the wonderful." At Rome, with Hobhouse as companion and guide, he stayed three weeks. He returned to Venice on the 28th of May, but shortly removed to a villa on Mira on the Brenta, some 7 m. inland. A month later (June 26) when memory had selected and reduced to order the first impressions of his tour, he began to work them up into a fourth canto of Childe Harold. A first draft of 126 stanzas was finished by the 29th of July; the 60 additional stanzas which made up the canto as it stands were written up to material suggested by or supplied by Hobhouse, "who put his researches" at Byron's disposal and wrote the learned and elaborate notes which are appended to the poem. Among the books which Murray sent out to Venice was a copy of Hookham Frere's Whistlecraft. Byron took the hint and produced Beppo, a Venetian Story (published anonymously on the 28th of February 1818). He attributes his choice of the mock-heroic ottava-rima to Frere's example, but he was certainly familiar with Casti's Novelle, and, according to Stendhal, with the poetry of Buratti. The success of Beppo and a growing sense that "the excellent manner of Whistlecraft" was the manner for him, led him to study Frere's masters and models, Berni and Pulci. An accident had led to a great discovery.
The fourth canto of Childe Harold was published on the 18th of April 1818. Nearly three months went by before Murray wrote to him, and he began to think that his new poem was a failure. Meanwhile he completed an "Ode on Venice," in which he laments her apathy and decay, and contrasts the tyranny of the Old World with the new birth of freedom in America. In September he began Don Juan. His own account of the inception of his last and greatest work is characteristic but misleading. He says (September 9) that his new poem is to be in the style of Beppo, and is "meant to be a little quietly facetious about everything." A year later (August 12, 1819), he says that he neither has nor had a plan--but that "he had or has materials." By materials he means books, such as Dalzell's Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea, or de Castelnau's Histoire de la nouvelle Russie, &c., which might be regarded as poetry in the rough. The dedication to Robert Southey (not published till 1833) is a prologue to the play. The "Lakers" had given samples of their poetry, their politics and their morals, and now it was his turn to speak and to speak out. He too would write "An Excursion." He doubted that Don Juan might be "too free for these modest days." It was too free for the public, for his publisher, even for his mistress; and the "building up of the drama," as Shelley puts it, was a slow and gradual process. Cantos I., II. were published (4to) on the 15th of July 1819; Cantos III., IV., V., finished in November 1820, were not published till the 8th of August 1821. Cantos VI.-XVI., written between June 1822 and March 1823, were published at intervals between the 15th of July 1823 and the 26th of March 1824. Canto XVII. was begun in May 1823, but was never finished. A fragment of fourteen stanzas, found in his room at Missolonghi, was first published in 1903.
He did not put all his materials into Don Juan. "Mazeppa, a tale of the Russian Ukraine," based on a passage in Voltaire's Charles XII., was finished by the 30th of September 1818 and published with "An Ode" (on Venice) on the 28th of June 1819. In the spring of 1819 Byron met in Venice, and formed a connexion with an Italian lady of rank, Teresa (born Gamba), wife of the Cavaliere Guiccioli. She was young and beautiful, well-read and accomplished. Married at sixteen to a man nearly four times her age, she fell in love with Byron at first sight, soon became and for nearly four years remained his mistress. A good and true wife to him in all but name, she won from Byron ample devotion and prolonged constancy. Her volume of Recollections (Lord Byron juge par les temoins de sa vie, 1869), taken for what it is worth, is testimony in Byron's favour. The countess left Venice for Ravenna at the end of April; within a month she sent for Byron, and on the 10th of June he arrived at Ravenna and took rooms in the Strada di Porto Sisi. The house (now No. 295) is close to Dante's tomb, and to gratify the countess and pass the time he wrote the "Prophecy of Dante" (published April 21, 1821). According to the preface the poem was a metrical experiment, an exercise in terza rima; but it had a deeper significance. It was "intended for the Italians." Its purport was revolutionary. In the fourth canto of Childe Harold, already translated into Italian, he had attacked the powers, and "Albion most of all" for her betrayal of Venice, and knowing that his word had weight he appeals to the country of his adoption to strike a blow for freedom - to "unite." It is difficult to realize the force or extent of Byron's influence on continental opinion. His own countrymen admired his poetry, but abhorred and laughed at his politics. Abroad he was the prophet and champion of liberty. His hatred of tyranny - his defence of the oppressed - was a word spoken in season when there were few to speak but many to listen. It brought consolation and encouragement, and it was not spoken in vain. It must, however, be borne in mind that Byron was more of a king-hater than a people-lover. He was against the oppressors, but he disliked and despised the oppressed. He was aristocrat by conviction as well as birth, and if he espoused a popular cause it was de haut en bas. His connexion with the Gambas brought him into touch with the revolutionary movement, and thenceforth he was under the espionage of the Austrian embassy at Rome. He was suspected and "shadowed," but he was left alone.
Early in September Byron returned to La Mira, bringing the countess with him. A month later he was surprised by a visit from Moore, who was on his way to Rome. Byron installed Moore in the Mocenigo palace and visited him daily. Before the final parting (October 11) Byron placed in Moore's hands the MS. of his Life and Adventures brought down to the close of 1816. Moore, as Byron suggested, pledged the MS. to Murray for 2000 guineas, to be Moore's property if redeemed in Byron's lifetime, but if not, to be forfeit to Murray at Byron's death. On the 17th of May 1824, with Murray's assent and goodwill, the MS. was burned in the drawing-room of 50 Albemarle Street. Neither Murray nor Moore lost their money. The Longmans lent Moore a sufficient sum to repay Murray, and were themselves repaid out of the receipts of Moore's Life of Byron. Byron told Moore that the memoranda were not "confessions," that they were "the truth but not the whole truth." This, no doubt, was the truth, and the whole truth. Whatever they may or may not have contained, they did not explain the cause or causes of the separation from his wife.
At the close of 1819 Byron finally left Venice and settled at Ravenna in his own apartments in the Palazzo Guiccioli. His relations with the countess were put on a regular footing, and he was received in society as her cavaliere servente. At Ravenna his literary activity was greater than ever. His translation of the first canto of Pulci's Morgante Maggiore (published in the Liberal, No. IV., July 30, 1832), a laborious and scholarly achievement, was the work of the first two months of the year. From April to July he was at work on the composition of Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice, a tragedy in five acts (published April 21, 1821). The plot turns on an episode in Venetian history known as La Congiura, the alliance between the doge and the populace to overthrow the state. Byron spared no pains in preparing his materials. In so far as he is unhistorical, he errs in company with Sanudo and early Venetian chronicles. Moved by the example of Alfieri he strove to reform the British drama by "a severer approach to the rules." He would read his countrymen a "moral lesson" on the dramatic propriety of observing the three unities. It was an heroic attempt to reassert classical ideals in a romantic age, but it was "a week too late"; Byron's "regular dramas" are admirably conceived and finely worded, but they are cold and lifeless.
Eighteen additional sheets of the Memoirs and a fifth canto of Don Juan were the pastime of the autumn, and in January 1821 Byron began to work on his second "historical drama," Sardanapalus. But politics intervened, and little progress was made. He had been elected capo of the "Americani," a branch of the Carbonari, and his time was taken up with buying and storing arms and ammunition, and consultations with leading conspirators. "The poetry of politics" and poetry on paper did not go together. Meanwhile he would try his hand on prose. A controversy had arisen between Bowles and Campbell with regard to the merits of Pope. Byron rushed into the fray. To avenge and exalt Pope, to decry the "Lakers," and to lay down his own canons of art, Byron addressed two letters to * * * * * * * * (i.e. John Murray), entitled "Strictures on the Life and Writings of Pope." The first was published in 1821, the second in 1835.
The revolution in Italy came to nothing, and by the 28th of May, Byron had finished his work on Sardanapalus. The Two Foscari, a third historical drama, was begun on the 12th of June and finished on the 9th of July. On the same day he began Cain, a Mystery. Cain was an attempt to dramatize the Old Testament; Lucifer's apology for himself and his arraignment of the Creator startled and shocked the orthodox. Theologically the offence lay in its detachment. Cain was not irreverent or blasphemous, but it treated accepted dogmas as open questions. Cain was published in the same volume with the Two Foscari and Sardanapalus, December 19, 1821. The "Blues," a skit upon literary coteries and patronesses, was written in August. It was first published in The Liberal, No. III., April 26, 1823. When Cain was finished Byron turned from grave to gay, from serious to humorous theology. Southey had thought to eulogize George III. in hexameter verse. He called his funeral ode a "Vision of Judgment." In the preface there was an obvious reference to Byron. The "Satanic School" of poetry was attributed to "men of diseased hearts and depraved imaginations." Byron's revenge was complete. In his "Vision of Judgment" (published in The Liberal, No. I., October 15, 1822) the tables are turned. The laureate is brought before the hosts of heaven and rejected by devils and angels alike. In October Byron wrote Heaven and Earth, a Mystery (The Liberal, No. II., January 1, 1823), a lyrical drama based on the legend of the "Watchers," or fallen angels of the Book of Enoch. The countess and her family had been expelled from Ravenna in July, but Byron still lingered on in his apartments in the Palazzo Guiccioli. At length (October 28) he set out for Pisa. On the road he met his old friend, Lord Clare, and spent a few minutes in his company. Rogers, whom he met at Bologna, was his fellow traveller as far as Florence. At Pisa he rejoined the countess, who had taken on his behalf the Villa Lanfranchi on the Arno. At Ravenna Byron had lived amongst Italians. At Pisa he was surrounded by a knot of his own countrymen, friends and acquaintances of the Shelleys. Among them were E. J. Trelawny, Thomas Medwin, author of the well-known Conversations of Lord Byron (1824), and Edward Elliker Williams. His first work at Pisa was to dramatize Miss Lee's Kruitzner, or the German Tale. He had written a first act in 1815, but as the MS. was mislaid he made a fresh adaptation of the story which he rechristened as Werner, or the Inheritance. It was finished on the 20th of January and published on the 23rd of November 1822. Werner is in parts Kruitzner cut up into loose blank verse, but it contains lines and passages of great and original merit. Alone of Byron's plays it took hold of the stage. Macready's "Werner" was a famous impersonation.
In the spring of 1822 a heavy and unlooked-for sorrow befell Byron. Allegra, his natural daughter by Claire Clairmont, died at the convent of Bagna Cavallo on the 20th of April 1822. She was in her sixth year, an interesting and attractive child, and he had hoped that her companionship would have atoned for his enforced separation from Ada. She is buried in a nameless grave at the entrance of Harrow church. Soon after the death of Allegra, Byron wrote the last of his eight plays, The Deformed Transformed (published by John Hunt, February 20, 1824). The "sources" are Goethe's Faust, The Three Brothers, a novel by Joshua Pickersgill, and various chronicles of the sack of Rome in 1527. The theme or motif is the interaction of personality and individuality. Remonstrances on the part of publisher and critic induced him to turn journalist. The control of a newspaper or periodical would enable him to publish what and as he pleased. With this object in view he entered into a kind of literary partnership with Leigh Hunt, and undertook to transport him, his wife and six children to Pisa, and to lodge them in the villa Lanfranchi. The outcome of this arrangement was The Liberal - Verse and Prose from the South. Four numbers were issued between October 1822 and June 1823. The Liberal did not succeed financially, and the joint menage was a lamentable failure. Correspondence of Byron and some of his Contemporaries (1828) was Hunt's revenge for the slights and indignities which he suffered in Byron's service. Yachting was one of the chief amusements of the English colony at Pisa. A schooner, the "Bolivar," was built for Byron, and a smaller boat, the "Don Juan" re-named "Ariel," for Shelley. Hunt arrived at Pisa on the 1st of July. On the 8th of July Shelley, who had remained in Pisa on Hunt's account, started for a sail with his friend Williams and a lad named Vivian. The "Ariel" was wrecked in the Gulf of Spezia and Shelley and his companions were drowned. On the 16th of August Byron and Hunt witnessed the "burning of Shelley" on the seashore near Via Reggio. Byron told Moore that "all of Shelley was consumed but the heart." Whilst the fire was burning Byron swam out to the "Bolivar" and back to the shore. The hot sun and the violent exercise brought on one of those many fevers which weakened his constitution and shortened his life.
The Austrian Government would not allow the Gambas of the countess Guiccioli to remain at Pisa. As a half measure Byron took a villa for them at Montenero near Leghorn, but as the authorities were still dissatisfied they removed to Genoa. On reaching Genoa Byron took up his quarters with the Gambas at the Casa Saluzzo, "a fine old palazzo with an extensive view over the bay," and Hunt and his party at the Casa Negroto with Mrs Shelley. Life at Genoa was uneventful. Of Hunt and Mrs Shelley he saw as little as possible, and though his still unfinished poems were at the service of The Liberal, he did little or nothing to further its success. Each number was badly received. Byron had some reason to fear that his popularity was on the wane, and though he had broken with Murray and was offering Don Juan (cantos VI.-XII.) to John Hunt, the publisher of The Liberal, he meditated a "run down to Naples" and a recommencement of Childe Harold. There was a limit to his defiance of the "world's rebuke." Home politics and the congress of Verona (November-December 1822) suggested a satire entitled "The Age of Bronze" (published April 1, 1823). It is, as he said, "stilted," and cries out for notes, but it embodies some of his finest and most vigorous work as a satirist. By the middle of February (1823) he had completed The Island; or Christian and his Comrades (published June 26, 1823). The sources are Bligh's Narrative of the Mutiny on the Bounty, and Mariner's Account of the Tonga Islands. Satire and tale are a reversion to his earlier method. The execution of The Island is hurried and unequal, but there is a deep and tender note in the love-story and the recital of the "feasts and loves and wars" of the islanders. The poetic faculty has been "softened into feeling" by the experience of life.