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Encyclopedia > Allegra Byron
Clara Allegra Byron
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Clara Allegra Byron

Clara Allegra Byron (January 15, 1817 - April 20, 1822), initially named Alba, meaning "dawn," or "white," by her mother, was the illegitimate daughter of George Gordon, Lord Byron and Claire Clairmont, the stepsister of Mary Shelley[1]. Born in Bath, England, she initially lived with her mother and Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Claire Clairmont hoped that her daughter would be more financially comfortable and would have a better chance at a good life if she lived with her father. Byron, hostile to Claire and initially skeptical that he had fathered her daughter, took custody of Allegra under the condition that her mother have no further contact with her. He requested that her name be changed from Alba, which related to "AlbĂ©," Claire Clairmont's nickname for Byron, to Allegra, an Italian name. The child was baptized with the name Clara Allegra before her mother relinquished her to Byron. Byron himself had lost custody of his legitimate daughter, Augusta Ada Byron, and was denied any role in her upbringing or a chance to see her. Byron discussed spelling Allegra's surname as "Biron" instead of as "Byron" to further distinguish his illegitimate daughter from his legitimate one. 1817 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... 1822 (MDCCCXXII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Lord Byron, English poet Lord Byron (1803), as painted by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, (January 22, 1788 – April 19, 1824) was the most widely read English language poet of his day. ... Claire Clairmont Clara Mary Jane Clairmont (April 27, 1798 – March 19, 1879), or Claire Clairmont as she was commonly known, was a stepsister of writer Mary Shelley. ... Mary Shelley Mary Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist, the author of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. ... For other uses, see Bath (disambiguation). ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq... Mary Shelley Mary Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist, the author of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. ... Percy Bysshe Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley (August 4, 1792 – July 8, 1822; pronounced ) was one of the major English Romantic poets and is widely considered to be among the finest lyric poets of the English language. ... Claire Clairmont Clara Mary Jane Clairmont (April 27, 1798 – March 19, 1879), or Claire Clairmont as she was commonly known, was a stepsister of writer Mary Shelley. ... Claire Clairmont Clara Mary Jane Clairmont (April 27, 1798 – March 19, 1879), or Claire Clairmont as she was commonly known, was a stepsister of writer Mary Shelley. ... Ada Lovelace Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (December 10, 1815 – November 27, 1852) is mainly known for having written a description of Charles Babbages early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. ... Illegitimacy was a term in common usage for the condition of being born of parents who are not validly married to one another; the legal term is bastardy. ...


Allegra was granted a few brief reunions with her mother, but lived her short life mainly with boarders chosen by Byron or in an Italian convent. She was visited only intermittently by her father, who displayed inconsistent paternal interest in her. This article is about an abbey as a religious building. ...

Contents


Resemblances to Byron

Clara Allegra Byron
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Clara Allegra Byron

Byron was pleased with Allegra's resemblances to himself in health and temperament. When she was 18 months old, he wrote in a letter to a friend: "My bastard came three days ago -- very like -- healthy -- noisy & capricious." (Benita Eisler, Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame,1999: 593.) In an 1818 letter to his half-sister Augusta Leigh, Byron wrote that "She is very pretty -- remarkably intelligent ... She has very blue eyes -- that singular forehead -- fair curly hair -- and a devil of a spirit -- but that is Papa's." (Eisler 1999:594.) In 1819, in another letter to Augusta Leigh, Byron described two and a half-year-old Allegra as "very droll" and again commented on her resemblance to himself in physical appearance, temperament and interests: (She) "has a very good deal of the Byron. Can't articulate the letter 'r' at all -- frowns and pouts quite in our way -- blue eyes -- light hair growing darker daily -- and a dimple in the chin -- a scowl on the brow -- white skin -- sweet voice -- and a particular liking of Music -- and of her own way in every thing -- is that not B. all over?" (Eisler 1999: 640-641) The child had forgotten any English she had learned and now spoke only Venetian Italian (Eisler 1999: 640) Augusta Byron, later Augusta Leigh (1783 - 1851) was the only daughter of Captain Mad Jack Byron, the poet Lord Byrons father, by his first wife, Amelia dArcy, Baroness Conyers in her own right, the divorced wife of Francis, Marquis of Carmarthen, who was later to become 5th Duke... Augusta Byron, later Augusta Leigh (1783 - 1851) was the only daughter of Captain Mad Jack Byron, the poet Lord Byrons father, by his first wife, Amelia dArcy, Baroness Conyers in her own right, the divorced wife of Francis, Marquis of Carmarthen, who was later to become 5th Duke... Country Italy Region Veneto Province Venice (VE) Mayor Massimo Cacciari (since April 18, 2005) Elevation m Area 412 km² Population  - Total (as of December 31, 2004) 271,251  - Density 646/km² Time zone CET, UTC+1 Coordinates Gentilic Veneziani Dialing code 041 Postal code 30100 Frazioni Chirignago, Favaro Veneto, Mestre...


As she grew older, Allegra also demonstrated a talent for acting and singing. Byron's mistress Teresa, Contessa Guiccioli, whom Allegra called "mammina," remarked on Allegra's talent for mimicking the servants and for singing popular songs. Byron felt her talent for mimickry, another talent she shared with him, might amuse other people in the short term but would eventually be a cause of trouble for her. (Eisler 1999: 597)


Convent education

However, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who visited the toddler Allegra while she was being boarded with a family chosen by Byron, had a different opinion of the child's living arrangements over the years. He often tried to persuade Byron to let Claire Clairmont see her daughter and they thought of ways to regain custody of her. He wrote his wife Mary Shelley that Allegra looked pale and quiet when he saw her in 1818.(Eisler 1999: 597). When he saw her again in 1821, when she was four, he again felt she looked pale and delicate and was infuriated by the Roman Catholic education she was receiving. "(Besides) Paradise & angels ... she has a prodigious list of saints -- and is always talking of the Bambino ... The idea of bringing up so sweet a creature in the midst of such trash till Sixteen!" he wrote. The child asked Shelley to "tell her mother she wanted a kiss and a gold dress and would he please beg her Papa and Mammina to visit her." (Eisler 1999: 687). Percy Bysshe Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley (August 4, 1792 – July 8, 1822; pronounced ) was one of the major English Romantic poets and is widely considered to be among the finest lyric poets of the English language. ... Claire Clairmont Clara Mary Jane Clairmont (April 27, 1798 – March 19, 1879), or Claire Clairmont as she was commonly known, was a stepsister of writer Mary Shelley. ... Mary Shelley Mary Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist, the author of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. ... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ...

Claire Clairmont
Claire Clairmont

Claire Clairmont was also infuriated by Byron's decision to send her daughter to a convent in March 1821. Shortly afterwards, she wrote him a furious, condemnatory letter accusing him of breaking his promise that their daughter would never be apart from one of her parents. She felt that the physical conditions in convents were unhealthy and the education provided was poor and was responsible for "the state of ignorance & profligacy of Italian women, all pupils of Convents. They are bad wives & most unnatural mothers, licentious & ignorant they are the dishonour & unhappiness of society ... This step will procure to you an innumerable addition of enemies & of blame." (Eisler 1999: 690-691). In March 1822, she dreamed up a plot to kidnap her daughter from the convent and asked Shelley to forge a letter of permission from Byron. Shelley refused. (Eisler 1999: 699) Claire Clairmont This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years. ... Claire Clairmont Clara Mary Jane Clairmont (April 27, 1798 – March 19, 1879), or Claire Clairmont as she was commonly known, was a stepsister of writer Mary Shelley. ...

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Lord Byron, Anglo-Scottish poet

Byron had arranged for Allegra to be educated in the convent precisely because he, unlike his former lover Claire, thought favorably of the manners and attitudes of Italian women who had received convent educations. He also believed his daughter, given her illegitimacy, would have a better chance of marrying well in Italy than she would in England. A Roman Catholic girl with a suitable dowry, raised in a convent, would have a decent chance of marrying into high Italian society. At the suggestion of Teresa, Contessa Guiccioli, the four-year-old Allegra was sent to the Capuchin convent in Bagnacavallo, where she was doted on by the nuns, who called her "Allegrina," and was visited by Teresa's relatives. Image File history File links George_Gordon_Byron,_6th_Baron_Byron_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_13619. ... Image File history File links George_Gordon_Byron,_6th_Baron_Byron_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_13619. ... This article is about an abbey as a religious building. ... This article is about an abbey as a religious building. ... Illegitimacy was a term in common use for the condition of being born of parents who were not validly married to one another; the legal term was bastardy. ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... A dowry (also known as trousseau) is a gift of money or valuables given by the groomss family to that of the bride to permit their marriage. ... This article is about an abbey as a religious building. ... The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap) is an order of friars in the Roman Catholic Church, the chief and only permanent offshoot of the Franciscans. ... This article is about an abbey as a religious building. ...


Probably with considerable assistance from the nuns, four-year-old Allegra wrote her father a letter in Italian from the convent, dated September 21, 1821, asking him to visit her: "My dear Papa. It being fair-time, I should like so much a visit from my Papa as I have many wishes to satisfy. Won't you come to please your Allegra who loves you so?" (Eisler 1999: 701)


Death, burial and a memorial

Byron never visited the child during the 13 months she was in the convent, according to Eisler's biography. Allegra died on April 20, 1822 of what some biographers have identified as typhus. Eisler speculated that she died after suffering a reoccurance of her malarial-type fevers, which she had also suffered from the previous fall. 1822 (MDCCCXXII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Epidemic typhus. ... Malaria (from Medieval Italian: mala aria — bad air; formerly called ague or marsh fever) is an infectious disease that is widespread in many tropical and subtropical regions. ...


Byron sent her body to England and wrote an inscription for her gravestone that read: "In memory of Allegra, daughter of G.G., Lord Byron, who died at Bagna Cavallo in Italy, April 20, 1822, Aged Five Years and Three Months,-'I shall go to her, but she shall not return to me.'-2 Samuel, xii, 23"[1]


Scandalized by Byron's reputation and the child's illegitimacy, the rector of St. Mary's Parish Church in Harrow, Middlesex, England, refused to place a plaque on Allegra's grave and permitted her only to be buried at the entrance of the church without a marker. When Byron died two years later, the rector also refused to bury him at St. Mary's Parish Church in Harrow. He was also denied burial at Westminster. He was ultimately buried at St. Mary Magdalens' Church in Hucknall Torkard, Nottinghamshire, England. Alternative meanings: Harrow, London, a place in the London Borough of Harrow; Harrow School, a famous public school in the United Kingdom; The Harrow, a fantasy and horror magazine. ... Middlesex is one of the 39 historic counties of England and the second smallest (after Rutland). ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq... Alternative meanings: Harrow, London, a place in the London Borough of Harrow; Harrow School, a famous public school in the United Kingdom; The Harrow, a fantasy and horror magazine. ... Westminster is a district within the City of Westminster in London. ... Nottinghamshire (abbreviated Notts) is an English county in the East Midlands, which borders South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire. ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital London Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq...


In 1980, The Byron Society placed a memorial plaque for Allegra at Harrow, inscribed with words from a letter Byron wrote to a friend after her death: "I suppose that Time will do his usual work... - Death has done his."[1] Alternative meanings: Harrow, London, a place in the London Borough of Harrow; Harrow School, a famous public school in the United Kingdom; The Harrow, a fantasy and horror magazine. ...


Claire Clairmont never forgave Byron for Allegra's death and at times doubted that the child had even died. Claire Clairmont Clara Mary Jane Clairmont (April 27, 1798 – March 19, 1879), or Claire Clairmont as she was commonly known, was a stepsister of writer Mary Shelley. ...


See also

Lord Byron, Anglo-Scottish poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (January 22, 1788–April 19, 1824) was an Anglo-Scottish poet and a leading figure in Romanticism. ... Claire Clairmont Clara Mary Jane Clairmont (April 27, 1798 – March 19, 1879), or Claire Clairmont as she was commonly known, was a stepsister of writer Mary Shelley. ... Augusta Byron, later Augusta Leigh (1783 - 1851) was the only daughter of Captain Mad Jack Byron, the poet Lord Byrons father, by his first wife, Amelia dArcy, Baroness Conyers in her own right, the divorced wife of Francis, Marquis of Carmarthen, who was later to become 5th Duke... Ada Lovelace Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (December 10, 1815 – November 27, 1852) is mainly known for having written a description of Charles Babbages early mechanical general-purpose computer, the analytical engine. ... Mary Shelley Mary Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist, the author of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. ... Percy Bysshe Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley (August 4, 1792 – July 8, 1822; pronounced ) was one of the major English Romantic poets and is widely considered to be among the finest lyric poets of the English language. ...

References

  • Eisler, Benita, Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame
  1. ^ a b c The Androom Archives. xs4all.nl.

External links

  • Photo of Allegra's memorial [1]

 
 

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