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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 3/Stanzas for Music. "I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name"

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


I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name,[2]
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame:
But the tear which now burns on my cheek may impart
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart.


Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace,
Were those hours—can their joy or their bitterness cease?
We repent, we abjure, we will break from our chain,—
We will part, we will fly to—unite it again!


Oh! thine be the gladness, and mine be the guilt![4]
Forgive me, adored one!—forsake, if thou wilt;—
But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased[5]
And man shall not break it—whatever thou mayst.[6]


And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
This soul, in its bitterest blackness, shall be:[7]
And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet,
With thee by my side, than with worlds at our feet.


One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thy love,[9]
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove;
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign—
Thy lip shall reply, not to them, but to mine.

May 4, 1814.
[First published, Letters and Journals, 1830, i. 554.]

  1. ["Thou hast asked me for a song, and I enclose you an experiment, which has cost me something more than trouble, and is, therefore, less likely to be worth your taking any in your proposed setting. Now, if it be so, throw it into the fire without phrase."—Letter to Moore, May 4, 1814, Letters, 1899, iii. 80.]
  2. I speak not—I breathe not—I write not that name.—[MS. erased.]
  3. We have loved—and oh, still, my adored one we love!
    Oh the moment is past, when that Passion might cease.—[MS. erased.]
  4. The thought may be madness—the wish may be guilt.—[MS. erased.]
  5. But I cannot repent what we ne'er can recall.
    But the heart which is thine would disdain to recall.—[MS. erased.]
  6. —— though I feel that thou mayst.—[MS. L. erased.]
  7. This soul in its bitterest moments shall be,
    And our days run as swift—and our moments more sweet,
    With thee at my side, than the world at my feet.—[MS.]
  8. And thine is that love which I will not forego,
    Though the price which I pay be Eternity's woe.—[MS. erased.]
  9. One tear of thy sorrow, one smile ——.— [MS. erased.]