Biography of Lord Byron

Lord Byron

George Gordon, Lord Byron was a nineteenth century Romantic poet.

When and Where was George Gordon, Lord Byron Born?

Born as George Gordon on 22nd January 1788, London, England.

Family Background:

Lord Byron was the son of Captain John “Mad Jack” Byron and his second wife, Catherine Gordon, a Scottish heiress.

Education:

Aberdeen Grammar School. Harrow School. Trinity College, Cambridge.

Timeline of Lord Byron:

1788: Byron moves to Aberdeen with mother.

1791: Death of his father on 2nd August.

1798: He becomes 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale. Visits Newstead Abbey for the first time.

1808: Byron takes possession of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire.

1809: He takes up his seat in the House of Lords on 13th March. He leaves England on 2nd July to travel in Europe, Greece and Turkey.

1811: He returns to England. Death of his mother.

1812: Byron makes his maiden speech in the House of Lords. He becomes famous on the publication of the first parts of “Childe Harold”. He has affairs with Lady Caroline Lamb, a novelist who was married to Lord Melbourne who was later to become Prime Minister and Lady Oxford who was known as a patron of the Reform Movement which was in reality the left wing of the Whig Party..

1813: He has an affair with his half-sister Augusta Leigh. Then becomes engaged to Annabella Milbanke.

1815: He marries Annabella Milbanke on 2nd January, at Seaham Hall. Birth of Byron’s daughter Augusta Ada.

1816: Lady Byron leaves to live with her parents on 21st April. A Deed of Separation is signed on the 25th April. He leaves England in May and lives in Switzerland until October. He becomes friendly with  Percy Shelley. He has an affair with Claire Clairmont, the step sister of Mary Shelley who becomes pregnant. He then settles in Venice in November.

Villa Diodati
Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva
 where Byron, Shelley and Mary Shelley entertained each other 
with horror stories and Frankenstein was “born” (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1817: Birth of Allegra, his daughter by Claire Clairmont on 12th January.

1818: He takes charge of Allegra.

1819: Byron has an affair in Venice with Countess Teresa Guiccioli.

Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs in Venice (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1820: Byron lives in Ravenna, Italy the seat of Count Guiccioli. Countess Guiccioli is separated from her husband. Byron joins an Italian revolutionary society called the Carbonari.

1821: He sends Allegra to a convent in Bagnacavello. He moves on to Pisa where Shelley is now staying.

Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa with leaning bell tower which Shelley would have climbed (copyright Anthony Blagg)

1822: Allegra dies of typhoid fever on 20th April. Shelley drowns in a boating accident on 8th July. Byron moves to Genoa and becomes involved with Leigh Hunt.

1823: Byron plans to go to Greece to take part in their struggle for independence from the Turks. He arrives in Cephalonia on 3rd August.

1824: He arrives in Missolonghi on 5th January. He suffers from convulsions on 15th February. Contracts illness after riding in the rain on 9th April.

When and Where did he Die?

19th April 1824. Missolonghi, Greece of fever. His remains were brought back to England by Leicester Stanhope who had joined him in Greece fighting for the cause.

Age at Death:

36.

Written Works:

1806: “Fugitive Pieces”. (printed privately).
1807: “Hours of Idleness”. “Poems on Various Occasions”.
1809: “English Bards and Scotch Reviewers”. “Imitations and Translations from the Classics, with original poems”.
1812: “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” (Cantos 1-2).
1813: “The Bride of Abydos”.
1814: “The Corsair”. “Ode to Napoleon”. “Lara”.
1815: “Collected Works”. “Hebrew Melodies”.
1816: “Monody on the Death of Sherida. Poems on his Domestic. Circumstances”. “The Prisoner of Chillon”.  “The Siege of Corinth”.
1817: “Childe Harold” (Cantos 3). “Beppo”. “The Lament of Tasso”. “Manfred”
1818: “Childe Harold” (Canto 4).
1819: “Don Juan” (Part 1-2)
1820: ” Marino. Faliero”.
1821: “The Two Foscari”. “Cain”. “Sardanapolus”. “Foscari”. “Marino Faliero”. “Don Juan” (Parts 3-5).
1822: “The Vision of Judgement”..
1823: “Werner”. “The Age of Bronze”. “Don Juan” (Parts 6-14). “The Island”.
1824: Don Juan (Parts 15-16).
(1825): “Correspondence”.

Marriage:

Jan 2nd 1815 to Annabella Milbanke, at Seaham Hall.

Site of Grave:

St. Mary Magdalen Church, Hucknall, Torkard, Nottinghamshire.

Places of Interest:

CUMBRIA:

Dove Cottage and Museum, Grasmere, LA22 9SH. (Wordsworth Trust).

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE:

Newstead Abbey, Newstead Abbey Park, NG15 8G

KENT:

Roamed the White Cliffs in 1816 before his departure for Greece.

LONDON:

National Portrait Gallery.

WILTSHIRE:

Bowood House, Calne has his Albanian costume.