Poems by George Gordon Lord Byron

All for Love

O TALK not to me of a name great in story; 
The days of our youth are the days of our glory; 
And the myrtle and ivy of sweet two-and-twenty 
Are worth all your laurels though ever so plenty. 

What are garlands and crowns to the brow that is wrinkled? 5 
'Tis but as a dead flower with May-dew besprinkled: 
Then away with all such from the head that is hoary— 
What care I for the wreaths that can only give glory? 

O Fame! if I e'er took delight in thy praises  
'Twas less for the sake of thy high-sounding phrases 10 
Than to see the bright eyes of the dear one discover 
She thought that I was not unworthy to love her. 

There chiefly I sought thee there only I found thee; 
Her glance was the best of the rays that surround thee; 
When it sparkled o'er aught that was bright in my story 15 
I knew it was love and I felt it was glory. 

"There be none of Beauty's daughters"

THERE be none of Beauty's daughters 
With a magic like thee; 
And like music on the waters 
Is thy sweet voice to me: 
When as if its sound were causing 5 
The charmed ocean's pausing  
The waves lie still and gleaming  
And the lull'd winds seem dreaming: 

And the midnight moon is weaving 
Her bright chain o'er the deep 10 
Whose breast is gently heaving 
As an infant's asleep: 
So the spirit bows before thee 
To listen and adore thee; 
With a full but soft emotion 15 
Like the swell of summer's ocean. 

"She walks in beauty like the night"

SHE walks in beauty like the night 
Of cloudless climes and starry skies  
And all that's best of dark and bright 
Meets in her aspect and her eyes; 
Thus mellow'd to that tender light 5 
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies. 

One shade the more one ray the less  
Had half impair'd the nameless grace 
Which waves in every raven tress 
Or softly lightens o'er her face 10 
Where thoughts serenely sweet express 
How pure how dear their dwelling-place. 

And on that cheek and o'er that brow 
So soft so calm yet eloquent  
The smiles that win the tints that glow 15 
But tell of days in goodness spent — 
A mind at peace with all below  
A heart whose love is innocent. 

"When we two parted"

WHEN we two parted 
In silence and tears  
Half broken-hearted  
To sever for years  
Pale grew thy cheek and cold 5 
Colder thy kiss; 
Truly that hour foretold 
Sorrow to this! 
The dew of the morning 
Sunk chill on my brow; 10 
It felt like the warning 
Of what I feel now. 
Thy vows are all broken  
And light is thy fame: 
I hear thy name spoken 15 
And share in its shame. 

They name thee before me  
A knell to mine ear; 
A shudder comes o'er me— 
Why wert thou so dear? 20 
They know not I knew thee 
Who knew thee too well: 
Long long shall I rue thee  
Too deeply to tell. 

In secret we met: 25 
In silence I grieve 
That thy heart could forget  
Thy spirit deceive. 
If I should meet thee 
After long years 30 
How should I greet thee?— 
With silence and tears. 

Elegy on Thyrza

AND thou art dead as young and fair 
As aught of mortal birth; 
And form so soft and charms so rare 
Too soon return'd to Earth! 
Though Earth received them in her bed 5 
And o'er the spot the crowd may tread 
In carelessness or mirth  
There is an eye which could not brook 
A moment on that grave to look. 

I will not ask where thou liest low 10 
Nor gaze upon the spot; 
There flowers or weeds at will may grow  
So I behold them not: 
It is enough for me to prove 
That what I loved and long must love 15 
Like common earth can rot; 
To me there needs no stone to tell 
'Tis Nothing that I loved so well. 

Yet did I love thee to the last  
As fervently as thou 20 
Who didst not change through all the past  
And canst not alter now. 
The love where Death has set his seal 
Nor age can chill nor rival steal  
Nor falsehood disavow; 25 
And what were worse thou canst not see 
Or wrong or change or fault in me. 

The better days of life were ours  
The worst can be but mine; 
The sun that cheers the storm that lours 30 
Shall never more be thine. 
The silence of that dreamless sleep 
I envy now too much to weep; 
Nor need I to repine 
That all those charms have pass'd away 35 
I might have watch'd through long decay. 

The flower in ripen'd bloom unmatch'd 
Must fall the earliest prey; 
Though by no hand untimely snatch'd. 
The leaves must drop away. 40 
And yet it were a greater grief 
To watch it withering leaf by leaf  
Than see it pluck'd to-day; 
Since earthly eye but ill can bear 
To trace the change to foul from fair. 45 

I know not if I could have borne 
To see thy beauties fade; 
The night that follow'd such a morn 
Had worn a deeper shade. 
Thy day without a cloud hath pass'd 50 
And thou wert lovely to the last  
Extinguish'd not decay'd; 
As stars that shoot along the sky 
Shine brightest as they fall from high. 

As once I wept if I could weep 55 
My tears might well be shed 
To think I was not near to keep 
One vigil o'er thy bed— 
To gaze how fondly! on thy face  
To fold thee in a faint embrace 60 
Uphold thy drooping head  
And show that love however vain  
Nor thou nor I can feel again. 

Yet how much less it were to gain  
Though thou hast left me free 65 
The loveliest things that still remain 
Than thus remember thee! 
The all of thine that cannot die 
Through dark and dread eternity 
Returns again to me 70 
And more thy buried love endears 
Than aught except its living years. 

On the Castle of Chillon

ETERNAL Spirit of the chainless Mind! 
Brightest in dungeons Liberty! thou art  
For there thy habitation is the heart— 
The heart which love of Thee alone can bind. 
And when thy sons to fetters are consign'd 5 
To fetters and the damp vault's dayless gloom  
Their country conquers with their martyrdom  
And Freedom's fame finds wings on every wind. 
Chillon! thy prison is a holy place 
And thy sad floor an altar for 'twas trod 10 
Until his very steps have left a trace 
Worn as if thy cold pavement were a sod  
By Bonnivard! May none those marks efface! 
For they appeal from tyranny to God. 

Youth and Age

THERE'S not a joy the world can give like that it takes away 
When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay; 
'Tis not on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone which fades so fast  
But the tender bloom of heart is gone ere youth itself be past. 

Then the few whose spirits float above the wreck of happiness 5 
Are driven o'er the shoals of guilt or ocean of excess: 
The magnet of their course is gone or only points in vain 
The shore to which their shiver'd sail shall never stretch again. 

Then the mortal coldness of the soul like death itself comes down; 
It cannot feel for others' woes it dare not dream its own; 10 
That heavy chill has frozen o'er the fountain of our tears  
And though the eye may sparkle still 'tis where the ice appears. 

Though wit may flash from fluent lips and mirth distract the breast  
Through midnight hours that yield no more their former hope of rest  
'Tis but as ivy-leaves around the ruin'd turret wreathe 15 
All green and wildly fresh without but worn and gray beneath. 

Oh could I feel as I have felt or be what I have been  
Or weep as I could once have wept o'er many a vanish'd scene — 
As springs in deserts found seem sweet all brackish though they be  
So midst the wither'd waste of life those tears would flow to me! 20 


OH snatch'd away in beauty's bloom! 
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb; 
But on thy turf shall roses rear 
Their leaves the earliest of the year  
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom: 5 

And oft by yon blue gushing stream 
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head  
And feed deep thought with many a dream  
And lingering pause and lightly tread; 
Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead! 10 

Away! we know that tears are vain  
That Death nor heeds nor hears distress: 
Will this unteach us to complain? 
Or make one mourner weep the less? 
And thou who tell'st me to forget 15 
Thy looks are wan thine eyes are wet.

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