LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 4 September 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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“Sept. 4th, 1817.

“Your letter of the 15th has conveyed with its contents the impression of a seal, to which the ‘Saracen’s Head’ is a seraph, and the ‘Bull and Mouth’ a delicate device. I knew that calumny had sufficiently blackened me of later days, but not that it had given the features as well as complexion of a negro. Poor Augusta is not less, but rather more, shocked than myself, and says ‘people seem to have lost their recollection strangely’ when they engraved such a ‘blackamoor.’ Pray don’t seal (at least to me) with such a caricature of the human numskull altogether; and if you don’t break the seal-cutter’s head, at least crack his libel (or likeness, if it should be a likeness) of mine.

Mr. Kinnaird is not yet arrived, but expected. He has lost by the way all the tooth-powder, as a letter from Spa informs me.

“By Mr. Rose I received safely, though tardily, magnesia and tooth-powder, and * * * * Why do you send me such trash—worse than trash, the Sublime of Mediocrity? Thanks for Lalla, however, which is good; and thanks for the Edinburgh and Quarterly, both very amusing and well-written. Paris in 1815, &c.—good. Modern Greece—good for nothing; written by some one who has never been there, and not being able to manage the Spenser stanza, has invented a thing of its own, consisting of two elegiac stanzas, a heroic line, and an Alexandrine, twisted on a string. Besides, why ‘modern?’ You may say modern Greeks, but surely Greece itself is rather more ancient than ever it was.—Now for business.

“You offer 1500 guineas for the new Canto: I won’t take it. I ask two thousand five hundred guineas for it, which you will either give or not, as you think proper. It concludes the poem, and consists of 144
144 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1817.
stanzas. The notes are numerous, and chiefly written by
Mr. Hobhouse, whose researches have been indefatigable, and who, I will venture to say, has more real knowledge of Rome and its environs than any Englishman who has been there since Gibbon. By the way, to prevent any mistakes, I think it necessary to state the fact that he, Mr. Hobhouse, has no interest whatever in the price or profit to be derived from the copyright of either poem or notes directly or indirectly; so that you are not to suppose that it is by, for, or through him, that I require more for this Canto than the preceding.—No: but if Mr. Eustace was to have had two thousand for a poem on Education; if Mr. Moore is to have three thousand for Lalla &c.; if Mr. Campbell is to have three thousand for his prose on poetry—I don’t mean to disparage these gentlemen in their labours—but I ask the aforesaid price for mine. You will tell me that their productions are considerably longer: very true, and when they shorten them, I will lengthen mine, and ask less. You shall submit the MS. to Mr. Gifford, and any other two gentlemen to be named by you (Mr. Frere, or Mr. Croker, or whomever you please, except such fellows as your * *s and * *s), and if they pronounce this Canto to be inferior as a whole to the preceding, I will not appeal from their award, but burn the manuscript, and leave things as they are.

“Yours very truly.

“P.S. In answer to a former letter, I sent you a short statement of what I thought the state of our present copyright account, viz., six hundred pounds still (or lately) due on Childe Harold, and six hundred guineas, Manfred and Tasso, making a total of twelve hundred and thirty pounds. If we agree about the new poem, I shall take the liberty to reserve the choice of the manner in which it should be published, viz. a quarto, certes.” * * * * * * * * *