1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

John Murray to Lord Byron, 16 June 1818; Smiles, A Publisher and his Friends: Memoir of John Murray (1891) 1:393.



I received very safely, a few days ago, by the care of Signor Gio. Bata. Missiaglia (I was very much obliged indeed by the books and periodicals which you were so good as to send me), the curious collection of letters described in the above-mentioned letter belonging to the Dr. Aglietti, which I gave, in the first instance, to Mr. Gifford to read. He thinks them very interesting as autographs; but with the exception of those pointed out by you, there are few that would afford more than extracts, to be selected by a judicious editor. I think D'Israeli, from the nature of his studies, might be trusted with their selection; and I shall be able to sent them to him to-morrow, and, by this day week, I will propose a sum for them to your friend the proprietor. Pope, whose unmanly persecution of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and of her friend Lord Hervey arose from disappointed love, is, you see, no less insidiously spoken of by Lord Hervey, whose letters are good but not of the first water. Lord Oxford beats them all. Gray's letter excellent; and Lady M. W. Montagu's ideas equal to her literary character. I have been lately reading again her letters, particularly her latest ones in her old age to her daughter, which are as full of wisdom, almost proverbial, as of beauty. I should think you may stumble upon a letter full of anecdotes of hers, which I beg you to hoard up, as I am the proprietor of her Works, and would like to introduce a new edition with any variety of this kind.