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By Andrew Rutherford, Mark Thompson

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27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 25 The other poems in the collections are mostly first editions. The curiosity of Lara in 1815 suggests that books were not always sold in exactly the order in which they were produced. Samuel Smiles, Memoir and Correspondence of ... John Murray, 1891, i, p. 369, quoted a letter of Murray of 13 December 1816. Quarterly Review, October 1816. The frequent copying of English Bards is noted by Thomas Jefferson Hogg, The Life of Percy Bysshe Shelley, i, p. 300. The album of Augusta Browne, sister of Mrs Hemans, contains an extract from The Revolt of Islam, but that is an exception which confirms the rule, for we know that Shelley had a direct link.

In the lyric works we glanced at earlier, the male speaker - the Byronic persona - speaks to his faithless lover in very different terms. The power of such works comes precisely from their non-consciousness, from their ability to create what the writing does not understand - finally, to create and then themselves represent a figure of self-deception and lack of understanding. Julia's letter is in the genre of those earlier poems. It represents, however, the Byronic epipsyche's response to her creator - as it were, the 'word[s] for mercy' which Manfred had begged in vain to hear from Astarte (II, iv, 155).

Byron did not write it. The poem is the work of Charlotte Dacre, and it was published in her twovolume poetry collection of 1805, Hours of Solitude. I made my discovery while I was reading Dacre's books, reading them for the first time, I am ashamed to say. It was a discovery I was very happy to have made. But the reading led to another, related discovery about Byron's poetry, and that second discovery is what I want to talk about today. The title Hours of Solitude, for one who knows Byron, can suggest only one thing: Hours of Idleness, Byron's first published book of verse issued two years after Dacre's book.

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