Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

which she at last did, to quiet me. Poor Nancy thought I was wild, and, as I could not write for myself, became my secretary. I remember, too, our walks, and the happiness of sitting by Mary, in the children's apartment, at their house not far from the Plain-stanes at Aberdeen, while her lesser sister Helen played with the doll, and we sat gravely making love, in our way.

How the deuce did all this occur so early? where could it originate? I certainly had no sexual ideas for years afterwards; and yet my misery, my love for that girl were so violent, that I sometimes doubt if I have ever been really attached since. Be that as it may, hearing of her marriage several years after was like a thunder-stroke—it nearly choked me—to the horror of my mother and the astonishment and almost incredulity of every body. And it is a phenomenon in my existence (for I was not eight years old) which has puzzled, and will puzzle me to the latest hour of it; and lately, I know not why, the recollection (not the attachment) has recurred as forcibly as ever. I wonder if she can have the least remembrance of it or me? or remember her pitying sister Helen for not having an admirer too? How very pretty is the perfect image of her in my memory—her brown, dark hair, and hazel eyes; her very dress! I should be quite grieved to see her now; the reality, however beautiful, would destroy, or at least confuse, the features of the lovely Peri which then existed in her, and still lives in my imagination, at the distance of more than sixteen years. I am now twenty-five and odd months. ...

I think my mother told the circumstances (on my

MARGARET PARKER

69

hearing of her marriage) to the Parkynses, and certainly to the Pigot family, and probably mentioned it in her answer to Miss A., who was well acquainted with my childish penchant, and had sent the news on purpose for me,—and thanks to her!

Next to the beginning, the conclusion has often occupied my reflections, in the way of investigation. That the facts are thus, others know as well as I, and my memory yet tells me so, in more than a whisper. But, the more I reflect, the more I am bewildered to assign any cause for this precocity of affection.

(1813, November 26. “Journal, 1813-14,”

Vol. II., p. 347.)

My first dash into poetry was as early as 1800. It was the ebullition of a passion for my first Cousin Margaret Parker (daughter and grand-daughter of the two Admirals Parker), one of the most beautiful of evanescent beings. I have long forgotten the verses, but it would be difficult for me to forget her. Her dark eyes ! her long eye-lashes ! her completely Greek cast of face and figure! I was then about twelve-She rather older, perhaps a year. She died about a year or two afterwards, in consequence of a fall which injured her spine and induced consumption. Her Sister, Augusta (by some thought still more beautiful), died of the same malady; and it was indeed in attending her that Margaret met with the accident, which occasioned her own death. My Sister told me that, when she went to see her shortly before her death, upon accidentally mentioning my name, Margaret coloured through the paleness of mortality to the eyes, to the great astonishment of

my Sister, who (residing with her Grandmother, Lady Holderness) saw at that time but little of me for family reasons, knew nothing of our attachment, nor could conceive why my name should affect her at such a time. I knew nothing of her illness (being at Harrow and in the country), till she was gone.

Some years after, I made an attempt at an Elegy. A very dull one. Í do not recollect scarcely any thing equal to the transparent beauty of my cousin, or to the sweetness of her temper, during the short period of our intimacy. She looked as if she had been made out of a rainbow-all beauty and peace.

My passion had its usual effects upon me: I could not sleep, could not eat; I could not rest; and although I had reason to know that she loved me, it was the torture of my life to think of the time which must elapse before we could meet againbeing usually about twelve hours of separation! But I was a fool then, and am not much wiser now.

(“Detached Thoughts,”1821-22. “Thought "

79, Vol. V., p. 449.)

CHAPTER II

BYRON'S RELIGIOUS VIEWS

(1) Superstitions: Fortune, Fate, Luck, Nemesis,

Omens NOBODY hates bustle as much as I do; but there seems a fatality over every scene of my drama, always a row of some sort or other. No matter-Fortune is my best friend; and as I acknowledge my obligations to her, I hope she will treat me better than she treated the Athenian, who took some merit to himself on some occasion, but (after that) took no more towns. In fact, she, that exquisite goddess, has hitherto carried me through every thing, and will, I hope, now; since I own it will be all her doing.

(1814, October 7. Letter 503, to Thomas

Moore, Vol. III., p. 149.)

As to her (Miss Milbanke's] virtues, etc., etc., you will hear enough of them (for she is a kind of pattern in the north), without my running into a display on the subject.' It is well that one of us is of such fame, since there is sad deficit in the morale of that article

upon my part,-all owing to my “bitch of a star,” as Captain Tranchemont says of his planet.

(1814, October 14. Letter 505, to Thomas

Moore, Vol. III., p. 152.) I am truly sorry to hear of your father's misfortune -cruel at any time, but doubly cruel in advanced life. However, you will, at least, have the satisfaction of doing your part by him, and, depend upon it, it will not be in vain. Fortune, to be sure, is a female, but not such a b * * as the rest (always excepting your wife and my sister from such sweeping terms); for she generally has some justice in the long run. I have no spite against her, though between her and Nemesis I have had some sore gauntlets to run—but then I have done my best to deserve no better. But to you, she is a good deal in arrear, and she will come round-mind if she don't : you have the vigour of life, of independence, of talent, spirit, and character all

What you can do for yourself, you have done and will do; and surely there are some others in the world who would not be sorry to be of use, if you would allow them to be useful, or at least attempt it.

(1817, January 28. Letter 626, to Thomas

Moore, Vol. IV., p. 48.) For myself, I have a confidence in my Fortune, which will yet bear me through. Ταυτόματον ημών κάλλιον Bouleveral. The reverses, which have occurred, were what I should have expected; and, in considering you and yours merely as the instruments of my more recent adversity, it would be difficult for me to blame

with you.

« ПредишнаНапред »