The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron

By George Gordon Byron | Go to book overview

In fantasy, imagination, all
The affluence of my soul -- which one day was
A Crœsus in creation -- I plunged deep,
But, like an ebbing wave, it dash'd me back
Into the gulf of my unfathom'd thought.
I plunged amidst mankind -- Forgetfulness
I sought in all, save where 't is to be found,

And that I have to learn -- my sciences, 241
My long pursued and superhuman art,
Is mortal here; I dwell in my despair --
And live -- and live for ever.

Witch. It may be That I can aid thee.

Man. To do this thy power Must wake the dead, or lay me low with them.
Do so -- in any shape -- in any hour -- With any torture -- so it be the last.

Witch. That is not in my province; but if thou

Wilt swear obedience to my will, and do 250
My bidding, it may help thee to thy wishes.

Man. I will not swear -- Obey! and whom? the spirits Whose presence I command, and be the slave
Of those who gerved me -- Never!

Witch. Is this all? Hast thou no gentler answer? -- Yet be-think thee,
And pause ere thou rejectest.

Man. I have said it.

Witch. Enough! -- I may retire then -- say!

Man. Retire! [The WITCH disappears.

Man. (alone). We are the fools of time and terror: Days
Steal on us and steal from us; yet we live,
Loathing our life, and dreading still to die.

In all the days of this detested yoke -- 261
This vital weight upon the struggling heart,
Which sinks with sorrow, or beats quick with pain,
Or joy that ends in agony or faintness --
In all the days of past and future, for
In life there is no present, we can number
How few, how less than few, wherein the soul
Forbears to pant for death, and yet draws back
As from a stream in winter, though the chill
Be but a moment's. I have one resource 270
Still in my science -- I can call the dead,
And ask them what it is we dread to be:
The sternest answer can but be the Grave,
And that is nothing; -- if they answer not --
The buried Prophet answered to the Hag
Of Endor; and the Spartan Monarch drew
From the Byzantine maid's unsleeping spirit
An answer and his destiny -- he slew
That which he loved, unknowing what he slew,
And died unpardou'd -- though he call'd in
aid 280
The Phyxian Jove, and in Phigalia roused
The Arcadian Evocators to compel
The indignant shadow to depose her wrath,
Or fix her term of vengeance -- she replied
In words of dubious import, but fulfill'd.
If I had never lived, that which I love
Had still been living; had I never loved,
That which I love would still be beauti-ful --
Happy and giving happiness. What is she?
What is she now? -- a sufferer for my
sins -- 290
A thing I dare not think upon -- or nothing.
Within few hours I shall not call in vain --
Yet in this hour I dread the thing I dare:
Until this hour I never shrunk to gaze
On spirit, good or evil -- now I tremble,
And feel a strange cold thaw upon my heart.
But I can act even what I most abhor,
And champion human fears. -- The night approaches. [Exit.


SCENE III

The Summit of the Jungfrau Mountain.

Enter FIRST DESTINY.

The moon is rising broad, and round, and bright;
And here on snows, where never human

foot 300
Of common mortal trod, we nightly tread,
And leave no traces; o'er the savage sea,
The glassy ocean of the mountain ice,
We skim its rugged breakers, which put on
The aspect of a tumbling tempest's foam,
Frozen in a moment -- a dead whirlpool's image.
And this most steep fantastic pinnacle,
The fretwork of some earthquake -- where the clouds
Pause to repose themselves in passing by --
Is sacred to our revels, or our vigils. 310
Here do I wait my sisters, on our way

-487-

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The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Editor's Note v
  • Table of Contents vii
  • Biographical Sketch xi
  • Childe Harold's Pilgrimage - A Romaunt 1
  • Shorter Poems 83
  • Miscellaneous Poems 139
  • Domestic Pieces 207
  • Hebrew Melodies 216
  • Ephemeral Verses 223
  • Satires 240
  • Tales, Chiefly Oriental 309
  • Italian Poems 436
  • Dramas 477
  • Scene II 481
  • Act II 483
  • Scene I 483
  • Scene II 487
  • Scene IV 488
  • Act III 491
  • Scene I 491
  • Scene II 493
  • Scene III 494
  • Scene IV 495
  • Act I 499
  • Act I 499
  • Scene II 500
  • Act II 509
  • Scene I 509
  • Scene II 516
  • Act III 518
  • Scene I 518
  • Scene II 520
  • Act IV 528
  • Scene I 528
  • Scene II 533
  • Act V 538
  • Act V 538
  • Scene II 546
  • Scenf III 548
  • Scene II 549
  • Sardanapalus 550
  • Scene II 551
  • Act II 561
  • Scene I 561
  • Act III 571
  • Scene I 571
  • Act IV 578
  • Scene I 578
  • Act V 587
  • Scene I 587
  • Act I 595
  • Scene I 595
  • Act II 601
  • Scene I 601
  • Act III 608
  • Scene I 608
  • Act IV 615
  • Scene I 620
  • Scene I 620
  • Dramatis Person Æ 627
  • Dramatis Person Æ 627
  • Act II 636
  • Scene I 636
  • Scene II 639
  • Heaven and Earth 655
  • Heaven and Earth 655
  • Scene II 657
  • Scene II 658
  • Werner; Or, the Inheritance 671
  • Scene II 683
  • Scene II 683
  • Scene II 688
  • Act III 695
  • Scene I 695
  • Scene II 700
  • Scene III 701
  • Scene IV 701
  • Act IV 704
  • Scene I 704
  • Act V 713
  • Scene II 720
  • The Deformed Transformed 722
  • Scene II 723
  • Scene II 730
  • Part II 735
  • Scene I 735
  • Scene II 737
  • Scene III 738
  • Part III 742
  • Scene I 742
  • Don Juan 744
  • Notes 999
  • Indexes 1045
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