LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 20 March 1820

Life of Byron: to 1806
Life of Byron: 1806
Life of Byron: 1807
Life of Byron: 1808
Life of Byron: 1809
Life of Byron: 1810
Life of Byron: 1811
Life of Byron: 1812
Life of Byron: 1813
Life of Byron: 1814
Life of Byron: 1815
Life of Byron: 1816 (I)
Life of Byron: 1816 (II)
Life of Byron: 1817
Life of Byron: 1818
Life of Byron: 1819
Life of Byron: 1820
Life of Byron: 1821
Life of Byron: 1822
Life of Byron: 1823
Life of Byron: 1824
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“Ravenna, March 20th, 1820.

“Last post I sent you ‘The Vision of Dante,’—four first Cantos. Enclosed you will find, line for line, in third rhyme (terza rima), of which your British blackguard reader as yet understands nothing, Fanny of Rimini. You know that she was born here, and married, and slain, from Cary, Boyd, and such people. I have done it into cramp English. line for line, and rhyme for rhyme, to try the possibility. You had best append it to the poems already sent by last three posts. I shall not allow you to play the tricks you did last year, with the prose you post-scribed to Mazeppa, which I sent to you not to be published, if not in a periodical paper,—and there you tacked it, without a word of explanation. If this is published, publish it with the original, and together with the Pulci translation, or the Dante imitation. I suppose you have both by now, and the Juan long before.

Translation from the Inferno of Dante, Canto 5th.

“‘The land where I was born sits by the seas,
Upon that shore to which the Po descends,
With all his followers, in search of peace.
Love, which the gentle heart soon apprehends,
Seized him for the fair person which was ta’en
From me, and me even yet the mode offends.
310 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1820.
Love, who to none beloved to love again
Remits, seized me with wish to please, so strong,
That, as thou seest, yet, yet it doth remain.
Love to one death conducted us along,
But Caina waits for him our life who ended:’
These were the accents utter’d by her tongue
Since first I listen’d to these souls offended,
I bow’d my visage and so kept it till—
‘What think’st thou?’ said the bard; { then | when } I unbended,
And recommenced: ‘Alas! unto such ill
How many sweet thoughts, what strong ecstasies
Led these their evil fortune to fulfil!’
And then I turn’d unto their side my eyes,
And said, ‘Francesca, thy sad destinies
Have made me sorrow till the tears arise.
But tell me, in the season of sweet sighs,
By what and how thy Love to Passion rose,
So as his dim desires to recognise?’
Then she to me: ‘The greatest of all woes
Is to { recall to mind | remind us of } our happy days
In misery, and { this | that } thy teacher knows.
But if to learn our passion’s first root preys
Upon thy spirit with such sympathy,
I will { relate | do* even } as he who weeps and says.—
We read one day for pastime, seated nigh,
Of Lancilot, how Love enchain’d him too.
We were alone, quite unsuspiciously,
But oft our eyes met, and our cheeks in hue
All o’er dlscolour’d by that reading were;
But one point only wholly { overthrew | us o’erthrew; }
When we read the { desired | long-sighed-for } smile of her,

* “In some of the editions, it is ‘diro,’ in others ‘faro;’—an essential difference between ‘saying’ and ‘doing,’ which I know not how to decide. Ask Foscolo. The d—d editions drive me mad.”

A. D. 1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 311
To be thus kiss’d by such { a fervent | devoted } lover,
He who from me can be divided ne’er
Kiss’d my mouth, trembling in the act all over.
Accursed was the book and he who wrote!
That day no further leaf we did uncover.—
While thus one Spirit told us of their lot,
The other wept, so that with pity’s thralls
I swoon’d as if by death I had been smote,
And fell down even as a dead body falls.’