Lord Byron, 1788 - 1824
Today at One Stop Poetry we celebrate the work of one of Britain's most famous poets, George Gordon Byron. He is 6th Baron Byron, born, 22nd January 1788, better known as Lord Byron.
Byron’s short life of 36 years was full of adventure and literary acclaim. From being revered as a national hero in Greece, for taking arms and fighting the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence, to the famous tale of being cooped up for three days during a “wet, ungenial summer” at the Villa Diodati, which led to Mary Shelley’s famous novel, Frankenstein.
Byron shared the benefits and pitfalls of celebrity. Affairs and scandals were to follow him throughout his life, including those of sodomy and incest. These things coupled with bouts of depression, extravagant, flamboyant and eccentric behaviour, an extreme temper, a club foot which caused a limp to blight him all his life, Byron certainly had many sources of inspiration.
Following a violent fever, he died, on 19th April 1824, whilst in Greece fighting for their independence. Such was Byron's standing that having been embalmed, the Greeks wanted to keep part of him with them. It is rumoured that either his heart or lungs remain in Greece. Byron's body was returned to England for burial at Westminster Abbey. However, due to "unquestionable morality" the Abbey refused the burial. He is buried at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, in Hucknall, Nottingham.
He left behind a daughter, The Honorable Augusta Ada Byron, born 1815, who herself holds a notable place in history. It was she, who worked closely with Charles Babbage, the man who was widely regarded as the inventor of the modern computer, and is known for being the world's first computer programmer.
As a leading figure in the Romanticism movement, Byron was a prolific writer, and it is his work that we wish to share and celebrate today. There have been so many poems to chose; I am sure you each have your favorites. Today I will leave you with three poems, starting with, perhaps, his most known, She Walks in Beauty,
She Walks In Beauty
by Lord Byron (1814)
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
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,
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18, 1808.
images all courtesy creative commons/wikipedia