1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Anonymous, "Lines to Lord Byron" Edinburgh Magazine NS 13 (July 1823) 70.



Dark, wayward spirit! who can read
Thy mighty and immortal song,
Nor feel his rising bosom bleed
That all its woes to thee belong,
Whose genius takes the lightning's form,
And gleams through thunder-cloud and storm?

On thee in vain Creation's smile
Is shed, where endless summers bloom;
E'en beauty's self no more can wile
Thy heart from woe, thou child of gloom:
Spring thaws the ice around the Pole,
But not the winter of the soul.

No rays of hope the shades dispel,
That rest upon thy future years;
Thy heart alike hath sigh'd farewell
To all that woke its hopes and fears;
And oh! if truth is in thy strain,
Man, hapless man, was made in vain!

With talents gifted as thou art,
Unmatch'd, the glorious boon of Heaven,
And with fair woman's hand and heart,
To thee in being's blossom given—
In want and woe though thousands pine,
Oh! who would change his lot with thine?

Vain, vain thy wealth and noble birth,
And fame as never man possest,
E'en in thy youth, which fill'd the earth,
They soothe not that mysterious breast;
And yet thy heart (strange warbler!) sings
Most sweetly with its broken strings!

Alas for Genius! Fate still weaves
A mournful wreath, her brow to bind;
The nightshade and the cypress leaves
Are with her laurels closely twin'd:
Form'd for a higher, happier sphere,
She needs must droop, and wither here!