or enter with:    Forgot your password? | Signup
or enter with:
1936 m lord byron

Lord Byron

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
36

’TIS time this heart should be unmoved,  
  Since others it hath ceased to move:  
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,  
      Still let me love!  
 
My days are in the yellow leaf;    
  The flowers and fruits of love are gone;  
The worm, the canker, and the grief  
      Are mine alone!  
 
The fire that on my bosom preys  
  Is lone as some volcanic isle;    
No torch is kindled at its blaze—  
      A funeral pile.  
 
The hope, the fear, the jealous care,  
  The exalted portion of the pain  
And power of love, I cannot share,    
      But wear the chain.  
 
But ’tis not thus—and ’tis not here—  
  Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now,  
Where glory decks the hero’s bier,  
      Or binds his brow.        
 
The sword, the banner, and the field,  
  Glory and Greece, around me see!  
The Spartan, borne upon his shield,  
      Was not more free.  
 
Awake! (not Greece—she is awake!)    
  Awake, my spirit! Think through whom  
Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,  
      And then strike home!  
 
Tread those reviving passions down,  
  Unworthy manhood!—unto thee        
Indifferent should the smile or frown  
      Of beauty be.  
 
If thou regret’st thy youth, why live?  
  The land of honourable death  
Is here:—up to the field, and give      
      Away thy breath!  
 
Seek out—less often sought than found—  
  A soldier’s grave, for thee the best;  
Then look around, and choose thy ground,  
      And take thy rest.

AT MISSOLONGHI, January 22, 1824.

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow—
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me—
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well:
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.

5

Of two fair virgins, modest, though admired,
Heaven made us happy; and now, wretched sires,
Heaven for a nobler doom their worth desires,
And gazing upon either, both required.
Mine, while the torch of Hymen newly fired
Becomes extinguish’d, soon– too soon– expires:
But thine, within the closing grate re­tired,
Eternal captive, to her God aspires.
But thou at least from out the jealous door,
Which shuts between your never - meet­ing eyes,
May’st hear her sweet and pious voice once more:
I to the marble, where my daughter lies,
Rush, - the swoln flood of bitterness I pour,
And knock, and knock, and knock but none replies.

Could Love for ever
Run like a river,
And Time’s endeavour
Be tried in vain ­
No other pleasure
With this could measure;
And like a treasure
We’d hug the chain.
But since our sighing
Ends not in dying,
And, form 'd for flying,
Love plumes his wing;
Then for this reason
Let’s love a season
But let that season be only Spring.

When lovers parted
Feel broken-hearted,
And, all hopes thwarted,
Expect to die;
A few years older,
Ah! how much colder
They might behold her
For whom they sigh!
When link 'd together,
In every weather,
They pluck Love’s feather
From out his wing­
He’ll stay for ever,
But sadly shiver
Without his plumage, when past the Spring

Like chiefs of Faction,
His life is action—
A formal paction
That curbs his reign,
Obscures his glory,
Despot no more, he
Such territory
Quits with disdain.
Still, still advancing,
With banners glancing,
His power enhancing,
He must move on­—
Repose but cloys him,
Retreat destroys him,
Love brooks not a degraded throne.

Wait not, fond lover!
Till years are over,
And then recover
As from a dream.
While each bewailing
The other’s failing,
With wrath and railing,
All hideous seem—
While first decreasing,
Yet not quite ceasing,
Wait not till teasing
All passion blight:
If once diminish’d,
Love’s reign is finish’d—
Then part in friendship-and hid good­night.

So shall Affection
To recollection
The dear connexion
Bring back with joy:
You had not waited
Till, tired or hated,
Your passions sated
Began to cloy.
Your last embraces
Leave no cold traces—
The same fond faces
As through the past:
And eyes, the mirrors
Of your sweet errors,
Reflect but rapture—not least though last.

True, separations
Ask more than patience;
What desperations
From such have risen!
But yet remaining,
What is’t but chaining
Hearts which, once waning,
Beat 'gainst their prison?
Time can but cloy love
And use destroy love:
The winged boy, Love,
Is but for boys—
You’ll find it torture,
Though sharper, shorter
To wean, and not wear out your joys.

I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name;
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame;
But the tear that now burns on my cheek may impart
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart.
Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace,
Were those hours - can their joy or their bitterness cease?
We repent, we abjure, we will break from our chain, -
We will part, we will fly to - unite it again!
Oh! thine be the gladness, and mine be the guilt!
Forgive me, adored one! - forsake if thou wilt;
But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased,
And man shall not break it - whatever thou may’st.
And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
This soul in its bitterest blackness shall be;
And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet,
With thee at my side, than with worlds at our feet.
One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thy love,
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove.
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign -
Thy lips shall reply, not to them, but to mine.

May, 1814.

THE isles of Greece! the isles of Greece    
  Where burning Sappho loved and sung,    
Where grew the arts of war and peace,    
  Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!    
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.    
 
The Scian and the Teian muse,    
  The hero’s harp, the lover’s lute,    
Have found the fame your shores refuse:    
  Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo further west    
Than your sires’ 'Islands of the Blest.    
 
The mountains look on Marathon—    
  And Marathon looks on the sea;    
And musing there an hour alone,
  I dream’d that Greece might still be free;    
For standing on the Persians’ grave,    
I could not deem myself a slave.    
 
A king sate on the rocky brow    
  Which looks o’er sea—born Salamis;
And ships, by thousands, lay below,    
  And men in nations;—all were his!    
He counted them at break of day—    
And when the sun set, where were they?    
 
And where are they? and where art thou,
  My country? On thy voiceless shore    
The heroic lay is tuneless now—    
  The heroic bosom beats no more!    
And must thy lyre, so long divine,    
Degenerate into hands like mine?
 
'Tis something in the dearth of fame,    
  Though link’d among a fetter’d race,    
To feel at least a patriot’s shame,    
  Even as I sing, suffuse my face;    
For what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush—for Greece a tear.    
 
Must we but weep o’er days more blest?    
  Must we but blush?—Our fathers bled.    
Earth! render back from out thy breast    
  A remnant of our Spartan dead!
Of the three hundred grant but three,    
To make a new Thermopylæ!    
 
What, silent still? and silent all?    
  Ah! no;—the voices of the dead    
Sound like a distant torrent’s fall,
  And answer, ‘Let one living head,    
But one, arise,—we come, we come!’    
'Tis but the living who are dumb.    
 
In vain—in vain: strike other chords;    
  Fill high the cup with Samian wine!
Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,    
  And shed the blood of Scio’s vine:    
Hark! rising to the ignoble call—    
How answers each bold Bacchanal!    
 
You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet;
  Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone?    
Of two such lessons, why forget    
  The nobler and the manlier one?    
You have the letters Cadmus gave—    
Think ye he meant them for a slave?
 
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!    
  We will not think of themes like these!    
It made Anacreon’s song divine:    
  He served—but served Polycrates—    
A tyrant; but our masters then
Were still, at least, our countrymen.    
 
The tyrant of the Chersonese    
  Was freedom’s best and bravest friend;    
That tyrant was Miltiades!    
  O that the present hour would lend
Another despot of the kind!    
Such chains as his were sure to bind.    
 
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!    
  On Suli’s rock, and Parga’s shore,    
Exists the remnant of a line
  Such as the Doric mothers bore;    
And there, perhaps, some seed is sown,    
The Heracleidan blood might own.    
 
Trust not for freedom to the Franks—    
  They have a king who buys and sells;
In native swords and native ranks    
  The only hope of courage dwells:    
But Turkish force and Latin fraud    
Would break your shield, however broad.    
 
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!
  Our virgins dance beneath the shade—    
I see their glorious black eyes shine;    
  But gazing on each glowing maid,    
My own the burning tear—drop laves,    
To think such breasts must suckle slaves.
 
Place me on Sunium’s marbled steep,    
  Where nothing, save the waves and I,    
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;    
  There, swan—like, let me sing and die:    
A land of slaves shall ne’er be mine—
Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

Huzza! Hodgson, we are going,
         Our embargo’s off at last;
Favourable breezes blowing
         Bend the canvass o’er the mast.
From aloft the signal’s streaming,
         Hark! the farewell gun is fir’d;
Women screeching, tars blaspheming,
         Tell us that our time’s expir’d.
                Here’s a rascal
                Come to task all,
         Prying from the custom-house;
                Trunks unpacking
                Cases cracking,
         Not a corner for a mouse
'Scapes unsearch’d amid the racket,
Ere we sail on board the Packet.

Now our boatmen quit their mooring,
         And all hands must ply the oar;
Baggage from the quay is lowering,
         We’re impatient—push from shore.
“Have a care! that case holds liquor—
         Stop the boat—I’m sick—oh Lord!”
“Sick, ma’am, damme, you’ll be sicker,
         Ere you’ve been an hour on board.”
                Thus are screaming
                Men and women,
         Gemmen, ladies, servants, Jacks;
                Here entangling,
                All are wrangling,
         Stuck together close as wax.—
Such the genial noise and racket,
Ere we reach the Lisbon Packet.

Now we’ve reach’d her, lo! the captain,
         Gallant Kidd, commands the crew;
Passengers their berths are clapt in,
         Some to grumble, some to spew.
“Hey day! call you that a cabin?
         Why 't is hardly three feet square;
Not enough to stow Queen Mab in—
         Who the deuce can harbour there?”
                “Who, sir? plenty—
                Nobles twenty
         Did at once my vessel fill.”
                “Did they? Jesus,
                How you squeeze us!
         Would to God they did so still:
Then I’d 'scape the heat and racket
Of the good ship, Lisbon Packet.”

Fletcher! Murray! Bob! where are you?
         Stretch’d along the deck like logs—
Bear a hand, you jolly tar, you!
         Here’s a rope’s end for the dogs.
Hobhouse muttering fearful curses,
         As the hatchway down he rolls,
Now his breakfast, now his verses,
         Vomits forth—and damns our souls.
                “Here’s a stanza
                On Braganza—
         Help!”—"A couplet?"—"No, a cup
                Of warm water—"
                “What’s the matter?”
         “Zounds! my liver’s coming up;
I shall not survive the racket
Of this brutal Lisbon Packet.”

Now at length we’re off for Turkey,
         Lord knows when we shall come back!
Breezes foul and tempests murky
         May unship us in a crack.
But, since life at most a jest is,
         As philosophers allow,
Still to laugh by far the best is,
         Then laugh on—as I do now.
                Laugh at all things,
                Great and small things,
         Sick or well, at sea or shore;
                While we’re quaffing,
                Let’s have laughing—
         Who the devil cares for more?—
Some good wine! and who would lack it,
Ev’n on board the Lisbon Packet?

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

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

When fierce conflicting urge
The breast where love is wont to glow,
What mind can stem the stormy surge
Which rolls the tide of human woe?
The hope of praise, the dread of shame,
Can rouse the tortured breast no more;
The wild desire, the guilty flame,
Absorbs each wish it felt before.

But if affection gently thrills
The soul by purer dreams possest,
The pleasing balm of mortal ills
In love can soothe the aching breast:
If thus thou comest in disguise,
Fair Venus! from thy native heaven,
What heart unfeeling would despise
The sweetest boon the gods have given?

But never from thy golden bow
May I beneath the shaft expire!
Whose creeping venom, sure and slow,
Awakes an all-consuming fire:
Ye racking doubts! ye jealous fears!
With others wage internal war;
Repentance, source of future tears,
From me be ever distant far!

May no distracting thoughts destroy
The holy calm of sacred love!
May all the hours be wing’d with joy,
Which hover faithful hearts above!
Fair Venus, on thy myrtle shrine
May I with some fair lover sigh,
Whose heart may mingle pure with mine—
With me to live, with me to die!

My native soil! beloved before,
Now dearer as my peaceful home,
Ne’er may I quit thy rocky shore,
A hapless banish’d wretch to roam!
This very day, this very hour,
May I resign this fleeting breath;
Nor quit my silent humble bower,
A doom to me far worse than death.

Have I not heard the exile’s sigh?
And seen the exile’s silent tear,
Through distant climes condemn’d to fly,
A pensive, weary wanderer here?
Ah, hapless dame! no sire bewails,
No friend thy wretched fate deplores,
No kindred voice with rapture hails
Thy steps within a stranger’s doors.

Perish the fiend whose iron heart,
To fair affection’s truth unknown,
Bids her he fondly loved depart,
Unpitied, helpless, and alone;
Who ne’er unlocks with silver key
The milder treasures of his soul,—
May such a friend be far from me,
And ocean’s storms between us roll!

I Read the 'Christabel’;
Very well:
I read the Missionary’;
Pretty - very
I tried at Ilderim ;
Ahem!
I read a sheet of 'Marg’ret of Anjou’;
Can you?
I turn’d a page of Scott’s 'Waterloo’;
Pooh! pooh!
I look’d at Wordsworth’s milk-white
'Rylstone Doe’;
Hillo!
&c. &c. &c.

March 1817.

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 consum’d,
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 smil’d;
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 twin’d themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless—they 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 corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish’d men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lur’d 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 rak’d up,
And shivering scrap’d 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 died,
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 expir’d 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.

2