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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 7.djvu/81

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47
EPISTLE FROM MR. MURRAY TO DR. POLIDORI.

EPISTLE FROM MR. MURRAY TO DR. POLIDORI.[1]

Dear Doctor, I have read your play,
Which is a good one in its way,—
Purges the eyes, and moves the bowels,
And drenches handkerchiefs like towels
With tears, that, in a flux of grief,
Afford hysterical relief
To shattered nerves and quickened pulses,
Which your catastrophe convulses.
I like your moral and machinery;
Your plot, too, has such scope for Scenery!10
Your dialogue is apt and smart;
The play's concoction full of art;
Your hero raves, your heroine cries
All stab, and every body dies.
In short, your tragedy would be
The very thing to hear and see:
And for a piece of publication,
If I decline on this occasion,
It is not that I am not sensible
To merits in themselves ostensible,20
But—and I grieve to speak it—plays

Are drugs—mere drugs, Sir—now-a-days.
  1. ["By the way," writes Murray, Aug. 5, 1817 (Memoir, etc., i. 386), "Polidori has sent me his tragedy! Do me the kindness to send by return of post a delicate declension of it, which I engage faithfully to copy." "I never," said Byron, "was much more disgusted with any human production than with the eternal nonsense, and tracasseries, and emptiness, and ill-humour, and vanity of this young person; but he has some talent, and is a man of honour, and has dispositions of amendment. Therefore use your interest for him, for he is improved and improvable;" and, in a letter to Murray, Aug. 21, 1817, "You want a 'civil and delicate declension' for the medical tragedy? Take it."—For J. W. Polidori (1795-1821), see Letters, 1899, iii. 284 note 1.]