LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to R. C. Dallas, 21 August 1811

Life of Byron: to 1806
Life of Byron: 1806
Life of Byron: 1807
Life of Byron: 1808
Life of Byron: 1809
Life of Byron: 1810
Life of Byron: 1811
Life of Byron: 1812
Life of Byron: 1813
Life of Byron: 1814
Life of Byron: 1815
Life of Byron: 1816 (I)
Life of Byron: 1816 (II)
Life of Byron: 1817
Life of Byron: 1818
Life of Byron: 1819
Life of Byron: 1820
Life of Byron: 1821
Life of Byron: 1822
Life of Byron: 1823
Life of Byron: 1824
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“Newstead, August 21, 1811.

“Your letter gives me credit for more acute feelings than I possess; for though I feel tolerably miserable, yet I am at the same time subject to a kind of hysterical merriment, or rather laughter without merriment, which I can neither account for nor conquer, and yet I do not feel relieved by it; but an indifferent person would think me in excellent spirits. ‘We must forget these things,’ and have recourse to our old selfish comforts, or rather comfortable selfishness. I do not think I shall return to London immediately, and shall therefore accept freely what is offered courteously—your mediation between me and Murray. I don’t think my name will answer the purpose, and you must be aware that my plaguy Satire will bring the north and south Grub-streets down upon the ‘Pilgrimage;’—but, nevertheless, if Murray makes a point of it, and you coincide with him, I will do it daringly; so let it be entitled, ‘By the Author of English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.’ My remarks on the Romaic, &c. once intended to accompany the ‘Hints from Horace,’ shall go along with the other, as being indeed more appropriate; also the smaller poems now in my possession, with a few elected from those published in * *’s Miscellany. I have found amongst my poor mother’s papers all my letters from the East, and one in particular of some length from Albania. From this, if necessary, I can work up a note or two on that subject. As I kept no journal, the letters written on the spot are the best. But of this anon, when we have definitively arranged.

“Has Murray shown the work to any one? He may—but I will have no traps for applause. Of course there are little things I would wish to alter, and perhaps the two stanzas of a buffooning cast on London’s Sunday are as well left out. I much wish to avoid identifying Childe Harold’s character with mine, and that, in sooth, is my second objection to my name appearing in the title-page. When you have made arrangements as to time, size, type, &c., favour me with a reply. I am giving you an universe of trouble, which thanks cannot atone for. I
A. D. 1811. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 287
made a kind of prose apology for my scepticism at the head of the MS., which, on recollection, is so much more like an attack than a defence, that, haply, it might better be omitted:—perpend, pronounce. After all, I fear Murray will be in a scrape with the orthodox; but I cannot help it, though I wish him well through it. As for me, ‘I have supped full of criticism,’ and I don’t think that the ‘most dismal treatise’ will stir and rouse my ‘fell of hair’ till ‘Birnam wood do come to Dunsinane.’

“I shall continue to write at intervals, and hope you will pay me in kind. How does Pratt get on, or rather get off Joe Blackett’s posthumous stock? You killed that poor man amongst you, in spite of your Ionian friend and myself, who would have saved him from Pratt, poetry, present poverty, and posthumous oblivion. Cruel patronage! to ruin a man at his calling; but then he is a divine subject for subscription and biography; and Pratt, who makes the most of his dedications, has inscribed the volume to no less than five families of distinction.

“I am sorry you don’t like Harry White; with a great deal of cant, which in him was sincere (indeed it killed him as you killed Joe Blackett), certes there is poesy and genius. I don’t say this on account of my simile and rhymes; but surely he was beyond all the Bloomfields and Blacketts, and their collateral cobblers, whom Lofft and Pratt have or may kidnap from their calling into the service of the trade. You must excuse my flippancy, for I am writing I know not what, to escape from myself. Hobbouse is gone to Ireland. Mr. Davies has been here on his way to Harrowgate.

“You did not know M.; he was a man of the most astonishing powers, as he sufficiently proved at Cambridge, by carrying off more prizes and fellowships, against the ablest candidates, than any other graduate on record; but a most decided atheist, indeed noxiously so, for he proclaimed his principles in all societies. I knew him well, and feel a loss not easily to be supplied to myself—to Hobhouse never. Let me hear from you, and believe me, &c.”