A warm happy birthday to the first Aquarius this year, and one of the most intriguing literary characters - George Gordon, Lord Byron. His biography reads like a melodramatic soap opera, and he was such a crazy guy he inspired the 'Byronic hero,' one of my favorite literary devices. Although not a Victorian, his influence over 19th century poetry was pretty amazing.
My husband and I quoted poetry to one another at our wedding, and he read "She Walks in Beauty," by Byron.
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:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
- Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
- Don Juan
- "She Walks in Beauty"
- "When We Two Parted"