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sequence to the community than the enrichment of a few capitalists by any improvement in the implements of trade which deprives the workman of his bread, and renders the labourer unworthy of his hire."
We have persevered since then in improvements in mechanism until we believe that we have made "the well-being of the industrious poor and the enrichment of a few capitalists" one and the same thing.
The truth of this conviction of ours, nature and nature's laws are testing, and have yet to test. Byron, had he lived, might have continued still to sympathise with rude handicraftsmen who break
Now the desire of his grandson was to be one of the skilled workmen who make them. Not, it would appear, impelled ambitiously to this by the wish to rival, though a nobleman, the great men who have by their works as engineers raised themselves to a higher than aristocratic rank, and have been interred with the most honoured of the land. If the course of events, however, had made the views of the grandson so different from those of the grandfather, a certain similarity of character may have driven them on their opposite paths.
Of Lord Byron we are told that "whilst all other youths of talent in his high station are heralded into life by the applauses and anticipations of a host of friends, young Byron stood forth alone, unannounced by either praise or promise, the representative of an ancient house, whose name, long lost in the gloomy solitudes of Newstead, seemed to have awakened from the sleep of half a century in his person." But he enters society heralded by his poetry, and he becomes at once "the centre of a circle of stargazers."
Soon, we are told, "that sort of vanity showed itself which is inseparable from genius-a certain sensitiveness on the subject of self; and never was there a career," says his biographer, "in which this sensibility to the opinions of others was exposed to more constant and varied excitement than that on which he had entered at twenty-four. There can be no doubt, however, that the cheerless isolation, unguided and unfriended, to which at an earlier period he had found himself abandoned, was one of the sources of that resentful disdain of mankind which even their subsequent worship of him came too late to remove."
That there was much of the affected and the false in his disdain of mankind is proved by many pages of his journals and his letters. Others pages prove as certainly that lonely independence had charms for him.
To his grandson we may apply, with some alterations, what has jus been quoted. He, too, was not heralded into life by the
applauses and anticipations of a host of friends. But this new representative of the ancient house whose name had been long lost in the solitudes of Newstead had the misfortune to come into the world when that name was, on the contrary, "too much i̇' the sun."
The bearer of it and of a title could not escape a kind of observation that might have staggered older and wiser heads than his. But it would seem that he was early disposed to regard as ludicrous any notice of himself as one to be distinguished from the rest of mankind. At twelve years old he found a constant source of laughter in commencing stories with, "Once upon a time there was a very great lord," and he did so and so, adding some absurd trifle about himself, evidently in ridicule of his having been too much my-lorded by some one or another.
If some of the elements of the gentleman were wanting in his nature, those of the flunkey and the snob were also wanting. The poet burst into tears when his young companions turned their eyes on him as he was for the first time named lord in the calling over of the school roll or bill. But his proud and imaginative nature was too quickly reconciled to the artificial distinction of a title.
The less fanciful, more child-like and simple mind of the grandson looked on this distinction as a mere absurdity among beings of the same flesh and blood, the same thews and sinews. He had been at a private school, and some of his companions excited his merriment they were those whom he designated "pious and holy fellows."
That, again, is a trait of the poet's mind given out in a different way; not in distorted reasonings in verse, but as an artless, natural distaste for hypocrisy.
The poet's sensitiveness on the subject of self comes out also in the grandson in another form. Byron felt it, but it did not give him strength to break away from the great world which he was conscious of prizing too highly.
His grandson felt it, and would not be bound in the chains of that great world. When talked to about some points of aristocratic manners, he said, "What is a man worth if he cannot be himself a man, valued for himself and not for such things? I will go and be a man on my own account."
He would not be a thing stamped with a mark and shaped into a certain form for passing current among the stupid who only look at externals. He would live for himself, and by himself. And he kept his word-to the death!
And if we have tears for the poet's sad last days in Greece, shall we have none for the sadder, lonelier days of his grandson in his native land? This question I asked myself when I read his death
as it was announced in the journals. I then turned to the exquisite lines of Byron on his last birthday, and then I re-read them to myself with a melancholy alteration, which I shall give here.
ON THIS DAY I COMPLETE MY THIRTY-SIXTH YEAR."
"Tis time this heart should be unmoved,
Since others it hath ceased to move;
Yet though I cannot be beloved,
Still let me love.
My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief,
The fire that in my bosom preys
The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
But 'tis not thus, and 'tis not here,
Such thoughts should shake my soul; nor now,
Or binds his brow.
The sword, the banner, and the field,
Awake!-not Greece; she is awake-
Tread those reviving passions down,
If thou regret'st thy youth, why live?
Is here. Up, to the field and give
Seek out-less often sought than found-
THE POET'S GRANDSON.
THIS DAY I COMPLETE MY TWENTY-SIXTH YEAR
This youthful heart has ne'er been moved,
My days are in their spring of leaf,
Yet in my bosom preys a fire,
The hope and fear, the jealous care
To servile arts 'twould bind in vain,
My tongue would form to servile words
The forge and anvil, and the glow
Awake!-not England; she's awake-
Strike on the anvil!
Strike with force!
Vapid has been thy youth. Why live?
Seek out-unsought 'tis often found-
A melancholy alteration of the noble lines indeed!
But the simple facts of the case have true poetry in them, and are more sad than the spoiling of the heroic verses.
Grandsire and grandson are gone. Peace to their ashes! To their own Master they must stand or fall-not to us.
When Byron's daughter was laid in the vault with him, there was in it one vacant space more. His wife, consistent unto death, did not choose that it should be occupied by her remains.
There would have been something soothing to the heart could we have said that the young lord, the young engineer, had been laid in the vault of Hucknal Church with his mother and with the poet.
For then, when October embrowns the Nottinghamshire woods, and the pilgrim to Newstead has worshipped at the shrine of genius, he would turn from it to the little country church, and, reflecting on those who slept there-the poet, his daughter, and his grandson-he would forget all but the strange contrarieties of life with our wishes and our purposes, as exemplified in those three existences, of such short duration, but so richly endowed by fortune and by nature.
Note. This comparison, or contrast, of two peculiar characters was written at the time when the death of Lord Byron's grandson was announced, but is now given as having a certain interest in connexion with the poet's name.
THOU art gone from a world of unrest,
The portal of death overpast,
In peace where the earth-worn repose,
Beyond earth's ever-varying woes
Thy spirit, set free from a mansion of clay,
And learns in that atmosphere bright
Amid myriads in garments of spotless white,
Which mortality penitent shares with the blest.
June-VOL. CXLIV., NO. DLXXXII.