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Solara, Arta, and Joannini. On the 12th of October he was introduced to Ali Pacha, and on the 31st began Childe Harold. He proceeded to Missolonghi, Parnassus, Castri, Delphi; and reached Athens on Christmas-day. In this city and in Attica he spent about ten weeks. Hence he went to Smyrna ; and there, on the 28th of March 1810, finished the second canto of Childe Harold. Next he sailed to Constantinople : on the 9th of May he performed his feat, much vaunted by many tongues, and especially his own-of swimming, like Leander, from Sestos to Abydos. He was in Constantinople from the middle of May to the middle of July ; then in Athens again, and in the Morea from August to October. Returning once more to Athens, he lived in the Franciscan Convent there in the early part of 1811, writing the Hints from Horace and the Curse of Minerva. He left Athens for Malta in May, and returned to England in July. On the 1st of August his mother died-the decadent state of her health having: it is said, been fatally aggravated by a fit of rage at the amount of an upholsterer's bill presented to her. Byron was hastening to Newstead when he received the tidings. Though he was neither a dutiful nor a loving son to this injudicious parent, he was not without a deep sense of loss in her death : indeed, he spoke of her as “the only friend he had in the world.”

He showed the Hints from Hornce and Childe Harold (limited as yet to cantos 1 and 2) to a confidential acquaintance, Mr Dallas, and could with difficulty be persuaded that the latter of the two poems was the one to be relied on for a reputation. It came out on the 29th of February 1812 : every one knows the expression of the author, as written down in his memoranda—“I awoke one morning, and found myself famous.” In fact, Childe Harold carried everything before it, creating a rush of enthusiasm such as might barely be considered due to the complete poem, and is clearly not warranted by the two opening cantos. Byron found himself at once about the most famous and fashionable man in London, after remaining as yet considerably more obscure in society than might have been surmised from his rank and other numerous advantages. He now plunged into fashionable dissipation, and became something of a dandy, and a good deal of a lady-killer. He entered into the whirl with zest, remained in it with some revulsions, and at last came out of it surfeited. This episode in his life, however, affected him for a permanence : it increased his scornful misanthropy on the one hand, and his weakness for factitious self-display on the other, and he ever after affected as much the man of fashion as the poet. Byron is one more of the great geniuses who have found the world” their too inimical friend. He gave Mr Dallas the £600 which Mr Murray, the publisher of Childe Harold, paid for the copyright; and for some years he pursued, despite considerable temptations to the contrary, the same gratuitously high-minded plan-absolutely refusing any payment for his writings, redounding to his own advantage. His friends benefited in some instances; and in others the amounts went to more general purposes of beneficence. Manfred and The Lament of Tasso (1817) were, I believe, the first works for which Byron himself accepted payment : since then he continued on that system. His acquaintance with Moore, which soon ripened into intimacy, and great friendliness if not positive friendship, had begun just before the publication of Childe Harold, closing a some


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what bellicose correspondence to which the English Bards and Scotch Reviewers had given rise. This last-named book, always a popular hit, became increasingly embarrassing to Byron as his acquaintance with the leaders in literary and other circles expanded ; and in March 1812 he burned the then forthcoming new edition, and closed that entry in his accounts with the world.

In March 1813 he published The Waltz (anonymously); in May, the Giaour, the first of his frantically admired oriental tales—then new in kind, and highly qualified to fascinate a first, and to pall on a second, generation of readers ; in December, the Bride of Abydos. He began the Corsair on the 18th and finished it on the 31st of December : 14,000 copies sold in one day. An incredible hubbub was also raised by the publication, in the same volume, of the few lines addressed to Princess Charlotte, “Weep, daughter of a royal line.” His Ode on Napoleon was written on the roth of April 1814; and on the same day, for no very distinctly apparent reason, he resolved to compose no more poetry, and to suppress such as had been already published. This resolution could not, in the nature of things, hold. The very next month he began Lara, and published it in August.

The lionizing process allured but by no means delighted Byron : he sometimes retired to Newstead for longish periods. Intriguing brought little balm to his heart; gambling or other diversion, no resources to his purse. In November 1813 he turned his thoughts seriously to marriage; and proposed to Anna Isabella, only child of Sir Ralph Milbanke, a Baronet in the County of Durham. She was a great heiress, her mother being sister and coheiress of Lord Wentworth ; but her wealth was as yet only in prospect, and so remained all the while that Byron was in direct personal relation with her. On the present occasion Miss Milbanke declined his offer ; but she and Byron continued corresponding on terms of friendship, not at all of courtship. The lady was, in point of age, a very appropriate choice, being a little younger than her suitor : she was highly educated, of a serious and dignified character, and a paragon of almost all the virtues under heaven. In September 1814 the poet proposed to another lady, with whom, however, he does not appear to have been in the least in love : he was again unsuccessful. He then forthwith, on the 15th of the same month, re-applied to Miss Milbanke, and this time he was accepted. The marriage took place on the 2d of January 1815. Byron, who was intensely superstitious in such matters, supplied his own evil omen on the present occasionsaying to his wedded bride, as they were about to depart, “Miss Milbanke, are you ready?” For a while, Byron (to trust his own correspondence, amid other testimony) sincerely admired his wife, and perhaps almost loved her; but this was not to endure for long.

Since I undertook the writing of this brief notice, the whole question of Byron's matrimonial relations has-as the civilized world knowschanged its aspect. The statement now made (on the authority of Lady Byron in her advanced years, recorded by the distinguished and high-minded novelist, Mrs Beecher Stowe) is that Byron had, before his marriage, begun an incestuous intrigue with his half-sister Mrs Leigh ; and continued it after marriage, making it no secret to his wife herself. A daughter, it is added, was the offspring of this connection, and was


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brought up by Lady Byron with divine longsuffering, until death removed the morbidly wayward girl. This astonishing revelation still requires to be further tested and fathomed : that is all that a candid investigator is called on to say about it as yet in so summary a notice as mine is. The ground for believing it is that Lady Byron obviously credited its truth when she communicated with Mrs Stowe, and credited it for reasons which, barring mental hallucination, must be regarded as most weignty. The grounds for disbelieving it are various; and very chiefly thesethat letters addressed at the time by Lady Byron to Mrs Leigh tell in the opposite direction, and that considerable cause has been shown for thinking that her ladyship may, in numerous instances, including this one, have been subject to unfounded impressions, have brooded over supposititious conditions of things, and have arrived at conclusions strangely irrelevant to their assumed premisses. For the present therefore I feel it right to eliminate this gross and ghastly story from the materials of Byron's life: not to reject it, for it may yet prove to be true, but to exclude it as hitherto unverified.

Lord Wentworth died in April 1815; Lady Byron's parents then assumed the name of Noel (which, about the beginning of 1822, Byron also, upon the death of Lady Noel, adopted, calling himself thenceforward Noel Byron). Soon incompatibilities of temper or character between his wife and himself began to manifest themselves : his moneyembarrassments too were grave, resulting in no less than nine executions in his house within his first and only year of married life. He sought his pleasure away from home. On the roth of December 1815 his wife bore him a daughter, who was christened Augusta Ada, and who eventually became Countess of Lovelace. Ada was a family name of olden date : Augusta was (as we have seen) the name of Byron's half-sister, the Mrs Leigh of whom so strange a story is now told. He had known very little of her in early days, but had a deep and steady affection for her in his manhood : an affection which has hitherto been regarded as fraternal only, and highly honourable to both parties—and such it undoubtedly, and with great seeming genuineness, appears to be in the poems which he addressed to her.

On the 15th of January 1816, Lady Byron went with her infant on a visit to her father in Leicestershire. She wrote to Byron in playful and affectionate terms; and then on the 2d of February announced that she would never live with him again. The full reasons for this resolve had never till our own days been publicly divulged, nor were they even notified with any precision to Byron himself, if his own account is not to be discarded. It is certain, however, that, before she left for Leicestershire, Lady Byron had conceived a suspicion that her husband was insane, and sixteen heads of surmisable lunacy were drawn up ; that she set enquiries on foot, which satisfied her, both that he was sane, and also that his past conduct, not being explicable on the ground of madness, was beyond excuse ; and that her counsel, Mr Lushington, considered a separation-which was not (though Byron fancied it was) specially prompted by her own family-indispensable. Beyond this, it used to be only an individual here and another there who professed to know the exact grounds of separation. It was stated, for instance, that Byron brought into his house as a mistress an actress named Mrs Mardyn (he

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and Shelley could publish their future writings. Shelley availed himself of the notion in the interest of his friend Leigh Hunt, then in London editing the Examiner; and it was ultimately arranged that Hunt should come over to Italy, and the three (according to Byron's view of the matter) share the profits. In reality, however, Shelley had resolved to have little or no connection with the magazine as a writer, and absolutely none as a recipient of the proceeds. Hunt and his large family reached Genoa in June 1822, he having by this time relinquished his direct control over the Examiner--a fact very disappointing to Lord Byron when he learned it, as his lordship had been relying upon the close camaraderie of that weekly paper as one mainstay of the quarterly Liberal. Hunt went on to Leghorn, where Byron was staying just then, and to Pisa, where arrangements had been made for his accommodation. He could not have arrived at a more unfortunate moment. Street-squabbles, house-squabbles, and political complexities, in all of which Byron and his immediate surroundings had some share, had determined the Tuscan Government to follow the Papal example, and oust the Gambas from the territory; and Byron-not unnaturally, though with too ready a disregard of Hunt's valid claims on his plighted word and honourable consideration—was minded to follow his mistress and her family forthwith, and leave the Liberal very much to its own devices. This difficulty was barely patched over when a deathblow to the prospects of a smooth working of the Liberal (and to many other more important matters) occurred by the drowning of Shelley in the Mediterranean on the 8th of July: as long as he lived, even had he abstained from active connection with the magazine, his noble nature and well-proved friendliness would have been a bond of union or a medium of conciliation between the not easily coalescing requirements and characters of Byron and Hunt. With the loss of Shelley, the likelihood of a real success vanished. The Liberal went on for a year, a nucleus for the publication of the inimitable Vision of Judgment, and the Heaven and Earth of Lord Byron, along with other matter, and for the conflicting petulancies of his lordship and of Hunt to twine around, and put forth untidy tendrils and plaguing thorns. It was an ill-concocted scheme; and, in point of commercial profit, though not a disastrous failure, by no means a handsome success. Hunt was more to be condoled with than blamed in the matter, and perhaps Byro: also. The latter was now living in Genoa, still maintaining his semiconjugal relation to the Countess Guiccioli

. Before leaving Pisa, he had written Werner and The Deformed Transformed; in Genoa, in January and February 1823, the Age of Bronse and The Island-which is his last poem of any length.

Byron's life may very fairly be divided into the tragic five acts. The first comprises his boyhood and adolescence, up to his disappointment with Miss Chaworth; the second, his coming of age, early literary vicissitudes, travels in the East of Europe, commencement of Childe Harold, and frenzies of poetic success; the third, his marriage and separation; the fourth, his Italian sojourn, and amour with La Guiccioli. The curtain rises for the fifth act, and we find it in striking contrast with its precursors.

Greece was now in the full career of insurrection against the Turkis?.


domination. In April 1823 Byron had already begun turning his thoughts in that direction ; and in May he received overtures from the London Committee of Philhellenes. His early travels in Greece, his European name, and considerable means, pointed him out as one whose coöperation would be invaluable. Byron, to his perennial honour, determined to aid the noble cause, not only with money, but in person, and with arms in his hand. It has been said that, besides the more obvious and worthy motive, he was partly influenced by two considerations—waning ardour in his love-affair with Countess Guiccioli, and a strong impression that, as a poet, he had begun to lose the public car. This latter opinion he did undoubtedly entertain, and now at last with some degree of warrant for it: the statement as to the Countess rests on a more dubious surmise. At any rate, he sailed from Genoa on the 14th of July, with Count Pietro Gamba, having bespoken the very apposite companionship of Captain Trelawny, whom he had known for two years and a half, at first in connection with Shelley. They reached the Ísland of Cephalonia early in August. Hence Trelawny went on to the Morea, and Byron, after some while, to Missolonghi, in western Greece, where he arrived on the 5th of January 1824. At both places the poet displayed a talent for public business that astonished people : he had some very tough work in introducing a little order into a chaos of interests, intrigues, and projects. Before reaching Missolonghi, he had, on the night of the 3d of January, swum a long distance in rough weather : two or three days afterwards he complained of pains in all his bones, and was never wholly rid of the sensation again. The weather at Missolonghi was detestable, and the place unhealthy. At the beginning of February he got wet through, and on the evening of the 15th had a dreadful convulsive fit, which bereaved him of sense for a time, and was treated by over-bleeding. The medical man who had accompanied him from Italy, Dr Bruno, was young, and seemingly rather raw at his profession. A band of mutinous Suliotes broke into the room while Byron was in this trying situation : his firmness overawed them, and they retired. On the 30th of January he had received a regular commission from the insurrectionary Greek government, appointing him commander-in-chief for an expedition to besiege Lepanto, then held by the Turks : but he was fated never to undertake this glorious work.

His fatigues were already too much for his broken health : but he would not give up, and nobly said, “I will stick by the cause as long as a cause exists." The holy cause survived its hero and martyr. On the 9th of April he again got wet through, and returned to Missolonghi in a violent perspiration. Fever and rheumatic pains ensued. Next day he was again able to take a ride ; but on the evening of the vith he became worse, and by the 14th was in manifest danger. For several days, cautious from his recent experience, he refused to be bled : at last he consented, but it was considered too late. Inflammation attacked the brain ; a lethargy set in, lasting twenty-four hours. Byron had made futile efforts to convey some intelligible message for his wife, child, and sister : his last words were “Now I shall go to sleep." He opened his eyes for one moment, and then closed them for ever. The great poet expired at six P.M. on the 19th of April 1824. Bitter was the mourning of his attached comrades and attendants; bitter that of

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