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 »


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,