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their love-making, may be seen by the histories of the literati of other coffee houses, to wit, the Steeles, and Congreves, and Vanbrughs of old. Vanbrugh was a Captain of the Guards, and a favourite of the ladies; but
a do we suppose that he was less a favourite than any other Captain, because he could talk better, and because his small shot was good as well as small? Sappho was a great poetess; but she might have set her heart upon a person incapable of understanding her, or have exhibited a violence and self-will which belonged to her temperament and not to her wit. One example, or ten, says nothing against the universal opinion in favour of the union of wit and gallantry, and of the effect that even the reputation of wit has upon the fair sex. Pope was deformed, and his letters to Lady Mary partook of the crookedness of which he was conscious. He had not the heart to give his talents fair play, and write in a straightforward manner; and she, being surrounded by handsome wits, and gay fellows about Court, with all their faculties fresh upon them, was not likely to select for her gallant the least handsome of them all, a little misgiving invalid. Lord Byron did not fail, because he 'was wise or witty, or because a wise man is a fool in love,
a still less because every fool has the luck of Cymon; but because he was splenetic and moody, and very different from what a man of his wit ought to have been. Does our speculative friend think that the Rochesters and Buckinghams always failed in their gallantry?
In the note to p. 98, vol. I. a suspicion is expressed, that Lord Byron and Mr. Hobhouse planned and executed the insurrection of the Greeks, nearly twenty years back! The subtle nod in Italics by which this discovery is conveyed to us, is really agreeable, and gives one a favourable opinion of the author's good-natured credulity.
“Circumstances," says Lord Byron, “of little consequence to mention, * led Mr. Hobhouse and myself into
* These « circumstances of little consequence," in which the au. thor has found something of the “utmost consequence,” were probably nothing more than a fit of caprice, or the pursuit of a pretty face, or the chances attendant upon navigation. He seems to think that his hero could not put on his bat, but the universe had something to do with it.
that country, before we visited any other part of the Ottoman dominions; and with the exception of Major Leake, then officially resident at Joannina, no other Englishmen have ever advanced beyond the capital into the interior, as that gentleman very lately assured me. Ali Pacha was at that time (1809) carrying on war against Ibrahim Pacha, whom he had driven to Berat, a strong fortress, which he was then besieging. On our arrival at Joannina, we were invited to Tepelene, his Highness's birthplace, and favourite Serai, only one day's journey from Berat; at this juncture the Vizier made it his head-puarters." The author adds, in a note, “It seems extremely probable, that this expression was made use of to conceal the real purport of the journey, as Ali Pacha's subsequent rupture with the Porte was the signal for the breaking out of the Greek insurrection; if so, the journey, was of the utmost consequence to the cause of Greece."
“A most material question,” says he, “now arises: What could induce two young men of independent fortune to take such a journey by sea and land, and to brave the wilds and banditti of Albania, as rude a country as the interior of Africa, to pay a visit to an infidel, a barbarian, a monster, execrable for every species of villany, and reeking with blood?”
“Why, because he was a monster and a show, and, because others had travelled in Greece before, especially, men from the Universities. Has not our friend learnt, from his intimacy with courts and people of fashion, that nothing is such a godsend to gentlemen full of ennui and fond of notoriety, as a spectacle of any sort, the more monstrous the better? And does he not know, that if Ali had come to the British metropolis, he would have been the rage for the season, and asked out by every great person that could venture on such a liberty, to see how such a very decapitating person drank his coffee and displayed his diamonds? Not to know this, argues him, I fear, still more unknown than he wishes to be. Joannina, the Pacha's capital, was accounted the metropolis of Modern Greece: and besides, Lord Byron, though young, had had experience enough to begin to philosophize; and he probably thought, that many a meek personage whom he
had known in England would have been as savage as Ali, A had he been born and bred in the same manner; for Ali was a very soft-spoken gentleman, as quiet as Claverhouse; and, for aught we know, would have made a capital writer in a Scotch magazine.
“ Thus," quoth our friend after quoting a couple of stanzas from Childe Harold,—"thus did this apostle of liberty preach to the Greeks through eighteen stanzas, and it would seem that neither his planning nor his preaching was in vain.” Poor Lord Byron! He would have been a very unwilling apostle; had he known he was also to be a martyr. He had as little real regard for liberty as Alfieri, or any other proud man of rank; but he had an impatience of any despotism not his own: he had also a great love of fame; and even in that is to be found a link with the social affections, very capable of being turned to good account, if circumstances are favourable.
Speaking of an alleged residence in the island of Mytilene, which Lord Byron denied in a public letter, the author says, “The account is circumstantial; the denial in the letter is positive. If the latter were really written by Lord Byron, he abominated falsehood, and implicit confidence should be placed in his assertion.” Of the residence in the island of Mytilene I know nothing; but as to the abomination of falsehood, Lord Byron once gave a list of the Englishmen he had seen since he left England, and told the public that the list was complete. Mr. Shelley's name was not in it, and he had seen Mr. Shelley. He had been in habits of intercourse with him.
The mention of Mr. Nathan, the composer, at p. 212, reminds me, that I was present one day in Piccadilly, when that gentleman came to give Lord Byron a specimen of his “ Hebrew Melodies." The noble Bard who was then in the middle of that unpleasant business about his wife, asked him for the one respecting Herod and and Mariamne, which he listened to with an air of romantic regret. This was a sort of effect that he liked; nor would it have turned to ill-account, if his rank and worldly connexions could have let him alone. In the very pretence there was a love of something, that might
have become real. Mr. Nathan had a fine head; and made the grand piano-forte shake like a nut shell, under the vehemence of his inspiration.
I remember Polidori, also, who is mentioned at p. 220. He was the son of Polidori, a teacher of Italian, who made some good translations from Milton. Lord Byron engaged the young Doctor to accompany him to Greece. He came in one day, and called about him in a strange manner for water and a towel. Not knowing who he was, I was puzzled to think who it could be, that made himself thus cavalierly at home. Lord Byron looked disconcerted, but was quite mild and acquiescent. I have seen him submit in a similar way to others who did not scruple to avail themselves of this weakness. I have known him even hastily secrete a paper, which he had promised them perhaps not to show. "Polidori and he used afterwards to have loud disputes, as if they were equals. He was a foolish, boasting fellow, not perhaps without disease in his blood; and came to an impatient end.
Among the hostile criticisms upon Lord Byron, our author quotes one from 6 Blackwood's Magazine. The reader remembers the passage in Goldsmith's “Citizen of the World,” where a soldier a prisoner for debt, and a porter, are deprecating the consequences of a French invasion. The porter says, the French are a parcel of slaves, fit only to carry burdens; the prisoner that they have no liberty; and the soldier wonders what will be
our religion.” -“ May the devil sink me into flames,” (such, quoth the Citizen of the World, was the solemnity of his adjuration)—may the devil sink me into flames, if I can think, my lads, what is to become of our religion.” Mr. Blackwood was agitated in like manner respecting the shocking want of piety and Christian charity discernible in his Lordship.
" It has been sufficiently manifest,” says he, “that this man is devoid of religion.” (Sir Walter, by the bye, of “Beacon" fame, must be acquitted of having known any thing of this passage, where a lord is designated so ignobly.)
ignobly.) “At times, indeed,” pursues Mr. Blackwood, “the power and presence of the Deity, as speaking in sterner wakings of the elements, seems to
come of "
force some momentary consciousness of their existence into his labouring breast; a spirit in which there breathes so much of the divine, cannot always resist the majesty of its maker: but of true religion, terror is a small part; and of all religion, that founded on mere terror is the least worthy of such a man as Byron. We may look in vain, through all his works, for the slightest evidence that his soul had ever listened to the gentle voice of his i oracles. His understanding has been subdued into conviction by some passing cloud; but his heart has never been touched. He has never written one line that savours of the spirit of meekness.
Then follows something about charity, and clay-idols, and brutal outrages of all the best feelings; and Mr. Blackwood, having finished his sermon, retires to count his money, his ribaldry, and his kicks.
Our book-making and best-of-every-thing-making author puts as much faith in the celebrated Farewell to Lady Byron, as if he had been one of the numerous married ladies who wondered how any body could be cruel to the writer of such charming verses.
There never was a greater instance of Lord Byron's authorship and love of publicity than that very poem.
He sat down to imagine what a husband might say, who had really loved his wife, to a wife who had really loved him; and he said it so well, that one regrets he had not been encouraged, when younger, to feel the genuine passion. But the verses were nothing more. There was no true love on either side, or (without meaning to liken the two modes of conduct) neither could have behaved to the other as both did afterwards. People may say bitter things, who love; the things may even be the bitterer at the moment, because they cannot endure the very dispute that occasions them. Unkind things may be said, precisely because we do not mean them, and because we like to flatter ourselves with observing their effect upon the beloved object. But real lovers do not precede their union with a doubting courtship; still less do they follow it with premature differences, with a hasty separation, with public libels on one side, and unbroken inattention on the other. It is best, surely, that there should have been no love in the case; and being no love, it was best