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Acknowledgments are due to Mr. John Murray, of London, for his courteous permission to use his definitive text of Byron's poems, as edited by Mr. Coleridge and published in the twelve-volume edition of the prose and poetical works of Lord Byron, and in the one-volume edition of the poems, both of which editions are imported into this country by Messrs. Charles Scribner's Sons. The spelling of this text has, without exception, been preserved, even in its obvious inconsistencies. Certain changes in Byron's erratic punctuation, however, seemed absolutely necessary in the interests of clearness. It may be that the punctuation still remains somewhat inconsistent both with itself and with modern usage, but it is hoped that the poet's meaning will always be readily apparent. The obligation to Mr. Murray is profound, since the use of his Coleridge text, a monument of Byronic scholarship, greatly enhances the value of the present book. I am also indebted to my friend, Chief Justice Shackleford, of the Supreme Court of Florida, for suggestions as to the nature of the selections, and to my friend and colleague, Professor B. C. Bondurant, for valuable aid in many ways.
S. M. T.
Byron a great
GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON
Less than a century ago Byron shared with Napoleon the wonder of Europe. With the sole exception of Shakespeare, the author of Childe Harold and Don Juan is still historical and to the foreign world by far the greatest figure in literary figure English poetry. His influence upon European literature has been almost incalculable. Perhaps never did a man's personality more deeply impress his generation; and Byron's poems are but a revelation of his personality,-complex, powerful, and brilliant. All this inevitably leads us to some consideration of the poet's life, character, and place in literature.
Byron, always something of a fighter and adventurer, sprang from an old and fighting stock. The Byrons, or Buruns, were Normans, who came over with the Conqueror, and are mentioned in his Domesday Book. They perhaps took part in the Crusades; certainly they fought at Crécy, and at Calais one of them was knighted. Various Sir Johns, Sir Richards, and Sir Nicholases continued the fighting tradition, and in 1643 one particular Sir John, a prominent Royalist, was created Baron of Rochdale for his services to the royal cause.
For us the chief interest in Byron's pedigree begins with 1722, in which year his great-uncle, the fifth lord, was born. "The wicked lord," as he came to be known, having murdered a relative, Mr. Chaworth, bore an unenviable reputation. He left the ancestral property in