Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A PUBLISHER TO HIS CLIENT, by GEORGE GORDON BYRON



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A PUBLISHER TO HIS CLIENT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Dear doctor, I have read your play
Last Line: John murray.
Alternate Author Name(s): Byron, Lord; Byron, 6th Baron
Variant Title(s): Epistle From Mr. Murray To Dr. Polidori
Subject(s): Murray, John (1745-1793); Polidori, John William; Publishing; Publishers


DEAR Doctor, I have read your play,
Which is a good one in its way, --
Purges the eyes and moves the bowels,
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels
With tears, that, in a flux of grief,
Afford hysterical relief
To shatter'd nerves and quicken'd pulses,
Which your catastrophe convulses.
I like your moral and machinery;
Your plot, too, has such scope for Scenery;
Your dialogue is apt and smart;
The play's concoction full of art;
Your hero raves, your heroine cries,
All stab, and everybody dies.
In short, your tragedy would be
The very thing to hear and see;
And for a piece of publication,
If I decline on this occasion,
It is not that I am not sensible
To merits in themselves ostensible,
But -- and I grieve to speak it -- plays
Are drugs -- mere drugs, Sir -- now-a-days.
I had a heavy loss by Manuel, --
Too lucky if it prove not annual, --
And Sotheby, with his damn'd Orestes
(Which, by the way, the old Bore's best is),
Has lain so very long on hand
That I despair of all demand.
I've advertised, but see my books,
Or only watch my Shopman's looks; --
Still Ivan, Ina, and such lumber,
My back-shop glut, my shelves encumber.
There's Byron, too, who once did better,
Has sent me, folded in a letter,
A sort of -- it's no more a drama
Than Darnley, Ivan, or Kehama;
So alter'd since last year his pen is,
I think he's lost his wits at Venice,

In short, sir, what with one and t'other,
I dare not venture on another.
I write in haste; excuse each blunder;
The Coaches through the street so thunder!
My Room's so full; we've Gifford here
Reading MSS., with Hookham Frere,
Pronouncing on the nouns and particles
Of some of our forthcoming Articles.
The Quarterly -- Ah, Sir, if you
Had but the Genius to review! --
A smart Critique upon St. Helena,
Or if you only would but tell in a
Short compass what -- but, to resume:
As I was saying, Sir, the Room --
The Room's so full of wits and bards,
Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres, and Wards
And others, neither bards nor wits: --
My humble tenement admits
All persons in the dress of gent.,
From Mr. Hammond to Dog Dent.

A party dines with me to-day,
All clever men, who make their way;
Crabbe, Malcolm, Hamilton, and Chantrey,
Are all partakers of my pantry.
They're at this moment in discussion
On poor De Stael's late dissolution.
Her book, they say, was in advance --
Pray Heaven! she tell the truth of France!
'T is said she certainly was married
To Rocca, and had twice miscarried,
No -- not miscarried, I opine, --
But brought to bed at forty-nine.
Some say she died a Papist; Some
Are of opinion that's a Hum;
I don't know that -- the fellow, Schlegel,
Was very likely to inveigle
A dying person in compunction
To try the extremity of Unction.
But peace be with her! for a woman
Her talents surely were uncommon.
Her Publisher (and Public too)
The hour of her demise may rue --
For never more within his shop he --
Pray -- was not she interr'd at Coppet?
Thus run our time and tongues away. --
But, to return, Sir, to your play:
Sorry, Sir, but I cannot deal,
Unless 't were acted by O'Neill.
My hands are full, my head so busy,
I'm almost dead, and always dizzy;
And so, with endless truth and hurry,
Dear Doctor, I am yours,
JOHN MURRAY.





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