1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Albania, "Stanzas written after reading the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold" Morning Chronicle (20 January 1819).



Oh! bid us not farewell, thou Knight of woe;
Permit us still thy devious steps to trace;
Still let the strain of sadden'd grandeur flow,
While themes immortal every stanza grace.
Often my heart, my inmost heart, has sighed
By Delphi's shrine, or Arno's stream to stray;
But Fate my mind's best wishes hath denied.
Oh! were not souls confined by cumb'rous clay,
Perchance thou ne'er had'st been all lonely on thy way.

When youth and fancy gilt my life's fair morn,
Fir'd by the Muse, I wish'd a heavenly Love,
Some bright APOLLO, whom all charms adorn—
And beaming beauty from the realms above,
With brow of brightness, and with eyes of light—
But Gods, alas! and Demi-Gods were flown—
My ardent soul too high had wing'd her flight—
I found no mind congenial with my own—
When lo! CHILDE HAROLD rose! — I felt no more alone.

"Behold!" I cried, "Behold indeed a Soul—
A heavenly Spirit in an earthly Shrine!"
Across my mind transcendent Visions stole,
And Hope illum'd them with her smile divine.
'Tis past! 'tis past! my glow has vanish'd too—
My heart is cold — Joy's fluttering pulse is dead—
Faded the visions flattering Fancy drew—
Vanish'd the beams which round my youthful head,
By radiant Hope diffus'd, their transient glories shed.

Thou know'st me not — but oh! I feel — I know,
That if thou did'st, thou would'st not scorn the lay
Which claims alliance with thy heartfelt woe,
And twines its cypress with thy brighter bay.
Poets, by Poets can be priz'd alone—
What other hearts can feel as theirs have felt?
What other souls can make the past their own,
O'er the sweet visions of the Muses melt,
And dwell in bright idea where Glory erst has dwelt?

Yes, Glory! honours of immortal kind,
Brighter than all a Victor's sword can buy,
The lasting triumphs of expansive mind,
Which, long as earth shall stand, will never die.
It is nor arms, nor millions, which can raise
The fame of Nations on a solid base—
'Tis from the mind the rays of Glory blaze—
What worth of heart, what fire of soul we trace,
In the historic page, which ancient annals grace!

For thee — lorn Champion of the bleeding heart—
If future years revive not Rapture's flower,
If future pleasures blunt not Sorrow's dart,
And thou art lonely in thy wither'd bower—
Oh! think beyond this wilderness of woe
There lies a world of bliss, too bright to tell;
There shall the tide of sorrow cease to flow,
There, purified and blest, our souls shall dwell—
Ne'er more to shed the tear — ne'er more to sigh "Farewell."