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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Lord Byron (1788–1824).  Poetry of Byron.  1881.
 
I. Personal, Lyric, and Elegiac
Nature the Consoler, II
 
(Childe Harold, Canto iii. Stanzas 71–75.)

  IS it not better, then, to be alone,
  And love Earth only for its earthly sake?
  By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone,
  Or the pure bosom of its nursing lake,
  Which feeds it as a mother who doth make        5
  A fair but forward infant her own care,
  Kissing its cries away as these awake;—
  Is it not better thus our lives to wear,
Than join the crushing crowd, doom’d to inflict or bear?
 
  I live not in myself, but I become        10
  Portion of that around me; and to me
  High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
  Of human cities torture: I can see
  Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be
  A link reluctant in a fleshly chain,        15
  Class’d among creatures, when the soul can flee,
  And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain
Of ocean, or the stars, mingle, and not in vain.
 
  And thus I am absorb’d, and this is life;
  I look upon the peopled desert past,        20
  As on a place of agony and strife,
  Where, for some sin, to sorrow I was cast,
  To act and suffer, but remount at last
  With a fresh pinion; which I feel to spring,
  Though young, yet waxing vigorous, as the blast        25
  Which it would cope with, on delighted wing,
Spurning the clay-cold bonds which round our being cling.
 
  And when, at length, the mind shall be all free
  From what it hates in this degraded form,
  Reft of its carnal life, save what shall be        30
  Existent happier in the fly and worm,—
  When elements to elements conform,
  And dust is as it should be, shall I not
  Feel all I see, less dazzling, but more warm?
  The bodiless thought? the Spirit of each spot?        35
Of which, even now, I share at times the immortal lot?
 
  Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
  Of me and of my soul, as I of them?
  Is not the love of these deep in my heart
  With a pure passion? should I not contemn        40
  All objects, if compared with these? and stem
  A tide of suffering, rather than forego
  Such feelings for the hard and worldly phlegm
  Of those whose eyes are only turn’d below,
Gazing upon the ground, with thoughts which dare not glow?        45
 
 
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