LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 4 December 1816

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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“Venice, Dec. 4th, 1816.

“I have written to you so frequently of late, that you will think me a bore; as I think you a very impolite person, for not answering my letters from Switzerland, Milan, Verona, and Venice. There are some things I wanted, and want, to know; viz. whether Mr. Davies, of inaccurate memory, had or had not delivered the MS. as delivered to him; because, if he has not, you will find that he will bountifully bestow transcriptions on all the curious of his acquaintance, in which case you may probably find your publication anticipated by the ‘Cambridge’ or other Chronicles. In the next place,—I forget what was next; but, in the third place, I want to hear whether you have yet published, or when you mean to do so, or why you have not done so, because in your last (Sept. 20th,—you may be ashamed of the date), you talked of this being done immediately.

“From England I hear nothing, and know nothing of any thing or any body. I have but one correspondent (except Mr. Kinnaird on
A. D. 1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 63
business now and then), and her a female; so that I know no more of your island, or city, than the Italian version of the French papers chooses to tell me, or the advertisements of
Mr. Colburn tagged to the end of your Quarterly Review for the year ago. I wrote to you at some length last week, and have little to add, except that I have begun, and am proceeding in, a study of the Armenian language, which I acquire, as well as I can, at the Armenian convent, where I go every day to take lessons of a learned friar, and have gained some singular and not useless information with regard to the literature and customs of that oriental people. They have an establishment here—a church and convent of ninety monks, very learned and accomplished men, some of them. They have also a press, and make great efforts for the enlightening of their nation. I find the language (which is twin, the literal and the vulgar) difficult, but not invincible (at least, I hope not). I shall go on. I found it necessary to twist my mind round some severer study, and this, as being the hardest I could devise here, will be a file for the serpent.

“I mean to remain here till the spring, so address to me directly to Venice, poste restante.Mr. Hobhouse for the present, is gone to Rome, with his brother, brother’s wife, and sister, who overtook him here: he returns in two months. I should have gone too, but I fell in love, and must stay that over. I should think that and the Armenian alphabet will last the winter. The lady has, luckily for me, been less obdurate than the language, or, between the two, I should have lost my remains of sanity. By the way, she is not an Armenian but a Venetian, as I believe I told you in my last. As for Italian, I am fluent enough, even in its Venetian modification, which is something like the Somersetshire version of English; and as for the more classical dialects, I had not forgot my former practice much during my voyaging.

“Yours, ever and truly,

“P.S. Remember me to Mr. Gifford.”