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her own family, after she had got to Kirkby-Mallory, that the mother of the lady actually wrote to Lord Byron, within a few hours after his wife's arrival under her father's roof, inviting his Lordship to go down to the place where she was? He did not comply with the invitation ; but we have no allusion whatever to so pregnant a fact in the “ Notices.” Lady Byron began now to think that the notion of the insanity of her Lord was a delusion; her eyes were now a little opened to the extent to which human frailty will go, even when reason cannot be said wholly to abandon its functions; she was soon convinced that the excesses of Lord Byron were not to be attributed to the suspension of intellectual jurisdiction, but to the predominance of those evil passions by which that jurisdiction was completely controled :

• Under this uncertainty,' observes her ladyship, 'I deemed it right to communicate to my parents, that if I were to consider Lord Byron's past conduct as that of a person of sound mind, nothing could induce me to return to him. It therefore appeared expedient both to them and myself to consult the ablest advisers. For that object, and also to obtain still further information respecting the appearances which seemed to indicate mental derangement, my mother determined to go to London. She was empowered by me to take legal opinions on a written statement of mine, though I had then reasons for reserving a part of the case from the knowJedge of even my father and mother. Being convinced by the result of these inquiries, and by the tenor of Lord Byron's proceedings, that the notion of insanity was an illusion, I no longer hesitated to authorise such measures as were necessary, in order to secure me from being ever again placed in his power. Conformably with this resolution, my father wrote to him on the 2d of February, to propose an amicable separation. Lord Byron at first rejected this proposal ; but when it was distinctly notified to him, that if he persisted in his refusal, recourse must be had to legal measures, he agreed to sign a deed of separation. Upon applying to Dr. Lushington, who was intimately acquainted with all the circumstances, to state in writing what he recollected on this subject, I received from him the following letter, by which it will be manifest that my mother cannot have been actuated by any hostile or ungenerous motives towards Lord Byron.

"“My dear Lady Byron, I can rely upon the accuracy of my memory for the following statement. I was originally consulted by Lady Noel on your behalf, whilst you were in the country; the circumstances detailed by her were such as justified a separation, but they were not of that aggravated description as to render such a measure indispensable. On Lady Noel's representations, I deemed a reconciliation with Lord Byron practicable, and felt most sincerely a wish to aid in effecting it. There was not on Lady Noel's part any exaggeration of the facts; nor, so far as I could perceive, any determination to prevent a return to Lord Byron : certainly none was expressed when I spoke of a reconciliation. When you came to town in about a fortnight, or perhaps more, after my first interview with Lady Noel, I was for the first time informed by you of faets utterly unknown, as I have no doubt, to Sir Ralph and Lady Noel. On receiving this additional information my opinion was entirely changed : I considered a reconciliation impossible. I declared my opinion, and added, that if such an idea should be entertained, I could not, either professionally or otherwise, take any part towards effecting it. Believe me, very faithfully yours, “ Great George-street, Jan, 21, 1830. Stepi. LUSHINGron.”

I have only to observe, that if the statements on which my legal advisers (the late Sir Samuel Romilly and Dr. Lushington) formed their opinions, were false, the responsibility and the odium should rest with me only. I trust that the facts which I have here briefly recapitulated, will absolve my father and mother from all accusations with regard to the part they took in the separation between Lord Byron and myself. They neither originated, instigated, nor advised that separation ; and they cannot be condemned for having afforded to their daughter the assistance and protection which she claimed. There is no other near relative to vindicate their memory from insult. I am therefore compelled to break the silence which I had hoped always to observe, and to solicit from the readers of Lord Byron's life an impartial consideration of the testimony extorted from

me.

• Hanger Hill, Feb. 19, 1830.

A. I. Noel Byron.' We lament exceedingly that Mr. Moore should have been betrayed into the discussion of those points of Lord Byron's domestic history, with respect to which this gentleman must have well known, from his experience of the nobleman's character, every chance was against his being in the right. Is Mr. Moore really piqued against Lady Byron? Has her ladyship, in any way, afforded an excuse for the existence of that rancour which, whenever she appears upon the scene, Mr. Moore seems to labour withal ? Is it true that her ladyship's memory clung too exclusively to the report of Mr. Moore's early misapplication of his genius, and that she did not either forgive his juvenile errors or affect to pass them over? Was she too proud, indeed, to acquiesce in any arrangement that might be consequent upon Lord Byron's suggestion in one of his letters to Mr. Moore, as “to bringing their women together”? Of all this we profess to be extremely ignorant, let busy scandal promulgate what it may.

Lady Byron, it is superfluous to say, completely triumphs in this strife. She employs the invincible weapons of truth, which, by their own simple and unaided weight, will ever overmatch, by whomsoever used, the utmost refinement of dexterity and skill when wielding instruments of different materials. Lord Byron's eulogy on her whilst she lived with him, her own conduct since their separation, the dignified reserve which she maintained as long as herself only was in question, the precipitancy of her eagerness to vindicate her parents,—all attest a character utterly without reproach. It is only justice in us to add, that for the first and authentic copy of Lady Byron's letter, we are indebted to the Editor of the Literary Gazette.

592

Art. XI.- The Descent into Hell; a Poem. Svo. pp. 229. London :

Murray. 1830. When we opened this poem and found it commencing with a dedication to Mr, Southey, we flattered ourselves with the hope that it was to repay us for the weariness we have suffered in tasting of the hecatombs, which the combined stupidity of the land appears to have made a point of recently offering upon the altars of the Muses. The name of Murray, too, was, we thought, a good omen, as we very seldom see it on the title-page of a volume which is not worthy to be read. For Murray does not print at random, merely for the sake of having a long list of new publications, and of keeping his name before the world as some other booksellers do. He publishes with discretion, after having carefully considered what he is about, and, though he be not infallible, he is, for the most part, as he deserves to be, eminently successful. Then the title of this work, too, put us in mind of Dante, and induced us to expect a noble satire upon the vices and follies of the great men who have gone to the region of woe and fire since that poet's lay was ended. The Descent into Hell’ brought also to our recollection Robert Montgomery's Satan, and we felt already persuaded that the blunders of that boinbastical ranter would have served as a beacon to all other adventurers bound for Pandemonium. But, alas, neither the patronage of Southey, the classic name of Murray, the beauties of Dante, nor the warning deformities of Montgomery, seem to have acted upon the author of this poem in a favourable manner. His production is simply a sermon upon the Apostles' creed, or rather upon those words in it, “He descENDED INTO HELL;" it is a mad paraphrase, in very peculiar verse, of Bishop Horseley's beautiful discourse on that great theme, and is, in itself, as remarkable a specimen of the ridiculous, intended for the sublime, as ever fell under our notice, in our own or in any language known to mankind. The inspired author sets forth in an exordium,-for it is to be observed that with a laudable zeal for rivalling the Greek dramatists, he has his addresses to the supernal powers, his narratives, and then his choral cantos. The measure, which, if we did not tell him, the reader, perhaps, would have had some difficulty in discovering, is the terza rima of Dante. Hear, all ye little poetasters of London, this grand opening strain.

• Hell and Messiah, Heaven's anointed King,
Who left his Glory, and was desolate
On Earth, but triumphed in the Grave; I sing.
Lift up, O Hell! thy diuturnal gate,
But not eternal ; finite-it began.
On the huge hinge harsh thunders hoarsely grate :
--Chaos afar shook where their echoes ran.

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The swinkt Damned shriek, “ a change !"--of lot no change,
If change of suffering, for fiend or man:
Still it may soothe. Some horror new and strange
May please sad pain monotonous, and make
Variety to charm in this dull grange:
Since Hope, upon the fierce and fiery lake,
Is none of better state or torment less,
Or aught the penal thirst that can aslake.
-Anon, the portals of the black abyss
Yawn, which, as from a dragon's mouth, spits fire,
And in perpetual wrath doth howl and hiss;
As Cerberus now were ready to expire,
In the strong throes of whelp-birth. Who art thou,
Demandest entrance ? Who hath heard thy lyre ?
Not thou ;-but thou shalt hear, O Hell! and bow
To its rude hest. Not I the Florentine
Who trod thy burning marle,... as I would now, ...
Led through the regions dolorous. Nor mine
His name who first saw thy portcullis raised
To let the Arch-Rebel out. Yet shall thy Scrine
Unfold unto mine eyes, though they be dazed
To blindness with its Tables graphic flame;
Yea, be in visual death suddenly glazed ;
And, as in a mirror, men see in the same;
And like thy molten sea that mirror seem,
Like thine own molten sea, wherein the Dame
Monstrous, abhorred of gods and the Supreme,
Foul Sin, worships her visage hideous. I
Defy thy power, however thou blaspheme,
Lay bare thy depths, and spread thee to the sky.
Ere long, with other verse and earlier theme,
To visit thee again, or soar on high,
And o'er the old World send a trumpet-gleam,
Unsepulchering from the obscure deep
The spectres of a superhuman dream,
Won from the waters, whose far roarings sleep
Upon oblivion's shores; where the fat weeds
Acquire wild overgrowth, and man may steep
High Fancies in hoar Mysteries; whence proceeds
Truth, old as earth's foundations. There it lay
With giants, and the records of their deeds,
-(Hid from these latter ages, when a day
Is all thy life, degenerated Man !
And thee a narrow grave admeasure may,

With the behemoth and the leviathan.'--pp. 5–7. It would be a waste of mind to pause over this precious exordium, and point out the exquisite piety of an author who places Hell in juxta-position with the Messiah, and, of the two, gives the priority in place to the former : to dwell on the beauty of the phrase 'the swinkt damned:' the Scrine that unfolds itself to · dazed eyes :' the gleam of a trumpet blast : the unsepulchering of spectres : the sleep of roarings upon the shore of Oblivion': the steeping of high fancies in hoar mysteries, and the harmony of versification whereby degenerated 'man' is made to rhyme with the behemoth and leviathan. It would be an inferior occupation for any body who is disposed to merriment, to check his laughter at such mere trifles as these, when the whole volume swells before him with a harvest of drollery. We shall give but another specimen, which will be enough, we presume, to induce the reader to purchase the volume for himself. The poet sings in the person of Death :

• I ride upon the Glacier, and do fly,

Yea, I come flying on the winged wind;
And my pavilion of the snow pile I,
And wonne among the mountains, 'till I mind
To come abroad ; then I wend on my way
Precipitous in lightning, though not tined
From heaven surcharged, but kindling, as it may,
About my secret place, where royally
Dwelleth the hiding of my power, whose sway,
Felt only, doth abide invisibly,
And is in that it is, like to a god
Which lives but iu his proper energy.
• The floods leap under me, and foam aloud,
And bear me onward, gathering as I go,
And armies come unto me from the cloud.
I triumph in my chariot of snow ...
Forth utter I my voice, ... the thunder peals :
Forth from my sanctuary I rush, and, lo,
Forests confess me, nor the vale conceals
My presence, ... and the village vanisheth ;
Ruin to my pleased ear man's Shriek reveals,
Silence, Depopulation.-I am Death !
A home in Air have I. Winds hear my voice,
The four winds answer it with all their breath.-
-Lo! the Tornado doth aloud rejoice
In his ubiquity, and cometh out
With sudden and exaggerated noise ;
Scattering his hurtling arrows all about
Amid the sky, the while his iron shoon
Cottage and Palace trample; .. with a shout,
Then whirls him in his dusty car aboon,
As with the ruin he would blot out heaven,
And quench the glorious sun,-as I shall soon.
And men are hurled into the clouds, and driven
As in a witch-dance, round, and aye around,
And perish in the flashes of the leven ;

I swoop, and strangle them in that dire swound,
- For sport ;- -and thus I gambol merrily...

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