1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Mary Russell Mitford to Sir William Elford, 25 May 1812; L'Estrange, Life of Mary Russell Mitford (1870) 1:153.



I am almost afraid to tell you how much I dislike Childe Harold. Not but that there are many fine stanzas and powerful descriptions; but the sentiment is so strange, so gloomy, so heartless, that it is impossible not to feel a mixture of pity and disgust, which all our admiration of the author's talents can not overcome. I would rather be the poorest Greek whose fate he commiserates, than Lord Byron, if this poem be a true transcript of his feelings. Out of charity we must hope that his taste only is in fault, and that the young lordling imagines that there is something interesting in misery and misanthropy. I the readier believe this, as I am intimate with one of his lordship's most attached friends, and he gives him an excellent character.