Selected Poetry of Lord Byron [NOOK Book]

Overview

Poet, celebrity, and revolutionary, Lord (George Gordon) Byron was one of the most influential and controversial figures of the first half of the nineteenth century, his distinctive, deeply felt work comprising one of the enduring high points of Romantic literature. From “Manfred,” with its evocation of the figure that came to be called the “Byronic hero,” to the melancholy “Childe Harold,” to the satirical masterpiece “Don Juan” (presented here in judiciously selected form), this Modern Library Paperback Classic...
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Selected Poetry of Lord Byron

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Overview

Poet, celebrity, and revolutionary, Lord (George Gordon) Byron was one of the most influential and controversial figures of the first half of the nineteenth century, his distinctive, deeply felt work comprising one of the enduring high points of Romantic literature. From “Manfred,” with its evocation of the figure that came to be called the “Byronic hero,” to the melancholy “Childe Harold,” to the satirical masterpiece “Don Juan” (presented here in judiciously selected form), this Modern Library Paperback Classic includes all of the essential Byron.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307416285
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/26/2009
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,263,180
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Leslie A. Marchand, one of the foremost Byron scholars of the twentieth century, was general editor of the authoritative twelve-volume edition of Byron’s Letters and Journals.

Thomas M. Disch is the author of ten books of poetry and more than fifteen novels, including, most recently, Camp Concentration. He lives in upstate New York.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Read an Excerpt

It would have pleased Lord Byron to know that, having been the most renowned, imitated, and execrated of the major romantic poets, he is now, almost two centuries later, the least honored and the most ignored and deplored of that select few. For he thrived on giving of-fense. He was a sexy, swaggering contrarian whose wisecrack answer to the earnest inquiry of Concerned Virtue, “What are you rebelling against?” would have been the same as Marlon Brando’s: “What have ya got?”

As with Brando, behind the mask of the rebel shaking his fist at prim respectability was the furrowed brow of a sensitive guy not afraid to cry, a misunderstood teenage werewolf or, better yet, a vampire—a possibility he darkly hinted at in his letters.* Byron pictured himself (under the alias of Childe Harold) wandering about the Alps at mid-night alternately exulting in thunderstorms and crying tears of secret melancholy. Generations of readers have thrilled with a sympathetic vibration to that particular passage (“Child Harold, Canto 3, stanzas xcii–xcvii). But the storm passes and the poet moves to other scenes, other feelings, other roles. He roars at the ocean—a splendid roar
(Canto 4, stanza clxxix); he luxuriates among the odalisques of his harem or runs off with someone else’s, then addresses songs to her— such songs! lyrics of irresistible seductiveness—following which he joins his gentlemen friends for brandy and cigars and brags to them of his exploits on the tilting grounds of love, a perfect cad. Those who prize sincerity in poets and would hold them to their word, as to a marriage vow, cannot but take exception to such will-o’-the- wisp fickleness of purpose. That was the Prosecution’s chief charge against Lord Byron back when; that is its charge now. And now it is a graver charge, for the one sin a poet cannot be forgiven in our age is lying in the confessional of his poetry. Read any of his poems titled “Stanzas for Music”; for instance, the one that begins:

I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name,
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame:
But the tear which now burns on my cheek may impart
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart.

The sound is so smooth that the comma-spliced phrases glide by almost without making sense. Indeed, some of his best-loved lyrics don’t bear thinking about at all. “She walks in Beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies.” What or who is being likened to the night, she or beauty?

To ask such a question is to be deaf to the poem. As well ask the meaning of the viola’s recurring theme in Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, or of a kiss. Byron’s love lyrics are pure blarney, part of the apparatus of seduction of the nineteenth century’s most accomplished make-out artist. One doesn’t ask for good sense from such entertainers but rather intoxication, which together with love is one of the favorite themes of their songs. “Oh, Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms,” an internationally popular song of Byron’s time, was written by Thomas Moore, his best friend, professional rival, biographer, and literary executor, and it was the beau ideal and bull’s-eye of poetic aspiration: a “parlor song” of lilting melody, elegant diction, sweet sentimentality, and unexceptionable good taste. Moore, who was also an accomplished performer, was the most successful purveyor of such goods in the early Romantic era, but Byron wrote a couple of dozen almost as endearing and enduring, including one addressed to Moore himself, which he wrote, drunk, on a Carnival night in Venice:

So we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.
For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And Love itself have rest.
Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.

* Recently that hint has been taken up by the novelist Tom Holland, who has portrayed
Byron as a vampire in his three horror novels, Lord of the Dead, Slave of My Thirst, and Deliver
Us from Evil.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Table of Contents

Biographical Note
Introduction
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: Canto the First 10
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: Canto the Second 41
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: Canto the Third 71
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: Canto the Fourth 107
On Leaving Newstead Abbey 167
The First Kiss of Love 168
To Woman 170
Reply to Some Verses of J. M. B. Pigot, Esq., on the Cruelty of His Mistress 170
To the Sighing Strephon 172
Lachin Y Gair 174
To Romance 175
To a Lady 178
"I would I were a careless child" 179
"When I rov'd a young Highlander" 181
Fragment, Written Shortly after the Marriage of Miss Chaworth 184
Lines Inscribed upon a Cup Formed from a Skull 185
Inscription on the Monument of a Newfoundland Dog 186
"Well! thou art happy" 187
To a Lady, on Being Asked My Reason for Quitting England in the Spring 188
Stanzas Written in Passing the Ambracian Gulf 189
"The spell is broke, the charm is flown!" 190
The Girl of Cadiz 191
Written after Swimming from Sestos to Abydos 193
"Maid of Athens, ere we part" 194
Farewell to Malta 195
Newstead Abbey 196
Epistle to a Friend 197
To Thyrza 199
"Away, away, ye notes of Woe!" 201
"One struggle more, and I am free" 202
Euthanasia 204
"And thou art dead, as young and fair" 205
Lines to a Lady Weeping 208
"Remember thee! remember thee!" 208
"Thou art not false, but thou art fickle" 209
Sonnet, To Genevra 210
Sonnet, To the Same 210
Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte 211
Stanzas for Music ("I speak not," etc.) 216
Stanzas for Music ("There's not a joy," etc.) 217
Stanzas for Music ("There be none of Beauty's daughters") 218
Darkness 219
Churchill's Grave 222
Prometheus 223
A Fragment ("could I remount," etc.) 225
Sonnet to Lake Leman 226
On Sam Rogers 227
Stanzas to the Po 229
Stanzas ("Could Love for ever") 232
Stanzas Written on the Road Between Florence and Pisa 235
Aristomenes 235
Last Words on Greece 236
On This Day I Complete My Thirty-sixth Year 236
[Love and Death] 238
"She walks in Beauty" 240
"The Harp the Monarch Minstrel swept" 241
"If that high world" 242
"The wild gazelle" 242
"Oh! weep for those" 243
"On Jordan's banks" 244
Jephtha's Daughter 244
"Oh! snatched away in Beauty's bloom" 245
"My soul is dark" 246
"I saw the weep" 246
"Thy days are done" 247
Song of Saul Before His Last Battle 248
Saul 248
"All Is Vanity, Saith the Preacher" 249
"When coldness wraps this suffering clay" 250
Vision of Belshazzar 251
"Sun of the sleepless!" 253
"Were my bosom as false as thou deem'st it to be" 253
Herod's Lament for Mariamne 254
On the Day of the Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus 255
By the Rivers of Babylon We Sat Down and Wept 256
The Destruction of Sennacherib 256
"A Spirit passed before me" 258
"By the Waters of Babylon" 258
Fare Thee Well 259
Stanzas to Augusta ("When all around grew drear and dark") 261
Stanzas to Augusta ("Though the day of my Destiny's over") 263
The Dream 265
Lines to Mr. Hodgson 271
Translation of the Nurse's Dole in the Medea of Euripides 274
Windsor Poetics 274
"So we'll go no more a-roving" 275
Versicles 275
To Mr. Murray ("To book the reader, you, John Murray") 276
To Thomas Moore 277
Epistle from Mr. Murray to Dr. Polidori 278
Epistle to Mr. Murray ("My dear Mr. Murray") 280
To Mr. Murray ("Strahan, Tonson, Lintot of the times") 283
Epigram, from the French of Rulhieres 284
Epilogue 285
On My Wedding-Day 286
My Boy Hobbie O 286
Lines, Addressed by Lord Byron to Mr. Hobbouse on His Election for Westminster 288
Epigram ("The world is a bundle of hay") 288
John Keats 288
English Bards, and Scotch Reviewers 291
The Vision of Judgment 326
From Don Juan: Canto the First 362
From Don Juan: Canto the Second 419
From Don Juan: Canto the Third 448
From Don Juan: Canto the Fourth 465
From Don Juan: Canto the Seventh 473
From Don Juan: Canto the Ninth 476
From Don Juan: Canto the Eleventh 481
From Don Juan: Canto the Twelfth 488
From Don Juan: Canto the Thirteenth 492
From Don Juan: Canto the Fourteenth 506
From Don Juan: Canto the Fifteenth 513
From Don Juan: Canto the Sixteenth 523
From Don Juan: Canto the Seventeenth 533
The Giaour 539
From The Bride of Abydos 577
From The Corsair 579
The Prisoner of Chillon 582
Beppo 597
Manfred 627
Notes 671
Index of Titles 743
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2006

    A Beautiful Book of Byron

    The design for the Modern Library's 'Selected Poetry of Byron' is superb in craft. The font type and size is perfect for an enjoyable read and the pages are smooth for leafing. The selection of this work segregates his very best from out the congregation of excellent poems. This is a must have for anyone who desires to read only the greatest of his works or just to have them in a seperate volume. The disadvantages of this volume are that it excludes cantos from 'Don Juan', all but one of his plays, and many of his poems. In order to include 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' and 'Don Juan' the work excludes many of his short poems and all of his translations.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 28, 2011

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    Posted September 9, 2010

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