Lord Byron's Vanity





During the residence of Lord Byron at Venice, a clerk was sent from the

office of Messrs. Vizard and Co., of Lincoln's Inn, to procure his

lordship's signature to a legal instrument. On his arrival, the clerk

sent a message to the noble poet, who appointed to receive him on the

following morning. Each party was punctual to the minute. His lordship

had dressed himself with the most studious care; and, on the opening of

the door of his apartment, it was evident that he had placed himself in

what he thought a becoming pose. His right arm was displayed over the

back of a splendid couch, and his head was gently supported by the

fingers of his left hand. He bowed slightly as his visitor approached

him, and appeared anxious that his recumbent attitude should remain for

a time undisturbed. After the signing of the deed, the noble bard made a

few inquiries upon the politics of England, in the tone of a finished

exquisite. Some refreshment which was brought in afforded the messenger

an opportunity for more minute observation. His lordship's hair had been

curled and parted on the forehead; the collar of his shirt was thrown

back, so that not only the throat but a considerable portion of his

bosom was exposed to view, though partially concealed by some fanciful

ornament suspended round the neck. His waistcoat was of costly velvet,

and his legs were enveloped in a superb wrapper. It is to be regretted

that so great a mind as that of Byron could derive satisfaction from

things so trivial and unimportant, but much more that it was liable to

be disturbed by a recollection of personal imperfections. In the above

interview, the clerk directed an accidental glance at his lordship's

lame foot, when the smile that had played upon the visage of the poet

became suddenly converted into a frown. His whole frame appeared

discomposed; his tone of affected suavity became hard and imperious; and

he called to an attendant to open the door, with a peevishness seldom

exhibited even by the most irritable.



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