King's College London
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Byron & politics: ‘born for opposition’

13. Letter from Byron to John Murray II, 22 January 1814

NLS Ms.43488

Page from letter from Byron to John Murray II.Letter from Byron to John Murray II, 22 January 1814. NLS Ms.43488Following Byron’s initial requests to his publisher to make public his authorship of ‘Lines to a Lady Weeping’ by publishing the verses with The Corsair, Murray cautioned on 20 January 1814 that ‘as the present work is to be read by women & the lines would disturb the political feeling’, they should instead be slipped quietly into a volume republishing Childe Harold Cantos I and II.

Byron reacted, in this letter, by insisting that the verses be published with The Corsair. ‘The lines “to a Lady weeping” must go with the Corsair – I care nothing for consequences on this point – my politics are to me like a young mistress to an old man the worse they grow the fonder I become of them’. When the authorship of ‘Lines’ became known, it provoked a vicious backlash against Byron in the Tory press.

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