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matter, and he must anticipate what markable, and almost unaccountable. they can possibly say or think in fu- A love of victory might sometimes ture, or he will be voted a shallow account for little disputes and petty writer, without information, who has triumphs, otherwise inexplicable, and produced a work of no value. Then always unworthy of his great genius; as to style, it must be the abstract of but, as I have said, he was only a language-it must be impersonal — great genius now and then, when exunindividual—and just such as a lite- cited; when not so, he was somerary machine which had the power of times little in his conduct, and in his grinding thoughts might be supposed writings dull, or totally destitute of to utter. In short, the writer is all powers of production. He was every moment afraid of either com- very good-natured ; and when asked mitting himself or his friends; he is to write a song, or a copy of verses on his good behaviour; and natural in an album, or an inscription, for so freedom, grace, and truth, are out of poets are plagued, he would genethe question. The writer for the rally attempt to comply, but he selpublic is as much unlike the real dom succeeded in doing any thing; man as the traveller in a stage coach and when he did, he generally gave or as the guest at a public ball or birth to such Grub-street doggerel as dinner is like the lively, careless, his friends were ashamed of, and, it rattling, witty, good-natured, fanciful is to be hoped, charitably put into pleasant creature, at his or her fire- the fire. When, on the contrary, in side, among old friends, who know a state of enthusiasm, he wrote with too much of the whole life and cha- great facility, and corrected very little. racter to be alarmed at any little He used to boast of an indifference sally, and who are satisfied with such about his writings which he did not knowledge as their friend possesses, feel, and would remark with pleasure without requiring that he should that he never saw them in print, and know every thing.. Lord Byron's never met with any body that did not letters are the models of a species of know more about them than himself. composition which should be written He left very little behind him. Of without an eye to any models. His late he had been too much occupied fancy kindled on paper; he touches no with the Greeks to write, and, insubject in a common every-day way; deed, had turned his attention very the reader smiles all through, and much to action, as has been observed. loves the writer at the end ; longs Don Juan he certainly intended to for his society, and admires his continue ; and, I believe, that the happy genius and his amiable dis- real reason for his holding so many position. Lord Byron's letters are conferences with Dr. Kennedy in like what his conversation was—but Cephalonia was, that he might masbetter--he had more undisturbed lei- ter the slang of a religious sect, in sure to let his fancies ripen in ; he order to hit off the character with could point his wit with more secu more veri-similitude. rity, and his irritable temper met His religious principles were by no with no opposition on paper.
means fixed; habitually, like most Lord Byron was not ill-tempered of his class, he was an unbeliever ; nor quarrelsome, but still he was at times, however, he relapsed into very difficult to live with; he was Christianity, and, in his interviews capricious, full of humours, apt to be with Dr. Kennedy, maintained the offended, and wilful. When Mr.Hob- part of a Unitarian. Like all men house and he travelled in Greece to- whose imaginations are much stronger gether, they were generally a mile than the reasoning power the asunder, and though some of his guiding and determining faculty--he friends lived with him off and on a was in danger of falling into fanalong time, (Trelawney, for instance,) ticism, and some of his friends who it was not without serious trials knew him well used to predict that of temper, patience, and affection. he would die a Methodist; a conHe could make a great point often summation by no means impossible. about the least and most trifling
From the same cause, the preponthing imaginable, and adhere to his derance of the imagination, there purpose with a pertinacity truly re- might have been some ground for the
fear which beset hiş later moments press, for instance, and in all quesin that he should go mad. The imme- tions relating to publicity, he was comdiate cause of this fear was, the deep pletely wrong. He saw nothing but impression which the fate of Swift a few immediate effects, which aphad made upon him. He read the peared to him pernicious or the ļife of Swift dụring the whole of his contrary, and he set himself against yoyage to Greece, and the melan- or in behalf of the press accordingly. choly termination of the Dean's life Lord Byron complaining of the licenhaunted his imagination.
tiousness of the press may sound Strong, overruling, and irregular rather singular, and yet such are neas was Lord Byron's imagination--a cessarily the inconsistencies of men rich yice which inspired him with his who suffer themselves to be guided poetry, and which is too surely but by high-sounding words and vague the disease of a great mind-strong generalities, and who expect to unas was this imaginatiou--sensitive derstand the art of government and and susceptible as it was to all ex- the important interests of society by ternal influence, yet Lord Byron's instinct. · In spite, however, of Lord reasoning faculties were by no means Byron, the press was established in of a low order ; but they had never Greece, and maintained free and unbeen cultivated, and, without cul- shackled, by one of the greatest benetivation, whether by spontaneous ex, factors that country has as yet known ertion, or under the guidance of dis- from England, the Hon. Colonel Leicipline, to expect a man to be a good cester Stanhope, who, by his acreasoner, even on the common affairs tivity, his energy, courage, but, above of life, is to expect a crop where the all, by his enlightened knowledge of seed has not been sown, or where the the principles of legislation and civiliweeds have been suffered to choke zation, succeeded in carrying into the corn. Lord Byron was shrewd, effect all his measures, as agent of formed frequently judicious conclu- the Greek committee, and who, by sions, and, though he did not reason spreading useful information, and, with any accuracy or certainty, very above ali, by the establishment of often hit upon the right. He had oc- the press in all the principal points casional glimpses, and deep ones too, of reunion in Greece, has advanced into the nature of the institutions of that country in civilization many society and the foundations of morals, years, how many we dare not say. and, by his experience of the passions Before the establishment of the press, of men, speculated ably upon human the Greeks were working out their life; yet withal he was any-thing but regeneration in various parts of logical or scientific,
Greece, but not as a whole--without Uncertain and wavering, he never unity of design, or unity of interest knew himself whether he was right or each centre was ignorant of the opewrong, and was always obliged to rations of all the other centres, exwrite and feel for the moment on the cept by accidental communication ; supposition that his opinion was the and communication, from the nature true one, He used to declare that he of the country and from the circumhad no fixed principles; which means stances in which it was placed, was that he knew, nothing scientifically: rare and hazardous. The press has in politics, for instance, he was a lover greatly assisted to establish one feelof liberty, from prejudice, habit, or ing throughout the country; not from some vague notion that it was merely is information passed from generous to be so; but in what liberty one quarter to another by its means, really consists—how it operates for but an interchange of sentiments the advantage of mankind-how it is takes place, and a gympathy is ereto be obtained, secured, regulated, ated, advice and encouragement recihe was as ignorant as a child. procated, enthusiasm kept alive, and
While he was in Greece, almost useful principles disseminated through every elementary question of govern- the whole commonwealth. Not only ment was necessarily to be discussed; will the press thus accelerate the such was the crisis of Greek affairs — liberation of Greece, but will also, about all of which he showed himself when that liberation is effected, preperfectly ignorant. In the case of the vent the separation and dissolution
of the country into petty kingdoms which he was too wise a man ever to and governments, which was the have felt under other circumstances. bane of ancient Greece. It is be. He was at one time, in Greece, abcoming to the body politic what the solutely soldier-mad; he had a helnerves are to the body physical, and met made, and other armour in which will bind a set of disjected members to lead the Suliotes to the storming into one corresponding and sensitive of Lepanto, and thought of nothing frame. As a proof of Lord Byron's but of guns and blunderbusses. It uncertainty and unfixedness, he at is very natural to suppose that a one moment gave a very handsome man of an enthusiastic turn, tired of donation (501.) to one paper, the every-day enjoyments, in succouring Greek Chronicle, the most independ- the Greeks would look to the bustle, ant of them all, and promised to as the adventure, the moving accidents sist in its compilation. His friend by flood and field, as sources of great and secretary, too, with his appro- enjoyment; but allowing for the robation, established a polyglot news mantic character of guerilla warfare paper, the Greek Telegraph, with his in Greece, for the excessively unrocountenance and support. The want mantic nature of projects for estaof any fixed principles and opinions blishing schools and printing-presses on these important subjects galled in safe places, where the Turks nehim excessively, and he could never ver or very seldom reach; allowing discuss them without passion. About for these, yet they were not the this same press, schools, societies for causes of bis Lordship’s hostility to mutual instruction, and all other in- these peaceful but important instrustitutions for the purpose of edu- ments in propagating happiness : he cating and advancing the Greeks in was ignorant of the science of civicivilization, he would express him- lization, and he was jealous of those self with scorn and disgust. He who both knew it and practised it, would put it on the ground that the and consequently were doing more present was not the time for these good than himself, and began to be things; that the Greeks must conquer more thought about too, in spite of first, and then set about learning” his Lordship’s money, which in
which no one could se. Greece is certainly very little short riously entertain who knew as he of being all-powerful. The Greeks, well did the real situation of the it is true, had a kind of veneration Greeks, who are only now and then for Lord Byron, on account of his visited by the Turks, descending at having sung the praises of Greece ; particular seasons in shoals, like her- but the thing which caused his arrings, and like them too to be netted, rival to make so great a sensation knocked on the head, and left to die there was the report that he was imin heaps till the whole country- mensely rich, and had brought a ship side is glutted with their carcases. full of sallars (as they call dollars) The aptitude of the Greeks is as to pay off all their arrears. So that great as their leisure ; and if even the as soon as it was understood he had men were actively engaged for the arrived, the Greek fleet was premost part of their time, which they sently set in motion to the port where are not, surely no exertion of bene- he was stationed; was very soon in volence could be attended with more a state of the most pressing distress, advantage than instructing the chil- and nothing could relieve it but a dren at home. This, to be sure, is a loan of four thousand pounds from quaker kind of warfare, and little his Lordship, which loan was evenlikely to please a poet'; though it tually obtained (though with a small must be confessed, that in respect to difficulty), and then the Greek fleet the pomp and circumstance of war, sailed away, and left his Lordship's and all the sad delusions of military person to be nearly taken by the glory, no man could have more sane Turks in crossing to Missolonghi, as notions than Lord Byron. Mercenary another vessel which contained his warfare and the life-and-death strug- suite and his stores actually was capgle of oppressed men for freedom are tured, though afterwards released. very different things ; and Lord By. It was this money too which charm ron felt a military ardour in Greeceed the Prince Mavrocordato, who
did not sail away with his fleet, but and giving, hating and loving, just as stayed behind, thinking more was to the wind of his humour blew. This be obtained, as more indeed was, penchant for outlaws and pirates and the whole consumed nobody might naturally enough flow from knows how. However, the sums his own character, and the circumprocured from his Lordship were by stances of his life, without there no means so large as has been sup- being the slightest resemblance beposed; five thousand pounds would tween the poet and the Corsair. probably cover the whole, and that He had a kind and generous heart, chiefly by way of loan, which has, I and gloried in a splendid piece of hear, been repaid since his death. benevolence; that is to say, the The truth is, that the only good dearest exercise of power to him Lord Byron did, or probably ever was in unexpectedly changing the could have done to Greece was, that state of another from misery to haphis presence conferred an eclat on the piness: he sympathized deeply with cause all over Europe, and disposed the joy he was the creator of. But the people of England to join in the he was in a great error with reloan. The lenders were dazzled, by spect to the merit of such actions, his co-operation with the Greeks, and in a greater still respecting the into an idea of the security of their reward which he thought awaited him. money, which they ought to have He imagined that he was laying up been assured of on much better a great capital at compound interest. grounds; but it requires some time He reckoned upon a large return of and labour to learn the real state of gratitude and devotion, and was not a country, while it was pleasant content with the instant recompense gossip to talk of Lord Byron in which charity receives. They who Greece. The fact is, that if any of understand the principles of human the foreign loans are worth a farthing action know that it is foolish in a it is that to the Greeks, who are de- benefactor to look further than the cidedly more under the controul of pleasure of consciousness and symEuropean public opinion than any pathy, and that if he does, he is a other nation in the world; about creditor, and not a donor, and must their capability to pay no one can be content to be viewed as creditors. doubt, and their honesty is secured are always viewed by their btors, by their interest.
with distrust and uneasiness. On Lord Byron was noted for a kind this mistake were founded most of of poetical misanthropy, but it ex- his charges against human nature; isted much more in the imagination but his feelings, true to nature, and of the public than in reality. He not obeying the false direction of his was fond of society, very good-na- prejudices and erroneous opinions, tured when not irritated, and, so far still made him love his kind with an from being gloomy, was, on the con- ardour which removed him as far as trary, of a cheerful jesting tempera- possible from misanthropy. It is ment, and fond of witnessing even very remarkable that all
your misanlow buffoonery; such as setting a thropists as painted by the poets are couple of vulgar fellows to quarrel, the very best men in the world—to inaking them drunk, or disposing be sure, they do not go much into them in any other way to show their company, but they are always on folly. In his writings he certainly the watch to do benevolent actions dwelt with pleasure on a character in secret, and no distress is ever sufwhich had somehow or other laid fered to remain long unrelieved in hold of his fancy, and consequently the neighbourhood of a hater of his under this character he has appeared fellow men. Another cause of Lord to the public: viz. that of a proud Byron's misanthropical turn of and scornful being, who pretended to writing was his high respect for be disgusted with his species, be- himself. He had a vast reverence cause he himself had been guilty of for his own person, and all he did and all sorts of crimes against society, thought of doing, inculcated into and who made a point of dividing him, as into other lords, by mothers, his time between cursing and bless- governors, grooms, and nurse-maids. ing, murdering and saving, robbing When he observed another man nega
lecting his wants for the sake of readers, to represent himself in the some petty gratification of his own, masquerade dress of Childe Harold. it appeared to him very base in the One day when Fletcher, his valet, individual, and a general charge a was cheapening some monkeys, which gainst all mankind-he was posi- he thought exorbitantly dear, and tively filled with indignation. He refused to purchase without abatementions somewhere in his works ment, his master said to him, with becoming scorn, that one of his “ Buy them, buy them, Fletcher, I relatives accompanied a female friend like them better than men ; they ato a milliner's, in preference to coming muse and never plague me. In the to take leave of him when he was same spirit is his epitaph on his going abroad. The fact is, no one Newfoundland dog, a spirit partly ever loved his fellow man more than affected and partly genuine. The Lord Byron; he stood in continual genuine part he would certainly never need of his sympathy, his respect, have retained, if he had reflected a his affection, his attentions, and he little more upon the nature of his was proportionably disgusted and own feelings, and the motives which depressed when they were found actuate men in every the least action wanting ; this was foolish enough, of their lives. Boys enter upon the but he was not much of a reasoner on world stuffed with school-boy nothese points,-he was a poet. In bis tions which their tutors think it nelatter quality, it was his business to cessary to fill them with, about genefoster all these discontented feelings, rosity, disinterestedness, liberty, hofor the public like in poetry nothing nour, and patriotism; and when in better than scorn, contempt, derision, life they find nobody acting upon indignation; and especially a kind of these, and that they never did and fierce mockery which distinguishes never can, they are disgusted, and the transition from a disturbed state consider themselves entitled to despise of the imagination to lunacy. Con- mankind, because they are under a sequently, finding this mood take delusion with respect to themselves with the public, when he sat down to and every body else. Some of them, write he began by lashing himself up if men of genius, turn poets and miinto this state, his first business being, santhropists; soine sink into mere senlike Jove, to compel all the black sualists; and some, convinced of the clouds together he could lay his hollowness of the things they have hands on. Besides, there is much been taught to declaim about, unthat is romantic and interesting in a wisely conclude that no better system moody and mysterious Beltenebros; of morality is to be had, that there is it is not every body that can be sated nothing real but place, power, and with the most exquisite joys of so- profit, and become the willing instruciety; a man to have had his appetitements of the oppressors of mankind. so palled must have had huge suc. The fault lies in EDUCATION, and if cess, he must have been a man of there is any good to be done in the consideration in the eyes of the beau- world that is the end to begin at. tiful and the rich. To scorn implies Much of Lord Byron's poetry took that you are very much better than its peculiar hue from the circumthose you scorn; that you are very stances of his life,--such as his tragood, or very great, or very wise, and vels in Greece, which formed a most that others are the direct contrary, important epoch in the history of his To despise is another mark of supe- mind. The “ oriental twist in his riority. To be sad and silent are proofs imagination," was thence derived ; that much sensation, perhaps of the his scenery, his imagery, his cosmost impassioned kind, has been ex- tume, and many of the materials perienced, is departed, and is mourn- of his stories, and a great deal of ed: this is touching; and a man who the character of his personages.wishes to attract attention cannot do That country was the stimulant better, if he be handsome and gen- which excited his great powers; teel, than look woeful and affect ta- and much of the form in which citurnity. Lord Byron was well a- they showed themselves is to be atware of all this, and chose, for the tributed to it. His great susceppurpose of exciting sympathy in his tibility to external impressions, his