The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 6/Don Juan
First Edition . . March, 1903.
Second Edition . . May, 1905.
A NEW, REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION,
Poetry. Vol. VI.
ERNEST HARTLEY COLERIDGE, M.A.,
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
NEW YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS.
OF A GREAT POEM
WITH HIS PERMISSION
ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE.MDCCCCII.
THE SIXTH VOLUME.
The text of this edition of Don Juan has been collated with original MSS. in the possession of the Lady Dorchester and Mr. John Murray. The fragment of a Seventeenth Canto, consisting of fourteen stanzas, is now printed and published for the first time.
I have collated with the original authorities, and in many instances retranscribed, the numerous quotations from Sir G. Dalzell's Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea (1812, 8vo) [Canto II. stanzas xxiv.-civ. pp. 87-112], and from a work entitled Essai sur l'Histoire Ancienne et Moderne de la Nouvelle Russie, par le Marquis Gabriel de Castelnau (1827, 8vo) [Canto VII. stanzas ix.-liii. pp. 304-320, and Canto VIII. stanzas vi.-cxxvii. pp. 331-368], which were first included in the notes to the fifteenth and sixteenth volumes of the edition of 1833, and have been reprinted in subsequent issues of Lord Byron's Poetical Works.
A note (pp. 495-497) illustrative of the famous description of Newstead Abbey (Canto XIII. stanzas lv.-lxxii.) contains particulars not hitherto published. My thanks and acknowledgments are due to Lady Chermside and Miss Ethel Webb, for the opportunity afforded me of visiting Newstead Abbey, and for invaluable assistance in the preparation of this and other notes.
The proof-sheets of this volume have been read by Mr. Frank E. Taylor. I am indebted to his care and knowledge for many important corrections and emendations.
I must once more record my gratitude to Dr. Garnett, C.B., for the generous manner in which he has devoted time and attention to the solution of difficulties submitted to his consideration.
I am also indebted, for valuable information, to the Earl of Rosebery, K.G.; to Mr. J. Willis Clark, Registrar of the University of Cambridge; to Mr. W. P. Courtney; to my friend Mr. Thomas Hutchinson; to Miss Emily Jackson, of Hucknall Torkard; and to Mr. T. E. Page, of the Charterhouse.
On behalf of the publisher, I beg to acknowledge the kindness of the Lady Frances Trevanion, Sir J. G. Tollemache Sinclair, Bart., and Baron Dimsdale, in permitting the originals of portraits and drawings in their possession to be reproduced in this volume.
It was intended that the whole of Lord Byron's Poetical Works should be included in six volumes, corresponding to the six volumes of the Letters, and announcements to this effect have been made; but this has been found to be impracticable. The great mass of new material incorporated in the Introductions, notes, and variants, has already expanded several of the published volumes to a disproportionate size, and Don Juan itself occupies 612 pages.
Volume Seven, which will complete the work, will contain Occasional Poems, Epigrams, etc., a Bibliography more complete than has ever hitherto been published, and an exhaustive Index.
CONTENTS OF VOL. VI.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Portrait of Lord Byron, from a Drawing from the Life by J. Holmes, formerly the Property of the late Hugh-Charles Trevanion, Esq.
William Wordsworth, from the Portrait BY H. W. Pickersgill, R.A., in the National Portrait Gallery
|To face p. 4|
Ninon de Lenclos, from a Miniature in the Possession of Sir J. G. Tollemache Sinclair, Bart.
Fountain at Newstead Abbey
INTRODUCTION TO DON JUAN.
Byron was a rapid as well as a voluminous writer. His Tales were thrown off at lightning speed, and even his dramas were thought out and worked through with unhesitating energy and rapid achievement. Nevertheless, the composition of his two great poems was all but coextensive with his poetical life. He began the first canto of Childe Harold in the autumn of 1809, and he did not complete the fourth canto till the spring of 1818. He began the first canto of Don Juan in the autumn of 1818, and he was still at work on a seventeenth canto in the spring of 1823. Both poems were issued in parts, and with long intervals of unequal duration between the parts; but the same result was brought about by different causes and produced a dissimilar effect. Childe Harold consists of three distinct poems descriptive of three successive travels or journeys in foreign lands. The adventures of the hero are but the pretext for the shifting of the diorama; whereas in Don Juan the story is continuous, and the scenery is exhibited as a background for the dramatic evolution of the personality of the hero. Childe Harold came out at intervals, because there were periods when the author was stationary; but the interruptions in the composition and publication of Don Juan were due to the disapproval and discouragement of friends, and the very natural hesitation and procrastination of the publisher. Canto I. was written in September, 1818; Canto II. in December—January, 1818-1819. Both cantos were published on July 15, 1819. Cantos III., IV. were written in the winter of 1819-1820; Canto V., after an interval of nine months, in October—November, 1820, but the publication of Cantos III., IV., V. was delayed till August 8, 1821. The next interval was longer still, but it was the last. In June, 1822, Byron began to work at a sixth, and by the end of March, 1823, he had completed a sixteenth canto. But the publication of these later cantos, which had been declined by Murray, and were finally entrusted to John Hunt, was spread over a period of several months. Cantos VI., VII., VIII., with a Preface, were published July 15; Cantos IX., X., XI., August 29; Cantos XII., XIII., XIV., December 17, 1823; and, finally, Cantos XV., XVI., March 26, 1824. The composition of Don Juan, considered as a whole, synchronized with the composition of all the dramas (except Manfred) and the following poems: The Prophecy of Dante, (the translation of) The Morgante Maggiore, The Vision of Judgment, The Age of Bronze, and The Island.
There is little to be said with regard to the "Sources" of Don Juan. Frere's Whistlecraft had suggested Beppo, and, at the same time, had prompted and provoked a sympathetic study of Frere's Italian models, Berni and Pulci (see "Introduction to Beppo," Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 155-158; and "Introduction to The Morgante Maggiore, ibid., pp. 279-281); and, again, the success of Beppo, and, still more, a sense of inspiration and the conviction that he had found the path to excellence, suggested another essay of the ottava rima, a humorous poem "à la Beppo," on a larger and more important scale. If Byron possessed more than a superficial knowledge of the legendary "Don Juan," he was irresponsive and unimpressed. He speaks (letter to Murray, February 16, 1821) of "the Spanish tradition;" but there is nothing to show that he had read or heard of Tirso de Molina's (Gabriel Tellez) El Burlador de Sevilla y Convidado de Piedra (The Deceiver of Seville and the Stone Guest), 1626, which dramatized the "ower true tale" of the actual Don Juan Tenorio; or that he was acquainted with any of the Italian (e.g. Convitato di Pietra, del Dottor Giacinto Andrea Cicognini, Fiorentino [see L. Allacci Drammaturgia, 1755, 4°, p. 862]) or French adaptations of the legend (e.g. Le Festin de Pierre, ou le fils criminel, Tragi-comédie de De Villiers, 1659; and Molière's Dom Juan, ou Le Festin de Pierre, 1665). He had seen (vide post, p. 11, note 2) Delpini's pantomime, which was based on Shadwell's Libertine, and he may have witnessed, at Milan or Venice, a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni; but in taking Don Juan for his "hero," he took the name only, and disregarded the "terrible figure" "of the Titan of embodied evil, the likeness of sin made flesh" (see Selections from the Works of Lord Byron, by A. C. Swinburne, 1885, p. xxvi.), "as something to his purpose nothing"!
Why, then, did he choose the name, and what was the scheme or motif of his poem? Something is to be gathered from his own remarks and reflections; but it must be borne in mind that he is on the defensive, and that his half-humorous paradoxes were provoked by advice and opposition. Writing to Moore (September 19, 1818), he says, "I have finished the first canto ... of a poem in the style and manner of Beppo, encouraged by the good success of the same. It is ... meant to be a little quietly facetious upon every thing. But I doubt whether it is not—at least as far as it has gone—too free for these very modest days." The critics before and after publication thought that Don Juan was "too free," and, a month after the two first cantos had been issued, he writes to Murray (August 12, 1819), "You ask me for the plan of Donny Johnny; I have no plan—I had no plan; but I had or have materials.... You are too earnest and eager about a work never intended to be serious. Do you suppose that I could have any intention but to giggle and make giggle?—a playful satire, with as little poetry as could be helped, was what I meant." Again, after the completion but before the publication of Cantos III., IV., V., in a letter to Murray (February 16, 1821), he writes, "The Fifth is so far from being the last of Don Juan, that it is hardly the beginning. I meant to take him the tour of Europe, with a proper mixture of siege, battle, and adventure, and to make him finish as Anacharsis Cloots in the French Revolution.... I meant to have made him a Cavalier Servente in Italy, and a cause for a divorce in England, and a Sentimental 'Werther-faced' man in Germany, so as to show the different ridicules of the society in each of these countries, and to have displayed him gradually gâté and blasé as he grew older, as is natural. But I had not quite fixed whether to make him end in Hell, or in an unhappy marriage, not knowing which would be the severest."
Byron meant what he said, but he kept back the larger truth. Great works, in which the poet speaks ex animo, and the man lays bare the very pulse of the machine, are not conceived or composed unconsciously and at haphazard. Byron did not "whistle" Don Juan "for want of thought." He had found a thing to say, and he meant to make the world listen. He had read with angry disapproval, but he had read, Coleridge's Critique on [Maturin's] Bertram (vide post, p. 4, note 1), and, it may be, had caught an inspiration from one brilliant sentence which depicts the Don Juan of the legend somewhat after the likeness of Childe Harold, if not of Lord Byron: "Rank, fortune, wit, talent, acquired knowledge, and liberal accomplishments, with beauty of person, vigorous health,... all these advantages, elevated by the habits and sympathies of noble birth and natural character, are ... combined in Don Juan, so as to give him the means of carrying into all its practical consequences the doctrine of a godless nature.... Obedience to nature is the only virtue." Again, "It is not the wickedness of Don Juan ... which constitutes the character an abstraction,... but the rapid succession of the correspondent acts and incidents, his intellectual superiority, and the splendid accumulation of his gifts and desirable qualities as coexistent with entire wickedness in one and the same person." Here was at once a suggestion and a challenge.
Would it not be possible to conceive and to depict an ideal character, gifted, gracious, and delightful, who should "carry into all its practical consequences" the doctrine of a mundane, if not godless doctrine, and, at the same time, retain the charities and virtues of uncelestial but not devilish manhood? In defiance of monition and in spite of resolution, the primrose path is trodden by all sorts and conditions of men, sinners no doubt, but not necessarily abstractions of sin, and to assert the contrary makes for cant and not for righteousness. The form and substance of the poem were due to the compulsion of Genius and the determination of Art, but the argument is a vindication of the natural man. It is Byron's "criticism of life." Don Juan was taboo from the first. The earlier issues of the first five cantos were doubly anonymous. Neither author nor publisher subscribed their names on the title-page. The book was a monster, and, as its maker had foreseen, "all the world" shuddered. Immoral, in the sense that it advocates immoral tenets, or prefers evil to good, it is not, but it is unquestionably a dangerous book, which (to quote Kingsley's words used in another connection) "the young and innocent will do well to leave altogether unread." It is dangerous because it ignores resistance and presumes submission to passion; it is dangerous because, as Byron admitted, it is "now and then voluptuous;" and it is dangerous, in a lesser degree, because, here and there, the purport of the quips and allusions is gross and offensive. No one can take up the book without being struck and arrested by these violations of modesty and decorum; but no one can master its contents and become possessed of it as a whole without perceiving that the mirror is held up to nature, that it reflects spots and blemishes which, on a survey of the vast and various orb, dwindle into natural and so comparative insignificance. Byron was under no delusion as to the grossness of Don Juan. His plea or pretence, that he was sheltered by the superior grossness of Ariosto and La Fontaine, of Prior and of Fielding, is nihil ad rem, if it is not insincere. When Murray (May 3, 1819) charges him with "approximations to indelicacy," he laughs himself away at the euphemism, but when Hobhouse and "the Zoili of Albemarle Street" talked to him "about morality," he flames out, "I maintain that it is the most moral of poems." He looked upon his great work as a whole, and he knew that the "raison d'être of his song" was not only to celebrate, but, by the white light of truth, to represent and exhibit the great things of the world—Love and War, and Death by sea and land, and Man, half-angel, half-demon—the comedy of his fortunes, and the tragedy of his passions and his fate.
Don Juan has won great praise from the great. Sir Walter Scott (Edinburgh Weekly Journal, May 19, 1824) maintained that its creator "has embraced every topic of human life, and sounded every string of the divine harp, from its slightest to its most powerful and heart-astounding tones." Goethe (Kunst und Alterthum, 1821 [ed. Weimar, iii. 197, and Sämmtliche Werke, xiii. 637]) described Don Juan as "a work of boundless genius." Shelley (letter to Byron, October 21, 1821), on the receipt of Cantos III., IV., V., bore testimony to his "wonder and delight:" "This poem carries with it at once the stamp of originality and defiance of imitation. Nothing has ever been written like it in English, nor, if I may venture to prophesy, will there be, unless carrying upon it the mark of a secondary and borrowed light.... You are building up a drama," he adds, "such as England has not yet seen, and the task is sufficiently noble and worthy of you." Again, of the fifth canto he writes (Shelley's Prose Works, ed. H. Buxton Forman, iv. 219), "Every word has the stamp of immortality.... It fulfils, in a certain degree, what I have long preached of producing—something wholly new and relative to the age, and yet surpassingly beautiful." Finally, a living poet, neither a disciple nor encomiast of Byron, pays eloquent tribute to the strength and splendour of Don Juan: "Across the stanzas ... we swim forward as over the 'broad backs of the sea;' they break and glitter, hiss and laugh, murmur and move like waves that sound or that subside. There is in them a delicious resistance, an elastic motion, which salt water has and fresh water has not. There is about them a wide wholesome air, full of vivid light and constant wind, which is only felt at sea. Life undulates and Death palpitates in the splendid verse.... This gift of life and variety is the supreme quality of Byron's chief poem" (A Selection, etc., by A. C. Swinburne, 1885, p. x.).
Cantos I., II. of Don Juan were reviewed in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, August, 1819, vol. v. pp. 512-518; Cantos III., IV., V., August, 1821, vol. x. pp. 107-115; and Cantos VI., VII., VIII., July, 1823, vol. xiv. pp. 88-92: in the British Critic, Cantos I., II. were reviewed August, 1819, vol. xii. pp. 195-205; and Cantos III., IV., V., September, 1821, vol.xvi. pp. 251-256: in the British Review, Cantos I., II. were reviewed August, 1819, vol. xiv. pp. 266-268; and Cantos III., IV., V., December, 1821, vol. xviii. pp. 245-265: in the Examiner, Cantos I., II. were reviewed October 31, 1819; Cantos III., IV., V., Augxist 26, 1821; and Cantos XV., XVI., March 14 and 21, 1824: in the Literary Gazette, Cantos I., II. were reviewed July 17 and 24, 1819; Cantos III., IV., V., August 11 and 18, 1821; Cantos VI., VII., VIII., July 19, 1823; Cantos IX., X., XI., September 6, 1823; Cantos XII., XIII., XIV., December 6, 1823; and Cantos XV., XVI., April 3, 1824: in the Monthly Review, Cantos I., II. were reviewed July, 1819, Enlarged Series, vol. 89, p. 309; Cantos III., IV., V., August, 1821, vol.95, p. 418; Cantos VI., VII., VIII., July, 1823, vol. 101, p. 316; Cantos IX., X., XI., October, 1823, vol. 102, p. 217; Cantos XII., XIII., XIV., vol. 103, p. 212; and Cantos XV., XVI., April, 1824, vol. 103, p. 434: in the New Monthly Magazine, Cantos I., II. were reviewed August, 1819, vol. xii. p. 75. See, too, an article on the "Morality of Don Juan," Dublin University Magazine, May, 1875, vol. lxxxv. pp. 630-637.
Neither the Quarterly nor the Edinburgh Review devoted separate articles to Don Juan; but Heber, in the Quarterly Review (Lord Byron's Dramas), July, 1822, vol. xxvii. p. 477, and Jeffrey, in the Edinburgh Review (Lord Byron's Tragedies), February, 1822, vol. 36, pp. 446-450, took occasion to pass judgment on the poem and its author.
For the history of the legend, see History of Spanish Literature, by George Ticknor, 1888, vol. ii. pp. 380, 381; and Das Kloster, von J. Scheible, 1846, vol. iii. pp. 663-765. See, too, Notes sur le Don Juanisme, par Henri de Bruchard, Mercure de France, Avril, 1898, vol. xxvi. pp. 58-73; and Don Juan, par Gustave Kahn, Revue Encyclopédique, 1898, tom. viii. pp. 326-329.
ON THE BACK OF THE MS. OF CANTO I.
I would to Heaven that I were so much clay,
As I am blood, bone, marrow, passion, feeling—
Because at least the past were passed away,
And for the future—(but I write this reeling,
Having got drunk exceedingly to-day,
So that I seem to stand upon the ceiling)
I say—the future is a serious matter—
And so—for God's sake—hock and soda-water!
Bob Southey! You 're a poet—Poet-laureate,
And representative of all the race;
Although 't is true that you turned out a Tory at
Last,—yours has lately been a common case;
And now, my Epic Renegade! what are ye at?
With all the Lakers, in and out of place?
A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye
Like "four and twenty Blackbirds in a pye;
"Which pye being opened they began to sing,"
(This old song and new simile holds good),
"A dainty dish to set before the King,"
Or Regent, who admires such kind of food;—
And Coleridge, too, has lately taken wing,
But like a hawk encumbered with his hood,—
Explaining Metaphysics to the nation—
I wish he would explain his Explanation.
You, Bob! are rather insolent, you know,
At being disappointed in your wish
To supersede all warblers here below,
And be the only Blackbird in the dish;
And then you overstrain yourself, or so,
And tumble downward like the flying fish
Gasping on deck, because you soar too high, Bob,
And fall, for lack of moisture, quite a-dry, Bob!
And Wordsworth, in a rather long "Excursion,"
(I think the quarto holds five hundred pages),
Has given a sample from the vasty version
Of his new system to perplex the sages;
'T is poetry—at least by his assertion,
And may appear so when the dog-star rages—
And he who understands it would be able
To add a story to the Tower of Babel.
You—Gentlemen! by dint of long seclusion
From better company, have kept your own
At Keswick, and, through still continued fusion
Of one another's minds, at last have grown
To deem as a most logical conclusion,
That Poesy has wreaths for you alone:
There is a narrowness in such a notion,
Which makes me wish you 'd change your lakes for Ocean.
I would not imitate the petty thought,
Nor coin my self-love to so base a vice,
For all the glory your conversion brought,
Since gold alone should not have been its price.
You have your salary; was 't for that you wrought?
And Wordsworth has his place in the Excise.
You 're shabby fellows—true—but poets still,
And duly seated on the Immortal Hill.
Your bays may hide the baldness of your brows—
Perhaps some virtuous blushes;—let them go—
To you I envy neither fruit nor boughs—
And for the fame you would engross below,
The field is universal, and allows
Scope to all such as feel the inherent glow:
Scott, Rogers, Campbell, Moore, and Crabbe, will try
'Gainst you the question with posterity.
For me, who, wandering with pedestrian Muses,
Contend not with you on the wingéd steed,
I wish your fate may yield ye, when she chooses,
The fame you envy, and the skill you need;
And, recollect, a poet nothing loses
In giving to his brethren their full meed
Of merit—and complaint of present days
Is not the certain path to future praise.
He that reserves his laurels for posterity
(Who does not often claim the bright reversion)
Has generally no great crop to spare it, he
Being only injured by his own assertion;
And although here and there some glorious rarity
Arise like Titan from the sea's immersion,
The major part of such appellants go
To—God knows where—for no one else can know.
If, fallen in evil days on evil tongues,
Milton appealed to the Avenger, Time,
If Time, the Avenger, execrates his wrongs,
And makes the word "Miltonic" mean "Sublime,"
He deigned not to belie his soul in songs,
Nor turn his very talent to a crime;
He did not loathe the Sire to laud the Son,
But closed the tyrant-hater he begun.
Think'st thou, could he—the blind Old Man—arise
Like Samuel from the grave, to freeze once more
The blood of monarchs with his prophecies,
Or be alive again—again all hoar
With time and trials, and those helpless eyes,
And heartless daughters—worn—and pale—and poor;
Would he adore a sultan? he obey
The intellectual eunuch Castlereagh?
Cold-blooded, smooth-faced, placid miscreant!
Dabbling its sleek young hands in Erin's gore,
And thus for wider carnage taught to pant,
Transferred to gorge upon a sister shore,
The vulgarest tool that Tyranny could want,
With just enough of talent, and no more,
To lengthen fetters by another fixed,
And offer poison long already mixed.
An orator of such set trash of phrase
That even its grossest flatterers dare not praise,
Nor foes—all nations—condescend to smile,—
Nor even a sprightly blunder's spark can blaze
From that Ixion grindstone's ceaseless toil,
That turns and turns to give the world a notion
Of endless torments and perpetual motion.
A bungler even in its disgusting trade,
And botching, patching, leaving still behind
Something of which its masters are afraid—
States to be curbed, and thoughts to be confined,
Conspiracy or Congress to be made—
Cobbling at manacles for all mankind—
A tinkering slave-maker, who mends old chains,
With God and Man's abhorrence for its gains.
If we may judge of matter by the mind,
Emasculated to the marrow It
Hath but two objects, how to serve, and bind,
Deeming the chain it wears even men may fit,
Eutropius of its many masters,—blind
To worth as freedom, wisdom as to wit,
Fearless—because no feeling dwells in ice
Its very courage stagnates to a vice.
Where shall I turn me not to view its bonds,
For I will never feel them?—Italy!
Thy late reviving Roman soul desponds
Beneath the lie this State-thing breathed o'er thee—
Thy clanking chain, and Erin's yet green wounds,
Have voices—tongues to cry aloud for me.
Europe has slaves—allies—kings—armies still—
And Southey lives to sing them very ill.
Meantime, Sir Laureate, I proceed to dedicate,
In honest simple verse, this song to you.
And, if in flattering strains I do not predicate,
'T is that I still retain my "buff and blue;"
My politics as yet are all to educate:
Apostasy 's so fashionable, too,
To keep one creed 's a task grown quite Herculean;
Is it not so, my Tory, ultra-Julian?
Venice, Sept. 16, 1818.
- ["As the Poem is to be published anonymously, omit the Dedication. I won't attack the dog in the dark. Such things are for scoundrels and renegadoes like himself" [Revise]. See, too, letter to Murray, May 6, 1819 (Letters, 1900, iv. 294); and Southey's letter to Bedford, July 31, 1819 (Selections from the Letters, etc., 1856, iii. 137, 138). According to the editor of the Works of Lord Byron, 1833 (xv. 101), the existence of the Dedication "became notorious" in consequence of Hobhouse's article in the Westminster Review, 1824. He adds, for Southey's consolation and encouragement, that "for several years the verses have been selling in the streets as a broadside," and that "it would serve no purpose to exclude them on the present occasion." But Southey was not appeased. He tells Allan Cunningham (June 3, 1833) that "the new edition of Byron's works is ... one of the very worst symptoms of these bad times" (Life and Correspondence, 1850, vi. 217).]
- [In the "Critique on Bertram" which Coleridge contributed to the Courier, in 1816, and republished in the Biographia Literaria, in 1817 (chap, xxiii.), he gives a detailed analysis of "the old Spanish play, entitled Atheista Fulminato [vide ante, the 'Introduction to Don Juan'] ... which under various names (Don Juan, the Libertine, etc.) has had its day of favour in every country throughout Europe.... Rank, fortune, wit, talent, acquired knowledge, and liberal accomplishments, with beauty of person, vigorous health, and constitutional hardihood,—all these advantages, elevated by the habits and sympathies of noble birth and national character, are supposed to have combined in Don Juan, so as to give him the means of carrying into all its practical consequences the doctrine of a godless nature, as the sole ground and efficient cause not only of all things, events, and appearances, but likewise of all our thoughts, sensations, impulses, and actions. Obedience to nature is the only virtue." It is possible that Byron traced his own lineaments in this too life-like portraiture, and at the same time conceived the possibility of a new Don Juan, "made up" after his own likeness. His extreme resentment at Coleridge's just, though unwise and uncalled-for, attack on Maturin stands in need of some explanation. See letter to Murray, September 17, 1817 (Letters, 1900, iv. 172).]
- ["Have you heard that Don Juan came over with a dedication to me, in which Lord Castlereagh and I (being hand in glove intimates) were coupled together for abuse as 'the two Roberts'? A fear of persecution (sic) from the one Robert is supposed to be the reason why it has been suppressed" (Southey to Rev. H. Hill, August 13, 1819, Selections from the Letters, etc., 1856, iii. 142). For "Quarrel between Byron and Southey," see Introduction to The Vision of Judgment, Poetical Works, 1901, iv. 475-480; and Letters, 1901, vi. 377-399 (Appendix I.).]
- [The reference must be to the detailed enumeration of "the powers requisite for the production of poetry," and the subsequent antithesis of Imagination and Fancy contained in the Preface to the collected Poems of William Wordsworth, published in 1815. In the Preface to the Excursion (1814) it is expressly stated that "it is not the author's intention formally to announce a system."]
- Wordsworth's place may be in the Customs—it is, I think, in that or the Excise—besides another at Lord Lonsdale's table, where this poetical charlatan and political parasite licks up the crumbs with a hardened alacrity; the converted Jacobin having long subsided into the clownish sycophant [despised retainer,—MS. erased] of the worst prejudices of the aristocracy.
[Wordsworth obtained his appointment as Distributor of Stamps for the county of Westmoreland in March, 1813, through Lord Lonsdale's "patronage" (see his letter, March 6, 1813). The Excursion was dedicated to Lord Lonsdale in a sonnet dated July 29, 1814—
"Oft through thy fair domains, illustrious Peer,
In youth I roamed ...
Now, by thy care befriended, I appear
Before thee, Lonsdale, and this Work present."
- [Paradise Lost, vii. 25, 26.]
- "Pale, but not cadaverous:"—Milton's two elder daughters are said to have robbed him of his books, besides cheating and plaguing him in the economy of his house, etc., etc. His feelings on such an outrage, both as a parent and a scholar, must have been singularly painful. Hayley compares him to Lear. See part third, Life of Milton, by W. Hayley (or Hailey, as spelt in the edition before me).
[The Life of Milton, by William Hailey (sic), Esq., Basil, 1799, p. 186.]
"Would he subside into a hackney Laureate—
A scribbling, self-sold, soul-hired, scorned Iscariot?"
I doubt if "Laureate" and "Iscariot" be good rhymes, but must say, as Ben Jonson did to Sylvester, who challenged him to rhyme with—
"I, John Sylvester,
Lay with your sister."
Jonson answered—"I, Ben Jonson, lay with your wife," Sylvester answered,—"That is not rhyme."—"No," said Ben Jonson; "but it is true."
[For Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, see The Age of Bronze, line 538, Poetical Works, 1901, v. 568, note 2; and Letters, 1900, iv. 108, note 1.]
- For the character of Eutropius, the eunuch and minister at the court of Arcadius, see Gibbon, [Decline and Fall, 1825, ii. 307, 308].
- ["Mr. John Murray,—As publisher to the Admiralty and of various Government works, if the five stanzas concerning Castlereagh should risk your ears or the Navy List, you may omit them in the publication—in that case the two last lines of stanza 10 [i.e. 11] must end with the couplet (lines 7, 8) inscribed in the margin. The stanzas on Castlerighi (as the Italians call him) are 11, 12, 13, 14, 15."—MS. M.]
- [Commenting on a "pathetic sentiment" of Leoni, the author of the Italian translation of Childe Harold ("Sciagurata condizione di questa mia patria!"), Byron affirms that the Italians execrated Castlereagh "as the cause, by the conduct of the English at Genoa." "Surely," he exclaims, "that man will not die in his bed: there is no spot of the earth where his name is not a hissing and a curse. Imagine what must be the man's talent for Odium, who has contrived to spread his infamy like a pestilence from Ireland to Italy, and to make his name an execration in all languages."—Letter to Murray, May 8, 1820, Letters, 1901, v. 22, note 1.]
- [Charles James Fox and the Whig Club of his time adopted a uniform of blue and buff. Hence the livery of the Edinburgh Review.]
- I allude not to our friend Lander's hero, the traitor Count Julian, but to Gibbon's hero, vulgarly yclept "The Apostate."