Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

was, the

The latter part of my life has been a perpetual strug- thing from his neighbour. But I do not think we are gle against affections which imbittered the earliest born of this disposition ; for you find friendship, as a portion; and though I flatter myself I have in a schoolboy, and love enough before twenty. great nieasure conquered them, yet there are mo- “I went to see **; he keeps me in town, where I ments and this was one) when I am as foolish as don't wish to be at present. He is a good man, but forinerly. I never said so much before, nor had I totally without conduct. And now, my dearest Wilsaid this

now, if I did not suspect myself of having liam, I must wish you good morrow, and remain ever been rather savage in my letter, and wish to inform most sincerely and affectionately yours, &c." you thus much of the cause. You know I am not one of your dolorous gentlemen : so now let us laugh elapsed a day that Lord Byron and I did not see each

From the time of our first meeting, there seldom again.

“ Yesterday I went with Moore to Sydenham to other; and our acquaintance ripened into intimacy visit Campbell." He was not visible, so we jogged and friendship with a rapidity of which I have seldom homeward, merrily enough. To-morrow I dine with known an example. I was, indeed, lucky in all the Rogers, and am to hear Coleridge, who is a kind of circumstances that attended my first introduction to rage at present. Last night I saw Kemble in Corio-him. In a generous nature like his, the pleasure of lanus ;-he was glorious, and exerted himself wonder- repairing an injustice would naturally give a zest to fully. By good luck, I got an excellent place, in the any partiality I might have inspired in his mind; best part of the house, which was more than over

while the manner in which I had sought this reparaflowing. Clare and Delawarre, who were there on tion, free as it was from resentment or defiance, the same speculation, were less fortunate. I saw them left nothing painful to remember in the transaction by accident,

--we were not together. I wished for between us,-no compromise or concession that could i you, to gratify your love of Shakspeare and of fine wound self love, or take away from the grace of that acting to its fullest extent. Last week I saw an ex

frank friendship, to which he at once, so cordially hibition of a different kind in a Mr Coates, at the and so unhesitatingly, admitted me. I was also not Haymarket, who performed Lothario in a damned a little fortunate in forming my acquaintance with and damnable manner.

him, before his success had yet reached its meridian “ I told you of the fate of B. and H. in my last. burst, before the triumphs that were yet in store for So much for these sentimentalists, who console them-him had brought the world all in homage at his feet, selves in their stews for the loss the never to be re

and, among the splendid crowds that courted his socovered loss—the despair of the refined attachment ciety, even claims less humble than mine had but a of a couple of drabs! You censure my life, Harness, feeble chance of fixing his regard. As —when I compare myself with these men, my elders

new scene of life that opened upon him with his sucand my betters, I really begin to conceive myself a

cess, instead of detaching us from each other, only mulmonument of prudence—a walking statue-without tiplied our opportunities of meeting, and increased our feeling or failing; and yet the world in general hath intimacy. In that society where his birth entitled him given me a proud pre-eminence over them in

to move, circumstances had already placed me, not

proAigacy. Yet I like the men, and, God knows, ought withstanding mine; and when, after the appearance not to condemn their aberrations. But I own' I feel of“ Childe Harold,” he began to mingle with the provoked when they dignify all this by the name of world, the same persons, who had long been my intilore-romantic attachments for things marketable for mates and friends, became his; our visits were mostly a dollar!

to the same places, and, in the gay and giddy round “Dec. 16th.— I have just received your letter ;-1 of a London spring, we were generally (as in one of feel your kindness very deeply. The foregoing part his own letters he expresses it) “ embarked in the of my letter, written yesterday, will, I hope, account

same Ship of Fools together." for the tone of the former, though it cannot excuse it.

But, at the time when we first met, his position in I do like to hear from you—more than like. Next to

the world was most solitary. Even those coffee-house seeing you, I have no greater satisfaction. But you companions whọ, before his departure from England, have other duties and greater pleasures, and I should had served him as a sort of substitute for more worthy regret to take a moment from either. H

society, were either relinquished or had dispersed; call to-day, but I have not seen him. The circum- and, with the exception of three or four associates of stances you mention at the close of your letter is his college days (to whom he appeared strongly atanother proof in favour of my opinion of mankind. tached), Mr Dallas and his solicitor seemed to be the Such you will always find themselfish and distrust- only persons whom, even in their very questionable ful. I except none.

The cause of this is the state degree, he could boast of as friends. Though too of society. In the world, every one is to stir for him proud to complain of this loneliness, it was evident that self-it is useless, perhaps selfish, to expect any

he felt it; and that the state of cheerless isolation,

“ unguided and unfriended,” to which, on entering * On this occasion, another of the noble poet's peculi- into manhood, he had found himself abandoned, was arities was, somewhat startlingly, introduced to my notice. one of the chief sources of that resentful disdain of When we were on the point of setting out from his lodgings mankind, which even their subsequent worship of in St James's-street, it being then about mid-day, he said to the servant, who was shutting

the door of the vis-à-vis, him came too late to remove. The effect, indeed, "Have you put in the pistols ?” and was answered in the which his short commerce with society afterwards affirnative. It was difficult,-more especially taking into

had, for the period it lasted, in softening and exhilaaccount the circumstances under which we had just become acquainted, -to keep from smiling at this singular noon

rating his temper, showed how fit a soil his heart day precaution.

wouid have been for the growth of all the kindlier

[ocr errors]

was to

u Yours ever,

feelings, had but a portion of this sunshine of the lables, and adhere to the appellations sanctioned by world's smiles shone on him earlier.

our godfathers and godmothers. If you make it a At the same time, in all such speculations and con- point, I will withdraw your name; at the same time jectures as to what might have been, under more there is no occasion, as I have this day postponed favourable circumstances, his character, it is inva- your election sine die,' till it shall suit your wishes riably to be borne in mind, that his very defects were to be amongst us. I do not say this from any among the elements of his greatness, and that it was awkwardness the erasure of your proposal would out of the struggle between the good and evil princi- occasion to me, but simply such is the state of the ples of his nature that his mighty genius drew its case; and, indeed, the longer your name is up, the strength. A more genial and fostering introduction stronger will become the probability of success, and into life, while it would doubtless have softened and your voters more numerous. Of course you will disciplined his mind, might have impaired ils vigour; decide-your wish shall be my law. If my zeal has and the same influences that would have diffused already outrun discretion, pardon me, and attribute smoothness and happiness over his life might have my officiousness to an excusable motive. been fatal to its glory. In a short poem of his," which “I wish you would go down with me to Newstead. appears to have been produced at Athens (as I find Hodgson will be there, and a young friend, named it written on a leaf of the original MS. of Childe Harness, the earliest and dearest I ever had from Harold, and dated : Athens, 181l"), there are two the third form at Harrow to this hour. I can prolines which, though hardly intelligible as connected mise you good wine, and, if you like shooting, a with the rest of the poem., may, taken separately, be manor of 4000 acres, fires, books, your own free interpreted as implying a sort of prophetic conscious-will, and my own very indifferent company. • Balnea, ness that it was out of the wreck and ruin of all his vina ***** hopes the immortality of his name was to arise. “ Hodgson will plague you, I fear, with verse;

for my own part, I will conclude, with Martial, 'nil Dear object of defeated care,

recitabo tibi;' and surely the last inducement is not Though now of love and thee bereft, To reconcile me with despair,

the least. Ponder on my proposition, and believe Thine image and my tears are left.

me, my dear Moore,
'T is said with sorrow Time can cope,
But this, I feel, can ne'er be true;

“ BYRON.»
For, by the death-blow of my hope,
My Memory immortal grew !

Among those acts of generosity and friendship by We frequently, during the first months of our ac- which every year of Lord Byron's life was signalized, quaintance, dined together alone; and as we had no there is none, perhaps, that, for its own peculiar club, in common, to resort 10,—the Alfred being the seasonableness and delicacy, as well as for the peronly one to which he, at that period, belonged, and I fect worthiness of the person who was the object of being then a member of none but Watier's,-our it, deserves more honourable mention than that which dinners used to be either at the St Alban's, or at his I am now about to record, and which took place old haunt, Stevens's. Though at times he would nearly at the period of which I am speaking. The drink freely enough of claret, he still adhered to his friend, whose good fortune it was to inspire the feelsystem of abstinence in food. He appeared, indeed, ing thus testified, was Mr Hodgson, the gentleman to have conceived a notion that animal food has some to whom so many of the preceding letters are adpeculiar influence on the character; and I remember, dressed ; and as it would be unjust to rob him of the one day, as I sat opposite to him, employed, I sup-grace and honour of being, himself, the testimony of pose, rather earnestly over a beef-steak, after watch- obligations so signal, I shall here lay before my ing me for a few seconds, he said, in a grave tone of readers an extract from the letter with which, in inquiry—“Moore, don't you find eating beef-steak reference to a passage in one of his noble friend's makes you ferocious ?”

Journals, he has favoured me. Understanding me to have expressed a wish to be- “I feel it incumbent upon me to explain the circome a member of the Alfred, he very good-naturedly cumstances to which this passage alludes, however lost no time in proposing me as a candidate; but as private their nature. They are, indeed, caleulated the resolution which I had then nearly formed of be- to do honour to the memory of my lamented friend. taking myself to a country life, rendered an additional Having become involved, unfortunately, in difficulclub in London superfluous, I wrote to beg that he ties and embarrassments, I received from Lord Byron would, for the present, at least, withdraw my name; (besides former pecuniary obligations) assistance, at and his answer, though containing little, being the the time in question, to the amount of a thousand first familiar note he ever honoured me with, I may pounds. Aid of such magnitude was equally unsobe excused for feeling a peculiar pleasure in insert- licited and unexpected on my part; but it was the ing it.

| long-cherished, though secret, purpose of my friend LETTER LXXXII.

to afford that aid; and he only waited for the period when he thought it would be of most service. His

own words were, on the occasion of conferring this December 11, 1811. overwhelming favour, ' I always intended to do it.'

During all this time, and through the months of MY DEAR MOORE,

January and February, his Poem of “Childe Ha« If you please, we will drop our formal monosyl rold” was in its progress through the press; and to * Written beneath the picture of --

the changes and additions which he made in the

TO MR MOORE.

[ocr errors]

course of printing, some of the most beautiful pas- into tragedy, however sanctioned among us by habit sages of the work owe their existence. On com- and authority, rarely fails to offend. The noble poet paring, indeed, his rough draft of the two Cantos was himself convinced of the failure of the experiwith the finished form in which they exist at present, ment, and in none of the succeeding Cantos of Childe we are made sensible of the power which the man Harold repeated it. of genius possesses, not only of surpassing others, but Of the satiric parts, some verses on the well-known of improving on himself. Originally, the “ little traveller, Sir John Carr, may supply us with, at least, Page” and “ Yeoman” of the Childe were intro- a harmless specimen :duced to the reader's notice in the following tame stanzas, by expanding the substance of which into Ye who would more of Spain and Spaniards know, their present light, lyric shape, it is almost needless

Sights, saints, antiques, arts, anecdotes, and war,

Go, hie ye hence to Paternoster-row,to remark how much the poet has gained in variety Are they not written in the boke of Carr? and dramatic effect :

Green Erin's Knight, and Europe's wandering star!

Then listen, readers, to the Man of Ink, And of his train there was a henchman page,

Hear what he did, and sought, and wrote afar, A peasant boy, who served his master well :

All these are coop'd within one Quarto's brink, And often would his pranksome prate engage

This borrow, steal (don't buy), and tell us what you think. Childe Buron's * ear, when his proud heart did swell With sullen thoughts that he disdain'd to tell.

Among those passages which, in the course of reThen would he smile on him, and Alwin † smiled, When aught that from his young lips archly fell

visal, he introduced, like pieces of “rich inlay,” into The gloomy film from Harold's eye beguiled.

the Poem, was that fine stanza

Yet if, as holiest men have deem'd, there be Him and one yeoman only did he take

A land of souls beyond that sable shore, &c. To travel eastward to a far countrie; And, though the boy was grieved to leave the lake through which lines though, it must be confessed, a On whose fair banks he grew from infancy, Eftsoons his little heart beat merrily,

tone of scepticism breathes (as well as in those tender With hope of foreign nations to behold,

Verses,
And many things right marvellous to see,

Yes,-I will dream that we may meet'again),
Of which our vaunting travellers oft have told,
From Mandeville

it is a scepticism whose sadness calls far more for In place of that mournful song “ to Inez,” in the pity than blame; there being discoverable, even First Canto, which contains some of the dreariest through its very doubts, an innate warmth of piety, touches of sadness that even his pen ever let fall, he

which they had been able to obscure, but not to chill. had, in the original construction of the Poem, been

To use the words of the poet himself, in a note which so little fastidious as to content himself with such it was once his intention to affix to these stanzas, ordinary sing-song as the following :

“Let it be remembered that the spirit they breathe is

desponding, not sneering, scepticism,”- a distinction Oh never tell again to me

never to be lost sight of; as, however hopeless may Of Northern climes and British ladies

be the conversion of the scoffing infidel, he who feels It has not been your lot to see, Like me, the lovely girl of Cadiz.

pain in doubting has still alive within him the seeds Although her eye be not of blue,

of belief. Nor fair her locks, like English lasses, &c. &c. At the same time with Childe Harold, he had three There were also, originally, several stanzas full of other works in the press,—his “Hints from Horace,"

The Curse of Minerva," and a fifth eu on of direct personality, and some that degenerated into a

English Bards and Scotch Reviewers." The i te style still more familiar and ludicrous than that of the description of a London Sunday, which still disfigures upon the latter Poem, which had been the lucky the Poem. In thus mixing up the light with the origin of our acquaintance, was withdrawn in this solemn, it was the intention of the poet to imitate had the kindness to submit to my perusal, substituted

edition, and a few words of explanation, which he Ariosto. But it is far easier to rise, with grace, from

in its place. the level of a strain generally familiar, into an occa

In the month of January, the whole of the Two sional short burst of pathos or splendour, than to in

Cantos being printed off, some of the poet's friends, terrupt thus a prolonged tone of solemnity by any descent into the ludicrous or burlesque.** In the and, among others, Mr Rogers and myself, were so former case, the transition may have the effect of far favoured as to be indulged with a perusal of the softening or elevating, while, in the latter, it almost sheets. In adverting to this period in his “ Memoinvariably shocks ;-for the same reason, perhaps, randa,” Lord Byron, I remember, mentioned,

-as that a trait of pathos or high feeling, in comedy, has of the Poem, that some of the literary friends to

one of the ill omens which preceded the publication a peculiar charm, while the intrusion of comic scenes

whom it was shown expressed doubts of its success, * If there could be any doubt as to his intention of deli- and that one among them had told him “it was too neating himself in his hero, this adoption of the old Nor- good for the age.” Whoever may have pronounced man name of his family, which he seems to have at first

this opinion,-and I have some suspicion that I am, contemplated, would be sufficient to remove it.

t In the MS. the names «Robin” and “Rupert” had myself, the guilty person,—the age has, it must be been successively inserted here and scratched out again. owned, most triumphantly refuted the calumny upon Here the manuscript is illegible.

its taste which the remark implied. ** Among the acknowledged blemishes of Milton's great

It was in the hands of Mr Rogers I first saw the Poem is his abrupt transition, in this manner, into an imitation of Ariosto's style, in the “ Paradise of Fools."

sheets of the Poem, and glanced hastily over a few

15

TO MR MOORE.

but now,

of the stanzas which he pointed out to me as beauti-lity, and not insulted by any person over whom I have ful. Having occasion, the same morning, to write a the smallest control, or, indeed, by any one whatever, note to Lord Byron, I expressed strongly the admi- while I have the power to protect her. I am truly ration which this foretaste of his work had excited in sorry to have any subject of complaint against you; me; and the following is,- , -as far as relates to literary | I have too good an opinion of you to think I shall matters,—the answer I received from him.

have occasion to repeat it, after the care I have taken

of you, and my favourable intentions in your behalf. LETTER LXXXIII.

I see no occasion for any communication whatever between you and the women, and wish you to'occupy

yourself in preparing for the situation in which you

" January 29th, 1812, will be placed. If a common sense of decency cannot MY DEAR MOORE,

prevent you from conducting yourself towards them “I wish very much I could have seen you; I am with rudeness, I should at least hope that your in a state of ludicrous tribulation.

own interest, and regard for a master who has never treated you with unkindness, will have some weight. “ Yours, &c.

“ BYRON. “Why do you say that I dislike your poesy? I have expressed no such opinion, either in print or else- “P.S. -I wish you to attend to your arithmetic, where. In scribbling myself it was necessary for me to occupy yourself in surveying, measuring, and to find fault, and I fixed upon the trite charge of making yourself acquainted with every particular immorality, because I could discover no other, and relative to the land of Newstead, and you will write was so perfectly qualified, in the innocence of my to me one letter every week, that I may know how heart, to pluck that mote from my neighbour's eye.' | you go on." “ I feel very, very much obliged by your appro

LETTER LXXXV. bation; but, at this moment, praise, even your praise, passes by me like the idle wind.' I meant and

TO ROBERT RUSHTON. mean to send you a copy the moment of publication; I can think of nothing but damned, de

"8, St James's-street, January 25th, 1812. ceitful,—delightful woman, as Mr Liston says in the “ Your refusal to carry the letter was not a subject Knight of Snowdon.

of remonstrance; it was not a part of your business; “ Believe me, my dear Moore,

but the language you used to the girl was (as she “Ever yours, most affectionately, stated it) highly improper.

“ BYRON.” “ You say that you also have something to com

plain of; then state it to me immediately; it would The passages here omitted contain rather too be very unfair, and very contrary to my disposition, amusing an account of a disturbance that had just not to hear both sides of the question. occurred in the establishment at Newstead, in con- “ If any thing has passed between you before or sequence of the detected misconduct of one of the since my last visit to Newstead, do not be afraid to maid-servants, who had been supposed to stand mention it. I am sure you would not deceive ine, rather too high in the favour of her master, and, by though she would. Whatever it is, you shall be forthe airs of authority which she thereupon assumed, given. I have not been without some suspicions on had disposed all the rest of the household to regard the subject, and am certain that, at your time of life, her with no very charitable eyes. The chief actors the blame could not attach to you. You will not in the strife were this Sultana and young Rushton; consult any one as to your answer, but write to me and the first point in dispute that came to Lord immediately. I shall be more ready to hear what you Byron's knowledge (though circumstances, far from have to advance, as I do not remember ever to have creditable to the damsel, afterwards transpired) was, heard a word from you before ayainst any human whether Rushton was bound to carry letters to the being, which convinces me you would not maliciously Hut” at the bidding of this female. To an episode assert an untruth. There is not any one who can do of such a nature I should not have thought of allud- the least injury to you while you conduct yourself ing, were it not for the two rather curious letters properly. I shall expect your answer immediately. that follow, which show how gravely and coolly the

“ Yours, &c.

“ BYRON." young lord could arbitrate on such an occasion, and with what considerate leaning towards the servant It was after writing these letters that he came to whose fidelity he had proved, in preference to any the knowledge of some improper levities on the part new liking or fancy, by which it might be suspected of the girl, in consequence of which he dismissed her he was actuated towards the other.

and another female servant from Newstead; and

how strongly he allowed this discovery to affect his LETTER LXXXIV.

mind, will be seen in a subsequent letter to Mr

Hodgson.
TO ROBERT RUSHTON.

LETTER LXXXVI.
"8, St James's-street, Jan. 21st, 1812.
“ Though I have no objection to your refusal to

TO MR HODGSON. carry letters to Mealey's, you will take care that the

“8, St James's-street, February 16th, 1812. letters are taken by Spero at the proper time. I have

DEAR HODGSON, also to observe, that Susan is to be treated with civi- “ I send you a proof. Last week I was very ill and

confined to bed with stone in the kidney, but I am become an Etonian, and I should esteem any act of now quite recovered. If the stone had got into my protection or kindness to him as an obligation to myheart instead of my kidneys, it would have been all self; let me beg of you then to take some little notice the better. The women are gone to their relatives, of him at first, till he is able to shift for himself. after many attempts to explain what was already too “ I was happy to hear a very favourable account clear. However, I have quite recovered thal also, of you from a schoolfellow a few weeks ago, and and only wonder at my folly in excepting my own should be glad to learn that your family are as well strumpets from the general corruption,-albeit a two as I wish them to be. I presume you are in the months' weakness is better than ten years. I have upper school ;—as an Etonian, you will look down one request to make, which is, never mention a wo upon a Harrow man; but I never, even in my boyish man again in any letter to me, or even allude to the days, disputed your superiority, which I once exexistence of the sex. I won't even read a word of perienced in a cricket match, where I had the hothe feminine gender; it must all be propria quæ nour of making one of eleven, who were beaten to maribus.'

their hearts' content by your college in one innings. In the spring of 1813 I shall leave England for “ Believe me to be, with great truth, &c. &c." ever. Every thing in my affairs tends to this, and my inclinations and health do not discourage it.

On the 27th of February, a day or two before the Neither my habits nor constitution are improved by appearance of Childe Harold, he made the first your customs or your climate. I shall find employ

trial of his eloquence in the House of Lords; and it ment in making myself a good oriental scholar. I was on this occasion he had the good fortune to beshall retain a mansion in one of the fairest islands,

come acquainted with Lord Holland,-an acquaintand retrace, at intervals, the most interesting por

ance no less honourable than gratifying to both, as tions of the East. In the mean time, I am ad

having originated in feelings the most generous, perjusting my concerns, which will (when arranged)

haps, of our nature, a ready forgiveness of injuries, leave me with wealth sufficient even for home, but

on the one side, and a frank and unqualified atoneenough for a principality in Turkey.

At present

ment for them, on the other. The subject of dethey are involved, but I hope, by taking some neces

bate was the Nottingham Frame-breaking Bill, and sary but unpleasant steps, to clear everything.

Lord Byron having mentioned to Mr Rogers his Hobhouse is expected daily in London ; we shall be intention to take a part in the discussion, a commuvery glad to see him; and, perhaps, you will come

nication was, by the intervention of that gentleman, up and drink deep ere he depart,' if not, . Mahomet

opened between the noble poet and Lord Holland, must go to the mountain ;'--but Cambridge will

who, with his usual courtesy, professed himself bring sad recollections to him, and worse to me, ready to afford all the information and advice in his though for very different reasons. I believe the only power. The following letters, however, will best human being that ever loved me in truth and en- explain their first advances towards acquaintance. tirely was of, or belonging to, Cambridge, and in that no change can now take place. There is one

LETTER LXXXVIII. consolation in death-where he sets his seal, the

TO MR ROGERS. impression can neither be melted or broken, but en“ Yours always, B.”

* February 4th, 1812.

MY DEAR SIR, Among those lesser memorials of his good-nature “With my best acknowledgments to Lord Holland, and mindfulness, which, while they are precious to I have to offer my perfect concurrence in the prothose who possess them, are not unworthy of admi- priety of the question previously to be put to minisration from others, may be reckoned such letters as ters. If their answer is in the negative, I shall, with the following, to a youth at Eton, recommending his lordship’s approbation, give notice of a motion for another, who was about to be entered at that school, a Committee of Inquiry. I would also gladly avail

myself of his most able advice, and any information or

documents with which he might be pleased to intrust LETTER LXXXVII.

me, to bear me out in the statement of facts it may be TO MASTER JOHN COWELL.

necessary to submit to the House.

“From all that fell under my own observation “8, St James's-street, Feb. 12th, 1812.

during my Christmas visit to Newstead, I feel conMY DEAR JOHN,

vinced that, if conciliatory measures are not very “You have probably long ago forgotten the writer soon adopted, the most unhappy consequences may of these lines, who would, perhaps, be unable to re- he apprehended. Nightly outrage and daily deprecognise yourself, from the difference which must dation are already at their height; and not only the naturally have taken place in your stature and ap- masters of frames, who are obnoxious on account of pearance since he saw you last. I have been their occupation, but persons in no degree connected rambling through Portugal, Spain, Greece, &c. &c., with the malcontents or their oppressors, are liable for some years, and have found so many changes on to insult and pillage. my return, that it would be very unfair not to ex- “I am very much obliged to you for the trouble pect that you should have had your share of altera- you have taken on my account, and beg you to believe tion and improvement with the rest. I write to re- me ever your obliged and sincere, &c." quest a favour of you: a little boy of eleven years, the son of Mr **

, my particular friend, is about to

dureth for ever.

to his care.

« AnteriorContinuar »