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Conversations of Lord Byron.
upon others? Who, that pretends to all its hideous truth and reality! But logical accuracy of reasoning, would we are diverging from the point. maintain, or for a moment believe, | The work under review,-a large, that a man could willingly spend his well-printed, broad-margined quarto, whole life in the recommendation and as set forth on the title-page, is edited defence of some given science, where- by Captain Thomas Medwin, a gentleof he was either totally ignorant,-or man not unknown to the literary world. knowing, disbelieved it? Allowing Lord The circumstance of Lord Byron's B. personally to have been a Christian ; auto-biography having been, to say the what must we conclude of such an least of it, so rashly destroyed, had one devoting his whole life, and raised public curiosity to a fevered availing himself to the uttermost of height; and the office devolved on the every opportunity, to gain proselytes gallant Captain, of allaying this liteto infidelity? Here we have a man rary hunger, by presenting such stores wholly and implicitly believing in the as his situation has enabled him to truth of a certain science, at the same command. His opportunities had time obstinately,-nay, vehemently, been numerous and peculiar, and it maintaining its opposite! Let us behoved bim to improve them to the press this investigation farther; (and utmost advantage. we hope our readers will not consider The “ Conversations” in question these observations vague or irrele- have certainly, in some measure, supvant, since we are anxious to combat plied the desideratum in our national certain opinions, and deny sundry literature, occasioned by the hiatus assertions, broached and made in the maximo deflendus, to which we have volume before us,—whose tendency just alluded. It was neither fair nor is to “ persuade" the reader into a correct that Britain should be totally belief that Lord Byron was a “ Chris-deprived of any record of the personal tian.”)
and domestic character of one of the We solemnly, as conscientious men, noblest men to which she has given again enter our protest against Lord birth. It will be alleged, that those Byron's before-quoted assertion,—“I “memoirs" contained matter unfit for am not an infidel; and I am much the public eye, as offending against fitter to die than people in England decency and morality; but, let us ask, may suppose.” The language of could that offend so monstrously, so unscripture is here decisive: “ By their pardonably, against the better feelfruit shall ye know them." Let any ings of human nature, which had been one of our readers peruse this asser | read, and not only read, but copied tion of Lord B.'s, and then take up out, by a lady of high rank and unany of his Lordship’s works, as he spotted purity ? Such a circumstance, goes on, whispering, “ I am not an in- to the severest judges, might have fidel: I am not an infidel,"--and he been a sufficient guerdon for their inwill have nearly an absolute contra nocence. But, allowing much that diction in terms. Let the defenders was improper to have been set down, of Lord Byron answer the questions, could the mind of Lord Byron, at the -why did he so studiously deck forth same time, record no redeeming trait ? the object of his unhallowed endea- Are diamonds never encrusted and vours, in his most glittering tinsel, embedded in extraneous rubbish ?and enticing lusciousness of language The purpose of Mr. Medwin, so far and imagery?-and why so eagerly confessed and developed, appears attempt to draw an impervious veil open and honourable ; for he disbefore its ghastly and repellant fea tinctly states in his preface, that the fures? or so cruelly to cheat the be “ Conversations” are only given, in holders, by gilding them with the consequence of Lord B.'s own mesemblance of mortal loveliness ?- moirs being destroyed. Alas! it was to attract his readers to In our perasal of the work under its unreal beauty; and when retro- review, nothing has shocked us of gression was impossible, and the ful | glaring impropriety ; albeit, viewed ness of their horrible delusion glared in a moral or religious perspective, forth upon them,--then, and not till there are tendencies which may be then, he suddenly drew aside the veil, and displayed the personification of Several octavo editions have since been all rameless and damnable evils, in published.
questioned. Certain oblique hints at port. Perhaps this is a problem intrigues, and faux-pas in fashionable which may find solution in a recollife, would have been better expung- lection of the secluded nature of his ed than published ; and, also, sundry early education; the persons and profanations of the Lord's name re- scenery with which he was conversant quire a total erasure, notwithstanding and intimate, acting upon a sensitive the piquancy of certain anecdotes may mind, and inflaming a heated imagibe thereby destroyed. Yet, we must | nation, ever of a bighly romantic tenbe allowed to say, that the recur- dency. rence of such instances is less fre Aretrospect of the public and private quent and startling than we had life of Lord Byron, even so far as ilbeen led to expect from the unre- lustrated in the volume under consistrained colloquial gaieties of such a deration, is fraught with wholesome man as Lord Byron, from all accounts and important truths, the chief of which have reached us of his Lord- which appears to be,-- of how little ship's manners in private life, and fa avail are brilliant talents, splendid miliar intercourse with his friends. riches, and extended renown, unless Doubtless much that was exception-borne with a calm, humble, and moable has been prudently withheld by derate spirit, and improved to the Captain Medwin; and he hath our advantage of ourselves and fellowthanks for this salutary exercise of creatures,--for which end they were an editor's undoubted prerogative. bestowed by the Almighty. These
Scattered hither and thither through advantages Lord Byron possessed the pages before us, are several noble in an abundant and overflowing and striking observations, highly cha- stream ; but, alas ! he perverted them racteristic of the illustrious deceased; from their true and proper course; and several of the recorded con- and how can be answered a short but versations maintain their interest to emphatic inquiry,—did they make him the last. But were we to descend to happy? No! These pages bear freparticulars, we should say, that we quent and sorrowful testimony, that have seldom been so powerfully af- he was the prey of anguish and bitter fected, as wbile perusing the mourn- vexation, and consequently, gloomy ful, and even romantic, account of and miserable to the last degree. the untimely death and inhumation In secret, no doubt, he frequently of “ poor Percy Shelley.”
writhed beneath the “ stings of conLord Byron, to judge from many science" and “bitings of remorse,” noble incidents interspersed through the only means of deadening which, he these pages, seems to have been gene- neglected,religion. Yet it is abrally amiable in his more retired life, surd to say that all his finer feelings and generous to profusion. He never were quenched, and his nobler traits appears to display that turbulent and effaced, by bis moral depravity. His intolerant character, which wonld devotion to those whom he esteemed haughtily domineer over all with his friends, contradicts such an asserwhom it associated ; though conscious tion; and his love for his daughter Ada, of his vast intellectual superiority to was at once fervent, enduring, and those who surrounded him, and the even romantic; but here a question resounding fame and honours which instantly obtrudes itself, respecting were echoed by applauding millions, her amiable mother !-But we are on yet he appears to have borne (cæteris delicate ground. paribus ) his “ blushing honours thick We have little to say with regard upon him” with decent sobriety and to the literary execution of the work manly composure.
before us, without entering into deThe volume before us records bis be- tails unsuited to our space; however, ing strangely imbued with supersti we suspect it to have been rather too tious notions; and we cannot but smile cagerly and hurriedly published, as at hearing that such a man as Lord we have noticed several slovenly inByron would believe in “ fortunate accuracies of language; and, in many days ;"* attributing to the most whim- parts, the arrangement appears loose sical contingencies, meanings and and illogical. On a general retropredictions of awful and hidden im- spection, it seems deficient of that in
tense interest which might have been *" Whereof bis own was Friday.”--CONVER, / conferred on it, by a skilful disposi
93 Review: Scripture Natural History.-Scripture Illustrations. 94
tion of circumstances, and a natural Review-Scripture Natural History, and spirited description of attendant
with Reflections designed for the scenery; two things which give what
Young. 18mo. pp. 216. is related “ a local habitation and a
London. pame," in the mind, which deepens
Offor. the impression, and renders it lasting. If children of the rising generation Who, for instance, would not doubly are not wiser than those now grown relish the reading of a paragraph ut to maturity, it will not be from the tered by Lord Byron, if informed, want of books; and if they are not that it was spoken on viewing some better, it will not be from the want of mighty heather - fringed mountain, wholesome instruction, which many boldly towering upward, and sternly contain. In almost every form which defined on the clear blue serenity of variety can furnish, we have some an Italian sky, when the moonbeams publication or other to excite the atwere quivering round its summit, and tention of the youthful mind, and seshining brightly down on the fresh veral among them communicate inforbosom of the ocean, coldly splashing mation that is at once amusing and and hoarsely thundering at its base? important. Of this description is the We are aware what feelings such | little volume before us. It takes a scenery would suggest to ourselves, survey of numerous animals that are but are anxious to know its instant mentioned in the holy scriptures, effect on the noble and fervent imagi- gives a wood cut of each, which is nation of Lord Byron.
accompanied with the natural history We are sorry to state, that certain of the creature, and an enumeration pecuniary transactions, between Lord of its properties and peculiarities. B. and Mr. Murray bis publisher, This natural history is enlivened with have been allowed by Mr. Medwin to entertaining anecdotes, selected from escape his pen, strangely and culpa- the pages of voluminous works, and bly differing from the account, as the journals of travellers. References openly and honourably stated and are then made to such portions of proved to the world by Mr. Murray; scripture as make mention of the aniwho declares that Lord B. received of mal, either literally or figuratively, bim upwards of fifteen thousand pounds! and these are followed by some conBut, into this discussion we have nei- cise, but judicious reflections. ther leisure nor inclination to enter. At a certain age, there is nothing The fine lines quoted in this volume, more entertaining to children than written on the death of Sir John stories about lions, wolves, crocoMoore, commencing,
diles, bears, and tigers; and the in
terest is heightened by their having “Not a sound was heard, or a shot was fired,
the account to read, and the picture As bis corpse to the ramparts we burried,”
of the animal placed at once before
them. These accompany each other (which we, several years ago, read in in the book now under considerathe first volume of Blackwood's Maga- tion, and serve to illustrate several zine )and by Captain Medwin attri- portions of scripture which are imbuted to Lord Byron-have occasioned mediately introduced to view. We a most virulent newspaper contest, in think it is a work that will both which several gentlemen, hitherto un please and profit the juvenile reader. known, fiercely lay claim to the palm of authorsbip.
REVIEW-Scripture Illustrations, conIn conclusion,- What can palliate the conduct of that man, gifted with the
taining Explanations of various Submost magnificent powers of mind ;
jects relative to the Agriculture,
Manners, Customs, Worship, Idols, who, rejecting the pure, chaste, and sacred melody of christian themes,
Monuments, Buildings, and Countries and sullenly scowling upon their cheer
mentioned in the Bible. With nuful but neglected brightness, tunes
merous Cuts, and seven Copperplate
Maps. 8vo. pp. 438. his gloomy lyre, alone and unsympa
London, thized with by the better part of the
Hamilton, Adams, 8: Co. community, to the harsh, dreary, and This work makes no pretensions to dissonant notes, of wild, hopeless, originality; and if that claim were and atheistical despair ?
| urged, it would not be allowed. We are informed in the preface, that these of his majesty's subjects are not conillustrations “ are extracted from the vinced that the report contains no Youth's Magazine,” in which they libel. The price of this little book is have long been before the public. only one shilling; it is exceedingly This circumstance, however, does not portable ; and may easily be consulted diminish the excellence of the arti- | by the passenger when on his journey, cles. Of most of them, the merit was as a guard against imposition. A sinacknowledged long before the Youth's gle detection will probably reimburse Magazine started into existence, and his expense. The arrangement is alvery many of the cuts may be found phabetical, and the coach-stands are in Calmet's Dictionary.
enumerated, so that little difficulty In the connexion in which they can occur in finding the legal fare to stand, the cuts and the descriptions any given place. happily illustrate each other, and render the work at once entertaining and
Review—Immanuel, a Sacred Poem. instructive. The articles are nume
By S. Bromley, London. 1824. rous and diversified, and the cuts partake of a proportionate variety. There This poem is evidently written to is scarcely a question that can be pro-“be productive of good.” We apposed respecting the subjects men- plaud the intention, and, on the whole, tioned in the title-page, on which approve of the sentiments it contains, some information is not given, and —but can go no farther. Sublime some ligbt thrown, though, from the subjects, when meddled within rhyme, arrangement which is made, the require the writer to possess both an reader will be occasionally at a loss extensive range of thought, and the to know where the article he seeks inspirations of poetic feelings, othermay be found.
wise his productions will not afford The wood cuts are well executed; delight. The subject of this poem has but we can hardly comprehend how at different times excited to action the the crown of England should find a most powerful intellects;—the author place among Scripture illustrations," has, therefore, to overcome the obor why the “ monuments, buildings, jection which necessarily follows from and countries, mentioned in the a want of originality. Bible,” should give an invitation to the coronation ceremonies of Geo. IV. These, indeed, are not the only exo- | THE CHARACTER OF CHRISTIANITY. tics which we find in this volume;
By the Rev. Robert Hall. but although they seem to have little or no connexion with its title, they 1st. Its Moral Energy.—The advanfurnish to the reader many interesting tages are infinite, derived from Chrisfragments of history, and localities of tianity, to every nation and clime description, through which he may where it has prevailed in its purity; make a comparison between the cus- and the prodigious superiority which toms and ceremonies of ancient and Europe possesses over Asia and Afri. modern times.
ca, is chiefly to be ascribed to this
cause. It is the possession of a reliReview--The Hackney Coach and Ca
gion which comprehends the seeds of briolet Pocket Companion, containing
endless improvement, which mainaining tains an incessant struggle with what
in upwards of 7000 Fares from the prin. cipal Coach-stands in the Metropolis.
| ever is barbarous or inhuman; which, pp. 280.
by unveiling futurity, clothes morality London. Simpkin and
with the sanction of a divine law, and Marshall. 1824.
harmonizes utility and virtue in every This little book will be found exceed combination of events, and in every ingly useful to all strangers visiting stage of existence; a religion which, London, and even to multitudes who by affording the most just and subhave long resided in the metropolis, lime conceptions of the Deity, and of but have not been much hackneyed in the moral relations of man, has given its ways. The impositions practised birth at once to the loftiest speculaby coachmen on the unwary passen- tion and the most childlike humility, ger, are every where proverbial; and | uniting the inhabitants of the globe scarcely a day passes, in which some l into one family, and in the bonds of a
common salvation; it is this religion fication to the polluted, and of pardon which, rising upon as like a finèr sun, to the guilty. These are the glad has quickened moral vegetation, and tidings; this is the jubilee of the whole replenished Europe with talents, vir-earth, proclaimed in the songs of antues, and exploits, which, in spite of gels, celebrated in the praises of the its physical disadvantages, have ren church, alike in her militant and her dered it a paradise, the delight and triumphant state, whether toiliog in wonder of the world,
the vale of mortality, or rejoicing be2dly. Its Mysteries.-Let it be re-fore the throne, membered that every science has its 4thly. Its moral Obligations.- When ultimate questions, boundaries which we look at Christianity in the New cannot be passed; and that if these Testament, we see a set of discooccur earlier in morals than in other veries, promises, and precepts, adaptinquiries, it is the natural result ofed to influence the whole character; the immensity of the subject, which, it presents an object of incessant sotouching human nature in every point, licitude, in the pursuit of which new and surrounding it on all sides, ren- efforts are to be exerted, and new ders it difficult, or rather impossible, victories accomplished, in a continued to trace it. in all its relations, and course of well-doing, till we reach the view it in all its extent. Mean- heavenly mansions. There is scarcewhile, the shades which envelop, and ly a spring in the human frame and will perhaps always envelop, it in constitution it is not calculated to some measure, are not without their touch, nor any portion of human use, since they teach the two most agency which is exempted from its important lessons we can learn,--the control. Its resources are inexvanity of our reason, and the grandeur haustible; and the considerations by of our destiny.
which it challenges attention, emLet us not, for a moment, blench brace whatever is most awful or alfrom the mysteries of revelation: they luring in the whole range of possible are mysteries of godliness; and, how- existence. Instead of being allowed ever much they may surpass human to repose on his past attainments, or reason, bear the distinct impress of ato flatter himself with the hope of divine band, we rejoice that they are success without the exercise of dilimysteries, so far from being ashamed gence and watchfulness, the Christian of them on that account; since the is commanded to work out his salvaprincipal reason why they are, and tion with fear and trembling. In the must ever continue such, is derived actual exhibition of religion, the solifrom their elevation, from their un-citude of serious minds has been made searchable riches,and undefinable gran to turn too much on a particular deur. In fine, let us draw our religion | crisis, which has been presented in a and morality entirely from the word manner so insulated, that nothing in of God, without seeking any deeper the order of means seemed instrufoundation for our duties than the will mental to its production. In short, of the Supreme Being, an implicit and things have been represented in such perfect acquiescence in which is the a manner, as was too apt to produce highest virtue a creature can attain. despondency before conversion, and
3dly. Its Adaptation to the fallen con- presumption after it. dition of Man.-The gospel is a resto-| 5thly. Its future Success.--The Holy rative dispensation : this is its primary Ghost employs and exhausts, so to and most essential feature; and the speak, the whole force and splendour most dangerous and numerous aber of inspiration, in depicting the future rations from it may be traced to the reign of Messiah, together with that neglect of considering it in this light. astonishing spectacle of dignity, puIt is not the prescription of a rule of rity, and peace, which his church will life to the innocent, but the annuncia- exhibit, when, “ having the glory of tion of a stupendous method of relief God,” her bounds shall be commenfor the sinner. Overlooking all petty surate with those of tbe habitable varieties, and subordinate distinctions, globe, when every object on which it places the whole human race on one the eye shall rest, will remind the level ; abases them all in the dust be- spectator of the commencement of a fore the infinite Majesty: and offers new age, in which the tabernacle of indiscriminately a provision of sancti- God is with men, and he dwells