LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Lord Byron to Francis Hodgson, 3 September 1811

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II. 1794-1807.
Chapter III. 1807-1808.
Chapter IV. 1808.
Chapter V. 1808-1809.
Chapter VI. 1810.
Chapter VII. 1811.
Chapter VIII. 1811.
Chapter IX. 1811.
Chapter X. 1811-12.
Chapter XI. 1812.
Chapter XII. 1812-13.
Chapter XIII. 1813-14.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chapter XIV. 1815-16.
Chapter XV. 1816-18.
Chapter XVI. 1815-22.
Chapter XVII. 1820.
Chapter XVIII. 1824-27.
Chapter XIX. 1827-1830
Chapter XX. 1830-36.
Chapter XXI. 1837-40.
Chapter XXII. 1840-47.
Chapter XXIII. 1840-52.
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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Newstead Abbey: September 3, 1811.

My dear Hodgson,—I will have nothing to do with your immortality; we are miserable enough in this life, without the absurdity of speculating upon another. If men are to live, why die at all? and if they die, why disturb the sweet and sound sleep that ‘knows no waking’? ‘Post mortem nihil est, ipsaque mors nihil’—‘quæris quo jaceas post obitum loco?’ ‘Quo non nata jacent.’ . . . As to revealed religion, Christ came to save men; but a
good Pagan will go to heaven, and a bad Nazarene to hell; ‘Argal’ (I argue like the gravedigger1) why are not all men Christians? or why are any? If mankind may be saved who never heard or dreamt, at Timbuctoo, Otaheite, Terra Incognita, &c., of Galilee and its Prophet, Christianity is of no avail; if they cannot be saved without, why are not all orthodox? It is a little hard to send a man preaching to Judæa, and leave the rest of the world—niggers and what not—dark as their complexions, without a ray of light for so many years to lead them on high; and who will believe that God will damn men for not knowing what they were never taught? I hope I am sincere; I was so at least on a bed of sickness in a far distant country, when I had neither friend, nor comforter, nor hope, to sustain me. I looked to death as a relief from pain, without a wish for an after-life, but a confidence that the God who punishes in this existence had left that last asylum for the weary.
όν ό Θεός άγαπάει άποθνήσκει νέος.2
I am no Platonist, I am nothing at all; but I would sooner be a Paulician, Manichean, Spinozist,

1 In Hamlet. 2 He whom God loves dies young.

Gentile, Pyrrhonian, Zoroastian, than one of the seventy-two villanous sects who are tearing each other to pieces for the love of the Lord and hatred of each other. Talk of Galileeism? Show me the effects—are you better, wiser, kinder by your precepts? I will bring ten Mussulmen shall shame you all in good will towards men, prayer to God, and duty to their neighbours. And is there a ———,1 or a Bonze, who is not superior to a fox-hunting curate? But I will say no more on this endless theme; let me live, well if possible, and die without pain. The rest is with God, who assuredly, had He come or sent, would have made Himself manifest to nations, and intelligible to all.

I shall rejoice to see you. My present intention is to accept Scrope Davies’s invitation; and then, if you accept mine, we shall meet here and there. Did you know poor Matthews? I shall miss him much at Cambridge.