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the edge of a sword” (see The Giaour, line 483, note 1) affords an easier and a safer foothold.
To the general reader a bibliography says little or nothing; but, in one respect, a bibliography of Byron is of popular import. It affords scientific proof of an almost unexampled fame, of a far-reaching and still potent influence. Teuton and Latin and Slav have taken Byron to themselves, and have made him their own. No other English poet except Shakespeare has been so widely read and so frequently translated. Of Manfred I reckon one Bohemian translation, two Danish, two Dutch, three French, nine German, three Hungarian, three Italian, two Polish, one Romaic, one Roumanian, four Russian, and three Spanish translations, and, in all probability, there are others which have escaped my net. The question, the inevitable question, arises What was, what is, the secret of Byron's Continental vogue ? and why has his fame gone out into all lands? Why did Goethe enshrine him, in the second part of Faust, "as the representative of the modern era undoubtedly to be regarded as the greatest genius of our century ?” (Conversations of Goethe, 1874, p. 265).
It is said, and with truth, that Byron's revolutionary politics commended him to oppressed nationalities and their sympathizers; that he was against "the tramplers"
-Castlereagh, and the Duke of Wellington, and the Holy Alliance; that he stood for liberty. Another point in his favour was his freedom from cant, his indifference to the pieties and proprieties of the Britannic Muse; that he had the courage of his opinions. Doubtless in a time of trouble he was welcomed as the champion of revolt, but deeper reasons must be sought for an almost exclusive preference for the works of one poet and a comparative indifference to the works of his rivals and contemporaries. He fulfilled another, perhaps a greater ideal. An Englishman turns to poetry for the expression in beautiful words of his happier and better feelings, and he is not contented unless poetry tends to make him happier or better-happier because better than he would be otherwise. His favourite poems are psalms, or at least metrical paraphrases, of life. Men of other nations are less concerned about their feelings and their souls. They regard the poet as the creator, the inventor, the maker par excellence, and he who can imagine or make the greatest eidolon is the greatest poet. Childe Harold and The Corsair, Mazeppa and Manfred, Cain and Sardanapalus were new creations, new types, forms more real than living man, which appealed to their artistic sense, and led their imaginations captive. "It is a mark," says Goethe (Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahreit, 1876, iii. 125), “ of true poetry, that, as a secular gospel, it knows how to free us from the earthly burdens which press upon us, by inward serenity, by outward charm. ... The most lively, as well as the gravest works have the same end-to moderate both pleasure and pain through a happy mental representation.”
It is passion translated into action, the pageantry of history, the transfiguration into visible lineaments of living moods and breathing thoughts which are the notes of this “secular gospel," and for one class of minds work out a secular redemption.
It was not only the questionable belief that he was on the side of the people, or his ethical and theological audacities, or his prolonged Continental exile, which won for Byron a greater name abroad than he has retained at home; but the character of his poetry. “The English
* may think of Byron as they please" (Conversations of Goethe, 1874, p. 171), “but this is certain, that they can show no poet who is to be compared to him. He is different from all the others, and, for the most part, greater.” The English may think of him as they please ! and for them, or some of them, there is “a better onomel," a vinum Dæmonum,' which Byron has not in his gift.
The evidence of a world-wide fame will not endear a poet to a people and a generation who care less for the matter than the manner of verse, or who believe in poetry as the symbol or “credo" of the imagination or the spirit; but it should arrest attention and invite inquiry. A bibliography is a dull epilogue to a poet's works, but it speaks with authority, and it speaks last. Finis coronat opus /
I must be permitted to renew my thanks to Mr. G. F. Barwick, Superintendent of the Reading Room, Mr. Cyril Davenport, and other officials of the British Museum, of
all grades and classes, for their generous and courteous assistance in the preparation and completion of the Bibliography. The consultation of many hundreds of volumes of one author, and the permission to retain a vast number in daily use, have entailed exceptional labour on a section of the staff. I have every reason to be grateful.
I am indebted to Mr. A. W. Pollard, of the British Museum, for advice and direction with regard to bibliographical formulæ; to Mr. G. L. Calderon, late of the staff, for the collection and transcription of the title-pages of Polish, Russian, and Servian translations; and to Mr. R. Nisbet Bain for the supervision and correction of the proofs of Slavonic titles.
To Mr. W. P. Courtney, the author of Bibliotheca Cornubiensis, I owe many valuable hints and suggestions, and the opportunity of consulting some important works of reference.
I have elsewhere acknowledged the valuable information with regard to certain rare editions and pamphlets which I have received from Mr. H. Buxton Forman, C.B.
My especial thanks for laborious researches undertaken on my behalf, and for information not otherwise attainable, are due to M. J. E. Aynard, of Lyons; Signor F. Bianco; Professor Max von Förster, of Würtzburg; Professor Lajos Gurnesovitz, of Buda Pest; Dr. Holzhausen, of Bonn; Mr. Leonard Mackall, of Berlin ; Miss Peacock; Miss K. Schlesinger; M. Voynich, of Soho
Square; Mr. Theodore Bartholomew, of the University Library of Cambridge; Mr. T. D. Stewart, of the Croydon Public Library; and the Librarians of Trinity College, Cambridge, and University College, St. Andrews.
I have also to thank, for special and generous assistance, Mr. J. P. Anderson, late of the British Museum, the author of the “ Bibliography of Byron's Works" attached to the Life of Lord Byron by the Hon. Roden Noel (1890); Miss Grace Reed, of Philadelphia, for bibliographical entries of early American editions; and Professor Vladimir Hrabar, of the University of Dorpat, for the collection and transcription of numerous Russian translations of Byron's Works.
To Messrs. Clowes, the printers of these volumes, and to their reader, Mr. F. T. Peachey, I am greatly indebted for the transcription of Slavonic titles included in the Summary of the Bibliography, and for interesting and useful information during the progress of the work.
In conclusion, I must once more express my acknowment of the industry and literary ability of my friend Mr. F. E. Taylor, of Chertsey, who has read the proofs of this and the six preceding volumes.
The Index is the work of Mr. C. Eastlake Smith.
ERNEST HARTLEY COLERIDGE.