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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 7/Napoleon's Snuff-box


Lady, accept the box a hero wore,
In spite of all this elegiac stuff:
Let not seven stanzas written by a bore,
Prevent your Ladyship from taking snuff!

[First published, Conversations of Lord Byron, 1824, p. 235.]

  1. [Napoleon bequeathed to Lady Holland a snuff-box which had been given to him by the Pope for his clemency in sparing Rome. Lord Carlisle wrote eight (not seven) stanzas, urging her, as Byron told Medwin, to decline the gift, "for fear that horror and murder should jump out of the lid every time it is opened."—Conversations, 1824, p. 362. The first stanza of Lord Carlyle's verses, which teste Medwin, Byron parodied, runs thus—

    "Lady, reject the gift! 'tis tinged with gore!
    Those crimson spots a dreadful tale relate;
    It has been grasp'd by an infernal Power;
    And by that hand which seal'd young Enghien's fate."

    The snuff-box is now in the jewel-room in the British Museum.]