1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Herman Merivale

Lord Byron to John Herman Merivale, January 1814; Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 3:5.



January, 1814.

MY DEAR MERIVALE, — I have redde Roncesvaux with very great pleasure, and (if I were so disposed) see very little room for criticism. There is a choice of two lines in one of the last cantos, — I think "Live and Protect" better, because "Oh who?" implies a doubt of Roland's power or inclination. I would allow the — but that point you yourself must determine on — I mean the doubt as to where to place a part of the Poem, whether between the actions or no. Only if you wish to have all the success you deserve, never listen to friends, and — as I am not the least troublesome of the number — least of all to me.

I hope you will be out soon. March, sir, March is the month for trade, and they must be considered. You have written a very noble Poem, and nothing but the detestable taste of the can can do you harm — but I think you will beat it. Your measure is uncommonly well-chosen and wielded.