There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
Famously described by Lady Caroline Lamb as “mad, bad and dangerous to know,” George Byron, 6th Baron of Byron, was every bit of the notorious, flamboyant scoundrel he is portrayed to be, but yet he produced works like “She Walks In Beauty,” and this little gem about the wonders of nature. His personal history and his poetry seem so incongruous. His background was one of privilege, beset by financial woes. Even as a child he could not be unaware of his father’s bad habits and enormous debts. He had relatives with nicknames like Mad Jack (father), Foulweather Jack (grandfather, and The Wicked Byron (uncle, from whom he inherited his title), all of which left misery and financial debt in their wake. The uncle, William, left to Byron a ruined estate with crippling debt. William’s son had married against his wishes and so he set about ruining the estate and mismanaging money, selling off precious resources that burdened the family for generations, all to spite his son, whom he outlived. I view Lord Byron as two halves, there is the privileged, indulged half with poor examples of responsibility and dignity that he mimicked, causing havoc in his short-lived life. And then there is the gentle, introvert side, the deep thinker, the man who should have been and wanted to be. A man with great potential cut short by his own behavior and choices.