Angry; peevish; fretful; melancholy.--Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, 1755
Birthday of Lord Byron (1788-1824),
English poet. Despite his enviable circumstances of wealth, rank, and literary acclaim, Byron was endowed with a melancholic disposition due in part to his childhood with emotionally unpredictable parents. His poetry was not universally admired, as is demonstrated by this unflattering passage from the memoirs of American president John Quincy Adams, published six years after Byron's death: "His versification is so destitute of sustained harmony, many of his thoughts are so strained, his sentiments so unamiable, his misanthropy so gloomy, his libertinism so shameless, his merriment such a grinning of a ghastly smile, that I have always believed his verses would rank with forgotten things." Byron's contempt for humanity, which helped him deflect criticism of his work, can be sensed in this couplet from Don Juan:Society is now one polish'd horde
Formed of two mighty tribes, the Bores and the Bored.
On the other hand, he had a cleft chin that was the envy of all.