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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 20 July 1817

Life of Byron: to 1806
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Life of Byron: 1816 (I)
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“Venice, July 20th, 1817.

“I write to give you notice that I have completed the fourth and ultimate Canto of Childe Harold. It consists of 126 stanzas, and is consequently the longest of the four. It is yet to be copied and polished; and the notes are to come, of which it will require more than the third Canto, as it necessarily treats more of works of art than of nature. It shall be sent towards autumn;—and now for our barter. What do you bid? eh? you shall have samples, an’ it so please you: but I wish to know what I am to expect (as the saying is) in these hard times, when
136 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1817.
poetry does not let for half its value. If you are disposed to do what Mrs. Winifred Jenkins calls ‘the handsome thing,’ I may perhaps throw you some odd matters to the lot,—translations, or slight originals; there is no saying what may be on the anvil between this and the booking season. Recollect that it is the last Canto, and completes the work; whether as good as the others, I cannot judge, in course—least of all as yet,—but it shall be as little worse as I can help. I may, perhaps, give some little gossip in the notes as to the present state of Italian literati and literature, being acquainted with some of their capi—men as well as books;—but this depends upon my humour at the time. So, now, pronounce: I say nothing.

“When you have got the whole four Cantos, I think you might venture on an edition of the whole poem in quarto, with spare copies of the two last for the purchasers of the old edition of the first two. There is a hint for you, worthy of the Row; and now, perpend—pronounce.

“I have not received a word from you of the fate of ‘Manfred’ or ‘Tasso,’ which seems to me odd, whether they have failed or succeeded.

“As this is a scrawl of business, and I have lately written at length and often on other subjects, I will only add that I am, &c.”