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RIVER, that rollest by the ancient walls,"
Where dwells the lady of my love, when she
Walks by thy brink, and there perchance recalls
A faint and fleeting memory of me;

6 [These lines, which were written by Lord Byron on the birth of the son of the British vice-consul at Venice, are no otherwise remarkable, than that they were thought worthy of being metrically translated into ten languages: namely, Greek, Latin, Italian (also in the Venetian dialect), German, French, Spanish, Illyrian, Hebrew, Armenian, and Samaritan. The original lines, with the different versions, were printed, in a small neat volume, in the seminary of Padua.]

7 [About the middle of April, 1819, Lord Byron travelled from Venice to Ravenna, at which last city he expected to find the Countess Guiccioli. The above stanzas, which have been as much admired as anything of the kind he ever wrote, were composed during the journey, while he was sailing on the Po. In transmitting them to England, in May, 1820, he says, "They must not be published: pray recollect this, as they are mere verses of society, and written upon private feelings and passions." They were first printed in 1824.]

8 [Ravenna-a city to which Lord Byron afterwards declared himself more attached than to any other place, except Greece.]

What if thy deep and ample stream should be
A mirror of my heart, where she may read
The thousand thoughts I now betray to thee,
Wild as thy wave, and headlong as thy speed!

What do I say a mirror of my heart?

Are not thy waters sweeping, dark, and strong? Such as my feelings were and are, thou art;

And such as thou art were my passions long."

Time may have somewhat tamed them,-not for ever; Thou overflow'st thy banks, and not for aye

Thy bosom overboils, congenial river!

Thy floods subside, and mine have sunk away:

But left long wrecks behind, and now again,
Borne in our old unchanged career, we move:
Thou tendest wildly onwards to the main,
And I-to loving one I should not love.

The current I behold will sweep beneath
Her native walls, and murmur at her feet;
Her eyes will look on thee, when she shall breathe
The twilight air, unharm'd by summer's heat.

She will look on thee,-I have look'd on thee,

Full of that thought: and, from that moment, ne'er Thy waters could I dream of, name, or see,

Without the inseparable sigh for her!

Her bright eyes will be imaged in thy stream,-
Yes! they will meet the wave I gaze on now :

Mine cannot witness, even in a dream,

That happy wave repass me in its flow!

The wave that bears my tears returns no more:
Will she return by whom that wave shall sweep ?
Both tread thy banks, both wander on thy shore,
I by thy source, she by the dark-blue deep.

But that which keepeth us apart is not

Distance, nor depth of wave, nor space of earth,
But the distraction of a various lot,

As various as the climates of our birth.

A stranger loves the lady of the land,

Born far beyond the mountains, but his blood
Is all meridian, as if never fann'd

By the black wind that chills the polar flood.

My blood is all meridian; were it not,

I had not left my clime, nor should I be,
In spite of tortures, ne'er to be forgot,

A slave again of love,—at least of thee.

"Tis vain to struggle-let me perish young-
Live as I lived, and love as I have loved;

To dust if I return, from dust I sprung,

And then, at least, my heart can ne'er be moved.

April, 1819.



Ir, for silver or for gold,

You could melt ten thousand pimples
Into half a dozen dimples,

Then your face we might behold,

Looking, doubtless, much more snugly;
Yet even then 'twould be d-d ugly.

August 12, 1819.

9 ["Would you like an epigram-a translation? It was written on some Frenchwoman, by Rulhières, I believe."-Lord B. to Mr. Murray, Aug. 12, 1819.]



To be the father of the fatherless,

To stretch the hand from the throne's height, and raise
His offspring, who expired in other days

To make thy sire's sway by a kingdom less,

This is to be a monarch, and repress

Envy into unutterable praise.

Dismiss thy guard, and trust thee to such traits,
For who would lift a hand, except to bless?
Were it not easy, sir, and is't not sweet
To make thyself beloved? and to be
Omnipotent by mercy's means? for thus

Thy sovereignty would grow but more complete:
A despot thou, and yet thy people free,

And by the heart, not hand, enslaving us.

Bologna, August 12, 1819.1


COULD Love for ever

Run like a river,

And Time's endeavour

Be tried in vain

No other pleasure

1 ["So the prince has been repealing Lord Fitzgerald's forfeiture? Ecco un' sonetto! There, you dogs! there's a sonnet for you: you won't have such as that in a hurry from Fitzgerald. You may publish it with my name, an' ye wool. He deserves all praise, bad and good; it was a very noble piece of principality."-Lord B. to Mr. Murray.]

2 [A friend of Lord Byron's, who was with him at Ravenna when he wrote these stanzas, says,- "They were composed like many others, with no view of publication, but merely to relieve himself in a moment of suffering. He had been painfully excited by some circumstances which appeared to make it necessary that he should immediately quit Italy; and in the day and the hour that he wrote the song was labouring under an access of fever."]

With this could measure;
And like a treasure

We'd hug the chain.
But since our sighing
Ends not in dying,
And, form'd for flying,

Love plumes his wing;
Then for this reason

Let's love a season;

But let that season be only Spring.

When lovers parted
Feel broken-hearted,
And, all hopes thwarted,
Expect to die;
A few years older,
Ah! how much colder
They might behold her

For whom they sigh!
When link'd together,
In every weather,

They pluck Love's feather

From out his wing

He'll stay for ever,

But sadly shiver

Without his plumage, when past the Spring.

Like chiefs of Faction,

His life is action

A formal paction

That curbs his reign,

Obscures his glory,

Despot no more, he
Such territory

Quits with disdain.
Still, still advancing,
With banners glancing,

His power enhancing,

3 [V. L.-"That sped his Spring."]

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