1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Francis Hodgson

Lord Byron to Francis Hodgson, 3 November 1808; Memoir of Francis Hodgson (1878) 1:105-06.



My dear Hodgson, — I expected to have heard ere this the event of your interview with the mysterious Mr. Hayne, my volunteer correspondent; however, as I had no business to trouble you with the adjustment of my concerns with that illustrious stranger, I have no right to complain of your silence. Hobhouse and your humble are still here. Hobhouse hunts, &c., and I do nothing. We dined the other day with a neighbouring esquire (not Collet of Staines), and regretted your absence, as the banquet of Staines was scarcely to be compared to our last "feast of Reason." You know laughing is the sign of a rational animal, so says Dr. Smollett; I think so too, but unluckily my spirits don't always keep pace with my opinions. I had not so much scope for risibility the other day as I could have wished, for I was seated near a woman, to whom, when a boy, I was as much attached as boys generally are, and more than a man should be. I knew this before I went, and was determined to be valiant, and converse with sang froid, but, instead, I forgot my valour and my nonchalance, and never opened my lips even to laugh, far less to speak, and the lady was almost as absurd as myself, which made both the objects of more observation than if we had conducted ourselves with easy indifference. You will think all this great nonsense; if you had seen it you would have thought it still more ridiculous.

I have tried for Gifford's Epistle to Pindar, and the bookseller says the copies were cut up for waste paper: if you can procure me a copy I shall be much obliged. Adieu!

Believe me yours ever sincerely,

BYRON.