Byron George Gordon – The Prisoner of Chillon
Byron George Gordon – The Prisoner of Chillon: The separation of George Gordon Byron, which caused a scandal, led him to make a trip to Belgium and then to Switzerland. He meets, on the shores of Lake Geneva, the poet Shelley and his future wife, Mary Godwin (Mary Shelley), and Claire Clairmont, who help him overcome some of his feelings of sadness. In late June 1816 they visit, together, the Castle of Chillon. They learn the story of Bonivard, a Savoyard who rallied to the Genevan who was attacked by the Duke of Savoy and imprisoned six years in the dungeons of the castle (which he was released when the Bernese occupied the country of Vaud and Chablais Savoyard). Visitors are deeply impressed. Byron almost immediately composes “The Sonnet of Chillon”. Blocked by heavy rain in his hotel in Ouchy, Byron completes and expands his work in early July. It will be published in December, on his return to England, under the title of “The Prisoner of Chillon and Other Poems.”
The composition and themes of this work are typically Byronian: a single man, who fights for freedom, faces adversity and great suffering: he has only his will to support it. Only nature and its beauties bring him some relief.