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September 30 1812: Byron's Kidney Stone Attack




On September 30, 1812, Lord Byron is finishing the Address for the Opening of the Drury Lane Theatre. He writes a couple of letters to Lord Holland with some more revisions but also indicating that they will be meeting soon. Byron does suffer an attack of kidney stones today.  This is one of the reasons why he is in Cheltenham: to partake of its "medicinal" and "disgusting" waters.  Bryon writes: "I am just recovering from a smart attack of the stone (what a pleasing posthumous hope for a man to be able to have his monument carved out of his kidneys)."

Byron's letters are reproduced below.



Byron to Lord Holland, from Cheltenham, September 30th 1812 

Far be from him that hour which asks in {vain} 
Tears such as flow for Garrick in his Strain! 

or

Far be that hour that vainly asks in turn 
crowned his

Such verse for him as  Urn! 
wept oer Garrick’s 

Septr. 30th. 1812

My dear Lord –  Will you chuse between these added to the lines on Sheridan, or “cherish or reject”. – I think they will wind up <the> panegyric & agree with the train of thought preceding them. – Now one word as to the committee, how could they resolve on a rough copy of an address never sent in? unless you had been good enough to retain in Memory or {on} paper the thing they have been good enough to adopt. – By the bye the circumstances of the case should render the committee less “avidus gloriƦ” for all praise of them would look plaguy suspicious – if necessary to be stated at all the simple facts bear them out – they had surely a right to act as they pleased – my sole object is one I trust which my whole conduct has shown – viz – that I did nothing insidious – sent in no address whatever – but when applied to did my best for them & myself – but above all that there was no undue partiality – which will be what the rejected will endeavour to make out – fortunately – most fortunately 
– I sent in no lines on the occasion – for I am sure that had they in that case been preferred – it would have been asserted that I was known & owed the preference to private friendship. – This is what we shall probably have to encounter, but if once spoken & approved, we shan’t be much embarrassed by their brilliant conjectures, & as to Criticism, an old author like an old Bull grows cooler (or ought <to be>) at every baiting. – – 

The only thing would be to avoid a party on the night of delivery, afterwards the more the better; & the whole transaction inevitably leads to a good deal of discussion. – Murray tells me there are myriads of ironical addresses ready – some in imitation of what is called my style – if they are as good as the Probationary odes or Hawkins’ Pipe of Tobacco; it will not be bad, fun even for the imitated. 
ever yrs. my dear Ld.B –

At Tetbury on Saturday between 12 & 1. –

Byron to Lord Holland, from Cheltenham, September 30th 1812  
Septr. 30th. 1812

My dear Lord. – 

I send you the most I can make of it – for I am not so well as I was – & find I “pull in 
resolution.” – 

I wish much to see you, & will be at Tetbury by 12 on Saturday, & from thence I go on to Ld. Jersey’s 

– It is impossible not to allude to the degraded state of the Stage, but I have lightened it – and endeavoured to obviate your other objections – there is a new couplet for Sheridan allusive to his monody – all the alter[“ations”] 

I have marked thus / and you will see by comparison with the other copy. – I have cudgelled my brains with the greatest willingness – & only wish I had more time to have done better – 

You will find a sort of clap=trap laudatory couplet altered for the quiet of the Committee – & I have added towards the end, the couplet you were pleased to like. The whole address is 73 lines. – still perhaps too long – but if shortened you will save time, but I fear a little of what I meant for sense also 

– With myriads of thanks – I am ever yrs. 
B. 

My sixteenth Edition of <this> respects to Ly. H. – How she must laugh at all this. – 
I wish Murray my publisher to print off some copies as soon as your Lordship returns to town – it will ensure correctness in the papers afterwards. – – – – 

Byron to Lord Holland, from Cheltenham, September 30th 1812
Lord Holland / Bowood / Calne / Wiltshire

My dear Lord. 
I am just recovering from a smart attack of the stone (what a pleasing posthumous hope for a man to be able to have his monument carved out of his kidneys) & will meet you at Tetbury (before 12 I hope) on Saturday morning. – I go on next day to Ld. Jersey’s but I wish to see you {first} & will bring a recast of the prologue with more alterations still. 
ever yrs. obl’ed & sincerely 
B

Septr. 30th

P.S. 
Shakespeare ceased to reign with a vengeance when D. L was burnt for C. G – was not then 
rebuilt – 

P.S. 
As I have now “<such> <tears> “Tears such &c. or “Such Verse” &c. – the next paragraph beginning also – “such were the times” had better be “These were the days &” or “Though past the days” – & perhaps instead of <the> “The trophied names” “Triumphant” or “immortal” will be preferable. – I am diluted to the throat with me with medicine for the Stone, & Boisragen wants me to try a [Ms. repair] climate for the winter – but I wont. – 

1 comment:

  1. kidney stone

    Kidney stone is a disease in the urinary tract wherein specks of minerals form into the urinary tract and even within the kidneys and as a result, it causes pain and discomfort.

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