LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 14 July 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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“July 14th, 1821.

“I trust that Sardanapalus will not be mistaken for a political play, which was so far from my intention, that I thought of nothing but Asiatic history. The Venetian play, too, is rigidly historical. My object has been to dramatise, like the Greeks (a modest phrase), striking passages of history, as they did of history and mythology. You will find all this very unlike Shakspeare; and so much the better in one sense, for I look upon him to be the worst of models*, though the most extraordinary of writers. It has been my object to be as simple and severe as Alfieri, and I have broken down the poetry as nearly as I could to common language. The hardship is, that in these times one can neither speak of kings or queens without suspicion of politics or personalities. I intended neither.

“I am not very well. and I write in the midst of unpleasant scenes here: they have, without trial or process, banished several of the first inhabitants of the cities—here and all around the Roman states—amongst them many of my personal friends, so that every thing is in confusion

* In venturing this judgment upon Shakspeare, Lord Byron but followed In the footsteps of his great idol Pope. “It was mighty simple in Rowe,” says this poet, “to write a play now professedly in Shakspeare’s style, that is, professedly in the style of a bed age.”—Spence, sect. 4. 1734-36. Of Milton, too, Pope seems to have held pretty nearly the same opinion as that professed by Lord Byron in some of these letters. See, in Spence, sect. 5. 1737-39, a passage on which his editor remarks—“Perhaps Pope did not relish Shakspeare more than he seems to have done Milton.”

500 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
and grief: it is a kind of thing which cannot be described without an equal pain as in beholding it.

“You are very niggardly in your letters.

“Yours truly,