LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of Francis Hodgson
Robert Bland to John Herman Merivale, 20 May 1820

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
Kenilworth: May 20, 1820.

My very dear Merivale,—Call me ‘ungrateful, reprobate, degraded, spiritless outcast,’ but never say I am forgetful—for the fact is, I have done, and still do, all in my power not to write to you or any one; and now, if I could be certain of sleeping if I left

1 From an original poem of Nicolo Fortiguerra.

off, I would not add a word more. My opinion of the state of things is this: you—et vos semblables, if, per hasard, there exists a semblance in the world—have too firmly convinced yourselves of the excellence of
Will Whistlecraft’s performance, which has a strong smack of that Italian cask, always so palatable and pleasurable to yourself. That is, you are a man of good present and future fortunes. I, on the contrary, have much less than no fortune at present, and see a further remove from her favours in futurity. You are immersed in the world, its gaieties, varieties, conversations, contradictions, and acquaintances; whereas, I never clash with, or meet, any world at all, except myself at toilette, and even that fascination begins to tire. Again, Nature may have possibly instilled into your ——. No, no; that she has not, nor into any one’s veins, more milk of gentleness than into mine. And so we will even keep to the difference of fortunes, mixing in the world, admiration (even to gloating) of Italian, and strong prepossession for Will Whistlecraft; and these said circumstances and feelings procreated, and otherwise engendered, a better thing than Will’s—most probably a better thing than Fortiguerra’s—but not so good a thing as your own brains had reel’d, spun, and
woven, had your own brains really been consulted; the language plain, easy, and of most accessible construction—the stanza playful, and done evidently while you were whistling—in a word, facile to excess. Much fun; but I vow you could, without a particle more pains, do a better thing. I mean you might invent a more amusing story; and then all would be as it should be. Have I wounded my brother? Say no; for Heaven knows I have so few brothers in this world, that to me it is all a wilderness—even to this late day of my existence.