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"6 'BN."

February 16. 1814.

“You may be assured that the only prickles that sting from the Royal hedgehog are those which possess a torpedo property, and may benumb some of my friends. I am quite silent, and hush'd in grim repose.' The frequency of the assaults has weakened their effects, if ever they had any ; — and, if they had had much, I should hardly have held my tongue, or withheld my fingers. It is something quite new to attack a man for abandoning his resentments. I have heard that previous praise and subsequent vituperation were rather ungrateful, but I did not know that it was wrong to endeavour to do justice to those who did not wait till I had made some amends for former and boyish prejudices, but received me into their

1 I had endeavoured to persuade him to take a part in parliamentary affairs, and to exercise his talent for oratory more frequently.

friendship, when I might still have been their


"You perceive justly that I must intentionally have made my fortune like Sir Francis Wronghead. It were better if there were more merit in my independence, but it really is something nowadays to be independent at all, and the less temptation to be otherwise, the more uncommon the case, in these times of paradoxical servility. I believe that most of our hates and likings have been hitherto nearly the same; but from henceforth they must, of necessity, be one and indivisible, – and now for it! I am for any weapon, the pen, till one can find something sharper, will do for a beginning.

"You can have no conception of the ludicrous solemnity with which these two stanzas have been treated. The Morning Post gave notice of an intended motion in the House of my brethren on the subject, and God he knows what proceedings besides; —and all this, as Bedreddin in the 'Nights says, 'for making a cream tart without pepper.' This last piece of intelligence is, I presume, too laughable to be true; and the destruction of the Custom-house appears have, in some degree, interfered with mine; added to which, the last battle of Buonaparte has usurped the column hitherto de voted to my bulletin.

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"I send you from this day's Morning Post the best which have hitherto appeared on this impudent doggerel,' as the Courier calls it. There was another about my diet, when a boy -not at all bad - some time ago; but the rest are but indifferent.


I shall think about your oratorical hint 1 ; - but I have never set much upon 'that cast,' and am grown as tired as Solomon of every thing, and of myself more than any thing. This is being what the learned call philosophical, and the vulgar lack-a-daisical. I am, however, always glad of a blessing?; at least your pray, repeat yours soon, letter, and I shall think the benediction in"Ever, &c."


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"February 17. 1814.

"The Courier of this evening accuses me of having 'received and pocketed' large sums for my works. I have never yet received, nor wish to receive, a farthing for any. Mr. Murray offered a thousand for The Giaour and Bride of Abydos, which I said was too

"God bless 2 In concluding my letter, having said you!" I added" that is, if you have no objection."

Ær. 26.


much, and that if he could afford it at the end of six months, I would then direct how it might be disposed of; but neither then, nor at any other period, have I ever availed myself of the profits on my own account. For the republication of the Satire I refused four hundred guineas; and for the previous editions I never asked nor received a sous, nor for any writing whatever. I do not wish you to do any thing disagreeable to yourself; there never was nor shall be any conditions nor stipulations with regard to any accommodation that I could afford you; and, on your part, I can see nothing derogatory in receiving the copyright. It was only assistance afforded to a worthy man, by one not quite so worthy.

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Sir, "I have seen the paragraph in an evening paper, in which Lord Byron is accused of receiving and pocketing' large sums for his works. I believe no one who knows him has the slightest suspicion of this kind; but the assertion being public, I think it a justice I owe to Lord Byron to contradict it publicly. I address this letter to you for that purpose, and I am happy that it gives me an opportunity at this moment to make some observations which I have for several days been anxious to do publicly, but from which I have been restrained by an apprehension that I should be suspected of being prompted by his Lordship.

"I take upon me to affirm, that Lord Byron never received a shilling for any of his works. To my certain knowledge, the profits of the Satire were left entirely to the publisher of it. The gift of the copyright of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage I have already publicly acknowledged in the dedication of

1 The statement of the Courier, &c.


the new edition of my novels; and I now add my acknowledgment for that of The Corsair, not only for the profitable part of it, but for the delicate and delightful manner of bestowing it while yet unpublished. With respect to his two other poems, The Giaour and The Bride of Abydos, Mr. Murray, the publisher of them, can truly attest that no part of the sale of them has ever touched his hands, or been disposed of for his use. Having said thus much as to facts, I cannot but express my surprise that it should ever be deemed a matter of reproach that he should appropriate the pecuniary returns of his works. Neither rank nor fortune seems to me to place any man above this; for what difference does it make in honour and noble feelings, whether a copyright be bestowed, or its value employed, in beneficent purposes? I differ with my Lord Byron on this subject as well as some others; and he has constantly, both by word and action, shown his aversion to receiving money for his productions."

⚫LETTER 168. TO MR. Moore.

"February 26. 1814. "Dallas had, perhaps, have better kept silence ;- but that was his concern, and, as his facts are correct, and his motive not dishonourable to himself, I wished him well through it. As for his interpretations of the lines, he and any one else may interpret them as they please. I have and shall adhere to my taciturnity, unless something very particular occurs to render this impossible. Do not you say a word. If any one is to speak, it is the person principally concerned. The most amusing thing is, that every one (to me) attributes the abuse to the man they personally most dislike!· some say C**r [Croker], some C **e [Coleridge], others F**d [Fitzgerald], &c. &c. &c. know, and have no clue but conjecture. L discovered, and he turns out a hireling, he must be left to his wages; if a cavalier, he must wink, and hold out his iron.'

do not

"I had some thoughts of putting the question to C * *r [Croker], but Hobhouse, who, I am sure, would not dissuade me if it were right, advised me by all means not ; —


that I had no right to take it upon suspicion,' &c. &c. Whether H. is correct I am not aware, but he believes himself so, says there can be but one opinion on that subject. This I am, at least, sure of, that he would never prevent me from doing what he deemed the duty of a preux chevalier. In such cases at least, in this country -we must act according to usages. In considering

this instance, I dismiss my own personal feelings. Any man will and must fight, when necessary, even without a motive. Here, I should take it up really without much resentment; for, unless a woman one likes is in the way, it is some years since I felt a long anger. But, undoubtedly, could I, or may I, trace it to a man of station, I should and shall do what is proper.

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"** was angerly, but tried to conceal it. You are not called upon to avow the Twopenny,' and would only gratify them by so doing. Do you not see the great object of all these fooleries is to set him, and you, and me, and all persons whatsoever, by the ears? -more especially those who are on good terms, and nearly succeeded. Lord H. wished me to concede to Lord Carlisle

concede to the devil; ;-to a man who used

me ill? I told him, in answer, that I would neither concede nor recede on the subject, but be silent altogether; unless any thing more could be said about Lady H. and himself, who had been since my very good friends; and there it ended. This was no time for concessions to Lord C.

"I have been interrupted, but shall write again soon. Believe me ever, my dear Moore, &c."

Another of his friends having expressed, soon after, some intention of volunteering publicly in his defence, he lost no time in repressing him by the following sensible let


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“I have but a few moments to write to you. Silence is the only answer to the things you mention; nor should I regard that man as my friend who said a word more on the subject. I care little for attacks, but I will not submit to defences; and I do hope and trust that you have never entertained a serious thought of engaging in so foolish a controversy. Dallas's letter was, to his credit, merely as to facts which he had a right to state; I neither have nor shall take the least public notice, nor permit any one else to do

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world. I do not know any thing that would vex me more than any further reply to these things. "Ever yours, in haste,


"My dear Friend,

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"March 3. 1814.

I am uncomfortable,' if only to make you I have a great mind to tell you that come to town; where no one ever more de

lighted in seeing you, nor is there any one

to whom I would sooner turn for consolation is, I have 'no lack of argument' to ponder in my most vapourish moments. The truth upon of the most gloomy description, but this arises from other causes. Some day or other, when we are veterans, I may tell you a tale of present and past times; and it is not from want of confidence that I do not now,-but-but- always a but to the end of the chapter.

"There is nothing, however, upon the spot either to love or hate ;-but I certainly have and am besides embarrassed between three subjects for both at no very great distance, whom I know, and one (whose name, at least) I do not know. All this would be I have found that there is such a thing still very well if I had no heart; but, unluckily, about me, though in no very good repair, and, also, that it has a habit of attaching itself to one whether I will or no.


et impera,' I begin to think, will only do for politics.

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"If I discover the toad,' as you call him, I shall ‘tread,' — and put spikes in my shoes to do it more effectually. The effect of all these fine things I do not inquire much nor perceive. I believe ✶ ✶ felt them more than either of us. People are civil enough, and I have had no dearth of invitations, — none of which, however, I have accepted. I went out very little last year, and mean to go about still less. I have no passion for circles, and have long regretted that I ever gave way to what is called a town life; which, of all the lives I ever saw (and they are nearly as many as Plutarch's), seems to me to leave the least for the past and future.

"How proceeds the poem? Do not ne glect it, and I have no fears. I need not say to you that your fame is dear to me,-I really might say dearer than my own; for I have lately begun to think my things have been strangely over-rated; and, at any rate, whether or not, I have done with them for


I may say to you what I would not say to every body, that the last two were written, The Bride in four, and The Corsair

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in ten days', which I take to be a most humiliating confession, as it proves my own want of judgment in publishing, and the public's in reading things, which cannot have stamina for permanent attention. So much for Buckingham.'

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I have no dread of your being too hasty, and I have still less of your failing. But I think a year a very fair allotment of time to a composition which is not to be Epic; and even Horace's 'Nonum prematur' must have been intended for the Millennium, or some longer-lived generation than ours. I wonder how much we should have had of him, had he observed his own doctrines to the letter. Peace be with you! Remember that I am always and most truly yours, &c.

"P. S.-I never heard the 'report' you mention, nor, I dare say, many others. But, in course, you, as well as others, have 'damned good-natured friends,' who do their duty in the usual way. One thing will make you laugh. *



"March 12. 1814.

"Guess darkly, and you will seldom err. At present, I shall say no more, and, perhaps but no matter. I hope we shall some day meet, and whatever years may precede or succeed it, I shall mark it with the white stone' in my calendar. I am not sure that I shall not soon be in your neighbourhood again. If so, and I am alone (as will probably be the case), I shall invade and carry you off, and endeavour to atone for sorry fare by a sincere welcome. I don't know the person absent (barring 'the sect') I should be so glad to see again.

"I have nothing of the sort you mention but the lines (the Weepers), if you like to have them in the Bag. I wish to give them all possible circulation. The Vault reflection is downright actionable, and to print it would be peril to the publisher; but I think the Tears have a natural right to be bagged, and the editor (whoever he may be) might

1 In asserting that he devoted but four days to the composition of The Bride, he must be understood to refer only to the first sketch of that poem, the successive additions by which it was increased to its present length having occupied, as we have seen, a much longer period. The Corsair, on the contrary, was, from beginning to end, struck off at a heat- there being but little alteration or addition afterwards, and the rapidity with which it was produced (being at the rate of nearly two hundred lines a day) would be altogether incredible, had we not his own, as well as his publisher's, testimony to the fact. Such an achievement, - taking into account

supply a facetious note pleased.


or not, as he

"I cannot conceive how the Vault has got about, - but so it is. It is too farouche; but, truth to say, my satires are not very playful. I have the plan of an epistle in my head, at him and to him; and, if they are not a little quieter, I shall embody it. I should say little or nothing of myself. As to mirth and ridicule, that is out of my way; but I have a tolerable fund of sternness and contempt, and, with Juvenal before me, I shall perhaps read him a lecture he has not lately heard in the Cabinet. From particular circumstances, which came to my knowledge almost by accident, I could tell him what he is — I know him well.'


I meant, my dear M., to write to you a long letter, but I am hurried, and time clips my inclination down to yours, &c.

“P.S.—Think again before you shelf your poem. There is a youngster, (older than me, by the by, but a younger poet,) Mr. G. Knight, with a volume of Eastern Tales, written since his return, for he has been in the countries. He sent to me last summer, and I advised him to write one in each measure, without any intention, at that time, of doing the same thing. Since that, from a habit of writing in a fever, I have anticipated him in the variety of measures, but quite unintentionally. Of the stories, I know nothing, not having seen them 3; but he has some lady in a sack, too, like The Giaour: - he told me at the time.

"The best way to make the public 'forget' me is to remind them of yourself. You cannot suppose that I would ask you or advise you to publish, if I thought you would fail. I really have no literary envy; and I do not believe a friend's success ever sat nearer another than yours does to my best wishes. It is for elderly gentlemen to ‘bear no brother near,' and cannot become our disease for more years than we may perhaps number. I wish you to be out before Eastern subjects are again before public."


the surpassing beauty of the work, is, perhaps, wholly without a parallel in the history of Genius, and shows that' écrire par passion,' as Rousseau expresses it, may be sometimes a shorter road to perfection than any that Art has ever struck out.

2 Those bitter and powerful lines which he wrote on the opening of the vault that contained the remains of Henry VIII. and Charles I. [See Works, p. 558.]

3 He was not yet aware, it appears, that the anonymous manuscript sent to him by his publisher was from the pen of Mr. Knight.


"March 12. 1814. "I have not time to read the whole MS., but what I have seen seems very well written (both prose and verse), and, though I am and can be no judge (at least a fair one on this subject), containing nothing which you ought to hesitate publishing upon my account. If the author is not Dr. Busby himself, I think it a pity, on his own account, that he should dedicate it to his subscribers; nor can I perceive what Dr. Busby has to do with the matter except as a translator of Lucretius, for whose doctrines he is surely not responsible. I tell you openly, and really most sincerely, that, if published at all, there is no earthly reason why you should not; on the contrary, I should receive it as the greatest compliment you could pay to your good opinion of my candour, to print and circulate that or any other work, attacking me in a manly manner, and without any malicious intention, from which, as far as I have seen, I must exonerate this writer.

"He is wrong in one thing I am no atheist; but if he thinks I have published principles tending to such opinions, he has a perfect right to controvert them. Pray publish it; I shall never forgive myself if I think that I have prevented you.

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Make my compliments to the author, and tell him I wish him success: his verse

is very deserving of it; and I shall be the last person to suspect his motives.


Yours, &c.

"P. S.-If f you do not publish it, some one else will. You cannot suppose me so narrow-minded as to shrink from discussion. I repeat once for all, that I think it a good poem (as far as I have redde); and that is the only point you should consider. How odd that eight lines should have given birth, I really think, to eight thousand, including all that has been said, and will be on the subject!"


convenient, and you have no party with you,) should be glad to speak with you, for a few minutes, this evening, as I have had a letter from Mr. Moore, and wish to ask you, as the best judge, of the best time for him to publish the work he has composed. I need not say, that I have his success much at heart; not only because he is my friend, but something much better- a man of great talent, of which he is less sensible than I believe any even of his enemies. If you can so far oblige me as to step down, do so; and if you are otherwise occupied, say nothing about it. I shall find you at home in the course of next week.

"P. S.-I see Sotheby's Tragedies advertised. The Death of Darnley is a famous subject one of the best, I should think, for the drama. Pray let me have a copy when ready.

“Mrs. Leigh was very much pleased with her books, and desired me to thank you ; she means, I believe, to write to you her acknowledgments."


"2. Albany, April 9. 1814.

"Viscount Althorp is about to be married, and I have gotten his spacious bachelor apartments in Albany, to which you will, I hope, address a speedy answer to this mine epistle.

"I am but just returned to town, from which you may infer that I have been out

of it; and I have been boxing, for exercise, with Jackson for this last month daily. I have also been drinking, and, on one occasion, with three other friends at the Cocoa Tree, from six till four, yea, unto five in the matin. We clareted and champagned till two then supped, and finished with a kind of regency punch composed of madeira, brandy, and green tea, no real water being admitted therein. There was a night for you! without once quitting the table, except to ambulate home, which I did alone, and in utter contempt of a hackney-coach and my own vis, both of which were deemed necessary for our conveyance. And so,—I am very well, and they say it will hurt my con

"April 9. 1814. "All these news are very fine; but never-stitution. theless I want my books, if you can find, or cause them to be found for me, if only to lend them to Napoleon, in "the Island of Elba," during his retirement. I also (if

1 The manuscript of a long grave satire, entitled "AntiByron," which had been sent to Mr. Murray, and by him forwarded to Lord Byron, with a request not meant, I believe, seriously-that he would give his opinion as to the propriety of publishing it.

"I have also, more or less, been breaking a few of the favourite commandments; but I mean to pull up and marry, if any one will have me. In the mean time, the other

2 [Viscount Althorp (now Earl Spencer) married, 14th April, 1814, Esther, only daughter and heir of Richard Acklom, Esq., of Wiseton Hall, Notts.]

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