August 31 1813: Byron Writes Again to Miss Milbanke


On August 31 1813, Lord Byron writes again to Annabella Milbanke . Oh dear! He may be serious. He wrote to her on August 25 1813. She responded in late August in a brief letter:

I will trouble you no more—only this to express—what I cannot withhold—my heartfelt thanks for your most kind, most indulgent answer. Nothing in your letter can displease me—the recollection of my own may. I ought more to have respected your sorrows, and I cannot forgive myself for having intruded on them from the impulse of an ill-judged kindness. That I may not encrease the error— farewell. I will not regret the friendship which you deem impossible, for the loss is mine, as the comfort would have been mine. God Bless you.

Byron cannot let her go and responds on August 31:

 It is not my wish to draw you into a correspondence—yet I must say a few words on your last letter or rather on my own reply to your first.—Neither Ly. M. nor yourself could possibly be to blame —if any one was wrong it was myself—and after all she (Ly. M[elbourn]e.) merely saved me from a personal repulse.—My intention was too plain to admit of misrepresentation—though under existing—or perhaps any circumstances—it was presumptuous—& certainly precipitate.—I never did nor ever can deny that I aspired to the honour which I failed in obtaining.—That I never even sought to conceal my ill success—the following circumstance will convince you—and may at least afford you a moment’s amusement.—My equally unlucky friend W. Bankes—whom I have known many years—paid me a visit one evening last Winter with an aspect so utterly disconsolate that I could not resist enquiring into the cause.—After much hesitation on his part—& a little guessing on mine—out it came—with tears in his eyes almost—that he had added another name to our unfortunate list.—The coincidence appeared to me so ludicrous that not to laugh was impossible—when I told him that a few weeks before a similar proposal had left me in the same situation.—In short we were the Heraclitus & Democritus of your Suitors—with this exception—that our crying and laughing was excited not by the folly of others but our own—or at least mine—for I had not even the common place excuse of a shadow of encouragement to console me.—Do not suppose because I laughed then—that I had no feeling for him or for myself—the coincidence of our common grievance—and not the circumstance itself provoked my mirth—& I trust I need not add that want of respect to you made no part of the feelings or expressions of either—nor had I mentioned this at all could it place him in an unfavourable point of view.—For myself—I must also beg you to believe that whatever might be my momentary levity— your answer to me had been received with respect and admiration rather encreased than diminished by the dignified good sense which dictated your decision & appeared in your reply.—There is not the least occasion for any concealment of the rejection of my proposal—it is a subject I have never sought nor shunned—I certainly have nothing to boast of—but it would be meaness on my part to deny it.——— —I hope I did not accuse Ly. M. of misrepresentation—it certainly was not my intention—I thought my overture was too abrupt—but in the proposal itself—and indeed in every thing else the fault was & must be mine only.—Your friendship I did not reject—though in speaking of mine I expressed some doubts on the subject of my own feelings—whatever they may be I shall merely repeat that if possible they shall be subdued—at all events—silent.————If you regret a single expression in your late 2 letters—they Shall be destroyed or returned—do not imagine that I mistake your kindness or hope for more.—I am too proud of the portion of regard you have bestowed upon me to hazard the loss of it by vain attempts to engage your Affection—I am willing to obey you—and if you will mark out the limits of our future correspondence & intercourse they shall not be infringed.—Believe me with the most profound respect ever gratefully yrs. BYRON

P.S.—I perceive that I begin my letter with saying “I do not wish to draw you into a correspondence” and end by almost soliciting it—admirably consistent!—but it is human nature—& you will forgive it—if not you can punish

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