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HIS LETTERS AND JOURNALS,
AND HIS LIFE,
BY THOMAS MOORE, ESQ.
IN SEVENTEEN VOLUMES.
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
In this Volume are arranged, as exactly as could be ascertained, in the order in which they were written, Lord Byron's detached poetical pieces produced between the publication of "The Corsair," in January, 1814, and the end of July, 1816, when he left Geneva for Italy. The third Canto of " Childe Harold " was composed, as has been already mentioned, during the last two months of the period thus embraced.
The contents of this Volume are so miscellaneous, that we have found it necessary to give our observations on the several pieces, in immediate connection with each as it occurs. On the whole, the section of the Author's life to which these belong is, perhaps, the most deeply interesting of all; and cer
tainly there is none which has been more clearly and touchingly reflected in his poetry. Indeed, the course of his personal feelings may be traced with hardly less distinctness in the romantic tales of "Lara," the "Siege of Corinth," "Parisina," and the "Prisoner of Chillon," than in the occasional Stanzas with which they are intermixed
even in the six
remarkable effusions expressly originating in his separation from Lady Byron.
With regard to the first of those Domestic Pieces, the "Fare thee well,"
we have seen, since the sheet containing it was sent to the press, the original draught of it; and, had it fallen under our notice sooner, we should have presented the reader with a fac-simile. The appearance of the MS. confirms, and more than confirms, the account of the circumstances under which it was written, given in the Notices of Lord Byron's Life. It is blotted all over with the marks of tears.
We have also observed, that the motto from "Christabel," which now stands at the head of "Fare thee well," did not appear there until
several editions had been printed. Mr. Coleridge's poem was, in fact, first published in June, 1816, and reached Lord Byron after he had crossed the Alps, in September. It was then that he signified his wish to have the extract in question affixed to all future copies of his stanzas; and the reader, who might have doubted Mr. Moore's assertion, that Lord Byron's hopes of an ultimate reconciliation with his Lady survived even the unsuccessful negotiation prompted by the kind interference of Madame de Staël, when he visited her at Copet, will probably now consider the selection and date of this motto, as circumstances strongly corroborative of the biographer's
"A dreary sea now flows between
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,
Shall wholly do away, I ween,
The marks of that which once hath been!"
The saddest period of Lord Byron's life was also, we see, one of the busiest. His refuge and solace were ever in the practice of his art; and the rapidity with which he continued to pour out verses at this melancholy time, if it