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George Gordon Byron

George Gordon Byron

GEORGE GORDON LORD BYRON: "Well Didst Thou Speak..."

"Well Didst Thou Speak..."

(From "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," Canto the Second, 7-9
Well didst thou speak, Athena’s wisest son!
“All that we know is nothing can be known.”
Why should we shrink from what we cannot shun?
Each hath its pang, but feeble sufferers groan
With brain-born dreams of Evil all their own.
Pursue what Chance or Fate proclaimeth best – 
Peace waits us on the shores of Acheron:
There no forced banquet claims the sated guest,
But Silence spreads the couch of ever welcome Rest.

Yet if, as holiest men have deemed, there be
A land of Souls beyond that sable shore,
To shame the Doctrine of the Sadducee
And Sophists, madly vain of dubious lore;
How sweet it were in concert to adore 
With those who made our mortal labours light!
To hear each voice we feared to her no more!
Behold each mighty shade revealed to sight,
The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the Right!

There, Thou! – whose Love and Life together fled,
Have left me here to love and live in vain –
Twined with my heart, and can I deem thee dead
When busy Memory flashes on my brain?
Well – I will dream that we may meet again,
And woo the vision to my vacant breast:
If aught of young Remembrance then remain,
Be as it may Futurity’s behest,
For me ‘twere bliss enough to know thy spirit blest.

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