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Lord Byron

July 2, 2014

Lord Byron

lord byron

Lord Byron, the English poet and satirist was born as George Byron in London, in 1788. He spent his early years in Aberdeen with his mother and a devoted nurse who gave him a sound grounding in the scriptures. As he was born with a clubfoot, Byron developed an extreme sensitivity to his lameness and it was this nurse who helped awaken precocious passions in him, when he was only nine-years old.

            In 1798 he inherited the titles and estate of his great-uncle, the ‘wicked’ Lord Byron. In 1801 Byron went to Harrow, and then to Cambridge. He was not an outstanding scholar, but his love for poetry became apparent here. He fell in love with a distant cousin Mary Chaworth, who soon grew tired of “that lame boy”. He began to indulge in grief by writing melancholy poetry; and she became the symbol of idealized and unattainable love. In 1809 he toured Spain and Malta. His sojourn to Greece made a lasting impact. The “clime of the East”, the freedom and frankness in contrast to the English reserve and hypocrisy, widened his outlook and contributed to his life-long nostalgia for that “land of the Sun”.

            In 1812 his publication of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, with the hero of the poem based on Byron himself, took the town by storm. This poem voiced frankly the disparity between the romantic ideal and the world of reality. In 1815 he married, but his wife left soon after the birth of their daughter, his only legitimate child. He was deeply distressed by the separation and the accusations made by his wife against him that made him an outcast in the society which once adored him. He went to Geneva and wrote the fourth and final canto of Childe Harold and also other works. While his romantic liasions continued unabated, he wrote Manfred, a Faustian poetic drama that reflected his brooding sense of guilt and remorse at his romantic spirit doomed by the reflection that man is “half dust, half deity alike unfit to sink or soar”. In 1871 he wrote Don Juan which is considered by many as his finest work. Devoid of excessive Melancholy and romantic moods, Don Juan, revealed the other side of Byron’s character-his satiric wit and his unique view of the comic rather than the tragic discrepancy between reality and appearance.

            In 1822, Byron with the help of his poet friends produced a journal, The Liberal. He died at the age of 36. After his death, one of his friends said, “No man ever lived who had such devoted friends,” but “mad, bad and dangerous” were the words used by one of his female friends. In Greece he is remembered as a hero.

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