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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/351

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INTRODUCTION TO LARA.

The MS. of Lara is dated May 14, 1814. The openinpr lines, which were not prefixed to the published poem, and were first printed in Murray s Magazine (January, 1887), are of the nature of a Dedication. They were probably written a few days after the well-known song, " I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name," which was enclosed to Moore in a letter dated May 4, 18 14. There can be little doubt that both song and dedication were addressed to Lady Frances Wedderburn Webster, and that Lara^ like the Corsair and the Bride of Abydos, was written con aviore^ and because the poet was "eating his heart away." By the 14th of June Byron was able to announce to Moore that ^ Lara was finished, and that he had begun copying." It was written, owing to the length of the London season, "amidst balls and fooleries, and after coming home from masquerades and routs, in the summer of the sovereigns" (Letter to Moore, June 8, 1822, Life, p. 561). By way of keeping his engagement — already broken by the publication of the Ode to Napoleo7i Buo7iaparte — not to "trespass on public patience," Byron began by protesting (June 14) that Lara was not to be published separately, but "might be included in a third volume now collecting." A fortnight later (June 27) an interchange of unpublished poems between himself and Rogers, "two cantos of dark- ness and dismay " in return for a privately printed copy of Jacqueline, who is "all grace and softness and poetry"

(Letter to Rogers, Letters, 1899, iii. loi), suggested another