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fraught with the most intense pathos, as it strikes me, that the whole range of poetry offers;— each of you must read those to herself,' I answered.-They read in silence, and when I raised my head, little Rose said in a low tone, 'it is quite time to go to prayers now, and let us all pray to God to make Childe Harold happy.'
I need not wish Southey and Co. a more practical reprimand, than to have seen this lovely congregation in their innocent beauty, at their silently fervent orisons ! . But Lord Byron would be spoiled,' said Isabella
some mimutes afterwards, if he was “good and gay,” as a prosy poet, but excellent divine
s? I agreed with her :-“The sunshine of happiness,” I said, might have withered into decay that genius, which the cold and bracing air of mental adversity had reared into such admirable hardihood.
I must bid you adieu, my dear cousin ;-morning beams upon me; but I could not sleep after the excitement that our veillée had caused, and the exertion I had made in reading, during so many hours. I wished too, while the impressions were vivid, to give you the comments and remarks of our sweet girls, on an author, in whose works we take such earnest interest, and whose writings are too powerful not to influence young minds forcibly. The results in this case, are likely to be, I trust most favourable, and highly creditable, I will venture to say, to the noble bard, who is so often misread and misunderstood, that an appeal to young, candid, and unprejudiced readérs had been a matter of serious interest to me. I only gave you however, the opinions of your more special favorites;--but the background figures should not be forgotten, being as well worthy of attention in their way, as the subordinate Greek Girls in Angelica Kauffman's beauteous groups.As I draw from life, while she, fair muse of the pencil! designed from imagination, you cannot suspect me of meaning to blend myself in idea with her. No, no, “ Je ne suis pas la Rosé !mais j'ai été auprés de la Rose !"-or in plain English, I have been near beauty, nature, and the fine arts,—'till I have grown grey in their service.
I am most anxious to hear from you, but I am patient and confiding, and fancy myself entitled in one instance to use the words of her “who has said every thing!" (every thing worth saying,) being-Oh how truly! "une amie sans crigeance, mais qui est toujours lá."
LETTERS OF AMY GREY.NO. III.
January 29th, 1824. I delayed reading the Tragedies for some days,-rest from emotion so deep and heartfelt, as that described in my last letter being expedient, and we had recourse to the balmy mildness of Geoffry Crayon, as a restorative. Indeed the gentle benevolence, beanteous good humour, and tnaffected piety of that delightful writer, though not so powerfully impressive to those advanced in life, as the silent moral so effectively conveyed through those poetical personages of Lord Byron, “ whose headlong passions, form their proper woes," are better adapted to the young and fair, as no mistake can be made, even by the most inexperienced, where the meaning is so obviOus;—and that some of these superlative sketches should be a written on the tablet of the heart," "ere the earth has profaned what was born for the skies,' every anxious mother and fond aunt will aver. But much as I adinire the Utopian traveller alluded to, it must be allowed that the prosaic inmates of Bracebridge Hall did not appear to advantage in contrast with Lord Byron's poetical creations;—which, poetical though they be, are at the same time, less improbable personages than the British Antiques represented by gentle Geoffry, as living, moving, and being in England in the year 1822!--I know of no modern novel that offers so fanciful a fiction, but the execution of the picture is in such high finish, that the faults of the design are passed over by the amateurs of Crayon-drawing.–That no one however admires Washington Irviny (how I do like his real name,) more livelily than I do, you well know, and I closed the veillèe last night by singing very expressively, as I gazed on the admirable print of him from Newton's portrait,m“Peace be around thee wherever thou rovest! may life be to thee one Summer-day!" &c. By the way, have you got the last number of the National melodies? I delight in the airs and graces of that foreign mélange, for Moore has indeed graced those charming little tunes most tastefully. Will mortal ever equal, think you, our own most tuneful poet at a song? Never, I venture to predict; who then can blame the Bard? and that “ he was born for much more," who can doubt ?Indeed though
“the curse of Swift is upon him," he has proved it. The verses from which I quote, are in themselves conclusive as to his high powers, being, I do believe, the most perfect lyrical chef-d'oeuvres, that ever were sung or said.--"Boast Erin! boast him!” do I not apply the words better than Sir Walter Scott has done? History's Muse, 'tis true, may record warlike names in her gazettes, and they will have their day; but “ long as mercy's soul at war repineth," long as the heart can feel, and the spirit can suffer, so long, my loved countrymen, shall the imperishable name of Moore live in the bosom-core of an admiring world, in the page of patriotism, and I will venture to add, in the records of heaven.Nothing that has issued from the treasury of the press for years, has given me more delight than Lord Byron's letter to Mr. Moore; (the dedication to the Corsair]—thus to see the stamp of immortality impressed on our national Bard by the hand of the mighty representative of genius, judgement, and good taste, was a luxury to the dwellers in the provinces,” that they of the great world know not of.-On what ground can his silly detractors assert that Lord Byron is unwilling to acknowledge merit in others ?-no one of their impotent libels is more flagrantly false ; for, whom has he “heralded to immortality with that trump of which fame has made him master ?'— His brothers of the laurel, living and dead ?-Scott, Moore, Campbell, Rogers, “all the bright names that shed" light and beauty around us, are rendered still more radiant by the generous warmth of his brilliant panegyrics.
To return to my theme, my inspiration--his poetry.—1 am obliged to admit, that in Lyrics, he sometimes passes the singing point in thought and pathos. I do not find myself able to give voice to many of his songs, but that there are some beautiful exceptions, those who can sing, cannot fail to experience. “She walks in beauty," for instance, which, either as a sketch from life, or as an allegory of religion, is not certainly what a Blue Stocking of my acquaintance styled it, - a very inappropriate preface to the Hebrew Melodies.'- I should think said Blue knew nothing of Rebecca in Ivanhoe. Or if she does, perhaps the great unknown himself, on the strength of tea-inspiration, [for she invites her friends to “tea and Bible," on printed cards,] may be deemed a profane writer-or perhaps a Jew in disguisema literary soul-broker. At all events, even the society of Saints might allow him to be “an Israelite in whom there is no guile!" I was delighted the other day by a comment of my little nephew upon the celebrated Scottish Novels. After having gone through several of them with a degree of animated interest that would have charmed you, he observed, that all who read them ought to be brave, good and cheerful for the rest of their lives, as otherwise they would prove that they could not understand, and did not deserve to read them.'- I am mistaken if the benevolent and admirable author would not take pleasure in seeing his drift so well compreliended by a child of ten years old. But where was I?' as the children say—at the Hebrew Melodies—which one would suppose were Hebrew or Greek to some folks.-I told a lady of my acquaintance that I had got them, and asked if I should send them to her fair daughter,--for 1 circulate music and poetry diligently-as the best means I can find, in my small way, of doing good, and giving pleasure.--After some hesitation, she said if I chose to lend them, I had her permission, for she could trust Amelia's principles!'--I requested leave to give her a specimen of the songs ;-and I immediately sang.--"When coldness wraps this suffering clay"--and “She walks in beauty," which, to do her justice, had the effect of entirely reassuring her. She has, since, allowed her lovely daughter occasionally to join my group of girls, and I have now the pleasure of ranking her amongst my most intelligent and interesting auditors. I was particularly pleased to have her with me, while we were reading Lord Byron's works, as they are in a style of writing, better comprehended and appreciated by those who have acquired some of the lights of age, than by the generality of those whose "light is all from within;" that lovelier light having so much magical illusion, that the lamp of study and the microscope of truth are deemed superfluous, if not held up by the kindly hand of friendship, and I wish to render the homage of the young and fair to the muses,
a reasonable service." I commenced the Drama-reading with 'Manfred,' on which however, no comments were made.- If not of a very high order, they would have been intolerable, and none of us would venture upon any. In that wonder-work of intellect and sublimity, Genius,“ masses itself into intensest splendour,” and Criticism is dazzled into down-cast silence. "Did I mean to impress a stranger or foreigner with profound respect for Lord Byron's supreme intellectual powers, I think I would select Manfred in the first instance. Indeed it strikes me that La Martine was under the fresh impression of its perusal when he wrote--and he speaks of the noble author too exclusively under that impression,-dwelling with a sort of terror upon the vast, the vague, the indefinite, presented to his gaze by the mighty necromancer. We read the Doge of Venice' the next eveningand its unexceptionable merits and quiet beauty acted as oil upon the troubled waters of enthusiasm.—There the language of virtue and purity is conveyed in the voice of Heaven by the spotless Angiolina, saying unto us-"Peace—be still!"—Why is this work so little spoken of—so seldom read? Is it because it is unexceptionable?-poor encouragement to the versatile writer to proceed in that strain !—The ensuing evening brought to view Sardanapalus'—and from the reception it' met with from my fair audience, I have some reason to think I was right in considering it as the most felicitously executed Drama of modern times :—the dignity, elegance, and unity of Tragedy as a fine art, being so admirably blended with the intense interest and heart-striking emotion, which, as a delineation of human nature, it should ever produce. — The grouping, attitudes, and entire coup-d'æil too, as I represent them to myself, appear to me fraught with beauty and effect-and the language is so rich, mellow, and harmonious, that I am suprised it has not excited altogether, more loud and unanimous applause. What a rare combination of the poet, scholar, and perfect gentlemen, was necessary to the production of Sardanapalus! I should suppose that it could not fail to succeed on the stage, if indeed, a meet representative for the leading character could be found.— With the boxaudience, at all events, it would be likely to have a complete success. 1 doubt if this could be said with respect to any other of Lord Byron's tragedies—or rather dramatic poems,--though to the imagination, --in the closet, there is a great deal of reality about them ;-too much perhaps for scenic representation, which requires a quickness of action and variety of effect, that is seldom to be be found in real life.
• The two Foscari,' we did not mich admire-- it has various merits of çourse, but they are not very striking or pleasing merits; and it leaves the mind in a state of stern and morose dislike to the world and its woes, that is unsalutary and irksome. I have a sort of pleasure, you must know, in proving to you that I am not blindly partial to my liege-lord, the truth of my allegiance being therefore the more unquestionable. But úprópos des bottes, or rather of the buskin, as I am on theatrical subjects, tell our friend * . that I did not live and die without seeing a play of Shakspeare's, or an eminent actor ;--my dear enthusiastic E * came from Dublin in order to escort me to the Cork Theatre, and thereby entitled himself to my everlasting gratitude. Tell • * . then, that I saw—the practical Shakspeare; I saw Othello identified, -I saw Kean! I do think that if the great original could see him, the party-spirited critics of the day would be effectually silenced, for that with a joyful Eureka,' he could exclaim—there, there is my Richard !-my Macbeth!-my Othello there is my representative !, * *
was in company with Kean several times, and liked him much. I was greatly, pleased with a characteristic trait he recorded of him; happened to mention in the course of conversation, that some ladies of his acquaintance had travelled twenty or thirty miles to attend his (Mr. Kean's) benefit;— So,' said he, shaking his head indig. nantly, they are come to see me, and they did not come to see Shakspeare (he had got up something showy for his benefit.] This sentence I think, gives the clue to his Shaksperian excellence.--No one who did not love our great dramatist belter than his own interest, so as to embody him. self with his conceptions, and forget his own individuality, could have done him such justice I liked particularly too, the frank and handsome manner in which Kean spoke of the lively pleasure he takes in applause, the public,' he added,
--so consciously and proudly, are not aware of what
they lose, by not sufficiently applauding a good actor:'-—but he may be satisfied, for Lord Byron, in the voice of truth, nature, and poetry, has • heralded him to immortality,' and he will, accordingly, 'live in the records of fame, for ever.' I have been interrupted by fun and frolic, in the shape of my dear Bell
who has unexpectedly appeared amongst us, fresh from the beaumonde, and is likely to banish the poetics while she remains here- I will bid you adieu for her sake.—Though the gods have not made her poetical,' she has various prosaic charms, that never fail to tell.
The evening sun has shone
Upon the golden vine ;
Upon the lovely Rhine.
The summer air has sigh'd
Upon the soldier's brow;
Soft as her plighted vow.
The evening sun bas set,
The wind rose fresh and high;
Of flow'rs, came floating by.
" How beautiful they seem!"
“ 'They'd match thy golden hair,"He plunged into the stream,
And she stood smiling there,
He won the prize be sought,
He Aung it on the shore, “ My love, forget me not,"
He never uttered more.
Apd still in baļl and bow'r
In memory of his lot,
The blue • forget me not!'