chapter  28
4 Pages

Croker read Cantos III and IV

March 1820

Croker read Cantos III and IV in manuscript, and his letter of 26 March to John Murray illustrates the kind of pressures brought to bear on both poet and publisher by the latter's advisers. A more costive orator would be obliged to choose, and a man of his talents could not fail to choose the best; but the power of uttering all and everything which passes across his mind, tempts him to say all. He goes on without thought —I should rather say, without pause. An impediment in his speech would make him a perfect Demosthenes. Something of the same kind, and with something of the same effect, is Lord Byron's wonderful fertility of thought and facility of expression; and the Protean style of Don Juan, instead of checking his natural activity, not only gives him wider limits to range in, but even generates a more roving disposition.