1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Henrriqueta, "Byron" The Philadelphia Album 2 (29 August 1827) 104.



Oh! thou wert mighty in the majesty
And strength of genius; and thy spirit bow'd
To none on earth, and scarce to One in heaven.
The lightning of thy glance had withering
And blighting beauty in it, like the flash
Of thunder spirits' eyes; and on thy lip,
So sweetly beautiful, that none might dare
Dream other sounds than those of seraphs dwelt,
With so much loveliness, hung burning words,
That pleas'd, yet ruin'd. Thou wert not a being,
Like those who walk this fresh and verdant world;
Thy spirit knew no fellowship with theirs—
Thou couldst not stoop from thy bright heaven of mind,
To feel and think with them. For thee, the soft
And gentle scenes of nature had no charms;
But in her wildest, most terrific dress,
She pleas'd thee well: the sable thunder cloud—
The mountain, proudly tow'ring to the sky—
The dash of cataracts adown its side,
Delighted thee; — and thou wouldst gaze upon
The brightly rolling stars, and wish to soar,
And dwell forever in them. Among men,
Thou stood'st pre-eminent, thy darkling eye
Beaming forth life and genius. For thou wert
Like the arch fiend — so beautiful — so bad—
Thou seem'd'st "Archangel ruin'd!"—
But death hath met thee, like the hot Simoom,
Which will not let aught live: thy brow hath bow'd
To Him, before whom all the earth must bow!
And thou hast perish'd — in thy noon of life,
When a whole nation hung upon thy words,
And almost worshipp'd thee; when thy high name
Was breath'd by fame afar o'er land and sea—
From east to farthest west, from pole to pole!

Well! rest in peace—
And from the slumber of the grave, awake
To life eternal!—
Thou wert form'd for deeds
Of mightiest import; and thou knewest nought
Of "tame, trite mediums." Greatest among those
Who strike the lyre — noblest friend of Greece—
Genius unearthly — foe to all mankind!—
Thy life hath pass'd away, like a short dream
Of morning, in which visions lovelier
Than to this earth belong, fair forms of light,
And sounds of melody play round the eyes,
And glad the ears of sleeping innocence.
Thy genius triumphed o'er each rival bard;
But death hath chill'd thy bosom. — Fare-thee-well!