Page images
PDF
EPUB

1

more.”

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

does not ooze away like Acres's— Odds flints and to pass five or six days with Lord Byron at Venice. triggers !' if it should be a rainy morning, and my I had written to him on my way thither to announce stomach in disorder, there may be something for the my coming, and to say how happy it would make me obituary.

could I tempt him to accompany me as far as Rome. “ Now pray, 'Sir Lucius, do not you look upon me During my stay at Geneva, an opportunity had as a very ill-used gentleman?' I send my Lieutenant been afforded me of observing the exceeding readiness to match Mr Hobhouse's Major Cartwright: and so with which even persons the least disposed to be “good morrow to you, good master Lieutenant.' prejudiced gave an ear to any story relating to Lord With regard to other things, I will write soon, but I. Byron, in which the proper portions of odium have been quarrelling and fooling till I can scribble no and romance were but plausibly mingled. In the

course of conversation, one day, with the late, amiable

and enlightened Monsieur D * *, that gentleman In the month of September, Count Guiccioli

, being and myself

, the details of a late act of seduction of

related, with much feeling, to my fellow-traveller called away by business to Ravenna, left his young which Lord Byron had, he said, been guilty, and Countess and her lover to the free enjoyment of each which was made to comprise within itself all the other's society at Bologna. The lady's ill health, which had been the cause of her thus remaining be- the viction, a young unmarried lady, of one of the

worst features of such unmanly frauds upon innocence; hind, was thought soon after to require the still further advantage of a removal to Venice, and the Count, lured from her father's house to his own, and, after

first families of Venice, whom the noble seducer had her husband, being written to on the subject, con

a few weeks, most inhumanly turned her out of doors. sented, with the most complaisant readiness, that she In vain, said the relater, did she entreat to become should proceed thither in company with Lord Byron.

his servant, his slave;-in vain did she ask to remain “Some business,” (says the lady's own Memoir)

in some dark corner of his mansion, from which she “having called Count Guiccioli to Ravenna, I was

might be able to catch a glimpse of his form as he obliged by the state of my health, instead of accompanying him, to return to Venice, and he consented unfortunate young lady, in despair at being thus

passed. Her betrayer was obdurate, and the that Lord Byron should be the companion of my abandoned by him, threw herself into the canal, journey. We left Bologna on the fifteenth of Sep- from which she was taken out but to be consigned to tember; we visited the Euganean Hills and Arquà, and wrote our names in the book which is presented be considerable exaggeration in this story, it was

a mad-house. Though convinced that there must to those who make this pilgrimage. But I cannot only on my arrival at Venice I ascertained that the linger over these recollections of happiness;—the con

whole was a romance; and that out of the circumtrast with the present is too dreadful. If a blessed

stances (already laid before the reader) connected spirit, while in the full enjoyment of heavenly hap- with Lord Byron's fantastic and, it must be owned, piness, were sent down to this earth to suffer all its discreditable fancy for the Fornarina, this pathetic miseries, the contrast could not be more drcadful be- tale, so implicitly believed at Geneva, was fabricated. tween the past and the present, than what I have

Having parted, at Milan, with Lord John Russell, endured from the moment when that terrible word whom I had accompanied from England, and whom I reached my ears, and I for ever lost the hope of again was to rejoin, after a short visit to Rome, at Genoa, beholding him, one look from whom I valued beyond I made purchase of a small and (as it soon proved) all earth's happiness. When I arrived at Venice,

crazy travelling carriage, and proceeded alone on iny the physicians ordered that I should try the country

way to Venice. My time being limited, I stopped air, and Lord Byron having a villa at La Mira, gave

no longer at the intervening places than was sufficient it up to me, and came to reside there with me. At

to hurry over their respective wonders, and, leaving this place we passed the autumn, and there I had the Padua at noon on the 8th of October, I found myself, pleasure of forming your acquaintance.”*

about two o'clock, at the door of my friend's villa, at It was my good fortune, at this period, in the course

La Mira. He was but just up, and in his bath; but of a short and hasty tour through the north of Italy, the servant having announced my arrival, he returned

a message that, if I would wait till he was dressed, * « Il Conte Guiccioli doveva per affari ritornare a Ra

he would accompany me to Venice. The interval I venna; lo stato della mia salute esiggeva che io ritornassi employed in conversing with my old acquaintance, in vece a Venezia. Egli acconsenti dunque che Lord Byron, Fletcher, and in viewing, under his guidance, some mi fosse compagno di viaggio. Partimmo da Bologna alli 15 di Sre-visitammo insieme i Colli Euganei ed Arquà ;

of the apartments of the villa. scrivemmo i nostri nomi pel libro che si presenta a quelli

It was not long before Lord Byron himself made che fanno quel pellegrinaggio. Ma sopra tali rimembranze his appearance, and the delight I felt in meeting him di felicità non posso fermarmi, caro Signor Moore ; l'oppo

once more, after a separation of so many years, was sizione col presente è troppo forte, e se un anima benedetta

not a little heightened by observing that his pleasure nel pieno godimento di tutte le felicità celesti fosse mandata quaggiù e condannata a sopportare tutte le miserie was, to the full, as great, while it was rendered della nostra terra non potrebbe sentire più terribile con- doubly touching by the evident rarity of such meetings trasto frà il passato ed il presente di quello che io sento

to him of late, and the frank outbreak of cordiality dacchè quella terribile parola è giunta alle mie orecchie and gaiety with which he gave way to his feelings. dacchè ho perduto la speranza di più vedere quello di cui uno sguardo valeva per me più di tutte le felicità della It would be impossible, indeed, to convey to those terra. Giunti a Venezia i medici mi ordinarono di respirare who have not, at some time or other, felt the charm l'aria della campagna. Egli aveva una villa alla Mira-la

of his manner, any idea of what it could be when cedette a me, e venne meco. Là passammo l'autunno, e là ebbi il bene di fare la vostra conoscenza."--MS.

under the influence of such pleasurable excitement

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

as it was most flatteringly evident he experienced at I stood in V ice on the Bridge of Sighs ; this moment.

A palace and a prison on each hand : I was a good deal struck, however, by the alteration

I saw from out the wave her structures rise

As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand : that had taken place in his personal appearance. He

A thousand years their cloudy wings expand had grown fatter both in person and face, and the Around me, and a dying glory smiles latter had most suffered by the change,—having lost,

O'er the far times, when many a subject land

Look'd to the winged lion's marble piles, by the enlargement of the features, some of that

Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles. refined and spiritualized look that had, in other times, distinguished it. The addition of whiskers, too, But, whatever emotions the first sight of such a which he had not long before been induced to adopt, scene might, under other circumstances, have inspired from hearing that some one had said he had a “faccia

me with, the mood of mind in which I now viewed di musico,” as well as the length to which his hair it was altogether the very reverse of what might have grew down on his neck, and the rather foreiga air of his been expected. The exuberant gaiety of my compacoat and cap,-all combined to produce that dissimi- njon, and the recollections,—any thing but romantic, larity to his former self I had observed in him. He into which our conversation wandered, put at once was still, however, eminently handsome; and, in completely to flight all poetical and historical assoexchange for whatever his features might have lost ciations ; and our course was, I am almost ashamed of their high, romantic character, they had become to say, one of uninterrupted merriment and laughter, more fitted for the expression of that arch, waggish till we found ourselves at the steps of my friend's pawisdom, that Epicurean play of humour, which he lazzo on the Grand Canal. All that had ever haphad shown to be equally inherent in his various and pened, of gay or ridiculous, during our London life prodigally gifted nature; while, by the somewhat in- together,-his scrapes and my lecturings,

-our joint creased roundness of the contours, the resemblance adventures with the Bores and Blues, the two of his finely formed mouth and chin to those of the great enemies, as he always called them, of London Belvedere Apollo had become still more striking. happiness,--our joyous nights together at Watier's,

His breakfast, which I found he rarely took before Kinnaird's, &c. and that d—d supper of Rancliffe's three or four o'clock in the afternoon, was speedily which ought to have been a dinner,”—all was passed despatched,-his habit being to eat it standing, and rapidly in review between us, and with a flow of huthe meal in general consisting of one or two raw mour and hilarity, on his side, of which it would egys, a cup of tea without either milk or sugar, and have been difficult, even for persons far graver than a bit of dry biscuit. Before we took our departure, I can pretend to be, not to have caught the contagion. he presented me to the Countess Guiccioli, who was He had all along expressed his determination that at this time, as my readers already know, living un- I should not go to any hotel, but fix my quarters at der the same roof with him at La Mira; and who, his house during the period of my stay; and, had le with a style of beauty singular in an Italian, as being been residing there himself, such an arrangement fair-complexioned and delicate, left an impression would have been all that I most desired. But, this upon my mind, during this our first short interview, not being the case, a common hotel was, I thought, of intelligence and amiableness, such as all that I a far readier resource; and I therefore entreated have since known or heard of her has but served to that he would allow me to order an apartment at the confirm.

Gran Bretagna, which had the reputation, I underWe now started together, Lord Byron and myself, stood, of being a comfortable hotel. This, however, in my little Milanese vehicle, for Fusina,—his portly he would not hear of; and, as an inducement for me gondolier Tita, in "a rich livery and most redundant to agree to his plan, said that, as long as I chose to mustachios, having seated himself on the front of the stay, though he should be obliged to return to La carriage, to th no small trial of its strength, which Mira in the evenings, he would make it a point to had already once given way, even under my own come to Venice every day and dine with me. As we weight, between Verona and Vicenza. On our ar- now turned into the dismal canal, and stopped before rival at Fusina, my noble friend, from his familiarity liis damp-looking mansion, my predilection for the with all the details of the place, had it in his power Gran Bretagna returned in full force; and I again to save me both trouble and expense in the different ventured to hint that it would save an abundance of arrangements relative to the custom house, remise, trouble to let me proceed thither. But “No-no." &c.; and the good natured assiduity with which he he answered,—“I see you think you'll be very unbustled about in despatching these matters gave me comfortable here; but you'll find that it is not quite an opportunity of observing, in his use of the infirm so bad as you expect." limb, a much greater" degree of activity than I had As I groped my way after him through the dark ever before, except in sparring, witnessed.

hall, he cried out, “Keep clear of the dog ;” and be As we proceeded across the Lagoon in his gon-fore we had proceeded many paces farther, “ Take dola, the sun was just setting, and it was an evening care, or that monkey will fly at you;”—a curious such as Romance would have chosen for a first sight proof, among many others, of his fidelity to all the of Venice, rising “ with her tiara of bright towers” tastes of his youth, as it agrees perfectly with the above the wave; while, to complete, as may be ima- description of his life at Newstead, in 1809, and of gined, the solemn interest of the scene, I beheld it in the sort of menagerie which his visitors had then to company with him who had lately given a new life to encounter in their progress through his hall. Having its glories, and sung of that fair City of the Sea thus escaped these dangers, I followed him up the stairgrandly :

case to the apartment destined for me. All this time
he had been despatching servants in various direc-

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

tions,-one, to procure me a laquais de place; an- tastes,* that, throughout the whole of their pages, other to go in quest of Mr Alexander Scott, to whom there is not, I fear, one single allusion to any of those he wished to give me in charge; while a third was great masters of the pencil and chisel, whose works, sent to order his Segretario to come to him. “So, nevertheless, both had seen.

That Lord Byron, then, you keep a Secretary?” I said. “Yes," he though despising the imposture and jargon with answered, a fellow who can't write*—but such which the worship of the Arts is, like other worships, are the names these pompous people give to things.” clogged and mystified, felt deeply, more especially in

When we had reached the door of the apartment sculpture, whatever imaged forth true grace and it was discovered to be locked, and, to all appear- energy, appears from passages of his poetry which ance, had been so for some time, as the key could not are in every body's memory, and not a line of which be found ;-a circumstance which, to my English but thrills alive with a sense of grandeur and beauty apprehension, naturally connected itself with notions such as it never entered into the capacity of a mere of damp and desolation, and I again sighed inwardly connoisseur even to conceive. for the Gran Bretagna. Impatient at the delay of In reference to this subject, as we were conversing the key, my noble host, with one of his humorous one day after dinner about the various collections I maledictions, gave a vigorous kick to the door and had visited that morning, on my saying that fearful burst it open; on which we at once entered into an as I was, at all times, of praising any picture, lest apartment not only spacious and elegant, but wearing I should draw upon myself the connoisseur's sneer an aspect of comfort and habitableness which to a for my pains, I would yet, to him, venture to own traveller's eye is as weicome as it is rare. “Here," that I had seen a picture at Milan which_“The he said, in a voice whose every tone spoke kindness Hagar!” he exclaimed, eagerly interrupting me; and hospitality,—“ these are the rooms I use myself, and it was in fact this very picture I was about to and here I mean to establish you."

mention as having wakened in me, by the truth of He had ordered dinner from some Tratteria, and its expression, more real emotion that any I had yet while waiting its arrival—as well as that of Mr Alex- seen among the chefs-d'œuvre of Venice. It was ander Scott, whom he had invited to join us-we with no small degree of pride and pleasure I now stood out on the balcony, in order that, before the discovered that my noble friend had felt equally with day-light was quite gone, I might have some glimpses myself the affecting mixture of sorrow and reproach of the scene which the Canal presented. Happening with which the woman's eyes tell the whole story in to remark, in looking up at the clouds, which were that picture. still bright in the west, that “what had struck me in On the second evening of my stay, Lord Byron Italian sunsets was that peculiar rosy hue ." I having, as before, left us for La Mira, I most willhad hardly pronounced the word “ rosy,” when Lord ingly accepted the offer of Mr Scott to introduce me Byron, clapping his hand on my mouth, said, with a to the conversazioni of the two celebrated ladies, laugh, “ Come, d-n it, Tom, don't be poetical." with whose names, as leaders of Venetian fashion, Among the few gondolas passing at the time, there the tourists to Italy have made every body acquaintwas one at some distance, in which sate two gentleed. To the Countess A**'s parties Lord Byron men, who had the appearanee of being English; and, had chiefly confined himself during the first winter observing them to look our way, Lord Byron, putting he passed at Venice; but the tone of conversation his arms a-kimbo, said with a sort of comic swagger, at these small meetings being much too learned for “ Ah, if you, John Bulls, knew who the two fellows his tastes, he was induced, the following year, to disare, now standing up here, I think you would stare !" continue his attendance at them, and chose, in pre-I risk mentioning these things, though aware how ference, the less erudite, but more easy, society of they may be turned against myself, for the sake of the Countess B**. Of the sort of learning somethe otherwise indescribable traits of manner and times displayed by the “blue” visitants at Madame character which they convey. After a very agree- A **'s, a circumstance mentioned by the noble poet able dinner, through which the jest, the story, and himself may afford some idea. The conversation the laugh were almost uninterruptedly carried on, happening to turn, one evening, upon the statue of our noble host took leave of us to return to La Mira, Washington, by Canova, which had been just shipwhile Mr Scott and I went to one of the theatres, to ped off for the United States, Madame A**, who see the Ottavia of Alfieri.

was then engaged in compiling a Description raiThe ensuing evenings, during my stay, were passed sonnée of Canova's works, and was anxious for inmuch in the same manner,-my mornings being devoted, under the kind superintendence of Mr Scott, * That this was the case with Milton is acknowledged by to a hasty and, I fear, unprofitable view of the trea- Richardson, who admired both Milton and the Arts too sures of art with which Venice abounds. On the

warınly to make such an admission upon any but valid

grounds. « He does not appear,” says this writer, “to subjects of painting and sculpture Lord Byron has,

have much regarded what was done with the pencil; no, in several of his letters, expressed strongly and, as to not even when in Italy, in Rome, in the Vatican. Neither most persons will appear, heretically his opinions. does it seem Sculpture was much esteemed by him.” After In his want, however, of a due appreciation of these

an authority like this, the theories of Hayley and others,

with respect to the impressions left upon Milton's mind by arts, he but resembled some of his great precursors the works of art be had seen in Italy, are hardly worth a in the field of poetry ;-both Tasso and Milton, for thought. example, having evinced so little tendency to such Though it may be conceded that Dante was an admirer

of the arts, his recommendation of the Apocalypse to

Giotto, as a source of subjects for the pencil, shows, at * The title of Segretario is sometimes given, as in this least, what indifferent judges poets are, in general, of the case, to a head-servaut or house-steward,

sort of fancies fittest to be embodied by the painter.

40

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

formation respecting the subject of this statue, re- tion of most pleasing nature! What varied expres.
quested that some of her learned guests would detailsion in his eyes! They were of the azure colour of
to her all they knew of him. This task a Signor * * the heavens, from which they seemed to derive their
(author of a book on Geography and Statistics) un- origin. His teeth, in form, in colour, and trans-
dertook to perform, and, after some other equally parency, resembled pearls; but his cheeks were too
sage and authentic details, concluded by informing delicately tinged with the hue of the pale rose. His
her that “Washington was killed in a duel by neck, which he was in the habit of keeping un-
Burke.”—“ What,” exclaimed Lord Byron, as he covered as much as the usages of society permitted,
stood biting his lips with impatience during this con- seemed to have been formed in a mnould, and was
versation, “what, in the name of folly, are you all very white. His hands were as beautiful as if they
thinking of?”—for he now recollected the famous had been the works of art. His figure left nothing to
duel between Hamilton and Colonel Burr, whom, it be desired, particularly by those who found rather a
was evident, this learned worthy had confounded grace than a defect in a certain light and gentle un-
with Washington and Burke!

dulation of the person when he entered a room, and
In addition to the motives easily conceivable for of which you hardly felt tempted to inquire the cause.
exchanging such a society for one that offered, at Indeed it was scarcely pereeptible,—the clothes he
least, repose from such erudite efforts, there was also wore were so long.
another cause more immediately leading to the dis- “He was never seen to walk through the streets of
continuance of his visits to Madame A**. This Venice, nor along the pleasant banks of the Brenta,
lady, who has been sometimes honoured with the where he spent some weeks of the summer; and there
title of “the De Staël of Italy,” had written a book are some who assert that he has never seen, except-
called “Portraits,” containing sketches of the charac-ing from a window, the wonders of the Piazza di
ters of various persons of note; and it being her in- San Marco;- ?—so powerful in him was the desire of
tention to introduce Lord Byron into this assem- not showing himself to be deformed in any part of his
blage, she had it intimated to his lordship that an person. I, however, believe that he has often gazed
article in which his portraiture had been attempted on those wonders, but in the late and solitary hour,
was to appear in a new edition she was about to when the stupendous edifiees which surrounded him,
publish of her work. It was expected, of course, illuminated by the soft and placid light of the moon,
that this intimation would awaken in him some desire appeared a thousand times more lovely.
to see the sketch ; but, on the contrary, he was pro- “His face appeared tranquil like the ocean on a
voking enough not to manifest the least symptoms of fine spring morning; but, like it, in an instant became
curiosity Again and again was the same hint, with changed into the tempestuous and terrible, if a pas-
as little success, conveyed; till, at length, on finding sion, (a passion did I say?) a thought, a word, oc-
that no impression could be produced in this manner, curred to disturb his mind. His eyes then lost all
a direct offer was made, in Madame A * *'s own their sweetness, and sparkled so that it became dif-
name, to submit the article to his perusal. He could ficult to look on them. So rapid a change would not
now contain himself no longer. With more sincerity have been thought possible ; but it was impossible
than politeness, he returned for answer to the lady, to avoid acknowledging that the natural state of his
that he was by no means ambitious of appearing in

mind was the tempestuous. her work; that, from the shortness, as well as the “What delighted him greatly one day annoyed him distant nature of their acquaintance, it was impos- the next; and whenever he appeared constant in the sible she could have qualified herself to be his por- practice of any habits, it arose merely from the intrait-painter, and that, in short, she could not oblige difference, not to say contempt, in which he held him more than by cominitting the article to the flames. them all: whatever they might be, they were not

Whether the tribute thus unceremoniously treated worthy that he should occupy his thoughts with them. ever met the eyes of Lord Byron, I know not; but His heart was highly sensitive, and suffered itself to he could hardly, I think, had he seen it, have escaped be governed in an extraordinary degree by sympa. a slight touch of remorse at having thus spurned from thy; but his imagination carried him away, and him a portrait drawn in no unfriendly spirit, and, spoiled every thing. He believed in presages, and though affectedly expressed, seizing some of the less delighted in the recollection that he held this belief obvious features of his character,--as, for instance, in common with Napoleon. It appeared that, in that diffidence so little to be expected from a career proportion as his intellectual education was cultilike his,-with the discriminating niceness of a female vated, his moral education was neglected, and that hand. The following are extracts from this Por- he never suffered himself to know or observe other

restraints than those imposed by his inclinations. Ne«Toi, dont le monde encore ignore le vrai nom,

vertheless, who could believe that he had a constant, Esprit mystérieux, Mortel, Ange, ou Démon,

and almost infantine timidity, of which the evidences Qui que tu sois, Byron, bon ou fatal génie,

werc so apparent as to render its existence indisJ'aime de tes concerts la sauvage harmonie.'

putable, notwithstanding the difficulty experienced in

associating with Lord Byron a sentiment which had “It would be to little purpose to dwell upon the the appearance of modesty. Conscious as he was mere beauty of a countenance in which the expression that, wherever he presented himself, all eyes were of an extraordinary mind was so conspicuous. What fixed on him, and all lips, particularly those of the woserenity was seated on the forehead, adorned with men, were opened to say “There he is, that is Lord the finest chestnut hair, light, curling, and disposed Byron,'-he necessarily found himself in the situation with such art, that the art was hidden in the imita- of an actor obliged to sustain a character, and to

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

trait:

LAMARTINE.

66

[ocr errors]

*

one.

Of his

in like

render an account, not to others (for about them he women in particular, who did not dare to look at gave himself no concern), but to himself, of his every him but by stealth, said in an under voice,' What a action and word. This occasioned him a feeling of pity it is! If, however, any of his compatriots of uneasiness which was obvious to every one.

exalted rank and of high reputation came forward to “He remarked on a certain subject (which in 1814 treat him with courtesy, he showed himself obviously was the topic of universal discourse) that the world flattered by it, and was greatly pleased with such was worth neither the trouble taken in its conquest, association. It seemed that to the wound which nor the regret felt at its loss,' which saying (if the remained always open in his ulcerated heart, such worth of an expression could ever equal that of many soothing attentions were as drops of healing balm, and great actions) would almost show the thoughts which comforted him. and feelings of Lord Byron to be more stupendous and Speaking of his marriage,-a delicate subject, unmeasured than those of him respecting whom he but one still agreeable to him, if it was treated in a spoke.

friendly voice,-he was greatly moved, and said it

had been the innocent cause of all his errors and all “ His gymnastic exercises were sometimes violent, his griefs. Of his wife he spoke with much respect and at others almost nothing. His body, like his and affection. He said she was an illustrious lady, spirit, readily accommodated itself to all his inclina- distinguished for the qualities of her heart and undertions. " During an entire winter, he went out every standing, and that all the fault of their cruel separamorning alone to row himself to the island of Arme- tion with himself. Now, was such language nians (a small island situated in the midst of a tranquil dictated by justice or by vanity? Does it not bring lake, and distant from Venice about half a league), to mind the saying of Julius, that the wife of Cæsar to enjoy the society of those learned and hospitable must not even be suspected ? What vanity in that monks, and to learn their difficult language ; and, in saying of Cæsar! In fact, if it had not been from the evening, entering again into his gondola, he went, vanity, Lord Byron would have admitted this to no but only for a couple of hours, into company. A

young daughter, his dear Ada, he spoke second winter, whenever the water of the lake was with great tenderness, and seemed to be pleased at violently agitated, he was observed to cross it, and the great sacrifice he had made in leaving her to landing on the nearest terra firma, to fatigue at least comfort her mother. The intense hatred he bore his two horses with riding.

mother-in-law, and a sort of Euryclea of Lady Byron, “No one ever heard him utter a word of French, -two women, to whose influence he, in a great although he was perfectly conversant with that lan- measure, attributed her estrangement from him, guage. He hated the nation and its modern literature; demonstrated clearly how painful the separation was

manner, he held the modern Italian literature to him, notwithstanding some bitter pleasantries in contempt, and said it possessed but one living which occasionally occur in his writings against her

author,-a restriction which I know not whether to also, dictated rather by rancour than by indifference.” term ridiculous, or false and injurious. His voice. was sufficiently sweet and flexible. He spoke with much suavity, if not contradicted, but rather address- From the time of his misunderstanding with Maed himself to his neighbour than to the entire colt dame A***, the visits of the noble poet were transpany.

ferred to the house of the other great rallying point of “Very little food sufficed him; and he preferred Venetian society, Madame B***,-a lady in whose fish to flesh for this extraordinary reason, that the manners, though she had long ceased to be young, latter, he said, rendered him ferocious. He disliked there still lingered much of that attaching charm, which seeing women eat; and the cause of this extraordinary a youth passed in successful efforts to please seldom antipathiy must be sought in the dread he always fails to leave behind. That those powers of pleasing, had, that the notion he loved to cherish of their per- too, were not yet gone, the fidelity of, at least, one fection and almost divine nature might be disturbed. devoted admirer testified; nor is she supposed to have Having always been governed by them, it would seem thought it iinpossible that Lord Byron himself might that his very self-love was pleased to take refuge in yet be linked on at the end of that long chain of lovers, the idea of their excellence,-a sentiment which he which had, through so many years, graced the triumphs knew how (God knows how) to reconcile with the of her beauty. If, however, there could have been, contempt in which, shortly afterwards, almost with in any case, the slightest chance of such a conquest, the appearance of satisfaction, he seemed to hold she had herself completely frustrated it by introducing them. But contradictions ought not to surprise us in her distinguished visitor to Madame Guiccioli, –a step characters like Lord Byron's; and then, who does by which she at last lost, too, even the ornament of not know that the slave holds in detestation his ruler? his presence at her parties, as in consequence of some

slighting conduct, on her part, towards 5“ Dama," “ Lord Byron disliked his countrymen, but only he discontinued his attendance at her evening assembecause he knew that his morals were held in con- blies, and at the time of my visit to Venice had given tempt by them. The English, themselves rigid ob- up society altogether. servers of family duties, could not pardon him the I could soon collect, from the tone held respecting neglect of his, nor his trampling on principles ; there his conduct at Madame B***'s, how subversive of fore neither did he like being presented to them, nor all the morality of intrigue they considered the late did they, especially when they had their wives with step of which he had been guilty in withdrawing his them, like to cultivate his acquaintance. Still there 'acknowledged " Amica” from the protection of her was a strong desire in all of them to see him, and the husband, and placing her, at once, under the same

« PreviousContinue »