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

I. Personal, Lyric, and Elegiac

Nature the Consoler, I

(Childe Harold, Canto iii. Stanzas 13–15.)

WHERE rose the mountains, there to him were friends;

Where roll’d the ocean, thereon was his home;

Where a blue sky, and glowing clime, extends,

He had the passion and the power to roam;

The desert, forest, cavern, breaker’s foam,

Were unto him companionship; they spake

A mutual language, clearer than the tome

Of his land’s tongue, which he would oft forsake

For Nature’s pages glass’d by sunbeams on the lake.

Like the Chaldean, he could watch the stars,

Till he had peopled them with beings bright

As their own beams; and earth, and earth-born jars,

And human frailties, were forgotten quite:

Could he have kept his spirit to that flight

He had been happy; but this clay will sink

Its spark immortal, envying it the light

To which it mounts, as if to break the link

That keeps us from yon heaven which woos us to its brink.

But in Man’s dwellings he became a thing

Restless and worn, and stern and wearisome,

Droop’d as a wild-born falcon with clipt wing,

To whom the boundless air alone were home:

Then came his fit again, which to o’ercome,

As eagerly the barr’d-up bird will beat

His breast and beak against his wiry dome

Till the blood tinge his plumage, so the heat

Of his impeded soul would through his bosom eat.