Place where even a Hungarian Casanova settled down
The Szegedy Róza House was built in the 18th century. Since the end of the 20th century, it has enriched the special beauty of the Badacsony landscape. The three-part ensemble, with its Baroque folklore features, and the vineyards connected to the house, were brought into a marriage, by the daughter of a Zala County deputy sometime in the 1800’s. With her husband, poet Sándor Kisfaludy, the house was filled with bitterness, and later also with happy love.
The impressive bodyguard figure of Sándor Kisfaludy, first appeared at the 1795 grape harvest, visiting Ignác Szegedy’s press house in Badacsony, where is first met Szegedy’s 20-year old daughter, Róza.
Sándor Kisfaludy was a well-regarded imperial bodyguard, a Hussar officer, corporate man, wealthy landowner, and an excellent poet. It’s no wonder women adored him. It wouldn’t be fair to consider him a womanizer, for he was honest throughout his life, and truly in love.
The young man, originally from Sümeg, did not avoid love adventures while attending the military academy in Bratislava. His first choice was the daughter of a German baker, Theresa Wenstein, whom he met as a result of giving Hungarian lessons. Their love almost ended, when Kisfaludy got sent to Transylvania with a Hussar regiment.
In Transylvania, he sadly read the love letters from Theresa, until he got introduced to an orphaned girl, Aniko Gyopáry. Her guardians were so preoccupied with searching for a suitable groom for her, they hadn’t noticed the striking Hussar and the orphan girl were getting enamored with each other. So much so, that Aniko got pregnant. The fallen girl was promptly given to an unsuspecting local young man, while Kisfaludy was removed. While still grieving for his lost romance, in his native country, in Zala County, they had delegated him into becoming the royal bodyguard. So, at the age of 20, he moved to Vienna, where he became acquainted with the world of theaters, balls, and musical evenings. The painter’s bodyguard soon became a favorite of the Vienna’s ladies. According to court rumors, without any history of intimacy, Princess Krisztina gave him gift of a golden watch.
He would study French and Italian, going to Burgtheater for Master Salvatore Vigano Ballet nights. He became so addicted to contemporary dance, he fell in love with the master’s young wife, Maria Medina, a celebrated dancer of that age. Their romance lasted a year and half, later writing “I will never forget this beloved woman, whose arms are the sweetest and most beautiful in my arms, and I would be happy for a while”.
Unfortunately, his commander also had picked out the beautiful Maria, and Kisfaludy was hit with disciplinary offenses, being demoted as bodyguard, and removed from Vienna. With a tearful farewell to his love, he took his leave. Back home, during a harvest in Badacsony, he met the Zala al-bishop’s daughter, the 18-year old Róza Szegedy, with whom he completely fell in love with. He later recalled the incident in the famous Himfy Strips: “Sweet, embarrassing memory – There I found out who she was – Oh, Badacsony harvest – What love is – Pastorous congregation – Wounded by Amor’s arrow – My bondage begins – What sweet torment”. Roza initially reciprocated his advances, but then acted cool with the seemingly pushy Kisfaludy. Unaccustomed to being rejected, in his sorrow, the young man sought death on the battlefield. He would have been able to achieve that, as he was sent to Italy during the Napoleonic wars.
Instead of finding death on the battlefield, he fell in love with an Italian aristocratic beauty, the “black-haired, fiery-eyed, cheerful yet flourishing” Countess Colleredo, followed by the “young, beautiful, silent, galloping blue-eyed blonde” Princess Gonzaga. However, these romances ended, when Kisfaludy got captured by the French, and taken to the city of Drauignan, in Provence.
Here, the distinguished prisoners of war were given meals and quarters, while Kisfaludy had also something else, Miss Caroline d’Esclapon’s love. She was introduced to French poetry by an educated bourgeois, resulting in her writing new poems. However, she liked a city official who arranged for the Hungarian officer to be released, with the purpose to eliminate his rival. After yet another tearful farewell, Kisfaludy headed home.
On the way home, he fell in love with a German citizen and countess named Pepi. He reached home. On the third anniversary of the Badacsony harvest, he contacted Róza Szegedy once again. This time she accepted his courtship advances, and would read his letters with delight: “I love my first love with a strong fervor, and I can say even with anger, in my absence I felt a very deep agony and pain”.
They married on January 20th, 1800. From this point on, an unexpected thing happend, Sándor Kisfaludy didn’t look at any other women anymore, being happy in love with his wife. This was evidenced not only by the “Happy Love” poems cycle, but also by similar passages: “If Napoleon’s wedding night was as pleasurable as mine, half of Europe would surely give us presents”. After 32 years of living together, Kisfaludy couldn’t move away from his wife, even if he wanted to.
When Róza died in 1832, he returned to his previous way of life, after a few months of sorrow. The old gaffer fell in love with newer women, or younger girls, and his adventures were as colorful as when he was young. He continued to write his poems, for Róza Szegedy.
Source: Nyáry Krisztián