"He has read to me one of the unpublished cantos of Don Juan, which is astonishingly fine. It sets him not above but far above all the poets of the day: every word is stamped with immortality. I despair of rivaling Lord Byron, as well I may, and there is no other with whom it is worth contending."
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Letter to Mary Shelley, 10 August 182133
"Poetry is a distinct faculty, - it won't come when called, - you may as well whistle for a wind.... I have thought over most of my subjects for years before writing a line."
- Lord Byron to Edward John Trelawny34
"I can recognize any one by the teeth, with whom I have talked. I always watch the lips and mouth: they tell what the tongue and eyes try to conceal."
- Lord Byron at the funeral of Percy Bysshe Shelley, according to E.J. Trelawny35
Whilome in Albion's isle there dwelt a youth,Who ne in virtue's ways did take delight; But spent his days in riot most uncouth, And vex'd with mirth the drowsy ear of Night. Oh, me! in sooth he was a shameless wight, Sore given to revel and ungodly glee; Few earthly things found favour in his sightSave concubines and carnal companie, And flaunting wassailers of high and low degree. Childe Harold was he hight: -- but whence his nameAnd lineage long, it suits me not to say; Suffice it, that perchance they were of fame, And had been glorious in another day; But one sad losel soils a name for aye, However mighty in the olden time; Nor all that heralds rake from coffin'd clay, Nor florid prose, nor honied lies of rhyme, Can blazon evil deeds or consecrate a crime.
- Lord Byron, from Childe Harold
, Canto I36
Oh Southey! Southey! cease thy varied song! A bard may chant too often and too long: As thou art strong in verse, in mercy, spare! A fourth, alas! were more than we could bear. But if, in spite of all the world can say, Thou still wilt verseward plod thy weary way; If still in Berkley ballads most uncivil, Thou wilt devote old women to the devil, The babe unborn thy dread intent may rue: "God help thee," Southey, and thy readers too.
- Lord Byron, from English Bards and Scotch Reviewers37
For me, I know nought; nothing I deny, Admit, reject, contemn; and what know you, Except perhaps that you were born to die? And both may after all turn out untrue. An age may come, Font of Eternity, When nothing shall be either old or new. Death, so call'd, is a thing which makes men weep, And yet a third of life is pass'd in sleep.
- Lord Byron, from Don Juan38
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 graceWhich 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!
- Lord Byron, "She Walks in Beauty"39
So, we'll go no more a rovingSo late into the night, Though the heart be still as loving, And the moon be still as bright. For the sword outwears its sheath, And the soul wears out the breast, And the heart must pause to breathe, And love itself have rest. Though the night was made for loving, And the day returns too soon, Yet we'll go no more a rovingBy the light of the moon.
- Lord Byron, "So we'll go no more a roving"40