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do?' repeated the lady." 'Almost any thing,' said 1. 'Oh, then, mio caro, do pray beg him to give me something to dye my eyebrows black. I have tried a thousand things, and the colours all come off; and besides, they don't grow. Can't he invent something to make them grow?' All this with the greatest earnestness; and what you will be surprised at, she is neither ignorant nor a tool, but really well educated and clever. But they speak like children, when first out of their convents; and, after all, this is better than an English bluestocking.''
POPE—AND OTHER MATTERS.
To Mr. Moore.
"Ravenna, July 5th, 1821.
"I have had a curious letter to-day from a girl in England (I never saw her) who says she is given over of a decline, but could not go out of the world without thanking me for the delight which my poesy for several years, &c. &e. 'fec. It is signed simply N. N. A., and has not a word of ' cant' or preachment in it upon any opinions. She merely says that she is dying, and that as I had contributed so highly to her existing pleasure, she thought that she might say so, begging me to burn her letter—which, by the way, I can not do, as I look upon such a letter, in such circumstances, as better than a diploma from Gottingen. I once had a letter from Drontheim, in Norway (bnt not from a dying woman) in verse, on the same score of gratulation. These are the things which make one at times believe oneself a poet. But if I must believe that and such
fellows, are poets, also, it is better to be out of the corps.
"I am now in the fifth act of 'Foscari,' being the third tragedy in twelve months, besides proses; so you perceive that I am not at all idle. And are you, too, busy? I doubt that your life at Paris draws too much upon your time, which is a pity. Can't you divide your day, so as to combine both? I have had plenty of all sorts of worldly business
on my hands last year—and yet it is not so difficult to give a few hours to the Muses. This sentence is so like • • • * that— "Ever, &c."
FROM "DETACHED THOUGHTS."
"What a strange thing is life and man! Were I to present myself at the door of the house where my daughter now is, the door would be shut in my face— unless (as is not impossible) I knocked down the porter; and if I had gone in that year (and perhaps now) to Drontheim (the furthest town in Norway), or into Holstein, I should have been received with open arms into the mansion of strangers and foreigners, attached to me by no tie but by that of mind and rumour.
"As far as fame goes, I have had my share: it has indeed been leavened by other human contingencies, and this in a greater degree than has occurred to most literary men of a decent rank of life; but, on the whole, I take it that such equipoise is the condition of humanity.''
"A young American, named Coolidge, called on me not many months ago. He was intelligent, very handsome, and not more than twenty years old, according to appearances; a little romantic, but that sits well upon youth, and mighty fond of poesy, as may be suspected from his approaching me in my cavern. He brought me a message from an old servant of my family (Joe Murray), and told me that he (Mr. Coolidge) had obtained a copy of my bust from Thorwaldsen, at Rome, to send to America. I confess I was more flattered by this young enthusiasm of a solitary TransAtlantic traveller, than if they had decreed me a statue in the Paris Pantheon (I have seen emperors and demagogues cast down from their pedestals even in my own time, and Grattan's name razed from the street called after him in Dublin); I say that I was more flattered by it, because it was single, unpolitical, and was without motive or ostentation—the pure and warm feeling of a boy for the poet he admired. It must have been expensive, though ;—/ would not pay the price of a Thorwaldsen bust for any human head and shoulders, except Napoleon's, or my children's, or some 'absurd womankind's,' as Monkbarn's calls them—or my sister's. If asked why, then, I sate for my own ?—Answer, that it was at the particular request of J. C. Hobhouse, Esq., and for no one else. A picture is a different matter;— every body sits for their picture ;—but a bust looks hke putting up pretensions
to permanency, and smacks something of a hankering for public fame rather than private remembrance.
"Whenever an American requests to see me (which is not unfrequently) I comply, firstly, because I respect a people who acquired their freedom by their firmness without excess; and, secondly, because these Trans-Atlantic visits,' few and far between" make me feel as if talking with posterity from the other side of the Styx. In a century or two, the new English and Spanish Atlantides will be masters of the old countries, in all probability, as Greece and Europe overcame their mother Asia in the older or earlier ages, as they are called."
EXTRACT FROM A DIARY OF LORD
"I have found out the seal cut on Murray's letter. It is meant for Walter Scott —or Sir Walter—he is the first poet knighted since Sir Richard Blackmore. But it does not do him justice. Scott's—particularly when he recites— is a very intelligent countenance, and this seal says nothing.
"Scott is certainly the most wonderful writer of the day. His novels are a new literature in themselves, and his poetry as good as any—if not better (only on an erroneous system)—and only ceased to be so popular, because the vulgar learned were tired of hearing 'Aristides called the Just,', and Scott the Best, and ostracised him.
"I like him, too, for his manliness of character, for the extreme pleasantness of his conversation, and his good-nature towards myself, personally. May he prosper !—for he deserves it. I know no reading to which I fall with such alacrity as a work of W. Scott's. I shall give the seal, with his bust on it, to Madame la Contesse G. this evening, who will be curious to have the effigies of a man so celebrated.
"January 20th, 1821.
"To-morrow is my birthday—that is to say, at twelve o' the clock, midnight, i. e. in twelve minutes, I shall have completed thirty and three years of age!!! —and I go to my bed with a heaviness of heart at having lived so long, and to so little purpose.
"It is three minutes past twelve.— ''Tis the middle of night by the castle clock, and I am now thirty-three!
'Eheu, fugaces, Posthunie, Posthume,
but I don't regret them so much for what I have done, as lor what I might have done.
* Through life's road, to dim and dirty,
"January 22nd, 1821.
of the Past,
On the road to Bologna he had met with his early and dearest friend. Lord Clare, and the following description of their short interview is given in his "Detached Thoughts.''
• Pisa, November 5th, 1821. "'There is a strange coincidence sometimes in the little things of this world, Sancho,' says Sterne in a letter (if I mistake not,) and so I have often found it.
"Page 128, article 91, of this collection, I had alluded to my friend Lord Clare in terms such as my feelings suggested. About a week or two afterwards, I met him on the road between Imola and Bologna, after not having met for seven or eight years. He was abroad in 1814, and came home just as I set out in 1816.
"This meeting annihilated for a moment all the years between the present time and the days of Harrow. It wag a new and inexplicable feeling, like rising from the grave, to me. Clare too was much agitated — more in appearance than myself; for I could feel his heart beat to his fingers' ends, unless, indeed, it was the pulse of my own which made me think so. He told me that I should find a note from him left at Bologna. I did. We were obliged to part for our different journeys, he for Rome, I for Pisa, but with the promise to meet again in spring. We were but five minutes together, and on the public road; but I hardly recollect an hour of my existence which could be weighed against them. He had heard that I was coming on, and had left his letter for me at Bologna, because the people with whom he was travelling could not wait longer.
"Of all I have ever known, he has always been the least altered in every thing from the excellent qualities and kind affections which attached me to him so strongly at school. I should hardly have thought it possible for society (or the world, as it is called) to leave a being with so little of the leaven of bad passions.
"I do not speak from personal experience only, but from all I have ever heard of him from others, during absence and distance."
On the subject of intimacies formed by Lord Byron, not only at the period of which we are speaking, but throughout his whole life, it would be difficult to advance any thing more judicious, or more demonstrative of a true knowledge of his character, than is to be found in the following remarks of one who had studied him with her whole heart, who had learned to regard him with the eyes of good sense, as well as of affection, and whose strong love, in short, was founded upon a basis the most creditable both to him and herself, —the being able to understand him.*
"We continued in Pisa even more rigorously to absent ourselves from society. However, as there were a good many English in Pisa, he could not avoid becoming acquainted with various friends of Shelley, among which number was Mr. Medwin. They followed him ia his rides, dined with him, and felt themselves happy, of course, in the apparent intimacy m which they lived with so renowned a man; but not one of them was admitted to any part of his friendship, which, indeed, he did not easily accord. He had a great affection for Shelley, and a great esteem for his character and talents; but he was not his friend in the most extensive sense of that word. Sometimes, when speaking of his friends and of friendship, as also of love, and of every other noble emotion of the soul, his expressions might inspire doubts concerning his sentiments and the goodness of his heart. The feeling of the moment regulated his speech, and besides, he liked to play the part of singularity,— and sometimes worse, more especially with those whom lie suspected of endeavouring to make discoveries as to his real character; but it was only mean minds and superficial observers that could be deceived in him. It was necessary to consider his actions to perceive the contradiction they bore * " My poor Zimmerman, who now will understand thee ?"— sucb was the touching speech addressed to Zimmerman by his wire, on her deathbed, and there is implied in these few words all that a man of morbid teusibility must be dependent for upon the tender and self-forgetling tolerance of the woman with whom he is united.
to his words: it was necessary to be witness of certain moments, during which unforeseen and involuntary emotion forced him to give himself entirely up to his feelings; and whoever beheld him then, became aware of the stores of sensibility and goodness of which his noble heart was full.
"Among the many occasions I had of seeing him thus overpowered, I shall mention one relative to his feelings of friendship. A few days before leaving Pisa, we were one evening seated in the garden of the Palazzo Lanfranchi. A soft melancholy was spread over his countenance ; —he recalled to mind the events of his life; compared them with his present situation and with that which it might have been if his affection for me had not caused him to remain in Italy, saying things which would have made earth a paradise for me, but that even then a presentiment that I should lose all this happiness tormented me. At this moment a servant announced Mr. Hobhouse. The slight shade of melancholy diffused over Lord Byron's face gave instant place to the liveliest joy; but it was so great, that it almost deprived him of strength. A fearful paleness came over his cheeks, and his eyes were tilled with tears as he embraced his friend. His emotion was so great that he was forced to sit down.
"Lord Clare's visit also occasioned him extreme delight. He had a great affection for Lord Clare, and was very happy during the short visit that he paid him at Leghorn. The day on which they separated was a melancholy one for Lord Byron. 'I have a presentiment that I shall never see him more,' he said, and his eyes tilled with tears. The same melancholy came over him during the first weeks that succeeded to Lord Clare's departure, whenever his conversation happened to fall upon this friend."
01 his feelings on the death of his daughter Allegra, this lady gives the following account:—" On the occasion also of the death of his natural daughter, I saw in his grief the excess of paternal tenderness. His conduct towards this child was always that of a fond father; but no one would have guessed from his expressions that he felt this affection for her. He was dreadfully agitated by the first intelligence of her illness; and when afterwards that of her death arrived, I was obliged to fulfil the melancholy task of communicating it to him. The memory of that frightful moment is stamped indelibly on my mind. For several evenings he had not left his
house, I therefore went to him. His most of the details. Had full time been first question was relative to the courier allowed for the "over-light'' of his
he had despatched for tidings of his
imagination to have been tempered down by the judgment which, in him, was still in reserve, the world at large would have been taught to pay that; high homage to his genius which those only who saw what he was capable of can now be expected to accord to it.
It was about this time that Mr. Cowell, paying a visit to Lord Byron at Genoa, was told by him that some friends of Mr. Shelley, sitting together one evening, had seen that gentleman, distinctly, as they thought, walk, into a little wood at Lerici, when at the same moment, as they afterwards discovered, far away, in quite a different direction. "This," added Lord Byron, in a low, awe-struck tone of voice, "was but ten days before poor Shelley died."
HIS SERVICE IN THE GREEK CAUSE.
With that thanklessness which too often waits on disinterested actions, it has been some times tauntingly remarked, and in quarters from whence a more generous judgment might be expected, that, after all, Lord Byron effected but little for Greece: as if much could be effected by a single individual, and in so short a time, for a cause which, fought as it has been almost incessantly through the six years since his death, has required nothing less than the intervention of all the great powers of Europe to give it a chance of success, and, even so, has not yet succeeded. That Byron himself was under no delusion, as to the im
counts sent him were for a post or two portance of his own solitary aid—that he
... r » _ .i i_ i;i ii.:. *i *
The melancholy death of poor Shelley, which happened, as we have seen, also during this period, seems to have affected Lord Byron's mind less with
knew, in a struggle like this, there must be the same prodigality of means towards one great end as is observable in the still grander operations of nature, where individuals are as nothing in the
grief for the actual loss of his friend tide of events—that such was his, at
than with bitter indignation against • 1 — .—l.^i., „;o,„
those who had, through life, so grossly misrepresented him; and never certainly was there an instance where the supposed absence of all religion in an individual was assumed so eagerly as an excuse for the entire absence of truth and charity in judging him. Though never
once, philosophic and melancholy view of his own sacrifices, I have, I trust, clearly shown. But that, during this short period of action, he did not do well and wisely all that man could achieve in the time, and under the circumstances, is an assertion which the noble facts here recorded fully and tri
personally acquainted with Mr. Shelley, umphantly disprove. He knew that,
I can join freely with those who most ->•-•••' ••••" K°
loved him in admiring the various excellencies of his heart and genius, and lamenting the too early doom that robbed us of the mature fruits of both. His short life had been, like his poetry, a sort of bright, erroneous dream,—false in the general principles on which it proceed
placed as he was, his measures, to be wise, must be prospective, and from the nature of the seeds thus sown by him, the benefits that were to be expected must be judged. To reconcile the rude chiefs to the government and to each other ;—to infuse a spirit of humanity, by his example, into their warfare; —to
ed, though beautiful and attaching in prepare the way for the employment of the expected loan, in a manner moat calculated to call forth the resources of the country—to put the fortifications of Missolooghi in such a state of repair as might, and eventually did, render it proof against the besieger ;—to prevent those infractions of neutrality, so tempting to the Greeks, which brought their government in collision with the Ionian authorities, and to restrain all such license of the press as might indispose the courts of Europe to their cause :— such were the important objects which he had proposed to himself to accomplish, and towards which, in this brief interval, and in the midst of such dissensions and hindrances, he had already made considerable and most promising progress. But it would be unjnst to close even here the bright catalogue of his services. It is, after all, not with the span of mortal life that the good achieved by a name immortal ends. The charm acts into the future—it is an auxiliary through all time; and the inspiring example of Byron, as a martyr of liberty, is for ever freshly embalmed in his glory as a poet.
Of his face, the beauty may be pronounced to have been of the highest order, ns combining at once regularity of features with the most varied and interesting expression. •
The same facility, indeed, of change observable in the movements of his mind was seen also in the free play of his features, us the passing thoughts within darkened or shone through them. - His eyes, though of a light grey, were capable of all extremes of expression, from the most joyous hilarity to the deepest sadness—from the very sunshine of benevolence to the most concentrated scorn or rage. Of this latter passion, I had once an opportunity of seeing what fiery interpreters they could be, on my telling him, thoughtlessly enough, that a friend of mine had said to me— "Beware of Lord Byron, he will, some day or other, do something very wicked." "Was it man or woroon said so?" he exclaimed, suddenly turning round upon me with a look of such intense anger os, though it lasted not an instant, could not easily be forgot, and of which no better idea can be given than in the words of one who, speaking of Chatterton's eyes, says that "fire rolled at the bottom of them."
But it was in the mouth and chin that the great beauty, as well as expression of his fine countenance lay. "Many pictures have been painted of him (says a fair critic of his features) with various
succeis; but the excessive beauty of his lips escaped every pointer and sculptor. In their ceaseless play they represented every emotion, whether pale with anger, curled in disdain, smiling in triumph, or dimpled with archness and love." It would be injustice to the reader not to borrow from the same pencil a few more touches of portraiture. '' This extreme facility of expression was sometimes painful, for I have seen him look absolutely ugly—I have seen him look so hard and cold, that you must hate him, and then, in a moment, brighter than the sun, with such playful softness in his look, such affectionate eagerness kindling in his eyes, and dimpling his lips into something more sweet than a smile, that you forget the man, the Lord Byron, in the picture of beauty presented to you, and gazed with intense curiosity—I had almost said—as if to satisfy yourself, that thus looked the god of poetry, the god of the Vatican, when he conversed with the sons and daughters of man."
His head was remarkably small—so much so as to be rather out of propor tion with his face. The forehead, though a little too norrow, was high, and appeared more so from his having his hair (to preserve it, as he said) shaved over the temples; while the glossy, darkbrown curls, clustering over his head, gave the finish to its beauty. When to this is added, that his nose, though handsomely, was rather thickly shaped, that his teeth were white and regular, and his complexion colourless, as good an idea perhaps as it is in the power of mere words to convey may be conceived of his features.
In height he was, as he himself has informed us, five feet eight inches and a half, and to the length of his limbs he attributed his being such a good swimmer. His hands were very white, and— according to his own notion of the size of hands as indicating birth—aristocratically small. The lameness of his right foot, though an obstacle to grace, but little impeded the activity of his movements; and from this circumstance, as well as from the skill with which the foot was disguised by means of long trousers, it would be difficult to conceive a defect of this kind less obtruding itself as a deformity; while the diffidence which a constant consciousness of the infirmity gave to his first approach and address made, in him, even lameness a source of interest.
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