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Byron (mis)quotation

I refer to John O'Dea's letter (May 26) and would like to point out that the infamous "yells, bells and smells" quotation, which has also appeared in a couple of your correspondents' letters in the recent past, is erroneously attributed to Lord Byron.

The source of this quotation is David Niven's autobiography "The moon's a balloon" in which he claimed that "Yells, bells and smells" was a derogatory expression used by "Jocks" to describe Malta. It should be pointed out that while Byron did in fact mention our "cursed streets of stairs" in the oft misquoted poem "Farewell to Malta", he also claimed to have found the Maltese people both "hospitable and pleasant" and had expressed his intention to return to this "hothouse".

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