What is the central idea of the poem "When We Two Parted" By Byron?central idea of the poem

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Lord Byron's romantic poem "When We Parted Two" deals with the theme of forbidden love.  The first stanza introduces the two lovers, parting in "silence and tears" (2).  As the poem continues, the reader can conclude that the parting of the two lovers was on unhappy terms, based on some "deception" of the lover mentioned in the last stanza.  The speaker of the poem concludes that if they should meet again, he should only greet her with "silence and tears," echoing the phrase which described their parting. 

Byron would certainly understand about forbidden love.  This poem is most likely about his love affair with Lady Frances Webster.  Not only was she a married woman, but she was also the wife of one of his friends.  Later after their affair ended, Byron learned of Lady Frances' new affair with the Duke of Wellington, which could be the reason why the speaker of the poem claims:

"In silence I grieve

That thy heart could forget

Thy spirit deceive" (26-28). 

The speaker of the poem is clearly upset that his lover has parted from him and found a new conquest, as indicated by the line "thy heart could forget." If she remembered their forbidden love as well as he, she would not have found a new conquest. 

Lord Byron's poem "When We Two Parted" resonates with the bitterness of an ended love affair.


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