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Gul and Bulbul: Persian Love in Byron


This essay examines the influence of Persian classical poetry on Byron’s understanding of melancholy in his Eastern tales. The article examines the idea that the melancholic heroines of the Eastern tales are inspired by the Persian motifs of the love of the rose and the nightingale along with the legendary Leili and Majnoun. The article goes on to propose that the melancholy characterising Byron’s Eastern tales may be understood in terms of a transition between Weltschmerz and amor hereos or love sickness. It suggests two primary sources for Byron’s information on Persian love-melancholy: Isaac D’Israeli’s translations of Mejnoun and Leila and Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy.