Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lord Byron's Birthday: So We'll Go No More a-Roving

George Gordon, Lord Byron, born on January 22, 1788, led a dissipated life. In his day, Romantic Poets such as himself lived like rock stars -- cutting a wide swath through polite society and robbing many women and men of their innocence along the way (but giving them some good memories in the process).

He was as famous in his lifetime for his personality cult as for his poetry. He created the concept of the "Byronic hero" -- a defiant, brooding young man, tortured by some darkly mysterious, unforgivable event in his past.

"So We'll Go No More a-Roving" hangs heavy with the poignancy of parties past, memories still glowing with the recollection of youth but slowly fading away.

Only a libertine like Byron could have struck a note this elegaic and final when he was still in his thirties. He knew, even as he lived it, that his intense accelerated lifestyle would lead to an early demise.

He died at the age of 36 and left a legend -- and poetry -- that will live forever.

Happy birthday, Lord Byron!

So We'll Go No More a-Roving

So we'll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart still be as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.
For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul outwears the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have 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.


When We Two Parted

When 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.

In secret we met—
In 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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