LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 9 December 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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“Venice, Dec. 9th, 1816.

In a letter from England, I am informed that a man named Johnson has taken upon himself to publish some poems called a ‘Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, a Tempest, and an Address to my Daughter,’ &c. and to attribute them to me, adding that he had paid five hundred guineas for them. The answer to this is short: I never wrote such poems, never received the sum he mentions, nor any other in the same quarter, nor (as far as moral or mortal certainty can be sure) ever had, directly or indirectly, the slightest communication with Johnson in my life; not being aware that the person existed till this intelligence gave me to understand that there were such people. Nothing surprises me, or this perhaps would, and most things amuse me, or this probably would not. With regard to myself, the man has merely lied; that’s natural—his betters have set him the example: but with regard to you, his assertion may perhaps injure you in your publications; and I desire that it may receive the most public and unqualified contradiction. I do not know that there is any punishment for a thing of this kind, and if there were, I should not feel disposed to pursue this ingenious mountebank farther than was necessary for his confutation; but thus far it may be necessary to proceed.

“You will make what use you please of this letter; and Mr. Kinnaird, who has power to act for me in my absence, will, I am sure, readily join you in any steps which it may be proper to take with regard to the absurd falsehood of this poor creature. As you will have recently received several letters from me on my way to Venice, as well as two written since my arrival, I will not at present trouble you further.

“Ever, &c.

“P.S. Pray let me hear that you have received this letter. Address to Venice, poste restante.

“To prevent the recurrence of similar fabrications, you may state, that I consider myself responsible for no publication from the year 1812
A. D. 1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 65
up to the present date, which is not from your press. I speak of course from that period, because, previously,
Cawthorn and Ridge had both printed compositions of mine. ‘A Pilgrimage to Jerusalem!’ how the devil should I write about Jerusalem, never having yet been there? As for ‘A Tempest,’ it was not a tempest when I left England, but a very fresh breeze: and as to an ‘Address to little Ada’ (who, by the way, is a year old to-morrow), I never wrote a line about her, except in ‘Farewell’ and the Third Canto of Childe Harold.”