Lord George Gordon Byron


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Lord George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) was as famous in his lifetime for his personality cult as for his poetry. He created the concept of the 'Byronic hero' - a defiant, melancholy young man, brooding on some mysterious, unforgivable event in his past. Byron's influence on European poetry, music, novel, opera, and painting has been immense, although the poet was widely condemned on moral grounds by his contemporaries.

George Gordon, Lord Byron, was the son of Captain John Byron, and Catherine Gordon. He was born with a club-foot and became extreme sensitivity about his lameness. Byron spent his early childhood years in poor surroundings in Aberdeen, where he was educated until he was ten. After he inherited the title and property of his great-uncle in 1798, he went on to Dulwich, Harrow, and Cambridge, where he piled up debts and aroused alarm with bisexual love affairs. Staying at Newstead in 1802, he probably first met his half-sister, Augusta Leigh with whom he was later suspected of having an incestuous relationship.

In 1807 Byron's first collection of poetry, Hours Of Idleness appeared. It received bad reviews. The poet answered his critics with the satire English Bards And Scotch Reviewersin 1808. Next year he took his seat in the House of Lords, and set out on his grand tour, visiting Spain, Malta, Albania, Greece, and the Aegean. Real poetic success came in 1812 when Byron published the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812-1818). He became an adored character of London society; he spoke in the House of Lords effectively on liberal themes, and had a hectic love-affair with Lady Caroline Lamb. Byron's The Corsair (1814), sold 10,000 copies on the first day of publication. He married Anne Isabella Milbanke in 1815, and their daughter Ada was born in the same year. The marriage was unhappy, and they obtained legal separation next year.

When the rumors started to rise of his incest and debts were accumulating, Byron left England in 1816, never to return. He settled in Geneva with Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Claire Clairmont, who became his mistress. There he wrote the two cantos of Childe Harold and "The Prisoner Of Chillon". At the end of the summer Byron continued his travels, spending two years in Italy. During his years in Italy, Byron wrote Lament Of Tasso, inspired by his visit in Tasso's cell in Rome, Mazeppa and started Don Juan, his satiric masterpiece. While in Ravenna and Pisa, Byron became deeply interested in drama, and wrote among others The Two Foscari, Sardanapalaus, Cain, and the unfinished Heaven And Earth.

After a long creative period, Byron had come to feel that action was more important than poetry. He armed a brig, the Hercules, and sailed to Greece to aid the Greeks, who had risen against their Ottoman overlords. However, before he saw any serious military action, Byron contracted a fever from which he died in Missolonghi on 19 April 1824. Memorial services were held all over the land. Byron's body was returned to England but refused by the deans of both Westminster and St Paul's. Finally Byron's coffin was placed in the family vault at Hucknall Torkard, near Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire.

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Recent Forum Posts on Lord George Gordon Byron

Map of Byron's Alpine Journey?

Does anyone know of any book, or Web site, or other resource that might have an exact map of Byron's travels in the Bernese Oberland, in Switzerland, in 1816 -- the journey that he described in his "Alpine Journal"? Perhaps such a map might simply be a part of a larger, more general map of Byron's travels, or perhaps it would be a stand-alone. But I would love to see a map that pinpointed the exact locations (as far as it would be possible to be exact) through which Byron passed on his alpine journey of 1816. Thank you.


That poem about the gentleman abroad... HELP!

Hi, There is a short poem, or even just a two-verse epitaph where Byron writes about how a knight has no honor left to earn in his home country, should travel abroad to seek it. I have read those lines probably five years ago, and I can't, at all, remember where they come from!:willy_nilly: Can somebody help me out, please! The thing is, I don't remember the correct phrasing, or I would long have found it. Could it be from Byron's "Cain"? Thanks a lot, Rafe


Lord Byron

I recently picked up his collected works from a local bookstore and was wondering where to start or rather where to go. I've read Don Juan, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Beppo. I was wondering what are his best works apart from these ones? Also what does everyone else think of Byron? Sorry in advance if this thread has been made before/this was the wrong place to put the thread.


Song Cycle- Looking for a third

While I adore literature, my first love is classical music. I am a student of composition and am currently looking at setting some Byron poem's to music. I've set "I Saw Thee Weep" and am currently setting "She Walks In Beauty". Could anyone suggest a third poem? Preferably, it would be from Hebrew Melodies, but doesn't have to be. A good choice is a relatively short poem (20-30 lines) with a fairly even rhythm (which most Byron has, so that's not so much of a problem). I would like it to keep fairly close to the theme of love (again, not hard to find in Byron). Any suggestions?


Don Juan nature of Byron

I believe that from Byron's own insecurities was born his best poetry - he thrived in the humbling of those he felt threatened by. Byron's rival poets, (who he calls the 'Lakers') wrote in a different style but at points were much more popular than him, and often were much better rewarded - Southey would be the most famous example, as he became poet laureate. What do you think?


Again Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Help!!! Please!

We have to analyze these stanzas of Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage for the final test of English Literature, find the themes which appear here, how do they correspond with the ethics of Romanticism and tell what is the general mood of the extract..... :eek2: I am almost desperate with it.. :brickwall PLEASE can SOMEONE HELP ME? It is from Canto IV: CXXIV. We wither from our youth, we gasp away - Sick--sick; unfound the boon, unslaked the thirst, Though to the last, in verge of our decay, Some phantom lures, such as we sought at first - But all too late,--so are we doubly curst. Love, fame, ambition, avarice--'tis the same - Each idle, and all ill, and none the worst - For all are meteors with a different name, And death the sable smoke where vanishes the flame. CXXV. Few--none--find what they love or could have loved: Though accident, blind contact, and the strong Necessity of loving, have removed Antipathies--but to recur, ere long, Envenomed with irrevocable wrong; And Circumstance, that unspiritual god And miscreator, makes and helps along Our coming evils with a crutch-like rod, Whose touch turns hope to dust--the dust we all have trod. CXXVI. Our life is a false nature--'tis not in The harmony of things,--this hard decree, This uneradicable taint of sin, This boundless upas, this all-blasting tree, Whose root is earth, whose leaves and branches be The skies which rain their plagues on men like dew - Disease, death, bondage, all the woes we see-- And worse, the woes we see not--which throb through The immedicable soul, with heart-aches ever new. CXXXVII: "But I have lived, and have not lived in vain; My mind may lose its force, my blood its fire; And my frame perish even in conquering pain; But there is that within me which shall tire Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire; Something unearthly, which they deem not of, Like the remember'd tone of a mute lyre, Shall on their soften'd spirits sink, and move In hearts all rocky now the late remorse of love"


She Walks In Beauty

I happened upon this poem, and I found it quite captivating and beautiful. It draws upon elements of which I cannot resist with the allusions to the night and the traces of darkness behind the Romanticism of it. She Walks In Beauty She walks in Beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellowed to that tender light Which Heaven to gaudy day denies. One shade the more, one ray the less, Had half impaired the nameless grace Which waves in every raven tress, Or softly lightens o'er her face; Where thoughts serenely sweet express, How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow, But tell of days in goodness spent, A mind at peace with all below, A heart whose love is innocent!


Childe Harold Pilgrimage

Hi, I really need help for my paper on Byron: Do a close reading of a few stanzas from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and then relate them to the larger context of the canto in which they appear. I am planning to do Canto third. Could anyone please tell me what canto third is about?? and which stanza is easy to interpret?? I would like to relate it to the theme of Byronic hero for some stanzas, could anyone please tell me which other stanzas there are I have: VI 'Tis to create, and in creating live A being more intense, that we endow With form our fancy, gaining as we give The life we image, even as I do now. What am I? Nothing: but not so art thou, 50 Soul of my thought! with whom I traverse earth, Invisible but gazing, as I glow Mix'd with the spirit, blended with thy birth, And feeling still with thee in my crush'd feelings' dearth. VII Yet must I think wildly: -- I have thought Too long and darkly, till my brain became, In its own eddy boiling and o'erwrought, A whirling gulf of phantasy and flame: And thus, untaught in youth my heart to tame, My springs of life were poison'd. 'Tis too late! 60 Yet am I changed; though still enough the same In strength to bear what time can not abate, And feed on bitter fruits without accusing Fate. VIII Something too much of this: but now 'tis past And the spell closes with its silent seal. Long absent HAROLD re-appears at last; He of the breast which fain no more would feel, Wrung with the wounds which kill not, but ne'er heal; Yet Time, who changes all, had alter'd him In soul and aspect as in age: years steal 70 Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb; And life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim. XII But soon he knew himself the most unfit 100 Of men to herd with Man; with whom he held Little in common; untaught to submit His thoughts to others, though his soul was quell'd In youth by his own thoughts; still uncompell'd, He would not yield dominion of his mind To spirits against whom his own rebell'd; Proud though in desolation; which could find A life within itself, to breathe without mankind. Could anyone please help me interpret this PLZ THank you SOOOO much


Literary Vandalism

17 may 1824 two bound volumes of Byrons memoirs were fed to the flames by John Murray... Byrons publisher He considered them too scandalous to publish It was a huge act of literary vandalism... Who knows what gems of information and gossip were contained in those writings.... alas we ll never know !


Where did these lines (that I don't completely remember) come from in Byron's work?

To struggle for freedom is a noble -----, and is alwas as nobly requited. A man should struggle for freedom werever/whenever (?) he can, And, if not shot or hanged, he'll be Knighted. :(


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