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Read The Works of Lord Byron Volume I Part 28

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What are visions like these, to the first kiss of love?


Oh! cease to affirm that man, since his birth, [vii]

From Adam, till now, has with wretchedness strove; Some portion of Paradise still is on earth, And Eden revives, in the first kiss of love.


When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past– For years fleet away with the wings of the dove– The dearest remembrance will still be the last, Our sweetest memorial, the first kiss of love.

December 23, 1806.

[Footnote 1: The motto was prefixed in ‘Hours of Idleness’.]

[Footnote i:

‘Moriah [A] those air dreams and types has o’er wove, [‘MS. Newstead’.]

‘Those tissues of fancy Moriah has wove,

‘[‘P. on V. Occasions’.] ]

[Sub-Footnote A: Moriah is the “G.o.ddess of Folly.”]

[Footnote ii:

‘Ye rhymers, who sing as if seated on snow.–‘

[‘P. on V. Occasions’.] ]

[Footnote iii:

‘With what blest inspiration.–‘

[‘MS. P. on V. Occasions’.] ]

[Footnote iv:

‘Which glows with delight at’.


[Footnote v:

‘Your shepherds, your pipes’.

[‘MS. P. on V. Occasions’.]]

[Footnote vi:

‘Arcadia yields but a legion of dreams’.


[Footnote vii:

‘that man from his birth’.

[‘MS. P. on V. Occasions’.]


“I cannot but remember such things were, And were most dear to me.”

‘Macbeth’ [2]

[“That were most precious to me.”

‘Macbeth’, act iv, sc. 3.]

When slow Disease, with all her host of Pains, [i]

Chills the warm tide, which flows along the veins; When Health, affrighted, spreads her rosy wing, And flies with every changing gale of spring; Not to the aching frame alone confin’d, Unyielding pangs a.s.sail the drooping mind: What grisly forms, the spectre-train of woe, Bid shuddering Nature shrink beneath the blow, With Resignation wage relentless strife, While Hope retires appall’d, and clings to life. 10 Yet less the pang when, through the tedious hour, Remembrance sheds around her genial power, Calls back the vanish’d days to rapture given, When Love was bliss, and Beauty form’d our heaven; Or, dear to youth, pourtrays each childish scene, Those fairy bowers, where all in turn have been.

As when, through clouds that pour the summer storm, The orb of day unveils his distant form, Gilds with faint beams the crystal dews of rain And dimly twinkles o’er the watery plain; 20 Thus, while the future dark and cheerless gleams, The Sun of Memory, glowing through my dreams, Though sunk the radiance of his former blaze, To scenes far distant points his paler rays, Still rules my senses with unbounded sway, The past confounding with the present day.

Oft does my heart indulge the rising thought, Which still recurs, unlook’d for and unsought; My soul to Fancy’s fond suggestion yields, And roams romantic o’er her airy fields. 30 Scenes of my youth, develop’d, crowd to view, To which I long have bade a last adieu!

Seats of delight, inspiring youthful themes; Friends lost to me, for aye, except in dreams; Some, who in marble prematurely sleep, Whose forms I now remember, but to weep; Some, who yet urge the same scholastic course Of early science, future fame the source; Who, still contending in the studious race, In quick rotation, fill the senior place! 40 These, with a thousand visions, now unite, To dazzle, though they please, my aching sight. [3]

IDA! blest spot, where Science holds her reign, How joyous, once, I join’d thy youthful train!

Bright, in idea, gleams thy lofty spire, Again, I mingle with thy playful quire; Our tricks of mischief, [4] every childish game, Unchang’d by time or distance, seem the same; Through winding paths, along the glade I trace The social smile of every welcome face; 50 My wonted haunts, my scenes of joy or woe, Each early boyish friend, or youthful foe, Our feuds dissolv’d, but not my friendship past,– I bless the former, and forgive the last.


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