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September 13 1812: Lord Holland writes to Lord Byron



On September 13, 1812, Lord Holland is writing to Lord Byron to get him to reconsider and prepare an address for the opening of Drury-Lane Theatre. Byron had indicated in a letter on September 10 that he did not want to prepare such an address, and had burned the preliminary lines that he written. The theater is to open on October 10 but Lord Holland is concerned that the fashionable class will not attend as they are off on their estates. He writes "We Drury Lane proprietors hope that the rage for shooting will have subsided somewhat by the 10th of next month on which day we shall certainly open our theatre." Lord Holland also has news of Napoleon in Russia.  He writes:
The general feeling of this mercantile town on Bonaparte’s last bulletin is that he has paid a very enormous price but got a very good article in Smolensko.  However he must have a very large purse indeed if he is able to complete all the purchases that he intends in Russia at the same rate 
Lord Holland's letter to Byron is reproduced below.

Lord Holland to Byron from Holland House, 
September 13th 1812

My Dear Lord - I am really concerned to find that you have burnt your address – such verses ought not to have been sacrificed to the flames which they described so well – but I am not quite disinterested in my regret as I am convinced we shall not have any address so good as yours <was> even in the unfinished state in which I saw it – indeed I must confess our forms of proceeding are not favorable to the production of good poetry – it is very rare that a contest for prizes produces any verses fit to be read & I believe no first rate poem has ever been written for such a purpose which considering the numerous opportunities in all countries is really extraordinary. How do you account for this? – London is a desert & has not even produced any news for these six or seven days. We Drury Lane proprietors hope that the rage for shooting will have subsided somewhat by the 10th of next month on which day we shall certainly open our theatre –Your account of Betty is not encouraging what a strange thing it is that an old Epigram which I remember finding in the Menagiance  was never applied to him and his admirers by those who maintained him to be destitute of all merit when he appeared as a boy – If it was not in the Menagiance one should have said that it was written in 1805 

Vidimus attoniti puerum garrire theatro
Bis pueri, puerum qui stupuere, senes –

However in spite of the unutterable triumph of his detractors I still think that he did act with great feeling when he was in London but even then his features were filling with an unmeaning chubbishness – 

The general feeling of this mercantile town on Bonaparte’s last bulletin is that he has paid a very enormous price but got a very good article in Smolensko.  However he must have a very large purse indeed if he is able to complete all the purchases that he intends in Russia at the same rate – Lady Holland begs her best remembrances & I am my Dear Lord 

Ever truly Your obliged friend & Servant

 Holland

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