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

IV. Satiric

Poetical Production

(Don Juan, Canto xiv. Stanzas 10, 11.)

I HAVE brought this world about my ears, and eke

The other; that’s to say, the clergy—who

Upon my head have bid their thunders break

In pious libels by no means a few.

And yet I can’t help scribbling once a week,

Tiring old readers, nor discovering new.

In youth I wrote because my mind was full,

And now because I feel it growing dull.

But “why then publish?”—There are no rewards

Of fame or profit when the world grows weary.

I ask in turn,—Why do you play at cards?

Why drink? Why read?—To make some hour less dreary.

It occupies me to turn back regards

On what I’ve seen or ponder’d, sad or cheery;

And what I write I cast upon the stream,

To swim or sink—I have had at least my dream.