LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 3 August 1814

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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“Hastings, August 3d, 1814.

“By the time this reaches your dwelling, I shall (God wot) be in town again probably. I have been here renewing my acquaintance with my old friend Ocean; and I find his bosom as pleasant a pillow for an hour in the morning as his daughter’s of Paphos could be in the twilight. I have been swimming and eating turbot, and smuggling neat brandies and silk handkerchiefs,—and listening to my friend Hodgson’s raptures about a pretty wife-elect of his,—and walking on cliffs, and tumbling down hills, and making the most of the ‘dolce far-niente’ for the last fortnight. I met a son of Lord Erskine’s, who says he has been married a year, and is the ‘happiest of men;’ and I have met the aforesaid H., who is also the ‘happiest of men;’ so, it is worth while being here, if only to witness the superlative felicity of these foxes, who have cut off their tails, and would persuade the rest to part with their brushes to keep them in countenance.

“It rejoiceth me that you like ‘Lara.’ Jeffrey is out with his 45th Number, which I suppose you have got. He is only too kind to me, in my share of it, and I begin to fancy myself a golden pheasant, upon the strength of the plumage wherewith he hath bedecked me. But then, ‘surgit amari,’ &c.—the gentlemen of the Champion, and Perry, have got hold (I know not how) of the condolatory address to Lady J. on the picture-abduction by our R * * *, and have published them—with my name, too, smack—without even asking leave, or inquiring whether or no! d—n their impudence, and d—n every thing. It has put me out of patience, and so, I shall say no more about it.

“You shall have Lara and Jacque (both with some additions) when out; but I am still demurring and delaying, and in a fuss, and so is R. in his way.

“Newstead is to be mine again. Claughton forfeits twenty-five thousand pounds; but that don’t prevent me from being very prettily
572 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
ruined. I mean to bury myself there—and let my beard grow—and hate you all.

“Oh! I have had the most amusing letter from Hogg, the Ettrick minstrel and shepherd. He wants me to recommend him to Murray, and, speaking of his present bookseller, whose ‘bills’ are never ‘lifted,’ he adds, totidem verbis, ‘God d—n him and them both.’ I laughed, and so would you too, at the way in which this execration is introduced. The said Hogg is a strange being, but of great, though uncouth, powers. I think very highly of him, as a poet; but he, and half of these Scotch and Lake troubadours, are spoilt by living in little circles and petty societies. London and the world is the only place to take the conceit out of a man—in the milling phrase. Scott, he says, is gone to the Orkneys in a gale of wind;—during which wind, he affirms, the said Scott, ‘he is sure, is not at his ease,—to say the best of it.’ Lord, Lord, if these home-keeping minstrels had crossed your Atlantic or my Mediterranean, and tasted a little open boating in a white squall—or a gale in ‘the Gut’—or the ‘Bay of Biscay,’ with no gale at all—how it would enliven and introduce them to a few of the sensations!—to say nothing of an illicit amour or two upon shore, in the way of essay upon the Passions, beginning with simple adultery, and compounding it as they went along.

“I have forwarded your letter to Murray,—by the way, you had addressed it to Miller. Pray write to me, and say what art thou doing? ‘Not finished!’—Oons! how is this?—these ‘flaws and starts’ must be ‘authorised by your grandam,’ and are unbecoming of any other author. I was sorry to hear of your discrepancy with the * * s, or rather, your abjuration of agreement. I don’t want to be impertinent, or buffoon on a serious subject, and am therefore at a loss what to say.

“I hope nothing will induce you to abate from the proper price of your poem, as long as there is a prospect of getting it. For my own part, I have, seriously, and not whiningly (for that is not my way—at least, it used not to be) neither hopes, nor prospects, and scarcely even wishes. I am, in same respects, happy, but not in a manner that can or ought to last,—but enough of that. The worst of it is, I feel quite enervated and indifferent. I really do not know, if Jupiter were to offer me my choice of
A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 573
the contents of his benevolent cask, what I would pick out of it. If I was born, as the nurses say, with a ‘silver spoon in my mouth,’ it has stuck in my throat, and spoiled my palate, so that nothing put into it is swallowed with much relish,—unless it be cayenne. However, I have grievances enough to occupy me that way too;—but for fear of adding to yours by this pestilent long diatribe, I postpone the reading them, sine die. Ever, dear M., yours, &c.

“P.S. Don’t forget my godson. You could not have fixed on a fitter porter for his sins than me, being used to carry double without inconvenience.” * * * * * * *