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

I. Personal, Lyric, and Elegiac


(Childe Harold, Canto iv. Stanzas 8–10.)

I’VE taught me other tongues—and in strange eyes

Have made me not a stranger; to the mind

Which is itself, no changes bring surprise;

Nor is it harsh to make, nor hard to find

A country with—ay, or without mankind;

Yet was I born where men are proud to be,

Not without cause; and should I leave behind

The inviolate island of the sage and free,

And seek me out a home by a remoter sea,

Perhaps I loved it well; and should I lay

My ashes in a soil which is not mine,

My spirit shall resume it—if we may

Unbodied choose a sanctuary. I twine

My hopes of being remember’d in my line

With my land’s language: if too fond and far

These aspirations in their scope incline,—

If my fame should be, as my fortunes are,

Of hasty growth and blight, and dull Oblivion bar

My name from out the temple where the dead

Are honour’d by the nations—let it be—

And light the laurels on a loftier head!

And be the Spartan’s epitaph on me—

“Sparta hath many a worthier son than he.”

Meantime I seek no sympathies, nor need;

The thorns which I have reap’d are of the tree

I planted,—they have torn me,—and I bleed:

I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed.