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“ A great poet. belongs to no country; his
Works are public property, and his Memoirs the inheritance of the public.” Such Were the sen
timents of Lord Byron; and have they been attended to? Has not a manifest injustice been done to the world, and an injury to his memory, by the destruction of his Memoirs? These are questions which it is now late, perhaps needless,
to ask; but I will endeavour to lessen, if not to remedy, the evil.
obloquy from some parts of his family,—-that I shall incur the animosity of many of his friends. There are authors, too, who Will not be pleased find their names in print,—to hear his real opinion of themselves, or of their works. There are others—-But I have the satisfaction of feeling that I have set about executing the task I have under
taken conscientiousl : I mean neither to throw a ’ y
veil over his errors, nor a gloss over his virtues.
My sketch will be an imperfect and a rough one, it is true, but it will be from the life; and slight as it is, may prove more valuable, perhaps, than a finished drawing from memory. It Will be any thing but a panegyric : my aim is to paint him as he was. That’ his passions were violent and impetuous, cannot be denied ; but his feelings and alIections were equally strong. Both demanded continual employment; and he had an im
patience of repose, a “ restlessness of rest,” that
many parso many incidents of his
nions, is easil ,eX lained. y. P
ted during a period of
many months’ familiar intercourse, Without any
injunctions to secrecy, and committed to paper for the sake of reference only. They have not
been shown to any one individual, and but for
the fate of his MS. Would never have appeared before the public.
ticulars of his history, life, so many of his opi They Were communica
and have disdained to swell out my
materials into volumes. I have given Lord By ron’s
ideas as I noted them down at the time,—-in
own Words, as far as my recollection served.
They are however, in many cases, the substance without the form. The brilliancy of his wit, the flow of his eloquence, the sallies of his imagination, who could do justice to? His voice, his manner, which gave a charm to the whole, who
“ His subtle talk would cheer the winter night,
Shelley’s Julian and Maddalo.
Geneva, 1st August, 1824.
Introduction to Lord Byron. His cordiality of manner. Description