Their relationship was the talk of the town, scandalizing and captivating 19th century London. For months, the beautiful (and married) Lady Caroline Lamb and the famous Lord Byron they had made no attempt to hide their passion for each other, flaunting their relationship at the theaters, balls, and salons where high society congregated.

When, after five months, Lady Caroline felt that her lover had tired of her, she pursued a bold strategy to win him back. He sent Lord Byron a gold locket. When he opened it, he found her teenage hair inside along with a note that said: “I’ll kneel down and tear you off your feet before I hand you over,” signing off as a “wild antelope.”

You might think that today’s oversexed, flamboyant and bad-ass celebrities are a 21st-century phenomenon, but their bad behavior pales in comparison to that of Lord Byron, the brilliant and philhellenic poet who today would be described as a man addicted to sex. He had countless lovers, while he had a child with his half-sister.

Byron’s charm, good looks and reputation meant he effortlessly seduced any attractive woman or man he encountered, from married aristocrats to innocent maids.

In just three years he claimed to have slept with 200 people and often referred to his sexual adventures in his poetry, according to a compelling new biography, ‘Byron: A Life In Ten Letters’ by Andrew Stauffer, marking the 200th anniversary of his death. his death.

What was it that made Lord Byron so “crazy, evil and dangerous”as Lady Caroline Lamb described him? His compulsive sexual behavior likely stemmed from the sexually abused as a young child by his nanny May Gray;, which began when she was nine and continued for two years, until she was discovered and fired. When she wasn’t pushing him, Gray supervised his Bible studies and spanked him if he misbehaved. Given all this, it is no wonder that Lord Byron grew up without an understanding of boundaries.

His friends saw a different side of him and not a brooding, satanic figure, but a cheerful and good-natured man, often witty and playful. One of his deepest and most important friendships was with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, Mary.

There is no doubt that Byron exploited and cruelly rejected many women, especially during his years in Venice. Yet for all his chaotic private life, Byron wrote some of the most wonderful poems of the 19th century. And near the end of his life he fell deeply in love with a woman to whom he was, after all, faithful.

Lord Byron