1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Clio, "Elegy on the Death of Lord Byron" European Magazine 86 (July 1824) 15-16.



'Tis done! thou liest cold and still as marble
And Grecian heroes mourn around thy bier!
His death-note reached our shores, slow borne,
On muffled winds, sad, moaning from afar?
So sank that star of mighty genius,
And quench'd its glory in the clouds of night.
His lofty spirit is dismiss'd at last!
Aye! and it soareth on the wings of wind,
To scenes its magic pen hath oft describ'd!
Did ye not see that spirit disenthrall'd
From earthly ties, that mounted in the air,
With outstretch'd pinions bright and dazzling,
Coursing majestic yon wide fields of ether,
Studded with countless stars and sparkling gems?
Then riding past the planetary spheres
Till far away, he sees with dazzled eyes,
The glistening turrets of that high abode,
Where spirits join, and light is lost in light!

Grand spirit of the lyre! whose final flight,
At last hath carried thee to yonder heav'n,
I hail thee standing on its glittering walls,
In apotheosis of light arrayed!

Oh thou! whose verse loud peal'd from foreign shores
Rang in our ears majestic and sublime,
Now loudly thunder'd like the cannon's roar,
Then wail'd like distant, bugle's plaintive notes—
Now the shrill clarions piercing sound, and then
Melodious warbled soft in beauty's ear!
Are then, thy songs for ever, — ever hush'd?
No more thy fingers o'er thy lyre shall stray,
No! never more! — Its silver strings are snapp'd.
Thy hand lies cold along the silent tomb
Where music strays not, o'er the mould'ring dust!
There Byron's noble corse is stretch'd along,
Stiff as sepulchral marble are his limbs!
There ashes join, and dust is turn'd to dust!
He is not dead! our Byron never dies,
He lives full brightly in his splendid works
While he himself undying soars away
And ravished, lists to melody sublime.
Where, we will say, his full resounding lyre
Shall peal in concert with yon harmony
Which angels strike to welcome us to heaven!

Sons of the brave! bereav'd, illustrious Greeks!
Heard ye his knell, sad peal'd along your shores?
Aye! in the land, whereon your Homer liv'd,
Immortal pair! Our British Byron trode!
Oh! weep his loss! your mighty adjunct weep!
While he o'erlook'd, how quickly beat your hearts!
How sprang to arms, and for the battle gap'd!
In mighty strength uprear'd the faulchion high.
And steep'd it reeking in the Turkish gore!

Then mourn his death ye Greeks! as heroes mourn,
His death, who gave his life, his gold, his all!
Rear the high cenotaph, and marble shrine,
And 'grave in words that burn, his noble name!
Let future Greeks the bright example see,
And sing his praise, who for their fathers fought.

So when the sun has rolled his daily course,
And gently glides to rest on ocean s breast,
Yet o'er the hills he casts a ling'ring ray,
And rivers glisten in his sparkling beams
Soften'd and mellow'd from the blaze of day!
Yea! e'en the cloud's that on the horizon rest,
He gilds with purple lustre; and then he sinks
Slowly from might, yet ceaseth not to shine,
But rolls afar in other hemispheres,
And bright as ever, other worlds illumes!

So sank great Byron's splendid sun, to rest,
In distant lands resplendent from afar!
Far o'er the seas and rocks its lustre lies,
And reaches British shores, and shines most glorious here!

Now fly ye winds! to all your quarters fly;
And bear his name with glorious adjuncts far!
In softest cadence mourn his blighted hopes,
Connubial bliss, a fathers joy, — he had them not!
Exil'd from home, a noble wanderer!
But, when ye come to tell the splendid tale
Of Byron's glory, — rise then all ye winds!
Bathe them in fragrance, from Arabia's shores,
And blow o'er sultry Afric's arid sands,
O'er rocks, and streams, — on whirlwinds wings abroad!
Till Byron's name resounds from shore to shore!