LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of Francis Hodgson
John Lonsdale to Francis Hodgson, [1812]

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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Dear Hodgson,—I must allow the justice of the complaints of your third letter against me for not having sooner thanked you for the pleasure which I received from your two first, poetical as they were; and for so long omitting to acknowledge the receipt of the enclosed unpoetical scraps of paper, which by reunion to one another have been sometime restored to that consequence in the world of which their separation deprived them. But I hope that you will not suffer your anger to proceed so far against me as to forbid your muse to address any more of her effusions to me: still less am I disposed to think that, when you say that you ‘must not sing again at all,’ your declaration is any other than merely poetical.

Oh, never check thy flowing strain,
Nor say, ‘I must not sing again.’
Whate’er the tenour of thy lay,
Serenely sad, or wildly gay;
Whether ’tis Love that wakes to fire
The slumb’ring raptures of thy lyre;
Or Reason bids the moral song
In sober cadence roll along;
Believe me, still to Friendship’s ear
Thy strain is sweet, thy muse is dear.
Oh! better far one verse of thine,
One artless bold, impassion’d line,
Than all the frigid rant, that e’er
Fitzgerald bawls or Tories hear,
What time to Bigotry’s blest pow’r
They dedicate the festal hour
And raise their heads in triumph high
O’er baffled Liberality;
Who weeps the while at Fox’s tomb,
And thinks on happier days to come.

You see how I, albeit unused to the rhyming mood, have been infected by the contagion of your example. But ‘ohe jam satis est’—‘neque enim concludere versum Dixeris esse satis.’—You ask me what I am doing here. Truth compels me to answer next to nothing; for the fact is that I find that unless I am actually tied down to some employment it is impossible to prefer dry reading to social pleasure. When I return to town after the summer,
if I do return, I am determined to go immediately to a special pleader, by which I shall be put into a train of doing something, and fall into the habit of business, if anything can counteract the effects of the desultory manner in which everything is done at Eton and King’s. Since we parted I have been present at some Harrow speeches, which are far superior to those at Eton, even if the entertainment after them be not considered. I have also been spending a day or two with
B. Drury at Eton, who brought me back in his curricle by way of Richmond on Saturday. The day was fine, and consequently I cannot say how beautiful I thought that place. Eton looks all lovely, always excepting Carter’s chamber, which is more beastly than ever.

Believe me, dear Hodgson, very sincerely yours,

Jno. Lonsdale.