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EGOTISM.  A Letter to  J. T. Becher

Lord Byron
( First published in 1898 )


If Fate should seal my Death to-morrow,

( Though much  hope she will  postpone it, )

I've held a share of  Joy and  Sorrow,

Enough for Ten; and  here  I  own it.

I've liv'd as many other men live,

And yet, I think, with more enjoyment;

For could I through my days again live,

I'd pass them in the same employment.

That  is to say, with some exception,

For though I will not make confession,

I've seen too much of man's deception

Ever again to trust profession.

Some sage  Mammas  with gesture haughty,

Pronounce me quite a youthful Sinner ---

But Daughters  say,  "although he's naughty,

You must not check a Young Beginner ! "

I've lov'd, and many damsels know it ---

But whom I don't intend to mention,

As  certain stanzas also show it,

Some say deserving Reprehension.

Some ancient Dames, of virtue fiery,

( Unless Report does much belie them, )

Have lately made a sharp Enquiry,

And much it grieves me to deny them.

Two whom I lov'd had eyes of Blue,

To which I hope you've no objection;

The Rest had eyes of darker Hue ---

Each Nymph, of course, was all perfection.

But here I'll close my chaste Description,

Nor say the deeds of animosity;

For silence is the best prescription,

To physic idle curiosity.

Of Friends I've known a goodly Hundred ---

For finding one in each acquaintance,

By some deceiv'd, by others plunder'd,

Friendship, to me, was not Repentance.

At School I though like other Children;

Instead of Brains, a fine Ingredient,

Romance, my youthful Head bewildering,

To Sense had made me disobedient.

A victim, nearly from affection,

To certain very precious scheming,

The still remaining recollection

Has cured my boyish soul of Dreaming.

By Heaven !    I rather would forswear

The Earth, and all the joys reserv'd me,

Than dare again the specious Snare,

From which my Fate and Heaven preserv'd me.

Still I possess some Friends who love me ---

In each a much-esteem'd and true one;

The Wealth of Worlds shall never move me

To quit their Friendship, for a new one.

But, Becher !   you're a reverend pastor,

Now take it in consideration,

Whether for penance I should fast, or

Pray for my sins in expiation.

I owe myself the child of Folly,

But not so wicked as they make me ---

I soon must die of melancholy,

If Female smiles should e'er forsake me.

Philosophers have never doubted,

That Ladies' Lips were made for kisses !

For Love !    I could not live without it,

For such a  curséd  place as This is.

Say, Becher, I shall be forgiven !

If you don't warrant my salvation,

I must resign all Hopes of Heaven !

For, Faith, I can't withstand Temptation.


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