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

II. Descriptive and Narrative


(The Bride of Abydos, Canto ii.)

THE WINDS are high on Helle’s wave,

As on that night of stormy water

When Love, who sent, forgot to save

The young, the beautiful, the brave,

The lonely hope of Sestos’ daughter.

Oh! when alone along the sky

Her turret-torch was blazing high,

Though rising gale, and breaking foam,

And Shrieking sea-birds warn’d him home;

And clouds aloft and tides below,

With signs and sounds, forbade to go,

He could not see, he would not hear,

Or sound or sign foreboding fear;

His eye but saw that light of love,

The only star it hail’d above;

His ear but rang with Hero’s song,

“Ye waves, divide not lovers long!”—

That tale is old, but love anew

May nerve young hearts to prove as true.

The winds are high, and Helle’s tide

Rolls darkly heaving to the main;

And Night’s descending shadows hide

That field with blood bedew’d in vain,

The desert of old Priam’s pride;

The tombs, sole relics of his reign,

All—save immortal dreams that could beguile

The blind old man of Scio’s rocky isle!