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Byron's Poetry

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The critical essays offer an integrated view of Byron's achievement as well as analyses of its different facets. Published for the first time is Bergen Evans's general essay "Lord Byron's Pilgrimage"; other essays are by John D. Jump, Michael G. Cooke, Francis Berry, Robert F. Gleckner, James R. Thompson, Frank D. McConnell, Leslie A. Marchand, and E. D. Hirsch, Jr. A speci The critical essays offer an integrated view of Byron's achievement as well as analyses of its different facets. Published for the first time is Bergen Evans's general essay "Lord Byron's Pilgrimage"; other essays are by John D. Jump, Michael G. Cooke, Francis Berry, Robert F. Gleckner, James R. Thompson, Frank D. McConnell, Leslie A. Marchand, and E. D. Hirsch, Jr. A special section, "Images of Byron," presents 26 views of Byron as artist and as the epitome of the Romantic hero, ranging from the perspectives of his contemporaries to those of such modern writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, and Albert Camus. A Chronology sets forth the main events of Byron's life, and a Selected Bibliography lists sources for further study.


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The critical essays offer an integrated view of Byron's achievement as well as analyses of its different facets. Published for the first time is Bergen Evans's general essay "Lord Byron's Pilgrimage"; other essays are by John D. Jump, Michael G. Cooke, Francis Berry, Robert F. Gleckner, James R. Thompson, Frank D. McConnell, Leslie A. Marchand, and E. D. Hirsch, Jr. A speci The critical essays offer an integrated view of Byron's achievement as well as analyses of its different facets. Published for the first time is Bergen Evans's general essay "Lord Byron's Pilgrimage"; other essays are by John D. Jump, Michael G. Cooke, Francis Berry, Robert F. Gleckner, James R. Thompson, Frank D. McConnell, Leslie A. Marchand, and E. D. Hirsch, Jr. A special section, "Images of Byron," presents 26 views of Byron as artist and as the epitome of the Romantic hero, ranging from the perspectives of his contemporaries to those of such modern writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, and Albert Camus. A Chronology sets forth the main events of Byron's life, and a Selected Bibliography lists sources for further study.

30 review for Byron's Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Pontus Alexander

    Don Juan was pretty fun (but only Canto I and parts of Canto II were included). His lyric verse was also somewhat enjoyable to read, but no one could get me to read 'The Vision of Judgement' again. Not only was it a response to Robert Southey's 'A Vision of Judgement' from 1821 (which I have not read, and never plan to read... probably), but it was also an excellent sleeping pill. I got quite lost almost immediately and didn't bother to check for summaries or explanations, so yeah, that one might Don Juan was pretty fun (but only Canto I and parts of Canto II were included). His lyric verse was also somewhat enjoyable to read, but no one could get me to read 'The Vision of Judgement' again. Not only was it a response to Robert Southey's 'A Vision of Judgement' from 1821 (which I have not read, and never plan to read... probably), but it was also an excellent sleeping pill. I got quite lost almost immediately and didn't bother to check for summaries or explanations, so yeah, that one might be on me now that I think about it...

  2. 5 out of 5

    kari

    Lord Byron is quite the wit. His poetry is entertaining, the ones that were topical in his day are a little tougher to read because I didn't really understand the context of them but still his commentary is great. There are samples of his poems in the first sixy-four pages and the rest is his narrative verse. I really liked the way he tells the story in rhyme, although I could wish that he would occasionally get his clever self out of the way and keep telling the story as he does tend to pause to Lord Byron is quite the wit. His poetry is entertaining, the ones that were topical in his day are a little tougher to read because I didn't really understand the context of them but still his commentary is great. There are samples of his poems in the first sixy-four pages and the rest is his narrative verse. I really liked the way he tells the story in rhyme, although I could wish that he would occasionally get his clever self out of the way and keep telling the story as he does tend to pause to contemplate on this or that subject and give his opinion and tell a joke or two. These little bits do tend to be jarring just when the story's getting exciting but I know that's partly the time in which he lived and was writing. His poetry is beautiful and enduring.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    Well, that was a herculean effort. Read the complete poems of Byron in 10 months. I'm really glad I did, too. The works are so loaded with personal reflection, literary allusion, and contemporary references, that the only way to truly appreciate them is to read them in order, to get a feel for Byron's personal arc. Also, if I had just read the famous works, I would have read Childe Harolde, and Don Juan, both of which often meandered often, and never have read Oscar of Alba, which was the best s Well, that was a herculean effort. Read the complete poems of Byron in 10 months. I'm really glad I did, too. The works are so loaded with personal reflection, literary allusion, and contemporary references, that the only way to truly appreciate them is to read them in order, to get a feel for Byron's personal arc. Also, if I had just read the famous works, I would have read Childe Harolde, and Don Juan, both of which often meandered often, and never have read Oscar of Alba, which was the best story in the whole book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Prakash Bisht

    Well they say "He was mad, bad and dangerous to know". I say the same you will love everything wrtten by him from short and beautiful "She walks in beauty" to epic "Don Juan". Just read it and love it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Byron's poems never fail to delight; I read this collection as part of a Late Romantic Literature course.

  6. 4 out of 5

    P

    To select a date at which I have read all of Byron's Poems is impossible. For, as with all works of poetry, they are never to be read in one sitting, but rather like a piece of candy, each poem must be enjoyed in its own time. Thus it is, to tell the truth, I have never read all of Byron's poems - as of yet. Even though I have not read all, I can honestly state that I hold a love/hate relationship with the admirable lord's work. His work is to be loved, he is to be despised. The simple beauty, t To select a date at which I have read all of Byron's Poems is impossible. For, as with all works of poetry, they are never to be read in one sitting, but rather like a piece of candy, each poem must be enjoyed in its own time. Thus it is, to tell the truth, I have never read all of Byron's poems - as of yet. Even though I have not read all, I can honestly state that I hold a love/hate relationship with the admirable lord's work. His work is to be loved, he is to be despised. The simple beauty, the simple themes, the simple poetry that breathes beauty and simple complexity is what is lovable about his work. It is for a more personal reason, however, that I hate Lord Byron. I can no longer put to the pen the greatest poem in the English language. I would, I must confess, have to find another language in which to write, such as French - as far as I know there are no great French poems. Byron is to be despised - at least by me - because he already wrote the most spectacular poem in the English language, "She Walks in Beauty Like the Night." Ah! Such a poem! will never walk again on earth. This one poem makes all his work beautiful in the same manner as a lady's smile can erase all her blemishes from the mind's eye.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lo

    Love love love Byron. Dont' think I've read every single line in this very large book, but I've read all the biggies and most of the others. I suppose Childe Harold is my favorite. I love Byron's language, the exoticism, and the Byronic hero. He was also very influential, so this is required reading if you're into poetry.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    As with all NCAs, I enjoyed the criticisms in the back, and I always enjoy Byron's work. I wish this edition would have been longer or had not contained so many excerpts. I would rather evaluate fewer complete works. I have not checked out the newer edition of this text, and do not know if it will be an improvement or just a reprint. I will check that later.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    First of all, I want to state the fact that I did not read this book, just some poems by Lord Byron, but, obviously, I couldn't add every poem here. The poems I read are: "My soul is dark", "We sat down and wept by the waters of Babel", "Solitude", "To a lady", "To Eliza" and "On this day I complete my thirty-sixth year". The poems were, generally, beautiful. I enjoyed reading them and, but mostly, I enjoyed contrasting the Romanian version with the original one. I enjoy finding little connotation First of all, I want to state the fact that I did not read this book, just some poems by Lord Byron, but, obviously, I couldn't add every poem here. The poems I read are: "My soul is dark", "We sat down and wept by the waters of Babel", "Solitude", "To a lady", "To Eliza" and "On this day I complete my thirty-sixth year". The poems were, generally, beautiful. I enjoyed reading them and, but mostly, I enjoyed contrasting the Romanian version with the original one. I enjoy finding little connotation differences, although there were not many. English being not my first language, I had a little problems with words as: thee, thy, ne'er, thine, hath, but after some research, I now know that these words are part of the old English language and, obviously, are not used anymore, but I do think that it is alright to know them. What I noticed at Byron's poems is that the harp is an important element; music itself is powerful enough in Byron's poems to conquer over the evil. I want to comment a little bit more on the last poem I read by Byron, "On this day I complete my thirty-sixth year". I find this poem really impressing, as it is more of an ode to death. The poet wants to give his soul to Greece for which he had fought for and where he had eventually died and his only wish is his art and creation to survive through time as an English man, but wants to be buried as a soldier, as a fighter for Greece. I like this poem a lot for it covers not only a theme of bravery, but also love for life, glory, death and regret. I shall edit this review once I will have studied more of Byron's poems at the universal literature class.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    It's almost not worth offering my opinions of Byron, now that I've finally read all of his poems. The great masterpieces are incomparable: Child Harold, the love lyrics, Manfred and Don Juan. Don Juan, in particular, is so full of life, thought and high feeling, that it seems to contain the whole world. Among the less well known works, a few really stood out to me. I think that "The Island" is the best of his tales—without wishing to spoil it, it's ending is unusual for Byron, and before Don Juan It's almost not worth offering my opinions of Byron, now that I've finally read all of his poems. The great masterpieces are incomparable: Child Harold, the love lyrics, Manfred and Don Juan. Don Juan, in particular, is so full of life, thought and high feeling, that it seems to contain the whole world. Among the less well known works, a few really stood out to me. I think that "The Island" is the best of his tales—without wishing to spoil it, it's ending is unusual for Byron, and before Don Juan, it is probably the poem of his which had the greatest variety of character and action. "Beppo" was a little work of genius, basically a parody of the Turkish tales that made his name and the Italian plays that lost it. His little satire "The Blues" was a different thing altogether, sprightly and energetic and frothy, probably the only really comic thing he ever wrote, without the strong strain of world-weary fatalism that runs through so much else of his poetry. For me, his most distinctive quality is his sense of time. In these poems, time is like a creek running over a rock, continually babbling in careless beauty while it carves away at the surface, bearing everything away into the sea. Everything is lost and swept away in these poems, even the very grandest and most wonderful things. This sadness throws a pale and beautiful light on whatever of great and good appears in his poems. There is always the mixture of worldliness and ideals, of innocence and experience in his poems, and this is why Don Juan, with its innocent hero and wise narrator, is the best and most characteristic of his poems.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Arlene

    I much preferred Byron’s lyrical verse over the narrative verse. I’m not a fan of poetry, but after reading Byron’s works, I’ve realized I prefer lyrical poems that are short and sweet. Of the ones I came across, my favored ones were “On my thirty third birthday” and “So we’ll go no more a roving.” His satire is distinguishable and effective. I didn’t care too much for the narrative verses, “The Vision of Judgment” nor “Don Juan.” It didn’t keep my attention and to be frank, I didn’t get what he I much preferred Byron’s lyrical verse over the narrative verse. I’m not a fan of poetry, but after reading Byron’s works, I’ve realized I prefer lyrical poems that are short and sweet. Of the ones I came across, my favored ones were “On my thirty third birthday” and “So we’ll go no more a roving.” His satire is distinguishable and effective. I didn’t care too much for the narrative verses, “The Vision of Judgment” nor “Don Juan.” It didn’t keep my attention and to be frank, I didn’t get what he was trying to convey. If I were to read anymore of his poetry, I would stick to his lyrical poems as they kept my interest and I was able to interpret them more easily. Bottom line, though, I don’t get Byron.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cooper Renner

    I bought this primarily to read "The Giaour", "Prisoner of Chillon" and (maybe) some of what it contains of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" (which I've read some of before). I've read already Byron's plays and "Don Juan" (except possibly the unfinished Canto XVII) and quite like them. Now that I've read "Giaour" and "Chillon", I can see them as far lesser works than the plays and "Don Juan", though they must have helped prepare Byron for those longer, more powerful accomplishments.

  13. 5 out of 5

    James

    Excellent, though strictly chronological, presentation of Byron's works, dividing his life up into four major periods. That means Childe Harold's Pilgrimage will be spread out across three sections with other poems and letters interspersed, making this volume excellent for chronological studies but a little awkward for other types of study. Good though of course necessarily limited selection of criticism at the end and very good notes. Recommended for a serious introduction to Byron.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joe Cowan

    Lord Byron has proved to be a witty and self-aware writer who tends to take upon the true personality of a bard waiting on an audience. Though I found most of the content boring or too elongated for my taste, it does not reflect on his skill or ability poorly at all. I will definitely claim one of his poems, "The Destruction of Sennacherib" as one of my all-time favorites.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I had forgotten about all the fabulous "lost love" poems Byron wrote. The one where he goes to visit an old paramour who's now married with kids is especially poignant. He does the best poor pitiful I've ever read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Colin

    I cannot help but love George Gordon.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Wryly

    Boy be talkin' smack! I sometimes fantasized about reading his poetry slam style. One of my classmate compared Don Juan to Ludacris's pimpin' all over the world.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    Best poet in the English language!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    I have this as a first edition and the smell of it is the best accompaniment to the reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ross Cohen

    A solid introduction, though I wish it contained more of his shorter works, especially "Darkness."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ely

    There were a couple of poems I was hoping to see in here that weren't included, but still, this solidified my growing obsession with Byron.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Actual rate: 4.5 stars

  23. 4 out of 5

    Luna Nethera

    He's one of my favorite authors.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    My thoughts as I read sections of this: Manfred *** – When published in 1816, Byron’s Manfred was much admired (when, as with everything Byron did, it did not shock). But it’s a rather static piece of art. There is no action. Manfred goes from one place to another to complain how miserable his life is as an all-powerful magician/sorcerer/magi, cursed with immortality. (It must be tough.) There’s also no character development – at least not in the traditional sense. Manfred’s opinions about suicid My thoughts as I read sections of this: Manfred *** – When published in 1816, Byron’s Manfred was much admired (when, as with everything Byron did, it did not shock). But it’s a rather static piece of art. There is no action. Manfred goes from one place to another to complain how miserable his life is as an all-powerful magician/sorcerer/magi, cursed with immortality. (It must be tough.) There’s also no character development – at least not in the traditional sense. Manfred’s opinions about suicide vary. Defiance is probably his singular – and most appealing – trait. And what is the back story? We never know, though most people believe Manfred (a magician?) had a relationship (physical? spiritual?) with his sister(?), Astarte, in which they may have not known they were related(?), though she is described as the feminine version of him (his twin?). Oh, and Astarte died in some unknown way(?) for some unknown cause (?). I can confidently report that you won’t be better informed about any these things after finishing the play. The question is: Does Byron even know the answers to these questions? Does this all even make sense on any level? Even to him? Or is he just making things up as he goes. We don’t know. Even today. So, there is fuzziness to this work. It does contain some good descriptions of the human experience, and Manfred’s Faust-like Promethean defiance is sure to please the rebel-against-god in all of us. (Well, most of us. Some of us?)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Frank Ashe

    Read some, need to read much more

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jen Well-Steered

    What I liked about it: I honestly thought when I borrowed this book from the library that all of his poems were like To M.S.G.: When'er I dream of that pure breast, / How could I dwell upon its snows! / Yet is the daring wish repress'd ,/ For that - would banish its repose. / A glance from thy soul-searching eye, / Can raise with hope, depress with fear / Yet I conceal my love - and why? / I would not force a painful tear.' All forbidden romance and tragic death at 24 from tuberculosis that has What I liked about it: I honestly thought when I borrowed this book from the library that all of his poems were like To M.S.G.: When'er I dream of that pure breast, / How could I dwell upon its snows! / Yet is the daring wish repress'd ,/ For that - would banish its repose. / A glance from thy soul-searching eye, / Can raise with hope, depress with fear / Yet I conceal my love - and why? / I would not force a painful tear.' All forbidden romance and tragic death at 24 from tuberculosis that has got teenage girls worked into a lather for centuries. But actually, a lot of his poetry is about adventure stories, like Lara or Childe Harold's Pilgrimage or tragic narrative like Beppo. It turns out a lot of the hype that got the ladies worked up was just an early understanding of how publicity works. I think my favourite of his works is Cain, in which the first murderer expresses his resentment at being kicked out of the Garden of Eden and made mortal for his parents' mistake: And this is Life! Toil! And wherefore should I toil? - because my father could not keep his place in Eden. What had I done in this? I was unborn: I sought not to be born; nor love the state to which that birth has brought me. He then goes on to meet Satan and kill his brother and get banished to the Land of Nod. What I didn't like about it: Byron didn't write enough limericks. Here's the one example in the entire book: John Adams lies here, of the parish of Southwell / A carrier who carried his can to mouth well; / He carried so much and he carried so fast, / He could carry no more - so was carried at last; / For the liquor he drank, being too much for one / He could not carry off - so no he's carri-on. Limericks forever! http://omnibrowbooks.blogspot.com

  27. 4 out of 5

    J.D.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Accepting Byron’s limitations, especially when dealing with serious and deep subject-matter not related to strong emotions, his poetry is hopelessly and wonderfully romantic. While Don Juan was witty and funny at times, it’s at the romantic where he excels, and this is especially true of the romantic love part (Byron being one of the few masters of the Romantic who actually wrote about romantic love at length). The Visions of Judgement is good but without the historical context it is distracting Accepting Byron’s limitations, especially when dealing with serious and deep subject-matter not related to strong emotions, his poetry is hopelessly and wonderfully romantic. While Don Juan was witty and funny at times, it’s at the romantic where he excels, and this is especially true of the romantic love part (Byron being one of the few masters of the Romantic who actually wrote about romantic love at length). The Visions of Judgement is good but without the historical context it is distracting most of all and I’m pretty sure I won’t read it again. In any case, for what he was, Byron was the best. (The following are nice stanzas, but not the best so as not to spoil the experience of discovery, but may contain plot spoilers, although I would not worry about that at all.) Man’s a phenomenon, one knows not what, And wonderful beyond all wondrous measure; ‘Tis pity though, in this sublime world, that Pleasure’s a sin, and sometimes sin’s a pleasure; Few mortals know what end they would be at, But whether glory, power, or love, or treasure, The path is through perplexing ways, and when The goal is gain’d, we die, you know – and then— (CXXXIII, Canto I of Don Juan) It was such a pleasure to behold him, such Enlargement of existence to partake Nature with him, to thrill beneath his touch, To watch him slumbering and to see him wake; To live with him for ever were too much; But the thought of parting made her quake: He was her own, her ocean-treasure, cast Like a wreck – her first love, and her last. (CLXXIII, Canto II of Don Juan)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    Rarely has a book, read in such small doses, given me such pleasure. Matthew Arnold certainly pulled together a wonderful sampling of Byron's poetry. I've carried this tiny volume around the house and throughout Wales and London, sampling a poem here and there as I had time, often before bed. Almost every selection brought me joy and made me think. The samples pulled me out of time and place and let me simply enjoy the words and imagery. Well done, Lord Byron and Mr. Arnold. Some of the pieces st Rarely has a book, read in such small doses, given me such pleasure. Matthew Arnold certainly pulled together a wonderful sampling of Byron's poetry. I've carried this tiny volume around the house and throughout Wales and London, sampling a poem here and there as I had time, often before bed. Almost every selection brought me joy and made me think. The samples pulled me out of time and place and let me simply enjoy the words and imagery. Well done, Lord Byron and Mr. Arnold. Some of the pieces stood out more than the others. The samples from Childe Harold: Solitude (p. 27) and Bereavement (p. 31). The excepts from the Prisoner of Chillon volume were great as well: The Dream (p. 35) and Bonnnivard and His Brothers (p. 119). The poem She Walks in Beauty (p. 46) was sublime. So simple, so short, yet so wonderful. I have a copy of Mazeppa and was happy to revisit "his ride" (p. 159). I'd never read any of Manfred, but after reading Act i, Scene 2 and Act ii, Scene 2, I've added it to my list of things to acquire and read. Likewise, Cain was new to me and I thoroughly enjoyed the excerpt "Cain and Adah" (p. 228). A great critique of original sin and how we react when we are burdened by the crimes of our parents. I definitely felt a sense of Milton in this piece, so I look forward to reading it in its entirety some day.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Byron is considered one of the greatest poets in history and this volume of his work certainly demonstrates that fact. I love the story like quality that his writings offer. His wit and intelligence served him well and his legacy continues to endure. I should like to obtain a full volume of his complete works to read and savor. The Romantic poets have always inspired me as a reader, a writer and as a student of literature. Here is a familiar taste: She walks in beauty,like, like the night Of c Byron is considered one of the greatest poets in history and this volume of his work certainly demonstrates that fact. I love the story like quality that his writings offer. His wit and intelligence served him well and his legacy continues to endure. I should like to obtain a full volume of his complete works to read and savor. The Romantic poets have always inspired me as a reader, a writer and as a student of literature. Here is a familiar taste: She walks in beauty,like, 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. -From Hebrew Melodies She Walks In Beauty (p.11)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brendan

    What is there to be said of Byron? My relationship with him is complex. I idolized him as a young teenager, and now while I still consider him a genius, I recognize the self-doubt, moodiness, and unevenness throughout his poetry. If a genius, then a lazy one, prone to expending talents and effort in vain dissipation, content to toss off derivative and forgettable epics; "The Giaour" and "The Corsair" despite all their contemporary gothic popularity, are cloying, trite works, rarely displaying a What is there to be said of Byron? My relationship with him is complex. I idolized him as a young teenager, and now while I still consider him a genius, I recognize the self-doubt, moodiness, and unevenness throughout his poetry. If a genius, then a lazy one, prone to expending talents and effort in vain dissipation, content to toss off derivative and forgettable epics; "The Giaour" and "The Corsair" despite all their contemporary gothic popularity, are cloying, trite works, rarely displaying a hint brilliance, I can barely stomach them. So much of his work is this way, uneven, cloying. But then, his shorter lyrics, his "Don Juan", certain Cantos of "Childe Harold", there are few works I hold higher.

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