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Rycaut, and Prince Cantemir", besides a II., Henry Lord Kaimes, Marmontel, Teignmore modern history, anonymous. Of the mouth's Sir William Jones, Life of Newton, Ottoman History I know every event, from Belisaire, with thousands not to be detailed. Tangralopi, and afterwards Othman I., to
“LAW. the peace of Passarowitz, in 1718,—the battle of Cutzka, in 1739, and the treaty
• Blackstone, Montesquieu. between Russia and Turkey in 1790.
“ Russia. — Tooke's Life of Catherine II., Voltaire's Czar Peter.
Paley, Locke, Bacon, Hume, Berkeley, “ Sweden. — Voltaire's Charles XII., also Drummond, Beattie, and Bolingbroke.
Hobbes I detest. Norberg's Charles XII.—in my opinion the best of the two.2-A translation of Schiller's Thirty Years' War, which contains the ex- “ Strabo, Cellarius, Adams, Pinkerton, ploits of Gustavus Adolphus, besides Harte's and Guthrie. Life of the same Prince, I have somewhere, too, read an account of Gustavus Vasa, the deliverer of Sweden, but do not
“ All the British Classics as before detailed, remember the author's name.
with most of the living poets, Scott, Southey, “ Prussia.- I have seen, at least, twenty
&c. Some French in the original, of which Lives of Frederick II., the only prince worth the Çid is my favourite.- Little Italian.
:- these recording in Prussian annals. Gillies, his Greek and Latin without number ;own Works, and Thiebault,- -none very
last I shall give up in future.— I have transamusing. The last is paltry, but circum- lated a good deal from both languages, verse stantial.
as well as prose. “ Denmark— I know little of. Of Norway
“ELOQUENCE. I understand the natural history, but not the
Demosthenes, Cicero, Quintilian, Shechronological.
ridan, Austin's Chironomia, and Parlia“ Germany.— I have read long histories of mentary Debates from the Revolution to the the house of Suabia, Wenceslaus, and, at length, Rodolph of Hapsburgh and his thicklipped Austrian descendants.
“ DIVINITY. Switzerland. - Ah! William Tell, and “Blair, Porteus, Tillotson, Hooker,—all the battle of Morgarten, where Burgundy very tiresome. I abhor books of religion, was slain,
though I reverence and love my God, withItaly.—Davila, Guicciardini, the Guelphs out the blasphemous notions of sectaries, and Ghibellines, the battle of Pavia, Massa- or belief in their absurd and damnable niello, the revolutions of Naples, &c. &c. heresies, mysteries, and Thirty-nine Articles. “ Hindostan. – Orme and Cambridge. America. - Robertson, Andrews' Ame
MISCELLANIES. rican War.
“ Spectator, Rambler, World, &c. &c.“ Africa—merely from travels, as Mungo Novels by the thousand. Park, Bruce,
“ All the books here enumerated I have taken down from memory.
I recollect “ Robertson's Charles V.- Cæsar, Sallust reading them, and can quote passages from (Catiline and Jugurtha), Lives of Marl- any mentioned. I have, of course, omitted borough and Eugene, Tekeli, Bonnard, several in my catalogue ; but the greater Buonaparte, all the British Poets, both by part of the above I perused before the age Johnson and Anderson, Rousseau's Con- of fifteen. Since I left Harrow, I have fessions, Life of Cromwell, British Plutarch, become idle and conceited, from scribbling British Nepos, Campbell's Lives of the Ad- rhyme and making love to women. mirals, Charles XII., Czar Peter, Catherine
“B.- Nov, 30. 1807,
i (" He was as good a sovereign of the sort
As any mention'd in the histories
Don Juan, c. v. st. 147.]
3 [Dr. Walter Harte was tutor to Lord Chesterfield's natural son, Mr. Stanhope. His History of Gustavus Adolphus appeared in 1759. “ Harte," said Dr. Johnson,
was excessively vain. Poor man! he left London the day of the publication of his book, that he might be out of the way of the great praise he was to receive ; and he was ashamed to return, when he found how ill his book had succeeded : it was unlucky in coming out on the same day with Robertson's History of Scotland." - Boswell, vol. viii. p. 53.]
“ I have also read (to my regret at present) wants and tastes, and left, undistracted by the above four thousand novels, including the worse than useless pedantries of the schools, works of Cervantes, Fielding, Smollet, to seek, in the pure “ well of English undeRichardson, Mackenzie, Sterne, Rabelais, filed,” those treasures of which they acand Rousseau, &c. &c. The book, in my cordingly so very early and intimately opinion, most useful to a man who wishes to possessed themselves. To these three acquire the reputation of being well read, instances may now be added, virtually, that with the least trouble, is “ Burton's Ana- of Lord Byron, who, though a disciple of tomy of Melancholy," the most amusing and the schools, was, intellectually speaking, in instructive medley of quotations and classical them, not of them, and who, while his anecdotes I ever perused. But a superficial comrades were prying curiously into the reader must take care, or his intricacies will graves of dead languages, betook himself bewilder him. If, however, he has patience to the fresh, living sources of his own, and to go through his volumes, he will be more from thence drew those rich, varied stores improved for literary conversation than by of diction, which have placed his works, from the perusal of any twenty other works with the age of two-and-twenty upwards, among which I am acquainted, -at least in the the most precious depositories of the strength English language."
and sweetness of the English language that
our whole literature supplies. To this early and extensive study of En- In the same book that contains the above glish writers may be attributed that mastery record of his studies, he has written out, over the resources of his own language with also from memory, a List of the different which Lord Byron came furnished into the poets, dramatic or otherwise, who have field of literature, and which enabled him, as distinguished their respective languages by fast as his youthful fancies sprung up, to clothe their productions.” After enumerating the them with a diction worthy of their strength various poets, both ancient and modern, of and beauty. In general, the difficulty of young Europe, he thus proceeds with his catalogue writers, at their commencement, lies far less in through other quarters of the world : any lack of thoughts or images, than in that Arabia. — Mahomet
, whose Koran conwant of a fitting organ to give those concep- tains mosť sublime poetical passages, far tions vent, to which their unacquaintance with surpassing European poetry. the great instrument of the man of genius, • Persia. - Ferdousis, author of the Shah his native language, dooms them. It will Nameh, the Persian Iliad — Sadi, and Hafiz, be found, indeed, that the three most re- the immortal Hafiz, the oriental Anacreon. markable examples of early authorship, which, The last is reverenced beyond any bard of in their respective lines, the history of li- ancient or modern times by the Persians, who terature affords-Pope, Congreve, and Chat- resort to his tomb near Shiraz, to celebrate terton— were all of them persons self-edu- his memory. A splendid copy of his works cated?, according to their own intellectual is chained to his monument. 7
"C" Burton's ' Anatomy of Melancholy' is a valuable their own language was, with justice, perhaps, attributed work. It is, perhaps, overloaded with quotation : but by themselves to their entire abstinence from the study there is a great spirit and great power in what Burton of any other. “ If they became learned," says Ferguson, says, when he writes from his own mind. It is the only “it was only by studying what they themselves had probook that ever took me out of bed two hours sooner than duced." I wished to rise." - Johnson. Boswell, vol. iii.
5 ( Ferdousi died A. 1). 1021. He is the Homer of the and vi. p. 70.)
Persians, and his verses are as familiar among the mili. 3 " I took to reading by myself," says Pope, “ for which tary class, as if their preservation depended merely upon I had a very great eagerness and enthusiasm. I followed oral tradition. The practice of reciting them before enevery where, as my fancy led me, and was like a boy gaging in battle, proves that he enjoys as high a regathering flowers in the fields and woods, just as they fell putation among his countrymen as the poets of ancient in his way. These five or six years I still look upon as Greece, or the bards of Northern Europe."- Quart. the happiest part of my life." It appears, too, that he Rev. vol. xxxvi. p. 362.] was himself aware of the advantages which this free 6 [Sadi was born at Scheraz in 1175, educated at Dacourse of study brought with it: “Mr. Pope," says mascus, and died at the age of 120. or his works, the Spence, " thought himself the better, in some respects Gulistán, or Flower Garden, consisting of short tales, for not having had a regular education. He (as he ob- anecdotes, and apologues, is most known to European served in particular) read originally for the sense, readers. A translation into English, by Francis Gladwin, whereas we are taught, for so many years, to read only in two volumes, 4to, appeared in 1808-9.) for words."
7 [“ Hafiz is the universal favourite of the Persians, 3 Before Chatterton was twelve years old, he wrote a who visit his tomb in parties, to do honour to his mecatalogue, in the same manner as Lord Byron, of the mory, by strewing flowers and pouring out libations of books he had already read, to the number of seventy. Of the choicest wines. The great Latin poet has said, -these the chief subjects were history and divinity. 4 The perfect purity with which the Greeks wrote
• Exegi monumentum ære perennius,' &c.
“ America. - An epic poet has already lations. In my list of English I have merely appeared in that hemisphere, Barlow, author mentioned the greatest ;- to enumerate of the Columbiad, not to be compared the minor poets would be useless, as well with the works of more polished nations. I as tedious. Perhaps Gray, Goldsmith, and
Iceland, Denmark, Norway, were famous Collins, might have been added, as worthy for their Skalds. Among these Lod- of mention, in a cosmopolite account. But burgh was one of the most distinguished. as for the others, from Chaucer down to His Death Song breathes ferocious senti- Churchill
, they are ‘voces et præterea
nihil ;' ments, but a glorious and impassioned strain - sometimes spoken of, rarely read, and
never with advantage. Chaucer, notwith“ Hindostan is undistinguished by any standing the praises bestowed on him, I great bard, — at least the Sanscrit is so think obscene and contemptible :-- he owes imperfectly known to Europeans, we know his celebrity merely to his antiquity, which not what poetical relics may exist.
he does not deserve so well as Pierce Plow“ The Birman Empire. — Here the natives man, or Thomas of Ercildoune. English are passionately fond of poetry, but their living poets I have avoided mentioning ;bards are unknown.
we have none who will not survive their “ China. — I never heard of any Chinese productions. Taste is over with us; and poet but the Emperor Kien Long, and his another century will sweep our empire, our Ode to Tea... What a pity their philosopher literature, and our name, from all but a place Confucius did not write poetry, with his in the annals of mankind. precepts of morality!
“ November 30. 1807. “ BYRON.” “ África. - In Africa some of the native melodies are plaintive, and the words simple
papers of his in my possession and affecting ; but whether their rude strains are several detached poems (in all nearly six of nature can be classed with poetry, as the hundred lines), which he wrote about this songs of the bards, the Skalds of Europe, &c. period, but never printed— having produced &c., I know not.
most of them after the publication of his “This brief list of poets I have written down “ Hours of Idleness." The greater number from memory, without any book of reference; of these have little, besides his name, to reconsequently some errors may occur, but I commend them ; but there are a few that, think, if any, very trivial. The works of from the feelings and circumstances that the European, and some of the Asiatic, I gave rise to them, will, I have no doubt, be have perused, either in the original or trans- interesting to the reader.
And Hafiz, with the same confidence of genius, thus claims lasting fame for his works :- Blithely sing, o Hafiz ; you have uttered odes, you have strung pearls, and Heaven has enriched you with the crown of the Pleiades.' He is unquestionably the Horace of the East, and, not withstanding the difference of national manners, he is the oriental writer with whose works a European scholar will most wish to become familiar." — Sir JOHN MALCOLM.]
(An edition of the “ Columbiad" appeared in London in 1809, and is thus noticed by the Edinburgh Reviewers: -" Mr. Barlow, we are afraid, will not be the Homer of his country; and will never take his place among the enduring poets either of the old or of the new world. As to the Americans, their want of literature is to be ascribed, not to the immaturity of their progress in civilization, but to the nature of the occupations in which they are generally engaged. These federal republicans bear po sort of resemblance to the Greeks of the days of Homer, or the Italians of the age of Dante ; but are very much such people as the modern traders of Manchester, Liverpool, or Glasgow. They have all a little Latin whipped into them in their youth ; and read Shakspeare, Pope, and Milton, as well as bad English novels, in their days of courtship and leisure. They are just as likely to write epic poems, therefore, as the inhabitants of our trading towns at home." Vol. xv. p. 24. At one time Barlow was a red-hot republican. In 1792, he published the “ Conspiracy of Kings,” and in 1798 composed a song for the celebration of the 4th of July, in which he prays that God may
“ Save the guillotine,
Her power shall prove."
? [Kien Long encouraged literature, by cultivating it in. his own person ; and some of his poetical compositions are considered to possess intrinsic merit. The most celebrated is this “ Ode in Praise of drinking Tea,” which was published by the imperial edict in thirty-two different types and characters, and has been painted on all the tea-pots in the empire. The following verbal translation is by Sir John Barrow:-" On a slow fire set a tripod, whose colour and texture show its long use ; fill it with clear snow water ; boil it as long as would be necessary to turn fish white, and crayfish red ; throw it upon the delicate leaves of choice tea, in a cup of yooé" (a particular sort of porcelain); "let it remain as long as the vapour rises in a cloud, and leaves only a thin mist floating on the surface. At your ease, drink this precious liquor, which will chase away the five causes of trouble. We can taste and feel, but not describe, the state of repose produced by a liquor thus prepared." - Travels in China, p. 280. In 1795, Kien Long, when his reign had reached the unusual term of sixty years, resigned the throne to his son. He died in 1799.]
When he first went to Newstead, on his
" Thus might the record now have been ; arrival from Aberdeen, he planted, it seems,
But, ah, in spite of Hope's endeavour,
Or Friendship's tears, Pride rush'd between, a young oak in some part of the grounds,
And blotted out the line for ever!" 2 and had an idea that as it flourished so should he. Some six or seven years after,
The same romantic feeling of friendship on revisiting the spot, he found his oak breathes throughout another of these poems, choked up by weeds, and almost destroyed. in which he has taken for the subject the In this circumstance, which happened soon ingenious thought “ L'Amitié est l'Amour after Lord Grey de Ruthen left Newstead, sans ailes,” and concludes every stanza with originated one of these poems, which consists the words, “ Friendship is Love without his of five stanzas, but of which the few opening wings.” Of the nine stanzas of which this lines will be a sufficient specimen :
poem consists, the three following appear the
most worthy of selection :“ Young Oak, when I planted thee deep in the ground, I hoped that thy days would be longer than mine ;
• Why should my anxious breast repine, That thy dark-waving branches would nourish around,
Because my youth is fled ? And ivy thy trunk with its mantle entwine.
Days of delight may still be mine,
Affection is not dead. “ Such, such was my hope, when, in infancy's years,
In tracing back the years of youth, On the land of my fathers I rear'd thee with pride ; One firm record, one lasting truth, They are past, and I water thy stem with my tears,
Celestial consolation brings ; Thy decay, not the weeds that surround thee can hide.
Bear it, ye breezes, to the seat, “ I left thee, my Oak, and since that fatal hour,
Where first my heart responsive beat,
* Friendship is Love without his wings !' A stranger has dwelt in the hall of my sire," &c. &c.!
“ Seat of my youth ! thy distant spire The subject of the verses that follow is Recalls each scene of joy; sufficiently explained by the notice which he My bosom glows with former fire, has prefixed to them ; and, as illustrative of In mind again a boy. the romantic and almost lovelike feeling
Thy grove of elms, thy verdant hill, which he threw into his school friendships,
Thy every path delights me still,
Each flower a double fragrance flings; they appeared to me, though rather quaint
Again, as once, in converse gay, and elaborate, to be worth preserving.
Each dear associate seems to say, “ Some years ago, when at Harrow, a * Friendship is Love without his wings !' friend of the author engraved on a particular
My Lycus ! wherefore dost thou weep? spot the names of both, with a few additional
Thy falling tears restrain ; words as a memorial. Afterwards, on re- Affection for a time may sleep, ceiving some real or imagined injury, the But, oh, 'twill wake again. author destroyed the frail record before he Think, think, my friend, when next we meet, left Harrow. On revisiting the place in 1807,
Our long-wish'd intercourse how sweet!
From this my hope of rapture springs, he wrote under it the following stanzas :
While youthful hearts thus fondly swell, " Here once engaged the stranger's view
Absence, my friend, can only tell, Young Friendship's record simply traced ;
* Friendship is Love without his wings !""3 Few were her words, - but yet though few,
Whether the verses I am now about to Resentment's hand the line defaced.
give are, in any degree, founded on fact, I “ Deeply she cut — but, not erased,
have no accurate means of determining. The characters were still so plain,
Fond as he was of recording every particular That Friendship once return'd, and gazed, - of his youth, such an event, or rather era, Till Memory haild the words again.
as is here commemorated, would have been, Repentance placed them as before ;
of all others, the least likely to pass unmenForgiveness join'd her gentle name;
tioned by him ;-and yet neither in conSo fair the inscription seem'd once more,
versation nor in any of his writings do I That Friendship thought it still the same. remember even an allusion to it. + On the
I (See Works, p. 536. Shortly after Colonel Wildman, the present proprietor of Newstead, took possession, he one day said to the servant who was with him, Here is a fine young oak ; but it must be cut down, as it grows in an improper place.' – I hope not, sir,' replied the man ; ' for it's the one my lord was so fond of, because he set it himself.' The Colonel has, of course, taken every possible care of it ; and it is already regularly enquired after by strangers, as • THE BYRON OAK.') 3 (See Works, p. 537.]
[Ibid. p. 412.] • The only circumstance I know, that bears even re
motely on the subject of this poem, is the following. About a year or two before the date affixed to it, he wrote to his mother, from Harrow (as I have been told by a person to whom Mrs. Byron herself communicated the circumstance), to say, that he had lately had a good deal of uneasiness on account of a young woman, whom he knew to have been a favourite of his late friend, Curzon, and who, finding herself, after his death, in a state of progress towards maternity, had declared Lord Byron was the father of her child. This, he positively assured his mother, was not the case ; but, believing, as he did firmly, that the child belonged to Curzon, it was his wish
other hand, so entirely was all that he wrote, as will be seen, his religious creed at that
- making allowance for the embellishments period, and shows how early the struggle of fancy, - the transcript of his actual life between natural piety and doubt began in and feelings, that it is not easy to suppose a
his mind. poem, so full of natural tenderness, to have been indebted for its origin to imagination
" THE PRAYER OF NATURE. alone.
“ Father of Light! great God of Heaven ! “ TO MY SON!
Hear'st thou the accents of despair ? " Those flaxen locks, those eyes of blue,
Can guilt like man's be e'er forgiven ?
Can vice atone for crimes by prayer ?
Father of Light, on thee I call !
Thou see'st my soul is dark within ;
Thou who canst mark the sparrow's fall,
Avert from me the death of sin.
No shrine I seek, to sects unknown, “ And thou canst lisp a father's name
Oh point to me the path of truth !
Thy dread omnipotence I own,
Spare, yet amend, the faults of youth.
Let bigots rear a gloomy fane,
Let superstition hail the pile,
Let priests, to spread their sable reign,
With tales of mystic rites beguile. * Her lowly grave the turf has prest,
Shall man confine his Maker's sway
To Gothic domes of mouldering stone?
Thy temple is the face of day ;
Earth, ocean, heaven, thy boundless throne.
Shall man condemn his race to hell
Unless they bend in pompous form; “Why, let the world unfeeling frown,
Tell us that all, for one who fell,
Must perish in the mingling storm ?
Shall each pretend to reach the skies,
Yet doom his brother to expire,
Whose soul a different hope supplies,
Or doctrines less severe inspire ?
Shall these, by creeds they can't expound, “ Oh, 'twill be sweet in thee to trace,
Prepare a fancied bliss or woe ?
Shall reptiles, grovelling on the ground,
Their great Creator's purpose know?
Shall those who live for self alone,
Whose years float on in daily crime -
Shall they by Faith for guilt atone,
And live beyond the bounds of Time ?
Father! no prophet's laws I seek,
Thy laws in Nature's works appear ; —
I own myself corrupt and weak,
Yet will I pray, for thou wilt hear !
Thou, who canst guide the wandering star
Through trackless realms of Æther's space ; “B-1807."1
Who calm'st the elemental war, But the most remarkable of these poems
Whose hand from pole to pole I trace: is one of a date prior to any I have given,
Thou, who in wisdom placed me here,
Who, when thou wilt, can take me hence, being written in December, 1806, when he
Ah! whilst I tread this earthly sphere, was not yet nineteen years old. It contains,
Extend to me thy wide defence.
seems to commend the earliness of his own compositions to the notice of posterity."
The following trifle, written also by him in 1807, has never, as far as I know, appeared in printi
" EPITAPH ON JOHN ADAMS, OF SOUTHWELL, A CARRIER,
" WHO DIED OP DRUNKENNESS.
that it should be brought up with all possible care, and he, therefore, entreated that his mother would have the kindness to take charge of it. Though such a request might well (as my informant expresses it) have discomposed a temper more mild than Mrs. Byron's, she not. withstanding answered her son in the kindest terms, saying that she would willingly receive the child as soon as it was born, and bring it up in whatever manner he desired. Happily, however, the infant died almost immediately, and was thus spared the being a tax on the good nature of any body. - [But see Don Juan, c. xvi. st. 61.]
1 In this practice of dating his juvenile poems he followed the example of Milton, who (says Johnson). " by affixing the dates to his first compositions, a boast of #bich the learned Politian had given him an example,
“ John Adams lies here, of the parish of Southwell,
A Carrier, who carried his can to his mouth well ;
“B- Sept. 1807."