April 28 1816: A Poem for Byron



SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 1816.


Dio ti dia, baron, venture.——Pulci.

Since you resolve, dear Byron, once again
To taste the far-eyed freedom of the main,
And as the coolness lessens in the breeze,
Strike for warm shores that bathe in classic seas,—
May all that hastens, pleases, and secures,
Fair winds and skies, and a swift ship, be yours,
Whose sidelong deck affords, as it cuts on,
An airy slope to lounge and read upon;
And may the sun, cooled only by white clouds,
Make constant shadows of the sails and shrouds;
And may there be sweet, watching moons at night,
Or shews, upon the sea, of curious light;
And morning wake with happy-blushing mouth,
As though her husband still had “eyes of youth;”
While fancy, just as you discern from far
The coasts of Virgil and of Sannazar,
May see the Nymphs emerging, here and there,
To tie up at the light their rolling hair. Continue reading

April 27 1816: Don’t Forget The Cundums!


On April 27, 1816, Lord Byron writes to John Cam Hobhouse, from Ostend. prior to leaving for Ghent. He wants Hobhouse to send him some condoms.

My dear Hobhouse – We got in last night very well – though it blew freshly & contrary all the way – but we tacked & tided in about midnight. – All are – and every thing is – landed – & tonight we design for Ghent. – As a veteran I stomached the sea pretty well – till a damned “Merchant of Bruges” capsized his breakfast close by me – & made me sick by contagion: – but I soon got well – & we were landed at least ten hours sooner than expected – and our Inn (the “Cure imperial” as Fletcher calls it –) furnished us with beds & a “flaggon of Rhenish” – which – by the blessing of Scrope’s absence – the only blessing his absence could confer – was not indulged in to the extent of the “light wine” of our parting potations. – – Continue reading

April 26 1816: A Damaged Archangel


On April 26 1816, Charles Lamb writes another entertaining letter to William Wordsworth. He appears to be doing some editing for Wordsworth. However, what is of interest is his comments about Coleridge. He mentions that Coleridge is printing Christabel together, in his words “with what he calls a vision, Kubla Khan—which said vision he repeats so enchantingly that it irradiates and brings heaven and Elysian bowers into my parlour while he sings or says it, but there is an observation “Never tell thy dreams,” and I am almost afraid that Kubla Khan is an owl that won’t bear day light, I fear lest it should be discovered by the lantern of typography and clear reducting to letters, no better than nonsense or no. ” Lamb also writes the famous description of Coleridge as “an Archangel a little damaged”. His full sentence is masterful: “I think his essentials not touched: he is very bad, but then he wonderfully picks up another day, and his face when he repeats his verses hath its ancient glory, an Archangel a little damaged.” Continue reading

April 25 1816: Lord Byron Leaves England

Untitled“Up at eight. Breakfasted … all on board except the company. The captain said he could not wait, and Byron could not get up a moment sooner – even the serenity of Scrope was perturbed. However, after some bustle, out came Byron, and, taking my arm, walked down to the quay … “By the way,” he said as he had often done, “do you think there will be any necessity for publishing?  Perhaps we had better, at any rate be ready for them” … He got on board a little after nine. Berger  was in bed when Byron left the inn, but came just in time. The bustle kept Byron in spirits, but he looked affected when the packet glided off. I ran to the end of the wooden pier,  and as the vessel tossed by us through a rough sea and contrary wind, saw him again. The dear fellow pulled off his cap and waved it to me. I gazed until I could not distinguish him any longer … God bless him for a gallant spirit – and a kind one – I shall, fate allowing, join him in two or three months. He sometimes talked of returning in a year or so, at others of being longer, but told me he felt a presentiment his absence would be long. S.B.D. said the same thing, but I told both that I always had the same presentiment in leaving England … again, God bless him –”

— John Cam Hobhouse writes in his diary for April 25 1816. Continue reading

April 24 1816: Last Night in England


On April 24 1816, Lord Byron is at Dover preparing to leave England and never to return.

“This morning Fletcher told me the bailiffs had got into No 13,346 and had seized everything … I was in alarm respecting their descent to Dover, and the carriage – though [we] had it put on board as soon as possible. Mr Denen,347 the auctioneer, has seized for rents for the Duchess of Devonshire. Wind contrary from eastward, and strong.”

— John Cam Hobhouse writes in his diary for April 24 1816.