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 .