1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Anonymous, "Monody on the Death of Lord Byron" The Minerva [New York] NS 2 (30 October 1824) 63.



The siroc's hush'd! with hoarsely swelling roar
Sweeps the foam-crested billow to the shore:
The storm-cloud heaves its covering height away,
And yields its terrors to returning day.

When the last murmur of the storm blown o'er,
The fainting sob of the expiring gale,
And mellowing thunders which return no more,
Swell like expiring grandeur's funeral wail,
What human heart but inly deeply feels
The oppressive power of silence, as she steals
Like some lone widow where the fight has been,
With slow and faltering step upon the scene?

Byron! thou mighty master of the storm,
Thy voice of thunder peals no more — to warm
With lightning blaze the wilderness of thought
Through which thy rushing wing has sped, and to thwart
The appalled traveller in his dark'ning course
The uprooting wind has ceased; thy torrent force
Of flooding imagery no longer swells,
Gone with the shadow of its fading source
The cold, dark cloud wherein thy power dwells
In that deep feeling of the storm blown o'er,
When its lull'd thunders shall awake no more,
Do we not morn the mighty spirit flown
From mortal confine! a vast meteor grown
Too bright for this star — seeks again its flight,
So soon envelop'd in the clouds of night,
Remember only that a hurtful gas
From putrid fen or from the dark morass,
Has form'd that meteor? When with just amaze
We mark the eagle with unshrinking gaze
Eyeing the sun and wheeling midst his rays,
From her proud, airy height shall fancy bend
To think the eagle can't at times descend
And "prey on garbage?"

The storm's grandeur gone,
Shall we then brood upon its gloom alone?
Who, in the agitation which pervades
Shall trembling nature, when her terror fades
Into a sunny smile — sees not her charms,
Her beauties heightened by her late alarms?
In the wild grandeur of the foaming wave,
The rising bound of the o'ercharged bough,
The glistening of the pearly drops which lave
Fresh flowers all perished with drowth till now.
Oblivion shears the horrors of the storm,
The scathed oak and lightning riven rock;
Or if (when startled o'er their prostrate form)
Nervous imagination hears the shock
Which laid them low — she breathes a timid prayer
To Him who bids the thunder strike or spare.

The eagle's wing is furled! the meteor's flight
Sinks in the darkness of a starless night
The storm is hushed! from the storm-spirit's hand
Beneath whose touch the soul of nature rose,
Is crush'd in that cold hand's convulsive close.
Hark to the deep and melancholy sound!
In earthly chorus fills the air around
With plaintive murmurs o'er yon new-raised grave,
The spirits in the elements who dwell
Are chanting parted grandeur's funeral knell.

"Byron's no more!" Raise high the mournful wail,
Let the heart sigh of nature swell the gale.
Mourn o'er him, Nature; free-born Fancy, mourn;
Weep, widow'd Contemplation, o'er his urn:
For though affection joins not in the throng,
And social feelings still maintain their wrong—
All grateful Liberty and the exalted Nine,
A wreath of glory for his brows shall twine;
And fame midst empires' tombs point mighty genius thine.