The First Vampire

Contrary to popular opinion, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is not the first English language vampire story. That credit goes to Lord George Gordon Byron, in 1813. His epic poem, The Giaour, has some chilling vampiric scenes that later authors, including Dr. Polidori, have applied to the legends.

Some folks credit Lord Byron’s personal physician with the first vampire novel when he published The Vampyre in 1819.

Excerpt from The Giaour

By Lord Byron

But thou, false Infidel, shalt writhe
Beneath avenging Monkir’s scythe;
And from its torment ‘scape alone
To wander round lost Eblis’ throne;
And fire unquench’d, unquenchable,
Around, within, thy heart shall dwell;
Nor ear can hear nor tongue can tell
The tortures of that inward hell!
But first, on earth as Vampire sent,
Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corse:
Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are wither’d on the stem.
But one that for thy crime must fall,
The youngest, most beloved of all,
Shall bless thee with a father’s name —
That word shall wrap thy heart in flame!
Yet must thou end thy task, and mark
Her cheek’s last tinge, her eye’s last spark,
And the last glassy glance must view
Which freezes o’er its lifeless blue;
Then with unhallow’d hand shalt tear
The tresses of her yellow hair,
Of which in life a lock when shorn,
Affection’s fondest pledge was worn,
But now is borne away by thee,
Memorial of thine agony!
Wet with thine own best blood shall drip
Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip;
Then stalking to thy sullen grave,
Go — and with gouls and Afrits rave;
Till these in horror shrink away
From spectre more accursed than they!

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