LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 3 March 1814

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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“March 3, 1814.

“I have a great mind to tell you that I am ‘uncomfortable,’ if only to make you come to town; where no one ever more delighted in seeing you, nor is there any one to whom I would sooner turn for consolation in my most vapourish moments. The truth is, I have ‘no lack of argument’ to ponder upon of the most gloomy description, but this arises from other causes. Some day or other, when we are veterans, I may tell you a tale of present and past times; and it is not from want of confidence that I do not now,—but—but—always a but to the end of the chapter.

“There is nothing, however, upon the spot either to love or hate;—but I certainly have subjects for both at no very great distance, and am besides embarrassed between three whom I know, and one (whose name, at least) I do not know. All this would be very well, it I had no heart; but, unluckily, I have found that there is such a thing still about me, though in no very good repair, and, also, that it has a habit of attaching itself to one, whether I will or no. ‘Divide et impera,’ I begin to think, will only do for politics.

“If I discover the ‘toad,’ as you call him, I shall ‘tread,’—and put spikes in my shoes to do it more effectually. The effect of all these fine things, I do not inquire much nor perceive. I believe * * felt them
536 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1814.
more than either of us. People are civil enough, and I have had no dearth of invitations,—none of which, however, I have accepted. I went out very little last year, and mean to go about still less. I have no passion for circles, and have long regretted that I ever gave way to what is called a town life;—which, of all the lives I ever saw (and they are nearly as many as
Plutarch’s), seems to me to leave the least for the past and future.

“How proceeds the Poem? Do not neglect it, and I have no fears. I need not say to you that your fame is dear to me,—I really might say dearer than my own; for I have lately begun to think my things have been strangely overrated; and, at any rate, whether or not, I have done with them for ever. I may say to you, what I would not say to every body, that the last two were written, the Bride in four, and the Corsair in ten days*,—which I take to be a most humiliating confession, as it proves my own want of judgment in publishing, and the public’s in reading things, which cannot have stamina for permanent attention. ‘So much for Buckingham.’

“I have no dread of your being too hasty, and I have still less of your failing. But I think a year a very fair allotment of time to a composition which is not to be Epic; and even Horace’s ‘Nonum prematur’ must have been intended for the Millenium, or some longer-lived generation than ours. I wonder how much we should have had of him, had he observed his own doctrines to the letter. Peace be with you! Remember that I am always and most truly yours, &c.

“P.S. I never heard the ‘report’ you mention, nor, I dare say, many others. But, in course, you, as well as others, have ‘damned good

* In asserting that he devoted but four days to the composition of the Bride, he must he understood to refer only to the first sketch of that poem,—the successive additions by which it was increased to its present length having occupied, as we have seen, a much longer period. The Corsair, on the contrary, was, from beginning to end, struck off at a heat—there being but little alteration or addition afterwards,—and the rapidity with which it was produced (being at the rate of nearly two hundred lines a day) would be altogether incredible, had we not his own, as well as his publisher’s, testimony to the fact. Such an achievement,—taking into account the surpassing beauty of the work,—is, perhaps, wholly without a parallel in the history of Genius, and shows that “écrire par passion, ” as Rousseau expresses it, may be sometimes a shorter road to perfection than any that Art has ever struck out.

A. D. 1814. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 537
natured friends,’ who do their duty in the usual way. One thing will make you laugh * * * * * *.”