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

Dedication
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?

Don Juan – George Gordon Byron

Canto The First 

I want a hero: an uncommon want, 

When every year and month sends forth a new one, 

Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant, 

The age discovers he is not the true one; 

Of such as these I should not care to vaunt, 

I’ll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan, 

We all have seen him, in the pantomime, 

Sent to the Devil somewhat ere his time.II 

Vernon, the butcher Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke, 

Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppel, Howe, 

Evil and good, have had their tithe of talk, 

And filled their sign-posts then, like Wellesley now; 

Each in their turn like Banquo’s monarchs stalk, 

Followers of fame, “nine farrow” of that sow: 

France, too, had Buonaparté and Dumourier 

Recorded in the Moniteur and Courier.III 

Barnave, Brissot, Condorcet, Mirabeau, 
Pétion, Clootz, Danton, Marat, La Fayette 

Were French, and famous people, as we know; 

And there were others, scarce forgotten yet, 

Joubert, Hoche, Marceau, Lannes, Desaix, Moreau, 

With many of the military set, 

Exceedingly remarkable at times, 

But not at all adapted to my rhymes.IV 

Nelson was once Britannia’s god of War, 
And still should be so, but the tide is turn’d; 

There’s no more to be said of Trafalgar, 

‘Tis with our hero quietly inurn’d; 

Because the army’s grown more popular, 

At which the naval people are concern’d; 

Besides, the Prince is all for the land-service, 

Forgetting Duncan, Nelson, Howe, and Jervis.V 

Brave men were living before Agamemnon 
And since, exceeding valorous and sage, 

A good deal like him too, though quite the same none; 

But then they shone not on the poet’s page, 

And so have been forgotten: I condemn none, 

But can’t find any in the present age 

Fit for my poem (that is, for my new one); 

So, as I said, I’ll take my friend Don Juan.VI 

Most epic poets plunge “in medias res” 
(Horace makes this the heroic turnpike road), 

And then your hero tells, whene’er you please, 

What went before–by way of episode, 

While seated after dinner at his ease, 

Beside his mistress in some soft abode, 

Palace, or garden, paradise, or cavern, 

Which serves the happy couple for a tavern.VII 

That is the usual method, but not mine– 
My way is to begin with the beginning; 

The regularity of my design 

Forbids all wandering as the worst of sinning, 

And therefore I shall open with a line 

(Although it cost me half an hour in spinning), 

Narrating somewhat of Don Juan’s father, 

And also of his mother, if you’d rather….CC 

My poem’s epic, and is meant to be 
Divided in twelve books; each book containing, 

With love, and war, a heavy gale at sea, 

A list of ships, and captains, and kings reigning, 

New characters; the episodes are three: 

A panoramic view of Hell’s in training, 

After the style of Virgil and of Homer, 

So that my name of Epic’s no misnomer.CCI 

All these things will be specified in time, 
With strict regard to Aristotle’s rules, 

The Vade Mecum of the true sublime, 

Which makes so many poets, and some fools: 

Prose poets like blank-verse, I’m fond of rhyme, 

Good workmen never quarrel with their tools; 

I’ve got new mythological machinery, 

And very handsome supernatural scenery.CCII 

There’s only one slight difference between 
Me and my epic brethren gone before, 

And here the advantage is my own, I ween, 

(Not that I have not several merits more, 

But this will more peculiarly be seen); 

They so embellish, that ’tis quite a bore 

Their labyrinth of fables to thread through, 

Whereas this story’s actually true.CCIII 

If any person doubt it, I appeal 
To history, tradition, and to facts, 

To newspapers, whose truth all know and feel, 

To plays in five, and operas in three acts; 

All these confirm my statement a good deal, 

But that which more completely faith exacts 

Is, that myself, and several now in Seville, 

Saw Juan’s last elopement with the Devil.CCIV 

If ever I should condescend to prose, 
I’ll write poetical commandments, which 

Shall supersede beyond all doubt all those 

That went before; in these I shall enrich 

My text with many things that no one knows, 

And carry precept to the highest pitch: 

I’ll call the work “Longinus o’er a Bottle, 

Or, Every Poet his own Aristotle.”CCV 

Thou shalt believe in Milton, Dryden, Pope; 
Thou shalt not set up Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey; 

Because the first is craz’d beyond all hope, 

The second drunk, the third so quaint and mouthy: 

With Crabbe it may be difficult to cope, 

And Campbell’s Hippocrene is somewhat drouthy: 

Thou shalt not steal from Samuel Rogers, nor 

Commit–flirtation with the muse of Moore.CCVI 

Thou shalt not covet Mr. Sotheby’s Muse, 

His Pegasus, nor anything that’s his; 

Thou shalt not bear false witness like “the Blues” 

(There’s one, at least, is very fond of this); 

Thou shalt not write, in short, but what I choose: 

This is true criticism, and you may kiss– 

Exactly as you please, or not–the rod; 

But if you don’t, I’ll lay it on, by G{-}d!

She Walks In Beauty – George Gordon Byron

She walks in Beauty, like the night 

Of cloudless climes and starry skies; 

And all that’s best of dark and bright 

Meet in her aspect and her eyes: 

Thus mellowed to that tender light 

Which Heaven to gaudy day denies. 
One shade the more, one ray the less, 

Had half impaired the nameless grace 

Which waves in every raven tress, 

Or softly lightens o’er her face; 

Where thoughts serenely sweet express, 

How pure, how dear their dwelling-place. 
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow, 

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent, 

The smiles that win, the tints that glow, 

But tell of days in goodness spent, 

A mind at peace with all below, 

A heart whose love is innocent!

Poem – Childish Recollections – George Gordon Byron

‘I cannot but remember such things were, 

And were most dear to me.’ 
WHEN slow Disease, with all her host of pains, 

Chills the warm, tide which flows along the veins 

When Health,affrighted, spreads her rosy wing, 

And flies with every changing gale of spring; 

Not to the aching frame alone confined, 

Unyielding pangs avail the drooping mind: 

What grisly forms, the spectre-train of woe, 

Bid shuddering Nature shrink beneath the blow 

With Resignaion wage relentless strife, 

While Hope retires appall’d, and clings to life! 

Yet less the pang when, through the tedious hour, 

Remembrance sheds around her genial power, 

Calls back the vanish’d days to rapture given, 

When love was bliss, and Beauty form’d our heaven; 

Or, dear to youth, portrays each childish scene, 

Those farry bowers, where all in turn have been. 

As when through clouds that pour the sumrner storm 

The orb of day unveils his distant form, 

Gilds with faiht beams the crystal dews of rain, 

And dimly twinkles o’er the watery plain; 

Thus, while the future dark and cheerless gleams 

The sun of memory, glowing through my drearns 

Though sunk’ the radiance of his former blaze, 

To scenes far distant points his paler rays; 

Still rules my senses with unbounded sway, 

The past confounding with the present day. 
Oft does my heart indulge the rising thought, 

Which still recurs, uniook’d for and Unsought 

My soul to Fancy’s fond suggestion yields, 

And roams romantic o’er her airy fields. 

Scenes of my youth, developed, crowd to view, 

To which I long have bade a last adieu! 

Seats of delight, inspiring youthful themes; 

Friends lost to me for aye, except in dreams; 

Some who in marble prematurely sleep. 

Whose forms I now remember but to weep; 

Some who yet urge the same scholastic course 

Of early science, future fame the source; 

Who, still contending in the studious race, 

In quick rotation fill the senior place. 

These with a thousand visions now unite, 

To dazzle, though they please, my aching sight 

Ida blest spot, where science holds her reign, 

How joyous once I join’d thv youthful train! 

Bright in idea gleams thy lofty spire, 

Again I mingle with thy playful quire; 

Our tricks of mischief, every childish game, 

Unchanged by time or distance, seem the same. 

Through winding paths along the glade, I trace 

The social smile of every welcome face; 

My wonted haunts, my scenes of joy and woe, 

Each early boyish friend, or youthful foe, 

Our feuds dissolved, but not my friendship past,- 

I bless the former and forgive the last. 

Hours of my youth! when, nurtured in my breast, 

To love a stranger, friendship made me blest 

Friendship, the dear peculiar bond of youth 

When every artless bosom throbs with truth 

Untaught my worldly wisdom how to feign, 

And check each impulse with prudential rein; 

When all we feel, our honest souls disclose 

In love to friends, in open hate to toes; 

No varnish’d tales the lips of youth repeat, 

No dear-bought knowledge purchased by deceit, 

Hypocrisy, the gift of lengthen’d years, 

Matured by age, the garb of prudence wears. 

When now the boy is ripen’d into man, 

His careful sire chalks forth some wary plan; 

Instructs his son from candour’s path to shrink, 

Smoothly to speak, and cauautiously to think; 

Still to assent, and never to deny – 

A patron’s praise can well reward the lie: 

And who, when Fortune’s warning voice is heard, 

Would lose his opening prospects for a word, 

Although against that word his heart rebel, 

And truth indignant all his bosom swell. 
Away with themes like this! not mine the task 

From flattering friends to tear the hateful mask; 

Let keener bards delight in satire’s sting; 

My fancy soars not on Detraction’s wing: 

Once, and but once, she aim’d a deadly blow, 

To hurl defiance on a secret foe; 

But when that foe, from feeling or from shame, 

The cause unknown, yet still to me the same, 

Warn’d by some friendly hint, perchance, retired, 

With this submission all her rage expired. 

From dreaded pangs that feeble foe to save, 

She hush’d her young resentment, and forgave; 

Or, my muse a pedant’s portrait drew, 

POMPOSUS’ virtues are but known to few: 

I never fear’d the young usurper’s nod, 

And he who wields must sometimes feel the rod. 

If since on Granta’s failings, known to all 

Who share the converse of a college hall, 

She sometimes trifled in a lighter strain, 

‘Tis past, and thus she will not sin again; 

Soon must her early song for ever cease, 

And all may rsii when I shall rest in peace. 
Here first remember’d be the joyous band, 

Who hail’d me chief, obedient to command; 

Who join’d with rne in every boyish sport – 

Their first adviser, and their last resort; 

Nor shrunk beneath the upstart pedant’s frown, 

Or all the sable glories of his gown; 

Who, thus transplanted from his father’s school – 

Unfit to govern, ignorant of rule – 

Succeeded him, whom all unite to praise, 

The dear preceptor of my early days! 

PROBUS, the pride of science,and the boast, 

To IDA now, alas! for ever lost, 

With him, for years, we search’d the classic page, 

And fear’d the master, though we loved the sage: 

Retired at last’ his small yet peacefull seat 

From learning’s labour is the blest retreat, 

POMPOSUS fills his magisterial chair; 

POMPOSUS governs,- but, my muse, forbear: 

Contempt, in silence, be the pedant’s lot; 

His name and precepts be alike forgot; 

No more his mention shall my verse degrade 

To him my tribute is already paid. 
High through those elms, with hoary branches crown’d, 

Fair Ida’s bower adorns the landscape round; 

There Science, from her favour’d seat, surveys 

The vale where rural Nature claims her praise; 

To her awhile resigns her youthful train, 

Who move in joy, and dance along the plain. 

In scatter’d groups each favour’d haunt pursue, 

Repeat old pastimes, and discover new; 

Flush’d with his rays, beneath the noon-tide sun, 

In rival bands, between the wickets run, 

Drive o’er the sward the ball with active force, 

Or chase with nimble feet its rapid course. 

But these with slower steps direct their way, 

Where Brent’s cool waves in limpid currents stray; 

While yonder few search out some green retreat 

And arbours shade them from the summer heat: 

Others, again, a pert and lively crew, 

Some rough and thoughtless stranger placed in view, 

With frolic quaint their antic jests expose, 

And tease the grumbling rustic as he goes; 

Nor rest with this, but many a passing fray 

Tradition treasures for a future day: 

‘Twas here the gather’d swains for vengeance fought, 

And here we earn’d the conquest dearly bought; 

Here have we fled before superior might, 

And here renew’d the wild tumultuous fight.’ 

While thus our souls with early passions swell 

In lingering tones resounds the distant bell, 

Th’ allotted hour of daily sport is o’er, 

And Learning beckons from her temple’s door. 

No splendid tablets grace her simple hall, 

But ruder records fill the dusky wall; 

There, deeply carved, behold! each tyro’s name 

Secures its owner’s academic fame; 

Here mingling view the names of sire and son – 

The one long graved, the other just begun: 

These shall survive alike when son and sire 

Beneath one common stroke of fate expire; 

Perhaps their last memorial these alone, 

Denied in death a monumental stone, 

Whilst to the gale in mournful cadence wave 

The sighing weeds that hide their nameless grave. 

And here my name, and many an early friend’s, 

Along the wall in lengthen’d line extends. 

Though still our deeds amuse the youthful race, 

Who tread our steps, and fill our former place, 

Who young obey’d their lords in silent awe, 

Whose nod commanded, and whose voice was law; 

And now, in turn, possess the reins of power, 

To rule, the little tyrants of an hour; 

Though sometimes, with the tales of ancient day, 

They pass the dreary winter’s eve away — 

‘And thus our former rulers stemm’d the tide, 

And thus they dealt the combat side by side; 

Just in this place the mouldering walls they scaled, 

Nor bolts nor bars against their strength avail’d; 

Here PROBUS came, the rising fray to quell, 

And here he falter’d forth his last farewell; 

And here one night abroad they dared to roam, 

While bold POMPOSUS bravely stay’d at home;’ 

While thus they speak, the hour must soon arrive, 

When names of these, like ours, alone survive: 

Yet a few years, one general wreck will whelm 

The faint remembrance of our fairy realm. 
Dear honest race! though now we meet no more, 

One last long look on what we were before — 

Our first kind greetings, and our last adieu – 

Drew tears from eyes unused to weep with you. 

Through splendid circles, fashion’s gaudy world, 

Where folly’s glaring standard waves unfurl’d, 

I plunged to drown in noise my fond regret, 

And all I sought or hoped was to forget. 

Vain wish! if chance some well-remember’d face, 

Some old companion of my early race, 

Advanced to claim his friend with honest joy, 

My eyes, my heart, proclaim’d me still a boy; 

The glittering scene, the fluttering groups around’ 

Were quite forgotten when my friend was found; 

The smiles of beauty–(for, alas! I’ve known 

What ’tis to bend before Love’s mighty throne)– 

The smiles of beauty, though those smiles were dear, 

Could hardly charm me, when that friend was near; 

My thoughts bewilder’d in the fond surprise, 

The woods of IDA danced before my eyes; 

I saw the sprightly wand’rers pour along, 

I saw and join’d again the joyous throng; 

Panting, again I traced her lofty grove, 

And friendship’s feelings triumph’d over love. 

Yet why should I alone with such delight 

Retrace the circuit of my former flight? 

Is there no cause beyond the common claim 

Endear’d to all in childhood’s very name? 

Ah! sure some stronger impulse vibrates here, 

Which whispers friendship will be doubly dear 

To one who thus for kindred hearts must roam, 

And seek abroad the love denied at home. 

Those hearts, dear IDA, have I found in thee– 

A home, a worid, a paradise to me. 

Stern Death forbade my orphan youth to share 

The tender guidance of a father’s care. 

Can rank, or e’en a guardian’s name supply 

The love which glistens in a father’s eye? 

For this can wealth or title’s sound atone, 

Made, by a parent’s early loss, my own? 

What brother springs a brother’s love to seek? 

What sister’s gentle kiss has prest my cheek? 

For me how dull the vacant moments rise, 

To no fond bosom link’d by kindred ties! 

Oft in the progress of some fleeting dream 

Fraternal smiles collected round me seem; 

While still the visions to my heart are prest, 

The voice of love will murmur in my rest: 

I hear-I wake-and in the sound rejoice; 

I hear again,-but, ah! no brother’s voice. 

A hermit, ‘midst of crowds, I fain must stray 

Alone, though thousand pilgrims fill the way; 

While these a thousand kindred wreaths entwine 

I cannot call one single blossom mine: 

What then remains? in solitude to groan, 

To mix in friendship, or to sigh alone. 

Thus must I cling to some endearing hand, 

And none more dear than IDA’S social band. 

Alonzo! best and dearest of my friends, 

Thy name ennobles him who thus commends; 

From this fond tribute thou canst gain no praise; 

The praise as his who now that tribute pays. 

Oh! in the promise of thy early youth, 

If hope anticipate the words of truth, 

Some loftier bard shall sing thy glorious name, 

To build his own upon thy deathless fame. 

Friend of my heart, and foremost of the list 

Of those with whom I lived supremely blest, 

Oft have we drain’d the font of ancient lore; 

Though drinking deeply, thirsting still the more. 

Yet, when confinement’s lingering hour was done, 

Our sports, our studies, and our souls were one: 

Together we impell’d the flying ball; 

Together waited in our tutor’s hall; 

Together join’d in cricket’s manly toil, 

Or shared the produce of the river’s spoil; 

Or, plunging from the green declining shore, 

Our pliant limbs the buoyant billows bore; 

In every element, unchanged, the same, 

All, all that brothers should be, but the name. 
Nor yet are you forgot, my jocund boy! 

DAVUS, the harbinger of childish joy; 

For ever foremost in the ranks of fun, 

The laughing herald of the harmless pun; 

Yet with a breast of such materials made– 

Anxious to please, of pleasing half afraid; 

Candid and liberal, with a heart of steel 

In danger’s path, though not untaught to feel. 

Sill I remember, in the factious strife, 

The rustic’s musket aim’d against my life: 

High pois’d in air the massy weapon hung, 

A cry of horror burst from every tongue; 

Whilst I, in combat with another foe, 

Fought on, unconscious of th’ impending blow; 

Your arm, brave boy, arrested his career– 

Forward you sprung, insensible to fear; 

Disarm’d and baffled by your conquering hand, 

Thc grovelling savage roll’d upon,the sand: 

An act like this, can simple thanks repay? 

Or all the labours of a grateful lay? 

Oh no! whene’er my breast forgets the deed, 

That instant, DAVUS, it deserves to bleed. 
LYCUS! on me thy claims are justly great: 

Thy milder virtues could my muse relate, 

To thee alone, unrivall’d would belong. 

The feeble efforts of my lengthen’d song. 

Well canst thou boast, to lead in senates fit, 

A Spartan firmness with Athenian wit: 

Though yet in embryo these perfections shine, 

Lycus! thy father’s fame will soon be thine. 

Where learning nurtures the superior mind, 

What may we hope from genius thus re fined! 

When time at length matures thy growing years, 

How wilt thou tower above thy fellow peers! 

Prudence and sense, a spirit bold and free, 

With honour’s soul, united beam in thee. 
Shall fair EURYALUS pass by unsung? 

From ancient lineage, not unworthy sprung: 

What though one sad dissension bade us part? 

That name is yet embalm’d within my heart; 

Yet at the mention does that heart rebound, 

And palpitate, responsive to the sound. 

Envy dissolved our ties, and not our will: 

We once were friends, –I’ll think we are so still. 

A form unmatch’d in nature’s partial mould, 

A heart untainted, we in thee behold: 

Yet not the senate’s thunder thou shalt wield, 

Nor seek for glory in the tented field; 

To minds of ruder texture these be given– 

Thy soul shall nearer soar its native heaven. 

Haply, in polish’d courts might be thy seat, 

But that thy tongue could never forge deceit: 

The courtier’s supple bow and sneering smile, 

The flow of compliment, the slippery wile, 

Would make that breast with indignation burn, 

And all the glittering snares to tempt thee spurn. 

Domestic happiness will stamp thy fate; 

Sacred to love, unclouded e’er by hate; 

The world admire thee, and thy friends adore; 

Ambition’s slave alone would toil for more. 
Now last, but nearest of the social band, 

See honest, open, generous CLEON stand; 

With scarce one speck to cloud the pleasing scene, 

No vice degrades that purest soul serene. 

On the same day our studious race begun, 

On the same day our studious race was run; 

Thus side by side we pass’d our first career, 

Thus side by side we strove for many a year; 

At last concluded our scholastic life, 

We neither conquer’d in the classic strife: 

As speakers each supports an equal name, 

And crowds allow to both a partial fame: 

To soothe a youthful rival’s early pride, 

Though Cleon’s candour would the palm divide, 

Yet candour’s self compels me now to own 

Justice awards it to my friend alone. 
Oh! friends regretted, scenes for ever dear, 

Remembrance hails you with her warmest tear! 

Drooping, she bends o’er pensive Fancy’s urn, 

To trace the hours which never can return; 

Yet with the retrospection loves to dwell, 

And soothe the sorrows of her last farewell! 

Yet greets the triumph of my boyish mind, 

As infant laurels round my head were twined, 

When PROBUS’ praise repaid my lyric song, 

Or placed me higher in the studious throng; 

Or when my first harangue received applause, 

His sage instruction the primeval cause, 

What gratitude to him my soul posseat, 

While hope of dawning honours fill’d my breast! 

For all my humble fame, to him alone 

The praise is due, who made that fame my own. 

Oh! could I soar above these feeble lays, 

These young effusions of my early days, 

To him my muse her noblest strain would give: 

The song might perish, but the theme might live. 

Yet why for him the needless verse essay? 

His honour’d name requires no vain display: 

By every son of grateful IDA blest, 

It finds an echo in each youthful breast; 

A fame beyond the glories of the proud, 

Or all the plaudits of the venal crowd. 
IDA! not yet exhausted is the theme, 

Nor closed the progress of my youthful dream. 

How many a friend deserves the grateful strain! 

What scenes of childhood still unsung remain! 

Yet let me hush this echo of the past, 

This parting song, the dearest and the last; 

And brood in secret o’er those hours of joy, 

To me a silent and a sweet employ, 

While future hope and fear alike unknown, 

I think with pleasure on the past alone; 

Yes to the past alone my heart confine, 

And chase the phantom of what once was mine. 
IDA! still o’er thy hills in joy preside, 

And proudly steer through time’s eventful tide; 

Still may thy blooming sons thy name revere, 

Smile in thy bower, but quit thee with a tear,- 

That tear, perhaps, the fondest which will flow, 

O’er their last scene of happiness below. 

Tell me, ye hoary few, who glide along, 

The feeble veterans of some former throng, 

Whose friends, like autumn leaves by tempests whirl’d, 

Are swept for ever from this busy world; 

Revolve the fleeting moments of your youth, 

While Care has yet withheld her venom’d tooth; 

Say if remembrance days like these endears 

Beyond the rapture of succeeding years? 

Say, can ambition’s fever’d dream bestow 

So sweet a balm to soothe your hours of woe? 

Can treasures, hoarded for some thankless son, 

Can royal smiles, or wreaths by slaughter won, 

Can stars or ermine, man’s maturer toys 

(For glittering baubles are not left to boys), 

Recall one scene so much beloved to view, 

As those where Youth her garland twined for you? 

Ah, no! amidst the gloomy calm of age 

You turn with faltering hand life’s varied page; 

Peruse the record of your days on earth, 

Unsullied only where it marks your birth; 

Still lingering pause above each chequer’d leaf, 

And blot with tears the sable lines of grief; 

Where passion o’er the theme her mantle threw, 

Or weeping Virtue sigh’d a faint adieu; 

But bless the scroll which fairer words adorn, 

Traced by the rosy finger of the morn; 

When Friendship bow’d before the shrine of Truth, 

And Love without his pinion, smiled on Youth.

Poem – A Sketch – George Gordon Byron

 Born in the garret, in the kitchen bred, 

Promoted thence to deck her mistress’ head; 

Next for some gracious service unexpress’d, 

And from its wages only to be guess’d­ 

Raised from the toilette to the table,­ where 

Her wondering betters wait behind her chair. 

With eye unmoved, and forehead unabash’d, 

She dines from off the plate she lately wash’d. 

Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie, 

The genial confidante, and general spy, 

Who could, ye gods! her next employ­ment guess– 

An only infants earliest governess! 

She taught the child to read, and taught so well, 

That she herself, by teaching, learn’d to spell. 

An adept next in penmanship she grows; 

As many a nameless slander deftly shows. 

What she had made the pupil of her art, 

None know–but that high Soul secured the heart, 

And panted for the truth it could not hear, 

With longing breast and undeluded ear. 

Foil’d was perversion by that youthful mind, 

Which Flattery fool’d not, Baseness could not blind, 

Deceit infect not, near Contagion soil, 

Indulgence weaken, nor Example spoil, 

Nor master’d Science tempt her to look down 

On humbler talents with a pitying frown, 

Nor Genius swell, nor Beauty render vain, 

Nor Envy ruffle o retaliate pain, 

Nor Fortune change, Pride raise, nor Passion bow, 

Nor virtue teach austerity-till now. 

Serenely purest of her sex that live, 

But wanting one sweet weakness–to for­give, 

Too shock’d at faults her soul can never know, 

She deems that all could be like her be­low: 

Foe to all vice, yet hardly Virtue’s friend, 

For Virtue pardons those she would amend. 
But to the theme, now laid aside too long, 

The baleful burthen of this honest song, 

Though all her former functions are no more, 

She rules the circle which she served before. 
If mothers–none know why–before her quake; 

If daughters dread her for the mothers’ sake; 

If early habits–those false links, which bind 

At times the loftiest to the meanest mind­ 

Have given her power too deeply to instil 

The angry essence of her deadly will; 

If like a snake she steal within your walls, 

Till the black slime betray her as she crawls; 

If like a viper to the heart she wind, 

And leave the venom there she did not find; 

What marvel that this hag of hatred works 

Eternal evil latent as she lurks, 

To make a Pandemonium where she dwells, 

And reign the Hecate of domestic hells? 

Skill’d by a touch to deepen scandal’s tints 

With all the kind mendacity of hints, 

While mingling truth with falsehood, sneers with smiles,

A thread of candour with a web of wiles: 

A plain blunt show of briefly–spoken seaming, 

To hide her bloodless heart’s soul­-harden’d scheming; 

A lip of lies; a face form’d to conceal, 

And, without feeling, mock at all who feel: 

With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown , 

A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone. 

Mark, how the channels of her yellow blood 

Ooze to her skin, and stagnate there to mud, 

Cased like the centipede in saffron mail, 

Or darker greenness of the scorpion’s scale– 

(For drawn from reptiles only may we trace 

Congenial colours in that soul or face) 

Look on her features! and behold her mind 

As in a mirror of itself defined: 

Look on the picture! deem it not o’ercharged 

There is no trait which might not be enlarged: 

Yet true to ‘Nature’s journeymen,’ who made 

This monster when their mistress left off trade– 

This female dog-star of her little sky, 

Where all beneath her influence droop or die. 
Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought, 

Save joy above the ruin thou hast wrought– 

The time shall come, nor long remote, when thou 

Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now; 

Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain, 

And turn thee howling in unpitied pain. 

May the strong curse of crush ‘d affections light 

Back on thy bosom with reflected blight! 

And make thee in thy leprosy of mind 

As loathsome to thyself as to mankind! 

Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate, 

Black–as thy will for others would create: 

Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust, 

And thy soul welter in its hideous crust. 

Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed, 

The widow’d couch of fire, that thou hast spread! 

Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with prayer, 

Look on thine earthly victims–and despair! 

Down to the dust!–and, as thou rott’st away, 

Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay. 

But for the love I bore, and still must bear, 

To her thy malice from all ties would tear– 

Thy name–thy human name–to every eye 

The climax of all scorn should hang on high, 

Exalted o’er thy less abhorr’d compeers– 

And festering in the infamy of years.
 

English Poem – Darkness – George Gordon Byron

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moon­less air;
Morn came and went–and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires–and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings–the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gather’d round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;
Forests were set on fire–but hour by hour
They fell and faded–and the crackling trunks
Extinguish’d with a crash–and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look’d up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash’d their teeth and howl’d: the wild birds shriek’d
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl’d
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless–were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again:–a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought–and that was death
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails–men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour’d,
Even dogs assail’d their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a Gorse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish’d men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer’d not with a caress–he died.
The crowd was famish’d by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap’d a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other’s aspects–saw, and shriek’d, and died–
Even of their mutual hideousness they
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless,
A lump of death–a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirr’d within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp’d
They slept on the abyss without a surge
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, had expired before;
The winds were wither’d in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish’d; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them–She was the Universe.

Diodati, July 1816.
George Gordon Byron
George_Gordon_Byron2

English Poem – She Walks In Beauty – George Gordon Byron

She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

George Gordon Byron
Byron

English Poem – She Walks In Beauty

She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

George Gordon Byron
George_Gordon_Byron2