A Day with Lord Byron - May Clarissa Gillington - ebook
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One February afternoon in the year 1822, about two o'clock,—for this is the hour at which his day begins,—"the most notorious personality of his century" arouses himself, in the Palazzo Lanfranchi at Pisa. George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron, languidly arises and dresses, with the assistance of his devoted valet Fletcher. Invariably he awakes in very low spirits, "in actual despair and despondency," he has termed it: this is in part constitutional, and partly, no doubt, a reaction after the feverish brain-work of the previous night. It is, at any rate, in unutterable melancholy and ennui that he surveys in the mirror that slight and graceful form, which had been idolised by London drawing-rooms, and that pale, scornful, beautiful face, "like a spirit, good or evil," which the enthusiastic Walter Scott has termed a thing to dream of. He notes the grey streaks already visible among his dark brown locks, and mutters his own lines miserably to himself,—Through life's dull road, so dim and dirty,I have dragg'd to three-and-thirty.What have these years left to me?Nothing—except thirty-three.

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May Clarissa Gillington

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Table of contents

SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY.

A DAY WITH BYRON.

SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY.

"She walks in beauty, like the nightOf cloudless climes and starry skies;And all that's best of dark and brightMeet in her aspect and her eyes:Thus mellow'd to that tender lightWhich heaven to gaudy day denies."(Hebrew Melodies.)

A DAY WITH BYRON.

One February afternoon in the year 1822, about two o'clock,—for this is the hour at which his day begins,—"the most notorious personality of his century" arouses himself, in the Palazzo Lanfranchi at Pisa. George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron, languidly arises and dresses, with the assistance of his devoted valet Fletcher. Invariably he awakes in very low spirits, "in actual despair and despondency," he has termed it: this is in part constitutional, and partly, no doubt, a reaction after the feverish brain-work of the previous night. It is, at any rate, in unutterable melancholy and ennui that he surveys in the mirror that slight and graceful form, which had been idolised by London drawing-rooms, and that pale, scornful, beautiful face, "like a spirit, good or evil," which the enthusiastic Walter Scott has termed a thing to dream of. He notes the grey streaks already visible among his dark brown locks, and mutters his own lines miserably to himself,—Through life's dull road, so dim and dirty,I have dragg'd to three-and-thirty.What have these years left to me?Nothing—except thirty-three.An innumerable motley crowd of reminiscences—most of them bitter, sorrowful, or contemptuous, throng across his mind, shaping themselves into poignant verse:There's not a joy the world can give like that it takes away,When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay;'Tis not on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone, which fades so fast,But the tender bloom of heart is gone, ere youth itself be past......Oh! could I feel as I have felt,—or be what I have been,Or weep as I could once have wept o'er many a vanished scene;As springs in desert found seem sweet, all brackish though they be,So, 'midst the wither'd waste of life, those tears would flow to me.