To Mary.

A poem by Lord George Gordon Byron


Rack'd by the flames of jealous rage,
By all her torments deeply curst,
Of hell-born passions far the worst,
What hope my pangs can now assuage?


I tore me from thy circling arms,
To madness fir'd by doubts and fears,
Heedless of thy suspicious tears,
Nor feeling for thy feign'd alarms.


Resigning every thought of bliss,
Forever, from your love I go,
Reckless of all the tears that flow,
Disdaining thy polluted kiss.


No more that bosom heaves for me,
On it another seeks repose,
Another riot's on its snows,
Our bonds are broken, both are free.


No more with mutual love we burn,
No more the genial couch we bless,
Dissolving in the fond caress;
Our love o'erthrown will ne'er return.


Though love than ours could ne'er be truer,
Yet flames too fierce themselves destroy,
Embraces oft repeated cloy,
Ours came too frequent, to endure.


You quickly sought a second lover,
And I too proud to share a heart,
Where once I held the whole, not part,
Another mistress must discover.


Though not the first one, who hast blest me,
Yet I will own, you was the dearest,
The one, unto my bosom nearest;
So I conceiv'd, when I possest thee.


Even now I cannot well forget thee,
And though no more in folds of pleasure,
Kiss follows kiss in countless measure,
I hope you sometimes will regret me.


And smile to think how oft were done,
What prudes declare a sin to act is,
And never but in darkness practice,
Fearing to trust the tell-tale sun.


And wisely therefore night prefer,
Whose dusky mantle veils their fears,
Of this, and that, of eyes and ears,
Affording shades to those that err.


Now, by my foul, 'tis most delight
To view each other panting, dying.
In love's extatic posture lying,
Grateful to feeling, as to sight.


And had the glaring God of Day,
(As formerly of Mars and Venus)
Divulg'd the joys which pass'd between us,
Regardless of his peeping ray.


Of love admiring such a sample,
The Gods and Goddesses descending,
Had never fancied us offending,
But wisely followed our example.

* * * * *

When to their airy hall, my father's voice,
Shall call my spirit, joyful in their choice,
When pois'd upon the gale, my form shall ride,
Or dark in mist, descend the mountain's side;
Oh! may my shade behold no sculptur'd urns,
To mark the spot, where earth to earth returns.
No lengthen'd scroll of virtue, and renown,
My epitaph, shall be my name alone;
If that with honour fails to crown my clay,
Oh! may no other fame my deeds repay;
That, only that, shall single out the shot,
By that remember'd, or fore'er forgot. -

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