1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Everard, "Childe Harold" The New-York Mirror 7 (23 January 1830) 225.



He was a dreamer! — on his way
He went — a melancholy man;
Joy's sunbeams round him did not play
After his pilgrimage began;
With kindling thought he passed along
And darkening sorrow o'er him flung
A gloom that woke his lyre to song,
And woke sad tones its chords among.

Yet he was not a loved one here;
Pleasures and kindred passed away;
He pour'd no sigh — he shed no tear
Above their cold and wasting clay.
He bowed to to the gloomy blast
That gathered round his upright form,
When wind and cloud and tempest past
Midst the stern glories of the storm.

He bowed not, when the foaming wave
Upheaved his bounding bark beneath;
When the sea oped its yawning grave,
Like the appalling jaws of death;
And when Italia's sunny skies
Bent sweetly o'er his wanderings,
A vacancy was in his eyes,
And sadness on his wild harp strings.

Young hope had flown him — and his cheek
With "cadent tears" and grief was worn,
With sorrows that he would not speak,
Though his heart's finest chords were torn,
Affections crush'd, and deep vows broken,
Had to his wayward lot been given:
And time had stolen each gentle token
That blessed his childhood's cloudless heaven.

These had been his — and on his brow
The shade of deep emotions fell,
As, leaning o'er his vessel's prow,
He mark'd the blue waves rise and swell,
As on his dim and tearful sight
Sad fading in the distant blue,
Albion's pale cliffs, all glimmering white,
Pierced the far haze in glory though.

But now he sleeps — and in that sleep
No tongue may tell what dreams have come,
But fame and grief their vigils keep
Above his last and silent home.
His wandering feet shall press no more
The thorny paths they once have trod:
His fitful pilgrimage is o'er;
Leave the calm sleeper to his God.