1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Anonymous, "On the Separation of Lord and Lady Byron. A Fragment" La Belle Assemblee NS 29 (March 1824) 117.



The meteor-blaze that fires the sky,
Is only sent to flash and die;
The scene that cheers the joyous heart,
Bears on its front the words, "We part!"
And all our passing blessings seem
The shadow of some empty dream,
That meets the fancy and retires—
That kindles, and, alas! expires.

Oh! who would seek the various bowers
Where Genius spends the listless hours;
Where momentary brilliance gleams,
And passion deals in curst extremes;
Where joy delusive beams around,
Where wildered extacy is found;
Where madness often dwells, and where
The shroud is wove for fixed despair?—
Within those bowers there's little rest,
Beneath those shades how few are blest!

An Eastern bride was not more fair
Than she who met Lord BYRON there:
The freshest vines around were spread,
And roses strew'd their bridal bed,
And Hope appeared in visions bright,
And care was hidden from their sight.
Old Science came, with locks of gray,
To bless his daughter's wedding-day;
And Fancy, as the spot she passed,
Whispered, "This scene of joy shall last,
And floods of classic lights shall roll
From mind to mind, from soul to soul."
———*———*———*———
I said the passing hour seem'd blest,
That flowers o'erspread the couch of rest:
They now lie withered, sad, and dead;
Hope soon withdrew, and Pleasure fled;
When in a voice like funeral knell,
Lord Byron bade his bride "Farewell;"
Fled from that peaceful couch of rest,
And sought the troubled ocean's breast.
———*———*———*———
Behold the cheek, that brow of care,
The firm grasped hand, the bosom bare;
What agony is there exprest,
Can Byron on the cold earth rest?
———*———*———*———
Stay, sweet illusion, stay; once more
That form, that voice, that look restore.
Methought upon a tower I stood
Which overhung the raging flood;
When, as I viewed the restless swell
With sullen joy, — down — down I fell;
But e'er I reached the midway air,
An angel with dishevelled hair,
And heaving bosom, held me fast;
Upon her brow one glance I cast.
Oh! 'twas serene — it struck my heart!
She said, "for ever we must part."—
From my cold grasp she strove to sever,
And said, "forget me — oh! for ever."
Stay, sweet illusion — stay — once more
That form, that look, that voice restore;
She's gone — I saw her bosom swell
With inward grief — "farewell, farewell!"
This aching heart will never let me
Obey her mandate — "Oh! forget me."
He smote his heart, his eyes beamed wild,
"Nor can I e'er forget my child."

'Tis midnight: still yon mourner sighs,
Sleep has not closed her lovely eyes.
Her child how often has she prest
Upon her solitary breast;
Her hair fell gently o'er that child,
The mother's shriek was loud and wild!
For, shaded by those ringlets fair,
She caught the father's likeness there!
"My love, my lord," her tears she dried,
And strove the breaking heart to hide;
But what aloud she dare not speak,
Is writ upon her brow, and cheek;
And in her babe's unconscious ears
A name is whispered oft in tears.