Introduction

For many, Byron was the spirit of the Romantic age.  His first published work in 1812 was Hours of Idleness, while his second, 'English Bards and Scotch Reviewers', was an attack on the critics who had dismissed the first.  However, things changed with the publication of his third poem Child Harold's Pilgrimage.  'I awoke one morning and found myself famous,' Byron remarked on the success of his poem.

Poetry may have brought him fame, but his looks and his lovers were a constant source of scandal. One of those lovers, the passionate Lady Caroline Lamb, provided the description of him that has lasted until today, "mad, bad and dangerous to know".

In April 1816 he left England never to return. Settling in Italy he began work on what many consider his greatest poem Don Juan, an epic satire in verse.  Today Don Juan is considered to be one of the greatest long poems every written in English language.

His last heroic venture came in 1823.  Spending 4,000 pounds of his own money he threw his support behind the campaign for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire. In 1824 he fell ill and despite the attempts of doctors he died at Missolonghi, Greece at the age of 36.

When We Two Parted (1815)

           1.

When we two parted

 In silence and tears,

Half broken-hearted,

 To sever for years,

Pale grew thy cheek and cold,

 Colder thy kiss -

Truly that hour foretold

 Sorrow to this.