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Posts Tagged ‘George Gordon Lord Byron’

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.-

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, unknell’d, uncoffin’d, and unknown.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 wanton’d 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.

 

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nrcQGOi

When moderns say that rhythm’s passed,
And rhyming verse is trite,
What would the great Longfellow say
About that arrow’s flight?

Such talk is like an acid rain
That falls on Dickinson,
And kills her bees and Kilmer’s trees;
Coats Kipling’s dawning sun.

That dart is thrown at Shakespeare, too
And all the masters past
By men who pose as poets when
It’s prose their work is classed.

And so I’ll stand as close I can
To Byron, Coleridge, Keats
I’ll hold their hats or open doors
Or drive them through the streets.

And I’ll not care when prose lines up
In stanzas in pretense,
Or critics cough or prosers scorn
And publishers fold tents.

I cannot ever bothered be
When men my verse oppose.
They praise the naked emperor,
And criticize my clothes.

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photo by Jay Simmons at
http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/nrcQGOi/landscape

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© Dennis Allen Lange and thebardonthehill.wordpress.com, 2018.

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‘Tis time the 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
In 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.


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The end of Byron’s 36th year would have been
Jan.22, 1824.  He died on April 19, just three
months later.

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It is the hour when from the boughs
The nightingale’s high note is heard;
It is the hour – when lover’s vows
Seem sweet in every whisper’d word;
And gentle winds and waters near,
Make music to the lonely ear,
Each flower the dews have lightly wet,
And in the sky the stars are met,
And on the wave is deeper blue,
And on the leaf a browner hue,
And in the Heaven that clear obscure
So softly dark, and darkly pure,
That follows the decline of day
As twilight melts beneath the moon away.

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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 were 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!

 

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…………………..‘Tis Sweet

‘Tis sweet to see the evening star appear;
‘Tis sweet to listen as the night-winds creep
From leaf to leaf; ‘tis sweet to view on high
The rainbow, based on ocean, span the sky. 

‘Tis sweet to hear the watch-dog’s honest bark
Bay deep-mouthed welcome as we draw near home;
‘Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark
Our coming, and look brighter when we come,
‘Tis sweet to be awakened by the lark,
Or lulled by falling waters; sweet the hum
Of bees, the voice of girls, the song of birds,
The lisp of children, and their earliest words. 

Sweet is the vintage, where the showering grapes
In Bacchanal profusion reel to earth
Purple and gushing; sweet are our escapes
From civic revelry to rural mirth;
Sweet to the miser are his glittering heaps,
Sweet to the father is his first-born’s birth,
Sweet is revenge – especially to women,
Pillage to soldiers, prize-money to seamen. 

Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet
The unexpected death of some old lady
Or gentleman of seventy years complete,
Who’ve made ‘us youth’ wait too – too long already,
For an estate, or cash, or country seat,
Still breaking, but with stamina so steady
That all the Israelites are fit to mob its
Next owner for their double-dammed post-obits.

‘Tis sweet to win, no matter how, one’s laurels,
By blood or ink; ‘tis sweet to put an end
To strife; ‘tis sometimes sweet to have our quarrels,
Particularly with a tiresome friend:
Sweet is old wine in bottles, ale in barrels;
Dear is the helpless creature we defend
Against the world; and dear the schoolboy spot
We ne’er forget, though there we are forgot. 

But sweeter still than this, than these, than all,
Is first and passionate love – it stands alone,
Like Adam’s recollection of his fall;
The Tree of Knowledge has been plucked – all’s known –
And life yields nothing further to recall
Worthy of this ambrosial sin, so shown,
No doubt in fable, as the unforgiven
Fire which Prometheus filched for us from heaven.

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…………..Sonnet On Chillon 

Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind!
Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,
For thee thy habitation is the heart –
The heart which love of thee alone can bind;
And when thy sons to fetters are consigned –
To fetters, and the damp vault’s dayless gloom,
Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
And Freedom’s fame finds wings on every wind.
Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,
And thy sad floor an altar – for ‘twas trod,
Until his very steps have left a trace
Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod.
By Bonnivard! May none those marks efface!
For they appeal from tyranny to God.

 

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So, we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And Love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.

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There be none of beauty’s daughters
With a magic like thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
When, as if its sound were causing
The charmed ocean’s pausing,
The waves lie still and gleaming,
And the lulled winds seem dreaming: 

And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o’er the deep;
Whose breast is gently heaving
As an infant’s asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee,
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer’s ocean.

 

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……………….Oh! Weep For Those

Oh! Weep for those that wept by Babel’s stream,

Whose shrines are desolate, whose land a dream;

Weep for the harp of Judah’s broken shell;

Mourn – where their god hath dwelt the godless dwell!

 

And where shall Israel lave her bleeding feet?

And when shall Zion’s songs again seem sweet?

And Judah’s melody once more rejoice

The hearts that leaped before its heavenly voice?

 

Tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast,

How shall ye flee away and be at rest!

The wild-dove hath her nest, the fox his cave,

Mankind their country – Israel but the grave!

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