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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 2 February 1818

Life of Byron: to 1806
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“Venice, February 2d, 1818.

“Your letter of Dec. 8th arrived but this day, by some delay, common but inexplicable. Your domestic calamity is very grievous, and I feel with you as much as I dare feel at all. Throughout life, your loss must be my loss, and your gain my gain; and, though my heart may ebb, there will always be a drop for you among the dregs.

“I know how to feel with you, because (selfishness being always the substratum of our damnable clay) I am quite wrapt up in my own children. Besides my little legitimate, I have made unto myself an illegitimate since (to say nothing of one before*), and I look forward to one of these as the pillar of my old age, supposing that I ever reach—which I hope I never shall—that desolating period. I have a great love for my little Ada, though perhaps she may torture me, like * * * * * * * * * *

“Your offered address will be as acceptable as you can wish. I don’t much care what the wretches of the world think of me—all that’s past. But I care a good deal what you think of me, and, so, say what you like. You know that I am not sullen; and, as to being savage, such things depend on circumstances. However, as to being in good-humour in your society, there is no great merit in that, because it would be an effort, or an insanity, to be otherwise.

“I don’t know what Murray may have been saying or quoting†. I

* This possibly may have been the subject of the Poem given in page 104 of the First Volume.

† Having seen by accident the passage in one of his letters to Mr. Murray, in which he denounces, as false and worthless, the poetical system on which the greater number of his cotemporaries, as well as himself, founded their reputation, I took an opportunity, in the next letter I wrote to him, of jesting a little on this opinion and his motives for it. It was, no doubt (I ventured to say), excellent policy in him, who had made sure of his own immortality in this style of writing, thus to throw overboard all us, poor devils, who were embarked with him. He was in fact, I added, behaving towards us much in the manner of the methodist preacher who

160 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1818.
Crabbe and Sam the fathers of present Poesy; and said, that I thought—except them—all of ‘us youth’ were on a wrong tack. But I never said that we did not sail well. Our fame will be hurt by admiration and imitation. When I say our, I mean all (Lakers included), except the postscript of the Augustans. The next generation (from the quantity and facility of imitation) will tumble and break their necks off our Pegasus, who runs away with us; but we keep the saddle, because we broke the rascal and can ride. But though easy to mount, he is the devil to guide; and the next fellows must go back to the riding-school and the manège, and learn to ride the ‘great horse.’

“Talking of horses, by the way, I have transported my own, four in number, to the Lido (beach, in English), a strip of some ten miles along the Adriatic, a mile or two from the city; so that I not only get a row in my gondola, but a spanking gallop of some miles daily along a firm and solitary beach, from the fortress to Malamocco, the which contributes considerably to my health and spirits.

“I have hardly had a wink of sleep this week past. We are in the agonies of the Carnival’s last days, and I must be up all night again, as well as to-morrow. I have had some curious masking adventures this Carnival, but, as they are not yet over, I shall not say on. I will work the mine of my youth to the last veins of the ore, and then—good night. I have lived, and am content.

Hobhouse went away before the Carnival began, so that he had little or no fun. Besides, it requires some time to be thoroughgoing with the Venetians; but of all this anon, in some other letter. * * * * * * * * *

“I must dress for the evening. There is an opera and ridotto, and I know not what, besides balls; and so, ever and ever yours,


“P.S. I send this without revision, so excuse errors. I delight in the fame and fortune of Lalla, and again congratulate you on your well-merited success.”