LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lord Byron to Augusta Leigh, 17 May 1819

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 [Monday] May 17th 1819.
My dearest Love—

I have been negligent in not writing, but what can I say Three years absence—& the total change of

1 [Nearly all Byron’s letters to Mrs. Leigh of this period are thus addressed.]

scene and habit make such a difference—that we have now1 nothing in common but our affections & our relationship.—

But I have never ceased nor can cease to feel for a moment that perfect & boundless attachment which bound & binds me to you—which renders me utterly incapable of real love for any other human being—for what could they be to me after you? My own xxxx2 we may have been very wrong—but I repent of nothing except that cursed marriage—& your refusing to continue to love me as you had loved me—I can neither forget nor quite forgive you for that precious piece of reformation.—but I can never be other than I have been—and whenever I love anything it is because it reminds me in some way or other of yourself—for instance I not long ago attached myself to a Venetian for no earthly reason (although a pretty woman) but because she was called xxxx2 and she often remarked (without knowing the reason) how fond I was of the name.—It is heart-breaking to think of our long Separation—and I am sure more than punishment enough for all our sins—Dante is more humane in his “Hell” for he places his unfortunate lovers (Francesca of Rimini & Paolo whose case fell a good deal short of ours—though sufficiently naughty) in company—and though they suffer—it is at least together.—If ever I return to England—it will be to see you—and recollect that in all time—& place—and feelings—I have never ceased to be the same to you in heart—Circumstances may have ruffled my manner—& hardened my spirit—you may have seen me harsh & exasperated with all things around me; grieved & tortured with your new resolution,—& the soon after persecution of that infamous fiend who drove me from my Country & conspired against my life—by endeavouring to deprive me of all that could render it precious—but remember that even then you were the sole object that cost me a tear? and what tears! do you remember our parting? I have not spirits now

1 [This is misprinted “never” in original edition.]

2 Short name of three or four letters obliterated.

to write to you upon other subjects—I am well in health—and have no cause of grief but the reflection that we are not together—When you write to me speak to me of yourself—& say that you love me—never mind commonplace people & topics—which can be in no degree interesting—to me who see nothing in England but the country which holds you—or around it but the sea which divides us.—They say absence destroys weak passions—& confirms strong ones—Alas! mine for you is the union of all passions & of all affections—Has strengthened itself but will destroy me—I do not speak of physical destruction—for I have endured & can endure much—but of the annihilation of all thoughts feelings or hopes—which have not more or less a reference to you & to our recollections

Ever dearest
[Signature erased]