LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Astarte: a Fragment of Truth
Lord Byron to Lady Byron, 28 December 1820

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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“Ravenna. [Thursday] 10bre 28th 1820.

I acknowledge your note which is on the whole satisfactory—the style a little harssh—but that was to be expected—it would have been too great a peace-offering after nearly five yearss—to have been gracious in the manner, as well as in the matter.—Yet you might have been sso—for communications between us—are like “Dialogues of the Dead”—or “letters between this world & the next.” You have alluded to the “past” and I to the future.—As to Augusta—she knowss as little of my request, as of your answer—Whatever She is or may have been—you have never had reason to complain of her—on the contrary—you are not aware of the obligations under which you have been to her.—Her life & mine—and yourss & mine—were two things perfectly distinct from each other—when one ceased the other began—and now both are clossed.

You must be aware of the reasons of my request in far of Augusta & her Childn which are the restrictions I am under by the Settlement, which death would make yourss—at least the available portion.

I wrote to you on the 8th or ninth inst, I think.—Things here are fast coming to a Crisis.———War may
be considered as nearly inevitable—though the
King of N is gone to Congress,1 that will scarcely hinder it—the people are so excited, you must not mind what the English fools say of Italy—they know nothing—they go gaping from Rome to Florence and so on—which is like seeing England—in Saint James’s Street.———

I live with the people and amongsst them—& know them—and you may rely upon my not deceiving you, though I may myself If you mean ever to extricate the Settlement from the funds now is the time to make the trustees act—while Stocks are yet up—and peace not actually broken. Pray attend to this—


P.S. Excuse haste—I have scribbled in great quickness,—and do not attribute it to ill-humour—but to matterss which are on hand—& which must be attended to—I am—really obliged by your attention to my request.——You could not have sent me any thing half so acceptable but I have burnt your note that you may be under no restraint but your internal feeling.—It is a comfort to me now—beyond all comforts; that A— & her children will be thought of—after I am nothing; but five yearss ago—it would have been something more? why did you then keep silence? I told you that I was going long—and going far (not so far as I intended—for I meant to have gone to Turkey and am not sure that I shall not finish with it—but longer than I meant to have made of existence—at least at that time—) and two words about her or herss would have been to me—like vengeance or freedom to an Italian—i.e. the ‘Ne plus ultra’ of gratifications—She and two otherss were the only things

1 The King of Naples escaped from his capital and “National Parliament” on December 13th, 1820, on board an English man-of-war, the “Vengeur,” was landed at Leghorn and went on to Laybach. After the Congress, an Austrian army marched to put an end to the Neapolitan constitution, and before the end of March, 1821, the constitutional army concluded a slight resistance with unqualified submission (Sir Spencer Walpole’sHistory of England,” chap. x.).

I ever really loved—I may say it now,—for we are young no longer.”1