The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1/The Waltz

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Byron spent the autumn of 1812 "by the waters of Cheltenham," and, besides writing to order his Song of Drury Lane (the address spoken at the opening of the theatre, Oct. 10, 1812), he put in hand a Satire on Waltzing. It was published anonymously in the following spring; but, possibly, because it was somewhat coolly received, he told Murray (April 21, 1813) "to contradict the report that he was the author of a certain malicious publication on waltzing." In his memoranda "chiefly with reference to my Byron," Moore notes "Byron's hatred of waltzing," and records a passage of arms between "the lame boy" and Mary Chaworth, which arose from her "dancing with some person who was unknown to her." Then, and always, he must have experienced the bitter sense of exclusion from active amusements; but it is a hasty assumption that Byron only denounced waltzing because he was unable to waltz himself. To modern sentiment, on the moral side, waltzing is unassailable; but the first impressions of spectators, to whom it was a novelty, were distinctly unfavourable.

In a letter from Germany (May 17, 1799) Coleridge describes a dance round the maypole at Rübeland. "The dances were reels and the waltzes, but chiefly the latter; this dance is in the higher circles sufficiently voluptuous, but here the motions of it were far more faithful interpreters of the passions." A year later, H. C. Robinson, writing from Frankfort in 1800 (Diary and Letters, i. 76), says, "The dancing is unlike anything you ever saw. You must have heard of it under the name of waltzing, that is rolling and turning, though the rolling is not horizontal but perpendicular. Yet Werther, after describing his first waltz with Charlotte, says, and I say so too, 'I felt that if I were married my wife should waltz (or roll) with no one but myself.'" Ten years later, Gillray publishes a caricature of the waltz, as a French dance, which he styles, "Le bon Genre." It is not a pretty picture. By degrees, however, and with some reluctance, society yielded to the fascinations of the stranger. "My cousin Hartington," writes Lady Caroline Lamb, in 1812 (Memoirs of Viscount Melbourne, by W. T. M'Cullagh Torrens, i. 105), "wanted to have waltzes and quadrilles; and at Devonshire House it could not be allowed, so we had them in the great drawing-room at Whitehall. All the bon ton assembled there continually. There was nothing so fashionable."

"No event," says Thomas Raikes (Personal Reminiscences, p. 284), ever produced so great a sensation in English society as the introduction of the German waltz.... Old and young returned to school, and the mornings were now absorbed at home in practising the figures of a French quadrille or whirling a chair round the room to learn the step and measure of the German waltz. The anti-waltzing party took the alarm, cried it down; mothers forbad it, and every ballroom became a scene of feud and contention. The foreigners were not idle in forming their élèves; Baron Tripp, Neumann, St. Aldegonde, etc., persevered in spite of all prejudices which were marshalled against them. It was not, however, till Byron's "malicious publication" had been issued and forgotten that the new dance received full recognition. "When," Raikes concludes, "the Emperor Alexander was seen waltzing round the room at Almack's with his tight uniform and numerous decorations," or [Gronow, Recollections, 1860, pp. 32, 33] "Lord Palmerston might have been seen describing an infinite number of circles with Madame de Lieven," insular prejudices gave way, and waltzing became general.



By Horace Hornem, Esq.

"Qualis in Eurotæ ripis, aut per juga Cynthi,
Exercet Diana choros."

Virgil, Æn. i. 502.

"Such on Eurotas's banks, or Cynthus's height,
Diana seems: and so she charms the sight,
When in the dance the graceful goddess leads
The quire of nymphs, and overtops their heads."

Dryden's Virgil.

Note.—The title-page of the first edition (4to) of The Waltz bears the imprint: London: Printed by S. Gosnell, Little Queen Street, Holborn. For Sherwood, Neely and Jones, Paternoster Row. 1813. (Price Three Shillings.)

Successive Revises had run as follows:—

i. London: Printed for John Murray, Albemarle Street, Piccadilly. By S. Gosnell, Little Queen Street. 1813.

ii. Cambridge: Printed by G. Maitland. For John Murray, etc.

iii. Cambridge: Printed by G. Maitland. For Sherwood, Neely and Jones, Paternoster Row. 1813.

For the Bibliography of The Waltz, see vol. vii. of the present issue.



I am a country Gentleman of a midland county. I might have been a Parliament-man for a certain borough; having had the offer of as many votes as General T. at the general election in 1812.[1] But I was all for domestic happiness; as, fifteen years ago, on a visit to London, I married a middle-aged Maid of Honour. We lived happily at Hornem Hall till last Season, when my wife and I were invited by the Countess of Waltzaway (a distant relation of my Spouse) to pass the winter in town. Thinking no harm, and our Girls being come to a marriageable (or, as they call it, marketable) age, and having besides a Chancery suit inveterately entailed upon the family estate, we came up in our old chariot,—of which, by the bye, my wife grew so ashamed in less than a week, that I was obliged to buy a second-hand barouche, of which I might mount the box, Mrs. H. says, if I could drive, but never see the inside—that place being reserved for the Honourable Augustus Tiptoe, her partner-general and Opera-knight. Hearing great praises of Mrs. H.'s dancing (she was famous for birthnight minuets in the latter end of the last century), I unbooted, and went to a ball at the Countess's, expecting to see a country dance, or, at most, Cotillons, reels, and all the old paces to the newest tunes. But, judge of my surprise, on arriving, to see poor dear Mrs. Hornem with her arms half round the loins of a huge hussar-looking gentleman I never set eyes on before; and his, to say truth, rather more than half round her waist, turning round, and round, to a d——d see-saw up-and-down sort of tune, that reminded me of the "Black Joke," only more "affettuoso,[2] till it made me quite giddy with wondering they were not so. By and by they stopped a bit, and I thought they would sit or fall down:—but no; with Mrs. H.'s hand on his shoulder, "Quam familiariter"[3] (as Terence said, when I was at school,) they walked about a minute, and then at it again, like two cock-chafers spitted on the same bodkin. I asked what all this meant, when, with a loud laugh, a child no older than our Wilhelmina (a name I never heard but in the Vicar of Wakefield, though her mother would call her after the Princess of Swappenbach,) said, "L—d! Mr. Hornem, can't you see they're valtzing?" or waltzing (I forget which); and then up she got, and her mother and sister, and away they went, and roundabouted it till supper-time. Now that I know what it is, I like it of all things, and so does Mrs. H. (though I have broken my shins, and four times overturned Mrs. Hornem's maid, in practising the preliminary steps in a morning). Indeed, so much do I like it, that having a turn for rhyme, tastily displayed in some election ballads, and songs in honour of all the victories (but till lately I have had little practice in that way), I sat down, and with the aid of William Fitzgerald, Esq., and a few hints from Dr. Busby, (whose recitations I attend, and am monstrous fond of Master Busby's manner of delivering his father's late successful "Drury Lane Address,")[4] I composed the following hymn, wherewithal to make my sentiments known to the Public; whom, nevertheless, I heartily despise, as well as the critics.

I am, Sir, yours, etc., etc.


Muse of the many-twinkling feet![5] whose charms
Are now extended up from legs to arms;
Terpsichore!—too long misdeemed a maid—
Reproachful term—bestowed but to upbraid—
Henceforth in all the bronze of brightness shine,[6]
The least a Vestal of the Virgin Nine.
Far be from thee and thine the name of Prude:
Mocked yet triumphant; sneered at, unsubdued;
Thy legs must move to conquer as they fly,
If but thy coats are reasonably high!10
Thy breast—if bare enough—requires no shield;
Dance forth—sans armour thou shalt take the field
And own—impregnable to most assaults,
Thy not too lawfully begotten "Waltz."

Hail, nimble Nymph! to whom the young hussar,[7]
The whiskered votary of Waltz and War,
His night devotes, despite of spur and boots;
A sight unmatched since Orpheus and his brutes:
Hail, spirit-stirring Waltz!—beneath whose banners
A modern hero fought for modish manners;20
On Hounslow's heath to rival Wellesley's[8] fame,
Cocked, fired, and missed his man—but gained his aim;
Hail, moving muse! to whom the fair one's breast
Gives all it can, and bids us take the rest.
Oh! for the flow of Busby,[9] or of Fitz,
The latter's loyalty, the former's wits,
To "energise the object I pursue,"
And give both Belial and his Dance their due![10]

Imperial Waltz! imported from the Rhine
(Famed for the growth of pedigrees and wine),30
Long be thine import from all duty free,
And Hock itself be less esteemed than thee;
In some few qualities alike—for Hock
Improves our cellar—thou our living stock.
The head to Hock belongs—thy subtler art
Intoxicates alone the heedless heart:
Through the full veins thy gentler poison swims,
And wakes to Wantonness the willing limbs.

Oh, Germany! how much to thee we owe,
As heaven-born Pitt can testify below,40
Ere cursed Confederation made thee France's,
And only left us thy d—d debts and dances![11]
Of subsidies and Hanover bereft,
We bless thee still—for George the Third is left!
Of kings the best—and last, not least in worth,
For graciously begetting George the Fourth.
To Germany, and Highnesses serene,
Who owe us millions—don't we owe the Queen?
To Germany, what owe we not besides?
So oft bestowing Brunswickers and brides;50
Who paid for vulgar, with her royal blood,
Drawn from the stem of each Teutonic stud:
Who sent us—so be pardoned all her faults—
A dozen dukes, some kings, a Queen—and Waltz.

But peace to her—her Emperor and Diet,
Though now transferred to Buonapartè's "fiat!"
Back to my theme—O muse of Motion! say,
How first to Albion found thy Waltz her way?

Borne on the breath of Hyperborean gales,
From Hamburg's port (while Hamburg yet had mails),
Ere yet unlucky Fame—compelled to creep61
To snowy Gottenburg—was chilled to sleep;
Or, starting from her slumbers, deigned arise,
Heligoland! to stock thy mart with lies;[12]
While unburnt Moscow[13] yet had news to send,
Nor owed her fiery Exit to a friend,
She came—Waltz came—and with her certain sets
Of true despatches, and as true Gazettes;

Then flamed of Austerlitz the blest despatch,[14]
Which Moniteur nor Morning Post can match70
And—almost crushed beneath the glorious news—
Ten plays, and forty tales of Kotzebue's;[15]
One envoy's letters, six composer's airs,
And loads from Frankfort and from Leipsic fairs;
Meiners' four volumes upon Womankind,[16]
Like Lapland witches to ensure a wind;
Brunck's heaviest tome for ballast,[17] and, to back it,
Of Heynè,[18] such as should not sink the packet.[19]

Fraught with this cargo—and her fairest freight,
Delightful Waltz, on tiptoe for a Mate,80
The welcome vessel reached the genial strand,
And round her flocked the daughters of the land.
Not decent David, when, before the ark,
His grand Pas-seul excited some remark;
Not love-lorn Quixote, when his Sancho thought
The knight's Fandango friskier than it ought;
Not soft Herodias, when, with winning tread,
Her nimble feet danced off another's head;
Not Cleopatra on her Galley's Deck,
Displayed so much of leg or more of neck,90
Than Thou, ambrosial Waltz, when first the Moon
Beheld thee twirling to a Saxon tune!

To You, ye husbands of ten years! whose brows
Ache with the annual tributes of a spouse;
To you of nine years less, who only bear
The budding sprouts of those that you shall wear,
With added ornaments around them rolled
Of native brass, or law-awarded gold;
To You, ye Matrons, ever on the watch
To mar a son's, or make a daughter's match;100
To You, ye children of—whom chance accords—
Always the Ladies, and sometimes their Lords;
To You, ye single gentlemen, who seek
Torments for life, or pleasures for a week;
As Love or Hymen your endeavours guide,
To gain your own, or snatch another's bride;—
To one and all the lovely Stranger came,
And every Ball-room echoes with her name.

Endearing Waltz!—to thy more melting tune
Bow Irish Jig, and ancient Rigadoon.[20]110
Scotch reels, avaunt! and Country-dance forego
Your future claims to each fantastic toe!
Waltz—Waltz alone—both legs and arms demands,
Liberal of feet, and lavish of her hands;
Hands which may freely range in public sight
Where ne'er before—but—pray "put out the light."
Methinks the glare of yonder chandelier
Shines much too far—or I am much too near;
And true, though strange—Waltz whispers this remark,
"My slippery steps are safest in the dark!"120
But here the Muse with due decorum halts,
And lends her longest petticoat to "Waltz."

Observant Travellers of every time!
Ye Quartos published upon every clime!
O say, shall dull Romaika's heavy round,
Fandango's wriggle, or Bolero's bound;
Can Egypt's Almas[21]—tantalising group—
Columbia's caperers to the warlike Whoop—
Can aught from cold Kamschatka to Cape Horn
With Waltz compare, or after Waltz be born?130
Ah, no! from Morier's pages down to Galt's,[22]
Each tourist pens a paragraph for "Waltz."

Shades of those Belles whose reign began of yore,
With George the Third's—and ended long before!—
Though in your daughters' daughters yet you thrive,[23]
Burst from your lead, and be yourselves alive!
Back to the Ball-room speed your spectred host,
Fool's Paradise is dull to that you lost.[24]
No treacherous powder bids Conjecture quake;
No stiff-starched stays make meddling fingers ache;[25]140
(Transferred to those ambiguous things that ape
Goats in their visage,[26] women in their shape;)
No damsel faints when rather closely pressed,
But more caressing seems when most caressed;
Superfluous Hartshorn, and reviving Salts,
Both banished by the sovereign cordial "Waltz."

Seductive Waltz!—though on thy native shore
Even Werter's self proclaimed thee half a whore;
Werter—to decent vice though much inclined,
Yet warm, not wanton; dazzled, but not blind—150
Though gentle Genlis,[27] in her strife with Staël,
Would even proscribe thee from a Paris ball;
The fashion hails—from Countesses to Queens,
And maids and valets waltz behind the scenes;
Wide and more wide thy witching circle spreads,
And turns—if nothing else—at least our heads;
With thee even clumsy cits attempt to bounce,
And cockney's practise what they can't pronounce.
Gods! how the glorious theme my strain exalts,
And Rhyme finds partner Rhyme in praise of "Waltz!"

Blest was the time Waltz chose for her début!161
The Court, the Regent, like herself were new;[28]
New face for friends, for foes some new rewards;
New ornaments for black—and royal Guards;[29]
New laws to hang the rogues that roared for bread;
New coins (most new)[30] to follow those that fled;
New victories—nor can we prize them less,
Though Jenky[31] wonders at his own success;
New wars, because the old succeed so well,
That most survivors envy those who fell;170
New mistresses—no, old—and yet 'tis true,
Though they be old, the thing is something new;
Each new, quite new—(except some ancient tricks),[32]
New white-sticks—gold-sticks—broom-sticks—all new sticks!
With vests or ribands—decked alike in hue,
New troopers strut, new turncoats blush in blue:
So saith the Muse: my ——,[33] what say you?
Such was the time when Waltz might best maintain
Her new preferments in this novel reign:
Such was the time, nor ever yet was such;180
Hoops are no more, and petticoats not much;
Morals and Minuets, Virtue and her stays,
And tell-tale powder—all have had their days.
The Ball begins—the honours of the house
First duly done by daughter or by spouse,
Some Potentate—or royal or serene—
With Kent's gay grace, or sapient Gloster's mien,[34]
Leads forth the ready dame, whose rising flush
Might once have been mistaken for a blush.
From where the garb just leaves the bosom free,190
That spot where hearts[35] were once supposed to be;
Round all the confines of the yielded waist,
The strangest hand may wander undisplaced:
The lady's in return may grasp as much
As princely paunches offer to her touch.
Pleased round the chalky floor how well they trip
One hand reposing on the royal hip![36]
The other to the shoulder no less royal
Ascending with affection truly loyal!
Thus front to front the partners move or stand,200
The foot may rest, but none withdraw the hand;
And all in turn may follow in their rank,
The Earl of—Asterisk—and Lady—Blank;
Sir—Such-a-one—with those of fashion's host,[37][38]
For whose blest surnames—vide "Morning Post."
(Or if for that impartial print too late,
Search Doctors' Commons six months from my date)—
Thus all and each, in movement swift or slow,
The genial contact gently undergo;
Till some might marvel, with the modest Turk,210
If "nothing follows all this palming work?"[39]
True, honest Mirza!—you may trust my rhyme—
Something does follow at a fitter time;
The breast thus publicly resigned to man,
In private may resist him——if it can.

O ye who loved our Grandmothers of yore,
Fitzpatrick,[40] Sheridan, and many more!
And thou, my Prince! whose sovereign taste and will[41]
It is to love the lovely beldames still!
Thou Ghost of Queensberry![42] whose judging Sprite220
Satan may spare to peep a single night,
Pronounce—if ever in your days of bliss
Asmodeus struck so bright a stroke as this;
To teach the young ideas how to rise,
Flush in the cheek, and languish in the eyes;
Rush to the heart, and lighten through the frame,
With half-told wish, and ill-dissembled flame,
For prurient Nature still will storm the breast—
Who, tempted thus, can answer for the rest?

But ye—who never felt a single thought230
For what our Morals are to be, or ought;
Who wisely wish the charms you view to reap,
Say—would you make those beauties quite so cheap?
Hot from the hands promiscuously applied,
Round the slight waist, or down the glowing side,
Where were the rapture then to clasp the form
From this lewd grasp and lawless contact warm?[43]
At once Love's most endearing thought resign,
To press the hand so pressed by none but thine;
To gaze upon that eye which never met240
Another's ardent look without regret;
Approach the lip which all, without restraint,
Come near enough—if not to touch—to taint;
If such thou lovest—love her then no more,
Or give—like her—caresses to a score;
Her Mind with these is gone, and with it go
The little left behind it to bestow.

Voluptuous Waltz! and dare I thus blaspheme?
Thy bard forgot thy praises were his theme.
Terpsichore forgive!—at every Ball250
My wife now waltzes—and my daughters shall;
My son—(or stop—'tis needless to inquire—
These little accidents should ne'er transpire;
Some ages hence our genealogic tree[44]
Will wear as green a bough for him as me)—
Waltzing shall rear, to make our name amends
Grandsons for me—in heirs to all his friends.



  1. State of the poll (last day) 5. [General Tarleton (1754-1833) contested Liverpool in October, 1812. For three days the poll stood at five, and on the last day, eleven. Canning and Gascoigne were the successful candidates.]
  2. More expressive.—[MS.]
  3. My Latin is all forgotten, if a man can be said to have forgotten what he never remembered; but I bought my title-page motto of a Catholic priest for a three-shilling bank token, after much haggling for the even sixpence. I grudged the money to a papist, being all for the memory of Perceval and "No popery," and quite regretting the downfall of the pope, because we can't burn him any more.—[Revise No. 2.]
  4. [See Rejected Addresses.]
  5. "Glance their many-twinkling feet."—Gray.
  6. Henceforth with due unblushing brightness shine.—[MS. M.]
  7. [Lines 15-28 do not appear in the MS., but ten lines (omitting lines 21-24) were inserted in Proof No. 1.]
  8. To rival Lord Wellesley's, or his nephew's, as the reader pleases:—the one gained a pretty woman, whom he deserved, by fighting for; and the other has been fighting in the Peninsula many a long day, "by Shrewsbury clock," without gaining anything in that country but the title of "the Great Lord," and "the Lord;" which savours of profanation, having been hitherto applied only to that Being to whom "Te Deums" for carnage are the rankest blasphemy.—It is to be presumed the general will one day return to his Sabine farm: there

    "To tame the genius of the stubborn plain,
    Almost as quickly as he conquer'd Spain!"

    The Lord Peterborough conquered continents in a summer; we do more—we contrive both to conquer and lose them in a shorter season. If the "great Lord's" Cincinnatian progress in agriculture be no speedier than the proportional average of time in Pope's couplet, it will, according to the farmer's proverb, be "ploughing with dogs."

    By the bye—one of this illustrious person's new titles is forgotten—it is, however, worth remembering—"Salvador del mundo!" credite, posteri! If this be the appellation annexed by the inhabitants of the Peninsula to the name of a man who has not yet saved them—query—are they worth saving, even in this world? for, according to the mildest modifications of any Christian creed, those three words make the odds much against them in the next—"Saviour of the world," quotha!—it were to be wished that he, or any one else, could save a corner of it—his country. Yet this stupid misnomer, although it shows the near connection between superstition and impiety, so far has its use, that it proves there can be little to dread from those Catholics (inquisitorial Catholics too) who can confer such an appellation on a Protestant. I suppose next year he will be entitled the "Virgin Mary;" if so, Lord George Gordon himself would have nothing to object to such liberal bastards of our Lady of Babylon.
    >[William Wellesley-Pole (1785?-1857), afterwards fourth Lord Mornington, a nephew of the great Duke of Wellington, married, in March, 1812, Catharine, daughter and heiress of Sir Tylney Long, Bart. On his marriage he added his wife's double surname to his own, and, thereby, gave the wits their chance. In Rejected Addresses Fitzgerald is made to exclaim—

    "Bless every man possess'd of aught to give,
    Long may Long-Tilney-Wellesley-Long-Pole live."

    The principals in the duel to which Byron alludes were Wellesley-Pole and Lord Kilworth. The occasion of the quarrel was a misconception of some expression of Pole's at an assembly at Lady Hawarden's (August 6, 1811). A meeting took place on Wimbledon Common (August 9), at which the seconds intervened, and everything was "amicably adjusted." Some days later a letter appeared in the Morning Post (August 14, 1811), signed "Kilworth," to the effect that an apology had been offered and accepted. This led to a second meeting on Hounslow Heath (August 15), when shots were exchanged. Again the seconds intervened, and, after more explanations, matters were finally arranged. A jeu d'esprit which appeared in the Morning Chronicle (August 16, 1811) connects the "mortal fracas" with Pole's prowess in waltzing at a fête at Wanstead House, near Hackney, where, when the heiress had been wooed and won, his guests used to dine at midnight after the opera.

    "Mid the tumult of waltzing and wild Irish reels,
    A prime dancer, I'm sure to get at her—
    And by Love's graceful movements to trip up her heels,
    Is the Long and the short of the matter."]

  9. [Thomas Busby, Mus. Doc. (1755-1838), musical composer, and author of A New and Complete Musical Dictionary, 1801, etc. He was also a versifier. As early as 1785 he published The Age of Genius, A Satire; and, after he had ceased to compose music for the stage, brought out a translation of Lucretius, which had long been in MS. His "rejected address" on the reopening of Drury Lane Theatre, would have been recited by his son (October 15), but the gallery refused to hear it out. On the next night (October 16) "Master" Busby was more successful. Byron's parody of Busby's address, which began with the line, "When energising objects men pursue," is headed, "Parenthetical Address. By Dr. Plagiary."]
  10. And weave a couplet worthy them and you.—[Proof.]
  11. [The Confederation of the Rhine (1803-1813), by which the courts of Würtemberg and Bavaria, together with some lesser principalities, detached themselves from the Germanic Body, and accepted the immediate protection of France.]
  12. To make Heligoland the mart for lies.—[MS. M.]
  13. The patriotic arson of our amiable allies cannot be sufficiently commended—nor subscribed for. Amongst other details omitted in the various[a] despatches of our eloquent ambassador, he did not state (being too much occupied with the exploits of Colonel C—— , in swimming rivers frozen, and galloping over roads impassable,) that one entire province perished by famine in the most melancholy manner, as follows:—In General Rostopchin's consummate conflagration, the consumption of tallow and train oil was so great, that the market was inadequate to the demand: and thus one hundred and thirty-three thousand persons were starved to death, by being reduced to wholesome diet! the lamplighters of London have since subscribed a pint (of oil) a piece, and the tallow-chandlers have unanimously voted a quantity of best moulds (four to the pound), to the relief of the surviving Scythians;—the scarcity will soon, by such exertions, and a proper attention to the quality rather than the quantity of provision, be totally alleviated. It is said, in return, that the untouched Ukraine has subscribed sixty thousand beeves for a day's meal to our suffering manufacturers.

    [Hamburg fell to Napoleon's forces in 1810, and thenceforward the mails from the north of Europe were despatched from Anholt, or Gothenberg, or Heligoland. In 1811 an attempt to enforce the conscription resulted in the emigration of numbers of young men of suitable age for military service. The unfortunate city was deprived of mails and males at the same time. Heligoland, which was taken by the British in 1807, and turned into a depôt for the importation of smuggled goods to French territory, afforded a meeting-place for British and continental traders. Mails from Heligoland detailed rumours of what was taking place at the centres of war; but the newspapers occasionally threw doubts on the information obtained from this source. Lord Cathcart's despatch, dated November 23, appeared in the Gazette December 16, 1812. The paragraph which appealed to Byron's sense of humour is as follows: "The expedition of Colonel Chernichef (sic) [the Czar's aide-de-camp] was a continued and extraordinary exertion, he having marched seven hundred wersts (sic) in five days, and swam several rivers."]

      a. Veracious despatches.—[MS. M.]

  14. [Austerlitz was fought on Dec. 2, 1805. On Dec. 20 the Morning Chronicle published a communication from a correspondent, giving the substance of Napoleon's "Proclamation to the Army," issued on the evening after the battle, which had reached Bourrienne, the French minister at Hamburg. "An army," ran the proclamation, "of 100,000 men, which was commanded by the Emperors of Russia and Austria, has been in less than four hours either cut off or dispersed." It was an official note of this "blest despatch," forwarded by courier to Bath, which brought "the heavy news" to Pitt, and, it is believed, hastened his death.]
  15. [August Frederick Ferdinand von Kotzebue (1761-1819), whom Coleridge appraised as "the German Beaumont and Fletcher without their poetic powers," and Carlyle as "a bundle of dyed rags," wrote over a hundred plays, publishing twenty within a few years.

    An adaptation of Misanthropy and Repentance as The Stranger, Sheridan's Pizarro, and Lewis' Castle Spectre are well-known instances of his powerful influence on English dramatists. "The Present," writes Sara Coleridge, in a note to one of her fathers letters, "will ever have her special votaries in the world of letters, who collect into their focus, by a kind of burning-glass, the feelings of the day. Amongst such Kotzebue holds a high rank. Those 'dyed rags' of his once formed gorgeous banners, and flaunted in the eyes of refined companies from London to Madrid, from Paris to Moscow."—Coleridge's Biographia Literaria (1847), ii. 227.]

  16. [A translation of Christopher Meiners' History of the Female Sex, in four volumes, was published in London in 1808. Lapland wizards, not witches, were said to raise storms by knotting pieces of string, which they exposed to the wind.]
  17. [Richard Franz Philippe Brunck (1729-1803). His editions of the Anthologia Græca, and of the Greek dramatists are among his best known works. Compare Sheridan's doggerel— {{block center|"Huge leaves of that great commentator, old Brunck,
    Perhaps is the paper that lined my poor Trunk."]
  18. [Christian Gottlob Heyne (1729-1812) published editions of Virgil (1767-1775), Pindar (1773), and Opuscula Academica, in six vols. (1785-1812).]
  19. As much of Heyne as should not sink the packet.—[MS. M.]
  20. [A lively dance for one couple, characterized by a peculiar jumping step. It probably originated in Provence.]
  21. Dancing girls—who do for hire what Waltz doth gratis. [The Romaika is a modern Greek dance, characterized by serpentining figures and handkerchief-throwing among the dancers. The Fandango (Spaniards use the word "seguidilla") was of Moorish origin. The Bolero was brought from Provence, circ. 1780. "The Bolero intoxicates, the Fandango inflames" (Hist, of Dancing, by G. Vuillier, Heinemann, 1898).]
  22. [For Morier, see note to line 211. Galt has a paragraph descriptive of the waltzing Dervishes (Voyages and Travels (1812), p. 190).]
  23. Who in your daughters' daughters yet survive
    Like Banquo's spirit be yourselves alive
    .—[MS. M.]

  24. Elysium's ill exchanged for that you lost.—[MS. M.]
  25. No stiff-starched stays make meddling lovers ache.—[MS. M.]
  26. It cannot be complained now, as in the Lady Baussière's time, of the "Sieur de la Croix," that there be "no whiskers;" but how far these are indications of valour in the field, or elsewhere, may still be questionable. Much may be, and hath been;[a] avouched on both sides. In the olden time philosophers had whiskers, and soldiers none—Scipio himself was shaven—Hannibal thought his one eye handsome enough without a beard; but Adrian, the emperor, wore a beard (having warts on his chin, which neither the Empress Sabina nor even the courtiers could abide)—Turenne had whiskers, Marlborough none—Buonaparte is unwhiskered, the Regent whiskered; "argal" greatness of mind and whiskers may or may not go together; but certainly the different occurrences, since the growth of the last mentioned, go further in behalf of whiskers than the anathema of Anselm did against long hair in the reign of Henry I.—Formerly, red was a favourite colour. See Lodowick Barrey's comedy of Ram Alley, 1661; Act I. Scene 1.

    "Taffeta. Now for a wager—What coloured beard comes next by the window?

    "Adriana. A black man's, I think.

    "Taffeta. I think not so: I think a red, for that is most in fashion."

    There is "nothing new under the sun:" but red, then a favourite, has now subsided into a favourite's colour. [This is, doubtless, an allusion to Lord Yarmouth, whose fiery whiskers gained him the nickname of "Red Herrings."]

      a. The paragraph "Much may be" down to "reign of Henry I." was added in Revise 1, and the remainder of the note in Revise 2.

  27. [Madame Genlis (Stephanie Félicité Ducrest, Marquise de Sillery), commenting on the waltz, writes, "As a foreigner, I shall not take the liberty to censure this kind of dance; but this I can say, that it appears intolerable to German writers of superior merits who are not accused of severity of manners," and by way of example instances M. Jacobi, who affirms that "Werther (Sorrows of Werther, Letter ix.), the lover of Charlotte, swears that, were he to perish for it, never should a girl for whom he entertained any affection, and on whom he had honourable views, dance the waltz with any other man besides himself."—Selections from the Works of Madame de Genlis (1806), p. 65.

    Compare, too, "Faulkland" on country-dances in The Rivals, act ii. sc. 1, "Country-dances! jigs and reels! ... A minuet I could have forgiven.... Zounds! had she made one in a cotillon—I believe I could have forgiven even that—but to be monkey-led for a night! to run the gauntlet through a string of amorous palming puppies ... Oh, Jack, there never can be but one man in the world whom a truly modest and delicate woman ought to pair with in a country-dance; and even then, the rest of the couples should be her great-uncles and aunts!"]

  28. An anachronism—Waltz and the battle of Austerlitz are before said to have opened the ball together; the bard means (if he means anything), Waltz was not so much in vogue till the Regent attained the acmé of his popularity. Waltz, the comet, whiskers, and the new government, illuminated heaven and earth, in all their glory, much about the same time: of these the comet only has disappeared; the other three continue to astonish us still.—Printer's Devil.

    [As the Printer's Devil intimates, the various novelties of the age of "Waltz" are somewhat loosely enumerated. The Comet, which signalized 1811, the year of the restricted Regency, had disappeared before the Prince and his satellites burst into full blaze in 1812. It was (see Historical Record of the Life Guards, 1835, p. 177) in 1812 that the Prince Regent commanded the following alterations to be made in the equipments of the regiment of Life Guards: "Cocked hats with feathers to be discontinued, and brass helmets with black horsehair crests substituted. Long coats, trimmed with gold lace across the front. Shirts and cuffs to be replaced by short coatees," etc., etc. In the same branch of the service, whiskers were already in vogue. The "new laws" were those embodied in the "Frame-work Bill," which Byron denounced in his speech in the House of Lords, Feb. 27, 1812. Formerly the breaking of frames had been treated "as a minor felony, punishable by transportation for fourteen years," and the object of the bill was to make such offences capital. The bill passed into law on March 5, and as a result we read (Annual Register, 1812, pp. 38, 39) that on May 24 a special commission for the rioters of Cheshire was opened by Judge Dallas at Chester. "His lordship passed the awful sentence of death upon sixteen, and in a most impressioned address, held out not the smallest hope of mercy." Of these five only were hanged.

    Owing to the scarcity of silver coinage, the Bank of England was empowered to issue bank-tokens for various sums (Mr. Hornem bought his motto for The Waltz with a three-shilling bank-token; see note to Preface) which came into circulation on July 9, 1811. The "new ninepences" which were said to be forthcoming never passed into circulation at all. A single "pattern" coin (on the obverse, Bank Token, Ninepence, 1812) is preserved in the British Museum (see privately printed Catalogue, by W. Boyne (1866), p. 11). The "new victories" were the fall of Ciudad Rodrigo (Jan. 17), the capture of Badajoz (April 7), and the Battle of Salamanca (July 12, 1812). By way of "new wars," the President of the United States declared war with Great Britain on June 18, and Great Britain with the United States, Oct. 13, 1812. As to "new mistresses," for a reference to "Our Sultan's" "she-promotions" of "those only plump and sage, Who've reached the regulation age," see Intercepted Letters, or the Twopenny Post-bag, by Thomas Brown the Younger, 1813, and for "gold sticks," etc., see "Promotions" in the Annual Register for March, 1812, in which a long list of Household appointments is duly recorded.]

  29. New caps and Jackets for the royal Guards.—[MS. M.]
  30. Amongst others a new ninepence—a creditable coin now forthcoming, worth a pound, in paper, at the fairest calculation.
  31. [Robert Banks Jenkinson, second Earl of Liverpool, was Secretary at War and for the Colonies from 1809 to 1812, in Spencer Perceval's administration, and, on the assassination of the premier, undertook the government. Both as Secretary at War and as Prime Minister his chief efforts were devoted to the support of Wellington in the Peninsula.]
  32. "Oh that right should thus overcome might!" Who does not remember the "delicate investigation" in the Merry Wives of Windsor?

    "Ford. Pray you, come near; if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me; then let me be your jest; I deserve it. How now? whither bear you this?

    "Mrs. Ford. What have you to do whither they bear it?—You were best meddle with buck-washing." [Act iii. sc. 3.]

  33. The gentle, or ferocious, reader may fill up the blank as he pleases—there are several dissyllabic names at his service (being already in the Regent's): it would not be fair to back any peculiar initial against the alphabet, as every month will add to the list now entered for the sweep-stakes;—a distinguished consonant is said to be the favourite, much against the wishes of the knowing ones.—[Revise.] [In the Revise the line, which is not in the MS., ran, "So saith the Muse; my M—— what say you?" The name intended to be supplied is "Moira."

    On Perceval's death (May 11, 1812), Lord Liverpool became Prime Minister, but was unable to carry on the government. Accordingly the Prince Regent desired the Marquis Wellesley and Canning to approach Lords Grey and Grenville with regard to the formation of a coalition ministry. They were unsuccessful, and as a next step Lord Moira (Francis Rawdon, first Marquis of Hastings, 1754-1826) was empowered to make overtures in the same quarter. The Whig Lords stipulated that the regulation of the Household should rest with ministers, and to this Moira would not consent, possibly because the Prince's favourite, Lord Yarmouth, was Vice-Chamberlain. Negotiations were again broken off, and on June 9 Liverpool began his long term of office as Prime Minister. "I sate," writes Byron, "in the debate or rather discussion in the House of Lords on that question (the second negotiation) immediately behind Moira, who, while Grey was speaking, turned round to me repeatedly, and asked me whether I agreed with him. It was an awkward question to me, who had not heard both sides. Moira kept repeating to me, 'It is not so; it is so and so,'" etc. (Letter to W. Bankes (undated), Life, p. 162). Hence the question, "My Moira, what say you.?"]

  34. With K—t's gay grace, or silly-Billy's mien.—[MS. M.]
    With K—t's gay grace, or G—r's booby mien.—[MS. erased.]
  35. "We have changed all that," says the Mock Doctor—'tis all gone—Asmodeus knows where. After all, it is of no great importance how women's hearts are disposed of; they have nature's privilege to distribute them as absurdly as possible. But there are also some men with hearts so thoroughly bad, as to remind us of those phenomena often mentioned in natural history; viz. a mass of solid stone—only to be opened by force—and when divided, you discover a toad in the centre, lively, and with the reputation of being venomous.

    [In the MS. the last sentence stood: "In this country there is one man with a heart so thoroughly bad that it reminds us of those unaccountable petrifactions often mentioned in natural history," etc. The couplet—

    "Such things we know are neither rich nor rare,
    But wonder how the Devil they got there,"

    which was affixed to the note, was subsequently erased.]

  36. [Compare Sheridan's lines on waltzing, which Moore heard him "repeat in a drawing-room"—

    "With tranquil step, and timid downcast glance,
    Behold the well-pair'd couple now advance.
    In such sweet posture our first parents moved,
    While, hand in hand, through Eden's bower they roved.
    Ere yet the devil, with promise fine and false,
    Turned their poor heads, and taught them how to waltz.
    One hand grasps hers, the other holds her hip.


    For so the law's laid down by Baron Trip."]

  37. Sir—Such a one—with Mrs.—Miss So-so.—[Revise.]
  38. [Lines 204-207 are not in the MS., but were added in a revise.]
  39. In Turkey a pertinent—here an impertinent and superfluous question—literally put, as in the text, by a Persian to Morier, on seeing a Waltz in Pera. [See A Journey through Persia, etc. By James Morier, London (1812), p. 365.]
  40. [Richard Fitzpatrick (1747-1813), second son of John, first Earl of Ossory, served in the first American War at the battles of Brandywine and Germanstown. He sat as M.P. for Tavistock for thirty-three years. The chosen friend and companion of Fox, he was a prominent member of the opposition during the close of the eighteenth century. In the ministry of "All the Talents" he was Secretary at War. He dabbled in literature, was one of the authors of the Rolliad, and in 1775 published Dorinda: A Town Eclogue. He was noted for his social gifts, and in recognition, it is said, of his "fine manners and polite address," inherited a handsome annuity from the Duke of Queensberry. Byron associates him with Sheridan as un homme galant and leader of ton of the past generation.]
  41. And thou my Prince whose undisputed will.—[MS. M.]
  42. [William Douglas, third Earl of March and fourth Duke of Queensberry (1724-1810), otherwise "old Q,," was conspicuous as a "blood" and evil liver from youth to extreme old age. He was a patron of the turf, a connoisseur of Italian Opera, and surtout an inveterate libertine. As a Whig, he held office in the Household during North's Coalition Ministry, but throughout George the Third's first illness in 1788, displayed such indecent partisanship with the Prince of Wales, that, when the king recovered, he lest his post. His dukedom died with him, and his immense fortune was divided between the heirs to his other titles and his friends. Lord Yarmouth, whose wife, Maria Fagniani, he believed to be his natural daughter, was one of the principal legatees.]
  43. From this abominable contact warm.—[MS. M.]
  44. Some generations hence our Pedigree
    Will never look the worse for him or me
    .—[MS. erased.]