LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to James Perry, 22 January 1821

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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“Ravenna, January 22d, 1821.

“I have received a strange piece of news, which cannot be more disagreeable to your public than it is to me. Letters and the gazettes do me the honour to say that it is the intention of some of the London managers to bring forward on their stage the poem of ‘Marino Faliero,’ &c. which was never intended for such an exhibition, and I trust will never undergo it. It is certainly unfit for it. I have never written but for the solitary reader, and require no experiments for applause beyond his silent approbation. Since such an attempt to drag me forth as a gladiator in the theatrical arena is a violation of all the courtesies of literature, I trust that the impartial part of the press will step between me and this pollution. I say pollution, because every violation of a right is such, and I claim my right as an author to prevent what I have written from being turned into a stage-play. I have too much respect for the public to permit this of my own free will. Had I sought their favour, it would have been by a pantomime.

“I have said that I write only for the reader. Beyond this I cannot consent to any publication, or to the abuse of any publication of mine to the purposes of histrionism. The applauses of an audience would give me no pleasure; their disapprobation might, however, give me pain. The wager is therefore not equal. You may, perhaps, say, ‘How can this be? if their disapprobation gives pain, their praise might afford pleasure?’ By no means: the kick of an ass or the sting of a wasp may be painful to those who would find nothing agreeable in the braying of the one or the buzzing of the other.

“This may not seem a courteous comparison, but I have no other ready; and it occurs naturally.”