Monday, October 24, 2016

Wild Women of the Regency Era: Claire Clairmont

This month's theme is wild women of the Regency era. This week I'm featuring Claire Clairmont (1798-1879).

Claire Clairmont was seventeen when she met Lord Byron. She was the stepsister of Mary Shelley, and it was through Mary Shelley and her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley that she met the famous poet. Like so many other women in England, Claire fell head-over-heels in love with Byron. With a passion bordering on obsession, Claire threw herself at him repeatedly until he finally gave in.

With her dark hair and black eyes, Claire wasn’t Byron’s type and he was never in love with her. “I never loved nor pretended to love her—but a man is a man—and if a girl of eighteen comes prancing to you at all hours—there is but one way.” Claire later claimed that ten minutes of passion had ruined her life. By her own words she was confused about the demise of his affections. “The passion, God knows for what cause … disappeared, leaving no trace whatever behind it, except my heart wasted and ruined as if it had been scorched by a thousand lightnings.”

Unfortunately, Claire became pregnant with Byron’s child. Her daughter Allegra was raised in a convent and died at the age of five, having never known her father or her mother.

In her later years, Claire wrote a memoir in which she described Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley as “monsters.”

When I was young, I could be counted on to pick the bad boy and the wrong guy. It’s not uncommon for teenagers and young people to do that. A lot of young people make poor choices, but some of the choices have life-altering consequences.

Often, following our heart is the wrong course but the easier one. Involving our head in decisions of the heart is never easy.

Do you tend to follow your head or your heart?
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9

I decided to try out a video blog this month. Let me know what you think.


  1. How sad for the child! Claire Clairmont sounded like an interesting character. I am not sure I would have pursued a man like she did. I follow my heart on some things, probably on more things than I should :)

    I listened to a little bit of your video blog; enjoyed it :)


  2. One of my college professors said that reading Byron would ruin one for life. It's sad but true that many people at that time gave their children over to other people for care.


    1. Ha! I love that Janie...reading Byron will ruin you for life? Oh, my! That is tantalizing, isn't it?

  3. You know, people really haven't changed much over the course of time, have they? Except they sure spoke and wrote a lot better in the past than people do now!
    I usually prefer to read blogs rather than listen to a video blog (simply because it's faster and I'm always strapped for time) but I watched yours. :) It made me hope we get to visit in person in the not to distant future.