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

IV. Satiric

Things Sweet

(Don Juan, Canto i. Stanzas 123–127).

’TIS sweet to hear the watch-dog’s honest bark

Bay deep-mouth’d welcome as we draw near home;

’Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark

Our coming, and look brighter when we come;

’Tis sweet to be awaken’d by the lark,

Or lull’d by falling waters; sweet the hum

Of bees, the voice of girls, the song of birds,

The lisp of children, and their earliest words.

Sweet is the vintage, when the showering grapes

In Bacchanal profusion reel to earth

Purple and gushing: sweet are our escapes

From civic revelry to rural mirth;

Sweet to the miser are his glittering heaps,

Sweet to the father is his first-born’s birth,

Sweet is revenge—especially to women,

Pillage to soldiers, prize-money to seamen.

Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet

The unexpected death of some old lady

Or gentleman of seventy years complete,

Who’ve made “us youth” wait too—too long already

For an estate, or cash, or country-seat,

Still breaking, but with stamina so steady,

That all the Israelites are fit to mob its

Next owner for their double-damn’d post-obits.

’Tis sweet to win, no matter how, one’s laurels,

By blood or ink; ’tis sweet to put an end

To strife; ’tis sometimes sweet to have our quarrels,

Particularly with a tiresome friend:

Sweet is old wine in bottles, ale in barrels;

Dear is the helpless creature we defend

Against the world; and dear the schoolboy spot

We ne’er forget, though there we are forgot.

But sweeter still, than this, than these, than all,

Is first and passionate love—it stands alone,

Like Adam’s recollection of his fall;

The tree of knowledge has been pluck’d—all’s known—

And life yields nothing further to recall

Worthy of this ambrosial sin, so shown,

No doubt in fable, as the unforgiven

Fire which Prometheus filch’d for us from heaven.