LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 19 January 1821

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, January 19th, 1821.

“Yours of the 29th ultimo hath arrived. I must really and seriously request that you will beg of Messrs. Harris or Elliston to let the Doge alone: it is not an acting play; it will not serve their purpose; it will destroy yours (the sale); and it will distress me. It is not courteous, it is hardly even gentlemanly, to persist in this appropriation of a man’s writings to their mountebanks.

“I have already sent you by last post a short protest* to the public

* To the letter which inclosed this protest, and which has been omitted to avoid repetitions, he had subjoined a passage from Spence’s Anecdotes (p. 197 of Singer’s edition) where Pope

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 439
(against this proceeding); in case that they persist, which I trust that they will not, you must then publish it in the newspapers. I shall not let them off with that only, if they go on; but make a longer appeal on that subject, and state what I think the injustice of their mode of behaviour. It is hard that I should have all the buffoons in Britain to deal with—pirates who will publish, and players who will act—when there are thousands of worthy men who can neither get bookseller nor manager for love nor money.

“You never answered me a word about Galignani. If you mean to use the two documents, do; if not, burn them. I do not choose to leave them in any one’s possession: suppose some one found them without the letters, what would they think? why, that I had been doing the opposite of what I have done, to wit, referred the whole thing to you—an act of civility at least, which required saying, ‘I have received your letter.’ I thought that you might have some hold upon those publications by this means; to me it can be no interest one way or the other.*

“The third canto of Don Juan is ‘dull,’ but you must really put up with it: if the two first and the two following are tolerable, what do you expect? particularly as I neither dispute with you on it as a matter of criticism, or as a matter of business.

“Besides, what am I to understand? you, and Douglas Kinnaird, and others, write to me, that the two first published cantos are among the best that I ever wrote, and are reckoned so; Augusta writes that they are thought ‘execrable’ (bitter word that for an author—eh, Murray?) as a composition even, and that she had heard so much against them that she would never read them, and never has. Be that as it may, I can’t alter; that is not my forte. If you publish the three new ones without ostentation, they may perhaps succeed.

says, speaking of himself, “I had taken such strong resolutions against any thing of that kind, from seeing how much every body that did write for the stage was obliged to subject themselves to the players and the town.”—Spence’s Anecdotes, p. 22.

In the same paragraph, Pope is made to say, “After I had got acquainted with the town, I resolved never to write any thing for the stage, though solicited by many of my friends to do so, and particularly Betterton.”

* No further step was ever taken in this affair; and the documents, which were of no use whatever, are, I believe, still in Mr. Murray’s possession.

440 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“Pray publish the Dante and the Pulci (the Prophecy of Dante, I mean). I look upon the Pulci as my grand performance†. The remainder of the ‘Hints,’ where be they? Now, bring them all out about the same time, otherwise ‘the variety’ you wot of will be less obvious.

“I am in bad humour:—some obstructions in business with those plaguy trustees, who object to an advantageous loan which I was to furnish to a nobleman on mortgage, because his property is in Ireland, have shown me how a man is treated in his absence. Oh, if I do come back, I will make some of those who little dream of it spin,—or they or I shall go down.” * * * * * * *