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

IV. Satiric

The Lighter Side

(Don Juan, Canto iv. Stanzas 3, 4.)

AS boy, I thought myself a clever fellow,

And wish’d that others held the same opinion;

They took it up when my days grew more mellow,

And other minds acknowledged my dominion:

Now my sere fancy “falls into the yellow

Leaf,” and Imagination droops her pinion,

And the sad truth which hovers o’er my desk

Turns what was once romantic to burlesque.

And if I laugh at any mortal thing,

’Tis that I may not weep; and if I weep,

’Tis that our nature cannot always bring

Itself to apathy, for we must steep

Our hearts first in the depths of Lethe’s spring,

Ere what we least wish to behold will sleep;

Thetis baptized her mortal son in Styx;

A mortal mother would on Lethe fix.