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1813-14, when the roads were impracticable), we 'should have been within hail, and I should like to 'have made a giro of the Peak with you. I know that country well, having been all over it when a boy. 'Was you ever in Dovedale? I can assure you there are things in Derbyshire as noble as Greece or 'Switzerland. But you had always a lingering after London, and I don't wonder at it. I liked it as well ' as anybody, myself, now and then.
'Will you remember me to Rogers? whom I presume to be flourishing, and whom I regard as our 'poetical papa. You are his lawful son, and I the 'illegitimate. Has he begun yet upon Sheridan? If you see our republican friend, Leigh Hunt, pray present my remembrances. I saw about nine months ago that he was in a row (like my friend Hobhouse) 'with the Quarterly Reviewers. For my part, I never 'could understand these quarrels of authors with critics and with one another. "For God's sake, gentlemen, what do they mean?"
'What think you of your countryman, Maturin? I 'take some credit to myself for having done my best to bring out Bertram; but I must say my colleagues 'were quite as ready and willing. Walter Scott, ' however, was the first who mentioned him, which he 'did to me, with great commendation, in 1815; and
it is to this casualty, and two or three other acci'dents, that this very clever fellow owed his first and 'well-merited public success. What a chance is
'Did I tell you that I have translated two Epis'tles?-a correspondence between St. Paul and the 'Corinthians, not to be found in our version, but 'the Armenian-but which seems to me very ortho
'dox, and I have done it into scriptural prose
TO MR. MURRAY.
'Venice, April 2d, 1817.
" I sent you the whole of the Drama at three several
times, act by act, in separate covers.. act, in separate covers.. I hope that 'you have, or will receive, some or the whole of it.
'So Love has a conscience. By Diana! I shall 'make him take back the box, though it were Pandora's. 'The discovery of its intrinsic silver occurred on sending it to have the lid adapted to admit Marianna's portrait. Of course I had the box remitted in statu quo, and had the picture set in another, which suits ' it (the picture) very well. The defaulting box is not touched, hardly, and was not in the man's hands ' above an hour.
'I am aware of what you say of Otway; and am a very great admirer of his,-all except of that maudlin 'b-h of chaste lewdness and blubbering curiosity, 'Belvidera, whom I utterly despise, abhor, and detest.
*The only plausible claim of these Epistles to authenticity arises from the circumstance of St. Paul having (according to the opinion of Mosheim and others) written an Epistle to the Corinthians, before that which we now call his first. They are, however, universally given up as spurious. Though frequently referred to as existing in the Armenian, by Primate Usher, Johan. Gregorius, and other learned men, they were for the first time, I believe, translated from that language by the two Whistons, who subjoined the correspondence, with a Greek and Latin version, to their edition of the Armenian History of Moses of Chorene, published in 1736.
The translation by Lord Byron is, as far as I can learn, the first that has ever been attempted in English; and as, proceeding from his pen, it must possess, of course, additional interest, the reader will not be displeased to find it in the Appendix. Annexed to the copy in my possession are the following words, in his own handwriting:- Done into English by me, January, February, 1817, at the Convent of San Lazaro, with the aid and exposition of the Armenian text by the Father Paschal Aucher, Armenian friar.-BYRON. I had also (he adds) the Latin text, but it is in many places very corrupt, and with great omissions.'
But the story of Marino Faliero is different, and, I 'think, so much finer, that I wish Otway had taken it ' instead: the head conspiring against the body for ' refusal of redress for a real injury,-jealousy,-treason, with the more fixed and inveterate passions (mixed with policy) of an old or elderly man-the I devil himself could not have a finer subject, and he your only tragic dramatist.
'There is still, in the Doge's palace, the black veil painted over Faliero's picture, and the staircase 'whereon he was first crowned Doge, and subsequently decapitated. This was the thing that most struck my imagination in Venice-more than the Rialto, which I visited for the sake of Shylock; and more, too, than Schiller's "Armenian," a novel which 'took a great hold of me when a boy. It is also 'called the "Ghost Seer," and I never walked down 'St. Mark's by moonlight without thinking of it, and ""at nine o'clock he died!"-But I hate things all fiction; and therefore the Merchant and Othello have no great associations to me: but Pierre has. There 'should always be some foundation of fact for the most airy fabric, and pure invention is but the talent of a ' liar.
'Maturin's tragedy.-By your account of him last year to me, he seemed a bit of a coxcomb, personally. Poor fellow! to be sure, he had had a long seasoning ' of adversity, which is not so hard to bear as t'other thing. I hope that this won't throw him back into "the" slough of Despond."
"You talk of "marriage;"-ever since my own 'funeral, the word makes me giddy, and throws me ' into a cold sweat. Pray, don't repeat it.
You should close with Madame de Staël. This
'will be her best work, and permanently historical; it
is on her father, the Revolution, and Buonaparte, &c. 'Bonstetten told me in Switzerland it was very great. 'I have not seen it myself, but the author often. She ' was very kind to me at Copet.
'There have been two articles in the Venice papers, 'one a Review of Glenarvon ****, and the other a 'Review of Childe Harold, in which it proclaims me 'the most rebellious and contumacious admirer of Buonaparte now surviving in Europe. Both these 'articles are translations from the Literary Gazette of 'German Jena.
Tell me that Walter Scott is better. I would not have him ill for the world. I suppose it was by sympathy that I had my fever at the same time.
'I joy in the success of your Quarterly, but I must still stick by the Edinburgh; Jeffrey has done so by me, I must say, through everything, and this is 'more than I deserved from him. I have more than once acknowledged to you by letter the " Article" '(and articles); say that you have received the said C letters, as I do not otherwise know what letters arrive. Both Reviews came, but nothing more. M.'s play
' and the extract not yet come.
Write to say whether my Magician has arrived, ' with all his scenes, spells, &c. Yours ever, &c.
It is useless to send to the Foreign-office: nothing 'arrives to me by that conveyance. I suppose some ' zealous clerk thinks it a Tory duty to prevent it.'
'Venice, April 4th, 1817.
It is a considerable time since I wrote to you 'last, and I hardly know why I should trouble you now,
except that I think you will not be sorry to hear from me now and then. You and I were never correspon'dents, but always something better, which is, very good friends.
'I saw your friend Sharp in Switzerland, or rather ' in the German territory (which is and is not Switzerland), and he gave Hobhouse and me a very good route for the Bernese Alps; however, we took an'other from a German, and went by Clarens, the Dent 'de Jaman to Montbovon, and through Simmenthal to Thoun, and so on to Lauterbrounn; except that from 'thence to the Grindelwald, instead of round about, we 'went right over the Wengen Alps' very summit, and 'being close under the Jungfrau, saw it, its glaciers, and heard the avalanches in all their glory, having 'famous weather therefor. We of course went from 'the Grindelwald over the Sheidech to Brientz and its lake; past the Reichenbach and all that moun'tain road, which reminded me of Albania and Ætolia ' and Greece, except that the people here were more 'civilized and rascally. I do not think so very much ' of Chamouni (except the source of the Arveron, to 'which we went up to the teeth of the ice, so as to 'look into and touch the cavity, against the warning of 'the guides, only one of whom would go with us so close) as of the Jungfrau, and the Pissevache, and Simplon, which are quite out of all mortal competi'tion.
'I was at Milan about a moon, and saw Monti and some other living curiosities, and thence on to Verona, 'where I did not forget your story of the assassination during your sojourn there, and brought away with
me some fragments of Juliet's tomb, and a lively re'collection of the amphitheatre. The Countess Goetz