LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lady Byron to Lord Byron, [21 January? 1820] [not sent]

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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“I have received your letter of January 1st offering to my perusal a Memoir of your life and informing me that the part which I occupy is ‘long and minute.’—

“I decline to inspect it because I consider the composition of such a Memoir for present or future circulation as wholly unjustifiable, and I would not, even indirectly, appear to sanction it.

1 The signature is a whirl of curves in the fashion of Mrs. Leigh’s signature, in her letter to Lord Byron of December 14th, 1814, a facsimile of which will be found at p. 38. [See also p. 286 for Byron’s signature.]

The frequent duplication of the letters is a characteristic of Lord Byron’s writing during the last five years of his life. There is not a trace of this orthographic peculiarity in his earlier manuscripts.


“If you truly state our domestic circumstances I can only express my astonishment that you should wish to expose them.—If as I have every reason to expect, your representation is partial, falsely coloured, and affectedly candid, the mode of refutation which you suggest would be very inadequate.—

“I have most earnestly desired, and especially on our daughter’s account, that our private concerns should no further be obtruded on the public—I would have submitted to some injustice from opinion, rather than have promoted or renewed the discussion of so painful a topic.—Of this I believe you were well aware—But there must be a limit to forbearance, and that limit is fixed, absolutely fixed, in my own mind.—

“Great as is the advantage which your talents give you, I feel confident that your duplicity, with the facts and feelings which it is employed to conceal, will ultimately be discovered—and that every addition which you make to the fabric of falsehood will accelerate its fall.—

“When I last addressed you I was still influenced by an attachment too deep to be rapidly subdued however unjustly and cruelly treated—I now most sincerely wish your welfare, and shall lament any proceedings on your part which may render it impossible for me to persevere in a passive conduct.”