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STUDIES IN LITERATURE

BYRON

I

IT
T were dangerous, perhaps, for a visitor to let him-

self overflow and expansively praise the people of Nottingham for endowing, in their University College, an annual lecture under the great name of Byron. It may be that some pride of county association, of property in him; some sense that he who was in many ways a man of the world-who, more than Odysseus of old “saw many cities of men and was acquainted with their spirit”-does yet peculiarly belong to you by race and birth and those early influences of which no man ever rids himself-has at least as much to do with it as your discernment that the greatness of Byron needs proclaiming and specially needs it just now. But, however it came about, I congratulate you: and however much I wish you had chosen someone to do it better, I am proud to make an essay here upon an act of justice that, in England at any rate, badly needs the doing.

More than thirty-five years ago Matthew Arnold made bold to prophesy thus:

These two, Wordsworth and Byron, stand, it seems to me, first and pre-eminent ..., a glorious pair, among the English poets of this (nineteenth] century. Keats had probably, indeed, a more consummate poetic gift than either of them; but he died having produced too little and

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