LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoir of John Murray
Chapter XVI.

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
Chapter XIII.
Chapter XIV.
Chapter XV.
‣ Chapter XVI.
Chapter XVII.
Chapter XVIII.
Chapter XIX.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chap. XX.
Chap. XXI.
Chap. XXII.
Chap. XXIII.
Chap. XXIV.
Chap. XXV.
Chap. XXVI.
Chap. XXVII.
Chap. XXIX.
Chap. XXX.
Chap. XXXI.
Chap. XXXII.
Chap. XXXIV.
Chap. XXXV.
Chap. XXXVI.
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Lord Byron informed Mr. Murray, on the 12th of October, 1817, that he had written “a poem in or after the excellent manner of Mr. Whistlecraft (whom I take to be Frere);” and in a subsequent letter he said, “Mr. Whistlecraft has no greater admirer than myself. I have written a story in eighty-nine stanzas in imitation of him, called ‘Beppo,’ the short name for Giuseppe, that is the Joe, of the Italian Joseph.” Lord Byron required that it should be printed anonymously, and in any form that Mr. Murray pleased. The manuscript of the poem was not, however, sent off until the beginning of 1818; and it reached the publisher about a month later. When it was set up in type and published, Mr. Murray sent Lord Byron the following letter:—

John Murray to Lord Byron.
June 16th, 1818.
My Lord,

Having waited, from day to day, in the incessant expectation of the opportunity of sending my letters and various packages by Hanson’s clerk, I gathered from Mr. Hobhouse yesterday the continued uncertainty of his setting out, but I can therefore delay no longer to thank you, in the first instance, for your several kind as well as entertaining letters. Mr. Hobhouse told me yesterday that Hanson had not yet been paid any sums upon your account by your bankers; and I have therefore sent this morning to Messrs. Ransom, Morland, and Co. a thousand guineas,
desiring them to remit it to you by this evening’s post. With the remaining 1.500 guineas I shall be prepared against your order; indeed, if you drew upon me for this sum, at sixty days’ sight, it would settle this matter at once; but this as you may find most convenient. I received very safely, a few days ago, by the care of
Signor Gio. Bata. Missiaglia* (I was very much obliged indeed by the books and periodicals which you were so good as to send me), the curious collection of letters described in the above-mentioned letter belonging to the Dr. Aglietti, which I gave, in the first instance, to Mr. Gifford to read. He thinks them very interesting as autographs; but with the exception of those pointed out by you, there are few that would afford more than extracts, to be selected by a judicious editor. I think D’Israeli, from the nature of his studies, might be trusted with their selection; and I shall be able to send them to him to-morrow, and, by this day week, I will propose a sum for them to your friend the proprietor. Pope, whose unmanly persecution of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and of her friend Lord Hervey arose from disappointed love, is, you see, no less insidiously spoken of by Lord Hervey, whose letters are good but not of the first water. Lord Orford beats them all. Gray’s letter excellent; and Lady M. W. Montagu’s ideas equal to her literary character. I have been lately reading again her letters, particularly her latest ones in her old age to her daughter, which are as full of wisdom, almost proverbial, as of beauty. I should think you may stumble upon a letter full of anecdotes of hers, which I beg you to hoard up, as I am the proprietor of her Works, and would like to introduce a new edition with any variety of this kind.

Mr. Frere is at length satisfied that you are the author of ‘Beppo.’ He had no conception that you possessed the protean talent of Shakespeare, thus to assume at will so different a character. He, and every one, continues in the same very high opinion of its great beauties. I am glad to find that you are disposed to pursue this strain, which has occasioned so much delight. Do you never think of prose?

* The proprietor of the Apollo Library and the principal publisher and bookseller in Venice, to whom Lord Byron gave an introduction to Murray, April 12, 1818. See Moore’s Life.

—though, like
Lord Hervey, I suspect your thoughts fall so naturally into rhyme that you are obliged to think twice to put them in prose. Yet the specimen of prose, in the dedication to Hobhouse,* is so much admired and talked of, that I should much like to surprise the world with a more complete sample,—to be given at first anonymously. None of the dons in criticism have yet taken the field for Canto IV., but the next numbers of the Edinburgh and Quarterly will certainly contain papers upon it, which I shall put into a cover and send to you at once. The whole canto has been quoted ten times over, in the different scraps which diversity of taste has selected, in the monthly, weekly, and daily journals of the metropolis and country—so that some have selected each part as the best; and, in conclusion, the public will be as eager to receive anything from your pen as ever. I am now meditating, or rather have made preparation, to print a uniform edition of your poems in three octavo volumes. ‘Childe Harold,’ four cantos, with your own notes, will form the first volume; all the ‘Tales,’ including ‘Beppo,’ will constitute the second; and the ‘Miscellaneous Poems,’ ‘Manfred,’ &c., will fill the third. These I intend to print very handsomely, and to sell very cheap, so that every facility shall be given for their popularity. I propose to print at the same time the whole works in five small volumes; in which size, when I print the 3rd and 4th cantos and ‘Beppo,’ they will occupy seven, which is, perhaps, too many. Westall has nearly completed twenty-five beautiful designs to accompany these editions; and I trust that you will have no objection to my engraving again Phillips’s portrait, which every unbiassed person thinks by far the finest. I have just put forth two more cantos of Whistlecraft—which the knowing ones think excellent, and of which the public think nothing, for they cannot see the drift of it. I have not sold 500 copies of the first parts yet; and of ‘Beppo’ I have sold six times that quantity in a sixth part of the time, and before, indeed, it is generally known to be yours. I have heard no word more from Mr. Sotheby; and as to my having ventured upon any alteration or omission, I should as soon have scooped one of my eyes out. I am anxious to know if you are satisfied with

* Of the Fourth Canto of ‘Childe Harold.’

Mr. Hobhouse’s notes. The parts he thinks best of are those upon the Antiquities; but we feel very little interest for them, and much prefer the ‘
Essay on Italian Literature,’ which, if enlarged with your Lordship’s assistance and with the addition of translations, would become a popular work, as well as one much wanted. Hobhouse set out last night for Dorchester (worn absolutely to skin and bone in a vexatious and hopeless canvass of Westminster for Mr. Kinnaird), in the neighbourhood of which he has some prospect of parliamentary success. I am glad he avoided Westminster, for after swallowing Annual Parliaments and Universal Suffrage by Ballot, what scope can a man have left himself?

Your Lordship’s obliged Servant,
John Murray.*

Mr. Murray’s next letter to Lord Byron was:—

John Murray to Lord Byron.
July 7th, 1818.

I do assure you I have rarely greater pleasure than when I am addressing you, unless it be when I am honoured by the favour of a letter from you. Latterly, I conceived that Mr. Hobhouse had been so constantly in communication with you that my omissions would not have been heeded, but I implore forgiveness, and will be less remiss in future.

I assure you that the success of the fourth canto has been equal to either of the former volumes. It is more desultory, as Gifford said at first, but the parts taken separately are each and all considered equal, and in some instances surpassing, anything preceding them. No critique of note has yet appeared upon the poem, but if anything able on the subject appears I shall instantly send it to you.

You will have read with surprise and regret an account of the death of your friend Monk Lewis† on his return from a second voyage to the West Indies. He sent me his MS. notes upon the place to read, and very curious

* The answer to this letter, under date July 10, 1818, is printed in Moore’s Life.

Matthew Gregory Lewis, commonly called “Monk” Lewis, after the title of his first novel. He had just died at the age of forty-two.

indeed they were, and I hope they will not be lost.
Wilmot has positively succeeded at Newcastle-under-Lyne, and is returned M.P. Your cousin George has another daughter lately, and your friend Lady William Russell has just lost one. I fancy that the chief reason for your not hearing from either Hobhouse or Kinnaird is that for the last four months they have been completely absorbed in politics, though neither has got into Parliament. They appear to have cut the Whigs and plunged head-over-ears into Burdettism, Annual Parliaments, and Universal Suffrage by Ballot! Brougham has lost his election for Westmoreland.

May I hope that you will favour me with some work to open my campaign in November with! Have you not another lively tale like ‘Beppo’? or will you not give me some prose in three volumes?—all the adventures that you have undergone, seen, heard of, or imagined, with your reflections on life and manners. Do tell me that I may at any rate expect something by the end of September. There will be three more volumes of ‘Tales of my Landlord’ this month, which I will convey to you as speedily as possible, with Madame de Staël’s new work, ‘Sur la Révolution Française,’ which has fallen almost stillborn from the press. It is by no means good.

Lord Byron, in the midst of his Venetian and Ravenna life, seems to have forgotten his sister, Mrs. Leigh, who was much in want of ready cash about this time, and frequently applied to Mr. Murray, and from him obtained what she needed. In one of her letters she writes:—

Mrs. Leigh to John Murray.
July, 1818.

I return the Edinburgh Review, with a thousand thanks for your kindness in lending it to me. It will surely please him (Byron) whom it most concerns. I enclose a stupid letter from him, and I think you had better be silent on the subject of his silence to me. After all, regrets are

and in Byron’s ‘Detached Thoughts’ is an account of him concluding thus: “Poor fellow! he died—a martyr to his new riches—of a second visit to Jamaica.”

selfish, and that is a disposition I think we cannot too much check. If he is happy, why should I disturb him by my laments? He knows full well all I could say. I had not forgot my promise of the ‘
Hours of Idleness,’ but my books are not yet all come. I send you one which I should be delighted if you would accept . . . Scratch out the name on the title-page. When the others come you may, if you prefer it, make an exchange.

Mr. Murray writes again:—

John Murray to Lord Byron.
September 22nd, 1818.

I was much pleased to find, on my arrival from Edinburgh on Saturday night, your letter of the 26th of August. The former one of the 21st I received whilst in Scotland. The Saturday and Sunday previous I passed most delightfully with Walter Scott, who was incessant in his inquiries after your welfare. He entertains the noblest sentiments of regard towards you, and speaks of you with the best feelings. I walked about ten miles with him round a very beautiful estate, which he has purchased by degrees, within two miles of his favourite Melrose. He has nearly completed the centre and one wing of a castle on the banks of the Tweed, where he is the happiness as well as pride of the whole neighbourhood. He is one of the most hospitable, merry, and entertaining of mortals. He would, I am confident, do anything to serve you; and as the paper* which I now enclose is a second substantial proof of the interest he takes in your literary character, perhaps it may naturally enough afford occasion for a letter from you to him. I sent you by Mr. Hanson four volumes of a second series of ‘Tales of my Landlord,’ and four others are actually in the press. Scott does not yet avow them, but no one doubts his being their author. I should have much liked to see how you look in a full suit of prose; and the slight drapery which you have occasionally put on affords a very promising specimen. I regret, of course, your procrastination of the Memoir; but this is a subject of delicacy which should be regulated entirely by your own feelings; but the ‘Tales’* I yet hope the spirit may move

* The Review of the fourth Canto of ‘Childe Harold,’ Q. R., No. 37.

you to complete. I hope, in the search for
Lady M. W. Montagu’s most interesting letters, the Doctor† may stumble upon some others of value. You told me some time ago that a lady was writing the ‘Life of Lady M. W. Montagu.’ As there may probably be some original anecdotes of that part of it which was passed in Italy, I should be glad to be favoured with a copy of it as soon as possible. I sent by Mr. Hanson a number or two of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, and I have in a recent parcel sent the whole. I think that you will find in it a very great share of talent, and some most incomparable fun; and as I have purchased half the copyright of it, I shall feel very much obliged if you would occasionally send me some anonymous (if you please) fun to add to it, and any news, literary or scientific, that may fall in your way. If any of your literary acquaintances are disposed to communicate interesting articles, you may insure to them ten guineas a sheet; and if there be any poor fellows to whom you would like to bestow such a trifle, you can direct me accordingly. John Wilson, who wrote the article on Canto IV. of ‘Childe Harold’ (of which, by the way, I am anxious to know your opinion), has very much interested himself in the journal, and has communicated some most admirable papers. Indeed, he possesses very great talents and a variety of knowledge. I send you a very well-constructed kaleidoscope, a newly-invented toy which, if not yet seen in Venice, will I trust amuse some of your female friends.

John Murray.

The following letter is inserted here, as it does not appear in Moore’sBiography’:—

Lord Byron to John Murray.
Venice, November 24th, 1818.
Dear Mr. Murray,

Mr. Hanson has been here a week, and went five days ago. He brought nothing but his papers, some corn-

* Byron had written to Mr. Murray telling him that he “had several things begun, verse and prose,” that “the ‘Tales’ also are in an unfinished state. I can fix no time for their completion: they are not in the best manner.”

Dr. Aglietti, who was collecting these letters for publication.

rubbers, and a kaleidoscope. “For what we have received the Lord make us thankful”! for without His aid I shall not be so. He—
Hanson—left everything else in Chancery Lane whatever, except your copy-papers for the last Canto,* &c., which having a degree of parchment he brought with him. You may imagine his reception; he swore the books were a “waggon-load”; if they were, he should have come in a waggon; he would in that case, have come quicker than he did.

Lord Lauderdale set off from hence twelve days ago accompanied by a cargo of Poesy directed to Mr. Hobhouse, all spick and span, and in MS.; you will see what it is like. I have given it to Master Southey, and he shall have more before I have done with him.

You may make what I say here as public as you please, more particularly to Southey, whom I look upon—and will say so publicly—to be a dirty, lying rascal, and will prove it in ink—or in his blood, if I did not believe him to be too much of a poet to risk it! If he has forty reviews at his back, as he has the Quarterly, I would have at him in his scribbling capacity now that he has begun with me; but I will do nothing underhand; tell him what I say from me and every one else you please.

You will see what I have said, if the parcel arrives safe. I understand Coleridge went about repeating Southey’s lie with pleasure. I can believe it, for I had done him what is called a favour. . . . I can understand Coleridge’s abusing me—but how or why Southey, whom I had never obliged in any sort of way, or done him the remotest service, should go about fibbing and calumniating is more than I readily comprehend. Does he think to put me down with his Canting, not being able to do it with his poetry? We will try the question. I have read his review of Hunt, where he has attacked Shelley in an oblique and shabby manner. Does he know what that review has done? I will tell you; it has sold an edition of the ‘Revolt of Islam’ which otherwise nobody would have thought of reading, and few who read can understand, I for one.

Southey would have attacked me too there, if he durst, further than by hints about Hunt’s friends in general, and some outcry about an “Epicurean System” carried on by

* Of ‘Childe Harold.’

men of the most opposite habits and tastes and opinions in life and poetry (I believe) that ever had their names in the same volume—
Moore, Byron, Shelley, Hazlitt, Haydon, Leigh Hunt, Lamb. What resemblance do ye find among all or any of these men? And how could any sort of system or plan be carried on or attempted amongst them? However, let Mr. Southey look to himself; since the wine is tapped, he shall drink it.

I got some books a few weeks ago—many thanks. Amongst them is Israeli’s new edition; it was not fair in you to show him my copy of his former one, with all the marginal notes and nonsense made in Greece when I was not two-and-twenty, and which certainly were not meant for his perusal, nor for that of his readers. I have a great respect for Israeli and his talents, and have read his works over and over and over repeatedly, and been amused by them greatly, and instructed often. Besides, I hate giving pain, unless provoked; and he is an author, and must feel like his brethren; and although his Liberality repaid my marginal flippancies with a compliment—the highest compliment—that don’t reconcile me to myself—nor to you. It was a breach of confidence to do this without my leave; I don’t know a living man’s book I take up so often or lay down more reluctantly than Israeli’s, and I never will forgive you—that is, for many weeks. If he had got out of humour I should have been less sorry; but even then I should have been sorry; but really he has heaped his “coals of fire” so handsomely upon my head that they burn unquenchably.

You ask me of the two reviews*—I will tell you. Scott’s is the review of one poet on another—his friend; Wilson’s, the review of a poet too, on another—his Idol; for he likes me better than he chooses to avow to the public with all his eulogy. I speak judging only from the article, for I don’t know him personally.

Here is a long letter—can you read it?

Yours ever,

* Of ‘Childe Harold’ in the Quarterly and the Edinburgh.


In the course of September, 1818, Lord Byron communicated to Mr. Moore that he had finished the first canto of a poem in the style and manner of ‘Beppo.’ “It is called,” he said, “‘Don Juan,’ and is meant to be a little quietly facetious upon everything; but,” he added, “I doubt whether it is not—at least so far as it has yet gone—too free for these very modest days.” In January, 1819, Lord Byron requested Mr. Murray to print for private distribution fifty copies of ‘Don Juan.” Mr. Murray urged him to occupy himself with some great work worthy of his reputation. “This you have promised to Gifford long ago, and to Hobhouse and Kinnaird since.” Lord Byron, however, continued to write out his ‘Don Juan,’ and sent the second canto in April, 1819, together with the ‘Letter of Julia,” to be inserted in the first canto.

Mr. Murray, in acknowledging the receipt of the first and second cantos, was not so congratulatory as he had formerly been. The verses contained, no doubt, some of the author’s finest poetry, but he had some objections to suggest. “I think,” he said, “you may modify or substitute other words for the lines on Romilly, whose death should save him.” But Byron entertained an extreme detestation for Romilly, because, he said, he had been “one of my assassins,” and had sacrificed him on “his legal altar”; and the verse* was allowed to stand over. “Your history,” wrote Murray, “of the plan of the progress of ‘Don Juan’ is very entertaining, but I am clear for sending him to hell, because he may favour us with a description of some of the characters whom he finds there.” Mr. Murray suggested the removal of some offensive words in Canto II. “These,” he said, “ladies may not read; the Shipwreck is a little

* St. 15, First Canto.

too particular, and out of proportion to the rest of the picture. But if you do anything it must be done with extreme caution; think of the effects of such seductive poetry! It probably surpasses in talent anything that you ever wrote. Tell me if you think seriously of completing this work, or if you have sketched the story. I am very sorry to have occasioned you the trouble of writing again the ‘Letter of Julia’; but you are always very forgiving in such cases.” The lines in which the objectionable words appeared were obliterated by Lord Byron.

From the following letter we see that Mr. Murray continued his remonstrances:—

John Murray to Lord Byron.
May 3rd, 1819.

I find that ‘Julia’s Letter’ has been safely received, and is with the printer. The whole remainder of the second canto will be sent by Friday’s post. The inquiries after its appearance are not a few. Pray use your most tasteful discretion so as to wrap up or leave out certain approximations to indelicacy.

I am, my Lord, Your faithful Servant,
John Murray.

Mr. Douglas Kinnaird, who was entrusted with the business portion of this transaction, wrote to Mr. Murray:—

Mr. Douglas Kinnaird to John Murray.
June 7th, 1819.
My dear Sir,

Since I had the pleasure of seeing you, I have received from Lord Byron a letter in which he expresses himself as having left to Mr. Hobhouse and myself the sole and whole discretion and duty of settling with the publisher of the MSS. which are now in your hands, the consideration
to be given for them. Observing that you have advertised ‘
Mazeppa,’ I feel that it is my duty to request you will name an early day—of course previous to your publishing that or any other part of the MSS.—when we may meet and receive your offer of such terms as you may deem proper for the purchase of the copyright of them. The very liberal footing on which Lord Byron’s intercourse with you in your character of publisher of his Lordship’s works has hitherto been placed, leaves no doubt in my mind that our interview need be but very short, and that the terms you will propose will be met by our assent.

The parties met, and Mr. Murray agreed to give £525 for ‘Mazeppa,’ and £1575 for the first and second cantos of ‘Don Juan,’ with ‘The Ode to Venice’ thrown in These terms were considered satisfactory, and Mr. Murray proceeded with the publication of the works. ‘Mazeppa’ came out first; and, being published with Lord Byron’s name on the title-page, that “lively, spirited, and pleasant tale,” as Gifford described it on the margin of the MS., proved exceedingly successful.

In accordance with Lord Byron’s directions to his publisher to “keep the anonymous,” Cantos I. and II. of ‘Don Juan’ appeared in London, in quarto, in July, 1819, without the name of either author, publisher, or bookseller. The book was immediately pounced upon by the critics; but it is unnecessary to quote their reviews, as they are impartially given in the latest accredited editions of Lord Byron’s poems. We may, however, give a few of those less known, from Mr. Murray’s intimate friends.

Mr. Gifford to John Murray.
Ryde, July 1st, 1819.

“Lord B.’s letter is shockingly amusing.* He must be mad; but then there’s method in his madness. I dread,

* Probably that written in May; printed in the ‘Life.’

however, the end. He is, or rather might be, the most extraordinary character of his age. I have lived to see three great men—men to whom none come near in their respective provinces—
Pitt, Nelson, Wellington. Morality and religion would have placed our friend among them as the fourth boast of the time; even a decent respect for the good opinion of mankind might have done much now; but all is tending to displace him.”

On ‘Don Juan’ being published, Gifford again wrote to Murray from Ryde:—

“How goes on, or rather how goes off, the Don? I read the second canto this morning, and lost all patience at seeing so much beauty so wantonly and perversely disfigured. A little care, and a little wish to do right, would have made this a superlative thing. As it is, it is better than any other could have done; but this is poor praise for Lord Byron. What a store of shame and sorrow is he laying up for himself! I never much admired the vaunt of Draconianism, ‘And all this I dare do, because I dare,’ yet what but this is Lord Byron’s plea!”

Mr. Murray, who was still in communication with Mr. Blackwood, found that he refused to sell ‘Don Juan,’ because it contained personalities which he regarded as even more objectionable than those of which Murray had complained in the Magazine.

Mr. Wm. Blackwood to John Murray.
July 21st, 1819.

“I received this morning by the coach 25 copies of ‘Don Juan,’ but without any letter to tell me who had sent them. I am sorry to say it is a book which I could not sell on any account whatever. I have therefore laid the copies aside till I receive directions whether I shall send them back, or deliver them to any one else. Had I not received a copy two days ago for the Magazine, I should probably not have had time to have looked at it, but have sold the copies to-day, without thinking about the matter. I hope you
will not blame me for what I have done. I need not say how happy on all accounts I should have been if I could have done otherwise. In the Magazine which I have sent you to-day, you will see a note at p. 483 with regard to ‘Don Juan.’”

Miss Jane Waldie wrote to Mr. Murray: “Why will Lord Byron write what we may not read? The world says that you are the publisher of ‘Don Juan,’ though not nominally so. Is this true?” On the other hand, Lady Caroline Lamb informed Murray: “You cannot think how clever I think ‘Don Juan’ is, in my heart.” The poem was severely criticised, but this only increased the public interest in it, and as it bore no name, and was therefore not copyright, it was republished in cheap editions by the pirates.

Mr. John Barrow to John Murray.
September 5th, 1819.

“What a tremendous attack on your friend Byron in Blackwood! If he has any feeling it must be daggers to him, but I believe he is callous to every feeling except such as we imagine demons to feel. The Quarterly, I suppose, however, will not touch him; or, if so, touch his graceful locks and blue eyes with great tenderness.”

When the copyright of ‘Don Juan’ was infringed by other publishers, it became necessary to take steps to protect it at law, and Mr. Sharon Turner was consulted on the subject. An injunction was applied for in Chancery, and the course of the negotiation will be best ascertained from the following letters:—

Mr. Sharon Turner to John Murray.
October 21st, 1819.
Dear Murray,

. . . On ‘Don Juan’ I have much apprehension. I had from the beginning, and therefore advised the separate
assignment. The counsel who is settling the bill also doubts if the
Chancellor will sustain the injunction. I think, when Mr. Bell comes to town, it will be best to have a consultation with him on the subject. The counsel, Mr. Loraine, shall state to him his view on the subject, and you shall hear what Mr. Bell feels upon it. Shall I appoint the consultation? The evil, if not stopped, will be great. It will circulate in a cheap form very extensively, injuring society wherever it spreads. Yet one consideration strikes me. You could wish Lord Byron to write less objectionably. You may also wish him to return you part of the £1625. If the Chancellor should dissolve the injunction on this ground, that will show Lord B. that he must expect no more copyright money for such things, and that they are too bad for law to uphold. Will not this affect his mind and purify his pen? It is true that to get this good result you must encounter the risk and expense of the injunction and of the argument upon it. Will you do this? If I laid the case separately before three of our ablest counsel, and they concurred in as many opinions that it could not be supported, would this equally affect his Lordship’s mind, and also induce him to return you an adequate proportion of the purchase money? Perhaps nothing but the Court treating him as it treated Southey* may sufficiently impress Lord B. After the consultation with Bell you will better judge. Shall I get it appointed as soon as he comes to town?

Ever yours faithfully,
Sharon Turner.

Mr. Bell gave his opinion that the Court would not afford protection to the book, which, however, he admitted that he had not had time to study.

The next letter relates to the opinion of Mr. Shadwell, afterwards Vice-Chancellor:—

* In the case of Wat Tyler, see Murray’s letter to Byron in preceding chapter, April 12th, 1817.

Mr. Sharon Turner to John Murray.
November 12th, 1819.
Dear Murray,

I saw Mr. Shadwell to-day on ‘Don Juan.’ He has gone through the book with more attention than Mr. Bell had time to do. He desires me to say that he does not think the Chancellor would refuse an injunction, or would overturn it if obtained. He thinks that the passages are not of such a nature as to overturn the property of it. He has expressed to me his opinion so strongly on this point that I thought it right to mention it to you, because he is a very conscientious man. He says, “I cannot of course answer for the event, but it is my full belief that the passages will not prevent the Chancellor from suppressing the piracy.” He says it should certainly be brought forward by yourself. Judge now for yourself. Shall I have a consultation between him and Horne on the subject, for you to attend? Horne is our first man now before the Chancellor. Or will you try it without this, or abandon it?

Yours most faithfully,
Sharon Turner.

The last letter from Mr. Turner to Mr. Murray on the same subject was dated a few days after the above:—

Mr. Turner to John Murray.
Dear Murray,

The truth about ‘Don Juan’ seems to be this. Shadwell, in settling the bill with Downer’s name, went carefully through the poem. He afterwards took it with him to Westminster, and I think has expressed not only his own opinion, but that of some others at the Chancery bar; for he has apologised for not returning it to me, because S. had borrowed it. His decided tone that the Court will not let the copyright be invaded has much struck me, and the more because in the case of ‘Wat Tyler’ he told me that he thought that book could not be supported. His general opinions are also not favourable to Lord B., and his taste
is highly moral. Yet, though he disapproves of the passages, he is remarkably sanguine that they do not furnish sufficient ground for the
Chancellor to dissolve the injunction. He says the passages are not more amatory than those of many books of which the copyright was never doubted. He added that one great tendency of the book was not an unfair one. It was to show in Don Juan’s ultimate character the ill effect of that injudicious maternal education which Don Juan is represented as having received, and which had operated injuriously upon his mind. He repeated to me several times that, as far as it was possible to foresee an event, he could not doubt of this. You have now all that I have heard before you. My own opinion has been always that of doubt. Yet Shadwell’s confidence makes me doubt my doubt. If I could, I would suppress it altogether in every form, but it can only do more mischief to let cheap editions be circulated.

Ever yours,
Sharon Turner.

Whatever becomes of this, I think your idea of getting Lord B. to prune and replace highly laudable, provided he will do it effectually.

The injunction to restrain the publication of ‘Don Juan’ by piratical publishers was granted, but Lord Byron would not make any alterations in the poem as suggested by Mr. Murray. “With regard to the copyright, it is hard that you should pay for a nonentity. I will therefore refund it, which I can very well do, not having spent it, nor begun upon it; and so we shall be quits on that score.” It was not, however, necessary for Murray to claim an abatement of the copyright money, as he was now enabled to sell the work as before. Lord Byron was not deterred by the outcry about ‘Don Juan,’ for he informed Mr. Murray that he was proceeding with the third canto, as well as with the ‘Prophecy of Dante.’

Towards the end of 1819, Byron thought of returning
to England. On the 8th of November he wrote to
Mr. Murray:—

“If she [the Countess Guiccioli] and her husband make it up, you will perhaps see me in England sooner than you expect. If not, I will retire with her to France or America, change my name, and lead a quiet provincial life. If she gets over this, and I get over my Tertian ague, I will perhaps look in at Albemarle Street en passant to Bolivar.”

When Mr. Hobhouse, then living at Ramsbury, heard of Byron’s intention to go to South America, he wrote to Mr. Murray as follows:—

Mr. Hobhouse to John Murray.
November, 1819.
My dear Sir,

I own my delay, but I have been absent from Ramsbury some days, and immersed in the miserable provincial politics of my brother moon-rakers of this county. I have to thank you for your former communication, and for this of to-day. To be sure it is impossible that Lord B. should seriously contemplate, or, if he does, he must not expect us to encourage, this mad scheme. I do not know what in the world to say, but presume some one has been talking nonsense to him. Let Jim Perry go to Venezuela if he will—he may edit his ‘Independent Gazette’ amongst the Independents themselves, and reproduce his stale puns and politics without let or hindrance. But our poet is too good for a planter—too good to sit down before a fire made of mare’s legs, to a dinner of beef without salt and bread. It is the wildest of all his meditations—pray tell him. The plague and Yellow Jack, and famine and free quarter, besides a thousand other ills, will stare him in the face. No tooth-brushes, no corn-rubbers, no Quarterly Reviews. In short, plenty of all he abominates and nothing of all he loves. I shall write, but you can tell facts, which will be better than my arguments.

Very truly yours,
John Hobhouse.

Byron’s half-formed intention was soon abandoned, and the Countess Guiccioli’s serious illness recalled him to Ravenna, where he remained for the next year and a half.

Hobhouse’s next letter to Murray (Jan., 1820), in which he reported “Bad news from Ravenna—a great pity indeed;” it was dated Newgate, where he had been lodged in consequence of his pamphlet entitled ‘A Trifling Mistake in Thomas Lord Erskine’s Recent Pamphlet,’ containing several very strong reflections on the House of Commons as then constituted. The matter was brought under the consideration of the House (10th Dec., 1819) by Mr. Stuart Wortley (afterwards Lord Wharncliffe), when the publication of the pamphlet was declared to be a breach of privilege, and Mr. Hobhouse, who had authorized the Right Hon. Edward Ellice to declare that he was the author, was committed to Newgate, where he remained until the dissolution of Parliament in the following February.

During his imprisonment, Mr. Hobhouse was visited by Mr. Murray and Ugo Foscolo, as well as by many of his political friends. After Mr. Murray’s visit, the Countess of Bessborough (mother of Lady Caroline Lamb) wrote to him:—

Countess of Bessborough to John Murray.

“I hope your charitable visit to Newgate succeeded. I have scarcely seen Caroline to speak to since, so know nothing about it. Pray do not mention the Waldegrave manuscripts to Sir J. Mackintosh, or any one, till after my son, Col. Ponsonby, returns from Ireland when the elections are over. I think I can almost promise you that you shall have them, but as it still depends on some circumstances that cannot be quite settled until Frederick comes back, any mention of such a project beforehand might totally defeat the whole.”


Lady Caroline Lamb also wrote to Mr. Murray from Brockett Hall, asking for information about Byron and Hobhouse.

Lady Caroline Lamb to John Murray.

You have never written to tell me about him. Now, did you know the pain and agony this has given me, you had not been so remiss. If you could come here on Wednesday for one night, I have a few people and a supper. You could come by the Mail in two hours, much swifter than even in your swift carriage; and I have one million of things to say and ask also. Do tell me how that dear Radical Hob is, and pray remember me to him. I really hope you will be here at dinner or supper on Wednesday. Your bedroom shall be ready, and you can be back in Town before most people are up, though I rise here at seven.

Yours quite disturbed my mind, for want of your telling me how he [Byron] looks, what he says, if he is grown fat, if he is no uglier than he used to be, if he is good-humoured or cross-grained, putting his brows down—if his hair curls or is straight as somebody said, if he has seen Hobhouse, if he is going to stay long, if you went to Dover as you intended, and a great deal more, which, if you had the smallest tact or aught else, you would have written long ago; for as to me, I shall certainly not see him, neither do I care he should know that I ever asked after him. It is from mere curiosity I should like to hear all you can tell me about him. Pray come here immediately.

C. L.

Byron sent Murray from Ravenna (21st July, 1820) the third and fourth cantos of ‘Don Juan.’

“Recollect,” he said, “that these two cantos reckon as only one between you and me, being, in fact, the third canto cut into two, because I found it too long. . .. I have finished my translation of the ‘Morgante Maggiore’ of Pulci, which I will transcribe and send. . . . You
inquire after ‘
Dante’s Prophecy.’ I have not done more than six hundred lines, but will vaticinate at leisure.” [’Dante’s Prophecy’ was finished by the 14th of March, and forwarded to Murray by post.] “When I have left more than one reading,” Byron wrote, “which I have done often, you may adopt that which Gifford, Frere, Rose, Hobhouse, and others of your Utican Senate think the best or least bad.” [He next forwarded the literal translation of the episode of Francesca of Rimini.] “So,” he wrote to Murray, “you have put your name to ‘Juan,’ after all your panic and the row; you are a rare fellow!”

During the summer months of 1820, Lord Byron proceeded with his tragedy of ‘Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice,’ which was finished in July 1820, and published at the end of the year. It was produced on the stage of Drury Lane Theatre in the beginning of the following year, in spite of the poet’s urgent and repeated remonstrances. It was a play, he observed, for the closet, and not for the theatre. Mr. Gifford, much to Byron’s delight, pronounced it to be “English—genuine English.” To Murray, Mr. Gifford wrote privately:—

Mr. Gifford to John Murray.

Lord Byron will have a pretty collection of dramas by-and-by. Let him proceed, he will do something at last. Never mind his plays not being stage-worthy; in these times it signifies not much; but he has the true dramatic turn, and fails only in his plots. If he could but get a little into the bustle of our old dramatists, absurd as it sometimes was, it would do; otherwise he must die a martyr to his simplicity and singleness. . . . After all, he is a wonderful creature. If I had him, I would keep him very carefully, and show him only on high days and holidays.”

Meanwhile, Byron proceeded with his fifth canto of ‘Don Juan,’ which, begun on October 16th, was finished on November 20th, 1820, that is, in little more than a month.
The third, fourth, and fifth cantos were published together at the end of 1821, still without the name of either author or publisher. There was quite a rush for the work. The booksellers’ messengers filled the street in front of the house in Albemarle Street, and the parcels of books were given out of the window in answer to their obstreperous demands.

Notwithstanding this remarkable sale of ‘Don Juan,’ Murray hesitated about publishing any more of the cantos. After the fifth canto was published, Lord Byron informed Murray that it was “hardly the beginning of the work,” that he intended to take Don Juan through the tour of Europe, put him through the Divorce Court, and make him finish as Anacharsis Cloots in the French Revolution. Besides being influenced by his own feelings, it is possible that the following letter of Mr. Croker may have induced Mr. Murray to have nothing further to do with the work:—

Mr. Croker to John Murray.
Munster House, March 26th, 1820.
A rainy Sunday.
Dear Murray,

I have to thank you for letting me see your two new cantos [the 3rd and 4th], which I return. What sublimity! what levity! what boldness! what tenderness! what majesty! what trifling! what variety! what tediousness!—for tedious to a strange degree, it must be confessed that whole passages are, particularly the earlier stanzas of the fourth canto. I know no man of such general powers of intellect as Brougham, yet I think him insufferably tedious; and I fancy the reason to be that he has such facility of expression that he is never recalled to a selection of his thoughts. A more costive orator would be obliged to choose, and a man of his talents could not fail to choose the best; but the power of uttering all and everything which passes across his mind, tempts him to say all. He goes on without thought—I should rather say, without pause.
His speeches are poor from their richness, and dull from their infinite variety. An impediment in his speech would make him a perfect
Demosthenes. Something of the same kind, and with something of the same effect, is Lord Byron’s wonderful fertility of thought and facility of expression; and the Protean style of ‘Don Juan,’ instead of checking (as the fetters of rhythm generally do) his natural activity, not only gives him wider limits to range in, but even generates a more roving disposition. I dare swear, if the truth were known, that his digressions and repetitions generate one another, and that the happy jingle of some of his comical rhymes has led him on to episodes of which he never originally thought; and thus it is that, with the most extraordinary merit, merit of all kinds, these two cantos have been to me, in several points, tedious and even obscure.

As to the principles, all the world, and you, Mr. Murray, first of all, have done this poem great injustice. There are levities here and there, more than good taste approves, but nothing to make such a terrible rout about—nothing so bad as ‘Tom Jones,’ nor within a hundred degrees of ‘Count Fathom.’ I know that it is no justification of one fault to produce a greater, neither am I justifying Lord Byron. I have acquaintance none, or next to none, with him, and of course no interest beyond what we must all take in a poet who, on the whole, is one of the first, if not the very first, of our age; but I direct my observations against you and those whom you deferred to. If you print and sell ‘Tom Jones’ and ‘Peregrine Pickle,’ why did you start at ‘Don Juan’? Why smuggle it into the world and, as it were, pronounce it illegitimate in its birth, and induce so many of the learned rabble, when they could find so little specific offence in it, to refer to its supposed original state as one of original sin? If instead of this you had touched the right string and in the right place, Lord Byron’s own good taste and good nature would have revised and corrected some phrases in his poem which in reality disparage it more than its imputed looseness of principle; I mean some expressions of political and personal feelings which, I believe, he, in fact, never felt, and threw in wantonly and de gaieté de cœur, and which he would have omitted, advisedly and de bonté de cœur, if he had not been goaded by indiscreet, contradictory, and urgent criticisms,
which, in some cases, were dark enough to be called calumnies. But these are blowing over, if not blown over; and I cannot but think that if
Mr. Gifford, or some friend in whose taste and disinterestedness Lord Byron could rely, were to point out to him the cruelty to individuals, the injury to the national character, the offence to public taste, and the injury to his own reputation, of such passages as those about Southey and Waterloo and the British Government and the head of that Government, I cannot but hope and believe that these blemishes in the first cantos would be wiped away in the next edition; and that some that occur in the two cantos (which you sent me) would never see the light. What interest can Lord Byron have in being the poet of a party in politics, or of a party in morals, or of a party in religion? Why should he wish to throw away the suffrages (you see the times infect my dialect) of more than half the nation? He has no interest in that direction, and, I believe, has no feeling of that kind. In politics, he cannot be what he appears, or rather what Messrs. Hobhouse and Leigh Hunt wish to make him appear. A man of his birth, a man of his taste, a man of his talents, a man of his habits, can have nothing in common with such miserable creatures as we now call Radicals, of whom I know not that I can better express the illiterate and blind ignorance and vulgarity than by saying that the best informed of them have probably never heard of Lord Byron. No, no, Lord Byron may be indulgent to these jackal followers of his; he may connive at their use of his name—nay, it is not to be denied that he has given them too, too much countenance—but he never can, I should think, now that he sees not only the road but the rate they are going, continue to take a part so contrary to all his own interests and feelings, and to the feelings and interests of all the respectable part of his country. And yet it was only yesterday at dinner that somebody said that he had read or seen a letter of Lord Byron’s to somebody, saying that if the Radicals only made a little progress and showed some real force, he would hasten over and get on horseback to head them. This is evidently either a gross lie altogether, or a grosser misconstruction of some epistolary pleasantry; because if the proposition were serious, the letter never would have been shown. Yet see how a bad name is given. We were twelve at dinner, all (except myself) people of
note, and yet (except
Walter Scott and myself again) every human being will repeat the story to twelve others—and so on. But what is to be the end of all this rigmarole of mine? To conclude, this—to advise you, for your own sake as a tradesman, for Lord Byron’s sake as a poet, for the sake of good literature and good principles, which ought to be united, to take such measures as you may be able to venture upon to get Lord Byron to revise these two cantos, and not to make another step in the odious path which Hobhouse beckons him to pursue. There is little, very little, of this offensive nature in these cantos; the omission, I think, of five stanzas out of 215, would do all I should ask on this point; but I confess that I think it would be much better for his fame and your profit if the two cantos were thrown into one, and brought to a proper length by the retrenchment of the many careless, obscure, and idle passages which incuria fudit. I think Tacitus says that the Germans formed their plans when drunk and matured them when sober. I know not how this might answer in public affairs, but in poetry I should think it an excellent plan—to pour out, as Lord Byron says, his whole mind in the intoxication of the moment, but to revise and condense in the sobriety of the morrow. One word more: experience shows that the Pulcian style is very easily written. Frere, Blackwood’s Magaziners, Rose, Cornwall, all write it with ease and success; it therefore behoves Lord Byron to distinguish his use of this measure by superior and peculiar beauties. He should refine and polish; and by the limæ labor et mora, attain the perfection of ease. A vulgar epigram says that “easy writing is damned hard reading;” and it is one of the eternal and general rules by which heaven warns us, at every step and at every look, that this is a mere transitory life; that what costs no trouble soon perishes; that what grows freely dies early; and that nothing endures but in some degree of proportion with the time and labour it has cost to create. Use these hints if you can, but not my name.

Yours ever,
J. W. Croker.

But Byron would alter nothing more in his ‘Don Juan.’ He accepted the corrections of Gifford in his ‘Tragedies,’
but ‘Don Juan’ was never submitted to him.
Hobhouse was occasionally applied to, because he knew Lord Byron’s handwriting; but even his suggestions of alterations or corrections of ‘Don Juan’ were in most cases declined, and moreover about this time a slight coolness had sprung up between him and Byron. When Hobhouse was standing for Westminster with Sir Francis Burdett, Lord Byron sent a song about him in a letter to Mr. Murray. It ran to the tune of ‘My Boy Tammy? O!’
“Who are now the People’s men?
My boy Hobby O!
Yourself and Burdett, Gentlemen,
And Blackguard Hunt and Cobby O!
“When to the mob you make a speech,
My boy Hobby O!
How do you keep without their reach
The watch within your fobby O?” *

Lord Byron asked Murray to show the song not only to some of his friends—who got it by heart and had it printed in the newspapers—but also to Hobhouse himself. “I know,” said his Lordship, “that he will never forgive me, but I really have no patience with him for letting himself be put in quod by such a set of ragamuffins.” Mr. Hobhouse, however, was angry with Byron for his lampoon and with Murray for showing it to his friends. He accordingly wrote the following letter, which contains some interesting particulars of the Whig Club at Cambridge in Byron’s University days:—

Mr. Hobhouse to John Murray.
2, Hanover Square, November, 1820.

I have received your letter, and return to you Lord Byron’s. I shall tell you very frankly, because I think it

* The rest of the song is printed in Murray’s Magazine, No. 3.

much better to speak a little of a man to his face than to say a great deal about him behind his back, that I think you have not treated me as I deserved, nor as might have been expected from that friendly intercourse which has subsisted between us for so many years. Had Lord Byron transmitted to me a lampoon on you, I should, if I know myself at all, either have put it into the fire without delivery, or should have sent it at once to you. I should not have given it a circulation for the gratification of all the small wits at the great and little houses, where no treat is so agreeable as to find a man laughing at his friend. In this case, the whole coterie of the very shabbiest party that ever disgraced and divided a nation—I mean the Whigs—are, I know, chuckling over that silly charge made by
Mr. Lamb on the hustings, and now confirmed by Lord Byron, of my having belonged to a Whig club at Cambridge. Such a Whig as I then was, I am now. I had no notion that the name implied selfishness and subserviency, and desertion of the most important principles for the sake of the least important interest. I had no notion that it implied anything more than an attachment to the principles the ascendency of which expelled the Stuarts from the Throne. Lord Byron belonged to this Cambridge club, and desired me to scratch out his name, on account of the criticism in the Edinburgh Review on his early poems; but, exercising my discretion on the subject, I did not erase his name, but reconciled him to the said Whigs. The members of the club were but few, and with those who have any marked politics amongst them, I continue to agree at this day. They were but ten, and you must know most of them—Mr. W. Ponsonby, Mr. George O’Callaghan, the Duke of Devonshire, Mr. Dominick Browne, Mr. Henry Pearce, Mr. Kinnaird, Lord Tavistock, Lord Ellenborough, Lord Byron, and myself. I was not, as Lord Byron says in the song, the founder of this club;* on the contrary, thinking myself of mighty importance in those days, I recollect very well that some difficulty attended my consenting to belong to the club, and I have by me a letter from Lord Tavistock, in which the
* “But when we at Cambridge were
My boy Hobbie O!
If my memory do not err,
You founded a Whig Clubbie O!”
distinction between being a Whig party man and a Revolution Whig is strongly insisted upon.

I have troubled you with this detail in consequence of Lord Byron’s charge, which he, who despises and defies, and has lampooned the Whigs all round, only invented out of wantonness, and for the sake of annoying me—and he has certainly succeeded, thanks to your circulating this filthy ballad. As for his Lordship’s vulgar notions about the mob, they are very fit for the Poet of the Morning Post, and for nobody else. Nothing in the ballad annoyed me but the charge about the Cambridge club, because nothing else had the semblance of truth; and I own it has hurt me very much to find Lord Byron playing into the hands of the Holland House sycophants, for whom he has himself the most sovereign contempt, and whom in other days I myself have tried to induce him to tolerate.

I shall say no more on this unpleasant subject except that, by a letter which I have just received from Lord Byron, I think he is ashamed of his song. I shall certainly speak as plainly to him as I have taken the liberty to do to you on this matter. He was very wanton and you very indiscreet; but I trust neither one nor the other meant mischief, and there’s an end of it. Do not aggravate matters by telling how much I have been annoyed. Lord Byron has sent me a list of his new poems and some prose, all of which he requests me to prepare for the press for him. The monied arrangement is to be made by Mr. Kinnaird. When you are ready for me, the materials may be s’ent to me at this place, where I have taken up my abode for the season.

I remain, very truly yours,
John Cam Hobhouse.

Towards the end of 1820, Lord Byron wrote a long letter to Mr. Murray on Mr. Bowles’s strictures on the ‘Life and Writings of Pope.’ It was a subject perhaps unworthy of his pen, but being an ardent admirer of Pope, he thought it his duty to “bowl him [Bowles] down.” “I mean to lay about me,” said Byron, “like a dragon, till I make manure of Bowles for the top of Parnassus.”
Murray submitted Lord Byron’s letter in defence of Pope to his friend
Gifford, who cut out a good deal of it before publication.

“It will be unsafe,” he said, “to publish it as it stands. The letter is not very refined, but it is vigorous and to the purpose. Bowles requires checking. I hope, however, that Lord B. will not continue to squander himself thus. When will he resume his majestic march, and shake the earth again?”

After some revision, the first and second letters to Bowles were published, and were well received.

John Murray to Lord Byron.
March 20th, 1821.
Dear Lord Byron,

The pamphlet on Bowles is deemed excellent, and is to be published on Saturday; the note on Lady M. W. Montagu, though also very good, Mr. Gifford recommends to be suppressed. The letter about the Hellespont will appear in the next London Magazine. The fatal death of its late editor, poor Scott, in a duel, you will have read of; he has left a widow, a very superior woman and two infant children, with a shilling; and a committee, of which Sir James Mackintosh is the head and your humble servant the tail, are endeavouring to form a subscription for them, and if you please I shall be glad to put your name down for £10.

The ‘Doge of Venice’ will now come out, with the ‘Prophecy of Dante,’ at a most happy time, when we are just now interested for Italy; nothing could be better; it is nearly worked off, and will be out next week.

I long to know what you propose to do; will these wars, of which our lives may not see the end, for all Europe will mingle indiscriminately,—will they bring you to England, or will Lady Noel’s death, which they tell me from good authority must immediately take place, do so?

By the way, Hobhouse spoke to Lord Grey about the impropriety of allowing a play, not intended for performance, to be acted on the stage. Earl Grey spoke to
Lord Chancellor, who said that he would grant an injunction.

We as yet can get no certain news from Italy.

I am, my Lord,
Your faithful servant,
John Murray.

Mr. Hobhouse also had a grievance against Mr. Bowles. To Mr. Murray he wrote:—

Mr. Hobhouse to John Murray.
May, 1821.

I hear Parson Bowles goes about abusing me, relying on my forbearance, or on what he may think his vast capacity for satire. The dirty dog crouches and creeps to Lord Byron, but thinks he may safely attack me. He may find himself mistaken one day or the other. In the meantime, as he is fond of parody, he may have something in that shape which you will find overleaf.
“Should Parson Bowles yourself or friend compare
To some French cut-throat, if you please, Santerre
Or heap, malignant, on your living head
The smut and trash he pour’d on Pope when dead,
Say what reply—or how with him to deal—
Sot without shame and fool that cannot feel?
You would not parley with a printers’ hack—
You cannot cane him, for his coat is black;
Reproof and chastisement are idly spent
On one who calls a kick a compliment.
Unwhipp’d, then, leave him to lampoon and lie,
Safe in his parson’s guise and infamy.”

Truly yours,
John C. Hobhouse.

The tragedy of ‘Sardanapalus,’ the last three acts of which had been written in a fortnight, was despatched to Murray, on the 30th of May, 1821, and was within a few
weeks followed by ‘
The Two Foscari: an Historical Tragedy’—which had been composed within a month—and on the 10th of September by ‘Cain, a Mystery.’ This immense quantity of literary work accomplished in so short a time, showed that Byron was in full writing power. All these dramas were written at Ravenna. “I am mortified,” wrote Byron to Murray (Sept. 20th, 1821), “that Gifford don’t take to my new dramas . . . I regret his demur the more that he has been always my grand patron, and I know no praise which would compensate me in my own mind for his censure.”

What Gifford said of Lord Byron’s works may best be shown by two extracts from his letters to Murray. The first relates to the new cantos of ‘Don Juan,’ which appeared in August, 1821; the second to the tragedy of ‘The Two Foscari.’

Mr. Gifford to John Murray.
August 7th, 1821.

“What can Lord Byron propose to himself by forcing the publication of these cantos? They will not add to his fame, and this is what he should now take care of. Our friend Sir Walter makes an occasional sacrifice, but then he has a powerful motive; and besides, though he may play with his talents, he never trifles with his character. I could say more, but, alas! cui bono?

August 15th. 1821.

“I knew Lord Byron would not be satisfied unless he saw himself in print. He must occupy the public eye, and all that his friends have to lament is that his taste of fame is so indiscriminate. I have often heard Lord Grosvenor say, when a young man, that he did not know the difference between boiled beef and a delicate loin of veal. Lord Byron’s case is worse.”

John Murray to Lord Byron.
Cheltenham, August 12, 1821.

I have this day received your most obliging letter, with a packet inclosing notes for ‘Sardanapalus’ and the ‘Foscari,’ which go immediately to the printer. As you so particularly desire the immediate publication of these two tragedies it shall be done. At present Drury Lane Theatre, the most ravenous, is opened for the summer season, and therefore I presume that I am acting according to the spirit of your wishes, in having the plays ready to put forth as soon as both theatres are closed. I told you in my last what Mr. G. had said privately to me about ‘Sardanapalus.’ The two first acts of the ‘Foscari’ he thinks have more life than the first Doge. Mr. Gifford is at Ramsgate, but it is doing him no good, and I begin to entertain serious apprehensions about him, and how I am to supply his place I know not; in all my range of literary acquaintances there is not one that is the least like him in the union of so many and such variety of qualifications.

I had the good fortune to sit by Sir W. Scott in the Hall during the Coronation—a sight which I would not have missed for anything—and he declared it had infinitely surpassed all that he could have conceived possible. Scott never ceases to talk of you with the most firm regard.

I am here for a month on account of my wife’s health, which has been precarious since her late severe and dangerous illness.

I suspect Drury Lane will not close, as it has within these ten days only presented a most superb imitation of the Coronation, at a most enormous expense, and it will require a month to repay them. And the Queen’s death, too, interfered, and everybody has escaped from town. Copleston is here and Professor Monk.

I remain, dear Lord Byron,
Your grateful and faithful servant,
John Murray.
John Murray to Lord Byron.
Cheltenham, September 6th, 1821.

I am much delighted by your Lordship’s kind letter of the 16th of August, which allows me to hope that your rage against me [because of mistakes of the printer] has abated. The same post brings me a letter from Town, in answer to my constant inquiries after the bust: “The busts of Lord B. are arrived; the ship is now under quarantine; I enclose an order for their delivery for you to sign;” so that I expect to find them on my return. It is curious that, after waiting for this bust for years, it should at length arrive in the same week with one of Sir Walter Scott* (a very fine cast), which Chantrey has obligingly presented to me.

Don’t be offended with Holmes;† you were of great essential service in putting him in the way to make a livelihood; but it is very long before, in his profession, he can gain one. If you wanted me to come out to you it would be very different. Neither be afraid of our Funds‡ breaking. When they go, there will be so many on the highway that a noble freebooter will have a bad chance. I bet sixpence they will last our time. I will send your thanks to James Smith,§ who will be much pleased.

Many persons besides you have at first supposed that I was the person of the same name connected with the Constitutional Association, but without consideration; for on what occasion have I identified myself with a party? My connexions are, I believe, even more numerous amongst the Whigs than the Tories. Indeed the Whigs have nearly driven away the Tories from my house; and Jeffrey said, “If you wish to meet the most respectable of the Whigs, you must be introduced to Mr. Murray’s room.”

You hint that I am a little ungrateful to you, I think;

* Scott had been made a baronet in April, 1820.

† The miniature-painter who had been summoned to Venice by Byron.

‡ About this time Lord Byron was—or constantly professed himself to be—in great anxiety concerning the Public Funds, in which some of the proceeds of the sale of Newstead were invested.

§ Joint author of the ‘Rejected Addresses.’

but, upon my soul, you will find my occasional apparent inattention arises from no causes but constitutional indolence, and now distraction from having so many correspondents and such incessant interruption to my writing to them. But in essentials I trust you can never find me wanting.

I forgot in my former letter to notice a hint in yours respecting an additional sum to Mr. Moore. The purchase which I have made of the ‘Memoirs’ is perfectly con amore. As a matter of mere business, if I placed the £2000 in the funds (supposing they did not break), in fourteen years (the least annuity value of the author’s life) it would become £4000. Moore should not show the ‘Memoirs’ to any one now, I think.

Gifford always mentions you with unabated regard, as do Scott, Rose, and many more. Heber (Richard) has succeeded in his long desired election for Oxford. The Jerseys have gone abroad to resuscitate. I have sent the ‘Blue Stockings’* to amuse Mr. G., and it shall be forwarded in proof on my return. If you had the local knowledge it would become an excellent work. Accept my very kindest compliments, and be assured that I always am, dearest Lord Byron,

Your Lordship’s faithful Servant,
John Murray.

The three dramas, ‘Sardanapalus,’ ‘The Two Foscari,’ and ‘Cain, a Mystery,’ were published together in December, 1821, and Mr. Murray paid Lord Byron for them the sum of £2710. ‘Cain’ gave rise to much controversy, while ‘Sardanapalus’ was especially admired; Mr. Hobhouse wrote that it interested him very deeply, though it might be thought fantastical and unnatural by some.

Mr. Hobhouse to John Murray.
Ramsbury Manor, Hungerford, October 22nd, 1821.

“After all,” he continued, “if it be not presumptuous in me to say so, I should venture to assert that tragedy-

* The Blues which appeared in the Liberal.

writing is not
Lord Byron’s forte; that is to say, that it will not turn out to be the best thing that he can do. According to my poor way of thinking, the ‘Corsair’ and the Fourth Canto [of ‘Childe Harold’] will always bear away the palm.

Lord Byron asks me if you have shown his ‘Cain’ to me. If you can get a heavy frank, do send it down here. I should like to read it. He tells me he has requested you to enclose no more criticisms, as they annoy instead of improving him, and, as he says, ‘take off his attention, which may be better employed than in listening either to libels or flattery.’ I know what he means well enough, and I dare say you do. The injunction, however, will save you some trouble.”

On the appearance of ‘Cain’ it was reprinted in a cheap form by two booksellers, under the impression that the Court of Chancery would not protect it, and it therefore became necessary to take out an injunction to restrain these piratical publishers. The tragedy was, moreover, unmercifully handled in most of the critical journals, and was made the subject of a separate essay, entitled ‘A Remonstrance addressed to Mr. Murray respecting a recent publication; by Oxoniensis.’ This contained a violent attack on “the obsolete trash, the very offscourings of Bayle and Voltaire, which your noble employer has made you pay for as though it were first-rate poetry and sound metaphysics.”

And yet ‘Cain’ was a masterly work, dedicated, by his consent, to Sir Walter Scott, who, in writing to Mr. Murray, described it as “a very grand and tremendous drama.”

Sir W. Scott to John Murray.

“I do not know that his Muse has ever taken so lofty a flight amid her former soarings. He has certainly matched Milton on his own ground. Some part of the language is bold, and may shock one class of readers,
whose line will be adopted by others out of affectation or envy. But then they must condemn ‘
Paradise Lost’ if they have a mind to be consistent. The fiend-like reasoning and bold blasphemy of the fiend and of his pupil lead exactly to the point which was to be expected—the commission of the first murder and the ruin and despair of the perpetrator. . . . The great key to the mystery is, perhaps, the imperfection of our own faculties, which see and feel strongly the partial evils which press upon us, but know too little of the general system of the universe to be aware how the existence of this is to be reconciled with the benevolence of the great Creator.”

When Lord Byron heard of the violent attack on Mr. Murray by Oxoniensis, he wrote to him:—

Lord Byron to John Murray.
Pisa, February 8th, 1822.

“How, or in what manner, you can be considered responsible for what I publish, I am at a loss to conceive. If ‘Cain’ be blasphemous, ‘Paradise Lost’ is blasphemous; and the very words of the Oxford gentleman, ‘Evil, be thou my good,’ are from that very poem, from the mouth of Satan; and is there anything more in that of Lucifer in the Mystery? ‘Cain’ is nothing more than a drama, not a piece of argument. . . . The attempt to bully you, because they think it won’t succeed with me, seems to me as atrocious an attempt as ever disgraced the times. What! when Gibbon’s, Hume’s, Priestley’s, and Drummond’s publishers have been allowed to rest in peace for seventy years, are you to be singled out for a work of fiction, not of history or argument? There must be something at the bottom of this—some private enemy of your own; it is otherwise incredible. I can only say, ‘Me, me; adsum qui feci’; that any proceeding directed against you, I beg, may be transferred to me, who am willing, and ought, to endure them all; that if you have lost money by the publication, I will refund any or all of the copyright; that I desire you will say that both you and Mr. Gifford remonstrated against the publication, as also Mr. Hobhouse; that I alone am the person who, either legally or otherwise, should bear the burden. If they prosecute, I will
come to England—that is, if by meeting it in my own person I can save yours. Let me know. You shan’t suffer for me if I can help it. Make any use of this letter you please.”

Mr. Murray took an early opportunity of consulting Mr. Sharon Turner on the subject of ‘Cain.’ The result was the application of Mr. Shadwell to Lord Eldon, then Chancellor, for an injunction to protect Mr. Murray’s property in Lord Byron’sCain.’ Mr. Turner reported to Mr. Murray the result of his first interview with counsel:—

Mr. Sharon Turner to John Murray.
January 31st, 1822.

Mr. Shadwell, whom I have just seen, has told me that he had read ‘Cain’ some time ago,—that he thinks it contains nothing but what a bookseller can be fairly justified in publishing, that it is not worse than many parts in ‘Paradise Regained’ and in ‘Paradise Lost.’ It is a dramatic exhibition of Lucifer speaking as Lucifer—often very absurdly. . . He is King’s Counsel and a religious man. He thinks it can hurt no reasonable mind. He will lead the case. If you do not apply, nothing is so likely to provoke a society to an indictment as letting these men go on in their piracy.”

The case came before Lord Chancellor Eldon on the 9th of February. Mr. Shadwell, Mr. Spence, and Sergeant Copley were retained by Mr. Murray, and after considerable discussion the injunction was refused, the Lord Chancellor intimating that the publisher must establish his right to the publication at law, and obtain the decision of a jury, on which he would grant the injunction required. This was done accordingly, and the copyright in ‘Cain’ was thus secured.

During Lord Byron’s residence at Pisa, Mr. Murray’s half-brother Archibald, an officer in H.M.S. Rochfort,
lying off Leghorn, resolved on visiting him. The following is his account, written to his wife, then at Naples:—

Mr. Archibald Murray, R.N., to Mrs. A. Murray.
August 31st, 1822.

“We arrived at Pisa yesterday, and stopped there for the night on my account, that I might see if Lord Byron, who is still there, was accessible. I sent him a note, to which a very civil answer was immediately returned; but without waiting for an answer, I proceeded to his mansion soon after my note, sent up my card, and was at once admitted, which was the more civil as I have now reason to believe that I called at an unseasonable hour, and was not expected, he having written to appoint another. However, as soon as his Lordship had apparelled (for I could perceive that my card had found him en déshabille ) he received me, and was very courteous, agreeable, and gay. I was with him about an hour, and on parting had his permission, not only graciously but cordially (as I thought), to repeat my visit on returning to Pisa. He seemed in good spirits, and careless of the evil reports against his works.”

September 16th.

“At my return to Pisa the noble poet granted me another interview. He conversed with me quite familiarly, speaking very freely about himself, his political sentiments, his writings, and my brother. But you must have patience and wait till we meet to know what he said on those subjects, for I cannot impart them at present.

“My Lord Byron is not tall, but of moderate stature. He is rather stout than thin. He is considered handsome. I have heard him called very handsome, and he certainly has very comely features; but his countenance is not on the Roman or Grecian model of elegance. It is round and full, and might be less agreeable in a different person. The emotions of his poetical spirit animate and beautify his face. His eye has the expression of a man of genius. He wears his hair rather longer than is the present custom for gentlemen, though in him it is not unpleasing. It is just long enough to curl gracefully. The defect in one of his feet is so well concealed by his dress that it is not
observable when he sits or stands. The portrait prefixed to his works resembles him very well; and a statue of him which I saw at Florence is also a very good likeness. It is a bust intended for
John Murray. I am not so well able to give a description of his person as another might be, because I approached him both times with some commotion, and because, in both my interviews, my ears were far more greedy than my eyes. I was much more intent upon his conversation than his person—more anxious to penetrate his character than to scrutinize his form.

On the death of Allegra, Lord Byron entrusted to Mr. Murray the painful duty of making arrangements for the burial of the remains in Harrow Church. Mr. Cunningham, the clergyman of Harrow, wrote in answer to Mr. Murray:—

Rev. J. W. Cunningham to John Murray.
August 20th, 1822.

Mr. Henry Drury was so good as to communicate to me a request conveyed to you by Lord Byron respecting the burial of a child in this church. Mr. H. Drury will probably have also stated to you my willingness to comply with the wish of Lord Byron. Will you forgive me, however, for so far trespassing upon you (though a stranger) as to suggest an inquiry whether it might not be practicable and desirable to fulfil for the present only a part of his Lordship’s wish—by burying the child, and putting up a tablet with simply its name upon the tablet; and thus leaving Lord B. more leisure to reflect upon the character of the inscription he may wish to be added. It does seem to me that whatever he may wish in the moment of his distress about the loss of this child, he will afterwards regret that he should have taken pains to proclaim to the world what he will not, I am sure, consider as honourable to his name. And if this be probable, then it appears to me the office of a true friend not to suffer him to commit himself but to allow his mind an opportunity of calm deliberation. I feel constrained to say that the inscription he proposed will be felt by every man of
refined taste, to say nothing of sound morals, to be an offence against taste and propriety. My correspondence with his Lordship has been so small that I can scarcely venture myself to urge these objections. You perhaps will feel no such scruple. I have seen no person who did not concur in the propriety of stating them. I would entreat, however, that should you think it right to introduce my name into any statement made to Lord Byron, you will not do it without assuring him of my unwillingness to oppose the smallest obstacle to his wishes, or give the slightest pain to his mind. The injury which, in my judgment, he is from day to day inflicting upon society is no justification for measures of retaliation and unkindness.

Your obedient and faithful Servant,
J. W. Cunningham.

No communication having been received by the Rector, he placed the application from Lord Byron before the churchwardens.

Rev. J. W. Cunningham to John Murray.

“The churchwardens have been urged to issue their prohibition by several leading and influential persons, laymen, in the parish. You are aware that as to ex-parishioners the consent of the churchwardens is no less necessary than my own; and that therefore the enclosed prohibition is decisive as to the putting up of the monument. You will oblige me by making known to Lord Byron the precise circumstances of the case.

I am, your obedient Servant,
J. W. Cunningham.

The prohibition was as follows:—

Harrow, September 17th, 1822.
Honoured Sir,

I object on behalf of the parish to admit the tablet of Lord Byron’s child into the church.

James Winkley, Churchwarden.

The remains of Allegra, after long delay, were at length buried in the church, just under the present door mat, over which the congregation enter the church; but no memorial tablet or other record of Allegra appears on the walls of Harrow Church.