Byron In Youth

Byron In Youth.

One of the many examples of the poet's eccentricity is the elaborate marble monument, which he caused to be erected in the park of Newstead Abbey, over the grave of a favorite Newfoundland dog, beside which he at one time expressed a desire to be buried.

The Dining Hall, Newstead Abbey

The Dining-Hall, Newstead Abbey.

Apparently Lady Byron did not possess the requisite tact or patience to adapt herself to her husband's peculiar character; and yet such adaptation could not have been very difficult; for, years after, the poet's valet, Fletcher, said, "The only woman I ever saw who could not manage Lord Byron easily was my Lady." On the other hand, it is not right to blame Lady Byron too severely. Experience teaches us that intellectual superiority may command our admiration, but does not, of necessity, win our love. Extraordinary geniuses may fill the world with inspiration, and, nevertheless, be very uncomfortable people to live with day by day. Byron had many causes for un-happiness. He was extremely sensitive, and knew that thousands hated him because he had achieved such wonderful success. Politically, also, he had many enemies. Nine out of every ten Englishmen then thought Washington a traitor to King George, and Bonaparte a fiend incarnate; but Byron openly called Washington the loftiest of heroes, and could not hide his admiration for Napoleon. Thus, after the battle of Waterloo, he wrote: "I feel as if I had taken ipecac - to think that those stupid Bourbons are restored. What right have we to prescribe laws to France? However, the Kings' times are fast vanishing. Those of the people are at hand. I shall not live to see it; but I foresee it. Give me a republic. Look at the history of our earth: Rome, Greece, Venice, Holland, France, America! Compare what they have done as republics to what they did under masters." But this in England then was rank heresy, When, therefore, the scandal of a separation from his wife gave them a pretext, his enemies joined to crush him without mercy. There seemed to Byron to be no alternative. Having lost his home, he must now lose his country; because, as he truly said: "If what is whispered here be true, I am unfit for England; if false, then England is unfit for me." The noblest statue of Lord Byron is that of Thorwaldsen, which represents him seated on a broken column of the Parthenon. It calls to mind the fact that, just as in his youth he had written in Childe Harold the grandest eulogy of Greece that any poet has produced, so when, in 1823, the Greeks endeavored to throw off the Turkish yoke and make themselves a nation, Byron went out at once to aid them, and perished in the attempt. In judging, therefore, of his character, it should never be forgotten that he died at thirty-seven; just at the time when he was on the point of living down the past and building up a nobler future. A Spanish writer has well said: "Many know better how to live than Byron; but few know better how to die." True words; for he was rich, and he renounced his wealth; a poet, and he laid down his pen; beloved, and he forsook the one whom he adored, to die for that most glorious of causes, - human liberty.

Byron's Monument To His Dog

Byron's Monument To His Dog.

Wickham Bridge

Wickham Bridge.

Lady Byron

Lady Byron.

Thorwaldsen's Statue Of Lord Byron

Thorwaldsen's Statue Of Lord Byron.

Church Where Byron Is Buried

Church Where Byron Is Buried.

Three miles from New-stead Abbey stands a little church, in which the author of "Childe Harold," after life's fitful fever, now sleeps well. What a con trast between this humble structure and the tomb he might have had at Athens! For the Greeks regarded as one of their own heroes this poet who had sung so grandly of their country, and who had come, all radiant with fame, to lead them on to deeds of glory worthy of their immortal past. They, therefore, wished that his remains should rest on Grecian soil; but English friends insisted on sending his body back to England, supposing, of course, that it would be entombed in Westminster Abbey, or St. Paul's Cathedral. Both these edifices were, however, resolutely closed to its reception. Accordingly on the 12th of July, 1824, Lord Byron was buried beside the body of his mother.