Poem – To M

Oh! did those eyes, instead of fire,

With bright, but mild affection shine:

Though they might kindle less desire,

Love, more than mortal, would be thine.
For thou art form’d so heavenly fair,

Howe’er those orbs may wildly beam,

We must admire, but still despair;

That fatal glance forbids esteem.
When Nature stamp’d thy beauteous birth,

So much perfection in thee shone,

She fear’d that, too divine for earth,

The skies might claim thee for their own.
Therefore, to guard her dearest work,

Lest angels might dispute the prize,

She bade a secret lightning lurk,

Within those once celestial eyes.
These might the boldest Sylph appall,

When gleaming with meridian blaze;

Thy beauty must enrapture all;

But who can dare thine ardent gaze?
‘Tis said that Berenice’s hair,

In stars adorns the vault of heaven;

But they would ne’er permit thee there,

Who wouldst so far outshine the seven.
For did those eyes as planets roll,

Thy sister-lights would scarce appear:

E’en suns, which systems now control,

Would twinkle dimly through their sphere. 

Poem – To Lord Thurlow

‘I lay my branch of laurel down. 

Then thus to form Apollo’s crown. 

Let every other bring his own.’~Lord Thurlow’s lines to Mr. Rogers

‘I lay my branch of laurel down.’

Thou ‘lay thy branch of laurel down!’

Why, what thou’st stole is not enow;

And, were it lawfully thine own,

Does Rogers want it most, or thou?

Keep to thyself thy wither’d bough, 

Or send it back to Doctor Donne:

Were justice done to both, I trow,

He’d have but little, and thou-none.
‘Then thus to form Apollo’s crown.’

A crown! why, twist it how you will,

Thy chaplet must be foolscap still. 

When next you visit Delphi’s town,

Inquire amongst your fellow-lodgers,

They’ll tell you Phoebus gave his crown,

Some years before your birth, to Rogers.
‘Let every other bring his own.’

When coals to Newcastle are carried,

And owls sent to Athens, as wonders,

From his spouse when the R egent’s un­married, 

Or Liverpool weeps o’er his blunders;

When Tories and Whigs cease to quarrel,

When Castlereagh’s wife has an heir,

Then Rogers shall ask us for laurel,

And thou shalt have plenty to spare. 

Poem – To Lesbia

Lesbia! since far from you I’ve ranged,

Our souls with fond affection glow not;

You say ’tis I, not you, have changed,

I’d tell you why,–but yet I know not.
Your polish’d brow no cares have crost;

And, Lesbia! we are not much older,

Since, trembling, first my heart I lost,

Or told my love, with hope grown bolder
Sixteen was then our utmost age,

Two years have lingering past away, love!

And now new thoughts our minds engage,

At least I feel disposed to stray, love!
‘Tis I that am alone to blame,

I, that am guilty of love’s treason;

Since your sweet breast is still the same,

Caprice must be my only reason.
I do not, love! suspect your truth,

With jealous doubt my bosom heaves not;

Warm was the passion of my youth,

One trace of dark deceit it leaves not.
No, no, my flame was not pretended,

For, Oh! I loved you most sincerely;

And–though our dream at last is ended–

My bosom still esteems you dearly.
No more we meet in yonder bowers;

Absence has made me prone to roving;

But older, firmer hearts than ours

Have found monotony in loving.
Your cheek’s soft bloom is unimpeair’d,

New beauties still are daily bright’ning,

Your eye for conquest beams prepared,

The forge of love’s resistless lightning.
Arm’d thus, to make their bosoms bleed,

Many will throng to sigh like me, love!

More constant they may prove, indeed;

Fonder, alas! they ne’er can be, love! 

Poem – To George Earl Delwarr 

Oh! yes, I will own we were dear to each other;

The friendships of childhood, though fleeting are true;

The love which you felt was the love of a brother,

Nor less the affection I cherish’d for you.
But Friendship can vary her gentle dominion;

The attachment of years in a moment expires:

Like Love, too, she moves on a swift-waving pinion,

But glows not, like Love, with unquenchable fires.
Full oft have we wander’d through Ida together,

And blest were the scenes of our youth, I allow:

In the spring of our life, how serene is the weather!

But winter’s rude tempests are gathering now.
No more with affection shall memory blending,

The wonted delights of our childhood retrace:

When pride steels the bosom, the heart is unbending,

And what would be Justice appears a disgrace.
However, dear George, for I still must esteem you;

The few whom I love I can never upbraid:

The chance which has lost may in future redeem you,

Repentance will cancel the vow you have made.
I will not complain, and though chill’d is affection,

With me no corroding resentment shall live:

My bosom is calm’d by the simple reflection,

That both may be wrong, and that both should forgive.
You knew that my soul, that my heart, my existence,

If danger demanded, were wholly your own.

You knew me unalter’d by years or by distance

Devoted to love and to friendship alone.
You knew – but away with the vain retropection!

The bond of affection no longer endures;

Too late you may droop o’er the fond recollection,

And sigh for the friend who was formerly yours.
For the present, we part,–I will hope not for ever;

For time and regret will restore you at last:

To forget our dimension we both should endeavour,

I ask no atonement, but days like the past. 

Poem – To Florence 

Oh Lady! when I left the shore,

The distant shore which gave me birth,

I hardly thought to grieve once more

To quit another spot on earth:
Yet here, amidst this barren isle, 

Where panting Nature droops the head,

Where only thou art seen to smile,

I view my parting hour with dread.
Though far from Albin’s craggy shore,

Divided by the dark?blue main; 

A few, brief, rolling seasons o’er,

Perchance I view her cliffs again:
But wheresoe’er I now may roam,

Through scorching clime, and varied sea, 

Though Time restore me to my home,

I ne’er shall bend mine eyes on thee:
On thee, in whom at once conspire

All charms which heedless hearts can move,

Whom but to see is to admire, 

And, oh! forgive the word – to love.
Forgive the word, in one who ne’er

With such a word can more offend;

And since thy heart I cannot share,

Believe me, what I am, thy friend.
And who so cold as look on thee,

Thou lovely wand’rer, and be less?

Nor be, what man should ever be,

The friend of Beauty in distress?
Ah! who would think that form had past

Through Danger’s most destructive path

Had braved the death?wing’d tempest’s blast,

And ‘scaped a tyrant’s fiercer wrath?
Lady! when I shall view the walls

Where free Byzantium once arose,

And Stamboul’s Oriental halls

The Turkish tyrants now enclose;
Though mightiest in the lists of fame,

That glorious city still shall be;

On me ’twill hold a dearer claim,

As spot of thy nativity:
And though I bid thee now farewell,

When I behold that wondrous scene,

Since where thou art I may not dwell,

‘Twill soothe to be where thou hast been.
September 1809. 

Francisca – George Gordon Byron

Francisca walks in the shadow of night, 

But it is not to gaze on the heavenly light – 

But if she sits in her garden bower, 

‘Tis not for the sake of its blowing flower. 

She listens – but not for the nightingale – 

Though her ear expects as soft a tale. 

There winds a step through the foliage thick, 

And her cheek grows pale, and her heart beats quick. 

There whispers a voice thro’ the rustling leaves; 

A moment more and they shall meet – 

‘Tis past – her lover’s at her feet.

Don Juan – George Gordon Byron

Difficile est proprie communia dicere 

HOR. Epist. ad PisonI 

Bob Southey! You’re a poet–Poet-laureate, 

And representative of all the race; 

Although ’tis true that you turn’d out a Tory at 

Last–yours has lately been a common case; 

And now, my Epic Renegade! what are ye at? 

With all the Lakers, in and out of place? 

A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye 

Like “four and twenty Blackbirds in a pye;II 

“Which pye being open’d they began to sing” 

(This old song and new simile holds good), 

“A dainty dish to set before the King,” 

Or Regent, who admires such kind of food; 

And Coleridge, too, has lately taken wing, 

But like a hawk encumber’d with his hood, 

Explaining Metaphysics to the nation– 

I wish he would explain his Explanation.III 
You, Bob! are rather insolent, you know, 

At being disappointed in your wish 

To supersede all warblers here below, 

And be the only Blackbird in the dish; 

And then you overstrain yourself, or so, 

And tumble downward like the flying fish 

Gasping on deck, because you soar too high, Bob, 

And fall, for lack of moisture quite a-dry, Bob!IV 
And Wordsworth, in a rather long “Excursion” 

(I think the quarto holds five hundred pages), 

Has given a sample from the vasty version 

Of his new system to perplex the sages; 

‘Tis poetry–at least by his assertion, 

And may appear so when the dog-star rages– 

And he who understands it would be able 

To add a story to the Tower of Babel.V 
You–Gentlemen! by dint of long seclusion 

From better company, have kept your own 

At Keswick, and, through still continu’d fusion 

Of one another’s minds, at last have grown 

To deem as a most logical conclusion, 

That Poesy has wreaths for you alone: 

There is a narrowness in such a notion, 

Which makes me wish you’d change your lakes for Ocean.VI 
I would not imitate the petty thought, 

Nor coin my self-love to so base a vice, 

For all the glory your conversion brought, 

Since gold alone should not have been its price. 

You have your salary; was’t for that you wrought? 

And Wordsworth has his place in the Excise. 

You’re shabby fellows–true–but poets still, 

And duly seated on the Immortal Hill.VII 
Your bays may hide the baldness of your brows– 

Perhaps some virtuous blushes–let them go– 

To you I envy neither fruit nor boughs– 

And for the fame you would engross below, 

The field is universal, and allows 

Scope to all such as feel the inherent glow: 

Scott, Rogers, Campbell, Moore and Crabbe, will try 

‘Gainst you the question with posterity.VIII 
For me, who, wandering with pedestrian Muses, 

Contend not with you on the winged steed, 

I wish your fate may yield ye, when she chooses, 

The fame you envy, and the skill you need; 

And, recollect, a poet nothing loses 

In giving to his brethren their full meed 

Of merit, and complaint of present days 

Is not the certain path to future praise.IX 
He that reserves his laurels for posterity 

(Who does not often claim the bright reversion) 

Has generally no great crop to spare it, he 

Being only injur’d by his own assertion; 

And although here and there some glorious rarity 

Arise like Titan from the sea’s immersion, 

The major part of such appellants go 

To–God knows where–for no one else can know.X 
If, fallen in evil days on evil tongues, 

Milton appeal’d to the Avenger, Time, 

If Time, the Avenger, execrates his wrongs, 

And makes the word “Miltonic” mean ” sublime ,” 

He deign’d not to belie his soul in songs, 

Nor turn his very talent to a crime; 

He did not loathe the Sire to laud the Son, 

But clos’d the tyrant-hater he begun.XI 
Think’st thou, could he–the blind Old Man–arise 

Like Samuel from the grave, to freeze once more 

The blood of monarchs with his prophecies 

Or be alive again–again all hoar 

With time and trials, and those helpless eyes, 

And heartless daughters–worn–and pale–and poor; 

Would he adore a sultan? he obey 

The intellectual eunuch Castlereagh?XII 
Cold-blooded, smooth-fac’d, placid miscreant! 

Dabbling its sleek young hands in Erin’s gore, 

And thus for wider carnage taught to pant, 

Transferr’d to gorge upon a sister shore, 

The vulgarest tool that Tyranny could want, 

With just enough of talent, and no more, 

To lengthen fetters by another fix’d, 

And offer poison long already mix’d.XIII 
An orator of such set trash of phrase 

Ineffably–legitimately vile, 

That even its grossest flatterers dare not praise, 

Nor foes–all nations–condescend to smile, 

Not even a sprightly blunder’s spark can blaze 

From that Ixion grindstone’s ceaseless toil, 

That turns and turns to give the world a notion 

Of endless torments and perpetual motion.XIV 

A bungler even in its disgusting trade, 

And botching, patching, leaving still behind 

Something of which its masters are afraid, 

States to be curb’d, and thoughts to be confin’d, 

Conspiracy or Congress to be made– 

Cobbling at manacles for all mankind– 

A tinkering slave-maker, who mends old chains, 

With God and Man’s abhorrence for its gains.XV 

If we may judge of matter by the mind, 

Emasculated to the marrow It 

Hath but two objects, how to serve, and bind, 

Deeming the chain it wears even men may fit, 

Eutropius of its many masters, blind 

To worth as freedom, wisdom as to Wit, 

Fearless–because no feeling dwells in ice, 

Its very courage stagnates to a vice.XVI 

Where shall I turn me not to view its bonds, 

For I will never feel them?–Italy! 

Thy late reviving Roman soul desponds 

Beneath the lie this State-thing breath’d o’er thee– 

Thy clanking chain, and Erin’s yet green wounds, 

Have voices–tongues to cry aloud for me. 

Europe has slaves–allies–kings–armies still, 

And Southey lives to sing them very ill.XVII 

Meantime–Sir Laureate–I proceed to dedicate, 

In honest simple verse, this song to you, 

And, if in flattering strains I do not predicate, 

‘Tis that I still retain my “buff and blue”; 

My politics as yet are all to educate: 

Apostasy’s so fashionable, too, 

To keep one creed’s a task grown quite Herculean; 

Is it not so, my Tory, ultra-Julian?