The most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, George Gordon, Lord Byron, was likewise the most fashionable poet of the day.
He created an immensely popular Romantic hero—defiant, melancholy, haunted by secret guilt—for which, to many, he seemed the model.
In November 1806 he distributed around Southwell his first book of poetry.
, printed at his expense and anonymously, collects the poems inspired by his early infatuations, friendships, and experiences at Harrow, Cambridge, and elsewhere.
The profligate captain squandered his wife’s inheritance, was absent for the birth of his only son, and eventually decamped for France, an exile from English creditors, where he died in 1791 at thirty-six, the mortal age for both the poet and his daughter Ada.
In the summer of 1789 Byron moved with his mother to Aberdeen.
He asked that she consider him "not only as ." As he grew apart from his coarse, often violent, mother, he drew closer to Augusta. During "the most romantic period of [his] life," he experienced a "violent, though , love and passion" for John Edleston, a choirboy at Trinity two years younger than he.
Byron attended Trinity College, Cambridge, intermittently from October 1805 until July 1808, when he received an M. Intellectual pursuits interested him less than such London diversions as fencing and boxing lessons, the theater, demimondes, and gambling.
In "On a Change of Masters at a Great Public School," he employs heroic couplets for satiric effect in the manner—if without the polish—of Alexander Pope, a model for Byron throughout his career.
When his literary adviser, the Reverend John Thomas Becher, a local minister, objected to the frank eroticism of certain lines, Byron suppressed the volume.
A revised and expurgated selection of verses appeared in January 1807 as , "By George Gordon, Lord Byron, A Minor," was published in June.
It was as a published poet that Byron returned to Cambridge in June 1807.
Besides renewing acquaintances, he formed an enduring friendship with John Cam Hobhouse—his beloved "Hobby." Inclined to liberalism in politics, Byron joined Hobhouse in the Cambridge Whig Club.