1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Eleanor Dickinson, "On the Death of Lord Byron" Dickinson, The Pleasures of Piety (1824) 23-28.



Oh Death! once more thy shaft hath flown,
And fatal thy unerring dart:
Hark! heard ye not a Nation's groan—
Cold is a noble patriot's heart.

Yes! he is gone, who bravely dared,
The cause of freedom to defend:
When dire Oppression's arm was bared,
Greece found, 'mong Britain's sons, a friend.

The Bard of Nature is no more!
Who woo'd her in her darkest moods;
Who loved her mysteries to explore,
E'en 'mid her dreariest solitudes.

Ye mountains, wrapped in clouds and gloom!
Ye foaming cataracts, wild and drear!
Your deepest sable tints assume,
And pour a requiem round his bier.

O Genius! droop thy soaring wing,
And hover o'er thy Poet's urn;
And here the sweetest flow'rets bring,
From garden, glen, or mountain fern.

And thou, blue ether, sparkling o'er
With radiant gems of purest light,
Veil thy soft lustre, for no more
Shall Byron hail the charms of night.

For him the morn shall blush in vain,
And verdant landscape smile around;
Lo! bound in Death's cold wintry chain,
He slumbers in the unconscious ground.

Still is that pulse which beat so wild,
And, ah! how dim each rayless eye!
Mute are the lips where pleasure smiled,
Or fondly breathed the impassioned sigh.

Reason resigns her sway once more;
Dark is the ray which shone so clear;
Fancy's delusive reign is o'er,
The Grave attests her empire here.

Ne'er from his muse shall wit again
Flash like the lightning's vivid gleam;
Blighting the views of sordid men,
And dissipating Folly's dream.

But Reason, Wit, and Fancy's germ—
Ah! whither has the wanderer fled?
When past this being's transient term,
Does mind, too, mingle with the dead?

No! through the soul conviction flies;—
A strong attesting power within
Proclaims a part that never dies,—
And spurns this vain surmise of sin.

Still shall he live in realms remote,
Where Reason ne'er her wing unfurled—
Beyond the boundaries of thought,
A meteor of some other world.

His fiery spirit's devious course,
That, comet-like, arrests the eye,
Might oft, impelled by keen remorse,
To thousand way-ward passions fly.

Oh! none can tell how deep he felt
In moments of despair and death!
How lonely at his shrine he knelt,
Whose mercy hears the parting breath.

Then, while we mourn the fate severe,
Which nipp'd him in his manhood's bloom;
Let pitying Virtue drop the tear,
And Hope still hover o'er his tomb.