George Gordon, Lord Byron
In July, 1811, he returned to England, and being visited by Mr. Dallas, put into his hands a Paraphrase of Horace's Art of Poetry, expressing a wish that it should be printed under the latter's superintendence; but he mentioned nothing of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, until Mr. Dallas expressed his surprise that he should have written so little during his absence. He then told his friend that he had occasionally written short poems, besides a great many stanzas in Spenser's measure, relative to the countries he had visited; and, at the same time, handed them to Mr. Dallas, observing, that they were not worth troubling him with. This gentleman had no sooner perused the poem, than he endeavored to persuade the author of its superiority, in every respect, to the Paraphrase of Horace; but it was not until after much real or affected reluctance, that he consented to the publication of Childe Harold, in preference to that of the former. He had scarcely made up his mind on the subject, before he was called to Newstead, by the illness of his mother, who, however, died a short time before his arrival, on the 1st of August. He is said to have been sincerely affected at her loss; and, on being found sitting near the corpse of his mother, by Mrs. Byron's waiting-woman, he, in answer to her remonstrance with him for so giving way to grief, exclaimed, bursting into tears, I had but one friend in the world, and she is gone ' His subsequent conduct, however, had an eccentricity about it, which brought the sincerity of his grief into question On the morning of the funeral,' says Mr. Moore, having declined following the remains himself, he stood looking, from the abbey door, at the procession, till the whole had moved off; then turning to young Rushton, who was the only person left besides himself, he desired him to fetch the sparring gloves, and proceeded to his usual exercise with the boy. He was silent and abstracted all the time; and, as if from an effort to get the better of his feelings, threw more violence, Rushton thought, in his blows than was his habit; but, at last, - the struggle seeming too much for him, - he flung away the gloves, and retired to his room.'
A few months after the death of his mother, a correspondence took place between himself and Mr. Moore, the poet, of whose duel with Mr. Jeffrey, Byron had given a ludicrous, but untrue, account in his English Bards. After several letters of an explanatory, rather than hostile, nature, had passed on both sides, and in which each exhibited a manly and forbearing spirit, they became mutual friends, and remained so ever afterwards. On the 27th of February, 1812, Lord Byron made his first speech in the house of lords, on the subject of the Nottingham Framebreaking Bill, and appears to have pleased both himself and his hearers. Mr. Dallas, who met him coming out of the house, says, that he was greatly elated; and, after repeating some of the compliments which had been paid him, concluded by saying, that he had, by his speech, given the best advertisement for Childe Harold's Pilgrimage,' which was two days afterwards published. The effect upon the public, as his biographer observes, was electric; as he has himself said, in his memoranda, he awoke one morning, and found himself famous.' The first edition of his work was disposed of instantly; Childe Harold,' and Lord Byron,' were the theme of every tongue; the most eminent literati of the day, including many whom he had attacked in his satire, left their names at his door; upon his table lay the epistolary tribute of the statesman and philosopher, the billet of some incognita, or the pressing note of some fair leader of fashion; and, in fine, he found himself among the illustrious crowds of high life, the most distinguished object.' The sum of L600 which he received for the copyright of the poem, he presented to Mr. Dallas; observing, he would never receive money for his writings; ' a resolution which he subsequently abandoned. Among other results of the fame he had acquired by his Childe Harold, was his introduction to the prince regent, which took place at a ball, at the request of his royal highness, whose conversation so fascinated the poet, that had it not been, says Mr. Dallas, for an accidental deferring of the next levee, he bade fair to become a visitor at Carlton House, if not a complete courtier.