LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
Lord Byron, Ladies, and Asmodeus.
Literary Chronicle  No. 288  (20 November 1824)  744-45.
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And Weekly Review;
Forming an Analysis and General Repository of Literature, Philosophy, Science, Arts, History, Biography, Antiquities, Morals, Manners, the Drama, and Amusements.

No. 288. LONDON, SATURDAY,  NOVEMBER  20,  1824. Price 6d.


To the Editor of the Literary Chronicle.

Medwin, Conversations of Lord Byron
J. Oldworth, in Literary Chronicle

Mr. Editor,—As it is the fashion, at present, to be very much interested about everything that concerns Lord Byron, allow me to quarrel a little with you for your very high encomiums on Lord B.’s portrait, in your Chronicle a week or two ago. I am willing to join in all that you may admire about his lordship, with respect to his boundless and surprising genius; but I think your praise is too unqualified. I find many faults in him;—in short, how can a genuine and spirited old maid (I suppose I must call myself so, as I am turned of five-and-twenty), who has always found great amusement and edification in literary pursuits,—how can she, I say, join heartily in the admiration of a man who has, on so many occasions, expressed a contemptible opinion of women? ‘Give a woman,’ says Lord B., ‘a looking-glass and a few sugar-plums, and she will be satisfied.’ This is really too bad, and, if ever I should fortunately get married, you shall see, Mr. Editor, or rather my husband shall see, if I am so easily satisfied. I’ll have the looking-glass and the sugar-plums, to be sure, as matters of the first importance; but, besides every thing else that I choose to wish for, I’ll have a library of my own selecting, into which, notwithstanding Lord Byron’s sneers, I will admit some of his poems, and, as I am very fond of studying history, I will have all the Scotch novels, and all the English ones that are historical, for I think it is a great deal pleasanter to study history under such enticing forms, than in the dry musty old volumes of the historians themselves; and as to correctness, &c. &c., that is no great matter, as you know there are always two ways of telling the same story. But this is nothing to the purpose.—You say the artist may be forgiven for making Lord B. ‘too young, too handsome, and too like an angel.’ For shame, Mr. Editor—how can you be so ungallant? Do you not know that the term angel is, by courtesy, exclusively our’s? Who ever heard of a man looking like an angel? Earthly angels, you know I mean, Mr. Editor; as to ‘right earnest’ angels, nobody, I suppose, considers Lord B. as much resembling them. ‘High intellect, profound thought, and deep-felt tenderness, may be read in every line.’ High intellect and profound thought I have nothing to do with—how should I? They would make an odd sort of union with looking-glasses and sugar-plums—he might possess them for aught I know—but where could his deep-felt tenderness be, when his opinion of females, the chief objects, one should suppose, of a man’s tenderness, was so degrading and contemptible? I could say a great deal more on the subject, if I had time, but I must hasten to my ‘looking-glass,’ and shall not satisfy your curiosity as to whether I am going to Valmondi, Der Freishütz, or Mathews at Home. You would not believe me, I suppose, if I were to tell you I was preparing more intellectual amusement. I hope, Mr. Editor, you will for the future be more moderate in your praise of that ‘dark and dangerous man,’ as you value the favour of Grizzledina.

P.S.—Tell Asmodeus that he is wrong in his explanation of spinster. It does not mean an old maid, but an unmarried woman, whether young or old; and I rather suspect your friend, Asmodeus, only twisted its real meaning to have a joke at our sisterhood. Too bad—and you too, Mr. Editor, I am sorry to say, are as bad as he, to let it pass.