Lord Byron was an important player in the Romantic Movement and a well-known English poet. He was also noted for creating a cult of ‘Byronic heroes,’ who were sad and brooding young men who couldn’t forget whatever that had happened in their prior lives. For as long as he lived, he had a huge impact on European music, painting, opera, novel writing, and poetry. He became the sixth Byron to be named Baron. He was on par with Percy Shelley and John Keats as one of the greatest poets in English history. His poetry and personality had a huge impact on European literary minds and the general public at the time. Many people saw him as a radical thinker, and the Greeks revered him as a national hero for fighting for them against the Turks. Despite this, he was despised by his peers for his affairs with married ladies and young men, as well as the vices he had acquired during his university years and the massive debts he had incurred.
Childhood and Adolescence
Lord Byron was born George Gordon Byron on January 22, 1788, in Dover, England.
Captain John Byron was his father, and Catherine Gordon, a Scottish heiress and the captain’s second marriage, was his mother.
He was born with a clubfoot, which limited his mobility and made him quite self-conscious about it.
His mother transported him to Aberdeen when his father died in France in 1791, where they lived on a low income until he was ten years old.
Byron unexpectedly acquired his great uncle William, the fifth Baron Byron’s title and the huge estates left behind by him when he was eight years old in 1798. The inheritance enabled him to return to England with his mother and stay in Newstead Abbey, which King Henry VIII had given to the Byrons.
In 1799, he moved to London to study at Dulwich, and then in 1801 at Harrow, England’s most famous school. From 1805 until 1808, he studied at Trinity College, Cambridge University.
Lord Byron befriended John Cam Hobhouse and published his early poetry ‘Fugitive Pieces’ in 1806 with the help of a private publisher.
‘Hours of Idleness,’ his first book of poems, was published in 1807 and garnered negative reviews in ‘The Edinburgh Review.’ In response, he produced the satire ‘English Bards and Scotch Reviewers’ in 1809, which became quite famous.
He sat in the House of Lords in 1809 and then accompanied Hobhouse on a great tour of Malta, Spain, Greece, Albania, and the Aegean region. In July 1811, he returned to London, but his mother died before he could reach Newstead.
With the release of the first section of a collection of poetry titled ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’ in 1812, Byron had his first taste of popularity.
When he spoke out against the harsh measures taken against the weavers of Nottingham in the House of Lords for the first time in 1812, he became a favorite of London society.
He wrote ‘The Giaour’ and ‘The Bride of Abydos’ in 1813 and ‘The Corsair’ and ‘Lara’ in 1814 as a result of his fruitless love affairs, which made him melancholy and sad.
He fled England in 1816, never to return, trailed by tales of his incestuous love affairs and mounting debts.
With Percy Bysshe Shelley, he settled in Geneva, Switzerland. Mary Godwin and Claire Clairmont, his stepdaughter, also moved in with him. During this time, he wrote the two cantos of ‘Childe Harold’ and ‘Prisoner of Chillon.’
For the next two years, Byron traveled throughout Italy.
After being inspired by Tasso’s cell in Rome, he penned ‘Lament of Tasso’ while exploring Italy. Around this time, he finished ‘Mazeppa’ and began work on his classic parody ‘Don Juan.’
Byron wrote the poetic drama ‘Manfred’ in 1817, which portrayed his emotions and remorse. He completed a fourth section of ‘Childe Harold’ after returning to Rome in May 1817, and it was published in 1818.
In 1818, he wrote the sonnet ‘Beppo,’ which contrasts English with Italian mannerisms and customs.
In 1818, Byron sold the ‘Newstead Abbey’ for £94,500. He was able to pay off his £34,000 debt and walk away with a substantial chunk of money.
In January 1820, Byron went to Ravenna as Countess Teresa Gamba Guiccioli’s ‘cavalier servante’ or ‘gentleman-in-waiting,’ where he met her father, Count Rugerro, and brother, Count Pietro Gamba, who initiated him into the secret ‘Carbonari’ society, which had revolutionary ideas about overthrowing the Austrian rulers and freeing Italy from their misrule.
He penned ‘The Prophecy of Dante’ and the third, fourth, and fifth cantos of ‘Don Juan’ while at Ravenna.
After touring Pisa and Ravenna, he was strongly impressed by play and composed many lyrical tragedies, including ‘The Two Foscari,’ ‘Cain, Marino Faliero, and Sardanapalaus.’ He also began writing ‘Heaven and Earth,’ but it remained unfinished.
He also penned a satire called “The Vision of Judgment,” which was based on Robert Southey’s eulogy for King George III.
In April 1823, he joined the ‘London Committee,’ which was fighting for Greece’s freedom from the Turks, and in July of that year, he left Genoa for Cephalonia.
In a ship named ‘Hercules,’ he traveled for Missolonghi on December 29, 1823, to join Prince Alexandros Mavrokordatos’ forces in western Greece, where he took command of a brigade of Souliot men, who were the best in the Greek army. He became ill before he could see any action, was unable to recover, and died.
Major Projects of Lord Byron
Lord Byron’s novel ‘The Corsair,’ published in 1814, was a huge success, selling over 10,000 copies on its first day.
‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage,’ which he began writing in 1812 and finished in 1818, was another of his best works.
‘Don Juan,’ his finest poem, was begun in 1818 and the first two cantos were published in 1819. He only managed to finish 16 cantos of the poem; he had begun the 17th but became unwell and died before completing it.
Personal History and Legacy
Lord Byron fell in love with Mary Chaworth in 1803, but she declined because she was already married.
During his time at Cambridge, he became involved in a variety of vices that were popular among undergraduates, resulting in a massive debt. He also had a relationship with John Edleston, a young chorister.
He was having a stormy love affair with Lady Caroline Lamb and planned to elope with her, but Hobhouse forbade him.
Lady Oxford was his next lover, and she admired and even encouraged Byron’s radicalism.
At 1813, he began a romantic relationship with Augusta Leigh, his half-sister from his father’s first marriage, whom he had met in Newstead in 1803. Colonel George Leigh was already her husband.
He flirted with Lady Frances Webster for a while in order to get away from this scenario.
He married Anne Isabella Milbanke in January 1815, frustrated and despondent, but the marriage was short-lived. In January 1816, they were legally divorced. Augusta Ada, a daughter he had with her, was born in December 1815.
He rekindled his love affair with Claire Clairmont, which he had begun while still in England, after leaving England in 1816 and residing in Geneva, Switzerland.
Claire Clairmont traveled to England in January 1817 to give birth to Byron’s illegitimate daughter Allegra.
While in Venice in October 1817, he had an affair with Marianna Segati, the wife of his landlord. Margarita Cogni, the wife of a baker, became his new sweetheart while he was in Rome.
He met Countess Teresa Gamba Guiccioli, a 19-year-old woman married to a man three times her age, in Ravenna in 1818. Despite the fact that Byron had grown overweight and had long gray hair at the time, he persuaded her to return to Venice with him, which she did.
On April 19, 1824, Lord Byron died in Greece due to illness. Although his body was repatriated to England, the deans of both St. Paul’s and Westminster Cathedrals refused to accept it. His body was finally laid to rest in Hucknall, Torkard, Nottinghamshire, near Newstead Abbey.
Many future writers were affected by his works.
Estimated Net Worth
Lord Byron’s net worth was estimated to be between $1 and $5 million before his death, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, IMDb, and other online sites. She made a living as a professional poet. She was born and raised in Scotland.
In his home, Lord Byron had monkeys, guinea hens, peacocks, geese, a crow, a falcon, an eagle, a fox, a badger, a goat, and a heron.
Lord Byron was posthumously made a “Fellow of the Royal Society.”