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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 take 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 harriers 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.
“Story” has placed her. There is abundant material for the purpose: for instance, the underclothing textures of malevolence or malignity, and other varieties with which Mrs. Beecher Stowe's experience may make a shift to fit herself. Then there are several very useful though not beautiful tissues for other garments, such as calumny, detraction, defamation, and the tough twill of slander; this last may
do for corsets. The colours of all these are too false to wear well, but a dress for great occasions may be worn over them: it is the changeable or shot-silk “Misrepresentation,” which has the chamelion property of changing its colour at the pleasure of the wearer, who directs the light in which it must be viewed ! Besides these bodily adorn
! ments of our heroine, and in strong contrast with them, there is another kind of stuff, very becoming, it is thought, by some persons, for head-dress, chiefly produced by the " fanatical company, unlimited !" It is the “Idol Worship,” so plentiful in high places. In less refined districts it has other uames, suited to the locality. It appears quite familiar to Mrs. B. Stowe, for she certainly does bestow it plentifully on her favourite paragon of perfection—the angelio Lady Byron! Setting aside Pope's well-known couplet
“Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see
Thinks what no'er was, nor is, nor e'er will be."
Mrs. B. Stowe is of a different opinion, and, in her exuberantly prejudiced views, both of good and evil, she lards her goddess-instead of lauding— with the most ridiculous hyperbole, deifying the poor lady, even while on earth, in her fits of idiosyncracy !*
* See Mr. W. Howitt'e letter.
The Egyptian Isis, the Syrian Astarte, and the Grecian Juno, with other female deities, have long passed away, and are forgotten. Should the present Regina Coeli of Rome follow their fate, Mrs. Stowe, if living, would, of course, vote for her favourite, Saint Anabella, as the rightful successor to the heavenly throne !
We must refer the reader to Mrs. Stowe's presumptuously True story,” for all her fulsome adulation of Lady Byron, and the equally exaggerated depravity with which she endeavours to debase the Poet. She does not seem to be aware that she defames Lady Byron by representing her as pandering to her husband's crime! While professing to idolize Lady Byron as a very angel upon earth, she strangely convicts her of being a willing accomplice through the whole course of a monstrously shameful transaction. At the very least, a conniving accessory after the fact! If Lady Byron's perfectibility, religion, or morals, were like Mrs. Beecher Stowe's description of them, they were of a very flexible nature !
But Mrs. Stowe's descriptions are unnatural; she has drawn impossible characters, which may do very well for a novel and its readers, but they very rarely occur in real life. Mrs. Stowe complains of misrepresentation and slander against Lady Byron; but we tell her that the farrago published by her, and miscalled “The True Story," is a tissue of misrepresentation and slander from beginning to end, and her subsequent defence is abortive. All her attempts at proof are only hearsay evidence which cannot be admitted in a court of justice. There is one exception, however, for Mrs. Stowe herself witnessed Lady Byron's fits of monomania, and admits