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PREFACE.

" A great poet belongs to no country; his works are public property, and his Memoirs the inheritance of the public.” Such were the sentiments 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.

I

am aware that in publishing these reminiscences I shall have to contend with much

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 to find their names in print,—to hear his real opinion

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 undertaken, conscientiously: I mean neither to throw a 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 affections were equally strong. Both demanded continual employment; and he had an impatience of repose, a "restlessness of rest,” that

kept them in constant activity. It is satisfactory too, at least it is some consolation, to reflect, that the last energies of his nature were consumed in the cause of liberty, and for the benefit of mankind.

How I became acquainted with so many particulars of bis history, so many incidents of his life, so many of his opinions, is easily explained. They were communicated 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 shewn to any one individual, and but for the fate of his MS. would never have appeared before the public.

I despise mere writing for the sake of bookmaking, 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 his 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 could forget ?

“ His subtle talk would cheer the winter night,

And make me know myself; and the fire-light
Would flash upon our faces, till the day
Might dawn, and make me wonder at my stay."

Shelley's Julian and Maddalo.

Geneva, Ist August, 1824.

CONTENTS.

Page

The Writer's arrival at Pisa. Lord Byron's live stock and
impedimenta. The Lanfranchi palace; Ugolino; Lanfranchi's

ghost. English Cerberus. Lord B.'s Leporello; bas reliefs and
mantel-pieces

9-11

Introduction to Lord Byron. His cordiality of manner. Description

of his person ; his bust by Bertolini ; the cloven foot; his temperate

habits, and regard for the brute creation. Conversations on Swit-

zerland and Germany; strong predilection for Turkey

11-16

Residence at Geneva. Malicious intruders. Madame de Staël. Din-

ner disaster. Excursions on the lake; Shelley and Hobhouse;

St. Preux and Julia; classical drowning. Lord Byron's horseman-

ship; pistol-firing; remarks on duelling; his own duels. Anecdote 16-20

Sunset at Venice and Pisa. Routine of Lord Byron's life. The

Countess Guiccioli: Lord B.'s attachment to her; beautiful Sonnet

and Stanzas in honour of her. Cavalieri Serventi. Mode of bring-

ing up Italian females ; its consequences. Italian propensity to love.

Intimacy with the Countess : her rescue

20—29

Lord Byron's preference for Ravenna. Female beauty in Italy and

England compared. The Constitutionalists; their proscription.

Lord Byron's danger. Assassination of the military Commandant

at Ravenna. Lord B.'s humanity

29–34

The Byron Memoirs : Mr. Moore, Lady Burghersh, and Lady

Byron. Lord B.'s opinion of his own Memoirs; his marriage and

separation. Mrs. Williams, the English Sybil. An omen. Lord

B.'s introduction to Miss Millbank ; his courtship and marriage 34-38

The wedding-ring. An uneasy ride. The honey-moon. Lord and

Lady B.'s fashionable dissipation; consequent embarrassment; final

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