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They are much profaner than any devout deist ever thinks of being.' -Hunt, p. 128.
Such is uniformly the tone of this would-be devout Deist,' this most profound Universalist.
• Ye men of deep researches, say whence springs
A match for nothing--but the Deity! Between the hypochondriac reveries of a poet, and the smug petulancies of this cockney, there is, we take it, about as wide an interval as from the voluptuousness of a Sardanapalus to the geniality of a monkey; an illustration which we also beg leave to apply (where, indeed, it is all but literally in point) to the feelings of these two persons, on certain moral questions, to which we wish it had been possible for us to make no allusions.
We shall touch as briefly as possible on this disgusting topic. It is a miserable truth, that at the time when Mr. Leigh Hunt went to eat, drink, and sleep at Lord Byron's cost, and under Lord Byron's roof at Pisa, Lord Byron entertained an Italian gentleman's wife, as his mistress, under that roof. Let us hear what his contemporary has to say as to his own conduct in carrying his own wife to partake, under that same roof, of Lord Byron's bounty.
I was not prepared to find the father and brother (of Lord Byron's mistress) living in the same house ; but taking the national manners into consideration, and differing very considerably with the notions entertained respecting the intercourse of the sexes in more countries than one, I was prepared to treat with respect what I conceived to be founded in serious feelings, and saw even in that arrangement something which, though it startled my English habits at first, seemed to be a still further warrant of innocence of intention, and erception to general rules.'-Hunt, p. 22.
He (Lord Byron) had been told, what was very true, that Mrs. Hunt, though living in all respects after the fashion of an English wife, was any thing but illiberal with regard to others.'— Ibid. p. 26.
This is enough: we shall be more merciful to this unfortunate lady, than her auto-biographical husband has been.
We should, indeed, have reason to blush, could we think for a moment of entering into the details given by Mr. Leigh Hunt, concerning the manners, habits, and conversation of Lord Byron. The witness is, in our opinion, disqualified to give evidence upon any such subjects ; his book proves him to be equally ignorant of what manners are, and incompetent to judge what manners ought to be: his elaborate portraiture of his own habits is from beginning to end a very caricatura of absurdity; and the man who wrote this book, studiously cast, as the whole language of it is, in a free-and-easy, conversational tone, has no more right to decide about the conversation of such a man as Lord Byron, than has a pert apprentice to pronounce ex cathedrá—from his one shilling gallery, to wit-on the dialogue of a polite comedy. We can easily believe, that Lord Byron never talked his best when this was his Companion. We can also believe that Lord Byron's serious conversation, even in its lowest tone, was often unintelligible to Mr. Leigh Hunt. We are morally certain, that in such company Lord Byron talked, very often indeed, for the mere purpose of amusing himself at the expense of his ignorant, phantastic, lack-a-daisical guest; that he considered the Magnus Apollo of Paradise Row as a precious butt, and acted accordingly. We therefore consider Mr. Hunt's evidence as absolutely inadmissible, on strong preliminary grounds. But what are we to say to it, when we find it, as we do, totally and diametrically at variance both with the substance and complexion of Lord Byron's epistolary correspondence; and with the oral testimonies of men whose talents, originally superior beyond all possibility of measurement to Mr. Hunt's, have been matured and perfected by study, both of books and men, such as Mr. Hunt never even dreamed of; who had the advantage of meeting Lord Byron on terms of perfect equality to all intents and purposes ; and who, qualified as they probably were, above any of their contemporaries, to appreciate Lord Byron, whether as a poet, or as a man of high rank and pre-eminent fame, mingling with the world in society such as he ought never to have sunk below, all with one voice pronounce an opinion exactly and in every particular, as well as looking to things broadly and to the general effect, the reverse of that which this unworthy and ungrateful dependent has thought himself justified in promulgating, on the plea of a penury which no Lord Byron survives to relieve. It is too bad, that he who has, in his own personal conduct, as well as in his writings, so much to answer forwho abused great opportunities and great talents so lamentably, who sinned so deeply, both against the society to which he belonged and the literature in which his name will ever hold a splendid place—it is really too bad, that Lord Byron, in addition to the grave condemnation of men able to appreciate both his merits and his demerits, and well disposed to think more in sorrow than in anger of the worst errors that existed along with so much that was excellent and noble—it is by much too bad, that this great man's glorious though melancholy memory
- Must also bear the vile attacks
Of ragged curs and vulgar hacks' whom he fed ;--that his bones must be scraped up from their bed of repose to be at once grinned and howled over by creatures who, even in the least hyena-like of their moods, can touch nothing that mankind would wish to respect without polluting it.
We are of opinion that we shall present our readers with the best possible review of Mr. Leigh Hunt's Reminiscences of Lord Byron, by transcribing a few stanzas which appeared in the Times newspaper immediately on the publication of this quarto, and which have been universally attributed to one of the very few persons introduced in Mr. Hunt's book, whom it is possible to hear mentioned among ' Lord Byron's contemporaries' without laughing : • Next week will be published (as “ Lives” are the rage)
The whole Reminiscences, wondrous and strange,
Of the late noble lion at Exeter 'Change,
'Tis a puppy that much to good breeding pretends ;
Of knowing how lions behave--among friends.
Is all noted down by this Boswell so small;
That the lion was no such great things after all.
It was all, he says, borrowed -all second-hand roar;
To the loftiest war-note the lion could pour.
To see how this cockney-bred setter of rabbits
And judges of lions by puppy-dog habits,
With sops every day from the lion's own pan,
And-does all a dog, so diminutive, can.
Examples and warnings to lions high-bred,
Who'll feed on them living, and foul them when dead. • Exeter 'Change.
T. PIDCOCK.' So much for Mr. Leigh Hunt versus Lord Byron : the other contemporaries that figure in this volume are, with two or three exceptions, persons whose insignificance equals that of the author himself; and as they have had no hand, that we know of, in this absurd exposure of themselves, we should be sorry either to waste our time or to wound their feelings by any remarks on Mr. Hunt's delineations of them. Mr. Shelley's portrait appears to be the most elaborate of these minor efforts of Mr. Hunt's pencil. Why does Mr. Hunt conceal (if he be aware of the fact) that this unfortunate man of genius was bitterly sensible ere he died of the madness and profligacy of the early career which drew upon his head so much indignation, reproach, and contumely—that he confessed with tears that he well knew he had been all in the wrong'? And, by the way, why did Mr. Hunt inflict on Mr. Horatio Smith so great an injury as to say, after describing his acts of generous friendship to the unfortunate Mr. Shelley, that he (Mr. Smith) differed with Mr. Shelley on some points,' without stating distinctly what those points were--namely, every point, whether of religious belief or of moral opinion, on which Mr. Shelley differed, at the time of his acquaintance with Mr. Smith, from all the respectable part of the English community? We are happy to have this opportunity of doing justice, on competent authority, to a person whom, judging merely from the gentlemanlike and moral tone of all his writings, we certainly should never have expected to meet with in the sort of company with which this, no doubt, unwelcome eulogist has thought fit to associate
Mr. Hunt received from the hand of nature talents which, if properly cultivated and employed, might have raised him to distinction; and, we really believe, feelings calculated to procure him a kind reception from the world. His vanity, a vanity to which it is needless to look for any parallel even among the vain race of rhymers, has destroyed all. Under the influence of that disease for it deserves no other name he has set himself up as the standard in every thing. While yet a stripling, most imperfectly educated, and lamentably ignorant of men as they are, and have been, he dared to set his own crude fancies in direct opposition to all that is received among sane men, either as to the moral government of the world, or the political government of this nation, or the purposes and conduct of literary enterprise. This was the Moloch of absurdity' of which Lord Byron has spoken so justly. The consequences--we believe we may safely say the last consequences of all this rash and wicked nonsense are now before us. The last wriggle of expiring imbecility appears in these days to be a volume of personal Reminiscences; and we have now heard the feeble death-rattle of the once loud-tongued as well as brazen-faced Examiner.
We hope and trust the public reception of this filthy gossip will be such as to discourage any more of these base assaults upon Lord Byron's memory. Some of the epitaphs at Ferrara—(said he, in one of those many letters which breathed an ominous presentiment of early death)---some of the epitaphs at Ferrara pleased
Lord Byron and some of his Contemporaries.
me more than the splendid monuments of Bologna; for instance, Martini Lerigi implora pace; Lucrezia Picini implora eterna quiete. Can any thing be more full of pathos ? These few words say all that can be said or sought. The dead had had enough of life; all they wanted was rest, and this they implore. Here is all the helplessness, and humble hope, and death-like prayer that can arise from the grave. IMPLORA PACE! I hope whoever may survive me will see these two words, and no more, put over me.'— It is possible that Mr. Leigh Hunt will read these words without a blush ; but to what other ear will the IMPLORA PACE of Lord Byron be addressed in vain ?
Art. V.-1. Corn Trade, Wages, and Rent. By Edward
Cayley, Esq. London. 1826. 2. Observations on the Corn Laws. Addressed to W.W. Whitmore, Esq., M.P. London.
E beg our readers will not take alarm and imagine that we
are about to argue this eternal question as a mere dispute about profit, carried on between the agricultural and manufacturing classes. Admitting, for the sake of discussion, that certain classes in this country would derive profit from a free trade in corn; that a greater number of manufacturers would be employed, clothed, and fed, if the ports were open to the free admission of foreign grain, still we conceive that this advantage, whatever might be its amount, would be infinitely counterbalanced by the impolicy and danger of making this island the seat of numberless establishments, where foreigners may bring their surplus corn to be consumed in fabricating the manufactured articles which they require. Let us imagine that the opening of our ports to the foreign grower might end in bringing into this country a permanent annual supply of 10,000,000 of quarters of corn; this would ultimately bring about an increase of our manufacturing population to the amount, we will say, of 3,000,000 workmen, employed in fabricating commodities to be exported in exchange for this corn. We should thus have, within the limits of this country, 3,000,000 manufacturers entirely dependent upon foreign countries for employment and subsistence. This necessary supply of foreign corn might be partially, or even totally, cut off by natural causes—by deficient crops or bad harvests—mor by political estrangement and foreign caprice. That such interruption of the usual supply of corn would excite serious disturbances among the manufacturers thrown out of work, no one, who has attended to the domestic history of these realms for the last thirty years, can