1822 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Robert S. Coffin ["The Boston Bard"], "Byron" Saturday Evening Post [Philadelphia] (23 February 1822).



Satan his harp to Byron gave,
And said — "Go, sweep it well:
Thy throne, the murderer's rocking grave—
Thy theme, the feasts of hell.

"The place of sculls thy home shall be,
Thy bed the couch of shame;
Plunge in pollution's putrid sea—
There build thy hope of fame.

"To misery's child new misery add—
Tell him no pardon's given;
Drive, drive the shuddering sinner mad—
And break his hold on heaven!

"Sweep, sweep the lyre to godless themes—
For vice a chaplet twine;
Of horrors be thy waking dreams—
Of horrors that are thine.

"Of agonies on hell that rise
Of darkness that is felt,
Of reeling worlds — of sund'ring skies—
Of terrors yet unspelt!

"Dark be the picture — let no light,
Not one dim ray illume;
Dark, dark as never-ending night—
As self-destroyer's doom!

"Man's hope, man's peace for ever mar—
Eclipse religion's sun;
Tread out Salvation's golden star—
And see thy work well done."

He said — his lordship took the lyre,
And swept the strings along;
Whilst Satan stole from heaven the fire!
And tun'd the godless song!