Romantic Cartographies

Principal investigator
Asko Nivala
Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher
Adjunct Professor of Cultural History
University of Turku


Byron's Journey to Italy

In the Cantos I and II of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Lord Byron was unable to travel to continental Europe because of the Napoleonic Wars. In Cantos III, he travels to Italy, visiting the battle site of Waterloo, seeing the ruins of the Rhine and the Swiss Alps, while Canto IV describes the Italian tour from Venice to Rome via Florence.

1. London > Ostend

2. Ostend > Waterloo

"And Harold stands upon this place of skulls, The grave of France, the deadly Waterloo" (CPH, Canto III: 18.)

3. Waterloo > Drachenfels

"The castled crag of Drachenfels Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine" (CPH, Canto III: 55.1)

4. Drachenfels > Koblenz

"By Coblentz, on a rise of gentle ground, There is a small and simple pyramid, Crowning the summit of the verdant mound; Beneath its base are heroes' ashes hid, Our enemy's -- but let not that forbid 540 Honour to Marceau! o'er whose early tomb Tears, big tears, gush'd from the rough soldier's lid, Lamenting and yet envying such a doom, Falling for France, whose rights he battled to resume." (CPH, Canto III:56.)

5. Koblenz -> Ehrenbreitstein

"Here Ehrenbreitstein, with her shatter'd wall Black with the miner's blast, upon her height Yet shows of what she was, when shell and ball Rebounding idly on her strength did light: A tower of victory! from whence the flight Of baffled foes was watch'd along the plain: But Peace destroy'd what War could never blight 560 And laid those proud roofs bare to Summer's rain -- On which the iron shower for years had pour'd in vain." (CPH, Canto III: 58.)

6. Ehrenbreitstein > Morat

"But ere these matchless heights I dare to scan, There is a spot should not be pass'd in vain, -- 600 Morat! the proud, the patriot field! where man May gaze on ghastly trophies of the slain, Nor blush for those who conquer'd on that plain" (CPH, Canto III: 63.)

7. Morat > Aventicum

"When the coeval pride of human hands, Levell'd Aventicum, hath strew'd her subject lands." (CPH, Canto III: 65)

8. Aventicum > Lake Leman (Lake Geneva)

"Clear, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake, With the wild world I dwelt in, is a thing Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake Earth's troubled waters for a purer spring."

9. Lake Leman > Venice

"I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; A palace and a prison on each hand: I saw from out the wave her structures rise As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand" (CPH, Canto IV:1)

10. Venice > Arquà (Padua)

"There is a tomb in Arqua; -- rear'd in air, Pillar'd in their sarcophagus, repose The bones of Laura's lover; here repair Many familiar with his well-sung woes" (CHP, Canto IV:30)

11. Padua > Ferrara

"Ferrara! in thy wide and grass-grown streets, Whose symmetry was not for solitude, There seems as 'twere a curse upon the seats, Of former sovereigns, and the antique brood" (CHP, Canto IV:35)

12. Ferrara > Florence

"Ungrateful Florence! Dante sleeps afar, Like Scipio, buried by the upbraiding shore" (CHP, Canto IV:57)

13. Florence > Rome

"Oh Rome! my country! city of the soul! The orphans of the heart must turn to thee, Lone mother of dead empires! and control In their shut breasts their petty misery." (CHP, Canto IV:78)

(C) 2022 Asko Nivala