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Cije Đcformco Crangform to :
This production is founded partly on the story of a novel called “The Three Brothers *,” published many years ago, from which M. G. Lewis's “Wood Demon” was also taken, and partly on the “Faust” of the great Goethe. The present publication contains the two first Parts only, and the opening chorus of the third. The rest may, perhaps, appear hereafter.
1 [This drama was begun at Pisa in 1821, but was not published till January, 1824. Mr. Medwin says,
“On my calling on Lord Byron one morning, he produced the “Deformed Transformed.” Handing it to Shelley, he said — Shelley, I have been writing a Faustish kind of drama : tell me what you think of it." After reading it attentively, Shelley returned it. ..." Well,' said Lord B., “how do you like it?' ' Least,' replied he, ‘of any thing I ever saw of yours. It is a bad imitation of “Faust,’ and besides, there are two entire lines of Southey's in it." Lord 13 yron changed colour immediately, and asked hastily, “what lines o' Shelley repeated,
• And water shall see thce,
They are in the “Curse of Kehama.” His Lordship instantly threw the poem into the fire. He seemed to feel no chagrin at seeing it consume—at least his countenance betrayed none, and his conversation became more gay and lively than usual. Whether it was hatred of Southey, or respect for Shelley's opinion, which made him commit the act that I considered a sort of suicide, was always doubtful to me... I was never more surprised than to see, two years afterwards, “The Deformed Transformed ' announced (supposing it to have perished at Pisa); but it seems that he must have had another copy of the manuscript, or that he had re-written it perhaps, without changing a word, except omitting the Kehama lines. . His memory was remarkably retentive of his own writings. I believe he could have quoted almost every line he ever wrote.”
Mrs. Shelley, whose copy of “The Deformed Transformed" lies before us, has written as follows on the fly-leaf : —
“This had long been a favourite subject with Lord Byron. I think that he mentioned it also in Switzerland. I copied it— he sending a portion of it at a time, as it was finished, to me. At this time he had a great horror of its being said that he plagiarised, or that he studied for ideas, and wrote with ditficulty. Thus he gave Shelley Aikin's edition of the British Poets, that it might not be found in his house by some English lounger, and reported home: thus, too, he always dated when he began and when he ended a poem, to prove hereafter how
uickly it was done. I do not think that he altered a line in this rama after he had once written it down. He composed and
corrected in his mind. I do not know how he meant to finish it ; but he said himself, that the whole conduct of the story was already conceived. It was at this time that a brutal paragraph alluding to his lameness appeared, which he re
Bert. OUT, hunchback :
Arn. Would that I had been so,
Bert. I would so too ! But as thou hast — hence, hence — and do thy best : That back of thine may bear its burthen ; 'tis More high, if not so broad as that of others.
Arn. It bears its burthen ; — but, my heart : Will it Sustain that which you lay upon it, mother 2 I love, or, at the least, I loved you : nothing
I was born so, mother 4 Out, Of seven sons,
eated to me; lest I should hear it first from some one else. No action of Lord Byron's life — scarce a line he has written – but was influenced by his personal defect.”]
2 [Published in 1803, the work of a Joshua Pickersgill, jun.]
* [A clever anonymous critic thus sarcastically opens his notice of this poem : — “ The reader has no doubt often heard of the Devil and Dr. Faustus: this is but a new birth of the same unrighteous couple, who are christened, however, by the noble hierophant who presides over the infernal ceremony, - Julius Caesar and Count Arnold. The drama opens with a scene between the latter, who is to all appearance a well-disposed young man, of a very deformed person, and his mother: this good lady, with somewhat less maternal
jety about her than adorns the mother-ape in the fable, turns
er dutiful incubus of a son out of doors to gather wood. Arnold, upon this, proceeds, incontinently to kill himself, by falling, after the manner of Brutus, on his wood-knife: he is, however, piously dissuaded from this guilty act, by – whom does the reader think 2. A monk, perhaps, or a methodist preacher? no ; – but by the Devil himself, in the shape of a tall black man, who rises, like an African water-god, out of a fountain. To this stranger, after the exchange of a few sinister compliments, Arnold, without more ado, sells his soul, for the privilege of wearing the beautiful form of Achilles. In the midst of all this absurdity, we still, however, recognise the master-mind of our great poet : his bold and beautiful spirit flashes at intervals through the surrounding herrors, into which he has chosen to plunge after Goethe, his magnus Apollo."]
* [“. One of the few pages of Lord Byron's “Memoranda," which related to his early days, was where, in speaking of his own sensitiveness on the subject of his deformed foot, he described the feeling of horror and humiliation that came over him, when his mother, in one of her fits of passion, called him “a lame brat '.' It may be questioned, whether this drama was not indebted for its origin to this single recollection.” – Moone.
“Lord Byron's own mother, when in ill humour with him, used to make the deformity in his foot the subject of taunts and reproaches. She would (we quote from a letter written by one of her relations in Scotland) pass from passionate căresses to the repulsion of actual disgust; then devour him with kisses again, and swear his cyes were as beautiful as his father's.”-- Quar. Ilet.]
Save you, in nature, can love aught like me.
Wile form — from the creation, as it hath
[ARNold places the knife in the ground, with
the point upwards. Now 'tis set, And I can fall upon it. Yet one glance On the fair day, which sees no foul thing like Myself, and the sweet sun which warm'd me, but In vain. The birds–how joyously they sing So let them, for I would not be lamented : But let their merriest notes be Arnold's knell; The fallen leaves my monument; the murmur Of the near fountain my sole elegy. Now, knife, stand firmly, as I fain would fall ! [As he rushes to throw himself upon the knife, his
eye is suddenly caught by the fountain, which
seems in motion.
[A cloud comes from the fountain. He stands
Arn. What would you? Speak || Spirit or man 2
Stran. As man is both, why not Say both in one 7
Arn. Your form is man's, and yet You may be devil.
Stran. So many men are that
Which is so call'd or thought, that you may add me
Arn. You have interrupted me.
Stran. What is that resolution which can e'er Be interrupted 2 If I be the devil You deem, a single moment would have made you Mine, and for ever, by your suicide; And yet my coming saves you.
Arn. I said not You were the demon, but that your approach Was like one.
Stran. Unless you keep company With him (and you seem scarce used to such high Society) you can't tell how he approaches; And for his aspect, look upon the fountain, And then on me, and judge which of us twain Look likest what the boors believe to be Their cloven-footed terror.
Arn. Do you—dare you To taunt me with my born deformity ?
Stran. Were I to taunt a buffalo with this Cloven foot of thine, or the swift dromedary With thy sublime of humps, the animals Would revel in the complimerit. And yet Both beings are more swift, more strong, more mighty In action and endurance than thyself, And all the fierce and fair of the same kind With thee. Thy form is natural : t was only Nature's mistaken largess to bestow The gifts which are of others upon man.
mischief laid to its charge. For an amusing controversy on the subject, see Gent. Mag. vols. lxxx. and ixxxi.l
Arn. (holding out his wounded arm). Take it all. Stran. Not now. A few drops will suffice for this. [The Stranger takes some of ARNold's blood in his hand, and casts it into the fountain. Stran. Shadows of beauty : Shadows of power Rise to your duty – This is the hour ! Walk lovely and pliant From the depth of this fountain, As the cloud-shapen giant Bestrides the Hartz Mountain. 1 Come as ye were, That our eyes may behold The model in air Of the form I will mould, Bright as the Iris When ether is spann'd : — Such his desire is, [Pointing to Annold. Such my command 1 Demons heroic – Demons who wore The form of the stoic Or sophist of yore — Or the shape of each victor, From Macedon's boy To each high Roman's picture Who breathed to destroy — Shadows of beauty I Shadows of power Up to your duty — This is the hour ! [Various Phantoms arise from the waters, and pass in succession before the Stranger and ARNoLD. Arn. What do I see ? Stran. The black-eyed Roman, with The eagle's beak between those eyes which ne'er Beheld a conqueror, or look'd along The land he made not Rome's, while Rome became His, and all theirs who heir'd his very manne. Arn. The phantom's bald; my quest is beauty. Could I Inherit but his fame with his defects 1 [hairs. Stran. His brow was girt with laurels more than You see his aspect—choose it, or reject. I can but promise you his form : his fame Must be long sought and fought for. Arn. I will fight too, But not as a mock Caesar. Let him pass; II is aspect may be fair, but suits me not. Stran. Then you are far more difficult to please Than Cato's sister, or than Brutus's mother, Or Cleopatra at sixteen—an age When love is not less in the eye than heart. But be it so | Shadow, pass on 1 [The Phantom of Julius Caesar disappears. Arn. And can it Be, that the man who shook the carth is gone, And left no footstep 2 Stran. There you err. His substance Left graves enough, and woes enough, and fame More than enough to track his memory ; But for his shadow, 'tis no more than yours,
the earliest periods of authentic history, the Brecken has been the seat of the marvellous. For a description of the phenomonon alluded to by Lord Byron, see Sir David Brewster's “Natural Magic,” p. 128.]
Except a little longer and less crook'd
* [In one of Lord Byron's MS. Diaries we find the followin: passage : –“ Alcibiades is said to have been successful in all his battles' – but what battles 2 Name them : If you tnention Caesar, or Hannibal, or Napoleon, you at once rush upon Pharsalia, Munda, Alesia, Cannae, Thrasymene, Trebia, Lodi, Marchgo, Jena, Austerlitz, Friedland, Wagram, Moskwa: Lut it is less casy to pitch upon the victories of Alcibiades ; though they may be named too, though not so readily as the Leuctra and Mantinaea of Epaminondas, the Marathon of Milti,wles, the Salamis of Themistocles, and the Thermopylae of Leonidas. Yet, upon the whole, it may be doubted. whether there be a name of antiquity which comes down with such a eneral charm as that of Alcibiades. Why? I cannot answer. Who can “”] * [" The outside of Socrates was that of a satyr and buffoon,
Arn. Who is this? Who truly looketh like a demigod, Blooming and bright, with golden hair, and stature, If not more high than mortal, yet immortal In all that nameless bearing of his limbs, Which he wears as the sun his rays—a something Which shines from him, and yet is but the flashing Emanation of a thing more glorious still. Was he e'er human only 74 Strun. Let the earth speak, If there be atoms of him left, or even Of the more solid gold that form'd his urn. Arn. Who was this glory of mankind 7 Stran. The shame Of Greece in peace, her thunderbolt in war – Demetrius the Macedonian, and Taker of cities. Arn. Yet one shadow more. Stran. (addressing the shadow). Get thee to Lamia's lap [The shade of Demetrius Poliorcetes vanishes : another rises. I'll fit you still, Fear not, my hunchback : if the shadows of That which existed please not your mice taste, I'll animate the ideal marble, till Your soul be reconciled to her new garment. Arn. Content I will fix here. Stran. I must commend Your choice. The godlike son of the sea-goddess, The unshorn boy of Peleus, with his locks As beautiful and clear as the amber waves Of rich Pactolus, roll'd o'er sands of gold, Soften’d by intervening crystal, and Rippled like flowing waters by the wind, All vow'd to Sperchius as they were—behold them And him -—as he stood by Polixena, With sanction'd and with soften'd love, before The altar, gazing on his Trojan bride, With some remorse within for Hector slain And Priam weeping, mingled with deep passion For the sweet downcast virgin, whose young hand Trembled in his who slew her brother. So He stood i' the temple I Look upon him as Greece look'd her last upon her best, the instant Ere Paris' arrow flew. Arn. I gaze upon him As if I were his soul, whose form shall soon Envelope mine. Stran. You have done well. Deformity should only barter with The extremest beauty, if the proverb's true Of mortals, that extremes meet. .
Arn. Come ! Be quick : I am impatient. Stran. As a youthful beauty
but his soul was all virtue, and from within hini came such divine and pathetic things, as pierced the heart, and drew tears from the hearers.” – PLAro.] * [“. His face was as the heavens; and therein stuck A sun and moon; which kept their course, and lighted The little O, the earth. His legs bestrid the ocean : his rear'd arm Crested the world : his voice was propertied As all the tuned spheres,” &c. – SHAksr EARE.] * [“. The beauty and mien of Demetrius Poliorcetes were so inimitable, that no statuary or painter could hit off a likeness. His countenance had a mixture of grace and dignity, and was at once amiable and awful, and the unsubdued and eager air of youth was blended with the majesty of the hero and the king.” – l'LUTA acii.]
Before her glass. Pou both see what is not,
I ask not
t . whosocyer,” says Lord Bacon, “ hath anything fixed in his person that doth induce contempt, hath also a perpetual spur in himself to rescue and deliver himself from scorn; therefore, all deformed persons are extreme bold; first, as in their own defence, as being exposed to scorn, but in process of time by a general habit: also it stirreth in them industry, and especially of this kind, to watch and observe the weakress of others, that they may have somewhat to renay. Again, in their superiors, it quencheth jealousy towards then, as persons that they think they may at pleasure despise : and it layeth their competitors and emulators asleep, as never believing they should be in possibility of advancement till they
In turn, because of this vile crooked clog,
Stran. Decide between What you have been, or will be. Arn. I have done so.
You have open'd brighter prospects to my eyes,
Your aspect is
see them in possession : so that upon the matter, in a great wit, deformity is an advantage to rising.” – Essay iv.]
* [“Lord Byron's chief incentive, when a boy, to distinction, was that mark of deformity, by an acute sense of which he was first stung into the ambition of being great. In one of his letters to Mr. Hunt, he declares it to be his own opinion that “an addiction to poetry is very generally the result of an uneasy mind in an uneasy body; disease or deformity, he aids, “ have been the attendants of many of our best : Collins mad — Chatterton. I think, mad – Cowper mad – l'ope crooked.— Milton blind,’ &c. &c.” – Mooke J