Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: A Romaunt. Canto I.

By George Gordon Byron

“Childe” is a title from medieval times, designating a young noble who is not yet knighted. Disillusioned with his aimless life devoted to pursuing pleasure, Childe Harold seeks distraction by going on a solitary pilgrimage to foreign lands. The first two cantos describe his travels through PortugalSpain, the Ionian Islands, and Albania, ending with a lament on the occupation of Greece by the Ottoman Turks. In the third canto the pilgrim travels to Belgium, the Rhine Valley, the Alps, and the Jura. On each segment of the journey, Byron evokes associated historical events and people, such as the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Napoleon before the Battle of Waterloo. In the fourth canto the imaginary pilgrim is replaced by the poet himself, speaking in the first person about VeniceFerraraFlorence, and Rome and the artists and heroes associated with those cities.