LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
Editor of the Courier
[Byron and his Admirers].
The Courier  No. 10,326  (17 December 1824)
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH


No. 10,326. FRIDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 17, 1824. Price 7D.

Robert Southey, Mr. Southey and Lord Byron
Thomas Barnes, “Southey and Lord Byron”
L. C., Southey versus Lord Byron

Southey’s letter, which we published on Monday, has provoked, as it was well calculated to do, the liberal admirers of Lord Byron. They cannot refute its arguments; and even they have not the impudence to say a word in defence of the virtues or the morality of the departed poet. But they turn sentimental, and give us cant, or sophistry, instead of reasons. Byron is in his grave, we are told; and it is unmanly, it is cruel, it is malignant, to assail his memory. There might be something plausible in this, if, with Byron’s death, his power to do mischief had died also. A generous compassion, in such a case, might be permitted to leave his transgressions undisturbed, and not to arraign one who could no longer offend. But an author has a double existence. His person moulders into dust, while the writings he leaves behind him flourish in full vigour, and are perpetuated, a blessing or a curse, according to their tendency. Why do we still speak with abhorrence of the blasphemies of Paine and Voltaire—of the gross obscenities of the latter—of the vicious eloquence of Rousseau? They, too, are dead, as are many other Atheistical and licentious writers, whose polluted legacies to posterity every man feels it a moral duty to withhold from his children. But who hesitates to brand their memory with infamy? What, then, is the exemption in favor of Lord Byron, which his foolish admirers would plead? His works are recorded against him. There they are, the free subject of public or private opinion: and we are yet to learn, that a morbid feeling of tenderness for the dead is to extinguish our duty to the living.