Why I Love Lord Byron
(And Why You Should, Too)
Let me start this off by saying I am a person who doesn’t like poetry all that much. Sure, at this point in my life, I can be mature and respect poetry as a sophisticated craft of literature, but back in the day I would not even attempt to read poetry. I used to just stare at it and say “EW. I. HATE. POETRY,” and move on with my life. But being an English major has allowed me to overcome this attitude or, you know, it has at least a little bit. I still don’t like it very much.
Last semester I had to take the hardest literature class I have ever taken in my life and it is called Romanticism. When I signed up for it I assumed we would be reading romantic books like Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights. But no, all we did in there was read poetry from poets during the Romantic period, which makes sense. But when I found out that the class was centered around the Romantic era, wow, I was pissed off. It took me awhile but I got over it and became interested in my classwork. By far my favorite poet we read in there was Lord Byron. Oh, Lord Byron, where do I even begin with him? Well, if we’re being honest here, I need to tell you that I am in love with him. Like head over heels, puppy dog in love with him. He writes like a freaking angel. I would have his children if I could. Maybe that says a lot about me as a person, but it also just makes him that much better.
I can’t deny that in today’s society Byron would be classified as the ultimate “fuckboy.” Allow me to share a definition of fuckboy from Urban Dictionary: “A fuckboy is a manipulating dick who does whatever it takes to benefit him, regardless of who he screws over. They will screw over anyone and everyone as long they get what they want.” I think in this day and age he would pretty much go up to anyone and be all like “hey, wanna Netflix and chill?” And most likely the person receiving the request wouldn’t say no because he was really good looking and charming. I would never say no to him, at least!
So yeah, that’s pretty much Byron in a nutshell. In case you didn’t know, he slept with basically every man and woman on the planet. The only woman he ever claimed to really love was his half-sister, and he wrote about that a lot in his poetry. He was really narcissistic, as seen in most of his leading characters. They’re typically called the “Byronic hero,” and they have very distinct characteristics which are especially seen in Manfred (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, read Manfred).
Most people disregard Byron because of his actions. Sure, I can see why people think that way, he was a kind of a dick. But a handsome, talented dick, at least. I do think his actions really influenced his writing, and damn, his writing is pure gold. You can personally hate Byron all you want but you can’t deny that he is a genius. Without his boyish mannerisms, his works would have never been able to come to life. And all of his work in general is timeless. Here, I’ll prove it by sharing a quote from "She Walks In Beauty Like The Night," a poem you’ve probably seen at least once in your lifetime:
She walks in beauty, like the nightOf cloudless climes and starry skies;And all that’s best of dark and bright
This is just a short quote, but the poem as a whole is pretty much talking about a boy who looks at a girl and is thinking "DAMN, that girl is FINE." Every person of each gender feels lust towards one person during their lifetime because we are only human. And in this poem, Byron is expressing those feelings in a beautiful way. His use of imagery and the way he describes purity is breathtaking. It is somewhat misleading, sure, since this poem is about lust and is written in a lovey-dovey style, but wow, Byron sure knew how to take inappropriate thoughts like that and make them sound lovely. I think the biggest reason I like Byron so much is because he is so freaking blunt. He knew what everyone was thinking during his time, wrote it out, and turned it into history.
His works are often regarded as being misogynistic but I would rather think of them to be insightful. In Don Juan he depicts women as passionate, feeling the same sexual desire that men do all the time. He understands that during his time women were seen as useless creatures. In that work, he plays on that and constantly comments on their struggle. Sure, he didn’t treat women in the best way possible, but I also don’t think he disregarded them as much as people think he did. I mean physically, with all the sex and stuff, he did but mentally he understood that women didn’t have as many rights as men. And I think that’s something to be appreciative of, even if just a little bit. Again, I’m not saying he is a saint or anything, but at least he understood the idea that woman had different rights compared to men. That’s another reason why I like him a lot.
I think I read somewhere that the best love poems are created by the most faithless lovers. I feel like that is such a true statement. Byron constantly created poems that embraced the purest ideas of love, but he himself didn’t technically believe in love at all. I find that be so interesting for some reason. And I think you should, too. It just furthers the idea that he had a lot of talent in him as a writer. If you really read into his work, you can see that he has a lot to say about love, justice, and the human condition. Overall I think he had a lot to say on a lot of different topics but because of his lifestyle, people didn’t and still don’t take him seriously. If you understand his works well, you can see that there is more to him than the fuckboy persona, and that’s another reason why I like him so much.
Byron was very dramatic. It’s actually quite entertaining to read about all the things he did in his life. And maybe I am just Byron trash in general, but I do actually think of him to be an influential poet. Not because of his lifestyle, but because of the way he wrote about honest issues during a restrictive time period. He wrote bluntly but he also wrote beautifully, and I believe that is the way every writer should aim to write. That is what people are attracted to; that is what keeps them reading.
His writing is intoxicating and full of meaning. People should love Byron because he was pretty much the first poet to be blunt by commenting on controversial yet natural desires. I also think people should understand that he wrote about topics that didn’t really agree with his lifestyle and spread messages that every person should hear at least once. He may not be the best example of a human being, but he is certainly a good example of what it is like to display a talent and have it mean something.