The Works Of Lord Byron, Letters and Journals, Vol. 1
by Lord Byron, Edited by Rowland E. Prothero
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Letters and Journals. Vol. I.





Two great collections of Byron's letters have been already printed. In Moore's 'Life', which appeared in 1830, 561 were given. These, in FitzGreene Halleck's American edition of Byron's 'Works', published in 1847, were increased to 635. The first volume of a third collection, edited by Mr. W. E. Henley, appeared early in 1897. A comparison of the number of letters contained in these three collections down to August 22, 1811, shows that Moore prints 61, Halleck 78, and Mr. Henley 88. In other words, the edition of 1897, which was the most complete so far as it goes, added 27 letters to that of 1830, and 10 to that of 1847. But it should be remembered that by far the greater part of the material added by Halleck and Mr. Henley was seen and rejected by Moore.

The present edition, down to August 22, 1811, prints 168 letters, or an addition of 107 to Moore, 90 to Halleck, and 80 to Mr. Henley. Of this additional matter considerably more than two-thirds was inaccessible to Moore in 1830.

In preparing this volume for the press, use has been also made of a mass of material, bearing more or less directly on Byron's life, which was accumulated by the grandfather and father of Mr. Murray. The notes thus contain, it is believed, many details of biographical interest, which are now for the first time published.

It is necessary to make these comparisons, in order to define the position which this edition claims to hold with regard to its predecessors. On the other hand, no one can regret more sincerely than myself—no one has more cause to regret—the circumstances which placed this wealth of new material in my hands rather than in those of the true poet and brilliant critic, who, to enthusiasm for Byron, and wide acquaintance with the literature and social life of the day, adds the rarer gift of giving life and significance to bygone events or trivial details by unconsciously interesting his readers in his own living personality.

Byron's letters appeal on three special grounds to all lovers of English literature. They offer the most suggestive commentary on his poetry; they give the truest portrait of the man; they possess, at their best, in their ease, freshness, and racy vigour, a very high literary value.

The present volume, which covers the period from 1798 to August, 1811, includes the letters written Lord Byron from his eleventh to his twenty-third year. They therefore illustrate the composition of his youthful poetry, of 'English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers', and of the first two cantos of 'Childe Harold'. They carry his history down to the eve of that morning in March, 1812, when he awoke and found himself famous—in a degree and to an extent which to the present generation seem almost incomprehensible.

If the letters were selected for their literary value alone, it is probable that very few of those contained in the present volume would find a place in a collection formed on this principle. But biographical interest also demands consideration, and, in the case of Byron, this claim is peculiarly strong. He has for years suffered much from the suppression of the material on which a just estimate of his life may be formed. It is difficult not to regret the destruction of the 'Memoirs', in which he himself intended his history to be told. Their loss cannot be replaced; but their best substitute is found in his letters. Through them a truer conception of Byron can be formed than any impression which is derived from Dallas, Leigh Hunt, Medwin, or even Moore. It therefore seems only fair to Byron, that they should be allowed, as far as possible, to interpret his career. For other reasons also it appears to me too late, or too soon, to publish only those letters which possess a high literary value. The real motive of such a selection would probably be misread, and thus further misconceptions of Byron's character would be encouraged.

With one exception, therefore, the whole of the available material has been published. The exception consists of some of the business letters written by Byron to his solicitor. Enough of these have been printed to indicate the pecuniary difficulties which undoubtedly influenced his life and character; but it was not considered necessary to publish the whole series. Men of genius ask money from their lawyers in the same language, and with the same arguments, as the most ordinary persons.

The picture which the letters give of Byron, is, it is believed, unique in its completeness, while the portrait has the additional value of being painted by his own hand. Byron's career lends itself only too easily to that method of treatment, which dashes off a likeness by vigorous strokes with a full brush, seizing with false emphasis on some salient feature, and revelling in striking contrasts of light and shade. But the style here adopted by the unconscious artist is rather that in which Richardson the novelist painted his pathetic picture of Clarissa Harlowe. With slow, laborious touches, with delicate gradations of colour, sometimes with almost tedious minuteness and iteration, the gradual growth of a strangely composite character is presented, surrounded by the influences which controlled or moulded its development, and traced through all the varieties of its rapidly changing moods. Written, as Byron wrote, with habitual exaggeration, and on the impulse of the moment, his letters correct one another, and, from this point of view, every letter contained in the volume adds something to the truth and completeness of the portrait.

Round the central figure of Byron are grouped his relations and friends, and two of the most interesting features in the volume are the strength of his family affections, and the width, if not the depth, of his capacity for friendship. His father died when the child was only three years old. But a bundle of his letters, written from Valenciennes to his sister, Mrs. Leigh, in 1790-91, still exists, to attest, with startling plainness of speech, the strength of the tendencies which John Byron transmitted to his son. The following extract contains the father's only allusion to the boy:—

"Valenciennes, Feb. 16, 1791.

Have you never received any letters from me by way of Bologne? I have sent two. For God's sake send me some, as I have a great deal to pay. With regard to Mrs. Byron, I am glad she writes to you. She is very amiable at a distance; but I defy you and all the Apostles to live with her two months, for, if any body could live with her, it was me. 'Mais jeu de Mains, jeu de Vilains'. For my son, I am happy to hear he is well; but for his walking, 'tis impossible, as he is club-footed."

Between his mother and himself, in spite of frequent and violent collisions, there existed a real affection, while the warmth of his love for his half-sister Augusta, who had much of her brother's power of winning affection, lost nothing in its permanence from the rarity of their personal intercourse. Outside the family circle, the volume introduces the only two men among his contemporaries who remained his lifelong friends. In his affection for Lord Clare, whom he very rarely saw after leaving school, there was a tinge of romance, and in him Byron seems to have personified the best memories of an idealized Harrow. In Hobhouse he found at once the truest and the most intimate of his friends, a man whom he both liked and respected, and to whose opinion and judgment he repeatedly deferred. On Hobhouse's side, the sentiment which induced him, eminently sensible and practical as he was, to treasure the nosegay which Byron had given him, long after it was withered, shows how attractive must have been the personality of the donor.

Without the 'Dictionary of National Biography', the labour of preparing the letters for the press would be trebled. Both in the facts which it supplies, and in the sources of information which it suggests, it is an invaluable aid.

In conclusion, I desire to express my special obligations to Lord Lovelace and Mr. Richard Edgcumbe, who have read the greater part of the proofs, and to both of whom I am indebted for several useful suggestions.


March, 1898.

List of Letters


1. Nov. 8. To Mrs. Parker


2. March 13. To his Mother 3. Undated. To John Hanson


4. May 1. To his Mother 5. June 23, To his Mother 6. Sept. To his Mother


7. March 22. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 8. March 26. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 9. April 2. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 10. April 9. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 11 Aug. 18. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 12. Aug. 29. To Elizabeth Bridget Pigot 13. Oct. 25. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 14. Nov. 2. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 15. Nov. 11. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 16. Nov. 17. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 17. Nov. 21. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 18. Dec. 1. To John Hanson


19. Jan. 30. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 20. April 4. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 21. April 15. To Hargreaves Hanson 22. April 20. To Hargreaves Hanson 23. April 23. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 24. April 25. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 25. May 11. To John Hanson 26. June 5. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 27. June 27. To John Hanson 28. July 2. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 29. July 8. To John Hanson 30. Aug. 4. To Charles O. Gordon 31. Aug. 6. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 32. Aug. 10. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 33. Aug. 14. To Charles O. Gordon. 34. Aug. 19. To Hargreaves Hanson 35. Undated. To Hargreaves Hanson 36. Oct. 25. To Hargreaves Hanson 37. Oct. 26. To John Hanson 38. Nov. 6. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 39. Nov. 12. To Hargreaves Hanson 40. Nov. 23. To John Hanson 41. Nov. 30. To John Hanson 42. Dec. 4. To John Hanson 43. Dec. 13. To John Hanson 44. Dec. 26. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 45. Dec. 27. To the Hon. Augusta Byron


46. Jan. 7. To the Hon. Augusta Byron 47. Feb. 26. To his Mother 48. March 3. To John Hanson 49. March 10. To John Hanson 50. March 25. To John Hanson 51. May 16. To Henry Angelo 52. Aug. 9. To John M.B. Pigot 53. Aug. 10. To Elizabeth Bridget Pigot 54. Aug. 10. To John M.B. Pigot 55. Aug. 16. To John M.B. Pigot 56. Aug. 18. To John M.B. Pigot 57. Aug. 26. To John M. B. Pigot 58. Undated. To Elizabeth Bridget Pigot 59. Dec. 7. To John Hanson


60. Jan. 12. To J. Ridge 61. Jan. 13. To John M. B. Pigot 62. Jan. 31. To Captain John Leacroft 63. Feb. 4. " " " 64. Feb. 4. " " " 65. Feb. 6. To the Earl of Clare 66. Feb. 8. To Mrs. Hanson 67. March 6. To William Bankes 68. Undated. " " 69. Undated. To——Falkner 70. April 2. To John Hanson 71. April. To John M. B. Pigot 72. April 19. To John Hanson 73. June 11. To Elizabeth Bridget Pigot 74. June 30. " " " 75. July 5. " " " 76. July 13. " " " 77. July 20. To John Hanson 78. Aug. 2. To Elizabeth Bridget Pigot 79. Aug. 11. " " " 80. Oct. 19. To John Hanson 81. Oct. 26. To Elizabeth Bridget Pigot 82. Nov. 20. To J. Ridge 83. Dec. 2. To John Hanson 84. Nov. 9 (1820) To John Murray


85. Jan. 13. To Henry Drury 86. Jan. 16. To John Cam Hobhouse 87. Jan. 20. To Robert Charles Dallas 88. Jan. 21. " " " 89. Jan. 25. To John Hanson 90. Jan. 25. " " 91. Feb. 2. To James De Bathe 92. Feb. 11. To William Harness 93. Feb. 21. To J. Ridge 94. Feb. 26. To the Rev. John Becher 95. March 28. " " " 96. April 26. To the Hon. Augusta Leigh 97. Sept. 14. To the Rev. John Becher 98. Sept. 18. To John Jackson 99. Oct. 4. " " 100. Oct. 7. To his Mother 101. Nov. 2. " " 102. Nov. 3. To Francis Hodgson 103. Nov. 18. To John Hanson 104. Nov. 27. To Francis Hodgson 105. Nov. 30. To the Hon. Augusta Leigh 106. Dec. 14. " " " 107. Dec. 17. To John Hanson 108. Dec. 17. To Francis Hodgson


109. Jan. 15. To John Hanson 110. Jan. 25. To R. C. Dallas 111. Feb. 7. " " " 112. Feb. 11. " " " 113. Feb. 12. " " " 114. Feb. 16. " " " 115. Feb. 19. " " " 116. Feb. 22. " " " 117. March 6. To his Mother 118. March 18. To William Harness 119. Undated. To William Bankes 120. April 25. To R. C. Dallas 121. April 26. To John Hanson 122. May 15. To the Rev. R. Lowe 123. June 22. To his Mother 124. June 28. To the Rev. Henry Drury 125. June 25-30. To Francis Hodgson 126. July 16. " " " 127. Aug. 6. " " " 128. Aug. 11. To his Mother 129. Aug. 15. To Mr. Rushton 130. Sept. 15. To his Mother 131. Nov. 12. " " "


132. March 19. To his Mother 133. April 9. To his Mother 134. April I0. To his Mother 135. April 17. To his Mother 136. May 3. To Henry Drury 137. May 5. To Francis Hodgson 138. May 18. To his Mother 139. May 24. To his Mother 140. June 17. To Henry Drury 141. June 28. To his Mother 142. July 1. To his Mother 143. July 4. To Francis Hodgson 144. July 25. To his Mother 145. July 27. To his Mother 146. July 30. To his Mother 147. Oct. 2. To his Mother 148. Oct. 3. To Francis Hodgson 149. Oct. 4. To John Cam Hobhouse 150. Nov. 14. To Francis Hodgson


151. Jan. 14. To his Mother I52. Feb. 28. To his Mother 153. June 25. To his Mother 154. June 28. To R. C. Dallas 155. June 29. To Francis Hodgson 156. July 17. To Henry Drury 157. July 23. To his Mother 158. July 30. To William Miller 159. Aug. 2. To John M. B. Pigot 160. Aug. 4. To John Hanson 161. Aug. 7. To Scrope Berdmore Davies 162. Aug. 12. To R. C. Dallas 163. Aug. 12. To——Bolton 164. Aug. 16. To——Bolton 165. Aug. 20. To——Bolton 166. Aug. 21. To the Hon. Augusta Leigh 167. Aug. 21. To R. C. Dallas 168. Aug. 22. To Francis Hodgson








Catherine Gordon of Gight (1765-1811), afterwards Mrs. Byron, and mother of the poet, was descended on the paternal side from Sir William Gordon of Gight, the third son, by Annabella Stewart, daughter of James I of Scotland, of George, second Earl of Huntly, Chancellor of Scotland (1498-1502), and Lord-Lieutenant of the North from 1491 to his death in 1507. The owners of Gight, now a ruin, once a feudal stronghold, were a hot-headed, hasty-handed race, sufficiently notable to be commemorated by Thomas the Rhymer, and to leave their mark in the traditions of Aberdeenshire. In the seventh generation from Sir William Gordon, the property passed to an heiress, Mary Gordon. By her marriage with Alexander Davidson of Newton, who assumed the name of Gordon, she had a son Alexander, Mrs. Byron's grandfather, who married Margaret Duff of Craigston, a cousin of the first Earl of Fife. Their eldest son, George, the fifth of the Gordons of Gight who bore that name, married Catherine Innes of Rosieburn, and by her became the father of Catherine Gordon, born in 1765, afterwards Mrs. Byron. Both her parents dying early, Catherine Gordon was brought up at Banff by her grandmother, commonly called Lady Gight, a penurious, illiterate woman, who, however, was careful that her granddaughter was better educated than herself. Thus, for the second time, Gight, which, with other property, was worth between L23,000 and L24,000, passed to an heiress.

Miss Catherine Gordon had her full share of feminine vanity. At the age of thirty-five she was a stout, dumpy, coarse-looking woman, awkward in her movements, provincial in her accent and manner. But as her son was vain of his personal appearance, and especially of his hands, neck, and ears, so she, when other charms had vanished, clung to her pride in her arms and hands. She exhausted the patience of Stewartson the artist, who in 1806, after forty sittings, painted her portrait, by her anxiety to have a particular turn in her elbow exhibited in the most pleasing light. Of her ancestry she was, to use her son's expression, as "proud as Lucifer," looked down upon the Byron family, and regarded the Duke of Gordon as an inferior member of her clan. In later life, at any rate, her temper was ungovernable; her language, when excited, unrestrained; her love of gossip insatiable. Capricious in her moods, she flew from one extreme to the other, passing, for the slightest cause, from passionate affection to equally passionate resentment. How far these defects were produced, as they certainly were aggravated, by her husband's ill treatment and her hard struggle with poverty, it is impossible to say. She had many good qualities. She bore her ruin, as her letters show, with good sense, dignity, and composure. She lived on a miserable pittance without running into debt; she pinched herself in order to give her son a liberal supply of money; she was warm-hearted and generous to those in distress. She adored her scamp of a husband, and, in her own way, was a devoted mother. In politics she affected democratic opinions, took in the 'Morning Chronicle', and paid for it, as is shown by a bill sent in after her death, at the rate of L4 17s. 6d. for the half-year—no small deduction from her narrow income. She was fond of books, subscribed to the Southwell Book Club, copied passages which struck her in the course of her reading, collected all the criticisms on her son's poetry, made shrewd remarks upon them herself (Moore's 'Journal and Correspondence', vol. v. p. 295), and corresponded with her friends on literary subjects.

In 1785 Miss Catherine Gordon was at Bath, where, it may be mentioned, her father had, some years before, committed suicide. There she met, and there, on May 13, 1785, in the parish church of St. Michael, as the register shows, she married Captain John Byron.

Captain John Byron (1755-91), born at Plymouth, was the eldest son of Admiral the Hon. John Byron (1723-86)—known in the Royal Navy as "Hardy Byron" or "Foul-weather Jack"—by his marriage (1748) with Sophia Trevanion of Carhais, in Cornwall. The admiral, next brother to William, fifth Lord Byron, was a distinguished naval officer, whose 'Narrative' of his shipwreck in the 'Wager' was published in 1768, and whose 'Voyage round the World' in the 'Dolphin' was described by "an officer in the said ship" in 1767. His eldest son, John Byron, educated at Westminster and a French Military Academy, entered the Guards and served in America. A gambler, a spendthrift, a profligate scamp, disowned by his father, he in 1778 ran away with, and in 1779 married, Lady Carmarthen, wife of Francis, afterwards fifth Duke of Leeds, nee Lady Amelia d'Arcy, only child and heiress of the last Earl of Holderness, and Baroness Conyers in her own right.

Captain Byron and his wife lived in Paris, where were born to them a son and a daughter, both of whom died in infancy, and Augusta, born 1783, the poet's half-sister, who subsequently married her first cousin, Colonel George Leigh. In 1784 Lady Conyers died, and Captain Byron returned to England, a widower, over head and ears in debt, and in search of an heiress.

It was a rhyme in Aberdeenshire—

"When the heron leaves the tree, The laird of Gight shall landless be."

Tradition has it that, at the marriage of Catherine Gordon with "mad Jack Byron," the heronry at Gight passed over to Kelly or Haddo, the property of the Earl of Aberdeen. "The land itself will not be long in following," said his lordship, and so it proved. For a few months Mrs. Byron Gordon—for her husband assumed the name, and by this title her Scottish friends always addressed her—lived at Gight. But the ready money, the outlying lands, the rights of fishery, the timber, failed to liquidate Captain Byron's debts, and in 1786 Gight itself was sold to Lord Aberdeen for L17,850. Mrs. Byron Gordon found herself, at the end of eighteen months, stripped of her property, and reduced to the income derived from L4200, subject to an annuity payable to her grandmother. She bore the reverse with a composure which shows her to have been a woman of no ordinary courage. Her letters on the subject are sensible, not ill-expressed, and, considering the circumstances in which they were written, give a favourable impression of her character.

The wreck of their fortunes compelled Mrs. Byron Gordon and her husband to retire to France. At the beginning of 1788 she had returned to London, and on January 22, 1788, at 16, Holles Street (since numbered 24, and now destroyed), in the back drawing-room of the first floor, gave birth to her only child, George Gordon, afterwards sixth Lord Byron. Hanson gives the names of the nurse, Mrs. Mills, the man-midwife, Mr. Combe, the doctor, Dr. Denman, who attended Mrs. Byron at her confinement. Dallas was, therefore, mistaken in his supposition that the poet was born at Dover. The child was baptized in London on February 29, 1788, as is proved by the register of the parish of Marylebone.

Shortly after the birth of her son, Mrs. Byron settled in Aberdeen, where she lived for upwards of eight years. During her stay there, in the summer of 1791, her husband died at Valenciennes. In the year 1794, by the death of his cousin William John Byron (1772-94) from a wound received at the siege of Calvi, in Corsica, her son became the heir to his great-uncle, the "wicked Lord Byron" (William, fifth Lord Byron, 1722-98), and a solicitor named Hanson was appointed to protect the boy's interests. From Aberdeen Mrs. Byron kept up a correspondence with her sister-in-law, Frances Leigh ('nee' Byron), wife of General Charles Leigh, to whom, in a letter, dated March 27, 1791, she speaks of her son as "very well, and really a charming boy." Writing again to Mrs. Leigh, December 8, 1794, she says,

"I think myself much obliged to you for being so interested for George; you may be sure I would do anything I could for my son, but I really don't see what can be done for him in that case. You say you are afraid Lord B. will dispose of the estates that are left, if he can; if he has it in his power, nobody can prevent him from selling them; if he has not, no one will buy them from him. You know Lord Byron. Do you think he will do anything for George, or be at any expense to give him a proper education; or, if he wish to do it, is his present fortune such a one that he could spare anything out of it? You know how poor I am, not that I mean to ask him to do anything for him, that is to say, to be of any expense on his account."

If any application was made to the boy's great-uncle, it was unsuccessful. On May 19, 1798, Lord Byron died, and Hanson informed Mrs. Byron that her son had succeeded to the title and estates. At the end of the summer of that year, the little Lord Byron, with his mother and the nurse May Gray, reached Newstead, and, within a few weeks from their arrival, his first letter was written. His letters to his mother, it may be observed, are always addressed to "the Honourable Mrs. Byron," a title to which she had no claim.

1.—To Mrs. Parker. [1]

Newstead Abbey, Nov. 8th, 1798.

Dear Madam,—My Mamma being unable to write herself desires I will let you know that the potatoes are now ready and you are welcome to them whenever you please.

She begs you will ask Mrs. Parkyns if she would wish the poney to go round by Nottingham or to go home the nearest way as it is now quite well but too small to carry me.

I have sent a young Rabbit which I beg Miss Frances will accept off and which I promised to send before. My Mamma desires her best compliments to you all in which I join.

I am, Dear Aunt, yours sincerely,


I hope you will excuse all blunders as it is the first letter I ever wrote.

[Footnote 1: This letter, the first that Byron wrote, was written when he was ten years and ten months old. It is preserved in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a facsimile is given by Elze, in his 'Life of Lord Byron'.

It is apparently addressed to his aunt, Mrs. Parker. Charlotte Augusta Byron, daughter of Admiral the Hon. John Byron, married Christopher Parker (1761-1804), Vice-Admiral 1804, the son of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Peter Parker, Bart. (1721-1811). Her son, who, on the death of his grandfather, succeeded to the baronetcy as Sir Peter Parker, second Bart. (1786-1814), commanded H.M.S. 'Menelaus', and was killed in an attack on a body of American militia encamped near Baltimore. (See Byron's "Elegy on the Death of Sir Peter Parker," and his letter to Moore, October 7, 1814.) Her daughter Margaret, one of Byron's early loves, inspired, as he says, his "first dash into poetry" (see 'Poems', vol. i, p. 5, note 1).]

2.—To his Mother.

Nottingham, 13 March, 1799.

Dear Mama,—I am very glad to hear you are well. I am so myself, thank God; upon my word I did not expect so long a Letter from you; however I will answer it as well as I can. Mrs. Parkyns and the rest are well and are much obliged to you for the present. Mr. Rogers [1] could attend me every night at a separate hour from the Miss Parkynses, and I am astonished you do not acquiesce in this Scheme which would keep me in Mind of what I have almost entirely forgot. I recommend this to you because, if some plan of this kind is not adopted, I shall be called, or rather branded with the name of a dunce, which you know I could never bear. I beg you will consider this plan seriously and I will lend it all the assistance in my power. I shall be very glad to see the Letter you talk of, and I have time just to say I hope every body is well at Newstead,

And remain, your affectionate Son,


P.S.—Pray let me know when you are to send in the Horses to go to Newstead. May [2] desires her Duty and I also expect an answer by the miller.

[Footnote 1: Dummer Rogers, "Teacher of French, English, Latin, and Mathematicks", was, according to 'Notes and Queries' (4th series, vol. iii. p. 561), an American loyalist, pensioned by the English Government. He lived at Hen Cross, Nottingham, when Byron was staying in that city, partly with Mrs. Parkyns, partly at Mr. Gill's, in St. James's Lane, to be attended by a man named Lavender, "trussmaker to the general hospital", who had some local reputation for the treatment of misshapen limbs. Lavender, in 1814 ('Nottingham Directory' for 1814), appears as a "surgeon". Rogers, who read parts of Virgil and Cicero with Byron, represents him as, for his age, a fair scholar. He was often, during his lessons, in violent pain, from the position in which his foot was kept; and Rogers one day said to him, "It makes me uncomfortable, my Lord, to see you sitting there in such pain as I know you must be suffering". "Never mind, Mr. Rogers," answered the boy; "you shall not see any signs of it in me." Many years after, when in the neighbourhood of Nottingham, Byron sent a kind message to his old instructor, bidding the bearer tell him that he could still recite twenty verses of Virgil which he had read with Rogers when suffering torture all the time.

[Footnote 2: Byron's nurse, who had accompanied him from Aberdeen (see p. 10, note 1).]

3.—To John Hanson. [1]

SIR,—I am not a little disappointed at your Stay, for this last week I expected you every hour; but, however, I beg it as a favour that you will come up soon from Newstead as the Holidays commence in three weeks Time. I congratulate you on Capt. Hanson's [1] being appointed commander of The 'Brazen' Sloop of War, and I congratulate myself on Lord Portsmouth's [2] Marriage, hoping his Lady, when he and I meet next, will keep him in a little better order. The manner I knew that Capt. Hanson was appointed Commander of the Ship before mentioned was this. I saw it in the public Paper, and now, since you are going to Newstead, I beg if you meet Gray [3] send her a packing as fast as possible, and give my Compliments to Mrs. Hanson and to all my comrades of the Battalions in and out upon different Stations,

And remain, your little friend,


I forgot to tell you how I was. I am at present very well and my foot goes but indifferently; I cannot perceive any alteration.

[Footnote 1: John Hanson, of 6, Chancery Lane, a well-known London solicitor, was introduced to the Byron family by an Aberdeenshire friend of Mrs. Byron, Mr. Farquhar, a member of Parliament, and a civilian practising in Doctors' Commons. The acquaintance began in January, 1788, with Byron's birth, for the midwife and the nurse were recommended by Mrs. Hanson. Six years later, Hanson was employed by Mrs. Byron to watch the interests of her son, who in 1794 had become heir-presumptive to his great-uncle. It was Hanson who, in the summer of 1798, communicated the news of the death of Lord Byron to Mrs. Byron, and with his wife received her and her son at Newstead. From that time till the close of the minority, Hanson was intimately associated with Byron, both as a man of business and a friend. He selected Dr. Glennie's school for the boy, persuaded Lord Carlisle to become his guardian, introduced the ward to Lord Carlisle, and entered him at Harrow. It was at his house in Earl's Court that Byron, for five years, spent a considerable part of his successive holidays. There he made acquaintance with Hanson's children—his sons Charles, Hargreaves (his contemporary at Harrow), and Newton, and his daughter, Mary Anne, who subsequently (March 7, 1814) married the Earl of Portsmouth, Byron giving her away. This letter was written by Byron a few weeks after he had gone to school at Dr. Glennie's, in Lordship Lane, Dulwich. He remained there from August, 1799, to April, 1801.

In a letter to Mrs. Byron, dated September 1, 1799, Hanson describes Dr. Glennie's "Academy," where he had shortly before left the boy:—

"I left my entertaining companion with Mr. Glennie last Thursday week, and I have since learnt from him that he is very comfortable and likes the situation. His schoolfellows are very fine youths, and their deportment does very great credit to their Preceptor. I succeeded in getting Lord Byron a separate room, and I am persuaded the greatest attention will be paid to him. Mr. Glennie is a Scotchman, has travelled a great deal, and seems every way qualified for his present situation."

[Footnote 2: Captain James Hanson, R.N., was the brother of John Hanson to whom the letter is written. Byron was born with a caul, prized by sailors as a preservative from drowning. The caul was sold by Mrs. Mills, the nurse who attended Mrs. Byron in January, 1788, to Captain Hanson. In January, 1800, Captain Hanson, in command of H.M.S. 'Brazen', had captured a French vessel, which he sent to Portsmouth with a prize crew. On the 26th of the month, while shorthanded, he was caught in a storm off Newhaven. The 'Brazen' foundered, and Captain Hanson with all his men, except one, were drowned.]

[Footnote 3: In the late autumn of 1799 Lord Portsmouth was staying with the Hansons before his marriage (November 23, 1799) with Miss Norton, sister of Lord Grantley. In rough play he pinched Byron's ear; the boy picked up a conch shell which was lying on the ground, and hurled it at Lord Portsmouth's head, missing it by a hair's breadth, and smashing the glass behind. In vain Mrs. Hanson tried to make the peace by saying that Byron did not mean the missile for Lord Portsmouth. "But I 'did' mean it!" he reiterated; "I will teach a fool of an earl to pinch another noble's ear."]

[Footnote: 4. The following extract from a letter written by Hanson to Mrs. Byron (September 1, 1799) places the character of Byron's nurse in a different light to that which is given in Moore's 'Life':—

"I assure you, Madam, I should not have taken the liberty to have interfered in your domestic Arrangements, had I not thought it absolutely necessary to apprize you of the proceedings of your Servant, Mrs. Gray; her conduct towards your son while at Nottingham was shocking, and I was persuaded you needed but a hint of it to dismiss her. Mrs. Parkyns, when I saw her, said something to me about her; but when I found from dispassionate persons at Nottingham, it was the general Topic of conversation, it would have ill become me to have remained silent.

My honourable little companion, tho' disposed to retain his feelings, could not refrain, from the harsh usage he had received at her hands, from complaining to me, and such is his dread of the Woman that I really believe he would forego the satisfaction of seeing you if he thought he was to meet her again. He told me that she was perpetually beating him, and that his bones sometimes ached from it; that she brought all sorts of Company of the very lowest Description into his apartments; that she was out late at nights, and he was frequently left to put himself to bed; that she would take the Chaise-boys into the Chaise with her, and stopped at every little Ale-house to drink with them. But, Madam, this is not all; she has even——traduced yourself.

I entertain a very great affection for Lord Byron, and I trust I shall not be considered solely in my professional character, but as his Friend. I introduced him to my Friends, Lord Grantley and his Brother General Norton, who were vastly taken with him, as indeed are every one. And I should be mortified in the highest degree to see the honourable feelings of my little fellow exposed to insult by the inordinate Indiscretions of any Servant. He has Ability and a quickness of Conception, and a correct Discrimination that is seldom seen in a youth, and he is a fit associate of men, and choice indeed must be the Company that is selected for him."]

4.—To his Mother.

Harrow-on-the-Hill, Sunday, May 1st, 1803.

MY DEAR MOTHER,—I received your Letter the other day. And am happy to hear you are well. I hope you will find Newstead in as favorable a state as you can wish. I wish you would write to Sheldrake to tell him to make haste with my shoes. [1]

I am sorry to say that Mr. Henry Drury [2] has behaved himself to me in a manner I neither'can' nor 'will bear'. He has seized now an opportunity of showing his resentment towards me. To day in church I was talking to a Boy who was sitting next me; 'that' perhaps was not right, but hear what followed. After Church he spoke not a word to me, but he took this Boy to his pupil room, where he abused me in a most violent manner, called me 'blackguard', said he 'would' and 'could' have me expelled from the School, and bade me thank his 'Charity' that 'prevented' him; this was the Message he sent me, to which I shall return no answer, but submit my case to 'you' and those you may think 'fit' to 'consult'. Is this fit usage for any body? had I 'stole' or behaved in the most 'abominable' way to him, his language could not have been more outrageous. What must the boys think of me to hear such a Message ordered to be delivered to me by a 'Master'? Better let him take away my life than ruin my 'Character'. My Conscience acquits me of ever 'meriting' expulsion at this School; I have been 'idle' and I certainly ought not to talk in church, but I have never done a mean action at this School to him or 'any one'. If I had done anything so 'heinous', why should he allow me to stay at the School? Why should he himself be so 'criminal' as to overlook faults which merit the 'appellation' of a 'blackguard'? If he had had it in his power to have me expelled, he would long ago have 'done' it; as it is, he has done 'worse'. If I am treated in this Manner, I will not stay at this School. I write you that I will not as yet appeal to Dr. Drury; his Son's influence is more than mine and 'justice' would be 'refused' me. Remember I told you, when I 'left' you at 'Bath', that he would seize every means and opportunity of revenge, not for leaving him so much as the mortification he suffered, because I begged you to let me leave him. If I had been the Blackguard he talks of, why did he not of his own accord refuse to keep me as his 'pupil'? You know Dr. Drury's first letter, in it were these Words: "My son and Lord Byron have had some Disagreements; but I hope that his future behaviour will render a change of Tutors unnecessary." Last Term I was here but a short time, and though he endeavoured, he could find nothing to abuse me in. Among other things I forgot to tell you he said he had a great mind to expel the Boy for speaking to me, and that if he ever again spoke to me he would expel him. Let him explain his meaning; he abused me, but he neither did nor can mention anything bad of me, further than what every boy else in the School has done. I fear him not; but let him explain his meaning; 'tis all I ask. I beg you will write to Dr. Drury to let him know what I have said. He has behaved to me, as also Mr. Evans, very kindly. If you do not take notice of this, I will leave the School myself; but I am sure 'you' will not see me 'ill treated'; better that I should suffer anything than this. I believe you will be tired by this time of reading my letter, but, if you love me, you will now show it. Pray write me immediately. I shall ever remain, Your affectionate Son, BYRON.

P.S.—Hargreaves Hanson desires his love to you and hopes you are very well. I am not in want of any Money so will not ask you for any. God bless, bless you.

[Footnote 1: Byron appears to have suffered from what would now be described as infantile paralysis, which affected the inner muscles of the right leg and foot, and rendered him permanently lame. Before leaving London for Aberdeen, Mrs. Byron consulted John Hunter, who, in correspondence with Dr. Livingstone of Aberdeen, advised her as to the treatment of her son. Writing, May 31, 1791, to Mrs. Leigh, she says, "George's foot turns inward, and it is the right foot; he walks quite on the side of his foot." In 1798 the child was placed under the care of Lavender (see p. 7, note 1) at Nottingham, doubtless on the recommendation of his aunt. In July, 1799, he was taken to London, in order to consult Dr. Baillie. From July, 1799, till the end of 1802, he was attended by Baillie in consultation with Dr. Laurie of 2, Bartholomew's Close. Special appliances were made for the boy, under their superintendence, by a scientific bootmaker named Sheldrake, in the Strand. In 'The Lancet' for 1827-8 (vol. ii. p. 779) Mr. T. Sheldrake describes "Lord Byron's case," giving an illustration of the foot. His account does not tally, in some respects, with that taken from contemporary letters, and his sketch represents the left not the right leg. But the nature and extent of Byron's lameness have been the subject of a curious variety of opinion. Lady Blessington, Moore, Gait, the Contessa Albrizzi, never knew which foot was deformed. Jackson, the boxer, thought it was the 'left' foot. Trelawney says that it proceeded from a contraction of the back sinews, and that the 'right' foot was most distorted. The lasts from which his shoes were made by Swift, the Southwell bootmaker, are preserved in the Nottingham Museum, and in both the foot is perfect in shape. The last pair of shoes modelled on them were made May 7, 1807. Mrs. Leigh Hunt says that the 'left' foot was shrunken, but was not a club-foot. Stendhal says the 'right' foot. Thorwaldsen indicates the 'left' foot. Dr. James Millingen, who inspected the feet after the poet's death, says that there was a malformation of the 'left' foot and leg, and that he was born club-footed. Two surgical boots are in the possession of Mr. Murray, made for Byron as a child; both are for the 'right' foot, ankle, and leg, and, assuming that they were made to fit the foot, they are too long and thin for a club-foot. Both at Dulwich and at Harrow, Byron was frequently seen by Laurie, whom Mrs. Byron paid, as she once complained in a letter to Laurie, "at the rate of L150 a year." It is difficult to see what more could have been done for the boy, and the explanation of the failure to effect a cure is probably to be found in the following extracts from two of Laurie's letters to Mrs. Byron. The first is dated December 7, 1801:—

"Agreeable to your desire, I waited on Lord Byron at Harrow, and I think it proper to inform you that I found his foot in a much worse state than when I last saw it,—the shoe entirely wet through and the brace round his ancle quite loose. I much fear his extreme inattention will counteract every exertion on my part to make him better. I have only to add that with proper care and bandaging, his foot may still be greatly recovered; but any delay further than the present vacation would render it folly to undertake it."

The second letter is dated October 2, 1802. In it Laurie complains that the boy had spent several days in London without seeing him, and adds—

"I cannot help lamenting he has so little sense of the Benefit he has already received as to be so apparently neglectful."]

[Footnote 2: For Henry Drury (afterwards an intimate friend of Byron) and his father, the Head-master of Harrow, see p. 41, note 2.

When Byron went to Harrow, in April, 1801, he was placed in Henry Drury's house. But in January, 1803, he refused to go back to school unless he was removed from Drury's care. He was in consequence placed at Evans's house. Dr. Drury, writing to explain the new arrangement, says, in a letter to Hanson, dated February 4, 1803—

"The reason why Lord Byron wishes for this change arises from the repeated complaints of Mr. Henry Drury respecting his Inattention to Business, and his propensity to make others laugh and disregard their Employments as much as himself. On this subject I have had many very serious conversations with him, and though Mr. H. D. had repeatedly requested me to withdraw him from his Tuition, yet, relying on my own remonstrances and arguments to rectify his Error, and on his own reflection to confirm him in what is right, I was unwilling to accede to my son's wishes. Lord Byron has now made the request himself; I am glad it has been made, as he thereby imposes on himself an additional responsibility, and encourages me to hope that by this change he intends to lay aside all that negligence and those Childish Practices which were the cause of former complaints."

Fresh troubles soon arose, as Byron's letter indicates. Hanson forwarded the boy's complaint to Dr. Drury, from whom he received the following answer, dated May 15, 1803:—

"The Perusal of the inclosed has allowed me to inquire into the whole Matter, and to relieve your young friend's Mind from any uneasy impression it might have sustained from a hasty word I fairly confess. I am sorry it was ever uttered; but certainly it was never intended to make so deep a wound as his letter intimates.

"I may truly say, without any parade of words, that I am deeply interested in Lord Byron's welfare. He possesses, as his letter proves, a mind that feels, and that can discriminate reasonably on points in which it conceives itself injured. When I look forward to the Possibility of the exercise of his Talents hereafter, and his supplying the Deficiencies of fortune by the exertion of his abilities and by application, I feel particularly hurt to see him idle, and negligent, and apparently indifferent to the great object to be pursued. This event, and the conversations which have passed between us relative to it, will probably awaken in his mind a greater degree of emulation, and make him studious of acquiring Distinction among his Schoolfellows, as well as of securing to himself the affectionate regard of his Instructors."]

5.—To his Mother.

Harrow-on-the-Hill, June 23rd, 6th, 8th, 30th, 1803.

My dear Mother,—I am much obliged to you for the Money you sent me. I have already wrote to you several times about writing to Sheldrake: I wish you would write to him, or Mr. Hanson to call on him, to tell him to make an Instrument for my leg immediately, as I want one, rather. I have been placed in a higher form in this School to day, and Dr. Drury and I go on very well; write soon, my Dear Mother.

I remain, your affectionate Son,


6.—To his Mother. [1]

Southwell, [Sept. 1803].

MY DEAR MOTHER,—I have sent Mealey [2] to day to you, before William came, but now I shall write myself. I promise you, upon my honour, I will come over tomorrow in the Afternoon. I was not wishing to resist your Commands, and really seriously intended coming over tomorrow, ever since I received your last Letter; you know as well as I do that it is not your Company I dislike, but the place you reside in. I know it is time to go to Harrow. It will make me unhappy; but I will obey. I only desire, entreat, this one day, and on my honour I will be over tomorrow in the evening or afternoon. I am sorry you disapprove my Companions, who, however, are the first this County affords, and my equals in most respects; but I will be permitted to chuse for myself. I shall never interfere in your's and I desire you will not molest me in mine. If you grant me this favour, and allow me this one day unmolested, you will eternally oblige your

Unhappy Son,


I shall attempt to offer no excuse as you do not desire one. I only entreat you as a Governor, not as a Mother, to allow me this one day. Those that I most love live in this County; therefore in the name of Mercy I entreat this one day to take leave, and then I will join you again at Southwell to prepare to go to a place where—I will write no more; it would only incense you. Adieu. Tomorrow I come.

[Footnote 1: This letter is endorsed by Hanson, "Lord Byron to his mother, "1803". In September, 1803, at the end of the summer holidays, Byron did not return to Harrow. Dr. Drury asked the reason, received no reply, and, on October 4, applied to Hanson for an explanation. Hanson's inquiry drew from Mrs. Byron, on October 30, the following answer, with which was enclosed the above letter from Byron:—

"You may well be surprized, and so may Dr. Drury, that Byron is not returned to Harrow. But the Truth is, I cannot get him to return to school, though I have done all in my power for six weeks past. He has no indisposition that I know of, but love, desperate love, the 'worst' of all 'maladies' in my opinion. In short, the Boy is distractedly in love with Miss Chaworth, and he has not been with me three weeks all the time he has been in this county, but spent all his time at Annesley.

If my son was of a proper age and the lady 'disengaged', it is the last of all connexions that I would wish to take place; it has given me much uneasiness. To prevent all trouble in future, I am determined he shall not come here again till Easter; therefore I beg you will find some proper situation for him at the next Holydays. I don't care what I pay. I wish Dr. Drury would keep him.

I shall go over to Newstead to-morrow and make a 'last effort' to get him to Town."

The effort, if made, failed. On November 7, 1803, Mrs. Byron wrote again:—

"Byron is really so unhappy that I have agreed, much against my inclination, to let him remain in this County till after the next Holydays."

It was not till January, 1804, that Byron returned to Harrow.

Miss Mary Anne Chaworth, the object of Byron's passion, was then living with her mother, Mrs. Clarke, at Annesley, near Newstead (see 'Poems', vol. i. p. 189, and note 1). The grand-niece of the Mr. Chaworth who was killed in a duel by William, fifth Lord Byron, on January 26, 1765 ('Annual Register', 1765, pp. 208-212; and 'State Trials', vol. xix. pp. 1178-1236), and the heiress of Annesley, she married, in August, 1805, John Musters, by whom she had a daughter, born in 1806. (See "Well! thou art happy!" 'Poems', vol. i. p. 277; see also, for other allusions to Mrs. Chaworth Musters, 'ibid'., pp. 210, 239, 282, 285; and "The Dream" of July, 1816.) In Byron's memorandum-book, he describes a visit which he paid to Matlock with Miss Chaworth's mother, her stepfather Mr. Clarke, some friends, "and 'my' M. A. C. Alas! why do I say MY? Our union would have healed feuds in which blood had been shed by our fathers,—it would have joined lands broad and rich, it would have joined at least 'one' heart, and two persons not ill matched in years (she is two years my elder) and—and—and—'what' has been the result?" ('Life', p. 27).

Mrs. Musters, after an unhappy married life, died in February, 1832, at Wiverton Hall, near Nottingham.

The connection between the families of Chaworth and Byron came through the marriage of William, third Lord Byron (died 1695), with Elizabeth Chaworth (died 1683), daughter of George Chaworth, created (1627) Viscount Chaworth of Armagh (Thoroton's 'Nottinghamshire', vol. i. p. 198).]

[Footnote 2: Owen Mealey, the steward at Newstead.]

7.—To the Hon. Augusta Byron. [1]

[At 63, Portland Place, London.]

Burgage Manor, [Thursday], March 22d, 1804.

Although, My ever Dear Augusta, I have hitherto appeared remiss in replying to your kind and affectionate letters; yet I hope you will not attribute my neglect to a want of affection, but rather to a shyness naturally inherent in my Disposition. I will now endeavour as amply as lies in my power to repay your kindness, and for the Future I hope you will consider me not only as a Brother but as your warmest and most affectionate Friend, and if ever Circumstances should require it your protector. Recollect, My Dearest Sister, that you are the nearest relation I have in the world both by the ties of Blood and affection. If there is anything in which I can serve you, you have only to mention it; Trust to your Brother, and be assured he will never betray your confidence. When You see my Cousin and future Brother George Leigh, [2] tell him that I already consider him as my Friend, for whoever is beloved by you, my amiable Sister, will always be equally Dear to me.

I arrived here today at 2 o'clock after a fatiguing Journey, I found my Mother perfectly well. She desires to be kindly remembered to you; as she is just now Gone out to an assembly, I have taken the first opportunity to write to you, I hope she will not return immediately; for if she was to take it into her head to peruse my epistle, there is one part of it which would produce from her a panegyric on a friend of yours, not at all agreeable to me, and I fancy, not particularly delightful to you. If you see Lord Sidney Osborne [3] I beg you will remember me to him; I fancy he has almost forgot me by this time, for it is rather more than a year Since I had the pleasure of Seeing him.—Also remember me to poor old Murray; [4] tell him we will see that something is to be done for him, for while I live he shall never be abandoned In his old Age. Write to me Soon, my Dear Augusta, And do not forget to love me, In the meantime, I remain, more than words can express, your ever sincere, affectionate

Brother and Friend,


P.S. Do not forget to knit the purse you promised me, Adieu my beloved Sister.

[Footnote: 1. The Hon. Augusta Byron, Byron's half-sister (January, 1783-November, 1851), was the daughter of Captain John Byron by his first wife, Amelia d'Arcy (died 1784), only child of the last Earl of Holderness, Baroness Conyers in her own right, the divorced wife of Francis, Marquis of Carmarthen, subsequently fifth Duke of Leeds. After the return of Captain and Mrs. Byron to London early in 1788, she was brought up by her grandmother, the Countess of Holderness. When the latter died, Augusta Byron divided her time between her half-sister, Lady Mary Osborne, who married, July 16, 1801, Lord Pelham, subsequently (1805) Earl of Chichester; her half-brother George, who succeeded his father as sixth Duke of Leeds in 1799; her cousin, the Earl of Carlisle; and General and Mrs. Harcourt. From their houses her letters during the period 1803-7 are written. In 1807 she married her first cousin, Colonel George Leigh of the Tenth Dragoons, the son of General Charles Leigh, by Frances, daughter of Admiral the Hon. John Byron. By her husband, who was a friend of the Prince Regent and well known in society, she was the mother of seven children. Their home was at Newmarket, till, in April, 1818, they were granted apartments in Flag Court, St. James's Palace, where she died in November, 1851.

Augusta Byron seems scarcely to have seen her brother between his infancy and 1802. Lady Holderness and Mrs. Byron were not on friendly terms, and it was not till the former's death that any intimacy was renewed between the brother and sister. Writing on October 18, 1801, to Augusta Byron, Mrs. Byron says, in allusion to the death of Lady Holderness,

"As I wish to bury what is past in oblivion, I shall avoid all reflections on a person now no more; my opinion of yourself I have suspended for some years; the time is now arrived when I shall form a very decided one. I take up my pen now, however, to condole with you on the melancholy event that has happened, to offer you every consolation in my power, to assure you of the inalterable regard and friendship of myself and son. We will be extremely happy if ever we can be of any service to you, now or at any future period. I take it upon me to answer for him; although he knows so little of you, he often mentions you to me in the most affectionate manner, indeed the goodness of his heart and amiable disposition is such that your being his sister, had he never seen you, would be a sufficient claim upon him and ensure you every attention in his power to bestow.

Ah, Augusta, need I assure you that you will ever be dear to me as the Daughter of the man I tenderly loved, as the sister of my beloved, my darling Boy, and I take God to witness you once was dear to me on your own account, and may be so again. I still recollect with a degree of horror the many sleepless nights, and days of agony, I have passed by your bedside drowned in tears, while you lay insensible and at the gates of death. Your recovery certainly was wonderful, and thank God I did my duty. These days you cannot remember, but I never will forget them ... Your brother is at Harrow School, and, if you wish to see him, I have now no desire to keep you asunder."

From 1802 till Byron's death, Augusta took in him the interest of an elder sister. Writing to Hanson (June 17, 1804), she says—

"Pray write me a line and mention all you hear of my dear Brother: he was a most delightful correspondent while he remained in Nottinghamshire: but I can't obtain a single line from Harrow. I was much struck with his general improvement; it was beyond the expectations raised by what you had told me, and his letters gave me the most excellent opinion of both his Head and Heart."

In this tone the letters are continued (see extracts p. 39; p. 45, note 1; and p. 97 [Letter 48], [Foot]note 1 [further down]).

From the end of 1805, with some interruptions, and less regularity, the correspondence between brother and sister was maintained to the end of Byron's life. To Augusta, then Mrs. Leigh, Byron sent a presentation copy of 'Childe Harold', with the inscription:

"To Augusta, my dearest sister, and my best friend, who has ever loved me much better than I deserved, this volume is presented by her father's son and most affectionate brother."

She was the god-mother of Byron's daughter Augusta Ada, born December 10, 1815. In January, 1816, when Lady Byron was still with her husband, she writes of and to Mrs. Leigh:

"In this at least, I am 'truth itself,' when I say that, whatever the situation may be, there is no one whose society is dearer to me, or can contribute more to my happiness."

Lady Byron left Byron on January 15, 1816. Writing to Mrs. Leigh from Kirby Mallory, she speaks of her as her "best comforter," notices her absolute unselfishness, and says that Augusta's presence in Byron's house in Piccadilly is her "great comfort" (Lady Byron's letters to Mrs. Leigh, January 16 and January 23, 1816, quoted in the 'Quarterly Review' for October, 1869, p. 414). Through Mrs. Leigh passed many communications between Byron and Lady Byron after the separation. To her, Byron, in 1816 and 1817, wrote the two sets of "Stanzas to Augusta," the "Epistle to Augusta," and the Journal of his journey through the Alps, "which contains all the germs of 'Manfred' (letter to Murray, August, 1817). She was in his thoughts on the Rhine, and in the third canto of 'Childe Harold':—

"But one thing want these banks of Rhine, Thy gentle hand to clasp in mine."

To her he was writing a letter at Missolonghi (February 23, 1824), which he did not live to finish, "My dearest Augusta, I received a few days ago your and Lady Byron's report of Ada's health." He carried with him everywhere the pocket Bible which she had given him. "I have a Bible," he told Dr. Kennedy ('Conversations'), "which my sister gave me, who is an excellent woman, and I read it very often." His last articulate words were "My sister—my child."

Several volumes of Mrs. Leigh's commonplace books are in existence, filled with extracts mostly on religious topics. She was, wrote the late Earl Stanhope, in a letter quoted in the 'Quarterly Review' (October, 1869, p. 421), "very fond" of talking about Byron.

"She was," he continues, "extremely unprepossessing in her person and appearance—more like a nun than anything, and never can have had the least pretension to beauty. I thought her shy and sensitive to a fault in her mind and character."

Frances, Lady Shelley, who died in January, 1873, and was intimately acquainted with Byron and his contemporaries, speaks of her as a "Dowdy-Goody."

"I have seen," she writes

(see 'Quarterly Review', October, 1869, p. 421, quoting from a letter signed E. M. U., which appeared in the 'Times' for September II, 1869),

"a great deal of Mrs. Leigh (Augusta), having passed some days with her and Colonel Leigh, for my husband's shooting near Newmarket, when Lord Byron was in the house, and, as she told me, was writing 'The Corsair', to my great astonishment, for it was a wretched small house, full of her ill-trained children, who were always running up and down stairs, and going into 'uncle's' bedroom, where he remained all the morning."]

[Footnote 2: See preceding note.]

[Footnote 3: Francis, fifth Duke of Leeds, married, October 14, 1788, as his second wife, Miss Catherine Anguish, by whom he had two children: the eldest, a son, Sydney Godolphin Osborne, was born December 16, 1789.]

[Footnote 4: Joe Murray had been for many years in the employment of William, fifth Lord Byron. At his master's death, in 1798, he was taken into the service of the Duke of Leeds.

"I saw poor Joseph Murray the other night," writes Augusta Byron to Hanson (June 17, 1804), "who wishes me particularly to apply to Col. Leigh, to get him into some City Charity which the Prince of Wales is at the head of.

I cannot understand what he means, nor can any body else, and therefore, as he said he was advised by you, I think it better to apply to you on the subject. I'm sure Col. Leigh would be happy to oblige him; but in general he dislikes asking favours of the Prince, and this present moment is a bad one to chuse for the purpose, as H.R.H. is so much taken up with public affairs. I am very anxious about poor Joseph, and would almost do anything to serve him. I fear he is too old and infirm to go to service again."

Three years later (March 19, 1807), Augusta Byron writes again to Hanson:—

"I have just had a pitiful note from poor old Murray, telling me of his dismissal from the Duchess of Leeds; but he says he does not leave her till June. I therefore hope something may in the mean time be done for him. He requests me to write word of it to my Brother. I shall certainly comply with his wishes, and send two lines on that subject to Southwell, where I conclude he is."

Byron made Murray an allowance of L20 a year (see Letter 83), took him, as soon as he could, into his service, and was careful, as he promises, to provide that he should not be "abandoned in his old age." His affection for Murray is marked by the postscript to the letter to Mrs. Byron of June 22, 1809 (see also 'Life', pp. 74, 121); as also by his draft will of 1811, in which he leaves Murray L50 a year for life.

8.—To the Hon. Augusta Byron.

[63, Portland Place, London.]

Southwell, March 26th, 1804.

I received your affectionate letter, my ever Dear Sister, yesterday and I now hasten to comply with your injunction by answering it as soon as possible. Not, my Dear Girl, that it can be in the least irksome to me to write to you, on the Contrary it will always prove my Greatest pleasure, but I am sorry that I am afraid my correspondence will not prove the most entertaining, for I have nothing that I can relate to you, except my affection for you, which I can never sufficiently express, therefore I should tire you, before I had half satisfied myself. Ah, How unhappy I have hitherto been in being so long separated from so amiable a Sister! but fortune has now sufficiently atoned by discovering to me a relation whom I love, a Friend in whom I can confide. In both these lights, my Dear Augusta, I shall ever look upon you, and I hope you will never find your Brother unworthy of your affection and Friendship.

I am as you may imagine a little dull here; not being on terms of intimacy with Lord Grey [1] I avoid Newstead, and my resources of amusement are Books, and writing to my Augusta, which, wherever I am, will always constitute my Greatest pleasure. I am not reconciled to Lord Grey, and I never will. He was once my Greatest Friend, my reasons for ceasing that Friendship are such as I cannot explain, not even to you, my Dear Sister, (although were they to be made known to any body, you would be the first,) but they will ever remain hidden in my own breast.

They are Good ones, however, for although I am violent I am not capricious in my attachments. My mother disapproves of my quarrelling with him, but if she knew the cause (which she never will know,) She would reproach me no more. He Has forfeited all title to my esteem, but I hold him in too much contempt ever to hate him. My mother desires to be kindly remembered to you. I shall soon be in town to resume my studies at Harrow; I will certainly call upon you in my way up. Present my respects to Mrs. Harcourt; [2] I am Glad to hear that I am in her Good Graces for I shall always esteem her on account of her behaviour to you, my Dear Girl. Pray tell me If you see Lord S. Osborne, and how he is; what little I know of him I like very much and If we were better acquainted I doubt not I should like him still better. Do not forget to tell me how Murray is. As to your Future prospects, my Dear Girl, may they be happy! I am sure you deserve Happiness and if you do not meet with it I shall begin to think it is "a bad world we live in." Write to me soon. I am impatient to hear from you. God bless you, My amiable Augusta, I remain,

Your ever affectionate Brother and Friend,


[Footnote 1: Henry, third Earl of Sussex, died in 1799, when the earldom lapsed. He was, however, succeeded in the ancient barony of Grey de Ruthyn by his daughter's son, Henry Edward, twentieth Baron Grey de Ruthyn (1780-1810), to whom Newstead was let.

"I am glad," writes Mrs. Byron to Hanson, March 10, 1803, "that Newstead is well let. I cannot find Lord Grey de Ruthin's Title in the Peerage of England, Ireland, or Scotland. I suppose he is a new Peer."

Lord Grey de Ruthyn married, in 1809, Anna Maria, daughter of William Kelham, of Ryton-upon-Dunsmore, Warwick. (See postscript to Byron's Letter to his mother, August 11, 1809.) The lease of Newstead terminated in April, 1808.]

[Footnote 2: Probably the wife of General the Hon. William Harcourt (1742-1830), who distinguished himself in the War of American Independence, succeeded his only brother in 1809 as third (and last) Earl Harcourt, was created a field-marshal in 1821, and died in 1830. He married, in 1778, Mary, daughter of the Rev. William Danby, and widow of Thomas Lockhart. She died in 1833.]

9.—To the Hon. Augusta Byron.

[At General Harcourt's, St. Leonard's Hill, Windsor, Berkshire.]

Burgage Manor, April 2d, 1804.

I received your present, my beloved Augusta, which was very acceptable, not that it will be of any use as a token of remembrance, No, my affection for you will never permit me to forget you.

I am afraid, my Dear Girl, that you will be absent when I am in town. I cannot exactly say when I return to Harrow, but however it will be in a very short time. I hope you were entertained by Sir Wm. Fawcet's funeral on Saturday. [1] Though I should imagine such spectacles rather calculated to excite Gloomy ideas. But I believe your motive was not quite of so mournful a cast.

You tell me that you are tired of London. I am rather surprised to hear that, for I thought the Gaieties of the Metropolis were particularly pleasing to young ladies. For my part I detest it; the smoke and the noise feel particularly unpleasant; but however it is preferable to this horrid place, where I am oppressed with ennui, and have no amusement of any kind, except the conversation of my mother, which is sometimes very edifying, but not always very agreeable. There are very few books of any kind that are either instructive or amusing, no society but old parsons and old Maids;—I shoot a Good deal; but, thank God, I have not so far lost my reason as to make shooting my only amusement. There are indeed some of my neighbours whose only pleasures consist in field sports, but in other respects they are only one degree removed from the brute creation.

These however I endeavour not to imitate, but I sincerely wish for the company of a few friends about my own age to soften the austerity of the scene. I am an absolute Hermit; in a short time my Gravity which is increased by my solitude will qualify me for an Archbishoprick; I really begin to think that I should become a mitre amazingly well. You tell me to write to you when I have nothing better to do; I am sure writing to you, my Dear Sister, must ever form my Greatest pleasure, but especially so, at this time. Your letters and those of one of my Harrow friends form my only resources for driving away dull care. For Godsake write me a letter as long as may fill twenty sheets of paper, recollect it is my only pleasure, if you won't Give me twenty sheets, at least send me as long an epistle as you can and as soon as possible; there will be time for me to receive one more Letter at Southwell, and as soon as I Get to Harrow I will write to you. Excuse my not writing more, my Dear Augusta, for I am sure you will be sufficiently tired of reading this complaining narrative. God bless you, my beloved Sister. Adieu.

I remain your sincere and affectionate

Friend and Brother,


Remember me kindly to Mrs. Harcourt.

[Footnote 1: General the Right Hon. Sir William Fawcett, K.B. (1728-1804), Colonel of the 3rd Dragoon Guards, Adjutant-General (1778-1797), and Governor of Chelsea Hospital (1796-1804), died at his house in Great George Street, Westminster, March 22, 1804. He had served during the rebellion of 1745, and distinguished himself during the Seven Years' War, where he was aide-de-camp first to General Elliot, and afterwards to the Marquis of Granby. An excellent linguist, he translated from the French, 'Reveries: or Memoirs upon the Art of War, by Field-Marshal Count Saxe' (1757); and from the German, 'Regulations for the Prussian Cavalry' (1757), 'Regulations for the Prussian Infantry', and 'The Prussian Tacticks' (1759). His military and diplomatic services were commemorated by a magnificent funeral on Saturday, March 31, 1804. The body was carried through the streets from Westminster to the chapel of Chelsea Hospital, the Prince Regent, the Duke of Clarence, and the Duke of Kent following the hearse, and eight general officers acting as pall-bearers.]

10.—To the Hon. Augusta Byron.

[At General Harcourt's, St. Leonard's Hill, Windsor, Berkshire.]

Burgage Manor, April 9th, 1804.

A thousand thanks, my dear and Beloved Augusta, for your affectionate Letter, and so ready compliance with the request of a peevish and fretful Brother; it acted as a cordial on my drooping spirits and for a while dispelled the Gloom which envelopes me in this uncomfortable place. You see what power your letters have over me, so I hope you will be liberal in your epistolary consolation.

You will address your next letter to Harrow as I set out from Southwell on Wednesday, and am sorry that I cannot contrive to be with you, as I must resume my studies at Harrow directly. If I speak in public at all, it will not be till the latter end of June or the beginning of July. You are right in your conjecture for I feel not a little nervous in the anticipation of my Debut [1] as an orator. By the bye, I do not dislike Harrow. I find ways and means to amuse myself very pleasantly there; the friend, whose correspondence I find so amusing, is an old sporting companion of mine, whose recitals of Shooting and Hunting expeditions are amusing to me as having often been his companion in them, and I hope to be so still oftener.

My mother Gives a party to night at which the principal Southwell Belles will be present, with one of which, although I don't as yet know whom I shall so far honour, having never seen them, I intend to fall violently in love; it will serve as an amusement pour passer le temps and it will at least have the charm of novelty to recommend it, then you know in the course of a few weeks I shall be quite au desespoir, shoot myself and Go out of the world with eclat, and my History will furnish materials for a pretty little Romance which shall be entitled and denominated the loves of Lord B. and the cruel and Inconstant Sigismunda Cunegunda Bridgetina, etc., etc., Princess of Terra Incognita.

Don't you think that I have a very good Knack for novel writing? I have Just this minute been called away from writing to you by two Gentlemen who have given me an invitation to go over to Screveton, a village a few miles off, and spend a few days; but however I shall not accept it, so you will continue to address your letters to Harrow as usual. Write to me as soon as possible and give me a long letter. Remember me to Mrs. Harcourt and all who enquire after me. Continue to love me and believe me,

Your truly affectionate Brother and Friend,


P.S.—My Mother's love to you, Adieu.

[Footnote 1: Mrs. Byron, writing to Hanson, July 24, 1804, says,

"I was informed by a Gentleman yesterday that he had been at Harrow and heard him speaking, and that he acquitted himself uncommonly well."

Byron's name occurs in three of the Harrow speech-bills—July 5, 1804; June 6, 1805; and July 4, 1805. The three bills are printed below:—


1. JULY 5, 1804.

Erskine, Maj. Caesar } Ex Sallustio. Sinclair Cato } Long C. Canuleius ad Pleb. Ex Livio. Molloy, Sr. The Country Box Lloyd. Lord Byron Latinus } Leeke Drances } Ex Virgilio. Peel, Sr. Turnus } Chaplin Henry the Fifth to his Shakespear. Soldiers Clayton Micispa ad Jugurtham Ex Sallustio. Rowley Germanicus moriens Ex Tacito. Grenside, Sr. General Wolfe to his Enfield. Soldiers Morant, Sr. Dido Ex Virgilio. Mr. Calthorpe, Sr. In Catilinam Ex Cicerone. Lloyd, Sr. The Ghost Shakespear. Mr. Powys Tiresias Ex Horatio. Sir Thomas Acland The Boil'd Pig Wesley. Leveson Gower Ad Antonium Ex Cicerone. Drury, Max. Earl of Strafford Hume.

2. JUNE 6, 1805.

There were no Speeches for May, 1805. Dr. Butler came to Harrow this year, after the Easter Holiday.—G.B. [1]

Doveton Canulcius Ex Livio. Farrer, Sr. Medea Ex Ovidio. Long Caractacus Mason. Rogers Manlius Ex Sallustio. Molloy Micipsa Ex Sallustio. Lord Byron Zanga Young. Drury, Sr. Memmius Ex Sallustio. Hoare Ajax } Ex Ovidio. East Ulysses } Leeke The Passions: an Ode Collins. Calvert, Sr. Galgacus Ex Tacito. Bazett Catilina ad Consp. Ex Sallustio. Franks, Sr. Antony Shakespeare. Wildman, Majr. Sat. ix., Lib. i. Ex Horatio. Lloyd, Sr. The Bard: an Ode Gray.

3. JULY 4, 1805.

Lyon Piso ad Milites Ex Tacito. East Cato Addison. Saumarez Drances } Ex Virgilio, AEn. xi Annesley Turnus } Calvert Lord Strafford's Hume. Defence Erskine, Sr. Achilles Ex Homero, Il. xvi Bazett York Shakespeare. Harrington Camillus Ex Livio. Leeke Ode to the Passions Collins. Sneyd Electra Ex Sophocle. Long Satan's Soliloquy Milton, P.L., b. iv Gibson Brutus } Ex Lucano. Drury, Sr. Cato } Lord Byron Lear Shakespeare. Hoare Otho ad Milites Ex Livio. Wildman Caractacus Mason. Franks Wolsey Shakespeare.

Of Byron's oratorical powers, Dr. Drury, Head-master of Harrow, formed a high opinion.

"The upper part of the school," he writes (see 'Life', p. 20), composed declamations, which, after a revisal by the tutors, were submitted to the master. To him the authors repeated them, that they might be improved in manner and action, before their public delivery. I certainly was much pleased with Lord Byron's attitude, gesture, and delivery, as well as with his composition. All who spoke on that day adhered, as usual, to the letter of their composition, as, in the earlier part of his delivery, did Lord Byron; but, to my surprise, he suddenly diverged from the written composition, with a boldness and rapidity sufficient to alarm me, lest he should fail in memory as to the conclusion. There was no failure; he came round to the close of his composition without discovering any impediment and irregularity on the whole. I questioned him why he had altered his declamation. He declared he had made no alteration, and did not know, in speaking, that he had deviated from it one letter. I believed him; and, from a knowledge of his temperament, am convinced that, fully impressed with the sense and substance of the subject, he was hurried on to expressions and colourings more striking than what his pen had expressed."

"My qualities," says Byron, in one of his note-books (quoted by Moore, 'Life', p. 20), "were much more oratorical and martial than poetical; and Dr. Drury, my grand patron (our head-master), had a great notion that I should turn out an orator, from my fluency, my turbulence, my voice, my copiousness of declamation, and my action. I remember that my first declamation astonished him into some unwonted (for he was economical of such) and sudden compliments before the declaimers at our first rehearsal."

For his subjects Byron chose passages expressive of vehement passion, such as Lear's address to the storm, or the speech of Zanga over the body of Alonzo, from Young's tragedy 'The Revenge'. Zanga's character and speech are famous in history from their application to Benjamin Franklin, in Wedderburn's speech before the Privy Council (January, 1774) on the Whately Letters (Stanhope's 'History of England', vol. v. p. 327, ed. 1853):—

"I forg'd the letter, and dispos'd the picture, I hated, I despis'd, and I destroy."]

[Sub-Footnote A: Note, in Dr. G. Butler's writing, in the bound volume of Speech-Bills presented by him to the Harrow School Library.]

11.—To the Hon. Augusta Byron.

Burgage Manor, August 18th, 1804.

MY DEAREST AUGUSTA,—I seize this interval of my amiable mother's absence this afternoon, again to inform you, or rather to desire to be informed by you, of what is going on. For my own part I can send nothing to amuse you, excepting a repetition of my complaints against my tormentor, whose diabolical disposition (pardon me for staining my paper with so harsh a word) seems to increase with age, and to acquire new force with Time. The more I see of her the more my dislike augments; nor can I so entirely conquer the appearance of it, as to prevent her from perceiving my opinion; this, so far from calming the Gale, blows it into a hurricane, which threatens to destroy everything, till exhausted by its own violence, it is lulled into a sullen torpor, which, after a short period, is again roused into fresh and revived phrenzy, to me most terrible, and to every other Spectator astonishing. She then declares that she plainly sees I hate her, that I am leagued with her bitter enemies, viz. Yourself, L'd C[arlisle] and Mr. H[anson], and, as I never Dissemble or contradict her, we are all honoured with a multiplicity of epithets, too numerous, and some of them too gross, to be repeated. In this society, and in this amusing and instructive manner, have I dragged out a weary fortnight, and am condemned to pass another or three weeks as happily as the former. No captive Negro, or Prisoner of war, ever looked forward to their emancipation, and return to Liberty with more Joy, and with more lingering expectation, than I do to my escape from this maternal bondage, and this accursed place, which is the region of dullness itself, and more stupid than the banks of Lethe, though it possesses contrary qualities to the river of oblivion, as the detested scenes I now witness, make me regret the happier ones already passed, and wish their restoration.

Such Augusta is the happy life I now lead, such my amusements. I wander about hating everything I behold, and if I remained here a few months longer, I should become, what with envy, spleen and all uncharitableness, a complete misanthrope, but notwithstanding this,

Believe me, Dearest Augusta, ever yours, etc., etc.,


12.—To Elizabeth Bridget Pigot. [1]

Burgage Manor, August 29, 1804.

I received the arms, my dear Miss Pigot, and am very much obliged to you for the trouble you have taken. It is impossible I should have any fault to find with them. The sight of the drawings gives me great pleasure for a double reason,—in the first place, they will ornament my books, in the next, they convince me that you have not entirely forgot me. I am, however, sorry you do not return sooner—you have already been gone an age. I perhaps may have taken my departure for London before you come back; but, however, I will hope not. Do not overlook my watch-riband and purse, as I wish to carry them with me. Your note was given me by Harry, [2] at the play, whither I attended Miss Leacroft, [3] and Dr. S——; and now I have sat down to answer it before I go to bed. If I am at Southwell when you return,—and I sincerely hope you will soon, for I very much regret your absence,—I shall be happy to hear you sing my favourite, "The Maid of Lodi." [4] My mother, together with myself, desires to be affectionately remembered to Mrs. Pigot, and, believe me, my dear Miss Pigot, I remain, your affectionate friend,


P.S.—If you think proper to send me any answer to this, I shall be extremely happy to receive it. Adieu.

P.S.2d.—As you say you are a novice in the art of knitting, I hope it don't give you too much trouble. Go on slowly, but surely. Once more, adieu.

[Footnote 1: Elizabeth Bridget Pigot lived with her mother and two brothers on Southwell Green, in a house opposite Burgage Manor. Miss Pigot thus describes her first meeting with Byron ('Life', p. 32):—

"The first time I was introduced to him was at a party at his mother's, when he was so shy that she was forced to send for him three times before she could persuade him to come into the drawing-room, to play with the young people at a round game. He was then a fat, bashful boy, with his hair combed straight over his forehead, and extremely like a miniature picture that his mother had painted by M. de Chambruland. The next morning Mrs. Byron brought him to call at our house, when he still continued shy and formal in his manner. The conversation turned upon Cheltenham, where we had been staying, the amusements there, the plays, etc.; and I mentioned that I had seen the character of Gabriel Lackbrain very well performed. His mother getting up to go, he accompanied her, making a formal bow, and I, in allusion to the play, said, 'Good-by, Gaby.' His countenance lighted up, his handsome mouth displayed a broad grin, all his shyness vanished, never to return, and, upon his mother's saying, 'Come, Byron, are you ready?'—no, she might go by herself, he would stay and talk a little longer; and from that moment he used to come in and go out at all hours, as it pleased him, and in our house considered himself perfectly at home."

The character of "Gabriel Lackbrain," mentioned above, occurs in 'Life', a comedy by F. Reynolds. It was at Byron's suggestion that Moore, when preparing the 'Life', applied to Miss Pigot for letters. On January 22, 1828, he was taken to call on her and her mother by the Rev. John Becher.

"Their reception of me most cordial and flattering; made me sit in the chair which Byron used to sit in, and remarked, as a singularity, that this was the poor fellow's birthday; he would to-day have been forty. On parting with Mrs. Pigot, a fine, intelligent old lady, who has been bedridden for years, she kissed my hand most affectionately, and said that, much as she had always admired me as a poet, it was as the friend of Byron she valued and loved me ... Her affection, indeed, to his memory is unbounded, and she seems unwilling to allow that he had a single fault ... Miss Pigot in the evening, with his letters, which interested me exceedingly; some written when he was quite a boy, and the bad spelling and scrambling handwriting delightful; spelling, indeed, was a very late accomplishment with him"

('Diary of Thomas Moore', vol. v. p. 249). (See "To Eliza," 'Poems', vol. i. pp.47-49; see also the lines "To M. S. G.," 'Poems', vol. i. pp. 79, 80; see for the lines which Byron wrote in her copy of Burns, 'Poems', vol. i. pp. 233, 234.)

Miss Pigot died at Southwell in 1866, her brother John (see letter of August 9, 1806, p. 100, note 3) in 1871. Her brother Henry, whom Byron used to call his grandson, died October 28, 1830, a captain in the 23rd Native Infantry in the service of the East India Company.

The following undated note (1810) from Mrs. Pigot to Mrs. Byron illustrates the enthusiastic interest with which the Pigots followed Byron's career:—

"Indeed, my dear Mrs. Byron, you have given me a very 'great treat' in sending me 'English Bards' to look at; you know how very highly I thought of the 'first' edition, and this is certainly much improved; indeed, I do not think anybody but Lord Byron could (in these our days) have produced such a work, for it has all the fire of ancient genius. I have always been accustomed to tell you my thoughts most sincerely, and I cannot say that I like that addition to the part where 'Bowles' is mentioned; it wants that 'brilliant spirit' which almost invariably accompanies Lord B.'s writings. Maurice, too, and his granite weight of leaves, is in truth a heavy comparison. But I turn with pleasure from these specks in the sun to notice 'Vice and folly, Greville and Argyle;' it is 'most admirable': the 'same pen' may 'equal', but I think it is not in the power of human abilities to 'exceed' it. As to Lord Carlisle, I think he well deserves the Note Lord B. has put in; I am 'very much' pleased with it, and the little word 'Amen' at the end, gives a point 'indescribably good'. The whole of the conclusion is excellent, and the Postscript I think must entertain everybody except 'Jeffrey'. I hope the poor Bear is well; I wish you could make him understand that he is 'immortalized', for, if 'four-leg'd Bears' have any vanity, it would certainly delight him. Walter Scott, too (I really do not mean to call him a Bear), will be highly gratified: the compliment to him is very elegant: in short, I look upon it as a most 'highly finished' work, and Lord Byron has certainly taken the Palm from 'all our' Poets.... A good account of yourself I assure you will always give the most sincere pleasure to my dear Mrs. Byron's very affectionate friend, Margt. Pigot. Elizabeth begs her compts."]

[Footnote 2: Henry Pigot. (See p. 33, note 1.)]

[Footnote 3: Miss Julia Leacroft, daughter of a neighbour, Mr. John Leacroft. (See lines "To Lesbia," 'Poems', vol. i. pp. 41-43.) The private theatricals in September, 1806 (see p. 117 [Letter 81], [Foot]note 3 [4]), were held at Mr. Leacroft's house. Later, Captain Leacroft expostulated with Byron on his attentions to his sister, and, according to Moore, threatened to call him out. Byron was ready to meet him; but afterwards, on consulting Becher, resolved never to go near the house again.—'Prose and Verse of Thomas Moore', edited by Richard Herne Shepherd (London, 1878), p. 420. (But see Letters 62, 63, 64.) ]

[Footnote 4: By Dibdin, set to music by Shield. (See Moore's 'Life', p. 33.) Byron's love for simple ballad music lasted throughout his life. As a boy at Harrow, he was famous for the vigour with which he sang "This Bottle's the Sun of our Table" at Mother Barnard's. He liked the Welsh air "Mary Anne," sung by Miss Chaworth; the songs in 'The Duenna'; "When Time who steals our Years away," which he sang with Miss Pigot; or "Robin Adair," in which he was accompanied by Miss Hanson on her harp.

"It is very odd," he said to Miss Pigot, "I sing much better to your playing than to any one else's."

"That is," she answered, "because I play to your singing."

Moore ('Journal and Correspondence', vol. v. pp. 295, 296), speaking of "Byron's chanting method of repeating poetry," says that "it is the men who have the worst ears for music that 'sing' out poetry in this manner, having no nice perception of the difference there ought to be between animated reading and 'chant'." Rogers ('Table-Talk, etc.', pp. 224, 225) expresses the same opinion, when he says, "I can discover from a poet's versification whether or not he has an ear for music. To instance poets of the present day:—from Bowles's and Moore's, I should know that they had fine ears for music; from Southey's, Wordsworth's, and Byron's, that they had no ears for it."]

13.-To the Hon. Augusta Byron.

[Castle Howard, Malton, Yorkshire.]

Harrow-on-the-Hill, October 25th, 1804.

My dear Augusta,—In compliance with your wishes, as well as gratitude for your affectionate letter, I proceed as soon as possible to answer it; I am glad to hear that any body gives a good account of me; but from the quarter you mention, I should imagine it was exaggerated. That you are unhappy, my dear Sister, makes me so also; were it in my power to relieve your sorrows you would soon recover your spirits; as it is, I sympathize better than you yourself expect. But really, after all (pardon me my dear Sister), I feel a little inclined to laugh at you, for love, in my humble opinion, is utter nonsense, a mere jargon of compliments, romance, and deceit; now, for my part, had I fifty mistresses, I should in the course of a fortnight, forget them all, and, if by any chance I ever recollected one, should laugh at it as a dream, and bless my stars, for delivering me from the hands of the little mischievous Blind God. Can't you drive this Cousin [1] of ours out of your pretty little head (for as to hearts I think they are out of the question), or if you are so far gone, why don't you give old L'Harpagon [2] (I mean the General) the slip, and take a trip to Scotland, you are now pretty near the Borders. Be sure to Remember me to my formal Guardy Lord Carlisle, [3] whose magisterial presence I have not been into for some years, nor have I any ambition to attain so great an honour. As to your favourite Lady Gertrude, I don't remember her; pray, is she handsome? I dare say she is, for although they are a disagreeable, formal, stiff Generation, yet they have by no means plain persons, I remember Lady Cawdor was a sweet, pretty woman; pray, does your sentimental Gertrude resemble her? I have heard that the duchess of Rutland was handsome also, but we will say nothing about her temper, as I hate Scandal.

Adieu, my pretty Sister, forgive my levity, write soon, and God bless you.

I remain, your very affectionate Brother,


P.S.—I left my mother at Southwell, some time since, in a monstrous pet with you for not writing. I am sorry to say the old lady and myself don't agree like lambs in a meadow, but I believe it is all my own fault, I am rather too fidgety, which my precise mama objects to, we differ, then argue, and to my shame be it spoken fall out a little, however after a storm comes a calm; what's become of our aunt the amiable antiquated Sophia? [4] is she yet in the land of the living, or does she sing psalms with the Blessed in the other world. Adieu. I am happy enough and Comfortable here. My friends are not numerous, but select; among them I rank as the principal Lord Delawarr, [5] who is very amiable and my particular friend; do you know the family at all? Lady Delawarr is frequently in town, perhaps you may have seen her; if she resembles her son she is the most amiable woman in Europe. I have plenty of acquaintances, but I reckon them as mere Blanks. Adieu, my dear Augusta.

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