Biography of George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron George Gordon Byron was the son of Captain John Byron by his marriage to the Scottish Catherine Gordon of Gight. He was born with a club foot of which he was very self-conscious and educated in Aberdeen, where his family had moved to escape their debts, and at Harrow and Cambridge. Byron inherited the family home, Newstead Abbey, following the deaths of his father in 1791 and grandfather in He took up his seat in the House of Lords in 1808 and then left to travel in Europe, at which time he began writing his immensely popular poem Childe Harolde, returning to a political role again in 1813 when he spoke on liberal themes in the House. In 1815 he married Annabella Milbanke, but she left him soon afterwards, taking their child with her. Throughout his life he fathered several illegitimate children and had numerous scandalous affairs, the most notorious being with his half-sister Augusta, his father's daughter by an earlier marriage. This affair horrified English society and encouraged Byron in his decision to leave England for good in He stayed with the Shelleys in Geneva, where he wrote The Prisoner of Chillon, then after a trip to Rome in 1817 he returned to Venice where he wrote Beppo his first work in a new ironic style. Don Juan was begun the following year. Fired by the Greek battle for independence from Turkey, Byron sailed to Missolonghi in 1824, where he gave money and inspiration to the rebels but died of a fever before seeing action.
It Is the Hour It is the hour when from the boughs The nightingale's high note is heard; It is the hour -- when lover's vows Seem sweet in every whisper'd word; And gentle winds and waters near, Make music to the lonely ear. Each flower the dews have lightly wet, And in the sky the stars are met, And on the wave is deeper blue, And on the leaf a browner hue, And in the Heaven that clear obscure So softly dark, and darkly pure, That follows the decline of day As twilight melts beneath the moon away. My Soul is Dark My soul is dark - Oh! quickly string The harp I yet can brook to hear; And let thy gentle fingers fling Its melting murmurs o'er mine ear. If in this heart a hope be dear, That sound shall charm it forth again: If in these eyes there lurk a tear, 'Twill flow, and cease to burn my brain. But bid the strain be wild and deep, Nor let thy notes of joy be first: I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep, Or else this heavy heart will burst; For it hath been by sorrow nursed, And ached in sleepless silence, long; And now 'tis doomed to know the worst, And break at once - or yield to song. Sun of the Sleepless! Sun of the sleepless! melancholy star! Whose tearful beam glows tremulously far, That show'st the darkness thou canst not dispel, How like art thou to joy remember'd well! So gleams the past, the light of other days, Which shines, but warms not with its powerless rays; A night-beam Sorrow watcheth to behold, Distinct but distant -- clear -- but, oh how cold! Thy Days Are Done Thy days are done, thy fame begun; Thy country's strains record The triumphs of her chosen Son, The slaughter of his sword! The deeds he did, the fields he won, The freedom he restored! Though thou art fall'n, while we are free Thou shalt not taste of death! The generous blood that flow'd from thee Disdain'd to sink beneath: Within our veins its currents be, Thy spirit on our breath! Thy name, our charging hosts along, Shall be the battle-word! Thy fall, the theme of choral song From virgin voices pour'd! To weep would do thy glory wrong: Thou shalt not be deplored.
Biography of Robert Burns Burns, sometimes known as the 'ploughman poet', was the eldest son of a poverty-stricken farmer. Though his father had moved to Ayrshire, where Burns was born, in order to attempt to improve his fortunes, he eventually died as a bankrupt - after taking on first one farm and then, unsuccessful, moving to another - in Robert, who had been to school since the age of six, and was also educated at home by a teacher, had, by the age of fifteen, already become the farm's chief labourer. He had also acquired a reading knowledge of French and Latin and had read Shakespeare, Dryden, Milton and the Bible. After his father's death, he and his brother continued farming together, working now at Mossigiel. The poverty of Burns' early life, though far from being overcome, had produced in him a supporter of the French Revolution and a rebel against both Calvinism and the social order of his time. His rebellious nature soon became evident in his acts. Burns' first illegitimate child was borne to him by Elizabeth Paton in Two sets of twins later followed, and various amorous intrigues, from Jean Amour, whom he afterward married. It was also during this period that Burns' first achieved literary success. Though he had thought of emigration to Jamaica as a possible way to avoid his mounting problems, he published his Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect on July at Kilmarnock. This volume contained, among others, 'The Cotter's Saturday Night', 'To a Mouse', 'To a Mountain Daisy' and 'The Holy Fair', all of which were written at Mossigiel. The volume brought him immediate success. After 1787 Burns, married in 1788 and having moved to Ellisland with his bride, worked chiefly for James Johnson, whom he met in Edinburgh, and, later, for George Thomson. It was for these men that Burns compiled and added to the two great compilations of Scottish songs: Thomson's Scott's Musical Museum and Johnson's Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice. Alongside this work, which Burns did on an unpaid basis, he also worked, from 1791 onward, as an Excise Officer. This allowed him to give up farming and move to the Dumfries. He died from rheumatic fever just five years later, having also published, again in 1791, his last major work, a narrative poem entitled 'Tom O'Shanter'.
A Red, Red Rose Oh my luve is like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June: Oh my luve is like the melodie, That's sweetly play'd in tune. As fair art thou, my bonie lass, So deep in luve am I; And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry. Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi' the sun; And I will luve thee still, my dear, While the sands o' life shall run. And fare thee weel, my only luve! And fare thee weel a while! And I will come again, my luve, Tho' it were ten thousand mile! Highland Mary Ye banks, and braes, and streams around The castle o' Montgomery, Green be your woods, and fair your flowers, Your waters never drumlie! There Simmer first unfald her robes, And there the langest tarry: For there I took the last Fareweel O' my sweet Highland Mary. How sweetly bloom'd the gay, green birk, How rich the hawthorn's blossom; As underneath their fragrant shade, I clasp'd her to my bosom! The golden Hours, on angel wings, Flew o'er me and my Dearie; For dear to me as light and life Was my sweet Highland Mary. Wi' mony a vow, and lock'd embrace, Our parting was fu' tender; And pledging aft to meet again, We tore oursels asunder: But Oh, fell Death's untimely frost, That nipt my Flower sae early! Now green's the sod, and cauld's the clay, That wraps my Highland Mary! O pale, pale now, those rosy lips I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly! And clos'd for ay, the sparkling glance, That dwalt on me sae kindly! And mouldering now in silent dust, That heart that lo'ed me dearly! But still within my bosom's core Shall live my Highland Mary. A Bard's Epitaph Is there a whim-inspired fool, Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule, Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool, Let him draw near; And owre this grassy heap sing dool, And drap a tear. Is there a bard of rustic song, Who, noteless, steals the crowds among, That weekly this area throng, O, pass not by! But, with a frater-feeling strong, Here, heave a sigh. Is there a man, whose judgment clear Can others teach the course to steer, Yet runs, himself, life's mad career, Wild as the wave, Here pause-and, thro' the starting tear, Survey this grave. The poor inhabitant below Was quick to learn the wise to know, And keenly felt the friendly glow, And softer flame; But thoughtless follies laid him low, And stain'd his name! Reader, attend! whether thy soul Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole, Or darkling grubs this earthly hole, In low pursuit: Know, prudent, cautious, self-control Is wisdom's root. My Heart's In The Highlands My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here; My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer; A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go. Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth; Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, The hills of the Highlands for ever I love. Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow; Farewell to the straths and green valleys below; Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods; Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods. My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here; My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer; A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.
Biography of William Blake William Blake and his works have been extensively discussed and criticised over the twentieth and now this century, however previous to that he was barely known. He first became known in 1863 with Alexander Gilchrists biography Life and only fully appreciated and recognised at the beginning of the twentieth century. It seems his art had been too adventurous and unconventional for the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, maybe you could even say he was ahead of his time? Either way, today he is a hugely famous figure of Romantic literature, whose work is open to various interpretations, which has been known to take a lifetime to establish. As well as his works being difficult to interpret, him as a person has also provoked much debate. Henry Crabb Robinson, who was a diarist and friend of Blakes at the end of his life asked the question many students of Blake are still unable to conclusively answer: Shall I call him artist or genius – or mystic – or madman? (Lucas, 1998 p. 1) Born on 28th November 1757 in Soho in London, he had a grounded and happy upbringing. Although always a well read and intelligent man, Blake left school at the early age of ten to attend the Henry Pars Drawing Academy for five years. The artists he admired as a child included Raphael, Michelangelo, Giulio, Romano and Dürer. He started writing poetry at the age of twelve and in 1783 his friends paid for his first collection of verses to be printed, which was entitled Poetical Sketches and is now seen as a major poetical event of the 18th century. Despite his obvious talents as a poet, his official profession was as an engraver because he could not afford to do a painters apprenticeship and therefore began his apprenticeship with the engraver James Basire in After completing his apprenticeship six years later, he joined the Royal Academy of Art. At this point his art and engraving remained separate – he wrote and drew for pleasure and simply engraved to earn a living. In 1784 he opened his own shop and in the same year completed Island in the Moon, which ridiculed his contemporaries of the art and literature social circles he mixed with. Two years previous to this, he married Catherine Boucher. Now Blake was an established engraver, he began experimenting with printing techniques and it was not long before he compiled his first illuminated book, 'Songs of Innocence' in Blake wanted to take his poetry beyond being just words on a page and felt they needed to be illustrated to create his desired effect. Shortly after he completed 'The Book of Thel' and from , 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell', which followed on from his significant Prophetic books. These books were a collection of writings on his philosophical ideas and although they have nothing to do with his poetry, it was a sign of his increasing awareness of the social injustices of his time, which led to the completion of his 'Songs of Experience' in One of Blakes main influences was the society in which he lived. He lived during revolutionary times and witnessed the downfall of London during Britains war with republican France. His disgust with society grew as he matured and 'The Songs of Innocence and Experience' depict this transition. As well as having radical religious ideas for the time (he did not believe in religion of nature or reason, but thought mans nature was imaginative and mystical (Lister 1968, p.27)), he also had radical political ideas due to the day-to-day poverty he was forced to witness. Living near the end of a century, born in a period of imperialistic wars, coming to maturity during the American Revolution and to the full bloom of his genius during the French Revolution, aware of impending economic change and sick to the bone of ruling hypocrisy, he viewed the evnts of his own days as the fulfilment of prophecy… (Hagstrum 1964, p ) Blakes preoccupation with good and evil as well as his strong philosophical and religious beliefs remained throughout his life and he never stopped depicting them in his poetry and engravings. He died at the age of sixty-nine in 1827 and although the Blake family name died with him, his legacy as a fascinating, complex man of many artistic talents will no doubt remain strong well into this century. Other famous works include 'Europe', 'America', 'Visions of the Daughters of Albion' and 'The Book of Urizen'. Although Blake is not well known for being a specifically grotesque artist, it is his experiences and disgust with London society in the late eighteenth century that clearly emulates elements of the grotesque. As it would be impossible to discuss all of Blakes works, this study will focus on 'Songs of Innocence and Experience', particularly 'Songs of Experience' to learn how he portrayed his views on society and how the grotesque falls into that.
A Divine Image Cruelty has a human heart, And Jealousy a human face; Terror the human form divine, And Secresy the human dress. The human dress is forged iron, The human form a fiery forge, The human face a furnace sealed, The human heart its hungry gorge. A Dream Once a dream did weave a shade O'er my angel-guarded bed, That an emmet lost its way Where on grass methought I lay. Troubled, wildered, and forlorn, Dark, benighted, travel-worn, Over many a tangle spray, All heart-broke, I heard her say: 'Oh my children! do they cry, Do they hear their father sigh? Now they look abroad to see, Now return and weep for me.' Pitying, I dropped a tear: But I saw a glow-worm near, Who replied, 'What wailing wight Calls the watchman of the night? 'I am set to light the ground, While the beetle goes his round: Follow now the beetle's hum; Little wanderer, hie thee home! A Poison Tree I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow. And I watered it in fears, Night and morning with my tears; And I sunned it with smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles. And it grew both day and night, Till it bore an apple bright. And my foe beheld it shine. And he knew that it was mine, And into my garden stole When the night had veiled the pole; In the morning glad I see My foe outstretched beneath the tree. A Cradle Song Sweet dreams form a shade, O'er my lovely infants head. Sweet dreams of pleasant streams, By happy silent moony beams Sweet sleep with soft down. Weave thy brows an infant crown. Sweet sleep Angel mild, Hover o'er my happy child. Sweet smiles in the night, Hover over my delight. Sweet smiles Mothers smiles, All the livelong night beguiles. Sweet moans, dovelike sighs, Chase not slumber from thy eyes, Sweet moans, sweeter smiles, All the dovelike moans beguiles. Sleep sleep happy child, All creation slept and smil'd. Sleep sleep, happy sleep. While o'er thee thy mother weep Sweet babe in thy face, Holy image I can trace. Sweet babe once like thee. Thy maker lay and wept for me Wept for me for thee for all, When he was an infant small. Thou his image ever see. Heavenly face that smiles on thee, Smiles on thee on me on all, Who became an infant small, Infant smiles are His own smiles, Heaven & earth to peace beguiles.
Biography of Percy Bysshe Shelley Shelley, born the heir to rich estates and the son of an Member of Parliament, went to University College, Oxford in 1810, but in March of the following year he and a friend, Thomas Jefferson Hogg, were both expelled for the suspected authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Necessity of Atheism. In 1811 he met and eloped to Edinburgh with Harriet Westbrook and, one year later, went with her and her older sister first to Dublin, then to Devon and North Wales, where they stayed for six months into However, by 1814, and with the birth of two children, their marriage had collapsed and Shelley eloped once again, this time with Mary Godwin. Along with Mary's step-sister, the couple travelled to France, Switzerland and Germany before returning to London where he took a house with Mary on the edge of Great Windsor Park and wrote Alastor (1816), the poem that first brought him fame. In 1816 Shelley spent the summer on Lake Geneva with Byron and Mary who had begun work on her Frankenstein. In the autumn of that year Harriet drowned herself in the Serpentine in Hyde Park and Shelley then married Mary and settled with her, in 1817, at Great Marlow, on the Thames. They later travelled to Italy, where Shelley wrote the sonnet Ozymandias (written 1818) and translated Plato's Symposium from the Greek. Shelley himself drowned in a sailing accident in 1822.
A Lament O World! O Life! O Time! On whose last steps I climb, Trembling at that where I had stood before; When will return the glory of your prime? No more -Oh, never more! Out of the day and night A joy has taken flight: Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight No more -Oh, never more! Autumn: A Dirge The warm sun is falling, the bleak wind is wailing, The bare boughs are sighing, the pale flowers are dying, And the Year On the earth is her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves dead, Is lying. Come, Months, come away, From November to May, In your saddest array; Follow the bier Of the dead cold Year, And like dim shadows watch by her sepulchre. The chill rain is falling, the nipped worm is crawling, The rivers are swelling, the thunder is knelling For the Year; The blithe swallows are flown, and the lizards each gone To his dwelling. Come, Months, come away; Put on white, black and gray; Let your light sisters play-- Ye, follow the bier Of the dead cold Year, And make her grave green with tear on tear. Bereavement How stern are the woes of the desolate mourner As he bends in still grief o'er the hallowed bier, As enanguished he turns from the laugh of the scorner, And drops to perfection's remembrance a tear; When floods of despair down his pale cheeks are streaming, When no blissful hope on his bosom is beaming, Or, if lulled for a while, soon he starts from his dreaming, And finds torn the soft ties to affection so dear. Ah, when shall day dawn on the night of the grave, Or summer succeed to the winter of death? Rest awhle, hapless victim! and Heaven will save The spirit that hath faded away with the breath. Eternity points, in its amaranth bower Where no clouds of fate o'er the sweet prospect lour, Unspeakable pleasure, of goodness the dower, When woe fades away like the mist of the heath.