LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 28 August 1813

Life of Byron: to 1806
Life of Byron: 1806
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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
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Life of Byron: 1824
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“August 28th, 1813.

“Ay, my dear Moore, ‘there was a time’—I have heard of your tricks, when ‘you was campaigning at the King of Bohemy.’ I am much mistaken if, some fine London spring, about the year 1815, that time does not come again. After all, we must end in marriage; and I
A. D. 1813. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 423
can conceive nothing more delightful than such a state in the country, reading the county newspaper, &c. and kissing one’s wife’s maid. Seriously, I would incorporate with any woman of decent demeanour to-morrow—that is, I would a month ago, but, at present, * * * * *.

“Why don’t you ‘parody that Ode*?’—Do you think I should be tetchy? or have you done it, and won’t tell me?—You are quite right about Giamsehid, and I have reduced it to a dissyllable within this half-hour†. I am glad to hear you talk of Richardson, because it tells me what you won’t—that you are going to beat Lucien. At least, tell me how far you have proceeded. Do you think me less interested about your works, or less sincere than our friend Ruggiero? I am not—and never was. In that thing of mine, the ‘English Bards,’ at the time when I was angry with all the world, I never ‘disparaged your parts,’ although I did not know you personally;—and have always regretted that you don’t give us an entire work, and not sprinkle yourself in detached pieces—beautiful, I allow, and quite alone in our language‡, but still giving us a right to expect a Shah Nameh (is that the name?) as well as Gazels.

* The Ode of Horace,
“Natis in usum lætitiæ,” &c.
some passages of which I told him might be parodied, in allusion to some of his late adventure,

“Quanta laboras in Charybdi!
Digne puer meliore flammâ!”

† In his first edition of the Giaour he had used this word as a trisyllable,—“Bright as the gem of Giasmchid,”—but on my remarking to him, upon the authority of Richardson’s Persian Dictionary, that this was incorrect, he altered it to “Bright as the ruby of Giamschid.” On seeing this, however, I wrote to him “that, as the comparison of his heroine’s eye to a ‘ruby’ might unluckily call up the idea of its being bloodshot, he had better change the line to ‘Bright as the jewel of Giamschid;’”—which he accordingly did in the following edition.

‡ Having already endeavoured to obviate the charge of vanity to which I am aware I expose myself by being thus accessory to the publication of eulogies, so warm and so little merited, on myself, I shall here only add, that it will abundantly console me under such a charge, if, in whatever degree the judgment of my noble friend may be called in question for these praises, he shall, in the same proportion, receive credit for the good-nature—and warm-heartedness by which they were dictated.

424 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1813.

Stick to the East;—the oracle, Staël, told me it was the only poetical policy. The North, South, and West, have all been exhausted; but from the East, we have nothing but S * *’s unsaleables,—and these he has contrived to spoil, by adopting only their most outrageous fictions. His personages don’t interest us, and yours will. You will have no competitor; and, if you had, you ought to be glad of it. The little I have done in that way is merely a ‘voice in the wilderness’ and, if it has had any success, that also will prove that the public are orientalizing, and pave the path for you.

“I have been thinking of a story, grafted on the amours of a Peri and a mortal—something like, only more philanthropical than, Cazotte’s Diable Amoureux. It would require a good deal of poesy, and tenderness is not my forte. For that, and other reasons, I have given up the idea, and merely suggest it to you, because, in intervals of your greater work, I think it a subject you might make much of*. If you want any more books, there is Castellan’s Mœurs des Ottomans,’ the best compendium of the kind I ever met with, in six small tomes. I am really taking a liberty by talking in this style to my ‘elders and my betters;’—pardon it, and don’t Rochefoucault my motives.”