chapter  66
5 Pages

J. Churton Collins on Byron’s greatness

1905

John Churton Collins, as a passionate advocate of Literature as opposed to 'Language', was the stormy petrel of English studies in the eighties and nineties. The unity of the poem is the unity impressed on it by truth, by truth to nature and truth to life, for Lord Byron in writing it did but hold up the mirror to himself and his own experiences. The greatness of Byron lies in the immense body and mass of the work which he has informed and infused with life, in his almost unparalleled versatility, in the power and range of his influential achievement. Youth and mature age alike feel his spell, for of the passions he is the Orpheus, of reflection the Mephistopheles. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and William Wordsworth were the Olympians, so he was the Titan of the stormy and chaotic age in which he lived; and his most authentic poetry is typical of his temper and attitude.