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

I. Personal, Lyric, and Elegiac

Stanzas composed during a Thunderstorm

CHILL and mirk is the nightly blast,

Where Pindus’ mountains rise,

And angry clouds are pouring fast

The vengeance of the skies.

Our guides are gone, our hope is lost,

And lightnings, as they play,

But show where rocks our path have crost,

Or gild the torrent’s spray.

Is yon a cot I saw, though low?

When lightning broke the gloom—

How welcome were its shade!—ah, no!

’Tis but a Turkish tomb.

Through sounds of foaming waterfalls,

I hear a voice exclaim—

My way-worn countryman, who calls

On distant England’s name.

A shot is fired—by foe or friend?

Another—’tis to tell

The mountain-peasants to descend,

And lead us where they dwell.

Oh! who in such a night will dare

To tempt the wilderness?

And who ’mid thunder peals can hear

Our signal of distress?

And who that heard our shouts would rise

To try the dubious road?

Nor rather deem from nightly cries

That outlaws were abroad.

Clouds burst, skies flash, oh, dreadful hour!

More fiercely pours the storm!

Yet here one thought has still the power

To keep my bosom warm.

While wand’ring through each broken path,

O’er brake and craggy brow;

While elements exhaust their wrath,

Sweet Florence, where art thou?

Not on the sea, not on the sea!

Thy bark hath long been gone:

Oh, may the storm that pours on me,

Bow down my head alone!

Full swiftly blew the swift Siroc,

When last I press’d thy lip;

And long ere now, with foaming shock,

Impell’d thy gallant ship.

Now thou art safe; nay, long ere now

Hast trod the shore of Spain;

’Twere hard if aught so fair as thou

Should linger on the main.

And since I now remember thee

In darkness and in dread,

As in those hours of revelry

Which mirth and music sped;

Do thou, amid the fair white walls,

If Cadiz yet be free,

At times from out her latticed halls

Look o’er the dark blue sea;

Then think upon Calypso’s isles,

Endear’d by days gone by;

To others give a thousand smiles,

To me a single sigh.

And when the admiring circle mark

The paleness of thy face,

A half-form’d tear, a transient spark

Of melancholy grace,

Again thou’lt smile, and blushing shun

Some coxcomb’s raillery;

Nor own for once thou thought’st of one

Who ever thinks on thee.

Though smile and sigh alike are vain,

When sever’d hearts repine,

My spirit flies o’er mount and main,

And mourns in search of thine.