LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 2 August 1821

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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“Ravenna, August 2d, 1821.

“I had certainly answered your last letter, though but briefly, to the part to which you refer, merely saying, ‘damn the controversy;’ and quoting some verses of George Colman’s, not as allusive to you, but to the disputants. Did you receive this letter? It imports me to know that our letters are not intercepted or mislaid.

“Your Berlin drama* is an honour, unknown since the days of Elkanah Settle, whose ‘Emperor of Morocco’ was represented by the Court ladies, which was, as Johnson says, ‘the last blast of inflammation’ to poor Dryden, who could not bear it, and fell foul of Settle without mercy or moderation, on account of that and a frontispiece, which he dared to put before his play.

“Was not your showing the Memoranda to * * somewhat perilous? Is there not a facetious allusion or two which might as well be reserved for posterity?

“I know S * * well—that is to say, I have met him occasionally at Copet. Is he not also touched lightly in the Memoranda? In a review of Childe Harold, Canto 4th, three years ago, in Blackwood’s Magazine, they quote some stanzas of an elegy of S * *’s on Rome, from which they say that I might have taken some ideas. I give you my honour that I never saw it except in that criticism, which gives, I think, three or four stanzas, sent them (they say) for the nonce by a correspondent—perhaps himself. The fact is easily proved; for I don’t understand German, and there was I believe no translation—at least, it was the first time that I ever heard of, or saw, either translation or original.

“I remember having some talk with S * * about Alfieri, whose merit he denies. He was also wroth about the Edinburgh Review of

* There had been, a short time before, performed at the Court of Berlin a spectacle founded on the Poem of Lalla Rookh, in which the present Emperor of Russia personated Feramorz, and the Empress, Lalla Rookh.

508 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
Goëthe, which was sharp enough, to be sure. He went about saying, too, of the French—‘I meditate a terrible vengeance against the French—I will prove that Moliere is no poet†.’ * * *

“I don’t see why you should talk of ‘declining.’ When I saw you, you looked thinner, and yet younger, than you did when we parted several years before. You may rely upon this as fact. If it were not, I should say nothing, for I would rather not say unpleasant personal things to any one—but, as it was the pleasant truth, I tell it you. If you had led my life, indeed, changing climates and connexions—thinning yourself with fasting and purgatives—besides the wear and tear of the vulture passions, and a very bad temper besides, you might talk in this way—but you! I know no man who looks so well for his years, or who deserves to look better and to be better, in all respects. You are a * * *, and, what is perhaps better for your friends a good fellow. So, don’t talk of decay, but put in for eighty, as you well may.

“I am, at present, occupied principally about these unhappy proscriptions and exiles, which have taken place here on account of politics. It has been a miserable sight to see the general desolation in families. I am doing what I can for them, high and low, by such interest and means as I possess or can bring to bear. There have been thousands of these proscriptions within the last month in the Exarchate, or (to speak modernly) the Legations. Yesterday, too, a man got his back broken, in extricating a dog of mine from under a mill-wheel. The dog was killed, and the man is in the greatest danger. I was not present—it happened before I was up, owing to a stupid boy taking the dog to bathe in a dangerous spot. I must, of course, provide for the poor fellow while he lives, and his family, if he dies. I would gladly have given a much greater sum than that will come to that he had never been hurt. Pray, let me hear from you, and excuse haste and hot weather.

“Yours, &c.
* * * * * *

“You may have probably seen all sorts of attacks upon me in some gazettes in England some months ago. I only saw them, by Murray’s

† This threat has been since acted upon,—the critic in question having, to the great horror of the French literati, pronounced Moliere to be a “farceur.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 509
bounty, the other day. They call me ‘Plagiary,’ and what not. I think I now, in my time, have been accused of every thing.

“I have not given you details of little events here; but they have been trying to make me out to be the chief of a conspiracy, and nothing but their want of proofs for an English investigation has stopped them. Had it been a poor native, the suspicion were enough, as it has been for hundreds.

“Why don’t you write on Napoleon? I have no spirits, nor ‘estro’ to do so. His overthrow, from the beginning, was a blow on the head to me. Since that period, we have been the slaves of fools. Excuse this long letter. Ecco a translation literal of a French epigram.
“Egle, beauty and poet, has two little crimes,
She makes her own face, and does not make her rhymes.

“I am going to ride, having been warned not to ride in a particular part of the forest, on account of the ultra-politicians.

“Is there no chance of your return to England, and of our Journal? I would have published the two plays in it—two or three scenes per number—and, indeed, all of mine in it. If you went to England, I would do so still.”