LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 9 May 1817

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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“Rome, May 9th, 1817.

“Address all answers to Venice; for there I shall return in fifteen days, God willing.

“I sent you from Florence ‘The Lament of Tasso,’ and from Rome the Third Act of Manfred, both of which, I trust, will duly arrive. The terms of these two I mentioned in my last, and will repeat in this: it is three hundred for each, or six hundred guineas for the two—that is, if you like, and they are good for any thing.

“At last one of the parcels is arrived. In the notes to Childe Harold there is a blunder of yours or mine: you talk of arrival at St. Gingo, and, immediately after, add—‘on the height is the Chateau of Clarens.’ This is sad work: Clarens is on the other side of the Lake,
A. D. 1817. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 117
and it is quite impossible that I should have so bungled. Look at the MS.; and at any rate rectify it.

“The ‘Tales of my Landlord’ I have read with great pleasure, and perfectly understand now why my sister and aunt are so very positive in the very erroneous persuasion that they must have been written by me. If you knew me as well as they do, you would have fallen, perhaps, into the same mistake. Some day or other, I will explain to you why—when I have time; at present it does not much matter; but you must have thought this blunder of theirs very odd, and so did I, till I had read the book.—Croker’s letter to you is a very great compliment; I shall return it to you in my next.

“I perceive you are publishing a Life of Raffael d’Urbino: it may perhaps interest you to hear that a set of German artists here allow their hair to grow, and trim it into his fashion, thereby drinking the cummin of the disciples of the old philosopher; if they would cut their hair, convert it into brushes, and paint like him, it would be more ‘German to the matter.’

“I’ll tell you a story: the other day, a man here—an English—mistaking the statues of Charlemagne and Constantine, which are equestrian, for those of Peter and Paul, asked another which was Paul of these same horsemen?—to which the reply was—‘I thought, sir, that St. Paul had never got on horseback since his accident?

“I’ll tell you another: Henry Fox, writing to some one from Naples the other day, after an illness, adds—‘and I am so changed that my oldest creditors would hardly know me.’

“I am delighted with Rome—as I would be with a bandbox, that is, it is a fine thing to see, finer than Greece; but I have not been here long enough to affect it as a residence, and I must go back to Lombardy, because I am wretched at being away from Marianna. I have been riding my saddle-horses every day, and been to Albano, its Lakes, and to the top of the Alban Mount, and to Frescati, Aricia, &c. &c. with an &c. &c. &c. about the city, and in the city: for all which—vide Guidebook. As a whole, ancient and modern, it beats Greece, Constantinople, every thing—at least that I have ever seen. But I can’t describe, because
118 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1817.
my first impressions are always strong and confused, and my memory selects and reduces them to order, like distance in the landscape, and blends them better, although they may be less distinct. There must be a sense or two more than we have, us mortals; for * * * * * where there is much to be grasped we are always at a loss, and yet feel that we ought to have a higher and more extended comprehension.

“I have had a letter from Moore, who is in some alarm about his Poem. I don’t see why.

“I have had another from my poor dear Augusta, who is in a sad fuss about my late illness: do, pray, tell her (the truth) that I am better than ever, and in importunate health, growing (if not grown) large and ruddy, and congratulated by impertinent persons on my robustious appearance, when I ought to be pale and interesting.

“You tell me that George Byron has got a son, and Augusta says, a daughter; which is it?—it is no great matter: the father is a good man, an excellent officer, and has married a very nice little woman, who will bring him more babes than income; howbeit she had a handsome dowry, and is a very charming girl;—but he may as well get a ship.

“I have no thoughts of coming amongst you yet awhile, so that I can fight off business. If I could but make a tolerable sale of Newstead, there would be no occasion for my return; and I can assure you very sincerely, that I am much happier (or, at least, have been so) out of your island than in it.

“Yours ever.

“P.S. There are few English here, but several of my acquaintance; amongst others, the Marquis of Lansdowne, with whom I dine to-morrow. I met the Jerseys on the road at Foligno—all well.

“Oh—I forgot—the Italians have printed Chillon, &c. a piracy,—a pretty little edition, prettier than yours—and published, as I found to my great astonishment on arriving here; and what is odd, is, that the English is quite correctly printed. Why they did it, or who did it, I know not; but so it is;—I suppose, for the English people. I will send you a copy.”