Feb 25, 2021 - Sale 2559

Sale 2559 - Lot 96

Price Realized: $ 5,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
"YOUR FRIENDSHIP IS OF MORE ACCOUNT TO ME THAN ALL THESE ABSURD VANITIES" BYRON, GEORGE GORDON NOEL. Autograph Letter Signed, 'Byron,' to his Cambridge classmate William John Bankes, elaborately apologizing for having offended him and, in a postscript: "I shall see you I hope at Lady Jersey's [Sarah Sophia Child-Villiers, countess of Jersey]. [John Cam] Hobhouse goes also." 2 pages, 4to, written on the recto and verso of a single sheet; postscript on slip of paper removed from another leaf and mounted to bottom edge of second page, vertical fold through signature with minor loss. Np, [April 1812?]

Additional Details

"My eagerness to come to an explanation has I trust convinced you that whatever my unlucky manner might inadvertently be, the change was as unintentional as (if intended) it would have been ungrateful. I really was not aware that while we were together I had evinced such caprices; that we were not so much in each others company as I would have wished I well know, but I think so acute an observer as yourself must have perceived enough to explain this without suffering any slight to one in whose society I have pride & pleasure. Recollect that I do not allude here to 'extended' or 'extending' acquaintances, but to circumstances you will understand I think on a little reflection.
"And now, my dear Bankes, do not distress me by supposing that I can think of you or you of me otherwise than I trust we have long thought. You told me not long ago that my temper was improved & I should be sorry that opinion should be revoked. Believe me your friendship is of more account to me than all these absurd vanities in which I fear you conceive me to take too much interest. I have never disturbed your superiority or doubted (seriously) your goodwill, & no one shall even 'make mischief between us' without the sincerest regret on the part of your ever affectionate friend."
Published in The Works of Lord Byron, vol. 2, ed. Prothero (London: Murray, 1903), no. 230.
Sarah Sophia Child-Villiers, countess of Jersey (1785-1867), was an heiress and socialite. In her book, Conversations of Lord Byron with the Countess of Blessington, the Countess records Byron having said of Lady Jersey that "she is independent in her principles--though, by-the-by, like all Independents, she allows that privilege to few others, being the veriest tyrant that ever governed Fashion's fools, who are compelled to shake their caps and bells as she wills it."