Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

(1834-1894 / England)

Byron's Grave - Poem by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

Nay! Byron, nay! not under where we tread,
Dumb weight of stone, lies thine imperial head!
Into no vault lethargic, dark and dank,
The splendid strength of thy swift spirit sank;
No narrow church in precincts cold and grey
Confines the plume, that loved to breast the day:
Thy self-consuming, scathing heart of flame
Was quenched to feed no silent coffin's shame!
A fierce, glad fire in buoyant hearts art thou,
A radiance in auroral spirits now;
A stormy wind, an ever-sounding ocean,
A life, a power, a never-wearying motion!
Or deadly gloom, or terrible despair,
An earthquake mockery of strong Creeds that were
Assured possessions of calm earth and sky,
Where doom-distraught pale souls took sanctuary,
As in strong temples. The same blocks shall build,
Iconoclast! the edifice you spilled,
More durable, more fair: O scourge of God,
It was Himself who urged thee on thy road;
And thou, Don Juan, Harold, Manfred, Cain,
Song-crowned within the world's young heart shalt reign!
Whene'er we hear embroiled lashed ocean roar,
Or thunder echoing among heights all hoar,
Brother! thy mighty measure heightens theirs,
While Freedom on her rent red banner bears
The deathless names of many a victory won,
Inspired by thy death-shattering clarion!
In Love's immortal firmament are set
Twin stars of Romeo and Juliet,
And their companions young eyes discover
In Cycladean Haidee with her lover.

May all the devastating force be spent?
Or all thy godlike energies lie shent?
Nay! thou art founded in the strength Divine:
The Soul's immense eternity is thine!
Profound Beneficence absorbs thy power,
While Ages tend the long-maturing flower:
Our Sun himself, one tempest of wild flame,
For source of joy, and very life men claim
In mellowing corn, in bird, and bloom of spring,
In leaping lambs, and lovers dallying.
Byron! the whirlwinds rended not in vain;
Aloof behold they nourish and sustain!
In the far end we shall account them gain.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010



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