The narrative “beginning” of the four-part poem boils down to several lines about a flawlessly educated English youth from a very distinguished family, a secular dandy who, by nineteen years, was fed up with pleasures, disillusioned with the intellectual abilities of his countrymen, the charm of compatriots, and set off on a journey.
In the first song of the poem Childe visits Portugal and Spain, in the second – Albania, Greece, as well as Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. In the third song, after his return and a short stay in his homeland, Byron describes the presence of Childe in Belgium and Germany. For a long time he lingers in Switzerland. The fourth song is dedicated to the Byron hero’s journey through the cities of Italy.
The poet comes to the following conclusion: the military confrontation, bringing numerous sacrifices to the peoples, does not bring any liberation. The poem expresses longing and disappointment, which at that time is felt by the whole generation, exhausted by the era of the Great French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic wars that followed it. French philosophers called on the people to an unprecedented riot. Byron asks himself whether the path of retaliation is always justified, whether the fate of the seed of its own approaching defeat is not borne by fate in itself.
According to Byron, the key to human immortality is creativity, inspired and spiritualized. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the country of Italy, the cradle of universal human culture, is becoming the apotheosis of the entire Harold wanderings around the world. The humiliated destiny of the Italian people at the time of the so-called “Sacred Union” becomes for Byron a source of unabated mental anguish, as well as a stimulus to action. The poem itself, including the original image of its lyrical hero, is a symbol of the author’s faith, which bequeathed to both his contemporaries and descendants the stable principles of his life philosophy.