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1936 m lord byron

Lord Byron

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
40

CLXXVIII.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
CLXXIX.
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean—roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin—his control
Stops with the shore;—upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
CLXXX.
His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth’s destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth:—there let him lay.
CLXXXI.
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals.
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada’s pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
CLXXXII.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee—
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters washed them power while they were free
And many a tyrant since: their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts: not so thou,
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves’ play—
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow—
Such as creation’s dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
CLXXXIII.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty’s form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed—in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving;—boundless, endless, and sublime—
The image of Eternity—the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee: thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
CLXXXIV.
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror—'twas a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.

1

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 mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d 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!

12

There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium’s capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o’er fair women and brave men.
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!

Did ye not hear it? - No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o’er the stony street;
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
But hark! - that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before;
Arm! arm! it is– it is– the cannon’s opening roar!

Within a windowed niche of that high hall
Sate Brunswick’s fated chieftain; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with death’s prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell;
He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.

Ah! then and there was hurrying to and fro,
And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which, but an hour ago,
Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness.
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs
Which ne’er might be repeated; who would guess
If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night so sweet such awful morn could rise!

And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And the deep thunder, peal on peal afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;
While thronged the citizens with terror dumb,
Or whispering, with white lips - ‘The foe! they come! they come!’

Remind me not, remind me not,
    Of those beloved, those vanish’d hours,
        When all my soul was given to thee;
Hours that may never be forgot,
    Till Time unnerves our vital powers,
        And thou and I shall cease to be.

Can I forget——canst thou forget,
    When playing with thy golden hair,
        How quick thy fluttering heart did move?
Oh! by my soul, I see thee yet,
    With eyes so languid, breast so fair,
        And lips, though silent, breathing love.

When thus reclining on my breast,
    Those eyes threw back a glance so sweet,
        As half reproach’d yet rais’d desire,
And still we near and nearer prest,
    And still our glowing lips would meet,
        As if in kisses to expire.

And then those pensive eyes would close,
    And bid their lids each other seek,
        Veiling the azure orbs below;
While their long lashes’ darken’d gloss
    Seem’d stealing o’er thy brilliant cheek,
        Like raven’s plumage smooth’d on snow.

I dreamt last night our love return’d,
    And, sooth to say, that very dream
        Was sweeter in its phantasy,
Than if for other hearts I burn’d,
    For eyes that ne’er like thine could beam
        In Rapture’s wild reality.

Then tell me not, remind me not,
    Of hours which, though for ever gone,
        Can still a pleasing dream restore,
Till Thou and I shall be forgot,
    And senseless, as the mouldering stone
        Which tells that we shall be no more.

3

When, to their airy hall, my father’s voice
Shall call my spirit, joyful in their choice;
When, poised upon the gale, my form shall ride,
Or, dark in mist, descend the mountains side;
Oh! may my shade behold no sculptured urns,
To mark the spot where earth to earth returns!
No lengthen’d scroll, no praise-encumber’d stone;
My epitaph shall be my name alone:
If that with honour fail to crown my clay,
Oh! may no other fame my deeds repay!
That, only that, shall single out the spot;
By that remember’d, or with that forgot.

1

Remember him, whom Passion’s power
    Severely——deeply——vainly proved:
Remember thou that dangerous hour,
    When neither fell, though both were loved.

That yielding breast, that melting eye,
    Too much invited to be blessed:
That gentle prayer, that pleading sigh,
    The wilder wish reproved, repressed.

Oh! let me feel that all I lost
    But saved thee all that Conscience fears;
And blush for every pang it cost
    To spare the vain remorse of years.

Yet think of this when many a tongue,
    Whose busy accents whisper blame,
Would do the heart that loved thee wrong,
    And brand a nearly blighted name.

Think that, whate’er to others, thou
    Hast seen each selfish thought subdued:
I bless thy purer soul even now,
    Even now, in midnight solitude.

Oh, God! that we had met in time,
    Our hearts as fond, thy hand more free;
When thou hadst loved without a crime,
    And I been less unworthy thee!

Far may thy days, as heretofore,
    From this our gaudy world be past!
And that too bitter moment o’er,
    Oh! may such trial be thy last.

This heart, alas! perverted long,
    Itself destroyed might there destroy;
To meet thee in the glittering throng,
    Would wake Presumption’s hope of joy.

Then to the things whose bliss or woe,
    Like mine, is wild and worthless all,
That world resign——such scenes forego,
    Where those who feel must surely fall.

Thy youth, thy charms, thy tenderness——
    Thy soul from long seclusion pure;
From what even here hath passed, may guess
    What there thy bosom must endure.

Oh! pardon that imploring tear,
    Since not by Virtue shed in vain,
My frenzy drew from eyes so dear;
    For me they shall not weep again.

Though long and mournful must it be,
    The thought that we no more may meet;
Yet I deserve the stern decree,
    And almost deem the sentence sweet.

Still——had I loved thee less——my heart
    Had then less sacrificed to thine;
It felt not half so much to part
    As if its guilt had made thee mine.

But first, on earth as vampire sent,
Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent,
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race.

There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life,
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corse.

Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are withered on the stem.

Wet with thine own best blood shall drip
Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip;
Then stalking to thy sullen grave,
Go—and with Gouls and Afrits rave;
Till these in horror shrink away
From Spectre more accursed than they!

2

1.

  Through thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow winds whistle:
    Thou, the hall of my Fathers, art gone to decay;
  In thy once smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle
    Have choak’d up the rose, which late bloom’d in the way.

2.

  Of the mail-cover’d Barons, who, proudly, to battle,
    Led their vassals from Europe to Palestine’s plain,
  The escutcheon and shield, which with ev’ry blast rattle,
    Are the only sad vestiges now that remain.

3.

  No more doth old Robert, with harp-stringing numbers,
    Raise a flame, in the breast, for the war-laurell’d wreath;
  Near Askalon’s towers, John of Horistan slumbers,
    Unnerv’d is the hand of his minstrel, by death.

4.

  Paul and Hubert too sleep in the valley of Cressy;
    For the safety of Edward and England they fell:
  My Fathers! the tears of your country redress ye:
    How you fought! how you died! still her annals can tell.

5.

  On Marston, with Rupert, 'gainst traitors contending,
    Four brothers enrich’d, with their blood, the bleak field;
  For the rights of a monarch their country defending,
    Till death their attachment to royalty seal’d.

6.

  Shades of heroes, farewell! your descendant departing
    From the seat of his ancestors, bids you adieu!
  Abroad, or at home, your remembrance imparting
    New courage, he’ll think upon glory and you.

7.

  Though a tear dim his eye at this sad separation,
    'Tis nature, not fear, that excites his regret;
  Far distant he goes, with the same emulation,
    The fame of his Fathers he ne’er can forget.

8.

  That fame, and that memory, still will he cherish;
    He vows that he ne’er will disgrace your renown:
  Like you will he live, or like you will he perish;
    When decay’d, may he mingle his dust with your own!

JOHN ADAMS lies here, of the parish of Southwell,
A Carrier who carried his can to his mouth well:
He carried so much, and he carried so fast,
He could carry no more‑so was carried at last;
For, the liquor he drank, being too much for one,
He could not carry off,—so he’s now carri-on.

217
Ambition was my idol, which was broken
   Before the shrines of Sorrow and of Pleasure;
And the two last have left me many a token
   O’er which reflection may be made at leisure:
Now, like Friar Bacon’s brazen head, I’ve spoken,
   'Time is, Time was, Time’s past’, a chymic treasure
Is glittering youth, which I have spent betimes—
My heart in passion, and my head on rhymes.
 
218
What is the end of Fame? 'tis but to fill
   A certain portion of uncertain paper:
Some liken it to climbing up a hill,
   Whose summit, like all hills’, is lost in vapour;
For this men write, speak, preach, and heroes kill,
   And bards burn what they call their ‘midnight taper,’
To have, when the original is dust,
A name, a wretched picture, and worse bust.
 
219
What are the hopes of man? old Egypt’s King
   Cheops erected the first pyramid
And largest, thinking it was just the thing
   To keep his memory whole, and mummy hid;
But somebody or other rummaging,
   Burglariously broke his coffin’s lid:
Let not a monument give you or me hopes,
Since not a pinch of dust remains of Cheops.
 
220
But I being fond of true philosophy,
   Say very often to myself, 'Alas!
All things that have been born were born to die,
   And flesh (which Death mows down to hay) is grass;
You’ve pass’d your youth not so unpleasantly,
   And if you had it o’er again—'twould pass—
So thank your stars that matters are no worse,
And read your Bible, sir, and mind your purse.'
 
221
But for the present, gentle reader! and
   Still gentler purchaser! the bard—that’s I—
Must, with permission, shake you by the hand,
   And so your humble servant, and good bye!
We meet again, if we should understand
   Each other; and if not, I shall not try
Your patience further than by this short sample—
'Twere well if others follow’d my example.

60
Her eye (I’m very fond of handsome eyes)
   Was large and dark, suppressing half its fire
Until she spoke, then through its soft disguise
   Flash’d an expression more of pride than ire,
And love than either; and there would arise
   A something in them which was not desire,
But would have been, perhaps, but for the soul
Which struggled through and chasten’d down the whole.

61
Her glossy hair was cluster’d o’er a brow
   Bright with intelligence, and fair, and smooth;
Her eyebrow’s shape was like the aerial bow,
   Her cheek all purple with the beam of youth,
Mounting at times to a transparent glow,
   As if her veins ran lightning; she, in sooth,
Possess’d an air and grace by no means common:
Her stature tall—I hate a dumpy woman.

62
Wedded she was some years, and to a man
   Of fifty, and such husbands are in plenty;
And yet, I think, instead of such a ONE
   'Twere better to have TWO of five-and-twenty,
Especially in countries near the sun:
   And now I think on’t, ‘mi vien in mente,’
Ladies even of the most uneasy virtue
Prefer a spouse whose age is short of thirty.

63
‘Tis a sad thing, I cannot choose but say,
   And all the fault of that indecent sun,
Who cannot leave alone our helpless clay,
   But will keep baking, broiling, burning on,
That howsoever people fast and pray,
   The flesh is frail, and so the soul undone:
What men call gallantry, and gods adultery,
Is much more common where the climate ’s sultry.

1

In one dread night our city saw, and sigh’d,
Bow’d to the dust, the Drama’s tower of pride
In one short hour beheld the blazing fane,
Apollo sink, and Shakspeare cease to reign.

Ye who beheld, (oh! sight admired and mourn’d,
Whose radiance mock’d the ruin it adorn’d!)
Through clouds of fire the massy fragments riven,
Like Israel’s pillar, chase the night from heaven;
Saw the long column of revolving flames
Shake its red shadow o’er the startled Thames, While thousands, throng’d around the burning dome,
Shrank back appall’d, and trembled for their home,
As glared the volumed blaze, and ghastly shone
The skies, with lightnings awful as their own,
Till blackening ashes and the lonely wall
Usurp 'd the Muse’s realm, and mark’d her fall;
Say - shall this new, nor less aspiring pile,
Rear’d where once rose the mightiest in our isle,
Know the same favour which the former knew,
A shrine for Shakspeare—worthy him and you?

Yes—it shall be—the magic of that name
Defies the scythe of time, the torch of flame;
On the same spot still consecrates the scene,
And bids the Drama be where she hath been:
This fabric’s birth attests the potent spell—
Indulge our honest pride, and say, How well!

As soars this fare to emulate the last,
Oh! might we draw our omens from the past,
Some hour propitious to our prayers may boast
Names such as hallow still the dome we lost.
On Drury first your Siddons’ thrilling art
O’erwhelm’d the gentlest, storm’d the sternest heart.
On Drury, Garrick’s latest laurels grew;
Here your last tears retiring Roscius drew,
Sigh’d his last thanks, and wept his last adieu:
But still for living wit the wreaths may bloom,
That only waste their odours o’er the tomb.
Such Drury claim’d and claims—nor you refuse
One tribute to revive his slumbering muse;
With garlands deck your own Menander’s head,
Nor hoard your honours idly for the dead.
Dear are the days which made our annals bright,
Ere Garrick fled, or Brinsley ceased to write.
Heirs to their labours, like all high-born heirs,
Vain of our ancestry as they of theirs;
While thus Remembrance borrows Banquo’s glass
To claim the sceptred shadows as they pass,
And we the mirror hold, where imaged shine
Immortal names, emblazon’d on our line,
Pause—ere their feebler offspring you condemn,
Reflect how hard the task to rival them!

Friends of the stage! to whom both Players and Plays
Must sue alike for pardon or for praise.
Whose judging voice and eye alone direct
The boundless power to cherish or reject;
If e’er frivolity has led to fame,
And made us blush that you forbore to blame;
If e’er the sinking stage could condescend
To soothe the sickly taste it dare not mend,
All past reproach may present scenes re­fute,
And censure, wisely loud, be justly mute!
Oh! since your fiat stamps the Drama’s laws,
Forbear to mock us with misplaced applause;
So pride shall doubly nerve the actor’s powers,
And reason’s voice be echo’d back by ours!

This greeting o’er, the ancient rule obey’d
The Drama’s homage by her herald paid,
Receive our welcome too, whose every tone
Springs from our hearts, and fair would win your own.
The curtain rises—may our stage unfold
Scenes not unworthy Drury’s days of old!
Britons our judges, Nature for our guide,
Still may we please—long, long may you preside.