LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 8 February 1822

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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“Pisa, February 8th, 1822.

“Attacks upon me were to be expected, but I perceive one upon you in the papers which I confess that I did not expect. How, or in
574 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1822.
what manner, you can be considered responsible for what I publish, I am at a loss to conceive.

“If ‘Cain’ be ‘blasphemous,’ Paradise Lost is blasphemous; and the very words of the Oxford gentleman, ‘Evil, be thou my good,’ are from that very poem, from the mouth of Satan; and is there any thing more in that of Lucifer in the Mystery? Cain is nothing more than a drama, not a piece of argument. If Lucifer and Cain speak as the first murderer and the first rebel may be supposed to speak, surely all the rest of the personages talk also according to their characters—and the stronger passions have ever been permitted to the drama.

“I have even avoided introducing the Deity as in Scripture (though Milton does, and not very wisely either), but have adopted his angel as sent to Cain instead, on purpose to avoid shocking any feelings on the subject by falling short of what all uninspired men must fall short in, viz., giving an adequate notion of the effect of the presence of Jehovah. The old Mysteries introduced him liberally enough, and all this is avoided in the new one.

“The attempt to bully you, because they think it won’t succeed with me, seems to me as atrocious an attempt as ever disgraced the times. What when Gibbon’s, Hume’s, Priestley’s, and Drummond’s publishers have been allowed to rest in peace for seventy years, are you to be singled out for a work of fiction, not of history or argument? There must be something at the bottom of this—some private enemy of your own: it is otherwise incredible.

“I can only say, ‘Me, me; en adsum qui feci;’—that any proceedings directed against you, I beg, may be transferred to me, who am willing, and ought, to endure them all;—that if you have lost money by the publication, I will refund any or all of the copyright;—that I desire you will say that both you and Mr. Gifford remonstrated against the publication, as also Mr. Hobhouse;—that I alone occasioned it, and I alone am the person who, either legally or otherwise, should bear the burden. If they prosecute, I will come to England—that is, if, by meeting it in my own person, I can save yours. Let me know. You sha’n’t suffer for me, if I can help it. Make any use of this letter you please.

“Yours ever, &c.
A. D. 1822. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 575

“P.S. I write to you about all this row of bad passions and absurdities with the summer moon (for here our winter is clearer than your dog-days) lighting the winding Arno, with all her buildings and bridges—so quiet and still!—What nothings are we before the least of these stars!”