“For the common good, fight to the end” Byron - Lord George Gordon Byron

Essays on literary works - 2023

“For the common good, fight to the end” Byron
Lord George Gordon Byron

In England, a general democratic struggle was unfolding against the Tory oligarchy, which proceeded under the sign of the struggle for the reform of the suffrage. The victory of the Reformists was to end Tory dominance. Not only the broad masses of the people were interested in this, but also certain circles of the English bourgeoisie, whom the Tories did not let in, primarily the industrialists. The industrialists - opponents of the Tories - strenuously flirted with the workers, trying to use them in the fight against the Tories. Indeed, the victory over the Torian oligarchy was won. only in 1822, and precisely because the masses of the people, and above all the English working class, exerted a powerful influence on the entire course of the struggle for reform, supported its supporters.

All these political events, and especially the aggravation of the struggle in England, inspired Byron and opened up new ways for him to develop creatively. He enters into close contact with the fighters for the freedom of Italy - the Carbonari, together with them he is preparing for an uprising. Byron's house has been turned into an armory; Byron picked up reliable servants who, along with him, were to join the rebels. It is impossible to read the lines of his diary without excitement, written on the night of January 7, 1821, when he was waiting for the prearranged signal to speak: “If I have to fight, I will do everything I can, although I have somewhat lost the habit of this occupation! This is a fair deal." But the hours went by. “I am waiting any minute,” writes Byron, “that the drum will rattle and the musket firing will begin .... but so far nothing is heard except the splash of rain, and in between the howling of the wind. Don't want to go to sleep because I can't stand being woken up, I think I'd rather sit and wait for the gunfight if there's to be one. I turned on the fire in the fireplace, took out a weapon and two or three books, so far it would be possible to look through them.

The expected performance of the Carbonari did not take place. And then came the news of the defeat of the conspiracy throughout Italy. The uprising of the Carbonari was ill-prepared. Its leaders failed to lead the people, applied the tactics of a conspiracy and were defeated. “You can’t imagine to what extent I am disappointed and deceived in my hopes,” Byron wrote about the failure of the Carbonari to his friend, the poet T. Moore. “And I survived all this, while also being exposed to personal risk, which, by the way, has not completely passed.” Indeed, Byron was followed by the Austrian police. His best friends, the Carbonari, were either imprisoned or exiled.

Having experienced disappointment in the Carbonari movement and understanding a lot about the reasons for its defeat, Byron by no means abandoned the struggle against reaction, did not lose heart, did not lay down his arms. His political experience was enriched. He hated even more the stranglers of freedom—the Holy Alliance and the English reaction.

Much was written by him during the years from 1817 to 1823, spent in Italy. The poem "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" (third ode - 1816; fourth - 1818) was completed, a number of new works were written, among them the wonderful satirical poem "Beppo" (1817).

During these years, Byron wrote his tragedies Marino Faliero (1820) and The Two Foscari (1820). Both of them, despite the historical plot, are full of echoes of modernity, pose acute political problems of the uprising, the role of the people in the social struggle. In 1821, the mystery "Cain" was created, imbued with theomachy pathos, the spirit of militant humanism. In the brilliant political satire The Bronze Age (1823), the poet branded the sovereigns of Europe who had gathered for a congress in Verona, where a criminal agreement was reached on joint reactionary actions against the advanced forces of European society. In the satirical poem A Vision of Judgment (1822), Byron ruthlessly ridiculed the English king George IV and the court poet Southey.

Byron's work during these years was marked by a noticeable increase in the realistic trend. This is especially felt in the unfinished novel Don Juan (1818-1824), in which the poet gave a complete picture of European society on the eve of the French bourgeois revolution. Forced to leave Spain, where he languished under the yoke of harsh feudal orders, Don Juan visited Sultan's Turkey, Tsarist Russia, monarchical England: he sees that the forms in which tyranny rules in the world are different, but in essence it is equally vile and disgusting in Constantinople, and in London, although the English aristocrats, and boast of their parliament, covering up the rule of the Chistogan.

Byron becomes especially sharp and mocking in those songs that are dedicated specifically to England. Here the poet acts as a worthy successor to the great English satirists Swift, Smollet and Fielding, as a direct predecessor of the English realists of the 19th century - Dickens and Thackeray.

The world will be saved from tyranny only by revolution, says Byron in his novel. Only it will wash away with blood the dirt accumulated during the reign of feudal lords and merchants who betrayed the interests of their peoples and disgraced their good name. Leading its readers to the eve of the French bourgeois revolution—according to Byron’s plan, Don Juan was supposed to end up in revolutionary Paris—the POET, as it were, proved the regularity of new revolutionary storms, in which feudal reaction, which had temporarily won in Europe, would perish.

There is no doubt that Byron also expected punishment from the coming revolution for the moneybags-capitalists, whom he compares in Don Juan with spiders. However, in the next class battles that broke out in Europe in the 30s and 40s. XIX century., The tasks that confronted the bourgeois revolutions were still being solved; the masses of the people - the decisive force in these battles - were deceived in their hopes.

But even in the illusions of Byron, the nationality of the great English poet affected. He hoped and erred along with the people, who again and again took up arms in order to finally finish off feudal reaction and overthrow the regimes restored by it.

In Italy, the wonderful "Song for the Luddites" (1816), created by Byron, was also written when he was convinced that the English working-class movement was not defeated, that it was making itself felt. In this song, written in the spirit of a folk ballad, Byron called the English workers to arms, reminded them that the path to freedom leads through revolution:

As the children bought their freedom overseas with blood at a cheap price, So will we: either perish in battle, Or we will all go to the free to live, And all the kings, except Ludd, down!

The hero of Byron's works has changed significantly. In the 20s. it is no longer the lonely rebel Conrad and the individualist Manfred, not torn by contradictions, who finally understands the fatality of his alienation from society. Byron's new heroes are the freedom-loving Venetian Bertuccio, the leader of the popular uprising ("Marino Faliero"), the courageous theomachist Cain, who rises against God in the name of the happiness of mankind.

Stanzas (1820) fully expressed the readiness of Byron, a fighter for the freedom of the English people, to take part in the battle for freedom in any country, wherever this battle began:

He who cannot fight for his own will, can defend someone else's. For the Greeks and Romans in a distant land, He will lay down a violent head. {Trans. S. Marshak)

“Fight to the end for the common good,” Byron urged in this poem, speaking with the noble motto of the international solidarity of the revolutionary forces of his time.

The freedom fighters in Italy, the "Romans" as Byron calls them, suffered a temporary defeat. But the struggle of the Greek people against Sultan's Turkey became more and more intense. In 1823 Byron sailed to Greece.