University of Virginia Library


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Andrew M. Stauffer

In October of 1824, soon after Byron's death, Thomas Medwin published his Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron, noted during a residence with his Lordship at Pisa in the years 1821 and 1822 (London: Henry Colburn), a book that generated a great deal of excitement and commentary among its readers.[1] It went into three editions in England by the end of the year, and was immediately pirated in France, Germany, and America.[2] In addition to its obvious biographical significance, the Journal remains an important documentary source of a number of Byron's poems, including the brief lyric known as “Remember Thee” which is typically read as an emblem of his relationship with Caroline Lamb.[3] However, this poem and its publication history have been incompletely elucidated, and sorting these matters offers us an occasion for considering the ways that, with regard to Byron, memory depends upon the revision and bibliographic manipulation of texts.

When the Medwin volume appeared on October 23, 1824, details of Byron's sexual escapades were predictably at the center of public interest, and the volume offered some passages of carefully-edited titillation. Most notably, the first two English editions—as well as all of the piracies—depict Byron relating the story of his affair with Caroline Lamb (although her name is not mentioned).[4] Well-draped with asterisks, the narrative concludes with


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the story of the composition, as well as the text, of “Remember Thee.” Thus Medwin's first edition (with the lineation preserved):

“Her after-conduct was unaccountable madness—a com- bination of spite and jealousy. It was perfectly agreed and understood that we were to meet as strangers. We were at a ball. She came up and asked me if she might waltz. I thought it perfectly indifferent whether she waltzed or not, or with whom, and told her so, in different terms, but with much coolness. After she had finished, a scene occurred, which was in the mouth of every one.

“Soon after this she promised young—* if he would call me out. * * * * * * * * Yet can any one believe that she should be so infatuated, after all this, as to call at my apartments? (certainly with no view of shooting herself.) I was from home; but finding `Vathek' on the table, she wrote in the first page, `Remember me!'

“Yes! I had cause to remember her; and, in the irritability of the moment, wrote under the two words these two stanzas:—

`Remember thee, remember thee!
Till Lethe quench life's burning stream,
Remorse and shame shall cling to thee,
And haunt thee like a feverish dream!
Remember thee! Ay, doubt it not;
Thy husband too shall think of thee;
By neither shalt thou be forgot,
Thou ***** to him, thou ***** to me!'”


The reception history of this passage amounts to efforts to replace its asterisks with revealing words. Indeed, the details of the “scene” that took place at Lady Heathcote's ball (where a distraught Caroline cut herself with a piece of glass) were already well known by many of Medwin's readers.[5] Thanks largely to the work of Ernest Lovell, we also know exactly what Byron claimed Caroline promised to whom (her “favors,” to Henry Grattan).[6] And although we also know what words belong in the last line of the poem, how we know them and when they appeared have been obscured.


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It has not been recognized that, despite the fact that no manuscript is known, the extant documentary record of the poem known as “Remember Thee” begins even before the publication of Medwin's work. In early October of 1824, Byron's poem and the circumstances of its composition were printed in a new monthly magazine published in London, entitled The Attic Miscellany. [7] These neglected pre-publication extracts from the Journal of the Conversations are of crucial bibliographical significance, as they offer more complete versions of the poem and the Caroline Lamb anecdote. Following their appearance in the Miscellany, Medwin decided to delete some of the more offensive phrases from both texts. Indeed, all English editions of Medwin's book contain the text of “Remember Thee” with two sets of asterisks in the final line of the poem. The result has been a kind of wrinkle in the scholarly record, whereby the paths that lead to certain information have been improperly mapped. I mean to address this by bringing The Attic Miscellany and the many piracies of Medwin's Journal to light.

To begin within our current critical horizon: a glance at Byron's Complete Poetical Works, edited by Jerome McGann, reveals that the asterisks in the final line of “Remember Thee” have been replaced by the words “false” and “fiend.”[8] In a note, McGann explains that “these two words [were] first supplied in C[oleridge's] alternate version” (CPW, 3:84). In this assumption, he follows Lovell, who also replaces the asterisks in his version of Medwin's text, and who notes that “false” and “fiend” were taken “from E. H. Coleridge's edition of Byron's Poetry” (Conversations, 219). Coleridge's Works of Lord Byron has been accepted, then, as our only authority for the “false... fiend” conclusion. After making the replacement in his text of the poem, Coleridge notes that “In Medwin's work the euphemisms false and fiend are represented by asterisks.”[9] Lovell and McGann assume that Coleridge has the justification for inserting these “euphemisms” because he had seen an alternate version of this lyric. As a footnote to the final line, Coleridge prints the following:

[“To Bd., Feb. 22, 1813.
“`Remember thee,' nay—doubt it not—
Thy Husband too may `think' of thee!
By neither canst thou be forgot,
Thou false to him—thou fiend to me!
“`Remember thee'? Yes—yes—till Fate
In Lethe quench the guilty dream.
Yet then—e'en then—Remorse and Hate
Shall vainly quaff the vanquished stream.”
From a MS. (in the possession of Mr. Hallam
Murray) not in Byron's handwriting.]

(C, 3:60)


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Coleridge seems to be the only editor to have seen this now-lost manuscript. On the strength of his report, modern editors have inserted “false” and “fiend” in the Medwin text.

Yet for editors wishing to justify the “false... fiend” substitution, Coleridge is unnecessary as a source of information, given the premier and sole issue of the Attic Miscellany, published just before the first edition of Medwin's Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron appeared. As Lovell reports, the Miscellany was “established by [Thomas Colley] Grattan, Henry Bulwer, and Charles Sheridan,” and it was Grattan who “was responsible for the excerpts which appeared” (Captain Medwin, 170). This makes sense, since Grattan (who had met Medwin through Thomas Moore in 1821) acted as Medwin's agent for his Journal, striking a deal with publisher Henry Colburn for its publication.[10] As Grattan writes,

the MS. in question [i.e., Medwin's Journal] was put into our hands, with the amplest liberty of selection for our present purpose. Sensible of the advantage thus offered to us, we did not abuse the confidence.... Our chief object in taking enough to enrich our own work, was to give the public a specimen of the ample treat which they will so shortly be able to enjoy.

(Attic Miscellany, 29)

The editors of the Miscellany must have been working from Medwin's original manuscript, since, in printing the account of the Caroline Lamb relationship and the text of “Remember Thee,” they provide several phrases and sentences that were not included in the book, including the words in the final line of the poem.[11] In the following passage, the words unique to the Miscellany are printed with emphasis:

I thought it perfectly indifferent whether she waltzed or not, or with whom, and I told her so, in different terms, but with much coolness. After she had finished, a comi-tragic scene occurred which was in the mouth of every one. She stabbed herself with a pair of scissars, and cut herself with a tumbler. Soon after this she promised young —.... if he would call me out. I suppose he did not think her worth fighting for. Yet can any one believe that she should be so infatuated after all this as to call my apartments—certainly with no view of shooting herself. I was from home, but finding `Vathek' on the table, she wrote in the first page `Remember me!'—Yes, I had cause to remember her, and in the irritability of the moment wrote, under the two words, these two stanzas:


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Remember thee—remember thee!
Till Lethe quench life's burning stream;
Remorse and shame shall cling to thee,
And haunt thee like a feverish dream.
Remember thee!—aye, doubt it not—
Thy husband too shall think of thee:
By neither shalt thou be forgot—
Thou false to him—thou fiend to me!


The tale and poem were never again published this completely. Another London magazine, The Literary Gazette and Journal of the Belles Lettres, Arts, Science, &c., reviewed the Attic Miscellany in its issue for Saturday, October 16, 1824. In its predictable focus on the Medwin-Byron material, its editors reprint “Remember Thee,” but their version cuts even more than Medwin's first edition does, replacing with asterisks not only the “false” and “fiend,” but the “husband” in line six as well.[12] However, these words were already in public circulation, as demonstrated in the many piracies of Medwin's Journal of the Conversations that appeared within weeks of the first English edition. Versions published in the United States, France, and Germany all insert “false” and “fiend” in the final line of “Remember Thee.”[13]

In fact, the one person in England whom Medwin surely hoped would not see the “false... fiend” conclusion did see it, and it made a lasting impression. In a letter ostensibly to Medwin, but sent to Henry Colburn for publication soon after the Journal of the Conversations appeared, Caroline Lamb wrote,

I have just finished your book which does you credit... and... will live despight of censure.... Yet as you have left to one who adored him a bitter legacy, and as I feel secure the lines “remember thee-thou false to him thou fiend to me”—were


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his... you will I'm sure grant me one favour—let me to you at least confide the truth of the past.

(LJ, 2:451; my emphasis)[14]

Later in life, she wrote to Lady Morgan that Byron “left that dreadful legacy on me—my memory. Remember thee—and well.”[15] Byron's poem seems to have had its intended effect, reversing Caroline's abjuration to remember her with its own angry inscription in her memory. Further, as a part of Medwin's best-selling volume, the poem inscribes itself on the public record as a condemnation of Caroline. Her recognition that Medwin's book would “live despight of censure” and her repeated emphasis on the poem as a “bitter legacy” and a “dreadful legacy” show her well aware of the memorializing power of Byron's words.

In telling the story of the composition of “Remember Thee,” Byron remembers Caroline Lamb for posterity, and offers the poem as his final word on their relationship. Furthermore, the poem enacts its curse of “shame” and remembrance by means of its transmission via Medwin. To be sure, as presented in all official editions of the Journal, the definitive words of the poem's final line disappear beneath series of asterisks. Yet, like the scene at Lady Heathcote's which “was in the mouth of everyone” but which Medwin represents with asterisks, the “false... fiend” conclusion seems to have been known virtually everywhere except within the Medwin editions published in England. Contra Lovell and McGann, we need not rely on Coleridge's alternate version for these words, for they are also available in the Attic Miscellany extracts, as well as in the many piracies and in Caroline Lamb's letter. The world did not have to wait for Coleridge's twentieth-century edition (1898-1904) to discover that Byron thought Caroline a “false... fiend.” The Victorian reputations of Byron and Caroline included that crucial summary of their relationship.

However, Caroline is far from the only “false... fiend” in Byron's body of work. The final line of “Remember Thee” has a certain resonance, given that the poet often refers to beautiful betrayers as false and fiendish. McGann has elucidated the “figura of the repeated deceiver” that haunts Byron's poetry; typically female, she “is a fiend of equivocations, a woman—the woman—who knows how to lie like truth.”[16] In September of 1812, for example, Byron wrote another poem to Caroline Lamb in which he predicted she would “Be false unto many as faithless to one” (CPW, 3:17)[17]—a predic-


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tion well on its way towards the “false... fiend” line of “Remember Thee.” Furthermore, in Manfred (1817) and Cain (1821), Byron uses the words “false” and “fiend” together, in both cases as a character's response to the deceptive temptations of beauty. In the final act of Manfred, Manfred defies the Spirit sent to convey his soul to hell, and the Spirit exclaims, “Reluctant mortall / ... Can it be that thou / Art thus in love with life? the very life / Which made thee wretched!” (CPW, 4:101). Manfred responds, “Thou false fiend, thou liest!” Obviously the Spirit has touched a nerve. Manfred's anger at the suggestion that he loves life seems related to the opening moments of this scene, in which Manfred gazes out at the moonlit mountains and thinks, “Beautiful!” (CPW, 4:97). Knowing that the death he has sought is at hand, he lingers over this tableau of beauty, which causes him to remember another similar night in Rome when the moonlight left “that beautiful which still was so,” and made beautiful “that which was not, till the place / Became religion, and the heart ran o'er / With silent worship” (CPW, 4:98). In reminding Manfred of these temptations that offer to weaken his resolve, the Spirit provokes Manfred's wrath. Similarly, in Cain, Adah exclaims to Lucifer, “Fiend! tempt me not with beauty; thou art fairer / Than was the serpent, and as false” (CPW, 6:245-246). Lucifer has been simultaneously arguing and flirting with Adah, enticing her towards one kind of capitulation or another; and Adah responds with the “false... fiend” spell of resistance as a defense against the encroachment of this beautiful devil. Caroline's invasion of Byron's apartments and her haunting injunction “Remember me!” inspires the same response from Byron: an apotropaic defiance of beautiful deceptions.

Like Manfred who asks only for “Forgetfulness” (CPW, 4:57) of his relationship with Astarte, Byron in “Remember Thee” wants “Lethe” to “quench” his tormenting memories of a woman. The poem thus enacts a wicked trope on the traditional lyric of parted love in which the lover mourns for days that are no more. In Byron's own early lyrics such as “To a Beautiful Quaker” (1806) and “[Remind me not, remind me not]” (1808), the speaker suffers from a painful inability to forget his mistress—painful, because she is out of reach. As Byron writes in “[Remind me not],” “tell me not, remind me not / Of hours which, though for ever gone, / Can still a pleasing dream restore” (CPW, 1:218). Such emotions are precisely opposite those of “Remember Thee,” in which the mistress is unforgettable because all-too-present, and the memories themselves comprise a “guilty dream” rather than a pleasing one.

On April 5, 1813, Byron wrote to Lady Melbourne about his feelings for Caroline:


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the detestation—the utter abhorrence I feel at part of her conduct—I will neither shock you with nor trust myself to express.—That feeling has become a part of my nature—it has poisoned my future existence—I know not whom I may love but to the latest hour of my life I shall hate that woman.—Now you know my sentiments—they will be the same on my deathbed.——To her I do not express this because I have no desire to make her uncomfortable—but such is the state of my mind towards her for reasons I shall not recur to & I beg to be spared from meeting her until we may be chained together in Dante's Inferno.

(BLJ, 3:35-36)

Byron's invocation of Dante here casts himself as a bitter Paolo to Caroline's Francesca, and places them both in Hell's Second Circle, abode of those who surrendered to adulterous lust. In his redaction of this scene from the Inferno, Byron imagines the couple “chained together” in “hate,” rather than clinging to one another out of love. A similar vision governs “Remember Thee,” which reenacts the traditional forget-me-not love lyric as a declaration of infernal hatred: Caroline has been “false” to her husband, and has become a tormenting “fiend” to Byron. As Maurois remarks of the poem, “Nothing was more in character for Byron than this linking of husband with lover in the case against a woman whose worst crime had been the unpardonable sin of loving him.”[18]

However, the textual situation complicates our reading of this poem, even if we assume the “false... fiend” question settled. The two versions that we have—Medwin's and E. H. Coleridge's “To Bd.” text—offer different responses to Caroline and her inscription. To be sure, the “false... fiend” stanza of the poem is similar enough in both versions to establish the general sense of the poem: Byron would like to forget Caroline and his affair with her, but cannot. The poem's other stanza elaborates this idea in the “To Bd.” version, in which Byron claims that only Lethe can “quench the guilty dream” and even then his “Remorse and Hate” will remain. Here the guilt, remorse, and hatred all belong to Byron: they are the unforgettable emotions raised in him by thoughts of Caroline. On the other hand, in the Medwin version of the poem, these emotions are ascribed to the poem's addressee: “Remorse and shame shall cling to thee, / And haunt thee like a feverish dream!” These lines seem a bit of a non sequitur after the exasperated exclamation of disbelief, “Remember Thee,” and thus mark the poem as the product of a later scene of revision.

Thus Medwin's version of the poem raises two possibilities regarding its composition: either Byron adapted the original lines in order to place a more particular and cutting message to Caroline before the public eye or Medwin's own forgetfulness caused him to render the poem inaccurately. On the one hand, we should recall that, despite their linguistic similarities, the poems emerge out of radically different circumstances to perform radically different tasks. The Vathek text was written sometime in 1813 or 1814 as a private inscription, an angry reaction to Caroline's intrusion, and a record of Byron's essentially incommunicable frustration. The Medwin text, on the other hand,


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was composed in 1821 or 1822 as Byron reordered his life for Medwin. By then Caroline really was a memory, and much had intervened to deepen Byron's antipathy towards her, notably Glenarvon and the rumors that Caroline had spread about his relationship with Augusta Leigh. As a disapproving E. C. Mayne puts it in her introduction to the story of Byron's “Remember Thee”:

Let us read... what he said to Medwin in 1821-22—remembering, that justice may be done, all that had happened in the meantime to embitter him against her: Glenarvon, and the rumours to which she too had probably contributed.[19]

Byron suspected, apparently correctly, that Caroline had been spreading rumours about his incestuous relationship with Augusta Leigh.[20] Essentially, she had gone public with her loving hatred for Byron. To Medwin Byron gave a poem meant as a communication to Caroline and the world, a curse of memory that would wickedly reverse her injunction, “Remember me!” Thus the Vathek test—missing, longed for, and perhaps never seen—presents the sentimental poem as a spontaneous overflow of powerful outrage, whereas the Medwin text is a calculated deployment of vengeful feelings served cold by way of an eager (although perhaps forgetful) Thomas Medwin.

This textual situation is notably Byronic, in that it involves a cunning takeover of one poem by another for particular and personal communicative ends. For example, McGann has shown that the Incantation in Manfred began as a “chorus in a witch drama” and was meant as a curse on his wife and their tormenting marriage (CPW, 7:90-92, 155). As in the case with “Remember Thee,” a poem that began as a private expression of hatred finds another incarnation as part of a more public document where it can perform its curse, more or less obliquely, before its readers' eyes. In fact, the Medwin “Remember Thee” invokes the same language and spirit as the Incantation, confirming Byron's sense of purpose for these published curses. When in the Medwin version, he follows his expression of disbelief, “Remember Thee,” with prophetic statements regarding Caroline's own memory, he demonstrates this desire to wrench the poem from lament to curse: “Remorse and shame shall cling to thee / And haunt thee like a feverish dream!” His own “Remorse,” “Hate,” and “guilty dreams” have been replaced in this gesture of emotional mastery.

On the other hand, one could make a case that the Medwin version simply became garbled in its journey into print. Due in part to the belated and apparently oral circumstances of its transmission, and in part to Medwin's notoriously bad memory, the poem arguably shows signs of being a confused mingling of Shelley and Byron. Later in his book, Medwin quotes Byron as saying,


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“Then as to Keats, though I am no admirer of his poetry, I do not envy the man,
whoever he was, that attacked and killed him. Except a couplet of Dryden's
On his own bed of torture let him lie,
Fit garbage for the hell-hound infamy,
I know no lines more cutting than those in `Adonais.'”

(Lovell, Conversations, 237)[21]

Medwin then misquotes the Shelley passage from memory:
Remorse and Self-contempt shall cling to thee;
Hot Shame shall burn upon thy Cain-like brow,
And like a beaten hound tremble thou shalt as now

(Lovell, Conversations, 237)

Both this passage and Medwin's first stanza of “Remember Thee” ascribe “remorse” and “shame” to their enemies, emotions that will “cling” and induce symptoms of fever. Also relevant is Prometheus' curse of Jupiter in Shelley's Prometheus Unbound, which Medwin may have been remembering:
Fiend, I defy thee!...
I curse thee! Let a sufferer's curse
Clasp thee, his torturer, like remorse,
Till thine Infinity shall be
A robe of envenomed agony;
And thine Omnipotence a crown of pain
To cling like burning gold round thy dissolving brain.[22]
Again, “Remorse” will “Clasp” or “cling” with a “burning” or fever. The similarities are striking and suggest that the first stanza of Medwin's “Remember Thee” is an amalgam of angry Shelley and angry Byron. So it is possible that the Medwin text has been adulterated by inaccurate powers of recall.

Particularly in light of these observations, E. H. Coleridge's record of the variant text “To Bd.” should cause us to reconsider our sense of this poem as such. Intimately related to a specific biographical event, “Remember Thee” is occasional verse with a vengeance. Thus its original manuscript version—the lines actually penned by Byron beneath Caroline's inscription—has a


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priority that later versions cannot disturb. Despite the greater currency of the Medwin version, we cannot be satisfied with it as our only standard text of Byron's poem. Given that both versions have no direct authority, Coleridge's at least has claims to chronological proximity and transcriptive accuracy that Medwin's does not. The “To Bd.” text is dated “Feb. 22, 1813”— certainly much nearer to the date of the lyric's original composition than Medwin's reconstruction in the 1820s. In other words, if we accept the date at the head of this manuscript as accurate, as McGann has done, we cannot relegate Coleridge's footnote (that is, the “To Bd.” text) to our own margins.[23] After all, the Medwin text is a printed version of a transcript of a remembered conversation that took place at least seven years after the poem's composition. On the other hand, the “To Bd.” manuscript, if we accept it as Byron's own work, seems to have been copied (by someone) around the time of the alleged incident, and then printed by Coleridge.

The “To Bd.” text does read more like an unconsidered outburst of rage, with its many dashes and repetitions. That Coleridge was the only person to see it matters little in this case, since his authority is certainly as good as Medwin's. However, several important objections to the “To Bd.” version as the official one do exist. First, the address of the poem “To Bd.” undermines its status as a response to Caroline Lamb. In addition, the date of the “To Bd.” manuscript raises questions about the chronology of the poem's composition. Acocrding to Medwin, Byron made it clear that Caroline's intrusion occurred after the scene at Lady Heathcote's “Small Waltzing Party”, which took place on July 5, 1813 (BLJ, 3:72).[24] If we accept Byron's story, we should place the composition of “Remember Thee” in June of 1814,[25] most likely just prior to Byron's writing this letter to Lady Melbourne:

You talked to me—about keeping her [Caroline] out—it is impossible—she comes at all times—at any time—& the moment the door is open in she walks—... I have no hesitation in saying—that I have made up my mind as to the alternative—and would sooner—much sooner be with the dead in purgatory—than with her—Caroline (I put down the name at length as I am not jesting) upon earth.—She may hunt me down —it is in the power of any mad or bad woman to do so by any man—but snare me she shall not—torment me she may—how am I to bar myself from her!—I am already almost a prisoner—she has no shame—no feeling—no one estimable or redeemable quality.—These are strong words—but I know what I am writing—... if there is one human being whom I do utterly detest & abhor—it is she—& all things considered—I feel to myself justified in so doing—she has been an adder in my path ever since my return to this country—she has often belied—& sometimes betrayed me—she has crossed me every where—she has watched—& worried & guessed—& been a curse to me and mine.—You may shew her this if you please—or to anyone you please—if


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these were the last words I were to write upon earth—I would not revoke one letter—except to make it more legible.

—(BLJ, 4:132-133)

The anger of this letter matches the tone of “Remember Thee” precisely; both documents show Byron enraged at Caroline's violation of his territory. If one compares this letter to those Byron was writing to Lady Melbourne about Caroline in January and February of 1813 (the date in the “To Bd” MS.), one finds Byron only mildly and good-humoredly annoyed by Caroline's importunities.[26]

Several possible explanations exist for the date on the “To Bd.” manuscript. Coleridge could have misread the date, which may have been “1815.” Another possibility is that the poem was retrospectively dated when copied, and the unknown scribe was misinformed: the poem may have been copied from the page of Vathek, which itself had been previously inscribed with the 1813, perhaps a date of purchase (could the “Bd.” of this copy could be an abbreviation for “Beckford,” author of Vathek? Or perhaps Bob Dallas, Byron's friend during this period?). In addition, this version of the poem could have been composed in 1813, in response to an entirely different event: Byron may have invented the Vathek anecdote (although Caroline doesn't deny the incident in her various comments on the poem), or, if Caroline did intrude in 1814, Byron may have remembered the poem and rewritten it (perhaps in altered form) on the page of Vathek.

In any case, the Medwin standard version of “Remember Thee” has occluded the double nature of this poem, and its conflicted first stanza indicates some kind of revisionary violence visited upon the original. We may choose to read this version, but should acknowledge its belated composition as a separate artistic act, perhaps influenced by Medwin's faulty memory. If we turn instead to the “To Bd.” version presented by E. H. Coleridge, we may be rewarded with a poem that is closer to Byron's lost holograph manuscript. To be sure, we want to conserve Medwin's text accurately as a document that contributed heavily to the Victorian memory of Byron and Caroline Lamb, and that attests to Byron's cunning manipulation of his own work. But as editors of Byron's poetry, we also want to come as close as possible to reconstructing the page of Vathek that was the stage of this angry little drama. It is important to keep these projects separate as we consider how to remember “Remember Thee.”


For a summary of the circumstances surrounding the composition and publication of this volume, see Ernest J. Lovell's Captain Medwin: Friend of Byron and Shelley (Austin: U of Texas P, 1962), especially chapters 5 and 6. Also informative is Lovell's edition of Medwin's text, Conversations of Lord Byron (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1966), which is based on the third English edition and incorporates Medwin's annotations for a further edition that was never published. However, Lovell's accounts obscure the fact that the first edition was entitled Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron; later English editions dropped ”Journal of the” from their titles. Almost all editions published outside of England take their texts from the first edition, and thus also go under the “Journal” title. Except in the bibliography of Captain Medwin (333), Lovell refers to Medwin's volume uniformly as Conversations of Lord Byron.


Lovell calls the publication of the Conversations “one of the greatest storms in English literary history,” and estimates that fifteen editions appeared before it was all over, in a variety of languages (Captain Medwin, 163, 171- 172).


Except in wholly biographical contexts (like Medwin's), the poem “Remember Thee” has been little noticed. For a rare critical reading, see pp. 42ff. of James Soderholm, “Lady Caroline Lamb: Byron's Miniature Writ Large,” Keats-Shelley Journal 40 (1991), 24-46.


This account was excised from the third edition, and Medwin never planned to restore it. See Lovell, ed., Conversations, 219.


See Leslie Marchand, Byron: A Biography, 3 vols. (New York: Knopf, 1957), 1:396-398; and Byron's Letters and Journals, ed. Leslie Marchand, 11 vols. (New York: Knopf, 1973-82), 3:72; hereafter BLJ. See also The Works of Lord Byron: Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland Prothero, 6 vols. (London: J. Murray, 1898-1904), 2:242-243n3; hereafter LJ. Other accounts appear in Lovell's His Very Self and Voice: Collected Conversations of Lord Byron (New York: Macmillan, 1954), 69-70. 617n57.


See Lovell, ed., Conversations, 218; and note 11 below.


Lovell notes the existence of these extracts in his Captain Medwin (170), but he apparently did not consult them.


Byron: The Complete Poetical Works, 7 vols. (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1980-93), 3:84. Hereafter CPW.


The Works of Lord Byron: Poetry, 7 vols. (London: J. Murray, 1898-1904), 3:59. Hereafter C.


For more on this transaction and the Miscellany, see T. C. Grattan's Beaten Paths; and Those Who Trod Them, 2 vols. (London: Chapman and Hall, 1865), 2:62ff. As Grattan writes, “I put Colburn in communication with Mr. Forbes, the editor of `The Attic Miscellany' and entrusted [him] with the care of its publication, leaving to that gentleman, on his being furnished with the proof-sheets, the choice of the passages from Medwin, and undertaking myself to write the article which was to introduce them” (2:63).


Interestingly enough, the one passage the Miscellany omits here involves a relative of Thomas Colley Grattan's: Byron reported to Medwin that Caroline promised “young Grattan her favours” if he would call Byron out (Lovell, ed., Conversations, 218). The reticence of the Miscellany editors here is surely based in part on the familial interests of their patron.


In the following Saturday's issue (Oct. 23), The Literary Gazette returned to the Caroline Lamb story as presented in Medwin, writing of Byron's “attack upon a woman, and one who had `loved not wisely but too well,' to which we also alluded in our last, and which being now openly circulated, it is needless in us any longer to disguise” (673). This issue reprints the Caroline anecdotes, but omits the two revealing sentences unique to the Attic Miscellany. However, the word “comi-tragic” does appear, indicating the Gazette relied in part on the Miscellany text.


New York: Wilder & Campbell (1824), 153; Baltimore: Etting Mickle (1825), 163; Paris: Baudry, 1st edition (1824), 2:69; Gesprache mit Lord Byron, Stuttgart (1824), 251; Conservations de Lord Byron ..., (Paris: Chez Pillet Ainé, 1825), 2:86; and Les Conversations de Lord Byron, Recueillies par M. Medwin... Par. M.A.P. [i.e., Amédée Pichot] Paris: Ladvocat (1824), 2:67 (this last edition comprises volumes 18 and 19 of Byron's Oeuvres nouvelles, edited by Pichot). Of all the foreign editions I have seen, only Galignani in Paris (1824) reprints Medwin's asterisks instead of “false” and “fiend.” None reprints the other prose phrases unique to the Attic Miscellany. Furthermore, Medwin's “Remember Thee” is printed with the words “false” and “fiend” in their places in several early collections of Byron's poetry: Miscellanies by Lord Byron, 3 vols. (London: John Murray, 1837), 3:93; and The Poetical Works of Lord Byron, “A New Edition,” 6 vols. (London: John Murray, 1855), 2:339. Both of these volumes offer a quotation from Medwin by way of explanation.


Caroline was greatly upset by Medwin's book and sent this letter to Colburn as a rejoinder. Habhouse wrote on Nov. 1, 1824, that Caroline was “in the utmost rage at Medwin's conversations representing her as not having been the object of Byron's attachment.” For this passage, and more on Caroline's letter, see Doris Langley Moore, The Late Lord Byron: Posthumous Dramas (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1961), 105-106.


Lady (Sydney) Morgan, Lady Morgan's Memoirs: Autobiography, Diaries, and Correspondence, 2 vols. (1862; New York: AMS, 1975), 2:207.


“`My Brain is Feminine': Byron and the Poetry of Deception,” Byron: Augustan and Romantic, ed. Andrew Rutherford (London: Macmillan, 1990), 35, 37.


He would reuse this phrase in “When We Two Parted” (a poem addressed to Lady Francis Webster) in 1815 (CPW, 2:320). McGann has discussed these poems in several places, notably “Byron and `The Truth in Masquerade,'” Romantic Revisions, ed. Robert Brinkley and Keith Hanley (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992), 191-209; and “The Significance of Biographical Context: Two Poems by Lord Byron,” The Writer and His Work, ed. Louis A. Martz (New Haven: Yale UP, 1978), 347-364.


Andre Maurois, Byron, trans. Hamish Miles (New York: Appleton, 1930), 212.


Ethel Colburn Mayne, Byron, 2 vols. (New York: Scribner's, 1912), 1:252.


On this episode in their relationship, see Marchand, Byron: A Biography, 2:585-596.


Lovell notes that he cannot find these lines in Dryden (Conversations, 237). This is because they originated with William Mason, in his An Heroic Postscript to the Public (London, 1774). Medwin misquotes the lines, however, as well as misattributing them—another example of memory gone wrong in the Journals. The actual lines are, “Stretch you on satire's rack, and bid you lie / Fit garbage for the hell-hound, Infamy” (lines 109-110). Byron may have seen a version of the couplet printed in The Satirist, October 1, 1809, in an article on a radical newspaper called The British Press: “But when I find it preaching sedition... it then becomes the duty of every honest man to... expose it to the world.... `Here on the rack of satire let it lie, / Fit garbage for the hell-hound Infamy.'” (5:335). He also almost certainly encountered an allusion to the lines in a review of his own poetry in The Scourge for March 1, 1811: “he has... indulged in accusations which the magnanamity of the injured individual alone withholds him from... punishing with a severity of torture that would leave him exhausted and unpitied on the rack of infamy” (1:193).


1.262, 286-291, in Shelley's Poetry and Prose, ed. Donald Reiman and Sharon Powers (New York: Norton, 1977), 143-144.


According to McGann, “Marchand dates the lines June 1814, but this is probably not correct, as the dating on the alternate version of the poem shows.... The poem has to do with an incident involving Lady Caroline Lamb in late Jan. or Feb. 1813” (CPW, 3:424).


See also Lord Byron: The Complete Miscellaneous Prose, ed. Andrew Nicholson (Oxford: Clarendon, 1991), 211.


In this judgement, I follow Marchand (Byron: A Biography, 1:459) rather than McGann (see note 23).


In early January of 1813, Caroline managed to con Murray out of a picture of Byron; but Byron's response is mostly that of good-humored exasperation (BLJ, 3:12). This was still relatively early in their extended breaking-up. At the end of January, he wrote to Lady Melbourne, saying “I see nothing but the prospect of an endless correspondence in answering Ly. C.'s letters” (Jan. 22, 1813), indicating a sense of physical distance from her, unlike the furious paranoia of the June 1814 letter. On February 28, 1813, he was still speaking of the “charms of the fair Phryne”—rather than the “false... fiend” of 1814. See BLJ, 3:16, 23.