George Gordon, Lord Byron was born on this day ~ January 22, 1788 ~ and he has been very much on my mind since early morning.
He was a poet who was much loved by my late mother who often quoted lines from his work. She had been introduced to him early in her life and it always gives me great pleasure to read an English composition which she wrote in 1934, when she was 13, comparing his life with that of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Here is a short extract:
Both were wonderful poets, both hated tyranny and wrote of freedom. But with such a difference! A comparison of portraits emphasises it more even that a comparison of poems. Shelley, mournful, longing for a better world, with a melancholy face and a grave outlook on life. Byron, handsome, extravagant, impulsive, thoughtless and dissipated. Of the two, I infinitely prefer Byron, both his poems and his portrait, even taking his faults into consideration.
I often wonder how many portraits of Byron Mother ever got to see and which ones.
I’ve no doubt that she had probably read all his poetry but these are the lines that she tended to quote the most:
There is pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
(George Gordon, Lord Byron 1788-1824)