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Pray thank Gifford for all his goodnesses. The winter is as cold here as Parry's polarities. I must now take a canter in the forest ; my horses are waiting.
Yours ever and truly."
“ Ravenna, February 2, 1821, "Your letter of excuses has arrived. I receive the letter, but do not admit the excuses, except in courtesy ; ' as when a man treads on your toes and begs your pardon, the pardon is granted, but the joint aches, especially if there be a corn upon it. However, I shall scold you presently. “ In the last speech of the Doge, there occurs (I think,
from memory) the phrase
6 • And Thou who makest avd unmakest suns:'
change this to
6 • And Thou who kindlest and who quenchest suns;'
that is to say, if the verse runs equally well, and Mr. Gifford thinks the expression improved. Pray have the bounty to attend to this. You are grown quite a minister of state. Mind if some of these days you are not thrown out.
** will not be always a Tory, though Johnson says the first Wbig was the devil.
“ You have learnt one secret from Mr. Galignani's (somewhat tardily acknowledged) correspondence : this is, that an English author may dispose of his exclusive copyright in France-a fact of some consequence, (in time of peace), in the case of a popular writer. Now I will tell you what shall do, and take no advantage of you, though you were scurvy enough never to acknowledge my letter for three months. Offer Galignani the refusal of the copyright in France; if he refuses, appoint any bookseller in France you please, and I will sign any assignment you please, and it shall never cost you a sou on my account.
“Recollect that I will have nothing to do with it, except as far as it may secure the copyright to yourself. I will have no bargain but with the English booksellers, and I desire no interest out of that country.
“Now, that's fair and open, and a little handsomer than your dodging silence, to see what would come of it. You are an excellent fellow, mio caro Moray, but there is still a little leaven of Fleet-street about you now and then-a crum of the old loaf. You have no right to act suspiciously with me, for I have given you no reason. I shall always be frank with you; as, for instance, whenever you talk with the votaries of Apollo arithmetically, it should be in guineas, not pounds—to poets, as well as physicians, and bidders at auctions. "I shall say no more at this present, save that I am,
• Yours," &c.
“P.S. If you venture, as you say, to Ravenna this year, I will exercise the rites of hospitality while you live, and bury you handsomely (though not in holy ground), if you get shot or slashed in a creagh or splore,' which are rather frequent here of late among the native parties. But perhaps your visit may be anticipated; I may probably come to your coụntry; in which case write to her Ladyship the duplicate of the epistle the King of France wrote to Prince John.”
“ Ravenna, February 16, 1821 “ In the month of March will arrive from Barcelona Signor Curioni, engaged for the Opera. He is an acquaintance of mine, and a gentlemanly young man, high in his profession. I must request your personal kindness and patronage in his favour. Pray introduce him to such of the theatrical people, editors of papers, and others, as may be useful to him in his profession, publicly and privately.
" The fifth is so far from being the last of Don Juan, that it is hardly the beginning, I meant to take him the tour of Europe, with a proper mixture of siege, battle, and adventure, and to make him finish as Anacharsis Cloots, in the French Revolution. To how many cantos this may extend, I know not, nor whether (even if I live) I shall complete it: but this was my notion. I meant to have made him a cavalier servente in Italy, and a cause for a divorce in England, and a sentimental • Werterfaced man’ in Germany, so as to show the different ridicules of the society in each of those countries, and to have displayed him gradually gâté and blasé as he grew older, as is natural. But I had not quite fixed whether to make him end in hell, or in an unhappy marriage, not knowing which would be the severest : the Spanish tradition says helt: but it is probably only an allegory of the other state, You are now in possession of my notions on the subject.
say the Doge will not be popular : did I ever write for popularity? I defy you to show a work of mine (except a tale or two) of a popular style or complexion. It appears to me that there is room for a different style of the drama ; neither a servile following of the old drama, which is a grossly erroneous one, nor yet too French, like those who succeeded the older writers. It appears to me, that good English, and a severer approach to the rules, might combine something not dishonourable to our literature. I have also attempted to make a play without love; and there are neither rings, nor mistakes, nor starts, nor outrageous ranting villains, nor melodrame in it. All this will prevent its popularity, but does not persuade me that it is therefore faulty. Whatever faults it has will arise from deficiency in the conduct, rather than in the conception, which is simple and severe.
“So you epigrammatise upon my epigram? I will pay you for that, mind if I don't, some day. I never let any one off in the long run (who first begins). Remember ***, and see if I don't do you as good a turn.
You unnatural publisher! what! quiz your own authors ? you are a paper cannibal !
“In the Letter on Bowles (which I sent by Tuesday's post), after the words attempts had been made' (alluding to the republication of English Bards'), add the words, ' in Ireland ;' for I believe that English pirates did not begin their attempts till after I had left England the second time. Pray attend to this. Let me know what you and your synod think on Bowles.
“I did not think the second seal so bad; surely it is far better than the Saracen's head with which
your last letter ; the larger, in profile, was surely much better than that. 6.So Foscolo
says he will get you a seal cut better in Italy? he means a throat-that is the only thing they do dexterously. The Arts-all but Canova's and Morghen's, and Ovid's (I don't mean poetry),- -are as low as need be : look at the seal which I gave to William Bankes, and own it. How came George Bankes to quote · English Bards' in the House of Commons ? All the world keep flinging that poem
in face. “Belzoni is a grand traveller, and his English is very prettily broken..
“As for news, the Barbarians are marching on Naples, and if they lose a single battle, all Italy will be up. It will be like the Spanish row, if they have any bottom.
Letters opened ??-to be sure they are, and that's the reason why I always put
in my opinions of the German Austrian scoundrels. There is not an Italian who loathes them more than I do: and whatever I could do to scour Italy and the earth of their infamous oppression would be done con amore.
“ Ravenna, February 21, 1821. “In the forty-fourth page, volume first, of Turner's Travels (which you lately sent me), it is stated that ‘Lord Byron, when he expressed such confidence of its practicability, seems to have forgotten that Leander swam both ways, with and against the tide ; whereas he (Lord Byron) only performed the easiest part of the task by swimming with it from Europe to Asia.' I certainly could not have forgotten, what is known to every schoolboy, that Leander crossed in the night, and returned towards the morning. My object was, to ascertain that the Hellespont could be crossed at all by swimming, and in this Mr. Ekenhead and myself both succeeded, the one in an hour and ten minutes, and the other in one hour and five minutes. The tide was not in our favour ; on the contrary, the great difficulty was to bear up against the current, which, so far from helping us into the Asiatic side, set us down right towards. the Archipelago. Neither Mr. Ekenhead, myself, nor, I will venture to. add, any person on board the frigate, from Captain Bathurst downwards, had any notion of a difference of the current on the Asiatic side, of which Mr. Turner speaks. I never heard of it till this moment, or I would have taken the other course, Lieutenant Ekenbead's sole motive, and mine
also, for setting out from the European side was, that the little cape above Sestos was a more prominent starting place, and the frigate which lay below, close under the Asiatic castle, formed a better point of view for us to swim towards ; and, in fact, we landed immediately below it. 6. Mr. Turner
• Whatever is thrown into the stream on this part of the European bank must arrive at the Asiatic shore." This is so far from being the case, that it must arrive in the Archipelago, if left to the current, although a strong wind in the Asiatic direction might have such an effect occasionally.
“Mr Turner attempted the passage from the Asiatic side, and failed: · After five-and-twenty minutes, in which he did not advance a hundred yards, he gave it up from complete exhaustion.' This is very possible, and might have occurred to him just as readily on the European side. He should have set out a couple of miles higher, and could then have come out below the European castle. I particularly stated, and Mr. Hobhouse has done so also, that we were obliged to make the real passage of one mile extend to between three and four, owing to the force of the stream. I can assure Mr. Turner, that his success would have given me great pleasure, as it would have added one more instance to the proofs of the probability. It is not quite fair in him to infer, that because he failed, Leander could not succeed. There are still four instances on record : a Neapolitan, a young Jew, Mr. Ekenhead, and
myself; the two last done in the presence of hundreds of English witnesses.
“ With regard to the difference of the current, I perceived none; it is favourable to the swimmer on neither side, but may be stemmed by plunging into the sea, a considerable way above the opposite point of the coast which the swimmer wishes to make, but still bearing up against it; it is strong, but if
you calculate well, you may reach land. My own experience and that of others bids me pronounce the passage of Leander perfectly practicable. Any young man, in good health, and tolerable skill in swimming, might succeed in it from either side. I was three hours în swimming across the Tagus, which is much more harzardous, being two hours longer than the Hellespont. Of what may be done in swimming, I will mention' one more instance. In 1818, the Chevalier Mengaldo (a gentleman of Bassano), a good swimmer, wished to swim with my friend Mr. Alexander Scott and myself. As he seemed particularly anxious on the subject, we indulged him. We all three started from the island of the Lido and swam to Venice.' At the entrance of the Grand Canal, Scott and I were a good way ahead, and we saw no more of our foreign friend, which, however, was of no consequence, as there was a gondola to hold bis clothes and pick him up:
Scott swam on till past the Rialto, where he got out, less from fatigue than from chill, having been four hours in the water, without rest or stay, except what is to be ohtained by floating on one's back--this being the condition of our performance. I continued my course on to Santa Chiara, comprising the whole of the Grand Canal (besides the distance from the Lido), and got out where the Laguna once more opens to Fusina. I had been in the water, by my watch, without help or rest, and never touch
66 That a
ing ground or boat, four hours and twenty minutes. To this match, and during the greater part of its performance, Mr. Hoppner, the Consulg'eneral, was witness, and it is well known to many others. Mr. Turner can easily verify the fact, if he thinks it worth while, by referring to Mr. Hoppner. The distance we could not accurately ascertain; it was. of course considerable.
“I crossed the Hellespont in one hour and ten minutes only. I ani now ten years older in time, and twenty in constitution, than I was when I passed the Dardanelles, and yet two years ago I was capable of swimming four hours and twenty minutes; and I am sure that I could have continued two hours longer, though I had on a pair of trowsers, an accoutrement which by no means assists the performance. My two companions were also four hours in the water. Mengaldo might be about thirty years of age; Scott about six-and-twenty.
“ With this experience in swimming at different periods of life, not only upon the spot, but elsewhere, of various persons, what is there to make me doubt that Leander's exploit was perfectly practicable ? If three individuals did more than the passage of the Hellespont, why should be have done less ? But Mr. Turner failed, and naturally seeking a plausible reason for his failure, lays the blame on the Asiatic side of the strait. He tried to swim directly across, instead of going higher up to take the vantage : he might as well have tried to fly over Mount Athos.
young Greek of the heroic times, in love, and with his limbs in full vigour, might have succeeded in such an attempt, is neither wonderful nor doubtful. Whether he attempted it or not is another question, because he might have had a small boat to save him the trouble. “ I am yours very truly,
BYRON. “ P.S. Mr. Turner says that the swimming from Europe to Asia was
the easiest part of the task.' I doubt whether Leander found it so, as it was the return; however, he had several hours between the intervals. The arguments of Mr. Turner, ' that higher up or lower down, the strait widens so considerably that he would save little labour by bis starting,' is only good for indifferent swimmers; a man of any practice or skill will always consider the distance less than the strength of the stream. If Ekenkead and myself had thought of crossing at the narrowest point, instead of going up to the Cape above it, we should have been swept down to Tenedos. The strait, however, is not so extremely wide, even where it broadens above and below the forts. As the frigate was stationed some time in the Dardanelles waiting for the firman, I bathed often in the strait subsequently to our traject, and generally on the Asiatic side, without perceiving the greater strength of the opposite stream by which the diplomatic traveller palliates his own failure. Our amusement in the small bay which opens immediately below the Asiatic fort was to dive for the Land tortoises, which we flung in on purpose, as they amphibiously crawled along the bottom.
This does not argue any greater violence of current than the European shore. With regard to the modest insinuation that we chose the European side as
easier,' I appeal to Mr. Hobhouse and Captain Bathurst if it be true or no (poor