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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 4/Stanzas to Augusta

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For works with similar titles, see Stanzas to Augusta.

STANZAS TO AUGUSTA.[1][2]

I.

Though the day of my Destiny's over,
And the star of my Fate hath declined,[3]
Thy soft heart refused to discover
The faults which so many could find;
Though thy Soul with my grief was acquainted,
It shrunk not to share it with me,
And the Love which my Spurit hath painted[4]
It never hath found but in Thee.


II.

Then when Nature around me is smiling,[5]
The last smile which answers to mine,
I do not believe it beguiling,[6]
Because it reminds me of thine;
And when winds are at war with the ocean,
As the breasts I believed in with me,[7]
If their billows excite an emotion,
It is that they bear me from Thee.


III.

Though the rock of my last Hope is shivered,[8]
And its fragments are sunk in the wave,
Though I feel that my soul is delivered
To Pain—it shall not be its slave.
There is many a pang to pursue me:
They may crush, but they shall not contemn;
They may torture, but shall not subdue me;
'Tis of Thee that I think—not of them.[9]


IV.

Though human, thou didst not deceive me,
Though woman, thou didst not forsake,
Though loved, thou forborest to grieve me,
Though slandered, thou never couldst shake;[10][11]
Though trusted, thou didst not disclaim me,
Though parted, it was not to fly,
Though watchful, 'twas not to defame me,
Nor mute, that the world might belie.[12]


V.

Yet I blame not the World, nor despise it,
Nor the war of the many with one;
If my Soul was not fitted to prize it,
'Twas folly not sooner to shun:[13]
And if dearly that error hath cost me,
And more than I once could foresee,
I have found that, whatever it lost me,[14]
It could not deprive me of Thee.


VI.

From the wreck of the past, which hath perished,[15]
Thus much I at least may recall,
It hath taught me that what I most cherished
Deserved to be dearest of all:
In the Desert a fountain is springing,[16][17]
In the wide waste there still is a tree,
And a bird in the solitude singing,
Which speaks to my spirit of Thee.[18]

July 24, 1816.
[First published, Prisoner of Chillon, etc., 1816.]

  1. Stanzas To ——.-[Editions 1816-1830.]
    "Though the Day."—[MS. in Mrs. Leigh's handwriting.]
  2. [The "Stanzas to Augusta" were written in July, at the Campagne Diodati, near Geneva. "Be careful," he says, "in printing the stanzas beginning, 'Though the day of my Destiny's,' etc., which I think well of as a composition."—Letter to Murray, October 5, 1816, Letters, 1899, iii. 371.]
  3. Though the days of my Glory are over,
    And the Sun of my fame has declined.—[Dillon MS.]

  4. —— had painted.[MS.]
  5. [Compare—

    "Dear Nature is the kindest mother still!...
    To me by day or night she ever smiled."

    Childe Harold, Canto II. stana xxxvii. lines 1, 7,
    Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 122.]

  6. I will not ——.—[MS. erased.]
  7. As the breasts I reposed in with me.—[MS.]
  8. Though the rock of my young hope is shivered,
    And its fragments lie sunk in the wave.—[MS. erased.]

  9. There is many a pang to pursue me,
    And many a peril to stem;
    They may torture, but shall not subdue me;
    They may crush, but they shall not contemn.—[MS. erased.]
    And I think not of thee but of them.—[MS. erased.]

  10. Though tempted ——.—[MS.]
  11. [Compare Childe Harold, Canto III. stanzas liii., iv., Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 247, 248, note 1.]
  12. Though watchful, 'twas but to reclaim me,
    Nor, silent, to sanction a lie.—[MS.]

  13. [Compare—

    "Had I but sooner learnt the crowd to shun,
    I had been better than I now can be."

    Epistle to Augusta, stanxa xii. lines 5, 6, vide post, p. 61.

    Compare, too—

    "But soon he knew himself the most unfit
    Of men to herd with Man."

    Childe Harold, Canto III. stanza xii. lines 1, 2,
    Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 223.]

  14. And more than I then could foresee.
    I have met but the fate that hath crost me.—[MS.]

  15. In the wreck of the past ——.—[MS.]
  16. In the Desert there still are sweet waters,
    In the wild waste a sheltering tree.—[MS.]

  17. [Byron often made use of this illustration. Compare—

    "My Peri! ever welcome here!
    Sweet, as the desert fountain's wave."

    The Bride of Abydos, Canto I. lines 151, 152,
    Poetical Works, 1900, iii. 163.]

  18. [For Hobhouse's parody of these stanzas, see Letters, 1900, iv. 73, 74.]