The Poetry of Lady Byron?

An image of the letter claiming to contain a response from Lady Byron to her husbands poem 'Fare Thee Well'

(Ref: MS-905-3a)

When digitising a few items that belonged to the Birmingham based Romantic poet John Freeth (1729 approx to 1808) I found a poem attributed to Lady Byron and labelled as a response to “His Lordship”. The poem in question follows the form of ‘Fare Thee Well’ which was written by Lord Byron in an attempt to broker a reconciliation between himself and his wife after his multiple sexual indiscretions.

As you can see the poem is a list of sardonic responses to the verses in Fare Thee Well. The full poem is included below and the original is linked to above.

Fare the Well and if for ever
Still for ever fare thee well
Blame theyself that thus we sever
thou hast forc’d me to rebel

Would that Heart were laid before thee
were thou thoughtst it bliss to reign
When loves brightest spell came oer thee
Which thou scarce canst know again

Would that Heart by thee glanc’d over
Every inmost thoughts could show
then mightst thou in twin discover
twas not great to wound it so

Though they verse the plaudity gain thee
which unheeded crowds asign
Sure such plaudity still should pain thee
Given by Hearts that know not mine

If I paus’d before I pardon’d
could no other means be found
Which might move heart unhardened
To forgive a wanton wound

Oh’ reflect thyself deceive not
Truant love may pardon seek
But in public gaze believe not
Heart though penitent should speak

Still thine own its pride retaineth
Still must mine in silence smart
And the undying thought which paineth
Is that we were forc’d to part

There are words of deeper sorrow
Then e’er verse of thine can prove
Both may live yet every morrow
Feel the pangs of sever’d love

Yet when I shall solace gather
When our Childs first lisp I hear
She shall learn to say my Father
Though the word should wake a tear

When the arms each night shall press me
Eer she sink to tranquil rest
I will teach her prayers to bless thee
for Her sake may’st thou be blest

Should Her lineaments resemble
His who caus’d this heart to ache
Doubst not though my lips may tremble
They shall kiss her for thy sake

All they faults and all they madness
She shall hide from love and me
Widow’d hopes now sunk in sadness
Still perchance may twin to thee

Though each feeling has been shaken
virtue love and female pride
yet this Heart by thee forsaken
Still could pardon still could hide

But’tis done vain each confession
Vain each hope that lingers yet
Feelings, Thoughts which mask expression
Sink at last in mute regret

There is no further evidence to believe that the author of this poem was actually the person it was ascribed to and it is known that parodies of Byron’s work are relatively common. But it’s a good story isn’t it? If you have any interest of knowledge of this area please get in contact through the comments below.

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One response to “The Poetry of Lady Byron?

  1. I have found similar documents in old family papers and will gladly share with you via email. I am still going through them but one is attributed to lady Byron named “The reply” . Martin

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