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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 15 February 1817

Life of Byron: to 1806
Life of Byron: 1806
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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, February 15th, 1817.

“I have received your two letters, but not the parcel you mention. As the Waterloo spoils are arrived, I will make you a present of them, if you choose to accept of them; pray do.

“I do not exactly understand from your letter what has been omitted, or what not, in the publication; but I shall see probably some day or other. I could not attribute any but a good motive to Mr. Gifford or yourself in such omission; but as our politics are so very opposite, we should probably differ as to the passages. However, if it is only a note or notes, or a line or so, it cannot signify. You say ‘a poem;what poem? You can tell me in your next.

“Of Mr. Hobhouse’s quarrel with the Quarterly Review, I know very little except * *’s article itself, which was certainly harsh enough: but I quite agree that it would have been better not to answer—particularly after Mr. W. W. who never more will trouble you, trouble you. I have been uneasy, because Mr. H. told me that his letter or preface was to be addressed to me. Now, he and I are friends of many years; I have many obligations to him, and he none to me, which have not been cancelled and more than repaid: but Mr. Gifford and I are friends also, and he has moreover been literarily so, through thick and thin, in despite of difference of years, morals, habits, and even politics; and therefore I feel in a very awkward situation between the two, Mr. Gifford
76 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1817.
and my friend Hobhouse, and can only wish that they had no difference, or that such as they have were accommodated. The Answer I have not seen, for—it is odd enough for people so intimate—but Mr. Hobhouse and I are very sparing of our literary confidences. For example, the other day he wished to have a MS. of the Third Canto to read over to his brother, &c. which was refused;—and I have never seen his journals, nor he mine—(I only kept the short one of the mountains for my sister)—nor do I think that hardly ever he or I saw any of the other’s productions previous to their publication.

“The article in the Edinburgh Review on Coleridge I have not seen; but whether I am attacked in it or not, or in any other of the same journal, I shall never think ill of Mr. Jeffrey on that account, nor forget that his conduct towards me has been certainly most handsome during the last four or more years.

“I forgot to mention to you that a kind of Poem in dialogue* (in blank verse) or Drama, from which ‘the Incantation’ is an extract, begun last summer in Switzerland, is finished; it is in three acts; but of a very wild, metaphysical, and inexplicable kind. Almost all the persons—but two or three—are Spirits of the earth and air, or the waters; the scene is in the Alps; the hero a kind of magician, who is tormented by a species of remorse, the cause of which is left half unexplained. He wanders about invoking these Spirits, which appear to him, and are of no use; he at last goes to the very abode of the Evil Principle, in propriâ personâ, to evocate a ghost, which appears, and gives him an ambiguous and disagreeable answer; and in the third act he is found by his attendants dying in a tower where he had studied his art. You may perceive by this outline that I have no great opinion of this piece of phantasy; but I have at least rendered it quite impossible for the stage, for which my intercourse with Drury-lane has given me the greatest contempt.

“I have not even copied it off, and feel too lazy at present to attempt the whole; but when I have, I will send it you, and you may either throw it into the fire or not.”