1831 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Willis Gaylord Clark, "Byron at Rome" The New-York Mirror 8 (19 February 1831) 260.



He stood by Tiber's yellow tide,
And marked the scenes around,
Where glorious temples, side by side,
Their sure decay had found;
Far, through the twilight's gathering haze,
The coliseum's wall,
The high — the proud of other days—
Seemed tottering to its fall.

And through the crush'd arch dimly swept
The bat's beclouded wing,
While lizards through the long grass crept,
Mid ruin's vanishing;
The ivy, with it's clasping fold,
O'er frescoed chambers ran;
O'er trophied gates and shrines of old,
Wrecks of the dreamer — man!

And, from the wide Campagna's waste
The autumn's solemn wind
Came, o'er pale tombs, and piles defaced,
Wakening the thoughtful mind:
And as the musing Harold stood,
With sadness in his eye,
Old Tiber rolled his sounding flood
In hollow murmurs by.

And there, among the spoils of yore,
The dreams of wasted hours
Came, like bright clouds, his spirit o'er,
Or spring-winds over flowers;
Till sickening memories rushed along
Each pictured scene to shade;
And thoughts — a melancholy throng—
Their dark impressions made.

There, with vast desolation near,
A lonely heart beat high;
A mighty heart — unknown to fear,
That sought its boon — to die;
For o'er its finest chords the tide
Of deepening woes had flowed,
Checking the joyance and the pride
That earlier years bestowed.

Yet 'twas his lot, the final sigh,
The parting word to pour,
Beneath a proud and sacred sky,
On Hella's classic shore.
Peace be to that triumphant heart!
The world hath own'd its thrill;
Its chords were of his lyre a part—
Peace to that heart! — 'tis still!