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Lord Byron

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The Absence of Light
Added by: Wisam Mansour
Byron’s “Darkness” (1816) is a poem about the metamorphoses of man into a ravenous animal who annihilates its race as a result of the absence of the light of reason, faith, compassion, good governance and good citizenship. Among the Romantic poets who pointed to the metaphorical absence of light are Blake, Wordsworth and Shelley. Blake’s the “Chimney Sweeper” (1789) and “London” (1794) point to darkness in the form of the social evil that besmears the reputation of the Church and other civil institutions. Wordsworth’s “London, 1802” (1807) poignantly expresses the poet’s vision of a nation going wrong as they lost their bacon of moral values. The poet’s call for Milton to return and guide his people is a desperate plea for light. Shelley’s “England in 1819” (1839) written two decades after Byron’s “Darkness” lists and details the agents of darkness in England and ends with a revolutionary note inspired by the notion of resurrection. In fact, Shelley’s poem, in spite of its somber atmosphere, is less pessimistic than Byron’s as it seems to say that unless a revolution of grand magnitude takes place Byron’s darkness is inevitably coming. The notion of a coming revolution that may dispel the intensity of the darkness is totally absent from Byron’s poem.
Added by: the evil little hare
its good but its not quite right.
Nice fact (?) about this poem
Added by: Guus Kroes
I know this poem since long and I always thought it was about the end of times or the dark side of man. Then I read, to my amazement, in Bill Bryson's "A Short History Of Nearly Everything", chapter 27, that this poem was written after an incredibly huge volcanic eruption that took place in Sumbawa, Indonesia in 1815. The explosion was the biggest in 10,000 years and 150 times more powerful than Saint Helens. It was so big that the entire earth was shrouded in dust for almost a year. Also the temperature dropped and 1816 became known as the year without summer. According to Bryson, it was this event that inspired Lord Byron to write this poem.
Added by: The Byroness
"Darkness" has a lot to dow ith the lousy weather in the summer of 1816, much rain, lots of clouds, very little sunshine. 20C readers have quoted it as a description of the world after a nuclear holocaust.

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