Lord George Gordon Byron

Here you will find the Long Poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: A Romaunt. Canto III. of poet Lord George Gordon Byron

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: A Romaunt. Canto III.

Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child! 
Ada! sole daughter of my house and heart? 
When last I saw thy young blue eyes they smiled, 
And then we parted,--not as now we part, 
But with a hope.-- 
Awaking with a start, 
The waters heave around me; and on high 
The winds lift up their voices: I depart, 
Whither I know not; but the hour's gone by, 
When Albion's lessening shores could grieve or glad mine eye. 

Once more upon the waters! yet once more! 
And the waves bound beneath me as a steed 
That knows his rider. Welcome, to their roar! 
Swift be their guidance, wheresoe'er it lead! 
Though the strain'd mast should quiver as a reed, 
And the rent canvas fluttering strew the gale, 
Still must I on; for I am as a weed, 
Flung from the rock, on Ocean's foam, to sail 
Where'er the surge may sweep, or tempest's breath prevail. 

In my youth's summer I did sing of One, 
The wandering outlaw of his own dark mind; 
Again I seize the theme then but begun, 
And bear it with me, as the rushing wind 
Bears the cloud onwards: in that Tale I find 
The furrows of long thought, and dried-up tears, 
Which, ebbing, leave a sterile track behind, 
O'er which all heavily the journeying years 
Plod the last sands of life,--where not a flower appears. 

Since my young days of passion--joy, or pain, 
Perchance my heart and harp have lost a string, 
And both may jar: it may be, that in vain 
I would essay as I have sung to sing. 
Yet, though a dreary strain, to this I cling; 
So that it wean me from the weary dream 
Of selfish grief or gladness--so it fling 
Forgetfulness around me--it shall seem 
To me, though to none else, a not ungrateful theme. 

He, who grown aged in this world of woe, 
In deeds, not years, piercing the depths of life, 
So that no wonder waits him; nor below 
Can love, or sorrow, fame, ambition, strife, 
Cut to his heart again with the keen knife 
Of silent, sharp endurance: he can tell 
Why thought seeks refuge in lone caves, yet rife 
With airy images, and shapes which dwell 
Still unimpair'd, though old, in the soul's haunted cell. 

'Tis to create, and in creating life 
A being more intense, that we endow 
With form our fancy, gaining as we give 
The life we image, even as I do now. 
What am I? Nothing; but not so art thou, 
Soul of my thought! with whom I traverse earth, 
Invisible but gazing, as I grow 
Mix'd with thy spirit, blended with thy birth, 
And feeling still with thee in my crush'd feeling's dearth. 

Yet must I think less wildly:--I have thought 
Too long and darkly, till my brain became, 
In its own eddy boiling and o'erwrought, 
A whirling gulf of phantasy and flame: 
And thus, untaught in youth my heart to tame, 
My springs of life were poison'd. 'Tis too late! 
Yet am I chang'd; though still enough the same 
In strength to bear what time can not abate, 
And feed on bitter fruits without accusing Fate. 

Something too much of this:--but now 'tis past, 
And the spell closes with its silent seal. 
Long absent HAROLD re-appears at last; 
He of the breast which fain no more would feel, 
Wrung with the wounds which kill not, but ne'er heal; 
Yet Time, who changes all, had altered him 
In sould and aspect as in age: years steal 
Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb; 
And life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim. 

His had been quaff'd too quickly, and he found 
The dregs were wormwood; but he fill'd again, 
And from a purer fount, on holier ground, 
And deem'd its spring perpetual; but in vain! 
Still round him clung invisibly a chain 
Which gall'd for ever, fettering though unseen, 
And heavy though it clank'd not; worn with pain, 
Which pined although it spoke not, and grew keen, 
Entering with every step, he took, through many a scene. 

Secure in guarded coldness, he had mix'd 
Again in fancied safety with his kind, 
And deem'd his spirit now so firmly fix'd 
And sheath'd with an invulnerable mind, 
That, if no joy, no sorrow lurk'd behind; 
And he, as one, might midst the many stand 
Unheeded, searching through the crowd to find 
Fit speculation! such as in strange land 
He found in wonder-works of God and Nature's hand. 

But who can view the ripened rose, nor seek 
To wear it? who can curiously behold 
The smoothness and the sheen of beauty's cheek, 
Nor feel the heart can never all grow old? 
Who can contemplate Fame through clouds unfold 
The star which rises o'er her steep, nor climb? 
Harold, once more within the vortex, roll'd 
On with the giddy circle, chasing Time, 
Yet with a nobler aim than in his youth's fond prime. 

But soon he knew himself t