George Gordon, afterwards Lord Byron, was born in London in 1788. He inherited the title and seat at Newstead Abbey, but little money, in 1798. His first poems were written at Harrow before he proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge, acquiring a reputation for high living. He published two volumes, Fugitive Pieces and Hours of Idleness, in 1807, but they attracted criticism. After a Mediterranean tour, Byron completed the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, which made him a celebrity on publication in 1812. Further poems were successful but the end of his brief and unsuitable marriage in 1816 led to scandal and Byron left England never to return. He went to Switzerland with Percy and Mary Shelley, then to Venice, where he completed Childe Harold, wrote Manfred and started Don Juan. He also corresponded with Goethe and became involved in the cause of Italian independence as his fame grew. Moving around the Mediterranean in 1822 he became actively involved in the movement for Greek independence from Turkey, becoming one of its political and naval leaders. He contracted rheumatic fever from a severe chill in an open boat, and died in April 1824. His heart was buried in Greece, his body at Newstead after Westminster Abbey refused it.
Childe Harold's Pilgrimageby Lord Byron
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. 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 post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood.
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