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When We Two Parted

Lord Byron

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Added by: Primo
Spoke more than mere words about what I feel now. Love to H
Added by: heather
this seems like a sad long lost love poem to me...or is it more like someone deceived him...cheated??
When we two parted
Added by: Maddy
I seem to recollect now that this poem pertains to a young man of noble birth who was Byron's fag at Harrow.

Harrow is one of the Great Public Schools of England. (For those readers who are not English- this means that it is in fact private and rather exclusive). The system of "Fagging" meant that junior boys served in the nature of pages to the elder boys, doing menial tasks like shining shoes, running baths and fetching and carrying. In theory it worked in much the same way as the medieval system by which boys of noble birth were sent FROM their homes to serve as pages or squires of a Knight, in ORDER to learn by service. It is the Arthurian notion of humility on one hand and kindliness on the other. Each boy was taught in turn to serve and to govern.

In practice it often went quite differently and there was often heated contests among the older boys over who was going to get the prettiest of the juniors. Hence the current use of the term 'fag'.
Byron's affairs
Added by: Maddy
Yes, it's all very beautiful and passionate.

The indications in this poem are that this was yet another person, of either sex, with whom Byron had an elicit affair. "They know not I knew thee who knew thee too well."

This is probably NOT his sister, because that matter became fairly common knowledge after the scandal of his divorce. This sounds like a person or the wife of a person in a high place.

See comments on Lines to Augusta.
Added by: Jane
I believe that this is a poem describing Byron's true feelings about his love life... how he was divorced and had two wives.... one probably cheated on him, who knows... but i think that the poem is pertaining to him.
a brief analysis of this great poem
Added by: KT
Subject: looking back with regret at a broken relationship. This was thought to be a relationship with Mary Ann Chaworth, whom Byron admired when a schoolboy at Harrow.
Form: 4 octaves. All have very short lines for effect. Gives an effect of separation. Each two lines meant to be one – a severing.
Tone: doleful, slow and sad, melancholy, grieving, depressing. Obviously he hasn’t yet got over the loss of Chaworth.
Punctuation gives even more expression of the lines being broken, and his heart being broken
Intention: to portray his grief, lingering sorrow, + anger at being treated so. To show regret + disappointment in Chaworth. Is writing to unbottle his feelings. Is addressed to C but not meaning her to read it. Aroused by the remembrance of their parting.
Success: he succeeded in showing his feelings. I feel sorry for him. I love this poem. Expresses his sorrow well.
A different reading to ones already suggested
Added by: Alex
I am inclined to think that only superficially is this poem a 'heartfelt lament' for a lost love. Its real subject is not so much a specific relationship (although it is that, too) but rather Byron's fatalistic acknowledgment that however much we try believe otherwise love can delude and disappoint us. There are numerous allusions to death in the poem, and therefore I would say Byron's point is that the failure of love is as inevitable as the inevitability of death. He regrets the passing of their love because it reminds him of his mortality.
Added by: Ajith
i think its him who is cheating. he is having an affair with someone who he is not supposed to be with.. thats y he says "they know not i know thee" and probably caused "shame" for her as mentioned in the poem which i think is got her pregnant.
Byron's When we Two Parted
Added by: Wisam Mansour
Byron’s poem, contrary to the Romantic spirit, is unprogressive and lacks much of the Romantics’ ideals of equality, freedom and progress. Regardless of the controversy about the identity of the virtual addressee in the poem, and whether it is a previous acquaintance of Byron or not, the addressee appears to be a very progressive and unconventional woman by the standards of the time. Though there is no linguistic evidence in the text to confirm the gender of the addressee, conventional literary reading assumes a female addressee. This assumption is based on several cultural indicators among them the sense of shame inflicted on the male as a result of improper female behavior. “ I hear thy name spoken,/ And share in its shame.” This so-called male-honor code associates honor with proper conduct of the female and the way she administers her body and bodily desires. European men in late medieval and early renaissance periods devised the Chastity Belt to protect their honor and to curb women from having free access to their bodies. The betrayal of the Romantic ideals inhabits this poem in the form of a conventional male addressee, be it Byron himself or a fictitious persona, who refuses to exit out side the medieval patriarchal modes of thinking as far as women’s rights are concerned. The romantics who in theory revolted against a vertical chain of being in favor of a horizontal one that allows mobility and change, still, in Byron’s poem, chain woman to man and view her unconventional mobility as a source of pain and death to him. This controversial female addressee brings to my mind Henry James’ Daisy Miller who died unable to vindicate the progressive nature of her conduct.
when we two parted
Added by: jay
I have loved this poem for years. As a lover of ninteenth century poetry, this poem became so much more affecting for me after the loss of my first love. The young fall in love so easily, so intensly and then with so little understanding of how short life is or how rare true love is, give it away to serve future ambitions.
There is too much regret in this poem to allow me to beleive that this was a love that could never be, (ie an affair) but rather a love that was voluntarily discarded.
The sense of time in this short poem perhaps illustrates how time itself can be the bearer of bad news. In this case... regret.

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