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Lord Byron



Born January 22, 1788, London, England

Died April 19, 1824, Missolonghi, Greece

Diagnosis: Bipolar I, Impulse control disorders

Episodes: Manic, Depressive, Mixed


Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison wrote in her book Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, she said “Symptoms consistent with mania, depression, and mixed states are evident in the descriptions of Byron given by his physicians, friends, and Byron himself. His mood fluctuations were extreme, ranging from the suicidally melancholic to the irritable, volatile, violent, and expansive. ‘’


Lady Caroline Lamb famously described Lord Byron as ''mad, bad and dangerous to know''

Bipolar course





Lord Byron attended Cambridge University, where he is said to have exhibited symptoms of mania, such as excessive spending and grandiose thinking. He also had several episodes of depression during this period, including feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.

Lord Byron lived in self-imposed exile due to a scandal involving his private life. During this time, he wrote some of his most famous works, including the epic poem "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage." He also suffered from episodes of depression and irritability, and engaged in impulsive behaviors such as excessive drinking and gambling

Lord Byron traveled to Greece to support the Greek War of Independence. Despite initially feeling a sense of purpose and excitement about his involvement in the cause, he soon became disillusioned and experienced a period of deep depression, which is reflected in some of his letters and poems from this period.

Lord Byron died at the age of 36 from an illness. Some have suggested that his death was brought on by a manic episode, during which he pushed himself too hard and neglected his health.

"When We Two Parted" and "The Destruction of the Sennarcherib" are two poems that represent Lord Byron's creative output during periods of depression and mania, two defining features of Bipolar Disorder. Through their vivid descriptions, powerful imagery, and intense emotions, these poems provide insight into the impact of Bipolar Disorder on Lord Byron's life and work.

When We Two Parted When we two parted In silence and tears, Half broken-hearted To sever for years, Pale grew thy cheek and cold, Colder thy kiss; Truly that hour foretold Sorrow to this. The dew of the morning Sunk chill on my brow— It felt like the warning Of what I feel now. Thy vows are all broken, And light is thy fame; I hear thy name spoken, And share in its shame. They name thee before me, A knell to mine ear; A shudder comes o'er me— Why wert thou so dear? They know not I knew thee, Who knew thee too well— Long, long shall I rue thee, Too deeply to tell. In secret we met— In silence I grieve, That thy heart could forget, Thy spirit deceive. If I should meet thee After long years, How should I greet thee?— With silence and tears.

The Destruction of Sennacherib The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee. Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green, That host with their banners at sunset were seen: Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown, That host on the morrow lay withered and strown. For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed; And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still! And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide, But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride; And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf. And there lay the rider distorted and pale, With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail: And the tents were all silent, the banners alone, The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown. And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail, And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal; And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword, Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

"When We Two Parted" is a poem that reflects Lord Byron's experience with depression, which is a defining feature of Bipolar Disorder. The poem expresses feelings of sadness, loss, self-doubt, and hopelessness through vivid imagery and powerful descriptions. The themes of regret, hopelessness, and sadness are all consistent with the symptoms of depression. "The Destruction of Sennacherib" is a poem that reflects Lord Byron's experience with mania, another defining feature of Bipolar Disorder. The poem is characterized by grandiose imagery, vivid descriptions, and a sense of excitement and energy. The poem's vivid descriptions and energetic imagery evoke a sense of manic energy and reflect the grandiose thinking that is associated with mania.

George Gordon Byron, better known as Lord Byron, was a British poet and nobleman who lived from 1788 to 1824. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of the Romantic era, and his works continue to be widely read and studied today. Byron's life was marked by periods of intense creativity, energetic pursuits, and grandiose thinking, as well as episodes of depression, worthlessness, and hopelessness. These mood swings, which often occurred suddenly and without warning, are consistent with the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. Byron's early years at Cambridge University were characterized by episodes of mania, including excessive spending and grandiose thinking, as well as periods of depression. Despite this, he produced some of his earliest works during this time, including the epic poem "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," which was published in 1812. In 1811, Byron's personal life became the subject of a scandal, and he was forced to leave the country and go into self-imposed exile. Despite the initial difficulties of his situation, he found a new sense of purpose in his writing and began producing some of his most famous works, including the epic poem "Don Juan." However, his life in exile was not without its challenges. Byron suffered from periodic episodes of depression, irritability, and impulsive behavior, including excessive drinking and gambling. He also experienced a period of deep depression while he was in Greece, supporting the Greek War of Independence. Despite his struggles with his mental health, Lord Byron remained a prolific writer and an important figure in the Romantic movement. He died in 1824 at the age of 36, likely due to complications from an illness that was brought on by a manic episode. While it is impossible to say for certain that Lord Byron suffered from Bipolar Disorder, his life and work provide important insight into the experience of mood swings and the impact of mental health on creativity and productivity. His legacy continues to inspire and influence people to this day.

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