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WHILE Lord Byron was thus adding to his poetical reputation his domestic affairs became gradually more embroiled. From little dissensions complaints and altercations arose; and, without venturing to say whether the fault was on the one side or on the other-or, as is more probable, because it is more common in the disputes of married folks-that the blame should be equally divided between both parties, certain it is that a very considerable share of discord prevailed.
The intervention of friends was talked of, but it was not resorted to. The quarrels were sometimes made up, and sometimes they continued for longer or shorter periods, until Lady Byron's accouchment, which took place at the close of the year in which they were married.
Lord Byron had become concerned in the management of the Drury Lane theatre during the time that a committee of noblemen and gentlemen thought they would be able to conduct it. This was very much as if they had set up the trade of making shoes, and they probably knew as much of the one as the other: some of them (for Mr. Peter Moore was among the number) might have been even better qualified for the latter than for that task which he so rashly undertook. Every body knows that a short period sufficed to dissipate the money of the unlucky subscribers, and to make the committee themselves ashamed of their folly. Lord Byron was among the first to get tired, and renounce the honorable post he had assumed; but not before he had done to his own happiness a wrong far less likely to be repaired than the bankruptcy which he and his wise co-mates had brought upon the affairs of the theatre. A playhouse, like misery, acquaints a man with strange bedfellows;' and no man can haunt the green-rooms and the coulisses without falling into very bad company. Lord Byron made some acquaintances at Drury Lane, whom, in a moment of indiscretion, he was thoughtless enough to invite to his own, house. It is true that this invitation was given and accepted just at the period when Lady Byron was confined to her chamber: it was of course impossible that she could have come in contact with her husband's guests; aud, rash and inexcusable as his conduct was, it is quite certain that he never meant she should be acquainted with the circumstance. It was, however, repeated to her with a great many exaggerations. A mere frolic-no doubt a very foolish one, and conceived in the worst possible
taste was magnified into a premeditated outrage on the decency and decorum of Lady Byron's home. It was represented to her that her lord, not content with indulging his taste for certain companions of a very questionable character, brought them, as it were, insultingly under his lady's nose; and, in short, all that malice and falsehood could invent were brought in to the aid of persons, who, for some reason or other, were assiduously employed to effect a breach between Lord and Lady Byron.
These attempts, unfortunately for the noble pair, succeeded too well. Lady Byron would not forgive the last affront, which she was made to believe had been studiously offered to her; but she was too proud to complain of it. The pecuniary difficulties continued, and it was agreed that her ladyship should go into the country to her father's seat, on her recovery from her confinement, and pass there a short time until some arrangements for the payment of his lordship's debts, which were then in progress, should be completed. This agreement was carried into effect without either of the parties, or at all events, without Lord Byron's expecting that their parting on the occasion was to be for any long period-still less that it was to be, as it turned out, for ever.
Her ladyship went to her father's house with her infant. On the road she wrote to Lord Byron one of those letters which the occasion commanded; and which was quite cordial, if not very passionately fond, and was, perhaps, therefore, at once the more sincere and the more sensible. Soon after her arrival, however, at the place of her destination, a very different impression seemed to have been made on her. A formal complaint was made of his lordship's conduct: all his faults and errors, and follies, were drawn out in regular catalogue, and laid before some friends of the family (damned good-natured friends,' Sir Fretful Plagiary calls them) to advise upon.
It can answer no good purpose at this time to penetrate further into the progress of this painful affair, in which the conduct of neither party seems to have been very wise. The final result was a proposal for a separation, which Lord Byron acceded to. Deeds were drawn up to specify the terms upon which this married pair should for the future live asunder, and they parted never to meet again.
Lord Byron believed-and he continued in that belief to the end of his life-that, although his lady had been more unforgiving than he had expected to find her, and than perhaps his faults, even in the worst shape that was imputed to them, had deserved, yet she was induced to continue in this uncharitable temper in consequence of the
falsehoods and the mischievous influence of some person, whose name it is not worth while to inquire into.
This is the person whom his lordship had in view in the following satire :
• Honest-honest Iago!
If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee.'
Born in the garret, in the kitchen bred,
She taught the child to read, and taught so well,
None know-but that high Soul secured the heart,
With longing breast and undeluded ear.
Foiled was perversion by that youthful mind,
Nor Euvy ruffle to retaliate pain
Nor Fortune change-Pride raise-nor Passion bow,
Screnely purest of her sex that live,
But wanting one sweet weakness-to forgive:
Too shocked at faults her soul can never know,
But to the theme: now laid aside too long
To make a Pandemonium where she dwells,
While mingling truth with falsehood-sneers with smiles-
And, without feeling, mock at all who feel:
Look on the picture! deem it not o'ercharged-
Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought,
May the strong curse of crushed affectious light
Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed
The widowed couch of fire-that thou hast spread!
Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with prayer,
Look on thine earthly victims-and despair!
Down to the dust!—and, as thou rott'st away,
Some of the newspapers took a very unwarrantable and indecent part in this domestic quarrel, and, without knowing any thing of the affair, presumed to censure one or the other party as their caprice dictated. The editor of The Morning Chronicle,' among others, took up the cudgels for Lord Byron, and seemed to think that he served the nobleman whom he condescended to patronise by obscurely hinting that Lady Byron was chiefly, if not alone, to be blamed in the dispute. If Lord Byron had really disclosed any of his domestic