taín C——, a most active and praiseworthy magistrate of that county, of Martin's lying wounded in some of the islands of the lake. Early in the morning the Captain took the revenue boat, well-manned, and proceeded on his quest. While busied in searching one island, he perceived a boat putting off from the other, rowed by two women, and a head evidently bobbing in the stern, the wind being high, and the water rough. All hands were called to the pursuit; and though the boat was but a little a-head, the two lasses beat the revenue barge, with its eight oars, the whole breadth of the lake to the wood of St John's, where dropping Martin on dry land, up to his neck in the water," as they themselves would have said, they made down the wind, away from the dreaded magistrate. The Captain in vain endeavoured to come up with them, not to put them in irons, as they supposed, but to help them from his whisky bottle for having so gallantly outstripped him. Poor Martin, ne

[ocr errors]


vertheless, was taken in the wood, where he had thrown himself into a furze bush, and in spite of the gathering of the country people, he was secured, and at length lodged safe in the jail of Mullingar.

He was tried, and condemned to die, but had frequent offers of pardon, if he would confess and name his associates. All solicitations of the kind were vain; he was resolute in betraying none. I was present at his execution; it took place near the fatal scene of his last attack. As he ascended the ladder, he turned round to address the assembled crowd, consisting of his old friends and accomplices. He eyed each with a look of recognition, and though pale and ghastly from his hurt and sickness, I shall never forget the impressiveness with which he uttered these last words," It is a bad business, boys, and drop it; but, boys, I die clane."

Those who know what heroic sentiment is, I leave to form their own conclusion.

By clane he meant true, that he had betrayed nothing; the expression of " a clean heart," ," "a clean conscience," is very common with them.


From an Old Friend with a New Face.


On ANASTASIUS. By-Lord Byron.*

I HAVE been struck with wonder at the compassionate review of the three new Cantos of Don Juan in your last Number. But though you may be pardoned in that instance, considering the great pains poor Byron has of late taken to write himself down, I cannot forgive you for the part you have hitherto affected to play towards the impostor Anastasius. In a word, Kit, to be familiar with you, as our ancient friendship fully authorizes me to be, I beg to know how it is that you have allowed the soft-headed world to believe so long that the aforesaid rascally Greek is a legitimate son of "the upholsterer.' You know as well as I do, that the stuff and bam about dedicating, and not dedicating to Louisa, is a piece of quizzical humbug to cajole the gullibility of the reading public. How Byron must chuckle at the success of the device! I am, however, the more


angry at the suppression of your wonted sagacity on this occasion, as the work, though full of a clever innate scoundrelism, is really not only too bad in many of its details, but calculated to profane many serious and sacred things. But what can be said for Hope, who having been so laughed at, for his skill in contriving receptacles for sitting parts, and disguises for certain utensils, has been beguiled to stand godfather to Byron's abandoned progeny? He knows that the Thomas Hope, who writes so dedicatorily to Louisa from Duchess Street, but whose name is not ventured on the title-page, is meant for him who possesses so many noseless statues and cracked pitchers of antiquity, and that he has as little to say to the composition of Anastasius as the Whigs have to the hospitalities of the King's reception in Ireland. Why he should, therefore, assent to the cajolery of taking in the

Anastasius, or Memoirs of a Greek; written at the close of the eighteenth century. 3 vols. London. Murray, 1820.

public with this licentious story, is beyond my comprehension. Mr Hope is a very respectable and decorous gentleman, he can write, with some endeavour, passably about chests of drawers, paper hangings, and cushions as soft as his own or any other brains, but that he has either the courage or the power to compile such a work as Anastasius, I utterly and entirely deny. None but a man who was conscious of previously possessing some influence on public opinion would have dared to send out such a book. Mr Hope has no such influence.

But, not to deal too largely in the expression of my general persuasion of the fact, I would call your attention to a few circumstances that, I conceive, you will allow, constitute strong proofs that Anastasius is the production of Byron. In the first place, one of the great features of the work is an intimate knowledge of the localities of many of the scenes, and an easy applicable familiarity with the vernacular terms for all Greek and Ottoman things, grades, and offices. Who ever heard of Hope possessing any such knowledge? The localities, it is true, might be described from books of travels some of them are-but those which are so borrowed can be easily discriminated from the allusions to places which the author actually visited. With respect to the vernacular terms, they too might be obtained from dictionaries; but where are such dictionaries to be found? They have no existence in any Pagan, Christian, or Mahomedan language. Is it not, then, probable that this minute kind of knowledge was acquired by the author himself? and it is known that Lord Byron, during his residence in Turkey, made considerable progress in the languages of the country. Besides, it is quite in his lordship's way to employ the original names of things in the scenes where he places his actions. No other author has adopted this fashion so much on principle; indeed few, from their own knowledge, were able to do it with true effect. Is it probable that such a man as Hope could so well assume one of the most decided peculiarities of so peculiar an author as Byron? He is not qualified -he has neither the minute knowledge, nor is it in his power, or that of any other man, through so long a story as Anastasius, to take upon him

self such an undeniable criterion of identity. Short essays, characteristic of the blemishes and originalities of writers, have been often well executed; but such sports of fancy have ever been easily discovered from genuine productions-caricature is always obvious. But that any other than the original author should be able to treat at so much length, and with such circumstantiality, of such a variety of things, considering them as Byron alone would consider them, is a supposition too absurd to be seriously entertained. It would argue a resemblance in mind without parallel; or rather, an assumption of character, more extraordinary than that transfusion of nature, habits, and propensities, which is supposed to accompany a transfusion of the blood of one animal into the veins of another. I will as soon believe, that, by the operation of transfusion, a frog can be made to sing like Catalani, as that any nick-knacky gentleman, like Hope, could so inhale from Byron's works, the spirit of his bold, satirical, and libertine genius, as to be able to write a book, so like a book of his as the work in question. The conception of the story, and the general style of the narrative, is decidedly like Byron's conceptions and execution. The character, too, of Anastasius, is exactly of a piece with Lord Byron's; that is, with the one which pervades all his works, and so charitably considered as his own. The spirit of Anastasius is that of Don Juan. Would Lord Byron have made so obvious a copy from the work of any other artist? The whole story seems the chalk sketch of the poem; and Anastasius himself, in his riper years, is but another version of all the varieties of his Lordship's poetical progeny, from Childe Harold to Beppo. Is it likely that any other but the original author would imagine such a character? or rather, have so melted all Byron's characters into one? for Anastasius is a compilation of all those which, under different names, have been spoken of as different individuals, but which are, in reality, but different aspects of the same liberal, licentious, learned, brave, impassioned, and misanthropic being.

But, to leave generalities, I will now proceed to give you a few proofs from the work itself, in corroboration of the opinion which I have here expressed;

adopted as homogeneous to his own, let him pray nine times a-day, that he may never be subjected to the temptations of adversity. For what in Byron is spleen, must, in one so enriched with the gifts of good fortune, be nothing less than the innate malice of some undeveloped traitor, to all that is social and kind in life.

an opinion which has certainly not been formed on particular passages, but from the whole effect of the story, --and I appeal to the first chapter, in the first instance. To give quotations would be ridiculous; but I request you to read it again, and say, if any man who had ever enjoyed the solicitudes of the parental hearth, and the intima cies of fraternal affection, could have conceived such a contemptuous representation of home. That a man who, never since the second stage of boyhood, knew properly what home or kindred was, might so write and conceive, is, however, highly probable. Home is what mankind have always been accustomed to consider as the sanctuary of human happiness; and it was natural, that one who owes much of his celebrity to his resolute determination to see every thing connected with the social state, in a different point of view from the rest of the world, should try the shafts of his satire on that which, above all things, above even religion itself, has been held most sacred and dearest. It was natural, that a mind which suffers the sense of solitude in cities, and which contemplates the fickle ocean as the most invariable image of the unchangeable divinity, should delineate the state of home as one destitute of all regulated sympathy and habitual affection. That Mr Hope would ever have made such an attempt, cannot for a moment be supposed. He is a domestic animal, and has been linked into every description of the social ties from his childhood. It never would have entered into his head to degrade the cherished sentiments which are associated with the remembrance of a father's roof, and the light free-hearted intercourse of intermingled children. But the case is different with Byron; and it is less his fault than his misfortune, that he does not feel that reverence for the domestic reciprocities in which other men so much delight. In him it was a natural feeling; and, instead of inspiring any adverse sentiment, it ought to make us reflect with sorrow, that a mind so ductile to impressions of the good and fair in moral action, should have been so cast on the world, as to imbibe so much of misanthropy and spleen. If Hope, that " prosperous gentleman," is capable of writing such an account of a domestic circle, and while under feelings which he has

The second chapter, contains, I conceive, the ground work of the description, where Don Juan is represented as a captive for sale; and this is a proof of the identity of the author.

The third chapter is full of the spirit and fire of the Giaour, and I would refer you to the following passages, as bearing the strongest traces of Byron's abrupt, satirical, and impassionate pencil; independent altogether of those minute and descriptive touches respecting the dress of the Albanians, which none but one who was familiar with them could have introduced, for they are not such things as travellers are at all in the practice of recording. Byron lived some time among the Albanians, he had two of them in his service, and in different parts of his declared works shews the most thorough knowledge of their customs and characteristics. Hope knows nothing about them personally.

"My great ambition had been to take a left the disabled man, as secure, to his own I therefore prisoner, to possess a slave. meditations, and with my biggest voice called to his companion to surrender. Luckily he did not even look round at the stripling who addressed him; but presently leaping down a little eminence, disappeared in a thicket, where I thought it prudent to give up the hazardous chase.

"I now returned to the fellow whom I had left writhing on the ground, apparently at the last gasp; and when sufficiently near, lest there should still lurk about him some latent spark of life, which might only wait to spend itself in a last home thrust, swiftly sprung forward, and, for fear of foul play, put an extinguisher upon it, ere I ventured to take any other liberties with his person. This done, I deliberately proceeded to the work of spoliation. With a hand all trembling with joy, I first took the silver-mounted pistols, and glittering poniard, and costly yatagan; I next collected the massy knobs of the jacket, and able sequins lying perdue in the folds of clasps of the buskins, and still more valuthe sash; and lastly, feeling my appetite for plunder increase in proportion as it was gratified, thought it such a pity to leave any part of so showy an attire a prey to

corruption, that I undressed the dead man completely.

"When, however, the business which engaged all my attention was entirely achie ved, and that human body, of which, in the eagerness for its spoil, I had only thus far noticed the separate limbs one by one, as I stripped them, all at once struck my sight in its full dimensons, as it lay naked before me ;-when I contemplated that fine athletic frame, but a moment before full of life and vigor unto its fingers' ends, now rendered an insensible corpse by the random shot of a raw youth whom in close combat its little finger might have crushed, I could not help feeling, mixed with my exultation, a sort of shame, as if for a cowardly advantage obtained over a superior being; and, in order to make a kind of atonement to the shade of an Epirote

[ocr errors]

of a kinsman-I exclaimed with outstretched hands, Cursed be the paltry dust which turns the warrior's arm into a mere engine, and striking from afar an invisible blow, carries death no one knows whence to no one knows whom; levels the strong with the weak, the brave with the dastardly; and, enabling the feeblest hand to wield its fatal lightning, makes the conqueror slay without anger, and the conquered die with out glory!""

What follows this fine and animated passage is one of those freaks which Byron alone would have ventured to indulge. Voltaire is the only other writer that, after such impassioned eloquence, would have been so cruelly playfully as to add this

"On the very point of departing after this sort of expiatory effusion, with my heavy but valuable trophy huddled on my back, the thought struck me that I might incur a suspicion of sporting plumes not my own, unless I brought my vouchers. With that view I began detaching from my Arnaoot's shaggy skull both the ears, as pledges for the remainder of the head, when I should be at leisure to fetch it; but considering how many gleaners stalked the harvest field, and that if I lost my own head, none other might be found to make me amends, I determined to take at once all I meant to keep. The work was a tough one, and the operator at best still a bungler, but I succeeded at last ;-and now, in an ecstacy of delight, though almost afraid to look at my bundle, I return ed to our party for ever cured, by an almost instantaneous transition to temerity, of every sentiment of fear. Indeed such remained for some time the ferment of my spirits, that, while I carried my load on one arm, I kept brandishing my sword with the other, still eager to lay about me, and to cut down whomsoever I met."


The description of the approach to Constantinople from the Propontis could only have been made by one who had actually seen that magnificent view. Byron sailed up the Hellespont in an English frigate, and Anastasius is represented to have performed the voyage in a Turkish man-of-war.

The description which Anastasius gives of his employment at the arsenal of Constantinople, is clever and ingenious; but it wants those little incidents which actual experience would have given, while it shews that the author's eye was acquainted with the localities of the place. Hope might, therefore, have written the account of the employments, but he could not have so spoken of the localities.

An actual and familiar acquaintance with the situation and environs of the arsenal, such as no literature nor painting could give, was requisite to enable the author to speak of it as Anastasius speaks. In the same chapter the whole adventure with Theophania is full of the frolics of Byron's pen; and his dismissal by Maroyeni could have been written by no other. "In the twinkling of an eye the whole, Fanar was informed of the secretary's disgrace;-only it was ascribed to my having, with a pistol in one hand, and a sword in the other, made such proposals to Madame la Droguemane, as she could not possibly listen to from her husband's clerk."

The adventure with the Jew is full of absurdity, but it is redeemed from contempt by the rich embroidery of imagination which is thrown over the grossest improbabilities. All Byron's stories are of this sort; they are either wild, wonderful, or absurd. His exuberant fancy alone makes them interesting and beautiful. The death of the Parsée is such, that none but himself could have fancied and so described.

"One evening, as we were returning from the Blacquernes, an old woman threw herself in our way, and taking hold of my master's garment, dragged him almost by main force after her into a mean-looking habitation just by, where lay on a couch, apparently at the last gasp, a man of foreign features. I have brought a physician,' said the female to the patient,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

who, perhaps, may relieve you.' Why will you', answered he faintly, still persist to feel idle hopes! I have lived an outcast: suffer me at least to die in piece; nor

2 C

disturb my last moments by vain illusions. My soul pants to rejoin the supreme Spirit; arrest not its flight: it would only be delaying my eternal bliss!'

upon me.


As the stranger spoke these words which struck even Yacoob sufficiently to make him suspend his professional grimace -the last beams of the setting sun darted across the casement of the window upon his pale, yet swarthy features. Thus visited, he seemed for a moment to revive. I have always,' said he, considered my fate as connected with the great luminary that rules the creation. I have always paid it due worship, and firmly believed I could not breathe my last whilst its rays shone Carry me therefore out, that I may take my last farewell of the heavenly ruler of my earthly destinies !' "We all rushed forward to obey the mandate: but, the stairs being too narrow, the woman only opened the window, and placed the dying man before it, so as to enjoy the full view of the glorious orb, just in the act of dropping beneath the horizon. He remained a few moments in silent adoration; and mechanically we all joined him in fixing our eyes on the object of his worship. It set in all its splendour; and when its golden disk had entirely disappeared, we looked round at the Parsee. He too had sunk into everlasting rest.'

[ocr errors]

In the sixth chapter, the account of the Bagnio is rich in all the peculiarities of Byron's impartial and misanthropic satire. The comparison with hell might have occurred to any other mind, even to Furniture Hope's, for a hell upon earth is a vulgar enough idea; but those specialties of morose reflection, which scowl throughout the picture, could only have presented themselves to one accustomed to contemplate the inward workings of guilt, and the physiognomy of passion, rendered sullen in its energies by defeat or disappointment. Mackari is evidently the Corsair. Hope certainly might have copied the portrait, but could he or any other have done so in a manner which in many points transcends the original, and that too in points which seem only such as the first author could have imagined and brought forward; and who but Byron could have embodied that sublime impersonation of the plague?

The story of Anagnosti is told quite as Byron would tell such a story, but in this he might have been imitated, and I should not lay on it much stress, were it not for one little touch at the conclusion, in which the ill-fated dancer expresses his presentiment

of misfortune from his friends. There is a sort of evidence to which the mind becomes subject, that cannot be analysed by reason; and in all Byron's works you may see how profoundly he is liable to be affected by that kind of inexplicable evidence. He sees things happening together which have no connection with each other, but they come so often that at last he considers them as united, and the one an index to the other. This curious mysticism has certainly in principle a great affinity to superstition. It is analogous to the chambermaid's faith in the dregs of the tea-cup, and to the astrologer's credulity in the aspect of the stars; but being more general, it seems more poetical, though it is not more philosophical. In the little sketch of Anagnosti, it is employed with pathetic effect, and even made conducive to an impression, not far short of the sublimity associated with ideas of fate and destiny. The use which the author of Anastasius makes of it, is precisely such as Byron would have made; for the sentiment on which it is founded being familiar to his mind, it does not occur to him to use it as an agent of any particular consequence. It is only episodically introduced in the story. Had any other author got hold of the same idea with the same fullness of grasp, he would have employed it as the main spring, in all probability, of the tale. It is however a feeling of a peculiar mind; and until Hope can be shewn to possess a mind framed and constituted like Byron's, I shall never believe that he can feel like him, in this respect, even though he could write as richly, and describe as well.

The farther I proceed in the work, the evidences so thicken upon me, that I fear you cannot afford to give room and verge enough for half I have to say. Whenever the author treats of any passion or feeling, the hand of Byron is visible; but where he attempts to imitate the freedom and nonchalance of Le Sage, his Gil Blas sinks into absurdity. The story of the English Button-maker is an instance. It is quite improbable that any man would have submitted to be so marked in the forehead, and yet make no effort to revenge an insult so indelible. It is in such endeavours to grapple with other characters, that the author of Anastasius shews he can write but

« ElőzőTovább »