Friday, October 09, 2009

Byron in Love by Edna O'Brien


A beautiful, succinct, witty, knowing condensation of a jam-packed (if brief) love-life and life of letters. O'Brien sounds like she knew Byron personally, she is so skilled at linking and narrating the history of his affections. It drove me to read a full-length biography of Byron, Fiona MacCarthy's Byron: Life and Legend, which is also tremendous. Byron's bisexuality, his affair with his half-sister, his courting and finagling of royalty and near-royalty, all burst from this lovely book.

So, we'll go no more a roving
So 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 roving
By the light of the moon.

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