« PreviousContinue »
TO MR MURRAY.
mistress dear, who hath fed my heart upon smiles vity, as if in that case the gravity did not (in intenand wine' for the last two months, set off with her tion, at least,) heighten the fun. His metaphor is, husband for Bologna this morning, and it seems that that we are never scorched and drenched at the same I follow him at three to-inorrow morning. I cannot time.' Blessings on his experience! Ask him these tell how our romance will end, but it hath gone on questions about scorching and drenching.' Did he hitherto most erotically. Such perils and escapes ! never play at cricket, or walk a mile in hot weather? Juan's are as child's play in comparison. The fools, Did he never spill a dish of tea over himself in banding think that all my poeshie is always allusive to my the cup to his charmer, to the great shame of his own adventures : I have had at one time or another nankeen breeches? Did he never swim in the sea at better and more extraordinary and perilous and noonday with the sun in his eyes and on his head, pleasant than these, every day of the week, if I which all the foam of ocean could not cool? Did he might tell them; but that must never be.
never draw his foot out of too hot water, d-ning his “I hope Mrs M. has accouched.
eyes and his valet’s? ******** Did he never “Yours ever.” tumble into a river or lake, fishing, and sit in his wet
clothes in the boat, or on the bank, afterwards,
“scorched and drenched, like a true "sportsman? LETTER CCCXXXVII.
Oh for breath to utter!'-but make him any compliments; he is a clever fellow for all that—a very clever fellow.
“You'ask me for the plan of Donny Johnny:I have « Bologna, August 12th, 1819.
no plan; I had no plan; but I had or have materials; “I do not know how far I may be able to reply to
though if, like Tony Lumpkin, 'I am to be soubbed your letter, for I am not very well to-day. Last night I went to the representation of Alfieri's Mirra, the and the poet turn serious again. If it don't take, I
so when I am in spirits, the poem will be naught, iwo last acts of which threw me into convulsions. I will leave it off where it is, with all due respect to the do not mean by that word a lady's hysterics, but the public; but if continued, it must be in my own way. agony of reluctant tears, and the choking shudder,
You might as well make Hamlet (or Diggory) ‘act which I do not often undergo for fiction. This is but mad in a strait waistcoat as trammel my buffoonery, the second time for any thing under reality : the first if I am to be a buffoon; their gestures and my was on seeing Kean's Sir Giles Overreach. The
thoughts would only be pitiably absurd and ludicrously worst was, that the “Dama' in whose box I was
constrained. Why, inan, the soul of such writing is went off in the same way, I really believe more from its licence ; at least the liberty of that licence, if one fright than any other sympathy—at least with the likes not that one should abuse it. It is like Trial players: but she has been ill, and I have been ill,
by Jury and Peerage and the Habeas Corpus-a very and we are all languid and pathetic this morning, fine thing, but chiefly in the reversion ; because no with great expenditure of sal volatile.* But, to re
one wishes to be tried for the mere pleasure of proving turn to your letter of the 23d of July.
his possession of the privilege. “You are right, Gifford is right, Crabbe is right,
6. But a truce with these reflections. You are too Hobhouse is right-you are all right, and I am all
about a work never intended to be wrong; but do, pray, let me have that pleasure. Cut me up root and branch; quarter me in the Quarterly; intention but to giggle and make giggle?-a playful
serious. Do you suppose that I could have any send round my • dijecti membra poetæ," like those of satire, with as little poetry as could be helped, was the Levite's concubine; make me, if you will, a
what I meant. And as to the indecency, do, pray, spectacle to men and angels; but don't ask me to alter, for I won't:-I am obstinate and lazy--and says of Prior and Paulo Purgante.
read in Boswell what Johnson, the sullen moralist, there's the truth.
“ Will you get a favour done for me? You can, by “But, nevertheless, I will answer your friend P**, who objects to the quick succession of fun and gra
your government friends, Croker, Canning, or my old schoolfellow Peel, and I can't. Here it is. Will you
ask them to appoint (without salary or emolument) * The “ Dama,' ” in whose company he witnessed this
a noble Italian (whom I will name afterwards) consul representation, thus describes its effect upon him :_The play was that of Mirra; the actors, and particularly the
or vice-consul for Ravenna? He is a man of very actress who performed the part of Mirra, seconded with large property-noble, too; but he wishes to have a much success the intentions of our great dramatist. Lord
British protection, in case of changes. Ravenna is Byron took a strong interest in the representation, and it was evident that he was deeply affected. At length there
near the sea. He wants no emolument whatever. came a point of the performance at which he could no That his office might be useful, I know; as I lately longer restrain his emotions ;-he burst into a flood of sent off from Ravenna to Trieste a poor devil of an tears, and, his sobs preventing him from remaining any
English sailor, who had remained there sick, sorry, longer in the box, he rose and left the theatre.--I saw hini similarly affected another time during a representation of and pennyless (having been set ashore in 1814), from Alfieri's “Philip,' at Ravenna "_" Gli attori, e special- the want of any accredited agent able or willing to "mente l'attrice che rappresentava Mirra secondava assai help him homewards. Will you get this done? If! bene la mente del nostro grande Tragico. L. B. prese molto interesse alla rappresentazione, e si conosceva che
you do, I will then send his name and condition, era molto commosso. Venne un punto poi della Tragedia subject, of course, to rejection, if not approved when in cui non potè più frenare la sua emozione,--diede in un known. dirotto pianto ei singhiozzi gl'impedirono di più restare “ I know that in the Levant you make consuls and nel palco; onde si levo, e parti dal teatro. In uno stato simile lo vidi un altra volta a Ravenna ad una rappresen
vice-consuls, perpetually, of foreigners. This man is tazione del Filippo d'Alfieri."
a patrician, and has twelve thousand a year. His
motive is a British protection in case of new invasions. Don't you think Croker would do it for us? To be
LETTER CCCXXXVIII. sure, my interest is rare !! but perhaps a brother wit in the Tory line might do a good turn at the re
TO MR MURRAY, quest of so harmless and long absent a Whig, particularly as there is no salary or burthen of any sort
" Bologna, August 230, 1819. to be annexed to the office.
“I send you a letter to R ** ts, signed. Wortley “I can assure you, I should look upon it as a great Clutterbuck,' which you may publish in what form obligation; but, alas! that very circumstance may, you please, in answer to his article. I have had very probably, operate to the contrary-indeed, it many proofs of men’s absurdity, but he beats all in ought; but I have, at least, been an honest and an folly. Why, the wolf in sheep's clothing has tumopen enemy. Amongst your many splendid govern-bled into the very trap! We'll strip him. The ment connexions, could not you, think you, get our letter is written in great haste, and amidst a thousand Bibulus made a Consul? or make me one, that I may vexations. Your letter only came yesterday, so that make him my Vice. You may be assured that, in there is no time to polish : the post goes out to-morcase of accidents in Italy, he would be no feeble adjunct row.. The date is ‘Little Pidlington.' Let **** -as you would think, if you knew his patrimony. correct the press: he knows and can read the
" What is all this about Tom Moore? but why handwriting. Continue to keep the anonymous do I ask? since the state of my own affairs would not about “ Juan;' it helps us to fight against overwhelmpermit me to be of use to him, though they are greatly ing numbers. I have a 'thousand distractions at improved since 1816, and may, with some more luck present; so excuse haste, and wonder I can act or and a little prudence, become quite clear. It seems write at all. Answer by post, as usual. his claimants are American merchants? There goes
6 Yours. Nemesis ! Moore abused America. It is always "P.S. If I had had time, and been quieter and thus in the long run :-Time, the Avenger. You have nearer, I would have cut him to hash; but as it is, seen every trampler down, in turn, from Buonaparte you can judge for yourselves." to the simplest individuals. You saw how some were avenged even upon my insignificance, and how in
The letter to the Reviewer, here mentioned, had turn * * * paid for his atrocity. It is an odd world; its origin in rather an amusing circumstance. In but the watch has its mainspring, after all.
the First Canto of Don Juan appeared the following “ So the Prince has been repealing Lord Edward passage:Fitzgerald's forfeiture? Ecco un' sonetto!
« For fear some prudish readers should grow skittish,
I've bribed My Grandmother's Review;-the British ! « To be the father of the fatherless,
To stretch the hand from the throne's height, and raise “ I sent it in a letter to the editor,
Who thank'd me duly by return of post-
I'm for a handsome article his creditor;
Yet if my gentle Muse he please to roast,
And break a promise after having made it her,
Denying the receipt of what it cost,
And smear his page with gall instead of honey,
All I can say is that he had the money."
Omnipotent by Mercy's means? for thus
On the appearance of the Poem, the learned editor
of the Review in question allowed himself to be And by the heart, not hand, enslavin
decoyed into the ineffable absurdity of taking the
charge as serious, and, in his succeeding number, “There, you dogs! there's a sonnet for you : you came forth with an indignant contradiction of it. To won't have such as that in a hurry from Mr Fitz- this tempting subject the letter, written so hastily off gerald. You may publish it with my name, an' ye at Bologna, related; but, though printed for Mr Murwool. He deserves all praise, bad and good; it was ray, in a pamphlet consisting of twenty-three pages, a very noble piece of principality. Would you like it was never published. * Being valuable, however, an epigram--a translation?
as one of the best specimens we have of Lord By
ron's simple and thoroughly English prose, I shall « If for silver, or for gold,
here preserve some extracts from it.
« TO THE EDITOR OF THE BRITISH REVIEW.
MY DEAR R--TS,
“ As a believer in the Church of England—to say “This was written on some Frenchwoman, by nothing of the State, I have been an occasional Rulhières, I believe.
reader, and great admirer, though not a subscriber “ Yours."
to your Review. But I do not know that any arti
* It has appeared, however, I understand, in some of the foreign editions of his lordship’s works.
cle of its contents ever gave me much surprise till this subject discussed at the tea-table of Mr ** the the eleventh of your late twenty-seventh number made poet,--and Mrs and the Misses * * * being in a its appearance. You have there most manfully re. corner of the room 'perusing the proof sheets of futed a calumnious accusation of bribery and corrup- Mr ***'s poems, the male part of the conversazione tion, the credence of which in the public mind might were at liberty to make some observations on the not only have damaged your reputation as a clergy- poem and passage in question, and there was a difman and an editor, but, what would have been still ference of opinion. Some thought the allusion was to worre, have injured the circulation of your journal; the British Critic;' others, that by the expression, which, I regret to hear, is not so extensive as the 'My Grandmother's Review, it was intimated that “purity (as you well observe) of its, &c. &c. and the my grandmother was not the reader of the review, present taste for propriety, would induce us to ex- but actually the writer ; thereby insinuating, my dear pect. The charge itself is of a solemn nature, and, Mr Rts, that you were an old woman; because, although in verse, is couched in terms of such cir- as people often say, “Jeffrey's Review,' 'Gifford's cumstantial gravity as to induce a belief little short ! Review,” in lieu of Edinburgh and Quarterly, so 'My of that generally accorded to the thirty-nine articles, Grandmother's Review' and R-ts's might be also to which you so generously subscribed on taking your synonymous. Now, whatever colour this insinuation degrees. It is a charge the most revolting to the might derive from the circumstance of your wearing heart of man from its frequent occurrence; to the a gown, as well as from your time of life, your general mind of a statesman from its occasional truth; and style, and various passages of your writings,-) will to the soul of an editor from its moral impossibility. take upon myself to exculpate you from all suspicion You" are charged then in the last line of one octave of the kind, and assert, without calling Mrs. R-ts stanza, and the whole eight lines of the next, viz. in testimony, that if ever you should be chosen Pope, 209th and 210th of the First Canto of that “pestilent you will pass through all the previous ceremonies poem,' Don Juan, with receiving, and still more with as much credit as any pontiff since the partufoolishly acknowledging, the receipt of certain monies rition of Joan. It is very unfair to judge of sex from to eulogise the unknown author, who by this account writings, particularly from those of the British Remust be known to you, if to nobody else. An im- view. We are all liable to be deceived, and it is an peachment of this nature, so seriously made, there is indisputable fact that many of the best articles in your but one way of refuting; and it is iny firm persuasion, journal, which were attributed to a veteran female, that whether you did or did not (and I believe that were actually written by you yourself, and yet to this you did not) receive the said moneys, of which I day there are people who could never find out the wish that he had specified the sum, you are quite difference. But let us return to the more immediate right in denying all knowledge of the transaction. If question. charges of this nefarious description are to go forth, “I agree with you that it is is impossible Lord B. sanctioned by all the solemnity of circumstance, and should be the author, not only because, as a British guaranteed by the veracity of verse (as Counsellor peer and a British poet, it would be impracticable for Phillips would say), what is to become of readers him to have recourse to such facetious fiction, but hitherto implicitly confident in the not less veracious for some other reasons which you have omitted to prose of our critical journals ? what is to become of state. In the first place, his lordship has no grandthe reviews ? and, if the reviews fail, what is to be- mother. Now the author—and we may believe him come of the editors? It is common cause, and you in this doth expressly state that the ' British' is his have done well to sound the alarm. I myself, in my “Grandmother's Review ;' and if, as I think, I have humble sphere, will be one of your echoes. In the distinctly proved, this was not a mere figurative alluwords of the tragedian Liston, 'I love a row,' and sion to your supposed intellectual age and sex, my you seem justly determined to make one.
dear friend, it follows, whether you be she or no, “It is barely possible, certainly improbable, that that there is such an elderly lady still extant. the writer might have been in jest ; but this only aggravates his crime. A joke, the proverb says, “ breaks “Shall I give you what I think a prudent opinion? no bones ;' but it may break a bookseller, or it may I don't mean to insinuate, God forbid ! but if, by any be the cause of bones being broken. The jest is accident, there should have been such a corresponbut a bad one at the best for the author, and might dence between you and the unknown author, whohave been a still worse one for you, if your copious ever he may be, send himn back his money ; I dare say contradiction did not certify to all whom it may con- he will be very glad to have it again; it can't be cern your own indignant innocence, and the imma- much, considering the value of the article and the circulate purity of the British Review. I do not doubt culation of the journal; and you are too modest to rate your word, my dear R--ts; yet I cannot help wish- your praise beyond its real worth :-don't be angry, ing that, in a case of such vital importance, it had I know you won't, at this appraisement of your assumed the more substantial shape of an affidavit powers of eulogy; for, on the other hand, my dear sworn before the Lord Mayor Atkins, who readily fellow, depend upon it your abuse is worth, not its receives any deposition; and doubtless would have own weight, that's a feather, but your weight in brought it in some way as evidence of the designs of gold. So don't spare it; if he has bargained for that, the Reformers to set fire to London, at the same time give it handsomely, and depend upon your doing him that he himself meditates the same good office towards a friendly office. the river Thames.
6 What the motives of this writer may have been “ I recollect hearing, soon after the publication, for (as you magnificently translate his quizzing you),
stating, with the particularity, which belongs to fact, he stood looking, in a state of unconscious reverie,
of “ Corinne"
the handwriting of him who passionately loved you, little of your prolixity. The fact is, my dear R-ts, and you will divine that, over a book which was that somebody has tried to make a fool of you, and yours, he could only think of love. In that word, what he did not succeed in doing, you have done for beautiful in all languages, but most so in yourshim and for yourself.”
Amor mio—is comprised my existence here and here
after. I feel I exist here, and I fear that I shall exist Towards the latter end of August, Count Guiccioli, hereafter,—to what purpose you will decide; my accompanied by his lady, went for a short time to destiny rests with you, and you are a woman, eighteen visit some of his Romagnese estates, while Lord years of age, and two out of a convent. I wish that Byron remained at Bologna alone. And here, with a you had staid there, with all my heart,-or, at least, heart softened and excited by the new feeling that that I had never met you in your married state. had taken possession of him, he appears to have given
“But all this is too late. I love you, and you love himself up, during this interval of solitude, to a train me,--at least, you say so, and act as if you did of melancholy and impassioned thought such as, for a which last is a great consolation in all events. But I time, brought back all the romance of his youthful more than love you, and cannot cease to love you. days. That spring of natural tenderness within his “ Think of sometimes, when the Alps and the soul, which neither the world's efforts nor his own ocean divide us,-but they never will, unless you had been able to chill or choke up, was now, with
wish it. something of its first freshness, set flowing once more.
“ BYRON He again knew what it was to love and be loved,
“ Bologna, August 25, 1819."
Bologna, August 24, 1819.
any case: it helps what in musing; and it was on an occasion of this kind, as fun there may be. But if the matter grows serious
about Don Juan, and you feel yourself in a scrape, * One of these notes, written at the end of the 5th chapter,
or me either, own that I am the author. I will 18th book of Corinne (“ Fragmens des Pensées de Corinnen) never shrink; and if you do, I can always answer is as follows:
“I knew Madame de Staël well,-better than she knew Italy,-but I little thought that, one day, I should think
* " Oh Love ! what is it, in this world of ours, with her thoughts, in the country where she has laid the
Which makes it fatal to be loved ! ah, why scene of her most attractive productions. She is some
With cypress branches hast thou wreath'd thy bowers, times right, and often wrong, about Italy and England;
And made thy best interpreter a sigh ! but almost always true in delineating the heart, which is of
As those who dote on odours pluck the flowers, but one nation, and of no country,-or, rather, of all.
And place them on their breasts--but place to die “ BYRON.
Thus the frail beings we would fondly cherish “Bologna, August 23, 1819.
Are laid within our bosoms but to perish,”
TO MR MURRAY.
you in the question of Guatimozin to his minister— I consented. He came. It was his own particular each being on his own coals. *
request. He began a story. I asked him if he would “ I wish that I had been in better spirits; but I am return the money. He said nobut he would exout of sorts, out of nerves, and now and then (I begin change. He asked an exorbitant price for his other to fear) out of my senses. All this Italy has done for horses. I told him that he was a thief. He said he me, and not England : I defy all you, and your cli- was an officer and a man of honour, and pulled out a mate to boot, to make me mad. But if ever 1 do Parmesan passport signed by General Count Neifreally become a bedlamite, and wear a strait waist- perg. I answered, that as he was an officer, I would coat, let me be brought back among you; your people treat him as such; and that as to his being a gentle. will then be proper company.
man, he might prove it by returning the money: as “ I assure you what I here say and feel has nothing for his Parmesan passport, I should have valued it to do with England, either in a literary or personal more if it had been a Parmesan cheese. He anpoint of view. All my present pleasures or plagues swered in high terms, and said that if it were in the are as Italian as the opera. And after all, they are morning (it was about eight o'clock in the evening) but trifles; for all this arises from my “ Dama's' being he would have satisfaction. I then lost my temper: in the country for three days (at Capo-fiume). But As for THAT,' I replied, “you shall have it directly, as I could never live but for one human being at a -it will be mutual satisfaction, I can assure you. time (and I assure you, that one has never been You are a thief, and, as you say, an officer; my pismyself, as you may know by the consequences, for tols are in the next room loaded; take one of the the selfish are successful in life), I feel alone and candles, examine, and make your choice of weapons.' unhappy.
He replied that pistols were English weapons ;
he “ I have sent for my daughter from Venice, and I always fought with the sword. I told him that I was ride daily, and walk in a garden, under a purple able to accommodate him, having three regimental canopy of grapes, and sit by a fountain, and talk swords in a drawer near us; and he might take the with the gardener of his tools, which seem greater than longest and put himself on guard. Adam's, and with his wife, and with his son's wife, “All this passed in presence of a third person. He who is the youngest of the party, and, I think, talks then said No, but tomorrow morning he would give best of the three. Then I revisit the Campo Santo, me the meeting at any time or place. I answered and my old friend, the sexton, has two-but one the that it was not usual to appoint meetings in the preprettiest daughter imaginable; and I amuse myself sence of witnesses, and that we had best speak man with contrasting her beautiful and innocent face of to man, and appoint time and instruments, But as fifteen with the skulls with which he has peopled se- the man present was leaving the room,
the Lieutenant veral cells, and particularly with that of one skull *, before he could shut the door after him, ran out dated 1766, which was once covered (the tradition roaring help and murder' most lustily, and fell into goes) by the most lovely features of Bologna--noble a sort of hysteric in the arms of about fifty people, and rich. When I look at these, and at this girl, who all saw that I had no weapon of any sort or when I think of what they were, and what she must kind about me, and followed him, asking him what be-why, then, my dear Murray, I won't shock you the devil was the matter with him. Nothing would by saying what I think. It is little matter what be- do: he ran away without his hat, and went to bed, ill comes of us“ bearded inen,' but I don't like the notion of the fright. He then tried his complaint at the po of a beautiful woman's lasting less than a beautiful lice, which dismissed it as frivolous. He is, I believe, tree-than her own picture-her own shadow, which gone away, or going. won't change so to the sun as her face to the mirror. “ The horse was warranted, but, I believe, so I must leave off, for my head aches consumedly. I worded that the villain will not be obliged to refund, have never been quite well since the night of the re- according to law. He endeavoured to raise up an presentation of Alfieri's Mirra, a fortnight ago. indictment of assault and battery, but as it was in a
6 Yours ever." public inn, in a frequented street, there were too many
witnesses to the contrary; and, as a military man, he
has not cut a martial figure, even in the opinion of
the priests. He ran off in such a hurry that he left
inn. The facts are as I tell you, I can assure you.
I “ I have been in a rage these two days, and am still should never have thought of trying his 'cunning in bilious therefrom. You shall hear. A captain of fence. But what could I do? He talked of honour dragoons, **, Hanoverian by birth, in the Papal and satisfaction, and his commission;' he produced troops at present, whom I had obliged by a loan when a military passport; there are severe punishments nobody would lend him a paul, recommended a horse for regular duels on the continent, and trifling ones to me, on sale by a Lieutenant * *, an officer who for rencontres, so that it is best to fight it out directly; unites the sale of cattle to the purchase of men.
I he had robbed, and then wanted to insult me ;—what bought it. The next day, on shoeing the horse, we
could I do? My patience was gone, and the weapons discovered the thrush,--the animal being warranted
at hand, fair and equal. Besides, it was just after sound. I sent to reclaim the contract and the money. dinner, when my digestion was bad, and I don't like The lieutenant desired to speak with me in person,
to be disturbed. His friend * * is at Forli; we shall
meet on my way back to Ravenna, The Hanoverian *“Am I now reposing on a bed of lowers ?"-See ROBERTSON, seems the greater rogue of the two; and if my valour
TO MR MURRAY.