1831 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Henry Gally Knight to John Murray, 17 February 1831; Smiles, A Publisher and his Friends: Memoir of John Murray (1891) 2:323.



17th February, 1831.

I have seen the second volume of Moore's "Life of Byron," and though it can be matter of surprise to no one to find himself the object of the spleen of the noble author, yet I confess I am surprised at seeing myself so gratuitously offered up as a victim to the public — especially as Lord Byron's opinions on the subject of my little poems in the second volume are the exact converse of what they were in the first — thereby demonstrating that whoever remained, every so quietly and unaffectedly, the friend of Lady Byron, could not escape the malignity of her lord. What makes the pickings at my little poem in the second volume the more remarkable is that "Ilderim" had been submitted to Lord Byron at his own request some time before it was published, and that he strongly exhorted me to let it appear. I have still in my possession a letter of Lord Byron's in which he desires me to put the work into your hands. "Au reste," the second volume appears to me to be neither more nor less than "Don Juan" in prose, and I cannot say how much I regret to see Lord Byron's amours so openly paraded before the public. It is an indecorous exhibition, and but too likely to do harm, for young men will admire the whole of the life, because it belonged to genius; and will imitate the only part of it with which mental superiority had nothing to do.