First edition title page
Parisina is a poem written by Lord Byron. It was published on 13 February 1816 and probably written between 1812 and 1815.
It is based on a story related by Edward Gibbon in his Miscellaneous Works about Niccolò III d'Este, one of the dukes of Ferrara who lived in the 15th century. Niccolò found out that Parisina Malatesta, his second wife, had an incestuous relationship with his bastard son Ugo and subsequently had both of them put to death.
In Byron's poem, Parisina and Hugo were engaged to be married before Azo (Byron's version of Niccolò) decided to marry her. Also, Azo sentences Hugo only to death — Parisina's fate is unknown, except for the fact that she is forced to witness Hugo's execution and utters a shriek that indicates approaching madness.