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July 16th, 1824, when the ceremony was concluded, when the tomb closed. for ever on Byron, and when his friends were relieved from every care concerving him, save that of doing justice to his memory, and of cherishing his fame. · The following inscription was placed on the coffin :
“ GEORGE GORDON NOEL BYROX,
DIED AT MISSOLONGHI,
IN WESTERN GREECE,
APRIL 19TH, 1824." • Au urn accompanied the coffin, and on it was inscribed, “ Within this urn are deposited the heart, brain, &c. of tho
deceased Lord Byron.” So inuch has been said on the subject of Lord Byron's religious opinions, and so many absurd and outrue tales have been fabricated, that we are glad of an opportunity of undeceiving our readers in this respect.
The following extract shows that, although Lord Byron's mind was taipted with scepticism, he was neither an infidel, nor was he, as has been represented, in the habit of treating with prosaneness subjects which every man of sense, whatever may be the infirmity of his own notions on them, knows are too important aod too respectable to be approached with levity :
• This,' says Mr. Parry, is what Lord Byron frequently said to me on the subject of religion :-" I have both been annoyed avd amused by numerous attacks on my religious opinions, and with the conversations about them. It is really astonishing how these Religionists persecute. No situation in life secures a man from their importunities. Under a prelence of being greatly apprehensive for our eternal welfare, if we do not follow their dictum they persecute us in every way possible. True religion teaches man humility, charity, kindness, and every good act. Professing religion is now become quite a trade. Thousands sally forth to escape from labour, without the least claim either by education, character, or station in society, and assume the character of teachers. They embrace different opinions, and are continually bellowing dannation against each other. All join to crush liberal sentiments; they have sworu a boud against that charity which thinketh no evil; and they will remain in this disposition until the bulk of mankind think for
thernselves. As long as they are so ignorant as to be credulous, there will always be impostors to profit by their credulity. It would fill a volume to record the manner in which I have been attacked. I am sure that no man reads the Bible with more pleasure than I do ; I read a chapter every day, and in a short time shall be able to beat the Canters with their own weapons. Most of them are like the Catholics, who place the Virgin Mary before Christ, and Christ before God; only they have substituted the Apostle Paul for the Virgin, and they place him above Jesus, and Jesus above the Almighty.
" While at Cephalonia, a gentleman of the name of Kennedy was introduced to me; I have a respect for him, and believe him sincere in his professions. He endeavoured to convince me that his ideas of religion were correct. At that time
up other matters, particularly with Greece. I like to be civil, and to give answers to questions which are put to me, although it is not pleasant to be questioned, particularly on abstruse subjects. They require a depth of thought, and such meu as I am think deeply. Our minds are filled with ten thousand ideas. I answered Mr. Kennedy, therefore, -though without any intention of converting him or allowing myself to be converted. I believe even then, though unprepared, I had very often the best of the argument, and now I am sure I could defeat him. He was not a skilful disputant.” • Lord Byron, like every other man of exalted mind, had a belief in the influence of beings of another world. It is impossible that a man of quick imagination and of acute sensibility can live in a world like this, which cabins and confines' as, and feel his soul excited to a degree infinitely beyond the common habits and customs of the dull world, without wishing to believe that it is by some unseen haud the chords are struck which discourse such . eloquent music.' Who sees the soft wind which steals over the strings of the Æolian harp, and seems to die upon the harmony it creates ? and yet who doubts its existence? Who can feel the wild, the wonderful- the ecstacies of joy and sorrow, which have dominion in the heart where Genius has shed her light and doubt that some breathings of another world wake
powers of which he knows nothing but their effect ? Mr. Parry says, in his homely way :
Lord Byron had some superstitions clinging to him. He believed in presentiments, fatal and fortunate days, and in ghosts. On setting out from Italy for Greece a storm drove the vessel back; a circumstance which has occurred on numerous occasions, when the voyage
has been afterwards happily accomplished, and followed by no disastrous results; but Lord Byron, though he is said to have quoted the proverb, that a bad beginning makes a good ending, was made melancholy by a foul wind. This circumstance was often mentioned among his friends at Missolonghi. On rallying Lord Byron on this subject, and observing that I thought it was very strange a man of his strength of mind should entertain such a vulgar belief as that of the existence of ghosts, he smiled, and replied, “I have from my childhood endeavoured to impress a belief of supernatural causes on my mind. I cannot say why I had such a propensity, nor why it continued so long, but I derive great pleasure from the idea ; even now, I actually believe such things may be.” At this he sighed deeply, and said, " I have had wonderful presentiments in my time. Hardly any unfortanate circumstance has ever happened to me, of which I have aot had some forerunning warning. We can't help these things, and can no more account for the existence of one sentiment than for another. I know not why, but I have a particular aversion either to begin or conclude any work on a Friday.”
• His opinion concerning Count Gamba was another little superstition of Lord Byron's. He was very partial to the count, without placing much confidence in him, because he had got a notion that the count was an unfortunate man, and that whatever he undertook would fail. I was particularly enjoined by Lord Byron never to allow the count to undertake any piece of public service without first acquainting his lordship with it, and obtaining his approbation. He always expected that the count would get himself and others into
scrapes : whether the count had or had not ever given Lord Byron any reason to form such an opinion, before I was acquaioted with them, I know not; but I never saw any thing to justify it. I believe it was one of those prejudices or presentiments Lord Byron liked to indulge, or at least which he never made any effort to control or subdue.'
We have now brought to a termination the task of describing the life and works of Lord Byron. In the course of our labours we have sometimes had occasion to disapprove of parts of his conduct as well as of his poetry; but the contemplation of the whole leaves upon our mind one sentiment of admiration and of respect, amounting almost to veneration. His faults few, and such as belong to the common lot of humanity, only serve to excite pity for the weakness of that nature which even the most Godlike attributes cannot wholly parily; while the afflictions which beset him, the lovely and almost desolate manner
THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF LORD BYRON.
It is not,
of liis death, the cause for which he died, and which (whatever may be the merits or demerits of modern Greece) was to him the cause of truth and freedom, will combine to mix up as much of love for his character, in all who shall hereafter consider it, as there is of regret for his death in the minds of those who actually knew him.
It is a matter of great surprise that, among the many English bards now living, no attempt has been made to commemorate in verse (which the occasion would have made almost as immortal as his own,) that event, which, more than any other of a like nature, plunged the whole nation into grief.
Lycidas is dead ! dead ere his prime.
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.' And yet, rife as monodies are upon less important and imperious occasions, none have been produced on the death of Lord Byron.
There is, however, one poem extant, in which a poet, second only to the mighty dead, has done honour to his character. perhaps, less creditable to the heart and to the judgment of that poet, that this testimony to his friend's talents, and to the goodness of his disposition, was made public during Lord Byron's life. Even envy itself can afford to praise a dead rival; but to assign to a living one his true eminence, and to express aloud an opinion like that which Mr. Moore avowed respecting Lord Byron, while he was the object of attack for critics of all degrees, from the blood-hounds of the great Reviews down to the yelping curs of the smaller packs, was really honorable and becoming.
The following verses were published by Mr. Moore in · Fables for the Holy Alliance, and are called • Reflectious when about to read the Memoirs of Lord Byron, written by himself,' which it will be recollected were given by Lord Byron to Mr. Moore, and which that gentleman consented to have destroyed since his death :
• Let me, a inoment «ere with fear and hope
Of some enchanter's secret halls is given,
If he shall meet with shapes from hell or heaven-
Gladly, whole sleepless nights to bend the brow
As did th' Egyptian traveller, when he stood
The first small fountains of that mighty flood. They, ton, who, 'mid the scoriful thoughts that dwell
In his rich fancy, tinging all its streams, As if the star of bitterness, which fell
On earth of old, had touched them with its beams Can track a spirit, which, though driven to hate, From Nature's hands came kind, affectionale; And which, even now, struck as it is with blightComes out, at times, in love's own native lightHow gladly all who've watched these struggling rays Of a bright ruined spirit through his lays, Would here inquire, as from his own frank lips,
What desolating grief, what wrongs, had dpiven
Like some fair orb that, once a sun in heaven,
Eventful volume ! whatsoe'er the change