Byron wrote this poem when Napoleon abdicated in 1814. It originally consisted of the first eleven stanzas, and later increased to nineteen stanzas.
In 1815, when Napoleon escaped from the island of Elba, Byron wrote in a letter:
" . . . It is impossible not to be dazzled and overwhelmed by his character and career. Nothing ever so disappointed me as his abdication, and nothing could have reconciled me to him but some such revival as his recent exploit; though no one could anticipate such a complete and brilliant renovation. . . . "