LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of John Murray
John Murray to Lord Byron, 4 January 1816

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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Produced by CATH
Albemarle Street, January 4th, 1816.
My Lord,

I send the manuscript, of which Gifford says: “I read the manuscript, and with great pleasure. It is indeed very good, and the plan is ingenious. The poetry is in the best manner.” Nothing can be more ingeniously framed and more interestingly told than this story. I liked it ten times better on the third reading than on the first. I read it last night to D’Israeli and his family, and they were perfectly overcome by it. The gradual madness of Parisina, the preparation and death of Hugo, and the subsequent description of Azo, by which, after all the story is over, you recreate a new and most tender interest, are all most attractive and touching, and in your best manner. In these matters I always liken myself to Molière’s “old woman”; and when I am pleased I know our readers will be pleased. Where you can strengthen expressions or lines, I entreat you to do so, but otherwise nothing can be added or retrenched for its improvement, though it is a gem truly worth polishing. These two tales form an invaluable contrast, and display the variety of
your power. For myself, I am really more interested by the effect of the story of ‘
Parisina’ than by either, I think, of the former tales. I will call upon you from two to three. Depend upon it you beat them all; you have allowed plenty of time for any to take the field and equal your last ‘Lara,’ which I find, from the opinion of Rose and Ellis, is thought by poets to be your best poem. I really am convinced that there is not any volume, the production of one man, to be picked out that will be so interesting and universally popular as that which your six tales would make. Formed upon human passions, they can never pass away.

John Murray.