Poems by Lord Byron


October, 1806

No specious splendour of this stone,

Endears it to my memory ever;

With lustre only once  it shone,

and blushes modest as the giver.

Some who can sneer of friendship's ties,

Have for my weakness oft reprov'd me,

Yet still the simple gift I prize,

For I am sure, the giver lov'd me.

He offer'd it with downcast look,

As fearful  that I might refuse it,

I told him when the gift I took,

My only fear  should be to lose it.

This pledge attentively I view'd,

And sparkling as I held it near,

Methought one drop the stone bedew'd,

And ever since I've lov'd a tear.

Still to adorn his humble youth,

Nor wealth nor birth their treasures yield,

But he who seeks the flowers of truth,

Must quit the garden for the field.

'Tis not the plant uprear'd in sloth,

Which beauty shews, and sheds perfume;

The flowers which yield the most of both

In nature's wild luxuriance bloom.

Had Fortune aided Nature's care,

For once forgetting to be blind,

His would have been an ample share,

If well proportioned to his mind.

But had the Goddess clearly seen,

His form had fixed her fickle breast,

Her countless hoards would his have been,

And none remain'd to give the rest.


July, 1807

There is a mystic thread of life

So dearly wreath'd with mine alone,

That Destiny's relentless knife

At once must sever both, or none.

There is a Form on which these eyes

Have fondly gazed with such delight ---

By day, that Form their joy supplies,

And Dreams restore it, through the night.

There is a Voice whose tones inspire

Such softened feelings in my breast,

I would not hear a Seraph Choir,

Unless that voice could join the rest.

There is a Face whose blushes tell

Affection's tale upon the cheek,

But pallid at our fond farewell,

Proclaims more love than words can speak.

There is a Lip, which mine has prest,

But none had ever prest before;

If vowed to make me sweetly blest,

That mine alone should press it more.

There is a Bosom all my own,

Has pillow'd oft this aching head,

A Mouth which smiles on me alone,

An Eye, whose tears with mine are shed.

There are two Hearts whose movements thrill,

In unison so closely sweet,

That Pulse to Pulse responsive still

They Both must heave, or cease to beat.

There are two Souls, whose equal flow

In gentle stream so calmly run,

That when they part --- they part? --- ah no !

They cannot part --- those Souls are One.


October 11, 1811

Without a stone to mark the spot,

And say, what Truth might well have said,

By all, save one, perchance forgot,

Ah Wherefore art thou lowly laid?

By many a shore and many a sea

Divided, yet beloved in vain;

The Past, the Future fled to thee,

To bid us meet --- no --- ne'er again !

Could this have been --- a word, a look,

That softly said, "We part in peace,"

Had taught my bosom how to brook,

With fainter sighs, thy soul's release.

And didst thou not, since Death for thee

Prepared a light and pangless dart,

Once long for him thou ne'er shall see

Who held, and holds thee in his heart?

Oh !   Who like him had watch'd thee here?

Or sadly mark'd thy glazing eye,

In that dread hour ere death appear,

When silent sorrow fears to sigh,

Till all was past? But when no more

"Twas thine to reck of human woe,

Affection's heart-drops, gushing o'er

Had flow'd as fast --- as now they flow.

Shall they not flow, when many a day

In these, to me, deserted towers,

Ere call'd but for a time away,

Affection's mingling tears were ours?

Ours too the glance none saw beside;

The smile none else might understand;

The whisper'd thought of hearts allied,

The pressure of the thrilling hand.

The kiss, so guiltless and refined,

That Love each warmer wish forbore;

Those eyes proclaim'd so pure a mind

Even Passion blush'd to plead for more.

The tone, that taught me to rejoice,

When prone, unlike thee, to repine;

The song, celestial from thy voice,

But sweet to me from none but thine;

The pledge we wore --- I wear it still,

But where is thine? --- Ah !   Where art thou?

Oft have I borne the weight of ill,

But never bent beneath till now !

Well hast thou left in life's best bloom

The cup of woe for me to drain.

If rest alone be in the tomb,

I would not wish thee here again..

But if in worlds more blest than this

Thy virtues seek a fitter sphere,

Impart some portion of thy bliss,

To wean me from mine anguish here.

Teach me --- too early taught by thee !

To bear, forgiving and forgiven:

On earth thy love was such to me;

It fain would form my hope in heaven !


December 6, 1811

Away, away, ye notes of woe !

Be silent, thou once soothing strain,

Or I must flee from hence --- for, oh !

I dare not trust those sounds again.

To me they speak of brighter days ---

But lull the chords, for now, alas !

I must not think, I may not gaze,

On what I am --- on what I was.

The voice that made those sounds more sweet

Is hush'd and all their charms are fled

And now their softest notes repeat

A dirge, an anthem o'er the dead !

Yes, "Thyrza" yes, they breathe of thee,

Beloved dust ! Since dust thou art;

And all that once was harmony

Is worse than discord to my heart !

'Tis silent all ! --- but on my ear

The well remember'd echoes thrill;

I hear a voice I would not hear,

A voice that now might well be still;

Yet oft my doubting soul 't will shake;

Even slumber owns its gentle tone,

Till consiousness will vainly wake

To listen, though the dream be flown.

Sweet Thyrza   Waking as in sleep,

Thou art but now a lovely dream;

A star that trembled o'er the deep,

Then turn'd from earth its tender beam.

But he who through life's dreary way

Must pass, when heaven is veil'd in wrath,

Will long lament the vanish'd ray

That scatter'd gladness o'er his path.


February, 1812

"Heu, quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminaisse!"

And thou art dead, as young and fair

As aught of mortal birth;

And form so soft, and charms so rare,

Too soon return'd to Earth !

Though Earth received them in her bed

And o'er the spot the crowd may tread

In carelessness or mirth,

There is an eye which could not brook

A moment on that grave to look.

I will not ask where thou liest low,

Nor gaze upon the spot;

There flowers or weeds at will may grow,

So I behold them not:

It is enough for me to prove

That what I loved, and long must love,

Like common earth can rot;

To me there needs no stone to tell,

Tis Nothing that I loved so well.

Yet did I love thee to the last

As fervently as thou,

Who didst not change through all the past,

And canst not alter now

The love where Death has set his seal,

Nor age can chill, nor rival steal,

Nor falsehood disavow:

And, what were worse, thou canst not see

Or wrong, or change, or fault in me.

The better days of life were ours;

The worst can be but mine:

The sun that cheers, the storm that lowers,

Shall never more be thine.

The silence of that dreamless sleep

I envy now too much to weep;

Nor need I to repine,

That all those charms have pass'd away;

I might have watch'd through long decay.

The flower in ripen'd bloom unmatch'd

Must fall the earliest prey;

Though by no hand untimely snatch'd,

The leaves must drop away;

And yet it were a greater grief

To watch it withering, leaf by leaf

Than see it pluck'd to-day;

Since earthly eye but ill can bear

To trace the change to foul from fair.

I know not if I could have borne

To see thy beatuies fade;

The night that follow'd such a morn

Had worn a deeper shade:

Thy day without a cloud hath pass'd,

And thou wert lovely to the last;

Extinguish'd , not decay'd;

As stars that shoot along the sky

Shine brightest as they fall from high.

As once I wept, if I could weep,

My tears might well be shed,

To think I was not near to keep

One vigil o'er thy bed;

To gaze, how fondly !   On thy face,

To fold thee in a faint embrace,

Uphold thy drooping head;

And show that love, however vain,

Nor thou nor I can feel again.

Yet how much less it were to gain,

Though thou hast left me free,

The loveliest things that still remain,

Than thus remember thee !

The all of thine that cannot die

Through dark and dread Eternity

Returns again to me,

And more thy buried love endears

Than aught except its living years.



March 14, 1812

If sometimes in the haunts of men

Thine image from my breast may fade,

The lonely hour presents again

The semblance of thy gentle shade:

And now that sad and silent hour

Thus much of thee can still restore,

And sorrow unobserved may pour

The plaint she dare not speak before.

Oh, pardon that in crowds awhile

I waste one thought I owe to thee,

nd self-condemn'd, appear to smile,

Unfaithful to thy memory;

Nor deem that memory less dear,

That then I seem not to repine;

I would not fools should overhear

One sigh that should be wholly thine.

If not the goblet pass unquaff'd,

It is not drain'd to banish care;

The cup must hold a deadlier draught,

That brings a Lethe for despair.

And could Oblivion set my soul

From all her troubled vision free,

I'd dash to earth the sweetest bowl

That drown'd a single thought of thee.

For wert thou vanish'd from my mind.

Where could my vacant bosom turn?

And who would then remain behind

To honour thine abandon'd Urn?

No, No --- it is my sorrow's pride

That last dear duty to fulfil:

Though all the world forget beside,

'Tis meeting that I remember still.

For well I know, that such had been

Thy gentle care for him, who now

Unmourn'd shall quit this mortal scene,

Where none regarded him, but thou:

And, oh   I feel in that  was given

A blessing never meant for me;

Thou wert too like a dream of Heaven

For earthly Love to merit thee.



March 16, 1812

Ill-fated Hear t !   And can it be,

That thou should'st thus be rent in twain?

Have years of care for thine and thee

Alike been all employ'd in vain?

Yet precious seems each shatter'd part,

And every fragment dearer grown,

Since he who wears thee feels thou art

A fitter emblem of his own.




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