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George Gordon, Lord Byron

Byron, 1788-1824, English poet and friend of Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

The three met through the agency of Claire Clairmont, daughter of Godwin's second wife and therefore Mary Godwin's step-sister and just eight months her junior. A certain competitiveness existed between the two as girls in the Godwin household and later in their adolescence. Claire encouraged the elopement of Mary with the already married Percy Bysshe Shelley and went along on the expedition through France, Switzerland, and the Low Countries, recounted in Mary's History of a Six Weeks' Tour. Upon their return she set up as part of the household. Determined to make her own fortune within the literary pantheon, Claire, in an elaborate scheme, managed to seduce Byron during his last weeks in England. Finding herself pregnant, she then managed to get her household to move to Geneva in order to secure from Byron a provision for her expected child.