1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Anonymous, "To a Lady who expressed a wish that Lord Byron would favour the World with a Poem on the Death of the Princess Charlotte" St. James's Chronicle (30 December 1817).



Ah! wherefore lay a task so hard
Upon that wild and wayward bard?
'Tis his to "link" in specious rhymes,
"One virtue with a thousand crimes,"
But where a thousand virtues blaze,
His bashful Muse denies her praise.
'Tis his the fierce extremes to prove
Of lawless hate, and nameless love;
Passion to rouse, but not controul,
To pierce into the human soul,
And from the charnel-house within
Drag to the light each fostering sin.
Trust me such poet would repine
To dig the diamond from the mine,
Whose unsuspected, modest, ray
Imbedded closely, shuns the day.
No — "Daughter of a Royal line!"
A wreath for thee he will not twine.
———*———*———*———
Now look at him who feels the blow
In deep, unutterable woe.
A Prince — and not of lineage new:
A soldier — and a tried one too,
He lov'd his wife — hence empty sighs!
With him we may not sympathize.
And she — too early snatched away,
Fair promise of a better day—
Thou must not tarnish with thy frown
The purest gem of Britain's Crown.
She lov'd the ground on which she trod,
She lov'd her Prince — she worshipp'd God,
She felt his hand — and kissed the rod.
For Faith was hers, on heaven relying,
That triumphed while the Saint was dying.
No — "Daughter of a Royal Line!"
A wreath for thee he shall not twine.