Byron’s birthday…one myth debunked…and replaced by another….

I’ve written several appreciations of Lord Byron, our first Scrogue, over the years for S&R. In one of these, entitled, “Byron’s Birthday,” I mentioned that his lordship’s heart was buried in Greece. Today I received the following comment on that post:

Kathryn January 22, 2013 at 1:36 am 

As current Rector of the Church where Byron is buried, I have to dispute the comment that his heart is buried in Greece. It is in the church, in the family vault, although in a separate casket from his body.

As an academic, I know full well the foolhardiness of using that bastion of misinformation, Wikipedia, as a source – but I’d done just that and so found myself hoisted on my own petard, as it were, by the kind but justifiably critical Rector of Mary Magdelene Church in Hucknall where Byron was laid to rest in the family crypt after being refused burial in Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Still, one hates to be wrong, so I went out and did some serious research on my own to satisfy myself that the Rector’s emendation to my post was, indeed, accurate.

And it was.  So kudos to her for helping S&R get its facts straight.  However…

That, as the old saying goes, is not the end of the story.

In my research I stumbled upon a delightful post on the exhumation of Byron’s body. And another, perhaps even more Byronic myth. It seems that his heart was not the only impressive element of Byron’s person. Here’s a description of why, it would seem, George Gordon was, as Lady Caroline Lamb termed him, “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”:

Just like in the portraits. He was bone from the elbows to his hands and from the knees down, but the rest was perfect. Good-looking man putting on a bit of weight, he’d gone bald. He was quite naked, you know,” and then he stopped, listening for something that must have been a clatter of china in the kitchen, where his wife was making tea for us, for he went on very quickly,  “Look, I’ve been in the Army, I’ve been in bathhouses, I’ve seen men. But I never saw nothing like him.” He stopped again, and nodding his head, meaningfully, as novelists say, began to tap a spot just above his knee. “He was built like a pony.”

Ahem.  And so another myth arises about this most mythic of English bards. Be sure, however, to read the post I link to above. The close of that interesting essay offers an explanation for how such a myth might get started…

Happy Birthday, your lordship!

6 replies »

  1. WOW What s cool comment to receive. I dont know that I have ever seen a cooler post from someone who read a story then commented on it. I Guess you still dont know if the guy that posted it is legit, but it is still very cool.

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