LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 3 March 1817

Life of Byron: to 1806
Life of Byron: 1806
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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, March 3d, 1817.

“In acknowledging the arrival of the article from the ‘Quarterly,*’ which I received two days ago, I cannot express myself better than in the words of my sister Augusta, who (speaking of it) says, that it is written in a spirit ‘of the most feeling and kind nature.’ It is, however, something more; it seems to me (as far as the subject of it may be permitted to judge) to be very well written as a composition, and I think

* An article in No. 31 of this Review, written, as Lord Byron afterwards discovered, by Sir Walter Scott, and well meriting, by the kind and generous spirit that breathes through it, the warm and lasting gratitude it awakened in the noble Poet.

A. D. 1817. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 81
will do the journal no discredit, because even those who condemn its partiality must praise its generosity. The temptations to take another and a less favourable view of the question have been so great and numerous, that, what with public opinion, politics, &c. he must be a gallant as well as a good man, who has ventured in that place, and at this time, to write such an article even anonymously. Such things are, however, their own reward, and I even flatter myself that the writer, whoever he may be (and I have no guess), will not regret that the perusal of this has given me as much gratification as any composition of that nature could give, and more than any other has given,—and I have had a good many in my time of one kind or the other. It is not the mere praise, but there is a tact and a delicacy throughout, not only with regard to me, but to others, which, as it had not been observed elsewhere, I had till now doubted whether it could be observed anywhere.

“Perhaps some day or other you will know or tell me the writer’s name. Be assured, had the article been a harsh one, I should not have asked it.

“I have lately written to you frequently, with extracts, &c. which I hope you have received, or will receive, with or before this letter.—Ever since the conclusion of the Carnival I have been unwell (do not mention this, on any account, to Mrs. Leigh; for if I grow worse, she will know it too soon, and if I get better, there is no occasion that she should know it at all), and have hardly stirred out of the house. However, I don’t want a physician, and if I did, very luckily those of Italy are the worst in the world, so that I should still have a chance. They have, I believe, one famous surgeon, Vacca, who lives at Pisa, who might be useful in case of dissection:—but he is some hundred miles off. My malady is a sort of lowish fever, originating from what my ‘pastor and master,’ Jackson, would call ‘taking too much out of one’s self.’ However, I am better within this day or two.

“I missed seeing the new Patriarch’s procession to St. Mark’s the other day (owing to my indisposition), with six hundred and fifty priests in his rear—a ‘goodly army.’ The admirable government of Vienna, in its edict from thence, authorizing his installation, prescribed, as part of the pageant, ‘a coach and four horses.’ To show how very very ‘German
82 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1817.
to the matter’ this was, you have only to suppose our parliament commanding the Archbishop of Canterbury to proceed from Hyde Park Corner to St. Paul’s Cathedral in the Lord Mayor’s barge, or the Margate hoy. There is but St. Marc’s Place in all Venice broad enough for a carriage to move, and it is paved with large smooth flag-stones, so that the chariot and horses of Elijah himself would be puzzled to manœuvre upon it. Those of Pharaoh might do better; for the canals,—and particularly the Grand Canal,—are sufficiently capacious and extensive for his whole host. Of course, no coach could be attempted; but the Venetians, who are very naïve as well as arch, were much amused with the ordinance.

“The Armenian Grammar is published; but my Armenian studies are suspended for the present till my head aches a little less. I sent you the other day, in two covers, the First Act of ‘Manfred,’ a drama as mad as Nat. Lee’s Bedlam tragedy, which was in 25 acts and some odd scenes:—mine is but in Three Acts.

“I find I have begun this letter at the wrong end: never mind; I must end it, then, at the right.

“Yours ever very truly
“and obligedly, &c.”