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TO MR. FALKNER.
honoured with the encomiums of Mackenzie, mitted through the medium of a friend, at the celebrated author of the Man of whose house they read the productions. Feeling.'' Whether his approbation or yours Contrary to my former intention, I am elated me most, I cannot decide.
now preparing a volume for the public at You will receive my Juvenilia,—at least large : my amatory pieces will be exchanged, all yet published. I have a large volume in and others substituted in their place. The manuscript, which may in part appear here- whole will be considerably enlarged, and after ; at present I have neither time nor in- appear the latter end of May. This is a clination to prepare it for the press. In the hazardous experiment; but want of better spring I shall return to Trinity, to dismantle employment, the encouragement I have met my rooms, and bid you a final adieu. The with, and my own vanity, induce me to stand Cam will not be much increased by my tears the test, though not without sundry palpion the occasion. Your further remarks, tations. The book will circulate fast enough however caustic or bitter, to a palate vitiated in this country, from mere curiosity, what I with the sweets of adulation, will be of service. prin—"3 Johnson has shown us that no poetry is perfect ; but to correct mine would be an
The following modest letter accompanied Herculean labour. In fact I never looked beyond the moment of composition, and pub- his mother's landlord :
a copy which he presented to Mr. Falkner, lished merely at the request of my friends. Notwithstanding so much has been said concerning the 'Genus irritabile vatum,' we shall never quarrel on the subject-poetic fame is Sir, by no means the 'acme' of my wishes. The volume of little pieces which acAdieu. Yours ever,
companies this, would have been presented “ BYRON.” before, had I not been apprehensive that
Miss Falkner's indisposition might render This letter was followed by another, on such trifles unwelcome. There are some the same subject, to Mr. Bankes, of which, errors of the printer which I have not had unluckily, only the annexed fragment re- time to correct in the collection : you have it mains :
thus, with all its imperfections on its head,' a heavy weight, when joined with the faults
of its author. Such Juvenilia,' as they can “For my own part, I have suffered severely in the decease of my two greatest
claim no great degree of approbation, I may friends, the only beings I ever loved (females venture to hope, will also escape the severity excepted); I am therefore a solitary animal,
of uncalled for, though perhaps not undemiserable enough, and so perfectly a citizen
served, criticism. of the world, that whether I pass my days in
• They were written on many and various Great Britain or Kamschatka, is to me a
occasions, and are now published merely for matter of perfect indifference. I cannot
the perusal of a friendly circle. Believe me, evince greater respect for your alteration
sir, if they afford the slightest amusement than by immediately adopting it this shall I shall have gathered all the bays I ever wish
to yourself and the rest of my social readers, be done in the next edition. I am sorry your remarks are not more frequent, as I am
to adorn the head of yours, very truly, certain they would be equally beneficial.
“ Byron. Since my last, I have received two critical “P.S.--I hope Miss F. is in a state of opinions from Edinburgh, both too flattering recovery.” for me to detail. One is from Lord Woodhouselee?, at the head of the Scotch literati, Notwithstanding this unambitious declarand a most voluminous writer (his last work ation of the young author, he had that within is a Life of Lord Kaimes); the other from which would not suffer him to rest so easily ; Mackenzie, who sent his decision a second and the fame he had now reaped within a time, more at length. I am not personally limited circle made him but more eager to acquainted with either of these gentlemen, try his chance on a wider field. The nor ever requested their sentiments on the hundred copies of which this edition consubject : their praise is voluntary, and trans- sisted were hardly out of his hands, when
1(Mr. Mackenzie died in January 1831, at the ad. vanced age of eighty-six.]
2 (Alexander Frazer Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, one of the Senators of the College of Justice in Scotland. Besides the Life of Lord Kaimes, he published" Elements of
General History," " Essay on the Principles of Translation,” &c. He died in 1813. His “ Universal History," in six vols., appeared in 1834.]
3 Here the imperfect sheet ends.
with fresh activity he went to press again, tinued ; and if, while at Mrs. Pigot's, he saw —and his first published volume, “ The strangers approaching the house, he would Hours of Idleness," made its appearance. instantly jump out of the window to avoid Some new pieces which he had written in them. This natural shyness concurred with the interim were added, and no less than no small degree of pride to keep him aloof twenty of those contained in the former from the acquaintance of the gentlemen in volume omitted ;- for what reason does not the neighbourhood, whose visits, in more very clearly appear, as they are, most of than one instance, he left unreturned ;them, equal, if not superior, to those re- some under the plea that their ladies had tained.
not visited his mother ; others, because they In one of the pieces, reprinted in the had neglected to pay him this compliment “ Hours of Idleness," there are some alter- sooner. The true reason, however, of the ations and additions, which, as far as they haughty distance, at which, both now and may be supposed to spring from the known afterwards, he stood apart from his more feelings of the poet' respecting birth, are opulent neighbours, is to be found in his curious. This
poem, which is entitled mortifying consciousness of the inadequacy Epitaph on a Friend ," appears, from the of his own means to his rank, and the proud lines I am about to give, to have been, in its dread of being made to feel this inferiority original state, intended to commemorate the by persons to whom, in every other respect, death of the same lowly-born youth, to he knew himself superior. His friend, Mr. whom some affectionate verses, cited in a Becher, frequently expostulated with him preceding page, were addressed :
on this unsociableness ; and to his remon* Though low thy lot, since in a cottage born,
strances, on one occasion, Lord Byron reNo titles did thy humble name adorn;
turned a poetical answer, so remarkably To me, far dearer was thy artless love
prefiguring the splendid burst, with which Than all thejoys wealth, fame, and friends could prove." | his own volcanic genius opened upon the
But, in the altered form of the epitaph, not world, that as the volume containing the only this passage, but every other containing verses is in very few hands, I cannot resist an allusion to the low rank of his young the temptation of giving a few extracts companion, is omitted ; while, in the added here :parts, the introduction of such language as “ Dear Becher, you tell me to mix with mankind, * What, though thy sire lament his failing line,"
I cannot deny such a precept is wise ;
But retirement accords with the tone of my mind, seems calculated to give an idea of the And I will not descend to a world I despise. youth's station in life, wholly different from
“ Did the Senate or Camp my exertions require, that which the whole tenour of the original Ambition might prompt me at once to go forth; epitaph warrants. The other poem, too, And, when infancy's years of probation expire, which I have mentioned, addressed evidently Perchance, I may strive to distinguish my birth. to the same boy, and speaking in similar
“ The fire, in the cavern of Ætna conceald, terms of the “lowness" of his “ lot," is, in Still mantles unseen in its secret recess; the “ Hours of Idleness," altogether omitted. At length, in a volume terrific revealed, That he grew more conscious of his high
No torrent can quench it, no bounds can repress. station, as he approached to manhood, is not “ Oh thus, the desire in my bosom for fame improbable ; and this wish to sink his early Bids me live but to hope for Posterity's praise ; friendship with the young cottager may
Could I soar, with the Phænir, on pinions of flame,
With him I would wish to expire in the blaze. been a result of that feeling. As his visits to Southwell were, after this
" For the life of a Fox, of a Chatham the death,
What censure, what danger, what woe would I brave? period, but few and transient, I shall take
Their lives did not end when they yielded their breath, the present opportunity of mentioning such
Their glory illumines the gloom of the grave !"? miscellaneous particulars respecting his habits and mode of life, while there, as I have been In his hours of rising and retiring to rest able to collect.
he was, like his mother, always very late ; Though so remarkably shy, when he first and this habit he never altered during the went to Southwell, this reserve, as he grew remainder of his life. The night, too, was more acquainted with the young people of at this period, as it continued afterwards, the place, wore off ; till, at length, he became his favourite time for composition ; and his a frequenter of their assemblies and dinner- first visit in the morning was generally paid parties, and even felt mortified if he heard to the fair friend who acted as his amaof a rout to which he was not invited. His nuensis, and to whom he then gave whatever horror, however, at new faces still con- new products of his brain the preceding night
[See Works, p. 377.]
2 [See Works, p. 410.]
might have inspired. His next visit was A poem relating to this occurrence, which usually to his friend Mr Becher's, and from may be found in his unpublished volume, thence to one or two other houses on the is thus introduced :—“ As the author was Green, after which the rest of the day was discharging his pistols in a garden, two ladies, devoted to his favourite exercises. The passing near the spot, were alarmed by the evenings he usually passed with the same sound of a bullet hissing near them, to one of family, among whom he began his morning, whom the following stanzas were addressed either in conversation, or in hearing Miss the next morning."S Pigot play upon the piano-forte, and singing Such a passion, indeed, had he for arms over with her a certain set of songs which of every description, that there generally lay he admired!, among which the “Maid a small sword by the side of his bed, with of Lodi,” (with the words, “ My heart with which he used to amuse himself, as he lay love is beating,”) and “When Time who awake in the morning, by thrusting it through steals our years away,” were, it seems, his his bed-hangings. The person who purparticular favourites. He appears, indeed, chased this bed at the sale of Mrs. Byron's to have, even thus early, shown a decided furniture, on her removal to Newstead, gave taste for that sort of regular routine of life, out— with the view of attaching a stronger – bringing round the same occupations at interest to the holes in the curtains — that the stated periods, — which formed so much they were pierced by the same sword with the system of his existence during the greater which the old lord had killed Mr. Chaworth, part of his residence abroad.
and which his descendant always kept as a Those exercises, to which he flew for disc memorial by his bedside. Such is the ready traction in less happy days, formed his en- process by which fiction is often engrafted joyment now; and between swimming, upon fact ; — the sword in question being a sparring, firing at a mark, and riding ?, the : most innocent and bloodless weapon, which greater part of his time was passed. In the Lord Byron, during his visits at Southwell, last of these accomplishments he was by used to borrow of one of his neighbours. no means very expert. As an instance of
His fondness for dogs – another fancy his little knowledge of horses, it is told, that, which accompanied him through life — may seeing a pair one day pass his window, he be judged from the anecdotes already given, exclaimed, “What beautiful horses ! I should in the account of his expedition to Harrowlike to buy them.”—“Why, they are your gate. Of his favourite dog Boatswain, whom own, my Lord,” said his servant. Those he has immortalised in verset, and by whose who knew him, indeed, at that period, were
side it was once his solemn purpose to be rather surprised, in after-life, to hear so much buried, some traits are told, indicative, not of his riding ; — and the truth is, I am in- only of intelligence, but of a generosity of clined to think, that he was at no time a spirit, which might well win for him the afvery adroit horseman.
fections of such a master as Byron. One of In swimming and diving we have already these I shall endeavour to relate as nearly seen, by his own accounts, he excelled ; and as possible as it was told to me. Mrs. Byron a lady in Southwell, among other precious had a fox-terrier, called Gilpin, with whom relics of him, possesses a thimble which he her son's dog, Boatswain, was perpetually at borrowed of her one morning, when on his war 5, taking every opportunity of attacking way to bathe in the Greet, and which, as and worrying him so violently, that it was was testified by her brother, who accom- very much apprehended he would kill the panied him, he brought up three times suc- animal. Mrs. Byron therefore sent off her cessively from the bottom of the river. His terrier to a tenant at Newstead ; and on practice of firing at a mark was the occasion, the departure of Lord Byron for Cambridge, once, of some alarm to a very beautiful his "friend” Boatswain, with two other young person, Miss Houson, one of that dogs, was intrusted to the care of a servant numerous list of fair ones by whom his till his return. One morning the servant imagination was dazzled while at Southwell. was much alarmed by the disappearance of
| Though always fond of music, he had very little skill in the performance of it. " It is very odd," he said, one day, to this lady, _“I sing much better to your playing than to any one else's."-" That is,” she answered, “ because I play to your singing." – In which few words, by the way, the whole secret of a skilful accompanier lies.
3 Cricketing, too, was one of his most favourite sports; and it was wonderful, considering his lameness, with what speed he could run. “ Lord Byron (says Miss Pigot, in a letter, to her brother, from Southwell) is just
gone past the window with his bat on his shoulder to
[lb. p. 539.]
Boatswain, and throughout the whole of the bookseller's shop at Southwell, when a poor day he could hear no tidings of him. At woman came in to purchase a Bible. The last, towards evening, the stray dog arrived, price, she was told by the shopman, was accompanied by Gilpin, whom he led imme- eight shillings. “ Ah, dear sir,” she exdiately to the kitchen fire, licking him and claimed, “ I cannot pay such a price ; I did lavishing upon him every possible demon- not think it would cost half the money." stration of joy: The fact was, he had been The woman was then, with a look of disall the way to Newstead to fetch him ; and appointment, going away,having now established his former foe under Byron called her back, and made her a the roof once more, agreed so perfectly well present of the Bible. with him ever after, that he even protected In his attention to his person and dress, him against the insults of other dogs (a task to the becoming arrangement of his hair, which the quarrelsomeness of the little terrier and to whatever might best show off the rendered no sinecure), and, if he but heard beauty with which nature had gifted him, he Gilpin's voice in distress, would fly instantly manifested, even thus early, his anxiety to to his rescue.
make himself pleasing to that sex who were, In addition to the natural tendency to from first to last, the ruling stars of his dessuperstition, which is usually found con- tiny. The fear of becoming, what he was nected with the poetical temperament, Lord naturally inclined to be, enormously fat, had Byron had also the example and influence induced him, from his first entrance at Camof his mother, acting upon him from infancy, bridge, to adopt, for the purpose of reducing to give his mind this tinge. Her implicit himself, a system of violent exercise and belief in the wonders of second sight, and abstinence, together with the frequent use the strange tales she told of this mysterious of warm baths. But the embittering cirfaculty, used to astonish not a little her cumstance of his life, -that, which haunted sober English friends ; and it will be seen, him like a curse, amidst the buoyancy of that, at so late a period as the death of his youth, and the anticipations fame and friend Shelley, the idea of fetches and fore- pleasure, was, strange to say, the trifling warnings impressed upon him by his mother deformity of his foot. By that one slight had not wholly lost possession of the poet's blemish (as in his moments of melancholy mind. As an instance of a more playful sort he persuaded himself) all the blessings that of superstition I may be allowed to mention nature had showered upon him were couna slight circumstance told me of him by one terbalanced. His reverend friend, Mr. of his Southwell friends. This lady had a Becher, finding him one day unusually delarge agate bead with a wire through it, jected, endeavoured to cheer and rouse him, which had been taken out of a barrow, and by representing, in their brightest colours, lay always in her work-box. Lord Byron all the various advantages with which Proasking one day what it was, she told him vidence had endowed him, — and, among the that it had been given her as an amulet, and greatest, that of “ a mind which placed him the charm was, that as long as she had this above the rest of mankind.”—“ Ah, my dear bead in her possession, she should never be friend,” said Byron, mournfully, — " if this in love. Then give it to me,” he cried, (laying his hand on his forehead) places me eagerly, “ for that's just the thing I want. above the rest of mankind, that (pointing to The young lady refused ;— but it was not his foot) places me far, far below them." long before the bead disappeared. She taxed It sometimes, indeed, seemed as if his him with the theft, and he owned it ; but said, sensitiveness on this point led him to fancy she never should see her amulet again. that he was the only person in the world
Of his charity and kind-heartedness he afflicted with such an infirmity. When that left behind him at Southwell —as, indeed, accomplished scholar and traveller, Mr. D. at every place, throughout life, where he Baillie', who was at the same school with resided any time—the most cordial recol- him at Aberdeen, met him afterwards at lections. He never,” says a person, who Cambridge, the young peer had then grown knew him intimately at this period, so fat that, though accosted by him familiarly with objects of distress without affording as his school-fellow, it was not till he menthem succour.” Among many little traits tioned his name that Mr. Baillie could reof this nature, which his friends delight to cognise him. “ It is odd enough, too, that tell, I select the following, - less as a proof you shouldn't know me,” said Byron —" I of his generosity, than from the interest thought nature had set such a mark upon which the simple incident itself, as connected that I could never be forgot.” with the name of Byron, presents. While yet a school-boy, he happened to be in a
1 [David Baillie, Esq. of Hailes-hall, Wiltshire.]
LIST OF HISTORICAL WRITERS WHOSE
But, while this defect was such a source PATIONS OF LONDON AND CAMBRIDGE. of mortification to his spirit, it was also, and PROJECTED TOUR TO THE HIGHLANDS.in an equal degree, perhaps, a stimulus :- COMMENCEMENT OF ‘BOSWORTH FIELD,' and more especially in whatever depended AN EPIC. upon personal prowess or attractiveness, he seemed to feel himself piqued by this stigma, I SHALL now give, from a memorandum-book which nature, as he thought, had
begun by him this year, the account, as I him, to distinguish himself above those whom find it hastily and promiscuously scribbled she had endowed with her more “ fair pro- out, of all the books in various departments portion.” In pursuits of gallantry he was,
of knowledge, which he had already perused I have no doubt, a good deal actuated by at a period of life when few of his schoolthis incentive ; and the hope of astonishing
fellows had yet travelled beyond their longs the world, at some future period, as a chiet- and shorts. The list is, unquestionably, a tain and hero, mingled little less with his
remarkable one ;—and when we recollect young dreams than the prospect of a poet's that the reader of all these volumes was, at glory. “ I will, some day or other,” he used the same time, the possessor of a most re
it to say, when a boy, “ raise a troop,- the
may be doubted whether, men of which shall be dressed in black, and among what are called the regularly educated, ride on black horses. They shall be called the contenders for scholastic honours and • Byron's Blacks,' and you will hear of their prizes, there could be found a single one performing prodigies of valour.”
who, at the same age, has possessed any thing I have already adverted to the exceeding like the same stock of useful knowledge. eagerness with which, while at Harrow, he devoured all sorts of learning, -excepting“ only that which, by the regimen of the school, was prescribed for him. The same rapid and multifarious course of study he pursued during the holidays; and, in order History of England. - Hume, Rapin, to deduct as little as possible from his hours Henry, Smollet, Tindal, Belsham, Bisset, of exercise, he had given himself the habit, Adolphus, Holinshed, Froissart's Chronicles while at home, of reading all dinner-time.' (belonging properly to France). In a mind so versatile as his, every novelty, “ Scotland. - Buchanan, Hector Boethius, whether serious or light, whether lofty or both in the Latin. ludicrous, found a welcome and an echo; “ Ireland. -Gordon. and I can easily conceive the glee — as a Rome. - Hooke, Decline and Fall by friend of his once described it to me - with Gibbon, Ancient History by Rollin (inwhich he brought to her, one evening, a cluding an account of the Carthaginians, copy of Mother Goose's Tales, which he had &c.), besides Livy, Tacitus, Eutropius, Cor. bought from a hawker that morning, and nelius Nepos, Julius Cæsar, Arrian, Sallust. read, for the first time, while he dined.
- Mitford's Greece, Leland's Philip, Plutarch, Potter's Antiquities, Xenophon, Thucydides, Herodotus.
“ France. - Mezeray, Voltaire. CHAPTER V.
Spain. - I chiefly derived my knowledge
of old Spanish History from a book called 1807-1808.
the Atlas, now obsolete. The modern history, from the intrigues of Alberoni down to
the Prince of Peace, I learned from its con-DETACHED POEMS. — “THE NEWSTEAD nection with European politics. OAK.' - VERSES TO MY SON.'
Portugal. — From Vertot ; as also his
account of the Siege of Rhodes, — though VISIT TO SOUTHWELL. -DEATH OF ED- the last is his own invention, the real facts
ANECDOTES. — COR- being totally different. - So much for his RESPONDENCE. — SUCCESS OF THE POEMS. Knights of Malta.
Turkey. — I have read Knolles, Sir Paul
CAMBRIDGE. MEMORANDA OF
PRAYER OF NATURE. THE ROCHDALE CAUSE.
1 “ It was the custom of Burns," says Mr. Lockhart, in his Life of that poet, "to read at table."
? ("Few young men at College, Mr. Moore thinks, had read so much : we think so too: we may make large deductions from it, and still think so. There is, however,
a way of scouting through books, which some people call reading, and we are afraid much of the reading here set down was of that description. “The utility of reading,' says Horne Tooke, depends not on the swallow, but on the digestion.'"-Westminster Rev., 1830.]