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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/62

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32
POEMS 1809-1813.

The Past, the Future fled to thee,
To bid us meet—no—ne'er again!
[1]

  1. "'Verses addressed by Lord Byron in the year 1812 to the Hon. Mrs. George Lamb.

    "'The sacred song that on my ear
    Yet vibrates from that voice of thine
    I heard before from one so dear,
    'Tis strange it still appears divine.
    But oh! so sweet that look and tone
    To her and thee alike is given;
    It seemed as if for me alone
    That both had been recalled from Heaven.
    And though I never can redeem
    The vision thus endeared to me,
    I scarcely can regret my dream
    When realized again by thee.'"

    (It may be noted that the name Thirza, or Thyrza, a variant of Theresa, had been familiar to Byron in his childhood. In the Preface to Cain he writes, "Gesner's Death of Abel! I have never read since I was eight years of age at Aberdeen. The general impression of my recollection is delight; but of the contents I remember only that Cain's wife was called Mahala, and Abel's Thirza." Another and more immediate suggestion of the name may be traced to the following translation of Meleager's Epitaphium In Heliodoram, which one of the "associate bards," Bland, or Merivale, or Hodgson, contributed to their Translations chiefly from the Greek Anthology, 1806, p. 4, a work which Byron singles out for commendation in English Bards, etc. (lines 881-890):—

    "Tears o'er my parted Thyrza's grave I shed,
    Affection's fondest tribute to the dead.

    ·····

    Break, break my heart, o'ercharged with bursting woe
    An empty offering to the shades below!
    Ah, plant regretted! Death's remorseless power,
    With dust unfruitful checked thy full-blown flower.
    Take, earth, the gentle inmate to thy breast,
    And soft-embosomed let my Thyrza rest."

    The MSS. of "To Thyrza," "Away, away, ye notes of Woe!" "One struggle more, and I am free," and, "And thou art dead, as young and fair," which belonged originally to Mrs. Leigh, are now in the possession of Sir Theodore Martin, K.C.B.—Editor.)]

    [For the substitution in the present issue of continuous lines for stanzas, Byron's own authority and mandate may be quoted. "In reading the 4th vol.... I perceive that piece 12 ('Without a Stone') is made nonsense of (that is, greater nonsense than usual) by dividing it into stanzas 1, 2, etc."—Letter to John Murray, August 26, 1815, Letters, 1899, iii. 215.]