Critics all are ready made


Given in memory of Francis James Child, 1922 – *EC8.B9968.807ha

I, too, can scrawl, and once upon a time
I poured along the town a flood of rhyme.

Lord Byron (1788-1824). Hours of Idleness (Newark, 1807).

Readers of Byron’s third collection of juvenile verse would not have seen his name in print: Hours of Idleness was published anonymously, though its nineteen-year-old author hoped the book would establish his poetical credentials with the public. This copy belonged to his Trinity College classmate, John Cam Hobhouse, who wrote on the flyleaf: “Shortly after these poems appeared I interleaved this copy of them & made certain remarks some of which I read to Lord Byron who was not pleased.” His observation that “the less an author obtrudes of his personal concerns upon the public the less does he subject himself to the raillery of the malevolent critic” proved to be prophetic.