LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Lord Holland, 26 September 1812

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
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“September 26th, 1812.

“You will think there is no end to my villanous emendations. The fifth and sixth lines I think to alter thus:
“Ye who beheld—oh sight admired and mourn’d,
Whose radiance mock’d the ruin it adorn’d;
because ‘night’ is repeated the next line but one; and, as it now stands, the conclusion of the paragraph, ‘worthy him (
Shakspeare) and you,’ appears to apply the ‘you’ to those only who were out of bed and in Covent-garden market on the night of conflagration, instead of the audience or the discerning public at large, all of whom are intended to be comprised in that comprehensive and, I hope, comprehensible pronoun.

“By the by, one of my corrections in the fair copy sent yesterday has dived into the bathos some sixty fathom—
“When Garrick died, and Brinsley ceased to write.
Ceasing to live is a much more serious concern, and ought not to be first; therefore I will let the old couplet stand, with its half rhymes ‘sought’ and ‘wrote*.’ Second thoughts in every thing are best, but, in rhyme, third and fourth don’t come amiss. I am very anxious on this business, and I do hope that the very trouble I occasion you will plead its own

* “Such are the names that here your plaudits sought,
When Garrick acted, and when Brinsley wrote.”

At present, the couplet stands thus:—

“Dear are the days that made our annals bright,
Ere Garrick fled, or Brinsley ceased to write.”

A. D. 1812. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 367
excuse, and that it will tend to show my endeavour to make the most of the time allotted. I wish I had known it months ago, for in that case I had not left one line standing on another. I always scrawl in this way, and smooth as much as I can, but never sufficiently; and, latterly, I can weave a nine-line stanza faster than a couplet, for which measure I have not the cunning. When I began ‘
Childe Harold,’ I had never tried Spenser’s measure, and now I cannot scribble in any other.

“After all. my dear lord, if you can get a decent Address elsewhere, don’t hesitate to put this aside. Why did you not trust your own Muse? I am very sure she would have been triumphant, and saved the Committee their trouble—‘’tis a joyful one’ to me, but I fear I shall not satisfy even myself. After the account you sent me, ’tis no compliment to say, you would have beaten your candidates; but I mean that, in that case, there would have been no occasion for their being beaten at all.

“There are but two decent prologues in our tongue—Pope’s to Cato—Johnson’s to Drury-lane. These, with the epilogue to the ‘Distrest Mother,’ and, I think, one of Goldsmith’s, and a prologue of old Colman’s to Beaumont and Fletcher’s Philaster, are the best things of the kind we have.

“P.S. I am diluted to the throat with medicine for the stone; and Boisragon wants me to try a warm climate for the winter—but I won’t.”