The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 4

Poetical Works



First Edition . . June, 1901.
Second Edition . . January, 1905.

Lord Byron
from an engraving after a drawing by G. H. Harlow

The Works





Poetry. Vol. IV.









The poems included in this volume consist of thirteen longer or more important works, written at various periods between June, 1816, and October, 1821; of eight occasional pieces (Poems of July—September, 1816), written in 1816; and of another collection of occasional pieces (Poems 1816-1823), written at intervals between November, 1816, and September, 1823. Of this second group of minor poems five are now printed and published for the first time.

The volume is not co-extensive with the work of the period. The third and fourth cantos of Childe Harold (1816-1817), the first five cantos of Don Juan (1818, 1819, 1820), Sardanapalus, The Two Foscari, Cain, and Heaven and Earth (1821), form parts of other volumes, but, in spite of these notable exceptions, the fourth volume contains the work of the poet's maturity, which is and must ever remain famous. Byron was not content to write on one kind of subject, or to confine himself to one branch or species of poetry. He tracked the footsteps now of this master poet, now of another, far outstripping some of his models; soon spent in the pursuit of others. Even in his own lifetime, and in the heyday of his fame, his friendliest critics, who applauded him to the echo, perceived that the "manifold motions" of his versatile and unsleeping talent were not always sanctioned or blessed by his genius. Hence the unevenness of his work, the different values of this or that poem. But, even so, in width of compass, in variety of style, and in measure of success, his achievement was unparalleled. Take such poems as Manfred or Mazeppa, which have left their mark on the literature of Europe; as Beppo, the avant courrier of Don Juan, or the "inimitable" Vision of Judgment, which the "hungry generations" have not trodden down or despoiled of its freshness. Not one of these poems suggests or resembles the other, but each has its crowd of associations, a history and almost a literature of its own.

The whole of this volume was written on foreign soil, in Switzerland or Italy, and, putting aside The Dream, The Monody on the Death of Sheridan, The Irish Avatar, and The Blues, the places, the persons and events, the matériel of the volume as a whole, to say nothing of the style and metre of the poems, are derived from the history and the literature of Switzerland and Southern Europe. An unwilling, at times a vindictive exile, he did more than any other poet or writer of his age to familiarize his own countrymen with the scenery, the art and letters of the Continent, and, conversely, to make the existence of English literature, or, at least, the writings of one Englishman, known to Frenchmen and Italians; to the Teuton and the Slav. If he "taught us little" as prophet or moralist; as a guide to knowledge; as an educator of the general reader—"your British blackguard," as he was pleased to call him—his teaching and influence were "in widest commonalty spread."

Questions with regard to his personality, his morals, his theological opinions, his qualifications as an artist, his grammar, his technique, and so forth, have, perhaps inevitably, absorbed the attention of friend and foe, and the one point on which all might agree has been overlooked, namely, the fact that he taught us a great deal which it is desirable and agreeable to know—which has passed into common knowledge through the medium of his poetry. It is true that he wrote his plays and poems at lightning speed, and that if he was at pains to correct some obvious blunders, he expended but little labour on picking his phrases or polishing his lines; but it is also true that he read widely and studied diligently, in order to prepare himself for an outpouring of verse, and that so far from being a superficial observer or inaccurate recorder, his authority is worth quoting on questions of fact and points of detail.

The appreciation of poetry is a matter of taste, and still more of temperament. Readers cannot be coerced into admiration, or scolded into disapproval and contempt. But if they are willing or can be persuaded to read with some particularity and attention the writings of the illustrious dead, not entirely as partisans, or with the view to dethroning other "Monarchs of Parnassus," they will divine the secret of their fame, and will understand, perhaps recover, the "first rapture" of contemporaries.

Byron sneered and carped at Southey as a "scribbler of all works." He was himself a reader of all works, and without some measure of book-learning and not a little research the force and significance of his various numbers are weakened or obliterated.

It is with the hope of supplying this modicum of book-learning that the Introductions and notes in this and other volumes have been compiled.

I desire to acknowledge, with thanks, the courteous response of Mons. J. Capré, Commandant of the Castle of Chillon, to a letter of inquiry with regard to the "Souterrains de Chillon."

I have to express my gratitude to Sir Henry Irving, to Mr. Joseph Knight, and to Mr. F. E. Taylor, for valuable information concerning the stage representation of Manfred and Marino Faliero.

I am deeply indebted to Dr. Richard Garnett, C.B., and to my friend, Mr. Thomas Hutchinson, for assistance in many important particulars during the construction of the volume.

I must also record my thanks to Mr. Oscar Browning, Mr. Josceline Courtenay, and other correspondents, for information and assistance in points of difficulty.

I have consulted and derived valuable information from the following works: The Prisoner of Chillon etc., by the late Professor Kölbing; Mazeppa, by Dr. Englaender; Marino Faliero avanti il Dogado and La Conguira (published in the Nuovo Archivio Veneto), by Signor Vittorio Lazzarino; and Selections from the Poetry of Lord Byron, by Dr. F. I. Carpenter of Chicago, U.S.A.

I take the opportunity of expressing my acknowledgments to Miss K. Schlesinger, Miss De Alberti, and to Signor F. Bianco, for their able and zealous services in the preparation of portions of the volume.

On behalf of the publisher I beg to acknowledge the kindness of Captain the Hon. F. L. King Noel, in sanctioning the examination and collation of the MS. of Beppo, now in his possession; and of Mrs. Horace Pym of Foxwold Chace, for permitting the portrait of Sheridan by Sir Joshua Reynolds to be reproduced for this volume.

May 5, 1901.


Preface to Vol. IV. of the Poems v

The Prisoner of Chillon.
Introduction to The Prisoner of Chillon 3
Sonnet on Chillon 7
Advertisement 9
The Prisoner of Chillon 13

Poems of July—September, 1816. The Dream.
Introduction to The Dream 31
The Dream. First published, Prisoner of Chillon, etc., 1816 33
Darkness. First published, Prisoner of Chillon, etc., 1816 42
Churchill's Grave. First published. Prisoner of Chillon, etc., 1816 45
Prometheus. First published, Prisoner of Chillon, etc., 1816 48
A Fragment. First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, ii. 51
Sonnet to Lake Leman. First published, Prisoner of Chillon, etc., 1816 53
Stanzas to Augusta. First published, Prisoner of Chillon, etc., 1816 54
Epistle to Augusta. First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, ii. 38-41 57
Lines on hearing that Lady Byron was Ill. First published, 1831 63

Monody on the Death of the Right Hon. R. B. Sheridan.
Introduction to Monody, etc. 69
Monody on the Death of the Right Hon. R. B. Sheridan, Spoken at Drury Lane Theatre, London 71

Manfred: A Dramatic Poem.
Introduction to Manfred 79
Manfred 85

The Lament of Tasso.
Introduction to The Lament of Tasso 139
Advertisement 141
The Lament of Tasso 143

Beppo: A Venetian Story.
Introduction to Beppo 155
Beppo 159

Ode on Venice.
Ode on Venice 193

Introduction to Mazeppa 201
Advertisement 205
Mazeppa 207

The Prophecy of Dante.
Introduction to The Prophecy of Dante 237
Dedication 241
Preface 243
The Prophecy of Dante Canto the First 247
Canto the Second 255
Canto the Third 261
Canto the Fourth 269

The Morgante Maggiore of Pulci.
Introduction to The Morgante Maggiore 279
Advertisement 283
The Morgante Maggiore Canto the First 285

Francesca of Rimini.
Introduction to Francesca of Rimini 313
Francesca of Rimini 317

Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice: An Historical Tragedy.
Introduction to Marino Faliero 325
Preface 331
Marino Faliero 345
Appendix 462

The Vision of Judgment.
Introduction to The Vision of Judgment 475
Preface 481
The Vision of Judgment 487

Poems 1816-1823.
A very Mournful Ballad on the Siege and Conquest of Alhama. First published, Childe Harold, Canto IV., 1818 529
Sonetto di Vittorelli. Per Monaca 535
Translation from Vittorelli. On a Nun. First published, Childe Harold, Canto IV., 1818 535
On the Bust of Helen by Canova. First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, ii. 61 536
[Venice. A Fragment] MS. M. 537
So we'll go no more a-roving. First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, ii. 79 538
[Lord Byron's Verses on Sam Rogers.] Question and Answer. First published, Fraser's Magazine, January, 1833, vol. vii. pp. 82-84 538
The Duel. MS. M. 542
Stanzas to the Po. First published, Conversations of Lord Byron, 1824 545
Sonnet on the Nuptials of the Marquis Antonio Cavalli with the Countess Clelia Rasponi of Ravenna. MS. M. 547
Sonnet to the Prince Regent. On the Repeal of Lord Edward Fitzgerald's Forfeiture. First published, Letters and Journals, ii. 234, 235 548
Stanzas. First published, New Monthly Magazine, 1832 549
Ode to a Lady whose Lover was killed by a Ball, which at the same time shivered a portrait next his heart. MS. M. 552
The Irish Avatar. First published, Paris, September 19, 1821 555
Stanzas written on the Road between Florence and Pisa. First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, ii. 566, note 562
Stanzas to a Hindoo Air. First published, Works of Lord Byron 563
To —— First published, New Monthly Magazine, 1833 564
To the Countess of Blessington. First published, Letters and Journals, 1830 565
Aristomenes. Canto First. MS. D. 566

The Blues: A Literary Eclogue.
Introduction to The Blues 569
The Blues Eclogue the First 573
Eclogue the Second 580


1. Lord Byron, from an Engraving after a Drawing by G. H. Harlowe Frontispiece
2. The Prison of Bonivard To face p.14
3. The Right Honourable Richard Brinsley Sheridan, from a Portrait in Oils by Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A., in the Possession of Mrs. Horace Pym of Foxwold Chace 70
4. The Right Honourable John Hookham Frere, from a Mezzotint by W. W. Barney, after a Picture by John Hoppner, R.A. 154
5. Robert Southey, Poet Laureate, from a Drawing made in 1811 by John Downman, A.R.A., in the Possession of A. H. Hallam Murray, Esq. 480