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A BELATED APOLOGY

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contrary, in common with all other writers, I do and ought to take it as a compliment.

(1815, early in November. Letter 562, to

Leigh Hunt, Vol. III., p. 247.)

With regard to a future large edition, you may print all, or any thing, except English Bards, to the republication of which at no time will I consent. I would not reprint them on any consideration. I don't think them good for much, even in point of poetry; and, as to other things, you are to recollect that I gave up the publication on account of the Hollands, and I do not think that any time or circumstances can neutralise my suppression. Add to which, that, after being on terms with almost all the bards and Critics of the day, it would be savage at any time, but worst of all now when in another country to revive this foolish lampoon.

(1817, October 23. Letter 676, to John

Murray, Vol. IV., p. 177.)

I blundered—God knows how-into attributing the tremors of the lovers [in an allusion to Bowles's "The Spirit of Discovery "contained in English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers] to the “Woods of Madeira, by which they were surrounded. And I hereby do fully and freely declare and asseverate, that the Woods did not tremble to a kiss, and that the Lovers did. . . And if I had been aware that this declaration would have been in the smallest degree satisfactory to M' B[owles], I should not have waited nine years to make it, notwithstanding that English Bards, and Scotch

Reviewers had been suppressed some time previously to my meeting him at M' Rogers's. Our worthy host might indeed have told him as much, as it was at his representation that I suppressed it. A

it. A new edition of that lampoon was preparing for the press, when M' Rogers represented to me, that "I was now acquainted with many of the persons mentioned in it, and with some on terms of intimacy ;” and that he knew “one family in particular to whom its suppression would give pleasure.” I did not hesitate one moment—it was cancelled instantly; and it is no fault of mine that it has ever been republished. When I left England, in April, 1816, with no very violent intentions of troubling that country again, and amidst scenes of various kinds to distract my attention,--almost my last act, I believe, was to sign a power of attorney, to yourself

, to prevent or suppress any attempts (of which several had been made) at a republication. It is proper that I should state, that the persons with whom I was subsequently acquainted, whose names had occurred in that publication, were made my acquaintances at their own desire, or through the unsought intervention of others. I never, to the best of my knowledge, sought a personal introduction to any. Some of them to this day I know only by correspondence ; and with one of those it was begun by myself, in consequence, however, of a polite verbal communication from a third person.

I have dwelt for an instant on these circumstances, because it has sometimes been made a subject of bitter reproach to me to have endeavoured to suppress that Satire. I never shrunk, as those who know me

BYRON'S “ NOBLE MIND"

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know, from any personal consequences which could be attached to its publication. Of its subsequent suppression, as I possessed the copyright, I was the best judge and the sole master. The circumstances which occasioned the suppression I have now stated .; of the motives, each must judge according to his candour or malignity. M' Bowles does me the honour to talk of “noble mind,” and “generous magnanimity ;” and all this because “the circumstance would have been explained, had not the book been suppressed.” I see no “nobility of mind” in an act of simple Justice; and I hate the word “

Magnanimity," because I have sometimes seen it applied to the grossest of imposters by the greatest of fools; but I would have "explained the circumstance,” notwithstanding “the Suppression of the book,” if M* B. had expressed any desire that I should. As the “ gallant Galbraith” says to “Baillie Jarvie,” “Well, the devil take the mistake, and all that occasioned it.” I have had as great and greater mistakes made about me personally and poetically, once a month for these last ten years, and never cared very much about correcting one or the other, at least after the first eight and forty hours had gone over them.

(1821, February 7. Byron's first letter to

Murray on the Bowles-Pope Controversy, Vol. V., pp. 538 and 539.)

CHAPTER IV

BYRON'S ESTIMATE OF CONTEMPORARY

ENGLISH POETS

Keats

A young person learning to write poetry, and beginning by teaching the art, . . . a tadpole of the Lakes, a young disciple of the six or seven new schools, in which he has learnt to write such lines and such sentiments as the above. He says

easy was the task” of imitating Pope, or it may be of equalling him, I presume. I recommend him to try before he is so positive on the subject, and then compare what he will have then written and what he has now written with the humblest and earliest compositions of Pope, produced in years still more youthful than those of M'Keats when he invented his new “Essay on Criticism,” entitled Sleep and Poetry (an ominous title), from whence the above canons are taken. (1820, March

15. Byron's reply to Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine for August 1819, contained in a letter to J. Ď. Israeli, Esq., Vol. IV., p. 491.)

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AN UNPLEASANT COMPARISON

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Here are Johnny Keats's ... poetry Pray send me no

more poetry but what is rare and decidedly good. There is such a trash of Keats and the like upon my tables, that I am ashamed to look at them. . . No more Keats, I entreat :-flay him alive; if some of you don't, I must skin him myself: there is no bearing the drivelling idiotism of the Mankin.

(1820, October 12. Letter 836, to John

Murray, Vol. V., pp. 93, 94, and 96.)

The Edinburgh praises Jack Keats or Ketch, or whatever his names are: why, his is the * of poetrysomething like the pleasure an Italian fiddler extracted out of being suspended daily by a Street Walker in Drury Lane. This went on for some weeks : at last the Girl went to get a pint of Gin—met another, chatted too long, and Cornelli was hanged outright before she returned. Such like is the trash they praise, and such will be the end of the * * miserable Self-polluter of the human Mind.

(1820, November 4. Letter 843, to John

Murray, Vol. V., p. 109.)

poesy of this

M' Keats, whose poetry you enquire after, appears to me what I have already said : such writing is a sort of mental * * * *

** ****** his Imagination. I don't mean he is indecent, but viciously soliciting his own ideas into a state, which is neither poetry nor any thing else but a Bedlam vision produced by raw pork and opium.

(1820, November 9. Letter 845, to John

Murray, Vol. V., p. 117.)

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