Sunday, April 29, 2012

Works on Napoleon


Following yesterday’s post with a little more on Walter Scott’s friend Lord Byron, Scott enjoyed more initial success with his work on Napoleon, than Byron did with his “Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte”.  On April 29th, 1814, Byron responded to letter from publisher John Murray, offering effectively to relieve Murray from having to publish further of his poetry, after the failure of this ode.  Both Murray’s and Byron’s letters are found in Samuel Smiles’ “A Publisher and his Friends”

‘[Murry to Byron]…The "Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte," which appeared in April 1814, was on
the whole a failure. It was known to be Lord Byron's, and its
publication was seized upon by the press as the occasion for many bitter
criticisms, mingled with personalities against the writer's genius and
character. He was cut to the quick by these notices, and came to the
determination to buy back the whole of the copyrights of his works, and
suppress every line he had ever written. On April 29, 1814, he wrote to
Mr. Murray:

Lord Byron to John Murray.

April 29, 1814.

I enclose a draft for the money; when paid, send the copyrights. I
release you from the thousand pounds agreed on for "The Giaour" and
"Bride," and there's an end.... For all this, it might be well to assign
some reason. I have none to give, except my own caprice, and I do not
consider the circumstance of consequence enough to require
explanation.... It will give me great pleasure to preserve your
acquaintance, and to consider you as my friend. Believe me very truly,
and for much attention,

Yours, etc.,

BYRON…’

After further communication from Murray, Byron reconsidered.

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