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"To do something to instruct, but more to undeceive, the timid and admiring student ; —
Fragment on Government.
JANUARY TO DECEMBER, INCLUSIVE,
Printed for the EDITOR, by GEORGE SMALLFIELD :
PUBLISHED BY SHERWOOD, GILBERT, AND PIPER,
DR. EVANS on LORD BYRON'S Infidelity.
Islington, December 20, 1824. ANY years ago, I published "An Attempt to account for the Infidelity of EDWARD GIBBON, Esq." Looking over its pages, I am surprised to find that the causes there assigned are applicable to the infidelity of LORD BYRON. The Historian and the Poet were in many respects similarly circumstanced. They lost either one or both their parents at an early period; they came in contact with fanaticism; and, passing much of their time on the Continent, witnessed the disgusting mummeries of Popery. Add also their thirst for fame, which was absolutely inextinguishable. It absorbed every other passion; and, by running counter to what they deemed the religious prejudices of civilized society, they adopted a never-failing means of wafting their names to the ends of the earth. But justice demands that I should mention, one trait in LORD BYRON is not to be found in EDWARD GIBBON -a love of dissipation and profligacy. The Historian was a learned recluse, whilst the Poet was immersed in all the licentiousness of the fashionable world.
“At this period of his life, (1809,)" says his friend Dallas, "his mind was full of bitter discontent. Already satiated with pleasure, and disgusted with those companions who have no other resource, he had resolved on mastering his appetites. He broke up his harams, and he reduced his palate to a diet the most simple and abstemious. But the passions of the heart were too mighty; nor did it ever enter
his mind to overcome them. Resentment, anger and hatred held full sway over him, and his greatest gratification at that time was in overcharging his pen with gall, which flowed in every direction-against individuals, his country, the world, the universe, creation and the Creator! He might have become-he ought to have been-a different creature; and he but too well accounts for the unfortunate bias of his disposition in the following lines: "E'en I, least thinking of a thoughtless throng,
Just skill'd to know the right and choose
Freed at that age when Reason's shield
To fight my course through Passion's countless host,
Whom every path of Pleasure's flowery way
Has lured in turn, and all have led astray.""
* LORD BYRON at this time having published his maiden piece, entitled Hours of Idleness, which was roughly handled by the Edinburgh Reviewers, amply resented it by his satire, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. He, however, now went abroad-returned, and published his Childe Harold, with the success of which he was intoxicated. Soon after, he contracted his unfortunate marriage; left the country for Italy, whence he never meant to come back; and, finally, migrated to Greece, where he died last Easter, in the 37th year of his age. He was on the eve of achieving deeds of glory by assisting the noble-minded Greeks, engaged in throwing off the galling and degrading yoke of the Turks, who for centuries past have proved the disgrace of the Eastern world,"