LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of John Murray
John Murray to Lord Byron, 5 August 1817

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
Chapter XIII.
Chapter XIV.
Chapter XV.
Chapter XVI.
Chapter XVII.
Chapter XVIII.
Chapter XIX.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chap. XX.
Chap. XXI.
Chap. XXII.
Chap. XXIII.
Chap. XXIV.
Chap. XXV.
Chap. XXVI.
Chap. XXVII.
Chap. XXIX.
Chap. XXX.
Chap. XXXI.
Chap. XXXII.
Chap. XXXIV.
Chap. XXXV.
Chap. XXXVI.
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Produced by CATH
August 5th, 1817.
My Lord,

This day has brought me your letter of the 15th of July, adding another to the many instances of your truly kind indulgences to my unpardonable indolence. I am very sorry indeed to find that there is so little chance of seeing you soon in England, and I fancy you will suffer equal grief when you learn that next year you will certainly have a visit from me. In the meantime, I will endeavour to send a regular journal of news, literary and domestic. I perceive, by your reckoning by stanzas, that you are within fourteen stanzas of completing your opus magnum, for such I think it is your determination to make ‘Childe Harold.’ The first stanza Mr. Gifford thinks very highly of, as does Mr. Frere, and many more
to whom I have ventured to show it. You need not be assured how much I am rejoiced at the prospect of again opening my literary campaign under such brilliant auspices.

By the way, Polidori has sent me his tragedy! Do me the kindness to send by return of post a delicate declension of it, which I engage faithfully to-copy. I am truly sorry that he will employ himself in a way so ill- suited to his genius; for he is not without literary talents.*

I sent you copies of ‘Manfred’ and of ‘Tasso,’ which are, I trust, printed correctly. They are both, but particularly the former, greatly admired by the best critics; but they soar above the Million. Mr. Frere, I think I told you, says that it and the third canto place you in a higher class of poets—that is the very highest. Amongst the books I intruded upon Mr. Kinnaird was ‘Coleridge’s Life and Opinions,’ which will I think interest you. You will pardon the occasional obscurities and, I fear, absurdities, for its power in most parts. I think you will like my ‘MSS. de St. Helene.’ Talma said, when he read it, that he conversed with Buonaparte. I sent him one splendidly bound, and he wrote me a letter expressing his delight at what reminded him of past glory.

You will have heard, not without regret, of the premature death of Madame de Staël, who, with all her faults, was an excellent person. I think she had a good heart; and I know that she was very kind to me.

She confessed her marriage, and acknowledged a child, a son, born when she was forty-nine.

Mr. Scrope Davies often does me the favour to call, and we discuss your letters and poetry. I saw Mrs. Leigh three days ago, in some trouble at the entrance of the whooping cough into her family, but otherwise well. Mr. Moore, I believe I told you, is gone to Paris with Mr. Rogers, who dedicates all his time to him. Whilst Mr. Kinnaird is with you, I trust you will do me the favour to confide any commissions—particularly of cutting off Mr. Hanson’s head—heart or bowels he hath not—and anything else. Your Armenian friends have this moment presented themselves with your letter. I will take all their grammars and do all otherwise to serve and assist them.

* Lord Byron at once acceded to this request by writing the well-known verses commencing—“Dear Doctor, I have read your play.”

I will recommend them to
Sir John Malcolm, at Madras. I am very sorry they miss the value of Mr. Kinnaird’s more powerful aid.