Byron pp 30-31 | Cite as

Byron’s Snobbery

  • John Galt
Part of the Interviews and Recollections book series (IR)


The pride of rank was indeed one of the greatest weaknesses of Lord Byron, and everything, even of the most accidental kind, which seemed to come between the wind and his nobility,1 was repelled on the spot. I recollect having some debate with him once respecting a pique of etiquette, which happened between him and Sir William Drummond,2 somewhere in Portugal or Spain. Sir William was at the time an ambassador (not, however, I believe, in the country where the incident occurred), and was on the point of taking precedence in passing from one room to another, when Byron stepped in before him. The action was undoubtedly rude on the part of his Lordship, even though Sir William had presumed too far on his riband: to me it seemed also wrong; for, by the custom of all nations from time immemorial, ambassadors have been allowed their official rank in passing through foreign countries, while peers in the same circumstances claim no rank at all; even in our own colonies it has been doubted if they may take precedence of the legislative counsellors. But the rights of rank are best determined by the heralds, and I have only to remark, that it is almost inconceivable that such things should have so morbidly affected the sensibility of Lord Byron; yet they certainly did so, and even to a ridiculous degree.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1985

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  • John Galt

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