On Lord Byron - An Excerpt From The Course Of Time, B. Iv. Poem by Robert Pollok

On Lord Byron - An Excerpt From The Course Of Time, B. Iv.

He touched his harp, and nations heard, entranced.
As some vast river of unfailing source,
Rapid, exhaustless, deep, his numbers flowed,
And opened new fountains in the human heart.
Where fancy halted, weary in her flight,
In other men, his fresh as morning rose,
And soared untrodden heights, and seemed at home,
Where angels bashful looked. Others, tho' great,
Beneath their argument seemed struggling whiles;
He from above descending, stooped to touch
The loftiest thought; and proudly stooped, as tho'
It scarce deserved his verse. With Nature's self
He seemed an old acquaintance, free to jest
At will with all her glorious majesty.
He laid his hand upon “the Ocean's mane,”
And played familiar with his hoary locks.
Stood on the Alps, stood on the Appennines,
And with the thunder talked, as friend to friend;
And wove his garland of the lightning's wing,
In sportive twist—the lightning's fiery wing,
Which, as the footsteps of the dreadful God,
Marching upon the storm in vengeance seemed—
Then turned, and with the grasshopper, who sung
His evening song, beneath his feet, conversed.
Suns, moons, and stars, and clouds his sisters were;
Rocks, mountains, meteors, seas, and winds, and storms,
His brothers—younger brothers, whom he scarce
As equals deemed. All passions of all men—
The wild and tame—the gentle and severe;
All thoughts, all maxims, sacred and profane;
All creeds; all seasons, Time, Eternity;
All that was hated, and all that was dear;
All that was hoped, all that was feared by man,
He tossed about, as tempest, withered leaves,
Then smiling looked upon the wreck he made.
With terror now he froze the cowering blood;
And now dissolved the heart in tenderness:
Yet would not tremble, would not weep himself.
But back into his soul retired, alone,
Dark, sullen, proud: gazing contemptuously
On hearts and passions prostrate at his feet.
So Ocean from the plains, his waves had late
To desolation swept, retired in pride,
Exulting in the glory of his might,
And seemed to mock the ruin he had wrought.
As some fierce comet of tremendous size,
To which the stars did reverence, as it passed;
So he through learning, and through fancy took
His flight sublime; and on the loftiest top
Of Fame's dread mountain sat: not soiled, and worn,
As if he from the earth had laboured up;
But as some bird of heavenly plumage fair,
He looked, which down from higher regions came,
And perched it there, to see what lay beneath.

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