Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the only one whom he had attacked, and whom he would continue to attack, whom he detested. He observed respecting his love of freedom:

“ Perhaps if I had never travelled-never left my own country young, my views would have been more limited. They extend to the good of mankind in general-of the world at large. Perhaps the prostrate situation of Portugal and Spain-the tyranny of the Turks in Greece-the oppressions of the Austrian Government at Venice-the mental debasement of the Papal States, (not to mention Ireland,)-tended to inspire me with a love of liberty. No Italian could have rejoiced more than I, to have seen a constitution established on this side the Alps. I felt for Romagna as if she had been my own country, and would have risked my life and fortune for her, as I may yet for the Greeks.* I am become a citizen of the world. There is no man I envy so much as Lord Cochrane. His entrance into Lima, which I see announced in to-day's paper, is one of the great events of the day. Maurocordato, too, (whom you know so well,) is also worthy of the best times of Greece. Patriotism and virtue are not quite extinct.”.

“I told him that I thought the best lines he had ever written were his Address to Greece, beginning · Land of the Unforgotten Brave!' I should be glad, said he, to think that I have added a spark to the flame. I love Greece, and take the strongest interest in her struggle.”

We cannot pass over the following beautiful stanzas from the Poet's pen, addressed to the Countess Guiccioli, on his leaving Venice:

“ River that rollest by the ancient walls
Where dwells the lady of my love, when she
Walks by the brink, and there perchance recalls
A faint and fleeting memory of me;
What if thy deep and ample stream should be
A mirror of my heart, where she may read
The thousand thoughts I now betray to thee,
Wild as thy wave, and headlong as thy speed ?
What do I say?-_a mirror of my heart,
Are not thy waters sweeping, dark and strong ?
Such as my feelings were and are, thou art;
And such as thou art, were my passions long.
Time may have somewhat tamed them, not for ever;
Thou overflow'st thy banks, and not for aye ;
Thy bosom overboils, congenial river !
Thy foods subside ; and mine have sunk away-
But left long wrecks behind them; and again
Borne on our old unchanged career, we move;
Thou tendest wildly onward to the main,
And I to loving one I should not love.
The current I behold will sweep beneath
Her native walls, and murmur at her feet;
Her eyes will look on thee, when she shall breathe
The twilight air, uuharm’d by summer's heat.

* “ And I will war, at least in words, (and-should

My chance so happen,-deeds,) with all who war
With Thought. And of Thought's foes by far most rude

Tyrants and sycophants have been and are.
I know not who may conquer : if I could

Have such a prescience, it should be no bar
To this my plain, sworn, downright detestation
Of every despotism in every nation!"

Don Juan, Canto XI.

She will look on thee; I have look'd on thee,
Full of that thought, and from that moment ne'er
Thy waters could I dream of, name or see,
Without the inseparable sigh for her.
Her bright eyes will be imaged in thy stream;
Yes, they will meet the wave I gaze on now:
Mine cannot witness, even in a dream,
That happy wave repass me in its flow.
The wave that bears my tears returns no more:
Will she return by whom that wave shall sweep?
Both tread thy banks, both wander on thy shore;
I near thy source, she by the dark-blue deep.
But that which keepeth us apart is not
Distance, nor depth of wave, nor space of earth,
But the distraction of a various lot,
As various as the climates of our birth.
A stranger loves a lady of the land,
Born far beyond the mountains, but his blood
Is all meridian, as if never fann'd
By the bleak wind that chills the polar flood.
My blood is all meridian; were it not,
I had not left my clime; I shall not be,
In spite of tortures ne'er to be forgot,
A slave again of love, at least of thee.
'Tis vain to struggle-let me perish young-
Live as I lived, and love as I have loved;
To dust if I return, from dust I sprung,

And then at least my heart can ne'er be moved.” That Lord Byron should have joined to his religious scépticism some superstitious weaknesses, will surprise many: to us it seems no incompatibility. There is little or no connexion between reason and sentiment, and all imaginative persons are liable to this disease : for superstition is the malady of man himself, only as he is an imaginative animal. He once consulted a conjurer, more out of sport than curiosity. . He was told that two years would be fatal to him, his twenty-seventh and his thirtyseventh. In the first he married, in the second he died. Lest, however, this coincidence should appear something supernatural, we may add that the witch was mistaken in other particulars. Whoever feels strongly must be subject to those depressions of spirits which engender the notion of forebodings: no true lover will doubt this, and few of us all but will recollect instances in which we have flattered or teased ourselves with such trifles, when much moved by passion. The subject of religion Lord B. seems always to have viewed with a poet's eye; and however much he may have been offended with the abuses of establishments, and jealous of priestly assertions of authority in such matters, he seems to have regarded the subject more as an author than a man; much, however, of what is related of him in the Journal on this head, may have been mere idle indulgence of mood, repeated without reflection, and forgotten as soon as said. Of the work itself, it is needless to add more. Every body will read it, as every body roads whatever appears concerning Lord Byron. Mr. Medwin's acquaintance with his hero commenced through the introduction of Shelley; and he seems to have obtained a prompt admission into the confidence of the confraternity. What this opportunity afforded him of knowing, he apparently has collected with industry, and reported with fidelity. There can be little doubt that such a book must be at once interesting and amusing in common degree.

wears

LAUS ATRAMENTI, OR THE PRAISE OF BLACKING.

A New Song
Our Sires were such pedagogue blockheads of yore,

That they sent us to college instruction to seek,
Where we botherd our brains with pedantical lore,

Law, logic, and algebra, Latin and Greek;
But now wiser grown, leaving learning alone,
And resolving to shine by a light of our own,
Our cares we transfer from the head to the foot,
Leave the brain to be muddied, and polish the boot.
On the banks of the Isis, ye classical fools !

Who with Lycophron's crabbedness puzzle your ear,
And ye who learn logarithmetical rules

At Cambridge, from tables of Baron Napier,
Renounce Aristotle, and take to the bottle,
That “ Patent Blacking,” inscribed on its throttle ;
For Napier and Greek are by few understood,
While all can decide when your blacking is good.
When a gentleman dubb'd by the knight of the brush,

Who has set up your foot in Corinthian style,
For the rest of your wardrobe you care not a rush,

Secure of the public's distinguishing smile,
Though your dress may be dusty, and musty and fusty,
You're whitewash'd by blacking and cannot be rusty;-
Such errors as these are but venial and small,
People look at your boot, which atones for them all.

who are struggling your fortunes to make
By the brief or the bolus, law, commerce, or trade,
Your pitiful schemes of ambition forsake,

And be makers of blacking, by taunts undismay'd,
For what is auguster than giving a lustre
To those who without you would hardly pass muster,
And, by selling your“ brilliant and beautiful jet,"
A name and a fortune together to get ?
Day and Martin now laugh as they ride in their coach,

Till they're black in the face as their customers' boots;
Warren swears that his blacking 's beyond all approach,

Which Turner's advertisement plumply refutes ;
They hector and huff, print, publish and puff,
And write in the papers ridiculous stuff,
While Hunt who was blacken'd by all, and run down,
'Takes a thriving revenge as he blackens the town.
Their labels belibel each other each wall

With the feuds of these rivals in blacking is white;
But the high polished town seems to patronise all,

And the parties get rich in each other's despite;
For my own part I think, I shall mix up my ink,
In a bottle with lamp-black and beer to the brink,
And set up at once for a shiner of shoes,
Since I never shall shine by the aid of the Muse.

And ye

[ocr errors]

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THEOBALD WOLFE TONE. * “The club [of United Irishmen) adopted the declaration of their brethren of Belfast, with whoin they immediately opened a correspondence. It is but justice to an honest man who has been persecuted for a firm adherence to his principles, to observe here, that Tandy, in coming forward on this occasion, well knew that he was putting to the most extreme hazard his popularity among the corporation of the city of Dublin, with whom he had enjoyed the most unbounded influence for near twenty years; and, in fact, in the event his popularity was saorificed. That did not, however, prevent bis taking his part decidedly. He had the firmness to forego the gratification of his private feelings for the good of his country. The truth is, Tandy was a very sincere republican, and it did not require much argument to shew him the impossibility of attaining a republic by any means short of the united powers of the whole people. He, therefore, renounced the lesser object for the greater, and gave up the certain influence which he possessed, and had well earned, in the city, for the contingency of that influence which he might have, and which he well deserved to have, in the nation. For ny part I think it right to mention, that at this time the establishment of a republic was not the immediate object of my speculations: my object was to secure the independence of my country under any form of government, to which I was led by a hatred to England so deeply rooted in my nature, that it was rather an instinct than a principle. I left to others better qualified for the enquiry, the investigation into the merits of the different forms of government; and I contented myself with labouring on my own systein, which was luckily in perfect coincidence, as to its operation, with that of those men who viewed the question on a broader and juster scale than I did at the time I mention. But io return. · The club was scarcely formed before I lost all pretensions to any thing like influence on their measures-a circumstance which at first mortified me not a little; and, perhaps, had I retained more weight in their councils, I might have prevented, as on some occasions I laboured unsuccessfully to prevent, their running into indiscretions which gave their enemies but too great advantages over them. It is easy to be wise after the event. So it was, however, that I soon sunk into obscurity in the club, which, however, I had the satisfaction to see daily increasing in oumbers and consequence. The Catholics, particularly, flocked in crowds, as well as the Protestant members of corporations most distinguished for their liberality and public spirit on former occasions; and, indeed, I must do the society the justice to say, that I believe there never existed a political body which included for its members a greater portion of sincere, uncorrupted patriotism, as well as a very respectable portion of talents. Their publications, mostly written by Dr. Drennan, and inany of them admirably well done, began to draw the public attention, especially as they were evidently the production of a society utterly disclaiming all party views or motives, and acting on a broad original scale, not sparing those who called themselves patriots more than those who were the habitual slaves of the governmenta system in which I heartily concurred, having long entertained a more sincere contempt for what is called the Opposition, than for the common prostitutes of the treasury bench, who want at least, the vice of hypocrisy. At length the Solieitor-general, in speaking of the Society, having made use of expressions in the House of Commons extremely offensive, an explanation was demanded of bim by Simon Butler, chairman, and Tandy, secretary. Butler was satisfied ; Tandy was not; and after several messages, which it is not my affair to detail, the Solicitor-geveral at length complained to the House of a breach of privilege, and Tandy was ordered in the first instance into custody. He was, in consequence, arrested by a messenger, from whom he found means to escape ; and immediately a proclamation was issued, offering a reward for retaking him. The Society now was in a difficult situation, and I thought myself called upon to make an effort, at all hazards to myself, to prevent its falling, by improper timidity, in the public opinion. We were, in fact, committed with the House of Commons on the question of privia lege ; and, having fairly engaged in the contest, it was impossible to recede without a total forfeiture of character. Under these circumstances, i cast my eyes on Archibald Hamilton Rowan, a distinguished member of the Society, whose many virtues, public and private, had set his name above the reach of even the malevolence of party, whose situation in life was of the most respectable rank, (if rank be indeed respectable); and, above all, whose personal courage was not to be shaken-a circumstance, in the actual situation of affairs, of the last importance. To Rowan, therefore, I applied. I shewed him that the current of public opinion was rather setting against us in the business, and that it was necessary that some of us should step forward and expose themselves at all risks, to shew the House of Commons, and the nation at large, that we were not to be intimidated or put down so easily; and I offered, if he would take the chair, that I would, with the Society's permission, act as secretary, and that we would give our signatures to such publications as circumstances might render necessary. Rowan instantly agreed; and accordingly on the next night of meeting, he was chosen chairman and I secretary in the absence of Tandy; and the Society having agreed to the resolutions proposed, which were worded in a manner very offensive to the dignity of the House of Commons, and, in fact, amounted to a challenge of their authority, we inserted them in all the newspapers, and printed 5000 copies with our names affixed. The least that Rowan and I expected in consequence of this step, (which under the circumstances was, 'I must say, rather a bold one,) was to be committed to Newgate for a breach of privilege ; and, perhaps, exposed to personal discussion with some of the members of the House of Commons; for he proposed and I agreed, that if any disrespectful language was applied to either of us in any debate which might arise on the business, we would attack the person, whoever he might be, iinmediately, and oblige him either to recant his words or give battle. All our determinations, however, came to nothing The House of Commons, either content with their victory over Tandy, who was obliged to conceal himself for some time, or not thinking Rowan and myself objects sufficiently important to attract their notice; or, perhaps, (which I rather believe,) not wishing just then to embroil themselves with a man of Rowan's firmness and courage, not to speak of his great and justly merited popularity, took no notice whatsoever of our resolutions, and in this manher he and l'had the good fortune, or, if I may say, the merit, to rescue the Society from a situation of considerable difficulty, without any actual suffering, though certainly with some personal hazard on our parts. We had, likewise, the satisfaction to see the Society, instead of losing ground, rise rapidly in the public opinion by their firinness on the occasion. Shortly after, on the last day of the session, Tandy appeared in public, and was taken into custody, the whole Society attending in a body to the House of Com, mons. He was ordered by the Speaker to be committed to Newgate, whither he was conveyed, the Society attending him as before ; and the Parliament being prorogued in half an hour after, he was liberated immediately, and escorted in triumph to his own house. On this occasion Rowan and I attended, of course, and were in the gallery of the House of Commons. As we were not sure but we might be attacked ourselves, we took pains to place ourselves in a conspicuous situation, and to wear our whig-club uniforms, which were rather gaudy, in order to signify to all whom it might concern, that there we were. A good many of the members, we observed, remarked us, but no farther notice was taken ; our names were never mencioned; the whole business passed over quietly, and I resigned my pro secretaryship, being the only office I ever held in the Society, into the hands of Tandy, who resumed his functions. This was in Spring 1792. I should

* Continued from page 347. VOL. XI. NO, XLVII.

2E

« ZurückWeiter »