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In the name of our others, they were lent to Lady Burghersh. fellow-countrymen we characterise On returning the MS. her Ladyship told the total destruction of Lord Byron's Moore that she had transcribed the whole Memoirs as rash, unjustifiable, and work. This was un peu fort, and he sugreprehensible in the extreme,-a pri- gested the propriety of her destroying the vate injustice and a public injury.
copy. She did so, by putting it into the
fire in his presence. Ever since this hapIt is manifest à priori that there pened, Douglas Kiunaird has been recommust have been some portion of the mending me to resume possession of the Memoirs worthy salvation; that they Ms., thinking to frighten me by saying were not all of such a nature as to that a spurious or a real copy, surreptitiously merit being delivered into the hands obtained, may go forth to the world. I am of the common hangman, to be burnt quite indifferent about the world knowing by him like heretical tracts or libels. all that they contain. There are very few But in the publication we are now licentious adventures of my own, or scanabout to notice, there is an after- dalous anecdotes that will affect others, in proof of this which is not to be gain- the book. It is taken up from my earliest
recollections, almost from childhood, - very said. Captain Medwin's book is a Journal of Conversations held by liar style. The second part will prove a
incoherent, written in a very loose and fami. Lord Byron, conversations of the good lesson to young men ; for it treats of most familiar kind, uttered in the the irregular life I led at one period, and fullest confidence of friendship, and the fatal consequences of dissipation. There evidently without the least caution are few parts that may not, and none that or prudential reserve; yet, after cer will not, be read by women. tain retrenchments (which ought to
Another time he said: have been made) it would still fur “A very full account of my marriage nish a valuable, an interesting, and a
and separation is contained in my Memoirs. morally uninjurious volume. Why After they were completed, I wrote to Lady were not the Memoirs made such a
Byron, proposing to send them for her inwork as Captain Medwin's Journal inaccuracy (if any such existed, which I
spection, in order that any misstatements or might have been? Is it credible that
was not aware of,) might be pointed out Lord Byron would sit down and de- and corrected. In her answer she declined liberately utter in manuscript what the offer, without assigning any reason ; he would not utter in private conver but desiring, if not on her account, for the sation unrestrained as this? If there sake of her daughter, that they might was not a page in the Memoirs but never appear, and finishing with threat. deserved the infamous death which My reply was the severest thing I ever is apportioned to infidel works and wrote, and contained two quotations, one scandalous publications, how does it from Shakspeare, and another from Dante. happen there are so many in his Con- I told her that she knew all I had written versations worth preserving? though not wish to sanction truth. I ended by
was incontrovertible truth, and that she did the latter, from their very nature, saying, that she might depend on their must have been more thickly inter- being published. It was not till after this spersed with objectionable phrases, correspondence that I made Moore the de. -satirical remarks, unguarded and positary of the MS.” inconsiderate ebullitions of anger against living persons, allusions to Now it is more than probable that family concerns, disclosures of faults, the original MS, if published in its frailties, peccadilloes, &c. It is ridi- integral form, would not have been culous to assert after this that the found quite so innocuous as the auMemoirs were not sacrificed for a thor asserts; but surely he could not few unhappy paragraphs, which alone declare in the face of the fact, that merited the fate that was dealt to the there were few parts “ which might whole. We wish Mr. Moore who not be read by women” if the whole read them would stand forward, and were only fit for the fire. Lady Burgboldly avow whether this was or hersh read and transcribed it. Yet was not the case. Let us hear the what her ladyship studied with noble author's own opinion on the such fervour, and copied with such subject :
avidity, was afterwards judged of “ I have not the least objection to their
so highly immoral and flagitious a being circulated ; in fact they have been nature that it would have put the read by some of mine, and several of innocent people of England to the Moore's friends and acquaintances ; among blush, and corrupted the purity of
the Continent, had it been pub- committed against individuals by lished ! Verily we fear there was publishing what he should not. something more than simple anxiety Although it is our chief object to for public morals at the bottom of elucidate the genius and character of this transaction; some unpleasant Byron by such extracts from his Contruths “
were to be sanctioned” we versations as appear to us most suitsuspect, and in the hurry to suppress able to that purpose, we are truer disthese, the whole MS. was precipitated ciples of both Lavater and Gall than into the flames. But it is useless to to omit the following brief description regret this measure ; we hope it will of his personal appearance. not be useless to reprobate it. Such a case will most probably not soon
During the few minutes that Lord Byron recur; if it does, we expect there tunity of narrowly observing him, and
was finishing his letter, I took an opporwill be a little more compunction drawing his portrait in my mind. Thordisplayed before it is resolved to sa- waldsen's bust is too thin-necked and young crifice the national property in this for Lord Byron. None of the engravings wholesale way to the caprice or gave me the least idea of him. I saw a nervous apprehensions of a few indi. man of about five feet seven or eight, appaviduals. Perhaps, indeed, reflection rently forty years of age : as was said of upon the consequences of this hasty Milton, he barely escaped being short and act may prevent its repetition. Ever thick. His face was fine, and the lower since the destruction took place, the part symmetrically moulded; for the lips press has teemed with histories, let. and chin had that curved and definite outters, reports, and allusions, as scan
line that distinguishes Grecian beauty. dalous as they are spurious, but to broad ; and he had a paleness in his com
His forehead was high, and his temples which no contradiction can be given plexion, almost to wanness. His hair, thin from the impossibility of comparing and fine, had almost become grey, and them with an existing original. In- waved in natural and graceful curls over deed, such things would never have his head, that was assimilating itself fast to appeared but for the intemperate the “ bald first Cæsar's.” He allowed it to prudence of Lord Byron's friends, by grow longer behind than it is accustomed to whose instrumentality numberless be worn, and at that time had mustachios, slanders have been invented and cir- which were not sufficiently dark to be culated, which are a thousand times becoming. In criticising his features it more injurious to all parties than the might, perhaps, be said that his eyes were whole truth could have been. There rather smaller than the other ; they were of
placed too near his nose, and that one was is nothing which may not be now
a greyish brown, but of a peculiar clearness, said of Lord Byron, his family, con and when animated possessed a fire which nexions, and acquaintances, and at- seemed to look through and penetrate the tributed to him without the least fear thoughts of others, while they marked the of its supposititious nature being de- inspirations of his own. His teeth were tected and exposed.
small, regular, and white; these, I afterIn the defect of more authentic wards found, he took great pains to materials, therefore, we turn to Cap- preserve. * tain Medwin's Journal with curiosity.
I expected to discover that he had a club It diminishes, though it certainly does been difficult to have distinguished one from
perhaps a cloven-foot ; but it would have not “remedy” the evil we complain the other, either in size or in form. of. Captain Medwin had an opportunity of studying Lord Byron's cha Lord Byron's conversation, if reracter, moral as well as intellectual, sembling at all that which is given as which he did not let escape him. his in this volume, was fully equal to Indeed, he appears to have made his poetry,--allowing for the differrather too free a use of this advan- ent circumstances under which they tage; but we will at present speak were severally born. Indeed, this only of the benefit he has conferred must have been the case, inasmuch on the world by publishing what he as it appears that his poetry was the might, and not of the injury he has efflux not the effort of his mind; he
* For this purpose he used tobacco when he first went into the open air: and he told me he was in the habit of grinding his teeth in his sleep, to prevent which he was forced to put a napkin between them.
wrote as quickly as he spoke, seldom been in a higher state of excitement blotted a word, and never altered a upon the one occasion than upon the line.
other. He was an English ImproviIt may be asked when Lord Byron writes. satore, and when we say this, we The same question was put to Madame de do not mean that he was a mere Staël : “ Vous ne comptez pas sur ma stringer of musical sentences; but chaise-à-porteur,” said she. I am often such an Improvisatore as an Englishwith him from the time he gets up till two man might and an Italian could not be. or three o'clock in the morning, and after It is, therefore, no wonder that his sitting up so late he must require rest; conversation exhibits marks of genius but he produces, the next morning, proofs in every period, more however of the that he has not been idle. Sometimes
satirical than the sentimental kind, when I call, I find him at his desk; but he either talks as he writes, or lays down
more akin to the spirit of Don Juan his pen to play at billiards till it is time to than of Childe Harold. take his airing. He seems to be able to
The account which he gives of the jesume the thread of his subject at all date and source to which his poetic times, and to weave it of an equal texture. inclinations may be primarily reSuch talent is that of an improvisatore. ferred is deeply interesting, however The fairness too of his manuscripts (I do questionable as to its philosophy. not speak of the hand-writing) astonishes no less than the perfection of every thing “ I don't know from whom I inherited he writes. He hardly ever alters a word verse-making ; probably the wild scenery for whole pages, and never corrects a line of Morven and Loch-na-garr, and the in subsequent editions. I do not believe banks of the Dee, were the parents of my that he has ever read his works over since poetical vein, and the developers of my poebe exainined the proof-sheets ; and yet hetical boss. If it was so, it was dormant; remembers every word of them, and every at least, I never wrote any thing worth thing else worth remembering that he has mentioning till I was in love. Dante dates ever known.
his passion for Beatrice at twelve. I was I never met with any man who shines so almost as young when I fell over head and much in conversation. He shines the more, ears in love ; but I anticipate. I was sent perhaps, for not seeking to shine. His to Harrow at twelve, and spent my vacaideas flow without effort, without his hav. tions at Newstead. It was there that I first ing occasion to think. As in his letters, saw Mary C- She was several years he is not nice about expressions or words; older than myself: but, at my age, boys - there are no concealments in him, no in- like something older than themselves, as junctions to secresy. He tells every thing they do younger, later in life. Our estates that he has thought or done without the adjoined: but, owing to the unhappy cir. least reserve, and as if he wished the whole cumstance of the feud to which I before world to know it ; and does not throw the alluded, our families (as is generally the slightest gloss over his errors. Brief him case with neighbours who happen to be reself, he is impatient of diffuseness in others, lations,) were never on terms of more than hates long stories, and seldom repeats his common civility,--scarcely those. I passed
If he has heard a story you are tell- the summer vacation of this year among ing, he will say, “ You told me that,” and the Malvern hills : those were days of rowith good humour sometimes finish it for mance! She was the beau idéal of all that you himself.
my youthful fancy could paint of beautiful; He hates argument, and never argues for and I have taken all my fables about the victory. He gives every one an opportu- celestial nature of women from the pernity of sharing in the conversation, and has fection my imagination created in her. I the art of turning it to subjects that may say created, for I found her, like the rest of bring out the person with whom he con- the sex, any thing but angelic. verses. He never shews the author, prides “ I returned to Harrow, after my trip to himself most on being a man of the world Cheltenham, more decply enamoured than and of fashion, and his anecdotes of life and ever, and passed the next holidays at Newliving characters are inexhaustible. In stead. I now began to fancy myself a man, spirits, as in every thing else, he is ever in and to make love in earnest. Our meetings extremes.
were stolen ones, and my letters. passed Such, therefore, as his poetry.. was, gåte leading from Mr. C
through the medium of a confidante. A such must have been his conversa.
-'s grounds tion, for both were unpremeditated,
to those of my mother, was the place of
our interviews. But the ardour was all on spontaneous effusions of the peren- my side. I was serious ; she was volatile. nial spring within his bosom. The She liked me as a younger brother, and only difference was, that he may have treated and laughed at me as a boy. She,
however, gave me her picture, and that was miserable. I was both when I wrote the something to make verses upon. +
• Hours of Idleness ;' some of those poems, “ During the last year that I was at in spite of what the reviewers say, are as Harrow, all my thoughts were occupied on good as any I ever produced. this love-affair. I had, besides, a spirit “ For some years after the event that that ill brooked the restraints of school had so much influence on my fate, I tried discipline; for I had been encouraged by to drown the remembrance of it and her in servants in all my violence of temper, and the most depraving dissipation ; but the was used to command. Every thing like a poison was in the cup." task was repugnant to my nature; and I came away a very indifferent classic, and If the death of his happiness was read in nothing that was useful. That subordination, which is the soul of all disc indeed the birth of his poetry, though cipline, I submitted to with great difficulty ;
the world might be a gainer by his yet I did submit to it: and I have always sufferings, one could not but lament retained a sense of Drury's kindness, which that so much enjoyment to us had enabled me to bear it and fagging too. The resulted from so much pain to him; Duke of Dorset was my fag. I was not a but (with Milton and several others very hard task-master.' There were times in our recollection) we have some in which, if I had not considered it as a doubts whether it be necessary for a school, I should have been happy at Har man either to be in love or be miserow. There is one spot I should like to see rable to make him a poet. We are again : I was particularly delighted with also but little disposed to agree with the view from the Church-yard, and used the noble advocate of himself, when to sit for hours on the stilc leading into the he asserts that the “ whole tenor of fields ;--even then I formed a wish to be buried there. Of all my schoolfellows, I his life would have been different know no one for whom I have retained so
had he been linked to a radiant angel much friendship as for Lord Clare. I have herself; his faults were too heredibeen constantly corresponding with him tary, and had been too much conever since I knew he was in Italy; and ' firmed by a loose education, Is look forward to seeing him, and talking there not an evident inconsistency over with him our old Harrow stories, with between the termination of his first infinite delight. There is no pleasure in paragraph, as given above, and the life equal to that of meeting an old friend. beginning of his fifth ? You know how glad I was to see Hay. Why did not Scroope Davics come to see
His judgment in critical matters me ? Some one told me that he was at Flo- could have legitimately inferred from
was more discriminating than we rence, but it is impossible. “There are two things that strike me at
his perpetual sneers and tirades, this moment, which I did at Harrow: I whenever the name of Shakspeare or fought Lord Calthorpe for writing · D-d Milton was mentioned. He passes Atheist !! under my name; and prevented many opinions on the genius and the school-room from being burnt during a style of his cotemporaries, which rebellion, by pointing out to the boys the are for the most part judicious, and names of their fathers and grandfathers on often leaning much more to the side the walls, “ Had I married Miss C perhaps pected, or can (as critics) approve:
of mercy than we could have exthe whole tenor of my life would have been different. She jilted me, however, but her “ Like Gray," said he, “ Campbell marriage proved any thing but a happy smells too much of the oil : he is never saone. She was at length separated from tisfied with what he does ; his finest things Mr. M-, and proposed an interview bave been spoiled by over-polish — the with me, but by the advice of my sister I sharpness of the outline is worn off. Like declined it. I remember meeting her after paintings, poems may be too highly finishmy return from Greece, but pride had con- ed. The great art is effect, no matter how quered my love; and yet it-was not with produced." ••• perfect indifference I saw her.
“ Coleridge is like Sosia in Amphy“ For a man to become a poet (witness trion ;'-he does not know whether he is Petrarch and Dante) he must be in love, or himself, or not. If he had never gone to
+ He had always a black ribbon round his neck, to which was attached a locket containing hair and a picture. We had been playing at billiards one night till the balls appeared double, when all at once he searched hastily for something under his waistcoat, and said, in great alarm, “ Good God! I have lost my !” but before he had finished the sentence, lie had discovered the hidden treasure.
Germany, nor spoilt his fine genius by the Byron, or rather Lady Byron's with me, transcendental philosophy and German and had some influence over my wife, metaphysics, nor taken to write lay ser - as much as any person but her mother, mons, he would have made the greatest which is not saying much. I believe Mapoet of the day. Wlat poets had we in dame de Staël did her utmost to bring 1795? Hayley had got a monopoly, such about a reconciliation between us. She was as it was. Coleridge might have been any the best creature in the world. thing: as it is, he is a thing that dreams 66 Women never see consequences are made of.'”* * *
never look at things straight forward, or as “ I knew Madame de Staël in England. they ought. Like figurantes at the Opera, When she came over she created a great they make a hundred pirouttes and return sensation, and was much courted in the to where they set out.
With Madame de literary as well as the political world. On Staël this was sometimes the case. She the supposition of her being a Liberal, she was very indefinite and vague in her manwas invited to a party, where were present ner of expression. In endeavouring to be Whithread, Sheridan, and several of the new she became often obscure, and someopposition leaders.
times unintelligible. What did she mean by To To the great horror of the former, she saying that · Napoleon was a system, and soon sported her Ultruisms. No one pos- not a man?' sessed so little tact as Madame de Staël, I cannot believe that Napoleon was acwhich is astonishing in one who had seen quainted with all the petty persecutions so much of the world and of society. She that she used to be so garrulous about, or used to assemble at her routs politicians of that he deemed her of sufficient importboth sides of the House, and was fond of ance to be dangerous : besides, she adsetting two party-men by the ears in argu- mired him so much, that he might have ment. I once witnessed a curious scene of gained her over by a word.
But, like this kind. She was battling it very warm me, he had perhaps too great a contempt ly, as she used to do, with Canning, and for wornen ; he treated them as puppets, all at once turned round to (I think he and thought he could make them dance at said) Lord Grey, who was at his elbow, any time by pulling the wires. That for his opinion. It was on some point story of • Gardez vos enfans' did not tell upon which he could not but most cordially much in her favour, and proves what I disagree. She did not understand London say. I shall be curious to see Las Cases' society, and was always sighing for her book, to hear what Napoleon's real concoterie at Paris. The dandies took an in- duct to her was." * * * vincible dislike to the De Staëls, mother “She was always aiming to be brilliant and daughter. Brummel was her aversion ; ---to produce a sensation, no matter how, -she, his. There was a double marriage when, or where. She wanted to make all talked of in town that season :-Auguste her ideas, like figures in the modern (the present Baron) was to have married French school of painting, prominent and Miss Milbank ; I, the present Duchess of showy,—standing out of the canvas, each Broglio. I could not have been worse in a light of its own. She was vain : but embroiled.
who had an excuse for vanity if she had “ Madame de Staël had great talent in not? I can easily conceive her not wishing conversation, and an overpowering flow of to change her name, or acknowledge that words. It was once said of a large party of Rocca. I liked Rocca ; he was a gen, that were all trying to shine, • There is tleman and a clever man; no man said not one who can go home and think.' better things, or with a better grace. The This was not the case with her. She was remark about the Meillerie road that I often troublesome, some thought rude, in quoted in the Notes of Childe Harold,' her questions ; but she never oftended me, La route vaut mieux que les souvenirs,' because I knew that her inquisitiveness did was the observation of a thorough Frenchnot proceed from idle curiosity, but from a wish to sound people's characters. She “ How could it be otherwise ? " said he. was a continual interrogatory to me, in “ Some of them were called translations, order to fathom mine, which requires a and I spoke in the character of a Frenchlong plumb line. She once asked me if man and a soldier. But Napoleon was his my real character was well drawn in a own antithesis (if I may say so). He was favourite novel of the day ( Glenarvon'). a glorious tyrant, after all. Look at his She was only singular in putting the ques. public works; compare his face, even on tion in the dry way she did. There are
his coins, with those of the other sove. many who pin their faith on that insincere reigns of Europe. I blame the manner production.
of his death : he showed that he possessed “ No woman had so much bonne foi as much of the Italian character in consent. Madame de Staël : hers was a real kind- ing to live. There he lost himself in his ness of heart. She took the greatest pos- dramatic character, in my estimation. He sible interest in my quarrel with Lady was inaster of his own destiny; of that, at