Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by Lord Byron. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage is a lengthy narrative poem in four parts written by Lord Byron. It was published between 1812 and 1818 and is dedicated to "Ianthe." The poem describes the travels and reflections of a world-weary young man who, disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry, looks for distraction in foreign lands. In a wider sense, it is an expression of the melancholy and disillusionment felt by a generation weary of the wars of the post-Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The title comes from the term childe, a medieval title for a young man who was a candidate for knighthood. Childe Harold became a vehicle for Byron's own beliefs and ideas, but in the preface to canto four Byron complains that his readers conflate him and Child Harold too much, so he will not speak of Harold as much in the final canto. According to Jerome McGann, by masking himself behind a literary artifice, Byron was able to express his view that "man's greatest tragedy is that he can conceive of a perfection which he cannot attain."