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Canto the Thirteenth


CANTO THE THIRTEENTH.[653]


I.

I now mean to be serious;--it is time,
Since Laughter now-a-days is deemed too serious;
A jest at Vice by Virtue's called a crime,
And critically held as deleterious:
Besides, the sad's a source of the sublime,
Although, when long, a little apt to weary us;
And therefore shall my lay soar high and solemn,
As an old temple dwindled to a column.

II.

The Lady Adeline Amundeville
('T is an old Norman name, and to be found
In pedigrees, by those who wander still
Along the last fields of that Gothic ground)
Was high-born, wealthy by her father's will,
And beauteous, even where beauties most abound,
In Britain--which, of course, true patriots find
The goodliest soil of Body and of Mind.

III.

I'll not gainsay them; it is not my cue;
I'll leave them to their taste, no doubt the best;
An eye's an eye, and whether black or blue,
Is no great matter, so 't is in request;
'T is nonsense to dispute about a hue--
The kindest may be taken as a test.
The fair sex should be always fair; and no man,
Till thirty, should perceive there's a plain woman.

IV.

And after that serene and somewhat dull
Epoch, that awkward corner turned for days
More quiet, when our moon's no more at full,
We may presume to criticise or praise;
Because Indifference begins to lull
Our passions, and we walk in Wisdom's ways;
Also because the figure and the face
Hint, that 't is time to give the younger place.

V.

I know that some would fain postpone this era,
Reluctant as all placemen to resign
Their post; but theirs is merely a chimera,
For they have passed Life's equinoctial line:
But then they have their claret and Madeira,
To irrigate the dryness of decline;
And County meetings, and the Parliament,
And debt--and what not, for their solace sent.

VI.

And is there not Religion, and Reform,
Peace, War, the taxes, and what's called the "Nation"?
The struggle to be pilots in a storm?[654]
The landed and the monied speculation?
The joys of mutual hate to keep them warm,
Instead of Love, that mere hallucination?
Now Hatred is by far the longest pleasure;
Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.

VII.

Rough Johnson, the great moralist, professed,
Right honestly, "he liked an honest hater!"[655]--
The only truth that yet has been confessed
Within these latest thousand years or later.
Perhaps the fine old fellow spoke in jest:--
For my part, I am but a mere spectator,
And gaze where'er the palace or the hovel is,
Much in the mode of Goethe's Mephistopheles;

VIII.

But neither love nor hate in much excess;
Though 't was not once so. If I sneer sometimes,
It is because I cannot well do less,
And now and then it also suits my rhymes.
I should be very willing to redress
Men's wrongs, and rather check than punish crimes,
Had not Cervantes, in that too true tale
Of Quixote, shown how all such efforts fail.

IX.[656]

Of all tales 't is the saddest--and more sad,
Because it makes us smile: his hero's right,
And still pursues the right;--to curb the bad
His only object, and 'gainst odds to fight
His guerdon: 't is his virtue makes him mad!
But his adventures form a sorry sight;--
A sorrier still is the great moral taught
By that real Epic unto all who have thought.[lx]

X.

Redressing injury, revenging wrong,
To aid the damsel and destroy the caitiff;
Opposing singly the united strong,
From foreign yoke to free the helpless native:--
Alas! must noblest views, like an old song,
Be for mere Fancy's sport a theme creative,
A jest, a riddle, Fame through thin and thick sought!
And Socrates himself but Wisdom's Quixote?

XI.

Cervantes smiled Spain's chivalry away;
A single laugh demolished the right arm
Of his own country;--seldom since that day
Has Spain had heroes. While Romance could charm,
The World gave ground before her bright array;
And therefore have his volumes done such harm,
That all their glory, as a composition,
Was dearly purchased by his land's perdition.

XII.

I'm "at my old lunes"[657]--digression, and forget
The Lady Adeline Amundeville;
The fair most fatal Juan ever met,
Although she was not evil nor meant ill;
But Destiny and Passion spread the net
(Fate is a good excuse for our own will),
And caught them;--what do they _not_ catch, methinks?
But I'm not Oedipus, and Life's a Sphinx.

XIII.

I tell the tale as it is told, nor dare
To venture a solution: "_Davus sum!_"[658]
And now I will proceed upon the pair.
Sweet Adeline, amidst the gay World's hum,
Was the Queen-Bee, the glass of all that's fair;
Whose charms made all men speak, and women dumb.
The last's a miracle, and such was reckoned,
And since that time there has not been a second.

XIV.

Chaste was she, to Detraction's desperation,
And wedded unto one she had loved well--
A man known in the councils of the Nation,
Cool, and quite English, imperturbable,
Though apt to act with fire upon occasion,
Proud of himself and her: the World could tell
Nought against either, and both seemed secure--
She in her virtue, he in his hauteur.

XV.

It chanced some diplomatical relations,
Arising out of business, often brought
Himself and Juan in their mutual stations
Into close contact. Though reserved, nor caught
By specious seeming, Juan's youth, and patience,
And talent, on his haughty spirit wrought,
And formed a basis of esteem, which ends
In making men what Courtesy calls friends.

XVI.

And thus Lord Henry, who was cautious as
Reserve and Pride could make him, and full slow
In judging men--when once his judgment was
Determined, right or wrong, on friend or foe,
Had all the pertinacity Pride has,
Which knows no ebb to its imperious flow,
And loves or hates, disdaining to be guided,
Because its own good pleasure hath decided.

XVII.

His friendships, therefore, and no less aversions,
Though oft well founded, which confirmed but more
His prepossessions, like the laws of Persians
And Medes, would ne'er revoke what went before.
His feelings had not those strange fits, like tertians,
Of common likings, which make some deplore
What they should laugh at--the mere ague still
Of men's regard, the fever or the chill.

XVIII.

"'T is not in mortals to command success:"[659]
But _do you more_, Sempronius--_don't_ deserve it,
And take my word, you won't have any less.
Be wary, watch the time, and always serve it;
Give gently way, when there's too great a press;
And for your conscience, only learn to nerve it;
For, like a racer, or a boxer training,
'T will make, if proved, vast efforts without paining.

XIX.

Lord Henry also liked to be superior,
As most men do, the little or the great;
The very lowest find out an inferior,
At least they think so, to exert their state
Upon: for there are very few things wearier
Than solitary Pride's oppressive weight,
Which mortals generously would divide,
By bidding others carry while they ride.

XX.

In birth, in rank, in fortune likewise equal,
O'er Juan he could no distinction claim;
In years he had the advantage of Time's sequel;
And, as he thought, in country much the same--
Because bold Britons have a tongue and free quill,
At which all modern nations vainly aim;
And the Lord Henry was a great debater,
So that few Members kept the House up later.

XXI.

These were advantages: and then he thought--
It was his foible, but by no means sinister--
That few or none more than himself had caught
Court mysteries, having been himself a minister:
He liked to teach that which he had been taught,
And greatly shone whenever there had been a stir;
And reconciled all qualities which grace man,
Always a patriot--and, sometimes, a placeman.

XXII.

He liked the gentle Spaniard for his gravity;
He almost honoured him for his docility;
Because, though young, he acquiesced with suavity,
Or contradicted but with proud humility.
He knew the World, and would not see depravity
In faults which sometimes show the soil's fertility,
If that the weeds o'erlive not the first crop--
For then they are very difficult to stop.

XXIII.

And then he talked with him about Madrid,
Constantinople, and such distant places;
Where people always did as they were bid,
Or did what they should not with foreign graces.
Of coursers also spake they: Henry rid
Well, like most Englishmen, and loved the races;
And Juan, like a true-born Andalusian,
Could back[660] a horse, as Despots ride a Russian.

XXIV.

And thus acquaintance grew, at noble routs,
And diplomatic dinners, or at other--
For Juan stood well both with Ins and Outs,
As in freemasonry a higher brother.
Upon his talent Henry had no doubts;
His manner showed him sprung from a high mother,
And all men like to show their hospitality
To him whose breeding matches with his quality.

XXV.

At Blank-Blank Square;--for we will break no squares[661]
By naming streets: since men are so censorious,
And apt to sow an author's wheat with tares,
Reaping allusions private and inglorious,
Where none were dreamt of, unto Love's affairs,
Which were, or are, or are to be notorious,
That therefore do I previously declare,
Lord Henry's mansion was in Blank-Blank Square.

XXVI.

Also there bin[662] another pious reason
For making squares and streets anonymous;
Which is, that there is scarce a single season
Which doth not shake some very splendid house
With some slight heart-quake of domestic treason--
A topic Scandal doth delight to rouse:
Such I might stumble over unawares,
Unless I knew the very chastest squares.

XXVII.

'T is true, I might have chosen Piccadilly,[663]
A place where peccadillos are unknown;
But I have motives, whether wise or silly,
For letting that pure sanctuary alone.
Therefore I name not square, street, place, until I
Find one where nothing naughty can be shown,
A vestal shrine of Innocence of Heart:
Such are--but I have lost the London Chart.

XXVIII.

At Henry's mansion then, in Blank-Blank Square,
Was Juan a _recherché_, welcome guest,
As many other noble scions were;
And some who had but Talent for their crest;
Or Wealth, which is a passport everywhere;
Or even mere Fashion, which indeed's the best
Recommendation; and to be well dressed
Will very often supersede the rest.

XXIX.

And since "there's safety in a multitude
Of counsellors," as Solomon has said,
Or some one for him, in some sage, grave mood;--
Indeed we see the daily proof displayed
In Senates, at the Bar, in wordy feud,
Where'er collective wisdom can parade,
Which is the only cause that we can guess
Of Britain's present wealth and happiness;--

XXX.

But as "there's safety" grafted in the number
"Of counsellors," for men,--thus for the sex
A large acquaintance lets not Virtue slumber;
Or should it shake, the choice will more perplex--
Variety itself will more encumber.[ly]
'Midst many rocks we guard more against wrecks--
And thus with women: howsoe'er it shocks some's
Self-love, there's safety in a crowd of coxcombs.

XXXI.

But Adeline had not the least occasion
For such a shield, which leaves but little merit
To Virtue proper, or good education.
Her chief resource was in her own high spirit,
Which judged Mankind at their due estimation;
And for coquetry, she disdained to wear it--
Secure of admiration: its impression
Was faint--as of an every-day possession.

XXXII.

To all she was polite without parade;
To some she showed attention of that kind
Which flatters, but is flattery conveyed
In such a sort as cannot leave behind
A trace unworthy either wife or maid;--
A gentle, genial courtesy of mind,[lz]
To those who were, or passed for meritorious,
Just to console sad Glory for being glorious;

XXXIII.

Which is in all respects, save now and then,
A dull and desolate appendage. Gaze
Upon the shades of those distinguished men
Who were or are the puppet-shows of praise,
The praise of persecution. Gaze again
On the most favoured; and amidst the blaze
Of sunset halos o'er the laurel-browed,
What can ye recognise?--a gilded cloud.

XXXIV.

There also was of course in Adeline
That calm patrician polish in the address,
Which ne'er can pass the equinoctial line
Of anything which Nature would express;
Just as a Mandarin finds nothing fine,--
At least his manner suffers not to guess,
That anything he views can greatly please:
Perhaps we have borrowed this from the Chinese--[ma]

XXXV.

Perhaps from Horace: his _"Nil admirari"_
Was what he called the "Art of Happiness"--
An art on which the artists greatly vary,
And have not yet attained to much success.
However, 't is expedient to be wary:
Indifference, certes, don't produce distress;
And rash Enthusiasm in good society
Were nothing but a moral inebriety.

XXXVI.

But Adeline was not indifferent: for
(_Now_ for a common-place!) beneath the snow,
As a Volcano holds the lava more
Within--_et cætera_. Shall I go on?--No!
I hate to hunt down a tired metaphor,
So let the often-used Volcano go.
Poor thing! How frequently, by me and others,
It hath been stirred up till its smoke quite smothers!

XXXVII.

I'll have another figure in a trice:--
What say you to a bottle of champagne?
Frozen into a very vinous ice,
Which leaves few drops of that immortal rain,
Yet in the very centre, past all price,
About a liquid glassful will remain;
And this is stronger than the strongest grape
Could e'er express in its expanded shape:

XXXVIII.

'T is the whole spirit brought to a quintessence;
And thus the chilliest aspects may concentre
A hidden nectar under a cold presence.[mb]
And such are many--though I only meant her
From whom I now deduce these moral lessons,
On which the Muse has always sought to enter.
And your cold people are beyond all price,
When once you've broken their confounded ice.

XXXIX.

But after all they are a North-West Passage
Unto the glowing India of the soul;
And as the good ships sent upon that message
Have not exactly ascertained the Pole
(Though Parry's efforts look a lucky presage),[mc]
Thus gentlemen may run upon a shoal;
For if the Pole's not open, but all frost
(A chance still), 't is a voyage or vessel lost.

XL.

And young beginners may as well commence
With quiet cruising o'er the ocean, Woman;
While those who are not beginners should have sense
Enough to make for port, ere Time shall summon
With his grey signal-flag; and the past tense,
The dreary _Fuimus_ of all things human,
Must be declined, while Life's thin thread's spun out
Between the gaping heir and gnawing gout.

XLI.

But Heaven must be diverted; its diversion
Is sometimes truculent--but never mind:
The World upon the whole is worth the assertion
(If but for comfort) that all things are kind:
And that same devilish doctrine of the Persian,[664]
Of the "Two Principles," but leaves behind
As many doubts as any other doctrine
Has ever puzzled Faith withal, or yoked her in,

XLII.

The English winter--ending in July,
To recommence in August--now was done.
'T is the postilion's paradise: wheels fly;
On roads, East, South, North, West, there is a run.
But for post-horses who finds sympathy?
Man's pity's for himself, or for his son,
Always premising that said son at college
Has not contracted much more debt than knowledge.

XLIII.

The London winter's ended in July--
Sometimes a little later. I don't err
In this: whatever other blunders lie
Upon my shoulders, here I must aver
My Muse a glass of _Weatherology_;
For Parliament is our barometer:
Let Radicals its other acts attack,
Its sessions form our only almanack.

XLIV.

When its quicksilver's down at zero,--lo!
Coach, chariot, luggage, baggage, equipage!
Wheels whirl from Carlton Palace to Soho,
And happiest they who horses can engage;
The turnpikes glow with dust; and Rotten Row
Sleeps from the chivalry of this bright age;
And tradesmen, with long bills and longer faces,
Sigh--as the postboys fasten on the traces.

XLV.

They and their bills, "Arcadians both,"[665] are left
To the Greek Kalends of another session.
Alas! to them of ready cash bereft,
What hope remains? Of _hope_ the full possession,
Or generous draft, conceded as a gift,
At a long date--till they can get a fresh one--
Hawked about at a discount, small or large;
Also the solace of an overcharge.

XLVI.

But these are trifles. Downward flies my Lord,
Nodding beside my Lady in his carriage.
Away! away! "Fresh horses!" are the word,
And changed as quickly as hearts after marriage;
The obsequious landlord hath the change restored;
The postboys have no reason to disparage
Their fee; but ere the watered wheels may hiss hence,
The ostler pleads too for a reminiscence.

XLVII.

'T is granted; and the valet mounts the dickey--
That gentleman of Lords and Gentlemen;
Also my Lady's gentlewoman, tricky,
Tricked out, but modest more than poet's pen
Can paint,--_"Cosi viaggino i Ricchi!"_[666]
(Excuse a foreign slipslop now and then,
If but to show I've travelled: and what's Travel,
Unless it teaches one to quote and cavil?)

XLVIII.

The London winter and the country summer
Were well nigh over. 'T is perhaps a pity,
When Nature wears the gown that doth become her,
To lose those best months in a sweaty city,
And wait until the nightingale grows dumber,
Listening debates not very wise or witty,
Ere patriots their true _country_ can remember;--
But there's no shooting (save grouse) till September.

XLIX.

I've done with my tirade. The World was gone;
The twice two thousand, for whom Earth was made,
Were vanished to be what they call alone--
That is, with thirty servants for parade,
As many guests, or more; before whom groan
As many covers, duly, daily laid.
Let none accuse old England's hospitality--
Its quantity is but condensed to quality.

L.

Lord Henry and the Lady Adeline
Departed like the rest of their compeers,
The peerage, to a mansion very fine;
The Gothic Babel of a thousand years.
None than themselves could boast a longer line,
Where Time through heroes and through beauties steers;
And oaks as olden as their pedigree
Told of their Sires--a tomb in every tree.

LI.

A paragraph in every paper told
Of their departure--such is modern fame:
'T is pity that it takes no further hold
Than an advertisement, or much the same;
When, ere the ink be dry, the sound grows cold.
The Morning Post was foremost to proclaim--
"Departure, for his country seat, to-day,
Lord H. Amundeville and Lady A.

LII.

"We understand the splendid host intends[md]
To entertain, this autumn, a select
And numerous party of his noble friends;
'Midst whom we have heard, from sources quite correct,
The Duke of D---- the shooting season spends,
With many more by rank and fashion decked;
Also a foreigner of high condition,
The envoy of the secret Russian mission."

LIII.

And thus we see--who doubts the Morning Post?
(Whose articles are like the "Thirty-nine,"
Which those most swear to who believe them most)--
Our gay Russ Spaniard was ordained to shine,
Decked by the rays reflected from his host,
With those who, Pope says, "greatly daring dine."--[667]
'T is odd, but true,--last war the News abounded
More with these dinners than the killed or wounded;--

LIV.

As thus: "On Thursday there was a grand dinner;
Present, Lords A.B.C."--- Earls, dukes, by name
Announced with no less pomp than Victory's winner:
Then underneath, and in the very same
Column: date, "Falmouth. There has lately been here
The Slap-dash regiment, so well known to Fame,
Whose loss in the late action we regret:
The vacancies are filled up--see Gazette."

LV.

To Norman Abbey[668] whirled the noble pair,--
An old, old Monastery once, and now
Still older mansion--of a rich and rare
Mixed Gothic, such as artists all allow
Few specimens yet left us can compare
Withal: it lies, perhaps, a little low,
Because the monks preferred a hill behind,
To shelter their devotion from the wind.

LVI.

It stood embosomed in a happy valley,
Crowned by high woodlands, where the Druid oak[669]
Stood like Caractacus, in act to rally
His host, with broad arms 'gainst the thunder-stroke;
And from beneath his boughs were seen to sally
The dappled foresters; as Day awoke,
The branching stag swept down with all his herd,
To quaff a brook which murmured like a bird.

LVII.

Before the mansion lay a lucid Lake,[670]
Broad as transparent, deep, and freshly fed
By a river, which its softened way did take
In currents through the calmer water spread
Around: the wildfowl nestled in the brake
And sedges, brooding in their liquid bed:
The woods[671] sloped downwards to its brink, and stood
With their green faces fixed upon the flood.

LVIII.

Its outlet dashed into a deep cascade,
Sparkling with foam, until again subsiding,
Its shriller echoes--like an infant made[me]
Quiet--sank into softer ripples, gliding
Into a rivulet; and thus allayed,
Pursued its course, now gleaming, and now hiding
Its windings through the woods; now clear, now blue,
According as the skies their shadows threw.

LIX.

A glorious remnant of the Gothic pile
(While yet the Church was Rome's) stood half apart
In a grand Arch, which once screened many an aisle.
These last had disappeared--a loss to Art:
The first yet frowned superbly o'er the soil,
And kindled feelings in the roughest heart,
Which mourned the power of Time's or Tempest's march,
In gazing on that venerable Arch.[mf]

LX.

Within a niche, nigh to its pinnacle,
Twelve Saints had once stood sanctified in stone;
But these had fallen, not when the friars fell,
But in the war which struck Charles from his throne,
When each house was a fortalice--as tell
The annals of full many a line undone,--
The gallant Cavaliers,[672] who fought in vain
For those who knew not to resign or reign.

LXI.

But in a higher niche, alone, but crowned,
The Virgin-Mother of the God-born Child,
With her Son in her blesséd arms, looked round,
Spared by some chance when all beside was spoiled:
She made the earth below seem holy ground.
This may be superstition, weak or wild;
But even the faintest relics of a shrine
Of any worship wake some thoughts divine.

LXII.

A mighty window, hollow in the centre,
Shorn of its glass of thousand colourings,
Through which the deepened glories once could enter,
Streaming from off the Sun like Seraph's wings,
Now yawns all desolate: now loud, now fainter,
The gale sweeps through its fretwork, and oft sings
The owl his anthem, where the silenced quire
Lie with their Hallelujahs quenched like fire.

LXIII.

But in the noontide of the moon, and when[mg]
The wind is wingéd from one point of heaven,
There moans a strange unearthly sound, which then
Is musical--a dying accent driven
Through the huge Arch, which soars and sinks again.
Some deem it but the distant echo given
Back to the night wind by the waterfall,
And harmonised by the old choral wall:

LXIV.

Others, that some original shape, or form
Shaped by decay perchance, hath given the power
(Though less than that of Memnon's statue,[673] warm
In Egypt's rays, to harp at a fixed hour)
To this grey ruin: with a voice to charm,
Sad, but serene, it sweeps o'er tree or tower;
The cause I know not, nor can solve; but such
The fact:--I've heard it,--once perhaps too much.[674]

LXV.

Amidst the court a Gothic fountain played,
Symmetrical, but decked with carvings quaint--
Strange faces, like to men in masquerade,
And here perhaps a monster, there a saint:
The spring gushed through grim mouths of granite made,
And sparkled into basins, where it spent
Its little torrent in a thousand bubbles,
Like man's vain Glory, and his vainer troubles.

LXVI.

The Mansion's self was vast and venerable,
With more of the monastic than has been
Elsewhere preserved: the cloisters still were stable,
The cells, too, and Refectory, I ween:
An exquisite small chapel had been able,
Still unimpaired, to decorate the scene;
The rest had been reformed, replaced, or sunk,
And spoke more of the baron than the monk.

LXVII.

Huge halls, long galleries, spacious chambers, joined
By no quite lawful marriage of the arts,
Might shock a connoisseur; but when combined,
Formed a whole which, irregular in parts,
Yet left a grand impression on the mind,
At least of those whose eyes are in their hearts:
We gaze upon a giant for his stature,
Nor judge at first if all be true to nature.

LXVIII.

Steel Barons, molten the next generation
To silken rows of gay and gartered Earls,
Glanced from the walls in goodly preservation:
And Lady Marys blooming into girls,
With fair long locks, had also kept their station:
And Countesses mature in robes and pearls:
Also some beauties of Sir Peter Lely,
Whose drapery hints we may admire them freely.

LXIX.

Judges in very formidable ermine
Were there, with brows that did not much invite
The accused to think their lordships would determine
His cause by leaning much from might to right:
Bishops, who had not left a single sermon;
Attorneys-general, awful to the sight,
As hinting more (unless our judgments warp us)
Of the "Star Chamber" than of "Habeas Corpus."

LXX.

Generals, some all in armour, of the old
And iron time, ere lead had ta'en the lead;
Others in wigs of Marlborough's martial fold,
Huger than twelve of our degenerate breed:[mh]
Lordlings, with staves of white or keys of gold:
Nimrods, whose canvas scarce contained the steed;
And, here and there, some stern high patriot stood,
Who could not get the place for which he sued.

LXXI.

But ever and anon, to soothe your vision,
Fatigued with these hereditary glories,
There rose a Carlo Dolce or a Titian,
Or wilder group of savage Salvatore's:[675]
Here danced Albano's boys, and here the sea shone
In Vernet's ocean lights; and there the stories
Of martyrs awed, as Spagnoletto tainted
His brush with all the blood of all the sainted.

LXXII.

Here sweetly spread a landscape of Lorraine;
There Rembrandt made his darkness equal light,
Or gloomy Caravaggio's gloomier stain
Bronzed o'er some lean and stoic anchorite:--
But, lo! a Teniers woos, and not in vain,
Your eyes to revel in a livelier sight:
His bell-mouthed goblet makes me feel quite Danish[676]
Or Dutch with thirst--What, ho! a flask of Rhenish.[mi]

LXXIII.

Oh, reader! if that thou canst read,--and know,
'T is not enough to spell, or even to read,
To constitute a reader--there must go
Virtues of which both you and I have need;--
Firstly, begin with the beginning--(though
That clause is hard); and secondly, proceed:
Thirdly, commence not with the end--or, sinning
In this sort, end at last with the beginning.

LXXIV.

But, reader, thou hast patient been of late,
While I, without remorse of rhyme, or fear,
Have built and laid out ground at such a rate,
Dan Phoebus takes me for an auctioneer.
That Poets were so from their earliest date,
By Homer's "Catalogue of ships" is clear;
But a mere modern must be moderate--
I spare you then the furniture and plate.

LXXV.

The mellow Autumn came, and with it came
The promised party, to enjoy its sweets.
The corn is cut, the manor full of game;
The pointer ranges, and the sportsman beats
In russet jacket:--lynx-like in his aim;
Full grows his bag, and wonder_ful_ his feats.
Ah, nutbrown partridges! Ah, brilliant pheasants!
And ah, ye poachers!--'T is no sport for peasants.

LXXVI.

An English Autumn, though it hath no vines,
Blushing with Bacchant coronals along
The paths o'er which the far festoon entwines
The red grape in the sunny lands of song,
Hath yet a purchased choice of choicest wines;[mj]
The Claret light, and the Madeira strong.
If Britain mourn her bleakness, we can tell her,
The very best of vineyards is the cellar.

LXXVII.

Then, if she hath not that serene decline
Which makes the southern Autumn's day appear
As if 't would to a second Spring resign
The season, rather than to Winter drear,--
Of in-door comforts still she hath a mine,--
The sea-coal fires,[677] the "earliest of the year;"[678]
Without doors, too, she may compete in mellow,
As what is lost in green is gained in yellow.

LXXVIII.

And for the effeminate _villeggialura_--
Rife with more horns than hounds--she hath the chase,
So animated that it might allure a
Saint from his beads to join the jocund race:
Even Nimrod's self might leave the plains of Dura,[679]
And wear the Melton jacket for a space:
If she hath no wild boars, she hath a tame
Preserve of bores, who ought to be made game.[mk]

LXXIX.

The noble guests,[680] assembled at the Abbey,
Consisted of--we give the sex the _pas_--
The Duchess of Fitz-Fulke; the Countess Crabby;[ml][681]
The Ladies Scilly, Busey;--Miss Eclat,
Miss Bombazeen, Miss Mackstay, Miss O'Tabby,
And Mrs. Rabbi,[682] the rich banker's squaw;
Also the honourable Mrs. Sleep,
Who looked a white lamb, yet was a black sheep:

LXXX.

With other Countesses of Blank--but rank;
At once the "lie"[683] and the _élite_ of crowds;
Who pass like water filtered in a tank,
All purged and pious from their native clouds;
Or paper turned to money by the Bank:
No matter how or why, the passport shrouds
The _passée_ and the past; for good society
Is no less famed for tolerance than piety,--

LXXXI.

That is, up to a certain point; which point
Forms the most difficult in punctuation.
Appearances appear to form the joint
On which it hinges in a higher station;
And so that no explosion cry "Aroint
Thee, witch!"[684] or each Medea has her Jason;
Or (to the point with Horace and with Pulci)[mm]
_"Omne tulit punctum,_ quæ _miscuit utile dulci."_[685]

LXXXII.

I can't exactly trace their rule of right,
Which hath a little leaning to a lottery.
I've seen a virtuous woman put down quite
By the mere combination of a coterie;
Also a so-so matron boldly fight
Her way back to the world by dint of plottery,[mn]
And shine the very _Siria_,[686] of the spheres,
Escaping with a few slight, scarless sneers.

LXXXIII.

I have seen more than I'll say:--but we will see[mo]
How _our "villeggiatura"_ will get on.
The party might consist of thirty-three
Of highest caste--the Brahmins of the _ton_.
I have named a few, not foremost in degree,
But ta'en at hazard as the rhyme may run.
By way of sprinkling, scattered amongst these,
There also were some Irish absentees.

LXXXIV.

There was Parolles,[687] too, the legal bully,[mp]
Who limits all his battles to the Bar
And Senate: when invited elsewhere, truly,
He shows more appetite for words than war.
There was the young bard Rackrhyme, who had newly
Come out and glimmered as a six weeks' star.
There was Lord Pyrrho, too, the great freethinker;
And Sir John Pottledeep, the mighty drinker.

LXXXV.

There was the Duke of Dash,[688] who was a--duke,
"Aye, every inch a" duke; there were twelve peers
Like Charlemagne's--and all such peers in _look_
And _intellect_, that neither eyes nor ears
For commoners had ever them mistook.
There were the six Miss Rawbolds--pretty dears!
All song and sentiment; whose hearts were set
Less on a convent than a coronet.

LXXXVI.

There were four Honourable Misters, whose
Honour was more before their names than after;
There was the _preux Chevalier de la Ruse_,[689]
Whom France and Fortune lately deigned to waft here,
Whose chiefly harmless talent was to amuse;
But the clubs found it rather serious laughter,
Because--such was his magic power to please--
The dice seemed charmed, too, with his repartees.

LXXXVII.

There was Dick Dubious,[690] the metaphysician,
Who loved philosophy and a good dinner;
Angle, the _soi-disant_ mathematician;
Sir Henry Silvercup, the great race-winner.
There was the Reverend Rodomont Precisian,
Who did not hate so much the sin as sinner:
And Lord Augustus Fitz-Plantagenet,
Good at all things, but better at a bet.

LXXXVIII.

There was Jack Jargon, the gigantic guardsman;[691]
And General Fireface,[692] famous in the field,
A great tactician, and no less a swordsman,
Who ate, last war, more Yankees than he killed.
There was the waggish Welsh Judge, Jefferies Hardsman,
In his grave office so completely skilled,
That when a culprit came for condemnation,
He had his Judge's joke for consolation.[693]

LXXXIX.

Good company's a chess-board--there are kings,
Queens, bishops, knights, rooks, pawns; the World's a game;
Save that the puppets pull at their own strings,
Methinks gay Punch hath something of the same.
My Muse, the butterfly hath but her wings,
Not stings, and flits through ether without aim,
Alighting rarely:--were she but a hornet,
Perhaps there might be vices which would mourn it.

XC.

I had forgotten--but must not forget--
An orator, the latest of the session,
Who had delivered well a very set
Smooth speech, his first and maidenly transgression
Upon debate: the papers echoed yet
With his _début_, which made a strong impression,
And ranked with what is every day displayed--
"The best first speech that ever yet was made."

XCI.

Proud of his "Hear hims!" proud, too, of his vote,
And lost virginity of oratory,
Proud of his learning (just enough to quote),
He revelled in his Ciceronian glory:
With memory excellent to get by rote,
With wit to hatch a pun or tell a story,
Graced with some merit, and with more effrontery,[mq]
"His country's pride," he came down to the country.

XCII.

There also were two wits by acclamation,
Longbow from Ireland,[694] Strongbow from the Tweed[695]--Both
lawyers and both men of education--
But Strongbow's wit was of more polished breed;
Longbow was rich in an imagination
As beautiful and bounding as a steed,
But sometimes stumbling over a potato,--
While Strongbow's best things might have come from Cato.

XCIII.

Strongbow was like a new-tuned harpsichord;
But Longbow wild as an Æolian harp,
With which the Winds of heaven can claim accord,
And make a music, whether flat or sharp.
Of Strongbow's talk you would not change a word:
At Longbow's phrases you might sometimes carp:
Both wits--one born so, and the other bred--
This by his heart--his rival by his head.

XCIV.

If all these seem an heterogeneous mass
To be assembled at a country seat,
Yet think, a specimen of every class
Is better than a humdrum tête-à-tête.
The days of Comedy are gone, alas!
When Congreve's fool could vie with Molière's _bête_:
Society is smoothed to that excess,
That manners hardly differ more than dress.

XCV.

Our ridicules are kept in the back-ground--
Ridiculous enough, but also dull;
Professions, too, are no more to be found
Professional; and there is nought to cull[mr]
Of Folly's fruit; for though your fools abound,
They're barren, and not worth the pains to pull.
Society is now one polished horde,
Formed of two mighty tribes, the _Bores_ and _Bored_.

XCVI.

But from being farmers, we turn gleaners, gleaning
The scanty but right-well threshed ears of Truth;
And, gentle reader! when you gather meaning,
You may be Boaz, and I--modest Ruth.
Further I'd quote, but Scripture intervening
Forbids. A great impression in my youth
Was made by Mrs. Adams, where she cries,
"That Scriptures out of church are blasphemies."[696]

XCVII.

But what we can we glean in this vile age[ms]
Of chaff, although our gleanings be not grist.
I must not quite omit the talking sage,
Kit-Cat, the famous Conversationist,[697]
Who, in his common-place book, had a page
Prepared each morn for evenings. "List, oh list!"
"Alas, poor ghost!"[698]--What unexpected woes
Await those who have studied their _bons-mots!_

XCVIII.

Firstly, they must allure the conversation,
By many windings to their clever clinch;
And secondly, must let slip no occasion,
Nor _bate_ (abate) their hearers of an _inch_,[mt]
But take an ell--and make a great sensation,
If possible; and thirdly, never flinch
When some smart talker puts them to the test,
But seize the last word, which no doubt's the best.

XCIX.

Lord Henry and his lady were the hosts;
The party we have touched on were the guests.
Their table was a board to tempt even ghosts
To pass the Styx for more substantial feasts.
I will not dwell upon _ragoûts_ or roasts,
Albeit all human history attests
That happiness for Man--the hungry sinner!--
Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner.

C.

Witness the lands which "flowed with milk and honey,"
Held out unto the hungry Israelites:
To this we have added since, the love of money,
The only sort of pleasure which requites.
Youth fades, and leaves our days no longer sunny;
We tire of mistresses and parasites;
But oh, ambrosial cash! Ah! who would lose thee?
When we no more can use, or even abuse thee!

CI.

The gentlemen got up betimes to shoot,
Or hunt: the young, because they liked the sport--
The first thing boys like after play and fruit;
The middle-aged, to make the day more short;
For _ennui_[699] is a growth of English root,
Though nameless in our language:--we retort
The fact for words, and let the French translate
That awful yawn which sleep can not abate.

CII.

The elderly walked through the library,
And tumbled books, or criticised the pictures,
Or sauntered through the gardens piteously,
And made upon the hot-house several strictures,
Or rode a nag which trotted not too high,
Or on the morning papers read their lectures,
Or on the watch their longing eyes would fix,
Longing at sixty for the hour of six.

CIII.

But none were _gêné_: the great hour of union
Was rung by dinner's knell; till then all were
Masters of their own time--or in communion,
Or solitary, as they chose to bear
The hours, which how to pass is but to few known.
Each rose up at his own, and had to spare
What time he chose for dress, and broke his fast
When, where, and how he chose for that repast.

CIV.

The ladies--some rouged, some a little pale--
Met the morn as they might. If fine, they rode,
Or walked; if foul, they read, or told a tale,
Sung, or rehearsed the last dance from abroad;
Discussed the fashion which might next prevail,
And settled bonnets by the newest code,
Or crammed twelve sheets into one little letter,
To make each correspondent a new debtor.

CV.

For some had absent lovers, all had friends;
The earth has nothing like a she epistle,
And hardly Heaven--because it never ends--
I love the mystery of a female missal,
Which, like a creed, ne'er says all it intends,
But full of cunning as Ulysses' whistle,[mu]
When he allured poor Dolon:[700]--you had better
Take care what you reply to such a letter.

CVI.

Then there were billiards; cards, too, but _no_ dice;--
Save in the clubs no man of honour plays;--
Boats when 't was water, skating when 't was ice,
And the hard frost destroyed the scenting days:
And angling, too, that solitary vice,
Whatever Izaak Walton sings or says:
The quaint, old, cruel coxcomb, in his gullet
Should have a hook, and a small trout to pull it.[701]

CVII.

With evening came the banquet and the wine;
The conversazione--the duet
Attuned by voices more or less divine
(My heart or head aches with the memory yet).
The four Miss Rawbolds in a glee would shine;
But the two youngest loved more to be set
Down to the harp--because to Music's charms
They added graceful necks, white hands and arms.

CVIII.

Sometimes a dance (though rarely on field days,
For then the gentlemen were rather tired)
Displayed some sylph-like figures in its maze;
Then there was small-talk ready when required;
Flirtation--but decorous; the mere praise
Of charms that should or should not be admired.
The hunters fought their fox-hunt o'er again,
And then retreated soberly--at ten.

CIX.

The politicians, in a nook apart,
Discussed the World, and settled all the spheres:
The wits watched every loophole for their art,
To introduce a _bon-mot_ head and ears;
Small is the rest of those who would be smart,
A moment's good thing may have cost them years
Before they find an hour to introduce it;
And then, even _then_, some bore may make them lose it.

CX.

But all was gentle and aristocratic
In this our party; polished, smooth, and cold,
As Phidian forms cut out of marble Attic.
There now are no Squire Westerns, as of old;
And our Sophias are not so emphatic,
But fair as then, or fairer to behold:
We have no accomplished blackguards, like Tom Jones,
But gentlemen in stays, as stiff as stones.

CXI.

They separated at an early hour;
That is, ere midnight--which is London's noon:
But in the country ladies seek their bower
A little earlier than the waning moon.
Peace to the slumbers of each folded flower--
May the rose call back its true colour soon!
Good hours of fair cheeks are the fairest tinters,
And lower the price of rouge--at least some winters.[702]

FOOTNOTES:

[653] Fy. 12^th^ 1823.

{482}[654] [The allusion is to the refrain of Canning's verses on Pitt,
"The Pilot that weathered the storm." Compare, too, "The daring pilot in
extremity" (i.e. the Earl of Shaftesbury), who "sought the storms"
(Dryden's _Absalom and Achitophel_, lines 159-161).]

[655] [Johnson loved "dear, dear Bathurst," because he was "a very good
hater."--See Boswell's _Johnson_, 1876, p. 78 (Croker's _footnote_).]

{483}[656] [So, too, Charles Kingsley, in _Westward Ho!_ ii. 299, 300,
calls _Don Quixote_ "the saddest of books in spite of all its
wit."--_Notes and Queries_, Second Series, iii. 124.]

[lx] _By that great Epic_----.--[MS.]

{484}[657] ["Your husband is in his old lunes again." _Merry Wives of
Windsor_, act iv. sc. 2, lines 16, 17.]

[658] ["Davus sum, non Oedipus." Terence, _Andria,_ act i. sc. 2, line
23.]

{485}[659]

["'T is not in mortals to command success,
But we'll do more, Sempronius--we'll deserve it."

Addison's _Cato_, act i. sc. 2, ed. 1777, ii. 77.]

{487}[660] [Compare--"The colt that's backed and burthened being young."
_Venus and Adonis_, lxx. line 5.]

[661] [To "break square," or "squares," is to interrupt the regular
order, as in the proverbial phrase, "It breaks no squares," i.e. does no
harm--does not matter. Compare Sterne, _Tristram Shandy_ (1802), ii. v.
152, "This fault in Trim _broke no squares_ with them" (_N. Engl.
Dict._, art. "Break," No. 46). The origin of the phrase is uncertain,
but it may, perhaps, refer to military tactics. Shakespeare (_Henry V._,
act iv. sc. 2, line 28) speaks of "squares of battle."]

[662]

"With every thing that pretty _bin_,
My lady sweet, arise."
_Cymbeline_, act ii. sc. 3, lines, 25, 26.

[So Warburton and Hanmer. The folio reads "that pretty is." See Knight's
_Shakespeare_, Pictorial Edition, _Tragedies_, i. 203.]

{488}[663] [The house which Byron occupied, 1815-1816, No. 13,
Piccadilly Terrace, was the property of Elizabeth, Duchess of
Devonshire.]

{489}[ly]
_The slightest obstacle which may encumber
The path downhill is something grand_.--[MS. erased.]

[lz] _Not even in fools who howsoever blind_.--[MS. erased.]

{490}[ma]
_That anything is new to a Chinese;
And such is Europe's fashionable ease_.--[MS. erased.]

{491}[mb] _A hidden wine beneath an icy presence_.--[MS. erased.]

[mc] _Though this we hope has been reserved for this age_.--[MS.
erased.]

[664] ["For the creed of Zoroaster," see Sir Walter Scott, _Letters on
Demonology and Witchcraft_, 1830, pp. 87, 88. (See, too, _Cain_, act ii.
sc. 2, line 404, _Poetical Works_, 1901, v. 254, note 2.)]

{492}[665] "Arcades ambo." [Virgil, _Bucol._, Ecl. vii. 4.]

{493}[666] [So travel the rich.]

{494}[md] _--the noble host intends_.--[MS. erased.]

[667] ["Judicious drank, and greatly-daring dined." Pope, _Dunciad_, iv.
318.]

{495}[668] [Byron's description of the place of his inheritance, which
was to know him no more, is sketched from memory, but it unites the
charm of a picture with the accuracy of a ground-plan. Eight years had
gone by since he had looked his last on "venerable arch" and "lucid
lake" (see "Epistle to Augusta," stanza viii. lines 7, 8), but he had
not forgotten, he could not forget, that enchanted and enchanting scene.

Newstead Abbey or Priory was founded by Henry II., by way of deodand or
expiation for the murder of Thomas Becket. Lands which bordered the
valley of the Leen, and which had formed part of Sherwood Forest, were
assigned for the use and endowment of a chapter of "black canons regular
of the order of St. Augustine," and on a site, by the river-side to the
south of the forest uplands (stanza lv. lines 5-8) the new stede, or
place, or station, arose. It was a "Norman Abbey" (stanza lv. line 1)
which the Black Canons dedicated to Our Lady, and, here and there, in
the cloisters, traces of Norman architecture remain, but the enlargement
and completion of the monastery was carried out in successive stages and
"transition periods," in a style or styles which, perhaps, more by hap
than by cunning, Byron rightly named "mixed Gothic" (stanza lv. line 4).
To work their mills, and perhaps to drain the marshy valley, the monks
dammed the Leen and excavated a chain of lakes--the largest to the
north-west, Byron's "lucid lake;" a second to the south of the Abbey;
and a third, now surrounded with woods, and overlooked by the "wicked
lord's" "ragged rock" below the Abbey, half a mile to the south-east.
The "cascade," which flows over and through a stone-work sluice, and
forms a rocky water-fall, issues from the upper lake, and is in full
view of the west front of the Abbey. Almost at right angles to these
lakes are three ponds: the Forest Pond to the north of the stone wall,
which divides the garden from the forest; the square "Eagle" Pond in the
Monks' Garden; and the narrow stew-pond, bordered on either side with
overhanging yews, which drains into the second or Garden Lake. Byron
does not enlarge on this double chain of lakes and ponds, and, perhaps
for the sake of pictorial unity, converts the second (if a second then
existed) and third lakes into a river.

The Abbey, which, at the dissolution of monasteries in 1539, was handed
over by Henry VIII. to Sir John Byron, "steward and warden of the forest
of Shirewood," was converted, here and there, more or less, into a
baronial "mansion" (stanza lxvi.). It is, roughly speaking, a square
block of buildings, flanking the sides of a grassy quadrangle.
Surrounding the quadrangle are two-storied cloisters, and in the centre
a "Gothic fountain" (stanza lxv. line 1) of composite workmanship. The
upper portion of the stonework is hexagonal, and is ornamented with a
double row of gargoyles (all "monsters" and no "saints," recalling,
perhaps identical with, the "seven deadly sins" gargoyles, still _in
situ_ in the quadrangle of Magdalen College, Oxford); the lower half,
which belongs to the seventeenth or eighteenth century, is hollowed into
niches of a Roman or classical design. (In Byron's time the fountain
stood in a courtyard in front of the Abbey, but before he composed this
canto it had been restored by Colonel Wildman to its original place
within the quadrangle. Byron was acquainted with the change, and writes
accordingly.) When the Byrons took possession of the Abbey the upper
stories of the cloisters were converted, on three sides of the
quadrangle, into galleries, and on the fourth, the north side, into a
library. Abutting on the cloisters are the monastic buildings proper, in
part transformed, but with "much of the monastic" preserved. On the
west, the front of the Abbey, the ground floor consists of the entrance
hall and Monks' Parlour, and, above, the Guests' Refectory or
Banqueting-hall, and the Prior's Parlour. On the south, the Xenodochium
or Guesten Hall, and, above, the Monks' Refectory, or Grand
Drawing-room; on the south and east, on the ground floor, the Prior's
Lodgings, the Chapter House ("the exquisite small chapel," stanza lxvi.
line 5), the "slype" or passage between church and Chapter House; and in
the upper story, the state bedrooms, named after the kings, Edward III.,
Henry VII., etc., who, by the terms of the grant of land to the Prior
and Canons, were entitled to free quarters in the Abbey. During Byron's
brief tenure of Newstead, and for long years before, these "huge halls,
long galleries, and spacious chambers" (stanza lxxvii. line 1) were half
dismantled, and in a more or less ruinous condition. A few pictures
remained on the walls of the Great Drawing-room, of the Prior's Parlour,
and in the apartments of the south-east wing or annexe, which dates from
the seventeenth century (see the account of a visit to Newstead in 1812,
in _Beauties of England and Wales_, 1813, xii. 401-405). There are and
were portraits, by Lely (stanza lxviii. line 7), of a Lady Byron, of
Fanny Jennings, Duchess of Tyrconnel, "loveliness personified," of Mrs.
Hughes, and of Nell Gwynne; by Sir Godfrey Kneller, of William and Mary;
by unnamed artists, of George I. and George II.; and by Ramsay, of
George III. There are portraits of a fat Prior, William Sandall, with a
jewelled reliquary; of "Sir John the Little with the Great Beard," who
ruled in the Prior's stead; and there is the portrait, a votive tablet
of penitence and remorse, "of that Lord Arundel Who struck in heat the
child he loved so well" (see "A Picture at Newstead," by Matthew Arnold,
_Poetical Works_, 1890, p. 177); but of portraits of judges or bishops,
or of pictures by old masters, there is neither trace nor record.

But the characteristic feature of Newstead Abbey, so familiar that
description seems unnecessary, and, yet, never quite accurately
described, is the west front of the Priory Church, which is in line with
the west front of the Abbey. "Half apart," the southern portion of this
front, which abuts on the windows of the Prior's Parlour, and the room
above, where Byron slept, flanks and conceals the west end of the north
cloisters and library; but, with this exception, it is a screen, and
nothing more. In the centre is the "mighty window" (stanza lxii. line
1), shorn of glass and tracery; above are six lancet windows (which
Byron seems to have regarded as niches), and, above again, in a "higher
niche" (stanza lxi. line 1), is the crowned Virgin with the Babe in her
arms, which escaped, as by a miracle, the "fiery darts"--the shot and
cannon-balls of the Cromwellian troopers. On either side of the central
window are "two blank windows containing tracery ['geometrical
decorated'] ... carved [in relief] on the solid ashlar;" on either side
of the window, and at the northern and southern extremities of the
front, are buttresses with canopied niches, in each of which a saint or
apostle must once have stood. Over the west door there is the mutilated
figure of (?) the Saviour, but of twelve saints or twelve niches there
is no trace. The "grand arch" is an ivy-clad screen, and nothing more.
Behind and beyond, in place of vanished nave, of aisle and transept, is
the smooth green turf; and at the east end, on the site of the high
altar, stands the urn-crowned masonry of Boatswain's tomb.

Newstead Abbey was sold by Lord Byron to his old schoolfellow, Colonel
Thomas Wildman, in November, 1817. The house and property were resold in
1861, by his widow, to William Frederick Webb, Esq., a traveller in many
lands, the friend and host of David Livingstone. At his death the estate
was inherited by his daughter, Miss Geraldine Webb, who was married to
General Sir Herbert Charles Chermside, G.C.M.G., etc., Governor of
Queensland, in 1899.

For Newstead Abbey, see _Beauties of England and Wales_, 1813, xii. Part
I. 401-405 (often reprinted without acknowledgment); _Abbotsford and
Newstead Abbey_, by Washington Irving, 1835; _Journal of the
Archaeological Association_ (papers by T.J. Pettigrew, F.R.S., and
Arthur Ashpitel, F.S.A.), 1854, vol. ix. pp. 14-39; and _A Souvenir of
Newstead Abbey_ (illustrated by a series of admirable photographs), by
Richard Allen, Nottingham, 1874, etc., etc.]

{497}[669] [The woodlands were sacrificed to the needs or fancies of
Byron's great-uncle, the "wicked Lord." One splendid oak, known as the
"Pilgrim's Oak," which stood and stands near the north lodge of the
park, near the "Hut," was bought in by the neighbouring gentry, and made
over to the estate. Perhaps by the Druid oak Byron meant to celebrate
this "last of the clan," which, in his day, before the woods were
replanted, must have stood out in solitary grandeur.]

{498}[670] [Compare "Epistle to Augusta," stanza x. line 1, _Poetical
Works_, 1901, iv. 68.]

[671] [The little wood which Byron planted at the south-east corner of
the upper or "Stable" Lake, known as "Poet's Corner," still slopes to
the water's brink. Nor have the wild-fowl diminished. The lower of the
three lakes is specially reserved as a breeding-place.]

[me] _Its shriller echo_----.--[MS.]

[mf]
_Which sympathized with Time's and Tempest's march,
In gazing on that high and haughty Arch_.--[MS.]

{499}[672] [See lines "On Leaving Newstead Abbey," stanza 5, _Poetical
Works_, 1898, i. 3, note 1.]

[mg] _But in the stillness of the moon_----.--[MS.]

{500}[673] [Vide ante, _The Deformed Transformed_, Part I. line 532,
_Poetical Works_, 1901, v. 497.]

[674] This is not a frolic invention: it is useless to specify the spot,
or in what county, but I have heard it both alone and in company with
those who will never hear it more. It can, of course, be accounted for
by some natural or accidental cause, but it was a strange sound, and
unlike any other I have ever heard (and I have heard many above and
below the surface of the earth produced in ruins, etc., etc., or
caverns).--[MS.]

["The unearthly sound" may still be heard at rare intervals, but it is
difficult to believe that the "huge arch" can act as an Æolian harp.
Perhaps the smaller lancet windows may vocalize the wind.]

{501}[mh] _Prouder of such a toy than of their breed_.--[MS. erased.]

{502}[675] Salvator Rosa. The wicked necessity of rhyming obliges me to
adapt the name to the verse.--[MS.]

[Compare--

"Whate'er Lorraine light touch'd with softening hue,
Or _savage_ Rosa dash'd, or learned Poussin drew."
Thomson's _Castle of Indolence_, Canto I. stanza xxxviii. lines 8, 9.]

[676] If I err not, "your Dane" is one of Iago's catalogue of nations
"exquisite in their drinking."

["Your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander--drink hoa!
are nothing to your English." "Is your Englishman so exquisite in his
drinking?" (So Collier and Knight. The Quarto reads
"expert").--_Othello_, act ii. sc. 3, lines 71-74.]

[mi]
_His bell-mouthed goblet--and his laughing group
Provoke my thirst--what ho! a flask of Rhenish_.--[MS. erased.]

{503}[mj] _Hath yet at night the very best of wines._--[MS.]

[677] ["Sea-coal" (i.e. Newcastle coal), as distinguished from
"charcoal" and "earth-coal." But the qualification must have been
unusual and old-fashioned in 1822. "Earth-coal" is found in large
quantities on the Newstead estate, and the Abbey, far below its
foundations, is tunnelled by a coal-drift.]

[678] [See Gray's _omitted_ stanza--

"'Here scatter'd oft, _the earliest_ of the year,
By hands unseen, are showers of violets found;
The red-breast loves to build and warble here,
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.'

As fine ... as any in his Elegy. I wonder that he could have the heart
to omit it."--"Extracts from a Diary," February 27, 1821, _Letters_,
1901, v. 210. The stanza originally preceded the Epitaph.]

{504}[679] In Assyria. [See _Daniel_ iii. 1.]

[mk]
---- _she hath the tame
Preserved within doors--why not make them Game?_--[MS.]

[680] [It is difficult, if not impossible, to furnish a clue to the
names of all the guests at Norman Abbey. Some who are included in this
ghostly "house-party" seem to be, and, perhaps, were meant to be,
_nomina umbrarum_; and others are, undoubtedly, contemporary
celebrities, under a more or less transparent disguise. A few of these
shadows have been substantiated (vide infra, et post), but the greater
part decline to be materialized or verified.]

[ml]---- _the Countess Squabby._--[MS.]

[681] [Perhaps Mary, widow of the eighth Earl of Cork and Orrery:
"Dowager Cork," "Old Corky," of Joseph Jekyll's _Correspondence_, 1894,
pp. 83, 275.]

[682] [Mrs. Rabbi may be Mrs. Coutts, the Mrs. Million of _Vivian Grey_
(1826, i. 183), who arrived at "Château Desir in a crimson silk pelisse,
hat and feathers, with diamond ear-rings, and a rope of gold round her
neck."]

{505}[683] [Lie, lye, or ley, is a solution of potassium salts obtained
by bleaching wood-ashes. Byron seems to have confused "lie" with "lee,"
i.e. dregs, sediment.]

[684] [_"Aroint thee, witch!_ the rump-fed ronyon cries." _Macbeth_, act
ii. sc. 3, line 6.]

[mm] _Or (to come to the point, like my friend Pulci)_.--[MS. erased.]

[685] [Hor., _Epist. Ad Pisones_, line 343.]

[mn]---- _by fear or flattery_.--[MS. erased.]

[686] Siria, i.e. bitch-star.

[mo] _I have seen--no matter what--we now shall see_.--[MS. erased.]

{506}[687] [Parolles [see _All's Well that Ends Well_, passim] is
Brougham (vide ante, the suppressed stanzas, Canto I. pp. 67-69). It is
possible that this stanza was written after the Canto as a whole was
finished. But, if not, an incident which took place in the House of
Commons, April 17, 1823, during a debate on Catholic Emancipation, may
be quoted in corroboration of Brougham's unreadiness with regard to the
point of honour. In the course of his speech he accused Canning of
"monstrous truckling for the purpose of obtaining office," and Canning,
without waiting for Brougham to finish, gave him the lie: "I rise to say
that that is false" (_Parl. Deb._, N.S. vol. 8, p. 1091).

There was a "scene," which ended in an exchange of explanations and
quasi-apologies, and henceforth, as a rule, parliamentary insults were
given and received without recourse to duelling. Byron was not aware
that the "old order" had passed or was passing. Compare Hazlitt, in _The
Spirit of the Age_, 1825, pp. 302, 303: "He [Brougham] is adventurous,
but easily panic-struck, and sacrifices the vanity of self-opinion to
the necessity of self-preservation ... himself the first to get out of
harm's way and escape from the danger;" and Mr. Parthenopex Puff (W.
Stewart Rose), in _Vivian Grey_ (1826, i. 186, 187), "Oh! he's a
prodigious fellow! What do you think Booby says? he says, that Foaming
Fudge [Brougham] can do more than any man in Great Britain; that he had
one day to plead in the King's Bench, spout at a tavern, speak in the
House, and fight a duel--and that he found time for everything but the
_last_."]

[mp] _There was, too, Henry B_----.--[MS. erased.]

[688] [In his Journal for December 5, 1813, Byron writes: "The Duke
of ---- called.... His Grace is a good, noble, ducal person" (_Letters_,
1898, ii. 361). Possibly the earlier "Duke of Dash" was William Spencer,
sixth Duke of Devonshire, an old schoolfellow of Byron's, who was eager
to renew the acquaintance (_Letters_, 1899, iii. 98, note 2); and, if
so, he may be reckoned as one of the guests of "Norman Abbey."]

{507}[689] [Gronow (_Reminiscences_, 1889, i. 234-240) identifies the
_Chevalier de la Ruse_ with Casimir Comte de Montrond (1768-1843),
back-stairs diplomatist, wit, gambler, and man of fashion. He was the
lifelong companion, if not friend, of Talleyrand, who pleaded for him:
"Qui est-ce qui ne l'aimerait pas, il est si vicieux!" At one time in
the pay of Napoleon, he fell under his displeasure, and, to avoid
arrest, spent two years of exile (1812-14) in England. "He was not,"
says Gronow, "a great talker, nor did he swagger ... or laugh at his own
_bons-mots_. He was demure, sleek, sly, and dangerous.... In the London
clubs he went by the name of Old French." He was a constant guest of the
Duke of York's at Oatlands, "and won much at his whist-table" (_English
Whist_, by W.P. Courtney, 1894, p. 181). For his second residence in
England, and for a sketch by D'Orsay, see _A Portion of the Journal,
etc._, by Thomas Raikes, 1857, frontispiece to vol. iv., _et_ vols.
i.-iv. _passim_. See, for biographical notice, _L'Ami de M. de
Talleyrand_, par Henri Welschinger, _La Revue de Paris_, 1895, Fev.,
tom. i. pp. 640-654.]

[690] [Perhaps Sir James Mackintosh--a frequent guest at Holland House.]

{508}[691] [Possibly Colonel (afterwards Sir James) Macdonell [d. 1857],
"a man of colossal stature," who occupied and defended the Château of
Hougoumont on the night before the battle of Waterloo. (See Gronow,
_Reminiscences_, 1889, i. 76, 77.)]

[692] [Sir George Prevost (1767-1816), the Governor-General of British
North America, and nominally Commander-in-chief of the Army in the
second American War, contributed, by his excess of caution, supineness,
and delay, to the humiliation of the British forces. The particular
allusion is to his alleged inaction at a critical moment in the
engagement of September 11, 1814, between Commodore Macdonough and
Captain Downie in Plattsburg Bay. "A letter was sent to Capt. Downie,
strongly urging him to come on, as the army had long been waiting for
his co-operation.... The brave Downie replied that he required no urging
to do his duty.... He was as good as his word. The guns were scaled when
he got under way, upon hearing which Sir George issued an _order_ for
the troops to _cook_, instead of _that of instant co-operation_."--To
Editor of the _Montreal Herald_, May 23, 1815, _Letters of Veritas_,
1815, pp. 116, 117. See, too, _The Quarterly Review_, July, 1822, vol.
xxvii. p. 446.]

[693] [George Hardinge (1744-1816), who was returned M.P. for Old Sarum
in 1784, was appointed, in 1787, Senior Justice of the Counties of
Brecon, Glamorgan, and Radnor. According to the _Gentleman's Magazine_,
1816 (vol. lxxxvi. p. 563), "In conversation he had few equals.... He
delighted in pleasantries, and always afforded to his auditors abundance
of mirth and entertainment as well as information." Byron seems to have
supposed that these "pleasantries" found their way into his addresses to
condemned prisoners, but if the charges printed in his _Miscellaneous
Works_, edited by John Nichols in 1818, are reported in full, he was
entirely mistaken. They are tedious, but the "waggery" is conspicuous by
its absence.]

{509}[mq] _With all his laurels growing upon one tree_.--[MS. erased.]

[694] [John Philpot Curran (1750-1817). "Did you know Curran?" asked
Byron of Lady Blessington (_Conversations_, 1834, p. 176); "he was the
most wonderful person I ever saw. In him was combined an imagination the
most brilliant and profound, with a flexibility and wit that would have
justified the observation applied to----that his heart was in his
head." (See, too, _Detached Thoughts_, No. 24, _Letters_, 1901, v.
421.)]

[695] [For Thomas Lord Erskine (1750-1823), see _Letters_, 1898, ii.
390, note 5. See, too, _Detached Thoughts_, No. 93, _Letters_, 1901, v.
455, 456. In his _Spirit of the Age_, 1825, pp. 297, 298, Hazlitt
contrasts "the impassioned appeals and flashes of wit of a Curran ...
the golden tide of wisdom, eloquence, and fancy of a Burke," with the
"dashing and graceful manner" which concealed the poverty and "deadness"
of the matter of Erskine's speeches.]

{510}[mr]
---- _all classes mostly pull
At the same oar_----.--[MS. erased.]

{511}[696] ["Mrs. Adams answered Mr. Adams, that it was blasphemous to
talk of Scripture out of church." This dogma was broached to her
husband--the best Christian in any book.--See _The History of the
Adventures of Joseph Andrews_, Bk. IV. chap. xi. ed. 1876, p. 324.]

[ms] _---- in the ripe age._--[MS.]

[697] [Probably Richard Sharp (1759-1835), known as "Conversation
Sharp." Byron frequently met him in society in 1813-14, and in "Extracts
from a Diary," January 9, 1821, _Letters_, 1901, v. 161, describes him
as "the Conversationist." He visited Byron at the Villa Diodati in the
autumn of 1816 (_Life_, p. 323).]

[698] [_Hamlet_, act i. sc. 5, line 22.]

[mt] _Nor bate (read bait)_----.--[MS.]

{512}[699] [See letters to the Earl of Blessington, April 5, 1823,
_Letters_, 1891, vi. 187.]

{513}[mu]
_But full of wisdom_----.--[MS.]
_A sort of rose entwining with a thistle_.--[MS. erased.]

[700] [_Iliad_, x. 341, sq.]

[701] It would have taught him humanity at least. This sentimental
savage, whom it is a mode to quote (amongst the novelists) to show their
sympathy for innocent sports and old songs, teaches how to sew up frogs,
and break their legs by way of experiment, in addition to the art of
angling,--the cruelest, the coldest, and the stupidest of pretended
sports. They may talk about the beauties of nature, but the angler
merely thinks of his dish of fish; he has no leisure to take his eyes
from off the streams, and a single _bite_ is worth to him more than all
the scenery around. Besides, some fish bite best on a rainy day. The
whale, the shark, and the tunny fishery have somewhat of noble and
perilous in them; even net fishing, trawling, etc., are more humane and
useful. But angling!--no angler can be a good man.

"One of the best men I ever knew,--as humane, delicate-minded, generous,
and excellent a creature as any in the world,--was an angler: true, he
angled with painted flies, and would have been incapable of the
extravagancies of I. Walton."

The above addition was made by a friend in reading over the MS.--"Audi
alteram partem."--I leave it to counter-balance my own observation.

{515}[702] B. Fy. 19^th^ 1823.--[MS.]

Lord George Gordon Byron