1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Musophilus, "To R. N. on his Article in the London Magazine, regarding Lord Byron" Morning Chronicle (5 October 1824).



"If none but a bosom-friend, a confessor, could have known these things, a bosom-friend, a confessor, would never have disclosed them." — Wordsworth's Letter on Burns.

Spirit of Byron! if thou deign'st to see
Us from thy lofty sphere, what bitter scorn
Thou feelest for the reptiles, carrion-born,
Who dare to mangle now thy memory!
That which, when living, was a mystery,
Which few or none presum'd to comprehend,
Is now laid open by each self-stil'd friend,
Claiming (good Heaven!) superiority.—
Oh shame! that such in spruce affected stile,
Flippant and bold, with phrases got by rote,
Should strive 'gainst thee to raise the cynic smile
By each imputed vulgar anecdote:
As if with thee they had been intimate,
Haply thy butt and scorn — below thy hate.
MUSOPHILUS.

NOTE. — The insertion of the above is claimed as some trifling counterpoise to the weight of slander copied into The Morning Chronicle from the last London Magazine.

NOTE OF THE EDITOR. — We willingly insert the above lines; but in justice to the writer of the article alluded to, who is unknown to us, we must observe, that without being able to judge of the fidelity of the account he has given of Lord B.'s private life, we think we can venture to say he has seized very happily, many points of his Lordship's intellectual character, and traced them to causes connected with circumstances either peculiar to him, or common to the class to which he belonged. We do not share the opinion of those who deem it of more importance to conceal the truth with respect to the departed great, when that truth is unfavourable, than to exhibit them as they actually were, as far as this can be effected. In the case of dead Kings, no doubt, his Lordship's publisher's conviction affords a pretty satisfactory proof that the truth cannot, with safety, be told of them, so that as far as they are concerned, history must tell a lie.