The Works of Lord Byron: Letters and Journals, Volume 2.
Part 13 out of 13
But rather let thy talents aim
To lead incautious youth aright;
Thus shall thy works acquire that fame,
Which ought to be thy chief delight.
"The verse, however smooth it flow,
Must be abhorr'd, abjur'd, despis'd,
When Virtue feels a secret blow,
And order finds her course surpris'd."
Fitzroy-square, Feb. 13.
[Footnote 1: Supposing LORD BYRON to have a daughter.]
* * * * *
(7) To LORD BYRON ('Morning Post', February 16, 1814).
"Bard of the pallid front, and curling hair,
To London taste, and northern critics dear,
Friend of the dog, companion of the bear,
APOLLO drest in trimmest Turkish gear.
"'Tis thine to eulogize the fell Corsair,
Scorning all laws that God or man can frame;
And yet so form'd to please the gentle fair,
That reading misses wish their Loves the same.
"Thou prov'st that laws are made to aid the strong,
That murderers and thieves alone are brave,
That all religion is an idle song,
Which troubles life, and leaves us at the grave.
"That men and dogs have equal claims on Heav'n,
Though dogs but bark, and men more wisely prate,
That to thyself one friend alone was giv'n,
That Friend a Dog, now snatch'd away by Fate.
"And last can tell how daughters best may shew
Their love and duty to their fathers dear,
By reckoning up what stream of filial woe
Will give to every crime a cleansing tear.
"Long may'st thou please this wonder-seeking age,
By MURRAY purchas'd, and by MOORE admir'd;
May fashion never quit thy classic page,
Nor e'er be with thy Turkomania tir'd."
* * * * *
(8) VERSES ADDRESSED TO LORD BYRON ('Morning Post', February 16, 1814).
"Lord _Byron_! Lord _Byron_!
Your heart's made of iron,
As hard and unfeeling as cold.
Half human, half bird,
From _Virgil_ we've heard,
Were form'd the fam'd harpies of old.
"Like those monsters you chatter,
Friends and foes you bespatter,
And dirty, like them, what you eat:
The _Hollands_, your muse
Does most grossly abuse,
Tho' you feed on their wine and their meat.
"Your friend, little _Moore_,
You have dirtied before,
But you know that in safety you write:
You've declared in your lines,
That revenge he declines,
For the poor little man will not fight.
"At _Carlisle_ you sneer,
That worthy old Peer,
Though united by every tie;
But you act as you preach,
And do what you teach,
And your _God_ and your duty defy.
"As long as your aim
Was alone to defame,
The nearest relation you own;
At your malice he smil'd,
But he won't see defil'd,
By your harpy bespatt'rings, the Throne."
* * * * *
(9) PATRONAGE EXTRAORDINARY ('Morning Post', February 17, 1814).
"Procul este profani--!"
"A friendship subsisted, no friendship was closer,
'Twixt the heir of a Peer and the son of a Grocer;
'Tis _true_, though so wide was their difference of station,
For, we _always_ find _truth_ in a _long dedication_.
Atheistical doctrines in verse we are told,
The former sold _wholesale_, was daring and bold;
While the latter (whatever _he_ offer'd for sale)
Like papa, he disposed of--of course by _retail!_
First--_scraps_ of _indecency_, next _disaffection_,
Disguised by the knave from his fear of detection;
To court _party favour_, then, sonnets he wrote;
Set political squibs to the harpsichord's note.
One, as _patron_ was chosen by his brother Poet,
The Peer, to be sure, from his rank we may know it;
Not the low and indecent composer of jigs--
Yes! yes! 'twas the son of the seller of Figs!!
Did the Peer then possess _no respectable friend_
To add weight to his name, and his works recommend?!
Atheistical writings we well may believe,
None of _worth_ from the Author would deign to receive;
So--to cover the faults of his friend he essays,
By _daubing_ him _thickly all over with praise_.
But, _parents_, attend! if your _daughters_ you _love_,
The works of _these serpents_ take _care_ to remove:
Their _infernal attacks_ from your _mansions_ repel,
Where _filial affection_ and _modesty_ dwell."
* * * * *
(10) LORD BYRON ('Morning Post', February 18, 1814).
If it was the object of Lord BYRON to stamp his character, and to bring
his name forward by a single act of his life into general notoriety, it
must be confessed that he has completely succeeded. We do not recollect
any former instance in which a Peer has stood forth as the libeller of
his Sovereign. If he disapproves the measures of his Ministers, the
House of Parliament, in which he has an hereditary right to sit, is the
place where his opinions may with propriety be uttered. If he thinks he
can avert any danger to his country by a personal conference with his
Sovereign, he has a right to demand it. The Peers are the natural
advisers of the Crown, but the Constitution which has granted them such
extraordinary privileges, makes it doubly criminal in them to attack the
authority from which it is derived, and to insult the power which it is
their peculiar province to uphold and protect. What then must we think
of the foolish vanity, or the bad taste of a titled Poet, who is the
first to proclaim himself the Author of a Libel, because he is fearful
it will not be sufficiently read without his avowal. We perfectly
remember having read the verses in question a year ago; but we could not
then suppose them the offspring of patrician bile, nor should we now
believe it without the Author's special authority. It seems by some late
quotations from his Lordship's works, which have been rescued from that
oblivion to which they were hastening with a rapid step, by one of our
co-equals, that this peerless Peer has already gone through a complete
course of private ingratitude. The inimitable Hogarth has traced the
gradual workings of an unfeeling heart in his progress of cruelty. He
has shewn, that malevolence is progressive in its operation, and that a
man who begins life by impaling flies, will find a delight in torturing
his fellow creatures before he closes it. We have heard that even at
school these poetical propensities were strongly manifested in Lord
BYRON, and that he began his satirical career against those persons to
whom the formation of his mind was entrusted. From his schoolmaster he
turned the oestrum of his opening genius to his guardian and uncle, the
Earl of CARLISLE. We cannot believe that the Noble Person's conduct has
in this instance been a perfect contrast to the general tenor of his
life. We have heard, that during his guardianship he tripled the amount
of his nephew's fortune. If the Earl of CARLISLE was satisfied with his
own 'conscia mens recti', if he wanted no thanks, he must at least have
been much surprised to find such attentions and services rewarded with a
libel, in which not only his literary accomplishments, but his bodily
infirmities, were made the subject of public ridicule. The Noble Earl
was certainly at liberty to treat such personal attacks with the
contempt which they deserve, but since his Sovereign is become the
object of a vile and unprovoked libel, he will no doubt draw the
attention of his Peers to a new case of outrage to good order and
government, which has been unfortunately furnished by his own nephew.
* * * * *
III. THE SUN.
(1) LORD BYRON AND THE 'MORNING CHRONICLE'
('The Sun', February 4, 1814).
That poetical Peer, Lord BYRON, knowing full well that anything
insulting to his Prince or injurious to his country would be most
thankfully received and published by the 'Morning Chronicle', did in
March, 1812, send the following loyal and patriotic lines to that loyal
and patriotic Paper, in which of course they appeared:
"To A LADY WEEPING.
"Weep, daughter of a Royal line,
_A Sire's disgrace, a realm's decay:_
Ah! happy! if each tear of thine
Could wash a father's _fault_ away!
"Weep--for thy tears are Virtue's tears--
Auspicious to these suffering isles:
And be each drop, in future years,
Repaid thee by thy people's smiles!"
These lines the 'Morning Chronicle', in the following paragraph of
yesterday, informs us were aimed at the PRINCE REGENT, and addressed to
the Princess CHARLOTTE:
"'The Courier' is indignant 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
No wonder the 'Courier', and every loyal man, should be indignant at the
discovery (made by the republication of these worthless lines, in the
Noble Lord's new Volume) that this gross insult came from the pen of "a
hereditary Counsellor of the KING! "No wonder every good subject should
execrate this novel and disagreeable mode of "'admonishing' the Heir
Apparent," which is further from being British than it is from being
Courtly; for, from Courtier baseness may be expected, but from a Briton
no such infamous dereliction of his duty as is involved in a malignant,
'anonymous' attack by a Peer of the Realm upon the person exercising the
Sovereign Authority of his Country. But the assertions of Lord BYRON are
as false as they are audacious. What was the "Sire's Disgrace" to be
thus bewept? He preferred the independence of the Crown to the arrogant
dictation of a haughty Aristocracy, who desired to hold him in
Leading-strings. It was then, amid a "Realm's (fancied) decay," because
this Faction were not admitted to supreme power, that his Royal
Highness's early friends drunk his health in contemptuous silence, while
their more vulgar partizans "at the lower end of the Hall" hissed and
hooted the royal name. But mark the reverse since March, 1812, a reverse
which it might have been thought would have induced the Noble Lord, from
prudent motives, to have withheld this ill-timed publication! How is his
Royal Highness's health toasted 'now'? With universal shouts and
acclamations. Treason itself dare not interpose a single discordant
sound save in its own private orgies! Where is 'now' the realm's decay?
oh short-sighted prognosticators of the prophecies! look around, and
dread the fate of the speakers of falsehood among the Jews of old, who
were stoned to death by the people! The wide world furnishes the answer
to your selfish croakings, and tells Lord BYRON that he is destitute of
at least one of the qualities of an inspired Bard.
Perhaps we might add another, viz. honesty in acknowledging his
plagiarisms, one of which (as we have already said more than his silly
verse above quoted deserves, except from the rank of its author) we
shall take the liberty of stating to the Public.
The 'Bride of Abydos' begins, something in the stile of an old ballad,
"Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle
Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime,
Where the rage of the vulture--the love of the turtle--
Now melt into sorrow--now madden to crime?--
Know ye the land of the cedar and vine?
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine,
Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppress'd with perfume,
Wax faint o'er the gardens of Gúl in her bloom;
Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit,
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute;
Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky,
In colour though varied, in beauty may vie,
And the purple of Ocean is deepest in dye."
The whole of which passage we take to be a paraphrase, and a bad
paraphrase too, of a song of the German of Göthe, of which the following
translation was published at Berlin in 1798:
"Know'st thou the land, where citrons scent the gale,
Where glows the orange in the golden vale,
Where softer breezes fan the azure skies,
Where myrtles spring and prouder laurels rise?
"Know'st them the pile, the colonnade sustains,
Its splendid chambers and its rich domains,
Where breathing statues stand in bright array,
And seem, 'What ails thee, hapless maid?' to say?
"Know'st thou the mount, where clouds obscure the day;
Where scarce the mule can trace his misty way;
Where lurks the dragon and her scaly brood;
And broken rocks oppose the headlong flood?"
* * * * *
(2) EPIGRAM ('The Sun', February 8, 1814).
On the Detection of Lord BYRON'S Plagiarism, in 'The Sun' of Friday last.
"That BYRON _borrows verses_ is well known,
But his _misanthropy_ is all his own."
* * * * *
(3) LORD BYRON ('The Sun', February 11, 1814).
We are informed from very good authority, that as soon as the House of
Lords meets again, a Peer of very independent principles and character
intends to give notice of a motion, occasioned by the late spontaneous
avowal of a copy of verses by Lord BYRON, addressed to the Princess
CHARLOTTE of WALES, in which he has taken the most unwarrantable
liberties with her august Father's character and conduct; this motion
being of a personal nature, it will be necessary to give the Noble
Satirist some days notice, that he may prepare himself for his defence
against a charge of so aggravated a nature, which may perhaps not be a
fit subject for a criminal prosecution, as the laws of the country,
not forseeing the probability of such a case ever occurring, under all
the present circumstances, have not made a provision against it; but
we know that each House of Parliament has a controul over its own
members, and that there are instances on the Journals of Parliament,
where an individual Peer has been suspended from all the privileges of
the high situation to which his birth entitled him, when by any
flagrant offence against good order and government, he has rendered
himself unworthy of exercising so important a trust.
* * * * *
(4) PARODY ('The Sun', February 16, 1814).
"'WEEP, DAUGHTER OF A ROYAL LINE!'
"MOURN, dabbler in dull party rhyme,
Thy mind's disease, thy name's disgrace.
Ah, lucky! if the hand of Time
Should all thy Muse's crimes efface!
"MOURN--for thy lays are Rancour's lays--
Disgraceful to a Briton born;
And hence each theme of factious praise
Consigns thee to thy Country's scorn."
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