Imágenes de páginas




[ocr errors]

shall leave it, and proceed in a tandem (a my journey through Newark, but cannot species of open carriage) through the western approach. Don't tell this to Mrs. B., who passes to Inverary, where we shall purchase supposes I travel a different road. If you shelties, to enable us to view places inac- have a letter, order it to be left at Ridge's cessible to vehicular conveyances.

On the shop, where I shall call, or the post-office, coast we shall hire a vessel, and visit the Newark, about six or eight in the evening. most remarkable of the Hebrides ; and, if If your brother would ride over,

I should be we have time and favourable weather, mean devilish glad to see him—he can return the to sail as far as Iceland, only 300 miles from same night, or sup with us and go home the the northern extremity of Caledonia, to peep next morning -the Kingston Arms is my at Hecla. This last intention you will keep inn. a secret, as my nice mamma would imagine

“ Adieu, yours ever, I was on a Voyage of Discovery, and raise

“ BYRON." the accustomed maternal warwhoop. · Last week I swam in the Thames from

LETTER 18. Lambeth through the two bridges, Westminster and Blackfriars, a distance, including

“Trinity College, Cambridge, October 26. 1807. the different turns and tacks made on the · My dear Elizabeth, way, of three miles! You see I am in ex- Patigued with sitting up till four in the cellent training in case of a squall at sea. I morning for the last two days at hazard', I mean to collect all the Erse traditions, take up my pen to inquire how your highpoems, &c. &c., and translate, or expand the ness and the rest of my female acquaintance subject to fill a volume, which may appear at the seat of archiepiscopal grandeur go on. next spring under the denomination of. The I know I deserve a scolding for my negHighland Harp,' or some title equally pic-ligence in not writing more frequently; but turesque. Of Bosworth Field, one book is racing up and down the country for these last finished, another just began. It will be a three months, how was it possible to fulfil work of three or four years, and most pro- the duties of a correspondent? Fixed at bably never conclude. What would you say last for six weeks, I write, as thin as ever to some stanzas on Mount Hecla ? they (not having gained an ounce since my rewould be written at least with fire. How is duction), and rather in better humour ; the immortal Bran ? and the Phænix of but, after all, Southwell was a detestable recanine quadrupeds, Boatswain ? I have sidence. Thank St. Dominica, I have done lately purchased a thorough-bred bull-dog, with it : I have been twice within eight worthy to be the coadjutor of the aforesaid miles of it, but could not prevail on myself celestials— his name is Smut ! Bear it, to suffocate in its heavy atmosphere. This ye breezes, on your balmy wings.'

place is wretched enough -- a villanous * Write to me before I set off, I conjure chaos of din and drunkenness, nothing but you, by the fifth rib of your grandfather. hazard and burgundy, hunting, mathematics, Ridge goes on well with the books — 1 and Newmarket, riot and racing. Yet it is thought that worthy had not done much in a paradise compared with the eternal dulness the country. In town they have been very of Southwell." Oh! the misery of doing successful ; Carpenter (Moore's publisher) nothing but make love, enemies, and verses. told me a few days ago they sold all theirs “Next January, (but this is entre nous immediately, and had several enquiries made only, and pray let it be so, or my maternal since, which, from the books being gone, persecutor will be throwing her tomahawk they could not suppiy. The Duke of York, at any of my curious projects,) I am going to the Marchioness of Headfort, the Duchess sea for four or five months, with my cousin of Gordon, &c. &c., were among the pur- Captain Bettesworth, who commands the chasers ; and Crosby says, the circulation Tartar, the finest frigate in the navy, I will be still more extensive in the winter, have seen most scenes, and wish to look at the summer season being very bad for a sale, a naval life. We are going probably to the as inost people are absent from London. Mediterranean, or to the West Indies, or However, they have gone off extremely well to the d-l; and if there is a possibility altogether. I shall pass very near you on of taking me to the latter, Bettesworth will

I We observe bere, as in other parts of his carly letters, that sort of display and boast of rakishness which is but too common a folly at this period of life, wben the young aspirant to manhood persuades himself that to be profligate is to be manly. Unluckily, this boyish desire of being thought worse than he really was,

remained with Lord Byron, as did some other feelings and foibles of his boyhood, long after the period when, with others, they are past and forgotten ; and his mind, indeed, was but beginning to outgrow them, when he was snatched away.




do it ; for he has received four and twenty wounds in different places, and at this moment possesses a letter from the late Lord Nelson, stating Bettesworth as the only officer in the

CHAPTER VI. navy who had more wounds than himself. 1 "I have got a new friend, the finest in the

1808. world, a tame bear. When I brought him here, they asked me what I meant to do with him, and my reply was, he should sit for a fellowship.' Sherard will explain the meaning of the sentence, if it is ambiguous. This answer delighted them not. We have several parties here, and this evening a large assortment of jockeys, gamblers, boxers, It was at the beginning of the following authors, parsons, and poets, sup with me,

year that

an acquaintance commenced a precious mixture, but they go on well between Lord Byron and a gentleman, together ; and for me, I am a spice of every related to his family by marriage, Mr. Dallass thing except a jockey; by the bye, I was dis

the author of some novels, popular, I mounted again the other day.

believe, in their day, and also of a sort of Thank your brother in my name for his Memoir of the noble Poet, published soon treatise. I have written 214 pages of a novel, after his death, which, from being founded

one poem of 380 lines ?, to be published chiefly on original correspondence, is the (without my name) in a few weeks, with most authentic and trustworthy of any that notes, — 560 lines of Bosworth Field, and have yet appeared. In the letters addressed 250 lines of another poem in rhyme, besides by Lord Byron to this gentleman, among half a dozen smaller pieces. The poem to many details, curious in a literary point of be published is a Satire. Apropos, I have view, we find, what is much more important been praised to the skies in the Critical for our present purpose, some particulars Reviews, and abused greatly in another illustrative of the opinions which he had publication. So much the better, they tell formed, at this time of his life, on the two me,

for the sale of the book : it keeps up subjects most connected with the early controversy, and prevents it being forgotten. formation of character - morals and reBesides, the first men of all ages

have had

ligion. their share, nor do the humblest

escape; It is but rarely that infidelity or scepticism so I bear it like a philosopher. It is odd finds an entrance into youthful minds. That two opposite critiques came out on the same readiness to take the future upon trust, day, and out of five pages of abuse, my censor which is the charm of this period of life, only quotes two lines from different poems, would naturally, indeed, make it the season in support of his opinion. Now, the proper of belief as well as of hope. There are also way to cut up, is to quote long passages, and then, still fresh in the mind, the impressions make them appear absurd, because simple of early religious culture, which even in those allegation is no proof. On the other hand, who begin soonest to question their faith, there are seven pages of praise, and more give way but slowly to the encroachments than my modesty will allow, said on the of doubt, and, in the mean time, extend the subject. Adieu.

benefit of their moral restraint over a portion "P.S. Write, write, write!!!”

of life when it is acknowledged such restraints are most necessary. If exemption from the

[Captain George-Edward-Byron Bettesworth, born in 3 Sept. 1807. This Review, in pronouncing upon the 1781, was the son of a clergyman in the north of England. young author's future career, showed itself somewhat In the short space of eight years from his first entering the more “prophet-like" than the great oracle of the North. service as a boy, he had risen by his merit to the post of In noticing the Elegy on Newstead Abbey, the writer Commander. When the above letter was written, he had

says, “ We could not but hail, with something of projust been appointed to the Tartar frigate, in which he phetic rapture, the hope conveyed in the closing stanza:was killed in the May following, while engaging with

Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine, some Danish gun-boats off Bergen. He had recently

Thee to irradiate with meridian ray," &c. &c. married Lady Hannah-Althea Grey, sister to Earl Grey; who afterwards married the right hon. Edward Ellice.] 4 The first number of a monthly publication called 2 The poem afterwards enlarged and published under

The Satirist,” in which there appeared afterwards some low and personal attacks upon

him. the title of " English Bards and Scotch Reviewers." It appears from this that the ground-work of that satire 5 (Captain George-Anson Byron, of the royal navy, had been laid some time before the appearance of the father of the present Lord Byron, had married the sister article in the Edinburgh Review.

of Mr. Dallas.)

[blocks in formation]

checks of religion be, as infidels themselves fortune of being an unbeliever at any age, allow ', a state of freedom from responsibility he exhibited the rare and melancholy dangerous at all times, it must be peculiarly spectacle of an unbelieving schoolboy. The so in that season of temptation, youth, when same prematurity of developement which the passions are sufficiently disposed to usurp brought his passions and genius so early into a latitude for themselves, without taking a action, enabled also to anticipate this worst, licence also from infidelity to enlarge their dreariest result of reason ; and at the very range. It is, therefore, fortunate that, for time of life when a spirit and temperament the causes just stated, the inroads of scep- like his most required control, those checks, ticism and disbelief should be seldom felt in which religious prepossessions best supply, the mind till a period of life when the cha- were almost wholly wanting. racter, already formed, is out of the reach of We have seen, in those two Addresses to their disturbing influence, — when, being the the Deity which I have selected from among result, however erroneous, of thought and his unpublished poems, and still more strongly reasoning, they are likely to partake of the in a passage of the Catalogue of his Studies, sobriety of the process by which they were at what a boyish age the authority of all acquired, and being considered but as matters systems and sects was avowedly shaken off of pure speculation, to have as little share in by his inquiring spirit. Yet, even in these, determining the mind towards evil as, too there is a fervour of adoration mingled with often, the most orthodox creed has, at the his defiance of creeds, through which the same age, in influencing it towards good. piety implanted in his nature (as it is deeply

While, in this manner, the moral qualities in all poetic natures) unequivocally shows of the unbeliever himself are guarded from itself; and had he then fallen within the reach some of the mischiefs that might, at an of such guidance and example as would have earlier age, attend such doctrines, the seconded and fostered these natural disdanger also of his communicating the in- positions, the licence of opinion into which fection to others is, for reasons of a similar he afterwards broke loose might have been nature, considerably diminished. The same averted. His scepticism, if not wholly revanity or daring which may have prompted moved, might have been softened down the youthful sceptic's opinions, will lead him into that humble doubt, which, so far from likewise, it is probable, rashly and irre- being inconsistent with a religious spirit, is, verently to avow them, without regard either perhaps, its best guard against presumption to the effect of his example on those around and uncharitableness ; and, at all events, him, or to the odium which, by such an even if his own views of religion had not arowal, he entails irreparably on himself. been brightened or elevated, he would have But, at a riper age, these consequences are, learned not wantonly to cloud or disturb in general, more cautiously weighed. The those of others. But there was no such infidel, if at all considerate of the happiness monitor near him. After his departure from of others, will naturally pause before he Southwell, he had not a single friend or chases from their hearts a hope of which his relative to whom he could look up with own feels the want so desolately. If re- respect ; but was thrown alone on the world, gardful only of hiirself, he will no less na- with his passions and his pride, to revel in turally shrink from the promulgation of the fatal discovery which he imagined himopinions which, in no age, have men uttered self to have made of the nothingness of the with impunity. In either case there is a future, and the all-paramount claims of the tolerably good security for his silence ; — for, present. By singular ill fortune, too, the should benevolence not restrain him from individual who, among all his college friends, making converts of others, prudence may, had taken the strongest hold on his admirat least, prevent him from making a martyr ation and affection, and whose loss he afterof himself.

wards lamented with brotherly tenderness, Unfortunately, Lord Byron was an ex- was, to the same extent as himself, if not ception to the usual course of such lapses. more strongly, a sceptic. Of this remarkable With him, the canker showed itself in the young man, Matthews, who was so early morn and dew of youth,” when the effect of snatched away, and whose career in after-life, such “blastments” is, for every reason, most

had it been at all answerable to the extrafatal, — and, in addition to the real mis- ordinary promise of his youth, must have

1 "Look out for a people entirely destitute of religion : quently to the advantage of religion in a Collection of if you find them at all, be assured that they are but few

Sermons, entitled, “ The Connexion of Christianity degrees removed from brutes." - HUME.

with Human Happiness," written by one of Lord By

ron's earliest and most valued friends, the Rev. William The reader will find this avowal of Hume turned elo- Harness.


placed him upon a level with the first men upwards of a year away from Cambridge, to of his day, à memoir was, at one time, which I had returned again to reside for my deintended to be published by his relatives ; gree, that I became one of Matthews's famiand to Lord Byron, among others of his liars, by means of Hobhouse, who, after college friends, application for assistance in hating me for two years, because I wore the task was addressed. The letter which a white hat, and a grey coat, and rode a grey this circumstance drew forth from the noble horse (as he says himself), took me into his poet, besides containing many amusing traits good graces because I had written some of his friend, affords such an insight into his poetry. I had always lived a good deal, and own habits of life at this period, that, though got drunk occasionally, in their company infringing upon the chronological order of but now we became really friends in a mornhis correspondence, I shall insert it here. ing. Matthews, however, was not at this

period resident in College. I met him chiefly

in London, and at uncertain periods at CamLETTER 19.

bridge. Hobhouse, in the mean time, did “Ravenna, Obre 12. 1820.

great things : he founded the Cambridge “What you said of the late Charles Skinner Whig Club' (which he seems to have forMatthews has set me to my recollections; gotten), and the ‘Amicable Society,' which but I have not been able to turn up any thing was dissolved in consequence of the members which would do for the purposed Memoir of constantly quarrelling, and made himself very his brother, — even if he had previously done popular with us youth,' and no less formienough during his life to sanction the intro- dable to all tutors, professors, and heads of duction of anecdotes so merely personal. Colleges. William Bankes was gone ; while He was, however, a very extraordinary man, he stayed, he ruled the oast - or rather the and would have been a great one. No one roasting—and was father of all mischiefs. ever succeeded in a more surpassing degree “ Matthews and I, meeting in London, and than he did as far as he went. He was elsewhere, became great cronies. He was indolent, too ; but whenever he stripped, he not good tempered — nor am I — but with overthrew all antagonists. His conquests a little tact his temper was manageable, and will be found registered at Cambridge, par- I thought him so superior a man, that I was ticularly his Downing one, which was hotly willing to sacrifice something to his humours, and highly contested, and yet easily won. which were often, at the same time, amusing Hobhouse was his most intimate friend, and and provoking. What became of his papers can tell you more of him than any man. (and he certainly had many), at the time of William Bankes also a great deal. I myself | his death, was never known. I mention this recollect more of his oddities than of his by the way, fearing to skip it over, and as he academical qualities, for we lived most wrote remarkably well, both in Latin and together at a very idle period of

life. English.

We went down to Newstead When I went up to Trinity, in 1805, at the together, where I had got a famous cellar, age of seventeen and a half, I was miserable and Monks' dresses from a masquerade and untoward to a degree. I was wretched warehouse. We were a company of some at leaving Harrow, to which I had become seven or eight, with an occasional neighattached during the two last years of my stay bour or so for visiters, and used to sit up there ; wretched at going to Cambridge late in our friars' dresses, drinking burinstead of Oxford (there were no rooms gundy, claret, champagne, and what not, out vacant at Christ-church); wretched from of the skull-cup, and all sorts of glasses, and some private domestic circumstances of dif- buffooning all round the house, in our conferent kinds, and consequently about as ventual garments. Matthews always deunsocial as a wolf taken from the troop. So nominated me the Abbot,' and never called that, although I knew Matthews, and met me by any other name in his good humours, him often then at Bankes's, (who was my to the day of his death. The harmony of collegiate pastor, and master, and patron,) these our symposia was somewhat interand at Rhode's, Milnes's, Price's, Dick's, rupted, a few days after our assembling, Macnamara's, Farrell's, Galley Knight's, and by Matthews's threatening to throw Hobothers of that set of contemporaries, yet I house out of a window, in consequence was neither intimate with him nor with any of I know not what commerce of jokes one else, except my old schoolfellow Edward ending in this epigram. Hobhouse came Long (with whom I used to pass the day in to me and said, that his respect and regard riding and swimming), and William Bankes, for me as host would not permit him who was good-naturedly tolerant of my to call out any of my guests, and that he ferocities.

should go to town next morning.' He did. It was not till 1807, after I had been It was in vain that I represented to him that



the window was not high, and that the turf suppose that Orson lost what reason he under it was particularly soft. Away he had acquired, on hearing this compliment. went.

When Hobhouse published his volume of Matthews and myself had travelled down poems, the Miscellany (which Matthews from London together, talking all the way would call the Miss-sell-any'), all that could incessantly upon one single topic. When be drawn from him was, that the preface we got to Loughborough, I know not what was 'extremely like Walsh.' Hobhouse chasm had made us diverge for a moment thought this at first a compliment ; but we to some other subject, at which he was in- never could make out what it was ', for dignant. *Come,' said he, don't let us break all we know of Walsh is his Ode to King through — let us go on as we began, to our William?, and Pope's epithet of knowing journey's end ;' and so he continued, and Walsh.'3 When the Newstead party broke was as entertaining as ever to the very end. up for London, Hobhouse and Matthews, who He had previously occupied, during my were the greatest friends possible, agreed, rear's absence from Cambridge, my rooms in for a whim, to walk together to town. They Trinity, with the furniture ; and Jones, the quarrelled the way, and actually walked tutor, in his odd way, had said, on putting the latter half of their journey, occasionally him in, · Mr. Matthews, I recommend to your passing and repassing, without speaking. attention not to damage any of the move

When Matthews had got to Highgate, he ables, for Lord Byron, Sir, is a young man had spent all his money but three-pence of tumultuous passions.' Matthews was de- halfpenny, and determined to spend that lighted with this ; and whenever anybody also in a pint of beer, which I believe he came to visit him, begged them to handle was drinking before a public-house, as Hobthe very door with caution ; and used to house passed him (still without speaking) repeat Jones's admonition in his tone and for the last time on their route. They manner. There was a large mirror in the were reconciled in London again. room, on which he remarked, that he “ One of Matthews's passions was the thought his friends were grown uncommonly Fancy ;' and he sparred uncommonly well. assiduous in coming to see him, but he soon But he always got beaten in rows, or combats discovered that they only came to see them- with the bare fist. In swimming, too, he selves.' Jones's phrase of tumultuous passions,' swam well; but with effort and labour, and too and the whole scene, had put him into such high out of the water ; so that Scrope Davies good humour, that I verily believe that I and myself, of whom he was therein someowed to it a portion of his good graces. what emulous, always told him that he would “ When at Newstead, somebody by ac

be drowned if ever he came to a difficult cident rubbed against one of his white silk pass in the water. He was so ; but surely stockings, one day before dinner ; of course Scrope and myself would have been most the gentleman apologised. “Sir,' answered heartily glad that Matthews, it may be all very well for you,

""the Dean had lived, who have a great many silk stockings, to

And our prediction proved a lie.' dirty other people's ; but to me, who have only this one pair, which I have put on in “His head was uncommonly handsome, honour of the Abbot here, no apology can very like what Pope's was in his youth. compensate for such carelessness ; besides, “ His voice, and laugh, and features, are the expense of washing.' He had the same strongly resembled by his brother Henry's, sort of droll sardonic way about every thing. if Henry be he of King's College. His passion A wild Irishman, named Farrell

, one evening for boxing was so great, that he actually wantbeginning to say something at a large sup- ed me to match him with Dogherty (whom I per at Cambridge, Matthews roared out had backed and made the match for against * Silence!' and then, pointing to Farrell, Tom Belcher), and I saw them spar together cried out, in the words of the oracle, “ Orson at my own lodgings with the gloves on. As is endowed with reason.' You may easily he was bent upon it, I would have backed


1 The only thing remarkable about Walsh's preface is, that Dr. Johnson praises it as a very judicious," but is, at the same time, silent respecting the poems to which it is prefixed.

2 (No“ Ode" under this title is to be found in Walsh's Poems. Lord Byron had, no doubt, in mind “ The Golden Age Restored;" a composition in which, says Dr. Johnson, " there was something of humour, while the facts were recent ; but it now strikes no longer."]

Granville the polite, And knowing Walsh, would tell me I could write." " About fifteen,” says Pope, “I got acquainted with Mr. Walsh. He used to encourage me much, and tell me, that there was one way left of excelling: for though we had several great poets, we never had any one great poet that was correct ; and he desired me to make that my study and aim."-SPENCE.)

« AnteriorContinuar »