1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Anonymous, "Invocation to Byron" Morning Chronicle (10 August 1818).



Bard of Liberty! thou, like thy great theme,
Too long departed hence, and homed among
The mountains of thy song—
Return! — nor only in thy lofty dream
Foresee the Despot's doom and Freedom beam
O'er Albion — bright and bland and blessed again
Where she of famous yore long strove to reign,
Inspiring still wrapt MILTON'S glorious strain,
Tho' lost! — come BYRON, for there are who yearn
For thine and banished Liberty's return:
And thou shalt find
Peers of thy pride, and soul, and mind—
Of other temper erst — now dark and stern
As spirits resolute to lift or lay
The storms that whelm or save: for such are they
That lour; and who, that can rebuff or ride,
Would hold or slink aside,
And meekly mark the mighty drift of fate,
Hurrying the destinies men hope or hate,
When glorious crowns of victory are there;
Or nobler martyrdom — for all who dare,
Many a soul thy strain will stir to braving
Force, and frauds of Tyranny, and Tyrants' raving;
And when the banners of thy woof are waving,
Shall the proud phalanx look in vain before!—
For there should BYRON be — at Freedom's need
The battle or debate to lead—
With many more
Who jade their genius now — or spill their lore
To grace some dastard's triumph — wanton's store.
Bard of the free — thy native land alone
Will boldly echo back thy towering tone,
And still can vaunt
Souls that no hoards can hire — no doom can daunt.