George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, (January 22, 1788 – April 19, 1824), commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was a British poet, peer, politician, and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems, Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, and the short lyric poem, “She Walks in Beauty”.
- Byron is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential.
- He travelled extensively across Europe, especially in Italy, where he lived for seven years with the struggling poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who is one of the major English Romantic poets, and is regarded by some as among the finest lyric poets in the English language, and one of the most influential.
- Later in his brief life, Byron joined the Greek War of Independence fighting the Ottoman Empire, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero.
- He died in 1824 at the age of 36 from a fever contracted while in Missolonghi.
- He fathered Ada, Countess of Lovelace, whose work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine is considered a founding document in the field of computer science — and Allegra Byron, who died in childhood – as well as, possibly, Elizabeth Medora Leigh out of wedlock.
Often described as the most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, Byron was both celebrated and castigated in life for his aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs – with men as well as women, as well as rumours of a scandalous liaison with his half-sister – and self-imposed exile.
Words of Wisdom
The best of prophets of the future is the past.