Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lord Byron's Darkness

“I had a dream, which was not a dream at all” right from the beginning Lord Byron is telling us that these terrible things he is describing are really happening. The description he gives of the sun extinguished and days that bring no sun reminded me of what I’d heard about “the year with no summer” when Mt. Tambora erupted in 1815. It was one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. The massive eruption caused dramatic climate changes all over the world; this was the world Byron was writing of. To many this must have seemed like the fire and brimstone of judgment day bearing down on the world. However the newly emerging forms of science had their own, less radical explanations. Maybe Lord Byron is questioning his faith in the face of these new scientific explanations. He uses biblical descriptions of judgment day to describe what he’s seeing, however through his eyes in this land of darkness he no longer sees G-D in nature and the people around him. In lines such as “the meager by the meager were devour’d” and when he speaks of one dog “faithful to a corpse” he is attacking the idea of faith. Then in the last two lines when he writes, “Darkness had no need or aid from them –She was the universe” he is saying there is no G-D, no higher power, only flawed weak people. Maybe the question he is asking is whether in this new world of science and reason there is any room left for faith.

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