1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Francis Hodgson, [Epistle to Byron in Greece] 1811; Memoir of Francis Hodgson (1878) 1:178-79.



While modern Greeks, the shadows of their sires,
Detain my Byron on that fabled shore,
And cull faint murmurs from those sacred lyres
That thrill'd the bosom of the world of yore;

Home-keeping still on England's happier plains,
To native beauty sounds my faithful lay;
While native beauty smiles upon my strains,
Why should I wish in Grecian woods to stray?

For genius high and cultured taste are here,
And all that Athens in her pride could boast;
The sage's eye that scans the glittering sphere,
The patriot's ardour in itself a host.

Return then, Byron, to this favour'd land,
For joy that flies thee cease in vain to roam;
What joy can dwell with Turkey's slavish band?
Thy own time-honour'd Newstead calls thee home.

Those mouldering walls where Phidias triumphs yet
(If safe from Elgin's sacrilegious guile),
Can e'en their beauty bid thy soul forget
Repentant Henry's consecrated pile?

Forget the scene, where loyal valour strove—
Forget the ranks where godlike Falkland died—
Forget the youthful scene of promised love,
Where love shall yet enjoy a fairer bride?

Return, my Byron; to Britannia's fair,
To that soft pow'r which shares the bliss it yields;
Return to Freedom's pure and vigorous air,
To Love's own groves and Glory's native fields.