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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/59

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19
EPITAPH ON A BELOVED FRIEND.

What sighs re-echo'd to thy parting breath,
Whilst thou wast struggling in the pangs of death!
Could tears retard the tyrant in his course;
Could sighs avert his dart's relentless force;
Could youth and virtue claim a short delay,
Or beauty charm the spectre from his prey;
Thou still hadst liv'd to bless my aching sight,
Thy comrade's honour and thy friend's delight.
If yet thy gentle spirit hover nigh
The spot where now thy mouldering ashes lie,
Here wilt thou read, recorded on my heart,
A grief too deep to trust the sculptor's art.
No marble marks thy couch of lowly sleep,
But living statues there are seen to weep;
Affliction's semblance bends not o'er thy tomb,
Affliction's self deplores thy youthful doom.
What though thy sire lament his failing line,
A father's sorrows cannot equal mine!
Though none, like thee, his dying hour will cheer,

Yet other offspring soothe his anguish here:

    Friend." The motto was prefixed in Hours of Idleness. The epigram which Bergk leaves under Plato's name was translated by Shelley (Poems, 1895, iii. 361)—

    "Thou wert the morning star
    Among the living,
    Ere thy fair light had fled;
    Now having died, thou art as
    Hesperus, giving
    New splendour to the dead."

    There is an echo of the Greek distich in Byron's exquisite line, "The Morning-Star of Memory."]