LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Lord Byron to Francis Hodgson, 22 December 1820

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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Ravenna: 10bre 22, 1820.

My dear Hodgson,—My sister tells me that you desire to hear from me. I have not written to you since I left England, nearly five years ago. I have no excuse for this silence except laziness, which is none. Where I am my date will tell you; what I have been doing would but little interest you, as it regards another country and another people, and would be almost speaking another language, for my own is not quite so familiar to me as it used to be.

We have here the sepulchre of Dante and the forest of Dryden and Boccaccio, all in very poetical
preservation. I ride and write, and have here some Italian friends and connections of both sexes, horses and dogs, and the usual means and appliances of life, which passes chequered as usual (and with all) with good and evil. Few English pass by this place, and none remain, which renders it a much more eligible residence for a man who would rather see them in England than out of it; they are best at home; for out of it they but raise the prices of the necessaries and vices of other countries, and carry little back to their own, except such things as you have lately seen and heard of in the
Queen’s trial.

Your friend Denman is making a figure. I am glad of it; he had all the auguries of a superior man about him before I left the country. Hobhouse is a Radical, and is doing great things in that somewhat violent line of politics. His intellect will bear him out; but, though I do not disapprove of his cause, I by no means envy him his company. Our friend Scrope is dished, diddled, and done up; what he is our mutual friends have written to me somewhat more coldly than I think our former connections with him warrant: but where he is I know not, for neither they nor he have informed me. Remember me to Harry
Drury. He wrote to me a year ago to subscribe to the Harrow New School erection; but my name has not now value enough to be placed among my old schoolfellows, and as to the trifle which can come from a solitary subscriber, that is not worth mentioning. Some zealous politicians wrote to me to come over to the Queen’s trial; it was a business with which I should have been sorry to have had anything to do; in which they who voted her guilty cut but a dirty figure. . . . Such a coroner’s inquest upon criminal conversation has nothing very alluring in it, and I was obliged to her for personal civilities (when in England), and would therefore rather avoid sitting in judgment upon her, either for guilt or innocence, as it is an ungracious office.

Murray sent me your ‘Friends,’ which I thought very good and classical. The scoundrels of scribblers are trying to run down Pope, but I hope in vain. It is my intention to take up the cudgels in that controversy, and to do my best to keep the Swan of Thames in his true place. This comes of Southey and Wordsworth and such renegado rascals with their systems. I hope you will not be silent; it is the common concern of all men of common sense, imagination, and a musical ear.
I have already written somewhat thereto and shall do more, and will not strike soft blows in a battle. You will have seen that the ‘
Quarterly’ has had the sense and spirit to support Pope in an article upon Bowles; it is a good beginning. I do not know the author of that article, but I suspect Israeli, 1 an indefatigable and an able writer. What are you about—poetry? I direct to Bakewell, but I do not know for certain. To save you a double letter, I close this with the present sheet.

Yours ever,