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' have really and truly no notion whether it is good or 'bad; and as this was not the case with the principal ' of my former publications, I am, therefore, inclined 'to rank it very humbly. You will submit it to Mr. 'Gifford, and to whomsoever you please besides. With regard to the question of copyright (if it ever comes 'to publication), I do not know whether you would 'think three hundred guineas an over-estimate; if you 'do, you may diminish it: I do not think it worth more; so you may see I make some difference between it ' and the others.
I have received your two Reviews (but not the "Tales of my Landlord "); the Quarterly I acknowledged particularly to you, on its arrival, ten days 6 ago. What you tell me of Perry petrifies me; it is a 'rank imposition. In or about February or March,
1816, I was given to understand that Mr. Croker was
'not only a coadjutor in the attacks of the Courier in
1814, but the author of some lines tolerably fero
cious, then recently published in a morning paper. Upon this I wrote a reprisal. The whole of the lines I have forgotten, and even the purport of them I
scarcely remember; for on your assuring me that he
was not, &c. &c., I put them into the fire before 'your face, and there never was but that one rough copy.
Mr. Davies, the only person who ever heard them
read, wanted a copy, which I refused. If, however,
by some impossibility, which I cannot divine, the ghost of these rhymes should walk into the world, I never will deny what I have really written, but hold 'myself personally responsible for satisfaction, though 'I reserve to myself the right of disavowing all or any 'fabrications. To the previous facts you are a witness, ' and best know how far my recapitulation is correct;
' and I request that you will inform Mr. Perry from 'me, that I wonder he should permit such an abuse ' of my name in his paper; I say an abuse, because my absence, at least, demands some respect, and my presence and positive sanction could alone justify him in 'such a proceeding, even were the lines mine; and if 'false, there are no words for him. I repeat to you 'that the original was burnt before you on your assurance, and there never was a copy, nor even a verbal ' repetition,―very much to the discomfort of some ' zealous Whigs, who bored me for them (having heard it bruited by Mr. Davies that there were such matters) to no purpose; for, having written them solely 'with the notion that Mr. Croker was the aggressor, 'and for my own and not party reprisals, I would not 'lend me to the zeal of any sect when I was made ' aware that he was not the writer of the offensive pas
sages. You know, if there was such a thing, I would 'not deny it. I mentioned it openly at the time to " you, and you will remember why and where I destroyed it; and no power nor wheedling on earth 'should have made, or could make, me (if I recollected
them) give a copy after that, unless I was well assured that Mr. Croker was really the author of that which 'you assured me he was not.
I intend for England this spring, where I have some affairs to adjust; but the post hurries me. For 'this month past I have been unwell, but am getting 'better, and thinking of moving homewards towards
May, without going to Rome, as the unhealthy " season comes on soon, and I can return when I have 'settled the business I go upon, which need not be 'long. I should have thought the Assyrian tale very 'succeedable.
' I saw, in Mr. W. W.'s poetry, that he had written 'my epitaph; I would rather have written his.
The thing I have sent you, you will see at a glimpse, could never be attempted or thought of for the stage; I much doubt it for publication even. It is too much in my old style; but I composed it ' actually with a horror of the stage, and with a view to render the thought of it impracticable, knowing 'the zeal of my friends that I should try that for which I have an invincible repugnance, viz. a representa
'I certainly am a devil of a mannerist, and must 'leave off; but what could I do? Without exertion ' of some kind, I should have sunk under my imagina'tion and reality. My best respects to Mr. Gifford, 'to Walter Scott, and to all friends.
TO MR. MOORE.
'Venice, March 10th, 1817.
'I wrote again to you lately, but I hope you 'won't be sorry to have another epistle. I have been 'unwell this last month, with a kind of slow and low 'fever, which fixes upon me at night, and goes off in
the morning; but, however, I am now better. In 'spring it is probable we may meet; at least I intend 'for England, where I have business, and hope to 'meet you in your restored health and additional
Murray has sent me the Quarterly and the Edinburgh. When I tell you that Walter Scott is the author of the article in the former, you will agree with me that such an article is still more honourable to him than to myself. I am perfectly pleased with
'Jeffrey's also, which I wish you to tell him, with my ' remembrances-not that I suppose it is of any consequence to him, or ever could have been, whether I am pleased or not, but simply in my private relation to him, as his well-wisher, and it may be one day as 'his acquaintance. I wish you would also add, what you know, that I was not, and, indeed, am not even now, the misanthropical and gloomy gentleman he 'takes me for, but a facetious companion, well to do 'with those with whom I am intimate, and as loqua'cious and laughing as if I were a much cleverer 'fellow.
C I suppose now I shall never be able to shake off
my sables in public imagination, more particularly since my moral** clove down my fame. However, ' nor that, nor more than that, has yet extinguished my spirit, which always rises with the rebound.
'At Venice we are in Lent, and I have not lately 'moved out of doors, my feverishness requiring quiet,
and-by way of being more quiet-here is the 'Signora Marianna just come in and seated at my 'elbow.
Have you seen ***'s book of poesy? and, if you 'have seen it, are you not delighted with it? And have 'you-I really cannot go on: There is a pair of great 'black eyes looking over my shoulder, like the angel leaning over St. Matthew's, in the old frontispieces 'to the Evangelists, so that I must turn and answer 'them instead of you. Ever, &c.'
• Venice, March 25th, 1817.
I have at last learned, in default of your own 'writing (or not writing-which should it be? for I
' am not very clear as to the application of the word default) from Murray, two particulars of (or belonging to) you; one, that you are removing to Hornsey, 'which is, I presume, to be nearer London; and the 'other, that your Poem is announced by the name of 'Lalla Rookh. I am glad of it,—first, that we are to ' have it at last, and next, I like a tough title myselfwitness the Giaour and Childe Harold, which choked 'half the Blues at starting. Besides, it is the tail ' of Alcibiades's dog,-not that I suppose you want ' either dog or tail. Talking of tail, I wish you had not 'called it a " Persian Tale*." Say a " Poem " or "Romance," but not "Tale." I am very sorry that 'I called some of my own things "Tales," because I 'think that they are something better. Besides, we ' have had Arabian, and Hindoo, and Turkish, and Assyrian Tales. But, after all, this is frivolous in me; you won't, however, mind my nonsense. 'Really and truly, I want you to make a great hit, if only out of self-love, because we happen to be old 'cronies; and I have no doubt you will-I am sure
you can. But you are, I'll be sworn, in a devil of a 'pucker; and I am not at your elbow, and Rogers is. 'I envy him; which is not fair, because he does not envy anybody. Mind you send to me-that is, make 'Murray send-the moment you are forth.
I have been very ill with a slow fever, which at 'last took to flying, and became as quick as need
He had been misinformed on this point,-the work in question having been, from the first, entitled an Oriental Romance.' A much worse mistake (because wilful, and with no very charitable design) was that of certain persons, who would have it that the Poem was meant to be Epic!-Even Mr. D'Israeli has, for the sake of a theory, given in to this very gratuitous assumption:- The Anacreontic poet (he says). ⚫ remains only Anacreontic in his Epic.'