George Gordon (Noel) Byron, 6th Baron Byron (January 22, 1788April 19, 1824) was an Anglo-Scottish poet and leading figure in Romanticism. Among his best-known works are the narrative poems Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Don ...
I have always laid it down as a maxim --and found it justified by experience --that a man and a woman make far better friendships than can exist between two of the same sex --but then with the condition that they never have made or are to make love to each other.
If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. As to that regular, uninterrupted love of writing. I do not understand it. I feel it as a torture, which I must get rid of, but never as a pleasure. On the contrary, I think composition a great pain.
I really cannot know whether I am or am not the Genius you are pleased to call me, but I am very willing to put up with the mistake, if it be one. It is a title dearly enough bought by most men, to render it endurable, even when not quite clearly made out, which it never can be till the Posterity, whose decisions are merely dreams to ourselves, has sanctioned or denied it, while it can touch us no further.
I know that two and two make four -- and should be glad to prove it too if I could -- though I must say if by any sort of process I could convert 2 and 2 into five it would give me much greater pleasure.
There is something to me very softening in the presence of a woman, some strange influence, even if one is not in love with them, which I cannot at all account for, having no very high opinion of the sex. But yet, I always feel in better humor with myself and every thing else, if there is a woman within ken.
Here lies interred in the eternity of the past, from whence there is no resurrection for the days -- whatever there may be for the dust -- the thirty-third year of an ill-spent life, which, after a lingering disease of many months sank into a lethargy, and expired, January 22d, 1821, A.D. leaving a successor inconsolable for the very loss which occasioned its existence.
It is singular how soon we lose the impression of what ceases to be constantly before us. A year impairs, a luster obliterates. There is little distinct left without an effort of memory, then indeed the lights are rekindled for a moment --but who can be sure that the Imagination is not the torch-bearer?
Pythagoras, Locke, Socrates -- but pages might be filled up, as vainly as before, with the sad usage of all sorts of sages, who in his life-time, each was deemed a bore! The loftiest minds outrun their tardy ages.
Whenever I meet with anything agreeable in this world it surprises me so much -- and pleases me so much (when my passions are not interested in one way or the other) that I go on wondering for a week to come.
As to Don Juan, confess that it is the sublime of that there sort of writing; it may be bawdy, but is it not good English? It may be profligate, but is it not life, is it not the thing? Could any man have written it who has not lived in the world? and tooled in a post-chaise? in a hackney coach? in a Gondola? against a wall? in a court carriage? in a vis a vis? on a table? and under it?
I have simplified my politics into an utter detestation of all existing governments; and, as it is the shortest and most agreeable and summary feeling imaginable, the first moment of an universal republic would convert me into an advocate for single and uncontradicted despotism. The fact is, riches are power, and poverty is slavery all over the earth, and one sort of establishment is no better, nor worse, for a people than another.
It is not one man nor a million, but the spirit of liberty that must be preserved. The waves which dash upon the shore are, one by one, broken, but the ocean conquers nevertheless. It overwhelms the Armada, it wears out the rock. In like manner, whatever the struggle of individuals, the great cause will gather strength.
Your letter of excuses has arrived. I receive the letter but do not admit the excuses except in courtesy, as when a man treads on your toes and begs your pardon -- the pardon is granted, but the joint aches, especially if there is a corn upon it.
I have seen a thousand graves opened, and always perceived that whatever was gone, the teeth and hair remained of those who had died with them. Is not this odd? They go the very first things in youth and yet last the longest in the dust.
I always looked to about thirty as the barrier of any real or fierce delight in the passions, and determined to work them out in the younger ore and better veins of the mine --and I flatter myself (perhaps) that I have pretty well done so --and now the dross is coming.
I am so convinced of the advantages of looking at mankind instead of reading about them, and of the bitter effects of staying at home with all the narrow prejudices of an Islander, that I think there should be a law amongst us to set our young men abroad for a term among the few allies our wars have left us.
I swims in the Tagus all across at once, and I rides on an ass or a mule, and swears Portuguese, and have got a diarrhea and bites from the mosquitoes. But what of that? Comfort must not be expected by folks that go a pleasuring.
But as to women, who can penetrate the real sufferings of their she condition? Man's very sympathy with their estate has much of selfishness and more suspicion. Their love, their virtue, beauty, education, but form good housekeepers, to breed a nation.
Are we aware of our obligations to a mob? It is the mob that labor in your fields and serve in your houses -- that man your navy, and recruit your army -- that have enabled you to defy the world, and can also defy you when neglect and calamity have driven them to despair. You may call the people a mob; but do not forget that a mob too often speaks the sentiments of the people.
Like other parties of the kind, it was first silent, then talky, then argumentative, then disputatious, then unintelligible, then altogether, then inarticulate, and then drunk. When we had reached the last step of this glorious ladder, it was difficult to get down again without stumbling.
What a strange thing is the propagation of life! A bubble of seed which may be spilt in a whore's lap, or in the orgasm of a voluptuous dream, might (for aught we know) have formed a Caesar or a Bonaparte -- there is nothing remarkable recorded of their sires, that I know of.
The dead have been awakened -- shall I sleep? The world's at war with tyrants -- shall I crouch? the harvest's ripe -- and shall I pause to reap? I slumber not; the thorn is in my couch; Each day a trumpet soundeth in mine ear, its echo in my heart.
It has been said that the immortality of the soul is a grand peut-tre --but still it is a grand one. Everybody clings to it --the stupidest, and dullest, and wickedest of human bipeds is still persuaded that he is immortal.
I have a notion that gamblers are as happy as most people, being always excited; women, wine, fame, the table, even ambition, sate now and then, but every turn of the card and cast of the dice keeps the gambler alive -- besides one can game ten times longer than one can do any thing else.
My great comfort is, that the temporary celebrity I have wrung from the world has been in the very teeth of all opinions and prejudices. I have flattered no ruling powers; I have never concealed a single thought that tempted me.
This place is the Devil, or at least his principal residence, they call it the University, but any other appellation would have suited it much better, for study is the last pursuit of the society; the Master eats, drinks, and sleeps, the Fellows drink, dispute and pun, the employments of the undergraduates you will probably conjecture without my description.
It is by far the most elegant worship, hardly excepting the Greek mythology. What with incense, pictures, statues, altars, shrines, relics, and the real presence, confession, absolution, -- there is something sensible to grasp at. Besides, it leaves no possibility of doubt; for those who swallow their Deity, really and truly, in transubstantiation, can hardly find any thing else otherwise than easy of digestion.
My time has been passed viciously and agreeably; at thirty-one so few years months days hours or minutes remain that Carpe Diem is not enough. I have been obliged to crop even the seconds -- for who can trust to tomorrow?
Of all the barbarous middle ages, that which is most barbarous is the middle age of man! it is -- I really scarce know what; but when we hover between fool and sage, and don't know justly what we would be at -- a period something like a printed page, black letter upon foolscap, while our hair grows grizzled, and we are not what we were.
Nothing so fretful, so despicable as a Scribbler, see what I am, and what a parcel of Scoundrels I have brought about my ears, and what language I have been obliged to treat them with to deal with them in their own way; -- all this comes of Authorship.