George Gordon, Lord Byron (letter date 1817)
SOURCE: An extract from a letter to John Murray on August 21, 1817, in "So Late Into the Night": Byron's Letters and Journals, Vol. 5—1816-1817, edited by Leslie A. Marchand, John Murray, 1976, pp. 257-61.
[Byron kept closely in touch with his publisher John Murray during his travels. In 1817—nearly a year after Byron and Polidori had parted company—Murray wrote to Byron that "Polidori has sent me his tragedy! Do me the kindness to send by return of post a delicate declension of it, which I engage faithfully to copy. " Byron responded with the humorous verse excerpted below, which is written in character as Murray, declining the drama on the grounds that play publication was proving unsuccessful financially.]
You want a "civil and delicate declension" for the medical tragedy? Take it—
Dear Doctor—I have read your play
Which is a good one in it's way
Purges the eyes & moves the bowels
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels
With tears that in a flux of Grief
Afford hysterical relief
To shatter'd nerves & quickened pulses
Which your catastrophe convulses.
I like your moral & machinery
Your plot too has such scope for Scenery!
Your dialogue is apt & smart
The play's concoction full of art—
(The entire section is 472 words.)