1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Peter Bayley

Peter Bayley to Mary Russell Mitford, 26 October 1822; L'Estrange, Friendships of Mary Russell Mitford (1882) 96-97.



Most assuredly I should have written sooner had not three days been entirely wrested from me by increased illness. And at this moment I am so weak from loss of blood, blisters, and from the plentiful use of that, to me, of all medicines the most lowering and distressing, digitalis, that I can just sit up in bed, pretty well backed up by pillows, while I write this letter. I hope it is not ungrateful in me to postpone my thanks for the service you have done me in your remarks on my tragedy until I have expressed the high gratification I have received from the perusal of Foscari....

Will you be so indulgent to the invalid as to allow him to retain this treasure for a few days still? Though it might almost "create a soul under the ribs of Death," I have been reduced to such a state by digitalis that (what has never occurred to me before under the severest illness) for three days I have been almost senseless, and of course could not read. This very day, when, as I lay on a sofa, Mrs. Bayley played some of my most favourite pieces out of Mozart for my amusement, I was so torpid that for a time I did not even know what was going on. I had always a horror of the medicine; its effects on me are so dreadful. I mean certainly to discontinue it for a time, and to-morrow I trust I shall be able to read the Foscari, and to enjoy it.