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of Don Juan, which is astonishingly fine. It sets him not only above, but for above, all the poets of the day—every word is stamped with immortality. I despair of rivalling Lord Byron, as well I may, and there is no other with whom it is worth contending. This canto is in the style, but totally, and sustained with incredible ease and power, like the end of the second canto. There is not a word which the most rigid asserter of the dignity of human nature would desire to be cancelled. It fulfils, in a certain degree, what I have long preached of producing—something wholly new and relative to the age, and yet surpassingly beautiful. It may be vanity, but I think I see the trace of my earnest exhortations to him to create something wholly new. He has finished his life up to the present time, and given it to Moore, with liberty for Moore to sell it for the best price he can get, with condition that the bookseller should publish it after his death. Moore has sold it to Murray for two thousand pound). I have spoken to him of Hunt, but not with a direct view of demanding a contribution ; and, though I am sure that if asked it would not be refused—yet there is something in me that makes it impossible. Lord Byron and I are excellent friends, and were I reduced to poverty, or were I a writer who had no claims to a higher station than I possess—or did I possess a higher than I deserve, we should appear in all things as such, and I would freely ask him any favour. Such is not the case. The demon of mistrust and pride lurks between two persons in our situation, poisoning the freedom of our intercourse. This is a tax, and a heavy one, which we must pay for being human. I think the fault is not on my side, nor is it likely, 1 being the weaker. I hope that in the next world these things will be better managed. What is passing in the heart of another, rarely escapes the observation of one who is a strict anatomist of his own.
Write to me at Florence, where I shall remain a day at least, and send me letters, or news of letters. How is my little darling 1 And how are you, and how do you get on with your book 1 Be severe in your corrections, and expect severity from me, your sincere admirer. I flatter myself you have composed something unequalled in its kind, and that, not content with the honours of your birth and your hereditary aristocracy, you will add still higher renown to your name. Expect me at the end of my appointed time. I do not think I shall lie detained. Is C. with you, or is she coming I Have you heard anything of my poor Emilia, from whom 1 got a letter the day of my departure, saying, that her marriage was deferred for a rrry sl.ort time, on account of the
illness of her sposo. How are the Williams's, and Williams especially 1 Give my very kindest love to them.
Lord B. has here splendid apartments in the house of his mistress's husband, who is one of the richest men in Italy. She is divorced, with an allowance of 1200 crowns a-year, a miserable pittance from a man who has 120,000 a-year.—Here are two monkeys, five cats, eight dogs, and ten horses, all of whom, (except the horses), walk about the house like the masters of it. Tita the Venetian is here, and operates as my valet; a fine fellow, with a prodigious black beard, and who has stabbed two or three people, and is one of the most good-natured looking fellows I ever saw.
We have good rumours of the Greeks here, and a Russian war. I hardly wish the Russians to take any part in it. My maxim is with .(Escbylus: ■—ri 5u(T<rf#fv—/x€TO fiiv Tr\dova Tiktci, fftpctipa S«iKoTa yevvif. There is a Greek exercise for you. How should slaves produce anything but tyranny —even as the seed produces the plant 1
Adieu, dear Mary. Yours affectionately, S.
Saturday— Ravenna. Mr Dear Mary,—You will be surprised to hear that L. B. has decided upon coming to Pirn, in case he shall be able, with my assistance, to prevail upon his mistress to remain in Italy, of which 1 think there is little doubt. He wishes for a large and magnificent house, but he has furniture of his own, which he would send from Ravenna. Inquire if any of the large palaces are to be let. We discussed Prato, Pistoia, Lucca, &c, but they would not suit him so well as Pisa, to which, indeed, he shows a decided preference. So let it be! Florence he objects to, on account of the prodigious influx of English.
I don't think this circumstance ought to make any difference in our own plans with respect to this winter in Florence, because wc could easily reassume our station with the spring, at Pugnano or the baths, in order to enjoy the society of the noble lord. But do you consider this point, and write to me your full opinion, at the Florence post-office.
I suffer much to-day from the pain in my side, brought on, I believe, by this accursed water. In other respects, I am pretty well, and my spirits arc much improved; they had been improving, indeed, before I left the baths, after the deep dejection of the early part of the year.
I am reading "Auastasius." One would think that L. 13. had taken bU idea of the three last cantos of Don Juan from this book. That, of course, has nothing to do with the merit of this latter, poetry having nothing to do with the invention of facts. It is a very powerful, and very entertaining novel, and a faithful picture, they say, of modern Greek manners. I have read L. B.'s Letter to Bowles: some good things—but he ought not to write prose criticism.
You will receive a long letter, sent with some of L. B.'s, express to Florence. I write this in haste. Yours most affectionately, S.
Ravenna, Tuetday, Augutt 15th, 1821.
My Dearest Love,—I accept your kind present of your picture, and wish you would get it prettily framed for me. I will wear, for your sake, upon my heart this image which is ever present to my mind.
I have only two minutes to write, the post is just setting off. I shall leave this place ou Thursday or Friday morning. You would forgive me for my longer stay, if you knew the fighting I have had to make it so short I need not say where my own feelings impel me.
It still remains fixed that L. B. should come to Tuscany, and, if possible, Pisa ; but more of that to-morrow.
Your faithful and affectionate S.
My Dearest Love,—I write, though I doubt whether I shall not arrive before this letter; as the post only leaves Ravenna once a week, on Saturdays, and as I hope to set out to-morrow evening by the courier. But as I must necessarily stay a day at Florence, and as the natural incidents of travelling may prevent me from taking my intended advantage of the couriers, it is probable that this letter will arrive first Besides, as I will explain, I am not yet quite my own master. But that by and bye. I do not think it necessary to tell you of my impatience to return to you and my little darling, or the disappointment with which I have prolonged my absence from you. I am happy to think that you are not quite alone.
Lord Byron is still decided upon Tuscany: and such is his impatience, that he has desired me— as if I should not arrive in time—to write to you
to inquire for the best unfurnished palace in Pisa, and to enter upon a treaty for it It is better not to be on the Lung' Arno ; but, in fact, there ie no such hurry, and as I shall see you so soon, it is not worth while to trouble yourself about it
I told you I had written by L. B.'s desire to la Guiccioli, to dissuade her and her family from Switzerland. Her answer is this moment arrived, and my representation seems to have reconciled them to the unfitness of that step. At the conclusion of a letter, full of all the fine things she says she has heard of me, is this request, which I transcribe;—"Signore—la rostra honti mi /o ardita di chiederri unfarore—me lo aecorderete rot.' Non partite da Ravenna tenia Milord." Of course, being now, by all the laws of knighthood, captive to a lady's request, I shall only be at liberty oa my parole, until Lord Byron is settled at Pisa. I shall reply, of course, that the boon is granted, and that if her lover is reluctant to quit Ravenna, after I have made arrangements for receiving him at Pisa, I am bound to place myself in the same situation as now, to assail him with importunities to rejoin her. Of this there is, fortunately, no need; and I need not tell yon there is no fear that this chivalric submission of mine to the great general laws of antique courtesy, against which I never rebel, and which is my religion, should interfere with my quick returning, and long remaining with you, dear girl.
I have seen Dante's tomb, and worshipped the sacred spot. The building and its accessories are comparatively modern, but, the urn itself, and the tablet of marble, with his portrait in relief, are evidently of equal antiquity with his death. The countenance has all the marks of being taken from his own ; the lines are strongly marked, far more than the portraits, which, however, it resembles; except, indeed, the eye, which is half closed, and reminded me of Pacchiani. It was probably taken after death. I saw the library, and some specimens of the earliest illuminated printing from the press of Faust. They are on vellum, and of an execution little inferior to that of the present day. We ride out every evening as usual, and practise pistol-shooting at a pumpkin ; and I am not sorry to observe, that I approach towards my noble friend's exactness of aim. The water here is villanous, and I have suffered tortures ; but I now drink nothing but alcalescent water, and am much relieved. I have the greatest trouble to get away; and L. B., as a reason for my stay, has urged. that, without either me or the Guiccioli, he win certainly fall into his old habits. I then talk, and he listens to reason; and I earnestly hope that I ho is too well aware of the terrible and degrading consequences of his former mode of life, to be in danger from the short interval of temptation that will be left him. L. B. speaks with great kindness and interest of you, and seems to wish to see you.
I Have received your letter with that to Mrs. Hoppner. I do not wonder, my dearest friend, that you should have been moved. I was at first, but speedily regained the indifference which the opinion of anything, or anybody, except our own consciousness, amply merits; and day by day shall more receive from me. I have not recopied your letter; such a measure would destroy its authenticity, but have given it to Lord Byron, who has engaged to send it with his own comments to the Hoppners. People do not hesitate, it seems, to make themselves panders and accomplices to slander, for the Hoppners had exacted from Lord Byron that these accusations should be concealed from me. Lord Byron is not a man to keep a secret, good or bad ; but in openly confessing that he has not done so, he must observe a certain delicacy, and therefore wished to send the letter himself, and indeed this adds weight to your representations. Have you seen the article in the Literary Gazette on me! They evidently allude to some story of this kind—however cautious the Hoppners have been in preventing the calumniated person from asserting his justification, you know too much of the world not to be certain that this was the utmost limit of their caution. So much for nothing.
Lord Byron is immediately coming to Pisa. He will set off the moment I can get him a house. Who would have imagined this i Our first thought
ought to be , our second our own plans. Tho
hesitation in your letter about Florence has coni■mnicated itself to me; although I hardly see what we can do about Horace Smith, to whom our attentions are so due, and would be so useful. If I do not arrive before this long scrawl, write something to Florence to decide me. I shall certainly, not without strong reasons, at present siyn the agreement for the old codger's house ; although the extreme beauty and fitness of the place, should we decide on Florence, might well overbalance the objection of your deaf visitor. One thing— with Lord Byron and the people we know at Pisa, we should have a security and protection, which seems to be more questionable at Florence. But I do not think that this consideration onght to weigh. What think you of remaining at Pisa 1 The Williams's would probably be induced to stay there if we did; Hunt would certainly stay, at least this winter, near us, should he emigrate at
all; Lord Byron and his Italian friends would remain quietly there ; and Lord Byron has certainly a great regard for us—the regard of such a man is worth—tome of the tribute we must pay to the base passions of humanity in any intercourse with those within their circle ; he is better worth it than those on whom we bestow it from
mere custom. The are there, and as far as
solid affairs are concerned, are my friends. * * * * * At Pisa I need not distil my water—if I can distil it anywhere. Last winter I suffered less from my painful disorder than the winter I spent at Florence. The arguments for Florence you know, and they are very weighty; judge (7 know you like the job,) which scale is overbalanced.
My greatest content would be utterly to desert all human society. I would retire with you and our child to a solitary island in the sea, would build a boat, and shut upon my retreat the floodgates of the world. I would read no reviews, and talk with no authors. If I dared trust my imagination, it would tell me that there are one or two chosen companions beside yourself whom I should desire. But to this I would not listen—where two or three are gathered together, the devil is among them. And good, far more than evil impulses, love, far more than hatred, has been to me, except as you have been its object, the source of all sorts of mischief. So on this plan, I would be alone, and would devote, either to oblivion or to future generations, the overflowings of a mind which, timely withdrawn from the contagion, should be kept fit for no baser object But this it does not appear that we shall do.
The other side of the alternative (for a medium ought not to be adopted) is to form for ourselves a society of our own class, as much as possible in intellect, or in feelings ; and to connect ourselves with the interests of that society. Our roots never struck so deeply as at Pisa, and the transplanted tree flourishes not. People who lead the Uvea which we led until last winter, are like a family of Wahabee Arabs, pitching their tent in the midst of London. We must do one thing or the other—for yourself, for our child, for our existence. The calumnies, the sources of which are probably deeper than we perceive, have ultimately, for object, the depriving us of the means of security and subsistence. You will easily perceive the gradations by which calumny proceeds to pretext, pretext to persecution, and persecution to the ban of fire and water. It is for this, and not because this or tliat fool, or the whole court of fools, curse and rail, that calumny is worth refuting or chastising.
Pita, Augutt S6!», 1821.
My Dearest Friend,—Since I last wrote to you, I have been on a visit to Lord Byron at Ravenna. The result of this visit was a determination, on his part, to come and live at Pisa; and I have taken the finest palace on the Lung' Arno for him. But the material part of my visit consists in a message which he desires me to give you, and which, I think, ought to add to your determination—for such a one I hope you have formed, of restoring your shattered health and spirits by a migration to these "regions mild of calm and serene air."
He proposes that you should come and go shares with him and me, in a periodical work, to be conducted here; in which each of the contracting parties should publish all their original compositions, and share the profits. He proposed it to Moore, but for some reason it was never brought to bear. There can be no doubt that the profits of any scheme in which you and Lord Byron engage, must, from various, yet co-operating reasons, be very great. As for myself, I am, for the present, only a sort of link between you and him, until you can know each other, and effectuate the arrangement; since (to entrust you with a secret which, for your sake, I withhold from Lord Byron) nothing would induce me to share in the profits, and still less, in the borrowed splendour of such a partnership. You and he, in different manners, would be equal, and would bring, in a different manner, but in the same proportion, equal stocks of reputation and success. Do not let my frankness with you, nor my belief that you deserve it more than Lord Byron, have the effect of deterring you from assuming a station in modem literature, which the universal voice of my contemporaries forbids me either to stoop or to aspire to. I am, and I desire to be, nothing.
I did not ask Lord Byron to assist me in sending a remittance for your journey ; because there are men, however excellent, from whom we would never receive an obligation, in the worldly sense of the word ; and I am as jealous for my friend as for myself; but I suppose that I shall at last make up an impudent face, and ask Horace Smith to add to the many obligations he has conferred on me. I know I need only ask.
I think I have never told you how very much I like your ■ Amyntas;" it almost reconciles me to translations. In another sense I still demur. You might have written another such poem as the "Nymphs," with no great access of efforts. I am
full of thoughts and plans, and should do something, if the feeble and irritable frame which incloses it was willing to obey the spirit I fancy that then I should do great things. Before this you will have seen «Adonais." Lord Byron, I suppose from modesty, on account of his being mentioned in it, did not say a word of "Adonais," though he was loud in his praise of " Prometheus," and, what you will not agree with him in, censure of " the Cenci." Certainly, if "Marino Faliero" is a drama, " the Cenci" is not—but that between ourselves. Lord Byron is reformed, as far as gallantry goes, and lives with a beautiful and sentimental Italian lady, who is as much attached to him as may be. I trust greatly to his intercourse with you, for his creed to become as pure as he thinks his conduct is. He has many generous and exalted qualities, but the canker of aristocracy wants to be cut out
Pita, Sept. UfA, 1SS1.
My Dear Smith,—I cannot express the pain and disappointment with which I learn the change in your plans, no less than the afflicting cause of it Florence will no longer have any attractions for me this winter, and I shall contentedly sit down in this humdrum Pisa, and refer to hope and to chance the pleasure I had expected from your society this winter. What shall I do with yoar packages, which have now, I believe, all arrived at Guebhard's at Leghorn t Is it not possible that a favourable change in Mrs. Smith's health might produce a corresponding change in your determinations, and would it, or would it not, be premature to forward the packages to your present residence, or to London I I will pay every possible attention to your instructions in thia regard.
I had marked down several houses in Florence, and one especially on the Arno, a most lovely place, though they asked rather more than perhaps you would have chosen to pay — yet nothing approaching to an English price.—I do not yet entirely givo you up.—Indeed, I should be sorry not to hope that Mrs. Smith's state of health would not soon become such, as to remove your principal objection to this delightful climate. I have not, with the exception of three or four dan, suffered in the least from the heat this year. Though, it is but fair to confess, that my temperament approaches to that of the salamander.
We expect Lord Iiyron here in about a fortnight. I have just taken the finest pakca in I'isa for him, and his luggage, anil his horses, and all his train, are, I believe, already on their way hither. I dare say you have heard of the life he led at Venice, rivalling the wise Solomon almost, in the number of his concubines. Well, he is now quite reformed, and is leading a most sober and decent life, as cavaliere servente to a very pretty Italian woman, who has already arrived at Pisa, with her father and her brother, (such are the manners of Italy,) as the jackals of the lion. He is occupied in forming a new drama, and, with views which I doubt not will expand as he proceeds, is determined to write a series of plays, in which ho will follow the French tragedians and Alfieri, rather than those of England and Spain, and produce something new, at least, to England. This seems to mc the wrong road ; but genius like his is destined to lead and not to follow. He will shake off his shackles as he finds they cramp him. I believe ho will produce something very great; and that familiarity with the dramatic power of human nature, will soon enable him to soften down the severe and unharmonising traits of his "Marino Falicro." I think you know Lord Byron personally, or is it your brother! If the latter, I know that he wished particularly to be introduced to you, and that he will sympathise, in some degree, in this great disappointment which I feel in the change, or, as I yet hope, in the prorogation of your plans.
I am glad you like "Adonais," and, particularly, that you do not think it metaphysical, which I was afraid it was. I was resolved to pay some tribute of sympathy to the unhonourcd dead, but I wrote, as usual, with a total ignorance of the effect that I should produce.—I have not yet seen your pastoral drama ; if you have a copy, could you favour me with it 1 It will be six months before I shall receive it from England. I have heard it spoken of with high praise, and I have the greatest curiosity to see it.
The Gisbornes promised to buy mc some books in Paris, and I liad asked you to be kind enough to advance them what they might want to pay for them. I cannot conceive why they did not execute this little commission for me, as they knew how very much I wished to receive these books by the same conveyance as the filtering-stone. Dare I ask you to do me the favour to buy them 1 A complete edition of the worh of Calderon, and the French translation of Kant, a German Faust, and to add the Nympholept t—I am indifferent as to a little more or less expense, so that I may have them immediately. I will send you an order on Paris for the amount, together with the thirty-two francs yon were kind enough to pay for me.
All public attention is now centred on the wonderful revolution in Greece. I dare not, after the events of last winter, hope that slaves can becomo freemen so cheaply ; yet I know one Greek of the highest qualities, both of courage and conduct, the Prince Mavrocordato, and if the rest be like him, all will go well.—The news of this moment is, that the Russian army has orders to advance.
Mrs. S. unites with me in the most heartfelt regret, And I remain, my dear Smith, Most faithfully yours,
P. B. S.
If you happen to have brought a copy of Clarke's edition of Queen Mab for me, I should like very well to see it.—I really hardly know what this poem is about. I am afraid it is rather rough.
Uta, October 22, 1821.
My Deab Gisborne,—At length the post brings a welcome letter from you, and I am pleased to be assured of your health and safe arrival. I expect with interest and anxiety the intelligence of your progress in England, and how far the advantages there, compensate the loss of Italy. I hear from Hunt that he is determined on emigration, and if I thought the letter would arrive in time, I should beg you to suggest some advice to him. But you ought to be incapable of forgiving mc the fact of depriving England of what it must lose when Hunt departs.
Did I tell you that Lord Byron comes to settle at Pisa, and that he has a plan of writing a periodical work in conjunction with Hunt 1 His house, Madame Fclichi's, is already taken and fitted up for him, and he has been expected everyday these six weeks. La Guiccioli, who awaits him impatiently, is a very pretty, sentimental, innocent Italian, who has sacrificed an immense fortune for the sake of Lord Byron, and who, if I know anythiug of my friend, of her and of human nature, will hereafter have plenty of leisure and opportunity to repent her rashness. Lord Byron is, however, quite cured of his gross habits, as far as habits ; the perverse ideas on which they were formed, are not yet eradicated.
We have furnished a house at Pisa, and mean to make it our head-quarters. I shall get all my books out, and entrench myself like a spider in a web. If you can assist P. in sending them to Leghorn, you would do mc an especial favour; but do not buy mc Calderon, Faust, or Kant, as H. S. promises to send them me from Paris, where I