LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 22 July 1816

Life of Byron: to 1806
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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
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Life of Byron: 1819
Life of Byron: 1820
Life of Byron: 1821
Life of Byron: 1822
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Life of Byron: 1824
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“Diodati near Geneva, July 22d, 1816.

“I wrote to you a few weeks ago, and Dr. Polidori received your letter; but the packet has not made its appearance, nor the epistle, of which you gave notice therein. I enclose you an advertisement*, which was copied by Dr. Polidori, and which appears to be about the most impudent imposition that ever issued from Grub-street. I need hardly say that I know nothing of all this trash, nor whence it may spring,—‘Odes to St Helena,’—‘Farewells to England,’ &c. &c.—and if it can be disavowed, or is worth disavowing, you have full authority to do so. I never wrote, nor conceived, a line on any thing of the kind, any more than of two other things with which I was saddled—something about ‘Gaul,’ and another about ‘Mrs. La Valette;’ and as to the ‘Lily of France,’ I should as soon think of celebrating a turnip. ‘On the morning of my daughter’s birth,’ I had other things to think of than verses; and should never have dreamed of such an invention, till Mr. Johnston and his pamphlet’s advertisement broke in upon me with a new light on the crafts and subtleties of the demon of printing,—or rather publishing.

“I did hope that some succeeding lie would have superseded the thousand and one which were accumulated during last winter. I can forgive whatever may be said of or against me, but not what they make me say or sing for myself. It is enough to answer for what I have written; but it were too much for Job himself to bear what one has not. I suspect that when the Arab Patriarch wished that his ‘enemy had written a book,’ he did not anticipate his own name on the title-page. I

* The following was the advertisement enclosed:

“Neatly printed and hot-pressed, 2s. 6d.

“Lord Byron’s Farewell to England, with Three other Poems—Ode to St. Helena, to My Daughter on her Birthday, and To the Lily of France.

“Printed by J. Johnston, Cheapside, 335; Oxford, 9.

“The above beautiful Poems will be read with the most lively interest, as it is probable they will be the last of the author’s that will appear in England.”

feel quite as much bored with this foolery as it deserves, and more than I should be if I had not a headache.

“Of Glenarvon, Madame de Staël told me (ten days ago, at Copet) marvellous and grievous things; but I have seen nothing of it but the motto, which promises amiably ‘for us and for our tragedy.’ If such be the posy, what should the ring be?—‘a name to all succeeding,*’ &c. The generous moment selected for the publication is probably its kindest accompaniment, and—truth to say—the time was well chosen. I have not even a guess at the contents, except from the very vague accounts I have heard.

* * * * * *
* * * * * *

“I ought to be ashamed of the egotism of this letter. It is not my fault altogether, and I shall be but too happy to drop the subject when others will allow me.

“I am in tolerable plight, and in my last letter told you what I had done in the way of all rhyme. I trust that you prosper, and that your authors are in good condition. I should suppose your stud has received some increase by what I hear. Bertram must be a good horse; does he run next meeting? I hope you will beat the Row.

“Yours alway, &c.”