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The unsettled state of life he was from thenceforward thrown into, by the precarious fortunes of those with whom he had connected himself, conspired with one or two other causes to revive within him all bis former love of change and adventure; nor is it wonderful that to Greece, as offering both in their most exciting form, he should turn eagerly his eyes, and at once kindle with a desire not only to witness, but perhaps share in, the present triumphs of Liberty on those very fields where he had already gathered for immortality such memorials of her day long past.
Among the causes that concurred with this sentiment to determine him to the enterprise he now meditated, not the least powerful, undoubtedly, was the supposition in his own mind that the high tide of his poetical popularity had been for some time on the ebb. The utter failure of the Liberal,-in which, splendid as were some of his own contributions to it, there were yet others from his pen hardly to be distinguished from the surrounding dross,-confirmed him fully in the notion that he had at last wearied out his welcome with the world; and, as the voice of fame had become almost as necessary to him as the air he breathed, it was with a proud consciousness of the yet untouched reserves of power within him he now saw that, if arrived at the end of one path of fame, there were yet others for him to strike into, still more glorious.
That some such vent for the resources of his mind had long been contemplated by him appears from a letter of his to myself, in which it will be recollected he says :
:- «If I live ten years longer, you will see that it is not over with me. I don't mean in literature, for that is nothing; and it may seem odd enough to say-I do not think it was my vocation. But you will see that I shall do something,--the times and Fortune permitting, that like the cosmogony of the world, will puzzle the philosophers of all ages.'» He then adds this but too true and sad prognostic :-— « But I doubt whether my constitution will hold out.»
His zeal in the cause of Italy, whose past history and literature seemed to call aloud for redress of her
present vassalage and wrongs, would have no doubt led him to the same chivalrous self-devotion in her service, as he displayed afterwards in that of Greece. The disappointing issue, however, of that brief struggle is but too well known; and this sudden wreck of a cause 50 promising pained him the more deeply from his knowledge of some of the brave and true hearts embarked in it. The disgust, indeed, which that abortive effort left behind, coupled with the opinion he had early formed of the « hereditary bondsmen» of Greece, had kept him for some time in a state of considerable doubt and misgiving as to their chances of ever working out their own enfranchisement; nor was it till the spring of this year, when, rather by the continuance of the struggle than by its actual success, some confidence had begun to be inspired in the trust-worthiness of the cause, that he had nearly made up his mind to devote himself to its aid. The only difficulty that still remained to retard or, embarrass this resolution was the necessity it imposed of a temporary separation from Madame Guiccioli, who was herself, as might be expected, anxious to participate his perils, but whom it was impossible, of course, he could think of exposing to the chances of a life, even for men, so rude.
At the beginning of the month of April he received a visit from Mr Blaquiere, who was then proceeding on a special mission to Greece, for the purpose of procuring
for the Committee lately formed in London correct information as to the state and prospects of that country. It was among the instructions of this gentleman that he. should touch at Genoa and communicate with Lord Byron; and the following note will show how cordially the noble poet was disposed to enter into all the objects of the Committee,
TO MR BLAQUIERE.
« Albaro, April 5th, 1823. (1 DEAR SIR, «I shall be delighted to see you and your Greek friend, and the sooner the better. I have been expecting you for some time,-you will find me at home. I cannot express to you how much I feel interested in the cause, and nothing but the hopes I entertained of witnessing the liberation of Italy itself prevented me long ago from returning to do what little I could, as an individual, in that land which it is an honour even to have visited.
« Ever yours, truly,
« NOEL BYRON.»
Soon after this interview with their agent, a more direct communication on the subject was opened between his lordship and the Committee itself.
«I have great pleasure in acknowledging your letter, and the honour which the Committee have done me;I shall endeavour to deserve their confidence by every means in my power. My first wish is to go up into the Levant in person, where I might be enabled to advance, if not the cause, at least the means of obtaining information which the Committee might be desirous of acting upon; and my former residence in the country, my familiarity with the Italian language (which is there universally spoken, or at least to the same extent as French in the more polished parts of the continent), and my not total ignorance of the Romaic, would afford me some advantages of experience. To this project the only objection is of a domestic nature, and I shall try to get over it;—if I fail in this, I must do what I can where I am; but it will be always a source of regret to me, to think that I might perhaps have done more for the cause on the spot.
«Our last information of Captain Blaquiere is from Ancona, where he embarked with a fair wind for Corfu, on the 15th ult. ; he is now probably at his destination. My last letter from him personally was dated Rome; he had been refused a passport through the Neapolitan territory, and returned to strike up through Romagna for Ancona ;-- little time, however, appears to have been lost by the delay.
« The principal material wanted by the Greeks appears to be, first, a park of field-artillery-light, and fit for mountain-service; secondly, gunpowder; thirdly, hospital or medical stores. The readiest mode of transmission is, I hear, by Idra, addressed to Mr Negri, the minister. I meant to send up a certain quantity of the two latter-no great deal — but enough for an individual to show his good wishes for the Greek success, —but am pausing, because, in case I should go myself, I can take them with me. I do not want to limit my own contribution to this merely, but more especially, if I can get to Greece myself, I should devote whatever resources I can muster of my own, to advancing the great object. I am in correspondence with Signor Nicolas Karrellas (well known to Mr Hobhouse), who is now at Pisa; but his latest advice merely stated, that the Greeks are at present employed in organizing their internal government, and the details of its administration; this would seem to indicate security, but the war is however far from being terminated.
« The Turks are an obstinate race, as all former wars have proved them, and will return to the charge for years to come, even if beaten, as it is to be hoped they will be. But in no case can the labours of the Committee be said to be in vain, for in the event even of the Greeks being subdued, and dispersed, the funds which could be employed in succouring and gathering together the remnant, so as to alleviate in part their distresses, and enable them to find or make a country (as so many emigrants of other nations have been compelled to do), would' bless both those who gave and those who took,' as the bounty both of justice and of mercy.
«With regard to the formation of a brigade (which Mr Hobhouse hints at in his short letter of this day's receipt, enclosing the one to which I have the honour to reply), I would presume to suggest—but merely as an