LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 16 February 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, February 16th, 1821.

“In the month of March will arrive from Barcelona Signor Curioni, engaged for the Opera. He is an acquaintance of mine, and a gentlemanly young man, high in his profession. I must request your personal kindness and patronage in his favour. Pray introduce him to such of the theatrical people, editors of papers, and others, as may be useful to him in his profession, publicly and privately.

“The fifth is so far from being the last of Don Juan, that it is hardly the beginning. I meant to take him the tour of Europe, with a proper mixture of siege, battle, and adventure, and to make him finish as Anacharsis Cloots, in the French Revolution. To how many cantos
446 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
this may extend, I know not, nor whether (even if I live) I shall complete it; but this was my notion. I meant to have made him a cavalier servente in Italy, and a cause for a divorce in England, and a sentimental ‘Werther-faced man’ in Germany, so as to show the different ridicules of the society in each of those countries, and to have displayed him gradually gâté and blasé as he grew older, as is natural. But I had not quite fixed whether to make him end in hell, or in an unhappy marriage, not knowing which would be the severest: the Spanish tradition says hell; but it is probably only an allegory of the other state. You are now in possession of my notions on the subject.

“You say the Doge will not be popular: did I ever write for popularity? I defy you to show a work of mine (except a tale or two) of a popular style or complexion. It appears to me that there is room for a different style of the drama; neither a servile following of the old drama, which is a grossly erroneous one, nor yet too French, like those who succeeded the older writers. It appears to me, that good English, and a severer approach to the rules, might combine something not dishonourable to our literature. I have also attempted to make a play without love; and there are neither rings, nor mistakes, nor starts, nor outrageous ranting villains, nor melodrame in it. All this will prevent its popularity, but does not persuade me that it is therefore faulty. Whatever faults it has will arise from deficiency in the conduct, rather than in the conception, which is simple and severe.

“So you epigrammatize upon my epigram? I will pay you for that, mind if I don’t, some day. I never let any one off in the long run (who first begins). Remember * * *, and see if I don’t do you as good a turn. You unnatural publisher! what! quiz your own authors? you are a paper cannibal!

“In the Letter on Bowles (which I sent by Tuesday’s post), after the words ‘attempts had been made,’ (alluding to the republication of ‘English Bards’), add the words, ‘in Ireland;’ for I believe that English pirates did not begin their attempts till after I had left England the second time. Pray attend to this. Let me know what you and your synod think on Bowles.

“I did not think the second seal so bad; surely it is far better
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 447
than the Saracen’s head with which you have sealed your last letter; the larger, in profile, was surely much better than that.

“So Foscolo says he will get you a seal cut better in Italy? he means a throat—that is the only thing they do dexterously. The Arts—all but Canova’s, and Morghen’s, and Ovid’s (I don’t mean poetry),—are as low as need be: look at the seal which I gave to William Bankes, and own it. How came George Bankes to quote ‘English Bards’ in the House of Commons? All the world keep flinging that poem in my face.

Belzoni is a grand traveller, and his English is very prettily broken.

“As for news, the Barbarians are marching on Naples, and if they lose a single battle, all Italy will be up. It will be like the Spanish row, if they have any bottom.

“‘Letters opened?’—to be sure they are, and that’s the reason why I always put in my opinion of the German Austrian scoundrels. There is not an Italian who loathes them more than I do; and whatever I could do to scour Italy and the earth of their infamous oppression would be done con amore.

“Yours, &c