1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

John Neal, "To Byron" The Portico [Baltimore] 4 (July-August 1817) 149-50.



Hail mountain Bard! chief of the cloudy band,
That sit amid the storm and rock the lyre,
With sullen brow, and proud, triumphant hand,
And full imperious pomp and robes of fire;
And chant exulting in collected might
Their whirl-wind anthems to their idol NIGHT.

Hail, monarch of the heart! Dark Byron, hail!
Man of the quenchless eye, and boundless song!
Whose spirit loiters in the swiftest gale—
Bides on the thunder when it rolls along—
Bounds with the torrent from its throne on high,
When cataracts seem bursting from the sky.

Thou midnight worshipper! who lovest to hear,
The Thunderer when he storms in wrath and shade.—
When mountain plants bow down — and forms appear
Dissolving on the hills in mist arrayed.—
Who lovest the Desert — and the opening east—
The Earthquake — Battle — and the Vulture's feast.

Man of the wrestling soul! sublimely great
In passion — ruined majesty — and power—
Creator of thyself, and of thy fate—
Eclipsed by phantoms in thy mightiest hour—
Chief of the band that smile the echoing lyre—
The earthquake minstrels! and the tempest quire.

Byron — awake! thy spirit hath been bow'd—
O be thyself, and rend that prison shroud.—
Come forth! and seize thy harp — and storm to us aloud!
N.