Letter from Hogg to Byron, 26 Feb 1816

Author(s): Hogg, James


Grieve & Scott's Edinr. Febr. 26 (1816)

My Lord

After an absence of 5 months in Yarrow
I returned here the night before last when for the first
time I found a copy of your two last poems kindly sent to
me by Murray, the perusal of which have so much renewed
my love and admiration of you as a poet that I can no
longer resist the inclination of once more writing to you

Among the last times that I wrote you I bade you not
think of answering me at all times for that I sometimes
wrote very often and at other times not at all just as
it came in my head. You have at this time complyed
with my request to the utmost of my wishes and I thank
you, but at the same time I must inform you that I
rue my injunctions and long very much to hear from
you again. — The truth is that I believe your Lordship
is very angry at something that I have done or written
I remember [¿] [using] much freedom with you but not
the least what it was about. I never keep a copy of
any letter nor ever read one over after it is written
for fear of being obliged to expunge, but I am sure that
either these letters themselves or the distinct remembrance
of them may show that I am an uncultivated fellow and
know nothing of the world but to a certainty will
never manifest a design to give offence. And besides tho'
you are angry and have very good reasons for it, there is
no occassion of remaining always so. It is great nonsense
for two people that must always be friends at heart from
the very nature of things — from their conginiality of
feelings and pursuits pretending to be otherwise. For me I have

just one principle on which I invariably act,
unless I love and approve of a man I hold no intimacy
or communication with him but I always take a
poet as he is. I am highly delighted with your two
last little poems. They breathe a vein of poetry which you
never once touched before and there is something in The
Siege Of Corrinth at last which convinces me
that you have loved my own stile of poetry better
than you ever acknowledged to me. Some of the people
here complain of the inadequacy of the tales to the poetry
I am perfectly mad at them and at Mr Jeffery among the
rest for such an insinuation. I look upon them both as
descriptive poems descriptive of some of the finest and [boldest]
scenes of nature and of the most powerful emotions of
the human heart. Perdition to the scanty discernment
that would read such poems as they would do a novel
for the sake of the plot to the disgrace of the age however
be it spoken in the light romantic narrative which
our mutual friend Scott has made popular this is the
predominant ingredient expected and to a certainty the
reviewers will harp upon the the shortcoming of it
in your poems as a fault. — If you ever see Murray
give my kindest respects to him he has as you said dealt
very fairly with me and very friendly though as yet he
has made no profit of me which is in general the
bookseller's great inducement to friendship. I would fain
have a neat cheap 12mo edition of my principle poems
this spring for I have much need of it and the poems
have likewise some need of it to give them some new
impulse. I would have it in three vols one of them

to consist of original and hitherto unpublished poetry Mr.
Scott thinks it would do extremely well. Pray my Lord
what do you think? if you approve of it stand my
friend with Murray as you formerly did for without it
I cannot get to London to see you where I have a
great desire to be. In truth I have a literary scheme
unconnected with publishing which has made me
very anxious to be in London for a month or two the
two last years but my finances would never admit of
it. I am always so miserably scarce of money and
so good a fellow of the little that I have that I am certain
that unless I take the first chance of the first
tolerable sum which I receive I shall never
see the metropolis. If ever I do reach it I intend
to place myself principally under the patronage
of your Lordship. Wilson is publishing a poem
entitled The City of the Plague. It is in the
dramatic form and a perfect anomaly in
literature. Wilson is a man of great genius and
fancy but he is intoxicated with Wordsworth and a
perfect dreamer of moons ships seas and solitudes
were it not for this antihydrophobia (forgive my mangling
of that long Greek word) I do not know what he might not
be capable of. I have nothing you see of importance to say to you
my Lord, but may God bless you. You have changed your mode
of life since I last addressed you and are by this time sensible that it must
have its pains as well as pleasures but if the mountain torrent
of passion is at all descended into the calm and still vale of common
life pray deign a line or two to one than whom none alive
more admires your genius or values your friendship
I am my lord with the highest respect
Yours most truly
James Hogg

B 27


The Rt. Honbl Lord Byron




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Letter from Hogg to Byron, 26 Feb 1816

Document Information

Document ID 246
Title Letter from Hogg to Byron, 26 Feb 1816
Year group 1800-1850
Genre Personal writing
Year of publication 1816
Place of publication Edinburgh
Wordcount 966

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