A 19th European century bronze statue of Lord Byron depicted as Leander holding a scroll in his right hand and leaning with his left hand on what appears to be a supporting “boot” for his club foot. Circa 1830.
Inscription in Greek on the circular base: ὴρόω θερισωγ
This finely cast bronze figure is an interesting portrayal of Byron both as a mythical hero and a man with human frailties.
In the Greek myth Leander, a young man from Abyos fell in love with Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite, who lived in a tower in Sestos, and every night he swam across the Hellespont to meet her in secret. One night there was a big storm and the light which guided him across the sea went out and he drowned much to Hero’s great sorrow. On the 3rd May 1810 Byron succeeded in swimming the tumultuous Hellespont strait thereby emulating Leander’s mythical feat of strength which he celebrated in a poem entitled “Written after swimming from Sestos to Abydos” (10th May 1810)
The inscription on the base translated as ‘I reap the Harvest’ is a possible allusion to a stanza in Byron’s narrative poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, (1812-1818)
‘The thorns which I have reap'd are of the tree
I planted; they have torn me, and I bleed.
I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed’.
(Canto IV, stanza 20)