Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
III. Adversity
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Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 “On this day I completed my thirty-sixth year.“

’T IS time this heart should be unmoved,
  Since others it has ceased to move:
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,
          Still let me love!
My days are in the yellow leaf,        5
  The flowers and fruits of love are gone:
The worm, the canker, and the grief,
          Are mine alone.
The fire that in my bosom preys
  Is like to some volcanic isle;        10
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,        15
          But wear the chain.
But ’t is not thus,—and ’t is 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 about us see;
The Spartan borne upon his shield
          Was not more free.
Awake!—not Greece,—she is awake!        25
  Awake my spirit! think through whom
Thy life-blood tastes its parent lake,
          And then strike home!
Tread those reviving passions down,
  Unworthy manhood! unto thee        30
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        35
          Away thy breath!
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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