LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 6 November 1816

Chapter I: 1813
Chapter II: 1814
Chapter III: 1815
Chapter IV: 1816
Chapter V: 1817
Chapter VI: 1818
Chapter VII: 1819
Chapter VIII: 1820
Chapter IX: 1821
Chapter X: 1822
Chapter XI: 1824-33
Chapter XII: 1833-35
Chapter XIII: 1806-40
Chapter XIV: Appendix
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Produced by CATH
Nov. 6, 1816.

I have seen an interesting letter from Lord Byron, strongly marked with his peculiar tastes and feelings. He writes from Milan, and speaks with great rapture of the Simplon, where he says that God and man have done wonders, to say nothing of the Devil, who assuredly must have had a hand (or hoof) in some of the rocks and precipices. He talks with great respect of the banditti, whom, unfortunately, he did not see. They traverse the country in great bands, thirty at a
Lord Byron
time, and remind him of “poor dear Turkey.” Lately they attacked a caravan of five carriages with the intention of plundering
Mr. Hope, who fortunately escaped; but they ransacked the two last carriages and lodged several slugs in the body of Mr. Hope’s courier. Lord Byron seems much pleased with Italy and the Italians, and with the unfinished triumphal arch of Napoleon at Milan, which, he says, is worthy of other times. In the Ambrosian Library, a vast collection abounding with interesting things, he is struck with nothing so much as an amorous correspondence between Cardinal Bembo and the famous Lucretia Borgia, the daughter and mistress (as it was believed) of Pope Alexander VI. He is also much pleased with a lock of Lucretia’s hair, a small portion of which he hopes, by favour of the librarian, to obtain, together with complete copies of the letters.

Mr. Waters, of the Opera, has engaged Crevelli, I believe, and Madame Bigottini, the handsome dancer.

I find that Rousseau was a great admirer of the “Orphée” of Gluck and never missed seeing it.

I go on Friday to Malthus’s, and shall take with me, by great favour, the third canto of “Childe Harold.” Friday I am going to the Abercrombys’, and to-morrow to Holland House.