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admiration of noble actions, providing he was convinced that the actors had proceeded upon disinterested principles. Lord Byron was totally free from the curse and degradation of literature,—its jealousies, we mean, and its envy. But his wonderful genius was of a nature which disdained restraint, even when restraint was most wholesome. When at school, the tasks in which he excelled were those only which he undertook voluntarily; and his situation as a young man of rank, with strong passions, and in the uncontrolled enjoyment of a considerable fortune, added to that impatience of strictures which was natural to him. As an author, he refused to plead at the bar of criticism; as a man, he would not submit to be morally amenable to the tribunal of public opinion. Remonstrances from a friend, , of whose intentions and kindness he was secure, had often great weight with him; but there were few who could venture on a task so difficult. Reproof he endured with impatience, and reproach hardened him in his error; so that he often resembled the gallant warsteed, who rushes forward on the steel that wounds him. In the most painful crisis of his private life, he evinced this irritability and impatience of censure to such a degree as almost to resemble the noble victim of the bull-fight, which is more maddened by the squibs, darts, and petty annoyances of the unworthy crowds heyond the lists, than by the lance of his nobler, and,
so to speak, his more legitimate antagonist. In a word, much of that in which he erred was in bravado and scorn of his censors, and was done with the motive of Dryden's despot,
"To show his arbitrary power.'
In respect to his temper, he was particularly social and cheerful with his friends; and his very failings resulted from an excessive susceptibility of impulses of all kinds, which is the opposite of sullenness and gloom. He had a lively perception of the ridiculous and mean in human nature, and had an equally fine sense of the beautiful, the delicate, the sublime, and the enjoying in man. He certainly did not possess the tame and unresenting stoicism of a quaker, nor the sanctified humility of a primitive saint, nor the time-serving hypocrisy of a modern one; he was neither a pharisee in word or deed; but one sterling and redeeming quality he did possess—he abhorred cant and falsehood, and never hesitated to speak fearlessly and searchingly the truth of himself and others. Hence it was he became peculiarly obnoxious to all those, whose bosoms' hiding-place, by his undaunted mapping of the human heart, he « visited too roughly.»
I know of nothing more expressive of the real character of the man than what is conveyed in the following
spontaneous and self-condemning effusion of grateful reminiscence, when, in a note to one of his poems,' he speaks of his early guide and tutor at Harrow, the Rev. Dr Drury: «I believe no one could, or can be more attached to Harrow than I have always been, and with reason:—a part of the time passed there was the happiest of my life; and my preceptor (the Rev. Dr Joseph Drury) was the best and worthiest friend I ever possessed, whose warnings I have remembered but too well, though too late—when I have erred; and whose counsels I have but followed when I have done well or wisely. If ever this imperfect record of my feelings towards him should reach his eyes, let it remind him of one who never thinks of him but with gratitude and veneration-of one who would more gladly boast of having been his pupil, if, by more closely following his injunctions, he could reflect honour upon his in
The beautiful lines with which Lord Byron attempted to appease the offended dignity of his lady, that heartspeaking elegy of his ruined hopes and unavailing regrets, that sad and tender « Farewell »? to those he still
Childe Harold's PILGRIMAGE, canto IV, note 40, p. 326, vol. i. · Madame de Staël, in speaking of this pathetic effusion, said : « Je voudrais avoir été malheureuse comme Lady Byron, et avoir inspiré à son époux les vers qu'il a faits pour
loved, when on the eve of quitting them eternally, is too well known and generally remembered, as one of the most touching effusions in the English language, to need any comment here, The lines entitled « A Sketch of Private Life,» addressed to her whom he considered as a principal cause of the separation, were amongst the most severe ever given to the world, and if not altogether excusable, may, at least, be accounted for under the bitter and agonized feelings of the bard at that trying moment.
Torn by the contending emotions of disappointed affection, and continued calumny, Lord Byron took a last leave of his native land. He quitted England, and traversed the battle-scene of Waterloo, «ere the bones of all the warriors who had fallen in that dreadful field were hidden in the earth, or deprived of their freshness and sap. He ascended by the bank of the Rhine, contemplated the majesty of the Alps, and the beauty of the Lake of Geneva; and soon after the third canto of Childe Harold made its appearance. This was the triumph of his genius, and his description of that memorable battle, whose scene he had just visited, is beyond all praise. In quoting a part of it here, I have marked two lines, which, all beautiful as it is, are, in my opinion, particularly so:
And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves,
Of living valour, rolling on the foe,
Their praise is hymn'd by loftier harps than mine;
Even where the thickest of war's tempest lower'd,
There have been tears and breaking hearts for thee,
'The Earl of Carlisle, his lordship’s guardian, to whom he dedicated his minor work « The Hours of Idleness,» but whom he afterwards satirized with much severity, in bis English Bards, etc. Explanatory notes of this kind may not be considered superfluous for the French reader. Editor.