Portrait of British poet Lord Byron.

Lord Byron

(1788 - 1824)

As part of his grand tour beginning in 1809, Lord Byron traveled to Greece for the first time, swam the Hellespont like the legendary Leander, and supposedly saved a girl from drowning. After the first two cantos of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage appeared in 1812, the duchess of Devonshire noted that the work “is on every table, and himself courted, visited, flattered and praised wherever he appears.” Caroline Lamb called the poet “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

All Writing

Till taught by pain, / Men really know not what good water’s worth.

—Lord Byron, 1819

All that we know is nothing can be known. 

—Lord Byron, 1812

And, after all, what is a lie? ’Tis but the truth in masquerade.

—Lord Byron, 1822

A woman should never be seen eating or drinking unless it be lobster salad and champagne, the only truly feminine and becoming viands.

—Lord Byron, 1812

Miscellany

Gone to Greece to fight for the country’s liberation from Ottoman rule, Lord Byron, who financed a fighting force, noted in his journal on September 28, 1823, that he “did not come to join a faction but a nation—and to deal with honest men” and was dismayed to find that “they are such d——d liars; there never was such an incapacity for veracity shown since Eve lived in Paradise.” Nevertheless, he died there on April 19, 1824, after contracting a fever.

Why is a ship under sail more poetical than a hog in a high wind? The hog is all nature, the ship is all art.

—Lord Byron, 1821

I doubt that we have any right to pity the dead for their own sakes.

—Lord Byron, 1817

Miscellany

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, once said of Lord Byron, “I was fourteen when I heard of his death. It seemed an awful calamity; I remember I rushed out of doors, sat down by myself, shouted aloud, and wrote on the sandstone: BYRON IS DEAD!”

I shall soon be six-and-twenty. Is there anything in the future that can possibly console us for not being always twenty-five?

—Lord Byron, 1813

Issues Contributed