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esteem, and probably to friendship; but, next to such an antagonist, an enemy like Lord Byron is to be desired; one who, by his conduct in the contest, divests himself of every claim to respect; one whose baseness is such as to sanctify the vindictive feeling that it provokes, and upon whom the act of taking vengeance is that of administering justice. I answered him as he deserved to be answered; and the effect which that answer produced upon his lordship has been described by his faithful chronicler, Captain Medwin. This is the real history of what the purveyors of scandal for the public are pleased sometimes to announce in their advertisements as "Byron's controversy with Southey." What there was dark and devilish in it belongs to his lordship; and, had I been compelled to resume it during his life, he who played the monster in literature, and aimed his blows at women, should have been treated accordingly. "The Republican Trio," says Lord Byron, "when they began to publish in common, were to have had a community of all things like the ancient Britons-to have lived in a state of nature like savages-and peopled some island of the blest with children in common, like A very pretty Arcadian notion !"

I may be excused for wishing that Lord Byron had published this himself; but, though he is responsible for the atrocious falsehood, he is not for its posthumous publication. I shall only observe, therefore, that the slander is as worthy of his lordship as the scheme itself would have been; nor would I have condescended to notice it even thus, were it not to show how little this calumniator knew concerning the objects of his uneasy and restless hatred. Mr. Wordsworth and I were strangers to each other, even by name, when he represents us as engaged in a Satanic confederacy; and we never published any thing in


Here I dismiss the subject. It might have been thought that Lord Byron had attained the last degree of disgrace when his head was set up for a sign at one of those preparatory schools for the brothel and the gallows, where obscenity, sedition, and blasphemy, are retailed in drams for the vulgar. There remained one further shame; there remained this exposure of his private conversations, which has compelled his lordship's friends, in their own defence, to compare his oral declarations with his written words, and thereby demonstrate that he was as regardless of truth as he was incapable of sustaining those feelings suited to his birth, station, and high endowments, which sometimes came across his better mind.

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We now return to the tragedy of Sardanapalus,' the next in order to Marino Faliero,' from which we have been compelled to digress. It is founded upon the relations of Diodorus Siculus, and other historians, of the death of Sardanapalus, the last of the Assyrian kings. The commencement of the drama is placed at the time when Beleses, high-priest of Baal and governor of Babylonia, and Arbaces, governor of Media, have matured their conspiracy for seizing on the palace, and erecting a new dynasty on the ruins of the line of Nimrod. The king's brother-in-law, the brave and virtuous Salamenes, is introduced lamenting over his sovereign's blindness and degradation, and at the same time expressing his conviction that, under that sloth and folly, qualities are concealed which might have made him, and yet may make him, safe and illustrious.

He is interrupted by the king, who enters effeminately dressed, attended by a train of women and young slaves, whom he dismisses, with the exception of Myrrha, a Greek girl, the King's favorite, till the hour of a banquet appointed in a summer-house on the Euphrates.* Myrrha, too, retires abashed at the stern reproofs of Salamenes, who proceeds to school his monarch, in language full of weight and gravity, for his sloth and neglect of his own renown; and is answered by Sardanapalus, sometimes with the irritability of one little used to advice; sometimes in a strain of witty sophistry expressive of his contempt for the popular voice, which only clamoured because his reign was too peaceful; and, at length, when he has worked himself by degrees into indignation against his nation's ingratitude, with the vaunt that, if roused, he had that in him which would make them regret the days of his inoffensive luxury.

Salamenes, who appears (by what means is not explained) to have procured intelligence of the designs of the conspirators, at length departs (having obtained the royal signet and sanction to act as he thinks proper) to arrest Arbaces and Beleses.

We hardly know why Lord Byron, who has not in other respects shown a slavish deference to Diodorus Siculus, should thus follow him in the manifest geographical blunder of placing Nineveh on the Euphrates instead of the Tigris, in opposition not only to the uniform tradition of the east, but to the express asser tions of Herodotus, Pliny, and Ptolemy.

Myrrha re-enters, and a beautiful dialogue ensues, in which the king, in perfect conformity with his character, displays his ignorance of hers, even while most enslaved by her beauty; and expresses surprise at her echoing the advice, and enforcing the caution, of that Salamenes who had so lately made her blush and weep. He at length grows angry. What follows is very beautiful :

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Myr. Frown not upon me: you have smiled
Too often on me not to make those frowns

Bitterer to bear than any punishment

Which they may augur.-King, I am your subject!
Master, I am your slave! Man, I have loved you!—
Loved you, I know not by what fatal weakness,
Although a Greek, and born a foe to monarchs-
A slave, and hating fetters-an Ionian,
And, therefore, when I love a stranger, more
Degraded by that passion than by chains!
Still I have loved you. If that love were strong
Enough to overcome all former nature,
Shall it not claim the privilege to save you

Sard. Save me, my beauty! Thou art very fair,
And what I seek of thee is love-not safety.
Myr. And without love where dwells security?
Surd. I speak of woman's love.

The very first

Of human life must spring from woman's breast;
Your first small words are taught you from her lips,
Your first tears quenched by her, and your last sighs
Too often breathed out in a woman's hearing,
When men have shrunk from the ignoble care
Of watching the last hour of him who led them.
Sard. My eloquent Ionian! thou speak'st music,
The very chorus of the tragic song

I've heard thee talk of as the favorite pastime
Of thy far father-land. Nay, weep not-calm thee.
Myr. I weep not.-But, I pray thee, do not speak
About my fathers or their land.


Thou speakest of them.

Yet oft


True-true: constant thought

Will overflow in words unconsciously;

But, when another speaks of Greece, it wounds me.

She at length persuades him to give up the intended banquet on the Euphrates, but he remains resolute to have a fête within the walls of his palace; and the act concludes with a very splendid speech of Myrrha, which, by a strange misprint, and to the grievous wounding of the head of poor old Priscian, she is made to utter ‹ solus.'

The second act is, we conceive, a failure. The conspirators have a tedious dialogue, which is interrupted by Salamenes with a guard. Salamenes is followed by the king, who reverses all his measures, pardons Arbaces because he will not believe him guilty, and Beleses in order to escape from his long speeches about the national religion. This incident only is well managed. Arbaces is a mere common-place warrior; and Beleses, on whom, we suspect, Lord Byron has bestowed more than usual pains, is a very ordinary and uninteresting villain. Sardanapalus, indeed, and Salamenes, are both made to speak of the wily Chaldean as the master-mover of the plot, as a politician in whose hands Arbaces is but a warlike puppet;' and Diodorus Siculus has represented him, in fact, as the first instigator of Arbaces to his treason, and as making use of his priestly character, and his supposed power of foretelling future events, to inflame the ambition, to direct the measures, to sustain the hopes, and to reprove the despondency, of his comrade. But of all this nothing appears in the tragedy. Lord Byron has been so anxious to show his own contempt for the priest, that he has not even allowed him that share of cunning and evil influence which was necessary for the part which he had to fill. Instead of being the original, the restless and unceasing prompter to bold and wicked measures, we find him, on his first appearance, hanging back from the enterprise, and chilling the energy of Arbaces by an enumeration of the real or possible difficulties which might yet impede its execution. Instead of exercising that power over the mind of his comrade which a religious impostor may well possess over better and more magnanimous souls than his own, Beleses is made to pour his predictions into incredulous ears, and Arbaces is as mere an epicurean in his creed as Sardanapalus. When we might have expected to find him gazing with hope and reverence on the star which the Chaldean points out as his natal planet, the Median warrior speaks, in the language of Mezentius, of the sword on which his confidence depends; and, instead of being a tool in the hand of the pontiff, he says almost

every thing which is likely to affront him. Though Beleses is introduced to us as engaged in devotion, and as a fervent worshipper of the sun, he is no where made either to feel or to counterfeit that professional zeal against Sardanapalus which his open contempt of the gods would naturally call for; and no reason appears throughout the play why Arbaces should follow, against his own conscience and opinion, the counsels of a man of whom he speaks with dislike and disgust, and whose pretences to inspiration and sanctity he treats with unmingled ridicule. But we must not lose the thread of the fable. Sardanapalus, though he grants the conspirators their lives, is induced by Salamenes to banish them to their respective satrapies; and by the offence and suspicion which this half-measure inspires, as well as by the insinuations and persuasions of Beleses, Arbaces is confirmed in that treason out of which he had nearly been shamed by the recent mercy of his sovereign.

In the next act Sardanapalus and his courtiers are disturbed at their banquet by the breaking out of the conspiracy. The battle which follows-if we overlook the absurdity which occurs during one part of it, of hostile armies drawn up against each other in a dining-room-is extremely well told; and Sardanapalus displays the precise mixture of effeminacy and courage, levity and talent, which belongs to his character:

Sard. (arming himself.) Give me the cuirass-so: my
baldric; now

My sword: I had forgot the helm, where is it?
That's well-no, 'tis too heavy: you mistake, too-
It was not this I meant, but that which bears

A diadem around it.


Sire, I deemed

That too conspicuous from the precious stones

To risk your sacred brow beneath—and, trust me,

This is of better metal, though less rich.

Sard. You deemed! Are you too turned a rebel? Fellow !

Your part is to obey return, and-no

It is too late-I will go forth without it.

Sfero. At least wear this.


Wear Caucasus! why 'tis

Sire, the meanest

A mountain on my temples.


Soldier goes not forth thus exposed to battle.

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