No one could have been more conscious of his public than Byron, but that consciousness did not inhibit the expression of emotion in his poetry. When Byron was writing, the poet's personal feelings had come to be regarded as the proper stuff of poetry. In his character as a man, however, he was often reticent in expressing his feelings. Cf. the account of his behaviour at the exhumation of Shelley's friend Williams:
'Byron's idle talk during the exhumation of Williams's remains did not proceed from want of feeling, but from his anxiety to conceal what he felt from others.... He had been taught during his town life, that any exhibition of sympathy or feeling was maudlin and unmanly, and that the appearance of daring and indifference denoted blood and high breeding' (Trelawny's Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron, ed. E. Dowden, 1906, p. 90).