LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lord Byron to Augusta Leigh, 15 October 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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Milan Octr 15. 1816.
My dearest Augusta

I have been at Churches, Theatres, libraries, and picture galleries. The Cathedral is noble, the theatre grand, the library excellent, and the galleries I know nothing about—except as far as liking one picture out of a thousand. What has delighted me most is a manuscript collection (preserved in the Ambrosian library), of original love-letters and verses of Lucretia de Borgia & Cardinal Bembo; and a lock of her hair—so long—and fair & beautiful—and the letters so pretty & so loving that it makes one wretched not to have been born sooner to have at least seen her. And pray what do you think is one of her signatures?—why this ✣ a Cross—which she says “is to stand for her name &c.” Is not this amusing? I suppose you know that she was a famous beauty, & famous for the use she made of it; & that she was the love of this same Cardinal Bembo (besides a story about her papa Pope Alexander & her brother Caesar Borgia—which some people don’t believe—& others do), and that after all she ended with being Duchess of Ferrara, and an excellent mother & wife also; so good as to be quite an example. All this may or may not be, but the hair & the letters are so beautiful that I have done nothing but pore over them, & have made the librarian promise me a copy of some of them; and I mean to get some of the hair if I can. The verses are Spanish—the letters Italian—some signed—others with a cross—but all in her own hand-writing.

I am so hurried, & so sleepy, but so anxious to send you even a few lines my dearest Augusta, that you will forgive me troubling you so often; and I shall write again soon; but I have sent you so much lately, that you will have too many perhaps. A thousand, loves to you from me—which is very generous for I only ask one in return

Ever dearest thine