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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/173

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INTRODUCTION TO THE LAMENT OF TASSO.

The MS. of the Lament of Tasso is dated April 20, 1817. It was despatched from Florence April 23, and reached England May 12 (see Memoir of John Murray, 1891, i. 384). Proofs reached Byron June 7, and the poem was published July 17, 1817.

"It was," he writes (April 26), "written in consequence of my having been lately in Ferrara." Again, writing from Rome (May 5, 1817), he asks if the MS. has arrived, and adds, "I look upon it as a 'These be good rhymes,' as Pope's papa said to him when he was a boy" (Letters, 1900, iv. 112-115). Two months later he reverted to the theme of Tasso's ill-treatment at the hands of Duke Alfonso, in the memorable stanzas xxxv.-xxxix. of the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold (Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 354-359; and for examination of the circumstances of Tasso's imprisonment in the Hospital of Sant' Anna, vide ibid., pp. 355, 356, note 1).

Notices of the Lament of Tasso appeared in the Gentleman's Magagine, August, 1817, vol. 87, pp. 150, 151; in The Scot's Magazine, August, 1817, N.S., vol. i. pp. 48, 49; and a eulogistic but uncritical review in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, November, 1817, vol. ii. pp. 142-144.