The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 2


“Ancient of days! August Athena! where,
Where are thy men of might? thy grand in soul?
Gone – glimmering through the dream of things that were:
First in the race that led to Glory’s goal,
They won, and pass’d away – is this the whole?
A schoolboy’s tale, the wonder of an hour!
The warrior’s weapon and the sophist’s stole
Are sought in vain, and o’er each mouldering tower,
Dim with the mist of years, gray flits the shade of power.”


Childe Harold´s Pilgrimage


Here let me sit upon this massy stone,
The marble column’s yet unshaken base!
Here, son of Saturn, was thy favourite throne!
Mightiest of many such! Hence let me trace
The latent grandeur of thy dwelling-place.
It may not be: nor even can Fancy’s eye
Restore what time hath laboured to deface.
Yet these proud pillars claim no passing sigh;
Unmoved the Moslem sits, the light Greek carols by.

But who, of all the plunderers of yon fane
On high, where Pallas lingered, loth to flee
The latest relic of her ancient reign-
The last, the worst, dull spoiler, who was he?
Blush, Caledonia! such thy son could be!
England! I joy no child he was of thine:
Thy free-born men should spare what once was free;
Yet they could violate each saddening shrine,
And bear these altars o’er the long reluctant brine.

But most the modern Pict’s ignoble boast,
To rive what Goth, and Turk, and Time hath spared:
Cold as the crags upon his native coast,
His mind as barren and his heart as hard,
Is he whose head conceived, whose hand prepared,
Aught to displace Athena’s poor remains:
Her sons too weak the sacred shrine to guard,
Yet felt some portion of their mother’s pains,
And never knew, till then, the weight of Despot’s chains.

What! shall it e’er be said by British tongue
Albion was happy in Athena’s tears?
Though in thy name the slaves her bosom wrung,
Tell not the deed to blushing Europe’s ears;
The ocean queen, the free Britannia, bears
The last poor plunder from a bleeding land:
Yes, she, whose generous aid her name endears,
Tore down those remnants with a harpy’s hand.
Which envious eld forbore, and tyrants left to stand.

Cold is the heart, fair Greece, that looks on thee,
Nor feels as lovers o’er the dust they loved;
Dull is the eye that will not weep to see
Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed
By British hands, which it had best behoved
To guard those relics ne’er to be restored.
Curst be the hour when from their isle they roved,
And once again thy hapless bosom gored,
And snatched thy shrinking gods to northern climes abhorred!”

What a great excerpt about the Elgin Marbles.
The power of poetry… few verses, Byron’s emphatic language and the effect is more profound and memorable than anything written in prose.
And how bold and outspoken against his fellow countrymen!

Don Juan


I don’t know why, I have no clue
How one day this idea grew:
Byron’s works I’ve had read zero
And that’s a shame, I’m greek-and he’s our hero!

I went to bookstores for his poems but in vain!
Apart from letters and biographies there was no gain.
It was then, when desperation was ample
When i saw it: Don Juan in kindle sample.

Language was my fear, if I would get it right
But what the hell I said, i ll try it!
And lo: some words were old, pain in the ass
Not even on the dictionary alas!

Its style too I could not define
The poem seemed childish, like mine!
But I would really laugh and lol
Such witty rhymes I don’t recall!

Yet Byron’s not only fun and joke
Great meaning his verses would provoke.
Serious or sad, with ease the rhyme he preserves
Some people have it so easy -it breaks your nerves!

Like Juan womanizing in every city…
The bastard was he lucky or was he indeed so pretty??
His adventures many, I cannot summarize
Read for yourselves, his fate a surprise!

But hear this, don’t get me wrong
The poem is masterful but it is also long.
Cantos, stanzas on and on
Should you finish or abandon?

Do as you please the choice is yours
I made it though, through charms and bores.
And if an advice I am allowed
It reads better when read aloud!

A Defence of Poetry

adefencepoetry00shelgoog_0010Is it me or is this completely unconvincing???!

Shelley extends the definition of poetry in order to include all arts (even music, painting etc). This is no poetry, this is arts in general!

He then distincts poetry and believes it superior to all other arts and sciences and the major (only?) force to influence societies…how can this be? A musician or a painter need not read a single verse to be great in their art and influence society with their works, let alone a scientist.

He also considers people like Plato, Locke, Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau as poets. Painters like Rafael and Michelangelo. Historians too. Those are, strictly, political philosophers, painters and historians. They are no poets! Their contributions cannot be linked back to poetry.

I don’t think someone can argue for the value of poetry in a society (as is the book’s purpose) by making such broad assumptions.

Otherwise it’s a great read, only it should be titled differently.

A Defence of Arts, yes.
A Defence of Great Minds, yes.
A Defence of Poetry, no.