On Leaving Newstead Abbey.

A poem by Lord George Gordon Byron

Why dost thou build the hall, Son of the winged days? Thou lookest from thy tower to-day: yet a few years, and the blast of the desart comes: it howls in thy empty court.-OSSIAN. [1]


I.

Through thy battlements, Newstead, [2] the hollow winds whistle:
Thou, the hall of my Fathers, art gone to decay;
In thy once smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle
Have choak'd up the rose, which late bloom'd in the way.


2.

Of the mail-cover'd Barons, who, proudly, to battle,
Led their vassals from Europe to Palestine's plain, [3]
The escutcheon and shield, which with ev'ry blast rattle,
Are the only sad vestiges now that remain.


3.

No more doth old Robert, with harp-stringing numbers,
Raise a flame, in the breast, for the war-laurell'd wreath;
Near Askalon's towers, John of Horistan [4] slumbers,
Unnerv'd is the hand of his minstrel, by death.


4.

Paul and Hubert too sleep in the valley of Cressy;
For the safety of Edward and England they fell:
My Fathers! the tears of your country redress ye:
How you fought! how you died! still her annals can tell.


5.

On Marston, [5] with Rupert, [6] 'gainst traitors contending,
Four brothers enrich'd, with their blood, the bleak field;
For the rights of a monarch their country defending,
Till death their attachment to royalty seal'd. [7]


6.

Shades of heroes, farewell! your descendant departing
From the seat of his ancestors, bids you adieu!
Abroad, or at home, your remembrance imparting
New courage, he'll think upon glory and you.


7.

Though a tear dim his eye at this sad separation,
'Tis nature, not fear, that excites his regret;
Far distant he goes, with the same emulation,
The fame of his Fathers he ne'er can forget.


8.

That fame, and that memory, still will he cherish;
He vows that he ne'er will disgrace your renown:
Like you will he live, or like you will he perish;
When decay'd, may he mingle his dust with your own!

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