We’re going to discuss as we speak with Edward John Trelawny on the Palazzo Marciano in Livorno, Italy. An adventurer, author, and raconteur, he’s identified largely as probably the most dashing member of the Byron/Shelley circle in historic Pisa; however, he’s a sophisticated and sensible man in his personal proper, whom Lord Byron known as the “personification of my Corsair.” Welcome, Trelawny!
- Firstly, I wish to ask you about Byron’s reference to you because the “personification of his Corsair”—a poem he wrote a couple of pirate. Do you assume that’s true?
Edward Trelawny: [laughing] Not precisely. I used to be by no means a pirate however, as a boy, I did learn concerning the French corsair, Robert Surcouf, and I went to sea as a result of I used to be a rebellious form of boy. I ran away on the age of 13 to hitch the Royal Navy as a volunteer (I used to be too younger to truly tackle a fee) and traveled on ships from Bombay to the Cape of Good Hope. The tough life-style aboard a crusing vessel made a person of me. However . . . I didn’t just like the self-discipline of the Navy and was usually despatched to the masthead as punishment for some form of minor infraction. Maybe I’d have been higher off turning into a pirate in any case.
- Earlier than we speak about your relationship with Claire Clairmont, possibly you could possibly inform us a bit extra about your self. I’m certain our readers would discover your individual historical past fairly fascinating.
Edward Trelawny: Definitely. As you’ll be able to inform from my surname, I’m Cornish. My household had modest means however an intensive ancestral lineage and my father, although a baronet, had a fiery mood. A tyrant actually. Therefore, the rationale I left residence at such a younger age. And, in fact, I at all times had a wanderlust to see the world. After I left the Navy in my twenties, I lived in Switzerland, Italy, Greece, after which again to England. I even visited America and thought of beginning a Utopian group there, however one thing at all times drew me again to Europe.
- Was that “one thing” Claire Clairmont?
Edward Trelawny: Effectively, she has been on the heart of my life for over fifty years. My dearest pal. My closest ally. My one and solely real love. I cannot deny that I’ve identified different ladies and even married 3 times. However my coronary heart at all times, at all times belonged to Claire from the second I met her in Pisa in 1822. She was breathtaking together with her unique magnificence and glowing persona. And, whereas she has grown extra superior in years (as I’ve), she has misplaced none of her spirted nature. Now we have been separated by nice distance at occasions throughout our lives, but we by no means misplaced contact—and her witty letters have been such a consolation to me. To make sure, I requested her to marry me greater than as soon as, however she most well-liked her independence, a lot to my dismay and disappointment . . . No less than now I’ve the chance to be together with her once more on the hunt to seek out Allegra.
- Do you assume different individuals have come between the 2 of you?
Edward Trelawny: I assume you imply Lord Byron. I cannot deny that Claire has been haunted by his ghost, and I can not blame her. All of us have been caught up in his orbit. He was like a comet in our lives, lighting up the world after which plunging it into darkness once more when he died. There was nobody like him—earlier than or afterward. And it’s troublesome to explain what it was wish to know him: there was the well-known poet, sensible and erratic; the revolutionary who impressed us to comply with him to struggle for the Greek Independence; and there was the person whom I got here to name my pal—amusing, loyal, and beneficiant. He had many alternative sides—a chameleon, as he known as himself. Definitely, he could possibly be outrageous, even petty, at occasions, however who is ideal? As Claire mentioned, he was a simple man to like and admire however not a simple one to know, despite the fact that all of us tried.
- After Byron perished in Greece in 1824, you stayed in Greece and continued to struggle for his or her trigger. How did that prove?
Edward Trelawny: Effectively, Greece declared its independence when the Treaty of Edirne was signed in 1829, so it’s possible you’ll decide for your self. After Byron died in Missolonghi, I stayed and fought side-by-side with Odysseus, a warlord chief who was virtually like a brother and, at one level, we commanded 5 thousand troops. It was a protracted and arduous struggle, however it had an excellent conclusion. Sadly, as is commonly the case, the lads who risked their lives in battle are not wanted when peace is said. Odysseus was executed, and I used to be a sufferer of an tried assassination; the bullet remains to be lodged in my again.
- Did you not marry Odysseus’s sister?
Edward Trelawny: That’s one other story [he clears his throat]. However sufficient of an previous soldier’s reminiscences. I develop tedious . . .
- Under no circumstances. Truly, I used to be going to ask if there was one incident that stood out as probably the most horrific for you?
Edward Trelawny: Sure, although it didn’t happen throughout battle. It occurred when Shelley drowned in Italy in the course of the summer time of 1822. I nonetheless recollect it as if it have been solely yesterday. He had gone out crusing together with his pal, Edward Williams, and so they ran right into a squall close to the Bay of Spezia which brought about the boat to go down, killing the 2 of them. We didn’t know for days what had occurred, despite the fact that I met continually with the Italian Coast Guard. Ultimately, their our bodies washed ashore close to Livorno, and I needed to oversee their cremation on the seashore. By no means will I overlook that terrible scene of seeing my expensive pal consumed by fireplace into ashes. Byron was there, however couldn’t stand it and started to swim off shore, however I remained till the duty was completed.
Edward Trelawny: Certainly. One in every of my biggest regrets is that I launched Shelley to crusing. If I had not executed so, maybe he wouldn’t have perished at sea. Who can say for sure? Life is filled with these twists and turns.
- Do you will have another regrets?
Edward Trelawny: I’ll by no means cease reproaching myself for not telling Claire that her daughter, Allegra, may nonetheless be alive. Byron swore me to secrecy, and I do know that revealing the reality may need positioned Allegra in danger, but it was nonetheless a deception. I’m solely grateful that Claire has forgiven me.
- Do you assume she may additionally rethink sharing her life with you?
Edward Trelawny: We will see.
- I can solely hope! Any last feedback?
Edward Trelawny: Regardless of being associates with Byron and Shelley, I by no means wished to be an important poet, however I wished to have an important life. And I did.
Thanks for talking with us as we speak.
Marty Ambrose is the writer of a historic thriller trilogy: Claire’s Final Secret, A Shadowed Destiny, and Endlessly Previous, all set across the Byron/Shelley circle in nineteenth-century Italy. Her novels have been printed by Severn Home (U.Ok. and U.S.) and Thomas Schluck (Germany), incomes starred opinions in Writer’s Weekly, in addition to finalist standing within the Florida Writers Affiliation’s Literary Palm Award. Her work has been featured internationally in blogs, journals, and web sites.
Marty teaches English at Florida Southwestern State School and has been a school member within the SNHU Artistic Writing MFA program; she was a NISOD winner for college excellence, grant award recipient, and Grasp Instructor. She accomplished her M.Phil. on the College of York (England) and teaches nineteenth-century British literature, composition, and fiction writing. She has additionally given quite a few workshops within the U.S. and overseas on all features of making/publishing a novel.
She has edited the FSW literary journal, served on pupil scholarship boards, and is a member of The Byron Society, Historic Novel Society, and Girls’s Fiction Writers Affiliation.