1821 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Bryan Waller Procter to Lord Byron, 19 March 1821, in Byron, Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 5:38-39n.



March 19, 1821,

25, Store Street, Bedford Square.

MY LORD, — It gave me much pleasure to learn that you had some recollection of a Harrow boy, as well as that you felt some interest in my poetical progress. It has, in truth, been fortunate. Pray endeavour to believe that I am obliged by your remembering me. I sent you in January, thro' Mr. Murray, who promised to forward it, a copy of my play of Mirandola, which was very well received. I scarcely know how you will like it, but the style is after a better fashion, I think, than what has generally been followed of late years. I shall try to do better some of these days, and in the mean time, if you have an idle five minutes, I need not say that I shall feel flattered by your devoting them to me. I am induced to say thus much because you have already taken the trouble of thinking of me and my little literary ventures.

There is little book-news at present. Scott's Kenilworth has been very well received, and there is a great deal of dramatic power in the tale, tho' it is too much like a fragment of history, and not altogether complete in itself, perhaps. Southey has tried the English hexameter, and has written The Vision of Judgment; but it will not be popular, I apprehend. I have not read it. Thomas Moore has been in France, and has written nothing, as you know. I wish he would dispatch one of his little piquant duodecimos here. We want something to enliven us. Don Juan is not out yet. Pray don't keep him back; he is rather wicked, but very delightful. Have you seen Shelley's Cenci? It is a very powerful performance, I think, tho' I wish he would let those disagreeable subjects alone. Poor Keats is at Rome, dying, I hear. Wordsworth and Coleridge are idle, as far as poetry is concerned. This is all the news in my possession.

The Neapolitans have stirred our lazy blood a little. I hope, however, that they will not (nor the Austrians) make your stay at Venice either perilous or uncomfortable. Do not allow the hot sun of the South to beget indolence upon you, but pray write as much as is consistent with your health; about this latter point I beg you to believe that I am interested, as well as most sincerely about every thing you do.

I am, my dear lord,

Your most obliged and sincere servt.,

B. W. PROCTER.

I do not send you my last book, Marcian Colonna, as Mr. Murray may perhaps have forwarded it to you among other new publications. It is rather a hasty affair.