CHILDE HAROLD ?

Poets and novelists frequently lapse into autobiography, with half-amusing results, for poets and novelists, along with the rest of mankind, rarely see themselves as others see them. " Childe Harold" is distinctly meant for Byron's idea of himself. He is represented as a proud but gloomy youth, satiated by excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures. Sick in heart and soul, he breaks away from his companions in dissipation and seeks distraction and renewal of vitality in foreign climes. His travels take him through Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy, but everywhere he feels himself a man apart from the crowd, a solitary spirit destined always to be misunderstood. Self-pity played no small part in Byron's flattering self-analysis. One must admit the reality of his love for the beautiful and heroic. But his cynical scorn of mankind was the outcome, not of his own immense superiority, but of his savage and bitter selfishness and his insane conceit. The poem was started when Byron was twenty-one, and the writing spread over a period of seven years.