If, when the wintry tempest roared,
He sped to Hero, nothing loth,
And thus of old thy current poured,
Fair Venus! how I pity both!
For me, degenerate modern wretch,
Though in the genial month of May,
My dripping limbs I faintly stretch,
And think I've done a feat to-day.
But since he crossed the rapid tide,
According to the doubtful story,
To woo,—and—Lord knows what beside,
And swam for Love, as I for Glory;
'Twere hard to say who fared the best:
Sad mortals! thus the Gods still plague you!
He lost his labour, I my jest:
For he was drowned, and I've the ague.
May 9, 1810.
[First published, Childe Harold, 1812(4to).]
- [Hobhouse, who records the first attempt to cross the Hellespont, on April 16, and the successful achievement of the feat, May 3, 1810, adds the following note: "In my journal, in my friend's handwriting: 'The whole distance E. and myself swam was more than four miles—the current very strong and cold—some large fish near us when half across—we were not fatigued, but a little chilled—did it with little difficulty.—May, 6, 1810. Byron.'"—Travels in Albania, ii. 195.]