LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lady Byron to Augusta Leigh, 11 July 1816

I. Byron Characteristics
II. Three Stages of Lord Byron’s Life
III. Manfred
IV. Correspondence of Augusta Byron
V. Anne Isabella Byron
VI. Lady Byron’s Policy of Silence
VII. Informers and Defamers
VIII. “When We Dead Awake”
IX. Lady Byron and Mrs. Leigh (I)
X. Lady Byron and Mrs. Leigh (II)
XI. Byron and Augusta
Notes by the Editor
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Lowestoffe. July 11th 1816.
My dear A——

I must make my opinion fully understood, for you think it unjust to you, and you would not, if you knew it better. That we may never mistrust each other again, it is necessary that we should now be perfectly confidential—


I have always felt that “Duplicity” was foreign to your character, and if I said I could not believe your professions (when so much conspired to render them doubtful) I rather meant I could not depend on them—for knowing how far your “delusion” had been carried, and not knowing you were so sensible of it as you now express yourself, to what might I not reasonably apprehend it did, or would extend? I felt it on every account incumbent on me to awaken you to it, if I could—no longer to spare your feelings or my own by concealing the real nature of circumstances—Thus what has appeared to you most cruel was meant most kind, and it is my comfort to remember that at the many times from the first week of my marriage, when that thought has nearly driven me to madness one unkind or inconsiderate feeling towards you has never actuated me—wherever my judgment has erred forgive its weakness—I am most anxious not to perceive the delusions of others more clearly than my own.

In the last part of the time we were under the same roof, you will now remember some things by which I intimated that I knew more than you thought, and almost offered myself to your confidence—not to betray it, as it has been betrayed—but that I might have more power to befriend you, if you were sincerely desirous to “atone for the past”—for I knew more of your dangers than you did and acted as if you had trusted me in counteracting them to the best of my power—Of this I could give proofs—I appeal to the past, not to oppress you with a sense of obligations which your intentions towards me have amply repaid, but in hopes that you will find consolation in trusting one whose friendship has been thus tried & will not fail—It is equally in your power to secure my entire confidence & esteem by persevering in those principles of strict self-examination & duty which you speak of as governing you at present—As you do not, and never have attempted to deceive me respecting previous facts, of which my conviction is unalterable, I rely the more on your simple assertion of
having “never wronged me” intentionally—I believe it implicitly—and I lament that you misjudgingly pursued a line of conduct so difficult for yourself—so dangerous & I believe so prejudicial to the ungoverned feelings of another—and inevitably tending to continue or renew his criminal recollections. Pardon a word I will never repeat—Dearest
Augusta—You will think, perhaps justly, that I erred in encouraging you myself—but my situation was most extraordinary—I could not, till a late period, bear to admit things to myself sufficiently to act upon them—and resisted what would have brought absolute conviction to any other person—and you were to me the kindest friend & comforter—I could tell you much of the struggles in my mind, but since it makes you unhappy to think you were the occasion of them, I will entreat you only to think of the consolation you can afford me—better perhaps than anyone—

When I speak of the necessity of confidence, do not suppose I wish to exact any confession—Let the past be understood now, to be buried in future—and whenever we do meet, I hope you will not imagine I am under the influence of any feeling that could distress you,—for I have often felt in your presence, under much more painful circumstances, all that I could now feel—& it has had no effect on me but that of rendering me more tenderly fearful of adding to the pain & oppression I believed you already felt—From this motive I have appeared unconscious of a thousand allusions, as intelligible to me as to you—To my husband I had another motive for assuming ignorance, having had reason to think that my life & every hope might depend upon it—You will feel that it was impossible to go on thus—and it would alone have formed a sufficient ground for the step I took—When I tell you that step has been conducive to my peace of mind—something may be added to your own—God grant that we all who have been partakers of misery may be partakers of eternal peace, and may I be judged hereafter by the truth of all I now reveal!


Your own friends have acknowledged that “the language you held” after my separation was “certainly injurious to me,”—I quote the words of one—I have heard from many others of the disadvantageous impressions of my feelings which had been received from your conversation, not that you were said to blame me directly, but your representations of circumstances made my conduct appear cold & cruel—Of course my parents have been more hurt at this than I was.

After what I have expressed of my own conviction it is necessary I should solemnly declare that it is impossible the report should have arisen in any way from me or my connections—To them it occasioned entire surprise—I was only too well prepared for it.

I confide in you to consult my welfare as much as your own with regard to the suppression or communication of what has passed between us to the person whom it next concerns.—I have totally resigned the idea of receiving justice from him—and fear he will see every thing in a perverted light—I think it desirable he should have no ground to imagine me unkind towards you—

Write to me & tell me if you can that I am still as dear to you as I shall ever wish to be—and trust me as being most truly

Your affece
A. I. B.