LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Mrs. Byron, 28 June 1810

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

Mr. Hobhouse, who will forward or deliver this, and is on his return to England, can inform you of our different movements, but I am very uncertain as to my own return. He will probably be down in Notts. some time or other; but Fletcher, whom I send back as an incumbrance (English servants are sad travellers), will supply his place in the interim, and describe our travels, which have been tolerably extensive.

* * * * *

“I remember Mahmout Pacha, the grandson of Ali Pacha, at Yanina (a little fellow of ten years of age, with large black eyes, which our ladies would purchase at any price, and those regular features which distinguish the Turks), asked me how I came to travel so young, without any body to take care of me. This question was put by the little man with all the gravity of threescore. I cannot now write copiously; I have only time to tell you that I have passed many a fatiguing, but never a tedious moment; and that all I am afraid of is, that I shall contract a gipsy-like wandering disposition, which will make home tiresome to me: this, I am told, is very common with men in the habit of peregrination, and, indeed, I feel it so. On the third of May. I swam from Sestos to Abydos. You know the story of Leander, but I had no Hero to receive me at landing.

* * * * *

“I have been in all the principal mosques by the virtue of a firman; this is a favour rarely permitted to infidels, but the ambassador’s departure obtained it for us. I have been up the Bosphorus into the Black Sea, round the walls of the city, and, indeed, know more of it by sight
230 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1810.
than I do of London. I hope to amuse you some winter’s evening with the details, but at present you must excuse me;—I am not able to write long letters in June. I return to spend my summer in Greece.

* * * * *

F. is a poor creature, and requires comforts that I can dispense with. He is very sick of his travels, but you must not believe his account of the country. He sighs for ale, and idleness, and a wife, and the devil knows what besides. I have not been disappointed or disgusted. I have lived with the highest and the lowest. I have been for days in a Pacha’s palace, and have passed many a night in a cowhouse, and I find the people inoffensive and kind. I have also passed some time with the principal Greeks in the Morea and Livadia, and, though inferior to the Turks, they are better than the Spaniards, who, in their turn, excel the Portuguese. Of Constantinople you will find many descriptions in different travels; but Lady Wortley errs strangely when she says ‘St. Paul’s would cut a strange figure by St. Sophia’s.’ I have been in both, surveyed them inside and out attentively. St. Sophia’s is undoubtedly the most interesting from its immense antiquity, and the circumstance of all the Greek emperors, from Justinian, having been crowned there, and several murdered at the altar, besides the Turkish sultans who attend it regularly. But it is inferior in beauty and size to some of the mosques, particularly ‘Soleyman,’ &c. and not to he mentioned in the same page with St. Paul’s (I speak like a Cockney). However, I prefer the Gothic cathedral of Seville to St. Paul’s, St Sophia’s, and any religious building I have ever seen.

“The walls of the Seraglio are like the walls of Newstead gardens, only higher, and much in the same order; but the ride by the walls of the city, on the land aide, is beautiful. Imagine four miles of immense triple battlements, covered with ivy, surmounted with 218 towers, and, on the other side of the road, Turkish burying-grounds (the loveliest spots on earth), full of enormous cypresses. I have seen the ruins of Athena, of Ephesus, and Delphi. I have traversed great part of Turkey, and many other parts of Europe, and some of Asia but I never beheld a work of nature or art yielded an impression like the prospect on each side from the Seven Towers to the end of the Golden Horn.

A. D. 1810. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 231

“Now for England. I am glad to hear of the progress of ‘English Bards,’ &c.—of course, you observed I have made great additions to the new edition. Have you received my picture from Sanders, Vigo-lane, London? It was finished and paid for long before I left England: pray, send for it. You seem to be a mighty reader of magazines: where do you pick up all this intelligence, quotations, &c. &c.? Though I was happy to obtain my seat without the assistance of Lord Carlisle, I had no measures to keep with a man who declined interfering as my relation on that occasion, and I have done with him, though I regret distressing Mrs. Leigh, poor thing!—I hope she is happy.

“It is my opinion that Mr. B * * ought to marry Miss R * *. Our first duty is not to do evil; but, alas! that is impossible: our next is to repair it, if in our power. The girl is his equal: if she were his inferior, a sum of money and provision for the child would be some, though a poor compensation: as it is, he should marry her. I will have no gay deceivers on my estate, and I shall not allow my tenants a privilege I do not permit myself, that of debauching each other’s daughters. God knows, I have been guilty of many excesses; but, as I have laid down a resolution to reform, and lately kept it, I expect this Lothario to follow the example, and begin by restoring this girl to society, or, by the beard of my father! he shall hear of it. Pray take some notice of Robert, who will miss his master; poor boy, he was very unwilling to return. I trust you are well and happy. It will be a pleasure to hear from you.

“Believe me yours very sincerely,

“P.S—How is Joe Murray?

“P.S.—I open my letter again to tell you that Fletcher having petitioned to accompany me into the Morea, I have taken him with me, contrary to the intention expressed in my letter.”