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George Gordon, Lord Byron

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Occasional Pieces (1816, 28)

Time! on whose arbitrary wing 
The varying hours must flag or fly, 
Whose tardy winter, fleeting spring, 
But drag or drive us on to die- 
Hail thou! who on my birth bestowed 
Those boons, to all that know thee, known; 
Yet better I sustain thy load, 
For now I bear the weight alone. 
I would not one fond heart should share 
The bitter moments thou hast given; 
And pardon thee - since thou couldst spare 
All that I loved, to peace or Heaven. 
To them be joy or rest - on me 
Thy future ills shall press in vain; 
I nothing owe but years to thee, 
A debt already paid in pain. 
Yet even that pain was some relief; 
It felt, but still forgot thy power: 
The active agony of grief 
Retards, but never counts the hour. 
In joy I've sighed to think thy flight 
Would soon subside from swift to slow; 
Thy cloud could overcast the light, 
But could not add a night to Woe; 
For then, however drear and dark, 
My soul was suited to thy sky; 
One star alone shot forth a spark 
To prove thee - not Eternity. 
That beam hath sunk - and now thou art 
A blank - a thing to count and curse 
Through each dull tedious trifling part, 
Which all regret, yet all rehearse. 
One scene even thou canst not deform -
The limit of thy sloth or speed 
When future wanderers bear the storm 
Which we shall sleep too sound to heed. 
And I can smile to think how weak 
Thine efforts shortly shall be shown, 
When all the vengeance thou canst wreak 
Must fall upon- a nameless stone.

 

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