Critics all are ready made


Bequest of Francis Parkman, 1894 – P 161.7, v. 11

The poesy of this young lord belongs to the class which neither gods nor men are said to permit.

Henry Brougham (1778-1868). The Edinburgh Review XXII (January 1808): Art. II. Hours of Idleness.

Nearly a year passed before Hours of Idleness was critiqued by the influential Edinburgh Review, founded in 1802 by Francis Jeffrey, Henry Brougham, and Sydney Smith. Byron’s poetry was denigrated as “effusions ... spread over a dead flat,” and the noble author ridiculed for “pleading his minority” while seeming at the same time to say, “See how a minor can write!” Byron expressed his disappointment in a letter to Hobhouse: “As an author, I am cut to atoms by the E[dinburgh] Review, it is just out, and has completely demolished my little fabric of fame.” He at first believed the reviewer was Jeffrey, but years later learned that his fellow Scotsman Brougham had submitted the offending review.