Lord George Gordon Byron

Here you will find the Long Poem Dear Doctor, I have Read your Play of poet Lord George Gordon Byron

Dear Doctor, I have Read your Play

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 shatter'd nerves and quicken'd pulses,
 Which your catastrophe convulses.
 I like your moral and machinery;
 Your plot, too, has such scope for scenery!
 Your dialogue is apt and smart;
 The play's concoction full of art;
 Your hero raves, your heroine cries,
 All stab, and everybody 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,
 But--and I grieve to speak it--plays
 Are drugs--mere drugs, Sir, nowadays.
 I had a heavy loss by Manuel --
 Too lucky if it prove not annual--
 And Sotheby, with his damn'd Orestes 
 (Which, by the way, the old bore's best is),
 Has lain so very long on hand
 That I despair of all demand;
 I've advertis'd--but see my books,
 Or only watch my shopman's looks;
 Still Ivan , Ina and such lumber
 My back-shop glut, my shelves encumber.
 There's Byron too, who once did better,
 Has sent me--folded in a letter--
 A sort of--it's no more a drama
 Than Darnley , Ivan or Kehama :
 So alter'd since last year his pen is,
 I think he's lost his wits at Venice,
 Or drain'd his brains away as stallion
 To some dark-eyed and warm Italian;
 In short, Sir, what with one and t'other,
 I dare not venture on another.
 I write in haste; excuse each blunder;
 The coaches through the street so thunder!
 My room's so full; we've Gifford here
 Reading MSS with Hookham Frere,
 Pronouncing on the nouns and particles
 Of some of our forthcoming articles,
 The Quarterly --ah, Sir, if you
 Had but the genius to review!
 A smart critique upon St. Helena,
 Or if you only would but tell in a
 Short compass what--but, to resume;
 As I was saying, Sir, the room--
 The room's so full of wits and bards,
 Crabbes, Campbells, Crokers, Freres and Wards,
 And others, neither bards nor wits--
 My humble tenement admits
 All persons in the dress of Gent.,
 From Mr. Hammond to Dog Dent.
 A party dines with me today,
 All clever men who make their way:
 Crabbe, Malcolm, Hamilton and Chantrey
 Are all partakers of my pantry.
 They're at this moment in discussion
 On poor De Sta{:e}l's late dissolution.
 Her book, they say, was in advance--
 Pray Heaven she tell the truth of France!
 'Tis said she certainly was married
 To Rocca, and had twice miscarried,
 No--not miscarried, I opine--
 But brought to bed at forty nine.
 Some say she died a Papist; some
 Are of opinion that's a hum;
 I don't know that--the fellow, Schlegel,
 Was very likely to inveigle
 A dying person in compunction
 To try the extremity of unction.
 But peace be with her! for a woman
 Her talents surely were uncommon.
 Her publisher (and public too)
 The hour of her demise may rue,
 For never more within his shop he--
 Pray--was she not interr'd at Coppet?
 Thus run our time and tongues away;
 But, to return, Sir, to your play;
 Sorry, Sir, but I cannot deal,
 Unless 'twere acted by O'Neill.
 My hands are full--my head so busy,
 I'm almost dead--and always dizzy;
 And so, with endless truth and hurry,
 Dear Doctor, I am yours,