We of the craft are all crazy, but I more than the rest; some are affected by gaiety, others by melancholy, but all are more or less touched, though few except myself have the candour to avow it, which I do to spare my friends the pain of sending it forth to the world.
[W]hereas, at present, those who most admire the genius will be the most disappointed in the man.
We cannot share the pain we each inflict, cannot • take in what we dish without consideration, • copies of originals we have long studied, • our sins are imitations of Selves we diminish • when faced with plenty, intentional misery • suddenly sent out, present, scent permeating • ev’rything once pleasant, without reservation • enervating and unnerving, undeserving • of reward, our lauded erring traverses dark • territory never meant for the errant to • trample with these errands, too loud and untoward, • unbecoming, in our tour tearing through this world • toward spleen-leaking oblivions weakening • •
knees and taking as toll our toil only the soil • will welcome its more recondite luxury of • ignoring, obscuring the obscured, ignobling • our pall’s global pull, gravitating lulls of byes • herding those we have hurt into bosomed armour • embrace enfolds with warmer succor, appalled that • to have existed at all, scalded by such hot • amorous ribald, what we said, we saw, lived not • enthralled by, but laughed at for having sold tales too • tall, pride is love vanity binds, that blind god who • approaches us by walking and takes off, all of • a sudden, by flying, an eclipse aflutter, • timid and quivering, hovering to feign its • •
divine presence, some silence deafening itself • anticipating death, convincing us day is • night, concealed flame paining its veil, obsidian • discus throwing strange reflections, what heaven’s wink • mirrors blackens eyes, elevating to wingèd • symbolism self-deprecation, how like a flag • in battle by an enemy threatened, delights • in retreating, receding, fleeting heat inking • humid scenes written in sweating dips of the pen • on the waxen tablets of melting memories, • blinking canvases weeping blank mimicry, love • that could have been curled up in fists, crippled, hidden, • entempled like incense to balm, burned from inside • •
sacrileged heads chanting anodyne chortles of • agonizing demise, passion in possession • is a demon when, in its frenzied season, seems • worth having, more a friend than a fiend when emptied • of spirit, greedy genius hides what big • lie over-valued portraits refuse to describe, • abuse lyrical and lethal, beautiful and • despised, truth’s comfort sometimes comes in • uncomfortable sizes, fitting, then, that what • we deny eventually arrives even • when we try to ignore what scorch our ignorance • ignites, no longer enormous in limelit sight, • though sigh as we might, breath is breath is breath, is life…
1Lord Byron, interviewed by Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington, at Genoa, April–July, 1823, in Lady Blessington’s Conversations of Lord Byron: Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Ernest J. Lovell, Jr., published at Princeton, New Jersey by Princeton University Press in 2015; page 115.
2Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington, speaking of Lord Byron whilst interviewing him, in the same volume and edition as cited above; page 83.