The New Student's Reference Work/Byron, George Noel Gordon, Lord
Byron, George Noel Gordon, Lord, a great English poet, was born at London in 1788. His father died when he was three years old, and he was brought up by his mother, a woman of weak mind. He attended Cambridge University in 1805. Two years after, he published his first volume of poems, which at once brought him into notice. In 1808 a criticism of his poems appeared in the Edinburgh Review. He replied to it in a satire called English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, which at once showed his power as a writer. During this time he was living at Cambridge and in London, and spending his time immorally and in frivolous high-class society. Becoming tired of this mode of living, and thinking that his genius was not appreciated, he left England and traveled in Spain and Greece. During his travels he wrote the first part of his greatest work, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. While in Greece he performed the famous feat of swimming across the Hellespont, in imitation of the Greek story of Hero and Leander. On his return to England he was received with great favor. His Giaour, Corsair and Lara were written soon after. He married, but was afterward separated from his wife, and, owing to public disfavor, he left England never to return. He stayed in Geneva for a time, where he wrote his Prisoner of Chillon. Later on he lived in Venice, where he finished Childe Harold, and began Don Juan, one of his notable works. In 1822 he sent money to the Greeks, who were fighting for independence from the Turks; and soon after went to Missolonghi to join the Greek forces, but died there of a fever, in 1824. He is now considered one of the greatest of English poets. His power of description has rarely been equaled. See Life of Byron by Thomas Moore.