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

23. Letter from Byron to John Murray II, 4 December 1821

NLS Ms.43492

Byron’s letter to Murray reports on a newspaper’s unflattering comparison of his and Napoleon’s vanity.

By extracts in the English papers in your holy Ally – Galignani’s messenger – I perceive that the “two greatest examples of human vanity – in the present age” – are firstly “the Ex=Emperor Napoleon” – and secondly – “his Lordship “the noble poet &c.” – meaning your humble Servant – “poor guiltless I”.– – Poor Napoleon! – he little dreamed to what “vile comparisons” the turn of the Wheel would reduce him! – I cannot help thinking however that had our learned brother of the Newspaper Office – seen my very moderate answer to the very scurrile epistle of my radical patron John Hobhouse M.P. – he would have thought the thermometer of my “Vanity” reduced to a very decent temperature.

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