Forgetful of its struggles past,
E'en Pain itself should smile on thee.
But vain the wish—for Beauty still
Will shrink, as shrinks the ebbing breath;
And Woman's tears, produced at will,
Deceive in life, unman in death.
Then lonely be my latest hour,
Without regret, without a groan;
For thousands Death hath ceased to lower,
And pain been transient or unknown.
"Aye but to die, and go," alas!
Where all have gone, and all must go!
To be the nothing that I was
Ere born to life and living woe!
Count o'er the joys thine hours have seen,
Count o'er thy days from anguish free,
And know, whatever thou hast been,
'Tis something better not to be.
[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition).]