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The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)/Poetry/Volume 4/Stanzas written on the Road between Florence and Pisa

< The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero)‎ | Poetry‎ | Volume 4

STANZAS WRITTEN ON THE ROAD BETWEEN FLORENCE AND PISA.[1]

1.

Oh, talk not to me of a name great in story—
The days of our Youth are the days of our glory;
And the myrtle and ivy of sweet two-and-twenty
Are worth all your laurels, though ever so plenty.[2]


2.

What are garlands and crowns to the brow that is wrinkled?
'Tis but as a dead flower with May-dew besprinkled:
Then away with all such from the head that is hoary,
What care I for the wreaths that can only give glory?


3.

Oh Fame!—if I e'er took delight in thy praises,
'Twas less for the sake of thy high-sounding phrases,
Than to see the bright eyes of the dear One discover,
She thought that I was not unworthy to love her.


4.

There chiefly I sought thee, there only I found thee;
Her Glance was the best of the rays that surround thee,
When it sparkled o'er aught that was bright in my story,
I knew it was Love, and I felt it was Glory.

November 6, 1821.
[First published, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, 1830, ii. 566, note.]


  1. ["I composed these stanzas (except the fourth, added now) a few days ago, on the road from Florence to Pisa."—Pisa, 6th November, 1821, Detached Thoughts, No. 118, Letters, 1901, v. 466.]
  2. ["I told Byron that his poetical sentiments of the attractions of matured beauty had, at the moment, suggested four lines to me; which he begged me to repeat, and he laughed not a little when I recited the following lines to him:—

    "Oh! talk not to me of the charms of Youth's dimples,
    There's surely more sentiment center'd in wrinkles.
    They're the triumphs of Time that mark Beauty's decay,
    Telling tales of years past, and the few left to stay."

    Conversations of Lord Byron, 1834, pp. 255, 256.]