LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Lord Holland, 28 September 1812

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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
“September 28th, 1812.

Will this do better? the metaphor is more complete.
“Till slowly ebb’d the { lava of the | spent volcanic } wave,
And blackening ashes mark’d the Muse’s grave.
If not, we will say ‘burning’ wave, and instead of ‘burning clime,’ in the line some couplets back, have ‘glowing.’

“Is Whitbread determined to castrate all my cavalry lines*? I don’t see why t’other house should be spared; besides, it is the public, who ought to know better; and you recollect Johnson’s was against similar buffooneries of Rich’s—but, certes, I am not Johnson.

“Instead of ‘effects,’ say ‘labours’—‘degenerate’ will do, will it? Mr. Betty is no longer a babe, therefore the line cannot be personal.

* The lines he here alludes to, and which, in spite of all his efforts to retain them, were omitted by the Committee, ran thus:

Nay, lower still, the Drama yet deplores
That late she deign’d to crawl upon all-fours.
When Richard roars in Bosworth for a horse,
If you command, the steed must come in course.
If you decree, the Stage must condescend
To soothe the sickly taste we dare not mend.
Blame not our judgment should we acquiesce,
And gratify you more by showing less.
Oh, since your Fiat stamps the Drama’s laws,
Forbear to mock us with misplaced applause;
That public praise be ne’er again disgraced,
From { brutes to man recall | babes and brutes redeem } a nation’s taste;
Then pride shall doubly nerve the actors’ powers,
When Reason’s voice is echoed back by ours.”

The last couplet but one was again altered in a subsequent copy thus:—

The past reproach let present scenes refute,
Nor shift from man to babe, from babe to brute.

370 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1812.

“Will this do?
“Till ebb’d the lava of { the burning | that molten } wave
with ‘glowing dome,’ in case you prefer ‘burning’ added to this ‘wave’ metaphorical. The word ‘fiery pillar’ was suggested by the ‘pillar of fire’ in the book of Exodus, which went before the Israelites through the Red Sea. I once thought of saying ‘like Israel’s pillar,’ and making it a simile, but I did not know,—the great temptation was leaving the epithet ‘fiery’ for the supplementary wave. I want to work up that passage, as it is the only new ground us prologuizers can go upon—
“This is the place where, if a poet
Shined in description, he might show it.”
If I part with the possibility of a future conflagration, we lessen the compliment to
Shakspeare. However, we will e’en mend it thus:
“Yes, it shall be—the magic of that name,
That scorns the scythe of Time, the torch of Flame,
On the same spot, &c. &c.
There—the deuce is in it, if that is not an improvement to
Whitbread’s content. Recollect, it is the ‘name,’ and not the ‘magic,’ that has a noble contempt for those same weapons. If it were the ‘magic,’ my metaphor would be somewhat of the maddest—so the ‘name’ is the antecedent. But, my dear lord, your patience is not quite so immortal—therefore, with many and sincere thanks, I am

“Yours ever most affectionately.

“P.S. I foresee there will be charges of partiality in the papers; but you know I sent in no Address; and glad both you and I must be that I did not, for, in that case, their plea had been plausible. I doubt the Pit will be testy; but conscious innocence (a novel and pleasing sensation) makes me bold.”