13 MARCH 2013
Turning Heads in Beauty
The Romantic period, year 1785 till 1830 C.E., was a period of great change throughout the world, especially but not only in literary style. This period saw the formation of new countries, new governing styles, and the birth of many new ways of thinking. In this time British Literature was characterized by the work of six major writers, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Percy, Shelly, Keats, and Blake. (Book page 1363-4). Lord Byron, as described by Hipolyte Taine, a French critic of the late romantic, said that Lord Byron was “the greatest and most English of these artists;’ he is so great and so English that from him alone we shall learn more truths of his country and of his age than all the rest together.” (Christ 1364-6).
Lord Byron was born to “Mad Jack” Byron and Catherine Gordon on January 22, 1788 in London. His parents, who ran into money troubles, fell apart drastically, shortly after his birth. His father died shortly after and his mother moved back to Scotland. Born with what was possibly a club foot, Byron spent many years in and out of what the time called doctor’s offices. Not being the most physically active child, he spent much of his time learning and reading, having an extremely retentive memory. Fortunately for British Literature of the time, Byron inherited, not only his mother’s aristocratic pride, but also her radical political ideals (Franklin 1-3). This would come into play once he began to write for himself. Being Scottish, he was well accustomed to the Old Testament of the Bible, Scots identifying with the Jewish community because of religious persecution, which would play a large role in the pieces he published for the Hebrew Melodies in 1815.
One of the more famous of the poems that Lord Byron published in the Hebrew Melodies was “She walks in beauty” written in 1814. This works was inspired by the wedding of one of Byron’s...