LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Thomas Moore, 24 May 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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
“Ravenna, May 24th, 1820.

“I wrote to you a few days ago. There is also a letter of January last for you at Murray’s, which will explain to you why I am here. Murray ought to have forwarded it long ago. I enclose you an epistle from a countrywoman of yours at Paris, which has moved my entrails. You will have the goodness, perhaps, to inquire into the truth of her story, and I will help her as far as I can,—though not in the useless way she proposes. Her letter is evidently unstudied, and so natural, that the orthography is also in a state of nature.

“Here is a poor creature, ill and solitary, who thinks, as a last resource, of translating you or me into French! Was there ever such a notion? It seems to me the consummation of despair. Pray inquire, and let me know, and, if you could draw a bill on me here for a few hundred francs, at your banker’s, I will duly honour it,—that is, if she is not an impostor*. If not, let me know, that I may get something remitted by my banker Longhi, of Bologna, for I have no correspondence, myself, at Paris: but tell her she must not translate;—if she does, it will be the height of ingratitude.

“I had a letter (not of the same kind, but in French and flattery) from a Madame Sophie Gail, of Paris, whom I take to be the spouse of a Gallo-Greek of that name. Who is she? and, what is she? and how came she to take an interest in my poeshie or its author? If you know her, tell her, with my compliments, that, as I only read French, I have not answered her letter; but would have done so in Italian, if I had not thought it would look like an affectation. I have just been scolding my monkey for tearing the seal of her letter, and spoiling a mock book, in

* According to his desire, I waited upon this young lady, having provided myself with a rouleau of fifteen or twenty Napoleons to present to her from his lordship; but, with a very creditable spirit, my young countrywoman declined the gift, saying that Lord Byron had mistaken the object of her application to him, which was to request that, by allowing her to have the sheets of some of his works before publication, he would enable her to prepare early translations for the French booksellers, and thus afford her the means of acquiring something towards a livelihood.

326 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1820.
which I put rose leaves. I had a civet-cat the other day, too; but it ran away, after scratching my monkey’s cheek, and I am in search of it still. It was the fiercest beast I ever saw, and like * * in the face and manner.

“I have a world of things to say; but, as they are not come to a dénouement, I don’t care to begin their history till it is wound up. After you went, I had a fever, but got well again without bark. Sir Humphry Davy was here the other day, and liked Ravenna very much. He will tell you any thing you may wish to know about the place and your humble servitor.

“Your apprehensions (arising from Scott’s) were unfounded. There are no damages in this country, but there will probably be a separation between them, as her family, which is a principal one, by its connexions, are very much against him, for the whole of his conduct,—and he is old and obstinate, and she is young and a woman, determined to sacrifice every thing to her affections. I have given her the best advice, viz., to stay with him,—pointing out the state of a separated woman (for the priests won’t let lovers live openly together, unless the husband sanctions it), and making the most exquisite moral reflections,—but to no purpose. She says, ‘I will stay with him, if he will let you remain with me. It is hard that I should be the only woman in Romagna who is not to have her Amico; but, if not, I will not live with him; and as for the consequences, love, &c. &c. &c.’—you know how females reason on such occasions.

“He says he has let it go on, till he can do so no longer. But he wants her to stay, and dismiss me; for he doesn’t like to pay back her dowry and to make an alimony. Her relations are rather for the separation, as they detest him,—indeed, so does every body. The populace and the women are, as usual, all for those who are in the wrong, viz., the lady and her lover. I should have retreated, but honour, and an erysipelas which has attacked her, prevent me,—to say nothing of love, for I love her most entirely, though not enough to persuade her to sacrifice every thing to a frenzy. ‘I see how it will end; she will be the sixteenth Mrs. Shuffleton.’

“My paper is finished, and so must this letter.

“Yours ever,
A. D. 1820. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 327

“P.S. I regret that you have not completed the Italian Fudges. Pray, how come you to be still in Paris? Murray has four or five things of mine in hand—the new Don Juan, which his back-shop synod don’t admire;—a translation of the first Canto of Pulci Morgante Maggiore, excellent;—a short ditto from Dante, not so much approved;—the Prophecy of Dante, very grand and worthy, &c. &c. &c.;—a furious prose answer to Blackwood’s Observations on Don Juan, with a savage Defence of Pope—likely to make a row. The opinions above I quote from Murray and his Utican senate;—you will form your own, when you see the things.

“You will have no great chance of seeing me, for I begin to think I must finish in Italy. But, if you come my way, you shall have a tureen of macaroni. Pray tell me about yourself and your intents.

“My trustees are going to lend Earl Blessington sixty thousand pounds (at six per cent.) on a Dublin mortgage. Only think of my becoming an Irish absentee!”