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I WOULD I WERE A CARELESS CHILD

By
Lord Byron
1808


&/\&/\&

1

I would I were a careless child,

Still dwelling in my Highland cave,

Or roaming though the dusky wild,

Or bounding o'er the dark blue wave;

The cumbrous pomp of Saxon pride,

Accords not with the freeborn soul,

Which loves the mountain's craggy side,

And seeks the rocks where billows roll.
 

2

Fortune !   take back these cultur'd lands,

Take back this name of splendid sound !

I hate the touch of servile hands.

I hate the slaves that cringe around:

Place me among the rocks I love,

Which sound to Ocean's wildest roar;

I ask but this --- again to rove

Through scenes my youth hath known before.
 

3

Few are my years, and yet I feel

The World was ne'er design'd for me:

Ah !    why do dark'ning shades conceal

The hour when man must cease to be?

Once I beheld a splendid dream,

A visionary scene of bliss:

Truth ---  wherefore did thy hated beam

Awake me to a world like this?
 

4

I lov'd --- but those I lov'd are gone;

Had friends --- my early friends are fled.

How cheerless feels the heart alone,

When all its former hopes are dead !

Though gay companions, o'er the bowl

Dispel awhile the sense of ill;

Though Pleasure stirs the maddening soul,

The heart --- the heart --- is lonely still.
 

5

How dull !    to hear the voice of those

Whom Rank or Chance, whom Wealth or Power,

Have made, though neither friends nor foes,

Associates of the festive hour.

Give me again a faithful few,

In years and feelings still the same,

And I will fly the midnight crew,

Where boist'rous Joy is but a name.
 

6

And Woman, lovely Woman !    thou,

My hope, my comforter, my all !

How cold must be my bosom now,

When e'en thy smiles begin to pall !

Without a sigh would I resign,

This busy scene of splendid Woe,

To make that calm contentment mine,

Which Virtue knows, or seems to know.
 

7

Fain would I fly the haunts of men ---

I seek to shun, not hate mankind;

My breast requires the sullen glen,

Whose gloom may suit a darken'd mind,

Oh !    that to me the wings were given,

Which bear the turtle to her nest !

Then would I cleave the vault of Heaven,

To flee away, and be at rest.
 

&/\&/\&

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