George Gordon Byron (1788–1824), beter bekend als Lord Byron, was een Engels schrijver en dichter. Byrons reputatie berust niet alleen op zijn geschriften, maar ook op zijn leven vol aristocratische excessen, enorme schulden en talrijke liefdesaffaires. Lady Caroline Lamb noemde hem "gek, slecht en gevaarlijk om te kennen." Zijn brieven en dagboeken zijn integraal gepubliceerd.
Saturday, April 9th, 1814
I mark this day!
Napoleon Buonaparte has abdicated the throne of the world. "Excellent well." Methinks Sylla did better; for he revenged and resigned in the height of his sway, red with the slaughter of his foes—the finest instance of glorious contempt of the rascals upon record. Dioclesian did well too—Amurath not amiss, had he become aught except a dervise—Charles the Fifth but so so—but Napoleon, worst of all. What! wait till they were in his capital, and then talk of his readiness to give up what is already gone!! "What whining monk art thou— what holy cheat?" 'Sdeath!—Dionysius at Corinth was yet a king to this. The "Isle of Elba" to retire to!—Well—if it had been Caprea, I should have marvelled less. "I see men's minds are but a parcel of their fortunes." I am utterly bewildered and confounded.
I don't know—but I think I, even I (an insect compared with this creature), have set my life on casts not a millionth part of this man's. But, after all, a crown may be not worth dying for. Yet, to outlive Lodi for this!!!
Oh that Juvenal or Johnson could rise from the dead! Expende—quot libras in duce summo invenies? I knew they were light in the balance of mortality; but I thought their living dust weighed more carats. Alas! this imperial diamond hath a flaw in it, and is now hardly fit to stick in a glazier's pencil:—the pen of the historian won't rate it worth a ducat.
Psha! "something too much of this." But I won't give him up even now; though all his admirers have, "like the thanes, fallen from him."