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GBOROB GORDON BYRON was born in Holles through the care and daily instruction of this nurse,
him from an attendance on school, that he might
* Foreign tyrant never trul, and stood in sullen stillness, setting his ceusurer
But freedom, with her falchion bright, and her wrath at defiance.
Swept the stranger from her sighe;" Notwithstanding these unruly outbreaks, in which he was too much encouraged by the example of his his intercourse with a people whose chief amusevother, who frequently proceeded to the same ex
ments consisted in the recital of heroic tales of other tremities with her own caps, gowns, &c., there times, feats of strength, and a display of independwas in his disposition a mixture of affectionate ence, blended with the wild, supernatural stories pehim, and which rendered him then, as in riper years, feeling innate in his character: sweetness and playfulness, which attached many to culiar to remote and thinly-peopled districts ;-all
these were calculated to foster that peculiar poetical easily manageable by those who loved and understood him sufficiently to be at once gentle and firm which young Byron was extremely sensitive. As
The malformation of his foot was a subject on enough for the task.
The undivided affection of the mother was natu- his nurse was walking with him one day, she was rally centered in her son, who was her darling; and joined by a female friend, who said, “What a pretty
On when he only went out for an ordinary walk', she boy, Byron is! what a pity he has such a leg. would entreat him, with tears in her eyes, to take hearing this allusion to his infirmity, the child's care of himself, as " she had nothing on earth but eyes flashed with anger, and, striking at ni with a him to live for; " a conduct not at all pleasing to little whip which he held in his hand, he impatiently his adventurous spirit; the more especially as some
exclaimed, “ Dinna speak of it!” of his companions, who beheld the affectionate
As an instance of his quickness and c.crgy at this scene, would laugh and ridicule about it. This ex
period, might be mentioned a little incident that occessive maternal affection and indulgence, and the curred one night during the performance of “Tamentire absence of that salutary discipline so neces- ing a Shrew,” which his nurse had taken him to see. sary to childhood, doubtless contributed to the He had attended some time, with silent interest; formation of these_unpleasant traits of character but, in the scene between Katherine and Petruchio, that distinguished Byron from all others in subse- where the following dialogue takes place, quent years. An accident, at the time of birth, caused a mal
Pel.-Nay, then, you lie,
it is the blessed sun," formation of one of his feet. Many expedients were used to restore the limb to its proper shape, George started up, and cried out boldly, " But I say under the direction of Dr. Hunter. His nurse, to it is the moon, sir.". whom fell the task of putting on the bandages, Byron was not quite five years of age when he was would often sing him to sleep, or relate to him sto- sent to a day school at Aberdeen, taught by Mr. ries and legends, in which, like most other children, Bowers. At that school he remained about one he manifested great delight. She also taught him year. to repeat a great number of Psalms; and the first During his schoolboy days he was lively, warmand twenty-third were among the earliest that he hearted, generous, and high-spirited. He was, howcommitted to memory. Out of these lessons arose, ever, passionate and resentful, and to a remarkable long afterwards, the '“ Hebrew Melodies ;” which, degree venturesome and fearless. If he received an but for them, never would have been written, though injury, he was sure to revenge it: though the casti. Byron studied Lowth on the Sacred Poetry of the gation he inflicted might be long on its way, yet it Hebrews all his life. It is a remarkable fact, that, I came at length, and severely.
" Kath. I know it in the moon.
As cunt an old lady as ever was seen ;
He was a brave youth, and was much more anxa placably. The old lady had some curious notions ious to excel his fellows by prowess in sport and respecting the soul, which, she imagined, took its gymnastic exercises, than by advancement in learn- flight to the moon after death, as a preliminary ing:
essay, before it proceeded further. One day, after When any study pleased him, he devoted all his a repetition, it is supposed, of her original insult to attention to it, and was quick in the performance of the boy, he appeared before his nurse in a violent his task. He cared but little where he stood in his rage. “Well, my little hero," she asked, “what's class; and at the foot was as agreeable to him as at the matter with you, now?" Upon which the the head.
child answered, that “this old woman had put him He remained at school until the year 1796, when in a terrible passion,—that he could not bear the an attack of scarlet fever weakened his, by no means sight of her,' &c., &c.,-and then broke out into strong, constitution, and he was removed by his the following doggerel, which he repeated over and mother to the Highlands.
over, as if delighted with the vent he had found for From the period of his residence in the High-his rage;lands, Byron dated his love of mountainous coun
" In Nottingham county, there lives at Swan Green, tries and his equally ardent love of solitude. While at Aberdeen, he would escape unnoticed, and find
And when she does die, which I hope will be soon, his way to the sea-side. ) At one time, it was sup
She firinly believes she will go to the moon." posed he was lost, and after a long and anxious search he was found struggling for his life in a sort This was the occasion and the result of his first of morass or marsh, in which he would undoubtedly effort at rhyming. His “first dash at poetry,” as have perished, had not some one came to the rescue. he calls it, was made one year later, during a vaca
Many like instances occurred during his residence tion visit at the house of a cousin, Miss Parker. among the Highlands. His love of adventure often Of that poem, he says, “It was the ebullition of a led him into difficulty and danger. While scram- passion for my first cousin, one of the most beautibling over a declivity that overhung a small water- ful of evanescent beings. I have long forgotten fall, called the Linn of Dee, some heather caught the verses, but it would be difficult for me to forget his lame foot, and he fell. He was rolling down-her-her dark eyes-her long eye-lashes-her comward, when the attendant luckily caught him, and pletely Greek cast of face and figure! I was then was but just in time to save him from being killed. about twelve-she rather older, perhaps a year."
On the 17th of May, 1798, William, the fifth Lord Love for this young lady obtained strong, hold of Byron, died without issue, at Newstead, and young his heart. of her personal appearance, he says, Byron, then in his tenth year, succeeded to his " I do not recollect any thing equal to the transpatitles and his estates; and his cousin, the Earl of rent beauty of my cousin, or to the sweetness of her Carlisle, the son of the late Lord's sister, was ap- temper, during the short period of our intimacy. pointed his guardian.
She looked as if she had been made out of a rainUpon this change of fortune, Lord Byron was bow-all beauty and peace." removed from under the immediate care of his After a short visit at Cheltenham, in the summer mother.
of 1801, at the earnest solicitation of his mother, In the latter part of 1798 he went with his mother he was placed at Harrow, under the tuition of to Newstead Abbey. On their arrival, he was placed Doctor Drury, to whom he testified his gratitude in at Nottingham, under the care of a person who a note to the fourth canto of Childe Harold. In professed to be able to cure his lameness; at the one of his manuscript journals, he says, same time, he made some advancement in Latin Drury was the best, the kindest friend I ever had studies, under the tuition of a schoolmaster of that and I look upon him still as a father.” town, a Mr. Rogers, who read parts of Virgil and Though he was lame,” says one of his schoolCicero with him. The name of the man whose fellows, "he was a great lover of sports, and prepretensions in curing excelled his skill, and under ferred hockey to Horace, relinquished even Helicon whose empiricism the young lord was placed, was for • duck puddle,' and gave up the best poet that Lavender; and the manner in which he proceeded ever wrote hard Latin for a game of cricket on the to effect a cure was, by first rubbing the foot over common. He was not remarkable (nor was he ever) for a long time with handsful of oil, and then for his learning, but he was always a clever, plainforcibly twisting the foot round, and binding it up in spoken, and undaunted boy. I have seen him fight a sort of a machine, with about as much care and by the hour like a Trojan, and stand up against the thought of the pain he might give, as if straighten- disadvantage of his lameness with all the spirit of ing up a crooked limb of a tree.
an ancient combatant." Byron, during his lessons with Mr. Rogers, was It was during a vacation, and his residence at often in violent pain; and one day the latter said to Newstead, that he formed an acquaintance with him, " It makes me uncomfortable, my lord, to see Miss Chaworth, an event which, according to his you sitting there in such pain as I know you must be own deliberate persuasion, exercised a lasting and suffering.' “Never mind, Mr. Rogers," answered paramount influence over the whole of his subthe boy; “you shall not see any signs of it in me.” sequent character and eventful career.
This gentleman often spoke of the gaiety of his I wice had he loved, and now a third time he pupil, and the delight he experienced in exposing bowed before beauty, wit, and worth. Lavender's pompous ignorance. One day he wrote 1 The father of this young lady had been killed in down on a sheet of paper all the letters of the a duel by the eccentric grand-uncle of Byron, and alphabet, put together at random, and placing them the union of the young peer with her, the heiress of before this concentrated body of pretension, asked Annesley Hall, "would," as he said, "have healed him very seriously what language it was. Not feuds in which blood had been shed by our fathers; wishing to expose his ignorance, and not dreaming it would have joined lands rich and broad; it wouli of the snare to trip him, he replied as seriously as have joined at least one heart, and two persons not the inquiry was put, that it was Italian, to the ill-matched in years.” But all this was destined to infinite delight of the young satirist, who burst exist but in imagination. They had a parting into a loud laugh.
interview in the following year; and, in 1805, Miss At about this period, Lord Byron's first symptom Chaworth was married to Mr. Musters, with whom of a tendency to rhyme manifested itself. The she lived unhappily. She died in 1831. Many of occasion which gave rise to it is thus related : his smaller poems are addressed to this lady. The
An elderly lady, who was in the habit of visiting scene of their last interview is most exquisitely his mother, had made use of some expressions that described in “ The Dream.” very much affronted him; and these slights, his During one of the Harrow vacations he studied Durse said, he generally resented violently and im- French, but with little success, under the direction
of the Abbé de Rouffigny. The vacation of 18041. His residence was now at Newstead, where, during he spent with his mother at Southwell, and in the preparation of the new edition of his poems, he October, 1805, he left Harrow, and entered Trinity dispensed with a liberal hand the hospitalities of College, Cambridge. He left with feelings of sad- the old Abbey to a party of college friends. C. S. ness. He says, “I always hated Harrow till the Matthews, one of this party, in a letter to an last year and a half , but then I liked it.” He now acquaintance, gives the following
description of the began to feel that he was no longer a boy, and in Abbey at that time, and amusing account of the solitude he mourned over the truth; this sorrow he proceedings and habits of its occupants :could not at all times repress in public.
“Newstead Abbey is situated one hundred and Soon after entering college, he formed an attach- thirty-six miles from London-four on this side mont with a youth named Eddleston, which exceeded Mansfield. Though sadly fallen to decay, it is still in warmth and romance all his schoolboy attach- completely an abbey, and most part of it is still ments.
standing in the same state as when it was first In the summer of 1806, another visit to South- built. There are two tiers of cloisters, with a well resulted in an acquaintance with the family of variety of cells and rooms about them, which, Pigots, to a lady of which the earliest of his pub-though not inhabited, nor in an inhabitable state, lished letters were addressed.
might easily be made so; and many of the original The temper of his mother exceeded all bounds. rooms, amongst which is a fine stone hall, are still This temper, Byron in a great degree inherited. In in use. Of the abbey-church only one end remains; his childhood, this passion often broke out in the and the old kitchen, with a long range of apartmost violent manner. Mother and son were often ments, is reduced to a heap of rubbish. Leading quarrelling, and provocations finally led to a sepa- from the abbey to the modern part of the habitaration, in August, 1806. Byron 'filed to London, tion is a noble room, seventy feet in length and where his mother followed hím, made overtures of twenty-three in breadth ; but every part of the peace, and a reconciliation was brought about. house displays neglect and decay, save those which
Early in November, his first volume of poems the present lord has lately fitted up. were put in press. It was entitled “Poems on "The house and gardens are entirely surrounded Various Occasions," and was printed anonymously by a wall with battlements. In front is a large by Mr. Ridge, a bookseller at Newark. Becoming lake,. bordered here and there with castellated dissatisfied with this, he caused a second edition to buildings, the chief of which stands on an eminence be printed in January, in which he omitted many at the further extremity of it. Fancy all this pieces which had appeared in the first. This was surrounded with bleak and barren hills, with scarce not intended for public scrutiny, but merely circu- a tree to be seen for miles, except a solitary clump lated among his friends, and such persons as he or two, and you will have some idea of Newstead. thought well disposed towards the first effort of a “So much for the place, concerning which I have young and inexperienced author.
thrown together these few particulars. But if the Encouraged by its favorable reception, he again place itself appears rather strange to you, the ways re-wrote the poems, made many additions and of its inhabitants will not appear much less so. alterations, and, under the name of “Hours of Ascend, then, with me the hall steps, that I may Idleness," sent his volume forth to the public. introduce you to my lord and his visitants. But
This book, containing many indications of genius, have a care how you proceed; be mindful to go also contained many errors of taste and judgment, there in broad daylight, and with your eyes about which were fiercely assailed by a critique* in the you. For, should you make any blunders,--should Edinburgh Review, and brought forth from Byron you go to the right of the hall steps, you are laid the stinging satire, “English Bards and Scotch hold of by a bear; and should you go to the left, Reviewers,
your case is still worse, for you run full against a The minor reviews gave the “Hours of Idleness" wolf.* Nor, when you have attained the door, is a better reception yet we may, with no degree of un- your danger over; for the hall being decayed, and reasonableness, suppose that to the scorching words therefore standing in need of repair, a bevy of of the Edinburgh he owed much of future success inmates are very probably banging at one end of it and fame. He was roused like a lion in its lair. with their pistols; so that if you enter without He felt, though it might be true, he did not deserve giving loud notice of your approach, you have only such an article, and he resolutely determined to escaped the wolf and the bear, to expire by the show the critic that he had talent and genius, pistol-shots o' che merry monks of Newstead.' though the reviewer, in his eager search for its “Our party consisted of Lord Byron and four absence, could not discover its presence.) others, and was, now and then, increased by the
Lord Byron supposed Jeffrey to be the author of presence of a neighboring parson. As for our way the obnoxious article, and he poured out on him of living, the order of the day was generally this :his vials of wrath and merciless satire.
for breakfast we had no set hour, but each suited During the progress of his poem through the his own convenience, every thing remaining on press, he added to it more than a hundred lines. the table till the whole party had done; though New impressions and influences gave birth to new had one wished to breakfast at the early hour of thoughts, and he made his Bards and Reviewersten, one would have been rather lucky to find any carry them forth to vex and annoy his victims. of the servants up. Our average hour of rising The person who superintended its progress through was one. I, who generally got up between eleven the press, daily received new matter for its pages; and twelve, was always even when an invalid and, in a note to that gentleman, Byron says, the first of the party, and was esteemed a prodigy "Print soon, or I shall overflow with rhyme.” It of early rising. It was frequently past two before was so in subsequent years. (If he could 'reach his the breakfast party broke up. Then, for the amuseprinter, he would continue to send his “thick-ment of the morning, there was reading, fencing, coming fancies," which were suggested by perusals single-stick, or shuttlecock, in the great room; of what he had already written.
practising with pistols in the hall; walking, riding, On the 13th of March, he took his seat in the cricket, sailing on the lake, playing with the bear, House of Lords, and on the middle of the same teasing the wolf. Between seven and eight we month published his satire. From the hour of its dined; and our evening lasted from that time till appearance, fame and fortune followed him. Its one, two, or three in the morning. The evening success was such as to demand his attention in the diversions may be easily conceived. preparation of a second edition. To this much was “I must not omit the custom of handing round, added, and to it was prefixed his name.
after dinner, on the removal of the cloth, a human
• Lord Byron' pet annimala at Newstead.
skull filled with Burgundy. After revelling on around him from the depths of solitude the spirite choice viands, and the finest wines of France, we of other times to people its ruins. adjourned to tea, where we amused ourselves with He made frequent excursions to Attica, on one reading or improving conversation,-each according of which he came near being seized by a band of to his fancy,--and, after sandwiches, &c., retired pirates dwelling in a cave under the cliffs of Mito rest. A set of monkish dresses, which had been nerva Sunias. provided, with all the proper apparatus of crosses, YHis beautiful song, “Maid of Athens, ere we beads, tonsures, &c., often gave a variety to our part,” was addressed to the eldest daughter of the appearanee, and to our pursuits.”
Greek lady, at whose house he lodged. Byron was at London when he put the finishing Ten weeks had flown rapidly and pleasantly away, touches upon the new edition, which, having done, when the unexpected offer of a passage in a Brithe took leave of that city, and soon after sailed for ish sloop of war to Smyrna, induced the travellers Lisbon, After a passage of four days, he arrived to leare Athens, which they did, on the 5th of at his destination, in company with his friend, Mr. March, with much reluctance. John Cam Hobhouse. They remained but a short At Smyrna, Lord Byron resided in the house of time in Lisbon, from whence they travelled on the Consul-General. In the course of his residence horseback to Seville and Cadiz. He was as free here, he made a three-day visit to the ruins of Epheand easy in each of these places as he had been at sus. While at S.. he finished the two first cantos home. In Lisbon, as he said, he ate oranges, of “Childe Harold," which he had commenced five talked bad Italian to the monks, went into society months before at Joannina. with pocket pistols, swam the Tagus, and became The Salsette frigate being about to sail for Conthe victim of musquitoes. In Seville, a lady of stantinople, Lord Byron and Hobhouse took pascharacter became fondly attached to him, and at sage in her. It was while this frigate lay at anchor parting gave him a lock of her hair “three feet in in the Dardanelles, that Byron accomplished his length," which he sent home to his mother. In famous feat of swimming the Hellespont. The Cadiz, “Miss Cordova and her little brother distance across was about two miles; but the tide became his favorites, and the former his preceptress ran so strong that a direct course could not be purin Spanish. He alludes to this in one of his poems. sued, and he swam three miles.
He arrived at Constantinople on the 13th of May. " "Tis pleasing to be school'd in a strange tongue
While there, he wore a scarlet coat, richly embroi.
dered with gold, with two heavy epaulettes and a As was the case, at least, where I have been."
feathered cocked hat. He remained about two
months, during which time he was presented to the Leaving Cadiz, in the Hyperion frigate, he sailed Sultan, and made a journey to the Black Sea and for Gibralter, where he remained till the 19th of other places of note in that vicinity. On the 14th August, when he left for Malta.
of July, they left in the Salsette frigate,-Mr. Hob. At this latter place, he formed an acquaintance house intending to accompany Mr. Adair, the Eng. with Mrs. Spencer Smith, a lady whose life had lish ambassador, to England, and Byron determined been fertile with remarkable incidents, and whom to visit Greece. he addresses, in his poetry, under the name of The latter landed at Zea, with two Albanians, a “ Florence.”
Tartar, and his English servant. Leaving Zea, he After remaining at anchor for three or four days reached Athens on the 18th. From thence, he made off Patras, Byron and his friend proceeded to their another tour over the same places he had previously ultimate destination. On their passage, they had a visited, and returned to Athens in December, with most charming sunset view of Missolonghi. They the purpose of remaining there during his sojourn ianded at Prevesa on the 29th of September. From in Greece. The persons with whom he associated Prevesa they journeyed to the capital of Albania, at Athens, were Lord Sligo, Lady Hester Stanhope, and, soon after, to Yanina; at which place he and Mr. Bruce. Most of his time was employed in learned that Ali Pacha was with his troops in collecting materials for those notes on the state of Illyrium, besieging Ibrahim Pacha in Berat. From modern Greece, appended to the second canto of Yanina, Lord Byron passed to Tepaleen. Being Childe Harold. Here also he wrote, “Hints from among the first English travellers in that part of Horace," a satire full of London life, yet, singular the world, they met with much attention, and the as it may appear, dated, “ Athens, Capuchin Congreatest show of hospitality.
yent, March 12, 1811:” With the intention of going to Patras, Lord He intended to have gone to Egypt, but failing Byron embarked on board à Turkish ship of war, to receive expected remittances, he was obliged to provided for him by Ali Pacha. A moderate gale forego the pleasure of that trip, and he left Athens of wind arose, and, owing to the ignorance of the and landed at Malta. There he suffered severely Turkish officers, the vessel came near being wrecked. from an attack of fever, recovering from which, he Luckily for all on board, the wind abated, and drove sailed in the Volage frigate for England. He left them on the coast of Suli, where they landed, and, Greece with more feelings of regret than he had by aid of the natives, returned again to Prevesa. Neft his native land, and the memories of his sojourn
While at the Suliote village, a poor but honest in the East, immortalized in Childe Harold, were Albanian supplied his wants. Byron pressed him mong the pleasantest that accompanied him through to take money in return for his kindness, but he life. refused, with the reply, “I wish you to love me, He arrived at London after an absence of just two not to pay me.”
Mr. Dallas, the gentleman who had superAttended by a guard of forty or more Albanians, intended the publication of “ English Bards and they passed through Acarnania and Etolia to Mis- Scotch Reviewers,” called on him the day after his solonghi, crossed the Gulf of Corinth to Patras, arrival; Lord Byron mentioned having written a and proceeded from thence, by land, to Vostizza, new satire, and handed the MSS. to him for examiwhere they caught the first glimpse of Mount Par- nation. Mr. Dallas was grieved, supposing that nassus. In a small boat they were conveyed to the the inspiring lands of the East had brought from opposite shore of the gulf; rode on horseback from his mind no richer poetical works. Salona to Delphi, and after travelling through Liva Meeting him the next morning, Mr. Dallas exdia, and making a brief stop at Thebes, and other pressed surprise that he had, during his absence, places, arrived at Athens on the 25th of Decem- written nothing more. Upon this, Lord Byron told
him that he had occasionally written short poems, He remained at Athens between two and three besides a great many stanzas in Spenser's measure, months, employing his time in visiting the vast and relative to the countries he had visited.
“ They are splendid monuments of ancient genius, and calling not worth troubling you with," said Byron, - but