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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 Glenarvon, published at this time.

The separation was signed, and Byron


left his country for ever. Some friends still stood by him. Lady Jersey earned 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. Two poems appeared in the papers, through the "injudicious zeal of a friend," 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 Staël 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, says 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 Clytemnestra." 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 "Childe Harold" and in "Don Juan" were 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 forgetfulness of the way in which he had consoled himself when be complained of his wife's implacability. Her dignified reticence irritated and puzzled him, and his prevailing tone only illustrates the radical incompatability of their characters.

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 of his kindness to an old butler, Murray, at Newstead. Byron travelled in a large coach, imitated from Napoleon's, carrying bed, library, and kitchen, besides a calèche bought at Brussels. His expenses were scruples about copyright considerable, and his In 1817 he was soon vanished. Murray. He demanded £600 for the bargaining sharply with "Lament of Tasso" and the last act of "Manfred" (9 May 1817). On 4 Sept. for the fourth canto of "Childe Harold," 1817 he asks £2500 instead of £1500 accepting ultimately sums paid by Murray for copyrights to 2000 guineas. The the end of 1821 amounted to £15,455, including the amounts made over to Dallas. He must have received at least £12,500 at this period, and the £1100 for "Parisina" and the "Siege of Corinth" was in Murray's hands. In November 1817 he at last sold Newstead for 90,000 guineas. Payment of debts and mortgages left the £60,000 settled upon Lady Byron, the income of which was 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 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 Staël at Cappet, a Mrs. Hervey thought proper to faint. Southey was in Switzerland this year, and Byron believed that he had spread stories in England 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 See Notes and Queries, 5th ser. viii. 1, 24,


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.1 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 Shelleys 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), iii. 161.

agitated by the news, and, as the Countess Guiccioli says, would never afterwards pronounce her name. He directed her to be buried at Harrow, and a tablet to be erected in the church at a spot precisely indicated by his school recollections. Of the mother he spoke with indifference or aversion Byron and Hobhouse crossed the Simplon, and reached Milan by October. At Milan Beyle (Stendhal) saw him at the theatre, and has described his impressions. He went by Verona to Venice, intending to spend the winter in this "the greenst island," as he says. "of my imagination." He stayed for three years, taking as a summer residence a house at La Mira on the Brenta April and May 1817 were spent in a visi to Rome, whence, 5 May, he sent to Murray a new third act of "Manfred," having heard that the original was thought unsatisfactory.

On arriving at Venice he found that his "mind wanted something craggy to break upon," and he set to work learn ing Armenian at the monastery. H saw something of the literary salon of the Countess Albrizzi. Mme. Albrizz wrote a book of portraits, one of which is a sketch of Byron, published by Moore and not without interest. He becam bored with the Venetian "blues," and took to the less pretentious salon of the Countess Benzoni, He soon plunge into worse dissipations. He settled in the Palazzo Mocenigo on the Gran Canal. And here, in ostentatious de fiance of the world, which tried to tak the form of contempt, he abandone himself to degrading excesses which in jured his constitution, and afterward produced bitter self-reproach. "I de test every recollection of the place, th people, and my pursuits," he said t Medwin. Shelley, whose impression of a visit to Byron are given in th famous "Julian and Maddalo," say afterwards that Byron had almo destroyed himself. He could digest food, and was consumed by a hect

See his Letter first published in Mr Belloc's Byron, i. 353, Paris, 1824.


fever. Daily rides on the Lido kept im from prostration, Moore says that Byron would often leave his house in a it of disgust to pass the night in his dola. In the midst of this debasing de his intellectual activity continued. He began the fourth canto of "Childe Harold" by 1 July 1817, and sent 126 tarzas (afterwards increased to 16) to Murray on 20 July. On 23 Oct. he states that "Beppo," in imitation, he says, of "Whistlecraft"(J. H. Frere), 3 nearly finished. It was sent Murray 19 Jan. 1819, and published in May. This experiment led to his greatest performance. On 19 Sept. 1818 he has 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 second canto. The two were published without author's or publisher's name in July 1819. The third canto was begun in October 1819. The outcry against its predecessors had disconcerted him, and he was so put out by hearing that a Mr. Saunders had called it "all Grub Street," as to lay it aside for a time. The third canto was split into the third and fourth in February 1820, and ppeared with the fifth, still anonyously and without the publisher's came, in August 1821.

A new passion had altered his life. In April 1819 he met at the Countess enzoni's Teresa, daughter of Count Gamba of Ravenna, recently married at age of sixteen to a rich widower of Count Guiccioli, also of Ravenna. fer beauty is described by Moore, an American painter West, who took her portrait, Medwin, and Hunt. She had regular features, a fine figure, rather too bort 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 met daily at Venice. Her husband took her back to Ravenna in the same month, and she wrote passionate letters Byron. She had fainted three times on her first day's journey; her mother's death 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 June 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. letters to her, says Moore, show genuine passion. His letters to Hoppner 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, he asked 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,' 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 avvilimento. 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."


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 free, 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 connec tion with the countess as would cause misery to both unless his passion were more durable than any one, he least of all, could expect. The journey to England was nearly settled, however, when he was delayed by an illness of Allegra, and a touch of malaria in himself. The countess again wrote to him that she was seriously ill, and that her friends would receive him. While actually ready for a start homewards, he suddenly declared that if the clock struck one before some final preparation was ready, he would stay. It struck, and he gave up the journey. He wrote to the countess that he would obey her, though his departure would have been best for them all. At Christmas 1819 he was back in Ravenna.

He now subsided into an indolent routine, to which he adhered with curious pertinacity. Trelawny describes the day at Pisa soon afterwards, and agrees with Moore, Hunt, Medwin, and Gamba. He rose very late, took a cup of green tea, had a biscuit and sodawater at two, rode out and practised shooting, dined most abstemiously. visited the Gambas in the evening, and returned to read or write till two or three in the morning. At Ravenna previously and afterwards in Greece he kept nearly to the same hours. His rate of composition at this period was surprising. Medwin says that after sitting with Byron till two or three the poet would next day produce fresh work. He discontinued "Don Juan" after the fifth canto in disgust at its reception, and in compliance with the request of the Countess Guiccioli, who was shocked at its cynicism. In Febru ary 1820 he translated the "Morgante Maggiore"; in March the "Francesca da Rimini" episode. On 4 April he began his first drama, the "Maring Faliero," finished it 16 July, and copied it out by 17 Aug. It was produced at Drury Lane the next spring, in spite of his remonstrance, and failed, to his grea annoyance. "Sardanapalus," begun 13 Jan. 1821, was finished 13 May

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