Enter the Count, Sorry Enter Lord Bryon

May 10, 2009 at 1:17 am (Classical Vampire Literature, Vampires around the World) (, )

A story is told of a gathering in 1816 at the Villa Diodati, near Geneva, Switzerland, of a group of writers and poets. Among the guests were Mary Shelly and Lord Byron. Lord Byron suggested as a party game that the guests make up ghost stories. Mary Shelly wrote the first draft of what later became the horror classic Frankenstein.

Lord Byron started a story about of a young man enamored by an older, mysterious gentleman, Darvell. They become traveling companions, traveling through Europe to the Middle East, arriving at last in Smyrna. Over the journey the man’s health fails, but he insists on taking one more journey into the wilderness.

“We had passed halfway towards the remains of Ephesus, leaving behind us the more fertile environs of Smyrna, and were entering upon that wild and tenantless tract through the marshes and defiles which lead to the few huts yet lingering over the broken columns of Diana-the roofless walls of expelled Christianity, and the still more recent but complete desolation of abandoned mosques~when the sudden and rapid illness of my companion obliged us to halt at a Turkish cemetery, the turbaned tombstones of which were the sole indication that human life had ever been a sojourner in this wilderness.”

Here Darvell collapses and as he lies dying he asks his companion to promise to hide his death from everyone and to take his ring and

‘On the ninth day of the month, at noon precisely (what month you please, but this must be the day), you must fling this ring into the salt springs which run into the Bay of Eleusis; the day after, at the same hour, you must repair to the ruins of the temple of Ceres, and wait one hour.’

After a puzzling bit about a stork holding a snake, Darvell dies and is buried.

It reads like every other bad first draft, way too much information, taking too long to get to the story. There are a couple of great lines though, like

“Where there is mystery, it is generally supposed that there must also be evil: I know not how this may be, but in him there certainly was the one, though I could not ascertain the extent of the other-and felt loth, as far as regarded himself, to believe in its existence.”

Where this story would have gone, who knows, for Lord Bryon never finished it.

So where are the vampires, you might wonder?

Where indeed.

Wait, they are coming tomorrow.


  1. Destineers said,

    The historical references added a different spice to the eerie and foreboding story yet to come. You’ve got my attention!

    NA Sharpe

  2. Jina Bacarr said,

    I love these “dark and stormy night in the graveyard” scenarios. Well done. Your use of historical fact and Byron’s story coupled with your insights is interesting and fun.

    I’ll be back for the vampires tomorrow…



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