Romantic poet George Gordon, Lord Byron was born on January 22, 1788 in London. Despite his later fortune and title, Byron grew up in poverty and was burdened by a clubfoot. At age 10, he inherited his great uncle's title and became Lord Byron. He attended Harrow, then Trinity College, Cambridge, where he ran up enormous debts and pursued passionate relationships with both women and men. His first published volume of poetry, Hours of Idleness (1807), was not received well by critics, especially in Scotland, and his second published work, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809) was attacked by the English literary establishment. After attaining a master's degree in 1809, Byron traveled to Portugal, Spain, and the Near East. These experiences inspired his poetic work Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812), which brought him almost instant acclaim in England. In 1815, he married Anne Isabella Milbanke, and the couple had one daughter. The marriage quickly foundered, and the couple legally separated. Soon scandal broken out over Byron's suspected incest with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, and he was ostracized from society and forced to flee England in 1816. He settled in Geneva, near Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. There, he became intimately involved with Mary's half-sister, Claire Clairmont, who bore him another daughter Allegra in January 1817. Byron moved to Venice that same year, and entered a period of wild debauchery. In 1819, he began an affair with the Countess Teresa Guiccioli, the young wife of an elderly count, and the two remained attached for many years. Byron, always an avid supporter of liberal causes and national independence, supported the Greek war for independence and joined the cause in Greece, training troops in the town of Missolonghi, where he died on April 19, 1824 at the age of 36.
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