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WHEN COLDNESS WRAPS THIS

SUFFERING CLAY.1

I.

WHEN coldness wraps this suffering clay,

Ah! whither strays the immortal mind?
It cannot die, it cannot stay,

But leaves its darkened dust behind.
Then, unembodied, doth it trace

By steps each planet's heavenly way?
Or fill at once the realms of

space,
A thing of eyes, that all survey?

5

II.

IO

Eternal, boundless, undecayed,

A thought unseen, but seeing all,
All, all in earth or skies displayed,

Shall it survey, shall it recall:
Each fainter trace that memory

holds
So darkly of departed years,
In one broad glance the soul beholds,

And all that was at once appears.

15

1 This solemn strain of meditative verse reveals Byron's feeling in regard to death and the immortality of the soul.

III.

20

Before Creation peopled earth,

Its eye shall roll through chaos back; And where the furthest heaven had birth,

The spirit trace its rising track.
And where the future mars or makes,

Its glance dilate o'er all to be,
While sun is quenched or system breaks,

Fixed in its own eternity.

IV.

25

Above or Love, Hope, Hate, or Fear,

It lives all passionless and pure: An age shall fleet like earthly year;

Its years as moments shall endure. Away, away, without a wing,

O'er all, through all, its thought shall fly, A nameless and eternal thing,

Forgetting what it was to die.

30

ON THIS DAY I COMPLETE MY

THIRTY-SIXTH YEAR.

MISSOLONGHI, January 22, 1824. 'Tis time this heart should be unmoved,

Since others it hath ceased to move:
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,

Still let me love!

5

My days are in the yellow leaf;

The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief

Are mine alone!

IO

The fire that on my

bosom

preys Is lone as some volcanic isle; No torch is kindled at its blaze

A funeral pile.

The hope, the fear, the jealous care,

The exalted portion of the pain
And

power of love, I cannot share,

But wear the chain.

15

1 Byron died April 19, 1824, about three months after writing this prophetic poem. The last stanza is a fit epitaph for the brave poet.

But 'tis not thus- and 'tis not here

Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now, Where glory decks the hero's bier,

Or binds his brow.

20

The sword, the banner, and the field,

Glory and Greece, around me see! The Spartan, borne upon his shield,

Was not more free.

25

Awake! (not Greece-she is awake!)

Awake, my spirit! Think through whom Thy lifeblood tracks its parent lake,

And then strike home!

30

Tread those reviving passions down,

Unworthy manhood! — unto thee Indifferent should the smile or frown

Of beauty be.

If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live?

The land of honorable death
Is here :-up to the field, and give

Away thy breath!

35

Seek out— less often sought than found

A soldier's grave, for thee the best ;
Then look around, and choose thy ground,

And take thy rest.

40

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