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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/591

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STANZAS.



STANZAS.[1]

1.

Could Love for ever
Run like a river,
And Time's endeavour
Be tried in vain—
No other pleasure
With this could measure;
And like a treasure[2]
We'd hug the chain.
But since our sighing
Ends not in dying,
And, formed for flying,
Love plumes his wing;
Then for this reason
Let's love a season;
But let that season be only Spring.


    Ecco un' Sonetto! There, you dogs! there's a Sonnet for you: you won't have such as that in a hurry from Mr. Fitzgerald. You may publish it with my name, an ye wool. He deserves all praise, bad and good; it was a very noble piece of principality."—Letter to Murray, August 12, 1819. For [William Thomas] Fitgerald, see Poetical Works, 1898, i. 297, note 3; for Lord Edward Fitzgerald (1763-1798), see Letters, 1900, iv. 345, note 1. The royal assent was given to a bill for "restoring Edward Fox Fitzgerald and his sisters Pamela and Lucy to their blood," July 13, 1819. The sonnet was addressed to George IV. when Prince Regent. The title, "To George the Fourth," affixed in 1831, is incorrect.]

  1. ["A friend of Lord Byron's, who was with him at Ravenna when he wrote these stanzas, says, "They were composed, like many others, with no view of publication, but merely to relieve himself in a moment of suffering. He had been painfully excited by some circumstances which appeared to make it necessary that he should immediately quit Italy; and in the day and the hour that he wrote the song was labouring under an access of fever." (Works, 1832, xii. 317, note 1). Here, too, there is some confusion of dates and places. Byron was at Venice, not at Ravenna, December 1, 1819, when these lines were composed. They were sent, as Lady Blessington testifies, to Kinnaird, and are probably identical with the "mere verses of society," mentioned in the letter to Murray of May 8, 1820. The last stanza reflects the mood of a letter to the Countess Guiccioli, dated November 25 (1819), "I go to save you, and leave a country insupportable to me without you." (Letters, 1900, iv. 379, note 2).]
  2. And as a treasure.—[MS. Guiccioli.]