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OF LORD BYRON.
George Gordon Breon, Lord Byron, Byron, the celebrated voyager. He was a was born in Holles-street, London, on the captain in the guards, and notorious, alike 92d of January, 1789. His name was of for his personal beauty, and the profligacy Norman origin, and still exists, among the of his conduct. In his twenty-seventh year, noblest in France, in the family of the Duke he won the affections of Lady Caerinarthen, de Biron. His direct ancestor, Ralph de the wife of the Marquis of Caermarthen; Biron, accompanied William the Conqueror Aled with her to the Continent, and, on her to England, and he and his descendants for husband's obtaining a divorce, married her. several succeeding reigns, held large posses- She died in 1784, leaving one daughter, sions in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and Augusta Byron, afterwards Mrs. Leigh. Ir Lancashire. James Byron, of Horestan the following year, he married Catherine Castle, Derbyshire, appears on the "Oxford Gordon, the only child of George Gordon, List,” as one of the English Knights who Esq. of Gight, in Scotland. She was of followed the banner of Richard Cæur de noble, and indeed, of princely ancestry, being Lion to Palestine, and he or his brother a lineal descendant of Sir William Gordon, became a hostage for the payment of the son of the Earl of Huntly by a daughter ransom of that monarch after bis captivity. of James I. She was possessed of proIn the wars of the three Edwards, and of perty to the amount of more than £20,000 the White and Red Roses, the family were sterling, which was very soon nearly exhighly distinguished, and were engaged in pended in paying her husband's debts, ana almost every battle, from Cressy to Bos- contributing to his extravagancies. Ju the worth Field. Newstead Abbey, near Not- summer of 1786, they left Scotland, and tingham, with the lands adjoining it, was resided in France, until the close of the presented by Henry VIII. on the dissolution year 1787, when Mrs. Byron returned 10 of the monasteries to Sir John Byron, and London, and continued there until the birth in 1643, his great grandson was created a of the poet in January 1788. At this time peer by Charles I. with the title of Baron all her estate had been sacrificed, with the Byron, of Rochdale, in the county of Lan- exception of about £150 sterling per ancaster. During the political struggles of num, vested in trustees for her use. From that period, the Byrons adhered faithfully to London she proceeded with her infant to the Crown, and suffered greatly by confis- Aberdeen, where she was soon after joined cation and otherwise. At the battle of by Captain Byron, who, after passing at Edgehill seven brothers of the name were intervals two or three months with her, present, four of whom fell at Marston during which they lived very unhappily Moor. William, the fifth Lord, succeeded together, departed again for France, and to the title in 1736, and, in 1765, was tried died at Valenciennes in 1791. before the House of Peers for killing his At five years old, young Byron was seni relation Mr. Chaworth, in a desperate scuffle to a day school kept by a Mr. Bowers, where or oluel in London, and found guilty of man- he remained a year. He was then placed slaughter, but pleaded the privilege of the for a time under the care of two other in. peerage, and was discharged. He retired structers, and at sever, entered the Gram10 Newstead Abbey, and resided there, mar School at Aberdeen. In the summer living in a very unsocial, savage, and eccen-of 1796, after an attack of scarlet fever, he tric manner, till his death in 1798.
was removed for change of air, to the HighJohn, the father of the poet, was the son lands, and resiiled, with liis mother, for some of Lord Wiliam's eldest brother, Admirall time, at Ballater, on the Dee, about fort: miles from Aberdeen. To his pleasant re- title in 1679, having married a daughter of collections of this period, and its scenes and Viscount Chaworth of Ireland. Mr. Cha. associations, he often recurs in his writings. worth, who fell in the dispute with the Lord
By the death without issue, of William, Byron of 1765, was of the same family. the fisth Lord, in May, 1798, he succeeded He visited Annesley daily for nearly six to his estates and titles, and his cousin the weeks, passing most of the time with his Earl of Carlisle, the son of the late Lord's cousin, and became deeply and devotedly sister, was appointed his guardian. In the attached to her. He was then but fifteen. autumn of that year, he accompanied his She was two or three years older, very mother to Newstead Abbey, which had beautiful, and an heiress with large expecbeen the principal seat of the family since tations, and seems to have looked upon him, its presentation, and continued to be so at the moment, as a mere s toolboy, and until it was purchased by Colonel Wildman laughed at his passion and himself accordin 1814. On their arrival there, he was, in ingly. He has pictured in “ The Dream,” consequence of a lameness in one of his page 199, the story of his love for her, and feet, occasioned, it is said, by an accident its fate and consequences.
It appears, which occurred at his birth, and afterwards young as he then was, to have made an inincreased by improper treatment, placed at delible impression upon him, and to have Nottingham under the care of a person given, at least in his own opinion, a colour. who prosessed the cure of such cases, and ing of the deepest and darkest importance he received at the same time lessons in to the events and feelings of his after life. Latin, from Mr. Rogers, a schoolmaster of Allusions to the subject as one of painful that town. He was removed, in a short and of powerful interest, are to be found in time, to London, to the charge of the emi- almost every page of his works. Many of nent physician, Doctor Baillie, and studied his smaller poems, particularly the lines for two years at the school of Doctor Glen-“ Well, thou art happy, &c.” page 189, nie at Dulwich. But neither the Notting- were addressed to her. In the following ham practitioner, nor the skill of Doctor year, 1805, she was married to Mr. MusBaillie, succeeded in relieving the infirmity ters, a gentleman of the neighbourhood, in his foot, which continued to be a source and it is said, that the marriage proved un. of extreme annoyance and mortification to happy. She died in 1831. During one him during life.
of his vacations at this period, he studied In one of his vacations at this time, French with the Abbè de Rouffigny in (1800,) he visited his cousin, Miss Parker, London, but made little progress. He and “his first dash into poetry,” he says in afterwards read that language with ease, one of his memorandums," was the ebulli- but never attempted to speak it. He passed tion of a passion for her." The verses he the vacation of 1804 with his mother at ailudes to are published in this volume, Southwell, in Nottinghamshire, and in Ocpage 387.
She was the daughter of Ad-tober 1805, left Harrow for Trinity Colmiral Sir Peter Parker, on whose death lege, Cambridge. in 1814, he wrote the lines beginning, On a visit to Southwell in the following "There is a tear for all who die " In the summer, (1806,) he became intimate with summer of 1801, he visited Cheltenham, the family of the Pigots, and to a lady of and immed.ately on his return was placed that family the earliest of his letters which at Harrow, under the tuition of Doctor have been preserved was addressed. Iu Drury, for whom he appears to have uni- August, a dispute with his mother, whose vrmly entertained the utmost respect and violence of temper, at times, exceeded ail affection. In the autumn of 1802, he passed bounds, compelled him to fly to London. some time with his mother at Bath, and She however pursued him, and they we.. proceeded with her to Nottingham, where soon reconciled. About the first of Novemı she took lodgings, Newstead being for that ber his first collection of poems was put in season let to Lord Grey de Ruthven. Here press at Newark by Mr. Ridge, a bookseller he cultivated an irtimacy with Miss Mary of that place, and about a hundred copies Anne Chaworth,; w whom he had been circulated among his friends. All these previously introduced in London.
She re- however, he immediately recalled, and in sided at Annesley, in the neighbourhood of the January following printed for private Nottingham. They were distantly related, distribution a second collectiull, omiiting the third Lord Byron. who succeeded to the many pieces which had appeared in the first
It was entitled “Poems on various Occa- dred and thirty-six miles from London.; sions," and the author's name was not given. four on this side Mansfield. Though sadly In May, or June, after numerous alterations fallen to decay, it is still completely an Abbey, and additions, the work appeared in its pub- and most part of it is standing in the same lishe il shape, with the title of " Hours of state as when it was first built. There are Idleness, &c.” and its second edition was two tiers of cloisters, with a variety of cells dedicated to his guardian, Lord Carlisle. and rooms about them, which, though not In the present collection, see this volume, inhabited, nor in an inhabita ble state, miglit page 352, the reader will find all the poems easily be made so; and many of the origiwhich were originally suppressed, and no- nal rooms, among which is a fine stone hall
, tices of the variations of the different edi- are still in use. Of the Abbey Church only tions. He also wrote previous 10, and about one end remains; and the old kitchen, with this time, several occasional verses, not in- a long range of apartments, is reduced w a cluded in any of his publications, which heap of rubbish. Leading from the Abbey have been collected since his death, and are to the modern part of the habitation is a now published, from page 467 to page 488. noble room, seventy feet in length and twenThe minor Reviews, such as the Critical, ty-three in breadth : but cvery part of the Monthly, Antijacobin, &c. gave the "Hours house displays neglect and decay, save those of Idleness” a very favourable reception, which the present Lord has lately fitted up. but the appearance, in the spring of 1808, “ The house and gardens are entirely of the article in the Edinburgh Review, surrounded by a wall with battlements. In (see this volume, page 417,) satirically and front is a large lake, bordered here and there severely criticizing it, destroyed for the with castellated buildings, the chief of which moment all his hopes of fame, humbled his stands on an eminence at the farther extre. ambition, and wounded his pride to the mity of it. Fancy all this surrounded with quick. Yet to this article may be traced bleak and barren hills, with scarce a tree to all his future literary eminence. The very be seen for miles, except a solitary clump or reaction of his spirit against what he deem- two, and you will have some idea of New. ed oppressiòn, roused him to a full con- stead. sciousness of his own powers, and to a “Ascend, then, with me the hall steps, that concentration of them all upon one object. I may introduce you to my Lord and his The criticism has been generally attributed visitants. But have, a care how you proto Mr. Jeffrey, the ostensible editor of the ceed; be mindful to go there in broad dayReview, although there is no positive cer- light, and with your eyes about you. For, tainty from whose pen it emanated. He, should you make any blunder,-should you however, in his character of editor, neces- go to the right of the hall steps, you are laid sarily sanctioned it, and upon him, in par-hold of by a bear; and, should you go to ticular, Lord Byron for a long time poured the left, your case is still worse, for you run the vials of his wrath.
full against a wolf!-Nor, when you have Previous to this, and since his depar- attained the door, is your danger over ; for ture from Harrow, Lord Byron had passed the hall being decayed, and therefore standhis life between the dissipations of Cam-ing in need of ropair, a bevy of inmates are bridge and London, and had obtained no very probably banging at one end of it with other distinction than the college reputation their pistols ; so that you enter without among his fellows of being a clever, but a giving loud notice of your approach, you careless and dissipated student. His most have only escaped the wolf and the bear to intimate associates were Mr. Matthews, Mr. expire by the pistol-shots of the merry Hobhouse, Mr. Scroope Davies, and a few monks of Newstead, other young men of his own age and habits, “Our party consisted of Lord Byron whom he occasionally invited to Newstead, and four others; and was, now and then, which he had slightly repaired and fitted increased by the presence of a neighbouring up as a temporary residence. The follow- parson. As for our way of living, the order ing extract of a letter from Mr. Matthews to of the day was generally this :—For break sa lady of his acquaintance, written from fast we had no set hour, but each suited his London soon after this period, contains an own convenience,-every thing remaining interesting and amusing description of the on the table till the whole party had done ; Abbey and its inmates.
though had one wished to breakfast at the ** Newstcad Abbey is situate one hun-learly hour of ten, one would have been
rather lucky to find any of the servants up. popu.arty, anc rather indifferent merit; to Our average hour of rising. was one. 1, one of which Lord Byron contributed the who generally got up between eleven and chapter included in this collection, page twelve, was always,—even when an invalid, 271. He was related by marriage to —the first of the party, and was esteemed George Byron, then an othcer in the Bria prodigy of early rising. It was frequently tish navy, the cousin of the poet, and his past two before the breakfast party broke successor in the title. One of the objects up. Then, for the amusements of the of Lord Byron in visiting London at this morning, there was reading, fencing, single-period was to take his seat in the House of stick, or shuttlecock, in the great room ; Peers, previous to going abroad. He had for practising with pistols in the hall ; walking several months made arrangements for a -riding-cricket-sailing on the lake, play-voyage to India, and had applied for infor. ing with the bear, or teazing the wolf. Be- mation relative to his route, &c. to the tween seven and eight we dined, and our Arabic professor at Cambridge, and taken evening lasted from that time till one, two, other steps with a similar intention ; but he or three in the morning. The evening di- finally abandoned this project, and resolved versions may be easily conceived.
on visiting Greece.
Before the meeting of “ I must not omit the custom of handing Parliament, he wrote to his guardian, Lord round, after dinner, on the removal of the Carlisle, and reminded him that he shou.d cloth, a human skull filled with Burgundy. become of age at the commencement of the After revelling on choice viands, and the session, in the hope of being introduced by finest wines of France, we adjourned to tea, him personally into the House. He rewhere we amused ourselves with reading or ceived, to his great disappointment, a cold iniproving conversation,-each according and formal reply, merely pointing out the to his fancy,-and, after sandwiches, &c. technical mode of proceeding in such cases. retired to rest. A set of monkish dresses, This so excited his indignation that he inwhich had been provided, with all the pro- stantly erased from the Satire several couper apparatus of crosses, beads, tonsures, plets complimentary to Lord Carlisle, and &c. often gave a variety to our appearance, inserted the bitter lines, and still more bitter and to our pursuits.”
note, which now stand in it. On the 13th It was at Newstead Abbey, in the early of March he took his seat in the House of part of September, that he began to prepare Lords, placing himself on one of the oppohis Satire, the “ English Bards and Scotch sition benches, and continued a steady adReviewers,” for the press. Although its herent of the Whig party till his death. immediate preparation was evidently has- His Satire appeared on the 18th or 20th of tened by the critique in the Edinburgh March, and met a ready and rapid sale. He Review, yet, as appears from his letters, it then returned to Newstead, where he spent had been projected a long time previous, between two and three months in preparing and three or four hundred lines of it written a second edition for the press ; and about He had the proof sheets printed from the the 11th of June, left London for Falmouth, manuscript by Ridge at Newark, and in the with his friend Mr. Hobhouse, on their way beginning of the next year took them up to to the East. London for publication. He had then (Ja- They embarked at Falmouth, in the nuary, 1809) become of age, and found his Lisbon packet, on the 2d of July, and arestates greatly embarrassed, as well by the rived in four days at Lisbon, from whence improvidence of his immediate ancestors as they journeyed on horseback to Seville and by his own pecuniary supplies during his Cadiz, and sailed from the latter place for minority, which he had been compelled to Gibraltar, in the Hyperion frigate. On the borrow at an exorbitant interest. Heavy 19th of August, they left Gibraltar for incumbrances remained for many years aster Malta, having first sent home two of Lord upon his property, and distressed him ex- Byron's servants, Murray and young Rushceedingly. His Satire was put in press by ton, the “Yeoman” and “ Page" of the Cawthorne, the London publisher of the “Good Night” in Childe Harold, the lat“Hours of Idleness," and its publication was ter being unable, from ill health, to go on, superintended by Mr. Dallas, to whom he His valet, Fletcher, remained with them. had maae a present of the copy-right. Mr. At Malta he formed an acquaintance with Dallas was professionally a man of letters, Mrs. Spencer Smith, the “ Florence” of his and the author of several novels of limitedl poetry, and was on the point of fighting a
due with an officer of the garrison, but “ Byron. Joannina in Albania, satisfactory explanations having been made Begun October 31st, 1809 : on the ground by the friend of his anta- Concluded Canto 2d, Smyrna, gonist, the affair was amicably adjusted.
March 28th, 1810. They sailed in the brig Spider on the
“ Byron." 19th for Prevesa, which they reached on the 29th, having touched at Patras on their The Salsette frigate then lying at Smyrway. From Prevesa they journeyed to na, had been ordered to Constantinople for Joannina, the capital of Albania, the an- the purpose of conveying to England Mr. cient Epirus, and from thence to Tepelene, Adair, the English ambassador at the Porte, at nine days distance, for the purpose of and Lord Byron and Mr. Hobhouse took visiting Ali Pacha, the then chief of a great passage in her on the 11th April. The portion of Greece, and one of the most next morning they landed at Tenedos, and celebrated Viziers of the Ottoman empire, the day after left the ship, with a party of by whom they were received with marked officers to visit the ruins of Troas. On the civility and attention. They were among 14th, they anchored in the Dardanelles, the earliest English travellers through Al- where they lay for nearly three weeks. bania, a country at that time hardly known While at anchor there, Lord Byron with to the rest of Europe. The letters of Lord Mr. Ekenhead, a lieutenant of the frigate, Byron at this period, published in this col- accomplished the achievement of which he lection of his works, together with the text was through life particularly proud, that of and notes of the first and second Cantos swimming from Sestos to Abydos. Their of Childe Harold, and many of his other first attempt was made on a day in the latter poems, notes, &c. contain such numerous part of April
, and failed, owing to the cold. details of their various adventures during ness of the water, and their ignorance of the this and their subsequent journeys and nature of the current. On the 3d May, they voyages in the Levant, as render a par- made a second attempt, and the weather ticular description in this sketch unneces-being warmer, succeeded. The Salsette sary.
arrived at Constantinople on the 13th May, On the 3d of November they returned and remained there about three months, from Tepelenè through Joannina to Pre- during which time Lord Byron was prevesa, and on the 15th, attended by a guard sented to the Sultan, and made an expediof forty or fifty Albanians, they traversed tion to the Black Sea and the Cyanean Acarnania and Etolia to Missolonghi, Symplegades. On the 14th of July, he crossed the gulf of Corinth to Patras, and left Constantinople in the same frigate. in proceeded from thence by land to Vostizza, company with Mr. Adair and Mr. Hobwhere they obtained a first view of Mount house. The two latter gentlemen proParnassus. They sailed to the opposite ceeded in her to England, but Lord Byron shore of the gulf in a small boat; rode on was on the 15th, at his own request, landed horseback from Salona to Delphi, and after at the island of Zea, with two Albanians, travelling through Livadia, and visiting a Tartar, and his English servant, Fletcher, Thebes, &c. arrived at Athens on the 25th from whence he sailed to Athens, and of December.
reached there on the 18th. At Athens, they resided for two or three At Athens he met an old acquaintance months, making occasional excursions in its and fellow collegian, the Marquis of Sligo, neighbourhood. They lodged in the house and in a day or two left there in company of Theodora Macri, a Greek lady, to whose with him for the Morea. They parted at eldest daughter, the lines on page 184, Corinth, the Marquis going from thence to “ Maid of Athens ere we part, &c.” were Tripolitza, and Lord Byron to Patras. addressed. On the 5th of March, 1810, During the two following months he made they embarked in an English sloop of war the tour of the Morea, &c. and, after a long for Smyrna, where they remained, with the and dangerous illness at Patras, returned tu exception of a few days employed in a visit Athens in December, and there fixed his to the ruins of Ephesus, until the 11th of head quarters during the remainder of his April. The first two Cantos of Childe stay in Greece. His principal companion at Harold were completed at Smyrna, as ap- this time was Lord Sligo, and he was also inte pears from the following memorandum pre-timate with Mr. Bruce, afterwards celebrated fixed to the original manuscript. for the part he took in the romantic escape of