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TO MR WILLIAM BANKES

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cases where the retribution took a friendly form. | flames. At the same time, and from similar motives, Being now daily in the habit of meeting and receiving -aided, I rather think, by a friendly remonstrance kindnesses from persons who, either in themselves, or from Lord Elgin, or some of his connexions,-the through their relatives, had been wounded by his pen, “Curse of Minerva," a poem levelled against that he felt every fresh instance of courtesy from such nobleman, and already in progress towards publicaquarters to be (as he sometimes, in the strong lan- tion, was also sacrificed; while the “Hints from Hoguage of scripture, expressed it) like “heaping coals race," though containing far less personal satire than of fire upon his head.” He was, indeed, in a remark- either of the others, shared their fate. able degree, sensitive to the kindness or displeasure of To exemplify what I have said of his extreme senthose he lived with ; and had he passed a life subject sibility to the passing sunshine or clouds of the society to the immediate influence of society, it may be in which he lived, I need but cite the following notes, doubted whether he ever would have ventured upon addressed by him to his friend Mr William Bankes, those unbridled bursts of energy, in which he, at once, under the apprehension that this gentleman was, for demonstrated and abused his power. At the period some reason or other, displeased with him. when he ran riot in his Satire, society had not yet

LETTER XCII. caught him within its pale; and in the time of his Cains and Don Juans, he had again broken loose from it. Hence, his instinct towards a life of solitude and

« April 20th, 1812. independence, as the true element of his strength. In

MY DEAR BANKES, his own domain of imagination he could defy the

“I feel rather hurt (not savagely) at the speech whole world; while in real life, a frown or smile could rule him. The facility with which he sacrificed

you made to me last night, and my hope is, that it his first volume, at the mere suggestion of his friend,

was only one of your profane jests. I should be very Mr Becher, is a strong proof of this pliableness; and sorry that any part of my behaviour should give you in the instance of Childe Harold, such influence had

cause to suppose that I think higher of myself, or the opinions of Mr Gifford and Mr Dallas on his mind, otherwise of you, than I have always done. I can that he not only shrumk from his original design of

assure you that I am as much the humblest of your identifying himself with his hero, but surrendered to

servants as at Trin. Coll.; and if I have not been at them one of his most favourite stanzas, whose hetero- home when you favoured me with a call, the loss was doxy they had objected to; nor is it too much, per parties, there is, there can be, no rational conversa

more mine than yours. In the bustle of buzzing haps, to conclude, that had a more extended force of tion; but when I can enjoy it, there is nobody's I can such influence then acted upon him, he would have consented to omit the sceptical parts of his poem

prefer to your own.

“ Believe me ever faithfully altogether. Certain it is that, during the remainder of his stay in England, no such doctrines were ever

“ And most affectionately yours,

“ BYRON.” again obtruded on his readers; and in all those beautiful creations of his fancy, with which he brightened

LETTER XCIII. that whole period, keeping the public eye in one pro

TO MR WILLIAM BANKES. longed gaze of admiration, both the bitterness and the licence of his impetuous spirit were kept effec

MY DEAR BANKES, tually under control. The world, indeed, had yet to “My eagerness to come to an explanation has, I witness what he was capable of, when emancipated trust, convinced you that whatever my unlucky from this restraint. For, graceful and powerful as manner might inadvertently be, the change was as were his flights while society had still a hold of him, it unintentional as (if intended) it would have been was not till let loose from the leash that he rose into the ungrateful. I really was not aware that, while we true region of his strength; and though almost in pro- were together, I had evinced such caprices; portion to that strength was, too frequently, his abuse were not so much in each other's company as I could of it, yet so magnificent are the very excesses of have wished, I well know, but I think so acute such energy, that it is impossible, even while we an observer as yourself must have perceived enough condemn, not to admire.

to explain this, without supposing any slight to one The occasion by which I have been led into these in whose society I have pride and pleasure. Recolremarks,-namely, his sensitiveness on the subject of lect that I do not allude here to extended' or exhis Satire,-is one of those instances that show how tending acquaintances, but to circumstances you easily his gigantic spirit could be, if not held down, will understand, I think, on a little reflection. at least entangled, by the small ties of society. The .“ And now, my dear Bankes, do not distress me by aggression of which he had been guilty was not only supposing that I can think of you, or you of me, past, but, by many of those most injured, forgiven; otherwise than I trust we have long thought.

You and yet,—highly, it must be allowed, to the credit of told me not long ago that my temper was improved, his social feelings,—the idea of living familiarly and and I should be sorry that opinion should be revoked. friendly with persons, respecting whose character or Believe me, your friendship is of more account to me talents there were such opinions of his on record, be- than all those absurd vanities in which, I fear, you came at length insupportable to him; and, though conceive me to take too much interest. I have never far advanced in a fifth edition of “ English Bards, disputed your superiority, or doubted (seriously) your &c.” he came to the resolution of suppressing the good will, and no one shall ever make mischief beSatire altogether; and orders were sent to Cawthorn, tween us’ without the sincere regret on the part of the publisher, to commit the whole impression to the your ever affectionate, &c.

that we

6

“P.S.--I shall see you, I hope, at Lady Jersey's. showed that the novelty, at least, of this mode of Hobhouse goes also.”

existence had charms for him, however he might esti

mate its pleasures. That sort of vanity which is In the month of April he was again tempted to try almost inseparable from genius, and which consists in his success in the House of Lords, and, on the motion an extreme sensitiveness on the subject of self, Lord of Lord Donoughmore for taking into consideration Byron, I need not say, possessed in no ordinary dethe claims of the Irish catholics, delivered his senti- gree; and never was there a career in which this ments strongly in favour of the proposition. His dis- sensibility to the opinions of others was exposed to play, on this occasion, seems to have been less pro- more constant and various excitement than that on mising than in his first essay, His delivery was which he was now entered. I find in a note of my thought mouthing and theatrical, being infected, I own to him, written at this period, some jesting allutake for granted (having never heard him speak in sions to the “circle of star-gazers” whom I had left parliament), with the same chaunting tone that disfi- around him at some party on the preceding night;gured his recitation of poetry, -a tone contracted at and such, in fact, was the flattering ordeal he had to most of the public schools, but more particularly, undergo wherever he went. On these occasions, perhaps, at Harrow, and encroaching just enough on particularly before the range of his acquaintance had the boundaries of song to offend those ears most by become sufficiently extended to set him wholly at his which song is best enjoyed and understood.

ease,-his air and port were those of one whose better On the subject of the negotiations for a change of thoughts were elsewhere, and who looked with meministry which took place during this session, I find | lancholy abstraction on the gay crowd around him. the following anecdotes recorded in his notebook. This deportment, so rare in such scenes, and so ac

" At the opposition meeting of the Peers, in 1812, cordant with the romantic notions entertained of him, at Lord Grenville's, when Lord Grey and he read to was the result partly of shyness, and partly, perhaps, us the correspondence upon Moira’s negotiation, I of that love of effeet and impression to which the sate next to the present Duke of Grafton, and said, poetical character of his mind naturally led. Nothing, • What is to be done next? — Wake the Duke of indeed, could be more amusing and delightful than Norfolk’ (who was snoring away near us), replied the contrast which his manner afterwards, when we he: “ I don't think the negotiators have left any thing brilliant circle we had just left

. It was like the

were alone, presented to his proud reserve in the else for us to do this turn.'

“ In the debate, or rather discussion, afterwards bursting gaiety of a boy let loose from school, and in the House of Lords upon that very question, I seemed as if there was no extent of fun or tricks of sate immediately behind Lord Moira, who was ex

which he was not capable. Finding him invariably tremely annoyed at Grey's speech upon the subject; thus lively when we were together, I often rallied and, while Grey was speaking, turned round to me him on the gloomy tone of his poetry, as assumed; repeatedly, and asked me whether I agreed with but his constant answer was (and I soon ceased to him. It was an awkward question to me, who had 'doubt of its truth), that, though thus merry and full not heard both sides. Moira kept repeating to me,

of laughter with those he liked, he was, at heart, one It was not so, it was so and so,' &c. I did not of the most melancholy wretches in existence. know very well what to think, but I sympathised

Among the numerous notes which I received from with the acuteness of his feelings upon the subject.” him at this time, --some of them relating to our joint

The subject of the catholic claims was, it is well engagements in society, and others to matters now known, brought forward a second time this session better forgotten,-I shall select a few that (as showing by Lord Wellesley, whose motion for a future consi- his haunts and habits) may not, perhaps, be unin. deration of the question was carried by a majority of teresting. one. In reference to this division, another rather

« March 25th, 1812. amusing anecdote is thus related. « Lord * * affects an imitation of two very dif- Thomas Moore, stand indicted—no-invited, by

“Know all men by these presents, that you, ferent Chancellors, Thurlow and Loughborough, and can indulge in an oath now and then. On one of special and particular solicitation, to Lady C. L.

to-morrow even., at half-past nine o'clock, where you the debates on the catholic question, when we were

will meet with a civil reception and decent entertaineither equal or within one (I forget which), I had been sent for in great haste to a ball

, which I quitted, this morning, that I entreat you to answer in person.

ment. Pray come-I was so examined after you I confess, somewhat reluctantly, to emancipate five

Believe

me, etc. millions of people. I came in late, and did not go immediately into the body of the House, but stood

“ Friday noon. just behind the woolsack. ** turned round, and, “I should have answered your note yesterday, but catching my eye, immediately said to a peer (who hoped to have seen you this morning. I must conhad come to him for a few minutes on the polsack, sult with you about the day we dine with Sir Francis. as is the custom of his friends), 'Damn them ! they'll I suppose we shall meet at Lady Spencer's to-night. have it now,-by G-d! the vote that is just come in I did not know that you were at Miss Berry's the will give it them.""

other night, or I should have certainly gone there. During all this time, the impression which he had “ As usual, I am in all sorts of scrapes, though produced in society, both as a poet and a man, went none, at present, of a martial description. Believe on daily increasing; and the facility with which he gave himself up to the current of fashionable life, and mingled in all the gay scenes through which it led,

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me, &c,”

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TO LORD HOLLAND.

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*

“May 8th, 1812. which by no' means suited his countenance. I was “I am too proud of being your friend to care with surprised, as he had not told me that he should go whom I am linked in your estimation, and, God to court; and it seemed to me as if he thought it knows, I want friends more at this time than at any necessary to apologize for his intention, by his obother. I am taking care of myself 'to no great pur- serving that he could not in decency but do it, as the pose. If you knew my situation in every point of Regent had done him the honour to say that he hoped view, you would excuse apparent and unintentional to see him soon at Carlton House." neglect.

I shall leave town, I In the two letters that follow we find his own think; but do not you leave it without seeing me. account of the introduction. I wish you,

from my soul, every happiness you can wish yourself; and I think you have taken the road

LETTER XCIV. to secure it. Peace be with you! I fear she has abandoned me. Ever, &c."

June 25th, 1812. “May 20th, 1812.

MY DEAR. LORD, “On Monday, after sitting up all night, I saw Bellingham launched into eternity, and at three the been very negligent, but till last night I was not ap

“I must appear very ungrateful, and have, indeed, same day I saw *** launched into the country.

“I believe, in the beginning of June, I shall be prized of Lady Holland's restoration, and I shall call down for a few days in Notts. If so, I shall beat you

to-morrow to have the satisfaction, I trust, of hearing up'en passant ’ with Hobhouse, who is endeavour- have assailed your lordship since I last saw you, and

that she is well.— I hope that neither politics nor gout ing, like you and every body else, to keep me out of

that
you also are

as well as could be expected.' scrapes. "I meant to have writtenyou a long letter, but I order to our gracious Regent, who honoured me with

“ The other night, at a ball, I was presented by find I cannot. If any thing remarkable occurs, you will hear it from me-if good'; if bad, there are

some conversation, and professed a predilection for plenty to tell it. In the mean time, do you be happy and I thought of poor B-s's adventure, with some

poetry.- I confess it was a most unexpected honour, Ever yours, &c.

apprehensions of a similar blunder. I have now great “P.S.-My best wishes and respects to Mrs

hope, in the event of Mr Pye's decease, of 'warbling she is beautiful. I may say so even to you, for truth at court, like Mr Mallet of indifferent memory.

-Consider, 100 marks a year! besides the wine and never was more struck with a countenance."

the disgrace; but then remorse would make me Among the tributes to his fame, this spring, it drown myself in my own butt before the year's end, should have been mentioned that, at some evening or the finishing of my first dithyrambic.—So that, party, he had the honour of being presented, at that after all, I shall not meditate our laureate's death by royal personage's own desire, to the Prince Regent. pen or poison. “The Regent,” says Mr Dallas, expressed his

“Will you present my best respects to Lady Holadmiration of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and con- land, and believe me hers and yours very sincerely.” tinued a conversation, which so fascinated the poet, that, "had it not been for an accidental deferring of the

particulars of this interview with Royalty, was in

The second letter, entering much more fully into the next levee, he bade fair to become a visitor at Carlton House, if not a complete courtier."

answer, it will be perceived, to some inquiries which After this wise prognostic, the writer adds,_“I Sir Walter Scott (then Mr Scott) had addressed to called on him on the morning for which the levee had him on the subject; and the whole account reflects been appointed, and found him in a full-dress court

even still more honour on the Sovereign himself than suit of clothes, with his fine black hair in powder,

on the two poets. * He had taken a window opposite for the purpose, and

LETTER XCV. was accompanied on the occasion by his old schoolfellows, Mr Bailey and Mr John Madocks. They went together

TO SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART. from some assembly, and, on their arriving at the spot,

“St James's-street, July 6th, 1812. about three o'clock in the morning, not finding the house that was to receive them open, Mr Maddocks undertook

SIR, to rouse the inmates, while Lord Byron and Mr Bailey “I have just been honoured with your letter.-I sauntered, arm and arm, up the street. During this in

feel sorry that you should have thought it worth while terval, rather a painful scene occurred. Seeing an unfortunate woman lying on the steps of a door, Lord Byron,

to notice the evil works of my nonage,' as the thing with some expression of compassion, offered her a few is suppressed voluntarily, and your explanation is too shillings; but instead of accepting them, she violently

kind not to give me pain. The Satire was written pushed away his hand, and, starting up with a yell of laughter, began to mimic the lameness of his gait. He did

when I was very young and very angry, and fully not utter a word, but “I could feel," said Mr Bailey, “his bent on displaying my wrath my wit, and now I arm trembling within mine, as we left her."

am haunted by the ghosts of my wholesale assertions. I may take this opportunity of mentioning another anec

I cannot sufficiently thank you for your praise; and dote connected with his lameness. In coming out, one night, from a ball, with Mr Rogers, as they were on their

now, waving myself, let me talk to you of the Prince way to their carriage, one of the link-boys ran on before Regent. He ordered me to be presented to him at a Lord Byron, crying "This way, my lord.” “He seems to ball; and after some sayings peculiarly pleasing know you," said Mr Rogers. “Know me! ” answered Lord Byron, with some degree of bitterness in his tone_every

from royal lips, as to my own attempts, he talked to one knows me,- I am deformed."

me of you and your immortalities : he preferred you

man.

to every bard past and present, and asked which of ing my eulogy to somebody one evening, summed it your works pleased me most. It was a difficult ques- up in— By G-d, he drinks like a man!' tion. I answered, I thought the 'Lay.' He said his “Nobody drank, however, but C** and I. To be own opinion was nearly similar. In speaking of the sure, there was little occasion, for we swept off what others, I told him that I thought you more particu- was on the table (a most splendid board, as may be larly the poet of Princes, as they never appeared supposed, at Jersey's) very sufficiently. However, more fascinating than in “Marmion' and the · Lady we carried our liquor discreetly, like the Baron of of the Lake.' He was pleased to coincide, and to Bradwardine." dwell on the description of your Jameses as no less In the month of August this year, on the completion royal than poetical." He spoke alternately of Homer of the new Theatre Royal, Drury-lane, the Commitand yourself, and seemed well acquainted with both; tee of Management, desirous of procuring an Address so that (with the exception of the Turks and your for the opening of the theatre, took the rather novel humble servant) you were in very good company. I mode of inviting, by an advertisement in the newsdefy Murray to have exaggerated his royal highness's papers, the competition of all the poets of the day opinion of your powers, nor can I pretend to enume- towards this object. Though the contributions that rate all he said on the subject; but it may give you ensued were sufficiently numerous, it did not appear pleasure to hear that it was conveyed in language to the Committee that there was any one among the which would only suffer by my attempting to tran- number worthy of selection. In this difficulty, it ocscribe it, and with a tone and taste which gave me a curred to Lord Holland that they could not do better very high idea of his abilities and accomplishments, than have recourse to Lord Byron, whose popularity which I had hitherto considered as confined to man- would give additional vogue to the solemnity of their ners, certainly superior to those of any living gentle- opening, and to whose transcendant claims, as a poet,

it was taken for granted (though without sufficient “This interview was accidental. I never went to allowance, as it proved, for the irritability of the the levee ; for having seen the courts of Mussulman brotherhood), even the rejected candidates themselves and Catholic sovereigns, my curiosity was sufficiently would bow.without a murmur. The first result of this allayed; and my politics being as perverse as my application to the noble poet will be learned from rhymes, I had, in fact, “no business there. To be what follows. thus praised by your sovereign must be gratifying to you; and if that gratification is not alloyed by the

LETTER XCVI. communication being made through me, the bearer

TO LORD HOLLAND. of it will consider himself very fortunately and sin

«Cheltenham, September 10th, 1812. cerely “ Your obliged and obedient servant,

“MY DEAR LORD, “ BYRON.”

“ The lines which I sketched off on your hint are

still, or rather were, in an unfinished state, for I have “P.S.—Excuse this scrawl, scratched in a great just committed them to a flame more decisive than hurry, and just after a journey.”

that of Drury. Under all the circumstances, I should During the summer of this year he paid visits to hardly wish a contest with Philo-drama-Philo-Drury some of his noble friends, and, among others, to the -Asbestos H**, and all the anonymes and synoEarl of Jersey and the Marquis of Lansdowne. “In nymes of the Committee candidates. Seriously, I 1812,” he says, at Middleton (Lord Jersey's), think you have a chance of something much better; amongst a goodly company of lords, ladies and wits, for prologuising is not my forte, and, at all events, &c., there was

either my pride or my modesty won't let me incur the “ Erskine, too! Erskine was there; good, but in- hazard of having my rhymes buried in next month's tolerable. He jested, he talked, he did every thing Magazine, under · Essays on the Murder of Mr Peradmirably, but then he would be applauded for the ceval,' and 'Cures for the Bite of a Mad Dog,'as poor same thing twice over. He would read his own Goldsmith complained of the fate of far superior perverses, his own paragraph, and tell his own story, formances. again and again; and then, 'the Trial by Jury!!!' “ I am still sufficiently interested to wish to know I almost wished it abolished, for I sate next him at the successful candidate; and, amongst so many,

I dinner. As I had read his published speeches, there have no doubt some will be excellent, particularly in was no occasion to repeat them to me.

an age when writing verse is the easiest of all attain“C** (the fox-hunter) nicknamed ' Cheek C**', ments. and I sweated the claret, being the only two who did “ I cannot answer your intelligence with the like so. C**, who loves his bottle, and had no notion of comfort, unless, as you are deeply theatrical, you meeting with a “bon-vivant' in a scribbler, † in mak

may wish to hear of Mr * *, whose acting is, I fear, * A review, somewhat too critical, of some of the guests utterly inadequate to the London engagement into is here omitted.

which the managers of Covent-garden have lately en+ For the first day or two, at Middleton, he did not join tered. His figure -is fat, his features flat, his voice his noble host's party till after dinner, but took his scanty repast of biscuits and soda water in his own room. Being

unmanageable, his action ungraceful, and, as Diggory told by somebody that the gentleman above-mentioned had says, I defy him to extort that d-d muffin face of pronounced such hahits to be effeminate,” he resolved to his into madness. I was very sorry to see him in the show the « fox-hunter” that he could be, on occasion, as

character of the · Elephant on the slack rope;' for, good a bon vivant as himself, and by his prowess at the claret next day, after dinner, drew forth from Mr C** the

when I last saw him, I was in raptures with his pereulugium here recorded.

formance. But then I was sixtecn,-an age to which

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all London then condescended to subside. After all, -or destroy—do with them as you will—I leave it much better judges have admired, and may again ; to you and the Committee-you cannot say so called but I venture to prognosticate a prophecy' (see the 'a non committendo.' What will they do (and I do) Courier) that he will not succeed.

with the hundred and one rejected Troubadours ? “So, poor dear Rogers has stuck fast on the • With trumpets, yea, and with shawms, will you be brow of the mighty Helvellyn'—I hope not for ever. assailed in the most diabolical doggerel. I wish my My best respects to Lady H.-her departure, with name not to transpire till the day is decided. I shall that of my other friends, was a sad event for me, now not be in town, so it won't much matter; but let us reduced to a state of the most cynical solitude. By have a good deliverer. I think Elliston should be the the waters of Cheltenham I sat down and drank, when man, or Pope; not Raymond, I implore you, by the I remembered thee, O Georgiana Cottage! As for love of Rhythmus ! our harps, we hanged them up upon the willows that “ The passages marked thus -, above and begrew thereby. Then they said, “Sing us a song of low, are for you to chuse between epithets, and such Drury-lane,' etc.—but I am dumb and dreary as the like poetical furniture. Pray, write me a line, and Israelites. The waters have disordered me to my believe me ever, etc. heart's content,—you were right, as you always are. My best remembrances to Lady H. Will you be “ Believe me ever your obliged

good enough to decide between the various readings “ and affectionate servant,

marked, and erase the other; or our deliverer may be “ BYRON." as puzzled as a commentator, and belike repeat both.

If these versicles won't do, I will hammer out some The request of the Committee for his aid having more endecasyllables. been still more urgently repeated, he, at length, not- · P. S.-Tell Lady H. I have had sad work to withstanding the difficulty and invidiousness of the keep out the Phænix-I mean the Fire-Office of that task, from his strong wish to oblige Lord Holland, name. It has insured the theatre, and why not the consented to undertake it ; and the following series of Address ?” quick succeeding notes and letters, which he addressed, during the completion of the Address, to his

TO LORD HOLLAND, noble friend, will, by the literary reader at least, be

September 24th. thought well worth perusal,- , -as affording a proof (in

" I send a recast of the four first lines of the conconjunction with others, of still more interest, yet to

cluding paragraph. be cited) of the pains he, at this time, took in improving and polishing his first conceptions, and the This greeting o'er, the ancient rule obey'd, importance he wisely attached to a judicious choice

The drama's homage by her Herald paid,

Receive our welcome too, whose every tone of epithets, as a means of enriching both the music

Springs from our hearts, and fain would win your own. and meaning of his verse. They also show,--what, The curtain rises, &c. &c. as an illustration of his character, is even still more valuable,--the exceeding pliancy and good humour And do forgive all this trouble. See what it is to with which he could yield to friendly suggestions and have to do even with the genteelest of us. Ever, criticisms; nor can it be questioned, I think, but that &c.” the docility thus invariably exhibited by him, on points

LETTER XCVIII. where most poets are found to be tenacious and irritable, was a quality natural to his disposition, and which might have been turned to account in far more important matters, had he been fortunate enough to

«Cheltenham, Sept. 25th, 1812. meet with persons capable of understanding and “ Stillmore matter for a May morning.' Having guiding him.

patched the middle and end of the Address, I send one more couplet for a part of the beginning, which, if not too turgid, you will have the goodness to add.

After that flagrant image of the Thames (I hope no “ Sept. 22d, 1812.

unlucky wag will say I have set it on fire, though MY DEAR LORD,

Dryden, in his ' Annus Mirabilis,' and Churchill, in “ In a day or two I will send you something which his - Times,' did it before me), I mean to insert this: you will still have the liberty to reject if you dislike it. I should like to have had more time, but will do my

As flashing far the new Volcano shone best,—but too happy if I can oblige you, though I

{ meteors And swept the skies with | lightnings ) not their own,

} may offend 100 scribblers and the discerning public. While thousands throng'd around the burning dome, &c.

I think thousands' less flat than crowds collected'“Keep my name a secret ; or I shall be beset by all but don't let me plunge into the bathos, or rise into the rejected, and, perhaps, damned by a party.” Nat. Lee's Bedlam metaphors. By the by, the best

view of the said fire (which I myself saw from a houseLETTER XCVII.

top in Covent-garden) was at Westminster Bridge,

from the reflection on the Thames. TO LORD HOLLAND.

“ Perhaps the present couplet had better come in «Cheltenham, September 23, 1812. after “trembled for their homes,' the two lines after ; “Ecco !—I have marked some passages with dou- -as otherwise the image certainly sinks, and it will ble readings chuse between them-cut-add-reject run just as well.

TO LORD HOLLAND.

TO LORD HOLLAND.

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“ Ever yours.

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