The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Stanzas. "If sometimes in the Haunts of Men"
IF SOMETIMES IN THE HAUNTS OF MEN.
If sometimes in the haunts of men
Thine image from my breast may fade,
The lonely hour presents again
The semblance of thy gentle shade:
And now that sad and silent hour
Thus much of thee can still restore,
And sorrow unobserved may pour
The plaint she dare not speak before.
Oh, pardon that in crowds awhile
I waste one thought I owe to thee,
And self-condemned, appear to smile,
Unfaithful to thy memory:
Nor deem that memory less dear,
That then I seem not to repine;
I would not fools should overhear
One sigh that should be wholly thine.
If not the Goblet pass unquaffed,
It is not drained to banish care;
The cup must hold a deadlier draught
That brings a Lethe for despair.
And could Oblivion set my soul
From all her troubled visions free,
I'd dash to earth the sweetest bowl
That drowned a single thought of thee.
For wert thou vanished from my mind,
Where could my vacant bosom turn?
And who would then remain behind
To honour thine abandoned Urn?
No, no—it is my sorrow's pride
That last dear duty to fulfil;
Though all the world forget beside,
'Tis meet that I remember still.
For well I know, that such had been
Thy gentle care for him, who now
Unmourned shall quit this mortal scene,
Where none regarded him, but thou:
And, oh! I feel in that was given
A blessing never meant for me;
Thou wert too like a dream of Heaven,
For earthly Love to merit thee.
March 14, 1812.
[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (Second Edition).]
- Stanzas.—[181 2.]