1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Mr. Rymer, "To Lord Byron" The Monthly Magazine 44 (January 1818) 530.



Adieu, adieu, fond Fancy's child!
Smooth be the rolling wat'ry wild;
Calm be the wave that's doom'd to flow,
Still mingled with the drops of woe;
Sweet be the zephyr's wing that flies,
Still burthen'd with the poet's sighs,
Harmonious, like his farewel strains,
To wedded bliss and native plains.
And, could the Muse's lyre impart
A charm to ease the wounded heart,
And fairy scenes could Fancy find,
To soothe the deeply troubled mind,—
Thou might'st be blest, from anguish free;
For Genius fondly smiles on thee,
And taught thee ev'ry varied strain,
And thrills the nerve of joy and pain,—
The lover's sigh, the hero's care,
And timid Hope, and dire Despair;
And requiems o'er a people's doom,
In lands that only boast their tomb,—
Where all the great and good are dead,
And Liberty and Joy are fled;
And but the tyrant and the slave
Behold the ruins of the brave.

O should'st thou, sorrowing minstrel, stray
O'er these bright scenes of classic lay,
And breath thy numbers to the gale
That erst has borne the Ilian tale;
Tho' now neglected Pindar's lyre,
Tho' quench'd the buskin'd poet's fire,
And Spartan truth and valour flown,
And Attic worth and splendour gone;
Yet might thy song o'er these lov'd plains
Revive the charm of Freedom's strains,—
Still teach the rocks and hills around
To hail the long-neglected sound;
Then ere the flame of Hope expir'd
Some kindred bosom might be fir'd,
The steep ascent of Fame to climb—
The Solon of a future time.
O yes! for here some daring mind,
By Heaven with energy design'd,
The wond'rous gaze of vulgar times,
Some hero's soul, without his crimes,
Might here obtain a radiant crown,
By virtue gain'd, with high renown,
Erect a truly lawful throne
Where Justice, Truth, and Freedom shone;
Restore to Greece her wonted name,
Her polish'd worth, her splendid fame,
Her Spartan zeal, Athenian charms,
Corinthian arts, and Theban arms;
While birth-proud despots stood around,
Admir'd and fear'd the hallow'd ground.

Sweet Bard, adieu! may every prayer
Still serve to shield thee from despair,
And all the joys that poets feel
Still ease the wound they cannot heal:
May Fancy then around thee throw
A charm to soothe her fav'rite's woe,—
For oft the wond'ring poet spies
A scene unseen by common eyes;
And oft the raptur'd minstrel hears
A sound unheard by common ears.
O may that charm, to Genius dear,
Still mingle rapture with thy tear;
Tell thee, the breeze through ev'ry tree
But mourns in unison with thee;
Like thee, the rill from rocky steeps
For ever droops, for ever weeps;
And echoing caves their notes prolong,
Enamour'd of the poet's song.
And when thy lyre shall sound no more,
And the last day of grief be o'er,
May all thy errors be forgiven,
And Mercy waft thy soul to Heaven.