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heart of another, rarely escapes the observation of one who is a strict anatomist of his own.
« Lord Byron here has splendid apartments in the palace of his mistress's husband, who is one ofthe richest men in Italy. She is divorced, with an allowance of twelve thousand crowns a year;--a miserable pittance from a man who has a hundred and twenty thousand a year. There are two monkeys, five cats, eight dogs, and ten horses, all of whom (except the horses) walk about the house like the masters of it. Tita, the Venetian, is here, and operates as my valet-a fine fellow, with a prodigious black beard, who has stabbed two or three people, and is the most good-natured-looking fellow I ever saw.
Wednesday. Ravenna. «I told you I had written, by Lord Byron's desire, to La Guiccioli, to dissuade her and her family from Switzerland. Her answer is this moment arrived, and my representation seems to have reconciled them to the unfitness of the step. At the conclusion of a letter, full of all the fine things she says she has heard of me, is this request, which I transcribe:—Signore, la vostra bontà mi far ardita di chiedervi un favore, me lo accorderete voi ? Non partite da Ravenna senza Milord.' Of course, being now, by all the laws of knighthood, captive to a lady's request, I shall only be at liberty on my parole until Lord Byron is settled at Pisa. I shall reply, of course, that the boon is granted, and that if her lover is reluctant to quit Ravenna after I have made arrangements for receiving him at Pisa, I am bound to place myself in the same situation as now, to assail him with importunities to rejoin her. Of this there is fortunately no need : and I need not tell you that there is no fear that this chivalric submission of mine to the great general laws of antique courtesy, against which I never rebel, and which is my religion, should interfere with my soon returning, and long remaining with you, dear girl.
«We ride out every evening as usual, and practise pistol-shooting at a pumpkin, and I am not sorry to observe that I approach towards my noble friend's exactness of aim. I have the greatest trouble to get away, and Lord Byron, as a reason for my stay, has urged, that without either me or the Guiccioli, he will certainly fall into his old habits. I then talk, and he listens to reason : and I earnestly hope that he is too well aware of the terrible and degrading consequences of his former mode of life, to be in danger from the short interval of temptation that will be left him.»
TO MR MURRAY.
Ravenna, August 10th, 1821. « Your conduct to Mr Moore is certainly very
handsome: and I would not say so if I could help it, for you are not at present by any means in my good graces.
u With regard to additions, etc., there is a Journal which I kept in 1814 which you may ask him for; also a Journal, which you must get from Mrs Leigh, of my journey in the Alps, which contains all the germs of Manfred. I have also kept a small Diary here for a few months last winter, which I would send you, continuation. You would find easy access to all my
papers and letters, and do not neglect this in case of accidents), on account of the mass of confusion in which they are;
for out of that chaos of papers you will find some curious ones of mine and others, if not lost or destroyed. If circumstances, however (which is almost impossible), made me ever consent to a publication in my lifetime, you would in that case, I suppose, make Moore some advance, in proportion to the likelihood or non-likelihood of success. You are both sure to survive me, however.
« You must also have from Mr Moore the correspondence between me and Lady B., to whom I offered the sight of all which regards herself in these papers. This is important. He has her letter, and a copy of my answer. I would rather Moore edited me than another.
«I sent you Valpy's letter to decide for yourself, and Stockdale's to amuse you. I am always loyal with you, as I was in Galignani's affair, and you with me--now and then. « I return you Moore's letter, which is
creditable to him, and you, and me.
« Yours ever.»
TO MR MURRAY.
« Ravenna, August 16th, 1821. « I regret that Holmes can't or won't come: it is rather shabby, as I was always very civil and punctual with him. But he is but one more. One meets with none else among the English.
«I wait the proofs of the MSS. with proper impatience.
« So you have published, or mean to publish, the new Jưans? Ar'n't
afraid of the Constitutional Assassination of Bridge-street ? When first I saw the name of Murray, I thought it had been yours; but was solaced by seeing that your synonyme is an attorneo, and that you are not one of that atrocious crew. *«I am in a great discomfort about the probable war, and with my trustees not getting me out of the funds. If the funds break, it is my intention to go upon
the highway. All the other English professions are at present so ungentlemanly by the conduct of those who follow them, that open robbing is the only fair resource left to a man of any principles; it is even honest, in comparison, by being undisguised. I wrote to you by last post, to say
had done the handsome thing by Moore and the Memoranda. You are very good as times go, and would probably be still better but for the ' march of events' (as Napoleon called it), which won't permit any body to be better than they should be.
« Love to Gifford. Believe me, etc.
« P.S.-I restore Smith's letter, whom thank for his good opinion. Is the bust by Thorwaldsen arrived ?»
TO MR MURRAY.
Ravenna, August 23d, 1821. « Enclosed are the two acts corrected. With regard to the charges about the shipwreck, I think that I told both
you and Mr Hobhouse, years ago, that there was not a single circumstance of it not taken from fact; not, indeed, from any single shipwreck, but all from actual
facts of different wrecks. Almost all Don Juan is real life, either my own, or from people I knew. By the way, much of the description of the furniture, in Canto Third, is taken from Tully's Tripoli (pray note this), and the rest from my own observation. Remember, I never
One of the charges of plagiarism brought against him by some scribblers of the day was founded (as I have already observed in the first volume of this work) on his having sought in the authentic records of real shipwrecks those materials out of which he has worked his own powerful description in the Second Capto of Don Juan. With as much justice might the Italian author (Galeani, if I recollect right), who wrote a Discourse on the Military Science displayed by Tasso in his battles, have reproached that poet with the sources from which he drew his knowledge :—with as much justice might Puysegur and Segrais, who have pointed out the same merit in Homer and Virgil, have withheld their praise because the science on which this merit was founded must have been derived by the skill and industry of these poets from others.
So little was Tasso ashamed of those casual imitations of other poets which are so often branded as plagiarisms, that, in his Commentary on his Rime, he takes pains to point out and avow whatever coincidences of this kind occur in his own verses.
While on this subject, I may be allowed to mention one signal instance, where a thought that had lain perhaps indistinctly in Byron's memory since his youth, comes out so improved and brightened as to be, by every right of genius, his own. In the Two Noble Kinsinen of Beaumont and Fletcher (a play to which the picture of passionate friendship, delineated in the characters of Palamon and Arcite, would be sure to draw the attention of Byron in his boyhood) we find the following passage:
Like proud seas under us. Out of this somewhat forced simile, by a judicious transposition of the comparison, and by the substitution of the more definite word « waves» for « seas,» the clear, noble thought in one of the Cantos of Childe Harold has been produced:
Once more upon the waters! yet once more !