Letter from Hogg to Byron, 14 Aug 1814

Author(s): Hogg, James


August 11th 1814
My Lord

I have had such a pleasant morning
perusing here to day that I cannot resist the impulse
of writing to you and telling you so. The last Canto of it
is much the best thing you ever wrote —there are many
pictures in it which the heart of man can scarcely
brook. It is besides more satisfactorily and better w[¿]d up
than any of your former tales and the images rather
more perceptible. You are constantly improving in this
Your figures from the very first were strong without
a parallel but in every new touch of your pencil
they are better and better relieved. In the first Canto
there is haply too much painting of the same and too
close on that so much dwelt on in the Corsair; yet still
as it excels the rest in harmony of numbers I am
disposed to give it the preference to any of them
By the by the Spenserian or blank verse are those
which the model and cast of your poetry suits

above all others and the next that you write in any
of these has a great chance to be the best that you ever
wrote in your life. If I were you I would not try a
drama as the Reviewers advise for in the first place it would
be [¿]t that you should be expose to a public rabble all
of whom that could discern your beauties possessed of a
little hidden envy which every bungling player has it in
his power to draw down damnation. Besides I can predict
with infallibility that the first drama you write will
not be fit for representation for the exuberance of your genius
will hand you into such d—d long speeches that it will
only turn out a dramatic poem not properly a drama

I have been extremely puzzled to find out who
Sir Ezzelin is sometimes I have judged him to be some
sea captain at others Medora's uncle or parent from whom
the Corsair had stole her but I have at last pleased
myself by concluding that Lord Byron does not know
himself — What a wretched poet Mr Rogers is.
You are truly very hardly set for great original poets

in England at present when such as he must be
extolled. I could not help smiling at his Jacqueline.
For God's sake come and leave those leaf eaters for
a season or two — they have ruined the genius of Campbell
and if you do not take care they will do the same with
you. A review of your native mountains, of their heights
of grey sublimity, and their dark woody glens would
now inspire you with more noble enthusiasm than
all the [¿] and classic shores of Greece. I have been
thinking my lord that Norway would be a fine [¿]
for romance, nay I am sure of it if the m[¿] of this
country are as appropriate as the shores, [¿]as mountains
and primitive inhabitants are. I wish you would make
the tour of it and take me with you. Constable and Manners
and Miller have bought the first edition of the poem I was
mentioning to to you. But they demurred on the periodical
work I could not help smiling at the simplicity of the
men especially when I thought of my matt[er] from
old Ogilvie

— — “Each single name's an host
“Fit to command the fortunes of the time
“Should they combine then God defend our right”

But the truth is that as London is the great mart
for such things a London bookseller must [¿] either
in whole or in part. If you liked I would fain inscribe
my poem now in the press to you but it is of no
consequence if you do not affect it. I sent a splendid copy of
The Queen's Wake to the Bishop of Salisbury to present
to his Royal ward but his Lordship never thought
proper so much as to acknowledge the receipt of it.
Mr Jeffery [Pott] and all my friends here were surprised at
for they represent him as a man of genius but I never
could be induced to repeat the enquiry. Pray did you
ever correspond with a Mr. Barnard Burton or do you
know aught of him or where he is I remain your
Lordship's most humble and obedt servt

James Hogg
To Lord Byron


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Letter from Hogg to Byron, 14 Aug 1814

Document Information

Document ID 242
Title Letter from Hogg to Byron, 14 Aug 1814
Year group 1800-1850
Genre Personal writing
Year of publication 1814
Wordcount 742

Author information: Hogg, James

Author ID 234
Forenames James
Surname Hogg
AKA The Ettrick Shepherd
Gender Male
Year of birth 1770
Place of birth Ettrick, Selkirkshire, Scotland
Occupation Author, farmer, journalist
Father's occupation Farmer
Education Little formal schooling
Locations where resident Ettrick, Edinburgh