Dear words! on which my heart had doted,
If Youth could neither fade nor die.
To Death even hours like these must roll,
Ah! then repeat those accents never;
Or change "my Life!" into "my Soul!"
Which, like my Love, exists for ever.
You call me still your Life.—Oh! change the word—
Life is as transient as the inconstant sigh:
Say rather I'm your Soul; more just that name,
For, like the soul, my Love can never die.
[Stanzas 1, 2 first published, Childe Harold,
1814 (Seventh Edition). "Another Version," first published, 1832.]
For 'Life' in future say, 'My Soul,'
Which like my love exists for ever."
Byron wrote these lines in 1815, in Lady Lansdowne's album, at Bowood.—Note by Mr. Richard Edgecombe, Notes and Queries, Sixth Series, vii. 46.]