Head or Foot? Poet Byron Anecdote (Post No.5299)

compiled by London swaminathan

Date: 8 August 2018


Time uploaded in London – 9-05 am  (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5299


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During one of Hobouse’s visit to Byron—Hobhouse was a College friend— at his villa near Genoa, and whilst they were walking in the garden, his lordship suddenly turned upon his guest, and, apropos of nothing, but always having his deformity in his mind exclaimed,
Now I know Hobhouse, you’re looking at my foot!
Upon which Hobhouse kindly replied,
My dear Byron, nobody thinks of or looks at anything but your head.





DIED ON April 19, 1824

Age at death 36



1807 Hours of Idleness

1809 English Bards and Scotch Reviewers

1812-18 Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

1813 The Bride of Abydos

1817 Manfred

1818 Beppo

1819-24 Don Juan

1821 Cain

1822 The Vision of Judgement




Lord Byron was a leading poet of the 19th Century English Romantic Movement. His life was almost as colourful as those of the moody, mysterious heroes of his poems.

George Gordon Noel Byron was born in London but spent his first troubled years in Scotland. When Byron was three, his father died, after spending his mother’s fortune, and Byron and his mother faced hardships. But at ten, he inherited a great uncle’s title and estates. Later he attended the prestigious Harrow School and Cambridge University. Byron’s first published poems, ‘Hours of Idleness’, appeared when he was nineteen and were strongly criticized. Byron responded with ‘English Bards and Scotch Reviewers’, a satirical poem attacking the major literary figures of the time.

At 21 Byron began a two-year grand tour through Southern Europe to Turkey. These travels inspired ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’, a long poem about a world weary young lord’s journey through a Europe in need of reforms. The handsome author’s gloomy passion and pleas for justice and liberty attracted women admirers.

At 26 Byron married Annabella Milbanke. She soon left him, shocked by Byron’s affair with his half -sister Augusta. The disgrace made Byron leave England, aged 28.

In Italy, he had new love affairs and wrote his master piece ‘Don Juan’, a long, witty poem about a handsome man’s adventures with women. Byron also began ardently supporting Italian and Greek freedom from foreign control. He joined an Italian secret society and was leading Greek troops against Turks when he caught a fever and died.