The Works of Lord Byron: Letters and Journals, Volume 2.
Part 12 out of 13
both to Parliament and people, that he encountered the wanton outrage
which forms the subject-matter of his petition to your Lordships. It is
couched in firm, yet respectful language--in the language of a man, not
regardless of what is due to himself, but at the same time, I trust,
equally mindful of the deference to be paid to this House. The
petitioner states, amongst other matter of equal, if not greater
importance, to all who are British in their feelings, as well as blood
and birth, that on the 21st January, 1813, at Huddersfield, himself and
six other persons, who, on hearing of his arrival, had waited on him
merely as a testimony of respect, were seized by a military and civil
force, and kept in close custody for several hours, subjected to gross
and abusive insinuation from the commanding officer, relative to the
character of the petitioner; that he (the petitioner) was finally
carried before a magistrate, and not released till an examination of his
papers proved that there was not only no just, but not even statutable
charge against him; and that, notwithstanding the promise and order from
the presiding magistrates of a copy of the warrant against your
petitioner, it was afterwards withheld on divers pretexts, and has never
until this hour been granted. The names and condition of the parties
will be found in the petition. To the other topics touched upon in the
petition I shall not now advert, from a wish not to encroach upon the
time of the House; but I do most sincerely call the attention of your
Lordships to its general contents--it is in the cause of the Parliament
and people that the rights of this venerable freeman have been violated,
and it is, in my opinion, the highest mark of respect that could be paid
to the House, that to your justice, rather than by appeal to any
inferior court, he now commits himself. Whatever may be the fate of his
remonstrance, it is some satisfaction to me, though mixed with regret
for the occasion, that I have this opportunity of publicly stating the
obstruction to which the subject is liable, in the prosecution of the
most lawful and imperious of his duties, the obtaining by petition
reform in Parliament. I have shortly stated his complaint; the
petitioner has more fully expressed it. Your Lordships will, I hope,
adopt some measure fully to protect and redress him, and not him alone,
but the whole body of the people, insulted and aggrieved in his person,
by the interposition of an abused civil and unlawful military force
between them and their right of petition to their own representatives.
His Lordship then presented the petition from Major Cartwright, which
was read, complaining of the circumstances at Huddersfield, and of
interruptions given to the right of petitioning in several places in the
northern parts of the kingdom, and which his Lordship moved should be
laid on the table.
Several lords having spoken on the question,
Lord BYRON replied, that he had, from motives of duty, presented this
petition to their Lordships' consideration. The noble Earl had contended
that it was not a petition, but a speech; and that, as it contained no
prayer, it should not be received. What was the necessity of a prayer?
If that word were to be used in its proper sense, their Lordships could
not expect that any man should pray to others. He had only to say, that
the petition, though in some parts expressed strongly perhaps, did not
contain any improper mode of address, but was couched in respectful
language towards their Lordships; he should therefore trust their
Lordships would allow the petition to be received.
* * * * *
LADY CAROLINE LAMB AND BYRON.
1. The following letter is one of the first which Lady Caroline wrote to
Byron, in the spring of 1812:
"The Rose Lord Byron gave Lady Caroline Lamb died in despight of every
effort made to save it; probably from regret at its fallen Fortunes.
Hume, at least, who is no great believer in most things, says that many
more die of broken hearts than is supposed. When Lady Caroline returns
from Brocket Hall, she will dispatch the _Cabinet Maker_ to Lord Biron,
with the Flower she wishes most of all others to resemble, as, however
deficient its beauty and even use, it has a noble and aspiring mind,
and, having once beheld in its full lustre the bright and unclouded sun
that for one moment condescended to shine upon it, never while it exists
could it think any lower object worthy of its worship and Admiration.
Yet the sunflower was punished for its temerity; but its fate is more to
be envied than that of many less proud flowers. It is still permitted to
gaze, though at the humblest distance, on him who is superior to every
other, and, though in this cold foggy atmosphere it meets no doubt with
many disappointments, and though it never could, never will, have reason
to boast of any peculiar mark of condescension or attention from the
bright star to whom it pays constant homage, yet to behold it sometimes,
to see it gazed at, to hear it admired, will repay all. She hopes,
therefore, when brought by the little Page, it will be graciously
received without any more Taunts and cuts about 'Love of what is New.'
"Lady Caroline does not plead guilty to this most unkind charge, at
least no further than is laudable, for that which is rare and is
distinguished and singular ought to be more prized and sought after than
what is commonplace and disagreeable. How can the other accusation, of
being easily pleased, agree with this? The very circumstance of seeking
out that which is of high value shows at least a mind not readily
satisfied. But to attempt excuses for faults would be impossible with
Lady Caroline. They have so long been rooted in a soil suited to their
growth that a far less penetrating eye than Lord Byron's might perceive
them--even on the shortest acquaintance. There is not one, however,
though long indulged, that shall not be instantly got rid of, if L'd
Byron thinks it worth while to name them. The reproof and abuse of some,
however severe and just, may be valued more than the easily gained
encomiums of the rest of the world.
"Miss Mercer, were she here, would join with Lady Caroline in a last
request during their absence, that, besides not forgetting his new
acquaintances, he would eat and drink like an English man till their
return. The lines upon the only dog ever loved by L'd Byron are
beautiful. What wrong then, that, having such proof of the faith and
friendship of this animal, L'd Byron should censure the whole race by
the following unjust remarks:
"'Perchance my dog will whine in vain
Till fed by stranger hands;
But long e'er I come back again,
He'd tear me where he stands.'
"March 27th, 1812, _Good Friday_."
* * * * *
2. The following are the lines written by Lady Caroline when she burned
Byron in effigy at Brocket Hall (endorsed, in Mrs. Leigh's handwriting,
"ADDRESS SPOKEN BY THE PAGE AT BROCKET HALL, BEFORE THE BONFIRE.
"Is this Guy Faux you burn in effigy?
Why bring the Traitor here? What is Guy Faux to me?
Guy Faux betrayed his country, and his laws.
England revenged the wrong; his was a public cause.
But I have private cause to raise this flame.
Burn also those, and be their fate the same.
[_Puts the Basket in the fire under the figure_.
See here are locks and braids of coloured hair
Worn oft by me, to make the people stare;
Rouge, feathers, flowers, and all those tawdry things,
Besides those Pictures, letters, chains, and rings--
All made to lure the mind and please the eye,
And fill the heart with pride and vanity--
Burn, fire, burn; these glittering toys destroy.
While thus we hail the blaze with throats of joy.
Burn, fire, burn, while wondering Boys exclaim,
And gold and trinkets glitter in the flame.
Ah! look not thus on me, so grave, so sad;
Shake not your heads, nor say the Lady's mad.
Judge not of others, for there is but one
To whom the heart and feelings can be known.
Upon my youthful faults few censures cast.
Look to the future--and forgive the past.
London, farewell; vain world, vain life, adieu!
Take the last tears I e'er shall shed for you.
Young tho' I seem, I leave the world for ever,
Never to enter it again--no, never--never!"
* * * * *
3. The following letter was apparently written in the summer of 1812:
"You have been very generous and kind if you have not betray'd me, and I
do _not think you have_. My remaining in Town and seeing you thus is
sacrificing the last chance I have left. I expose myself to every eye,
to every unkind observation. You think me weak, and selfish; you think I
do not struggle to withstand my own feelings, but indeed it is exacting
more than human nature can bear, and when I came out last night, which
was of itself an effort, and when I heard your name announced, the
moment after I saw nothing more, but seemed in a dream. Miss Berry's
very loud laugh and penetrating eyes did not restore me. She, however,
[was] good natur'd and remain'd near me, and Mr. Moor (_sic_), though he
really does not approve one feeling I have, had kindness of heart to
stay near me. Otherwise I felt so ill I could not have struggled longer.
Lady Cahir said, 'You are ill; shall we go away?' which I [was] very
glad to accept; but we could not get through, and so I fear it caus'd
you pain to see me intrude again. I sent a groom to Holmes twice
yesterday morning, to prevent his going to you, or giving you a letter
full of flippant jokes, written in one moment of gaiety, which is quite
gone since. I am so afraid he has been to you; if so, I entreat you to
forgive it, and to do just what you think right about the Picture.
"I have been drawing you Mad. de Staël, as the last I sent was not like.
If you do not approve this, give it Murray, and pray do not be angry
"Do not marry yet, or, if you do, let me know it first. I shall not
suffer, if she you chuse be worth you, but she will never love you as I
did. I am going to the Chapple Royal at St. James. Do you ever go there?
It begins at 1/2 past 5, and lasts till six; it is the most beautiful
singing I ever heard; the choristers sing 'By the waters of Babylon.'
"The Peers sit below; the Women quite apart. But for the evening service
very few go; I wonder that more do not,--it is really most beautiful,
for those who like that style of music. If you never heard it, go there
some day, but not when it is so cold as this. How very pale you are!
What a contrast with Moore! '_Mai io l'ho veduto piu bello che jeri, ma
e la belta della morte_,' or a statue of white marble so colourless, and
the dark brow and hair such a contrast. I never see you without wishing
to cry; if any painter could paint me that face as it is, I would give
them any thing I possess on earth,--not one has yet given the
countenance and complexion as it is. I only could, if I knew how to draw
and paint, because one must feel it to give it the real expression."
* * * * *
4. The following letter was evidently written at the time when the
separation of Lord and Lady Byron was first rumoured:
"Melbourne House, Thursday.
"When so many wiser and better surround you, it is not for me to presume
to hope that anything I can say will find favour in your sight; but yet
I must venture to intrude upon you, even though your displeasure against
me be all I gain for so doing. All others may have some object or
interest in their's; I have none, but the wish to save you. Will you
generously consent to what is for the peace of both parties? and will
you act in a manner worthy of yourself? I am sure in the end you will
consent. Even were everything now left to your own choice, you never
could bring yourself to live with a person who felt desirous of being
separated from you. I know you too well to believe this possible, and I
am sure that a separation nobly and generously arranged by you will at
once silence every report spread against either party. Believe me, Lord
Byron, you will feel happier when you act thus, and all the world will
approve your conduct, which I know is not a consideration with you, but
still should in some measure be thought of. They tell me that you have
accused me of having spread injurious reports against you. Had you the
heart to say this? I do not greatly believe it; but it is affirmed and
generally thought that you said so. You have often been unkind to me,
but never as unkind as this.
"Those who are dear to you cannot feel more anxious for your happiness
than I do. They may fear to offend you more than I ever will, but they
cannot be more ready to serve you. I wish to God that I could see one so
superior in mind and talents and every grace and power that can
fascinate and delight, happier. You might still be so, Lord Byron, if
you would believe what some day you will find true. Have you ever
thought for one moment seriously? Do you wish to heap such misery upon
yourself that you will no longer be able to endure it? Return to virtue
and happiness, for God's sake, whilst it is yet time. Oh, Lord Byron,
let one who has loved you with a devotion almost profane find favour so
far as to incline you to hear her. Sometimes from the mouth of a sinner
advice may be received that a proud heart disdains to take from those
who are upon an equality with themselves. If this is so, may it now,
even now, have some little weight with you. Do not drive things to
desperate extremes. Do not, even though you may have the power, use it
to ill. God bless and sooth you, and preserve you. I cannot see all that
I once admired and loved so well ruining himself and others without
feeling it deeply. If what I have said is unwise, at least believe the
motive was a kind one; and would to God it might avail.
"I cannot believe that you will not act generously in this instance.
"Yours, unhappily as it has proved for me,
"Those of my family who have seen Lady Byron have assured me that,
whatever her sorrow, she is the last in the world to reproach or speak
ill of you. She is most miserable. What regret will yours be evermore if
false friends or resentment impel you to act harshly on this occasion?
Whatever my feelings may be towards you or her, I have, with the most
scrupulous care for both your sakes, avoided either calling, or sending,
or interfering. To say that I have spread reports against either is,
therefore, as unjust as it is utterly false. I fear no enquiry."
* * * * *
5. The following letter probably refers to the publication of the lines,
"Fare thee Well," in April, 1816:
"At a moment of such deep agony, and I may add shame--when utterly
disgraced, judge, Byron, what my feelings must be at Murray's shewing me
some beautiful verses of yours. I do implore you for God sake not to
publish them. Could I have seen you one moment, I would explain why. I
have only time to add that, however those who surround you may make you
disbelieve it, you will draw ruin on your own head and hers if at this
moment you shew these. I know not from what quarter the report
originates. You accused _me_, and falsely; but if you could hear all
that is said at this moment, you would believe one, who, though your
enemy, though for ever alienated from you, though resolved never more,
whilst she lives, to see or speak to or forgive you, yet would perhaps
die to save you.
"Byron, hear me. My own misery I have scarce once thought of. What is
the loss of one like me to the world? But when I see such as you are
ruined for ever, and utterly insensible of it, I must [speak out]. Of
course, I cannot say to Murray what I think of those verses, but to you,
to you alone, I will say I think they will prove your ruin."
* * * * *
6. In 1824, after the death of Byron, and after the publication of
Captain Medwin's 'Recollections of Lord Byron', Lady Caroline Lamb sent
a letter to Mr. Henry Colburn, the publisher, enclosing one to be given
to Medwin and published. Both are given here, and the latter should be
read in substantiation or correction of what is stated in the notes. The
letter is printed 'verbatim et literati'.
(1) Lady Caroline Lamb to Henry Colburn.
"[November (?), 1824.]
"MY DEAR SIR,--Walter who takes this will explain my wishes. Will you
enable him to deliver my letter to Captain Medwin, and will you publish
it? you are to give him ten pound for it; I will settle it with you. I
am on my death bed, do not fail to obey my wishes. I send you my
journals but do not publish them until I am dead.
(2) Lady Caroline Lamb to Captain Thomas Medwin.
[Endorsed, "This copy to be carefully preserved." Hy. Cn. (Henry
"[November (?), 1824.]
"SIR,--I hope you will excuse my intruding upon your time, with the most
intense interest I have just finished your book which does you credit as
to the manner in which it is executed and after the momentary pain in
part which it excites in many a bosom, will live in despight of
censure--and be gratefully accepted by the Public as long as Lord
Byron's name is remembered--yet as you have left to one who adored him a
bitter legacy, and as I feel secure the lines 'remember thee--thou false
to him thou fiend to me'--were his--and as I have been very ill & am not
likely to trouble any one much longer--you will I am sure grant me one
favour--let me to you at least confide the truth of the past--you owe it
to me--you will not I know refuse me.
"It was when the first Child Harold came out upon Lord Byron's return
from Greece that I first had the misfortune to be acquainted with
him--at that time I was the happiest and gayest of human beings I do
believe without exception--_I had married for love_ and love the most
romantic and ardent--my husband and I were so fond of each other that
false as I too soon proved he never would part with me. Devonshire House
was at that time closed from my Uncle's death for one year--at Melbourne
House where I lived the Waltzes and Quadrilles were being daily
practised, Lady Jersey, Lady Cowper, the Duke of Devonshire, Miss
Milbanke and a number of foreigners coming there to learn--You may
imagine what forty or fifty people dancing from 12 in the morning until
near dinner time all young gay and noisy were--in the evenings we either
had opposition suppers or went out to Balls and routs--such was the life
I then led when Moore and Rogers introduced Lord Byron to me--What you
say of his falling upstairs and of Miss Milbanke is all true. Lord Byron
3 days after this brought me a Rose and Carnation and used the very
words I mentioned in Glenarvon--with a sort of half sarcastic
smile--saying, 'Your Ladyship I am told likes all that is new and rare
for a moment'--I have them still, and the woman who through many a trial
has kept these relics with the romance of former ages--deserves not that
you should speak of her as you do. Byron never never could say I had no
heart. He never could say, either, that I had not loved my husband. In
his letters to me he is perpetually telling me I love him the best of
the two; and my only charm, believe me, in his eyes was, that I was
innocent, affectionate, and enthusiastic.
Recall those words, and let me not go down with your book as heartless.
Tell the truth; it is bad enough; but not what is worse. It makes me so
nervous to write that I must stop--will it tire you too much if I
continue? I was not a woman of the world. Had I been one of that sort,
why would he have devoted nine entire months almost entirely to my
society; have written perhaps ten times in a day; and lastly have
press'd me to leave all and go with him--and this at the very moment
when he was made an Idol of, and when, as he and you justly observe, I
had few personal attractions. Indeed, indeed I tell the truth. Byron did
not affect--but he loved me as never woman was loved. I have had one of
his letters copied in the stone press for you; one just before we
parted. See if it looks like a mere lesson. Besides, he was then very
good, to what he grew afterwards; &, his health being delicate, he liked
to read with me & stay with me out of the crowd. Not but what we went
about everywhere together, and were at last invited always as if we had
been married--It was a strange scene--but it was not vanity misled me. I
grew to love him better than virtue, Religion--all prospects here. He
broke my heart, & still I love him--witness the agony I experienced at
his death & the tears your book has cost me. Yet, sir, allow me to say,
although you have unintentionally given me pain, I had rather have
experienced it than not have read your book. Parts of it are beautiful;
and I can vouch for the truth of much, as I read his own Memoirs before
Murray burnt them. Keep Lord Byron's letter to me (I have the original)
& some day add a word or two to your work from his own words, not to let
every one think I am heartless. The cause of my leaving Lord Byron was
this; my dearest Mother, now dead, grew so terrified about us--that upon
hearing a false report that we were gone off together she was taken
dangerously ill & broke a blood vessel. Byron would not believe it, but
it was true. When he was convinced, we parted. I went to Ireland, &
remained there 3 months. He wrote, every day, long kind entertaining
letters; it is these he asked Murray to look out, and extract from, when
he published the journal; but I would not part with them--I have them
now--they would only burn them, & nothing of his should be burnt. At
Dublin, God knows why, he wrote me the cruel letter part of which he
acknowledges in Glenarvon (the 9th of November, 1812)--He knew it would
destroy my mind and all else--it did so--Lady Oxford was no doubt the
instigator. What will not a woman do to get rid of a rival? She knew
that he still loved me--I need not tire you with every particular. I was
brought to England a mere wreck; & in due time, Lady Melbourne & my
mother being seriously alarmed for me, brought me to town, and allowed
me to see Lord Byron. Our meeting was not what he insinuates--he asked
me to forgive him; he looked sorry for me; he cried. I adored him still,
but I felt as passionless as the dead may feel.--Would I had died
there!--I should have died pitied, & still loved by him, & with the
sympathy of all. I even should have pardoned myself--so deeply had I
suffered. But, unhappily, we continued occasionally to meet. Lord Byron
liked others, I only him--The scene at Lady Heathcote's is nearly
true--he had made me swear I was never to Waltz. Lady Heathcote said,
Come, Lady Caroline, you must begin, & I bitterly answered--oh yes! I am
in a merry humour. I did so--but whispered to Lord Byron 'I conclude I
may waltz _now_' and he answered sarcastically, 'with every body in
turn--you always did it better than any one. I shall have a pleasure in
seeing you."--I did so you may judge with what feelings. After this,
feeling ill, I went into a small inner room where supper was prepared;
Lord Byron & Lady Rancliffe entered after; seeing me, he said, 'I have
been admiring your dexterity.' I clasped a knife, not intending
anything. 'Do, my dear,' he said. 'But if you mean to act a Roman's
part, mind which way you strike with your knife--be it at your own
heart, not mine--you have struck there already.' 'Byron,' I said, and
ran away with the knife. I never stabbed myself. It is false. Lady
Rancliffe & Tankerville screamed and said I would; people pulled to get
it from me; I was terrified; my hand got cut, & the blood came over my
gown. I know not what happened after--but this is the very truth. After
this, long after, Ld. Byron abused by every one, made the theme of every
one's horror, yet pitied me enough to come & see me; and still, in
spight of every one, William Lamb had the generosity to retain me. I
never held my head up after--never could. It was in all the papers, and
put not truly. It is true I burnt Lord Byron in Effigy, & his book, ring
& chain. It is true I went to see him as a Carman, after all that! But
it is also true, that, the last time we parted for ever, as he pressed
his lips on mine (it was in the Albany) he said 'poor Caro, if every one
hates me, you, I see, will never change--No, not with ill usage!' & I
said, 'yes, I _am_ changed, & shall come near you no more.'--For then he
showed me letters, & told me things I cannot repeat, & all my attachment
went. This was our last parting scene--well I remember it. It had an
effect upon me not to be conceived--3 years I had _worshipped_ him.
"Shortly after he married, once, Lady Melbourne took me to see his Wife
in Piccadilly. It was a cruel request, but Lord Byron himself made it.
It is to this wedding visit he alludes. Mrs. Leigh, myself, Lady
Melbourne, Lady Noel, & Lady Byron, were in the room. I never looked up.
Annabella was very cold to me. Lord Byron came in & seemed agitated--his
hand was cold, but he seemed kind. This was the last time upon this
earth I ever met him. Soon after, the battle of Waterloo took place. My
Brother was wounded, & I went to Brussels. I had one letter while at
Paris from Ld. Byron; a jesting one; hoping I was as happy with the
regiment as he was with his 'Wife Bell.' When I returned, the parting
between them occurred--& my page affair--& Glenarvon. I wrote it in a
month under circumstances would surprise every body, but which I am not
at liberty to mention. Besides, it has nothing to do with your book and
would only tire you. Previous to this, I once met, & once only, Lady
Byron. It was just after the separation occurred. She was so altered I
could hardly know her--she appeared heart broken. What she then said to
me _I may not repeat_--she was however sent away, she did not go
"She accused me of knowing every thing, & reproached me for not having
stopped the marriage. How could I! She had been shewn my letters, and
every one else. It is utterly false that she ever opened the desk--the
nurse had nothing to do with the separation--
"From that hour, Lady Byron & I met no more, & it was after this, that,
indignant & miserable, I wrote Glenarvon. Lady B. was more angry at it
than he was--From that time, I put the whole as much as I could from my
mind. Ld. Byron never once wrote to me--and always spoke of me with
contempt. I was taken ill in March this year--Mrs. Russell Hunter & a
nurse sat up with me. In the middle of the night I fancied I saw Ld.
Byron--I screamed, jumped out of bed & desired them to save me from him.
He looked horrible, & ground his teeth at me; he did not speak; his hair
was straight; he was fatter than when I knew him, & not near so
handsome. I felt convinced I was to die. This dream took possession of
my mind. I had not dreamed of him since we had parted. It was, besides,
like no other dream except one of my Mother that I ever had. I am glad
to think it occurred before his death as I never did & hope I never
shall see a Ghost. I have even avoided enquiring about the exact day for
fear I should believe it--it made enough impression as it was. I told
William, and my Brother & Murray at the time. Judge what my horror was,
as well as grief, when, long after, the news came of his death, it was
conveyed to me in two or 3 words--'Caroline, behave properly, I know it
will shock you--Lord Byron is dead'--This letter I received when
laughing at Brockett Hall. Its effect or some other cause produced a
fever from which I never yet have recovered--It was also singular that
the first day I could go out in an open Carriage, as I was slowly
driving up the hill here,--Lord Byron's Hearse was at that moment
passing under these very walls, and rested at Welwyn. William Lamb, who
was riding on before me, met the procession at the Turnpike, & asked
whose funeral it was. He was very much affected and shocked--I of course
was not told; but, as I kept continually asking where & when he was to
be buried, & had read in the papers it was to be at Westminster Abbey, I
heard it too soon, & it made me very ill again."
* * * * *
LETTERS OF BERNARD BARTON.
The two following letters were written to Byron in 1814, by Bernard
Barton, the Quaker poet (see Letter 238, [Foot]note 1):--
"Woodbridge, Suffolk, Apl. 14th, 1814.
"MY LORD,--I received this morning the reply with which your Lordship
honour'd my last, and now avail myself of the permission you have so
kindly granted to state as briefly as I can the circumstances which have
induced me to make this application, and the extent of my wishes
respecting your Lordship's interference.
"Eight years since, I went into business in this place as a Merchant. I
was then just of age, and, shortly after, married. The business in which
I was engaged was of a very precarious Nature; and after vainly trying
for 4 Years to make the best of it, I was compell'd to relinquish it
altogether. Just then, to add to my distress, I lost my best, my
firmest, my tenderest friend--the only being for whose sake I ever
desir'd wealth, and the only one who could have cheer'd the gloom of
Poverty. My Capital being a borrow'd one, I returned it as far as I
could to the person who had lent it. Since that time, my Lord, I have
been struggling to make the best of a Clerkship of £80 per ann., out of
which I have to meet every expence, and still to maintain a respectable
appearance in a Place where I have resided under different
circumstances. Had I enter'd my present Situation free of all debts, I
should have made it an inviolable rule to have limited my expenditure to
my Income; but beginning in debt, compell'd by peculiar circumstances to
mix with those much superior to myself, I have gone on till I find it
quite impossible to go on any longer, and I am compelled to seek for
some asylum where, by rigid frugality and indefatigable exertion, I may
free myself from my present humiliating embarrassments; but while I am
here the thing seems impracticable. Your Lordship will naturally inquire
why I do not avail myself of the influence of those friends by whom I am
known. As you have, my Lord, done me the honour to encourage me to state
my position frankly, I will, without hesitation, inform you. I am,
nominally at least, a Quaker. The persons to whom I should, in my
present difficulties, naturally look for assistance are among the most
respectable of that body; but my attachments to literary and
metaphysical studies, and a line of conduct not compatible with the
strictness of Quaker discipline, have, I am afraid, brought me into
disrepute with those to whom I should otherwise have confided my
situation. Were I to disclose it, it would only be consider'd as a fit
judgment on me for my scepticism and infidelity.
"This, my Lord, is a brief but faithful statement of my present
situation; it is, as I before told your Lordship, in every respect an
untenable one. I must relinquish it, and throw myself an outcast on
society. _Can you, will you_, my Lord, exert _your influence_ to save me
from irretrievable ruin? Can you, my Lord, in any possible way, afford
employment to me? Can you take me into your service--a young man, not
totally destitute of talents, eager to exert them, and willing to do
anything or be anything in his power? If you can, my Lord, I will
promise to serve you not servilely, but faithfully in any manner you
shall point out. Do not, I beg of you, my Lord, refuse my application
the moment you peruse it. The mouse, you know, once was able to show its
gratitude to the lion; and it may be in my power, if your Lordship will
but give me the opportunity, to evince my deep gratitude for any
kindness you may show me, not by _words_, but _deeds_. Be assur'd you
will not have cause to repent any interest you have taken or may take in
my concerns. For the civility you shewed me on a former occasion, my
Lord, I felt, as I ought, much indebted; but infinitely more for the
generosity of feeling and soundness of judgment which dictated the
letter you then did me the honour to address to me. Ever since then I
have entertain'd the highest opinion both of your head and your heart.
Is it, then, strange, my Lord, that, surrounded by difficulties,
perplexed at every step I take, I should look up to your Lordship for
_advice_, and, if possible, for assistance? Be the consequences what
they may, I have ventur'd on the presumption of doing so. If I have
taken too great a liberty, I beg you, my Lord, to forgive me, and let
the tale of my perplexities and my misfortunes, my impertinence and its
punishment, be alike forgotten; it can, at any rate, only give your
Lordship the trouble of reading a letter. If, on the other hand, your
Lordship can in any way realize the hopes I have long enthusiastically
cherished, why, the 'blessing of him who is ready to perish shall fall
on you.' Be the event what it may, '_Crede Byron_' is, your Lordship
sees, my motto.
"I am, my Lord,
"Your Lordship's very obt. servt,
"P. S.--I shall wait with no common anxiety to see whether your Lordship
will so far forgive this intrusion as to answer it."
* * * * *
"Woodbridge, April 15th, 1814.
"My Lord,--I should be truly sorry if my importunity should defeat its
own purpose, and, instead of interesting your Lordship on my behalf,
should make you regret the indulgence you have already granted me; but I
really feel as if I had staked every remaining hope on the cast of the
die, and, therefore, before it is thrown, I wish, my Lord, to make one
or two more observations.
"Although in my last, which, as I before observed, was hastily written,
I express'd my wish to be allow'd, _in some capacity or other_, to serve
your Lordship, yet I am not so foolish as to think of fastening myself
on you, my Lord, _bon gré ou malgré_. One reason for my expressing that
wish, was an idea that your Lordship might go abroad before long; and,
added to my own wish to see something of the world on which fate has
thrown me, it occurred to me at the moment, that on such an occasion the
services of one who is warmly attach'd to you, perhaps _romantically_,
for I know nothing of your Lordship but by your writings, might be
"But, my Lord, although I have thus alluded to what would most gratify my
own wishes, it was not intended to dictate to you the manner in which
you might promote my interest. If your Lordship's superior judgment and
greater knowledge of the world can suggest anything else for my
consideration, it shall receive every attention.
"One more remark, my Lord, and I have done. I am very sensible that in
this application to your Lordship I have been guilty of what would be
term'd by some a piece of great impertinence, and by most an act of
consummate folly. Will you allow me, my Lord, frankly to state to you
the arguments on which my resolutions were founded?
"I have not address'd you, my Lord, on the impulse of the moment,
dictated by desperation, and adopted without reflection. No, my Lord; I
had, or, at least, I thought I had, better reasons. I remembered that
you had once condescended to address me _'candidly, not critically,'_
that you had even kindly interested yourself on my behalf. I thought
that, amid all the keenness and poignancy of your habitual feelings, as
powerfully pourtrayed in your writings, I could discern the workings of
a heart _truly noble_. I imagin'd that what to a superficial observer
appear'd only the overflowings of misanthropy, were, in reality, the
effusions of deep sensibility. I convinc'd myself, by repeated perusals
of your different productions, that though disappointments the most
painful, and sensations the most acute, might have stung your heart to
its very core, it had yet many feelings of the most exalted kind. From
these I hoped everything. Those hopes may be disappointed, but the
opinions which gave rise to them have not been hastily form'd, nor will
any selfish feeling of mortification be able to alter them.
"I do not, my Lord, intend the above as any idle complimentary apology
for what I have done. I am not, God knows, just now in a complimentary
mood; and if I were, you, my Lord, are one of the last persons on earth
on whom I should be tempted to play off such trash as idle panegyrics. I
esteem you, my Lord, not merely for your rank, still less for your
personal qualities. The former I respect as I ought; of the latter I
know nothing. But I feel something more than mere respect for your
genius and your talents; and from your past conduct towards myself I
cannot be insensible to your kindness. For these reasons, my Lord, I
acted as I have done. I before told you that I consider'd you _no common
character_, and I think your Lordship will admit that I have not treated
you as such.
"Permit me once more, my Lord, to take my leave by assuring you that I
"With the truest esteem,
"Your very obt. and humble servt.,
"P. S.--I hope your Lordship will find no difficulty in making out this
scrawl; but really, not being able to mend my pen, I am forced to write
with it backwards. When I have the good luck to find my pen-knife, I
will endeavour to furnish myself with a better tool."
* * * * *
Part of the draft of Byron's answer to these two letters is in
existence, and runs as follows:
"Albany, April 16th, 1814.
"Sir,--All offence is out of the question. My principal regret is that
it is not in my power to be of service. My own plans are very unsettled,
and at present, from a variety of circumstances, embarrassed, and, even
were it otherwise, I should be both to offer anything like dependence to
one, who, from education and acquirements, must doubly feel sensible of
such a situation, however I might be disposed to render it tolerable.
"As an adviser I am rather qualified to point out what should be avoided
than what may be pursued, for my own life has been but a series of
imprudences and conflicts of all descriptions. From these I have only
acquired experience; if repentance were added, perhaps it might be all
the better, since I do not find the former of much avail without it."
* * * * *
CORRESPONDENCE WITH WALTER SCOTT.
The following is Walter Scott's reply to Byron's letter of July 6, 1812:
"Abbotsford, near Melrose, 16th July, 1812.
"MY LORD,--I am much indebted to your Lordship for your kind and
friendly letter; and much gratified by the Prince Regent's good opinion
of my literary attempts. I know so little of courts or princes, that any
success I may have had in hitting off the Stuarts is, I am afraid, owing
to a little old Jacobite leaven which I sucked in with the numerous
traditionary tales that amused my infancy. It is a fortunate thing for
the Prince himself that he has a literary turn, since nothing can so
effectually relieve the ennui of state, and the anxieties of power.
"I hope your Lordship intends to give us more of 'Childe Harold'. I was
delighted that my friend Jeffrey--for such, in despite of many a feud,
literary and political, I always esteem him--has made so handsomely the
'amende honorable' for not having discovered in the bud the merits of
the flower; and I am happy to understand that the retractation so
handsomely made was received with equal liberality. These circumstances
may perhaps some day lead you to revisit Scotland, which has a maternal
claim upon you, and I need not say what pleasure I should have in
returning my personal thanks for the honour you have done me. I am
labouring here to contradict an old proverb, and make a silk purse out
of a sow's ear, namely, to convert a bare 'haugh' and 'brae', of about
100 acres, into a comfortable farm. Now, although I am living in a
gardener's hut, and although the adjacent ruins of Melrose have little
to tempt one who has seen those of Athens, yet, should you take a tour
which is so fashionable at this season, I should be very happy to have
an opportunity of introducing you to anything remarkable in my
fatherland. My neighbour, Lord Somerville, would, I am sure, readily
supply the accommodations which I want, unless you prefer a couch in a
closet, which is the utmost hospitality I have at present to offer. The
fair, or shall I say the sage, Apreece that was, Lady Davy that is, is
soon to show us how much science she leads captive in Sir Humphrey; so
your Lordship sees, as the citizen's wife says in the farce,
'Thread-needle Street has some charms,' since they procure us such
celebrated visitants. As for me, I would rather cross-question your
Lordship about the outside of Parnassus, than learn the nature of the
contents of all the other mountains in the world. Pray, when under 'its
cloudy canopy' did you hear anything of the celebrated Pegasus? Some say
he has been brought off with other curiosities to Britain, and now
covers at Tattersal's. I would fain have a cross from him out of my
little moss-trooper's Galloway, and I think your Lordship can tell one
how to set about it, as I recognise his true paces in the high-mettled
description of Ali Pacha's military court.
"A wise man said--or, if not, I, who am no wise man, now say--that there
is no surer mark of regard than when your correspondent ventures to
write nonsense to you. Having, therefore, like Dogberry, bestowed all my
tediousness upon your Lordship, you are to conclude that I have given
you a convincing proof that I am very much
"Your Lordship's obliged and very faithful servant,
* * * * *
"THE GIANT AND THE DWARF."
The reply of Leigh Hunt's friends to Moore's squib, "The 'Living Dog'
and the 'Dead Lion'" (see Letter 291, p. 205, note 1 [Footnote 2]), ran
"THE GIANT AND THE DWARF.
"Humbly inscribed to T. Pidcock, Esq., of Exeter 'Change.
"A Giant that once of a Dwarf made a friend,
(And their friendship the Dwarf took care shouldn't be hid),
Would now and then, out of his glooms, condescend
To laugh at his antics,--as every one did.
"This Dwarf-an extremely diminutive Dwarf,--
In birth unlike G--y, though his pride was as big,
Had been taken, when young, from the bogs of Clontarf,
And though born quite a Helot, had grown up a Whig.
"He wrote little verses--and sung them withal,
And the Giant's dark visions they sometimes could charm,
Like the voice of the lute which had pow'r over Saul,
And the song which could Hell and its legions disarm.
"The Giant was grateful, and offered him gold,
But the Dwarf was indignant, and spurn'd at the offer:
'No, never!' he cried, 'shall _my_ friendship be sold
For the sordid contents of another man's coffer!
"'What would Dwarfland, and Ireland, and every land say?
To what would so shocking a thing be ascribed?
_My Lady_ would think that I was in your pay,
And the _Quarterly_ say that I must have been bribed.
"'You see how I'm puzzled; I don't say it wouldn't
Be pleasant just now to have just that amount:
But to take it in gold or in bank-notes!--I couldn't,
I _wouldn't_ accept it--on any account.
"'But couldn't you just write your Autobiography,
All fearless and personal, bitter and stinging?
Sure _that_, with a few famous heads in lithography,
Would bring me far more than my Songs or my singing.
"'You know what I did for poor Sheridan's Life;
_Your's_ is sure of my very best superintendence;
I'll expunge what might point at your sister or wife,--
And I'll thus keep my priceless, unbought independence!'
"The Giant smiled grimly: he couldn't quite see
What diff'rence there was on the face of the earth,
Between the Dwarf's taking the money in fee,
And his taking the same thing _in that money's worth_.
"But to please him he wrote; and the business was done:
The Dwarf went immediately off to 'the Row;'
And ere the next night had pass'd over the sun,
The MEMOIRS were purchas'd by Longman and Co.
"W. GYNGELL, Showman, Bartholomew Fair."
* * * * *
ATTACKS UPON BYRON IN THE NEWSPAPERS FOR FEBRUARY AND MARCH, 1814.
I. 'THE COURIER'.
(1) LORD BYRON ('The Courier', February 1, 1814).
A new Poem has just been published by the above Nobleman, and the
'Morning Chronicle' of to-day has favoured its readers with his
Lordship's Dedication of it to THOMAS MOORE, Esq., in what that paper
calls "an elegant eulogium." If the elegance of an eulogium consist in
its extravagance, the 'Chronicle's' epithet is well chosen. But our
purpose is not with the Dedication, nor the main Poem, 'The Corsair',
but with one of the pieces called Poems, published at the end of the
'Corsair'. Nearly two years ago (in March, 1812), when the REGENT was
attacked with a bitterness and rancour that disgusted the whole country;
when attempts were made day after day to wound every feeling of the
heart; there appeared in the 'Morning Chronicle' an anonymous 'Address
to a Young Lady weeping', upon which we remarked at the time ('Courier
of March' 7, 1812), considering it as tending to make the Princess
CHARLOTTE of WALES view the PRINCE REGENT her father as an object of
suspicion and disgrace. Few of our readers have forgotten the disgust
which this address excited. The author of it, however, unwilling that it
should sleep in the oblivion to which it had been consigned with the
other trash of that day, has republished it, and, placed the first of
what are called Poems at the end of this newly published work the
Corsair, we find this very address:
"Weep daughter of a _royal_ line,
A Sire's disgrace, a realm's decay;"
_Lord Byron thus avows himself to be the Author._
To be sure the Prince has been extremely _disgraced_ by the policy he
has adopted, and the events which that policy has produced; and the
realm has experienced _great decay_, no doubt, by the occurrences in the
Peninsula, the resistance of Russia, the rising in Germany, the
counter-revolution in Holland, and the defeat, disgrace, and shame of
BUONAPARTE. But, instead of continuing our observations, suppose we
parody his Lordship's Address, and apply it to February 1814:
TO A YOUNG LADY.
"View! daughter of a royal line,
A father's fame, a realm's renown:
Ah! happy that that realm is thine,
And that its father is thine own!
"View, and exulting view, thy fate,
Which dooms thee o'er these blissful Isles
To reign, (but distant be the date!)
And, like thy Sire, deserve thy People's smiles."
* * * * *
(2) 'The Courier', February 2, 1814.
Lord BYRON, as we stated yesterday, has discovered and promulgated to
the world, in eight lines of choice doggrel, that the realm of England
is in decay, that her Sovereign is disgraced, and that the situation of
the country is one which claims the tears of all good patriots. To this
very indubitable statement, the 'Morning Chronicle' of this day exhibits
an admirable companion picture, a _genuine_ letter from _Paris_, of the
* * * * *
(3) 'The Courier', February 3, 1814.
"'The Courier' is indignant," says the 'Morning Chronicle', "at the
discovery now made by Lord BYRON, that he was the author of 'the
Verses to a Young Lady weeping,' which were inserted about a
twelvemonth ago in the 'Morning Chronicle'. The Editor thinks it
audacious in a hereditary Counsellor of the KING to admonish the 'Heir
Apparent'. It may not be 'courtly' but it is certainly 'British', and
we wish the kingdom had more such honest advisers."
The discovery of the author of the verses in question was not made by
Lord BYRON. How could it be? When he sent them to the 'Chronicle,
without' his name, he was just as well informed about the author as he
is now that he has published them in a pamphlet, 'with' his name. The
discovery was made to the public. They did not know in March, 1812, what
they know in February, 1814. They did not suspect then what they now
find avowed, that a Peer of the Realm was the Author of the attack upon
the PRINCE; of the attempt to induce the Princess CHARLOTTE of WALES to
think that her father was an object not of reverence and regard, but of
But we "think it audacious in an hereditary Counsellor of the KING to
admonish the Heir Apparent." No! we do not think it audacious: it is
constitutional and proper. But are anonymous attacks the constitutional
duty of a Peer of the Realm? Is that the mode in which he should
admonish the Heir Apparent? If Lord BYRON had desired to admonish the
PRINCE, his course was open, plain, and known--he could have demanded an
audience of the PRINCE; or, he could have given his admonition in
Parliament. But to level such an attack--What!--"Kill men i' the dark!"
This, however, is called by the 'Chronicle' "certainly 'British',"
though it might not be 'courtly', and a strong wish is expressed that
"the country had many more such honest advisers" or admonishers.
--Admonishers indeed! A pretty definition of admonition this, which
consists not in giving advice, but in imputing blame, not in openly
proffering counsel, but in secretly pointing censure.
* * * * *
(4) BYRONIANA NO. I ('The Courier', February 5, 1814).
The Lord BYRON has assumed such a poetico-political and such a
politico-poetical air and authority, that in our double capacity of men
of letters and politicians, he forces himself upon our recollection. We
say 'recollection' for reasons which will bye and by, be obvious to our
readers, and will lead them to wonder why this young Lord, whose
greatest talent it is to forget, and whose best praise it would be to be
forgotten, should be such an enthusiastic admirer of Mr. SAM ROGERS'S
'Pleasures of Memory'.
The most virulent satirists have ever been the most nauseous
panegyrists, and they are for the most part as offensive by the praise
as by the abuse which they scatter.
His Lordship does not degenerate from the character of those worthy
persons, his poetical ancestors:
"The mob of Gentlemen who wrote with ease"
who of all authors dealt the most largely in the alternation of flattery
and filth. He is the severest satirical and the civilest dedicator of
our day; and what completes his reputation for candour, good feeling,
and honesty, is that the persons whom he most reviles, and to whom he
most fulsomely dedicates, are identically the same.
We shall indulge our readers with a few instances:--the most obvious
case, because the most recent, is that of Mr. THOMAS MOORE, to whom he
has dedicated, as we have already stated, his last pamphlet; but as we
wish to proceed orderly, we shall postpone this and revert to some
instances prior in order of time; we shall afterwards show that his
Lordship strictly adheres to HORACE'S rule, in maintaining to the end
the ill character in which he appeared at the outset. His Lordship's
first dedication was to his guardian and relative, the Earl of CARLISLE.
So late as the year 1808, we find that Lord BYRON was that noble Lord's
"most affectionate kinsman, etc., etc."
Hear how dutifully and affectionately this ingenuous young man
celebrates, in a few months after (1809), the praises of his friend:
"No Muse will cheer with renovating smile,
The _paralytic puling_ of CARLISLE;
What heterogeneous honours deck the Peer,
Lord, rhymester, petit-maitre, pamphleteer!
So _dull_ in youth, so _drivelling_ in age,
_His_ scenes alone had damn'd our sinking stage.
But Managers, for once, cried 'hold, enough,'
Nor drugg'd their audience with the tragic stuff.
Yet at their judgment let his Lordship laugh,
And case his volumes in _congenial calf_:
Yes! doff that covering where Morocco shines,
And hang a calf-skin on those recreant lines."
And in explanation of this affectionate effusion, our lordly dedicator
subjoins a note to inform us that Lord CARLISLE'S works are splendidly
bound, but that "the rest is all but leather and prunella," and a little
after, in a very laborious note, in which he endeavours to defend his
consistency, he out-Herods Herod, or to speak more forcibly, out-Byrons
Byron, in the virulence of his invective against "his guardian and
relative, to whom he dedicated his volume of puerile poems." Lord
CARLISLE has, it seems, if we are to believe his word, for a series of
years, beguiled "the public with reams of most orthodox, imperial
_nonsense_," and Lord BYRON concludes by asking,
"What can ennoble knaves, or _fools_, or cowards?
Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards."
"So says POPE," adds Lord BYRON. But POPE does not say so; the words
"_knaves and fools_," are not in POPE, but interpolated by Lord BYRON,
in favour of his "guardian and relative." Now, all this might have slept
in oblivion with Lord CARLISLE'S Dramas, and Lord BYRON'S Poems; but if
this young Gentleman chooses to erect himself into a spokesman of the
public opinion, it becomes worth while to consider to what notice he is
entitled; when he affects a tone of criticism and an air of candour, he
obliges us to enquire whether he has any just pretensions to either, and
when he arrogates the high functions of public praise and public
censure, we may fairly inquire what the praise or censure of such a
being is worth:
"Thus bad begins, but worse remains behind."
* * * * *
(5) BYRONIANA NO. 2 ('The Courier', February 8, 1814).
"_Crede Byron_" is Lord Byron's armorial motto; 'Trust Byron' is the
translation in the Red-book. We cannot but admire the ingenuity with
which his Lordship has converted the good faith of his ancestors into a
sarcasm on his own duplicity.
"Could nothing but your chief reproach,
Serve for a motto on your coach?"
Poor Lord Carlisle; he, no doubt, _trusted_ in his affectionate ward and
kinsman, and we have seen how the affectionate ward and kinsman
acknowledged, like _Macbeth_, "_the double trust_" only to abuse it. We
shall now show how much another Noble Peer, Lord Holland, has to trust
to from his _ingenuous_ dedicator.
Some time last year Lord Byron published a Poem, called _The Bride of
Abydos_, which was inscribed to Lord Holland, "_with every sentiment of
regard and respect by his gratefully obliged and sincere friend_,
BYRON." "_Grateful and sincere!_" Alas! alas; 'tis not even so good as
what Shakespeare, in contempt, calls "the sincerity of a cold heart."
"_Regard and respect!"_ Hear with what regard, and how much respect, he
treats this identical Lord Holland. In a tirade against literary
assassins (a class of men which Lord Byron may well feel entitled to
describe), we have these lines addressed to the Chief of the Critical
"Known be thy name, unbounded be thy sway,
Thy _Holland's_ banquets shall each toil repay,
While grateful Britain yields the praise she owes,
_To Hollands hirelings_, and to _learnings foes!_"
By which it appears, that
"--These wolves that still in darkness prowl;
This coward brood, which mangle, as their prey,
By hellish instinct, all that cross their way;"
are hired by Lord Holland, and it follows, very naturally, that the
"_hirelings_" of Lord Holland must be the "_foes of learning_."
This seems sufficiently caustic; but hear, how our dedicator proceeds:
"Illustrious Holland! hard would be his lot,
His hirelings mention'd, and himself forgot!
Blest be the banquets spread at Holland House,
Where Scotchmen feed, and Critics may carouse!
Long, long, beneath that hospitable roof
Shall _Grub-street_ dine, while duns are kept aloof,
And _grateful_ to the founder of the feast
Declare the Landlord can _translate_, at least!"
Lord Byron has, it seems, very accurate notions of _gratitude_, and the
word "_grateful_" in these lines, and in his dedication of 'The Bride of
Abydos', has a delightful similarity of meaning. His Lordship is pleased
to add, in an explanatory note to this passage, that Lord Holland's life
of Lopez de Vega, and his translated specimens of that author, are much
"BEPRAISED _by these disinterested guests_." Lord Byron well knows that
_bepraise_ and _bespatter_ are almost synonimous. There was but one
point on which he could have any hope of touching Lord Holland more
nearly; and of course he avails himself, in the most gentlemanly and
generous manner, of the golden opportunity.
When his club of literary assassins is assembled at Lord Holland's
table, Lord Byron informs us
"That lest when heated with the unusual grape,
Some _glowing_ thoughts should to the press escape,
And tinge with red the _female_ reader's cheek,
My LADY skims the _cream_ of each critique;
Breathes o'er each page _her purity_ of soul,
Reforms each error, and refines the whole."
Our readers will, no doubt, duly appreciate the manliness and generosity
of these lines; but, to encrease their admiration, we beg to remind them
that the next time Lord Byron addresses Lord Holland, it is to dedicate
to him, in all friendship, _sincerity_, and gratitude, the story of a
young, a pure, an amiable, and an affectionate bride!
The verses were bad enough, but what shall be said, after _such_ verses,
of the insult of _such_ a dedication!
We forbear to extract any further specimens of this peculiar vein of
Lord Byron's satire; our "gorge rises at it," and we regret to have been
obliged to say so much. And yet Lord Byron is, "with all regard and
_respect_, Lord Holland's sincere and grateful friend!" It reminds us
of the _respect_ which Lear's daughters shewed their father, and which
the poor old king felt to be "worse than murder."
Some of our readers may perhaps observe that, personally, Lord Holland
was not so ill-treated as Lord Carlisle; but let it be recollected, that
Lord Holland is only an acquaintance, while Lord Carlisle was "guardian
and relation," and had therefore _peculiar_ claims to the ingratitude of
a mind like Lord Byron's.
_Trust Byron_, indeed! "him," as Hamlet says
"_Him_, I would trust as I would _adders_ fang'd."
* * * * *
(6) BYRONIANA No. 3 ('The Courier', February 12, 1814). "Crede
We have seen Lord Byron's past and present opinions of two Noble Persons
whom he has honoured with his satire, and vilified by his dedications;
let us now compare the evidence which he has given at different and yet
not distant times, on the merits of his third _Dedicatee_, Mr. Thomas
Moore. To him Lord Byron has inscribed his last poem as a person "of
unshaken _public principle_, and the most undoubted and various talents;
as the firmest of Irish _patriots_, and the first of Irish bards."
Before we proceed to give Lord Byron's own judgment of this "firmest of
patriots," and this "best of poets," we must be allowed to say, that
though we consider Mr. Moore as a very good writer of songs, we should
very much complain of the poetical supremacy assigned to him, if Lord
Byron had not qualified it by calling him the first only of _Irish_
poets, and, as we suppose his Lordship must mean, of _Irish_ poets of
the _present_ day. The title may be, for aught we know to the contrary,
perfectly appropriate; but we cannot conceive how Mr. Moore comes by the
high-sounding name of "_patriot_;" what pretence there is for such an
appellation; by what effort of intellect or of courage he has placed his
name above those idols of Irish worship, Messrs. Scully, Connell, and
Dromgoole. Mr. Moore has written words to Irish tunes; so did Burns for
_his_ national airs; but who ever called Burns the "firmest of patriots"
on the score of his contributions to the _Scots Magazine_?
Mr. Moore, we are aware, has been accused of tuning his harpsichord to
the key-note of a faction, and of substituting, wherever he could, a
party spirit for the spirit of poetry: this, in the opinion of most
persons, would derogate even from his _poetical_ character, but we hope
that Lord Byron stands alone in considering that such a prostitution of
the muse entitles him to the name of patriot. Mr. Moore, it seems, is an
Irishman, and, we believe, a Roman Catholic; he appears to be, at least
in his poetry, no great friend to the connexion of Ireland with England.
One or two of his ditties are quoted in Ireland as _laments_ upon
certain worthy persons whose lives were terminated by the hand of the
law, in some of the unfortunate disturbances which have afflicted that
country; and one of his most admired songs begins with a stanza, which
we hope the Attorney-General will pardon us for quoting:
"Let Erin remember the days of old,
Ere her _faithless sons betrayed her_,
When Malachy wore the collar of gold,
Which he won from her proud Invader;
When her Kings, with standard of green unfurl'd,
Led the Red Branch Knights to danger,
Ere, the emerald gem of the western world,
_Was set in the crown of a Stranger_."
This will pretty well satisfy an English reader, that, if it be any
ingredient of patriotism to promote the affectionate connexion of the
English isles under the constitutional settlement made at the revolution
and at the union; and if the foregoing verses speak Mr. Moore's
sentiments, he has the same claims to the name of "_patriot_" that Lord
Byron has to the title of "trustworthy;" but if these and similar verses
do not speak Mr. Moore's political sentiments, then undoubtedly he has
never written, or at least published any thing relating to public
affairs; and Lord Byron has no kind of pretence for talking of the
political character and public principles of an humble individual who is
only known as the translator of Anacreon, and the writer, composer, and
singer of certain songs, which songs do not (_ex-hypothesi_) speak the
sentiments even of the writer himself.
But, hold--we had forgot one circumstance: Mr. Moore has been said to be
one of the authors of certain verses on the highest characters of the
State, which appeared from time to time in the 'Morning Chronicle', and
which were afterwards collected into a little volume; this may,
probably, be in Lord Byron's opinion, a clear title to the name of
_patriot_, in which case, his Lordship has also his claim to the same
honour; and, indeed that sagacious and loyal person, the Editor of the
'Morning Chronicle', seems to be of this notion; for when some one
ventured to express some, we think not unnatural, indignation at Lord
Byron's having been the author of some impudent doggrels, of the same
vein, which appeared anonymously in that paper reflecting on his Royal
Highness the Prince Regent, and her Royal Highness his daughter, the
Editor before-mentioned exclaimed--"What! and is not a Peer, an
hereditary councillor of the Crown, to be permitted to give his
If writing such vile and anonymous stuff as one sometimes reads in the
'Morning Chronicle' be the duty of a good subject, or the privilege of a
Peer of Parliament, then indeed we have nothing to object to Mr. Moore's
title of Patriot, or Lord Byron's open, honourable, manly, and
constitutional method of advising the Crown.
To return, however, to our main object, Lord Byron's _consistency,
truth_, and trustworthiness.
His Lordship is pleased to call Mr. Moore not only Patriot and Poet, but
he acquaints us also, that "he is the delight alike of his readers and
his friends; the poet of all circles, and the idol of his own."
Let us now turn to Lord Byron's thrice-recorded opinion of "_this Poet
of all Circles_." We shall quote from a Poem which was republished,
improved, amended, and reconsidered, not more than _three_ years ago;
since which time Mr. Moore has published no Poem whatsoever; therefore,
Lord Byron's former and his present opinions are founded upon the same
data, and if they do not agree, it really is no fault of Mr. Moore's,
who has published nothing to alter them.
"Now look around and turn each _trifling_ page,
Survey the _precious_ works that please the age,
While Little's lyrics shine in hot-pressed twelves."
Here, by no great length of induction, we find Little's, _i.e._ Mr.
Thomas Moore's lyrics, are _trifling, "precious_ works," his Lordship
ironically adds, that "please times from which," as his Lordship says,
"taste and reason are passed away!"
Bye and by his Lordship delivers a still more plain opinion on Mr.
Moore's fitness to be the "_Poet of ALL circles_."
"Who in soft guise, surrounded by a quire
Of virgins _melting_, not to _Vesta's_ fire,
With sparkling eyes, and cheek by _passion_ flush'd,
Strikes his wild lyre, while listening dames are hush'd?
'Tis Little, young Catullus of his day,
As sweet, but as immoral, in his lay;
Griev'd to condemn, the Muse must yet be just,
Nor spare melodious _advocates of lust!_"
"_O calum et terra!_" as _Lingo_ says. What! this purest of Patriots is
_immoral?_ What! "the Poet of _all_ circles" is "the advocate of lust"?
Monstrous! But who can doubt Byron? And his Lordship, in a subsequent
passage, does not hesitate to speak still more plainly, and to declare,
in plain round terms (we shudder while we copy) that Moore, the Poet,
the Patriot "Moore, is lewd"!!!
After this, we humbly apprehend that if we were to "trust Byron," Mr.
Moore, however he may be the idol of his own circle, would find some
little difficulty in obtaining admittance into any other.
Lord Byron having thus disposed, as far as depended upon him, of the
moral character of the first of Patriots and Poets, takes an early
opportunity of doing justice to the personal honour of this dear
"friend;" one, as his Lordship expresses it, of "the magnificent and
fiery spirited" sons of Erin.
"In 1806," says Lord Byron, "Messrs. Jeffery and Moore met at Chalk
Farm--the duel was prevented by the interference of the Magistracy, and
on examination, the balls of the pistols, _like the courage of the
combatants_, were found to have _evaporated!_"
"Magnificent and fiery spirit," with a vengeance!
We are far from thinking of Mr. Moore as Lord Byron either did or does;
not so degradingly as his Lordship did in 1810; not so extravagantly as
he does in 1813. But we think that Mr. Moore has grave reason of
complaint, and almost just cause, to exert "his fiery spirit" against
Lord Byron, who has the effrontery to drag him twice before the public,
and overwhelm him, one day with odium, and another with ridicule.
We regret that Lord Byron, by obliging us to examine the value of his
censures, has forced us to contrast his past with his present judgments,
and to bring again before the public the objects of his lampoons and his
flatteries. We have, however, much less remorse in quoting his satire
than his dedications; for, by this time, we believe, the whole world is
inclined to admit that his Lordship can pay no compliment so valuable as
his censure, nor offer any insult so intolerable as his praise.
* * * * *
(7) BYRONIANA No. 4 ('The Courier', February 17, 1814).
"'Don Pedro.' What offence have these men done?
"'Dogberry.' Many, Sir; they have committed false reports; moreover
they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are
slanders; sixthly and lastly, they have belied a Lady;
thirdly, they have verified unjust things, and, to
conclude, they are lying knaves."
'Much Ado about Nothing.'
We have already seen how scurvily Lord Byron has treated _three_ of the
four persons to whom he has successively dedicated his Poems; but for
the fourth he reserved a species of contumely, which we are confident
our readers will think more degrading than all the rest. _He has
uniformly praised him! and him alone!!!_--The exalted rank, the gentle
manners, the polished taste of his guardian and relation, Lord Carlisle;
the considerations due to Lord Holland, from his family, his personal
character, and his love of letters; the amiability of Mr. Moore's
society, the sweetness of his versification, and the vivacity of his
imagination;--all these could not save their possessors from the
_brutality_ of Lord Byron's personal satire.
It was, then, for a person only, who should have _none_ of these titles
to his envy that his Lordship could be expected to reserve the fullness
and steadiness of his friendship; and if we had any respect or regard
for that small poet and very disagreeable person, Mr. Sam Rogers, we
should heartily pity him for being "_damned_" to such "_fame_" as Lord
Byron's uninterrupted praise can give.
But Mr. Sam Rogers has another cause of complaint against Lord Byron,
and which he is of a taste to resent more. His Lordship has not deigned
to call _him_ "the firmest of patriots," though we have heard that his
claims to that title are not much inferior to Mr. Moore's. Mr. Sam
Rogers is reported to have clubb'd with the Irish Anacreon in that
scurrilous collection of verses, which we have before mentioned, and
which were published under the title of the _Twopenny Post-bag_, and the
assumed name of "Thomas Brown." The rumour may be unfounded; if it be,
Messrs. Rogers and Moore will easily forgive us for saying that, much as
we are astonished at the effrontery with which Lord Byron has
acknowledged his lampoon, we infinitely prefer it to the cowardly
prudence of the author or authors of the _Twopenny Post-bag_ lurking
behind a fictitious name, and "devising impossible slanders," which he
or they have not the spirit to avow.
But, to return to the more immediate subject of our lucubrations: It
seems almost like a fatality, that Lord Byron has hardly ever praised
any thing that he has not at some other period censured, or censured any
thing that he has not, by and bye, praised or _practised_.
It does not often happen that booksellers are assailed for their too
great liberality to authors; yet, in Lord Byron's satire, while Mr.
Scott is abused, his publisher, Mr. Murray, is sneered at, in the
"And think'st them, Scott, by vain conceit perchance,
On public taste to foist thy stale romance;
Though _Murray_ with his Miller may combine,
_To yield thy Muse just_ HALF-A-CROWN A LINE?
No! when the sons of song descend to trade,
Their bays are sear, their former _laurels fade_.
Let such forego the poet's sacred name,
Who _rack_ their _brains_ for _lucre_, not for fame:
Low may they sink to _merited contempt_,
And _scorn_ remunerate the _mean_ attempt."
Now, is it not almost incredible that this very Murray (the only
remaining one of the booksellers whom his Lordship had attacked; Miller
has left the trade)--is it not, we say, almost incredible that this very
Murray should have been soon after selected, by this very Lord Byron, to
be his own publisher? But what will our readers say, when we assure
them, that not only was Murray so selected, but that this magnanimous
young Lord has actually _sold_ his works to this same Murray? and, what
is a yet more singular circumstance, has received and pocketted, for one
of his own "stale romances," a sum amounting, not to "_half-a-crown_,"
but to _a whole crown, a line!!!_
This fact, monstrous as it seems in the author of the foregoing lines,
is, we have the fullest reason to believe, accurately true. And the
"_faded laurel_," "_the brains rac'd for lucre_," "_the merited
contempt_," "_the scorn_," and the "_meanness_," which this impudent
young man dared to attribute to Mr. Scott, appear to have been a mere
anticipation of his own future proceedings; and thus,
Commends the ingredients of his _poison'd_ chalice
To his own lips."
How he now likes the taste of it we do not know; about as much, we
suspect, as the "incestuous, murderous, damned Dane" did, when _Hamlet_
obliged him to "_drink off the potion_" which he had treacherously
drugged for the destruction of others.
* * * * *
(8) BYRONIANA No. 5 ('The Courier', February 19, 1814).
"He professes no keeping oaths; in breaking them he is stronger than
Hercules. He will lie, sir, with such volubility, that you would think
truth were a fool."
'All's Well that ends Well'.
We have, we should hope, sufficiently exposed the audacious levity and
waywardness of Lord Byron's mind, and yet there are a few touches which
we think will give a finish to the portrait, and add, if it be at all
wanting, to the strength of the resemblance.
* * * * *
It must be amusing to those who know anything of Lord Byron in the
circles of London, to find him magnanimously defying in very stout
"--all the din of _Melbourne_ House
And _Lambes'_ resentment--"
and adding that he is "_unscared_" even by "_Holland's spouse_."
* * * * *
To those who may be in the habit of hearing his Lordship's political
descants, the following extract will appear equally curious:
"Mr. Brougham, in No. 25 of the 'Edinburgh Review', throughout the
article concerning Don Pedro Cevallos, has displayed more politics
than policy; many of the worthy burgesses of Edinburgh being so
_incensed at the_ INFAMOUS _principles it evinces_, as to have
withdrawn their subscriptions;" and in the text of this poem, to which
the foregoing is a note, he advises the Editor of the Review to
"Beware, lest _blundering Brougham_ destroy the sale;
Turn beef to bannacks, cauliflower to kail."
Those who have attended to his Lordship's progress as an author, and
observed that he has published _four_ poems, in little more than two
years, will start at the following lines:
"--Oh cease thy song!
A bard may chaunt too often and too long;
As thou art strong in verse, in mercy spare;
A FOURTH, alas, were more than we could bear."
And as the scene of each of these _four_ Poems is laid in the Levant, it
is curious to recollect, that when his Lordship informed the world that
he was about to visit "Afric's coast," and "Calpe's height," and
"Stamboul's minarets," and "Beauty's native clime," he enters into a
voluntary and solemn engagement with the public,
"That should he back return, no letter'd rage
Shall drag _his_ common-place book on the stage;
Of Dardan tours let Dilettanti tell,
He'll leave topography to classic Cell,
And, _quite content_, no more shall interpose,
To _stun_ mankind with _poetry or prose_."
And yet we have already had, growing out of this "Tour," four volumes of
_poetry_, enriched with copious notes in _prose_, selected from his
"_common-place book_." The whole interspersed every here and there with
the most convincing proofs that instead of being "_quite content_," his
Lordship has returned, as he went out, the most discontented and peevish
thing that breathes.
But the passage of all others which gives us the most delight is that in
which his Lordship attacks his critics, and declares that
"Our men in buckram shall have blows enough,
And feel they _too_ are penetrable stuff."
Learn'd to deride the Critic's stern decree,
And _break him on the wheel he meant for me_."
We should now, with all humility, ask his Lordship whether _he_ yet
feels that "he _too_ is penetrable stuff;" and we should further wish to
know how he likes being "_broken on the wheel he meant for others?_"
When his Lordship shall have sufficiently pondered on those questions,
we may perhaps venture to propound one or two more.
* * * * *
(9) From 'The Courier' (March 15, 1814).
The republication of some _Satires_, which the humour of the moment now
disposes the writer to recall, was strenuously censured, the other day,
in a Morning Paper. It was there said, amongst other things, that such a
republication "contributes to exasperate and perpetuate the divisions of
those whom _nature_ and friendship have joined!" This is within six
weeks after the deliberate _republication_ of "Weep, daughter," etc.,
etc.; and thus we are informed of the exact moment at which all retort
is to cease; at which misrepresentation towards the public and outrage
towards the Personages much more than insulted in those lines, is to be
no longer remembered. What privileges does this writer claim for his
friends! They are to live in all "the swill'd insolence" of attack upon
those on whose character, union, and welfare, the public prosperity
mainly depends; they are to instruct the DAUGHTER to hold the FATHER
disgraced, because he does not surrender the prime Offices of the State
to their ambition. And if, after this, public disgust make the author
feel, in the midst of the little circle of flatterers that remains to
him, what an insight he has given into the guilt of satire _before_
maturity, _before_ experience, _before_ knowledge; if the original
unprovoked intruder upon the peace of others be thus taught a love of
privacy and a facility of retraction; if Turnus have found the time,
"magno cum optaverit emptum
Intactum Pallanta, et cum spolia ista, diemque
if triumphing arrogance be changed into a sentimental humility, O! then
'Liberality' is to call out for him in the best of her hacknied tones;
the contest is to cease at the instant when his humour changes from
mischief to melancholy; 'affetuoso' is to be the only word; and he is to
be allowed his season of sacred torpidity, till the venom, new formed in
the shade, make him glisten again in the sunshine he envies!
* * * * *
II. MORNING POST.
(1) VERSES ('Morning Post', February 5, 1814).
Suggested by reading some lines of Lord Byron's at the end of his newly
published work, entitled "_The Corsair_" which begin:
"_Weep, Daughter of a Royal Line._"
"'Far better be the thing that crawls, 
Disgustful on a dungeon's walls;
Far better be the worm that creeps,
In icy rings o'er him who sleeps;'"
"Far better be the reptile scorn'd,
Unseen, unheeded, unadorn'd,
Than him, to whom indulgent heav'n,
Has talents and has genius giv'n;
If stung by envy, warp'd by pride,
Such gifts, alas! are misapplied;
Not all by nature's bounty blest
In beauty's dazzling hues are drest;
But who shall play the critic's part,
If for the form atones the heart?
But if the gloomiest thoughts prevail,
And Atheist doctrines stain the tale;
If calumny to pow'r addrest,
Attempts to wound its Sovereign's breast;
If impious it shall try to part,
The Father from the Daughter's heart;
If it shall aim to wield a brand,
To fire our fair and native land;
If hatred for the world and men,
Shall dip in gall the ready pen:
"'Oh then far better 'tis to crawl,
Harmless upon a dungeon's wall;
And better far the worm that creeps,
In icy rings o'er him who sleeps.'"
[Footnote 1: 'Vide' Lord Byron's works.]
* * * * *
(2) To LORD BYRON ('Morning Post', February 7, 1814).
"Bard of ungentle wayward mood!
'Tis said of thee, when in the lap,
Thy nurse to tempt thee to thy food,
Would squeeze a _lemon_ in thy pap.
"At _vinegar_ how danc'd thine eyes,
Before thy tongue a want could utter,
And oft the dame to stop thy cries,
Strew'd _wormwood_ on thy bread and butter.
"And when in childhood's frolic hour,
Thou'dst plait a garland for thy hair;
The _nettle_ bloom'd a chosen flow'r,
And native thistles flourish'd there.
"For _sugar-plum_ thou ne'er did'st pine,
Thy teeth no _sweet-meat_ ever hurt--
The _sloe's juice_ was thy favourite wine,
And _bitter almonds_ thy desert.
"Mustard, how strong so e'er the sort is,
Can draw no moisture from thine eye;
Not vinegar nor aqua-fortis
Could ever set thy face awry.
"Thus train'd a Satirist--thy mind
Soon caught the bitter, sharp, and sour,
And all their various pow'rs combin'd,
Produc'd 'Childe Harold', and the 'Giaour'."
* * * * *
(3) LORD BYRON ('Morning Post', February 8, 1814).
We are very much surprized, and we are not the only persons who feel
disgust as well as astonishment, at the uncalled for avowal Lord Byron
has made of being the Author of some insolent lines, by inserting them
at the end of his new Poem, entitled "_The Corsair_." The lines we
allude to begin "_Weep, Daughter of a Royal Line_." Nothing can be more
repugnant to every good heart, as well as to the moral and religious
feelings of a country, which we are proud to say still cherishes every
right sentiment, than an attempt to lower a father in the eyes of his
child. Lord Byron is a young man, and from the tenor of his writings,
has, we fear, adopted principles very contrary to those of Christianity.
But as a man of honour and of _feeling_, which latter character he
affects _outrageously_, he ought never to have been guilty of so
unamiable and so unprovoked an attack. Should so gross an insult to her
Royal Father ever meet the eyes of the illustrious young Lady, for whose
perusal it was intended, we trust her own good sense and good heart will
teach her to consider it with the contempt and abhorrence it so well
merits. Will she _weep for the disgrace of a Father_ who has saved
Europe from bondage, and has accumulated, in the short space of two
years, more glory than can be found in any other period of British
history? Will she "_weep for a realm's decay_," when that realm is
hourly emerging under the Government of her father, from the complicated
embarrassments in which he found it involved? But all this is too
evident to need being particularised. What seems most surprising is,
that Lord Byron should chuse to avow Irish trash at a moment when every
thing conspires to give it the lie. It is for the _organ of the Party_
alone, or a few insane admirers of Bonaparte and defamers of their own
country and its rulers, to applaud him. We know it is now the fashion
for our young Gentlemen to become Poets, and a very innocent amusement
it is, while they confine themselves to putting their travels into
verse, like _Childe Harolde_, and Lord Nugent's _Portugal_. Nor is there
any harm in Turkish tales, nor wonderful ditties, of ghosts and
hobgoblins. We cannot say so much for all Mr. Moore's productions,
admired as he is by Lord Byron. In short, the whole galaxy of minor
poets, Lords Nugent and Byron, with Messrs. Rogers, Lewis, and Moore,
would do well to keep to rhyme, and not presume to meddle with politics,
for which they seem mighty little qualified. We must repeat, that it is
innocent to write tales and travels in verse, but calumny can never be
so, whether written by poets in St. James's-street, Albany, or
* * * * *
(4) LINES ('Morning Post', February 8, 1814).
Written on reading the insolent verses published by Lord Byron at the
end of his new poem, "_The Corsair_" beginning
"_Weep, Daughter of a Royal Line_."
"Unblest by nature in thy mien,
Pity might still have play'd her part,
For oft compassion has been seen,
To soften into love the heart.
But when thy gloomy lines we read,
And see display'd without controul,
Th' ungentle thought, the Atheist creed,
And all the rancour of the soul.
When bold and shameless ev'ry tie,
That GOD has twin'd around the heart,
Thy malice teaches to defy,
And act on earth a Demon's part.
Oh! then from misanthropic pride
We shrink--but pity too the fate
Of youth and talents misapplied,
Which, _if admired_,  we still must hate."
[Footnote 1: We say, _if admired_, as there is a great variety of
opinions respecting Lord Byron's Poems. Some certainly extol them much,
but most of the best judges place his Lordship rather low in the list of
our minor Poets.]
* * * * *
(5) LINES ('Morning Post', February 11, 1814).
Suggested by perusing Lord Byron's small Poem, at the end of his
"_Corsair_" addressed to a Lady weeping, beginning:
"_Weep, Daughter of a Royal Line_."
"To LORD BYRON.
"Were he the man thy verse would paint,
'_A Sire's disgrace, a realm's decay_;'
Art thou the meek, the pious saint,
That _prates_ of feeling night and day?
"Stern as the Pirate's  heart is thine,
Without one ray to cheer its gloom;
And shall that Daughter once repine,
Because thy rude, unhallow'd line,
Would on her virtuous cause presume?
"Hide, BYRON! in the shades of night--
Hide in thy own congenial cell
The mind that would a fiend affright,
_And shock the dunnest realms of hell!_
"No; she will never weep the tears
Which thou would'st Virtue's deign to call;
Nor will they, in remoter years,
Molest her Father's heart at all.
"Dark-vision'd man! thy moody vein
Tends only to thy mental pain,
And cloud the talents Heav'n had meant
To prove the source of true content;
Much better were it for thy soul,
Both here and in the realms of bliss,
To check the glooms that now controul
Those talents, which might still repay
The wrongs of many a luckless day,
In such a _cheerless_ clime as this.
"But never strive to lure the heart
From _one_ to which 'tis ever nearest,
Lest from its duty it depart,
And shun the Pow'r which should be dearest:
For heav'n may sting thy heart in turn,
And rob thee of thy sweetest treasure
But, BYRON! thou hast yet to learn,
_That Virtue is the source of pleasure!_"
G--n-street, Feb. 9, 1814.
[Footnote 1: 'The Corsair'.]
[Footnote 2: In allusion to the general melancholy character of his
Lordship's poetical doctrines.]
* * * * *
(6) To LORD BYRON ('Morning Post', February 15, 1814).
Occasioned by reading his Poem, at the end of 'The Corsair', beginning:
"_Weep, Daughter of a Royal Line_."
Shame on the verse that dares intrude
On Virtue's uncorrupted way--
That smiles upon Ingratitude,
And charms us only to betray!
For this does BYRON'S muse employ
The calm unbroken hours of night?
And wou'd she basely thus destroy
The source of all that's just-upright?
Traitor to every moral law!
Think what thy own cold heart wou'd feel,
If some insidious mind should draw
Thy daughter  from her filial zeal.
And dost thou bid the offspring shun
Its father's fond, incessant care?
Why, every sister, sire, and son,
Must loathe thee as the poison'd air!
BYRON! thy dark, unhallow'd mind,
Stor'd as it is with Atheist writ,
Will surely, never, never find,
One convert to admire its wit!
Thou art a planet boding woe,
Attractive for thy novel mien--
A calm, but yet a deadly foe,
Most baneful when thou'rt most serene!
Tho' fortune on thy course may shine,
Strive not to lead the mind astray,
Nor let one impious verse of thine,
The unsuspecting heart betray!
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