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I beg you to believe me, with a lively recollection of our brief acquaintance, and the hope of one day renewing it,
Your ever obliged
And obedient humble servant,
LORD BYRON'S RESIDENCE IN GREECE.*
The motives which induced Lord Byron to leave Italy and join the Greeks struggling for emancipation from the yoke of their ignorant and cruel oppressors, are of so obvious a nature, that it is scarcely worth while to allude to them. It was in Greece that his high poetical faculties had been first most powerfully developed ; and they who know the delight attendant, even in a very inferior degree, upon this intellectual process, will know how to appreciate the tender as
* The Editor is indebted for the following interesting Account of Lord Byron's Residence in Greece, &c. to “ The Westminster Review," a publication which has already justly acquired a high name in the periodical literature of England.
sociations which, " soft as the memory of buried love," cling to the scenes and the persons that have first stimulated the dormant genius. Greece, a land of the most venerable and illustrious history, of a peculiarly grand and beautiful scenery, inhabited by various races of the most wild and picturesque manners, was to him the land of excitement, ---never-cloying, never-wearying, ever-changing excitement :-such must necessarily have been the chosen and favourite spot of a man of powerful and original intellect, of quick and sensible feelings, of a restless and untameable spirit, of warm affections, of various information,-and, above all, of one satiated and disgusted with the formality, hypocrisy, and sameness of daily life. Dwelling upon that country, as it is clear from all Lord Byron's writings he did, with the fondest solicitude, and being, as he was well known to be, an ardent though perhaps not a very systematic lover of freedom, we may be certain that he was no unconcerned spectator of its recent revolution : and as soon as it appeared to him that his presence might be useful, he prepared to visit once more the shores of Greece. The imagination of Lord Byron, however, was the subject and servant of his reason--in this instance
he did not act, and perhaps never did, under the influence of the delusions of a wild enthusiasm, by which poets, very erroneously as regards great poets, are supposed to be generally led. It was not until after very serious deliberation of the advantages to be derived from this step, and after acquiring all possible information on the subject, that he determined on it; and in this as in every other act regarding this expedition, as we shall find, proved himself a wise and practical philanthropist. Like all men educated as he had been, Lord Byron too often probably obeyed the dictates of impulse, and threw up the reins to passions which he had never been taught the necessity of governing; but the world are under a grievous mistake if they fancy that Lord Byron embarked for Greece with the ignorant ardour of a schoolboy, or the flighty fanaticism of a crusader. It appeared to him that there was a good chance of his being useful in a country which he loved - a field of honourable distinction was open to him, and doubtless he expected to derive no mean gratification from witnessing so singular and instructive a spectacle as the emancipation of Greece.-A glorious career apparently presented itself, and he determined to try the event. When he had made up his mind to leave Italy for Greece, he wrote from Genoa to one of his most intimate friends and constant companions, then at Rome, saying,
“ T- you must have heard I am going to Greece ; why do you not come to me? I am at last determined—Greece is the only place I ever was contented in- I am serioug-and did not write before, as I might have given you a journey for nothing. They all say I can be of great use in Greece; I do not know how, nor do they, but at all events let us try!”
He had, says this friend, who knew him well, become ambitious of a name as distinguished for deeds as it was already by his writings. It was but a short time before his decease, that he composed one of the most beautiful and touching of his songs on his 36th birth-day, which remarkably proves the birth of this new passion. *
Lord Byron embarked from Leghorn and arrived in Cephalonia in the early part of August, 1823, attended by a suite of six or seven friends, in an English vessel (the Hercules, Captain Scott), which he had hired for the express purpose of taking him to Greece. His Lordship had never seen any of the volcanic mountains, and
* See the lines at the end of the volunie.