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Passages in the Life of a Radical. Barney , Natalie Clifford. Sansot et Cie , Barrett , Eaton Stannard. London , January—September Bigger , Francis Joseph. Blessington , Countess of Marguerite Gardiner. Conversations of Lord Byron with the Countess of Blessington. Henry Colburn , Unsigned review of Hours of Idleness. The Critical and Miscellaneous Writings. England and the English. George Routledge , University of Notre Dame Press , From the Independent Whig. Printed and published by R. The Memoirs of Chateaubriand. William Cobbett , — Grammar of the English Language.
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Life of Lord Byron, Vol. 4 With His Letters and Journals
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Watches Casual Dress Sports. Eyewear Aviators Wayfarer Pilot Square. Underwear Boxers Briefs Undershirts Swimwear. Sponsored products for you. Paperback Language of Text: Complete Poetical Works , 3. Byron's grand tour was full of incident and adventure. Rushton is the second figure in the double portrait of Byron by George Sanders , —8, in the Royal Collection.
The image of Byron in this portrait, suggestive of his grand tour by its inclusion of a yacht moored at anchor before a background of wild, mountainous scenery, has since become a figurehead of Romanticism. From Lisbon they rode across a peninsula still in the throes of political and military conflict. At that point Murray and Rushton were sent home 'I would have taken him [ Rushton ] on but you know boys are not safe amongst the Turks' , and on 19 August Byron , Hobhouse , and Fletcher sailed in the packet for Sardinia, Sicily, and Malta, in the company of the traveller John Galt Letters and Journals , ed.
At Malta Byron had a brief affair with the celebrated Mrs Constance Spencer Smith , to whom he addressed several poems. He went immediately to visit Ali Pasha at his court at Tepelene and was graciously received by the pasha: His travels through Albania were full of adventure, inimitably described in his letters, among the best in the English language, especially those to his mother, which are fully equal to the scenes and events he witnessed:. Accompanied by a guard of Albanians, Byron went on to visit various sites in Arcanania and western Greece, including, in late November, the fateful Missolonghi.
After a fortnight's sojourn in Patras he journeyed to Athens, where he arrived on Christmas day. There he was the guest of Tarsia Macri , widow of the English vice-consul, whose three daughters provided Byron with much entertainment throughout his stay. The eldest, Teresa , was celebrated by Byron in his famous lines on the 'Maid of Athens'. His principal passion, however, was for Greece herself and her antiquities. On 3 May he repeated Leander's legendary feat of swimming the Hellespont from Sestos to Abydos, and commemorated the event in some amusing verses.
After visiting Constantinople he and Hobhouse separated, the latter sailing back to England and Byron proceeding on to Zea and thence back to Athens. It was at Athens that Byron was said to have met with the adventure, referred to in The Giaour and its notes, of saving a girl from being drowned in a sack. There is no doubt that some such event took place, but the part Byron played in her rescue remains unclear. His tour of Greece then took him to the Morea the Peloponnese where he contracted a dangerous fever at Patras. Returning to Athens he spent the winter of —11 in a Capuchin convent.
During his last months in Greece he met the traveller Lady Hester Stanhope , who later wrote that he 'had a great deal of vice in his looks' Memoirs , 3. When he left Piraeus for England in April on the transport ship Hydra , Byron took Nicolo with him and placed him in a school at Malta. Throughout his life Byron formed attachments to young boys.
Though most perhaps were not homosexual, allusions in his letters indicate that he was bisexual. Hotly refuting Hobhouse's cryptic allegation, in a letter he wrote from Cadiz, of an 'unnatural', or homosexual, relationship with his servant Rushton , Byron nevertheless added to his reply from Malta: Then a capital offence in England, homosexuality was not a subject to be discussed openly in correspondence.
Also on board the Hydra was the last large shipment of marbles Lord Elgin was transporting to England, and, by an ironic coincidence, among Byron's numerous poetical manuscripts, his scathing satire on Elgin's work The Curse of Minerva. During his two years abroad Byron's financial problems had grown increasingly acute, as letters from Hanson and his mother had made him aware. Mrs Byron fought off creditors and bailiffs on her son's behalf, though he could hardly have been aware of the extent of her efforts and privations.
In this her strong character was a formidable and effective defence. Worried about his affairs and weighed down by debt, shortly after his return Byron heard of the deaths of four of his close friends: Matthews , Edleston , Wingfield , and Hargreaves Hanson. In London he received news that his mother was seriously ill.
She died at Newstead on 1 August before he arrived home. He diverted his grief by a new series of dissipations with servant girls at the abbey. Dallas attempted to revive him by urging him to publish the verse he had written on his tour abroad, especially the two cantos of Childe Harold. Byron showed little interest, as did the publishers to whom Dallas showed the manuscript.
Cawthorn , who had published English Bards , which had gone through four editions, urged him to a fifth, but Byron held back and eventually suppressed the poem which had attacked some of his new friends, especially the poet Thomas Moore. Byron wanted to publish not the highly original Childe Harold but his imitation of Horace , Hints from Horace , which was set in type but not then published. Dallas persisted despite Byron's reluctance and the refusals of two publishers. He eventually prevailed and the first two cantos of Childe Harold were taken by John Murray — [ see under Murray family ], who had an interest in travel literature.
Attempts to persuade Byron to moderate the poem's misanthropy were unsuccessful. It appeared in March in a handsome quarto, sold out in three days, and overnight he became famous. As important a work in the history of Romanticism as Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads , Childe Harold marks the special character of Byron's poetry: Byron consumed an extraordinary range of European verse forms and forced them to bear his signature, to live again only, as it were, under his name and at his insistence.
Byron rapidly became the most brilliant star in the dazzling world of regency London. He was sought after at every society venue, elected to several exclusive clubs including the Alfred, the Cocoa Tree, and Watiers, and frequented the most fashionable London drawing-rooms, especially at Holland, Devonshire, and Melbourne houses.
Life of Lord Byron, Vol. 1 by Thomas Moore
The dandies 'were always very civil' to Byron even 'though in general they disliked literary people' Letters and Journals , ed. Fascinated by the theatre, he attended often and became friends with the tragedian Edmund Kean and many other actors and actresses, eventually becoming a member of the committee of the Drury Lane Theatre in He visited Leigh Hunt in prison, and twice spoke in the House of Lords on the side of reform, once in February to oppose the repressive legislation against the frame-breakers in Nottingham, and once in April that year in support of Catholic emancipation.
He was a member of the whig opposition, and his views grew increasingly radical until in he came under attack in the government papers. In , however, the duchess of Devonshire recorded that ' Childe Harold … is on every table, and himself courted, visited, flattered and praised wherever he appears' Foster , —6.
She also noted Byron's 'handsome countenance … animated and amusing conversation … in short, he is really the only topic almost of every conversation—the men jealous of him, the women of each other'. Over the next few years he formed a number of more or less intense and sometimes reckless liaisons, the most famous being with Lady Caroline Lamb , wife of William Lamb later second Viscount Melbourne.
Shortly after meeting Byron in spring Caroline wrote in her diary ' That beautiful pale face is my fate ' Marchand , 1. With her fashionably short blond hair and slim, boyish figure she did not immediately appeal to Byron , but what she lacked in 'roundness' she made up for in vitality and startling conversation. At the height of their affair he wrote to her describing her as 'a little volcano … the cleverest most agreeable, absurd, amiable, perplexing, dangerous, fascinating little being that lives' Letters and Journals , ed.
But the boldness of her behaviour and reckless disregard for social conventions eventually alarmed and then bored Byron who turned instead to the more soothing 'autumnal charms' of Lady Oxford. Lady Caroline's famous diary description of Byron as 'Mad, bad and dangerous to know' is one that has been applied by several later commentators to herself. In autumn Lady Oxford , wife of Edward Harley, fifth earl of Oxford , whose children's varied paternity led to their being sometimes referred to after the famous collection of manuscripts in her husband's library as 'the Harleian miscellany', provided Byron with a calm refuge at Eywood, Herefordshire, away from Caroline's increasingly frantic attempts to see him.
She encouraged his whig interests and Byron formed a plan to go abroad with the Oxfords the following summer. In Annabella Milbanke — [ see Noel, Anne Isabella, Lady Byron ] opened a correspondence with Byron that was to culminate in their marriage in January In the same year Byron and his half-sister, Augusta , rediscovered each other. Since her marriage to Colonel George Leigh in Augusta had had little contact with Byron , but on meeting again they quickly became intimate friends. Although, as Leslie Marchand stated, 'the extant evidence that Byron had sexual relations with Augusta does not amount to legal proof ', their relationship 'cannot be explained sensibly in any other terms' Marchand , Portrait , n.
That Byron was the father of Augusta's daughter Medora , who was born in , is a recurrent theme of speculation. With no other woman did Byron feel more at ease, more able to get on, as he put it in his 'Epistle to Augusta' 'without a mask'. During this time Byron's poetry poured forth—in satire, in various lyric forms, but mostly in the sequence of remarkable narratives that began with The Giaour and The Bride of Abydos and culminated with Parisina and The Siege of Corinth These were the works that defined and perfected the Byronic hero, whose initial incarnation was Childe Harold.
Brooding throughout nineteenth-century European literature, the Byronic figure—usually an aristocrat—embodied a culturally alienated anti-hero, bearing within a dark secret that seemed as threatening to others as to himself. The popularity of Byron's oriental tales, which were coded with political allegory and personal references, was unprecedented.
Ten thousand copies of The Corsair —the complete edition—sold out on the day of publication.
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All were written ' con amore and too much from existence' Letters and Journals , ed. Murray , Byron's publisher and later friend, was growing rich from these successes and pressed Byron to accept payment for his poems. Despite his extreme financial difficulties Byron nobly refused. Henceforth Byron drove increasingly hard bargains for the copyright of his work.
The climax of these tumultuous years came with Byron's marriage, separation, and departure from England. In the midst of his affair with Lady Caroline Lamb he had told Lady Melbourne , who was his epistolary confidante, of his interest in her niece Annabella Milbanke: Keen to put an end to the affair between Byron and her daughter-in-law, Lady Melbourne made discreet enquiries to Annabella about the qualities she would look for in a husband.
Her cool, analytical reply was unpromising but Byron was not put off and sent her a proposal of marriage. Taken by surprise, but doubtless flattered, for Byron had piqued her interest, she sent him a refusal. This he regarded as a 'mutual escape. She none the less encouraged Byron to maintain 'an acquaintance that does me honour and is capable of imparting so much rational pleasure' Marchand , Biography , 1. In view of her interest in mathematics, but in retrospect, prophetically, Byron referred to her as the 'Princess of Parallelograms': Their correspondence continued into when Annabella let Byron know that she would be willing to consider another proposal of marriage.
Just at this time his financial situation improved as a result of a legal settlement in his favour. When the matter was settled in Byron's interest in marriage cooled somewhat. Hesitating between a visit to Italy and a renewal of his offer of marriage he finally proposed again—and was accepted. Byron went to Seaham, co. Byron and Annabella were married on 2 January and spent their 'treaclemoon' as Byron later referred to their wedding holiday at Sir Ralph's property, Halnaby Hall, in Yorkshire. The next thirteen months brought home the realization on both sides that for all their good intentions and fondness for each other in his letters Byron addressed her as Pip and she called him 'dearest Duck' they had each made an appalling error of judgement.
On their return journey to London Byron took his bride to meet his half-sister, Augusta , at her home in Six Mile Bottom, near Newmarket. In conversation he made several innuendoes that alarmed both women. At their London home at 13 Piccadilly Terrace, leased from the duchess of Devonshire , Byron became moody and behaved erratically, sometimes wildly, and Annabella became fearful and apprehensive. He taunted her cruelly with tales of his profligate past, and formed a liaison with the actress Susan Boyce. Still heavily encumbered with debt, Byron found no refuge from creditors and bailiffs in his marital home.
The baby brought no respite to their domestic tension, and even Augusta Leigh , to whose appeals Byron was usually susceptible, was unable to relieve the black moods which nightly drove him out to the theatre and its green-room distractions. In early January Annabella decided that her husband was insane. She went through his private papers looking for evidence and began to plan a separation. Maintaining an appearance of affection, on 15 January she left with her child to visit her parents at Kirkby Mallory in Leicestershire.
Byron never saw either of them again. At the beginning of February Byron received a letter from Annabella's father who had taken the name Noel on the death of Lord Wentworth the previous April proposing that he agree to an amicable separation from his wife. Separation proceedings were undertaken, and afraid that Byron would claim custody of their child, Annabella determined to threaten Byron with infamous crimes. Her charge was inexplicit but rumours abounded. Byron was riven with tension and Augusta's fears of some terrible exposure were carefully nurtured by Annabella.
Eventually his public and political enemies turned to the press to increase pressure on Byron and he was pilloried, much to Lady Byron's satisfaction. A deed of separation was signed on 15 April and Byron immediately left England, bitterly believing henceforward that he had been driven from his homeland. His equipage was elaborate and included a large Napoleonic coach with bed, library, and kitchen.
He visited Waterloo and then travelled up the Rhine to Geneva where he settled in mid-June at the Villa Diodati on the south side of the lake. As he was travelling he had begun writing the third canto of Childe Harold on scraps of paper, and finished it during that summer. Byron grew tired of her before she returned at the end of August with the Shelleys to England. There she gave birth to a daughter, Clara Allegra Biron 'to distinguish her from little Legitimacy' , in January ibid. The summer had been 'tempest-tost'.
Shelley and Byron had become good friends, to the annoyance of Byron's more conservative circle of friends at home. One evening in June the party gathered in Byron's villa to tell each other ghost stories, a famous occasion that inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein and Byron to begin writing a vampire novel. When he abandoned it, Polidori took up the idea and wrote The Vampyre. Byron finished the third canto of Childe Harold and wrote The Prisoner of Chillon and many shorter poems, including 'Darkness' and 'Prometheus'.
A visit from the Gothic novelist M. When Hobhouse and Davies arrived in August the three made a tour of the Bernese Oberland which Byron recorded in his stunning 'Alpine journal' written for Augusta. Elegant, intimate, precise, and with an uncanny tonal flexibility, the journal is typical of Byron's prose writing:.
Byron was making plans for Italy. Davies returned to England with Rushton , and Byron and Hobhouse set off together on 5 October and visited Milan before arriving in Venice. Captivated by the city which 'has always been next to the East the greenest island of my imagination … I like the gloomy gaiety of their gondolas—and the silence of their canals' Letters and Journals , ed. He fell in love with Marianna Segati , writing to Augusta that 'we are one of the happiest—unlawful couples this side of the Alps' ibid. At about the same time Murray published the third canto of Childe Harold which Shelley had taken to him together with other poems Byron had written in Switzerland in manuscript.
Byron improved his Italian the 'soft bastard Latin' of which he wrote in Beppo with Marianna and studied Armenian with Father Aucher at the monastery on the island of San Lazzaro. December saw the publication of The Prisoner of Chillon and Other Poems , and Hobhouse's departure for a tour of Italy with his brother and sister—he planned to meet Byron in Rome. Byron attended the conversazioni of the Countess Albrizzi , and feeling contented with his way of life he remained in Venice through the carnival, finally leaving for Rome via Arqua, Ferrara, Bologna, and Florence the following April.
During the journey he began writing the autobiographical Lament of Tasso. He had begun to sketch the fourth canto of Childe Harold. His financial situation continued to improve for he was able to reach very favourable terms with Murray for all his writings. On returning to Venice he took a six-month lease on the Villa Foscarini at La Mira where he settled down to write for the summer.
The complications of these amorous adventures form the source of much amusement in his letters home, but more importantly, they initiated a sequence of events that culminated in the writing of Beppo 'in two nights' early in October. Byron had read John Hookham Frere's Whistlecraft and, following Beppo , went on to study the Italian tradition of ottava rima serio-comic narrative medley poetry. This led him to translate the first canto of Pulci's Morgante Maggiore and, crucially, to begin his masterpiece Don Juan , the first canto of which was completed in September Hobhouse left for England early in January Alone again, Byron plunged more deeply into the voluptuous life of Venice.
From the conversazioni of the Countess Albrizzi he migrated to the more informal and literary parties of the Countess Marina Benzoni. In May he took on a three-year lease of the Palazzo Mocenigo on the Grand Canal in Venice, and shortly afterwards his natural daughter Allegra and her nurse Elise came to stay with him. Desperately unhappy at giving up her daughter to Byron's care, Claire Clairmont was nevertheless bitterly aware that this would provide the child with a more socially secure future than to remain with her mother.
In August that year Byron placed Allegra in the care of his new friends, Richard Belgrave Hoppner , British consul at Venice, and his wife—his life at the Palazzo Mocenigo provided an unsuitable environment in which to care for a child. Byron spent the summer indulging himself in food, conversation, and lovemaking.
Life of Lord Byron, Vol. 4 With His Letters and Journals by Thomas Moore
In August Claire and Shelley arrived in Venice. Allegra was sent to visit her mother at Este, and Byron and Shelley rode out on the Lido an experience that was to form the basis of Shelley's poem 'Julian and Maddalo'. Though he gained in weight— Newton Hanson who brought out papers relating to the sale of Newstead for Byron to sign recorded that ' Lord Byron could not have been more than 30, but he looked Jones , , 2. He was well aware that the work was as provocative as it was brilliant and he wanted to test the reactions of his publisher and his friends.
To Moore he wrote 'It is called 'Don Juan' , and is meant to be a little quietly facetious upon every thing' Letters and Journals , ed. The response from every quarter, including Hobhouse and his banker and urbane friend Douglas Kinnaird , was the same: Byron protested ' Don Juan shall be an entire horse or none … I will not give way to all the Cant of Christendom', but to no avail, and early in seemed to acquiesce ibid. With the return of the carnival, however, Byron flared up against the timidity of Murray and his London circle.
Threatening to find another publisher, Byron forced Murray's hand, and the first two cantos finally appeared, anonymously, and with some late and unauthorized expurgations, in July Murray also kept his name, as publisher, from the title-page of the handsome and expensive quarto volume, but this attempt to protect himself backfired badly for it left the work open to the maraudings of pirate printers who soon deluged the market with cheap reprints. Byron was more saleable than ever, in circumstances that promised scandal. Virginia Woolf described Don Juan as the most readable poem in the language, a view that few would gainsay.
It is an opinion that can, however, obscure the poem's greatness. In English only The Canterbury Tales can compare in terms of stylistic brilliance, and no English poem—perhaps no novel—has aspired to, or achieved, such a comprehensive interpretative grasp of a period and a world. It is also the funniest poem in the language. To Kinnaird Byron wrote:. As to 'Don Juan' —confess—confess—you dog—and be candid—that it is the sublime of that there sort of writing—it may be bawdy—but is it not good English?
D[on] Juan will be known by and bye for what it is intended a satire on abuses of the present states of Society—and not a eulogy of vice;—it may be now and then voluptuous—I can't help that. Byron used Don Juan as a vehicle to survey and explain the historical import and meaning, as he saw it, of the years — While the struggle over Don Juan continued in the spring of , Byron met the young and beautiful Countess Teresa Guiccioli — one early April evening at the Countess Benzoni's.
They were immediately attracted to each other and discussed Dante , Petrarch , and Italian literature with equal enthusiasm. I am in love, and tired of promiscuous concubinage' Letters and Journals , ed. They met privately and plunged quickly into an intense, if highly sentimental, affair. After ten days or so Count Guiccioli left with his young wife for his palazzo in Ravenna.
Following their departure on 18 April they travelled slowly, stopping at several of the count's houses on the way. Under the cover of her maid, Fanny Silvestrini , Teresa and Byron exchanged passionate love letters, though they were unable to make arrangements to see one another. Byron chafed under the uncertainties, which became more troubling when Teresa fell ill in May. She had been pregnant for several months and her illness precipitated a miscarriage. Unable to tolerate these strained circumstances Byron left Venice for Ravenna at the beginning of June and arrived on 10 June.
Though Teresa had been seriously ill her health improved and soon she and Byron renewed their affair, cuckolding her husband even in his own house. Despite gossip about the lovers, Count Guiccioli maintained friendly relations with Byron. For his part, Byron became transfixed by contradictory feelings. His letters to England narrated his relations with Teresa in his inimitable prose, at once elegant and coarse: But he was deeply attached to his young amorosa. When the count left with his wife for Bologna early in August, Teresa commanded Byron to follow them. He obeyed and spent the next month fulfilling the role of cavaliere servente.
When Teresa suffered a relapse Byron offered to accompany her back to Venice and arrange medical attention. Count Guiccioli agreed and the lovers set off together, eventually settling into his house at La Mira. They spent the next two months more or less completely together, appearing little as Venetian society was scandalized by the openness of their affair.
Teresa's father was concerned about her conduct and urged her to return to her husband. When Count Guiccioli arrived in Venice in October he demanded that his wife choose between himself and her lover, and when she chose Byron the affair reached a crisis.
Byron persuaded Teresa to return with her husband to Ravenna, and she agreed only if he would follow. He did, late in December, as a consequence of a letter from Teresa's father whose opposition to the affair collapsed in the face of his daughter's unhappiness. Byron's decision to follow his mistress, however, might easily not have happened. Having grown restless and unsure of the stability of his own feelings, that autumn he began making plans to leave Italy.
He toyed with various ideas—going to South America, buying a Greek island, or returning to England to join a revolution after the Peterloo massacre. But he hesitated, stopped by love, by inertia, and by circumstances including the sudden illness of his daughter Allegra. He completed the first instalment of his memoirs, begun the year before in Venice, and when Moore came on a short visit in October gave him the manuscript stipulating that it was only for posthumous publication.
Notoriously, after his death the memoirs were burnt by a group of friends in a disastrous act of good intentions. When Byron arrived in Ravenna he arranged to rent the upper floor of the Palazzo Guiccioli, and for several months this unusual arrangement superficially alleviated tension.
Settling into a routine, Byron was writing at a remarkable rate. Two new cantos of Don Juan were completed as well as various other works, including his translation of the first canto of Pulci's Morgante Maggiore and The Prophecy of Dante. He also began the first of his plays at this time, Marino Faliero Manfred is not a play but what Byron himself called a 'dramatic poem'. He completed Marino Faliero in July, and by the end of the year had finished a fifth canto of his masterpiece. Count Guiccioli's acquiescence in the domestic arrangements came to an end in the spring, when he seems to have become threatening towards Byron.