Imatges de pÓgina
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balance of unprovoked slander and personal abase stands between them. His Lordship began with a poem, in which he ridiculed Mr. Southey's poetry; this was very well ; no man could resent the satire of a boy, who abused the whole literary world. Indeed, the boy himself, when he had grown a year or two older, became ashamed of his work, and put a stop to its publication; and though he has since that time avowed it, and permitted it to be sent forth again, yet that inconsistency only concerns himself, and will scarcely be perceived in such a patchwork character. Afterwards, Lord Byron began his Don Juan! and in the course of that work, we believe, he has introduced Mr. Southey's name, not less than seven or eight times; first laughing at his literary pretensions, then calumniating bis moral integrity, and lastly, descending into and falsifying the domestic concerns of his family. This is what Lord Byron has done. Has Mr. Sonthey returned any of these repeated insults, as he well and successfully might have done? Never. He has upon no occasion mentioned Lord Byron's name, or alluded to, or complained of, his unworthy malignity ap to the time of the publication of the · Vision of Judgment,' when he was impelled by opportunity, by conscience, by love for Christianity and the English Constitution, and, who shall deny of be ashamed to own, by unjustly wounded feelings) to write that paragraph which has rendered Lord Byron so infuriate. But what does even this provocation, if we may so call it, amount to? Is there any paltry, and, as we retort the epi. thet upon his Lordship, cowardly' allusion to private circumstances in it? Let it be examined. As far as we remember, Mr. Southey, in the passage in question, speaks of the unprecedented depravity of the lower London press, and bids the Legislature look to it,' as he is correctly quoted, and proceeds to denounce the works of a certain club of persons as being so many shameless insults to decency, government, and religion, declares his apprehensions of the consequences attending their unrestrained diffusion, and calls their authors by the collective name of the “Satanic School.” What does Lord Byron complain of? that he bas been yoked with Shelley, Morgan and Co.? He has yoked himself with them both in word and in deed. He says himself, Mr. Southey accuses US of attacking the religion of the country! US! whom does his Lordsbip mean by this plural pronoun? Or does he speak to us after the manner of kings, and look upon himself as a sole corporation of irreligion and misrale? Again, since Lord B. has

spontaneously appropriated the accusation to himself and his
friends, does he find fault with the nature and terms of it?
How should be do so ? He has now for many years .past ne..
ver published any work in which he has not directly or indi-
rectly denounced Christianity, “ the religion of the country,
as a system of delusion and superstition, and as the fruitful
source of innumerable ills. Now if he be sincère, he must,
as a good man and a patriot, fervently wish to see this incu-
bus upon his country destroyed, and must be bounden by his
conscience to do his utmost towards consummating the goodly
work. Therefore in this case the accusation is no accusation,
but rather the extorted acknowledgment from an adversary
of his own honesty and patriotism; but if Lord Byron con-
fesses that he never meant what he has so often and so very
deliberately written and published, we have nothing more to
say about the matter, except to wish him joy of his Italiani
or Greek notions of veracity and consistency. Again, per-
haps he is offended at the title imposed upon him and his
sect, the “ Satanic School !" And yet why? Lord B. has of
bis own accord laboured through thick and thin to exculpate
the character of Lucifer or Satan, from the imputations of
Scripture; he has denied the charges of murder, lying, and
rebellion; he has asserted, in no ambiguous terms, the co-
eternal and the co-equal nature of that Being and of Jeho-
vah; he expressly attributes the evil of this world to the lat-
ter, and not to the former; he calls God a tyrant, and Satan
a Spirit, who dares to use his immortality in waging the
eternal conflict of independence with oppression; he has
notoriously ranged himself in the ranks, and under the ban-
ners of the “ Prince of this world;" he is marked with his
mark, and is content to be his worshipper. How is it then,
we ask, that Lord B. is so nettled at his being designated by
the name of one, whom yet he considers so noble and glo-
rious ? Why does he complain of being reckoned a disciple
of the sect, party, school, or religion, of Satan, in whose
defence he argues with vehemence, and in whose praise he
enlarges to excess? How is this contradiction to be ex-
plained ? Has Mr. Hobhouse no.“ Illustrations” for us on this
point? Can he pot pick in another “ spear's head,” where-
with to cleave the palpable obscure of his friend's lacubra.
tions ; Cum tacet, clamat. What then is the result? In
the first place, Lord Byron, without any shadow of pro-
vocation, for many years together pursues Mr. Southey with
the malignity of a common lampooner for hire, and at length,
upon occasion of some general remarks upon the tendency of

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VOL, XVII. MAY, 1822.

writings of a certain description, he bursts out into an uncovernable fit of passion; forgets the manners and language of a gentleman; and all this ostensibly on accoupt of impatations, every one of which this same irascible Peer, in a work directly following in the same volume, not only realizes and appro. priates, but justifies also, with the addition of a thousand aggravations of time and place a thousand times multiplied.

It is this latter work which now finally demands our potice; and we hope we shall not seem to our readers to give an uadue importance to it, wben we set ourselves formally to expose the shallow sophistry, the gross ignorance, and the scandalous falsehoods contained in it. There are undoubtedly some wretched creatures, whose vulgar and disgusting slans ders it is wise to pass by in silence; who are themselves beyond the reach of argument, and to whose debased understandings and affections the obligations of truth and morality are unintelligible terms. But Lord B., though we can hardly flatter ourselves that he will listen to argument, is yet certainly of a diferent class from these. It may perhaps be safe to despise Lady Morgan, Leigh Hunt, and Hazlitt, but the arch-offender' must be answered as well as despised. His atrocities come in that questionable shape, that if we were stedfastly to refuse, he might peradventure vaynt that we were unable to answer them. "We sball not analyse

Cain,” that has been done in Chancery; neither shall we comment upon the sheer nonsense of many parts of it; with our good leave the nonsense may be nonsense still, and at all events absurdity may well escape reprobation, where it is preceded and followed by blasphemy and profaneness. But there are one or two confident'assertions respecting important doctrines of Scripture made by the author of “ Cain," which as they are utterly false, we shall spend a little time in telling him so, and in demonstrating to the world either his excessive ignorance or bis excessive impudence.

Lord B. in his Preface enounces the following discovery:

" The reader will recollect that the book of Genesis does not state that Eve was tempted by a demon, but by the serpent ;' and that only because he was the most subtil of all the beasts of the field. Whatever interpretation the Rabbins and the Fathers may have put upon this, I must take the words as I find them, and reply with Bishop Watson upon similar occasions, when the Fathers were quoted to him as Moderator in the schools of Cambridge, Behold the Book !'-holding up the Scripture."

We beseech his Lordship to compose himself ; we will not quote the Rabbins or the Fathers to him ; we will quote no

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thing but the chapter which he quotes himself; we like Bishop Watson's practice, and say with him, “Behold the Book !"

CHAP. III. “ Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden : but of the fruit of the tree, which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, yé shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day yo eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

“ And the Lord God said unto the woman, what is this that throu hast done? and the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the serpents because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field ; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Now we have nothing to do at present with Lord B.'s gcepticism, or deism, or atheism, or whatever else he chooses to call it; in this case we must consider him by his own conéession as one who appeals to the text of the Bible in proof of a position, and who is therefore willing to be ruled by it. We say nothing about the positive declaratory interpretations which, it is to be remembered, rest upon the same authority as the book of Genesis, and consequently bind exactly as much as the text in question ;-we say nothing about the whole New Testament, which is founded on it, and whose words must be equal or superior in weight; but this we say, that there is no instance of verbal nonsense in the book of Genesis, or in any other book of Scripture; that when a miracle or interruption of the ordinary course of nature has at any time occurred, some one also there must have been to have caused it; and that it is no where recorded in the book of Genesis that brute animals bad the gift of articulate speech, and not only that, but of reasoning, and not only that; but of knowledge superior to man's. But we read that the serpent did speak to the woman; that be reasoned with her, and impárted to her things the conception of which, whether they were true or false, was beyond the reach of the woman's thoughts, and that he did finally persuade her to the commission of actual rebellion. We know that God did not speak in the serpent, neither to the man, nor the woman; who did then? the serpent, as a serpent only, could not speak or reason or communicate knowledge; who then caused the mic racle, and “ opened the mouth of the dumb beast:" In essential difference of nature there was but one being besides in the universe, and therefore by a consequence as inevitable as a conclusion of geometry it must have been that one, wbo being, as we are informed from equivalent authority, a liar, a slanderer, and an accuser from the beginning, uttered the lie, the slander, and the accusation recorded in the text.

But suppose the serpent to have been a mere serpent, and grant that it was natural to serpents in Paradise to speak, to reason, and to possess super-human knowledge, how then isthe text held together? how could that particular serpent (for. we must remark that this latter clause is to the individual) bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, and how could that seed or future descendant bruise the head of that particular serpent? how, bat by supposing the words addressed to one, who would live after the extinction of that serpent, and who would be in a capacity, ages hence, to fulfil the prophecy in doing and suffering?

Thus therefore when Lord. B. says, that if he (Satan) disclaims having tempted Eve in the shape of the serpent, it is only because the book of Genesis has not the most distant allusion to any thing of the kind, but merely to the serpent in his serpentine capacity; he says that which every child of fourteen, who can read and is not an idiot, will tell him confidently is not the case, and which we dare to say his Lordship himself knows to be false.

Thus much for one of these precious specimens of ignorance and sophistry, which, though it might have passed current from the pen of Voltaire, will never do with the clumsy infidelity of Lord B. amongst the free and Protestant natives of England. Now for another.

“ The reader will please to bear in mind (what few choose to recollect), that there is no allusion to a future state in any of the books of Moses, por indeed in the Old Testament. For a reason for this extraordinary omission he may consult Warburton's Divine Legation;' whether satisfactory or not, no better has yet been assigned. I have therefore supposed it new to Cain without, I hope, any perversion of Holy Writ."

Whether Lord Byron does hope that he has not perverted the Scripture in this assertion, we know not, and, as he himself says, care as little;" that he has dove so, which is more to our purpose, we will prove to him directly. We see that it is utterly useless to point out the evident inference to be drawn from

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