The revolution in Italy came to nothing, and by the 28th of May, Byron had finished his work on Sardanapalus. The Two Foscari, a third historical drama, was begun on the 12th of June and finished on the 9th of July. On the same day he began Cain, a Mystery. Cain was an attempt to dramatize the Old Testament; Lucifer's apology for himself and his arraignment of the Creator startled and shocked the orthodox. Theologically the offence lay in its detachment. Cain was not irreverent or blasphemous, but it treated accepted dogmas as open questions. Cain was published in the same volume with the Two Foscari and Sardanapalus, December 19, 1821. The "Blues," a skit upon literary coteries and their patronesses, was written in August. It was first published in The Liberal, No. III., April 26, 1823, When Cain was finished Byron turned from grave to gay, from serious to humorous theology. Southey had thought fit to eulogize George III. in hexameter verse. He called his funeral ode a "Vision of Judgment." In the preface there was an obvious reference to Byron. The "Satanic School" of poetry was attributed to "men of diseased hearts and depraved imaginations." Byron's revenge was complete. In his "Vision of Judgment" (published in The Liberal, No. I., October 15, 1822) the tables are turned.
The laureate is brought before the hosts of heaven and rejected by devils and angels alike. In October Byron wrote Heaven and Earth, a Mystery (The Liberal, No. II., January 1, 1823), a lyrical drama based on the legend of the "Watchers," or fallen angels of the Book of Enoch. The countess and her family had been expelled from Ravenna in July, but Byron still lingered on in his apartments in the Palazzo Guiccioli. At length (October 28) he set out for Pisa. On the road he met his old friend, Lord Clare, and spent a few minutes in his company. Rogers, whom he met at Bologna, was his fellow-traveller as far as Florence. At Pisa he rejoined the countess, who had taken on his behalf the Villa Lanfranchi on the Arno. At Ravenna Byron had lived amongst Italians. At Pisa he was surrounded by a knot of his own countrymen, friends and acquaintances of the Shelleys. Among them were E.J. Trelawny, Thomas Medwin, author of the well-known Conversations of Lord Byron (1824), and Edward Elliker Williams. His first work at Pisa was to dramatize Miss Lee's Kruitzner, or the German's Tale. He had written a first act in 1815, but as the MS. was mislaid he made a fresh adaptation of the story which he rechristened Werner, or the Inheritance. It was finished on the 20th of January and published on the 23rd of November 1822. Werner is in parts Kruitzner cut up into loose blank verse, but it contains lines and passages of great and original merit.
Alone of Byron's plays it took hold of the stage. Macready's "Werner" was a famous impersonation.
In the spring of 1822 a heavy and unlooked-for sorrow befell Byron. Allegra, his natural daughter by Claire Clairmont, died at the convent of Bagna Cavallo on the 20th of April 1822. She was in her sixth year, an interesting and attractive child, and he had hoped that her companionship would have atoned for his enforced separation from Ada. She is buried in a nameless grave at the entrance of Harrow church. Soon after the death of Allegra, Byron wrote the last of his eight plays, The Deformed Transformed (published by John Hunt, February 20, 1824). The "sources" are Goethe's Faust, The Three Brothers, a novel by Joshua Pickersgill, and various chronicles of the sack of Rome in 1527. The theme or motif is the interaction of personality and individuality. Remonstrances on the part of publisher and critic induced him to turn journalist. The control of a newspaper or periodical would enable him to publish what and as he pleased. With this object in view he entered into a kind of literary partnership with Leigh Hunt, and undertook to transport him, his wife and six children to Pisa, and to lodge them in the Villa Lanfranchi. The outcome of this arrangement was The Liberal - Verse and Prose from the South. Four numbers were issued between October 1822 and June 1823. The Liberal did not succeed financially, and the joint menage was a lamentable failure.
Correspondence of Byron and some of his Contemporaries (1828) was Hunt's revenge for the slights and indignities which he suffered in Byron's service. Yachting was one of the chief amusements of the English colony at Pisa. A schooner, the "Bolivar," was built for Byron, and a smaller boat, the "Don Juan" re-named "Ariel," for Shelley. Hunt arrived at Pisa on the 1st of July. On the 8th of July Shelley, who had remained in Pisa on Hunt's account, started for a sail with his friend Williams and a lad named Vivian. The "Ariel" was wrecked in the Gulf of Spezia and Shelley and his companions were drowned. On the 16th of August Byron and Hunt witnessed the "burning of Shelley" on the seashore near Via Reggio. Byron told Moore that "all of Shelley was consumed but the heart." Whilst the fire was burning Byron swam out to the "Bolivar" and back to the shore. The hot sun and the violent exercise brought on one of those many fevers which weakened his constitution and shortened his life.
The Austrian government would not allow the Gambas or the countess Guiccioli to remain in Pisa. As a half measure Byron took a villa for them at Montenero near Leghorn, but as the authorities were still dissatisfied they removed to Genoa. Byron and Leigh Hunt left Pisa on the last day of September. On reaching Genoa Byron took up his quarters with the Gambas at the Casa Saluzzo, "a fine old palazzo with an extensive view over the bay," and Hunt and his party at the Casa Negroto with Mrs Shelley. Life at Genoa was uneventful. Of Hunt and Mrs Shelley he saw as little as possible, and though his still unpublished poems were at the service of The Liberal, he did little or nothing to further its success. Each number was badly received. Byron had some reason to fear that his popularity was on the wane, and though he had broken with Murray and was offering Don Juan (cantos vi.-xii.) to John Hunt, the publisher of The Liberal, he meditated a "run down to Naples" and a recommencement of Childe Harold. There was a limit to his defiance of the "world's rebuke." Home politics and the congress of Verona (November-December 1822) suggested a satire entitled "The Age of Bronze" (published April 1, 1823). It is, as he said, "stilted," and cries out for notes, but it embodies some of his finest and most vigorous work as a satirist.