Lord Byron Poem

Epistle to Mr. Murray

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1.

My dear Mr. Murray,
You’re in a damned hurry
       To set up this ultimate Canto;
But (if they don’t rob us)
You’ll see Mr. Hobhouse
       Will bring it safe in his portmanteau.

2.

For the Journal you hint of,
As ready to print off,
       No doubt you do right to commend it;
But as yet I have writ off
The devil a bit of
       Our “Beppo:”—when copied, I’ll send it.

3.

In the mean time you’ve “Galley”
Whose verses all tally,
       Perhaps you may say he ‘s a Ninny,
But if you abashed are
Because of Alashtar,
       He’ll piddle another Phrosine.

4.

Then you’ve Sotheby’s Tour,—
No great things, to be sure,—
You could hardly begin with a less work;
For the pompous rascallion,
Who don’t speak Italian
Nor French, must have scribbled by guess-work.

5.

No doubt he ‘s a rare man
Without knowing German
       Translating his way up Parnassus,
And now still absurder
Fie meditates Murder
       As you’ll see in the trash he calls Tasso‘s.

6.

But you’ve others his betters
The real men of letters
       Your Orators—Critics—and Wits—
And I’ll bet that your Journal
(Pray is it diurnal?)
       Will pay with your luckiest hits.

7.

You can make any loss up
With “Spence” and his gossip,
       A work which must surely succeed;
Then Queen Mary’s Epistle-craft,
With the new “Fytte” of “Whistlecraft,”
       Must make people purchase and read.

8.

Then you’ve General Gordon,
Who girded his sword on,
       To serve with a Muscovite Master,
And help him to polish
A nation so owlish,
       They thought shaving their beards a disaster.

9.

For the man, “poor and shrewd,”
With whom you’d conclude
       A compact without more delay,
Perhaps some such pen is
Still extant in Venice;
       But please, Sir, to mention your pay.

10.

Now tell me some news
Of your friends and the Muse,
       Of the Bar, or the Gown, or the House,
From Canning, the tall wit,
To Wilmot, the small wit,
       Ward’s creeping Companion and Louse,

11.

Who ‘s so damnably bit
With fashion and Wit,
       That he crawls on the surface like Vermin,
But an Insect in both,—
By his Intellect’s growth,
       Of what size you may quickly determine.

Venice, January 8, 1818.

On the Birth of John William Rizzo Hoppner
Epistle from Mr. Murray to Dr. Polidori

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