Byron's Samples of Lyricism - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

Byron's Samples of Lyricism
Lord George Gordon Byron

The novelty of the form was the result of a new personality, which was directly manifested in the lyrical cycles of the London period. He begins with six poems, united by the conventional Greek female name "To Tirza" and dedicated to a dead woman. It sometimes tries to "decipher" a specific person, "nameless" or "hidden" love, but the biographical reason has a broader meaning, conveys the atmosphere and circumstances of Byron's personal life after his return to England.

On August 1, 1811, the poet's mother died, with whom he had a difficult but close relationship. After that, for two months, he received news of the death of several friends from Harrow and Cambridge. Byron wrote to J. K. Hobhouse, a companion on an eastern journey: “You already know that my home is a haven of sorrow ... Death is something incomprehensible to me, so I can neither speak nor think about it” ( 08/10/1811). The cycle "To Tirza" is almost the first image of a tragic and doomed to death love, repeatedly repeated by him over time in poems and dramas.

The second important lyrical cycle of those years was a series of poems united by the figure of Napoleon. First, in connection with his abdication on April 6, 1714, during the day (April 10), Byron wrote a voluminous "Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte." Napoleon preferred compromise and life before a tragic ending. Byron perceived the event as the finale of modern history with the participation of a romantic hero, the finale is not tragic, but transformed into an everyday drama, not without a farcical tinge.

Byron will return to this theme a year later, when Napoleon's flight from Fr. Elba will first end with a triumphant entry into Paris, and eventually with a final defeat at Waterloo: “On Napoleon's Escape from Elbe”, “Ode from the French” , "Star of the Legion of Honor" ("On the Star of "The Legion of Honor". From the French"), "Farewell of Napoleon" ("Napoleon\'s Farewell. From the French"). It is no coincidence that in the title or subtitle of all the poems of the cycle there is a note: from French. These were the subterfuges necessary to explain the inappropriate tone of admiration and sympathy in a conversation about England's worst enemy. Byron, as before, perceives the finale as the logical conclusion of the fate of a great man who has evolved into a tyrant, but understands that the future age leaves no room for greatness at all, the “Bronze Age,” as he later called it in satire. Between the beginning and the end of the Napoleonic cycle, Byron wrote Hebrew Melodies, 23 poems published in early 1815 with the message that they were "written for a collection of Hebrew melodies ... by Mr. Brem and Mr. Nathan ".

The cycle includes the most famous examples of Byron's lyrics. It was this cycle that launched the Ukrainian translation of Byronian, when Kostomarov's translation of Jewish Melodies was published in the Kharkiv almanac "Sheaf" (1841, issue 1). In Byron's cycle, biblical scenes are selected in such a way that they look like a small but exhaustive anthology of romantic motifs: the doom of a tyrant, the greatness of a hero, the beauty of self-denial, the suffering of the people ... And all this is united lyrically - by the presence of a singer in his soul, who knew despair, but ready to rise. The lyrical conclusion of this period of Byron's life were poems addressed to his half-sister Augusta Lee: Stanzas to Augusta, Epistle to Augusta, one of the few who did not leave the poet. The poems were already written in Switzerland, where Byron went after his divorce from his wife.

Immediately there was a collection that combined poetry and a new poem - "The Prisoner of Chillon" ("The Prisoner of Chillon"). Byron's psychological state led to the interpretation of the fate of the Swiss national hero Bonivard in tones of inconsolability and gloomy disappointment in the very possibility of a struggle. Over time, Byron added “Sonnet to Chillon” to the poem, in which he brought out historically reliable images and significantly strengthened the theme of love of freedom. In the same months, the poet wrote small lyrical poems: "Darkness" ("Darkness") and "Sleep" ("The Dream"), where the darkness and despair of the romantic consciousness are brought to an apocalyptic vision of universal death.