« 前へ次へ »
Having fewer errors to plead guilty to, he is less The inveteracy with which Lord Byron satirised lenient to those of others. He was born an age Mr Southey is a matter of equal regret and notoo late. Had he lived a century or two ago, he toriety: we believe that the only answer Southey would have been a happy as well as blameless ever made to these criticisms, was in a letter adcharacter. But the distraction of the time has dressed to the Editor of the Courier newspaper, unsettled him, and the multiplicity of his preten- which, with the provocatory remarks of his sions have jostled with each other. No man in Lordship, we give here :- « Mr Southey, too, our day (at least no man of genius) has led so in his pious preface to a poem whose blasuniformly and entirely the life of a scholar from phemy is as harmless as the sedition of Wat boyhood to the present hour, devoting himself to Tyler, because it is equally absurd with that learning with the enthusiasm of an early love, sincere production, calls upon the legislawith the sincerity and constancy of a religious ture to look to it,' as the toleration of such vow-and well would it have been for him if he writings led to the French Revolution : not such had confined himself to this, and not undertaken writings as Wat Tyler, but as those of the Sato pull down or to patch up the State! However tanic School. This is not true, and Mr Southey irregular in his opinions, Mr Southey is con- knows it to be not true. Every French writer of stant, unremitting, mechanical in his studies, and any freedom was persecuted; Voltaire and Rousthe performance of his duties. There is nothing seau were exiles ; Marmontel and Diderot were Pindaric or Shandean here. In all the relations sent to the Bastille; and a perpetual war was and charities of private life, he is correct, exem- waged with the whole class by the existing desplary, generous, just. We never heard a single potism. In the next place, the French Revoluimpropriety laid to his charge; and if he has tion was not occasioned by any writings whatmany enemies, few men can boast more numerous soever, but must have occurred had no such or stauncher friends.
writings ever existed. It is the fashion to attri« The variety and piquancy of his writings form bute every thing to the French Revolution, and a striking contrast to the mode in which they are the French Revolution to every thing but its real produced. He rises early, and writes or reads till cause. That cause is obvious, the government near breakfast-time. He writes or reads after exacted too much, and the people could neither breakfast till dinner, after dinner till tea, and give nor bear more. Without this, the Encyclofrom tea till bed-time
pedists might have written their fingers off with
out the occurrence of a single alteration. And And follows so the ever-running year,
the English Revolution (the first, I mean)- what With profitable labour to his
was it occasioned by? The Puritans were surely on Derwent's banks, beneath the foot of Skiddaw. as pious and moral as Wesley or his biographer. Study serves him for business, exercise, recrea Acts -- acts on the part of government, and not tion. He passes from verse to prose, from his writings against them, have caused the past contory to poetry, from reading to writing, by a vulsions, and are tending to the future. I look stop-watch. He writes a fair hand, without blots, upon such as inevitable, though no revolutionist: sitting upright in his chair, leaves off when he I wish to see the English constitution restored, and comes to the bottom of the page, and changes not destroyed. Born an aristocrat, and naturally the subject for another, as opposite as the anti one by temper, with the greater part of my prepodes. His mind is after all rather the recipient sent property in the funds, what have I to gain and transmitter of knowledge, than the origina- by a revolution? Perhaps I have more to lose in tor of it. He has hardly grasp of thought enough every way than Mr Southey, with all his places to arrive at any great leading truth. His pas- and presents for panegyrics and abuse into the sions do not amount to more than irritability. bargain. But that a revolution is inevitable, I With some gall in his pen, and coldness in his repeat. The government may exult over the manner,
he has a great deal of kindness in his repression of petty tumults; these are the reheart. Rash in his opinions, he is steady in liis ceding waves repulsed and broken for a moment attachments—and is a man in many particulars on the shore, while the great tide is still rolling admirable, in all respectable-- his political incon-on and gaining with every breaker. Mr Southey sistency alone excepted! »
accuses us of attacking the religion of the counSuch is the homage that even a political as well try; and is he abetting it by writing lives of as a critical opponent of Robert Southey found Wesley? One mode of worship is merely dehimself constrained to pay to his exemplary and stroyed by another. There never was, nor ever irreproachable private character — to his good will be, a country without a religion. We shall and guileless heart :
be told of France again, but it was only Paris Incoctum generoso pectus honesto.
and a frantic party, which for a moment upheld
their dogmatic nonsense of theophilanthropy. note from a work of a Mr Landor, the author of The Church of England, if overthrown, will be Gebir,' whose friendship for Robert Southey will, swept away by the sectarians, and not by the it seems, ‘be an honour to him when the ephesceptics. "People are too wise, too well informed, meral disputes and ephemeral reputations of the too certain of their own iminense importance in day' are forgotten.' I for one neither envy him the realms of space, ever to submit to the impiety · the friendship, nor the glory in reversion which of doubt. There may be a few such diffident spe- is to accrue from it, like Mr Thelluson's fortune, culators, like water in the pale sunbeam of hu- in the third and fourth generation. This friendman reason, but they are very few; and their ship will probably be as memorable as his own opinions, without enthusiasm or appeal to the epics, which (as i quoted to him ten or twelve passions, can never gain proselytes-unless, in- years ago in ‘English Bards') Porson said would deed, they are persecuted--that, to be sure, will be remembered when Homer and Virgil are forincrease any thing. Mr S., with a cowardly fero- gotten, and not till then.'
For the present, I city, exults over the anticipated death-bed re- leave him.. pentance of the objects of his dislike; and indulges himself in a pleasant “Vision of Judg.
MR SOUTHEY'S REPLY ment,' in prose as well as verse, full of impious
« Sir, impudence. What Mr S.'s sensations or ours may be in the awful moment of leaving this state
« Having seen in the newspapers a note of existence, neither he nor we can pretend to relating to myself, extracted from a recent publidecide. In common, 1 presume, with most men cation of Lord Byron's,' I request permission to of any reflection, I have not waited for a 'death- reply through the medium of your journal. I bed' to repent of many of my actions, notwith- come at once to his Lordship’s charge against me, standing the diabolical pride ' which this pitiful blowing away the abuse with which it is frothed, renegade in his rancour would impate to those and evaporating a strong acid in which it is suswho scorn" him.' Whether, upon the whole, the pended. The residuum then appears to be, that good or evil of my deeds may preponderate, it is 'Mr Southey, on his return from Switzerland (in not for me to ascertain; but, as my means and 1817), scattered abroad calumnies, knowing them opportunities have been greater, I shall limit my to be such, against Lord Byron and others.' To present defence to an assertion (easily proved, if this I reply with a direct and positive denial. If necessary), that I, in my degree,' have done I had been told in that country that Lord Byron more real good in any one given year, since I was had turned Turk, or monk of La Trappe, -that twenty, than Mr Southey in the whole course of he had furnished a haram, or endowed an hospihis shifting and turncoat existence. There are tal, I might have thought the account, whichever several actions to which I can look back with an it had been, possible, and repeated it accordinghonest pride, not to be damped by the calumnies ly; passing it, as it had been taken in the small of a hireling. There are others to which I recur change of conversation, for no more than what it with sorrow and repentance; but the only act of was worth. In this manner I might have spoken my life of which Mr Southey can have any real of him, as of Baron Gerambe, the Green Man, knowledge, as it was one which brought me in the lodian Jugglers, or any other figurante of the contact with a near connexion of his own, did time being. There was no reason for any partino dishonour to that connexion, nor to me. 1 cular delicacy on my part in speaking of his am not ignorant of Mr Southey's calumnies on a Lordship; and, indeed, I should have thought different occasion, knowing them to be such, any thing which might be reported of him, would which he scattered abroad on his return from have injured his character as little as the story Switzerland against me and others : they have which so greatly annoyed Lord Keeper Guildford, done him no good in this world; and if his creed that he had ridden a rhinoceros. He may ride a be the right one, they will do him less in the rhinoceros: and though every bo'y would stare,
What his death-bed' may be, it is not no one would wonder. my province to predicate : let him settle it with
But making no inquiry concerning him when his Maker, as I must do with mine. There is
I was abroad, I felt no curiosity, I heard something at once ludicrous and blasphemous in nothing, and had nothing to repeat. When I this arrogant scribbler of all work sitting down spoke of wonders to my friends and acquaintance to deal damnation and destruction upon his fel- on my return, it was of the flying-tree at Alpulow-creatures, with Wat Tyler, the Apotheosis of acht, and the eleven thousand virgins at Cologne George the Third, and the Elegy on Marten the -not of Lord Byron. I sought for no staler subregicide, all shuffled together in his writing-desk. One of his consolations appears to be a Latin
· The Two Foscari.
ject than St Ursula. Once, and only once, in satisfaction as I shall always do upon what is connexion with Switzerland, I have alluded to there said of that flagitious school. Many per his Lordship; and as the passage was curtailed sons, and parents especially, have expressed their in the press, I take this opportunity of restoring gratitude to me for having applied the branding it. In the Quarterly Review, speaking inciden- iron where it was so richly deserved. The Edintally of the Jungfrau, I said, “It was the scene burgh Reviewer, indeed, with that honourable where Lord Byron's Manfred met the Devil and feeling by which his criticisms are so peculiarly bullied him—though the Devil must have won distinguished, suppressing the remarks them, his cause before any tribunal in this world or the selves, has imputed them wholly to envy on my next, if he had not pleaded more feebly for him- part. I give him, in this instance, full credit for self, than his advocate, in a cause of canoniza- sincerity: 1 believe he was equally incapable of tion, ever pleaded for him.' With regard to the comprehending a worthier motive, or of invent
others,' whom his Lordship accuses me of ca-ing a worse; and as I have never condescended to lumniating, I suppose he alludes to a party of expose, in any instance, his pitiful malevolence, his friends, whose names I found written in the I thank him for having in this stript it bare himAlbum at Mont Auvert, with an avowal of atheism self, and exhibited it in its bald, naked, and unannexed in Greek, and an indignant comment in disguised deformity. Lord Byron, like his encothe same language underneath it. Those names, miast, has not ventured to bring the matter of with that avowal and the comment, I transcribed those animadversions into view. He conceals in my note-book, and spoke of the circumstance the fact, that they are directed against the auon my return. If i had published it, the gentle- thors of blasphemous and lascivious books,man in question would not have thought himself against men who, not content with indalging slandered, by having that recorded of him which their own vices, labour to make others the slaves he has so often recorded of himself. The many of sensuality like themselves,-against public opprobrious appellations which Lord Byron has panders, who, mingling impiety with lewdness, bestowed upon me, 1 leave as I find them, with seek at once to destroy the cement of social on the praises which he has bestowed upon himself. der, and to carry profanation and pollution into How easily is a noble spirit discern'd
private families, and into the hearts of individuals. From harsh and sulphurous matter, that lies out • His Lordship has thought it not unbecoming In contumelies, makes a noise, and stinks!
in him to call me a scribbler of all work. Let B. JOHNSON.
the word scribbler pass ; it is not an appellaBut I am accustomed to such things; and so far tion which will stick, like that of the Satanic from irritating me are the enemies who use such School. But if a scribbler, how am I one of all weapons, that, when I hear of their attacks, it is work? I will tell Lord Byron what I have not some satisfaction to think they have thus em- scribbled,—what kind of work I have not done. ployed the malignity which must have been em. I have never published libels upon my friends and ployed somewhere, and could not have been di acquaintance, expressed my sorrow for those lirected against any person whom it could proba- bels, and called them in during a mood of better bly molest or injure less. The viper, however mind,-and then re-issued them, when the Evil venomous in purpose, is harmless in effect while Spirit, which for a time has been cast out, had it is biting at the file. It is seldom, indeed, that returned and taken possession, with seven others I waste a word or a thought upon those who are more wicked than himself. I have never abused perpetually assailing me. But abhorring, as the power, of which every author is in some dedo, the personalities which disgrace our current gree possessed, to wound the character of a man, literature, and averse from controversy as I am, or the heart of a woman. I have never sent into both by principle and inclination, I make no pro- the world a book to which I did not dare affix fession of non-resistance. When the offence and my name, or which I feared to claim in a Court the offender are such as to call for the whip and of Justice, if it were pirated by a knavish bookthe branding-iron, it has been both seen and felt seller. I have never manufactured furniture for that I can inflict them. Lord Byron's present the brothel. None of these things have I done; exacerbation is evidently produced by an inflic- none of the foul work by which literature is pertion of this kind—not by hear-say reports of my verted to the injury of mankind. My hands are conversation four years ago, transmitted him from clean; there is no damned spot' upon them-no England. The cause may be found in certain taint, which all the perfumes of Arabia will not remarks upon the Satanic School of poetry, con- sweeten.' Of the work which I have done, it betained in my preface to the Vision of Judgment. comes me not here to speak, save only as relates
. Well would it be for Lord Byron if he could to the Satanic School, and its Coryphæus, the aulook back upon any of his writings with as much thor of Don Juan. I have held up that school to
public detestation, as enemies to the religion, the and acquirements entitle him: he is more often institutions, and the domestic morals of the coun. a listener than ia talker. In this respect he diftry. I have given them a designation to which fers from Wordsworth and Coleridge, who are their founder and leader answers. I have sent a remarkable for the nervous and overwhelming stone from my shing, which has smitten their eloquence of their language. But the character Goliah in the forehead. I have fastened his of Mr Southey can only be fully estimated by pame upon the gibbet for reproach and ignominy those who are intimately acquainted with him, as long as it shall endure. Take it down who in the domestic circle, --in those winter evenings can !-One word of advice to Lord Byron before so beautifully sketched by Cowper; then how I conclude. When he attacks me again, let it delightful it is to hear him! be in rhyme. For one who has so little com It was this love of retirement, and distaste for mand of himself, it will be a great advantage that the hurry and fever of public life, that induced his temper should be obliged to keep tane. And Mr Southey to refuse the unsolicited offer of a while he may still indulge in the same rankness seat in the House of Commons, to which he had and virulence of insult, the metre will, in some been previously elected. A similar feeling indegree, seem to lessen its vulgarity.
duced him to fix his residence in a country in
which alike the Poet finds inexhaustible food for « ROBERT SOUTHEY.
his imagination, and the Philosopher for reflecals Keswick, Jan. 5, 1822..
He, on his own green banks, in solitude, -- We shall now conclude oar brief, and, we fear, By his soft murmuring lake, wanders along; very inadequate sketch, by introducing the fol And to bis mountains, and his forests rude, lowing interesting particulars, the accuracy and
Chaunts in sweet melody his classic song; authenticity of which may be fully relied on.
He makes our northern wilds a paradise,
Since spirits all sublime inhabit there ; After Mr Southey had left college, he devoted
For at his magic call what phantoms rise, himself principally to poetry. The facility and And in his voice what music floats the air! rapidity with which he composes is perhaps un So heavenly soothing and so softly wild, equalled. Southey had burnt more verses be
The peasant deems it more than mortal lay;, tween the age of twenty and thirty than any
The grey old hermit, and the rustic child,
With beating heart, and timid footsteps stray other poet of the present day has written during To catch the notes the zephyr wafts away.' the course of his whole life. Another remarkable feature in his character is the pliability and
But though Mr Southey lives at such a distance
from the theatre of public affairs, yet few, very versatility of his talents. His time is strictly economized, and every part of the day has its ap
few persons in England have had such an influpropriate employment. It is very seldom that ence over its tastes and opinions as he has. Opi
nions he has not several literary undertakings in hand
may differ as to the tendency of the Quarat the same time; and as soon as the hour allot- terly Review, but no one will question its efficacy; ted to one of them has elapsed, he transfers his and to this the pen of Mr Southey has mainly attention, at pleasure, to that which succeeds it, contributed. For years his articles, on an infiand without any of that difficulty which men of nite variety of subjects, have instructed and genius generally experience in escaping from amused the British nation: and he has not only
the domination of their glorious themes, and proved himself a Theologian, an Historian, a Podiverting their attention from the train of ima- litician, and a Poet, but he has also evinced gery which their own imagination has conjured cities. There is no person who collects so much
himself a master in each of these different capaup.
from reading with so little labour as Southey. Other persons read, and forget: - what Mr Southey has read may be said to belong to him,
His skill in picking out the wheat from the chaff, and to constitute a part of himself. This may is perfectly wonderful. While others are obliged
and in arranging and digesting what is valuable, probably arise from his habit of making extracts from books during their perusal; and we may of any value, he, without any effort, and per
to dig and wade through a book to select what is cite his example against the assertion of Gibbon, « that what is twice read, is better remembered heart of a book, of which he scarcely appears
haps half asleep upon his sofa, tears out the than what is once written.» We may also add that his neat and careful handwriting may
to skin the surface. Hence the wonderful com
have contributed something to the adoption and uti- pass of his knowledge upon all subjects. lity of his practice. In large and mixed societies Mr Southey does Southey, some years ago, by an English lady, of considera
1 The above lines were written, and addressed to Mr not often assume the place to which his talents ble taste and talent, resident in France.
Mr Southey's library, though not extensive, is Mr Southey's income proceeds almost entirely very curious, which may account in some degree from the productions of his pen. He writes both for his antiquarian knowledge. His acquaint- for the Quarterly Review and the Foreign Quarance with modern languages is extensive, but terly, and receives a hundred pounds for every not accurate, as might be interred from his man- article in each. It is a fact, which our feelings ner" of reading
will not allow us to suppress, that Mrs ColeIt has been made matter of accusation against ridge, her daughter, and Mrs Lovel rely entirely our author, that his opinions on political sub- upon him for support. His kindness towards jects were formerly very different from what they them does him the highest honour, and can only are at present.' While we admit the truth of be appreciated by those who know him.-His the statement, we cannot acknowledge the jus- residence is on the banks of the Greta, and about tice of the charge. Whether he was right for- a quarter of a mile from the beautiful and picmerly, and wrong now,—or whether the con- turesque Derwentwater.' Here he resides nearly trary is the case,—is a question in which we all the year, except during the Spring, when an have no wish to interfere. But he has a right annual attack of asthma frequently obliges bim to claim from his adversaries, that they convict to suspend his literary labours, and sometimes to him of some motive, by which he was, and ought take refuge in Holland. Mr Southey and Mr. not to have been, influenced,-so
,—some dream of Wordsworth have continued an uninterrupted ambition, some avenue to aggrandisement. Un- friendship since they were young men; and, as til they can do this, they may regret, but they their houses are within twelve miles of each other, cannot blame his deteriniuation.?
the intercourse between the two families is con· The progress of the French revolution, with the intoxicating and visionary hopes which attended its com
As a friend and a neighbour universally bemencement, and the violent re-action produced on his own loved; accessible and courteous to the many inind by the rapid and shifting succession of events, have strangers who are attracted to Keswick by the been powerfully sketched by Mr Wordsworth, in the third celebrity of his name; there exists not a man who, and fourth books of the « Excursion,» and in them, also, with all the greatness of genius, has fewer of we may trace the causes which produced the change in the political principles of his friend, Mr Southey.
its frailties than ROBERT SOUTHEY. • On this subject we cannot but refer to Mr Southey's spirited and eloquent letter to William Smith, Esq., M. P. · Here he may often be seen in his small skiff, rowed for the city of Norwich.
by the fair hands of his two daughters.