1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lord Byron

Verita, "Lines on the Death of a great Poet" Western Luminary [Lexington KY] 1 (1 September 1824) 127-28.



See, where yon storied marble rising high
Proclaims the Triumph of Mortality!
See, where pale Genius mourns her matchless Son,
And decks with Fame's proud wreath his stately tomb!
But see! no gentler spirits linger here,
No forms benign, with sorrowing hearts draw near;
Such as o'er Virtue's dust in silence bend
And pour the heart's best tribute to her friend.

His was no soul to claim affection's tear;
His was no life to Virtue's votaries dear—
The Apostate Spirit's minister on earth,
He nurs'd wild passion from its earliest birth,
Gave his dark impulse to the troubled soul,
Taught it to spurn at Virtue's mild control,
Burst all the social ties which bless mankind,
And wrapt in sceptic gloom the immortal mind!
These were thy works, dark Spirit! These the deeds
With which thy cumbered soul to judgment speeds!

Thy potent Fancy, brooding dark and wild,
Peopled with horrors thy distemper'd mind!
While Conscience vainly from her secret cell,
Mingled her warning voice with Passion's swell!
The torch of Genius in thine erring hand,
Scathed like the levin-bolt's resistless brand,
Flashed its wild splendour on the bosom's throne,
Seared other hearts, and doubly scorched thine own!

But soft! let Pity's tear bedew the scene,
And Virtue mourn for what thou might'st have been:
Had'st thou stood forth Her champion, oh how blest
Had been thine earthly course! How sweet thy rest!