George Gordon Noel Byron, sixth baron of Byron - hence the name Lord Byron - was born in London on 22nd January 1788. His father is Captain John Cornholio Byron, called "Mad Jack" ("Jack the Matto"), and he is precisely because of the dissolute life of these young George spent his childhood in financial hardship in Aberdeen, Scotland, with his mother Catherine Gordon of Gicht. In these places George Byron was born the admiration for the maritime and mountain landscape, as well as the Calvinist faith in the predestination of guilt. He begins to write his first verses at the age of twelve, when he falls in love with a cousin. Even another relative leaves indelible traces in his mind. In 1805 he enters the Trinity College of Cambridge: the following year he publishes anonymously "Fugitive Pieces", verses soon repudiated and rewritten in 1807 under the title of "Poems on various occasions", always anonymously.
His name appears in the third reprint of the work, entitled "Hours of Idleness" (Ore d'Ozio): the rejection of the work by "Edinbourgh Reviews" inspires him "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers", in which he attacks mercilessly all the authors of his time, with the exception of Alexander Pope and his school. In this work of Byron his qualities as a writer, his ferocious satire and misanthropy are outlined.
In 1808 he moved to Newstead Abbey in the family castle left by his great-uncle William Byron. 1809 is the year in which the Byron seat occupies the House of Lords.
Then he left for a long trip abroad, then a custom for the British aristocracy. Accompanied by John Cam Hobhouse, he sailed from Falmouth on July 2, 1809 to Lisbon; they will visit Seville, Cadiz and Gibraltar. Arrived in Malta on August 19, they stay there about a month before leaving for Preveza, port of Epirus, reached September 20, 1809. From there they reach Giannina where he meets Ali Pacha.
Lord Byron returned to Britain in July 1811, just in time to assist his dying mother. From the political point of view he highlights his speeches: famous that of 1812 against the repression of luddism, contemporary at the release of the first two songs of the "Pilgrimage of the Knight Aroldo", a work that unexpectedly arrives accompanied by the mundane triumph. At the peak of his London period there is also the relationship with Lady Caroline Lamb, the most admired lady of the moment.
There are numerous works published in June between 1813 and August 1814: "The Giaour", "The Bride of Abydos", "The Corsair", "Lara", all based on the genre of romantic melodrama .
In 1815 Byron marries Anna Isabella Milbanke, who, after having given her daughter Augusta Ada, leaves him the following year. The fact triggers a scandal that includes the accusation to the poet of an incestuous relationship with Augusta Leigh - daughter from a previous relationship - but also the suspicion that this news had been put under the spotlight to hide his homosexual relationships.
This scandal forced Byron into exile, so on 24 April 1816 he left England forever. After a brief stay in Belgium, he moved to Switzerland, to Geneva, where he lived in the villa of the Italian Diodati. Here he is joined by the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley with his girlfriend Mary Godwin Wollstonecraft and her half sister Mary Jane Clairmont, known as Claire.
George Byron had already met Claire in England just before he left, and had had a brief flirtation with her; during her stay in Switzerland she became pregnant with Byron: in January 1817 Allegra was born. Byron decides to entrust Allegra to the convent of Bagnacavallo, in Romagna, where he will die very young.
Byron then visits the Chillon Castle (Switzerland), where he leaves his name etched; in this period he writes "The Prisoner of Chillon" (The Prisoner of Chillon), released in December 1816, and "The dream" as well as some chapters of "The Pilgrimage of the Knight Aroldo" and "Manfredi". The latter probably suffers from Goethe's "Faust", which Byron had met shortly before, and which according to some critics highlights the burning pain of separation from Augusta.
In 1817 he moved to Mira, a town 20 kilometers from Venice, where he lived for three years. Here he studies Armenian, Italian and Veneto; Meanwhile, he works on his works "Aroldo", "Beppo", and on the first two songs of "Don Juan", works that in 1819 would have made furore in England, even if published anonymously. In Venice she met eighteen-year-old Teresa Gamba in Guiccioli, wife of a rich Ravenna: Teresa becomes inseparable companion, so much so that Byron decides to move to Ravenna, where he writes three other songs of "Don Juan", at the same time devoting to the theater of alferian type, as evidenced by "Marin Faliero", "Sardanapalo" and "I due Foscari", all of 1821. Byron also travels to Ferrara where he visits the Cella del Tasso: here he writes and writes the "Lamento del Tasso".
Between 1820 and 1821 he entered the Carboneria through the contacts of Count Gamba, Teresa's brother. The bankruptcy of the agitations and the confiscation of the Gambian property, plus the separation of Teresa from her husband, forced the three to take refuge in Pisa, where Byron arrived in November, after publishing "Cain". In Pisa, in addition to "Werner or the Inheritance", he writes "Deformed Transformed" and four other songs by "Don Juan". Following a fight between one of his servants and a non-commissioned officer of the dragoons for matters of uniform in front of the Caffè dell'Ussero, Byron is forced to move to Livorno, staying in the Villa Dupouy.
In 1822 he spent a period in Porto Venere (La Spezia) where he devoted himself to writing and to swimming, of which he was a passionate lover. According to an anecdote, to go and see the spouses Shelley - who had already met in Geneva - George Byron would swim across the gulf, swimming for eight kilometers to San Terenzo.
A short while later, daughter Allegra and her friends Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley die. Following these events the religious conversion of Lord Byron is profound.
Convinced Teresa to return to Ravenna, although recovering from malaria in 1823, Byron embarks with Count Gamba for Kefalonia. Here between bitter divergences of ideas an English team was forming in support of the Greek war of independence against the Ottoman Empire. Byron leaves the island at the invitation of Alessandro Maurocordato, liberator of the city of Missolonghi.
He then left for Patras in January 1824, where he lived the last months of his life, amid the bitter contrasts of the rebels. Following a rheumatic fever transformed into meningitis, George Byron died in Missolonghi (Greece) on April 19, 1824. With him he had the manuscript of the incomplete seventeenth song of "Don Juan". The body is buried first in the family chapel of Newstead, even if already sold in 1818; subsequently his remains are transferred to the Church of Harrow on Hill.