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Byron's Poetical Works, Vol. 1 by Byron

Part 11 out of 12

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[Footnote x:

'The greater portion of the men of rhyme
Parents and children or their Sires sublime'.

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote xi:

'But change the malady they strive to cure'.

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

[Footnote xii:

'Fish in the woods and wild-boars in the waves'.

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote xiii:

'For Coat and waistcoat Slowshears is your man,
But Breeches claim another Artisan;
Now this to me I own seems much the same
As one leg perfect and the other lame'.

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

'Sweitzer is your man'.

[MS. M. 'erased'.]]

[Footnote xiv:

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

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

[Footnote xv:

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

['Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xvi:

'Adroitly grafted.'

['Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xvii:

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

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

[Footnote xviii:

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

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

[Footnote xix:

'marshes dried, sustain'.

['Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xx:

'Thus--future years dead volumes shall revive'.

['Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xxi:

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

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote xxii:

'To mark the Majesty of Epic song'.

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

[Footnote xxiii:

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

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

[Footnote xxiv:

--'ventures to appear.--'

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

[Footnote xxv:

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

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

[Footnote xxvi:

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

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

[Footnote xxvii:

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

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote xxviii:

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

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

[Footnote xxix:

'or form a plot'.

['Proof b, British Museum'.]]

[Footnote xxx:

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

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

[Footnote xxxi:

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

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

[Footnote xxxii:

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

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

[Footnote xxxiii:

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

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

[Footnote xxxiv:

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

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

[Footnote xxxv:

'And Vice buds forth developed with his Teens.'

[MS. M.]]

[Footnote xxxvi:

'The beardless Tyro freed at length from school.

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

'And blushing Birch disdains all College rule.

[MS. M. erased'.]

'And dreaded Birch.

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

[Footnote xxxvii:

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

['MS. M. erased'.]]

[Footnote xxxviii:

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

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

[Footnote xxxix:

'The better years of youth he wastes away.'

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

[Footnote xl:

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

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

[Footnote xli:

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

['MS. erased'.]

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

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

'O'er Uncle's mortgage.'

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

[Footnote xlii:

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

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote xliii:

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

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

[Footnote xliv:

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

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

[Footnote xlv:

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

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

[Footnote xlvi:

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

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

[Footnote xlvii:

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

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

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

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

[Footnote xlviii:

'Aches with the Orchestra he pays to hear.

[MS. M.']]

[Footnote xlix:

'Scarce kept awake by roaring out encore.'

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

[Footnote l:

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

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

[Footnote li:

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

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote lii:

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

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

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

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote liii:

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

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

[Footnote liv:

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

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

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

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

[Footnote lv:

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

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote lvi:

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

['MS. M'.]

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

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

[MS. L. (a).]]

[Footnote lvii:

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

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote lviii:

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

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

[Footnote lix:

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

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

[Footnotes lx:

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

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

Footnote lxi:

'Composed for any but the lightest strain'.

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

Footnote lxii:

'And must I then my'--

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

[Footnote lxiii:

'Ye who require Improvement'.

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

[Footnote lxiv:

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

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

[Footnote lxv:

'Curtail or silence the offensive jest'.

['MS. M'.]

'Curtail the personal or smutty jest'.

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

[Footnote lxvi:

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

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

[Footnotes lxvii:

'So that not Hellebore with all its juice'.

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

[Footnote lxviii:

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

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

[Footnote lxix:

'From Horace show the better arts of song'.

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

[Footnote lxx:

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

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

'With traffic'.

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

[Footnote lxxi:

'Babe of old Thelusson' [A]----.

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

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

[Footnote lxxii:

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

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

[Footnote lxxiii:

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

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

[Footnote lxxiv:

'Unlike Potosi holds no silver mine'.

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

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

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

[Footnote lxxv:

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

['MS. M. erased'.]]

[Footnote lxxvi:

'To finish all'.

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

'That Bard the mask will fit'.

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

[Footnote lxxvii:

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

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

And pistols (courage duellists!) miss their mark.

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

[Footnote lxxviii:

'Though much displeased.'

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

[Footnote lxxix:

'The scrutiny.'

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

[Footnote lxxx:

'Oh ye aspiring youths whom fate or choice.'

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

[Footnote lxxxi:

'All are not Erskines who adorn the bar.'

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote lxxxii:

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

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

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

['MS. M.']]

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

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

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

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

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote lxxxiii:

'And mustard rarely pleases in a pie.'

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

[Footnote lxxxiv:

'At the Sessions'.

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

[Footnote lxxxv: Lines 647-650--

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

[MS. L. (a).]]

[Footnote lxxxvi: After 660--

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

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

[Footnote lxxxvii:

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

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote lxxxviii:

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

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

[Footnote lxxxix:

'Have studied with a Master day and night'.

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

[Footnote xc:

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

['MS. M. erased.']]

[Footnote xci:

'Rogers played this prank'.

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote xcii:

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

['MS. M. erased.']]

[Footnote xciii:

'To fuddled Esquires or to flippant Lords.'

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote xciv:

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

['MS. M. erased'.]]

[Footnote xcv:

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

['MS. M. erased.']]

[Footnote xcvi:

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

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote xcvii:

'Our modern sceptics can no more allow.'

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

[Footnote xcviii:

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

['MS. M.']]

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

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

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

[Footnote xcix:

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

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

[Footnote c:

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

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

[Footnote ci:

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

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

[Footnote cii:

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

['MS. M. erased.']

'--fly Fitzgerald's lungs.'

['MS. M.']]

[Footnote ciii:

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

['MS. M. erased'.]]

[Footnote civ:

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

['MS. M'.]]

[Footnote cv:

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

['MS. M'.]

[Footnote cvi:

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

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


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

_Aeneid_, lib. xii, 947, 948.


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

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

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

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

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


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

Line. Variant.

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

The following variants may also be noted:--

Line. Variant. Publisher

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 6:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 20:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Footnote i:

'O'er the blue ocean way his'.


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

[Footnote ii:

'Nor yet forbears each long-abandoned shrine'.


[Footnote iii:

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


[Footnote iv:

'Behind his Delphian cliff'----.

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

[Footnote v:

'The soul of him who'----.

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

[Footnote vi:

'silver reign'.


[Footnote vii:

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


[Footnote viii:

'seems to smile',

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

[Footnote ix:

'Sad shrine'.


[Footnote x:

'Welcome to slaves, and foremost'.

['MS'.] ]

[Footnote xi:

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


[Footnote xii:

'British peer'.

['MS'.] ]

[Footnote xiii:

'Sneaking Jackal'.

['MS'.] ]

[Footnote xiv:

'guilty name'.


[Footnote xv:

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


[Footnote xvi:

'That Art may measure old and modern styles'.


[Footnote xvii:

'shy comparisons'.


[Footnote xviii:

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


[Footnote xix:

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


[Footnote xx:

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



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

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

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

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

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

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




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

VIRGIL, 'AEn'. i. 502.

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

DRYDEN'S _Virgil_.


The title-page of the first edition (4to.) of _The Waltz_ bears the


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