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.

(The tweets in @1815now with quotation marks are drawn form Fiona MacCarthy’s excellent Byron: Life and Legend.) 

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