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[Since Vol. XV. was printed off, the concluding page of Lord Byron's * Observations upon an Article in Blackwood's Magazine " has been received.]
. . . . And, in return for Mr. Wilson's invective, I shall content myself with asking one question; Did he never compose, recite, or sing any parody or parodies upon the Psalms (of what nature this deponent saith not), in certain jovial meetings of the youth of Edinburgh? (1) It is not that I think any great harm if he did; because it seems to me that all depends upon the intention of such a parody. If it be meant to throw ridicule on the sacred original, it is a sin; if it be intended to burlesque the profane subject, or to inculcate a moral truth, it is none. If it were, the unbelievers' Creed, the many political parodies of various parts of the Scriptures and liturgy, particularly a celebrated one of the Lord's Prayer, and the beautiful moral parable in favour of toleration by Franklin, which has often been taken for a real extract from Genesis, would all be sins of a damning nature. But I wish to know if Mr. Wilson ever has done this, and if he has, why he should be so very angry with similar portions of Don Juan? — Did no “parody profane” appear
(1) [The allusion here is to some now forgotten calumnies which had been circulated by the radical press, at the time when Mr. Wilson was a candidate for the Chair of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. – E.I
in any of the earlier numbers of Blackwood's Magazine? I will now conclude this long answer to a short article, repenting of having said so much in my owl defence, and so little on the “crying, left-hand fallings off and national defections” of the poetry of the present day. Having said this, I can hardly be expected to defend Don Juan, or any other “living” poetry, and shall not make the attempt. And although I do not think that Mr. John Wilson has in this instance treated me with candour or consideration, I trust that the tone I have used in speaking of him personally will prove that I bear him as little malice as I really believe at the bottom of his heart he bears towards me; but the duties of an editor, like those of a tax-gatherer, are paramount and peremptory. I have done.
CONVERSATIONS OF LORD BYRON, AS RELATED BY THOMAS MEDWIN, ESQ., COMPARED WITH A PORTION OF HIS LORDSHIPS CORRESPONDENCE.
The volume of “Lord Byron's Conversations” with Mr. Medwin contains several statements relative to Mr. Murray, his lordship's publisher, against which, however exceptionable they might be, he was willing to trust his defence to the private testimony of persons acquainted with the real particulars, and to his general character, rather than resort to any kind of public appeal, to which he has ever been exceedingly averse. But friends, to whose judgment Mr. Murray is bound to defer, having decided that such an appeal upon the occasion is become a positive duty on his part, he hopes that he shall not be thought too obtrusive in opposing to those personal allegations extracts from Lord Byron's own letters, with the addition of a few brief notes of necessary explanation.
“Murray offered me, of his own accord, 1000l. a canto for Don Juan, and afterwards reduced it to 500l. on the plea of piracy, and complained of my dividing one canto into two, because I happened to say something at the end of the third canto of having done so.”
LoRD BYRoN's LETTER. Ravenna, February 7. 1820. “Dear Murray, “I have copied and cut the third canto of Don Juan into a wo, because it was too long, and I tell you this before-hand,