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THE EAST AND THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH.
AND HER LAMENTED CONSORT.
IN A STORMY NIGHT."
SATURN-THE SUNRETURN HOME,
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The late Byron controversy, and its rancorous continuance by the enemies of that splendid poetical genius, induces the author of the present work, entitled “THE SHADE OF Byron," to offer another edition of it, yielding, as it does, a favourable opportunity for expressing his utter repudiation of Mrs. BEECHER STowe's ill-judged renewal of shameful slander against the dead.
This work was begun in defence of the noble Poet, not long after his death; but, other affairs preventing progress, it was only published a few years ago, and circulated chiefly among the author's private friends. It was, so far, well received, but it is not wonderful that any work at all connected with the name of Byron, should meet the displeasure of those writers, who, from the first, were so strenuously determined, if possible, to crush Lord Byron's works altogether. Some passages of this work were leveled sarcastically against these, and particularly against those fanatical sectarians of the day, who denounced Byron's poetry from the pulpit, and thus raised the curiosity of some enquiring minds among their respective flocks, to read the very poems which their pastors forbad them even to suffer within their houses ! Few of those pastors can now be living to tak offence at the sarcasms which their mistaken zeal and unjust censure incurred. Nevertheless the overbearing tongue of criticism is quite as rabid now as it was when the most brilliant genius that has appeared since Shakespeare, left England, in scorn of its insanely unjust vengeance against hin.
It is well-known that a systematic warfare has existed ever since, to hunt down Lord Byron's works by abuse of his personal character. There have been some recent instances of this in a late "Review," now defunct, or sold, or amalgamated in some way. The virulence and scurrility with which some authors and their private characters were attacked, was disgraceful to a journal claiming any respectability.
But, although this furor had subsided generally into a mere occasional yelp-like hounds losing the scent-it is very remarkable with what avidity the slanderous pursuit has been caught up and carried on since Mrs. B. STOwe entered the field. She has given new energy to the hunt by introducing some keen-scenting barriers by Malignus, out of Scan Mag, and, with the Harrier Beech Stowe for their leader, and Scan Mag at her heels, the whole pack have run madly, in full cry, Pell Mell, to the very Echo. One pre-eminently deep-mouthed hound—named by his patron, for the nonoe, Edipus-gives tongue with low-lived and bitter acerbity, eclipsing even the leading harrier. Certainly nothing so infamous-so indelibly disgraceful to any journal, has ever before appeared as in that article of personal abuse.
“And Echo, blithe Echo makes jovial the cry!"'*
* Old hunting song.
The base malignity of spirit that can jeer at a personal infirmity, and falsely add others for the purpose of exciting the senseless ridicule of vulgar minds, is in any case detestable; but to do so against one whose splendid genius, good qualities, and high attainments are beyond such a writer's power to crush; and he therefore endeavours to defame the private character of an author by detraction, slander, and personal abuse : — so truly despicable a scribbler classes himself
“ On the level with a devil
What he can himself essay."
That lady may there see her own portrait-by change of gender only-most correctly delineated; or, as her imagination of evil in Lord Byron is so prolific, she may, on consulting her toilette-glass, imagine she can perceive, in her reflected features, the addition of "rudimentary horns ;" and-by a nervous kind of Ovidian metamorphosis—imagine she feels her feet changing into divided hoofs, as the redoubted “ Edipus," through his patron, the Echo*, has described the infant Byron, if she thinks it worth while to propagate the infamous lie. Or, lastly, Mrs. Beecher Stowe may readily select from her own “True Story," a costume
" very appropriate for the character in which that offensive
See the Echo of Dec. 6th, 1869.