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lated. He was born in Holles Street, London, of the 22d of January 1788, the only son of Captain John Byron of the Guards, and Catherine Gordon

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of Gight, an Aberdeenshire heiress. The lady's fortune was soon squandered by her profligate husband, and she retired to the city of Aberdeen, to bring up her son on a reduced income of about £130 per annum. The little lame boy, endeared to all in spite of his mischief, succeeded his grand-uncle, William Lord Byron, in his eleventh year; and the happy mother sold off her effects (which realised just £74, 17s. 4d.), and left Aberdeen for Newstead Abbey. The seat of the Byrons was a large and ancient, but dilapidated structure, founded as a priory in the twelfth century by Henry II., and situated in the midst of the fertile and interesting district once known as Sherwood Forest. On the dissolution of the monasteries, it was conferred by

Newstead Abbey.

Mary Duff; and hearing of her marriage, several years afterwards, was, he says, like a thunder-stroke to him. He had also been captivated with a boyish love for his cousin, Margaret Parker, one of the most beautiful of evanescent beings,' who died about a year or two afterwards. He was fifteen when he met Mary Chaworth, and 'conceived an attachment which, young as he was even then for such a feeling, sunk so deep into his mind as to give a colour to all his future life.' The father of the lady had been killed in a duel by Lord Byron, the eccentric grand-uncle of the poet, and the union of the young peer with the heiress of Annesley Hall 'would,' said Byron, have healed feuds in which blood had been shed by our fathers; it would have joined lands broad and rich; it would have joined at least one heart, and two persons not ill matched in years (she was two years my elder), and-andand-what has been the result?' Mary Chaworth saw little in the lame boy, and became the betrothed of another. They had one parting interview in the following year, which, in his poem of the Dream, Byron has described in the most exquisite colours of descriptive poetry:

I saw two beings in the hues of youth
Standing upon a hill; a gentle hill,
Green and of mild declivity, the last
As 'twere the cape of a long ridge of such,
Save that there was no sea to lave its base,

Henry VIII. on Sir John Byron, steward of Manchester and Rochdale, who converted the venerable convent into a castellated mansion. The family was ennobled by Charles I., in consequence of high and honourable services rendered to the royal cause during the civil war. On succeeding to the title, Byron was put to a private school at Dulwich, and from thence he was sent to Harrow. During his minority, the estate was let to another party, but its youthful lord occasionally visited the seat of his ancestors; and whilst there in 1803, he conceived a passion for a young lady in the neighbourhood, who, under the name of Mary Chaworth, has obtained a poetical immortality. So early as his eighth year, Byron fell in love with a simple Scottish maiden,


But a most living landscape, and the wave
Of woods and corn-fields, and the abodes of men
Scattered at intervals, and wreathing smoke
Arising from such rustic roofs;-the hill
Was crowned with a peculiar diadem
Of trees, in circular array, so fixed,
Not by the sport of nature, but of man:
These two, a maiden and a youth, were there
Gazing-the one on all that was beneath
Fair as herself-but the boy gazed on her;
And both were young, and one was beautiful:
And both were young-yet not alike in youth.
As the sweet moon on the horizon's verge,
The maid was on the eve of womanhood;
The boy had fewer summers, but his heart
Had far outgrown his years, and to his eye
There was but one beloved face on earth,
And that was shining on him.

This boyish idolatry nursed the spirit of poetry in Byron's mind. He was recalled, however, from his day-dreams and disappointment, by his removal to Trinity college, Cambridge, in October 1805. At Harrow he had been an idle irregular scholar, though he eagerly devoured all sorts of learning, excepting that which was prescribed for him; and at Cambridge he pursued the same desultory course of study. In 1807 appeared his first volume of poetry, printed at Newark, under the title of Hours of Idleness. There were indications of genius in the collection,


but many errors of taste and judgment. The vulnerable points were fiercely assailed, the merits overlooked, in a witty critique in the Edinburgh Review (understood to be written by Lord Brougham), and the young poet replied by his vigorous satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, which disarmed, if it did not discomfit, his opponent. While his name was thus rising in renown, Byron left England for a course of foreign travel, and in two years visited the classic shores of the Mediterranean, and resided some time in Greece and Turkey. In the spring of 1812 appeared the two first cantos of Childe Harold, the fruit of his foreign wanderings, and his splendidly enriched and matured poetical taste. I awoke one morning,' he said, and found myself famous.' A rapid succession of eastern tales followed-the Giaour and the Bride of Abydos in 1813; the Corsair and Lara in 1814. In the Childe, he had shown his mastery over the complicated Spenserian stanza: in these he adopted the heroic couplet, and the lighter verse of Scott, with equal freedom and success. No poet had ever more command of the stores of the English language. At this auspicious and exultant period, Byron was the idol of the gay circles of London. He indulged in all their pleasures and excesses-studying by fits and starts at midnight, to maintain the splendour of his reputation. Satiety and disgust succeeded to this round of heartless pleasures, and in a better mood, though without any fixed attachment, he proposed and was accepted in marriage by a northern heiress, Miss Milbanke, daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke, a baronet in the county of Durham. The union cast a shade on his hitherto bright career. A twelvemonth's extravagance, embarrassments, and misunderstandings, dissolved the union, and the lady retired to the country seat of her parents from the discord and perplexity of her own home. She refused, like the wife of Milton, to return, and the world of England seemed to applaud her resolution. One child (now the Countess of Lovelace) was the fruit of this unhappy marriage. Before the separation took place, Byron's muse, which had been lulled or deadened by the comparative calm of domestic life, was stimulated to activity by his deepening misfortunes, and he produced the Siege of Corinth and Parisina. Miserable, reckless, yet conscious of his own newly-awakened strength, Byron left England—


and the successive cantos of Don Juan' betrayed the downward course of the poet's habits. The wit and knowledge of that wonderful poem-its passion, variety, and originality-were now debased with inferior matter; and the world saw with rejoicing the poet break away from his Circean enchantments, and enter upon a new and nobler field of exertion. He had sympathised deeply with the Italian Carbonari in their efforts for freedom, but a still more interesting country and people claimed his support. His youthful travels and poetical enthusiasm still endeared the 'blue Olympus' to his recollection, and in the summer of 1823 he set sail for Greece, to aid in the struggle for its independence. His arrangements were made with judgment, as well as generosity. Byron knew mankind well, and his plans for the recovery and regeneration of Greece evinced a spirit of patriotic freedom and warm sympathy with the oppressed, happily tempered with practical wisdom and discretion. He arrived, after some danger and delay, at Missolonghi, in Western Greece, on the 4th of January 1824. All was discord and confusion -a military mob and contending chiefs-turbulence, rapacity, and fraud. In three months he had done much, by his influence and money, to compose differences, repress cruelty, and introduce order. His fluctuating and uncertain health, however, gave way under so severe a discipline. On the 9th of April he was overtaken by a heavy shower whilst taking his daily ride, and an attack of fever and rheumatism followed. Prompt and copious bleeding might have subdued the inflammation, but to this remedy Byron was strongly opposed. It was at length resorted to after seven days of increasing fever, but the disease was then too powerful for remedy. The patient sank into a state of lethargy, and, though conscious of approaching death, could only mutter some indistinct expressions about his wife, his sister, and child. He lay insensible for twenty-four hours, and, opening his eyes for a moment, shut them for ever, and expired on the evening of the 19th of April 1824. The people of Greece publicly mourned for the irreparable loss they had sustained, and the sentiment of grief was soon conveyed to the poet's native country, where his name was still a talisman, and his early death was felt by all as a personal calamity. The body of Byron was brought to England, and after lying in state in London, was interred in the family vault in the village church of Hucknall, near Newstead.

Once more upon the waters, yet once more !-and visiting France and Brussels, pursued his course along the Rhine to Geneva. Here, in six months, he had composed the third canto of Childe Harold,' and the Prisoner of Chillon. His mental energy gathered force from the loneliness of his situation, and his disgust with his native country. The scenery of Switzerland and Italy next breathed its inspiration: Manfred and the Lament of Tasso were produced in 1817. In the following year, whilst residing chiefly at Venice, and making one memorable visit to Rome, he completed Childe Harold,' and threw off his light humorous poem of Beppo, the first fruits of the more easy and genial manners of the continent on his excitable temperament. At Venice, and afterwards at Ravenna, Byron reided till 1821, writing various works-Mazeppa, the first five cantos of Don Juan, and his dramas of Marino Faliero, Sardanapalus, the Two Foscari, Werner, Cain, the Deformed Transformed, &c. The year 1822 he passed chiefly at Pisa, continuing Don Juan,' which ultimately extended to fifteen cantos. We have not touched on his private history or in-tinental life it would be impossible to justify. His dulgences. His genius had begun to 'pale its fire:' excesses became habitual, and impaired both his his dramas were stiff, declamatory, and undramatic; genius and his strength. He struggled on with

Lord of himself, that heritage of wointoxicated with early success and the incense of almost universal admiration, his irregularities must be regarded more with pity than reprehension. After his unhappy marriage, the picture is clouded with darker shadows. The wild license of his con


Byron has been sometimes compared with Burns. Death and genius have levelled mere external dis- | tinctions, and the peer and peasant stand on the same elevation, to meet the gaze and scrutiny of posterity. Both wrote directly from strong personal feelings and impulses; both were the slaves of irregular, uncontrolled passion, and the prey of disap pointed hopes and constitutional melancholy; and both died, after a life of extraordinary intellectual activity and excitement, at the same early age. We allow for the errors of Burns's position, and Byron's demands a not less tender and candid construction. Neglected in his youth-thwarted in his first love left without control or domestic influence when his passions were strongest

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