as a

So much for the sorrows of a patron, and the memory of a slave.

On the whole this book, as a collection of anecdotes, is amusing. It has, of course, no pretension to be looked o “ Life;" and probably not more as a “ Character,” farther than as lord Byron chose to proclaim himself to the public. The Conversations” seem to have been intended for the world even in their birth over his “ gin and biscuit.” Yet, we will venture to say, that no more Alimsy and worthless dialogue ever passed the lips of bard or biographer. Lord Byron had enjoyed eminent advantages, his birth and income placed all that was choice in European society before him; he had seen every thing in the natural and artificial wealth and beauty of Europe; his education had placed other resources within his reach. Yet in these conversations of two years we find nothing but “ himself,his paltry squabbles with his publisher, his hopes and fears of his reviewers, his wrath at the failure of his dramas, his wrangles with his mistresses, and his bitter scorn of his associates and relatives. There is nothing in the volume of all that we must have expected from his opportunities ; no delineation of public character, no fine view of general European polity, no lofty and philosophical foresight or memory; even no honourable and kindly recollection of home and ancestry, and the host of feelings that naturally rise up in the heart of an exile. In place of this we hear of Shelley, and Doctor Nott, who called Shelley a Scelerato, and Taafe, and the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, and the lady. Carolines, and the Guiccioli, and the multitude of trivialities that concerned only himself, and by which his selfish and profligate spirit was at once roused and chained.

Dallas's book has but just appeared, and might have had some higher interest, for it was to have contained the letters written by lord Byron on his early travels through Spain and Greece, countries which he had seen with the freshness of novelty, and with the feeling that had produced the ablest of all his poems, the first two cantos of “Childe Harold.” But for those we are presented with the ungenial history of a lawsuit between the representative of Mr. Dallas and lord Byron's executors; a long and unimportant detail of the altercation by the representative, and last, and not least exhausting, a heap of letters by Mr. Dallas himself.

The lawsuit, bad as it is, is certainly the most amusing part of the book.

The Recollections begin thus; “ Lord Byron was a nephew

of the late captain George Anson Byron of the royal navy, who was married to my sister, Henrietta Charlotte.” It might have been more natural to tell us whose son his lordship was, but the former mode is obviously the better to tell us who Mr. Dallas was, if that should have been a matter of enquiry.

Lord Byron was born in 1788, on the 22nd of January, at Dover; and it was not till the same month, twenty years after, that Mr. Dallas had any kind of intercourse with him. Thus we are, for the whole minority, presented with an universal blank, and after 1814 his biographer seems to have had no personal knowledge of him. The six years are reduced to three by his lordship's travels, and of even those three Mr. Dallas seems to have benefited in no other way than in overwhelming him with critiques of intolerable size, though of very cautious and qualified severity, and letters of advice, monotonous and lengthy enough to have made a man sick of the adviser. Our only surprize is, that the advisee did not discard him sooner; though, after all, who would not have been softened by such remonstranees as these ?

“ My dear Lord Byron, “ I have read your satire with infinite pleasure, and were you sufficiently acquainted with my mind to be certain that it cannot stoop to flattery, I would tell you,' &c.

In another of these effusions, he thus does reverence.

" I shall not repeat my own opinion to you. But I will repeat the request I once made to you, never to consider me as a flatterer!

** Were you a monarch, and had conferred on me the most munificent favours, such an opinion of me would be a signal of retreat, if not of ingratitude. But if you think me sincere, and like me to be candid, I shall delight in your fame, and be happy in your friendship,” &c. &c. &c.

He however sét about being useful with great activity; Hunted for a publisher for his Lordship's poems, revised the press, suggested titles, alterations, &c., and altogether made himself serviceable. His Lordship accepted the service, but was not converted by the advice, and rebutted the old man's theology, and received the letters, and, as his Mentor more than suspected, even gave audience to a mistress in his presence. Still he adhered to the peer, and corrected the proofs, and collected the criticisms, until his lordship grew incurably weary, and the connexion broke up with some querulous intimations on

fifty years.

the old gentleman's side, of "neglect, ingratitude, being superseded by a younger rival,” &c. Both parties are now where they can be affected neither by praise nor blame, but it is pitiable to look upon a venerable personage, who had once obtained some literary character, thus humbling himself before his junior by

Lord Byron had put into Mr. Dallas's hands, twenty letters which he had written to his mother from Greece, &c. saying, that some time or other they would be curiosities. This Mr. Dallas looked upon as giving him fall right to print them; a right, however, which the executors have disputed, and the Chancellor has disallowed.

A few anecdotes are scattered through the volume. The following is his Lordship's first appearance among the Lords.

“ I accompanied Lord Byron to the House. He was received in one of the antechambers by some of the officers in attendance, with whom he settled respecting the fees he had to pay. One of them went to apprize the Lord Chancellor of his being there ; and soon returned for him. There were very few persons in the House. Lord Eldon was going through some ordinary business. When Lord Byron entered, I thought he looked still paler than before ;, and he certainly wore a countenance in which mortification was mingled with, but subdued by, indignation. He passed the woolsack without looking round, and advanced to the table, where the proper officer was attending to administer the oaths. When he had gone through them, the Chancellor quitted his seat, and went towards him with a smile, putting out his hand warmly to welcome him; and though I did not catch his words, I saw that he paid him some compliment. This was all thrown away upon Lord

Byron, who made a stiff bow, and put the tips of his fingers into a hand, the amiable offer of which demanded the whole of his. I was sorry to see this, for Lord Eldon's character is great for virtue, as well as talent; and even in a political point of view, it would have given me inexpressible pleasure to have seen him uniting heartily with him. The Chancellor did not press a welcome so received, but resumed his seat, while Lord Byron carelessly seated himself for a few minutes on one of the empty benches to the left of the throne, usually occupied by the lords in opposition. When on his joining me, I expressed what I had felt, he said, “If I had shaken hands heartily, he would have set'me down for one of his party; but I will have nothing to do with any of them on either side. I have taken my seat, and now I will go abroad.""

Among the various modes of ascertaining a man's public principles, his Lordship’s is not the least curious and novel. That the palm and its feelings of emptiness or fulness had a good



deal to do with party, has been an old idea enough ; but his Lordship's thinking a hearty shake of the hand demonstrative of toryism, is a new conception in political palmistry.

In the captain's book Lord Byron talks with petulant carelessness of his introduction to the king. Dallas tells a different story, and the true one.

“ He happened to go early to a party when there were very few persons assembled; the Regent went in soon after ; Lord Byron was at some distance from him in the room. On being informed who he was, his Royal Highness sent a gentleman to him to desire that he would be presented. The presentation of course took place; the Regent expressed his admiration of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; and continued a conversation, which so fascinated the po that had it not been for an accidental deferring of the next levee, he bade fair to become a visitor at Carlton House, if not a complete courtier.

“ I called on him the moming for which the levee had been appointed, and found him in a full dress suit of clothes, with his fine black hair in powder, which by no means suited his countenance. I was surprised, as he had not told me that he should go to court, and it seemed to me as if he thought it necessary to apologize for his intention, by his observing that he could not in decency but do it, as the Regent had done him the honour to say that he hoped to see him soon at Carlton House. In spite of his assumed philosophical contempt. of royalty, and of his decided junction with the opposition, he had not been able to withstand the powerful operation of royal praise ; which, however, continued to influence him only till flattery of a more congenial kind diverted him from the enjoyment of that, which he was for a moment disposed to receive. The levee had been suddenly put off

, and he was dressed before he was informed of the alteration which had taken place.

“ It was the first and the last time he was ever so dressed, at least for a British court. A newly-made friend of his

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Lord Byron was more than half prepared to yield to this influence ; and the harsh verses that proceeded from his pen, were, I believe, composed more to humour his new friend's passions, than his own. Certain it is, he gave up all ideas of appearing at court, and fell into the habit of speaking disrespectfully of the prince."

And he might have added, of writing libels on him, and his most excellent father.

Further observations on the capriciousness and bitter spirit of this man, would be unnecessary. It is not to be suffered that a habitual infidel, a habitual debauchee, and a habitual rebel to the honour and name of his country, should be held up to public admiration, on the simple plea that he wrote verses of whatever excellence. There is danger in this absurd and giddy homage; because half the vices of mankind are the work of imitation, and because, with the multitude, the only check is public opinion. The first sign of our national undoing will be the praise of talents, to the neglect of principle. No fluency of stanza, and no bitterness of epigram, should be allowed to carry a culprit down with honour to the grave. Let us deify Byron, and we shall find tens of thousands, who, without his ability, will exult to follow his heartless, debasing, and profligate example.

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Tales of a Traveller. By Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. % vols. 8vo.

London. Murray. 1824.

Mr. IRVING, the author of these volumes, is an ingenious and intelligent writer, with a peculiar kind of humour, and a tact which habitually turns his pen to topics agreeable to the popular feeling. Such a writer deserves to be read, and must, at all sober times, command a valuable portion of public in


But popularity is proverbially among the most precarious of mortal things, and these volumes are now altogether driven out of the pale by an outcry as loud as that which originally gave the works of Geoffrey Crayon their perilous distinction. This rapidity of rise and fall is a sort of literary phenomenon, explicable, however, upon sufficiently simple principles.

The Americans had been, for some years, in a temper of very fierce and very absurd irritation with English authorship. It must be allowed that the persons who chiefly transmitted the American portraiture to this country, were but little qualified to execute their task with sentimental tenderness, or even with adroit flattery. The peculiar pressure of the times, the love of money-making, mere bitterness of spirit, extravagant republicanism, a rage for land-jobbing, the convenience of evading creditors, and the hundred other motives that are perpetually engendering restlessness in a hot, high-wrought, and capricious state of society, have, of late years, flooded North America with adventurers and explorers from all parts Europe, and first and chief from the British empire.

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