Childe Harold's Pilgrimage | Study Guide

Lord Byron

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Childe Harold's Pilgrimage | Plot Summary

See Plot Diagram


To Ianthe

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage begins with an ode to a beautiful girl he names Ianthe. Childe Harold remarks on the girl's beauty and young age and notes that she has her life before her. He states that he writes the ode so that she will always be remembered in his words.

Canto 1

The narrator introduces Childe Harold as a sinful young man who was ostracized from society in his native England. Childe Harold decides to leave home without telling anyone and boards a ship to find adventures. He sails to Portugal and then travels by land to explore Spain and visit battlefields before leaving the country.

Canto 2

Childe Harold visits Greece and speaks to the ancient Greek gods while visiting their ruined temples. He leaves the country by ship and thinks about loneliness and women.

Childe Harold meets Ali Pasha (1741–1822) a warlord in Albania. Ali Pasha tells him stories of wars and conquering nearby areas to add to his territory. Childe Harold again laments the historical wars in Greece.

Canto 3

Childe Harold misses his daughter Ada and wants to see her again. He travels to Waterloo in Belgium and thinks about the battle that happened there and then visits Germany and reflects on the battles in that country.

He stays in Switzerland for a while and describes the scenery of the mountain and lakes. He feels safe in Switzerland though he still misses Ada.

Canto 4

Childe Harold visits Venice, Italy, and describes the city. He visits tombs of famous poets in Arqua, Italy, and Ferrara, Italy, then travels to Rome, Italy. He spends time in Rome and describes the history of the city. Childe Harold reflects on his life and the sadness and loneliness he feels.

The narrator states that Childe Harold is dying. He describes the beauty and power of the ocean before bidding farewell to anyone who has followed Childe Harold's story.

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage Plot Diagram

Falling ActionRising ActionResolutionClimax123456789101112Introduction


1 Childe Harold leaves England.

Rising Action

2 Childe Harold visits battlefields in Spain.

3 Childe Harold speaks to the ancient Greek gods at the ruined temples.

4 Ali Pasha tells Childe Harold stories of his conquests.

5 Childe Harold visits battlefields in Belgium and Germany.

6 Childe Harold finds a haven in Switzerland.

7 Childe Harold visits Venice, Italy.

8 Childe Harold visits Rome, Italy.


9 Childe Harold reflects on his own life and his loneliness.

Falling Action

10 Childe Harold is dying.

11 The narrator describes the power of the ocean.


12 The narrator bids farewell to Childe Harold's followers.

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