LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 8 March 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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March 8th, 1816.

“I rejoice in your promotion as Chairman and Charitable Steward, &c. &c. These be dignities which await only the virtuous. But then, recollect you are six and thirty (I speak this enviously—not of your age, but the ‘honour—love—obedience—troops of friends,’ which accompany it), and I have eight years good to run before I arrive at such hoary perfection; by which time,—if I am at all*,—it will probably be in a state of grace or progressing merits.

“I must set you right in one point, however. The fault was not—no, nor even the misfortune—in my ‘choice’ (unless in choosing at all)—for I do not believe—and I must say it, in the very dregs of all this bitter business—that there ever was a better, or even a brighter, a kinder, or a more amiable and agreeable being than Lady B. I never had, nor can have, any reproach to make her, while with me. Where there is blame, it belongs to myself, and, if I cannot redeem, I must bear it.

“Her nearest relatives are a * * * *—my circumstances have been and are in a state of great confusion—my health has been a good deal disordered, and my mind ill at ease for a considerable period. Such are the causes (I do not name them as excuses) which have frequently driven me into excess, and disqualified my temper for comfort. Something also

* This sad doubt,—“if I am at all,”—becomes no lees singular than sad when we recollect that six and thirty was actually the ago when he ceased to “be,” and at a moment, too, when (as even the least friendly to him allow) he was n that state of “progressing merits” which he here jestingly anticipates.

A. D. 1816. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 647
may be attributed to the strange and desultory habits which, becoming my own master at an early age, and scrambling about, over and through the world, may have induced. I still, however, think that, if I had had a fair chance, by being placed in even a tolerable situation, I might have gone on fairly. But that seems hopeless,—and there is nothing more to be said. At present—except my health, which is better (it is odd, but agitation or contest of any kind gives a rebound to my spirits and sets me up for the time)—I have to battle with all kinds of unpleasantnesses, including private and pecuniary difficulties, &c. &c.

“I believe I may have said this before to you,—but I risk repeating it. It is nothing to bear the privations of adversity, or, more properly, ill fortune; but my pride recoils from its indignities. However, I have no quarrel with that same pride, which will, I think, buckler me through every thing. If my heart could have been broken, it would have been so years ago, and by events more afflicting than these.

“I agree with you (to turn from this topic to our shop) that I have written too much. The last things were, however, published very reluctantly by me, and for reasons I will explain when we meet. I know not why I have dwelt so much on the same scenes, except that I find them fading, or confusing (if such a word may be) in my memory, in the midst of present turbulence and pressure, and I felt anxious to stamp before the die was worn out. I now break it. With those countries, and events connected with them, all my really poetical feelings begin and end. Were I to try, I could make nothing of any other subject,—and that I have apparently exhausted. ‘Woe to him,’ says Voltaire, ‘who says all he could say on any subject.’ There are some on which, perhaps, I could have said still more: but I leave them all, and not too soon.

“Do you remember the lines I sent you early last year, which you still have? I don’t wish (like Mr. Fitzgerald, in the Morning Post) to claim the character of ‘Vates’ in all its translations, but were they not a little prophetic? I mean those beginning ‘There’s not a joy the world can,’ &c. &c. on which I rather pique myself as being the truest, though the most melancholy, I ever wrote.

“What scrawl have I sent you! You say nothing of yourself,
648 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1816.
except that you are a Lancasterian churchwarden, and an encourager of mendicants. When are you out? and how is your family? My child is very well and flourishing, I hear; but I must see also. I feel no disposition to resign it to the contagion of its
grandmother’s society, though I am unwilling to take it from the mother. It is weaned, however, and something about it must be decided.

“Ever, &c.”