Saturday, 1 November 2014

Introducing Byron... Lord of the Vampyre!

Was Lord Byron the First English Vampire?
A Halloween Essay

Lord Byron, the quintessential rake, was renowned for his outrageous sex life, and inspired equal parts fascination and disgust in the minds of men and women alike. 

In 1812, he became obsessed with Lady Caroline Lamb, a wife and mother, and tried to break up her marriage that he might possess her completely. Smitten with the dashing poet, Lady Caroline engaged in a well-publicized affair with him. Soon, however, Byron became bored with his conquest and abandoned her. Lady Caroline was devastated.

Her heartbreak evolved into a bitter hatred in the subsequent years, as Byron fathered a child with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, and then married Lady Caroline’s cousin, Anne Isabella “Annabella” Milbanke. Their marriage proved to be an unhappy one, due in large part to Byron’s incessant philandering.

Portentously, in April 1815, the Indonesian volcano Mount Tambora erupted, blanketing Europe in a thick cloud of volcanic ash. Global weather patterns would be seriously disrupted for several years, leading to famine, riots, and bizarre weather phenomena.

The following January, Lord Byron’s wife left him immediately after the birth of their daughter. Depressed, Byron eased his pain with Claire Clairmont, the step-sister of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. A month or two later, his divorce was finalized, and Byron decided to leave for the continent.

At that same time, Lady Caroline Lamb finally got a measure of revenge against her former lover with the May 1816 publication of her novel Glenarvon

The title character, “Clarence de Ruthven, Lord Glenarvon,” was a thinly-disguised satire of Byron, and proved to be the villain of the piece, leading the female protagonist into a tragic love-affair and paying the ultimate price for his treachery. The novel, understood to be a “kiss-and-tell” fictionalization of her relationship with Byron, immediately sold out and went into multiple reprintings and revised editions.

As the scandalous novel came out, Byron hired a 20-year-old doctor, John W. Polidori, as his personal physician and secretary, and they left England to tour Europe. 
Within a month, they settled in Switzerland, where Byron received some visitors in what may be the most famous vacation in the annals of English literature: Percy Bysshe Shelley, his fiancĂ©e Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and her step-sister Claire Clairmont (Byron’s erstwhile lover).

As the weather was unusually miserable, due to the after-effects of the recent volcanic eruption, the group was forced to remain indoors, and they struggled to find ways to entertain themselves. (One of Byron’s pastimes involved getting Claire Clarimont pregnant.) 

One night, after reading aloud from a book of horror stories, Byron suggested that they all come up with ghost stories and have a contest to see whose was the scariest. Mary invented the basis of the story of Frankenstein, and Byron produced a fragment of a story that he would never finish. 

Dr. Polidori, who was clearly out of his league, came up with a tale of a skull-headed woman, whose uncanny appearance was a supernatural punishment for peeping through keyholes. His contribution was cruelly derided and mocked.

Polidori’s relationship with Byron soured for various reasons, and he was soon dismissed from his job. The doctor returned to his father’s native Italy, and there decided to get his own form of literary revenge on Lord Byron. 

Inspired by Lady Caroline Lamb, Polidori created a character called “Lord Ruthven” (pronounced riven, by the way), drawing the name from her own version of Byron. Polidori’s Lord Ruthven was a vampire, but unlike the vampires of traditional folklore, this one was a suave aristocrat who preyed on the young women of the British upper class, destroying their lives with his evil. 

The character was, again, a thinly-veiled satire on Byron and his hijinks. 
To rub salt in the wound, Polidori plagiarized Byron’s ghost story and created a novel called The Vampyre.


The following year, after marrying Percy, Mary Shelly turned her ghost story into the novel Frankenstein, or, the Modern Prometheus, which was first published in January 1818 and quickly became a popular success. 

Over a year later, in April 1819, Polidori’s novel was published, without his permission, in a British magazine. To make matters worse, the tale was attributed to Lord Byron, which infuriated both men and set off a bitter public feud. Meanwhile, The Vampyre became a smash hit in France.

The Vampyre is credited as the first work of the vampire genre in English, and also the first anywhere to portray the undead creature as an aristocratic sex-fiend rather than a gruesome monster. 
It served as one of the inspirations for Bram Stoker’s Dracula at the end of the century, though its authorship was in dispute for a long time, which prevented Polidori from cashing in on Lord Ruthven’s popularity.

In 1821, Dr. John W. Polidori committed suicide. (Interestingly, some years after his death, his sister, Frances Polidori Rossetti, gave birth to Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and their siblings.)

For his part, Lord Byron died in 1824 from an illness which was exacerbated, ironically, by having blood drained from his body by his doctors.

Disposable Thoughts on a Disposable Culture


"I have besides a personal dislike to vampires and the little acquaintance I have with them would by no means induce me to reveal their secrets..."
Lord Byron


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

In Defense of Byron's 'Bell'...

As much as I adore the poetry, letters and "scribblings" of Lord Byron and remain intrigued by his unique and fascinating life; I also believe that his image as the original Regency "bad boy" has been complimented by the scandal that surrounded his marriage of a mere 54 weeks to Annabella Milbanke on January 2 1815 at her family home in Seaham Hall in County Durham and which precipitated his journey into exile from their London home at 13 Piccadilly Terrace in April 1816.

Although Byron's reputation has been rehabilitated since his death in April 1824, the story of his estranged spouse has frequently been degenerated in return and it was with this in mind that I began a 'Lady Byron Blog' in 2012 as an attempt to 'even' the balance of opinion as it were.

'Portrait of Annabella Milbanke in 1812 by Charles Hayter Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery in London'

'I hope to leave this world without having said a word that could damage anybody, and so I must let people say what they will of me'
Ann Isabella Lady Noel Byron

The Lady and the Poet is the story of the life of Byron's 'Bell' Milbanke that I hope will offer an interesting and spirited insight into the life of remarkable and much maligned woman who became the wife of one of history's most famous and scandalous Poets...

Saturday, 9 August 2014

'Plain Yet Decent', Byron Bids Adieu to a Most Amiable Mamma...

I thought my dear Augusta that your opinion of my meek mamma would coincide with mine...
But she flies into a fit of phrenzy, upbraids me as if I was the most undutiful wretch in existence, rakes up the ashes of my father, abuses him, says I shall be a true Byrrone, which is the worst epiphet she can invent.
Am I call to this woman mother?

In the hagiography that often passes for the writing of Byron's life, Catherine Gordon Byron is somewhat of a Marmite figure... You either love her or you hate her!

My hatred of Marmite is equal to the fondness that I have for the story of Byron's most "Amiable Mamma", "A tender and peremptory parent who indulged me sometimes with holidays and now and then with a box on the ear."


Catherine Gordon was born in 1764 in the Castle of Gight, in the shire of Aberdeen to Katherine Innes and George Gordon, the 12th Laird of Gight and her ancestry as a Gordon of Gight which lay claim to a descent from the sister of King James the Second, were a wild race noted for their ferocious battles, treacherous deeds, suicide and murder.

"My dear Sir, - The Earl of Huntley & the Lady Jean Stewart daughter of James 1st. of Scotland were the progenitors of Mrs. Byron. I think it would be as well to be correct in the Statement..."

With the suicide of her father who had been found drowned in the Avon Canal in Bath on January 9 1779, the "romping good-humoured girl of sixteen, inclined to corpulency" became the 13th and final Laird of Gight.

With a passion for dancing and with a temper to match, the wealthy, outspoken and superstitious Miss Gordon was introduced to Bath society in 1785.

 Her presence was to be quickly noted by John "Mad Jack" Byron who despite his grief for the death of his wife Amelia, Baroness Conyers and the plight of his motherless daughter Augusta, "Mad Jack" was also in desperate need of a wife who could continue to support him in the manner to which he had become accustomed.

The naive and romantic Catherine was to be united in Holy Matrimony to the feckless and charming John Byron on Friday May 13 1785 at St Michael's Church in Bath and with no marriage settlement in place, all Byron had to do was to agree to take the name of Gordon and then he could make free with his wife's money, all £22,580 of it.

O where are ye gaein', bonny Miss Gordon,
O where are ye gaein' sae bonnie and braw.
Ye've married, ye've married wi' Jonny Byron,
To squander the lands of Gight awa'

For not only had Catherine married an upstart Englishman but by the winter of 1787 and with the lands of Gight squandered "awa'"Catherine now "big with bairn" was now following her cruel and dissipated husband to Chantilly in France in an effort to escape his creditors.

As the birth of her child approached, Catherine returned to England and having surrendered the care of the five year old Augusta to to Lady Holderness, the impoverished young woman moved into a furnished room at 16 Holles Street to await her confinement, alone.

And it was here that on Tuesday January 22 1788 she was to give birth to a boy who was born with a caul over his head, a deformity of the right leg and with the prosaic names of George Gordon Byron in honour of her father.

Catherine returned to her homeland in Aberdeen when her "dear son George" was a toddler and after the death of "Mad Jack" on August 2 1791 in Valenciennes, she devoted herself to the well being of her "ill-deedie laddie" denying him nothing despite his mischievous nature, her tightened purse strings and short temper.

Their provincial and happy life in Aberdeen would come to an end in August 1798 as Catherine and Byron who was now the Sixth Lord Byron, left Scotland to take possession of Newstead Abbey in Nottingham, the ancestral pile of the Byron family since the Reformation.

Now that Byron was a Peer of the Realm, Catherine would find herself increasingly marginalised over time as the decisions concerning the health and education of her son were now the responsibilities of others.
Maternal pride and a fond concern would frequently be mistaken for ignorance, fickleness and tedious embarrassment of which Byron was to become painfully aware of.

"Mrs Byron was a total stranger to English society and English manners... a mind almost wholly without cultivation... and not endowed with powers to retrieve the fortune and form the character and manners of a young nobleman, her son."

There is no doubt that Catherine as a woman of volatile opinion and expansive feeling was probably her own worst enemy, but then life had been hard for her and without the benefit of a supportive network and financial security, who are we to judge?

As Byron moved through adolescence with the usual teenage hormonal angst, coupled with a boredom of school, the need for cash and the desire to challenge authority; the relationship with his mother was to become ever more explosive and unpredictable.
In a series of letters to his "dearest Augusta", he lets forth with invective, which although superficially amusing, suggests a cruel attitude that sometimes affords him little credit.

"I have at last succeeded, my dearest Augusta, in a pacifying the dowager, and mollifying that piece of flint which the good Lady denominates her heart.
She now has condescended to send you her love, although with many comments on the occasion, and many compliments to herself.
But to me she still continues to be a torment, and I doubt not would continue so till the end of my life...
It is a happy thing that she is my mother and not my wife, so that I can rid myself of her when I please..."

"That Boy will be the death of me and drive me mad! I never will consent to his going Abroad. Where can he get Hundreds? Has he got into the hands of money lenders? He has no feeling, no Heart.
This I have long known he has behaved as ill as possible to me for years back, this bitter Truth I can no longer conceal, it is wrung from me by heart-rending agony.
I am well rewarded, I came to Nottinghamshire to please him and now he hates it.
He knows that I am doing everything in my power to pay his Debts and he writes to me about hiring Servants and the last time he wrote to me was to desire that I would send him £25.0.0 to pay his Harrow Bills which I would have done if I had had as much as he has - three hundred - I am glad I did not, but it shows what he is, God knows what is to be done with him, I much fear he is already ruined at eighteen!!! Great God I am distracted I can say no more."

Byron would eventually make plans to travel abroad with his friend John Cam Hobhouse for company.
His plans also included moving his mother from her cosy home at Burgage Manor in Southwell to Newstead Abbey, the cold, damp ruin that would include social isolation, his many debts and a visit from the bailiffs.

"I am sure it is very kind of you to take charge at the Abbey for without it I don't know what would become of his Lordship's property."

Despite the acrimony in which they had parted, Catherine was to be the recipient of Byron's most beautifully witty and picturesque letters that were written as he travelled throughout the East.

"If I wed I will bring you home a sultana with half a score of cities for a dowry, and reconcile you to an Ottoman daughter in law with a bushel of pearls not larger than ostrich eggs or smaller than walnuts."

Her reply is equally witty in return and there are delicious hints that mother and son would surely have enjoyed some lighthearted times together.

"A thousand thanks for your long letter which amused me much. I see you are quite charmed with the Spanish Ladies. For Heavens sake have nothing to do with them. They make nothing of poisoning both Husbands and Lovers if they are jealous of them or offend them. The Italian ladies do the same.

I will however agree to your marrying a very pretty very sensible rich Sultana, with half a Million to her fortune not less, and also a Bushel of Pearls and diamonds.
No other is worthy of you nor will she be received by me."

She valiantly tried to maintain the upkeep of the Abbey throughout the long winter of 1810 and 1811 while struggling with ill health in addition to juggling her son's debts and also the constant fear that a bailiff would remove her belongings.

"Hutton the Bailiff and two of his men arrived from Nottingham. How is this? I thought this business would have been settled... I did not think you would let this come on me... They say the things must be sold immediately.
P.S. For God(s) sake do not let me live in this state..."

Catherine Gordon Byron would die on Wednesday August 1 1811 at Newstead Abbey surrounded by her devoted servants as her son was travelling from London to be by her side.
She was forty six years old.

"Every thing is doing that can now be done plainly yet decently for the internment.."

Her remains were interred in the Byron family vault on Friday August 9 1811 at the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.

The Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene Hucknall, Nottingham

"Notwithstanding her violent temper and other unseemly conduct, her affection for him had been so fond and dear, that he undoubtedly returned it with unaffected sincerity and from many casual and incidental expressions which I have heard him employ concerning her, I am persuaded that his filial love was not at any time even of the ordinary kind."


Sources used:
Byron and His World, Derek Parker (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd 1968)
Byron's Letters and Journals Volume One, Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1973)
Byron's Letters and Journals Volume Two, Leslie A, Marchand (London: John Murray 1974)
My Amiable Mamma A Biography of Mrs. Catherine Gordon Byron, Megan Boyes (J.M. Tatler & Son Ltd 1991)

Friday, 1 August 2014

Newstead and I Will Stand or Fall Together... Tee Bylo Makes Plans!

It is no secret that I am a passionate devotee of the history of Lord Byron as well as an artisan who creates 'Small Worlds' in 12th scale and it was perhaps only a matter of time before I would create another 'Small World' inspired by Newstead Abbey, Byron's splendid ancestral abode that is nestled with Sherwood Forest in the county of Nottinghamshire.

Now, to be fair, I did try to talk myself out of this challenge as my diary for last September demonstrates...

"Good Morning! I find myself in a quandary as I muse over the possible purchase of a Gothic Castle to add to my property empire..."

However, I was to meet with fierce resistance on a certain social networking site that will remain nameless...

"Don't muse, do it!"
"Love castles, just do it and share"
"Yes, buy it"
"What quandary? Buy, buy!"

So with the 'Mission Accomplished' and the said purchase made, I am sharing my grand plan for the creation of Newstead Abbey in Miniature which after a spot of preliminary research could well turn out to be 'Mission Impossible'...

However, in my head at least, Newstead Abbey in Miniature will be a 12th scale stone Castle complete with the romantic turrets and lashings of the Gothic that will reflect the architecture, interior design and furniture of the contemporary Newstead Abbey that greets the visitor today.


 However unlike a visit to Newstead Abbey, my Newstead Abbey in Miniature will be not be subject to the savage cuts imposed by Nottingham City Council that have resulted in limited guided tours, staff redundancies and the theft of the priceless lead piping!


Sunday April 19 2015 will see the unveiling of the exterior of Newstead Abbey in Miniature on the 191st year of Byron's death.

However, which room I reveal first will be the decision of you, the reader!

To choose the room that you would like me to make first, simply cast your vote in my unique poll which you can find on my blog below:

The 'Small' Tales of Newstead Abbey.
The Creation of Lord Byron's Abbey in Miniature...

Although my plans for the creation of Newstead Abbey in Miniature have only begun this month in earnest, I have been rather busy with research and the 'stockpiling' of materials, fabrics, pictures and (the fun bit!) the choosing of the Newstead Abbey inspired miniatures!

And so as my Newstead Abbey in Miniature develops, I shall share with you the unfolding tale, the triumphs and the tears!

Bye for now!
Tee


As I am planning a "fact finding" visit to Newstead Abbey later this summer, I intend to make a careful study of the rooms and in the process am likely to exhaust my small camera and may yet find my sanity under question as to the undertaking of this project!

However, if pessimism should set in at least I know that the Newstead Abbey Shop sells a rather delicious chocolate bar!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

“… the Countess Benzone – who is a Venetian Lady Melbourne…”

It was a typical Saturday afternoon and I had no big plans, apart from a trip to the greengrocer for my fruit and veg. Halfway there, and I saw a poster advertising an exhibition by local artists, the kind of thing one might expect to find in any local library or village hall.

So why did I feel the urge to rush there immediately, abandoning my planned shopping? The poster might give a clue:


Invitation to the palazzo: Art Exhibition, Palazzo Benzon. In the drawing-room of Marina Querini Benzon with her friends Lord Byron, Ugo Foscolo, Antonio Canova, Stendhal, Chateaubriand, Ippolito Piendemonte.

Lord Byron… Marina Benzon… Ca’ Benzon is one of the most important places in Venice for Byron-lovers.  It is also singularly difficult to gain entrance, as it is still a private home. I had only been lucky enough to go inside once before, when it was used as an exhibition-space during the 2011 Art Biennale.

So, amateur artists or no, this was too good an opportunity to miss. I ran home for my camera and abandoned my shopping-bags.

Ca (an abbreviation of casa, or house) Benzon occupies a prime site the Grand Canal, not far from the Rialto Bridge.


When Byron first visited the palazzo, in 1817, it was the home of Marina Querini Benzon, a Venetian society hostess who was then in her early sixties. Byron compared her to Lady Melbourne – the comparison was very apt, as the countess had been something of a good-time girl in her day, giving the Venetian gossips plenty to talk about.

They still remembered the time back in 1797 when, Venice having newly surrendered to Napoleon, she danced around the Tree of Liberty that had been erected in St Mark’s Square wearing a Grecian tunic, which had flown up to reveal her lack of underwear. She had also been the subject of a popular song, The Blonde in the Gondola, which described what happened when she went out in a gondola by moonlight with a gentleman, and his delight when the wind just happened to disarrange her clothes (poor Marina seems to have been something of a martyr to loose clothing).


By 1817 the Countess was a widow, living in what Byron called “the strictest adultery” with her long-term lover. By now she was better-known for her conversazioni, or social gatherings where ladies and gentlemen sipped hot chocolate and exchanged gossip. Byron, who called her “the oddest and pleasantest of elderly ladies” was a quite frequent visitor, since Ca’ Benzon was a very short distance by gondola from his own residence in Palazzo Mocenigo, just a few hundred yards along the Grand Canal.


Arriving at the water-entrance as all guests did, Byron would enter through the water-gate into the portone, the stone flagged ground-floor. Since the ground floor could easily be under several inches of water at high tide the main rooms of any palazzo were found on the first floor. A flight of stairs led Byron to the salotto, or drawing-room.


The salotto runs the length of the palazzo. There are twin balconies at the front overlooking the Grand Canal, and a terrace at the back with views over the small private garden. The floor is of terrazzo alla veneziana, a type of ground and polished marble, the walls are hung with faded silk, the ceiling decorated with crumbling, yet still lovely, frescoes of goddesses and heroes, surrounded with chubby, stuccoed cherubs.

For a Byron-lover, the chance to climb the stairs and stroll around a space where he had often been a guest is pleasure enough, even under the beady eye of the exhibition custodian and of several gossipy elderly ladies (who seemed to be friends of the owner and who, with coffee and cake, were clearly having their own conversazione).

However, Ca’Benzon has one final secret which makes it even more special.


In April 1819 a young, recently-married lady climbed these stairs with her husband, entered the salotto and joined the crowded, noisy conversazione. Her hostess, Countess Benzon, insisted on presenting her to another distinguished guest, an English Lord and poet.  Reluctantly, she agreed, only to find herself face-to-face with a “noble and exquisitely beautiful countenance… so different, and so superior … to any whom I had hitherto seen.” It was love at first sight: for both of them, as within a few days Byron wrote to his friend Hobhouse, “I have fallen in love.”

Yes, the drawing-room of Ca’Benzon is where Byron’s last great romance began, for here he met Teresa Guiccioli. It was in this salotto that she caused a minor scandal among the other guests by loudly and publicly calling him “Mio Byron.”

The amateur artists, by the way, weren't very inspiring: in fact the only other visitor and I spent our time ignoring their paintings and taking sneaky photos whenever the elderly ladies were looking the other way. Even so, let’s hope there’s another exhibition soon: it will be worth it to walk in Byron's footsteps again.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

For Why Should We Mourn? 'Memento Mori' Lord Byron...


In Memoriam

George Gordon Noel Byron
Sixth Baron Byron

Born January 22 1788
Died April 19 1824



1
Bright be the place of thy soul!
No lovelier spirit than thine
E'er burst from its mortal control,
In the orbs of the blessed to shine.

On earth thou wert all but divine,
As thy soul shall immortality be;
And our sorrow may cease to repine
When we know that thy God is with thee.

11
Light be the turf of thy tomb!
May its verdue like emeralds be!
There should not be the shadow of gloom
In aught that reminds us of thee.
Young flowers and an evergreen tree
May spring from the spot of thy rest:
But nor cypress nor yew let us see;
For why should we mourn for the blest?

Stanzas for Music
(Occasional Pieces)



'April 19 1824' Lord Byron is Dead...

"The misfortune that had befallen us is terrible and irreparable.
I scarcely have words to describe it.
Lord Byron is dead

Your friend, my friend and father, the light of this century, the boast of your country, the saviour of Greece is dead.

He died on the 19th of April at half past six in the evening..."

This was the letter sent to Byron's close friend John Cam Hobhouse by Pietro Gamba that was one of the first notifications of the poet's death.

He died as the result of a fever and probably medical ineptitude in the little Greek town Missolonghi that was to found on the edge of a swamp.

Restless with his life in Italy he had travelled to Missolonghi only months before as a charismatic freedom fighter, the attractive talisman charged with liberating the Greek people from their tyrannical Turkish rule.

Today he will be honoured in Greece, the European country that he had loved.

"Give Greece arms and independence, and then learning; I am here to serve her, but I will serve her first with my steel, and afterwards with her pen"
Byron

Several weeks after his death in early May a portion of Byron's remains either his heart or lungs were given to Missolonghi for burial and the rest of his remains were returned to the country of his birth.

"I trust they won't think of "pickling and bringing me home to Clod or Blunderbuss Hall" I am sure my Bones would not rest in an English grave - or my Clay mix with the earth of that Country..."

Despite his protestations to his publisher John Murray in 1819, he was to find himself "pickled" and brought home not to a "Blunderbuss Hall" but to the Church of St Mary Magdalene in the town of Hucknall near the Byron ancestral home of Newstead Abbey.

On July 16 1824 he was placed in the family vault to be reunited with his mother Catherine and in the company of his great-uncle William, the Fifth Lord Byron, the "Wicked Lord" and other members of the Byron family.

The Church of St Mary Magdalene is a beautiful old church that has undergone much restoration and expansion since Byron's internment in 1824 with the result that he now finds himself further away from the High Altar...
I think he would approve.

On Monday April 13 2014, I made another visit to this church, a journey of many hundreds of miles and one that involved the use of eight trains equal to the number of hours that it took me to travel there and back in a day.
But it was worth it.

I enjoyed the glorious weather, a wonderful afternoon in a delightful church, the company of the friendly church wardens who were enormously patient with my endless questions and a delicious cup of tea.

Whether Byron's "bones are at rest", who knows...



The Byron Family Vault lies beneath this Memorial...


The Memorial from his sister Augusta...


Tributes of Bluebells and Tulips in memory of the "Pilgrim of Eternity"..

Follow the link to visit the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Hucknall:




Sources used:
Lord Byron Selected Letters and Journals Ed. Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1982
The Late Lord Byron Doris Langley Moore (London: John Murray 1961)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

At Rest in the Market Town of Hucknall...

Dear Sir - Tell Mr. Hobhouse that I wrote to him a few days ago from Ferrara. - It will therefore be idle in him or you to wait for any further answers or returns of proofs from Venice - as I have directed that no English letters be sent after me...

I hope, whoever may survive me and shall see me put in the foreigners' burying-Ground at the Lido... I trust they won't think of "pickling and bringing me home to Clod or Blunderbuss Hall." I am sure my Bones would not rest in an English grave - or my Clay mix with the earth of that Country...


I am sure my Bones would not rest in an English grave - or my Clay mix with the earth of that Country: - I believe the thought would drive me mad on my death-bed could I suppose that any of my friends would be base enough to convey my carcase back to your soil - I would not even feed your worms - if I could help it...


.. I never hear anything of Ada - the little Electra of my Mycenae - the moral Clytemnestra is not very communicative of her tidings - but there will come a day of reckoning - even if I should not live to see it...


P.S. - Here as in Greece they strew flowers on the tombs - I saw a quantity of rose-leaves and entire roses scattered over the Graves at Ferrara - It has the most pleasing effect you can imagine...

Byron
June 1819

Sources Used:
The Flesh is Frail Byron's Letters and Journals Volume 6 Ed: Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1976)

The Place of Interest:
Byron is interred in the Byron family vault in the chancel of the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.
Photographed by the Polite Tourist on April 19 2011

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