LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 20 February 1816

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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“February 20th, 1816.
* * * * * *

“To return to our business—your epistles are vastly agreeable. With regard to the observations on carelessness, &c. I think, with all humility, that the gentle reader has considered a rather uncommon, and designedly irregular, versification for haste and negligence. The measure is not that of any of the other poems, which (I believe) were allowed to be tolerably correct, according to Byshe and the fingers—or ears—by which bards write, and readers reckon. Great part of the ‘Siege’ is in (I think) what the learned call Anapests (though I am not sure, being heinously forgetful of my metres and my ‘Gradus’), and many of the lines intentionally longer or shorter than its rhyming companion; and
A. D. 1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 663
rhyme also occurring at greater or less intervals of caprice or convenience.

“I mean not to say that this is right or good, but merely that I could have been smoother, had it appeared to me of advantage; and that I was not otherwise without being aware of the deviation, though I now feel sorry for it, as I would undoubtedly rather please than not. My wish has been to try at something different from my former efforts; as I endeavoured to make them differ from each other. The versification of the ‘Corsair’ is not that of ‘Lara;’ nor the ‘Giaour’ that of the ‘Bride:’ Childe Harold is again varied from these; and I strove to vary the last somewhat from all of the others.

“Excuse all this d—d nonsense and egotism. The fact is, that I am rather trying to think on the subject of this note, than really thinking on it.—I did not know you had called: you are always admitted and welcome when you choose. “Yours, &c. &c.

“P.S. You need not be in any apprehension or grief on my account: were I to be beaten down by the world and its inheritors, I should have succumbed to many things, years ago. You must not mistake my not bullying for dejection; nor imagine that because I feel, I am to faint:—but enough for the present.

“I am sorry for Sotheby’s row. What the devil is it about? I thought it all settled; and if I can do any thing about him or Ivan still, I am ready and willing. I do not think it proper for me just now to be much behind the scenes, but I will see the committee and move upon it, if Sotheby likes.

“If you see Mr. Sotheby, will you tell him that I wrote to Mr. Coleridge, on getting Mr. Sotheby’s note, and have, I hope, done what Mr. S. wished on that subject?”