Mad bad and dangerous to know


As the lovely and talented Keira pointed out yesterday, it was Byron’s birthday on Tuesday. (I always remember Byron’s birthday because it’s my father’s birthday too–he just turned 97! Younger than Byron, but not by much.)

So happy birthday, Byron, the ultimate bad boy– mad bad and dangerous to know as the equally mad bad and dangerous Lady Caroline Lamb, defined him. But heck, the man was HAWWWT.

I blogged a little while ago about this excellent book by Jude Morgan about Byron, Shelley, et al, and I urge you to read it–it’s fabulous. (And I’ve just read Symphony by Jude Morgan, about Berlioz and Harriet Smithson, an amazing book. But I’m saving that for another time .) So I thought we’d celebrate Byron’s birthday with some of his quotations–many of which I found at this excellent site, not that there’s a shortage of sites about Byron. And throw in a few more pics of him.

I awoke one morning and found myself famous.

I have great hopes that we shall love each other all our lives as much as if we had never married at all.

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.

What men call gallantry, and gods adultery,
Is much more common where the climate’s sultry.

The reading or non-reading a book will never keep down a single petticoat.

A woman should never be seen eating or drinking, unless it be lobster salad and Champagne, the only true feminine & becoming viands.

I am about to be married, and am of course in all the misery of a man in pursuit of happiness.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,

And the heart must pause for breath,
And love itself have rest.

So share your favorite Byron quote, poem, or anecdote. Or tell us how long it would have taken you to enter into a scandalous and public liaison with him (me: ten minutes).

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13 Responses to Mad bad and dangerous to know

  1. Really Janet? He would have had me at hello! I love the quote about champagne and lobster salad. Not only is it making me hungry, but he’s totally correct. I have Passion on my TBR pile. I’ve had a wee crush on Byron since childhood, and Gabriel Bryne’s performance in that otherwise execrable movie Gothic I thought was close to what he must have been like. I’ve already written about Lady Caroline Lamb, but my goal is to write about all of Bryon’s women on Scandalous Women. Did you see the movie with Jonny Lee Miller, Janet?

  2. Georgie Lee says:

    “There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
    There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
    There is society, where none intrudes,
    By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
    I love not man the less, but Nature more,
    From these our interviews, in which I steal
    From all I may be, or have been before,
    To mingle with the Universe, and feel
    What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.”

    This is my favorite Byron quote. It’s from “Childe Harold”. Have you read “Wildly Romantic: The English Romantic Poets” by Catherine M. Andronik. It’s a very good survey of the scandals and lives of the romantic poets.

  3. But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased,
    And man shall not break it – whatever thou may’st.
    And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
    This soul in its bitterest blackness shall be;
    And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet,
    With thee at my side, than with worlds at our feet.

  4. doglady says:

    But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
    Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
    That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think;
    ‘Tis strange, the shortest letter which man uses
    Instead of speech, may form a lasting link
    Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces
    Frail man, when paper – even a rag like this – ,
    Survives himself, his tomb, and all that’s his.
    from Don Juan
    George Gordon, Lord Byron

    I adore Byron. I would have stalked him like a paparazzi or even worse Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. LOL I really do love his work. So much so that my late DH bought me a first edition of Byron’s poetry. I have no idea what it cost. I shudder to think. He bought it for me after he got his first post as head of psychiatry at a hospital. It means all the more because I lost him less than two months later to a drunk driver.

    Once you have loved, you will always love. For what’s in your mind may escape, but what’s in your heart will remain forever. There is no instinct like that of the heart.

  5. Deb Marlowe says:

    Weirdly enough I have a cousin who looks like Byron! He is a wonderful family man but likely has no idea who Byron is–and still, everytime I see a portrait of Byron I think of him.

    My favorite is The Tear:

    When Friendship or Love our sympathies move,
    When Truth in a glance should appear,
    The lips may beguile with a dimple or smile,
    But the test of affection’s a Tear

    Too oft is a smile but the hypocrite’s wile,
    To mask detestation or fear
    Give me the soft sigh, whilst the soul-telling eye
    Is dimm’d for a time with a tear

    My favorite stanzas are the ones about the sailors and soldiers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Cara King says:

    Nah, I like a man who likes women who eat. I’m not giving up pizza in public just to have Byron for a lover! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m sure Jeremy Northam’s Knightley wouldn’t mind. Or, say, that cute J J Feild as Tilney. And Ciaran Hinds’s Wentworth would probably urge women to eat more!

    Cara (who has a one-track mind right now)

  7. Todd says:

    Lobster salad and champagne. Hmm. Whatever Byron’s virtues as a poet, as a nutritionist he was sadly lacking.

    Todd-who-recommends-a-balanced-diet

  8. “Nah, I like a man who likes women who eat. I’m not giving up pizza in public just to have Byron for a lover! :-)”

    LOL, Cara! I’m with you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do like Byron’s poetry very much (“Stanzas for Music” is a favorite), but I fear I’d soon find him tiresome in real life, if the eccentricties in his biography are true!)

  9. Diane Gaston says:

    The poetry is beautiful, perhaps unsurpassed, but Byron as a man never intrigued me either.

    Now Wellington. Or Castlereagh. That’s a different story.

  10. Elena Greene says:

    I love Byron’s poetry but also don’t feel a particular attraction to him as a man. Maybe I’m too steeped in military heroes at this point…

  11. Elizabeth, the internationalbyronsociety.org (sorry, too lazy to do the html) has a list of films and recommends the Johnny Lee Miller version, altho to me he looks very unByronic. Gabriel Byrne, tho, was pretty and pretty good.

  12. 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

    Collapses on floor in demented lustful puddle.

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