« AnteriorContinuar »
It was at this period that I first had the happiness “I shall not, I fear, be able to return to London of seeing and becoming acquainted with Lord Byron. for a week or two; but, in the mean time, I trust The correspondence, in which our acquaintance ori- your lordship will not deny me the satisfaction of ginated, is, in a high degree, illustrative of the frank knowing whether you avow the insult contained in manliness of his character ; and, as it was begun on the passages alluded to. my side, some egotism must be tolerated in the detail “ It is needless to suggest to your lordship the which I have to give of the circumstances that led to propriety of keeping our correspondence secret. it. So far back as the year 1806, on the occasion of
“I have the honour to be a meeting which took place at Chalk Farm between “Your lordship's very humble servant Mr Jeffrey and myself, a good deal of ridicule and
6 THOMAS MOORE. raillery, founded on a false representation of what * 22, Molesworth-street." occurred before the magistrates at Bow-street, appeared in almost all the public prints. In conse- In the course of a week, the friend to whom I inquence of this, I was induced to address a letter to trusted this letter wrote to inform me that Lord Byron the Editor of one of the Journals, contradicting the had, as he learned on inquiring of his publisher, gone falsehood that had been eirculated, and stating briefly abroad immediately on the publication of his Second the real circumstances of the case. For some time, Edition ; but that my letter had been placed in the my letter seemed to produce the intended effect,- hands of a gentleman named Hodgson, who had unbut, unluckily, the original story was too tempting a dertaken to forward it carefully to his lordship. theme for humour and sarcasm to be so easily super-Though the latter step was not exactly what I could seded by mere matter of fact. Accordingly, after a have wished, I thought it as well, on the whole, to let little time, whenever the subject was publicly alluded my letter take its chance, and again postponed all to,-more especially by those who were at all “ willing consideration of the matter. to wound,"—the old falsehood was, for the sake of During the interval of a year and a half which its ready sting, revived.
elapsed before Lord Byron's return, I had taken In the year 1809, on the first appearance of “ English upon myself obligations, both as husband and father, Bards and Scotch Reviewers,” I found the author, which make most men, and especially those who who was then generally understood to be Lord Byron, have nothing to bequeath,-less willing to expose not only jesting on this subject and with sufficiently themselves unnecessarily to danger. On hearing, provoking pleasantry and cleverness-in his verse, therefore, of the arrival of the noble traveller from but giving also in the more responsible form of a note, Greece, though still thinking it due to myself to follow an outline of the transaction in accordance with the up my first request of an explanation, I resolved, in original misreport, and, therefore, in direct contradic- prosecuting that ohject, to adopt such a tone of contion to my published statement. Still, as the Satire ciliation as should not only prove my sincere desire of was anonymous and unacknowledged, I did not feel a pacific result, but show the entire freedom from any that I was, in any way, called upon to notice it, and angry or resentful feeling with which I took the step. therefore dismissed the matter entirely from my mind. The death of Mrs Byron, for some time, delayed my In the summer of the same year appeared the Second purpose. But as soon after that event as was conEdition of the work, with Lord Byron's name prefixed sistent with decorum, I addressed a letter to Lord to it. I was, at the time, in Ireland, and but little Byron, in which, referring to my former communicain the way of literary society; and it so happened tion, and expressing some doubts as to its having ever that some months passed away before the appearance reached him, I re-stated, in pretty nearly the same of this new edition was known to me. Immediately words, the nature of the insult, which, as it appeared on being apprized of it,—the offence now assuming to me, the passage in his note was calculated to cona different form,-I addressed the following letter to vey. “It is now useless,” I continued, “ to speak Lord Byron, and, transmitting it to a friend in London, of the steps with which it was my intention to follow requested that he would have it delivered into his up that letter. The time which has elapsed since lordship's hands.*
then, though it has done away neither the injury nor
the feeling of it, has, in many respects, materially “ Dublin, January 1st, 1810.
altered my situation; and the only object which I MY LORD,
have now in writing to your lordship is to preserve “Having just seen the name of 'Lord Byron' pre- some consistency with that former letter, and to prove fixed to a work, entitled • English Bards and Scotch to you that the injured feeling still exists, however Reviewers,' in which, as it appears to me, the lie is circumstances may compel me to be deaf to its dicgiven to a public statement of mine, respecting an tates, at present. When I say “injured feeling,' let affair with Mr Jeffrey some years since, I beg you me assure your lordship that there is not a single will have the goodness to inform me whether I may vindictive sentiment in my mind towards you. I consider your Lordship as the author of this publica- mean but to express that uneasiness, under (what I cation.
consider to be) a charge of. falsehood, which must * This is the only entire letter of my own that, in the
haunt a man of any feeling to his grave, unless the incourse of this work, I mean to obtrude upon my readers.
sult be retracted or atoned for; and which, if I did Being short, and in terms more explanatory of the feeling
not feel, I should, indeed, deserve far worse than on which I acted than any other that could be substituted, your lordship's satire could inflict upon me.” In conit might be suffered, I thought, to form the single exception to my general rule. In all other cases, I shall merely give
clusion I added, that, so far from being influenced by such extracts from my own letters, as may be necessary to
any angry or resentful feeling towards him, it would elucidate those of my correspondent.
give me sincere pleasure, if, by any satisfactory ex
TO MR MOORE.
TO MR MOORE.
planation, he would enable me to seek the honour of I then entered into some detail relative to the transbeing henceforward ranked among his acquaintance.* | mission of my first letter from Dublin,-giving, as my To this letter, Lord Byron returned the following reason for descending to these minute particulars,
that I did not, I must confess, feel quite easy under LETTER LXXIII.
the manner in which his lordship had noticed the miscarriage of that first application to him.
My reply concluded thus :—“ As your lordship does “Cambridge, October 27th, 1811. not show any wish to proceed beyond the rigid formu
lary of explanation, it is not for me to make any fur“Your letter followed me from Notts. to this place, ther advances. We Irishmen, in businesses of this which will account for the delay of my reply. Your kind, seldom know any medium between decided former letter I never had the honour to receive ;-be hostility and decided friendship;—but, as any apassured, in whatever part of the world it had found proaches towards the latter alternative must now me, I should have deemed it my duty to return and depend entirely on your lordship, I have only to reanswer it in person.
peat that I am satisfied with your letter, and that I “The advertisement you mention, I know nothing have the honour to be,” &c. &c. of.–At the time of your meeting with Mr Jeffrey, I On the following day, I received the annexed rehad recently entered College, and remember to have joinder from Lord Byron. heard and read a number of squibs on the occasion, and from the recollection of these
derived all my
LETTER LXXIV. knowledge on the subject, without the slightest idea of giving the lie' to an address which I never beheld. When I put my name to the production, which has
8, St James's street, October 29th, 1811. occasioned this correspondence, I became responsible to all whom it might concern,—to explain, where it “ Soon after my return to England, my friend, requires explanation, and, where insufficiently or too Mr Hodgson, apprized me that a letter for me was sufficiently explicit, at all events to satisfy. My situa- in his possession, but a domestic event hurrying me tion leaves me no choice; it rests with the injured from London, immediately after, the letter (which and the angry to obtain reparation in their own way. may most probably be your own) is still unopened in
" With regard to the passage in question, you his keeping. If, on examination of the address, the were certainly not the person towards whom I felt per- similarity of the handwriting should lead to such a sonally hostile. On the contrary, my whole thoughts conclusion, it shall be opened in your presence, for were engrossed by one, whom I had reason to con- the satisfaction of all parties. Mr H. is at present sider as my worst literary enemy, nor could I foresee out of town ;-on Friday I shall see bim, and request that his former antagonist was about to become his him to forward it to my address. champion. You do not specify what you would wish 6. With regard to the latter part of both your to have done: I can neither retract nor apologise for letters, until the principal point was discussed bea charge of falsehood which I never advanced. tween us, I felt myself at a loss in what manner to
“ In the beginning of the week, I shall be at reply. Was I to anticipate friendship from one, No. 8, St James's-street.
:-Neither the letter or the who conceived me to have charged him with falsefriend to whom you stated your intention ever made hood? Were not advances, under such circum
stances, to be misconstrued,-not, perhaps, by the “ Your friend, Mr Rogers, or any other gentleman person to whom they were addressed, but by others ? delegated by you, will find me most ready to adopt In my case, such a step was impracticable. If you, any conciliatory propositioņ which shall not compro- who conceived yourself to be the offended person, mise my own honour,-or, failing in that, to make the are satisfied that you had no cause for offence, it atonement you deem it necessary to require.
will not be difficult to convince me of it. My situa“I have the honour to be, sir,
tion, as I have before stated, leaves me no choice. “ Your most obedient, humble servant, I should have felt proud of your acquaintance, had
“ BYRON." it commenced under other circumstances; but it
must rest with you to determine how far it may proIn my reply to this, I commenced by saying that ceed after so auspicious a beginning. his lordship’s letter was, upon the whole, as satisfac
“ I have the honour to be, etc." tory as I could expect. It contained all that, in the strict diplomatique of explanation, could be required, Somewhat piqued, I own, at the manner in which namely,—that he had never seen the statement which my efforts towards a more friendly understanding,–
I supposed him wilfully to have contradicted,--that ill-timed as I confess them to have been,--were rehe had no intention of bringing against me any charge ceived, I hastened to close our correspondence by a of falsehood, and that the objectionable passage of his short note, saying, that his lordship had made me work was not levelled personally at me. This, I feel the imprudence I was guilty of, in wandering added, was all the explanation that I had a right to from the point immediately in discussion between us ; expect, and I was, of course, satisfied with it. and I should now, therefore, only add, that if, in my
last letter, I had correctly stated the substance of his * Finding two different draughts of this letter among my explanation, our correspondence might, from this papers, I cannot be quite certain as to some of the terms employed; but have little doubt that they are here given moment, cease for ever, as with that explanation I. correctly
declared myself satisfied.
TO MR MOORE.
This brief note drew immediately from Lord Byron placed him,-by the somewhat national confusion the following frank and open-hearted reply.
which I had made of the boundaries of peace and
war, of hostility and friendship,-in a position which, LETTER LXXV.
ignorant as he was of the character of the person who addressed him, it required all the watchfulness
of his sense of honour to guard from surprise or “8, St James's-street, October 30th, 1811.
snare. Hence, the judicious reserve with which he
abstained from noticing my advances towards ac“ You must excuse my troubling you once more quaintance, till he should have ascertained exactly upon this very unpleasant subject. It would be a
whether the explanation which he was willing to give satisfaction to me, and, I should think, to yourself, would be such as his correspondent would be satisthat the unopened letter in Mr Hodgson's possession fied to receive. The moment he was set at rest on (supposing it to prove your own) should be returned this point, the frankness of his nature displayed
in statu quo' to the writer; particularly as you ex- itself; and the disregard of all further mediation or pressed yourself ‘not quite easy under the manner in etiquette with which he at once professed himself which I had dwelt on its miscarriage.'
ready to meet me“ when, where, and how” I pleased, “ A few words more, and I shall not trouble you showed that he could be as pliant and confiding after further. I felt
, and still feel, very much flattered by such an understanding, as he had been judiciously those parts of your correspondence, which held out
reserved and punctilious before it. the prospect of our becoming acquainted. If I did
Such did I find Lord Byron, on my first experience not meet them, in the first ins ance, as perhaps I of him; and such, --so open and manly minded, -did ought, let the situation in which I was placed be my
I find him to the last. defence. You have now declared yourself satisfied, and on that point we are no longer at issue. If, company at dinner should not extend beyond Lord
It was, at first, intended by Mr Rogers that his therefore, you still retain any wish to do me the ho
Byron and myself; but Mr Thomas Campbell, having nour you hinted at, I shall be most happy to meet called upon our host that morning, was invited to join you, when, where, and how you please, and I pre- the party, and consented. Such a meeting could not sume you will not attribute my saying thus much to
be otherwise than interesting to us all. It was the any unworthy motive.
first time that Lord Byron was ever seen by any of his “ I have the honour to remain, etc.”
three companions; while he, on his side, for the first
time, found himself in the society of persons, whose On receiving this letter, I went instantly to my
names had been associated with his first literary friend, Mr Rogers, who was, at that time, on a visit dreams, and to two* of whom he looked up with that at Holland House, and, for the first time, informed tributary admiration, which youthful genius is ever him of the correspondence in which I had been en
ready to pay to its precursors. gaged. With his usual readiness to oblige and serve,
Among the impressions which this meeting left upon he proposed that the meeting between Lord Byron
me, what I chiefly remember to have remarked was and myself should take place at his table, and re
the nobleness of his air, his beauty, the gentleness of quested of me to convey to the noble lord his wish, his voice and manners, and—what was, naturally, not that he would do him the honour of naming some
the least attraction_his marked kindness to myself. day for that purpose. The following is Lord Byron's Being in mourning for his mother, the colour, as well answer to the note which I then wrote.
of his dress, as of his glossy, curling, and picturesque
hair, gave more effect to the pure, spiritual paleness LETTER LXXVI.
of his features, in the expression of which, when he
spoke, there was a perpetual play, of lively thought, “8, St James's-street, November 1st, 1811.
though melancholy was their habitual character when SIR,
As we had none of us been apprized of his pecu“ As I should be very sorry to interrupt your Sun-liarities with respect to food, the embarrassment of day's engagement, if Monday, or any other day of
our host was not a little, on discovering that there the ensuing week, would be equally convenient to yourself and friend, I will then have the honour of could eat or drink. Neither meat, fish, or wine
was nothing upon the table which his noble guest accepting his invitation. Of the professions of esteem
would Lord Byron touch; and of biscuits and sodawith which Mr Rogers has honoured me, I cannot but feel proud, though undeserving. I should be water, which he asked
for, there had been, unluckily,
no provision. He professed, however, to be equally wanting to myself, if insensible to the praise of such
well pleased with potatoes and vinegar; and of these a man; and, should my approaching interview with him and his friend lead to any degree of intimacy
meagre materials contrived to make rather a hearty
dinner. with both or either, I shall regard our past corres
I shall now resume the series of his correspondence pondence as one of the happiest events of my life.
with other friends. “ I have the honour to be, “ Your very sincere and obedient servant,
* In speaking thus, I beg to disclaim all affected modesty.
Lord Byron had already made the same distinction himself It can hardly, I think, be necessary to call the
in the opinions which he expressed of the living poets; ani reader's attention to the good sense, self-possession,
I cannot but be aware that, for the praises which he after
wards bestowed on my writings, I was, in a great degrec, and frankness of these letters of Lord Byron, I had indebted to his partiality to myself.
TO MR MOORE.
not seen since my last letter; but on Tuesday he their
TO MR HARNESS.
dines with me and will meet M **
the epitome of all that is exquisite in poetical or personal accom
plishments. How Bland has settled with Miller, I *8, St James's-street, December 6th, 1811.
know not. I have very little interest with either,
and they must arrange their concerns according to MY DEAR HARNESS,
their own gusto. I have done my endeavours, al " I write again, but don't suppose I mean to lay your request, to bring them together, and hope they such a tax on your pen and patience as to-expect re
may agree to their mutual advantage. gular replies. When you are inclined, write; when silent, I shall have the consolation of knowing that Rogers was present, and from him I derive the infor
* Coleridge has been lecturing against Campbell. you are much better employed. Yesterday, Blandmation. We are going to make a party to hear and I called on Mr. Miller, who, being then out, will this Manichean of poesy.—Pole is to marry Miss call on Bland* to-day or to-morrow. I shall certainly Long, and will be a very miserable dog for all that. endeavour to bring them together.—You are censorious, child; when you are a little older, you will does continue in the same state. So there 's folly
The present ministers are to continue, and his majesty learn to dislike every body, but abuse nobody.
and madness for you, both in a breath. " With regard to the person of whom you speak,
“ I never heard but of one man truly fortunate, your own good sense must direct you. I never pretend and he was Beaumarchais, the author of Figaro, to advise, being an implicit believer in the old pro- who buried two wives and gained three lawsuits verb. This present frost is detestable. It is the before he was thirty. first I have felt these three years, though I longed for
“And now, child, what art thou doing? Reading, one in the oriental summer, when no such thing is
I trust. I want to see you take a degree. Rememto be had, unless I had gone to the top of Hymettus ber this is the most important period of your life ; for it.
and don't disappoint your papa and your aunt, and “ I thank you most truly for the concluding part of all your kin—besides myself. Don't you know that your letter. I have been of late not much accus
all male children are begotten for the express purtomed to kindness from any quarter, and I am not
pose of being graduates ? and that even I am an the less pleased to meet with it again from one,
A. M., though how I became so, the Public Orator where I had known it earliest. I have not changed only can resolve. Besides, you are to be a priest; in all my ramblings-Harrow and, of course, your- and to confite Sir William Drummond's late book self never left me, and the
about the Bible (printed, but not published), and all Dulces reminiscitur Argos
other infidels whatever. Now leave master H.'s attended me to the very spot to which that sentence gig, and master S.'s Sapphics, and become as im
mortal as Cambridge can make you. alludes in the mind of the fallen Argive. Our inti
“You see, mio carissimo, wbat a pestilent cormacy began before we began to date at all, and it respondent I am likely to become ; but then you rests with you to continue it till the hour which shall be as quiet at Newstead as you please, and I must number it and me with the things that were.
won't disturb your studies, as I do now. When do 6 Do read mathematics.-I should think X plus Y
you fix the day, that I may take you up, according at least as amusing as the Curse of Kehama, and
to contract? Hodgson talks of making a third in our much more intelligible. Master S.'s poems are, in journey: but we can't stow him, inside at least, fact, what parallel lines might be-viz., prolonged Positively you shall go with me as was agreed, and ad infinitum without meeting any thing half so ab- don't let me have any of your polilesse to H. on the surd as themselves.
occasion. I shall manage to arrange for both with What news, what news ? Queen Oreaca,
a little contrivance. I wish H. was not quite so fat, What news of scribblers five ?
and we should pack better. Has he left off vinous sw—,c, Ld, and L-e?
liquors? He is an excellent soul; but I don't think All damn'd, though yet alive.
water would improve him, at least internally. You e is lecturing. “Many an old fool,' said Han- will want to know what I am doing-chewing to. nibal to some such lecturer, “but such as this, never. bacco.
“Ever yours, &c." “ You see nothing of my allies, Scrope Davies
and Matthews*—they don't suit you ; and how does
it happen that I—who am a pipkin of the same pot-
I will go on in the morning.
Madame D'Arblay's, for wbich 1000 guineas are * The Rev. Robert Bland, one of the authors of “ Collec
asked! He wants me to read the MS. (if he obtains tions from the Greek Anthology.” Lord Byron was, at this time, endeavouring to secure for Mr Bland the task of translating Lucien Buonaparte's Poem.
* The brother of his late friend Charles Skinner Matthews.
TO MR HARNESS.
TO MR HODGSON.
it), which I shall do with pleasure; but I should be leave off any thing. You drink and repent, you revery cautious in venturing an opinion on her, whose pent and drink. Is Scrope still interesting and inCecilia Dr Johnson superintended. If he lends it to valid ? And how does Hinde with his cursed cheme, I shall put it into the hands of Rogers and M**e, mistry? To Harness I have written, and he has who are truly men of taste. I have filled the sheet, written, and we have all written, and have nothing and beg your pardon ; I will not do it again. I now to do but write again, till death splits up the pen shall, perhaps, write again ; but if not, believe, silent and the scribbler. or scribbling, that I am, my dearest William, ever, “ The Alfred has 354 candidates for six vacancies. &c.”
The cook has run away and left us liable, which
makes our committee very plaintive. Master Brook, LETTER LXXIX.
our head serving-man, has the gout, and our new cook is none of the best. I speak from report,-for
what is cookery to a leguminous-eating ascetic ? So “London, Dec. 8th, 1811, now you know as much of the matter as I do. Books “ I sent you a sad Tale of Three Friars, the and quiet are still there, and they may dress their other day, and now take a dose in another style. I
dishes in their own way for me. Let me know your wrote it a day or two ago, on hearing a song of determination as to Newstead, and believe me, former days.
“ Yours ever,
« Να αιρών.» Away, away, ye notes of woe, * &c. &c. “I have gotten a book by Sir W. Drummond
LETTER LXXX. (printed but not published), entitled Edipus Judaicus, in which he attempts to prove th greater part
TO MR HODGSON. of the Old Testament an allegory, particularly
* 8, St James's-street, Dec. 12th, 1811. Genesis and Joshua. He professes himself a theist
“ Why, Hodgson ! I fear you have left off wine in the preface, and handles the literal interpretation
and me at the same time; I have written and writvery roughly. I wish you could see it. Mr W**
ten and written, and no answer !-My dear Sir Edgar, has lent it me, and, I confess, to me it is worth fifty
water disagrees with you,—drink sack and write. Watsons.
Bland did not come to his appointment, being unwell, “ You and Harness must fix on the time for your but M
e supplied all other vacancies most devisit to Newstead; I can command mine at your lectably. I have hopes of his joining us at Newstead. wish, unless any thing particular occurs in the in
I am sure you would like him more and more as he terim.
Bland dines with me on Tues- developes,—at least I do, day to meet Moore. Coleridge has attacked the • Pleasures of Hope,' and all other pleasures what-thorne talks of being in treaty for a novel of Me
“ How Miller and Bland go on, I don't know, Cawsoever. Mr Rogers was present, and heard himself D’Arblay's, and if he obtains it (at 1000 gs. !!) wishes indirectly rowed by the lecturer. We are going in a
me to see the MS. This I should read with pleasure, party to hear the new Art of Poetry by this reformed
-not that I should ever dare to venture a criticism schismatic; and were I one of these poetical lumi
on her whose writings Dr Johnson once revised, but naries, or of sufficient consequence to be noticed by for the pleasure of the thing. If my worthy publisher the man of lectures, I should not hear him without wanted a sound opinion, I should send the MS. to
answer. For, you know,' an a man will be Rogers and M**e, as men most alive to true taste. beaten with brains, he shall never keep a clean
I have had frequent letters from Wm. Harness, and doublet.' C** will be desperately annoyed. I never saw a man (and of him I have seen very little) However, I have the consolation of knowing that you
you are silent ; certes, you are not a schoolboy. so sensitive ;--what a happy temperament! I am
are better employed, viz. reviewing. You don't de. sorry for it; what can he fear from criticism ? I don't
serve that I should add another syllable, and I won't. know if Bland has seen Miller, who was to call on
Yours, &c. him yesterday.
“ P. S.-I only wait for your answer to fix our “ To-day is the Sabbath,-a day I never pass
meeting pleasantly, but at Cambridge; and, even there, the organ is a sad remembrancer. Things are stagnant
LETTER LXXXI enough in town,-as long as they don't retrograde, 'tis all very well. H writes and writes and
TO MR HARNESS. writes, and is an author. I do nothing but eschew
"S8, St James's-street, December 15, 1811. tobacco. I wish parliament were assembled, that I
“ I wrote you an answer to your last, which, on reinay hear, and perhaps some day be heard ;--but on this point I am not very sanguine. I have many flection, pleases me as little as it probably has pleased plans ; sometimes I think of the East again, and yourself. I will not wait for your rejoinder; but prodearly beloved Greece. I am well, but weakly, with an epistle of • *'s, full of his petty grievances,
ceed to tell you, that I had just then been (greeted Yesterday Kinnaird told me I looked very ill, and
and this at the moment when (from circumstances it sent me home happy. " You will never give up wine ;—see what it is to
is not necessary to enter upon) I was bearing up be thirty; if you were six years younger, you might against recollections to which his imaginary sufferings
are as a scratch to a cancer. These things combined, * This poem is now printed in Lord Byron's Works. put me out of humour with him and all mankind.