chapter  41
3 Pages

Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges on Don Juan


Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges (1762-1837), man of letters, bibliographer, genealogist, and editor (especially of Elizabethan texts), began his Letters on the Character and Poetical Genius of Lord Byron in May 1824 on hearing of Byron's death, and completed the work in July of the same year. Ridicule produces a feeling not congenial with those feelings which it is the end of the best poetry to awaken. Ridicule begets contempt for the object on which it is thrown, whereas it is the noblest and highest purpose of poetry to make us admire or love what is represented. Contempt is a chilling, ungenerous passion, and less poetical even than hatred, because hatred is at least energetic. Humour does not deal so much in ridicule: there is oftener much gravity in humour. Lord Byron had both wit and humour.