The Age of Bronze
carmen seculare et annus haud mirabilis


“Impar Congressus Achilli.”1

First published in 1823.

This edition published by eBooks@Adelaide.

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Table of Contents


The Age of Bronze.

Introduction to The Age of Bronze.

The Age of Bronze was begun in December, 1822, and finished on January 10, 1823. “I have sent,” he writes (letter to Leigh Hunt, Letters, 1901, vi. 160), “to Mrs. Shelley, for the benefit of being copied, a poem of about seven hundred and fifty lines length—The Age of Bronze,—or Carmen Seculare et Annus haud Mirabilis, with this Epigraph—‘Impar Congressus Achilli.’ It is calculated for the reading part of the million, being all on politics, etc., etc., etc., and a review of the day in general,—in my early English Bards style, but a little more stilted, and somewhat too full of ‘epithets of war’ and classical and historical allusions. If notes are necessary, they can be added.”

On March 5th he forwarded the “Proof in Slips” (“and certainly the Slips are the most conspicuous part of it”) to his new publisher, John Hunt; and, on April 1, 1823, The Age of Bronze was published, but not with the author’s name.

Ten years had gone by since he had published, only to disclaim, the latest of his boyish satires, The Waltz, and more than six years since he had written, “at the request of Douglas Kinnaird,” the stilted and laboured Monody on the Death of . . . Sheridan. In the interval (1816–1822) he had essayed any and every measure but the heroic, and, at length, as a tardy recognition of his allegiance to “the great moral poet of all times, of all climes, of all feelings, and of all stages of existence” (Observations upon “Observations,“ Letters, 1901, v. 590), he reverts, as he believes, to his “early English Bards style,” the style of Pope.

The brazen age, the “Annus Haud Mirabilis,” which the satirist would hold up to scorn, was 1822, the year after Napoleon’s death, which witnessed a revolution in Spain, and the Congress of Allied Sovereigns at Verona. Earlier in the year, the publication of Las Cases’ Memorial de Ste Hélène, and of O’Meara’s Napoleon in Exile, or a Voice from St. Helena, had created a sensation on both sides of the Channel. Public opinion had differed as to the system on which Napoleon should be treated—and, since his death, there had been a conflict of evidence as to the manner in which he had been treated, at St. Helena. Tories believed that an almost excessive lenience and indulgence had been wasted on a graceless and thankless intriguer, while the “Opposition,” Liberals or Radicals, were moved to indignation at the hardships and restrictions which were ruthlessly and needlessly imposed on a fallen and powerless foe. It was, and is, a very pretty quarrel; and Byron, whose lifelong admiration for his “Héros de Roman” was tempered by reason, approached the Longwood controversy somewhat in the spirit of a partisan.

In The Age of Bronze (sects, iii.-v.) he touches on certain incidents of the “Last Phase” of Napoleon’s career, and proceeds to recapitulate, in a sort of Memoria Technica, the chief events of his history, from the dawn at Marengo to the sunset at “bloody and most bootless Waterloo,” and draws the unimpeachable moral that “Honesty is the best policy,” even when the “game is Empire” and “the stakes are thrones”!

From the rise and fall, the tyranny and captivity of Napoleon, he passes on to the Congress of Allied Powers, which met at Verona in November, 1822.

The “Congress” is the object of his satire. It had assembled with a parade of power and magnificence, and had dispersed with little or nothing accomplished. It was “impar Achilli” (vide ante, p. 535, note 1), an empty menace, ill-matched with the revolutionary spirit, and in pitiful contrast to the Sic volo, sic jubeo of the dead Napoleon.

The immediate and efficient cause of the Congress of Verona was the success of the revolution in Spain. The point at issue between Spanish Liberals and Royalists, or serviles, was the adherence to, or the evasion of, the democratic Constitution of 1812. At the moment the Liberals were in the ascendant, and, as Chateaubriand puts it, had driven King Ferdinand into captivity, at Urgel, in Catalonia, to the tune of the Spanish Marseillaise, “Tragala, Tragala” “swallow it, swallow it,” that is, “accept the Constitution.” On July 7, 1822, a government was established under the name of the “Supreme Regency of Spain during the Captivity of the King,” and, hence, the consternation of the partners of the Holy Alliance, especially France, who conceived, or feigned to conceive, that revolution next door was a source of danger to constitutional government at home. To meet the emergency, a Congress was summoned in the first instance at Vienna, and afterwards at Verona. Thither came the sovereigns of Europe, great and small, accompanied by their chancellors and ministers. The Czar Alexander was attended by Count Nesselrode and Count Pozzo di Borgo; the Emperor Francis of Austria, by Metternich and Prince Esterhazy; the King of Prussia (Frederic William III.), by Count Bernstorff and Baron Humboldt. George IV. of Great Britain, and Louis XVIII. of France, being elderly and gouty, sent as their plenipotentiaries the Duke of Wellington and the Vicomte de Montmorenci, accompanied, and, finally, superseded by, the French ambassador, M. de Chateaubriand. Thither, too, came the smaller fry, Kings of the Two Sicilies and of Sardinia; and last, but not least, Marie Louise of Austria, Archduchess of Parma, ci-devant widow of Napoleon, and wife sub rosâ of her one-eyed chamberlain, Count de Neipperg. They met, they debated, they went to the theatre in state, and finally decided to send monitory despatches to Spain, and to leave to France a free hand to look after her own interests, and to go to war or not, as she was pleased to determine. There was one dissentient, the Duke of Wellington, who refused to sign the procès verbaux. His Britannic Majesty had been advised to let the Spaniards alone, and not to meddle with their internal affairs. The final outcome of the Congress, the French invasion of Spain, could not be foreseen; and, apparently, all that the Congress had accomplished was to refuse to prohibit the exportation of negroes from Africa to America, and to decline to receive the Greek deputies.

As the Morning Chronicle (November 7, 1822) was pleased to put it, “the Royal vultures have been deprived of their anticipated meal.”

From the Holy Alliance and its antagonist, “the revolutionary stork,” Byron turns to the landed and agricultural “interest” of Great Britain. With the cessation of war and the resumption of cash payments in 1819, prices had fallen some 50 per cent., and rents were beginning to fall. Wheat, which in 1818 had fetched 80s. a quarter, in December, 1822, was quoted at 39s. 11d.; consols were at 80. Poor rates had risen from £2,000,000 in 1792 to £8,000,000 in 1822. How was the distress which these changes involved to be met? By retrenchment and reform, by the repeal of taxes, the reduction of salaries, by the landlords and farmers, who had profited by war prices, submitting to the inevitable reaction; or by sliding scales, by a return to an inflated currency, perhaps by a repudiation of a portion of the funded debt?

The point of Byron’s diatribe is that Squire Dives had enjoyed good things during the war, and, now that the war was over, he had no intention to let Lazarus have his turn; that, whoever suffered, it should not be Dives; that patriotism had brought grist to his mill; and that he proposed to suck no small advantage out of peace.

“Year after year they voted cent. per cent.,

Blood, sweat, and tear-wrung millions—why? for rent?

They roared, they dined, they drank, they swore they meant

To die for England—why then live?—for rent!”

It is easier to divine the “Sources” and the inspiration of The Age of Bronze than to place the reader au courant with the literary and political causerie of the day. Byron wrote with O’Meara’s book at his elbow, and with batches of Galignani’s Messenger, the Morning Chronicle, and Cobbett’s Weekly Register within his reach. He was under the impression that his lines would appear as an anonymous contribution to The Liberal, and, in any case, he felt that he could speak out, unchecked and uncriticized by friend or publisher. He was, so to speak, unmuzzled.

With regard to the style and quality of his new satire, Byron was under an amiable delusion. His couplets, he imagined, were in his “early English Bards style,” but “more stilted.” He did not realize that, whatever the intervening years had taken away, they had “left behind” experience and passion, and that he had learned to think and to feel. The fault of the poem is that too much matter is packed into too small a compass, and that, in parts, every line implies a minute acquaintance with contemporary events, and requires an explanatory note. But, even so, in The Age of Bronze Byron has wedded “a striking passage of history” to striking and imperishable verse.

The Age of Bronze was reviewed in the Scots Magazine, April, 1823, N.S., vol. xii. pp. 483–488; the Monthly Review, April, 1823, E.S., vol. 100, pp. 430–433; the Monthly Magazine, May, 1823, vol. 55, pp. 322–325; the Examiner, March 30, 1823; the Literary Chronicle, April 5, 1823; and the Literary Gazette, April 5, 1823.

The Age of Bronze.


The “good old times”—all times when old are good—

Are gone; the present might be if they would;

Great things have been, and are, and greater still

Want little of mere mortals but their will:

A wider space, a greener field, is given

To those who play their “tricks before high heaven.”2

I know not if the angels weep, but men

Have wept enough—for what?—to weep again!


All is exploded—be it good or bad.

Reader! remember when thou wert a lad, 10

Then Pitt was all; or, if not all, so much,

His very rival almost deemed him such.3

We—we have seen the intellectual race

Of giants stand, like Titans, face to face—

Athos and Ida, with a dashing sea

Of eloquence between, which flowed all free,

As the deep billows of the Ægean roar

Betwixt the Hellenic and the Phrygian shore.

But where are they—the rivals! a few feet

Of sullen earth divide each winding sheet.4 20

How peaceful and how powerful is the grave,

Which hushes all! a calm, unstormy wave,

Which oversweeps the World. The theme is old

Of “Dust to Dust,” but half its tale untold:

Time tempers not its terrors—still the worm

Winds its cold folds, the tomb preserves its form,

Varied above, but still alike below;

The urn may shine—the ashes will not glow—

Though Cleopatra’s mummy cross the sea5

O’er which from empire she lured Anthony; 30

Though Alexander’s urn6 a show be grown

On shores he wept to conquer, though unknown—7

How vain, how worse than vain, at length appear

The madman’s wish, the Macedonian’s tear!

He wept for worlds to conquer—half the earth

Knows not his name, or but his death, and birth,

And desolation; while his native Greece

Hath all of desolation, save its peace.

He “wept for worlds to conquer!” he who ne’er

Conceived the Globe, he panted not to spare! 40

With even the busy Northern Isle unknown,

Which holds his urn—and never knew his throne.


But where is he, the modern, mightier far,

Who, born no king, made monarchs draw his car;

The new Sesostris, whose unharnessed kings,8

Freed from the bit, believe themselves with wings,

And spurn the dust o’er which they crawled of late,

Chained to the chariot of the Chieftain’s state?

Yes! where is he, “the champion and the child”9

Of all that’s great or little—wise or wild; 50

Whose game was Empire, and whose stakes were thrones;

Whose table Earth—whose dice were human bones?

Behold the grand result in yon lone Isle,

And, as thy nature urges—weep or smile.

Sigh to behold the Eagle’s lofty rage

Reduced to nibble at his narrow cage;

Smile to survey the queller of the nations

Now daily squabbling o’er disputed rations;10

Weep to perceive him mourning, as he dines,

O’er curtailed dishes and o’er stinted wines; 60

O’er petty quarrels upon petty things.

Is this the Man who scourged or feasted kings?

Behold the scales in which his fortune hangs,

A surgeon’s11 statement, and an earl’s12 harangues!

A bust delayed,13—a book14 refused, can shake

The sleep of Him who kept the world awake.

Is this indeed the tamer of the Great,

Now slave of all could tease or irritate—

The paltry gaoler15 and the prying spy,

The staring stranger with his note-book nigh?16 70

Plunged in a dungeon, he had still been great;

How low, how little was this middle state,

Between a prison and a palace, where

How few could feel for what he had to bear!

Vain his complaint,—My Lord presents his bill,

His food and wine were doled out duly still;

Vain was his sickness, never was a clime

So free from homicide—to doubt’s crime;

And the stiff surgeon,17 who maintained his cause,

Hath lost his place, and gained the world’s applause. 80

But smile—though all the pangs of brain and heart

Disdain, defy, the tardy aid of art;

Though, save the few fond friends and imaged face

Of that fair boy his Sire shall ne’er embrace,

None stand by his low bed—though even the mind

Be wavering, which long awed and awes mankind:

Smile—for the fettered Eagle breaks his chain,

And higher Worlds than this are his again.18


How, if that soaring Spirit still retain

A conscious twilight of his blazing reign, 90

How must he smile, on looking down, to see

The little that he was and sought to be!

What though his Name a wider empire found

Than his Ambition, though with scarce a bound;

Though first in glory, deepest in reverse,

He tasted Empire’s blessings and its curse;

Though kings, rejoicing in their late escape

From chains, would gladly be their Tyrant’s ape;

How must he smile, and turn to yon lone grave,

The proudest Sea-mark that o’ertops the wave! 100

What though his gaoler, duteous to the last,

Scarce deemed the coffin’s lead could keep him fast,

Refusing one poor line19 along the lid,

To date the birth and death of all it hid;

That name shall hallow the ignoble shore,

A talisman to all save him who bore:

The fleets that sweep before the eastern blast

Shall hear their sea-boys20 hail it from the mast;

When Victory’s Gallic column21 shall but rise,

Like Pompey’s pillar22, in a desert’s skies, 110

The rocky Isle that holds or held his dust,

Shall crown the Atlantic like the Hero’s bust,

And mighty Nature o’er his obsequies

Do more than niggard Envy still denies.

But what are these to him? Can Glory’s lust

Touch the freed spirit or the fettered dust?

Small care hath he of what his tomb consists;

Nought if he sleeps—nor more if he exists:

Alike the better-seeing Shade will smile

On the rude cavern23 of the rocky isle, 120

As if his ashes found their latest home

In Rome’s Pantheon or Gaul’s mimic dome24.

He wants not this; but France shall feel the want

Of this last consolation, though so scant:

Her Honour—Fame—and Faith demand his bones,

To rear above a Pyramid of thrones;

Or carried onward in the battle’s van,

To form, like Guesclin’s dust, her Talisman25.

But be it as it is—the time may come

His name shall beat the alarm, like Ziska’s drum26. 130


Oh Heaven! of which he was in power a feature;

Oh Earth! of which he was a noble creature;

Thou Isle! to be remembered long and well,

That saw’st the unfledged eaglet chip his shell!

Ye Alps which viewed him in his dawning flights

Hover, the Victor of a hundred fights!

Thou Rome, who saw’st thy Cæsar’s deeds outdone!

Alas! why passed he too the Rubicon—

The Rubicon of Man’s awakened rights,

To herd with vulgar kings and parasites? 140

Egypt! from whose all dateless tombs arose

Forgotten Pharaohs from their long repose,

And shook within their pyramids to hear

A new Cambyses thundering in their ear;

While the dark shades of Forty Ages stood

Like startled giants by Nile’s famous flood27;

Or from the Pyramid’s tall pinnacle

Beheld the desert peopled, as from hell,

With clashing hosts, who strewed the barren sand,

To remanure the uncultivated land! 150

Spain! which, a moment mindless of the Cid,

Beheld his banner flouting thy Madrid28!

Austria! which saw thy twice-ta’en capital29

Twice spared to be the traitress of his fall!

Ye race of Frederic!—Frederics but in name

And falsehood—heirs to all except his fame:

Who, crushed at Jena, crouched at Berlin30, fell

First, and but rose to follow! Ye who dwell

Where Kosciusko dwelt, remembering yet

The unpaid amount of Catherine’s bloody debt31! 160

Poland! o’er which the avenging Angel past,

But left thee as he found thee,32 still a waste,

Forgetting all thy still enduring claim,

Thy lotted people and extinguished name,

Thy sigh for freedom, thy long-flowing tear,

That sound that crashes in the tyrant’s ear—

Kosciusko!33 On—on—on—the thirst of War

Gasps for the gore of serfs and of their Czar.

The half barbaric Moscow’s minarets

Gleam in the sun, but ’tis a sun that sets! 170

Moscow! thou limit of his long career,

For which rude Charles had wept his frozen tear34

To see in vain—he saw thee—how? with spire

And palace fuel to one common fire.

To this the soldier lent his kindling match,

To this the peasant gave his cottage thatch,

To this the merchant flung his hoarded store,

The prince his hall—and Moscow was no more!

Sublimest of volcanoes! Etna’s flame

Pales before thine, and quenchless Hecla’s tame; 180

Vesuvius shows his blaze,35 an usual sight

For gaping tourists, from his hackneyed height:

Thou stand’st alone unrivalled, till the Fire

To come, in which all empires shall expire!

Thou other Element! as strong and stern,

To teach a lesson conquerors will not learn!—

Whose icy wing flapped o’er the faltering foe,

Till fell a hero with each flake of snow;

How did thy numbing beak and silent fang,

Pierce, till hosts perished with a single pang! 190

In vain shall Seine look up along his banks

For the gay thousands of his dashing ranks!

In vain shall France recall beneath her vines

Her Youth—their blood flows faster than her wines;

Or stagnant in their human ice remains

In frozen mummies on the Polar plains.

In vain will Italy’s broad sun awaken

Her offspring chilled; its beams are now forsaken.

Of all the trophies gathered from the war,

What shall return? the Conqueror’s broken car!36 200

The Conqueror’s yet unbroken heart! Again

The horn of Roland37 sounds, and not in vain.

Lutzen, where fell the Swede of victory,38

Beholds him conquer, but, alas! not die:

Dresden39 surveys three despots fly once more

Before their sovereign,—sovereign as before;

But there exhausted Fortune quits the field,

And Leipsic’s40 treason bids the unvanquished yield;

The Saxon jackal leaves the lion’s side

To turn the bear’s, and wolf’s, and fox’s guide; 210

And backward to the den of his despair

The forest monarch shrinks, but finds no lair!

Oh ye! and each, and all! Oh France! who found

Thy long fair fields ploughed up as hostile ground,

Disputed foot by foot, till Treason, still

His only victor, from Montmartre’s hill41

Looked down o’er trampled Paris! and thou Isle,

Which seest Etruria from thy ramparts smile,

Thou momentary shelter of his pride,

Till wooed by danger, his yet weeping bride! 220

Oh, France! retaken by a single march,

Whose path was through one long triumphal arch!

Oh bloody and most bootless Waterloo!

Which proves how fools may have their fortune too,

Won half by blunder, half by treachery:

Oh dull Saint Helen! with thy gaoler nigh—

Hear! hear Prometheus42 from his rock appeal

To Earth,—Air,—Ocean,—all that felt or feel

His power and glory, all who yet shall hear

A name eternal as the rolling year; 230

He teaches them the lesson taught so long,

So oft, so vainly—learn to do no wrong!

A single step into the right had made

This man the Washington of worlds betrayed:

A single step into the wrong has given

His name a doubt to all the winds of heaven;

The reed of Fortune, and of thrones the rod,

Of Fame the Moloch or the demigod;

His country’s Cæsar, Europe’s Hannibal,

Without their decent dignity of fall. 240

Yet Vanity herself had better taught

A surer path even to the fame he sought,

By pointing out on History’s fruitless page

Ten thousand conquerors for a single sage.

While Franklin’s quiet memory climbs to Heaven,

Calming the lightning which he thence hath riven,

Or drawing from the no less kindled earth

Freedom and peace to that which boasts his birth;43

While Washington’s a watchword, such as ne’er

Shall sink while there’s an echo left to air:44 250

While even the Spaniard’s thirst of gold and war

Forgets Pizarro to shout Bolivar!45

Alas! why must the same Atlantic wave

Which wafted freedom gird a tyrant’s grave—

The king of kings, and yet of slaves the slave,

Who burst the chains of millions to renew

The very fetters which his arm broke through,

And crushed the rights of Europe and his own,

To flit between a dungeon and a throne?


But ’twill not be—the spark’s awakened—lo! 260

The swarthy Spaniard feels his former glow;

The same high spirit which beat back the Moor

Through eight long ages of alternate gore

Revives—and where? in that avenging clime

Where Spain was once synonymous with crime,

Where Cortes’ and Pizarro’s banner flew,

The infant world redeems her name of “New.”

’Tis the old aspiration breathed afresh,

To kindle souls within degraded flesh,

Such as repulsed the Persian from the shore 270

Where Greece was—No! she still is Greece once more.

One common cause makes myriads of one breast,

Slaves of the East, or helots of the West:

On Andes’46 and on Athos’ peaks unfurled,

The self-same standard streams o’er either world:

The Athenian47 wears again Harmodius’ sword;

The Chili chief48 abjures his foreign lord;

The Spartan knows himself once more a Greek,49

Young Freedom plumes the crest of each cacique;

Debating despots, hemmed on either shore, 280

Shrink vainly from the roused Atlantic’s roar;

Through Calpe’s strait the rolling tides advance,

Sweep slightly by the half-tamed land of France,

Dash o’er the old Spaniard’s cradle, and would fain

Unite Ausonia to the mighty main:

But driven from thence awhile, yet not for aye,

Break o’er th’ Ægean, mindful of the day

Of Salamis!—there, there the waves arise,

Not to be lulled by tyrant victories.

Lone, lost, abandoned in their utmost need 290

By Christians, unto whom they gave their creed,

The desolated lands, the ravaged isle,

The fostered feud encouraged to beguile,

The aid evaded, and the cold delay,

Prolonged but in the hope to make a prey50;—

These, these shall tell the tale, and Greece can show

The false friend worse than the infuriate foe.

But this is well: Greeks only should free Greece,

Not the barbarian, with his masque of peace.

How should the Autocrat of bondage be 300

The king of serfs, and set the nations free?

Better still serve the haughty Mussulman,

Than swell the Cossaque’s prowling caravan;

Better still toil for masters, than await,

The slave of slaves, before a Russian gate,—

Numbered by hordes, a human capital,

A live estate, existing but for thrall,

Lotted by thousands, as a meet reward

For the first courtier in the Czar’s regard;

While their immediate owner never tastes 310

His sleep, sans dreaming of Siberia’s wastes:

Better succumb even to their own despair,

And drive the Camel—than purvey the Bear.


But not alone within the hoariest clime

Where Freedom dates her birth with that of Time,

And not alone where, plunged in night, a crowd

Of Incas darken to a dubious cloud,

The dawn revives: renowned, romantic Spain

Holds back the invader from her soil again.

Not now the Roman tribe nor Punic horde 320

Demands her fields as lists to prove the sword;

Not now the Vandal or the Visigoth

Pollute the plains, alike abhorring both;

Nor old Pelayo51 on his mountain rears

The warlike fathers of a thousand years.

That seed is sown and reaped, as oft the Moor

Sighs to remember on his dusky shore.

Long in the peasant’s song or poet’s page

Has dwelt the memory of Abencerrage;

The Zegri52, and the captive victors, flung 330

Back to the barbarous realm from whence they sprung.

But these are gone—their faith, their swords, their sway,

Yet left more anti-christian foes than they;

The bigot monarch, and the butcher priest53,

The Inquisition, with her burning feast,

The Faith’s red “Auto,” fed with human fuel,

While sate the catholic Moloch, calmly cruel,

Enjoying, with inexorable eye,

That fiery festival of Agony!

The stern or feeble sovereign, one or both 340

By turns; the haughtiness whose pride was sloth;

The long degenerate noble; the debased

Hidalgo, and the peasant less disgraced,

But more degraded; the unpeopled realm;

The once proud navy which forgot the helm;

The once impervious phalanx disarrayed;

The idle forge that formed Toledo’s blade;

The foreign wealth that flowed on every shore,

Save hers who earned it with the native’s gore;

The very language which might vie with Rome’s, 350

And once was known to nations like their homes,

Neglected or forgotten:—such was Spain;

But such she is not, nor shall be again.

These worst, these home invaders, felt and feel

The new Numantine soul of old Castile,

Up! up again! undaunted Tauridor!

The bull of Phalaris renews his roar;

Mount, chivalrous Hidalgo! not in vain

Revive the cry—“Iago! and close Spain!”54

Yes, close her with your arméd bosoms round, 360

And form the barrier which Napoleon found,—

The exterminating war, the desert plain,

The streets without a tenant, save the slain;

The wild Sierra, with its wilder troop

Of vulture-plumed Guerrillas, on the stoop

For their incessant prey; the desperate wall

Of Saragossa, mightiest in her fall;

The Man nerved to a spirit, and the Maid

Waving her more than Amazonian blade55;

The knife of Arragon, Toledo’s steel; 370

The famous lance of chivalrous Castile56;

The unerring rifle of the Catalan;

The Andalusian courser in the van;

The torch to make a Moscow of Madrid;

And in each heart the spirit of the Cid:—

Such have been, such shall be, such are. Advance,

And win—not Spain! but thine own freedom, France!


But lo! a Congress57! What! that hallowed name

Which freed the Atlantic! May we hope the same

For outworn Europe? With the sound arise, 380

Like Samuel’s shade to Saul’s monarchic eyes,

The prophets of young Freedom, summoned far

From climes of Washington and Bolivar;

Henry, the forest-born Demosthenes,

Whose thunder shook the Philip of the seas58;

And stoic Franklin’s energetic shade,

Robed in the lightnings which his hand allayed;

And Washington, the tyrant-tamer, wake,

To bid us blush for these old chains, or break.

But who compose this Senate of the few 390

That should redeem the many? Who renew

This consecrated name, till now assigned

To councils held to benefit mankind?

Who now assemble at the holy call?

The blest Alliance, which says three are all!

An earthly Trinity! which wears the shape

Of Heaven’s, as man is mimicked by the ape.

A pious Unity! in purpose one—

To melt three fools to a Napoleon.

Why, Egypt’s Gods were rational to these; 400

Their dogs and oxen knew their own degrees,

And, quiet in their kennel or their shed,

Cared little, so that they were duly fed;

But these, more hungry, must have something more—

The power to bark and bite, to toss and gore.

Ah, how much happier were good Æsop’s frogs

Than we! for ours are animated logs,

With ponderous malice swaying to and fro,

And crushing nations with a stupid blow;

All dully anxious to leave little work 410

Unto the revolutionary stork.


Thrice blest Verona! since the holy three

With their imperial presence shine on thee!

Honoured by them, thy treacherous site forgets

The vaunted tomb of “all the Capulets!”59

Thy Scaligers—for what was “Dog the Great,”

“Can Grande,”60 (which I venture to translate,)

To these sublimer pugs? Thy poet too,

Catullus, whose old laurels yield to new;61

Thine amphitheatre, where Romans sate; 420

And Dante’s exile sheltered by thy gate;

Thy good old man, whose world was all within

Thy wall, nor knew the country held him in;62

Would that the royal guests it girds about

Were so far like, as never to get out!

Aye, shout! inscribe!63 rear monuments of shame,

To tell Oppression that the world is tame!

Crowd to the theatre with loyal rage,

The comedy is not upon the stage;

The show is rich in ribandry and stars, 430

Then gaze upon it through thy dungeon bars;

Clap thy permitted palms, kind Italy,

For thus much still thy fettered hands are free!


Resplendent sight! Behold the coxcomb Czar,64

The Autocrat of waltzes65 and of war!

As eager for a plaudit as a realm,

And just as fit for flirting as the helm;

A Calmuck beauty with a Cossack wit,

And generous spirit, when ’tis not frost-bit;

Now half dissolving to a liberal thaw, 440

But hardened back whene’er the morning’s raw;

With no objection to true Liberty,

Except that it would make the nations free.

How well the imperial dandy prates of peace!

How fain, if Greeks would be his slaves, free Greece!

How nobly gave he back the Poles their Diet,

Then told pugnacious Poland to be quiet!

How kindly would he send the mild Ukraine,

With all her pleasant Pulks,66 to lecture Spain!

How royally show off in proud Madrid 450

His goodly person, from the South long hid!

A blessing cheaply purchased, the world knows,

By having Muscovites for friends or foes.

Proceed, thou namesake of great Philip’s son!

La Harpe, thine Aristotle, beckons on;67

And that which Scythia was to him of yore

Find with thy Scythians on Iberia’s shore.

Yet think upon, thou somewhat agéd youth,

Thy predecessor on the banks of Pruth;

Thou hast to aid thee, should his lot be thine, 460

Many an old woman,68 but not Catherine.69

Spain, too, hath rocks, and rivers, and defiles—

The Bear may rush into the Lion’s toils.

Fatal to Goths are Xeres’ sunny fields;70

Think’st thou to thee Napoleon’s victor yields?

Better reclaim thy deserts, turn thy swords

To ploughshares, shave and wash thy Bashkir71 hordes,

Redeem thy realms from slavery and the knout,

Than follow headlong in the fatal route,

To infest the clime whose skies and laws are pure 470

With thy foul legions. Spain wants no manure:

Her soil is fertile, but she feeds no foe:

Her vultures, too, were gorged not long ago;

And wouldst thou furnish them with fresher prey?

Alas! thou wilt not conquer, but purvey.

I am Diogenes, though Russ and Hun72

Stand between mine and many a myriad’s sun;

But were I not Diogenes, I’d wander

Rather a worm than such an Alexander!

Be slaves who will, the cynic shall be free; 480

His tub hath tougher walls than Sinopè:

Still will he hold his lantern up to scan

The face of monarchs for an “honest man.”73


And what doth Gaul, the all-prolific land

Of ne plus ultra ultras and their band

Of mercenaries? and her noisy chambers

And tribune, which each orator first clambers

Before he finds a voice, and when ’tis found,

Hears “the lie” echo for his answer round?

Our British Commons sometimes deign to “hear!” 490

A Gallic senate hath more tongue than ear;

Even Constant,74 their sole master of debate,

Must fight next day his speech to vindicate.

But this costs little to true Franks, who’d rather

Combat than listen, were it to their father.

What is the simple standing of a shot,

To listening long, and interrupting not?

Though this was not the method of old Rome,

When Tully fulmined o’er each vocal dome,

Demosthenes has sanctioned the transaction, 500

In saying eloquence meant “Action, action!”


But where’s the monarch?75 hath he dined? or yet

Groans beneath indigestion’s heavy debt?

Have revolutionary patés risen,

And turned the royal entrails to a prison?

Have discontented movements stirred the troops?

Or have no movements followed traitorous soups?

Have Carbonaro76 cooks not carbonadoed

Each course enough? or doctors dire dissuaded

Repletion? Ah! in thy dejected looks 510

I read all France’s treason in her cooks!

Good classic Louis! is it, canst thou say,

Desirable to be the “Desiré?”

Why wouldst thou leave calm Hartwell’s green abode,

Apician table, and Horatian ode,

To rule a people who will not be ruled,

And love much rather to be scourged than schooled?

Ah! thine was not the temper or the taste

For thrones; the table sees thee better placed:

A mild Epicurean, formed, at best, 520

To be a kind host and as good a guest,

To talk of Letters, and to know by heart

One half the Poet’s, all the Gourmand’s art;

A scholar always, now and then a wit,

And gentle when Digestion may permit;—

But not to govern lands enslaved or free;

The gout was martyrdom enough for thee.


Shall noble Albion pass without a phrase

From a bold Briton in her wonted praise?

“Arts—arms—and George—and glory—and the Isles, 530

And happy Britain, wealth, and Freedom’s smiles,

White cliffs, that held invasion far aloof,

Contented subjects, all alike tax-proof,

Proud Wellington, with eagle beak so curled,

That nose, the hook where he suspends the world!77

And Waterloo, and trade, and——(hush! not yet

A syllable of imposts or of debt)——

And ne’er (enough) lamented Castlereagh,78

Whose penknife slit a goose-quill t’other day—

And, ‘pilots who have weathered every storm’—79 540

(But, no, not even for rhyme’s sake, name Reform).”

These are the themes thus sung so oft before,

Methinks we need not sing them any more;

Found in so many volumes far and near,

There’s no occasion you should find them here.

Yet something may remain perchance to chime

With reason, and, what’s stranger still, with rhyme.

Even this thy genius, Canning!80 may permit,

Who, bred a statesman, still wast born a wit,

And never, even in that dull House, couldst tame 550

To unleavened prose thine own poetic flame;

Our last, our best, our only orator,

Even I can praise thee—Tories do no more:

Nay, not so much;—they hate thee, man, because

Thy Spirit less upholds them than it awes.

The hounds will gather to their huntsman’s hollo,

And where he leads the duteous pack will follow;

But not for love mistake their yelling cry;

Their yelp for game is not an eulogy;

Less faithful far than the four-footed pack, 560

A dubious scent would lure the bipeds back.

Thy saddle-girths are not yet quite secure,

Nor royal stallion’s feet extremely sure;

The unwieldy old white horse is apt at last

To stumble, kick—and now and then stick fast

With his great Self and Rider in the mud;

But what of that? the animal shows blood.


Alas, the Country! how shall tongue or pen

Bewail her now uncountry gentlemen?

The last to bid the cry of warfare cease, 570

The first to make a malady of peace.

For what were all these country patriots born?

To hunt—and vote—and raise the price of corn?

But corn, like every mortal thing, must fall,

Kings—Conquerors—and markets most of all.

And must ye fall with every ear of grain?

Why would you trouble Buonaparté’s reign?

He was your great Triptolemus;81 his vices

Destroyed but realms, and still maintained your prices;

He amplified to every lord’s content 580

The grand agrarian alchymy, high rent.

Why did the tyrant stumble on the Tartars,

And lower wheat to such desponding quarters?

Why did you chain him on yon Isle so lone?

The man was worth much more upon his throne.

True, blood and treasure boundlessly were spilt,

But what of that? the Gaul may bear the guilt;

But bread was high, the farmer paid his way,

And acres told upon the appointed day.

But where is now the goodly audit ale? 590

The purse-proud tenant, never known to fail?

The farm which never yet was left on hand?

The marsh reclaimed to most improving land?

The impatient hope of the expiring lease?

The doubling rental? What an evil’s peace!

In vain the prize excites the ploughman’s skill,

In vain the Commons pass their patriot bill;82

The Landed Interest—(you may understand

The phrase much better leaving out the land)—

The land self-interest groans from shore to shore, 600

For fear that plenty should attain the poor.

Up, up again, ye rents, exalt your notes,

Or else the Ministry will lose their votes,

And patriotism, so delicately nice,

Her loaves will lower to the market price;

For ah! “the loaves and fishes,” once so high,

Are gone—their oven closed, their ocean dry,

And nought remains of all the millions spent,

Excepting to grow moderate and content.

They who are not so, had their turn—and turn 610

About still flows from Fortune’s equal urn;

Now let their virtue be its own reward,

And share the blessings which themselves prepared.

See these inglorious Cincinnati swarm,

Farmers of war, dictators of the farm;

Their ploughshare was the sword in hireling hands,

Their fields manured by gore of other lands;

Safe in their barns, these Sabine tillers sent

Their brethren out to battle—why? for rent!

Year after year they voted cent. per cent. 620

Blood, sweat, and tear-wrung millions—why?—for rent!

They roared, they dined, they drank, they swore they meant

To die for England—why then live?—for rent!

The peace has made one general malcontent

Of these high-market patriots; war was rent!

Their love of country, millions all mis-spent,

How reconcile? by reconciling rent!

And will they not repay the treasures lent?

No: down with everything, and up with rent!

Their good, ill, health, wealth, joy, or discontent, 630

Being, end, aim, religion—rentrentrent!

Thou sold’st thy birthright, Esau! for a mess;

Thou shouldst have gotten more, or eaten less;

Now thou hast swilled thy pottage, thy demands

Are idle; Israel says the bargain stands.

Such, landlords! was your appetite for war,

And gorged with blood, you grumble at a scar!

What! would they spread their earthquake even o’er cash?

And when land crumbles, bid firm paper crash?83

So rent may rise, bid Bank and Nation fall, 640

And found on ’Change a Fundling Hospital?

Lo, Mother Church, while all religion writhes,

Like Niobe, weeps o’er her offspring—Tithes;84

The Prelates go to—where the Saints have gone,

And proud pluralities subside to one;

Church, state, and faction wrestle in the dark,

Tossed by the deluge in their common ark.

Shorn of her bishops, banks, and dividends,

Another Babel soars—but Britain ends.

And why? to pamper the self-seeking wants, 650

And prop the hill of these agrarian ants.

“Go to these ants, thou sluggard, and be wise;”

Admire their patience through each sacrifice,

Till taught to feel the lesson of their pride,

The price of taxes and of homicide;

Admire their justice, which would fain deny

The debt of nations:—pray who made it high?85


Or turn to sail between those shifting rocks,

The new Symplegades86—the crushing Stocks,

Where Midas might again his wish behold 660

In real paper or imagined gold.

That magic palace of Alcina87 shows

More wealth than Britain ever had to lose,

Were all her atoms of unleavened ore,

And all her pebbles from Pactolus’ shore.

There Fortune plays, while Rumour holds the stake

And the World trembles to bid brokers break.

How rich is Britain! not indeed in mines,

Or peace or plenty, corn or oil, or wines;

No land of Canaan, full of milk and honey, 670

Nor (save in paper shekels) ready money:

But let us not to own the truth refuse,

Was ever Christian land so rich in Jews?

Those parted with their teeth to good King John,

And now, ye kings, they kindly draw your own;

All states, all things, all sovereigns they control,

And waft a loan “from Indus to the pole.”

The banker—broker—baron88—brethren, speed

To aid these bankrupt tyrants in their need.

Nor these alone; Columbia feels no less 680

Fresh speculations follow each success;

And philanthropic Israel deigns to drain

Her mild percentage from exhausted Spain.

Not without Abraham’s seed can Russia march;

Tis gold, not steel, that rears the conqueror’s arch.

Two Jews, a chosen people, can command

In every realm their Scripture-promised land:—

Two Jews, keep down the Romans,89 and uphold

The accurséd Hun, more brutal than of old:

Two Jews,—but not Samaritans—direct 690

The world, with all the spirit of their sect.

What is the happiness of earth to them?

A congress forms their “New Jerusalem,”

Where baronies and orders both invite—

Oh, holy Abraham! dost thou see the sight?

Thy followers mingling with these royal swine,

Who spit not “on their Jewish gaberdine,”

But honour them as portion of the show—

(Where now, oh Pope! is thy forsaken toe?

Could it not favour Judah with some kicks? 700

Or has it ceased to “kick against the pricks?”)

On Shylock’s shore behold them stand afresh,

To cut from Nation’s hearts their “pound of flesh.”


Strange sight this Congress! destined to unite

All that’s incongruous, all that’s opposite.

I speak not of the Sovereigns—they’re alike,

A common coin as ever mint could strike;

But those who sway the puppets, pull the strings,

Have more of motley than their heavy kings.

Jews, authors, generals, charlatans, combine, 710

While Europe wonders at the vast design:

There Metternich, power’s foremost parasite,

Cajoles; there Wellington forgets to fight;

There Chateaubriand90 forms new books of martyrs;

And subtle Greeks91 intrigue for stupid Tartars;

There Montmorenci, the sworn foe to charters,92

Turns a diplomatist of great éclat,

To furnish articles for the “Débats;”

Of war so certain—yet not quite so sure

As his dismissal in the “Moniteur.” 720

Alas! how could his cabinet thus err!

Can Peace be worth an ultra-minister?

He falls indeed, perhaps to rise again,

“Almost as quickly as he conquered Spain.93


Enough of this—a sight more mournful woos

The averted eye of the reluctant Muse.

The Imperial daughter, the Imperial bride,94

The imperial Victim—sacrifice to pride;

The mother of the Hero’s hope, the boy,

The young Astyanax of Modern Troy;95 730

The still pale shadow of the loftiest Queen

That Earth has yet to see, or e’er hath seen;

She flits amidst the phantoms of the hour,

The theme of pity, and the wreck of power.

Oh, cruel mockery! Could not Austria spare

A daughter? What did France’s widow there?

Her fitter place was by St. Helen’s wave,

Her only throne is in Napoleon’s grave.

But, no,—she still must hold a petty reign,

Flanked by her formidable chamberlain; 740

The martial Argus, whose not hundred eyes96

Must watch her through these paltry pageantries.

What though she share no more, and shared in vain,

A sway surpassing that of Charlemagne,

Which swept from Moscow to the southern seas!

Yet still she rules the pastoral realm of cheese,

Where Parma views the traveller resort,

To note the trappings of her mimic court.

But she appears! Verona sees her shorn

Of all her beams—while nations gaze and mourn— 750

Ere yet her husband’s ashes have had time

To chill in their inhospitable clime;

(If e’er those awful ashes can grow cold;—

But no,—their embers soon will burst the mould;)

She comes!—the Andromache (but not Racine’s,

Nor Homer’s,)—Lo! on Pyrrhus’ arm97 she leans!

Yes! the right arm, yet red from Waterloo,

Which cut her lord’s half-shattered sceptre through,

Is offered and accepted? Could a slave

Do more? or less?—and he in his new grave! 760

Her eye—her cheek—betray no inward strife,

And the Ex-Empress grows as Ex a wife!

So much for human ties in royal breasts!

Why spare men’s feelings, when their own are jests?


But, tired of foreign follies, I turn home,

And sketch the group—the picture’s yet to come.

My Muse ’gan weep, but, ere a tear was spilt,

She caught Sir William Curtis in a kilt!98

While thronged the chiefs of every Highland clan

To hail their brother, Vich Ian Alderman! 770

Guildhall grows Gael, and echoes with Erse roar,

While all the Common Council cry “Claymore!”99

To see proud Albyn’s tartans as a belt

Gird the gross sirloin of a city Celt,

She burst into a laughter so extreme,

That I awoke—and lo! it was no dream!

Here, reader, will we pause:—if there’s no harm in

This first—you’ll have, perhaps, a second “Carmen.”

1 [It has been suggested by Dr. Garnett (late keeper of the Printed Books in the British Museum) that the motto to The Age of Bronze may, possibly, contain a reference to the statue of Achilles, “inscribed by the women of England to Arthur, Duke of Wellington, and his brave companions in arms,” which was erected in Hyde Park, June 18, 1822.]

2 [Measure for Measure, act ii. sc. 2, line 121.]

3 [Fox used to say, “I never want a word, but Pitt never wants the word.”]

4 [The grave of Fox, in Westminster Abbey is within eighteen inches of that of Pitt. Compare—

“Nor yet suppress the generous sigh.

Because his rival slumbers nigh;

Nor be thy requiescat dumb,

Lest it be said o’er Fox’s tomb.

Where,—taming thought to human pride!—

The mighty chiefs sleep side by side.

Drop upon Fox’s grave the tear,

’Twill trickle to his rival’s bier,” etc.

Marmion, by Sir Walter Scott, Introduction to Canto I. lines 125–128, 184–188.

Compare, too, Macaulay on Warren Hastings: “In that temple of silence and reconciliation, where the enmities of twenty generations lie buried, in the Great Abbey . . . the dust of the illustrious accused should have mingled with the dust of the illustrious accusers. This was not to be.”—Critical and Historical Essays, 1843, iii. 465.]

5 [The Cleopatra whose mummy is preserved in the British Museum was a member of the Theban Archon family. Her date was circ. A.D. 100.]

6 [According to Strabo (Rerum Geog., xvii. ed. 1807, ii. 1127), Ptolemæus Soter brought Alexander’s body back from Babylon, and buried it in Alexandria, in the spot afterwards known as the Soma. There it lay, in Strabo’s time, not in its original body-mask of golden chase-work, which Ptolemæus Cocces had stolen, but in a casket of glass. Great men “turned to pilgrims” to visit Alexander’s grave. Augustus crowned the still life-like body with a golden laurel-wreath, and scattered flowers over the tomb: Caligula stole the breastplate, and wore it during his pantomimic triumphs; Septimius Severus buried in the sarcophagus the writings of the priests, and a clue to the hieroglyphics. Finally, the sarcophagus and its sacred remains disappear, and Alexander himself passes into the land of fable and romance. In 1801 a sarcophagus came into the possession of the English Army, and was presented by George III. to the British Museum. Hieroglyphics were as yet undeciphered, and, in 1805, the traveller Edward Daniel Clarke published a quarto monograph (The Tomb of Alexander, etc.), in which he proves, to his own satisfaction, that “this surprising sarcophagus in one entire block of green Egyptian breccia,” had once contained the ashes of Alexander the Great. Byron knew Clarke, and, no doubt, respected his authority (see letter December 15, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 308); and, hence, the description of “Alexander’s urn” as “a show.” The sarcophagus which has, since 1844, been assigned to its rightful occupant, Nectanebus II. (Nekht-neb-f), is a conspicuous object in the Egyptian Gallery of the British Museum. It is a curious coincidence that in the Ethiopic version of the Pseudo–Callisthenes, Alexander is said to have been the son of Nectanebus II., who threw a spell over Olympias, the wife of Philip of Macedon, and won her love by the exercise of nefarious magic. (See the Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great, by E. A. Wallis Budge, Litt.D., F.S.A., Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum, 1896, i, ix.)]

7 [Arrian (Alexand. Anabasis, vii. i, 4, ed. 1849, p. 165) says that Alexander would never have rested content with what he had acquired; “that if he had annexed Europe to Asia, and the British Isles to Europe, he would have sought out some no-man’s-land to conquer.” So insatiable was his ambition, that when the courtly philosopher Anaxarchus explained to him the theory of the plurality of worlds he bemoaned himself because as yet he was not master of one. “Heu me, inquit, miserum, quod ne uno quidem adhuc potitus sum.”—Valerius Maximus, De Dictis, etc., lib. viii. cap. xiv. ex. 2. See, too, Juvenal, x. 168, 169. Burton (Anatomy of Melancholy, 1893, i. 64) denies that this was spoken like a prince, but, as wise Seneca censures him [on another occasion, however], ’twas vox iniquissima et stultissima, “’twas spoken like a bedlam fool.”]

8 [Compare Werner, act iii. sc. I, lines 288, 289, “When he Sesostris went into the temple or the city, his custom was to cause the horses to be unharnessed out of his chariot, and to yoke four kings and four princes to the chariot-pole.”—Diodori Siculi Bibl. Hist., lib. i. p. 37, C, ed. 1604, p. 53.]

9 [In a speech delivered in the House of Commons, February 17, 1800, “On the continuance of the War with France,” Pitt described Napoleon as the “child and champion of Jacobinism.” Coleridge, who was reporting for the Morning Post, took down Pitt’s words as “nursling and champion” (unpublished MS. note-book)—a finer and more original phrase, but substituted “child” for “nursling” in his “copy.” (See Letters of S. T. Coleridge, 1895, i. 327, note i.) The phrase was much in vogue, e.g. “All that survives of Jacobinism in Europe looks up to him as its ‘child and champion.’"-Quarterly Review, xvi. 48.]

10 [O’Meara, under the dates August 19, September 5, September 7, 13, etc. (see Napoleon in Exile, 1888, i. 95, 96, 114, 121, etc.), reports complaints on the part of Napoleon with regard to the reduction of expenses suggested or enforced by Sir Hudson Lowe, and gives specimens of the nature and detail of these reductions. For a refutation of O’Meara’s facts and figures (as given in Napoleon in Exile, 1822, ii. Appendix V.), see the History of the Captivity of Napoleon, by William Forsyth, Q.C., 1853, iii. 121, sq.; see, too, Sir Hudson Lowe and Napoleon, by R. C. Seaton, 1898. It is a fact that Sir Hudson Lowe, on his own responsibility, increased the allowance for the household expenses of Napoleon and his staff from £8000 to £12,000 a year, and it is also perfectly true that opportunities for complaint were welcomed by the exEmperor and his mimic court. It was la politique de Longwood to make the worst of everything, on the off-chance that England would get to hear, and that Radical indignation and Radical sympathy would gild, perhaps unbar, the eagle’s cage. It is true, too, that a large sum of money was spent on behalf of a prisoner of war whom the stalwarts of the Tory party would have executed in cold blood. But it is also true that Napoleon had no need to manufacture complaints, that he was exposed to unnecessary discomforts, that useless and irritating precautions were taken to prevent his escape, that the bottles of champagne and madeira, the fowls and the bundles of wood were counted with an irritating preciseness, inconsistent with the general scale of expenditure, which saved a little waste, and covered both principals and agents with ridicule. It is said that O’Meara, in his published volumes, manipulated his evidence, and that his own letters give him the lie; but there is a mass of correspondence, published and unpublished, between him and Sir Thomas Reade, Sir Hudson Lowe, and Major Gorrequer (see Addit. MSS. Brit. Mus. 20,145), which remains as it was written, and which testifies to facts which might have been and were not refuted on the spot and at the moment. With regard to “disputed rations,” the Governor should have been armed with a crushing answer to any and every complaint. As it was, he was able to show that champagne was allowed to “Napoleon Buonaparte,” and that he did not exceed his allowance.]

11 [In his correspondence with Lord Bathurst, Sir Hudson Lowe more than once quotes “statements” made by Dr. O’Meara (vide post, p. 546). But the surgeon may be William Warden (1777–1849), whose Letters written on board His Majesty’s Ship the Northumberland, and at St, Helena, were published in 1816.]

12 [Henry, Earl of Bathurst (1762–1834), Secretary for War and the Colonies, replied to Lord Holland’s motion “for papers connected with the personal treatment of Napoleon Buonaparte at St. Helena,” March 18, 1817. Parl. Deb., vol. 35, pp. 1137–1166.]

13 [A bust of Napoleon’s son, the Duke of Reichstadt, had been forwarded to St. Helena. O’Meara (Napoleon in Exile, etc., 1822, i. p. 100) says “that it had been in the island fourteen days, during several of which it was at Plantation House,” before it was transferred to Longwood. Forsyth (History of Napoleon in Captivity, 1853, ii. 146) denies this statement. It was, no doubt, detained on board ship for inspection, but not at Plantation House.]

14 [The book in question was The Substance of some Letters written by an Englishman in Paris, 1816 (by J. C. Hobhouse). It was inscribed “To the Emperor Napoleon.” Lowe’s excuse was that Hobhouse had submitted the work to his inspection, and suggested that if the Governor did not think fit to give it to Napoleon, he might place it in his own library. (See Napoleon in Exile, 1822, i. 85–87; and Forsyth, 1853, i. 193.)]

15 [Lieutenant–General Sir Hudson Lowe, K.C.B. (1769–1844), was the son of an army surgeon, John Hudson Lowe. His mother was Irish. He was appointed Governor of St. Helena, August 23, 1815, and landed in the island April 14, 1816. Byron met him at Lord Holland’s, before he sailed for St. Helena, and was not impressed by his remarks on Napoleon and Waterloo (Letters, 1901, v. 429). He was well-intentioned, honourable, and, in essentials, humane, but he was arrogant and tactless. The following sentence, from a letter written by Lowe to O’Meara, October 3, 1816 (Forsyth, i. 318, 319), is characteristic: “With respect to the instructions I have received, and my manner of making them known, never having regarded General Bonaparte’s opinions in any point whatever as to matter or manner, as an oracle or criterion by which to regulate my own judgment, I am not disposed to think the less favourably of the instructions, or my mode of executing them.” It must, however, be borne in mind that this was written some time after Lowe’s fifth and last interview with his captive (Aug. 18, 1816); that Napoleon had abused him to his face and behind his back, and was not above resorting to paltry subterfuges in order to defy and exasperate his “paltry gaoler.”]

16 [There is reason to think that “the staring stranger” was the traveller Captain Basil Hall (1788–1844), who called upon Byron at Venice (see Letters, 1900, iv. 252), but did not see him. His account of his interview with Napoleon is attached to his narrative of a Voyage to Java, 1840. It is not included in the earlier editions of Hall’s Voyage to the Corea and the Loochoo Islands, but is quoted by Scott, in his Life of Napoleon, 1827.]

17 [Barry Edward O’Meara (1786–1836) began life as assistant-surgeon to the 62nd Regiment, then stationed in Sicily and Calabria. In 1815 he was surgeon on board the Bellerophon, under Captain F. L. Maitland. Napoleon took a fancy to him because he could speak Italian, and, as his own surgeon Mengeaud would not follow him into exile, requested that O’Meara might accompany him, in the Northumberland, to St. Helena. His position was an ambiguous one. He was to act as Napoleon’s medical and, quoad hoc, confidential attendant, but he was not to be subservient to him or dependent on him. At St. Helena Lowe expected him to be something between an intermediary and a spy, and, for a time, O’Meara discharged both functions to the Governor’s satisfaction (statements by Dr. O’Meara are quoted by Lowe in his letter to Lord Bathurst [Life of Napoleon, etc., by Sir W. Scott, 1828, p. 763]). As time went on, the surgeon yielded to the glamour of Napoleon’s influence, and more and more disliked and resented the necessity of communicating private conversations to Lowe. He “withheld his confidence,” with the result that the Governor became suspicious, and treated O’Meara with reprobation and contempt. At length, on July 18, 1818, on a renewed accusation of “irregularities,” Lord Bathurst dismissed him from his post, and ordered him to quit St. Helena. He returned to England, and, October 28, 1818, addressed a letter (see Forsyth’s Napoleon, etc., iii. 432, 433) to J. W. Croker, the Secretary to the Admiralty, in which he argued against the justice of his dismissal. One sentence which asserted that Lowe had dwelt upon the “benefit which would result to Europe from the death of Napoleon,” was seized upon by Croker as calumnious, and in answer to his remonstrance, O’Meara’s name was struck off the list of naval surgeons. He published, in 1819, a work entitled Exposition of some of the Transactions that have taken place at St. Helena since the appointment of Sir Hudson Lowe as Governor, which was afterwards expanded into Napoleon in Exile, or a Voice from St. Helena (2 vols., 1822). The latter work made a great sensation, and passed through five editions. It was republished in 1888. O’Meara was able, and generously disposed, but he was not “stiff” (vide infra, 489). “He was,” says Lord Rosebery (Napoleon, The Last Phase, 1900, p. 31), “the confidential servant of Napoleon: unknown to Napoleon, he was the confidential agent of Lowe; and behind both their backs he was the confidential informant of the British Government. . . . Testimony from such a source is . . . tainted.” Neither men nor angels will disentangle the wheat from the tares.]

18 [Buonaparte died the 5th of May, 1821.]

19 [At the end of vol. ii. of O’Meara’s Voice, etc. (ed. 5), there is a statement, signed by Count Montholon, to the effect that he wished the following inscription to be placed on Napoleon’s coffin—


Né à Ajaccio le 15 Août, 1769,

Mort à Ste. Hélène le 5 Mai, 1821;”

but that the Governor said, “that his instructions would not allow him to sanction any other name being placed on the coffin than that of ‘General Bonaparte.’” Lowe would have sanctioned “Napoléon Bonaparte,” but, on his own admission, did refuse the inscription of the one word “Napoléon.”—Forsyth, iii. 295, 296, note 3.]

20 [Hall, in his interview with Napoleon at St. Helena, Narrative of a Voyage to Java, 1840, p. 77, testifies that, weeks before the vessel anchored at St. Helena, August 11, 1817, “the probability of seeing him Napoleon had engrossed the thoughts of every one on board. . . . Even those of our number who, from their situation, could have no chance of seeing him, caught the fever of the moment, and the most cold and indifferent person on board was roused on the occasion into unexpected excitement.”]

21 [The Colonne Vendôme, erected to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz, was inaugurated in 1810.]

22 [Pompey’s, i.e. Diocletian’s Pillar stands on a mound near the Arabian cemetery, about three quarters of a mile from Alexandria, between the city and Lake Mareotis.]

23 [Napoleon was buried, May 9, 1821, in a garden in the middle of a deep ravine, under the shade of two willow trees.]

24 [Byron took for granted that Napoleon’s remains would one day rest under the dome of the Pantheon, where Mirabeau is buried, and where cenotaphs have been erected to Voltaire and Rousseau. As it is (since December 15, 1840) he sleeps under the Dôme des Invalides. Above the entrance are these words, which are taken from his will: “Je désire que mes cendres reposent sur les bords de la Seine, au milieu de ce peuple Français que j’ai tant aimé.”]

25 Guesclin died during the siege of a city; it surrendered, and the keys were brought and laid upon his bier, so that the place might appear rendered to his ashes. [Bertrand du Guesclin, born 1320, first distinguished himself in the service of King John II. of France, in defending Rennes against Henry Duke of Lancaster, 1356–57. He was made Constable of France in 1370, and died before the walls of Châteauneuf-deRandon (Lozère). July 13, 1380. He was buried by the order of Charles V. in Saint–Denis, hard by the tomb which the king had built for himself. In La Vie vaillant Bertran du Guesclin [Chronique, etc. (par E. Charrière), 1839, tom. ii. p. 321, lines 22716, sq.], the English do not place the keys of the castle on Du Guesclin’s bier, but present them to him as he lies tossing on his death-bed ("à son lit agité"). So, too, Histoire de Messire Bertrand du Guesclin, par Claude Menard, 1618, 540: “Et Engloiz se accorderent à ce faire. Lors issirent dudit Chastel, et vindrent à Bertran, et lui presenterent les clefs. Et ne demora guères, qu’il getta le souppir de la mort.”]

26 [John of Trocnow, surnamed Zižka, or the “One-eyed,” was born circ. 1360, and died while he was besieging a town on the Moravian border, October 11, 1424. He was the hero of the Hussite or Taborite crusade (1419–1422), the malleus Catholicorum. The story is that on his death-bed he was asked where he wished to be buried, and replied, “that it mattered not, that his flesh might be thrown to the vulture and eagles; but his skin was to be carefully preserved and made into a drum, to be carried in the front of the battle, that the very sound might disperse their enemies.” Voltaire, in his Essai sur Les Mœurs et L’Esprit des Nations (cap. lxxiii. s.f. Œuvres Complètes, etc., 1836, iii. 256), mentions the legend as a fact, “Il ordonna qu’ après sa mort on fit un tambour de sa peau.” Compare Werner, act i. sc. I, lines 693, 694.]

27 [“Au moment de la bataille Napoléon avait dit à ses troupes, en leur montrant les Pyramides: ‘Soldats, quarante siècles vous regardent.’"—Campagnes d’Égypte et de Syrie, 1798–9, par le Général Bertrand, 1847, i. 160.]

28 [Madrid was taken by the French, first in March, 1808, and again December 2, 1808.]

29 [Vienna was taken by the French under Murat, November 14, 1805, evacuated January 12, 1806, captured by Napoleon, May, 1809, and restored at the conclusion of peace, October 14, 1809. Her treachery consisted in her hospitality to the sovereigns at the Congress of Vienna, November, 1814, and her share in the Treaty of Vienna, March 25, 1815, which ratified the Treaties of Chaumont, March 1, and of Paris, April 11, 1814.]

30 [At Jena Napoleon defeated Prince Hohenlohe, and at Auerstadt General Davoust defeated the King of Prussia, October 14, 1806. Napoleon then advanced to Berlin, October 27, from which he issued his famous decree against British commerce, November 20, 1806.]

31 [The partition of Poland. “Henry [of Prussia] arrived at St. Petersburg, December 9, 1770; and it seems now to be certain that the first open proposal of a dismemberment of Poland arose in his conversations with the Empress. . . . Catherine said to the Prince, ‘I will frighten Turkey and flatter England. It is your business to gain Austria, that she may lull France to sleep;’ and she became at length so eager, that . . . she dipt her finger into ink, and drew with it the lines of partition on a map of Poland which lay before them.”—Edinburgh Review, November, 1822 (art. x. on Histoire des Trois Démembremens de la Pologne, par M. Ferrand, 1820, etc., vol. 37, pp. 479, 480.)]

32 [Napoleon promised much, but did little for the Poles. “In speaking of the business of Poland he . . . said it was a whim (c’était un caprice).”—Narrative of an Embassy to Warsaw, by M. Dufour de Pradt, 1816, p. 51. “The Polish question,” says Lord Wolseley (Decline and Fall of Napoleon, 1893, p. 19), “thrust itself most inconveniently before him. In early life all his sympathies . . . were with the Poles, and he had regarded the partition of their country as a crime. . . . As a very young man liberty was his only religion; but he had now learned to hate and to fear that term. . . . He had no desire . . . to be the Don Quixote of Poland by reconstituting it as a kingdom. To fight Russia by the reestablishment of Polish independence was not, therefore, to be thought of.”]

33 [The final partition of Poland took place after the Battle of Maciejowice, October 12, 1794, when “Freedom shrieked when Kosciusko fell.” Tyrants, e.g. Napoleon in 1806, and Alexander in 1814 and again in 1815, approached Kosciusko with respect, and loaded him with flattery and promises, and then “passed by on the other side.”]

34 [The reference is to Charles’s chagrin when the Grand Vizier allowed the Russians to retire in safety from the banks of the Pruth, and assented to the Treaty of Jassy, July 21, 1711. Charles, “impatient for the fight, and to behold the enemy in his power,” had ridden above fifty leagues from Bender to Jassy, swam the Pruth at the risk of his life, and found that the Czar had marched off in triumph. He contrived to rip up the Vizier’s robe with his spur, “remonta à cheval, et retourna a Bender le desespoir dans le cœur” (Histoire de Charles XII., Livre v. s.f.).]

35 [“Naples, October 29, 1822. Le Vésuve continue à lancer des pierres et des cendres.”—From Le Moniteur Universel, November 21, 1822.]

36 [The material for this description of Napoleon on his return from Moscow is drawn from De Pradt’s Narrative of an Embassy to Warsaw and Wilna, published in 1816, pp. 133–141. “I hurried out, and arrived at the Hôtel d’Angleterre. . . . [Warsaw, December 10, 1812]. I saw a small carriage body placed on a sledge made of four pieces of fir: it had stood some crashes, and was much damaged. . . . The ministers joined me in addressing to him . . . wishes for the preservation of his health and the prosperity of his journey. He replied, ‘I never was better; if I carried the devil with me, I should be all the better for that (Quand j’aurai le diable je ne m’en porterai que mieux).’ These were his last words. He then mounted the humble sledge, which bore Cæsar and his fortune, and disappeared.” The passage is quoted in the Quarterly Review, October, 1815, vol. xiv. pp. 64–68.]


[“Soldats Français! Serrez vos rangs!

Intendez Roland qui vous crie!

Armez vous contre vos tyrans!

Brisez les fers de la patrie.”

“L’Ombre de Roland,” Morning Chronicle, October 10, 1822.]

38 [Gustavus Adolphus fell at the great battle of Lutzen, in November, 1632. Napoleon defeated the allied Russian and Prussian armies at Lutzen, May 2, 1813.]

39 [On June 26, 1813, Napoleon reentered Dresden, and on the 27th repulsed the allied sovereigns, the Emperors of Russia and Prussia, with tremendous loss. Thousands of prisoners and a great quantity of cannon were taken.]

40 [At the battle of Leipzig, October 18, 1813, on the appearance of Bernadotte, the Saxon soldiers under Regnier deserted and went over to the Allies. Napoleon, whose army was already weakened, lost 30,000 men at Leipzig.]

41 [Joseph Buonaparte, who had been stationed on the heights of Montmartre, March 30, 1814, to witness if not direct the defence of Paris against the Allies under Blücher, authorized Marmont to capitulate. His action was, unjustly, regarded as a betrayal of his brother’s capital.]

42 I refer the reader to the first address of Prometheus in Æschylus, when he is left alone by his attendants, and before the arrival of the chorus of Sea-nymphs.—Prometheus Vinctus, line 88, sq.

43 [Franklin published his Opinions and Conjectures concerning the Properties and Effects of the Electrical Matter and the Means of preserving Buildings, Ships, etc., from Lightning, in 1751, and in June, 1752, “the immortal kite was flown.” It was in 1781, when he was minister plenipotentiary at the Court of France, that the Latin hexameter, “Eripuit cœlo fulmen sceptrumque tyrannis,” first applied to him by Turgot, was affixed to his portrait by Fragonard. The line, said to be an adaptation of a line in the Astronomicon of Manilius (lib. i. 104), descriptive of the Reason, “Eripuitque Jovi fulmen viresque tonandi,” was turned into French by Nogaret, d’Alembert, and other wits and scholars. It appears on the reverse of a medal by F. Dupré, dated 1786. (See Works of Benjamin Franklin, edited by Jared Sparks, 1840, viii. 537–539; Life and Times, etc., by James Parton, 1864, i. 285–291.)]

44 [“To be the first man—not the Dictator, not the Sylla, but the Washington, or the Aristides, the leader in talent and truth—is next to the Divinity.”—Journal, November 24, 1813, Letters, 1898, ii. 340.]

45 [Simon Bolivar (El Libertador), 1783–1830, was at the height of his power and fame at the beginning of 1823. In 1821 he had united New Grenada to Venezuela under the name of the Republic of Columbia, and on the 1st of September he made a solemn entry into Lima. He was greeted with acclaim, but in accepting the honours which his fellow-citizens showered upon him, he warned them against the dangers of tyranny. “Beware,” he said, “of a Napoleon or an Iturbide.” Byron, at one time, had a mind to settle in “Bolivar’s country” (letter to Ellice, June 12, 1821, Letters, 1901, vi. 89); and he christened his yacht The Bolivar.]

46 [A proclamation of Bolivar’s, dated June 8, 1822, runs thus: “Columbians, now all your delightful country is free. . . . From the banks of the Orinoco to the Andes of Peru, the . . . army marching in triumph has covered with its protecting arms the entire extent of Columbia.”—“Jamaica Papers,” Morning Chronicle, September 28, 1822.]

47 [The capitulation of Athens was signed June 21, 1822. “Three days after the Greeks had sworn to observe the capitulation, they commenced murdering their helpless prisoners. . . . The streets of Athens were stained with the blood of four hundred men, women, and children.”—History of Greece, by George Finlay, 1877, vi. 283. The sword was hid in the myrtle bough. Hence the allusion. (Compare Childe Harold, Canto III. stanza xx. line 9, Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 228, and 291, note 2.)]

48 [The independence of Chili dated from April 5, 1818, when General José de San Martin routed the Spanish army on the plains of Maypo. On the 28th of July, 1821, the Independence of Peru was proclaimed. General San Martin assumed the title of Protector, and, August 3, 4, 1821, issued proclamations, in which he announced the independence of Peru, and bade the Spaniards tremble if they “abused his indulgence.” Extracts from a Journal written on the Coast of Chili, etc., by Captain Basil Hall, 1824, i. 266–272.]

49 [On the 8th of August, 1822, Niketas and Hypsilantes defeated the Turks under Dramali, near Lerna. The Moreotes attributed their good fortune to the generalship of Kolokotrones, a Messenian. Compare with the whole of section vi. the following quotations from an article on the “Numbers of the Greeks,” which appeared in the Morning Chronicle, September 13, 1822—

“‘Trust not for freedom to the Franks,

They have a king who buys and sells;

In native swords and native ranks

The only hope of courage dwells.’


“As Russia has now removed her warlike projects, and the Greeks are engaged single-handed with the whole force of the Ottoman Empire, etc. . . . Byron’s Grecian bard can no longer exclaim—

‘My country! on thy voiceless shore

The heroic lay is tuneless now—

The heroic bosom beats no more.’

“Greece is no longer a ‘nation’s sepulchre,’ the foul abode of slaves, but the living theatre of the patriot’s toils and the hero’s achievements. Her banners once more float on the mountains, and the battles she has already won show that in every glen and valley, as well as on

‘Suli’s rock and Parga’s shore

Exists the remnant of a line

Such as the Doric mothers bore.’"]

50 [An account of these Russian intrigues in Greece is contained in Thomas Gordon’s History of the Greek Revolution, 1832, i. 194–204.]

51 [Pelayo, said to be the son of Favila, Duke of Cantabria, was elected king by the Christians of the Asturias in 718, and defeated the Arab generals Suleyman and Manurza. He died A.D. 737.]

52 [For the “fabulous sketches” of the Zegri and Abencerrages, rival Moorish tribes, whose quarrels, at the close of the fifteenth century, deluged Granada with blood, see the Civil Wars of Granada, a prose fiction, interspersed with ballads, by Ginés Perez de Hita, published in 1595. An opera, Les Abencerages, by Cherubini, was performed in Paris in 1813. Chateaubriand’s Les Aventures du dernier Abencerrage was not published till 1826.]

53 [Ferdinand VII. returned to Madrid in March, 1814. “No sooner was he established on his throne . . . than he set himself to restore the old absolutism with its worst abuses. The nobles recovered their privileges . . . the Inquisition resumed its activity; and the Jesuits returned to Spain. . . . A camarilla of worthless courtiers and priests conducted the government, and urged the king to fresh acts of revolutionary violence. For six years Spain groaned under a royalist ‘reign of terror.’"—Encycl. Brit., art. “Spain,” vol. 22, p. 345.]

54 “‘St. Jago and close Spain!’ the old Spanish war-cry.” [“Santiago y serra España.”]

55 [Compare Childe Harold, Canto I. stanzas liv.-lvi., Poetical Works, i. 57, 58, 91, 92 (note II). The “man” was Tio Jorge (Jorge Ibort), vide ibid., p. 94.]

56 The Arragonians are peculiarly dexterous in the use of this weapon, and displayed it particularly in former French wars.

57 [Vide ante, the Introduction to the Age of Bronze, pp, 537–540.]

58 [Patrick Henry, born May 29, 1736, died June 6, 1799, was one of the leading spirits of the American Revolution. His father, John Henry, a Scotchman, a cousin of the historian, William Robertson, had acquired a small property in Virginia. Patrick was not exactly “forest born,” but, as a child, loved to play truant “in the forest with his gun or over his angle-rod.” He first came into notice as an orator in the “Parson’s Cause,” a suit brought by a minister of the Established Church to recover his salary, which had been fixed at 16,000 lbs. of tobacco. In his speech he is said to have struck the key-note of the Revolution by arguing that “a king, by disallowing acts of a salutary nature, from being the father of his people, degenerates into a tyrant, and forfeits all right to his subjects’ obedience.” His famous speech against the “Stamps Act” was delivered in the House of Burgesses of Virginia, May 29, 1765. One passage, with which, no doubt, Byron was familiar, has passed into history. “Cæsar had his Brutus—Charles the First had his Cromwell—and George the Third—” Henry was interrupted with a shout of “Treason! treason!!” but finished the sentence with, and “George the Third may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it.”

Henry was delegate to the first Continental Congress, five times Governor of Virginia, and was appointed U.S. Senator in 1794.

His contemporaries said that he was “the greatest orator that ever lived.” He seems to have exercised a kind of magical influence over his hearers, which they could not explain, which charmed and overwhelmed them, and “has left behind a tradition of bewitching persuasiveness and almost prophetic sublimity.”—See Life of Patrick Henry, by William Wirt, 1845, passim.]

59 [“I have been over Verona. The amphitheatre is wonderful—beats even Greece. Of the truth of Juliet’s story they seem tenacious to a degree, insisting on the fact, giving a date (1303), and showing a tomb. It is a plain, open, and partly decayed sarcophagus, with withered leaves in it, in a wild and desolate conventual garden, once a cemetery, now ruined to the very graves. The situation struck me as very appropriate to the legend, being blighted as their love. . . . The Gothic monuments of the Scaliger princes pleased me, but ‘a poor virtuoso am I.’"—Letter to Moore, November 7, 1816, Letters, 1899, iii. 386, 387. The tombs of the Scaligers are close to the Church of Santa Maria l’Antica. Juliet’s tomb, “of red Verona marble,” is in the garden of the Orfanotrofio, between the Via Cappucini and the Adige. It is not “that ancient vault where all the kindred of the Capulets lie,” which has long since been destroyed. Since 1814 Verona had been under Austria’s sway, and had “treacherously” forgotten her republican traditions.]

60 [Francesco Can Grande della Scala died in 1329. It was under his roof that Dante learned

“ . . . how salt his food who fares

Upon another’s bread—how steep his path

Who treadeth up and down another’s stairs.”

For anecdotes of Can Grande, see Commedia, etc., by E. H. Plumptre, D.D., 1886, I. cxx., cxxi.; and compare Dante at Verona, by D. G. Rossetti, Works, 1886, i. 1–17.]

61 [Ippolito Pindemonte, the modern Tibullus (1753–1828). (See Letters, 1900, iv. 127, note 4.)]

62 [Claudian’s famous old man of Verona, “qui suburbium numquam egressus est.”

“Indocilis rerum, vicinæ nescius urbis,

Adspectu fruitur liberiore poli.”

C. Claudiani Opera, lii., Epigrammata, ii. lines 9, 10 (ed. 1821, iii. 427).]

63 [“In the amphitheatre . . . crowds collected after the sittings of the Congress, to witness dramatic representations. . . . But for the costumes, a spectator might have imagined he was witnessing a resurrection of the ancient Romans.”—Congress, etc., by M. de Chateaubriand, 1838, i. 76. This was on the 24th of November. Catalani sang. Rossini’s cantata was performed with tremendous applause. On the next day the august visitors witnessed an illumination of the city. “Leur attention s’est principalement arrête sur le superbe portail de l’église Sainte–Agnés, qui brillait de mille feux, au milieu desquels se lisait l’inscription suivante en lettres de grandeur colossale:

A Cesare Augusta Verona esultante.’”

Le Moniteur, December 14, 1822.]

64 [Alexander I. (Paulowitsch), 1777–1825, succeeded his father in 1801. He began his reign well. Taxation was diminished, judicial penalties were remitted, universities were founded and reorganized, personal servitude was abolished or restricted throughout the empire. At the height of his power and influence, when he was regarded as the Liberator of Europe, he granted a Constitution to Poland, based on liberal if not democratic principles (June 21, 1815). But after a time he reverted to absolutism. Autocracy at home, a mystical and sentimental alliance with autocrats abroad, were incompatible with the indulgence of liberal proclivities. “After the Congresses of Aix-la-Chapelle and Troppau,” writes M. Rambaud (History of Russia, 1888, ii. 384), “he was no longer the same man. . . . From that time he considered himself the dupe of his generous ideas . . . at Carlsbad, at Laybach, and at Verona, Alexander was already the leader of the European reaction.” But even to the last he believed that he could run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. “They may say of me,” he exclaimed, “what they will; but I have lived and shall die republican” (ibid., p. 398).

Alexander was a man of ideas, a sentimentalist, and a poseur, but he had an eye to the main chance. Whatever cause or dynasty suffered, the Emperor Alexander was still triumphant. Byron’s special grudge against him at this time was due to his vacillation with regard to the cause of Greek Independence. But he is too contemptuous. There were points in common between the “Coxcomb Czar” and his satirist; and it is far from certain that if the twain had changed places Byron might not have proved just “such an Alexander.” In one respect their destiny was alike. The greatest sorrow of their lives was the death of a natural daughter.]

65 [For Alexander’s waltzing, see Personal Reminiscences, by Cornelia Knight and Thomas Raikes, 1875, p. 286. See, too, Moore’s Fables for the Holy Alliance, Fable I., “A Dream.”]

66 [“Pulk” is Polish for “regiment.” The allusion must be to the military colonies planted by “the corporal of Gatchina,” Araktchèef, in the governments of Novgorod, Kharkof, and elsewhere.]

67 [Frédéric César La Harpe (1754–1838) was appointed by Catherine II. Governor to the Grand–Dukes Alexander and Constantine. It was from La Harpe’s teaching that Alexander imbibed his liberal ideas. In 1816, when Byron passed the summer in Switzerland, La Harpe was domiciled at Lausanne, and it is possible that a meeting took place.]

68 [Alexander’s platonic attachment to the Baronne de Krüdener (Barbe Julie de Wietenhoff), beauty, novelist, illuminée, was the source of amusement rather than scandal. The Baronne, then in her fiftieth year, was the channel through which Franz Bader’s theory or doctrine of the “Holy Alliance” was conveyed to the enthusiastic and receptive Czar. It was only a passing whim. Alexander’s mysticism was for ornament, not for use, and, before very long, Egeria and her Muscovite Numa parted company.]

69 The dexterity of Catherine extricated Peter (called the Great by courtesy), when surrounded by the Mussulmans on the banks of the river Pruth. [Catherine, who had long been Peter’s mistress, had at length been acknowledged as his wife. Her “dexterity” took the form of a bribe of money and jewels, conveyed to the Turkish grand-vizier Baltazhi–Mahomet, who was induced to accede to the Treaty of Pruth, July 20, 1711.]


[“Eight thousand men had to Asturias march’d

Beneath Count Julian’s banner. . . . To revenge

His quarrel, twice that number left their bones,

Slain in unnatural battle, on the field

Of Xeres, where the sceptre from the Goths

By righteous Heaven was reft.”

Southey’s Roderick, Canto XXV. lines 1, 2, 7–11.]

71 [The Bashkirs are a Turco–Mongolian tribe inhabiting the slopes of the Ural Mountains. They supply a body of irregular cavalry to the Russian army.]

72 [The Austrian and Russian armies stood between the Greeks and other peoples, and their independence, as Alexander the Great stood between Diogenes and the sunshine.]

73 [Lines 482, 483, are not in the MS.]

74 [Constant (Henri Benjamin de Rebecque, 1767–1830) was the “stormy petrel” of debate in the French Chamber. For instance, in a discussion on secret service money for the police (July 27, 1822), he exclaimed, “Vous les répresentez-vous payant d’une main le salaire du vol, et tenant peut-être un crucifix de l’autre?” No wonder that there were “violens murmures, cris d’indignation à droite.” The duel, however, did not arise out of a speech in the Chamber, but from a letter of June 5, 1822, in La Quotidienne, in which the Marquis de Forbin des Issarts replied to some letters of Constant, which had appeared in the Courrier and Constitutionnel. Constant was lame, and accordingly both combatants “out été places à dix petits pas sur des chaises.” Both fired twice, but neither “was a penny the worse.” (See La Grande Encyclopédie, art. “Constant;” and, for details, La Quotidienne, June 8, 1822. See, too, for “session de 1822,” Opinions el Discours de M. Casimir Perrier, 1838, ii. 5–47.)]

75 [Louis XVIII. (Louis Stanislas Xavier, 1755–1824) passed several years of exile in England, at Goswell, Wanstead, and latterly at Hartwell, near Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire. When he entered Paris as king, in May, 1814, he was in his fifty-ninth year, inordinately bulky and unwieldy—a king pour rire. “C’est ce gros goutteux,” explained an ouvrier to a bystander, who had asked, “Which is the king?” Fifteen mutton cutlets, “sautées au jus,” for breakfast; fifteen mutton cutlets served with a “sauce à la champagne,” for dinner; to say nothing of strawberries, and sweet apple-puffs between meals, made digestion and locomotion difficult. It was no wonder that he was a martyr to the gout. But he cared for nature and for books as well as for eating. His Lettres d’Artwell (Paris, 1830), which profess to be selections from his correspondence with a friend, give a pleasant picture of the roi en exil. His wife, Louise de Savoie, died November, 1810, and in the following April he writes (Lettres, pp. 70, 71), “Mars a maintenu le bien d’un hiver fort doux; point encore de goutte; à brebis tondue, Dieu measure le vent. Hélas! je l’éprouve bien qu’elle est tondue cette pauvre brebis! . . . je me promène dans le jardin, je vois mes rosiers qui poussent bien; a qui offrirai-je les roses? . . . Eh bien! je ne voudrais pas que cette goutte d’absinthe cessât, car pour cela il faudrait l’oublier. L’oublier! Ah Dieu! Je suis comme les enfans d’Israël qui disaient: Super flumina Babylonis . . . Sion. Mais ajoutons tout de suite: Si oblitus fuero hit, Jerusalem, oblivioni detur dextera mea.” In another letter, June 8, 1811, he criticizes some translations of Horace, and laments that the good Père Sanadon has confined himself to the Opera Expurgata. Not, he adds, that he would not have excluded one or two odes, “mais on a impitoyablement sabré des choses délicieuses” (Lettres, p. 98).

To his wit, Chateaubriand testifies (The Congress, etc., 1838, i. 262). At the council, when affairs of state were being discussed, the king “would say in his clear shrill voice, ‘I am going to make you laugh, M. de Chateaubriand.’ The other ministers fumed with impatience, but Chateaubriand laughed, not as a courtier, but as a human being.”]

76 [Louvel, who assassinated the Due de Berri, and who was executed June 7, 1820, was supposed to have been an agent of the carbonari. La Fayette, Constant, Lafitte, and others were also suspected of being connected with secret societies.—The Court of the Tuileries, 1815–1848, by Lady Jackson, 1883, ii. 19.]

77 “Naso suspendis adunco.”—HORACE [Sat. i. 6, 5]. The Roman applies it to one who merely was imperious to his acquaintance.

78 [Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, afterwards Marquis of Londonderry (1769–1822), who had been labouring under a “mental delirium” (Letter of Duke of Wellington, August 9, 1822), committed suicide by cutting his throat with a penknife (August 12, 1822). He was the uncompromising and successful opponent of popular causes in Ireland, Italy, and elsewhere, and, as such, Byron assailed him, alive and dead, with the bitterest invective. (See, for instance, the “Dedication” to Don Juan, stanzas xi.-xvi., sundry epigrams, and an “Epitaph.”) In the Preface to Cantos VI., VII., VIII., of Don Juan, he justifies the inclusion of a stanza or two on Castlereagh, which had been written “before his decease,” and, again, alludes to his suicide. (For an estimate of his career and character, see Letters, 1900, iv. 108, 109, note 1; and for a full report of the inquest, The Annual Biography, 1823, pp. 56–62.)]

79 [“The Pilot that weathered the Storm” was written by Canning, to be recited at a dinner given on Pitt’s birthday, May 28, 1802.]

80 [George Canning (1770–1827) succeeded Lord Londonderry as Foreign Secretary, September 8, 1822. He was not a persona grata to George IV., who had been offended by Canning’s neutral attitude, as a minister, on the question of the Queen’s message (June 7, 1820), and by his avowal “of an unaltered regard and affection” for that “illustrious personage” herself. There was, too, the prospect of Catholic Emancipation. In 1821 he had spoken in favour of Plunket’s bills, and, the next year (April 30, 1822), he had brought in a bill to remove the disabilities of Roman Catholic peers from sitting in the House of Lords. If Canning persisted in his advocacy of Catholic claims, the king’s conscience might turn restive, and urge him to effectual resistance. Hence the warning in lines 563–567.]

81 [Demeter gave Triptolemus a chariot drawn by serpents, and bade him scatter wheat throughout the world. (See Ovid, Met., lib. v. lines 642–661.)]

82 [“Lord Londonderry proposed (April 29, 1822) that whenever wheat should be under 60 shillings a quarter, Government should be authorized to issue £1,000,000 in Exchequer bills to landed proprietors on the security of their crops; that importation of foreign corn should be permitted whenever the price of wheat should be at or above 70 shillings a quarter . . . that a sliding-scale should be fixed, that for wheat being under 80s. a quarter at 12 shillings; above 80s. and below 85s., at 5 shillings; and above 85s., only one shilling.”—Allison’s History of Europe, 1815–1852, and 1854, ii. 506. The first clause was thrown out, but the rest of the bill passed May 13, 1822.]

83 [Peel’s bill for the resumption of cash payments (Act 59 Geo. III. cap. 49) was passed June 14, 1819. The “landed interest” attributed the fall of prices and the consequent fall of rent to this measure, and hinted more or less plainly that the fund-holders should share the loss. They had lent their money when the currency was inflated, and should not now be paid off in gold.

“But you,” exclaims Cobbett [Letter to Mr. Western (Weekly Register, November 23, 1822)], “what can induce you to stickle for the Pitt system [i.e. paper-money]? I will tell you what it is: you loved the high prices, and the domination that they gave you. . . . Besides this, you think that the boroughs can be preserved by a return to paper-money, and along with them the hare-and-pheasant law and justice. You loved the glorious times of paper-money, and you want them back again. You think that they could go on for ever. . . . The bill of 1819 was really a great relaxation of the Pitt system, and when you are crying out spoliation and confiscation, when you are bawling out so lustily about the robbery committed on you by the fund-holders and the placemen, and are praising the infernal Pitt system at the same time, . . . you say they are receiving, the fund-vagabonds in particular, more than they ought.” It is evident that Byron’s verse is a reverberation of Cobbett’s prose.]

84 [Petitions were presented by the inhabitants of St. Andrew, Holborn; St. Botolf, Bishopsgate; and St. Gregory by St. Paul, to the Court of Common Council, against a tithe-charge of 2s, 9d. in the pound on their annual rents.—Morning Chronicle, November 1, 1822.]

85 Lines 614–657 are not in the MS.

86 [The Symplegades, or “justling rocks,” Ovid’s instabiles Cyaneæ, were supposed to crush the ships which sailed between them.]

87 [Alcina, the personification of carnal pleasure in the Orlando Furioso, is the counterpart of Homer’s Circe. “She enjoyed her lovers for a time, and then changed them into trees, stones, fountains, or beasts, as her fancy dictated.” (See Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, vi. 35, seq.)]

88 [There were five brothers Rothschild: Anselm, of Frankfort, 1773–1855; Salomon, of Vienna, 1774–1855; Nathan Mayer, of London, 1777–1836; Charles, of Naples, 1788–1855; and James, of Paris, 1792–1868. In 1821 Austria raised 37–1/2 million guldens through the firm, and, as an acknowledgment of their services, the Emperor raised the brothers to the rank of baron, and appointed Baron Nathan Mayer Consul–General in London, and Baron James to the same post in Paris. In 1822 both Russia (see line 684) and England raised 3–1/2 millions sterling through the Rothschilds. The “two Jews” (line 686, etc.) are, probably, the two Consuls–General. In 1822 their honours were new, and some mocked. There is the story that Talleyrand once presented the Parisian brother to Montmorenci as M. le premier Juif to M. le premier Baron Chrétien; while another tale, parent or offspring of the preceding, which appeared in La Quotidienne, December 21, 1822, testifies to the fact, not recorded, that a Rothschild was at Verona during the Congress: “M. de Rotschild, baron et banquier général des gouvernemens absolus, s’est, dit-on, rendu an congres, il a été présenté a l’empereur d’Autriche, et S.M., en lui remettant une decoration, a daigné lui dire: ‘Vous pouvez être assuré, Monsieur, que la maison d’Autriche sera toujours disposée à reconnaître vos services et à vous accorder ce qui pourra vous être agréable,’—‘Votre Majesté,’ a répondu le baron financier, ‘pourra toujours également compter sur la maison Rotschild.’"—See The Rothschilds, by John Reeves, 1886.]

89 [In 1822 the Neapolitan Government raised 22,000,000 ducats through the Rothschilds.]

90 Monsieur Chateaubriand, who has not forgotten the author in the minister, received a handsome compliment at Verona from a literary sovereign: “Ah! Monsieur C., are you related to that Chateaubriand who—who—who has written something?” (écrit quelque chose!) It is said that the author of Atala repented him for a moment of his legitimacy. [François René Vicomte de Chateaubriand (1768–1848) published Les Martyrs ou le Triomphe de la religion chrétienne in 1809.]

91 [Count Capo d’Istria (b. 1776)—afterwards President of Greece. The count was murdered, in September, 1831, by the brother and son of a Mainote chief whom he had imprisoned (note to ed. 1832). Byron may have believed that Capo d’Istria was still in the service of the Czar, but, according to Allison, his advocacy of his compatriots the Greeks had led to his withdrawal from the Russian Foreign Office, and prevented his taking part in the Congress. It was, however, stated in the papers that he had been summoned, and was on his way to Verona.]

92 [Jean Mathieu Félicité, Duc de Montmorenci (1766–1826), was, in his youth, a Jacobin. He proposed, August 4, 1789, to abrogate feudal rights, and June 15, 1790, to abolish the nobility. He was superseded as plenipotentiary by Chateaubriand, and on his return to Paris created a duke. Before the end of the year he was called upon to resign his portfolio as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The king disliked him, and there were personal disagreements between him and the Prime Minister, M. de Villêle.

The following “gazette” appeared in the Moniteur:—

“Ordonnance du Roi. Signé Louis. Art 1er Le Vicomte de Chateaubriand, pair de France, est nomme ministre secrétaire d’état au département des affaires étrangères. Louis par la grace de Dieu Roi de France et de Navarre.

“Art. 1er Le Duc Mathieu de Montmorenci, pair de France, est nommé ministre d’Etat, et membre de notre Conseil privé.

“Dimanche, 29 Décembre, 1822.”

“On Tuesday, January 1, 1823,” writes Chateaubriand, Congress, 1838, i. 258, “we crossed the bridges, and went to sleep in that minister’s bed, which was not made for us,—a bed in which one sleeps but little, and in which one remains only for a short time.”]

93 [From Pope’s line on Lord Peterborough, Imitations of Horace, Sat. i. 132.]

94 [Marie Louise, daughter of Francis I. of Austria, was born December 12, 1791, and died December 18, 1849. She was married to Napoleon, April 2, 1810, and gave birth to a son, March 29, 1811. In accordance with the Treaty of Paris, she left France April 26, 1814, renounced the title of Empress, and was created Duchess of Parma, Placentia, and Guastalla. After Napoleon’s death (May 5, 1821). “Proud Austria’s mournful flower” did not long remain a widow, but speedily and secretly married her chamberlain and gentleman of honour, Count Adam de Neipperg (ce polisson Neipperg, as Napoleon called him), to whom she had long been attached. It was supposed that she attended the Congress of Verona in the interest of her son, the exKing of Rome, to whom Napoleon had bequeathed money and heirlooms. She was a solemn stately personage, tant soit peu declassée, and the other potentates whispered and joked at her expense. Chateaubriand says that when the Duke of Wellington was bored with the meetings of the Congress, he would while away the time in the company of the Orsini, who scribbled on the margin of intercepted French despatches, “Pas pour Mariée.” Not for Madame de Neipperg.]

95 [Napoleon François Charles Joseph, Duke of Reichstadt, died at the palace of Schönbrunn, July 22, 1832, having just attained his twenty-first year.]

96 [Count Adam Albrecht de Neipperg had lost an eye from a wound in battle.]

97 [La Quotidienne of December 4, 1822, has a satirical reference to a passage in the Courrier, which attached a diplomatic importance to the “galanterie respectueuse que le duc de Wellington aurait faite à cette jeune Princesse.” We read, too, of another victorious foe, the King of Prussia, giving “la main à l’archduchesse Marie–Louise jusqu’à son carrosse” (Le Constitutionnel, November 19, 1822). “All the world wondered” what Andromache did, and how she would fare—dans ce galère. It is difficult to explain the allusion to Pyrrhus. Andromache was the unwilling bride of Pyrrhus or Neoptolemus, whose father had slain her husband, Hector; Marie Louise the willing bride of Neipperg, who had certainly fought at Leipsic, but who could not be said to have given the final blow to Napoleon at Waterloo. Pyrrhus must stand for the victorious foe, and the right arm on which the too-forgiving Andromache leant, must have been offered by “the respectful gallantry” of the Duke of Wellington.]

98 [Sir William Curtis (1752–1805), maker of sea-biscuits at Wapping, was M.P. for the City of London 1790–1818, Lord Mayor 1795–6. George IV. affected his society, visited him at Ramsgate, and sailed with him in his gorgeously appointed yacht. When the king visited Scotland in August, 1822, Curtis followed in his train. On first landing at Leith, “Sir William Curtis, who had celtified himself on the occasion, marched joyously in his scanty longitude of kilt.” At the Levee, August 17, “Sir William Curtis again appeared in the Royal tartan, but he had forsaken the philabeg and addicted himself to the trews” (Morning Chronicle, August 19, 20, 1822). “The Fat Knight” was seventy years of age, and there was much joking at his expense. See, for instance, some lines in “Hudibrastic measure,” Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 92, Part II. p. 606—

“And who is he, that sleek and smart one

Pot-bellied pyramid of Tartan?

So mountainous in pinguitude,

Ponderibus librata SUIS,

He stands like pig of lead, so true is,

That his abdomen throws alone

A Body-guard around the Throne!”]

99 [Lines 771, 772 are not in the MS.]

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