“I am one
with the storm!”
To the 225th anniversary of George Byron’s birthday
Photo: http://science.howstuffworks.com
“This is I: I am one with the storm! The rolling thunder-stone,
reverberating through the abysses of the Alps, is the echo of my own
soul! All desolate lands and cities … express me. But I am greater
than these symbols, myself, one and indivisible,—a tortured human
soul, unconquered, unsurrendering.”
“Byron in Our Day”
J. F. A. Pyre
 George Gordon Noel Byron (1788-1824)
was one of the most illustrious British poets
who became the successor of romantic
literature originated in the 18th century.
 Byron created a popular Romantic character
- melancholy, haunted by secret guilt - for
which his own life and experience seemed
the model.
George Gordon Byron
Photo: http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp00691/georgegordon-byron-6th-baron-byron
 George Byron was born in London
on 22 January 1788.
 His mother, Catherine Gordon of Gight (1765-1811),
was an impoverished Scots heiress.
 His father Captain John ("Mad Jack") Byron (1755-
1791) was a fortune-hunting widower with a little
daughter Augusta.
 John Byron left his family in dire financial state and
eventually decamped for France, an exile from
English creditors, where he died in 1791.
Captain John Byron
Photo: http://www.keats-shelley-house.org/en/writers/writers-lordbyron/lord-byron-family
 Mrs Byron was not a bad woman, but she was not
a good mother. Passionate and extravagant, she
mismanaged her son from his childhood.
 She neither looked nor spoke like a
gentlewoman; but in the conduct of her affairs,
she was praiseworthy. She avoided debts, and
when she obtained a civil list pension of 300
pounds a year she spent most of it on her son.
 Mrs Byron was well-educated and had some taste
for reading.
Catherine Gordon of
Photo: http://www.ashfield-dc.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/community-and-living/faiths--beliefsand-religions/st--mary-magdalene/george-gordonbyron/;jsessionid=C842125160B16F142839EC84DC6BB88E
 Young Byron was christened “George
Gordon Byron” at St Marylebone Parish
Church after his maternal grandfather,
George Gordon of Gight, a descendant of
James I of Scotland.
 Mrs Byron moved back to Aberdeenshire in
summer in 1789 where Byron spent his early
Photo: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/aberdeenshire/stonehaven.shtml
 From 1794 to 1798 Byron attended
Aberdeen Grammar School.
 It was a solid foundation enabling
him to keep a hand over his talents
and developing interest in reading
and especially a "grand passion" for
history that influenced much of his
poetical works.
Aberdeen Grammar School
Photo: http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/search_item/index.php?service=RCAHMS&id=70525
 From birth, Byron suffered from a deformity of his right foot
which caused him both psychological and physical misery for
all his life.
 Under the care of a Dr. Bailey, he was encouraged to exercise
in moderation, but could not restrain himself from "violent"
bouts in an attempt to overcompensate for his physical
 At the age of 10 Byron inherited the title of
6th Lord Byron and the estate of Newstead
Abbey in Nottinghamshire via his greatuncle the "wicked" Lord Byron.
 The Abbey was presented to the Byron
family by Henry VIII.
 Young boy fell in love with the ghostly
halls and romantic ruins of Newstead
Abbey where he lived for a while.
Newstead Abbey
Photo: http://heritagecatering.org.uk/page7.php
Through thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow winds whistle;
Thou, the hall of my fathers, art gone to decay;
In thy once smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle
Have choked up the rose which late bloom’d in the way.
Of the mail-cover’d Barons, who proudly to battle
Led their vassals from Europe to Palestine’s plain,
The escutcheon and shield, which with every blast rattle,
Are the only sad vestiges now that remain.
“On Leaving Newstead Abbey”
Photo: http://www.aboutbritain.com/NewsteadAbbey.htm
 He was privately tutored in
Nottingham and his clubfoot was
treated by a quack named Lavender.
 In 1799 Byron entered the school of
Dr. William Glennie in Dulwich and
then he studed at Harrow School in
northwest London.
Harrow School
Photo: http://www.ukstudycentre.com/education/secondary-education/schoolscatalogue/harrow-school/
During the summer holidays of 1803 Byron stayed at
Newstead with his tenant, Lord Grey, and courted his
distant relative Mary Anne Chaworth (1786–1832).
The young lady became the reason Byron refused to go
back to Harrow school that year. His mother wrote, "He
has no indisposition that I know of but love, desperate
love, the worst of all maladies in my opinion”.
When Miss Chaworth grew tired of "that lame boy,"
Byron expressed his sadness in melancholy poems in
which Mary became the symbol of unattainable love. His
poem “To Emma” is dedicated to her. (Later, when Byron
achieved fame she had to regret her rejection.)
Mary Chaworth Musters
Photo: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/mary-chaworth-musters17861832-47827
Since now the hour is come at last,
When you must quit your anxious lover;
Since now, our dream of bliss is past,
One pang, my girl, and all is over.
Alas! that pang will be severe,
Which bids us part to meet no more;
Which tears me far from one so dear,
Departing for a distant shore.
Well! we have pass'd some happy hours,
And joy will mingle with our tears;
When thinking on these ancient towers,
The shelter of our infant years …
“To Emma” 1807
Photo: http://rompedas.blogspot.ru/2009/12/one-of-finest-american-watercolorists.html
 Byron entered Trinity College at
Cambridge in 1805. "The place is the
devil," he wrote about it.
 But there he made some friends
Trinity College
Photo: http://luirig.altervista.org/naturaitaliana/viewpics.php?title=Trinity+College,+Cambridge,+England
John Cam Hobhouse
Photo: http://www.art-prints-on-demand.com/a/wivell/johncamhobhousec1821.html
who were worthy of his choice. The
scholar-dandy Scrope Berdmore
Davies and his best friend politician John Cam Hobhouse
(1786–1869) were among them.
 In 1806 Byron wrote and published most of his "Juvenile
Poems”. His first book was a thin quarto of 66 pages dated
December 23d, 1806.
 Later in 1807 his new book entitled “Poems on Various
Occasions” was ready for private distribution.
 Encouraged by two critics, Henry Makenzie and Lord
Woodhouselee, Byron published the next edition under his
own name “Hours of Idleness, by George Gordon Lord
Byron, a minor”.
 The last issue of Juvenilia cycle “Poems, Original and
Translated” was published in March 1808.
 Byron has sometimes been compared
to the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759
– 1796) because both of them wrote
from their personal impressions and
feelings, frankly showing themselves in
their poetry.
 In his early poems Byron expressed
how much he despised hypocritical
British society as well as the English
climate which he found too rainy.
Photo: http://illustrators.ru/illustrations/46754
 Byron’s early poems were criticized for demonstrating a "Scotch accent”.
Later he replied to the critics with a satire "English Bards and Scotch
 He always remembered his Scottish roots and the beauty of the Scottish
England! thy beauties are tame and domestic,
To one who has rov'd on the mountains afar
Oh! for the crags that are wild and majestic
The deep frowning glories of dark Loch na Garr.
“Hours of Idleness"
Photo: http://www.michaelhughesantiques.co.uk/michael_hughes/scottish_painting.html
At the age of 21 in January 1809, Byron took his seat in
the House of Lords.
In his speeches Byron was seen as a defendant of social
reforms in Britain and supporter of the Luddites
(workers in Nottinghamshire who destroyed textile
machines that were putting them out of work). The
Lords met such words with sarcastic remarks insisting
on the benefits of automation.
In another speech he expressed opposition to the
established church believing it was unfair to people of
other religious beliefs.
Photo: http://www.historyevents.ru/4/st11.htm
His parliamentary experiences were reflected in the
political poems: “Song for the Luddites” (1816), “The
Landlords' Interest”, “The Best of the Cut-Throats”
(1819) etc.
 On 11 June 1809 Byron and his friend John
Hobhouse left Britain for the continent making a
Grand Tour over Eastern Europe.
 They visited Spain, Malta , Greece, and made an
inland voyage to Janina and later to Tepelene in
Albania to visit Ali Pasa.
 On his return at Janina Byron began an
autobiographical poem “Childe Harold”, which he
continued during his stay at Athens. They lodged
with a widow, whose daughter, Theresa Macri,
became a prototype for Byron’s “The Maid of
Photo: http://readytogoebooks.com/MOA-P43.htm
 In March 1810 the friends went to
Constantinople. At the mouth of the
Hellespont Byron visited the site of Troy.
 On 3 May 1810 he swam from Europe to Asia
across the Hellespont Strait in imitation of
Leander (the first recorded notable example
of open water swimming).
 Greece made a lasting impression on his
mind - he delighted its sunny mild climate
and moral tolerance of the people. After
leaving the country, Byron dreamt to return
there again.
Photo: http://yesway.ru/greciya-v-akvareli-ot-xudozhnika-pantelis-zografos.html
The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.
The Scian and the Teian muse,
The hero’s harp, the lover’s lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse:
Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo further west
Then your sires’ “Islands of the Blest.”
Photo: http://yesway.ru/greciya-v-akvareli-ot-xudozhnika-pantelis-zografos.html
“The Isles Of Greece”
 Thomas Phillips depicted Byron
dressed in traditional Albanian
costume that he bought in Epirus (part
of modern Greece and Albania) in 1809,
while on a Grand Tour.
 In the portrait, the translucent
paleness of skin contrasts with the
dark velvet of the costume. It inspired
Sir Walter Scott who compared the
portrait to a beautiful alabaster lamp,
lit from within.
Photo: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/george-gordon-byron17881824-6th-baron-byron-poet-29031
 In 1811 Byron returned to England. His
mother died that year. "I had but one
friend," he exclaimed, "and she is gone."
 The poems appeared during this period
showed his melancholy and desolation.
 Soon after in 1812 Byron successfully
published the first two cantos of “Childe
Harold’s Pilgrimage” which arose the
interest of contemporaries to his works
and personality.
Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childe_Harold's_Pilgrimage
 The plot of the story is said to be taken
from the experience of Byron’s travels
around Mediterranean (1809-1811).
 It demonstrates the first example of the
character lately known as “Byronic hero”
– a well-educated, attractive and
mysteriously charming person, rather
cynical, with self-destructive behaviour.
 George Byron’s poetry promoted English
Romanticism as an international style.
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
by J.M.W. Turner. 1823.
Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Childe_harold.jpg
In 1813-1814 other Byron’s works were published: “The
Waltz”, “The Giaour”, “The Bride of Abydos”, and “The
Corsair”. These Turkish Tales became even more
popular than “Childe Harold”.
Byron had an active social life being a member of
various London’s political clubs and a welcomed guest
at the famous salons.
Photo: http://www.wikipaintings.org/ru/tag/fictional-characters/22
The abdication of Napoleon evoked "An Ode”, “Lara, a
Tale” (an informal sequel to “The Corsair”).
The dark inner side of Byron’s characters started to be
confused in the mind of the readers for that of the
poet himself as he supported such myth around his
persona, but it would cause him more harm lately.
As a child, Byron had seen little of his half-sister Augusta Leigh
(1784-1851) but in adulthood he had a close relationships with
A potential influence came into Byron’s life as they met in
London during the season of 1813-1814. There were some people
who treated their relations as innocent but others interpreted
them as incestuous.
Augusta Leigh (a married woman) gave birth to her third
daughter, Elizabeth Medora Leigh (1814-1849). She was brought
up together with her sisters and brothers however a girl was
treated in Byron’s family as his child.
Augusta Maria Leigh
Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusta_Leigh
 In 1815 Byron married Anne Isabella Milbanke
("Annabella") (1792-1860) who refused his first
proposal of marriage but later accepted him.
 Baroness Byron was a woman of high morals,
intelligent and mathematically gifted.
 Their daughter Augusta Ada Byron (1815-1852) or
Ada as she was called in the family was born in
the same year.
Anne Isabella Milbanke
Photo: http://englishhistory.net/byron/stowebyron.html
Augusta Ada Byron
Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Lovelace
 The marriage was unhappy, and they were given a
legal separation in 1816. Lady Byron was awarded
sole custody of Ada who she brought up to be a
mathematician and scientist.
My soul is dark
My soul is dark—Oh! quickly string
The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling
Its melting murmurs o'er mine ear.—
If in this heart a hope be dear,
That sound shall charm it forth again—
If in these eyes there lurk a tear,
'Twill flow—and cease to burn my brain—
But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first—
I tell thee—Minstrel! I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst—
For it hath been by sorrow nurst,
And ached in sleepless silence long—
And now 'tis doom'd to know the worst,
And break at once—or yield to song.
Photo: http://www.help-rus-student.ru/text/06/080.htm
The reasons for separation were never given and rumors
began to fly, most of them connected with Byron’s
relations with Augusta Leigh.
View of Villa Diodati, Byron's home on Lake
Photo: http://www.keats-shelley-house.org/en/writers/writers-lord-byron/lord-byron-geneva
Clara Allegra Byron
Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Allegra_Byron.jpg
When the rumors grew, Byron went abroad, never
returning to England. He became the most famous
exile in Europe.
From May to December in 1816 Byron spent time in a
company of an English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (17921822) and his friends in Geneva, Switzerland.
Claire Claremont, Byron’s mistress, gave a birth to his
daughter Clara Allegra Byron (1817-1822) (later she was
placed in a convent near Ravenna where she died of
typhus fever).
In Geneva Byron sailed round the lake and visited
the castle of Chillon. He finished the third canto of
“Childe Harold” and began his new poem “The
Prisoner of Chillon” (published December 5, 1816).
In September Byron made excursions in the Alps.
Impressed by fascinating scenery he depicted the
Alpine sights in the first two acts of “Manfred”.
Manfred on the Jungfrau. John Martin (1837)
Photo: http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=2365
His old friend Hobhouse was with him and he had a
nice time, but in his letter to Mrs Leigh Byron
noticed that he could not lose his "own wretched
identity" in the "majesty and the power and the
glory" of nature.
…My mother Earth!
And thou fresh breaking Day, and you, ye
Mountains, Why are ye beautiful?
I cannot love ye.
And thou, the bright eye of the universe
That openest over all, and unto all
Art a delight - thou shin'st not on my heart.
And you, ye crags, upon whose extreme edge
I stand, and on the torrent's brink beneath
Behold the tall pines dwindled as to shrubs
In dizziness of distance; when a leap,
A stir, a motion, even a breath, would bring
My breast upon its rocky bosom's bed
To rest forever - wherefore do I pause?
Photo: http://www.bibliotekar.ru/k102-Constebl/7.htm
In 1816 from April to October Byron travelled around
Italy. He visited Milan, Verona, Rome and Venice . He
studied the history and the language of the country.
Italian scenes appeared in his poetry: "The Lament of
Tasso”, “Beppo, a Venetian Story”, "Ode on Venice”, the
fourth canto of “Childe Harold” and others.
The Grand Canal from the
Campo San Vio
Bernardo Bellotto (1721-1780)
Photo: http://www.ashfield-dc.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/community-and-living/faiths--beliefs-andreligions/st--mary-magdalene/george-gordonbyron/;jsessionid=C842125160B16F142839EC84DC6BB88E
Byron continued to protest against society's hypocrisy.
He himself led a life of a man who rejected the
standards and morals of the day.
One of Byron’s final and greatest works "Don Juan" was also produced in
1818. In this drama he tried to remind about his Scottish roots again:
But I am half a Scot by birth, and bred
A whole one, and my heart flies to my head, As 'Auld Lang Syne' brings Scotland one and all,
Scotch plaids, Scotch snoods, the blue hills and the clear streams,
The Dee, the Don, Balgounie Brig's black wall,
All my boyhood feelings, all my gentler dreams
Of what I then dreamt, clothed in their pall,
Like Banquo's offspring.
This satiric work was too free for that days as Byron said about it.
Though the poem is based on the legend of Don Juan, Byron changed the
plot describing Don Juan not as the famous seducer but on the contrary
as a man who easily succumbs under women’s charm.
Photo: http://www.keats-shelley-house.org/en/writers/writers-lordbyron/lord-byron-byronic-heroes
Teresa Guiccioli
Photo: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/countess-teresa-guiccioli-c18001873-47808
In the spring of 1819 in Venice Byron got acquainted
with an Italian Countess Teresa Guiccioli (1800-1873).
Young, beautiful and well-read, she fell in love with
Byron at first sight and soon became and for nearly
four years remained his true wife won his devotion and
prolonged constancy.
They settled at Ravenna where Byron was received in
society as her cavaliere servente.
Byron’s literary activity was great. He wrote historical
dramas: "Mazeppa, a tale of the Russian Ukraine”,
“Sardanapalus”, “The two Foscari”, “Cain”, “Heaven and
Lord Byron being welcomed
by Greeks
Photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Byron_in_Greece.jpg
Byron influenced European opinion by both his
poetry admired in his home country and on the
continent and his political views. However the
British laughed at his politics but on the
continent he was seen as the prophet and
defender of liberty.
Byron supported the revolutionary movement of
the Greeks for independence from the Ottoman
Empire. In April 1823 Byron accepted the offer by
the London Greek Committee to act as its agent
in the Greek war. All of his legendary
enthusiasm and energy were at the service of the
Greek army.
Byron spent £4000 of his own money to refit the Greek
fleet and sailed for Missolonghi to support the Greek with
military power.
While leading an attack in the Missolonghi marshes Byron
caught a fever and on 19 April 1824 he passed away.
Byron’s death was mourned by the Greeks, and he became
a hero throughout the country. His heart was removed and
buried in Missolonghi. His remains were sent to England.
Refused to be placed in Westminster Abbey, Byron was
buried at Newstead. Only in 1969, a memorial to Byron was
finally placed on the floor of the Abbey.
Photo: http://www.poetsgraves.co.uk/byron.htm
My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of Love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone!
The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some Volcanic isle;
No torch is kindled at its blaze—
A funeral pile.
“On This Day I Complete
My Thirty-Sixth Year”
Photo: http://wallpaper-s.org/11__Coming_Tempest.htm
 Byron’s charismatic figure
and charm, energetic style
and wild imagination, his
expressive verse made him
the ideal of the Romantic
writer who influenced
writers in other countries.
Photo: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/6th-lord-byron-17881824-47789
The presentation is made by
Svetlana Panfyorova,
the librarian of the Department of literature in
foreign languages
Tula regional universal research library
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2. Coleridge , E.H. Biography of George Gordon Byron / by E. H. Coleridge, ed. by A.Gilmour. – [S. l.] : The Encyclopedia
Britannica, 1905. - http://www.ashfield-dc.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/community-and-living/faiths--beliefs-andreligions/st--mary-magdalene/george-gordon-byron/;jsessionid=C842125160B16F142839EC84DC6BB88E .
3. Famous Scots - George Gordon Byron (Lord Byron) (1788-1824) [Electronic resource] // Rampant Scotland : [the site]. –
[S. l., s. a.]. - http://www.rampantscotland.com/famous/blfambyron.htm.
4. The life of George Byron [Electronic resource] // Englishhistory.net : [the site]. – [S. l., s. a.]. http://englishhistory.net/byron/life.html .
5. Lord Byron Biography [Electronic resource] // Famous Poets And Poems.com : [the site]. - [S. l.], 2006–2010. http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/lord_byron/biography .
6. Lord Byron – biography [Electronic resource] // European Graduate School : [the site]. – [S. l.], 1997–2012. http://www.egs.edu/library/lord-byron/biography/ .
7. Pyre, J.F.A. Byron in Our Day // The Atlantic monthly. – 1907. – April. http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/07apr/pyre.htm