1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Anonymous, "Lines writte on a Blank Leaf of Lord Byron's Poems" Gentleman's Magazine 97 (January 1827) 27.



BYRON, full many a year hath fled,
Since verse of thine — once-lov'd — hath shed
On me a melancholy tone;
I deem'd my minstrel-feeling gone;
But chance hath brought thee to my hand,
Or almost chance, and in thy lays
I hear the voice of other days,
I see the forms of other land;
They tell of thoughts and hopes which then
Lit my young heart, but they were vain.
Dream crowding dream commingling springs,
And o'er that heart remembrance flings
A gleam not easy to define,
A moment-glimpse of "Auld Lang Syne."
But oh how changed thy Lyre! no more
Breathes its deep feeling as before,
But cold Revenge, and Folly bare,
And Blasphemy are jarring there;
Who lov'd thee weep thy vanish'd fame,
Who hate thee brand thy blighted name;
Mute is the praise, and sear the bough,
That sooth'd thine ear, or bound thy brow;
And censure flings reproach on those,
Half justly, who are not thy foes.
Such am not I; but mourn thy fate,
The wreck of all that's really great;
Mind, genius, character: ah! what
Might these have been? — 'tis now forgot.
Gone, gone without a sigh to save
The hope before, beyond the grave!
And shall thy fellow sinners dare
To spurn the ruins withering there?
They whose proud virtue might have bow'd
To trials thine hath not withstood:
Cold, base, presumptuous!

For thee,
Pass'd to the grave of infamy,
Know, if thou may'st, there still is one,
Fall'n as thou art, and scorn'd, and lone,
Will bend o'er thy dishonour'd bier,
And breathe a sigh, and drop a tear.