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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1/Stanzas to Jessy



There is a mystic thread of life
So dearly wreath'd with mine alone,
That Destiny's relentless knife
At once must sever both, or none.


There is a Form on which these eyes
Have fondly gazed with such delight—
By day, that Form their joy supplies,
And Dreams restore it, through the night.


There is a Voice whose tones inspire
Such softened feelings in my breast,[2]
I would not hear a Seraph Choir,
Unless that voice could join the rest.


There is a Face whose Blushes tell
Affection's tale upon the cheek,
But pallid at our fond farewell,
Proclaims more love than words can speak.


There is a Lip, which mine has prest,
But none had ever prest before;
It vowed to make me sweetly blest,
That mine alone should press it more.[3]


There is a Bosom all my own,
Has pillow'd oft this aching head,
A Mouth which smiles on me alone,
An Eye, whose tears with mine are shed.


There are two Hearts whose movements thrill,
In unison so closely sweet,
That Pulse to Pulse responsive still
They Both must heave, or cease to beat.


There are two Souls, whose equal flow
In gentle stream so calmly run,
That when they part—they part?—ah no!
They cannot part—those Souls are One.

[George Gordon, Lord] Byron.

  1. ["Stanzas to Jessy" have often been printed, but were never acknowledged by Byron, or included in any authorized edition of his works. They are, however, unquestionably genuine. They appeared first in Monthly Literary Recreations (July, 1807), a magazine published by B. Crosby & Co., Stationers' Court. Crosby was London agent for Ridge, the Newark bookseller, and, with Longman and others, "sold" the recently issued Hours of Idleness. The same number of Monthly Literary Recreations (for July, 1807) contains Byron's review of Wordsworth's Poems (2 vols., 1807), and a highly laudatory notice of Hours of Idleness. The lines are headed "Stanzas to Jessy," and are signed "George Gordon, Lord Byron." They were republished in 1824, by Knight and Lacy, in vol. v. of the three supplementary volumes of the Works, and again in the same year by John Bumpus and A. Griffin, in their Miscellaneous Poems, etc. A note which is prefixed to these issues, "The following stanzas were addressed by Lord Byron to his Lady, a few months before their separation," and three variants in the text, make it unlikely that the pirating editors were acquainted with the text of the magazine. The MS. (British Museum, Eg. MSS. No. 2332) is signed "George Gordon, Lord Byron," but the words "George Gordon, Lord" are in another hand, and were probably added by Crosby. The following letter (together with a wrapper addressed, "Mr. Crosby, Stationers' Court," and sealed in red wax with Byron's arms and coronet) is attached to the poem:—

    "July 21, 1807.


    "I have sent according to my promise some Stanzas for Literary Recreations. The insertion I leave to the option of the Editors. They have never appeared before. I should wish to know whether they are admitted or not, and when the work will appear, as I am desirous of a copy.

    "Etc., etc., Byron.

    "P.S.—Send your answer when convenient."]

  2. Such thrills of Rapture.—[Knight and Lacy, 1824, v. 56.]
  3. And mine, mine only.—[Knight and Lacy, v. 56.]