Lord Byron

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I had a dream, which was not all a dream.

George Gordon (Noel) Byron, 6th Baron Byron (January 22 1788April 19 1824), generally known as Lord Byron, was an English poet and leading figure in Romanticism.

See also:
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812-1818)
Don Juan (1818-1824)

Quotes[edit]

In secret we met
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
The first — the last — the best — The Cincinnatus of the West…
My great comfort is, that the temporary celebrity I have wrung from the world has been in the very teeth of all opinions and prejudices. I have flattered no ruling powers; I have never concealed a single thought that tempted me.
There's not a joy the world can give like that it takes away.
There never yet was human power
Which could evade, if unforgiven,
The patient search and vigil long
Of him who treasures up a wrong.
A great poet belongs to no country; his works are public property, and his Memoirs the inheritance of the public.
They never fail who die
In a great cause.
  • When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past—
    For years fleet away with the wings of the dove
    The dearest remembrance will still be the last,
    Our sweetest memorial the first kiss of love.
  • Farewell! if ever fondest prayer
    For other's weal avail'd on high,
    Mine will not all be lost in air,
    But waft thy name beyond the sky.
    • Farewell! if ever fondest Prayer (1808)
  • I only know we loved in vain;
    I only feel — farewell! farewell!
    • Farewell! If Ever Fondest Prayer (1808), st. 2
  • When we two parted
    In silence and tears,
    Half brokenhearted,
    To sever for years.
  • In secret we met
    In silence I grieve,
    That thy heart could forget,
    Thy spirit deceive.

    If I should meet thee
    After long years,
    How should I greet thee?
    With silence and tears.
    • When We Two Parted (1808), st. 4
  • The poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
    The first to welcome, foremost to defend.
    • Inscription on the monument of a Newfoundland dog (1808)
  • Maid of Athens, ere we part,
    Give, oh give me back my heart!
  • And thou wert lovely to the last,
    Extinguish'd, not decay'd;
    As stars that shoot along the sky
    Shine brightest as they fall from high.
    • And Thou Art Dead as Young and Fair (1812)
  • If I am fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom.
  • Where may the wearied eye repose
    When gazing on the Great;
    Where neither guilty glory glows,
    Nor despicable state?
    Yes — one — the first — the last — the best — The Cincinnatus of the West,
    Whom envy dared not hate
    ,
    Bequeath'd the name of Washington,
    To make man blush there was but one!
  • You are the fools, not I — for I did dwell
    With a deep thought, and with a softened eye,
    On that Old Sexton's natural homily,
    In which there was Obscurity and Fame,
    The Glory and the Nothing of a Name.
  • My great comfort is, that the temporary celebrity I have wrung from the world has been in the very teeth of all opinions and prejudices. I have flattered no ruling powers; I have never concealed a single thought that tempted me.
  • Fare thee well! and if forever,
    Still forever, fare thee well:
    Even though unforgiving, never
    'Gainst thee shall my heart rebel.
  • My hair is grey, but not with years,
    Nor grew it white
    In a single night,
    As men's have grown from sudden fears.
  • Oh, God! it is a fearful thing
    To see the human soul take wing
    In any shape, in any mood.
    • The Prisoner of Chillon, st. 8
  • A light broke in upon my brain, —
    It was the carol of a bird;
    It ceased, and then it came again,
    The sweetest song ear ever heard.
    • The Prisoner of Chillon, st. 10
  • There 's not a joy the world can give like that it takes away.
    • Stanzas for Music (March 1815), reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
  • Though the day of my Destiny's over,
    And the star of my Fate hath declined,
    Thy soft heart refused to discover
    The faults which so many could find.
  • 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 (1816), reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • The careful pilot of my proper woe.
    • Epistle to Augusta, Stanza 3, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • As the liberty lads o'er the sea
    Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood,
    So we, boys, we
    Shall die fighting or live free,
    And down with all kings but King Ludd!
  • My boat is on the shore,
    And my bark is on the sea;
    But, before I go, Tom Moore.
    Here's a double health to thee!
  • Here's a sigh to those who love me,
    And a smile to those who hate:
    And, whatever sky's above me,
    Here's a heart for every fate.
    • To Thomas Moore, st. 2
  • Were't the last drop in the well,
    As I gasp'd upon the brink,
    Ere my fainting spirit fell
    'T is to thee that I would drink.
    • To Thomas Moore, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • "Bring forth the horse!" — the horse was brought;
    In truth, he was a noble steed,
    A Tartar of the Ukraine breed,
    Who look'd as though the speed of thought
    Were in his limbs.
  • And if we do but watch the hour,
    There never yet was human power
    Which could evade, if unforgiven,
    The patient search and vigil long
    Of him who treasures up a wrong.
    • Mazeppa (1819), stanza 10
  • When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home,
        Let him combat for that of his neighbours;
    Let him think of the glories of Greece and of Rome
        And get knock'd on the head for his labours.
    To do good to mankind is the chivalrous plan,
        And is always as nobly requited;
    Then battle for freedom wherever you can.
        And, if not shot or hang'd, you'll get knighted.
  • The world is a bundle of hay,
    Mankind are the asses that pull,
    Each tugs in a different way—
    And the greatest of all is John Bull!
    • Letter to Thomas Moore (22 June 1821)
  • Send me no more reviews of any kind. — I will read no more of evil or good in that line. — Walter Scott has not read a review of himself for thirteen years.
    • Letter to his publisher, John Murray (3 November 1821)
  • I live, but live to die: and, living, see nothing to make death hateful, save an innate clinging, a loathsome and yet all invincible instinct of life, which I abhor, as I despise myself, yet cannot overcome — and so I live. Would I had never lived!
    • "Cain", Act I, sc. i (1821)
  • Because
    He is all-powerful, must all-good, too, follow?
    I judge but by the fruits—and they are bitter—
    Which I must feed on for a fault not mine.
    • Cain, Act I, sc. i (1821)
  • Who killed John Keats?
    "I," says the Quarterly,
    So savage and Tartarly;
    "'Twas one of my feats."
    • John Keats (c. 1821)
  • He seems
    To have seen better days, as who has not
    Who has seen yesterday?
    • Werner, Act I, sc. i (1822)
  • Sublime tobacco! which from east to west
    Cheers the tar's labor or the Turkman's rest.
    • The Island (1823), Canto II, Stanza 19
  • Divine in hookas, glorious in a pipe
    When tipp'd with amber, mellow, rich, and ripe;
    Like other charmers, wooing the caress
    More dazzlingly when daring in full dress;
    Yet thy true lovers more admire by far
    Thy naked beauties—give me a cigar!
    • The Island (1823), Canto II, Stanza 19
  • Jack was embarrassed — never hero more,
    And as he knew not what to say, he swore.
    • The Island (1823), Canto III, Stanza 5
  • What's drinking?
    A mere pause from thinking!
    • The Deformed Transformed, Act III, sc. i (1824)
  • Seek out — less often sought than found —
    A Soldier's Grave, for thee the best;
    Then look around and choose thy Ground,
    And take thy Rest.
    • On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year, st. 10
  • I awoke one morning and found myself famous.
    • Memorandum reference to the instantaneous success of Childe Harold and quoted in Letters and Journals of Lord Byron by Thomas Moore (1830), chapter 14
  • A great poet belongs to no country; his works are public property, and his Memoirs the inheritance of the public.
    • As quoted in Conversations of Lord Byron with Thomas Medwin (1832), Preface
  • Hands promiscuously applied,
    Round the slight waist, or down the glowing side.
    • The Waltz, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • They never fail who die
    In a great cause.
    • Marino Faliero, Act II, Scene 2, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • Lord of himself,—that heritage of woe!
    • Lara, Canto I, Stanza 2, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • It is the hour when from the boughs
    The nightingale's high note is heard;
    It is the hour when lovers' vows
    Seem sweet in every whisper'd word.
    • Parisina, Stanza 1, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • Yet in my lineaments they trace
    Some features of my father's face.
    • Parisina, Stanza 13, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • Born in the garret, in the kitchen bred.
    • A Sketch, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • Whose game was empires and whose stakes were thrones,
    Whose table earth, whose dice were human bones.
    • Age of Bronze, Stanza 3, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • I loved my country, and I hated him.
    • The Vision of Judgment, lxxxiii, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • Friendship is Love without his wings.
    • L'Amitié est l'Amour sans Ailes, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
  • What say you to such a supper with such a woman?
    • Note to a Letter on Bowles's Strictures, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)

English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809)[edit]

Text at readytogoebooks.com.
  • I'll publish right or wrong:
    Fools are my theme, let satire be my song.
    • Line 5
  • 'Tis pleasure, sure, to see one's name in print;
    A book's a book, although there's nothing in 't.
    • Line 51
  • A man must serve his time to every trade
    Save censure — critics are ready-made.
    • Line 63
  • With just enough of learning to misquote.
    • Line 66
  • As soon
    Seek roses in December, ice in June;
    Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff;
    Believe a woman or an epitaph,
    Or any other thing that's false, before
    You trust in critics, who themselves are sore.
    • Line 75
  • Better to err with Pope, than shine with Pye.
    • Line 102
  • Oh, Amos Cottle! Phœbus! what a name!
    • Line 399
  • 'Twas thine own genius gave the final blow,
    And help'd to plant the wound that laid thee low:
    So the struck eagle, stretch'd upon the plain,
    No more through rolling clouds to soar again,
    View'd his own feather on the fatal dart,
    And wing'd the shaft that quiver'd in his heart.
  • Yet truth will sometimes lend her noblest fires,
    And decorate the verse herself inspires:
    This fact, in virtue's name, let Crabbe attest,—
    Though Nature's sternest painter, yet the best.
    • Line 839

The Bride of Abydos (1813)[edit]

Text at readytogoebooks.com.
  • Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle
    Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime?
    Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,
    Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime!
    • Canto I, stanza 1; this can be compared to: "Know'st thou the land where the lemon-trees bloom, / Where the gold orange glows in the deep thicket's gloom, / Where a wind ever soft from the blue heaven blows, / And the groves are of laurel and myrtle and rose!" Goethe, Wilhelm Meister
  • Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine,
    And all, save the spirit of man, is divine?
    • Canto I, stanza 1
  • The light of love, the purity of grace,
    The mind, the music breathing from her face, 19
    The heart whose softness harmonized the whole,—
    And oh, that eye was in itself a soul!
    • Canto I, Stanza 6; this can be compared to: "The bloom of young Desire and purple light of Love", Thomas Gray, The Progress of Poesy I. 3, line 16; also: "Oh, could you view the melody / Of every grace / And music of her face", Richard Lovelace, Orpheus to Beasts; "There is music in the beauty, and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument", Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, Part ii, Section ix
  • Who hath not proved how feebly words essay
    To fix one spark of beauty's heavenly ray?
    Who doth not feel, until his failing sight
    Faints into dimness with its own delight,
    His changing cheek, his sinking heart, confess
    The might, the majesty of loveliness?
    • Canto I, stanza 6
  • The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle.
    • Canto II, stanza 2
  • Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life,
    The evening beam that smiles the clouds away,
    And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray!
    • Canto II, stanza 20
  • Mark! where his carnage and his conquests cease!
    He makes a solitude, and calls it — peace!
    • Canto II, stanza 20. Here Byron is using an adaptation of a quote from Agricola by the Roman historian Tacitus (c. 30). The original words in the text are Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant (To robbery, slaighter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a wilderness, and call it peace). This has also been reported as Solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant (They make solitude, which they call peace)
  • Hark! to the hurried question of despair:
    "Where is my child?"—an echo answers, "Where?"
    • Canto II, stanza 27; this can be compared to: I came to the place of my birth, and cried, "The friends of my youth, where are they?" And echo answered, "Where are they?", Anonymous Arabic manuscript

The Giaour (1813)[edit]

Freedom's battle, once begun,
Bequeath'd by bleeding sire to son,
Though baffled oft, is ever won.
I die — but first I have possessed,
And come what may, I have been blessed.
Text at readytogoebooks.com.
  • He who hath bent him o'er the dead
    Ere the first day of death is fled,—
    The first dark day of nothingness,
    The last of danger and distress,
    Before decay's effacing fingers
    Have swept the lines where beauty lingers.
    • Line 68
  • Such is the aspect of this shore;
    'T is Greece, but living Greece no more!
    So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
    We start, for soul is wanting there.
    • Line 90
  • Shrine of the mighty! can it be
    That this is all remains of thee?
    • Line 106
  • For freedom's battle, once begun,
    Bequeath'd by bleeding sire to son,
    Though baffled oft, is ever won.
    • Line 123
  • And lovelier things have mercy shown
    To every failing but their own,
    And every woe a tear can claim
    Except an erring sister's shame.
    • Line 418
  • The keenest pangs the wretched find
    Are rapture to the dreary void,
    The leafless desert of the mind,
    The waste of feelings unemployed.
    • Line 957
  • Better to sink beneath the shock
    Than moulder piecemeal on the rock.
    • Line 969
  • The cold in clime are cold in blood,
    Their love can scarce deserve the name.
    • Line 1099
  • I die — but first I have possessed,
    And come what may, I have been blessed.
    • Line 1114
  • She was a form of life and light
    That seen, became a part of sight,
    And rose, where'er I turn'd mine eye,
    The morning-star of memory!
    Yes, love indeed is light from heaven;
    A spark of that immortal fire
    With angels shared, by Alla given,
    To lift from earth our low desire.
    • Line 1127

The Corsair (1814)[edit]

Hope withering fled, and Mercy sighed farewell!
  • The fatal facility of the octosyllabic verse.
    • Dedication
  • Oh who can tell, save he whose heart hath tried.
    • Canto I, stanza 1; this can be compared to: "To all nations their empire will be dreadful, because their ships will sail wherever billows roll or winds can waft them", Dalrymple, Memoirs, vol. iii, p. 152; "Wherever waves can roll, and winds can blow", Charles Churchill, The Farewell, Line 38
  • O'er the glad waters of the dark blue sea,
    Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free,
    Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam, 22
    Survey our empire, and behold our home!
    These are our realms, no limit to their sway,—
    Our flag the sceptre all who meet obey.
    • Canto I, stanza 1
  • She walks the waters like a thing of life,
    And seems to dare the elements to strife.
    • Canto I, stanza 3
  • Such hath it been — shall be — beneath the sun
    The many still must labour for the one!
    • Canto I, stanza 8
  • There was a laughing devil in his sneer.
    • Canto I, stanza 9
  • Hope withering fled, and Mercy sighed farewell!
    • Canto I, stanza 9
  • Farewell!
    For in that word, that fatal word,—howe'er
    We promise, hope, believe,—there breathes despair.
    • Canto I, stanza 15
  • No words suffice the secret soul to show,
    For truth denies all eloquence to woe.
    • Canto III, stanza 22
  • He left a corsair's name to other times,
    Linked with one virtue, and a thousand crimes.
    • Canto III, stanza 24; this can be compared to: "Hannibal, as he had mighty virtues, so had he many vices; he had two distinct persons in him", Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, "Democritus to the Reader"

Hebrew Melodies (1815)[edit]

  • 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.
    • She Walks in Beauty, st. 1. The subject of these lines was Mrs. R. Wilmot.—Berry Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 7
  • The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
    And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
    And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
    When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
  • For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast.
    • The Destruction of Sennacherib, st. 3
  • And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
    Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!
    • The Destruction of Sennacherib, st. 6

Monody on the Death of Sheridan (1816)[edit]

  • When all of genius which can perish dies.
    • Line 22
  • Folly loves the martyrdom of fame.
    • Line 68
  • Who track the steps of glory to the grave.
    • Line 74
  • Sighing that Nature formed but one such man,
    And broke the die, in molding Sheridan.
    • Line 117; this can be compared to: "Natura il fece, e poi ruppe la stampa" (translated: "Nature made him, and then broke the mould"), Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, canto x, stanza 84; "The idea that Nature lost the perfect mould has been a favorite one with all song-writers and poets, and is found in the literature of all European nations", Book of English Songs, p. 28

The Dream (1816)[edit]

She was his life,
The ocean to the river of his thoughts,
Which terminated all.
  • And both were young, and one was beautiful.
    • Stanza 2
  • And to his eye
    There was but one beloved face on earth,
    And that was shining on him.
    • Stanza 2
  • She was his life,
    The ocean to the river of his thoughts,
    Which terminated all.
    • Stanza 2; this can be compared to: "She floats upon the river of his thoughts", Henry W. Longfellow, The Spanish Student, act ii, scene 3
  • A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
    • Stanza 3
  • And they were canopied by the blue sky,
    So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful
    That God alone was to be seen in heaven.
    • Stanza 4

Prometheus (1816)[edit]

A mighty lesson we inherit:
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source…
Prometheus (1816)
  • Titan! to whom immortal eyes
    The sufferings of mortality
    Seen in their sad reality,
    Were not as things that gods despise;
    What was thy pity's recompense?
    A silent suffering, and intense
    ;
    The rock, the vulture, and the chain,
    All that the proud can feel of pain,
    The agony they do not show,
    The suffocating sense of woe,
    Which speaks but in its loneliness,
    And then is jealous lest the sky
    Should have a listener, nor will sigh
    Until its voice is echoless.
    • I
  • Titan! to thee the strife was given
    Between the suffering and the will,
    Which torture where they cannot kill
    ;
    And the inexorable Heaven,
    And the deaf tyranny of Fate,
    The ruling principle of Hate,
    Which for its pleasure doth create
    The things it may annihilate,
    Refused thee even the boon to die:
    The wretched gift eternity
    Was thine — and thou hast borne it well.

    All that the Thunderer wrung from thee
    Was but the menace which flung back
    On him the torments of thy rack;
    The fate thou didst so well foresee,
    But would not to appease him tell;
    And in thy Silence was his Sentence,
    And in his Soul a vain repentance,
    And evil dread so ill dissembled,
    That in his hand the lightnings trembled.
    • II
  • Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,
    To render with thy precepts less
    The sum of human wretchedness,
    And strengthen Man with his own mind;
    But baffled as thou wert from high,
    Still in thy patient energy,
    In the endurance, and repulse
    Of thine impenetrable Spirit,
    Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse,
    A mighty lesson we inherit:
    Thou art a symbol and a sign
    To Mortals of their fate and force;
    Like thee, Man is in part divine,
    A troubled stream from a pure source
    ;
    And Man in portions can foresee
    His own funereal destiny;
    His wretchedness, and his resistance,
    And his sad unallied existence:
    To which his Spirit may oppose
    Itself — and equal to all woes,
    And a firm will, and a deep sense,
    Which even in torture can decry
    Its own concenter'd recompense,
    Triumphant where it dares defy,
    And making Death a Victory.
    • III

Manfred (1817)[edit]

Mont Blanc is the Monarch of mountains;
They crowned him long ago,
On a throne of rocks — in a robe of clouds –
With a Diadem of Snow.
Think'st thou existence doth depend on time?
It doth; but actions are our epochs…
  • Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most
    Must mourn the deepest o’er the fatal truth,
    The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.
    • Act I, scene i
  • Mont Blanc is the Monarch of mountains;
    They crowned him long ago
    ,
    On a throne of rocks — in a robe of clouds –
    With a Diadem of Snow.
    • Act I, scene i
  • But we, who name ourselves its sovereigns, we,
    Half dust, half deity, alike unfit
    To sink or soar.
    • Act I, scene ii
  • Think'st thou existence doth depend on time?
    It doth; but actions are our epochs: mine
    Have made my days and nights imperishable
    Endless, and all alike, as sands on the shore
    Innumerable atoms; and one desert
    Barren and cold, on which the wild waves break,
    But nothing rests, save carcases and wrecks,
    Rocks, and the salt-surf weeds of bitterness.
    • Act II, scene i
  • The heart ran o'er
    With silent worship of the great of old!
    The dead but sceptred sovereigns, who still rule
    Our spirits from their urns.
    • Act III, scene iv
  • Old man! ’tis not so difficult to die.
    • Act III, scene iv

So, We'll Go No More A-Roving (1817)[edit]

So, we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.
Text at readytogoebooks.com.
  • So, we'll go no more a roving
    So late into the night,
    Though the heart be still as loving,
    And the moon be still as bright.
    • St. 1
  • For the sword outwears its sheath,
    And the soul wears out the breast,
    And the heart must pause to breathe,
    And love itself have rest.
    • St. 2
  • Though the night was made for loving,
    And the day returns too soon,
    Yet we'll go no more a roving
    By the light of the moon.
    • St. 3

Beppo (1818)[edit]

He was a lover of the good old school,
Who still become more constant as they cool.
  • For most men (till by losing rendered sager)
    Will back their own opinions by a wager.
    • Stanza 27
  • Soprano, basso, even the contra-alto,
    Wished him five fathom under the Rialto.
    • Stanza 32
  • His heart was one of those which most enamour us,
    Wax to receive, and marble to retain:
    He was a lover of the good old school,
    Who still become more constant as they cool.
    • Stanza 34; this can be compared to: "My heart is wax to be moulded as she pleases, but enduring as marble to retain", Miguel de Cervantes, The Little Gypsy
  • Besides, they always smell of bread and butter.
    • Stanza 39
  • I love the language, that soft bastard Latin,
    Which melts like kisses from a female mouth,
    And sounds as if it should be writ on satin,
    With syllables which breathe of the sweet South,
    And gentle liquids gliding all so pat in,
    That not a single accent seems uncouth,
    Like our harsh northern whistling, grunting guttural,
    Which we're obliged to hiss, and spit, and sputter all.
    • Stanza 44
  • Heart on her lips, and soul within her eyes,
    Soft as her clime, and sunny as her skies.
    • Stanza 45
  • O Mirth and Innocence! O milk and water!
    Ye happy mixtures of more happy days.
    • Stanza 80

Sardanapalus (1821)[edit]

How my soul hates This language,
Which makes life itself a lie,
Flattering dust with eternity.
I know not what I could have been, but feel
I am not what I should be — let it end.
  • How my soul hates This language,
    Which makes life itself a lie,
    Flattering dust with eternity.
    • Act I, scene 2
  • By all that's good and glorious.
    • Act I, scene 2
  • Eat, drink, and love; the rest's not worth a fillip.
    • Act I, scene 2[1]
  • I am the very slave of circumstance
    And impulse — borne away with every breath!
    Misplaced upon the throne — misplaced in life.
    I know not what I could have been, but feel
    I am not what I should be — let it end.
    • Act IV, scene 1
  • But take this with thee: if I was not form'd
    To prize a love like thine, a mind like thine,
    Nor dote even on thy beauty — as I've doted
    On lesser charms, for no cause save that such
    Devotion was a duty, and I hated
    All that look'd like a chain for me or others

    (This even rebellion must avouch); yet hear
    These words, perhaps among my last — that none
    E'er valued more thy virtues, though he knew not
    To profit by them…
    • Act IV, scene 1
  • Oh! if thou hast at length
    Discover'd that my love is worth esteem,
    I ask no more—but let us hence together,
    And I — let me say we — shall yet be happy.
    Assyria is not all the earth—we'll find
    A world out of our own — and be more bless'd
    Than I have ever been, or thou, with all
    An empire to indulge thee.
    • Act IV, scene 1
  • The dust we tread upon was once alive.
    • Act IV, scene 1
  • My best! my last friends!
    Let's not unman each other: part at once:
    All farewells should be sudden, when for ever,
    Else they make an eternity of moments,
    And clog the last sad sands of life with tears.
    Hence, and be happy: trust me, I am not
    Now to be pitied; or far more for what
    Is past than present; — for the future, 'tis
    In the hands of the deities, if such
    There be: I shall know soon. Farewell — Farewell.
    • Act V

The Age of Bronze (1823)[edit]

Text at readytogoebooks.com.
  • The "good old times" — all times when old are good —
    Are gone.
    • St. 1
  • Where is he, the champion and the child
    Of all that's great or little, wise or wild
    ;
    Whose game was empires, and whose stakes were thrones;
    Whose table earth — whose dice were human bones?
    • St. 3
  • While Franklin's quiet memory climbs to heaven,
    Calming the lightning which he thence hath riven,
    Or drawing from the no less kindled earth
    Freedom and peace to that which boasts his birth;
    While Washington's a watchword, such as ne'er
    Shall sink while there's an echo left to air.
    • St. 5

Lord Byron's Armenian Exercises and Poetry (1870)[edit]

Text at archive.org.
  • It would be difficult, perhaps, to find the annals of a nation less stained with crimes than those of the Armenians, whose virtues have been those of peace, and their vices those of compulsion. But whatever may have been their destiny — and it has been bitter — whatever it may be in future, their country must ever be one of the most interesting on the globe.
    • From the Letters of Lord Byron (2 January 1817), p. 6
  • [Armenian] is a rich language, however, and would amply repay any one the trouble of learning it.
    • "To Mr. Moore", From the Letters of Lord Byron, 5 December 1816, p. 12

Quotes about Lord Byron[edit]

Mad, bad and dangerous to know. ~ Lady Caroline Lamb
Alphabetized by author
  • What helps it now, that Byron bore,
    With haughty scorn which mocked the smart,
    Through Europe to the Aetolian shore
    The pageant of his bleeding heart?
    That thousands counted every groan,
    And Europe made his woe her own?
    • Matthew Arnold, "Stanzas from the Grand Chartreuse," Fraser's Magazine (April 1855); reprinted in New Poems (1867)
  • If they had said that the sun or the moon had gone out of the heavens, it could not have struck me with the idea of a more awful and dreary blank in creation than the words: "Byron is dead!"
  • The world is rid of Lord Byron, but the deadly slime of his touch still remains.
  • It still saddens me that Lord Byron, who showed such impatience with the fickle public, wasn't aware of how well the Germans can understand him and how highly they esteem him. With us the moral and political tittle-tattle of the day falls away, leaving the man and the talent standing alone in all their brilliance.
  • Lord Byron makes man after his own image, woman after his own heart; the one is a capricious tyrant, the other a yielding slave.
  • Whatever he does, he must do in a more decided and daring manner than any one else; he lounges with extravagance, and yawns so as to alarm the reader!
  • In a room at the end of the garden to this house was a magnificent rocking-horse, which a friend had given my little boy; and Lord Byron, with a childish glee becoming a poet, would ride upon it. Ah! why did he ever ride his Pegasus to less advantage?
    • Leigh Hunt, Autobiography (1850), vol. II, ch. XV
  • You speak of Lord Byron and me — there is this great difference between us. He describes what he sees — I describe what I imagine. Mine is the hardest task.
    • John Keats, letter to George and Georgiana Keats (September 1819)
  • Mad, bad and dangerous to know.
    • Lady Caroline Lamb, written in her journal upon their first meeting at a ball (March 1812)
  • From the poetry of Lord Byron they drew a system of ethics, compounded of misanthropy and voluptuousness, a system in which the two great commandments were, to hate your neighbour, and to love your neighbour's wife.
    • Thomas Babington Macaulay, in "Moore's Life of Lord Byron" (June 1830), from Critical and Historical Essays Contributed to the Edinburgh Review (1843), vol. I
  • I never heard a single expression of fondness for him fall from the lips of any of those who knew him well.
  • Tragedy of childhood. Not infrequently, noble-minded and ambitious men have to endure their harshest struggle in childhood, perhaps by having to assert their characters against a low-minded father, who is devoted to pretense and mendacity, or by living, like Lord Byron, in continual struggle with a childish and wrathful mother. If one has experienced such struggles, for the rest of his life he will never get over knowing who has been in reality his greatest and most dangerous enemy.
  • Always looking at himself in mirrors to make sure he was sufficiently outrageous.
  • Our Lord Byron — the fascinating — faulty — childish — philosophical being — daring the world — docile to a private circle — impetuous and indolent — gloomy and yet more gay than any other.
  • If I could envy any man for successful ill nature I should envy Lord Byron for his skill in satirical nomenclature.
    • Sydney Smith, letter to Elizabeth Vassal Fox, Lady Holland (June 1810)
  • The news came to the village — the dire news which spread across the land, filling men's hearts with consternation — that Byron was dead. Tennyson was then about a boy of fifteen.

    "Byron was dead! I thought the whole world was at an end," he once said, speaking of those bygone days. "I thought everything was over and finished for everyone — that nothing else mattered. I remembered I walked out alone, and carved 'Byron is dead' into the sandstone."

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