LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 4 June 1817

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, June 4th, 1817.

“I have received the proofs of the ‘Lament of Tasso,’ which makes me hope that you have also received the reformed Third Act of Manfred, from Rome, which I sent soon after my arrival there. My date will apprize you of my return home within these few days. For me, I have received none of your packets, except, after long delay, the ‘Tales of my Landlord,’ which I before acknowledged. I do not at all understand the why nots, but so it is;—no Manuel, no letters, no tooth-powder, no extract from Moore’s Italy concerning Marino Faliero, no nothing—as a man hallooed out at one of Burdett’s elections, after a long ululatus of ‘No Bastille! No governor-ities! No—’ God knows who or what;—but his ne plus ultra was ‘No nothing!’—and my receipts of your packages amount to about his meaning. I want the extract from Moore’s Italy very much, and the tooth-powder, and the magnesia; I don’t care so much about the poetry, or the letters, or Mr. Maturin’s by-Jasus tragedy. Most of the things sent by the post have come—I mean proofs and letters; therefore send me Marino Faliero by the post, in a letter.

“I was delighted with Rome, and was on horseback all round it many hours daily, besides in it the rest of my time, bothering over its
122 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1817.
marvels. I excursed and skirred the country round to Alba, Tivoli, Frescati, Licenza, &c. &c.; besides, I visited twice the Fall of Terni, which beats every thing. On my way back, close to the temple by its banks, I got some famous trout out of the river Clitumnus—the prettiest little stream in all poesy, near the first post from Foligno and Spoletto.—I did not stay at Florence, being anxious to get home to Venice, and having already seen the galleries and other sights. I left my commendatory letters the evening before I went, so I saw nobody.

“To-day, Pindemonte, the celebrated poet of Verona, called on me; he is a little thin man, with acute and pleasing features; his address good and gentle; his appearance altogether very philosophical; his age about sixty, or more. He is one of their best going. I gave him Forsyth, as he speaks, or reads rather, a little English, and will find there a favourable account of himself. He inquired after his old Cruscan friends, Parsons, Greathead, Mrs. Piozzi, and Merry, all of whom he had known in his youth. I gave him as bad an account of them as I could, answering, as the false ‘Solomon Lob’ does to ‘Totterton’ in the farce, ‘all gone dead,’ and damned by a satire more than twenty years ago; that the name of their extinguisher was Gifford; that they were but a sad set of scribes after all, and no great things in any other way. He seemed, as was natural, very much pleased with this account of his old acquaintances, and went away greatly gratified with that and Mr. Forsyth’s sententious paragraph of applause in his own (Pindemonte’s) favour. After having been a little libertine in his youth, he is grown devout, and takes prayers, and talks to himself, to keep off the devil; but for all that, he is a very nice little old gentleman.

“I forgot to tell you that at Bologna (which is celebrated for producing popes, painters, and sausages) I saw an anatomical gallery, where there is a deal of waxwork, in which * * * * * *.

“I am sorry to hear of your row with Hunt; but suppose him to be exasperated by the Quarterly and your refusal to deal; and when one is angry and edites a paper, I should think the temptation too strong for literary nature, which is not always human. I can’t conceive in
A. D. 1817. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 123
what, and for what, he abuses you: what have you done? you are not an author, nor a politician, nor a public character; I know no scrape you have tumbled into. I am the more sorry, for this because I introduced you to Hunt, and because I believe him to be a good man; but till I know the particulars, I can give no opinion.

“Let me know about Lalla Rookh, which must be out by this time.

“I restore the proofs, but the punctuation should be corrected. I feel too lazy to have at it myself; so beg and pray Mr. Gifford for me.—Address to Venice. In a few days I go to my villeggiatura, in a casino near the Brenta, a few miles only on the main land. I have determined on another year, and many years of residence if I can compass them. Marianna is with me, hardly recovered of the fever, which has been attacking all Italy last winter. I am afraid she is a little hectic; but I hope the best.

“Ever, &c.

“P.S. Torwaltzen has done a bust of me at Rome for Mr. Hobhouse, which is reckoned very good. He is their best after Canova, and by some preferred to him.

“I have had a letter from Mr. Hodgson. He is very happy, has got a living, but not a child: if he had stuck to a curacy, babes would have come of course, because he could not have maintained them.

“Remember me to all friends, &c. &c.

“An Austrian officer, the other day, being in love with a Venetian, was ordered, with his regiment, into Hungary. Distracted between love and duty, he purchased a deadly drug, which dividing with his mistress, both swallowed. The ensuing pains were terrific, but the pills were purgative, and not poisonous, by the contrivance of the unsentimental apothecary; so that so much suicide was all thrown away. You may conceive the previous confusion and the final laughter; but the intention was good on all sides.”