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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Stanzas. "One struggle more, and I am free"

For works with similar titles, see Stanzas (Byron).

ONE STRUGGLE MORE, AND I AM FREE.[1]

1.

One struggle more, and I am free
From pangs that rend my heart in twain;[2]
One last long sigh to Love and thee,
Then back to busy life again.
It suits me well to mingle now
With things that never pleased before:[3]
Though every joy is fled below,
What future grief can touch me more?[4]


2.

Then bring me wine, the banquet bring;
Man was not formed to live alone;
I'll be that light unmeaning thing
That smiles with all, and weeps with none.
It was not thus in days more dear,
It never would have been, but thou[5]
Hast fled, and left me lonely here;
Thou'rt nothing,—all are nothing now.


3.

In vain my lyre would lightly breathe!
The smile that Sorrow fain would wear
But mocks the woe that lurks beneath,
Like roses o'er a sepulchre.
Though gay companions o'er the bowl
Dispel awhile the sense of ill;
Though Pleasure fires the maddening soul,
The Heart,—the Heart is lonely still!


4.

On many a lone and lovely night
It soothed to gaze upon the sky;
For then I deemed the heavenly light
Shone sweetly on thy pensive eye:
And oft I thought at Cynthia's noon,
When sailing o'er the Ægean wave,
"Now Thyrza gazes on that moon"—
Alas, it gleamed upon her grave!


5.

When stretched on Fever's sleepless bed,
And sickness shrunk my throbbing veins,
"'Tis comfort still," I faintly said,[6]
"That Thyrza cannot know my pains:"
Like freedom to the time-worn slave—[7]
A boon 'tis idle then to give—
Relenting Nature vainly gave[8]
My life, when Thyrza ceased to live!


6.

My Thyrza's pledge in better days,[9]
When Love and Life alike were new!
How different now thou meet'st my gaze!
How tinged by time with Sorrow's hue!
The heart that gave itself with thee
Is silent—ah, were mine as still!
Though cold as e'en the dead can be,
It feels, it sickens with the chill.


7.

Thou bitter pledge! thou mournful token!
Though painful, welcome to my breast!
Still, still, preserve that love unbroken,
Or break the heart to which thou'rt pressed.
Time tempers Love, but not removes,
More hallowed when its Hope is fled:
Oh! what are thousand living loves
To that which cannot quit the dead?

[First published, Childe Harold, 1812 (4to).]

  1. To Thyrza.—[Editions 1812-1831.]
  2. From pangs that tear ——.—[MS.]
    Such pangs that tear ——.—[MS. erased.]
  3. With things that moved me not before.—[MS. erased.]
  4. What sorrow cannot ——.—[MS.]
  5. It would not be, so hadst not thou
    Withdrawn so soon ——.—[MS. erased.]
  6. —— how oft I said.—[MS. erased.]
  7. Like freedom to the worn-out slave.—[MS.]
    But Health and life returned and gave,
    A boon 'twas idle then to give,
    Relenting Health in mocking gave.—[MS. B. M. erased.]
  8. [Compare My Epitaph: "Youth, Nature and relenting Jove."—Letter to Hodgson, October 3, 1810, Letters, 1898, i. 298.]
  9. Dear simple gift ——.—[MS. erased.]