vol II date / index
St. Leo IX. Pope, A.D. 1054. St. Elphege, A.D. 1012. St. Ursmar, Bp. A.D. 713.
This saint's name in the church of England calendar is Alphege. He was brought up at the monastery of Deerhurst, in Gloucestershire; afterwards he built himself a lonely cell in the abbey of Bath, where he became abbot, and corrected the "little junketings" and other irregularities of the monks. St. Dunstan being warned in a vision, drew him from thence, and gave him episcopal ordination. In 1006, he became bishop of Winchester, and was afterwards translated to the see of Canterbury. On the storming of that city by the Danes, he endeavoured to allay their fury, but they burnt his cathedral, decimated his monks, and carrying Alphege prisoner to Canterbury, there slew him on this day in 1012.*
It is storied, that when St. Alphege was imprisoned at Greenwich, the devil appeared to him in likeness of an angel, and tempted him to follow him into a dark valley, over which he wearily walked through hedges and ditches, till at last being in a most foul mire the devil vanished, and a real angel appeared and told St. Alphege to go back to prison and be a martyr, which he did. Then after his death, an old rotten stake was driven into his body, and those who drave it said, that if on the morrow the stake was green and bore leaves they would believe; whereupon the stake flourished and the drivers thereof repented as they said they would, and the body being buried at St. Paul's church, in London, worked miracles. † 
In commemoration of this saint was put up in Greenwich church the following inscription: "This church was erected and dedicated to the glory of God, and the memory of Saint Alphege, archbishop of Canterbury, here slain by the Danes."
1739. Died, Dr. Nicholas Saunderson, Lucasian professor of mathematics. He was born in 1659, at Thurlston, in Yorkshire, lost his sight from the small pox when twelve months old, and became so proficient in the science of certainties, that his eminence has rarely been equalled.
1775. The American war commenced at Lexington.
1791. Dr. Richard Price died. He was born in Glamorganshire in 1732. Revered for the purity of his private character, he is celebrated for his religious, moral, mathematical, and political works throughout Europe.
1824. Lord Byron died. A letter taken froma newspaper several years ago, ‡ relative to the residence of this distinguished character in the island of Mitylene, seems to have escaped editorial inquiry, and is therefore subjoined. If authentic, it is, in some degree, and interesting memorial.
In sailing through the Grecian Archipelago, on board one of his majesty's vessels, in the year 1812, we put into the harbour of Mitylene, in the island of that name. The beauty of this place, and the certain supply of cattle and vegetables always to be had there, induce many British vessels to visit it, both men of war and merchantmen; and though it lies rather out of the track for ships bound to Smyrna, its bounties amply repay for the deviation of a voyage. We landed, as usual, at the bottom of the bay, and whilst the men were employed in watering, and the purser bargaining for cattle with the natives, the clergyman and myself took a ramble to a cave, called Homer's School, and other places, where we had been before. On the brow of Mount Ida (a small monticole so named) we met with and engaged a young Greek as our guide, who told us he had come from Scio with an English lord, who left the island four days previous to our arrival, in his felucca. "He engaged me as a pilot," said the Greek, "and would have taken me with him, but I did not choose to quit Mitylene, where I am likely to get married. He was an odd, but a very good man. The cottage over the hill, facing the river, belongs to him, and he has left an old man in charge of it; he gave Dominick, the wine trader, six hundred zechines for it, (about 250l. English currency,) and has resided there about fourteen months, though not constantly; for he sails in his felucca very often to the different islands."
This account excited our curiosity very much, and we lost no time in hastening to the house where our countryman had resided. We were kindly received by an old man, who conducted us over the mansion. It consisted of four apartments on the ground floor: an entrance hall, a drawing-room, a sitting parlour, and a bed room, with a spacious closet annexed. They were all simply decorated: plain green-stained walls, marble tables on either side, a large myrtle in the centre, and a small fountain beneath, which could be made to play through the branches by moving a spring fixed in the side of a small bronze Venus in a leaning posture; a large couch or sopha completed the furniture. In the hall stood half a dozen English cane chairs, and an empty bookcase; there were no mirrors, nor a single painting. The bed-chamber had merely a large mattrass spread on the floor, with two stuffed cotton quilts and a pillow—the common bed throughout Greece. In the sitting room we observed a marble recess, formerly, the old man told us, filled with books and papers, which were then in a large seaman's chest in the closet: it was open, but we did not think ourselves justified in examining the contents. On the tablet of the recess lay Voltaire's, Shakespeare's, Boileau's, and Rousseau's works, complete; Volney's "Ruins of Empires;" Zimmerman, in the German language; Klopstock's "Messiah;" Kotzebue's novels; Schiller's play of the "Robbers;" Milton's "Paradise Lost," an Italian edition, printed at Parma in 1810; several small pamphlets from the Greek press at Constantinople, much torn. Most of these books were filled with marginal notes, written with a pencil, in Italian and Latin. The "Messiah" was literally scribbled all over, and marked with slips of paper, on which also were remarks.
The old man said, "the lord had been reading these books the evening before he sailed, and forgot to place them with the others; but," said he, "there they must lie until his return; for he is so particular, that were I to move one thing without orders, he would frown upon me for a week together: he is otherwise very good. I once did him a service, and I have the produce of this farm for the trouble of taking care of it, except twenty zachines, which I pay to an aged Armenian, who resides in a small cottage in the wood, and whom the lord brought here from Adrianople; I don't know for what reason."
The appearance of the house externally was pleasing. The portico in front was fifty paces long and fourteen broad, and the fluted marble pillars with black plinths and fret-work cornices, (as it is now customary in Grecian architecture,) were considerably higher than the roof. The roof, surrounded by a light stone balustrade, was covered by a fine Turkey carpet, beneath an awning of strong coarse linen. Most of the house-tops are thus furnished, as upon them the Greeks pass their evenings in smoking, drinking light wines, such as "lachryma Christi," eating fruit, and enjoying the evening breeze.
On the left hand, as we enetered the house, a small streamlet glided away; grapes, oranges, and limes were clustering together on its borders, and under the shade of two large myrtle bushes, a marble seat, with an ornamental wooden back, was placed, on which, we were told, the lord passed many of his evenings and nights, till twelve o'clock, reading, writing, and talking to himself. "I suppose," said the old man, "praying; for he was very devout, and always attended our church twice a week, besides Sundays."
The view from this seat was what may be termed "a bird's eye view." A line of rich vineyards led the eye to Mount Calcla, covered with olive and myrtle-trees in bloom, and on the summit of which an ancient Greek temple appeared in majestic decay. A small stream issuing from the ruins, descended in broken cascades, until it was lost in the woods near the mountain's base. The sea, smooth as glass, and an horizon unshaded by a single cloud, terminates the view in front; and a little on the left, through a vista of lofty chestnut and palm-trees, several small islands were distinctly observed, studding the light blue wave with spots of emerald green. I seldom enjoyed a view more than I did this; but our inquiries were fruitless as to the name of the person who had resided in this romantic solitude; none knew his name but Dominick, his banker, who had gone to Candia. "The Armenian," said our conductor, "could tell, but I am sure he will not."—"And cannot you tell, old friend?" said I.—"If I can," said he, "I dare not." We had not time to visit the Armenian, but on our return to the town we learnt several particulars of the isolated lord. He had portioned eight young girls when he was last upon the island, and even danced with them at the nuptial feast. He gave a cow to one man, horses to others, and cotton and silk to the girls who live by weaving these articles. He also bought a new boat for a fisherman who had lost his own in a gale, and he often gave Greek Testaments to the poor children. In short, he appeared to us, from all we collected, to have been a very eccentric and benevolent character. One circumstance we learnt which our old friend at the cottage thought proper not to disclose. He had a most beautiful daughter, with whom the lord was often seen walking on the seashore, and he had bought her a piano-forte, and taught her himself the use of it.
Such was the information with which we departed from the peaceful isle of Mitylene; our imaginations all on the rack, guessing who this rambler in Greece could be. He had money, it was evident: he had philanthropy of disposition, and all those eccentricities which mark peculiar genius. Arrived at Palermo, all our doubts were dispelled. Falling in with Mr. Foster, the architect, a pupil of Wyatt's, who had been travelling in Egypt and Greece, "The individual," said he, "about whom you are so anxious, is lord Byron; I met him in my travels on the island of Tenedos, and I also visited him at Mitylene."—We had never then heard of his lordship's fame, as we had been some years from home; but "Childe Harold" being put into our hands, we recognised the recluse of Calcla in every page. Deeply did we regret not having been more curious in our researches at the cottage, but we consoled ourselves with the idea of returning to Mitylene on some future day; but to me that day will never return.* * * * JOHN MITFORD.
The names of Byron and Moore are associated for their attainments; they were kindred in their friendship. The last lines, written by lord Byron, on his native soil, were addressed to Mr. Moore:
My boat is on the shore,
And my bark is on the sea;
But ere I go, TOM MOORE,
Here's a double health to thee.
Here's a sigh for those I love,
And a smile for those I hate,
And, whatever sky's above,
Here's a heart for any fate.
Though the ocean roars around me,
It still shall bear me on;
Though a desert should surround me
It hath springs that may be won.
Were it the last drop in the well,
As I gasped on the brink,
Ere my fainting spirits fell,
'Tis to thee that I would drink.
In that water, as this wine,
The libation I would pour
Should be—Peace to thee and thine,
And a health to thee, TOM MOORE.
Forbearing to estimate him whom the low and the lofty alike assume to measure, a passage from his own pen may fitly conclude this notice:—
How beautiful is all this visible world!
How glorious in its action and itself;
But we, who name ourselves its sovereigns, we,
Half dust, half deity, alike unfit
To sink or soar, with our mix'd essence make
A conflict of its elements, and breathe
The breath of degradation and of pride,
Contending with low wants and lofty will
Till our mortality predominates,
And men are—what they name not themselves,
And trust not to each other.
Ursine Garlick. Allium Ursinum.
Dedicated to St. Leo IX., Pope.
Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:
1. Butler. [return]
2. Golden Legend. [return]
3. Observer, Nov. 15, 1818. [return]