1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Bernard M. Carter, in "The Wag's Poem" Poems by Bernard M. Carter of Virginia (1824) 30-35.



But how dread Byron chafes my soul,
To hear him to the wild winds howl,
And feed that hungry wolf Despair,
With pander from his Leila's bier,
And at hyena's midnight hour,
To prowl him with that glaring Giaour,
Or just at moment of his dream,
With "woman's wildest funeral" scream!
For I could pile Olympus-high,
A load of anguish in my breast,
Nor care to keep the secret why
No balm can heal or bring it rest—
A tale could tell of woes to weep
And melt the glaciers of the pole,
Or in Eternal tortures steep
The quivering fragments of the soul—
Could climb to Chimberrazzo's snow,
Or plunge some dark Tartarean deep,
And find me there a kindlier glow,
Or in less burning fires sleep—
Could send around the spheres, the form,
Of hideous, yelling, damn'd Despair,
'Till merged in Hell's sulphureous storm
Of flame, make Demons revel there—
I had rather gaze that light that's given
To Love, its kindred hue of Heaven!
That Nature's second urn whose beams,
The golden spring of virtue seems,
Or where its warmer climes are run,
Fair Virtue's golden Summer sun,
Till love's Autumnal fruit shall crown
And claim each clime for Virtue's own,
Or Winter's holy chast'ning bring,
To lap again love's infant Spring,
And make its "circling glory" shine,
To emulate that ray divine,
With which the god-head binds his brow,
To raise the meekly and the low—
Or place my shrine at woman's feet,
For pilgrims to the Father's seat,
And of that brighter saint believe,
That she can absolution give;
For in my heart the thing I'd crave,
The passport I would rather have,
Is woman's kindly-beaming eye!
The signet of high Heraldry!
The gem on glory's crown to lie!
Enthroned with the Deity!—
I had rather kiss that bulbul rose,
That sweet Zuleika's loves disclose,
Or list the fabled nightingale
Wear out her echo with the tale,
And, poised upon its trembling wing,
Bid all the vassal groves to bring
Their raptures with that seraph's flower,
And anthems for Zuleika pour—
But O conceal that fatal shore
Whose sands have drunk her Selim's gore,
And curtain'd be that dismal cave
That hangs upon the bloody wave,
And wrapt from ken of mortal sight
The shroudings of that woful night,
That bade her faithful Selim die,
And glazed his loved Zuleika's eye—
If told the deed, O hide the scene!
Rack not my sympathies between
That saint's devotion to her sire,
And Selim's love — an Heathen fire!
Like that that did Ephesus burn,
If holiest temples could inurn,
Her heart, the holier temple far,
Than e'er was sack'd by feudal war!
That curst Ambition to be great
That plucks fell ruin on a state,
That Gothic malice to pull down
The Trajan column for its crown,
That monstrous heresy in Love
That mocks the mandates of its Jove,
A base-born Clodius to conspire
Against the holier misterie—
Rather that light of higher Heaven,
The meed of faith to Christians given,
Let this with purer raptures flame,
And e'en the murderous Giaffir bless,
Encircling with her Selim's name,
The incense of her parting kiss,
And then her wing to homes of bliss!