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George Gordon Byron

George Gordon Byron

GEORGE GORDON BYRON: "Full Swiftly Harold Wends..."

"Full Swiftly Harold Wends..."

(From "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage", Canto One)
Full swiftly Harold wends his lonely way
When proud Sevilla triumphs unsubdued:
Yet is she free? the Spoiler’s wished for prey!
Soon, soon shall Conquest’s fiery foot intrude,
Inevitable hour! ‘Gainst fate to strive
Where Desolation plants her famished brood
In vain, or Ilion, Tyre might yet survive,
And Virtue vanquish all, and Murder cease to thrive. 


But all unconscious of the coming doom,
The feast, the song, the revel here abounds;
Strange modes of merriment the hours consume,
Nor bleed these patriots with their country’s wounds.
Nor here War’s clarion, but Love’s rebeck sounds;
Her Folly still his votaries inthralls;
And young-eyed Lewdness walks her midnight rounds:
Girt with the silent crimes of Capitals,
Still to the last kind Vice clings to the tott’ring walls.


Not so the rustic – with his trembling mate
He lurks, nor casts his heavy eye afar,
Lost he should view his vineyard desolate,
Blasted below the dun hot breath of War.
No more beneath soft eve’s consenting star
Fandango twirls his jocund castanet:
Ah Monarchs! Could ye taste the mirth ye mar,
Not in the toils of Glory would ye fret;
The hoarse dull drum would sleep, and Man be happy yet!

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