1813 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Francis Hodgson, "Man was made to Mourn, by L—d B." Leaves of Laurel; or New Probationary Odes, for the Vacant Laureatship (1813) 8-9.



Where is the breath of P—e? for ever blown
O'er the wide welkin, and to nothing turn'd!
He, who once made the listening Court his own,
His courtly incense now in vain has burn'd.
Can all, by saint, sage, sophist, taught or learn'd,
Refill this empty P—e? — or raise his crust?
Thus perish false and true; thus, all inurn'd
In one sad nothingness, return they must
To dust, from whence they rose, to dull, dark, dirty, dust.

Wherefore deride my melancholy rhyme?
Why scoff at sorrow's scroll? — for what is man?
A baseless bubble on the tide of time!
His fast how long, his feast how short in span,
Bairam three days to four weeks Rhamazan!
Blind beetle, spiteful spider, phantom frail,
What are thy ways? how speeds thy proudest plan?
All that thou fear'st shall hap, thou hop'st shall fall,
And Taedium's self shall tire to tell thy twice-told tale.

Where is the Laureat progeny of yore,
Yclept illustrious in their little day?
They blazed like wills of wisp, and were no more—
Elkanah, Bayes himself, have passed away,
Albeit they drank like us this vital ray!
We too, eftsoons, shall wear oblivion's rust,
Like those, who, whilome, in close coffin lay—
Weak, wandering, worthless man! say what thy trust?
When dust is all in all, and all in all is dust!