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The Poetry of George Gordon, Lord Byron

She Walks in Beauty

 

HE walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that's best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes:

Thus mellow'd to that tender light

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;

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,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

 

 

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We’ll Go No More A-Roving

O, we'll go no more a-roving

So late into the night,

Though the heart be still as loving,

And the moon be still as bright.

 

For the sword outwears its sheath,

And the soul wears out the breast,

And the heart must pause to breathe,

And love itself have a rest.

 

Though the night was made for loving,

And the day returns too soon,

Yet we'll go no more a-roving

By the light of the moon.

 

 

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When We Two Parted

HEN we two parted

In silence and tears,

Half broken-hearted

To sever for years,

Pale grew thy cheek and cold,

Colder thy kiss;

Truly that hour foretold

Sorrow to this.

 

The dew of the morning

Sunk chill on my brow--

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,

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?

They know not I knew thee,

Who knew thee too well:

Long, long shall I rue thee,

Too deeply to tell.

 

I secret we met--

I silence I grieve,

That thy heart could forget,

Thy spirit deceive.

If I should meet thee

After long years,

How should I greet thee?

With silence and tears.


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On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year

' IS time the heart should be unmoved,

Since others it hath ceased to move:

Yet, though I cannot be beloved,

Still let me love!

 

My days are in the yellow leaf;

The flowers and fruits of love are gone;

The worm, the canker, and the grief

Are mine alone!

 

The fire that on my bosom preys

Is lone as some volcanic isle;

No torch is kindled at its blaze--

A funeral pile.

 

The hope, the fear, the jealous care,

The exalted portion of the pain

And power of love, I cannot share,

But wear the chain.

 

But 'tis not thus--and 'tis not here--

Such thoughts should shake my soul nor now,

Where glory decks the hero's bier,

Or binds his brow.

 

The sword, the banner, and the field,

Glory and Greece, around me see!

The Spartan, borne upon his shield,

Was not more free.

 

Awake! (not Greece--she is awake!)

Awake, my spirit! Think through whom

Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,

And then strike home!

 

Tread those reviving passions down,

Unworthy manhood!--unto thee

Indifferent should the smile or frown

Of beauty be.

 

If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live?

The land of honourable death

Is here:--up to the field, and give

Away thy breath!

 

Seek out--less often sought than found--

A soldier's grave, for thee the best;

Then look around, and choose thy ground,

And take thy rest.

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THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB

HE Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,

And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;

And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,

When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

 

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,

That host with their banners at sunset were seen:

Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,

That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

 

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,

And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;

And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,

And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

 

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,

But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;

And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,

And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

 

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,

With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:

And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,

The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

 

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,

And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;

And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,

Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

 

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Who Kill’d John Keats?

 

Who kill’d John Keats?
'I,' says the Quarterly,
So savage and Tartarly;
''Twas one of my feats.'

Who shot the arrow?
'The poet-priest Milman
(So ready to kill man),
Or Southey or Barrow.'

Notes: #1 The anonymous Quarterly articles (supposed by many, including Shelley, to have killed Keats) was written by Croker. #2 Milman was Professor of Poetry at Oxford. #3 Barrow was an English writer and traveler.

 

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