« AnteriorContinuar »
public against erroneous principles of displayed to our readers, by stating reasoning and taste, when they are the articles which we first mean to exbrought forward under the authority of amine : they are two of great practical any of the three principal Quarterly interest and importance, and which Reviews ;-an authority which is so must necessarily carry us back to first general and strong, that it becomes ne principles, and require a close and cessary carefully and scrupulously to strict attention to accurate reasoning, watch and examine all that it endea- thus comprehending those claims to vours to teach and enforce. And in our notice which we have already more those cases in which they advocate fully stated. The articles are those in what appears to us just principles in a the Third Number of the Westminweak and insufficient manner, we shall ster Review, on Prosecution for Irreendeavour to add strength and com- ligious Publications, and on Charitable pleteness.
Institutions. Perhaps our definite and peculiar object will be most clearly and shortly
THE LEFT-HANDED PIDDLER.
By the Ellrick Shepherd.
And read the text backward,
As a left-handed fiddler !
All would not be so bad,
But not so with the fiddler.
Forthcoming, without doubt, in bold success;
This is the nerve-teazing,
Vice of the heteroclite.
Of this and of the fiddler!
I've settled with the fiddler.
LOLD BYROX's COXVERSATIONS.* Moont has much to answer for- or rather explanation, which be was too lle stands guilty of having violated a proud to offer while he lived, he bemarrel trust confided to him by one of queathed to a friend. How that friend, the master-pirits of the age, and that, and other friends, have done their part, 10, under circunstances which, if he the world is enabled to judge by the had any feeling of gratitude, should to violations of the confidence of hospihimn have rendered the trust doubly tality with which the press is teeming sacred. It is no excuse to say, that he to supply the void which they have so retponstrated against the destruction unpardonably created. of Byron's Memoirs, or that he wit While on this subject, there is one neuuce the act with regret. It is mere question to which the world, after drivelling to attempt to exculpate him what has happened, is now entitled to self by alleging that his opinion was some answer-Was it not a conditionoverruled. The question is simply and previous to executing the deed of this--Who did give up the manuscript separation from Lady Byron—that her to its destroyers? It had been en- ladyship's father should sign a declatrusted to hím-bestowed upon him ration, expressive, in the most explicit and his family as a boon--and he had and unqualified terms of his convicpledged it in security for a loan of mo. tion that the alleged causes for the sency. As property which he had so paration that is, these calumnies pledged, bad he no power to save it against Lord Byron then in the mouths from the flames ? Was not Murray, of the multitude-were utter falsewith whom he pledged the work,indem- hoods? Is that declaration still in the nified ? We will not say, as we have possession of the particular friend to heard it said, that surely Moore recei- whose care it was confided ?-One of ved some pecuniary inducement for those who assisted, as we have heard, consenting to the destruction. That at the burning of the Memoirs-or has imputation implies a meanness of which it too been consigned to the flames? we believe him utterly incapable ; but That Byron's Memoirs contained he ought to have treated as a personal many objectionable passages, is very insult any overture towards a negotia- probable; but they could not have been tion which will be long memorable by such as we have heard insinuated, for its result. If the work was thought it is well known that a lady of irreunfit for immediate publication, why proachable purity not only read, but not seal it up, and leave it to posterity? copied them. No one, therefore, can Lord Byron's account of himself would doubt that the destruction has served have excited curiosity and interest- the cause of hypocrisy much more than yea sympathy--when all those, in de- that of virtue. In a word, was it moral ference to whom it was sacrificed, will delicacy-was it any respect for the only be remembered to be blamed.- opinion of the world, that so worked Who can have forgotten the odious upon the timid faculties and weak alanders circulated at the period when minds of his lordship's confidants, as he was so ungenerously deserted by to cause them to destroy a narrative of his wife, amidst the ruins of their com- facts and circumstances, which might mon fortunes :
have changed the current of public * Poor fellow! he had many things to
sympathy from the course in which it
has hitherto run ? wound him ; was a frying moment, that which found But our present business is with
Medwin's book. In many of the anecStanding alone, beside his desolate hearth, . dotes it is substantially true, and Where all his household gods lay shiver'd therein consists all its interest; but round him."
the friends of Lord Byron will never Those slanders, so often repeated, cease to regret that so bald and meaand every new edition with improve- gre a representation of his conversaments in malignity, he never conde- tional talents should have seen the scended to answer, but that defence, light. It was Michel Angelo, we be
• Conversations of Lord Byron : noted during a residence with his Lordship at Pisa, in the years 1891 and 18N. By Thomas Melwin, Esq. of the 24th Light Dragoons, Author of "* Ahasuerus the Wanderer." Second Edition. London: Printed for Henry Wburn, New Burlington stret. 1894
lieve, who first remarked, that no art, innate delicacy of his feelings, it was ist could impress his works with a not with Mrs Byron that he was likestronger moral expression than accord ly to be nurtured into that habitual ed with the energies of his own cha- reverence for the excellences of the racter; and the observation, as applied sex, which is the basis of all domestic to this poor and ineffectual delineation virtue. We may, however, in this reof one of the most varied, powerful, spect be misinformed; but we would and singular minds which has appear- ask, if Lord Byron did not cause the ed for many ages, is completely veri- opinion of the late Sir Vickery Gibbs to fied. But, independently of the gene be taken as to the propriety of proseral non-resemblance of Medwin's flesh- cuting one of the infamous publica. less skeleton to the bloom and gaiety tions of the day for a libel on his moof the living original, a most extraor- ther? dinary degree of ignorance and inac- And is so great a misfortune as pacuracy pervades the whole work. For rental misconduct to be denied all syınexample, he represents Lord Byron as pathy in the case of Lord Byron? giving the following account of his Think what such a man might have parentage and childhood :
been, had only the better qualities of “ I lost my father when I was only six
his heart been cherished, and his pasyears of age. My mother, when she was sion for fame fostered by the discipline in a rage with me, (and I gave her cause of virtue! enough,) used to say, “Ah, you little dog, Though the old Lord Byron was you are a Byron all over ; you are as bad acquitted of murder, no one can read as your father!' It was very different from the circumstances of his duel without Mrs Malaprop's saying. "Ah! good dear being morally persuaded of his guilt. Mr Malaprop, I never loved him till he It is, however, not generally known, was dead.' But, in fact, my father was, in how much the misanthropy to which his youth, anything but a. Cælebs in search
he abandoned himself after his trial of a wife.' He would have made a bad
affected the fortunes of his heir. Everyhero for Hannah More. He ran out three fortunes, and married or ran away with
thing at Newstead Abbey was allowed three women, and once wanted a guinca,
to run to waste; all the timber worth that he wrote for : I have the note. He anything was felled ; and a Chanceryseemed born for his own ruin, and that of suit was entailed on the inheritance. the other sex. He began by seducing Moreover, it was doubted if Byron Lady Carmarthen, and spent for her L.4000 was the legitimate heir-at least his a-year ; and not content with one adven relation and guardian, Lord Carlisle, ture of this kind, afterwards eloped with withheld from him the ordinary courMiss Gordon. His marriage was not des
tesy, after he became of age, of introtined to be a very fortunate one either, and
ducing him to the House of Peers; I don't wonder at her differing from Sheri. dan's widow in the play. They certainly
and he was compelled, under circumcould not have claimed the fitch."
stances extremely mortifying, to prove
liis legitimacy, an onus to which few It does not appear from this that noblemen are, we believe, on such ocMiedwin was sure the Miss Gordon al casions subjected. luded to was the mother of Lord By- ,That Lord Byron felt this deeply, ron. But, whatever were the follies of and resented it strongly, everybody his lordship's father, it is well known, knows; but his reply to the Chancelnotwithstanding the love which the lor, when the doubts of that learned ill-fated poet cherished for his mo- personage were removed, is not genether, that there was little in her man- rally known. Lord Eldon is said to ners, conduct, or conversation, calcula- have expressed his regret that the ted to repress the ancestral impulses place he held in the House had obliof his blood. It would be to imitate ged him to do what he had done, and here the gossiping which we condemn, added some kind and conciliating obto say anything more particular; we servations. “ Your lordship,” replied would ask, however, some abatement Byron, “ may say, like Tom Thumb, in the wrath of the rigidly righteous, (who never sin themselves,) against
• I've done my duty, and no more." the profligacy, as it is called, of Byron, This, though jocularly said, was on the score of the baleful influences the expression of an embittered spirit; to which, in the most impressible pe- and if atterwards, (always bearing riod of life, he was so unhappily expo- in mind the undisciplined character sed. Whatever might have been the of his education) he shewed but little Vol. XVI.
reverence for the gravest forms in the the house. By the way, this style of institutions of his country,—is there keeping a mistress, must, we rather to be no allowance of indulgence to think, be the most exemplary; for it the natural effect of public mortifica- has been said that an arithmetical tion on such a temperament as that of member of the House of Commons, Lord Byron? We are not his apolo- during his voyage in the Levant, cargists, we desire only to procure for ried his with him in male attire. him that consideration of the effect of We suspect that Byron had some circumstances over which he had no presentiment of the object of Medcontrol, which is due to actual misfor- win's solicitude for his company, and tune, and to remind our readers, that in some anticipation, too, of the alarm and so far as the circumstances of his boy. laughter which his gossiping would hood have been overlooked, in so much produce when published, particularly has he perhaps been harshly judged. when he told him of the three mar
Captain Medwin's account of his ried women, who, on a wedding visit lordship's marriage and separation, is, to Lady Byron, met in the same room, among other things, as we have ale and whom he had “ known to be all ready intimated, in substance true; birds of the same nest.” To discover -but some of the incidents are much the names of these worthy matrons, better told by the poet in Don Juan, we doubt not is the object of all the which, however, we have, of course, too games of twenty questions now playmuch regard for the morality of our ing in the fashionable world; we are readers to quote; but we refer those not, however, disposed to disbelieve the who dare venture on the experiment, fact; at the same time, it is proper to to the first canto.
observe, that one of the worst effects In speaking of the consequences of of Lord Byron's passion for fame, was the extravagance of Lord and Lady an affectation of his being more proByron, the inaccuracy of Captain Med- fligate than he really was; and we win proves how very slenderly indeed state this emphatically, while, in jus. he must have been in his lordship's tice to the ladies of England, we enter confidence ; for he represents him as our protest against the general casaying,
lumny of the following passage, in “ In addition to all these mortifica which his lordship is made to say, tions, my affairs were irretrievably in “I have seen a great deal of Itavolved, and almost so as to make me lian society, and swain in a gondola; what they wished [mad7-I was com- but nothing could equal the profligapelled to part with Newstead.”
cy of high life in England, especially But Newstead had been parted with that of (London) when I knew it." long before their marriage. If we As far, perhaps, as Lord Byron spoke recollect rightly, it was first sold from his own experience, and from in 1813, (perhaps in 1812,) for the report of his associates, we are not J..130,000. The purchaser after inclined to dispute the accusation ; wards paid a forfeit, and gave up the but is it not perfectly well-known, bargain. The estate was again sold, that, in England, society in high life and the greater part of the money is divided into two classes, as distinct vested in trustees, for the jointure of and separate from each other as any Lady Byron. His Lordship may have two castes can well be? With the one, regretted the sale of the Abbey, but it both manners and minds are cherishassuredly was not on account of any- ed in the most graceful excellencething connected with his unfortunate domestic virtue combined with all that marriage that he was induced to part is elegant, gentle, and beneficent, as with it.
fair and free from stain as habitual The story of keeping a girl in boy's honour in its highest acceptation can clothes, and passing her for his cousin, imply. To this class Lord Byron had lest his mother should hear of it, Lord NOT access. His previous family cirByron has had abundant cause to re- cumstances, and the impress which pent; but the affair itself had a most those circumstances had left upon himludicrous conclusion, for the young self, made him to be regarded with gentleman miscarried in a certain fac distrust by the members of that illusmily hotel in Bond Street, to the in- trious and true English nobility. There expressible horror of the chamber was a hereditary taint on his name, maids, and the consternation of all and the early indications of his own