George Gordon Noel Byron
(Lord Byron)


This picture is from:
The Life and Work of Lord Byron--English History



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:

by Lord George Gordon Byron
"She Walks in Beauty"

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George Gordon Noel Byron, English poet and satirist, born January 22, 1788, London, England. the son of the handsome and profligate Captain John "Mad Jack" Byron and his second wife, Catherine Gordon, a Scots heiress.


Captain John "Mad Jack" Byron
Lord Byron's Father
The Life and Work of Lord Byron
--English History--
¹ After her husband had squandered most of her fortune, Mrs. Byron took her infant son to Aberdeen, Scotland, where they lived in lodgings on a meagre income; the captain died in France in 1791. George Gordon Byron had been born with a clubfoot and early developed an extreme sensitivity to his lameness. In 1798, at age 10, he unexpectedly inherited the title and estates of his great-uncle William, the 5th Baron Byron. His mother proudly took him to England, where the boy fell in love with the ghostly halls and spacious ruins of Newstead Abbey, which had been presented to the Byrons by Henry VIII. After living at Newstead for a while, Byron was sent to school in London, and in 1801 he went to Harrow, one of England's most prestigious schools. Although the academic atmosphere did nothing to lessen Byron’s sensitivity about his lameness, he made several close friends while at school. At Trinity he formed what was to be a close, lifelong friendship with John Cam Hobhouse, who stirred his interest in liberal Whiggism.

¹ In 1803 he fell in love with his distant cousin, Mary Chaworth, who was older and already engaged, and when she rejected him she became the symbol for Byron of idealized and unattainable love.
The signs of his incipient sexual ambivalence became more pronounced in what he later described as "a violent, though pure, love and passion" for a young chorister, John Edleston. Despite Byron's strong attachment to boys, often idealized as in the case of Edleston, his attachment to women throughout his life is sufficient indication of the strength of his heterosexual drive. In 1806 Byron had his early poems privately printed in a volume entitled "Fugitive Pieces."

¹ Byron's first published volume of poetry, "Hours of Idleness", appeared in 1807. A sarcastic critique of the book in The Edinburgh Review provoked his retaliation in 1809 with a couplet satire, "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers", in which he attacked the contemporary literary scene. This work gained him his first recognition.


Catherine Gordon Byron
Lord Byron's Mother
The Life and Work of Lord Byron
--English History--
On reaching his majority in 1809, Byron took his seat in the House of Lords, and then embarked with Hobhouse on a grand tour through Spain, Portugal, Italy, and proceeded by Gibraltar and Malta to Greece. In Greece Byron began "Childe Harolde's Pilgrimage", which he continued in Athens.
Byron's stay in Greece made a lasting impression on him. The Greeks' free and open frankness contrasted strongly with English reserve and hypocrisy and served to broaden his views of men and manners. He delighted in the sunshine and the moral tolerance of the people.
He returned in July of 1811 with Cantos I and II of Childe Harold (1812), a melancholy, philosophic poem in "Spenserian stanzas", which made him the social lion of London. Upon his return his mother died before he could reach her at Newstead.

¹ During the summer of 1813, Byron apparently entered into intimate relations with his half sister Augusta, now married to Colonel George Leigh. He then carried on a flirtation with Lady Frances Webster as a diversion from this dangerous liaison. The agitations of these two love affairs and the sense of mingled guilt and exultation they aroused in Byron are reflected in the series of gloomy and remorseful Oriental verse tales he wrote at this time: "The Giaour" (1813), "The Bride of Abydos" (1813), "The Corsair" (1814), which sold 10,000 copies on the day of publication; and "Lara" (1814).

Byron proposed in September 1814 to Anne Isabella (Annabella) Milbanke. The marriage took place in January 1815, a serious, rather cold, young woman with whom he had little in common. She gave birth to a daughter, Augusta Ada, in December 1815. In 1816 she secured a separation. Although her reasons for such an action remain obscure.

¹From the start the marriage was doomed by the gulf between Byron and his unimaginative and humorless wife; and in January 1816 Annabella left Byron to live with her parents, amid swirling rumors centering on his relations with Augusta Leigh and his bisexuality. The couple obtained a legal separation. Wounded by the general moral indignation directed at him, Byron went abroad in April 1816, never to return to England.

Byron sailed up the Rhine River into Switzerland to passed some time with Shelley, writing Canto III of Childe Harold (1816) and The Prisoner of Chillon (1816). With the party was Shelley’s sister-in-law, Claire Clairmont, who had has an liaison before he left England, and who, gave birth to Byron's illegitimate daughter Allegra in January 1817.

It is reported that Byron carried on a love affair with Marianna Segati, his landlord's wife, In Italy, Margarita Cogni, a baker's wife, in Venice and Countess Teresa Gamba Guiccioli, who was only 19 years old and married to a man nearly three times her age.

Byron sold Newstead Abbey in the autumn of 1818 for £94,500, which cleared him of his debts, that had risen to £34,000, and left him with a generous income.

In the light, mock-heroic style of Beppo Byron found the form in which he would write his greatest poem, Don Juan, a satire in the form of a picaresque verse tale. Don Juan remains unfinished; Byron completed 16 cantos and had begun the 17th before his own illness and death.

In 1818 Shelley and other visitors found Byron had grown fat, with hair long and turning gray, looking older than his years, and sunk in sexual promiscuity.

In Ravenna Byron wrote The Prophecy of Dante; cantos III, IV, and V of Don Juan; the poetic dramas Marino Faliero, "Sardanapalus", "The Two Foscari", and "Cain" (all published in 1821); and a satire on the poet Robert Southey, The Vision of Judgment, which contains a devastating parody of that poet laureate's fulsome eulogy of King George III.

Ranked with Shelley and Keats as one of the great Romantic poets, Byron became famous throughout Europe as the embodiment of romanticism. His good looks, lameness, and flamboyant lifestyle all contributed to the formation of the Byronic legend. Also considered as one of the most important and versatile writers of the romantic movement. By the mid-20th century, his poetry covers a wide range. Byron's reputation as a poet had been eclipsed by growing critical recognition of his talents as a wit and satirist.

¹ Byron was initially diverted from his satiric-realistic bent by the success of Childe Harold. He followed this up with the Oriental tales, which reflected the gloomy moods of self-analysis and disenchantment of his years of fame. In Manfred and the third and fourth cantos of Childe Harold he projected the brooding remorse and despair that followed the debacle of his ambitions and love affairs in England. But gradually the relaxed and freer life in Italy opened up again the satiric vein, and he found his forte in the mock-heroic style of Italian verse satire.
He was a superb letter writer, conversational, witty, and relaxed, and the 20th-century publication of many previously unknown letters has further enhanced his literary reputation. Whether dealing with love or poetry, he cuts through to the heart of the matter with admirable incisiveness, and his apt and amusing turns of phrase make even his business letters fascinating.
Byron showed only that facet of his many-sided nature that was most congenial to each of his friends. To Hobhouse he was the facetious companion, humorous, cynical, and realistic, while to Edleston, and to most women, he could be tender, melancholy, and idealistic. But this weakness was also Byron's strength. His chameleon-like character was engendered not by hypocrisy but by sympathy and adaptability, for the side he showed was a real if only partial revelation of his true self. And this mobility of character permitted him to savor and to record the mood and thought of the moment with a sensitivity denied to those tied to the conventions of consistency.

At the news of the revolt of the Greeks against the Turks Byron, disregarding his weakened physical condition, and in July 1823 joined the Greek insurgents at Missolonghi. He not only recruited a regiment for the cause of Greek independence but contributed large sums of money to it. The Greeks made him commander in chief of their forces in January 1824. A serious illness in February 1824 weakened him, and in April he contracted the fever from which he died.

On April 19,1824, Byron died at Missolonghi. His body was brought back to England and, refused burial in Westminster Abbey, was placed in the family vault near Newstead. Ironically, 145 years after his death, a memorial to Byron was finally placed on the floor of the Abbey.


She Walks in Beauty
Solitude
When We Two Parted
The first Kiss of Love
Stanzas To Augusta


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To view more of Byron's poems:
Famous Poets and Poems


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Some more of his poems includes:


'All Is Vanity,' Saith the Preacher, A Spirit Passed Before Me, Adieu, Adieu! My Native Land, And Thou Art Dead, As Young and Fair, And Wilt Thou Weep When I Am Low?, The Bride of Abydos, By the Rivers of Babylon We Sat Down and Wept, Churchill's Grave, Darkness, Epistle To Augusta, Euthanasia, Farewell To The Muse, For Music, I Saw Thee Weep, I Speak Not, I Would I Were a Careless Child, I would to heaven that I were so much clay, The Isles of Greece, It Is the Hour, John Keats, Lara , Lines Inscribed Upon A Cup Formed From A Skull, Lines Written Beneath An Elm In The Churchyard Of Harrow, Lines, On Hearing That Lady Byron Was Ill, Love's Last Adieu, Maid of Athens, ere we part, Mazeppa, My Soul is Dark, Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte, Oh! Snatched Away In Beauty's Bloom, Oh! Weep for Those, On Chillon , On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year, rometheus, Remember Him, Whom Passion's Power, Remind Me Not, Remind Me Not, Reply to Some Verses of J.M.B. Pigot, Esq., Saul, So We'll Go No More a-Roving, Song of Saul Before His Last Battle, Sonnet - to Genevra, Sonnet to Lake Leman, Stanzas Composed During A Thunderstorm, Stanzas For Music, Stanzas For Music: There's Not A Joy The World Can Give, Stanzas To A Lady, On Leaving England, Stanzas To Augusta, Stanzas To Jessy, Stanzas To The Po, Stanzas Written On The Road Between Florence And Pisa, Sun of the Sleepless! The Bride of Abydos The Destruction Of Sennacherib, The Dream, The Giaour, The Isles of Greece, The Prisoner of Chillon, The Siege and Conquest of Alhama, The Siege of Corinth, The Tear, The Vision of Judgment, There Be None of Beauty's Daughters, There Was A Time, I Need Not Name, Thou Whose Spell Can Raise the Dead Thy Days Are Done, To A Beautiful Quaker, To A Lady, To Caroline, To Eliza, To M , To M. S. G., To Mary, On Receiving Her Picture, To Romance, To Thomas Moore, To Thyrza: And Thou Art Dead, To Time, We'll go no more a-roving, When Coldness Wraps This Suffering Clay, Written After Swimming From Sestos To Abydos


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[Poet's Corner Index]

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Reference, Research and Source Information


Bartleby
The History Channel

¹Byron, George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron."
Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006.
Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 5 June 2006





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