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afterwards, a fit of delirium ensued; and he began to talk wildly, as if he were mounting a breach in an assault,-calling out, half in English, half in Italian, " Forwards-forwards—courage--follow my example," &c. &c.
On coming again to himself, he asked Fletcher, who had then returned into the room, 4 whether he had sent for Dr. Thomas, as he desired ?" and the servant answering in the affirmative, he replied, “ You have done right, for I should like to know what is the matter with me. He had, a short time before, with that kind consideration for those about him which was one of the great sources of their lasting attachment to him, said to Fletcher, “I am afraid you and Tita will be ill with sitting up night and day.” It was now evident that he knew he was dying ; and between his anxiety to make his servant understand his last wishes, and the rapid failure of his powers of utterance, a most painful scene ensued. On Fletcher asking whether he should bring pen and paper to take down his words—“Oh no," he replied—“ there is no time—it is now nearly over. Go to my sister—tell her-go to Lady Byron-you will see her,
Here his voice faltered, and became gradually indistinct ; notwithstanding which he continued still to mutter to himself, for nearly twenty minutes, with much earnestness of manner, but in such a tone that only a few words could be distinguished. These, too, were only names, Augusta,”—“Ada,”—“ Hobhouse,".
,"-Kinnaird." He then said, “ Now, I have told
all." My Lord,” replied Fletcher, “I have not understood a word your Lordship has been saying.”_" Not understand me?" exclaimed Lord Byron, with a look of the utmost distress, " what a pity!—then it is too late ; all is over.” _"I hope not,” answered Fletcher, “ but the Lord's will be done !"“Yes, not mine," said Byron. He then tried to atter a few words, of which none were intelligible, except “my
child.” The decision adopted at the consultation had been, contrary to the opinion of Mr. Millingen and Dr. Freiber, to administer to the patient a strong antispasmodic potion, which, while it produced sleep, but hastened perhaps death. In order to persuade him into taking this draught, Mr. Parry was sent for,* and, without any difficulty, induced him to swallow a few mouthfuls. “When he took my hand,” says Parry,
"I found his hands were deadly cold. With the assistance of Tita, I endeavoured gently to create a little warmth in them; and also loosened the bandage which was tied round his head. Till this was done he seemed in great pain, clenched his hands at times, gnashed his teeth, and uttered the Italian exclamation of - Ah Christi !' He bore the loosening of the band passively, and, after it was loosened, shed tears ; then taking my hand again, uttered a faint good night, and sunk into a slumber."
* From this circumstance, as well as from the terms in which he is mentioned by Lord Byron, it is plain that this person bad, by his blunt, practical good sense, acquired far more influence over his Lordship's mind than was possessed by any of the other persons about him.
In about half an hour he again awoke, when a second dose of the strong infusion was administered to him. “From those about him," says Count Gamba, who was not able to bear this scene himself, “I collected that, either at this time, or in his former interval of reason, he could be understood to say— Poor Greece ! -poor town !--my poor servants !’ Also,
Why was I not aware of this sooner?' and “My hour is come!—I do not care for death but why did I not go home before I came here?? At another time he said, "There are things which make the world dear to me [lo lascio qualche cosa di caro nel mondo]: for the rest, I am content to die.' He spoke also of Greece, saying, 'I have given her my time, my means, my bealth—and now I give her my life--what could I do more?'"*
It was about six o'clock on the evening of this day when he said, “ Now I shall go to sleep;" and then turning round fell into that slumber from which he never awoke. For the next twenty-four hours he lay incapable of either sense or motion,—with the exception of, now and then, slight symptoms of suffocation, during which bis servant raised his head,—and at a quarter past six o'clock on the following day, the 19th, he was seen to open his eyes and immediately shut them again. The physicians felt his pulse—he was no more!
To attempt to describe how the intelligence of this sad event struck upon all hearts would be as dificult as it is superfluous. He whom the whole world was to mourn, had on the tears of Greece peculiar claim,for it was at her feet he now laid down the harvest of such a life of fame. To the people of Missolonghi, who first felt the shock that was soon to spread through all Europe, the event seemed almost incredible. It was but the other day that he had come among them, radiant with renown, inspiring faith, by his very name, in those miracles of success that were about to spring forth at the touch of his ever-powerful genius. All this had now vanished like a short dream :-nor can we wonder that the poor Greeks, to whom his coming had been such a glory, and who, on the last evening of his life, thronged the streets, enquiring as to his state,
should regard the thunder-storm which, at the moment he died, broke over the town, as a signal of his doom, and in their superstitious grief, cry to each other, “ The great man is gone !"*
Prince Mavrocordato, who of all best knew and felt the extent of his country's loss, and who had to mourn doubly the friend of Greece and of himself, on the evening of the 19th issued this melancholy proclamation :
* It is but right to remind the reader, that for the sayings here attributed to Lord Byron, however natural and probable they may appear, there is not exactly the same authority of credible witnesses by which all the other details I have given of his last hours are supported.
† Parry's “ Last Days of Lord Byron.”
“ PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF WESTERN GREECE.
“ ART. 1185. “ The present day of festivity and rejoicing has become one of sorrow and of mourning. The Lord Noel Byron departed this life at six o'clock in the afternoon, after an illness of ten days; his death being caused by an inflam, matory fever. Such was the effect of his Lordship’s illness on the public mind, that all classes had forgotten their usual recreations of Easter, even before the afflicting event was apprehended.
“ The loss of this illustrious individual is undoubtedly to be deplored by ali Greece; but it must be more especially a subject of lamentation at Missolonghi, where his generosity has been so conspicuously displayed, and of which he had even become a citizen, with the further determination of participating in all the dangers of the war.
“Every body is acquainted with the beneficent acts of his Lordship, and ne can cease to hail his name as that of a real benefactor.
“Until, therefore, the final determination of the National Government be known, and by virtue of the powers with which it has been pleased to invest me, I hereby decree,
“Ist, To-morrow morning, at daylight, thirty-seven minute guns will be fired from the Grand Battery, being the number which corresponds with the age of the illustrious deceased.
“2d, All the public offices, even the tribunals, are to remain closed for three successive days.
“ 3d, All the shops, except those in which provisions or medicines are sold, will also be shut; and it is strictly enjoined that every species of public amusement, and other demonstrations of festivity at Easter, shall be suspended.
“4th, A general mourning will be observed for twenty-one days. “6th, Prayers and a funeral service are to be offered up in all the churches. (Signed)
“ A. MAVROCORDATO.
“GEORGE PRAIDIS, Secretary. “Given at Missolonghi, this 19th day of April, 1824.”
Similar honours were paid to his memory at many other places through Greece. At Salona, where the Congress had assembled, his soul was prayed for in the Church; after which the whole garrison and the citizens went out into the plain, where another religious ceremony took place, under the shade of the olive trees. This being concluded, the troops fired; and an oration, full of the warmest praise and gratitude, was pronounced by the High Priest.
When such was the veneration shown towards him by strangers, what must have been the feelings of his near associates and attendants ? Let one speak for all : --" He died (says Count Gamba) in a strange land, and amongst strangers ; but more loved, more sincerely wept he never could have been, wherever he had breathed his last. Such was the attachment, mingled with a sort of reverence and enthusiasm, with which he inspired those around him, that there was not one of us who would not, for his sake, have willingly encountered any danger in the world.”
Colonel Stanhope, whom the sad intelligence reached at Salona, thus writes to the Committee :-"A courier has just arrived from the Chief Scalza. Alas ! all our fears are realised. The soul of Byron has taken its last flight. England has lost her brightest genius, Greece her noblest friend. To console them for the loss, he has left behind the emanations of his splendid mind. If Byron had faults, he had redeeming virtues too
- he sacrificed his comfort, fortune, health, and life, to the cause of an oppressed nation. Honoured be his memory!"
Mr. Trelawney, who was on his way to Missolonghi at the time, describes as follows the manner in which he first heard of his friend's death :- :-“With all my anxiety I could not get here before the third day. It was the second, after having crossed the first great torrent, that I met some soldiers from Missolonghi. I had let them all pass me ere I had resolution enough to enquire the news from Missolonghi. I then rode back, and demanded of a straggler the news. I heard nothing more than --Lord Byron is dead,—and I proceeded on in gloomy silence.” The writer adds, after detailing the particulars of the poet's illness and death, “ Your pardon, Stanhope, that I have thus turned aside from the great cause in which I am embarked. But this is no private grief. The world has lost its greatest man;
best friend.” Among his servants the same feeling of sincere grief prevailed :—"I have in my possession (says Mr. Hoppner, in the Notices with which he has favoured me), a letter written by his gondolier Tita, who had accompanied him from Venice, giving an account to his parents of his master's decease. Of this event the poor fellow speaks in the most affecting manner, telling them that in 'Lord Byron he had lost a father rather than a master; and expatiating upon the indulgence with which he had always treated his domestics, and the care he expressed for their comfort and welfare."
His valet Fletcher, too, in a letter to Mr. Murray, announcing the eyent, says,
" Please to excuse all defects, for I scarcely know what I either say or do;
for, after twenty years' service with my Lord, he was more to me than a father, and I am too much distressed to give now a correct account of every particular.”
In speaking of the effect produced on the friends of Greece by this event, Mr. Trelawney says, -"I think Byron's name was the great means of getting the Loan. A Mr. Marshall, with 80001. per annum, was as far as Corfu, and turned back on hearing of Lord Byron's death. Thousands of people were flocking here : some had arrived as far as Corfu, and hearing of his death, confessed they came out to devote their fortunes not to the Greeks, or from interest in the cause, but to the noble poet; and the Pilgrim of Eternity'* having departed, they turned back.”+ * The title given by Shelley to Lord Byron in his Elegy on the death of Keats.
“ The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame
In sorrow.” | Parry, too, mentions an instance to the same effect :-“While I was on the qua
The funeral ceremony, which, on account of the rains, had been postponed for a day, took place in the church of St. Nicholas, at Missolonghi, on the 22d of April, and is thus feelingly described by an eyewitness
- In the midst of his own brigade, of the troops of the Government, and of the whole population, on the shoulders of the officers of his corps, relieved occasionally by other Greeks, the most precious portion of his honoured remains were carried to the church, where lie the bodies of Marco Bozzari and of General Normany. There we laid them down : the coffin was a rude, ill-constructed chest of wood; a black mantle served for a pall; and over it we placed a helmet and a sword, and a crown of laurel. But no funeral pomp could have left the impression, nor spoken the feelings, of this simple ceremony. The wretchedness and desolation of the place itself; the wild and half-civilised warriors around us; their deep-felt, unaffected grief ; the fond recollections ; the disappointed hopes ; the anxieties and sad presentiments which might be read on every countenance ;-all contributed to form a scene more moving, more truly affecting, than perhaps was ever before witnessed round the grave of a great man.
“When the funeral service was over, we left the bier in the middle of the church, where it remained until the evening of the next day, and was guarded by a detachment of his own brigade. The church was crowded without cessation by those who came to honour and to regret the benefactor of Greece. In the evening of the 23d, the bier was privately carried back by his officers to his own house. The coffin was not closed till the 29th of the month. Immediately after his death,
his tenance had an air of calmness, mingled with a severity, that seemed gradually to soften ; for when I took a last look of him, the expression, at least to my eyes, was truly sublime.”
We have seen how decidedly, while in Italy, Lord Byron expressed his repugnance to the idea of his remains resting upon English ground ; and the injunctions he so frequently gave to Mr. Hoppner on this point show his wishes to have been,--at least during that period,-sincere.With one so changing, however, in his impulses, it was not too much to take for granted that the far more cordial feeling entertained by him towards his countrymen Cephalonia would have been followed by a correspondent change in this antipathy to England as a last resting-place. It is, at all events, fortunate that by no such spleen of the moment has his native country been deprived of her natural right to enshrine within her own bosom one of the noblest of her dead, and to atone for any
may have inflicted upon him, while living, by making his tomb. a place of pilgrimage for her sons through all ages.
rantine-house at Zante, a gentleman called on me, and made numerous enquiries as to Lord Byron. He said he was only one of fourteen English gentlemen, then at Ancona, who had sent him on to obtain intelligence, and only waited his return to come and join Lord Byron. They were to form a mounted guard for him, and meant to devote their personal services and their incomes to the Greek cause. On hearing of Lord Byron's death, however, they turned back.”