LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
William Roscoe to William Rathbone, [1796?]

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 am much obliged by the tailpiece to your letter of to-day, though, to say the truth, it amounts to nothing more than calling me (in very friendly terms) an idle and extravagant fellow, who is playing off the artful trick of getting hold of the conveniences and pleasures of life without performing any of its duties. This I relish the worse, as I am not sure that there is not some degree of truth in it; but I am much surer, that to toil and labour for the sake of labouring and toiling, is a much more foolish part; and that it is the curse of God upon avarice, that he who has given himself up too long to its dominion shall never be able to extricate himself from its chains. Surely man is the most foolish of all animals, and civilised man the most foolish of all men. Anticipation is his curse; and to prevent the contingency of evil, he makes life itself only one continued evil. Health, wisdom, peace of mind, conscience, are all sacrificed to the absurd purpose of heaping up, for the use of life, more than life can employ, under the flimsy pretext of providing for his children, till practice becomes habit, and we labour on till we are obliged to take our de-
parture, as tired of this world as we are unprepared for the rational happiness of the next.

“I have much more to say to you on this subject, but this is not the place for it. I shall therefore leave you to your
‘Double double,
Toil and trouble,
Fire burn, and caldron bubble,’
whilst I go to the arrangement of the fifth class of my plants, and take my chance of a few years in a workhouse, some fifty years hence, which I shall think well compensated by having had the lot to live so long.”