March 8 1815: Byron to Moore

On March 8 1815, Lord Byron, from Seaham, writes to Thomas Moore.

An event—the death of poor Dorset—and the recollection of what I once felt, and ought to have felt now, but could not—set me pondering, and finally into the train of thought which you have in your hands. I am very glad you like them, for I flatter myself they will pass as an imitation of your style. If I could imitate it well, I should have no great ambition of originality—I wish I could make you exclaim with Dennis, ‘That’s my thunder, by G——d!’53 I wrote them with a view to your setting them, and as a present to Power, if he would accept the words, and you did not think yourself degraded, for once in a way, by marrying them to music.

Sun-burn N[athan]!—why do you always twit me with his vile Ebrew nasalities? Have I not told you it was all K[innaird].’s doing, and my own exquisite facility of temper? But thou wilt be a wag,Thomas; and see what you get for it. Now for my revenge.

Depend—and perpend—upon it that your opinion of * *’s poem will travel through one or other of the quintuple correspondents, till it reaches the ear, and the liver of the author.

[Moore’s note: He here alludes to a circumstance which I had communicated to him in a preceding letter. In writing to one of the numerous partners of a well-known publishing establishment (with which I have since been lucky enough to form a more intimate connection), I had said confidentially (as I thought), in reference to a poem that had just appeared,—”Between you and me, I do not much admire Mr. * *’s poem.” The letter being chiefly upon business, was answered through the regular business channel, and, to my dismay, concluded with the following words:—”We are very sorry that you do not approve of Mr. * *’s new poem, and are your obedient, &c. &c. L.H.R.O., &c. &c.”]

Your adventure, however, is truly laughable—but how could you be such a potatoe? You ‘a brother’ (of the quill) too, ‘near the throne,’ to confide to a man’s own publisher (who has ‘bought,’ or rather sold, ‘golden opinions’56 about him) such a damnatory parenthesis! ‘Between you and me,’ quotha—it reminds me of a passage in the Heir at Law—’Tête-a-tête with Lady Duberly, I suppose.’—‘No—tête-a-tête with five hundred people;’ and your confidential communication will doubtless be in circulation to that amount, in a short time, with several additions, and in several letters, all signed L.H.R.O.B., &c. &c.&c.

We leave this place to-morrow, and shall stop on our way to town (in the interval of taking a house there) at Col. Leigh’s, near Newmarket, where any epistle of yours will find its welcome way.

I have been very comfortable here,—listening to that d——d monologue, which elderly gentlemen call conversation, and in which my pious father-in-law repeats himself every evening—save one, when he played upon the fiddle. However, they have been very kind and hospitable, and I like them and theplace vastly, and I hope they will live many happy months. Bell is in health, and unvaried good humour and behaviour. But we are all in the agonies of packing and parting; and I suppose by this time to-morrow I shall be stuck in the chariot with my chin upon a band-box. I have prepared, however, another carriage for the abigail, and all the trumpery which our wives drag along with them.
Ever thine, most affectionately,
B.

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