The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Lines written in an Album, at Malta
As o'er the cold sepulchral stone
And when by thee that name is read,
Malta, September 14, 1809.
- Written in an Album.—[Editions 1812-1831.]
Written in Mrs. Spencer S.'s——.—[MS. M. erased.]
Written at the request of a lady in her memorandum book.—[MS. B. M. "Mrs. S. S.'s request."—Erased. MS. B. M.]
- [The possessor of the album was, doubtless, Mrs. Spencer Smith, the "Lady" of the lines To Florence, "the sweet Florence" of the Stanzas composed during a Thunderstorm, and of the Stanzas written in passing through the Ambracian Gulf, and, finally, when "The Spell is broke, the Charm is flown," the "fair Florence" of stanzas xxxii., xxxiii. of the Second Canto of Childe Harold. In a letter to his mother, dated September 15, 1809, Byron writes, "This letter is committed to the charge of a very extraordinary woman, whom you have doubtless heard of, Mrs. Spencer Smith, of whose escape the Marquis de Salvo published a narrative a few years ago (Travels in the Year l806, from Italy to England through the Tyrol., etc., containing the particulars of the liberation of Mrs. Spencer Smith from the hands of the French Police. London: 12mo, 1807). She has since been shipwrecked, and her life has been from its commencement so fertile in remarkable incidents, that in a romance they would appear improbable. She was born at Constantinople [circ. 1785], where her father, Baron Herbert, was Austrian Ambassador; married unhappily, yet has never been impeached in point of character; excited the vengeance of Buonaparte by a part in some conspiracy; several times risked her life; and is not yet twenty-five." John Spencer Smith, the "Lady's" husband, was a younger brother of Admiral Sir Sidney Smith, the hero of the siege of Acre. He began life as a Page of Honour to Queen Charlotte, was, afterwards, attached to the Turkish Embassy, and (May 4, 1798) appointed Minister Plenipotentiary. On January 5, 1799, he concluded the treaty of defensive alliance with the Porte; and, October 30, 1799, obtained the freedom of the Black Sea for the English flag (see Remains of the late John Tweddell. London: 1815. See, too, for Mrs. Spencer Smith, Letters, 1898, i. 244, 245, note l).]