain as the waves."]
[Footnote 77: We observe here, as in other parts of his early letters, that sort of display and boast of rakishness which is but too common a folly at this period of life, when the young aspirant to manhood persuades himself that to be profligate is to be manly. Unluckily, this boyish desire of being thought worse than he really was, remained with Lord Byron, as did some other feelings and foibles of his boyhood, long after the period when, with others, they are past and forgotten; and his mind, indeed, was but beginning to outgrow them, when he was snatched away.]
[Footnote 78: The poem afterwards enlarged and published under the title of "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers." It appears from this that the ground-work of that satire had been laid some time before the appearance of the article in the Edinburgh Review.]
[Footnote 79: Sept. 1807. This Review, in pronouncing upon the young author's future career, showed itself somewhat more "prophet-like" than the great oracle of the North. In noticing the Elegy on Newstead Abbey, the writer says, "We could not but hail, with something of prophetic rapture, the hope conveyed in the closing stanza:—
"Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine, Thee to irradiate with meridian ray," &c. &c. ]
[Footnote 80: The first number of a monthly publication called "The Satirist," in which there appeared afterwards some low and personal attacks upon him.]
[Footnote 81: "Look out for a people entirely destitute of religion: if you find them at all, be assured that they are but few degrees removed from brutes."—HUME.
The reader will find this avowal of Hume turned eloquently to the advantage of religion in a Collection of Sermons, entitled, "The Connexion of Christianity with Human Happiness," written by one of Lord Byron's earliest and most valued friends, the Rev. William Harness.]
[Footnote 82: The only thing remarkable about Walsh's preface is, that Dr. Johnson praises it as "very judicious," but is, at the same time, silent respecting the poems to which it is prefixed.]
[Footnote 83: Characters in the novel called Percival.]
[Footnote 84: This appeal to the imagination of his correspondent was not altogether without effect.—"I considered," says Mr. Dallas, "these letters, though evidently grounded on some occurrences in the still earlier part of his life, rather as jeux d'esprit than as a true portrait."]
[Footnote 85: He appears to have had in his memory Voltaire's lively account of Zadig's learning: "Il savait de la metaphysique ce qu'on en a su dans tous les ages,—c'est a dire, fort peu de chose," &c.]
[Footnote 86: The doctrine of Hume, who resolves all virtue into sentiment.—See his "Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals."]
[Footnote 87: See his Letter to Anthony Collins, 1703-4, where he speaks of "those sharp heads, which were for damning his book, because of its discouraging the staple commodity of the place, which in his time was called hogs' shearing."]
[Footnote 88: Hard, "Discourses on Poetical Imitation."]
[Footnote 89: Prologue to the University of Oxford.]
[Footnote 90: "'Tis a quality very observable in human nature, that any opposition which does not entirely discourage and intimidate us, has rather a contrary effect, and inspires us with a more than ordinary grandeur and magnanimity. In collecting our force to overcome the opposition, we invigorate the soul, and give it an elevation with which otherwise it would never have been acquainted."—Hume, Treatise of Human Nature.]
[Footnote 91: "The colour of our whole life is generally such as the three or four first years in which we are our own masters make it."—Cowper.]
[Footnote 92: "I refer to my old friend and corporeal pastor and master, John Jackson, Esq., Professor of Pugilism, who I trust still retains the strength and symmetry of his model of a form, together with his good humour and athletic, as well as mental, accomplishments."—Note on Don Juan, Canto II.]
[Footnote 93: Thus addressed always by Lord Byron, but without any right to the distinction.]
[Footnote 94: The Journal entitled by himself "Detached Thoughts."]
[Footnote 95: Few philosophers, however, have been so indulgent to the pride of birth as Rousseau.—"S'il est un orgueil pardonnable (he says) apres celui qui se tire du merite personnel, c'est celui qui se tire de la naissance."—Confess.]
[Footnote 96: This gentleman, who took orders in the year 1814, is the author of a spirited translation of Juvenal, and of other works of distinguished merit. He was long in correspondence with Lord Byron, and to him I am indebted for some interesting letters of his noble friend, which will be given in the course of the following pages.]
[Footnote 97: He had also, at one time, as appears from an anecdote preserved by Spence, some thoughts of burying this dog in his garden, and placing a monument over him, with the inscription, "Oh, rare Bounce!"
In speaking of the members of Rousseau's domestic establishment, Hume says, "She (Therese) governs him as absolutely as a nurse does a child. In her absence, his dog has acquired that ascendant. His affection for that creature is beyond all expression or conception."—Private Correspondence. See an instance which he gives of this dog's influence over the philosopher, p. 143.
In Burns's elegy on the death of his favourite Mailie, we find the friendship even of a sheep set on a level with that of man:—
"Wi' kindly bleat, when she did spy him, She ran wi' speed: A friend mair faithful ne'er came nigh him, Than Mailie dead."
In speaking of the favourite dogs of great poets, we must not forget Cowper's little spaniel "Beau;" nor will posterity fail to add to the list the name of Sir Walter Scott's "Maida."]
[Footnote 98: In the epitaph, as first printed in his friend's Miscellany, this line runs thus:—
"I knew but one unchanged—and here he lies." ]
[Footnote 99: We are told that Wieland used to have his works printed thus for the purpose of correction, and said that he found great advantage in it. The practice is, it appears, not unusual in Germany.]
[Footnote 100: See his lines on Major Howard, the son of Lord Carlisle, who was killed at Waterloo:—
"Their praise is hymn'd by loftier harps than mine; Yet one I would select from that proud throng, Partly because they blend me with his line, And partly that I did his sire some wrong."
CHILDE HAROLD, CANTO III.]
[Footnote 101: In the fifth edition of the Satire (suppressed by him in 1812) he again changed his mind respecting this gentleman, and altered the line to
"I leave topography to rapid Gell;"
explaining his reasons for the change in the following note:—"'Rapid,' indeed;—he topographised and typographised King Priam's dominions in three days. I called him 'classic' before I saw the Troad, but since have learned better than to tack to his name what don't belong to it."
He is not, however, the only satirist who has been thus capricious and changeable in his judgments. The variations of this nature in Pope's Dunciad are well known; and the Abbe Cotin, it is said, owed the "painful pre-eminence" of his station in Boileau's Satires to the unlucky convenience of his name as a rhyme. Of the generous change from censure to praise, the poet Dante had already set an example; having, in his "Convito," lauded some of those persons whom, in his Commedia, he had most severely lashed.]
[Footnote 102: In another letter to Mr. Harness, dated February, 1809, he says, "I do not know how you and Alma Mater agree. I was but an untoward child myself, and I believe the good lady and her brat were equally rejoiced when I was weaned; and if I obtained her benediction at parting, it was, at best, equivocal."]
[Footnote 103: The poem, in the first edition, began at the line,
"Time was ere yet, in these degenerate days." ]
[Footnote 104: Lady Byron, then Miss Milbank.]
[Footnote 105: In the MS. remarks on his Satire, to which I have already referred, he says, on this passage—"Yea, and a pretty dance they have led me."]
[Footnote 106: "Fool then, and but little wiser now."—MS. ibid.]
[Footnote 107: Dated, in his original copy, Nov. 2. 1808.]
[Footnote 108: Entitled, in his original manuscript, "To Mrs. ——, on being asked my reason for quitting England in the spring." The date subjoined is Dec. 2. 1808.]
[Footnote 109: In his first copy, "Thus, Mary."]
[Footnote 110: Thus corrected by himself in a copy of the Miscellany now in my possession;—the two last lines being, originally, as follows:—
"Though wheresoe'er my bark may run, I love but thee, I love but one." ]
[Footnote 111: I give the words as Johnson has reported them;—in Swift's own letter they are, if I recollect right, rather different.]
[Footnote 112: There is, at least, one striking point of similarity between their characters in the disposition which Johnson has thus attributed to Swift:—"The suspicions of Swift's irreligion," he says, "proceeded, in a great measure, from his dread of hypocrisy; instead of wishing to seem better, he delighted in seeming worse than he was."]
[Footnote 113: Another use to which he appropriated one of the skulls found in digging at Newstead was the having it mounted in silver, and converted into a drinking-cup. This whim has been commemorated in some well-known verses of his own; and the cup itself, which, apart from any revolting ideas it may excite, forms by no means an inelegant object to the eye, is, with many other interesting relics of Lord Byron, in the possession of the present proprietor of Newstead Abbey, Colonel Wildman.]
[Footnote 114: Rousseau appears to have been conscious of a similar sort of change in his own nature:—"They have laboured without intermission," he says, in a letter to Madame de Boufflers, "to give to my heart, and, perhaps, at the same time to my genius, a spring and stimulus of action, which they have not inherited from nature. I was born weak,—ill treatment has made me strong."—Hume's Private Correspondence.]
[Footnote 115: "It was bitterness that they mistook for frolic."—Johnson's account of himself at the university, in Boswell.]
[Footnote 116: The poet Cowper, it is well known, produced that masterpiece of humour, John Gilpin, during one of his fits of morbid dejection; and he himself says, "Strange as it may seem, the most ludicrous lines I ever wrote have been written in the saddest mood, and but for that saddest mood, perhaps, had never been written at all."]
[Footnote 117: The reconciliation which took place between him and Dr. Butler, before his departure, is one of those instances of placability and pliableness with which his life abounded. We have seen, too, from the manner in which he mentions the circumstance in one of his note-books, that the reconcilement was of that generously retrospective kind, in which not only the feeling of hostility is renounced in future, but a strong regret expressed that it had been ever entertained.
Not content with this private atonement to Dr. Butler, it was his intention, had he published another edition of the Hours of Idleness, to substitute for the offensive verses against that gentleman, a frank avowal of the wrong he had been guilty of in giving vent to them. This fact, so creditable to the candour of his nature, I learn from a loose sheet in his handwriting, containing the following corrections. In place of the passage beginning "Or if my Muse a pedant's portrait drew," he meant to insert—
"If once my Muse a harsher portrait drew, Warm with her wrongs, and deem'd the likeness true, By cooler judgment taught, her fault she owns,— With noble minds a fault, confess'd, atones."
And to the passage immediately succeeding his warm praise of Dr. Drury—"Pomposus fills his magisterial chair," it was his intention to give the following turn:—
"Another fills his magisterial chair; Reluctant Ida owns a stranger's care; Oh may like honours crown his future name,— If such his virtues, such shall be his fame." ]
[Footnote 118: Lord Byron used sometimes to mention a strange story, which the commander of the packet, Captain Kidd, related to him on the passage. This officer stated that, being asleep one night in his berth, he was awakened by the pressure of something heavy on his limbs, and, there being a faint light in the room, could see, as he thought, distinctly, the figure of his brother, who was at that time in the naval service in the East Indies, dressed in his uniform, and stretched across the bed. Concluding it to be an illusion of the senses, he shut his eyes and made an effort to sleep. But still the same pressure continued, and still, as often as he ventured to take another look, he saw the figure lying across him in the same position. To add to the wonder, on putting his hand forth to touch this form, he found the uniform, in which it appeared to be dressed, dripping wet. On the entrance of one of his brother officers, to whom he called out in alarm, the apparition vanished; but in a few months after he received the startling intelligence that on that night his brother had been drowned in the Indian seas. Of the supernatural character of this appearance, Captain Kidd himself did not appear to have the slightest doubt.]
[Footnote 119: The baggage and part of the servants were sent by sea to Gibraltar.]
[Footnote 120: "This sort of passage," says Mr. Hodgson, in a note on his copy of this letter, "constantly occurs in his correspondence. Nor was his interest confined to mere remembrances and enquiries after health. Were it possible to state all he has done for numerous friends, he would appear amiable indeed. For myself, I am bound to acknowledge, in the fullest and warmest manner, his most generous and well-timed aid; and, were my poor friend Bland alive, he would as gladly bear the like testimony;—though I have most reason, of all men, to do so."]
[Footnote 121: The filthiness of Lisbon and its inhabitants.]
[Footnote 122: Colonel Napier, in a note in his able History of the Peninsular War, notices the mistake into which Lord Byron and others were led on this subject;—the signature of the Convention, as well as all the other proceedings connected with it, having taken place at a distance of thirty miles from Cintra.]
[Footnote 123: We find an allusion to this incident in Don Juan:—
"'Tis pleasing to be school'd in a strange tongue By female lips and eyes—that is, I mean, When both the teacher and the taught are young, As was the case, at least, where I have been," &c. &c. ]
[Footnote 124: The postscript to this letter is as follows:—
P.S. "So Lord G. is married to a rustic! Well done! If I wed, I will bring you home a sultana, with half a dozen cities for a dowry, and reconcile you to an Ottoman daughter-in-law with a bushel of pearls, not larger than ostrich eggs, or smaller than walnuts."]
[Footnote 125: The following stanzas from this little poem have a music in them, which, independently of all meaning, is enchanting:—
"And since I now remember thee In darkness and in dread, As in those hours of revelry, Which mirth and music sped;
"Do thou, amidst the fair white walls, If Cadiz yet be free, At times, from out her latticed halls, Look o'er the dark blue sea;
"Then think upon Calypso's isles, Endear'd by days gone by; To others give a thousand smiles, To me a single sigh," &c. &c. ]
[Footnote 126: The following is Mr. Hobhouse's loss embellished description of this scene;—"The court at Tepellene, which was enclosed on two sides by the palace, and on the other two sides by a high wall, presented us, at our first entrance, with a sight something like what we might have, perhaps, beheld some hundred years ago in the castle-yard of a great feudal lord. Soldiers, with their arms piled against the wall near them, were assembled in different parts of the square: some of them pacing slowly backwards and forwards, and others sitting on the ground in groups. Several horses, completely caparisoned, were leading about, whilst others were neighing under the hands of the grooms. In the part farthest from the dwelling, preparations were making for the feast of the night; and several kids and sheep were being dressed by cooks who were themselves half armed. Every thing wore a most martial look, though not exactly in the style of the head-quarters of a Christian general; for many of the soldiers were in the most common dress, without shoes, and having more wildness in their air and manner than the Albanians we had before seen."
On comparing this description, which is itself sufficiently striking, with those which Lord Byron has given of the same scene, both in the letter to his mother, and in the second Canto of Childe Harold, we gain some insight into the process by which imagination elevates, without falsifying, reality, and facts become brightened and refined into poetry. Ascending from the representation drawn faithfully on the spot by the traveller, to the more fanciful arrangement of the same materials in the letter of the poet, we at length, by one step more, arrive at that consummate, idealised picture, the result of both memory and invention combined, which in the following splendid stanzas is presented to us:—
Amidst no common pomp the despot sate, While busy preparations shook the court, Slaves, eunuchs, soldiers, guests, and santons wait; Within, a palace, and without, a fort: Here men of every clime appear to make resort.
"Richly caparison'd, a ready row Of armed horse, and many a warlike store, Circled the wide-extending court below; Above, strange groups adorn'd the corridore; And oft-times through the area's echoing door Some high-capp'd Tartar spurr'd his steed away: The Turk, the Greek, the Albanian, and the Moor, Here mingled in their many-hued array, While the deep war-drum's sound announced the close of day.
"The wild Albanian, kirtled to his knee, With shawl-girt head and ornamented gun, And gold-embroider'd garments, fair to see; The crimson-scarfed men of Macedon; The Delhi, with his cap of terror on, And crooked glaive; the lively, supple Greek; And swarthy Nubia's mutilated son; The bearded Turk that rarely deigns to speak, Master of all around—too potent to be meek,
"Are mix'd, conspicuous: some recline in groups, Scanning the motley scene that varies round; There some grave Moslem to devotion stoops, And some that smoke, and some that play, are found; Here the Albanian proudly treads the ground; Half whispering there the Greek is heard to prate; Hark! from the mosque the nightly solemn sound, The Muezzin's call doth shake the minaret, There is no god but God!—to prayer—lo! God is great!'"
CHILDE HAROLD, Canto II. ]
[Footnote 127: In the shape of the hands, as a mark of high birth, Lord Byron himself had as implicit faith as the Pacha: see his note on the line, "Though on more thorough-bred or fairer fingers," in Don Juan.]
[Footnote 128: A few sentences are here and elsewhere omitted, as having no reference to Lord Byron himself, but merely containing some particulars relating to Ali and his grandsons, which may be found in various books of travels.
Ali had not forgotten his noble guest when Dr. Holland, a few years after, visited Albania:—"I mentioned to him, generally (says this intelligent traveller), Lord Byron's poetical description of Albania, the interest it had excited in England, and Mr. Hobhouse's intended publication of his travels in the same country. He seemed pleased with these circumstances, and stated his recollections of Lord Byron."]
[Footnote 129: I have heard the poet's fellow-traveller describe this remarkable instance of his coolness and courage even still more strikingly than it is here stated by himself. Finding that, from his lameness, he was unable to be of any service in the exertions which their very serious danger called for, after a laugh or two at the panic of his valet, he not only wrapped himself up and lay down, in the manner here mentioned, but, when their difficulties were surmounted, was found fast asleep.]
[Footnote 130: In the route from Ioannina to Zitza, Mr. Hobhouse and the secretary of Ali, accompanied by one of the servants, had rode on before the rest of the party, and arrived at the village just as the evening set in. After describing the sort of hovel in which they were to take up their quarters for the night, Mr. Hobhouse thus continues:—"Vasilly was despatched into the village to procure eggs and fowls, that would be ready, as we thought, by the arrival of the second party. But an hour passed away and no one appeared. It was seven o'clock, and the storm had increased to a fury I had never before, and, indeed, have never since, seen equalled. The roof of our hovel shook under the clattering torrents and gusts of wind. The thunder roared, as it seemed, without any intermission; for the echoes of one peal had not ceased to roll in the mountains, before another tremendous crash burst over our heads; whilst the plains and the distant hills (visible through the cracks of the cabin) appeared in a perpetual blaze. The tempest was altogether terrific, and worthy of the Grecian Jove; and the peasants, no less religious than their ancestors, confessed their alarm. The women wept, and the men, calling on the name of God, crossed themselves at every repeated peal.
"We were very uneasy that the party did not arrive; but the secretary assured me that the guides knew every part of the country, as did also his own servant, who was with them, and that they had certainly taken shelter in a village at an hour's distance. Not being satisfied with the conjecture, I ordered fires to be lighted on the hill above the village, and some muskets to be discharged: this was at eleven o'clock, and the storm had not abated. I lay down in my great coat; but all sleeping was out of the question, as any pauses in the tempest were filled up by the barking of the dogs, and the shouting of the shepherds in the neighbouring mountains.
"A little after midnight, a man, panting and pale, and drenched with rain, rushed into the room, and, between crying and roaring, with a profusion of action, communicated something to the secretary, of which I understood only—that they had all fallen down. I learnt, however, that no accident had happened, except the falling of the luggage horses, and losing their way, and that they were now waiting for fresh horses and guides. Ten were immediately sent to them, together with several men with pine-torches; but it was not till two o'clock in the morning that we heard they were approaching, and my friend, with the priest and the servants, did not enter our hut before three.
"I now learnt from him that they had lost their way from the commencement of the storm, when not above three miles from the village; and that, after wandering up and down in total ignorance of their position, they had, at last, stopped near some Turkish tombstones and a torrent, which they saw by the flashes of lightning. They had been thus exposed for nine hours; and the guides, so far from assisting them, only augmented the confusion, by running away, after being threatened with death by George the dragoman, who, in an agony of rage and fear, and without giving any warning, fired off both his pistols, and drew from the English servant an involuntary scream of horror, for he fancied they were beset by robbers.
"I had not, as you have seen, witnessed the distressing part of this adventure myself; but from the lively picture drawn of it by my friend, and from the exaggerated descriptions of George, I fancied myself a good judge of the whole situation, and should consider this to have been one of the most considerable of the few adventures that befell either of us during our tour in Turkey. It was long before we ceased to talk of the thunder-storm in the plain of Zitza."]
[Footnote 131: Mr. Hobhouse. I think, makes the number of this guard but thirty-seven, and Lord Byron, in a subsequent letter, rates them at forty.]
"Oh, thou Parnassus! whom I now survey, Not in the frenzy of a dreamer's eye, Not in the fabled landscape of a lay, But soaring snow-clad through thy native sky, In the wild pomp of mountain majesty!"
CHILDE HAROLD, Canto I. ]
[Footnote 133: The passage of Harris, indeed, contains the pith of the whole stanza:—"Notwithstanding the various fortune of Athens, as a city, Attica is still famous for olives, and Mount Hymettus for honey. Human institutions perish, but Nature is permanent."—Philolog. Inquiries.—I recollect having once pointed out this coincidence to Lord Byron, but he assured me that he had never even seen this work of Harris.]
[Footnote 134: Travels in Italy, Greece, &c., by H. W. Williams, Esq.]
[Footnote 135: The Miscellany, to which I have more than once referred.]
[Footnote 136: He has adopted this name in his description of the Seraglio in Don Juan, Canto VI. It was, if I recollect right, in making love to one of these girls that he had recourse to an act of courtship often practised in that country,—namely, giving himself a wound across the breast with his dagger. The young Athenian, by his own account, looked on very coolly during the operation, considering it a fit tribute to her beauty, but in no degree moved to gratitude.]
[Footnote 137: Among others, he mentions his passage of the Tagus in 1809, which is thus described by Mr. Hobhouse:—"My companion had before made a more perilous, but less celebrated, passage; for I recollect that, when we were in Portugal, he swam from old Lisbon to Belem Castle, and having to contend with a tide and counter current, the wind blowing freshly, was but little less than two hours in crossing the river." In swimming from Sestos to Abydos, he was one hour and ten minutes in the water.
In the year 1808, he had been nearly drowned, while swimming at Brighton with Mr. L. Stanhope. His friend Mr. Hobhouse, and other bystanders, sent in some boatmen, with ropes tied round them, who at last succeeded in dragging Lord Byron and Mr. Stanhope from the surf and thus saved their lives.]
[Footnote 138: Alluding to his having swum across the Thames with Mr. H. Drury, after the Montem, to see how many times they could perform the passage backwards and forwards without touching land. In this trial (which took place at night, after supper, when both were heated with drinking,) Lord Byron was the conqueror.]
[Footnote 139: New Monthly Magazine.]
[Footnote 140: In a note upon the Advertisement prefixed to his Siege of Corinth, he says,—"I visited all three (Tripolitza, Napoli, and Argos,) in 1810-11, and in the course of journeying through the country, from my first arrival in 1809, crossed the Isthmus eight times in my way from Attica to the Morea, over the mountains, or in the other direction, when passing from the Gulf of Athens to that of Lepanto."]
[Footnote 141: Given afterwards to Sir Walter Scott.]
[Footnote 142: At present in the possession of Mr. Murray.]