Lara, A Tale

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Lara, A Tale is a rhymed, tragic narrative poem by Lord Byron; first published in 1814. The first work composed after Byron abandoned the idea of giving up writing and buying back his copyrights, it is regarded by critics as a continuation of the autobiographical work begun in The Corsair.[1] Unlike The Corsair, it was published anonymously, in conjunction with Samuel Rogers' Jacqueline.[2]

This powerful narrative poem tells of the fateful return of Count Lara to the British Isles after spending years abroad traveling the orient.

Returning to his patrimony with a retinue consisting of one foreign-born page, Count Lara resumes the management of his landed estates. Lara's first efforts are crowned with success: only to be undermined by the jealousy and envy of his peers. After a successful duel to defend his honour, the count becomes inexorably caught up in local blood-feuds; which quickly escalate to open warfare between his own followers and the private armies of his enemies.[3]

Fighting against insuperable odds with desperate courage, Count Lara rallies the remnant of his shattered forces and makes for the Scottish border to regroup. During a forced night march he is intercepted by a large opposing force: and in the course of the ensuing battle he is mortally wounded, and is retired from the fighting due to the good offices of his ever-faithful oriental page.

As Count Lara lies dying he is confronted by his nemesis, Count Otho: but ignores the latter's taunts to address his dying words to his page in a foreign tongue unknown to his country-men. Otho arranges the obsequies, but Count Lara's page refuses to desert the graveside: his grief rendering him immune to Otho's threats and pleas not to abandon his former master.[4]


  1. ^ Byron, George Gordon; Lara; The Siege of Corinth; Parisina; The Prisoner of Chillon; The Dream Kessinger publications reprint 2004, editor's notes p16
  2. ^ London Quarterly Review Vol. 11 1814
  3. ^ Byron, George Gordon. The Poems of Lord Byron. London: Oxford University Press, 1945. pp. 303-319.
  4. ^ Byron, George Gordon. The Poems of Lord Byron. London: Oxford University Press, 1945. pp. 318-319.

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