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Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 22 January 1788London, England, UK
Date of Death 19 April 1824Missolonghi, Greece  (malaria)
Birth NameGeorge Gordon Byron
Height 5' 8½" (1.74 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Lord Byron seemed destined from birth to tragedy. His father was the handsome but feckless Captain John "Mad Jack" Byron and his mother the Scottish heiress Catherine Gordon, the only child of the Laird of Gight.

Captain Byron abandoned his wife and child leaving Catherine to bring up young Byron on her own. A harsh and dependent parent, Catherine was just the wrong sort of person to raise a sensitive child, clinging to him one moment, and the next denouncing Byron as a "lame brat." Born with a club foot, Byron (no-one ever called him George) was kept separated from peers and his elder half-sister, Augusta, by his over-protective mother. At fourteen he fell in love with a neighbor, Mary Chaworth, and wrote love poetry to her. Byron was heartbroken, however, when he overheard Mary callously call him "that little lame boy" while talking to a friend.

Always deeply sensitive about his deformity, he finally received adequate medical care in his teens which corrected the problem. A hedonist in school, Byron was popular and outgoing, though by his own admission he did very little schoolwork. The publication of his poem, "Childe Harold", prompted Byron to remark famously, "I awoke one day to find myself famous." When a distant cousin died, Byron unexpectedly found himself heir to the baronetcy, at which point he became the 6th Baron Byron. The most popular person in Regency London, he wrote more poetry and carried on illicit affairs, most notably with Lady Caroline Lamb, who inspired one of his best and shortest poems: "Caro Lamb, Goddamn."

After the spectacular flaming disintegration of his relationship with Caroline, a woman stepped into his life who would become his greatest love and the cause of his eventual downfall -- his half-sister, Augusta. Augusta occupied the central place in his heart, and he wrote many passionate poems in her honor.

On April 15th, 1814, Augusta gave birth to Elizabeth Medora Leigh. Byron was ecstatic over the birth of the girl, who was nicknamed "Libby". The child bore the name Leigh, and Augusta's husband, her cousin Colonel George Leigh, apparently had no suspicions regarding her paternity. Libby herself claimed in her autobiography she was always a favorite of the Colonel's.

Augusta herself pressured her brother Byron to wed, in order to avert a scandal. He reluctantly chose the intelligent and confident Annabella Milbanke, a cousin of his old flame Caroline Lamb. Enamoured with her handsome husband, Annabella even became friendly with Augusta, but it was not long before her marriage began to fall apart. Byron treated her coldly, and was very disappointed when their only child, Ada Byron, was not a boy.

Byron went into self-imposed exile in Italy, though he remained in contact with Augusta. Byron befriended fellow rogue poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who had shocked the world by running away and living in sin with Mary Wollenstonecraft Godwin (better known as Mary Shelley, author of "Frankenstein"). Percy and Mary joined Byron for the summer at Geneva, accompanied by Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont. Byron and Claire had a brief romance, which resulted in daughter Allegra, who Byron raised himself. Allegra saw little of her mother, and referred to Byron's Italian mistress as "mamma". When Allegra died at the age of six in 1822, Claire was enraged and refused to have anything to do with Byron ever again. Depressed by both his daughter's death and the drowning of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Byron took up a new cause - that of Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire. Summoning support, he arrived in Greece with weapons and supplies, but before he could join the fight, went down with a deadly fever. He died in 1824, and his last words were, "My daughter! My sister!"

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Nichol

Spouse (1)

Anne Isabella Milbanke (2 January 1815 - 19 April 1824) (his death) (1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Romantic poetry.

Trivia (16)

Made his first speech in the House of Lords. [February 1812]
Addressed as The Right Honourable Lord Byron (by strangers) and as Byron (the title, not the name) by friends. No one ever called him George after he became Byron, not even his mother.
Said to have had a 10 pound brain.
Upon his death, Byron's heart was removed and buried in Missolonghi, Greece. His remains were sent to England and, refused burial in Westminster Abbey, placed in the vault of his ancestors near Newstead. In 1969, a memorial to Byron was placed on the floor of the Abbey.
The doctors attending Byron on his deathbed attempted to cure him with leeches and castor oil. Lord Byron lapsed into a deep stupor. He eventually regained consciousness long enough to say "Now I shall go to sleep. Good night." He died within twenty-four hours.
Swam the Hellespont, the stretch of water linking the Aegean with the Black Sea (3 May 1810). He also swam the mouth of the Tagus River (Lisbon, Portugal), and from the Lido to the Rialto Bridges (Venice, Italy).
When his mother-in-law died, her Will stipulated that her beneficiaries must take her family name, Noel, in order to inherit. Byron added it to his and became George Gordon Noel Byron in 1822.
Augusta Ada Byron was born on 10 December 1815 to Byron and his wife Annabella. On 15 January 1816, Annabella left Byron, taking Augusta with her. On 21 April 1816 Byron signed the Deed of Separation and left England for good a few days later. He never saw either again.
His second child (b. 12 January 1817) was named Allegra by Byron and Alba by her mother, his lover Claire Clairmont. Byron agreed to support Allegra but refused to have anything more to do with Claire. On 9 March 1818, Claire had Allegra baptized Clara Allegra Byron. Allegra died of typhus on 20 April 1822 at a convent in Bagnacavallo, Italy, where Byron had sent her to live.
Christened after his maternal grandfather George Gordon, 12th Laird of Ghight, a descendant of James I. After his suicide in 1779, Byron's mother had to sell her land and title to pay his debts. Biographers believe the combination of the suicide, the forced sale of her legacy, and the loss of her fortune (thanks to Byron's father), were the factors behind Catherine's schizophrenic upbringing of her son.
Became the 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale upon the death of his great-uncle on 21 May 1798, and inherited Newstead Abbey, the family's ancestral home given to John Byron by Henry VIII in 1540. In 1818, Byron sold it to schoolboy friend Thomas Wildman for £94,500 to pay his debts. Newstead Abbey remained in private hands until its last owner, philanthropist Sir Julien Cahnit, presented it to Nottingham Corporation in 1931.
A character in the BBCi animated webcast series "Ghosts of Albion."
At her request, Byron's daughter Ada was buried next to him at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Hucknall, Nottingham.) Ada never met Byron; her mother left him when Ada was a month old. In 1833, she met Charles Babbage, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge and inventor of the Difference Engine, a calculating machine. During a nine-month period in 1842-1843, she translated for him Italian mathematician Louis Menebrea's memoir on Babbage's newest proposed machine, the Analytical Engine. With the article, she appended a set of Notes which specified in complete detail a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the Engine, recognized by historians as the world's first computer program. On 10 December 1980, the U.S. Defense Department approved the reference manual for their new computer programming language, Ada.
Upon his death, the Barony was passed to a cousin, George Anson Byron (1789 - 1868), a career military officer and Byron's polar opposite in temperment and lifestyle. The 13th Baron Byron of Rochdale, Robert James Byron (b. 5 April 1950), is an attorney and lives in London, England.
In December 1816 Byron went to The Mechitarist Convent of St. Lazarus in Venice to learn Armenian language. He created the first English-Armenian grammar book.

Personal Quotes (5)

Reason is so unreasonable, that few people can say they are in possession of it.
Curiosity kills itself; and love is only curiosity, as is proved by its end.
Now I shall go to sleep. Good night. [These were his last words; he died within the day.]
I am studying daily at an Armenian monastery, the Armenian language. I found that my mind wanted something craggy to break upon; and this-as the most difficult thing I could discover here (in Venice) for an amusement- I have chosen, to torture me into attention. It is a rich language, however, and would amply repay any one the trouble of learning it. I try, and shall go on;-but I answer for nothing, least of all for my intentions or my success.
Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes sin's a pleasure.

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