1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Thomas Haynes Bayly, "Lines on the Death of Lord Byron" 1824; Songs, Ballads, and other Poems (1844) 1:17-18.



He is gone! the bright star of a nation is hurled
From its proud elevation; its lustre is dim.
He is cold as the sod where he sleeps, and this world
With its scorn, or its laurels, is nothing to him.

And both have been his, in the dawn of his life
He has grasped, he hath gained the green garland of fame,
While slander hath struggled with pitiful strife
To point out his errors, and sully his name.

He hath tasted the cup of calamity too,
And its bitterness poisoned his earliest years;
In the withering gloom of his numbers we view,
The grief of a spirit too noble for tears.

He was rash, and his feelings too proudly disdained
One moment's subjection to reason's control;
As well might a wave of the ocean be chained
In its stormy career, as so daring a soul.

He hath felt, and the world loved to tear off the veil
From his agonized feelings, and laugh them to scorn
It spoke of his follies, and what was the tale?
He had erred, — was an exile, — unhappy, — forlorn.

And oh! if indeed it be true, that a mind
So ennobled by genius, rejected belief
In that God, through whose infinite mercy mankind
Can alone find a solace in sickness or grief,

May that mind ere its last fatal moment have felt
All its error; and spurning mortality's chain,
May the sinner's first prayer have been heard while he knelt
At that throne, where a penitent pleads not in vain

Had he lived, he might yet have shone gloriously forth,
And those talents which oft have been lavishly given
To gild all the fleeting enjoyments of earth,
Might at length have devoted their brightness to Heaven.