LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 4 March 1824

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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“Missoloaghi, Western Greece, March 4th, 1824.

“Your reproach is unfounded—I have received two letters from you, and answered both previous to leaving Cephalonia. I have not been ‘quiet’ in an Ionian island, but much occupied with business,—as the Greek deputies (if arrived) can tell you. Neither have I continued ‘Don Juan,’ nor any other poem. You go, as usual, I presume, by some newspaper report or other*.

* Proceeding, as he here rightly supposes, upon newspaper authority, I had in my letter made some allusion to his imputed occupations which, in his present sensitiveness on the subject of authorship, did not at all please him. To this circumstance Count Gamba alludes in a passage of his Narrative, where, after mentioning a remark of Byron’s that “Poetry should only occupy the idle, and that in more serious affairs it would be ridiculous,” he adds—“* *, at this time writing to him, said, that he had heard that ‘instead of pursuing heroic and warlike adventures,

742 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.

“When the proper moment to be of some use arrived, I came here; and am told that my arrival (with some other circumstances) has been of, at least, temporary advantage to the cause. I had a narrow escape from the Turks, and another from shipwreck on my passage. On the 15th (or 16th) of February I had an attack of apoplexy, or epilepsy,—the physicians have not exactly decided which, but the alternative is agreeable. My constitution, therefore, remains between the two opinions, like Mahomet’s sarcophagus between the magnets. All that I can say is, that they nearly bled me to death, by placing the leeches too near the temporal artery, so that the blood could with difficulty be stopped, even with caustic. I am supposed to be getting better, slowly, however. But my homilies will, I presume, for the future, be like the Archbishop of Grenada’s—in this case, ‘I order you a hundred ducats from my treasurer, and wish you a little more taste.’

“For public matters I refer you to Col. Stanhope’s and Capt. Parry’s reports,—and to all other reports whatsoever. There is plenty to do—war without, and tumult within—they ‘kill a man a week,’ like Bob Acres in the country. Parry’s artificers have gone away in alarm, on account of a dispute in which some of the natives and foreigners were engaged, and a Swede was killed, and a Suliote wounded. In the middle of their fright there was a strong shock of an earthquake; so, between that and the sword, they boomed off in a hurry, in despite of all dissuasions to the contrary. A Turkish brig ran ashore, &c. &c. &c.*

he was residing in a delightful villa, continuing Don Juan.’ This offended him for the moment, and he was sorry that such a mistaken judgment had been formed of him.”

It is amusing to observe that, while thus anxious, and from a highly noble motive, to throw his authorship into the shade while engaged in so much more serious pursuits, it was yet an author’s mode of revenge that always occurred to him, when under the influence of any of these passing resentments. Thus, when a little angry with Colonel Stanhope one day, he exclaimed “I will libel you in your own Chronicle;” and in this brief burst of humour I was myself the means of provoking in him, I have been told, on the authority of Count Gamba, that he swore to “write a satire” upon me.

Though the above letter shows how momentary was any little spleen he may have felt, there not unfrequently, I own, comes over me a short pang of regret to think that a feeling of displeasure, however slight, should have been among the latest I awakened in him.

* What I have omitted here is but a repetition of the various particulars, respecting all that had happened since his arrival, which have already been given in the letters to his other correspondents.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 743

“You, I presume, are either publishing or meditating that same. Let me hear from and of you, and believe me, in all events,

“Ever and affectionately yours,
N. B.

“P.S. Tell Mr. Murray that I wrote to him the other day, and hope that he has received, or will receive, the letter.”