AND THOU ART DEAD, AS YOUNG AND FAIR
by: George Gordon (Lord)
- ND thou
art dead, as young and fair
- As aught of mortal birth;
- And form so soft, and charms so rare,
- Too soon return'd to Earth!
- Though Earth receiv'd them in her bed,
- And o'er the spot the crowd may tread
- In carelessness or mirth,
- There is an eye which could not brook
- A moment on that grave to look.
- I will not ask where thou liest low,
- Nor gaze upon the spot;
- There flowers or weeds at will may grow,
- So I behold them not:
- It is enough for me to prove
- That what I lov'd, and long must love,
- Like common earth can rot;
- To me there needs no stone to tell,
- 'T is Nothing that I lov'd so well.
- Yet did I love thee to the last
- As fervently as thou,
- Who didst not change through all the past,
- And canst not alter now.
- The love where Death has set his seal,
- Nor age can chill, nor rival steal,
- Nor falsehood disavow:
- And, what were worse, thou canst not see
- Or wrong, or change, or fault in me.
- The better days of life were ours;
- The worst can be but mine:
- The sun that cheers, the storm that lowers,
- Shall never more be thine.
- The silence of that dreamless sleep
- I envy now too much to weep;
- Nor need I to repine
- That all those charms have pass'd away,
- I might have watch'd through long decay.
- The flower in ripen'd bloom unmatch'd
- Must fall the earliest prey;
- Though by no hand untimely snatch'd,
- The leaves must drop away:
- And yet it were a greater grief
- To watch it withering, leaf by leaf,
- Than see it pluck'd to-day;
- Since earthly eye but ill can bear
- To trace the change to foul from fair.
- I know not if I could have borne
- To see thy beauties fade;
- The night that follow'd such a morn
- Had worn a deeper shade:
- Thy day without a cloud hath pass'd,
- And thou wert lovely to the last,
- Extinguish'd, not decay'd;
- As stars that shoot along the sky
- Shine brightest as they fall from high.
- As once I wept, if I could weep,
- My tears might well be shed,
- To think I was not near to keep
- One vigil o'er thy bed;
- To gaze, how fondly! on thy face,
- To fold thee in a faint embrace,
- Uphold thy drooping head;
- And show that love, however vain,
- Nor thou nor I can feel again.
- Yet how much less it were to gain,
- Though thou hast left me free,
- The loveliest things that still remain,
- Than thus remember thee!
- The all of thine that cannot die
- Through dark and dread Eternity
- Returns again to me,
- And more thy buried love endears
- Than aught except its living years.
MORE POEMS BY LORD BYRON
"And Thou art Dead, as Young
and Fair" is reprinted from Works. George Gordon
Byron. London: John Murray, 1832.