LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Lord Byron to Francis Hodgson, 13 September 1811

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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Produced by CATH
Newstead Abbey: September 13, 1811.

My dear Hodgson,—I thank you for your song, or, rather, your two songs—your new song on love, and your old song on religion. I admire the first sincerely, and in turn call upon you to admire the following on Anacreon Moore’s new operatic farce,1 or farcical opera—call it which you will:—
Good plays are scarce,
So Moore writes farce;
Is fame like his so brittle?
We knew before
That ‘Little’s’ Moore,
But now ’tis Moore that’s Little.
I won’t dispute with you on the arcana of your new calling; they are bagatelles, like the King of Poland’s rosary. One remark, and I have done: the basis of your religion is injustice; the Son of God, the pure, the immaculate, the innocent, is sacrificed for the guilty. This proves His heroism; but no more does away man’s guilt than a schoolboy’s volunteering to be flogged for another would exculpate the dunce from negligence, or preserve him from the rod. You degrade the Creator, in the first place, by making Him a begetter of

1 The M.P.; or, The Blue Stocking, which, after having been acted for a few nights, disappeared finally from the stage.

children; and in the next you convert Him into a tyrant over an immaculate and injured Being, who is sent into existence to suffer death for the benefit of some millions of scoundrels, who, after all, seem as likely to be damned as ever. As to miracles, I agree with Hume that it is more probable men should lie or be deceived, than that things out of the course of nature should so happen.
Mahomet wrought miracles, Brothers the prophet had proselytes, and so would Breslau, the conjurer, had he lived in the time of Tiberius.

Besides, I trust that God is not a Jew, but the God of all mankind; and, as you allow that a virtuous Gentile may be saved, you do away the necessity of being a Jew or a Christian.

I do not believe in any revealed religion, because no religion is revealed; and if it pleases the Church to damn me for not allowing a non-entity, I throw myself on the mercy of the ‘Great First Cause, least understood,’ who must do what is most proper; though I conceive He never made anything to be tortured in another life, whatever it may in this. I will neither read pro nor con. God would have made His will known without books, considering how very few could read them when Jesus of Nazareth lived, had it been His pleasure to
ratify any peculiar mode of worship. As to your immortality, if people are to live, why die? And our carcases, which are to rise again, are they worth raising? I hope, if mine is, that I shall have a better pair of legs than I have moved on these two-and-twenty years, or I shall be sadly behind in the squeeze into Paradise. Did you ever read ‘
Malthus on Population?’ If he be right, war and pestilence are our best friends, to save us from being eaten alive, in this ‘best of all possible worlds.’

I will write, read, and think no more; indeed, I do not wish to shock your prejudices by saying all I do think. Let us make the most of life, and leave dreams to Emanuel Swedenborg.

Now to dreams of another genus—poesies. I like your song much; but I will say no more, for fear you should think I wanted to coax you into approbation of my past, present, or future acrostics. I shall not be at Cambridge before the middle of October; but, when I go, I should certes like to see you there before you are dubbed a deacon. Write to me, and I will rejoin.

Yours ever,