Page images

in the year 1811, by a band of pirates, under the command of one in the history and character of Dr. Blackbourne. The foriner Monsieur La Fille A large majority of these outlaws are of is but imperfectly known; and report has even asserted that he that class of the population of the state of Louisiana who fled was a buccancer; and that one of his brethren in that profession from the island of St. Domingo during the troubles there, and having asked, on his arrival in England, what had become of his took refuge in the island of Cuba; and, when the last war between old chum, Blackbourne, was answered, he is Archbishop of York. France and Spain commenced, they were compelled to leave that we are informed that Blackbourne was installed sub-dean of island with the short notice of a few days. Without ceremony Ereler in 1694, which oftice he resigned in 1702; but after his they entered the United States, the most of them the state of successor Lewis Barnet's death, in 1704, he regained it. In the Louisiana, with all the negroes they had possessed in Cuba. following year he became dean; and in 1714 held with it the They were notified by the Goveruor of that Scale of the clause archdeanery of Cornwall. He was consecrated bishop of Exeter, in the Constitution which forbad the imporlation of slaves; but, February 24, 1716; and translated to York, November 28, 1724, at the same time, received the assurance of the Governor that as a reward, according to court scandal, for uniting George 1. he would oblain, il possible, the approbation of the General Go- to the Duchess of Munster. This, however, appears to have vernment for their retaining this property. The island of Barra- been an unfounded calumny. As archbishop he behaved with taria is situated about Jatitude 29 deg. 18 min., long. 92. 30.; and great prudence, and was equally respectable as the guardian of is as remarkable for its health as for the superior scale and shell the revenues of the see. Rumour whispered he relained the fish with which ils waters abound. The chief of this borde, like vices of bis youth, and that a passion for the fair sex formed an Charles de Moor, had mixed with his many vices some virtues. item in the list of bis weaknesses ; but so far from being conIn the year 1813, this party had, from its turpitude and boldness, victed by seventy wilnesses, he does not appear to have been claimed the attention of the Governor of Louisiana ; and to break directly criminated by one. In short, I look upon these asperup the establishment he thought proper to strike at the head. He sions as the effects of mere malice. How is it possible a buccatherefore offered a reward of 500 dollars for the head of Mon- neer should have been so good a scholar as Black bourne cersieur La Filte, who was well known lo the inhabitants of the city tainly was? He who had so perfect a knowledge of the classics of New Orleans, from his immediate connection, and his once (particularly of the Greek tragedians), as to be able to read them having been a fencing-master in that city of great reputation, with the same ease as he could Shakspeare, must have taken which art be learnt in Buonaparlu's army, where he was a caplain. great pains lo acquire the learned languages, and have had both The reward which was offered by the Governor for the head of leisure and good masters. But he was undoubtedly educated at La Fille was answered by the offer of a reward from the latter Christ-church College, Oxford. He is allowed to have been a of 15,000 for the head of the Governor. The Governor ordered pleasant man; this however was lurned against him, by its being out a company to inarch from the city lo La Fille's island, and to said, 'he gained more hearts than souls.'' burn and destroy all the properly, and to bring to the city of New “ The only voice that could soothe the passions of the savage Orleans all bis bandilli. This company, under the command of (Alphonso III.) was that of an amiable and virtuous wife, the a man who had been the intimate associate of this bold Captain, sole object of his love; the voice of Donna Isabella, the daughter approached very near to the fortified island, before he saw a man, of the Duke of Savoy, and the grand-daughter of Philip II. King or heard a sound, until he heard a whistle, not unlike a boatswain's of Spain. ller dying words sunk deep into his memory; his fierce call. Then it was he !ound bimself surrounded by armed men, spirit melted into tears; and after the last embrace, Alphonso who had emerged from the secret avenues which led into Bayou. retired into his chamber to bewail his irreparable loss, and to Here it was that the modern Charles de Moor developed bis few meditate on the vanity of human life."- Gibbon's Miscellaneous noble traits; for to this man, who had come to destroy his life Works, vol. iii. p. 473.

but offered bim that which would have made the honest soldier easy a spirit, freedom, and variety of lune, of which, notwithstanding for the remainder of his days; which was indignantly refused. the example of Dryden, we scarcely believed that measure suscepHe then, with the approbation of his captor, relurned to the city. lible. It was yet lo be proved that this, the most ponderous and This circumstance, and some concomitant events, proved that slalely verse in our language, could be accommodated to the vathis band of pirates was not to be taken by land. Our naval force | riations of a tale of passion and of pity, and 10 all the breaks, having always been small in that quarter, exertions sor the de- starts, and transitions of an adventurous and dramatic narration. struction of this illicit establishment could not be expected from This experiment Lord Byron has made, with equal bolduess and them until augmented; for an oflicer of the navy, with most of success; and has satisfied us, that the oldest and most respeclable the gun-boals on that station, had to retreat from an overwhelm- measure that is known amongst us is at least as flexible as any ing force of La Fitte's. So soon as the augmentation of the navy other, and capable, in the hands of a master, of vibrations as authorised an altack, one was made; the overthrow of this banditti strong and rapid as those of a lighter structure.”Jeffrey. has been the result; and, now this almost invulnerable point and “ To the safe and shop-resorting inhabitants of Christendom, key 10 New Orleans is clear of an enemy, it is to be hoped the The Corsair seems to present many improbabilities; nevertheless Government will bold it by a strong military force."- American it is true lo nature, and in every part of the Levant the traveller Newspaper,

meels with individuals whose air and physiognomy remind him of lu Noble's continuation of Grainger's Biographical Diction- Conrad. The incidents of the story also, so wild and extravagant ary tbere is a singular passage in his account of Archbishop to the snug and legal notions of England, are not more in keeping Blackbourne, and, as in some measure connected with the pro- with the character than they are in accordance with fact and session of the hero of the foregoing poem, I cannot resist the

reality."--Galt temptation of extracting it :-" There is something mysterious

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]



! With none to check, and few to point in time

The thousand paths that slope the way to crime; I.

Then when he most required commandinent, then

Had Lara's during boyhood govern'd men. Tons serfs (2) are glad through Lara's wide domain,' It skills not, boots not, step by step to trace ind Slavery half forgets her feudal chain; His youth through all the mazes of its race; He, their unhoped but unforgotten lord,

Short was the course his restlessness had run, The long stif-exiled chieftain, is restored :

But long enough to leave bim half undone. (3) There he bright faces in the busy hall, Bowls on the board, and banners on the wall;

And Lara left in youth his father-land; Far c' erkering o'er the pictured window, plays

But from the hour he waved his parting hand
The unwonted faggots' hospitable blaze;

Each trace wax'd fainter of his course, till all
And gay retainers gather round the hearth,
With tongues all londness, and with eyes all mirth. His sire was dust, his vassals could declare,

Had nearly ceased his memory to recall.

'T was all they knew, that Lara was not there; The chief of Lara is relurn'd again:

Nor sent nor came he, till conjecture grew
And why had Lara cross'd the bounding main ?

Cold in the many, anxious in the few.
Left by bis sire, too young such loss to know, His hall scarce echoes with his wonted name,
Lord of himself;—that heritage of woe,

His portrait darkens in its fading frame,
Thal fearful empire which the human breast Another chief consoled his destined bride,
But holds to rob the heart within of rest!

The young forgot him, and the old had died;

(1) Bel ween the publication of The Corsair and Lara Lord Nat.' What the devil bad I to do with scribbling? It is too late Byron adopted the most extraordinary resolution that, perhaps, to inquire, and all regret is useless. But an' it were to do againever entered into the mind of an author of any celebrity. An- I should write again, I suppose. Such is human nature, at least nored at the tone of disparagement in which his assailants-not my share of it;-though I shall think better of myself if I have content with blackening his moral and social character-now sense to stop now. If I have a wise, and that wise has a son, 1 affected to speak of bis genius, and somewhat mortified, there is will bring up mine heir in the most anti-poetical way-make him reason to believe, by finding that his own friends dreaded the effects a lawyer, or a pirate, or anything. But if he writes too, I shall be

of constant publications on bis ultimate same, he came to the de- sure he is none of mine, and will cut him off with a bank token." termination, not only to print no more in future, but to purchase i —" April 19. I will keep no further journal; and, to prevent me back the whole of his past copyrights, and suppress every line he from returning, like a dog, to the vomit of memory, I tear out the had ever written. With this view, on the 29th of April, he actually remaining leaves of this volume. "O fool! I shall go mad."" enelosed his publisher a draft for the money. “For all this," he These extracts are from the Diary of March and April. Before

said, "il might be as well to assign some reason: I have none to the end of May he had begun the composition of Lara, which has give, except my own caprice, and I do not consider the circum- been almost universally considered as the continuation of The stance of consequence enough to require explanation.” An ap- Corsair. This poem was published anonymously in the following peal, however, from Mr. Murray, lo his good-nature and consi- August, in the same volume with Mr. Rogers's elegant tale of Jacderaleness, brought, in eight-and-forty hours, the following reply: queline; an unnatural and unintelligible conjunction, which,

-"If your present note is serious, and it really would be incon- however, gave rise to some pretty good jokes. “I believe," says venient, there is an end of the maller : tear my draft, and go on Lord Byron, in one of his letters, “ I told you of Larry and Jacis usual: that I was perfectly serious, in wishing to suppress all quy. A friend of mine—at least a friend of his-was reading said future publication, is true; but certainly not to interfere with the Larry and Jacquy in a Brighton coach. A passenger took up the convenience of others, and more particularly your own." book, and queried as to the author. The proprielor said, 'there

The ollowing passages in his Diary depict the stale of Lord were lwo;—10 which the answer of the unknown was, 'Ay, ay, Byron's mind at this period :-"Murray has had a letter from bis -a joint concern, I suppose, summot like Sternhold and Iopkins. brother bibliopole of Edinburgh, who says, “he is lucky in having is not this excellent? I would not have missed the 'vile compasuch a poet--something as if one was a pack horse, or ass, or rison' lo have escaped being the 'Arcades ambo et cantare pares."

any thing that is his;' or like Mrs. Packwood, who replied to some -E. inquiry after the Odes on Razors, 'Laws, sir, we keeps a poet.' (2) The reader is apprised, that the name of Lara being SpaThe same illustrious Edinburgh bookseller once sent an order for nish, and no circumstance of local and natural description fixing books, poesy, and cookery, with this agreeable postscript — The the scene or hero of the poem to any country or age, the word Harold and Cookery are much wanted.' Such is fame! and, sers,' which could not be correctly applied to the lower classes after all, quite as good as any other life in others breath.' 'T is in Spain, who were never vassals of the soil, has nevertheless much the same to divide purchasers with Hannah Glasse or Han- been employed to designate the followers of our fictitious cbielnah More."-" March 17th, Redde the Quarrels of Authors, a lain.-(Lord Byron elsewhere intimates, that he meant Lara for new work, by that most entertaining and researching writer, a chief of the Morea.-E.) D'Israeli. They seem to be an irritable set, and I wish myself (3) Lord Byron's own tale is partly told in this section.” Sir well out of it. "I'll not march ibrough Coventry with them, that's Walter Scott.-E.

[ocr errors]

“Yet doth he live !” exclaims the impatient heir, And that sarcastic levity of tongue,
And sighs for sables which he must not wear. The stinging of a heart the world hath stung, (1)
A hundred scutcheons deck with gloomy grace That darts in seeming playfulness around,
The Laras' last and longest dwelling-place;

And makes those feel that will not own the wound: But one is absent from the mouldering file, All these seem'd his, and something more beneath That now were welcome in that Gothic pile. Than glance could well reveal, or accent breathe.

Ambition, glory, love, the common aim,

That some can conquer, and that all would claim, He comes at last in sudden loneliness,

Within his breast appear'd no more to strive,
And whence they know not, why they need not guess, Yet seem'd as lately they had been alive;
They more might marvel, when the greeting's o'er; And some deep feeling it were vain to trace
Not that he came, but came not long before:

At moments lighten’d o'er his livid face.
No train is his beyond a single page,
Of foreign aspect, and of tender age.

VI. *
Years had rolld on, and fast they speed away Not much he loved long question of the past,
To those that wander as to those that stay; Nor told of wondrous wilds, and deserts vast,
But lack of tidings from another clime

In those far lands where he had wander'd lone Had lent a flagging wing to weary Time.

And-as himself would have it seem-unknown: They see, they recognise, yet almost deem

Yet these in vain his eye could scarcely scan, The present dubious, or the past a dream.

Nor glean experience from his fellow man; He lives, nor yet is past his manhood's prime, But what he had beheld he shunn'd to show, Though sear’d by toil, and something touch’dbytime; As hardly worth a stranger's care to know: His faults, whale'er they were, if scarce forgot, If still more prying such inquiry grew, Might be untaught him by his varied lot;

His brow fell darker, and his words more few. Nor good nor ill of late were known, his name

Might yet uphold his patrimonial fame:
His soul in youth was haughty, but his sins Not unrejoiced to see him once again,
No more than pleasure from the stripling wins; Warm was his welcome to the haunts of men;
And such, if not yet harden'd in their course, Born of high lineage, link'd in high command,
Might be redeem'd, nor ask a long remorse. He mingled with the magnates of his land;

Join'd the carousals of the great and gay,

And saw them smile or sigh their hours away ;(2)
And they indeed were changed—'t is quickly seeu, But still he only saw, and did not share,
Whatc'er he be, 't was not what he had been.

The common pleasure or the general care; That brow in furrow'd lines had fix'd at last, He did not follow what they all pursued, And spake of passions, but of passion past: With hope still baffled, still to be renew'd, The pride, but not the fire, of early days,

Nor shadowy honour, nor substantial gain, Coldness of mien, and carelessness of praise; Nor beauty's preference, and the rival's pain: A high demeanour, and a glance that took

Around him some mysterious circle thrown, Their thoughts from others by a single look; Repell’d approach, and show'd him still alone.

(1) “It is a remarkable properly of the poetry of Lord Byron, sent the same character on the public stage again and again, that although his manner is frequently varied, -although he ap- varied only by the exertions of that powerful genius which, pears to have assumed for an occasion the characteristic stanza searching the springs of passion and of feeling in their innermost and style of several contemporaries,-yel not only is bis poetry recesses, knew how to combine their operations, so that the inmarked in every instance by the strongest cast of originality, but cerest was elernally varying, and never abaled, although the in some leading particulars, and especially in the character of his most important personage of the drama retained the same lineaheroes, each story so closely resembled the other, that, managed ments. Il will one day be considered as not the least remarkhy a writer of less power, the effect would have been an unplea- able literary phenomenon of this age, that during a period of sant monotony. All, or almost all, his beroes have somewhat the four years, notwithstanding the quantity of distinguished poeattributes of Childe Harold :-all, or almost all, have minds which lical talent of which we may be permitted to boasi, a single auseem al variance with their fortunes, and exhibit high and poig- thor-and be managing his pen with the careless and negligent Dant feelings of pain and pleasure; a keen sense of what is noble ease of a man of quality, and choosing for his theme subjects so and honourable ; and an equally keen susceplibility of injustice very similar, and personages bearing so close a resemblance to or injury, under the garb of stoicism or contempt of mankind. each other,-did, in despite of these circunstances, of the unThe strength of early passion, and the glow of youthful feeling, amiable attributes with which he usually invested his heroes, and are uniformly painted as chilled or subdued by a train of early of the proverbial fickleness of the public, maintain the ascenimprudences or of darker guilt, and the sense of enjoyment lar- dancy in their favour wbich he had acquired by his first matured nished by too intimate an acquaintance with the vanity of human production. So, however, it indisputably bas been."-Sir Walwishes. These genera! attributes mark the stern features of ler Scott. all Lord Byron's heroes, from those which are shaded by the (2) “This description of Lara, suddenly and uncxpectedly rescalloped hat of the illustrious Pilgrim, lo those which lurk under turned from distant travels, and re-assuming his slation in the the lurban of Alp the Renegade. It was reserved to bins to pre- society of his own country, has strong points of resemblance to [pon his eye sal something of reproof,

So calm, the waters scarcely seem to stray, That kept at least frivolily aloof;

And yet they glide like happiness away;
And things more limid that beheld him near Reflecting far and fairy-like from high
In silence pazeil, or whisper'd mutual fear; The immortal lights that live along the sky:
And they, the wiser, friendlier few, confess'd Tie banks are fringed with many a goodly tree,
They deem d him better than his air express’d. And flowers the fairest that may feast the bee;

Such in her chaplet infant Dian wove,

And Innocence would offer to her love.
Tras strange-in youth all action and all life,

These deck the shore; the waves their channel make burning for pleasure, not averse from strife;

In windings bright and mazy like the snake. Woman-lhe field-lhe ocean—all that gave

All was so still, so soft in earth and air, Promise of gladness, peril of a grave,

You scarce would start to meet a spirit there; In turn he tried-he ransack'd all below,

Secure that nought of evil could delight And found bis recompense in joy or woe,

To walk in such a scene, on such a nighi ! No lame Irite medium; for his feelings sought

!t was a moment only for the good: In that intenseness an escape from thought:

So Lara deem'd, nor longer there he stood, Tbe tempest of heart in scorn had gazed

But turn’d in silence to bis castle-gate; On that the feebler elements had raised;

Such scene his soul no more could contemplate: The rapture of his heart had look'd on high,

Such scene reminded him of other days, And ask'd if greater dwelt beyond the sky: Of skics more cloudless, moons of purer blaze, (baied to excess, the slave of each extreme,

Of nights more soft and frequent, hearts that nowHos woke he from the wildness of that dream ?

No-no-lhe storm may beat upon his brow, Alas! he lold not-but he did awake

Unfelt—unsparing—but a night like this,
To curse the wither'd heart that would not break.

A night of beauty, mock'd such breast as his.

books, for his volume heretofore was Man,
With eye more curious he appear'd lo scan,

He turn'd within his solitary hall, And oft , in sullen mooil, for many a day,

And his high shadow shot along the wall: From all communion he would start away:

There were the painted forms of other times, dod then, his rarely-call’d attendants said, [tread 'Twas all they left of virtues or of crimes, Thro' night's long hours would sound his hurried Save vague tradition; and the gloomy vaults er the dark gallery, where his fathers frown'd That hid their dust, their foibles, and their faults; In rule bit antique portraiture around:

And half a column of the pompous page, They heard, bul whisper'd—that must not be That speeds the specious tale from age to age;

Where History's pen ils praise or blame supplies, The sound of words less earthly than his own. And lies like Truth, and still most truly lies. les

, liey who chose might smile, but some had seen He wandering mused, and as the moonbeam shone The; scarce knew what, but more than should have Through the dim lattice o’er the floor of stone, #by gazed he so upon the ghastly head been. And the high fretted roof, and saints, that there A bich hands profane had gather'd from the dead, O'er Gothic windows knelt in pictured prayer, That still beside his opend volume lay,

Reflected in fantastic figures grew, As if to startle all save him away?

Like life, but not like mortal life, to view; Why slept he nat when others were at rest ?

His bristling locks of sable, brow of gloom, Wby heard no music, and received no guest ?

And the wide waving of his shaken plume, All was not well, they deem'd—but where the Glanced like a spectre's attributes, and


His aspect all that terror gives the grave.
Saare knew perchance-but't were a tale too long;
And such besides were too discreelly wise,

Te more than hint their knowledge in surmise;

’T was midnight-all was slumber; the lone light But if they would--they could”_--Around 'the Dimm'd in the lamp, as loth to break the night. Thras Larais vassals prattled of their lord. [board, Hark! there be murmurs heard in Lara's hallX.

A sound-a voice-a shriek-a fearful call ! 'li as the night-and Lara's glassy stream

A long loud shriek—and silence-did they hear The stars are studding, each with imaged beam;

That frantic echo burst the sleeping ear ?

They heard and rose, and, tremulously brave, the part which the author himself seemed occasionally to bear

Rush where the sound invoked their aid to save';
And snatch'd in startled haste unbelted brands.


Taller Scott.


The long dim shadows of surrounding trees,

The flapping bat, the night-song of the breeze; Cold as the marble where his length was laid,

Aught they behold or hear their thought appals, Pale as the beam that o'er his features play'ıl,

As evening saddens o'er the dark grey walls.
Was Lara stretchd ; his half-drawn sabre near,

Dropp'd it should seem in more than nature's fear:
Yet he was firm, or had been firm till now,

Vain thought! ihat hour of ne'er-unravellid gloom And still defiance knit his gather'd brow;

Came not again, or Lara could assume Though mix'd with terror, senseless as he lay,

A seeming of forgetfulness, that made There lived upon his lip the wish to slay;

His vassals inore amazed nor less afraidSome half-form'd threat in utterance there had died, | Had memory vanish'd then with sense restored ? Soine imprecation of despairing pride:

Since word, nor look, nor gesture of their lord His eye was almost seal’d, but not forsook

Betray'd a feeling that recallid to these Even in its trance the gladiator's look,

That fever'd moment of bis mind's disease. That oft awake his aspect could disclose,

Was it a dream ? was his the voice that spoke And now was fix'd in horrible repose. (speaks, Those strange wild accents ; his the cry that broke They raise him—bear him ;-hush! he breathes, he Their slumber ? his the oppress'd, o'erlabour'd heart The swarthy blush recolours in his cheeks,

That ceased to beat, the look that made them start? His lip resumes its red, his eye, though dim,

Could he who thus had suffer'd so forget, Rolls wide and wild, each slowly-quivering limb

When such as saw that suffering shudder yet ? Recalls its function, but his words are strung Or did that silence prove his memory fix'd In terms that seem not of his native tongue;

Too deep for words, indelible, unmird Distinct but strange, enough they understand

In that corroding secrecy which gnaw's To deem them accents of another land;

The heart to show the effect, but not the cause? And such they were, and meant to meet an ear

Not so in him; his breast had buried bothi, That hears him not-alas! that cannot hear!

Nor common gazers could discern the growth

Of thoughts that mortal lips must leave half told; XIV.

They choke the feeble words that would unfold. His page approach'd, and he alone appear'd

XVII. To know the import of the words they heard;

In him inexplicably mix'd appear'd And, by the changes of his cheek and brow,

Much to be loved and hated, sought and fear'd; They were not such as Lara should avow,

Opinion, varying o'er bis hidden lot, Nor he interpret,-yet with less surprise

In praise or railing ne'er his name forgot : Than those around their chieftain's state he eyes;

His silence form’d a theme for others' prateBut Lara's prostrate form he bent beside,

They' quess'd—they gazed-they fain would know And in that tongue which seem’d his own replied;

his fate. And Lara heeds those lones, that gently seem

What had he been ? what was he, thus unknown, To soothe away the horrors of his dream,

Who walk’d their world, his lineage only known, If dream it were, that thus could overthrow

A hater of his kind ? yet some would say, A breast that needed not ideal woe.

With them he could seem gay amidst the gay; XV.

But own'd that smile, if oft observed and near,

Waned in its mirth, and wither'd to a sneer; Whate'er his frenzy dream'd or eye beheld,

That smile might reach his lip, but pass’d not by, If yet remember'd ne'er to be reveald,

None e'er could trace its laughter to his eye : Rests at his heart : the custom’d morning came, Yet there was softness too in his regard, And breathed new vigour in his shaken frame;

At times, a heart as not by nature hard, And solace sought he none from priest nor leech, But once perceived, his spirit seem'd to chide And soon the same in movement and in speech

Such weakness, as unworthy of its pride, As heretofore he fillid the passing hours, And steel'd itself, as scorning to redeem Nor less he smiles, nor more his forehead lowers, One doubt from others' half-withheld esteem; Than these were wont; and if the coming night In self-inflicted penance of a breast, Appear'd less welcome now to Lara's sight, Which tenderness might once have wrung froni He to his marvelling vassals show'd it not,

In vigilance of grief, that would compel (rest;
Whose shuddering proved their fear was less forgot. The soul to hate for having loved too well.
In trembling pairs oalone they dare not) crawl
The astonish'd slaves, and shun the fated hall;

The waving banner, and the clapping door, There was in him a vital scorn of all,
The rustling tapestry, and the echoing floor; As if the worst had fall’n which could befall :

« PreviousContinue »