Verse > Lord Byron > Poems
Lord Byron (1788–1824).  Poetry of Byron.  1881.
II. Descriptive and Narrative
(Childe Harold, Canto iv. Stanzas 69–72.)

  THE ROAR of waters!—from the headlong height
  Velino cleaves the wave-worn precipice;
  The fall of waters! rapid as the light
  The flashing mass foams shaking the abyss;
  The hell of waters! where they howl and hiss,        5
  And boil in endless torture; while the sweat
  Of their great agony, wrung out from this
  Their Phlegethon, curls round the rocks of jet
That gird the gulf around, in pitiless horror set,
  And mounts in spray the skies, and thence again        10
  Returns in an unceasing shower, which round,
  With its unemptied cloud of gentle rain,
  Is an eternal April to the ground,
  Making it all one emerald:—how profound
  The gulf! and how the giant element        15
  From rock to rock leaps with delirious bound,
  Crushing the cliffs, which, downward worn and rent
With his fierce footsteps, yield in chasms a fearful vent
  To the broad column which rolls on, and shows
  More like the fountain of an infant sea        20
  Torn from the womb of mountains by the throes
  Of a new world, than only thus to be
  Parent of rivers, which flow gushingly,
  With many windings, through the vale:—Look back!
  Lo! where it comes like an eternity,        25
  As if to sweep down all things in its track,
Charming the eye with dread, a matchless cataract,
  Horribly beautiful! but on the verge,
  From side to side, beneath the glittering morn,
  An Iris sits, amidst the infernal surge,        30
  Like Hope upon a death-bed, and, unworn
  Its steady dyes, while all around is torn
  By the distracted waters, bears serene
  Its brilliant hues with all their beams unshorn:
  Resembling, ’mid the torture of the scene,        35
Love watching Madness with unalterable mien.

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