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

II. Descriptive and Narrative

Lake of Geneva—Calm

(Childe Harold, Canto iii. Stanzas 85–87.)

CLEAR, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake,

With the wild world I dwelt in, is a thing

Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake

Earth’s troubled waters for a purer spring.

This quiet sail is as a noiseless wing

To waft me from distraction; once I loved

Torn ocean’s roar, but thy soft murmuring

Sounds sweet as if a Sister’s voice reproved,

That I with stern delights should e’er have been so moved.

It is the hush of night, and all between

Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,

Mellow’d and mingling, yet distinctly seen,

Save darken’d Jura, whose capt heights appear

Precipitously steep; and drawing near,

There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,

Of flowers yet fresh with childhood; on the ear

Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,

Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more;

He is an evening reveller, who makes

His life an infancy, and sings his fill;

At intervals, some bird from out the brakes

Starts into voice a moment, then is still.

There seems a floating whisper on the hill,

But that is fancy, for the starlight dews

All silently their tears of love instil,

Weeping themselves away, till they infuse

Deep into Nature’s breast the spirit of her hues.