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Lord Byron is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and is best known for his amorous lifestyle and his brilliant use of the English language.
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Born in 1788, Lord Byron was one of the leading figures of the Romantic Movement in early 19th century England. The notoriety of his sexual escapades is surpassed only by the beauty and brilliance of his writings. After leading an unconventional lifestyle and producing a massive amount of emotion-stirring literary works, Byron died at a young age in Greece pursuing romantic adventures of heroism.
"Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes sin's a pleasure."
"Absence—that common cure of love."
"There is something pagan in me that I cannot shake off. In short, I deny nothing, but doubt everything."
"Love will find a way through paths where wolves fear to prey."
"If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad."
Born George Gordon Noel Byron on January 22, 1788, Lord Byron was the sixth Baron Byron of a rapidly fading aristocratic family. A clubfoot from birth left him self-conscious most of his life. As a boy, young George endured a father who abandoned him, a schizophrenic mother and a nurse who abused him. As a result he lacked discipline and a sense of moderation, traits he held on to his entire life.
In 1798, at age 10, George inherited the title of his great-uncle, William Byron, and was officially recognized as Lord Byron. Two years later, he attended Harrow School in London, where he experienced his first sexual encounters with males and females. In 1803, Byron fell deeply in love with his distant cousin, Mary Chaworth, and this unrequited passion found expression in several poems, including "Hills of Annesley" and "The Adieu."
From 1805 to 1808, Byron attended Trinity College intermittently, engaged in many sexual escapades and fell deep into debt. During this time, he found diversion from school and partying with boxing, horse riding and gambling. In June 1807, he formed an enduring friendship with John Cam Hobhouse and was initiated into liberal politics, joining the Cambridge Whig Club.
After receiving a scathing review of his first volume of poetry, Hours of Idleness, in 1808, Byron retaliated with the satirical poem "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers." The poem attacked the literary community with wit and satire, and gained him his first literary recognition. Upon turning 21, Byron took his seat in the House of Lords. A year later, with John Hobhouse, he embarked on a grand tour through the Mediterranean Sea and began writing "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," a poem of a young man's reflections on travel in foreign lands.
In July 1811, Byron returned to London after the death of his mother, and in spite of all her failings, her passing plunged him into a deep mourning. High praise by London society pulled him out of his doldrums, as did a series of love affairs, first with the passionate and eccentric Lady Caroline Lamb, who described Byron as "mad, bad and dangerous to know," and then with Lady Oxford, who encouraged Byron's radicalism. Then, in the summer of 1813, Byron apparently entered into an intimate relationship with his half sister, Augusta, now married. The tumult and guilt he experienced as a result of these love affairs were reflected in a series of dark and repentant poems, "The Giaour," "The Bride of Abydos" and "The Corsair."
In September 1814, seeking to escape the pressures of his amorous entanglements, Byron proposed to the educated and intellectual Anne Isabella Milbanke (also known as Annabella Milbanke). They married in January 1815, and in December of that year, their daughter, Augusta Ada, better known as Ada Lovelace, was born.
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