Posts Tagged byron

Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights: Defend Greece!

Lord Byron makes a resurgence…

For how long, o brave young men, shall we live in fastnesses,

Alone, like lions, on the ridges in the mountains?

Shall we dwell in caves, looking out on branches,

Fleeing from the world on account of bitter serfdom?

Abandoning brothers, sisters, parents, homeland

Friends, children, and all of our kin?

[…]

Better one hour of free life,

Than forty years of slavery and prison.

via Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights: Defend Greece!.

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“Hours of idleness”

Pop quiz: how old would you say the writer of the following lines was?

In submitting to the public eye the following collection, I have not only to combat the difficulties that writers of verse generally encounter, but may incur the charge of presumption for obtruding myself on the world, when, without doubt, I might be, at my age, more usefully employed.

40? 50? OK, people don’t write like that any more. Still, when they DID write like that, how old would the writer be? No? Read on:

These productions are the fruits of the lighter hours of a young man who has lately completed his nineteenth year.

Preface to the first edition of “Hours of Idleness” by Lord Byron, first published in 1807.

What kind of education did he receive, to write like this at 19? With such confidence over multiple subordinate clauses? With such easy grace and self-deprecation which does not jar but rather charms? An education that included not only a great deal of reading (his preface is headed by three quotations from Horace (in the original Latin), from Homer (in the original Greek) and from Dryden), but also learning graceful good manners.

I admit I know nothing about Byron, other than that he was a poet, a ladies’ man,  an adventurer who spent some time gallivanting around southern Europe and the Near (possibly also Middle) East, who died young and swam the Bosphorus. Possibly not in that order. Read the rest of this entry »

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