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George Gordon Byron

Birthdate: 22. January 1788
Date of death: 19. April 1824
Other names: Lord George Gordon Noel Byron, Lord Byron

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, FRS , commonly known as Lord Byron, was an English poet, peer, politician, and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems, Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and the short lyric poem, "She Walks in Beauty".

He travelled extensively across Europe, especially in Italy, where he lived for seven years in Venice, Ravenna and Pisa, where he had a chance to frequent his friend the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Later in his brief life, Byron joined the Greek War of Independence fighting the Ottoman Empire, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. He died in 1824 at the age of 36, from a fever contracted while in Missolonghi.

Often described as the most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, Byron was both celebrated and castigated in life for his aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs – with men as well as women, as well as rumours of a scandalous liaison with his half-sister – and self-imposed exile. His only legitimate child, Ada Lovelace, is regarded by some as the first computer programmer based on her notes for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. His illegitimate children include Allegra Byron, who died in childhood, and possibly, Elizabeth Medora Leigh.

Works

Manfred
Manfred
George Gordon Byron
The Giaour
George Gordon Byron
Sardanapalus
George Gordon Byron
The Bride of Abydos
George Gordon Byron
The Dream
George Gordon Byron
Don Juan
Don Juan
George Gordon Byron
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
George Gordon Byron
Hebrew Melodies
Hebrew Melodies
George Gordon Byron
Cain
George Gordon Byron
The Prisoner of Chillon
George Gordon Byron
Parisina
Parisina
George Gordon Byron
The Vision of Judgment
George Gordon Byron

„In secret we met
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.“

—  George Gordon Byron

When We Two Parted (1808), st. 4.
Context: In secret we met
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.

„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 mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.“

—  George Gordon Byron, book Hebrew Melodies

She Walks in Beauty http://readytogoebooks.com/LB-SWB42.htm, st. 1. The subject of these lines was Mrs. R. Wilmot.—Berry Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 7.
Hebrew Melodies (1815)

„This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG“

—  George Gordon Byron

Inscription on the monument of a Newfoundland dog http://readytogoebooks.com/LB-dog63.htm (1808).
Context: Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the virtues of Man, without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG

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„A mighty lesson we inherit:
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source“

—  George Gordon Byron

III.
Prometheus (1816)
Context: Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen Man with his own mind;
But baffled as thou wert from high,
Still in thy patient energy,
In the endurance, and repulse
Of thine impenetrable Spirit,
Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit:
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source;
And Man in portions can foresee
His own funereal destiny;
His wretchedness, and his resistance,
And his sad unallied existence:
To which his Spirit may oppose
Itself — and equal to all woes,
And a firm will, and a deep sense,
Which even in torture can decry
Its own concenter'd recompense,
Triumphant where it dares defy,
And making Death a Victory.

„I was not form'd
To prize a love like thine, a mind like thine,
Nor dote even on thy beauty — as I've doted
On lesser charms, for no cause save that such
Devotion was a duty, and I hated
All that look'd like a chain for me or others“

—  George Gordon Byron, Sardanapalus

Act IV, scene 1.
Sardanapalus (1821)
Context: But take this with thee: if I was not form'd
To prize a love like thine, a mind like thine,
Nor dote even on thy beauty — as I've doted
On lesser charms, for no cause save that such
Devotion was a duty, and I hated
All that look'd like a chain for me or others
(This even rebellion must avouch); yet hear
These words, perhaps among my last — that none
E'er valued more thy virtues, though he knew not
To profit by them…

„When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past—“

—  George Gordon Byron

The First Kiss of Love http://readytogoebooks.com/LB-FKL44.html, st. 7 (1806).
Context: When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past—
For years fleet away with the wings of the dove—
The dearest remembrance will still be the last,
Our sweetest memorial the first kiss of love.

„Triumphant where it dares defy,
And making Death a Victory.“

—  George Gordon Byron

III.
Prometheus (1816)
Context: Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen Man with his own mind;
But baffled as thou wert from high,
Still in thy patient energy,
In the endurance, and repulse
Of thine impenetrable Spirit,
Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit:
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source;
And Man in portions can foresee
His own funereal destiny;
His wretchedness, and his resistance,
And his sad unallied existence:
To which his Spirit may oppose
Itself — and equal to all woes,
And a firm will, and a deep sense,
Which even in torture can decry
Its own concenter'd recompense,
Triumphant where it dares defy,
And making Death a Victory.

„I know not what I could have been, but feel
I am not what I should be — let it end.“

—  George Gordon Byron, Sardanapalus

Act IV, scene 1.
Sardanapalus (1821)
Context: I am the very slave of circumstance
And impulse — borne away with every breath!
Misplaced upon the throne — misplaced in life.
I know not what I could have been, but feel
I am not what I should be — let it end.

„Mont Blanc is the Monarch of mountains;
They crowned him long ago“

—  George Gordon Byron, book Manfred

Act I, scene i.
Manfred (1817)
Context: Mont Blanc is the Monarch of mountains;
They crowned him long ago,
On a throne of rocks — in a robe of clouds –
With a Diadem of Snow.

„Thy Godlike crime was to be kind“

—  George Gordon Byron

III.
Prometheus (1816)
Context: Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen Man with his own mind;
But baffled as thou wert from high,
Still in thy patient energy,
In the endurance, and repulse
Of thine impenetrable Spirit,
Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit:
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source;
And Man in portions can foresee
His own funereal destiny;
His wretchedness, and his resistance,
And his sad unallied existence:
To which his Spirit may oppose
Itself — and equal to all woes,
And a firm will, and a deep sense,
Which even in torture can decry
Its own concenter'd recompense,
Triumphant where it dares defy,
And making Death a Victory.

„O'er the glad waters of the dark blue sea,
Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free“

—  George Gordon Byron

Canto I, stanza 1.
The Corsair (1814)
Context: O'er the glad waters of the dark blue sea,
Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free,
Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam, 22
Survey our empire, and behold our home!
These are our realms, no limit to their sway,—
Our flag the sceptre all who meet obey.

„What was thy pity's recompense?
A silent suffering, and intense“

—  George Gordon Byron

I.
Prometheus (1816)
Context: Titan! to whom immortal eyes
The sufferings of mortality
Seen in their sad reality,
Were not as things that gods despise;
What was thy pity's recompense?
A silent suffering, and intense;
The rock, the vulture, and the chain,
All that the proud can feel of pain,
The agony they do not show,
The suffocating sense of woe,
Which speaks but in its loneliness,
And then is jealous lest the sky
Should have a listener, nor will sigh
Until its voice is echoless.

„My great comfort is, that the temporary celebrity I have wrung from the world has been in the very teeth of all opinions and prejudices.“

—  George Gordon Byron

Letter to Thomas Moore (9 April 1814).
Context: My great comfort is, that the temporary celebrity I have wrung from the world has been in the very teeth of all opinions and prejudices. I have flattered no ruling powers; I have never concealed a single thought that tempted me.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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