LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Elizabeth Bridget Pigot, 26 October 1807

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
“Trinity College, Cambridge, October 26th, 1807.

“Fatigued with sitting up till four in the morning for the last two days at hazard*, I take up my pen to inquire how your highness and the rest of my female acquaintance at the seat of archiepiscopal grandeur go on. I know I deserve a scolding for my negligence in not writing more frequently; but racing up and down the country for these last three months, how was it possible to fulfil the duties of a correspondent? Fixed at last for six weeks, I write, as thin as ever (not having gained an ounce since my reduction), and rather in better humour;—but, after all, Southwell was a detestable residence. Thank St. Dominica, I have done with it: I have been twice within eight miles of it, but could not prevail on myself to suffocate in its heavy atmosphere. This place is wretched enough—a villanous chaos of din and drunkenness, nothing but hazard and burgundy, hunting, mathematics and Newmarket, riot and racing. Yet it is a paradise compared with the eternal dullness of Southwell. Oh! the misery of doing nothing but make love, enemies, and verses.

“Next January (but this is entre nous only, and pray let it be so, or

* We observe here, as in other parts of his early letters, that sort of display and boast of rakishness which is but too common a folly at this period of life, when the young aspirant to manhood persuades himself that to be profligate is to be manly. Unluckily, this boyish desire of being thought worse than he really was remained with Lord Byron, as did some other feelings and foibles of his boyhood, long after the period when, with others, they are past and forgotten: and his mind, indeed, was but beginning to outgrow them, when he was snatched away.

A. D. 1807. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 121
my maternal persecutor will be throwing her tomahawk at any of my curious projects) I am going to sea, for four or five months, with my cousin
Capt. Bettesworth, who commands the Tartar, the finest frigate in the navy. I have seen most scenes, and wish to look at a naval life. We are going probably to the Mediterranean, or to the West Indies, or—to the d—l; and if there is a possibility of taking me to the latter, Bettesworth will do it; for he has received four and twenty wounds in different places, and at this moment possesses a letter from the late Lord Nelson, stating Bettesworth as the only officer in the navy who had more wounds than himself.

“I have got a new friend, the finest in the world, a tame bear. When I brought him here, they asked me what I meant to do with him, and my reply was, ‘he should sit for a fellowship.’ Sherard will explain the meaning of the sentence, if it is ambiguous. This answer delighted them not. We have several parties here, and this evening a large assortment of jockies, gamblers, boxers, authors, parsons, and poets, sup with me,—a precious mixture, but they go on well together; and for me, I am a spice of every thing, except a jockey; by the by, I was dismounted again the other day.

“Thank your brother in my name for his treatise. I have written 214 pages of a novel,—one poem of 380 lines*, to be published (without my name) in a few weeks, with notes,—560 lines of Bosworth Field, and 250 lines of another poem in rhyme, besides half a dozen smaller pieces. The poem to be published is a Satire. Apropos, I have been praised to the skies in the Critical Review†, and abused greatly in another publication‡. So much the better, they tell me, for the sale of the book; it

* The Poem afterwards enlarged and published under the title of “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.” It appears from this that the ground-work of that satire had been laid some time before the appearance of the article in the Edinburgh Review.

† Sept. 1807. This Review, in pronouncing upon the young author’s future career, showed itself somewhat more “prophet-like” than the great oracle of the north. In noticing the Elegy on Newstead Abbey, the writer says, “We could not but had with something of prophetic rapture, the hope conveyed in the closing stanza:
“Haply thy sun, emerging, yet may shine,
Thee to irradiate with meridian ray,” &c. &c.

‡ The first number of a monthly publication called “the Satirist,” in which there appeared afterwards some low and personal attacks upon him.

122 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1807.
keeps up controversy, and prevents it being forgotten. Besides, the first men of all ages have had their share, nor do the humblest escape,—so I bear it like a philosopher. It is odd two opposite critiques came out on the same day, and out of five pages of abuse my censor only quotes two lines from different poems, in support of his opinion. Now the proper way to cut up is to quote long passages, and make them appear absurd, because simple allegation is no proof. On the other hand, there are seven pages of praise, and more than my modesty will allow said on the subject. Adieu.

“P.S. Write, write, write!!!”