Love and Death

By Lord Byron (George Gordon) 1788–1824 Lord Byron (George Gordon)
       1.

I watched thee when the foe was at our side,
   Ready to strike at him—or thee and me,
Were safety hopeless—rather than divide
   Aught with one loved save love and liberty.


       2.

I watched thee on the breakers, when the rock,
   Received our prow, and all was storm and fear,
And bade thee cling to me through every shock;
   This arm would be thy bark, or breast thy bier.


       3.

I watched thee when the fever glazed thine eyes,
   Yielding my couch and stretched me on the ground
When overworn with watching, ne’er to rise
   From thence if thou an early grave hadst found.


       4.

The earthquake came, and rocked the quivering wall,
   And men and nature reeled as if with wine.
Whom did I seek around the tottering hall?
   For thee. Whose safety first provide for? Thine.


       5.

And when convulsive throes denied my breath
   The faintest utterance to my fading thought,
To thee—to thee—e’en in the gasp of death
   My spirit turned, oh! oftener than it ought.


       6.

Thus much and more; and yet thou lov’st me not,
   And never wilt! Love dwells not in our will.
Nor can I blame thee, though it be my lot
   To strongly, wrongly, vainly love thee still.

Source: The Poetical Works of Lord Byron (1958)

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Poet Lord Byron (George Gordon) 1788–1824

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Relationships, Living, Love, Death, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love

Holidays Valentine's Day

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Lord  Byron (George Gordon)

Biography

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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Living, Love, Death, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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