March 8 1816: I Must Bear It

t and byron

On March 8 1816, Lord Byron writes to Thomas Moore,

 I rejoice in your promotion as Chairman and Charitable Steward, &c. &c. These be dignities which await only the virtuous. But then, recollect you are six and thirty, (I speak this enviously—not of your age, but the ‘honour—love—obedience—troops of friends,’301 which accompany it,) and I have eight years good to run before I arrive at such hoary perfection; by which time,—if I am at all,—it will probably be in a state of grace or progressing merits. I must set you right in one point, however. The fault was not—no, nor even the misfortune—in my ‘choice’ (unless in choosing at all)—for I do not believe—and I must say it, in the very dregs of all this bitter business—that there ever was a better, or even a brighter, a kinder, or a more amiable and agreeable being than Lady B. I never had, nor can have, any reproach to make her, while with me. Where there is blame, it belongs to myself, and, if I cannot redeem, I must bear it.

Her nearest relatives are a * * * *—my circumstances have been and are in a state of great confusion—my health has been a good deal disordered, and my mind ill at ease for a considerable period. Such are the causes (I do not name them as excuses) which have frequently driven me into excess, and disqualified my temper for comfort. Something also may be attributed to the strange and desultory habits which, becoming my own master at an early age, and scrambling about, over and through the world, may have induced. I still, however, think that, if I had had a fair chance, by being placed in even a tolerable situation, I might have gone on fairly. But that seems hopeless,—and there is nothing more to be said. At present—except my health, which is better (it is odd, but agitation or contest of any kind gives a rebound to my spirits and sets me up for the time)—I have to battle with all kinds of unpleasantnesses, including private and pecuniary difficulties, &c. &c. I believe I may have said this before to you, but I risk repeating it. It is nothing to bear the privations of adversity, or, more properly, ill fortune; but my pride recoils from its indignities. However, I have no quarrel with that same pride, which will, I think, buckler me through every thing. If my heart could have been broken, it would have been so years ago, and by events more afflicting than these.


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