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Poem by George Gordon Byron


To the Earl of Clare


                     Tu semper amoris
  Sis memor, et cari comitis ne abscedat imago.
⁠                               Val. Flac. Argonaut, iv. 36.

1.

Friend of my youth! when young we rov'd,
Like striplings, mutually belov'd,
   ⁠With Friendship's purest glow;
The bliss, which wing'd those rosy hours,
Was such as Pleasure seldom showers
   ⁠On mortals here below.

2.

The recollection seems, alone,
Dearer than all the joys I've known,
⁠   When distant far from you:
Though pain, 'tis still a pleasing pain,
To trace those days and hours again,
⁠   And sigh again, adieu!

3.

My pensive mem'ry lingers o'er,
Those scenes to be enjoy'd no more,
⁠   Those scenes regretted ever;
The measure of our youth is full,
Life's evening dream is dark and dull,
⁠   And we may meetЧah! never!

4.

As when one parent spring supplies
Two streams, which from one fountain rise,
⁠   Together join'd in vain;
How soon, diverging from their source,
Each, murmuring, seeks another course,
⁠   Till mingled in the Main!

5.

Our vital streams of weal or woe,
Though near, alas! distinctly flow,
⁠   Nor mingle as before:
Now swift or slow, now black or clear,
Till Death's unfathom'd gulph appear,
⁠   And both shall quit the shore.

6.

Our souls, my Friend! which once supplied
One wish, nor breathed a thought beside,
⁠   Now flow in different channels:
Disdaining humbler rural sports,
'Tis yours to mix in polish'd courts,
⁠   And shine in Fashion's annals;

7.

'Tis mine to waste on love my time,
Or vent my reveries in rhyme,
   ⁠Without the aid of Reason;
For Sense and Reason (critics know it)
Have quitted every amorous Poet,
⁠   Nor left a thought to seize on.

8.

Poor Little! sweet, melodious bard!
Of late esteem'd it monstrous hard
⁠   That he, who sang before all;
He who the lore of love expanded,
By dire Reviewers should be branded,
   ⁠As void of wit and moral.

9.

And yet, while Beauty's praise is thine,
Harmonious favourite of the Nine!
   ⁠Repine not at thy lot.
Thy soothing lays may still be read,
When Persecution's arm is dead,
   ⁠And critics are forgot.

10.

Still I must yield those worthies merit
Who chasten, with unsparing spirit,
⁠   Bad rhymes, and those who write them:
And though myself may be the next
By critic sarcasm to be vext,
⁠   I really will not fight them.

11.

Perhaps they would do quite as well
To break the rudely sounding shell
⁠   Of such a young beginner:
He who offends at pert nineteen,
Ere thirty may become, I ween,
⁠   A very harden'd sinner.

12.

Now, Clare, I must return to you;
And, sure, apologies are due:
⁠   Accept, then, my concession.
In truth, dear Clare, in Fancy's flight
I soar along from left to right;
⁠   My Muse admires digression.

13.

I think I said 'twould be your fate
To add one star to royal state;Ч
⁠   May regal smiles attend you!
And should a noble Monarch reign,
You will not seek his smiles in vain,
   ⁠If worth can recommend you.

14.

Yet since in danger courts abound,
Where specious rivals glitter round,
⁠   From snares may Saints preserve you;
And grant your love or friendship ne'er
From any claim a kindred care,
⁠   But those who best deserve you!

15.

Not for a moment may you stray
From Truth's secure, unerring way!
⁠   May no delights decoy!
O'er roses may your footsteps move,
Your smiles be ever smiles of love,
⁠   Your tears be tears of joy!

16.

Oh! if you wish that happiness
Your coming days and years may bless,
⁠   And virtues crown your brow;
Be still as you were wont to be,
Spotless as you've been known to me,Ч
⁠   Be still as you are now.

17.

And though some trifling share of praise,
To cheer my last declining days,
   ⁠To me were doubly dear;
Whilst blessing your beloved name,
I'd waive at once a Poet's fame,
⁠   To prove a Prophet here. 

1807

George Gordon Byron


George Gordon Byron's other poems:
  1. On a Change of Masters at a Great Public School
  2. Lines Addressed to a Young Lady
  3. To Anne (Oh say not, sweet Anne, that the Fates have decreed)
  4. To Caroline (Think'st thou I saw thy beauteous eyes)
  5. To a Lady who Presented to the Author a Lock of Hair Braided with his own, and appointed a Night in December to meet him in the Garden


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