LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 23 April 1815

Life of Byron: to 1806
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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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“April 23d, 1815.

Lord Wentworth died last week. The bulk of his property (from seven to eight thousand per ann.) is entailed on Lady Milbanke and Lady Byron. The first is gone to take possession in Leicestershire, and attend the funeral, &c. this day.

* * * * *

“I have mentioned the facts of the settlement of Lord W.’s property, because the newspapers, with their usual accuracy, have been making all kinds of blunders in their statement. His will is just as expected—the principal part settled on Lady Milbanke (now Noel) and Bell, and a separate estate left for sale to pay debts (which are not great) and legacies to his natural son and daughter.

Mrs. * *’s tragedy was last night damned. They may bring it on again, and probably will; but damned it was,—not a word of the last act audible. I went (malgré that I ought to have staid at home in sackcloth for unc., but I could not resist the first night of any thing) to a private and quiet nook of my private box, and witnessed the whole process. The first three acts, with transient gushes of applause, oozed patiently but heavily on. I must say it was badly acted, particularly by * *, who was groaned upon in the third act,—something about ‘horror—such a horror’ was the cause. Well, the fourth act became as muddy and turbid as need be; but the fifth—what Garrick used to call (like a fool) the concoction of a play—the fifth act stuck fast at the King’s prayer. You know he says ‘he never went to bed without saying them, and did not like to omit them now.’ But he was no sooner upon his knees, than the
620 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1815.
audience got upon their legs—the damnable pit—and roared, and groaned, and hissed, and whistled. Well, that was choked a little; but the ruffian-scene—the penitent peasantry—and killing the Bishop and the Princess—oh, it was all over. The curtain fell upon unheard actors, and the announcement attempted by Kean for Monday was equally ineffectual.
Mrs. Bartley was so frightened, that, though the people were tolerably quiet, the Epilogue was quite inaudible to half the house. In short,—you know all. I clapped till my hands were skinless, and so did Sir James Mackintosh, who was with me in the box. All the world were in the house, from the Jerseys, Greys, &c. &c. downwards. But it would not do. It is, after all, not an acting play; good language, but no power.
* * * * * * * * * *
Women (saving Joanna Baillie) cannot write tragedy; they have not seen enough nor felt enough of life for it. I think Semiramis or Catherine II. might have written (could they have been unqueened) a rare play.

* * * *

“It is, however, a good warning not to risk or write tragedies. I never had much bent that way; but, if I had, this would have cured me.

“Ever, carissime Thom.,
“thine, B.”