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

compiled by London swaminathan

Date: 8 August 2018


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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.




Poet Byron’s obsession with Body Weight (Post No.3532)

Compiled by London swaminathan


Date: 10 January 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 19-47


Post No.3532



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Taft and Byron Fatness Anecdotes

W H Taft, 27th President of US, always relished humour at his own expense. He liked to tell of a small boy who had had a habit of biting his nails. His nursemaid, seeking to frighten him out of it, told him that if he did not stop he would swell up like a balloon. Considerably impressed, the boy desisted from that habit.


A few days thereafter Taft appeared at his home for a luncheon. Marching straight up to the President, the boy accused, ” You bite your nails”.




Lord Byron (1788-1824)

According to his friend Trelawney, Byron’s terror of getting fat was so great that he reduced his diet to the point of absolute starvation. When he added to his weight, even ‘ standing was painful, so he resolved to keep down to eleven stone, or shoot himself. He said everything he swallowed was instantly converted into tallow and deposited on his ribs. He was the only human being I ever met with who had sufficient self -restraint, and resolution to resist his proneness to fatten.


As he was always hungry, his merit was the greater. Occasionally he relaxed his vigilance, when he swelled space. I remember one of his old friends saying Byron how well you are looking! If he had stopped there it had been well, but he added, “you are getting fat”, Byron’s brow reddened, and his eyes flashed,” Do you call getting fat looking well, as if I were a hog?” and turning on to me he muttered, “The beast, I can hardly keep my hands off him”. I don’t think he had much appetite for his dinner that day, or for many days, and he never forgave the man. He would exist on biscuits and soda water for many days together, the, to allay the eternal hunger gnawing at his vitals, he would make up a horrid mess of cold potatoes, rice, fish or greens, deluged in vinegar, and gobble it like a famished dog. Either of these unsavoury dishes, with a biscuit and glass or two of Rhine wine, he cared not how sour, he called feasting sumptuously.


Upon my observing he might as well have fresh fish and vegetables instead of stale, he laughed and answered: I have an advantage over you , I have no palate; one thing is as good as another to me .