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IN BRIEF

NONFICTION : Lord Byron's Rages

August 01, 1993

"The winter before Byron sailed for Greece, an English physician observed the poet's melancholy and reported that Byron had asked him, 'Which is the best and quickest poison?' His sudden and ungovernable rages, which had been part of his emotional makeup since childhood, and which had been especially pronounced during his year with Lady Byron, became more frequent and more furiously irrational. Moore noted that one of the grounds for the charges of insanity brought by Lady Byron against her husband, in addition to fears for her own safety, was the fact that Byron had taken an old watch that he loved and had had for years, and in 'a fit of vexation and rage . . . furiously dashed this watch upon the hearth, and ground it to pieces among the ashes with the poker.' "

From TOUCHED WITH FIRE

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