1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

B., "On seeing some late Productions of a Noble Lord" Gentleman's Magazine 86 (Supplement to Part 1 1816) 616.



O thou unworthy tenant of a name
Once noble — even yet allied to fame;
Well hast thou proved thy title to the bays
Which vice and talents have conspir'd to raise.
Yet their redeeming grace can never save
Those vices from their last and lowest grave.
There 'neath a load of obloquy they lie,
And taint thy honours ere they reach the sky.
Hast thou forgot, or didst thou never know,
How base the triumph o'er a female foe?
On her, defenceless, heaping every wrong,
With all the candour of this honest song.
In vain thy tongue, so rich in poor abuse,
Strives to pour forth the venom of thy Muse:
The baffled poison to its source returns;
Spreads through thy frame, and in the bosom burns.
For her, whose happiness thou'st strove to wreck,
And bid "farewell" with such well-feign'd regret,
Her life was cloudless, from each folly free,
And only erring when she fix'd on thee.

Go — rove in other climes, and try to find
A bolder heart — a more perverted mind.
The search were vain; for thou canst never see
One with thy talents aught resembling thee.
Genius to vice indissolubly tied—
The depth of meanness and the height of pride.
No sweet remembrance of accomplished good,
No thrilling sigh of endless gratitude,
Shall follow soothing from thy native shore,
Or tempt thee back to view its cliffs once more.
When thou behold'st the lovely shores of Greece,
Thy feelings cannot share the landscape's peace;
And when thou rov'st beneath her cloudless skies,
And memory sees her long-lost glory rise,
Oh! never choose the birth-place of the free,
Domestic tyrant, as a home for thee.