The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Stanzas. "And thou art dead, as young and fair"
AND THOU ART DEAD, AS YOUNG AND FAIR.
Heu, quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui merminisse!"
And thou art dead, as young and fair
As aught of mortal birth;
And form so soft, and charms so rare,
Too soon returned to Earth!
Though Earth received them in her bed,
And o'er the spot the crowd may tread
In carelessness or mirth,
There is an eye which could not brook
A moment on that grave to look.
I will not ask where thou liest low,
Nor gaze upon the spot;
There flowers or weeds at will may grow,
So I behold them not:
It is enough for me to prove
That what I loved, and long must love,
Like common earth can rot;
To me there needs no stone to tell,
'Tis Nothing that I loved so well.
Yet did I love thee to the last
As fervently as thou,
Who didst not change through all the past,
And canst not alter now.
The love where Death has set his seal,
Nor age can chill, nor rival steal,
Nor falsehood disavow:
And, what were worse, thou canst not see
Or wrong, or change, or fault in me.
The better days of life were ours;
The worst can be bnt mine:
The sun that cheers, the storm that lowers,
Shall never more be thine.
The silence of that dreamless sleep
I envy now too much to weep;
Nor need I to repine,
That all those charms have passed away
I might have watched through long decay.
The flower in ripened bloom unmatched
Must fall the earliest prey;
Though by no hand untimely snatched,
The leaves must drop away:
And yet it were a greater grief
To watch it withering, leaf by leaf,
Than see it plucked to-day;
Since earthly eye but ill can bear
To trace the change to foul from fair.
I know not if I could have borne
To see thy beauties fade;
The night that followed such a morn
Had worn a deeper shade:
Thy day without a cloud hath passed,
And thou wert lovely to the last;
Extinguished, not decayed;
As stars that shoot along the sky
Shine brightest as they fall from high.
As once I wept, if I could weep,
My tears might well be shed,
To think I was not near to keep
One vigil o'er thy bed;
To gaze, how fondly! on thy face,
To fold thee in a faint embrace,
Uphold thy drooping head;
And show that love, however vain,
Nor thou nor I can feel again.
Yet how much less it were to gain,
Though thou hast left me free,
The loveliest things that still remain,
Than thus remember thee!
The all of thine that cannot die
Through dark and dread Eternity
Returns again to me,
And more thy buried love endears
Than aught, except its living years.
[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition).]
- Stanzas.—[Editions 1812-1831.]
- ["The Lovers' Walk is terminated with an ornamental urn, inscribed to Miss Dolman, a beautiful and amiable relation of Mr. Shenstone's, who died of the small-pox, about twenty-one years of age, in the following words on one side:—
On the other side—
ah Flore venvstatis abrepta,
hev qvanto minvs est
cvm reliqvis versari
(From a Description of the Leasowes, by A. Dodsley; Poetical Works of William Shenstone , p. xxix.)]
- Are mingled with the Earth.—[MS.]
Were never meant for Earth.—[MS. erased.]
- Unhonoured with the vulgar dread.—[MS. erased.]
- I will not ask where thou art laid,
Nor look upon the name.—[MS. erased.]
- So I shall know it not.—[MS. erased.]
- Like common dust can rot.—[MS.]
- I would not wish to see nor touch.—[MS. erased.]
- As well as warm as thou.—[MS. erased.]
- MS. transposes lines 5 and 6 of stanza 3.
- Nor frailty disavow.—[MS.]
- Nor canst thou fair and faultless see.—[MS. erased.]
- Nor wrong, nor change, nor fault in me.—[MS.]
- The cloud that cheers ——.—[MS.]
- The sweetness of that silent deep.—[MS.]
- The flower in beauty's bloom unmatched
Is still the earliest prey.—[MS.]
The rose by some rude finders snatched,
Is earliest doomed to fade.—[MS. erased.]
- I do not deem I could have borne.—[MS.]
- But night and day of thine are passed,
And thou wert lovely to the last;
Destroyed ——.—[MS. erased.]
- As stars that seem to quit the sky.—[MS.]
- O how much less it were to gain,
All beauteous though they be.—[MS.]
- Through dark and dull Eternity.—[MS.]