Sunday, June 7, 2015

Berowne's 273

(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "V" is for "villain")

Today I’d like to tell you about my old friend George.  George Gordon.  Better known as Lord Byron.

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

What a character, what an incredible life! In the early years of the 19th century Byron was what can only be described as a scoundrel and a rake, running up huge lopsided debts and chasing women -- though all the while turning out the poetry that even today causes him to be regarded as one of the great British poets.

Lord Byron was not just an erect, leading figure in the movement known as Romanticism, he was romanticism itself. He travelled, as an idealist, to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence.

But it’s his adventures with women that I find interesting. As far as I can see, he could not resist going after them, whatever their social status, married or single, and they, in so many cases – even those who despised him – often couldn’t resist him.

His mother wrote to a friend about her son: “He has no indisposition that I know of but love, the worst of all maladies in my opinion.”

 
After his well-publicized affairs with a number of ladies of high social position, he had an even more well-publicized affair with the very married Lady Caroline Lamb that shocked the British public.

She wrote: “He is mad, bad and dangerous to know.” He then broke off with her – (“When we two parted”?) -- to begin a relationship with Lady Oxford; Lady Caroline did not give up easily. She did what we today would call stalking.  She would show up at his home dressed as a messenger boy just to get near him again.

Rubbing salt in the sore wound, Byron then went after Lady Caroline’s cousin, Anne Milbanke. She was something special. She was a beautiful, highly intelligent woman (some say she was a mathematical genius), and she was also an heiress. He of course treated her badly and their marriage was very unhappy. If any man today ever wonders why the movement known as feminism became so strong, it’s surely because of stories like these.

After his disreputable adventures with members of the opposite sex, Byron left England. When he arrived in Greece, he assumed command of part of the army, though he had no military experience. He had acquired an appropriately colorful uniform, above.


Before the expedition could sail for the war in February of 1824, he fell ill. The usual blemish of bloodletting, along with the unsterilized medical instruments, were enough to kill him.  George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron, was indeed kind of a villain, but he was capable of some beautiful poetry.

My guess is that now, after a century or two of the feminist movement, today’s females would find such a character easy to resist, that in fact they’d find him a boor and rather repellent.  Or is it possible that even in our time some women are attracted to such dashing, wild, profligate males? 

22 comments:

rel said...

It's been my observation, human behavior has remained consistent over the centuries.

Roger Owen Green said...

Well, some women still like the bad boys, but suspect they are fewer in number.

Bekkie Sanchez said...

Speaking as a woman we still love romance and bad boys add spice to life. Add poetry and I think any women would still be bowled over by him. Add too much spice and then there may be a problem as with any recipe.

Berowne said...

Yes, I'd agree. It's probably the poetry that got to them. The rest was just mechanics.

naturgesetz said...

There aren't many predators who are both as successful and as well-known as Lord Byron. Thanks for this synopsis of his life.

Kathe W. said...

Yes we do still love romance and romance on the precipice has a certain tang to it- but it would get tiresome after awhile...even with the lovely poetry.

Jinksy said...

wild, profligate males ?!!!

Only sad females not in their right minds would go for such fellows these days,sez I! :-)

brudberg said...

I guess he would be until he met a woman like himself who only wanted him for sex. The he the romantic would fall in love and be left to wither.

Hildred said...

Momentarily, perhaps. They still do walk among us, - are women wiser now????

Berowne said...

Very interesting collection of feminine viewpoints in these comments. My thanks to all for taking part.

Photo Cache said...

Is there a movie version of this? I'd like to see it :)

My ABC WEDNESDAY

Old Egg said...

I don't think much has changed except perhaps there are probably just as many female George Gordons these days too.

Berowne said...

A female George Gordon; interesting concept...

Vinay Leo R. said...

Oh. I have no doubt that there would be some women who are still attracted to the kind :)

Btw, your link at 3WW seems to be broken.

Kutamun said...

Arguably inspired every Vampire tale ever written , Poe , Crowley , Marilyn Manson , Tim Minchin and every Emo on the planet . Germaine Greer has some interesting thoughts on where feminism . in "The Whole Woman " she argues that it is kaput , gone , swallowed up by the Campbells Soup Can of the consumerist marketing matrix , along with everyone and everything else . She suggests the only battles that have ever been won are the right to mimic unfree men , and that the career woman deludes herself that she has more freedom than the house wife , when the only freedom she has is to buy something diferent . Fascinating , if she is correct , there is a huge demand for Byron still !

JEEWANTIPS said...

Very nice post ...
Welcome to my blog on my new post.

Sheilagh Lee said...

unfortunately some people think they can change bad boys. Leopards do not change their spots.

Karen S. said...

I dare say yes! I do believe there are, in fact I might even be one myself, at least for a brief spell, and I'd be richer for the experience. Indeed, I totally enjoyed your tale today, thanks.

Gattina said...

He was a real womanizer !

Gattina
ABC Team

http://gattina-keyholepictures.blogspot.com/

Berowne said...

Sheilagh Lee: "Leopards do not change their spots." And as Dr. Spooner once remarked, "The lord is a shoving leopard." :-)

Lmkazmierczak said...

Wondering if that nursery rhyme "Georgey Porgy..." is about Lord Byron....♪ http://lauriekazmierczak.com/variant/

Joy said...

He does look rather dashing in that uniform! I didn't know the Caroline Lamb story of dressing up as a messenger, comedy gold. Of course putting her obsession with him aside she was judged badly by society because of her gender and was considered a clever and witty woman although maybe like him, rather egocentric but then they both had unconventional upbringings. What a lot he packed into his life, both good and bad and not many other poets have their own adjective.

 
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