childe-harold's-pilgrimage

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar;
I love not Man the less, but Nature more.
—  Lord Byron, from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

On This Day In History~ January 22nd

1788; The birth of Lord Byron

George Gordon Byron (22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824), commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. Among Byron’s best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and the short lyric She Walks in Beauty. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential.

He travelled all over Europe especially in Italy where he lived for 7 years and then joined the Greek War of Independence fighting the Ottoman Empire, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. He died one year later at age 36 from a fever contracted while in Missolonghi in Greece.

Often described as the most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, Byron was celebrated in life for aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs, rumours of a scandalous incestuous liaison with his half-sister, and self-imposed exile.

5

The Course of Empire by Thomas Cole.

I. The Savage State

II. The Arcadian or Pastoral State

III. The Consummation of Empire

IV. Destruction

V. Desolation

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"There is the moral of all human tales;
'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.
First freedom and then Glory - when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption - barbarism at last.
And History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page…”

- George Gordon Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

But I have lived, and have not lived in vain:
My mind may lose its force, my blood its fire,
And my frame perish even in conquering pain,
But there is that within me which shall tire
Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire
—  from Canto IV of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by Lord Byron, who was born in London on this day in 1788

FROM THE VAULTS:

BYRONIC HEROES

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Lord Byron

And now Childe Harold was sore sick at heart,
And from his fellow bacchanals would flee;
'Tis said, at times the sullen tear would start,
But pride congealed the drop within his e’e:
Apart he stalked in joyless reverie,
And from his native land resolved to go,
And visit scorching climes beyond the sea;
With pleasure drugged, he almost longed for woe,
And e’en for change of scene would seek the shades below.

Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living. You said I killed you—haunt me then. The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe—I know that ghosts have wandered the earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you - especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land some broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, - you’d forget me.

Eugene Onegin, Alexander Pushkin

Eugene, of course, had keen perceptions
And on the whole despised mankind,
Yet wasn’t, like so many, blind;
And since each rule permits exceptions,
He did respect a noble few,
And, cold himself, gave warmth its due.

Interview With The Vampire, Anne Rice

That is the crowning evil, that we can even go so far as to love each other, you and I. And who else would show us a particle of love, a particle of compassion or mercy? Who else, knowing us as we know each other, could do anything but destroy us? Yet we can love each other.

The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux

Know that it is a corpse who loves you and adores you and will never, never leave you!…Look, I am not laughing now, crying, crying for you, Christine, who have torn off my mask and who therefore can never leave me again!…Oh, mad Christine, who wanted to see me!

Paradise Lost, John Milton

Me miserable! Which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
And in the lowest deep a lower deep,
Still threat’ning to devour me, opens wide,
To which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.

As the sun grew stronger, Algy retreated into the old oak woods by the banks of the quieter loch. Everything was fresh and green and beautiful there in the dappled sunlight. It was very quiet apart from the songs of the other birds, as there are no paths through these woods to bring noisy visitors to disturb the peace. Algy sat on a rock and studied the mosses and ferns, thinking of a verse by Lord Byron:

          There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
          There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
          There is society, where none intrudes,
          By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
          I love not man the less, but Nature more,
          From these our interviews, in which I steal
          From all I may be, or have been before,
          To mingle with the Universe, and feel
          What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.


[Algy is quoting verse CLXXVIII from Lord Byron’s extremely long narrative poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.]