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shameful ! * All the declamatory parts were left,
all the dramatic ones “ struck out; and Cooper, the new actor, “ was the murderer of the whole. Lioni's
soliloquy, which I wrote one moonlight night after coming from the Benzons',
ought to have been omitted altogether, or “ at all events much curtailed. What audi“ence will listen with any patience to a “mere tirade of poetry, which stops the “ march of the actor? No wonder, then, “ that the unhappy Doge should have been “ damned! But it was no pleasant news “ to me; and the letter containing it was
accompanied by another, to inform me " that an old lady, from whom I had great expectations, was likely to live to an hun“ some old people, as in trees; and I fancy “ her constitution has got some of the new sap.
There is an autumnal shoot in
* Acted at Drury Lane, April 25, 1821.
Well, on these two pleasant pieces “ of intelligence I wrote the following epi
gram, or elegy it may be termed, from “ the melancholy nature of the subject :
Behold the blessings of a happy lot!
“I understand that Louis Dix-huit, or “ des huitres, as Moore spells it, has made a “ traduction of poor · Faliero;' but I should “ hope it will not be attempted on the “ Théatre François. It is quite enough for
a man to be damned once. I was satisfied “ with Jeffrey's critique* on the play, for it
* “ However, I forgive him ; and I trust He will forgive himself :-if not, I must.
“ abounded in extracts. He was welcome to “his own opinion,—which was fairly stated. “ His summing up in favour of my friend « Sir Walter amused me: it reminded me of “a schoolmaster, who, after flogging a bad “boy, calls out the head of the class, and,
patting him on the head, gives him all the sugar-plums.
“ The common trick of Reviewers is, “ when they want to depreciate a work, to
give no quotations from it. This is what “The Quarterly'shines in;—the way Milman
put down Shelley, when he compared him to Pharaoh, and his works to his chariot“ wheels, by what contortion of images I
Old enemies who have become new friends, Should so continue ;--'tis a point of honour."
Don Juan, Canto X. Stanzas. 11 and 12.
forget;-but it reminds me of another per"son's comparing me in a poem to Jesus
Christ, and telling me, when I objected to “ its profanity, that he alluded to me in “ situation, not in person! What !' said I “ in reply, would you have me crucified ? “ We are not in Jerusalem, are we?' But “ this is a long parenthesis. The Reviewers
are like a counsellor, after an abusive
speech, calling no witnesses to prove his “ assertions.
“ There are people who read nothing but “ these trimestrials, and swear by the ipse 66 dixit of these, autocrats these Actæon “ hunters of literature. They are fond of
raising up and throwing down idols. The Edinburgh' did so with Walter Scott's poe
perhaps there is no merit in my plays ? It may be so; and Milman
may be a great poet, if Heber is right and “ I am wrong. He has the dramatic faculty, “ and I have not. So they pretended to say " of Milton. I am too happy in being “ coupled in any way with Milton, and shall “ be glad if they find any points of compa“ rison between him and me.
“ But the praise or blame of Reviewers “ does not last long now-a-days. It is like “ straw thrown up in the air.*
“ I hope, notwithstanding all that has “ been said, to write eight more plays this
* He seemed to think somewhat differently afterwards, when, after the review in • The Quarterly' of his plays, he wrote to me, saying, “I am the most unpopular writer going !"