1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Frances Wright, "To Marcella, with Byron's Poems" The Minerva [New York] 2 (30 August 1823) 168.



Full oft, kind spirit! hast thou sought
To read my heart — to try its tone:
Alas! thou d'st read a thing of nought—
Thou 'dst make a stop whose music's gone.

Yet, if in truth thou can'st desire
My inner thoughts, my soul to see,
Oh! listen to the master's lyre,
And sigh to think he speaks for me.

Like him I've some misfortune known,
The various modes of anguish tried;
Like him I've felt myself alone,
With nought to lean upon beside.

Like him I've trod the maze of thought,
Perus'd the tablet of the mind;
Like him, betray'd by others, sought
Companionship at home to find.

Like him I've seldom lov'd, nor then
Much promise made, nor token given;
Yet once perchance, few wore within
A heart more kind beneath the Heaven.

But then, like his, that heart was sear'd,
And back upon itself recoil'd:
Trust, warmth were gone, hope disappear'd;
Cold, passive, wither'd yet — not soil'd.

No! not like him, if truth it be
That vice hath marr'd that glorious mind;
No! not like him, if ever he
Stabb'd at the peace of living kind.

Nor yet like him, the hapless wight!
Who searches earth, and yet finds none
In whom to trust and take delight,
I, oft betray'd, have yet found none.