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

I. Personal, Lyric, and Elegiac

To Inez

NAY, smile not at my sullen brow;

Alas! I cannot smile again:

Yet Heaven avert that ever thou

Shouldst weep, and haply weep in vain.

And dost thou ask, what secret woe

I bear, corroding joy and youth?

And wilt thou vainly seek to know

A pang ev’n thou must fail to soothe?

It is not love, it is not hate,

Nor low Ambition’s honours lost,

That bids me loathe my present state,

And fly from all I prized the most:

It is that weariness which springs

From all I meet, or hear, or see:

To me no pleasure beauty brings;

Thine eyes have scarce a charm for me.

It is that settled, ceaseless gloom

The fabled Hebrew wanderer bore;

That will not look beyond the tomb,

But cannot hope for rest before.

What Exile from himself can flee?

To zones, though more and more remote,

Still, still pursues, where-e’er I be,

The blight of life—the demon thought.

Yet others wrapt in pleasure seem,

And taste of all that I forsake;

Oh! may they still of transport dream,

And ne’er, at least like me, awake!

Through many a clime ’tis mine to go,

With many a retrospection curst;

And all my solace is to know,

Whate’er betides, I’ve know the worst.

What is that worst? Nay do no ask—

In pity from the search forbear;

Smile on—nor venture to unmask

Man’s heart, and view the Hell that’s there.