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The Works of Lord Byron: Letters and Journals, Volume 2. by Lord Byron

Part 9 out of 13

receive a handsome gratuity."

The subject-matter of this book, then unknown to the public, Ashe
professes to embody in 'The Spirit of "The Book;" or, Memoirs of
Caroline, Princess of Hasburgh, a Political and Amatory Romance' (3
vols., 1811). The letters, which purport to be written from Caroline to
Charlotte, and contain (vol. ii. pp. 152-181) an attack on the Lady
Jersey, who attended the princess, are absolutely dull, and scarcely
even indecent.

Ashe's 'Memoirs and Confessions' (3 vols., 1815) are dedicated to the
Duke of Northumberland and to Byron, to whom, in a preface written at
Havre, he acknowledges his "transcendent obligations."]

* * * * *

377.--To Professor Clarke [1].

Dec. 15, 1813.

Your very kind letter is the more agreeable, because, setting aside
talents, judgment, and the _laudari a laudato_, etc., you have been on
the spot; you have seen and described more of the East than any of your
predecessors--I need not say how ably and successfully; and (excuse the
bathos) you are one of the very few men who can pronounce how far my
costume (to use an affected but expressive word) is correct. As to
poesy, that is, as "men, gods, and columns," please to decide upon it;
but I am sure that I am anxious to have an observer's, particularly a
famous observer's, testimony on the fidelity of my manners and dresses;
and, as far as memory and an oriental twist in my imagination have
permitted, it has been my endeavour to present to the Franks, a sketch
of that of which you have and will present them a complete picture. It
was with this notion, that I felt compelled to make my hero and heroine
relatives, as you well know that none else could there obtain that
degree of intercourse leading to genuine affection; I had nearly made
them rather too much akin to each other; and though the wild passions of
the East, and some great examples in Alfieri, Ford, and Schiller (to
stop short of antiquity), might have pleaded in favour of a copyist, yet
the time and the north (not Frederic, but our climate) induced me to
alter their consanguinity and confine them to cousinship. I also wished
to try my hand on a female character in Zuleika, and have endeavoured,
as far as the grossness of our masculine ideas will allow, to preserve
her purity without impairing the ardour of her attachment.

As to criticism, I have been reviewed about a hundred and fifty
times--praised and abused. I will not say that I am become indifferent
to either eulogy or condemnation, but for some years at least I have
felt grateful for the former, and have never attempted to answer the
latter. For success equal to the first efforts, I had and have no hope;
the novelty was over, and the "Bride," like all other brides, must
suffer or rejoice for and with her husband. By the bye, I have used
"bride" Turkishly, as affianced, not married; and so far it is an
English bull, which, I trust, will be at least a comfort to all
Hibernians not bigotted to monopoly. You are good enough to mention your
quotations in your third volume. I shall not only be indebted to it for
a renewal of the high gratification received from the two first, but for
preserving my relics embalmed in your own spices, and ensuring me
readers to whom I could not otherwise have aspired.

I called on you, as bounden by duty and inclination, when last in your
neighbourhood; but I shall always take my chance; you surely would not
have me inflict upon you a formal annunciation; I am proud of your
friendship, but not so fond of myself as to break in upon your better
avocations. I trust that Mrs. Clarke is well; I have never had the
honour of presentation, but I have heard so much of her in many
quarters, that any notice she is pleased to take of my productions is
not less gratifying than my thanks are sincere, both to her and you; by
all accounts I may safely congratulate you on the possession of "a
bride" whose mental and personal accomplishments are more than poetical.

P. S.--Murray has sent, or will send, a double copy of the _Bride_ and
_Giaour_; in the last one, some lengthy additions; pray accept them,
according to old custom, "from the author" to one of his better
brethren. Your Persian, or any memorial, will be a most agreeable, and
it is my fault if not an useful present. I trust your third will be out
before I sail next month; can I say or do anything for you in the
Levant? I am now in all the agonies of equipment, and full of schemes,
some impracticable, and most of them improbable; but I mean to fly
"freely to the green earth's end," [2] though not quite so fast as
Milton´s sprite.

P. S. 2nd.--I have so many things to say.--I want to show you Lord
Sligo's letter to me detailing, as he heard them on the spot, the
Athenian account of our adventure (a personal one), which certainly
first suggested to me the story of _The Giaour_. It was a strange and
not a very long story, and his report of the reports (he arrived just
after my departure, and I did not know till last summer that he knew
anything of the matter) is not very far from the truth. Don't be
alarmed. There was nothing that led further than to the water's edge;
but one part (as is often the case in life) was more singular than any
of the _Giaour's_ adventures. I never have, and never should have,
alluded to it on my own authority, from respect to the ancient proverb
on Travellers.

[Footnote 1: Dr. Clark, in October, 1814, was a candidate for the
Professorship of Anatomy, and Byron went to Cambridge to vote for his
friend. Writing to Miss Tayler, Hodgson ('Memoir', vol. i. p. 292) adds
a postscript:

"I open my letter to say that when Lord Byron went to give his vote
just now in the Senate House, the young men burst out into the most
rapturous applause."

The next day he writes again:

"I should add that as I was going to vote I met him coming away, and
presently saw that something had happened, by his extreme paleness and
agitation. Dr. Clark, who was with him, told me the cause, and I
returned with B. to my room. There I begged him to sit down and write
a letter and communicate this event, which he did not feel up to, but
wished 'I' would. So down I sate, and commenced my acquaintance
with Miss Milbanke by writing her an account of this most pleasing
event, which, although nothing at Oxford, is here very unusual indeed."

The following was Miss Milbanke's answer ('ibid'., pp. 296, 297), dated,
"Seaham, November 25, 1814:"

"Dear Sir,--It will be easier for you to imagine than for me to
express the pleasure which your very kind letter has given me. Not
only on account of its gratifying intelligence, but also as
introductory to an acquaintance which I have been taught to value, and
have sincerely desired. Allow me to consider Lord Byron's friend as
not 'a stranger,' and accept, with my sincerest thanks, my best wishes
for your own happiness.

"I am, dear sir, your faithful servant,

"A. I. MlLBANKE." ]

[Footnote 2: The Spirit in Milton´s 'Comus, a Mask' (lines 1012, 1013),

"I can fly, or I can run
Quickly to the green earth´s end."]

* * * * *

378.--To Leigh Hunt.

Dec. 22, 1813.

My Dear Sir,--I am indeed "in your debt,"--and, what is still worse, am
obliged to follow _royal_ example (he has just apprised _his_ creditors
that they must wait till the next meeting), and intreat your indulgence
for, I hope, a very short time. The nearest relation and almost the only
friend I possess, has been in London for a week, and leaves it tomorrow
with me for her own residence. I return immediately; but we meet so
seldom, and are so _minuted_ when we meet at all, that I give up all
engagements till _now_, without reluctance. On my return, I must see you
to console myself for my past disappointment. I should feel highly
honoured in Mr. B.'s permission to make his acquaintance, and _there_
you are in _my_ debt; for it is a promise of last summer which I still
hope to see performed. Yesterday I had a letter from Moore; you have
probably heard from him lately; but if not, you will be glad to learn
that he is the same in heart, head, and health.

* * * * *

379.--To John Murray.

December 27, 1813.

Lord Holland is laid up with the gout, and would feel very much obliged
if you could obtain, and send as soon as possible, Madame D'Arblay's (or
even Miss Edgeworth's) new work. I know they are not out; but it is
perhaps possible for your _Majesty_ to command what we cannot with much
suing purchase, as yet. I need not say that when you are able or willing
to confer the same favour on me, I shall be obliged. I would almost fall
sick myself to get at Madame D'Arblay's writings.

P.S.--You were talking to-day of the American E'n of a certain
unquenchable memorial of my younger days [1]. As it can't be helped now,
I own I have some curiosity to see a copy of transatlantic typography.
This you will perhaps obtain, and one for yourself; but I must beg that
you will not _import more_, because, _seriously_, I _do wish_ to have
that thing forgotten as much as it has been forgiven.

If you send to the 'Globe' E'r, say that I want neither excuse nor
contradiction, but merely a discontinuance of a most ill-grounded
charge. I never was consistent in any thing but my politics; and as my
redemption depends on that solitary virtue, it is murder to carry away
my last anchor.

[Footnote 1: 'English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers'.]

* * * * *


JOURNAL: NOVEMBER 14, 1813--APRIL 19, 1814.

If this had been begun ten years ago, and faithfully kept!!!--heigho!
there are too many things I wish never to have remembered, as it is.
Well,--I have had my share of what are called the pleasures of this
life, and have seen more of the European and Asiatic world than I have
made a good use of. They say "Virtue is its own reward,"--it certainly
should be paid well for its trouble. At five-and-twenty, when the better
part of life is over, one should be _something_;--and what am I? nothing
but five-and-twenty--and the odd months. What have I seen? the same man
all over the world,--ay, and woman too. Give _me_ a Mussulman who never
asks questions, and a she of the same race who saves one the trouble of
putting them. But for this same plague--yellow fever--and Newstead
delay, I should have been by this time a second time close to the
Euxine. If I can overcome the last, I don't so much mind your
pestilence; and, at any rate, the spring shall see me there,--provided I
neither marry myself, nor unmarry any one else in the interval. I wish
one was--I don't know what I wish. It is odd I never set myself
seriously to wishing without attaining it--and repenting. I begin to
believe with the good old Magi, that one should only pray for the
nation, and not for the individual;--but, on my principle, this would
not be very patriotic.

No more reflections.--Let me see--last night I finished "Zuleika," my
second Turkish Tale. I believe the composition of it kept me alive--for
it was written to drive my thoughts from the recollection of:

"Dear sacred name, rest ever unreveal'd." [1]

At least, even here, my hand would tremble to write it. This afternoon I
have burnt the scenes of my commenced comedy. I have some idea of
expectorating a romance, or rather a tale in prose;--but what romance
could equal the events:

"quæque ipse......vidi,
Et quorum pars magna fui." [2]

To-day Henry Byron [3] called on me with my little cousin Eliza. She
will grow up a beauty and a plague; but, in the mean time, it is the
prettiest child! dark eyes and eyelashes, black and long as the wing of
a raven. I think she is prettier even than my niece, Georgina,--yet I
don't like to think so neither: and though older, she is not so clever.

Dallas called before I was up, so we did not meet. Lewis [4], too,--who
seems out of humour with every thing.

What can be the matter? he is not married--has he lost his own mistress,
or any other person's wife? Hodgson, too, came. He is going to be
married, and he is the kind of man who will be the happier. He has
talent, cheerfulness, every thing that can make him a pleasing
companion; and his intended is handsome and young, and all that. But I
never see any one much improved by matrimony. All my coupled
contemporaries are bald and discontented. W[ordsworth] and S[outhey]
have both lost their hair and good humour; and the last of the two had a
good deal to lose. But it don't much signify what falls _off_ a man's
temples in that state.

Mem. I must get a toy to-morrow for Eliza, and send the device for the
seals of myself and----Mem. too, to call on the Stael and Lady Holland
to-morrow, and on----, who has advised me (without seeing it, by the
by) not to publish "Zuleika;" [5] I believe he is right, but experience
might have taught him that not to print is _physically_ impossible. No
one has seen it but Hodgson and Mr. Gifford. I never in my life _read_ a
composition, save to Hodgson, as he pays me in kind. It is a horrible
thing to do too frequently;--better print, and they who like may read,
and if they don't like, you have the satisfaction of knowing that they
have, at least, _purchased_ the right of saying so.

I have declined presenting the Debtors' Petition [6], being sick of
parliamentary mummeries. I have spoken thrice; but I doubt my ever
becoming an orator. My first was liked; the second and third--I don't
know whether they succeeded or not. I have never yet set to it _con
amore_;--one must have some excuse to one's self for laziness, or
inability, or both, and this is mine. "Company, villanous company, hath
been the spoil of me;" [7]--and then, I "have drunk medicines," not to
make me love others, but certainly enough to hate myself.

Two nights ago I saw the tigers sup at Exeter 'Change. Except Veli
Pacha's lion in the Morea,--who followed the Arab keeper like a
dog,--the fondness of the hyæna for her keeper amused me most. Such a
conversazione!--There was a "hippopotamus," like Lord Liverpool in the
face; and the "Ursine Sloth" had the very voice and manner of my
valet--but the tiger talked too much. The elephant took and gave me my
money again--took off my hat--opened a door--_trunked_ a whip--and
behaved so well, that I wish he was my butler. The handsomest animal on
earth is one of the panthers; but the poor antelopes were dead. I should
hate to see one _here:_--the sight of the _camel_ made me pine again
for Asia Minor. _"Oh quando te aspiciam?_"

[Footnote 1:

"Dear fatal name! rest ever unrevealed,
Nor pass these lips in holy silence sealed."

Pope's 'Eloisa to Abelard', lines 9, 10.]

[Footnote 2: Virgil, 'Æneid', ii. 5:

". ... quoeque ipse miserrima vidi
Et quorum pars magna fui."]

[Footnote 3: The Rev. Henry Byron, second son of the Rev. and Hon.
Richard Byron, and nephew of William, fifth Lord Byron, died in 1821.
His daughter Eliza married, in 1830, George Rochford Clarke. Byron's
"niece Georgina" was the daughter of Mrs. Leigh.]

[Footnote 4: Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818), intended by his father
for the diplomatic service, was educated at Westminster and Christ
Church, Weimar, and Paris. He soon showed his taste for literature. At
the age of seventeen he had translated a play from the French, and
written a farce, a comedy called 'The East Indian' (acted at Drury Lane,
April 22, 1799), "two volumes of a novel, two of a romance, besides
numerous poems" ('Life, etc., of M. G. Lewis', vol. i. p. 70). In 1794
he was attached to the British Embassy at the Hague. There, stimulated
('ibid'., vol. i. p. 123) by reading Mrs. Radcliffe's 'Mysteries of
Udolpho', he wrote 'Ambrosio, or the Monk'. The book, published in 1795,
made him famous in fashionable society, and decided his career. Though
he sat in Parliament for Hindon from 1796 to 1802, he took no part in
politics, but devoted himself to literature.

The moral and outline of 'The Monk' are taken, as Lewis says in a letter
to his father ('Life, etc.', vol. i. pp. 154-158), and as was pointed
out in the 'Monthly Review' for August, 1797, from Addison's "Santon
Barsisa" in the 'Guardian' (No. 148). The book was severely criticized
on the score of immorality. Mathias ('Pursuits of Literature', Dialogue
iv.) attacks Lewis, whom he compares to John Cleland, whose 'Memoirs of
a Woman of Pleasure' came under the notice of the law courts:

"Another Cleland see in Lewis rise.
Why sleep the ministers of truth and law?"

An injunction was, in fact, moved for against the book; but the
proceedings dropped.

Lewis had a remarkable gift of catching the popular taste of the day,
both in his tales of horror and mystery, and in his ballads. In the
latter he was the precursor of Scott. Many of his songs were sung to
music of his own composition. His 'Tales of Terror' (1799) were
dedicated to Lady Charlotte Campbell, afterwards Bury, with whom he was
in love. To his 'Tales of Wonder' (1801) Scott, Southey, and others
contributed. His most successful plays were 'The Castle Spectre' (Drury
Lane, December 14, 1797), and 'Timour the Tartar' (Covent Garden, April
29, 1811).

In 1812, by the death of his father, "the Monk" became a rich man, and
the owner of plantations in the West Indies. He paid two visits to his
property, in 1815-16 and 1817-18. On the voyage home from the last visit
he died of yellow fever, and was buried at sea. His 'Journal of a West
Indian Proprietor', published in 1834, is written in sterling English,
with much quiet humour, and a graphic power of very high order.

Among his 'Detached Thoughts' Byron has the following notes on Lewis:

"Sheridan was one day offered a bet by M. G. Lewis: 'I will bet you,
Mr. Sheridan, a very large sum--I will bet you what you owe me as
Manager, for my 'Castle Spectre'.'

"'I never make _large bets_,' said Sheridan, 'but I will lay you a
_very small_ one. I will bet you _what it is_ WORTH!'"

"Lewis, though a kind man, hated Sheridan, and we had some words upon
that score when in Switzerland, in 1816. Lewis afterwards sent me the
following epigram upon Sheridan from Saint Maurice:

"'For worst abuse of finest parts
Was Misophil begotten;
There might indeed be _blacker_ hearts,
But none could be more _rotten_.'"

Lewis at Oatlands was observed one morning to have his eyes red, and
his air sentimental; being asked why? he replied 'that when people
said anything 'kind' to him, it affected him deeply, and just now the
Duchess had said something so kind to him'--here tears began to flow
again. 'Never mind, Lewis,' said Col. Armstrong to him, 'never
mind--don't cry, she could not mean it'.'

"Lewis was a good man--a clever man, but a bore--a damned bore, one
may say. My only revenge or consolation used to be setting him by the
ears with some vivacious person who hated bores especially--Me. de
Staël or Hobhouse, for example. But I liked Lewis; he was a Jewel of a
Man had he been better set, I don't mean _personally_, but less
_tiresome_, for he was tedious, as well as contradictory to everything
and everybody. Being short-sighted, when we used to ride out together
near the Brenta in the twilight in summer, he made me go _before_ to
pilot him. I am absent at times, especially towards evening, and the
consequence of this pilotage was some narrow escapes to the Monk on
horseback. Once I led him into a ditch, over which I had passed as
usual, forgetting to warn my convoy; once I led him nearly into the
river instead of on the 'moveable' bridge which _in_commodes
passengers; and twice did we both run against the diligence, which,
being heavy and slow, did communicate less damage than it received in
its leaders, who were 'terrasséd' by the charge. Thrice did I lose him
in the gray of the gloaming and was obliged to bring to, to his
distant signals of distance and distress. All the time he went on
talking without intermission, for he was a man of many words. Poor
fellow, he died a martyr to his new riches--of a second visit to

"'I'd give the lands of Deloraine
Dark Musgrave were alive again!'
_that is_
'I would give many a Sugar Cane
Monk Lewis were alive again!'

"Lewis said to me, 'Why do you talk 'Venetian' (such as I could
talk, not very fine to be sure) to the Venetians, and not the usual
Italian?' I answered, partly from habit and partly to be understood,
if possible. 'It may be so,' said Lewis, 'but it sounds to me like
talking with a 'brogue' to an _Irishman_.'"

In a MS. note by Sir Walter Scott on these passages from Byron's
'Detached Thoughts', he says,

"Mat had queerish eyes; they projected like those of some insect, and
were flattish in their orbit. His person was extremely small and
boyish; he was, indeed, the least man I ever saw to be strictly well
and neatly made. I remember a picture of him by Saunders being handed
round at Dalkeith House. The artist had ungenerously flung a dark
folding mantle round the form, under which was half hid a dagger, or
dark lanthorn, or some such cut-throat appurtenance. With all this the
features were preserved and ennobled. It passed from hand to hand into
that of Henry, Duke of Buccleuch, who, hearing the general voice
affirm that it was very like, said aloud, 'Like Mat Lewis? Why, that
picture is like a 'man'.' He looked, and lo! Mat Lewis's head was at
his elbow. His boyishness went through life with him. He was a child,
and a spoiled child, but a child of high imagination, so that he
wasted himself in ghost stories and German nonsense. He had the finest
ear for the rhythm of verse I ever heard--finer than Byron's.

"Lewis was fonder of great people than he ought to have been, either
as a man of talent or a man of fortune. He had always dukes and
duchesses in his mouth, and was particularly fond of any one who had a
title. You would have sworn he had been a 'parvenu' of yesterday, yet
he had been all his life in good society.

"He was one of the kindest and best creatures that ever lived. His
father and mother lived separately. Mr. Lewis allowed his son a
handsome income; but reduced it more than one half when he found that
he gave his mother half of it. He restricted himself in all his
expenses, and shared the diminished income with his mother as before.
He did much good by stealth, and was a most generous creature.

"I had a good picture drawn me, I think by Thos. Thomson, of Fox, in
his latter days, suffering the fatigue of an attack from Lewis. The
great statesman was become bulky and lethargic, and lay like a fat ox
which for sometime endures the persecution of a buzzing fly, rather
than rise to get rid of it; and then at last he got up, and heavily
plodded his way to the other side of the room."

Referring to Byron's story of Lewis near the Brenta, Scott adds,

"I had a worse adventure with Mat Lewis. I had been his guide from the
cottage I then had at Laswade to the Chapel of Roslin. We were to go
up one side of the river and come down the other. In the return he was
dead tired, and, like the Israelites, he murmured against his guide
for leading him into the wilderness. I was then as strong as a poney,
and took him on my back, dressed as he was in his shooting array of a
close sky-blue jacket, and the brightest 'red' pantaloons I ever saw
on a human breech. He also had a kind of feather in his cap. At last I
could not help laughing at the ridiculous figure we must both have
made, at which my rider waxed wroth. It was an ill-chosen hour and
place, for I could have served him as Wallace did Fawden--thrown him
down and twisted his head off. We returned to the cottage weary
wights, and it cost more than one glass of Noyau, which he liked in a
decent way, to get Mat's temper on its legs again."]

[Footnote 5: 'The Bride of Abydos' was originally called 'Zuleika'. ]

[Footnote 6: The petition, directed against Lord Redesdale's Insolvent
Debtors Act, was presented by Romilly in the House of Commons, November
11, 1813, and by Lord Holland in the House of Lords, November 15, 1813.]

[Footnote 7: Henry IV., Part I. act in. sc. 3.]

* * * * *

November 16.

Went last night with Lewis to see the first of 'Antony and Cleopatra'
[1]. It was admirably got up, and well acted--a salad of Shakspeare and
Dryden. Cleopatra strikes me as the epitome of her sex--fond, lively,
sad, tender, teasing, humble, haughty, beautiful, the devil!--coquettish
to the last, as well with the "asp" as with Antony. After doing all she
can to persuade him that--but why do they abuse him for cutting off that
poltroon Cicero's head? Did not Tully tell Brutus it was a pity to have
spared Antony? and did he not speak the Philippics? and are not "_words
things_?" [2] and such "_words_" very pestilent "_things_" too? If he
had had a hundred heads, they deserved (from Antony) a rostrum (his was
stuck up there) apiece--though, after all, he might as well have
pardoned him, for the credit of the thing. But to resume--Cleopatra,
after securing him, says, "yet go--it is your interest," etc.--how like
the sex! and the questions about Octavia--it is woman all over.

To-day received Lord Jersey's invitation to Middleton--to travel sixty
miles to meet Madame De Stael! I once travelled three thousand to get
among silent people; and this same lady writes octavos, and _talks_
folios. I have read her books--like most of them, and delight in the
last; so I won't hear it, as well as read.

Read Burns to-day. What would he have been, if a patrician? We should
have had more polish--less force--just as much verse, but no
immortality--a divorce and a duel or two, the which had he survived, as
his potations must have been less spirituous, he might have lived as
long as Sheridan, and outlived as much as poor Brinsley. What a wreck is
that man! and all from bad pilotage; for no one had ever better gales,
though now and then a little too squally. Poor dear Sherry! I shall
never forget the day he and Rogers and Moore and I passed together; when
_he_ talked, and _we_ listened, without one yawn, from six till one in
the morning.

Got my seals----. Have again forgot a play-thing for _ma petite
cousine_ Eliza; but I must send for it to-morrow. I hope Harry will
bring her to me. I sent Lord Holland the proofs of the last "_Giaour_"
and "_The Bride of Abydos_" He won't like the latter, and I don't think
that I shall long. It was written in four nights to distract my dreams
from----. Were it not thus, it had never been composed; and had I not
done something at that time, I must have gone mad, by eating my own
heart,--bitter diet;--Hodgson likes it better than "_The Giaour_" but
nobody else will,--and he never liked the Fragment. I am sure, had it
not been for Murray, _that_ would never have been published, though the
circumstances which are the ground-work make it----heigh-ho!

To-night I saw both the sisters of----; my God! the youngest so like! I
thought I should have sprung across the house, and am so glad no one was
with me in Lady H.'s box. I hate those likenesses--the mock-bird, but
not the nightingale--so like as to remind, so different as to be painful

One quarrels equally with the points of resemblance and of distinction.

[Footnote 1: 'Antony and Cleopatra' was revived at Covent Garden,
November 15, 1813, with additions from Dryden's 'All for Love, or the
World Well Lost'(1678). "Cleopatra" was acted by Mrs. Fawcit; "Marc
Antony" by Young. (See for the allusions, act v. se. 2, and act i. sc.

[Footnote 2:

"But words are things; and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think."

'Don Juan', Canto III. stanza lxxxviii.]

[Footnote 3:

"-----my weal, my woe,
My hope on high--my all below;
Earth holds no other like to thee,
Or, if it doth, in vain for me:
For worlds I dare not view the dame
Resembling thee, yet not the same."

'The Giaour'.]

* * * * *

Nov. 17.

No letter from----; but I must not complain. The respectable Job says,
"Why should a _living man_ complain?" [1] I really don't know, except it
be that a _dead man_ can't; and he, the said patriarch, _did_ complain,
nevertheless, till his friends were tired and his wife recommended that
pious prologue,"Curse--and die;" the only time, I suppose, when but
little relief is to be found in swearing. I have had a most kind letter
from Lord Holland on "_The Bride of Abydos_," which he likes, and so
does Lady H. This is very good-natured in both, from whom I don't
deserve any quarter. Yet I _did_ think, at the time, that my cause of
enmity proceeded from Holland House, and am glad I was wrong, and wish I
had not been in such a hurry with that confounded satire, of which I
would suppress even the memory;--but people, now they can't get it, make
a fuss, I verily believe, out of contradiction.

George Ellis [2] and Murray have been talking something about Scott and
me, George _pro Scoto_,--and very right too. If they want to depose him,
I only wish they would not set me up as a competitor. Even if I had my
choice, I would rather be the Earl of Warwick than all the _kings_ he
ever made! Jeffrey and Gifford I take to be the monarch-makers in poetry
and prose. The 'British Critic', in their Rokeby Review, have
presupposed a comparison which I am sure my friends never thought of,
and W. Scott's subjects are injudicious in descending to. I like the
man--and admire his works to what Mr. Braham calls _Entusymusy_. All
such stuff can only vex him, and do me no good. Many hate his
politics--(I hate all politics); and, here, a man's politics are like
the Greek _soul_--an [Greek: eidolon], besides God knows what _other
soul_; but their estimate of the two generally go together.

Harry has not brought _ma petite cousine_. I want us to go to the play
together;--she has been but once. Another short note from Jersey,
inviting Rogers and me on the 23d. I must see my agent to-night. I
wonder when that Newstead business will be finished. It cost me more
than words to part with it--and to _have_ parted with it! What matters
it what I do? or what becomes of me?--but let me remember Job's saying,
and console myself with being "a living man."

I wish I could settle to reading again,--my life is monotonous, and yet
desultory. I take up books, and fling them down again. I began a comedy,
and burnt it because the scene ran into _reality_;--a novel, for the
same reason. In rhyme, I can keep more away from facts; but the thought
always runs through, through ... yes, yes, through. I have had a letter
from Lady Melbourne--the best friend I ever had in my life, and the
cleverest of women.

Not a word from----[Lady F. W. Webster], Have they set out from----?
or has my last precious epistle fallen into the lion's jaws? If so--and
this silence looks suspicious--I must clap on my "musty morion" and
"hold out my iron." [3]

I am out of practice--but I won't begin again at Manton's now. Besides,
I would not return his shot. I was once a famous wafer-splitter; but
then the bullies of society made it necessary. Ever since I began to
feel that I had a bad cause to support, I have left off the exercise.

What strange tidings from that Anakim of anarchy--Buonaparte [4]!

Ever since I defended my bust of him at Harrow against the rascally
time-servers, when the war broke out in 1803, he has been a _Héros de
Roman_ of mine--on the Continent; I don't want him here. But I don't
like those same flights--leaving of armies, etc., etc. I am sure when I
fought for his bust at school, I did not think he would run away from
himself. But I should not wonder if he banged them yet. To be beat by
men would be something; but by three stupid, legitimate-old-dynasty
boobies of regular-bred sovereigns--O-hone-a-rie!--O-hone-a-rie! It must
be, as Cobbett says, his marriage with the thick-lipped and thick-headed
_Autrichienne_ brood. He had better have kept to her who was kept by
Barras. I never knew any good come of your young wife, and legal
espousals, to any but your "sober-blooded boy" who "eats fish" and
drinketh "no sack." [5] Had he not the whole opera? all Paris? all
France? But a mistress is just as perplexing--that is, _one_--two or
more are manageable by division.

I have begun, or had begun, a song, and flung it into the fire. It was
in remembrance of Mary Duff, [6] my first of flames, before most people
begin to burn. I wonder what the devil is the matter with me! I can do
nothing, and--fortunately there is nothing to do. It has lately been in
my power to make two persons (and their connections) comfortable, _pro
tempore_, and one happy, _ex tempore_,--I rejoice in the last
particularly, as it is an excellent man. [7] I wish there had been more
convenience and less gratification to my self-love in it, for then there
had been more merit. We are all selfish--and I believe, ye gods of
Epicurus! I believe in Rochefoucault about _men_, and in Lucretius (not
Busby's translation) about yourselves. [8] Your bard has made you very
_nonchalant_ and blest; but as he has excused _us_ from damnation, I
don't envy you your blessedness much--a little, to be sure. I remember,
last year,----[Lady Oxford] said to me, at----[Eywood], "Have we not
passed our last month like the gods of Lucretius?" And so we had. She is
an adept in the text of the original (which I like too); and when that
booby Bus. sent his translating prospectus, she subscribed. But, the
devil prompting him to add a specimen, she transmitted him a subsequent
answer, saying, that "after perusing it, her conscience would not permit
her to allow her name to remain on the list of subscribblers." Last
night, at Lord H.'s--Mackintosh, the Ossulstones, Puységur, [9] etc.,
there--I was trying to recollect a quotation (as _I_ think) of Stael's,
from some Teutonic sophist about architecture. "Architecture," says this
Macoronico Tedescho, "reminds me of frozen music." It is somewhere--but
where?--the demon of perplexity must know and won't tell. I asked M.,
and he said it was not in her: but Puységur said it must be _hers_, it
was so _like_. H. laughed, as he does at all "_De l'Allemagne_"--in
which, however, I think he goes a little too far. B., I hear, contemns
it too. But there are fine passages;--and, after all, what is a
work--any--or every work--but a desert with fountains, and, perhaps, a
grove or two, every day's journey? To be sure, in Madame, what we often
mistake, and "pant for," as the "cooling stream," turns out to be the
"_mirage_" (criticè _verbiage_); but we do, at last, get to something
like the temple of Jove Ammon, and then the waste we have passed is only
remembered to gladden the contrast.

Called on C--, to explain----. She is very beautiful, to my taste, at
least; for on coming home from abroad, I recollect being unable to look
at any woman but her--they were so fair, and unmeaning, and _blonde_.
The darkness and regularity of her features reminded me of my "Jannat al
Aden." But this impression wore off; and now I can look at a fair woman,
without longing for a Houri. She was very good-tempered, and every thing
was explained.

To-day, great news--"the Dutch have taken Holland,"--which, I suppose,
will be succeeded by the actual explosion of the Thames. Five provinces
have declared for young Stadt, and there will be inundation,
conflagration, constupration, consternation, and every sort of nation
and nations, fighting away, up to their knees, in the damnable quags of
this will-o'-the-wisp abode of Boors. It is said Bernadotte is amongst
them, too; and, as Orange will be there soon, they will have (Crown)
Prince Stork and King Log in their Loggery at the same time. Two to one
on the new dynasty!

Mr. Murray has offered me one thousand guineas for _The Giaour_ and _The
Bride of Abydos_. I won't--it is too much, though I am strongly tempted,
merely for the _say_ of it. No bad price for a fortnight's (a week each)
what?--the gods know--it was intended to be called poetry.

I have dined regularly to-day, for the first time since Sunday
last--this being Sabbath, too. All the rest, tea and dry biscuits--six
_per diem_. I wish to God I had not dined now!--It kills me with
heaviness, stupor, and horrible dreams; and yet it was but a pint of
Bucellas, and fish.[10] Meat I never touch,--nor much vegetable diet. I
wish I were in the country, to take exercise,--instead of being obliged
to _cool_ by abstinence, in lieu of it. I should not so much mind a
little accession of flesh,--my bones can well bear it. But the worst is,
the devil always came with it,--till I starved him out,--and I will
_not_ be the slave of _any_ appetite. If I do err, it shall be my heart,
at least, that heralds the way. Oh, my head--how it aches?--the horrors
of digestion! I wonder how Buonaparte's dinner agrees with him?

Mem. I must write to-morrow to "Master Shallow, who owes me a thousand
pounds," [11] and seems, in his letter, afraid I should ask him for it;
[12]--as if I would!--I don't want it (just now, at least,) to begin
with; and though I have often wanted that sum, I never asked for the
repayment of £10. in my life--from a friend. His bond is not due this
year, and I told him when it was, I should not enforce it. How often
must he make me say the same thing?

I am wrong--I did once ask----[13] to repay me. But it was under
circumstances that excused me _to him_, and would to any one. I took no
interest, nor required security. He paid me soon,--at least, his
_padre_. My head! I believe it was given me to ache with. Good even.

[Footnote 1: "Wherefore doth a living man complain?" ('Lam'. iii. 39).]

[Footnote 2: George Ellis (1753-1815), a contributor to the 'Rolliad'
and the 'Anti-Jacobin', and "the first converser" Walter Scott "ever

[Footnote 3:

"I dare not fight; but I will wink, and hold out mine iron."

'Henry V.', act ii. sc. I.]

[Footnote 4: Byron was not always, even at Harrow, attached to
Buonaparte, for, if we may trust Harness, he "roared out" at a
Buonapartist schoolfellow:

"Bold Robert Speer was Bony's bad precursor.
Bob was a bloody dog, but Bonaparte a worser."

His feeling for him was probably that which is expressed in the
following passage from an undated letter, written to him by Moore:

"We owe great gratitude to this thunderstorm of a fellow for clearing
the air of all the old legitimate fogs that have settled upon us, and
I sincerely trust his task is not yet over."

Ticknor ('Life', vol. i. p. 60) describes Byron's reception of the news
of the battle of Waterloo:

"After an instant's pause, Lord Byron replied, 'I am damned sorry for
it;' and then, after another slight pause, he added, 'I didn't know
but I might live to see Lord Castlereagh's head on a pole. But I
suppose I shan't now.'"

Byron's liking for Buonaparte was probably increased by his dislike of
Wellington and Blucher. The following passages are taken from the
'Detached Thoughts'(1821):

"The vanity of Victories is considerable. Of all who fell at Waterloo
or Trafalgar, ask any man in company to 'name you ten off hand'.
They will stick at Nelson: the other will survive himself. 'Nelson
was' a hero, the other is a mere Corporal, dividing with Prussians
and Spaniards the luck which he never deserved. He even--but I hate
the fool, and will be silent."

"The Miscreant Wellington is the Cub of Fortune, but she will never
lick him into shape. If he lives, he will be beaten; that's certain.
Victory was never before wasted upon such an unprofitable soil as this
dunghill of Tyranny, whence nothing springs but Viper's eggs."

"I remember seeing Blucher in the London Assemblies, and never saw
anything of his age less venerable. With the voice and manners of a
recruiting Sergeant, he pretended to the honours of a hero; just as if
a stone could be worshipped because a man stumbled over it."]

[Footnote 5: Henry IV., Part II. act iv. se. 3.]

[Footnote 6: Mary Duff, his distant cousin, who lived not far from the
"Plain-Stanes" of Aberdeen, in Byron's childhood. She married Mr. Robert
Cockburn, a wine-merchant in Edinburgh and London.]

[Footnote 7: The first is, perhaps, Dallas; the second probably is
Francis Hodgson, to whom he gave, from first to last, £1500.]

[Footnote 8:

"L'intérêt est l'ame de l'amour-propre, de sorte que comme le corps,
privé de son ame, est sans vue, sans ouïe, sans connoissance, sans
sentiment, et sans mouvement; de même l'amour-propre, séparé, s'il le
faut dire ainsi, de son intérêt, ne voit, n'entend, ne sent, et ne se
remue plus," etc., etc.

(Rochefoucault, Lettre à Madame Sablé). The passage in Lucretius
probably is 'De Rerum Naturâ', i. 57-62.]

[Footnote 9:

"Monsieur de Puységur," says Lady H. Leveson Gower ('Letters of
Harriet, Countess of Granville', vol. i. p. 23), "is really
'concentré' into one wrinkle. It is the oldest, gayest, thinnest, most
withered, and most brilliant thing one can meet with. When there are
so many young, fat fools going about the world, I wish for the
transmigration of souls. Puységur might animate a whole family."

The phrase, of which Byron was in search, is Goethe's, 'eine erstarrte
Musik' (Stevens's 'Life of Madame de Staël', vol. ii. p. 195).]

[Footnote 10: That the poet sometimes dined seems evident from the
annexed bill:

Lord Byron.

To M. Richold

1813-- £ s. d.
Ballance of last bill 0 13 10
Aug. 9. To dinner bill 1 6 0
10. To do. do. 4 13 6
11. To do. do. 1 4 0
14. To do. do. 1 6 0
15. To share of do. 4 4 6
16. To dinner bill 1 6 0
17. To do. do. 1 6 6
19. To do. do. 1 2 6
20. To share of do. 4 19 0
21. To dinner bill 1 1 6
22. To do. do. 1 2 0
23. To do. do. 1 2 0
25. To do. do. 1 9 0
Aug. 26. To dinner bill 1 1 6
27. To do. do. 1 8 6
Sept 2. To do. do. 1 4 0
3. To do. do. 1 2 0
4. To do. do. 1 11 0
5. To do. do. 1 6 6
7. To do. do. 5 7 0
9. To do. do. 1 6 6
26. To do. do. 1 9 0
Nov. 14. To do. do. 1 0 6
21. To do. do. 0 19 0
-- -- --
£44 11 10]

[Footnote 11: Henry IV., Part II. act v. sc. 5.]

[Footnote 12: James Wedderburn Webster (see p. 2, note 1 [Footnote 1 of
Letter 170]).]

[Footnote 13: Probably John Cam Hobhouse, whose expenses on the tour of
1809-10 were paid by Byron, and repaid by Sir Benjamin Hobhouse.]

* * * * *

Nov. 22, 1813.

"Orange Boven!" [1] So the bees have expelled the bear that broke open
their hive. Well,--if we are to have new De Witts and De Ruyters, God
speed the little republic! I should like to see the Hague and the
village of Brock, where they have such primitive habits. Yet, I don't
know,--their canals would cut a poor figure by the memory of the
Bosphorus; and the Zuyder Zee look awkwardly after "Ak-Denizi" [2]. No
matter,--the bluff burghers, puffing freedom out of their short
tobacco-pipes, might be worth seeing; though I prefer a cigar or a
hooka, with the rose-leaf mixed with the milder herb of the Levant. I
don't know what liberty means,--never having seen it,--but wealth is
power all over the world; and as a shilling performs the duty of a pound
(besides sun and sky and beauty for nothing) in the East,--_that_ is the
country. How I envy Herodes Atticus [3]!--more than Pomponius. And yet a
little _tumult_, now and then, is an agreeable quickener of sensation;
such as a revolution, a battle, or an _aventure_ of any lively
description. I think I rather would have been Bonneval, Ripperda,
Alberoni, Hayreddin, or Horuc Barbarossa, or even Wortley Montague, than
Mahomet himself. [4]

Rogers will be in town soon?--the 23d is fixed for our Middleton visit.
Shall I go? umph!--In this island, where one can't ride out without
overtaking the sea, it don't much matter where one goes.

I remember the effect of the _first Edinburgh Review_ on me. I heard of
it six weeks before,--read it the day of its denunciation,--dined and
drank three bottles of claret, (with S. B. Davies, I think,) neither ate
nor slept the less, but, nevertheless, was not easy till I had vented my
wrath and my rhyme, in the same pages, against every thing and every
body. Like George, in the _Vicar of Wakefield_,--"the fate of my
paradoxes" [5] would allow me to perceive no merit in another. I
remembered only the maxim of my boxing-master, which, in my youth, was
found useful in all general riots,--"Whoever is not for you is against
you--_mill_ away right and left," and so I did;--like Ishmael, my hand
was against all men, and all men's anent me. I did wonder, to be sure,
at my own success:

"And marvels so much wit is all his own," [6]

as Hobhouse sarcastically says of somebody (not unlikely myself, as we
are old friends);--but were it to come over again, I would _not_. I have
since redde the cause of my couplets, and it is not adequate to the
effect. C----told me that it was believed I alluded to poor Lord
Carlisle's nervous disorder in one of the lines. I thank Heaven I did
not know it--and would not, could not, if I had. I must naturally be the
last person to be pointed on defects or maladies.

Rogers is silent,--and, it is said, severe. When he does talk, he talks
well; and, on all subjects of taste, his delicacy of expression is pure
as his poetry. If you enter his house--his drawing-room--his
library--you of yourself say, this is not the dwelling of a common mind.
There is not a gem, a coin, a book thrown aside on his chimney-piece,
his sofa, his table, that does not bespeak an almost fastidious elegance
in the possessor. But this very delicacy must be the misery of his
existence. Oh the jarrings his disposition must have encountered through

Southey, I have not seen much of. His appearance is _Epic_; and he is
the only existing entire man of letters. All the others have some
pursuit annexed to their authorship. His manners are mild, but not those
of a man of the world, and his talents of the first order. His prose is
perfect. Of his poetry there are various opinions: there is, perhaps,
too much of it for the present generation; posterity will probably
select. He has _passages_ equal to any thing. At present, he has _a
party_, but no _public_--except for his prose writings. The life of
Nelson is beautiful.

Sotheby [7] is a _Littérateur_, the Oracle of the Coteries, of the----s
[8], Lydia White (Sydney Smith's "Tory Virgin") [9], Mrs. Wilmot [10]
(she, at least, is a swan, and might frequent a purer stream,) Lady
Beaumont, [11] and all the Blues, with Lady Charlemont [12] at their
head--but I say nothing of _her_--"look in her face and you forget them
all," and every thing else. Oh that face!--by _te, Diva potens Cypri_, I
would, to be beloved by that woman, build and burn another Troy.

Moore has a peculiarity of talent, or rather talents,--poetry, music,
voice, all his own; and an expression in each, which never was, nor will
be, possessed by another. But he is capable of still higher flights in
poetry. By the by, what humour, what--every thing, in the "_Post-Bag!_"
There is nothing Moore may not do, if he will but seriously set about
it. In society, he is gentlemanly, gentle, and, altogether, more
pleasing than any individual with whom I am acquainted. For his honour,
principle, and independence, his conduct to----speaks "trumpet-tongued."
He has but one fault--and that one I daily regret--he is not _here_.

[Footnote 1: Holland, constituted a kingdom for Louis Napoleon (1806),
was (1810) incorporated with the French Empire. On November 15, 1813,
the people of Amsterdam raised the cry of "Orange Boven!", donned the
Orange colours, and expelled the French from the city. Their example was
followed in other provinces, and on November 21, deputies arrived in
London, asking the Prince of Orange to place himself at the head of the
movement. He landed in Holland, November 30, and entered Amsterdam the
next day in state.

A play was announced at Drury Lane, December 8, 1813, under the title of
'Orange Boven', but it was suppressed because no licence had been
obtained for its performance. It was produced December 10, 1813, and ran
about ten nights.]

[Footnote 2: The Lake of Ak-Deniz, north-east of Antioch, into and out
of which flows the Nahr-Ifrin to join the Nahr-el-Asy or Orontes.]

[Footnote 3: A typically wealthy Greek, as Pomponius Atticus was a
typically wealthy Roman.]

[Footnote 4: Bonneval (1675-1747) was a French soldier of fortune, who
served successively in the Austrian, Russian, and Turkish armies.
Ripperda (died 1737) a Dutch adventurer, became Prime Minister of Spain
under Philip V., and after his fall turned Mohammedan. Alberoni
(1664-1752) was an Italian adventurer, who became Prime Minister of
Spain in 1714. Hayreddin (died 1547) and Horuc Barbarossa (died 1518)
were Algerine pirates. Edward Wortley Montague (1713-1776), son of Lady
Mary, saw the inside of several prisons, served at Fontenoy, sat in the
British Parliament, was received into the Roman Catholic Church at
Jerusalem (1764), lived at Rosetta as a Mohammedan with his mistress,
Caroline Dormer, till 1772, and died at Padua, from swallowing a

[Footnote 5: 'Vicar of Wakefield' (chap. xx.). The Vicar's eldest son,

"resolved to write a book that should be wholly new. I therefore
dressed up three paradoxes with some ingenuity.... 'Well,' asks the
Vicar, 'and what did the learned world say to your paradoxes?' 'Sir,'
replied my son, 'the learned world said nothing to my paradoxes,
nothing at all.... I found that no genius in another could please me.
My unfortunate paradoxes had entirely dried up that source of comfort.
I could neither read nor write with satisfaction; for excellence in
another was my aversion, and writing was my trade.'"]

[Footnote 6: From Boileau ('Imitations, etc.', by J.C. Hobhouse):

"With what delight rhymes on the scribbling dunce.
He's ne'er perplex'd to choose, but right at once;
With rapture hails each work as soon as done,
And wonders so much wit was all his own."]

[Footnote 7: At Sotheby's house, Miss Jane Porter, author of 'The
Scottish Chiefs', etc., etc., met Byron. She made the following note of
his appearance, and after his death sent it to his sister:

"I once had the gratification of Seeing Lord Byron. He was at Evening
party at the Poet Sotheby's. I was not aware of his being in the room,
or even that he had been invited, when I was arrested from listening
to the person conversing with me by the Sounds of the most melodious
Speaking Voice I had ever heard. It was gentle and beautifully
modulated. I turned round to look for the Speaker, and then saw a
Gentleman in black of an Elegant form (for nothing of his lameness
could be discovered), and with a face I never shall forget. The
features of the finest proportions. The Eye deep set, but mildly
lustrous; and the Complexion what I at the time described to my
Sister as a Sort of moonlight paleness. It was so pale, yet with all
so Softly brilliant.

"I instantly asked my Companion who that Gentleman was. He replied,
'Lord Byron.' I was astonished, for there was no Scorn, no disdain,
nothing in that noble Countenance _then_ of the proud Spirit
which has since soared to Heaven, illuminating the Horizon far and

[Footnote 8: Probably the Berrys.]

[Footnote 9: Miss Lydia White, the "Miss Diddle" of Byron's 'Blues', of
whom Ticknor speaks ('Life', vol. i. p. 176) as "the fashionable
blue-stocking," was a wealthy Irishwoman, well known for her dinners and

"in all the capitals of Europe. At one of her dinners in Park Street
(all the company except herself being Whigs), the desperate prospects
of the Whig party were discussed. Yes,' said Sydney Smith, who was
present, 'we are in a most deplorable condition; we must do something
to help ourselves. I think,' said he, looking at Lydia White, 'we had
better sacrifice a Tory Virgin'"

(Lady Morgan's 'Memoirs', vol. ii. p. 236). Miss Berry, in her 'Journal'
(vol. iii. p. 49, May 8, 1815), says,

"Lord and Lady Byron persuaded me to go with them to Miss White. Never
have I seen a more imposing convocation of ladies arranged in a circle
than when we entered, taking William Spencer with us. Lord Byron
brought me home. He stayed to supper."

Miss White's last years were passed in bad health. Moore called upon
Rogers, May 7, 1826:

"Found him in high good humour. In talking of Miss White, he said,
'How wonderfully she does hold out! They may say what they will, but
Miss White and 'Miss'olongi are the most remarkable things going"

('Memoirs, etc.', vol. v. p. 62). Lydia White died in February, 1827.]

[Footnote 10: Barberina Ogle (1768-1854), daughter of Sir Chaloner Ogle,
widow of Valentia Wilmot, married, in 1819, Lord Dacre. Her tragedy,
'Ina', was produced at Drury Lane, April 22, 1815. Her literary work
was, for the most part, privately printed: 'Dramas, Translations, and
Occasional Poems' (1821); 'Translations from the Italian' (1836). She
also edited her daughter's 'Recollections of a Chaperon' (1831), and
'Tales of the Peerage and Peasantry' (1835).]

[Footnote 11: Margaret Willes, granddaughter of Chief Justice Willes,
married, in 1778, Sir George Beaumont, Bart. (1753-1827), the
landscape-painter, art critic, and picture-collector, who founded the
National Gallery, was a friend of Sir Joshua Reynolds, of Dr. Johnson,
and of Wordsworth, and is mentioned by Byron in the 'Blues':

"Sir George thinks exactly with Lady Bluebottle."]

[Footnote 12: Francis William Caulfield, who succeeded his father, in
1799, as second Earl of Charlemont, married, in 1802, Anne, daughter of
William Bermingham, of Ross Hill, co. Galway. She died in 1876. Of Lady
Charlemont's beauty Byron was an enthusiastic admirer. In his 'Letter on
the Rev. W.L. Bowles's Strictures on Pope' (February 7, 1821) he says,

"The head of Lady Charlemont (when I first saw her, nine years ago)
seemed to possess all that sculpture could require for its ideal."

Moore ('Journals, etc.', vol. iii. p. 78) has the following entry in his
Diary for November 21, 1819:

"Called upon Lady Charlemont, and sat with her some time. Lady
Mansfield told me that the effect she produces here with her beauty is
wonderful; last night, at the Comtesse d'Albany's, the Italians were
ready to fall down and worship her."

For the two quotations, see Horace, 'Odes', I. iii. 1, and 'The Rape of
the Lock', ii. 18.]

* * * * *

Nov. 23.

Ward--I like Ward. By Mahomet! I begin to think I like every body;--a
disposition not to be encouraged;--a sort of social gluttony that
swallows every thing set before it. But I like Ward. He is _piquant_;
and, in my opinion, will stand very _high_ in the House, and every where
else, if he applies _regularly_. By the by, I dine with him to-morrow,
which may have some influence on my opinion. It is as well not to trust
one's gratitude _after_ dinner. I have heard many a host libelled by his
guests, with his burgundy yet reeking on their rascally lips.

I have taken Lord Salisbury's box at Covent Garden for the season; and
now I must go and prepare to join Lady Holland and party, in theirs, at
Drury Lane, _questa sera_.

Holland doesn't think the man is _Junius_; but that the yet unpublished
journal throws great light on the obscurities of that part of George the
Second's reign.--What is this to George the Third's? I don't know what
to think. Why should Junius be yet dead? If suddenly apoplexed, would he
rest in his grave without sending his [Greek: eidolon] to shout in the
ears of posterity, "Junius was X.Y.Z., Esq., buried in the parish of
----. Repair his monument, ye churchwardens! Print a new edition of his
Letters, ye booksellers!" Impossible,--the man must be alive, and will
never die without the disclosure. I like him;--he was a good hater.

Came home unwell and went to bed,--not so sleepy as might be desirable.

Tuesday morning. I awoke from a dream!--well! and have not others
dreamed?--Such a dream!--but she did not overtake me. I wish the dead
would rest, however. Ugh! how my blood chilled,--and I could not

"Shadows to-night
Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard,
Than could the substance of ten thousand----s,
Arm'd all in proof, and led by shallow----." [1]

I do not like this dream,--I hate its "foregone conclusion." And am I to
be shaken by shadows? Ay, when they remind us of--no matter--but, if I
dream thus again, I will try whether _all_ sleep has the like visions.
Since I rose, I've been in considerable bodily pain also; but it is
gone, and now, like Lord Ogleby [2], I am wound up for the day.

A note from Mountnorris [3]--I dine with Ward;--Canning is to be there,
Frere [4] and Sharpe [5], perhaps Gifford. I am to be one of "the five"
(or rather six), as Lady----said a little sneeringly yesterday. They
are all good to meet, particularly Canning, and--Ward, when he likes. I
wish I may be well enough to listen to these intellectuals.

No letters to-day;--so much the better,--there are no answers. I must
not dream again;--it spoils even reality. I will go out of doors, and
see what the fog will do for me. Jackson has been here: the boxing world
much as usual;--but the club increases. I shall dine at Crib's [6]
to-morrow. I like energy--even animal energy--of all kinds; and I have
need of both mental and corporeal. I have not dined out, nor, indeed,
_at all_, lately: have heard no music--have seen nobody. Now for a
_plunge_--high life and low life. _Amant_ alterna _Camoenæ!_ [7].

I have burnt my _Roman_--as I did the first scenes and sketch of my
comedy--and, for aught I see, the pleasure of burning is quite as great
as that of printing. These two last would not have done. I ran into
_realities_ more than ever; and some would have been recognised and
others guessed at.

Redde the _Ruminator_--a collection of Essays, by a strange, but able,
old man [Sir Egerton Brydges] [8], and a half-wild young one, author of
a poem on the Highlands, called _Childe Alarique_ [9].

The word "sensibility" (always my aversion) occurs a thousand times in
these Essays; and, it seems, is to be an excuse for all kinds of
discontent. This young man can know nothing of life; and, if he
cherishes the disposition which runs through his papers, will become
useless, and, perhaps, not even a poet, after all, which he seems
determined to be. God help him! no one should be a rhymer who could be
any thing better. And this is what annoys one, to see Scott and Moore,
and Campbell and Rogers, who might have all been agents and leaders, now
mere spectators. For, though they may have other ostensible avocations,
these last are reduced to a secondary consideration.----, too,
frittering away his time among dowagers and unmarried girls. If it
advanced any _serious_ affair, it were some excuse; but, with the
unmarried, that is a hazardous speculation, and tiresome enough, too;
and, with the veterans, it is not much worth trying, unless, perhaps,
one in a thousand.

If I had any views in this country, they would probably be parliamentary

But I have no ambition; at least, if any, it would be _aut Cæsar aut
nihil_. My hopes are limited to the arrangement of my affairs, and
settling either in Italy or the East (rather the last), and drinking
deep of the languages and literature of both. Past events have unnerved
me; and all I can now do is to make life an amusement, and look on while
others play. After all, even the highest game of crowns and sceptres,
what is it? _Vide_ Napoleon's last twelvemonth. It has completely upset
my system of fatalism. I thought, if crushed, he would have fallen, when
_fractus illabitur orbis_, [11] and not have been pared away to gradual
insignificance; that all this was not a mere _jeu_ of the gods, but a
prelude to greater changes and mightier events. But men never advance
beyond a certain point; and here we are, retrograding, to the dull,
stupid old system,--balance of Europe--poising straws upon kings' noses,
instead of wringing them off! Give me a republic, or a despotism of one,
rather than the mixed government of one, two, three. A republic!--look
in the history of the Earth--Rome, Greece, Venice, France, Holland,
America, our short (_eheu!_) Commonwealth, and compare it with what they
did under masters. The Asiatics are not qualified to be republicans, but
they have the liberty of demolishing despots, which is the next thing to
it. To be the first man--not the Dictator--not the Sylla, but the
Washington or the Aristides--the leader in talent and truth--is next to
the Divinity! Franklin, Penn, and, next to these, either Brutus or
Cassius--even Mirabeau--or St. Just. I shall never be any thing, or
rather always be nothing. The most I can hope is, that some will say,
"He might, perhaps, if he would."

12, midnight.

Here are two confounded proofs from the printer. I have looked at the
one, but for the soul of me, I can't look over that _Giaour_ again,--at
least, just now, and at this hour--and yet there is no moon.

Ward talks of going to Holland, and we have partly discussed an
_ensemble_ expedition. It must be in ten days, if at all, if we wish to
be in at the Revolution. And why not?----is distant, and will be at
----, still more distant, till spring. No one else, except Augusta,
cares for me; no ties--no trammels--_andiamo dunque--se torniamo,
bene--se non, ch' importa?_ Old William of Orange talked of dying in
"the last ditch" of his dingy country. It is lucky I can swim, or I
suppose I should not well weather the first. But let us see. I have
heard hyeenas and jackalls in the ruins of Asia; and bull-frogs in the
marshes; besides wolves and angry Mussulmans. Now, I should like to
listen to the shout of a free Dutchman.

Alla! Viva! For ever! Hourra! Huzza!--which is the most rational or
musical of these cries? "Orange Boven," according to the 'Morning Post'.

[Footnote 1:

"By the apostle Paul, shadows to-night
Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard
Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers,
Armed in proof, and led by shallow Richmond."

'Richard III'., act v. sc. 3.]

[Footnote 2: "Lord Ogleby" is a character in 'The Clandestine Marriage'
(by Colman and Garrick, first acted at Drury Lane, February 20, 1766).
"Brush," his valet, says (act ii.) of his master,

"What with qualms, age, rheumatism, and a few surfeits in his youth,
he must have a great deal of brushing, oyling, screwing, and winding
up, to set him a-going for the day."]

[Footnote 3: Viscount Valentia, created in 1793 Earl of Mountnorris, was
the father of Byron's friend, Viscount Valentia (afterwards second and
last Earl of Mountnorris, died in 1844); of Lady Frances Wedderburn
Webster; of Lady Catherine Annesley, who married Lord John Somerset, and
died in 1865; and of Lady Juliana Annesley, who married Robert Bayly, of

[Footnote 4: John Hookham Frere (1769-1846), educated at Eton, and
Caius College, Cambridge (Fellow, 1792), M.P. for West Loe (1796-1802),
was a clerk in the Foreign Office. A school-friend of Canning, he joined
with him in the 'Anti-Jacobin' (November 20, 1797--July 9, 1798). Among
the pieces which he contributed, in whole or part, are "The Loves of the
Triangles," "The Friend of Humanity and the Knife-grinder," "The Rovers,
or the Double Arrangement," "_La Sainte Guillotine_" "New Morality," and
the "Meeting of the Friends of Freedom." He was British Envoy at Lisbon
(1800-1804) and to the Spanish Junta (October, 1808-April, 1809). From
this post he was recalled, owing to the fatal effects of his advice to
Sir John Moore, and he never again held any public appointment. From
1818 to 1846 he lived at Malta, where he died.

His translations of "The Frogs" of Aristophanes (1839), and of "The
Acharnians, the Knights, and the Birds" (1840), are masterpieces of
spirit and fidelity. His 'Prospectus and Specimen of an intended
National Work, by William and Robert Whistlecraft' (cantos i., ii.,
1817; cantos iii., iv., 1818), inspired Byron with 'Beppo'.

Ticknor describes him in 1819 ('Life', vol. i. p. 267):

"Frere is a slovenly fellow. His remarks on Homer, in the 'Classical
Journal', prove how fine a Greek scholar he is; his 'Quarterly
Reviews', how well he writes; his 'Rovers, or the Double Arrangement,'
what humour he possesses; and the reputation he has left in Spain and
Portugal, how much better he understood their literatures than they do
themselves; while, at the same time, his books left in France, in
Gallicia, at Lisbon, and two or three places in England; his
manuscripts, neglected and lost to himself; his manners, lazy and
careless; and his conversation, equally rich and negligent, show how
little he cares about all that distinguishes him in the eyes of the
world. He studies as a luxury, he writes as an amusement, and
conversation is a kind of sensual enjoyment to him. If he had been
born in Asia, he would have been the laziest man that ever lived."]

[Footnote 5: For "Conversation" Sharp, see p. 341, 'note' 2 [Footnote 2
of Journal entry for 24 November, 1813.]]

[Footnote 6: Thomas Cribb (1781-1848), born at Bitton, near Bristol,
began life as a bell-hanger, became first a coal-porter, then a sailor,
and finally found his vocation as a pugilist. In his profession he was
known, from one of his previous callings, as the "Black Diamond." His
first big fight was against George Maddox (January 7, 1805), whom he
defeated after seventy-six rounds. He twice beat the ex-champion, the
one-eyed Jem Belcher (April 8, 1807, and February 1, 1809), and with his
victory over Bob Gregson (October 25, 1808; see 'Letters', vol. i. p.
207, 'note' 1 [Footnote 2 of Letter 108]) became champion of England.
His two defeats of Molineaux, the black pugilist (December 18, 1810, and
September 28, 1811), established his title, which was never again
seriously challenged, and in 1821 it was conferred upon him for life.
Cribb was one of the prize-fighters, who, dressed as pages, kept order
at the Coronation of George IV. In 1813 he was landlord of the King's
Arms, Duke Street, St. James's, and universally respected as the honest
head of the pugilistic profession. He died in 1848 at Woolwich; three
years later a monument was erected to his memory by public subscription
in Woolwich Churchyard. It represents "a British lion grieving over the
ashes of a British hero," and on the plinth is the inscription, "Respect
the ashes of the brave."]

[Footnote 7: Virgil, 'Eclogues', iii. 59.]

[Footnote 8: Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges (1762-1837), poet, novelist,
genealogist, and bibliographer, published, in 1813, 'The Ruminator:
containing a series of moral, critical, and sentimental Essays'. Of the
104 Essays, 72 appeared in the 'Censura Literaria' between January,
1807, and June, 1809. The remainder were by Gillies, except two by the
Rev. Francis Wrangham and two by the Rev. Montagu Pennington. No. 50 is
a review of some original poems by Capell Lofft, including a Greek ode
on Eton College.

Gillies, in his 'Memoirs of a Literary Veteran' (vol. ii. p. 4), says
that in 1809 he addressed an anonymous letter to Brydges, containing
some thoughts on the advantages of retirement (the subject of 'Childe
Alarique'). The letter, printed in 'The Ruminator', began his literary
career and introduced him to Brydges. 'The Ruminator', 2 vols. (1813),
and 'Childe Alarique' (1813), are among the books included in the sale
catalogue of Byron's books, April 5, 1816.]

[Footnote 9: Robert Pearse Gillies (1788-1858) wrote 'Wallace, a
Fragment' (1813); 'Childe Alarique, a Poet's Reverie, with other Poems'
(1813); 'Confessions of Sir Henry Longueville, a Novel' (1814); and
numerous other works and translations. His 'Memoirs of a Literary
Veteran' was published in 1851. He was the founder and first editor of
the 'Foreign Quarterly Review' (1827).]

[Footnote 10: The following additional notes on Byron's Parliamentary
career are taken from his 'Detached Thoughts':--

"At the Opposition meeting of the peers, in 1812, at Lord Grenville's,
when Lord Grey and he read to us the correspondence upon Moira's
negociation, I sate next to the present Duke of Grafton. When it was
over, I turned to him and said, 'What is to be done next?' 'Wake the
Duke of Norfolk' (who was snoring away near us), replied he. 'I don't
think the Negociators have left anything else for us to do this

"In the debate, or rather discussion, afterwards, in the House of
Lords, upon that very question, I sate immediately behind Lord Moira,
who was extremely annoyed at G.'s speech upon the subject, and while
G. was speaking, turned round to me repeatedly and asked me whether I
agreed with him? It was an awkward question to me, who had not heard
both sides. Moira kept repeating to me, 'It was 'not so', it was so
and so,' etc. I did not know very well what to think, but I
sympathized with the acuteness of his feelings upon the subject."

"Lord Eldon affects an Imitation of two very different
Chancellors--Thurlow and Loughborough--and can indulge in an oath now
and then. On one of the debates on the Catholic question, when we were
either equal or within one (I forget which), I had been sent for in
great haste from a Ball, which I quitted, I confess somewhat
reluctantly, to emancipate five Millions of people. I came in late,
and did not go immediately into the body of the house, but stood just
behind the Woolsack. Eldon turned round, and, catching my eye,
immediately said to a peer (who had come to him for a few minutes on
the Woolsack, as is the custom of his friends), 'Damn them! they'll
have it now, by God!--the vote that is just come in will give it

[Footnote 11: Horace, 'Odes', III. iii. 7.]

* * * * *

Wednesday, 24.

No dreams last night of the dead, nor the living; so--I am "firm as the
marble, founded as the rock," [1] till the next earthquake.

Ward's dinner went off well. There was not a disagreeable person
there--unless _I_ offended any body, which I am sure I could not by
contradiction, for I said little, and opposed nothing. Sharpe [2] (a man
of elegant mind, and who has lived much with the best--Fox, Horne Tooke,
Windham, Fitzpatrick, and all the agitators of other times and tongues,)
told us the particulars of his last interview with Windham, [3] a few
days before the fatal operation which sent "that gallant spirit to
aspire the skies." [4] Windham,--the first in one department of oratory
and talent, whose only fault was his refinement beyond the intellect of
half his hearers,--Windham, half his life an active participator in the
events of the earth, and one of those who governed nations,--_he_
regretted,--and dwelt much on that regret, that "he had not entirely
devoted himself to literature and science!!!" His mind certainly would
have carried him to eminence there, as elsewhere;--but I cannot
comprehend what debility of that mind could suggest such a wish. I, who
have heard him, cannot regret any thing but that I shall never hear him
again. What! would he have been a plodder? a metaphysician?--perhaps a
rhymer? a scribbler? Such an exchange must have been suggested by
illness. But he is gone, and Time "shall not look upon his like again."

I am tremendously in arrear with my letters,--except to----, and to her
my thoughts overpower me:--my words never compass them. To Lady
Melbourne I write with most pleasure--and her answers, so sensible, so
_tactique_--I never met with half her talent. If she had been a few
years younger, what a fool she would have made of me, had she thought it
worth her while,--and I should have lost a valuable and most agreeable
_friend_. Mem. a mistress never is nor can be a friend. While you agree,
you are lovers; and, when it is over, any thing but friends.

I have not answered W. Scott's last letter,--but I will. I regret to
hear from others, that he has lately been unfortunate in pecuniary
involvements. He is undoubtedly the Monarch of Parnassus, and the most
_English_ of bards. I should place Rogers next in the living list (I
value him more as the last of the best school)--Moore and Campbell both
_third_--Southey and Wordsworth and Coleridge--the rest, [Greek: hoi






There is a triangular _Gradus ad Parnassum_!--the names are too numerous
for the base of the triangle. Poor Thurlow has gone wild about the
poetry of Queen Bess's reign--_c'est dommage_. I have ranked the names
upon my triangle more upon what I believe popular opinion, than any
decided opinion of my own. For, to me, some of Moore's last _Erin_
sparks--"As a beam o'er the face of the waters"--"When he who adores
thee"--"Oh blame not"--and "Oh breathe not his name"--are worth all the
Epics that ever were composed.

Rogers thinks the 'Quarterly' will attack me next. Let them. I have been
"peppered so highly" in my time, _both_ ways, that it must be cayenne or
aloes to make me taste. I can sincerely say, that I am not very much
alive _now_ to criticism. But--in tracing this--I rather believe that it
proceeds from my not attaching that importance to authorship which many
do, and which, when young, I did also. "One gets tired of every thing,
my angel," says Valmont [6].

The "angels" are the only things of which I am not a little sick--but I
do think the preference of _writers_ to _agents_--the mighty stir made
about scribbling and scribes, by themselves and others--a sign of
effeminacy, degeneracy, and weakness. Who would write, who had any thing
better to do? "Action--action--action"--said Demosthenes:
"Actions--actions," I say, and not writing,--least of all, rhyme. Look at
the querulous and monotonous lives of the "genus;"--except Cervantes,
Tasso, Dante, Ariosto, Kleist (who were brave and active citizens),
Æschylus, Sophocles, and some other of the antiques also--what a
worthless, idle brood it is!

[Footnote 1: 'Macbeth', act iii. sc. 4--

"Whole as the marble, founded as the rock."]

[Footnote 2: Richard Sharp (1759-1835), a wealthy hat-manufacturer, was
a prominent figure in political and literary life. A consistent Whig, he
was one of the "Friends of the People," and in the House of Commons
(1806-12) was a recognized authority on questions of finance.
Essentially a "club-able man," he was a member of many clubs, both
literary and political. In Park Lane and at Mickleham he gathered round
him many friends--Rogers, Moore, Mackintosh, Macaulay, Coleridge,
Horner, Grattan, Horne Tooke, and Sydney Smith, who was so frequently
his guest in the country that he was called the "Bishop of Mickleham."
Horner (May 20, 1816) speaks of a visit paid to Sharp in Surrey, in
company with Grattan ('Memoirs', vol. ii. p. 355). Ticknor, who, in
1815, breakfasted with Sharp in Park Lane ('Life', vol. i. pp. 55, 56),
says of a party of "men of letters:"

"I saw little of them, excepting Mr. Sharp, formerly a Member of
Parliament, and who, from his talents in society, has been called
'Conversation Sharp.' He has been made an associate of most of the
literary clubs in London, from the days of Burke down to the present
time. He told me a great many amusing anecdotes of them, and
particularly of Burke, Porson, and Grattan, with whom he had been
intimate; and occupied the dinner-time as pleasantly as the same
number of hours have passed with me in England.... 'June
7'.--This morning I breakfasted with Mr. Sharp, and had a
continuation of yesterday,--more pleasant accounts of the great men of
the present day, and more amusing anecdotes of the generation that has
passed away."

Miss Berry, who met Sharp often, writes, in her Journal for March 26,
1808 ('Journal', vol. ii. p. 344),

"He is clever, but I should suspect of little real depth of intellect."

Sharp published anonymously a volume of 'Epistles in Verse' (1828).
These were reproduced, with additions, in his 'Letters and Essays',
published with his name in 1834. His "Epistle to an Eminent Poet" is
evidently addressed to his lifelong friend, Samuel Rogers:

"Yes! thou hast chosen well 'the better part,'
And, for the triumphs of the noblest art,
Hast wisely scorn'd the sordid cares of life."]

[Footnote 3: William Windham, of Felbrigg Hall (1750-1810), educated at
Eton, Glasgow, and University College, Oxford, became M.P. for Norwich
in 1784. In the following year he was made chief secretary to Lord
Northington, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Expressing some doubts to Dr.
Johnson whether he possessed the arts necessary for Parliamentary
success, the Doctor said, "You will become an able negotiator; a very
pretty rascal." He resigned the secretaryship within the year, according
to Gibbon, on the plea of ill health. He was one of the managers of the
impeachment of Warren Hastings in 1788, Secretary at War from 1794 to
1801, and War and Colonial Secretary, 1806-7.

Windham, a shrewd critic of other speakers, called Pitt's style a
"State-paper style," because of its combined dignity and poverty, and
"verily believed Mr. Pitt could speak a king's speech off-hand." As a
speaker he was himself remarkably effective, a master of illustration
and allusion, delighting in "homely Saxon," and affecting provincial
words and pronunciation. Lord Sheffield, writing to Gibbon, February 5,
1793, says, "As to Windham, I should think he is become the best, at
least the most sensible, speaker of the whole." His love of paradox,
combined with his political independence and irresolution, gained him
the name of "Weathercock Windham;" but he was respected by both sides as
an honest politician. Outside the house it was his ambition to be known
as a thorough Englishman--a patron of horse-racing, cock-fighting,
bull-baiting, pugilism, and football. He was also a scholar, a man of
wide reading, an admirable talker, and a friend of Miss Berry and of
Madame d'Arblay, in whose Diaries he is a prominent figure. His own
'Diary' (1784-1810) was published in 1866.

On the 8th of July, 1809, he saw a fire in Conduit Street, which
threatened to spread to the house of his friend North, who possessed a
valuable library. In his efforts to save the books, he fell and bruised
his hip. A tumour formed, which was removed; but he sank under the
operation, and died June 4, 1810.]

[Footnote 4:

"O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's dead;
That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds."

'Romeo and Juliet', act iii. sc. 1.]

[Footnote 5:

"He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again."

'Hamlet', act i. sc. 2.]

[Footnote 6: The allusion probably is to 'The Foundling of the Forest'
(1809), by William Dimond the Younger. But no passage exactly
corresponds to the quotation.]

* * * * *

12, Mezza Notte.

Just returned from dinner with Jackson (the Emperor of Pugilism) and
another of the select, at Crib's, the champion's. I drank more than I
like, and have brought away some three bottles of very fair claret--for
I have no headach. We had Tom Crib up after dinner;--very facetious,
though somewhat prolix. He don't like his situation--wants to fight
again--pray Pollux (or Castor, if he was the _miller_) he may! Tom has
been a sailor--a coal-heaver--and some other genteel profession, before
he took to the cestus. Tom has been in action at sea, and is now only
three-and-thirty. A great man! has a wife and a mistress, and
conversations well--bating some sad omissions and misapplications of the
aspirate. Tom is an old friend of mine; I have seen some of his best
battles in my nonage. He is now a publican, and, I fear, a sinner;--for
Mrs. Crib is on alimony, and Tom's daughter lives with the champion.
_This_ Tom told me,--Tom, having an opinion of my morals, passed her off
as a legal spouse. Talking of her, he said, "she was the truest of
women"--from which I immediately inferred she could _not_ be his wife,
and so it turned out.

These panegyrics don't belong to matrimony;--for, if "true," a man don't
think it necessary to say so; and if not, the less he says the better.
Crib is the only man except----, I ever heard harangue upon his wife's
virtue; and I listened to both with great credence and patience, and
stuffed my handkerchief into my mouth, when I found yawning
irresistible--By the by, I am yawning now--so, good night to
thee.--[Greek: Noairon] [1]

[Footnote 1: It is doubtful whether this is not a mistake for [Greek:
Npairon], a variant of [Greek: Mpairon], which is the correct
transliteration into modern Greek of 'Byron', but the MS. is

* * * * *

Thursday, November 26.

Awoke a little feverish, but no headach--no dreams neither, thanks to
stupor! Two letters; one from----, the other from Lady Melbourne--both
excellent in their respective styles.----'s contained also a very
pretty lyric on "concealed griefs;" if not her own, yet very like her.
Why did she not say that the stanzas were, or were not, of her own
composition? I do not know whether to wish them _hers_ or not. I have no
great esteem for poetical persons, particularly women; they have so much
of the "ideal" in _practics_, as well as _ethics_.

I have been thinking lately a good deal of Mary Duff. How very odd that
I should have been so utterly, devotedly fond of that girl, at an age
when I could neither feel passion, nor know the meaning of the word. And
the effect! My mother used always to rally me about this childish amour;
and, at last, many years after, when I was sixteen, she told me one day,
"Oh, Byron, I have had a letter from Edinburgh, from Miss Abercromby,
and your old sweetheart Mary Duff is married to a Mr. Co'e." And what
was my answer? I really cannot explain or account for my feelings at
that moment; but they nearly threw me into convulsions, and alarmed my
mother so much, that after I grew better, she generally avoided the
subject--to _me_--and contented herself with telling it to all her
acquaintance. Now, what could this be? I had never seen her since her
mother's _faux pas_ at Aberdeen had been the cause of her removal to her
grandmother's at Banff; we were both the merest children. I had and have
been attached fifty times since that period; yet I recollect all we said
to each other, all our caresses, her features, my restlessness,
sleeplessness, my tormenting my mother's maid to write for me to her,
which she at last did, to quiet me. Poor Nancy thought I was wild, and,
as I could not write for myself, became my secretary. I remember, too,
our walks, and the happiness of sitting by Mary, in the children's
apartment, at their house not far from the Plain-stanes at Aberdeen,
while her lesser sister Helen played with the doll, and we sat gravely
making love, in our way.

How the deuce did all this occur so early? where could it originate? I
certainly had no sexual ideas for years afterwards; and yet my misery,
my love for that girl were so violent, that I sometimes doubt if I have
ever been really attached since. Be that as it may, hearing of her
marriage several years after was like a thunder-stroke--it nearly choked
me--to the horror of my mother and the astonishment and almost
incredulity of every body. And it is a phenomenon in my existence (for I
was not eight years old) which has puzzled, and will puzzle me to the
latest hour of it; and lately, I know not why, the _recollection_ (_not_
the attachment) has recurred as forcibly as ever. I wonder if she can
have the least remembrance of it or me? or remember her pitying sister
Helen for not having an admirer too? How very pretty is the perfect
image of her in my memory--her brown, dark hair, and hazel eyes; her
very dress! I should be quite grieved to see _her now_; the reality,
however beautiful, would destroy, or at least confuse, the features of
the lovely Peri which then existed in her, and still lives in my
imagination, at the distance of more than sixteen years. I am now
twenty-five and odd months....

I think my mother told the circumstances (on my hearing of her marriage)
to the Parkynses, and certainly to the Pigot family, and probably
mentioned it in her answer to Miss A., who was well acquainted with my
childish _penchant_, and had sent the news on purpose for _me_,--and
thanks to her!

Next to the beginning, the conclusion has often occupied my reflections,
in the way of investigation. That the facts are thus, others know as
well as I, and my memory yet tells me so, in more than a whisper. But,
the more I reflect, the more I am bewildered to assign any cause for
this precocity of affection.

Lord Holland invited me to dinner to-day; but three days' dining would
destroy me. So, without eating at all since yesterday, I went to my box
at Covent Garden.

Saw----looking very pretty, though quite a different style of beauty
from the other two. She has the finest eyes in the world, out of which
she pretends _not_ to see, and the longest eyelashes I ever saw, since
Leila's and Phannio's Moslem curtains of the light. She has much
beauty,--just enough,--but is, I think, _méchante_.

I have been pondering on the miseries of separation, that--oh how seldom
we see those we love! yet we live ages in moments, _when met_. The only
thing that consoles me during absence is the reflection that no mental
or personal estrangement, from ennui or disagreement, can take place;
and when people meet hereafter, even though many changes may have taken
place in the mean time, still, unless they are _tired_ of each other,
they are ready to reunite, and do not blame each other for the
circumstances that severed them.

* * * * *

Saturday 27

(I believe or rather am in _doubt_, which is the _ne plus ultra_ of
mortal faith.)

I have missed a day; and, as the Irishman said, or Joe Miller says for
him, "have gained a loss," or _by_ the loss. Every thing is settled for
Holland, and nothing but a cough, or a caprice of my fellow-traveller's,
can stop us. Carriage ordered, funds prepared, and, probably, a gale of
wind into the bargain. _N'importe_--I believe, with Clym o' the Clow, or
Robin Hood, "By our Mary, (dear name!) thou art both Mother and May, I
think it never was a man's lot to die before his day." [1]

Heigh for Helvoetsluys, and so forth!

To-night I went with young Henry Fox to see _Nourjahad_, a drama, which
the _Morning Post_ hath laid to my charge, but of which I cannot even
guess the author. I wonder what they will next inflict upon me. They
cannot well sink below a melodrama; but that is better than a satire,
(at least, a personal one,) with which I stand truly arraigned, and in
atonement of which I am resolved to bear silently all criticisms,
abuses, and even praises, for bad pantomimes never composed by me,
without even a contradictory aspect. I suppose the root of this report
is my loan to the manager of my Turkish drawings for his dresses, to
which he was more welcome than to my name. I suppose the real author
will soon own it, as it has succeeded; if not, Job be my model, and
Lethe my beverage!

----has received the portrait safe; and, in answer, the only remark she
makes upon it is, "indeed it is like"--and again, "indeed it is like."
With her the likeness "covered a multitude of sins;" for I happen to
know that this portrait was not a flatterer, but dark and stern,--even
black as the mood in which my mind was scorching last July, when I sat
for it. All the others of me, like most portraits whatsoever, are, of
course, more agreeable than nature.

Redde the 'Edinburgh Review' of Rogers. He is ranked highly; but where
he should be. There is a summary view of us all--_Moore_ and _me_ among
the rest; [2] and both (the _first_ justly) praised--though, by
implication (justly again) placed beneath our memorable friend.
Mackintosh is the writer, and also of the critique on the Stael. [3]

His grand essay on Burke, I hear, is for the next number. But I know
nothing of the 'Edinburgh', or of any other _Review_, but from rumour;
and I have long ceased; indeed, I could not, in justice, complain of
any, even though I were to rate poetry, in general, and my rhymes in
particular, more highly than I really do. To withdraw _myself_ from
_myself_ (oh that cursed selfishness!) has ever been my sole, my entire,
my sincere motive in scribbling at all; and publishing is also the
continuance of the same object, by the action it affords to the mind,
which else recoils upon itself. If I valued fame, I should flatter
received opinions, which have gathered strength by time, and will yet
wear longer than any living works to the contrary. But, for the soul of
me, I cannot and will not give the lie to my own thoughts and doubts,
come what may. If I am a fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I
envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom.

All are inclined to believe what they covet, from a lottery-ticket up to
a passport to Paradise,--in which, from the description, I see nothing
very tempting. My restlessness tells me I have something "within that
passeth show." [4]

It is for Him, who made it, to prolong that spark of celestial fire
which illuminates, yet burns, this frail tenement; but I see no such
horror in a "dreamless sleep," and I have no conception of any existence
which duration would not render tiresome. How else "fell the angels,"
even according to your creed? They were immortal, heavenly, and happy,
as their _apostate Abdiel_ [5] is now by his treachery. Time must
decide; and eternity won't be the less agreeable or more horrible
because one did not expect it. In the mean time, I am grateful for some
good, and tolerably patient under certain evils--_grace à Dieu et mon
bon tempérament_.

[Footnote 1:

"Ah, deere ladye, said Robin Hood, thou
That art both Mother and May,
I think it was never man's destinye
To die before his day."

'Ballad of Robin Hood'

[Footnote 2: The following is the passage to which Byron alludes:

"Greece, the mother of freedom and of poetry in the West, which had
long employed only the antiquary, the artist, and the philologist, was
at length destined, after an interval of many silent and inglorious
ages, to awaken the genius of a poet. Full of enthusiasm for those
perfect forms of heroism and liberty which his imagination had placed
in the recesses of antiquity, he gave vent to his impatience of the
imperfections of living men and real institutions, in an original
strain of sublime satire, which clothes moral anger in imagery of an
almost horrible grandeur; and which, though it cannot coincide with
the estimate of reason, yet could only flow from that worship of
perfection which is the soul of all true poetry."

'Edin. Rev'., vol. xxii. p. 37.]

[Footnote 3:

"In the last 'Edinburgh Review' you will find two articles of mine,
one on Rogers, and the other on Madame de Staël: they are both,
especially the first, thought too panegyrical. I like the praises
which I have bestowed on Lord Byron and Thomas Moore. I am convinced
of the justness of the praises given to Madame de Staël."

'Mackintosh's Life', vol. ii. p. 271.]

[Footnote 4:

"I have that within which passeth show."

'Hamlet', act i. sc. 2.]

[Footnote 5:

"... the seraph Abdiel, faithful found
Among the faithless."

Milton, 'Paradise Lost', v. 896.]

* * * * *

Tuesday, 30th.

Two days missed in my log-book;--_hiatus_ haud _deflendus_. They were as
little worth recollection as the rest; and, luckily, laziness or society
prevented me from _notching_ them.

Sunday, I dined with the Lord Holland in St. James's Square. Large
party--among them Sir S. Romilly [1] and Lady R'y.--General Sir Somebody
Bentham, [2] a man of science and talent, I am told--Horner [3]--_the_
Horner, an Edinburgh Reviewer, an excellent speaker in the "Honourable
House," very pleasing, too, and gentlemanly in company, as far as I have
seen--Sharpe--Philips of Lancashire [4]--Lord John Russell, and others,
"good men and true." Holland's society is very good; you always see some
one or other in it worth knowing. Stuffed myself with sturgeon, and
exceeded in champagne and wine in general, but not to confusion of head.
When I _do_ dine, I gorge like an Arab or a Boa snake, on fish and
vegetables, but no meat. I am always better, however, on my tea and
biscuit than any other regimen, and even _that_ sparingly.

Why does Lady H. always have that damned screen between the whole room
and the fire? I, who bear cold no better than an antelope, and never yet
found a sun quite _done_ to my taste, was absolutely petrified, and
could not even shiver. All the rest, too, looked as if they were just
unpacked, like salmon from an ice-basket, and set down to table for that
day only. When she retired, I watched their looks as I dismissed the
screen, and every cheek thawed, and every nose reddened with the
anticipated glow.

Saturday, I went with Harry Fox to _Nourjahad_; and, I believe,
convinced him, by incessant yawning, that it was not mine. I wish the
precious author would own it, and release me from his fame. The dresses

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