LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Elizabeth Bridget Pigot, 2 August 1807

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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“August 2d, 1807.

“London begins to disgorge its contents—town is empty—consequently I can scribble at leisure, as occupations are less numerous. In a fortnight I shall depart to fulfil a country engagement; but expect epistles from you previous to that period. Ridge does not proceed rapidly in Notts—very possible. In town things wear a more promising aspect, and a man whose works are praised by reviewers, admired by duchesses, and sold by every bookseller of the metropolis, does not dedicate much consideration to rustic readers. I have now a review before me, entitled

* In the Collection of his Poems printed for private circulation, he had inserted some severe verges on Doctor Butler, which he omitted in the subsequent publication,—at the same time explaining why he did so in a note little less severe than the verses.

A. D. 1807. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 117
Literary Recreations,’ where my bardship is applauded far beyond my deserts. I know nothing of the critic, but think him a very discerning gentleman, and myself a devilish clever fellow. His critique pleases me particularly, because it is of great length, and a proper quantum of censure is administered, just to give an agreeable relish to the praise. You know I hate insipid, unqualified, common-place compliment. If you would wish to see it, order the 13th Number of ‘Literary Recreations’ for the last month. I assure you I have not the most distant idea of the writer of the article—it is printed in a periodical publication—and though I have written a paper (a review of Wordsworth*), which appears in the same work, I am ignorant of every other person concerned in it—even the editor, whose name I have not heard. My cousin, Lord Alexander Gordon, who resided in the same hotel, told me his mother, her Grace of Gordon, requested he would introduce my Poetical Lordship to her Highness, as she had bought my volume, admired it exceedingly in common with the rest of the fashionable world, and wished to claim her relationship with the author. I was unluckily engaged on an excursion for some days afterwards, and as the duchess was on the eve of departing for Scotland, I have postponed my introduction till the winter, when I shall favour the lady, whose taste I shall not dispute, with my most sublime and edifying conversation. She is now in the Highlands, and Alexander took his departure a few days ago, for the same blessed seat of ‘dark rolling winds.

Crosby, my London publisher, has disposed of his second importation, and has sent to Ridge for a third—at least so he says. In every bookseller’s window I see my own name and say nothing, but enjoy my

* This first attempt of Lord Byron at reviewing (for it will be seen that he, once or twice afterwards, tried his hand at this least poetical of employments) is remarkable only as showing how plausibly he could assume the established tone and phraseology of these minor judgment-seats of criticism. For instance:—“The volumes before us are by the Author of Lyrical Ballads, a collection which has not undeservedly met with a considerable share of public applause. The characteristics of Mr. Wordsworth’s muse are simple and flowing, though occasionally inharmonious, verse,—strong and sometimes irresistible appeals to the feelings, with unexceptionable sentiments. Though the present work may not equal his former efforts, many of the poems possess a native elegance,” &c. &c. &c. If Mr. Wordsworth ever chanced to cast his eye over this article, how little could he have suspected that under that dull prosaic mask lurked one who, in five short years from thence, would rival even him in poetry.

118 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1807.
fame in secret. My last reviewer kindly requests me to alter my determination of writing no more, and ‘a Friend to the Cause of Literature’ begs I will gratify the public with some new work ‘at no very distant period.’ Who would not be a bard?—that is to say, if all critics would be so polite. However, the others will pay me off, I doubt not, for this gentle encouragement. If so, have at ’em! By the by, I have written at my intervals of leisure, after in the morning, 380 lines in blank verse, of Bosworth Field. I have luckily got
Hutton’s account. I shall extend the Poem to 8 or 10 books, and shall have finished it in a year. Whether it will be published or not must depend on circumstances. So much for egotism! My laurels have turned my brain, but the cooling acids of forthcoming criticisms will probably restore me to modesty.

“Southwell is a damned place—I have done with it—at least in all probability: excepting yourself, I esteem no one within its precincts. You were my only rational companion; and in plain truth, I had more respect for you than the whole bevy, with whose foibles I amused myself in compliance with their prevailing propensities. You gave yourself more trouble with me and my manuscripts than a thousand dolls would have done. Believe me, I have not forgotten your good-nature in this circle of sin, and one day I trust I shall be able to evince my gratitude. Adieu, yours, &c.

“P.S. Remember me to Dr. P.