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upas tree, that antidote to the arts, Mrs. B. and, since he has been here, has written some Entre nous, - you may expect to see me soon. very pretty verses. 3 He is very good in Adieu. Yours ever."
trying to amuse me as much as possible, but
it is not in my nature to be happy without From these letters it will be perceived either female society or study. that Lord Byron was already engaged in There are many pleasant rides about here, preparing a collection of his poems for the which I have taken in
with press. The idea of printing them first oc- Bo'swain, who, with Brighton“, is universally curred to him in the parlour of that cottage admired. You must read this to Mrs. B., as which, during his visits to Southwell, had it is a little Tony Lumpkinish. Lord B. become his adopted home. Miss Pigot, who | desires some space left : therefore, with was not before aware of his turn for versi- respect to all the comedians elect, believe me fying, had been reading aloud the poems of to be," &c. &c. Burns, when young Byron said that “he, too, was a poet sometimes, and would write To this letter the following note from down for her some verses of his own which Lord Byron was appended :he remembered.” He then, with a pencil, wrote those lines, beginning “ In thee I
My dear Bridget, fondly hoped to clasp!,” which were printed Pegasus, which has prevented me from
* I have only just dismounted from my in his first unpublished volume, but are not descending to plain prose in an epistle of contained in the editions that followed. He also repeated to her the verses I have greater length to your fair self. You realready referred to,“ When to this airy hall gretted, in a former letter, that my poems my fathers' voice," so remarkable for the
were not more extensive; I now for your anticipations of his future fame that glimmer doubled them, partly by the discovery of
satisfaction announce that I have nearly through them. in print took entire possession of him ;- Wednesday next ; till then believe me yours From this moment the desire of appearing some I conceived to be lost, and partly by
some new productions. We shall meet on though, for the present, his ambition did not
“ BYRON, extend its views beyond a small volume for
affectionately. private circulation. The person to whom “ P.S. - Your brother John is seized with fell the honour of receiving his first manu- a poetic mania, and is now rhyming away at scripts was Ridge, the bookseller, at Newark; the rate of three lines per hour —so much and while the work was printing, the young for inspiration! Adieu!” author continued to pour fresh materials into his hands, with the same eagerness and By the gentleman, who was thus early rapidity that marked the progress of all his the companion and intimate of Lord Byron, maturer works.
and who is now pursuing his profession with His return to Southwell, which he an- the success which his eminent talents deserve, nounced in the last letter we have given, was I have been favoured with some further but for a very short time. In a week or two recollections of their visit together to Harafter he again left that place, and, ac- rowgate, which I shall take the liberty of companied by his young friend Mr. Pigot, set giving in his own words :out for Harrowgate. The following extracts “ You ask me to recall some anecdotes of are from a letter written by the latter gentle the time we spent together at Harrowgate man, at the time, to his sister.
in the summer of 1806, on our return from Harrowgate is still extremely full ; Wed- 1.college, he from Cambridge, and I from nesday (to-day) is our ball-night, and I Edinburgh ; but so many years have elapsed meditate going into the room for an hour, since then, that I really feel myself as if realthough I am by no means fond of strange calling a distant dream. We, I remember, faces. Lord B., you know, is even more shy went in Lord Byron's own carriage, with than myself ; but for an hour this evening I post-horses ; and he sent his groom with two will shake it off.
How do our saddle-horses, and a beautifully formed, very theatricals proceed ? Lord Byron can say ferocious, bull-mastiff
, called Nelson, to meet all his part, and I most of mine. He certainly us there. Boatswain 5 went by the side of acts it inimitably. Lord B. is now poetising, his valet Frank on the box, with us.
This precious pencilling is still, of course, preserved. [For a fac-simile of it, see Works, p. 1.]
2 (See Works, p. 378.]
9 The verses "To a beautiful Quaker," in his first volumne, were written at Harrow gate. (See Works, p. 397.]
4 A horse of Lord Byron's :- the other horse that he had with him at this time was called Sultan.
5 The favourite dog, on which Lord Byron afterwards wrote the well-known epitaph. [See Works, p. 539.]
The bull-dog, Nelson, always wore a prospect and performance, a source of inmuzzle, and was occasionally sent for into finite delight to him, and took place soon our private room, when the muzzle was taken after his return to Southwell. How anxiously off, much to my annoyance, and he and his he was expected back by all parties, may be master amused themselves with throwing the judged from the following fragment of a letter room into disorder. There was always a which was received by his companion during jealous feud between this Nelson and Boat- their absence from home :swain ; and whenever the latter came into “ Tell Lord Byron that, if any accident the room while the former was there, they should retard his return, his mother desires instantly seized each other . and then, Byron, he will write to her, as she shall be miserable myself, Frank, and all the waiters that could if he does not arrive the day he fixes. be found, were vigorously engaged in parting Mr. W. B. has written a card to Mrs. H. to them, — which was in general only effected offer for the character of . Henry Woodville,' by thrusting poker and tongs into the mouths - Mr. and Mrs. *** not approving of their of each. But, one day, Nelson unfortunately son's taking a part in the play: but I believe escaped out of the room without his muzzle, he will persist in it. Mr. G. W. and going into the stable-yard fastened upon sooner than the party should be disappointed, the throat of a horse from which he could not he will take any part, — sing — dance - in be disengaged. The stable-boys ran in alarm short, do any thing to oblige. Till Lord to find Frank, who taking one of his Lord's Byron returns, nothing can be done ; and Wogdon's pistols, always kept loaded in his positively he must not be later than Tuesday room, shot poor Nelson through the head, to or Wednesday.” the great regret of Byron.
We have already seen that, at Harrow, We were at the Crown Inn, at Low his talent for declamation was the only one Harrowgate. We always dined in the public by which Lord Byron was particularly disroom, but retired very soon after dinner tinguished ; and in one of his note-books he to our private one ; for Byron was no more adverts, with evident satisfaction, both to a friend to drinking than myself. We lived his school displays and to the share which retired, and made few acquaintance ; for he he took in these representations at Southwas naturally shy, very shy; which people well :who did not know him mistook for pride. “When I was a youth, I was reckoned a While at Harrowgate he accidentally met good actor. Besides Harrow speeches (in with Professor Hailstone from Cambridge, which I shone), I enacted Penruddock in and appeared much delighted to see him. the Wheel of Fortune, and Tristram Fickle The professor was at Upper Harrowgate : in Allingham's farce of the Weathercock, for we called upon him one evening to take him three nights (the duration of our compact), to the theatre, I think, -and Lord Byron in some private theatricals at Southwell in sent his carriage for him, another time, to a 1806, with great applause. The occasional ball at the Granby. This desire to show prologue for our volunteer play was also of attention to one of the professors of his my composition. The other performers were college is a proof that, though he might young ladies and gentlemen of the neighbourchoose to satirise the mode of education in hood, and the whole went off with great the university, and to abuse the antiquated effect upon our good-natured audience. regulations and restrictions to which under- It may, perhaps, not be altogether triling graduates are subjected, he had yet a due to observe, that, in thus personating with discrimination in his respect for the indivi- such success two heroes so different, the duals who belonged to it. I have always, young poet displayed both that love and indeed, heard him speak in high terms of power of versatility by which he was afterpraise of Hailstone, as well as of his master, wards impelled, on a grander scale, to Bishop Mansel', of Trinity College, and of present himself under such opposite aspects others whose names I have now forgotten. to the world ; – the gloom of Penruddock,
“ Few people understood Byron ; but I and the whim of Tristram, being types, as it know that he had naturally a kind and feeling were, of the two extremes, between which heart, and that there was not a single spark his own character, in after-life, so singularly of malice in his composition.” 2
vibrated. The private theatricals alluded to in the These representations, which form a meletters from Harrowgate were, both in morable era at Southwell, took place about
1 (Dr. William Mansel was, in 1790, appointed to the headship of Trinity College, by Mr. Pitt; and in 1808 he was indebted to the influence of his pupil, Mr. Perceval, for his promotion to the see of Bristol. He died in 1820.]
? Lord Byron and Dr. Pigot continued to be correspondents for some time, but, after their parting this autumn, they never met again.
the latter end of September, in the house of sonages of the green-room were satisfied, Mr. Leacroft, whose drawing-room was con- and even wondered how a suspicion of verted into a neat theatre on the occasion, waggery could have attached itself to so and whose family contributed some of the well-bred a production. Their wonder, howfair ornaments of its boards. The prologue ever, was of a different nature a night or which Lord Byron furnished, and which two after, when, on hearing the audience may be seen in his “ Hours of Idleness","convulsed with laughter at this same comwas written by him between stages, on his position, they discovered, at last, the trick way from Harrowgate. On getting into the which the unsuspected mimic had played on carriage at Chesterfield, he said to his com- them, and had no other resource than that panion, “Now, Pigot, I'll spin a prologue of joining in the laugh which his playful for our play ;” and before they reached imitation of the whole dramatis personæ Mansfield, he had completed his task, - excited. 3 interrupting, only once, his rhyming reverie, The small volume of poems, which he to ask the proper pronunciation of the had now for some time been preparing, was, French word début,” and, on being told it, in the month of November, ready for delivery exclaiming, in the true spirit of Byshe, “ Ay, to the select few among whom it was inthat will do for rhyme to new."
tended to circulate ; and to Mr. Becher the The epilogue on the occasion was from first copy of the work was presented. The the pen of Mr. Becher ? ;” and for the pur- influence which this gentleman had, by his pose of affording to Lord Byron, who was love of poetry, his sociability and good to speak it, an opportunity of displaying his sense, acquired at this period over the mind powers of mimicry, consisted of good-hu- of Lord Byron, was frequently employed by moured portraits of all the persons concerned him in guiding the taste of his young friend, in the representation. Some intimation of no less in matters of conduct than of literathis design having got among the actors, an ture; and the ductility with which this alarm was felt instantly at the ridicule thus influence was yielded to, in an instance I in store for them ; and to quiet their appre- shall have to mention, will show how far hensions, the author was obliged to assure from untractable was the natural disposition them that if, after having heard his epilogue of Byron, had he more frequently been at rehearsal, they did not, of themselves, lucky enough to fall into hands that knew pronounce it harmless, and even request that the stops” of the instrument, and could it should be preserved, he would most wil draw out its sweetness as well as its strength. lingly withdraw it. In the mean time, it In the wild range which his taste was now was concerted between this gentleman and allowed to take through the light and misLord Byron that the latter should, on the cellaneous literature of the day, it was but morning of rehearsal, deliver the verses in a natural that he should settle with most tone as innocent and as free from all point pleasure on those works from which the as possible, reserving his mimicry, in feelings of his age and temperament could which the whole sting of the pleasantry lay, extract their most congenial food ; and, acfor the evening of representation. The cordingly, Lord Strangford's Camoëns and desired effect was produced ; — all the per- Little's Poems6 are said to have been, at
[See Works, p. 398.) ? [See BYRONIANA.) it be that young persons commence authorship at an ear3 [For a detailed account of the Southwell Theatricals lier age than heretofore, whilst their fancy is as yet unsee BYRONIANA.]
chastised by experience, it is a melancholy truth, that 4 Of this edition, which was in quarto, and consisted
delicacy is almost excluded from the species of poetry but of a few sheets, there are only two, or, at the utmost,
now before us. The young author of the present day three copies in existence.
suffers his mind to wander without restraint or control;
and the extravagant creatures of a prurient imagination, $(" Mend, Strangford ! mend thy morals and thy taste;
tricked out in all the tinsel and frippery of the modern Be warm, but pure ; be amorous, but be chaste:
poet's effeminate vocabulary, are thoughtlessly put into Cease to deceive; thy pilfer'd harp restore,
the hands of youth, by those who would have been Nor teach the Lusian bard to copy Moore.”
shocked at the far less seducing danger of a downright English Bards, &c., Works, p. 426. obscenity.” – Vol. vi. p. 46.] Lord Strangford's “ Poems from the Portuguese of(Who in soft guise, surrounded by a choir Luis de Camoëns," appeared in 1803. " Lord Strang- Of virgins melting, not to Vesta's fire, ford throughout his whole translation," say the Edin- With sparkling eyes, and cheek by passion flush'd, burgh reviewers, “ if he has not wilfully misrepresented, Strikes his wild lyre, whilst listening dames are has entirely misconceived the character of Camoëns, and 'Tis Little ! young Catullus of his day, [hush'd ? this misconception leads him into continual errors. There As sweet, but as immoral, in his lay! is nothing in Camoëns to make a girl blush ; his feelings Grieved to condemn, the muse must still be just, were delicate, and he wrote as he felt. Whether it be Nor spare melodious advocates of lust." owing to the general deterioration of morals, or whether
English Bards, &c., Works, p. 425.]
TO THE EARL OF CLARE.
this period, his favourite study. To the following letter ;- a letter which it is imindulgence of such a taste his reverend possible to peruse without acknowledging friend very laudably opposed himseif, - the noble candour and conscientiousness of presenting with truth, (as far, at least, as the writer : the latter author is concerned,) how much more worthy models, both in style and thought, he might find among the established
" Southwell, Notts, February 6. 1807. names of English literature. Instead of My dearest Clare, wasting his time on the ephemeral pro- “ Were I to make all the apologies ductions of his contemporaries, he should necessary to atone for my late negligence, devote himself, his adviser said, to the pages you would justly say you had received a of Milton and of Shakspeare, and, above petition instead of a letter, as it would be all, seek to elevate his fancy and taste by filled with prayers for forgiveness ; but inthe contemplation of the sublimer beauties stead of this, I will acknowledge my sins at of the Bible. In the latter study, this gen- once, and I trust to your friendship and tleman acknowledges that his advice had generosity rather than to my own excuses. been, to a great extent, anticipated, and Though my health is not perfectly rethat with the poetical parts of the Scripture established, I am out of all danger, and have he found Lord Byron deeply conversant :- recovered every thing but my spirits, which a circumstance which corroborates the ac
are subject to depression. You will be count given by his early master, Dr. Glennie, astonished to hear I have lately written to of his great proficiency in scriptural know- Delawarr, for the purpose of explaining (as ledge while yet but a child under his care. far as possible without involving some old
To Mr. Becher, as I have said, the first friends of mine in the business) the cause of copy of his little work was presented ; and my behaviour to him during my last residence this gentleman, in looking over its pages, at Harrow (nearly two years ago), which you among many things to commend and ad- will recollect was rather · en cavalier.' Since mire, as well as some almost too boyish to that period, I have discovered he was criticise, found one poem in which, as it treated with injustice both by those who appeared to him, the imagination of he misrepresented his conduct, and by me in young bard had indulged itself in a luxuri- consequence of their suggestions. I have ousness of colouring beyond what even therefore made all the reparation in my youth could excuse. Immediately, as the power, by apologising for my mistake, though most gentle mode of conveying his opinion, with very faint hopes of success ; indeed I he sat down and addressed to Lord Byron
never expected any answer, but desired one some expostulatory verses on the subject', for form's sake ; that has not yet arrived, and to which an answer, also in verse?, was re- most probably never will. However, I have turned by the noble poet as promptly, with, eased my own conscience by the atonement, at the same time, a note in plain prose, to which is humiliating enough to one of my say that he felt fully the justice of his disposition ; yet I could not have slept reverend friend's censure, and that, rather satisfied with the reflection of having, even than allow the poem in question to be cir- unintentionally, injured any individual. I culated, he would instantly recall all the have done all that could be done to repair copies that had been sent out, and cancel the injury, and there the affair must end. the whole impression. On the very same Whether we renew our intimacy or not is of evening this prompt sacrifice was carried
consequence. into effect;
Mr. Becher saw every copy My time has lately been much occupied of the edition burned, with the exception of with very different pursuits. I have been that which he retained in his own possession, transporting a servants, who cheated me, and another which had been despatched to --rather a disagreeable event ;- - performing Edinburgh, and could not be recalled.
in private theatricals ; — publishing a volume This trait of the young poet speaks suf- of poems (at the request of my friends, for ficiently for itself; - the sensibility, the their perusal) ;--making love, —and taking temper, the ingenuous pliableness which it physic. The two last amusements have not exhibits, show a disposition capable, by had the best effect in the world ; for my nature, of every thing we most respect and attentions have been divided amongst so love.
many fair damsels, and the drugs I swallow Of a no less amiable character were the are of such variety in their composition, feelings that, about this time, dictated the that between Venus and Æsculapius I am
1 (See BYRONIANA.]
. [See Works, p. 402.}
3 His valet, Frank.
LETTER 10. TO MR. WILLIAM BANKES.
TO MR. PIGOT.
harassed to death. However, I have still To his young friend, Mr. William Bankes, leisure to devote some hours to the re- who had met casually with a copy of the collections of past, regretted friendships, and work, and wrote him a letter conveying his in the interval to take the advantage of the opinion of it, he returned the following moment, to assure you how much I am, and answer :ever will be, my dearest Clare, “Your truly attached and sincere “ Byron."
" Southwell, March 6. 1807.
* Dear Bankes, Considering himself bound to replace the Your critique is valuable for many copies of his work which he had withdrawn, reasons : in the first place, it is the only one as well as to rescue the general character of in which fattery has borne so slight a part ; the volume from the stigma this one offender in the next, I am cloyed with insipid commight bring upon it, he set instantly about pliments. I have a better opinion of your preparing a second edition for the press, and, judgment and ability than your feelings. during the ensuing six weeks, continued Accept my most sincere thanks for your busily occupied with his task. In the be- kind decision, not less welcome, because ginning of January we find him forwarding totally unexpected. With regard to a more a copy to his friend, Dr. Pigot, in Edin exact estimate, I need not remind you how burgh :
few of the best poems, in our language, will
stand the test of minute or verbal criticism : LETTER 9.
it can, therefore, hardly be expected the ef
fusions of a boy (and most of these pieces “ Southwell, Jan. 13. 1807.
have been produced at an early period) can “ I ought to begin with sundry apologies, derive much merit either from the subject or for my own negligence, but the variety of my composition. Many of them were written avocations in prose and verse must plead my under great depression of spirits, and during
With this epistle you will receive severe indisposition :-hence the gloomy a volume of all my Juvenilia, published since turn of the ideas. We coincide in opinion your departure : it is of considerably greater that the poësies érotiques' are the most exsize than the copy in your possession, which ceptionable ; they were, however, grateful to
will destroy, as the present is much the deities, on whose altars they were offered more complete. That unlucky poem to my -more I seek not. poor Mary' has been the cause of some “ The portrait of Pomposus? was drawn animadversion from ladies in years. I have at Harrow, after a long sitting ; this accounts not printed it in this collection, in conse- for the resemblance, or rather the caricatura. quence of my being pronounced a most pro- He is your friend, he never was mine—for fligate sinner, in short, a ' young Moore,' by both our sakes I shall be silent on this head.
* friend. I believe, The collegiate rhymes are not personal —one in general, they have been favourably re- of the notes may appear so, but could not be ceived, and surely the age of their author omitted. I have little doubt they will be will preclude severe criticism. The adven- deservedly abused—a just punishment for tures of my life from sixteen to nineteen, and my unfilial treatment of so excellent an the dissipation into which I have been Alma Mater. I sent you no copy, lest we thrown in London, have given a voluptuous should be placed in the situation of Gil Blas tint to my ideas; but the occasions which and the Archbishop of Grenada ; though called forth my muse could hardly admit running some hazard from the experiment, I any other colouring. This volume is vastly wished your verdict to be unbiassed. Had correct and miraculously chaste. Apropos, my · Libellus' been presented previous to talking of love,
your letter, it would have appeared a species “ If you can find leisure to answer this of bribe to purchase compliment. I feel no farrago of unconnected nonsense, you need hesitation in saying, I was more anxious to not doubt what gratification will accrue hear your critique, however severe, than the from your reply to yours ever,” &c.
praises of the million. On the same day I was
I beg you
“ Hours of Idleness," entitled “ To Mary, on receiving her Picture,” were addressed to her. (See Works, p. 387.)
2 [See Works, p. 404.) 3 [“ Thoughts suggested by a College Examination." See Works, p. 397.]