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The Bride of Abydos
Lord Byron

Byron wrote the manuscript for this in 1813, with the title: Zuleika.  Also, in the original version, Selim and Zuleika were brother and sister, but due to criticism he changed the relationship to cousins.  In fact, he made many changes in the verses after the first publication.

A few of his close friends thought Zuleika, was a representation of his half-sister, Augusta.  At that time, Byron and Augusta were very close.  In November, 1813,  in a letter to Lady Melbourne (his confidante, and one who knew most of his secrets) Lord Byron wrote the following:

". . . my new Turkish tale will be out directly --- I shall of course send you a copy ---Frere & Canning & the Hollands have seen & like it --- the public is another question --- but it will for some reasons interest  you more than anybody --- these I leave you to discover. . .

. . . you know me better than most people --- and are the only person who can trace & I want to see whether you think my writings are me or not. . .

. . . when I speak of this tale  &  the author --- I merely mean  feelings --- the characters & the costume & the tale itself  (at least are very like it I heard) are Mussulman . . ."

This tale has also been compared to Greek Mythology's Hero and Leander.

Click to read:
Canto the First    Canto the Second

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