Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why wert thou so dear? OR Looking for Byron in Cologny Part I

Now I love me some John or Clive or yes, that *yawn* no-brainer crush George.

But there will always be a part for me that will forever be in love with that other George. George Gordon that is. That's Lord Byron to you. All that brooding angst, that lust for life (among other things), those oh-so interesting friends who died too young, that renegade rebellious spirit, those forbidden passions, and yes, even that club foot. All of that and talent too, how could anyone resist? I was a goner even as a ten year old when I read my first Byron poem, and then when I read about him. Ohhhh Byron *sighs deeply*

When We Two Parted

by Lord Byron (1788 - 1824)

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever the years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder, thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk, chill on my brow,
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me...
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well..
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.

So I journeyed to Chillon and walked around the lake and tried to see this city he loved through his eyes. But how could I live in Geneva and not visit the house at which he stayed? It took me a while to find it but find it I did.

For Mary Shelley fans, this is where Frankenstein was born. Like all good, ghoulish tales, the monster of Dr. Frankenstein came to life on a dark and stormy summer night when Byron challenged his friends to a contest. The rest is literary history. But much as I love the Shelley's, let's go back to Byron.

The Villa Diodati--where he stayed when visiting--is in Cologny, an exclusive, if-you-need-to-ask-the-price-you-so- can't-afford-to-live-here part of Geneva. It is on Chemin de Ruth 9 in Cologny, and yesterday I just could not resist Byron's call.

And I will blog about it in the next post. How's that for a cliff-hanger, huh?


Mighty Mom said...

Great minds, as they say. Check out my turret post!

C. said...

Uh yes, you and M on the same day at the same time...definitely something in the air. Great post!

Judy Bussey said...

I agree: Great post!
I'm reading them from the top down your Byron analysis is captivating. You get to the essesence of your thoughts in such an interesting way.
I have a beautiful copy of Shelly's Frankenstein--also one of my favorite novels. I will read your Byron pieces again in proper order.