lord byron


  • The journey provided the opportunity to flee creditors, as well as to meet a former love, Mary Chaworth (the subject of his poem “To a Lady: On Being Asked My Reason for Quitting
    England in the Spring”).

  • [25] During this period he met the 18-year-old Countess Guiccioli, who found her first love in Byron; he asked her to elope with him.

  • From 1821 to 1822, Byron finished Cantos 6–12 of Don Juan at Pisa, and in the same year he joined with Leigh Hunt and Shelley in starting a short-lived newspaper, The Liberal,
    in whose first number The Vision of Judgment appeared.

  • [56] However, in 1813 he met for the first time in four years his half-sister, Augusta Leigh.

  • [25] For the first time since his arrival in Italy, Byron found himself tempted to give dinner parties; his guests included the Shelleys, Edward Ellerker Williams, Thomas
    Medwin, John Taaffe, and Edward John Trelawny; and “never”, as Shelley said, “did he display himself to more advantage than on these occasions; being at once polite and cordial, full of social hilarity and the most perfect good humour; never
    diverging into ungraceful merriment, and yet keeping up the spirit of liveliness throughout the evening.

  • [28] The most enduring of those was with John FitzGibbon, 2nd Earl of Clare—four years Byron’s junior—whom he was to meet unexpectedly many years later in Italy (1821).

  • [24] Life abroad (1816–1824) Switzerland and the Shelleys[edit] • Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1819 • Claire Clairmont, 1819 • Mary Shelley, 1840 After this break-up of his domestic
    life, and by pressure on the part of his creditors, which led to the sale of his library, Byron left England,[25] and never returned.

  • His mother proudly took him to England, but the Abbey was in an embarrassing state of disrepair and, rather than living there, she decided to lease it to Lord Grey de Ruthyn,
    among others, during Byron’s adolescence.

  • [18] In a move to avoid his creditors, Catherine accompanied her profligate husband to France in 1786, but returned to England at the end of 1787 to give birth to her son.

  • [86] Byron wrote to his business agent in England, “I should not like to give the Greeks but a half helping hand”, saying he would have wanted to spend his entire fortune
    on Greek freedom.

  • Involved at first in an affair with Lady Caroline Lamb (who called him “mad, bad and dangerous to know”) and with other lovers and also pressed by debt, he began to seek a
    suitable marriage, considering – amongst others – Annabella Millbanke.

  • Lady Blessington based much of the material in her book, Conversations with Lord Byron, on the time spent together there.

  • “[27] John FitzGibbon, 2nd Earl of Clare Byron finally returned in January 1804,[21] to a more settled period, which saw the formation of a circle of emotional involvements
    with other Harrow boys, which he recalled with great vividness: “My school friendships were with me passions (for I was always violent)”.

  • [59] Several times Byron went to see Germaine de Staël and her Coppet group, which turned out to be a valid intellectual and emotional support to Byron at the time.

  • [25] First travels to the East[edit] Byron’s Stone in Tepelenë, Albania Teresa Makri in 1870 Byron racked up numerous debts as a young man, owing to what his mother termed
    a “reckless disregard for money”.

  • [84] Byron never led the attack on Navpaktos because the Souliotes kept demanding that Byron pay them more and more money before they would march; Byron grew tired of their
    blackmail and sent them all home on 15 February 1824.

  • Family and early life George Gordon Byron was born on 22 January 1788, on Holles Street in London, England – his birthplace is now supposedly occupied by a branch of the department
    store John Lewis.

  • Byron moved to the second floor of a two-story house and was forced to spend much of his time dealing with unruly Souliotes who demanded that Byron pay them the back-pay owed
    to them by the Greek government.

  • [74] At first, Byron did not wish to leave his 22-year-old mistress, Countess Teresa Guiccioli, who had abandoned her husband to live with him.

  • [43] The work so upset some of his critics they challenged Byron to a duel; over time, in subsequent editions, it became a mark of prestige to be the target of Byron’s pen.

  • Italy[edit] Byron wintered in Venice, pausing in his travels when he fell in love with Marianna Segati, in whose Venice house he was lodging, and who was soon replaced by
    22 year-old Margarita Cogni; both women were married.

  • Annabella considered Byron insane, and in January 1816 she left him, taking their daughter, and began proceedings for a legal separation.

  • Byron fell in love with Mary Chaworth, whom he met while at school,[21] and she was the reason he refused to return to Harrow in September 1803.

  • “[30] Letters to Byron in the John Murray archive contain evidence of a previously unremarked if short-lived romantic relationship with a younger boy at Harrow, John Thomas

  • [16] Amelia herself died in 1784 almost exactly a year after the birth of their third child, the poet’s half-sister Augusta Mary.

  • [51] While in Athens, Byron met 14-year-old Nicolo Giraud, with whom he became quite close and who taught him Italian.

  • His father appears to have wished to call his son ‘William’, but as her husband remained absent, the young Byron’s mother named him after her own father George Gordon of Gight,[20]
    who was a descendant of James I of Scotland, and died by suicide in 1779.

  • [19] To claim his second wife’s estate in Scotland, Byron’s father took the additional surname “Gordon”, becoming “John Byron Gordon”, and occasionally styled himself “John
    Byron Gordon of Gight”.

  • This book became an important biographical text about Byron’s life just prior to his death.

  • [21] His father soon joined them in their lodgings in Queen Street, but the couple quickly separated.

  • Cogni could not read or write, and she left her husband to move in with Byron.

  • [86] In today’s money Byron would have been a millionaire many times over.

  • “[49][50] Byron began his trip in Portugal from where he wrote a letter to his friend Mr Hodgson in which he describes his mastery of the Portuguese language, consisting mainly
    of swearing and insults.

  • [14] Byron’s father had previously been somewhat scandalously married to Amelia, Marchioness of Carmarthen, with whom he had been having an affair – the wedding took place
    just weeks after her divorce from her husband, and she was around eight months pregnant.

  • [42] Although published anonymously, by April, R. C. Dallas wrote that “you are already pretty generally known to be the author”.

  • [15] The marriage was not a happy one, and their first two children – Sophia Georgina, and an unnamed boy – died in infancy.

  • [75] At the same time that the philhellene, Edward Blaquiere, was attempting to recruit him, Byron was confused as to what he was supposed to do in Greece, writing: “Blaquiere
    seemed to think that I might be of some use-even here;—though what he did not exactly specify”.

  • But ultimately Guiccioli’s father, Count Gamba, was allowed to leave his exile in the Romagna under the condition that his daughter return to him, without Byron.

  • “[68] “Byron’s Grotto” in Porto Venere, Italy, named in Byron’s honour because, according to local legend, he meditated here and drew inspiration from this place for his literary
    works Statue of Lord Byron in Athens In 1821, Byron left Ravenna and went to live in the Tuscan city of Pisa, to which Teresa had also relocated.

  • Around this time he received visits from Percy Bysshe Shelley, as well as from Thomas Moore, to whom he confided his autobiography or “life and adventures”, which Moore, Hobhouse,
    and Byron’s publisher, John Murray,[65] burned in 1824, a month after Byron’s death.

  • After he became embroiled in a tempestuous voyage during the American Revolutionary War, John was nicknamed ‘Foul-Weather Jack’ Byron by the press.

  • News that a fabulously wealthy British aristocrat, known for his financial generosity, had arrived in Greece made Byron the object of much solicitation in that desperately
    poor country.

  • About the same time, he began his intimacy with his future biographer, Thomas Moore.

  • [84] Byron wrote in a note to himself: “Having tried in vain at every expence-considerable trouble—and some danger to unite the Suliotes for the good of Greece-and their own—I
    have come to the following resolution—I will have nothing more to do with the Suliotes-they may go to the Turks or the devil…they may cut me into more pieces than they have dissensions among them, sooner than change my resolution”.

  • [44] Of Byron’s lifestyle in Ravenna we know more from Shelley, who documented some of its more colourful aspects in a letter: “Lord Byron gets up at two.

  • [48] Attraction to the Levant was probably also a reason; he had read about the Ottoman and Persian lands as a child, was attracted to Islam (especially Sufi mysticism), and
    later wrote, “With these countries, and events connected with them, all my really poetical feelings begin and end.

  • [33] In later years, he described the affair as “a violent, though pure love and passion”.

  • Byron was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, later traveling extensively across Europe to places such as Italy, where he lived for seven years in Venice, Ravenna, and
    Pisa after he was forced to flee England due to lynching threats.

  • [40] Letters to Byron from his friend Charles Skinner Matthews reveal that a key motive was also the hope of homosexual experiences.

  • Byron’s mother had to sell her land and title to pay her new husband’s debts, and in the space of two years, the large estate, worth some £23,500, had been squandered, leaving
    the former heiress with an annual income in trust of only £150.

  • Their fighting often caused Byron to spend the night in his gondola; when he asked her to leave the house, she threw herself into the Venetian canal.

  • [23] However, Byron’s biographer, Doris Langley-Moore, in her 1974 book, Accounts Rendered, paints a more sympathetic view of Mrs Byron, showing how she was a staunch supporter
    of her son and sacrificed her own precarious finances to keep him in luxury at Harrow and Cambridge.

  • After taking Byron to Greece, the ship returned to England, never again to venture into the Mediterranean.

  • During this time, with the help of Elizabeth Pigot, who copied many of his rough drafts, he was encouraged to write his first volumes of poetry.

  • (Despite his dying wishes, however, his body was returned for burial in England.)

  • “[46] He followed up his success with the poem’s last two cantos, as well as four equally celebrated “Oriental Tales”: The Giaour, The Bride of Abydos, The Corsair, and Lara.

  • While at Cambridge, he also formed lifelong friendships with men such as John Cam Hobhouse, who initiated him into the Cambridge Whig Club, which endorsed liberal politics,
    and Francis Hodgson, a Fellow at King’s College, with whom he corresponded on literary and other matters until the end of his life.

  • [31] The following autumn, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge,[32] where he met and formed a close friendship with the younger John Edleston.

  • To avoid the Ottoman Navy, which he encountered several times on his voyage, Byron was forced to take a roundabout route and only reached Missolonghi on 5 January 1824.

  • Therefore in ship-years, he was also 37 when he died in Missolonghi.

  • The scandal of the separation, the rumours about Augusta, and ever-increasing debts forced him to leave England in April 1816, never to return.

  • “[41] Alexander Dallas gave a large series of changes and alterations, as well as the reasoning for some of them.

  • Much later, 19th-century sources blamed Jack’s own “brutal and vicious” treatment of her.

  • [13] Having survived a shipwreck as a teenage midshipman, Vice Admiral John Byron set a new speed record for circumnavigating the globe.

  • [90] Byron wrote with disgust about how one of the Greek captains, former Klepht Georgios Karaiskakis, attacked Missolonghi on April 3, 1824 with some 150 men supported by
    the Souliotes as he was unhappy with Mavrokordatos’s leadership, which led to a brief bout of inter-Greek fighting before Karaiskakis was chased away by April 6th.

  • [25] It was put into the hands of his relation R. C. Dallas, requesting him to “…get it published without his name.

  • [21] While there, he cultivated friendships with Elizabeth Bridget Pigot and her brother John, with whom he staged two plays for the entertainment of the community.

  • By the end of March 1824, the so-called “Byron brigade” of 30 philhellene officers and about 200 men had been formed, paid for entirely by Byron.

  • [44][45] In his own words, “I awoke one morning and found myself famous.

  • About his “protégé” he wrote, “He has been my almost constant associate since October, 1805, when I entered Trinity College.

  • Fondazione BEIC After his return from travels he again entrusted R. C. Dallas as his literary agent to publish his poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, which Byron thought to
    be of little account.

  • The savage, anonymous criticism this received (now known to be the work of Henry Peter Brougham) in the Edinburgh Review prompted his first major satire,[40] English Bards
    and Scotch Reviewers (1809).

  • From that point he signed himself “Noel Byron” (the usual signature of a peer being merely the peerage, in this case simply “Byron”).


Works Cited

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and rode on to Cadiz through a beautiful country, at Xeres where the Sherry we drink is made I met a great merchant a Mr Gordon of Scotland, who was extremely polite and favoured me with the Inspection of his vaults & cellars so that I quaffed at
the Fountain head. – – Cadiz, sweet Cadiz! is the most delightful town I ever beheld…”
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o ^ Jump up to:a b (in Armenian) Soghomonyan, Soghomon A. “Բայրոն, Ջորջ Նոել Գորդոն” (Byron, George Noel Gordon). Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia. vol. ii. Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1976, pp.
o ^ Shelley, Percy (1964). Letters: Shelley in Italy. Clarendon Press. p. 330.
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o ^ Lovell 1954, p. 369.
o ^ Jump up to:a b Brewer
2011, p. 197.
o ^ Brewer 2011, pp. 197, 199.
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o ^ Brewer 2011, p. 201.
o ^ Brewer 2011, p. 202.
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o ^ Brewer 2011, pp. 215–216.
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o ^ Crompton, Louis (8 January 2007). “Byron, George Gordon, Lord”. glbtq.com. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
o ^ Contrary to later misconception,
Byron was not killed in battle nor died from battle wounds. See also The Dictionary of Misinformation (1975) by Tom Burname, Futura Publications, 1985, pp. 39–40.
o ^ Jump up to:a b Wong, Ling-Mei (14 October 2004). “Professor to speak about his
book, ‘Lady Caroline Lamb'”. Spartan Daily. San Jose State University. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
o ^ Jump up to:a b Castle, Terry (13 April 1997). “‘Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know’: A biography that
sees Lord Byron as a victim of circumstances”. The New York Times. NYC, USA. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
o ^ “Ireland: Poetic justice at home of Byron’s exiled lover”. Sunday Times: Property. Dublin, Ireland: The Times Online. 17 November 2002.
Retrieved 21 February 2010. ‘Mad, bad and dangerous to know’ has become Lord Byron’s lasting epitaph. Lady Caroline Lamb coined the phrase after her first meeting with the poet at a society event in 1812.
o ^ Jump up to:a b c d “Lady Caroline
Lamb – Lord Byron’s Lovers”. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
o ^ Barger (2011), p. 15.
o ^ Marchand, Byron’s Letters and Journals, 1982.
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o ^ Pittock, Murray. “Scotland, The Global
History: 1603 to the Present”. Yale University Press, 2022, p. 13.
o ^ Pittock, Murray. “Scotland, The Global History: 1603 to the Present”. Yale University Press, 2022, p. 222.
o ^ Pittock, Murray. “Scotland, The Global History: 1603 to the Present”.
Yale University Press, 2022, p. 223.
o ^ Pittock, Murray. “Scotland, The Global History: 1603 to the Present”. Yale University Press, 2022, p. 223.
o ^ “Lord Byron swims the Hellespont”. History.com. 3 May 1810. Archived from the original on 6
March 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
o ^ Matt Barr (30 September 2007). “The day I swam all the way to Asia”. The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
o ^ Prell 2009a, p. 13.
o ^ “Boatswain is dead! He expired in a state of madness on the
10th, after suffering much, yet retaining all the gentleness of his nature to the last, never attempting to do the least injury to anyone near him.” Marchand, Leslie A. (ed.), Byron’s Letters and Journals (BLJ), Johns Hopkins 2001, Letter to Francis
Hodgson, 18 November 1808.
o ^ “… the poor animal having been seized with a fit of madness, at the commencement of which so little aware was Lord Byron of the nature of the malady, that more than once, with his bare hand, he wiped away the slaver
from the dog’s lips during the paroxysm.” Moore, Thomas. Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, 1833.
o ^ Moore, Doris Langley. The Late Lord Byron. Melville House Publishing, 1961, ch. 10.
o ^ “I have got a new friend, the finest in the world,
a tame bear. When I brought him here, they asked me what I meant to do with him, and my reply was, ‘he should sit for a fellowship.'” Marchand, Leslie A. (ed.), Byron’s Letters and Journals (BLJ), Johns Hopkins 2001, Letter to Elizabeth Pigot,
26 October 1807:(BLJ I 135-6).
o ^ Cochran (2011), pp. 176–177.
o ^ Marchand 1957, p. 7.
o ^ MacCarthy 2002, pp. 3–4.
o ^ Cousin 1910, p. 66.
o ^ Gilmour, Ian (2003). The Making of the Poets: Byron and Shelley in Their Time. Carroll & Graf
Publishers. p. 35.
o ^ “For Byron, his deformed foot became the crucial catastrophe of his life. He saw it as the mark of satanic connection, referring to himself as le diable boiteux, the lame devil.” – Eisler (1999), p. 13.
o ^ Henley, William
Ernest, ed., The works of Lord Byron: Letters, 1804–1813, Volume 1, 1897
o ^ Jump up to:a b Baron (1997).
o ^ David Snowdon, Writing the Prizefight: Pierce Egan’s Boxiana World (Bern, 2013).
o ^ Trelawny, Edward John (2011 edition). Recollections
of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron. Cambridge University Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-108-03405-0
o ^ Coghlan, J. Michelle (2020). The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Food. Cambridge University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-1108446105
o ^ Dallas
1824, p. 33.
o ^ Dallas 1824, p. 65.
o ^ Jump up to:a b Bone, Drummond (2004). The Cambridge Companion to Byron. Cambridge University Press. pp. 44–47.
o ^ Byron’s speech of 27 February 1812, in T.C. Hansard (1812) The Parliamentary Debates,
vol. 21, pp. 966–972
o ^ Jump up to:a b Moore, Thomas (1829) [1851]. John Wilson Croker (ed.). The Life of Lord Byron: With His Letters and Journals. Vol. I. John Murray. pp. 154, 676. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
o ^ Dallas 1824, p. 205.
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