It's 'Sweets for My Sweet' today as our noble Poet is 227 years young and I'm going to celebrate with a slice or two of this delicious birthday cake that was purchased in his honour and despite a journey through traffic and ice only to have to wrestle my way through a local supermarket in which 'Every Little Helps' certainly did not on this particular morning; however, that is for another tale!
For in 1821 and whilst living in Ravenna, Byron began a journal in which he recorded his thoughts on the Carbonari revolutionary movement and on their campaign to free Italy from Austrian rule along with his growing love for Teresa Guiccioli and of his continuing friendship with the Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
He began the Ravenna Journal on January 4 and made his final entry on February 27 which also happens to be the day that I was born, albeit a few years later!
Byron celebrated his own birthday on Monday January 22 1821 and the excitement that he felt is reflected in the journal entry...
It is three minutes past twelve. - "'Tis the middle of the night by the castle clock," and I am now thirty-three!
"Eheu, fugaces, Posthume, Posthume,
but I don't regret them so much for what I have done, as for what I might have done.
Though life's road, so dim and dirty,
I have dragg'd to three-and-thirty.
What have these years left to me?
Nothing - except thirty-three.
As he watched the minutes tick by towards his birthday the evening before with palpable exhilaration he completed his journal on Sunday January 21 1821 with the following entry:
To-morrow is my birthday - that is to say, at twelve o' the clock, midnight, i.e. in twelve minutes, I shall have completed thirty and three years of age!!!! - and I go to my bed with a heaviness of heart at having lived so long, and to so little purpose.
I agree that 226 years is rather a long time to have lived for so long, however, I would have to disagree with him that his life has been spent with so little purpose and in honour of His Lordship’s birthday I have created another unique tribute!
For beginning at the dawn of Thursday January 22 2015 and continuing until midnight, I shall be publishing a series of blog posts about my travels as a ‘Regency’ Recondite as I go in search of a dead poet’s society and with extracts from his letters and poetry including some from his admirers and detractors alike, I hope that it will prove to be an enjoyable sojourn for you; albeit from the comfort of your chair!
Simply click on the link and without 'Sparing the Horses', let your travels commence!
I shall bid you a fond 'Adieu' as I go in search of a large plate and ONE dessert fork!
Born for Opposition Byron's Letters and Journals Volume 8 (1821) Ed: Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1978)