LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Lord Byron
Lord Byron’s Cain.
The Examiner  No. 740  (10 March 1822)  152.
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No. 740. SUNDAY, March 10, 1822.



Pisa, February 8, 1822.

Dear Sir,—Attacks upon me were to be expected; but I perceive one upon you in the papers, which I confess that I did not expect. How, or in what manner, you can be considered responsible for what I publish, I am at a loss to conceive. If “Cain” be “blasphemous,” Paradise Lost is blasphemous; and the words of the Oxford gentleman, “Evil, be thou my good,” are from that very poem, from the mouth of Satan; and is there any thing more in that of Lucifer in the Mystery? Cain is nothing more than a drama, not a piece of argument. If Lucifer and Cain speak as the first murderer and the first rebel may be supposed to speak, surely all the rest of the personages talk also according to their characters; and the stronger passions have ever been permitted to the drama. I have even avoided introducing the Deity, as in Scripture, (though Milton does, and not very wisely either;) but have adopted his angel, as sent to Cain, instead, on purpose to avoid shocking any feelings on the subject, by falling short of, what all uninspired men must fall short in, viz., giving an adequate notion of the effect of the presence of Jehovah. The old Mysteries introduced him liberally enough, and all this is avoided in the new one.

The attempt to bully you, because they think it will not succeed with me, seems to me as atrocious an attempt as ever disgraced the times. What! when Gibbon’s, Hume’s, Priestly’s, and Drummond’s publishers have been allowed to rest in peace for seventy years, are you to be singled out for a work of fiction, not of history or argument? There must be something at the bottom of this,—some private enmity of your own: it is otherwise incredible.

I can only say, “Me,—Me adsum qui feci,” that any proceedings directed against you, I beg be transferred to me, who am willing, and ought to endure them all; that if you have lost money by the publication, I will refund any, or all of the copy-right; that I desire you will say, that both you and Mr. Gifford remonstrated against the publication, as also Mr. Hobhouse; that I alone occasioned it, and I alone am the person who either legally or otherwise should bear the burden. If they prosecute, I will come to England; that is, if by meeting it in my own person, I can save yours. Let me know,—you sha’nt suffer for me, if I can help it. Make any use of this letter which you please.,—Yours ever,