Byron and his poem “Child Harold's Pilgrimage” - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

Byron and his poem “Child Harold's Pilgrimage”
Lord George Gordon Byron

The last months of Byron's life became a heroic and stern poem in their own right. He did not look for spectacular adventures in Greece, ceremonial romance, exotic picturesqueness, which was narrated by European poets-authors of poems full of sympathy for rebellious Greece, but far from the real struggle of the Greek people against a strong and ferocious enemy. In Greece, Byron met the need, illness, lack of everything - from military instructors for the Greek squads and ending with medicines. The few, poorly armed and poorly organized rebel forces fought heroically against the large Turkish army, which had a well-trained cadre and experienced command staff, among which there were many European officers who had gone through the school of the Napoleonic wars and now sold their sword to the Sultan.

There was no unity in the rebel camp. The harsh conditions of the war, the intrigues of the great powers, the contradictions between the people and the highest circles in Greece itself led to constant conflicts, weakened the camp of the freedom fighters, called into question the entire outcome of the war, which required innumerable victims from Greece.

Byron did not deceive himself. Even before his trip to Greece, he wrote: "The Greeks succeed in their public affairs, but quarrel among themselves."

The poet was not afraid of the harsh reality, the difficult conditions of the struggle. He gave all his spiritual strength, all his material resources to the cause of liberation. His money was used to buy weapons and food for the Greek partisans, whose trust he managed to win. Byron sought to unite Greek patriots and foreign volunteers who had come to Greece to aid the uprising. “Things are up to the neck,” he wrote to T. Moore, there was a war all around, there was turmoil inside, ..., a skirmish occurred between the natives and foreigners and one Swede was killed, and one was wounded, Perry’s gunners fled in panic ... "

"Things are up to the neck ..." We must appreciate this phrase. How much deep satisfaction there is in it, caused by the fact that at last the romantic revolutionary found a genuine, lively work in which he showed remarkable abilities as an organizer, the courage and perspicacity of a commander, the optimism of a real fighter for the interests of the people, who is not afraid of the rough, rough work that has piled up to him, "... they say that my presence ... contributes, at least temporarily, to the success of the case," Byron wrote in the same letter. This was the fulfillment of his cherished dreams: he was useful to the real cause of the struggle for freedom, he participated - and not without benefit - in a just war; Greek people against Turkish despotism.

Byron was so full of a sense of a dream come true, he breathed so well amid the dangers and worries of military life that, despite being extremely busy, he again and again turned to poetry, took up the pen. In his last poems, everything new that he now experienced, the feeling of an active participant in the liberation struggle, poured out with extraordinary force.

Little was written by Byron in the last months of his life. But this little applies to the best examples of world poetry of the 19th century. Byron rose to a level unattainable in English poetry in his lines, written on the island of Kefalonia in the days when he was waiting for a convenient moment to deceive the vigilance of Turkish cruisers and land in Greece:

Disturbed dead sleep, can I sleep? Tyrants crush the world, will I yield? The harvest is ripe—should I hesitate to reap? On the bed - a sharp turn; I do not sleep: In my ears, that day, the trumpet sings. Her heart echoes... Per, A. Blok

Byron died in April 1824: in preparation for new battles with the Turks, who were pulling up forces for the next offensive against the strongholds of the Greek rebels. The Russian muse responded to the death of the poet, who had already won wide popularity in Russia. Ryleev, Kuchelbeker, “Pushkin remembered Byron, in whom they saw a lot of things close and dear to them.

The Decembrists and Pushkin taught the Russian reader to appreciate Byron, at the same time condemning the traits of individualism that appeared in some of his works. Based on the experience of the Decembrist criticism and taking into account Pushkin's remarks about Byron, V. G. Belinsky, in his judgments about Byron, showed both the world significance of his poetry and the contradictions inherent in the poet's worldview and work. The great Russian critic pointed out the need to consider Byron's work as a reflection of the social struggle that was seething in English society; he was the first to speak of Byron's people. At the same time, Belinsky expressed the idea, remarkable in depth, that Byron, powerful in criticism, in expressing protest, could not yet oppose to noble and bourgeois Europe the new social ideal that dawned in the teachings of the utopian socialists of the 1920s. and revealed to Byron's great friend, P.