A Poem by Lord Byron

January 22nd, Missolonghi

‘Tis time this heart should be unmoved,

       Since others it hath ceased to move:

Yet though I cannot be beloved,

                                    Still let me love!

   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!

   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.

   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.

   The Sword, the Banner, and the Field,

       Glory and Greece around me see!

The Spartan, borne upon his shield,

                                    Was not more free.

   Awake! (not Greece—she is awake!)

       Awake, my Spirit! Think through whom

Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake

                                    And then strike home!

   Tread those reviving passions down,

       Unworthy Manhood!—unto thee

Indifferent should the smile or frown

                                    Of beauty be.

   If thou regret’st thy Youth, why live?

       The land of honourable Death

Is here:—up to the Field, and give

                                    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.

[Analysis of On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year]