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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 1/To a Lady (3)

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For works with similar titles, see To a Lady and To a Lady (Byron).

TO A LADY,[1]

ON BEING ASKED MY REASON FOR QUITTING ENGLAND IN THE SPRING.[2]

1.

When Man, expell'd from Eden's bowers,
A moment linger'd near the gate,
Each scene recall'd the vanish'd hours,
And bade him curse his future fate.


2.

But, wandering on through distant climes,
He learnt to bear his load of grief;
Just gave a sigh to other times,
And found in busier scenes relief.


3.

Thus, Lady! will it be with me,[3]
And I must view thy charms no more;
For, while I linger near to thee,
I sigh for all I knew before.


4.

In flight I shall be surely wise,
Escaping from temptation's snare;
I cannot view my Paradise
Without the wish of dwelling there.[4][5]

December 2, 1808. [First published, 1809.]


  1. [Byron had written to his mother on November 2, 1808, announcing his intention of sailing for India in the following March. See Childe Harold, canto i. st. 3. See also Letter to Hodgson, Nov. 27, 1808.]
  2. The Farewell To a Lady.—[Imit. and Transl.]
  3. Thus Mary! (Mrs. Musters).— [MS.]
  4. Without a wish to enter there.—[Imit. and Transl., p. 196.]
  5. [In a letter of Byron to J. J. Coulmann, dated within a few days of his final departure from Italy to Greece, in 1823, he writes: "Miss Chaworth was two years older than myself. She married a man of an ancient and respectable family, but her marriage was not a happier one than my own. Her conduct, however, was irreproachable; but there was not sympathy between their characters. I had not seen her for many years when an occasion offered to me, January, 1814. I was upon the point, with her consent, of paying her a visit, when my sister, who has always had more influence over me than any one else, persuaded me not to do it. "For," said she, "if you go you will fall in love again, and then there will be a scene; one step will lead to another, et cela fera un éclat."—Letters, 1901, vi. 233, 234.]