LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
James Currie to William Roscoe, [25 January 1797]

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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“I have perused the ‘Nurse’ with attention, and upon the whole with much pleasure; and I see nothing either in the general impression it is likely to produce, or in the effect of particular passages, that should prevent your publishing it, or indeed render the measure doubtful. You must not, however, expect that it will increase the reputation of the biographer of ‘Lorenzo de’ Medici.’ It is enough that it is not unworthy of him, and that you give it to the world, as the truth is, not as a laboured effort of your talents, but as the occasional occupation and amusement of a vacant hour, in the midst of more serious engagements. The versification is easy and flowing, and possesses considerable variety. Your numbers rise and fall with the sentiment they embody, which is generally, but not always, distinctly expressed. I think you have a few lines which might have been improved with a little care; but it is perhaps well to exhibit, in some cases, the marks of a little negligence to heighten the
general effect The compliment to the
Duchess of Devonshire, which every body will read and quote, is very fine. The four lines beginning ‘So Venus,’ &c. are singularly beautiful; but I wish you had been prompted by the muse to a better or smoother termination. My objection is to prompts the aim; it is not, however, very material.

“The prose in your preface and notes is, as usual, easy, luminous, and correct. I see nothing to object to as to sentiment, and little or nothing as to style. Yet you have, I think, got one or two Latinisms. Why should Ranza concede the MSS. It might have been as well to deliver them, or perhaps still better to have given them up, p. 10. In the same page, line 10., you use adverts to, as I suspect, for mentions; and in p. 14. adverted to is certainly employed for detailed, examined, or discussed. You are very fond of adverting.

“I have only farther to observe, that it will be wished by the ladies that you had translated the quotations in the notes as well as in he preface. I have no doubt the ‘Nurse’ will make some noise.”*