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On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year Summary & Analysis
by Lord Byron

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“On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year” is the final poem of George Gordon, a.k.a. Lord Byron, composed privately in his journal when he was preparing to join the Greek war of independence in 1824. Writing on his 36th birthday, Byron renounces the youthful joys of love for its mature pains, choosing self-sacrifice over self-indulgence. This turn is mirrored in his choice to go to war: he has lived long enough to seek a collective good over his personal satisfaction or safety (though he’s still got his eye on the honor that choice can provide). Maturity, the poem suggests, is the brave acceptance of change, pain, and death—and the ability to transform those frightening experiences into glory.

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