LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 12 October 1820

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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“Ravenna, 8bre 12°, 1820.

By land and sea carriage a considerable quantity of books have arrived; and I am obliged and grateful but ‘medio de fonte leporum, surgit amari aliquid,’ &c. &c which, being interpreted, means,
I’m thankful for your books, dear Murray;
But why not send Scott’s Monastery?
the only book in four living volumes I would give a baioccolo to see—’bating the rest of the same author, and an occasional
Edinburgh and Quarterly, as brief chroniclers of the times. Instead of this, here are Johnny Keats’s * * poetry, and three novels, by God knows whom, except that there is Peg * * *’s name to one of them—a spinster whom I thought we had sent back to her spinning. Crayon is very good; Hogg’s Tales rough, but racy, and welcome.

“Books of travels are expensive, and I don’t want them, having travelled already; besides, they lie. Thank the author of ‘the Profligate’ for his (or her) present. Pray send me no more poetry but what is rare and decidedly good. There is such a trash of Keats and the like upon my tables that I am ashamed to look at them. I say nothing against your parsons, your S * * s and your C * * s—it is all very fine—but pray dispense me from the pleasure. Instead of poetry, if you will favour me with a few soda-powders, I shall be delighted: but all prose (‘bating travels and novels not by Scott) is welcome, especially Scott’s Tales of My Landlord, and so on.

“In the notes to Marino Faliero, it may be as well to say that ‘Benintende’ was not really of the Ten, but merely Grand Chancellor, a separate office (although important); it was an arbitrary alteration of mine. The Doges too were all buried in St. Marks’s before Faliero. It is singular that when his predecessor, Andrea Dandolo, died, the Ten made a law that all the future Doges should be buried with their families, in their own churches,—one would think by a kind of presentiment. So that all that is said of his ancestral Doges, as buried at St. John’s and Paul’s, is altered
354 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1820.
from the fact, they being in St. Mark’s. Make a note of this, and put Editor as the subscription to it.

“As I make such pretensions to accuracy, I should not like to be twitted even with such trifles on that score. Of the play they may say what they please, but not so of my costume and dram. pers., they having been real existences.

“I omitted Foscolo in my list of living Venetian worthies, in the notes, considering him as an Italian in general, and not a mere provincial like the rest; and as an Italian I have spoken of him in the preface to canto 4th of Childe Harold.

“The French translation of us!!! oimè! oimè!—and the German; but I don’t understand the latter, and his long dissertation at the end about the Fausts. Excuse haste. Of politics it is not safe to speak, but nothing is decided as yet.

“I am in a very fierce humour at not having Scott’s Monastery. You are too liberal in quantity, and somewhat careless of the quality, of your missives. All the Quarterlies (four in number) I had had before from you, and two of the Edinburgh; but no matter; we shall have new ones by and by. No more Keats, I entreat:—flay him alive; if some of you don’t, I must skin him myself. There is no bearing the drivelling idiotism of the manikin.

“I don’t feel inclined to care further about ‘Don Juan.’ What do you think a very pretty Italian lady said to me the other day? She had read it in the French, and paid me some compliments, with due drawbacks, upon it. I answered that what she said was true, but that I suspected it would live longer than Childe Harold.—‘Ah but’ (said she) ‘I would rather have the fame of Childe Harold for three years than an immorality of Don Juan!’ The truth is that it is too true, and the women hate many things which strip off the tinsel of sentiment; and they are right, as it would rob them of their weapons. I never knew a woman who did not hate De Grammont’s Memoirs for the same reason: even Lady * * used to abuse them.

Rose’s work I never received. It was seized at Venice. Such is the liberality of the Huns, with their two hundred thousand men, that they dare not let such a volume as his circulate.”