LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lord Byron to Augusta Leigh, 18 December 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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Venice. Decr 18th 1816.
My dearest Augusta

I have received one letter dated 19th Novr I think (or rather earlier by a week or two perhaps), since my arrival in Venice, where it is my intention to remain probably till the Spring. The place pleases me. I have found some pleasing society—& the romance of the situation—& it’s extraordinary appearance—together with all the associations we are accustomed to connect with Venice, have always had a charm for me, even before I arrived here; and I have not been disappointed in what I have seen.

I go every morning to the Armenian Convent (of friars not Nuns—my child) to study the language, I mean the Armenian language, (for as you perhaps know—I am versed in the Italian which I speak with fluency rather
than accuracy), and if you ask me my reason for studying this out of the way language—I can only answer that it is Oriental and difficult, & employs me—which are—as you know my Eastern & difficult way of thinking—reasons sufficient. Then I have fallen in love with a
very pretty Venetian of two & twenty,1 with great black eyes. She is married—and so am I—which is very much to the purpose. We have formed and sworn an eternal attachment, which has already lasted a lunar month, & I am more in love than ever, & so is the lady—at least she says so. She does not plague me (which is a wonder) and I verily believe we are one of the happiest—unlawful couples on this side of the Alps. She is very handsome, very Italian or rather Venetian, with something more of the Oriental cast of countenance; accomplished and musical after the manner of her nation. Her spouse is a very good kind of man who occupies himself elsewhere, and thus the world goes on here as elsewhere. This adventure came very opportunely to console me, for I was beginning to be “like Sam Jennings very unappy” but at present—at least for a month past—I have been very tranquil, very loving, & have not so much embarassed myself with the tortures of the last two years and that virtuous monster Miss Milbanke, who had nearly driven me out of my senses.—[curse her effaced]2

Hobhouse is gene to Rome with his brother and sister—but returns here in February: you will easily suppose that I was not disposed to stir from my present position.

I have not heard recently from England & wonder if Murray has published the po’s sent to him; & I want to know if you don’t think them very fine & all that—Goosey my love—don’t they make you “put finger in eye?”

You can have no idea of my thorough wretchedness from the day of my parting from you till nearly a month ago though I struggled against it with some strength. At present I am better—thank Heaven above—&

1 Marianna (or Marianina) Segati.

2 The erasure is probably by Mrs. Leigh.

woman beneath—and I will be a very good boy. Pray remember me to the babes, & tell me of little
Da—who by the way—is a year old and a few days over.

My love to you all & to Aunt Sophy1: pray tell her in particular that I have consoled myself; and tell Hodgson that his prophecy is accomplished. He said—you remember—I should be in love with an Italian—so I am.—

ever dearest yrs.

P.S. I forgot to tell you—that the Demoiselle2—who returned to England from Geneva—went there to produce a new baby B., who is now about to make his appearance. You wanted to hear some adventures—there are enough I think for one epistle. Pray address direct to Venice—Poste Restante.