1820-1821 - Ravenna, Pisa, and Revolutionaries

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The Byron Chronology

Year

Date

Chronology Entry

1819 December 24 Byron arrives in Ravenna.
December 25 Byron attends a reception given by Marchese Cavalli, Teresa Guiccioli's uncle.

Teresa parades her "cavalier servente" proudly.

December 31 Byron writes Lady Byron asking her to send him a portrait of Ada; he also wishes for Annabella to read and comment on the Memoirs he has sent to London with Thomas Moore
1820 January Byron stays in small accommodations at the Albergo Imperile in Ravenna.
January Byron's inability to meet with Teresa privately leads to increasing difficulties between them.
January Byron is unable to find large enough accommodations for his entourage.

Count Guiccioli--for unknown reasons--offers to rent Byron the unused upper floor of the spacious Pallazzo Osio; Byron eventually agrees.

February 19 Byron finishes Cantos 3 and 4 of Don Juan and sends them to Murray
February 21 Byron writes to John Murray that he completed a translation of the first canto of Pulci's Morgante Maggiore
March 3 Byron writes to John Cam Hobhouse: "I have settled into regular serventismo and find it the happiest state of all."
Byron and Count Guiccoli quarrel violently.
March In March, Byron completes the Prophecy of Dante and a translation of Dante's Francesca da Rimini episode.
March 15 Byron begins his rebuttal--"Some observations upon an Article in Blackwoods's Magazine"--to a public attack published the previous year.

In it, he lauds Alexander Pope and John Dryden over the Lake Poets.

He also refers to John Keats as "a tadpole of the Lakes," a comment he regrets when he learns of Keats's death.

March 23 Byron sends his month's poetic output to Murray.

He completes a ballad on Hobhouse's imprisonment and sends it to him via Murray.

Byron's ballad is published in the popular press before Hobhouse even sees it, and it wounds Hobhouse who writes Byron of his displeasure.

April Byron becomes interested in the actions of the insurrectionist Carbonari who wish for an Italian republic.

Aristocrats like Teresa's father, Count Ruggero Gamba, increasingly oppose the Austrian oligarchy, while the ecclesiastical party actively supports the puppet-government.

April 2 Count Guiccioli breaks into Teresa's writing-desk and takes all her letters. Teresa believes that her husband's ecclesiastical friends--who wished the increasingly political Byron out of Ravenna--hastened the final break-up of her marriage.
April Douglas Kinnaird and John Hanson disagree over Byron's investments.
May, around the 15th The Count grows angry at Teresa's familiarity with Byron and confronts Byron.

The Count's violent behavior frightens Teresa; the next morning she calls her father and brothers to the Pallazzo and asks to return to their protection

May To protect Teresa's marriage, Byron offers to leave Ravenna.
May 20 Byron acknowledges that a separation between the Guicciolis is the only alternative.
May Count Gamba applies to the Pope for a separation for his daughter.
June 7 Merryweather imprisoned.
June Byron gives up the Pallazzo Mocenigo and sells his gondola.
June Byron completes Marino Faliero.
June 22 Murray's silence on publishing the new cantos of Don Juan causes Byron to consider offering the cantos to other publishers.
July 6 The Pope grants Teresa a separation.
July 12 Byron and Teresa learn of the Pope's decision, though the official notice doesn't arrive till the 14th.

Teresa receives an allowance of 100 scudi a month from her husband (the English equivalent of 1000 a year).

July 13, 4 p.m. Teresa returns to her father's house at Filetto, 15 miles southwest of Ravenna.
July Byron receives news--via Pietro Gamba--of revolution against the Bourbons in Naples.

The revolt temporarily gains Naples a constitution against the Austrian puppet-monarch, Ferdinand I.

July Byron, in the summer, visits some of the meetings of the Carbonari and becomes an honorary chief in the Turba (or Mob) faction.
July 15 Count Guiccioli writes to his lawyer, asking for the separation to be revoked or modified
July Allegra is ill.
July William Lisle Bowles' criticism on Pope appears in the Quarterly Review and the Edinburgh Review.
August Byron finds acceptable lodgings for Allegra, six miles from Ravenna and about nine miles from Villa Gamba.

Byron retains his place in the Palazzo Guiccioli

Wed., August 16 Byron visits Teresa for the first time after her separation from her husband
August 18 Rumors that Byron has returned to London circulate in the Morning Chronicle and throughout the town.
August Byron sends Teresa books in French to occupy her time, but his inclusion of Constant's Adolphe wounds her feelings
September Byron views an eclipse of the sun with the Gambas

Frustrated with the poetic efforts of his contemporaries, Byron asks Murray to type-set his 1811 Hints from Horace.

Frustrated with Claire Claremont's continued correspondence, Byron writes Percy Shelley that he will no longer communicate with Claire directly.

September/
October
Though Byron is interested in local Italian politics and the cause of Italian freedom, the trial of Queen Charlotte in England draws his attention as well.

Hobhouse urges Byron to returnto England, but Byron decides to stay in Italy and gather evidence against the Italian witnesses brough by the English government to testify against the Queen.

October 4 Byron visits Filetto again.
October 18 Ferdinando, Count Guiccioli's eldest son, dies, and Teresa's condolence note to Guiccioli containing wishes for his safety angers Byron.
October News of the death of Joe Murray arrives from England along with a print of Ada Byron (now almost five).
  The Congress at Troppau "agree[s] on a secret protocol affirming the right of collective 'Europe' to suppress dangerous internal revolutions" (881).

Austria, then, in crushing the Neapolitan revolutionaries is simply protecting her Italian interests.

  Byron fears that acknowledging his authorship of Don Juan might endanger his rights of guardianship over Ada (883).
October 14 As a result of Goethe's praise of his poetry in Manfred, Byron dedicates Marino Faliero to the German poet.
October 16 Byron begins the 15th canto of Don Juan. He finishes 149 stanzas by December 9th.
October 22 Richard Hoppner sends Byron confidential evidence on the unreliability of those witnesses (877).
November 5 Byron records that he had completed "twelve more sheets" of the continuation of his Memoirs
mid-November Teresa moves to her father's house in town.

Byron fears that officials will act against him, by placing Teresa in a convent.

November 23 Byron receives news of Queen Caroline's acquittal
December 9, 8 p.m. An unpopular commander of the troops, Luigi Dal Pinto, is mortally injured outside Byron's lodgings.

Byron takes the wounded officer into his house, calls for a physician, and allows the dead body to remain in his house
December 9 Byron sends Thomas Moore 18 sheets of additional Memoirs, giving him the copyrights.

Moore, living in Paris to avoid creditors, circulates the Memoirs freely.

December 28 Byron receives a rare private communication from Annabella, in which she agrees to be kind to Augusta Leigh and her children. It is her last letter to her husband.

Byron sends Douglas Kinnaird the fifth canto of Don Juan.


Year

Date

Chronology Entry

1821 January 4 Byron begins his first journal since his 1816 "Alpine Journal."
January 13 Byron outlines the plot and characters for Sardanapalus.
January 20 Byron objects strongly to a London staging of Marino Faliero; he writes the Lord Chamberlain for an injuction against the performance.
February 7-11 Byron writes his defense of Pope.
February 9. New arrives that the Austrians have crossed the Po earlier than expected, thus overthrowing the plots of the Carbonari.
March 1 Worried about the political situation in Italy, Byron places Allegra in the Capuchin convent of Bagnacavallo.
March 20 Murray agrees to publish Marino Faliero and Prophecy of Dante.
March 24 Claire writes Byron a letter of protest, wishing for Allegra to be placed in an English boarding-school.
April 24 Shelley assures Byron of his "irreproachable" conduct on behalf of Allegra. Shelley includes news of Keats's death.
May 8 Byron sends Murray more notes for his second letter against Bowles.
May 14 In a Milanese paper, Byron reads the false report that the London performance of Marino Faliero had been "hissed off the stage" (908).
May Byron receives news that the Greek war for independence had broken out in March.
June 22 Tita, Byron's servant, is arrested for quarrelling with an officer.

Secretary Alborghetti of the Cardinal's office acts as Byron's intermediary: he negotiates that Tita should not be transported

June 23 Byron receives the pamphlet, "Letter to the Right Hon. Lord Byron" by John Bull (John Gibson Lockhart).

In it, Lockhart advises Byron to

"Stick to Don Juan: it is the only sincere thing you have ever written. . . . Don Juan. . [is] out of all sight the best of your works; it is by far the most spirited, the most straight-forward, the most interesting, and the most poetical; and every body thinks as I do of it, although they have not the heart to say so." (911)
June 24 Prince Mavrocordatos, the Greek patriot, sails for Greece to join in the battles there.
July 9 Byron finishes Sardanapalus.
July 10 Pietro Gamba, one of the leaders of the Carbonari, is arrested and sent into exile with his father, Count Ruggero.

Teresa stays in Ravenna to be near Byron, thus violating the requirements of her separation. The Gambas ultimately resettle in Florence.

July 15 On Teresa's behalf, Byron asks the Duchess of Devonshire (living in Rome) to intervene with her friend, Cardinal Consalvi, Papal Secretary of State.
July 16 Byron begins the poetical drama, Cain.
July 23 Since Teresa is no longer living under her father's protection, Count Guiccioli moves to force Teresa to return to him or to place her in a convent.
July 27 Teresa leaves for Florence, but stops for several days in Bologna.

Byron urges her to continue on her journey in order to avoid the intervention of the papal authorities.

August 2 Teresa finally continues her journey to Florence.
August 3 Shelley travels to Ravenna to check on Allegra's situation. He spends the night in Leghorn where Claire is staying.
August 4 Shelley spends his birthday rowing with Claire on the lake, but doesn't tell her where he is heading.
August 6,
10 p.m.
Shelley arrives at Ravenna. Shelley and Byron talk till 5 in the morning.

Byron reveals the rumors Hoppner has been spreading about Shelley's relationship with Claire.

  Over the next several days, Shelley and Byron discuss poetry and Byron's travel plans (whether to go to Switzerland or not).

Shelley encourages Byron to move to Pisa.

  Byron receives the news that Murray had offered Moore 2000 guineas for the Memoirs.
August 7 Byron sends Murray his new satire "The Blues."
August 14 Shelley visits Allegra for three hours at Bagnacavallo.
August 18 or 19 Shelley leaves Ravenna for Pisa.

Within a day or two, Shelley finds Byron a residence at the Casa Lanfranchi--a sixteenth century palace on the Lungarno--at a price of 400 crowns a year.

Shelley also invites Leigh Hunt to come to Italy and co-edit a literary periodical.

September 1 The Gambas arrive in Pisa, staying at the Casa Finocchietti.
September 4? Murray offers to pay 1000 guineas for Don Juan 3, 4, and 5 as well as 1000 guineas for the two dramas, Sardanapalus and The Two Foscari.

Byron writes Kinnaird, designating the following dedications: The Two Foscari to Sir Walter Scott, Sardanapalus to Goethe, and Marino Faliero to Kinnaird.

  Byron dedicates Cain--instead of the Two Foscari--to Scott.
September 9 Byron finishes Cain.
September 13 In his "Encyclical against the Carbonari," the Pope threatens excommuncation if the members of the secret society persist in their revolutionary activities (935).
September 16 Byron writes a satire on George IV--"To the Irish Avatar."
September 17 Byron encloses his new satire in a letter to Moore, asking for it to be copied and distributed among friends.

The moving wagons Byron had hired arrive from Pisa.

September 23 The Gambas move into the Parra house. Their house becomes a gathering place for other exiles.
September 24 Byron asks Murray to limit the English publications he sends to a select list of authors and titles.
September News arrives of the death of Napoleon.
October 1 In a letter to Moore, Byron announces his newest composition, Vision of Judgment.
October 4 Byron completes Vision of Judgment.
October 15 Byron begins his notebook, "Detached Thoughts"
October 29 Byron leaves Ravenna.
On the road, he meets Lord Clare, who he had not seen for several years; then, in Bologna, he meets Samuel Rogers at the Pellegrino Inn.
October 30 In the company of Rogers, Byron arrives in Florence.
October 31 With Rogers, Byron visits Santa Croce to see the tombs of Galileo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo.
November 1 Byron travels on to Pisa. At Empoli, Byron passes the public coach in which Claire Clairmont is riding on her way to Florence.
? Byron requests Hobhouse send the MS of Werner from England.
? Octavius Graham Gilchrist sends Byron 3 pamphlets attacking Bowles.
November The Shelleys returned from San Giuliano to Pisa; they take lodgings in a flat in the Tre Palazzi di Chiesa.
November Byron moves into the Casa Lanfranchi in Pisa; across the bank of the Arno are the Shelleys' lodgings.
November Teresa and her family receive visas good for four months, and they move into the Casa Parra, only 1/4 of a mile from Byron's own lodgings. Byron visits every day.
November 5 Shelley brings his friend Edward Williams to meet Byron.
Finding it cheaper to live on the continent, Edward and Jane Williams had been in Italy since January.
November 6 Byron, Teresa and Pietro Gamba visit the Shelleys.
November Teresa, Mary Shelley and Williams visit one another and ride frequently.

Byron's circle eventually extends to include John Taaffe, Jr., whose "Commentary on Dante" Byron recommends to Murray for publication.

November Having been denied a permit to establish a shooting range on his grounds, Byron frequently rides to the Villa la Podera for target practice. Teresa and Mary Shelley often ride out to the shooting range.

Byron also finds Maria, a local peasant, attractive, and his attentions toward her attract Teresa's jealousy.

Byron has weekly dinners for the men in the group.

November 14 Thomas Medwin, Shelley's cousin, arrives in Pisa, and he soon begins to record Byron's conversations and witticisms.

At the invitation of Shelley, Prince Argiropoli, cousin to Mavrocordatos, meets with Byron and renews his enthusiasm for the cause of Greek Independence.

Byron remains under constant police surveillance.

November 16 Byron writes Murray that the owners of Casa Lanfranchi were "the same mentioned by Ugolino in his dream, as his persecutor with Sismondi" and that the staircase was reputed to have been built by Michelangelo.
November 23 Hobhouse's cautious letter on Cain offends Byron.
December 7 The Hunts write that they are travelling to Italy.

Byron offers them the ground floor of the Casa Lanfranchi and even purchases furniture for their use. Hunt will later complain about the plainness of the furniture.

December 19 Having paid 2,500 guineas for the lot, Murray publishes the three cantos of Don Juan, Sardanapalus, Two Foscari and Cain.

Published @ RC

November 2000

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