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cohabitation. Byron's extreme wrath against a Mrs. Clermont (a former governess of Lady Byron's), whom he accused of breaking open a desk, seems to suggest that some discovery was made subsequently to Lady Byron's departure from London, but affords no confirmation of this hypothesis.
The problem must remain unsolved. The scandal excited a general explosion of public indignation. In some "Observations upon an article in 'Blackwood's Magazine" (dated 15 March 1820, but not published till after Byron's death), Byron describes the state of feeling; he was accused of "every monstrous vice "; advised not to go to the theatre or to parliament for fear of public insults, and his friends feared violence from the mob when he started in his travelling carriage. This indignation, perhaps exaggerated, has been ridiculed; and doubtless included mean and hateful elements — love of scandal and delight in trampling on a great name. Yet it was not unnatural. Byron's very guarded sceptical utterances in "Childe Harold" frightened Dallas into a formal and elaborate protest, and shocked a sensitive public extravagantly. He had been posing as a rebel against all the domestic properties. So long as his avowed license could pass for a literary affectation, or be condoned in the spirit of the general leniency shown to wild young men in the era of the prince regent, the protest was confined to the stricter classes. But when a Lara passed from the regions of fancy to 13 Piccadilly Terrace, matters became more serious. Byron was outraging a woman of the highest character and with the strongest claims on his tenderness; and a feeling arose such as that which, soon afterwards, showed itself when the prince regent passed from simple immorality to the persecution of a wife with infinitely less claims to respect than Lady Byron's. Lady Caroline Lamb claimed her part in the outcry by her wild novel of Gltnarvon, published at this time.
The separation was signed, and Byron
left his country for ever. Some Men distill stood by him. jLady Jersey earned 1 his lasting gratitude by giving an assembly in his honour; and Miss Mercer (afterwards Lady Keith) met him there with marked cordiality. Leigh Hunt in the Examiner and Perry in the Morning Chronicle defended him. Mrs. Leigh's affection was his chief comfort, when even his cousin George took his wife's part. I Two poems appeared in the papers, through the "injudicious zeal of a friend," says Moore, in the middle of April. "A Sketch" (dated 29 March) is a savage onslaught upon Mrs. Clermont.!, "Fare thee well" (dated 17 March), written with tears, it is said, the marks of which still blot the manuscript, expostulates pathetically with his wife for inflicting a "cureless wound." ^ On 8 March Byron told Moore that there was "never a brighter, kinder, or more amiable and agreeable being'' than Lady Byron, and that no blame attached to her. He appeals to Rogers (25 March) to confirm his statement that he had never attacked her. In 1823 he repeated this statement to Lady Blessington. In fact, however, he oscillated between attempts to preserve the air of an injured yet forgiving husband and outbursts of bitterness. At the instance of Mme. de Stael he made some kind of overture for reconciliation in 1816, and (apparently) upon its failure wrote the "Dream," intended to show that his love had always been reserved for Mary Chaworth; and a novel upon the "Marriage of Belphegor," representing his own story. He destroyed it, savs Moore, on hearing of her illness; but a fragment is given in the notes to "Don Juan." In a poem written at the same time, "on hearing that Lady Byron was ill," he attacks her implacability, and calls her a "moral Clytemnestrar" He never met Lady Blessington without talking of his domestic troubles. He showed an (unsent) conciliatory letter, and apologised for public allusions in his works. Some angry communications were suppressed by his friends,
but the allusions in the last cantos of "ChWe Harold" and in "Don Juan" rere unpardonable. While Byron was bemoaning his griefs to even casual acquaintance with a strange incontinence of language, and circulating letters and lampoons, his occasional conciliatory moods were of little importance. Lady Blessington remarks on his curious forgetf ulness of the way in which he had consoled himself when he complained of his wife's implacability. Her dignified reticence irritated and puzzled him, and his prevailing tone only illustrates the radical incompatibility of their characters. J
Byron sailed for Ostend (24 April 1816) with a young Italian doctor, Polidori, a Swiss and two English servants, Rushton and Fletcher, who had both started with him in 1809. Byron's good nature to his servants was an amiable point in his character. Harness describes the "hideous old woman" who had nursed him in his lodgings and followed him through all his English establishments, and speaks <jf his kindness to an old butler, Murray, it Newstead. Byron travelled in a large coach, imitated from Napoleon's, carrying bed, library, and kitchen, t^ides a caliche bought at Brussels.
expenses were considerable, and his scruples about copyright soon vanished. In 1817 he was bargaining sharply with Murray. He demanded £6°° f°r the 'Lament of Tasso" and the last act of
Manfred" (9 May 1817). On 4 Sept. 1S17 he asks £3500 instead of £1500 for the fourth canto of "Childe Harold," accepting ultimately 1000 guineas. The sums paid by Murray for copyrights to jne end of 1821 amounted to £15,455, including the amounts made over to Dallas. He must have received at least £",500 at this period, and the £1100 'or "Panama" and the "Siege of Corinth" was in Murray's hands. In November 1817 he at last sold Newstead to 90,000 guineas. Payment of debts and mortgages left the £60,000 settled upon Lady Byron, the income of which payable to Byron during his life.
He was aggrieved by the refusal of his trustees in 1820 to invest this in a mortgage on Lord Blessington's estates. Hanson, Byron's solicitor, went to Venice to obtain his signature to the necessary deeds in November 1818. Byron declared that he would receive no advantage from Lady Byron's property. On the death of Lady Noel in 1822, however, her fortune of £7000 or £8000 a year was divided equally between her
I daughter and Byron by arbitrators (Sir F. Burdett and Lord Dacre); and such a division had, it seems, been provided for in the deed of separation. Byron then became a rich man for his Italian position, and grew careful of money. He spent much time in settling his weekly bills and affected avarice as a "good old gentlemanly vice." But this must be taken as partly humorous, and he was still capable of munificence.
From Brussels Byron visited Waterloo, and thence went to Geneva by the Rhine, where (June 1816) he took the Villa Diodati, on the Belle Rive, a promontory on the south side of the lake.1 Here Byron met the Shelleys and Miss Clairmont. Miss Clairmont came expressly to meet him, but it is authoritatively stated that the Shelleys were not in her confidence. The whole party became the objects of curiosity and scandal. Tourists gazed at Byron through telescopes. When he visited Mme. de Stael at Cappet, a Mrs. Hervey thought proper to faint. Southey was in Switzerland this year, and Byron believed that he had spread stories in F.ngland imputing gross immorality to the whole party. They amused themselves one rainy week by writing ghost stories; Mrs. Shelley began "Frankenstein," and Byron a fragment called "The Vampire" from which Polidori "vamped up," a novel of the same name. It passed as Byron's in France and had some success. Polidori, a fretful and flighty youth, quarrelled with his employer, proposed to challenge Shelley,
and left Byron for Italy. He was sent
1 Sec Notes and Queries, 51b ser. viii. 1, 34, US
out of Milan for a quarrel with an Austrian officer, but afterwards got some patients. Byron tried to help him, and recommended him to Murray. He committed suicide in 1821. Byron and Shelley made a tour of the lake in June (described in Shelley's "Six Weeks' Tour"), and were nearly lost in a storm. Two rainy days at Ouchy produced Byron's "Prisoner of Chillon"; and about the same time he finished the third canto of "Childe Harold." Shelley, as Byron told Medwin, had dosed him with Wordsworth "even to nausea," •and the influence is apparent in some of his "Childe Harold" stanzas.' In September Byron made a tour in the Bernese Oberland with Hobhouse, and, as his diary shows, worked up his impressions of the scenery. At the Villa Diodati he wrote the stanzas "To Augusta," and the verses addressed to "My Sweet Sister," which by her desire were suppressed till after his death. Here, too, he wrote the monody on the death of Sheridan, and the striking fragment called "Darkness."
On 29 Aug. the Shelley party left for England. In January 1817 Miss Clairmont gave birth to Allegra, Byron's daughter. The infant was sent to him at Venice with a Swiss nurse, and placed under the care of the Hoppners. Byron declined an offer from a Mrs. Vavasour to adopt the girl, refusing to abdicate his paternal authority as the lady desired. He afterwards sent for the child to Bologna in August 1819, and kept her with him at Venice and Ravenna till April 1821, when he placed her in a convent at Bagna-Cavallo (twelve miles from Ravenna), paying double fees to insure good treatment. He wished her, he said, to be a Roman Catholic, and left her £5000 for a marriage portion. The mother vehemently protested against this, but the Shellevs approved. The child improved in the convent, and is described by Shelley as petted and happy. She died of a fever 20 April 1822. Byron was profoundly
'See Wordsworth's remarks in Moore's Diary (1853). »>• 161.
agitated by the news, and, as tl Countess Guiccioli says, would nevi afterwards pronounce her name, ii directed her to be buried at Hjutoi and a tablet to be erected in the churci at a spot precisely indicated by b school recollections. Of the mother i spoke -with indifference or averse Byron and Hobhouse crossed the Sin plon, and reached Milan by Octoht At Milan Beyle (Stendhal) saw him; the theatre, and has described his it pressions.' He went by Verona Venice, intending to spend the wint in this "the greenst island," as he say "of my imagination." He stayed i three years, taking as a summer resides a house at La Mira on the Brent April and May 1817 were spent in a va to Rome, whence, 5 May, he sent Murray a new third act of "Manfred having heard that the original w< thought unsatisfactory.
On arriving at Venice he found th his "mind wanted something craggy break upon," and he set to work lear ing Armenian at the monastery. I saw something of the literary salon the Countess Albrizzi. Mme. AlbTM wrote a book of portraits, one of wht isa sketch of Byron, published by M001 and not without interest. He becar bored with the Venetian "blues," ai took to the less pretentious salon of I Countess Benzoni.. He soon plung into worse dissipations. He settled the Palazzo Mocenigo on the Gra< Canal. (And here, in ostentatious < fiance of the world, which tried to ta the form of contempt, he abandon himself to degrading excesses which; jured his constitution, and afterwar produced bitter self-reproach. "I < test every recollection of the place, 1 people, and my pursuits," he said Medwin. Shelley, whose impress* of a visit to Byron are given in I famous "Julian and Maddalo," s afterwards that Byron had alro destroyed himself. He could digest food, and was consumed by a bee
1 See his Letter first published in St Bclloc's Byron, i. 353, Paris, 1*24.
fever. JDaily rides on the Lido kept him from prostration^ Moore says that Byron would often leave his house in a fit of disgust to pass the night in his gondola. Tn the midst of this debasing .ile itis intellectual activity continued. He began the fourth canto of "Childe Harold" by I July 1817, and sent 126 *tanzas (afterwards increased to 16) 'o Murray on 20 July. On 23 Oct. ie states that "Beppo," in imitation, be says, of "Whistlecraft"(J. H. Frere), i nearly finished. It was sent to Murray ig Jan. 1819, and published in May. This experiment led to his greatest performance. On 19 Sept. 1818 he as finished the first canto of "Don Juan." On 25 Jan. 1819 he tells Murray to print fifty copies for private distribution. On 6 April he sends the •*cond canto. The two were published rithout author's or publisher's name in Jury 1819. The third canto was begun irs October 1819. The outcry against its predecessors had disconcerted him, and be was so put out by hearing that a Mr. Saunders had called it "all Grub Street," as to lay it aside for a time.N The third canto was split into the third ■jd fourth in February 1820, and -ppeared with the fifth, still anony■nously and without the publisher's iame, in August 1821.
A new passion had altered his life. .In April 1819 he met at the Countess /•enzoni's Teresa, daughter of Count '.arcba of Ravenna', recently married at
ie age of sixteen to a rich widower of ;ifi«J£ount Guiccioli, also of Ravenna. • Her beauty is described by Moore, an \meriean painter West, who took her :«rtraii, Medwin, and Hunt. She had -trohr features, a fine figure, rather too ■hart and stout» and was remarkable among Italians(for her fair complexion, golden hair, and blue eyes.. She at once conceived a passion for Byron, and they net daily at Venice. Her husband took her back to Ravenna in the same -Booth, and she wrote passionate letters ■ n Byron. She had fainted three times un her first day's journey; her mother's tealfj had deeply affected her; she was
ill, and threatened by consumption; and she told him in May that her relations would receive him at Ravenna. In spite of heat and irresolution, Byron left La'Mira on 2 Tunc 1819, and moved slowly, and after some hesitation, to Ravenna, writing on the way "River that rollest by the ancient walls" (first published by Medwin). Here he found the countess really ill. He studied medical books, she says, for her benefit, and sent for Aglietti, the best physician in Venice. . As she recovered, Byron felt rather awkward under the polite attentions of her husband, though her own relations were unfavourable. His letters to her, says Moore, show genuine passion. His letters to Hoppncr show a more ambiguous interest. He desired at times to escape from an embarrassing connection; yet, out of "wilfulness," as Moore thinks, when she was to go with her husband to Bologna, hg_asko«l her to fly with him, a step altogether desperate according to the code of the time.' .Though shocked by the proposal, she suggested a sham death, after the Juliet precedent. Byron followed the Guicciolis to Bologna, and stayed there while they made a tour of their estates. Hence (23 Aug.) he sent off to Murray his cutting "Letter to my Grandmother's Review." Two days later he wrote a curious declaration of love to the countess in a volume of "Corinna" left in her house. A vehement quarrel with a papal captain of dragoons for selling him an unsound horse nearly led to an impromptu duel like his granduncle's. On the return of the Guicciolis the count left for Ravenna, leaving his wife with Byron at Bologna "on account of her health." Her health also made it expedient to travel with Byron to Venice by way of the Euganean Hills; and at Venice the same cause made country air desirable, whereupon Byron politely "gave up to her his house at La Mira," 1 and "came to reside there" himself. The whole proceeding was so like an elopement, that Venetian society naturally failed to make a distinction. Moore paid a visit to Byron at this time, was
cordially received at La Mira, and lodged in the palace at Venice. Hanson had described Byron in the previous year as "enormously large," and Moore was struck by the deterioration in his looks. He found that his friend had
\ given up, or been given up by, Venetian society. English tourists stared at him like a wild beast, and annoyed
'him by their occasional rudeness.
It was at this time that Byron gave his memoirs to Moore, stipulating only that they should not appear during his lifetime. Moore observed that they would make a nice legacy for his little Tom. Moore was alarmed at Byron's position. The Venetians were shocked by the presence of his mistress under his roof, especially as he had before "conducted himself so admirably." - A proposed trip to Rome, to which Byron had almost consented, was abandoned by Moore's advice, as it would look like a desertion of the countess. The count now wrote to his wife proposing that Byron should lend him £1000, for which he would pay 5 per cent; the loan would otherwise be an awilimenlo. Moore exhorted Byron to take advantage of this by placing the lady again under her husband's protection, a result which would be well worth the money. Byron laughingly declared that he would "save both the lady and the money." The count himself came to Venice at the end of October. After a discussion, in which Byron declined to interfere, the lady agreed to return to her husband and break with her lover. Byron, set Tree, almost " resolved to return to England. Dreams of settling in Venezuela under Bolivar's new republic occasionally amused him, and he made serious inquiries about the Country. The return to England, made desirable by some business affairs, was apparently contemplated as a step towards some of these plans, though he also thought a year later of settling in London to bring out a paper with Moore. ' In truth, he was restless, dissatisfied, and undecided. He shrank from any decided action, from tearing himself from Italy, and,
on the other hand, from such a con tion with the countess as would a ('misery to both unless his passion \ /more durable than any one, he leas 'all, could expect. The journey England was nearly settled, howe when he was delayed by an illne& Allegra, and a touch of malaria in r (self. ,The countess again wrote to that she was seriously ill, and that friends would receive him. While a ally ready for a start homewards, suddenly declared that if the cl struck one before some final prepara j was ready, he would stay. It stn and he gave up the journey. He wi to the countess that he would obey' though his departure would have b best forthem all. At Christmas 181c was back in Ravenna.
He now subsided into an indol routine, to which he adhered » curious pertinacity. Trelawny descri the day at Pisa soon afterwards, L agrees with Moore, Hunt, Med win, £ Gamba. He rose very late, took a t of green tea, had a biscuit and so water at two, rode out and practi; shooting, dined most abstemious visited the Gambas in the evening, a returned to read or write till two three in the morning. At Raven previously and afterwards in Greece kept nearly to the same hours. 1 rate of composition at this period v 1 surprising.1 Medwin says that af i sitting with Byron till two or three 1 poet would next day produce fr< work. He discontinued "Don Jua: after the fifth canto in disgust at reception, and in compliance with t request of the Countess Guiccioli, w was shocked at its cynicism. In Febi ary 1820 he translated the "Morgai Maggiore"; in March the "Frances da Rimini" episode. On 4 April began his first drama, the "Mari Faliero," finished it 16 July, and copi it out by 17 Aug. It was produced Drury Lane the next spring, in spite his remonstrance, and failed, tohisgre annoyance. "Sardanapalus," begi 13 Jan. 1821, was finished 13 M;