LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 20 September 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, September 20th, 1821.

“You need not send ‘the Blues,’ which is a mere buffoonery, never meant for publication*.

“The papers to which I allude, in case of survivorship, are collections of letters, &c. since I was sixteen years old, contained in the trunks in the care of Mr. Hobhouse. This collection is at least doubled by those I have now here, all received since my last ostracism. To these I should wish the editor to have access, not for the purpose of abusing confidences, nor of hurting the feelings of correspondents living, nor the memories of the dead; but there are things which would do neither, that I have left unnoticed or unexplained, and which (like all such things) time only can permit to be noticed or explained, though some are to my credit. The task will of course require delicacy; but that will not be wanting, if Moore and Hobhouse survive me, and, I may add, yourself; and that you may all three do so is, I assure you, my very sincere wish. I am not sure that long life is desirable for one of my temper, and constitutional depression of spirits, which of course I suppress in society; but which breaks out when alone, and in my writings, in spite of myself. It has been deepened, perhaps, by some long-past events (I do not allude to my marriage, &c.—on the contrary, that raised them by the persecution giving a fillip to my spirits); but I call it constitutional, as I have reason to think it. You know, or you do not know, that my maternal grandfather (a very clever man, and amiable, I am told) was strongly suspected of suicide (he was found drowned in the Avon at Bath), and that another very near relative of the same branch took poison, and was merely saved by antidotes. For the first of these events there was no apparent cause, as he was rich, respected, and of considerable intellectual resources, hardly forty years of age, and not at all addicted to any unhinging vice. It

* This short satire, which is wholly unworthy of his pen, appeared afterwards in the Liberal.

532 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
was, however, but a strong suspicion, owing to the manner of his death and his melancholy temper. The second had a cause, but it does not become me to touch upon it: it happened when I was far too young to be aware of it, and I never heard of it till after the death of that relative, many years afterwards. I think, then, that I may call this dejection constitutional. I had always been told that I resembled more my maternal grandfather than any of my father’s family—that is, in the gloomier part of his temper, for he was what you call a good-natured man, and I am not.

“The Journal here I sent to Moore the other day; but as it is a mere diary, only parts of it would ever do for publication. The other Journal of the Tour in 1816, I should think Augusta might let you have a copy of.

“I am much mortified that Gifford don’t take to my new dramas. To be sure, they are as opposite to the English drama as one thing can be to another; but I have a notion that, if understood, they will in time find favour (though not on the stage) with the reader. The simplicity of plot is intentional, and the avoidance of rant also, as also the compression of the speeches in the more severe situations. What I seek to show in ‘the Foscaris’ is the suppressed passions, rather than the rant of the present day. For that matter—
‘Nay, if thou’lt mouth,
I’ll rant as well as thou—’
would not be difficult, as I think I have shown in my younger productions,—not dramatic ones, to be sure. But, as I said before, I am mortified that Gifford don’t like them; but I see no remedy, our notions on that subject being so different. How is he?—well, I hope? let me know. I regret his demur the more that he has been always my grand patron, and I know no praise which would compensate me in my own mind for his censure. I do not mind Reviews, as I can work them at their own weapons.

“Yours, &c.

“Address to me at Pisa, whither I am going. The reason is, that all my Italian friends here have been exiled, and are met there for the present, and I go to join them, as agreed upon, for the winter.”