Sir Walter Scott's eulogy for Lord Byron 1824

Scott first met Byron at Murray's hosue in London. From this first meeting, they formed a great friendship that was to last until Byron's unexpected death in 1824. Scott wrote this eulogy in memory of his friend. In it he recognises that everyone has their faults, but insists that it is Byron's genius that should be remembered.


Copyright National Library of Scotland

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The death of Lord Byron has, however, reconciled all opinions.
Envy is dead, and that spirit of criticism which induced some persons
to cavil at what they had neither hearts to feel nor heads to under-
stand is at rest for ever. The bitterness of the grief which Lord
Byron's decease occasioned has also lost much of its force, and it is
now regarded only as a loss deep and irreparable, but one which must
be endured. In the mean time his fame has soared to the highest
point, and, in all the range of English poetry, there are few who claim
a more brilliant place. In the memory of all who knew him he will
live while they exist ; and, when all who breathed the same air with
him shall have gone to join him in the world which he now inhabits,
his works will hold the same station as they now occupy in the minds
of all men while the literature of England shall continue. This shall
be really to live, and in this fame is the real triumph over the grave.

He is not dead, he doth not sleep —
He hath awakened from the dream of life :
'Tis we, who, lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance strike with our spirit's knife
Invulnerable nothings. We decay
Like corpses in a charnel ; fear and grief
Convulse us, and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.