LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lord Byron to Augusta Leigh, 22 June 1821

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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Ravenna. June 22d. 1821.
My dearest A.

What was I to write about? I live in a different world. You knew from others that I was in tolerable plight, and all that. However write I will since you desire it. I have put my daughter in a convent for the present to begin her accomplishments by reading, to which she had a learned aversion, but the arrangement is merely temporary till I can settle some plan for her; if I return to England, it is likely that she will accompany me—if not—I sometimes think of Switzerland, and sometimes of the Italian Conventual education; I shall hear both sides (for I have Swiss Friends—through Mr. Hoppner the Consul General, he is connected by marriage with that country) and choose what seems most rational. My menagerie—(which you enquire after) has had some vacancies by the elopement of one cat, the decease of two monkies and a crow, by indigestion—but it is still a flourishing and somewhat obstreperous establishment.

You may suppose that I was sufficiently provoked by Elliston’s behaviour, the more so as the foreign Journals, the Austrian ones at least (who detest me for my politics) had misrepresented the whole thing. The moment I knew the real facts from England, I made these Italical
Gentry contradict themselves and tell the truth—the former they are used to—the latter was a sad trial to them, but they did it, however, by dint of
Mr. Hoppner’s and my own remonstrances.

Tell Murray that I enclosed him a month ago (on the 2d.) another play, which I presume that he has received (as I ensured it at the post Office) you must help him to decypher it, for I sent the only copy, and you can better make out my griffonnage; tell him it must be printed (aye and published too) immediately, and copied out, for I do not choose to have only that one copy.

Will you for the hundredth time apply to Lady B. about the funds, they are now high, and I could sell out to a great advantage. Don’t forget this, that cursed connection crosses at every turn my fortunes, my feelings and my fame. I had no wish to nourish my detestation of her and her family, but they pursue, like an Evil Genius. I send you an Elegy upon Lady Noel’s recovery—(made too [here about fourteen lines of the autograph are cut off]

the parish register—I will reserve my tears for the demise of Lady Noel, but the old—will live forever because she is so amiable and useful.

Yours ever & [illegible.—Ed.]


Let me know about Holmes.1 Oh La!—is he as great a mountebank as ever?