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CHRONOLOGICAL OUTLINE OF THE LIFE OF BYRON
Byron's career naturally falls into four Periods (Nichol), as indicated below. Progressive growth, deepening of power, and increasing command of style, is traceable throughout.
Ancestry ancient, tracing to Norman and Viking founders. Ennobled in 1643. Distinguished members two generations before Byron. His father a libertine and spendthrift. His mother of old Scotch stock, violent, ill-bred, hysterical. Passion, eccentricity, and self-will from both branches. Newstead Abbey family seat of Byrons since Henry VIII.
1788-1809. First Period: Early Years And Youthful Poems.
1788, Jan. 22. Born in London. Congenital lameness.
1790. Moved to Aberdeen. Childhood under care of kindly nurse, Mary Gray. Early imbibes Scotch Calvinistic doctrines (traces of which remain in all his later thought) and knowledge of the Bible.
1792. To day-school in Aberdeen. Later to Rev. Mr. Ross, and then to Mr. Paterson. Begins Latin. Mediocre student, but passion for reading history and romance. 1794. Becomes heir-apparent to the Barony.
1796-6. Early childish passion for a cousin, Mary Duff. 1796. Visit to Scotch Highlands. Early love of mountains.
1798. Inherits the title and estates. Journey to Newstead. Settles
in Nottingham. Lord Carlisle, an uncle, his guardian.
1799. School at Dulwich under Dr. Glennie. Voracious general
1800. Boyish passion for another cousin, Margaret Parker
1801-1805. At Harrow school under Dr. Jos. Drury. Latin; some Greek; reading knowledge of French; mere smattering of German. (Learns Italian thoroughly in later life.) Wide reading. Strong memory.
1803-4. Disappointed in love for Mary Chaworth (cf. ''The Dream").
1805-1808. At Cambridge, Trinity College. Little attention to studies. M.A. 1808. College friends,—esp. Hobhouse, Byron's stanch and life-long friend.'
1806. Juvenile poems (issue destroyed).—1807, jfan. "Juvenilia'
1807, March. "Hours of Idleness" ("Juvenilia," public).
1808. Life in London. Dissipation.—March. Attack on poems
by "Edinburgh Review."
1809, Jan. 22. Comes of age. Takes seat in House of Lords.—
March. "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers." Farewell revels with friends at Newstead before going abroad.
1809-1812. Second Period; First Sojourn Abroad. First Cantos Of "childe Harold."
1809, June. Sails for Portugal.—July. At Lisbon, trip through
Spain, to Greece, etc. (See Itinerary, in Notes to
1810, March. Completes second canto of "Childe Harold."
Pressure from creditors at home, and consequently,
1811, July, returns to England.—August. Death of his mother.
Beginning of friendship with Tom Moore.
1812, February. "Childe Harold " I—II published. Its immense
success. 1812-1813. Several speeches in House of Lords on Liberal side.
1812-1816. Third Period: Life In London; Early VerseRomances.
1812- 1814. Lion of the day in London. Literary society (Sheri
dan, Rogers, Moore, Campbell, Monk Lewis, Mme. de Stael, etc. Corresponds with Scott, whom he meets in 1815.) Affair with Lady Caroline Lamb.
1813-1815. "The Giaour," "Bride of Abydos," "Corsair," "Lara," "Hebrew Melodies," "Siege of Corinth," "Parisina," etc.
1814, Engagement to Miss Milbanke.
1815, January 2. Marriage.—December. Birth of daughter, Augusta Ada.
1816, January. Lady Byron leaves Byron. Public scandal. Formal separation. 1816, April. Byron leaves England for good, "hunted out of the country, bankrupt in purse and heart."
1816-1824. Fourth Period: Life Abroad; Production Of The Great Works.
1816. Through Belgium and along the Rhine to Switzerland (see
Itinerary). Friendship with Shelley. Influence on his
1817, January. Birth of Allegra (in England). Dies in Italy,
1822. 1817. Fever. Trip to Rome.—September. Fourth canto of
"Childe Harold" completed.
1818. "Manfred." September. Canto I of "Don Juan" written."Beppo." Visit from Shelley(cf. Shelley's "Julian and Maddalo").
1819. "Mezeppa."—October. Visit from Moore. Further cantos
of "Don Juan." ''Prophecy of Dante." Relations with Countess Guiccioli begin.
1820. At Ravenna. "Marino Faliero." Sympathy with revolu
tionary movement of the Carbonari to free Italy.—August. Visit from Shelley.
1821. August. Expelled from Ravenna. "Two Foscari," "Sar
danapalus," "Cain," " Visionof Judgment."—November. In Pisa.
1822. Visit from Trelawny (see his "Recollections.") Arrival of
Leigh Hunt and family. "The Liberal."—July. Death of Shelley.—September. Removal from Pisa to Genoa. Friendship with the Blessingtons (cf. Lady Blessington's "Conversations.") "Werner," "The Deformed Transformed." Further cantos of "Don Juan." Various minor poems,
1823. Concluding cantos of " Don Juan" (which, however, remains
unfinished). Byron's sympathies and aid enlisted for
ffroolf^ jn ct-.,£rpi.. fnr jnrlrnnxjrnrr July- Sails
for Greece. His politic managemenTTKeTer Declining health.
1824, April 19. Death at Mesolonghi. Burial in Westminster
Abbey refused. Buried at Hucknall. "Few can ever have gone wearier to the grave; none with less fear. He had done enough to earn his rest. Forgetful now and set free forever from all faults and foes, he passed through the doorway of no ignoble death out of reach of time, out of sight of love, out of hearing of hatred, beyond the blame of England and the praise of Greece. In the full strength of spirit and of body his destiny overtook him, and made an end of all his labors. He had seen and borne and achieved more than most men on record. 'He was a great man, good at many things, and now he has attained this also, to be at rest.'" (A. C. Swinburne, "Essays and Studies," 258.)
There are numberless editions of Byron. What
promises to be a definitive edition and the _„„ r ..... Editions
most authoritative is the one now in process
of publication, edited, the Poetry by E. H. Coleridge (London, Murray, 1898 f.) and the Letters and Journals by R. E. Prothero. The latter is of firstrate importance for Byron's Life. Previous to this, Moore's edition of the Letters and Journals with the Life (1830, and frequent reprints) has liyes been the standard. Moore's " Life," however, has been often attacked for bias and misrepresentation, and must be read critically. Other modern lives are those by Karl Elze (in English translation 1872), which judges Byron's character harshly and with perfect self-assurance; a personal, gossipy, but honest book, exhibiting no great critical penetration. J. C. Jeaffreson's "The Real Lord Byron" is full of personal detail and background, and is apparently the result of considerable research; it, however, employs the novelist's method, and from a suggestion of fact imagines motives and mental processes with the utmost freedom; on the whole a gossipmonger, but readable, and to be consulted by the critical student; contains hardly any literary criticism. Shorter lives, combined with criticism, are those by