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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 6 October 1821

Life of Byron: to 1806
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Life of Byron: 1811
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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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“October 6th, 1821.

“By this post I have sent my nightmare to balance the incubus of * * *’s impudent anticipation of the Apotheosis of George the Third. I should like you to take a look over it, as I think there are two or three things in it which might please ‘our puir hill folk.’

“By the last two or three posts I have written to you at length. My ague bows to me every two or three days, but we are not as yet upon intimate speaking terms. I have an intermittent generally every two years, when the climate is favourable (as it is here), but it does me no harm. What I find worse, and cannot get rid of, is the growing depression of my spirits, without sufficient cause. I ride—I am not intemperate in eating or drinking—and my general health is as usual, except a slight ague, which rather does good than not. It must be constitutional; for I know nothing more than usual to depress me to that degree.

“How do you manage? I think you told me, at Venice, that your spirits did not keep up without a little claret. I can drink, and bear a good deal of wine (as you may recollect in England); but it don’t exhilarate—it makes me savage and suspicious, and even quarrelsome. Laudanum has a similar effect; but I can take much of it without any effect at all. The thing that gives me the highest spirits (it seems absurd, but true) is a dose of salts—I mean in the afternoon, after their effect*. But one can’t take them like champagne.

* It was, no doubt, from a similar experience of its effects that Dryden always took physic, when about to write any thing of importance. His caricature, Bayes, is accordingly made to say, “When I have a grand design, I ever take physic and let blood; for, when you would have pure swiftness of thought and fiery flights of fancy, you must have a care of the pensive part;—in short,” &c. &c.

On this subject of the effects of medicine upon the mind and spirits, some curious facts and illustrations have been, with his usual research, collected by Mr. d’Israeli, in his amusing “Curiosities of Literature.”

544 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“Excuse this old woman’s letter; but my lemelancholy don’t depend upon health, for it is just the same, well or ill, or here or there.

“Yours, &c.