Elizabeth Barrett Browning (6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861 / Durham / England)
Stanzas on the Death of Lord Byron
He was, and is not! Graecia's trembling shore,
Sighing through all her palmy groves, shall tell
That Harold's pilgrimage at last is o'er—
Mute the impassioned tongue, and tuneful shell,
That erst was wont in noblest strains to swell—
Hush'd the proud shouts that rode Aegaea's wave!
For lo! the great Deliv'rer breathes farewell!
Gives to the world his mem'ry and a grave—
Expiring in the land he only lived to save!
Mourn, Hellas, mourn! and o'er thy widow'd brow,
For aye, the cypress wreath of sorrow twine;
And in thy new-form'd beauty, desolate, throw
The fresh-cull'd flowers on his sepulchral shrine.
Yes! let that heart whose fervour was all thine,
In consecrated urn lamented be!
That generous heart where genius thrill'd divine,
Hath spent its last most glorious throb for thee—
Then sank amid the storm that made thy children free!
Britannia's Poet! Graecia's hero, sleeps!
And Freedom, bending o'er the breathless clay,
Lifts up her voice, and in her anguish weeps!
For us, a night hath clouded o'er our day,
And hush'd the lips that breath'd our fairest lay.
Alas! and must the British lyre resound
A requiem, while the spirit wings away
Of him who on its strings such music found,
And taught its startling chords to give so sweet a sound!
The theme grows sadder — but my soul shall find
A language in those tears! No more — no more!
Soon, 'midst the shriekings of the tossing wind,
The 'dark blue depths' he sang of, shall have bore
Our all of Byron to his native shore!
His grave is thick with voices — to the ear
Murm'ring an awful tale of greatness o'er;
But Memory strives with Death, and lingering near,
Shall consecrate the dust of Harold's lonely bier!
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