Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/249

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INTRODUCTION TO THE CORSAIR.

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A seventh edition of the Giaour, including the final additions, and the first edition of the Bride of Abydos, were published on the twenty-ninth of November, 1813. In less than three weeks (December 18) Byron began the Corsair, and completed the fair copy of the first draft by the last day of the year. The Corsair in all but its final shape, together with the sixth edition of the Bride of Abydos, the seventh of Childe Harold, and the ninth of the Giaour, was issued on the first of February, 1814.

A letter from John Murray to Lord Byron, dated February 3, 1814 (Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 223), presents a vivid picture of a great literary triumph—

"My Lord,—I have been unwilling to write until I had something to say. . . . I am most happy to tell you that your last poem is—what Mr. Southey's is called—a Carmen Triumphale. Never in my recollection has any work . . . excited such a ferment . . . I sold on the day of publication—a thing perfectly unprecedented—10,000 copies. . . . Mr. Moore says it is masterly—a wonderful performance. Mr. Hammond, Mr. Heber, D'Israeli, every one who comes . . . declare their unlimited approbation. Mr. Ward was here with Mr. Gifford yesterday, and mingled his admiration with the rest . . . and Gifford did, what I never knew him do before—he repeated several stanzas from memory, particularly the closing stanza—

" 'His death yet dubious, deeds too widely known.'

"I have the highest encomiums in letters from Croker and Mr. Hay; but I rest most upon the warm feeling it has created in Gifford's critic heart. . . . You have no notion of