Imágenes de páginas

Greek Temple, with a Gothic Cathedral on one hand, and a Turkish Mosque and all sorts of fantastic pagodas and conventicles about him. You may call Shakespeare and Milton, pyramids, if you please, but I prefer the Temple of Theseus or the Parthenon to a mountain of burnt brick-work.

The Murray has written to me but once, the day of its publication, when it seemed prosperous. But I have heard of late from England but rarely. Of Murray's other publications (of mine), I know nothing,-nor whether he has published. He was to have done so a month ago. I wish you would do something,or that we were together.

Ever yours and affectionately



These two letters tell their own story. They have been selected partly because they illustrate a singularly touching and romantic episode in the life of the great poet to whom they refer, and because of their own intrinsic merits. Mr. Sheppard's letter is a model of tact and good sense under circumstances of no ordinary delicacy, and Byron's reply proves that with all his cynical egotism his heart was far from being a stranger to generous emotions. His dissertation might perhaps, considering the occasion, have been spared; but the letter is very creditable to him.

John Sheppard to Lord Byron.

Frome, Somerset: November 21, 1821. My Lord,-More than two years since, a lovely and beloved wife was taken from me, by lingering disease after a very short union. She possessed unvarying gentleness and fortitude, and a piety so retiring as rarely to disclose itself in words, but so influential as to produce uniform benevolence of conduct. In the last hour of life, after a farewell look on a lately born and only infant, for whom she had evinced inexpressible affection, her last whispers were 'God's happiness! God's happiness!' Since the second anniversary of her decease, I have read some papers which no one had seen during her life, and which contain her most secret thoughts. I am induced to communicate to your Lordship a passage from these papers, which there is no doubt, refers to your

self, as I have more than once heard the writer mention your agility on the rocks at Hastings.

‘Oh, my God, I take encouragement from the assurance of thy Word, to pray to Thee in behalf of one for whom I have lately been much interested. May the person to whom I allude (and who is now, we fear, as much distinguished for his neglect of Thee as for the transcendent talents thou hast bestowed on him) be awakened to a sense of his own danger, and led to seek that peace of mind in a proper sense of religion, which he has found this world's enjoyments unable to procure. Do Thou grant that his future example may be productive of far more extensive benefit than his past conduct and writings have been of evil; and may the Sun of righteousness, which, we trust, will, at some future period, arise on him, be bright in proportion to the darkness of those clouds which guilt has raised around him, and the balm which it bestows, healing and soothing in proportion to the keenness of that agony which the punishment of his vices has inflicted on him! May the hope that the sincerity of my own efforts for the attainment of holiness, and the approval of my own love to the great Author of religion, will render this prayer, and every other for the welfare of mankind, more efficacious!-cheer me in the path of duty;—but, let me not forget, that, while we are permitted to animate ourselves to exertion by every innocent motive, these are but the lesser streams which may serve to increase the current, but which, deprived of the grand fountain of good, (a deep conviction of inborn sin, and firm belief in the efficacy of Christ's death for the salvation of those who trust in him, and really wish to serve him,) would soon dry up, and leave us barren of every virtue as before.

'July 31, 1814.-Hastings.'

There is nothing, my Lord, in this extract which, in a literary sense, can at all interest you; but it may, perhaps, appear to you worthy of reflection how deep and expansive a concern for the happiness of others the Christian faith can awaken in the midst of youth and prosperity. Here is nothing poetical and splendid, as in the expostulatory homage of M. De Lamartine; but here is the sublime, my Lord; for this intercession was offered, on your account, to the supreme Source of happiness. It sprang from a faith more confirmed than that of the French poet, and from

a charity which, in combination with faith, showed its power unimpaired amidst the languors and pains of approaching dissolution. I will hope that a prayer, which, I am sure, was deeply sincere, may not be always unavailing. It would add nothing, my Lord, to the fame with which your genius has surrounded you, for an unknown and obscure individual to express his admiration of it. I had rather be numbered with those who wish and pray, that 'wisdom from above,' and 'peace,' and joy,' may enter such a mind.



Lord Byron to John Sheppard,

Pisa: December 8, 1821.

Sir, I have received your letter. I need not say that the extract which it contains has affected me, because it would imply a want of all feeling to have read it with indifference. Though I am not quite sure that it was intended by the writer for me, yet the date, the place where it was written, with some other circumstances that you mention, render the allusion probable. But for whomever it was meant, I have read it with all the pleasure which can arise from so melancholy a topic. I say pleasurebecause your brief and simple picture of the life and demeanour of the excellent person whom I trust you will again meet, cannot be contemplated without the admiration due to her virtues, and her pure and unpretending piety. Her last moments were particularly striking; and I do not know that, in the course of reading the story of mankind, and still less in my observations upon the existing portion, I ever met with any thing so unostentatiously beautiful. Indisputably, the firm believers in the Gospel have a great advantage over all others,-for this simple reason, that if true, they will have their reward hereafter; and if there be no hereafter, they can be but with the infidel in his eternal sleep, having had the assistance of an exalted hope, through life, without subsequent disappointment, since (at the worst for them) out of nothing, nothing can arise, not even sorrow. But a man's creed does not depend upon himself: who can say, I will believe this, that, or the other and least of all, that which he least can comprehend. I

have, however, observed, that those who have begun life with extreme faith, have in the end greatly narrowed it, as Chillingworth, Clarke (who ended as an Arian), Bayle, and Gibbon (once a Catholic), and some others; while on the other hand, nothing is more common than for the early sceptic to end in a firm belief, like Maupertius, and Henry Kirke White.

But my business is to acknowledge your letter, and not to make a dissertation. I am obliged to you for your good wishes, and more than obliged by the extract from the papers of the beloved object whose qualities you have so well described in a few words. I can assure you that all the fame which ever cheated humanity into higher notions of its own importance would never weigh in my mind against the pure and pious interest which a virtuous being may be pleased to take in my welfare. In this point of view, I would not exchange the prayer of the deceased in my behalf for the united glory of Homer, Cæsar, and Napoleon, could such be accumulated upon a living head. Do me at least the justice to suppose, that

Video meliora proboque,

however the deteriora sequor' may have been applied to my conduct.

I have the honour to be

Your obliged and obedient servant



A single specimen of Theodore Hook's absurdly facetious "Ramsbottom Letters' is selected. The style has been imitated a good deal in our own day.

Miss Dorothea Ramsbottom to Mr. Bull.

Montague Place: January 6, 1825. Dear Mr. Bull,—Why don't you write to us or call? We are all of us well, and none of us no more, as perhaps you may suppose, except poor Mr. Ram,-of course you know of his disease, it was quite unexpected, with a spoonful of turtle in his mouth-the real gallipot as they call it. However, I have no doubt he is gone to heaven, and my daughters are gone to Bath, except Lavy, who is my pet, and never quits me.

The physicians paid great attention to poor Mr. Ram; and he suffered nothing—at least that I know of. It was a very comfortable thing that I was at home shay new, as the French say, when he went, because it is a great pleasure to see the last of one's relations and friends.

You know we have been to Room since you heard from us— the infernal City as it is called-the seat of Popery, and where the Pop himself lives. He was one of the Carnals, and was elected just before we was there he has changed his name, not choosing to disgrace his family. He was formerly Doctor Dallyganger, but he now calls himself Leo, which the Papists reverse, and call him Ole or Oleness. He is a fine cretur, and was never married, but he has published a Bull in Room, which is to let people committ all kind of sin without impunity, which is different from your Bull, which shoes up them as does any crime. He is not Pop this year, for he has proclaimed Jew Billy in his place, which is very good, considering the latter gentleman is a general, and not of his way of thinking.

Oh, Mr. Bull, Room is raley a beautiful place -We entered it by the Point of Molly, which is just like the Point and Sally at Porchmouth, only they call Sally there Port, which is not known in Room. The Tiber is not a nice river, it looks yellow; but it does the same there as the Tames does here. We hired a carryletty and a cocky-olly, to take us to the Church of Salt Peter, which is prodigious big;-in the center of the pizarro there is a baselisk very high-on the right and left two handsome foundlings; and the farcy, as Mr. Fulmer called it, is ornamented with collateral statutes of some of the Apostates. There is a great statute of Salt Peter himself, but Mr. Fulmer thinks it to be Jew Peter, which I think likely too-there were three brothers of the same name, as of course you know-Jew Peter the fortuitous, the capillary, and toe-nails; and it is curos that it must be him, for his toes are kissed away by the piety of the religious debauches who visit his shin or shrine. Besides I think it is Jew Peter, because why should not he be worshipped as well as Jew Billy?— Mr. Fulmer made a pun, Lavy told me, and said the difference between the two Jew Billies was, that one drew all the people to the sinagog, and the other set all the people agog to sin—I don't conceive his meaning, which I am afraid is a Dublin tender.

« AnteriorContinuar »