Imágenes de páginas

Ær. 23.


"Matthews was indeed an extraordinary man; it has not entered into the heart of a stranger to conceive such a man: there was the stamp of immortality in all he said or did; and now what is he? When we see such men pass away and be no moremen, who seem created to display what the Creator could make his creatures, gathered into corruption, before the maturity of minds that might have been the pride of posterity, what are we to conclude? For my own part, I am bewildered. To me he was much, to Hobhouse every thing. My poor Hobhouse doted on Matthews. For me, I did not love quite so much as I honoured him; I was indeed so sensible of his infinite superiority, that though I did not envy, I stood in awe of it. He, Hobhouse, Davies, and myself, formed a coterie of our own at Cambridge and elsewhere. Davies is a wit and man of the world, and feels as much as such a character can do; but not as Hobhouse has been affected. Davies, who is not a scribbler, has always beaten us all in the war of words, and by his colloquial powers at once delighted and kept us in order. Hobhouse and myself always had the worst of it with the other two; and even Matthews yielded to the dashing vivacity of Scrope Davies. But I am talking to you of men, or boys, as if you cared about such beings.

- I expect mine agent down on the 14th to proceed to Lancashire, where I hear from all quarters that I have a very valuable property in coals, &c. I then intend to accept an invitation to Cambridge in October, and shall, perhaps, run up to town. I have four invitations - -to Wales, Dorset, Cambridge, and Chester; but I must be a man of business. I am quite alone, as these long letters sadly testify. I perceive, by referving to your letter, that the Ode is from the author; make my thanks acceptable to him. His muse is worthy a nobler theme. You will write as usual, I hope. I wish you good evening, and am,” &c.



"Since your former letter, Mr. Dallas informs me that the MS. has been submitted to the perusal of Mr. Gifford, most contrary

1 On a leaf of one of his paper-books I find an Epigram written at this time, which, though not perhaps particularly good, I consider myself bound to insert: "ON MOORE'S LAST OPERATIC FARCE, OR PARCICAL OPERA. "Good plays are scarce, So Moore writes farce:

to my wishes, as Mr. D. could have explained, and as my own letter to you did, in fact, explain, with my motives for objecting to such a proceeding. Some late domestic events, of which you are probably aware, prevented my letter from being sent before; indeed, I hardly conceived you would have so hastily thrust my productions into the hands of a stranger, who could be as little pleased by receiving them, as their author is at their being offered, in such a manner, and to such a man.


"My address, when I leave Newstead, will be to Rochdale, Lancashire;' but I have not yet fixed the day of departure, and I will apprise you when ready to set off.

"You have placed me in a very ridiculous situation, but it is past, and nothing more is to be said on the subject. You hinted to me that you wished some alterations to be made; if they have nothing to do with politics or religion, I will make them with great readiness. "I am, Sir, &c. &c.



"Newstead Abbey, Sept. 16. 1811.1 "I return the proof, which I should wish to be shown to Mr. Dallas, who understands typographical arrangements much better than I can pretend to do. The printer may place the notes in his own way, or any way, so that they are out of my way; I care nothing about types or margins.

"If you have any communication to make, I shall be here at least a week or ten days longer.



"I cannot settle to any thing, and my days pass, with the exception of bodily

"Newstead Abbey, Notts., Sept. 14. 1811. exercise to some extent, with uniform indolence, and idle insipidity. I have been expecting, and still expect, my agent, when I shall have enough to occupy my reflections in business of no very pleasant aspect.


"Newstead Abbey, Sept. 17. 1811. "I can easily excuse your not writing, as you have, I hope, something better to do, and you must pardon my frequent invasions on your attention, because I have at this moment nothing to interpose between you and my epistles.


'I am, Sir," &c. &c.

The poet's fame grows brittle

We knew before

That Little's Moore,

But now 'tis Moore that's little."

Sept. 14. 1811. ["M. P.; or the Blue Stocking" was performed at the Lyceum, for the first time, on the 9th of September.]

Before my journey to Rochdale, you shall have duc notice where to address me-I believe at the post-office of that township. From Murray I received a second proof of the same pages, which I requested him to show you, that any thing which may have escaped my observation may be detected before the printer lays the corner-stone of an errata column.

"I am now not quite alone, having an old acquaintance and school-fellow with me, so old, indeed, that we have nothing new to say on any subject, and yawn at each other in a sort of quiet inquietude. I hear nothing from Cawthorn, or Captain Hobhouse; and their quarto - Lord have mercy on mankind! We come on like Cerberus with our triple publications. As for myself, by myself, I must be satisfied with a comparison to Janus.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


"I am not at all pleased with Murray for showing the MS.; and I am certain Gifford must see it in the same light that I do. His praise is nothing to the purpose: what could he say? He could not spit in the face of one who had praised him in every possible way. I must own that I wish to have the impression removed from his mind, that II had any concern in such a paltry transaction. The more I think, the more it disquiets me; so I will say no more about it. It is bad enough to be a scribbler, without having recourse to such shifts to extort praise, or deprecate censure. It is anticipating, it is begging, kneeling, adulating, - the devil! the devil! the devil! and all without my wish, and contrary to my express desire. I wish Murray had been tied to Payne's neck when he jumped into the Paddington Canal', and so tell him, that is the proper receptacle for publishers. You have thoughts of settling in the country, why not try Notts.? I think there are places which would suit you in all points, and then you are nearer the metropolis. But of this anon.



I am, yours," &c.

In a note on his "Hints from Horace," he thus humorously applies this incident:

"A literary friend of mine walking out one lovely evening last summer on the eleventh bridge of the Paddington canal, was alarmed by the cry of One in jeopardy!' He rushed along, collected a body of Irish haymakers (supping on buttermilk in an adjoining paddock), procured three rakes, one eel spear, and a landing-net, and at last (horresco referens) pulled out his own publisher. The unfortunate man was gone for ever, and so was a large quarto wherewith he had taken the leap, which proved, on inquiry, to have been Mr. Southey's last work. Its alacrity of sinking' was so great, that it has

[blocks in formation]

Pray write; you shall hear when I remove to Lancashire. I have brought you and my friend Juvenal Hodgson upon my back, on the score of revelation. You are fervent, but he is quite glowing; and if he take half the pains to save his own soul, which he volunteers to redeem mine, great will be his reward hereafter. I honour and thank you both, but am convinced by neither. Now for notes. Besides those I have sent, shall send the observations on the Edinburgh Reviewer's remarks on the modern Greek, an Albanian song in the Albanian (not Greek) language, specimens of modern Greek from their New Testament, a comedy of Goldoni's translated, one scene, a prospectus of a friend's book, and perhaps a song or two, all in Romaic, besides their Pater Noster; so there will be enough, if not too much, with what I have already sent. Have you received the Noctes Atticæ ?' I sent also an annotation on Portugal. Hobhouse is also forthcoming."



"Newstead Abbey, Sept. 23. 1811. "Lisboa is the Portuguese word, consequently the very best. Ulissipont is pedantic; and as I have Hellas and Eros not long before, there would be something like an affectation of Greek terms, which I wish

never since been heard of, though some maintain that it is at this moment concealed at Alderman Birch's pastrypremises, Cornhill. Be this as it may, the coroner's inquest brought in a verdict of Felo de Bibliopolâ' against a quarto unknown,' and circumstantial evidence being since strong against the Curse of Kehama' (of which the above words are an exact description), it will be tried by its peers next session in Grub Street. Arthur, Alfred, Davideis, Richard Cœur de Lion, Exodus, Exodiad, Epigoniad, Calvary, Fall of Cambria, Siege of Acre, Don Roderick, and Tom Thumb the Great, are the names of the twelve jurors. The judges are Pye, Bowles, and the bellman of St. Sepulchre's."

ET. 23.


to avoid, since I shall have a perilous quantity of modern Greek in my notes, as specimens of the tongue; therefore Lisboa may keep its place. You are right about the 'Hints; they must not precede the 'Romaunt; but Cawthorn will be savage if they don't; however, keep them back, and him in good humour, if we can, but do not let him publish.

"I have adopted, I believe, most of your suggestions, but Lisboa' will be an exception to prove the rule. I have sent a quantity of notes, and shall continue; but pray let them be copied; no devil can read my hand. By the by, I do not mean to exchange the ninth verse of the 'Good Night.' I have no reason to suppose my dog better than his brother brutes, mankind; and Argus we know to be a fable. The Cosmopolite' was an acquisition abroad. I do not believe it is to be found in England. It is an amusing little volume, and full of French flippancy. I read, though I do not speak the language.


I will be angry with Murray. It was a bookselling, back-shop, Paternoster-row, paltry proceeding; and if the experiment had turned out as it deserved, I would have raised all Fleet Street, and borrowed the giant's staff from St. Dunstan's church, to immolate the betrayer of trust. I have written to him as he never was written to before by an author, I'll be sworn, and I hope you will amplify my wrath, till it has an effect upon him. You tell me always you have much to write about. Write it, but let us drop metaphysics; — on that point we shall never agree. I am dull and drowsy, as usual. I do nothing, and even that nothing fatigues me. Adieu.”


"Newstead Abbey, Oct. 11. 1811. "I have returned from Lancashire, and ascertained that my property there may be made very valuable, but various circumstances very much circumscribe my exertions at present. I shall be in town on business in the beginning of November, and perhaps at Cambridge before the end of this month; but of my movements you shall be regularly apprised. Your objections I have in part done away by alterations, which I hope will suffice; and I have sent two or three additional stanzas for both Fyttes.' I have been again shocked with a death, and have lost one very dear to me in happier times; but I have almost forgot the taste of grief,' and supped full of horrors' till I have become callous, nor have I a tear left for an event which, five years ago, would have bowed down my head to the earth. It seems



as though I were to experience in my youth the greatest misery of age. My friends fall around me, and I shall be left a lonely tree before I am withered. Other men can always take refuge in their families; I have


resource but my own reflections, and they present no prospect here or hereafter, except the selfish satisfaction of surviving my betters. I am indeed very wretched, and you will excuse my saying so, as you know I am not apt to cant of sensibility.


"Instead of tiring yourself with my concerns, I should be glad to hear your plans of retirement. I suppose you would not like to be wholly shut out of society? Now I know a large village, or small town, about twelve miles off, where your family would have the advantage of very genteel society, without the hazard of being annoyed by mercantile affluence; where you would meet with men of information and independence; and where I have friends to whom I should be proud to introduce you. There are, besides, a coffee-room, assemblies, &c. &c., which bring people together. My mother had a house there some years, and I am well acquainted with the economy of Southwell, the name of this little commonwealth. Lastly, you will not be very remote from me; and though I am the very worst companion for young people in the world, this objection would not apply to you, whom I could see frequently. Your expenses, too, would be such as best suit your inclinations, more or less, as you thought proper; but very little would be requisite to enable you to enter into all the gaieties of a country life. You could be as quiet or bustling as you liked, and certainly as well situated as on the lakes of Cumberland, unless you have a particular wish to be picturesque.



Pray, is your Ionian friend in town? You have promised me an introduction. You mention having consulted some friend on the MSS. Is not this contrary to our usual way? Instruct Mr. Murray not to allow his shopman to call the work Child of Harrow's Pilgrimage!!!!!' as he has done to some of my astonished friends, who wrote to inquire after my sanity on the occasion, as well they might. I have heard nothing of Murray, whom I scolded heartily. Must I write more notes? Are there not enough? Cawthorn must be kept back with the Hints.' I hope he is getting on with Hobhouse's quarto. Good evening. Yours ever," &c.


Of the same date with this melancholy letter are the following verses, never before printed, which he wrote in answer to some lines re


ceived from a friend, exhorting him to be cheerful, and to banish care." They will show with what gloomy fidelity, even while under the pressure of recent sorrow, he reverted to the disappointment of his early affection, as the chief source of all his sufferings and errors, present and to come.

"Newstead Abbey, October 11. 1811. "Oh! banish care'-such ever be The motto of thy revelry!

Perchance of mine, when wassail nights
Renew those riotous delights,
Wherewith the children of Despair
Lull the lone heart, and banish care.'
But not in morn's reflecting hour,
When present, past, and future lour,
When all I loved is changed or gone,
Mock with such taunts the woes of one
Whose every thought - but let them pass-
Thou know'st I am not what I was.
But, above all, if thou wouldst hold
Place in a heart that ne'er was cold,
By all the powers that men revere,
By all unto thy bosom dear,
Thy joys below, thy hopes above,
Speak speak of any thing but love.

"Twere long to tell, and vain to hear
'The tale of one who scorns a tear;
And there is little in that tale
Which better bosoms would bewail.
But mine has suffer'd more than well
'Twould suit Philosophy to tell.
I've seen my bride another's bride,—
Have seen her seated by his side, -
Have seen the infant which she bore
Wear the sweet smile the mother wore,
When she and I in youth have smiled
As fond and faultless as her child; -
Have seen her eyes, in cold disdain,
Ask if I felt no secret pain.
And I have acted well my part,
And made my cheek belie my heart,
Return'd the freezing glance she gave,
Yet felt the while that woman's slave; -
Have kiss'd, as if without design,
The babe which ought to have been mine,
And show'd, alas ! in each caress

Time had not made me love the less.

"But let this pass- I'll whine no more,
Nor seek again an eastern shore;
The world befits a busy brain, —
I'll hie me to its haunts again.
But if, in some succeeding year,
When Britain's May is in the sere,'
Thou hear'st of one, whose deepening crimes
Suit with the sablest of the times,
Of one, whom Love nor Pity sways,
Nor hope of fame, nor good men's praise,
One, who in stern Ambition's pride,
Perchance not Blood shal! turn aside,
One rank'd in some recording page
With the worst anarchs of the age,
Him wilt thou know — and, knowing, pause,
Nor with the effect forget the cause."

The anticipations of his own future career in these concluding lines are of a nature, it must be owned, to awaken more of horror

than of interest, were we not prepared, by so many instances of his exaggeration in this respect, not to be startled at any lengths to which the spirit of self-libelling would carry him. It seemed as if, with the power of painting fierce and gloomy personages, he had also the ambition to be, himself, the dark sublime he drew," and that, in his fondness for the delineation of heroic crime, he endeavoured to fancy, where he could not find, in his own character, fit subjects for his pencil.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


Ir was about the time when he was thus bitterly feeling and expressing the blight which his heart had suffered from a real object of affection, that his poems on the death of an imaginary one, "Thyrza," were written ;nor is it any wonder, when we consider the peculiar circumstances under which these beautiful effusions flowed from his fancy, that of all his strains of pathos, they should be the most touching and most pure. They were, indeed, the essence, the abstract spirit, as it were, of many griefs; -a confluence of sad thoughts from many sources of sorrow, refined and warmed in their passage through his fancy, and forming thus one deep reservoir of mournful feeling. In retracing the happy hours he had known with the friends now lost, all the ardent tenderness of his youth came back upon him. His school-sports with the favourites of his boyhood, Wingfield and Tatersall, his summer days with Long, and those evenings of music and romance which he had dreamed away in the society of his adopted brother, Edlestone, all these recollections of the young and dead now came to mingle themselves in his mind with the image of her who, though living, was, for him, as much lost as they, and diffused that general feeling of sadness and fondness through his soul, which found a vent in these poems. No friendship,

1 See the extract from one of his journals, antè, p. 32.

ÆT. 23.


however warm, could have inspired sorrow so passionate; as no love, however pure, could have kept passion so chastened. It was the blending of the two affections, in his memory and imagination, that thus gave birth to an ideal object combining the best features of both, and drew from him these saddest and tenderest of love poems, in which we find all the depth and intensity of real feeling touched over with such a light as no reality ever wore.

The following letter gives some further account of the course of his thoughts and pursuits at this period:



"Newstead Abbey, Oct. 13. 1811.


"You will begin to deem me a most liberal correspondent; but as my letters are free, you will overlook their frequency. I have sent you answers in prose and verse to all your late communications; and though I am invading your ease again, I don't know why, or what to put down that you are not acquainted with already. I am growing nervous (how you will laugh!)—but it is true, really, wretchedly, ridiculously, fine-ladically Your climate kills me; I can neither read, write, nor amuse myself, or any one else. My days are listless, and my nights restless; I have very seldom any society, and when I have, I run out of it. At this present writing,' there are in the next room three ladies, and I have stolen away to write this grumbling letter. don't know that I sha'n't end with insanity, for I find a want of method in arranging my thoughts that perplexes me strangely; but this looks more like silliness than madness, as Scrope Davies would facetiously remark in his consoling manner. I must try the hartshorn of your company; and a session of Parliament would suit me well, any thing to cure me of conjugating the accursed verb 'ennuyer.'


"When shall you be at Cambridge? You have hinted, I think, that your friend Bland is returned from Holland. I have always had a great respect for his talents, and for all that I have heard of his character; but of me, I believe he knows nothing except that he heard my sixth form repetitions ten months together, at the average of two lines a morning, and those never perfect. I remembered him and his Slaves' as I passed between Capes Matapan, St. Angelo, and his Isle of Ceriga, and I always bewailed the absence of the Anthology.



1 The verses at p. 140.


suppose he will now translate Vondel, the Dutch Shakspeare, and Gysbert van Amstel' will easily be accommodated to our stage in its present state; and I presume he saw the Dutch poem, where the love of Pyramus and Thisbe is compared to the passion of Christ; also the love of Lucifer for Eve, and other varieties of Low Country literature. No doubt you will think me crazed to talk of such things, but they are all in black and white and good repute on the banks of every canal from Amsterdam to Alkmaar. "Yours ever,




'My poesy is in the hands of its various publishers; but the Hints from Horace,' (to which I have subjoined some savage lines on Methodism, and ferocious notes on the vanity of the triple Editory of the Edin. Annual Register,) my Hints,' I say, stand still, and why?—I have not a friend in the world (but you and Drury) who can construe Horace's Latin or my English well enough to adjust them for the press, or to correct the proofs in a grammatical way. So that, unless you have bowels when you return to town (I am too far off to do it for myself), this ineffable work will be lost to the world for I don't know how many weeks.


"Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' must wait till Murray's is finished. He is making a tour in Middlesex, and is to return soon, when high matter may be expected. He wants to have it in quarto, which is a cursed unsaleable size; but it is pestilent long, and one must obey one's bookseller. I trust Murray will pass the Paddington Canal without being seduced by Payne and Mackinlay's example,—I say Payne and Mackinlay, supposing that the partnership held good. Drury, the villain, has not written to me; I am never (as Mrs. Lumpkin says to Tony) to be gratified with the monster's dear wild notes.

orders. You must make your peace with "So you are going (going indeed!) into the Eclectic Reviewers-they accuse you of impiety, I fear, with injustice. Demetrius, the Sieger of Cities,' is here, with ‘Gilpin Horner.' The painter is not necessary, as the portraits he already painted are (by anticipation) very like the new animals. Write, and send me your Love Song' but I want 'paulo majora' from you. Make a dash before you are a deacon, and try a dry publisher.

"Yours always,


2 Barber, whom he had brought down to Newstead to paint his wolf and his bear.

« AnteriorContinuar »