The Great Poets – Lord Byron
Read by Simon Russell Beale
Today Byron is regarded as the ultimate romantic – a rebel, a Casanova and a man of intense, brooding passion. He was the most famous literary man of his time, and his poetry, endlessly witty and often insightful, was immensely popular and hugely influential. From the delicate romanticism of She Walks in Beauty to the evocative reflections of So We’ll Go No More a Roving, Byron’s poems were unrivalled in their power and potency. Lesser-known poems such as Destruction of Sennacherib, a reimagining of the biblical story of Sennacherib, Prometheus, a sardonic poem about the Greek gods, and Darkness, an apocalyptic story of the last man on earth, also included here, reveal Byron to be a poet of great range and variety. ‘Mad, bad and dangerous to know’, Lord Byron was without equal in English literature.
Running Time: 1 h 15 m
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ISBN: 978-1-78198-184-9 Digital ISBN: 978-1-78198-185-6 Cat. no.: NA0334 CD RRP: $14.98 USD Download size: 29 MB Produced by: John Foley Edited by: Thomas Goose BISAC: POE005020 Released: August 2018
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One of the great strengths of audiobooks is the offering of poetry read aloud. Naxos’s excellent Great Poets series includes Ronald Pickup reading John Masefield, Robert Glenister reading William Blake, and Michael Sheen reading Coleridge. Latest in an impressive line is Byron, a poet of phenomenal charisma in his heyday. We still quote him unaware. ‘Strange, but true, for truth is… stranger than fiction’, is a line from Don Juan; ‘On with the dance!’ is from Childe Harold. Nowadays few feel inclined to approach such epics, but you will be tempted to do so after listening to this collection of his shorter poems, which Simon Russell Beale reads with wholehearted engagement. Some are fresh, many heartliftingly familiar. There’s the wistful: ‘So, we’ll go no more a roving/ So late into the night,/ Though the heart be still as loving,/ And the moon be still as bright.’ And the searing: ‘In secret we met –/ In silence I grieve,/ That thy heart could forget,/ Thy spirit deceive./ If I should meet thee/ After long years,/ How should I greet thee?–/ With silence and tears.’ And the romping rhythms of The Destruction of Sennacherib: ‘The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold…’
Christina Hardyment, The Times