Poetry, Volume 9

Lord Byron – Five Poems

Lord_Byron_coloured_drawing

Today is the birthday of the poet Lord Byron, born January 22, 1788…

Here are five of our favorite poems by him…

Lines Written Beneath an Elm
In the Churchyard of Harrow
Lord Byron
(1807)

Spot of my youth! whose hoary branches sigh,
Swept by the breeze that fans thy cloudless sky;
Where now alone I muse, who oft have trod,
With those I loved, thy soft and verdant sod;
With those who, scatter’d far, perchance deplore,
Like me, the happy scenes they knew before:
Oh! as I trace again thy winding hill,
Mine eyes admire, my heart adores thee still,
Thou drooping Elm! beneath whose boughs I lay,
And frequent mus’d the twilight hours away;
Where, as they once were wont, my limbs recline,
But, ah! without the thoughts which then were mine:
How do thy branches, moaning to the blast,
Invite the bosom to recall the past,
And seem to whisper, as they gently swell,
“Take, while thou canst, a lingering, last farewell!”

When Fate shall chill, at length, this fever’d breast,
And calm its cares and passions into rest,
Oft have I thought, ‘twould soothe my dying hour,–
If aught may soothe, when Life resigns her power,–
To know some humbler grave, some narrow cell,
Would hide my bosom where it lov’d to dwell;
With this fond dream, methinks ’twere sweet to die–
And here it linger’d, here my heart might lie;
Here might I sleep where all my hopes arose,
Scene of my youth, and couch of my repose;
For ever stretch’d beneath this mantling shade,
Press’d by the turf where once my childhood play’d;
Wrapt by the soil that veils the spot I lov’d,
Mix’d with the earth o’er which my footsteps mov’d;
Blest by the tongues that charm’d my youthful ear,
Mourn’d by the few my soul acknowledged here;
Deplor’d by those in early days allied,
And unremember’d by the world beside.

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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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