Lord Byron. “ 'mad, bad and dangerous to know'. ”. Image sources: 1, 2. Outline. His Life and Byron (BBC) Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Introduction Excerpts for Analysis “She Walks in Beauty” & “When We Two Parted” For Next Week. His Life (1).
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Lord Byron “'mad, bad and dangerous to know'.” Image sources: 1, 2
Outline • His Life and Byron (BBC) • Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Introduction • Excerpts for Analysis • “She Walks in Beauty” & “WhenWe Two Parted” • For Next Week
His Life (1) • 1812 the first two cantos of 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage' were published. Byron became famous overnight. • 1814 half-sister Augusta gave birth to a daughter, almost certainly Byron's • 1816 married AnnabellaMilbanke • 1817 separation of the couple, Byron left England and never to return..
His Life • 1819 traveled toItaly, wrote a lot of famous works, including Don Juan (1819-1824). • 1823 Joined to fight a war of independence against Ottoman Empire • 19 April 1824 he died from fever at Missolonghi, in modern day Greece. (source)
Byron (BBC) • Part 2 – Childe Harold • Part 4 – end marriage • Part 5 – • Our life is twofold. Sleep has its own world,A boundary between the things misnamed.Death and existence: Sleep has its own world,And a wide realm of wild reality.(Byron, “The Dream”) • Part 6 – argument over the marriage 8:00, Claire and Shelley • Part 7 – 8:00 – end • Part 8 -- In the desert a fountain is springing,In the wide waste there still is a tree,And a bird in the solitude singing,Which speaks to my spirit of thee. Stanzas to Augusta
Byron: Affairs and Scandals (image sources: Wikipedia) Lady Caroline Lamb Claire Clairmont Augusta Leigh Anne Isabella Milbanke Allegra Byron
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Cantos 1 and 2 – (March 1812) Recounting Byron's travels between 1809 and 1811 …, they depict an exotic landscape endowed with the interest of recent political and military events…; the first representation of Romantic Hero, isolated and melancholic, or cynical and bitter. (Mellown) Canto 3 -- in 1816, Byron resistant and Canto 4 -- in 1818. Joseph Mallord William Turner, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage - Italy exhibited 1832
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: Style the Spenserian stanza “Although in the first two cantos he followed the consciously archaic style of 18th-century imitators of Spenser such as James Thomson, in the later cantos he endowed the stanza with a new speed and flexibility. E.g. The run-on lines move vigorously, e.g. the use of apostrophes, exclamations, questions, parallels, and hyperboles (Mellown) Illustration from Childe Harold
CantoI:Opening Stanzas • Sing to Muse “this lowly lay of mine” • Harold, presented as a “shameless wight”(2),wandering through “Sin’s long labyrinth” (5). • 6 exile: But Pride congealed the drop within his ee: Apart he stalked in joyless reverie, And from his native land resolved to go, And visit scorching climes beyond the sea; With pleasure drugged he almost longed for woe, And e’en for change of scene would seek the shades below.
Canto III: Excerpts • 1-16 to Ada, wandering rootless (2), past and present (traces of Wordsworth’s influence 3-5), Harold as a Romantic Hero • 17-28 Waterloo • 36-45 Napoleon • 52-55 Harold, missing a fond breast • 68-76 Switzerland (Nature) • 77-78 Rouseau • 85- 98 Switzerland (Nature) • 114-118 Ada Ada Lovelace
Canto 3: Main Themes • War, Transience,Injustice, Nature • “Description of Waterloo leads Byron to expound on characteristic themes: the vicissitudes of earthly existence, the transiency of joy, the evils of injustice, and the futility of war. But the chief interest lies in the attitude to nature. Through Shelley, Byron had come briefly to adopt a Wordsworthian stance, and here he sees nature not just as a refuge from the cold indifference of society but as a life form which is fused with and a part of his own being. Yet unlike Wordsworth, even now Byron often found in nature not so much a mystical communion as a symbol of his own mind, the ``loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow'' (stanza 45) betokening the grand isolation of the romantic genius.” (Mellown)
Childe Harold & Byron 6. ’Tis to create, and in creating live A being more intense, that we endow With form our fancy, gaining as we give The life we image, even as I do now. What am I? Nothing – but not so art thou, Soul of my thought! with whom I traverse earth, Invisible but gazing, as I glow Mixed with thy Spirit, blended with thy birth, And feeling still with thee in my crushed feelings’ dearth. source Harold:8-16; 52 – 55 (last allusion to Harold)
Romantic Hero 7-16 Themes 14. Like the Chaldean, he could watch the Stars, Till he had peopled them with beings bright As their own beams; and Earth, and earth-born jars, And human frailties, were forgotten quite: Could he have kept his Spirit to that flight He had been happy; but this Clay will sink Its spark immortal, envying it the light To which it mounts, as if to break the link That keeps us from yon heaven which woos us to its brink.
Exile in Melancholy 70 Themes 69. To fly from, need not be to hate, mankind: All are not fit with them to stir and toil,… 70 There, in a moment we may plunge our years In fatal penitence, and in the blight Of our own Soul turn all our blood to tears, And colour things to come with hues of Night; The race of life becomes a hopeless flight To those that walk in darkness: on the sea The boldest steer but where their ports invite; But there are wanderers o’er Eternity Whose bark drives on and on, and anchored ne’er shall be.
Isolation in Nature 71 Themes Is it not better, then, to be alone, And love Earth only for its earthly sake? By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone, Or the pure bosom of its nursing Lake, Which feeds it as a Mother who doth make A fair but froward infant her own care, Kissing its cries away as these awake – Is it not better thus our lives to wear, Than join the crushing crowd, doomed to inflict or bear?
Nature 68 Lake Leman woos me with its chrystal face, The mirror where the stars and mountains view The Stillness of their aspect in each trace Its clear depth yields of their far height and hue: There is too much of Man here, to look through With a fit mind the might which I behold; But soon in me shall Loneliness renew Thoughts hid, but not less cherished than of old, Ere mingling with the herd had penned me in their fold. source Nature 96
Canto 3: Discussion Questions • Any lines you like? • How is nature imagery used in Canto 3?(esp. 68,72,96) • In what way is Childe Harold meant to be an analogy to the poet? (See stanza 6, especially.) • What does line 72 ("And life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim") mean? • How is Waterloo presented? • How do Byron's revolutionary views appear in this poem? • Does Childe Harold seem to see any redemption or hope for himself or human beings in general? • How does Switzerland affect Childe Harold? • Why does Byron choose to end Canto 3 by speaking to his daughter? What is the effect of this approach on the reader? (reference)
She Walks In Beauty SHE walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that 's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellow'd to that tender light Which heaven to gaudy day denies. One shade the more, one ray the less, Had half impair'd the nameless grace Which waves in every raven tress, Or softly lightens o'er her face; Where thoughts serenely sweet express How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
She Walks In Beauty And on that cheek, and o'er that brow, So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, The smiles that win, the tints that glow, But tell of days in goodness spent, A mind at peace with all below, A heart whose love is innocent!
She Walks In Beauty: Discussion Questions • What is the main idea of this poem? What does beauty mean? (Appearance, grace, or heart and mind?) • How is its meaning conveyed through the images of darkness and light, and of nature? The smiles that win, the tints that glow, But tell of days in goodness spent, A mind at peace with all below, A heart whose love is innocent! • MV -- • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVfQLggcM7k • Byron ~ She Walks In Beauty ~ poem with text http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_zCOJOgd4U
"When We Two Parted“ (1816) • How is the past and present set in contrast?
Note: Spenserian Stanza • The Spenserian stanza is a fixed verse form invented by Edmund Spenser for his epic poem The Faerie Queene. • Each stanza contains nine lines in total: eight lines in iambic pentameter followed by a single 'alexandrine' line in iambic hexameter. • The rhyme scheme: "ababbcbcc.“ (source)
Works Cited • Mellown, Muriel. "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: Overview." Reference Guide to English Literature. Ed. D. L. Kirkpatrick. 2nd ed. Chicago: St. James Press, 1991. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7 Oct. 2012.