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Byron & politics: ‘born for opposition’
Home|Special Collections Exhibitions|Byron & politics: ‘born for opposition’|Napoleon: Emperor, expectation & exile|29. Manuscript of Byron’s ‘From the French,’ stanzas 3-5, in the hand of Augusta Leigh with annotations by Byron, 1815 

29. Manuscript of Byron’s ‘From the French,’ stanzas 3-5, in the hand of Augusta Leigh with annotations by Byron, 1815

NLS Ms.43348, f.16r

Byron revised this manuscript copied by his half-sister Augusta Leigh. Like most of his Napoleonic poems it was titled or sub-titled ‘From the French’, a device to allow the poet to speak in a French character.

In this poem one of Napoleon’s loyal soldiers despairs at his commander’s exile and laments that he is not to be one of the three officers to accompany him. Stanza 5 reads:

My Chief – my King – my Friend – Adieu.
Never did I droop before –
Never to my Sovereign sue,
As his foes I now implore –
All I ask is to abide
All the perils he must brave –
All my hope was to divide –
His fall – his exile & his grave.

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