« AnteriorContinuar »
least, his enemies could not deprive him. of peculiar brilliancy and fire; but below He should have gone off the stage like a he showed the satyr. hero : it was expected of him." *** “ Lewis had been, or thought he had Talking of romances, he said :
been, unkind to a brother whom he lost « • The Monk' is perhaps one of the young; and when any thing disagreeable best in any language, not excepting the was about to happen to him, the vision of German. It only wanted one thing, as I his brother appeared : he came as a sort of told Lewis, to have rendered it perfect. monitor. He should have made the dæmon really in " Lewis was with me for a considerable love with Ambrosio: this would have given period at Geneva ; and we went to Coppet it a human interest. The Monk was several times together ; but Lewis was written when Lewis was only twenty, and there oftener than I. he seems to have exhausted all his genius “ Madame de Staël and he used to have on it. Perhaps at that age he was in violent arguments about the Slave Trade, earnest in his belief of magic wonders. --which he advocated strongly, for most of That is the secret of Walter Scott's inspi- his property was in negroes and plantaration : he retains and encourages all the tions. Not being satisfied with three thousuperstitions of his youth. Lewis caught sand a-year, he wanted to make it five; his passion for the marvellous, and it and would go to the West Indies ; but he amounted to a mania with him, in Ger. died on the passage of sea-sickness, and many; but the groundwork of · The obstinacy in taking an emetic." ** Monk,' is neither original nor German : “The Fudge Family' pleases me as it is derived from the tale of Santon Bar- much as any of Moore's works. The letter sisa.' The episode of • The Bleeding Nun,' which he versified at the end was given him which was turned into a melo.drama, is by Douglas Kinnaird and myself, and was from the German."
addressed by the Life-guardsman, after the “ Lewis was not a very successful wri- battle of Waterloo, to Big Ben. Witty as
His Donk' was abused furiously Moore's epistle is, it falls short of the ori. by Matthias, in his · Pursuits of Litera- ginal. “Doubling up the Mounseers in brass, ture,' and he was forced to suppress it. is not so energetic an expression as was used • Abellino' he merely translated. • Pi. by our hero,-all the alliteration is lost. zarro' was a sore subject with him, and no “ Moore is one of the few writers who wonder that he winced at the name. She will survive the age in which he só de ridan, who was not very scrupulous about servedly flourishes. He will live in his applying to himself literary property at · Irish Melodies ;' they will go down to least, manufactured his play without so posterity with the music; both will last much as an acknowledgment, pecuniary or as long as Ireland, or as music and otherwise, from Lewis's ideas; and bad as poetry.' • Pizarro' is, I know (from having been on " Hunt would have made a fine writer, the Drury-Lane Committee, and knowing, for he has a great deal of fancy and feeling, consequently, the comparative profits of if he had not been spoiled by circumstances. plays,) that it brought in more money than He was brought up at the Blue-coat founany other play has ever done, or perhaps dation, and had never till lately been ten ever will do.
miles from St. Paul's. What poetry is to • “ But to return to Lewis. He was even be expected from such a course of education? worse treated about · The Castle Spectre,' He has his school, however, and a host of which had also an immense run, a prodi- disciples. A friend of mine calls Rimini,' gious success. Sheridan never gave him Nimini Pimini ; and “Foliage,' Follyage. any of its profits either. One day Lewis Perhaps he had a tumble in climbing trees being in company with him, said, Shein the Hesperides!' But · Rimini has a ridan, I will make you a large bet.' She- great deal of merit. There never were so ridan, who was always ready to make a many fine things spoiled as in Rimini.? " wager, (however he might find it incon. venient to pay it if lost,) asked eagerly Superstition is often the weakness what bet? • All the profits of my Castle of a strong mind. Cæsar and NapoSpectre,' replied Lewis. I will tell you leon are said to have felt its inwhat,' said Sheridan, (who never found fluence. Goethe, it appears (though his match at repartee,) 'I will make we have no intention of classing a you a
very small one, what it is poetical old woman with men of worth.' "
I asked him if he had known Sheridan? strong minds) is subject to the same “ Yes,” said he. 66 Sheridan was an
infirmity; and, authorised by his extraordinary compound of contradictions, example, Byron seems to have inand Moore will be much puzzled in recon- dulged the same unphilosophical prociling them for the Life he is writing. The pensity to make the spirits, who diupper part of Sheridan's face was that of rect the great wheels of the universe a God-a forehead niost expansive, an eye attendants upon his petty concerns,
-to make the grand phenomena of and thirty-seven were to be dangerous ages Nature mere prophecies of events, in my life.* One has come true.” which are to embellish his insignifi “ Yes,” added I, “and did she: not. cant history.
prophecy tliat you were to die a monk and
a miser? I have been told so.” During our drive and ride this evening, he declined our usual amusements of pistol. That the domestic feelings were firing, without assigning a cause. He powerful in Lord Byron's breast is hardly spoke a word during the first half- undeniable, notwithstanding their hour, and it was evident that something having frequently yielded to the suweighed heavily on his mind. There was a sacredness in his melancholy that I perior violence of his other passions.
His love of his child, his ill-concealed dared not interrupt. At length he said :
“ This is Ada's birthday, and might anguish on account of his separation have been the happiest day of my life: as
from Lady B. and even his attachit is!" He stopped, seemingly ment to the Countess Guiccioli, are ashamed of having betrayed his feelings. proofs of this. The Note-taker of his He tried in vain to rally his spirits by conversation says, turning the conversation ; but he created a laugh in which he could not join, and soon
Notwithstanding the tone of raillery relapsed into his former reverie. It lasted
with which he sometimes speaks in Don till we came within a mile of the Argine Byron, and his saying, as he did to-day,
Juan' of his separation from Lady gate. There our silence was all at once interrupted by shrieks that seemed to
that the only thing he thanks Lady Byron proceed from a cottage by the side of the for is, that he cannot marry, &c., it is eviroad. We pulled up our horses, to in. dent that it is the thorn in his side-the quire of a contadino standing at the little
poison in his cup of life! The veil is garden-wicket. He told us that a widow easily seen through. He endeavours to had just lost her only child, and that the mask his griefs, and to fill up the void sounds proceeded from the wailings of of his heart, by assuming a gaiety that some women over the corpse. Lord Byron does not belong to it. All the tender and was much affected ; and his superstition,
endearing ties of social and domestic life acted upon by a sadness
that seeined to be rudely torn asunder, he has been wandering presentiment, led him to augur some dis- on from place to place without finding any
to rest in. Switzerland, Venice, Ravenna, aster. " I shall not be happy,” said he, “ till
and I might even have added Tuscany, I hear that my daughter is well. I have a
were doomed to be no asylum for him, &c. great horror of anniversaries : people only His platonic liaison, if that be its laugh at, who have never kept a register adequate title, was more durable than of them. I always write to my sister on Ada's birthday. I did so last year ; and,
many legitimate connexions. what was
Even this picture has its charm, very remarkable, my letter reached her on my wedding-day, and her
though it certainly is not a moral one. answer reached me at Ravenna on my When I called, I found himn sitting in birth-day! Several extraordinary things the garden under the shade of some orangehave happened to me on my birth-day ; so trees, with the Countess. They are now they did to Napoleon; and a more won. always together, and he is now become derful circumstance still occurred to Marie quite domestic. He calls her Piccinina, Antoinette."
and bestows on her all the pretty diminu“I told you I was not oppressed in tive epithets that are so sweet in Italian. spirits last night without a reason. Who His kindness and attention to the Guiccioli can help being superstitious ? Scott believes have been invariable. A three years' conin second-sight. Rousseau tried whether stancy proves that he is not altogether so he was to be dd or not, by aiming at a unmanageable by a sensible woman tree with a stone: I forget whether he hit might be supposed. In fact no man is so or missed. Goethe trusted to the chance easily led : but he is not to be driven. of a knife's striking the water, to determine whether he was to prosper in some
of the interesting female to whom
the latter extract refers there are undertaking The Italians think the dropping of oil very unlucky. Pietro
frequent notices in the volume before (Count Gamba) dropped some the same
us. Though we will not assist in giv• night before his exile, and that of his facing currency to the scandalous parts * mily, from Ravenna. Have you ever had of these Conversations, we consider 'your fortune told? Mrs. Williams told this subject as within the proper mine. She predicted that twenty-seven limits of biography.
* He was married in his twenty-seventh, and died in his thirty-seventh year.
The Countess Guiccioli is twenty-three the Guiccioli. The old Count did not years of age, though she appears no more object to her availing herself of the privithan seventeen or eighteen. Unlike most leges of her country ; an Italian would of the Italian women, her complexion is have reconciled him to the thing: indeed delicately fair. Her eyes, large, dark, and for some time he winked at our intimacy, languishing, are shaded by the longest eye. but at length made an exception against lashes in the world ; and her hair, which is me, as a foreigner, a heretic, an Englishungathered on her head, plays over her man, and, what was worse than all, a falling shoulders in a profusion of natural liberal. ringlets of the darkest auburn. Her figure “ He insisted—the Guiccioli was as obis, perhaps, too much embon point for her stinate ; her family took her part. Catholics height, but her bust is perfect ; her features cannot get divorces. But, to the scandal want little of possessing a Grecian regu- of all Romagna, the matter was at length larity of outline; and she has the most referred to the Pope, who ordered her a beautiful mouth and teeth imaginable. It separate maintenance, on condition that she is impossible to see without admiring-to should reside under her father's roof. All hear the Guiccioli speak without being fas- this was not agreeable, and at length I cinated. Her amiability and gentleness was forced to smuggle her out of Ravenna, shew themselves in every intonation of her having disclosed a plot laid with the sancvoice, which, and the music of her perfect tion of the Legate for shutting her up in a Italian, give a peculiar charm to every convent for life, which she narrowly thing she utters. Grace and elegance escaped.” seem comp
ent parts of her nature. Not. withstanding that she adores Lord Byron,
Yet his opinion of women is deit is evident that the exile and poverty of grading to the sex and to him; it her aged father sometimes affect her spirits, plainly evinces that he was not capaand throw a shade of melancholy on her ble of a lasting and sincere attache countenance, which adds to the deep inter- ment, either to wife or mistress : est this lovely girl creates. “ Extraordinary pains,” said Lord By
“ Women were there, as they have ever ron one day, “ were taken with the educa- been fated to be, my bane. Like Napo. tion of Teresa. Her conversation is lively, leon, I have always had a great contempt without being frivolous ; without being
for women ; and formed this opinion of learned, she has read all the best authors them not hastily, but from my own fatal of her own and the French language. She experience. My writings, indeed, tend to often conceals what she knows, from the exalt the sex ; and my imagination has fear of being thought to know too much; always delighted in giving them a beau idéal possibly because she knows I am not fond likeness, but I only drew them as a painter of blues. To use an expression of Jeffrey's,
or statuary would do,-as they should be. • If she has blue stockings, she contrives Perhaps my prejudices, and keeping them that her petticoat shall hide them.'”
at a distance, contributed to prevent the
illusion from altogether being worn out and Her lover's excuse for her morality, destroyed as to their celestial qualities. or rather that of her country, is per
They are in an unnatural state of so. haps, the best and only one which ciety. The Turks and Eastern people macan be made.
nage these matters better than we do.
They lock them up, aod they are much “ The Count Guiccioli, for instance, who happier. Give a woman a looking-glass is the richest man in Romagna, was sixty and a few sugar-plums, and she will be sawhen he married Teresa; she sixteen. tisfied.” From the first they had separate apartments, and she always used to call him We have always held that Lord Sir. What could be expected from such a Byron's poetry was more the result preposterous connexion ? For some time of feeling than of imagination, and she was an Angiolina, and he a Marino his confession in the next paragraph Faliero, a good old man; but young fully bears us out in our opinion. women, and your Italian ones too, are not satisfied with your good old men. Love is “ I wrote • The Prophecy of Dante' not the same dull, cold, calculating feeling at the suggestion of the Countess. I was here as in the North. It is the business, at that time paying my court to the Guicthe serious occupation of their lives; it is a cioli, and addressed the dedicatory sonnet want, a necessity. Somebody properly to her. She had heard of my having defines a woman, a creature that loves written something about Tasso, and thought They die of love; particularly the Romans: Dante's exile and death would furnish as they begin to love earlier, and feel the fine a subject. I can never write but on passion later than the Northern people. the spot. Before I began The Lament,' When I was at Venice, two dowagers of I went to Ferrara, to visit the Dungeon. sixty made love to me. --But to return to Hoppner was with me, and part of it, the
greater part, was composed (as "The Pri- which are above all power of expressoner of Chillon ') in the prison. The place sion. of Dante's fifteen years' exile, where he so One would have thought that he pathetically prayed for his country, and spoke in a kind of prophetic allusion deprecated the thought of being buried out to the fate of his own remains when of it; and the sight of his tomb, which I he uttered these gentiments : passed in my almost daily rides,-inspired me. Besides, there was somewhat of re " Of all the disgraces that attach to semblance in our destinies--he had a England in the eye of foreigners, who adwife, and I have the same feelings about mire Pope more than any of our poets, leaving my bones in a strange land.” (though it is the fashion to under-rate him It is curious to observe how willing that there should be no place assigned to
among ourselves,) the greatest perhaps is, the noble author was to receive coun- him in Poet's Corner. I have often thought tenance for his faults from our greater of erecting a monument to him at my own poets, yet how slow to afford them expence, in Westminster Abbey; and hope his in return. The Note-taker thus to do so yet. But he was a Catholic, and, relates a conversation which took what was worse, puzzled Tillotson and the place between him and his idol. Divines. That accounts for his not hav.
ing any national monument. Milton, too, I asked Lord Byron the meaning of a
had passage in The · Prophecy of Dante.' He the mention of his name on the tomb of
very nearly been without a stone; and laughed, and said :
another was at one time considered a pro" I suppose I had some meaning when fanation to a church. The French, I am I wrote it: I believe I understood it then."
told, lock up Voltaire's tomb. Will there ..“ That,” said I, “ is what the disciples
never be an end to this bigotry? Will of Swedenborg say. There are many peo. men never learn that every great poet is ple who do not understand passages in your necessarily a religious man ?--so at least writings, among our own countrymen : I
Coleridge says." wonder how foreigners contrive to translate
“ Yes,” replied Shelley ;
66 and he them."
" And yet,” said he, “ they have been might maintain the converse,'—that every translated into all the civilized, and many by poetry the power of communicating in
truly religious man is a poet; meaning uncivilized tongues. Several of them have appeared in Danish, Polish, and even Rus- ing man and Nature.”
tense and impassioned impressions respectsian dresses. These last, being translations of translations from the French, must Shelley himself (if not Lord Bybe very diluted. The greatest compliment ron) refutes Coleridge; and every ever paid me has been shown in Germany, pious Dr. Drowsy in the kingdom rewhere a translation of the Fourth Canto of futes Shelley. * Childe Harold' has been the subject of
Lord Byron's opinion of his great a University prize. But as to obscurity, cotemporary and rival in public fais not Milton obscure? How do you explain
vour, Sir Walter Scott, was honour1666 Smoothing
able to both. He says of him : 46 * The raven down of darkness till it
“ He spoiled the fame of his poetry by smiled!'
his superior prose. He has such extent • Is it not a simile taken from the elec. and versatility of powers in writing, that, tricity of a cat's back? I'll leave you to should his Novels ever tire the public, be my commentator, and hope you will which is not likely, he will apply himself make better work with me than Taafe is to something else, and succeed as well. doing with Dante, who perhaps could not “ His mottoes from old plays prove that himself explain half that voluvies are writ. he, at all events, possesses the dramatic ten about, if his ghost were to rise again faculty, which is denied me.
And yet I from the dead. I am sure I wonder he am told that his Halidon Hill' did not and Shakspeare have not been raised by justify expectation. I have never met with their commentators long ago !”
it, but have seen extracts from it." The distinction between Byronian Upon being asked if he thought the and Miltonian obscurity is this; that Novels owed any part of their reputhe former results, when not from in- tation to the concealment of the audolence, from an illogical mind; the thor's name, he made the following other, when not from pedantry, from reply, containing desultory remarks an extravagant imagination. "Byron upon their author, and affording a often attempts to express ideas which good specimen of his conversational are above his power of expression ;
and critical powers : Milton often attempts to express ideas - No," said he ; " such works do not
gain or lose by it. I am at a loss to know oldest poem. I had an idea of writing his reason for keeping up the incognito, a Job,' but I found it too sublime. -but that the reigning family could not There is no poetry to be compared have been very well pleased with Wa- with it.” The Book of Job can borverley.'. There is a degree of charlatanism in some authors keeping up the Unknown.
row no glory from Lord Byron's comJunius owed much of his fame to that mendation of it, but the commendatrick ; and now that it is known to be the tion bestows glory upon him. work of Sir Philip Francis, who reads it ?
He also appears to have estimated A political writer, and one who descends his own character not inaccurately or to personalities such as disgrace Junius, unfairly: should be immaculate as a public, as well
“I take little interest,” replied he, “ in as a private, character; and Sir Philip the politics at home. I am not made for Francis was neither. He had his price, what you call a politician, and should and was gagged by being sent to İndia. He there seduced another man's wife. It have taken no part in the petty intrigues
never have adhered to any party. I should would have been a new case for a Judge of cabinets, or the pettier factions and conto sit in judgment on himself, in a CrimCon. It seems that his conjugal felicity Among our statesmen, Castlereagh is al
tests for power among parliamentary men. was not great, for, when his wife died, he
most the only one whom I have attacked; came into the room where they were sitting the only public character whom I thoup with the corpse, and said Solder her roughly detest, and against whom I will up, solder her up!' He saw his daughter never cease to level the shafts of my policrying, and scolded her, saying, An tical hate. old hag--she ought to have died thirty
“I only addressed the House twice, years ago!' He married shortly after a young woman. He hated Hastings to a
and made little impression. They told me
that my manner of speaking was not digni. violent degree; all he hoped and prayed fied enough for the Lords, but was more for was to outlive him.—But many of the calculated for the Commons. I believe it newspapers of the day are written as well
was a Don Juan kind of speech. The as Junius. Matthias's book, "The Pur. suits of Literature,' now almost a dead- and (I think he said) some Manchester
two occasions were, the Catholic question, letter, had once a great fame.
affair. “ When Walter Scott began to write
“ Perhaps, if I had never travelled, poetry, which was not at a very early age,
never left my own country young, my Monk Lewis corrected his verse: he under- views would have been more limited. stood little then of the mechanical part of They extend to the good of mankind in the art. The Fire King in • The Min- general of the world at large. Perhaps strelsy of the Scottish Border,' was al
the prostrate situation of Portugal and most all Lewis's. One of the ballads in Spain--the tyranny of the Turks in Greece that work, and, except some of Leyden's, -the oppression of the Austrian Governperhaps one of the best, was made from a
ment at Venice--the mental debasement of story picked up in a stage-coach ;-I mean
the Papal States, (not to mention Ireland,) that of Will Jones.'
-tended to inspire me with a love of li• They boild Will Jones within the pot, berty. No Italian could have rejoiced And not much fat had Will.'
more than I, to have seen a Constitution " I hope Walter Scott did not write the established on this side the Alps. I felt review on
Christabel ;' for he certainly, for Romagna as if she had been my own in common with many of us, is indebted to country, and would have risked my life Coleridge. But for him, perhaps, · The and fortune for her, as I may yet for the Lay of the Last Minstrel' would never
Greeks. I am become a citizen of the world. have been thought of. The line
There is no man I envy so much as Lord • Jesu Maria shield thee well!'
Cochrane. His entrance into Lima, which is word for word from Christabel."
I see announced in to-day's paper, is one “ Of all the writers of the day, Walter dato, too, (whom you know so well,) is.
of the great events of the day. Mavrocor.. Scott is the least jealous: he is too confi- also worthy of the best times of Greece, dent of his own famc to dread the rivalry Patriotism and virtue are not quite exof others. He does not think of good tinct.” writing, as the Tuscans do of fever,-that there is only a certain quantity of it in the In aid of our attempt to illustrate world.”
the genius and character of Lord In speaking of Goëthe’s Faust and Byron from his Conversations, we the pretensions of the author to ori- shall subjoin a passage concerning ginality, he observes that “ the pro- him out of another work lately publogue is from Job, which is the first lished, together with a few of his drama in the world, and perhaps the letters. The passage
is to be found