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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 5 March 1820

Life of Byron: to 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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“Ravenna, March 5th, 1820.

“In case, in your country, you should not readily lay hands on the Morgante Maggiore, I send you the original text of the First Canto, to correspond with the translation which I sent you a few days ago. It is from the Naples edition in quarto of 1732,—dated Florence, however, by a trick of the trade, which you, as one of the allied sovereigns of the profession, will perfectly understand without any further spiegazione.

“It is strange that here nobody understands the real precise meaning of ‘sbergo,’ or ‘usbergo*,’ an old Tuscan word, which I have rendered cuirass (but am not sure it is not helmet). I have asked at least twenty people, learned and ignorant, male and female, including poets, and officers civil and military. The dictionary says cuirass, but gives no authority; and a female friend of mine says positively cuirass, which makes me doubt the fact still more than before. Ginguené says ‘bonnet de fer,’ with the usual superficial decision of a Frenchman, so that I

* It has been suggested to me that usbergo is obviously the same as hauberk, habergeon, &c all from the German hals-berg, or covering of the neck.

308 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1820.
can’t believe him: and what between the dictionary, the Italian woman, and the Frenchman, there’s no trusting to a word they say. The context too, which should decide, admits equally of either meaning, as you will perceive. Ask
Rose, Hobhouse, Merivale, and Foscolo, and vote with the majority. Is Frere a good Tuscan? if he be, bother him too. I have tried, you see, to be as accurate as I well could. This is my third or fourth letter, or packet, within the last twenty days.”