Byron eBook

John Nichol
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 239 pages of information about Byron.

He left Bologna with the Countess on the 15th of September, when they visited the Euganean hills and Arqua, and wrote their names together in the Pilgrim’s Book.  On arriving at Venice, the physicians recommending Madame Guiccioli to country air, they settled, still by her husband’s consent, for the autumn at La Mira, where Moore and others found them domesticated.  At the beginning of November the poet was prostrated by an attack of tertian fever.  In some of his hours of delirium he dictated to his careful nurses, Fletcher and the Countess, a number of verses, which she assures us were correct and sensible.  He attributes his restoration to cold water and the absence of doctors; but, ere his complete recovery, Count Guiccioli had suddenly appeared on the scene, and run away with his own wife.  The lovers had for a time not only to acquiesce in the separation, but to agree to cease their correspondence.  In December, Byron in a fit of spleen had packed up his belongings, with a view to return to England.  “He was,” we are told, “ready dressed for the journey, his boxes on board the gondola, his gloves and cap on, and even his little cane in his hand, when my lord declares that if it should strike one—­which it did—­before everything was in order, he would not go that day.  It is evident he had not the heart to go.”  Next day he heard that Madame Guiccioli was again seriously ill, received and accepted the renewed invitation which bound him to her and to the south.  He left Venice for the last time almost by stealth, rushed along the familiar roads, and was welcomed at Ravenna.




Byrons’s life at Ravenna was during the first months comparatively calm; nevertheless, he mingled in society, took part in the Carnival, and was received at the parties of the Legate.  “I may stay,” he writes in January, 1820, “a day—­a week—­a year—­all my life.”  Meanwhile, he imported his movables from Venice, hired a suite of rooms in the Guiccioli palace, executed his marvellously close translation of Pulci’s Morgante Maggiore, wrote his version of the story of Francesca of Rimini, and received visits from his old friend Bankes and from Sir Humphrey Davy.  At this time he was accustomed to ride about armed to the teeth, apprehending a possible attack from assassins on the part of Count Guiccioli.  In April his letters refer to the insurrectionary movements then beginning against the Holy Alliance.  “We are on the verge of a row here.  Last night they have over-written all the city walls with ‘Up with the Republic!’ and ‘Death to the Pope!’ The police have been searching for the subscribers, but have caught none as yet.  The other day they confiscated the whole translation of the fourth canto of Childe Harold, and have prosecuted the translator.”  In July a Papal decree of separation between the Countess and her

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Byron from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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