Byron's Letter and Poem to Lady Caroline Lamb

    The following letter was written by Byron in order to end a brief, but passionate affair between Caroline and him. It is thought that Byron was pressured by Caroline's mother to end the fling because she also had feelings for Byron.

August 1812

My dearest Caroline,

If tears, which you saw & know I am not apt to shed, if the agitation in which I parted from you, agitation which you must have perceived through the whole of this most nervous nervous affair, did not commence till the moment of leaving you approached, if all that I have said & done, & am still but too ready to say & do, have not sufficiently proved what my real feelings are & must be ever towards you, my love, I have no other proof to offer.
God knows I wish you happy, & when I quit you, or rather when you from a sense of duty to your husband & mother quit me, you shall acknowledge the truth of what I again promise & vow, that no other in word or deed shall ever hold the place in my affection which is & and shall be most sacred to you, till I am nothing.

I never knew till that moment , the madness of --my dearest & most believed friend--I cannot express myself-- this is no time for words--but I shall have a pride, a melancholy pleasure, in suffering what you yourself can hardly conceive--for you do not know me. --I am now about to go out with a heavy heart, because -- my appearing this Evening will stop any absurd story which the events of today might give rise to -- do you think now that I am cold & stern, & artful -- will even others think so, will your mother even -- that mother to whom we must indeed sacrifice much, more much more on my part, that she shall ever know or can imagine.

"Promises not to love you" ah Caroline it is past promising -- but shall attribute all concessions to the proper motive -- & never cease to feel all that you have already witnessed -- & more than can ever be known but to my own heart -- perhaps to yours--

May God protect forgive & bless you-- ever & even more than ever yr. most attached


P.S.-- These taunts which have driven you to this -- my dearest Caroline-- were it not for your mother & the kindness of all your connections, is there anything on earth or heaven that would have made me so happy as to have made you mine long ago? & not less now than then, but more than ever at this time -- you know I would with pleasure give up all here & all beyond the grave for you --? I care not who knows this -- what use is made of it -- it is you & most entirely, to obey, to honour, love -- & fly with you when, where, & how you yourself might & may determine.

To Caroline
Think'st thou I saw thy beauteous eyes,
Suffus'd in tears, implore to stay;
And heard unmov'd thy plenteous sighs,
Which said far more than words can say?

Though keen the grief thy tears exprest,
When love and hope lay both o'erthrown;
Yet, still, my girl, this bleeding breast
Throbb'd with deep sorrow, as thine own.

But, when our cheeks with anguish glow'd,
When thy sweet lips were join'd to mine;
The tears that from my eyelids flow'd
Were lost in those which fell from thine.

Thou could'st not feel my burning cheek,
Thy gushing tears had quench'd its flame
, And, as thy tongue essay'd to speak,
In sighs alone it breath'd my name.

And yet, my girl, we weep in vain,
In vain our fate in sighs deplore;
Rememberance only can remain,
But that, will make us weep the more
Again, thou best belov'd, adieu!
Ah! if thou canst, o'ercome regret,
Nor let thy mind past joys review,
Our only hope is, to forget!

Katharine Ellingson

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