George Gordon, Lord Byron
About ten months after his marriage, the birth of his daughter took place; an event that was, in a few weeks, followed by a total separation of the parents. So many various reasons have been assigned for this step, by the friends of either party, and so much more than has yet come to light, has been insinuated by Lady Byron herself, that the real cause of their continued disunion still remains a mystery. Our poet has avowed, both in his conversation and correspondence, that, during his residence with his wife, he had nothing to complain of; and it was only when he found her unwilling to resume her connection with him that he gave vent to that bitterness of spirit with which he alludes to her in some of his poems. Mr. Moore speaks with all evident bias in favor of the subject of his biography; but whatever inferences may be drawn from the sacrifice of the papers relating to this affair, at the request of Lady Byron's family, - and the previous request of the lady herself to her husband, that he would not publish them, on his sending them to her for perusal, which she declined, - it is clear, from the facts that have as yet been made public, that the conduct of Lord Byron was at least as culpable, as that of his wife appears, in the absence of further explanation, to have been extraordinary. Many excuses, however, are to be made for the subject of our memoir, who was most unwarrantably calumniated on the occasion, and publicly taxed with crimes, of which conjugal infidelity was not the least, though, perhaps, at the time of its imputation, the most unjustifiable. The ostensible cause of their separation was the involvement of his lordship's affairs, and his connexion with the managing committee of Drury Lane, which led him into a course of life unsuitable to the domestic habits of Lady Byron. 'My income, at this period,' says his own account of the affair, 'was small, and somewhat bespoken. We had a house in town, gave dinner parties, had separate carriages, and launched into every sort of extravagance. This could not last long. My wife's £10,000 soon melted away. I was beset by duns, and at length, an execution was levied, and the bailiffs put in possession of the very beds we had to sleep on. This was no very agreeable state of affairs, no very pleasant scene for Lady Byron to witness; and it was agreed she should pay her father a visit till the storm had blown over, and some arangements had been made with my creditors.'
The lady, however, expressed her determination never to return to him, in a letter which had been preceded by one, beginning, as he ludicrously says, 'dear duck!"You asked me,' he says in a communication to Captain Medwin, 'if no cause was assigned for this sudden resolution? - if I formed no conjecture about the cause? I will tell you: I have prejudices about women; I do not like to see them eat. Rousseau makes Julie un peu gourmande; but that is not at all according to my taste. I do not like to be interrupted when I am writing. Lady Byron did not attend to these whims of mine. The only harsh thing I ever remember saying to her was, one evening, shortly before our parting. I was standing before the fire, ruminating upon the embarrassment of my affairs, and other annoyances, when Lady Byron came up to me, and said, " Byron, am I in your way? " to which I replied, " D-bly " I was sorry, and reproached myself for the expression; but it escaped me unconsciously, involuntarily: I hardly knew what I said.'