Zitate von George Gordon Noël
Lord Byron

(22. Januar 1788, London - 19. April 1824, Mesolongion/Griechenland)

Interessanterweise wurde ich auf diesen englischen Dichter durch einen Deutschen aufmerksam gemacht: Friedrich Nietzsche, der in seinem Buch "Menschliches, Allzumenschliches", 1. Band, 3. Hauptstück "Das religiöse Leben", Aphorismus # 109 "Gram ist Erkenntniss" unter anderem ausführt:

Wie gern möchte man die falschen Behauptungen der Priester, es gebe
einen Gott, der das Gute von uns verlangte, Wächter und Zeuge jede
Handlung, jedes Augenblicks, jedes Gedankens sei, der uns liebe, in
allem Unglück unser Bestes wolle, - wie gern möchte man diese mit
Wahrheiten vertauschen, welche ebenso heilsam, beruhigend und
wohltuend wären, wie jene Irrthümer!
Doch solche Wahrheiten giebt es nicht; die Philosophie kann ihnen
höchstens wiederum metaphysische Scheinbarkeiten (im Grunde ebenfalls
Unwahrheiten) entgegensetzen. Nun ist aber die Tragödie die, dass man
jene Dogmen der Religion und Metaphysik nicht glauben kann, wenn man
die strenge Methode der Wahrheit im Herzen und Kopfe hat, andererseits
durch die Entwickelung der Menschheit so zart, reizbar, leidend
geworden ist, um Heil- und Trostmittel der höchsten Art nöthig zu
haben; woraus also die Gefahr entsteht, dass der Mensch sich an der
erkannten Wahrheit verblute. Dies drückt Byron in unsterblichen Versen aus:

Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most
must mourn the deepst o'er the fatal truth,
the tree of knowledge is not that of life.


Das Zitat hatte bei mir blitzartig "eingeschlagen". Früher war mir der Name Byron öfters begegnet, aber er weckte in mir keinerlei Interesse. Der "freundliche Hinweis", zugleich ein gescheiter, tat das seine. Sofort suchte ich Publikationen von Byron, vertiefte mich in viele seiner Poems, las über ihn, sein soziales Umfeld, seine Zeit.

On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year (first published in 1824)

'Tis time the heart should be unmoved,
Since others it hath ceased to move:
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,
Still let me love!

My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone!

The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle;
No torch is kindled at its blaze--
A funeral pile.

The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
The exalted portion of the pain
And power of love, I cannot share,
But wear the chain.

But 'tis not thus--and 'tis not here--
Such thoughts should shake my soul nor now,
Where glory decks the hero's bier,
Or binds his brow.

The sword, the banner, and the field,
Glory and Greece, around me see!
The Spartan, borne upon his shield,
Was not more free.

Awake! (not Greece--she is awake!)
Awake, my spirit! Think through whom
Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,
And then strike home!

Tread those reviving passions down,
Unworthy manhood!--unto thee
Indifferent should the smile or frown
Of beauty be.

If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live?
The land of honourable death
Is here:--up to the field, and give
Away thy breath!

Seek out--less often sought than found--
A soldier's grave, for thee the best;
Then look around, and choose thy ground,
And take thy rest.

My Soul is Dark

My soul is dark - Oh! quickly string
The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling
Its melting murmurs o'er mine ear.
If in this heart a hope be dear,
That sound shall charm it forth again:
If in these eyes there lurk a tear,
'Twill flow, and cease to burn my brain.

But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first:
I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst;
For it hath been by sorrow nursed,
And ached in sleepless silence, long;
And now 'tis doomed to know the worst,
And break at once - or yield to song.

From a letter to Thomas Moore, Pisa, March 4, 1822:

The truth is, my dear Moore, you live near the stove of society, where you are unavoidably influenced by its heat and its vapours. I did so once - and too much - and enough to give a colour to my whole future existence. As my success in society was not inconsiderable, I am surely not a prejudiced judge upon the subject, unless in its favour; but I think it, as now constituted, fatal to all great original undertakings of every kind. I never courted it then, when I was young and high in blood, and one of its 'curled darlings'; and do you think I would do so now, when I am living in a clearer atmosphere? One thing only might lead me back to it, and that is, to try once more if I could do any good in politics; but not in the petty politics I see now preying upon our miserable country.

Do not let me be misunderstood, however. If you speak your own opinions, they ever had, and will have, the greatest weight with me. But if you merely echo the monde, (and it is difficult not to do so, being in its favour and its ferment,) I can only regret that you should ever repeat any thing to which I cannot pay attention. But I am prosing. The gods go with you, and as much immortality of all kinds as may suit your present and all other existence.

From a letter to the Count d'Orsay, April 22, 1823:

But I am sorry for you; for if you are so well acquainted with life at your age, what will become of you when the illusion is still more dissipated? But never mind - en avant! live while you can; and that you may have the full enjoyment of the many advantages of youth, talent, and figure, which you possess, is the wish of an - Englishman, - I suppose, but it is no treason; for my mother was Scotch, and my name and my family are both Norman; and as for myself, I am of no country. As for my 'Works', which you are pleased to mention, let them go to the Devil, from whence (if you believe many persons) they came.

Short quotes:

On Friendship
A mistress never is nor can be a friend. While you agree, you are lovers; and when it is over, anything but friends. (Journal entry for 24 Nov. 1813).

I have always laid it down as a maxim--and found it justified by experience--that a man and a woman make far better friendships than can exist between two of the same sex--but then with the condition that they never have made or are to make love to each other. (1 Dec. 1822)

No friend like to a woman Earth discovers,
So that you have not been nor will be lovers.
(Don Juan, canto 14, stanza 93).

It is useless to tell one not to reason but to believe--you might as well tell a man not to wake but sleep. ("Detached Thoughts", no. 96).

There is something Pagan in me that I cannot shake off. In short, I deny nothing, but doubt everything. (4 Dec. 1811).

The Life and Work of LORD BYRON

Lord Byron

Crede Byron a website which explores several aspects of George Gordon, 6th Lord Byron, and his childhood home of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire.

Lord Byron (Spartacus educations site)

Lord Byron (with selections of letters & journals etc.)

A Dictionary of Lord Byron's Wit and Wisdom