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The music of thy martial sphere
Was fame on high and honour here;
And thy light broke on human eyes,
Like a volcano of the skies.

Like lava roll'd thy stream of blood,
And swept down empires with its flood;
Earth rock'd beneath thee to her base,
As thou didst lighten through all space;
And the shorn Sun grew dim in air,
And set while thou wert dwelling there.
Before thee rose, and with thee grew,
A rainbow of the loveliest hue

Of three bright colours, each divine,
And fit for that celestial sign;
For Freedom's hand had blended them,
Like tints in an immortal gem.

One tint was of the sunbeam's dyes;
One, the blue depth of Seraph's eyes;
One, the pure Spirit's veil of white
Had robed in radiance of its light:
The three so mingled did beseem
The texture of a heavenly dream.

Star of the brave! thy ray is pale,
And darkness must again prevail !
But, oh thou Rainbow of the free!
Our tears and blood must flow for thee.
When thy bright promise fades away,
Our life is but a load of clay.

And Freedom hallows with her tread
The silent cities of the dead;
For beautiful in death are they
Who proudly fall in her array;
And soon, oh Goddess! may we be
For evermore with them or thee!

Farewell to thee, France! when thy diadem crown'd me,
I made thee the gem and the wonder of earth,-
But thy weakness decrees I should leave as I found thee,
Decay'd in thy glory, and sunk in thy worth.

The tricolour.

2 [In the original MS.-" A Dream."]

[In this poem Lord Byron has abandoned the art, so peculiarly his own, of showing the reader where his purpose tends, and has contented himself with presenting a mass of powerful ideas unarranged, and the meaning of which it is not easy to attain. A succession of terrible images is placed before us, flitting and mixing, and disengaging themselves, as in the dream of a feverish man-chimeras dire, to whose existence the mind refuses credit, which confound and weary the ordinary reader, and baffle the comprehension, even of those more accustomed to the flights of a poetic muse. The subject is the progress of utter darkness, until it becomes, in Shakspeare's phrase, the "burier of the dead;" and the assemblage of terrific ideas which the poet has placed before us only

Oh! for the veteran hearts that were wasted
In strife with the storm, when their battles were won
Then the Eagle, whose gaze in that moment was blasted,
Had still soar'd with eyes fix'd on victory's sun!
Farewell to thee, France !-but when Liberty rallies
Once more in thy regions, remember me then-
The violet still grows in the depth of thy valleys;
Though wither'd, thy tear will unfold it again
Yet, yet, I may baffle the hosts that surround us,
And yet may thy heart leap awake to my voice-
There are links which must break in the chain that
has bound us,

Then turn thee and call on the Chief of thy choice!


A YEAR ago you swore, fond she!

"To love, to honour," and so forth: Such was the vow you pledged to me, And here's exactly what 't is worth.


And men were gather'd round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;

Arose and o'ershadow'd the earth with her name.
She abandons me now-but the page of her story,
The brightest or blackest, is fill'd with my fame.

I have warr'd with a world which vanquish'd me only
When the meteor of conquest allured me too far;
I have coped with the nations which dread me thus

FAREWELL to the Land, where the gloom of my Glory Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch :
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire-but hour by hour
They fell and faded- and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash- and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,

The last single Captive to millions in war.


I HAD a dream, which was not all a dream. 3
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went-and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires-and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings- the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,

Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,

fail in exciting our terror from the extravagance of the plan. To speak plainly, the framing of such phantasms is a dangerous employment for the exalted and teeming imagination of such a poet as Lord Byron, whose Pegasus ever required rather a bridle than a spur. The waste of boundless space into which they lead the poet, the neglect of precision which such themes may render habitual, make them, in respect to poetry, what mysticism is to religion. The meaning of the poet, as he ascends upon cloudy wing, becomes the shadow only of a thought, and having eluded the comprehension of others, necessarily ends by escaping from that of the author himself. The strength of poetical conception, and the beauty of diction, bestowed upon such prolusions, is as much thrown away as the colours of a painter, could he take a cloud of mist, or a wreath of smoke, for his canvass.-SIR WALTER SCOTT.]

The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds

And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless-they were slain for food:
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again; —a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought—and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails — men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour'd,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept

The birds and beasts famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer'd not with a caress- he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,

And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place

Where had been heap'd a mass of hely things

For an unholy usage; they raked up,

And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame

Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld

Each other's aspects- saw, and shriek'd, and died—
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless-
A lump of death -a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirr'd within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge —
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The Moon, their mistress, had expired before;
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,

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["Darkness" is a grand and gloomy sketch of the supposed consequences of the final extinction of the Sun and the heavenly bodies: executed, undoubtedly, with great and fearful force, but with something of German exaggeration, and a fantastical solution of incidents. The very conception is terrible above all conception of known calamity, and is too oppressive to the imagination to be contemplated with pleasure, even in the faint reflection of poetry. - JEFFREY.]

[On the sheet containing the original draught of these lines, Lord Byron has written:-"The following poem (as most that I have endeavoured to write) is founded on a fact; and this detail is an attempt at a serious imitation of the style of a great poet-its beauties and its defects: I say the style; for the thoughts I claim as my own. In this, if there be any thing ridiculous, let it be attributed to me, at least as much as to Mr. Wordsworth; of whom there can exist few greater admirers than myself. I have blended what I would deem to be the beauties as well as defects of his style; and it ought to be remembered, that, in such things, whether there be praise or dispraise, there is always what is called a compliment, however unintentional."]

And the clouds perish'd! Darkness had no need Of aid from them-She was the Universe. 1

Diodati, July 1816.


I STOOD beside the grave of him who blazed
The comet of a season, and I saw
The humblest of all sepulchres, and gazed

With not the less of sorrow and of awe
On that neglected turf and quiet stone,
With name no clearer than the names unknown,
Which lay unread around it; and I ask'd

The Gardener of that ground, why it might be That for this plant strangers his memory task'd

Through the thick deaths of half a century? And thus he answer'd-" Well, I do not know Why frequent travellers turn to pilgrims so; He died before my day of Sextonship,

And I had not the digging of this grave." And is this all? I thought, and do we rip

The veil of Immortality? and crave

I know not what of honour and of light
Through unborn ages, to endure this blight?
So soon, and so successless ? As I said,
The Architect of all on which we tread,
For Earth is but a tombstone, did essay
To extricate remembrance from the clay,
Whose minglings might confuse a Newton's thought,

Were it not that all life must end in one,
Of which we are but dreamers; -as he caught
As 't were the twilight of a former Sun,
Thus spoke he," I believe the man of whom
You wot, who lies in this selected tomb,
Was a most famous writer in his day,
And therefore travellers step from out their way
To pay him honour,—and myself whate'er

Your honour pleases,”—then most pleased I shook
From out my pocket's avaricious nook
Some certain coins of silver, which as 't were
Perforce I gave this man, though I could spare
So much but inconveniently: - Ye smile,
I see ye, ye profane ones! all the while,
Because my homely phrase the truth would tell.
You are the fools, not I—for I did dwell
With a deep thought, and with a soften'd eye,
On that Old Sexton's natural homily,

In which there was Obscurity and Fame, -
The Glory and the Nothing of a Name. 3

Diodati, 1916.

3 ["The Grave of Churchill might have called from Lord Byron a deeper commemoration; for, though they generally differed in character and genius, there was a resemblance between their history and character. The satire of Churchill flowed with a more profuse, though not a more embittered, stream; while, on the other hand, he cannot be compared to Lord Byron in point of tenderness or imagination. But both these poets held themselves above the opinion of the world, and both were followed by the fame and popularity which they seemed to despise. The writings of both exhibit an inborn, though sometimes ill-regulated, generosity of mind, and a spirit of proud independence, frequently pushed to extremes. Both carried their hatred of hypocrisy beyond the verge of prudence, and indulged their vein of satire to the borders of licentiousness. Both died in the flower of their age in a foreign land."- SIR WALTER SCOTT. Churchill died at Boulogne, November 4. 1764, in the thirty-third year of his age." Though his associates obtained Christian burial for him, by bringing the body to Dover, where it was interred in the old cemetery which once belonged to the collegiate church of St. Martin, they inscribed upon his tombstone, in


TITAN! to whose immortal eyes The sufferings of mortality, Seen in their sad reality,

Were not as things that gods despise ;
What was thy pity's recompense?
A silent suffering, and intense;

The rock, the vulture, and the chain,
All that the proud can feel of pain,
The agony they do not show
The suffocating sense of woe,

Which speaks but in its loneliness, And then is jealous lest the sky Should have a listener, nor will sigh Until its voice is echoless.

Titan! to thee the strife was given
Between the suffering and the will,
Which torture where they cannot kill;
And the inexorable Heaven,
And the deaf tyranny of Fate,
The ruling principle of Hate,
Which for its pleasure doth create
The things it may annihilate,
Refused thee even the boon to die :
The wretched gift eternity

Was thine-and thou hast borne it well.
All that the Thunderer wrung from thee
Was but the menace which flung back
On him the torments of thy rack;
The fate thou didst so well foresee,
But would not to appease him tell;
And in thy Silence was his Sentence,
And in his Soul a vain repentance,
And evil dread so ill dissembled,
That in his hand the lightnings trembled.

Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,

To render with thy precepts less The sum of human wretchedness, And strengthen Man with his own mind; But baffled as thou wert from high, Still in thy patient energy,

In the endurance, and repulse

Of thine impenetrable Spirit, Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse, A mighty lesson we inherit : Thou art a symbol and a sign

To Mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, Man is in part divine,

A troubled stream from a pure source;
And Man in portions can foresee
His own funereal destiny;

His wretchedness, and his resistance,
And his sad unallied existence :
To which his Spirit may oppose
Itself and equal to all woes,

And a firm will, and a deep sense,
Which even in torture can descry

Its own concenter'd recompense, Triumphant where it dares defy, And making Death a Victory.

Diodati, July, 1816.

stead of any consolatory or monitory text, this Epicurean line from one of his own poems

"Life to the last enjoy'd, here Churchill lies." Southey's Cowper, vol. ii. p. 159.]


COULD I remount the river of my years

To the first fountain of our smiles and tears,
I would not trace again the stream of hours
Between their outworn banks of wither'd flowers,
But bid it flow as now until it glides
Into the number of the nameless tides.

What is this Death ?-a quiet of the heart?
The whole of that of which we are a part?
For life is but a vision-what I see
Of all which lives alone is life to me,
And being so the absent are the dead,
Who haunt us from tranquillity, and spread
A dreary shroud around us, and invest
With sad remembrancers our hours of rest.

The absent are the dead-for they are cold, And ne'er can be what once we did behold; And they are changed, and cheerless, or if yet The unforgotten do not all forget, Since thus divided-equal must it be If the deep barrier be of earth, or sea; It may be both-but one day end it must In the dark union of insensate dust.

The under-earth inhabitants-are they But mingled millions decomposed to clay? The ashes of a thousand ages spread Wherever man has trodden or shall tread? Or do they in their silent cities dwell Each in his incommunicative cell?

Or have they their own language? and a sense
Of breathless being ?-darken'd and intense
As midnight in her solitude? - Oh Earth!
Where are the past?-and wherefore had they birth?
The dead are thy inheritors-and we
But bubbles on thy surface; and the key
Of thy profundity is in the grave,
The ebon portal of thy peopled cave,
Where I would walk in spirit, and behold
Our elements resolved to things untold,
And fathom hidden wonders, and explore
The essence of great bosoms now no more.
Diodati, July, 1816.

ROUSSEAU-Voltaire-our Gibbon--and De Staël-
Leman! these names are worthy of thy shore,
Thy shore of names like these! wert thou no more,
Their memory thy remembrance would recall:
To them thy banks were lovely as to all,

But they have made them lovelier, for the lore
Of mighty minds doth hallow in the core
Of human hearts the ruin of a wall

Where dwelt the wise and wondrous; but by thee, How much more, Lake of Beauty! do we feel,

In sweetly gliding o'er thy crystal sea, The wild glow of that not ungentle zeal, Which of the heirs of immortality

Is proud, and makes the breath of glory real! Diodati, July, 1816.

Geneva, Ferney, Copet, Lausanne.-[See antè, p. 35."I have traversed all Rousseau's ground with the Héloise before me, and am struck to a degree that I cannot express, with the force and accuracy of his descriptions, and the beauty of their reality."- Byron Letters, 1816.]

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