January 22nd, Missolonghi

By Lord Byron (George Gordon) 1788–1824 Lord Byron (George Gordon)

On this Day I Complete my Thirty-Sixth Year

'Tis time this 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 us 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 regret'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.

Source: The Longman Anthology of Poetry (2006)

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Poet Lord Byron (George Gordon) 1788–1824



Subjects Living, Social Commentaries, Youth, Growing Old, War & Conflict, Birth & Birthdays, Heroes & Patriotism, Death

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 Lord  Byron (George Gordon)


The most flamboyant and notorious of the major Romantics, George Gordon, Lord Byron, was likewise the most fashionable poet of the day. He created an immensely popular Romantic hero—defiant, melancholy, haunted by secret guilt—for which, to many, he seemed the model. He is also a Romantic paradox: a leader of the era’s poetic revolution, he named Alexander Pope as his master; a worshiper of the ideal, he never lost touch with . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Social Commentaries, Youth, Growing Old, War & Conflict, Birth & Birthdays, Heroes & Patriotism, Death



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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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