Life and History of Lord Byron
The marriage was an unhappy one, mainly due to the birth of a daughter, Augusta Ada, instead of a son. On January 16, 1816 Lady Byron left George and took Ada with her. On April 21, the two were legally separated. George then left England, due to pressure by his creditors leading him to sell his library, forever.
(Ada later worked with Charles Babbage on the Analytical Engine and became known as the writer of the world's first computer program.)
Lord Byron went through Belgium and up the Rhine in the summer of 1816 with his personal physician, John William Polidori and settled in Switzerland at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva. While there, Byron befriended Percy Bysshe Shelley and his soon-to-be wife, Mary Godwin. The Shelley's were accompanied by Mary's step-sister, Claire Clairmont, one of the many who Byron had an affair with in London. Byron refused to have anything to do with her unless they were in the Shelley's presence. He later agreed to care for her child she bore him in January of 1817.
Byron spent the winter in Venice, where he met Jane Clairmont, daughter of William Godwin's second wife. And in 1817, went to Rome and wrote the fourth canto of Childe Harold. The same year, he sold his seat of Newstead and published Manfred, Cain and The Deformed Transformed.
Between 1818 and 1820, Byron wrote the five cantos of Don Juan and met Countess Guiccioli, whom he got to leave her husband.
Byron's next move was to Ravenna, where he wrote many dramas; including Marino Faliero. In 1822, Byron finished Don Juan and started, with Leigh Hunt, the newspaper The Liberal. He continued living in Italy accompanied by the Countess in Genoa until July 16, 1823, when he offered himself as an ally to the Greek insurgents.
Article continues below...
Lord Byron began spending much of his money on the Greek rebellion. He later met a Greek boy, Loukas Khalandritsanos, and employed him as a page and possibly had a sexual relationship with.
Prince Alexandros Mavrokordatos, leader of the Greek rebel forces, and Byron planned an attack on the Turkish-held fortress of Lepanto in 1824. However, before the expedition could sail, on February 15, 1824, Byron fell deeply ill. The doctors insisted he use the remedy of bleeding, however it only weakened him further. He made a partial recovery, but then later fell ill to a cold, which was aggravated by the bleeding. The cold later became a violent fever.
On April 19, 1824, Lord Byron died. The Greeks greatly mourned his passing, making him a national hero. Viron, the Greek form of Byron, became a popular name of boy's across Greece and is still quite popular today. A suburb of Athens also became known as Vironas in his honor.
Article continues below...
Lord Byron's body was embalmed while his heart was buried under a tree in Messolonghi. His body was sent to Westminster Abbey, but refused. He is buried at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottingham beside his daughter, at her request, Ada.Back to Lord Byron Biography
Poetry by Lord Byron
- The Destruction of Sennacherib
- Epitaph to a Dog
- I Watched Thee
- She Walks in Beauty
- Sonnet to Chillon
- There be None of Beauty's Daughters
- We'll Go No More A-Roving
- When We Two Parted
Next: John Clare