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he had often been given to understand that his presence would have been welcome at Court, and that the Grand Duchess in particular (a princess of the house of Saxony) wished to see him; but that he had an invincible antipa-> thy to going. I believe his lameness alone gave him a dislike to appearing at any Court, setting aside the consideration that might have rendered it unpleasant in Italy, after the connexions he had made with people not in favour-Of the story of the banker, which is connected with this intimacy with the Grand Duke, I know nothing; nor of twenty others selected with the same confidence; but, as I observed before, the fictions with which every thing I do know is mixed up and made absurd, hinder one from taking a particle of any thing else for granted.
“ Canova chiselled out four busts for him." P. 149.
Canova, to the best of my recollection, never did any thing for him. It was Bartolini who made his bust, and very dissatisfied he was with it. He said it made him look old; and could not bear any body to think it like.
" This second time he fixed his quarters at Pisa with a Mrs. Wilson, whose husband had been clerk in a counting-house at Leghorn. With this old lady he frequently strolled.”
He strolled with nobody. Whenever he went out, it was on horseback, or in a carriage. He did not like to be seen walking, on account of his lameness; and besides, it would have put him to bodily pain.
“ Lord Byron was every inch an Englishman; a trueborn Briton, of so patriotic a spirit,” &c.
He cared nothing at all for England. He disliked the climate; he disliked the manners of the people; he did not think them a bit better than other nations: and had he entertained all these opinions in a spirit of philosophy, he would have been right; for it does not become a man of genius to
give up, even to his country, 6 what is meant for mankind.” He was not without some of this spirit; but undoubtedly his greatest dislike of England was owing to what he had suffered there, and to the ill opinion which he thought was entertained of him. It was this that annoyed him in Southey. I believe if he entertained a mean opinion of the talents of
any body, it was of Southey's; and he had the greatest coutempt for his political conduct (a feeling which is more common with men of letters than Mr. Southey fancies;*) but he believed that the formal and the foolish composed the vast body of the middle orders in England; with these he looked upon Mr. Southey as in great estimation; and whatever he did to risk individual good opinion, however he preferred fame and a “sensation," at all hazards,- he did not like to be thought ill of by any body of people. Individual opinion he could dare, could provoke, could put to the most mortifying trials, could childishly throw away; but after the publication of Beppo and Don Juan, and the new popularity they gave him (which I will venture to say was a great surprise to him, and a no less edifying symptom on the part of the British public,) he began to think himself safe again with regard to bodies of society, and was exceedingly enraged to be waked up out of his dream. He fancied that, in turning the laugh against Southey, he should have rendered the public unwilling to hear him; perhaps, have ousted him from the Quarterly Review; forgetting, that all which the public care for on these occasions, is what the bye-standers care for, when a ring is made for a couple of boxers. He found that Southey could still write in the “ Quarterly," and read him a lecture; and however sure the Laureat was to make the lecture an exposure of his own folly and conceit, there were too many hits in it at his Lordship's weak points not to distress him sorely, and make him mad with vexation at having subjected himself to such an antagonist. However, if he had not the last word, he had the best. All Southey's attacks are common-places and fumes of “Malvolio," compared with the vision of Judgment--the most masterly satire that has appeared since the time of Pope.
Of Lord Byron's defence of “Cain," our author says,
I know one of the most eminent writers of the day, not implicated in any violent politics, who looks upon Mr. Southey as at once a halfwitted egotist, and something including every offence which he is fond of attributing to others. This opinion is not mine, silly as I hold the Laureat to be in some things, and not half so wise or so good as he takes himself to be in others; but it may serve to show him (if any thing can) that he is not free from as bad a repute with some, as be would cast upon Lord Byron.
that "if it does not wholly exculpate him, it at least provés, that he is less culpable than all the ancient writers of mysteries; than Milton and Goethe;--at all events, that he had no intention of offending morality, or the tender consciences of timid men.
Lord Byron's defence was, that “if Cain' was blasphemous, Paradise Lost' was blasphemous. . Cain,'” said he,“ was nothing more than a drama, not a piece of argument. If Lucifer and Cain speak as the first rebel and the first murderer may be supposed to speak, nearly all the rest of the personages talk also according to their character; and the stronger passions have ever been permitted to the drama.”
This is not sincere. “Cain" was undoubtedly meant as an attack upon the crude notions of the Jews respecting evil and its origin. Lord Byron might not have? thought much about the matter, when he undertook to write it; but such was his feeling. He was conscious of it; and if he had not been, Mr. Shelley would not have suffered him to be otherwise. But the case is clear from internal evidence. Milton, in his “ Paradise Lost,” intended nothing against the religious opinions of his time;? Lord Byron did. The reader of the two poems feels certain of this; and he is right. It is true, the argumentative part of the theology of Milton was so bad, that a suspicion has crossed the minds of some in these latter times, whether he was not purposely arguing against himself; but a moment's recollection of his genuine character and history does it away. Milton was as decidedly a Calvinist at the time he wrote “ Paradise Lost," and subject to all the gloomy and degrading sophistries of his sect, as he certainly altered his opinions afterwards, and subsided in a more Christian Christianity. Lord Byron, with a greater show of reason, and doubtless with a genuine wonder (for he reasoned very little on any, thing, ) asks “what the Methodists would say to Goethe's • Faust?' His devil,” says he, “not only talks very familiarly of heaven, but very familiarly in heaven. What would they think,” he continues, of the colloquies of Mephistophiles and his pupil, or the more daring language of the prologue, which not one of us will venture to translate? And yet this play is not only tolera
ted and admired, as every thing he wrote must be, but acted in Germany. Are the Germans then a less moral people, than we are? I doubt it.”
No: they are not: but they have got beyond us in these speculative mattere, at least, as a nation. It is the case with other nations, to whom we set the example as individuals. We have something of the practical indecision of first-thinkers about us. We start a point of knowledge and reformation, and then, out of the very conscience that has forced us to do it, shrink back from pursuing it through its consequences. Lord Byron may well question those as to their right of tolerating Goethe, who, without knowing him thoroughly, will put up with any thing he writes, because he is a foreigner, a great name, and a minister with orders at his button-hole. But Goethe did not write, as Lord Byron did, without knowing his subject and himself, or without being prepared with a succedaneum for the opinions he was displacing, -one, too, that could reconcile those very opinions to the past condition of society, and even connect them and their very contradictions with the nobler views by which they are displaced. Lord Byron was a helper in a cause nobler than he was aware of, and he was not without the comforts of an instinct to that effect; but his unsubdued and unreflecting passions had not allowed him to be properly conscious of it. By the same defect he subjected himself to questions which he could not answer; and because he was not prepared with good arguments, resorted to bad and insincere ones, which deceived nobody.
The world have been much puzzled by Lord Byron's declaring himself a Christian every now and then in some part of his writings or conversations, and giving them to understand in a hundred others that he was none. The truth is, he did not know what he was; and this is the case with hundreds of the people who wonder at him. I have touched this matter before; but will add a word or two. He was a Christian by education: he was an infidel by reading. He was a Christian by habit; he was no Christian upon reflection. I use the word here in its ordinary acceptation, and not in its really Christian and philosophical sense, as a believer in the endeavour and the universality, which are the consummation of
Christianity. His faith was certainly not swallowed up in charity; but his charity, after all, was too much for it. In short, he was not a Christian, in the sense understood by that word; otherwise he would have had no doubts about the matter, nor (as I have before noticed) would he have spoken so irreverently upon matters in which no Christian of this sort indulges, license of speech. Bigoted Christians of all sects take liberties enough, God knows. They are much profaner than any devout Deist ever thinks of being; but still their profanities are not of a certain kind. They would not talk like Voltaire, or say with Lord Byron, that upon Mr. Wordsworth's showing,
Carnage must be Christ's sister."*
P. 336, vol. ii. “There is no man, nor well educated woman in Italy, that cannot quote all the finer passages of the favourite author (Dante.”) (A great mistake.) “The Guiccioli could repeat almost all the Divine Comedy.”--Three volumes of stern writing about Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise! Credat Medwin! I remember very well, that his Lordship's fair friend was quite horrified at the poem of Andrea di Basso, a writer of a Dantesque order of mind, quoted in the “ Indicator." It was addressed to the corpse of a proud beauty. Lord Byron showed it her to enjoy her impatience. She was quite vexed and mortified, and wondered how I could translate so shocking an author.
Mr. Wordsworth says in his “ Thanksgiving Ode for the Battle of Waterloo," that “ Carnage is God's daughter."
“ But thy most dreaded instrument,
Yea, Carnage is thy daughter.' How poor and wilful, how presumptuous, and at the same time misgiving-how full of a pretended right to say the boldest and most shocking things unexplained, in the very vindication of meekness and humility, and to let us think what we please of it, because he has might and orthodoxy on his side,- is this sullen ebullition, this thump of a doubtful fist on a pulpit-cushion, compared with the kindly and noble exposition which Goethe would have given us of the possible ha necessity of past warfare, in one of his transcendant allegories! The more I know of Goethe, and think of the Lake poets, the more I see how much they have owed to him, and how ill they have understood it.
† As Andrea de Basso is not easily to be met with, the reader is presented with a specimen of what fri ed the lady: