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  • Janice
  • December 12, 2009

Inspiration: Lord Byron

Some Byron for you. The adjective “byronic” comes from Byron. He was the tall, dark, handsome, ladies man, unpredictable, enigmatic type. Like Heathcliff – byronic hero. Could be good could be bad. You know. I picked some selections that I think are quite “romantic”, that is, reflective of the values of the romantic period: nature, the sublime, solitude, innocence. Kinda ironic cause Bryon publicly criticized Wordsworth for all that flowery stuff, then went and did it himself. Anyway, pretty stuff, worth reading.

for all my earth-loving friends…

from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Canto III, Stanzas 72, 75
by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

LXXII

I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me; and to me
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Of human cities torture: I can see
Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be
A link reluctant in a fleshy chain,
Class’d among creatures, when the soul can flee,
And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain
Of ocean, or the stars, mingle, and not in vain.

LXXV

Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
Of me and of my soul, as I of them?
Is not the love of these deep in my heart
With a pure passion? should I not contemn
All objects, if compared with these? and stem
A tide of suffering, rather than forgo
Such feelings for the hard and worldly phlegm
Of those whose eyes are only turn’d below,
Gazing upon the ground, with thoughts which dare not glow?

She walks in beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!


So, the poem above reminds me of this old bossa nova song “The Girl from Ipanema”. This is a Frank Sinatra rendition with Antonio Carlos Jobim singing some of the original Portuguese lyrics. Jobim also wrote the music.

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