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istence: abroad, on the contrary, liquor without intoxication, and was silence is ominous ; the fancy is at by no means particular either in the work, and torments a sensitive man, nature or in the order of the fluids whose reputation is public property, he imbibed. He was by no means in a manner of which it is difficult to a drinker constantly, or, in other form an adequate conception: an ap- words, a drunkard, and could indeed proach is made to it by wilful seclue be ás abstemious as any body ; but sion even within the four seas ; hence when his passion blew that way the irritability of Wordsworth; hence he drank, as he did every thing else, also, in a less degree, that of Southey, to excess. who mixes a little more with the This was indeed the spirit of his world.
life-à round of passion, indulgence, Lord Byron camot be said to have and satiety. He had tried, as most been personally vain in any extraor- men do who have the power, every spedinary degree, that is, not much more cies of gratification, however sensual. than men usually are. He knew the Let no rich young man here who is power of his countenance, and he not living under the surveillance of took care that it should always be his relations or in fear of the public, displayed to the greatest advantage. let no such person turn up his nose. He never failed to appear remark- No men are more given to ring the able; and no person, whether from changés upon gratification of all the the beauty of the expression of his sensual kinds than the English, esfeatures, the magnificent height of pecially the English on the continent, his forehead, or the singularity of the English, who in speech are his dress, could ever pass him in the most modest people of the unithe street without feeling that he verse, and who, if you might trust was passing, no common person. their shy and reserved manner, think Lord Byron has been frequently re- of nothing but decorum. Lord Byron collected when his portraits have did no more in this respect than almost been shown-Ah! (the spectator has every other Lord or Esquire of deexclaimed, on either picture or eit- gree' has done, and is doing, if he graving being seen,) I met that per- dare, at this moment, whether in son in such or such a place, at such London, Paris, Naples, Vienna, or or such a time.
elsewhere, with this difference Lord His lameness, a slight mal-for- Byron was a man of strong powers mation of the foot, did not in the least of intellect and active imagination ; impede his activity ; it may perhaps he drew conclusions and took lessons account in some measure for his from what he saw. Lord Byron too passion for riding, sailing, and swim was a man capable of intense pasming. He nearly divided his time sion, which every one who pursues between these three exercises : he the gratification of his appetite is rode from four to eight hours every not; consequently he went to work day when he was not engaged in with a headlong reckless spirit, proboating or swimming. And in these bably derived exquisite enjoyment, exercises, so careful was he of his quickly exhausted himself, and was hands (one of those little vanities then left stranded in satiety. which sometimes beset men) that he There was scarcely a passion which wore gloves even in swimming. he had not tried, even that of avarice.
He indulged in another practice Before he left Italy he alarmed all which is not considered in Èngland his friends by becoming penurious genteel, that is to say, it is not just absolutely miserly, after the fashioni now a fashion with the upper classes of the Elwes and other great misers in this countryhe chewed tobacco on record. The pleasures of avarice to some extent.
are dwelt on with evident satis. At times, too, he was excessively faction in one of the late cantos of given to drinking ; but this is not so Don Juan--pleasures which were no uncommon. In his passage from fictions of the poet's brain, but which Genoa to Cephalonia, he spent the he had enjoyed and was revelling in principal part of the time in drinking at that moment; of course he in with the Captain of the vessel. He dulged to excess, grew tired, and could bear an immense quantity of turned to something else:
The passion which last animated were gross, his language coarse, his him was that which is said to be the sentiments not mean certainly, but last infirmity of noble minds—am- of a low and sensual kind; his mood bition. There can be little doubt sneering and satirical, unless in a that he had grown weary of being very good humour, which indeed, known only as a writer ; he deter- he often, I may say generally, was. mined to distinguish himself by ac- This is, however, the wrong side of tion. Many other motives, however, the picture in Lord Byron-he may went to make up the bundle which be said here to be taken at the worst. took him to the succour of the Greeks. Without being what I have called Italy was waning in favour, he was excited, his conversation was often beginning to grow weary of the very delightful, though almost always society of the lady, to whom, after polluted by grossness--grossness of the the manners of Italy, he had been very broadest and lowest description, attached, and unfortunately her pas- like, I cannot help saying again, like sion outlived his : even in Greece almost all his class-all of them that she would gladly have joined him; do not live either in the fear of God, but his Lordship had changed. Then, or of the public. His grossness too had again, Greece was a land of ad- the advantage of a fertile fancy, and venture, bustle, struggle, sensation, such subjects were the ready source of and excitement, where the inhabi- a petty kind of excitement; the fortants have beautiful forms, and dress bidden words, the forbidden topics, in romantic habits, and dwell in the the concealed actions of our nature, most picturesque country of the world; and the secret vices of society, stiand Lord Byron, as he said himself, mulated his imagination, and stimuhad “ an oriental twist in his imagi- lants he loved, and may be said at nation.” He knew that the Greeks times to have wanted.
He cerlooked up to him as what he really was, tainly did permit his fancy to feed one of their greatest regenerators; he on this dunghill garbage ; now and was aware that his money and rank then, indeed, even here he scratched would give him unlimited power, in- up a pearl, but so dirty a pearl, few fluence, and respect; all of which he would be at the pains of washing it dearly loved. Then again, if any man for all its price. ever sympathized deeply with bra- His letters are charming; he never very suffering in a generous cause, wrote them with the idea of “ The it was Lord Byron; and when he Letters of the Right Hon. Lord Bywas roused, in moments of excite- ron, in 6 vols. 12mo.” before his ment, this sympathy was a violently eyes, as unfortunately our great men propelling and a very virtuous mo- must now almost necessarily do. The tive. These and other secondary public are so fond of this kind of considerations led him to Greece, to reading, and so justly too, that there sacrifice much of his personal com- is great reason to fear that it will forts, much of his property, his health, consume what it feeds on. Few and his life.
things are so charming as to see a No two men were ever more un- great man without all the parapherlike than Lord Byron excited and nalia of his greatness, without his Lord Byron in the ordinary state of being armed cap-a-pie for public calm. His friends about him used to contest, when every point is guarded, call it inspiration ; and when men of and every motion studied: when a their stamp talk about inspiration, man of reputation presents himself there must no common change take to the notice of the world, he must place. When excited, his sentiments pretend to know every thing, or he were noble, his ideas grand or will have credit for nothing—he must beautiful, his language rich and assume the air of infallibility, or the enthusiastic, his views elevated, and meanest creature that can read will all his feelings of that disinterest- discover that he is full of error; he ed and martyr-like cast which must be supposed to have examined marks the great mind. When in the the subject in all its bearings, he usual dull mood in which almost must have consulted every authority, every body wearies their friends he must know what every body has nine hours out of the ten, his ideas said or thought previously on the matter, and he must anticipate what markable, and almost unaccountable. they can possibly say or think in fu- A love of victory might sometimes ture, or he will be voted a shallow account for little disputes and petty writer, without information, who has triumphs, otherwise inexplicable, and produced a work of no value. Then always unworthy of his great genius; as to style, it must be the abstract of but, as I have said, he was only a language-it must be impersonal— great genius now and then, when exunindividual and just such as a lite- cited; when not so, he was somerary machine which had the power of times little in his conduct, and in his grinding thoughts might be supposed writings dull, or totally destitute of to utter. In short, the writer is all powers of production. He was every moment afraid of either com- very good-natured ; and when asked mitting himself or his friends; he is to write a song, or a copy of verses on his good behaviour; and natural in an album, or an inscription, for so freedom, grace, and truth, are out of poets are plagu.d, he would genethe question. The writer for the rally attempt to comply, but he selpublic is as much unlike the real dom succeeded in doing any thing; man as the traveller in a stage coach and when he did, he generally gave or as the guest at a public ball or birth to such Grub-street doggerel as dinner is like the lively, careless, his friends were ashamed of, and, it rattling, witty, good-natured, fanciful is to be hoped, charitably put into pleasant creature, at his or her fire- the fire. When, on the contrary, in side, among old friends, who know a state of enthusiasm, he wrote with too much of the whole life and cha- great facility, and corrected very little. racter to be alarmed at any little He used to boast of an indifference sally, and who are satisfied with such about his writings which he did not knowledge as their friend possesses, feel, and would remark with pleasure without requiring that he should that he never saw them in print, and know everything. Lord Byron's never met with any body that did not letters are the models of a species of know more about them than himself. composition which should be written He left very little behind him. Of without an eye to any models. His late he had been too much occupied fancy kindled on paper ; he touches no with the Greeks to write, and, insubject in a common every-day way; deed, had turned his attention very the reader smiles all through, and much to action, as has been observed. loves the writer at the end ; longs Don Juan he certainly intended to for his society, and admires his continue ; and, I believe, that the happy genius and his amiable dis- real reason for his holding so many position. Lord Byron's letters are conferences with Dr. Kennedy in like what his conversation was-but Cephalonia was, that he might masbetter--he had more undisturbed lei- ter the slang of a religious sect, in sure to let his fancies ripen in; he order to hit off the character with could point his wit with more secu- more veri-similitude. rity, and his irritable temper met His religious principles were by no with no opposition on paper.
means fixed; habitually, like most Lord Byron was not ill-tempered of his class, he was an unbeliever ; nor quarrelsome, but still he was at times, however, he relapsed into very difficult to live with; he was Christianity, and, in his interviews capricious, full of humours, apt to be with Dr. Kennedy, maintained the offended, and wilful. When Mr.Hob- part of a Unitarian. Like all men house and he travelled in Greece to- whose imaginations are much stronger gether, they were generally a mile than the reasoning power the asunder, and though some of his guiding and determining faculty-he friends lived with him off and on a was in danger of falling into fanalong time, (Trelawney, for instance,) ticism, and some of his friends who it was not without serious trials knew him well used to predict that of temper, patience, and affection. he would die a Methodist; a conHe could make a great point often summation by no means impossible. about the least and most trifling From the same cause, the preponthing imaginable, and adhere to his derance of the imagination, there purpose with a pertinacity truly re- might have been some ground for the fear which beset hiş later moments press, for instance, and in all quesin that he should go mad. The imme- tions relating to publicity, he was comdiate cause of this fear was, the deep pletely wrong. He saw nothing but impression which the fate of Swift a few immediate effects, which aphad made upon him. He read the peared to him pernicious or the ļife of Swift dụring the whole of his contrary, and he set himself against yoyage to Greece, and the melan- or in behalf of the press accordingly. choly termination of the Dean's life Lord Byron complaining of the licenhaunted his imagination.
tiousness of the press may sound Strong, overruling, and irregular rather singular, and yet such are neas was Lord Byron's imagination--a cessarily the inconsistencies of men rich yice which inspired him with his who suffer themselves to be guided poetry, and which is too surely but by high-sounding words and vague the disease of a great mind-strong generalities, and who expect to unas was this imaginatiou--sensitive derstand the art of government and and susceptible as it was to all ex- the important interests of society by ternal influence, yet Lord Byron's instinct. · In spite, however, of Lord reasoning faculties were by no means Byron, the press was established in of a low order ; but they had never Greece, and maintained free and unbeen cultivated, and, without cul- shackled, by one of the greatest benetivation, whether by spontaneous ex, factors that country has as yet known ertion, or under the guidance of dis- from England, the Hon. Colonel Leicipline, to expect a man to be a good cester Stanhope, who, by his acreasoner, even on the common affairs tivity, his energy, courage, but, above of life, is to expect a crop where the all, by his enlightened knowledge of seed has not been sown, or where the the principles of legislation and civiliweeds have been suffered to choke zation, succeeded in carrying into the corn. Lord Byron was shrewd, effect all his measures, as agent of formed frequently judicious conclu- the Greek committee, and who, by sions, and, though he did not reason spreading useful information, and, with any accuracy or certainty, very above ali, by the establishment of often hit upon the right. He had oc- the press in all the principal points casional glimpses, and deep ones too, of reunion in Greece, has advanced into the nature of the institutions of that country in civilization many society and the foundations of morals, years, how many we dare not say. and, by his experience of the passions Before the establishment of the press, of men, speculated ably upon human the Greeks were working out their life; yet withal he was any-thing but regeneration in various parts of logical or scientific,
Greece, but not as a whole--without Uncertain and wavering, he never unity of design, or unity of interest knew himself whether he was right or each centre was ignorant of the opewrong, and was always obliged to rations of all the other centres, exwrite and feel for the moment on the cept by accidental communication ; supposition that his opinion was the and communication, from the nature true one, He used to declare that he of the country and from the circumhad no fixed principles; which means stances in which it was placed, was that he knew, nothing scientifically: rare and hazardous. The press has in politics, for instance, he was a lover greatly assisted to establish one feelof liberty, from prejudice, habit, or ing throughout the country; not from some vague notion that it was merely is information passed from generous to be so; but in what liberty one quarter to another by its means, really consists—how it operates for but an interchange of sentiments the advantage of mankind-how it is takes place, and a gympathy is ereto be obtained, secured, regulated, ated, advice and encouragement recihe was as ignorant as a child. procated, enthusiasm kept alive, and
While he was in Greece, almost useful principles disseminated through every elementary question of govern- the whole commonwealth. Not only ment was necessarily to be discussed; will the press thus accelerate the such was the crisis of Greek affairs — liberation of Greece, but will also, about all of which he showed himself when that liberation is effected, preperfectly ignorant. In the case of the vent the separation and dissolution of the country into petty kingdoms which he was too wise a man ever to and governments, which was the have felt under other circumstances. bane of ancient Greece. It is be. He was at one time, in Greece, abcoming to the body politic what the solutely soldier-mad; he had a helnerves are to the body physical, and met made, and other armour in which will bind a set of disjected members to lead the Suliotes to the storming into one corresponding and sensitive of Lepanto, and thought of nothing frame. As a proof of Lord Byron's but of guns and blunderbusses. It uncertainty and unfixedness, he at is very natural to suppose that a one moment gave a very handsome man of an enthusiastic turn, tired of donation (501.) to one paper, the every-day enjoyments, in succouring Greek Chronicle, the most independ- the Greeks would look to the bustle, ant of them all, and promised to as the adventure, the moving accidents sist in its compilation. His friend by flood and field, as sources of great and secretary, too, with his appro- enjoyment; but allowing for the robation, established a polyglot news- mantic character of guerilla warfare paper, the Greek Telegraph, with his in Greece, for the excessively unrocountenance and support. The want mantic nature of projects for estaof any fixed principles and opinions blishing schools and printing-presses on these important subjects galled in safe places, where the Turks nehim excessively, and he could never ver or very seldom reach; allowing discuss them without passion. About for these, yet they were not the this same press, schools, societies for causes of bis Lordship’s hostility to mutual instruction, and all other in- these peaceful but important instrustitutions for the purpose of edu- ments in propagating happiness : he cating and advancing the Greeks in was ignorant of the science of civicivilization, he would express him- lization, and he was jealous of those self with scorn and disgust. He who both knew it and practised it, would put it on the ground that the and consequently were doing more present was not the time for these good than himself, and began to be things; that the Greeks must conquer more thought about too, in spite of first, and then set about learning” his Lordship’s money, which in
which no one could se. Greece is certainly very little short riously entertain who knew as he of being all-powerful. The Greeks, well did the real situation of the it is true, had a kind of veneration Greeks, who are only now and then for Lord Byron, on account of his visited by the Turks, descending at having sung the praises of Greece ; particular seasons in shoals, like her- but the thing which caused his arrings, and like them too to be netted, rival to make so great a sensation knocked on the head, and left to die there was the report that he was imin heaps till the whole country- mensely rich, and had brought a ship side is glutted with their carcases. full of sallars (as they call dollars) The aptitude of the Greeks is as to pay off all their arrears. So that great as their leisure ; and if even the as soon as it was understood he had men were actively engaged for the arrived, the Greek fleet was premost part of their time, which they sently set in motion to the port where are not, surely no exertion of bene- he was stationed; was very soon in volence could be attended with more a state of the most pressing distress, advantage than instructing the chil- and nothing could relieve it but a dren at home. This, to be sure, is a loan of four thousand pounds from quaker kind of warfare, and little his Lordship, which loan was evenlikely to please a poet'; though it tually obtained (though with a small must be confessed, that in respect to difficulty), and then the Greek fleet the pomp and circumstance of war, sailed away, and left his Lordship's and all the sad delusions of military person to be nearly taken by the glory, no man could have more sane Turks in crossing to Missolonghi, as notions than Lord Byron. Mercenary another vessel which contained his warfare and the life-and-death strug- suite and his stores actually was capgle of oppressed men for freedom are tured, though afterwards released. very different things ; and Lord By. It was this money too which charm ron felt a military ardour in Greeceed the Prince Mavrocordato, who