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In France, she would have been the centre of attraction, even to the èlite of Parisian society; in this country, neglected and unappreciated, she lived and died in seclusion and obscurity. Such was the fate of Amy Grey. The few who really knew and loved her, are eminently qualified to feel and understand the deep and touching pathos of Moore's beautiful lines which are said to have been addressed to ihe memory of Mrs. H. Tighe:
Though many a gifted mind we meet,
Though fairest forms we see,
Than to remember thee, Mary.
Your's, &c. &c. &c.
Some one somewhere says that egotism is the soul of private correspondence, and as you insist on my adopting this opinion when I address you, I will comply, more at your request than to please myself, in the spirit of those good folks who sing to you a song, however ill-qualified they may be, merely to spare you the trouble of further entreaty. Sans phrases then, I will begin by telling you how I am. Better, much better, most kind and dear *
The interest you take in the improvement of my health, and the employment of my hours, inspires me, and I now take care of myself almost as conscientiously as if my life were of moment, and my time of value. Your parting injunctions have been attended to duly, and accordingly my health mends daily. The exertion has brought its reward in the effect upon my spirits, for now, that “the machine that's to me,” is in tolerable repair, I have got the command of it, that the artist has over his Automaton, and I wind it up to go through the necessary performances, so as to excite pleasure amongst the few specta. tors to whom I am exhibited, and so as to gain the approbation of dear old father. The bright smiles of my young friends also, who are all delighted at my apparent cheerfulness, animate me to fresh efforts. I am therefore determined upon adhering to that resolute self-command which has alredy been attended by such desirable effects, and will confine to the solitude of my own heart, sorrows too sacred 10 be made visible.
Truth, it was said of old, lies hid in a well; on the surface the sun beam glittered, and the zephyr played, and passers-by perceived not what lay beneath! You have seen a rose tree over a tomb. I delight in this benevolent attempt of Nature to banish all shadow of glooom from those who
have life and hope before them, and I have taken the hint. Sometimes indeed, when utterly unable to exert myself in the conversational way, I have recourse to my tried and trusty friends, the Poets, and often find that in the sighings of the muse, my own pass unnoticed. This is as it should be.
Since you left me, all my dear young neighbours have redoubled their sweetly kind attentions, and spend as much time with me, as their home-duties and occupations permit.- Isabella* her sisters,-four of my manifold nieces,- (your favourites, Charlotte, Geraldine, Agnes, and little Rose,) and my own Clara, form so charming a group, that sorrow flies before them, like time from the hours_apropos, have you begun your intended copy of Aurora ? do not omit to tell me;but to return to my “fair girls,” and I have as many in my train as Sardanapalus, they have been unremittingly kind, and banish blue-devils and ennui from our remote retreat, most successfully. As my father, during the last week, could grant us but little of his society, being occupied by parish affairs, sermon-writing, &c., and as the rainy weather precludes the girls from their usual rides, rambles, and boating excursions, we have had recourse to my book-shelves more frequently than usual-most of their contents, my fair friends were already well yersed in, but Lord Byron, was to them—“the Great Unknown.”
I had deferred making them acquainted with his works, 'till they should be able duly to appreciate them, and had long looked forward wistfully to the day when I should unfold his pages. It came! and my imagination was not disappointed.
Perhaps it is in those bosom scenes of private life, that the fairest estimate of an author's merits may be formed, -never, for instance, did a much more just, animated, and luminous critique come from the pen of the allenlightened, and all-enlightening Jeffrey, than might have been read in the soul-fraught countenances of those "young Ianthe's," those beauteous intelligences, replete with intellect, loveliness, and sensibility. What painter could do justice to such a group? I had only to wish, that I myself could have exemplified a Muse or a Sybil, to complete the picture;but to say the truth, a short plain little woman of five and thirty, sadly. marred the effect. Our fanciful Isabella, however, having pronounced my voice and manner to be more lyrical than those of her young friends, I was unanimously appointed reader. Having said grace devoutly, according to Elia's pious hint to Utopians, when an intellectual repast is in question, I began, not with one of the chef-d'ouvres, but with the beginning, wishing to see what the unprejudiced impression made by the hours of idleness” would be. Disappointment as to the poetry, but vivid admiration of the noble youthful feelings so naturally expressed, were the consequences; and little Rose, our youngest and loveliest, "wished she could buy that school-boy for a brother !"—this led me to read on the instant, some of the incomparable verses to his sister, which certainly pre-disposed my fair auditors to greet Childe Harold' with acclamation.
Then it was, that his "young lanthe" was almost realized to my delighted gaze,-(but my edition has not this most charming of all introductions,)-by the way, what a beauteous anticipation is this of his own“ Ada!" Imagine her reading her father's works; I have pourtrayed her to myself, oh, how frequently!--for she is the morning-star of my imagination, and many a dreamy hour have I spent in poetizing her supposed course through
life. Such a theme, was, as you may guess, beyond my powers, -yet, my introductory sketch of her, though ill executed, was not ill-fancied.
If aught could solace Zelma's grief-worn hours,
'Twere the sweet witchery of her peerless child ;-
And Oh! she was so innocently wild,
That fancy wondered at reality,
While genius kindled into ecstacy,
Seeing in one so fair, his own bright majesty. But to turn from this lucida to dimmer stars,—my dear'young friends,—had you seen them as I read, you would have said in the words of “one Shakspeare,"
,” “where is there any critic in the world, can teach such beauty as a woman's eye?"-In truth and in seriousness, one irrefutable look from those orbs, lit up by Faith, Hope, and Charity, might have persuaded the most incredulous, that “the moral of his strain,' (Lord Byron's,) had the desired effect of raising their souls in awe-struck admiration, to the divine origin of that genius, which, through him. affords such unquestionable proofs of the reality of spirit, and impossibility of annihilation.— Indeed I do not know how to believe that people calling themselves Christians and philosophers, can rank Lord Byron amongst the condemned, or as one of what they so impiously and arrogantly term, 'the Satanic School.'-It struck me originally, and I find all ingenious young persons under the same impression,—that they who can read Childe Harold, without the conviction that “his grief is but his grandeur in disguise,"—that “ discontent is immortality,” must be incorrigible bigots, or hopeless materialists, whose opinions were irreclaimable, “though one rose from the dead." As for me, I cannot help considering the pilgrim-poet, as an august foreigner from some super-human world, whom the inexplicable designs of Providence have placed in our probationary planet for a season, and whose spirit sickens in this ungenial region--this temporary exile, from a home less remote from light, knowledge, and peace, than is our dim, low, and troubled earth.
Upon every fresh perusal of that wonder-work of genius and poetry, Mr. Southey's application of the word • Satanic' to the noble author, appears to me the most extraordinary misapplication that a man of letters in a Christian country was ever guilty of. May he not be logically refuted by the Scriptural question?~"If Satan be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand ?”—and that it is allowable to propose that question in the present case, I, who have so often had opportunity to observe the exalting effects of various sublime passages of Lord Byron's, can venture to aver.—But how needless it is, to treat thus seriously such an impotent taunt; especially as Mr. Southey's best friends candidly regret his having had recourse to so wretched a mode of invective, as nick-naming is considered to be. He really reminds me of a poor child in our parish school, who, to revenge himself on a clever, but provoking school-boy that had got first place in his class, wrote the word · Devil, and slily pinned it to his back. This was considered as a henious misdemeanor on the part of the poor urchin, and the truly Christian lecture read him by our exemplary curate, might certainly have edified his betters." The school-master not satisfied with this mild proceeding, punished the culprit for what he termed his "sooty slander.” by making him wear a sweep's dress for a day or two, to impress him, he sagely said, with “ a salutary horror of blackness and bitterness for the rest of his life!"
I gladly return to our peaceful provincial critics.My brother Arthur says, that many women pretend to admire the fourth canto, and talk of it in the cant of criticism, who cannot possibly understand it: yet, except that, Rose, who is but fourteen, was occasionally observed to employ herself in producing a few gentle sóns harmoniques from the Harp that stood near her, I did not perceive that attention Aagged, or that the understanding was at fault amongst my young companions. It seems to me that Lord Byron, even when abstruse and metaphysical subjects are in question, expresses himself with obvious clearness, at least to any one at all conversant with poetical idiom, and that the cor.catenation of his thoughts is formed by links, imperceptible perhaps, to very imperfect mental vision, but which is as effectually binding as the lesser rings of a skilfully wrought Venetian chain. But the touching regrets of my lovely little Rose at finding that her favourite, the school-boy, had grown up to be an unhappy man,' that • Mary was not good to him, and that his dear sister did not accompany him on his travels, is worth all that I and the whole community of elderly gentlewomen can say upon the subject of Childe Horold.
Good night, my dearest * In my next, I will give you an account of the impression made by the subsequent poems of the Master-Spirit on my fair girls. Indeed, if I did not speak of them and my books, 1 should keep silence altogether, (which you will not permit,) as the uneventful life we lead here at the back of the world, where “to-day is yesterday returned," quite literally, furnishes no materials for correspondence; but the friendly interest you take in my occupations, and the rise and progress of our dear young friends in every thing intellectual and tasteful, prevents me from ever being at a loss for subjects.--Adieu, and " write, write, write, if ever thou didst thy dear cousin love."
January 10th, 1824. As the rain continued to pour in Irish torrents, my fair companions remained with me, in willing captivity however,--and we proceeded to read 'the Giaour,' &c. in series, but where is the critic who would not forget his trade while perusing them? Judge then, if the young and fair were disposed to scan by the rules of the schools, poems too singular in their perfection, to come under the regulation of any scholastic laws and precepts.- Even Blues of the deepest hue, the most purple women of the day, must lose their artificial colours, and be restored to those of truth and nature as they read. The tendency of them however, as affecting the heart and understanding, I wished fully to ascertain, and while the tear of sensibility still glistened in the eye of that lovely daughter of Niobe, my sculpturally beauteous Clara,-while the beam of kindled genius lit up the intellectual countenance of Charlotte,--and while, white as her em. blematic lily, Isabella trembled from emotion, I asked what they thought was the moral of those strains ? « The most obvious,' said Charlotte, is, that “there is no peace for the wicked !”—and O Amy,' said my Clara, addressing me with her characteristic piety and sweetness if there be indeed mortals so noble, yet so frail, as these august but guilty passionists, described by Lord Byron, where is the infidel who could think it derogatory to God himself to have descended from heaven to seek and save them, for®“ such are worth redemption ?"
Oh Southey! learned Southey! why do you let the untutored girl of sixteen, surpass you in perception as in charity? Never did I shed a more balmy tear than while listening to those words coming from one who might have allegorised Urania as she spoke.—Isabella's speechless emotion having subsided, I now asked what her impression was?-She blushed, -oh how beautifully! and replied—that
“ Love indeed is light from heaven ;
“ A spark of that immortal fire
“ To lift from earth our low desire." Our classical Elizabeth, the only Greek and Latin girl amongst us, and one who might well reconcile gentlemen and scholars to her class, modestly ventured to say,--that it was interesting to see how Lord Byron had contrived to unite the originality of the olden times, with the elegance of the new, and the audacity of the German school, with the blandishment of the Italian.' Geraldine, who had looked “unutterable things” as I read, and whose spirit-beaming eye excited much of my attention, had resumed her usual nonchalance of manner, and careless gaiety of expression.- Have you no comment to make, Geraldine ? I asked, —- I have nothing to say,' she answered pointedly,—“ truly the gods did not make me poetical!"Beppo comes next, does it not, she asked, with one of her Euphrosine smiles, a tear, large and brilliant as the dew-drop on the morning rose, fell on my hand at the moment;--who shed it I could not ascertain ;-for the precious creatures had all encircled me closely :-perhaps it had fallen from the unraised lid of young Agnes, who sat in the innocent stillness of silent sympathy, mourning gently, I should think over Zuleika's tomb; I then read in a subdued voice, the enchanting Sonnets to Genevra;-Geraldine sighed, and said, “I suppose Poets cannot much admire Brunettes ?' I could not refrain from answering, with a bow, as I gazed on her diamond eyes, and Cupidon curls, that · Poets can and do admire beauty in all colours, shapes and forms.'-she made me a most graceful inclination à la Francaise in return, but with a sort of naive bonne foi that was very winning. Charlotte however, whose admiration is too exclusively directed to the gusto grande to allow her fairly to appreciate minor charms, exclaimed rather indignantly; • Geraldine how can you bestow a thought on your little self, after having just had your imagination turned to 'le beau idéal in its perfection! Amy, here are stanzas that you have not read yet,' and she pointed out those to • Thyrza,' which I had passed over, never being able to give voice to verses