chapter  58
11 Pages

John Addington Symonds on Byron

1880

John Addington Symonds, historian and essayist. Preface to the selection of Lord Byron's poems in The English Poets, ed. T. H. Ward, 1880. Byron's character is stamped upon his work in a remarkable degree; and his character was powerfully biassed by external circumstance. Trelawny thought that Byron was what London in the days of the Prince Regent made him. After the publication of the first two Cantos, Byron woke in London and 'found himself famous.' The formation of Percy Bysshe Shelley's friendship as this epoch must be reckoned one of the most fortunate and decisive events of Byron's life. Byron's removal to Venice in 1817 marks a no less important epoch in his career than the meeting with Shelley at Geneva. Don Juan's biography is the thread on which Byron hangs descriptions, episodes, satirical digressions, and reflective passages of brilliant audacity.