Allegra Byron

Allegra Byron

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Allegra Byron

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Clara Allegra Byron (January 12, 1817 – April 20, 1822), initially named Alba, meaning "dawn," or "white," by her mother, was the illegitimate daughter of the poet George Gordon, Lord Byron and Claire Clairmont, the stepsister of Mary Shelley.

Born in Bath, England, she initially lived with her mother and Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley, but was turned over to Byron when she was fifteen months old. She lived most of her short life with boarders chosen by Byron or in a Roman Catholic convent, where she died at age five of typhus or malaria. She was visited only intermittently by her father, who displayed inconsistent paternal interest in her.

Early life

Allegra was the product of a short-lived affair between the Romantic poet and her starstruck teenage mother, who was living in reduced circumstances in the household of her stepsister and brother-in-law. Claire wrote to Byron during the pregnancy begging him to write back and promise to take care of her and the baby. Byron ignored her. After her birth, she was initially taken into the household of Leigh Hunt as the child of a cousin. A few months later the Shelleys and Claire took the baby back as an "adopted" child. Claire bonded with her baby daughter and wrote in her journal with delight about her close, physical connection with little Allegra, but she was also...
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