A SUMMARY OF CHARACTER
"A man who never displayed a sympathy which was not hostile to the misrulers of mankind."--LYTTON BULWER, in 1835.
IT is necessary here to consider very briefly what manner of man Byron was at this point in his history. In following, as we have done, the detail of his career up to the time of his ascendancy and decline in the favour of English society, we should but have prepared for a simplified view of a character that time has proved to be of inexhaustible interest. The enigmas of his domestic life need no longer disturb us; they have taken their place in the action that defines him, and there we may leave them. It must be remembered, then, that the Byron who early in 1816 fell from a position of almost unique privilege and esteem into one of contempt was, in spite of all his faults, one of the most generous spirits of his age, indeed of any age in our literature. He bore his defeat with an assumption of arrogance, and he allowed himself at times to be betrayed into ugly and unworthy rejoinders. But he who was baited into these excesses, without any pretence of a fair trial whatever his offence may or may not have been, was at once a great poet and a man of many rare qualities. His excellence is the more notable by its survival of the clouds of obloquy and superstition that have passed and still pass over his name. Less admirable but more blameless men have been canonised for half his virtues. If Byron was spectacular, it was in his sins, and in this the sensation-mongers of a century have not been slow to play up to his own saturnine game. His intrigues, his fiery little self
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Publication information: Book title: The Pilgrim of Eternity:Byron--A Conflict. Contributors: John Drinkwater - Author. Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton Limited. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1925. Page number: 256.
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