Childe Harold`s Pilgrimage published by John Murray and took the
GEORGE NOEL GORDON, LORD BYRON (1788-1824) He was among the most famous of the English 'Romantic' poets; his contemporaries included Percy Shelley and John Keats. He was also a satirist whose poetry and personality captured the imagination of Europe. 1788 Jan. 22 George Gordon Byron born at 16 Holles Street, Cavendish Square, London; son of Captain ‘Mad Jack‘ Byron and the wealthy Catherine Gordon. 1789 Byron and his mother move to Aberdeen, Scotland. As a child he was known simply as George Noel Gordon. Born with a clubfoot, he was taken by his mother, Catherine Gordon, to Aberdeen, Scotland, where they lived in lodgings on a meager income because Mad Jack had squandered most of his wife’s her fortune and deserted her. 1791 ‘Mad Jack' Byron dies in France. He was aged only 36. 1794-8 Byron attends Aberdeen Grammar School Byron’s mother’s moods towards him varied from violent rages to loving affection. 'Her temper is so variable, and when inflamed, so furious,' Lord Byron later wrote, 'that I dread our meeting.‘ When she raged at him, which was often, she would shout: 'Ah, you little dog, you are a Byron all over; you are as bad as your father!' Once she called him 'a lame brat!' but a moment later was smothering him with kisses. On his side, George had the same quick temper and an irresistible urge to provoke conflict. It was rumored that his nurse, May Gray, made physical advances to him when he was only nine. This experience and his idealized love for his distant cousins Mary Duff and Margaret Parker shaped his paradoxical attitudes toward women. 1798 At the death of his great-uncle, the fifth Baron Byron, Byron becomes sixth Baron Byron and inherits the heavily mortgaged ancestral estate, Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire, to which he moves with his mother. George inherited the title and estates of his great-uncle, the "wicked" Lord Byron. The boy fell in love with the ghostly halls and spacious grounds of Newstead Abbey, which had been presented to the Byron family by the infamous King Henry VIII, and he and his mother lived in its ruins for a while. 1799 Byron enters Dr.Glennie's School, Dulwich and endures painful but futile treatments of his club foot. 1801 Byron enters Harrow where he will remain until 1805. In Harrow he excelled at boxing and cricket, but not in the classroom. He hated the 'drill'd dull lesson' and soon came into conflict with the school authorities - with one exception, Dr. Drury, the Head Master, who saw something more beyond the indiscipline in this 'mountain colt' and treated him with some sympathy. His friendships with younger boys fostered a romantic attachment to the school. It is possible that these friendships gave the first impetus to his sexual ambivalence, which became more pronounced at Cambridge and later in Greece. 1805 Byron enters Trinity College, Cambridge and befriends John Hobhouse. After a term at Trinity College, Byron indulged in dissipation and undue generosity in London that put him deeply into debt. When he returned to Trinity he formed a close friendship with John Cam Hobhouse, who stirred his interest in liberal Whiggism. 1806 Byron's Fugitive Pieces privately printed and immediately suppressed when Revd John Becher objects to some of the poems. 1807 Byron's Poems on Various Occasions privately printed and Hours of Idleness published. He also writes a review of Wordsworth's Poems. Hours of Idleness was moderately received except for The Edinburgh Review which counseled 'that he do forthwith abandon poetry, and turn his talents . . . to better account.' The effect of this criticism on Byron was to put him into a rage, drink three bottles of claret and write the satire English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. His latter days at Cambridge were mainly spent away from it. He kept table, so he said, with jockeys, gamblers, boxers, parsons and poets. He also kept a tame bear in his attic. He swam the Thames from Lambeth to Blackfriars for a bet, and made friends with Gentleman John Jackson, or 'Dear Jack' as he called him, the retired champion prize-fighter of England. After learning to spar at Jackson's rooms in Bond Street, Byron described himself as 'not a bad boxer when I could keep my temper, which was difficult.' A gentlemanly fencing instructor taught him to fence but swimming and shooting pistols at a mark were his favourite pastimes. Wearing no whiskers, Byron began to carry an imposing, rather supercilious air and took to wearing very broad white trousers to hide his lame foot. Confessing to being 'a spice of everything, except a jockey', he spent himself freely 'in routs, riots, balls, and boxing-matches, cards . . . masquerades, love, and lotteries . . . opera-singers and oratorios, wine, women, wax-works and weather-cocks', or so he later boasted to a newspaper correspondent. 1809 On reaching his majority in January, he took his seat in the House of Lords. Byron publishes nine poems in Imitations and Translations from the Ancient and Modern Classics by John Hobhouse. In March English Bards and Scotch Reviewers is published anonymously. With Hobhouse departs for the Grand Tour: sails to Lisbon, travels in Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Malta, Greece, Albania (visits the Ali Pasha), Missolunghi and Athens. He also starts writing Canto I of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. In March 1810 he sailed with Hobhouse for Constantinople by way of Smyrna, and, while becalmed at the mouth of the Hellespont, Byron visited the site of Troy and swam the channel in imitation of Leander. Byron’s sojourn in Greece made a lasting impression on his mind and character - he delighted in the sunshine and moral tolerance of the people. After leaving, he often spoke longingly of his visit - and his desire to return. 1811 Byron sails to England, arriving by summer. Byron arrived in London on 14 July 1811, and his mother died on August 1 before he could reach her at Newstead. 1812 Byron's maiden speech in the House of Lords against the death penalty for Luddities. Second speech in House of Lords on Roman Catholics civil rights. Childe Harold Pilgrimage I and II published by Murray in March. Affairs with Caroline Lamb and Lady Oxford. As to Byron's love-life, he was undoubtedly a favourite with the ladies, love being a constant necessity of his life. He invented the classic phrase, 'it's impossible to live with women, or to live without them', and organised his lovemaking with unparalleled stupidity, blundering from one affair to another, usually with maximum loss to everyone else. He was a strong advocate of social reform, and was particularly noted as one of the few Parliamentary defenders of the Luddites. He was also a defender of Roman Catholics. Byron was inspired to write political poems such as "Song for the Luddites" (1816) and "The Landlords' Interest" (1823). Examples of poems where he attacked his political opponents include "Wellington: The Best of the Cut-Throats" (1819) and "The Intellectual Eunuch Castlereagh" (1818). Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage published by John Murray and took the town by storm. The Edinburgh Review (Jeffrey) gave a favourable review. The poet Byron woke one morning to find himself famous - the universal talk of the town. His speech and his poem had not only raised his fame to an extraordinary height but crowds of eminent persons courted an introduction. Besides furnishing a poetic travelogue of picturesque lands, it gave vents to the moods of melancholy and disillusionment of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. And the poem conveyed the disparity between the romantic ideal and the world of reality, a unique achievement in 19th century verse. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to "Ianthe". The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the postRevolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood. Childe Harold became a vehicle for Byron's own beliefs and ideas; indeed in the preface to book three Byron acknowledges the fact that his hero is just an extension of himself. According to Jerome McGann, by masking himself behind a literary artifice, Byron was able to express his view that "man's greatest tragedy is that he can conceive of a perfection which he cannot attain". The work provided the first example of the Byronic hero. The idea of the Byronic hero is one that consists of many different characteristics. The hero must have a rather high level of intelligence and perception as well as be able to easily adapt to new situations and use cunning to his own gain. It is clear from this description that this hero is well educated and by extension is rather sophisticated in his style. Aside from the obvious charm and attractiveness that this automatically creates, he struggles with his integrity, being prone to mood swings or bipolar tendencies. Generally, the hero has a disrespect for any figure of authority, thus creating the image of the Byronic hero as an exile or an outcast. The hero also has a tendency to be arrogant and cynical, indulging in self-destructive behaviour which leads to the need to seduce women. Although his sexual attraction through being mysterious is rather helpful, this sexual attraction often gets the hero into trouble. The Byronic hero pervades much of Byron's work. Scholars have traced the literary history of the Byronic hero from Milton, and many authors and artists of the Romantic movement show Byron's influence -- during the 19th century and beyond. The Byronic hero presents an idealised but flawed character whose attributes include: •rebelling •having a distaste for society and social institutions •suffering exile •expressing a lack of respect for rank and privilege •having great talent •hiding an unsavoury past •exhibiting great passion •ultimately, acting in a self-destructive manner •unsuccessful in love, usually the beloved is dead To the reader the Byronic hero whispers, threatens a self-revelation. This special quality of the Byronic hero sets him apart from most Gothic villains, who served, however, as Byron’s immediate inspiration. For the typical Gothic villain does not set out to promote a radical critique of established moral issues.. A sense of prevenient order is always present in the preByronic treatment of the hero-villain. But Byron’s tales and plays achieved their enormous influence, and sometimes bad reputation, because their heroes forced the reader to a more searching inquiry into norms for order and value. We say that they are skeptical, and problematic, for they do not allow things to come out right in the end. We are always left wondering about the events and puzzling over their significance. The handsome poet with the clubfoot was swept into affairs with the passionate Lady Caroline Lamb, the "autumnal" Lady Oxford, Lady Frances Webster, and - possibly - his halfsister, Augusta Leigh. The agitation of these affairs and the sense of mingled guilt and exultation they aroused in his mind are reflected in the Turkish tales he wrote during the period. 1813 Byron's The Waltz is privately printed. The Giaour and The Bride of Abydos published. Third and last speech at the House of Lords in support of Major Cartwright. He makes frequent visits to Princess Charlotte (the Regent's daughter). Following his travels in Albania, Greece, and Turkey, Byron published a series of Easternthemed Turkish Tales poems between 1813 and 1816. The Giaour (June 1813) went through eight editions by the end of the year, while Byron continued to add new sections to the poem, imparting a highly fragmentary character to it. In the tale, the Turkish lord Hassan punishes the infidelity of his wife, Leila, by drowning her in a sack (the usual punishment and one that Byron had prevented at Piraeus in 1810). In revenge, the lover, called the Giaour (meaning non-Muslim) kills Hassan. The Bride of Abydos (December 1813) sold equally well (six thousand copies in one month). In this tale, Byron, who was having an affair with his half sister, Augusta, dealt with the theme of incest for the first time: Zuleika, daughter of the Pasha Giaffir is loved by Selim, her supposed half brother (which he is not), the leader of a band of pirates. When they are seen together in the harem, Selim is shot, and Zuleika dies of a broken heart. Illicit love, violence, and brutal death are the key ingredients of this group of Byron’s writings. 1814 Byron's The Corsair, ‘Lines to a Lady Weeping', ‘Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte' and Lara published. Nothing like the “Turkish Tales” had ever been seen. Their convincing Oriental colours, the wildness of their characters, and the violent events portrayed – or supposedly portrayed – in their plots, made them a phenomenon. As soon as the cessation of war in 1815 permitted, they were translated into French; and within ten years, most were available either in continental Englishlanguage editions, or in other languages. Never before or since had or has English literature been so influential with such speed. Shakespeare took much longer to percolate through. His third poem in the series, The Corsair, was published in February 1816 and was written in heroic couplets. The sales of this poem were unprecedented: ten thousand copies on the day of publication. Again, the poem features a mysterious and lonely hero defying society, a mixture of Byronic hero and gothic villain. While trying to rescue women of the harem, he is captured. Gulnare saves him from impalement by killing the pasha. After their flight to the pirates’ lair, they discover that Conrad’s beloved Medora has died of a broken heart, and they subsequently disappear. Lara, published in August 1814, was the sequel to The Corsair and features Conrad’s return to the feudal castle of his origins, accompanied by Gulnare. The Siege of Corinth and Parisina were published in February 1816. For his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, he wrote many passionate poems. She had been separated from her husband since 1811 when she gave birth on April 15, 1814 to a daughter, Medora. Byron's joy over the birth seems to substantiate the rumors of an incestuous relationship. After meeting Anne Isabella Millbanke, an heiress and a cousin by marriage to Lady Caroline, he noted that she was: 'Pretty in a modest way, the fairest skin imaginable, and a perfect figure for her height.‘ 'High-principled' . . . 'cold' . . . 'a strong sense of duty' were expressions that found their way into other accounts of Miss Millbanke. She was a mathematician and Byron called her his 'Princess of Parallelograms.' Seeking escape in marriage, in September 1814, he proposed to Anne Isabella (Annabella) Milbanke. The marriage took place on 2 January 1815. After a honeymoon "not all sunshine," the Byrons, in March, settled in London. Delays in negotiations to sell Newstead left them financially embarrassed and before long bailiffs were in the house demanding payment of debts. Byron escaped to the house of John Murray, his publisher. 1815 Murray publishes a four-volume edition of Byron's poems; Hebrew Melodies published Lady Byron gave birth to a daughter, Augusta Ada, on 10 December, and in January she left with the child for a visit to her parents and let him know that she was not moving back. The reasons for her decision were never given and rumors began to fly, most of them centering on Byron’s relations with Augusta Leigh. When the rumors grew, Byron signed the legal separation papers. Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was an English writer chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical generalpurpose computer, the analytical engine. As a young adult she took an interest in mathematics, and in particular Babbage's work on the analytical engine. Between 1842 and 1843 she translated an article by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with a set of notes of her own. These notes contain what is considered the first computer program—that is, an algorithm encoded for processing by a machine. Though Babbage's engine was not built until 1989-91, Lovelace's notes are important in the early history of computers. She also foresaw the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on these capabilities. And there was newspaper scandal. True to tradition, the British press, having acclaimed Byron, now attacked him with venom, shooting him down with each and every innuendo. Byron fell from a position of esteem into one of contempt, seen through the eyes of society as a monster. 1816 Byron's The Siege of Corinth and Parisina are published in February. The Prisoner of Chillon and Other Poems and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage III come out in December. In April he leaves England for good and starts his European itinerary. He first travels in Belgium, Waterloo, the Rhine and Switzerland. He is now the most famous exile in Europe. For the first time he meets Percy Shelley at Sécheron, rents Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva. He tours the Alps (Chamouni and Mont Blanc) and Lake Geneva with the Shelleys' and he visits Chateau de Chillon. He meets and starts an affair with Claire Clermont, Mary Shelley's stepsister. Claire Clermont is pregnant with his child and leaves for England with the Shelleys. The child is born 12 January 1817, and named Alba by Claire and Allegra by Byron. A tour of the Bernese Oberland with Hobhouse provided the scenery for Manfred, a Faustian poetic drama that reflected Byron’s brooding sense of guilt and remorse and the wider frustrations of the romantic spirit doomed by the reflection that man is "half dust, half deity, alike unfit to sink or soar." Byron undertook Manfred, his most Gothic work, in late 1816, a few months after the famed ghost-story sessions which provided the initial impetus for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and John Polidori's The Vampyre, which some argue is based on Byron's fragment of a novel, his brief response to the challenge of the ghoststory sessions. Byron also heard Goethe's Faust about this time, and Manfred may also owe something to Matthew Lewis, author of The Monk, who visited Byron a month or two before Manfred was begun. Manfred is a Faustian noble living in the Bernese Alps. Internally tortured by some mysterious guilt, which has to do with the death of his most beloved, Astarte, he uses his mastery of language and spell-casting to summon seven spirits, from whom he seeks forgetfulness. The spirits, who rule the various components of the corporeal world, are unable to control past events and thus cannot grant Manfred's plea. For some time, fate prevents him from escaping his guilt through suicide. At the end, Manfred dies defying religious temptations of redemption from sin. Throughout the poem, he succeeds in challenging all authoritative powers he comes across, and chooses death over submitting to spirits of higher powers. Manfred directs his final words to the Abbot, remarking, "Old man! 't is not so difficult to die." Manfred represents Byron's articulation of the Romantic hero, a figure so far superior to other humans that he need not be bound by the constraints of human society. Similarly, he submits to no spiritual authority, rejecting pantheism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity. Manfred answers only to himself, and because of this he is the instrument of his own destruction, fashioning a punishment for his unexplained guilt that far exceeds any possible retribution imposed by human or religious authorities. In October 1816 he departs with Hobhouse for Italy where he spends the first month in Milan And then moves to Venice. He starts his affair With Marianna Segati, his landlord's wife and Studies Armenian at a monastery on the island of San Lazzaro. If Byron was spectacular, it was in his sins, taking his pleasures as they came, usually in droves of dark-eyed beauties eager for his attentions. He kept fit by regularly swimming in the Adriatic, or the Grand Canal, and easily won a contest against a soldier - an admirer of Napoleon - in swimming the length of the canal. He also indulged his love of animals by keeping two monkeys, a fox, and two mastiffs at his villa. In May 1817 he joined Hobhouse in Rome and rode over the ruins, gathering impressions that he recorded in a fourth canto of Childe Harold. He meets Margarita Cogni, wife of a baker, who followed him to Venice and eventually replaced Marianna Segati in his affections. At a summer villa at La Mira on the Brentat River, he writes Beppo, a rollicking satire on Italian manners, based on a story Margarita tells him. 1817 In December he sells Newstead Abbey for £ 94,500. The sale of Newstead Abbey finally cleared most of his debts and left him with a small income which supported him in Italy. But money did not solve any of his problems, notably his dissatisfaction and restlessness. Shelley and other visitors, in 1818, had found Byron grown fat, with hair long and turning gray, looking older than his years, and sunk in promiscuity. 1818 Byron's Beppo and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage IV are published respectively in February and April. He rents a palazzo on the Grand Canal where he spends much time with the Shelleys and begins Don Juan. During the summer, he completes the first canto of Don Juan, a picaresque verse satire, with pointed references to his own experiences. The Shelleys arrived with Claire and her daughter Allegra. Byron was not keen on renewing his intimacy with Claire but was prepared to receive their daughter Allegra. In the hope that it would open a door for her back to Byron, Claire allowed her daughter to go to Byron, writing to him: '. . . you are the father of my little girl and I cannot forget you.' At first, Allegra with her blue eyes and fair curls delighted Byron but she soon showed her father's devil of a spirit. 1819 Mazeppa and Ode to Venice published in June, Don Juan I-II published anonymously in July, and then pirated, to Murray's distress. All four cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage published together. A chance meeting with the Countess Teresa Guicciolo in April 1819 changed the course of his life. In a few days he fell completely in love with Teresa, 19 years old and married to man nearly three times her age. Byron followed her to Ravenna, and, later in the summer, she accompanied him back to Venice and stayed until her husband called for her. Byron returned to Ravenna in January 1820, as Teresa’s accepted gentlemanin-waiting. He won the friendship of her father and brother who initiated him into the secret revolutionary society of the Carbonari, the Italian revolutionary movement against Austrian rule. In Ravenna he was brought into closer touch with the life of the Italian people than he had ever been. He gave arms to the Carbonari and alms to the poor. The lovers were desolate. Byron wrote to her: 'My love - my duty - my honour . . . should make me forever what I am now, your lover friend and (when circumstances permit) your husband.' Now sure of Byron's commitment, Teresa laid her case before the Pope who granted her a separation from Count Guiccioli on condition that she lived respectably under her father's roof. The permanent pledge of Byron and Teresa to each other lent some stability to his life and she helped him find some peace for his restless, warring spirit. It was one of the happiest and most productive periods of his life. He wrote The Prophecy of Dante; three cantos for Don Juan; the poetic dramas Marino Faliero, Sardanapalus, The Two Foscari, and Cain (all published in 1821); and his satire on the poet Robert Southey, The Vision of Judgment. When Teresa’s father and brother were exiled for the part in an abortive uprising and she, now separated from her husband, was forced to follow them, Byron reluctantly removed to Pisa, where Shelley had rented the Casa Lanfranchi on the Arno River for him. He leaves his daughter Allegra in a convent near Ravenna where he sends her to be educated. She dies on 20 April of the following year from typhoid. Byron paid daily visits to Teresa, whose father and brother had found temporary asylum in Pisa, until early summer when then all went to Leghorn, where Byron had leased a villa near Shelley’s house on the Bay of Lerici. There the poet Leigh Hunt found him on 1 July, when he arrived from England to join with Shelley and Byron in the editing of a new periodical. Hunt and his family were installed in the lower floor of Byron’s house in Pisa, where Byron and Teresa returned after her father and brother were expelled from Tuscany. The drowning of Shelley on 8 July left Hunt entirely dependent on Byron, who had already "loaned" him money for his passage and the apartment. Byron found Hunt an agreeable companion, but their relations were somewhat strained by Mrs. Hunt’s moral condescension and by the demands of her six children. Byron contributed his Vision of Judgment to the first number of the new periodical, The Liberal, which was published in London by Hunt’s brother John on 15 October 1822. At the end of September he moved his entire household to a suburb of Genoa, where Teresa’s family had found asylum and had taken a large house for him. Mary Shelley leased another house nearby for herself and the Hunts. After a quarrel with his publisher, John Murray, Byron gave all his later work - including cantos VI to XVI of Don Juan, The Age of Bronze, and The Island - to John Hunt. Don Juan is a satiric poem, based on the legend of Don Juan, which Byron reverses, portraying Juan not as a womanizer but as someone easily seduced by women. It is a variation on the epic form. Byron himself called it an "Epic Satire" (Don Juan, c. xv, v. 790). Modern critics generally consider it Byron's masterpiece, with a total of over sixteen thousand individual lines of verse. Byron completed 16 cantos, leaving an unfinished 17th canto before his death in 1824. This long, digressive satiric poem is a loose narrative held together only by the hero, Don Juan, and the narrator, Byron himself, who maintains a mocking, ironic relationship with the story. Byron claimed that he had no plot in mind as he wrote the poem, and he continued to add episodes as long as he lived. Byron was a rapid as well as a voluminous writer. Nevertheless, the composition of his great poem, Don Juan, was coextensive with a major part of his poetical life. He began the first canto of Don Juan in the autumn of 1818, and he was still at work on a seventeenth canto in the spring of 1823. The poem was issued in parts, with intervals of unequal duration. Interruptions in the composition and publication of Don Juan were due to the disapproval and discouragement of friends as well as the publisher's hesitation and procrastination. Many of Byron's remarks and reflections on the motive behind his poem are humorous paradoxes, provoked by advice and opposition. For instance, writing to Thomas Moore, he says, "I have finished the first canto ... of a poem in the style and manner of Beppo, encouraged by the good success of the same. It is ... meant to be a little quietly facetious upon every thing. But I doubt whether it is not—at least as far as it has gone—too free for these very modest days." Critical opinion aligned itself with the opinion that the poem was "too free," however, a month after the two first cantos had been issued, Byron wrote to Murray , "You ask me for the plan of Donny Johnny; I have no plan—I had no plan; but I had or have materials.... You are too earnest and eager about a work never intended to be serious. Do you suppose that I could have any intention but to giggle and make giggle?—a playful satire, with as little poetry as could be helped, was what I meant." The action of the poem takes place in the latter quarter of the 18th century, but Byron’s own time with its sentiments, ideas, and events burst into the narrative, thus creating a broad critical picture of European life. The famous writer Gideon praised Don Juan as “the work of an absolute genius” for its profound thoughts and contents, broad volume of the life and distinctive culture of art. Canto I (written in 1818) In Sevilla, Juan's father Jóse is married to Juan's mother Inez, but has various affairs, causing her to plot against him and file for divorce. Conveniently he dies, leaving Juan the sole heir. His classical education is intended by his mother to shield him from salacious material (this effort is unsuccessful). Inez strikes up an affair with Don Alfonso, and in turn Alfonso's 23 y/o lovely wife eyes the 16 y/o Don Juan. Such things are more common in sun-drenched climes. On a summer day in June, an inadvertent touch of her hand on his leads on to stolen glances, sighs, Platonic love, kissing, etc., and finally she "consents" (for which Plato and Inez are to blame). One night Don Alfonso arrives to find Julia in bed with Antonia her maid, but he is suspicious and searches with his lackeys for her suspected male lover unsuccessfully. Julia makes an extended speech of outrage and indignation. After Alfonso leaves, a half-smothered and slender Don Juan emerges from the bed where he had hidden all along. But Don Alfonso returns, and eventually discovers Juan's shoes next to the bed, and then Juan, whereupon Juan flees. Alfonso files for divorce, and Julia is sent to a nunnery. Donna Inez decides that her son should travel and see the world, so makes plans to send him to Cadiz. He carries a tearful letter of goodbye from Julia upon his departure. Canto II (written in 1818-9) Juan embarks on a voyage from Cadiz on the ship Trinidada, accompanied by 3 servants and a tutor Pedrillo, still in love with Julia (and seasick), intending to travel for 4 years. But a storm sinks the ship. Juan and his fellow survivors cram into a longboat and eventually find themselves starving. They draw lots (using Julia's letter for paper) to see who will be eaten--sadly it is Pedrillo. Eventually, Juan as the sole survivor washes ashore on an island in the Cyclades in the Aegean. He is discovered by the lovely 17 y/o Haidée (like Nausicaa) and her c. 18 y/o maid, Zoe. He is tended by them in a cave by the beach. Juan and Haidée's love blossoms, though they cannot initially understand each other's spoken language. Her Greek father, Lambro, is a "fisherman" and pirate who makes his living plundering ships that shipwreck there--he takes the cargoes and sells the occupants into slavery, etc. Haidée has no mother. Her love for Juan is innocent, idyllic, needs no vows--it is like the first parents Adam and Eve. She was "Nature's bride... Passion's child... One made but to love..." "Their priest was Solitude, and they were wed." Canto III (written in 1819) The opening line is "Hail Muse! et cetera...", parodying classic epic conventions. The poets thoughts on marriage. Lambro her father has been away for a while, and was thought to have died. His house was in mourning for several weeks. But now however, he returns (like Odysseus to a house full of unwelcome suitors) to find that Haidée and Juan have moved into his house and are having a large celebration. He bides his time unrecognized, making discrete inquiries of others, and there are lengthy digressions on poetry, etc. The Isles of Greece poem is sung by their poet, celebrating the former glories of Greece (Byron was a philhellene). Canto IV (written in 1819) After the celebration is over, Haidée and Juan are asleep together, "a nymph and her beloved". She dreams and her dream evolves into real image of her father--he stands over them and confronts them. Lambro attacks and, with the aid of his pirate associates, defeats Juan despite Haidée's efforts to defend her lover. Juan is severely wounded, and placed in the hold of a slave ship as part of the cargo of slaves. Haidée despairs at the loss and refuses food, dying after 12 days of fasting, her unborn child dying within her. The isle is now deserted-the graves of Haidée and her father are all that are left to suggest former human habitation. Juan finds himself a captive at sea, passing Ilion (Troy) and entering the Hellespont. The slave ship has a troupe of singers, dancers, and other entertainers aboard. Juan is paired up in chains with an Englishman, a man of the world named John Johnson. They are taken to the slave market in the capital, Istanbul, as the slave ship stands at anchor beneath the palace walls. Canto V (written in 1820) Juan in the slave market. He converses with the Englishman, telling of his lost love, whereas the more experienced John says he had to run away from his 3rd wife. A black eunuch from the seraglio, Baba, buys Juan and John, and takes the infidels to the palace. He takes them back to an inner chamber, where he insists that Don Juan dress as a woman, and threatens him with castration if he resists. Finally, Juan is brought into an imperial hall to meet the sultana, Gulbeyaz, a 26 y/o beauty who is the sultan's fourth, last, and favorite wife. Full of stubborn pride, he refuses to kiss her foot and finally compromises by kissing her hand. She had spotted Juan at the market, and had asked Baba to secretly purchase him for her, despite the risk of discovery by the sultan. She wants Juan to "love" her, and throws herself on his breast. But he still has thoughts of Haidée and spurns her advances, saying "The prisoned eagle will not pair, nor I / Serve a sultana's sensual phantasy." She is taken aback, enraged, and thinks of having him beheaded, but breaks out in tears instead. Before they can progress further in their relationship, Baba rushes in to announce that the Sultan is coming: "The sun himself has sent me like a ray / To hint that he is coming up this way." The sultan arrives, preceded by a parade of damsels, eunuchs, etc. (he is 59 y/o and has 1500 concubines). Looking around, he takes note of the attractive Christian woman (Juan), expressing regret that a mere Christian should be so pretty (Juan is a giaour, or non-Muslim). Canto VI (written in 1822) The sultan retires with Gulbeyaz. Juan, still dressed as a woman, is taken to the overcrowded seraglio. He is asked to share a couch with the young and lovely 17 y/o Dudù, who calls him Juanna. She is a "kind of sleepy Venus ... very fit to murder sleep... Her talents were of the more silent class... pensive..." She gives Juanna a chaste kiss and undresses. The chamber of odalisques is asleep at 3 AM. Dudù suddenly screams, and awakens agitated, while Juanna still lies asleep and snoring. The women ask the cause of her scream, and she relates a suggestive dream of being in a wood like Dante, of dislodging a reluctant golden apple clinging tenaciously to its bough (which at last willingly falls), of almost biting into the forbidden fruit when a bee flies out from it and stings her to the heart. The matron of the seraglio decides to place Juanna with another odalisque, but Dudù begs to keep her in her own bed, hiding her face in Juanna's breast. The poet is at a loss to explain why she screamed. In the morning, the sultana asks Baba to tell her how Don Juan passed the night. He tells of "her" stay in the seraglio, but carefully omits details about Dudù and her dream. But the sultana is suspicious nevertheless, becomes enraged, and instructs Baba to have Dudù and Juan killed in the usual manner (drowning). Baba pleads with her that killing Juan will not cure what ails her. The sultana summons Dudù and Juan. [We do not see how this scene plays out.] Canto VII (written in 1822) Juan and John Johnson have escaped with 2 women from the seraglio, and arrive during the siege of Ismail (historically 1790), a Turkish fort at the mouth of the Danube on the Black Sea. Field Marshall Suvaroff, an officer in the Russian army, is preparing for an all-out final assault against the besieged fortress. The battle rages. He has been told to "take Ismail at whatever price" by Prince Potemkin, the commander-in-chief of the Russian army. The Christian empress Queen Catherine II is the Russian head-of-state. John Johnson appears to Suvaroff (with whom he has previously served in battle at Widdin) and introduces his friend Juan--both are ready to join the fight against the "pagan" Turks. Suvaroff is unhappy with the women the 2 men brought, but they state that they are the wives of other men, and that the women aided their escape. Suvaroff consents for the women to stay. Canto VIII (written in 1822) Juan and John join fearlessly and bravely in the savage assault on Ismail. They scale the walls of the town and charge into battle. The conquest of Ismail causes the slaughter of 40,000 Turks, among them women (only a few of whom are ravished) and children. Juan nobly rescues a 10 y/o Muslim child Leila from two murderous Cossacks intent on killing her, and immediately resolves to adopt her as his own child. A noble Tartar khan valiantly fights to the death alongside his 5 sons, just as instructed by Mahomet, presumably to be rewarded with houris in heaven. Juan is a hero and is sent to Petersburgh, Russia, accompanied by Leila, whom he makes a vow to protect. Canto IX (written in 1822) Dressed as a war hero in military uniform, Juan cuts a handsome figure in the court of Queen Catherine II, who lusts after him. She is c. 48 y/o [historically actually 61-2 y/o] and "just now in juicy vigour". He becomes one of her favorites and is flattered by her interest as well as promoted for it. "Love is vanity, / Selfish in its beginning as its end, / Except where 'tis a mere insanity." Juan still lovingly cares for Leila. Canto X (written in 1822) Juan enjoys the good life, is in demand at court with "damsels and dances, revels, [and] ready money", and gradually becomes very polished. But he also becomes a little dissipated "in this gay clime of bearskins black and furry". He writes his mother Donna Inez, who worries about his exposure to Greek worship, etc. Gradually, Juan becomes ill, still strong but delicate. His doctors say he needs to travel to get back to sunnier climes, etc. Catherine arranges for him to go to Britain on an undisclosed "mission". Juan loves Leila, who stubbornly remains a Muslim and refuses conversion to Christianity. They travel to London, passing through Poland, the Rhine river, Holland, etc. (Byron has now been away from England in exile for 7 years.) Leila marvels at Canterbury cathedral, but wonders how God could tolerate infidels (Christians) there. Canto XI (written in 1822) Juan kills a man in self-defense. He is presented to and settles into fashionable society in London. He is in demand by fair virgins and wedded dames. He is superficial and blasé, living "amongst live poets and blue ladies", pursuing business in the morning ("a laborious nothing that leads to lassitude"), lunching, lounging, and boxing in the afternoons, dining and dancing in the evening, etc. The poet cautions Juan not to become complacent: "But carpe diem, Juan, carpe, carpe! / Tomorrow sees another race as gay / And transient and devoured by the same harpy." Canto XII (written in 1822) The poet laments middle age, now 35 y/o. Juan is still idling in London, flirting, etc. Several persons compete to take up Leila's education, and he finally chooses Lady Pinchbeck, of whom Juan is a favorite. Juan, coming from a land of passions and is not impressed by the reserved London women at first, though they gradually grow on him. Canto XIII (written in 1823) The Lady Adeline Amundeville and her husband Lord Henry Amundeville host Juan and others. She is "the fair most fatal Juan ever met", the "queen bee, the glass of all that's fair, / Whose charms made all men speak and women dumb". Diplomatic relations often bring Juan ("the envoy of a secret Russian mission") and Lord Henry together, and he befriends Juan and makes him a frequent guest at their London mansion. The Amundevilles invite numerous distinguished guests for a party at their country estate. The banquet... English ennui. They all retire for the evening. Canto XIV (written in 1823) Juan acquits himself well on a fox hunt. He is attractive to the ladies, including the Duchess of Fitz-Fulke, who begins to flirt with him. Lady Adeline is jealous of the Duchess (who has had many amorous exploits), and resolves to protect the "inexperienced" Juan from her enticements. Juan and Adeline are both 27 y/o. Lady Adeline has a vacant heart and has a cold but proper marriage. She is not in love with Juan, but the poet will only later divulge whether they have an affair (apparently not). Canto XV (written in 1823) Lady Adeline is at risk for losing her honour over Juan. Juan has a seductive manner because he never seems anxious to seduce. He neither brooks nor claims superiority. Adeline advises Juan to get married, but he acknowledges the women he is attracted to tend to be already married. Adeline tries to deduce a suitable match for Juan, but intentionally omits mention of the 16 y/o and enticing Aurora Raby, a Catholic. Juan is attracted to her--she is purer than the rest, and reminds him of his lost Haidée. An elaborate dinner is described in detail. Juan is seated between Adeline and Aurora. Aurora has little to say initially, and thaws only a little during the dinner. Canto XVI (written in 1823) Juan is smitten with the beautiful Aurora, and thinks of her on retiring. At night, he walks into the hall, viewing the gallery of paintings. He hears footsteps, and sees a monk in cowl and beads. Is this a ghost, a phantasy? He does not see his face, though the monk passes and repasses several times. The next morning, Adeline appears pale, the Duchess looks at Juan hard, and Aurora surveys him "with a kind of calm surprise". Adeline wonders if he is ill, and he tells of seeing the monk. Lord Henry relates the story of the "Black Friar", the "spirit of these walls" who used to be seen often but had not been seen of late. He had seen the Black Friar on his honeymoon. Adeline offers to sing the story of the ghost, accompanying it on her harp. The song begins, "Beware! beware of the Black Friar! / Who sitteth by Norman stone, / For he mutters his prayer in the midnight air, / And his mass of the days that are gone. / When the Lord of the Hill, Amundeville, / Made Norman Church his prey, / And expelled the friars, one friar still / Would not be driven away." Aurora remains silent, but Lady Fitz-Fulke appears mischievous. She suggests that Adeline has sung this to laugh Juan out of his dismay. Juan's spirits are lifted. He visits with Lord Henry. A pregnant country girl and other petitioners present themselves to Lord Henry in his capacity as Justice of the Peace. Another banquet, at which Juan is preoccupied. He wonders if Aurora had been the ghost--did he catch a smile on her cheek? He is vexed with uncertainty, while Aurora sits pale and only a little flushed. Adeline goes about her duties, while the Duchess of Fitz-Fulke is very much at ease. They retire for the evening. Juan thinks about Aurora, who has reawakened feelings in him which had been lately lost. After going to bed, he hears the tiptoe of footsteps again. The doors opens, and again it is the sable Friar concealed in his solemn hood. He pursues the friar up against a wall, notes the "ghost" has sweet breath, a straggling curl, red lips and pearls, a glowing bust--in short, the "friar" is the voluptuous Duchess of Fitz-Fulke Canto XVII (incomplete fragment, written in 1823) At breakfast the next morning, Don Juan appears wan and worn as if he had combated two ghosts, and the Duchess "Seemed pale and shivered, as if she had kept / A vigil or dreamt rather more than slept." The poet does not say whether vice or virtue had triumphed during the night. The poem is in eight line iambic pentameter with the rhyme scheme ab ab ab cc - often the last rhyming couplet is used for a humor comic line or humorous bathos. There are mostly 10 syllables per line. The rhyme scheme of each stanza is known as ottava rima. In Italian, because of the common rhymed endings, the effect of ottava rima is often highly comedic or highly tragic. Because of its few rhymed endings, the effect of ottava rima in English is often comic, and Byron chose it for this reason. In Don Juan Byron shows himself as a master of rhyme Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant, The age discovers he is not the true one; Of such as these I should not care to vaunt, I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan In the above passage, "Juan" is rhymed with "true one", the word being read according to the rules of English orthography as /dʒuən/ JEW-ən. (The usual English pronunciation of Juan is /wɑn/ wahn.) Similarly, in stanza 190 of the first canto, Byron rhymes "ladies" with "Cádiz," the city in Spain: And then, by the advice of some old ladies, She sent her son to be embark'd at Cadiz. suggesting it is to be pronounced /keɪdiz/ KAY-deez. The usual English pronunciation of Cadiz is /kədɪz/ kə-dizz. But soon enough, in 1823 Byron's old restlessness returned and the domesticity of his life with Teresa gave no satisfaction. He also longed for the opportunity for some noble action that would vindicate him in the eyes of his countrymen. Accordingly, when the London Greek Committee contacted him in April 1823 to act as its agent in aiding the Greek war for independence from the Turks, Byron immediately accepted the offer. All of his legendary enthusiasm, energy, and imagination were now at the service of the Greek army. This was a worthy cause to which a poet of liberty might splendidly give his name; but he desired to do more - he wanted to engage in active service. On 16 July, Byron left Genoa on a chartered ship, arriving at the Ionian island of Cephalonia on 2 August; he settled in Metaxata. He sent 4000 pounds of his own money to prepare the Greek fleet for sea service and then sailed for Missolonghi on 29 December to join Prince Alexandros Mavrokordatos, leader of the forces in western Greece. With tremendous passion he entered into the plans to attack the Turkish-held fortress of Lepanto. He employed a fire master to prepare artillery and took under his own command and pay the Souliot soldiers, reputedly the bravest of the Greeks. In addition he made dedicated but ultimately fruitless efforts to unite eastern and western Greece. On 15 February 1824 he fell ill (he possibly had two epileptic fits in a fortnight) and the usual remedy of bleeding weakened him at the same time that an insurrection of the Souliots opened his eyes to their cupidity. Though his enthusiasm for the Greek cause was undiminished, he now possessed a more realistic view of the obstacles facing the army. He was also suffering from the emotional strain of his friendship with Loukas Chalandritsanos, a Greek boy, whom he had brought as a page from Cephalonia and to whom he addressed his final poems. 1824 He writes ‘On this day I complete my thirtysixth year' and publishes The Deformed Transformed and Don Juan XV-XVI . Recollections of Lord Byron published by Dallas and Journal of the Conversations of Lord Byron at Pisa by Medwin. The poem "On This Day I complete My ThirtySixth Year" from Lord Byron, written on the poet’s birthday, on January 22nd, 1824, 28 days before his death of fever, has a sense of his life drawing to a close. Byron was a person who had lots of affairs and incestuous relationships with, for example, his half-sister and two cousins, who did not dislike sexual contact with both sexes and who had a very turbulent and not very constant love-life. Towards the end of his short life he got a more realistic view and was pursued by guilt about his affairs. As the title says, the poem was written on his thirty-sixth birthday and could be understood as his desire for his thirty-seventh year. The poem has ten stanzas with four verses each. The main aspect of the poem and leitmotif is death. Byron already was pretty ill and was to die soon, but he is also talking about the death of his love. He is not happy with the number of the relationships he has had in his life. It is a poem on his wish and need for freedom and the last love and desire for loving romantically. Byron uses two of his main motives in this poems. He talks of his dream of being a hero but also about love. The spring of 1824 was wet and miserable, and it unfortunately caught Byron while he was still weak from the convulsive fits of mid-February. He continued to carry out his duties and seemed on the path to certain recovery. But in early April he was caught outdoors in a rainstorm; though drenched and chilled, he did not hurry home. Unfortunately, he caught a violent cold which was soon aggravated by the bleeding insisted on by the doctors. Though he briefly rallied, the cold grew worse; he eventually slipped into a coma. Around six o'clock in the evening of 19 April 1824, he passed away. Deeply mourned by the Greeks, he became a hero throughout their land. His body was embalmed; the heart was removed and buried in Missolonghi. His remains were then sent to England and, refused burial in Westminster Abbey, placed in the vault of his ancestors near Newstead. St. Mary Magdalene Church - final resting place of George Gordon, Lord Byron His memoirs, which he intended for publication after his death, were burned by a group of his friends. Ironically, 145 years after his death, in 1969, a memorial to Byron was finally placed on the floor of the Abbey. Memorial plaque inside Westminster Abbey 1825 Murray produces an eight-volume edition of Byron's poetry, and Hazlitt's essay on ‘Lord Byron' appears in The Spirit of the Age. 1826 Don Juan is published in two volumes. The life of Byron has been the source of endless anecdotes, from his own time to ours. His character, wit, and charm were impressed upon virtually everyone who met him. Beyond the opinions of others, however, one can know Byron on a personal level - through the letters and journals which chronicle every aspect of his life in his own words. These personal writings possess all the immediate force and vitality of his poetry. Byron exercised a marked influence on Continental literature and art, and his reputation as poet is higher in many European countries than in England or America, although not as high as in his time. The re-founding of the Byron Society in 1971 reflects the fascination that many people have for Byron and his work. This society has become very active, publishing a learned annual journal. Today some 36 International Byron Societies function throughout the world, and an International Conference takes place annually. Hardly a year passes without a new book about the poet appearing. In the last 20 years two new feature films about him have screened, and a television play has been broadcast.