One February afternoon in the year 1822, about two o'clock,—for this is the hour at which his day begins,—"the most notorious personality of his century" arouses himself, in the Palazzo Lanfranchi at Pisa. George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron, languidly arises and dresses, with the assistance of his devoted valet Fletcher. Invariably he awakes in very low spirits, "in actual despair and despondency," he has termed it: this is in part constitutional, and partly, no doubt, a reaction after the feverish brain-work of the previous night. It is, at any rate, in unutterable melancholy and ennui that he surveys in the mirror that slight and graceful form, which had been idolised by London drawing-rooms, and that pale, scornful, beautiful face, "like a spirit, good or evil," which the enthusiastic Walter Scott has termed a thing to dream of. He notes the grey streaks already visible among his dark brown locks, and mutters his own lines miserably to himself,—
Through life's dull road, so dim and dirty,
I have dragg'd to three-and-thirty.
What have these years left to me?