Byron has been read as an ironist and a nihilist with a 'scorn for metaphysics' (Harold
Bloom, The Visionary Company). Without letting go of the poet's characteristic scepticism
or aversion to systems, this article seeks to call into question such an unqualified
reading, tracing in Byron's verse an 'ecstatic logic' which is pervasive and consistent,
and which corresponds to traditional theological accounts of ekstasis. In considering the
poet's representation of ecstatic experience, the article also draws attention to related moments
of 'spiritual verticality' in his poetry, which complicate Camille Paglia's reading of
Byron as a poet of 'earthly horizontality'.