Lord Byron’s Bite

Lord Byron's Bite

DSC_0080 by choking sun courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

In Michael Thomas Ford’s, Jane Bites Back, a love triangle arises between three main characters:  Jane Austen (the vampire), Walter (the boring guy), and Lord Byron (the poet/vampire).  The last being responsible for turning Jane in to her current undead state.

It’s a quick, humorous, silly, bloody, read.   

The vampire/gigolo/poet, Lord Byron, is an interesting flamboyant character, spending his eternal years tracking down Jane and making a murderous nuisance of himself.  

Lord Byron (the real poet, not the fictional vampire poet) was quite a colorful character in real life:  romping around the world while engaging in complicated flings, romances, and all sorts of scandalous dealings (dealings that left behind several illegitimate children and scorned mates).

Jane Austen (thank heavens) never came into contact with Byron and only knew him through his words.  Words to melt by.  

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes:

Thus mellow’d to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

Although never having met Lord Byron in the flesh, our dear Jane did drop his name a few times. 

In Chapter 12 of Persuasion, his name is mentioned as Captain Benwick and Anne Eliot spend time together:

Anne found Captain Benwick getting near her, as soon as they were all fairly in the street. Their conversation the preceding evening did not disincline him to seek her again; and they walked together some time, talking as before of Mr. Scott and Lord Byron, and still as unable as before, and as unable as any other two readers, to think exactly alike of the merits of either, till something occasioned an almost general change amongst their party, and instead of Captain Benwick, she had Captain Harville by her side.

I’m certainly no scholar, however, I’m of the opinion that Austen had the utmost respect (as far as writing goes) for both Scott and Byron alike.  

In a letter to her sister, Cassandra, she mentions Byron’s Corsair.  At this time, his rascal reputation  was common knowledge and Jane was not oblivious to the news of the day.  She wrote:  

 Do not be angry with me for beginning another letter to you. I have read [Byron’s] The Corsair, mended my petticoat, and have nothing else to do. 

Portraying Lord Byron in the way Michael Thomas Ford does, makes perfect sense to me.  He’s a  flashy, over-the-top, vampire/playboy; a glam mixture of Lestat, Wickham, and…Austen Powers.  Oh, behaaaave.  

All my faults perchance thou knowest, 

All my madness none can know; 

All my hopes, where’re thou goest

Wither, yet with thee they go.  

*  *  *

Every feeling hath been shaken;

Pride, which not a world could bow, 

Bows to thee – by thee forsaken, 

Even my soul forsakes me now…

Excerpt from Fare Thee Well, Lord Byron


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