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LETTER 93. TO MR. WILLIAM BANKES.

rodoxy they had objected to ; nor is it too was, for some reason or other, displeased much, perhaps, to conclude, that had a more with him. extended force of such influence then acted upon him, he would have consented to omit LETTER 92. TO MR. WILLIAM BANKES. the sceptical parts of his poem altogether.

* April 20. 1812. Certain it is that, during the remainder of “My dear Bankes, his stay in England, no such doctrines were “ I feel rather hurt (not savagely) at ever again obtruded on his readers ; and in the speech you made to me last night, and all those beautiful creations of his fancy, my hope is, that it was only one of your with which he brightened that whole period, profane jests. I should be very sorry that keeping the public eye in one prolonged gaze any part of my behaviour should give you of admiration, both the bitterness and the cause to suppose that I think higher of licence of his impetuous spirit were kept ef- myself, or otherwise of you than I have fectually under control. The world, indeed, always done. I can assure you that I am had yet to witness what he was capable of as much the humblest of your servants as at when emancipated from this restraint. For, Trin. Coll. ; and if I have not been at home graceful and powerful as were his flights when you favoured me with a call, the loss while society had still a hold of him, it was

was more mine than yours. In the bustle not till let loose from the leash that he rose of buzzing parties, there is, there can be, no into the true region of his strength ; and rational conversation ; but when I can enjoy though almost in proportion to that strength it

, there is nobody's I can prefer to your was, too frequently, his abuse of it, yet so own. Believe me ever faithfully and most magnificent are the very excesses of such affectionately yours, energy, that it is impossible, even while we

“ BYRON," condemn, not to admire.

The occasion by which I have been led into these remarks, namely, his sensi- · My dear Bankes, tiveness on the subject of his Satire, - is “ My eagerness to come to an explanone of those instances that show how easily ation has, I trust, convinced you that his gigantic spirit could be, if not held down, whatever my unlucky manner might inadat least entangled, by the small ties of vertently be, the change was as unintentional society. The aggression of which he had as (if intended) it would have been unbeen guilty was not only past, but, by many grateful. I really was not aware that, while of those most injured, forgiven ; and yet, we were together, I had evinced such cahighly, it must be allowed, to the credit of prices ; that we were not so much in each his social feelings, — the idea of living fa- other's company as I could have wished, I miliarly and friendlily with persons, re. well know, but I think so acute an observer specting whose character or talents there as yourself must have perceived enough to were such opinions of his on record, became, explain this, without supposing any slight to at length, insupportable to him ; and, though one in whose society I have pride and pleafar advanced in a fifth edition of “ English sure. Recollect that I do not allude here Bards,” &c., he came to the resolution of to extended' or 'extending' acquaintances, suppressing the Satire altogether ; and orders but to circumstances you will understand, I were sent to Cawthorn, the publisher, to think, on a little reflection. commit the whole impression to the flames. And now, my dear Bankes, do not At the same time, and from similar motives, distress me by supposing that I can think of - aided, I rather think, by a friendly re- you, or you of me, otherwise than I trust monstrance from Lord Elgin, or some of his we have long thought. You told me not connections, — the “ Curse of Minerva,” a long ago that my temper was improved, and poem levelled against that nobleman, and I should be sorry that opinion should be already in progress towards publication, was revoked. Believe me, your friendship is of also sacrificed : while the “ Hints from Ho- more account to me than all those absurd race,” though containing far less personal vanities in which, I fear, you conceive me satire than either of the others, shared their to take too much interest. I have never fate.

disputed your superiority, or doubted (seTo exemplify what I have said of his riously) your good will, and no one shall extreme sensibility to the passing sunshine ever make mischief between us’ without or clouds of the society in which he lived, 1 the sincere regret on the part of your ever need but cite the following notes, addressed affectionate, &c. by him to his friend Mr. William Bankes, “P.S. - I shall see you, I hope, at Lady under the apprehension that this gentleman Jersey's. Hobhouse goes also.”

Ær. 24.

PARLIAMENTARY ANECDOTES.

163

peers

In the month of April he was again came in late, and did not go immediately tempted to try his success in the House of into the body of the House, but stood just Lords ; and, on the motion of Lord Do- behind the woolsack. Eldon turned round, noughmore for taking into consideration the and, catching my eye, immediately said to a claims of the Irish Catholics, delivered his peer, (who had come to him for a few sentiments strongly in favour of the propo- minutes on the woolsack, as is the custom sition. His display, on this occasion, seems of his friends,) · Damn them! they'll have to have been less promising than in his first it now,- by G-d! the vote that is just essay. His delivery was thought mouth- come in will give it them.'” ing and theatrical, being infected, I take During all this time, the impression which for granted (having never heard him speak he had produced in society, both as a poet in Parliament), with the same chanting tone and a man, went on daily increasing ; and that disfigured his recitation of poetry,

the facility with which he gave himself up a tone contracted at most of the public to the current of fashionable life, and minschools, but more particularly, perhaps, at gled in all the gay scenes through which it Harrow, and encroaching just enough on

led, showed that the novelty, at least, of this the boundaries of song to offend those ears mode of existence had charms for him, howmost by which song is best enjoyed and ever he might estimate its pleasures. That understood.

sort of vanity which is almost inseparable On the subject of the negotiations for a from genius, and which consists in an exchange of ministry which took place during treme sensitiveness on the subject of self, this session, I find the following anecdotes Lord Byron, I need not say, possessed in no recorded in his note-book :

ordinary degree ; and never was there a ca“ At the opposition meeting of the

reer in which this sensibility to the opinions in 1812, at Lord Grenville's, when Lord of others was exposed to more constant and Grey and he read to us the correspondence various excitement than that on which he upon Moira's negotiation, I sate next to the was now entered. I find in a note of my present Duke of Grafton, and said, “What own to him, written at this period, some is to be done next ?' — Wake the Duke of jesting allusions to the circle of star-gazers” Norfolk (who was snoring away near us), whom I had left around him at some party replied he: 'I don't think the negotiators on the preceding night ;- and such, in fact, have left any thing else for us to do this turn.' was the flattering ordeal he had to undergo

“ In the debate, or rather discussion, wherever he went. On these occasions, afterwards in the House of Lords upon that particularly before the range of his acquaintvery question, I sate immediately behind ance had become sufficiently extended to Lord Moira, who was extremely annoyed at set him wholly at his ease, his air and Grey's speech upon the subject'; and, while port were those of one whose better thoughts Grey was speaking, turned round to me were elsewhere, and who looked with merepeatedly, and asked me whether I agreed lancholy abstraction on the gay crowd around with him. It was an awkward question to him. This deportment, so rare in such me who had not heard both sides. Moira scenes, and so accordant with the romantic kept repeating to me, * It was not so, it was notions entertained of him, was the result 50 and so,' &c. I did not know very well partly of shyness, and partly, perhaps, of what to think, but I sympathised with the that love of effect and impression to which acuteness of his feelings upon the subject.” the poetical character of his mind naturally

The subject of the Catholic claims was, led. Nothing, indeed, could be more amusit is well known, brought forward a second ing and delightful than the contrast which time this session by Lord Wellesley, whose his manners afterwards, when we motion for a future consideration of the alone, presented to his proud reserve in the question was carried by a majority of one.

brilliant circle we had just left. It was like In reference to this division, another rather the bursting gaiety of a boy let loose from ausing anecdote is thus related.

school, and seemed as if there was no extent " Lord Eldon affects an imitation of two of fun or tricks of which he was not capable. very different Chancellors, Thurlow and Finding him invariably thus lively when we Loughborough, and can indulge in an oath were together, I often rallied him on the now and then. On one of the debates on gloomy tone of his poetry, as assumed ; but the Catholic question, when we were either his constant answer was (and I soon ceased equal or within one (I forget which), I had to doubt of its truth,) that, though thus been sent for in great haste to a ball

, which merry and full of laughter with those he I quitted, I confess, somewhat reluctantly, liked, he was, at heart, one of the most to emancipate five millions of people. I melancholy wretches in existence.

were

66

“ March 25. 1812.

no

Among the
numerous notes which I

“ May 20. 1812. received from him at this time,

some of

“ On Monday, after sitting up all night, I them relating to our joint engagements in saw Bellingham launched into eternity', and society, and others to matters now better at three the same day I saw * * * launched forgotten, - I shall select a few that (as into the country. showing his haunts and habits) may not, I believe, in the beginning of June, I perhaps, be uninteresting.

shall be down for a few days in Notts. If so, I shall beat you up ‘en passant' with

Hobhouse, who is endeavouring, like you “Know all men by these presents, that and every body else, to keep me out of you, Thomas Moore, stand indicted

scrapes. invited, by special and particular solicitation,

“ I meant to have written you a long letter, to Lady C. L **'s (Caroline Lamb's] to

but I find I cannot.

If any thing remarkmorrow evening, at half-past nine o'clock, able occurs, you will hear it from me - if where you will meet with a civil reception good; if bad, there are plenty to tell it. In and decent entertainment. Pray, come — I the mean time, do you be happy. was so examined after you this morning,

“ Ever yours, &c. that I entreat you to answer in person.

“ P.S. - My best wishes and respects to “ Believe me," &c. Mrs. ** (Moore] ;- she is beautiful. I may

say so even to you, for I was never more

“ Friday noon. struck with a countenance." “ I should have answered your note yesterday, but I hoped to have seen you this Among the tributes to his fame, this morning. I must consult with you about the spring, it should have been mentioned that, day we dine with Sir Francis. I suppose at some evening party, he had the honour we shall meet at Lady Spencer's to-night. of being presented, at that royal personI did not know that you were at Miss Berry's age's own desire, to the Prince Regent. the other night, or I should have certainly “ The Regent,” says Mr. Dallas, “ expressed

his admiration of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, “As usual, I am in all sorts of scrapes, and continued a conversation, which so fase though none, at present, of a martial de- cinated the poet, that had it not been for an scription.

accidental deferring of the next levee, he · Believe me," &c. bade fair to become visiter at Carlton

House, if not a complete courtier."

“ May 8. 1812. After this wise prognostic, the writer “ I am too proud of being your friend, to adds, — “I called on him on the morning care with whom I am linked in your esti- for which the levee had been appointed, mation, and, God knows, I want friends and found him in a full-dress court suit of more at this time than at any other. I am clothes, with his fine black hair in powder, 'taking care of myself' to no great purpose. which by no means suited his countenance. If you knew my situation in every point of I was surprised, as he had not told me that view, you would excuse apparent and un- he should go to court ; and it seemed to me intentional neglect. I shall leave town, I as if he thought it necessary to apologise for think ; but do not you leave it without his intention, by his observing that he could seeing me. I wish

you,
from
my
soul, every

not in decency but do it, as the Regent had happiness you can wish yourself; and I think done him the honour to say that he hoped you have taken the road to secure it. Peace to see him soon at Carlton House." be with you! I fear she has abandoned me. In the two letters that follow we find his

gone there.

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Ever,” &c. own account of the introduction.

1 He had taken a window opposite for the purpose, and was accompanied on the occasion by his old schoolfellows, Mr. Bailey and Mr. John Madocks. They wept together from some assembly, and, on their arriving at the spot, about three o'clock in the morning, not finding the house that was to receive them open, Mr. Madocks undertook to rouse the inmates, while Lord Byron and Mr. Bailey sauntered, arm in arm, up the street. During this interval, rather a painful scene occurred. Sceing an unfortunate woman lying on the steps of a door, Lord Byron, with some expression of compassion, offered her a few shillings ; but, instead of accepting them, she violently pushed away his hand, and, starting up with a yell

of laughter, began to mimic the lameness of his gait. He did not utter a word; but “ I could feel," said Mr. Bailey, “his arm trembling within mine, as we left her."

I may take this opportunity of mentioning another anecdote connected with his lameness. In coming out, one night, from a ball, with Mr. Rogers, as they were on their way to their carriage, one of the link-boy's ran ou before Lord Byron, crying, “ This way, my Lord." " He seems to know you," said Mr. Rogers. " Know me !" answered Lord Byron, with some degree of bitterness in his tone" every one knows me, I am deformed."

Ær. 26.

THE PRINCE REGENT.

SIR WALTER SCOTT.

165

LETTER 94.

TO LORD HOLLAND.

« June 25. 1812.

ghosts of my wholesale assertions. I cannot sufficiently thank you for your praise ; and

now, waving myself, let me talk to you of My dear Lord,

the Prince Regent. He ordered me to be “I must appear very ungrateful, and presented to him at a ball ; and after some have, indeed, been very negligent, but till sayings peculiarly pleasing from royal lips, last night I was not apprised of Lady Hol- as to my own attempts, he talked to me of land's restoration, and I shall call to-morrow you and your immortalities : he preferred to have the satisfaction, I trust, of hearing you to every bard past and present, and asked that she is well. — I hope that neither politics which of your works pleased me most. It nor gout have assailed your Lordship since was a difficult question. I answered, I I last saw you, and that you also are as thought the “ Lay.” He said his own opinion well as could be expected.

was nearly similar. In speaking of the “ The other night, at a ball, I was pre- others, I told him that I thought you more sented by order to our gracious Regent, who particularly the poet of Princes, as they never honoured me with some conversation, and appeared more fascinating than in ‘Marmion' professed a predilection for poetry. - I con- and the · Lady of the Lake. He was pleased fess it was a most unexpected honour, and to coincide, and to dwell on the description I thought of poor Brummell's adventure, of your Jameses as no less royal than poetwith some apprehension of a similar blunder. ical. He spoke alternately of Homer and I have now great hope, in the event of Mr. yourself, and seemed well acquainted with Pye's decease, of 'warbling truth at court,' both ; so that (with the exception of the like Mr. Mallet of indifferent memory. Turks and your humble servant) you were Consider, one hundred marks a year! besides in very good company. I defy Murray to the wine and the disgrace ; but then remorse have exaggerated his Royal Highness's opiwould make me drown myself in my own nion of your powers, nor can I pretend butt before the year's end, or the finishing to enumerate all he said on the subject ; of my first dithyrambic. — So that, after all

, but it may give you pleasure to hear that it I shall not meditate our laureate's death by was conveyed in language which would only pen or poison.

suffer by my attempting to transcribe it, and Will you present my best respects to with a tone and taste which gave me a very Lady Holland ? and believe me hers and high idea of his abilities and accomplishyours very sincerely.”

ments, which I had hitherto considered as

confined to manners, certainly superior to The second letter, entering much more those of any living gentleman.? fully into the particulars of this interview “ This interview was accidental. I never with Royalty, was in answer, it will be per- went to the levee ; for having seen the courts ceived, to some inquiries which Sir Walter of Mussulman and Catholic sovereigns, my cuScott (then Mr. Scott) had addressed to riosity was sufficiently allayed ; and my polihim on the subject ; and the whole account tics being as perverse as my rhymes, I had, in reflects even still more honour on the So- fact, ‘no business there. To be thus praised vereign himself than on the two poets. by your Sovereign must be gratifying to you ;

and if that gratification is not alloyed by the

communication being made through me, the LETTER 95. TO SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.

bearer of it will consider himself very fortu" St. James's Street, July 6. 1812. nately and sincerely,

“Your obliged and obedient servant, “I have just been honoured with your

“ BYRON.” letter. – I feel sorry that you should have thought it worth while to notice the evil "P. S.–Excuse this scrawl, scratched works of my nonage,' as the thing is suppressed in a great hurry, and just after a journey. toluntarily, and your explanation is too kind not to give me pain. The Satire was During the summer of this year, he paid written when I was very young and very visits to some of his noble friends, and, among angry, and fully bent on displaying my wrath others, to the Earl of Jersey and the Marand my wit, and now I am haunted by the quis of Lansdowne.“ In 1812,” he says,

6 Sir,

[* There, too, he saw (whate'er he may be now)

A Prince, the prince of princes at the time,
With fascination in his very bow,

And full of promise, as the spring of prime.

Though royalty was written on his brow,

He had then the grace, too, rare in every clime,
Of being, without alloy of fop or beau,
A finish'd gentleman from top to toe."
Don Juan, c. xii. st. 84. Works, p. 726.]

over.

at Middleton (Lord Jersey's), amongst a proved, for the irritability of the brothergoodly company of lords, ladies, and wits, hood,) even the rejected candidates them&c., there was * * *.'

selves would bow without a murmur. The Erskine, too! Erskine was there ? ; first result of this application to the noble good, but intolerable. He jested, he talked, poet will be learned from what follows. he did every thing admirabiy, but then he would be applauded for the same thing twice

LETTER 96. TO LORD HOLLAND. He would read his own verses, his own paragraph, and tell his own story again

“ Cheltenham, September 10. 1812. and again ; and then the • Trial by Jury!!! | “My dear Lord, I almost wished it abolished, for I sat next “ The lines which I sketched off on him at dinner. As I had read his published your hint are still, or rather were, in an speeches, there was no occasion to repeat unfinished state, for I have just committed them to me.

them to a flame more decisive than that of “ C ** (the fox-hunter), nicknamed | Drury. Under all the circumstances, I * Cheek C ** (Chester], and I sweated the should hardly wish a contest with Philoclaret, being the only two who did so. drama-Philo-Drury— Asbestos, H**, and C* *, who loves his bottle, and had no all the anonymes and synonymes of Comnotion of meeting with a ' bon-vivant' in a mittee candidates. Seriously, I think you scribbler 3, in making my eulogy to somebody have a chance of something much better ; for one evening, summed it up in — By G-d prologuising is not my forte, and, at all events, he drinks like a man.'

either my pride or my modesty won't let Nobody drank, however, but C* * and me incur the hazard of having my rhymes 1. To be sure, there was little occasion, buried in next month's Magazine, under for we swept off what was on the table (a • Essays on the Murder of Mr. Perceval.' most splendid board, as may be supposed, at and Cures for the Bite of a Mad Dog,' as Jersey's) very sufficiently. However, we poor Goldsmith complained of the fate of far

carried our liquor discreetly,' like the Baron superior performances. of Bradwardine."

"I am still sufficiently interested to wish

to know the successful candidate ; and, In the month of August this year, on the amongst so many, I have no doubt some completion of the new Theatre Royal, will be excellent, particularly in an age when Drury Lane, the Committee of Management, writing verse is the easiest of all attainments. desirous of procuring an Address for the “ I cannot answer your intelligence with opening of the theatre, took the rather the ‘like comfort, unless, as you are deeply novel mode of inviting, by an advertisement theatrical, you may wish to hear of Mr. ** in the newspapers, the competition of all the [Betty], whose acting is, I fear, utterly inpoets of the day towards this object. Though adequate to the London engagement into the contributions that ensued were suffi- which the managers of Covent Garden have ciently numerous, it did not appear to the lately entered. His figure is fat, his features Committee that there was any one among flat, his voice unmanageable, his action unthe number worthy of selection. In this graceful, and, as Diggory: says, “I defy him difficulty it occurred to Lord Holland, that to extort that d-d muffin face of his into they could not do better than have recourse madness. I was very sorry to see him in to 'Lord Byron, whose popularity would the character of the Elephant on the slack give additional vogue to the solemnity of rope ;' for, when I last saw him, I was in their opening, and to whose transcendent raptures with his performance. But then I claims, as a poet, it was taken for granted, was sixteen — an age to which all London (though without sufficient allowance, as it condescended to subside. After all, much

"A review, somewhat too critical, of some of the guests
is here omitted.
3 [" There also were two wits by acclamation,
Longbow from Ireland, Strongbow from the

Tweed,
Both lawyers and both men of education,
But Strongbow's wit was of more polish'd
breed," &c.

Don Juan, c. xiii. st. 92.]
3 For the first day or two, at Middleton, he did not
Join his noble host's party till after dinner, but took his
scanty repast of biscuits and soda-water in his own room.
Being told by somebody that the gentleman above men-

tioned had pronounced such habits to be “ effeminate," he resolved to show the “ foxhunter" that he could be, on occasion, as good a bon-vivant as himself, and, by his prowess at the claret next day, after dinner, drew forth from Mr. C ** the eulogium here recorded.

+ [“ The public were more importantly employed, than to observe the easy simplicity of my style, or the harmony of my periods. Sheet after sheet was thrown off to oblivion. My essays were buried among the essays upon liberty, eastern tales, and cures for the bite of a mad dog." - Goldsmith's Misc. Works, vol. ii. p. 103, ed. 1837.)

5 [In the farce of “ All the World's a Stage."]

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