Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/100

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Diodati, on July 17, at the request of Douglas Kinnaird. "I did as well as I could," says Byron; "but where I have not my choice I pretend to answer for nothing" (Letter to Murray, September 29, 1816, Letters, 1899, iii. 366). He told Lady Blessington, however, that his feelings were never more excited than while writing it, and that every word came direct from the heart" (Conversations, etc., p. 241).

The MS., in the handwriting of Claire, is headed, "Written at the request of D. Kinnaird, Esq., Monody on R. B. Sheridan. Intended to be spoken at Dy. Le. T. Diodati. Lake of Geneva, July 18th., 1816. Byron."

The first edition was entitled Monody on the Death of the Right Honourable R. B. Sheridan. Written at the request of a Friend. To be spoken at Drury Lane Theatre, London. Printed for John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1816.

It was spoken by Mrs. Davison at Drury Lane Theatre, September 7, and published September 9, 1816.

When the Monody arrived at Diodati Byron fell foul of the title-page: "'The request of a Friend:'—

'Obliged by Hunger and request of friends.'

"I will request you to expunge that same, unless you please to add, 'by a person of quality, or of wit and honour about town.' Merely say, 'written to be spoken at D[rury] L[ane]'" (Letter to Murray, September 30, 1816, Letters, 1899, iii. 367). The first edition had been issued, and no alteration could be made, but the title-page of a "New Edition," 1817, reads, "Monody, etc. Spoken at Drury Lane Theatre. By Lord Byron."]