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Lord Byron (1788–1824). Poetry of Byron. 1881.

II. Descriptive and Narrative

Aurora Raby

(Don Juan, Canto xv. Stanzas 43–47.)

AND then there was—but why should I go on,

Unless the ladies should go off?—there was

Indeed a certain fair and fairy one,

Of the best class, and better than her class,—

Aurora Raby, a young star who shone

O’er life, too sweet an image for such glass,

A lovely being, scarcely form’d or moulded,

A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded;

Rich, noble, but an orphan: left an only

Child to the care of guardians good and kind;

But still her aspect had an air so lonely!

Blood is not water; and where shall we find

Feelings of youth like those which overthrown lie

By death, when we are left, alas! behind,

To feel, in friendless palaces, a home

Is wanting, and our best ties in the tomb?

Early in years, and yet more infantine

In figure, she had something of sublime

In eyes which sadly shone, as seraphs’ shine.

All youth—but with an aspect beyond time;

Radiant and grave—as pitying man’s decline;

Mournful—but mournful of another’s crime,

She look’d as if she sate by Eden’s door,

And grieved for those who could return no more.

She was a Catholic, too, sincere, austere,

As far as her own gentle heart allow’d,

And deem’d that fallen worship far more dear

Perhaps because ’twas fall’n: her sires were proud

Of deeds and days when they had fill’d the ear

Of nations, and had never bent or bow’d

To novel power; and as she was the last,

She held their old faith and old feelings fast.

She gazed upon a world she scarcely knew,

As seeking not to know it; silent, lone,

As grows a flower, thus quietly she grew,

And kept her heart serene within its zone.

There was awe in the homage which she drew;

Her spirit seem’d as seated on a throne

Apart from the surrounding world, and strong

In its own strength—most strange in one so young!