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“ either to shoot or marry me again,–I did
not care which. I was disgusted and tired “ with the life I led at Venice, and was glad “ to turn my back on it. The Austrian “ Government, too, partly contributed to “ drive me away. They intercepted my books “ and papers, opened my letters, and pro“ scribed my works. I was not sorry for this “ last arbitrary act, as a very bad translation “ of Childe Harold' had just appeared, which “ I was not at all pleased with. I did not
old friend in his new loose dress; " it was
a deshabille that did not at all “ become him,—those sciolti versi that they
put him into.”
It is difficult to judge, from the contradictory nature of his writings, what the religious opinions of Lord Byron really were. Perhaps
the conversations I held with him may throw some light upon a subject that cannot fail to excite curiosity. On the whole, I am inclined to think that if he were occasionally sceptical, and thought it, as he says,
- "A pleasant voyage, perhaps, to float, Like Pyrrho, on a sea of speculation,"*
yet his wavering never amounted to a disbelief in the divine Founder of Christianity.
“ I always took great delight,” observed he,“ in the English Cathedral service. It “cannot fail to inspire every man, who feels “ at all, with devotion. Notwithstanding
which, Christianity is not the best source “ of inspiration for a poet. “ should be tied down to a direct profession
* Don Juan, Canto IX, Stanza 18.
66 of faith.
Metaphysics open a vast field; Nature, and anti-Mosaical speculations on “ the origin of the world, a wide range, and
of poetry that are shut out by Christianity.”
I advanced Tasso and Milton.
“ Tasso and Milton," replied he," wrote
on Christian subjects, it is true ; but how “ did they treat them ? The Jerusalem De66 livered' deals little in Christian doctrines, " and the Paradise Lost' makes use of the “ heathen mythology, which is surely scarcely " allowable. Milton discarded papacy, and adopted no creed in its room;
he never " attended divine worship.
“ His great epics, that nobody reads, prove nothing. He took his text from the
“ Old and New Testaments. He shocks the
severe apprehensions of the Catholics, as “ he did those of the divines of his day, by “ too great a familiarity with Heaven, and “ the introduction of the Divinity himself ; “ and, more than all, by making the Devil “ his hero, and deifying the dæmons.
“ He certainly excites compassion for Sa
tan, and endeavours to make him out an “ injured personage-he gives him human passions too, makes him pity Adam and
Eve, and justify himself much as Prome66 theus does. Yet Milton
66 blamed for all this.
I should be very
“ curious to know what his real belief was.*
* A religious work of Milton's has since been discovered, and will throw light on this interesting subject.
6 The Paradise Lost' and “ Regained' do s not satisfy me on this point. One might “ as well say that Moore is a fire-worshiper, “ or a follower of Mokanna, because he chose " those subjects from the East; or that I am
Another time he said :
56 sand years.
“ One mode of worship yields to another ; no religion has lasted more than two thou
Out of the eight hundred “ millions that the globe contains, only two * hundred millions are Christians. Query," What is to become of the six hundred mil« lions that do not believe, and of those in" calculable millions that lived before Christ?
People at home are mad about Missionary Societies, and missions to the East.