1814 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Somebody, "Ode to Lord By—n, on hearing the Report of his intended Marriage" Morning Post (13 October 1814).



Romance adieu, and Sentiment farewell,
For BY—N bursts at once your magic spell;
Ye Gods! and can it be! — the lovely youth
Who boasted of his constancy and truth,
Upon whose verse young fancy raptur'd hung,
Believing all his faithless ditties sung,
Believing all! — drop Constancy thy tear!
Alas! alas! what falling off is here!
It cannot be — read, read those lines again,
BY—N consent to be like other men!
Consent to chuse the common vulgar fate
To Marry! — and give children to the State!
And shall thy soaring soul then stoop to this?
To lead a listless life of quiet bliss!
An idly busy, dozing country life—
Hob-nobbing with a portly lady-wife!
Discoursing with her of your eggs, and cheese,
Your oxen, hogs, your turkeys, cocks, and geese,
Your children's prittle prattle, nurse's jeers,
Your old October for your chast'ning guests;
What time to pickle, and what time to brew,
What time to salt your pork — what themes for you!
From scenes like these the Muse indignant turns,
And all her soul with raging fury burns;
She tears her roses from your classic brow,
And swears you are unfit to wear them now.
BY—N who wing'd his flight to heights sublime,
And match'd his faith in run against old Time,
BY—N, who said — record, ah, Muse! his shame,
That he "for worlds would not behold the dame,
Resembling her he lov'd — yet not the same;"
Who rose with horror at the thought profane,
That any second love his first should wrest,
Or mar the sacred image in his breast;
BY—N at length consents — oh! Gods above
Blush, Sentiment! Romance! — blush, outrag'd Love!
Blush, Memory! — blush deeper than the rest,
A now intruding, most unwelcome guest.
BY—N to lose thee, wishes — longs to wed—
Spare, Pity, spare what further must be said,
And guard from hissing darts his guilty head.

To all thy greatness now, a long farewell,
The records of the past, we need not tell;
That, thy insulted Muse too well hath done:
Shorn of its beams, now sinks the setting sun!
Yet e'er thou goest — to soothe the Muse's ire,
Collect thy books — and let the greedy fire
Reduce to ashes all thou e'er hast wrote,
That from thyself none may thy falsehood quote.
So may'st thou vanish, as thou ne'er had'st been,
Nor love, nor fancy, miss thee from the scene;
Glide down the stream of life like other men,
Nor e'er of griefs sublime speak aught again;
Or should some future BY—N ever rise,
We well shall know how the fond youth to prize,
Vain ev'ry effort to aspire to fame,
Satire shall smile, and whisper BY—N'S name.